Food in Singapore

Do not plan any diets on your trip to Singapore. You might enjoy the weather, tall buildings, and gazillions of Louis Vuitton stores, but your strolling through Chinatown with an empty stomach is as cruel as a visit of a diabetic to the “Cafe Savoy”.

Embrace this heavenly food spot. Savour, dig, eat up and feast on.

No matter where you go, food will be amazing. Nevertheless, here are some brightest dishes I still drool over:

Singapore Black Pepper CrabIMG_0478

This fellow and his cousin Chilli Crab are divine. So spicy and succulent! We had to wash our hands 5 times to get rid of the “black nails effect” – locals were smarter: a pair of plastic gloves did their job. Although, we had more fun! “Jumbo Seafood” restaurants are famous for the best seafood in Singapore. We had ours in Chinatown and enjoyed as much.

Grilled Whole Fish with Dry Chillis and PeanutsIMG_0570

Out tilapia drenched with fragrant spicy sauce, heaped with dried chillis, peanuts and coriander looked  more flammable than  it was in reality. It weighs about 900g-1kg each – great fun to share. Even though it is a relatively mild dish, unprepared troops will have to  calm their palates. This dish is available in almost every restaurant from Riverside to Chinatown.

“Din Tai Fung” Dim SumIMG_0518

I refused the idea of eating in a shopping mall at first. “Authentic? What are you talking about?!” This chain might not be located on one of the streets, where locals gather for a ritual evening coffee, but it is incredibly good. There is just this odd local habit of dining in shopping malls. Thus, the best of them are based there. Service is fast, dim sums are mouth-watering and the lemongrass iced tea is the best one I have ever tried.

Korean BBQIMG_0540

DIY method is the best: there is so much fun, interaction and sense of community. Smartphones stay in your pockets – hands are too busy. The side dishes are infinite. You will choose the meat you would like to grill. Be aware that there is a strict “no food waste” policy: 150$ fine for greedy ones, who can not handle their inconceivably vast order. We had our Korean BBQ experience in “Seoul” restaurant at the Four Seasons, but almost every street in Singapore will have a great Korean restaurant.

Bakkwa or Chinese Beef Jerky

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No, you would not find the same beef jerky in other places. It melts in your mouth. The balance of sweet and salty is sublime. Grab a beer, a kilo of this highly addictive snack and get rid of your jet lag disorder symptoms.

Speaking of beer, it is extremely expensive in Singapore: 6$ – 7$ for a bottle. I guess, you have to learn the art of slow savouring.

 

“Sticky Wings” vs “The Orange Buffalo”

"Sticky wings"
“Sticky wings”

I developed my obsession with chicken wings by going to America’s best joints like “Talde”, “Pok Pok” and local unique BBQ places. London disappointed me with the American-style food before: my favorite Boston cream tasted like sugar and sugar only; proper pancakes were as rare as a “good hair day” for Donald Trump; franchise wings – sprayed thoroughly with vinegar.

Sticky wings” happened to be a friendly, cozy establishment. Waitress was very attentive, beer cold and wings – they were heavenly. “Sticky wings BBQ” & “American buffalo” were my favorite. If you prefer mouth-on-fire-effect, go for “Hot chilli”. All the accessories vital for a chicken wings ritual were there: wet napkins, buckets for bones, condiments.

"The Orange Buffalo"
“The Orange Buffalo”

“The Orange Buffalo” was a one of the most popular truck spots in the hipster part of Shoreditch. The owners were very warm and welcoming, beer…wait, no beer?! Yes, indeed, I ate my wings with sweet soda – it’s very hard to get an alcohol license in Great Britain. Wings were very tasty: double fried crispy deliciousness with a unique sauce.

Curly french fries
Curly french fries

There were a number of available gradations on the hotness scale, but we chose the “Original”. Shortage of napkins – only two paper ones for a couple people with messy hands – was a bit inconvenient as well.

"The Orange Buffalo"
“The Orange Buffalo” wings

Well, choosing between two of them was not very hard. Both places have delicious chicken wings, but only one has got great customer service and a quality product. “Sticky wings” is our victor and the place to satisfy occasional cravings.

 

 

Georgian Food In London

– Let’s eat Georgian tonight!

– Well, I am not a big fan of American cuisine.

Georgia is carved into many brains as one of the U.S states – not a beautiful country between Eastern Europe and West Asia. Yet its culture, people and food are well worth to be on travellers’ radars.

It was my grandmother who introduced me to this wonderful food culture – the Russians were always attracted to those aromatic-spicy, dewy dishes. I got nostalgic and started my search of descent Georgian food in London.

There are a couple of places here – all of them with relatively good reviews. We chose the one in our area: when your belly is full of delicious food, try to minimise walking (not a health coach advice).Khachapuri

“Tamada” has it all: incredible homely atmosphere, genuine Georgian food, clean menu (not “The 200 Club” never – ending list), warm southern hospitality and great wine selection.

We conditionally divided the menu into two affordable dinners, where all dishes could be assessed. Here are the favourite items: “Adjaruli Khachapuri” – cheese-filled baked bread topped with eggs, “Lobio “- red beans with coriander & garlic, “Badrijani” – stuffed aubergines with onions, Georgian spices, garlic & walnuts. Try to order some traditional flat bread alone with you dishes and enjoy the culinary art of spreading and spooning them over.

There are a couple of things you should bear in mind if Georgian cuisine is terra incognita for you: walnuts – crashed, chopped, grounded, fried – and pomegranate are the key ingredients in almost every dish. Like other Transcaucasian cultures, the Georgians use open fire and spit for meat and vegetable preparation. Thus the smoky taste is present. There is no espresso or americano served – only Georgian sediment coffee (with grounds for fortune tellers).Georg. food

If you are hesitating between Turkish, Russian or Greek cuisine, try Georgian – it combines many of the Eastern European and Mediterranean flavours, and you will get an interesting gastronomic adventure.

-Let’s eat Georgian tonight!

– Khachapuri it is then.

 

“Tamada” restaurant: 122 Boundary Road, London, NW8 0RH.
Tel: 020 7372 2882

 

Portugal Is On The Way To San Jose

California is a gastronomic Shangri-La. It has an enormous variety of tastes, aromas, shapes, traditions and great places to satisfy your cravings. This year one particularly special place will fill in the missing gap. A place, which has authenticity in culinary science DNA – a Portuguese restaurant “Adega”.

Anyhow, it is not the restaurant that matters the most, but who is going to create the dishes. And those people are the two chefs who belong to the Portuguese cuisine elite representatives; people whom the best professionals taught, and who know how to create every traditional dish from scratch – Jessica and David.

Jessica & David
David & Jessica

I am a bit jealous that Portugal will lose four capable swift hands and two insanely creative heads. I adore good food. If I love a dish, I am capable of travelling miles to savour it again. I could not care less for a variety of items on a menu, witty names, sophisticated ambiences. All I care for is an honest taste of what I consume. Those two were the first people to introduce Portuguese cuisine to me in its raw, pure and classic state.

I met David when he was part of the team of the Michelin star restaurant “Eleven” here in Lisbon. What he does with meat, fish and poultry is a Da Vinci level. I bit my cheek, trying to fill my mouth with what he put on my plate. I felt like a starving raccoon afraid to share its food with anybody. He is the muscle of any kitchen, no doubt.

Jessica was a surprising discovery for me. My husband used to work with her in the restaurant business. Once he told me that “Assinatura” – one of the traditional Portuguese signature houses – had finally found a talented pastry chef. After he showed me the pictures of her dishes – I cleared my Friday afternoon agenda to visit the place. I can’t describe myself as a sweet tooth, or, better to say, could not before. The final part of my lunch was the most delicious and creative. She managed to use some of the most elaborated techniques to bring the best in the traditional desserts. I asked my husband to talk to her after lunch to learn where she gained the artistry. Well, paradoxically, in the Le Cordon Bleu – the American famous culinary arts Alma Mater.

I love to follow my favourite chefs’ careers; to visit their new restaurants, to taste their new dishes. I feel like growing with them, and they educate me. Imagine my surprise when I realised that the two talents I admire had created a gastronomic duet. They decided to work together and open a restaurant in San Jose, CA. After that I felt frustrated, because I will have to pay 800 euros to repeat my experience with them. And I will.

Shrimps, oysters and chicken stomachs feast
Shrimps, oysters and chicken stomachs feast

The last time I saw them, they were getting ready to go to the North of Portugal to learn how to make the old-fashioned sausages in the remote villages of the country – to make sure they can call theirs truly original. Like archeologists or fairy tales collectors.

Good for you, San Jose! Soon you will be able to try some of the best chorizos, cod fish dishes and nana’s sweet rice.

I will be following their success story in the USA, as I have no doubts they will win over the San Josenians hearts, minds and stomachs.

Looking forward to your triumph this summer!

Restaurant Adega will be located at 1614 Alum Rock Ave. San José, CA 95116 (between 33rd and 34th Street). http://www.adegarest.com