A Most Unusual Tofu

A Most Unusual Tofu

#takemeawaytuesdays, Food, Ingredients, Travel
[caption id="attachment_10225" align="aligncenter" width="810"] Volcanic mud water tofu[/caption] The sleek Puyuma Express pulls up at the weathered but well-kept platforms of the open-air train station at Fuli. White clouds of pulled cotton hang placidly in the blue sky. There is nary a person in sight and the late morning tranquility is only disrupted by the dull clatter coming from the worn wheels of my trusty Samsonite. [caption id="attachment_10115" align="aligncenter" width="810"] Mountains in Luoshan, Taiwan[/caption] Fuli (富里) is located at the most southern point of Hualien County in Taiwan. The rural township sits in the East-Rift Valley, flanked by the Central Mountain Range and the Coastal Mountain Range, and is home to scenic sights such as the Liushidan Mountain and the Luoshan Waterfall. Farming is a way of life here, with…
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Oodles of Noodles

Oodles of Noodles

#featurefriday, Features, Food, Restaurants
[caption id="attachment_9529" align="aligncenter" width="810"] Wanton noodles, mee pok, and Emerald noodles from Handpicked[/caption] There are those who worship at the altar of ramen and pasta but local noodles seldom evoke the same ardent devotion. Nonetheless, devotees of local noodles can still find the odd artisanal producer hand kneading mee kia in Singapore. Some like Karen Nah of Handpicked is of the opinion that: "Local noodles have not lost their shine. In fact, we see a lot of chefs keen to use local noodles. The demand is growing steadily."  Indeed, we are blessed with a wonderful array of noodle dishes in Singapore. Wanton mee with that perfect "bite" and bak chor mee (minced meat noodles) doused in black vinegar for example, both using noodles which lean towards the Southern Chinese style, where lye is added. There must be…
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Old School Bakeries in Singapore

Old School Bakeries in Singapore

Features, Food
[caption id="attachment_8769" align="aligncenter" width="810"] Uncle Jee with Claire Ariela Shen at Sembawang Confectionery[/caption] When Wong Toon Aik started his career in baking in the 60s, old school classic butter cakes were all the rage. Plain, golden brown, unadorned, but rich, buttery and satisfying, he recalls fondly–none of these rainbow-coloured crazies, galaxy confections and fondant laden bakes. The 78-year-old senior baker of Sembawang Confectionery, also fondly known as Uncle Jee, was only 18 when he first became an apprentice. “The confectionery was called Wills and it was located near Tanjong Katong Girl’s School,” he says, “The old shifus (masters) in those days, they do not teach you. You really have to observe and pick up things by yourself.” “During my time at Wills, we used to supply our famous chicken pies…
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citizenM Taipei North Gate

citizenM Taipei North Gate

#takemeawaytuesdays, Check In, Travel
citizenM Taipei North Gate, the inaugural citizenM hotel in Asia, hits all the right notes without the elaborate bells and whistles. Designed by Dutch interior design studio, Concrete, the innovative Dutch hotel brand kept all the essential best bits of a great hotel, and made them better. [caption id="attachment_8169" align="aligncenter" width="810"] Even the entrance mat at the citizenM Taipei welcomes you with a compliment on your footwear[/caption] Located directly opposite the Taipei’s historical site, North Gate, the 26-storey hotel is 250m away from the nearest metro station (Beimen) and within walking distance (about 650m) to both Taipei Main Station and the Airport Express terminal. The stroll from the main railway station can be pleasant if you are travelling light and if the weather holds up. Alternatively, if the rain decides…
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Uncovering the Secrets of Wok Hei

Uncovering the Secrets of Wok Hei

Features, Food
[caption id="attachment_5995" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Chef Wayne Liew tossing fried rice to capture wok hei at Kee Eng Kee[/caption] Fire. It is all about the fire, the chefs tell us when we quiz them about wok hei. Wok hei, or (镬气) in Chinese characters, literally means wok (镬) — awkwardly described as a deep-frying pan (more accurately a skillet; note that a skillet has sloping sides while a sauté pan does not) with a round-bottom—and energy (气), which has also been described as breath. There is nothing quite as satisfying as a stir-fry. Think: wok-kissed morsels of succulent meat or seafood, crisp yet moist vegetables or flavoursome fried rice and hor fun (flat rice noodles). Author Grace Young thinks of wok hei “as a breath of a wok—when a wok breathes…
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