Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Dragon Palace Restaurant

Dragon Palace & Karaoke Restaurant on Urbanspoon
With ridiculous prices and an multiplying population, finding parking is truly a pain in the butt.
And paying for expensive parking to eat an expensive meal is heartbreaking too but its what I have to put up with to have a mega epic breakfast like this to start the week.

An epic good but also OH SO BAD breakfast that was the first meal of the week but left me wanting it to be the only meal for the rest of that week. It probably contained my week's worth of energy and fat requirements.
But the pleasure about all that is, while you were rushing out the door with vegemite on toast, I was busily on my journey to fat town with the following companions I met along the way:

Steamed Prawn & Coriander Dumplings
These were straight off a fresh trolley of goodies.
Hot and steamy, just how I like it ;)

These dumplings have roughly chopped prawns combined with coriander but I have no recollection of that distinct coriander taste and smell. Instead, I thought they were some form of green chive-like vegetable mixed in with the prawn meat mixture and wrapped in chewy dumpling skin. Priced at $5.60, these are expensive little ones!

Steamed Scallop & Prawn Dumplings
These dumplings feature the classic har gao style dish with a slight twist, that being the addition of miniature and sometimes-not-existent pieces of precious scallop. So when you got lucky and did hit a piece of scallop, the mouth would fill with a smooth, moist feeling. LOL. You get my drift. But it's hard to come by those experiences frequently, cause most of the time you don't get as lucky. And because these things are predominantly ruled by prawns. It's not often that the prawn isn't the star of the dish, and in this case you find yourself scouting around for something else within all that annoying *prawn in the way.

*Just wrote porn by accident. Ho ho ho
Siu Mai of Prawn & Fish Roe
Another well known Dim Sim dish is THE Siu Mai, a combination of (usually) mince pork meat and speckles of prawn, wrapped cosily with a tight layer of yellow-coloured skin. It is usually recognisable thanks to it always being topped up with an orange garnish on top, whether that be a dot of carrot, fish roe, or to be cost conservative, a single fish roe.

Dragon Palace's version of Siu Mai differentiates itself in that chunks of roughly chopped fatty pork pieces are used instead of mincing it up. The fatness is visible and has a chewy but bouncy texture to it amongst the other ingredients. It isn't exactly noticeable what you are eating that tastes so damn good, thinking it is the meat until you find out otherwise.
So, if you're looking for a diet, don't look for this dish.

Spare Rib in Black Bean Sauce
This is the very thing that makes its appearance in the aforementioned Siu Mai. But I guess its so good that it needs a dish on its own to really shine - all that glorious, sparkling, gleamy shine from the fat that has developed onto an overeating pig. Ironically in Chinese spare ribs would depict someone of skin and bone and needs a serious dose of THIS. But this is ONE FAT PIG and the fatty meat you see here is proof.

However, I wouldn't say there's much to the black-beaniness to the sauce that the meat is served in, in the evidently clear sauce with individual black beans scattered on top. Something I like about this dish served here are the cubes of taro amongst the pork, which make very exclusive and infrequent appearances only.

Pan-fried Meat & Chive Dumplings
Unfortunately, these were served cold. Not even lukewarm but cold. Ok maybe not cold but they were room temperature :( Which means that impeded on how delicious these things are when they are served hot. They are comparable to the Korean gyoza somewhat, in that both dumplings are commonly pan fried until crispy on one side of the dumpling. But these are served with VINEGAR!, as pictured above in the distasteful photograph. *Apologies*

These are plumper and fuller than typical gyoza and sport mince pork and even finer minced prawn. However what you see when you bite a chunk out of it is GREEN GREEN GREEN from all the chives (or some other green thing).
Pleasing, because you pretty much do not see any sight of green at dim sim, unless you look at a tree outside. There is nothing close to healthy about dim sim.

Deep-fried Prawn Dumplings with Mayonnaise
These used to be my absolute favourite, back when I didn't know what unhealthy and deep-fried meant. And now that I do, it still doesn't stop me from eating them. LIFE IS SHORT so get fat if you want to! After a few rounds of circling the floor, these prawns had lost their hotness but kept their cool. Even their wonton skin didn't keep them warm.
The side of mayonnaise is very welcomed when these are burning your finger cause they provide a very comforting and contrasting soothing effect when eaten with the dumplings.
Sweet and savoury combinations DO work out fine!

But these are usually a winner cause anything deep fried is usually always a winner. Anyone who disagrees is usually lying.

Snow Mountain Egg Yolk Bun
What an enticing name that lures you in at first sound. And sight! These yellow plump speckled babies indeed look like mounds drizzled with snowflakes drifting from the clouds above. Oh-so-pretty like a dainty snow covered mountain top, it might just make you not want to destroy it.

Perhaps a more picturesque and more fitting description would be a volcanic mountain, its colour reflective of the sun setting in its presence with the sky littered with mini clouds. And upon aggravating this volcano, this chewy, sticky volcano, a hot liquid lava centre erupts from its core and can actually burn you.
Dangerously beautiful.
Really, a fascinating golden liquid fountain oozes its life out the moment you discover and break into its heart. And you really would not want to let this carpet of sunshine escape anywhere besides your mouth.

Classified under the sweets/desserts category, one would not immediately apprehend the slightly savoury flavour of the interior filling, with the contrasting hint of sweetness. The vivid and intense yellow colour of salted egg yolk provides a rich and luscious texture, and is a perfect cocktail of both sweet and salty. So amazing that you would not be considered to be selfish for not wanting to share this little drop of sunshine and put it in your pocket.

One encounter, and you will fall in love at first bite.

Deep fried Crab Meat Dumplings
I'm not particularly a huge fan of these triangular battered "crab meat" pillows, but that's just me. They happened to be served poppingly HOT!, and happened to be is used because many a time they do their tiresome laps around the restaurant floor and get all bored and cold afterwards. And cold boring batter is just that: cold and boring and bland and doughy and ugh.

I think I am indifferent to these crab meat dumplings cause of the difference between what they are suggested to be. If something is deemed crab meat dumplings, they should contain, and if not contain, at least look/smell/taste/feel some element of crab right...? Maybe even crab meat powder?! At least these sound like crab meat dumplings, cause they're called crab meat dumplings but don't really have anything inside resembling crab meat. Rather like the seafood sub at Subway, however that was something I used to eat, and only eat without fail.

Beyond the crunchy battered coating exterior, is white "meat" paste that bores resemblance to all the pastes that Asians typically love to use. Similar to what is used in fake meat manufacture. We love the fake, cheap, but good quality stuff.

Sometimes the quality can be compromised :x

Chicken Feet with Spicy Sauce
So when you first hear the limbs chicken feet being a dish on its own, what does your brain think? I wasn't kidding when I mentioned in a previous post that no part on an animal goes to waste and time and time again that point gets proved and reiterated, over and over and over, again and again and again. Usually offal can still be tolerated and understood and can even be a delicacy as there is only one organ in each animal and is thus a scarce resource.

But this is feet! Real feet from a dead animal whose flesh is probably sitting in someone's stomach. And for me, I don't exactly crave feet. I have a particular disliking to even hearing the word and GAWD it's just so putrid! But yes there are dishes containing chicken feet, pig trotters, duck feet etcetera etcetera and yes I have eaten all these mildly putrid animal feet and yes I do enjoy them occasionally and no I am not disgusting. But nowadays for some unknown reason I don't touch these whenever they have walkabouts to my table or even if they walkabout and plod themselves in front of me.

When you look at a chicken strutting its stuff, it doesn't (and shouldn't) occur to you that you could eat those thin and bony legs. And even if some sick person did (which obviously happened), one wouldn't think there would be much to eat from it. However, it always surprises me how chubby these chicken feet always are: there is always puffy, plump skin and fats wrapped around the segmented bones and joints. However there isn't much to really swallow, as the mass of a foot is comprised of the chicken skeleton.

Mmm, dead chicken feet, chopped, slaughtered and cooked in its own blood... garnished with some lucky peanuts.

Just kidding!...but that is definitely believable.
Steamed Prawn Dumplings
The signature dish at Dim Sim gatherings, also known as Har Gow, the infamous prawn dumplings makes an early appearance. Prawn Dumplings can be the very reason for going to yum cha (also known as dim sim) and they very might well be the heart and soul of this largely loved aspect of Asian cooking. So well known and popular that if you say HAR GOW to a non Asian language speaker, they would still understand you and start salivating.
These little (well, decent sized) plump, juicy morsels are full of prawns, nestled inside that transparent layer of outer skin. So there's no hiding, no disguising, just the bundle of prawn that you can peep at behind the panel of slightly translucent skin, all exposed and naked for you to gaze dreamily at... (prawn and porn really do exert an aspect of similarity!?)
Absolute delight to a prawn lover and you won't get enough of that bouncy, flavoursome, springy bite in your mouth =p

Guaranteed to please.

Durian Puffs
And probably the worst fat contributor of all are these glorious gems which make you melt at the knees as they melt in your mouth. They're the type of foods which you'd hate to love, because they have the potential to do you so much damage with one hit.
Sometimes the things you love, are the very things that you shouldn't love.

These flaky golden delicious babies can actually challenge the mindset you have towards durian, like, forever. The fruit that smells like it's run a marathon then rolled in poop can actually make you excited, and I for one, am always in anticipation for Durian puffs. Even when I can take a dislike to the pungent, foul smelling spiky fruit that you can use as a weapon and kill someone a thousand times with its thousand daggers.

Personally I link the smell of durian to gas (and not the offensive kind)! But thankfully, the durian filling inside these puffs mingle with the mouthwatering aroma that drifts from freshly deep fried, unhealthy foods, keeping their own stink to a minimum so allowing you to really enjoy it without holding your nose. The continuous, flaky coils of batter circling the filling reveal threads of durian slithers that take on a creamy, melty, smooth texture, intermingled with sweetness and guilt.

Much of a love-hate relationship, just like the feeling I get for stuffing my face with this breakfast.


Dragon Palace boasts a huge seating capacity, perfect to accomodate its mass crowds for the lunch hours and being a popular choice for dining on weekends. It is majorly populated by Asians, despite pricing their dishes a bit more expensive relative to others. Rather so, the buzzing atmosphere adds to the excitement of the meal, with the possibility of the lavish interior design and modern decor adding to the price of the bill.

The queuing system can have loop holes, if acquaintanced with management. This applies with the charging of tea as well, which is a bit steep the last time I checked, being at the $2-$2.50 mark. Yum Cha, however, does literally translate to "drink tea", where the tea is the star of the show and the dim sim are merely accompaniments. But then again, in comparison to the usual $4 a cup of tea at cafes...I'll have to shut up.

Aforementioned, prices charged are relatively more expensive and the grand total for breakfast came to approximately the $60 mark. Is that pricey or is that pricey? That pretty much averages out $5.50 per dish. That's like 12 subways = 12 breakfasts!!!!! Or 6 footlongs, depending on my appetite ;)

I have to admit the service provided here varies up and down, depending on the day, the waitstaff, and the mood the waitstaff are in. Some are extremely considerate, helpful and have the patience of a brick wall and can provide any help required from them, while others...ehhhhh not so much.
Non consistency is observed but to be fair, it's not really fair to judge the overall fruit basket if you get the occasional bad fruit in the pack.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Makan 2 Cafe

Makan 2 Cafe on Urbanspoon
On the edge of the terrible unmistakable feeling of indigestion and bloating, I could not resist my inner calling for dessert...desssssert...GO GET DESSERT DAMN IT!!!
So I answered my prayers.

After struggling to finish the meal at Phu Pho, I was back in the car heading from one eatery to another down the road, maybe like, oh I don't know, 5 minutes after? Life is good. And I am a slob.

An frequent excerpt from my conversations go like this:
*bag of sultanas on table*
"Ooh sultanas!"
Friend: "Do you EVER stop eating?"
No my friend, I do not and do not plan to, EVER.

And so arriving at Makan, an actual open late at night cafe, I was here for dessert and this was the only thing hovering in my mind. I usually come here for the tall mugged, hot, frothy milk beverages that it is somewhat famous for, but their roti dishes are just as fantastic.
And knowing this, I told my crazy sweet tooth to calm the flip down and satisfied its wants and needs, right then and there ;)

This was what it was beckoning for:

Roti Seri Kaya
This Roti Seri Kaya is the only sweet roti available from the menu at present. It resembles a pancake/crepe-like family and has a delightful slightly crispy and flaky texture when served piping hot. So very calorific and sends you on a guilt trip complete with a luggage full of fat after you eat it, but what the heck. Soooooo worth it.
There was even a slightly darkened section that was suggestive of extra oil lurking around in that area. But I ate it anyway OF COURSE. It's like eating healthy at McDonalds.
Unnecessary and useless.

Golden fried crunchy floury goodness
Within the roti, it housed margarine and an abundance of coconut jam in certain areas. A blob of shiny glistening yellow goo is served on the side, should you want to eat the two together.
Goo being a synonym for condensed milk, of course.
I love surprises but it was a temporary nasty savoury surprise when a small piece of burnt garlic was found nestled amongst the sweet mouthfuls of golden fried crunchy flour goodnesssssss.

So here it is very visibly demonstrated about just how perfectly crispy the roti was made. The edges were an INDULGENT part that didn't last too long at all. The hot "pancake" coupled with cool soothing goo made for perfect mouthfuls. However perfect everything may seem, imperfection is always out there to challenge this otherwise.
Soooooo the flawed part of this was that some parts of the roti were undercooked and resulted in doughy tasting mixture in between the hot crisp exterior. Minor problem.

With the roti finished, I proceeded to eat the condensed milk purely on its own. I don't like wasting food, and its in my nature to eat everything if there is no one to pick up after me and eat my rubbish. But of course, this was for my own enjoyment of ultra sweet things as well!
But after a few attempts, I had to pull a face, put down my fork and left the condensed milk alone.
Goo was certainly not made to be eaten, alone.


So this place is a convenient spot to resort to when everything else along the eating strip is closing down for the night. This dimly lit seems to be a popular hub for students, suited for owls who like to come out and play at night rather than the day.
I always think they are understaffed, particularly when they get busy and the queue ends up zig zagging its way to the entrance and moving ultra slow because there's only one person taking orders, who is simultaneously working the floor.
Which is probably why all the tables are shiny, from grease and are sticky, every time, all the time, without fail.

I'd hate to say the portions of food or somewhat small, but that's probably because I can fit a house in my stomach.
My fast metabolism is such a godsend, cause it's my passport to my heaven.
Cause without it, I would (hopefully!) be trudging there slowly, and probably be unable to fit through the gates.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Phu Pho

Phu Pho on Urbanspoon
Thanks to my epic screwed up times in which I eat my meals, I am constantly finding the need to search under the "open late" category under Urbanspoon when deciding dinner options. And then I used to sleep like an hour after that, which probably explains why I'm a fat sloth.

But nowadays I sleep at like 4am, which gives enough time for all that dinner to run around in my stomach and digest but that probably explains why I am the height I am. I think my sleeping pattern stunts my growth bit by bit, day by day.

Anyways back to my dinner, so we found this Vietnameses Cuisines restaurant that supposedly opens late (but personally I wouldn't classify 9.30pm as late by any means). This was a restaurant I poked my head into recently and its classy interior definitely has a different appearance to most Vietnamese restaurants. Usually with walls adorned by mirrors and basic, plain decor, this place differentiates itself from a lot of other Viet restaurants; in its appearance that it features a modern style design, with patterned walls and such. It gave me the impression that it caters more to the Australian culture, rather than the Asian community. (Purely personal judgement of course).

Phu Pho - Menu
Surprisingly, a pretty filling meal, somehow.   :|
Vietnamese Coffee
This always amuses me, cause I never understand why the coffee is served this way. This vietnamese coffee was served the authentic way and had condensed milk nestled at the bottom of the glass cup supporting the dark, strong, sloooo o oo ooowly forming layer of drip - drip - dripping coffee from the strainer cup on top holding the compressed coffee beans. It is painstakingly frustrating waiting for the liquid to take its darn sweet (bitter) time.

Tests your patience. It can even seem like it's mocking you on purpose.

Finished coffee product
And finally, after half a decade later, it completed its long draining process. Even the ice cubes in the tall glass got bored of staying hard and disintegrated into a puddle that filled about 1/4 of the glass. So anyway, in went the coffee and milk with the melting ice cubes and out came a very satisfying caffiene drink. Sweet and creamy, I found myself making loud rude slurping noises that come about when you try to suck the last of liquid at the bottom-est of the cup.
By this time, I was drinking a very diluted and plain tasting coffee but ah, what the heck, it was good while it lasted.
Very good, in fact, since I kept trying to drink something that wasn't even there anymore.

Menu depiction of Pho Dac Biet
So the Beef Noodle soup that was shown like this...
Pho Dac Biet
Came out delivered looking like this. Not too bad, but I hate it when pictures are deceiving. Typically I expect Viet restaurants to perfect their Pho, cause it's such a typical Vietnamese dish. This was meant to include raw beef, beef balls, beef brisket and beef tendon in the beef base soup. Devasted when I was told they had run out of beef tendon :(

Surely enough there appeared to be no visible floating beef venison when my meal was given to me. But close investigation and digging around revealed a whole heap of small cubes of soft beef tendons scattered at the base of the bowl in the soup. I reckon it was probably a mistake.
A good mistake indeed :) I looove surprises.

This was ok, to say the most. Unfortunate, because the price of it was a bit more in comparison to a better bowl of Pho in competition. The soup lacked something I can't put my finger on but ...eh. Wouldn't say it captures what Pho entails and you wouldn't fall head over heels for Pho if this is the first Pho dish you try. Pho sure ;)

Not bad overall, but not mind blowing either.

Mi Bo Kho
I would rate this as the better dish of the two. Having a reddish/orangey appearance, the Mi Bo Kho is a beef stew noodle soup combining fatty beef brisket pieces, softened carrot and egg noodles, with a sprinkling of spring onions and crushed peanuts. Egg noodles can never go wrong, unless you overcook them, which these weren't. They still had a good chewiness to them. I'd say leave them in boiling water for about 30 seconds flat.
See that's why Asian cuisine has such a quick turnover customer rate. Cook fast, eat fast, leave fast.
I bet 2 minute noodles came about with this concept in mind. But these are literally 30 second noodles. Hmm.

But yes, noodles can never go wrong. Like instant noodle packets. They become your best companion when it gets late at night and the fridge looking sad and empty.

There was a generous inclusion of the meat in this dish, with still about 7 or 8 pieces hanging around after a good 10 or 15 minutes eating the dish. This is always appreciated, but due to the fatty nature of the meat from a fat cow, continuing eating of brisket may turn into an experience of eating lard. Yum yum.

By the end of this the top of my jeans tightened around my stomach. Nothing to do with me, somehow my jeans managed to just shrink.
Paid $31 for this. I'd have to say I'd rather another place and not have to pay as much and for *possibly* better food. On the tables were bottles of Mount Franklin water, which I dared not touch in case they charged like $5 as soon as it was opened or it accidentally fell into my bag.

There is also a larger range of options on the menu at various other eateries. This place has its flashy menu with slick pages and photography and all, but it was a surprise to see a list of about 10 dishes or so with about 8 of those with N/A scrawled beside them. Hmm. No ingredients or not know how to cook?

Service was friendly and welcoming, despite only getting into the restaurant about 5 minutes before its closing time. I love places who don't shrug you off for coming late. I loathe places who still tell you you can eat but then give you attitude because you're delaying their closing time and clean up.
Attitude check guys, and make the world a happier place.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Hogs Breath: Northbridge

Hog's Breath Cafe on Urbanspoon
"What are we eating tonight?" was my question, as we were driving to Northbridge.
This is usually a question that has no quick or sure answer as we debate over the load of options available. It's usually already late by the time dinnertime comes around and after being annoyingly indecisive, time beats us, the food outlets close up and we end up at McDonalds or similar fast food joint. Cause by the time we finish arguing and decide where to eat, that place isn't open anymore. Perth sleeps early.
But surprisingly less than a second later,
"What do you think?"

And then I knew we were having steak.

One of my friends haaaas to have steak, regardless of the mood she's in. It's like she lacked protein in her previous life, but it really saves our indecisiveness sometimes. Because she SAYS she doesn't care what we eat but we can see her brain screaming STEAK at us louder.
So we end up at a steakhouse almost all the time. This time it was Hogs Breath.

We scored a parking spot right in front of the restaurant. But on second thoughts this was a horrible idea because it requires parallel parking, which is the last thing the driver can do. Not even the last thing she can do, because she just can't do it LOL.

So after numerous attempts and creating traffic while doing so, the HATCHBACK finally made it into the bay. BUT THEN, the swearing came in when we discovered this was a No stopping spot. SIGH. So we found another, and the same story goes, in trying to park her ass into the bay. I even was offered passenger seat next time because the way she parks her car like 5cm's away from other parked vehicles is too much for some to handle. This proximity creates a view of the other car body SO FRIGGIN CLOSE that its like watching a thriller 4D movie, complete with movement effects if she hits.

We get heart attacks in her car, coupled with motion sickness as well. The way she rocks those brakes and accelerations propels you forward and backwards with every move, exactly the way theme park amusement rides do. Its a helluva ride and I'm actually seasick myself, but I didn't throw up so she's not, umm, THAT bad.

I wasn't TOO hungry like I usually am, which was odd for me. Seeing pigs everywhere - like literally - didn't even induce me to pig out. The restaurant SEEMED pretty full and we got the impression that we had to wait for a table since we didn't make a reservation.
But it only SEEMED full, cause it wasn't really.

I think I was saving my stomach for dessert and coffee from Frisk later on, so this is the miniature meal we had between 3:

Boss Hog Mushies
I never plan to order overpriced, small servings dishes under the Starters/Appetizers category at restaurants. But I tried these from a friend a few months ago and they're still not worth it for a couple of crumbed mushrooms but I seem to order them frequently now. Ok, I didn't give it the credit it should have. The description goes something like this:

"Fresh mushrooms dipped in our handcrafted salt and pepper crumbs, cooked to golden brown and served with tartare sauce". Doesn't that sound so much more decadent?

This dish came out very quickly and I was asked beforehand whether I wanted this as a main sized meal. Now I wonder how much that would cost, if this was already near the $10 mark?
It is by no means expensive but we established I could order 3 servings of grilled garlic mushrooms or salt and pepper mushrooms instead. Hahaha I'm broke, ok?

The crumbs on this are indeed nicely fried but I think they'd give even more of a bite if the mushroom pieces were cut a bit bigger. They were sliced into pretty small chunks, resulting in some pieces seeming of more batter than mushroom. But hot and crunchy they were, with a good flavour, even when not complemented with the tartare sauce. I even ate the fresh and crisp lettuce leaves to convince myself I had my serve of vegies for the day :)

Natural Prime Rib - Lite cut
This took a bit of a wait to come out. Because of that, my friend was feeling pretty destructive about her steak so I had to shout WAITTT and physically stop her carnivorous attitude and pull her back so I could take a picture. She rolled her eyes at me and said my efforts at this food blog wouldn't last long.
I am so grateful and lucky to have such encouraging friends in my life who support me in what I do.

People assume I don't have the patience to wait at the mere sight of food, and I do feel bad for making others wait for like, one second, but...screw them. I am the centre of the universe. LOL
But I did feel somewhat threatened by her impatience so a hasty attempt of a picture turned into this ghastly picture. But I can't say the real thing looked spectacular either, probably because of those famous hogs curly fries. They didn't live up to their glory tonight, cause they looked a bit sad, limp and lifeless. They tasted a bit lifeless as well. Not having their usual bouncy, crunchy, curly character and certainly not looking very much like pigs' tails.

Lobster and Steak special - with free Hogs Breath cap
I have a slight feeling this was ordered because of the very exciting bonus offer of a FREE CAP! Who would pass up a FREE CAP?! LOL, not us for sure... it even comes with a great variety of colours to choose from: BLACK OR WHITE! With the Hogs Breath piggy mascot!

So anyway, this is supposedly like a limited edition meal, with the chance to miss out if they sell out all their lobsters. It comes with a full lobster grilled with garlic and herb butter, a lite cut prime rib steak, with the choice of mash or fries, and a choice of salad or vegetables. As you can see on the quite-bland-tasting vegetables, blobs of yellowy goo clinging to the only healthy items on the plate. This was cheese sauce and was nothing to get excited about. I even ended up picking and scraping off the "sauce" with my fork (so yes, very unsaucy) off my brocolli which clumsily ended up on the floor, after this painstaking process. I was DEVASTATED and didn't feel like finishing my meal anymore.

But this sauce somewhat annoyed me, because unknowingly this costed us an extra $2.50 on our bill. Not impressed to say the least for charging that price for a few sparsely added strands of cheese that don't really add much to the vegetables anyway. Also charged as an extra $2.50 is that tub of mushroom sauce that is not included with the steak order. It does kinda put me off when every little condiment is charged extra and at that price too, when the steak-and-sauce combination is usually served together anyway.

The sauce had little pieces of mushrooms as did the swirl of mash potato that had little chunks of potato within. The mash was pretty good. Another thing that was good was the steak, which was flavoursome and tender, and had no bitter taste from being char-grilled. I hate that charry, burnt, black flavour of carbon on foods that are grilled especially for that taste and appearance.
I think it hides behind the facade of the appealing characteristic of burnt.

Lobster - close up
Being the main attraction of this dish, here is the lobster showing off how majestic it looked. The very delicious sounding garlic herb butter looked like very undelicious revolting mouldy diarrhoea. LOL but it tasted quite awesome and this is the only time I will ever proceed to describe anything diarrhoea-like to be awesome. Never again, sorry.

The lobster flesh was springy to bite and retained its juiciness. What pisses me off with lobsters is that they are so expensive but there is so little that you can eat of them. Most of their shell, tentacles (tentacles?), spikes and SO MANY OTHER FRIGGIN dangly, sharp, wobbly, furry, scary limbs and bits and pieces take up so much weight but are inedible anyway. And they may house a bit of flesh in them but it takes so much damn effort to get to them so we end up chucking the thing out as rubbish. Too much effort = I don't bother trying.
A very bad philosphy and rule to go by in my life but I can't get rid of this bad bad bad habit.

Maybe that's why seafood is rather expensive. You get so little of it with so much effort of catching, cleaning and cooking it but you end up with scraps of meat. It is not in abundance like a whole heavy thick slab of steak is.
Btw, raw lobster is ACE. It's a bit chewy but the flesh GLEAMS and SPARKLES when it is fresh and is such a delicacy to eat. Lobster sashimi is not available everywhere but it really is yummmehhhhhhhh.

Lobsters are pretty ugh to look at sometimes. They resemble part spider for their upper body, with the whole myriade of segmented legs complete with furry hairs; and part maggot for the lower part of its body.
So creative but a masterpiece gone wrong. U-G-L-Y but so good to eat. Sucha bittersweet combination.
Such is life.

The grand total of this meal came to nearly $80, which I wouldn't be calling a meal worth its value. I think you can get a lot more elsewhere for this kinda price but for some reason Hogs Breath is a place I do come back every so often for. But when paying, I always feel compelled to check the receipt and calculate what they have charged for, with most times being surprised to discover how and what they actually do charge. Last time, I was charged the traditional cut when asked for a lite cut and was given a lite cut. At least they got that bit right.

The service is the thing about Hogs Breath that stands out in an interesting way though, as it is evident that the staff are trained to give very personalised and attentive service, on their knees.
Yep, they come to you, introduce their names and kneel down on the ground so they are eye level to you. Peculiar. But service is good; efficient and non-intrusive.

The interior is very outback-saloon-like-style with wooden floorboards and the wooden flap door entrance, along with walls decked with road signs and vehicle registration plates. And with name tags like "Turtle" and "Keen Bean", you can be sure this is a relaxed, casual and laid-back atmosphere to pig out and eat without table manners if you wish.
Because sometimes food tastes better when you eat it in an uncivilised way, and not be judged for it.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Lee Palace Restaurant

Lee Palace Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon
Om nom nom nhom nomm nomm DINNER TIME!
The following post is the huge selection of dishes from a OMG-THIS-IS-CHEAP-AS! banquet PLUS an extra 3 or 4 dishes added on top of this order. This was my dinner last night.

Did I mention dinner was being had, like, about just over 4 hours after that huge ass lunch at Spoon? Did I mention that I am we are a might, unstoppable, insatiable pigs who find nothing better in life than to eat?
Oooooooooh I know life is full of love and happiness and friendship and laughter and joy but life has food and that is hard to beat.
Plus, food is a combination of all those things AND MORE! This is a glutton talking after all.

It's actually great living in a house full of pigs - no offence to my family, I love you to bits - because the next meal is always planned before the present one is even eaten. And then there's something to look forward to all over again when you're sitting there with your tummy bulging out of your unbuttoned pants, cause you can do it all over again in like, 3 hours.

Or maybe to try that method to really gain the most value out of what you pay, where you eat til you're full, go to the bathroom, stick your fingers down your throat and belch out what went in 15 minutes ago. Then you can skip the 3 hours of waiting time and resume eating like, right then and there.
Personally, I think that is disgusting and have never tried that method. I doubt it works.

So this was what we battled to finish:

Steamed crab
So this came out, all dead and silent but still resembling a whole crab shape. Some people find this to be disturbing, when animals are served up in the form they were in before they were horribly slaughtered. Its like a reminder of how peaceful and undisturbed they were before they were murdered to satisfy the people who want to eat them, when they are served looking like the real thing,
except they are dead.

To me actually, I reckon its kinda cute.
Cause I'm a bit sick and twisted like that.


I wasn't actually allowed to eat this because I'm still recovering from my surgery and supposedly (if you believe it), seafood contain "toxins" that might aggravate your scars and make them itchy, blah blah blah. But I managed to sneak some in anyway cause I'm greedy and can't stop myself from refraining from foods.

Sorta like how I would rather die than diet. That horrible word even begins with die. Cause you gotta train yourself to die a little inside before you attempt to diet, as you can no longer eat what you want.

So what I did manage to eat was a bit of the meat that could easily be eaten without the need to peel off any hard exterior shell. I AM SO SLACK and it's such a pain in the ass to have to get through layers of shell, skin, bone, shit, insides, hard and sharp points and prickles and possibly end up with bleeding skin, cuts and battle wounds to end up getting to the little bit of flesh inside.

In life, you really do have to work hard to get what you want.

And what I wanted was fresh, juicy and sweet crab meat. And I got that. And only that, because there wasn't the addition of any other flavours or seasonings. Just plain steamed crab, swimming in its own juices so you can really taste what crab tastes like.

Lamb Hotpot - or something like that
Apologies for not knowing the names of most of these dishes as they were included in the SEVENTY FIVE DOLLARS ONLY set banquet comprising of 6 dishes featuring crab as one of those. This was a very warming soup that kept its heat over dinner time thanks to the portable gas stove underneat it. The hotness (temperature wise) of this soup was made even hotter with a little spicy bite to it with the very strong aroma and taste of pepper, but very flavoursome.

Included inside the soup was vegetables, mushroom, tofu skin, and lamb, but very strange looking and distinct tasting lamb. It was long and stringy and very red in appearance, like the colour of raw red meat in general. It got a bit bleh to eat after a few mouthfuls but the soup was good to keep on drinking.

Fried fish
This was epic. Just look at it! You can hardly see the fish underneath, drowned in the abundance of the red and green sea loaded on top. This was a whole fried (deep fried?) fish in sweet soy sauce, and generously or maybe even OVER EXCITEDLY poured over with a heap of cut chilli, garlic pieces, onion, and spring onions and made it oh-so-colourful.

Very flavoursome to eat but don't order if not a fan of all those bits and pieces flung on top cause it's going to a fun time picking away all the little bits you don't want.

Fried rice
Of course this is the token fried rice dish that accompanies most set menus and banquets. I don't know why but I've never really gotten into fried rice as much as I've gotten into and have an undying love for plain steamed rice. I am the rice cooker - metaphorically, as I can't tell the difference between a spoon and a spatula and can't and don't cook as a result - of the family and always have to have rice with my meals.
Take rice away from me and I will be very sad.

This fried rice was pretty good though, with the inclusion of egg, spring onions and sausage-like meat, which I think was salami. My household goes by the mindset that fried rice is usually a combination of all the leftover, unused bits and pieces of ingredients that are wiser to be included in fried rice rather than in the rubbish bin. Cause that's the only time that we end up with a fried rice dish at home, and will never actively order a dish of fried rice when dining out.

Tofu cubes with Chicken mince
 This was yummy, or maybe I'm just biased because I like tofu. I like tofu a lot, but not enough to convert me into a vegetarian so I can eat tofu everyday. Tofu is like the grown up version of jelly, but not as exciting cause it doesn't have the flavours or colours that jelly is loved for. But tofu does has the wibble-wobble quality and fragility of jelly that I love, and is probably the same reason why I love tofu too.

This was drenched in a thick gravy along with pieces of I think, chicken mince? This was good to chew and provided an awesome time in my mouth LOL because of contrasting textures of the dish to chew.

Lamb Hotpot, again?
When this came out, it was a little confusing. The appearance and ingredients suggested that THIS was the lamb hotpot, instead of the one that came out before it and didn't seem like lamb hotpot anyway. But the sauce was THICK, not the usual characteristic of lamb hotpot. This one included chinese cabbage, chinese mushroom, normal lamb with a lot of fat attached, random lamb skin, and a lot of thick chunky bits of bamboo shoots. At least I think they are bamboo shoots. All in a very chinese claypot thing.

A very "winter" dish to have to keep you all warmed up and toasted despite the howling winds and downpour of rain outside the foggy window, cause the steam from this dish really heatens up the atmosphere and fogs up the glass on a cool evening ;)

Chicken soup
Haahaha. I don't think we realised how much soup was in our order. The lazy susan turn table thingo in the middle supported 3 of those portable gas stoves and took up so much space that left little room for everything else. Which meant every time the table was turned someone's teacup or another porcelain utensil or ANYTHING in the way was knocked over and spilled, countless times.
Our teacups were filled up purely for the purpose to get knocked over again.
Human beings never learn.

So anyway. I discovered a while ago that liquids fill up stomach space at the speed of lightning. So if you're trying to starve yourself but so damn hungry that you would eat dirt, I suggest drinking liquids for your meals everyday and substitute each calorie you don't want with water.
Cause water's good for you :)

Took me a while to realise I was getting full on water.
*large gulp* "Why do I feel full :S"
*eat a crap load*
*another gulp* "Why do I feel full again :S"
*eat another larger crap load* "I swear I'm not full."
*another gulp* "Why do i feel fu - OHH its the water!!!"

That was me discovering my stupidity. But besides that, all this soupy-ness was filling us up fast. The chicken stock was very sweet from the boiling of the pieces of chicken meat inside. As a result, the meat was a bit dry and overcooked as all its juices were squeezed out into the soup to bring out the flavour in the soup. Asians tend to make soup and chicken stock by using chicken bone and boiling that for a couple of hours instead of using the cubed chicken stock powder that can be readily brought.

It also had in it, various Chinese herbs and other unknown Chinese "healing" and nutritious substances that I do not know the purpose, nor the names for.
Pardon me for my ignorance.

Chinese cabbage
Annndd this was the boring old vegetable dish. It was pretty average, but I don't blame them because chinese cabbage tends to end up looking like a muck and tastes like mush the longer you cook it. It's great and crisp when its just cooked but some might not like it that way.

The vegetables were swimming in soupy sauce along with the other floaties which I recognised were little curled up balls of dried shrimp. Eat this dish if you want the impression of healthy eating amongst a buffet of unhealthy dishes I guess.

Stewed Chicken
This came out last and would have been so much better if it had came out, well, not last! By this time everyone was quite full and this was quite a heavy, saucy dish to have. And by this time, my mouth was tired, my stomach was saying STOP and my hands didn't want to move and my brain didn't want to help me pick out the bones from the chicken pieces. So I went for the lazy option and had the mushrooms inside this claypot dish.
Good sauce to soak up your rice with. But coming out last and with no rice to soak, this dish was left largely unfinished and was a bit of a waste.

Timing is everything really.

Oh forgot to mention that there was actually a 10th dish that came out first, which was the horrifyingly recognisable RED sauced dish known as the Singaporean style? crab. To complement this was another dish of deep fried crunchy goodness on the outside, fluffy soft bread on the inside buns otherwise known as mantou.
But my noobness in photography and passion in it shows that I am in fact not as passionate in taking photos than I am to eagerly throw away all my senses and to just PIG OUT like I haven't seen or eaten food ever before.

So did I mention ALL THESE DISHES came to a grand total of $155? Talk about value for money lol. Asians know how to bargain, know how to rip you off, but also know how to give you good value for your money. And it shows here.
However I think charging $1.50 per head for Chinese tea in a pot is a bit steep. But I guess it's how they make up for charging cheaply on food.
So good on them.

Quite a drive and had to brave the fierce weather on the way, but it was worth it. I guess that's the reason why we keep coming back to this place.

Spoon: Taste of Asia

Spoon Taste of Asia on Urbanspoon
After being a little disappointed absolutely devasted to discover that it is not open for lunch on weekends, today was my second attempt at trekking to this relatively new Asian restaurant to cure my Mondayitis.

The shop front is basic and polished, joining the other couple of new-ish business next door. The interior is also quite a tight fit, which I imagine would be hard to navigate around and through when it is the peak mealtime hours.

The cuisine that Spoon serves is stated to be of Asian, predominantly Indonesian and Malaysian. The menu is quite extensive and offers a variety of choices to the grumbling tummy :)

Alas here I present our monster lunch list for today -

Seafood Fried Kuey Teow
(Excuse the awkward space of missing noodles in the photo. Gluttony took over real bad).

After not long of waiting and half heartedly looking at the wallpaper comprising of olden-day-looking black and white photos of Asian people, this was the first dish that was delivered. And on first taste, things looked promising with the next few dishes.
The Seafood Fried Kuey Teow consisted of stirfry flat rice noodles with prawns, squid, fish cake, egg, greens, bean sprouts and a whole load of mini cubes of pork fat.
Such an Asian thing, because no part of a pig goes to waste.

NO part.
Except what comes out of an animal.
We are the resourceful kind of people on this Earth.

The wok-hei flavour of this was very strong and we could tell from the smoky fumes and smells that were drifting from the kitchen into the dining area.
To me, I describe that smell as burning and that the kitchen is on fire.

Gado Gado
This was the one token vegetable dish. I might even have a feeling this was called based on its name. I think anything with repetition probably suggests laziness LOL.
So this Gado Gado included assorted steam vegetables with egg, potato and tofu, topped with Indonesian authentic peanut sauce. And prawn crackers just broken and flung on top.
Just a little weird, but interesting.

I had one mouthful and searched for meat and was going to have a tantrum about the lack of meat until I found out this was a vegetarian dish and then I didn't want to eat it anymore. LOLOL :)
Peanut sauce was quite sweet, not sure if that is authentic or not but the dish had an interesting flavour that is quite hard to describe.

Sliced Fish Hor Fun
The Sliced Fish Hor Fun (Flat rice noodles with fish topped with egg gravy) was quite similar to the first dish, plus the addition of the thick-ish egg sauce, minus the seafood and then plus the addition of seafood again of fish pieces.

But then again, when don't you see a typical Asian menu which has LISTS of choices: fish noodle? beef noodle? chicken noodle? combination noodle - fish, beef AND chicken?
But upon closer investigation it's the same dish with the only variation being the meat.

But this was good to eat, with the thick sauce sealing in the heat of the dish making it nice and hot but was also a pain to eat as a result.

Hainanese Roast Chicken Rice
So...Hainanese Chicken rice ayyeee. Maybe cause this was on the other side of the table and being too fat and lazy to move myself to reach over to get this, I didn't have too much of this. Not very hainanese-y anyways.
Can't help but compare this to Chilliz chicken rice but how you can get 3 servings of that compared to one serving of this. Chilliz is AWESOME when you're broke.

This was described to be "succulent portions of chicken served with tasty chicken flavoured rice". Well I'm glad to say they got the tasty chicken flavoured rice right, cause that was the only thing good about the dish (to me). The skin was pretty crispy, which would please most people I guess.

Chicken with Marmite Sauce
Upon seeing this on the menu, my brain DEMANDED me to order it. That's cause my tastebuds always have fond recollections of how GOD DAMN DELICIOUS this is when it is made the way it was made when it was GOD DAMN DELICIOUS.
This got me soo excited but that excitement was short lived when it came with 5 pieces complete with bones still in them. Sigh! I hate bones, they are just so useless and unwanted and should just go away.

This was described as deep fried till perfection and stir fried with marmite sauce.
Personally I think its just a littleee dangerous including the word perfection along with anything.
Cause we all know nothing is perfect.

I think too much of this on its own would be hard to eat, because of how rich the sauce is. Which is probably why I found myself scoffing up the lettuce and carrot garnishes from this dish and the various other ones which all had the same garnishes.
Lettuce never tasted so good.
The sauce was good, thick, dark and rich.
I sort of licked all the sauce of and disposed of the chicken.
It looked so naked without its sauce clothed on.

Nasi Campur Indonesia
This Nasi Campur Indonesia is something new to me as I haven't seen it on a menu before. Steam rice with beef rendang, egg, sambal anchovies, peanuts and potatoes sounded pretty promising. The beef was just a little tough or maybe it was just my jaw tired from the amount of chewing I had already done prior to trying this dish.

In the end I think the component that I ate the most of from this dish was the rice.
Good old rice.
Never fails to please.
Chicken Satays
These were served as sticks of 4 for $8.50. So around $2 something a stick which is a decent price here. Apparently in Malaysia they are also around 2 something but in ringgit, meaning only around 80c? And they are probably better tasting.
Nevertheless these grilled chicken skewers with peanut sauce were still pretty decent tasting, complete with the blackened chargrilled lines on the pieces of chicken.
Not a fan of those bitter tasting carbon lines but that's just me.
Because to me it doesn't really have the "charry" flavour, its just the BURNT flavour sounding all fancy pants and all like *EAT ME*

Singapore Laksa
I liked this. There was actually the inclusion of the thin rice noodles along with the thick yellow noodles, which is what a lot of restaurants I come across do with their laksas. This laksa of "yellow noodles served in spicy curry gravy with chicken, fish cake and prawns" was very coconutty milky and creamy in flavour and I don't care if that's authentic or not but I liked it.
*Triumphant smile*

So after being absolute pigs and stuffing our faces and stomachs to the point of explosion with food, still managed to fit desserts in. Its amazing how fat we are able to be.
I think our stomachs could fit a whole cow in there easily.

The dessert section of the menu looked mmmmm. So easy choice really.
"One of each, please". Yay!
Longan Grass Jelly - premixed
First sight of these desserts were a disappointment, I have to admit. They looked NOTHING like what was shown in the menu and looked rather small and meh.
The plastic containers didn't hold much and made it difficult to mix the desserts up.
But then this could be forgiven, cause the desserts tasted pretty damn good.
Looks like nothing when its unstirred huh?

Longan Grass Jelly - post mixing
Voila! Look how much handsomer the Longan Grass Jelly looks now! This had grass jelly, nata de coco (chewy compressed coconut juice cubes) and longans topped with crushed ice and the ever-recognisable red/pink syrup.
This was okay, but was actually the least mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm out of the 3.
Probably cause it was the least creamy and least sweet as a result.

Chendol - unmixed
The Chendol consisted of "Indonesian green jelly in coconut milk and palm sugar syrup". This was soo very good and had a very strong rich creamy texture that I ended up mixing the syruppy goodness from this into the other desserts.

Chendol - mixed
This probably set the standard pretty high for the rest of the desserts since I had this first. But for some reason it looks damn ugly compared to the other desserts and it looks damn ugly on its own as well. Like green worms slithering and wiggling away in their own murky, brown filthy crap. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

No really, it really actually WAS soooooo MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM worms.

Es Campur - premixing
And this was what sounded so appealing to my tastebuds and got me excited, as sad as that may sound.

The Es Campur sounded exxxxotic. And indeed it was an exotic mix of avocado! Jackfruit! Nata de coco! Condensed milk! Grass Jelly! And palm sugar! All my freaking favourites, ALTOGETHER?!
I almost went a little crazy in the head.

Avocado is one of my favourite fruits, even though others insist it tastes like soap.
Then fine, I like love eating soap. It is the best tasting soap ever and I would eat soap for breakfast lunch and dinner and brush my teeth with this green soap if avocado was soap.
ANYWAY. No matter how much I love soap, I don’t recall having it in a dessert. But I was willing to try anything that has avocado in it, in any shape or form. I guess the soft texture blended pretty well with the creaminess of the Es Campur. Thumbs up for the inclusion of soap.

Es Campur - post mixing
Phwoarrrrr. Such a hottie.
All in all, pretty good experience of lunch here.
Service was efficient and food came out quick for a big order near closing time. Standard pricing for a typical meal and there's always McDonalds across the road if you don't like it for half the price.
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