Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Because Life Matters

Faster than average walking speeds. 
Units in office buildings lit past midnight. 
All too familiar in a city scape. 
The increasingly fast pace that we live our lives here in Singapore seems to be causing more problems than it seeks to solve. 
The impact on overall health then, has unfortunately become a rapidly rising cause for concern.

I am glad that I took the time out of a midweek evening to attend the session organised by Omy.sg in conjunction with Starwater. Thanks to David from Starwater for his timely reminder to take care of my health. No better time than the present to conduct a R.A.I.D on our bodies.

Nothing that includes blood and gore. Everything to do with the benefits of Alkaline water.

Restores the body's pH balance- neutralising our inevitable Asian acidic diets
Acts as a powerful antioxidant- the buzzword in green tea and berries to help rid our bodies of positive and oxidizing free radicals to fight cancer and combat diseases.
Improves cellular hydration- breaking down water molecules to microclusters to increase hydration and solubility.
Detoxifies your body- especially in the colon to eliminate free radicals and boost the body's immunity to diseases.


In all honesty, that cup of alkaline water from the Star 5 device was not particularly different from any other water sources I drink from.
It was however, inspiring.
And that's what makes Starwater attractive.
No need for hard sell nor does it claim medical/ miracle abilities of this water.
All David does is to educate and increase an awareness of the benefits of alkaline water for daily consumption.


The sleek and stylish Star 5 device in elegant white is reminiscent of a capsule coffee machine.
It uses long lasting platinum-coated titanium electrodes to separate water into seven different pH levels.
The device lights up and even has a speaker function.
Enjoy the multiple benefits of:

 1. Alkaline Ionic Water for recommended daily consumption at four different levels
2. Acidic Oxidation Water for sterilization and external use
3. Beauty function for face cleansing purposes
and
4. Pure Water at pH 7

All this complete with handy icons on the display monitor at the push of a button
and the device plays a melody when acidic water is being dispensed.
Twist the knob to select the preferred levels
and press the buttons for the different types of water to be dispensed.
I feel like my life is in control.
At my fingertips.

(Credits to Starwater.sg)

And it even comes in different colours.
Like this sexy fire engine red.
Perfect.
Doesn't the device just sell itself?

And if it wasn't yet clear enough that water does differ in so many ways,
a simple reagent colour test for pH values shows unmistakably different pH of liquids.


It's little wonder why I have gastric reflux reactions to drinking just one small cup of isotonic water during my marathon attempts.
More acidic than I expected.
Even for the nondescript plain water. 
Same same looking but ohsodifferent pH levels
ranging from slightly acidic in bottled water,
to slightly alkaline (tap water)
and to alkaline water from Star 5.

Not just water for drinking, alkaline water is also excellent for cooking as Chef Anna Phua demonstrates. 
A firm believer in the benefits of alkaline water, she has been drinking alkaline water for the past ten years, even before Starwater came about. 
And for a bubbly vivacious lady who neither looks her age nor her profession,
I'm starting to buy into this idea of alkaline water. 
Anti-aging and weight control. 
A woman would be fast friends with this machine.

She goes on to explain about the use of acidic water which has sterilizing abilities and uses that to wash the ingredients for her delicious Korean pear salad (水梨沙拉).


It does seem a hassle to have to immerse my ingredients in acidic water for 10- 20 minutes a piece but hey, if that extends the lifespan of my loved ones for even just that 10 more minutes,
I'd be happy to take that extra effort.
Plus, there's no need to buy special liquids for cleaning fruits and vegetables anymore.


The alkaline water at level 4 is used to prepare her next dish, the herbal chicken soup (四神鸡汤). And like all cooking demonstrations with limited time, she already has a huge pot prepared to share with us. 
Definitely chicken soup for the soup. 
Deliciously satisfying. 



And that black sesame seed brown rice (黑芝麻糙米饭) that she prepared for us was a delicious accompaniment to the soup.
I haven't tried cooking this type of brown rice with normal water from the tap but this one that she steamed in individual portions with alkaline water was chewy and moist.


Eating clean and drinking alkaline water does not have to be a paradigm shift for one's lifestyle.
In fact, it must just be a much needed welcome change.

She also prepared a whole variety of drinks for us. 
I was impressed that the tea leaves which she left to steep in the alkaline water had changed to an impressively dark brown color in about 20 minutes. 
The water was taken directly from the tap and was not heated.
Just a side note that the temperature of the water dispensed cannot be adjusted.
Only the pH levels can be selected.
It is dispensed lukewarm.
Very comfortable temperature to do cleaning with and dispensing for drinking purposes.

Sorry Lao Shi.
It might look unglam but let's concentrate on her flawless skin and passionate gestures. :)


The refreshing agave honey lemon peppermint (蜂蜜薄荷柠檬冰) and lemon with chia seeds she prepared were full on colour and flavour.


And it was prepared on the spot, not left overnight to steep in the fridge. 
It seems then, that the microclusters of the alkaline water must indeed increase solubility and permeability.

I've seen it for myself and I am duly impressed.
Chef Anna spoke of a walk-in customer she had who enquired if she should purchase a food processor or the Starwater ionizer.
Without hesitation, she told her to go for the Starwater ionizer.
Because a food processor is a 'want' but an alkaline water dispenser?
Now that's a lifestyle investment that should be made a 'need'.
And she is unafraid to personally guarantee the benefits of this water dispenser.


Click on the links embedded to check out the Star 5 features
and they are also launching a Star 7 soon!
Check out their affordable monthly instalment plans too.
Living well doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. :)

To borrow a line from Hippocrates, adapted to sum up the water ionizer from Starwater,

"Let (food)Starwater be thy medicine and medicine be thy (food)Starwater."

Don't wait till it's too late.

Because life matters.







Monday, July 14, 2014

Shinkansen- Life on the fast track



When fast food doesn't have to be supersize-me food.

A choice of transit, station and terminal.
Let's go straight for the Terminal.

A base, 5 toppings, sauce, 2 add-ons and a choice of meat.
This goes for $12 for a hefty serving.

This was my choice for today.
A base of soba noodles.
Almonds, mushrooms, carrots, tamago, pickled seaweed.
Apricots and Quinoa.
Tuna Tataki.
With sesame plum dressing. :)

Other than the fact that the tuna was sliced too thin,
everything else was a joy to eat.
A mix of sweet, salty, savoury yum.
Healthy never tasted better.

Ask the staff for their sauce pairing recommendations.
And if you still aren't too sure about your choice of sauce,
make a request for it to be packed separately.
They'll gladly oblige.
And you wouldn't have to worry that the sauce isn't enough.
They always make sure their customers are well fed.
And their takeaway bowls well dressed!

They have an opening promotion now for their branch at 100AM in the Tanjong Pagar area.
Get your bowls here with their one-for-one deal till the 25th of July.
Time to hop on the Shinkansen! :)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Visiting Sir Antonio- The Tiramisu Hero

The sun was out in all of its oppressive heated glory.

And just like everyone else, we needed to seek respite from its angry rays before we melted into nothingness.

Oh the drama.

And so welcoming was the blast of cool wind. We decided to bask in all of its air conditioned loving arms whilst waiting for a seat in the bustling crowd of cafe hoppers on a Sunday.


Thankfully, getting a seat at their communal tables didn't take too long.
The creme brulee latte came with an overpowering scent but for what it served in smell, it failed to make up in taste.


These chicken wings looked like heaven.
But again, fell short of their pedestal.
Straight from the fridge to the oven grills left them with an unmistakable un-thawed taste.

The waffles?
On their own, they were decent.
But those two scoops of vanilla ice cream was less than stellar.
They tasted of low quality and ruined the entire waffle order.

The tiramisu was quite the saving grace.
Though a little costly for its size.

It's a shame though because I loved the decor,
the aircon was quite the blast :)
The happy colors in the washroom and the cute drawings of The Tiramisu Hero of course!

I'm sure they'll get better as the cafe continues.
Jiayou!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Seoul food. Japchae.



These korean glass noodles made from sweet potato starch are honestly the bomb.
They take in so much flavour it's a treat for the taste buds every mouth you take.

The key is to make sure these strands are nicely separated from each other.
After boiling them in hot salted water,
drain and toss in sesame oil before setting aside to cool.

1 tbsp cooking oil
2 tbsp soy sauce (or 1 tbsp soy, 1 tbsp fish sauce)
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 piece of bacon, chopped
1 piece of fishcake, sliced
1 green capsicum, cut lengthwise into matchsticks
1 carrot, cut lengthwise into matchsticks
Half a packet of korean glass noodles

Heat oil in pan, and pan fry bacon and garlic till fragrant.
Toss in onion and fry till translucent.
Add in carrot sticks and fry for a couple of minutes before adding in capsicum sticks.
Leave in pan to be cooked through till frying slice can be used to cut through the carrot sticks with little effort.
Add soy sauce (and sugar if used)
Lastly, add in fishcake pieces and fry for a couple of minutes.
Throw in the cooked noodles and toss till ingredients have been well mixed into the noodles.

Best served when hot.

**Other ingredients for the japchae would include: black wood fungus, black mushrooms, spinach and sesame seeds.

Seoul food.
Japchae.



Xian De Lai

Happy appetizers.
This is much less spicy than it actually looks.
Feel free to put the dried chilli into the soup to up the spice factor.
These tiny morsels of chicken although frustrating with all the tiny bones,
are deep fried yum.
Think spicy popcorn chicken- with bones.


Spicy chicken/ pork ribs soup base.
+$3.99


There's a whole conglomeration of hotpot stalls in the area.
So why XDL?

The familiarity of the place (It's a hotpot girlfriend hangout place for me)
plus it's fully air conditioned and they have these awesome cushion seats which are cosily comfortable although I have much reservations about their cleanliness.

They have a good spread of ingredients to choose from.
Four types of mushrooms, house specials and cooked items served in bite sized portions.

The vegetables are fresh.
I have not yet once seen vegetables with worm eaten leafs or dirty stalks.

Canned drinks are at a standard rate of about $1.80.
And they do serve complimentary tap water :)

Customise your own dip.
And my favourite is a mix of parsley, sesame sauce, generous serving of chilli padi and just a bit of soya sauce.

Finish off with their usual house special of barley and beancurd sheets. They also sometimes have white fungus and red date soup.

With the additional charge on special soup base, towels and drinks, the food can get costly here.
Unless you have the 10% off from their XDL card that most of my girlfriends have.

And just as a side note, House of steamboat is cheaper but the meats are less then fresh there.

Also, if you're willing to sweat it out- literally, 
Tian Tian Hotpot has one of the freshest meats in the area for hotpot.

Eat up and enjoy some bubbling yum over happy conversations at dinner :)


Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Chicken, pork rib, mushroom stew.


Grandma's back in the game.
She's got an amazing strength and great talent when it comes to the kitchen and all that which 'home cooking' stands for.

Today's stew was cooked over charcoal.
Which really made all the difference in the world.
The best part?
The stew is kept heated and never burnt, gently bubbling over the leftover white-hot ashes.
Generous cuts of chinese black flower mushrooms,
meaty pork ribs with soft bones, 
chicken drumsticks and hardboiled eggs.
Stewed in a light soy gravy.

The mushrooms were fully absorbent of the gravy and burst into a plethora of juices on first bite.
The pork ribs were stewed till tender and fell apart almost immediately.
Likewise for the chicken drumsticks.
The gravy.
Was fragrant and light enough on tastebuds to be drunk almost like a soup.
Which was perfect since that meant I could happily skip rice. :) 

Home cooked.
Always the best kind of yum.

Preserved salted vegetables in sweetened dark soy sauce

The taste of my childhood-

Is redolent in this dish.


The simplest indulgence for a lunch affair.

A pot of sweet potato porridge.

Shallow fried pieces of luncheon meat complete with crisp edges.

And a plate of preserved vegetables.

What's that about?

Sweet salty never took on better combinations.

Two cloves of garlic, roughly chopped.
Half a head of preserved salted vegetables, chopped.
Half a bowl of dark soya sauce.
2 tbsp of sugar.
1 tbsp of canola oil.

Heat up pan and fry garlic till fragrant.
Add in chopped salted vegetables and stir fry for a few minutes.
Add in half a bowl of dark soya sauce and 2 tsbp of sugar.
Fry till vegetables are well coated in sauce.
Turn to low heat and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes.

Serve hot.
With all those other dishes above.

Childhood.
The tastes that bring us back to where we started.
But where did all that time go?


Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Simple Stir Fry- Cabbage and dried shrimp

#eatclean 
Doesn't mean having to eat tasteless food.

Today's simple stir fry shows you how.


Half a head of medium sized cabbage, chopped, rinsed and drained
A small handful of dried shrimp washed and soaked
Two cloves of garlic, minced
Canola Oil, 1-2 tbsp
Soya sauce, 1 tbsp

Heat up the wok.
Add in canola oil.
Stir fry the garlic and dried shrimp and fry till fragrant.
Pour in drained chopped cabbage and 1 tbsp of soya sauce.
Stir fry on high heat.
Then leave to simmer on low heat till cabbage has been cooked to your choice of doneness.

**Some like it with bite (drain some of the liquid that is produced by the cabbage) and stir-fry till dry.
Some like it softer (leave to simmer in liquid).

Eat clean and eat well :)

   

Monday, July 07, 2014

Hana Hana is?

Really just Teppei.
The newer, cleaner, brighter extension of Teppei.
And the strange thing is that there is so much talk of Hanare,
the restaurant just a 5 minute walk away which is managed by Teppei's wife.

But little that I've found written online about Hana Hana,
the restaurant in the next unit to Teppei.

Which is really probably why the queues over here are a lot more manageable.

To be honest,
I am reluctant to share this piece of information.
But as a fellow foodie,
there's nothing really to be selfish about sharing good food.


So there we go.
Hana Hana really is just the mirror image of Teppei, 
expanding the 21-seater restaurant to a 40-seater.

And Chef Teppei runs both kitchens simultaneously.
The people in the picture are just his assistants.

But this bowl of Bara Chirashi below, 
Chef Teppei himself served to us within a span of minutes from the time when we placed our orders before he went over to the kitchen next door.


A generous serving of salmon, tuna, swordfish, baby scallops and salmon roe lightly marinated in a sesame soy dressing atop a bed of deliciously fragrant Koshihikari rice from Toyoma, Japan.

$17.60 per serving.
 Of some of the best things in life.
 Which includes complimentary top-ups of iced tea served in beer mugs, miso soup, three kinds of sides which change regularly and pretty good service.

And as I was eating, 
I couldn't help but wonder about those 'die-hard' fans who are still sadly in ridiculous queues next door outside Teppei.

As a disclaimer, this is not to say that the queues here are non-existent.
It was peak lunch hour and we only got our seats at 1225pm after about half an hour.
So the people queueing here, are just the more initiated.

So queue less,
And still eat just as well.
Over here at Hana Hana.

Hana Hana
Orchid Hotel
1, Tras Link
#01-17
S (078867)