Spicy Beef Noodles

Taiwanese spicy beef noodlesbeefnoodlesSpicy beef noodles

I’ve booked my flight. Last minute to travel the twenty over hours to the other side of the world. Toronto. The visit had been 12 years overdue. I promised my cousins then, I’ll visit soon when we last bid farewells at Pearson Airport.

The memories of the last visit  lies faint. I want to see the magnificent Niagara Falls again. My cousin told me he lived there now. As I flipped upon an old photo album of the trip (It’s still old school then. pre-iphone, pre-digital era). The younger me, fresh out of university, posed with wonderstruck-face against the picturesque waterfall backdrop. Looking back, I’ve had looked so young, baby fats still hangs innocently on my cheek. I’m glad it’s gone. I thought I looked like a cartoon version of a chipmunk with all the heavy duck down jacket and big wooly scarf. I laughed about my revival dressing, okay, maybe that was fashion then.

Handmade noodlesBokchoy

My cousin told me the story of the Inuksuk of Canada. The Inuksuk celebrate our working together. They continue to remind us of our inter-dependent responsibilities to invest our efforts today, to direct a better way for all of us tomorrows. I bought this at the falls the last time and it’s still standing proudly on my shelve. I need another one for my office.

I wondered how my cousins looked like now; and the many nieces and nephews so far away, all little then, all grown up now. I wondered they had remembered that cold winter, a far away aunt once visited and played with them on that few evenings. Toronto, as I remembered was very cold, Vastly huge and covered in white fluffy snow all over. My cousin took me to a few places – The antique market I longed to return to was gone, he told me. The quaint little town when I first sipped ice wine, we bought a case home – savouring the sweetness in his study later that evening while we went through albums after albums of the toddler me and my sister in his household back in Singapore. His mom, my aunt took care of us while mom was at work.

beef noodle spices Taiwanese beef noodles

There were the long drives to places. I remember the after-meal smoke breaks. Shivering in the cold outside of the restaurant, I couldn’t drag a puff more. He reached in into his pockets to hand me his gloves. He realise I didn’t have one. My fingers never felt warmer.

The memories were compacted into an album-ful snapshots from a 36 exposure film roll of the trip. But I believe we can take pictures in our minds too, and I’ll always hold that warm welcome image of his family no matter how cold or how long or how far away it was.

I longed to return, to experience the family warmth on the other side of the world again. See you guys tomorrow!
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Six and half minutes eggs

smoked egg with caviarsmoked eggs

Hello November! This new month clearly marked the start of my favourite two months of the year. November + December = Holidays, parties, family gathering, romance, Christmas, presents, snow(?). Lucky you, if you are on the other side of the hemisphere. Singapore is on the constant 33 degree celsius on the thermostat. Mom just sent me a text to say that she’s traveling to Canada to visit my cousins and she asked if I wanted to tag along. I was trilled with her offer. Travelling with mom for more obvious reason, the perks of free accommodation and perhaps a few fancy meals (She’s one person that eats well). While I longed to see the Niagara Falls again and eat pancakes with Canadian maple syrup. I not sure if I should go because we are about the sign the lease this week. So it will be super doper busy setting up the restaurant with the usual super-tight-practically-impossible timeline. Finger and toes all crossed! Oh yes! That’s why I had not blog often enough.


November Things:

molten eggs

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Point Yamu by Como

point yamu lobby rubber plantation point yamu lobby Point yamu como jasmine

Let’s talk about something different today! No recipe here but a recent trip to Phuket, Point Yamu by Como.

I’ve submitted my work leave form with these reasons – Beach, sun and romance. Got approved. Packed our bags, load up with swimwear, shorts and sun screen (You do not need your new Louboutins or Chanel classic flap here). A 25-minutes taxi ride along the main roads of Phuket city, then a turn into a rubber plantation lined windy road, with glimpse of a slow fishing village pace where fishing boats bobbing against the panoramic views of the cape, you will find Point Yamu by Como perched on top the elevate planes with tranquil aura that drew you closer leaving the buzz of city life far behind. Like an alluring mystic castle but set in on a yogi haven this time.

point yamu como pool Point yamu como room Point yamu como room flowers Point yamu como dining

Once set foot, we were charmed all the way. Our bags were taken by staff that glides in cream “Calvin Klein” uniforms, refreshing tea served with a bracelet of fresh jasmine that made you inhale it’s complex perfume with meditating-yogi-type breathes. The jolly general manager, James Low, greeting us explaining the Como property and things to do while ensuring the smoothest check-in at the back of his eye before handing over to a poise lady to tour the property before orientating us to our room.

charcoal toast Point yamu como breakfast

The huge dining table, large lounging sofa, two separate bathrooms, smaller one for guest and a large private one within the bedroom. The big balcony is breathtaking overlooking the Andaman Sea and the dramatic limestones of Phang Nga Bay. The view took our breathe away. I told Funny Face that I’m happy if our future apartment be like this (of course, minus the view). Simple because this space evoked the comforts of a peaceful home on a fresh spring day. Weirdly how I thought of James, the GM how I envied him living in such a beautiful space making his work place feel so much like home. Funny Face always look forward to breakfast and he usually set the alarm as early as possible. Breakfast is the main meal here and entirely delectable. In the morning, we drank wheat grass shots in the morning. Ate toast toasted in charcoal. I should think the eggs are free-range too. All these while overlooking the infinity pool. Synchronised servings of Ice pops and cut fruits served in the afternoon at the pool to notion you to lounge a while more before happy hour to witness the sun set.

point yamu como infinity pool point yamu como room table Flowers como hotel Phuket sunset patong beach phuket tattoo Point yamu como night Point yamu como pool night Point yamu como cape

At Point Yamu by Como, I am alive and awake to witness the beauty. To stop for the moment. And breathe. Without a doubt, you’ll be relax and recharged. The mystery doesn’t stop there. We left with teardrop goodbyes. Taxi arranged to shipped us off back to reality world. At the airport, a “Calvin Klein” robe guy awaits us to open our doors and ensure priority check-ins. Yes, of course we emptied our wallets for a big fat tip. The meticulous service was mind blowing.

Phuket street point yamu yoga Nahmyaa Thai Restaurant

Last Notes:

  • Yes, you can eat well enough in-house so try Nahmyaa for exquisite Thai food. Really good up-market Thai food that is inspired by Thai street food cooking.
  • Induge in the group’s signature Spa at Como Shambhala or book a yoga session.
  • Take a 15 minutes boat ride and head out to their private beach on nearby Rangyai Island!
  • Like a fellow Singaporean, pack your bags with cup noodles because there absolutely nothing (no 7/11s) within the 5km radius. Also load up some wine at duty-free.
  • Bring plenty of tips. You are most willing to give.

Other recent trips: Hong Kong | Green bean omelette, Japan Series | Tokyo Fried Chicken + Miso Coleslaw


Disclosure: This is not a sponsored experience, all opinions written are purely my own.

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Tandoori Chicken with Spiced Buttered Rice

Did three quarters of 2014 just flew by? With the Mid-Autumn Festival just fleeting pass that marks the start of fall and that’s “hello” to cool weather. Well, not that we have Winter or Autumn on this little sunny island, but Mid-Autum Festival is tradition, so lets pretend.

In the Chinese calendar (lunar calendar). The start of Autumn begins with the biggest full moon of the year Where we all strolled around with lanterns (the old fashion type made of paper and glowed with a candle is my favourite) and sipped Chinese tea while savouring moon cakes to celebrate the moon or the love story of Chang’e. Wind took a cooler change after this day blowing Summer away like goodbye kisses. How was your Summer? Mine was dazy hot, humid, sweaty with lots of laughters and beers.

After this day, we are supposed to put away our summer tank tops and bring out the cardigans that were neatly vacuumed bagged at Spring. Our diet starts to change too, ditching the summer berries, salads and popsicles for warming heavier mains to bring the heat to the body. So, the weekend dinner table are heavier on spices that emits the dinning table with aromatics to welcome Autumn.

Tandoori Chicken with spiced buttered rice is easy, almost chore free. Prepping before hand, shoving chicken into an oven-toaster and clicking “cook” on the rice cooker. Dinner is served in 30 minutes. Cooking without dust, perfect for lazy Sunday dinners with friends gatherings. Serve with a vibrant salad (I am thinking, roared pumpkin, spinach and some feta) and keep the wine glasses filled.

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Hand minced beef patty clay pot rice


Moms being moms, they go into their momentary fit of pique over usual blameable issues (because I left my mobile on silent and she couldn’t get to me last Sunday). Now, at almost 36, I still don’t grasps why moms always annoy the hell out of you by calling you on the mobile at midnight to see if you are home on a school night (Of course, I am home, where will she expect me to be?) or the thousands of times she urgently rings to check in because something happened in the news on the other continent (Can you imagine the big question mark floating over my head?!).

Maybe only when one truly become mom then I’ll understand this natural annoyance-wracking phenomenon. Cutting the story short, she got anxious, then I got rude and she ended up getting angry.

So, this weekend, to make up. I spent a whole afternoon listening and agreeing to her complaints (Hey, I am just being the good girl here). I prompted a massage treat for her.  After 10 mins, I heard her whizzing away in blissful sleep next door. Her frustration soothes away with each painful-then-sour-then-sweet pressure. Yeah, she is tired worrying over us.


I know it’s weird, but throughout the massage I thought of how the rhythmic acupuncture kneading had in common with making bouncy meat patties – the slapping of the minced meat against the metal mixing bowl to make it tender and bouncy,  that is marinated overnight, sitting in the fridge, getting ready for tonight’s clay pot rice after the massage session – I think both are kind of stress relieving! Can you relate meat patties and massage? Ok, maybe not.

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Seafood Kimchi Soup

I’ve been kinda avoiding any social wingdings lately. Because every time I do go out, I’ve been bombarded with questions like “Why are there no new post” or “What happen to you? Why are you not writing?” and so forth. I’ve been zipping my mouth so tight and finally finally… I am thrilled that the secret is out.

Well, if you’ve seen the before and after. We are revamping Foodmanna blog. Instead of sitting at Blogger platform, we’ve took the leap and move to WordPress with our own Foodmanna URL. Please bear with us if your clicks gives you a weird reaction or jump to no where – as the blog is still on testing stage and there’s still a lot of fine tuning to do. I promise to get the tedious testings done soon.

Now that the cat is out of the bag. Let’s get to the more interesting stuff – Seafood Kimchi Soup. My seafood Kimchi Soup is one of my everyday favourites. It’s so easy to make. Put everything together and boil. It’s even oil free!

P.S. For those that had been asking me about this recipe. Here it is. Sorry for the delay.

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Guinness lamb shanks

Our weekend evenings had been somewhat ordinary. The Hongkongboy is studying for his finance paper and I’ve got really busy with the day job. Our weekend dinners resonates on convenience and ease; thriving on really low maintenance-ish forgettable dinners.

I left the restaurant later than usual. Before leaving, I rang up the Hongkongboy hoping he had made dinner and kept some for me. He told me to grab something home to share.

As inevitable as gravity to cook. The hungry aimless drive home took me to the supermarket (so glad it’s 24 hours) to find something quick and easy to put together for supper. Once in the vicinity of colourful vegetables, I thought about grand meals, I ditch the frozen meal section and piled up my basket with carrots, celery, tomatoes and hauled some fat lamb shanks as well. And of course the Hongkongboy’s favourite ice-cream.


The Hongkongboy sprung up from the sofa to help me with the loot as I walked in. He asked if I’ve bought any food home? Steeping into the anger zone, I consoled myself thinking that maybe he needed a break from the books. But at the back of my head, I felt disappointment brewing up – why didn’t he made dinner. He was home early and I am sure he fed himself. Spitefully, I told him “I did bring food home. But it’s for tomorrow.”. I fish out the tub of ice-cream from the shopping bags hastily handed over to him expecting him to noticed my blackened face. He gleely retreated back into the sofa with a big spoon. I retreated back into the kitchen just to keep my mouth shut.


Making stew at such hour cleared my mind somehow. You feel a little bit better knowing there’s a lovely meal the next day. It’s not hard job that calls for precise measurements or cutting. The carrots and celery comprises of a few rough stress relieving hacks plus the few minutes of browning the shanks. Onions are left whole and garlic in bulbs. Topple everything into a slow cooker, pour in the stout and after many hours, the meal comes together by itself. A happy return in the morning.

Just before bed, I told him about our little fête for Sunday night. His face beamed into a wide smile and I knew that’s all it requires. I could have fight him and still live happily with frozen dinners or convenience takeaways the next day. Those meals will be easily forgotten. He wouldn’t eagerly ask me for recipes to share with his family and friends. And most importantly we wouldn’t have these precious few hours sipping wine over a good meal connecting with each other. Many times in a relationship, we forget to compromise along the way. It’s the return to norm that matters most. A ritual that is delicious–both complex and comforting.


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Old Fashion Fruit Salad

shrimp fruit saladtropical fruits

Hello… You must have wondered. Yes, I am still around. Still cooking, Still crazily snapping food photos. Still talking about food and eating (which my waistline didn’t approve). There was some travelling in between. Work got into an mentally-draining state leaving me on a constant battery-low mode. I’ve got a formidable stack of new cookbooks piling up from Amazon (got to make good use of the free shipping) but no more can I read another word. I prefer looking at food pictures on the bed and soon became drawn into a picturesque world of Instagram. Until, most nights, my eyes gave way into the darken iPhone screen. At least I’m glad that I’ve made many new friends along the way.

Weekends were left for recuperating the week’s toil (the downside of being thirty-five), allowing my brain to go blank just like the blog page or anything else that requires some processing. You’ll ask me what I did? Little trivial things – letting my mind wonder off with hours dozing off on the sofa until it’s time to make dinner. Some afternoon are spent fixating on television. I am sure all of you had been there, it some kind of a self-impose cocoon – the utter euphoric sense of contentment these simple indulgences bring upon to you. It’s okay to treat yourself with doing nothing. Yup, I did fell into the Korean drama trap along the way. Today, finally, I’ve made up my mind to come out of my hermit cave and do some serious writing. Tomorrow, I’ll attack the two thousand photos on the SD card which I kept procrastinating to sort out. One thing at a time. I promise another “Hello” soon.

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Chocolate Birthday Cake

Today I turn 35.

And today I cross over the mid-life point. They say thirty-five is the start of middle age. It’s a strange period. Too young to start talking nagging like your mom. Too old to pull a when-you-are-young-and-reckless late night or do something frivolous. Trust me, you’ll regret badly the next day. Hangover make you look worst than leopard tights. Nothing planned are good plans – my kind of ideal nights tend to be on the sofa in front of the television. I run and still feel fat. My Facebook friends are all about the baby pictures. Family tends to come first now. You’ll I’ll take a day off to bake a cake for yourself.
As much as I’ve crave this extraordinary adventure in life. There are undoubtedly times in one’s life that call for a hunk piece of chocolate cake. Whether you are happy, sad, depressed or stressed. This chocolate cake is exactly what you need. Especially more so for birthdays. Today, I just want my chocolate birthday cake with a candle.
Now that I am thirty-five, being thirty-five didn’t matter anymore. I am thankful I woke up to another day with the person I one. I’ve arrived on this day with many lessons learned and ready to fill my future me with many more years of laughters, tears, optimism and contemptment . Life will only gets better. It does with time.
Happy Birthday to me.

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Kueh lapis legit – Spekkoek

Our family have a secret. Every Chinese New Year, we have tons of baking to filled up every non-working hours. Our kitchen turned into underground production house. During these few weeks prior to the big lunar day one, Nobody is allowed to cook because bags of flour and sugar took up every available counter space. The refrigerator is filled with dozens of eggs and butter. There’s no space for other food. No one is allowed to eat at the dining table too! We use the table for packaging the cookies into their container. Naming and tagging them for delivery.

Oh yeah! It’s all hard work. Rolling, cutting, egg washing every single cookie. We lose sleep over them. We got fat with them (Let’s talk about QC, we taste every batch!). We baked churning trays after trays, hundreds and thousands of new year goodies. Last year, we had a successful our Charity Bake Sale raising a hefty sum for Club Rainbow – committed to help children suffering for chronic and life threatening illnesses. This year, although there’s no cookies sale (Thank you peeps for sending me enquiries this year), to put things into action, I’ve signed up to be a volunteer with Club Rainbow. I am sure you all will agree. Nothing is more fullfilling than seeing a smile on an ill child’s face. I like to be part of that.

Back to the Kueh Lapis. My grand aunt used to hold to realm to this particular recipe. Year after year, she will bake this laborious cake for everyone. Her kueh lapis is highly praised by everyone. Soon, she had a stream of fans that will knock on her door to buy this cake (Along with her addictive almond cookies, recipe here). After offering to help her with the baking a few years ago, she handed me a piece of hand-written recipe (that’s exactly what I was after). Sadly, the recipe don’t tell much details but luckily I’ve remembered every unwritten part of it. So, here you go, enjoy the recipe and happy baking! I promise you. This recipe is very good.

This fascinating Kueh lapis is not difficult to make, but you do need lots of patience. Be prepared to hover next to the oven for a couple of hours grilling each layer of batter. The cake is served in very small, thin slices as it is so rich and fragrant.

Since you are here, also check out the buttery pineapple tart recipe, almond cookies, Danish cookies for Chinese New Year.

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