Quarantine Diaries – May 2020

Hey guys. It’s currently Day 55 of the Movement Control Order here in Malaysia. Coincidentally, it’s also a public holiday, so I’d like to wish Selamat Menyambut Nuzul Al-Quran to all my Muslim friends! (Nuzul Al-Quran is a day to commemorate Prophet Muhammad’s first revelation of the Quran from the angel Gabriel).

Coming back to quarantine measures in Malaysia, most sectors of the economy were reopened on May 4, although the MCO (now it’s called CMCO – Conditional Movement Control Order) has been extended to June 9. Not sure how that’ll work out since everyone is already out and about. Before, there were roadblocks where they were pretty strict and would turn you back if you couldn’t give a valid reason as to why you’re on the road – now there are literally no roadblocks, and if you’re stopped, people would just be like ‘Meh I’m going to work’.

There *are* a few restrictions, eg no interstate travel, no barbershops, no hair salons – but things are confusing and the situation isn’t helped by incompetent politicians giving conflicting statements. Our Health DG tells people to wear masks, but then a clown comes out to say that businesses aren’t allowed to stop people from going into their establishment, even if they don’t wear masks. Stop undermining the good work that our Health DG, front liners and the Health Ministry is doing, dumbasses!

Hari Raya Aidilfitri is coming up and visiting is apparently still allowed – with the condition that any gathering is no more than 20 people. First of all, how are you going to enforce this rule? Second, a group of 20 people is still pretty large if you’re in a terraced house or condo – so how are you going to implement social distancing?  In an ideal world, everyone would be disciplined and follow all the rules – but you can’t trust people to do their own social distancing, as I have experienced countless times while out doing grocery shopping. It takes all my patience to not start yelling at these idiots to observe. social. distancing. Sometimes they even yell back at you even though they’re in the wrong oh Lord Buddha give me patience lol.

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BUT. I do give it up to some restaurants and businesses for implementing their own social distancing measures. Keep up the good work! The Unique Taste kopitiam at Bandar Puteri Puchong, for example, has a guy at the entrance checking temperatures and ensuring customers sanitise their hands. He controls the number of customers entering the resto. The resto has also cleared out all of its dining tables, so there’s ample space for people to line up for their orders. The ordering system is a tad confusing ie you have to place your order with the respective stalls, then line up at a designated area – but there are no instructions on this so you just have to ask if you’re in the right spot.

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Bought shrimp wontons for takeaway (RM8 – 10 pieces). The stall was really slow at making them; had to wait for close to 30 minutes. The wontons were sizable, and the soup, which they also use as a base for their Ipoh Shredded Chicken Noodles (Gai See Hor Fun) was very tasty.

**You can also get other items such as roast chicken/roast pork rice, popiah and Taiwanese-style braised pork rice from other stalls under the same roof.

Restoran The Unique Taste

59, Jalan Puteri 5/16, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Open for breakfast and lunch

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Another takeaway meal.

Noodles are Sarawak-style kampua meepok ( a type of flat and wide noodles with an al-dente texture) from SRK Noodle House, and the fried chicken thigh is from Brilliant Nasi Lemak House. Both establishments are in Bandar Puteri Puchong, just a few doors next to each other. If you’re a small eater, I recommend you share the noodles between two people as the portion is massive. As for the side, customers usually get a complete Nasi Lemak meal from the resto, but I was craving noodles so I just ordered an ala-carte fried chicken thigh to pair it with the meepok. It was very juicy and moist on the inside, and the skin remained crispy even after an hour.

SRK Noodle House (Puchong Branch) 

59, Jalan Puteri 5/16, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Brilliant Nasi Lemak House 

2, Jalan Puteri 1/2, Bandar Puteri Puchong, 47100 Puchong, Selangor. PS: Service is better if you order from the foreign workers, rather than the middle-aged Chinese auntie lol. 

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Last Sunday was Mother’s Day! Usually around this time of the year, restos and cafes will be packed with families taking mum out for a fancy lunch / dinner. Not so this year. Bakeries, however, had long queues. I managed to snag a simple half kg pandan cake (RM36)  from Coco Patisserie – it was one of the last ones on the shelf. It wasn’t really planned because I was at the bakery buying bread, and thought it would be a nice gesture to also get a cake lol.

 

Is the quarantine easing where you currently are? What are some of the measures being implemented as part of the new normal? 

Treat Mum to a Five-Star Meal This Mother’s Day with These Round the World Recipes

Staying at home doesn’t mean that Mother’s Day celebrations have to be dim and boring. If anything, this is a great time to bond and do something thoughtful for mum, rather than the usual eating out at a fancy restaurant, or buying her an expensive gift. Better still, whip up dishes worthy of any five-star establishment with these quality recipes, shared by chefs from luxury hotels and restaurants around the world.

*Photos and recipes courtesy of respective restaurants and hotels. 

FOR THE MUM WHO LOVES DIM SUM 

Spring is in full bloom – and while a trip to Japan might be a no go, you can bring the beautiful cherry blossoms to mum in the form of Sui Tang Li‘s mouth-watering Cherry Blossom Dumplings. This restaurant at The Middle House is known for its vibrant menu inspired by Cantonese, Sichuan and Shanghainese delicacies. Made with beetroot, asparagus, winter bamboo shoots, mushrooms and shrimp, these Cherry Blossom Dumplings by Chef Tony is the perfect dish to surprise any dim sum-loving mum with.

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Ingredients:

  • Wheat starch: 60g
  • Corn starch: 60g
  • Beetroot: 50g
  • Asparagus: 30g
  • Winter bamboo shoots: 30g
  • Mushroom: 30g
  • Shrimp: 300g
  • Egg: 3
  • Lard oil: 40g

Method (Video)

FOR THE MUM WHO ENJOYS CHINESE CUISINE 

If mum prefers the savoury and spicy flavours of Chinese cuisine, try these three recipes from Jing Yaa Tang, the Opposite House Beijing’s one-Michelin star restaurant.

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung pao chicken 𨱣º¶∂°2

Ingredients:

  • Chicken thigh : 20g
  • Diced green onion: 50g
  • Cooked peanuts: 25g
  • Cooked cashew nuts : 25g
  • Sliced garlic : 5g
  • Sliced ginger: 5g
  • Dried chilli : 5g

Seasoning: 

  • (A) Salt (2g), rice wine (5g), sugar (1g), egg (1/3), corn flour (6g)
  • (B) Sugar (30g), salt (3g), rice vinegar (50g), corn flour (10g)

Method:

  1. Mix and pickle the diced chicken thigh with seasoning (A).
  2. Heat the oil in a heated wok, then fry the pickled chicken and diced green onion until the chicken is cooked.
  3. Lightly fry the sliced garlic and ginger and dried chilli.
  4. Add cooked chicken and onion, and then stir-fry the cooked peanuts, cashew nuts and seasoning (B).

Tips:

  1. Cook the fried chicken and diced onion for one minute to elevate the taste.
  2. Turn off the fire when adding the peanuts and cashew nuts to keep them crispy.

Mapo Tofu

Mushroom mapo tofu ¬È∆≈∂π∏Ø

Main ingredients:

  • Tofu (1pc)
  • Minced beef 50g

Ingredients:

  • Scallion 5g
  • Minced ginger 5g
  • Spring onion 5g
  • Fermented Soy bean 20g
  • Sugar 5g
  • Sesame oil 8g
  • Chili oil 8g
  • Rice wine 5g
  • Soy sauce 25g
  • Soy bean paste: 15g
  • Chili powder 8g
  • Sichuan peppercorn chili powder 3g

Method:

  1. Cut tofu into 3 cm cubes, boil with hot water for 5 minutes.
  2. Fry the minced beef until golden brown
  3. Fry ginger, scallion, soybean paste, chilli powder. Add tofu, rice wine and water until it covers 2/3 of the tofu. Add sugar, soy sauce and half of the minced beef, cook with low heat for 5 minutes, reduce the sauce and add fermented soybean, stir fry it for 2 minutes.
  4. Plate it and add another half of the minced beef, sprinkle the spring onion and Sichuan peppercorn chilli powder.

Braised beef brisket with potatoes 

Braised beef brisket with potatoes Õ¡∂π…’≈£ÎÓ (1)

Main ingredient: (for 4pax)

  • Beef brisket : 1.6kg
  • Potatoes: 600g

Ingredients:

  • seafood sauce: 65g
  • Oyster sauce: 65g
  • Rice wine: 30g
  • Bean paste: 16g
  • Soy sauce: 32g
  • Icing sugar: 24g
  • Ginger slice: 80g
  • Leek: 1 stem
  • Spice bag: 1

Method:

  1. Cut the beef brisket into 4cm squares, boil them for 5-8 minutes.
  2. Fry the ginger slice until golden
  3. Fry the leek until golden
  4. Fry the seafood sauce and add beef brisket until fragrant; add water until it covers the beef, then add spice bag, oyster sauce, soy sauce and a bit salt. Turn to low heat and stew for 2-2.5 hours.
  5. Skin potatoes, deep fry until golden, add into the beef stew and reduce the sauce.

Tips:

  1. Don’t add extra water when stewing the beef.
  2. When reducing the sauce, use low heat so the beef and potatoes can absorb the sauce better

FOR THE MUM WHO’S SHRIMPLY THE BEST 

Mums who love seafood will be absolutely thrilled by Capella Singapore’s Prawn Aglio Olio.  Inspired by the traditional Napoli pasta dish , it is perfumed with aromatic garlic and olive oil, and brought to life with white wine, cloves of garlic and delicious chicken stock.

Prawn Aglio Olio Pasta1

Ingredients 

  • 5pcs Prawn
  • 150g Linguini
  • 10g Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • ¼ cup Chicken Stock
  • Chilli Flakes
  • White Pepper Powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Italian Parsley

Method
1.Bring a large pot of water to boil. Season water with salt and add in the linguine. Drain and set aside.
2. Using a pan and medium heat, add olive oil and sear prawns until they are cooked on both sides.
3. Add in garlic, followed by chilli flakes.
4. Stirring frequently, add in white wine to deglaze, followed by chicken stock.
5. Add linguine to the sauce. Add white pepper powder and salt to taste. Toss well.
6.Serve with Italian parsley as garnish.

FOR THE MUM WITH A SWEET TOOTH 

If you’re looking for dessert to finish things off on a sweet note, Singita’s indulgent Double-Baked Flourless Chocolate Meringue Cake, or Feast at EAST, Hong Kong’s Raspberry Butter Cake made with fresh raspberries and jam is sure to seal the deal.

Raspberry Butter Cake ingredients and method: 

Singita’s Double-Baked Flourless Chocolate Meringue Cake

Singita Flourless Double Chocolate Meringue Cake

Ingredients for the cake 

  • 250g butter
  • 350g dark chocolate
  • 300g brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, separated

Ingredients for the meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 10ml vanilla essence
  • 5ml cornflour
  • 50g cocoa powder

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.Line a 20cm x 30cm x 5cm baking pan with baking paper
  2. Melt butter, chocolate and sugar together, stirring until the sugar has dissolved
  3. Remove from heat and mix in the egg yolks
  4. Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form, then fold into the chocolate mixture
  5. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 40 minutes
  6. Then make the meringues by whisking egg whites, adding a little caster sugar at a time and then the vanilla essence until stiff peaks form
  7. In a separate bowl, sift cornflour and cocoa powder together and fold into the meringue
  8. Remove the chocolate cake from oven and reduce the temperature to 120 degrees
  9. Top the cake with the meringue and return to oven for 25 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Mother’s Day Brunch @ Open Farm Community Singapore

Thinking about where to bring mum out for Mother’s Day? Singapore’s Open Farm Community – an urban community food project that brings together local farmers and chefs on a 35,000 sq ft plot of green land – is having a Mother’s Day Brunch to celebrate and honour the most important woman in our lives.

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The menu features new dishes andpairings by OFC’s new culinary team, head chef Oliver Truesdale-Jutras, sous chef Phoebe Oviedo, and Wine & Operations Manager, Phillippe Chin.

Look forward to hot favourites such as OFC Flatbread and OFC Brioche Burger, and
discover new favourites with Watermelon Wild Honey Salad (above), a refreshing sweet appetizer. There’s also Mama’s Laksa Pappardelle (below) a local favourite executed with a contemporary twist.

Other dishes available on the menu include Braised Canadian Pork Belly, House Beer Battered Baramundi, Citrus Cured Hamachi, and for dessert, Coconut Waffles and Buttermilk Pancakes.

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Pair these delectable dishes with a glass of natural wine from OFC’s extensive natural wine list or enjoy a unique cocktail concoction by Group Bartender, Joe Schofield.

Mums will receive complimentary handcrafted chocolate bonbons on Mother’s Day.

OPEN FARM COMMUNITY 

130E Minden Road
Singapore 248819

openfarmcommunity.com

Happy Mother’s Day @ Taiping Lang, Puchong Jaya

Happy Mothers Day to all mums around the world! It’s not easy being a mum, so it’s not too much to have a special day to honour and celebrate all that she has done for you and the family.

I was working on Mothers Day. We decided to go for an early celebration with a meal at Taiping Lang, a Nyonya restaurant in Bandar Puchong Jaya.

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Update: This restaurant is permanently closed.

For those who aren’t familiar with the term Nyonya cuisine, it comes from Baba and Nyonya, a community found in Malaysia and Singapore. They are also referred to as ‘Straits Chinese’ or ‘Peranakan’. The Baba and Nyonya were 15th – 17th century Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay archipelago and adopted local Nusantara customs along with their traditional rituals, way of dress and food. Their cooking is a unique blend of both Chinese and Malay flavours, making it truly a one-of-a-kind cuisine that you can only find in this part of the world.

We ordered a set meal for three persons and some side dishes. First up was ngo hiang or fried lor bak : a spiced pork and shrimp meat roll wrapped with vegetables in beancurd. The meat was marinated in five-spice powder, giving it a solid, savoury flavour interspersed with bits of carrots and other veggies. The skin was crispy and deep fried to perfection. The version here was done well without being too salty, and came served with a house special chilli dip.

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Next up, Nyonya fried chicken. Unlike conventional fried chicken, this had less skin and was sweet, like it had been glazed with sugar or honey. I’m guessing it was made from village chicken as the size was smaller and the meat was tender and juicy.

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This brings back memories! Jiu hu char is stir-fried jicama with dried cuttlefish, a Nyonya specialty. Although my dad’s side is ethnic Hokkien, my grandma used to make it she learnt it from a Nyonya lady when she was younger. My aunt still prepares it on special occasions, like Chinese New Year.

The jicama had a texture similar to daikon or radish, and the stir frying made it soft as it swam in a broth of its own juices. Apart from dried cuttlefish, the dish also had har mai (dried shrimps) and mushrooms for a chewier bite.

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Sambal fried anchovies. Spicy, with pungent onions and chilli, this was great to go with rice.

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Otak-otak wrapped in banana leaves. Literally translated, it means ‘brain-brain’ in Malay – probably derived from the dish’s soft, gooey appearance. It is actually a steamed seafood cake cooked with herbs. The cake’s texture is soft but occasionally has big chunks of seafood in them. This one here was not too spicy and the herbs lent it a unique flavour.

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Rice and soup to go along with the dishes.

Overall, Taiping Lang did not disappoint. The menu items are quite limited, but the few dishes they serve are all of good quality. The resto is quite famous as you will see cutouts of newspaper reviews and celebrity photos pasted all over the wall.

TAIPING LANG

19-01, Jalan Kenari 18B, Bandar Puchong Jaya,, 47100, Puchong, Selangor, 47100

03-8076 2686

Tuesday – Sunday (Closed on Mondays)

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I was grumpy on Mothers Day itself because I was working from morning til 10pm at night – but the day started off well because I got to buy a bunch of fresh roses at the event I was attending  for only RM1. Look how pretty they are! I got a pink bouquet for my mum coz she has never gotten flowers from anyone, tbh. (my dad isn’t exactly the romantic type lol)

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If you’ve been a reader of this blog, you’ll know that my mum and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on things. Despite everything, she is still the one I’m closest to in my family, who brought me up to be the person I am today. And I know she will always be there for me, through good times, or bad times.

As a child, my mum was always super protective of me. This didn’t bide well when I stepped into adulthood – I felt suffocated by all the rules and regulations, of the things she imposed on my life ‘in my best interests’. That was often a point of contention between us.  The fights were terrible. I can honestly say that I’ve never fought as much with anyone else in my life. Thankfully, these incidences are becoming less and less.

Over the past year, I’d like to believe that she is starting to understand that I am not always going to be her cutesy five-year-old, whom she can dress up and protect from all the evils in the world. Fledglings grow up and leave the nest : and while I will always be her little girl, I too must leave the nest and go out into the world someday.

I want to be my own person, to explore and fall down and get hurt and learn from experiences. Conversely, as I grow older, I am also starting to understand the fears that a mother feels, and I try to show her that I am able to take care of myself and that she need not worry.

Either way, I’d just like to wish my mum and all the mums in the world a Happy Mothers Day! I know we as kids may hurt you and do stupid things, so thank you for giving us life and putting up with all our antics.