One reason I visit Tokyo in January every year is this: It is winter and the fish are fat. Another reason would be the seasonal delicacies this time of year, including shirako or cod milt and snow crab.
Recently at Tamaya Dining (45 Cuppage Rd, tel: 6835-3539), I have a perfectly dressed snow crab as part of a $200 omakase meal.
All the meat is liberated from the shell, even the rather hard-to-get-to leg meat, and packed beautifully into the shell. Underneath the sweet crab is roe, and on one side, eggs.
A light vinegar dip is served alongside the crab although it is perfect eaten as is.
It's been some time since I visited Ah Wing's Wanton Mee (Block 7 Empress Road, 01-108) and when I hanker after noodles one day, I go there to get my fix.
Unlike other wonton noodle stalls, this one has proper char siew. That is to say it is not coloured a bright red with food colouring. Instead, the meat is dark and caramelised on the outside. Three plump wontons accompany the noodles, which remain springy even though they sit in rather a lot of sauce.
For $3, I would say this is excellent value for money.
MUM IS COOKING
Most weekends, I take my parents out for a meal but my mother suggests eating in recently. I turn up at their place and there is a beautiful roast chicken on the dining table.
"I promised you roast chicken with glutinous rice, remember?" she says when I ooh and aah and whip out my phone camera.
She stuffs the chicken with black glutinous rice, walnuts, cashews and smoked pork. She got the idea, if I remember, from a Jacques Pepin cooking show.
Now, if only she would make satay. It's cooked in a wok and absolutely delicious. But she hasn't made it in more than a decade. I think it's time to dig out that recipe.
I need to plan a trip to this foodie city soon. A friend of mine recently got a whole load of goodies from there and shared some of it with me.
They are all from Ching Han Guan Biscuit Manufacturing Co (www.facebook.com/ChingHanGuan) and are excellent. The Barbecue Meat Biscuit, stuffed with lotus paste and bak kwa, is unusual and great with a cup of Chinese tea. I have raved over the version with meat floss, lotus paste and a salted egg yolk too. These are such unusual combinations but they work.
My latest discovery is Ching Han Guan's Hiong Piah, which is among the best I have had, ever.
So if I do go to Ipoh, I will have to carry a large suitcase and pack light.
The weather continues to be schizophrenic. In the day, it is searingly hot and then when evening comes, the skies open up and we get a deluge of rain.
For the last week or so, I have been eating congee and soupy things for dinner, and enjoying the cool evenings. It is the closest we'll ever get to winter.
This mee sua with pork ribs is really easy to whip up, if you have homemade chicken stock or broth on hand. I add some sliced canned abalone from a forgotten stash in the pantry.
In practically no time at all, dinner is ready and it is calming and comforting on a rainy night.
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