Japanese curry rice or karē raisu is Mr. D’s favorite and whenever I cook this dish, he’ll jump for joy like a little boy in a candy store. Japanese curry is very popular in Japan and you can easily get it in any fast food shop or cafe. Unlike Indian or Malaysian curry which are on the spicy side, Japanese curry is not spicy, has thicker consistency, extremely aromatic and slightly sweeter. It is a very appetizing dish and Mr. D couldn’t have enough of it. This dish is simple and quick to prepare as you can use store bought Japanese curry roux in block form. There are an assortment of instant curry roux which are easily available in any Asian groceries store. The major brands are from House Foods, S&B Foods & Ezaki Glico.
In our quest to search for the best instant Japanese curry roux, we tested the different range we could get hold of such as the S&B Golden Curry, S&B Tasty Curry, House Vermont Curry, House Java Curry, and House Kokumaro Curry. Our verdict: Kokumaro Curry from House is without a doubt the best curry among all the instant Japanese curry we tried as it’s seductively aromatic and tantalizing. It tastes as good or even better than the ones serve in the Japanese restaurant here. It comes in a box with 2 blocks of curry roux and each block yields about 5 servings.
Finely diced shallots, bite-sized chicken, diced carrots and potatoes, and Kokumaro instant curry roux are all you need.
Itadakimasu! Honto ni oishii desu!
Address: 125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia.
Opening hours: 7 days a week (11 am – late)
Mr. D and I spent our Boxing Day shopping with our friends (Goon, KS and HY) in Melbourne CBD. The first thing we do when we reached the city is to fuel up our tummies at Chin Chin, a restaurant that serves South-East Asian cuisine. This place is usually very busy and crowded with long queues, a common sight at the restaurant. However, this time we managed to walk in and obtained a table almost immediately. Thanks to the shopaholics and bargain hunters who were more than willing to forgo their lunch so that they could grab the items they want before they ran out. We, on the other hand, needed to charge up first. I couldn’t sacrifice my tummy as it is equally and possibly even more important than my shopping. 😛
After studying the menu, we decided to order the kingfish sashimi for entree. We absolutely adored this dish as not only the fish was super fresh, the combination of the sweetness of the fish, the sourness from the lime with the fragrance from the coconut and thai basil were just perfect!
Kingfish sashimi with lime, chilli, coconut and thai basil.
Indonesian layer cake has been a favorite of mine since I was young. My aunt who used to own a cake shop would give my mom a square of this layer cake every Chinese New Year and it would be gone in no time (thanks to me :P). This cake has a lot of eggs and butter in it and therefore it’s very rich and moist. I never thought of baking this cake until my bestie, Mei asked me if I could make it as she loves it too. She did warn me that the process is extremely tedious and truthfully, IT IS. My advise is, do not attempt this if you do not have a whole afternoon to yourself. The cake needs to be grilled layer by layer and it’ll take at least 2 hours to complete. No doubt it is very time consuming but extremely rewarding in the end. 😀 This cake not only tastes delicious, it looks impressive as well. Hence, Mr. D and I decided to bake this cake to give it to our dearest neighbor and friends as a Christmas gift.
There are many different recipes available on the internet, each using different quantities of egg yolks and egg whites. Some of the layer cake recipes have condensed milk in them. After going through all of the recipes that I’ve gathered, I finally decided on Poh’s version as hers has the least number of egg yolks. Furthermore, I’m a fan of her cooking. I love watching her cooked in MasterChef Australia Season 1 and after that, she has her own cook show which shares a lot of great recipes. Her Indonesian layer cake recipe calls for five spice powder but I was not too comfortable using it in cake as five spice powder is normally used in savory dishes especially to season meat. Hence, I replaced it with all spice powder.
Our first attempt failed as we over beat the egg whites and under beat the butter causing the layers to delaminate due to incorrect batter consistency. We tried baking it again this afternoon making sure that we followed every step carefully. And, we were glad that it worked out well this time. We were extremely pleased and proud of the end result. The cake is just stunningly good, both flavor and appearance!
This cake consists of 9 simple ingredients.
Address: 359 Pakington Street, Newtown VIC 3220, Australia.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun (breakfast & lunch)
Mr. D and I are always on the look out for places with nice brekkie. Yesterday, we decided to try out The Cottage cafe in Pakington Street since they have waffles for breakfast. Most of the breakfast places here usually have pancakes and crepes in their menu but not many of them serve waffles for breakfast. I wonder why. I read that this place is very happening and popular among the locals but the place was pretty quiet and peaceful yesterday which was kind of nice. Must be due to the holiday season with everyone crowding the malls in the city to grab last minute Christmas presents.
It’s a pretty quiet day.
Hot chocolate with marshmallow.
Bacon and eggs on toasted sourdough with extra mushrooms.
Last week has been hectic and exhausting. I had very little motivation to cook yet both of us did not feel like eating out. So, I whipped up a simple chicken curry puff for dinner using instant Malaysian curry paste from A1 Best One. A1 Best One instant curry paste is very famous in Malaysia and it is sold in most overseas asian groceries stores . The reasons behind its popularity are its wonderful aroma and flavorful taste. Please take note that there is another instant curry paste sold in the stores that has almost similar name as A1 Best One and it is known as A1 ActionOne instant curry paste. Initially, I thought that they are both from the same company but later found out that they were different. I prefer A1 Best One’s curry paste over A1 ActionOne as the latter taste a bit dull.
Ingredients you need.
Quick Chicken Curry Puff (Serves 5)
- 1 packet of instant curry paste
- 1 medium red onion (chopped)
- 2 potatoes (peeled and cubed)
- 4 chicken thigh fillets
- 300 ml water
- 1 tbs oil
- Wash the chicken thigh fillets and pat them dry with a paper towel. Cut the fillets into cubes.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in the chopped onions and fry until translucent.
- Add in the instant curry paste and stir-fry for 2 min or until aromatic.
- Add in the cubed chicken thigh fillets and potatoes and stir fry for 3 min.
- Pour in 300 ml of water. Cover the lid, lower the heat and let the curry simmer until the chicken is done and potatoes are tender (30-45 min).
- Let it cool.
Address: 420a Wallington Road, Wallington, VIC 3221, Australia.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun (8am – 5pm)
Elkhorn Roadhouse is situated in an idyllic countryside called Wallington, which is about 30 min drive away from Geelong. I usually drive to the cafe via Barwon Heads to savor the beautiful scenery along the way. You also can watch horses, herds of cows, and flocks of sheep grazing or lounging in the fields. On our recent visit to Elkhorn Roadhouse, we were fortunate to spot 4 fashionable little ponies, each with different stylish mane on our drive back to Geelong. Unfortunately, we did not manage to capture a snapshot of them. Anyways, if you’re stressed-out and looking for a short escape, driving down to Wallington might be a good remedy.
As the name of the cafe suggests, the whole place is decorated with elk-themed paintings and wall-mounted head. This cafe is cozy and inviting. The waitresses here are super friendly and they are not stingy with their smiles at all. They serve breakfast from 8am-11.45am and lunch from 12pm-3pm. I’ve tried their lunch on our previous visit and they were scrumptious, extremely fresh, and well-cooked too.
The cafe is nicely decorated with elk-themed decor.
More wall-mounted elk head decors.
Address: Western Forshore Road, Geelong 3220.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun (lunch & dinner)
Fish N chips shop on a barge.
Newsflash: There’s a new floating fish N chips shop in Geelong Waterfront that doesn’t cost you a bomb. Hooray!
The newly open place is called “The Geelong Boat House” and it’s located to the west of Cunningham Pier. So far, we haven’t had any good experience with fish N chips in Geelong as either they are soaked in oil or they taste funny and horrible as they use frozen fish. There are better ones served in the restaurants up at the Waterfront but the price is quite hefty for casual consumptions. So, this new chill out place is more than welcome.
Managed to get a shot of the inside when the crowd has dispersed.
Mr. D and I went there for our lunch last Sunday and the place was really busy and crowded with customers waiting to order and collect their food. Seems like I’m not the only one who’s eager to check out this new place. 😛 This place have only outdoor seating with one function room which is not open to public. There are around 4 square wooden tables with chairs on the first level and more seating on the top. And, if you don’t feel like eating your fish N chips on a table, you can enjoy it the picnic style. You can grab a large rug from a large wooden box outside the shop and lay it on the nearby green grass and munch away while admiring the beautiful waves. Beware of the seagulls lurking around waiting for the right opportunity to steal your chips away!
Our foodie adventures in Tokyo and Kyoto were thus far fruitful and fulfilling. Osaka was our next and final stop. For me, the main highlight of our trip in Osaka is the vast varieties of restaurants and food stalls in Dotonbori. You’ll be spoiled for choice as everything looks so tempting and yummy.
Gastronomic adventure @ Dotonbori, Namba Osaka.
Here are some of the food that we managed to try:
@ Yodobashi-Umeda (Add: 530-0011 1-1 Ofukacho Kita-ku Osaka, Japan)
Yodobashi in Umeda, Osaka is enormously big. It is a shopping mall that sells electrical products (cameras, laptops, and house applicanses), toys (figurines, video games, and gundams) and fashion items (clothes and jeweleries). After browsing and shopping around the mall, you can satisfy your tummy on the 8th floor whereby the whole floor is occupied by a variety of restaurants.
Tonkatsu lunch set meal.
We left Tokyo with satisfying tummies and a big smile on our faces. Our next stop is the ever picturesque Kyoto. Unlike the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, Kyoto is calmer, quieter and has a higher number of elderly people. With its laid-back and romantic atmosphere, its rich heritage and together with its picture perfect scenery, Kyoto city is absolutely stunning and enchanting. The gardens and temples around Kyoto are just so mesmerizing and words can’t accurately describe how beautiful they are. If you’re in Kyoto, I strongly advise you to spend at least a day in Arashiyama. This place is just out of this world and its surrounding temples and shrines are definitely worth exploring. With all these magnificent architectures scattered around Kyoto, it is no surprise that Kyoto city has 17 sites listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Here are some snapshots of this charming and beautiful city.
Sagano bamboo forest @ Arashiyama.
Mr. D & I went to Japan last May and instantly fell head over heels for its people, culture, breathtaking scenery, and of course its FOOD. We visited Tokyo, Kyoto, Kobe and Osaka and by the end of our trip we were deflated but it was all worth it. Everything in Japan is just sooo awesome, well-organized, clean, and a well-thought out country. Japan’s public transportation system is excellent, very efficient, and they are super duper punctual. You can actually set your watch time according to the trains’ arrival time.
As for its people, Japanese are so courteous, considerate and whatever they do, they do it diligently. Janitors in Japan are so meticulous in their job and I was awed by watching them cleaning the stairs, wiping them so carefully making sure every nook and cranny is being paid attention to, and picking up tiny bits and pieces of paper which most of us couldn’t spot. Salute!~ Both of us can’t really speak Japanese but that didn’t pose much problems. It was just a little more inconvenient in Kyoto especially when we were trying to use their luggage delivery service to deliver our bags from Kyoto to Osaka. (Yes, they have a luggage delivery service whereby you just drop your luggage at a convenience store and the luggage will find their way to the destination punctually. Save you the hassle of carrying them up and down the train/bus). But other than that, we managed to communicate pretty well with the locals with a combination of hand gestures and body language, English, and our limited Japanese vocabulary. 😛
The Rainbow Bridge that connects Tokyo and Odaiba. It looks amazing at night. Odaiba is a man-made island and housed a lot of attractions. If you’re a Gundam fan, you are no stranger to this place.