Monday, March 31, 2008

The Better Krispy Kreme KopyKat

The story we heard was that they signed up to franchise Krispy Kreme in Indonesia. Paid the initial payment, and got all the training and secrets of Krispy Kreme. Then backed out. Lost the initial payment but then opened up their very own donut franchise empire. So we've heard, I am not claiming this to be a fact.

What I will claim to be a fact is this: J.Co's donuts are lighter, less sweet, and more catered to the Asian palate. They serve flavors like mango, green tea, and Kaya which are big with Asians. Also a fact: Krispy Kreme later on did open up stores in Indonesia, but J.Co is doing far better business and can be found at least in every other mall. Krispy Kreme's donuts turn out to be too heavy and sweet for a lot of Indonesians (except for the glazed donuts straight out of the oven).

These donuts are pretty pricey by Indonesian living standards, they are luxury items and are about 3-4 times more than normal 'doughnuts'.

I got an assortment last time.
Our favorite was the very bottom ones, which are chocolate glazed donuts with cocoa pebbles. Sounds easy and simple but the crunchyness was great.

The white one was the Kaya with coconut sprinkling. It was okay ... I mean it was good, but if I want kaya I would just go for a Kaya toast in Singapore though.

I didn't get to have the rest :( My cousins ate em all >_<

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Asian Soy bean craze

It seems like soy bean custard/ tofu fa was the pinkberry craze of Singapore and Indonesia. Although it is dwindling down now, you definitely still find a motley of soy bean dessert places all over the place.

I was at the airport when I saw Mr. Bean. I thought their mascot was super cute so I tried it out. Plus I had so much time at the airport anyway.

My favorite tofu fa is the one from this cart that used to pass by my house in Indonesia every morning. It had ginger-sugar soup and served with boiled peanuts.

At Mr. Bean I didn't find an option with peanuts, unfortunately (although they did have ginko nuts etc, healthier I suppose), so I just ordered a regular one in sweet ginger soup.

The soy custard itself is definitely silky smooth and of very good quality, but overall the whole thing did not give me too much excitement. The ginger was a bit strong and was not quite sweet enough for me. Plus there's no extra kick to the whole thing (some peanuts would do it for me perhaps?).

Friday, March 14, 2008

Awfully Chocolate, awfully good!

More on Singapore fooding ...
Directly following the bowl of laksa, we went to the katong mall, to get what my brother said was really2 good chocolate ice cream.

The place was a small shop, one or two tables, decorated in the minimal style, all black and white. It was called Awfully Chocolate (what a great name, huh? :P).
It serves only chocolate ice cream and apparently ice cream cake by pre-order. I don't know how they stay in business doing this, but apparently they do and have branches all over the place ...

I got a scoop of, well, chocolate ice cream (what else can I get?). They served it in a chinese-style paper take out box. I thought this was really cute.
I gotta say, it was really really good chocolate ice cream indeed. Very, very chocolatey! Yumm. Richer and more chocolatey than most ice cream I could find in the US. I thought about franchising it in the US, but do you think it would do good business just serving chocolate ice cream? I mean, I guess pinkberry kinda only serves one thing, but they at least have toppings. Not so sure on that fact, but if someone opens one up in LA, I will definitely go eat there :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Laksa Pilgrimage

As you know, there are tons, and I mean TONS of great (and cheap) eats in Singapore. My family spent 4 days there just eating and shopping all day and went home with so much food left untried. So in this food haven, if you only have a few hours transit time once a year, where would you go? What would you eat?

Would I eat bak kut teh? would I sneak in a po pia? oyster omelette? What?
Well, these last trips I've had in the past two years, I've decided to make a trip for some katong laksa.

Katong Laksa is coconut milk-based. Rich in texture and rich in spices, it is similar to curry and is usually called "curry mee" in Malaysia. The name 'laksa' is believed to have originated from a Hindi word 'lakh' meaning 'many' (It means either 10,000 or 100,000 I am not sure).

The best katong laksa in S'pore, IMO, is 328 Katong Laksa. And that is to say, the best one is at the original branch of 328 Katong Laksa on 216 East Coast Rd.
The Katong Laksa contains cut up noodles, the point being so that you can eat everything with just a spoon. It normally contains shrimp, squid, fish sticks and other seafood goodness. They would ask you if you want cockles in your laksa. This time I opted 'no'. It's garnished with coriander.

The more spicy sauce you put on it probably the better, unfortunately I cannot eat that spicy, but I put enough for myself so that each spoonful is the flavorful, spice-ful godliness that katong laksa is. I don't think it is easily describable to someone who has never tried it. I run down here every year when I have a transit in Singapore, so I will just say one thing. If you're in Singapore, try it!

I have my laksa with a glass of barley drink, a sweet, fragrant drink that I haven't found in the US.

A bowl of laksa= SIN$3
A glass of drink= SIN$1

328 Katong Laksa
216 East Coast Rd.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Best "Soto Ayam"

Meet "Soto", a type of Indonesian (usually) chicken soup. There are many types of Soto, depending on the part of the country you're coming from, but usually contains chicken, hard boiled eggs, vermicelli, and some veggies. The most famous of these are probably "Soto ayam" or chicken soto, and the best soto ayam is undoubtedly Soto Ambengan.

In Surabaya, the best one is Soto Ambengan Pak Sadi Asli ("Asli" means original, or real, Pak Sadi being the name of the person who originally made the soto). You have a choice between chicken meat, chicken skin, eggs or no eggs, and various other parts of the chicken to put in your soup.
The soup is yellow from the turmeric in it, and most people put lots and lots of the peanut/koya toppings on top, making the soup richer. The multiple herbs and spices make the soup very flavorful and memorable. Now Pak Sadi has various locations around town, but the best one is still the original location on Jl. Ambengan (I'll find the complete address later, but really, if you hop on the cab and say "Soto Ambengan Pak Sadi" on "Jalan Ambengan" they should all know how to get there).

These pictures are taken at a mall food court location. (I had gone to the mall shortly after arriving and I didn't really want to eat anything else at the mall, so Soto it was). Not as good as the original, but still better than most other mall options.

I had a traditional Indonesian drink, "Es Dawet" also known as "Es Cendol" to go with it.
The green stuff is made of flour, basically, and the thickness of the liquid comes from coconut milk.

Rich and sweet.