Melbourne, the food capital of Australia, where multi-cultural cuisines reign supreme. You've arrived at a food blog where good food has no boundaries - be it restaurants, cafes, takeaway joints and any other eating places. Recipes to try out with successes and failures blogged to no shame. The focus is on authentic Asian (Singapore) food found right here in the heart of Melbourne. Just remember, the best dining experience could surprise your tastebuds when you least expect it. Get ready to be surprised on my food journey. Bon Appétit!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Xmas Red Velvet Cupcakes

Admittedly not my best effort as I was churning them out quickly for Steve's colleagues with a much thinner layer of frosting than usual. The "pebbles" are actually chocolate. The frosting is my usual cream cheese icing but with colouring.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Little Cupcakes

Shop 7 Degraves St Melbourne

The cupcake craze started ages ago, and I think Melbourne over the last few years have caught up to it. It does take Australia a little while to catch up to worldwide trends, but we are getting there. The influx of the number of cupcake bakeries popping up in Melbourne seems to be a sign that the popularity of these little delicious beauties are here to stay for a while yet. In fact, it's not just the sale of cupcakes that are doing well, all things related to cupcake-making have been spectacular in sales too.

Anyway, this is a short and sweet review of Little Cupcakes located just off Flinders Lane.

My choice of flavours were Red Velvet:

and Lemon:

The frosting on the Red Velvet was deliciously creamy with a thin crust of sugary goodness on the outside. It is rather sweet but it can get addictive after a while. The cupcake itself was just slightly on the dry side. But being so little (this is the normal size, not the mini one), you don't really mind as the flavour of the cocoa was still very present. While I like eating the frosting off the Red Velvet first and eating the cupcake separately, with the Lemon, I ate them together. I wish the zestiness of the lemon came through though. The first impression was basically a sweet vanilla taste but the aftertaste does have a lemony flavour. That said, out of all the cupcake bakeries in Melbourne, Little Cupcakes literally takes the cake.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Singapore Chilli Crab Post...

is just under the Sichuan House food review. I started it a few weeks but didn't publish it till today so it's posted on the date that it was started. Nobu review should be up soon.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sichuan House Melbourne Review

Sichuan House
26 Corrs Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9650 8589

There is something scintillating about super spicy food that burns your tongue and make your lips tingle. The hesitation to wipe your mouth in case the spiciness spreads beyond the perimeters of your lips and the hot sensation lingers at the edges giving a feeling of itchiness prickles on skin that is not as hardened to the kill of spicy food as the lips. But somehow, these cuisines always leave me wanting more when the stomach settles and what's left is nothing but a mild cool whiff as I inhale a breath of fresh air through my mouth and into the deep canal of a boiling cauldron.

Blame it on Foxtel in Australia if you will. One of S and my favourite programs, Anthony Bourdain - No Reservation, was slow in showing here. We knew through various blogs that he has indeed visited Melbourne (ahem, his FAVOURITE Australian city as he has stressed rightfully many times, take that Sydney) for his 6th season. We also knew it had been shown in the US ages ago, as well as Mr Cravat, Matt Preston, from Masterchef bringing Tony around. Suffice to say we've been waiting forever to watch Bourdain's latest culinary adventures with his usual mix of morose and self-deprecating commentary that finally last week I had enough.

After countless repeats of past seasons and the current showing being Season 4 (yes, season 4! despite the US having already shown Season 6 waaay before), I had to succumb to the unscrupulous but extremely satisfying addiction of online TV shows download. Not to mention the fact that I was dying to watch Matt Preston in another program after my obsession with Masterchef here (Gary Mehigan was in Boys' Weekend with a few of his other mates who's appeared on the show like Manu and Adrian Richardson). Matt, my other favourite, he of the line "because I like you Andre, I'm swallowing it", was meant to be one of the food guides for Bourdain when he came here. By the way, he didn't actually bring Bourdain to the secret Sichuan province in Melbourne, but a Malaysian called Tony Tan. However, Matt did show that it is possible to wear a cravat in hot stinky summer and hold up well in his sweat-stained Polo Ralph Lauren shirts. A man after my heart, suffer for fashion like you would for art.

That said, Tony Tan a man who professed to be scared of Bourdain because of his flagrant use of the F-word (well he must be a very timid man seeing as 99% of the Aussie population regularly mouth off the F-word and more all the time), brought Bourdain to a place in Chinatown called Dainty Sichuan. Having watched with fascination as Bourdain sweated through several dried chilli mountains of various meat dishes, and yet proclaiming a macabre insistence that he wants more and he's never had it so good, our mouths started to salivate and therein a plan formed to visit that restuarant that very Friday.

Full of optimism and a sick excitement of having our brains and mouths blown off with spicy food beyond the normal realms of other spicy food, we trudged down the end of Corrs Lane in Chinatown off Little Bourke to see a long queue waiting outside the address I copied for Dainty Sichuan. To our surprise, it must have changed ownership because the place is now called Sichuan House. Well, okaaay, seeing that the number of people queueing outside can't be wrong, we joined the queue. A quick google on my mobile shows that the owners of Dainty Sichuan has left the building but experienced restauranteur Peter Hu who also owns another Sichuan restaurant in Box Hill has taken over the joint. He kept most of the kitchen and wait staff from Dainty Sichuan and the menu remains largely unchanged. Well, good enough for me. Now I don't really believe in queueing up for hours on end but my obsession with satisfying the Sichuan urge was so strong that night, S and I waited with our friend Daniel for almost an hour outside the restaurant for a table.

Finally we scored an entry to the Spicy Mecca, and looking at the sweaty, drippy-nosed faces of happiness around us, I beamed in excitement and anticipation at the menu. True enough I was not disappointed. The staple of Sichuan cuisine, Deep-fried Chicken Pieces (with bones) tossed with gallons of Dried Chillies was on the menu. We ordered that, as well as for entree, Cold Soft Tofu with Minced Century Egg. For mains we really wanted to try their famous Pork Ribs, but it was sold out so we ordered the Spicy Green Beans with Minced Pork as well as Daniel's selection of Sliced Beef in Spicy Hot Pot.

I didn't manage to take a pic of the entree but here's how it went down:

Cold Tofu with Minced Century Egg - This dish was extraordinary good. The tofu came entire but was sliced and drenched with an amazing gravy. Judging from the strong smell and taste of ginger and garlic, my guess is that the sauce was made up of those 2 essential Chinese ingredients mixed with oyster sauce that has been diluted so it takes away the sometimes overpoweringly saltish flavour. What remained was a gooey light brown sauce that leaves a pleasant fragrance of ginger as you exhale through your nose and the garlicky aftertaste that was actually pretty mild. As you go through the rest of the meal, you'll find yourself coming back to nibble at this dish which takes the bite out of the rest of the sizzling spiciness of the other dishes and provides a cool respite as you charge on with the rest of the food. The century egg mince was reasonable in quantity but I would really treat it as more of a garnish. The egg itself was lacking in the strong pungent flavour we tend to expect from century eggs and was kinda hard and gelatin-like. The tofu on the other hand was soft and melts in your mouth providing the perfect complement to the delightful sauce. But it's not too soft that it disintegrates as you pick it up with the metal spoon.

We ordered steamed rice to go with our dishes but strangely despite the spicy nature of the food, we did not go rushing to gulp a mouthful of rice down with every bite.

Deep-Fried Chicken Piece with Dried Chillies - To me, this is the piece de resistance of the dinner. When the owner of Dainty Sichuan told Bourdain they go through at least 20kg of dried chillies every single day, it is not hard to guess why when you see a dish like this.

At first glance, your impression that the whole plate is mainly made up of dried chillies are probably to be expected, but what we realised at the end of it was there were actually more chicken pieces that we first thought. There was still a massive amount of dried chillies left, but the extremely generous portion of this main dish ensures that there were more than enough chicken to go around. The dish contained mainly of dried chillies and chicken pieces, but there were some peppercorns and spring onion stems to be found within the hot mess. We can also distinctly taste the garlic that goes into it as well. What really impressed me was the lack of chilli seeds that other Sichuan restaurants seem to heap on this signature dish. Yet despite the lack of chilli seeds which I'm really relieved about (hate the little seeds sticking inside my teeth and on every surface of the chicken), the dish certainly packed a bigger punch than all the other similiar dishes I've tried in Melbourne. It does not shy away from their trademark spicy quotient even without the good ol' trick of chilli seeds employed by many others.

The chicken pieces were presumably chopped up tiny pieces of chicken wings with bones still intact. I can taste the lingering taste of flavour that only well-marinated chicken provides and the rough sea salt sprinkled on the deep-fried surface of the chicken. The crunch of the chicken was actually a nice surprise. It was crispy without the sickly feeling of being too oily. The heat of the chicken maintained pretty well temperature-wise under the mountain of dried chillies and in a way, it was advantageous as this chicken is definitely nicer taken warm. I love the bite of the tiny chicken pieces as the juices flowed into your mouths when you bite past the crispiness of the skin and into the succulent fleshy bits. Sichuan House has managed to maintain that oh-so-important criteria of deep-fried chicken with their balance of crispiness and the amount of greasiness from the chicken. Oddly enough, after you have more than a few pieces of this dish, you don't even realise the hotness of the chicken anymore. In fact, you start to notice the flavours that came from the chicken, the natural juices, the subtle sprinkling of sea salt to coat the chicken pieces and the heady smell of such a fine dish. Hardened fans of Sichuan food will not be disappointed as this dish was done to near perfection with the right mix of flavours and ingredients to leave you wanting more.

Spicy Green Beans with Minced Pork - Next up to arrive was the Spicy Green Beans. I love the unpretentiousness of the place and their plating of their dishes. It was non-fussy and it is what it is. They do not cater for a fine-dining crowd and neither do they aspire to. Judging from the crowd outside queueing throughout the day, they are on to a good thing. The Green Beans arrived glistening slightly with oil and some finely minced pork and chilli.

The pork has definitely been seasoned and although tasty, did not take away the spotlight from the star of this dish. The green beans were fresh and a little suspiciously sweet. I was wondering whether the chefs could have soaked them in a bit of sweetened water as part of their prep. Anyhow, it doesn't matter, the combination of flavours was just divine and very complementary. The saltishness of the minced pork and chilli couple with the sweetnes and the beautiful texture of the green beans was just nothing short of amazing. Like the chicken above, this dish is a must-have everytime you visit Sichian House. Every crunch of the beans deliver a mixture of sweet and savory spiciness.

Sliced Beef in Hot Pot - Straight up this was the only and most disappointing dish of the night. It was somewhat soupy with huge quanties of not just whole dried chillies and peppercorn, but it also came with a chilli soup stock which was not thick enough to be gravy but not enough liquid to be soup.

The first thing you notice is the perfumey smell of the dish, and you are wondering what the hell is up with that. Hoping that this was perhaps a temporary assault of the nasal sense and all will be fine upon tasting, I was rudely awakened by an even more pungent perfumey sampling of the beef. Trying to find the culprit for this weird taste considering perfume fragrance is not generally the preferred flavour, S discovered after bravely chewing on the different ingredients of the dish that is hardly discernible through the inferno of red soupy mess, that the strange perfume taste and smell comes from the peppercorns which were a lot more liberally used in this dish. Not wanting to waste the beef, S gallantly took as much as he could stomach so Daniel and I could enjoy the rest of the more delicious dishes. Even though Daniel chose this dish on the menu, he didn't really enjoy it much at all when it came and much preferred the other stuff we had to eat. I personally would not have chosen this dish, it looked unappetising even from the menu. But each one of us is meant to choose a dish each so it's only fair. Besides, at least now we know what NOT to order next time. The beef was not particularly tender and the soupy thing was just bland and filled with hotness without flavour. With such a lack of proper and tasty seasoning and marinade, it pretty much tasted like a perfume version of someone dunking sliced beef into water filled with dried chillies, peppercorns and forgetting to add the salt. No no no...

Guess where are are going tomorrow?

Update 1 May 2013 - We have been advised Sichuan House at Corrs Lane, Melbourne is now closed. They do however have another branch on Victoria St in Richmond.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Singapore Chilli Crab at Home - Family Recipe

So, I've been craving Singapore Chilli Crabs forever. But I don't really know of anywhere in Melbourne that sells the authentic version. And more importantly it has to taste of the right stuff, otherwise Singapore's most famous dish (other than Hainanese Chicken Rice which didn't come from Hainan) is ruined. I remember Lucas on Masterchef Australia serving it up for his first audition in front of the 3 judges. He started getting nervous when they asked him did he make his own sauce and he was perspiring when he admitted he had to add ketchup, otherwise it just doesn't taste right and authentic. He thought he was a dead fish as surely in a foodie-obsessed show like this, everything has to be made from scratch even ketchup. But luckily, of the judges (I think it was Gary who seemed familiar in cooking Asian dishes although Matt was familiar with eating it) said, "you are right, Singapore Chilli Crab is not the same without ketchup, you need it".

So anyway, while my folks were actually on holiday in Singapore, I decided to cook my grandmother's version of Singapore Chilli Crab instead of using Prima-Taste. S has never tasted my non-instant version before, so he was a tiny bit apprehensive, but my grandmother and aunt used to cook it every single weekend for our usual family gatherings that although it's been more than 10 years, I was surprised I can still remember what went into it.

People think the most humane way of killing the crab is to freeze it to death, it's not. Flip the crabs upside down, and open up the triangular "tab" and stab a knife or something sharp right through. This might seem macabre, but it kills instantly. Otherwise place it in the freezer for some 10 minutes and when it's semi-unconscious, do the deed. Now that we got the macabre and awful part out of the way, let's cook crab.

Singapore Chilli Crab Recipe

2 crabs (good sized, at least 1kg each)
2 tsp of cooking oil
2 whole shallots (minced)
1 palm sized ginger (minced or sliced thinly)
1 whole garlic (minced)
3 sprigs of spring onion (chopped 3cm)
1.5 bottles of thick ketchup
2 bottles of Maggi Garlic Chilli Sauce (have to be Maggi only)
1 egg


Remove crabs from shell, separating the claws and make sure they are cracked using a heavy object like a nutcracker. Using palms and firm grip, crack the body in half and proceed to chop each half up into 2 or 3 sections, leaving legs intact. Set aside.

Heat the oil up in a wok, and add ginger and shallots when the oil is hot enough. Make sure the fire is not turned up too high, about medium should be right. Stir fry for about 5 min and add garlic, continue for another 5-10 minutes making sure the wok contents are not burning by constantly stir-frying. Add the crabs and quickly toss the ginger, shallots and garlic over it, coating the crabs. Turn the fire up and keep stir-frying for about 5 min, add spring onions. Lower the heat and cover for about 3 min. When the crabs are reddish in colour, they are almost cooked. Add Maggi Garlic Chilli Sauce and tomato ketchup, turn the heat up and stir fry for about 2 min, pour about half a cup of boiling water. Add egg and simmer for about 3 min when the sauce thickens and it's ready to serve.

You can add fried mantou to soak up the sauce, which is just delicious.

Maggie Chilli Garlic Sauce - Crucial Ingredient

Look shocking but this Deep-Fried Mantou is really soft inside

Apologies for the shoddy presentation, we did it at the spur of the moment due to massive cravings. Not to mention taking the opportunity while my parents are away to cook this dish. Dad has gout, and putting temptation like Singapore Chilli Crabs right in front of him seemed really mean. Not inviting them over to eat when they are here is also mean, so my guess is we won't be cooking this for a while until their next holiday in a couple of months. Mind you when I told Ma today that I'm thinking of doing this as a Christmas dish, she said, "WHAT? Christmas is turkey and ham, not Chilli Crab ok?!"


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Some Otah and Satay for Dinner Today

Ok, so I was too lazy to take pics. We had some Otah in stick form (yes the authentic kind we bought from Emma's Yong Tau Foo, not the fish custard as dubbed by the producers in Masterchef Australia when Poh cooked it in the final week. I distinctly heard her calling it Otah-Otah but somehow when the dish was presented it says "fish custard" on the screen which made it sound really gross) with mantou. I know people normally wrap it in white bread, but I just love it with the clam-style mantou. I forgot what the brand is but the mantou was made in Taiwan.

We also had authentic Singapore satay. Yes, the real satay not the kebabs masquerading as satays. S marinated the chicken last night. He bought chicken thighs skin-on and cut them into really thin strips, skin and all and marinated it overnight in Prima Taste Satay seasoning. He also had those ketupat (sp?) all cooked in their rice in a little plastic packet stored in the fridge. Today, he skewered and threw the satays on the skillet and they were moist, juicy and packed with fantastic flavours. The trick I think is the thin slicing of the meat. Of course this was accompanied by the ketupat and sliced continentials cucumber (skin off). The satay sauce was great for the ketupat and cucumber but the satay is so good I find myself eating it on its own without dipping into the condiment.

There is a store that has opened up in the past few months selling frozen satay but in a kebab style. The couple there came from Singapore originally but have been living in Perth for many years before moving to Melbourne recently. Apparently they claimed there is already a satay place in Perth many people frequent which they are trying to emulate. My in-laws are from Perth but they've never heard about it.

I think a lot of our friends and rellies must be shocked to hear we've been cooking at home, seeing as we dine out most of the time or live on takeaways (not crappy stuff mind you!).

"Super" Instant Honey Chrysanthemum Tea

I know, I know, this is the 3rd drink I've been introducing, but I can't help it ok? Some people have a sweet tooth and super lazy, but I promise you won't regret it, I'll be posting one of Singapore's most famous dishes and pretty much impossible to find in Melbourne soon.

Now, it's winter flu in Melbourne as you all know, so it's brrrr-ry cold with everyone passing the winter flu to one another like nobody's business. And please, STOP with all the swine flu scare stories already! Especially people from Singapore, you guys are probably the highest infected per capita in the world so stop acting like we are the ones spreading the H1N1 to your region. Kills me when I heard my grandma won't be coming because of my aunts and uncles telling her we got swine flu here everywhere. I have not seen her in 9 years, and darn ignorant reporting in Singapore is standing in the way. Not to mention it will be her first visit to Australia. This is my maternal gran, my paternal gran has been here and stayed with my parents heaps for months at a time.

Anyway, moving on to the Chrysanthemum Tea. So naturally in this wintry weather and with lots of inconsiderate selfish people spreading the flu around (yeah, the common flu, not the swine flu although a lot of those who caught this and did not stay quarantined are worse than swines and I don't mean to insult pigs mind you), I of course came down with the cold. Even with ducted heating that heats up the rest of the house but the master bedroom, which of course is where I spend most of my time, I was still feeling the no-appetite (almost) sick feeling of brrr-ness with the most hideous puffy eyes (which are already pretty small) and lethargy.

So S made me some instant chrysanthemum hot drink from this metal cannister that he bought in the shops innocently thinking he can't go wrong as it came direct from China. WRONG! The best brand for instant chrysanthemum tea is actually from Singapore. The local brand there called Super makes some nice instant drinks including an oatmeal drink most Singaporeans gurgle in the morning with their Kaya Toast. Ok, this I did not experience first-hand but I was told by rellies, who think I'm so ang moh I probably have bacon, eggs and tea for brekkie. Duh, I don't even eat breakfast. Anyway, my parents are on a visit to Singapore now and Daddy (ok, so I'm in my early 30s but I will call him Daddy not Dad, not Father if I want to, what's it to you?) said he's bought heaps of Super Chrysanthemum for me as well as this instant oat drink so will report when he comes back home to Melbourne.

Back to the Honey Chrysanthemum tea. To be fair, I did give the China brand a fair go and it really wasn't bad at all despite tasting kinda diluted, and yes I did add enough powder. But when S came back with my fave Super Honey Chrysanthemum, deng-deng-deng!

It comes in a satchel in powder form which you stir with hot water or cold if you prefer but hot is the way to go I find. There are 40 satchels in a bag and it costs approx $8+ from any Asian grocery store.

I have a good-sized mug so I tend to add 2 satchels rather than just 1. A tip is not to fill the water up to the brim so as not to dilute it too much. And unless your mug is the same size as mine is, I would suggest about 1 satchel to one average mug.

Now you see what I mean?

Anyway, the powder does melt really quickly when I stirred vigorously in boiling water. The taste is sweet with a honey aftertaste, but not in the sickeningly overly sweet way that you can't taste the flavour. The chrysanthemum accents come through and even when you have that honey aftertaste, you can still taste the slight bitterness of the chrysanthemum. You Aussies would have had this tea at many Yum Chas (Dim Sum for Singaporeans).

Each satchel looks like this:

Nothing beats the feeling of sipping a warm mug of this curled up with my beautiful doggies and an Hermès blankie on the couch (get that passé velour thought out of your head, it's white Gainsville leather in a contemporary style) watching tv or reading Vogue or HB on a winter's day. I like that a nice winter drink does not have to contain the heaviness of dairy or chocolate and yet still provide the nice comfort of a warm trickling sensation down my tum without making me bloated.

Monday, August 10, 2009

3 Colour Bubble Tea

So this might look gross to you, but this bubble tea from Bubble Bubble, a drink kiosk located at the basement near Borders in Chadstone Shopping Centre, is really surprisingly good. I recently introduced it to my friend D, who loved it as well but he did have a few comments about it which is similar to my thoughts on the drink too. But first, the visual...

The 3 colour drink is made up of various fruit flavoured konyaku jelly, grass jelly and red bean with coconut milk. It is a modern twist of the traditional Vietnamese 3 colour drink where it comes in a small glass filled with Chendol green jelly, mung bean, grass jelly and red bean. Unless the traditional version where you'll be given a spoon and a thin straw to consume the "drink" (hardly considered a drink when half the glass is filled with shaved ice with minimal amount of coconut milk), the Bubble Bubble version comes with a thick bubble tea straw. The regular is $3.80 and the large, which is pictured here, is $4.50.

As mentioned above, D and I agreed that although it is convenient drinking it all up at one shot with a larger straw and with Bubble Bubble's version containing more liquid, it is very difficult sucking up, for lack of a better word, all the ingredients in every mouthful without ingesting most of the liquids. Unavoidably we are always left with almost half a cup of the jelly and red bean with no coconut milk left. It's a conundrum especially when we are appreciative of their generosity with the ingredients. But on the other hand we are left with no drink and a solid little pile of jelly going to waste without the delicious slurp of the coconut-based drink to accompany it.

Other than that, taste-wise it's fantastic and I would recommend requesting for a little less ice and having the ice completely melted before getting stuck into it. This is my guilty pleasure everytime I head to Chaddy. This drink definitely is worth getting, if not for the sheer amount of ingredients alone, but mostly for the great taste and delightful flavours. Now if only they could somehow blend the jelly a little bit smaller....

Cherry Syrup for Coke

I grew up with the easy availability of Cherry Coke, and addiction does not even begin to describe my insane need to drink a can everyday. Now my mother strictly forbade snacks of any kind during my childhood except on occasions like the Christmas season and CNY. And I promise you, that came around twice a year. BUT that's what a huge Jean-Paul Gaultier school bag is for. Thank goodness she was mostly not home when I walked into the house with my bag rustling inside as the bags of snacks rubbed against each other jostling for space in a bag filled less with books than with the cheesy goodness of Twisties, Nachos, Chilli Tapioca Chips and Calbee Hot n Spicy Potato Chips.

But I digress...

When we moved to Australia, what I missed most was my daily drink of Cherry Coke so I stopped drinking Coke or most sodas (soft drinks), except for Dr Pepper which was sold in Safeway only, for ages until a quite few years ago when Australia introduced Cherry Coke to this country. The taste however must have been modified to suit the Australian market as it was rather different to the American Cherry Coke. But hey, beggars can't be choosers, so I settled for that until the expected demise finally happened to Australia Cherry Coke. Ta-dum-dum. Australians did not take to the taste and I went back quite happily to Dr Pepper (which is similiar to Cherry Coke but not exactly the same). Sadly, Dr Pepper also suffered their eventual demise soon after that.

Anyway, by which time I've already discovered The USA Food Store. They have several American products that were familiar to me in my childhood such as Post cereals (Cranberry Almonds and Banana Nut Crunch are my faves), Combos cheese pretzels, blah blah blah and CHERRY COKE! Yes, direct from America, my Holy Grail drink. Who cares it's $39 for a carton of 24 cans? The addiction was well and truly back! It runs in the family as my dad is totally into Cherry Coke as well, much to my mother's disapproval. Needless to say, I stocked up and have continued doing so for as long as they have been stocking it. To those interested, these guys also stock Cherry 7-up, Dr Pepper, A & W Root Beer and heaps of other yummy sodas.

Despite that, I've always thought if I have my own Cherry Syrup, then I could add a few drops of it to regular Aussie Coke and voila! Cherry Coke at a fraction of the price. However, I just could not manage to find Cherry Syrup in Melbourne even after searching through all the gourmet delis. Finally, a girlfriend from the US heard about my crazy addiction, and was kind enough to send me 3 large bottles of Cherry Syrup, which then resulted in....

The Torani Cherry Syrup (US$7.99) is one of the better brands of Cherry Syrups out there, and I added about a small teaspoon to one can of Coke. Surprisingly it did seem to work quite well and I do like the subtle aftertaste of cherry flavouring in my Coke. I won't say it's the same thing as the actual Cherry Coke from the can, but it does its job. S thinks it reminds him of cough syrup but I don't mind it at all. I do recommend adding ice to your coke if you are using the Torani syrup as the more you add, the sweeter the drink becomes bearing in mind despite the cherry flavouring, it is still a syrup.

Would I continue to buy Cherry Coke from The USA Food Store? Absolutely.