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 5, 2012

It's a Ban Mian Day...

There are heaps I miss about Singapore. Food is obviously one of the top of the list. But being here most of my life means adaptation is key to survival when the craving becomes HUGE. 

Ban mian or the less noodly version, Mee Hoon Kueh, is one of my favourites. It is surprisingly easy to make. 

Ingredients for Noodles
- 2 to 2.5 cups of Flour (Plain)
- 1/2 cup Water (add more if mixture is dry and crumbly)
- 1.5 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- 1 egg
- Pinch of Salt

Mix all in a food processor or mixer using a dough attachment or like me use your hands and knead well. Once it's all come together, place it in a bowl, cover with damp cloth or wet a couple of pieces of paper towels and cover the bowl. Let it rest for an hour or so. 

To cook, boil a separate pot of water and blanch noodles.

Ingredients for Braised Mushrooms
- Fresh Shitake Mushrooms Sliced about 4 punnets
- Minced Garlic (prob a tsp)
Mix the below in a bowl:
- Pinch of salt and sugar
- 4 or 5 tb Premium Oyster Sauce
- 1 tbs kecap manis
- 2 tbp light soy sauce
- 1/4 cup of boiling water

Stir fry mushroom in a small pot or pan. Mix in garlic. When mushrooms are almost cooked, pour in the mixture and simmer for a little bit.

Ingredients for Soup
- 350gm minced pork
- Spring onions 
- Light soy sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- Ikan Billis about 1 handful raw
- Dash of white pepper
- 800ml of boiling water
- 2 or 3 cubes of concentrated stock

Mix the minced pork with the sliced spring onions, light soy, salt and pepper, Roll into balls.
Boil the water in a pot and add the cubs of stock and ikan billis. Remove all ikan billis from the soup when it's done. Add meatballs and slow simmer for half hour.  All ready to be served after you add poached eggs, braised mushrooms, green veg and noodles. I like mine with sliced birds eye chillies with light soy sauce.

Big Boy BBQ Review

Big Boy BBQ

764 Glen Huntly Road  Caulfield South VIC 3162
(03) 9523 7410

Dear Readers,

Please do not hold me personally responsible for the resulting imagery coming up soon. It might induce unexplained cravings, hunger and raw animalistic squealing.

The whole dude food movement has been around for a bit now. Some might sneer but hey don't beat it till you try it. Merrywell's New England Lobster Roll sounds pretty good to me right now. And those folks down the Brunswick way are doing pretty well too. To me dude food just means unpretentious down home cooking.

Big Boy BBQ was introduced to us by my good friend H. For the uninitiated, H was originally from Texas and in case you don't know, bbq is obsessively kinda big in that part of the land. We found out the owner of Big Boy BBQ is American and yes, he uses hickory wood...

Expect a queue or a jostle for seats in this double-storey casual diner. Drinks are free-flow and self-self for $3+ and an extraordinary number of Asian overseas uni students flock the place constantly. So you gotta know it's good and value for money somewhat.

Price-wise, it's probably still not the cheapest meal in town. I mean the Asian students share a platter ($99) among a group of 6 to 8, which means it feeds about 3 people normally. But to be fair, their half-rack of ribs is similiar to a full rack at TGIFridays.

To be honest, I would come here just for the sides. The onion strings are thing, crispy and coated every so thinly with batter. You can almost forgive the greasiness of fried food for the tantalising smell and ever so pungent taste of the onion strings. 

Not a fan of chips or fries myself as too many places Aussie fish n chip joints catering to easily-satisfied customers serve up soggy thick-cut nonsense as the real thang with a generous helping of salt to disguise the awfulness of greasy mess. So when S and our friend T wanted a big serve of it, I crinkled my nose, shaking my head at the foolishness of these 2 gents. 

I waited to gloat when the chips arrived. The gloat got caught in my throat as I bit into the golden crunchy skin of the outside and the soft sweet flesh of potato in the inside. I thought the insanity of fresh hot fried anything must have played with my brain temporarily. But no...the second bite cemented it. Taste of the cajun spices and a dip in the spicy bbq sauce confirmed it for me. I've found chip haven and I sure am not going to hell for it.

 Hands up, those who have not heard of pulled pork. Now hang your heads in shame just imagine soft succulent pork moist in its own juices and smothered in a smoky thick sauce, and there you have it. The tangy coleslaw is perfect as it cuts through the richness of the pork and sweetness of the pork. Just tart enough with a hint of pickles to break up the monotony of buns and meat filling, the coleslaw is definitely a star in itself.

The potato salad is surprisingly not heavy or stodgy. The restraint is actually quite surprising as I was fully expecting big chunks of potatoes and thick mayo. Even the seasoning was just subtle. Another side dish I was more than pleased with.


 S and T ordered the platters. Yes, ONE EACH. 

There were the usual sides of your choice, beef brisket and pork ribs. You can choose the kind of ribs you would like - lamb, pork, beef. But it had to be the pork of course. Another kind of platter is the wings and ribs.

The beef brisket was tender and I do not care for other's opinions, I am perfectly happy just having the brisket by itself with maybe some blue corn tortilla chips. Je veux le boeuf. Delicieuse!

I was however a little disappointed with the ribs. It was not fall-off-the-bone, even though it does have a smoky flavour. Surprisingly although this was what we came here for, the other dishes were more of a standout. 

Might I be so bold as to suggest no words need accompany the above pics? Pastrami on Rye. 


 Now GO. You are welcomed.

Ajisen Ramen Review


367 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn, VIC 3122.
T: (03) 9818 0818

Japanese Ramen is more than just the instant noodles sold in supermarket and certainly a whole lot more complex and deep or subtle in flavour than the faux Jap places here and there masquerading actual instant noodles as Ramen.

The hours/days of brewing and simmering the traditional pork bone broth are tempered with gentle stirring and a low fire. Ramen chefs take years to master the art.

For many ramen enthusiasts especially those who have been to Japan and had the sublime pleasure of tasting the rich yet light secretion of concentrated broth, Ajisen Ramen is but a franchise with improbable and unauthentic provenance.

But hang on, although we have heard less than stellar reviews of this franchise from other states, I do not actually mind our Melbourne stores quite as much. I'm probably the first to admit the ramen tasted like they came from a refrigerated pack and the soup hardly rank high on the list, but for some strange reason, I genuinely do not mind it.

The Hawthorn store was one I visited quite some time ago after they opened, and I have been back since a few times. The service is quick, friendly, you eat and you go.

I tell you what, a mediocre passably good soup provides a fabulous base when you add a whole heap of garlic flakes and the fragrance of chilli powder, sesame seeds, seasoning and bits of nori into the steaming bowl of ramen.

I just love the kooky serviettes and logo

The Karage Ramen was exactly what you would expect from a Jap chain. The chicken was crispy enough but not super crunchy. It was slightly dry but the flavour wasn't half-bad. Let's face it, it's just an accompaniment. S added corn, as did I, to the broth and it was well worth it.

I ordered the spicy deep fried pork ribs with garlic and shallots because I was health-conscious looking forward to the onions adding another dimension to the soup as I stir it through with gusto. Although there was an obvious layer of oil skimming the top and I puked my guts out after that, I relished the different combination of flavours every ingredient and condiment added to the smell and taste of the ramen. The pork itself has a slight porky aftertaste, which is kinda unpleasant, but you can always chuck it to S leave it aside and dip it in some sauce later on.

All in all, no major complaints here. There are worse places Wagamama but I really do not mind it here at all and will revisit again and again.

Trading Hours:
Tues - Fri : 11:30am - 3:00pm, 5:30pm - 9:00pm
Sat - Sun : 12:00pm - 9:00pm