Culina Bistro at Como Demsey

C'est avec un cœur très lourd que je lise les nouvelles ces jours. Comme si la pandémie de Covid-19 n'était pas assez désastreuse, les États-Unis faire compliqué avec beaucoup de manifestations et des violences suite à la morte de George Floyd, précipitant des couvre-feux dans nombreux de États américains. Moi aussi, j'ai lu la vidéo choquante des derniers moments de George Floyd. Il est difficile d'avoir l'espoir, surtout parce que l'humanité s'est montrée qu'elle est capable d'atrocités terrible.

Je regrette que je ne sache pas beaucoup sur le racisme aux États-Unis, mais je dirai ceux-ci:

Je suis contre le racisme.
Je croire que tous soient égaux, et doivent être respectés quelle que soit la couleur de leur peau.
Je me tiens contre le meurtre insensé de gens à cause de leur couleur.

Nous ne sommes pas intrinsèquement racistes, la haine est inculquée insidieusement au fil du temps.

Il faut faire mieux. Comme un allie, on ne peut pas garder le silence, on ne peut plus rester neutre.

Et être un bonne alliée: tout d'abord, je reconnais mon privilège, même limité comme une singapourienne chinoise qui n'habite pas aux États-Unis. Et puis, je vais ouvrir mes yeux sur la réalité des personnes discriminées. Je vais apprendre ecouter ce que les personnes face au racisme et à la discrimination ont à dire, et ne pas remettre leur parole en doute. Aussi, je m'eduquerai sur la question du racisme. Et enfin, je m'engagerai et agirai comme un anti-raciste: je vais toujours relayer la parole des personnes discriminées et permettre ainsi d'amplifier leurs voix, de quelque manière que je puisse.

Même à Singapour, où nous sommes multiraciale; le préjugé, la discrimination et la marginalisation de minorités existent toujours, bien que plus subtilement: et alors le racisme est encore souvent nié, minimisé ou intériorisé. J'ai le privilège, surtout parce que je fais partie de la majorité chinoise à Singapour, et avec cet pouvoir, je vais soutenir et protegér mes amis et les personnes discriminées ou les minorités marginalisées, en respectant et m'eduquant sur leurs cultures et en ne les marginalisant pas comme les minorités. Et je ne serai pas ignorant et je serai sensible aux actes de microagressions (et n'accepterai pas de blagues racistes). En plus, quand il y a des problèmes raciste, je vais les écouter, et puis relayer leurs parole et amplifier leurs voix. 


From the recent proliferation of recipe posts, it may seem like I cooked all through the Circuit Breaker. Truth be told, I hardly cooked at all. It was nay impossible to get all the ingredients I needed, at the time that I wanted.

You see, I tend to cook on a whim, with little advance planning, so I typically hit the supermarket a few hours before I commence cooking. But because supply chains are disrupted due to border closures, travel restrictions, and global lockdowns pursuant to the Covid-19 pandemic, it's not so much checking off items on your recipe ingredient list, than it is adapting your dishes by working around what's actually available in the markets.

We also rationed trips to the supermarket, so the opportunity to get fresh meat on impulse was entirely impracticable.

On the upside, delivery/take-out options have never been more fantastic. Whereas we used to have to sit through a two hour-long degustation meal, we can now have such fancy meals in the comfort of our home and underwear, all while binge-watching our favourite shows. I told a friend, eating this well was a wonderfully restorative balm to being confined at home for two months.

We rotate a list of restaurants whose food we love, (and hence support because I would be most upset if they had to fold owing to the recession that's increasingly looking like a depression), and Culina is one of them safe reliables.

Even before the Circuit Breaker, we regularly picked up takeout from Culina. It's still new-ish, after a minor re-branding following a buy-out by the Como Group, so the crowds hadn't quite dissipated. Take-out was a logical solution to avoiding the dinner crowd. We already know that their food travels well, so once dining-in was prohibited under the Circuit Breaker, Culina was a no-brainer shoo-in to our list of 'Circuit Breaker To Eat'. 

That being said, this was a dinner sometime last year, when hugging our friends didn't require donning a dinosaur suit and a cough wasn't cause for panic. We were served by Kevin, a bundle of exuberance who not only recommended the excellent lamb cutlets, but also offered us a tasting of the Cab Sauv from Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills when we couldn't decide between the two. (we went with the Clare Valley one in the end...it was delicious!!)

An absolute must-try, the Rotisserie Lacto Chicken ($50 for whole), set against the nutty buttery notes of roasted mashed garlic and a sticky-sweet umami jus, was sublime. Because the chicken is brined, even the breast meat is luscious. Save for the roast chicken at Garibaldi and Odette (just about every restaurant now serves roast chicken as part of their takeout repetoire...likely because it's the dish that travels the best), Culina's rendition is unparalleled. A tip: we sometimes buy double portions of this (it keeps in the fridge for up to a week) and shortcut our way to a shredded rotisserie chicken salad or pasta (or even porridge!) for an easy peasy dinner.

Culina is known for their ultra-fresh produce, and the many iterations of their Market Fish featured regularly for dinner during the Circuit Breaker. The dine-in was a daily special of pan-seared Seabass ($35) set in a pool of Hokkaido clam bisque, ratte potatoes, and burnt peppers.  

Lamb doesn't quite travel as well, so as much as we loved the Maori Lakes Lamb Racks ($42), a perfect medium-rare of heft and complemented with a robust anchovy, olive and mint tapenade red wine sauce, I wouldn't suggest ordering this for takeout.

The Baby Spinach ($9) was redolent with garlicky overtones,having been wilted with garlic mince and then topped with fried garlic crisps. If you plan on doing any kissing thereafter, you'll need a box of mints. Or two.

The Lemon Steamed Broccolini ($9) was the perfect balance of crunchy and soft. The light touch left the focus on the natural sweetness of the greens.

The Sauteed Mushrooms ($9), a melange of trumpet, cepes, oyster and champignon varietals, was juicy with copious lashings of garlic and butter.

The complimentary bread basket of crusty baguette was set off beautifully by a lovely olive oil. Sometimes, if you ask nicely, you can nibble on bread and olive oil while waiting your takeout (obviously, this only applied when dining-in was still allowed in restaurants)

The dessert selection at Culina isn't impressive, but we were too arsed to go anywhere else to satisfy our sweet tooth, and so we got the Profiteroles ($15) sandwiched with vanilla ice-cream and topped with chocolate sauce and a dusting of icing sugar. This was surprisingly good!!

The Flourless Chocolate Cake ($15) served with double cream and fresh raspberries, was decent but didn't leave much of an impression.

Culina Bistro by Como
15 Dempsey Road Singapore 249675
Tel: 6474 7338 / (for takeaway: 6854 6169)
Website: www.culina.com.sg


Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Gochujang Maple-Syrup Glaze

그래서, 당신은 'Circuit Breaker'폐쇄 중에 무엇을 했어요?

페이스북과 인스타그램에서 많은 사람들이 여러 가지 취미를 선택했어요.

나, 나는 집에 항상 있기 때문에, ‘잠금’기간 동안 생활이 변화가 아무것도 없었어요. 그지만 한 가지 차이점은 과거에 우리가 따로 운동했는데 요즘 남편과 나는 같이 운동해요. (또한 모든 체육관과 싱가포르 아일랜드 컨트리 클럽이 문을 닫았 기 때문에 다른 선택의 여지가 없어요.) 유튜브에 많은 무료 운동을 발견했어요. 우리는 운동 비디오를 같이해가지고 살찌는데 너무 재미 있어서 행복했어요. 우리는 가까운 미래를 유튜브의 운동을 계속해야 할 것 같아요. 더 이상 회원체 멤버쉽 필요 없을 것 같아요!

그렇지만 남편과 함께있을 좋아하지만 친한 친구를 보고 싶는데 집에 있을 좋아하지만 밖에 자유롭게 나가고 싶는데 남편에게 요리하를 좋아하지만 나는 친구들에게 요리를 하고 싶는데 집에서 식사를 좋아하지만 식당에서 먹고 싶어 (특히 스테이크와 스시!!). 그리고 재택근무 하를 너무 좋아하지만 동료가 보고 싶어. 대부분 버블티를 그리워요. 그래서 나는 버블티 만드는 법을 배웠어요. 지금 나는 더 이상 Tiger Sugar도 필요 없어요 ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ


So, I'm going to be a maverick and proclaim that gochujang is the better sriracha. The Korean red pepper paste is sweet, umami, and just spicy enough to give it a kick without daunting the chilli-averse. And because it's so versatile, there are a whole lot more novel ways to utilise gochujang than simply forming the base flavour of many Korean stews.

I'd previously used gochujang in a Korean-western fusion braise, but here, I've paired it with maple syrup and apple cider vinegar, to make a dressing that lends a piquant zing to the smoky nutty notes of roasted brussels sprouts.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):
25 brussels sprouts, halved and tossed with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and salt
10 strips streaky bacon, crisped and cut into 1" squares
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp heapful gochujang
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1) Roast oil-slicked and salted brussels sprouts at 200C for about 20 minutes, tossing at the half-way mark. Turn oven up to 220C for another 5 minutes, this gives a golden-brown toasty char to the sprouts.

2) In the meantime, mix the sesame oil, gochujang, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar.

3) Assembly time: drizzle about 4-5 tbsp of dressing onto brussels sprouts and top off with bacon crisps.


Sup Sayuran Ayam (Indonesian-Style Yellow Chicken Soup with Vegetables)

Wow, après environ deux mois de confinement à chez nous sous le "circuit breaker", on revient enfin à une certaine forme de normalité. Bien sûr, le monde ne sera jamais le même (pas jusqu'à ce qu'un vaccin contre le coronavirus soit découvert...et produit en masse de toute façon), mais au moins, on peut enfin espérer voir bientôt nos amis et notre famille! Quelle bonnes nouvelles, ouais?

Alors, comment avez-vous dépensé pendant le "circuit breaker"? 

Pour moi, j'ai appris qu'il y a trop de gens se croit un boulanger fantastique ou un chef étoilé ... ou bien un gourou de santé ou un gourou du régime et du fitness. Il suffit de dire, seulement un quart de ces dilettantes ont réussi ou inspiré dans leurs efforts de se vanter sur les réseaux sociaux (les vidéos sur "Tik Tok" étaient les plus drôles, en particulier celles où les délirants qui croient qu'ils soient grands danseurs). En outre, trop d'imbeciles divulguent trop facilement leurs informations personelles, tout en se vantant sur les réseaux sociaux. 

Mais vraiment, j'ai bien profité le "circuit breaker", car j'étais confinée avec mon amour. Nous avons eu beaucoup de chance: pas d'enfants à s'occuper, et aussi pas de parents âgés à s'inquiéter dans cette pandémie. Nous sommes vraiment très privilégiés: nous avons des emplois stables, une maison confortable, et n'avons pas à nous soucier de l'argent ou la nourriture. Pour cela, je suis profondément reconnaissant. 


Indonesian soups (or sup or soto), like western stews, are one of my favourite dishes to cook. All you need is the rempah (spice paste), and then it's really up to you what protein and vegetables you'd like to add in thereafter. For me, I try to incorporate as many vegetables as possible, to lend sweetness and a contrast in textures. Plus, it adds gorgeous colour so it looks much more appetizing.

Here, I've adapted Soto Ayam into a soup (or sup as it's commonly called in Indonesia) laden with my favourite veggies. Hence, Sup Sayuran Ayam (transliteration: soup vegetable chicken). A tip is to use savoy cabbage instead of the regular round cabbage or napa cabbage (Beijing cabbage), it holds its shape fairly well even after sustained stewing. (and because even long-timey cooks like me make mistakes, I will confess that the first time I made this, I'd used purple cabbage, which brilliant colour "bled" into the soup, so The Husband, my dear long-suffering lab rat, was made to eat some weird purplish stew that looked more like a witch's brew than it did real food.

Also, if you're strapped for time, or can't be arsed to pound the rempah, do what I do, get my rempahs pre-made (I like this brand, 'Bamboe', available in Culina, or in certain NTUC supermarkets).

Ingredients (feeds 4):
1L chicken stock
8 chicken thighs, bone-in, marinated for at least 3 hours with 3 tbsp rempah
1 large savoy cabbage, sliced into large 2" squares
1 large broccoli, cut into florets
3 carrots, julienned
1 large bundle enoki mushrooms
15 shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 roll glass vermicelli noodles (tung hoon)
1 large yellow onion, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp mirin
1/2 cup ayam soto paste
5 eggs, hard boiled and peeled

Optional for serving:
sambal/yuzu pepper
kecap manis
fried shallots
belinjau crackers

1) Sweat onions in pre-heated canola oil-sesame oil mix on medium-high heat, until the onions are somewhat translucent, about 2-3 minutes.

2) Add garlic, fry until fragrant, about 40 seconds.

3) Add shitake, fry till water released is almost evaporated.

4) Add carrots, toss through about 1 minute.

5) Add savoy cabbage, toss through until cabbage wilts.

6) Add enoki, toss through 30 seconds.

7) Add rempah, toss through evenly.

8) Add stock.

9) Add chicken, bring to a boil and lower to a simmer for 35-45 minutes, depending on your preference for meat-softness.

10) In the meantime, boil eggs (I like mine in-between ramen-style semi-soft and full-on hard-boiled, so I boil room-temperature eggs for 8-9 minutes) and peel. Set aside.

11) 10 minutes before serving, add the glass vermicelli.

12) Also add the broccoli.

13) Dish up and serve with eggs, sambal (sometimes I replace this with yuzu pepper instead for a citrusy kick), kecap manis, bawang goreng (fried shallots), and/or belinjau crackers.


Gamjatang bokkeumbap (Korean Griddle Fried Rice with Gamjatang Soup)

작년 겨울 서울에 우리가 여행할 때 감자탕 볶음밥을 발견했어요. 우리는 보통 저녁 식살 때 밥을 먹지 않아는 데 소문난의 볶음밥은 정말 맛 있는데 우리는 매일 밥을 먹었어요. 당연히 우리도 매일 운동을해야했어요 ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ 우리는 살찌고 싶지 않았요! 그리고 포시즌스 호텔의 체육관은 너무 좋은데 사용하지 않으면 너무 낭비해요 (호텔 체육관 중에서 그것 제일좋아해요)


Just about every gamjatang restaurant offers some form of carb finisher. Typical options include rice, tteokbokki (rice cakes), ramyeon (instant noodles), dangmyeon (sweet potato noodles), and sometimes, potato chunks or spaghetti.

So, when you're down to about 2 cups worth of remainder stew (and a bit of shredded meat), a staffer will come round to your table, dunk a cup or two of rice/rice cakes/noodles into the pot, drizzle lashings of sesame oil, turn up the heat on high and fry with a handful of seaweed and shredded perilla leaves. If you opt for rice, you end up with a fragrant heap of deliciousness that's a cross between claypot rice and fried rice.

To recreate that at home, I've made the rice with gamjatang broth, instead of just water, for more intensity of flavour.

Ingredients (feeds 4-6):
3-4 cups white rice cooked with gamjatang broth
3-4 handfuls of roughly cut perilla leaves
3 tbsp heapfuls crispy seaweed shreds
1/2 cup gamjatang broth
2 tbsp sesame oil

1) Fry everything in a pan on high heat. Resist lowering the heat even if you hear the crackle and pop, it's meant to be like that, just keep tossing.

2) The end result should look like this: a little like the bottom layer of claypot rice, where the broth is fully absorbed and the rice is golden and crusty, almost crispy.

3) Serve with sprinkles of sesame seeds or crisp bacon.


Chicken Gamjatang (Korean Chicken Stew with Perilla)

Excusez-moi pour l'absence prolongée. Non, rien n'est mauvais. Je vais bien. Nous sommes bien, en bonne santé, heureux, (stockés avec suffisamment de papiers toilettes donc pas de soucis hahahaa). Il s'agit juste que la vie est devenue trop occupée, et entre essayer de maîtriser les langues de française et de coréenne, le travail, et toutes les obligations de la vie adulte, je n'ai plus le temps pour bloguer.


Korean cuisine seems to have taken off in Singapore. Whereas perilla leaves (egoma leaves as it's known in Japan) was previously only available at Isetan Supermarket and occasionally at Meidi-Ya, it's now sporadically available at most NTUC supermarkets.

So now that it's increasingly looking like our yearly pilgrimage to The Husband's motherland is improbable, I've had to adapt to whipping up our favourite Korean dishes right here on our little red dot. You know, stave off the cravings a trip to Seoul would typically satiate.

Gamjatang is one of our must-eats whenever we return to Seoul, and while it's usually made with pork spine meat (or pork ribs), I was wondering, why not render a version with chicken instead? It's a far easier protein to find here in Singapore, and more delicate in flavour than a pork-based stew. 

Ingredients (feeds 4-6):
8 chicken thighs
2L chicken stock
40 perilla leaves
3 large potatoes, cut into cubes
2 large enoki packets
4 cups brown shimeiji (or shitake, whichever you fancy really)

Seasoning (or yangnyeom):
7 tbsp deonjang
6 tbsp gochujang
7 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp anchovy sauce (myeolchi aekjeot)
2.5 tbsp guk kanjang
9 tbsp ground perilla powder
5 tbsp cooking sake
5 tbsp mirin
4 tbsp gochugaru (ground red pepper powder)
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp sesame oil


1) Fry garlic and ginger in pre-heated canola and sesame oil mixture, on medium heat until toasty, about 40 seconds.

2) Add the rest of the seasoning (or yangnyeom), fry on medium heat for about 2 minutes until dry and toasty.

3) The yangnyeom should look like this. It's a little like frying rempah in Malay/Peranakan cooking.

4) Turn the heat up to high, add chicken stock and mushrooms, about 5 minutes.

5) Add chicken, bring to a boil, and lower to a simmer for 40 minutes or as tender as you'd like.

6) 7 minutes before serving, add potatoes to cook through.

7) Just before serving, add perilla leaves to wilt.

8) Serve piping hot! 


Mykonos on the Bay

Helloooooo!!!! Wow that was an extremely extended silence huh?? Quick update, everyone's fine, in good health, happy... It's simply that life got busy (I've gone back to school, part-time, that is!) and between the classes and homework and tests (omggg, so many tests 😓😱😭...I question my decision to return to the student life Every.Single.Time. the exams roll around), and tv and the gym, and spending time with The Hubs (of course!!), my life was très occupé. Soooo, blogging took a backseat (bigtime!) and to be honest, I wasn't particularly inspired to write. And while I'm back, it's with the caveat that my blogging will likely be sporadic.

------ Okay, update's over!! ------

I'm not sure if you'd noticed, but I'm not a fan of Greek food. To be fair, I don't know much about and neither have I sampled much of Greek cuisine. I think, it's largely coz we've a dearth of Greek restaurants here in SG: Greek cuisine isn't quite as ubiquitous as, say, Italian or even Argentinian fare, especially in this part of the world. I'd only ever eaten at Blu Kouzina, and it was terribly blah that I'd written off Greek food then...so although Izzy returned from her honeymoon in Greece, raving about Greek food, I wasn't convinced.

That all changed recently, after our Greek friend (I call him "The Greek" heh), who'd been scandalized to discover our disparagement of Greek cuisine, was determined to educate (and hopefully cultivate a love for!) us on Greek cuisine.

He'd brought us to Mykonos on the Bay,..."the only restaurant I go to for a taste of home" he declared. It's been around for yonks (like seriously, it's been there for more than a decade, which is no mean feat!!), and while I've noticed it, while dining at Sabio or Greenwood, I'd never felt compelled to try it.

Thankfully my friends have good taste. The Greek did his heritage proud, and was absolutely bang-on with his favorite go-to. And I finally(!) get the fuss about Greek cuisine. It's clean, it's fresh, it's simple and yet so hearty and comforting and flavoursome. For some reason, it reminds me of Italian cuisine: just good ingredients and uncomplicated but sublime cooking.

We started off with the Mykonos Dip Platter ($26), a trio of dips traditionally served in every Greek restaurant. (I'd asked about hummus, which warranted the death-stare from The Greek hahaa: it's Turkish, not Greek. At all.) From left, we had the Taramosalata, a beautifully pink mousse of salmon fish roe whipped with ground almonds, olive oil and lemon juice. This was surprisingly delicate and nuanced, I'd expected a fishy aftertaste but there was none to be had!! Next up was my favourite: the Melitzanosalata, a grilled eggplant spread mashed with garlic, olive oil, onions, tomatoes and lemon juice. I don't even like eggplant (except eggplant parmigiana), but I loved this. It was subtly smoky and sweet, with the barest hint of a spiced kick. The Tzatziki, a crisp and refreshing dill and cucumber yoghurt spread, was the Hubs' favourite. All of them were fantastic on their own, or mixed together, and smashing with that freshly baked pita bread. Crazy good, we ordered another round of pita.

The Mixed Grilled Platter ($187 for 4pax) was a carnivore's wet dream: loaded with lamb chops, chicken sausage, gyros shavings, ribeye, minced lamb skewers, and a little side salad and tzatziki. I've never been keen on lamb, but both the lamb chops and minced lamb skewers were out-of-this-world delicious. Succulent and wonderfully marinated, they'd been imbued with a fragrant char from the grill. Special mention must be given to those luscious pork gyros, they were addictive AF. That being said, the Australian ribeye was middling. I could have done without it.

The meat platter was sided by homemade Potato Fries and a Pita basket (yup, we had 2 whole baskets of pita, which naturally, we didn't finish and so The Greek doggy-bagged them home for his cutie-pie daughter). I swear they cooked these fries in some kind of opium-laced fat, they were glorious!

Mykonos on the Bay
Quayside Isle
31 Ocean Way #01-10
Tel: 6334 3818
Open Mondays to Wednesdays from 6pm to 10.30pm;
Thursdays & Fridays from 12noon to 2.30pm for lunch; and 6pm to 10.30pm for dinner
Open weekends from 12noon to 10.30pm
Website: www.mykonosonthebay.com
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