Thursday, January 31, 2013

BORNGA, Authentic Korean @ Star Vista

BORNGA probably the biggest chain of Korean BBQ restaurants globally has opened in Singapore. Located at Star Vista, it is joins the 33 outlets in Korea and 12 others in China, US and Indonesia.

BORNGA @ Star Vista

This was an invitation to try out their cuisine and we were hosted by their PR folks and a Korean lady in charge of BORNGA. If you have not heard, they have patented recipes here that has been created by Korean celebrity chef Jong Won Paik.

BORNGA @ Star Vista
What a big long plate of veggies. You think it's a lot? You will finish it with all the delicious meat that you eat here! Read on to see how to wrap the meats and you know these veggies won't be enough!

BORNGA @ Star Vista
One of the interesting banchan that you will try is this 'Water Kimchi'. It's very light kimchi and it's a little cold and quite appetising!

BORNGA @ Star Vista
Both my parents and parents-in-law have been to South Korea and they were always talking about all kinds of kimchi. I can't remember if they told me they have tried this before, but this was my first time having cold kimchi soup. It's usually hot and spicy kimchi soups that I had.

BORNGA @ Star Vista
Quite a selection of banchans and these were quite good too!
Some of these goes well with other dishes too. It's always good to have Koreans eating with us to tell us exactly how to eat things. We have a habit of finishing everything up don't we?

BORNGA @ Star Vista
Jap Chae ($23)
For those who have a liking for chewy korean glass noodles, this has been stir fried with beef and vegetables. Nicely flavoured and fragrant. I thought of my cousin who loves korean jap chae!

BORNGA @ Star Vista
It was a lunch for 5 of us that day and this was our tables and mess. The grill that you see in the middle of the table had been designed that uses gas to heat up a layer of stones inside. Interesting eh?

The heated stone radiates an even layer of heat. Wonder is it why the grilled stuff here taste so much better?

BORNGA @ Star Vista
Ggot Sal (prime cut and very tender unmarinated beef, $38)

There are those who likes marinated meats and those that prefer unmarinated ones. Which do you prefer? Dining at another place and was hosted once by Koreans too, it seems that many Koreans prefer unmarinated ones.

BORNGA @ Star Vista

You just need to cook it just nice and not too long. Look at the marbling. It will all melt away when you grill it. All is left will be the tender pieces of beef.

BORNGA @ Star Vista
The meats are unmarinated, so if you prefer, you can dip a little of the 3 types of oils and sauces that you will get depending on your orders. The dark one is the patented signature Woo Samgyup sauce that's imported from Korea to maintain consistency.

BORNGA @ Star Vista
Turn it over in a while and it's almost ready!

BORNGA @ Star Vista
Just the perfect doneness. It's still a little pink inside. Taste it and you will grow to love Korean food even more.  Don't over cook it or you will regret.

BORNGA @ Star Vista
Woo Samgyup (thinly sliced beef with BORNGA's special sauce; $22) 

Their signature dish, with their patented recipe! Everyone that goes to BORNGA around the world will order this. Prepared from nicely marbled beef 'short plate' that has been very thinly sliced, it's only seasoned slightly with BORNGA's secret marinade and ready for us to cook. You don't get dark bulgogi meats, but natural colours of the meat.

The Korean lady showed us how she cooks it. Everyone does it differently, but her family does it this way. Put the nicely stacked meats as you see above. Just let it cook for a while, when it gets a bit cooked, it's really easy to take them apart.

BORNGA @ Star Vista
Since it's now easy to take them apart, just move it to the sides and grill it till is sizzles. What a brilliant idea. No need to struggle at the beginning. Just a simpler way of cooking!

BORNGA @ Star Vista
How do you eat it? Remember the banchans that has leeks? Roll some leaks in between the sliced beef and dip it in the Woo Samgyup sauce. I tell you, it's so delicious! Does that tempt you?

BORNGA @ Star Vista
I love the taste of leeks so this was my kind of food. I know some of you hate it, so just skip it!
Just remember to save some of this from your banchans and eat it with your meats.

BORNGA @ Star Vista
Another way to make it taste better and healthier is to grab some lettuce and the other darker leave that I forgot what it was (think it was baby bock choy),  some leeks, some radish kimchi and the warm grilled meat.

BORNGA @ Star Vista
To eat it, grab it into a 'ball' and then stuff it in your mouth! Our petite korean lady could actually put it into her mouth! Wow! She said please no photo of her stuffing it in. LOL

It's a wonderful way of having the meats. The veggies were so fresh and crunchy. It really makes you eat your veggies! There's no hard and fast rules, just eat it the way you like it and add your banchans in.

BORNGA @ Star Vista
BORNGA Naeng Myun (buckwheat noodles with cold broth, $15)

If you like cold noodles,  try the ones here. The cold broth had slurpee like texture. It's so cold, it's so so refreshing.

BORNGA @ Star Vista
Moving the top away to let you see the cold buckwheat noodles.

BORNGA @ Star Vista
Served with cold refreshing ingredients, if you are those who enjoy cold noodles, you will like it. I can't imagine my mum liking this though. She's the hot food kind of people.

I like it. I love Cold Vietnamese Noodles, Cold Japanese Noodles, so I have found another new love. Cold Korean Noodles! This is different from my usual Vietnamese and Japanese version. This has ice in it!

BORNGA @ Star Vista

Something similar to the previous cold noodles, this is the Bibim Naeng Myun (buckwheat noodles in a spicy chilli sauce, $15)

This version is less wet and has very very spicy chilli sauce. Prepare to cry! It's spicy and delicious. Something about cold and spicy noodles just makes you want to try more of it. This is very subjective. Some of you might just not like it. 


BORNGA @ Star Vista
Chadol Duenjang Jjigae (a traditional Korean soybean paste stew with beef, $16)

Another of their signature dishes, this is the Chadol Duenjang Jjigae. When you order this, they will cook it at a stove beside your table. It takes time to cook it. A pot with very watery soybean paste mixture and ingredients will be brought to you. It will be boiled until it becomes around half the liquid is left. A stew that's cooked in front of you.

BORNGA @ Star Vista
The stew is then poured over a big bowl of rice. Yes the picture above is quite a big bowl!Another use of the banchans, the kimchi radish strips added into it makes it taste better.

BORNGA @ Star Vista
The finger at the side will let you gauge how big the bowl is. ;-)
Give it a super good mix, just like how they do it in Korean dramas!

Can you already imagine the taste as you look at the photo above?
Carbo lovers will love it.

BORNGA @ Star Vista
Tteokgalbi (ground rib meat patties mixed with a soy sauce seasoning and then grilled, $20)

Meat eaters, this might be something you might want to order!
I was told this is just ground beef with seasoning. No other fillers.

BORNGA @ Star Vista
This thin layer of beef is so tasty! I can easily finish the whole lot!
It's soft and yet firm and have a little crisp layer because of the cooking style.

BORNGA @ Star Vista  

At the end of your meal, this unique tasting drink will be served. Complimentary, this is Omija. It's a 5 flavoured tea, so some might not like it at all. It's combination of taste. I thought it was weird on the first mouth, but I boldly took the 2nd and it became better. I did drink a few more mouths but did not finish it.  ;-)

Note: Like all Korean BBQ places, expect to smell (good) with all the food being grilled. So do not plan to have meetings after this meal. 


BORNGA
1 Vista Exchange Green
#02-24, The Star Vista
Singapore 138617

Tel: 6694 4696
Hours: 11:30am to 10pm daily



Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe @ Mackenzie Road

I was chatting with a friend over instant messenger the other day and she asked if making ice cream using liquid nitrogen is popular in Singapore. I thought for a while. I have only see them made at the Singapore Science Centre during the annual Science Week.

Are there such an ice cream place in Singapore? I search online using my favourite search engine and found 2 places in Singapore.  One was a kiosk operator and have it for special order, the other is 320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe at Mackenzie Road.

How interesting. The geek in me thought I must go see it in action. I was picturing mad scientists in white mixing liquid nitrogen into milk and flavourings. The ice cream person in me was craving for some ice cream, so I asked the wife if she's game to try some.

320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe @ Mackenzie Road

We are working in different parts of Singapore and thought taking the MRT would be the best option since we found that it's just beside Little India Station. Take Exit A and you would see this place.

320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe @ Mackenzie Road

A very 'kiddy place', but welcoming. First thing you see won't be the menu, but the 4 Kithen Aid mixers! Can't make it too obvious that I just want to see how the ice cream was made.

The other wall is full of paper cups filled with cute drawings.

320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe @ Mackenzie Road

Here's a zoom in of the menu that's from the top photo. It says introductory prices for a limited period. I am not sure until when though.

It took both KopiKosongGirl and I a full 5 minutes to select the flavours that each of us want. Don't worry. The guys at the counter are too too busy, they won't bother you to hurry up. ;-)

I chose Salted Caramel and KopiKosongGirl chose Peanut Butter.

The ice cream lady finally had a pause after finishing other orders and she took our orders.

(Techies out there,  they are using iPad for the cash register here. Just like a few other new establishments like Carpenter and Cook)

320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe @ Mackenzie Road

I asked the lady if I could take photos, she said sure, but if I want her face, it's in the newspapers. She said something like that. Shhh... I was just interested to take the machines, but I did not say that to her.


Earlier when I placed my order, I said I wanted Salted Caramel. The lady taking my order suggested I had it with honeycomb. It's a great combi she said.  I said sure. It does sound good!

For Peanut Butter, her partner which is the other guy also busy with the other 2 machines, said Oreo goes well with Peanut Butter. Again, we said: Sure, why not?

320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe @ Mackenzie Road

We were sitting down waiting for our orders and enjoyed looking at how they make ice cream in front of us. They have containers of probably cream and other stuff already weighted in metal measuring cups. When they are making our ice cream, they mix the pre-measured stuff in, added whatever flavours we want in, measured some fresh milk and added it into the KitchenAid Mixing Bowl.

They turn on the mixer and then turn on the tap for liquid nitrogen to flow into the mixing bowl. A few seconds of it and the whole place fills up with smoke-like cold mist.

Quite clever of them to have changing lights!

320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe @ Mackenzie Road

After a while, the ice cream is ready! They then had to scrap the ice cream out from the metal bowls. It looks like hard work! They seem quite busy and they must be quite tired with all the scraping and washing of the mixing bowls!

320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe @ Mackenzie Road

The other two mixing bowls. I wonder why KitchenAid and not Bosch or Kenwood. (I am a fan of Bosch and Kenwood haha)

Probably of the colours of KitchenAid mixers?

320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe @ Mackenzie Road

Here's my Salted Caramel with Honeycomb.

The ice cream was quite smooth and creamy. It has a nice feel in the mouth, no big crystals and definitely not icy feel. They got the chemistry right and the ice cream taste good in your mouth. The honeycomb gave it a nice sweet crunch. Good recommendation!

320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe @ Mackenzie Road

This was KopiKosongGirl's Peanut Butter with Oreos.
As KKG is a peanut butter fan, we recognised the peanut butter brand they used. We saw the bottle and the cap and recognise it even thought they have rip off the labels. It's the smooth version of it.

The texture is nice, but not as smooth as the salted caramel I had. It's still quite good. Sweet and a bit salty, it's a nice mix too. A good combination too. The other suggestion was I think tequila with peanut butter.

320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe @ Mackenzie Road

Some interesting things that you can read while you are waiting for your ice cream.

320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe @ Mackenzie Road

We thought for $4.50, it's a good price. Most ice cream shops sells it for the same price or more. This is freshly made too. So if you are a ice cream person or some scientist wanna be, this is a nice place to have some ice cream and see the 'science experiment' in action.

I won't say their ice cream is superior to other shops. Ice cream make the old fashion way can be much better if made correctly. I make ice cream at home, so I know that ice cream do need some curing time in the freezer to taste richer.  It all depends on your ingredients, skills and practice.

This is a fun way of having your ice cream. The taste is good and price is quite fair. I will go back again though. The 'fun' factor is there. I want to try their sorbet and frozen yoghurts.

Now, I feel like getting liquid nitrogen at home to make this. If I do, my ice cream machine at home will be in hibernation mode for some time. LOL.


320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe
33 Mackenzie Road
#01-01
Singapore 228686




Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT Store (Bukit Timah)

I like kitchen gadgets and where when there is an opportunity to try something, I will like to try it.

If you don't already know, ToTT Store (remember Tools of the Trade) at Dunearn Road is 36,000 sqf kitchen wonderland! There's a cafe, a Cooking Studio in it as well! Whenever we go there, we covet everything there! Our family have spent some 4 digit number for 'toys' from this store over the years. I am saving money and waiting for 'members month' to get discounts for the next toy, which is either a Sous Vide Supreme or Thermomix. (subject to the approval of the better half first)

If you missed it, last Christmas they had really good offers for Staub cocotte. I bought one 20 inch Staub Cocotte for just $101 after discounts and using vouchers!! You can instantly redeem the 'Blue' for its corporate colour bank points on the spot for ToTT vouchers.You can tell I am quite a fan of this place.

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT

Last month at ToTT Cooking Studio, there was this Pizza Making Class using the Pizza Perfector machine and the demo was hosted by two-time winner of the World Pizza Championshop winner, Theo Kalogeracos. Theo's company created the Pizza Perfector machine.

For the techies, this gadget has a heating element attached to the cover of this clam shell device. The heating element is controlled by the timer on top. There are 2 vents on top that let steams escape so the pizza comes out crispy. The borrom part of the machine where you put the pizza on, the plate rotates. So if any case your heating element is not even, your pizza will turn out nicely heated because of the rotation.

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
This is Theo. I just wonder how a person who eats so much carbo, I assume he loves pizza can be still in good shape! He owns the Pizza Place called Little Caesars Pizzeria in Perth, Australia.

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
Strong Flour and yeast.

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
Add water, there's no oil in it in his recipe.

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
Get your hands dirty, you need to feel how the dough is with your hands. You know when it's done by feel.  (Be careful not to have the flour on your camera or phones! haha..)

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
Knead until it becomes one big lump. It takes a while though.
It's not ready yet. It needs some rest to get the gluten activated.

If you want home made goodness and no preservatives and chemicals, you got to be patient!

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
The fun part of the hands on class is that you can really get your hands into the making of the treat. Oh, what you make you get to bring it home too!

This was the class I attended. I was standing at the side with a camera will flour all over as I knead my dough as well!

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
You can see that after kneading and kneading, the texture of the dough is unlike the big lump in the earlier photo. It has become smoother. When you touch it, it is also like touching your slightly flabby arms. (Sorry, but that's what I can think that most people have) It's a combi of soft yet firm feeling.

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
Lots of elbow grease involved! We pressed the dough in a round shape and then roll them and press it again. We are reminded not to overdo it, else we have to let it rest and get 'soft' again.

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
We need to get it nicely kneaded and roll up this way.
(If you want to know how the dough feels, sign up for future classes!)

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
Like making other things with dough, Chefs and experts are always telling you to create a nice smooth surface with tension on it. Here we are rolling the dough on the table top to create a nice round surface.

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
Here we go. A tear drop shaped dough that the rounded part is nice and smooth.

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
The pointed end on the table and press it down. We will now start to roll it into a round shape using a rolling pin. We were going to roll them big enough to fit into the metal sieve like thing on the right on the photo.

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
Oh yes, time to show off. What's a world champion without showing his flipping in the air skill.
We were told, if we are not confident, just holding the corners and letting the dough droop down will also have the safe effect.

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
Off it flies into the sky!
Sorry for the blur photo, I was too excited!

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
These were my two pieces of pizza dough. Not perfectly round, I was rolling my dough, taking photos of it and instagramming it live on location. It's not too bad right?

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
While we let the dough rest, we started making this sauce for the pizza.
We browned some onions and then added in cream and some seasoning. It taste quite good.

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
We were making 2 types of pizza. One savoury and one sweet for dessert.

It's simple right? It's very economical to make it at home too. You can make the crust thin or thick. Change the ingredients or toppings and you can turn it into some gourmet pizza too!

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
We had prawns and parma ham. It's not the usual tomato based paste we make or eat at home.

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
We dribble some of the cream sauce that we made earlier over the toppings.
Surprisingly, the pizza comes out really really tasty!

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
The Pizza in the Pizza Perfector for 10 minutes!

Oh, if you are one of those who likes to buy frozen pizzas, this machine heats up frozen pizzas nicely too! The organisers bought 2 brands of frozen pizzs from the supermarket, one el-cheapo brand, and one expensive brand. Both turns out so nicely in this oven!

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
That's it. We sprinkle some lemon juice and chives over it and it was time for us to eat!

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
 A scene at the class. This was probably the smokiest moment in the studio!

We were going to make a sweet dessert pizza, so here we were, caramelizing sugar to be turned into butterscotch and it's hot hot hot!

In every class, there are the brave ones, who will be hardwork. Others will be taking the phone documenting every step! Every station had the Pizza Perfector!

(I usually don't introduce my online personality when I go for classes, so the person beside me did not know who I am. Just some weird guy who keeps taking photo of everything).  She was a bit timid as she said she usually does not cook at home. With a bit of nudging, she made 2 nice pizzas too. She did it very slowly, but eventually she completed it. She was not afraid of the making the caramel from sugar too though it was so hot!  I shared with her my pizza to taste on the spot, and told her to bring hers home instead. To show off to her husband a bit lah, and let him try it too.

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
The ToTT Studio is a fully BOSCH kitchen. If you are renovating your home and you like to have some hands-on session on the equipment, sign up for these classes. Some of you will know I am quite a fan of BOSCH kitchen equipment.

We were caramelizing sugar on the BOSCH induction cooker.  Be warned, it's powerful and your sugar melts quickly especially when you turn it on to Booster Mode!

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
Adding cream into the caramel. Look at how it bubbles! Not for the faint hearted. It's very very hot!
The smell is also very very good!

Theo was telling us, you do not need so much sugar in your butterscotch. If you do, you might as well buy those super sweet ones. The purpose of making it yourself is to have a healthier option. Still enjoying good food, but healthier. 

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
This was the pizza we made with a bottom layer of mozzarella, some banana and a mixture of different nuts and we put it into the Pizza Perfector.

Pizza Perfector Cooking Class at ToTT
Pour the butterscotch liberally over it and sprinkle some icing sugar. You have a very very delicious dessert pizza!

I bought Theo's Book that is on sale at ToTT Store. Yes, I was quite impressed with his stuff and I am a sucker for recipe books, so I got it and got him to autographed it too!



This class I attended was an invited session. So to thank the ToTT for the class, here's some adverts from them:

Chinese New Year Celebration Sale
From 5 January to 24 February 2013, ToTT lends a hand with the New Year celebrations with up to 50% off selected items in store, featuring specially chosen products to help kickstart the festivities.

Get ready to usher in the Year of the Snake with rounds of family feasting, and perfect for those gathering round for a traditional steamboat dinner are bundled sets such as the Iwatani Portable Gas Cooker with Zebra Shabu Shabu Pan (UP: $112.90; Now: $90.40) as well as the Divider Soup Pot together with Induction Stove (UP: $191.80; Now: $134.30).

Make it a feast for the eyes too, by serving up hearty family fare on some of ToTT’s elegant serving ware such as Cerabon Essentials ‘PEACH’ Series Coupe Plates (UP: from $17.70 - $26.70; Now: $14.20 - $21.40) or ‘AUTUMN GRASS’ Series Plates (UP: from $12.90 - $23.80; Now: $10.40- $19.10).

Cooking Classes at ToTT (February 2013)

For the Chinese New Year Workshop – Good Fortune (03-February, Sunday, 2pm-5pm), Chef Eric Low will showcase delicious CNY dishes. Watch him prepare 1) Crispy Fish Fillet with Caramelized Shallots and Basil Leaves, 2) Steam Ginger Marinated Chicken with Jin Hua Ham and Mushrooms and 3) Longevity Noodles with Superior Stock and Quail Eggs. You can learn these 3 dishes to add to your CNY dishes repertoire!

The Demo Class is priced at $68 (ToTT Members/DBS/POSB cardholders enjoy 10% discount from ToTT's regular cooking class fee). Classes can be can booked online (http://www.tottstore.com/cooking_studio.html) or by calling 6219 7077 (Ext 201).

*Registration for cooking classes closes three working days prior to the date of class or when maximum number of participants is reached, whichever comes first. Bookings should be made in advance to avoid disappointment.


ToTT Store
896 Dunearn Road
01-01A
Singapore 589472

Tel: 62197077

Store Operating Hours:  Mon - Fri: 11.00am - 9.00pm /  Sat, Sun & PH: 10:00am - 9:00pm
Bistro Operating Hours: Mon - Fri: 10.30am - 9.00pm / Sat, Sun & PH: 9:30am - 9:00pm


Note: The CNY class above is the demo class, these are not hands on, but you get to taste the food that's being prepared in front of you. If you like hands on sessions, look for the classes marked "hands-on" at http://www.tottstore.com/cooking_studio.html  I see classes for CNY Macaroon and also other CNY Cookies classes.



Stumble Upon Toolbar
Blog Widget by LinkWithin