Chicken Agrodolce


I tried a new recipe today. It is a chicken agrodolce recipe from last month’s Gourmet magazine.

This is a Sicilian dish, which uses ingredients such as sultanas, pine nuts, vinegar and sugar, and has flavours that are a combination of sour and sweet, as one can tell from its name. In Italian, “Agro” is sour and “dolce” is sweet.

I seared the chicken in a pan to retain its juices; sauted chopped garlic, onions and red chilli, diced carrots and celery with some saffron, almonds, sultanas, thyme and parsley; and made the sauce by reducing white wine vinegar, chicken stock and verjuice together. I placed the chicken in a roasting pan, added the sauce and sauted vegetables to it and left everything in the oven for 35 minutes.

The flavours of this dish are intensely tart AND sweet. Compared to this, I definitely prefer the hearty tomato-based Italian dishes.

Postcard From Korea: Suncheon Bay Hike To The Yongsan Observatory


I don’t remember taking this photograph in Suncheon Bay. So I was quite happy when I came across it in my photo archives tonight. I like the composition and the mood of the photo.

The bridge is the start of a 30-minute hike from Suncheon Bay to the Yongsan Observatory. The hike takes one up some fairly inclined slopes, and I started panting shortly after I started. ūüôā

But the views of the bay seen at the top of the observatory are amazing. Makes all the panting and sweating up the slopes worthwhile.

Gwangju: Best Spicy Pig’s Offal Soup


This was one damn good bowl of pig’s offal soup that I ate in Gwangju city. ¬†Thinking about it now makes me drool.

It was by accident that I had the opportunity to eat this scrumptious soup at an eatery located a block away from Prado Hotel, where I stayed in Gwangju.

Looking for an early dinner, I wandered into this quiet eatery without having any idea of what I wanted to eat.  Pasted on the walls of the eatery were strips of paper with names of a pletora of food written in Korean characters. I could not understand the characters and had no idea what was sold in that eatery.   The ahjummas shook their heads when I asked whether they sold the usual soondubu jigae, doenjang jigae, kimchi jigae, etc.  What kind of Korean eatery was this place which did not sell the popular Korean staples?

Out of desperation, I pointed to the bowl of soup that the guy at the next table was eating, gesturing to her to give me whatever he was having. ¬†When the ahjumma brought over a steaming hot bowl of soup with a very generous serving of pig’s stomach and intestines, I knew I hit jackpot!

After I tasted the soup, I shouted across to the guy at the next table saying ‘Kamsahamnida…!!’ From the look on his face, he must have thought I was mad.

The soup was sooooo delicious, and worth a 4-hour bus-ride from Seoul just to eat this soup.

Blueberry Cheesecake


I took the day off today, and baked a blueberry cheesecake. It has been ages since I baked anything that is more complicated than blueberry muffins. Okay, aside from pineapple tarts…

To me, blueberry cheesecakes are a visually appealing dessert. The deep purplish hues of the blueberries are a lovely contrast to the paleness of the cheesecake, and the look of it makes me want to take a huge bite of the cake. And when I do, I remember immediately why I don’t enjoy cheesecakes – they are too heavy and rich for my palate.

But I had fun making the cheesecake. And in many things, it is the journey that counts.

Goodbye 29 February 2012. See you in 4 years time!

Jeju: Glass House On Phoenix Island By Tadao Ando


The Mint Restaurant is located in the Glass House, a visually stunning glass-metal-concrete building designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando.¬†I love minimalist pristine-looking structures made of concrete, glass and metal. ūüôā The Glass House is part of Phoenix Island, a golfing resort located at Seopjikopji.

Before I went to Jeju for the first time, I thought it was just a scenic island getaway for Koreans and tourists. I have also not heard very exciting comments about the place from friends who have been there. Some tell me that it is rather dull.

To me, Jeju is ‘in-your-face’ Beautiful. Raw. Unbridled. Powerful.

It makes me want to go back and explore more of it. Huge spaces with wild reeds growing abundantly everywhere, strong coastal winds, a rocky coastline littered with black porous volcanic rocks, blue-green waters, oreums, windmills and vast fields with blooming yellow rapeseed flowers.

What surprised me about the island wasn’t just its natural beauty, but how ‘architecturally rich’ it is. There are so many stunning architectural creations that can be found in many parts of the island. There is the Glass House by Tadao Ando, the Angora by Mario Bota, the PODO Hotel Pinx by Itami Jun and many more that I have seen on various websites and coffee table books but have not had the chance to see in person.


I think I should spend a couple of days at the Phoenix Island resort next time. It is a perfect chill-out place.

Jeju: Mint Restaurant In Phoenix Island


I think I posted a photo of this restaurant some time ago. But I want to post it again, because it is such a pretty glass building.

I have seen this restaurant in several Korean dramas. I was charmed by the gorgeous ocean views offered by the restaurant, and I really wanted to go and see the place for myself.

So when I decided to go to Jeju, I looked around on the Internet to find the name and exact location of this restaurant. It is called Mint Restaurant, located in a huge golf-and-housing complex known as Phoenix Island at the eastern end of Jeju Island, near Soepjikoji.

As our resort is located on the opposite end of Jeju, we hired a cab to drive us to Phoenix Island.  the driver waited for us while we ate lunch and strolled around the complex before sending us back.

The ocean views seen through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows of Mint are STUNNING. Makes you want to linger in the restaurant for as long as you can. I can imagine how gorgeous views of the sunrises and sunsets will be, seen from the restaurant.

Another view of the interior of the Mint Restaurant.

Esquina: A Spanish Tapas Bar

What did I do on Valentine’s Day? I had a surprisingly scrumptious lunch at Esquina, a casual Spanish tapas bar located at Teck Lim Road (the road perpendicular to Keong Saik Road) with a friend.

We were quite fortunate to have gotten a table because the bar is pretty much a hole-in-the-wall and does not take reservations. Esquina resembles a ship’s alley, and like a Japanese sushi bar, has its diners seated around a counter where they can watch the chefs work.

Previously, I did say that I was never going to step into a tapas bar in Singapore ever again. Well, I take back my words. That is probably why people say ‘never say never’!


Esquina has a small menu, categorised as appetisers, meats, desserts and drinks. We ordered croquettas, bone marrow, aged Angus steak, rabbit and seafood paella and a sangria poached fruit crumble. We also each ordered a glass of carva, a Spanish sparkling wine.

Portions are small, as expected of tapas. But we filled up nicely after several servings. What we liked about the food here is that the tapas are interesting, and more importantly, well-made using ingredients that are fresh and of good quality. I shall not mention certain tapas places that I have been to which served me fried chicken wings.

It is always fun and educational to eat with my friend. Because he is knowledgeable about quite a number of cuisines, he will usually ‘dissect and analyse his food’ and provide a commentary about the type of ingredients used, the method of preparation, the region where the food that we are eating originated from and how it is probably prepared differently in a different region.

Gangneung: Hwedupbap at Gyeongpo


My first pit-stop in Korea was Gyeongpo beach in Gangneung.

After I arrived in Gyeongpo in the afternoon and checked into the hotel, I wandered around the Gyeongpo beach-front area, looking for a place amongst the many seafood restaurants for a place to have a late lunch.

I chose an eatery whose owner could speak a smattering of English, and he recommended that I try the¬†hwedupbap. It’s a Korean rice bowl with raw fish, vegetables and¬†gochu-chang.

That was the first time I ate hwedupbap and it was delicious Рthe raw fish was very fresh and came in thick chunks while the banchan contained most of my favourite side dishes.

These days, whenever I have a craving for hwedupbap, I head to Bukang Tuna at the Red Dot Traffic Building at Tanjong Pagar.


A long row of seafood shops along the beach-front of Gyeongpo beach.

Postcard From Korea


My 5-week trip around South Korea happened in November 2010, more than one year ago.  I have been remiss in putting up posts of the trip.

*Procrastinate, procrastinating, procrastinated* 

I feel it is a little too late now to write a long-winded story about the entire trip on this blog.¬†¬†I¬†have decided¬†to put up selected photos of each place that I visited and write a ‘postcard message’ for each photo. So that I don’t forget where I went, what I saw, who I met and what I ate during that trip.¬†

Maybe I should write the message Twitter-style Рno more than 140 characters per message!

¬†* Picture from VisitKorea’s website.¬† My route is marked out in blue and red:

Seoul > Gangwon-do > Jeju-do > Jeollabuk-do > Jeollanam-do > Gyeongsangbuk-do > Seoul


Peekture: Strawberry Jelly Hearts On Valentine’s Day

I don’t do Valentine’s Day. I cannot even bring myself to use the word ‘celebrate’. All the commercial cheesiness revolving around Valentine’s Day – exorbitantly-priced and frequently ugly flower bouquets, candlelit Valentine’s Day set dinners, men trotting around carrying heart-shaped balloons – makes my skin crawl.

When I was studying in VJC, 14 February was known as Friendship Day. Performances would be put up by various groups in the canteen and common areas, a singing group would accept song dedications and move from one lecture theatre to another singing songs dedicated to various individuals, and one could buy roses at flower stands for a fairly decent price. I remember the school atmosphere on 14 February to be wonderful Рit was like being at a carnival.  Awwww, I miss my college days.


Like every year, I am staying clear of restaurants and shopping malls tomorrow, and I will try not to spit at anyone who asks me if I am “celebrating Valentine’s Day”.

For the fun of it, I decided to make these jelly hearts and eat them tomorrow. ¬†I am addicted to these things! ¬†Although I prefer eating this dessert without the strawberries, I decided to add the heart-shaped strawberries since it is Valentine’s Day. ¬†They look a little messy with jagged edges, I know!

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