Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cavalock and The Cheese Steak Wonderment

Yikes! Looks like its been ages since I posted but I do have a good reason for that but I just don't wanna jinx it by letting the cat outta the bag so soon. I definitely still enjoy writing! Anyway I took a walk round my neighbourhood couple weeks ago and looks like another one bites the dust.

The cute little Japanese dessert joint Karafuru is no longer in biz. To be honest, I ain't exactly surprised as the place was usually empty even during dinner time. I only ate there once and while the eclairs tasted really good, the price was just too expensive for me to pay them another visit. And I guess others must have felt the same way too or maybe there's another reason why they are closed?

Well, I did managed to finally drop by a place I have been meaning to try for months now. Had a quick dinner at Park Bench Deli near Amoy in the Central Biz District. Their cheese steak was pretty good at a decent price (S$16). Nice amount of fat in the steak, I'm guessing it's sirloin (even though it says brisket in the menu). Heh, every time I'm in that area and I see all the office drones, I'm just soooooo glad I'm outta the rat race.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Cavalock and The Start of The Retro Renovation

My friend's third dessert joint Creamier at Gillman Barracks had its official opening on Saturday and I was fortunate enough to score an invite to the afternoon event. The place looks a lot better now that they got the outdoor furniture. Had a scoop of their new kaya toast flavour and it was as good as I expected. You can't miss the rich familiar pandan coconut taste and the tiny pieces of bread or toast in the ice-cream adds texture to the whole deal. Well, the place was wonderfully packed with families and friends. I even ran into some ex-colleagues form the old agency. Unfortunately an early dinner engagement that evening meant I couldn't stay for the lion dance. But I'll drop by again real soon.

Hail Cesar, The Hateful 8, Daredevil Season 2, American Horror Hotel, the list goes on. Yes, I'm finally catching up on my iPad shows. The last few weeks and I suspect the coming weeks as well, will be rather busy for me. Renovation works on the old family home is set to begin next month. Yikes! And it sure ain't cheap bringing a relic like that into the 21st century. The retro flooring and metal grills, we are definitely trying to keep most of them. Some can't be saved as they are cemented into the bloody walls and when work starts, they'll have to be ripped or jack-hammered outta them. I absolutely love those rows of air holes in the walls as the fresh air from outside circulates and prevents the entire place from getting stale. But they'll have be sealed shut cos the place is gonna be air-conned.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Cavalock and The Beer and Tea Mingling

After a spell, I managed to drop by Meidi-Ya supermarket again just in time for their 13th Anniversary Fair, that's till Monday. They got tubs of Japanese ice-cream at 20% off which was mighty irresistible until I remembered I'm the bus back in this crazy hot weather. As always, it's the booze that caught my eye.

Now I must have written half a dozen posts bout how much I really like Japanese tea in a can. Like them better if it comes out of a damn machine in Tokyo. Lots here in Meidi-Ya, for only S$2 a can. And there are chicken wings too. They got soy, sea-salt, garlic shoyu and buncha other flavours. Go knock yourself out.

So in my last post I mentioned bout one of my stories got picked up in an e-book fantasy/horror anthology. I just wanna say 'thank you' if you bought a copy of it, you all know who you are. Strange and cool thing is I got another email from another publisher saying how much that person liked the same story and also wanted to publish it. Unfortunately they couldn't cos it was already picked up the first publisher. I guess it's one them good news, bad news situation. Good news they loved it, bad news they can't print it. Hah!

By the way, as I'm writing this, I'm watching The Hateful Eight on me iPad. Great show.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Cavalock and The Book Sales Pitch Bravado

Never thought I'd be doing this but here's a sales pitch! If you like fantasy stories written by South-East Asian writers and own a Kindle, do support this little e-book anthology Insignia: Southeast Asian Fantasy. My story The Island is in there and I hope you all like it. It's a little horror fantasy set in Singapore back in the 70s although you might not be able to guess that. It was edited out due to space. Oh, but you can get it through Smashwords here too. And a huge thank you in advance!

I know it has been awhile since I posted any wildlife shots by me Dad. Thing is, he had a bypass surgery just before Chinese New Year. But after a month of rest, he was back on his feet and criss-crossing the island almost every morning. He's over 80 years-old and still lugging his camera equipment in this sweltering heat. Of cos, some things had to change. He had to sell off his old heavy Canon camera for a lighter Nikon one. If anyone's keeping track, he's now using the Nikon D750 and lens af-s 300mm, teleconverter 1.7 and the 200 - 300 lens. It's all Greek to me. Well, no not exactly, sometimes I just pretend to know less bout stuff than I do.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Cavalock and The Forbidden Coconut Compendium

Ah, the things I find in Bangkok that I wish we had more of back home. Knorr Pork Cubes is something you won't find in our supermarkets here for obvious reasons, so naturally we had to grab a pack when we saw them on sale. Haven't used them yet!

I lost count of the number of the things I wanted to buy but didn't.  Coconut oil and cream! They had all kinds of coconut oil for a multitude of uses. You put them in your food, spread them on your body, slap them on your face, it's all supposed to be good for you. I don't know if they all work but I do know that the baker in the house stopped me from buying any.

Believe it or not, one of my favorite desserts or snacks there wasn't a Thai delicacy but a treat that I had before, in Tokyo. Found the Bake outlet in Bangkok and immediately wolfed down one them heavenly cheese tarts. Now just waiting for their outlet here to open at ION basement.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Cavalock and The Obligatory Thai Food College

Still continuing my long overdue Thai vacation and of cos it's time for the traditional obligatory overseas food college. To be honest, we didn't try a lot of the street food as even my Thai cousin advised us not to. Absolutely enjoyed every meal we had in Bangkok.

Spotted this at a local supermarket in Bangkok and couldn't resist grabbing a pack. Fried chrysalis, not something you see everyday back home so why not? Yah, I know. No street food but ok with sampling some slightly questionable fried bugs or insect pupas.

Well, the pupas were definitely larger than what I expected. Not the tastiest things I ever tasted out of a big. Texture-wise it's kinda like eating paper, as in little pieces of paper. Tastes a little eggy too. Maybe I should have picked the green seaweed flavour pack instead.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Cavalock and The Street Life Disposition

When in Bangkok, we tried their most famous detox programme. Within minutes, we were sweating out toxins from our pores like crazy. That's right, we attended the cleansing ritual that is Chatuchak Market on a blazing Saturday morning. The last time I was here was over a decade ago and it has definitely changed a lot since then. Less chaotic, more organised stalls but still almost just as hot. I believe they still sell livestock although I didn't see any but we never walked the entire place so maybe. I could hardly find any more bootleg or counterfeit items for sale and I was gonna give up hope when I stumbled onto this and everything is right in the world again.

If you are looking for food in Chatuchak, forget it. I strongly recommend the famous Or Tor Kor market just across the road for all kinds of fresh and cooked Thai food.

And now this. Sometimes I wish we can experience a kind of old school lawlessness back in our streets. Don't you feel that when the sun goes down and you are walking down Orchard Road or the CBD, it's just people rushing from point A to B. It's incredibly boring. There's often nothing else to see or experience on the way. I mean I been to and seen the nightlife along the streets of Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. In the evening, the streets come alive with a sprinkling of unruliness, a hint of chaos, a tinge of temptation but without a sense of danger to anyone. The street hawkers, peddlers and other colorful night denizens are all genuinely there to make a living. I knew they were folks breaking the law just a couple feet away from me but I didn't unsafe at all. I'm not asking for looters or mad bombers roaming the streets at night. And I'm definitely not asking for government sanctioned 'Pedestrian Night' or organised sports events along Orchard Road and Shenton Way. I want something different from the current boring street nightlife, something to stir my senses, something that'll make me pause and do a double take at what that guy is selling from his little makeshift stall. I suppose the closest we have here are the Geylang back alleys but nah, that ain't working for me. I want something more brazen with the chance to be shocked or surprised by what I see on sale. I also believe that's what tourists would like too. Is that too much to ask?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Cavalock and The Royal Iced Rice

We had more than a couple pleasant surprises while in Bangkok. One that really blew us away was khao chae or rice soaked in ice water. I had never heard of it until my Thai aunt insisted we try it as it's now the hot season and some restaurants are serving the dish.

According to Wiki, it's a dish introduced sometime back in the 19th century and is considered "Royal Thai cuisine" by some. I'm no expert on it so I'm gonna repeat what's already in the Wiki entry. A firmer variety of rice is used instead of the regular Jasmine rice you find in Thailand. The flower-scented water is carefully prepared before the rice is soaked in it. There's quite a spread of specially prepared side dishes to go with the iced rice. Mango, cucumber, fresh spring onions go into the rice which is what I did or I suppose you can also just have them without tossing them in.

When we had it for the first time for lunch in a little neighbourhood restaurant Klang Soi, it was the tempting side dishes that stole the limelight here. I specially like the little shrimp paste balls very much. The shredded beef floss and Chinese radish or chai poh were also excellent. One of the most memorable overseas meals I ever had. Here's another article about it. So the next big question is, can you find this dish anywhere in Singapore?

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Cavalock and The Morning Market Meetup

Way back when I was barely out of my teens, my mom wanted to matchmake me with a Thai girl and knowing my late mom and ...er... family connections, there would most certainly be an emphasis on one who was well endowed with both brains and beauty. Of cos nothing came out of it, but it became kind of a running joke here in our tiny little apartment. Ah, always good for a laugh.

During my recent stay in Bangkok, we dropped by the famous Or Tor Kor Market. Ranked No. 4 among the Top 10 fresh markets in the world by CNN, the market is pretty cool. I know we here have our own neighbourhood wet markets in every other GRC but there is so much more here. Clean, organised, spacious and with an almost never-ending parade of local cooked and fresh food, it's the kinda market I can spend hours at. Another plus point is how few tourists there are around shopping in the market.

A most satisfying crabby lunch at Or Tor Kor Market and once again, our hand-carry luggage home was loaded with fresh Thai mangoes and other tropical fruits.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Finally! Cavalock has come back to Bangkok

Well, I'm back after a short trip to Bangkok which I guess would explain the lack of blog posts. So after more than a decade away, I was finally back in Bangkok but unlike my last trip there this wasn't a working venture but a personal one. I met up with my cousin and his elderly mom. It was quite an emotional visit as she was very close to my late aunt. A former university professor, she lives in an estate or compound right in the middle of busy Sukhumvit. I also found out that a distant uncle was recovering from an illness. Anyway, I shan't bore anyone here with all the family proceedings although recently I do wonder if there are still people reading this site.

Now I also had the pleasure of meeting my cousin's daughter who at 8-years-old is already a gifted violinist, pianist as well as competitive swimmer and tennis player. It was absolutely delightful to have her for company during meal time. One of the places my cousin brought us to was Le Dalat Restaurant, a multi-award winning Vietnamese restaurant. Wonderful ambience with a hint of French colonialism and of course, delicious food.

My favourite was the above skewered beef wrapped in veggie leaves. A little crunchy and filled with beefy goodness that pops in your mouth. The rest of the food we ordered was amazing too. I'm no expert on Vietnamese food but I do know tasty food and all this is mighty tasty!