Category Archives: Food

  • -

Arabic Chips

Category : Food

I do love a quick spin round the supermarket when I’m on my travels – for one thing, I always wonder if I’d like to live there, and seeing what the grocery shopping is like is a good gauge. For another, I love to discover (and taste) local variations on popular products.

So here, fresh from a short hop to the UAE, are 3 sorts of chips which took my eye.

Lays is obviously an international brand, American in origin and around since the 1930s, but it does come up with a fascinating range of local flavours. The 2 here are produced in Saudi Arabia for regional consumption, and do a great job of capturing a distinctive Arabic taste.

Both have labneh, or yoghurt, as their main flavouring, which is pretty similar to the sour cream flavour you find elsewhere. But one includes mint and the other the ‘zatar’ blend of herbs which turns up as a dip or sprinkles in many local dishes. I liked them both, especially the ‘Lebanese mix’, and was interested to see that both included what are described as ‘natural and nature identical’ flavourings on their ingredient lists.

The Chips Oman were exactly that, and actually were manufactured in Oman. Looking at the shape of the tub, I was expecting the contents to be something very like ‘Pringles’ , but in fact the illustration is pretty exact and these chips, whilst a similar texture, are short flat strips liberally dusted with chilli powder and paprika. Of the three, these were my favourite, and I wish I’d bought more.


  • -

Fairy Puff Ice Cream Toastie

The main draw here is the machine which makes this treat possible – a sort of toasted sandwich maker but with a domed lid. Somehow it manages to toast and seal 2 halves of a bread bun whilst NOT melting the ice cream that forms the filling.

Everything else is window dressing and here there was some serious ‘unicorn’ going on.

The bread was a riot of colourful swirls, the ice cream was bright blue, and the decoration was multi-coloured sprinkles.

In days gone by (and sometimes still today if you are lucky enough to find a traditional ‘ice cream uncle’) a scoop of ice cream in Singapore came folded inside a slice of pink and green coloured bread.

As a modern update, this rainbow ‘fairy puff’ manages perfectly both to hark back to the old ways and appeal to the inexplicable current trend for all things cute and fairy-tale. The S$8 price tag was a shocker, though.

And don’t ask me what it actually tasted like…


  • -

Sweetcorn Soda

Category : Food

Only in Asia, where it is perfectly normal for something Westerners see just as a vegetable to turn up as dessert.

I have tried sweetcorn flavoured ice cream, toyed with sweetcorn (and red beans) sprinkled over sundaes, but absolutely could not face drinking this sweetcorn soda, which is a new taste sensation on offer in Singapore.

Sorry…but there are limits!


  • -

Chocolate ‘Chip’ Ice Cream

Chocolate chip ice cream, but not as you know it!

The ‘chips’ are actually bits of crinkle cut potato crisp, mixed with the molten chocolate into which the soft serve cone is dipped.

Chocolate covered potato chips are increasingly common – a lot of Asian confectionary companies are now producing them in a variety of different of different forms and flavours – so I suppose this is a logical next step.

There are 2 versions here, so you can choose either milk chocolate on vanilla ice cream or white chocolate on frozen yoghurt. A serving costs just 18 baht, from KFC in Thailand.

The ice cream is pretty horrible, of course (what would you expect at that price?) and it had a disconcerting way of forcing itself out in shiny beads through the chocolate coating. The crispy bits in the chocolate are surprisingly palatable, however. Eating this was rather like eating one of those ice creams with bits of crushed nut in the chocolate coating, except these crunchy bits left a potato rather than an almond aftertaste. It’s obviously very popular, and honestly, not half as bad as I was expecting.


  • -

Nasi Lemak Sushi

I’ve featured nasi lemak before – it’s a favourite local dish, of Malay origin, made with coconut rice, fish, egg, cucumber and a spicy sauce.

Often it comes packaged in a banana leaf for lunch, although I have also seen it deconstructed and layered so it looks very much like a slice of lasagne. Either way, it is very tasty.

This, however, was a completely new take on the classic, nasi lemak served as sushi. The egg – slices of omelette rather than fried – and the cucumber were rolled up with the rice into a maki, with the crispy fish and the sambal sauce dabbed on top of each slice. It was delicious and here, unlike the banana leaf version, you could actually eat the (nori) wrapping.

At S$8 for a serving of 8 pieces, it is slightly more expensive than ‘real’ sushi, but for novelty value it was worth even cent.


  • -

Double Thai Tea

Category : Food

This ‘2 for the price of 1’ idea amused me greatly, and the slightly unusual flavours were a bonus.

The way the container is divided means you can have 2 different flavours in essentially the same space, and the lid has holes for a different straw in each half.

The cup holds a large amount of liquid, so I suppose this is a good way of sharing the cost of a cold drink with a friend. Alternatively, you could use both straws at once for an intriguing new taste sensation.

I went for honeydew melon and bandung flavour teas (this last being based on a rose flavoured syrup). They were both really sugary but still a lot of fun, and although I couldn’t finish either I was glad to have given this a try.


  • -

Candyfloss Burritos

Pastel is clearly the new black, at least when it comes to food trends aimed at the youth of Singapore.

The latest, offering itself as a ‘rainbow unicorn snack’ is dubbed the ‘candyfloss burrito’, although as far as I could tell it comprised neither of these items (and I shall gloss over the missing unicorn…)

Somehow, at least in Singapore, ‘burrito’ has become shorthand for anything wrapped into a roll of some kind. Hence the popularity of the ‘sushi burrito’, which, disappointingly, means no more than either your standard maki or a Californian hand roll.

Here, the ‘candyfloss’, whilst crunchy with sugar, seemed to be made of shredded vegetable of some sort. The ‘burritos’ were simply crepes. Both had been coloured with varying degrees of success and without the apparent addition of any flavour.

You can buy the component parts in package form, ready to put together yourself, but in such quantities that you would have to be planning a party. If you buy a tray of 3, you are advised to eat them within 8 minutes. I’m not sure what happens if you don’t, because I managed only a few bites before consigning them to the nearest bin.


  • -

Shiok Ah Ccino

August 9th is National Day in Singapore, and it’s always accompanied by massive displays of pride in the achievements of this tiny city state. And that covers not just the National Day Parade or the Singapore flag flying proudly from most residential windows, but special edition Singapore-themed items ranging from red and white T shirts to decorated cakes.

Somewhere in between comes the Shiok Ah Ccino, a remarkable, and Singapore exclusive, offering from Starbucks. Drawing on several of those local delicacies familiar in kopi tiams around the island, they have managed to create a drink that perfectly blends the Starbucks signature frappuccino with tastes that are completely Singaporean.

So the regular frappucino is blended with and the whipped cream topped by the thick sweetness of gula melaka, which is a palm sugar syrup.  The main ingredient, however, is a large scoop of coffee jelly shreds, which are an interesting take on that slightly bitter tasting local favourite which goes by the English name of ‘grass jelly’ even though it is black rather than green in colour. There’s crunchy coconut on top as the finishing touch.

Shiok, incidentally, is the local way of saying that something is really good.

It took me a couple of days to work up to tasting this one, and I did not manage to drink it all, but it was actually quite nice, despite the ‘exclusive’ price of S$7.90 for the smallest cup. Of course it helps that I really like gula melaka… What defeated me in the end was the coffee jelly, since there was so much of it that I could not get a mouthful of the drink itself without several strands sliding up the straw, and I found that horribly disconcerting.

Still, it is clearly super popular with the locals and it’s a great and rather flattering idea from Starbucks. I look forward to seeing if it reappears next year.


  • -

Ginger KitKat Balls

I can never resist the lure of a new type of KitKat, and there are so many amazing and/or outrageous varieties to be had in Japan that your taste buds can go into shock (wasabi and soy sauce, anyone??)

These ginger tea flavoured KitKat balls were a welcome contrast to some of the odder things I have sampled recently. They are new and different, but taste just the way you’d expect – slightly sweet and slightly spicy like a warming mug of ginger tea mixed with chocolate. The little bit of biscuit crunch is a bonus.

It’s always a treat to find something that is unusual but not a challenge to consume, and I really enjoyed these. Like most of the KitKat flavours it is probably just a short-lived special, but whilst it is around I will be buying it where I can.


  • -

Ninja Ice Cream

You know you always wanted to try ice cream ‘based on ninja stealth and invisibility technique’…. Here was my chance, with the exclusive ‘black gold’ cone from Kyorollen, at Emporium in Bangkok.

It comes at the premium price of 159 Thai baht, but for that you get a creation which is put together by hand like an artistic masterpiece and served in its own wooden stand.

Everything here is black – the cone made with sumi bamboo charcoal, the kuromame black soya beans, the sticky ball of mochi, even the ‘raw’ chocolate cube. Well, I suppose the ice cream itself was slightly on the grey side, but considering it is made with the famously creamy milk from Hokkaido, this was not surprising.

I could probably have done without the soya bean and mocha components of this treat, but they looked great and I very much enjoyed the rest. Japanese ‘raw’ chocolate is always delicious and this one had a fudgy texture which I particularly enjoyed.

It was an expensive indulgence but definitely worth it.


Search

Food

Beauty

Fashion/Accessories

Other