Monday, July 28, 2014

Durian Mob 2014

Dr. Leslie Tay, the famed blogger from ieatishootipost has been organizing Durian gatherings since 2008. It first started out with the simple idea of having a durian appreciation course to educate durian lovers on the different cultivars of durians. Now, Singapore Kindness Movement supports Dr Leslie Tay to organize Durian Mobilization 2014 on 27th July 2014, recognizing his efforts in promoting graciousness and kindness among fellow Singaporeans by initiating friendships over the common love for durians. Proceeds from the event will go to the beneficiaries from The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.

The event was held at Telok Ayer Green CC at Hong Lim Park, tickets are priced at $38 per pax. A couple of us durian lovers bought tickets to this event online. We heard that the tickets were sold out within two days!

This was an outdoor event and participants were encouraged to bring along picnic gear such as newspapers, mats, stools, wet tissue, drinks etc to make themselves comfortable as there will be no tables and chairs provided. After a quick registration, participants were arranged into groups of 10pax and assigned a group number. We were with group 19, located just infront of the stage. 

The event kicked off with Dr. Leslie giving us an opening speech and getting everyone warmed up with the 'Durian wave'. He introduced the event organizers and talked about how the proceeds will be used to benefit children from under privileged countries to get education.

After which, the first round of durians were served. We got D24 durians for first two rounds. There were about 5 durians in every basket. We all eagerly dig in...quality was pretty good.

While we're enjoying the yummy feast, Dr. Leslie introduced Ah Seng, the durian supplier for the event. He gave the audience an insight on how to buy good durians and how to differentiate real or fake Mao Shan Wang durians.

Then, an ang mo was 'arrowed' to go up the stage to share his most interesting durian experience with us. 

The next round of durians served were the much sort after Mao Shan Wang durians, freshly picked from the durian plantation in the morning and transported directly from Malaysia to the event venue.

These king of fruits were very creamy and intensely fragrant with rather thick flesh. We were starting to feel full after having these. A complimentary basket of mangosteens were also served to us...yum yum.

The event ended when all the durians ran out. The organizers reminded everyone to clean up after themselves before leaving. It was a short and fun event, we may return again next year.

The very chio spanking new hotel, ParkRoyal on Pickering!

Friday, July 25, 2014

E'spuma Lab @POMO, Media Invite

My friend Wendy was invited by Mileage Comms for a Food tasting event at E'spuma Lab located at POMO (7-8mins walk from Dhoby Ghuat MRT). She brought along Pauline and myself for the tasting event.

E'spuma Lab is located at the ground floor and is pretty near to the main entrance. The tiny store spots a clean and chic look with striking yellow color furnishing. Tiny but hard to miss.

E'spuma Lab serves up affordable western fusion set meals cooked with either espuma or sous vide technique, usually found only at fine dining establishments.

Espuma is Spanish for foam or froth, is a culinary technique in which an espuma siphon is used to infuse air into food, extruding through a N2O canister. The introduction of air in food gives it a lighter and smoother texture without changing the physical composition or taste of a dish.

Sous vide is a method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath or in a temperature-controlled steam environment for longer than normal cooking times at an accurately regulated temperature much lower than normally used for cooking, typically around 55 °C (131 °F) to 60 °C (140 °F) for meats and higher for vegetables. The intention is to cook the food evenly, ensuring that the inside is properly cooked without overcooking the outside, and sealing in the moisture.

After a quick registration at the store entrance, we were given some reading materials describing the culinary concept of E'spuma Lab, and the current menu and price points for the dishes served here.

The food tasting session kick started with a formal introduction to the team behind E'spuma Lab. Mr Andrew Koh, the Marketing & Communications Director at E'spuma Lab, gave us a low down on their unique culinary concept, followed by a short culinary demonstration from Chef Teo Yeow Siang showcasing the espuma cooking technique.

The Chef also explained how the sous vide machine works, and the technology behind creating evenly cooked dishes. We also saw more siphons and used canisters on display at the shop front.

We were then treated to a delicious meal comprising of several signature dishes from E'spuma Lab. First up, Sous Vide Eggs w/ Smoked Norwegian Salmon $3.80, served with crispy salmon skin and ginger soyu. This is a tasting portion, the normal serving has got two eggs and more toppings.

E'spuma surprises us with a perfectly executed and evenly cooked poached egg that is smooth and creamy from inside out. The ginger soyu sauce and the salmon toppings were a flawless union with the egg. Thumbs up!

Curry Chicken w/ E'spuma Potato Foam $6.80, served with mini french baguettes. We were not given baguettes as we will be having more dishes later.

The savory curry chicken cubes blends really well with the potato foam which was velvety, light and creamy, like a cream soup version of the mashed potato. Very yummy indeed.

Sauteed Mushrooms w/ E'spuma Potato Foam $6.80, a vegetarian version of the curry chicken dish. Mushroom was plump and juicy, and the tasty truffle crumbles topping added a nice bite to the dish.

Our main courses, Fragrant Rice w/ Cajun Chicken Leg & E'spuma Curry Sauce, Fragrant Rice w/ Pan Seared Sous Vide Chicken Breast & E'spuma Pesto Sauce and Spaghetti w/ Swedish Meatballs & E'spuma Caramelized Onion Sauce, all priced at $6.80 each.

Fragrant Rice w/ Cajun Chicken Leg & E'spuma Curry Sauce, comes with a whole chicken drumstick with thigh that is steam baked till crispy on the outside but retaining its tenderness inside. Best eaten with the lightly textured curry foam sauce. The fragrant rice looks like nasi biryani but tastes like chicken rice with sweet raisins, which is quite nice actually.

Spaghetti w/ Swedish Meatballs & E'spuma Caramelized Onion Sauce, comes with crispy beef meatballs and aglio olio spaghetti, served with sweet onion foam sauce. The pasta is bland on its own but taste pretty good with the onion sauce. The meatballs were also kinda ordinary until eaten with the sauce. The portion featured here is a tasting portion size.

Fragrant Rice w/ Pan Seared Sous Vide Chicken Breast & E'spuma Pesto Sauce, comes with a chunky sous vide chicken beast that is lightly pan seared to achieve a slightly crispy exterior, served with pesto foam sauce. The chicken breast was evenly cooked throughout and remains moist and tender inside.

Lastly, we had a small serving of dessert/snack each. There is a choice of Spiced Calamari w/ Fries $5.80 or E'spuma Batter D24 Durian Fritters $3.80, in tasting portion.

I had the Durian fritters, which has a light as air crispy coating with warm and creamy durian puree inside. Its a tad sweet for my liking though but a steal at $3.80 for 5pcs. Great for those who has a sweet tooth.

My drink Ice Blended Mango Blaster $2.80, a nice cooling drink to wash down the yummy meal.

We had a wonderful time learning new culinary jargon and tasting uniquely prepared food that is very kind to the wallets. Thank you E'spuma Lab and Mileage Comms for arranging this tasting session. Here are some official photos and full menu from E'spuma Lab to pique your interest.

E'spuma Lab
1 Selegie Road, #01-20/21, PoMo Mall S188306
Tel: 8222 1113

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sat: 11am to 9pm
Closed on Sun