Monday, 30 September 2013

Ayam Penggang - Perhaps the best in Singapore?

The ubiquitous food court in Singapore… much loved and ever present. But can you find good food in a food court? Well in most instances, food is ok but in some cases the food is excellent. This is the case with the Ayam Penggang at Plaza Singapura Food Court at Level 6.

The stall is called Riverside Indonesian BBQ and is located well inside the food court - Stall Number 10. They offer various types of BBQ food - chicken being the most popular, fish and also squid.
Riverside Indonesian BBQ Stall 10 photo PlazaSingapuraIndonesianFood05-1.jpg

I usually order the chicken set which comes with one chicken thigh and one quarter egg omelette. Fried cabbage is an extra. You get a soup with every meal. The meats are grilled at the stall - chicken, fish and squid.
Riverside Indonesian BBQ photo PlazaSingapuraIndonesianFood06.jpg

The rice is slathered with the curry gravy - would have preferred the curry to be a little more lemak. But when you add the sambal chili the rice becomes irresistible. The sambal adds a salty and spicy taste to the entire dish which tends to be sweet due to the kacap manis. Pieces of onions and ikan bills (anchovies) can be found in the sambal. I would have preferred the sambal to be a little hotter but I guess to each his own.
Riverside Indonesian BBQ Sambal photo PlazaSingapuraIndonesianFood09.jpg

What I like about the chicken is the way they pre-cook and then grill the chicken. I believe they pre-cook the chicken thigh in some sauce and then put it into the grill to get it charred just right. When done, it is dipped into the kacap manis sauce that has been infused with Indonesian style spices. This is the killer sauce that defines the ayam penggang. Taste of blue ginger, turmeric, candlenut and lemon grass, the sauce is far better than many other stalls that serve similar fare. The chicken is cooked just right and still tender on the inside.
Riverside Indonesian BBQ Plaza Sing 04 photo PlazaSingapuraIndonesianFood04.jpg

My son Timothy likes the squid so he orders a double combo - chicken plus grilled squid. The squid is tender and when bathed in the kacap manis sauce, enhances the flavor of the seafood.
Riverside Indonesian BBQ Plaza Sing 02 photo PlazaSingapuraIndonesianFood02.jpg

The squid is beautifully grilled - just nice and not overcooked to the point of it being hard. Well grilled on the outside and still chewy on the inside.
Riverside Indonesian BBQ Sotong photo PlazaSingapuraIndonesianFood08-1.jpg

I ordered mine as a combo of chicken and fish - one portion to share with Gina. The fish was so-so on this occasion. Maybe because Timothy went to buy, they gave him three small pieces of fried fish. The last time, I got a whole piece which was tender and not overdone. This time around, the pieces were less tender.
Riverside Indonesian BBQ Plaza Sing 03 photo PlazaSingapuraIndonesianFood03.jpg

The Ayam+Ikan Panggang Set is $7.80 while the Ayam+Sotong Panggang Set is $8.00. Vegetables cost another $0.80. A wonderful eat for Food Court and definitely one of the best around.

Riverside Indonesian BBQ, Kopitiam Plaza Singapura, Level 6, Stall 10.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Super Machines & Horological Machines - Independents Part 3

The Super Machines and Horological Heroes exhibition (18-30 Sep 2013) brought together some very talented Independent Watchmakers and Vianney Halter definitely qualifies.

Vianney was in Singapore a couple of months ago to launch his Deep Space Tourbillon and I was hoping to catch him again this time around but alas, that was not to be. He could not make this trip due to some injury.

Still that did not stop him from bringing the iconic pieces for the exhibition. The "breakthrough" piece must be the Antiqua. A perpetual calendar displayed in the most unorthodox way. I first saw the Antiqua back in 2004 when it was displayed in the Tempus Exhibition by the Hour Glass. See only… no way to afford, not even now.
Vianney Halter Antiqua photo VianneyHalterAntiqua01_zpsa2ad5a79.jpg

Using portholes to individually display the information, The Antiqua was ahead of its time. There is the time display at the "One O'Clock" position, then the small window at the traditional "Four O'Clock". At the "Seven O'Clock" position is the month and leap-year indicator and lastly, the display at the "Ten O'Clock" shows the day of the week.
Vianney Halter Antiqua photo VianneyHalterAntiqua02_zpse928fc85.jpg

Beating at the back is the in-house calibre VH198 with the mysterious mass rotor. No detail is spared with the Antiqua - even right down to the winding crown. The rivets and portholes are the hallmark of all Vianney's creation except the Deep Space Tourbillon & the Goldpfeil.
Vianney Halter Antiqua Movement photo VianneyHalterAntiquaMovement01_zps18df917a.jpg

Equally unusual is the Trio which features a Big Date complication with separate small seconds. Folowing on the Antiqua, the Trio still features the signature porthole/rivets characteristic. On the main porthole, there is also a Day/Night indicator.
Vianney Halter Trio photo VianneyHalterTrio01_zpse81070b6.jpg

With the exception of the Goldpfeil and the Deep Space Tourbillon, all other Vianney's creations feature his signature porthole and rivets making it easily identifiable and iconic. Someday, I will want one of the Classics.

And Vianney, we wish you speedy recovery. The Japanese Whisky is still waiting for you!
Nikka Whisky 21 Years photo NikkaWhisky21Years_zps2931dfee.jpg

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Super Machines & Horological Machines - Independents Part 2

Kari Voutilainen as the name sounds is hardly Swiss by birth. Started his early watchmaking training in his native Finland, Kari moved to Switzerland later on and worked for companies like Parmigiani.

I had the fortune of meeting the man during the Super Machines and Horological Heroes exhibition. A very soft spoken person, his watches are unmistakably Kari - the hands are the hallmark of Kari. Hand crafted works of horology. Seen here are three watches on display at the exhibition. The Observatoire, V-8R Power Reserve and the GMT Six O'Clock.
Kari Voutilainen Trio of Watches photo KariVoutilainenTrio01_zpseb72458e.jpg

The most famed of all is his Observatoire - exacting standards of accuracy and the well guilloché dials. Voted Favourite Men's Watch in 2007 by the GPHG.
Kari Voutilainen Observatoire photo KariVoutilainenObservatoire02_zps408112d8.jpg

Then a unique GMT watch - one with a decorated centre with a GMT and Day/Night indicator at Six O'Clock. Interesting centre with the planets in full display.
Kari Voutilainen Observatoire Unique photo KariVoutilainenObservatoireUnique01_zpsc5469b7b.jpg

Then the V-8R watch. Comes with the power reserve and an in-house developed movement.
Kari Voutilainen V-8R photo KariVoutilainenV-8R02_zps2803a5e4.jpg

The watch is typically well finished with high levels of guilloché patterns. The words "Hand Made" adorn the bottom of the dial instead of Swiss Made.
Kari Voutilainen V-8R photo KariVoutilainenV-8R01_zps0d185458.jpg

And this is a shot of the man himself.
Kari Voutilainen The Man photo KariVoutilainen03_zpsd812e75a.jpg

And another shot of Kari in a more relaxed setting...
Kari Voutilainen The Man photo KariVoutilainen02_zps8a466a34.jpg

The next post will feature Vianney Halter and his watches on display at the Super Machines and Horological Heroes exhibition at Paragon Shopping Centre (18-30 Sep 2013). Thanks to The Hour Glass for hosting the exhibition featuring the Grand Masters of Independent Watchmaking.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Super Machines & Horological Machines - Independents Part 1

Hurry down to Paragon Shopping and view the Super Machines and Horological Heroes exhibition. What is on display is definitely worth a trip.

The exhibition started on 18th Sept and is slated to close on 30th Sept. So hurry down for this once in a lifetime chance to view all the iconic pieces on display.
The Hour Glass Pop Up Store Paragon photo TheHourGlassPopUpStore01_zps13417da1.jpg

On top of the brands, what really attracted me was the Independent booth - a collection of Grand Masters works of art - Philippe Dufour, Kari Voutilainen, Vianny Halter, Roger Smith and Laurent Ferrier. Each showcasing their prized pieces - you probably won't be able to get all the watches together in the same place any time soon.

The day started with the grand masters meeting in More Passion for press sessions.
Grandmasters in Discussion @ More Passion THG photo GrandMastersinDiscussionMorePassion01_zps8ee59948.jpg

And while they were at it, we got a chance to photograph some of the watches. On hand from Mr. Philippe Dufour are the Simplicity, Duality and the Grande Sonnerie. Featured here is one of his pride and joy - the Grande Sonnerie. Beautifully made and finished and great presence.
Philippe Dufour Grande Sonnerie photo PhilippeDufourGrandeSonnerie02_zpsfb36db24.jpg

A great work of art in itself. Although I have not had the pleasure of hearing the Grande Sonnerie, those who have tells me it sounds acoustically grand.
Philippe Dufour Grande Sonnerie photo PhilippeDufourGrandeSonnerie01_zps1d9aa577.jpg

And the back of the watch showcasing the movement and the hand finished movement. All bridges are hand finished to the highest standards. Philippe said that all parts of the bridges are hand finished regardless whether they can be seen or not. So much for attention to details.
Philippe Dufour Grande Sonnerie Movement photo PhilippeDufourGrandeSonnerieMovement02_zpse9d0320c.jpg

And the Simplicity. No need to say more...
Philippe Dufour Simplicity photo PhilippeDufourSimplicity01_zpsa45357af.jpg

And the movement. Only 200 will be made and they have all been accounted for - the last only being delivered this year (I think). Marvel at the rounded finishing of the movement - can only be done by hand.
Philippe Dufour Simplicity  Movement photo PhilippeDufourSimplicityMovement01_zpsae1567b6.jpg

And this is the man himself…
Philippe Dufour Grande Master photo PhilippeDufour02_zpsd2bdce3d.jpg

And the next day, we went to Rangoon Road for Bak Kut Teh. The man knows what he wants! Stay tuned for more report on the other Grand Masters! Many thanks to the Hour Glass for a wonderful experience and for the arrangements.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Look who turned up for Bak Kut Teh!

Look who turned up for Bak Kut Teh at Rangoon Road.

Mr. Philippe Dufour is no stranger to the Singaporean epicurean adventure and this time around, he had wanted Bak Kut Teh. So we ended up in Founder Bak Kut Teh for breakfast.
 photo P1010837_zps50ff5754.jpg

Peter cycled there (being Friday) and Larry and I took the easy way out - made our COE work harder for us. Philippe is in Singapore for the Super Machines Horological Heroes - Grandmasters of Independent Watchmaking exhibition currently being hosted by The Hour Glass at Paragon. Visit the pop-up store and enjoy the watches on display especially those from the independent brands. Exhibition ends 30th Sep.

Monday, 23 September 2013

IWC Portuguese Jubilee - 1868 to 1993

The IWC Portuguese Jubilee. One of may favorite timepieces.

Simple watches are probably the most difficult to make - how to make an iconic and instantaneously recognizable three handed watch? Well to mark their 125th Anniversary, IWC came up with the Portuguese Jubilee featuring the Calibre 9828 pocket watch movement. I am sure IWC did not start out to create an icon but the watch has garnered much success since.
IWC Portuguese Jubille Dial photo IWCPortugueseJubileeDial05Eddie.jpg

Reference number 5441, this beauty was made in limited numbers to commemorate 125 years of IWC watchmaking. Released in 1993, one thousand were made in steel, 500 in rose gold and 250 in platinum.
IWC Portuguese Jubilee photo IWCPortugueseJubileeDial03Eddie.jpg

The pocket watch movement is well decorated and well finished. Calibre 9828 manual winding movement beats at 18,000 vph.
IWC Portuguese Jubilee Movement photo IWCPortugueseJubileeMovement02Eddie.jpg

The front crystal is plexiglass which gives the watch a vintage look to it but also adds height to the watch. The encased watch is relatively slim for a watch this size - 42mm. Back in the 1990s, a watch sized at 42mm was considered huge. And I believe it was not an instant hit till much later. The Jubilee is a very close replica of the original Portuguese.
IWC Portuguese Jubilee photo IWCPortugueseJubileeDial01Eddie.jpg

This watch is a keeper for me. Enjoy the pocket watch movement...
IWC Portuguese Jubilee Movement photo IWCPortugueseJubileeMovement04Eddie.jpg

Enjoy more of the Portuguese Jubilee on Peter's blog Portuguese Jubilee

Saturday, 21 September 2013

French Road Thai Chinese - Hui Wei Cze Char

It is uncommon for a cze char stall to have a following on FB. Hui Wei Thai Chinese Restaurant does.

So is it French, Thai or Chinese? Located at Block 802 French Road, the kopitiam is hidden beneath a block of HDB block just behind the Jalan Besar Stadium. The nearest MRT Station would be Lavendar. What one will get is Thai-Chinese inspired cooking.
HuiWei Shop photo HuiWeiShop_zpsb1d485d6.jpg

The stall opens 7 days a week and also on Chinese New Year - so this is my favorite joint for da-bao, saving me the need to cook during CNY. Typically, I order the fish head, fried brinjal, honey chicken and stewed pork trotters. First up was the deep fried brinjal with dried fish. A sweet tangy sauce gives this dish a lift. The brinjal is fried crisp on the outside but soft on the inside. The dried fish (Teochews call it tee po) adds a special crispiness to the dish.
HuiWei Fried Brinjal with Dried Fish photo HuiWeiFriedBrinjalWithDriedFish_zps0b474b8d.jpg

This time around I ordered the fried squid. Well battered and fried to perfection - crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. Paired with the sweet and hot chili dip, the dish is another winner!
HuiWei Deep Fried Squid photo HuiWeiDeepFriedSquid_zps47f478ae.jpg

For vegetable, I had to order the baby kailan which is my son's favorite vegetable dish at any cze char stall. Blanched in water prior to stir frying, the dish was not as oily as what we have eaten at other stalls. The fired shallots added a nice crunch to the dish.
HuiWei Kailan photo HuiWeiFriedKailan_zps631acebb.jpg

Then come the signature fish head. Steamed and then slathered with a vegetable based sauce, this dish is a must-try.
HuiWei Signature Fish Head photo HuiWeiFishHead01_zps70b9b9d8.jpg

They use a red snapper fish head - meaty and full of collagen especially around the facial parts. The greenish sauce tastes of coriander, celery and probably a few other secret ingredients. So good is the sauce that I finished by bowl of rice. The fish head is as fresh as one expects. No taste of fishy smell whatsoever. And the kopi lady told us that this is their most ordered dish - every table orders the fish head confirming our choice.
HuiWei Signature Fish Head photo HuiWeiFishHead02_zps3f4ba79d.jpg

And my family finished all we ordered. Here's the proof...
Empty Plates photo HuiWeiTableEmpty_zps3c502d76.jpg

Not only was the lunch good, it was cheap. 4 dishes with rice - all for under $45 dollars! There really is such thing called cheap and good. Also try the stewed pork trotters, honey chicken and the fried hokkien mee. Take a look at their website

Hui Wei Thai Chinese Restaurant

Block 802 French Road (behind Jalan Besar Stadium)

Opens daily

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The IWC Portuguese Jubilee - Ref 5441

The IWC Portuguese Jubilee. One of the most iconic watches of the brand.

Simply beautiful - simple yet beautiful!
IWC Portuguese Jubilee photo IWCPortugueseJubileeDial01-1.jpg

Thanks to my good friend Peter Chong for this image. Perfectly taken! More of the watch to come - stay tuned!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Parmigiani Kalpa Hebdomadaire

The Parmigiani Kalpa XL Hebdomadaire. Hebdomadaire mean "Weekly" in French hence the 8 days of power reserve this watch comes with. My first tonneau case watch.

Oddly enough, the blue Guilloché dial got me sold!
Kalpa Hebdomadaire Front White photo ParmigianiHebdomadaire05.jpg

What I really like about this watch is the level of finishing. The Delta-shaped hands are polished steel and the indices are rhodium-plated appliqués.
Kalpa Hebdomadaire Hands photo ParmigianiHebdomadaire12.jpg

The bracelet comes with a satin finish and the sunray Guilloché dial is a beauty. The back of the movement comes with "Côtes de Genève" decoration and bridges are hand bevelled.
Kalpa Hebdomadaire Movement photo ParmigianiHebdomadaire11.jpg

Beating within the steel case is the manual winding Calibre PF110. I understand that this is an in-house developed movement and almost every component is made in-house. The twin barrels gives the 8 days of power reserve. Comes with a folding clasp.
Kalpa Hebdomadaire Movement photo ParmigianiHebdomadaire10.jpg

If I may say, the watch is pretty.
Parmigiani Kalpa Hebdomadaire photo ParmigianiHebdomadaire07.jpg

For more on the Kalpa, do visit the blog by my friend Peter Chong

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Feature of the Month - JnS Handcrafted Strap

So we have our own Singapore brand watchmakers and for the longest time and only one strap maker that we know of. Charged an arm and a leg and you had long lead times. Then JnS came along... Originally from Taiwan, Jason is now a Singaporean.

Jason & Sherron started from their home in the west side of Singapore and early customers would have gone to their house. But over time, their business grew and now they have their own office and workshop in Far East Shopping Centre. His workshop stocks all the hide and has all the tool necessary to make the straps.
Workshop photo JnSWorkshop.jpg

Jason & Sherron are both self taught craftsman who hand assemble all their watch straps. On top of doing watch straps, Sherron also makes bags and wallets. Boasting a whole variety of materials, they have alligator, crocodile, italian calf leather, ostrich, lizard skin, snake skin and lately shell cordovan.
Colourful Croc Skin photo JnsCrocSkin04.jpg

Some colourful hide
Croc Skin Brown Shade photo JnsCrocSkin01.jpg

Some hide and some finished straps. Jason stocks a whole variety of finished straps especially for PAMs.
Other Straps photo JnSStrapsColourfulCroc02.jpg

In order to meet customer requirements for bespoke straps, JnS has to have an arsenal of thread type and colors. Whether it is black calf with red stitching or blue croc with yellow stitch, JNS can make it to your liking.
Threads photo JnSThreads.jpg

When we visited his workshop, Jason was busy putting together a strap. Here is Jason at his work bench. All his straps are handcrafted and hand stitched.
Jason at work bench photo JnSJasonatWorkTable02.jpg

Here are some straps I customized with Jason & Sherron.
Trio of watches with JnS Strap photo TrioWithJnSStraps.jpg

The black calf with red stitching for my MIH watch.
Black Calf with Red Stitching on MIH photo BlackCalfwithRedStitchonMIH.jpg

Python skin on my Reed watch.
Python Skin on Reed Watch photo PythonSkinonReedWatch.jpg

Snake skin on Gina's Omega Speedmaster automatic.
Snake Skin on Omega Speedy photo SnakeSkinonOmegaSpeedmaster.jpg

Fact is you can get customized straps with different types of hides and stitching from JnS. What's more, you can have your strap within 2 weeks or faster if you are willing to pay a little more for "Express". JnS also stocks pre-made straps. I will feature his craftsmanship in a separate blog later. Check him out at JnS Handcrafted Straps

JnS Handcrafted Straps

545 Orchard Road, #15-04, Far East Shopping Centre, Singapore 238882

Mobile: 97590196

Opens Mon-Sat from 11am