Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tea Pairing Session With Master Kang at Tea Chapter Singapore

Established since 1 Oct 1989, Tea Chapter 茶渊 is one of the few remaining, and largest Tea House in Singapore. It has housed countless of guests all over the world, including prominent visitors like Queen Elizabeth II, former Singapore President, S.R. Nathan, and current President, Dr. Tony Tan, and many others.

The Tea House has various  types of seats, including Queen's Corner, Oriental Style, Korean Style & Japanese Style, Air Well Corner, etc, which different surcharge may applies.




While I do love to drink Chinese Tea, I do not really know much in depth about the Chinese Tea.  Therefore having the chance to attend this Tea Pairing Session with Master Patrick Kang at Tea Chapter has been a very valuable session for me.

In the session, we get to learn about the history of Tea and how it was discovered by the Chinese Emperor, Shen Nong (神农), whom love his water to be boiled before drinking, and somehow one day some leaves from the tea plant unexpectedly fell into the water, and went unnoticed and the boiled water with tea leaves was presented to him. Having tried this refreshing drink, this is how the tea comes about.

We also get to learn the various classification of Chinese Tea, which includes Black Tea (黑茶), Oolong Tea (which is also known as the Blue Tea) (乌龙茶,又或蓝茶/青茶), Green Tea (绿茶) , Yellow Tea (黄茶), White Tea (白茶) , and Floral Tea(花茶).  But never did I know, the existence of the Blue Tea classification prior to the session.

Tea drinking isn't as simple as what most people thought, using boiling the water to brew a cup a tea.  The choice of water and the temperature of boiling water will impact the taste of the tea. And the quality of tea leaves isn't just about picking the most expensive of tea leaves.  It is also very much dependant on the ambience of the surrounding, and the disposition of one.

First Pairing: Longjing Tea (龙井茶)


Longjing Tea (龙井茶)was paired with apricot(杏), fig (无花果), chestnut(栗子). So what should be the sequence of eating these snacks, do you have any idea?  It should be started with the one with the mildest taste, which is chestnut and end with the one with the strong taste - apricot.

When pouring the tea, it is usually 70% filled only, due to the Chinese Sayings, “茶倒七分满,人情留三分” .

Second Pairing: Huangjin Gui (黄金桂)
Master Kang went through with us the tedious steps of warming the tea set and the come about of their in house Imperial Huangjin Gui (御用黄金桂).  We were also taught the different way of holding the tea cup by both male and females, the correct way to hold the teapot cover, as well as the various type of Zisha Teapots / Purple Sand Pots(紫砂壶).

The Huanjin Gui was served to Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Tea Chapter in 1989, as she belongs to the Imperial Family, so their in house Huanjin Gui was renamed as Imperial Huangjin Gui after that.

It is important to use the tea leaves holder to dig out the tea leaves than using your hands, to avoid contaminating the tea leaves. The brewed Huangjin Gui was first poured to the snifer cup (闻香杯) , which we in turned pour into the tea to tasting teacups (品茗杯) , and then hold the empty snifer cup in our palm, rub it, and smell the tea aroma.

Tea Chapter's signature Tea Leaf Egg/Cha Ye Dan  (茶叶蛋)was paired with the Imperial Huangjin Gui.  Despite the lack of herbal ingredients, Tea Chapter's Tea Leaf Eggs are no less tasty than those Herbal Tea Leaf Eggs in the market.


Third Pairing: Pandan Jasmine Tea (香兰茉莉花茶)
The last pairing, is something different from the rest, whereby Pandan leaves are added to the Jasmine Tea for an additional aroma.




For those who do not fancy the fragrance of pandan leaves, or find it too strong covering the taste of the Jasmine Tea, it is recommended to omit putting the small slice of pandan leaves into the teacup.  This was paired with Matcha Ruan Gao (绿茶软糕) which was earlier prepared by Master Kang in the morning.

We had a chance to see Master Kang's demonstration on the making of the Matcha Ruan Gao (绿茶软糕)and hands on towards the final part, and get to bring some home. During the demonstration, Master Kang also shared about some other functions of tea, e.g. for food making and for medical purposes.


At the end of the pairing session, other than getting to taste a variety of the different teas with some matching tea snacks, we get to bring back some knowledge on the history of Chinese tea, and tea appreciation.  I love that the session was held among a small group of not exceeding 8 person, which is cozy enough to have 1-1 interaction with the Tea Master.

Before we call it a day, we decided to make a tour around the tea shop of Tea Chapter where many varieties of teas and tea ware are available for sale.






They even have Chinese New Year Goodies!  Almond Biscuits 杏仁饼 (S$18.00) and Pineapple Tarts 凤梨酥 ($20.00).

If you would love to pick up more on tea culture, or find a cozy venue for an idyllic chat with your friends, a place for a spiritual peace and escape from your stress, or a place where you can spend your lazy afternoon during weekends, you may want to check out Tea Chapter.

Tea Chapter Singapore
9A & 11 Neil Road
Singapore 088808
Tel: 65 6226 1175
Opening Hours: 10:30 - 22:30
Official Website: http://teachapter.com/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TeaChapter

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sail away for a Romantic Getaway with Aqua Voyage this Valentine

Wanted a special and unforgetable Valentine's Day Celebration?

Why not plan a romantic weekend getaway cruising from Singapore to the serene island recluse of Nongsa, aboard Aqua Voyage’s luxurious private yacht charters in celebration of Valentine's Day?  Enjoy exclusive use of the stylish and spacious Sunseeker Manhattan 64 for a group of six persons (three couples). 


Begin your sea excursion marvelling at the awesome Singapore city nightscape before heading to Montigo Resorts, Nongsa in Batam for a romantic candle-lit dinner. Stay over the the night in a private pool villa at the island’s most luxurious resort, Montigo Resorts, Nongsa for each couple.

Wake up to a sumptuous breakfast onboard on the next morning and en route to Nikoi Island where you get to enjoy pristine beaches and waters. Enjoy a specially catered island picnic for lunch and cruise back to Montigo in the evening, where you can explore the island for some shopping and sightseeing. 


On the final day, experience Montigo’s in-villa breakfast followed by a 90-minute couple’s massage, leaving you pampered and recharged, before cruising back home to Singapore.

2D/2N AQUA VOYAGE VALENTINE’S CRUISE PACKAGE includes:
  • Accommodation for each couple in a private pool villa at Montigo Resorts, Nongsa
  • The professional services of a captain and two personal butlers throughout the charter
  • Set dinner at Montigo Resorts, Nongsa on Day One
  • Breakfast onboard on Day Two; and in-villa breakfast at Montigo Resorts, Nongsa on Day Three
  • Picnic luncheon at Nikoi Island on Day Two; and a set luncheon at Montigo Resorts, Nongsa on Day Three
  • Return transfers to Nagoya Hill on day two
  • Couples’ Massage on day three (for three couples)
  • Non-alcoholic beverages and light snacks on board the yacht
The Aqua Voyage Valentine’s Cruise Package is available for six persons (three couples) using the fleet’s Sunseeker Manhattan 64 yacht on the 14th of February 2014. The standard cruise package rate is $12,000 SGD. For reservations or more information, please contact +65 6505 9373 or email info@aquavoyage.com.

Image Credit: Aqua Voyage

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Bombay Sapphire & LÈ Restaurant Cocktail Pairing

Updated 03/10/2014: LÈ Restaurant is no longer in operations.
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In celebration of flavours in cuisine and cocktails, Bombay Sapphire has paired up with LÈ Restaurant and Asian Tapas Bar, #02-314 Suntec City Mall to create a special cocktail pairing menu with modern Chinese cuisine. 



Known for its complexities of its flavours, modern Chinese cuisine comprises five tastes, namely pungent, sweet, sour, bitter and salty. When food is paired well with cocktails, one can uplift the ingredients in the other, highlighting subtle essences or balancing robust flavours



Gin cocktail and food pairing has taken root in Eurpore and Latin cultures and is growing fast in Asia countries like Japan and Korea. Offering a whole new experience for the palate of discerning diners, gin cocktail pairing is set to take hold of Singapore.

Bombay Sapphire marries the ingenuity of the chefs of LÈ Restaurant and Asian Tapas Bar and gin-magination of Bacardi-Martini Group’s Korea brand ambassador and mixologist, Kim Bong Ha to bring you the Taste of Imagination. Discover how a gin rich heritage syncs perfectly with multi-faceted modern Chinese cuisine. 
Le Restaurant Chef and Bacardi-Martini Group’s Korea ambassador Kim Bong Ha

Diners can expect a palate-pleasing taste of Bombay Sapphire gin cocktails pairings modern Chinese cuisine at LÈ Restaurant and Asian Tapas Bar.  The Taste of Imagination 5-course menu with cocktail pairing is available at $148 person and $68 per person without cocktail pairing. The 5 specially curated gin cocktails are also available at the bar section from $20 - $22.  Available from now till 30 April 2014 (excluding 16 Jan - 14 Feb 2014).

We had this rare opportunity where, Mr Kim Bong Ha, Bacardi-Martini Korea Brand Ambassdor and mixologist, flew over from Korea to demonstrate in person, the gin cocktail mixing. He believes that, "Compared to wine, gin cocktails allow creativity to explore exciting ingrediers that would enhance the experience of Chinese Cuisine."

 Bacardi-Martini Group’s Korea ambassador Kim Bong Ha

Bacardi-Martini Group’s Korea ambassador Kim Bong Ha demonstrating cocktail mixing with Bombay Sapphire

1st Cocktail: HERB GIMLET

Ingredients:
1 part of BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin
2 parts of fresh mint, rosemary, basil
Juice from half a lemon
1 part sugar syrup

  
This was pair up with Crispy Prawn in Spicy Mayo dressing and pan-seared Foie Gras with Peking Duck reduction Dressing.  I've tried foie gras once and I don't really fancy it as I find that there is a very strong smell, but surprising, this pan-seared foie gras is to my liking!  It's crispy on the outer while tender inside and simply melts in the mouth.  The mix of herbs and BOMBAY SAPPHIRE in rock glass strikes a perfect balance, this is my personal favourite too.
2nd Cocktail: FRENCH 75
 

Ingredients:
1 part of BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin
1/2 part fresh lemon juice
1/2 part sugar syrup
1 lemongrass stick
To top up with champagne or sparkling wine

This was paired up with the Pan-seared Cod with Butter Mushroom Sauce. The Pan-seared cod fish is loved by all as it is simply fresh.  The balance of champagne and Bombay Sapphire makes this a refreshing tipple that compliments the fish well.

3rd Cocktail: BOMBAY SAPPHIRE G&T
Ingredients:
1 part BOMBAY SAPPHIRE
2 part Premium Tonic water
1 wedge Fresh Lime
1 Cinnamon Stick
Fresh Lemon peel


This was paired up with the Grilled Soft Bone Ribs in Tangy Plum Sauce. A beautiful combination that I have never tried before.  The plum sauce has helped to reduce The aromas of the lime and lemon peel adds a refreshing flavour to the tonic water.

4th Cocktail: SAPPHIRE YUZU


Ingredients:
1 part BOMBAY SAPPHIRE
1 part yuzu jam
2 part fresh red grapefruit juice

This was paired up with the Stir-fried angel hair with assorted seafood in truffle oil which subtly let out a very nice aroma.  The sweetness of the yuzu and red grapefruit turns this Bombay Sapphire to go well with this seafood dish.

5th Cocktail: SAPPHIRE Tea

Ingredients:
1 part BOMBAY SAPPHIRE
Half Fresh Lemon Juice
1 spoon Honey
3 part Hot water
This was paired up with the desset of Mango sago, avocado cream, Yakult and Sesame pannacotta with fruits, which among all, I heart the Yakult and Sesame pannacotta best.  This is a very interesting combination as it is less often where people combines hot and cold stuff together. However, after eating all the cold and yummy desserts, it's nice to have cup of warm tea.

For more information on Bombay Sapphire gin, visit their:
Official Website: www.bombaysapphire.com
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/bombaysapphire.sg

For more information on LÈ Restaurant and Asian Tapas Bar, visit their:
Official Website: www.paradisegroup.com.sg
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LeRestaurantandBar

Friday, January 10, 2014

King's Grand Crème Brûlée and Green Tea Ice-Cream (New Flavours)

In keeping with King’s Grand Ice Cream’s popular exquisite range of continental-flavoured ice-creams for the pure enjoyment of all, King’s Grand Ice Cream offers two new flavours to their extensive range - Crème Brûlée and Green Tea.

King’s Grand Ice Cream is bringing this decadent French dessert, Crème Brûlée, closer to home with the new King’s Grand Crème Brûlée Ice Cream. The Crème Brûlée ice-cream comes with caramelized compound chips, adding a crunchy sensation, drizzled with caramelized sugar sauce, which is so devilishly yummy that even the calorie-conscious will find it irresistable.

Need something that's more refreshing? Indulge the goodness of Japanese Sencha green tea with the creamy King’s Grand Green Tea Ice Cream. Be it on its own or garnished with a dollop of red-bean paste, this intensely smooth and soothing ice cream is the perfect treat to end your meal.
(Image Credit: King's Grand Ice-Cream)

Stand to win S$888 Angpows!
With Chinese New Year coming, you have more reason to get your family and friends to stay on and enjoy the heavenly goodness of King’s Grand rich and creamy ice cream after the reunion dinner!

The new elegant-red packaging of King’s Grand Ice Cream will resonate well with many this Chinese New Year as red symbolizes happiness in the Chinese culture.

In additional, you stand to win one of the three S$888 angpows by purchasing any two 1-Litre tubs of King’s Grand Ice Cream at a special price of S$8.88 (Usual Price: S$6.75 per tub or S$13.50 for two tubs)!

To participate, send the contest forms and proofs of purchase via:

* Mail:
F&N Creameries (S) Pte Ltd
51 Quality Road, Singapore 618813

* SMS:
GRAND (space) Name (space) NRIC (space) Tel No (space) Receipt No (space) Purchase Amount to 9095 7676

* Email:
Submit your name, NRIC, contact number, receipt number and purchase amount to
icecream-sg@fnnfoods.com

Promotion ends on February 8, 2014, while stocks last, at participating retailers, FairPrice,
FairPriceXtra, Fairprice Finest and Giant.

King’s Grand Ice Cream range includes:
* Tin Roof Brownie
* Triple Chocolate
* Macadamia
* Cappuccino Chips
* Caramel Almond Fudge
* Tiramisu
* Green Tea (NEW)
* Crème Brûlée  (NEW)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014!!!



My dear friends, I wish you all a great year ahead in year 2014, with abundance of happiness, wealth & good health!