Saturday, May 26, 2007


The Gallery Hotel
1 Nanson Road
Tel: 6235-3565

Not all men can cook, but all men can grill. Correction, not all men can cook, neither can all women, and seriously, not all men can grill. I’ve thrown enough meat-feast barbeque parties to know that not all my manly macho man friends can grill. Anyway, I’ve never really been a big barbeque nut, but I have a soft spot for the whole idea of meat on sticks. As a young kid, I scared/impressed (depending on your perspective) my parents and their friends during on of their road trips cum eating excursions to Melacca. We stopped by one of their planned destinations, this roadside satay stall that served a wonderful pineapple sauce with along side with sticks of yellow juicy grilled pieces of chicken pieces and sandwiched animal fat, pig’s intestines, pork and lard and delicious things that are not for the faint hearted, and here I devoured the food, stick after stick after stick, and it so it seemed I ate a lot for a kid my age. I adore the idea of meat on sticks, it is fuss-free and so intimate – a one step procedure from the plate to your mouth, no cutting, no slicing, no scooping requires, just from hand to mouth, chew and macerate for flavour. No utensils, no formalities and sometimes no table manners required, the occasional dribble of oil at the side of your mouth, is also accepted.

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At this point in time, my favourite meat and stick restaurant is Kazu, but after visiting Satsuma, this place offers itself as a good alternative. The menu is slightly smaller, and they have a smaller selection of the odd and end bits of animal parts, but they do have a grill up a good ox tongue, and I think their rendition of grilled foie gras is better. Our dinner of stick after stick was good and these were the highlights:

1. The classic chicken balls were also really good, well-seasoned and a crunch from the cartilage.
2. Chicken enriched with mentaiko was also really good, the ones that I’ve had usually made the mentaiko seem like an after-thought, but here they stuff the chicken strips with mentaiko that popped in my mouth as I chewed, very fun.
3. Curry minced chicken, as its name suggests, minced chicken flavoured with Japanese curry and wrapped with a piece of nori, interesting.

Satsuma was also built to be a shochu bar, so don’t leave without trying it. I didn’t so I HAVE to go back.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Party Party Prawns!

Work has been doing a great job at keeping me busy. Since work has been keeping me busy, I haven’t been able to cook as much has I have liked. So when my brother suggested this rather insane idea of hosting 30-40 people for drinks and finger food, I excitedly and (on hindsight) blindly agreed to cater the food. And anyway, if your only other sibling asks you for a favour, you can’t really say no.

I had list of potential dishes but my grand plans that were cut down to size by the reality of the lack of time to finish cooking. Majority of the menu were tried and tested recipes and I planned and planned. But like most things in life, it is the unexpected that take you by surprise, and my favourite dish that I had put out that night was this sweet and tangy prawn dish that I had haphazardly put together with a bunch of everyday ingredients: jar of marmalade, coriander, chilli flakes and limes.

Party Party Prawns
Serves 40 or more

1 jar of marmalade
A bunch of coriander, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 limes, squeezed for juice and zest grated
1 kg prawns, shells and tails off

1. Mix all the ingredients except prawns together.
2. Add prawns and set aside to marinate for 15-20 minutes.
3. Remove prawns from marinade, set aside marinade.
4. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in the wok and add one quarter of the prawns and toss about in the wok until prawns are cooked then remove and repeat the process until all the prawns are cooked.
5. Add marinade to wok and simmer for 2-3 minutes for the sauce to thicken and for flavours to condense, then add prawns back into the wok and toss to coat.
6. Serve hot with rice, or allow it to cool and serve cold.