Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My first award for writing!

Amy Van, the editor of Appetite magazine, let me know that our article from July 2012 was named Top 3 Best Stories of 2011.  We're not entirely sure who nominated it in the first place, but it was a pleasant surprise for all of us.  Especially since it came with a $2,000 cash prize!

Appetite was the only food publication among the Top 3 winners.  Sometimes, we forget the origins of our food and sustainable practices in our increasingly fast-paced lives... Food publications should be the first amongst the lot to remind the world.  I quote Ms. Van, "More importantly, it is a testament to Appetite's status as the standard bearer not only for the finer things in life, but also the social and environmental considerations that come with their enjoyment."

Watch your step! (Bollywood Veggies)

On board for research on fish farms in Singapore (Barramundi Asia) with Mr. Kenny Leong by my side!
Me, Appetite editor Amy Van (and senior writer Kenny Leong) stuffing our faces last year for an article on chilli crabs at Jumbo Seafood East Coast

The winning article, "The Good Earth" leads Appetite readers through an 8-page journey, detailing some of Singapore's locally harvested fresh produce.  This includes quail farms (Lian Wah Hang Farm by William Ho), the aeroponics growing system (Aero-Green Technology, developed by NTU Professor Lee Sing Kong), fish farms (Barramundi Asia by Joep Kleine Staarman), and vegetable farms (Bollywood Veggies by Ivy Singh-Lim).

When you have a free afternoon, I highly recommend that anyone --local or expat-- visit the Kranji countryside to take a look at some of Singapore's farms.  The farms are quite happy to receive visitors - not to mention that it's simply beautiful out there.  The tranquility is amazing; you wouldn't even know you were still in Singapore.

(Click to enlarge)
Edipresse Asia press release on award

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How to make "Economic Rice" even more economical [Singapore]

In Singapore 'economic rice' is sold at hawker centres, where customers can order a myriad of cooked toppings to be served with their rice. 
Are you the kind of person for whom every penny counts?  I have a friend who refuses to pay more than $2 for his mixed vege rice (or economical rice).  He may pay up to $3.50 once in a while, but he'll make a big fuss out of it.  Don't get me wrong - I love him for it.  There's something to be said about his dedication to finding the cheapest stall out there.  There's an art to making economical rice even more economical - after a while, the dollars and cents do add up.

Another friend alerted to me a post about this art, sharing his "personal experience on how to maximize the value of a plate of mixed vege rice."  The original tongue-in-cheek post can be found here.

He gives clever little tricks, including advice such as visiting near the end of lunch or dinner time.  While some dishes may be sold out, the stall owners will try to get rid the last of the remaining dishes, thus serving you bigger portions.  This works especially well if it looks like the dish is about to run out.

Other tricks include your phrasing: 'more rice' rather than 'add rice' implying a bigger scoop of rice for no charge, rather than a second scoop of rice, sometimes resulting in an extra charge.  Or watch your timing: order the meat first, so the stall owner knows you're not there to be a cheap skate, resulting in larger portions because of a better mood.  And order only one dish at a time.  If you don't rush him, the author surmises, "This gives more time for the stall owner to serve your previous dish which likely will result in a larger portion. When he is finished and noticed that you are still pondering over your next order, he may feel bored and add a few more slices of your previous dish while waiting for you to make your next choice."

He also speculates that male customers get served larger portions than female customers, despite the lack of price difference.  So ladies, he advises that you get your male colleagues to order for you.  Ordering vegetable dishes that contain meat sauces is also more bang for your buck, since you're paying cheaper vege-prices for a dish that's half meat.  For the same reason, meat dishes that contain vegetables are 'not worthwhile' for your wallet.

Most importantly, becoming a regular customer is a win-win for both you and the stall owner.

P.S. For those who are curious about how my friend manages to get a full box of economical rice for $2 all the time, he finds the cheapest stall, then only orders the vegetables (with meat sauce!).

Also see this post at www.notatourist.sg

Recap: Social Media Week Hong Kong

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I was invited to Hong Kong to be a panel speaker at Social Media Week... on what else, but the topic of the food industry.

Social Media Week Hong Kong #food
See more photos from Harbour City's SMW album.

Fellow panel speaker, Chef Gregoire Michaud's recap of the event.
Enthusiastic attendee, Mister Yeo's recap of the event.

Follow twitters of the speakers and hosts of #SMWHKfood:
@victoriacheng @gregoireMichaud @chanchunwaihere @geoffrey_wu @ladyironchef @hkharbourcity @cookingdada 

Photos courtesy of Batman's iPhone4, unless stated otherwise. 

Before our group interview with Oriental Daily, Hong Kong

Karen Tam (Harbour City), Hilda Leung, Geoff Wu, Victoria Cheng, Brad Lau, Gregoire Michaud, KC, Chan Chun Wai

Photo from CampaignChina.com

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My February in a nutshell (with the help of memes)

The dieting part isn't a ton of fun, but the daily workout and gym routine has been fantastic.  My body is addicted to the physical activity.  With that said, I've been eating ultra healthy, and in the long run, my body will thank me for that too. (Do you see me trying to stay positive?  Woe the self-deception!)

Planning to share what the new diet consists of in later entries.  It's been a challenge making food more interesting while cutting out all the things that make the culinary world so nice... butter, bread, bacon...

But no worries, my little honeybees.  I still indulge in gastronomic delights (see photos here).  After all, Gastronommy.com is about living your one life as you believe; live la dolce vita.  If you want some motivation to be healthy and look sexy, I'd recommend putting this away and instead visiting the blog of Singaporean-born, Malaysia-based Fay Hokulani (www.withlovefay.com).  Her daily meals look ridiculously boring, but that girl is serious hotness to boot.

Give and take, but here's to me trying to HAVE IT ALL.  Next: rule the world.


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