Let’s go to… Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家)

Review

Just so we are clear, I am not a foodie. I make disastrous food. I don’t enjoy seeking new food experiences as a hobby simply because as a parent of 2 young children, I don’t have the time or energy to hunt down obscure places with food that may or may not be to my kid’s liking. This kind of gamble I don’t dare take because a hungry child = angry mum. We often stick to tried and tested places and only occasionally venture elsewhere. In fact, I depend on my friends to tell me what is good and new in town because I am also a mountain turtle 🙁

Among the places they have mentioned, one name kept popping up. Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家). Who? It’s a homey Chinese restaurant situated along Tai Thong Crescent which was voted one of the top 10 favourite restaurant by SPH CATS Classified Food Fest Award 2013.

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Gu Ma Jia
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Casual dining

Do not let the restaurant’s simple layout fool you. The food is fresh, scrumptious and sincere. Gu Ma, the founder, is very much like my mother because they both prefer to buy their ingredients and seafood from the market daily. This is to guarantee freshness and taste. My mother used to say better to buy today, cook today. Why buy fresh, then put into the fridge and wait until not fresh already then serve your family leh? It simply did not make any sense to my mother. Gu Ma agrees too.

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Assam Fish Head

Nah, nah! This is the famous Assam Fish Head! Sorry my photo does not do it justice. It had the right amount of tanginess. Not so sour until your toe can curl kind. This is a really appetizing dish but I still prefer the one from a kopitiam near where we stay. The little stall has since closed and my dream assam fish head is nowhere to be found. Sigh…

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Crispy Bean-jal

I don’t know how anyone can look at the spongy brinjal and think “HA! This one can make crispy!” Apparently Gu Ma can and she did it beautifully. This is a weird and wonderful dish I will definitely order again in future.

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Claypot Chicken with Ginger and Sesame Oil

The Claypot Chicken with Ginger and Sesame Oil reminded me of my confinement food. In a good way of course. Perfect dish for a cold rainy day.

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Ling Zhi Mushroom Bean Curd

This ain’t no ordinary tofu. This bean curd was made by the restaurant, not the store bought variety. Somehow even Xander who normally runs away from any kind of bean curd, gobbled it all up with the mushrooms. If the kid eats it without any protest, it is a winner in my books.

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Kyoto Pork Ribs with Yam Ring

Oh the Kyoto Pork Ribs! It was so tender and juicy! Unlike the typical Ku Lo Yuk, these pork ribs were not drowned in batter and smothered in sickeningly sweet ketchup and pineapple sauce. What’s a Chinese restaurant without a yam ring right? Everything goes well with yam ring me thinks 🙂

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Yuan Yang Kailan

I called this The Veg with the ‘Fro. The Husband said the mark of a good restaurant lies with how they cook kailan. Gu Ma took it to another level altogether. The Yuan Yang Kailan is cooked in two styles, blanched and fried. You can’t recreate this with your normal stove because the heat is not high enough. Forget it. Just go eat it at Gu Ma Jia lah. I wanted to ask Gu Ma what inspired her to invent this dish but Yvie was fussing and I left The Husband in charge of helping me do the asking. Sekali when I turned around, I heard him say “Auntie ah, you designed this dish to look like your hair izit?” OMG! Never. Ever. Compare a woman’s hair to vegetables, ok folks? Luckily Gu Ma was too stunned to realize what was happening so I fasterly changed the question. Phew.

Gu Ma said, the stems are usually stringy and to solve that, she just had to peel it and to jazz it up, she tried to fry the leaves just to see how it ends up. Voila! Yuan Yang Kailan was born! So clever ah this auntie?

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Prawns with Salted Egg Yolk. Luckily Auntie Adora took this photo because I completely forgotten about it.

The inevitable happened. I forgot to take a picture of a dish and boy was it a good dish! I strongly believe that anything fried with salted egg yolk is oh so delicious. Forget about cereal prawns! Prawns with Salted Egg Yolk is to die for! Even Yvie couldn’t take her eyes of them. Of course lah! The prawns were enormous!

Don’t forget to try the Fruity Jelly Enzyme with longans and wolfberries. *whispers* Good for losing weight!

Overall, this is the place I will bring my parents because I know they will enjoy the fresh home cooked food and the non pretentious setting.

Oh yes! They have catering service and bento box delivery too! Do pay them a visit the next time you are in the area.
Tip: Parking spaces are very limited so be prepared to make a few rounds in the neighbourhood or just take the public transport. A little bit of walking exercise after dinner is also good!
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Us, Agnes, Florinda, Gu Ma, Adora and a very excited Xander

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Address: Gu Ma Jia 45 Tai Thong Crescent Sennett Estate Singapore 347866
Telephone: 6285 2023
Fax: 6285 2023
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sg.gumajia
Website: http://gumajia.com.sg/index.php?route=common/home

Disclaimer: The fine people of Gu Ma Jia invited us hungry folks for this review but all opinions are my own.

Let’s go… to Glee Kitchen!

Glee Kitchen
Yes, they are gluten free!

I was snooping around Facebook one day and I came across a conversation between 2 friends who were discussing about new places to explore in Singapore. So kaypoh hor? 😛 One of them mentioned Glee Kitchen (not to be mistaken with a hit TV show of a smilar name. GL-uten frEE. Geddit? Geddit?) a gluten free place situated inside Toa Payoh Central Community Club. Inside Toa Payoh Central Community Club? Small cafe ah? No leh. I saw on their Facebook page they had proper tables and chairs leh. Gluten free food nice ah? Not bland and cardboard like meh? I dunno. I nair had it before. Since The Husband recently had a health scare, lifestyle and dietary changes needed to be made. Besides eliminating sugar from his diet, going gluten free seemed like a good idea too. No harm trying mah. So I told him about this place that day, picked the little boy up from school and off to Toa Payoh we went!

Found it!

Glee Kitchen is a 100% gluten free, casual dining establishment. If you have a special request, let the friendly team know beforehand what your dietary restrictions are and they will discuss with you what they can or cannot do for you. Really lah, they are very friendly one!

The owner, Keirra, explained to me that when her children were younger they had specific dietary needs and going gluten free was the best option for them other than relying on medicines. She saw marked improvements in them physically as well as emotionally after the diet change. She also reminded me that a gluten free diet does not necessarily work on everybody as the effects and health benefits will vary from person to person. Luckily for her it all worked out very nicely. Unfortunately, back then, such places were not common and even the costly ingredients were pain to find locally. The ex-educator’s dream was to set up an accessible place where she could serve affordable, healthy food and to provide a safe, quiet area for children with special needs to relax while their family members enjoy their meals nearby. When the space inside Toa Payoh Central Community Club was made available, they jumped at the opportunity to finally be able to kick start this dream with the restaurant. I was very thankful to have the opportunity to bump into Keirra while we were there and for her to take the time to share her personal experience with me.

The simple menu

Sorry, I nair take picture of the menu inside. Too hungry and too pregnant to remember to do a lot of things lah. 

How come got spoon one? Other places got number plate, here use number spoons lor! Cute!

After you place your order at the counter (they also have a dessert display showcase), go and wait for your food at your table or go kaypoh see how your food gets prepared. It’s a small setup and the kitchen is quite visible. But no lah, don’t disturb them lah. Let them do their work in peace ok?

There are the food we ordered that night and they were ALL GOOD!

Saba & Kimchi Risotto. Sorry photo not very nice. My hands trembled a bit by the delicious aroma lah.
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Sous Vide Chicken Leg with Roasted Vegetables. The skin is crispy lor! Very nice lor!
Erm… Penne with Marinara sauce? I don’t remember already. Xander really enjoyed this non-spicy dish.

Update: The lady boss say this was Penne with Ragu Sauce.

I also forgot the name to this dish but the warm salad with grilled eggplant and balsamic vinegar dressing was sooooo good!

Update: The ladyboss say this was the Eggplant Salad.

We also had chocolate soy pudding or The Husband preferred to call it Chocolate Tau Huey. It was buelly good! Not too sweet, just the way I like it! Sorry no photo because I couldn’t stop at the 1st bite and didn’t think about taking a photo of it.

So, if you happen to be in the Toa Payoh area or looking for a nice gluten free place, try them out. Sincere food, reasonable prices, why not?

As Glee Kitchen is still relatively new, be kind ok? Do Like their Facebook Page for the latest offerings and updates.

Disclaimer: This is not a paid or compensated review. This is an honest, true to heart review of a really nice eatery. My family and I really enjoyed the food so I thought I should share a good find with all of you.

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Glee Kitchen website: http://www.gleekitchen.sg/
Glee Kitchen Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gleekitchen

Operating hours: 
Tue – Fri: 11:30 am – 9:30 pm
Sat – Sun: 10:30 am – 9:30 pm

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Pie on the Fly or as I like to call it my See Suah Lai Pie

I have what a lot of people will call the “eyes bigger than stomach” problem. I will see wonderful recipes/craft projects online or on tv and almost immediately I will go buy the ingredients/materials required in hopes I would jump into it that very day or at least the day after. Of course I never got to the projects that day or that week or even that month. Now almost every nook and cranny of almost every room in the house is filled with all sorts of materials and supplies. My kitchen is also not spared. Buy until lao hong (become soft) or fah mou (turn moldy) because I forgot I had them in the first place. Waste money sia.

So one day, I had a huge craving for a shepherd’s pie. Largely because a few weeks prior, I bought one but had left it in the office over the weekend. I knew by the time I get to it on Monday it would probably have turned bad so I told my sister (I’m working for her at her office lah) to eat it, don’t waste it. I never got the chance to taste it.

Lucky for me, we had some potatoes lying around and I started to gather whatever  I could find in the house for my pie. I tried to look for some easy recipes online but most required special sauce which I didn’t have so I thought, let’s just wing it.  Shepherd’s pie very easy one right? Just assemble, fry and bake mah. Ok set!

Ingredients I used (serves 2)*

  1. Concentrated chicken stock (almost expiring)
  2. Frozen vegetables (they last forever)
  3. Frozen minced pork (500g)
  4. Potatoes
  5. Light soy sauce
  6. A little corn starch powder
  7. A little pepper
  8. Butter for frying the meat and the mashed potatoes. You can used healthier alternatives if you wish but I prefer butter.
  9. Some water

*I’m not indicating any measurements because I didn’t measure them. All by feeling one.

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Directions:

  1. Defrost minced meat (duh)
  2. Mix a bit of soy sauce, corn starch powder and pepper with the minced meat in a bowl and put aside.
  3. Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters.
  4. Boil potatoes until soft, not mushy. This should take about 15-20mins depending on how many potatoes you use. I used 7 small ones.
  5. When the potatoes are boiling, start frying the minced meat.
  6. Add frozen vegetables when the meat is nearly done. Please don’t add it when the meat is still raw. You don’t want to cook the veggies until they are dead.
  7. Add some water if it gets too dry.
  8. Put the cooked mixture into a bake-proof dish and set aside
  9. By this time, your potatoes should be done so remove from heat. Add butter and bash mash ’em up. No need to be super smooth, slightly chunky also can.
  10. Top the meat mixture with the mashed potato.
  11. Use a fork to score/scratch the surface. The tips will brown very nicely in the oven. I was too gentle with mine so it turned out quite pale with very little browning.
  12. Pop into the oven to bake for about 15mins. Then broil for about 10 mins. Just don’t bake until chao da (burnt) can already.
  13. Take out from oven.
  14. Take picture of it until pie turns cold or until your family faints from hunger or whichever comes first.
  15. Serve to the hungry folks.

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So how? What do you think of my Si Suah Lai Pie? The Husband said it tasted very Asian, like the mushroom puff from Old Chang Kee that Xander loves. I don’t know if that’s a compliment or not but Xander asked for second helping because he said “This is the best pie in the whole world Marmee!” WAH! *head swells* Ok boy, I give you all! Never mind Daddy is starving, I give you as much as you want.

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