Tteokbokki (Dduk Bbok Kie): Hot and spicy Korean street food

Tteokbokki stall

Tteokbokki or Dduk Bbok Kie as our Korean interpreter Kim spells it is a popular street food in Korea. I only knew that after I had it though. Three of us were walking around the streets sans interpreter and stopped to grab a quick bite to eat before heading back to the main event.

Tteokbokki

I caught sight of a group of locals congregating around this stall which sells some kind of spicy looking pottage. I don’t know what it is but it looks starchy and comes in a rather promising shade of red. The smell coming from the bubbling pot was decidedly pleasant and I concluded this was just the thing to have on a chilly autumn night.

busan street

We were in huge market somewhere in Busan and attempts to ask what it was failed miserably. I wanted to know what it contains so I can write about it but finally gave up and did The Sign Language Thing (TM).

pointing thing

The Sign Language Thing (TM) involves using your index finger to point at the simmering pot, turn that finger 90 degrees to indicate one serving, and rotate it another 90 degrees to point towards yourself, demonstrating your intent.

Dduk Bbok Kie

The Tteokbokki is served with a whole boiled egg, fish cakes, sliced meat, and tteok (a long rice cake with a texture like chewy dough) doused with a hot paste. It was surprisingly good. I love the hot sauce made with peppers – you can still see the chillis in the dish. It’s savory and spicy and costs 3000 Won (RM 8).

pork sausage

I was also given a pork sausage made with pork and starch as a “service”, which means free in their version of English.

eating Tteokbokki

Anyway, I was standing there eating the hot Tteokbokki (though I didn’t know what it was at the time) when up came this hot Korean girl (or so I thought at that time) and explained in PERFECT QUEEN’S ENGLISH what the dish contains. I was flabbergasted and my jaw probably dropped in mid-chew, exposing the half eaten contents inside my mouth.

I’m sure she was very impressed. T_T

She translated what I said to the stall owner and vice versa and thanks to her, this post comes complete with the ingredients in Tteokbokki.

malaysian student

Oh, and I found out she’s a Malaysian studying in Seoul after talking to her. Heh! She was here with her friends for PIFF 2009.

sixthseal.com Project Alpha promo + Episode 1

My promo for Project Alpha is out! Click on the YouTube video above to watch it. I am a little apprehensive about how the episodes would come out…especially the part where Cherie dishes out dirt about me. OMG, that one if not edited out my saham turun dy. :p

It’ll be epic…as in 1997 Asian Financial Crisis proportions. T_T

Episode 1 is also up!

BTW, you can also watch it on your BB. I watched the promo on my Xpax BB Curve 8520 when I was told it’s uploaded. =D

Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards 2009

Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards 2009

The first Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards was held on 23rd October 2009 at the Grand Ballroom of Pan Pacific Singapore. I just realized that I have too many photos to write in my usual verbose (some just call it long-winded) full-fledged event coverage style so:

Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards

Like a scrotum here it is in a nutshell! ;)

registration

Registration! Spot Carol (MY), Raine (SG) and Pinky (AU) behind the desk! Hanis (in white) was with me on the bus, thought I went on the wrong one.

jestina rina

Here’s Jestina and Rina behind the (very long) registration desk.

aussie

This is the Australian contingent at the wall where you can take photos courtesy of Canon.

aud

I always feel (slightly) better about my height when I stand next to Audrey. ;)

hat

I. Must. Resist. Pulling. Audrey’s. Tiny. White. Cap. Off.

tim

Tim and Ming with the rest of the Nuffies did a great job in pulling an event of this scale off.

jestinas

Two Jestinas!

xiaxue

I also met XiaXue who snagged 3 (!!!) awards that night. We don’t exactly see eye to eye on some issues e.g. substances, so barbed remarks were occasionally exchanged (to be fair I started it first – I think) but seeing her in real life suggests she’s an alright person.

The stage is set…and the Grand Ballroom slowly fills up.

sweets

I love these custom made Nuffnang APAC Blog Award candy – it comes with three varients: I (heart) blogging, NN Blog Awards, and the Nuffnang logo.

cheesie

Cheesie’s reaction after I politely put forth the suggestion of using Cheddie as an ingredient in a cooking experiment.

Hot bread rolls and butter

Hot bread rolls and butter

Marinated Smoked Tuna with Feta, Herb Salad and Balsamic Olive Oil

Marinated Smoked Tuna with Feta, Herb Salad and Balsamic Olive Oil

Light Cream of Asparagus and Green Peas topped with a Chive Mousseline

Light Cream of Asparagus and Green Peas topped with a Chive Mousseline

Rosemary Marinated Chicken Breast with Saffron Cheesy Mash Potato and Balsamic Reduction Mediterranean Vegetable in Mango Coriander Salsa Sauce

Rosemary Marinated Chicken Breast with Saffron Cheesy Mash Potato and Balsamic Reduction Mediterranean Vegetable in Mango Coriander Salsa Sauce

Praline Hazelnut Gateau with Raspberry Jelly

Praline Hazelnut Gateau with Raspberry Jelly

Camwhoring with:

tzia

Tzia

vivien

Vivien

karen

Karen

michelle

Michelle

ning

Ning

zeus

Zues

jolene

Jolene

photos

Natalie. The sheer amount of photos here will probably rape your bandwidth…

clipboard

I really like this photo. Haha! Nice pose there, Jestina.

wei zhi

Wei Zhi

carol

Carol

nicholas

Nicholas

cheng leong

Cheng Leong

jolyn

Jolyn

nara

Nara

jojo

Doing the attitude pose with Jojo!

nuffies

It was an awesome night. Here’s to Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards 2010! =D

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice @ Maxwell Food Court

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Maxwell Food Court

I was at Maxwell Food Court for lunch during the Nuffnang APAC Blog Awards Singapore tour when I stumbled upon a stall in the otherwise modestly populated food court with a long queue. It was for Zhen Zhen Porridge and not being particularly fond of porridge; I explored the other side of the food court and was rewarded (?) with the longest queue I’ve ever seen in my entire life!

Okay, that was a bit of an exaggeration…it was the longest queue in the food court, snaking all the way through tables of people eating to the other side. I wondered what the fuss was about and stood in line. 

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice queue

That probably wasn’t a good idea since my rudimentary calculations of the number of people in the queue and the speed at which Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice was pushing its warez indicated I would probably get my lunch at 2013 AD or so. Probably around August 13th at a little past 4 am in the morning. 

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Citygal

However, I spotted Wei Zhi (otherwise known as Citygal of KampongboyCitygal – pictured above) and Christine (of Brought up 2 SharE – shown below) standing in line in front of me. Ha! If they’re waiting in line, it’s gotta be good, so I trusted in their judgment and casually strolled up to have a chat with them. 

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Christine

This is a very advanced tactical maneuver which involves pulling your digicam out and nonchalantly taking a narrative video of the queue ending with the two abovementioned people in front. It works best if you proceed to camwhore straight after that and start talking animatedly while pointedly ignoring the people behind.

It is also known as queue cutting. ;)

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Awards

The list of awards bagged by Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice

Despite my strategic maneuvers, it took us 30 minutes (!!!) to get to Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice which is a bit on the ridiculous side considering we were all standing up instead of seated and waiting. My table mates thought I went missing! 

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice

The drumstick chicken rice with a large portion of rice came up to SGD 3.50 which is pretty cheap if you don’t convert it into about RM 8. I liked the taste of the rice; it was very flavorful and infused with chicken stock. I half expected to see a stray chicken or two inside the plate of rice. 

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Singapore

Having a less refined palate than Wei Zhi (she’s the one who recommended Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice) I found the chicken to be tender and moist – both promising characteristics in poultry. It’s very juicy and the sauce and ginger paste served with it does well to complement the flavor of the chicken rice. I quite enjoyed it to be honest. 

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Citygal Christine

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice @ Maxwell Food Court dishes up great chicken rice but I wouldn’t wait 30 minutes for it. I was about halfway through my meal when I was told our group had to leave for the next destination.

*cue speed eating demonstration*

Frog leg porridge at Lorong 9 Geylang

Frog leg porridge at Lorong 9 Geylang

Okay, a lot of people have been giving me a hard time about heading down to Geylang in Singapore but I didn’t go there to indulge in the pleasures of the flesh. Oh wait, I did! However, it was frog flesh rather than the Homo sapiens variety. I went there for the famous frog leg porridge. =D

frog legs

The frog leg porridge is at Lorong 9 in Geylang. You can’t miss it. There are pictures of frogs right on the signboard. I’m not a big fan of porridge so I was rather dubious about this, but I like frog legs, it’s the best invention creation evolution since sliced bread. The Chinese calls it tien chi which means “field chicken” – a euphemism if you will.

geylang frog leg porridge

The Lorong 9 Geylang frog leg porridge is the most renowned one in Singapore. I had a bit of a chat with the proprietor and he told me that the frogs are actually from Malaysia since they don’t have frog breeding farms in Singapore. 

preparing frog legs

He also enquired whether it’s my first time eating here, to which I replied in the affirmative. He recommended the Dried Chilli Frog Leg Porridge

Dried Chilli Frog Leg Porridge

It costs SGD 10 for the entire meal (about RM 25 or so) and comes with a bowl of steaming hot porridge seasoned with freshly chopped spring onions and a claypot serving of frog legs cooked with dried chillies (kung pow style). 

geylang frog congee

This is actually a fucking good cooking method since the chillies do not overpower the frog legs but adds that elusive zing to the porridge. Congee, as we all know, is rather bland by nature. 

geylang frog porridge

I don’t even like congee, but to my surprise I ended up eating the entire bowl. The dried chilli cooking method produces a lot of mouth-wateringly spicy gravy for the porridge. I planned to just eat the frog legs with a bit of congee but I whacked the entire pot. 

eating geylang frog porridge

Mmm…frog legs – it tastes like very tender chicken with the texture of fish. The sweet and succulent frog legs, the appetite inducing dry chilli, and the spring onion infused congee are hallmarks of what makes this a truly intense porridge experience. 

frog leg porridge

Lorong 9 Geylang frog porridge gets the thumbs up from me. Just don’t linger around the area; you may come across establishments which your mom would frown upon. ;)

Deep fried Mars bars

chippy british take away

Ah…I can’t think of anything more sinful than this. I’ve first been introduced to deep fried Mars bars in Australia but we heard there’s a place in Singapore that sells it.

deep fried mars bars

It’s not fried Mars bars per se but what they call “Fried Mars Balls”. It’s SGD 3.50 for 4 pieces with your choice of ice cream.

fried mars balls

Of course I chose chocolate ice cream. You just can’t have enough chocolate despite what Solomon said.

fried mars bars

I was rather disappointed with the serving though. It’s Mars and it’s batter fried but it doesn’t beat a whole deep fried Mars bar from a fish and chips shop. It’s just like pickled eggs I reckon, it’s one of those things that only fish and chips places does right.

I kena conned in Singapore

PSA: DO NOT USE HOTEL CURRENCY EXCHANGE!!!

punked

I exchanged RM 800 for SGD 311.20 which is a 0.389 exchange rate. It’s ridiculous!
Yee Hou told me it was more like a 0.24 rate outside hotels and a quick check via XE.com verified that it is 0.24542 so I should have gotten SGD 329.840 instead of SGD 311.20.

However, it’s not that bad la…SGD 20 is about RM 50 and I paid more than that for drinks last night so for the convenience, well, *shrugs*.

If you’re changing large amounts of $ it’s not advisable though. I have access to my Xpax BB WiFi so I could have checked the going rates but I was tired after the Nuffnang Awards. Oh well.

BTW, I’m starting to love my BB, I can’t believe how I lived without it before. Imagine Twitter, MSN and surfing at your fingertips with QWERTY!

I’m off for the Singapore Tourism Board tour. Catch ya on the flipside.

Isaac Toast: The Korean version of Ramly burger

ramly burger korea

I swear this uses the same setup of the Ramly burger stalls over here. We were actually discussing on how easily this can be done in Malaysia – same hot plate, same skillet. Even the topping of shredded lettuce is similar. Same same but different different ya know? ;)

isaac toast korea

Isaac Toast is a franchise operation in South Korea that serves a variety of toasted sandwiches. Now, I was dubious at first too. Toasted sandwiches? It all tastes about the same everywhere. Okay, listen up, history lesson is in session:

isaac toast sandwich

Korean toast sandwiches started out as authentic street food in the same vein as silkworm pupa but got so successful it spawned a host of different franchises for toasted sandwiches. One of them is Isaac Toast.

korean toast sandwich

What makes a toasted sandwich a Korean toast sandwich? That is a very good question…

…to which I have no good answer.

isaac toast interior

I suspect it has something to do with the egg in every sandwich – it is grilled with something that makes it taste sweet. That’s the best part about the sandwich; the savory taste combined with the saccharine omelet at the bottom turns this Korean toast from ordinary to exceptional.

isaac toast egg

I had the bacon (made from real oinking babis) toast sandwich which costs about 2,400 Won (about RM 6) and I loved it! The salty strip of streaky bacon contrasted with the sweet egg at the bottom. Delicious!

isaac toast bacon sandwich

I only wished they put more bacon in. You can never have too much bacon! It’s scientifically impossible.

Hunt or be hunted!

doria connecting me

The survival of the fittest doesn’t mean the Neanderthal with the largest biceps and biggest club in the forest anymore. It has turned into the man with the most Glocks. ;) Well, at least in Left 4 Dead. I have always been a gamer and I play all sorts of different games – Japanese RPGs, FPS, RTS, and other geeky acronyms.

doria setting up server 

However, we had a problem setting up the Left 4 Dead server one night and had to make several calls to ask how to go about it. We ended up playing at the cybercafé till early morning.

mafia-wars

There are also a lot of Facebook games out there snagging people left, right and center since they’re easy to pick up and you can furtively play at work. This probably caused a 78% drop in office productivity (just pulled that figure out from where the sun don’t shine) so HR IS GONNA BE WATCHING YOU!!!

barn-buddy

I figured if you’re going to risk your job playing Barn Buddy on Facebook (which won’t give you any tangible rewards) you might be interested in this puzzle game (which does).

I’ve got the mechanics all figured out so I’ll give you the lowdown here:

Register and head over to the clues page.

You’ll find six (6) clues each for Mega, Tera, Giga e.g.

puzzle

This is Puzzle 5 for Giga Clues.

My dear Watson, obviously this calls for you to navigate the website and find the corresponding page.

support

The answer to the question is a no-brainer. It’s gotta be under Support so look up at the top navigation bar and click on that button to produce:

puzzle-piece

Your very first puzzle piece! Congrats!
popup
Now click on that puzzle piece (it’s floating on the page – see red arrow in the previous image) and it will be added to your collection in the pop up. You only have 5 more to go and you’ll complete the Giga Puzzle!

Feel free to complete the puzzles (Mega, Tera, Giga) as many times as you want. You can even repeat the same clues to get spare puzzle pieces, which would also win you a prize, as well as the title King of Spare Pieces.

Register now to play! Contest ends 31st October. Full prize details here.

…and best of all, it looks like a corporate site, so you can pretend you’re doing research or something. ;)

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