Showing posts with label desserts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label desserts. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bangkok Ice Cream Festival 2013; Miangkham ice cream reigns supreme

Shortly after I got off the plane from Bali, my family and I happened to stumble upon a gold mine, the 2013 Ice Cream Festival at Central Plaza.  I attended the previous year's festival, but didn't quite get to explore as much as I would like to.  So, when this opportunity came up, I gave up my health conscious choices and just went all out.  The ice cream festival brought together all types of popular vendors and different genres of ice creams you could dream of.  It was truly a sweet-tooth haven for both adults and children alike.  You would find anything from soft-serve to gelato, sorbet, Turkish ice cream, mochi ice cream, "egg ice cream", even Marble Slab-esque ice cream.  

What I was focusing on was the increase in vendors producing ice creams based on seasonal Thai fruits, and transforming traditional Thai desserts and street food snacks into delicious, one of a kind ice cream flavours.  I feel it is a form of a growing trend to support and preserve traditional Thai cuisine, while still infusing what seems to work at an international level.  The result is usually some exotic and unique creations I probably wouldn't find anywhere else.  Thai people can get really creative when it comes to food, mixing ingredients that people would deem "taboo".  Their ice creams are no different.  Salted eggs? Salted fish? Dried shrimp flavour? There are less extreme ones too like coconut pandan, mango sticky rice, or Thai milk tea which are more subtle but so good.  So far, the respond by locals have been very positive as well.  There seems to be a growing demand for Thai ice creams and sorbets, thus increasing its popularity and competition.  

This led us to our first stop at the humble Onemore ice cream shop where the sign boasted images of specialty ice cream and sorbets made with Thai fruits you would find at local markets like guava, and passionfruit (all made from natural ingredients).  They're also served the way I remember as I was growing up, with salt, sugar and chili.  The ladies were generous enough to let us try a bunch of flavours, all of which were delicious.  While it was a hard decision to make, their specialty flavours really caught our eye; miangkham flavour and som tum flavour ice creams.  

"Miangkham" is a traditional Thai snack consist of chaplu or la lop leaves, which are robust with a distinct bitter flavour, used as a wrap for fillings.  They include chili, dried shrimp, shallots, garlic, ginger, lime bits with peel, roasted ground peanuts, and dried coconut flakes. It is topped with a viscous sweet and savoury sauce made with palm sugar and fish sauce.  The result is a uniquely vibrant and  strong combination of herbal flavours.  I have to say that miangkham tastes as authentic and traditional as it looks.

I couldn't believe there was an ice cream version of miangkham out for us to try today.  It was definitely one of the items on my food list to cross off while I'm in Thailand.  To be honest, I was a little scared of how the ice cream would turn out.  Chaplu leaves do not exactly have the subtle, gentle flavour, but rather a strong and bitter taste.  If you are looking for an authentic cultural and culinary experience, this leaf is one you should try.  Our miangkham ice cream, or sorbet, was served in a flower clay bowl, which you could take home after.  The vendor then dressed our bowl with toppings such as dried shrimp, lime, ginger, ground peanuts, and the savoury syrup.  It looked like the real deal.  After one bite, I was thoroughly impressed.   It looked like miangkham, and it tasted like miangkham.  Thankfully, the chaplu sorbet was not too overwhelming.  Instead, it was very light and had a lot of lime zest.  So, it was a rather refreshing and intriguing treat.  While I wouldn't call this one a dessert, but more like a really cool snack, it is an impressive new take on a traditional Thai appetizer that deserves to be served at 5 star Thai restaurants all over the world.
Miangkham ice cream all dressed to impress
Since the first ice cream was a hit, we later circled back and got a second hit.  This time, it was the refreshing gooseberry sorbet topped with syrup and crusted with salt, sugar and chili flakes.  Gooseberry by itself is normally extremely sour and tart.  Seasoning with salt, sugar and chili flakes not only balance out the flavour but also adds an extra kick or two to make life more interesting.  Eating this sorbet would make any Thai person feel nostalgic growing up.  Not only from buying the fruits which would come in a clear bag with a separated sugar-salt for dipping, but any Thai adolescent may have experienced being disciplined by a gooseberry branch at some point when they stepped out of line.
Crusted gooseberry sorbet
Another stop worthy of mentioning is another Thai ice cream vendor "Pad Boke Ice Cream", which also specializes in traditional Thai ice cream flavours.  We opted for apple custard sorbet for 35 bath or around $1.  This sorbet had no single trace of anything artificial in there and tasted natural and custardy like the fruit's namesake.  We found big chunks of the actual fruit mixed inside the sorbet. We really wanted to try the mango sticky rice ice cream from here too!! If only we had more stomachs....

I cannot believe we gave up mango sticky rice ice cream, young coconut pandan, passion fruit, or even 'kanom krok' ice cream for this last piece......

From Kyoto, Japan, Kyo Roll En ice cream looked pretty cool half black half matcha green.  At first I thought it was sesame flavour but later learned it was "sumi" flavour made from bamboo charcoal.  Seemed unique enough... and I'm a huge fan of matcha soft serve.  I have to say that our experience was mildly hampered by the sales lady whom I could only describe as a b*atch (a justifiable term on so many levels).  At any rate, the ice cream was nice, but didn't taste any different than other regular soft-serve.  The bonus side of this ice cream is that charcoal contains detoxifying agents that help cleanse the intestinal tract and act as anti-bacterial agent as well.  
Sumi-matcha flavoured soft-serve

Apparently today was the last day and I must I admit, I'm quite distraught.  Another vendor on the list to check out is Itim Yuk, another master of Thai ice creams.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ramen Champions


Arena 10 on Thonglor is a lively place to be especially on weekends.  Not only is it the venue for 2 popular night clubs, a football field, but also a go-to place for your ramen fix as well.  There are 6 individual ramen shops together in one place.  They're not just regular ramnen joints either, but all are ramen champions straight from Japan.  Each place is famous for specialized broth, and I've tried 3 out of 6 so far.  All the shops are about the same size; small with bar counters and outside seatings.  The staff are helpful and eager to inform us about their specialty.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cute Pig's Guide to Thailand: Mont มนต์นมสด bread and milk bar

For a famous, tourist-friendly mall such as the MBK, I was really surprised how very few foreigners have heard about this popular Thai cafe, Mont, short for Mont Nom Sod. Among Thai local, it is a well-known spot for fresh bread and dairy beverages.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Yummy Japanese soft serve ice cream in Bangkok

Scorching weather is hot enough in Bangkok to drive anyone crazy.  What better way to cool down that with an icy treat like a soft serve ice cream?

Cool it down the traditional way at Ootoya Kitchen
Omnitsu at Ootoya restaurant, 100 bath; scoop ice cream more for less.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Since we couldn't make it to Japan, we brought Japan to us!

Since my last visit to Japan in 2010, I've been dreaming about returning ever since.  I was hoping that some miracle would happen and I would be able to stop by Japan this year for their magnificent cherry blossom festival and maybe take a trip to Hokkaido for an amazing food tour.  But it was all just a daydream.  The schedule didn't quite work out and I'll have to put it aside til next year.  

Instead of moping and groaning for days, I have a lucky hamster who told me a secret about a little hidden gem.  The thing is this little gem is located at the largest mall in Thailand, Central World.  I was skeptical when she told me about delicious soft serve ice cream she got from a Japanese food court at Isetan, a Japanese department store located inside CTW.  I wasn't too excited, umm.. it's a food court? how special could it be? -_______-Well I took a trip there and finally got a snap with the cherry blossom as you can see ^_^.  And that's about as close as I'll ever get to a cherry blossom this year Y^Y.  It won't ever die and not really authentic, but it's pretty to look at in pictures right? lol.. Now, let's just get to the point about the food and I'll just summarize that it was a hell of a playground.  Located on the 5th floor of Isetan lies an incredible array of authentic variety of Japanese fare at extremely reasonable prices.  Behold for it is called the Souzai Delicatessen.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ice Cream Festival 2012 at Central Bangna

I love ice cream!!!
Summer is scorching hot in Thailand and, alas, the magnificent Ice Cream Festival is here just in time to save us all.  Come try over 100+ flavours of all different types of ice creams of your favourite vendors.  When I say different types of ice cream, I literally mean different category.  There's soft-serve, gelato, Thai-style, Taiwanese shaved ice, Turkish ice cream, mochi ice cream, you name it!  There are also creative flavours and presentation you wouldn't find anywhere else.  Melt Me presents each gelato served in a cone as rose pedals.  There's ice cream served in a form of an egg and you break it to eat it.  There's also super frozen ice cream that doesn't melt and you eat it along side a cup of cappuccino.  Some odd combination of flavours were coconut and shrimp, coconut and salted eggs and pork floss.  I tried the coconut and shrimp, it was definitely odd -_-''.  There are also a bunch of Thai signature flavours which are super refreshing.  You can pretty much try almost everything here.  What a great festival! It's truly a playground for people of all ages.  

Come check it out from March 22 - 28 @ Central Bangna ^ ^.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Easy young coconut jelly recipe (วุ้นมะพร้าวอ่อน)

Taking a long vacation in Thailand gives me an opportunity to indulge in unlimited supply of fresh coconut water.  I recently fell in love with coconut jelly serves right in the shell.  It is simple, delicious, and has the natural refreshing flavour of the young coconut.  Agar powder is popular in Asian desserts and made from vegetable.  As a result, it thickens much faster and gives more crisp texture than gelatine.

1 young coconut
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp. agar powder
1 tsp. gelatin

Cut open the top part of the coconut and separate the juice into a separate pot and set at low heat.  Scrape the meat off the shell.  Add sugar, agar powder and gelatine to the liquid and gently stir.  The ingredients should be well dissolved together and has a slightly thicker consistency.  Turn off the heat and add coconut meat.  Quickly pour the mixture back into the coconut shell and let cool.  For better refreshment, chill in the refrigerator for about an hour and serve.

Ingredients available on Amazon
 Organic Gelatin Powder 1.06oz

Special Sets : Brand Telephone Agar-Agar Powder Size 50 g. Made in Thailand UFC 10% OFF Refresh Coconut Water 500 ML (order 12 for trade outer)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Shibuya toast fever at After You

After witnessing long line ups in front of a dessert cafe with up to 3 hour wait time, I had to ask, "What is this place, After You?"  An answer I got was that it was a popular place that serves toasts.
Wait, toasts?
First, toasts are inexpensive and they can be found just about anywhere.  So what it is about this place that is so special? Why is it that the people waiting were unfazed by the ridiculous amount of wait time just for toasts.  I saw it in their eyes, desperation and hope.  They were like addicts.  Obviously I concluded that this 'toast' place must be slipping drugs into their toasts, because there's no way they can make it THAT different from everyone else.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Luxurious, and insanely delicious mocha truffle recipe

 I don't usually crave for sweets as much as I do for deep fried food.  When I do, I usually reach for dark chocolate which has more grown-up bitter taste and not overly sweet.  In small amounts, dark chocolate can be good for your health.  Flavonoids, compounds which gives the bitter flavour can be found in dark cocoa, have anti-oxidant properties that are beneficial to the body.

Last week, I had the privilege of attending a truffle making class at Sukhothai Bangkok hotel lead by executive pastry chef Laurent Ganguillet.  I have learned some useful tips when it comes to making truffles from the expert himself and would like to share some tips with you all.  Chef used couverture which is high quality chocolate, containing more cocoa butter which gives it more sheen and creamy flavour.  

Here is a recipe I got from chef.

serving 50 pieces
250 ml heavy cream 35% fat content
150 g milk couverture
250 g dark couverture 58%
8 g coffee powder

Dark couverture

Cocoa powder

  • Roughly chop 2 kinds of chocolate and put them in a mixing bowl.  
  • Put heavy cream in cooking pot and bring them to boil.
  • Remove from heat and add coffee powder, stir well until dissolved.
  • Pour half of the cream onto chocolate and, using a whisk, start to mix slowly from the centre of the bowl.  The cream will emulsify as you keep mixing. Tip: if you notice the chocolate starts to thicken too quickly, put the mixing bowl over the cream bowl on the stove with the heat off.  
  • Add the remaining cream to chocolate and stir well to obtain smooth consistency.  Voila, ganache is created!

  • Let the ganache cool and crystallize at room temperature.  This takes about 12 hours.
  • To shape the truffles, put the ganache in the piping bag and pipe dots of ganache, the size of a cherry tomato on baking paper and let set.  Tip: It's important to touche the baking paper, and pipe vertically up without moving to create a round shape.  As you can see, I struggled as it was my first time.  It was harder than it looked! You can also pipe into cylindrical shape, or use 2 spoons to shape as well. 
  • Prepare cocoa powder by spreading 2 cm layer of cocoa powder on a large tray with a rim.
  • Melt some dark chocolate to 32 c and, with the help of forks, quickly roll the truffles one by one in the melted chocolate and then in the cocoa powder  to coat them nicely.
What a gong show there
  • Let set.
  • To remove the cocoa powder, put a small amount of truffles in a large strainer, and use a baker's brush to remove excess powder.  As you can see, I didn't have either available.  
And that's it! Your mocha truffles are ready to be enjoyed.  Mine didn't turn out pretty, but they tasted amazing... The ganache was velvety smooth, rich, dark, with a slight sweetness.  Here's a nicer picture of the truffles made by the professionals instead.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Turkish ice cream

Turkish ice cream, also known as dondurma, is known for its uniquely thick consistency. As I came across a vendor in Bangkok, I tried vanilla and mango flavor dipped in chocolate and peanuts.  The vanilla was a delicate milky flavour.  I was quite in awe by its "gooey" and stretchy texture when digging out a spoonful. It was smooth like a gelato, but thicker and more chewy. The 2 main ingredients giving the qualities of Turkish ice cream are salep (flour made from the root of orchid) and resin.

Another trademark of Turkish ice cream is the vendor with a sense of humor and entertaining the patrons.  Our vendor was very friendly and would pull a prank on the customers by flipping over the ice cream cone as he was handing them out.

It definitely was a cool experience.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ice cream truffle fondue at Captsone

Capstone Tea & Fondue is a cute little shop I had been wondered about for years.  I recently visited the downtown location, and after quick observation, this place is really popular amongst couples! A go-to place for romantic, yet casual dates.  I guess making fondue together is interactive and it brings people closer? ^3^ <3

Since I love ice cream, my first choice, of course, was the ice cream truffle fondue.  The set arrived with 3 flavours of ice cream balls; cookies 'n cream, green tea, and mango.  Along side were banana cake and cookies.  The chocolate to dip the ice cream in was dark and not too sweet to go with the ice cream, and I love the slight bitterness that comes with dark chocolate.  The size is good to share between 2-3 people, maybe even 4 if you really love to share.


5 types of toppings; shaved coconut, ground peanuts, graham cracker, sprinkles, and almonds.  The set comes with a choice of 4 toppings, the coconut was extra.  

Ice cream + chocolate + sprinkles, you can't go wrong.  Feeling like a kid again, I had a lot of fun playing with my food and eating them too.

Overall, I liked their concept of this place although I don't think I'll be returning regularly.  I gotta give props to the staff team leader whom, despite being really busy, short staff, and having to deal with customers being impatient (me), he still made efforts to make sure his customers were happy.

Capstone Tea & Fondue on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Playdough color macarons at Thierry

Thierry is a refined patisserie where you could spend the afternoon or evening socializing with friends over a cup of cappuccino or a glass of wine and desserts.  Aside from their wide assortment of pastries, cakes, and tarts, when I think of Thierry (pronounced tier-ry like teary T^T) the first thing that comes to mind would be their larger than average and brightly coloured macarons.  The packaging is really cute and they make great gifts.  They come in a wide range of flavours with creamy fillings, and some flavours are a tad too sweet.  I enjoy elegant Parisian dessert shops such as this one and definitely seeing a (small) rise in the number of shops opening in Vancouver.  Someday, I wish that Le Notre would make its way to opening up here.  In terms of who reigns supreme in western Canada, I still haven't come across another place to top Edmonton's Duchess Bake Shop (strong words, I know).



6 flavours of macarons

Exotic fruit tart

Thierry Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Happy Cake Day!

Yesterday we brought home a DQ strawberry cheesecake just to help ease the heat stroke.  Sometimes, you don't need a reason to celebrate :)