Ramen Bankara

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I have to admit. I am quite a ramen lover. A bowl of hot soup that is bursting with flavour and springy noodles, who wouldn’t like that? But a good bowl of ramen is hard to find and because I haven’t had a bowl of ramen from Japan, I have nothing really to compare to. But I know a good broth and a yummy bowl of noodles when I have one!

When Thanh (I Eat Therefore I Am) asked me if I wanted to stuff my face with ramen at Ramen Bankara and other deliciousness on a cold night, there was no way I would turn that down! Thankfully, the Mr took Lochlan into the gym with him that night, and I could head to the tasting event without a worry!

Ramen Bankara

Shop G047, 619 Doncaster Road

Doncaster Westfield Shopping Centre

Menu for the night

It’s been more than a year since the last blogger event I attended, so I was really quite excited. I also got to catch up with some friends which I haven’t met for quite some time! I also got a chance to meet some new ones, which is always a plus!

Agedashi toufu

We started off the evening with some entrees! The Agedashi tofu has always been a dish I love to have when dining at a Japanese restaurant. These deep fried tofu were crispy on the outside and silky smooth on the inside, sitting in a bowl of hot dashi broth and topped with bonito flakes! I love how the bonito flakes always look like they come alive when they are on a dish. Definitely mad some people squirm! hehe Ok back to the tofu, these were definitely a great start to the night!

Gyoza

We also had some gyoza (panfried dumplings) and tori karaage (crispy fried chicken)!

tori karaage

Oh boy were these fried chicken good! Really well seasoned, crispy on the outside and it was really juicy & tender too! Couldn’t stop at one but had to save tummy for the bowls of ramen to come!

Tonkotsu ramen

First up – my favourite for the night – Tonkotsu ramen! This rich and creamy pork bone broth that was slow cooked for 12 hours! This is the premium bowl which comes with the works  – kanuni (braised pork belly), black fungus, pork cha shu, ajitsuki tamago (seasoned boiled egg, which was served on a side for this bowl), bamboo shoots & seaweed! I seriously wanted another bowl of this broth, not to mention the springy Hakata style noodles!

Ramen Bankara

This was the signature Ramen Bankara – The pork broth is infused with the shoyu (soy sauce) and has a hint of sweetness. A great balance of salty and sweet.

Chuka soba

This was something new to me – Chuka soba. The broth is a unique blend of seafood and pork which made it really rich in flavour. There is also a spicy version of this dish for those who enjoy an extra kick! Also, aren’t those tamagos just gorgeous?

Tamgo

They were perfectly cooked, with a molten yolk centre and seasoned really well! We were lucky to have one whole egg to ourselves that night!

Tsukemen

The Tsukemen definitely left a good impression on my tongue and belly that night! It was really different from the usual bowl of ramen I’ve had. Instead the springy noodles were served cold in this dish with a bowl of piping hot broth that is rich and peppery!Tsukemen noodles

So the idea is like having a bowl of cha soba! You dip the cold noodles into the hot broth and slurp away! This would be a perfect dish for the hotter months to come. Definitely heading back for these soon!

Lemon sorbet

After all the savouries I had for the night, and not to mention how full I was, we were served with a couple of desserts. First up was this tangy lemon sorbet that was seriously addictive! I found myself digging my spoon in for more and it kinda cleansed my palette a little!

Trio of ice-cream

Last but not the least, ice cream! A trio of ice-cream – green tea, black sesame and vanilla. The black sesame was a crowd pleaser and the green tea was a perfect balance of the bitterness of the matcha and the sweetness of the ice-cream. A perfect way to end the night!

Thank you to Thanh again and Ramen Bankara for having us and serving us all the delicious dishes for the night! It was an absolute ball and I haven’t laughed so much for a long time! So if you’re looking for a good bowl of ramen, do head to Ramen Bankara and definitely give that bowl of Tonkatsu a go! You won’t regret it!

I was invited to Ramen Bankara by Thanh of I Eat Therefore I Am. All thoughts and opinions are based on my experience at the time of the visit. Thank you so much for this wonderful experience and opportunity!

Ramen Bankara Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dry Mee Siam

Dry Mee Siam

Good evening dear readers. I hope you’re having a great weekend so far! Mine has been really relaxing, trying out new recipes and cooking up a storm in the kitchen. It definitely felt good cooking and baking again after quite a long time! One of the things I tried is dry mee siam. hehe If you don’t know what mee siam is, it is a malaysian dish and is similar to fried rice vermicelli with lots of aromatics to make it flavourful and delicious! It’s usually comes with a gravy, but I do prefer the dry version. Every mouthful makes me nostalgic!

Dry mee siam

As my sister-in-law says, it brings the taste of home (有家的味道) ! I was quite worried about how it would turn out, but it was pretty good for a first timer! hehe And quite simple as well! Just blend all the aromatics together, fry, add stock, rice vermicelli, viola! Definitely something you can consider making during parties! I topped mine with prawns, fried beancurd, chinese chives and crispy fried shallots! But you can top it with anything you like, for meat lovers, you could shred some chicken in as well! heh So what are you waiting for? Give it a try!

Dry Mee Siam (adapted from Valee Belly & To Food With Luv)

1 packet of rice vermicelli (about 400-500g)

300g bean shoots

300g prawns, shelled and deveined

100g fried beancurd/ firm toufu, sliced and fried till golden brown

3 hard boiled eggs, cut into halves

10 stalks chinese chives, finely chopped, extra for garnish

2 tbs vegetable oil

2 cups chicken stock

2 tbs fish sauce

2 tbs tamarind paste

2 tsp brown sugar

ground white pepper

fried shallots

1 lime, cut into wedges

Aromatics / Spice blend : 

5 cloves of garlic

10 shallots

20g belachan

55g dried shrimps, soaked and drained

3 heap tbs sambal chilli

2 tbs fermented yellow beans/taucheo (I used crushed salted soya beans)

Blending the aromatics

Steps :

1) In a blender, place the garlic, shallots, belachan, dried shrimps, sambal chilli and fermented yellow beans. Blend till it becomes a fine paste.

Blended aromatics

2) In a heavy based frying pan or wok if you have one, heat the vegetable oil on high heat. Add the prawns and fry till its cooked through. Set it aside. Fry the blended aromatics for about 8-10 minutes, till fragrant. Remember to keep stirring it so that they do not burn.

3) Add the chicken stock, fish sauce, brown sugar and tamarind paste and bring the mixture to a boil, lowering the heat and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes.

4) Add the rice vermicelli and bean sprouts and mix well till well combined. Toss it well to make sure the rice vermicelli is well coated and the liquid is absorbed and almost dry. Add the chives and give it another good toss.

5) To plate, place some dry mee siam on the plate/bowl, top it with hard boiled eggs, fried beancurd, prawns, more chives, fried shallots and a wedge of lime. Remember the lime as it gives the dish a sourish and refreshing kick!

Dry Mee Siam

Now it’s time to sit down and enjoy! (: Hopefully you’ll love it as much as we did! Brought us straight back to Singapore hehe

Remember to always cook and bake with love! 

Crab Bee Hoon Soup

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Fridays in the Ho Clan only means one thing – Seafood day ! (: After all the poultry and red meat we have for the rest of the week, we abstain from them on Fridays and have seafood instead. Most of the time, I would make either fish or prawns (or both). But once in a while, I would do the occasional splurge and treat ourselves to something different. This time, it’s crab!

cleaning the crab

The Mr and I went to Springvale to scout for a mud crab. Thankfully, they sold live ones! But being the noob us, we didn’t really know how to pick! haha So we asked the store owner, and she kindly chose one for us. The Mr was a little disappointed that all the mud crabs were female, as he was really looking forward to having some crab roe! Maybe next time! hehe

Of course, the first thing we did when we got home was to pop the crab into the freezer so that it would fall into a deep sleep so that we could clean it out the humane manner. I didn’t dare do it, so the Mr had to help me with the killing and cleaning. hehe Thank goodness he was home! (:

crab bee hoon soup

I have been craving for some crab bee hoon (thick rice vermicelli) soup for the longest time! I remember the first time I’ve had it was at Mellben Seafood in Singapore. They, in my opinion, has the best crab bee hoon soup I’ve ever tasted! Being the instagram stalker that I am, I saw one of my friend’s post of their crab bee hoon soup and I couldn’t resist the temptation of trying it out on my own! hehe

crab bee hoon soup

The broth was so full of flavour with the subtle milkiness of the evaporated milk. Definitely satisfied my cravings! heh I have to say, it was surprisingly easy, besides the cleaning of the crabs! You could get it on the dining table within 30 minutes after everything is prepared. How good is that? As close to instant gratification as I can get! hehe

So do give this a go. Especially if you’re craving for something comforting for this cold winter nights we are having now! You’ll have warm, toasty and happy bellies for sure!

Crab Bee Hoon (Thick Rice Vermicelli) Soup (adapted from Rasa Malaysia)

1 kg mud crab, cleaned and cut into pieces

2oog dried thick vermicelli noodles

4 tbs unsalted butter

6-10 slices of peeled ginger

3 cups fish stock

1/2 cup evaporated milk

3 bunches of baby bok choy

1-2 stalks of spring onion, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 tbs shaoxing wine

1/2 tbs fish sauce, or according to taste

white pepper, for seasoning

fried shallots, garnish

crabs cleaned and cut into pieces

Steps :

1) Cook the dried thick vermicelli noodles according to the package till al dente. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse them under cold water to remove the starch. Drain and set aside.

2) In a claypot or heavy-based pot, add the butter and allow it to melt. Add the sliced ginger and fry till fragrant.

frying the ginger in melted butter

3) Add the stock and bring it to a boil.

Bringing the broth up to a boil

4) Then add the evaporated milk followed by the crab.

Add the crab and evaporated milk

5) Cook for a few minutes until the crab turns red and is cooked. Add the baby boy choy, shaoxing wine, spring onion and season with fish sauce and ground white pepper. Bring to a boil, and add the rice noodles. Allow it to boil for a few minutes, garnish with fried shallots and serve!

crab bee hoon soup served!

 ENJOY!

My favourite part of the crab is definitely the pincers. It’s just full of sweet flesh and after I was done with mine, I just wanted more! So dear readers, which is your favourite part of the crab? heh Would love to know and how do you like to have your crabs too! hehe

Hope you all had a lovely week and not long till the weekend! So hang in there! Remember to always cook and bake with love! xx

{Quick & Easy} Salmon, Shiitake and Edamame Soba Noodles

Part two of our jap themed dinner features a bowl of salmon, shiitake & edamame soba noodles! Remember my post on okonomiyaki? This goes really well with it! I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a soba person, not so much udon. Maybe cause it makes me feel like I’m eating something healthier. hehe I do usually like the cold version, especially cause I get to dip it in the cold soba sauce and slurp it!

But I decided to try a hot version of it. And I was really glad with how it turned out! I could seriously have a bowl of it every night! hehe The addition of the edamame not only added freshness, but also added a vibrant colour to the dish!

And what’s more? I topped the soba noodles with supper yummy korean rice seasoning! If you haven’t had this before, I urge you to head to an asian supermarket to get one ASAP!! You could even top the okonomiyaki with it! So so good (: So here’s the recipe which I used for this delicious and healthy (in my opinion) soba noodles! And you can definitely get it cooked in less than 30 minutes! That’s a win-win in my books!

Salmon, Shiitake & Edamame Soba Noodles (adapted from Flying Fourchette)

300g skinless salmon fillet, cut into cubes

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/2 cup edamame, shelled

180g soba (buckwheat noodles)

2 tbs vegetable oil

 For sauce :

1 /3 cup water

1/3 cup light soy sauce

3 tsp korean hot pepper paste (gochujang)

1 tbs brown sugar

Steps :

1) For the sauce : Stir all the ingredients together until the sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside.

2) In a non-stick frying pan, add 1 tbs of vegetable oil and fry the cubes of salmon until all sides of the salmon is slightly brown. Set it aside. Add the rest of the vegetable oil, and fry the garlic till fragrant then add the shiitake. Fry for about 5 minutes, or until the shiitake is tender.

3) Add the salmon cubes back into the pan, and add half of the sauce and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes on low heat. Meanwhile, heat a pot of water and cook the soba noodles till just tender (about 7 minutes, depending on the instructions on the packet). Drain the noodles and run under cold water, to stop it from cooking further. Drain well and place in a large bowl.

4) Transfer the cooked salmon with the sauce into the large bowl and toss it lightly until the noodles are well coated. Add the edamame and give it another toss, careful not to mash the salmon. Put a few more teaspoons of sauce if desired.

5) Sprinkle with rice seasoning before serving. ENJOY!

Definitely something quick and satisfying after you’ve had a long day at work or school. So hopefully this would be something you’d like to give a try! (: Happy midweek!

Pho Hung Vuong Saigon Springvale

Winter just means one thing. Soup. and lots of it, just to keep out tummies warm and fuzzy! One thing we do love is a good pho. Before we moved, we used to always head to Footscray to have a nice big bowl (well small for me) of pho because it’s just around the corner. Now, thankfully Springvale is a 10 minutes drive away! Phew!

 I have to admit, we haven’t had the chance to explore the different shops in Springvale. Not as much as I would like to! You know sometimes when you’re nearer to a particular suburb, you tend to not explore it as much? Sadly, we kinda took the distance for granted. It is currently just a place I go to do my grocery shopping. We had to extend out (food) knowledge and we decided to head there last weekend with a mission : to find a place that sells pho as good as the one back at Footscray (Hung Vuong Saigon)! To my surprise, I actually found a Pho Hung Vuong Saigon here at Springvale as well! So of course we decided to give it a go.

Pho Hung Vuong Saigon Springvale

Address : Shop 2/15 Balmoral Avenue, Springvale Vic 3171

Telephone : 03 95585147

It was really packed though it was about 3pm in the afternoon. But the wait staff were really friendly and asked us politely to wait for just a few minutes before we could get a table. So we were more than willing to wait. In less than 10 minutes, our tables were ready for us! Talk about quick!

We sat down, and were asked almost immediately for our orders! I was a little shocked, but I think cause they have been around for 20 years, they reckon we have been there before and would know what we wanted! They had menus on their walls, but were either in mandarin or in vietnamese so we had no clue what they had! haha I shyly asked the wait staff if they had an english menu and he quickly got us some. Thank goodness! Their menu is slightly different from the one at Footscray. They specialise with pho. There wasn’t anything else on the menu. Short and sweet, it was. So we made our decisions and waited for our bowl of hot deliciousness to arrive.

I had the beef and beef brisket pho, as I always do. Love the thin and raw slices of beef that would just cook instantly when pushed into the hot soup! The first thing I always do is to take a spoonful of soup and slurp it! haha Sorry I know it sounds rude, but the soup is a crucial component of a good pho! It. was. incredible! The soup was clear and super tasty! Absolutely made my cold afternoon! I just wanted more after each mouthful. Plus, they were super generous with the beef and brisket! Both of which were so tender! Was a clear winner to me. I’ve found my new favourite place for pho! HAPPY!

The mr ordered the chicken special which had a whole load of chicken breast fillets, chicken sausage, chicken blood, giblets and a  pasteurized egg yolk. Now, that a lot of ingredients! And how clear is that bowl of soup? I had a taste of his soup and it was really tasty as well though it more delicate and sweet when compared to the beef one. The mr did enjoy it quite a bit! We did wish that they had the fried spring rolls though! Wanted some crunch! hehe

We left the place super stuffed and satisfied! Definitely heading back there, knowing that my craving for pho will be satisfied for sure! (: Where have you had the best pho? Do share! Have a good week ahead everyone!

Pho Hung Vuong on Urbanspoon

Wanton Noodles

I’ve been on a hawker food journey of late. There has been the black fried carrot cake (chai tow kway), XO fried carrot cake, prawn noodle soup and from a long time ago – minced meat noodle (bak chor mee). It’s no secret that I’m missing home, and it’s just evident with the food that I’ve been cooking recently! My ultimate source of comfort, besides the mr of course. (:

One other thing that I miss is wanton noodles. Especially the ones my grandma makes during our lunar birthdays. Her wontons are the bomb! hehe And when we head back for our holidays, wanton noodles would be one of the first things on our food-list that we wanna have after we’ve touched down. Fei Fei wanton noodles is one place we can’t miss, and let me tell you. Their bowl of noodles is magical. Looks simple, but tastes so good! Just talking about it is making me want a bowl now!

I came home craving for some wanton noodles from work one day and went to get some wanton wrappers to make some. If you know me well enough, you know that I  love spontaneity! When I think of a dish, I’ll head to the markets and get the necessary ingredients and will whip it up and serve it for dinner. hehe Not much of a weekly planner, I have to admit!

Usually, my grandma only has mince pork in her wantons. But I like to add a bit more ingredients to mine, and stuff it to it’s maximum. Whoops! hehe Well, just can’t help myself. hehe Need textures for the extra bite! So just before I share my recipe, just a heads up that making the wantons is quite labour intensive. Especially if you’re making it for the first time. So do make this when you have ample time to prep and do know that all your effort would be worth it! hehe  And also, the sauces for the noodles could always be altered to your own taste! I might prefer my noodles a little on the salty side hehe

Wantons Noodle (an original recipe of FoodMadeWithLove)

Egg noodles

8 slices of fish cake

a bunch of choy sum

bean sprouts

fried shallots and coriander, to serve

Wantons :

250g mince pork

100g fish paste

8 prawns, finely chopped

4 shitake mushrooms, soaked and diced finely

20g dried shrimp, soaked and finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 tbs fish sauce

1 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs sesame oil

1 tbs oyster sauce

1 tsp ground white pepper

1 heap tsp corn starch

Wanton wrappers

Sauce for noodles (per serve) :

1 tsp shallot oil

1 tsp fried shallots

1/2 tsp sambal

1 tsp fish sauce

2 tsp thick dark soy sauce

1/2 tsp sesame oil

Stewed Mushrooms (optional) :

6 dried shitake, soaked and sliced thinly (reserve 1 1/2 cup of water)

Knob of ginger, thinly sliced into strips

1 tbs shallot oil

1 tbs oyster sauce

1 tbs shaoxing wine

1 tbs fish sauce

1 tbs light soy sauce

1 tbs dark soy sauce

Steps :

1) For the stewed mushrooms : In a small pot, heat the shallot oil on medium heat and fry the ginger till fragrant. Add the mushrooms and fry it for 5 mins before adding the sauces. Add the water and allow it to simmer on low heat for at least 30 mins. Of course, the longer the better. Just stir it occasionally and add more water if needed.

2) For the wantons : In a frying pan, fry the dried shrimp and garlic till fragrant. Set aside. In a large metal bowl, add all the ingredients as well as the fried dried shrimp and garlic and mix till well combined.

3) Place a portion on a wonton wrapper, wet the two sides with water and fold it into half. Press all the air out and stick the two ends together.

4) In a pot of boiling water, drop the wantons in and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the wantons start floating at the top. Drain and set a side.

5) In a serving bowl, add the sauces for the noodles and give it a good mix so that it’s well combined. In the same pot of boiling water, blanch the noodles, fish cake, choy sum and bean sprouts separately. Toss the noodles in the sauce that was previously prepared.

6) To serve : Place the choy sum and bean sprouts on top of the noodles, and top that with the fish cake. Place the cooked wantons on top, followed by the stewed mushrooms (and some extra sauce of course). Last but not the least, sprinkle some fried shallots and coriander. ENJOY!

Homemade Yu Seul Jja Jang Myun

So the korean craze continues.

Remember my recent review on Han Guuk Guan and we had the yummiest jja jiang myun? I got adventurous and decided to challenge myself to make it! I was a bit apprehensive about it, but we both were craving for more after having it that night! So I went to the asian supermarket KFL at Springvale and guess what I saw?

Black bean paste! (: PERFECT! I snapped a photo and whatsapped the mr and he was as enthusiastic about it as I was. So I saw that as a green light to get it. It wasn’t expensive though. Just $3? Could definitely last us for a minimum of 10 plates of jja jang myun! haha

I also question how restaurants get their jja jung myun the beautiful dark colour and only after I cooked it myself, I realised it’s all in the black bean sauce! There is no secret and definitely no additional colouring. *phew*

I have to admit, after plating up I was dancing a small dance inside when I realised I got it looking pretty close to the one we had at Ham Guuk Guan! I couldn’t find the right noodles to use so I just used the flat wheat noodles. It worked well with it as well! Had a little spring to the noodles. Almost like the la mian you get from chinese restaurants. The julienne zucchini gave the dish an extra crunch and the mr really enjoyed that. (:

I sure do love my noodles black. hehe (:

Yu Seul Jja Jang Myun (Seafood Black Bean Noodles)

200g basa fillet, sliced into 1-inch pieces

150g prawn, shelled and deveined (keep the shell for stock*)

50g clams

1 onion, cubed

1 carrot, cute into cubes

150g black bean sauce

1 1/2 cup prawn stock (recipe below)

1/2 zucchini, julienned, for garnish

1/2 tbs sugar

1 heap tbs corn starch

3 tbs water

2 tbs olive oil

200g dried wheat noodles

Steps :

1) Heat the olive oil in a deep dish pan over medium to high heat and add the onions and carrots. Fry until the onions become transparent and the carrots become a little softer.

2) Add the black bean sauce and stir it well. Add the stock* slowly, stirring, making sure everything is well combined. Cover with a lid and allow it to come to a soft boil.

3) Add the seafood according to the time needed for them to cook. I added the fish and allowed it to cook for 2-3 mins, before adding the prawns then the clams.

4) Add the sugar and adjust amount as needed. Mix the corn starch with water and slowly add it to the sauce, stirring as you add the mixture, allowing it to thicken.

5) Boil the wheat noodles according to the instructions at the back of the packet, then drain them when ready. Place them on a large plate and top it with the black bean sauce. Top the dish with the julienned zucchini before serving. ENJOY!

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* For the prawn stock :

Shells from the prawns used

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tbs vegetable oil

1 litre water

1 tsp fish sauce

Steps :

1) Heat the oil in a small heavy-based pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and fry till it’s brown, careful not to burn it as it will turn bitter.

2) Add the prawn shells and fry till the shells turn orange/red. Use the spatula to press the heads down and get all the flavours out of the shells.

3) Add the water and fish sauce and allow the stock to come to a boil. Lower the heat and allow the stock to simmer for not more than 30 mins. Drain the shells and take out 1 1/2 cups of stock for the noodles. You can freeze the rest for up to 1 month or keep in the fridge to be used within 3 days.

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Once again, a messy plate is a yummy plate in my books! (: