Things you've never dreamed of

March 16th, 2010

Awww Yeah

I’m back, darlings. Life got in the way, then WPMU shat itself and it took me 3 minutes to load each backend pages. Pimento has generously helped me to move all my stuff to a new space with brand spanking new versions of everything, so things are now running smoothly. Nothing’s changed except that I’d gotten rid of the www in front of my URL. Ooh scandal.

Sweeties, I have SO much to tell. First, here’s a recipe for you – consider this an apology for being absent for so long.

Sambal Kicap (Sweet Soy Sauce Sambal)

I can probably dress that picture up a bit more so it doesn’t look like tar in a bowl, but trust me, it’s delicious. Sambal kicap is a delightful condiment often served with anything soupy (e.g. noodle soups), grilled seafood, fried eggplants, banana fritters – anything fried. Shit, serve it with marshmallows if that takes your fancy.

Most recipes leave the garlic and chillies raw, but the recipe where I adapted this one from says that frying them lightly first will help the sauce keep for longer in the fridge. I also like the fact that it mellows out the garlic flavour.


Two cloves of garlic, peeled, left whole
Bird’s eye chilli – amount differs according to how hardcore you are. You can also replace with bigger chillies if you’re not too keen on burning your tastebuds off. If using small chillies, leave whole. If using large, roughly chop. Both green and red chillies are fine depending on what you want that day.
Approx 1/4 cup kicap manis/sweet soy sauce. I use ABC brand kicap manis
Kalamansi/lime juice (optional)

Open all windows.

Heat a teaspoon or so of oil in a small pan or wok over medium heat. Bung in the garlic and chillies. Fry until chillies start popping (explode more like) and scare the shit out of you. It didn’t take me long, probably about a minute or two? Note that frying chillies will give off fumes that make you sneeze, cough and feel unhappy.

Drain chillies and garlic on absorbent kitchen paper if you really care about the bit of oil clinging on to these things. Leave to cool.

Pound garlic and chillies together with a mortar and pestle until you get a paste*. You can add some sugar at this stage if you like your sauce sweeter (I don’t). Stir in the garlic-chilli paste with kicap manis. The kalamansi/lime juice is especially good if you’re going to use the sauce with seafood – just squeeze in a little bit at first, stir and taste. Keep adjusting the taste by adding more kicap or lime juice to taste.

*If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, combine the garlic, chillies (chop these up a bit first) and soy sauce and use a blender to make a sauce, adding a tiny bit (like half a tsp or so) of water if you need it.

I served it alongside KK-style beef soto:

As a bonus, here’s what I had for dinner the last two nights:

Vietnamese beef stew – recipe from the amazing Wandering Chopsticks blog. Try it out, it’s seriously good. The two pictures above aren’t me trying to be artistic – I only found out that the bowl I used for both dishes was chipped so I had to crop it out.

February 6th, 2010

Perth 2009: Northbridge

One of the things I noticed about Perth when I got back (aside from Perth women being hot and the men fug) is that everything is so goddamn expensive. Most people blame the mining boom and East Coasters migrating over as the reasons why prices on everything have gone up, and the GFC hasn’t exactly helped things either. The SO tried to buy a pint of Hoegaarden when we were there and it was like 18 fucking dollars! Granted, we were at The Garden in Leederville where there’s always going to be cashed up hipster wankers who are willing to pay that much, but still!

Despite the severely overpriced nightlife, you can always count on Northbridge – Perth’s Chinatown – for reasonably priced feeds. Here are a couple of my favourites:

Dim Sim Cafe
297 William St.
(08) 9328 9388


Previously known as Hoi’s Kitchen, Dim Sim Cafe is home of the infamous Fried Squid, also known as Crack Squid. It’s really just deep fried salt and pepper squid, but there’s just something about the spice combination that makes it really addictive. The crunchy tentacles are tossed with spring onions and green chillies with just a hint of sugar. Please sir may I have some more


Their pork and century egg congee is not too bad either. It’s generous with the pork and century egg as you can see in the picture. To be perfectly honest the other yum cha items are just slightly above average so I can’t really give any other recommendations aside from the chicken pie (the crust is to die for), but the food is cheap and the service surly, as good yum cha places should be.

Saigon Cafe
101 James St.
(08) 9227 1552


Saigon Cafe has always been my favourite place to have Vietnamese food as a poor struggling student. I revisited the restaurant with BusinessClass one night for dinner.

I ordered the combination pho:


The soup is nice and fragrant and they pack it full of beef slices and miscellaneous cow parts.

BusinessClass ordered the duck with dry noodles – check out the amount of duck they give you:


The sauce that came with the duck tastes almost like the nasty sweet and sour sauce you get in shitty Chinese restaurants, but it managed to just taste nicely sweet and went really well with the crispy duck.

Kind of honourable mention:

James St. Kitchen
109 James St.
(08) 9227 1437

I’m really just putting this here for nostalgia’s sake. I revisited James St. Kitchen with Pimento and was pretty disappointed.


I got the salt and chilli fish fillets with fried rice (it’s on the menu as chicken fillets, but you can change it to fish for an extra dollar). This was tiny and the fried rice was pre-prepared – four years ago the serving was twice this size and the fried rice was made to order. The fish was still good, though – it’s served with a heap of fried garlic so make sure you have breath mints on you.


Pimento got the crispy noodles with pork. As you can see, they burnt bits of the noodles. Not impressed guys! It was OK, taste wise.

One item of the menu never fails to disappoint, however:


It’s just strong brewed tea with sugar syrup and slices of lemon, but I reckon they source the same crack that Dim Sim Cafe use for their fried squid to put in this business because it was crazy delicious.

Note that this isn’t the last of the Perth entries, I’ve just been lazy.

September 12th, 2009

Dinner at Jenny & Phuong’s

17 May 2009

My good friend Jenny is an amazing cook. She kindly let a bunch of us riff-raffs into her home to eat her food and watch the Eurovision finals.


Beautifully presented entrees


Banana flower salad – one serving garnished with dried beef


Deep fried soft shell crabs. I nearly wet my pants eating these, they’re so fucking good.


Pho accompaniments


Best pho I’ve ever had, and that’s saying a lot.


Dessert. Clockwise from top – black sticky rice with coconut cream, glutinous rice ball and black sesame ice cream.