miss ene eats: Bincho

Bincho is so hip, it hurts. Or rather, it was so hip that un-hip me couldn’t find the entrance to the restaurant. They have 2 entrances – the main entrance is via a dark, dingy koptiam serving mee pok (apparently, the local film Mee Pok Man was filmed at this very kopitiam) and the back door leads to a large car park.

So yes, we walked into the kopitiam and I stood there trying to figure out how to get into the restaurant. I saw some chefs behind the grill so I asked and they pointed me to the small unobtrusive door that led to a buzzing small space with diners huddled around small tables.

We were lucky – there were empty seats at the bench towards the back of the restaurant. Check out the dark dim and hip interiors.

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The menu comes in the form of a chalk board that the wait staff will hang in front of you. As Bincho is famous for their yakiyori, I decided to go with the Yakitori Don Set ($25) and the boy ordered the Bara Chirashi Kaisen Don ($40) set.

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Elliott busied himself playing with the cutlery until our food arrived. I was a little concerned about his lunch because this child of mine only eats carbohydrates. What was he going to eat?!

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The appetizers arrived very quickly and can I just add that the chicken drumlets with the tangy sweet sauce was absolutely delicious? I asked if Elliott wanted some chicken and after trying some, he kept asking for “somemore“.

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This was all well and good but I did want them for myself too so there I was, torn between wanting to keep chicken for myself or sharing it with my child. #badmother.

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The main course arrived and it did not disappoint. The boy enjoyed his Bara Chirashi Kaisen Don and the Yakitori had a lovely smokey after-taste. Very yummy! The meal also ended with green tea ice-cream that I had to fight over with my son because, well, ice-cream.

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My 2 hipster boys at the back door of Bincho that leads to the carpark. See that very subtle gold letting signage on the left of the door?  VERY HIP.

We left with happy bellies and big wide smiles. Will be back again if we are in the vicinity! Make a reservation if you are keen to check it out because it gets crowded due to limited seating.

Bincho
78 Moh Guan Terrace
#01-19
Singapore 162078

Opening hours: 
Lunch -Tuesday – Sundays: 12pm – 3.00pm 
Dinner – Tuesdays – Sundays: 6pm till late
(Closed on Mondays)

Note to Elliott – 26

Dear Elliott,

Last night, I placed my hand gently on your back as you were in dreamland. Your slow and rhythmic heartbeat took me right back to the early days of pregnancy when we were anxious to hear if you had a strong heartbeat. Even at 26 months, that thump-thump-thump sound reassures me that you are well and here with us.

You have started school for about 2 months now but you still burst into tears at drop-off. A kind mother smiled at me a few weeks ago and told me that “sons will take a longer time to adjust” because according to her, her daughter took 1 week and her son took 6 months. To stop crying, that is. I’m just thankful that you do stop once I walk away and get happily involved in your school activities like doing crafts. Your teacher passed me a whole bunch of craftwork that you completed the past month or so.

This family tree art that you created with your palm prints got me emotional. It dawned one me that your hands are no longer as tiny. When did they get so big? I have almost forgotten how you sound like as a newborn and I really did wish I took more videos of your cooing and even your cries.

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These days, we have cute little conversations on our drive home each day. We talk about the diggers (your favourite), the dump trucks, the clouds in the sky, the uncle on the motorcycle outside our car at the red light, and whatever else that catches your fancy.

I like to ask what you did at school and your answer is alwayssing ABCD“, “play” or “painting“. Whenever I ask who do you play with at school, you’d always answer “Isaac“. As it turns out, Isaac’s mum and I are colleagues and actually play netball together. What a small world eh? Although you have a few other classmates, you never mention anyone else except for Isaac. Your teacher tells me that the two of you play together most often. It is so sweet to see you forming your first friendships. This is only the start – you will meet people of all sorts as you go about life’s journey.

For as long as I can remember, you enjoy singing. At 26 months, you warble to yourself. You sing when we are in the car, or whenever you are playing on your own. You also make up random song lyrics and when feeling cheeky (which is often), you’d throw in the random word “baba“. I have no idea where you picked up the word from but it’s hilarious.

Baa baa black sheep
Have you any wool
Yes sir yes sir
3 bags…baba!

You’d then laugh heartily to yourself and continue singing with gusto. I try and record as many videos as I can because I am sure this singing stint is not going to last forever.

Oh and I have to add on record that when I try and sing along with you, you get upset. You will yell “Noooo, Mummy no. Noooooo, mummy NOOOOOOOOOOOO….!” It makes me laugh that at the grand age of 2+ years old, your Mummy cannot sing with you. Tsk.

I’ve been warned about the Terrible Twos and the other day, I think I got a shade of it. There was a streak of bird poop outside the glass window. Maybe it was my fault but I pointed it out (note to self: DO NOT TALK ABOUT RANDOM BIRD POOP IN FUTURE) because I was trying to explain that when we get home, Uncle (we have an uncle who washes our car 3x a week at our carpark) will wash away the poop and the car will be clean again. You seemed to understand it and repeated “Uncle wash” but out of nowhere, you got really upset and started to yell “No bird poo poo. Nooooooo. No poo poo. Noooooo, mummy nooooooo“. I’d be honest – I did not know whether to laugh or cry because my dear child, why did you get so upset over…bird poop? It wasn’t even on your head. It was outside the window.

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We have decided to stop your gym class sessions even though you are still enjoying it. In fact, you are getting too good at the swing bars that Teacher Paolo, your lovely gym teacher, will get you to demonstrate the move. However, there are very good days and very bad days at gym class. On good days, you are such a joy. You hang on bars, roll on the floor, play with the hoop. On bad days, you lie on the floor when everyone is doing warm-up exercises and scream “noooooo“. You also cling onto me and refuses to do any of the routines. Daddy thinks that we will stop for now when your term ends so that you can try something else.

On the home front, you can play quietly on your own and I have since discovered that kinetic sand play is the best thing ever. You play quietly with your little construction vehicles for almost 30 minutes which is an eternity in a toddler’s world. Sometimes, you get too quiet and when I peek in, you are deep in concentration getting your digger to transfer sand to the dump truck. It is really very cute to watch. You also like to invite us to “Mummy play sand” and instruct us on which vehicle to use (“Mummy play dump truck“).

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I would also like to state on record that just the other day, you came out of the room and said “Bubu eat sand” which made my heart stop for a nano-second. Yes, dear son, you ate some kinetic sand and despite my best efforts, I think you swallowed some. It’s been a week or so and nothing has happened health-wise so that’s a relief. But please. No more sand-eating. It is not like we don’t feed you enough.

Your Ah Ma takes very good care of you and makes you these nutritious meals with soup, rice, vegetables, fish, the works. I am always assured when you are over at her place because you eat better at Ah Ma’s house than at home. You enjoy noodles A LOT. Noodles include Japanese ramen, chinese la mian, local mee tai mak and kway teow. We have discovered that you lurve Ippudo’s ramen, just like Mummy. You’d keep asking for “somemore” and we were glad that Ippudo now offer a kid’s set meal for $10 that includes a small bowl of tonkatsu ramen, potato salad and onigiri. You ate up the onigiri (sans seaweed) and half a bowl of ramen which is quite a bit for a little guy like you! Daddy snapped this precious picture of you being extremely excited that WE HAVE NOODLES! YEAY!

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Other than noodles, you have also discovered the wonderful joys of ice-cream. I had to gobble down my dark chocolate ice-cream the other day because you went “yum yum” with a crazy-happy expression and kept asking for “somemore?“. You are also starting to be a bit more adventurous and would ask to try “chicken“. I say “chicken” because all types of meat (pork, chicken, beef, etc) is labelled as “chicken” in your world. We ate at Bincho a few weeks back and you really enjoyed the chicken appetizer.

You can also self-feed pretty well these days and would insist on “Bubu eat” which basically means: I will feed myself, thank you very much. You will also get me to remove any errant bits of food in your bowl that you do not want (e.g. bits of vegetables, etc). I guess I really should not complain because your Mummy here was is a picky eater. Did someone say karma?

At 26 months, you are well aware of Moon’s existence and would try and play “fetch” with her by throwing her ball and yelling “Moon GO!“, just like we do. You also try and pet and hug her, much to Moon’s chagrin. You like greeting Moon like we do when we get home with a cheerful “HI MOON!” which is really adorable in my books.

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You have also taken a liking to wearing our shoes around the house which makes for a very funny sight. You also enjoy playing with Duplo and we are pleasantly surprised by the power of your imagination. I hope you never lose the beauty of play and imagination.

Last month also saw you taking your 3rd real holiday (1st trip to Batam don’t really count) to Taiwan. You are truly a lucky kid to have travelled for the 3rd time on a plane before your 3rd birthday! This time round, your Ah Gong and Ah Ma came along to help chase after you. Even with 4 adults, it was still exhausting travelling with you, Mr Cannot Sit Still For 10 Seconds. Still, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

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This month also saw us celebrating Mother’s Day. Please know that no matter how old you’d be, I feel forever privileged and blessed to have you call me “Mummy”. We will never forget the journey we took to have you in our lives and one day, my child, one day, we will tell you all about it.

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Here’s wishing you a very happy 26 months, cheeky bu-pants. We love you dearly and forever.

Love,
Mummy xoxo

miss ene cooks: Ginger scallions pork

This entry sat in my draft for the past few weeks and it’s always better late than never so ta-dah!

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Can you tell that I’m on a roll? I guess I’m just quite tired of eating “da bao” food of fried rice, hor fun, Hong Kong noodles, etc. Besides, I realised that homecooked soups are really quite easy! You just need the correct ingredients and time to boil it sufficiently.

Over the weekend, I had leftover pieces of pork as well as spring onions that will wilt. Decided to make ginger scallions pork or more commonly known locally as 姜葱猪肉. I have to say that I had to google the difference between spring onion and scallions.

It is THE SAME, people.

So yep, I made 姜葱猪肉, lotus root soup with peanuts and stir-fried vegetables with mushrooms (anyhow fry with oyster sauce with no recipe).

 

I’m sorry, I don’t have a nicely-styled picture because I was starving and I just wanted to EAT IT ALL UP so here you go.

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A special Mother’s Day celebration

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Elliott’s school organised a Mother’s Day Celebration at school on 6th May, Friday. It was going to my first “real” celebration because for the past 2 years, there was no “official” celebration. Check out the cute invitation card.

It was actually a work day for me but I managed to take some time off from work (with the blessings of a very understanding boss) to run off for the short celebration.

There was a crowd of excited mothers waiting outside the school gates at 5-minutes to 10am and we were ushered into the classrooms by groups. I was lucky that I got a second row seat and it was really cute to be sitting on really tiny chairs.

There was a cloth separating us from the kids on the other side. I could hear excited chatter, as well as teachers trying their best to keep them quiet.

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I knew that it was going to be an emotional affair but I did not count on being this emotional! The teachers got them to rehearse some of the songs that they were going to perform and the moment I heard them singing the “I Love You” song, I couldn’t stop crying?!!?

So there I was, a slobbery mess, before the program started. Sheesh.

When the curtain eventually came down, it was very cute to see all the excited children straining to spot their mothers in the crowd. I spotted Elliott in the far distance and at first, despite my frantic waving, he did not spot me. It wasn’t long before he realised that I was there in the crowd and his face wrinkled up,  before bursting into big fat tears. We were instructed before we entered the classroom that they will keep the kids separated from the mothers to be mindful of the feelings of those kids whose mothers were not present.

I saw his kind teacher put him on her lap to comfort him but the tears continued to flow. It was as if he was upset that I was in the same room but he couldn’t come to me. Awwww.

The morning’s program was made up of various mothers given “5 minutes of fame” where they could perform anything that they liked. Some demonstrated taiji, some danced, others made balloon sculptures. The finale was of course the kids singing and performing for the mothers.

At this time, his teachers asked that we comfort our crying children so E was sitting contently on my lap. When it was time to perform, he simply refused to join his classmates and continued to cling onto me like a koala.

In the end, I did not get to see his performance which was a song about Mother’s Day. He did present me with a cookie that he made himself (according to his teacher) and we took this lovely photo against the backdrop that was prepared by the teachers. The school Principal shared with me that due to manpower shortage, the teachers stayed back after school just to make the props, etc. That’s really sweet.

It wasn’t a fancy celebration with elaborate costumes or well-choreographed dance steps. In fact, it was a little rough around the edges and far from perfect. However, it was full of heart and I greatly appreciate the lengths the school went to, just to make the mothers feel appreciated and loved.

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miss ene cooks: Nobu’s Miso-Marinated Black Cod

Elliott spends a good part of the day being cared for at my in-laws. On most days except Wednesday, my MIL makes us dinner so that we all go home with full tummes. This means that on each Wednesday, we need to sort out our own dinner. Of course, we did the lazy way out and bought hawker food but after a while, I got quite tired of hor fun/char png/chicken rice.

Decided to google for fast and quick recipes and stumbled upon this one. It sounded easy enough and best of all, preparations can all be done beforehand, specifically 3 days before. Perfect for our schedule! The four-ingredient miso marinade is easy to prepare as well so last weekend, since we were coincidentally at Meidi-ya, land of all things Japanese, I picked up a tub of white miso as well as 2 slivers of black cod to try this recipe out for Wednesday’s dinner.

It turned out really easy and best of all, YUMMY! My only complaint was: The black cod we got was a a tad too tiny so note to self: BUY A BIGGER SLICE OF FISH NEXT TIME!

I am sorry that I do not have pictures of the dish because we gobbled it all up in record time. Just trust me that it is really easy, yummy and healthy (fish is healthy, right?). We ate it with Japanese rice and (frozen) vegetable croquettes, also from Meidi-ya. Ok, not the most healthy but definitely YUMS. I promise to pair my Miso black cod with real vegetables the next time I make it.

Here’s the receipe that I took wholesale from the kitchn. I cut everything by half because there are only 2 of us.

Ingredients for marinade
Serves 4; adapted from Nobu: The Cookbook

  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 4 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 black cod fillets, about 1/2 pound each

Two to 3 days beforehand, make the miso marinade and marinate the fish:

  • Bring the sake and mirin to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.
  • Boil for 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol.
  • Turn the heat down to low, add the miso paste, and whisk.
  • When the miso has dissolved completely, turn the heat up to high again and add the sugar, whisking constantly to ensure that the sugar doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan.
  • Remove from heat once the sugar is fully dissolved.
  • Cool to room temperature.

Preparing the fish

  • Pat the black cod fillets thoroughly dry with paper towels.
  • Slather the fish with the miso marinade and place in a non-reactive dish or bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  • Leave to marinate in the refrigerator (not freezer!) for 2 to 3 days.

 Method to cook the fish

  • Preheat oven to 400°F (I use 200 degrees celcius).
  • Heat an oven-proof skillet over high heat on the stovetop.
  • Lightly wipe off any excess miso clinging to the fillets, but don’t rinse it off.
  • Film the pan with a little oil, then place the fish skin-side-up on the pan and cook until the bottom of the fish browns and blackens in spots, about 3 minutes.
  • Flip and continue cooking until the other side is browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Transfer to the oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until fish is opaque and flakes easily.

It is seriously easy and like I always, if miss ene can cook, SO CAN YOU!