Breakfast chronicles – Bak Kwa pork floss bun

Leftover Bak Kwa is a major pain every Chinese New Year, I’m sure you can identify with me. Bak Kwa is meant to be eaten by itself, and there’s only so much you can eat before you get sick of it. The main problem with using Bak Kwa in other recipes is that its taste is overpowering (mostly the sweetness) and drowns out everything else, and also its texture is too tough. When used in combination with other food, you’ll most likely feel like you’re only eating Bak Kwa and nothing else.

I’ve tried many ways (including with ice cream and seaweed wrapped rice) but I think those didn’t really work out so well because of the texture – Bak Kwa is much tougher than the other ingredients, so in the end it’s still more like eating Bak Kwa alone. I suppose if the Bak Kwa is minced those combinations might work better.

Anyway, something new for this year. Bak Kwa sandwich with cucumber, pork floss, seaweed strips (Yaki Kizami) and mayonnaise. The idea is to try to match the texture by choosing ingredients that are not too soft (bread and pork floss), and to add distraction by way of texture and taste. Pork floss works very well in providing tiny crunch to every bite, and its taste, being slightly sweet, does not clash with the Bak Kwa. It is also softer, making it easier to bite. When combined with bread, there are more soft items per bite compared to eating Bak Kwa alone, so it’s less tiring.

For further taste distraction, there’s cucumber slices to make it more refreshing, seaweed strips to give Umami and complexity and finally Mayonnaise to counter the dryness and for taste enhancement. Overall, i think it works well.

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Taobao product recommendations – Toilet bowl cleaner

All of us probably experience this problem to varying degrees – stubborn-stained toilet bowls. Unless you have a domestic helper, i highly doubt many of us are disciplined enough to clean the toilet bowl regularly. Over time, stains that build up at the bottom can no longer be removed by brushing. If it bothers you, then i have good news for you.

I just tried it, this product really does what it claims, clears up the stubborn stains. I’m really happy with the result, and i think you will be too.

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Taobao Christmas gift shopping 2020

This post is probably a little late. These are some cool items I came across while browsing during the 12.12 sales period. You may still be able to receive the Taobao goods in time if you shipped by air freight, so anyway here goes:

Suspended blocks toys
Gravity defying – almost looks like magic.
Typical Chinese heck-care-about-copyright products but cool nonetheless
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Newbie’s guide to setting up a free DAW

I first dabbled with MIDI back in 1994, using Cakewalk running in DOS. That’s text-only Disk Operating System for those of you born into the current GUI (Graphical User Interface)-only world. Since then, I’ve only briefly tried making MIDI based music once again in year 2006, and that was it, until now. How the world has changed! I think most of the music you hear today are generated using MIDI and you can’t tell the difference anymore, between generated music and actual recording of real instruments.

Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is a brand new term to me, as MIDI software was just called that, MIDI software tools. And there are so many competing products today, to the extent that you can get them for free (yay!). Plus, there are also many good quality virtual instruments available for free. This means anyone can make serious music entirely for free. Having gone through the somewhat painful process of setting up a DAW together with a decent collection of virtual instruments, I will share the steps in this post to perhaps ease your pain if you’re about to begin your journey in the same direction.

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Taobao Product Recommendation – Meat Slicer

Uniformly sliced meat. It’s mostly impossible to do that with just a knife. To be able to properly slice meat, the meat has to be somewhat frozen. In frozen state, it takes much effort to do the slicing, and it will likely be uneven. A tool is imperative.

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True Singapore Food – Carrot Cake aka Cai Tao Kueh

It goes without saying that Carror Cake or Cai Tao Kueh (CTK) is the mainstay of Singapore hawker food. You can eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper. It has its roots in Teochew, but has certainly evolved to become something uniquely Singaporean.

I used to avoid eating CTK because it is too unhealthy to be taken as a meal – consisting of starch, eggs and preserved radish plus lots of oil and lard. But, what the heck, it can be really tasty, when you visit the right stalls that is. Here are the stalls i have found to be so so right:

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All-in-one all-grain brewing disaster

My second attempt at all-grain brewing turned out to be a disaster. It still made it into my fermenter (the ingredients cost almost S$70!) but my all-in-one brewing kit was almost ruined. A painful lesson which, hopefully, you can avoid.

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Taobao product recommendation – Smoking gun food smoker

Smoked food tastes good. We all know this because everybody loves BBQ and grilled food right? Health concerns aside, we want to eat smoked food once in a while. Most of us don’t have the luxury of using a smoker at home (large cabinet with wood burning at the bottom, or stove top smoker which i suspect still generates more smoke than desirable indoors), especially since many of us live in a high rise building. I was wondering if there was an easier way. Well, there is a micro smoker in the form of a “smoking gun”.

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Taobao product recommendation – Non-stick stainless steel wok

We all know that food sticks to stainless steel cookware, but now, they have figured out how to make stainless steel non-stick. The surface is made to minimize contact with the foodstuff such that the food “floats”. This is a winning combo – abrasion-proof and non-stick, plus even heating. But, does it really work as advertised? Let me show you.

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Taobao product recommendation – Sleep-wearable Bluetooth earphones

I learned about ASMR only recently. I would be interested because I often don’t sleep well. I did a search on Taobao and found that indeed there are earphones that are targeted at ASMR usage, i.e. for wearing during sleep.

To make an earphone sleep-wearable, the buds have to go in all the way so you don’t feel them when your ear is pressed against the pillow. Also, wireless is definitely a good idea. So, mostly, an “ASMR” earphone is just a Bluetooth earphone. I settled on this pair of KBF (the usual poor choice for brand name, both in English and Chinese). I got it for cheap – 70 Yuan (S$14.10). It is fairly light, promises 12 hours of music. The buds, wires and neck strap are all made of soft Silicon. It didn’t feel heavy when put on, and you’ll almost forget you had them on after a while. Yes, they do feel like they will not come in the way when used during sleep.

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