S'pore team makes it out of Turkey

A children's football team from former Singapore captain Fandi Ahmad's F-17 Academy yesterday got a flight out of Antalya, Turkey, where they had been stranded because of the attempted coup in the country.

The group of 21, who were on their way to the Gothia Cup football event in Sweden, arrived in Istanbul from Antalya yesterday afternoon and were booked on a connecting flight to Copenhagen, Denmark, The Straits Times reported.

They would fly through the Danish capital or get a direct flight to Gothenberg, Sweden, where the World Youth Cup tournament begins today.

There are two coaches, six parents and 13 children aged eight to 14 years old in the group, which had left Singapore at 10pm on Friday.

F-17 director Mizra Ismail told The Straits Times that the academy was working with Turkish Airlines and Singapore Airlines to arrange the final leg of the team's journey to Gothenberg, where they are scheduled to play their first game at 1pm today.

"The boys are all in high spirits and feeling fresh after a good night's sleep at a hotel," said Mr Mizra.

"Our main priority is their safety and getting them to Gothenberg on time."

Before the group's flight was diverted to Antalya, they were due to land in Istanbul and catch a connection to Copenhagen, from where they were to take a train to Gothenburg.

The youth football tournament runs till July 25.

 

Penang-style char kway teow

Penang-style char kway teow

I tried the char kway teow at Joo Hooi Cafe, a coffee shop next to the Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendol stall.

The char kway teow was disappointingly bland despite the duck egg and the soft yet springy, thin, flat kway teow. Penang char kway teow uses the thin kway teow similar to what is used in Ipoh hor fun.

You have to make a special request if you want the duck egg. These days, duck egg is a prized "extra" ingredient.

You won't find duck eggs readily available in Singapore even though they are not banned here.

A spokesman for the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore said it has never received any application from duck layer farms.

But there's no point crying over duck eggs that cannot be obtained.

For this recipe, I suggest using extra-large eggs as substitute. I added an extra yolk to re-create that duck egg yolkiness.

Skip the extra egg yolk and use shallot oil instead of pork lard for a healthier version.

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g thin flat rice noodles (Ipoh hor fun)
  • 150g blood cockles
  • 6 prawns, deshelled
  • 2 eggs and 1 yolk, beaten
  • 1 Chinese sausage, sliced
  • 30g bean sprouts
  • 20g koo chye (garlic chives), cut into 5cm lengths
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 3 tbsp lard oil or shallot oil
  • 1 tsp chilli paste
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce

Optional garnish

  • Pork lard cubes

METHOD

1. Heat the lard oil in a wok. Over medium heat, fry the chopped garlic. Add the sliced onion.

2. Add the prawns. (A)

3. Add the chilli paste and sausage.

4. Turn up the heat to high and add the beansprouts and the noodles.

5. Push the noodles to the side of the wok and add the eggs. (B)

6. Allow the eggs to cook slightly, then scramble and mix with the noodles.

7. Season with the fish sauce and light soy sauce.

8. Throw in the koo chye and stir-fry briefly.

9. Add the blood cockles and turn off the heat. Gently stir-fry the mixture to distribute the blood cockles and let them cook from the residual heat. (C)

10. Garnish with pork lard cubes (optional).

Tags: recipes, Food and AVA

CreatureS of comfort food

MODERN TWIST: Ngoh Hiang And Cuttlefish Kueh Pie Tie.
MODERN TWIST: Miso Cod And Ulam Onigiri.
MODERN TWIST: Ah Gong Fried Chicken And Ah Ma Noodles.
MODERN TWIST: Durian Cake.

The last place you would expect to find such an eateryis in the notorious red-light district, Desker Road.

Then again, Singapore's food culture is evolving as I write.

CreatureS is sort of like a cafe. It looks like a place that would offer something over waffles with truffles, and a salted egg yolk rendition of something or the other.

But their menu is traditional in many ways - with a fresh twist.

It arrived on the scene about a year ago. When you step in, you are hit by the aroma of lemongrass that perfumes the place.

I paused when the platter of Ngoh Hiang And Cuttlefish Kueh Pie Tie ($24) arrived. Firstly because it was served on a wooden platter and photogenic (which is important in the era of Snapchat and Instagram).

Then I took a bite. It is dense, packed with minced pork and prawns, with a freshly-made feel.

The kueh pie tee is stacked with stewed turnip and greens and had umami-laden strips of dried cuttlefish inside.

Dip it in the chilli and the sweet sauce, and it reminds me of home.

It was quickly followed by the Babi Pongteh on toasted baguette ($22). I scooped up the pork belly pieces slow cooked in bean paste onto the crispy toast and I was happy.

NO SHARING

But the one dish that I will come back for and not share is the Miso Cod And Ulam Onigiri ($32).

It takes a lot of elbow grease to make this. Finely chop the carefully selected herbs and greens like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf and wild betel leaves and toss them into rice with shredded fish and stock.

They roll the herbed rice into a ball, coat it with seroendeng (wok-tossed desiccated coconut) and serve it with the miso cod.

The trick is to mix the fish with the rice. The little chunks of Japanese cucumbers add a wicked twist to the texture.

The Ah Gong Fried Chicken And Ah Ma Noodles ($23) is a miss for me. It hit the right flavour notes, but I think the chef's Ah Gong must have liked chicken with a harder batter.

The shallot oil noodles are subtle and comforting, but the cincalok mayonnaise did not do it for me. Lime sambal would have been great for this.

And that sweet finale of their classic Durian Cake ($12 a slice) - which I've had a few times before - is a little lost on me as the durian used was not as in-your-face as I remembered.

They are at the mercy of the suppliers as far as this dish is concerned.

And oh yes, I think they have one of the prettiest toilets in that part of town.

CreatureS

120, Desker Road

  • noon to 10.30pm (Tuesdays to Thursdays, Sundays)
  • noon to 11.30pm (Fridays and Saturdays)
  • closed on Mondays

Tel: 6291-6996

KF Seetoh, the founder of Makansutra, dabbles in street food businesses like Food Markets, his own TV shows on cable, publishing food guides, consultancy and online content. He is also the creator of the World Street Food Congress. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Tags: makan, durian and Food

Research reveals

Rounding up science's latest discoveries

KISSING MAY CAUSE INFERTILITY

Be careful who you kiss.

Italian scientists suspect that a little-known virus in the saliva, which they believe is transmitted by kissing,is linked to unexplained infertility in women.

The discovery offers hope for women wanting to get pregnant but previously could not.

The researchers at the University of Ferrara examined the uteruses of women with an unexplained inability to bear a child, and found that 2 in 5 were infected by HHV-6A, one of the human herpes viruses. The virus was not found in any of the women whose fertilities were normal.

It is typically not detectable in the blood or saliva, so its true prevalence is unknown. But it replicates in the salivary glands, and previous research indicated that it could be transmitted by kissing.

The team said more research is needed to confirm the findings, which came from a cohort of 66 women, and to determine if antiviral treatment can help women with such uterine infections.


FEWER ALLERGIES FROM THUMB-SUCKING, NAIL-BITING

Thumb-sucking and nail-biting are regarded by most parents as bad habits, but a new study suggested that these habits in children aged five to 11 may increase their immunities against allergies.

From an ongoing study of 1,037 New Zealanders born in 1972 and 1973, it was found that children who frequently sucked a thumb or bit their nails were significantly less likely to have positive allergic skin tests.

Furthermore, those with both habits were less likely to have a positive allergic skin test than those with only one of the two habits.

The study's participants were tested for a range of common allergens including dust mites, grass, cats, dogs, horses and common mold.

The study took into consideration pets, parents with allergies, breast-feeding, socioeconomic status, and more.

Although the former thumb-suckers and nail-biters were less likely to show allergic sensitisations, there was no significant difference in their likelihood of having asthma or hay fever.


GUT FEEL FOR CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME

Suffering from debilitating tiredness is not just something in your head.

Scientists found that the bacteria in your gut may have something to do with chronic fatigue syndrome.

In a study published in the journal Microbiome, researchers from Cornell University looked at the stool and blood samples of 48 people diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Through DNA sequencing, they found that their stool samples had less diversity in bacteria present in the gut.

Their blood samples also showed markers of inflammation, which the researchers believe may be due to intestinal problems that allowed bacteria to enter the blood.

The researchers said that it was unclear if these were causes or consequences of the disease, but the discovery can be used to help diagnose the condition as they were present in 8 out of 10 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.

The finding also suggested that diet and probiotics may be a way to help treat the disease by getting the gut back in balance.

A heathier choice

Sales of food products with HPB label grows 9% yearly

HEALTH-CONSCIOUS: Tat Hui Foods, which makes Koka instant noodles, first got a Healthier Choice symbol back in 2004. Another company, Naturel, says the symbol was a natural choice.
HEALTH-CONSCIOUS: Tat Hui Foods, which makes Koka instant noodles, first got a Healthier Choice symbol back in 2004. Another company, Naturel, says the symbol was a natural choice.
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Tags: Health and Food

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