Exams call for fast, cheap, comfort food

When exam period rolls around, I become a library hermit. How does a foodie handle being trapped in a library for the whole day living on junk food? Not well. However, sometimes it’s necessary. When I hit a wall with studying and my brain cries “I can’t take anything more in”, I bribe myself with food. I tend to engage in a lot of crazy food related motivational self talks. “If you finish this lecture we will go and eat this” or “If you concentrate and study till 1, we will take a 1 hour lunch break”. The problem in exam period is, I never have enough time. So when I do “reward” myself, food needs to come to me fast. In this post I will put up two of my food triumphs from two separate eateries, offset by two food failures ordered by my boyfriend from the same eateries. It’s sad that both times he seemed to have picked the short straw.

Pacific Seafood BBQ House (CBD)

Triumph:

Salted fish w/ diced chicken and tofu on rice ($9.5)

Salted fish w/ diced chicken and tofu on rice ($9.5)

This is my idea of comfort food at its best. Whenever I feel sad, stressed or sick, I will always crave for the salty warmness of this dish and Pacific House makes a mean version of this. Tender chicken pieces with soft tofu all in a salty, flavour packed soupy sauce. Give me some steamed rice to soak up all that goodness and I guarantee no matter how rotten you were feeling before, after you’d feel much better.

Fail

Mixed roast of BBQ pork and roast duck with noodles in soup ($11.5)

Mixed roast of BBQ pork and roast duck with noodles in soup ($11.5)

I first came to Pacific House for its roasts and I still go to their Richmond branch for their delicious Cantonese roasts, however the CBD branch was a big let down. With the roasts barely warm, unfortunately this didn’t hit the spot for my boyfriend.

Pacific Seafood BBQ House on Urbanspoon

Shophouse Kitchen (CBD)

Triumph:

Pork Belly Gua Bao ($6.60)

Pork Belly Gua Bao ($6.60)

Okay to be fair I had a fail here as well since the other dish I ordered wasn’t so good, but let’s write about the good stuff first. A fluffy steamed bun surrounding succulent slow-cooked porkbelly, flavoured with some tangy Asian pickled veggies, nutty crushed peanuts and spring onion. Salivating yet? This was everything I could possibly ask for in a neat little package: salty, sweet, nutty, tangy – it was a flavour sensation, matched by an equally strong texture package of soft, chewy and crunchy. My boyfriend did point out that 6.60 was a little steep for such a small thing, but I don’t care. Mmm…it was that good.

Fail:

Let’s mention my fail first.

Beef brisket noodle soup

Beef brisket noodle soup

Well, to be honest this wasn’t really a fail, it was just mundane and mediocre. The description did say slow cooked for 12 hours, so it had all the promise of tender gelatinous brisket pieces in a rich beefy stock. To put it simply, I was disappointed. The beef was a little tough and one dimensional, the soup was bland and unexciting.

BBQ pork w/ fried wontons on dry la mian noodle ($10.90)

BBQ pork w/ fried wontons on dry la mian noodle ($10.90)

My boyfriend has never tried fried wontons before, I warned him that I don’t think he will like it very much and indeed he didn’t end up liking it. The whole dish on a whole was too dry. The pork was dry, the noodles were dry, the wontons were drier…so it wasn’t really a pleasant dish to try and get into your tum.

I can’t quite make my mind about this place. Although my gua bao was amazing, everything else we tried that day seemed to be quite unexciting.

Shophouse Kitchen 大食家 on Urbanspoon

For those who’ve finished their exams  I wish that you have a great holiday filled with great food and great company. For those on their last stretch, I wish you the best of luck, hang in there, freedom is at hand!

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