Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Food is our common ground - The Jumping Table by Gastronaut





I was extremely excited and honoured when David from The Gastronaut Diary invited me to the recent “Jumping Table” event. I read and got to know about this makan club through David’s blog when he posted their wonderful dining experience at Red Star Restaurant cooked by Masterchefs Sin Leong and Hooi Kok Wai. I was so very fascinated by the classic high-end Cantonese dishes from yesteryears (which David described as the golden 60s) recreated by the 2 masterchefs and wished I were part of the extraordinary gastronomical experience.

“The Jumping Table” is an epicurean club that focuses on such dining experiences which are specially planned and truly one-of-a-kind. Each event is unique and seats are limited to ensure quality. So, you could imagine my excitement when David dropped me an email invitation to join him and his like-minded friends last Saturday for a traditional Malay Wedding feast cooked by retired Chef Arni who used to run a well-known eatery at Far East Plaza, Scotts Road. Who in the right epicurean frame of mind would turn down such a dining invitation? I would not mind rescheduling all my appointments just to attend this wedding kenduri and to meet the Gastronaut himself! :D

The condominium function room was filled with laughter, malay music and enticing aroma of spicy, fragrant and colourful Malay wedding cuisines when I arrived. The room was decorated with bunga manggar (Sticks of coconut fronds wrapped with colorful glittering paper, traditionally used in Malay wedding) and most guests were in traditional Malay batik costumes although most, if not all, of the invited guests were Chinese. Organiser David was wearing an embroidered Songkok when I met him. This group of foodies were definitely serious about the overall dining experience. Fun and Cool!

The buffet-style dinner commenced after a short introduction of the chef by David. The 8-course Malay wedding menu was pretty impressive with traditional dishes and desserts of the kenduri including mutton, nasi brani, chicken, prawn, squid and pacheri. The full menu is as follows:


Nasi Brani Dum

Kabing Masak Rempah Brani
Mutton in Brani Paste

Rendang Lembu
Beef Rendang

Ayam Masak Merah
Chicken in Chili and Tomato Paste

Sotong Masak Hitam
Squid in Black Ink

Udang Sambal
Sambal Prawn

Vegetables
Dalcha/Pacheri/Achar
Mixed Vegetable Curry with Lentils/Spicy Cooked Pineapple/Cucumber Pickle

Desserts
Kek Kukus/Bubur Kacang/Pisang
Steamed Caramelized Cake/Green Bean Dessert Porridge/Banana


I like spicy food and I fully enjoyed the Malay wedding feast. In my humble opinion, dishes worth special mentioning were the Nasi Brani Dum, Beef Rendang and the squid in black ink, which was also Chef Arni’s specialty. The sotong was cooked in its own ink with chili, shallots, garlic, ginger, onion and lemon grass – full of flavor and the texture was just nice, not rubbery as in most overcooked squid. Definitely a savoury dish that would appeal to all cephalopod and seafood fans!

Oh, I loved the kek kukus too. The steamed cake was moist, sticky and simply scrumptious. I had to keep reminding myself not to overindulge on the sweet treats.

This was my first “Jumping Table” experience and I loved it! The food was excellent but to me the most important thing was the opportunity to get to know so many like-minded foodies who were so talented and passionate about food. There were food bloggers, food forummers and administrators, restaurateur, food photographers, food product modeller, durian expert, home cooks, aspiring chefs and people who simply love eating! Most of us have our day jobs and/or other commitments and I did not know all of them personally before this. But food brought all of us together and here we were at The Jumping Table event, sharing experiences and enjoying good food.

A big thank you to David for the invitation and Mark for the excellent shots! Oh and Jimmy for booking the function room at his condo and sharing with us the three-flavored eggs from Taiwan after the dinner! 

Food is our common ground, a universal experience.



















40 comments:

  1. Delicious post and awesome gathering , Alvin ! I want that sotong , it's been years since I've eaten some :P Beef rendang is one fave , that one looks scrumptious !

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    1. Hi Anne! Yes, great gathering. You can't get sotong in HK?

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  2. Ummm....food looks ok - the test, of course, is in the eating. Why served in plastic tubs, I wonder...or are they not what I think they are? I would use nice tiffin carriers - definitely more presentable and classier.

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    1. Hi Arthur! The food passed the eating test with flying colours. Agree with you on the pastic containers... Food was not cooked at the dining place and the chef was not in the catering business.. Reasons why the containers were used... But overall still a very enjoyable experience... Though not classy as you mentioned... :)

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  3. Malay food is one of my favourite and most familiar cuisines. And I see that you love it a lot. So, Alvin when are you cooking rendang?

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    1. Hi PH! Do you have a good rendang recipe? Pass to me and I'll cook it for you! :D

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  4. Great gathering and awesome malay cuisines, yum yum...

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  5. Oh wow... next time must invite me along! hee hee, just kidding :p About the recipe for the roasted vegetables, I simply grilled them with some oil... so there isn't really a recipe. I topped it with Hummus.

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    1. Haha... I'm not the host my dear! Like your sandwich...

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  6. I bet the food must taste awesome delicious!

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  7. Hi Alvin, glad to have shared the food and the evening with you, a like-minded foodie indeed. Will look forward to future makan opportunities.

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    1. Is that Jimmy? Thank you very much!

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    2. Yes, aka smoque. Enjoyed reading your blog, I have one more to follow.

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  8. Sounds like one rockin' event, Chef! Wish there were clubs like this where I live...le sigh. 'Til then, I suppose the samples at Costco will have to suffice---I kid, I kid =) Happy (early) Easter, Chef!!

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  9. Hi Alvin,

    The ayam masak marah reminds me a lot of Doreen's first tomato dish of her Tomato event :p

    Are you invited as a "food critic" or "publicist" for this event? Wow!... Alvin, you are getting famous.

    Happy Easter to you and your family.

    Zoe

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    1. Oh yes, Zoe! You are right.

      Neither... Just a makan gathering for like-minded foodies... We should all do one when you are back in Singapore! :P

      Happy Easter to you and your loved ones too!

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  10. Sounds like a really great experience. Gathering with food bloggers / food lovers is very fun.

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  11. oh my I want that plateful of rice with lots of yummy goodies :D
    Fun event :D
    Have a nice Easter weekend Alvin :D

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    1. Thanks Lisa! You have a fantastic long weekend too!

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  12. What a fun gathering...so glad you were treated to such fantastic dishes!

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  13. i am always intrigued by the black ink that the squid produces to be used in cooking..does that taste bitter?

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    1. Hi Lena! How are you?

      Nope, the ink does not taste bitter. Sightly fishy and salty.

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  14. OMG, the presentation is so cute! U're making me drool; naughty, naughty! I wanna try some of those eggs too....

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  15. Omg, I'm so jealous! Lol! When I see those acha and curries, my mouth starts to water!! So glad you got this great chance to sample these yummy food! Btw the last pic with all those eggs...yummmms! Lol! 👍👍

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    1. Yes Bee! I counted myself lucky to be given the chance to sample the food. You love eggs? The black version is the century eggs that we are all quite familiar with... the white and brown ones... those are the 3-flavoured eggs... not as salty as the salted eggs... texture is like normal hard boiled eggs, less salty but full of flavour.

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  16. Wow that menu is a winner. I wouldn't even know how to stuff all that in, but then, seeing as how everythin gis so delicious, I probably will.. haha. Good to hear of such events starting up in singapore too, woudl love to be part of somethign liek this when i go back!

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    1. Hi Shu Han! So when are you coming back for good?!

      We must surely meet up!

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  17. You are indeed so lucky to be invited, Alvin. The menu reads like dream. My husband told me stories about Malay weddings and how fantastic the spread always was.

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    1. Hi Adora! Thanks for dropping by! Your hubby is a Malay? You should pick up some Malay cooking...

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  18. Hi Alvin my Godson, LOL...wah... great gathering, you're so lucky to be invited. Everything look so delicious. I love Malay food too especially the sambal prawns look yummylicious.
    The drinking cup presentation look so cute.

    Have a great week ahead.

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    1. Haha Godmum! Yes, it was a feast!

      You have a wonderful week too!

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  19. Gosh, everything look so yummy, wish to have a plate right now!

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