Cucumber, Ginger, & Orange Juice

Hello Everyone! I do apologise if last weeks post felt rushed and not planned, well it was actually – at that time, I had just returned home from a gym workout and I hadn’t even written that post yet nor did I prepare the photographs to upload that night as well. Such a great start to the New Year am I right? Anyway, I’m starting this post off right now (which is a Sunday night) and then I’ll probably be wrapping it up on Wednesday night after my gym workout once again.

So as you may or may not know already, depending if you’re a regular follower on my blog and social media pages, the theme for this month is healthy juices a.k.a. Juicy January! I thought that it’d be a nice way to kick off the New Year since a majority of the population would have made a resolution sounding like this: Workout, Get Fit, Lose Weight, Eat Clean/Healthy, etc. etc. And yes, this is me EVERY single New Years, and then three months in… What workout? Eat Clean? No way… FRIES! Let me make this clear though – no, I am not on a juice diet (detox?) whatever it’s called, I’m just exploring new ways I can enjoy fruit and vegetables combined as a post-workout refresher when I get home. I still (sometimes) eat like there’s tomorrow *cheeky grin*. Anyway, yes, it’s already 10pm on a Wednesday night, and here I am still writing this part of the post after coming home from the gym, having a banana, showered ready for bed, and then I remember that I still have this to do!

Cucumber, Ginger, & Orange Juice

This combination of Orange + Ginger + Cucumber helps improve skin texture and moisture, and reduces body heat.

Many just assume that oranges contain high levels of vitamin C which strengthens our immune responses of the body, protecting us against recurring cold and cough or any other common infections. That is basically just one of the may heath benefits of a single medium-sized orange. For example, oranges also help prevent the ageing of our skin which is from the vitamin A present in oranges that help keep the skin membranes healthy. It also contains a powerful antioxidant known as beta-carotene, which protects the cells from being damaged. Other vitamins and minerals that can be found is oranges include: vitamin B1, calcium, copper, fibre, potassium, and much more.

“…there’s reason to eat cucumbers all year long. With vitamin K, B vitamins, copper, potassium, vitamin C, and manganese, cucumbers can help you to avoid nutrient deficiencies that are widespread among those eating a typical American diet.” — Dr. Mercola

There are many proven health benefits of ginger, but in a nutshell, ginger has a long history of use for relieving digestive problems such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and pain. What I do find quite relevant though (since I am getting back into a regular exercise regime), is that ginger has been shown to be effective against exercise-induced muscle pain. Ginger does not have an immediate impact, but may be effective at reducing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain.

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large orange, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into thirds
  • Small thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled

METHOD

  1. Finely rate the ginger and extract it’s juices by squeezing it, about a quarter teaspoon should do. Add to a tall glass.
  2. Juice the other two ingredients using an electric juicer. Pour into the tall glass and add ice if you want your juice cold.Serve and enjoy, especially on a hot tropical afternoon for a nice refresher or for a post-workout drink.

Cucumber, Ginger, & Orange Juice

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Apple, Carrot, & Celery Juice

Hello Everyone and a very Happy New Year to all my family, friends, and followers! I’ll keep this part short, and probably write more in my next post as it’s currently way past bedtime for me here in Brunei. I just want to let you guys know that Amcarmen’s Kitchen is back for 2016, kicking it off with some health juices for the month of January! I am also back with an all new upload schedule, which I will probably explain in next week’s post – but basically, from today onwards, tune in to Amcarmen’s Kitchen every Wednesday night for a new post!

So, I think the combination was meant to go like Apple + Carrot + Tomato, in which, this combination helps to improve skin complexion and eliminate bad breath, but we never got around to juicing up this combination – maybe because we didn’t have tomatoes in our vegetable compartment that time? Anyway, we had celery and used that instead. I’m not sure now what health benefits this combination with celery provide, but celery contains an excellent source of vitamin K which is beneficial to the human body as it is required for complete production of certain proteins that are prerequisites for blood coagulation. Our bodies need this for controlling the binding of calcium in bones and other tissues. Other health benefits of celery include: vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and despite being mainly water, celery also provides a fair amount of dietary fibre. So mix that in with some sweet apples and a carrot for more rich vitamins and minerals such as iron, copper, and manganese, and you’ve got yourself a tasty and super healthy juice!

Apple, Carrot, & Celery Juice

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large green or red apple, quartered and cored
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thirds
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into thirds

METHOD

  1. Juice all the ingredients using an electric juicer. Pour into a tall glass and add ice if you want your juice cold. Serve and enjoy, especially on a hot tropical afternoon for a nice refresher!

You may also replace the celery with about a half teaspoon of ginger juice. This combination helps to boost and cleanse our system. Happy juicing everyone!

Apple, Carrot, & Ginger Juice

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

#youcalltheshots Did You Know Cards 02

#youcalltheshots (2014).

Project Background

“Growing numbers of youths are heading towards adulthood without drinking at all, let alone binge drinking, and the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre says this may be partly because teenagers now spend much more of their social time on the Internet.” — Brad Crouch, Medical Reporter | The Advertiser

Alcohol is the second largest contributor to substance-related abuse in Australia. In 2008, the Australian Government funded the National Binge Drinking Strategy where the ‘Don’t turn a night out into a nightmare’ campaign was first launched in result. Subsequent to the 2008 campaign that ran until the end of January 2010, follow up campaigns were introduced. According to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, in 2010 (via Australian Drug Foundation, 2011):

  • 87.9% of Australians aged over 14 years had drunk alcohol at some stage in their life
  • The average age at which Australians first tried alcohol was 17
  • Among 12-year olds, around 49% of boys and 38% of girls admitted they had consumed alcohol at some stage (ABC News, 2013)
  • Among 17-year olds, it was 89% of boys and 90% of girls (ABC News, 2013)

Contemporary media is changing the way we interact with people and our surrounding environment. Studies show that teenagers today are drinking less, and even opting out from drinking at all, and this may well be a result of the influence of the time spent on the Internet. It was speculated that the age group’s love for the Internet such as, social media and online games, is taking up so much of their time, and in result, not enough time left to find themselves in drinking situations.

Another reason for the decline in teenage drinking, as pointed out in this article, is a theorised explanation of the immigration of youths from different cultures where which drinking is uncommon. “The shift in drinking behaviour is likely the result of broad cultural factors,” Dr Livingston said.

There are many factors that lead to teenage drinking. If you ask a teenager why they drink, responses vary from (via Lohmann, 2013):

  • “I was bored.”
  • “Everyone else does it.”
  • “I like how it makes me feel.”
  • “People like me when I drink because I act different.”
  • “I just wanted to see what it would make me feel like.”
  • “My parents do it so it must not be a big deal.”
  • “It helps me escape reality.”

Excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to short-term and long-term effects, ranging from immediate harm such as injuries and accidents, to chronic harm. For teenage girls especially, when intoxicated, they are more likely to indulge in risky behaviour such as unsafe or unwanted sex, which can then lead to teenage pregnancy.

Campaign Strategies

Print vs. Online

Instead of using print media, the focus of the distribution of the campaign will be through online platforms. Not only is this a sustainable strategy, it also addresses the target end user and how they will interact with the campaign. Posters would be irrelevant in a sense that most teenagers would not want to be caught looking at a poster on anti-binge drinking as chances of being stereotyped by peers and society on a whole, that she is an individual with a drinking problem.

Through an online-based strategy, teenagers are able to view the campaign in the comfort of their own homes and in the privacy of their own rooms. As pointed out above as well, teenagers are spending more of their social time on the Internet. These social media platforms will communicate with our target audience by providing information about the campaign such as advice on drinking responsibly and how a night out is always better when you’re in control, and helpful contacts. All of this will then be tied together with various Social Events – using social media to inform audiences of upcoming social events and where to find us, as well as photographs of our social events.

Project Aims & Objectives

  • To create an prevention campaign for teenage girls between the ages of 13 and 17 years old who are actively involved in binge drinking.
  • To promote safety awareness amongst these teenage girls, like making bad decisions that leave them vulnerable to dangers like date rape.
  • To then educate these teenage girls in the risks involved with excessive drinking, risks involving an unstable mindset, and wilfully agreeing to unsafe or unwanted sex, even if it was not their intention.
  • To encourage them to make the right decision when on a night out with friends, to stay safe, and to stay in control.
  • To provide guidance to these teenage girls through Raise Foundation’s mentoring program, allowing for them to feel supported through tough times, especially when dealing with alcohol abuse and sexual health.

Conceptual Framework

The concept for the campaign is based on the ideas of Proverbs, a campaign that contains wisdom, truth, morals, and is memorable so that it will be spoken about amongst teenagers for a while (making the campaign go viral over the Internet i.e. #yolo). The campaign will not make the decision for them, but will provide advice between what is right and what is wrong. Approaching the campaign this way will allow teenagers to think and reflect on their habits, and are eventually able make to their own decision. Imposing the right way onto them may cause a ‘who are you to tell me what to do’ attitude as some teenagers do not like being told what to do. Hopefully the campaign will then encourage young teenagers to postpone the age at which they first start to consume alcohol, and for those teenagers who are already consuming alcohol, to promote responsible drinking.

Environment/Spatial Design Aspect

Social Events

#youcalltheshots Event Booth

Apart from the campaign launch party, #youcalltheshots will be making appearances at various social events. An information booth will be set up so that event/festival-goers will be able to know more about the campaign and participate in activities such as carnival-themed games, giant twister, obstacle course, trampoline bungee, photobooth, etc.

Where the booth is located is an important factor to consider. As you can see, by having a corner booth, it allows one of the sides to be open, therefore allowing the ease of flow for visitors for easy access and making the booth more spacious.

Photo Booth

#youcalltheshots Photo Booth #youcalltheshots Photo Booth #youcalltheshots Photo Booth
#youcalltheshots Photo Booth #youcalltheshots Photo Booth #youcalltheshots Photo Booth

Everyone, especially teenagers, love to take photos, or get their pictures taken. There is a growing culture of this idea of needing to take photographs and uploading them to social networking sites as a way of proving to others that you were there at that particular event, at that particular day/time – as the lingo goes, “pics or it didn’t happen”. So what better way to grab the attention of those festival-goers into our photo booth?


Graphic Design Aspect

Branding & Logo

#youcalltheshots Branding & Logo
The final logo does not have a black outline around the speech bubble, this is just to make clear the shape of the speech bubble that is coloured white.

Through the development stage, I have changed and refined the branding and logo for this campaign multiple times, not just in terms of design, but also in terms of choosing the right colour scheme for the whole campaign. I ended up choosing the colour pink as it stereotypically represents the female gender, teenage girls between the ages of 13 and 17.

I came up with a variety of tag lines to piece together the message of the whole campaign. I then took my tag lines and did a small survey to see which got more of a reaction, and it appeared that the tag line ‘You Call The Shots’ appealed more towards the targeted audience as it is a clever play on words. ‘You Call The Shots’ is an idiom which, figuratively speaking means, to decide on the course of action; to be in charge; to make the decisions; to decide what is to be done. ‘Shots’ also referred to a series of alcoholic beverages served in succession, usually served in small amounts in ‘shot’ glasses. So by you calling the shots, you get to decide for yourself whether you should take the shot or not.

Besides the colour and messaging, the design of the logo is based on a speech bubble which ties in with the concept of ‘advice giving’. If you can see it, the left side of the speech bubble is a profile of a person’s face, as if speaking out into the speech bubble. The person is also smiling, indicating that they a putting forth a positive message unlike the demonising of people and negative connotations associated with binge drinking in previous campaigns.

USB Wristbands & Digital Cards

#youcalltheshots USB Wristbands

#youcalltheshots Did You Know Cards 01

#youcalltheshots Did You Know Cards 02 #youcalltheshots Did You Know Cards 03 #youcalltheshots Did You Know Cards 04
#youcalltheshots Did You Know Cards 05 #youcalltheshots Did You Know Cards 06 #youcalltheshots Did You Know Cards 07

Besides getting your photograph taken at the event, we will also be giving out free USB wristbands, which is essentially the digital version of a flyer or information booklet. This way, it will be easier for visitors to hold on to, or wear, while enjoying the festival and will definitely keep them for later use instead of throwing them out.

The USB wristbands are also personalised in a way that the photographs taken at the booth will be automatically uploaded into the wristbands. Visitors can then upload the photographs onto social media sites or print it out themselves. Besides the photographs, the USB wristbands will also contain posters/postcards with ‘Did You Know’ alcohol facts that they can later print as well if they want to. There is also a card with all the social media links for those who want to follow the campaign online.

T-Shirts

#youcalltheshots T-Shirt Mock Up Designs

#youcalltheshots T-Shirt Design #youcalltheshots T-Shirt Design

T-shirts are also available for purchase at these events. I have also added two extra colours besides the colour theme of the campaign. The black ink shirts are essentially for those (particularly targeted towards guys), who do not want to wear the colour pink.

Website

#youcalltheshots Website Design

#youcalltheshots Website Design Info Page #youcalltheshots Website Design Events Page #youcalltheshots Website Design Contacts Page

Social Media

#youcalltheshots Social Media

Public Prank Video

#youcalltheshots YouTube Public Prank Video

The idea behind this video campaign was inspired by movie producers merging movie trailers with public pranks to advertise their upcoming movie i.e. the Telekinetic Coffee Shop prank used to promote the movie Carrie, it sparked a lot of views and went viral in an instant.

For this campaign, I wanted to go along the lines of creating a public prank to promote the campaign by making the video go viral. The concept of the prank is as follows:

  • A new, unopened, chilled bottle of beer glued to the walkway as part of a public prank.
  • A person walks by and spots the bottle of beer.
  • Curious, they bend over to pick up the bottle of beer but then struggle to actually pick it up.
  • The person is confused, and then maybe realising that they were just pranked.
  • The person may snap a picture and upload it to Facebook, Instagram, etc. and #totallyjustgotpranked #youcalltheshots #ycts2014 #icalltheshots #alcoholfree, etc.
  • The person walks away without the bottle of beer, and the tagline ‘You Call The Shots – preventing teenage binge drinking’ implying that you left the beer behind and didn’t need it after all.

For the purpose of this project, the prank will be partly scripted and acted out by my peers – they will be told what to do, like walk towards the beverage, pick it up, and walk away, but they won’t be told that the beverage is glued to the ground or table to capture their raw reaction.

I have uploaded the videos privately on YouTube, but if you wish to watch them, click here for the first video, and here for part II (ps. I had to tell some of my peers to fake pull the beer off the ledge because it wasn’t glued on properly). Enjoy!

– Ally xx

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple

Hello Everyone! I’ve got another brekky smoothie recipe for you today, and some may find this unusual at first, but it actually works! I must admit, I was once cynical about the idea of adding vegetables to a smoothie. That changed when I moved to Australia and saw kale juices/smoothies pop up here and there in many local cafés in and around Sydney. I’d always see my friends with a take away cup of green smoothies that were either made up of kale or spinach included in them. To be honest, I’ve never tried a kale smoothie before and this is the first time I’m making and trying one! I’ve had kale before, and to me, it doesn’t have a distinct taste to it, so I was glad that the non-exsitent kale flavour didn’t shine through in the smoothie. Instead, you can taste the almonds, bananas, and pineapple which was nice. However, after having done some research, kale apparently does have a strong flavour that many might be used to, so when making a green smoothie using kale, you should use strongly flavour fruits such as strawberries or pineapple to help mask the flavour (possibly why I personally could taste the kale because I use pineapple in my green smoothie).

Before I begin with this simple green smoothie recipe, I want to talk to you a little bit about the health benefits of adding kale to your smoothie. Kale helps cut the sweetness of the fruits added, and has more than twice the recommended daily value of calcium to your diet. It is an excellent leafy green to use for detox as it contains cleansing properties. In addition, kale has a lot of vitamins and also contains powerful antioxidants that help protect your immune system and fight against certain cancers. If you want to read more about the health benefits of kale, please click here. Now, you may substitute kale for spinach if kale isn’t readily available where you are; I know that it’s not very cheap to get kale here in Brunei since it’s air-flown in from Australia.

The original recipe can be found over on Real Simple; all I did was again, change the quantities to serve about 3-4 tall glasses. I also decided to substitute the coconut milk for fresh coconut water as most coconut milk that you find here in Brunei are straight out from a tin and have a whole lot of preservatives added to them. You can use coconut water from the shelf if you don’t have fresh coconut water readily available but I personally hate those because they taste very artificial to me. Otherwise, you can also just use water. I read in the comments section of the site as well that someone added almonds to the smoothie for that added protein, so feel free to add your favourite nuts into the mix as well when you make your smoothie!

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 & 1/2 cups kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 cups fresh coconut water
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/2 medium-sized pineapple, chopped
  • 2 ripe bananas, chopped

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender in this order: bananas, almonds, pineapple, kale, and 1 cup of coconut water. Pulse a couple of times to mix up the ingredients in the blender a bit and then blend on high for about 30 to 60 seconds. Add more coconut water if needed to reach your desired consistency.
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Kale Smoothie with Almonds, Banana, & Pineapple

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Gingery Berry & Oat Smoothie

Gingery Berry & Oat Smoothie

Hello Everyone! For this week of breakfast/brunch month, I have some simple brekky smoothies for you that you can easily prepare the night before, whizz it in the blender in the morning, and voilà; you’ve got a quick brekky that you can take with you to go if you really need to. I’ve never really been the type to make my own smoothies at home, not until my second year of uni back in 2012 when my flatmate at that time started making smoothies for the both of us on the weekends. She would always make the same banana and blueberry smoothie with full cream milk, old-fashioned rolled oats, and vanilla yoghurt. Ever since then, I would whip up this easy smoothie whenever I felt like it even after we went our separate ways. I’ve also made a strawberry smoothie with the same ingredients, just taking out the bananas and blueberries, and added mint into the mix; it was a really good smoothie too.

Anyway, I won’t be sharing those two recipes with you this week as I’ve got two completely different (maybe in some way a little bit similar) smoothies for today and Thursday. I decided try new smoothie recipes and for today’s post, I came across a recipe for a Blueberry and Oat Smoothie; now I know this is sounding a little similar to the smoothie that I mentioned above, and that I’m used to making, but what makes this different is the touch of ginger added. I don’t think I’ve had a smoothie with ginger in it before so I thought that I’d give this recipe a try; original recipe can be found over at Real Simple. All I’ve really done was change the quantities to serve 3-4 tall glasses, as well as reducing the amount of sugar.

Gingery Berry & Oat Smoothie Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 & 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 & 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup creamy vanilla yoghurt
  • 1 cup ice
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp fresh ginger, grated

METHOD

  1. Add the oats and water to a blender and leave to soak until the oats have softened, about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the ice, blueberries, yoghurt, brown sugar, and ginger to the blender. Blend until smooth and frothy, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Gingery Berry & Oat Smoothie

I’ve read a few of the comments on the site where the original recipe was uploaded, and some said that the oats had a weird texture and made the smoothie grainy and starchy. Some didn’t like the addition of the ginger and made their stomachs upset. So I guess this smoothie is not for everyone, but if you think you’d enjoy all these flavour into one drink, then go ahead and give it a try because it’s definitely delicious! I personally thought that the oats were fine and still gave the smoothie a nice flavour and texture to it; I feel that without it, the smoothie would be quite loose. The ginger, though quite a strong flavour, paired well with the sweet blueberries and helped cut down the sweetness of the smoothie from the added sugar.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - DESSERT: POPULAR POPCORN PARFAIT

In Asia Restaurant & Bar

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday! I think I will keep the introduction short today just because you’re about to dive into a 2200 word review below and I’m already tired of typing and spinning words out of my brain at this hour of the night. Seriously though, if university essays were this easy to write in less than 4 hours, I’d never hate writing essays (most probably)…

About three months or so, I actually don’t remember, I attended a talk organised by General Assembly on the Business of Food Blogging. It was there that I met Brendon D’Souza from brendonthesmilingchef, and he was indeed a happy smiling chap. Last week he invited me and a few other bloggers for an Instagram Meet Up at In Asia Restaurant and Bar in North Strathfield. He told an interesting story about how he came to know about this restaurant; basically he and his family were driving along looking for a place to hold his graduation dinner. They came across In Asia and I think he pretty much fell in love with the food here and even said that the Popular Popcorn Parfait dessert sold it for him. He met the owner of the restaurant and talked about organising a food blogger’s event to basically build up a social media presence of the restaurant. I’m really glad that Brendon organised this event because it was definitely a great experience for not just me, but for everyone else who was a part of the night. I met a lot of other food bloggers, and shared a few laughs over the night as we all started getting a bit tipsy from the drinks.

Let’s get straight into their menu and what I thought of their awesome dishes:

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - COCKTAILS: SUGAR FLOSS MARTINI
COCKTAILS: SUGAR FLOSS MARTINI
Vodka, fresh strawberries and limes, with candy floss ($16.00)

I remember seeing one of the blogger’s ordering this drink across the other table. Rachael and Angela, who were seated in front of me, bolted over to take a picture of this very photogenic drink that looked like a fluffy unicorn. I wasn’t bothered to get up, only because I was sitting on the inside of the booth(?), not sure what kind of seating it was, but it meant that I had to ask people to get up for me, slide over, and then get out. When the girls returned, we decided to all order a cocktail each and share so that we could get a taste of what In Asia had to offer. I really liked this drink, mainly for the fairy floss and vodka combination, but you can’t really go wrong with strawberry and lime.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - COCKTAILS: TOBLERONECOCKTAILS: TOBLERONE
Baileys, Frangelico, Kahlua, cream, chocolate syrup, and Toblerone shavings ($16.00)

This was something that I’ve not actually seen before elsewhere, but then again, I’ve only been to how many bars in my life? Yeah, not a lot. Anyway, this was by far my favourite cocktail of the night; alcohol and chocolate? Don’t mind if I do! I’m not a heavy drinker myself, but I’d definitely have 2 or 3 more glasses of this. For me, I couldn’t really taste the alcohol, but that’s okay because it tasted more like a chocolate drink to me, and I like that!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - COCKTAILS: FINE LYCHEE DAIQUIRI
COCKTAILS: FINE LYCHEE DAIQUIRI
Bacardi, Soho Lychee Liqueur, fresh lychees, and lime ($16.00)

I am currently obsessing over lychees so this drink was also a favourite of mine that night. Loved the sweetness of the lychee paired with a tangy lime. I very much enjoyed this drink and would definitely come back for more of this… And the two above as well *cheeky grin*

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - ENTRÉE: PAN-SEARED CANADIAN SCOLLOPS
ENTRÉE: PAN-SEARED CANADIAN SCOLLOPS
with chilli purée and lime sauce, fresh pear ($15.00)

I love love love love LOVE scollops. Have I told you how much I really love scollops? Well, as you can tell for my love of scollops, it is without a doubt that this was my favourite entrée of the night. The scollops were cooked perfectly and surprised me with that great kick of heat. I say surprised because I wasn’t expecting it to be that big of a kick to my mouth. I found it quite spicy to my liking at first, but loved it as I had more of it. The pear was a nice touch of freshness to the dish as well.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - ENTRÉE: BARBECUED CALAMARI
ENTRÉE: BARBECUED CALAMARI
with pickled papaya, fennel, cashew nuts, and crispy pork crackling ($15.00)

I honestly cannot remember what my tastebuds were going through when I had this dish. I mean, it was not a bad dish, but I feel like I didn’t have an overwhelming reaction towards the dish like I did with the other entrée dishes. The calamari was cooked well, and the salad was dressed nicely too. I like how they’ve added the crispy pork crackling in the dish for that added crispy element, but they were all gone before I could get any onto my plate (yes, most of the bloggers who I shared the dish with picked most of the crackling out)!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - ENTRÉE: BETAL LEAF OF POACHED PRAWNENTRÉE: BETAL LEAF OF POACHED PRAWN
with roast coconut, crushed peanuts, ginger, chilli, lime, and caramel sauce: 2 pieces ($12.00)

As soon as this dish hit the tables, I was flabbergasted by its presentation. Loved the shot glasses. Moreover, I was impressed with the flavour combinations in such a little piece of betal leaf wrap. You’ve got the roast coconut, crushed peanuts, together with the ginger and caramel sauce I presume, that is topped with the tender, melt in the mouth poached prawn topped with roe and a tangy hit with a thinly sliced piece of lime, all wrapped in a peppery betal leaf that gave a nice fresh crunch to everything. It was a bit of a guessing game on how many bites you should take with this; it feels a bit big for one bite, but not big enough for two if you get what I mean. I tried two bites, but then you’re left with just the coconut and peanuts at the bottom without the prawn for your second bite. So I just went for it in one bite for my second serve. I find it quite expensive though because that means that one betal leaf wrap if $6.00; it’s quite a spectacular dish, but I don’t know if I’d pay that much for it.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - ENTRÉE: SEA SALT AND BLACK PEPPER CALAMARI
ENTRÉE: SEA SALT AND BLACK PEPPER CALAMARI
with wasabi mayo and sweet chilli sauce

I had a look back at their main menu and didn’t see this dish so I can’t say how much it’d cost you to order this. There’s nothing much I can comment on this only just because it’s salt and pepper calamari; I mean you can practically get it anywhere you go. Nothing special, but I did like the tender calamari, however not a big fan of wasabi myself.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - SALAD: TEA SMOKED DUCK BREAST
SALAD: TEA SMOKED DUCK BREAST
with roasted rice, chilli, lemongrass, Vietnamese mint, and tamarind dressing ($22.00)

I felt like it’s quite similar to a Thai dish known as Nam Tok in terms of flavour, but anyway this was a very innovative dish and the flavours were a nice accompaniment to the duck. I actually wouldn’t have been able to tell that the duck was tea-smoked, but nonetheless, the duck was delicious and I wanted more!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - STIR FRY: WAGYU BEEF
STIR FRY: WAGYU BEEF
with asparagus, shallots, and onion with hoisin sauce ($28.00)

Again, this was nothing special for me because I know how to make a mean beef stir-fry myself. I mean, it’s a good, simple, and humble dish, but nothing really as innovative as what I’ve already covered from this point on their menu.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - MAIN: CRISPY SKIN SALMON
MAIN: CRISPY SKIN SALMON
with IN ASIA’s spiced Kumara mash, cashew nuts, sweet potato chips ($27.00)

I wasn’t a fan of this dish for several reasons: firstly, I thought that it was a curry-based dish because of the ‘sauce’ and then I was surprised when I re-read the menu again at it was actually kumara mash. In my opinion, it was a bit thin for a mash. I like my mash creamy no doubt, but this felt like it took creamy to a whole other level. Secondly, though the salmon lived up to its crispy skin, it was however overcooked to my liking; it was a bit dry on the inside for me. The only thing I liked on this dish was probably the sweet potato chips. Sorry!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - MAIN: CRISPY SKIN ROASTED DUCK
MAIN: CRISPY SKIN ROASTED DUCK
with tamarind sauce, pumpkin mash, and navel orange

This I liked better than the salmon dish, and I loved the pairing of the duck with the navel oranges. Though the skin wasn’t as crispy as I thought it would be, it was still a very good dish, and that’s also mainly because I love duck no matter how it’s cooked (just not overcooked of course). You may have noticed as well that there is no price – same what I mentioned above for another dish, I couldn’t find it on their actual menu so sorry to say I can’t make out how much this dish would cost if you want to order this dish.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - MAIN: KOREAN STYLE BARBECUED WAGYU BEEF
MAIN: KOREAN STYLE BARBECUED WAGYU BEEF
with grilled pear, black sesame, pickled radish, and ginger ($28.00)

This dish wasn’t actually on the pre-planned menu that the restaurant had for us. One of the girls, as she called herself, “that annoying person who just doesn’t like seafood”, ordered this off the menu as the owner of In Asia suggested that she did as he felt bad for having pretty much a seafood-heavy planned menu for the night. I am actually glad that she got to order off their menu and shared a little bit of her food with everyone else because this was a really REALLY lovely dish. The wagyu beef was cooked perfectly and was very tender. The grilled pear, I mean, where do I even begin with this pear? It was so good and paired so well with the beef. It was a match made it heaven.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - MAIN: CARAMELISED TWICE COOKED PORK BELLY
MAIN: CARAMELISED TWICE COOKED PORK BELLY
with crispy panko egg and sweet tamarind sauce ($23.00)

This was another dish that was ordered off the menu, and yet another great dish that made me happy that she doesn’t like seafood. This was actually my favourite main dish of the night. The pork belly was crispy and sweet, and that panko egg was just lovely. I honestly wanted more of this dish, but since we were only sharing, it made me sad that I could not have more that night. I would definitely recommend this dish if you’re ever thinking of dining here. It is a must! I would definitely go again if it weren’t so far from where I live!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - DESSERT: MONKEY SNICKER
DESSERT: MONKEY SNICKER
with banana pudding, passionfruit curd, pandan foam, pandan granita, shredded coconut, and coconut ice cream ($12.00)

Finally on to dessert! This was probably not one of the best desserts of the night just because I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other dessert that you’ll see below, both in terms of presentation and flavour. This didn’t really wow me that much I’m sorry to say!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - DESSERT: MRS B'S FIRST KISS
DESSERT: MRS B’S FIRST KISS
with organic banana lightly battered in shredded coconut and fried, palm sugar caramel, tapioca sauce, and rice puffs, served with passionfruit sorbet ($14.00)

I apologise in advance because I cannot comment on the flavour of this dish, and I will tell you why. So when the desserts arrived at the table, everyone went nuts for this dessert, as well as the one below because of their spectacular presentation. It was almost too beautiful to eat! So I got my pictures, and then I had a sudden urge to go to the bathroom. I thought, okay I’ll go to the bathroom quickly since the other bloggers were still busy taking pictures of the desserts. Came back about 2 or 3 minutes later and this dish was completely demolished. Lesson of the night? Hold it in, no matter how urgent it is. It’s not worth it especially if dessert is concerned and you’re sharing one dish with about 12 other bloggers. I was so sad!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - DESSERT: POPULAR POPCORN PARFAIT
DESSERT: POPULAR POPCORN PARFAIT
with IN ASIA’s crushed corn flakes, caramel popcorn, grilled sweet corn, and caramel jersey cream ($14.00)

Okay, at least there was a good quarter or so of this dessert left when I came back from nature’s calling. Thank goodness because this dessert was the absolute bomb. I loved the flavours and different textures that you got in each mouthful of the dessert, and I didn’t think that grilled corn would be such a great compliment to the overall dish. The presentation was on point as well. Well done In Asia for this dessert!

There were some ups and some downs with the dishes that we had over the night, but I can safely say that the positives overpowered the negatives greatly. There was really only one dish that was a let down for me, and the others that had minor issues based on just my personal opinion and palette is nothing major to say that it was a bad dish. I’d rate the food of the night a solid 9.5 out of 10; the food really blew me away and clearly the definition of modern (kind of, sort of fine dining) Asian cuisine. For me, it’s sort of somewhere in the middle like it’s not casual but not extreme fine dining either. Not only did the flavours and textures impress me, the presentation of some of the dishes, mainly the entrées and desserts, really blew me away. The service was great as well, though I wasn’t sure why it took quite possibly close to 30 to 45 minutes for the light menu (which were the tea smoked duck salad and the barbecued calamari salad) to come out to the table after entrées – I wasn’t complaining though because I had a pretty hefty entrée to begin with. I’d give the service an 8 or possibly 9 out of 10 anyway. Now, value for money – the dishes here are pretty pricey to be honest but I guess you can say that you actually do pay for what you’re getting. If you’ve got the money to spend, definitely spend it here, otherwise it’s not really a place you can just rock up to if you don’t have the money or for a casual dine.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar
181 Concord Road
North Strathfield, New South Wales
Australia, 2137

– Ally xx