Thursday, 17 May 2012

Cooking for the Plusixfive Supperclub

"Eh, don't be late."
"Eh, where are you, can you go get cabbage and tomatoes?"
"Eh, your phone answering skills epic fail."

"Eh, time check, three more hours to go." 
Another loving message from Goz, the chef behind the plusixfive supperclub as I fiddled around stuffing puff pastry squares with the chilli sardine filling. Last Sunday, in a sunny flat filled with quirky street art, a terrific collection of chairs, and the buzz of houseflies hiding from the unusual outdoor heat, I experienced my first supperclub, not as a diner though, but as a guest chef/kitchen assistant/front-of-house. Peeling and frying 18 hardboiled eggs for my sambal telur was an ordeal for someone used to cooking for one, but the delicious smells wafting from the bubbling sambal, fish head curry, and Goz's wok of fried beehoon aka "Singapore nooodles"more than soothed my distress. Call it kitchen therapy if you will, but it is in the kitchen where I find myself happiest and the most relaxed, a perfect antidote (or rather, temporary distraction) to the stressful pre-assesment weeks of school.

As I was up on my feet most of the day and night, I don't have a real idea of the dinner as a dinner itself, but these other food bloggers have already beat me to it, check them out for a brilliant writeup of the evening. Goz himself has also done a writeup about it here. Many of the people there were foodies hungry for some proper Singapore grub, a mix of food bloggers and their adventurous/cluelessly-pulled-along friends. It was amusing and slightly comforting seeing people whip out their cameras or iPhones, snapping away; I'm not weird after all.



It was a fishy feast, and if you know us Asians, we don't waste anything. I've mentioned countless of times how much I hate wasting any part of the animal, it makes a lot more sense, sustainably and economically, to cook with and enjoy all of what's been sacrificed, from nose to tail (or in this case, lip to tail).   See mum's tips on homemade stockXO fish head noodle soup/ soy-braised pig's ears etc. So for starters, Goz served up fried fish bones and skin, with a chilli-kaffir lime yogurt dip, which everyone happily munched away like crackers/scratchings with mugs of beer. And later on in the night, the star of the show, the fish head curry of course, tangy with tamarind and aromatic with spices.



I was pretty amazed at everyone's spice tolerance levels. My sambal tumis isn't one shy of flavours or heat, intensely packed with the pungent 'stench' of belachan (fermented shrimp paste) and the hottest dried chillies I have; indeed I got Christine (the other front-of-house) crying for beer. I had the strangest sadistic joy looking at people mopping their foreheads or asking for more rice while still licking the addictive sambal off with their already burning tongues. It is after all my first time presenting food to such a large food-obsessed crowd, and so I get a cheap thrill from things like that, and was pretty much over the moon hearing people requesting for sambal-making lessons.


There were also chwee kueh-- steamed rice cakes with a spicy preserved radish topping fried in lard and soy sauce-- and the real "Singapore noodles", served in true Singapore fashion on top of brown grease paper. I've tutted disapprovingly at the non-existent yellow-stained rice vermicelli dish before, sharing the kind of fried beehoon we really have at home; Goz's version is the kind we have in hawker centres, complete with fried luncheon meat (aka spam) and unglamorously smeared with sambal chilli paste. I myself am not a fan of spam because I like knowing where my meat comes from, and to be honest, I just don't go weak in my knees for the texture or taste of it, but this brought back childhood memories for sure. We all had a good argument and laugh after the dinner, as some gushed about their love of spam to the raised eyebrows of others. As a cheeky post-supperclub tweet went "I can't believe you got James Lowe (of Young Turks) to eat spam! Or did you push that aside chef?" Kudos for cereal prawns, that tze char favourite in Singapore coffeeshops, so wrong but so delicious.



So concludes my first experience of a supperclub. The food was brilliant-- I did manage to sneak bites in between service, and the day after from my little tupperware containers of leftovers-- but I thought the best part about the evening was the congregation of greedy stomachs and conversations.


40 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree with you more shuhan. Brilliant night and fantastic proper Singaporean food. I love the opening monologue as I can just envisage goz's voice over the phone saying all that...haha!

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    1. Thanks J, for your brilliant writeup of the night (: Glad you enjoyed it!

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  2. EH! I DIDNT SAY SO MANY EHs OK!

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  3. EH! ready for next one anot! we needa meet to discuss menu YO!

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    1. EH I think you said more actually.
      haha, ok after next week, I will be like 60% free-er!

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  4. aaaah chwee kueh - love those things - and they look perfect! Just as good as the old couple make at Ghim Moh foodcourt!

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    1. OMG you also go to the one at Ghim Moh! Both Goz and I were talking about the chwee kueh there. It is THE best ever, my mum buys them for breakfast once in a while and it's always a treat!

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  5. I am presenting my first underground supperclub dinner in a couple of weeks. I'm am curious about yours. I will be doing all the cooking, the guests will pay. I'm starting small and will make a profit (already have the guests lined up) although not much the first time. When you have a moment, would you tell me what you can at scrout1944@msn.com? Much obliged.

    StephenC

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  6. Phew! Someone else who isn't all that into SPAM. I get so much crap for being Chinese and not liking SPAM! BTW I'm proper jealous of the cereal prawns!

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    1. You got to eat them in Singapore anywayyyyy

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  7. That party looks banging! Delicious food, friendly faces, lots of fun!! Your dishes look incredible :)

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    1. Thanks Emily! It was a lot of fun!

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  8. Wow! Hope I wish that I can attend this food party. I will be one of all taking lots of photo with my cameras! Everything served in this party looks so yummy!

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    1. Haha all we photo-obsessed foodies.

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  9. Whoa... what a wonderful supperclub! It looks like a lot of work but the accomplishment must be huge! I wanted to be the guest.. =)

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  10. I want your sambal telur, look delicious indeed! Yum yum. Ya, about chai kueh, for the skin , quite similar with soon kueh, but soon kueh filling is bamboo shoot right?

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    1. Oh I see, so that's the difference! I'm going to try (: Thanks for the reply!

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  11. What a night, I would love to sample some of these Singaporean dishes. They all sounded good to me. Although the spam I could do without! I wonder what you think of being a chef....it's a tough world as I know from experience x

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    1. I wasn't really the main chef so it was alright, I think Goz looked really stressed out though haha.

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  12. OMG! What a feast with delicious Singaporean dishes!! Sounds so fun & looks very mouth watering! Now I'm drooling over your fish head curry & the sambal telur!! YUMMY! Now where is your sambal telur recipe..... Found it! :)

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  13. Looks like a fantastic evening Shuhan - so much wonderful looking food (spicy too, pheweee... look at those deep red hues! I just know I'd be in bits :D ) Your eggs look fantastic. I had to boil and peel a whole load of eggs once... it was not a fun experience!

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    1. Thanks Charles! To make thigns worse, I got the eggs fresh from the market that morning, and you know how hard to peel they are. I should have used old eggs instead, but the dinner was on market day.

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  14. OH woooooow, Shu Han. You really are one in a million, I swear. You continue to impress me because I don't know ANY 21/22yo (including myself) who is able to pull of what you did here. Seriously fantastic. And like you said, even boiling and then deep frying 18 eggs is a huge chore on its own. I would so love to be part of that meal, everything sounds sensational. And puff pastry with chilli sardine filling? OMGGG...

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    1. Winston, you always make me out to be more amazing than I am! I'm still deeply impressed by your fabulous challenge, and the money that you managed to raise for the less fortunate through your efforts.

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  15. Really well done Shu Han-it sounds like hard work but well, well worth it!!

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  16. I have heard so many times of supperclubs... I love the idea and now that I see and read how great both the food and the atmosphere can be, I'm even more eager to try one (if it exists one day in my city...). I have been meaning to fry head bones for a certain time because I see it sometimes on Japanese blogs and just like you I hate wastingcertain edible animal parts, not out of meanness, but simply because some scorned parts prove so delicious! (I love crunchy fried fins and tails so the bones sound particularly intriguing!).
    Congratulations for your new experience! I think I have never cooked so many dishes in one evening (even not with another cook), not to mention for a supperclub group.

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    1. Hi sissi! They are quite popular in london, and more and more are popping up these days. I'm sure there's definitely a few in paris, maybe it just takes a while to catch on!

      Haha I agree, I think the scorned parts are often the most yummy.

      I had lots of fun at the supperclub(: I didn't cook most of the dishes though, credits go fully to the main chef, goz!

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  17. I would love to be part of the superclub if I lived closer. But now I am hooked with that sambal tumis you used to cook the stew! I love anything spicy and red and drenched in oil but your chili paste looks just so sexy lol. Will make the sambal for sure. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Yi! I agree, anything drenched in chilli oil is quite hard to resist ;)

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  18. WOWOWOWWOOWOWOWOWOWOWOW LETS MEET IN SG FOR THE REAL SG SUPPER CLUB. :D BUKIT TIMAH HAWKER LETS GOOOO! :D

    anw so are u coming manchester? :)

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    1. OMG BTC! MY FRIED CARROT CAKE!!

      yah. shit now that you remind me. I better go email.

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  19. Wow, loved the pictures. The sambal looks delicious. This superclub sounds awesome!! Great post, 我非常喜欢它

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  20. How fun and it's amazing that you were also able to capture all these pictures! Everything looks amazing!

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  21. Hey, this all looks fantastic - well done on ding such a good job, cooking for 18 is hard work. Those eggs lok great btw, i'd so be the one puffing, panting and eating them compulsively... ;) Loving the dea of crispy fried bones and skin, i'd never thought of doing that before, kind of like fish scratchings.

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    1. It does taste kind of like scratchings, minus the porky flavour, but with a..well, not fishy, but savoury like anchovy taste? Thanks! It was lots of fun too (:

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  22. ok, I am trying for the 1094374895748th time to comment! I probably lost half the things I want to say. Hehe. LOVE your behind the scenes blog post. Pretty hilarious to think what Goz was like before the supper club. :)

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  23. FINALLY! Haha like a good supperclub owner, he was pretty obsessed with getting everything right, glad you all enjoyed the food, definitely worth it!

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  24. You have a cast iron cookware that came from your mom, and before that your grand mom, and has now fallen into your hands. Dutch Oven Cookware

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