Birthday weekend

Turned one year older last weekend, and chose, maybe not that surprisingly, to celebrate with a decent amount of food and drink. Below are a few pics from the birthday dinner.

Wine! The spectacularly tasty Charles “Champagne Charlie” Heidsieck, Juris (Austrian red) and a Brunello di Montalcino. Good stuff!

Steak tartare on grilled sourdough with dijon mayo, red onion, chives and capers.


Grilled lobster with chive butter. Oh so good. The smoke from the grill really worked well with the sweet lobster meat and the herb butter.

Grilled steak with marinated gem lettuce, fries, grilled vegetables and truffle mayonnaise.

Dessert: weed tarte tatin. No, not the weed some smoke, but weed as in stuff you pick from the side of the road. Well, actually my mother does that. And it resulted in this delicious weed tarte tatin.
The Sunday was my actual birthday, and it started nicely with nutella, cream and strawberry waffles for breakfast.

Moving on to Italian cold cuts in the sun.


And finally, my favourite dish in the entire world (sort of at least): Bolognese, served with garlic bread, Martelli spaghetti, parmesan cheese and red wine.

Eating in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Recently visited South America for a three week trip which started on New Years Eve in the fantastic city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Except for fabulous beaches, friendly people and the world’s largest urban jungle there is plenty of good food to be found.

We arrived the legendary city early new years eve, and went right away to meet two friends for some jetlag-beating sunshine, beer and prawns on famous Copacabana Beach.

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Grilled prawns with garlic and lime at one of the Copacabana beach restaurants.
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Caipirinhas (lime, sugar and Cachaça – Brazilian sugarcane liquor similar to rum) enjoyed at a beachside bar on Ipanema Beach. 
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Not surprisingly, many restaurants in the Copacabana and Ipanema areas were fully booked, and lazy as we were we hadn’t made any prior reservations. Fortunately we found Stambul (yes, without the “I”) in Ipanema. A Turkish restaurant that had one available table for four hungry Swedes. Not the most genuinely Brazilian first meal of the trip, but hey, the food was great and they even had a Capoeira performance on the street the restaurant was on.
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After our Turkish dinner, we walked down to the beach were the famous fireworks were to be at midnight. A guy on the beach offered to rent us four beach chairs, and so we did. The guy then took us trough the crowd and set up our beach chairs smack bang at the water’s edge with amazing views over the fireworks paired with a couple of mean Caipirinhas. The party then lasted into the morning hours, and despite Rio’s reputation, we had no trouble at all running around along the beach till 5 a.m. On the other hand there was a massive security presence as well as lots of people out all night long.

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Morning after visit to the Sugarloaf mountain and then a hearty delicious lunch at Galeto Sat’s with mixed meats, Brazilian specialty broccoli rice, fried, vinaigrette (sort of like pico de gallo), eggs farofa and a couple of local beers together with a (seemingly) bunch of happy hungover locals.
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Another lunch was at Devassa in Ipanema. A nice Brazilian buffet with seafood rice, pastels (similar to empanadas), black bean stew, chicken and various salads.
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One of the best meals of the entire South America trip was at Churrascaria Palace. A “churrascaria” is a restaurant serving grilled meat, usually offering as much as one can eat with waiters moving around the restaurant with the skewers, slicing meat onto the guest’s plate. Churrascaria Palace offered a really nice churrasco with an initial buffet of starters such as high quality cold cuts, fresh oysters, cheeses, nuts, salad and similar. After the starters the churrasco followed. We had tenderloin, fillet mignon, chorizo, lamb, chicken, chicken hearts, ribs, grilled cheese and more. Everything was really delicious and we basically rolled out after finishing. No desserts were tried.
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The following day we went on a food tour that we found on TripAdvisor. The tour company is called Eat Rio and the idea is tours that get you to know Rio by “strolling along the streets, eating the food and rubbing shoulders with the locals”.
DSC_0280First stop was at Nova Capela in the Lapa area of Rio. We had actually visited Lapa the night before to check out the famous nightlife, and it was fun to be back during day time when it was much calmer (and you actually paid attention to the buildings and not just the party crowds). Anyway, at Nova Capela we had some delicious fruit juice that I of course forgot what it was, and “Bolitas de Bacalao” deep-fried cod croquettes that was really, really good. 
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A stop at the fruit and vegetable market in Gloria neighbourhood.
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Some amazing mango was had at the market.
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Then we went on to “Tacaca do Norte“, an Amazonian restaurant, where we had Amazonian soup with salty prawns and jambú (a numbing Amazonian plant) in a slightly tart broth. The cool thing with the jambú was that it was mildly narcotic, numbing our lips and changing flavors. The result was that the accompanying Amazonian Cerpa beer tasted salty. Very cool. If you had “Kava” in the South Pacific, this was similar. We also tried a tasty crab dish as well as a proper Acai bowl.
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The final stop on the tour was Severyna de Laranjeiras where we had a couple of (delicious) dishes as well as drinks. We tried delicious pastels (the Brazilian version of empanadas) which is deep-fried and filled with everything from prawns, to meat or cheese. The ones at Severyna was amazing, especially dipped in chilli sauce. We also had baked prawns, prawn stew, slow cooked meat, pumpkin, black beans and finally a splash of clarified butter to make everything extra delicious. A couple of fruits from the fruit market was also used to make passion fruit caipirinhas. A very delicious end to a great tour.
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After food tour-visit to the favela Babilonia and the bar “Estrelas da Babilonia“. The visit featured an initial climb into the favela by motorbike taxis and then a walk following the stars on the ground showing the path to the bar. It was slightly tricky but we were rewarded with great views over Rio de Janeiro as well as cold beer. On the return trip down we walked.

Rio – what a great city
As most people, I have read about violence and crime in Rio, and in the beginning we were very careful with hiding our cellphones and leaving our camera at the hotel during night time. But we felt safe pretty much all of the time and had no trouble what so ever. Police and security presence were high in most areas we went to. Of course though, you need to be aware of your surroundings and you should not flash expensive phones etc since there is definitely crime happening although we weren’t affected. But we really enjoyed our visit to Rio de Janeiro with its friendly inhabitants, great scenery and fantastic food.

Eating in fantastic Singapore

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After our recent visit to Manila and Boracay, we ended the trip with a visit to one of my favorite cities in the world: Singapore.

We flew sort of direct (a short stop in Cebu, then back onboard the same plane) from Boracay with Singapore Airline’s “low cost” affilliate Silkair, which proved to be very nice. They had a wireless onboard entertainment system that you could use on your own device (no wifi though), tasty food and complimentary drinks.

I’ve visited Singapore once before, and by then I had the idea that I think many have of a futuristic little city country with harsh laws, extreme cleanliness and a general feeling of surveillance. I did not get that feeling at all when visiting fortunately, and neither did I this time. They have harsh punishments for certain crimes, true. But as a foodie destination I really love it. It’s clean – yes, but more in a no-rats-and-no-trash-in-the-water kind of way than in a scary way. Anyway, we began our trip by using the limo company Blacklane for the first time. They are sort of like Uber, but you can pre-book them which is handy. A friendly guy named Herman picked us up in a spectacular Mercedes and we were driven to our hotel Sofitel So Singapore for not much more than a taxi. We used a discount code though, but they are easy to find by a quick google search. In our fancy ride from the airport, driver Herman told us about our hotel being very close to Lau Pa Sat, a large outdoor (and indoor) food market in the middle of the Singapore CBD. Anyway, below is the best we had.

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Blacklane pick-up from Changi Airport. Complimentary food advise was given.

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Bak Kut The aka “meat bone tea”. A tasty, spicy broth with pork ribs and condiments. Had at Ng Ah Sio in Marina Bay Sands mall’s food court.
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Chicken and prawn satay (grilled skewers) with peanut sauce, cucumber, raw onion and a pitcher of Tiger Beer. So good.
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Grilled beef satay.
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Built in the 19th century, Lau Pa Sat or Telok Ayer Market has for a long time provided food to hungry visitors. These days, they close the street in the evenings when the satay stalls lit up their barbecues where they produce some of the best skewers I’ve ever had. The atmosphere, prices and food was actually so good that we spent four out of six nights at Lau Pa Sat. Either for food, or just for a beer on our way back to the hotel.
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One of Singapore’s most famous dishes: The Chilli Crab. A giant steamed crab that is then stir-fried in a spicy and sweet chilli sauce and served with “mantou” deep-fried buns that you use to soak up the sauce. Chilli crab is a messy but fantastic experience of sweet crab meat, spicy sauce and crunchy fluffy mantou buns. Don’t forget to buy napkins from the vendors.
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Really delicious Korean fried chicken at “4 Fingers Crispy Chicken”. The kimchi coleslaw was spectacular in its obvious tastiness.

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Fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold again, fold, fold, fold AND fold. DTF’s dumplings are folded at least 18 times. And they are crazy delicious.
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Dan Dan noodles (spicy sesame and peanut) DSC_0447
Chilli and cucumber salad.
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Sautéed water spinach.
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Taiwanese pork chop with egg fried rice.
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Xiao long bao.

Din Tai Fung is an old favorite of mine since my student days in Sydney where first got our addiction. Din Tai Fung is a Taiwanese chain of restaurants that these days is operating in both Asia, Australia and the US. They just opened shop in Dubai, so they’re at least moving towards Europe. A few of their outlets (at least in Hong Kong) has been awarded Michelin stars, and that is despite not being particularly fancy or expensive.

Din Tai Fung’s most famous dish is the xiao long bao aka the soup dumpling. XLBs are basically dough that is folded at least 18 times and wrapped around meat and jellied meat broth, that melts when the dumplings are steamed. That means that when you bite into the dumpling you will experience light dough, meat, and soupy broth at the same time. You will also get the sensation of dipping them into the DIY dipping sauce of hot chilli paste, soy, ginger and black vinegar. It is ridiculously tasty and I try to visit Din Tai Fung each time I’m at a place who has one.

We ate at Din Tai Fung Marina Bay Sands and it was delicious, of course. Except for the XLB, Din Tai Fung also have a few other dishes that’s really delicious. Our standard order is above water spinach, chilli-cucumber salad, spicy dan dan noodles, and Taiwanese pork chop with egg fried rice. Washed down with a Taiwanese beer it is definitely one of my all time favorite meals.
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Light show every night (free) at Marina Bay Sands. Bonus views of the pretty CBD skyline all night long.
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There’s actually decent beaches in Singapore. This one on Sentosa Island.
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Above is Hainanese chicken rice from vendors “Tian Tian chicken Rice” and “Ah Tai” in Maxwell Food Centre. When I last visited Singapore there was a chicken rice war between the two, since Ah Tai used to work for Tian Tian but then got fired/resigned and started his own shop in the same hawker centre. Last time I thought the rebel chicken rice stall Ah Tai had the better version, this time I’d say that Tian Tian had reclaimed the Hainanese chicken rice victory.
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Lunch at Lagnaa in Little India. Tasty butter chicken, palak paneer, jeera rice and naan.
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One of the last dinners of the trip was at Equinox restaurant. Equinox is located in the Swissotel Stamford building, located on the 70th floor. The food is not fantastic, but still very tasty, and the view is really to die for. Above is a rib-eye steak with marrow bone, black truffle butter and black truffle mac n’ cheese (that was amazing). Prices are quite high, but are kind of worth it since food is good and view’s as mentioned fantastic. If you’re after view but do not want to pay 100 SGD for a steak, you can do like we did last time and visit the adjacent New Asia Bar for a drink instead.
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Delicious Godiva Soft Serve ice cream at Godiva, Suntec City Mall.
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Our last dinner in Singapore was at Yayoiken Japanese restaurant. The place is very high tech and you order and pay for all food and drinks through a table-side tablet. We had tonkatsu, tempura prawns and gyoza which all were really delicious. Prices were really good too.
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A visit to the “Arab Quarter” where we visited the beautiful Masjid Sultan Mosque and had a tasty falafel at House of Kebab.
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Then it was time to fly home. The flight from Singapore to Bangkok offered this sunset as well as Charles Heidsieck champagne and lobster thermidor onboard Singapore Airlines.

Gothenburg and Trattoria La Strega

Currently enjoying Gothenburg and Hotel Clarion Post during a mini break in Sweden’s second city. Below are a few pics from the stay.

Take away Danish open sandwiches (smørrebrød) from Jacob’s at Stockholm’s central train station. The smørrebrød was then enjoyed onboard the MTR Express train to Gothenburg accompanied by a bottle of Henriot Champagne bought at the train cafe.

Halv special or half special, a Gothenburg classic with sausage in a bun with the addition of potato mash.

Breakfast at Clarion Post.

Clarion’s rooftop pool and view.

Amazing dinner at Trattoria La Strega. Cold cuts for starter, then king crab pappardelle and finally tiramisu. A bottle of “Bandita” Barbera d’Asti to drink. The crab pasta was probably the best meal I’ve had this year.

Best hamburger sauce (or dressing) recipe ever

Cheeseburger with onion rings, fries, Lagunitas Pale Ale and burger sauce

I’m, like most people I reckon, a big burger lover, and hence from time to time I like to make my own burgers (or eat them at various places, but that’s another story). When I lived in Australia, I came across a really simple recipe for a burger sauce, or dressing as we call it in Sweden, that really elevated our homemade burger creations to the next level.

What you need:
2 dl (~ 1 cup) Good quality mayo (make your own or use store bought)
1 tablespoon of ketchup
1 tablespoon of mustard
1 tablespoon of minced/really finely chopped onion (shallots work well)
1 tablespoon of finely chopped gherkins (pickled cucumbers).

Mix all of the above, then let rest in the fridge for half an hour or so. Then put on your burgers, and enjoy. Works great as a dipping sauce for the fries too.