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A little Italian in Normandie

Paris was blessed recently with glorious weather fit for a Royal wedding – alas, unfortunately for Kate and William, it was 2 weeks short of their wedding with climate change occurring on the wrong side of the Channel.  Perhaps on their special day, the weather cloud will move in their favour towards Britain.  But nous avait profité from this sunshine.  The Italian suggested we do the 2 hour drive to Deauville, a seaside town well known amongst les Parisiens for its beautiful tudor like architecture and its promenades des planches where chic Parisiennes can be seen with their oversized sunglasses and high heels having a walk on the promenade along the beach.  This planked promenade was constructed in 1923 to allow les dames to walk along the beach front without sullying their long dresses and wetting their feet.

Deauville in the evening on a balmy night is really the place to be.  The town centre was buzzing with life – the young and old, couples and families out for dinner, really taking advantage of the glorious weather.   I can see the reason why so many Englishmen buy their holiday homes here, even why chic Parisians who cannot live without their LV and Hermés want to grow roots in this town.  Can you believe it, kawan kawan, Deauville spots a very attractive shopping street with Loius Vuitton and Hermés bags sitting prettily in tudor fronted shops.  I can understand the Hermés brand being there because Deauville is a riding town, with its own race course.  But the LV?  Are the French that patriotic to their own brands and creations?  Well, you can take the Parisian out of Paris but not Paris out of the Parisian, mais bien sûr!

Well, dinner was quite something else.  I guess in the case of the Italian, you can take an Italian out of Italia but never Italia out of him.  So, it was very apt that the choice of restaurant rested on Pizza Santa Lucia.  Additionally, my iphone App – Places – suggested that we should head for Santa Lucia if one wanted some Pizzas and Les Pâtes for dîner.  So religiously, taking the advice of the ever useful and friendly iphone, we parked the car, might I say , rather easily even in a crowded town centre, where if one were in Paris, would take at least a half hour to find a spot.

RN was very excited about the choice of cuisine for dinner.  She wanted to eat lasagne.  She had a food craving in the middle of the afternoon one day, requesting that I cook her lasagne for dinner.  The lasagne she ordered had a very rich meaty ragu which tasted simply splendid.  The portion was just enough for one person unlike the gigantic ones the kids had gotten used to in NYC the week before.  Here is what RN ordered that night:


The plating in Italian restaurants is never as pretty as that in French establishments.  Italian restaurants always try to retain their rusticness and sense of home, very proud to serve up dishes the way Mamma does à casa.  I actually like it this way, as there is no fuss and plenty of thrill, if one is lucky enough to find a good Italian restaurant.  In this case, we did.

I ordered the plat du jour which was sardines fritures.  It was simply delicious in a perfect sort of way.  I like my fried sardines with a squeeze of lemon with every other mouthful smeared in tartar sauce.  I guess sardines are best eaten grilled or fried in a light batter like the ones I ordered:

Sardines Fritures

The Chinese usually prefer their fish steamed with ginger.  But one can hardly steam sardines, can one?  So this is the best way to eat them, bones and all.  There were really hao chi!

The other fried fish dish that is a favourite amongst the Navas is the calamari fritti.  This one RN loves very much.  I thought that the sotong served at this restaurant was simply divine.  I can taste the freshness of the squid even though they were covered in batter.   I like my rings of sotong with a squeeze of lemon but the little fairy princess likes hers just as they are:

Fried Sotong

For some strange reason, the Italian decided against the Pizza much to his regret.  Why?  Je ne sais pas but SS ordered her usual quattro formaggio which she generously shared with the Italian so he did luck out, fortunately for him. She reported it to be delish as did he!  I didn’t get a chance to taste her pizza because I was getting a little too full.  I could smell the oven baked goodness of the pizza dough though and I know that this is the sign of a good pizza.  The taste of oven-bakedness known to the Chinese as wok hai (in Cantonese) is what gives the pizza dough its flavour, enhanced of course with the cheese and tomato sauce. It’s that “little bit of burnt” on the crusts of the pizza that works magic, making one come back again for another bite of the same. Wok hai in fried kway teow is c’est la même chose.  In Cantonese Fried hor fun (kway teow in Singapore Hokkien), the rice sticks which are broad and flat are first fried in the wok before a gravy of meat and vegetables is poured over them.  Here I am not talking about the famous Char Kway Teow that all Singaporeans and Malaysians swear by.  The aforementioned version is served with a thick gravy.  That is a chance for another post, kawan kawan for the Cantonese Fried hor funis really a fav of mine.  Oops, I was waxing lyrical so much that I almost forgot to show you the pizza.  Here it is:

Quattro Formaggio

Observe the rotund pieces of chèvre.  Mmmmmmmm!  See those spots of burnt on the dough?  That, kawan kawan is the magic chargrilled taste that I was talking about earlier.

Pizza Santa Lucia

15 Avenue de la République 14800 Deauville, France

tel: 0899 234 693


Honoured to present the St Honoré

Kawan kawan, it is my pleasure to present to you the St Honoré – a traditional French pastry created by pastry chef Chiboust in 1846 in honour of the patron saint of bakers.  This cake has come to symbolize the high standards in French pastry making.  

CB, my neighbour and a passionate foodie, invited me to try one at her appartement the other day.  She said that it is her husband’s (GM of Shang Paris) favourite dessert.  The man has very high food standards, so who am I to doubt that this St Honoré that you see in the photo above was anything but?  Kawan kawan, I was in pastry heaven.  The caramlized ball of choux pastry filled with Créme Anglaise was simply sublime.  The base of pate brissé, flakey and crispy had the right combination of sucrée and salée – sweet and salty.  The bavarian cream although not good on the hips was  trés sedap on the lips.

I am not usually fond of cakes and pastries.  I like the look of certain well decorated cakes but I don’t have that much of a sweet tooth to desire sinking my teeth into them.  But in Paris, all that changed.  One can’t live in The City of Light and not get into the habit of indulging one’s taste buds in gateâux and pâtisseries.  After all, the French cakes and pastries are more than well decorated, they are so bagus that you just keep coming back for more…..thank goodness everything that  I need to do is within walking distance.  The only way to keep fit and  pounds off the hips is to walk, walk and walk…..towards the next pâtisserie.

Oreo Cupcakes

Cupcakes have taken Paris by storm, thanks to the sheer numbers of Les Americaines here.  J’adore les cupcakes, so I am very happy that they have arrived in Paris.  In London on the Portobello Road, The Hummingbird Bakery used to be where I would go and indulge in them.   Additionally, this is where Londoners and tourists alike could get American style cupcakes.  But alas, I couldn’t persuade The Italian to bring the Hummingbird here!

Alors, I was thrilled when my kawan and follow member of the AWAP board (she is Chairwoman)  announced her new business in Cupcake baking.   I was first in line to order some oreo cupcakes pictured here:

Oreo Cupcake

The kids wolfed them down and RN, being only 4 and half was amazed that the oreos she used to eat in London and Singapore appeared atop a cupcake and within it.  Magic, my friends, magic!  and kawan kawan, they were truly sedap! So morish that I couldn’t stop at one, although I know I should’ve…the mind was willing but the flesh, erm mouth was weak.  I asked GWF if she could show me how to bake some, as some of you may know, I DO NOT bake…yet.  I am delighted to be able to share with you her website: where you can order her cupcakes and fantasy cakes.

Kawan kawan, The Italian may not have been able to bring me Hummingbird, but Paris has brought me sweetgraces.  Life is good!  🙂

Ready, Get Set, Go!

The idea for this blog was planted one wintry morning in Paris.  I was sitting in a typical Parisian cafe, as one does in the City of Light, having my croissant and expresso and generally dreaming about all the sedap dishes that I miss from Singapore when like a bolt of lightening, it struck me that I ought to write a blog.  What type of blog, you ask.  Well, the memories of the delicious dishes that I’ve tasted throughout my journeys and sojourns lent the idea of a Food Blog – yes, I’d blog about food, glorious food.  Next, what to call this blog?  Now, the name – that’s special.  🙂  Naming something is empowering.  I thought I would dabble with some Malay words used usually to describe something delicious and yummy. Et voilà, those words – bagus and sedap from the Malay language popped up instantly.  So kawan kawan, this is it!  You’ll be subjected to my musings, my digressions, my general thoughts and most of all, my cooking!  I am honoured that you’ve chosen to take this gastronomic journey with me.