Thursday, January 29, 2009

Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice

One of Singapore’s contenders for the national dish. Chicken rice can be found in every street corner, coffee shops or restaurants in the Lion City.

This complete “entrée” recipe was brought by Hainanese immigrants from China and evolved into a distinct Singaporean dish.

Try it this weekend and impress your friends!

The recipe is here…

Cooking Time *forever*
Preparation Time Patience is a virtue.
Serves 5-7 really hungry people

Ingredients for the chicken

1 whole Chicken (to be boiled in a large pot of water by itself)
70 ml of Sesame Oil
60 ml of Light Soy Sauce
1 medium sized cucumber
1 sprig parsley
60 ml of Concentrated Chicken Stock (made from boiling chicken bones or from chicken stock concentrate e.g. Maggie chicken stock)

Ingredients for Chicken Stock (Optional)

300 to 500 gm of chicken feet or bones
2 liters of water

Ingredients for the rice

1 Clove Garlic
20 gm Ginger Bruised
4 cups of Thai Fragrant Rice
Cooking Oil
150 gm of chicken fat
Chicken Stock
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Water that was used to boil the chicken (some to be used for cooking the rice, the balance is to be used as a base stock for an accompanying soup)

Ingredients for the condiments

100 gm Ginger
20 gm Galangal (optional)
100 gm red peppers
1 teaspoon chicken oil
20 ml concentrated chicken stock
10 to 15 ml of dark soy sauce for each diner as dip
2 cloves Garlic

Ingredients for Soup to accompany the Chicken rice

Balance of water used to boil the chicken
250 gm of cabbage
20 gm peeled shallots
Spring onion for garnishing


1. Boil chicken feet or bones for about 2 hours and simmer. Let at least a liter of water evaporate in the process. This makes the stock more concentrated.

2. Clean the dressed chicken. Boil a large pot of water. Make sure to immerse the whole chicken. Boil for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken and let it cool down.

3. Prepare the rice. Fry the uncooked rice in a wok with some of the chicken oil obtained from the fat mixed with cooking oil. Keep on frying in a moderate fire until golden yellow.

Next pour the rice into a pot. Add some chicken stock, salt and the balance of the water required is obtained from the water used to boil the chicken. Add 1 clove crushed peeled garlic and a piece of about 20 gm bruised ginger to the pot. Cook the rice. Serve in a bowl or plate.

4. Back to the chicken. Brush the chicken with sesame oil. The sesame oil also gives a fragrance and flavoring the the chicken. No salt is to be added to the chicken. Debone and cut the white meat into bite size strips.

5. Prepare the condiments. Grind the ginger and galangal (optional) together. Add 5 to 10 ml of concentrated chicken stock, ground peppers and the peeled garlic. They are served separately.

6. Preparing the soup. The soup is then made re-boiling balance of the stock and add equal amount of water. Add the shredded cabbage and peeled shallots. Add salt to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes. Cut the spring onion and garnish the soup.

7. The chicken rice should be served as shown in the picture above. The condiments should used as a dip for the chicken.

Bon appetite!

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Thursday, January 22, 2009


Here’s one heritage icon instantly associated to our beloved region – the Great Hornbill of the Malay Peninsula, Indonesia, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Laos and the Philippines. *other species found in Vietnam*

They are called แก้ไข นกกก in Thai, Kalaw in the Philippines and Burung Enggang in Malaysia and Indonesia and Kenyalang in Kalimantan. *what is it called in your language?*

I visited Jurong Bird Park in Singapore a few weeks back and this birdie does it all the time. When I walk in the aviary, they always land to get in the way. So, either I go back where I come from or I just make a run for it. What do they want from me?

Obviously, these great birds are fearless. That’s why they are the symbol of numerous tribes like the Iban people of Borneo, the Dayaks of Kalimantan, the Igorots of Ifugao -- Brave, fearless warriors of the land. Sarawak is known as the "Land of the Hornbills".

They can grow up to 4ft in height with a wingspan of 5ft! That’s why they are sovereigns of the rainforest. The Hornbill’s most distinct feature is that ginormous thingy on top of its’ already ginornous bill – it’s called a “casque” by those who want to have names for anything & everything. A casque – don’t forget.

It is said that Hornbills use their casques (only males has it) for aerial battle. Like what those deers and goats do – butt fight! Although nobody has actually seen Hornbills in actual aerial butt fight.. It’s just a legend perhaps.

The Great Hornbill is in the list of Threatened Species. We can’t afford to lose another one of our endemic icons.

Save the forest, protect the Great Hornbills

heritage icons of Southeast Asia.

Buceros bicornis


*Thanks to Mr Bauer for the photos

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Saturday, January 17, 2009


Whether we admit it or not, our lives directly or indirectly revolve around electricity. Power from oil, coal, nuclear, underground heat that all converted to, you got it -- electricity.

All these sources are limited. C’mon! It’s a no brainer! And smart/ingenious/inventive/crazy people are kicking high and low searching for new energy source.

Here’s my say.

Fitness gyms.

Our cities are full of it! Bangkok alone has more than 500 registered fitness gyms. KL got heaps, Manila has tons, Jakarta got loads and just imagine in Hanoi, Saigon and all around the region.

What if – those gym equipments are fitted with energy conversion thingies? THAT WOULD BE INTENSE!

Imagine how much energy could be generated from gym bunnies and iron pumping aficionados!

Fitness gyms can be energy self-sufficient! That would be cool!

Let’s think BIG – governments can set up Public Mega Gyms to generate power for the city. Better yet, set it all up in prisons and let them exercise 24/7 as punishment. *lol*

It’s a win-win situation, really – clean energy for the country and fit & buff citizens. Just imagine how much human energy is wasted in fitness gyms.

Fitness gym equipments + energy conversion apparatus + free workouts + people = clean energy.

Whaddya think?


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Thursday, January 15, 2009


Freedom House, an independent non-profit organization advocating human rights around the world since 1941 recently released the 2008 Freedom of the World Scores. Indonesia retained its status as the only "free" country in our region. [ source]

BISEAN first featured these findings last year -- Freedom in Southeast Asia

Here's our Freedom Map of 2008

Thailand has been elevated from "Not Free" to "Partially Free" status together with Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Timor Leste this year.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Welcome to my hometown -- The abode of my family and the realm of my ancestors.

1. Ayutthaya was the capital of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, a Thai kingdom existed from 1350 to 1767 AD.

2. It was one the most powerful kingdom the world has ever seen. Its territory included a huge part of Burma, the Lanna Kingdom, the Yunnan & Shan Sri Provices of China, the whole of Laos, the whole of Cambodia, South Vietnam and all of Malaya.

3. The City of Ayutthaya’s population was well over a million people in the mid-17th century while London had barely half of it.

4. The ambassador of King Louis XIV of France compared the size and wealth of Ayutthaya to Paris in the 1600s. King Narai of Ayutthaya had close ties with the French king sending each other gifts regulary.

5. Its name was derived from Ayodhya in Northern India. The city of Rama, the hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana.

6. The ancient city lies in an island where 3 rivers meetthe Chao Phraya, Lopburi and Passak Rivers. It can be reached from Bangkok through the great Chao Phraya River.

7. Ayutthaya is a World Heritage Site. So, it means the whole city is protected. Ancient ruins like the Royal Palace and a handful of majestic temples are all that is left but – it’s like a time capsule back in ancient Siam.

8. The ancient city is best explored on foot or a bicycle. It is quiet, it is relaxing and good exercise too. The northwest of the city is where most of the ruins are.

9. Ayutthaya is the only place in Thailand without standard written Romanticized form. You may find it written differently around Thailand – Ayuthaya, Ayodhya, etc. But no matter how it is spelled, it is pronounced as /Ah-yoo-tuh-yah/.

10. Ayutthaya is just an hour away from Bangkok. Take a cab or the bus at Morchit Station.

We are waiting for you.


Saturday, January 10, 2009


It doesn’t make sense, huh?

How can tea be pulled, you ask? Then shut up and I’ll tell you…

Teh Tarik is a creamy, sweet with a pleasant bitter aftertaste beverage served just about in every corner of Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei.

"Teh” means tea in Bahasa and “Tarik” means pulled. Get it?

This beverage is all about showmanship. It is prepared by mixing tea and condensed milk together and poured from a container held high to a container held low. That’s where the “pulling” comes in.

A properly made Teh Tarik must have thick foam on top like a cappuccino -- If it doesn’t…*whishk!* poor you. *LOL*

How is it iconic? Well, it is de facto the national drink of Malaysia. They even hold a national competition in preparing this drink…

Competitors showcase their “talents” (like cart-wheeling, leg-splits, can-can) while dragging a long stream of tea over their heads. Simply spectacular, baby. Ok, get off me.

Oh! Did I mention Teh Tarik is best served hot? -- Which means best for a cold rainy day. And to be more accurate; “served in just the right temperature” for immediate consumption *unlike coffees from McDonalds & 7-Eleven which you have to wait 600 years to cool down!* Although some prefer it over ice.

Go and try this heavenly brew on your next visit to Malaysia, Singapore or Brunei. You’re not gonna like it…you’re gonna LOVE it!

Teh Tarik – beverage icon of Southeast Asia.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Grand-Scale Landscape Architecture Masterpiece

Everything is brand new, everything is in its’ proper places… clean, crisp, well-planned, well-manicured, well-kept and everything “well-“. Yeah, that’s Putrajaya -- Malaysia’s Administrative Capital.

Oi! Don’t get me wrong! Not that there’s anything wrong with it but we gotta understand this city was built almost overnight *that’s figure of speech for those who are planning to appeal, ok?* and the city is just barely 13 years old!

I had the chance to stay longer than most tourist in this uhmm…”beautiful” is an understatement really, so let’s use the adjective “ostentatious”. There, take that! Majestic, extravagant, grandiose, ritzy and why not?!!! -- They can afford it!

I met a couple of new friends who lives here (Airry, Fitri, Aidil, Moris…terima kasih n***!) and I really did get to closely observe what’s around. Putrajaya is the nook of well-heeled yuppies working for the government and their fabulous friends.

Though some may think it’s just another “showcase city”, Putrajaya is the heart of Malaysia a brand new heart for a country in a hurry. Impressive government buildings, 9 art-deco bridges over artificial lakes, pricey residential blocks, 5-star hotels and don’t forget the centrepiece – the Office of the Prime Minister.

The city has a mall (yes, in singular form) called Alamanda. Do some shopping here if you haven't yet in KL. Or visit the city's 5 Squares; Dataran Gemilang, Dataran Putra, Dataran Putrajaya, Dataran Rakyat and Dataran Wawasan.

What's in a name? Putrajaya was named after the country's first Prime Minister Abdul Rahman Putra (nope, not related to Paula). "Putra" means son/prince and "Jaya" means success.

Tourists come here on day-trips -- Highly recommended destination for those who love Islamic arts & architecture. But let me warn you if you will come on a budget; public transpo here is inadequate. Get a rental car if you don't fancy walking for miles.

How to get here. The fastest and most convenient way is by KLIA Transit (rail) from Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station. Single journey ticket costs 9.50 Ringgit. A cab trip from KL would cost around 40-50 Ringgit, that is if you can "hypnotize" the cab driver to use the meter. The best way is to ask around for organized tours.

BISEAN would feature Putrajaya's most interesting buildings on our coming posts. Here's the city's official website and community portal if you wanna find out more.


Thursday, January 01, 2009


I didn't plan BISEAN's first blog post for 2009 to be like this...

But for all those who sent emails, comments, SMS, Morse codes and smoke signals demanding we let them know we are alright...well, here. We are alright.

The BISEANers were actually pissing the night away at Clarke Quay last night. Yes, in Singapore.

Too bad what happened to Santika. More than 59 people died last night in a fire *sigh*. Our sincere condolences to the families of the victims.

Santika is just 3 mins walk from my flat in Bangkok (Santika at Ekkamai 9, I live on Ekkamai 10). If it just happened we were in town, the whole gang would be there for sure (But we'll definitely leave early for Q Bar).

Ok, this is just a short post. Just to let our demanding readers know.

--Pisanu in Singapore

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