It’s been a whole 2 years since I first signed up for ABC Cooking! From my initial intention to get just 6 cake lessons to now, taking up everything they offer, it truly was not something I’d imagine myself doing 2 years ago!
I’ve finish all 12 Wagashi classes and hence I have no more updates about Wagashi course until they renew the menu, hopefully soon. I’m hopeful of that because Hong Kong and Malaysia ABC have renewed their Wagashi course recently! If you’re keen to read about Wagashi class, do look up my previous posts to find out more.
I also complete all 8 countries on the ABC Passport recently, all within the 2 years validity!
Hungry Bird rating
– Must learn! Recipe really good/ useful to recreate often
– Good, met expectations
– Ok… optional to learn
– Lower standard in taste than expected / looks better than it tastes/ not as good as store bought versions
– Waste of time
September Cake Basic – Caramel Chocolate Mousse
This is a chocolate cake with caramel flavoured mousse. It is a very simple cake and you can probably imagine the flavours by just looking at it. The cake is a chocolate genoise sponge and then they teach out how to cut and assemble it so that the cake sponge is exposed on the outside. There is no frosting required and the mousse is set with gelatin keeping it nicely in place. For the decoration we cut the strawberries into heart shape and that’s the only tricky part.
The flavour of this cake is one that is easily pleasant and I would say is a crowd pleaser. It is nothing too niche or exotic. The decoration is also easily beautiful looking and is a very presentable cake. However it is probably not very unique and the techniques involved is actually similar to some of the trial lesson cakes.
Hungry Bird rating: 4/5
October Cake Basic – Mont Blanc
This version of Mont Blanc uses sweet potato paste instead of chestnut paste for the final topping. The base crust is a cocoa flavourted short crust pastry baked with filling of fragipane. This tart was a seasonal regular lesson in October last year in Japan, and currently only ABC in SG and Korea offers it in the regular cake course! Such creations are common in Japan, during the seasonal of Autumn especially, when sweet potato season starts and this is why I chose to do it this month. In fact, for this tart it features many ingredients to represent the autumn season like maple syrup in the fragipane layer as red maple leaves are commonly viewed during Autumn in Japan and marron glace as topping as this is also the season for Japanese chestnuts.
If you are a fan of purple sweet potato desserts, you’ll appreciate the flavour of this tart as it tastes exactly like the other purple sweet potato desserts I’ve had. We use dehydrated purple Japanese sweet potato flakes mixed with purple sweet potato powder to create the paste. The dehydrated sweet potato flakes gave it the vibrant purple colour. Such flakes are made from 100% sweet potato hence it is not artificial. It is a convenient alternative to steaming a fresh sweet potato, even though the latter is also feasible.
The frangipane layer had maple syrup to flavour it and to my surprise the flavour was quite distinct. While I do love maple syrup flavour, there was kind of too many flavours going on in this tart, which is still acceptable to me but I don’t really think it enhanced the flavour of the sweet potato and kind of steals the show. I felt it would be better if the sweet potato flavour could be the obvious main character of this tart. Nevertheless, I still really enjoyed the flavours and this is probably one of my favourite cakes from the current Cake Basic course!
However, the main reason why I could not give this tart the full score was the texture of the tart crust. The tart crust had all the right flavours and the cocoa flavour matched the sweet potato perfectly, but the method used to create this tart was not the same as the method that ABC used to teach. Instead of cutting cold butter and rubbing in with the flour, we made the crust using a hand mixer to cream the butter, which resulted in the crust being compact and chewy cookie-like instead of bring crumbly and light. I would definitely choose to do the cutting method using the same recipe which would do more justice to this delicious tart. I also find that the texture of the crust deteriorates overnight (it was already not crispy to bring with) which makes it even more disappointing.
Hungry Bird rating: 4/5
September Bread Basic – Nutty Crescent
This is a pumpkin flavoured sweet bread with toppings of almonds and pumpkin seeds. This is a sweet bread and it has the highest content of butter in any of the bread dough I ever handled at ABC! The texture while kneading is something I’ve never dealt with before, being really oily – not wet and not sticky. Just oily.
The shaping was relatively – just braiding only with the ends thinner and the center thicker so I find that there’s nothing new to learn about the shaping here.
However, the final results for the taste and texture exceeded my expectations! The bread itself wasn’t plain, with lots of flavours from the toppings, and the texture was like cotton soft, where it has streaks of fibre when you pull it apart. The pumpkin flavour wasn’t strong and to me it didn’t taste like anything. Which can be a good thing because pumpkin flavoured bread doesn’t exactly sound appealing, and even non-pumpkin fans might accept this. Pumpkin powder was used for the dough and it is replacable with other sorts of powder if you wish. In a way this dough can be quite versatile.
I initially thought that this bread looked like a boring choice but was proven wrong! Still i I would remove one point because there’s nothing much to learn with regards to the shaping.
Hungry Bird rating: 4/5
September Bread Basic – Graham Nuts
This bread is a new recipe, even in Japan! This bread is a savoury bread with fillings of walnuts, pecans and cheddar cheese. In Japan they use processed cheddar but somehow for recipes here in SG they give us regular cheddar which melts instead of staying in tact with heat, hence we don’t have the texture of cubed cheese here. The dough contains whole wheat flour and the nuts are kneaded into the dough, while the cheese is only wrapped in during the shaping. The bread is coated with bread flour and then scored in the center. Before baking, it was given a spray of water to crisp up and fleur de sel is sprinkled on. The resulting texture was soft inside and a little crispy outside, with nice crunch from the peacans and walnuts and savoury flavours from the molten cheese and sea salt. The addition of fleur de sel really enhanced the overall taste and it was such a perfect combination!
Making this bread look beautiful is a challenge and learning to use the scoring knife in this lesson was something new. The scoring determines how the bread will open up and come into shape and it definitely isn’t easy.
Hungry Bird rating: 5/5
September Bread Master – Melon Pan & Maccha
I’ve always liked melon pan because it is cute and I do like the cookie crust and it is such a easy to like bread because it is cute. However I never really had any melon pan which really left a lasting memory. I guess that’s how Melon Pan is. For this lesson we first made a regular sweet bread dough and then a cookie dough. The making of the dough was similar to most other dough we make during Bread Basic classes, except that we used Japanese bread flour and Kodama Yeast instead of the normal flour and yeast in regular classes.
Komada Yeast is extracted from a plant Shirakami Sanchi rainforest in Akita Prefecture Japan – a UNESCO conservation rain forest which is home to many rare species of flora and fauna. This type of yeast is supposedly more active in cold environment compared to other normal wild yeast hence the proofing temperature using this yeast is only 35°C. Any higher would kill the yeast activity. According to the Japanese chef of who discovered this yeast, it is only suitable to be used with high quality Japanese bread flour to reap the benefits of using this yeast compared to using regular yeast. Supposedly a unique characteristic of this yeast is that it’ll help retain the texture of bread better without using bread improvers.
After making the bread, we made the cookie dough which was separated into 2 and Matcha is added to one part of it while the other part is scented with Lemon. The challenge is mainly on how to work fast enough to wrap up the melon pan during shaping. All sounds good but a big drawback of Kodama yeast is an awful expired cheese odour which was too much for me to take. And sadly the expired cheese odour does show up in the bread when eating. The smell was very strong when the bread was freshly baked and I thought this was as good as it’s gonna get because homemade breads normally deteriorate overnight anyway and I thought this bread was not nice. However, I somehow felt the smell subsided the next morning and the bread actually was more pleasant overnight! The texture of the cookie also did not get soft or sugar dissolving overnight, which came as a surprise for me. I guess this bread is partly like a cake and with all cake-like bakes, it is best when the oil within it disperses throughout the product overnight and the true flavour emerges.
Hungry Bird rating: 3.5/5
September Bread Riche – Bacon & Zucchini Quiche
I am a quiche lover and this recipe in the Bread Riche course was one of the ones I was most looking forward to. We made the quiche crust from scratch using the cutting cold butter method and blind baked the crust in the oven. Meanwhile the fillings were sliced and appareil off egg, milk, cream and cheese was mixed. See how neat the layers of bacon, potato and zucchini were? I loved how beautiful it looked when sliced! However, I probably placed too much fillings inside that left little room for the appareil. I kind of regret that as the best part of quiche is simply eating the crust and the appareil. I could use this crust and appareil to make quiche lorraine or spinach quiche next time, which are one of my favourite types of quiche!
Hungry Bird rating: 4/5
October Bread Basic – Coffee Walnut Loaf
The dough of this bread is almost the same as the Chocolate Marble loaf from the old menu. The only difference is the flavour, of course! This bread had coffee flavoured dough and fillings of roasted walnuts.
Instant coffee powder was added to half of the dough and kneaded in. It was quite a challenge to knead it in smoothly but I worked mine to 100% dissolved because I did not want to have specs of coffee around. I wanted all coffee flavour to come out. My coffee dough indeed turn out darker than other participants who had specs of undissolved coffee powder clumps!
I used a bread slicing guide and my Japanese bread knife to slice this loaf into precise 1.5cm thick slices and I’m glad to report that I really love this bread! The bread itself was soft and fluffy with a mild fragrance from the coffee. Overall was more of a neutral tasting bread than one which strong flavours – it was neither sweet nor savoury. The walnuts inside gave it a nice crunch in every bite amidst the soft fluffy bread. I could eat 3 thick slices (warmed up) for breakfast and it was so satisfying, without any bread spreads. Just think of it as having plain bread – but better. I also like that this bread keeps well in the freezer and I simply sliced the whole loaf and portioned it out which served as my breakfast for 3 days!
Hungry Bird rating: 5/5
October Bread Basic – Honey Apricotta
This is my first time baking a pale type bread which was achieved by baking at a low temperature. The dough was also something different as it was kneaded with honey and during shaping it was filled with dried apricots and dried apples.
The dough turned out to be ultra soft with cotton like texture which streaks when pulled apart. The honey flavour subsided into the background and the bread did not really taste like anything to me; not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing. I am not a fan of dried fruits so the dried apricots and apples did not serve as an attraction to me but it was acceptable. I actually preferred eating the parts of the bread that was plain without the fruits because the ultra soft texture was nice.
When making this bread, the dough was also on the soft side and it was quite a challenge to handle. The shaping was simple in theory but was quite tricky in reality because of how fragile the dough was! Overall I would say the value of this lesson lies in learning how to handle such dough and to bake a pale bread. It was decent but not one of my top favourite breads.
Hungry Bird rating: 3.5/5
October Bread Master – Bagel
New York City is my favourite destination and one of the most iconic food when we talk about NY is Bagels! These hole-y bread from Jewish origin are said to be best found in New York. I’ve even read an article claiming that bagels tastes inferior in places outside of New York because New York has low concentrations of calcium and magnesium in their tap water which make it softer. I had my first bagel when I was in New York and with no bench mark to compare to, of course I did not know what to expect. I would not say the first bite was mind blowing or left a deep impression, but when I had other bagels subsequently from random places in Singapore, I sort of got it. In New York it always tastes like a bagel, with the distinct crust and texture inside. Those found randomly in Singapore and anywhere else tastes more like a regular bread with a hole in it with hardly any distinctly different texture.
With my heart still in New York City and refusing to eat inferior Bagels, I was happy to learn how to finally make my own Bagels here at ABC Cooking’s Bread Master course! But of course, the recipe and technique will not be true to New York bagels. It is adapted for home baking and will be Japanese influenced. We used Kitano Kaori bread flour and Kodama Yeast for this bread. The bagels are also boiled just before baking and that helped the bagel to be crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, just like in New York bagels! The flash boiling causes surface starch to gelatinise and when baked, the gelatinised starch turns into a brown, glossy crust. And indeed, the outer crust was super hard and shiny when it came out of the oven! It wasn’t the same kind of thin crust that happens we we spray water onto bread before baking. The boiling step is always done in New York bagels but sometimes skipped in bagels made elsewhere. Skipping this step essentially just gives you a regular bread with a hole in it.
However, we added dried blueberries to 2 out of the 4 bagels and that is something you’ll never find in New York Bagels! We also did not get to coat the bagels with any seeds.
I served my plain bagels lox and a schmear style with cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onions, dill and capers and they were super delicious. This classic bagel combination was just perfect. I wish I had more. I wish I did not have to share!
For the blueberry bagels, I made some chocolate cream cheese by melting chocolate and mixing it into the cream cheese spread. This chocolate cream cheese matched the blueberry bagels well and I’m satisfied, although I would prefer if I had more plain bagels to eat with smoked salmon and cream cheese!
Hungry Bird rating: 5/5
October Bread Master – Anpan & Chestnut Anpan
Anpan is a distinctly Japanese style bread, wrapping Japanese anko (bean paste) into a western bread dough that was modified to be sweet to match the taste of Japanese people. It was invented during the Meiji period at a bakery now known as Kimuraya Sohonten in Ginza which still stands today. Back then, anko was typically used only for wagashi and the combination of anko and bread was something new and novel. On 4th April 1874, Anpan was to ordered be presented to the Emperor, so the inventor decided to decorate them with a salt pickled sakura pressed in the middle of each piece, making them look more presentable. This also makes 4th April of every year Anpan day.
While the name Anpan typically refers to the bread with red bean paste filling, other fillings like white bean paste and it’s variants can also be used. We also made another type of Anpan in this lesson – Kuri Anpan (chestnut anpan) which has chopped chestnuts mixed with white bean paste. Autumn is the season for chestnuts so it’s good time to enjoy chestnut themed food!
For this lesson, we used Japanese Kitano Kaori bread flour and Kodama Yeast in the dough. Unlike the melon pan from the previous month, the amount of yeast required in this bread was less and hence the smell was more bearable. The bread was a dense one, making the kneading process much more physically demanding than typical breads done in Basic or Riche lessons. The result was a dense but springy bread and I really like the texture! I think I’m finally sold on the difference from using this yeast and Japanese bread flour, I would want to use it all breads I make next time.
Initially I thought I wouldn’t really think much of this bread because Anpan has never been my favourite bread. Basically, I would never think of choosing Anpan when I am at a bread shop. However, this Anpan I made at ABC was so delicious and the texture stays good even when chilled and heated up the next day! I did not find it too sweet and I simply love the combination of the mochi-mochi like bread with the red bean paste. The pickled sakura in the middle has an enhancing effect on the overall flavour, giving a hint of saltiness and umami to the Anpan.
Do note that the quality of anko directly affects how the flavour of the final bread will turn out like because essentially that’s the main flavor of Anpan. The white bean paste used in the Kuri-Anpan wasn’t so good for me, because it wasn’t of a good texture. I’m sure it would be nicer if better quality store bought white bean paste was used!
Hungry Bird rating: 4.5/5
October Bread Riche – Pepper Wiener
For some reason, this Pepper Wiener bread is considered a Bread Master class in ABC China! This bread is really long and looks like a baguette but it is technically not a baguette. The dough method is similar to other breads we make, except that it has less water and had a lot of resistance when kneading it. Black pepper was kneaded into to dough hence the flavour. Overall it wasn’t challenging to make but it just had a very unfamiliar texture, due to how much harder this dough was. Learning how to score the bread nicely was another learning point. Taste wise the texture was on the hard and crunchy side, which was different from the typical Japanese breads we make at ABC. It’s basically pretty much a regular sausage bread with crunchy crust encasing it and it’s is something generally acceptable, but I wouldn’t call it special. Perhaps I would like it more if there were inclusion of cheese or some sort of sauce, because it was also kind of dry and plain.
Hungry Bird rating: 3/5
October Japanese Home Cooking – Mastering the Tonkatsu 豚カツ（とんかつ）
First of all, I love tonkatsu! It wasn’t always love for me but it all changed when I tried Maisen Tonkatsu in Tokyo. The different between Maisen and the run-of-the-mill Tonkatsu in mass market chain restaurant wasn’t so much about the fancy cuts of pork, but the super light and crispy batter. The ones which are more commonly found either has rancid oil smell, batter too thick or panko not fluffy. Some of the batter an even peel apart from the meat. I think it takes dedication and experience (and of course, the intention to even be the best) to control the oil perfectly to get the pork cutlet fried just right. Precision is required. Most mass market places do not bother and just anyhow fry.
In my subsequent trip to Tokyo, I tried another Tonkatsu restaurant, Butagumi which was more boutique like compared to Maisen (a famous chain) but was also highly acclaimed and it too had precision in the cooking! I tried several Tonkatsu restaurants in Singapore but none could even come close.
I had my reservations about this cooking class because I was really skeptical that home cooking Tonkatsu could ever be as good as the highly acclaimed ones I’ve had! But of course with home cooked versions I have a different benchmark to compare with. I wasn’t asking for much. For one, we didn’t even have fancy breeds of meet – no Okiwanwan red pork or Kurotbuta. Just regular pork. For Tonkatsu the typical cuts of pork used are Hire ヒレ (fillet) and Rosu ロース (loin). Rosu is the fattier one and the one which I prefer while Hire is more lean. I’m glad that for this recipe we’re using pork loin! This lesson was all about learning how to bread the meat and how to fry it right. And I’m glad to say, this Tonkatsu was actually pretty good!
Firstly, the oil was fresh and there was absolutely no rancid taste. Texture of the batter wise, it was so much better than the common mass market standard. We must have done the process of breading the meat right! The coating wasn’t a thick layer and the right amount of crumbs adhered on. The coating and crumbs did not fall off in one piece at all while eating. We also learnt how to tenderize and cut incisions in the meat which helped with the texture. I would say I enjoyed this better than most, if not all, of the tonkatsu sold in Singapore. However, it was not to the life changing level of Maisen or Butagumi of course! Perhaps upgrading the pork quality could get to that level but for home cooked meals do not expect so much (and I wouldn’t want to risk buying expensive meat and ruining it too).
This meal also consisted of Tonjiru (pork soup), homemade radish pickles and trio of marinated vegetables side dish. A lot of the lesson time was spent preparing the sides actually and in this lesson we went through several Japanese cutting techniques. For the soup we did Koguchigiri (小口切り) – “Small Round” Cut for the burdock and leek and Ichogiri (いちょう切り) – “Gingko Leaf ” Cut for the daikon and carrots. For the side dishes we did Hyoshigigiri (拍子 木切り) – “Long Stick” Cut for the radish pickles and Hosogiri (細切り) – “Slender” Cut aka julienne slicing for the carrots. I would say the main dish of Tonkatsu is the star of this meal while the accompanying sides are just there to balance out your diet.
Overall I thought the Tonkatsu was pretty good and there isn’t really any ingredients which I felt was of poor quality and needed to swap (unless we’re talking about changing the meat to kurobuta then yeah, sure~) so this recipe gets full marks from me!
Hungry Bird rating: 5/5
October World Cooking – A Classic Spanish Meal
Hola, amigos! This is my first ever foray into Spanish cuisine. Well technically not, because the recipe from ABC is Japanese influenced, but it is still Spanish dishes in this class.
When it comes to Spanish food, people typically just think of tapas, paella and sangria. This meal is basically all of the above with saffron seafood paella (say “pa-e-yah”), tapas like side dish of scallop ajillo and a non-alcoholic sangria (aka fruit punch). Octopus is also a typical Spanish cuisine ingredient so we also have an octopus salad.
I’ve tried a few Spanish tapas restaurants in locally and have been to Spain twice and I’ve had some Spanish food but nothing was particularly memorable and I consider myself not really familiar with Spanish cuisine in general and I can’t judge how authentic this meal is, but logically just don’t expect it to be because this is a Japanese style recipe. The classes at ABC are catered towards home cooks, and not professional cooking, hence they make their recipes easy to follow at home. Most interestingly, they use Japanese rice to make the paella, which is unheard of to me prior to this! But this is all logical because the inventor of this recipe in Japan probably wants to use an ingredient that most Japanese households already have, which makes this dish a practical recipe to cook at home.
This also applies to me because I would more likely have Japanese rice in stock at home as compared to other kinds of short grain rice. The magical ingredient of this paella is actually not the seafood, but the saffron. Saffron is incredibly fragrant and I absolutely love it! They gave us quite a generous amount of saffron and the colour of the rice is really based off saffron! No turmeric or other yellow colouring was added to create this colour. I would say I love the rice by itself already!
The scallop ajillo side dish was a very easy one to prepare and it was very tasty. I would probably try making it with shrimp or mushrooms next time. The octopus and zucchini salad was also refreshing due to the choice of dressing and they taught us how to make the pre-boiled octopus soft for eating. The only item which I did not really prefer was the fruit punch, which was overly sweet. I also would prefer if they used fresh seafood in this lesson. Only the prawn and squid was raw – the scallop, clams and octopus was already cooked. I would have given this recipe full marks if they used raw ingredients and non-processed orange juice and canned fruits.
Hungry Bird rating: 4/5
September Seasonal Trial – Rocher in the Woods
I almost wanted to skip on this trial because it looks predictable but I’m glad I managed to attend it because it was really good, as compared to other trial lessons! I attended this at Westgate and was assigned an instructor who I’ve never attended with before. My first impressions of people are generally accurate and she gave me good vibes from the very first eye contact. True enough, the lesson was very enjoyable!
The cake was actually very simple but the decoration was interesting. The cake was like a vertical roll cake looking like a log, made by combining pieces of a cut up sheet cake we baked. This was actually the Christmas trial lesson in ABC Japan which was supposed to be like a variation of log cake. The frosting is then applied up vertically which was the challenging part to most participants. The frosting was chocolate with caramel sauce and it was quite a pleasant flavour. Overall I really like this cake more than most other trial cakes, but I have to say, the size was really small. It can feed 1 – 2 pax at most!
Hungry Bird rating: 4.5/5
One Day Lesson
This is a One Day Lesson for Halloween 2019 and it was open to members to members at $108 and to non-members at $128. Unlike the regular lessons, this cake recipe was designed in house the local the team. It seems expensive at first, considering the price is almost the same as the Cake Master course cakes, but I decided to attend because it looked so cute (and spooky!) and hurricane technique for roll cake is something I’ve never tried before, but have been seeing a lot of on local baking interest groups. Hurricane refers to the swirly effect on the roll cake sheet and to make it right does take a lot of practice.
The cake is unique because we use a chiffon base for the roll cake, with brown sugar instead of regular sugar, and the black dough is made using black cocoa powder. This cocoa powder is literally black in colour, perfect for this spooky cake! This is not just a darker colour of regular cocoa powder. Typically, cocoa powder comes in natural (like Hershey’s) or Dutch processed (like Valrhona). Natural cocoa powder is acidic. The Dutch process cocoa powder is washed with a potassium carbonate solution that neutralizes cocoa powder’s acidity to a pH of 7. You would also realise the color of Valrhona’s cocoa powder is darker than that of Hershey’s, resulting from the Dutch process. As for black cocoa powder, it gets it’s dark colour because it is super Dutch-ed to an alkaline pH of 8. This kind of black cocoa powder is not very commonly called for in recipes, but is found in one very famous food that everyone is familiar with – Oreo cookies! The bitter sweet taste of black cocoa powder is what give Oreo cookies it’s distinct flavour, which is different from typical chocolate cookies.
Also note that due to the pH differences across all these cocoa powders, you cannot just substitute one for another in recipes especially if it calls for Baking Soda or Baking Powder, as this will change the chemical reaction in your batter.
We also used the black cocoa powder in the frosting, which was mainly cream cheese based, and piped it on with a mont blanc piping tip for a messy, spooky effect. The Oreo flavour with cream cheese is just so perfect with the right amount of sweetness. The middle of the roll cake is filled with fresh fruits and maple syrup whipped cream. I like that for this cake, good quality ingredients were used – like good pure maple syrup (we got to take home a small bottle too and I checked the ingredients list), fresh fruits and a generous amount cassis liqueur for brushing the cake, enhancing the overall flavour. I also realised that the cake recipe is double the volume of the typical Cake Basic recipes at ABC, using 4 eggs instead of 2. We baked it in a super big tray and the final cake was really big. In a way, you get double the quantity as well as a good quality cake, so the price of this class does makes sense!
Hungry Bird rating: 5/5
When I first signed up for ABC, the ABC International Passport program just started, in October 2017, where new sign ups or top-ups will receive a Passport which provides a free lesson in every country that ABC has a presence in. The validity is 2 years and I’ve since complete all countries currently included in the passport, within the 2 year period!
They now have a new policy where you can have the Passport extended for 1 more year, from the date of your latest top-up, if your passport is due to expire within 3 months or have already expired.
Anyway my last location is Korea and unlike what they tell you about how you are only allowed for lesson if you understand Korean language, they actually aren’t that strict and you can attend lessons. The only drawback is that you probably will not understand a word of what they say and the recipe is only provided in Korean.
The studio is located in Lotte World Mall. This is not in the typical tourist spot but is quite a destination of it’s own with lots of shopping and food options as well as the Lotte World Theme Park next to it. In ABC Korea, they only have 9 tables which makes it the smallest (international) ABC Cooking Studio I’ve been to. Perhaps certain studios in Japan have small capacity too but that is because they have ABC everywhere. In the whole of Korea there is only 1 studio – the fewest of ALL international ABCs with other countries having at least 2 studios!
The system here works quite different from other countries too. Here you need to wash up on your own (same as in Japan and in Taiwan) and strangely the recipe paper is printed on regular thin A4 paper, not on a card sheet. They only pass you the recipe after your lesson, so during your lesson you will look at a laminated copy of the recipe which is not yours to keep.
I did not attend bread lesson but I also noticed they do not schedule bread lessons by months – you basically can attend any bread basic lesson at any time! This is unlike all other country’s bread lesson policy.
I chose to attend a Cake lesson which was just new this year. They renewed their Cake Basic course early this year and they now offer a cake I was really interested in. I’d say this is so timely!
However, I would say at ABC in Korea isn’t one which I’d recommend paying for individual lessons, despite the good selection of recipes they offer. Simply because it is not much of value added if you can’t understand the language and they also make you wash up on your own. This means that about one quarter of the lesson time is spent washing up. Even if the teacher does speak a little bit of English, they generally choose not to. They also probably do not have time to. I did not get any of the instructions conveyed in English at all and during my lesson it was all simply following the actions.
In China or Taiwan, it is also entirely in their language but being fluent in Chinese it is not a problem. In Hong Kong and Malaysia, English is one of the official languages they teach in anyway so it was not a problem at all. In Thailand they do not speak much English either but the instructor had the effort to translate instructions during the class and they do provide English recipes too. In Indonesia they have certain instructions who speaks perfect English and they too have English recipes. I would say it has more value added if you could understand the lesson or the recipe at very least.
Korea – Ivory Fromage 아이보리 프로마쥬
This cake was offered in Japan in June this year as a seasonal regular lesson, albeit with slightly different decoration. In ABC Japan they do offer seasonal regular lessons which will not repeat itself after the month is over.
This is a cheesecake that is similar to LeTAO‘s famous double cheesecake, where it has a layer of baked cheesecake baked on a (pre-made) sponge cake base and then topped with a layer of non-baked mascarpone cheesecake and the whole cake is frosted with cream and then coated with sponge cake crumbs also known as sponge cake soboro. I super love LeTAO cheesecake and was early in June when I saw it offered in Japan, I was so interested to learn it. I’m glad to discover that Korea offers this cake too and it was the perfect choice for me since Korea was the only lesson left on my Passport! Moreover, this cake is not offered in any other country.
The taste of this cake was so good and everything I imagined it to be. ABC’s version has a chocolate sponge as the base, with raspberries, whereas LeTAO’s is entirely white, but it is a nice modification and I really enjoyed the cake. I highly recommend this if you are using your Passport in Korea!
Hungry Bird rating: 5/5
Olive & Onion
I learnt this bread back in August and it was one of my favourites so far! Making it at home did not differ much in taste and appearance as when I did it at the studio so I’m glad I still remember all the little tips which I picked up during the lesson. When shaping, make sure your fillings are exposed because caramelisation of the onions and olives makes wonders!
ABC Cooking Seasonal Trial Classes – November
For trial lessons, members (which I am) are only allowed to attend if we attend together with a first timer. So I am constantly looking for new people to attend lessons with.
At Taka and Westgate we have a Mount Fuji like cake, Snowy Hills, which is only $28 (U.P $35 if you go alone!) if you come along with me.
At Taka and Westgate from 15th – 30th Nov, there is an additional Member Referral Exclusive trial – After Dark Indulgence, which you can only book with a member’s referral! It is also only $28 so if you are keen to attend this you can contact me to get my referral to book it.
At Funan they have a deluxe trial lesson, whereby the techniques is similar to that of their regular cake course, at $70. It is more expensive but it is suitable if you want to do more complicated cakes and is also open to all first timers at ABC cooking studio! This is the very first time they are offering such premium trial! The techniques involved are more of regular lesson standard as compared to typical trial lesson standard (which is very basic and simple) so if you want to get a feel of what the real lessons are like, give it a shot! $70 may sound expensive but the regular lessons starts from min. package of 6 classes for Cake and averages out to be $81/ class, so $70 is still a good deal!
For this lesson there is no further discount for you if you sign up with me, means if you go without me it is also the same price – being honest here. But if you do enjoy my blog and content, take it as helping me out as I will only get to attend this class if I come along with a first-timer who is keen to attend!
If you’re interested to take a trial class and want to do so at the discounted rate of $28 (regular) or $70 (deluxe), do drop me an email at email@example.com or IG DM me @hungrybird.sg
Again I will emphasize, this is not a sponsored review or anything. I paid for my lessons and just wish to share all I know about it so far!
ABC Cooking Studio
Takashimaya S.C., #03-12/12A
391A Orchard Rd
3 Gateway Drive, #03-01
107 North Bridge Road, #02-29