Sharlene Tan, creator of Goodles pasta bar, loves everything about food – from cooking and dining out, to teaching friends how for the camera. When her schedule permits, she takes time to travel, often to Hong Kong, which she considers her second home. A few days off to visit her favorite shops and food stops always brings her to a new level of inspiration.

Side dishes deserve as much attention as the mains. Today, the ingenuity of many restaurants allows customers to personalize their orders by letting them choose one or two sides from a list of options. Plus points go to restaurants that offer a good variety. (If customers want to order an extra side, that’s extra sales right there!) Many successful food establishments do this because they know how important it is to give their customers choices. After all, the customer is king!

When I choose my own sides, it always consists of something starchy (I love mashed potatoes!) and something with vegetables. When I cook for friends and family at home, I made these two recipes all the time. They pair well with steaks, roasts, and seafood and are so easy to make.

Stir fried French beans and assorted mushrooms

Serves: 5

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Description: Stir fried French beans and assorted mushrooms

Stir fried French beans and assorted mushrooms

·         2 tablespoons chopped garlic

·         2 tablespoons olive oil

·         200 grams French beans, trimmed

·         1 pack white Korean mushrooms, trimmed

·         1 pack brown Korean mushrooms (buna shimej), trimmed

·         200 grams shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and halved

·         ½ cup chicken stock

·         2 teaspoons salt

·         ¼ teaspoon pepper


1.    Sauté garlic in olive oil until fragrant. Add French beans and cook for a few minutes until they turn a darker green.

2.    Add mushrooms, one kind at a time, and sauté until soft.

3.    Add chicken stock and season with salt and pepper. Simmer until vegetables and mushrooms are cooked through.

Garlic mashed potatoes

Serves: 5

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Description: Garlic mashed potatoes

Garlic mashed potatoes

·         3 heads garlic

·         Olive oil for drizzling

·         500 grams potatoes

·         1½ teaspoons salt, divided

·         3 tablespoons unsalted butter

·         1/3 cup heavy cream

·         5 tablespoon milk

·         1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

·         ¼ teaspoon pepper


1.    Preheat oven to 350oF.

2.    Peel off the outer layer of each garlic head, leaving only a little of the skin intact. Cut off tops to expose individual cloves.

3.    Place garlic heads on a baking sheet and drizzle tops and sides with olive oil. Place in preheated oven and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and cloves feel soft when pressed.

4.    While garlic is baking, place potatoes in a saucepan filled with water. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Boil potatoes for 20 to 30 minutes or until a fork can be poked through the center of each. Drain water from potatoes and remove skins. Transfer potatoes to a bowl and mash using a potato masher. (Leave in a few chunky pieces for some texture).

5.    Melt butter and add cream. Heat until warm. Add to hot potatoes and mix. Add milk to achieve a smoother consistency.

6.    Peel roasted garlic and mix into potatoes with cheese, remaining salt, and pepper. Serve warm.

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