Hong Kong, the Land of Dim Sum (PART 2)

Hey everyone!

Thanks for following my Hong Kong travelogue! This is part 2 of my experience as promised and would only cover day 3 of my Hong Kong trip.

* * Day 3 * *

(Victoria Peak, Madame Tussauds Hong Kong & Temple Street Night Market)

We set off from our hotel a tad later that day because Disneyland really worn us out. No alarm was able to wake us up that morning, regardless of the volume. But somehow we were only woken up by the persistent door knocks by the housekeepers, who politely asked if we were ready to have our room made at 10.00am 😮 Okay, I really appreciate them checking up on us but isn’t that too early for housekeeping? I would always greet them with a half-woken face and unkempt hair (for which they realised and became really apologetic) but by the fourth morning, they kinda took the hint and stopped asking us. Haha maybe late risers are uncommon in Hong Kong. Of course, you can always tell them to come back again at a certain time.

While planning the itinerary for this trip, I tried to include scenic excursions and alternate them with my shopping days. Hong Kong has quite a number of tourist scenic spots but the most popular one is definitely Victoria Peak (or The Peak), where travellers would flock to to get a good view of the city. With an altitude of 552 m, it is easily the highest mountain on the island and accessible by the Peak Tram. The Peak Tram Lower Terminus is a 15 to 20-minute walk from Central MTR, or even longer if you have a camera in tow because you’d be able to see a few famous Hong Kong landmarks along the route.

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Here is a Vitasoy vending machine. We particularly loved the packet lemon tea. Vitasoy is everywhere in Hong Kong. Even our complimentary bottled water in our hotel is under this brand.

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Maxim’s Cakes is like our Breadtalk, a very common bakery and can be found in almost every MTR station. It’s endorsed by actor Julian Cheung as his face can be seen plastered everywhere in the shop.

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Got this long FLOSSS-inspired bun from Maxim’s Cakes for breakfast. It’s not bad!

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Bank of China Tower, snapped on our way back to the MTR station because it’s a lot nicer at night

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If you need to recharge after the long walk from the MTR station, take a break here! (omg how lame can I get)

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We are here at the terminus!

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Got our Peak Tram tickets at HK$40 each!

At the counter, we were offered a Peak Tram Sky Pass package (The Peak Tram + Sky Terrace 428) for HK$80 (U.P. HK$85) and a 3-in-1 combo ticket for Madame Tussauds Hong Kong and Peak Tram Sky Pass return for HK$310 (U.P. HK$325, online price at HK$290). We considered taking up the Peak Tram Sky Pass package but declined eventually due to a miscalculation 😐 It’s only HK$5 more anyway.

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With the wax figure of Sir Li Ka-Shing, a Hong Kong business magnate, investor, and philanthropist, at the Peak Lower Terminus

As for the second package, we dismissed it without giving it a second though because Tigerair had given us a few perks for flying with them – one of which was a discount of HK$40 for each regular adult admission ticket (U.P. HK$240) to Madame Tussauds Hong Kong which came up to be a lot cheaper than the price of the combo ticket.

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Almost couldn't make it for this train!

Almost couldn’t make it for this train! It’s pretty packed as you can see.

The tram was constantly moving uphill and the gravitational pull was so strong, I could feel my entire body reclining backwards. As a Singaporean who frequently experience train breakdowns in my country, I really wonder what would happen if the tram malfunctions amidst the journey. It’d be a terrible feeling trying to keep your balance.

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Was gonna simulate alighting from the tram but got off because the door was gonna close on me! LOL

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At the Peak Market where you can find lots of Hong Kong souvenirs for your family, friends and colleagues back home

Spotted "my" shop! Bf pointing to the shop and back at himself. It's actually a shop selling baby stuff

Spotted “my” shop! Who’s my prince? *Bf pointing to the shop and back at himself* It’s actually a shop selling baby stuff 😀

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A shop (Candy Haus, just a level below the Sky Terrace) selling all the Pez collectibles! I’d totally buy it if they had a Pokemon collection 😦

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More individual ones! Bf tried to find a Pooh Pez but to no avail

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More uncommon ones you don’t see it in most candy stores (not even Candy Empire). By the way, photography is forbidden in this shop. I didn’t know it until they stopped a Japanese tourist from taking pictures (after I was done with mine heehee). Even so, these photos are just too adorable not to share!

Now, let’s head up to the Sky Terrace 428 for a splendid view of Hong Kong! It is called Sky Terrace “428” because it’s 428 metres above sea level! 🙂

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Hong Kong’s skyline

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More view

Upon entering, you would be handed an audio guide (in the form of an iPod Touch) with lanyard attached. Earpieces are available but we didn’t loan any due to hygiene concerns, so we used ours instead.

The Sky Terrace offers a stunning 360-degree panoramic view across the Hong Kong. There are even fixed coin-operated binoculars around for use but you don’t quite need it if you have a powerful long-range camera lens! There were also professional photographers touting their services and you could engage them if you want a nice group shot against the breathtaking backdrop.

Our only mistake was going to the Sky Terrace when the sky was still bright. All we could see were buildings engulfed in mist so there was nothing really spectacular to see. It would be a lot better at night when all the lights are lit up! And also worth noting is that the ticket is per entrance basis, meaning to say that you won’t be able to enter using the same ticket again once you exit from the terrace.

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They had this campaign going on to promote love expression and sending of messages to the future

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Here’s our message! Hahaha doubt we will be back to see this though

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At the basement of the Peak Tower, you will see tables with this placed in the middle

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And these are postcards written for the future, separated by dates of postage (i.e. these will be mailed out to the specified address at the stipulated date)

There’s really nothing much to do at The Peak Tower so naturally, people would just pay to visit Madame Tussauds museum after the Sky Terrace. For us, going to Madame Tussauds Hong Kong was already part of our (or rather, my) plan and I was really looking forward to it 😀 I’m obsessed with wax figures!

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After the Tigerair discount, we only paid HK$200 for each ticket 🙂

Bruce Lee as their mascot

Bruce Lee as their mascot

There was a private event at the museum when we were there, so we were directed to the lowest level where the Historical and National Heroes and the Royal Family can be found! Most of the leaders are from the People’s Republic of China, though, much to the pleasure of the their people who crowded the museum.

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Oh hello, Pablo Picasso! Why are you not in Singapore?

William Shakespeare

Poem and playwright William Shakespeare

Dutch painter Rembrandt  van Rijn

Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn

Theoretical physicist and philosopher of science, Albert Einstein

Theoretical physicist and philosopher of science, Albert Einstein

Leader of the Nazi party, Adolf Hitler

Leader of the Nazi party, Adolf Hitler

Fifth President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein

Fifth President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein

Japan's post-war Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida

Japan’s post-war Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida

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Our stern-looking Ministor Mentor Lee Kuan Yew (a huge contrast with the one in Madame Tussauds Singapore where he looks so much happier beside his late wife)! Felt a sense of pride to see a Singapore representative in an overseas museum. It shows something about his role as a leader because not everyone makes the cut to have a wax figure in Madame Tussauds!

Father of Modern China, Dr Sun Yat-sen

Father of Modern China, Dr Sun Yat-sen

Former President of China, Hu Jintao

Former President of China, Hu Jintao

First Premier of the People's Republic of China, Zhou Enlai

First Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Zhou Enlai

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Current President of People’s Republic of China, Xi JinPing. Photography with him is chargeable and many PRCs were queuing up to have a picture with him lol

Elected President of the People's Republic of China in 1993, Jiang Zemin

Elected President of the People’s Republic of China in 1993, Jiang Zemin

Deng Xiaoping, leader of China from 1978 until his retirement in 1992

Deng Xiaoping, leader of China from 1978 until his retirement in 1992

Former President of China, Hu Jintao

Sixth Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Wen Jiabao

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Yang Liwei, the first man to be sent into space by China’s space programme

Diana, Princess of Wales and the mother of Wills and Harry

Diana, Princess of Wales and the mother of Wills and Harry

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.. and the first in line to the throne right in the middle 😉 😉

The late Leslie Cheung, considered as one of the founding fathers of Cantopop. I remember how the news of his death shocked the world in 2003 than it got very extensive media coverage

The late Leslie Cheung, considered as one of the founding fathers of Cantopop. I remember how the news of his death shocked the world in 2003. It was such an unexpected event that it got so much media coverage. Stories of his death ran on the newspapers for days and TV channels were playing his movies for the entire week. Such a prominent figure. We’ll miss you, Leslie.

Beats me why Leslie Cheung is in this section too. Maybe there isn’t enough space in where he is supposed to be :\

I intentionally left out some leaders who are also featured in Madame Tussaud Singapore with the exact same pose and attire (e.g. President Obama, Soekarno, etc.). What puzzled me was the absence of Hong Kong and Taiwan leaders CY Leung and Ma Ying-jeou. Perhaps they didn’t agree to having a wax figure of themselves?

Moving on to the TV Studio! In Singapore, we only have Oprah Winfrey (why no Ellen huh?). But Hong Kong pretty much has their own pool of talented variety and talk show hosts very well-known in Asia so finding figures to fill this area shouldn’t be much of a problem.

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Sandra Ng, one of my favourite HK comedians!

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Comedian and host of variety show Super Trio, Eric Tsang!

Following the TV Studio was the World Premiere which features successful artistes from all over the world so many of them can also be seen in Singapore.

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There’s also a Marilyn Monroe wax figure in Singapore but with a different pose (kneeling with both palms on the ground to reveal her cleavage). This is supposedly her in her signature white dress, standing above a subway grating blowing the dress up. It would be better if there was really a wind source from below!

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One of Hollywood’s most watched actors during the 20th century, this is Humphrey Bogart

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Leon Lai, one of the Four Heavenly Kings of Cantopop (the other three are Andy Lau, Jackie Cheung and Aaron Kwok). But he looks weirdly feminine here lol

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The very helpful Sir Alfred Hitchcock holding my information booklet for me. Possibly the best-known British-born filmmaker, he was a master of the “suspense” movie genre

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Donnie Yen as Ip Man! I don’t like his nose here. It looks too pinched and his nostrils are too large :\

Other figures not featured here are Audrey Hepburn in her iconic “Little Black Dress”, Johnny Depp and Indian movie star Amitabh Bachchan.

The World Premiere also houses SCREAM, described as “the deadly scare zone set against a chilling backdrop of an abandoned asylum, promises to stir up guests’ deepest and darkest fears using a mix of live performers and wax monsters”. As a fan of gore and horror movies, I was exhilarated to know that there’s a section dedicated to gutsy people like me! 😛 Bf was reluctant to enter because he’s a scaredy-cat so I went in all by myself while he waited for me at the entrance.

Truth be told, I was a little nervous. I waited for more people to join the line before I decided to partake in this spine-chilling adventure. For awhile, I waited at the entrance because nobody else was interested in this and I was afraid to enter the chamber alone hahaha! Fortunately, a large group (family of 5) entered and gradually, more people joined the queue. I guess these people who suddenly appeared out of nowhere were also waiting somewhere for a queue to form 😆

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Bf was frightened just by the thought of zombies doing jump scares in the chamber

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Moi! The first batch of people moved forward and stopped at the person in front of me, so I became the first person for the second batch 😥

While waiting to explore the asylum, we heard screams and faint laughter from the batch of people who went in before us. Kinda made us even more anxious 😕 When it was finally our turn, everyone had to put their hands on the shoulders in front of them and we went in in a line, like a choo-choo train. Photography is not allowed inside so yeah, no pictures to show, sorry!

The job of the first person in line is to navigate. I have very poor sense of direction, coupled with terrible vision, but thankfully, the lady behind me knew the place well (she had gone through this before a few years back) so she advised me on where to go. There were many doors in the asylum leading to different chambers but I only opened one of them. Jump scares were very minimal (like 1 or 2?) and the performers would only attack people in the middle of the line. So I was perfectly safe! 😀 *victory sign* SCREAM is really not as scary as it’s painted to be. It’s all in your head! At the end of the tour, everyone even went, “Huh like that only? CHEY” 🙄

Our next stop was The Champions where it honours some of the top sportsmen and sportswomen of all time.

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Lee Lai Shan, the former world champion and Olympic gold medal-winning professional windsurfer from Hong Kong and the only athlete to win an Olympic medal representing Hong Kong, not as part of China (Wikipedia)

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Maria Sharapova is ranked world No. 2 by the Women’s Tennis Association and is the top Russian player

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David Beckham in his younger days

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Chiyonofuji Mitsugu, former champion sumo wrestler and the 58th yokozuna of the sport. However his face looks it’s wearing out here. The hair, for once, isn’t real hair.

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Liu Xiang, one of China’s best athletes

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Tiger Woods taking a dump.. I mean, squatting down

Other sports heroes not mentioned here are Yao Ming and Muhammad Ali.

Right after that, we had to climb the stairs to access Hong Kong Glamour where the Hollywood A-listers mingle with the hottest Asian celebrities.

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The sparkly Robert Pattinson though I feel that there are other Hollywood celebs that are more worthy of his spot in the museum (Edward fans please don’t kill me)

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Another favourite female Chinese actress of mine (after Michelle Yeoh), Li Bingbing!

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Cantopop singer and actress, Kelly Chen

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Michelle Yeoh

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Lang Lang, a renowned Chinese concert pianist

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Angelina Jolie and Brat Pitt look like they’ve undergone a divorce here. Why so glum and why are their faces so greasy 😐

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Cantopop singer Aaron Kwok doesn’t look like him here

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Heartthrob Louis Koo *_*

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Cecilia Cheung, actress and Cantopop singer who has called Singapore her home now

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It’s Johnny Depp again!

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Taiwanese model and actress Lin Chi-ling who will be lead actress in the “Triumph in the Skies 2” movie

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South Korean actor and “auntie killer” Bae Yong-joon

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Nicole Kidman enjoying the attention of the pap

Of course, Andy Lau is there too but his wax figure is the exact replica of the one in Singapore (or vice versa). Huang Xiao Ming was probably removed because I couldn’t find him.

Next, we went to the Authentic History section to catch a glimpse of wax figure making process where they used Donnie Yen as an example. Of course, everything was pre-recorded and the artifacts were already displayed neatly for viewing.

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Left: the fabric used for the clothing and right: the different types of eyeballs. Right down to the specifics

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The different kinds of hair. You’re able to touch and feel them!

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Madame Tussauds herself when she in her late twenties! Unbelievable right?!

We’re coming closer to the end! *sniffs* We took the stairs again this time to see the Music Icons!

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Actress and Cantopop singer Miriam Yeung who would occasionally burst into laughter. Eerie 😐

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Elvis Presley, one of the staples in Madame Tussauds

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Jay Chou obviously needs a different pose for his wax figure, and probably also lesser powder on his face

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Singer-songwriter, dancer, musician, and actress, G.E.M.

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Cantopop and Mandopop singer, actor, TV host, model, cartoonist, MV director, and producer and designer, a major figure in popular music culture (Wikipedia) – Leo Ku. Wow, what an impressive portfolio

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Of course, how could we forget the mother of Little Monsters, Lady Gaga?

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Cantopop, Hong Kong English pop, Jazz, and R&B singer Janice M. Vidal who looks nothing like the real person. She is set inside an oversized music box that plays her signature tune, “Do you know?” upon turning the huge winder key beside it

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Lead vocalist and lyricist of the rock band Queen, Freddie Mercury

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Couldn’t help it

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The Beatles! Can you name them all?

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The late Anita Mui (Madonna of Asia) who succumbed to cervical cancer a few months after her close friend Leslie Cheung passed away

Last but not least, there is the Fantasy Kingdom that showcases different superheroes and characters from movies, mostly. An expanded new area, it was officially opened in September last year. I think this section is created for kids.. or people who are young at heart 😀

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Hey Spidey!

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Bf’s excited to see Ironman

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Will the real Wolverine please stand up? HAHA btw Bf came up with the fake claws which amused people who walked past. So creative hor?! (And if you’re wondering how he got so many pens, that’s because he had his pencil case in his bag. Lazy person was too lazy to pack his stuff, he even brought along his school pencil case to Hong Kong. Major #facepalm)

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Awkward pose with Hulk because I don’t like any Marvel superheroes

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Astroboy.. I thought he’s usually top-naked?

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I’m not a Hello Kitty fan but I’m attracted to it because it’s PINK!

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Doraemon, the blue robotic cat! (I didn’t know he was a cat, did you?)

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Hong Kong’s very own cartoon pig characters that has gained a huge following in the city – McDull and his mother Madame Mak at a Hong Kong-style cafeteria!

I’m sad.. because there’s no Pikachu. Why?!? 😦

To mark the opening of Fantasy Kingdom, wax figures of five protagonists from the much anticipated movie, “The Monkey King” (2013) were also unveiled on the day of opening. This is the first time Madame Tussauds Hong Kong has created wax figures based on fictional characters from the same movie. (Source)

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Donnie Yen as Monkey King

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Xia Zi Tong as Silver Fox

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Zhang Zilin as Nu Wa

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SADAKO. The good thing about having real hair on a wax figure is that you could meddle around with it. Teehee (we arranged it back after that la)

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There’s even a specially designed 3-D snake tail installation for fun photos! I’m obviously too fat to be Nu Wa.. had difficulty squeezing into the tail 😥

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Aaron Kwok as Buffalo Demon King

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And Joe Chen as Princess Iron Fan

They’re probably going to change the theme once every few years. What a great way to get visitors to return to the museum! Will Singapore do something similar too? 🙂

We were at the souvenir shop when we spotted a conspicuous and familiar wax figure. We couldn’t figure out who that was so we asked the guy at the cashier.

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大 S

Really 一点都不像咯! I think it’s the eyes. They’re too far apart. And her arms (especially the hand on the hips) look too fake.

And that’s the end of our tour around Madame Tussauds Hong Kong! No doubt it has more variety of wax figures so even though the entrance tickets were expensive, I felt it was worth the money.

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We managed to take this somewhere near the Peak Tram Upper Terminus. So yup, please only go to the Peak Terrace at night

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Bye Victoria Peak!

It was close to 9pm by the time we were at the lower terminus and we hadn’t had our dinner, so we took the MTR train to Yau Ma Tei, hoping to find some great eats at Temple Street Night Market!

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(Poor picture quality coz I used my phone) We had this huge hot dog! Forgot how much this was but I think it’s around S$2

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Guy gave me a death stare as he caught me photographing him #guaguagua

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Flash drives

Cartoon-theme flash drives and luggage tags are aplenty at the night market. Luggage tags were typically going for HK$100 for five pieces (or HK$20 each) and they make perfect souvenirs for anybody. Bf and I bought a few for our tutees. The flash drives were selling for about HK$25 each but I didn’t buy any because I doubted that it would work on the computer. It also had an unbelievable amount of storage space (can’t remember how much, probably 32GB) which is just too good to be true. I don’t want to save vital information on the flash disk and then it ends up getting corrupted or something. However, having said so, if you don’t use it as a storage device, it’s actually a pretty cute key chain.

The night market didn’t have a single food cart so we were kinda disappointed as we expected it to be like those in Taiwan where you’d find food sold everywhere. As we explored the area, we chanced upon an eatery that seemed to sell affordable (a huge concern because our funds were running low) yet authentic Hong Kong food.

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Eat Together!

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Milk Tea (HK$12)

The taste of Milk Tea in Hong Kong seemed to be consistent no matter which eatery I went to. They were generally fragrant and thick, even after the ice in it had melted. It was my staple drink in Hong Kong.

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Radish Beef Brisket (HK$28)

This is definitely incomparable to the beef brisket we had at Mak’s Noodles in terms of flavour and portion but it is still a decent dish. I enjoyed the soft radish but the beef brisket, although tender, was a little gristly.

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Tomato, Beef & Egg with Rice (HK$30)

This was boyfriend’s main dish. The gravy was tomato-flavoured and topped with sliced tomatoes that are soft to the core. The diced beef was also moist and reasonably tender.

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Fried Rice (HK$38)

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Close up!

I was craving for a rice dish so I ordered this! It smells as good as the fried rice in Singapore but the taste is distinctively different. The rice in Singapore is drier but the one I had in Hong Kong is a little oilier and stickier. Also, the latter tasted a bit more chewy, which I feel is what sets it apart from our fried rice. I don’t dislike any of them because I truly enjoy both. They just have their own unique characteristics! 🙂

大家食 Eat Together (Yau Ma Tei Branch)
Yau Ma Tei Wing Sing Lane No. 16
油麻地永星里1b號
Tel:  6386 0000 (Main), 2395 7138 (YMT Branch)
Website: eattogether.hk
Nearest MTR: Yau Ma Tei

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Roadside fruit stall

Bf and I bought Banana Milkshake and Papaya Milk juice from a fruit stall beside the eatery after dinner. The Banana Milkshake was not bad but the Papaya Milk was horrid and tasteless. We couldn’t drink beyond three quarter of the cup so we threw it away in the end. Even though Hong Kong is in close geographic proximity to Taiwan, they are not necessarily good in the same areas. 😕

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And we took a taxi back to our hotel because we had already missed our last train!

That’s all for day 3 but there’s still more to come! So be sure to stay tuned for the next part 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Read also
Hong Kong, the Land of Dim Sum (PART 1)
Hong Kong, the Land of Dim Sum (PART 3)

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REVIEW: MAC Ultimate Lipsticks – Soft Pout, Marque, Catharina, Dangerously Chic & The Scene

Hello everyone!

I’m back with another MAC lipstick review! Sigh, this company is making me broke with the regular lipstick releases! Does anyone share the same sentiment as me? 😦

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MAC Ultimate Collection 2014

But their lipsticks are always too gorgeous to resist. The Ultimate Collection, for instance, is one of my most anticipated collections for the fourth quarter of the year merely because of the stunning lipstick shades. I had been waiting eagerly to be inboxed about the launch since October, but somehow it got pushed back to December. And even so, there was no mention of the exact date of release so I had to keep checking the site. Argh, the agony!

The collection was eventually launched on 3 December 2014, a few days after Cyber Monday. But MAC extended the validity of its promo code for free overnight shipping so my order was delivered to my U.S. address way faster than usual.

The epitome of contemporary luxury, M∙A∙C Ultimate combines ten new, high fashion lip colours with the sumptuous formula of our Mystery Powder. Utterly chic shades of Ultimate Lipstick glide on in a vivid palette ranging from haute fuchsia to a bright, ravishing orange, while Sheer Mystery Powder smoothes onto skin in luminous hues that are barely there. Perfectly encased in a modern, geometric design, this standout packaging features a sleek chrome finish in two cult-collectible designs, making these the most sophisticated accessories of the season.

On top of the ten lipsticks, the MAC Ultimate Lipstick collection also includes three other Asia-exclusive shades not available on site namely Fashion Fruit, In Vogue and Lover’s Street (and I’ll most probably be getting once they’re out in Singapore). Contrary to the description, the ten lipsticks are not entirely new though, as some were launched in previous collections. Catharina, for example, was once limited edition having launched in 2010 as part of the Marcel Wanders collection. But great to know that it’s making a comeback because it’s a really nice colour! 🙂 Oh by the way, did I mention that these lipsticks will be around for good? Yes, they are all permanent!

Singaporeans! Find out how to order from macccosmetics.com here!

Ten would definitely hurt my wallet, so I got half the number this time!

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Packaged in satined, a little bigger than usual boxes!

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From left: The Scene, Catharina, Dangerously Chic, Marque and Soft Pout

The packaging is really sleek as described, but the design is actually borrowed from the Marcel Wanders collection. So zero marks for innovation this time. Also, it can be a little too bulky for travels because of its protruding cover. Despite the luxurious-looking packaging, each lipstick is only going for US$23.

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Close up: The Scene, Catharina & Dangerously Chic

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Dangerously Chic, Marque & Soft Pout

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Official swatches, as well as the names of other shades

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What they really are. Quite accurate though 🙂

Let’s begin with the lightest shade in this collection!

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Soft Pout is a sheer pink peach with white pearl and has a Luxe finish (US$23)

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Donning a Christmas-antler hat as I’m in the mood for Christmas!

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This colour washes me out and makes me look like I’m in some cold country – too light! It has poor consistency as it does not fill my entire lip area, thus appearing very patchy. Some of the product would attempt to get into the fine lines of my lips, making the unsightly lines even more apparent. Not really fond of this shade due to this reason. The bullet also felt very soft and extremely vulnerable to line marks after application (ew). However, it’s really creamy and easy to apply.

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Marque is a soft light neutral pink with Luxe finish (US$23)

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This is way better than Soft Pout in the sense that it gives me a more healthier-looking lips. It is also more opaque and applies more evenly on my lips. A great MLBB shade from this collection!

Here’s a comparison against other nude MAC shades that I already own.

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No dupe for Soft Pout here but I’m surprised that Creme D’Nude is a lot lighter! They felt equally paling.

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Same goes for Marque. No close match. PHEW! That means one less duplicate in my stash 😀

Moving on to the head-turning shades…

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Catharina is simple fuchsia with Luxe finish (US$23)

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I confess. I had no intention of getting this at first because I didn’t think it would look good on me. I only bought it because it seemed to be a popular shade. *hoarder*

But surprisingly, the sweet and alluring colour turns out to be quite natural on me. In fact, it’s one of my favourites from this purchase. Like Marque, this also applies very evenly on my lips and it somehow manages to conceal those ugly lines. My lips felt very hydrated when worn.

Comparing with similar MAC shades. Flat out Fabulous seems to be one tone darker

Comparing with similar MAC shades. Flat out Fabulous seems to the matter version of Catharina

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Dangerously Chic is a cool midtonal red with Luxe finish (US$23)

Dangerously Chic is a cool midtonal red with Luxe finish (US$23)

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Another luscious red colour with a nice glossy finish, it’s so moisturising that it leaves a nice cherry stain on the lips after it wears off. However it’s highly dupable shade. See comparison below.

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Is it me or does everything look pretty much the same to me? *rubs eyes* It’s getting late here.

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The Scene is a deep berry with Luxe finish (US$23)

The Scene is a deep berry with Luxe finish (US$23)

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My favourite shade from this buy (hey, no surprise there), this shares the same attributes as Dangerously Chic – great consistency and very moisturising. I read Temptalia’s review on this and was hoping that it won’t feather that badly. It does a little eventually within 30 minutes of wearing (partly because I was sweating buckets in my stuffy room) so to combat this problem, I dabbed my lips with a facial tissue to remove the excess product. It will lose its shine after that and appear mattey but it helps to stop it from bleeding out. It will also make it last a long time to the extent of not leaving any lipstick stain on your cup after drinking!

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Compare!

So in conclusion, the bright shades are more hydrating and consistent than the nude ones.

What do you think ladies?

That’s all for this review! I hope you guys enjoyed it 🙂 Do share with me your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading! And have a Merry Christmas, everyone! 🙂

The M.A.C Ultimate Collection is now available online and will be available in Singapore counters late this month (or next month considering the delay online).

Hong Kong, the Land of Dim Sum (PART 1)

Hello everyone!

December marks the end of a long grueling year for those in the workforce as well as those students who have studied so hard for their finals. So what better way to celebrate the holidays than to go on a vacation? I’m not sure about you but it has been our (with Bf) tradition to travel before the year ends. We’re still touring Asia because our financial means are limited. Hence for this holiday, we had chosen Hong Kong as our travel destination! 🙂

source: freeimages.com

source: freeimages.com

Like our previous vacays, our trip was an impromptu one as we had only decided where to go two weeks before our departure. Our itinerary for 6 days and 5 nights in Hong Kong was only planned two nights before, based on recommendations on Lonely Planet and blogs. We made our bookings through Expedia once again and surprisingly, the rates for the air tickets and hotels were still rather affordable. However the airfares did not include checked baggage so we had to fork out additional money for that. We also paid extra to book our desired seats (S$5 per seat if I remember correctly). On the whole, we spent about $700 each for airfare and accommodation. Quite reasonable, if you ask me!

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We travelled with Tiger Air! It was a four-hour plane ride.

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Nice blue sky! #nofilter

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Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport has two terminals – 1 and 2. Our plane landed at Terminal 2 but we had to take the free shuttle bus to Terminal 1 because that’s where the arrival immigration clearance is done. Quite troublesome though. As signage was not very clear, we were for awhile unsure of where to collect our luggage. So we kinda followed the crowd and had to ask one of the airport ambassadors for directions.

But to be honest, I was really anticipating this trip. Watching a truck load of Hong Kong serial dramas from a young age has definitely strengthened my desire to visit the city. The show Triumph in the Skies (one of my favourites), for example, had made me really excited to be at the Hong Kong International Airport. Being clean and modern, it serves as a very good comparison to Changi Airport. I also like that the arrival hall is surrounded with glass windows to allow sunlight through, making the place look really bright and cheery.

This post would cover only the first two days of the trip.

* * Day 1 * *

(Getting the necessities, Cosmopolitan Hotel & Keung Kee Roasted Meat Restaurant)

Our first thing to do upon arrival at the airport was, of course, to get a prepaid SIM card with 3G data. We had a few recommendations for that from travel blogs but we managed to narrow the list to one which had unlimited data usage for our entire 6-day stay in Hong Kong. If you’re interested, you can get it from booth A04 at Terminal 1. Each SIM card costs about HK$200 (S$35). You can also get other necessities like the Octopus card for tourists (their version of EZlink card) and Airport Express Travel Pass (AETP) from the same booth. If you have travelled with Tigerair, you can also buy tickets to Hong Kong Disneyland at a discounted rate (10% off) from there.

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Octopus card at HK$10 each

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Airport Express Travel Pass, HK$160 for two to Hong Kong station

The AETP is very useful if you’re not planning to take a cab to your hotel. Mind you, taxi hires in Hong Kong are not as cheap as you think. If you get caught in a jam, you’re gonna chalk up a lot of money for the ride. I’d say the fares are comparable to those in Singapore. Furthermore, I feel that taking the train is a lot faster than a cab due to possible traffic congestions.

For the AETP, you can opt for a single or return journey (on the same day) ticket but the price of one depends on the station you’re alighting at. My destination was Hong Kong station, which is the furthest on the Airport Express Line (AEL) . Hence, my ticket was on the pricier end. The entrance to the AEL is conveniently located next to McDonald’s. Speaking of which, we had McDonald’s for lunch! It was where I made my first order entirely in Cantonese (so proud of myself)! I’m not very fluent in Cantonese myself but I’d tend to feel pressured to “fit in” when they speak to me in their language. In fact, the cashier probably thought I was a fellow Hong Konger until I hung my camera around my neck HAHA.

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From this picture you can already tell that the Hong Kongers are also eloquent in English.

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We had this set meal called “DipDip” that came with 4 different types of sauce for your drumlets, nuggets and chicken bites. The Quarter Pounder is a separate meal.

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Waiting for the train to Hong Kong station

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The distance indicator on board the train! More blue lights appeared as more miles are covered. How cool!

At Hong Kong station, we were supposed to wait for the (complimentary) shuttle bus to our hotel but the next bus would only arrive in an hour’s time! It was already getting dark so we decided to flag down a cab instead. But the queue for the taxi was astonishing long, we ended up waiting for an hour for a cab too 😦

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We’re almost the first in line!!

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Direction signboard leading to our hotel

Our taxi ride was another 45 minutes because the road was jam-packed. It was madness! Plan your itinerary well and avoid commuting by taxis during peak hours. everyone!

Our cabbie didn’t know where to drop us off so he halted his vehicle a few metres from our hotel, beside a private estate where there was ample space to unload our luggage (and we later got shooed away by the security guard muahaha). What greeted us right in front when we alighted was a hill of tombs which we later discovered was a Muslim cemetery. That kinda spooked us out a little. And the best part?

Our hotel room was facing the cemetery.

We requested for a room change but we were told that other rooms were fully booked. Those that were available were all facing the cemetery. But if we insisted, we could pay a premium for a better room. By then, I had already come to my senses and accepted the arrangement, but not for my Bf who had to be persuaded further. I thought the idea of waking up to a view of the cemetery was rather cool and exotic haha. But of course, that didn’t happen because our windows were opaque and blinded. They were locked at all times so I couldn’t catch a glimpse of the cemetery from our room :\

Anyway, we stayed at Cosmopolitan Hotel! If you’d disregarded its unusual location, it’s actually a pretty decent four-star hotel with great amenities. It provides free shuttle services to MTR stations in the vicinity as well as Ocean Park at a relatively low rate (HK$15 per person per trip). However, do note that they’d require a deposit of HK$1000, refundable on the day of check-out. We paid by cash when we could use our credit card instead. Due to our stupidity, we had HK$1000 lesser for shopping -_-

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Hotel lobby.

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A reputable hotel!

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Our room number!

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The hotel upgraded our room to one with King-size bed for free!

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There are shelves behind sliding door next to the lamp…

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… where the safe and hair dryer are kept!

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TV in front of the bed, with an iPhone provided by the hotel for your usage!

The hotel claims to provide free premium Wi-Fi but it’s only available in their guestrooms, hotel lobby, restaurant and meeting rooms. If you want internet access, you gotta pay. However, many guests failed to realise that you can actually tether internet from the iPhone they’ve provided (hence the lobby was always crowded with people lol). You can also make overseas calls (to Singapore, Malaysia, etc.) with the phone. On top of that, you’re free to bring it out with you on your exploration! Whoa. Perhaps that’s why a hefty deposit is needed.

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The toilet!

The room is SUPERB because it’s equipped with multiple plug sockets and full-length mirrors (useful for me only). We both brought a multi-plug adapter just in case there weren’t enough plug sockets but there was one at each side of the bed to prevent people like my Bf from hogging. I love this hotel! Besides, Hong Kong uses the same electrical outlet plug as Singapore so no travel adapter was needed at all 🙂

Cosmopolitan Hotel
387-397 Queen’s Road East
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Nearest MTR: Causeway Bay
Website: http://www.cosmopolitanhotel.com.hk/

* * *

It was almost 9pm and we were famished! We headed out, walked in the chilly and rainy weather to search for food to eat. It took us about 20 minutes to find the perfect eatery.

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Outside our hotel

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Took the underpass (a.k.a. subway) and walked along Wing Ning Street

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This shop specialises in anything roasted!

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This says it all. Must try!

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Here’s what we ordered! Let’s begin with the beverages that Hong Kong is widely known for.

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Milk Tea (left, HK$18), HK Style Mixed Coffee & Tea “鸳鸯” (right, HK$18)

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Pineapple bun (HK$12)

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It’d be better if it was creamier!

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Coconut, jelly fungus, red date and chicken soup (HK$40)

We got this as there weren’t many choices left for soup at that hour. I was quite doubtful about the taste initially because I had never tasted any soup with coconut as one of the ingredients. But what was I thinking? It’s Hong Kong we’re talking about. They are renowned for their fine culinary skills! So this has got to be good.

*takes first sip* Oh my God, it’s reaaaaaally good. The coconut really brought out the fragrance of the soup and it’s really crunchy. Having such hot, soul-soothing soup in the cold weather just spelt bliss. It’s so awesome. If this wasn’t sold out at 9pm, it could mean that it’s one of the least popular items on the soup menu. Gosh, the others must taste heavenly then!

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Triple roast – barbecued pork, barbecued ribs and roasted goose with rice (HK$72)

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SHIOKKKK

The eatery actually offers barbecued pork, ribs and roasted goose separately with rice on the menu at HK$46 (for pork and ribs) or HK$54. But if you’re indecisive (and hungry) like me, you should totally go for this! I hate to sound repetitive but this is REMARKABLY delicious! Hong Kongers are really generous with their rice though. I can hardly finish them in Singapore but somehow the Hong Kongers managed to changed my appetite. My plate was EMPTIED. Hahaha.

The roasted goose was the best! I was mentally trying to stop myself from spearing it with my fork but of course, they were too irresistible I couldn’t keep away from it! Thus my goose meat was the first to disappear on the plate. Haha. Having said that, the barbecued pork and ribs were equally good too! They were soft and marinated really well.

I was like, crap, the food in Hong Kong is so good. At this rate, I’m gonna balloon up by the time I’m back in Singapore. :\

Keung Kee Roasted Meat Restaurant 強記飯店
Shop A & B, G/F, Siu Fung Building
9-17 Tin Lok Lane
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Nearest MTR: Wanchai, Times Square

* * Day 2  * *

(Disneyland Hong Kong & Mak’s Noodle)

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Happy faces!

This day had been set aside for Hong Kong Disneyland! Bf and I were thrilled because we didn’t have the privilege to go to Disneyland when we were younger. It’s great that we’re able to relive our childhood memories now that we’ve earned our own money. More importantly, Bf finally had the chance to meet his favourite Disney character, Winnie the Pooh! He had been looking forward to this day (so don’t be surprised to see tons of pictures of Pooh later because my photographer for the day was, well, my Bf hahaha)

We embarked on our journey to Disneyland at about 10.30am. The nearest MTR station from the hotel is Causeway Bay (not Wanchai as mentioned by the hotel), which is a 15-minute walk away. There are shops along the way to keep your eyes occupied so you won’t really find the distance too great.

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Singapore represent!

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The public light bus that doesn’t seem to have a designated stop. I remember characters on TVB dramas would just shout for the drama to stop whenever they wanted to. Haha

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At Hong Kong’s Times Square!

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Mega Big Hero

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Remember the MTR logo! It will come in handy when you’re lost in Hong Kong

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On the train like the locals heehee.

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Causeway Bay station is on the Island line. We had to transfer to another train at Central station for the Tung Chung line

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Boarded the Tung Chung line train at Central which was heading towards Sunny Bay station. Thereafter, we had to make another transfer to Disneyland Resort

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Hand grips on the Disneyland Resort-bound train! SO CUTE.

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How the train actually looks like from outside. So adorable right asfghlahsjfjakl

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Aaaand we’re here! WOOHOOOOO!!

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Happy boy found his spot!

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The entrance! There’s supposed to be a train track above it but I didn’t see any trains passing by the entire time!

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Produced our Disneyland tickets bought over the booth at the airport

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Mickey’s flowerbed prominently displayed near the entrance. I wonder what’s in the house behind it!

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Featuring some of the items from the merchandise! Look, a set of Pooh and Tigger nail clippers! Bf got one for himself but he’s not gonna use it

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Caps and more caps!

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Tags! You can slot your own picture into the character’s face

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There are drawing classes as well! But all sessions are conducted in Cantonese. We didn’t see Pooh. So, we’re not a bit interested. Hahaha!

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Main Street, U.S.A., designed to resemble the center of a turn-of-the-20th-century (c. 1910) American town.

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These houses are just shops selling souvenirs and edibles such as donuts and pastry

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Waffles and cookies!

And ice-creams which we didn't try. Too many things, too little time!

And ice-creams which we didn’t try. Too many things, too little time!

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Walked into one of the merchandise shop and saw this Frozen-themed earmuff! Too bad I have no use for this otherwise I’d buy it!

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Bf convinced me to buy this S$50 bag :\ But it’s cute and made of really good and thick quality!

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A Pooh cape! So cute can!? Hahaha! Too bad that I’m too old for this

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The seller was nice enough to allow people with take pictures with his balloons! *thumbs up*

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Sleeping Beauty Castle in front of Fantasyland!

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There were so many of this bird at the theme park! The place felt even more magical with their presence 🙂

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One of the dining options at Disneyland! It was so crowded so we gave this a miss

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The kind of food sold at Disneyland theme park. I guess the Disney-themed ones can only be found at Chef Mickey (in the hotel itself)

"Frozen" puppet show

“Frozen” puppet show

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Uh oh, someone’s gonna spend a really long time in here!

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Pooh and Mickey mugs! Now I kinda regret not buying one :\

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How is it possible for the balloon to float when it’s tied to Pooh?

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Hair clips! I’d get this if I was 10 years younger. But nah…

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But this is really cute, isn’t it?! It’s a pair of ear studs! I bought it but can’t bear to put it on

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Right beside the shop is The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, where you get to ride on Pooh’s “Hunny” pot through his whimsical dream of Heffalumps and Woozles for a story book adventure through the Hundred Acre Wood

Front view of the vehicle

Front view of the vehicle

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Back view. We shared a vehicle with another couple

There was a long queue for the ride but we managed to skip it because we made use of Disney’s FastPass service! It’s a virtual queuing system that allows you to save time by reducing the time you spend in line for the attractions. But this only applies to attractions equipped with that feature. It’s really easy to use! All you need to do is to insert your admission ticket into the FastPass machine and it would give you a ticket indicating your time slot for the ride. While waiting for your turn, you are free to explore other parts of the theme park! 🙂

Our FastPass tickets :)

Our FastPass tickets 🙂

After the ride, we went to another “land” of Disneyland!

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Tomorrowland, the futuristic part of the theme park

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Was forced to stand below the mist -_-

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We were starting to hear my stomach growl, so we got some snacks! The caramel popcorn was da bombz. Each piece was coated with thick caramel sauce but it could get a little too sweet after awhile

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As we still couldn’t satisfy our hunger, we bought some fast food!

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Nothing special, but really pricey. Nothing at Disneyland is cheap though.

Jumbo Hot Dog Combo. The sausage was obscenely long HAHA. But the entire thing was really huge, a lot bigger than my palm!

Jumbo Hot Dog Combo. The sausage was obscenely long HAHA. But the entire thing was really huge, a lot bigger than my palm!

At around 3pm, we saw people crowding around the walkway of the plaza. I vaguely remembered from the information booklet that there would be a Flights of Fantasy Parade at a certain timing, so I joined the crowd with Bf in tow.

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Buzz Lightyear

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The Green Army Men from Toy Story

Sheriff Woody from Toy Story

Sheriff Woody from Toy Story

Cowgirl Jessie from Toy Story

Cowgirl Jessie from Toy Story (oops, wrong focus!)

Stitch

Stitch

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Tinkerbell from Peter Pan

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Timon from The Lion King

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King Louie from The Jungle Book

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With Baloo from The Jungle Book

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Disney princesses! Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty

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Snow White

And here comes Bf’s favourite part. I think my camera ran out of space because of gazillions of videos and pictures taken at this point.

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It’s Winnie the Pooh! He kinda lost weight ah? Not enough honey at Disneyland?

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Eeyore and Tigger! No Piglet though, probably because no Disneyland crew member is small enough to fit into Piglet’s costume

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I wonder if the younger kids knew who these characters were. Or do they only know Elsa and Mickey Mouse?

After the parade, the mascots went to their respective stations for photo-taking with their fans. Bf and I were running all over the place in search of Winnie the Pooh. We finally found him at one of the pavilions at Fantasyland.

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Bf’s mission accomplished!

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Saw Mickey Mouse and queued for a photo with him as well!

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PhotoPass card

Our pictures were also taken by Disneyland’s own photographers and stored in the account indicated on the PhotoPass card (the photographer’s assistant would scan the QR code on your card after that). Once you’re done with the meet-and-greet, you can hand the card to the photo booth to get the pictures printed out. Of course, this service is not free-of-charge.

Time was ticking away! We were down to only three hours before the theme park officially closes at 8.30pm. We still hadn’t explored other parts of the theme park such as the Adventureland 😦

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A fairytale-themed park is never complete without a carousel!

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Yay!

We returned to Tomorrowland for a ride on the electric cars at Autopia.

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My steering wheel!

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And off we go!

The cars unfortunately travel on guided path to prevent collision. You need to step on the pedal to move the car but the steering wheel turns on its own when it’s needed. So you could technically drive without laying your hands on the steering wheel. Since both of my hands were free, I took some pictures while I on the track. Hahaha! Kids, please do not learn from this terribly bad example.

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More souvenirs at Main Street, U.S.A.

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An expert molding a crystal over a high temperature

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His works! Bf got one. Do you know which? No prizes if you guessed it correctly!

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Nice gigantic Christmas Tree near the plaza

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The Carriage House I’ve featured earlier has transformed into some magical place at night! Totally getting the Christmas vibes from here

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So amazing!

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Seeing how crowded the first parade was, we decided to camp at a good spot an hour before the next parade began at 7.30pm. For the month of December, the “Disney Paint the Night” parade would be slightly different because the audience would be able to interact with the performers using the special magic enabled merchandise items developed for the parade. These items are the Mickey Magic Paint Brush, Mickey Glow Mitt and Minnie Glow Bow. The first mentioned changes the colour of the performers’ costume at the touch of a button. Paint the night, literally.

Bf decided to put me into embarrassment and got me two of the merchandise items – the Mickey Magic Paint Brush and Mickey Glow Mitt. -_-

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Ariel from The Little Mermaid! The other characters are repeated from the earlier parade, so I have omitted them from this post

I was holding the Mickey Magic Paint Brush like an overgrown kid during the parade and suddenly one of the performers came to me and urge me to tap the LED lights on her costume with my toy. I did and the colour of her costume changed! It was fascinating 🙂

After the last parade, people were already rushing to gather at the Sleeping Beauty Castle where the “Disney in the Stars” fireworks would be held. Luckily for us, we were already watching the previous parade from around the area so we didn’t have to move much.

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A screengrab from the video Bf took.

The fireworks were spectacular and break-taking. Completely immersed in the show, I got flashbacks of my childhood days as A Whole New World was playing in the background, and silhouettes of Disney characters appearing on the walls of the castle. I recalled the period of time I kept replaying Cinderella on my VCD player. The experience almost brought a tear to my eye. Those were good memories I wouldn’t trade anything for 🙂

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It started to “snow” at Main Street, U.S.A.! It made the place even more fairytale-like. Argh, can I not leave this place please?

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But we had to, because the theme park was closing. Here’s Mickey surfboarding above a whale near the entrance.

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We will be back again, Hong Kong Disneyland! 🙂

Our experience at Disneyland was mostly fun but tiring because we were constantly on our feet and waiting in line for the rides. We made a big mistake of not having our proper meal before entering the theme park because we were starving by the time we left the place. We survived the day mainly on finger foods sold at Disneyland.

So we went on a quest for a good eatery to dine at near our hotel, and eventually discovered this gem. In fact, a Caucasian lady who had just exited the restaurant started raving to us how awesome the food was when we were browsing through the menu at the entrance. We could totally see her face beaming with sincerity and that she truly enjoyed her food there. With that, we eagerly took a seat inside Mak’s Noodle and placed our first order.

We requested for a menu in English because we couldn’t read (traditional) Chinese really well.

Some pictures seem to be taken in the day because we patronised the same restaurant for the remaining days of our stay in Hong Kong. To ease confusion, I shall put together everything we ate at there.

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Mak’s Noodle. They have their own Wikipedia page here!

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Their accolades have great convincing power that they’re one of the best around!

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Inside the restaurant

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Complimentary cup of Chinese tea for every patron

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Wonton Noodles in Soup (HK$36)

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Gosh, this is so good. Bf and I miss this so badly!

The restaurant’s star dish is definitely the Wonton Noodles in Soup, which has been accredited with being one of Hong Kong’s best Wonton Noodles. I couldn’t agree more. The flavourful broth, the springy and light noodles coupled with the chewy and fresh prawns in the silky smooth wonton wrap make this dish the best I’ve tasted hands down.

My only quibble about this, and everything else on the menu, is the portion. Being a holder of a Light Refreshment Restaurant License in Hong Kong, the food there is typically served in small porcelain bowls that can barely satiate anyone who has an appetite of a normal human being. So ordering side dishes is a must!

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Double Boiler Soup with Shrimp Roe (HK$19)

All the broth, with the exception of those with beef, seemed to have come from the same pot, only enhanced by the different ingredients added to the dish. The Double Boiler (sic) Soup above tasted about the same as the broth in the Wonton Noodle Soup, but it’s a little saltier and thicker. They scallions are not crunchy but they melt instantly in your mouth. It was a joy having this awesome bowl of hot soup in that chilly night!

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Fresh Soy Milk (HK$9)

As its name suggests, this is fresh and thick, too.

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Tossed Noodles with Wonton & Oyster Sauce (HK$51)

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Great noodles!

Dry Wonton Noodles (with a separate bowl of soup) is also offered as an alternative and it’s as good as the soup version. The oyster sauce was also out of this world. Sometimes this would leave me with a tough decision to make. Soup or dry for today?!

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Wonton & Dumpling in Soup (HK$40)

Just dumplings and soup, if you don’t feel like having noodles. This also makes a great choice for side dish 🙂

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Prawn Noodles in Soup (HK$63)

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The broth here tasted slightly different with the slight prawn essence. A bite into the juicy and luscious medium-size prawns unveiled a bed of soft and tender flesh. It’s splendid!

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Tossed Noodles with Beef Brisket (HK$51)

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Something different for the palate!

The beef brisket was soft, moist and cooked to the right texture. It also didn’t taste fatty at all.

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Wonton & Beef Brisket in Soup (HK$42)

The best of both worlds – combining two great ingredients into a bowl of piping hot soup. The beef-based broth was a refreshing change from the usual light Wonton soup.

And yes, the restaurant does serve congee or porridge too!

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Thousand Egg and Pork Meat Congee, 皮蛋瘦肉粥 (HK$44)

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Trying to get the preserved egg out

The congee is seasoned with pepper and topped with more cut scallions. It’s thick and smooth like velvet, and generously laden with the preserved egg.

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Special Combination Congee (HK$58)

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Pork liver

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Mushrooms and beef

If you’re spoilt for choice or hungry for variety, pick this! It has more than 2 different ingredients, guaranteed to delight your taste buds. I particularly like the beef because it’s really soft and tender. The mushrooms are great as well for the same reason. I don’t really take pork liver (can’t get pass that urine and faecal taste, ugh) so I gave most to Bf, but was forced to down one piece. Good grief, they seemed to have cleanse them of the offensive flavour fairly well as it didn’t taste that bad. But still, pork liver is a no-no for me.

Mak’s Noodle 麥奀雲吞麵世家
GF, No37 Leighton Road
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, China (Causeway Bay Branch)
Opening hours: 9.00am to 11.00pm (last order at 10.30pm)

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That’s the end of my first two days in Hong Kong. Be sure to stay tuned for the next part 😉

Thanks for reading!

Read also
Hong Kong, the Land of Dim Sum (PART 2)
Hong Kong, the Land of Dim Sum (PART 3)

REVIEW: MAC x Nasty Gal Lipsticks – Gunner, Runner & Stunner

Hey everyone!

Haven’t been publishing new blog posts because there are just too many things to write about in my Hong Kong travelogue, and I’m still not done with my posts despite having worked on it for 2 nights. I’ll take a break from that for today and talk about beauty! That’s right ladies, I’m back with more lipstick reviews!

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It’s a collab with Nasty Gal!

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Honestly, I have never purchased from Nasty Gal because I find their stuff generally costly even during sales and clearances, and international shipping is only free at a certain amount (at US$150, would rather spend that money on makeup teehee). Having said that, I really do like their style so the collaboration actually piqued my interest a little. Moreover, the colours from the promotional pictures seem really wearable for me. So I made an impetuous decision to buy all 3 shades!

Singaporeans! Find out how to buy from macccosmetics.com here!

And yes, I’m so glad that there are only 3 lipstick shades in this collection. Thanks for not bankrupting me this time with 7 new and irresistible shades, MAC!

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From left: Gunner, Runner and Stunner

The MAC x Nasty Gal collection consists of 3 matte limited edition lipsticks and 1 nail lacquer in Flaming Rose. Once again, I’m pretty disappointed that the lipsticks are in standard MAC packaging with no indication that it’s a collaboration with the e-retail superstar Nasty Gal!

Official swatch

Official swatch

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Let’s begin with Stunner, a clean red with matte finish.
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Stunner (US$16)

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The closest match I could find in my MAC stash has gotta be All Fired Up

I find Stunning to be a very sweet colour as it’s between red and pink, so it’s not too bright nor dark. It glides on with ease on the lips and doesn’t leave a drying sensation. It also completely covers the reds of my lips on my first application. Minimal gaps were seen between the fine lines of the lips even when I stretched out my lips a little.

This is the only shade left on maccosmetics.com! Go grab one before it runs out 😉

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A burgundy with matte finish (US$16)

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Fashion Revival seems to be the closest dupe here!

Apart from it being plum in colour, this is my favourite shade from this collection because it kinda plumps up my lips a little. It doesn’t give the usual vampy feel like my other deep plum lipsticks, but it exudes some sort of sexiness and confidence when worn. No doubt that this is a rather dupeable colour so you can pass on this one if you already have shades like Fashion Revival, Diva and Hearts Aflame (a bit darker than this).

This is already sold out on site.

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A deep purple with matte finish (US$16)

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Comparing with the only purple lipstick I have

The most sought-after shade from this collection, this is certainly a very unique colour on its own as I have never seen anything similar (but I read that it’s a dupe for Illamasqua’s Kontrol). Unsuitable for the faint-hearted, it is definitely too bold to be worn on the streets of Singapore. To be honest, I had a mild shock when I looked into the mirror because it’s a really striking purple that I hardly see anyone wearing. I don’t know what occasion would call for such purple lips. A party with futuristic theme, perhaps? :\ And no matter how I convince myself, I don’t think I look good with purple lips. Ha.

The colour aside, it doesn’t really have good colour coverage. This is quite evident from my before-and-after picture where you can tell that it’s not entirely opaque. That’s what I got after applying 3 layers and it got me rather frustrated. But yes, that also means that it doesn’t dry out the lips!

This shade is also sold out on site.

What do you think, ladies?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Thanks for reading 🙂

The M.A.C x Nasty Gal collection would only be available in February 2015 at select international locations.

TUTORIAL: How to Buy from MACCosmetics.com

Hey there!

Hope everyone’s having a stupendous week so far! I just got back from a 5-day break in Hong Kong (thus the lack of updates here). Will blog about my trip sometime next week after I’ve repaid my sleep debt. Meanwhile, allow me to share something that almost every Singaporean, who had read my MAC lipstick reviews, had asked me about.

“How do you buy lipsticks from MACCosmetics.com?”

M.A.C is known to be one of the best mid-end cosmetics brand in the world, offering a wide selection of high-quality cosmetics at very affordable prices. Their lipsticks, for example, range between US$16 (S$22) for permanent collections and some celebrity-endorsed ones, and US$30 (S$40) typically for collaborations with renowned designers on their website. Other brands sell for more than triple the price when their quality may not necessarily be as good as M.A.C’s. But of course, products sold on the main M.A.C website are only available to shoppers living in the Americas (you lucky people!). And to top it off, their orders get to be shipped for free.

Sadly for the rest of us living outside the U.S., we have to rely on imported products which prices are usually inflated. A US$16 M.A.C. lipstick can cost as much as S$30 here in Singapore. That’s $8 more than what I’d pay on maccosmetics.com. Very pricey, don’t you think? And it gets worse for products that are in high demand.

Hence, people started organising sprees to online shops that do not offer international shipping. But no one would be so foolish to help without expecting anything in return, There must be something in it for them. Thus, some started charging exorbitant exchange rates on top of an unreasonable handling fee per item. It’s so ridiculous, you might just end up paying a few dollars less than you would in the retail store. Plus, I don’t think it’s worth the wait (as spree organisers have to compile orders and setup a meetup event for all the buyers).

So after much contemplation, I figured that I’m better off buying the items online on my own. And I’ve been doing that ever since making my first U.S. purchase (it was my M.A.C x Lorde lipstick actually, not too long ago) through a freight forwarder.

A spree participant and still not convinced to make the switch? Here are some more reasons:

  • Cheaper in general
  • You get to confirm your orders immediately
  • You get to track your own orders
  • Shorter waiting time for your parcel to reach you
  • The more you buy in one shipment, the lesser you pay for shipping (chargeable to forwarder)
  • The exchange rate is fixed by the bank

Not sure on how to go about ordering from maccosmetics.com? Simply follow these steps and you’ll be fine! 🙂

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1. Create an account with your desired freight forwarder.

Here are some freight forwarders that ship to Singapore:

  • ComGateway (U.S. orders only) – For this tutorial, I will be using CGW’s service.
  • vPOST (U.S., China, Japan and Europe orders)
  • Borderlinx (U.S. and U.K. orders)
  • 65Daigou (U.S., Taiwan and China orders)

Do ensure that you’ve fill the form out correctly.

After registration, you should be given your own U.S. address.

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1. It should be reflected on the top left hand corner of the page. Otherwise, you can view it on “Your Account”.

2. Create an account with M.A.C.

On the left menu bar, click “My M.A.C” and another panel would appear beside it. Click “Register“.

For more details on how to fill out the registration form, please refer to images 2d and 2e.

Alternatively, you can register after checking out your shopping cart like what I’ve done below:

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2a. Bought these during the Cyber Monday sale. If you have a discount code (usually mentioned in their mailers), be sure to key it in.

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2b. Once you’ve applied your discount code, you may proceed to checkout your items.

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2c. MAC will prompt you to sign in (if you’re not) or sign up before you could make payment. I’m already a member so I’m gonna use the fields on the left. By right, if you’ve keyed in all your billing and mailing information, you’d be directed to the payment page after this.

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2d. For new users, you’d be prompted to key in your billing information.

M.A.C. accepts international credit cards. For the page reflected on image 2d, key in your own credit card information. Check the first box if you wish to make this credit card your default payment option, or the second if you want to save the details in your account. (I actually checked both)

Before you click “Save Changes”, you may want to add your address first. Refer to image 1 for the address.

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2e. Remember, you do not input your Singapore address. Instead, you should use the U.S. address provided by your freight forwarder. It may be a little confusing for first-timers, so please follow the numbering on image 1.

Make the address your shipping address as well. Otherwise, the order will not go through (as it’s not a U.S. address)

Likewise, if you’re paying via PayPal, do ensure that the reflected billing address is your U.S. address. Failure to do so would lead to an error message.

Once you’re done, you would be back on your Billing Information window. Click “Save Changes“.

3. Submit final order

You are now directed back to your checkout page. Verify your billing and shipping addresses (they should be the same), your payment method and your shipping method (mine was overnight shipping because I applied a discount code. Otherwise, it should be standard).

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3a. Submit your order if there are no errors.

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3b. Order completed!

You should also receive an order confirmation via e-mail. M.A.C. will provide you your DHL tracking number (hyperlinked to the DHL tracking page) once your order has been shipped. This could take 2-3 days for Standard Shipping (the free option), and about a week for the parcel to arrive at your U.S. address. The tracking page is pretty accurate. No delays for me so far.

4. Parcel arrives at your U.S. address

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4a. You will receive this e-mail from CGW. Click on it! *excited*

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4b. Click on “here” to view the details of your parcel

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4c. Details on your parcel’s weight. You can also view the invoice from the merchant (maccosmetics.com in this case)

If, upon viewing the merchant invoice, you found out that your orders are separated into two parcels (happens if you order a lot of stuff and they can’t possibly fit into one box), you can wait for the other parcel to arrive at your U.S. address. You’re entitled to store your parcels with CGW for free for 30 days (60 days for Prime Members).

5. Shipping to Singapore

Once all your parcels have arrived (you will also be notified via e-mail), you may proceed to ship them to you.

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5a. On the same page, scroll down until you see the “Ready to Ship” button. Click on that.

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5b. On the following page, select the parcels you want to ship (a.k.a. everything. Do bear in mind that base shipping charges would incur for new/separate shipments) and click “Select to Ship

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5c. Next, ensure that your mailing address is correct. It should be your Singapore address this time.

You have the option to collect it from Cheers/FairPrice Xpress if you know that you won’t be home during time of delivery (usually between 12-3pm for me but you can call and arrange for a re-delivery if you’re not around to receive it). Delivery is also done over the weekends. Quite amazing!

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5d. Select your desired delivery option and click “Continue

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5e. Then, select your shipping speed. Click “Continue

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5f. If you pay by DBS/POSB debit or credit card, you get to enjoy a FREE upgrade to Express Shipping on top of a 10% discount! So pay by DBS/POSB card ok?! Good deals don’t say I bo jio! Click “Continue” again.

The above shows how much I had to pay to ship 2 parcels containing 8 lipsticks in total from M.A.C, in US dollars. Yup, CGW charges in USD. Please do the conversion yourself! 🙂

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5g. You will then be directed to a page where you’d have to key in the code sent to your phone. It’s some security feature for payments made by credit/debit card.

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5h. Aaaaand you’re done!

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5i. Order receipt from CGW

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5j. An e-mail to acknowledge your payment!

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5k. And this will come within 1-2 working days. Shipment is also by DHL.

Again, this doesn’t just work for M.A.C. If you know of any U.S. online shops that accept international credit card, this method will still apply.

NOTE: If your purchases exceed S$400, you are liable to pay 7% GST

The cost of shipping generally differs according to the weight of your parcels, which would be measured by the freight forwarder when your parcel reaches your U.S. address. Hence, you will not be able to know how much your package weighs until then. The freight forwarder, however, may indicate on their website how much it charges for the first and subsequent 0.5kg.

If you feel that you’re being overcharged, chances are your merchant had used a very big box to contain your stuff (thus the weight). You may request for a repack (except vPOST as they don’t offer this service) if it’s available. This service is chargeable though.

I hope this is useful for you ladies! Feel free to drop me a comment if you have any other enquiries. I’m not an expert myself but I’ll try my best to help!

If time permits, I may also do one on Taobao.

Thanks for reading 🙂

University Junior: Year 3 Semester 1

Hello everyone!

Time really flies, doesn’t it? I’m already in my third year at NTU and very soon, I’ll be decked out in my robe and mortar board and receiving my degree scroll on stage! I vividly remember how jittery I was on the very first day of school, worried that I would not be able to adapt to the challenges thrown at me. But I survived it all and I am truly thankful to those who have helped me in any way.

To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to the end of this semester because I will be embarking on my 6-month Industrial Attachment (IA) at the Ministry of Education in January. That would mean having to make a tremendous change to my lifestyle, sleeping and rising early everyday. 😥 But I’m sure it’d be a fulfilling experience!

And no, I won’t be interning as a teacher if that’s what you’re thinking. I will be there as a Recruitment Marketing Executive to assist in their recruitment campaigns. So any MOE marketing collateral that you chance upon next year could possibly be designed by me. Hehe *excites* 😀

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My choices for IA programme

I went for a couple of interviews during my recess week and was subsequently accepted by MOE as well as MediaCorp. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t manage to score an interview with L’Oreal because it was one of my top choices. But I doubt L’Oreal even got back to anyone at all because nobody was allocated to the cosmetics giant in the end. Even if they did, most of the students would already have a placing somewhere by the time they start their selection process since there was an acceptance deadline for any existing offers.

I was offered a position as a Production Assistant at MediaCorp Channel 8 and I reeeally wanted to go for it. Argh, how I wish I could accept more than one offer haha. But I had to choose one, so I picked the one that’s nearer to home (MediaCorp is currently located at a godforsaken place and it’d probably stand a better chance if it has already shifted to Mediapolis) and would allow me to humbly display my prowess. MediaCorp, as every Media Studies student knows, accepts interns in batches so it’s gonna be difficult to stand out from the rest. And of course not forgetting the long working hours and meager pay. These, my boyfriend strong disapproves 😐

Enough of the internship talk. It’s now time to review the courses I took this semester! Only 3 courses though, so it’s gonna be a very short one.

1. CS4002 Media Law, Ethics and Policy (CORE)

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source: freeimages.com

I requested for an exemption from this course because I had studied something similar in Poly. But it wasn’t granted since it was an upper-level course. The course however turned out to be totally different from what I had expected because Dr Mark Cenite, the course coordinator (and my newfound WKWSCI idol after Dr Cherian George’s departure), included U.K. and U.S. law and policies (which are absolutely bizarre in my opinion) into the syllabus. Hence the lessons didn’t feel like a repetition to me at all. Also, with Dr Cenite’s witty sense of humour, his law classes were never boring nor draggy. I really like that he used current cases (e.g. Roy Ngerng’s defamation suit, the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement and etc.) to illustrate his points. They kinda kept me updated about the latest news. Haha.

Conducted in two 2-hour lectures per week, this course has no written exams but there is a collaborative (discussion allowed, open-book) quiz at the beginning of every session. The quizzes constitute 10% of the total grade and the remaining 90% is divided equally among three closed-book midterms (all of which are MCQ questions). Aren’t you glad that more profs are moving towards the pragmatic approach of not having exams? To me, exams are never the best gauge of knowledge and they should be abolished.

Anyway, this semester was the last time this course would be offered due to a curriculum revamp. It will now be a lower-level CORE available to the first-years.

2. BU8541 Sports Marketing – The Marketing of Champions (GER-PE, LS)

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source: tourismupdates.com

I added this course mainly because the tutorial time slot fit perfectly into my timetable and it was the only LS elective that appealed to me. This course basically teaches you about the various marketing tools (e.g. sponsorship) for sports products and how non-sports brands infiltrate into the sports market. Lessons can get pretty dry as I found myself hard to stay awake sometimes. There were 2 time slots for this course (only a 3-hour tutorial each week) and mine was on every Friday morning.

You would be allocated to a group with whom you’d be doing your major project (30% of total grade) and an article analysis (20%). The other components are an individual report based on the article analysis (10%), class participation (10%) and an open-book final exam (30%). The major project just involves studying any sports marketing related aspects of a chosen organisation (e.g. Netball Singapore) and presenting your critiques and recommendations. For the article analysis, you’d only need to select an article related to sports marketing issues. My team did on one that discussed about the partnership between Formula One and Singapore Airlines.

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From left: Captain who just got demoted to First Officer (coz one of his stripes went missing HAHA), some F1 Racer, 3 unknown Air Stewardesses with crappy and unsexy uniform and lastly, a Flight Officer.

We kinda set the benchmark for the attire because we were the only group that bothered to dress up. For our first presentation, we added a pre-flight safety briefing in the beginning and an arrival announcement at the end for comic relief. The ladies had to do some silly hand signals to mimic the flight attendants so it was pretty embarrassing. But it’s all in good fun 😀

All in all, the course was only enjoyable because of the group projects. My other gripe is that we didn’t manage to go on any field trip (as proposed on the weekly schedule).

I’m not certain if I’d do well for this course so I am still on the fence whether to S/U this one.

(ADV) Need a pair of good futsal shoes? Check out the reviews on some of the best futsal shoes on NicerShoes.com!

3. CM8002 Forensic Science (GER-PE, STS) – S/U

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Source: Wikipedia // because CSI is so overrated.

I finally had the chance to take this course because Wednesday afternoons for me were previously always packed with classes I couldn’t drop. Over the years I have developed a keen interest in Forensic Science from watching crime TV series (most of them are from Hong Kong because I find that they’re more realistic and relatable to as compared to Western ones). If you’re like me, always wondering how actual murder cases are solved, then this is the course for you. It also teaches you how to reconstruct crime scenes like a pro. Haha!

This course provides every essential information you need to know about Forensic Science with topics on finding out the time of death, blood, DNA, fingerprinting, polymers and fibres, firearms, narcotics and toxicology. Each topic is accompanied with a few real-life cases (mostly based overseas) to demonstrate how these investigative techniques were used. And they are all very, very enlightening. I had personally spent additional time online reading up on some intriguing cases that were featured in lecture.

However, all lectures are pre-recorded and posted on this education platform called Coursera on a weekly basis, spread over 8 weeks. You would only need to go to school for Forensic Science after this period to hear guest speakers (actual forensic scientists and law enforcers) from various organisations such as HSA and SPF. If you’re not disciplined enough to watch the online lectures, you can always read the transcripts (which was what my friends did). The lecture notes are also quite comprehensive on its on.

There would be weekly assignments on Coursera (just 15 MCQ questions based on the topic covered that week) and 3 graded assignments (short-answer questions) over the course of 8 weeks. All these form your e-learning activity, which constitutes 5% of the total grade. There is also a midterm (15%) and a closed-book final exam (80%).

I’ve decided to exercise my S/U option on this because this course is extremely competitive so getting a good grade won’t be easy. By the way, this class is so huge that they have to conduct the lessons at the auditorium.

Okay that’s all from me for this semester! Do drop me a comment if you have any burning questions.

Talk to you guys next time!

Read also:
University Freshman: Year 1 Semester 1
University Freshman: Year 1 Semester 2
University Sophomore: Year 2 Semester 1
University Sophomore: Year 2 Semester 2
University Senior: Year 4 Semester 1 & 2

Jamie’s Italian @ VivoCity

Hello everyone! I’m back in my blogging mode now that my exams are OVER! *pops champagne*

Today’s topic will still be food, but I believe many of you would be able to relate to this because..

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It’s Jamie Oliver’s restaurant!

Jamie Oliver opened his first restaurant in Asia on 17 July 2013 at VivoCity Mall, Singapore. I had somehow forgotten that he has a venture here until I unknowingly walked past his restaurant one day while trying to get to the taxi stand. I told Bf that we had to try this one day and we finally did last Sunday!

Tucked in a more secluded corner of the mall, Jamie’s Italian is clearly crowd magnet because it was the only restaurant with a queue among many others there, albeit a short one. They have an excellent table reservation system which would send the waiting guest a text message when a table opens up (thus explaining the short queue). As it was an impromptu decision to dine there, we had to wait awhile (for only 30 minutes, a reasonably short time considering that it was a weekend) before we could get a table. But with that system in place, we were able to wander around the mall while we waited.

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There’s an ongoing contest which patrons can join to win a Vespa!

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The menu (click to enlarge). There’s a cocktail section at the bottom but I cropped it out because I won’t be featuring anything from the bar here!

I like that the menu is nailed onto the wall next to the restaurant entrance so that anybody could view it without having to feel pressurised by the wait staff to dine there. It’s not their fault, I know. But don’t you just hate it when someone in the restaurant comes up to you when you’re merely browsing the menu on the display stand? I do! And rejecting them would make me feel so bad 😦

The items on the Pasta section have two different pricing because they signify two different things. The lower-value is for starters while the other is for mains.

You can hardly see what’s in the restaurant from the outside because it’s so dimly-lit, making it an almost-hazardous place for people with terrible vision like me because I may just trip over something if not careful. Some patrons even needed the light from their handphones to read the menu. It was that dark, too dark for photo-taking too (hence I had to depend heavily on the camera’s flash). I hope the management would do something about it because I don’t find dining in darkness a form of enjoyment. I would like to see clearly what’s on my plate, please.

But that’s at night. I’m not sure if it’d be brighter during the day so perhaps you guys can give it a shot during lunchtime.

Let’s move on to our orders!

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For beverage, we had a non-alcoholic cocktail called Refresher (S$7.50++).

Refresher consists of fresh lemon, elderflower, cordial and cranberry juice. topped with lemonade. We were initially contemplating between their Homemade Italian Lemonade (S$6.50++) and Berry Blast (strawberries, passion fruit, lemon and cranberry, S$8.50++) but we settled on Refresher in the end because it seems to have most of the stuff found in those two drinks. Haha money-pinchers.

But Refresher was good and refreshing! It tasted a little like Ribena but of course, way better and more sophisticated.

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Also got ourselves iced water because one cup of Refresher was obviously insufficient.

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Crispy squid (S$11.50++)

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For appetizers, we had Crispy Squid (or Fried Calamari in Singaporean’s term) which was basically fried squid but with garlicky mayo and lemon. The squid unfortunately wasn’t exactly crispy because it wasn’t sizzling hot. Bf remarked that it might had sat on the kitchen table for some time before it was delivered to us as it was a slightly cold and soggy. The dip that came with it was on the sour side, but it went well with the squid. All in all, it was a passable dish. There’s nothing really fantastic about it.

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Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli (S$17.50++)

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For starters, I had Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with pine nuts and fresh sage in creamy mascarpone, Italian butter, lemon and olive oil. I felt that the dough was a little too thick and firm and it kinda overwhelmed the fillings. I think there were about 5 or 6 Raviolis in there. The fillings were nice though! And the nuts in the creamy sauce added crunch to the dish. Once again. this is also nothing to wow about.

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Wild Mushroom and Smoked Mozzarella Risotto (S$16++)

This Wild Mushroom and Smoked Mozzarella Risotto is the bomb. It is an Acquerelle rice with fresh and dried wild mushrooms and oozy smoked mozzarella. Sadly, this starters belonged to Bf so I couldn’t dig more into it. It was extremely creamy and rich with a nice, thick texture, all thanks to the cheese in it. The rice also had some chew to it and it was really delicious! This is going to be a main course the next time we’re there.

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220g Rump Steak (S$28.50++)

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For the mains, Bf and I shared a 220g Rump Steak served with garlic and parsley butter, rainbow coleslaw with natural yoghurt and skinny fries. The nicely cut steak facilitated the sharing and I’m so glad it came this way because otherwise, the hungry Bf would slice a bigger portion for himself, leaving me with a measly piece of meat. *victoryboymeme.jpg* (Just kidding later he scold me)

The garlic and parsley butter is such an unusual topping but I actually love it. It had the right amount of saltiness and it’s so amazing I wanted to wipe it all off onto my own portion. The steak was soft, tender and cooked to juicy perfection. The entire dish was simply indulgent. I couldn’t get enough of it.

I kinda regretted sharing the main course because I was still hungry towards the end of the meal. So lesson learnt, never share anything at Jamie’s Italian. Hahaha.

On the whole, the food was not too bad but there’s definitely still room for improvement. Don’t go there with high expectations (Jamie Oliver’s not the one cooking after all) or you’d be disappointed. I also think that my experience was let down slightly by the unsatisfactory service in the restaurant. Our orders were only taken after beckoning to the wait staff several times and each time we’d be asked to wait but no one would come to us in the end. It might be due to the weekend crowd but yeah, it was really tiring to have to keep getting hold of the wait staff.

But the risotto was really, really awesome so you guys must go there and try it!

On top of that, the prices are actually quite reasonable for a reputable restaurant in a luxury shopping mall, don’t you think? I will definitely return for other items I’ve yet to try on the menu! Any recommendations? 😀

Okay that’s all for this post!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Jamie’s Italian @ VivoCity
1 Harbourfront Walk #1-165-167
Singapore 098585
Operating hours:
12.00pm to 10.00pm (Sun – Thu),
12.00pm to 11.00pm (Fri & Sat)
Tel: 67335500
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