[EVENT] Chinese New Year Bonanza 2020 @ Takashimaya Square

Happy 2020, everyone! It’s crazy how fast time flies, eh?

Spring will soon be upon us, and with that comes Chinese New Year (CNY) and the multitude of highly-anticipated CNY bazaars that follow. While establishments scurry to take down and store away all their Christmas collaterals and products, one, in particular, has already gone full swing into the CNY sales to give you a head start on getting ready for the festivity – even before the calendar year ended!

Takashimaya CNY Fair 2020

Takashimaya CNY Fair 2020

Decked out in red and gold at the extensive basement two event square of Takashimaya Shopping Centre with oriental tunes streaming in the background, the CNY Fair organised by Takashimaya Department Store is hard to miss. This year, the fair sees the participation of 67 local and international vendors that offer an assortment of seasonal treats to cater to all household needs and traditions. That’s right, whether you are of Cantonese or Peranakan descent, you are sure to find something here that strikes your (or your elders’) fancy!

Click here to download the list of vendors and their locations

Continue to let your taste buds revel in savoury bliss with homegrown delights from returning vendors, such as Butter Studio, Home’s Favourites, Juz Bread, Kele, My Mum’s Cookies, HarisAnn’s, and Old Seng Choong, all of which are known for their confectionery and pastries like pineapple tarts and sugee cookies. Of course, one cannot miss the presence of CNY staples, such as bak kwa from Bee Cheng Hiang and dried seedless persimmon from Korea-originated Abana that you can consider filling your snack tray with.

Butter Studio

Butter Studio

Home's Favourite

Home’s Favourite

Check out these vintage tins from Old Seng Choon!

Check out these vintage tins from Old Seng Choon!

Prosperity Assorted Pineapple Tarts (S$48) from Old Seng Choong

Prosperity Assorted Pineapple Tarts (S$48) from Old Seng Choong

Baker's Oven

Baker’s Oven

Bee Cheng Hiang

Bee Cheng Hiang

Semi-dried persimmons from Abana

Semi-dried persimmons from Abana

Also joining the ranks of these old-timers are new but familiar establishments such as Golden Moment (made famous by their durian charcoal snow skin mooncake but they are stocking up on their durian ice-cream this time), Mdm Ling Bakery (look out for their melt-in-your-mouth butter cookies!), The Lapis Place (known for their creative spin on traditional kueh lapis like pineapple lapis, a flavour exclusive to Takashimaya), One Farrer (try their homemade golden pineapple tarts and gawk in wonder at their Rice Bucket with Gold Coin Bucket Cake on display!) and Eureka (with its super addictive popcorn). Furthermore, famed Fukuoka ramen chain Ichiran will be making a pop-up appearance in Singapore once again to satisfy your famished belly with its limited-edition aromatic Tonkotsu Ramen retail packs, albeit only from 8 to 16 January (limit to 400 packs per day) at the fair and will replace the redemption counter that currently sits at its spot.

Mdm Ling Bakery

Mdm Ling Bakery

Golden Moment

Golden Moment

Rice Bucket with Gold Coin Bucket Cake (S$108)

Rice Bucket with Gold Coin Bucket Cake (S$108)

Despite the long history of some of the brands mentioned here, their efforts in keeping up with evolving times are evident in the smorgasbord of unconventional yet trendy flavours they offer. If you ever pass by Garden Pastry and Cake‘s booth, request to sample their Raspberry Snow Cookies (that is, if they’re still available because these little pink cookies made with US-imported pure raspberry powder are so highly sought-after, I won’t be surprised if the attendants become too stingy with the samples) – just one small portion of it is enough to make you crave for more! Trust me, I even bought two tins of the cookies immediately after sampling them because they’re just so soft and cake-like! If not for the fact that I might end up with a sore throat, I would have gotten three for 15% off the total purchase!

Garden Pastry and Cake

Garden Pastry and Cake

Garden Pastry and Cake's Raspberry Snow Cookies!

Garden Pastry and Cake’s Raspberry Snow Cookies!

The Cookie Museum is another local establishment that prides itself on creating one-of-its-kind Singapore heritage-flavoured cookies like Pandan Chiffon, Shrimp Laksa and Chicken Rice. How intriguing, right?! These are perfect for your foreign guests who may not get the chance to try the actual dishes since shutters of most hawker stalls will be shut during the CNY period 😜 Otherwise, you could also opt for a safer choice – Champagne Lychee which is a go-to flavour of mine. Don’t worry, the alcohol concentration in it is as good as nil so yup, perfectly family-friendly.

The Cookie Museum

The Cookie Museum

The culinary adepts would be thrilled to find lots of reunion dinner ideas at The Market Place – a section dominated by imported and prime meats, seafood and condiments essential for preparing lavish and wholesome meals. Instead of rice, you could opt for some wholesome handmade, air- and sun-dried wheat flour noodles from Taiwanese brand Yi Lai Shuen (一来顺) that would merely take 30 seconds to prepare. Top it with one of its signature sauces (black bean, XO, mushroom, chilli bean, garlic chilli.. just to name a few) and voila! A restaurant-standard dish (minus the nasty MSG and preservatives) is prepared 😁 Then, end the meal on a sweet note with delicacies from Pat Chun, a producer of many sauces from Hong Kong which also makes to-die-for desserts and snacks like radish cake and nian gao, as well as their latest nutty additions – Curry Cashews and Spicy Garlic Almonds.

Yi Lai Shuen wheat flour noodles

Yi Lai Shuen wheat flour noodles

Yi Lai Shuen condiments

Yi Lai Shuen condiments

Apart from the edibles, you can also find CNY decorations and gifts for your loved ones overseas when you pay them a visit this festive season. Send your well-wishes for good health by gifting top-grade traditional Chinese medicinal food products from trusted brands such as Thye San Medical Hall and Wing Joo Loong. Alternatively, you could also gift your modern/westernised relatives contemporary tea sets from Pryce Tea or the limited-edition Golden Heritage Bloom from NestBloom.

Shevron

Shevron

There are many other stalls which I won’t be able to feature in this write-up without boring the pants off you, so your best bet would be to head down to the fair yourself! As the fair is sure to grow more crowded in the days to come, do plan your schedule ahead of time (i.e. mark out the booths you want to visit first), or drop by on weekday afternoons. Do also remember to head down with an empty stomach (and arm yourselves with a bottle of water to cleanse your palate!) as you will be invited to try a lot of food samples as you comb through the aisles.

Will you be making a trip down to the fair? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

Takashimaya Chinese New Year Bonanza 2020 · Takashimaya Square, b2, 391 Orchard Road Singapore 238873 · Operating hours: 29 December 2019 – 23 January 2020, 10 am – 9.30 pm (extends to 10 pm on 3, 4, 9-12 & 17-23 Jan) · Nearest MRT station: Orchard (NS22) · For more information, please visit Takashimaya Facebook page, Instagram or website.

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[CHINESE RESTAURANT] Revamped Menu @ No Signboard Seafood at Esplanade

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Now that winter break is in full swing, you may be expecting to play host to some of your friends from temperate countries. With iconic landmarks like the Marina Bay Sands and the Merlion statue already on the itinerary, the next step is probably to look for a nearby place to dine and cool off while at the same time, show off some of our famous delicacies. If this describes your situation now, look no further.

Some orange juice for you?

Some orange juice for you?

After undergoing more than two months of refurbishment, No Signboard Seafood (NSB) at Esplanade has finally reopened its doors to the public, but not without a revamped menu to tempt your palate!

Exclusively available at the Esplanade outlet (for now) to enhance and refresh diners’ experience, the new menu takes inspiration from crafting Chinese with Western and Japanese cuisines. The latest culinary creations not only include a selection of unique and popular dishes from its overseas outlet in Shanghai, but also feature a stylish plating upon serving (likewise for existing dishes).

Be prepared to salivate at the sight of Shanghai favourites such as Glazed Australia Tomatoes Stuffed with Crispy Mushroom Salad, Heirloom Beetroot Foie Gras, Braised Cabbage with Chestnut in Saffron Sauce and Marinated Seasonal Hairy Crab in Shanghainese Style, or west-meets-east classics like Wagyu Beef Cube in Sichuan Style, Pan Seared Foie Gras with Cherries and Japanese Uni with Oba Leaf Tempura, all of which is a testament to NSB’s commitment to provide their guests with exciting reasons to return.

Chef recommended deep-fried butter prawns ($6++/pc, min. 6 for live prawns OR S$15++/pc, min. 4 for king prawns)

Chef recommended deep-fried butter prawns ($6++/pc, min. 6 for live prawns OR S$15++/pc, min. 4 for king prawns)

Petite Abalone & Scallop with Yam Nest (S$10++/pc, min. 2)

Petite Abalone & Scallop with Yam Nest (S$10++/pc, min. 2)

A closer look at the scallop buried in the nest

A closer look at the scallop buried in the nest

Wagyu Beef Cubes in Sichuan Style (S$68++)

Wagyu Beef Cubes in Sichuan Style (S$68++)

With mala being all the rage right now, it won’t be surprising to have at least one dish on the menu that is cooked with Sichuan peppercorns. While you certainly can’t go wrong with mala, caution needs to be taken to ensure that these proportionally-diced beef cubes are cooked to the desired tenderness – something which NSB has nailed perfectly.

Espresso Kurobuta Pork Ribs with Hazelnut Crumble (S$15++/pc, min. 4)

Espresso Kurobuta Pork Ribs with Hazelnut Crumble (S$15++/pc, min. 4)

Grilled Portobello Mushroom (S$32++)

Grilled Portobello Mushroom (S$32++)

The Grilled Portobello Mushroom is lightly seasoned so the taste of the mushrooms can be enjoyed to the fullest. Although grilled to the right crispness, sufficient amount of moisture is still locked within the mushrooms.

The mushrooms were glistening...

The mushrooms were glistening…

Regardless of any new dishes that NSB is betting on, the unspoken winner is ultimately the Chilli Alaskan King Crab which chilli paste recipe has meticulously been maintained true to its original over the years despite the menu having gone through an overhaul. However, if you are itching for a change, there is always the option of White Pepper Alaskan King Crab which NSB is more known for. In any case, ordering crab(s) is a must-do when you are playing host because, heck, that’s probably the national dish your foreign friends are dying to try in Singapore!

Chilli Sri Lankan Crab with Macaroni (Medium: S$10++/100g, Large: S$13.80++/100g, Dungeness Crab: S$128++/ea)

Chilli Sri Lankan Crab with Macaroni (Medium: S$10/100g, Large: S$13.80/100g, Dungeness Crab: S$128/ea)

Singapore may be touted as the land of chilli crabs, but there are people among us who find it a chore to eat them. Therefore, I actually thought it was very clever of NSB to come up with a chilli crab dish that is served with macaroni (in the carapace) so that it can be enjoyed by everyone.

Signature Fresh Mango Compote with Coconut Sago & Pomelo (S$10++/ea)

Signature Fresh Mango Compote with Coconut Sago & Pomelo (S$10++/ea)

Unlike typical mango pomelo sago you see at other restaurants, NSB’s rendition separates the pomelo and coconut sago from the mango compote so you can adjust the amount of these dry ingredients you want to add into the bowl, and it also comes with edible flower petals. The interesting presentation aside, I would expect this to have a more varied taste (considering that it contains some unusual ingredients like the petals and coconut sago) and a thicker, not so watered-down consistency. But on the plus side, it is not overwhelmingly sweet which is great for people who need to control their sugar intake. Quite frankly, the Signature Fresh Mango Compote with Coconut Sago & Pomelo is just a glorified version of mango pomelo sago. I say pass on this one and get orh nee (yam paste) instead for the same price 😜

Apart from the food, what’s also worth mentioning is, perhaps, the interior design of the restaurant. Gone is the gloomy Victorian-era decorating that used to adorn the restaurant. Upon entering the newly renovated outlet, guests will be greeted by a bright and welcoming dining area with a virtual ceiling aquarium on the left and a glass window that looks into the kitchen on the right to proudly exhibit the dexterity of the chefs while they are preparing the dishes.

Open kitchen concept

Open kitchen concept

All the tables would be readied with the necessary tableware such as crab crackers and meat pickers (because who doesn’t order crabs at NSB, right? But don’t worry, no one’s gonna judge you if you don’t 😆), and a really cute crab-shaped chopstick rest for each diner. In addition, wet wipes individually packaged in plastic packets are replaced by not one, but TWO tablet napkins which expand to full size when they come in contact with water (although I’m not quite sure if these napkins are still chargeable to the diners so please check with the staff before you proceed to use them 🙊). Take notes, prospective restaurateurs – that’s one way of being more environmentally-friendly without compromising on the diners’ experience! *cough*nostrawmovement*cough* 

Tablet napkins - 2 per person. Just drop the "tablets" into the little pond and watch them grow!

Tablet napkins – 2 per person. Just drop the “tablets” into the little pond and watch them grow!

Adorable crab-shaped chopstick rest. Look, it even has a baby crab next to it to support your meat picker!

Adorable crab-shaped chopstick rest. Look, it even has a baby crab next to it to support your meat picker!

All in all, the food lived up to my expectations and the incorporation of fusion cuisine is certainly a refreshing change. Given that the tastes and elements of the different cuisines are notably present in the most of the fusion dishes, it is evident that considerable thought was put into the recipes.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading!

No Signboard Seafood · Esplanade 8 Raffles Ave # 01-14/16 Singapore 039802 · Operating hours: 11 am – 2.30 pm & 5.30 pm – 10.30 pm · Nearest MRT station: Esplanade (cc3), City Hall (NS25/EW13) · For more information, please visit No Signboard Seafood FACEBOOK PAGE, INSTAGRAM or WEBSITE. Alternatively, you may download the menu HERE.

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REVIEW: IRÉN Start Afresh Daily Enzyme Powder Wash

Hello everyone!

You might have heard of the infamous multi-step skincare regimen popularised by South Korea but let’s be honest – who has the time for that? More often than not, I would find myself even dragging my feet to the washroom after a long day at work to shower because I am just that dead beat, let alone going through a thousand and one steps to prep my face for bedtime. Thankfully, a local beauty brand, IRÉN, heard my silent cries for help and decided once and for all to put a stop to these unnecessarily superfluous routines and created products which bring back the joy of skincare.

IRÉN… er, who?

Founded by local entrepreneur, Eric Tan (also the founder of Singapore’s first traditional Japanese onsen spa), IRÉN was conceived out of his love for his wife (hence the name IRÉN because that’s Irene – his wife’s name – in Hungarian – awww 😍) who had been struggling with breakouts and eczema. When the many non-comedogenic products she had tried proved to be futile in calming down her skin, the loving husband decided to delve into the arcane world of skincare in search of a solution which led to his partnership with a skincare researcher from A*STAR. Together with the researcher, he formulated a serum without harmful chemical, synthetic fragrances, and BPA for his wife. From there, they developed seven concoctions and started IRÉN with the aim of providing busy women like his wife a straightforward solution to common skin ailments, backed by scientific facts and research.

Launched in December 2017, the serums come in 7 formulations for wrinkles and deep lines, acne and oily skin, dehydrated skin, sensitivity, pigmentation and uneven skin tones, sagging skin, and clogged pores. Shown here are just 3 types of serum to be used with the Skin Vaporizer, a device that nano-sizes the serum to swiftly and efficiently feed the nutrient-deprived skin. If time permits, I will do a more in-dept review on this.

Launched in December 2017, the serums come in 7 formulations for wrinkles and deep lines, acne and oily skin, dehydrated skin, sensitivity, pigmentation and uneven skin tones, sagging skin, and clogged pores. Shown here are just 3 types of serum to be used with the Skin Vaporizer, a device that nano-sizes the serum to swiftly and efficiently feed the nutrient-deprived skin. If time permits, I will do a more in-dept review on this.

More than a year after their signature serums made public appearance, IRÉN comes up with yet another innovative product – a cleanser in the form of powder.

Introducing: Start Afresh Daily Enzyme Powder Wash

IRÉN Start Afresh Daily Enzyme Powder Wash (S$35 each)

IRÉN Start Afresh Daily Enzyme Powder Wash (S$35 each)

Made in Japan, the Start Afresh Daily Enzyme Powder Wash is a gentle daily powder wash with triple cleansing action to remove dirt, sebum and old keratin, and is suitable for all skin types. Vegan and cruelty-free, it contains Japanese Rice Bran, a natural ingredient with soothing enzymes and antioxidant properties which effectively resurface and gently exfoliate the skin to reveal a healthy glow and smoother complexion. On top of that, it also has Sorbitol and Hyaluronic Acid to help retain moisture whilst skin is thoroughly cleansed. This is in contrast to other brands of powder wash which tend to contain talc (which causes irritation and dryness to sensitive and inflamed skin), SLS/SLES (which gives cleansers the foamy, bubbly consistency but at the same time, removes the skin of its natural oils and trigger skin irritation), non-fatty alcohol (or drying alcohols which may harm the skin’s protective surface and worsen oily skin), and fragrance.

Truth be told, I had never heard of powder cleansers until the launch last month so naturally, I was very intrigued and bewildered by it, to say the least. Isn’t powder a lot harder to work with? Won’t powder scatter and cause a mess (and this is the main reason I avoid loose powder foundation like the plague)? Like, who actually asked for cleansers, in powder form? Is this another marketing gimmick? I was sceptical. That was, until I tried and tested the powder wash myself.

As it turned out, it was actually pretty easy to use!

WATCH: Live demonstration by a staff from IREN. Notice just how much powder is needed for the wash?

The bottle is also designed to dispense just the amount required (about 1 teaspoon) for each wash, hence minimising wastage (no more oh sh*t! moments). Once the powder is poured onto the palm (and the fine-grained texture feels sooooo soft like icing sugar 😍), slowly mix it with some water and lather into a creamy foam. Then, gently massage it onto the face for 15 seconds before rinsing it with warm water.

WATCH: If you’re terrible at remembering how much 1 teaspoon of powder is, fret not! Just dispense the powder from the bottle only once.

But how effective is this powder wash in removing makeup?

WATCH: Swiped Colourpop Lippie Stix (in Fab Five) once on my hand. Let’s see how much it is removed at the end of the wash!

The (disappointing, I must say) result after a pretty rigorous wash

The (disappointing, I must say) result after a pretty rigorous wash

My verdict?

From this little experiment, it is safe to say that the Super Gentle Daily Powder Wash is only great as an everyday cleanser that is best used on bare face so do remember to take your makeup off completely before arriving at this step!

That said, apart from the skin benefits of this powder wash, it has other major advantages too which jet setters can relate to – you won’t have to check in your cleanser (yay to washing up on long-haul flights!) and you won’t feel like you’re piggybacking Snorlax with something so lightweight in your hand-carry baggage. Be careful not to repackage it in a way that would raise suspicions, though. You definitely don’t want to be wrongfully detained like this lady here.

What are your thoughts on this product? Let me know what you think in the comments below or take a quick poll! 😊

Thanks for reading!

IRÉN Start Afresh Daily Enzyme Powder is now available at Face Shower Bar by IRÉN, on IRÉN SKIN and SHOPEE.

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[INTL BUFFET] Have A Merry Little Christmas & Usher the Year of the Rat with an Imperial Feast @ The Square Restaurant, Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay

Season’s greetings, everyone!

The time for merrymaking is upon us again and that only means one thing – endless parties and gatherings with your loved ones and friends whom you’ve been too busy to meet all year. Sadly, for the incompetent cooks like yours truly, whipping up a dish as simple as an omelette for a potluck can be a real headache. Rather than subjecting your culinary-inept friends (and your stomach) to the unnecessary torture, why not ditch the apron and leave the food preparation to the professionals?

In a food haven that is Singapore, however, buffets are so aplenty that it takes sheer dedication to even shortlist that few locations. Perhaps, we can start from The Square Restaurant at Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay which has quite a number of exciting festive dishes lined up for lunch and dinner!

Have A Merry Little Christmas
(1 – 31 December 2019)

Indulge in an extravagant feast throughout the month of December as The Square Restaurant brings you the finest selection from the land and sea. Expect to see traditional (but improved!) festive favourites such as their 24-hour Roasted Brine Turkey, Roasted Beef Striploin and Roasted Lamb Leg to get you in the Christmas mood alongside an array of the freshest seafood on ice, like the chilled Alaskan King Crab Legs, Half-shell Scallops and sashimi. At the same time, keep in touch with your roots with local delicacies such as The Square Signature Black Pepper Crab and Salted Egg Crayfish.

24-hour Roasted Brine Turkey with Giblet & Cranberry Sauce

24-hour Roasted Brine Turkey with Giblet & Cranberry Sauce

Baked Gammon Ham with Pineapple Sauce

Baked Gammon Ham with Pineapple Sauce

Mediterranean Seabass En Papillote

Mediterranean Seabass En Papillote

Roasted Cumin & Pepper Infused Pork Rib served with Mango Mojo

Roasted Cumin & Pepper Infused Pork Rib served with Mango Mojo

Spanish Seafood Paella

Spanish Seafood Paella

A la Minute Pasta: Salted Egg

A la Minute Pasta: Salted Egg

Making an introductory appearance at the buffet is the à la minute pasta with your choice of sauce between homemade salted egg and Mala. Having tried both sauces, I must say each of them has its own merits and appeal to different taste buds. Salted egg was a little on the thick side (totally apparent in the above picture) and I could taste the chunks of yolk. But as with most salted egg dishes, the possibility of feeling gelat (surfeited?) is there so go easy on the servings. #sayNOtofoodwaste

Mala, on the other hand, was a breath of fresh air. It contains just the right amount of Sichuan peppercorns for me, a novice eater, to enjoy comfortably without being irked by the (many a time excessive) tingly numbness in my mouth. But that said, if you can’t handle spicy food (though I did suggest to have a range of spiciness level for guest to choose from), definitely opt for salted egg instead.

And do remember to make some room for desserts at the end of the meal as you wouldn’t want to miss delectable sweet treats, like The Square Signature Durian Pengat, Log Cake, Chocolate Fondue, Fruit Cake, Tiramisu and other assorted pastries specially curated for Christmas!

Lemon Meringue Cake

Lemon Meringue Cake

Brownie & Hazelnut Cream

Brownie & Hazelnut Cream

Apple Walnut Log Cake

Apple Walnut Log Cake

Apple Almond Puff

Apple Almond Puff

Tiramisu

Tiramisu – which I thought was Milo Dinosaur at first glance WAHAHAHA

Festive Buffet
Lunch
Monday – Saturday (except 25th Dec) · 12.00 pm – 2.30 pm
Adult: $48++ · Child (5-12 years old): $29++ · Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $38++
Dinner
Sunday – Thursday (except 24th, 25th and 31st) · 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
Adult: $68++ · Child (5-12 years old): $39++ · Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $58++
Christmas Eve Buffet Dinner
24th Dec · 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
*includes free-flow martini, beer, wine and soft drinks
Adult: $88++ · Child (5-12 years old): $49++ · Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $78++
Christmas Day Lunch
25th Dec · 12.00 pm – 2.30 pm
Adult: $68++ · Child (5-12 years old): $39++ · Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $58++
Christmas Day Buffet Dinner
25th Dec · 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
Adult: $68++ · Child (5-12 years old): $39++ · Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $58++
New Year’s Eve Buffet Dinner
31st Dec · 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
*includes free-flow beer, wine and soft drinks
Adult: $88++ · Child (5-12 years old): $49++ · Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $78++

Usher the Year of the Rat with an Imperial Feast
(8 January – 8 February 2020)

Hold off your New Year’s resolution of getting back in shape because the feasting is not quite over yet! With the Year of the Rat exactly one month away from Christmas, brace yourselves for another round of edible temptation coming at you from every direction in January!

For many Chinese families, zi char places and Chinese restaurants are usually the gathering point for reunion dinners, and it’s always the same old dishes offered in the set menus. Worse, the prices of these dinner sets can only rise each year while portions remain unchanged or get reduced. Share the same sentiments? Then, you might want to relook the style of your reunion dinner this coming Chinese New Year.

How about a reunion buffet dinner for a change? That way, you will be ensured everyone gets their fill from a myriad of dishes at their leisure (like, you know how some restaurants churn out dish after dish and you feel pressured to speed up your eating? SO STRESSFUL) and you actually pay according to how much each person can consume? Yes, extended families with a brood of very young offspring and blessed with longevity, buffet dinner should be the way to go. And The Square Restaurant has just the what is needed to satisfy diners of all ages.

Yu Sheng (charged separately at S$68++ for Medium or $88++ for Large, excluding 20% discount for dine-in guest). Of course, your Yu Sheng will not be presented as such. This is exclusively for media.

Fa Cai Yu Sheng (charged separately at S$68++ for Medium or $88++ for Large, excluding 20% discount for dine-in guest). Of course, your Yu Sheng will not be presented as such. This is exclusively for media 😜

Your Fa Cai Yu Sheng (courtesy of Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay)

Your Fa Cai Yu Sheng (courtesy of Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay)

From an assortment of BBQ meats, Poached Broccoli with Dried Oysters and Black Moss to Wok-fried Salted Egg Prawn and Laksa, the buffet boasts a good mix of traditional and modern Chinese New Year delicacies that is bound to please the pickiest and most demanding of taste buds. On top of that, the more hands-on family members would also find themselves immersing themselves in the experience at the DIY Kong Bak Bao station. What better way to bridge the generation gap between the young and old than to offer your elders the Kong Bak Baos you have specially prepared for them, right? 😉

Roasted Grain-fed Beef Striploin

Roasted Grain-fed Beef Striploin

Braised Broccoli with Dried Oysters & Black Moss

Braised Broccoli with Dried Oysters & Black Moss

Wok-fried Salted Egg Prawn

Wok-fried Salted Egg Prawn

Hong Kong-style Steamed Pomfret

Hong Kong-style Steamed Pomfret

The Square Signature Black Pepper Crab

The Square Signature Black Pepper Crab

Assorted Chinese BBQ Platter

Assorted Chinese BBQ Platter

Assorted Chinese BBQ Platter

Assorted Chinese BBQ Platter

Braised Pork Rib with Chinese Mushrooms & Bamboo Shoot

Braised Pork Rib with Chinese Mushrooms & Bamboo Shoot

Lastly, round off the hearty meal with more than just a boring bowl of mango pomelo sago. Everyone at the table gets to pick from a variety of pastries infused with local flavours including but not limited to Pandan Egg Tart, Taro Butter Cake, Bak Kwa Chicken Floss Swiss Roll and Golden Sesame Ball. Not really a pastry person? Sure. Have a go at the Chilled Peach Gum with Red Dates and Dried Longan – which is an absolute favourite of my plus-one because it is tasty yet so healthy – or Pan-fried Nian Gao. Are you salivating yet?

Pandan Egg Tart

Pandan Egg Tart

Bak Kwa Chicken Floss Swiss Roll

Bak Kwa Chicken Floss Swiss Roll

Savoury and juicy sweetmeat wrapped with pastry dough and topped with chicken floss, this ingenious creation was a hit at the media tasting session. I never liked bak kwa, but I just couldn’t resist taking seconds of this. It was hea-ven-ly.

Orange Mousse Cake with Red Berry Jelly

Orange Mousse Cake with Red Berry Jelly

The Orange Mousse Cake is another top pick of mine and I am pretty sure it accounted for most of my calories gained that night – but damn was it worth it! The yellow strip of fondant icing – which I strongly feel should not just be on both ends of the cake because without it, the cake is better off in the Christmas buffet spread – has a citrusy note to it and the slight sourness of the red berry jelly filling prevents the mousse from being too cloyingly sweet. There is simply no reason to dislike this.

Taro Butter Cake

Taro Butter Cake

Chinese New Year may be more than a month away from now, but it’s never too early to start making your reservations. Act fast before your preferred dates are fully booked!

Prosperity Buffet
Lunch
Monday – Saturday · 12.00 pm – 2.30 pm
Adult: $48++ · Child (5-12 years old): $29++ · Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $38++
Sunday Brunch
Sundays only · 12.30 pm – 3.00 pm
Adult: $68++ · Child (5-12 years old): $39++ · Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $58++
Dinner
Sunday – Thursday (except 26th Jan) · 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
Adult: $68++ · Child (5-12 years old): $39++ · Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $58++
Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner
24th Jan · 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
*includes free-flow wine, beer and soft drinks
Adult: $88++ · Child (5-12 years old): $49++ · Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $78++
Chinese New Year Dinner
25th & 26th Jan · 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
Adult: $68++ · Child (5-12 years old): $39++ · Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $58++
Fa Cai Yu Sheng
$68++ for Medium · $88++ for Large
(20% discount for all dine-in guests)

Overall, The Square Restaurant has impressed me not only with their palatable offerings, but also their creative spin on traditional dishes. I mean, just look at the presentation of the desserts especially! The effort is unmistakable.

Thanks for reading!

The Square Restaurant @ Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay • 177A River Valley Rd Singapore 179031 • For more information on buffet timings, please visit Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay’s WEBSITE

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REVIEW: K-Palette Futae Labo Real Double Eyelid

Hello everyone!

Regardless of where we are in the world, there are bound to be specific sets of beauty norms that we are supposed to subscribe to. In Asia in particular, large almond-shaped eyes are prized for their exotic appearance while double eyelids are favoured over monolids as the latter causes eyes to look small, disinterested (or sleepy, for the lack of better words) and lacklustre.

Having been on the receiving end of criticisms about my less-than-ideal facial features for most of my life, the pressure to get a permanent fix has always been there. But the thought of going under the knife for non-medical reasons (especially for superficial ones like this) does not sit well with conservatives like me. Thus, I had already resigned to the fact that I would never be able to achieve well-defined eyelid creases, and that no matter how much effort is put into creating an elaborated eye makeup, it would ultimately be tucked away beneath my hooded eyelids 😑

Eyelids: Now you see me, now you don't

Eyelids: Now you see me, now you don’t

That is, until Futae Labo Real Double Eyelid by K-Palette – a weightless formula which promises to create natural-looking eyelid creases – burst into my life. Unlike the many double eyelid products that you might have seen in the market (most of which are adhesive tapes which, in my opinion, do a terrible job of being discreet), this product comes in the form of liquid.

Hmmm… that’s just eyelid glue, isn’t it?

*finger wags* 

This is heaps better than your usual eyelid glue. This is a game-changer.

K-Palette Futae Labo Real Double Eyelid (~S$18)

K-Palette Futae Labo Real Double Eyelid (~S$18)

Over the years, double eyelid glue has gotten a bad rep for being a pain to use (higher chance of messing up the application and having to reapply), turning white upon contact with water or flaking off a few hours into wear so I would be lying if I said I wasn’t sceptical about this new product at all. Fortunately, none of these happened during my tryout and it was surprisingly easy to apply even for unseasoned users like yours truly!

For the uninitiated, K-Palette is a Japanese beauty brand best known for its highly-rated 1 Day Tattoo eyebrow liners and eyeliners so I think it is safe to say that you can also expect comparable performance from their latest addition.

K-Palette Futae Labo Real Double Eyelid

K-Palette Futae Labo Real Double Eyelid

Without any indication of what the product is sans its pretty hexagonal-looking see-through packaging, the unassuming design of the tube could easily be mistaken for a varnish of sorts, so it’s advisable that you label it if you don’t intend to keep the packaging. Like most nail polishes, this comes with white nylon brush attached to the cap as well for application on-the-go, and it’s perfectly sized to fit the smallest of purses. Also included is a Y-shaped fork which helps to reinforce the double eyelids.

K-Palette Futae Labo Real Double Eyelid

K-Palette Futae Labo Real Double Eyelid

As with many other foreign products from non-English speaking countries, essential information, such as the ingredient list and instructions (there are pictorial guides, but those aren’t sufficient for me), is written entirely in Japanese on the packaging so the onus is on the user to find out how the glue should be applied online (or using Google Translate? Ain’t nobody got time for that 😶).

But lucky for you, I’ve done all the necessary homework so you needn’t have to! And I strongly believe this step-by-step guide doesn’t just apply to this product, but other eyelid glues too 😉

For starters, you’d need to decide on the location of the new creases. If you have hooded lids like mine, I would advise against forging the crease too far away from the upper lash line because it will look very unnatural (and your eyes may end up looking smaller and more tired than before because the hooded lids would be pushed down, if you get what I mean). I opted to have mine somewhere in the middle of the crescent, which is slightly above my natural crease line. Then, gently mark the lines with other sharp end of the Y-fork so the lids would crease more naturally after the glue has been applied.

Application

Application

The recommended number of coats by K-Palette is one for each lid, but being the kiasu person I am, I reckon my brush went over about thrice which took about three minutes in all to dry down completely. So yup, in the interest of time, stick to one or two coats at the maximum. Do ensure that the eye is fully closed during the application process because any slight bunching of the lid could ruin the whole thing.

Before and after glue dries down

Before and after glue dries down

The "Y" side of the fork is too daunting for me. I prefer using the other side 🤣

The “Y” side of the fork is too daunting for me. I prefer using the other side 🤣

Each swipe renders a white semi-viscous layer of glue which dries to a clear semi-matte finish. There would still be a sheen to it but it is only noticeable at a close distance (or not if you have sparkly eye makeup on). Once the tackiness is gone (very crucial as the creases may stick to each other if the glue is still tacky and you will have to start all over again), hike up the lids again with the Y-fork as you open your eyes and ta-dah! Double eyelids! 😁

DOUBLE. EYE. LIDS.

DOUBLE. EYE. LIDS.

Not perfect yet as this was just one of the first few trials

Not perfect yet as this was just one of the first few trials

As a novice in using eyelid glue, I had one burning question which, for the record, no other websites had touched on (like, seriously? So everyone uses the glue on bare lids, aye? 🙄) – how should it be applied with eye makeup?  After a few rounds of trial and error, I can conclude that it should only be applied on top of your eye makeup, or as the final step. The drawback of this is that your bristles would be stained by the makeup though, so be sure to give them a little rinse under the tap before the next application.

With eye shadow on and I SWEAR I DID NOT MTXX (OR PHOTOSHOP) MY EYES. The world of difference eyelids make to the eyes! Now you know my eyes aren't actually small - they've just been overshadowed by my hooded lids >:(

With eye shadow on and I SWEAR I DID NOT MTXX (OR PHOTOSHOP) MY EYES. The world of difference eyelids make to the eyes! Now you know my eyes aren’t actually small – they’ve just been overshadowed by my hooded lids 😡

What about eyeliner? Well, this depends on how budge-proof your eyeliner is (Kat Von D Tattoo Liner FTW!). I personally line my eyes after applying the glue because I’d be simply too lazy to redraw them 😂

Sorry for the potato quality.. Taken with my S9 at night, about 12 hours into wear!

Sorry for the potato quality.. Taken with my S9 at night, about 12 hours into wear!

Having worn the glue out on several occasions already, I must say I’m extremely impressed by how long my double eyelids held up. In fact, it lasted the whole day without any of the flaking nonsense. And because the formula is also waterproof, you can cry your heart out at the movies without having to worry if the glue would turn white and fall off midway 😶

B-but how do I remove it at the end of the day?  Oh no, you don’t. It’s permanent! Isn’t that what we all want? MUAHAHAHA.

I kid (sigh!). Your makeup remover should do the trick 😉

Is this something you monolid/hooded lid people would consider getting to enhance your appearance? Let me know in the comments below or take a quick poll!

Thanks for reading!

K-Palette Futae Labo Real Double Eyelid is now available on Lazada and Japalang Store.

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Centrum® Women: The All-In-One Multivitamin Specially Designed for Us!

Hello everyone!

Many people would agree that turning 21 is the biggest milestone in life. After all, it’s the age of majority in Singapore, our gateway to adulthood as we finally meet all age requirements at the cinemas, polling station and not forgetting – if you’re a Singaporean – for receiving the annual GST voucher (this was the greatest deal to me, man! But being born in November meant that I’d only usually be eligible for anything in the following year 😒).

*cough* You know, I know

*cough* You know, I know (source)

Sadly, life also starts going downhill from then on. From the increasing prominence of  dark circles and saggy jowls to declining energy levels and metabolic rate, my body has been inevitably experiencing a multitude of degenerative changes as I inch towards my 30s. Even without looking at the mirror, I can already feel age creeping up on me as I squint my eyes more often than not to get a better view of things (crow’s feet very soon?) and notice how brittle my nails have become.

Granted, we can’t play God and stop the ageing process, but we certainly can slow it down by eating a healthy, balanced diet that promises all the essential vitamins and nutrients we need. But seriously though, who has the time (and money) for that? The last thing I want to do after a hard day’s work is to fret about what should be on my plate instead of indulging in the food I love (which more often than not are practically void of any nutritional value 🙊 *cough* bubble tea and fried chicken *cough*). And honestly, I don’t know how some people do it but damn, it takes an insane amount of discipline to resist all the temptations in a food haven like Singapore!

That's not to say that I condone unhealthy lifestyle habits but there are times when we need to give ourselves a pat on the back, y'know? Like today, I wrestled with my dog just so that I could brush his teeth. Surely I deserved a bowl of laksa as reward?

That’s not to say that I condone unhealthy lifestyle habits but there are times when we need to give ourselves a pat on the back, y’know? Like today, I wrestled with my dog just so that I could brush his teeth. Surely I deserved a bowl of laksa as reward?

And while doing so, how do we ensure that we still meet our nutritional needs? That’s when multivitamins like Centrum® come into play!

Centrum for Women

Centrum for Women

A household name to even the least health-conscious Singaporeans *raises hand* (I mean, they’re not lauded as the world’s number 1 multivitamin brand for nothing!), Centrum® may have been around for as long as I can remember but it was only recently that I started taking the multivitamins (all the HPB infographics have definitely gotten to me). Unlike many other brands I’ve seen, Centrum® does not seem to take a one-size-fits-all approach – they have multivitamins catered to the various needs of each gender and age group (i.e. kids, teens, adults, elderly) specifically. Therefore, if you’re pushing 30 like me, Centrum® Women would be the ideal choice.

NEWSFLASH

Dear 90’s kids, you are old. 

What is Centrum® Women all about, though?

Simply put, it is the complete multivitamin (A-Z!) that helps fill the specific nutrition gaps of women below 50 (hit the golden age? Here’s something else for you!).

Double the protection layer! Child-resistant caps and a protective seal which was a pain to peel in its entirety 😅

Double the protection layer! Child-resistant caps and a protective seal which was a pain to peel in its entirety 😅

Since men and women have different body compositions and nutritional needs, it would be ludicrous if we shared the same dietary supplement.

Since men and women have different body compositions and nutritional needs, it would be ludicrous if we shared the same dietary supplement.

So what’s in it for us? Based on the latest findings in nutritional science, Centrum® for Women has more Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D, as well as over 20 other important nutrients* to support optimal health for modern women from the inside out. Besides fostering a healthy immune system and maintaining bone strength, the multivitamin is also made up of the essentials that keep our eyes (great for OLs who need to spend hours in front of the computer screen), nails (hear ye, manicure addicts!), skin and hair functioning strong. Never seem to get adequate rest no matter how early you hit the sack? Perhaps the B vitamins (e.g. Vitamins B6, B12, and Folic Acid) and iron present in each tablet would be the answer to your tiredness and fatigue!

TL;DR in colour for you (you’re welcome!)

Let’s not forget the fact that women in my generation would also be in their childbearing years now. Getting enough of Folic Acid can greatly reduce the chances of neurological birth defects too!

*be sure to check if you are allergic to any of these vitamins or minerals
The so-called "ingredients"..

The so-called “ingredients”.. Sorry for the terrible lighting. Click here for the full list!

The other side of the packaging

The other side of the packaging

Each bottle contains 60 tablets which would essentially last you 2 months. And don’t you hate it when you miss your dosing schedule? Well, this hardly happens to me with Centrum® Women because there isn’t a strict regimen to follow per se. Pop one tablet a day with (optimally) or after any meal (but I usually take it with breakfast or lunch because kiasu) and you’re good!

If only these are grape flavoured!

If only these are grape flavoured!

Having only been on Centrum® Women for a month thus far, it is still too early to tell if it has improved my overall health (I’m not really in poor health to begin with lah.. I think.. hahaha hope I’m not jinxing myself). But one thing I know for sure is that my energy level has restored quite a bit. I guess that’s a good sign, eh? 😁

If you’re fortunate enough not to feel the effects of ageing yet (yet hor!), it won’t hurt starting on some of these multivitamins because it’s never too early to power up your life! So watcha waitin’ for?! Visit your nearest Watsons, Guardian or Unity Pharmacy outlet now!

Thanks for reading!

This post was done in collaboration with CENTRUM SINGAPORE.

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[FAST FOOD] FIRST IN SINGAPORE: Mom’s Touch Chicken & Burger at Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ)

Hello everyone!

East-siders have one more reason to rejoice: along with the opening of Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ), popular South Korean fast food chain Mom’s Touch has also launched their first-ever Singapore outlet at the mall!

Courtesy of No Signboard Holdings

Courtesy of No Signboard Holdings

Here, Mom’s Touch – which presently has over 1,200 stores across South Korea and is established in major cities in the USA, Taiwan and Vietnam – offers the same famous chicken and burger dishes that they are particularly noted for in an al fresco dining setting (still sheltered in a way, so you are safe from the rain, the harsh afternoon sun and now, the annoying haze – just no air-conditioner, yeah?). Plus, since it is located at the open space right next to Paya Lebar MRT station (so exit from the fare gates on the first level), it would be impossible to miss!

Back in their home country, Mom’s Touch has always been touted as the restaurant that serves properly-made food. In fact, for the uninitiated, the brand name Mom’s Touch derives from the notion of the way mothers prepare meals for their families – heartwarming – so you can certainly expect your food to be prepared with a great deal of passion and flair. Their renowned chicken, for instance, is hand-battered and hand-breaded in the kitchen and marinated with their very own special blend of seasoning for a fuller, tender and juicier taste.

Mom's Touch (SG) on opening night

Mom’s Touch (SG) on opening night – queue immediately started forming the moment the restaurant announced that there were still limited amount of fried chickens left

Despite being a newcomer to our shores, Mom’s Touch seems to have already won the hearts of the locals as evident from the snaking queue formed outside their PLQ outlet when it first opened its doors to the public on 30 August (though, to be fair, many of the patrons were Koreans who probably missed home, and there was an irresistible 3-day opening offer as well). The demand got so overwhelming that everything (the mains) was sold out by 5pm on the first day (😱❗) that even food bloggers like myself who were invited down for media tasting in the evening had to be turned away. A few of us eventually stayed to try the desserts and a few sample portions of their fried and sauced chicken (apparently they brought in more chickens towards closing time but still ran out of buns to make burgers) so as not to waste the trip. Even though we were only expecting a few menu items, it wasn’t until 40 minutes later that we finally got them. So… hungry…

Left: Citrus Yuzu Orange Ade / Right: Raspberry Melon Ade

Left: Citrus Yuzu Orange Ade / Right: Raspberry Melon Ade (all at S$3.80 each)

Mom's Spicy Sauced Chicken

Mom’s Spicy Sauced Chicken (1 pc: S$3.80 / 2 pc combo meal: S$8.90 / 3 pc combo meal: $12.00)

Mom's Fried Chicken

Mom’s Fried Chicken (1 pc: S$3.60 / 2 pc combo meal: S$8.70 / 3 pc combo meal: $11.70)

But the food sat well on my palate – Mom’s Fried Chicken (available in spicy and non-spicy versions, though I must say the spiciness didn’t really hit me) was crispy and non-greasy while the sauced-drenched Mom’s Spicy Sauced Chicken was tantalising to say the least. It was also juicy and succulent – yum! Between both flavours, the latter stood out more because of its more flavourful aroma and sweetness. That said, opt for both on your first visit. After all, you can never go wrong with fried chicken.

Cajun fries

Cajun fries (S: S$2.60 / M: S$3.40)

The cajun fries we had were served fresh from the fryer so they were very crunchy on the outside and fluffy inside. Taste-wise, I thought they were comparable to Popeye’s which is one of my go-to places for cajun fries, so no complaints there.

Black Sesame Sundae

Black Sesame Sundae (S$3.80)

As for desserts, we were served Black Sesame Sundae which was essentially vanilla ice-cream topped with a pretty generous dose of black sesame powder, a few sticks of Oreo Pocky and some vanilla waffle biscuits which gave an added crunch to the whole texture – nothing really groundbreaking here but it was surely a great dessert to end a savoury meal.

Fortunately, a second tasting session was held and I was able to try most of their signature dishes. As it was on a weekday afternoon, the queue would have died down significantly. Still, we were not spared from the relatively long waiting time of about 20 minutes. Granted, it was an improvement from the previous visit but it was still a stretch for a fast food restaurant.

Post-promotional period.. there's still queue omagawd!

Post-promotional period.. there’s still queue omagawd!

Joining me at the panel was a companion who couldn’t quite take spicy so we ordered both Mom’s Thigh Burger and Mom’s Spicy Thigh Burger (what suggestive and cannibalistic names though… 🤔) to provide you with the most balanced views.

L-R: (Cajun) Cheese Fries, Peach Pear Ade, Elderflower Apple Ade

L-R: (Cajun) Cheese Fries (S$4.40), Peach Pear Ade, Elderflower Apple Ade (at S$3.80 each)

The packaging of the burger!

The packaging of the burger!

Dinner of the day! Burgers, L-R: Mom's Thigh Burger, Mom's Spicy Thigh Burger

Dinner of the day! Burgers, L-R: Mom’s Thigh Burger (a la carte: S$5.70 / combo meal: S$8.20), Mom’s Spicy Thigh Burger (a la carte: S$6.00 / combo meal: S$8.50)

Close-up of spicy patty

Close-up of spicy patty

Non-spicy patty

Non-spicy patty

Both burgers came with the same chicken patty, freshly cut lettuce, onions and pickles with the only difference being the type of sauce used – Mom’s Thigh Burger was infused with homemade burger sauce while the spicy version drizzled with authentic Korean spicy sauce. Even though the sauce was given in generous amounts that could potentially turn anything soggy, the crispiness of the patty crust could still be distinctively felt with every bite and the buns remained fluffy and light. On the downside, we thought the tenderness of the patty was largely overshadowed by the insanely crispy batter, so much so that the meat felt almost non-existent in contrast.

Fleshy, succulent meat..

Fleshy, succulent meat..

What disappointed us more, however, was how different the actual thing looked from the images depicted on all their promotional materials which show an exaggeratedly thick stack of ingredients slapped between the buns (I’m sure it was done from a marketing standpoint to showcase what go into the burger more clearly but still… clueless people like us would naturally assume that the height is attributed to the thick patty instead) and that kinda distorted our expectations. I think the same issue applies to the other burgers as well, so take note and don’t have high hopes 🤣

I haven’t been to any of their outlets in South Korea so I cannot tell if the quality and taste are consistent with the original. But based on what I have tried so far, the food is decent, something different from the usual Korean fare here, I guess. Of course, there are many more items on the menu which we didn’t get to eat because our little stomach could only handle this much food. So the only way for you to verify our reviews is to try them for yourselves! Just be prepared to wait, okay? 😬

What is/are on your must-try list? If you’ve eaten at Mom’s Touch in South Korea before, are you excited about their arrival here? Otherwise, would you be keen to give Mom’s Touch a try? Let me know your thoughts and reviews (if you’ve already tasted the food) in the comments below!

On a side note, travelling 2800 miles to South Korea to get our Korean food fix may soon be unnecessary as more of such foreign-based restaurant chains permeate our local F&B scene! Woohoo!

Thanks for reading!

Mom’s Touch Chicken & Burger · Paya Lebar Quarter, 10 Paya Lebar Quarter, #01-37, Singapore 409057 · Operating hours: 10 am – 10 pm (including public holidays) · Nearest MRT station: Paya Lebar (EW8/CC9) · For more information, please visit Mom’s Touch FACEBOOK PAGE, INSTAGRAM or WEBSITE.

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😁