[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聽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 馃槣 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 (涓鏉ラ『) 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 馃榿 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 路 Takashimaya Square, b2, 391 Orchard Road Singapore 238873 路 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) 路 Nearest MRT station: Orchard (NS22) 路 For more information, please visit Takashimaya Facebook page, Instagram or website.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for bite-sized food updates!
Be sure to watch out for my Stories because that’s where I post my tasty encounters
馃榿

[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聽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 馃槣

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 馃槅), 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 馃檴). Take notes, prospective restaurateurs – that’s one way of being more environmentally-friendly without compromising on the diners’ experience! *cough*nostrawmovement*cough*聽

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

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for bite-sized food updates!
Be sure to watch out for my Stories because that’s where I post my tasty encounters
馃榿

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

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? 馃槈

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聽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聽路 12.00 pm – 2.30 pm
Adult: $48++ 路 Child (5-12 years old): $29++ 路 Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $38++
Sunday Brunch
Sundays only 路 12.30 pm – 3.00 pm
Adult: $68++ 路 Child (5-12 years old): $39++ 路 Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $58++
Dinner
Sunday – Thursday (except 26th Jan) 路 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
Adult: $68++ 路 Child (5-12 years old): $39++ 路 Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $58++
Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner
24th Jan 路 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
*includes free-flow wine, beer and soft drinks
Adult: $88++ 路 Child (5-12 years old): $49++ 路 Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $78++
Chinese New Year Dinner
25th & 26th Jan 路 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
Adult: $68++ 路 Child (5-12 years old): $39++ 路 Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $58++
Fa Cai Yu Sheng
$68++ for Medium 路 $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 鈥 177A River Valley Rd Singapore 179031 鈥 For more information on buffet timings, please visit Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay’s WEBSITE

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Singapore Favourite Food Village 2015 @ Read Bridge

MEDIA INVITE

Hey everyone!

Clarke Quay has always been perceived as an expensive tourist attraction聽caused by overpriced booze and food along Boat Quay. Therefore most聽locals聽tend to shun that area and find nightlife elsewhere.聽But since last Friday, hordes聽of hungry people (more than 80,000 over the weekend) – both locals and tourists alike – have been streaming into this historical landmark to satisfy their craving for Singaporean food. If you’re guessing that a new restaurant has opened its doors at Boat Quay, you’re quite close!

This sudden buzz of activity is due to the Singapore Favourite Food Village聽(presented by Esso LPG) along Read Bridge which sees a聽vast variety of聽hawkers and young chefs gathering to serve up traditional Teochew favourites and new cross-cuisine offerings under one roof. If you’re close enough, you could even catch a whiff of all the scrumptious food coming from the makeshift booths located outside the large white tent specially set up for this 10-day event.

Why Teochew? Well, while most are familiar with the history of Singapore River, not many are actually aware of the transformation that had taken place throughout the years around it. Once stood along Singapore’s iconic river long before the country gained independence was Ellenborough Market which was subsequently nicknamed “Teochew Market”聽as聽the聽Teochews聽populated the area with nearby hawker stalls specialising in well-known Teochew food. However, a big fire struck the wet market in 1968 and wiped out most of it as a result. The remains of the building was then demolished to make way for housing flats in the 1970s. As a Teochew myself, I’m quite ashamed not to have known about this important aspect of the Teochew community’s history in Singapore so I’m glad to have been enlightened through this Teochew-dedicated food fair (and I hope you will too!).

Here are some highlights of the Singapore Favourite Food Village to prep your stomach if you’re planning to make a trip down this coming weekend.

The crazy crowd on opening day

The crazy crowd on opening day

Don't worry about getting your hands and mouth dirty. SFFV has got you covered!

Don’t worry about getting your hands and mouth dirty. SFFV has got you covered! (Yes, tissue packs are free at the information counter)

Teochew opera!

Teochew opera! (Psst… you wouldn’t believe that the person behind this thick opera makeup was actually actor Nick Shen himself! His passion for Chinese opera is really laudable 馃檪 )

(Brace yourself (and your tummy) because a truckload of tantalising food pictures is coming. Ready?)

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Spicy crab (S$10 for 5 pieces) at Ming Lang

Spicy crab

Spicy crab (S$10 for 5) at Ming Lang

BBQ Satay

BBQ Satay (3 sticks for $10) at Gold Bridge

Nonya Otah (S$0.50) / Nonya Mackeral Fish Otah (S$1.30)

Nonya Otah (S$0.50) / Nonya Mackeral Fish Otah (S$1.30) at Uncle’s Otah

The two famous meat from this booth are: Suckling Pig (S$188 whole/ S$100 half/ S$12 small), Roasted Duck (S$40 whole/ S$20 half/ S$8 small)

The two highly sought-after聽meat from this booth are: Suckling Pig (S$188 whole/ S$100 half/ S$12 small), Roasted Duck (S$40 whole/ S$20 half/ S$8 small) at Jia Le Hong Kong Roasted Food

I didn’t manage to try the roasted meat but a fellow food blogger who was also present at the event remarked that the Suckling Pig was good and it was sold out before 9pm. So make sure you’re there early to try it!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Kebab at Indian House

Beverage booth where you can get some booze

Beverage booth where you can get some booze

Tiger Radler beer

This newly-launched Tiger Radler beer (S$5) is our refreshing thirst quencher of the day

Salted Egg York Carrot Cake

Salted Egg York Carrot Cake (S$6/S$8) at Everything Foods

As a sucker for all things salted egg, I was thrilled to know that聽it has been incorporated into one of my all-time favourite hawker food – fried carrot cake! It’s a very memorable dish with flavours that are incredibly complementary. The taste of the salted egg was slightly more聽overwhelming (but in a wonderful way)聽so聽it was the first thing that聽hit my palate the moment I deposited聽a tiny piece in my mouth. The creamy salted egg could also be seen oozing out from the sides. The portion, however, is a teeny-weeny bit small for the price but it’s definitely one of the best dishes聽at the SFFV.

Char Siew Pork Spare Ribs with Steamed Rice (S$8) at Fern & Kiwi Bar & Eatery

Char Siew Pork Spare Ribs with Steamed Rice聽(S$8) at Fern & Kiwi Bar & Eatery

Char Siew Pork Spare Ribs with Steamed Rice (S$8) at Fern & Kiwi Bar & Eatery

Char Siew Pork Spare Ribs with Steamed Rice (S$8) at Fern & Kiwi Bar & Eatery

Drenched in sweet marinade and drizzled with sesame seeds, these soft, tender and value-for-money聽honeyed pork ribs聽promise a burst of flavours with every bite. Although聽we forwent the rice to allow聽space for more food,聽I thought the price was still quite reasonable (especially coming from an upscale restaurant very well-known for its racks) because honestly, the pork ribs were聽incredible.

Teochew Pig Trotter at Everything Foods

Teochew Pig’s Trotter Lor Mee (S$6.50) at Everything Foods

Teochew Lor Mee at Everything Foods

Teochew Pig’s Trotter Lor Mee (S$6.50) at Everything Foods

Teochew Lor Mee at Everything Foods

Teochew Pig’s Trotter Lor Mee (S$6.50) at Everything Foods

If you’re looking to fill your stomach on a budget, the Teochew Pig’s Trotter Lor Mee is one dish that is worth checking out. For just $6.50, you not only get a bowl of piping hot Chinese braised noodles served in thick starchy gravy, you also get to enjoy some gelatinous pig’s trotter.聽The gravy used in both had a subtle herbal taste that gave the dish an overall delicate flavour. The pig’s trotter is聽also unctuously聽layered with fatty skin (I’d say 80% fats, 20% lean meat), making it the perfect guilty pleasure food for those聽with a strong preference for fatty meat.

Mee Siam at Everything Foods

Mee Siam (S$5) at Everything Foods

Mee Siam at Everything Foods

Mee Siam (S$5) at Everything Foods

Adding to the parade of delectable local delicacies is聽a bowlful of toothsome and light vermicelli soaked in a well-balanced (sweet and sour) gravy and generously topped with shrimps, hard boiled egg and tau pok (fried bean curd). In terms of spiciness, my tongue wasn’t screaming relief even though I added extra chilli. But taste-wise, it’s more or less the same as what you’d find at food courts and hawker centres.

Golden Curry Chicken Rice at Kopi Roti

Golden Curry Chicken Rice (S$5) at Kopi Roti

This is a rice dish as聽the name suggests but on the overall I felt it聽was too underwhelming for the price (although mine was sponsored). The chicken was a pain to eat because of the lack of meat and聽the potato could do with a bit more time in the pot. The curry was decent but average as compared to those I’ve had before聽so unless you’re really dying to have some coconut milk in your body system, I say blow your money on something else.

Cold Crab Teochew Style (S$12+) by Swiss么tel Merchant Court

Cold Crab Teochew Style (S$12+) by Swiss么tel Merchant Court

Don’t expect to be served a big crab if that’s what you’re anticipating.聽Instead, you’d be given聽a full miniature crab (that’s right, 2 pincers) served cold yet fresh by the chef of Swiss么tel Merchant Court himself. The shell didn’t come broken (although聽I’m sure the chef would be more than happy to crack them聽for you upon request) but聽with a less sturdy shell due to its small size, the meagre amount of meat can be retrieved easily if you have the patience to rip the crab apart with your hands (make sure you have wet tissue聽with you聽because I don’t remember seeing sinks聽anywhere) and teeth. Honestly speaking,聽for the amount of meat you can get out of this crab, I don’t think it’s worth all the effort. But if you don’t mind the hassle, by all means give it a go!

Truffle Wanton Noodle (S$8) at Bee Kee Wanton Noodle

Truffle Wanton Noodle (S$8) at Bee Kee Wanton Noodle

Truffle Wanton Noodle (S$8)  at Bee Kee Wanton Noodle

Truffle Wanton Noodle (S$8) at Bee Kee Wanton Noodle

Truffle Wanton Noodle (S$8) by Bee Kee Wanton Noodle

Truffle Wanton Noodle (S$8) at聽Bee Kee Wanton Noodle

I’m probably gonna be slaughtered by qualified food critics (*cough*Gordon Ramsey*cough*) for saying this but I absolutely love truffle oil and its pungent smell (like, you can tell from the picture above right, me totally soaking in the aroma). Therefore I was really looking forward to try the Truffle Wanton Noodle at the fair!

True enough, the very first thing that greeted my nose聽was,聽much to聽the聽chagrin of boyfriend who was pinching his nose while shoving the bowl to me,聽the聽distinctive and unmistakable truffle smell. But that aside, the char siew (roasted pork) was sweet and rather tender.聽The charred sides also added texture and crunch.聽聽However, the wantons, though very crispy, were pretty聽average with (little) fillings that’s not so聽special. The noodles were also a tad too dry even after tossing them with the sauce hidden at the bottom. Therefore, this scores full marks for novelty but relatively lower for execution (after taking into consideration the great char siew and the awesome truffle oil).

Fishball Noodles (S$4.50) at Ming Fa Fishball

Fishball Noodles (S$4.50) at Ming Fa Fishball

What’s a “wok” down memory lane without Ming Fa fishball noodles? Unknown to many, the old Ellenborough food market was actually once home to the聽famous聽fishball noodles so having it on board is indeed a great way to recreate the long gone market.

What I really loved about the fishball noodles were, of course, the super soft and springy fishballs which,聽I swear, were聽among the best I had ever eaten. With a bountiful of ingredients (mushrooms and a truckload of meat! *slurps*), I must say that it聽is really聽a steal and聽especially so for a household name like Ming Fa. Sadly, this doesn’t come in soup version (which is a big boo-boo for me because as a half-Cantonese, I love my noodles to be聽immersed聽in piping hot soup, even for bak chor mee).

Apart from their signature dish, there are聽also minced meat noodles (S$4.50) and laksa (S$4.50) to choose from but seriously, why bother? Just go for the fishball noodles!

Popiah (1 roll for S$3, 2 rolls for S$5) at Good Chance Popiah

Popiah (1 roll for S$3/聽2 rolls for S$5) at Good Chance Popiah

Stationed聽next to Ming Fa Fishball was Good Chance Popiah which specialises in聽Hokkien-style ‘Wrap-It-Yourself’ popiahs at its 149 Silat Avenue outlet. You will not get to create your own popiah at the fair (for obvious reasons) but you can be rest assured that your popiah would come packed with a variety of fresh ingredients such as beansprouts, shredded carrot, omelette, lettuce and turnips. The skin was thin enough to enable聽a large chunk聽to be bitten off without having everything falling apart. My spicy popiah聽(non-spicy option available) tingled my tongue a bit but it was still bearable.

My only gripe was the absence of meat聽(therefore聽making this聽very vegetarian-friendly)聽which I thought was a shame because adding聽meat such as prawns聽would definitely give a richer and more succulent flavour (though the popiahs were already quite tasty on their own).

Kueh Pie Tee (4 for S$2) at Red Lips Kueh Pie Tee

Kueh Pie Tee (4 for S$2) at Red Lips Kueh Pie Tee

Kueh Pie Tee (4 for S$2) at Red Lips Kueh Pie Tee

Kueh Pie Tee (4 for S$2) at Red Lips Kueh Pie Tee

Made from an original Peranakan recipe, this set of four Kueh Pie Tee were nothing short of delicious. Laced with sweet chilli sauce for an added kick, the crusty cups were聽proportionately聽filled with shredded turnip,聽聽omelette聽and garnished with coriander leaf and crushed groundnuts which combine to give a聽mouthful of robust and hearty flavour. It’s also worth noting that these Kueh Pie Tee cups come in frozen packs of 15 as well to satisfy your craving, available at most Cold Storage outlets in Singapore (or you can buy a few boxes directly from their booth at SFFV).

Handmade Smoked Salmon Chee Cheong Fun with Tobiko (S$4) at Da Chang Jin

Handmade Smoked Salmon Chee Cheong Fun with Tobiko (S$4) at Da Chang Jin

Handmade Smoked Salmon Chee Cheong Fun with Tobiko (S$4) at Da Chang Jin

Handmade Smoked Salmon Chee Cheong Fun with Tobiko (S$4)聽at Da Chang Jin

I’ve seen its stall at Holland Drive Market and Food Centre a couple of times during my 6-month internship but聽I didn’t get to buy from聽it because on the day I had finally snapped out of my craving for sliced fish soup (which happened to be my final day at MOE), it had decided to close. I guess fate聽brought me to SFFV last Friday so that I could try their famed Chee Cheong Fun!

But it turned out to be rather disappointing. The smoked salmon was cooked right through when it wasn’t supposed to and I also couldn’t taste the smoked seasoning聽at all. The sauce was nothing to rave about either 馃槮

Ondeh Ondeh Churros (S$5 for 3 pieces)  at Churros Factory

Ondeh Ondeh Churros (S$5 for 3 pieces/ S$9 for 6) at Churros Factory

A true example of when East meets West, this聽snack combines the main elements of one of my favourite Malay kuihs聽and comfort foods to create a new type of crunchy dough pastry that’s guaranteed to take the Singapore street-food scene by storm if it is聽ever going to be popularised.聽Garnished with grated coconut聽and drizzled with gula melaka syrup (in place of cinnamon sugar), these Asian-themed churros exude a pleasantly fragrant pandan aroma聽that’s incredibly inviting.

Chilli Crab Mantou (S$8 for 6 pieces) at The Quarters

Chilli Crab Mantou (S$8 for 6 pieces) at The Quarters

Duriancanboleh (S$7 for 1/ S$12 for 2) at The Quarters

Duriancanboleh (S$7 for 1/ S$12 for 2/ S$30 for 6) at The Quarters

Duriancanboleh (S$7 for 1/ S$12 for 2/ S$30 for 6) at The Quarters

Duriancanboleh (S$7 for 1/ S$12 for 2/ S$30 for 6) at The Quarters

The Duriancanboleh (or durian cr猫me br没l茅e) was the star of the night. Served in a palm-sized aluminium cup, the fusion dessert is topped聽with a warm layer of scorched sugar聽crust that cracks upon impact with the spoon to unveil a perfectly creamy聽and fluffy custard underneath. The decadent custard, infused with聽durian essence, was cold and sweet but not too overpowering. It聽was聽so gratifying and addictive it had me gagging for more!

Assorted Crisps/Peanut Candy (S$3.50 per packet) at Thye Moh Chan

Assorted Crisps/Peanut Candy (S$3.50 per packet) at Thye Moh Chan

Tau Sar Piah at Thye Moh Chan

Tau Sar Piah at Thye Moh Chan

Tau Sar Piah at Thye Moh Chan

Tau Sar Piah at Thye Moh Chan

Tau Sar Piah at Thye Moh Chan

Tau Sar Piah at Thye Moh Chan

If you feel that your stomach is going to explode from overeating, you can always drop by Thye Moh Chan to get some of their packed to-go munchies. 70-year-old Thye Moh Chan (now run by BreadTalk) is known for its authentic handcrafted pastries such as the famous聽Tau Sar Piah above which is聽generously filled with smooth and聽sweet聽mung bean paste and encased in a thick and puffy layer of flaky pastry.

What went down my tummy that day

What went down my tummy that day (but obviously these were shared haha)

With so many mouth-watering food to choose from, it’s highly advisable that you聽go in groups and with an empty stomach so that you can get your hands on all the different types of food while maximising your stomach space. Seats are also very limited so you’d definitely need a partner to hold the table while you get the food.

Also, do note that the stalls only accept cash. You may also want to dress in light, comfortable clothing because it’s gonna be a little stuffy at the fair (and also to hide that bulging tummy after all the binging).

And finally, here’s a floor plan to help you breeze through the final two days of the Singapore Favourite Food Village (you’re welcome):

sffv-2015-floor-plan

[CLICK TO ENLARGE] Breeze through the food village with this handy guide (trust me, you will need it), specially drawn up for you by yours truly

Thanks for reading!

Singapore Favourite Food Village 2015

24 July – 2 August 2015
5:00pm – 11:00 pm
Read Bridge @ Clarke Quay (near Boat Quay)
Nearest MRT: Clarke Quay (exit C)
Free Admission
Website | Facebook聽| #SFFV2015

Durian Fiesta 2015 & Taiwan Porridge Buffet @ Goodwood Park Hotel

Hey everyone!

It’s the time of the year again when the familiar pungent smell of durians fills the air of Geylang and many neighbourhood centres. Lovers of the world’s smelliest fruit crowd around durian stalls island-wide, looking to sink their teeth into the creamy, sweet (or bitter, if you’d like it to be) and fibrous flesh.聽Many聽businesses have also joined in the craze by聽incorporating the king of fruits into their menu聽–聽typically in buffet style聽–聽to entice durian lovers聽like myself聽who want to try something different. However, prices for such durian feasts tend to be on the high side so I had to narrow my choices down to one. And after much deliberation (RWS’ durian buffet looks really tempting too but is unfortunately way beyond my budget), I decided to give Durian Fiesta at Goodwood Park Hotel a go!

Incepted聽in 1983, the Durian Fiesta聽returns annually to much fanfare. This year, to commemorate Singapore’s 50th year of independence, it has also introduced 6 new creations made with D24 durians to the line-up of the durian-centric goodies, twice as many as usual. They are the Instagram-worthy Durian Rainbow Ice Cream Cake, Durian Carrot-Walnut Cake, Mini Durian Chocolate Wafer Rolls, Durian Macarons, Durian Egg Tartlets聽and聽“Mao Shan Wang” Horn which can be purchased at the hotel’s Deli starting from 16 March 2015.

The highly-anticipated聽dessert buffet with聽durian pastries was only available聽from聽30 May during dinner and lunch at the Coffee Lounge. It was so popular that tables on the first week were fully snapped up when I tried to make my reservations.聽I had to wait ’til the following Friday to successfully get one :\

For S$35.80++ per person (or聽top-up S$28.80++ for Dessert Buffet with Durian Pastries with any a la carte main
course order), patrons would be treated to a nice selection of food at the buffet table, including some of the new creations聽that can be quite expensive if bought聽脿 la carte (脿 la carte prices in brackets).

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Durian puffs, one of the signature items offered at the buffet (U.P.聽S$8.55 for 2 pieces; S$21.40 for 6 pieces; S$51.35 for 20 pieces)

A signature at Goodwood Park Hotel, these pretty puffs have lavish swirls of creamy D24 durian carefully聽wedged between fluffy choux pastry cases.

I loved the thick and intensified durian puree and it’s such a fun pastry to eat聽because聽you can easily pop a few of these into your mouth due to its small size! But I felt that the puffs would be a lot nicer if they were refrigerated. Those I had were kept in room temperature for some time so it kinda lacked the shiok factor.

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Durian Mousse Cake (U.P. S$11.75 per slice; S$68.50 for 1.3kg cake; S$128.40 for 2.5kg cake; S$176.55 for 3.5kg cake)

The star that launched the inaugural Durian Fiesta in 1983, this legendary cake is ultimate indulgence with聽generous lashings of pulpy D24 durian mousse.

Probably the main highlight of this buffet, the cake聽scores high on presentation (love the little cubes of durian pastry studded on it) and taste.聽Described by my boyfriend as thick, moist and delicious, the聽cake was 100% pure rich durian which can be quite聽gelat (Singaporean slang for聽flavour overdose caused be having something overly sweet, salty, spicy and etc.) after a while so unless you’re obsessed with durians, you wouldn’t want to go beyond one slice.

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Durian Cappuccino Cake, back by demand after a 3-year absence (U.P.聽 $11.75 per slice; $62.05 for whole cake weighing 1 kg)

Back for the first time since its inception in 2011, this alluring cake is a 30cm-long stack of cappuccino
mousse, lush durian mousse and chocolate sponge ensconced in yellow-gold crumbs of vanilla sponge.

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Durian Macarons (U.P.聽 S$22.45 for 6 pieces)

Given a local slant are these French confections comprising creamy, pulpy聽durian sandwiched between crisp dark chocolate shells 鈥 simple, but satisfyingly聽decadent.

As a macaron lover,聽I was really looking forward to the durian macarons at the buffet! But they left me rather聽disappointed because聽I didn’t think that the (mild taste of) dark chocolate complemented well with the durian center. Boyfriend, on the other hand, felt that he was overdosing on sugar. You know, as boring as it may sound,聽I seriously wouldn’t mind if the macarons were聽made entirely of durians. Wouldn’t that be awesome?! 馃檪

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Durian Wafer Roll (U.P. S$32.10 for 10 pieces)

Delicate in size but brimming with flavour, these thick wafer cylinders curled around聽pulpy durian cream are blanketed in dark chocolate and finished with chopped nuts for聽extra crunch.

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Making of聽Durian Cr锚pe

Making of Durian Cr锚pe

Making of Durian Cr锚pe

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Durian Cr锚pe (U.P. S$9.65 per piece; S$68.50 for 8 pieces)

Featuring creamy durian pulp neatly enveloped in ultra-thin crepe, this stellar dessert makes for a simple聽yet satisfying treat.

The mini durian cr锚pe was prepared聽in full view of the patrons and聽regularly聽replenished because they ran out so quickly. But we personally felt聽that they聽were nothing short of ordinary. The palm-sized cr锚pe was thin聽and not crispy at all (the chef could perhaps leave them on the pan for a little longer). Its only saving grace was the generous amount of聽durian puree聽wedged in the middle.

The above pastries pretty much constitute more than three-quarter of the durian dessert buffet. As you can see, not all the much-hyped new creations were included in the buffet.聽The food choices were indeed very limited too (in fact I was kinda astounded to see the limited selection of food the first time I entered the restaurant) and I wouldn’t recommend paying close to S$40 (seriously, with聽that kind of price for a substandard buffet, I’d rather spend it all on a few kilograms of 绾㈣櫨 durians) for it despite the presence of聽regular sweet treats聽to make up for the shortcoming. Don’t expect to leave the place with a satisfied tummy if you’re merely there for the dessert buffet.

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Other food items available:聽Chocolate Banana Cake

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Sour Sop

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Rocher Roll

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Cheesecake, if my memory doesn’t fail me. It’s actually not bad!

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Ang Ku Kueh

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Kueh Lapis Sagu

Knowing that the dessert buffet wouldn’t fill us up, Boyfriend and I had聽opted for the聽Taiwan porridge 脿 la carte buffet聽which is also聽inclusive of the聽dessert buffet with durian pastries. Although slightly more costly at S$49.80++ per person,聽the price difference of聽S$14++ gives you聽full access to聽free flow of sweet potato porridge and聽classic聽dishes聽so that you can eat to your hearts’ content.聽Furthermore, each guest also gets to enjoy 1 serving of D24 Durian Ice Cream with Rainbow Bread, created in celebration of the nation’s golden jubilee. Without a doubt, this buffet steals the limelight with its聽much wider variety and bigger portions of food聽as compared to the dessert buffet and it would be foolish not to settle聽for this buffet option when you’re there. After all, it’s what Goodwood Park Hotel is well-known for!

All dishes were freshly prepared in the kitchen and served to our table. Here’s what we ordered:

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Taiwanese Sausage (appetiser)

Apart from Taiwanese sausages, there were also Salted Fish with Salted Egg, Baby Squids in Sweet Oyster Sauce, Fried Taman Fish with Sesame Seeds and Shredded Bamboo Shoots with Chilli Oil that you can order for appetisers.

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Fried Omelette with聽Prawns and Onions

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Fried Omelette with Chye Poh

“When in doubt, choose both.”聽Hence,聽we got two different types of fried omelette because we simply couldn’t choose. Both were good and loaded with generous servings聽of prawns and chye poh. The omelette itself was thick and perfectly golden too!

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Wok Fried Beef with Black Pepper

Tender and tasty, the beef slices were sublime with the right chewy texture and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It would be better if more black pepper was聽sprinkled onto the beef though.

Another聽beef dish on the menu was Wok Beef with Spring Onions and Ginger聽which sounds absolutely mouth-watering, I know. I would order that as well if my stomach hadn’t filled to maximum capacity. 馃槓

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Stir Fried Kai Lan with Oyster Sauce

I ordered some greens to complete the meal and to hopefully relieve some of my body heat (from eating too much junk food recently). The Kai Lan was fresh and super crunchy. I loved it so much that I even called for a second serving.

Not a fan of Kai Lan? No worries. There are also other聽vegetable dishes to choose from聽including聽Stir Fried Broccoli with Garlic, Stir Fried French Beans with Dried Shrimps, Stir Fried Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish, Stir Fired Eggplant with Minced Pork and Stir Fried Kang Kong with Sambal. With so many varieties to choose from, you’re bound to find something you like or excites your palate 馃檪

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Saut茅ed Chicken with Dried Chilli (瀹繚楦′竵)

Soft and savoury, the diced chicken glistened with the聽tangy coating sauce. The dried chilli also gave it an聽added tinge of spiciness.聽Yummy! 馃檪

Also available are Saut茅ed Chicken with Spring Onions and Ginger, Fried Chicken with Prawn Paste (铏鹃叡楦) and Stir Fried Chicken with Black Beans. The menu also includes pork dishes such as Muy Choy with Pork, Steamed Minced Pork with Prawn Paste, Braised Pork Belly with Dark Soya Sauce and Shredded Pork with Preserved Vegetables.

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Steamed Sea Bass with Crispy Bean Paste

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Steamed Sea Bass with Crispy Bean Paste

The highlight of the meal, we had our money’s worth out of this steamed Sea Bass.聽The fish was reasonably big for聽2 people and had incredibly聽fresh and tender flesh.聽The layer of fried garlic enhanced the overall flavour of the fish and gave it an extra crunch (saying this even though I absolutely detest fried garlic because I accidentally took a bite of the fish with some fried garlic and actually liked it!).

Unfortunately, fish dishes are only limited to one order per table so we didn’t get to聽try the聽other fish item on the menu –聽Deep Fried Pomfret with Black Soya Sauce. However, you get to enjoy unlimited serving of the聽Saut茅ed Prawns with Dried Chilli which is聽also on the seafood menu.

As we were already partially satiated from the durian buffet, we didn’t have the stomach space for more porridge dishes such as beancurd (boyfriend’s favourite). Beancurd lovers would be ecstatic to know that there are 4 different types of beancurd dishes to choose from namely聽Chilled Beancurd in Japanese Soya Sauce and Pork Floss, Braised Beancurd with Minced Meat, Braised Beancurd with Chicken and Salted Fish and Home Styled Tofu.

Towards the end of the meal, we were served the D24 Durian Ice Cream with Rainbow Bread聽but聽to our disappointment, it turned out to be entirely different from what we had expected.

We got this:

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D24 Durian Ice Cream with Rainbow Bread (S$7.50++)

..when we were actually expecting this:

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Durian Rainbow Ice Cream Cake (S$11.75++)

Imagine our surprise聽when we were served the actual Durian Ice Cream with Rainbow Bread. I couldn’t help but feel slightly cheated. 馃槮

Granted, it was probably our fault for misreading the name but surely Goodwood Park Hotel could have done a better job at coming up with a more distinctive聽name for the rainbow bread, right? Or perhaps, place a picture of the product somewhere on the menu to avoid confusion (especially) among first-timers like us because I’m sure we weren’t the only ones being misled.

But anyway,聽we tried the one with the rainbow bread(a scoop of D24 durian ice cream sandwiched between聽bread)聽and subsequently bought a piece of the Durian Rainbow Ice Cream Cake (a layer of vivid-coloured cake hugging the core of the D24 durian ice cream) before we left the restaurant. Countless photos of the latter have been making聽the rounds on various social media platforms聽so it was absolutely necessary to try it or聽my durian buffet experience would be聽incomplete.聽Both of them contain luscious D24 durian ice cream but of course, the one embedded in the Durian Rainbow Ice Cream Cake was bigger, richer and more satisfying which tasted a lot like the actual fruit. For S$11.75++, you’re actually paying for the novelty. It’s delectable but a little too expensive for a cake slightly bigger than the size of my.. palm? Still, I’d recommend durian lovers to give it a try 馃檪

On the overall, the dessert buffet with durian pastries was a hit or miss and definitely not worth the price tag. But the Taiwan porridge聽脿 la carte buffet was commendable and聽certainly warrants a second visit.

Durian Fiesta Price Options (16 Mar 2015 – 2 Aug 2015)

$35.80++ per person (Dessert Buffet with Durian Pastries only)
$28.80++ per person (Top-up of Dessert Buffet with Durian Pastries with any a la carte main聽course order)
$49.80++ per adult, $24.90++ per child (Taiwan Porridge A La Carte Buffet, inclusive of聽Dessert Buffet with Durian Pastries)

Dine-in prices are subject to 10% service charge and prevailing GST. Child price is for children aged 6 鈥 11 years

That’s all I have for this review!

Thanks for reading 鉂

Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road
Singapore 228221
Durian Fiesta: 16 March 2015 – 2 August 2015
Deli operating hours: 9:00am to 9:00pm
Coffee Lounge operating hours: 12:00pm to 2:30pm (lunch),
6:00pm to 10:30pm (dinner)
Tel: 6737 7411
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Reservations

Tai Lei Loi Kei 婢抽棬澶у埄鏉ヨ鐚墥鍖 @ nex

Hey everyone!

May has been a month of despair for the聽wallet because of all shopping and celebration expenses (Mom’s birthday and聽Mother’s Day)聽and it’s not going to get any better in June (no thanks to聽Father’s Day, boyfriend’s birthday, Chubs’ birthday and a friend’s wedding). To tide through this rather financially difficult period, boyfriend and I would have to scrimp and save on everything else including food, and that’s why we have been having home-cooked meals when we meet, or at budget eateries on certain days of the week. Since boyfriend lives in Serangoon, we would often聽go to聽nex聽for dinner.

Known as the largest mall in the north-east region of Singapore,聽nex (not poor grammar hor, the name of the mall is聽really stylized this way)聽first opened its doors in end 2010 to much fanfare and聽the delight of residents聽living on the other end of the purple MRT line. However,聽not all shops benefit from the surge of patrons obviously, as can be seen from the frequent change of tenants during just聽4 years of its existence. But聽the mall recently聽underwent a聽major tenancy restructuring and brought in quite a number of well-known retailers and food establishments including one restaurant near the bus interchange. When it first opened聽we聽didn’t know it was popular and聽we even dismissed it as another fast food restaurant because its menu shows prominent pictures of burgers.聽Subsequently we kinda avoided that place (partly because it was always crowded) until 2 weeks ago when we聽couldn’t decide on an inexpensive place to eat. Looking聽through the menu again at the entrance,聽we聽came to realise that it was a restaurant from Macau called Tai Lei Loi Kei聽and it’s notable聽for its pork chop bun. It’s even endorsed by Hong Kong celebrities Nicholas Tse and Angelababy!

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Opened in December 2014, this nex outlet is its first in Singapore.

We dined at Tai Lei Loi Kei on two separate occasions to try out different food on the menu. Here’s what we had:

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Bouncy Noodles with Chicken Wings (S$7.90)

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Really nice wings!

The noodles were聽just about the right springiness and texture (love the not-too-soft and not-too-hard kind of chewiness). Flavour was great with a tinge of sweetness.聽My聽egg came with runny yolk and the chicken wings were still crispy even after some time! I was quite surprised by the number of chicken wings in the bowl聽too because it’s akin to serving another a la carte dish (chicken wings on a la carte basis come in 6 pieces) – all for just S$7.90!聽 I mean like c’mon, even a plate of dry noodles with just luncheon meat and egg costs S$8.50++ at Xin Wang Cafe so this聽is undoubtedly an awesome deal man!

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Signature Pork Chop Bun (S$6.90)

Boyfriend ordered this and I took a rather substantial bite out of it (hehe). The patty was a little tough and dry and the bun, though soft and fluffy, didn’t taste anything extraordinary to me. Beats me why this is their signature bun instead of the more delectable polo bun I got for myself.

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Polo Pork Chop Bun (S$6.90)

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Thick pork patty!

The crust is so crispy and the bun on the overall is so (but not overly) sweet, I love it!聽I reckon they used the same kind of patty as the one in the normal bun聽but it somehow tastes less bland and more savoury here. Perhaps the sweetness of the polo bun instantly compensates for the blandness of the patty on the taste buds!

Crave for some desserts? Simply upgrade聽the above mains聽to a set for just S$3-S$5 (price varies for different combo) and you can enjoy a cup of hot/cold beverage and either of the following:

(A la carte prices are reflected in brackets)

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Sawdust Cake in Original and Milo (S$3.50 each)

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Sawdust Cake (Original) – fine crushed biscuits layered with whipped cream

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Sawdust Cake (Milo) – Milo powder layered with whipped cream

These Serradura, or聽“Sawdust” in Portuguese, are the only deserts available at the restaurant and are best eaten chilled. I ate only the聽powder and crush biscuits and avoided most of the whipped cream because that’s what girls on diet do 馃槢

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Our choice of drink: Hot (S$2.60) and Cold (S$2.30) Macau Milk Tea. For set meals, add 10c for a hot drink and 60c for cold

Our milk tea was alright but they tasted really Singaporean, like teh at Kopitiam, lacking the Macanese feel.

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Macau Curry Fish Balls (S$4.90)

The fish balls were chewy and bouncy, very unlike the curry fish balls I had in Hong Kong which was a little tougher. I very much prefer this version because I like fish balls to be light and tender. And don’t be fooled by the piece of chilli in the bowl.聽The fish balls (and curry gravy) don’t taste spicy at all, trust me! 馃檪

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Macau Chicken Wings (S$5.90 for 6pcs)

The same number of chicken wings is聽given for a la carte so I wouldn’t recommend ordering this individually聽because it’s more worthwhile getting it as a set with a main dish.

I haven’t been to Macau so I can’t compare this with the original. But judging from the聽hype around the outlets in Macau, I’m very sure the food tastes a lot nicer there 馃檪

And that’s all for Tai Lei Loi Kei! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more food updates!

Tai Lei Loi Kei聽婢抽棬澶у埄鏉ヨ鐚墥鍖
nex Mall
23 Serangoon Central
#B2-15
Singapore 556083
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Mom’s Birthday @ Crab Party

Hey everyone! Hope your week has been great so far 馃槈

My Mom celebrated her birthday last week and being the eldest child, I had the responsibility of deciding where to take her on her special day. With so many restaurants to choose from, deciding where to eat can be a real headache. After narrowing down my choices, I finally decided on Crab Party which聽has been my go-to restaurant to satisfy my crab craving (mega love the Butter Cream Crab there!) ever since I was introduced to it six years ago.

It wasn’t my Mom’s first time at Crab Party,聽having聽brought my parents to dine there once聽in 2012 on聽Father’s Day. They too loved the food and were full of praise for the crab dishes. But prices are pretty steep and the place聽can be quite inconvenient聽if you don’t drive.

It is also noteworthy that the crabs sell out very quickly so it’s important that you ask to reserve your preferred number and size of the crab when you call to book a table.

The following is what we ordered!

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Salted Egg Chicken (S$12+)

We were tossing up between ordering Butter Cream Crab and Salted Egg Crab but I was dying to have the taste of the butter cream I missed to much linger on my tongue once again. So we got the best of both worlds!聽The chicken聽came in bite-size pieces (like KFC’s Popcorn Chicken)聽coated with savoury salted egg seasoning. Every bite was sensational!

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Kailan with Beef (S$15+)

We had聽some greens to balance out the guilt! The beef was glistening in the restaurant ceiling light, making the entire dish look so appetising and enticing. The beef was great and had a consistent chewy texture. But I enjoyed the greens more because they were really fresh and crunchy!

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Black Sauce Big Prawn (S$25+)

This was ordered by my Mom who is a huge prawn lover. I wasn’t particularly pleased with the size of the prawns because they were nowhere near “big”. Worst of all, the flesh was rather mushy – a sign that the prawns were not fresh. Overall, this dish was a disappointment.

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Mantou (S$1+ each)

Boyfriend and I went sans rice that day聽to allow聽more stomach space for the hot and crispy Mantou (steamed buns) which we would dip into the chilli gravy and butter cream sauce below.

Crabs were chargeable at S$65/kg which is pretty much on the high side. To have a peace of mind, we usually ask for our crabs to be weighed before we place our orders. We certainly don’t wish to get a rude shock when we receive our bill at end of the meal.

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Favourite Chilli Crab (medium, 1.6kg, S$104+)

Chilli Crab is the restaurant’s signature dish and of course,聽my folks’ favourite style of cooking crabs. The gravy was sweet and spicy enough for me but definitely not for my parents whose tolerance for spicy food is sky-high.

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Butter Cream Crab (medium, 1.6kg, S$104+)

We ordered another crab because聽boyfriend and I aren’t really into chilli. And most importantly, we didn’t want to compete with our elders for the crab pincers *chuckles*聽Our pincers were all very meaty because both crab were medium-sized, which made our meal even more gratifying.

The Butter Cream gravy was divine as usual. Sweet, thick and smooth, the gravy propels you to heaven with a single taste. It’s one of the best Butter Cream Crab I’ve had and I’m so glad standards remain unchanged throughout the years. I feel that it tastes even better with Mantou 馃檪

Okay聽hope you guys like this short update! I have more posts coming up so please bear with me 馃槈

Thanks for reading!