Family Reunion @ Gion Dining

Happy Lunar New Year and 恭喜发财 to everyone, especially my Chinese readers! Also, 财源广进 to those who are still trying their luck on BlackJack and Mahjong! Lady luck clearly isn’t on my side this year as I kept losing money to my formidable banker and only managed to recoup some losses from playing Mahjong. Fortunately all my bets were small so I didn’t lose much. Plus, everyone had fun! And I guess that’s what matters most 🙂

Ever since the passing of my Grandma, my maternal relatives had always have trouble finding a place to host family gatherings because no one likes cleaning up the mess at the end of each session (either that or cooking for a large group of people is tedious). So gatherings after 2009 were either held at my cousin-owned restaurant or the function room at my aunt’s condominium. But the labour crunch during the CNY period meant that it would be impossible to hold gatherings at these venues. So to save us from racking our brains, my uncle very kindly booked a few tables on 初二 at Gion Dining to accommodate everyone.

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The Japanese restaurant, although conveniently located on the second level of Royal Plaza on Scotts (Orchard), didn’t quite draw the crowds because of Carousell Buffet on the ground floor, which serves as the main attraction for the hotel. So nobody else other than my family members walked into the restaurant the entire time, leaving the place entirely to ourselves! Shiok man!

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My #ootd from Love, Bonito. Boyfriend didn’t have time to go home to change because we had an impromptu Mahjong session the night before, so he just grabbed whatever shirt he left at my place.

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My adorable nephew and niece

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Niece and cuzzie

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One of my uncles, cuzzies and another little addition to the extended family!

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My niece, also boyfriend’s new god-daughter (his all-time favourite person. Yes, he likes her more than me)

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Qtipi

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Sake. Not really a wine drinker (especially Japanese wine) so I didn’t really take much of it. But beer works for me.

It’s now time to eat! What’s a Chinese New Year dinner without first making a mess on the table with lo hei?

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Look at the mountain of Salmon Sashimi..

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Full view of our Yusheng. For non-Chinese, Yusheng “usually consists of strips of raw fish, mixed with shredded vegetables and a variety of sauces and condiments, among other ingredients” and it’s “often served as part of a multi-dish dinner, usually as the appetizer due to its symbolism of “good luck” for the new year.” (Wikipedia) Apparently, this CNY tradition is only applicable to the Chinese community in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Surprisingly not so in PRC, Taiwan and Hong Kong even though it originated from the Cantonese community!

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Everyone at the table would “then stand up and on cue, proceed to toss the shredded ingredients into the air with chopsticks while saying various “auspicious wishes” out loud,” (Wikipedia)

That was my third Yusheng this year (you know, we Chinese really love doing things in abundance) and the one I had at Gion wasn’t the best out of all of them. Japanese-style Yusheng has always been my favourite because it usually comes with more fish (salmon) than those in Chinese restaurants and tze char. Although this came with really fresh Salmon Sashimi, they were in such big slices that they weren’t enough to go around. On top of that, the flour crisps were replaced by peanuts and bleagh, I dislike peanuts.

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Miso soup was nice but nothing special.

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The Chawanmushi was served hot thus I really enjoyed the smooth and firm texture (though still incomparable with my all-time favourite Chawanmushi from Itacho). If I remember correctly, there were diced chicken and artificial crabmeat. Perhaps it would appear more appetizing if it was topped with slices of Narutomaki (Japanese fish cakes with a swirl in the middle).

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The Sumuono Moriawase was one of my favourites that evening. There were prawn, octopus, crab claw meat and other meat (can’t remember the rest oops) with seaweed and cucumber in sweet vinegar sauce. They were all soooo fresh!

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Live oysters (shared among 6 people) was mad fresh too! Spritz some lemon juice onto it and you’re good to go! The coldness of the oyster made eating it even more enjoyable 😀

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Lobster sashimi (extreme bottom left) was MY FAVOURITE. It was so fresh and sweet! This dish was shared between 2 people but there were plenty of flesh on the claws so Bf and I didn’t have to compete against each other for it hehehe.

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This HUGE (I think it was as long as my arm) salmon was steamed to perfection. I’m not sure if it’s actually on the menu (or was it a special item requested by my uncle) because it tasted a lot like Seabass cooked Cantonese-style with all the sweet and savoury soy sauce. But the steamed salmon was so gooood and my jaw hung in stunned disbelief when it came. It was gigantic, I repeat, GIGANTIC.

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Close-up shot of the meat to make you drool!

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Tempura prawn and potato! Being a seafood lover, I’m surprised to find myself liking the potato more. It’s chewy and addictive!

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Okay, this is definitely not on the menu because it was prepared by one of my aunts – broiled mushrooms and chicken feet with abalone. #aufamilycancook!

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4 strips of Chicken Karaage because I forgot to take a picture of it when it was served. I don’t really like Chicken Karaage despite being a huge poultry lover because they tend to be really dry from my experience. But this was mildly juicy and very crispy! I believe this is a common item on their Groupon deals. Worth a try!

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I believe this was Gyudon (beef bowl) without the rice. It was a tad dry and I don’t think we managed to finish this. Kinda expected considering the amount of food we were served that night!

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These cheesecakes (I only had one slice of it anyways 😦 ) were the BEST I had tasted in my life, no joke! It was like a mixture of vanilla ice cream and fluffy cheesecake which literally melted in my mouth. IT WAS DIVINE OMG. If I didn’t have to rush off for a movie, I’d totally ask for another slice! This is highly recommended 🙂

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And the sumptuous feast ended with a bowl of porridge which I felt was a um… strange arrangement? But it was alright and the watery texture reminded me a little of KFC breakfast porridge.

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Let me conclude this post with a picture of Bf entertaining my bored nephew in between dishes with Clash of Clans.

All in all, the dishes served towards the end of the meal were a lot better than the entrees and appetizers. I personally think that this restaurant has potential if not for the steep prices. After reading some not-so-favourable reviews about the restaurant online, I can conclude that Gion Dining specialises more in seafood sashimi and makes better food when there is a smaller dining crowd.

Try avoiding Groupon vouchers (the dishes they typically include in their Groupon promos look awfully cheap to begin with anyway) if you can afford the regular prices and don’t dine there during the period of time when Groupon vouchers are accepted as I don’t think the restaurant, which is visibly facing a shortage of manpower, is able to handle the Groupon crowd.

So there, I’ve said my piece! Thanks for reading 🙂

Gion Dining
Royal Plaza on Scotts
25 Scotts Road
#02-01
Operating hours: Opens daily
Lunch: 11:30am to 2pm (lunch closed on Mondays)
Dinner: 5:30pm to 10pm
Contact number: 67356100
WebsiteFacebook | Email

Father’s Day Celebration @ Por Kee Eating House

Hey everyone!

It was Father’s Day last Sunday but knowing that every restaurant with a bustling crowd was going to inflate their prices, we chose to celebrate a day after. Moreover I reckon most decent eateries were fully occupied (I tend to dilly-dally a lot when it comes to making reservations lol) so we technically had nowhere nice to dine at.

Just a small rant though… Words cannot express how much I hate these “Hallmark holiday” like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc. Although I personally place little to no importance on such made up holiday, I still feel obliged to celebrate because my boyfriend and parents do, especially my Mom who is slightly more 爱面子 (sensitive to how other people perceive her – wow what a long definition for just 3 Chinese characters). Don’t get me wrong, I love my Mom and I don’t mind splurging on her and I always do – every year, without fail, on more significant days like her birthday. But she’s one who would feel overshadowed if her friend’s children threw a more extravagant celebration than her own. She doesn’t blatantly say it but y’know, I could tell from the way she narrates what she heard at the market :\ Green with envy.

And don’t get me started on Valentine’s Day and its annoying marketing tactics. I am attached (like I just planned for my boyfriend’s birthday yo??) so I can say this without sounding like a bitter loner: Valentine’s Day is for people who are dying to prove a silly point that there’s someone out there as silly as them, who would subject themselves to unreasonable price hikes at restaurants? That there are people who would spend $500 on a small bouquet of roses which will wither and die in no time (omg why you kill those poor plants?!)? Or $30 on a huge helium balloon and expect their partners to carry it wherever they go? Omg. I’d bury myself in embarrassment if that was me! There are 365 days a year, 362 days after excluding birthdays and Christmas (it’s not made up so yes), why oh why get all lovey-dovey only on 14 February?!?

If you feel offended, you should. Because I’m talking about you -_-

Okay end of rant.

Back to Monday with ma familia with slightly more special treatment for my Dad. Once again Boyfriend the bigger glutton recommended me a restaurant called Por Kee Eating House 1996. My first impression.. very good, sounds like some zi char place cos my Dad only likes food cooked the zi char way. Typical uncle, you’d say. Hahaha.

Procrastinated again and only reserved a table in the early afternoon that day and phew, I managed to get an indoor (air-conditioned) table. The weather nowadays is killing me!

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Por Kee serves mostly seafood and the prices aren’t very cheap. I almost ordered a Seabass dish without confirming the price but thank God I did eventually coz it’s at least $50 each!! OMG. Quickly changed the fish to a more pocket-friendly one, which was Red Tilapia as it also came in smaller sizes (less expensive).

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Steamed Red Tilapia Hong Kong Style (S$28)

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Hong Kong Kai-lan (S$10)

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I love the Hong Kong Kai-lan! It’s something you wouldn’t expect to hear from someone who avoids veggie at all cost haha.

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Champagne Short Ribs (S$18)

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What exceeded my expectation was the Champagne Short Ribs. I was quite apprehensive about it at first because of the “Champagne” but it doesn’t taste like it at all! In fact it’s quite sweet 🙂 My only complaint is that meat was quite tough, hard to chew :\

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Crispy Butter Prawns (S$22)

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Love the buttery taste on the prawns! If only there were more crumbs 😀

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Crispy Half Roasted Chicken (S$16)

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Roasted chicken came with a salty dip. Without it the meat tasted bland! And yes, we targeted those crackers first hahaha.

My total damage (shared among 3 people) was S$107. Very expensive for 5 mundane dishes but I guess that’s the norm for a classier zi char restaurant especially when they accept major credit cards 😛 It didn’t quite live up to my expectations though because I have definitely tasted something better elsewhere. I’ll probably come back again to try their Beef Horfun, which is highly raved on food blogs!

Thanks for reading 🙂 ❤

Por Kee Eating House
69 Seng Poh Lane
#01-02
Singapore 160069
Tel: 6221 0582

May is the Month of Weddings!

Hello everyone! School is officially out for me so I would be updating this space more regularly until the new school term starts in August! (Yup, a 3-month break for me)

I haven’t been writing about my life so here’s one about some happy events I had been to this month although May hasn’t ended yet.

Last month, I received a surprise Facebook invitation from a secondary school classmate whom I had not spoken to for a long time (if you don’t include birthday wishes on her wall). Syamilah and I were in the same class for the last 3 years in Hillgrove before we graduated. The last time I saw her face-to-face was on the day we received our ‘O’ level results in 2008 when we were only 18. Blessed with good looks and pretty deep dimples on both cheeks, I remember her as a very prim and proper, prudent, refined and faithful Muslim girl who hasn’t changed a bit (in terms of character) through the years. Now 24, my dear “Mylah”, as I affectionately call her, has found her lifelong partner and was ready to transition into her next phase of life :’)

The wedding reception was held at the block beside Teck Whye LRT on 4 May and only a handful were invited from my cohort. It was a wedding celebration not just for one couple, but three (the other two were Syamilah’s brothers’)! Apparently it’s normal to have more than one couple in the same Malay wedding reception but held at different time slots – how cool! But I almost went for the wrong session if not for my mom’s reminder haha. All of us arrived about 10 minutes late but we were in time to catch the kompang performance which we would always hear from a distance away and never had the chance to watch it (unless you’re some thick-skinned aunties like those we encountered at the wedding, “crashed” the wedding, see-see-look-look for a long time and walked away -_- Pretty sure they ate some food at the buffet too).

Arrive in time to catch the Malay kompang performance, an important part of a traditional Malay wedding.

Arrived just in time to catch the Malay kompang performance, an important part of a traditional Malay wedding. The bridegroom and bride are king and queen for the day!

A wedding reception for 3 couples!

A wedding reception for 3 couples!

A make-do photobooth for us to take polaroid pictures! We took 2 pictures, one of which had to be pasted in the newly wed's guestbook.

A make-do photobooth for us to take polaroid pictures! We took 2 pictures, one of which had to be pasted in the newly wed’s guestbook.

Group shot, first take.

Group shot, first take. With the rest of the ex-Hillgrovians from the same cohort: Isabel, Veron and my bff Xiaoqing! We were given props as you can see.

Group shot, second take!

Group shot, second take!

Oh, did I also mention that it was the first Malay wedding I had attended? I had no idea what to wear, how much to give and what to expect at the wedding thus I did my homework prior to the wedding and found this really useful site! Click here to read if you’re going to attend your first Malay wedding as well 🙂

Even though the minimum sum to give as stated on the site is $10, I gave more than that because being Chinese Singaporean has taught me to be less buay pai seh (shameless) and more generous. Also, contrary to Amy Cheong’s belief, it is equally pricey to have wedding at the void deck with each typically costing about $10,000? Because most of the money goes to the decorations. Oh gosh! Want to have simple wedding also cannot. So yeah, giving $10 is being really cheapskate.

Also, unlike Chinese weddings, the money (in small paper envelopes) should only be given before you leave or after you are done eating! I totally forgot about it and gave it to the hosts (bride’s parents) when we arrived. This eat-first-pay-later tradition gives me the impression that Malay weddings are not out to make profits, though it may not be the case.

I also spent like an hour in front of my closet deciding on what to wear to the wedding. Bearing in mind that it was a traditional Malay wedding where you’d expect other Malay guests to be in their baju kurungs, you definitely can’t go in provocative outfits because it’s just showing disrespect to the hosts. Well, not saying that I have many revealing clothes… The most revealing one I have just bares 1/4 of my back ^___^ And I haven’t worn it out yet cos I’m rather conservative myself -_- I picked the most cheerful and conservative dress which wouldn’t make me sweat buckets in this extremely hot weather – a Lilypirates number purchased 2 years back! Never got the chance to wear it cos it’s too flare for my liking (tends to make me look fatter than I already am) but I couldn’t bear to sell it cos the colours are so pretty!

Anyway, hungry me devoured the buffet lunch before I realised I hadn’t taken a picture of it, so no pictures of the food I’M SORRY!!! Haha but it was great with the right amount of spiciness! Malay cuisine has always been one of my favourites! If I were in a canteen with only a Malay and a Chinese stall, I’d definitely go for the former! Drinks however were a little diluted with too much artificial flavourings though but that’s not a huge problem for me.

Stayed for about 45 minutes and left before the next session began! 🙂

Congratulations Mr and Mrs Rusydi!

Congratulations once again, Mr and Mrs Rusydi!

On 10 May, which was yesterday, I attended my cousin’s wedding lunch and dinner reception at Chijmes and Hilton Hotel respectively. Jiamin 姐姐 was the bride and is also one of my closest maternal cousins who tried to coach me in badminton and Math when I was 12. Despite my constant failure in both, she had never once lost her patience and temper at me 😀 I doubt she remembers any of this now since it happened a really long time ago but yup, it’s still etched in my mind! She has an older sister who got hitched 3 years ago on the special date 11 November 2011 and I got to be one of her bridesmaids. Didn’t blog about that as I wasn’t that active on the blogosphere then (i.e. lazy), oops!

Back to her wedding at Chijmes, the wedding procession was held at the multi-purpose hall which was really breathtaking! The arched ceiling and stained glass window fit into my description of my ideal church wedding. After that, we had our lunch at the French restaurant beside it. It was a French buffet and boy, all the dishes were really good! Boyfriend kept going back for the dessert – not sure what it’s called but it’s like a small cup of mango pudding – while I really loved the lemon butter cod fish. Enjoyed the couscous as well!

Boyfriend was having a massive cough so I told him to put on a face mask. Imagine the solemnizer asking if anyone on the ground disapproves of the marriage and then he coughs. That's be super awkward.

Boyfriend was having a massive cough so I told him to put on a face mask. Imagine the solemnizer asking if anyone on the ground disapproves of the marriage and then he coughs. That’s be super awkward.

Half-awake smile. Someone told me that I looked gloomy that morning :(

Half-awake smile. Someone told me that I looked gloomy that morning 😦

Chijmes chapel. We came late so we were seated at the back.

Chijmes chapel. We came late so we were seated at the back.

Most of my pictures are taken using camera and I’m too lazy to transfer them to my phone so…. #benjiamin

Nice, fairytale-like wedding photos!

"I now pronounce you man and wife."

“I now pronounce you man and wife.”

Signing the certificate of marriage

Signing the certificate of marriage

Getting ready to be photographed with the official marriage cert!

Getting ready to be photographed with the official marriage cert!

Marching in once more with cute Kiera (flower girl) in front.

Marching in once more with cute Kiera (flower girl) in front.

"Thank you new dad and mom for raising such a wonderful and beautiful daughter. To express my gratitude, I want to reward you with a pair of plane tickets..." "to other parts of Asia.." "...Southeast Asia." Lol.

“Thank you new dad and mom for raising such a wonderful and beautiful daughter. To express my gratitude, I want to reward you with a pair of plane tickets…” “to other parts of Asia..” “…Southeast Asia.” Lol. As one of his friends said, spoil market groom!

The loving stare.

The loving stare. Congratulations once again, Mr and Mrs Ben Tan!

Awesome French food at Chijmes!!

Awesome French food at Chijmes!!

Returned home after lunch to get changed into my evening outfit (lol I know). I picked a Love Bonito dress which I bought in January during my short stint in the company supposedly for Chinese New Year. But knowing that many girls would be wearing it since it was such a popular piece, I abandoned the idea. I bought the petite version because I like my dresses to be above-knee length but it turned out a little too short for my height HAHA. I had to remind myself not to bend forward as doing so would expose my butt huggers (even though I was wearing safety shorts… you know guys’ imagination can be really wild sometimes).

Unpleasant face of the day. Leftover breakouts from exam period *cries*

Unpleasant face of the day. Leftover breakouts from exam period *cries*

A rare #ootd shot that wasn't taken by myself. Had to persuade boyfriend to take for me coz he is always so reluctant to do it -_-

A rare #ootd shot that wasn’t taken by myself. Had to persuade boyfriend to take for me coz he is always so reluctant to do it -_- In Petite Parisse Neoprene Dress from Love, Bonito. Please pardon my frizzy hair.

While waiting for the doors of the grand ballroom to open...

While waiting for the doors of the grand ballroom to open… Doing what we do best.

It was my second time at Hilton Hotel, which I remember for its super creamy and thick American Cheesecake. I felt that the banquet was not too bad, but not phenomenal at the same time. The dish that I enjoyed the most was the starters because the chicken in beancurd roll was really good! Actually I kinda love anything that is wrapped with beancurd roll.

Marital Bliss - Sesame Prawn Toast, Sze Chuan Garlic Pork, Jellyfish and Coralline Seaweed, Five Spiced Chicken in Beancurd Roll, Japanese Top Shell with Abalone Sauce

Marital Bliss – Sesame Prawn Toast, Sze Chuan Garlic Pork, Jellyfish and Coralline Seaweed, Five Spiced Chicken in Beancurd Roll, Japanese Top Shell with Abalone Sauce

Marital Bliss - Five Spiced Chicken in Beancurd Roll

Marital Bliss – Five Spiced Chicken in Beancurd Roll. MEGA LOVE!! Don’t tell anyone I took more than 1 for myself lololol.

Braised Lobster Soup - Enoki Mushroom, Shredded Chicken and Crabmeat

Braised Lobster Soup – Enoki Mushroom, Shredded Chicken and Crabmeat

Hilton Signature Empress Chicken

Hilton Signature Empress Chicken and many many herbs

A chunk of Hilton Signature Empress Chicken

A chunk of Hilton Signature Empress Chicken. One of my faves that night!

Steamed Live Marble Goby (Soon Hock) Teochew Style

Steamed Live Marble Goby (Soon Hock) Teochew Style. Don’t really like this fish cos there’s not much flesh 😦

Drunken Live Prawns in Hua Diao Wine - Served with Dang Gui and Wolfberries

Drunken Live Prawns in Hua Diao Wine – Served with Dang Gui and Wolfberries

Prawnssss

Prawnssss

Stir-fried Scallop with Asparagus & Honey Beans in Chef's Signature Sauce

Stir-fried Scallop with Asparagus & Honey Beans in Chef’s Signature Sauce

Braised Baby Abalone & Seasonal Vegetables with Bai Ling Mushroom

Braised Baby Abalone & Seasonal Vegetables with Bai Ling Mushroom

Fried Udon with Dried Shrimp & Black Pepper  & Golden Mushroom

Fried Udon with Dried Shrimp & Black Pepper & Golden Mushroom. By the time it came, it was already cold. I felt like I was eating Soba instead haha.

Flower girl and boy who happen to be the cutest siblings.

Flower girl and boy who happen to be the cutest siblings.. and of course, my niece and nephew. Seth is the most sociable, intelligent and likeable boy ever!

Boyfriend's ootd and his about-to-cough look. I bought him the skinny tie!!

Boyfriend’s ootd and his about-to-cough look. I bought him the skinny tie!!

My apologies that most of the pictures are of the food I ate and not of the newly-weds, because I couldn’t get a good angle from where I was seated 😦

There was also a photobooth (is it a trend nowadays at wedding receptions? Hehe) near the entrance of the ballroom. I wanted to take pictures there but there was a long queue 😦

The banquet ended near midnight with Or Nee (yam paste) as the final food item. It was the bridegroom’s favourite dessert which is coincidentally mine as well! In the hot dessert category at least… Ice Kacang is still the best. 😀

Warm Yam Puree  & Ginko Nuts with Pumpkin in Coconut  Jus

Warm Yam Puree & Ginko Nuts with Pumpkin in Coconut Jus. I actually loved it despite people saying that it wasn’t sweet enough. I think it’s very sweet leh!? And excuse me, I have a sweet tooth too! If only it didn’t come with so much ginko nuts!

And that’s about it! Now that most of my same-generation and older cousins are married, I am starting to feel the heat from relatives. I feel that marriage is a private affair and should not be anyone else’s business so I really hope and appreciate that people would stop asking me the question and pressurizing me into ending my bachelorette life!

“WHEN IS YOUR TURN??”

HOW ABOUT NO, NEVER HAPPENING??

Kidding. Later boyfriend scold me.

R.I.P. My Best Friend, Angel

This post is about my furry best friend who passed away recently unexpectedly. Her name is Angel and she had been with me throughout the 12 years of her life.

I was 11 when my Mom bought Angel from a breeder in Bishan whose Shih Tzus are all of champion bloodline. She was barely 2 months old and was so tiny and quiet. She had a twin brother and I remember vividly that Mom and I were deciding between her and her brother in the play pen. In the end we chose her as we preferred females but since she was still very young, we left her in her mother’s care until she was a few months older.

I came home from school one evening and was pleasantly surprised to see the little Shih Tzu resting in her cage. I didn’t know she was arriving that day! She was quiet and not definitely as active as the puppies you see on display in pet shops. She just slept until it was mealtime, when she would slowly walk to the bowl and nibble the soft puppy food. We kept her in the cage for several days as she was too small to roam around at home but she never once barked for our attention. That was when Mom and I thought she was really sensible and special.

Even then we still hadn’t thought of a name for her. Eventually we named her “Angel”, which was taken from her pedigree name reflected on her SKC cert. Her full name was “Singlion’s Angel Ov Love”. She was indeed an angel in my life.

Angel when she was 1, 2 and 12 (a few months before she died)

Angel when she was 1, 3 and 12 (a few months before she died). We have watched each other grow.. She had witnessed every milestone in my life, from PSLE, “N” level, “O” level to Diploma. Sadly she will not be there for my convocation. I was still planning to have her in my family portraiture.

On the onset of her freedom, she was still rather sheepish and didn’t dare to move around much until we started playing with her. She grew to be more playful and cheeky. Slowly, she recognised her name but like other new pets, she also started defecating and urinating everywhere in the house. She once even pooped on my Dad’s mattress while we were out which resulted in her getting a huge spanking from my Mom. We didn’t want to toilet-train her because the floor in our common toilet was always wet and we didn’t want her undercoat to be drenched in the process, so we cage-trained her. Gradually, she understood that all her businesses (including vomiting) had to be done in the cage. She also learnt to bark on her own when she heard noises at the door or when somebody comes home! These “skills” were then passed on to Chubs. She was an extremely intelligent girl 🙂

Angel and her new pal, Chubs. Probably the only clear picture of them together.

Angel and her new pal, Chubs (early 2013). Probably the only clear picture of them together.

No pictures when she was a puppy unfortunately, because I didn’t have a camera back then.

This is her looking at me through the gate as I was leaving for school.. It certainly feels different now without her.

This was her looking at me through the gate as I was leaving for school.. It certainly feels different now without her. I miss her welcome barks and hugs.

Looking at you with the visible white of the eye = guilty

Looking at you with the visible white of the eye would mean that she’s guilty (especially when she’s getting reprimanded for doing something wrong)

Angel's constipated look when she's barking hahaha.

Angel’s constipated look when she’s barking hahaha. Wuuf!

When she was 4, she gave birth to her first batch of puppies which unfortunately were all sold away. Thankfully my Mom still keeps in contact with some of the owners. She went on giving birth the second and third batch with the latter being absolutely accidental. I was there during all 3 labours to help her break the placenta 🙂 After all her puppies were sold, she was left alone again. And probably because she didn’t have to care for her puppies anymore, she became active and energetic again.

3rd batch of puppies! Angel did a great job as a mommy :)

3rd batch of puppies! Angel did a great job as a mommy 🙂

Solo time with her favourite girl.

Solo time with her favourite girl.

With the (ex)hubby. I miss you too Wenwen.

With the (ex)hubby. I miss you too Wenwen.

This went on for the next few years until she turned 10. Her eyesight and hearing started failing but she could still eat and play normally, just less responsive to our calls. That’s fine and we still loved her as much as before, but that also made it more difficult for us to ditch negative thoughts of her leaving us sooner or later.

During the same year, she ran away from home (probably when my Dad was leaving for work, he left the door open and Angel sneaked out when he was wearing his shoes) and my Mom didn’t realise it until I returned home from school (was already in Poly) at about 7pm. Usually Angel would bark and welcome me at the door but on that day she was nowhere to be seen. I panicked, asked my Mom where Angel was and that was when she recalled not seeing Angel for the past 4-5 hours. We rushed down and searched high and low for Angel until midnight but to no avail. I had work the next day but I requested for leave of absence because of this. I cried so hard that day as I thought I had lost her. Thankfully some passers-by saw her and with eyewitnesses’ accounts, we managed to traced her back within 2 days. She was rescued by one of the shop vendors in the vicinity and I was overjoyed to have her back.

As I got older, I took on jobs to earn extra income hence I was able to throw mini birthday celebrations for her at Doggiestyle Cafe during the last 2 years of her life. It was something I’m so glad I did. I remember how her face lit up when she saw the sumptuous food we ordered for her. She had barely any teeth left so I had to hand-feed her. But really, no complaints. I really enjoyed my time with her 🙂

At her 11th birthday. The last time she dressed up.

At her 11th birthday. The last time she dressed up. You can really tell from her eyes that she had aged a lot.. But to me, she’s still that same old Shih Tzu puppy I first saw 12 years ago.

At Doggiestyle cafe for the first time and she really enjoyed me feeding her!

At Doggiestyle cafe for the first time and she really enjoyed me feeding her!

My room door was always left ajar so that she could come in. When she found herself alone in the living room, she would try her luck and see if anyone’s bedroom door wasn’t closed properly, and then used both forelegs to push the door open. Mine being the first bedroom she’d usually target always ended up as her first and final successful try (my mom and sis didn’t like her to be in their rooms because Angel loved to shake the loose fur off her body). When she’s in the room, she’d look for the owner as if to inform her that she had allowed herself in.

Bought this cute bunny outfit in Taiwan. Sadly she never got the chance to wear it again.

Bought this cute bunny outfit in Taiwan. Sadly she never got the chance to wear it again.

Despite her age, she still had energy to play with us. We would do the bunny-hand posture and lumbering walk and Angel would respond with a high-pitched bark and run off. We do this almost every week and we could see that Angel was enjoying it too because sometimes she’d assume that we were playing with her and run off even though we were just looking at her (lol). But we didn’t know that her heart was already failing and all these vigorous exercises just made her heart even weaker. Then signs started showing on her final week where she’d often feel breathless and was always chocking on nothing, but it was on and off and we thought it would go away. In the wee hours of 9 August it became worse. She retreated to a dark corner and appeared very weak. We wanted to bring her to the vet but it was already 2am and all nearby vets would be closed by then (what’s more, it was National Day). Frantically, we went to Google for afterhours emergency contact numbers and we found one at Jurong West, just 15 minutes drive away from my home.

In the car to the clinic, Bf probably foresaw that Angel wouldn’t be able to make it through the night so he took my phone and snapped a picture of Angel and I. It was taken in the darkness and both of us can hardly be seen in the photo but I’m never going to trash it.. Because that was my final picture with Angel.

My final photo with her. Looking at this picture just makes me heart ache..

My final photo with her. Looking at this picture just makes me heart ache..

Angel remained breathless throughout the journey but all I could do was to hug her tight and hope that she’d recover soon. However, it never happened. The moment the vet saw Angel, he quickly carried her into the operating room without uttering a word. While my family, Bf and I were waiting outside, we could hear Angel’s cries. It broke my heart into million pieces.

After a long wait the vet finally came out and spoke to us. He said Angel’s heart was failing and swelling badly. Hence it was unable to pump enough blood and all the fluids in her body were blocked by the swollen heart and trapped in one area. She must have felt really terrible. We were advised that if Angel made it out that day, she’d have to be on long-term medication to prevent the heart from swelling again.

We left the vet without Angel because the vet wanted to put her under observation overnight. The vet remained very optimistic which gave me hope that I’d see Angel again.. but the hope was dashed when I received a call from the Vet about Angel’s death at 9am. I was devastated.. I wasn’t ready for that.

Seeing how grief-stricken I was, Bf helped to make cremation arrangements for Angel. We went back to the vet to collect her body and I broke down again when I saw her carcass wrapped up on the table. Her eyes were half opened and the cloth used to wrap her up was wet with her saliva. Every night I’d brush her fur and tie her topknot to keep her neat and tidy but I didn’t have the chance to do so on that night before. So I retied it heavy-heartedly while tears rolled down my cheeks. I hope Angel looked her best on her way to rainbow bridge 🙂

Anyway, we engaged Tengoku for their cremation services because I wanted Angel to be cremated privately. They were really understanding and patient with me as well and I really appreciate that. They offered to cancel Angel’s license on my behalf and even sent my cards to make me feel better (but I ended up crying again geez lol). If you’d like to know, I opted to collect her ashes (same-day collection) instead of allowing them to scatter into the sea because I don’t believe the theory behind dispersing ashes.. I mean, I don’t do it to my deceased relatives so why should I do it to my dog? She was close to me like my sister.

Right now, Angel’s urn is still on my table and I’m still trying to find a columbarium for her. If anyone’s got a place to recommend, please drop me a comment. 🙂

Take care, Angel.

Take care, Angel.

I miss you Angel.. Hope life’s much better up there. We’ll meet again someday 🙂

Class gathering @ Nook

Recently I met up with some of my closest secondary school classmates (those that bothered to keep in contact) to have lunch at Nook, a D.I.Y. pancake place I had always wanted to go but the plan was always pushed back due to my laziness. No idea why I suddenly had this craving for pancakes when I always found them too plain for my liking. Probably it was because of the overwhelming photos of colourful home made pancakes that kept appearing on my Instagram feed -_-

Anyway I always had this impression that Nook was located at some secluded area of Bukit Timah (around the area where Choupinette is) which is only convenient if I drive. But no, Nook is just at Jalan Jurong Kechil and that is pretty near to where I live! I always head there for supper and my dogs get their check-ups at a vet there too. Hence I don’t understand how I could miss this place.

I made a reservation for 25th May for about 12 of us. Its spacious interior was also another reason why I chose Nook as our gathering place because it’d mean that we didn’t have to be separated. We sat around a table that has been elongated by adding another one and had 2 square pancake pans to ourselves. For the price of about $28 (without GST and service charge yet), we could choose two flavours for our batter together with 3 toppings of our choice. It was indicated on the menu that “each set serves 2” but Zhiyong having been there once before advised that it was enough to feed 3-4. So we got 3 sets instead which makes 6 batters and 9 toppings. Of course, we shared the 6 batters among 2 tables. My table got the strawberry, chocolate and original flavoured one while the other chose pandan, banana and another strawberry, I think. Toppings were basically oreo chunks, kit kat, banana slices, rainbow sprinkles, peach slices, chocolate chips, camarelised apples, chocolate sauce and raisins. They gave maple syrup but the amount was really, really, little. Had to “scrimp and save” on it to make it last as long as possible.

Pictures here were snapped using various phones, lol. Sorry no quality cameras used as our purpose there was to eat and have a great time together, not critique on the pancakes 😀

Nook signboard

Nook signboard

Yu Qi and Gerald and a bit of Xiaoqing doing her thing on the pan

Yuqi and Gerald and a bit of Xiaoqing doing her thing on the pan.

Xiao Qing and I

Xiaoqing and I. I look sleepy. Or maybe it’s just my tiny eyes haha.

1/2 of the group - Clockwise from bottom left: Xiaoqing, Yuchan, Adelene, Junhua, Mengkian, Zhiyong, Siawshi and Yushan.

1/2 of the group – Clockwise from bottom left: Xiaoqing, Yuchan, Adelene, Junhua, Mengkian, Zhiyong, Siawshi and Yuqi. Sorry for the terrible lightning! This was the best out of like 3?

The other 1/2 of the group. Clockwise from bottom left again: Yuqi, Gerald, Aloysius, me, Xiaoqing and Yuchan. Ok la not really 1/2 since there are repeats :P

The other 1/2 of the group. Clockwise from bottom left again: Yuqi, Gerald, Aloysius, me, Xiaoqing and Yuchan. Ok la not really 1/2 since there are repeats 😛

The toppings - rainbow sprinkles. banana slices, raisins and peach slices (which looked rotten so we didn't touch it at all)

The toppings – rainbow sprinkles. banana slices, raisins and peach slices (which looked weird so we didn’t touch it at all)

The other table's creation

The other table’s creation

Our creation by Xiaoqing

Our creation by Xiaoqing. Pretty obvious what these are?

Our creation by me. We had a mini inter-table pancake competition so this was our "entry" hahaha. Eyyyyy sexy ladaye

Our creation by me. We had a mini inter-table pancake competition so this was our “entry” hahaha

The other table's. Seeing how sexy our pancake was they decided to do a companion lololol funny people

The other table’s. Seeing how sexy our pancake was they decided to do a companion lololol funny people

Proper shot of our beach people - yay!! Erm by the way that's "5A1", our class, not "SAI" ok?

Proper shot of our beach people – yay teamwork!! Erm by the way that’s “5A1”, our class, not “SAI” ok?

"Class" photo! Nook has this perfect spot for photo-taking or camwhore. They even have photobooth props for us to hold haha. Great!!

“Class” photo! Nook has this perfect spot for photo-taking or camwhoring. They even have photobooth props for us to hold haha. Great!!

As you can see we aren’t good pancake designers lol.

It was a really fun experience creating our own designs but all of us left Nook feeling partially hungry and also sick of pancakes haha. We had some more batter left but we didn’t want to waste it, so some of the boys played scissors, paper, stone and the loser had to eat all the remaining pancakes – a forfeit that has been practised since our secondary school days to prevent wastage. Sometimes I just love that we still have that little tinge of immaturity in us. It makes our outings/gatherings even more enjoyable 🙂

Nook, in my opinion, is an ideal place to catch up with your friends. We spent close to 2 hours there (that’s how long how batters lasted). But I wouldn’t go back again as it’s pretty costly without the pancake buffet and you get tired of pancakes after awhile.

Til we meet again fellas!!

Nook
21 Lorong Kilat
#01-03
S’pore 598123
For reservations, call 6466 1811
http://nook.sg/

Happy 11th Birthday Angel!

I was in Primary 5,  a friend of my Dad sought our help to take care of his Corgi Cutie while he went on an overseas trip. We enjoyed the presence of  Cutie so much and even hoped her owner would abandon her (so that we could have her all to ourselves lol).

After Cutie was taken home,  Mom and I started searching high and low for a perfect home companion, mostly through ST classifieds. Then we chanced upon a breeder’s ad and immediately went to view her newborn Shih Tzu pups at her Bishan apartment. There less-than-a-month-old Angel was with her brother, placed in a playpen, struggling to reach the next floor tile as their legs were still pretty frail. Two months later, Angel was deemed fit enough to leave her mommy but was still relying on milk. Unlike other puppies, she was so quiet at my place and would sleep all the time even when we put her in the cage (was afraid that she would sneak into my parents’ room and pee on their bed – dad would tear the whole house down). She never once barked or protested at all when we locked her up. Hahah we seriously thought there was something wrong with her but we later figured out that it was only fatigue? Sorry, no pictures of her as a puppy because I didn’t have a camera then 😦

Gradually, she gained our trust (going to the cage to do her business and we never really taught her that! Smart girl) and was allowed to roam free in the house all the time. It has been 11 years and Angel has been through different phases of my life, watching me graduate from Primary School, receiving my “N” and “O” level certs and most recently, my diploma. I doubt she will live long enough to watch me graduate from Uni but if she could, it would be a great blessing to me 🙂 And  believe it or not, I speak to her like a human being when I was younger (though I still do now! But not so often because I have a confidant called Alphonsus Neohahaha) and would hug and caress her long fur when I felt low or have this sudden fear of losing her (usually happens when I see videos or pictures of tortured/abused animals). Puzzled, she would look at me with her huge marble eyes and subsequently attempt to lick my lips. Then as I move my face away from hers, she would continue to lick, lick the air! HAHA

“Harro chiu rike moi ponytailz??”

Anyway this post as you can see is dedicated to my best doggy pal, that celebrated her 11th birthday two months ago 🙂 It wasn’t a very grand affair.. dressed her up and just brought her to the canine park at the rooftop of Nex mall (quite pointless cos she doesn’t play. All she did was tailing other dogs -_-) and rewarded her with a feast at Doggiestyle Cafe 🙂 I’m making it a point to celebrate her birthday every year so that I don’t feel so remorseful if she were to leave me suddenly. Sigh..

Doggiestyle cafe’s interior

A rare nicely shot picture of Angel (of course with someone having to trick her into looking the camera with? Food of course).. when I made an unglam face. Kns. But it’s too cute not to put it up here!

That (greedy) look on her face as she was fed with her birthday treat. Savouring every single bite of her patty!

Doggiestyle cafe, even though made for dogs, do serve decent human food as well! I especially love their calamari – thick and comes in a huge portion!

Birthday cake from PLC, just next door! Because her face is so flat, we couldn’t let her eat the cake on her own as she would definitely dirty herself. So we fed her – until the cafe staff stopped us because no outside food is allowed in their premise 😦

It was pretty quiet when we were there but I guess the crowd only comes in around dinner time because when we left at about 7pm, the place was already occupied with many other dogs 🙂 Will definitely pay a visit for their side dishes (not sure about their “main courses” but you can give it a try) even when my dog(s) are not with me.

Will clear all the backlogs now before University life begins unofficially next week 🙂

Posts I aim to complete: Taiwan trip (like a finally!!) and maybe if time allows, I would really want to document my University application process! Trust me, the process was so long that I really thing it’s blog-worthy. Lolol!

Til then 😉

Friends are Forever

Hi guys, this shall be dedicated to my friends as mentioned 2 entries before. 🙂

About three weeks ago, Jacelyn initiated a meet-up with our past colleagues because Jocelyn’s 21st birthday was nearing 🙂 We took that golden opportunity to celebrate her birthday in advance too (without her knowledge) as we seldom met up after the girls started school at NTU.

Shirley, Jocelyn and myself were the probably the first batch of trainees that managed to stay beyond 5 months after Jacelyn joined the Centre. 5 months is considered a longgggg time if you’ve read how horrible the working environment is at my workplace. But no matter how horrible our bosses were, there were zero politics unlike my current work location now. So that explains why we were pretty close 🙂 And I am glad the chill-out session was made possible, thanks to Jacelyn who always plans such outings despite her busy schedule.

JocelynJocelyn, the birthday girl, receives her surprise birthday gift

Ji De ChiThe very nice Durian Snow Ice at Ji De Chi! It’s as good as eating the real fruit!

 Us 🙂

And the week after, I met up with some of my closest lot of Secondary School classmates and dined at Marche@Somerset. Most of the boys couldn’t make it as they were stuck in camp (boo NS!). Hopefully we’re able to plan another outing that majority is able to attend!

From Xiaoqing’s phone. Brought a camera but was too relunctant/lazy to use it knowing that I would take AGES to upload them 😛

That’s all for this post. Will be meeting up with my besties Tetrina and Wenqin tomorrow for supper. When was the last time we met up? Longggg time agoooo. Probably at my 21st birthday celebration!

And I will try to post more often if I can!

Psst, 26 more days to my Beijing trip (and approximately 4 more months to my tentative Taiwan trip)! I’ve waited so long to be able to get away from work 😦