[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.

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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