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Lake Toya, Japan

Spot of Tranquility.

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Little India, Singapore

Spices, gold and splashes of colour!

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Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay

Garden City, City in a Garden.

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Bryce Canyon, USA

Thor's Hammer

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Chocolate Test, Singapore

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." -Charles M Schulz

Sunday, April 17, 2016

132 Traditional Teochew Noodle

One weekend, we decided to track down 132 Traditional Teochew Noodle, the store that has reportedly changed its location 5 times but die-hard fans manage to find it all the same.

It took so long to wait for our meal, and the 30-40 minutes wait had better be worth it. We subsequently found out that the long waiting time was not due to the number of people queuing- it was just that it took very long for each customer to be served. 


What was the "wow" factor with this bowl of Mee Pok ($4)? Yes, it is worth it for the price given that there were fresh prawns, little fish dumplings, and springy noodles. But, no, it is really not worth the wait for half an hour as I could get something pretty close for less than half the waiting time.


132 Traditional Teochew Noodle 
59 Marine Terrace
#01-105 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Naughty Nuri's

Naughty Nuri's originated in Ubud, Bali. Too bad we missed it the last time we went to Ubud. Now they have brought Naughty Nuri's to us. 

Reservations are a must here. Once, we reached here at 8 p.m. on a Friday night and were told that they were full. On another occasion, we reached at around 12 p.m. and a couple who came at around 12.30 p.m. were told that they were full.


We ordered a St Louis Half Rack ($18.80). The ribs are marinated in balinese spices and glazed on charcoal with an "Asian BBQ sauce". Slightly spicy, the sauce was appetising - just that sauce and rice will make a great dinner. The meat was tender and fell off the bone easily. It is one of the better ribs I have tried in my recent memory.


The Nasi Goreng ($11.80) came with a generous portion of fried rice, with a mixture of healthy brown rice. The chicken satay was moist and was coated with a layer of sweet sauce that tasted like that used for the ribs. The only thing that was a let down in this dish was the prawns which were a little tasteless.


Naughty Nuri's 
Capitol Singapore
15 Stamford Road
#01-84
Tel No: 6384 7966 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Dazzling Cafe

Decked in Tiffany blue, Dazzling Cafe had long queues forming when it first opened at Capitol Piazza. Dazzling Cafe originates from Taiwan and is known for its shibuya toasts. 


This is your typical pretty cafe- little pots of flowers, whimsical decoration and random quotes on the wall.


We ordered a Black Chocolate Honey Toast ($17.90) to share which consisted of strawberries and a scoop of chocolate ice cream. I very much preferred the shibuya toast at After You in Bangkok. The shibuya toast here was decent but a little dry and not fluffy. Also, I don't know whether it was because we were sitting directly under the sun that the ice cream melted at an astounding rate such that a pool of chocolate liquid quickly formed on the toast.


It's a place where you can take pretty pictures to your heart's content, but I wouldn't come here again for its desserts.

Dazzling Cafe
Capitol Piazza
15 Stamford Road
#01-85

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Pollen

Pollen is an ideal place to celebrate a birthday, an anniversary or if you are just feeling like going to somewhere with a nice ambience. Imagine being surrounded by the smell of flora and fauna while you eat. 


Pollen offered free buggy services from Marina Bay Sands (you have to give them a call in advance to arrange for the pickup) and it is a nice gesture so that you can arrive in style at the restaurant. The restaurant is in the flower dome, so be prepared to deal with the cool temperature. Even if you do not have a shawl, the friendly waiters in the restaurant are happy to lend a shawl to you.


First up was the complimentary canapes.


I can't remember when I was first exposed to Duck fat chips ($8). Duck fat is apparently healthier than other kinds of animal fats and has a richer flavour. I could not really tell how duck fat added extra flavour but the thickly sliced and crispy fries made for a good munch.


I absolutely loved the Norwegian Salmon ($55). The poached salmon has a consistency different from the other salmon dishes that I have had so far. It is neither chewy like raw salmon nor solid like cooked salmon. Instead, it is in between such that it is smooth and melts in your mouth with each bite.

I am not a fan of gnocchi because it feels like empty carbs to me. However, the inclusion of truffle in gnocchi was novel and I could not give it a miss.


To round off the meal, we had a Salted JAAL ($20), a dessert that sought to combine sweet, salty, sour and bitter together and was executed well.

The dark chocolate cake was surrounded by orange slices and roasted macadamia nuts, with a sprinkle of salt on the cake. Pair this with the coffee ice cream which was nestled on a bed of crushed crunchy cocoa beans. Dessert heaven.


We had some complimentary sweet treats consisting of marshmallows and chocolate macarons. I am not a fan of macarons because they tend to be too sweet but the chocolate macarons here were just fine.


Pollen
#01-09 Flower Dome
Gardens by the Bay
18 Marina Gardens Drive
Tel No: 6604 9988 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Mikuni

Few hours after leaving Mikuni, I was still mumbling to myself, "What a good meal... what a good meal..." With the blessings of an Amex card, we enjoyed 50% off the total bill. 


It was fully packed on a Friday evening and if you booked early, you could decide whether to sit at the counters or at the "proper" sitting areas. Their ventilation is pretty powerful, I didn't smell like smoke after the meal even though I sat at the teppanyaki counter for the entire meal.


First, we had some complimentary thinly-sliced crackers with sprinkles of seaweed. It had gone a little soft though.


What is a Japanese meal without some Salmon ($20)? These thick slabs of salmon were fresh and creamy.


I was having an internal debate whether to order the Hokkaido Sweet Corn ($15). It is a little insane to pay so much for corn but I decided I had to get it since it says "Hokkaido". Hokkaido has fantastic fresh produce and I simply couldn't resist being the fool who pays $15 for corn. I haven't reached the stage of fishing out $100 for a Hokkaido musk melon though. The sweet, buttered corns were huge and lightly buttered, making each bite a delight. There was also some salt at the side- I didn't know that corn went well with salt!


We ordered some Hokkaido Scallops ($32). Chunks of plump scallops were swimming in butter sauce.


We also had the Kurobuta Pork Rib ($40). The portions were far too much for 2 to share. I don't often describe pork as tender because it often isn't. But here, the pork was tender, and had a thin layer of fat which didn't feel all that sinful at all. Simple flavours but delicious all the same.


The lobster ($48) covered in lots of roe and melted cheese was juicy and sweet. I would have preferred it with less cheese though because the cheese became a little gelat after a while.


We ordered the King Crab Fried Rice ($18). Aside from the fact that the rice was on the salty side, this fried rice was definitely worth ordering. There was so much crab meat in this that you would get some crab meat with every mouth of rice. The rice grains were also distinct without being too dry.


To round off the meal, we got the Ice Mochi Assortment ($28). The mochi flavours were vanilla, green tea and an unidentified flavour. There was nothing special about the dessert and this was the only dish I wished I hadn't ordered.


Overall, a memorable meal.

Mikuni
Level 3
Fairmont Singapore
80 Bras Basah Road
Tel No: 6431 6156

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Travelling C.O.W (Chef on Wheels)

Food trucks are not common in Singapore- there used to be initiatives to get such schemes going but somehow these just didn't work out. 

When I think about food trucks, I think of the movie Chef- I loved the movie, it was a complete feast for the eyes.  

Here we have The Travelling C.O.W which is both a food truck and has recently got a shop space as well. 


The cafe was empty on a Sunday night and we were the only ones there. Fuss free - that's how they keep meals affordable!


You order your meal at the counter and the food will be delivered to you. Remember to clear your plates after that!


We ordered a Seafood Laksa Pasta ($12). It's always interesting to have a fusion between pasta and Singaporean dishes- so far, I have had Tom Yum Seafood Pasta at 49 Seats, Chilli crab Spaghettini at Halia and now laksa! Next up, bak kut teh pasta?

The laksa paste was done right- neither too dilute (like a soup base) nor too thick. For the price of $12, they did not stinge on the seafood.


We also ordered a Chicken Tsukane Burger ($12) and topped up $2 for truffle fries (I can never get enough of truffle fries!). I often judge the lettuce that restaurants / cafes serve and here, the lettuce were bright green and crunchy, with no signs of black edges. That's what every self-respecting cafe / restaurant should seek to achieve!

The thick and juicy chicken patty was sandwiched between two lightly buttered buns, coupled with a beautiful sunny side up. Pity though, the egg was fried for a little too long and had a bitter base due to the slight char.


The food here is decent and with the Entertainer app, we each paid around $6 for our food.

The Travelling C.O.W (Chef on Wheels)
CT Hub 1
2 Kallang Avenue
#02-16

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Monster Curry (Parkway Parade)

Previously housing Mad Jack, this unit has been taken over by Monster Curry


As gimmicky as this bright orange dinosaur may be, it solved our dilemma as to where to eat. We are the kind of consumers that advertisers like to target- ignorant and easily attracted by bright, weird looking things. We saw this dinosaur and decided to try Monster Curry. I like their website- very to the point and transparent- although they need to update it because prices have been revised very slightly.


We ordered the exotic sounding Green Apple Italian Juice ($3.50) which was essentially a small bottle of apple juice.


I have never seen such a big plate in my life- just look at how it compares to the utensils. Yet another gimmick but the food was pretty decent and extremely filling.

We ordered the Combo Curry ($25) which consisted of pork katsu, fried fish, pork shabu shabu, shrimp tempura and cheese, You could choose from 5 levels of spiciness- we chose level 2 flame which was "extra hot". It was spicy but I wouldn't call it extra hot.

I like curry, whether it is Japanese curry or Indian curry. Monster Curry's sauce contains up to 14 difference spices and vegetables and requires two days to cook. It was thick and a perfect accompaniment to the rice although it started getting gelat after a while, especially when it started turning cold.

This Combo Curry is enough for 2 big eaters / 3-4 females. Eat it fast because it is best eaten warm. The tempura consisted of a lot of flour probably just to make it look like super sized prawns. The fish was pretty much like the fish in fish and chips. I would have liked more shredded lettuce to balance this otherwise very deep fried meal. The katsu was deep fried to perfection, crispy with a layer of melted cheese over it. The shabu shabu felt a little out of place in this dish.


For hungry people, this is a decent meal which is value for money.

Monster Curry 
Parkway Parade
80 Marine Parade Road
#01-11
Tel No: 6348 6171 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Arbite

Thanks to the Entertainer app, we get to try new restaurants / cafes. 


Arbite was somewhere that I had always wanted to go but didn't because of its location. The stars aligned one day and I managed to get a ride to Arbite.


Arbite is a pun on the German / Danish word for work.


I ordered the Seafood Tagliatelle ($25) which consisted of handmade squid ink tagliatelle tossed with prawns, squid, salmon, mussels, chilli, spring onion, garlic and shallots. You could choose between tomato, white wine or aglio alio. I decided to go with aglio olio.

They were generous with the fresh seafood and I loved the fact that salmon was included, as salmon is typically not included in seafood pasta. The pasta was sufficiently moist and the garlic taste was not overpowering. A slight hint of chilli also upped the flavours of this dish.


No matter what, please get yourself a My Wife's Chocolate Cake ($8). I have eaten many chocolate cakes but few are impressionable- the last one I ate that left an impression was the Death by Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream at Rider's Cafe. If this is indeed the chocolate cake made by the owner's wife, the owner is a lucky man.

There was an unexpected explosion of flavours. First, it was the moist chocolate cake, which was good on its own- unpretentious cakes are the best. Then here is where it gets fun. The accompanying ice cream is not your usual vanilla ice cream but salted caramel ice cream- you see where we are getting as the flavours build up? Then lastly, you have this base of bitter, crunchy cocoa bits. This is a must-order if you go Arbite!


The food on its own merits a return visit, although I have to say that parking at Serangoon Gardens is a complete nightmare. 

Service here was exceptional as well- the server was friendly, warm and genuine, it made our dining experience so pleasant.

Arbite
66A Serangoon Garden Way
Tel No: 62870430 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Recurrent Corneal Erosion

The good thing about technology is that it allows you to obtain a lot of information and with an informed mind, filter the information that you require and those that you do not.

Especially with medical conditions, the internet can be a valuable resource and it was through this vault of information that I looked up a condition I was suffering from- recurrent corneal erosion. I wished more people had written about their experience with recurrent corneal erosion so that I knew what I was dealing with. 

This entry is therefore for those who suffer from recurrent corneal erosions and are looking at treatment options. 

Around mid last year, my colleagues were getting conjunctivitis one after the other. One morning, I woke up with a sharp sting in my eye and tears couldn't stop flowing. I had conjunctivitis before so I thought, it might just be another episode of conjunctivitis. However, my eyes were not red at all. It was just that the stinging pain didn't go away and my vision became a little blur.




After I visited a general practitioner, I was referred to an eye specialist and was diagnosed with recurrent corneal erosion. 

Recurrent corneal erosion is a condition where the cornea's epithelial cells fail to attach to the underlying basement membrane. The pain sets in when you are sleeping or upon wakening because when the eyes get dry at night, the eyelid can stick to the epithelium. When the epithelium is not firmly attached, the opening of lids can cause the epithelium to tear off. 

I was prescribed with Systane Ultra and Genteal. The doctor said that applying the eye drops and lubricant would typically solve the problem for most patients because it was supposed to keep the eyes moist. Alas, it was not meant to be. 

With every episode of recurrent corneal erosion, leaving aside my disrupted sleep which consisted of an extremely painful eye (imagine your eye being stabbed) and non stop tearing (it's the body's way of trying to heal itself), my vision would be blur for a few days.
Couple this with the fear of wondering when the next episode will be, this condition was potentially causing a drop in the quality of my life. When the episodes become particularly bad, there was once I had to ask my colleague to hold my arm and lead me to the taxi stand and then ask the concierge at the hospital to bring me up to the clinic. Another time, I was in a discussion with my boss when my tears started flowing involuntarily (I had just suffered an episode the day before) and my boss was shocked.


I became such a familiar sight at the clinic and the ophthalmologist would say, "Oh dear, not another episode?" With my swollen and teary eyes, I could only sigh and shrug, "Yes, again." 

As with many other conditions, surgery is often a last resort. Besides numerous rounds of eye drops and lubricants, the doctor once scrapped off a layer of epithelial cells, in the hope that it will help the epithelial cells be stronger. To put it in the words of my mother, it looked like he was taking out bird's nest. The pain after that was akin to a recurrent corneal erosion, maybe slightly worse.

Besides that, I was always hoping that the doctor would put bandage contact lens into my eye which was always a welcome relief. With bandage contact lens, you had to drip antibiotics because contact lens are after all a foreign body and not meant to be in your eyes for prolonged period of time. But I loved the relief when I wore bandage contact lens- I could sleep in peace and did not have to worry about having an episode. However,  it was not a long term solution because even after the cells healed, it was inadvertently tear again 2 weeks down the road after removing the lenses. 

After many false hopes thinking maybe this time it will finally work and countless of google searches, I decided it was time to just get surgery done to solve the problem. I just had Epi-lasik done on my eyes and crossing my fingers that this is a solution that finally works. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Lake Tekapo (New Zealand)

Frankly, the only reason why I ended up choosing New Zealand as my travel destination was because I saw pictures of these plants floating online. I was hard pressed to find what these vegetation were and my google skills involved typing "purple flowers in New Zealand", only to find out that these were weeds, called lupins. 

The moment we got down from the car, the only thing that came out from my mouth was "Wow." Seeing the beautiful turquoise blue of the lake with these lupins in the foreground, it was as though I had just stepped into a painting. 


We walked across uneven pebbles and eventually reached the lake. We were so fortunate to enjoy such glorious weather.



After what seemed like eternity of taking countless shots of the lake, we went to the Church of the Good Shepherd which was a short walk from the lake. The Church was built in 1935 as a place of worship for the pioneer families of the Mackenzie country.


Despite the few hours drive right after touching down in New Zealand, the picturesque setting of Lake Tekapo took away any hints of fatigue. There has to be so much more to life than rushing about on a daily basis.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (New Zealand)

One of the things I dread the most when visiting national parks or outdoor places is bad weather. 

Bad weather makes people miserable- the scrambling around when the rain pours without warning. Bad weather makes photos look miserable. 

Before we left for Mount Cook, we checked the weather forecast and were dismayed to learn that there will be rain. But if we have to go, we have to go. 

We decided to go with the Hooker Valley Track which is supposed to be a 3 hour return hike. We took slightly longer than that, mostly because we were dealing with the rain and slippery ground. 

The landscape kept changing and it was a relatively easy trail for most part, except when we were going to reach the end of the trail when it started to get a little steeper and a bit narrower. 


There were 3 suspension bridges on this trail and everytime I got onto one and looked down, I'm thinking, "Oh gosh, I need some help to cross this bridge."



Good things come to those who wait. I am not saying that the scenery at the beginning was not beautiful. But if you gave up after half an hour, this scene of expansive mountain ranges and clear water will not greet you. 


At some point, I got really trigger happy despite the rain.


It was one of the rare occasions that I didn't feel like it was a wasted trip because of bad weather- the scenery is more than enough to compensate for the bad weather!