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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, February 26, 2012

Beng Hiang Restaurant 茗香菜馆

You wouldn't miss Beng Hiang if you walked past it- the red paint and the traditional golden words against a black board. My mum ordered the dishes like a pro, because she had obviously grown up in the era of Beng Hiang. 

I wonder if it looks like Chinese New Year all year round! 

This was the Duck salad ($25) that was very appetising. Rock melon, jellyfish, duck slices, some crunchy vegetables here and there. One commented that this was like yusheng. No, besides the mixing done by the waitress, there's nothing yusheng about this dish. 

Normally not a fan of Spiced sausage and fried prawn balls (Aka Wu Xiang) ($16) but it was not bad. One was filled with prawn and the other was meat. Piping hot and crispy.

The Di Huang Miao ($10) was fried liberally with plenty of garlic. Nothing bad about this dish, just like ordinary vegetables.

Everybody loved the Yam Ring ($30). One said that it could melt in your mouth! Well, that's true because of the crispy exterior of the yam ring coupled with a very smooth consistency of the yam inside! Plus the abundance of ingredients within the yam ring makes it a great dish to try!

Their specialty- Kong Ba Pao ($15). The sauce for the pork was so flavourful and was perfect with the bun. However, I found the meat a little tough.

There was also the Hokkien Mee ($12) which I didn't like because the gravy had too strong a flavour.

Plus, they gave free red bean soup after the meal! Not too sweet and perfect as comfort food.

For this amount of food, we spent $126, including GST but no service charge. Worth it? Definitely. The service is probably one of the features here- where they look like they couldn't really be bothered about your existence. Most of them don't smile, and if you're lucky, you may be able to catch one or two fleeting smiles. Nothing much to be bothered about the service though. They are not mean, they are just indifferent. Contrast this to genuinely mean waiters and waitresses! Plus, you don't pay service charge!

Beng Hiang Restaurant 茗香菜馆 
112 Amoy Street
Tel: +65 6221 6695

Friday, February 24, 2012

Things Pixar Taught Me

(photocredit: iwastesomuchtime.com)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rochor Centre

In a few years, these iconic buildings will no longer be part of our landscape in the name of development.  Somehow, the striking colours drape the area with a layer of innocence- remember the primary school days where the colours of the colour pencils or crayons we used to pick up were either red, blue, yellow or green? Blue for skies, yellow or orange for the sun, green for the grass and red for the flowers among the grass. A sheer mark of beautiful simplicity. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Tastings Room

I walked out of The Tastings Room thinking, wow I need to come back here again. And I don't feel this way that often because often something is lacking before it can be considered a perfect meal. But the experience here was near perfect- the food, the service and the ambience.

We had a group of seven and we requested for the White Room in the Tastings Room in advance, a place where we enjoyed complete privacy. When we first arrived, one waitress (a very helpful one) proceeded to pour warm water into our glasses. My friend asked, "Do you have cold water instead?" And she answered, "Yes, sure! But just that the room will get colder so you might want to have some warm water instead." Thoughtfulness, check. Being the wine noobs we are, she also bothered to explain the different kinds of wines and how they tasted different, some sweeter than the rest.

I had a Confit of French Duck Leg ($27.90) which was served on mashed potato, poached pear and orange sauce. I know some people don't eat the skins of animals due to the fats, like chicken skin or duck skin, but seriously, if you don't try this, you are obviously missing out. I didn't expect the skin to be so crispy. Coupled with the tender meat of the duck which shredded apart so easily, and the sauce, it was such a pleasure to eat this dish. Admittedly, however, I didn't really like the grilled poached pear. Sure, it adds the sweetness to this otherwise salty dish. However, grilled fruits just don't quite do the trick for me, although it's more of a personal preference.

My friends ordered the saffron seafood, steak frites, truffle cream fettucine with wild mushroom and the rose sauce linguine with salmon. Not a hint of criticism and nothing but praise.

Before I round up this laudatory post, I give two thumbs up for service! Besides the fact that they kept coming in to refill our glasses and to make sure that they got the iced water and warm water right, the most special part was where they served a cake on a plate for three of our friends who had their birthdays in February. The cake was not even bought from them, yet they went the extra mile, to put it on a dish, to write happy birthday, and with all that lovely decoration! This small decoration goes a long way. Even better, the waitress even asked if we wanted the chef to cut the cake for us. We declined politely because we didn't want to trouble them further.

I think we all agreed that the food here is great and that the outstanding service is something really memorable!

Tip: Just in case you lose your way like my friends did, this restaurant is not within the Marina Square block. Instead, it's next to the road, and if you take the MRT and exit from City Hall to Marina Square, you just need to cross the small road and you will see it on your right.

The Tastings Room 
Marina Square
6 Raffles Boulevard
Tel: +65 6338 1829

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day Google Doodle

The Dunearn

We wanted to celebrate a friend's birthday today so we headed down The Dunearn. We sat outside and there was plenty of greenery (Botanic Gardens), which is really a beautiful sight, provided that there's some wind. Otherwise, all that will be running through your mind during your meal is when it can end so that you can escape indoors. 

Before our dishes came, we were served some foccacia bread. Can't emphasise enough how much I love foccacia. It was served hot and it was crispy on the outside, soft in the inside. However, my friend who loves butter stopped eating butter after a while because apparently it tasted weird. 

Anyway, I ordered the Mediterranean Chicken and Crab Meat Gumbo. New word learnt today- Gumbo! Yes, I've been living under a stone, but I just realised that gumbo is a stew or soup that originates from southern Louisiana. Anyway, it was a pretty good soup with moderate flavours, with a few chunks of chicken and minute shreds of crab meat. 

I also had the Baked Marinated Prawns on Bed of Balsamic Tomato Salsa served with Roasted Asparagus. The prawns were chewy and fresh, and the balsamic tomato salsa was served on a pie crust.

Overall, the food here is not bad. BUT, and here's a huge BUT for you, unless you can enter into the restaurant looking like you earn a five k figure a month, you might probably get served the same way as us. Served the same way? Yes, served like second class citizens just because we looked like we would run away after the meal was over. Admittedly, one friend was wearing slippers and that infringes the smart casual dress code. So, that resulted in two waitresses in the restaurant, huddling close together, and pointing at her slippers. Very polite, I see.

In the first place, we didn't even step foot into the restaurant and were seated outside instead. Secondly, even if you had politely walked out of the indoor restaurant to tell us that such footwear is not allowed, we would have accepted that it's our friend's failure to adhere to the dress code and went somewhere else instead. But, why do you point repeatedly at the slippers when it just looks so rude?

The waiter who served us told us initially that there was only finger food. We told him, we wanted lunch. And he was like "yeah, but our last order is at 245 pm". Okay, and it was 210pm when we entered the restaurant... so why couldn't you have just allowed us to order our lunch? After getting our way with the lunch (deservedly so), when we were eating, my friend signalled for him to refill her glass of water. So, he came, and walked away, without refilling the other empty glasses. Lots of initiative indeed.

In all, dress up like you're worth a million dollars if you want to enjoy good service. I won't want to go back again because I don't like being judged and treated like a second class citizen.

The Dunearn 
Bukit Timah Guild House (NUSS Graduate Club)
1F Cluny Road,
Tel: +65 6586 3260

Monday, February 13, 2012

Peach Garden 桃苑

We went to Peach Garden at Novena for dinner yesterday. It's along the main road, so you probably won't miss it. 

We ordered the Roasted peking duck ($60). Tasted like your typical peking duck. Came with some prawn crackers.

I'm not a fan of wasabi because the word that pops in my mind when I think of wasabi is- pungent. People may think that wasabi is the greatest thing ever, but sorry, I don't share their sentiments. But anyway, we ordered Deep fried wasabi prawn salad ($22) which was actually pretty good. The big prawn was piping hot, crispy and chewy! Plus they managed to tone down the wasabi a lot, so the pungency didn't manage to make a round in my nose before coming out. Yes, it retains its pungent smell and taste, but it's not overpowering.

This was what the waiter recommended: Salted egg yolk scallop with prawn ($63). It's basically a thin layer of salted egg encasing two scallops which surround a prawn item. Again, not usually a fan of salted egg yolk but this wasn't that salty and I think there was some sugar in there to balance the saltiness. Eating beyond the salted egg yolk, you actually still can taste the freshness of the scallop.

This is the leftover duck meat from the peking duck, fried together with some mushrooms, and placed on a lettuce leaf. With some sauce (for the peking duck) laid at the bottom of the leaf.

I felt that this was the worst dish of the night. It wasn't just me who felt that the Ee Fu Noodle with Crab Meat ($36) tasted like maggi noodles. The gravy was also a little too salty. The crab meat was nearly non-existent.

The total bill came up to around $35 per person (including one more dish not mentioned above). As for the service, I have conflicting thoughts about it. Here, they refill your tea cups and change your dishes very frequently. But yet, I don't feel the enthusiasm that is evident in other places where there is excellent service. So, the refilling of cups and changing of dishes feels terribly like a chore. Overall, the food is decent but not fantastic.

Peach Garden
301 Upper Thomson Road
#01-88 Thomson Plaza
Tel No: 6 451 3233 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee

Best Hokkien Mee in Singapore. Is there any other way I can say this? Alright, Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee has the best hokkien mee in Singapore! 

(photo credit: Love Singapore Food)

This doesn't taste like your ordinary hokkien mee. Dry version of the ordinary soup-soaked hokkien mee, yet hidden with gravy goodness within the nook and cranny of the noodles! The result is that you get dry noodles that are actually don't feel dry, but deliciously moist. The noodles are not soggy, prawns and sotong are fresh, lots of egg, fresh chilli and lime to add zest to this dish! 

Sold for $3/4/5. I've been eating this for a few years, many times a year. If that doesn't tell you how good the hokkien mee is, I don't know what does. 

Tip: Call them in advance and order the number of packets you want and specify the time. Otherwise, you will queue up for at least a good 30-40 minutes. Learn to ignore the looks of envy/irritation from the queue. Another tip, they close as they please, so call them up just to make sure that their stall is open.

Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee (Hougang)
Old Airport Road Food Centre
51 Old Airport Road
Tel: +65 6440 5340

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tuck Kee (Ipoh) Sah Ho Fun

My knowledge of sea animals is like next to zero. To me, crayfish is like the cousin of lobster with a texture that is slightly less chewy than lobster. Speaking about lobsters, I sorely miss the lobsters I could get from Boston's supermarkets at USD$6.99 (on sale) for a very decent-sized lobster! 

It's not that often that you get to see seafood such as lobsters or crayfish in hawker centres. Sure, you have your zichar stalls that sells XO crab beehoon etc, but these are considered to be in the minority. 

The queue for the food at this stall is always long, and as you can tell, plenty of accolades to tell you how good the food is. (I'm not saying that they are always accurate, but at least they serve as a good guide.) 

And here's the Crayfish Hor Fun (without the gravy). This costs $6.50 (additional 50 cents for takeaway). You may consider it expensive, but just look at how those prawns and crayfish cover the hor fun till all you get is a GLIMPSE of the hor fun. The prawns are peeled for you (can't mention how much I love this gesture), and the crayfish is bursting with meat. The seafood is also relatively fresh.

The sah hor fun is very smooth and the gravy went well with this dish. My only gripe was that the gravy was a bit too dilute. But I suppose it's okay, just in case it became too starchy. Plus that mild peppery taste in the gravy- just a little goes a long way!

If you are craving for crayfish, but not willing to fork out anything more than $10, this is a good option for you!

Tuck Kee (Ipoh) Sah Ho Fun 
Hong Lim Food Centre
531A Upper Cross Street,
(Closed on Sundays)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Joe Hill's 3D works at Bugis

The dearth of food posts can only be attributed to a necessary evil called school. That's not really an excuse, I know, but I'll probably will be back with one this weekend, and another next week.

Not like the above is of any importance. What is more important is Joe Hill is in town! An incredibly talented artist, his works are going to be there from 8-19 February 2012, while he is going to be on site from 8-10 February from 1030 am- 130 pm and 230 pm-530 pm. One will be located outside Starbucks, and the other outside Bossini. By the way, he's the current Guinness World Record holder for the World's Largest and the World's Longest 3D art work at the West India Quay, London. 

(photo credit: I Love Museums)

This was last year's.

(photo credit: Joe and Max)

Joe Hill going to give a talk on 9 February 2012, Thursday and Singapore Art Museum Glass Hall, if you are interested. 

If you are in the area, please go take a look at the 3D works at Bugis! It's not every day you get to see artworks like this! 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Harry Potter Variations

I often resist the urge to post unrelated (albeit interesting) links on this blog, but I found it impossible not to introduce this link.

For all you Harry Potter fans who can hum the Harry Potter tune with the snap of a finger, this is for you.