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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, January 27, 2013

Royal China

The first thing that captures your attention when you are at Royal China is that just like Canton Paradise (another dim sum place I put on the must-go list), it isn't plastered in typical hues of red. Instead, it's somewhat in the range of Tiffany blue. After a disappointing trip to The Cathay Restaurant, the dim sum here has restored my faith in, well, dim sum.

We went there on a Saturday afternoon and apparently there are two time slots that you can choose from when making reservations. We chose the later one which was at 1.15 p.m.

Here are the three dim sum items that we unanimously thought was good.

1) Baked Egg Custard Tartlet
The egg tarts (3 for $4.80) are simply mindblowing. I haven't eaten such good melt-in-your-mouth egg tarts in some time. The last time I ate such good egg tarts was at Neptune Theatre, before it closed down. I normally stop at 1 of these if it's average but I ate three of these mini delights (imagine how much butter I just consumed).

2) Baked Barbecued Pork Puff 
The Char Siew Sou ($4.80 for 3) had a flaky pastry which crumbled easily. Within it, the BBQ sauce together with the chewy pork made this a winner. Apparently they also have the famous Royal China Signature Baked Barbecued Pork Bun which is available only on Sundays and Public Holidays.

3) Custard Bun 
I do not eat custard buns but those who ate it said that it was one of the better ones around.

As for the ones that were not bad but did not deserve a spot at the die-die must eat list, here are two of them.

1) Deep fried prawn with Century Egg
This was an interesting combination of century eggs and prawns, with the prawns being very bouncy and fresh.

2) Steamed Prawn Dumplings
I would have ranked the har gow in the previous category if not for the fact that the prawns were probably mixed with some ingredient that I don't really like the taste of. Personal preference.

As for those that are not worth trying , here's it.

1) Pan-fried Carrot Cake
The Pan-fried Carrot Cake ($4.80) was very ordinary and lacking in taste.

2) Deep fried mango and prawn roll with Seaweed 
I would have preferred the roll ($5.40 for 3) to be encased in the white flaky skin instead of wonton wrappers. Somehow, the texture of the wonton wrapper is not compatible with the delicate nature of the ingredients within it.

3) Century Egg and Lean Pork Congee 
The Century Egg and Lean Pork Congee ($6.80) lacks smoothness. Also, it was a little too salty for my liking.

4) Pan-fried Red Bean Paste Pancake
The Pan-fried Red Bean Paste Pancake ($10) was nothing to rave about. It felt like like a tired dish.

Despite several minor misses, all of us walked away pleased as punch. The star attractions at this dim sum place were enough to overcome the slight hiccups. Service was nothing fantastic, in fact, it was quite difficult to get their attention. Very value for money. For that amount of food, we paid around $20 each.

Royal China
Raffles Hotel Arcade
1 Beach Road
Tel: 6338 3363 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Eggs & Berries

Recently, my good friend since secondary school days came back from Australia and together with another close friend, we decided on Eggs & Berries. Lots of fun colours at this place which serves all-day breakfast. 

I got Eggs Benedict ($16.80) which consists of 2 poached eggs with English muffins, bacon, ham, hash brown and salad. My idea of hash brown has always been the McDonald's kind. To me, this seemed more like rosti. The shredded bits of potato were a little clumpy. The eggs were runny and done nicely. Ham was pretty ordinary although I liked the bacon because it was not too salty.

We also got the Over the Rainbow ($13.80) which consists a variety of fruits and nuts. I'm not sure why the amount of fruits look significantly downsized, as compared to this blogger's picture. I love thick waffles and this was pretty decent, with a good portion of macadamia nuts and pistachio. You could also choose from a selection of chocolate sauce, maple syrup or raspberry sauce to drizzle over this delight.

I think it used to be more value for money but the prices keep creeping up. Nonetheless, it's still a good price to pay considering that the food's decent and it's a good place to spend the afternoon at. Service is also friendly.

Eggs & Berries
Changi City Point
5 Changi Business Park Central 1
Tel: 6636 4212

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Cathay Restaurant

I never knew that The Cathay Restaurant was so popular. By 10.30 am, we were told that there was no more space on the reservation list for 12.30 p.m. 

Interesting to note that in 1940 when the restaurant first started, it served European fare.

We ordered the Preserved Egg with Lean Meat Porridge ($5). It was enough for two to share.

I always judge a dim sum restaurant based on the egg tarts. The Baked Mini Egg Tarts (3 for $3.90) were mediocre at best. The egg portion lacked flavour and the crust did not have the melt-in-your-mouth kind of consistency that good egg tarts have. 

The Baked BBQ Pork with Honey Pastry ($3.90) was pretty ordinary as well.

The Steamed Fresh Prawn Dumpling ($5.60) and the Steamed Siew Mai with Crab Roe ($5.20) were pretty decent though. The prawns for the Har Gow were succulent and the skin could hardly contain the burst of juice.

The Steamed Char Siew Rice Roll and the Steamed Prawn Rice Roll were pretty ordinary too.

The Fried Carrot with Bean Sprout and XO Chilli Sauce ($10) was recommended to us by the waitress. It was something different from what we would order from the dim sum repertoire. Spicy and flavourful, this dish was pretty good.

Service was a complete letdown. Either get a new teapot or get new waitresses who know how to handle teapots. The first time some waitress poured tea, it made the entire area around the cup wet. The next time the same waitress poured tea, somehow it went into our Fried Carrot dish. It's okay to drip tea on our table but totally not okay to accidentally pour tea into our food and not feel apologetic about it. Wrong orders were taken as well.

Average dim sum, won't be coming back again.

The Cathay Restaurant
The Cathay
2 Handy Road
Tel: 6 732 7888