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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

Friday, January 31, 2014

Tamoya (Liang Court)

There are plenty of ramen specialty shops in Singapore but udon? Here you have Tamoya, established in Kagawa in 1996. Udon noodles are typically served chilled in the summer and hot in the winter. In a fast-food chain setup, you first decide on the kind of udon you want. Then, choose the additional toppings you want. Lastly, pay! 

I got a Kake Udon ($4.80 for regular sized). This is the most basic type of udon which is in a light dashi stock. It may look like a small portion, but after all that extra ingredients that you are going to add, it will not be as small as it looks! The udon is made from 3 different types of flour and is very chewy.

Like excited school children seeing plates of golden deep fried goodness, we loaded these deep fried food on our plates to share. Deep fried mushrooms, deep fried eggplants, deep fried everything. There was a slight problem here though- some of the food has been left in the open for too long and had therefore turned cold and lost its crisp. 

The tempura prawn ($2.50) is addictive. Larger than usual prawn tempuras, this is something you can't miss.

After sharing all the deep fried items, it came up to about $8 per person. How's that for a good and cheap Japanese meal?

Tamoya (Liang Court)
Liang Court Shopping Centre
177 River Valley Road
Tel No: 6 377 0301 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Au Chocolat

If you want to get a table at Au Chocolat without waiting, I suggest you click here. If you go without reservations, you may have to wait for at least half an hour (which was what happened to us).

I like the decor of this place- whimsical with an eye for detail.

Nobody should miss the Truffle Fries ($15) here. Piping hot crispy strips of potatoes with a very strong aromatic smell of truffle oil, served with mayonnaise and BBQ Sauce. The serving is ridiculously big though. If you intend to order a main course, this might be too much even for four to share. Your mind ceases to work and your hand mindlessly stretches over to get one more, just one more, just one more, one last one... no, just one more...

We were disappointed with the Duck Confit ($28). Served with mashed potato, white wine poached pear and set on a chocolate-orange sauce. The duck was far too salty. Of course some saltiness is expected since confit is prepared using preservation methods that consists of using salt to cure the duck, but this just made my blood pressure shoot up. The orange-chocolate sauce, while interesting, also failed to impress us.

Truffle fries were addictive, didn't take a liking to the duck confit. Excellent service which made the meal worthwhile after all.

Au Chocolat
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
2 Bayfront Avenue
Tel No: 6 688 7227 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hakata Ikkousha (Tanjong Pagar Plaza)

Having secured the title of Ultimate Ramen Champion for 2 years, Hakata Ikkousha now has a shop at Tanjong Pagar Plaza. While the shop space might be relatively small, we didn't wait for long on a Friday night to enter the shop. Check out this video which explains their mission and how every detail in the ramen is taken care of.  

I decided to get the safe choice of Tonkotsu Ramen ($12). The noodles are thinner than the usual ramen noodles but unsurprisingly, are springy. You get to choose the amount of oil and the amount of saltiness- one thing I've learnt is that I should go for either the normal version or the most unhealthy version. Some of the flavour of the broth had been lost presumably through my opting of a healthier version. The char siew was also leaner than the usual char siew in ramen. 

I attribute the lack of kick of eating the ramen to my choice of making a healthier option- so they can't be faulted. Despite that, the ramen was of course still decent (the runny Flavoured Boiled Eggs ($2) added much needed flavour). Service was friendly. 

Tanjong Pagar Plaza
Tel No: 6 538 1880 

Singapore Biennale 2013: If the World Changed

After much procrastination, I have finally managed to drag my lazy self down to the Singapore Biennale before it ends on 16 February 2014. Entrance fee is $10 for adults (free admission for many categories- e.g. students / NSF etc.)

Here are some of my favourites at the Singapore Biennale 2013.

1) Most meaningful 

I really liked Telok Blangah by Ahmad Abu Bakar. It features a fisherman's boat filled with a thousand glass bottles with messages from male prison inmates in Singapore, describing their hopes and aspirations. Many of these messages were touching- they express their longing for their families, their regrets and their resolve to take the right path after being released. You can write to one of them, in response to their message, to provide some hope and encouragement. 

2) Most cheem 

Sometimes, artworks can be described in such abstract and complex ways. For this installation, there is a huge puddle of chinese ink. According to the description of this installation by Nguyen Huy An, it is meant to portray the fact that beneath the illustrious and rich Chinese culture, there are secrets and corruption. Beats me how he actually thought about this, but his thought process is pretty interesting (even if the exhibit itself was not particularly interesting). 

3) Most interesting

Let me put this straight- I absolutely loved this installation so much that I actually laughed. The foreigner next to me must be thinking what was so funny about this. A video installation by Boo Junfeng, he imagines a Singapore that is still part of Malaysia. I didn't know about this, but it appears there was a song "Happy And Free" which was commissioned in 1963 to commission this merger. You can't miss this installation! 

4) Most controversial 

At the National Museum, there is the installation where the work comprises of chandeliers. The work by Ken Yonetani and Julia Yonetani was conceived in response to the nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011. The chandelier frames have been refitted with uranium glass and UV lighting and the UV bulbs cause the glass beads to glow in green. What's so controversial about this? Visitors have complained that no signs have been put up to caution against the radiation. 

5) Most playful 

Art does not have to be heavy going- Irwan Ahmett and Tita Salina will tell you that. In this series of videos, the artists (and/or pranksters) show how they bring play into everyday life- for example, placing a squeaky toy beneath the pavements so that it squeaks when pedestrians walk past, or making a massive ball using food wrappers. 


Overall, I would say that 2-3 hours will be sufficient to cover the Singapore Art Museum + SAM at 8Q. The bulk of the exhibits/installations are there. If you have nothing over the weekend, make a trip down! 

Click here for website. 

Tickets on sale:
Singapore Art Museum, SAM at 8Q, National Museum of Singapore, Peranakan Museum and Sistic. 

Validity of tickets:
Visit the SAM and SAM at 8Q on the same day. Venues at National Museum and Peranakan Museum can be accessed on a different day. 

Guide book?
A Short Guide will be provided upon the purchase of a ticket. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

MOF @ My Izakaya (Bugis Junction)

Gone were the secondary school days where a few of us would go to Bugis Junction during the school holidays to meet up. Having not gone to Bugis Junction for quite some time, I realised that it has undergone quite a bit of revamp. 

Ministry of Food takes up a pretty large floor area and it was fully packed at dinner time. 

The first thing that hits me is how extensive the menu is. Which made perfect sense for me to save on time on flipping the menu and instead ask my friends who were there earlier what they were getting and simply follow suit. And like the good old days, the favourite phrase we used when we were young- they chime "copycat..."

I got a Soft Shell Crab Pasta where you could choose the sauce and type of pasta you wanted. This was surprisingly good and very filling. The soft shell crab while crispy and hot was not greasy- and a generous portion at that!

MOF @ My Izakaya (Bugis Junction)
Bugis Junction
200 Victoria Street
Tel No: 6 338 6466 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Mis en Place

I googled and found out that Mise en place means "putting in place", and is used in professional kitchens to refer to organising and arranging the ingredients.

While wandering in the East Coast area last week, we decided to drop by here because the set meal looked pretty worth it. We ordered a three course lunch set at $18.

Ahh what did I say about liking eateries that have interesting quotes on their walls!

For our first course, we got a Mushroom Soup. The lady (whom I presume is the lady boss) told us that it's without cream but still has the creamy flavour to it. Now, that sounds slightly intriguing. When it came, it was just as she described. Although it tasted slightly dilute because of the lack of cream to add to the thick texture of the soup, it was light on the tastebuds and the mushroom flavours were spot on.

For the main course, I ordered the Chicken Milanese which was breaded chicken leg stuffed with mushrooms. The crispy chicken was juicy and the stuffed mushrooms was an interesting addition to the chicken leg.

I also tried the Tilapia Fish & Chips which wasn't that great because it was a little dry. Anyone well-versed in doing fish and chips- what is the best fish to use? My understanding is that haddock / halibut is quite often used, but not sure if the type of fish affects the final product.

For dessert, we had Stollen with ice cream even though Christmas is over!

Food was decent, wait for food was a little long. Service very friendly.

Mis En Place
39 East Coast Road
Tel No: 6 345 8381 

Chocolate Origin (Bugis Junction)

I held high hopes for Chocolate Origin - after seeing this name repeatedly pop up on food blogs, I was happy that I came across one of their branches while doing some other errands. 

The Cuppa Lava Cake ($5) was inexpensive, considering that you get a lava cake plus vanilla ice cream! Touted as a "heavenly treat made up of cold vanilla ice-cream bottom and warm chocolate cake top, with hot pulsating lava oozing out from the inside", the lava cake failed to impress.

My friend thought the vanilla ice cream tasted cheap- there was no richness in the ice cream. I don't usually eat vanilla ice cream so I can't really pass a judgment there. While the lava cake was decent, it didn't have the "wow" factor.

Chocolate Origin 
Bugis Junction
230 Victoria Street
Singapore 188021
Tel No: 6 337 1220 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hua Ting 华厅

I always thought it was 华亭 instead of 华厅. In any case, doesn't the former sound better than the latter? 

Please place reservations here or it's unlikely that you will be able to get a table on weekends- it was fully packed when we went!

We ordered Seafood Roll ($1.80 each)- golden little deep fried packets containing cold fruit salad.

The Steamed Prawn Dumplings ($1.80 each) had huge, juicy dumplings. Pity the skin was a little thick!

The Pan Fried Carrot Cake ($1.40 each) was rather forgettable.

I loved the Scallop Siew Mai ($1.80 each). The scallops were fresh and juicy. I should stop using the word "juicy" so often in the same post, but really, that is simply calling a spade, a spade.

Eating the skin of the Char Siew Bao ($1.40 each) was like sinking your teeth into a feathery pillow- that was how light and fluffy the skin was. Sweet pork filling.

These Egg Tarts ($1.50 each) were above average. Wobbly egg filling which was not too sweet, filled in a crusty tart- you won't be able to stop at one!

The Vegetarian Cheong Fun ($5.60) was an interesting break from the normal char siew or prawn filling. Light and refreshing.

Finally, I got to taste some good Red Bean Pancake ($12) after so long! These things might look easy to make but they are easy to taste mediocre as well. Hua Ting does this really well, thick skin crust which is crispy but not oily, does not deflate into some lifeless skin after a while, with lots of red bean filling.

The dim sum here is good. Service was not attentive though.

Hua Ting
Orchard Hotel
442 Orchard Road
Tel No: 6 739 6666 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Da Paolo BistroBar

There are lots of lovely eateries in Singapore that are surrounded with lush greenery- too bad these places are often too atas! Since it is the holiday season, we decided to march down to Da Paolo BistroBar at Rochester Park. 

There is an outdoor and indoor seating area. Since the weather was cooling, we opted to sit outside.

As we wanted to share the food, we decided to go on a pizza streak. First up was the Red Wine Braised Pork Belly ($30). Everybody loved this pizza. This reminded me of Peking Duck pizza from Timbre (which I really like!). Covered in wild rocket (it's all an illusion to make your food look healthier), the pork belly was soft and obviously fatty. Together with the balsamic reduction, this made a very delicious pizza!

The Cajun Chicken Pizza ($28) was up next. While it promised a "spicy buffalo sauce", this simply wasn't spicy enough. Plus it was far too salty!

Since we were not full after the first two pizzas, we decided to go for the vegetarian option- Pizza Mascarpone ($28). Drizzled with aromatic truffle oil, this pizza was a very safe choice- mushrooms with anything always works well- pity there weren't enough mushrooms though! 

Everybody raves about the Tiramisu ($13) here. A couple of years ago, the tiramisu at Fullerton was always a special treat for me. Now, the tiramisu is still good but lacking some of the spark. While this tiramisu was creamy with shaved dark chocolate and soaked in coffee, this just didn't strike me as being so good that I'm missing out on something if I didn't try it.

A relaxing ambience with good service. Good food and nice place to chill.

De Paolo Bistro Bar 
3 Rochester Park
Tel No: 6 774 5537 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ichiban Boshi (VivoCity)

We stood at the directory with all the food listings before a consensus was finally made to go to Ichiban Boshi. It was full packed at dinner time so we waited for more than 40 minutes to get in. 

I have to say I'm impressed at how affordable their meals are!

I ordered a Business Wazen Set ($16.90). The chanwamushi had a nice stock and was so smooth and slurp-worthy! Something that happened to me in 2013 was a trip to Japan- and that changed my entire perspective on raw food. The salmon was chewy and fresh. Not a fan of the taste of the mackerel though. Tempura- impossible to go wrong with that.

A really good option for Japanese food without breaking the bank. Service was average.

Ichiban Boshi
1 Harbourfront Walk
Tel No. 6376 8318 

Saveur (Far East Plaza)

It has been more than a year ago since I visited Saveur located at Purvis Street. Now, they have a new branch at Far East Plaza! I went on New Year's eve at lunch time and while the place was packed, there were no queues forming, probably due to the efficiency of the staff. 

The decor here looks different from what I remembered of Saveur at Purvis street. As opposed to the white washed walls at Purvis Street, this place looks more chic.

I ordered the Duck Leg Confit ($12.90). I can't help but note how much prices have increased since 2012- it was then $8.90. Nonetheless, this is still affordable although this is clearly insufficient not enough to make me full.

The duck meat tore apart the moment the knife came into contact with it. The citrus taste of the oranges and the flavourful mushrooms were perfect with the duck (with crispy skin, I should add) which was set on a bed of mashed potatoes done just right- no lumps, not too dilute. Only gripe is that I found the duck a little too salty.

It used to be more value for money in the past. Nonetheless, service and location are a draw for this restaurant.

Far East Plaza
14 Scotts Road
Singapore 228213
Tel No: 6736 1121