Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Here's my dad with his three youngest grandchildren (Nadine, Jolie and Xi-Yee) at Chinese New Year in 2010. It was the first CNY without my mom. Next CNY, it will be the first without both of them. He has gone to be with her, on her birthday April 9, 2014.

We've had a while to prepare for this, as his health was gradually declining, but losing a parent is still one of the toughest things ever.

It was seven-year-old Nadine who first alerted me that something was wrong. Last month, out of the blue, she tapped on my iPhone screen and in her limited speech (she has Down Syndrome) said, "Call 爷爷 (ye ye or grandpa)..."

I did and found out he had just been hospitalised, and that was to be a three-week long ordeal. The start of the end. When I was away for his funeral in Malaysia, she kept trying to call him too, via anyone's phone she could get her hands on. It was like she knew. Sometimes you just can't explain the bond.

This blog owes quite a bit to my dad.

Pa is the reason I am a foodie. He truly enjoyed his food, and he showed his love by feeding us delicious things. You'd often hear him say, "What shall we eat today?" and planning dinner before lunch is over. He liked to bring us to his favourite restaurants and eateries. He made sure we had a full glass of milk before bed. Food is love. I think that's true in many Chinese families, especially traditional ones. We may not be expressive, but we care by firstly making sure our loved ones are well-fed.

He also taught us the importance of reading, and the acquisition of knowledge. Our home is filled with books, whatever we could get in that little town. I think it helped me become better at writing too.

It was Pa who gave me a love of photography. I remember his old manual Olympus film camera that he sometimes let us play with as kids. It was just point-and-shoot back then, nothing technical involving f stops and metering, but you learn to have a good eye and to compose your shot.

Ironically my dad has never seen my blog. Or the Internet for that matter. He belonged to this age where computers were unnecessary in daily life.

Grief is a terrible filter. But as I shared on Facebook, there are little real miracles that tell me he is is still looking after us in his own way. And I am comforted that he is now with my mom, their ashes side by side.

I will remember all the things he taught us - honesty, hard work, responsibility, kindness and humility.

And I will continue documenting good eats as a nod to his great love of food.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cranley Hotel - Facade at night

Do you love London and all it has to offer? One can guess that shopping and English Premier League football rank pretty high on the list for Singaporeans.

Cranley Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, has come up with a package that aims to marry both shopping and football interests of its guests.

The package includes a £50.00 Selfridges voucher to get you started on your shopping spree. Harrods, Harvey Nicholas and many more within easy reach, so you will certainly be spoilt for choice. A personal shopper service can also be arranged to suit every styling requirement, from grooming and make-up, to wardrobe consultation. Revamp your wardrobe with stylish recommendations through a tailor-made shopping experience along Bond Street, Mayfair or Oxford Street.

Football fans - you'll know that this year’s FA Cup Final will be held on 17 May at Wembley Stadium. Chelsea fans will love that Cranley is in close proximity to Stamford Bridge. Watch the big four battle it out or an underdog team coming out tops as the Premier League season draws to a close. Cranley’s concierge can assist in lining up a full day at Stamford Bridge, beginning with a stadium tour, lunch at Chelsea’s very own Frankie’s Sports Bar and Diner, and a Chelsea FC Museum Visit.



Cranley Hotel - Four Poster A
The hotel itself is gorgeous. Occupying three Victorian houses that date back to 1869, Cranley offers elegant decorations and beautiful interiors. Rooms are coloured by a Regency palette and four-poster beds are handcrafted, while antique mahogany furniture, period oil printings and brass fittings complete the majestic ambience.



Cranley Hotel - Lobby

Shopping and football activities aside, couples can also celebrate their romantic milestones with a Victorian-styled photo shoot within the hotel.

Savour traditional afternoon tea for two, and wind down with the lovely toiletry range from Penhaligon that holds two Royal Warrants. (One of the first inhabitants of this historical building was a Welsh perfumer who sold his business to the famed William Penhaligon.)

Other offerings include complimentary Wi-Fi internet access throughout the hotel, a welcome drink on arrival, daily newspaper service, champagne and canapés every evening, nightly turndown service with home-baked goods, 24-hour room service menu and guest computer and business services.

From £249.00 a night, this package is available from now till 31 May 2014, (valid for a minimum stay of two nights, subject to availability with certain dates excluded) in which guests will enjoy:

- Daily full English breakfast on the front terrace
- Daily traditional afternoon tea for 2
- £50.00 Selfridges Voucher
- 2 pm late check-out guarantee
- Early check-in guarantee if booking is made more than 10 days in advance

“London is one of the top travel destinations for Singaporeans, and we have noted a shift in consumer preferences for unique experiences in boutique hotels. This summer package is specially put forth for Singaporeans to experience the warm hospitality of Cranley Hotel in a building with historical nostalgia.” said David Garcia Ramos, General Manager of Cranley Hotel.

The Cranley Hotel is owned and managed by award-winning Singapore real estate developer, KOP Properties. The KOP Properties' portfolio also includes Montigo Resorts, Nongsa (see review!), and the Ritz Carlton Residences, Singapore. Past projects include The Spazio, Scotts Spazio and Hamilton Scotts, the world’s tallest en suite elevated car porch residence. KOP Properties was also involved in the extensive refurbishment and renewal of 10 Trinity Square, a listed building in the heart of London’s financial district.

I will be heading to London myself at the end of the month, and am going to see Cranley Hotel for myself. Will bring back photos and a review! These photos above are courtesy of Cranley Hotel.



CRANLEY HOTEL
10 Bina Gardens, South Kensington, London SW5 0LA.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7373 0123
Email: reception@cranleyhotel.com
Location on Google maps:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Park Regis Merchant Queen room
The Park Regis Hotel at 23 Merchant Road is just a short walk from Clarke Quay MRT. It's tucked away in a blissfully quiet area although it's right across the busy Clarke Quay entertainment area. Chinatown is nearby and the CBD or Central Business District is just a few blocks away. But quiet is important for rest, and that's a real perk for a hotel within the city area.

The Park Regis is not to be confused with the swanky St Regis. Nice name association with the Regis, but it's not part of the Starwood Hotel Group. Instead, it is part of this Stay Well group that has hotels in Australia, New Zealand, India, UAE and the UK. They also have a rewards program that gives you reward points, instant dining discounts within the hotel, and frequent flier miles with Qantas.




The Park Regis Singapore was a booking I did on AsiaRooms.com - for some reason, I found a better rate there than at the hotel's own website. I also like AsiaRoom's neat and easy-to-read layout, and how easy it is to find and filter out the hotels that best suited me.

Their biggest selling point is the buy now, pay later with no cancellation fees. But if you know your plans are fixed (like mine were), you can take advantage of special "advance purchase" deals that give even better rates.

Checking in was a breeze. I had prepaid, and they knew about it. No dispute. Very cheerful service.



The Merchant Rooms are 20 sqm with bay windows
The studio-concept rooms at Park Regis are done up contemporary style, most with open concept bathrooms. They are admittedly rather small at 20 sq metres, but it does not feel too cramped. Every inch of space has been well-utilised, as you will see.



There's plenty of natural daylight in the room
There's plenty of daylight from the big windows. This is a Merchant Queen Room, which can be found on levels 2 to 7 (it's not a high-rise hotel). You either get a city view or view of the pool.



Bedding is clean and comfy
The queen size bed and linens are comfortable. Love the contrasting cushions!


The bathroom is open concept!
Yes, behind the mirror is the sink and washing area. There are no separate walls for the bathrooms, only glass partitions for the toilet and shower cubicles.



Bathroom is very clean, but there isn't that much privacy
Not exactly a lot of privacy, but they are very clean though.



The bathroom feels double the size thanks to mirrors
There's clever usage of mirrors to double the sense of space. The bathroom area feels double the size, thanks to mirrored doors of the closet.



Inside the mirrored doors is the closet
What closet? There, slide open the doors and the wardrobe lights up. Safe and drawers are on the other side.


You get your TV and a narrow desk
Of course, you get your TV (a 42" LCD) and a narrow desk for work. There is not much space for a lot of luggage, especially after one unpacks and has an explosion of stuff everywhere.



Clever use of compact space
It took me a while to find the electric kettle, cups and coffee/tea making facilities. They are in the sleek mirrored drawers facing the bed, below the sink counter.



View of pool below; check out water curtain at end!
We had a view of the 25m outdoor pool. Check out the cascading waterfall feature - we later tried to stand under it, and truly felt how heavy water can be!


A meeting room converted to host breakfast
While we were there, they were renovating the ground floor for the new Chinese restaurant, the Royal Pavilion. One of the meeting rooms on the second floor got converted to host the buffet breakfast for guests.



Buffet Breakfast
Our room did not come with breakfast, but we tried it anyway when it was raining one morning. For S$20++ per pax, it was a decent selection. But if you prefer, you can always head out for nearby hipster cafes like Ronin at 17 Hong Kong Street.



Breakfast at Park Regis
Breakfast! These are my starters, haha.



The 25m outdoor pool
After breakfast, go relax at the pool or head out for a full day. There is also a gym but I forgot to take pictures. Other facilities include a pool bar, rooftop bar, and business centre. Wi-fi is complimentary in all public areas as well as guestrooms - something all hotels should have!

I have to say the front desk and service staff were exceptional in terms of sincerity and cheerfulness. They were always volunteering to help. Kudos for that.


PARK REGIS SINGAPORE
23 Merchant Road (behind Ministry of Manpower)
Singapore 058268
Tel: +65 6818-8888
Email for reservations: sing@parkregissingapore.com




What's your favourite site to book hotels and resorts? I have been using AsiaRooms since 2012. The first time was for a hotel in Taipei, and I was charmed by how simple the whole process was. But best of all, the prices were very good. I like to double check against other sites, and indeed against the hotel's own site (where they normally have the best rates), but AsiaRooms fared well enough that I preferred to book there instead for the hotel that I wanted.




What must really be good for travellers is - you can book now, pay later, and even change your bookings with no cancellation charges.





I last tried them for a staycation, and picked the reasonably new Park Regis that I was curious about (full hotel review coming up!). There are helpful photo galleries and user reviews. You can also search by additional hotel facilities that you'd absolutely need (in-room wifi, gym, pool, pets allowed, etc)

For me, I knew that my plans would not change, so I was able to take advantage of "advance purchase" deals with better discounts but require payment upfront.



Booking is very easy via three steps - your details, the room details (where you can indicate special requests), and payment details.

But AsiaRooms isn't just limited to rooms in Asia. While it's especially good for hotels in Asia, I found hotels in UK and US too. They also cover Europe and the Middle East.



AsiaRooms also offers a comprehensive country-by-country travel guide complete with details on interesting things to do, a listing filled with must-visit places, a currency guide, and guest reviews. See the Community tab for these useful travel information and tips.



And in January this year, they launched a rewards cashback system for Singapore and Malaysia residents! Spend a minimum of GBP1000 or equivalent, and get 5% directly credited back to your nominated bank account. It's valid across the 65,000 properties worldwide with no restriction on hotel or room type, and no black-out stays booked as part of the rewards programme. I signed up here - http://www.asiarooms.com/en/rewards/signup! But too bad for me, it doesn't apply for stays in the past.

Follow them on Facebook to see more updates and deals - http://www.facebook.com/Asiarooms
Similarly on Twitter ( http://twitter.com/AsiaRooms ) or Google+ ( http://gplus.to/AsiaRooms ).

Download the new AsiaRooms mobile app too from:
- Apple App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/asiarooms-com-hotel-search/id421805159?mt=8
- Android Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.asiarooms




This post was brought to you by AsiaRooms.com

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Hey Hallyu fans! You'll be glad to know NANTA (COOKIN') is coming back to Singapore. It's a comic musical non-verbal performance derived from the traditional Korean instrumental performance, “samulnori”. They are the longest running South Korean show with four theatres built specially for them in Seoul. It was also the first Asian show to take the stage at Broadway and has since performed in over 285 cities including London, Tokyo and Berlin.


Kitchen comes alive in theatresThis globally acclaimed show will be returning to Singapore to cook up a storm with their non-verbal “live” theatrical performance at Resorts World® Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa from 10 to 13 July this year.


Vegetables fly in NANTA theatres
NANTA (COOKIN’), which means “to strike relentlessly”, tells the comedic adventure of four chefs trying to put together a wedding banquet in a short period of time. The first-of-its-kind hilarious musical in Asia turns everyday kitchen utensils into a highly-explosive “live” performance based on the traditional Korean rhythms, samulnori.


NANTA cooks under pressure

Show and Ticketing Information:

Date: 10 to 13 July 2014
Venue: Resorts World® Theatre, Resorts World® Sentosa
Prices: S$128 (Premium), S$108 (Cat 1), S$98 (Cat 2), S$68 (Cat3) and S$48 (Cat 4).

Public ticket sales start from 14 April 2014. Tickets are available via SISTIC’s sales channels.

Priority bookings for HSBC cardholders is now on. They will get a 20% discount off tickets (Premium, Cat 1 & 2) until 13 April, after which the discount will be 15%.

PAssion card holders will be eligible for a 12% discount (Cat 1, 2 & 3).


Here are some highlights from the show:

Monday, April 7, 2014


The Philips Airfyer turns three! It's also been crowned the world's No.1 low fat fryer brand, according to Euromonitor. Philips' patented Rapid Air Technology (fast circulating hot air with a grill element) allows you to fry food without using oil. This results in 80% less fat in your fried food. And because there is less smell and vapour, cleanup is easier (and that is probably an even bigger godsend)!

For the third birthday celebrations, they are getting a party going with a roving Philips Airfryer Food Truck. You may have seen one of these going around Century Square, Vivocity and Jurong Point last week, but you can still catch them this week at the following places from 11am to 8pm:

10th April, Thursday - AMK Hub
11th to 13th April, Friday to Sunday - Knightsbridge (Orchard)
14th to 16th April, Monday to Wednesday - One Raffles Place


Lifestyle Image
Philips is kindly giving out to Camemberu readers a Philips Viva Collection Airfryer HD9220 worth S$409 (model shown above). Here's how you can win it :

1. Visit the food truck at any location.
2. Take a selfie (photo of self) with the food truck. Be as creative as you wish!
3. Upload it on Instagram with the hashtags #PhilipsAirfryer and #CamemberuContest. You can submit as many as you like. Please follow and tag me @camemberu too, so I can be notified.

UPDATE (9 April): Philips now has an Instagram account too! Please follow and tag @PhilipsSG, if you can!

If yours is a private account, please send me a screenshot of your Instagram photo and hashtags, and email it to me camemberu @ gmail.com with the subject "Philips Airfryer Giveaway".

Deadline is 11:59pm, Sunday, 20th April 2014. I will contact the winner by Instagram or email.

So go on and enjoy the air-fried treats, especially if you've never tried them before. There will be goodie bag giveaways at the food truck, and discounts of up to 20% at authorized retailers too.
Phlips Airfryer Truck
Thanks to Philips for sponsoring the prize! All photos courtesy of Philips Singapore

Saturday, April 5, 2014

SmokeHouse Charcoal BBQ at Great World City
There's a new Japanese BBQ place in town. SmokeHouse Charcoal BBQ at Great World City lets you pick from over 20 premium cuts of beef from a beautiful meat showcase. They specialise in wagyu from Japan, but there's also beef from Australia and US. It's a retail-and-dining concept. You can buy the meats at retail price, take it away or BBQ it in the restaurant.


There is a unique dining process here: get a table number from the cashier, pick up your BBQ selections from the retail side, pay for all the items (there's a cover charge for rice, soups, kimchi and salads), and BBQ away!

For more pics of the meats and dining process, read my story on Yahoo Makanation:
https://sg.entertainment.yahoo.com/news/bbq-wagyu-wonderland-043228675.html
or Makansutra
http://makansutra.com/stories/3/1126/BBQWagyuWonderland

The whole self-service procedure and the mind-boggling array of meats might seem a little daunting for some locals, so they've introduced buffets on weekdays! The $60 nett all-you-can-eat wagyu for dinner is a steal, given the quality of the meats. Reminds me of the "tabehodai" buffets in Japan!


There is a $23 lunch buffet too, but that does not include wagyu. You can buy a few pieces to add on. Trust me, after you try the wagyu and regular beef side by side...you'll realise there is just no fight.



IMG_2032
The retail section also stocks interesting exclusive products from Japan. I really like the fruit vinegars (upper left corner) which are so delicious. Dilute them with water and drink for good health! There's also various vegetable dips, salad dressings, dashi, BBQ sauces, shochu, otsumami (beer snacks - love the Yaki Himo - dried scallop strings) and even fish collagen!




When I was at the restaurant, I saw them playing this video featuring the NinjaGirlsSG (hey, Atsuko's the meat fairy!). They are so funny and awesome.


SMOKEHOUSE CHARCOAL BBQ
#01-37 Great World City, 1 Kim Seng Promenade
Tel: 6235 2185
Opening Hours:
Retail Counter: 12.00pm – 9.45pm
Dine-in:
Lunch: 12 – 3pm (Last Order 2.30pm)
Dinner: 6 – 10.30pm (Last Order 9.45pm)

Friday, April 4, 2014


Yay, I have a new pair of running shoes. I love my Nike Free 5.0! They are so comfortable. Yes, I realised in my recent travels that I don't have a proper pair of shoes to hit the hotel gym with. My recent years of doing barefoot stuff like yoga and pilates just meant my sports shoes pretty much atrophied. I still love barefoot workouts, but want to add some variety (and weights) to my routine.

Well, after almost seven years of blogging about food, I thought I'd balance things a little by exploring more about fitness. So on random Fridays I will add stuff that I am discovering or like, fitness-wise.

Back to the shoes - they are so light and flexible; they feel so soft to walk on. They can be snug, so I got these one size bigger than my usual. The store manager at Nike's flagship branch (#02-02/03 Wheelock Place) is also very knowledgeable, so feel free to ask for assistance.
 
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