Monday, August 26, 2013

Triple Three's Mini Miyazaki Buffet at Mandarin Orchard (22 - 31 Aug)

Slow-roasted Miyazaki wagyu

Oh slow-roasted Miyazaki Wagyu Beef so gloriously rich...

Miyazaki Prefecture yields some of Kyushu's most beautiful scenery,
greenery and amazing agricultural produce. It is particularly well-known for its wagyu.

Yes, I was in Miyazaki itself in April during my crazy round-island Kyushu trip which hopefully I will get to write about some time. This waterfall is at Takachiho Gorge, which is so beautiful it will even look like this on your iPhone. Photo off my Instagram.

So imagine my interest when Mandarin Orchard sent out word about a Mini Miyazaki fest at Triple Three. Dishes featuring premium grade A4 wagyu beef!

Breaking of sake barrel ceremony
At the opening night - we got to meet representatives from Miyazaki, who also did the sake barrel opening ceremony. Kampai!

There are many stations offering different ways of enjoying wagyu - from shabu-shabu to steak. Here's a quick look at what's good.

Our favourite was the teppanyaki station.

Miyazaki Wagyu prime cut sirloin and ribeye
This is where Miyazaki Wagyu prime cut sirloin and ribeye gets transformed...

Miyazaki Wagyu Teppanyaki so divine!
Into perfectly seared and caramelised bites of divine joy. Wagyu is really best enjoyed this way.

Shabu-shabu with Miyazaki A4 wagyu
The shabu-shabu is also a lovely way to savour the thinly sliced wagyu beef. Cooked lightly with a few swishes in hot water, and served either with ponzu or sesame dressing.

Aburi wagyu sushi (Miyazaki A4 grade)
Aburi wagyu sushi - torched ever so lightly on top (I would have preferred a bit more char and a gentle sprinkle of sea salt, but that's just me)

But wagyu beef isn't the only thing they've brought in from Miyazaki.

There's Miyazaki kampachi (centre, and bottom left) and hamo (conger eel, top) which gets blanched into fluffy white pieces. These have been expertly sliced to ensure the fine bones are decimated for easy eating.

Lobster mentaiko, tempura and chicken nanban (upper left dish)
Lobster mentaiko, tempura and chicken nanban (upper left dish) make up some of the other non-wagyu choices.

Pasta with Urbani Summer Truffles
I know most people will skip pasta at a buffet, but the pasta station here is worth a go.

Pasta with Urbani Summer Truffles - I asked for al dente, and they cooked a new batch of spaghetti just for me (instead of using the half-prepared pasta).

Spinach tortellini with sausage
Spinach tortellini with sausage - LeRoy's plate. Not bad, I took a second bite! Yes, share your pasta. You won't be so full!

Grilled Miso Cod with Truffles
Grilled Miso Cod with Truffles.

Oysters, all for Justin's mom. For the first time, I see the usual cold seafood on ice largely ignored. There's also lots of cold dishes and desserts. If you still have room.

What's wrong with this plate?
I love plating stuff with colour. But LeRoy made a very good point - "Hey, what's lamb doing here? Ham? What broccoli, mushrooms, potato? There should be only space for wagyu!" But jokes aside, it's nice that the buffet has a lot of wagyu options but also interesting non-beef items.

The Mini Miyazaki is available from 22 to 31 August, for dinner and Sunday brunch. For the quality of the wagyu, this is a steal at just $98++ per person!

Mandarin Orchard
333 Orchard Road
Singapore 238867

For reservations, please call +65 6831 6288
or email

Photos taken using the Canon 6D (loaned by Canon) without flash.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Boracay Part 4: Puka Shell Beach - My Favourite, and the Best Beach for Secluded Swimming!

Boracay is pretty well-known as a top beach paradise, so many of its beaches are already quite touristy and "well-discovered".

Imagine our delight finding Puka Shell Beach (also known as "Yapak") on the northern side of the island - this is what Boracay was like 15 years ago, still pristine and untouched by commercialism.

Oh yeah, baby!


Friday, August 23, 2013

Win a Trip for Two to Boracay, Philippines! Beach paradise awaits you...

Remember I said to look out for the contest where you can win a trip to Boracay? Here it is!

Vote for your favourite blogger and stand a chance to win a trip for 2 to Boracay Island, Philippines!

You can vote once every day. The winner will be chosen regardless of who they vote for.
See terms and conditions

The Very Awesome Prize includes:

Return airfare on Tigerair Philippines from Singapore to Kalibo and fuel taxes.
4 nights' hotel accommodation with breakfast
Return coach-boat transfers from Kalibo to Boracay
Selected water sport activities (fly fish, helmet diving & island hopping tour)

I actually have more posts coming on Boracay. I will try to put them up before the contest ends Sept 2.

Krispy Kreme Opening Oct 12 in Singapore at TANGS Basement 1

You won't need to smuggle back boxes of these anymore from the US or neighbouring countries. Krispy Kreme is [FINALLY!!!] coming to Singapore (yes, already with local website). On October 12, 2013, you can join the queues outside the 1,200 sq ft sit-in cafe at TANGS Basement 1. Of course there are going to be queues. Yes, the doughnut craze is long gone, but this is Krispy Kreme we're talking about.

Plus on opening day, die hard fans standing in line might win Golden, Silver and Bronze Tickets that give you a whole year's unlimited supply of fried bread with sugar poured on Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Whoever wins needs a full year's gym membership as well, I am sure.

Watch out also for the "100,000 Doughnut Surprise" pre-opening tradition, where Krispy Kreme will storm offices, schools and Orchard Road (mid Sept to Oct) to put a doughnut in your hand and a smile on your face. Vote for your school or office here.

Singapore is getting 16 flavours (click above to see bigger version) of doughnuts, and also the coffee and chilled beverages.

Prices start from S$2.60 each or S$23.40 for a dozen of the popular Original Glazed doughnuts, which is what most of people like best, so I hear.

I tried my first Original Glazed one in Manila in Jan 2012 (there was no queue there at Mall of Asia, unlike the Shinjuku store). I'm not a fan of most doughnuts, but I have to say the Krispy Kreme one is something different. The easiest 200 calories to inhale. Luckily I could only handle one.

I was intrigued to learn they started in North Carolina, of all places. Off their website, the story reads:

"Vernon Rudolph bought a secret yeast-raised doughnut recipe from a New Orleans French chef, rented a building in what is now historic Old Salem in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and began selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts on July 13, 1937 to local grocery stores.

The delicious scent of cooking doughnuts drifted into the streets, and passers-by stopped to ask if they could buy hot doughnuts. So, he cut the hole in an outside wall and started selling hot Original Glazed doughnuts directly to customers on the sidewalk."

I love stories like that. Krispy Kreme is a brand steeped in old Americana. It did get a little too ubiquitous at one stage, which probably dulled its appeal. They need to keep it exclusive.

So it's good that the local franchisee Star 360 Group headed by Andy Chaw (right) will focus more on keeping the quality consistent before seeking expansion.

But there are already five or more outlets planned in next five years - perhaps at Changi Airport, Sentosa, the CBD and Shenton Way areas.

You can stay clued in on future happenings and promotions with their Singapore Facebook page, which already has more than 5,000 likes.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Get DBS Indulge App 1-for-1 Mobile Coupon for Cedele's All-Day Breakfasts; Plus Win A Trip to Bangkok!

What's better than a gorgeous breakfast?

TWO gorgeous breakfasts, shared with a friend or loved one! For the price of one!

With a chance to end up holidaying in Bangkok!!

And you can get return vouchers with purchases over S$60!!!

That sounds like a triple bonanza. Mai tu liao!
This DBS Indulge promotion is too good not to share!

Here's how it works:

1. Make sure you have a DBS/POSB credit card (if you do, you will know the dining privileges are already some of the better ones in town, and the DBS Supperclubs alone are rocking awesome). Or find someone who does.

2. Check your DBS Indulge mobile app on your iPhone. Or find someone who has it!

See "Coupons" tab? Click it. It will bring you to a wonderland of discounts! You will see Cedele listed pretty much in the first few eateries. Click that and you will see this screen next.

When you are at the Cedele store (the app also helps you locate the nearest one too; totally nifty!), click to redeem the coupon, and redeem the 1-for-1 breakfasts (excluding the Big Breakfast set which comes with a drink). The promotion is valid at their all-day or semi-dining Cedele outlets (check locations at the link) from 11 Aug to 31 Oct 2013, or until all coupons are redeemed.

The breakfast items vary according to outlet, but might include Rosti (with eggs, bacon, tomato and mushrooms), Eggs Benedict with Toast (above, only available at the Paragon outlet).

I see lots of pancakes on their all day breakfast menu if you prefer a sweet start to the day. Here are the Wild Blueberry Pancakes with maple syrup and choice of bacon or sausages.

Now for the Bangkok holiday contest:

On the main DBS Indulge app screen, you will also see on the upper right a big button that says "WIN a Holiday Trip to Bangkok".

Click that for details on the prize and contest mechanics.

It's a 3D2N Bangkok holiday sponsored by CTC Travel.
Here are the specifics if you are entering the contest via dining at Cedele.

Essentially three easy steps:
1. SNAP a picture of your favourite dish from Cedele.
2. Post it on Facebook with restaurant name, location and caption "Fly me to Bangkok. Thank you DBS Indulge"
3. At the end of Sept, send a screenshot of the wall post with total number of likes and shares to

Top three entries with most likes and shares will win the prize!

Also, if you spend S$60 using your DBS/POSB credit card at any all-day or semi-dining Cedele outlet (locations at the link), you get a S$5 return voucher. Think of all the yummy goodies you can come back for.

Yeah like the SeaBass and Shrimps with Tomato Salsa and Quinoa. Cedele was one of the first places to introduce quinoa into their dishes in Singapore.

Or the Cedele Grills & Greens Seabass and Shrimp - what a beautiful salad. The Grills & Greens selections are all about high protein and low carb.

Dishes are all prepared a la minute, with emphasis on healthy cooking techniques like grilling, and seasoning with homemade sauces. With the "Eat Well, Be Well" mantra, they take care not to include trans fats, preservatives, chemical emulsifiers and additives in their food. Even the soups are slow-boiled with natural starches like potato for easier digestion. They do taste different.

Cedele has come a long way from just breads and sandwiches (Rosemary Chicken Sandwich above) but I still love their crusty rustic breads. They are baked using old fashioned methods using basic ingredients of flour, water, salt and yeast.

Oh, I have to check out the new Organic Chia Seed Bread (available Tues/Thurs/Sat).

You can also use the S$5 voucher for the new cupcakes (click pics to see bigger versions). Or if you can wait til 21 August, they are also launching an afternoon tea platter.

But I say, hurry for the 1-for-1 breakfasts and the chance to win a trip to Bangkok! The sooner you start, the more likes/shares you can get for the contest. Good luck!

Product photos courtesy of Cedele and The Bakery Depot.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Boracay, Part 3: Accommodation - Best Honeymoon/Romantic Resort, The Shangri-La's Boracay Resort and Spa

Boracay is what nature built for a romantic getaway. While it can be great for families and groups of friends, the greatest appeal is probably for honeymooners and romance-seekers.

The Shangri-La's Boracay Resort and Spa is easily the island's most luxurious destination. It's set far away from the touristy beach crowd, so it's nestled in seclusion and peaceful tranquility. The 219-room resort has its own private beach, and is set on a hillside amidst a lush eco-reserve. Puka Shell Beach is also nearby.

The villas are phenomenal. Take a look.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Boracay, Part 2: Accommodation - Luxury Suites, Villas, Hotels, Golf Courses and Beach Resorts!

Oh Boracay...           (and this is a photo right off the iPhone 4S!)

When you have sun, sea and sand like this, you'll want to stay forever.

Boracay makes for a gorgeous beach holiday and the tourism industry is very developed here, so you'll find all the familiar facilities, warm service and all the creature comforts you need.

But take note: it's so popular, there is no low season - only peak, super peak and super high peak seasons! So yes, it makes sense to plan and book everything early!

There are plenty of choices for accommodation, ranging from budget hostels to luxury high-end resorts and hotels. The Philippines Department of Tourism helped to get an inside peeks at six of the best places to stay, in alphabetical order. And I'm saving the best honeymoon resort for a separate post.

7 Stones Boracay Suites

Located on Bulabog Beach, 7 Stones is a five-star boutique resort which is a TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice® 2013 Winner for Small Hotels.

There are only 28 rooms and suites here, so it's really cosy.

It's a beachfront property, so you can run straight up to the beach! Or play in the pool like these kids are doing. The resort is also within walking distance to D'Mall for shopping and also White Beach, the other long stretch of beach on the opposite side of the island.

The one-bedroom Junior Suites alone are 60-70 sq m, but offer a lot more privacy for couples and honeymooners. There is a living and dining area, a fully functional kitchen, and 40-inch LCD TV.

The en-suite bathrooms include a nice hot tub!

The designer decor is contemporary and furnishings chic and comfortable. Family Suites are huge, up to 155 sq m, and offer beautiful balconies.


Superior Room: PHP10,000
Junior Suite: PHP14,000
Deluxe Suite: PHP16,000
Grand Deluxe: PHP24,000
Family Suite: PHP26,000
Premium Family Suite: PHP31,000
Super Family: PHP39,000.

7Stones Boracay Suites
Bulabog Beach, Balabag, Boracay Island Road 1-A,
Malay 5608, Philippines
Tel: +63 (36) 2881601

Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel

At White Beach Station no.2 just a stone's throw away from the busy beach bars is the Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel. No relation to the Mandarin Hotel Group in Singapore, in case you're wondering.

This is the penthouse suite, which looks absolutely made for honeymoons (iPhone photo). It is also much quieter up here, compared to the ground level rooms which get the nightlife atmosphere.


The bathroom looks very new and modern, with separate shower and bath.


Some of the rooms are spacious enough for families. There is also free broadband Internet access.

Check out the website for room promotions, such as:

Mandarin Island Escape - 3D2N Room and Breakfast Package
June 16, 2013 - October 15, 2013

Room Categories: Deluxe Room, Premier Seaview Room
Package rate starts at Php 4,870.00 per person
Additional night - Php 1,835.00 per person
Inclusive of taxes and surcharges
Roundtrip Airport Transfers via Caticlan

Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel
Beach Front Station 2,
Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan, Philippines
Tel: +63 (36) 2884999/2885999

Boracay Regency Beach Resort & Spa

This is where we stayed (also at Station no.2) not far away from the Mandarin Island. With 265 rooms, the Boracay Regency is one of the largest beach resorts in Boracay, and is rated triple-A for luxury. It has everything - six F&B outlets, a spa and wellness centre, a gym, mini shop, meeting and convention facilities. It's so big that we almost got lost each time we tried to find our rooms or go out!

Rooms are very decent, roomy and clean. The resort was built in 1999, but most recently renovated in 2008.

Bathroom, vanity, an open wardrobe and sitting area. There is also a balcony where you can chill and enjoy the tropical breeze.


The best part of the resort is probably that it is beachfront property -- this is the beach you can just walk right up to! White Beach is a glorious 4km stretch of powdery white sand and crystal clear waters.

Guests also have a special lounge where you can enjoy drinks and nibbles.

If you ever get tired of the beach, there are three swimming pools nested within the sprawling complex.


Check out their various room promotions on the website. I see rates as low as PHP6,902 per person (triple sharing) for 3D2N.

Boracay Regency Beach Resort & Spa
Balabag, Boracay, Malay,
Aklan Location at Station 2
Tel: +63 (36) 288-6111-117

Discovery Shores

Discovery Shores is an award-winning modern resort listed among Travel+Living's World's Best Hotels for three years running. It is also the first and one of only three Philippine resorts to be included in the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World Collection.

It features 88 all-suite rooms in five categories.

The Junior Suite is about 40-45 sq m with either two queen-sized beds or one king-sized bed.

You get a footbath upon arrival, and even a beach tote with sunscreen.

The One Bedroom Suite Premier (78 sq m) is a very pretty loft suite.

I like the contemporary decor with wood and glass elements.

Over at the very spacious 120 sq m Two-Bedroom Suites, you can easily fit six people with L-shaped sofas serving as additional bed space. The high ceiling in the living area is just breath-taking as you enter the room. Large glass windows allow lots of natural light during daytime.

The separate bedrooms upstairs come with their own en-suite bathrooms.

There's also a jacuzzi and daybeds on the balcony overlooking the sea. Within the rest of the resort is a swimming pool, sauna/steamroom, spa, lounge, restaurant, business center, and gym.


Junior Suite: Fr. PHP13,500++
1 Bedroom Suite: Fr. PHP16,500++
1 Bedroom Suite Premier: Fr. PHP18,500++
2-bedroom suite: PHP25,600++
2-bedroom suite premier: Fr. PHP28,100++
All prices subject to 10% service fee and 12% VAT

Discovery Shores Boracay
Boracay Highway Central
Tel: +63 (036) 2884500

Fairways & Bluewater Newcoast Boracay

This is the only fairway on Boracay Island and features an 18 hole, par-72 championship course. The resort has 300 rooms and villas in a quiet and secure enclosed environment.

The rooms all look fairly new and freshly renovated. The resort is really huge, so you have 24-hour buggies at your service.

The suites are particularly spacious. The 268-sqm Chairman’s Suite is probably the largest I have ever seen, with a huge balcony you can host parties on.

At the golf clubhouse, there's a huge freshwater pool and cafe. But nobody's really dipping in the pool because just look at the view of the beach!

Yes, like this!

And this! That little red canopied boat is a glass-bottomed boat you can go out in.

Oh the girls had us in stitches posing at the men's urinals. (iPhone photo)


This resort is truly self-contained. It's got all the activities (spa, wellness, horse-riding, water adventures, Segway, Zipline) and even some really pretty private beaches. You won't need to leave the place except for nightlife and shopping. Shuttles leave for D'Mall every hour.

Check out all the promos online, with up to 50% off room rates.

Fairways & Bluewater Newcoast Boracay
Newcoast, Boracay
Malay 5608, Philippines
Tel: +63 (36) 288 5588

I've saved one of the best resorts - the Shangri-La's Boracay Resort and Spa - for a separate post. Also because I think all your eyes will be fatigued at this juncture and not really paying attention anymore. So, hang on. One more to go!

Photos taken with the Canon 6D (except where indicated) kindly loaned to me by Canon Singapore.
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