Thursday, April 24, 2014

Preview of the Aide De Camp Valencia Camera Travel Bag: It's Wonderfully Fashionable and Functional!

Wow, I can't believe I'm going to London! *pinch*pinch*

And not only that, since I'm already halfway to the US, I thought I'd hop over the pond and say hi to some friends there! I have not been back to the States since 2001 (actually just a month before 9/11). Will spend two weeks in the US along the East Coast - flying in to New York, then Durham in North Carolina, and New Orleans, and then up to Boston, before flying back to London and Singapore.

It's a lot of places! For this trip, I'm glad to have the Aide de Camp "Valencia" camera travel tote. ADC makes such beautifully sleek yet practical camera bags so women don't have to compromise on style. But style aside, I really love how well designed and functional the bags are. I'll be stress-testing this baby through multiple flights and journeys.

Let me give you a quick unboxing preview!

Ooooh, even the box is sophisticated and cool
Gosh, the box alone is pure understated cool.

Nice bag for the bag!
Your bag is well-protected by a nice drawstring bag with ribbon details. Sweet.

It's made of tough nylon and real leather
I love how the bag feels! It's made of tough nylon and real leather trimmings. Lightweight and water resistant.

It's a roomy bag with lots of pockets!
The zippers slide along well and have conveniently large leather grips. There are lots of compartments inside and it feels so nice! Can't stop caressing this bag...

The inner compartment is detachable
The inner compartment with the removable padding system detaches, so the bag converts into a lighter handbag when you don't need to tote your heavy gear around. It's two bags in one!

Clearly a lot of thought went into the design of the bags - the compartments and pockets for neatly organizing little items (extra cards and batteries) and personal effects (passport, mobile phone, cables, sunglasses, lipstick and stationery). There's even space for tablets and magazines. I threw in a book and paper notebook as well.

You absolutely have to take a look at the video. I did and almost cried - this is the bag I've been wanting all this time! The clincher for me was how it fits securely over suitcase handles with a special zippered flap. And all those compartments? Oh it's perfect.

They have many other styles as well - from a classic handbag to this awesome travel piece. Take a look at the webstore:

I am so glad Michele Ng the founder decided to make these premium camera bags. It was born out of her own frustration with having to choose between stylish and practical alternatives - she's combined both, so we can have the best of both worlds!

I will have a better report (and more pics) after three weeks on the road with the Valencia. Stay tuned!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Going to London for ChowzterAwards! Meeting amazing food bloggers from all over the world! See 60 Nominations!

The day is almost finally here! I spoke about Chowzter briefly here, when I mentioned the UK Sunday Times clip. This Friday 25 April I am flying to London for the Chowzter Awards!

Chowzter is gathering its chief chowzters (there are some 80 of us in total) for its first awards - The Tastiest Fast Feasts on Earth! Check out the 60 nominations - Singapore is one of five listed for "Foodiest City", and our Tian Tian Chicken Rice made it to the rice category. The results will be unveiled Sunday 27 April 2014.

It's going to be amazing meeting up with passionate foodies from all over the world. They've got a wonderful program lined up for us! Exploring markets, fish and chips, and the best steaks on the planet. Follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to see live updates!




Vancouver – Alaskan King Crab 5 Ways @ Dynasty





Berlin – Doner Kebab @ TBD

Sao Paulo – Mortadella Sandwich @ Hocca Bar


New Orleans – Fried Chicken @ Willie Mae’s Scotch House

Vancouver – Braised Duck with Mushrooms @ Dynasty


Vancouver – Sugar Buns @ Giovane Cafe






Jakarta – Crispy Pork Belly with Tamarind @ E & O







Monday, April 21, 2014

Recipe: Garlicky Spinach Potato Gratin using Perfect Italiano Cheese

There are just so many things to do in life. Work, family, social activities, creative pursuits, sports, volunteering, activism, and hey, sleep (very important, but I get so little of it)!

Cooking is wonderful therapy. It's such a luxury to prepare and plate a beautiful dish. Some days you will be proud to spend the morning marketing for choice ingredients, pounding rempah from scratch, and slaving over a stove til the evening for a prize meal. But sometimes, you just want something fast, easy but tasty. And for that - one-dish meals are best.

I love a cheesy baked dish - potatoes, rice, pasta. Carb is comfort. But it's all the oozy melty cheese that does it for me. This is a simple gratin dish you can whip up anytime. It's so easy you can get kids to help you with the layering steps. Here are step-by-step photos, followed by full recipe at the end.


Exotic Flavours at Kashmiri Festival at Punjab Grill, Marina Bay Sands (April 16-24)

If your tastebuds are looking for adventure this week, pop by Punjab Grill and savour the Kashmiri specialties on showcase right now from 16-24 April 2014. They have flown in a special chef and the ingredients from the region, and oh what exotic flavours they've conjured up!

I'm starting with the end: this amazing Kehwa tea poured from a "samawar" or samovar. This metal (normally copper or brass) charcoal teapot has an inner chamber filled with live coals, somewhat resembling our charcoal steamboat pot in concept, but holds tea instead. In the cold climes of Kashmir, this helps keep tea warm for longer. Hot tea in chilly weather, what bliss that must be.

The Kehwa tea (no, it's not chrysanthemum!) is a sweet green tea with cardamom, almonds, saffron and other spices. Supposed to be very good for digestion, and it tastes beautiful. Reminds me of 八宝茶 (Eight Treasure Tea) with all the herbal goodies.

As for the food, Kashmiri cuisine is slightly different from Northern Indian cuisine. It's heavy on lamb and yoghurt, but interestingly, the curries are lighter. The use of spices also differ - not so much garlic, onions and ginger, but more cumin, fennel, asafoetida, and even sandalwood.

Here are some highlights from the set menus offered (lunch S$50, dinner S$90):

The Kashmiri appetizers
The appetizers (left to right):

Kashmiri Kukur Tikka: Kukur means chicken in Kashmir - say it out loud and it makes sense! These are tandoori-like boneless chicken thighs marinated with kashmiri whole red chili paste, enhanced with green sounf (fennel?) powder, finished in a clay oven.

Tabakh Maaz: this is a traditional royal Kashmir method of cooking lamb. Here's the lamb ribs have been marinated with aniseed powder and saffron milk. The meat is first boiled for tenderness, then roasted and pan-fried for a crispy exterior. The lamb's natural flavours are really enhanced.

Wazwani Handi Aluv: a tender tandoori-roasted potato reserved overnight in fennel powder, marinated with ginger garlic paste, sprinkled with saffron kewda milk.

Kashmiri Tsaman Sarson Tikka: Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) infused with Kashmiri yellow chili powder, enhanced with mustard oil and golden glazed in a tandoor

Nadru Kabab - pan-grilled lotus stem marinated with chili, dusted with roasted mint powder and has sandalwood in it!
And the most exotic appetizer has to be this: the Nadru Kabab

A signature of Kashmir Valley, this is pan-grilled lotus root or stem marinated with red chili and dusted with roasted mint leaves, but the kicker ingredient is sandalwood. The lotus root patty smells and tastes of incense. I almost feel like chanting.

The Kashmiri mains
The mains are even more astounding (clockwise from noon):

Gucchi Pulao (centre): I have never had pulao or pilaf rice so delicious before. A fragrant combination of jumbo morels (wow, wait, morels? yes, these mushrooms are in Kashmiri cuisine too, but just as rare and expensive!) and royal cumin in basmati rice cooked on dum under flaky puff pastry.

Dum Aluv: very much a Kashmir dish - dum aluv are potatoes simmered with fennel seeds, dry ginger and Kashmiri chili gravy. This may seem like a simple potato, but it's lipsmackingly good.

Gadh Palak: the dark green spinach puree tempered with mustard seeds is phenomenally savoury and tasty; I could so eat it on its own without the gadh (fish).

Kukur Hindi Rogvanjosh: chicken version of the famous Brahman Roganjosh

Rogvan Josh: the famous Rogan Josh (one of my absolute favourite dishes) is a much loved specialty of Kashmir. This version has shoulder of baby lamb cooked the old fashioned way over extremely low heat. It's spiked with a melange of freshly pounded spices including fennel and red chili (hence its colour).

Gushtaba: I am learning all kinds of new food names here. The Gushtaba is a finely minced mutton meatball or dumpling spiced with green cardamom and fennel. It's served with a creamy curd-based sauce. Apparently a lot of work goes into the preparation. The mutton is beaten with a wooden hammer until it reaches that velvety consistency. Personally, though, it was a little dry and paled in comparison with the rich flavours of the other dishes.

Wow, saffron paratha and Kashmiri breads
You get a basket of breads/naans too - and what a luxurious basket it is! Saffron paratha and Kashmiri breads stuffed with dried fruit and nuts.

Desserts - kulfi, Shufta and beetroot halwa
Desserts are usually not a highlight in Kashmir, but the chefs have done marvellously with this trio. The spoonful of kulfi (left) is pleasant but it is the Chukander E Afroz (right) or beetroot halwa that amazes. It is a burst of flavours at once foreign and familiar, just like many of the dishes before it. We tried to pry what ingredients went into it. There is a touch of condensed milk in it - ah, that explains the comforting feeling.

Look at the colourful candy coated cumin seeds scattered across the platter. Cute!

After dessert you get that lovely Kehwa tea. I so want to make that a ritual at home too.

Executive chef Javed Ahamad and guest chef M Rehman
This menu is the collaboration of Punjab Grill's Executive chef Javed Ahamad (left) and guest chef M Rehman above. Kudos for a wonderfully executed meal. Indian food can be heavy, but good Indian food is worth every calorie. I can't wait to go back and explore Punjab Grill's regular menu - they're more focused on Northern Indian cuisine, but I'm glad they had this Kashmiri detour.

2 Bayfront Avenue,
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands B1-01A,
Singapore 018972
Tel: +65 6688-7395

Open daily
Lunch : 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM
Dinner : 6:30 PM to 11:00 PM

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Eggless Easter Brunch at Capella Singapore

Oh the Sunday brunch at The Knolls, Capella Singapore, is a lovely resort-like escape from the city, with well-selected dishes to please the palate. Interestingly, there's no egg station here, but they have plenty of other delicious things to intrigue you (the yakiniku grilled meats are amazing).

For Easter (20 April 2014) , they have even greater gourmet offerings to go with free-flow Taittinger Champagne - five different seasonal oysters, organic Agneau de pré-salé ("Salt meadow lamb"), salt-baked Yellow Chicken, corn-fed poultry from free-range farms, all from France. Look out for the turbot with lovely grilled vegetables. And you'll be pleasantly bowled over by the pretty desserts.

Executive Chef David Senia is from Southern France, and has brought in many influences from that region, as well as exquisite produce. Even the little details like butter - I love the Beurre d'Isigny - are carefully chosen.

Full details in my stories here:

There will also be a hunt for three actual “peacock eggs” hidden on the grounds of the Capella. The prizes include a one-night stay at a one-bedroom garden villa, dinner for two at Cassia and a 90-minute massage at Auriga spa.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Remembering Dad

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

Luxurious Cranley Hotel in Kensington and Chelsea, London: Shopping and Football Nearby! Summer Package til 31 May

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.

10 Bina Gardens, South Kensington, London SW5 0LA.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7373 0123
Location on Google maps:


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Park Regis Hotel, Singapore: Cosy Quiet Retreat Near City, Chinatown and Clarke Quay

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.


AsiaRooms: Hotels Worldwide - You Can Book Now, Pay Later with No Cancellation Fees!

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.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

NANTA (COOKIN'): South Korean non-verbal live comedic theatre is back in Singapore!

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

Giveaway: Philips Airfryer Celebrates 3rd Year, Snap A Selfie at Food Truck to Win a Philips Airfryer worth S$409!

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 @ 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 Restaurant at Great World City: Wagyu Wonderland! Buffet on Weekdays!

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:
or Makansutra

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'll realise there is just no fight.

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.

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

Friday, April 4, 2014

Fitness Friday #1: I Love My New Nike Free 5.0 Shoes!

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.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, Singapore: Best Airport Hotel I've Ever Seen!

King Bed Guest Room
I swear this looks more like a tropical resort than an airport hotel. And that's the feel I got when I stayed at the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport. Lovely contemporary neutrals and comfy furnishings in spacious rooms (minimum 36 square m each) nestled amidst courtyard gardens. The king size bed is bliss for weary travellers.

Little wonder that it's voted as one of the "World's Top 10 Airport Hotels" at the 2011 World Airport Awards.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Camemberu is in the UK Sunday Times! And is Singapore's Chief Chowzter (Chowzter Has Great Global Food Recommendations)!

Hey guys! Camemberu made it to the UK's Sunday Times last week (23 March 2014). Here is the scanned copy of the clippings (click to see larger image) - I'm in the third image.

The Times interviewed ten food writers worldwide on new eating hotspots and classic reliable eateries. So check out the picks from Paris, Barcelona, Brussels, New York, LA, Rio, Hanoi, Tokyo, Singapore and Sydney. These ten writers are part of - a site that curates best food recommendations in some 80 destinations by local foodies. I am very glad they asked me to be the Singapore Chief Chowzter because it's an amazing community.

Oh the article has me wanting to make a trip around the world. I'm notoriously bad at keeping track of my own press and TV appearances, but luckily the nice PR folks in London sent me the clipping.

There's a lot more on Chowzter to check out. I find it incredibly useful if you're planning a trip overseas and want to see what the locals would be eating. It's an incredible community of food lovers, handpicked for their knowledge and passion for food - come and find out more food blogs around the world to read. Sign up for the weekly Chowzter newsletter for fascinating food stories!

For easy access, I've got a big Chowzter button on my sidebar. You can see the Singapore page here.

Download their free mobile app on iOS or Android platforms!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lunch at Etna Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria: One of Amex's 30licious Meals - S$30 treats for 30 days!

Lunch at Etna with Amex folks
Had lunch with the Amex folks today. We were at Etna, trying out one of the 30licious deals (presented by Amex and HungryGoWhere) - S$30 treats for 30 days! From now to 25 April, there are 30licious special menus at more than 30 restaurants islandwide. The list of restaurants looks pretty good too - you can see them on

The 30licious menu at Etna is a very filling three courses, with options. The dishes were selected to showcase the chef's best skills. Etna focuses on Sicilian cuisine, and many of the ingredients are imported from that region.

Borlotti beans, crispy pancetta, extra virgin olive oil
Zuppa di faglioli borlotti, pancetta croccante, olio extravergine d'oliva
Borlotti beans, crispy pancetta, extra virgin olive oil

This is one of the two starters. It's a thick and comforting stew of beans and bacon. Mmmmh, pancetta - makes everything tastes good.

Tuscan "panzanella" salad with fresh basil, lettuce, roma tomatoes
Panzanella Toscana con basilico fresco, lattuga e pomodoro
Tuscan "panzanella" salad with fresh basil, lettuce, roma tomatoes

Or you could go for the panzanella or bread-and-tomato salad, if you want something lighter. This looks like it's entirely vegetarian. The roma tomatoes are so sweet and juicy! I don't normally like tomatoes, but these were excellent.

For the mains - again, there seems to be, thoughtfully, a vegetarian and meat option.

Homemade potato gnocchi, gorgonzola and walnut sauce, fresh rucola
Gnocchi di patate caserecci, fonduta al gorgonzola e noci, rucola fresca
Homemade potato gnocchi, gorgonzola and walnut sauce, fresh rucola

The gnocchi is one of the highlights at Etna. It's not on the regular menu, but Italians will often request it. The gorgonzola sauce is incredible. It's suitably thick and strong, to go with the dense little dumplings which are nicely soft but chewy. Bits of walnut add textural crunch.

Braised chicken leg "Cacciatora" style, marinated vegetables
Coscia di pollo brasata alla cacciatora con verdure marinate
Braised chicken leg "Cacciatora" style, marinated vegetables

Oh this will take you by surprise. The chicken is fork tender and intensely flavoured with herbs. I was expecting a tomato based dish, but this was very nice for a change. With the salty crispy skin, it is reminiscent of duck confit. The accompanying mash is also lovely.

Etna's Signature Pistachio Tiramisu
Tiramisu al pistacchio
Etna's Signature Pistachio Tiramisu

You also get pretty much a full-sized dessert, and it's their signature one at that. This one doesn't have alcohol in it, but is soaked with coffee. The mascarpone is really sweet. The nutty pistachio is a subtle but nice change from regular tiramisu.

The dishes are really filling, especially the beans and gnocchi. I would recommend coming with a friend and sharing a half-portion of each dish, so you get variety and balance.

Etna's Group Executive Chef/Partner Anna Borrasi is also their wine sommelier
It was a pleasure meeting Etna's Group Executive Chef/Partner Anna Borrasi, who is also their wine sommelier. Her son is in the kitchen at Duxton, while she is mostly at the East Coast branch, which I have tried and liked - the menu there is exactly the same. Another nice thing is - they are open daily, yes, 365 days a year!

The 30licious deals are available on - just log on to to make your bookings and pay with your American Express Card. If you don't have an Amex card, you can use other modes of payment but the deals cost a little extra ($35++). But hey, check out the Amex platinum cards which give you complimentary Feed at Raffles (FAR) and Palate dining discount program memberships (up to 50% discount at participating restaurants).

50 Duxton Road
Singapore 089534
Tel: +65 6226 3351

110 Upper East Coast Road, Singapore 455298
Tel: +65 6444 9530

Open daily: 12:00 pm - 2:30 pm, 6:30 pm - 10:30 pm
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