Tuesday, March 31, 2015

World Street Food Congress 2015 at Bugis 8-12 April Brings Feasting and Action-focused Dialogue

It's here! The second World Street Food Congress (WSFC) is happening 8-12 April at the open green field opposite Tan Quee Lan Street and Bugis Junction, right on top of Bugis MRT.

So many of us love street food. It's arguably the most fascinating food culture in the world, with so many delicious treats miraculously dished out in humble settings, often without sophisticated kitchens or fancy high-end ingredients. Behind such dishes are skills honed over time, tenacious endurance of backbreaking hours, and a love of perfecting great food. But such taste epiphanies cannot be taken for granted; they need to be protected, promoted and passed on. This is what the World Street Food Congress aims to do.

It's got three core parts:


This is the fun part - feasting! There will be 23 stalls from 12 cities and 1 food truck run by US Top Chef winner. You can view the full hawkers profiles here:

Here are some highlights you can expect:

Soft Shell Crab with Three Dips - Chili Crab, Salted Egg Yolk, Black Pepper
Photo courtesy of Makansutra Singapore and World Street Food Congress 

From Keng Eng Kee, we have a fantastically convenient way to enjoy crab. Soft Shell Crab with Three Dips - Chili Crab, Salted Egg Yolk, Black Pepper. No messy crab shells to deal with!


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Waku Ghin: A Chat with Tetsuya Wakuda and A Peek In His Kitchen

The Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Awards ceremony saluted Tetsuya Wakuda with the Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award - Asia 2015. Tetsuya's name alone inspires respect for what he has done to modern Japanese cuisine on an international level, expertly combining the best seasonal produce with French techniques and ingredients to strike a delicate balance between both cuisines.

I had the extreme privilege of being invited to meet with Chef Tetsuya at his Singapore restaurant Waku Ghin, for dinner and a peek inside his kitchen.

The gentle and soft spoken chef remains as down-to-earth as ever. He smiles almost sheepishly as he says, "This kind of award is usually given to someone who has put in many years and is ready to retire. But I am not ready to retire yet."


Friday, March 27, 2015

SAVOUR 2015: Highlights from Gourmet Festival


SAVOUR 2015 is happening right now (26-29 March) at the F1 Pit Building (1 Republic Boulevard). I popped by the opening night yesterday and was pretty amazed at some of the food (see full menu here). I thought I could try it all, since it's bite-size portions, but gosh, even I had to surrender after about 7-8 stalls. It's deceptively filling, those little portions, but what a joy to be able try so many gourmet offerings from big names and boutique stores all in one place.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Giveaway: Brewerkz Easter Sunday Brunch for 4!


Yes, Easter is coming soon - another nice long weekend. Brewerkz has a special Easter Sunday lunch from 12 noon to 3pm at Riverside Point.

Adults (S$38++) get a three course meal with appetizer, main courses of beef, chicken, lamb or salmon, a delectable Easter dessert and a pint of handcrafted beer.

Kids get to enjoy the Easter playground which is back by popular demand. At only $19++, they get Crispy Fish Bites or a Cheese Burger, choice of soda, homemade Cookie & cream milkshake and exclusive entry to the Easter Playground! Sculpt imaginary friends along with Mr. Balloonist, get creative with fun colouring activities and jump around in a massive inflatable Bouncy Castle!


I have a set of four lunches for a family (two adults, two kids) to give away (worth S$128). Just go to my Facebook fanpage post here, and follow the simple steps to like and share:

Deadline is noon, 31 March 2015. Results will be announced on that post, and the winner notified via Facebook. Contest is open to residents of Singapore (unless you happen to be in town and are able to go to Brewerkz that day!)

Easter Sunday Roast Menu @ $38++ (Adults)

Includes: An appetizer, 1 main course, dessert & a pint of handcrafted Beer

Cream of Mushroom
Caesar Salad

MAIN COURSE (Choose 1)
All served with Spinach & Fennel Salad, Corn on the Cob, Caramelized Carrots & Marble Potatoes

Chicken Roulade
Stuffed with Mushrooms, Bell Peppers & Onions, served with creamy mushroom sauce

Sunday Beef Roast
Roasted and rich in flavour, accompanied with homemade mushroom demi-glace

Roast Lamb
Served with Chimichurri sauce

Salmon with Salsa Verde
Cooked sous-vide then pan seared and topped with salsa verde

Cookies & Cream Milkshake

Easter Sunday Kids @ $19++

includes: Choice of soda and Cookie & cream milkshake

Crispy Fish Bites
Served with fries & tartar sauce


Cheese Burger
Served with fries

For reservations, call +65 6438 7438.

Thanks to Brewerkz for the giveaway. All photos courtesy of Brewerkz Singapore. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Entertainer Buy 1 Get 1 Free: Best 10 Tapas and Drinks Bars

Quite a few of my friends are happily using the Entertainer 2015 app, which gives you 1-for-1 deals at over 250 merchants in Singapore (see full list here). Dining, spa, travel and leisure activities - imagine halving your costs for these!

Check out my previous post for more details on the mechanics

The app is FREE to TRY; it gives you a few offers you can redeem within 14 days. If you like it, you can unlock over 1,000 vouchers for just S$60


Friday, March 20, 2015

Frozen Fever Hits BreadTalk!

Image courtesy of BreadTalk

Frozen is still HOT. The 2013 movie which made more than US$1.3 billion is now making Disney very happy with continued merchandising success. I should know; I have had at least three different sets of Anna and Elsa singing dolls driving me nuts at home. They were still flying off the shelves last Nov at the Disney store in San Francisco when I was there. 

So now we have Frozen Fever - the animated short released at movie theatres this spring. It's a new tale which centres on Elsa and Kristoff trying to conjure the ultimate birthday celebration for Anna.

It's cute. And along with Frozen Fever, BreadTalk is unveiling a limited edition "Frozen Fever" collection comprising whole cakes, frozen snow cones and frozen spring cones. You'll find these at all BreadTalk outlets from 20 March to 30 June 2015.

I think these are going to be the default or most requested birthday cakes at children's parties. One creation, Olaf in Spring 雪宝爱春天 (S$45) features the snowman set on a light sponge filled and iced with luscious Chantilly cheese cream, fruits and white chocolate ganache. Covered with matcha sponge crumble, the cake resembles a green pasture dotted with pretty flower icing decoration. Pity Olaf's hair is not standing up straight. 

You can also opt for customised printed cakes available in two sizes; 2 kg and 5kg with two flavours to choose from – Chantilly and Chocolate. 

My kids have already seen the Frozen Fever animated short, so they thrilled to see the cake. Well, they would be thrilled to see anything Frozen regardless!

There are six printed designs (above) to choose from. Frozen themed cakes are not new, but this one from BreadTalk does taste slightly better than the others I have tried.

But what's more unusual are the Winter Snow Cones and Spring Cones


Aren't they adorable? BreadTalk’s snow cones (S$4.50 each) are made from almond sponge cake with a choice of different mousse centres. They are blanketed in a smooth glaze and topped with four character toppers; Elsa, Anna, Olaf and Kristoff, which double up as bookmarks!

Elsa Coconut Cooler Snow Cone 凉爽椰子: sweet coconut mousse cloaked by a wintry-white glaze adorned with pearl glitter dragee.
Anna Strawberrry Surprise Snow Cone 草莓惊喜: delicate strawberry mousse and covered with strawberry glaze. 
Olaf Orange Breeze Snow Cone 香橙微风: tangy orange mousse and an orange glaze coat 
Kristoff Chocolate Fever Snow Cone 巧克力疯: coffee mascarpone mousse with a rich chocolate almond glaze.

The sweet and savoury Spring Cones come with a soft and fluffy bread base. Go see them in the shops!

The Cheese Sausage 芝士香肠 ($2.30) with an Elsa character topper is a chicken sausage sweet bun with melted cheese and sprinkled with seaweed, while Custard Raisin 葡萄卡式达 ($2.30) with an Anna character topper is a sweet rendition with a custard fresh cream and raisin filling covered in a strawberry chocolate glaze and silver dragees.

For the chocolate lover, the Coconut Summer 夏天椰子 ($1.90) and Chocolate Fever 巧克力疯 ($1.90) with Olaf and Kristoff toppers offer buttery brioche breads glazed with white chocolate and dark chocolate respectively, and crowned with coconut and chopped almonds.


20 March - 31 March 2015
• 15% off Frozen Themed Whole Cakes

1 – 30 April 2015
• Purchase 2 Frozen Snow Cones at $8 (U.P$9)

20 March - 30 June 2015
• Receive a Spring Cone for FREE when customer purchase any 4 Frozen Snow Cones or Spring Cones in a single receipt.

20 March - 30 June 2015
UOB cardmembers enjoy 15% off Frozen Themed Whole Cakes

The ‘Frozen Fever’ themed cakes and breads are available at all BreadTalk outlets island-wide from 20 March to 30 June 2015.

So you think Frozen might let it go after two years? Not a chance. Frozen 2 has just been announced.

Many thanks to BreadTalk for the cake!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pullman Bunker Bay Resort at Margaret River, Western Australia

Sunrise at the secluded Bunker Bay (and this is just a regular iPhone shot, as is).

Now which lucky resort gets to be nestled right next to this beautiful sandy vista in the Margaret River region?


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2015: The Best Chefs Speak Out

I had the privilege to not only attend the Asia's 50 Best Restaurant 2015 awards, but also to sit down with six of the most chefs and restaurateurs from Asia and beyond who were in town for the event: Gaggan Anand, Julien Royer, Will Guidara, Daniel Humm, Yannick Alléno, Virgilio Martinez.

It's fabulous to see such amazing energy, knowledge and passion.

My story on what they had to say is up on Yahoo:

Same story is also on Makansutra

Monday, March 16, 2015

Margaret River - The Best of Food, Wine, and Adventure in Western Australia!

Margaret River in Australia is a name synonymous with good wine and gourmet experiences. In addition to that, the region is flourishing with artisanal producers who make everything from cheese to chocolate, from olive oil products to grass fed beef. Thanks to Tourism Western Australia, we had a whirlwind tour of some of the best places to see.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Beach Holiday at Busselton, Western Australia

Have you ever been to the longest wooden pier in the southern hemisphere? It's Busselton Jetty near Margaret River in Western Australia, and it extends 1.8km out to sea.

Set over the scintillating cerulean waters of Geographe Bay, this timber piled jetty was built in 1853. A jetty of this length was necessary because the waters here are so shallow, ships couldn't come in to load and unload goods for the settlement.


Today it's a total beach destination, what with the gloriously fine sandy beaches and warm temperatures. Lots of activities abound! From trampolines to open air concerts, this place draws many locals and tourists alike.


The Busselton Jetty Swim 2015 was in full swing when we visited. This international event draws close to 2000 people competing in the jetty swim. The blistering heat made us crave some Simmo`s Ice Cream but there were just too many people.


Can you see how far the jetty stretches? You can barely make out the end building, which is an underwater observatory. It takes about 25 minutes to walk to the end and back. Technically, it's much longer than the Singapore-Johor Causeway (1.05km)!

But fret not, there's an easier way to make 1.8km trek. A jetty train!


Busselton Jetty Train

Seriously, a miniature steam-engine replica, painted bright red, will take you on a leisurely ride, passing the incredibly beautiful waters. It is the best sun protection you will have on the jetty. If you try to walk, you will be sunburnt!



Still, there are plenty of people who take the jetty day pass to jump and swim in the waters at sections along the jetty that had steps leading back up. Wouldn't you want to jump in too?


And if you're a fan of marine life, you might like to take a peek at the underwater observatory at the end of the pier.


The Underwater Observatory (UWO) is only accessible via a guided tour. It takes about 40 visitors at a time, and you'll need to book tickets for it before you board the jetty train. At the small observatory, you'll walk a spiral staircase down 8m into the waters, with a guide who explains some of the history and what you see at each step of the way.


Children are particularly fascinated by the sights, from above water to below.

Busselton Underwater Observatory

The corals can be quite pretty if the water's not murky.


There are some resident fish. Two batfish are always nearby, one of whom is nicknamed Fatty Batty. I also spotted an octopus, but it's pretty small and camouflages well.


Jetty Adult Day Pass – AU$3.00 (+17 years)
Jetty Child Day Pass – Free (0-16 years)

Adults – AU$12.00 (+15 years)
Child – AU$6.00 (3-14 years)
Infants – Free (must sit on adult’s lap)
The train departs the interpretive centre on the hour. Ticket include return trip and Jetty Day pass. Bookings recommended. Duration: approx. 45minutes

Adult – AU$32.00 (+15 years)
Child – AU$15.00 (3-14 years)
Family Pass – AU$85.00 (2 adults, 2 children)
Ticket includes return train ride, 40min guided tour of the Underwater Observatory and a Jetty Day Pass. Extra children $5 per child, max of 2. Departs: On the hour. Duration: Approx. 1 hour, 45 minutes

Busselton Jetty is operated by a non- profit community organisation known as BJECA (Busselton Jetty Environment and Conservation Association). All profits contribute to jetty maintenance and improvements.


The Goose at Busselton

The Goose looks to be THE dining spot on the beach. It looks really modern, so you wouldn't guess it was first built in 1998.


This must be what Busselton Jetty looked like in the old days.


The menu is casual bistro fare with some breakfast items as highlights. For appetisers, go for the WA Pickled Octopus (AU$13.50), nicely done a la plancha and lightly pickled. They also specially made some beetroot cured salmon and cream cheese canapes for us.

Grilled Spicy Chorizo, Lemon

The Spicy Grilled Chorizo (AU$12.50) with Lemon was another item that kept us all reaching for it repeatedly. It was like a comfortingly salty bak kwa or Chinese sausage for us.


The Calamari with Udon Noodles (AU$27.50) came with Asian herbs and sweet ginger dressing. It looked really promising, and the portion is huge. But for all its bright colours, it was really mild. I had been hoping it would have a tangy and spicy dressing - like those Thai-style salads - but that was not to be. Still, it was refreshing, and the calamari strands were huge.


Crab Fettuccine Pasta (AU$38.50), topped with shredded shark bay crab and tossed with herb butter, was also another huge dish that was pretty mild tasting. The acidity from tomato, lemon and capers didn't cut through the heavy dish. But carb lovers probably will inhale it anyway. I'm not a pasta fan, so I can't judge.


The Margaret River Beef Burger (AU$26.50) has a patty with melted Swiss cheese, zucchini, pickles, "fat hippo" relish, and fat chips.


It's a casual place with lots of warm wood and nautical accents. For drinks, there is a list of local wines by the glass, cocktails and a large selection of craft beers and ciders.


But honestly, the best thing about the restaurant is the unbeatable beach view!

Geographe Bay Road
Busselton (Next to the Jetty)
WA 6280, Australia
Contact: +61 (8) 9754 7700
Open daily: Breakfast menu 7am-11am; All day menu 11.30am-9pm

I hear the sunrise and sunset scenes at Busselton are breathtaking. Maybe next time I'll stay overnight and check it out.

More coverage coming up for this Western Australia trip, as we head to Margaret River and Pullman Bunker Bay Resort! Check the link for stories on Perth and the Novotel Vines Resort too.

This media trip was made possible by Accor Asia Pacific, Scoot and Tourism Western Australia

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is World’s Best Airport Hotel and Best Airport Hotel in Asia 2015!

Crowne Plaza Changi Airport has been named World’s Best Airport Hotel and Best Airport Hotel in Asia at the 2015 Skytrax World Airport Awards yesterday, at the Passenger Terminal Expo in Paris, France. The World Airport Awards is the largest annual global airport customer satisfaction survey; the results are based on nominations from 1.56 million airport hotel guests worldwide.

Well, I couldn't agree more - see my review of the gorgeous hotel, where I already said they were the best ever.

King Bed Guest Room

What a milestone for a young hotel. The 320-room Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is set to increase its room inventory by an additional 243 rooms next year. That's fabulous news!

Here is the list of the top 10 - see any of your other favourites?

World's Best Airport Hotels
1 Crowne Plaza Changi Airport
2 Regal Airport Hong Kong
3 Hilton Munich Airport
4 Pullman Guangzhou Airport
5 Sofitel London Heathrow
6 Fairmont Vancouver Airport‎
7 Hilton Frankfurt Airport
8 Novotel Citygate Hong Kong
9 Langham Place Beijing
10 Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain

Singapore also won for best airport! Congratulations to Changi Airport too!

1    Singapore Changi Airport
2    Incheon International Airport
3    Munich Airport
4    Hong Kong International Airport
5    Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)
6    Zurich Airport
7    Central Japan International Airport
8    London Heathrow Airport
9    Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
10  Beijing Capital International Airport

top photo courtesy of Crowne Plaza Changi Airport

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Novotel Vines Resort in Perth, Western Australia


Imagine waking up to this, on a cool crisp morning.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Perth - Things to See, Eat and Do!

Where can you find a rapidly growing city, a beautiful river, lush parks, some of the finest beaches in Australia, a laid back and friendly vibe, diversity in culture, world class wines and food? The answer is really near us - Perth and its surrounds!

Perth in Western Australia is only five hours away from Singapore by air. You might know a friend or relative who has settled there - it's the 9th most liveable city in the world, and in many ways, more charming than the bigger cities.

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