Monday, October 31, 2016

McDonald's Monopoly Is Back with Bigger Prizes!



McDonald's Monopoly game is coming back Thursday 3 Nov 2016!

Monopoly was my favourite board game growing up, and it was the thing my cousins and I always played when gathering at grandma's.

The McDonald's Monopoly game is good fun too; I can't believe it's been five years since they last held it.

This time there are more ways to play, more chances to win, and even BIGGER prizes than ever! Some lucky people are going to walk away with a brand new Citroën C4 Cactus, OCBC Bank cash prizes worth S$40,000, Nestle Gold Bar sets worth $25,000, and Star Cruises Family Holiday packages worth more than $7,000, and many more prizes!


PRIZE DESCRIPTION 
NUMBER OF PRIZES 

Citroёn C4 Cactus 1.2 PureTech 


OCBC S$40,000 Cash 
Nestlé Gold Bar Set 
Star Cruises Family Holiday 
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 

10 

Coca-Cola™ Branded Fridge Prize Package 
10 
AirAsia S$3,500 E-Gift Voucher 
10 
SPC S$3,500 Voucher 
10 








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3 Ways to Play


From 3 November to 28 December 2016, you will get a Monopoly Game Label with every purchase of an Extra Value Meal.

This year you can play the game at:
- all McDonald’s restaurants including Self-Ordering Kiosks and Drive-Thrus
- McCafé counters
- via McDelivery

Upsized Extra Value Meals and McDelivery Bundle Meals entitle customers to more Game Labels.


PRODUCTS 
NO. OF GAME LABELS 
Breakfast Extra Value Meal 
Regular Extra Value Meal
McCafé Set Meal 
1 label 
Upsized Extra Value Meal 
2 labels 
McDelivery Bundle Meal @$22.95 
3 labels 
McDelivery Bundle Meal @$32.95 
4 labels 
McDelivery Bundle Meal @$49.95 
7 labels 



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3 Ways to Win


That Game Label gives you a chance of win a prize in three different ways:

1. Collect to Win
Customers who collect all property Game Labels within the same colour group as shown on the game board will win the prize corresponding to that colour.

2. Instant Win
For customers who receive an Instant Win Game Label, they can either redeem the prize by presenting it at any McDonald’s restaurant or by following the redemption instructions, indicated on the label, to claim the prize directly from the prize partner’s outlet before the expiry date.

3. Chance Card
Chance Cards enable customers to enter a Weekly Lucky Draw by registering the given code number on www.mcdwin.com by 30 December 2016. Over a period of eight weeks, five winners will be picked each week to win a NETS Flash-Pay card pre-loaded with a value of S$500. There will be a total of 40 winners at the end of the lucky draw.

Registered entries which do not win in a particular week will automatically roll over to the next draw in the following week and finally to the Final Prize Draw on 12 January 2017. Registered entries that have won a Weekly Draw will not be eligible for future draws, including the Final Prize Draw. Fair enough.


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“We know that our customers have enjoyed the Monopoly Game at McDonald’s in previous years. This time, we are elevating the thrill of the game by offering customers the chance to win bigger and with more chances to win. Every meal with McDonald’s will bring them closer to winning!” said Yvonne Low, Senior Director of Marketing, McDonald’s Singapore. “More importantly, we are continuously looking for ways to delight our customers – be it by our food or the fun and unique experiences that we have to offer.”




Meal Donation
It's not all about greed and winning. McDonald’s is also partnering with The Food Bank Singapore Ltd to allow customers to donate their meals. Those who wish to donate their meals can simply inform the counter crew when they place their order. Donated meals will be valued at $5.00 each and will be presented to The Food Bank Singapore Ltd in the form of McDonald’s meal vouchers at the end of the promotion.


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For more information on Game Play and Terms and Conditions, log on to www.mcdwin.com





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Sunday, October 30, 2016

JAR'D by Sarnies: Singapore's First Mason Jar Salad Bar



The folks at Sarnies Café (that popular coffee, salad, and sandwich joint at Telok Ayer) have launched JAR’D: a mason jar salad bar.

The jars look beautiful. The layers of ingredients are strategically placed: dressing and protein first, everything else layered in the middle, and greens on top. This way the greens stay crisp, and the sauce stays where it’s supposed to. Give it a quick shake, and voila - ready to eat salad!

It's not so easy to eat from the jar though. I still had to pour it out into a bowl to properly mix it up. But it's then that you see just how big the portion is - huge!

The salads are available in 750ml or 1 litre jars. Choose from Tuna Tataki (S$12.5/S$16), Roast Chicken & Pesto (S$12.5/S$16), Vegan Zoodle Pad Thai (S$12/S$15), and Quinoa & Feta (S$12.5/S$16).

I tried these two varieties:

Tuna Tataki (right in photo)

Ingredients: mixed greens, seared tuna, bonito flakes, seaweed, edamame, daikon, purple cabbage, japanese cucumber, sesame seeds, soy & mirin dressing

This is seriously good value given that there's a generous portion of sashimi grade tuna. I also like the Japanese-inspired dressing. 



Vegan Zoodle Pad Thai (left in photo)

Ingredients: zucchini, cashews, carrots, bean sprouts, red bell peppers, edamame, purple cabbage, sesame seeds, thai basil, spring onions, sesame dressing

This one isn't anything Thai-like, really, but it's a refreshing vegetarian salad. The sweet and savoury peanut paste is really thick, so you definitely have to take it out of the jar to stir and mix well.






The certified safe Mason jars are tightly sealed, and ready for consumption anytime. Office folks can now skip the never-ending lunchtime queues and get lunch with their usual morning coffee - no more soggy lunches. The jars are very portable and reusable.

If you're wondering about the environmental impact, JAR‘D actively recycles the glass jars that are sold daily. For those who are not too sure what to do with the extra jars, bring them back in to JAR’D to be recycled and enjoy a dollar off the subsequent salad purchase. The jars themselves are lovely keepsakes.

JAR’D also offers specially concocted Superfood Shakes (from S$8.50) for a wholesome breakfast fix. For a guilt-free mid-day snack, choose from
Cocowhip (from S$6.50), the world’s first soft serve made from coconut water; BSKT’s vegan and gluten free Superfood Bars (S$5) packed with nutrients, or The Whole Kitchen’s freshly baked Gluten Free Banana Bread (S$5.50).

Sarnies fans will certainly not go without the specialty coffee (from S$4.50).


JAR'D
B1-38 Tower 1
One Raffles Place
Singapore 048616
Open Mon-Fri 7:30am to 3:30pm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jardbysarnies/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jardsg/






Many thanks to JAR'D by Sarnies for the mason jar experience!



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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Starbucks Toffee Nut Latte Is Back! Plus Festive Drinks, Christmas Blend Coffee, Food and Merchandise


Yes, they are back!

Starbucks’ beloved handcrafted holiday drinks return to stores in Singapore for a limited time, along with the special Christmas Blend coffee, new food and beverage offerings and an exclusive selection of curated merchandise for gifting. 

The festive drinks are S$7.10 (hot/iced for tall) and S$7.60 for Frappucino (tall)
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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

LIME Restaurant Lobsterfest Buffet: Unlimited Lobster 9 Ways!


If you are a seafood lover and haven't already tried the LIME Lobsterfest at PARKROYAL on Pickering, you're missing out. This is an epic feast of Maine lobsters done nine different ways. I'm usually wary of the quality and preparation of lobsters at buffets, but I was blown away by my experience at LIME. #buffetsworththecalories

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Circles.Life Review: 12 Reasons to Switch Over to Circles


I love the new telco Circles.Life! I've been testing it out since mid-year and I have been so pleased with it, I couldn't wait to port over my own number - my own contract just ended recently. And you know what? I was so stunned by HOW EASY it was to port my number over. I just had to fill in two things - my postpaid number and provider - and click, that's it! You don't even have to cancel your number - Circles will help you on that end.

Actually Circles makes everything remarkably smooth and easy; after testing the service, I can tell you 12 things I like about it.

1. Price
Truth be told, I was tired of paying my existing provider way too much every month. Circles gives me everything I need (megaloads of data) for a bargain! I don't use talktime or SMS so much; these days, calls and messages can be all done online. And thanks to all the bonuses, I actually have more data now (11GB vs 7GB previously) at one third the price.

2. No Contract
You aren't tied down to a two-year commitment. You can switch out anytime if you're not happy. It's what freedom tastes like, basically. I think this also makes the telco work harder to keep you happy, so you'll stay.

3. No Queues
Everything is done online, even signing up! You don't need to go to a store, take a number, get in a long line, fill out long forms, etc. The site is so easy to use and hassle-free. You wonder why things weren't this simple before.



4. Package Perks
The basic package gives you up to 6GB and 100mins talktime for S$28 a month. Caller ID is free! And this is all pure mobile data, no part WiFi bandwidth that requires you to be at specific hotspots. SMS is pay as you go (5 cents each).

Best of all, you get unlimited WhatsApp data - it doesn't count against your data usage. This is important to me because we are sending so much photos, videos and even doing calls on WhatsApp.

5. Flexibility
You can add upgrade or downgrade your package however you like, as often as you wish. Add on more data or talktime if you need, and switch back when you no longer need it.

6. Transparency
I know what I am paying for. There are no hidden charges. How I hate those "miscellaneous" or "value-added" charges that I have to scrutinise the bill for previously.

7. Great customer service
You can contact customer service via online chat on their mobile app. They are super helpful and responsive. You'll also get a chat log emailed to you for reference.

8. Very decent coverage
Circles uses the M1 4G network. Some have asked me if the connection is good enough. Well, I tested the connectivity side-by-side with my own provider. I used browsers, Google Maps, bus apps, YouTube, Netflix, and even Pokemon Go. Circles did just fine (and in fact gave me more Pokemon to catch in some areas). It was only a bit slower in a couple of instances but what I get is more than good enough.

9. Free bonus data every now and then
And they are always giving promotions like the SG51 free 10GB data , so every now and then data bonuses just keep stacking.

10. Great mobile app
The CirclesCare app lets you track your usage, modify your plan, earn bonuses and get help from customer service. It even has a speed test function. You can send the results to the support team if you are facing any connectivity problems.

11. No-contract phones
You still get to buy the phones you like, on an instalment basis. Again, no queues necessary. Just get yours online.




12. More bonus data when you refer friends!
Circles has a great referral program. Your friends get S$20 waived off their registration, and you get 200MB data added to your monthly quota for every friend you refer who signs up. The bonus is live as long as they stay on Circles.

You can use mine too, if you need one to help with registration fees! Thank you in advance for the extra data! :)

Feel free to use my referral code OBWAN and get $20 off your registration fee!


Port-in Bonus! 

Circles truly is the best no-contract mobile plan for data. If you're thinking of switching, there's no better time. You get 1GB free data added to your package permanently when you port in your number. And you also get another 1GB free data until end of 2016. Enjoy at least 2GB free data.

UPDATE Nov 2016:
They've also introduced a break your contract promo. So if you still have a few months going on your contract, Circles will reward you with extra bonus data up to 12GB.






This is NOT an advertorial. I did get to trial the service for three months when it started, and I switched over most happily. 
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Friday, October 21, 2016

AladdinStreet.com.sg - Online Marketplace for Halal and Premium Goods


The halal market is big business, and so is e-commerce. Tapping on this opportunity is AladdinStreet.com.sg which rounds up halal products and premium goods in one convenient online marketplace for both B2B and B2C communities.

If the name sounds a little Alibaba-ish...well, I guess it has the same ambitions!

The site which was launched today (21 Oct 2016) joins a bigger AladdinStreet network of 30 countries, and next up is AladdinStreet China (targeting the 20 million Muslims who live there).

AladdinStreet Singapore showcases not only food and beverage items, but also vitamins, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, fashion and other services. It has signed up close to 60 merchants, of which almost half are halal-certified. Participation is by invitation only and the vendors are screened to ensure halal-friendliness and compliance. This is great news for Muslims who want to shop online with confidence for halal and related items.


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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Dessert Story: East Meets West Desserts



Dessert Story is a homegrown chain that has been serving customers since 2008.I visited their recently renovated Tiong Bahru branch to check out their new range of fusion desserts. The chain is also placing more emphasis in creating more healthful desserts that are freshly cooked or brewed daily with natural ingredients.


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Sunday, October 16, 2016

First Culinary Restaurant at Ang Mo Kio ITE College Central

I chanced upon the rather excellent First Culinary Restaurant via a recommendation from a friend who is acquainted with the chef. It is hearty and full-flavoured Malaysian-style Chinese restaurant food, located strangely of all places in an ITE College.

Here are some of the star dishes that we tried. The whole menu (including prices) is online.

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Food Photography Tips from Canon

Restaurant Week Singapore is just around the corner and I'm sure a lot of you love taking photos of your food. Well, it's a worthy keepsake but food might get cold when you're figuring out how to take the best shot. Here are some tips provided by Canon Singapore that might help you reduce time and effort in scoring a good photo. I could have used some of them when I started out - this burger is my first food photo using a Canon DSLR back in 2008.


Canon – Food Photography Tips

If you’ve always been intrigued by how food photographers can make their pictures look so gastronomically yummy even on print, then this personalised menu is perfect for you. Canon Imaging Academy (CIA) gives us the low down on how we can make our own food photos look as delish as the Jamie Oliver magazine come to life. Dig in!

FRESH FARE

Camera

While you certainly can take good shots on a simple point-and-shoot camera, cameras with manual settings will give you more control over your shot.

Lens

Macro lenses are great for capturing detail in food photography. Pick something that can give you a focal length of at least 50mm, like the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens for example.

Flash

Using direct flash is not recommended for food photography, as the lighting produced can be too harsh and throw off the natural balance of colours.

Note: I agree. You've seen Martha Stewart's shots. Bounce your light off the ceiling with an external flash unit for best results.


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Hor’Doeuvres: A Bite-Sized Plan

Before you start, take note of what you’re working with. What’s the lighting like? How is the food plated? What kind of backgrounds do you have available to you? And how does the food texture react to temperature changes – will it harden or curdle, for example? These factors determine how much time you have to capture your shot.

Entree: Stew Over It

Once you have a good grasp of what you’re working with, make use of your surroundings (both on the plate and off it) to create your shot. For better results, take note of the hue of your food and don’t be shy to move things around and play up the contrast between your food and its background.




Salade: Dress It Up

If you’re using a DSLR, we recommend the “Program” (P) mode as this allows the photographer to focus on ISO and exposure compensation, while the camera handles the rest of the details. Since most food photography takes place indoors, you’ll want to keep your ISO between 800 and 1,600 for optimum effect. On a digital compact camera such as the PowerShot G7 X Mark II, try the zoom or macro setting to get up close and personal with your food. Yum.

Fromages: Say Cheeseeee!

Experiment with depth of field (that’s the distance between your nearest and furthest object in your frame) to create that creamy, blurred background also known as the “Bokeh” effect. If you’re using a DSLR, try out the “Aperture Priority” (AV) mode and adjust your aperture for selective focus (between f/3.5 to f/5.6 for kit lenses).

Dessert: Sweeten The Deal

Try out different angles – top-down shots for example may be good if you want to give the picture context. Or perhaps a low angle if you want to capture the layers of a burger for example. If your camera comes with a tilt or vari-angle screen function, make full use of it to capture unusual shots.

Promos

To add that extra oomph to your shot, consider adding textures such as a ribbed tablecloth in the background, or using the table’s wood grain to give your shot a nice contrast. This works particularly well if you’re taking the picture at an angle. Finally, have fun with the creative process of snapping that perfect shot, but don’t forget to enjoy your food before it turns cold! Bon appétit!






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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Maggie Joan's New Lunch Menu of Mediterranean Dishes


Yes, they heard you. Maggie Joan's owners Glen Ballis, Daniel Ballis and Darren Micallef along with Chef Oliver Hyde have launched a new lunch menu! The array of well-made modern Mediterranean starters, mains and sides is bound to please fans of the hip bunker-like restaurant.


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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Teppei Opens Man Man Unagi at Keong Saik Road


Teppei Yamashita is on a roll. The chef-owner of the elusive Teppei Japanese Restaurant (which famously requires 3-6 month advance reservations for omakase dinner) has in quick succession opened different restaurants with the same success formula of delivering quality at friendly prices.

He's got the Teppei Syukudo chain (kaisendon), Hana Hana (yakitori), Hanare (chirashi and buffet), Teppei Daidokoro, and today officially launched Man Man Unagi, a grilled eel specialist.

The unagi here stands out for a few reasons. The eels come from Japan; the unagi is extremely fresh and prepared on demand; it's charcoal-grilled Kansai style; and the head chef Nakagawa has had 20 years experience in unagi grilling.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Triple Three Hokkaido Harvests Buffet at Mandarin Orchard: Japanese Food Galore!


Autumn is here, and it's one of the best seasons for harvest produce particularly in Japan. Triple Three, the award-winning Japanese-inspired buffet restaurant at Mandarin Orchard, is bringing in exquisite produce from Hokkaido for 12 days (19 to 30 Oct 2016) of indulgent dining.


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Friday, October 7, 2016

Best Hotel Experience 2016 - St Regis Singapore Wins STB Award



Want to know which hotel is the best in Singapore this year?

The St. Regis Singapore won the "Best Hotel Experience" Award at the Singapore Tourism Board’s Singapore Tourism Awards 2016 on Wednesday, 5th October 2016.

The hotel always been known for its dignified luxury accommodations and St Regis Butler Service. In fact, this is the third time that it has gotten the award, having claimed the prize in 2011 and 2012 consecutively.



Just look at the Presidential Suite bedroom. It puts some palaces to shame.

The St Regis also offers guests a host of distinct experiences through the St Regis Aficionado programs. One of these includes The Peranakan Legacy at The Intan, an immersive exploration of Peranakan culture, which also won "Best Tour Experience" at the awards.



Jamie Cullum at the St Regis Singapore Presidential Suite
Earlier this year, St Regis Connoisseur Jamie Cullum gave a guest a private piano-playing/coaching session when he was in town. How freaking amazing is that? #StRegisJazz FTW!






First and second photo courtesy of St Regis Singapore. Jamie Cullum photo is mine, mine, mine, all MINE!
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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Standard Chartered Dining Journeys: Weekday Promos


Why wait for the weekend? Weekdays are perfectly good for a spot of indulgence, and nothing comforts a soul like good food and good company. Surprise your significant other with a midweek treat after a hard day at work, and it will feel like you've cut the wait for the weekend in half!

If you have a Standard Chartered Credit Card, you'll be glad to know that they have put together some exclusive weekday (Mondays to Fridays excluding public holidays) dining privileges for their credit cardholders:

* Enjoy up to 15% off total bill at over 100 participating restaurants
* Get 6% cashback (up to S$50 per month and S$100 per quarter) with an accumulated spend of S$300 at these participating restaurants

* Terms and conditions, minimum spends and exclusions apply. Visit sc.com/sg/dining for the full Standard Chartered Dining Journeys 2016 Promotion Terms and Conditions.


Here's a look at two of the participating restaurants with great food and ambience  - OSO Ristorante and The Peranakan. Both are romantic but in very different ways.

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