Saturday, October 31, 2015

Most Awesome Pumpkin Carving Ever! Happy Star Wars Halloween!

Man, is that the coolest pumpkin or what? How do you even achieve something like that, unless you had a surgical light-saber?

Well, that's not all. There's more at this Wired story!

And yes, I can't wait for Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens. Seven weeks to go!

Photo from the Wired story


Friday, October 30, 2015

Taiwan Lao Ma Ma Handmade Soy Sauce; Roast Chicken Set Meal 老妈妈手工酱油; 豆腐乳烤香鸡全餐

One of our best meals in Taiwan was actually at a soy sauce factory. A gorgeously roasted chicken which has been marinated with 豆腐乳 or fermented beancurd. Just look at that golden brown crispy sin, I mean skin.


Well, this is not just any soy sauce factory, but an artisanal outfit in Yilan using black soybeans. The name Lao Ma Ma 老妈妈 or Old Mum also evokes clever nostalgia.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Taiwan Farmstay 2 of 5: Fairy Story Village Organic Farm in Yilan 童话村有机休閒农场

Aren't this mother-daughter pair just adorable? Ms Wu Li Chu and her daughter are the sweet folks behind Fairy Story Village Organic Farm in Yilan, Taiwan. This was our second farmstay on the trip hosted by CTC Travel and Taiwan Leisure Farm Development Association.

Fairy Story Village is a certified organic farm, and has enjoyed organic certification for more than 7 consecutive years. They grow mulberry, sunflowers, roselles, golden tomatoes, dates, spring onion and seasonal vegetables.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Taiwan Farmstay 1 of 5: Shangrila Leisure Farm in Yilan 香格理拉休閒农场


Taiwan farmstays have become really hot on holidaymakers' radar lately. A couple weeks back, I went with CTC Travel to check out five different farmstay destinations along the Eastern coast of Taiwan. The trip was hosted by the Taiwan Leisure Farms Development Association.

The first one is Shangri-La Leisure Farm in Yilan. This is one of the pioneering farmstays in Taiwan, having been around for about 30 years.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Singapore Foods That Can Help To Improve Your Mood

Food can bring such sheer comfort. In our hectic and busy lives, the right dish can bring cheer and boost our energy levels. It’s what everyone needs especially on long, tiring days.

If you're out at a hawker centre in Singapore, what are some things that you can choose to improve your mood?

I’ve got five dishes here to suggest but one thing I can always rely on is a good swig of Coke zero®. Sometimes I like to put my face near the surface of my drink and feel the fizzy bubbles popping on my skin, followed by the scent of cola. Oooh, I'm in my happy place for two seconds. Best of all, Coke® goes well with all the dishes below!

Fried or Sliced Fish Soup

This is one of my favourite dishes (photo above). I love fried fish soup and am always adding lots of chili padi to it (yes, that’s why I need two cans of Coke to help me afterwards!)

You know you’ve made the right decision in choosing to eat fish because research has found that people with low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly those found in fish, such as DHA, are more likely to have memory problems. Researchers say the results suggests diets lacking in omega-3 fatty acids may cause the brain to age faster.

Oyster Omelette

According to WebMD oysters contain all 9 essential amino acids; they’re rich in protein minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. All these things will keep you strong – and keep your immune system charged.”

I like my oysters best in that greasebomb called oyster omelette (my ultimate happy food!).

Noodles or Rice

Bak chor mee

This website tells us that “when you eat a carbohydrate-rich meal, your body triggers a release of insulin. This… causes any amino acids in the blood to be absorbed into the body, but not the brain. Except for... tryptophan! It remains in the bloodstream at high levels following a carbohydrate meal, which means it can freely enter the brain and cause serotonin levels to rise.”

Serotonin is “a chemical produced by the body that enables brain cells and other nervous systems cells to communicate with one another. Too little serotonin in the brain is thought to play a role in depression”.

Pair your noodles with nutritious items like Chinese black mushrooms (also known as dried shiitake mushrooms). Mushrooms offer much that is good for us. They are a good source of protein as well as antioxidants such as selenium, which helps to prevent cell damage, and copper, a mineral that aids in the production of red blood cells. In fact, mushrooms are the only produce that contains significant amounts of selenium.


I love DIY gado-gado

Gado gado is technically a salad, and what a tasty one it is! Lots of blanched vegetables, tofu and tempeh - what could be wrong with that? Tempeh is a great soy product because it makes a certain type of natural antibiotic that fights certain bacteria. Tempeh is also high in protein. Read more here. You can also enjoy tempeh in a sambal, which I love when done with petai (stinkbeans).

Here is a recipe for it!

When I eat that, I am definitely happy, although those around me may not be for the next few hours.

Chickpea Curry

WebMD tells us that chickpeas, hummus’ main ingredient, give you protein, good-for-you carbs, and fiber. Like other members of the legume family, they routinely top lists of the world’s healthiest foods.

If you can't find chickpea curry, then look for your kacang putih man.

So there you have five local dishes with feel-good ingredients that can help us lift our moods. I am sure there are plenty more, if we care to look up the benefits of local ingredients.

I find that a nice beverage is also a quick way to help perk our moods up. Coke can be so refreshing when taken ice-cold when you’re thirsty on a sweltering day. On the other hand, some people like it warm with lemon (you folks in Hong Kong, you started this!) and swear it makes them feel better.

Ultimately, I think it also matters that you choose the foods you love. Eating something you hate won't make you happy for sure! Whatever it is, enjoy your food and let it bring a smile to your day!

This article is brought to you in partnership with Coca-Cola. All opinions shared by writer are his/her own.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

New Sunday Champagne Brunch Buffet at The Line, Shangri-La Singapore

Sundays just got better at The Line at Shangri-La Singapore. New chef de cuisine Vincent Wong has enhanced the menu for the Champagne Brunch.

Here's a quick tour of what you can expect:


Friday, October 23, 2015

Ginza Yoshihiro Opens at Marina Mandarin Singapore


We have a new Japanese fine-dining restaurant at the fourth level of Marina Mandarin Singapore. Say hello to Ginza Yoshihiro, which opened yesterday complete with a sake barrel breaking ritual.

Head chef Hisayuki "Bob-San" Nishioka (right) with his dad Yoshihiro Nishioka (left).

Ginza Yoshihiro has had a history of 30 years in Tokyo, led by Bob-san's dad and is now helmed by his younger brother. Bob-san who trained under his father and also worked as head sushi chef at Hide Yamamoto (Marina Bay Sands) owns the Singapore branch of Ginza Yoshihiro.


Here's Bob-san (it's a nickname given to him when he was working in Australia) deftly at work loining a whole bluefin tuna at the opening party. Ginza Yoshihiro offers sushi, sashimi and omakase. They get their seafood from Tsukiji three times weekly.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Nikunohi Wagyu Yakiniku - Eat At Seven (Suntec City)

I'm sure by now everyone has heard of Eat at Seven, the new cluster of Japanese eateries brought in by Global Retail Partners (joint venture by ANA Trading, Komars Group and local restaurateur Mr Andrew Tan who owns Tomo F&B Group).

Basically, seven of Japan's most popular food concepts will find a home under the Eat at Seven umbrella, which is located at the new Sky Garden at level 3 of Suntec City, Eat at Seven is being populated gradually, with Enbu (warayaki and charcoal grill izakaya), Maguro-Donya Miura-Misaki-Kou Sushi & Dining (tuna sashimi specialist), NikuNoHi (yakiniku) and Nigiro Cafe. I can't wait to see the rest.

NikuNoHi - meaning the Day of Meat - celebrates meat, and in particular, A5 kuroge wagyu from Kagoshima. There are over 20 different cuts of meat, which is great because there is life beyond ribeye and sirloin.

They also have pork, chicken and seafood for those who don't take beef.

The Kiwami Ultimate Plate above (S$138) gives good value and variety, as it has six cuts. Grill sukiyaki, finest chuck eye, finest ribeye, chateaubriand, finest thick sliced skirt, and beef tongue.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Raffles Hotel Long Bar Steakhouse Tomahawk Steak Special

We all know about the iconic Long Bar at Raffles Hotel, but did you know there is a Long Bar Steakhouse as well? It was only recently that I had heard about it. The steakhouse is on the level 2 of Raffles Hotel Arcade quietly tucked around the corner next to the Long Bar. Well, now there's extra reason to visit soon because they are bringing in premium tomahawk steaks for a short time.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Kaiserhaus High Tea (S$28 for 2) at Capitol Piazza

Hankering for a touch of Viennese for your afternoon tea?

Take a look at the Kaiserhaus High Tea set (S$28 for two; photo above shows two sets). It is available from 10.30am to 6pm, and comes in three tiers with the following:


Monday, October 5, 2015

Clinton St Baking Company: All Day Breakfast and Southern Comfort

The Clinton St Baking Company from New York City has landed in Singapore, on 19 Sept 2015, after opening in Tokyo and Dubai. The famous Lower East Side institution is an "it" place for breakfast and brunch, so it's got many people excited here. Already the place is packed with people wanting a taste of American classics with a South-western touch.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Cook & Brew Gastrobar at Westin Singapore: Saturday Night Roasts!

Unlimited portions of roast meats - sounds like the perfect way to spend a Saturday night, no? This is happening at Cook & Brew, The Westin Singapore’s specialty gastro-bar at Level 33, every last Saturday of the month.

The dining area will get a“live” carving station showcasing three different types of roasts – Prime Ribeye, Catch Of The Day and a Specialty Roast Of The Day.

A photo posted by Catherine Ling (@camemberu) on

We saw Prime Rib (above) on the very first evening, along with Roast Pork Loin (first photo) and a whole grilled Snapper.

You can look forward to these specialties on a rotational basis - Salmon, Sea Bass, Mullet; Porchetta, Suckling Pig, Roasted Pork Belly, Bone-in Ham, Whole Roasted Chicken, BBQ Turkey, Whole Roasted Duck, Bone-in Veal Loin, Roasted Lamb Shoulder or Lamb Merguez Sausage.

Served alongside the mains are house-made gravy and sauces, Yorkshire Pudding and Grilled Sourdough. The breads were incredible! I found myself going for seconds of bread instead of beef! How crazy is that? Well, you have to try the housemade butter. One taste and you'll understand why; it is that divine.

Along with the roasts you have a choice of side dishes: two cold plates, two starch and three vegetables, per table. Seven side dishes in total, and that is a LOT of food.

We had Carrot and Celeriac Remoulade, Beetroot and Goat Cheese Salad (top row). For vegetables, we chose Cheesy Broccoli, Heirloom Carrots with Apples, Yellow Butterbeans and Chili.

For starches, try the Perogies (Pierogi?) stuffed with Smoked Cheddar and Potatoes. But my favourite of all the side dishes is the Stout-Braised Green Lentils with House-smoked Bacon (sorry, pic turned out blurry in the romantic lighting). The bacon and stout infused lentils were mouthfuls of comfort.

Dessert was a baked Alaska, but you may also get the French classic Marjolaine Cake with luscious layers of chocolate, buttercream and meringue.

Photo courtesy of Cook & Brew

Cook & Brew is gorgeous in the evenings, with the view of Marina Bay (even with all the construction going on). I love the cosy armchairs and dark wood accents.

This Saturday Night feast is perfect for an intimate evening with your other half or even a feast with family and friends. Wines not included but feel free to add a Chardonnay or Merlot to complement dinner.

Saturday Night Roasts is available every last Saturday of the month, from 26 September 2015 onwards, 6.00 p.m. – 12.00 a.m. (last order at 9.30 p.m.) at Cook & Brew, Level 33.

$95++ per person (minimum of two persons required)

Level 33, Westin Singapore
12 Marina View
Asia Square Tower 2
Singapore 018961
Tel: +65 6922-6948
Open Monday - Thursday 11:00 AM - 12:00 AM; Friday 11:00 AM - 1:00 AM; Saturday 5:00 PM - 12:00 AM

Many thanks to Westin for the invitation.
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