A Truly Singapore Restaurant – National Kitchen by Violet Oon


Often, when foreign visitors seek local food in Singapore, they are directed to hawker centres, where our gems are. While there are plenty of food stalls in the bustling hawker centres dishing out truly Singaporean dishes, there isn’t one restaurant in Singapore that does all that with flair and sophistication, not until National Kitchen by Violet Oon came along. Potentially one of our national prides, National Kitchen by Violet Oon serves up significant dishes from various ethnic groups that make up the Singapore culture.

The lavish design and grandeur of the restaurant integrates seamlessly into the majestic architecture of the National Gallery Singapore and its vibe. Continue reading

Classic cocktails, perfected by Anti:Dote bar of Fairmont Singapore


Just had to share. Top Cocktail Bar, Anti:Dote, launched a new cocktail menu, named The Revivals, that draws inspiration from the classics. Think: delicious classics re-imagined with a modern twist. The pages of the stylish menu show off the team’s artistic flair with sketches of the each drink in its befitting glassware.

And you’d be impressed with the elegant handcrafted Schott Zwiesel crystal glassware in which the drinks are served. Its classy aesthetics contributes no less to enhancing the enjoyment of the cocktails than the deliciousness itself.
Continue reading

(Guest Feature) What will the fire monkey year bring for us in year 2016?


What will the fire monkey year bring for us in year 2016? This article is for all my friends and readers, brought to you by Feng Shui expert Ivan Koh.

The goat year is coming to an end and another zodiac animal, the monkey, will soon arrive. The agile and nimble monkey traditionally symbolises intelligence, alertness, opportunism, attentiveness, and lovability. The Chinese celebrate their lunar new year on 8 February 2016 and most would assume it is the arrival of monkey year. However, according to the Chinese Farmer or the Thousand-year calendar, the New Year actually starts on 4 Feb 2016 at the rooster hour. It is a fire monkey year, and has the following combination of elements:

You can look back for major events that had happened in year 1956 because it was also the fire monkey year, and according to beliefs, history repeats. There were some major natural disasters such as earthquake, drought, fires, explosions, floods, hurricane, typhoon and storm. There were also accidents that involved transportation systems such as ship or ferry, railway, and airplane. Looking back, some form of disaster happening around the world each year seem inevitable. We could expect some of the events to repeat in year 2016, and again, let’s pray that the catastrophic effects are minimised.

Continue reading

Mikuni’s Grand 8-Course Fugu Tasting Menu


The exotic Fugu (pufferfish or globefish), is extremely lethal if not prepared with extreme caution, and only chefs who have obtained a license and have gone through years of apprenticeships can serve fugu. Chef Moon of Mikuni at Fairmont Singapore is one such licensed chef with heaps of culinary talent and creative power. This winter, Mikuni draws on the fruitful supply of fugu and brings forth a Grand Tasting 8-course menu ($220 per person or $310 with sake pairing) that celebrates various parts of the Fugu anatomy, showcasing Chef Moon’s artistic strength in blending modern and centuries-old Japanese culinary techniques seamlessly.

Otoushi – Globefish Skin Jelly, Miso, Sushi Ball, Fugu Mirin Boshi, Caviar

The meal begins with “small bites” of jelly made from fish bone broth brimming of collagen goodness, sliced fugu on a sushi ball, and sun-dried fugu saturated in mirin topped with tuna belly tartar and caviar, a beautiful combination of taste and texture.

Continue reading

Nan Hwa Fishboat opens a second outlet at Owen Road


Nan Hwa Fishboat is one of the oldest fish head steamboat restaurants in Singapore, with a history of almost 90 years since its opening in 1927. I have been a quiet supporter of its flagship outlet at North Bridge Road. One thing that daunts me is the sweat-inducing environment. The impact of the tropical heat is amplified when you’re slurping on piping hot broth in a non air-conditioned space. While the amount of comfort the fishboat brings to me can easily help me overcome that factor, I have to admit some days I’m just too spoilt to want to endure the heat and sweating. Well, good news for those who can relate, because Nan Hwa Fishboat has recently opened its second outlet at Owen Road that boasts a refined space, larger, clean and bright, with air-conditioning.

The best part? Prices are similar, if not identical. In sight are long-time regulars, families and friends bonding over good food and conversations.

Premium Live Dragon Grouper Fish Head Steamboat ($38/$48/$68)

To begin, fish head steamboat is, of course, essential. Choose your preferred variety of fish with prices to match your budget, available in three sizes. this is the premium live dragon grouper fish head steamboat that comes with thick slices and chunks of fish, alongside the usual vegetables and yam. Soup is refillable, thank goodness, because I can’t ever get enough of it!

Prawn with Golden Pumpkin Sauce ($18.80/$28.80)

The prawn with golden pumpkin sauce is one of my favourite dishes to order alongside the steamboat. I was in disbelief when I was told there wasn’t any salted egg yolk in there, and I still don’t believe it. Anyway, the sauce is rich and flavoursome, fragrant of laksa leaf with a spicy kick from the chilli, the sizeable prawns are fresh and succulent.

Champagne Pork Ribs ($12.80/$18.80)

The champagne pork ribs is my second favourite dish. The sweet glaze brings so much delight to the palate; the pork is nicely charred on the surface yet so tender and juicy within.

Claypot Drunken Rice Wine Clam ($15.80/$20.80)

The claypot drunken rice wine clam brims with a potent hit of alcohol. I would have preferred it to have a nicer balance of broth to Chinese wine, but those who like their alcohol will enjoy this. You might be able to let the staff know about your preference, so as to adjust the wine intensity to your taste.

Stir-fry French Beans with Dried Shrimp and Chye Poh ($9.80/$14.80)

A Chinese meal is never complete without vegetables! The stir-fried French beans with dried shrimp and chye poh is a delicious option, with the dried shrimp imparting flavour and umami, the chye poh imparting saltiness and depth.

Nan Hwa @ Owen Road (Second outlet)
93/95 Owen Road, Singapore 218907 (outside Farrer Park MRT Exit D)
Opening horus: 5pm to 11.30pm (11pm last order)

Main Branch: 812/814/816 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198779
Opening hours: 4pm to 1am (daily)
Contact: 8613 2732

Facebook: Facebook.com/nanhwafishboat
Instagram: @nanhwafishboat

Jade Restaurant, The Fullerton Hotel, November 2015


Being based overseas and now returning to Singapore for a short break, there is just so much I want to eat here, but so little time! For this reason I’ve got to be extra selective on dining options, more so than before. Jade Restaurant at The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore is one of the places where one can expect elegant Chinese cuisine with originality, and excellent service. Since my first encounter, Chef Leong Chee Yeng never fails to impress with his culinary artistry, his dedication, and fervent attention to detail. His culinary creations seem to possess the power to draw one back to experience recurrent brilliance and in anticipation for more pleasant surprises. This trip, I was just in time for the “Flavours of Chinese Spices” promotion that runs from 9 November till 30 November 2015.

The meal begins with the Tasty Trio Combination of Deep-fried Chilli Crab Meat Ball (one of their signatures) that won many hearts and continues winning hearts with its crusty breaded exterior, loaded with shredded crabmeat smothered in thick sweet and lightly spicy gravy that rounds off with a fragrant hint of lemongrass and ginger, Pomelo and Mango Salad topped with Crispy Peking Duck Skin that entices with the sweetness from the mango, tanginess from the pomelo, and the well-loved savouriness and crispness of the classic peking duck, and the well-liked Crispy Prawn coated with Chocolate Mayonnaise and Oat, an unusual combination, chocolate and prawn, but didn’t taste exotic at all.
Continue reading

Ice Cream Coffee Lattes at Haagen Dazs


Something new is brewing at Haagen-Dazs: a new generation of coffee beverages, where coffee meets ice cream.

From 13 November 2015, coffee lovers can enjoy illy coffee blended with a range of indulgent Haagen-Dazs ice cream flavours such as Macadamia Nut, Cookies & Cream, Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate. When coffee meets ice cream, you get a smooth and creamy mouthfeel; with the right ratio of coffee to ice cream, you get an enriched coffee beverage without the cloyingness. A non-coffee option would be the light and milky green tea latte made of Haagen-Dazs’ green tea ice cream and steamed milk.

Available both hot and cold, I personally find that certain flavours like the strawberry latte and the cookies & cream latte taste better presented cold. Especially when the strawberry latte that comes with tiny chunks of strawberry from the ice cream, biting into a warm strawberry chunk may be perceived as unsettling for some. Fruity and slightly acidic, the strawberry latte is one unique flavour concocted by the talented baristas from Bettr Barista Coffee Academy.

Out of the 6 creations, the Macadamia Nut Latte is a personal favourite. It’s smooth, creamy without being too thick, and boasts a subtle nutty background flavour. The coffee flavour predominates as it does similarly for the other beverages.

The lattes seem neither heavy nor too thick despite the addition of ice cream, very unlike milkshakes. They are available at the nine Haagen-Dazs outlets, retailing at $6.80 each.

For the full list of Haagen-Dazs outlets, visit facebook.com/haagendazs.singapore

5 things I learnt in University that foodies/food bloggers should know


1) The misconception that MSG leads to extreme thirst.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is composed of glutamic acid and sodium, where glutamate is found naturally in many ingredients you eat on a regular basis such as tomatoes, mushroom, anchovies and cheese. Fermentation, heat application (roasting, etc.), and ageing and can enhance the umami qualities of a natural ingredient. For instance, roasted/grilled mushrooms or tomatoes have heightened umami compared to raw mushrooms or tomatoes. Do these ingredients make you thirsty?

Sodium, however, may be the culprit. Although human bodies need a small amount of sodium for good health (e.g. electrolyte balance), too much of salt disrupts the balance of fluid in our cells (think: your body tries to draw more water to combat the excessive amount of salt). Salt is the component in food that makes you thirsty.

Many foods we consume outside are heavily salted, and we often put the blame on MSG for our extreme thirst. Umami can help create a fullness of taste and increase salty and sweet perceptions; appropriate use of MSG can reduce our sodium intake. Instead of boycotting restaurants that advocate the use of MSG over salt, thank them for lowering our total sodium intake (replacing salt with MSG can lower the total sodium content by about 30% to 50%).

2) Confusing flavour with taste.

When we eat, we often speak of the flavour of the food by what we taste with our tongue (taste buds), rarely by what we smell through our noses. Taste applies to sensations arising from the taste buds, where we perceive sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, sourness, and umami, while flavour is a distinctive quality of food evaluated by multiple senses, including taste and smell.

When we are chewing our food, odour compounds are being released from the food, and chemical signals pass through the internal nares and are sent to the olfactory bulb and to brain informing it of the smell, and together with receptor cells in the mouth and on our taste buds, informing the brain of the flavour. This form of smelling is called retro-nasal olfaction (smell arising from inside the mouth), and what we are used to is ortho-nasal olfaction (external smell).

Continue reading

PappaRich – Malaysian food in Auckland, New Zealand


PappaRich @ Metro Centre, Auckland

Born and raised in Singapore (neighbour of Malaysia), and currently residing in New Zealand, hawker food is something I crave for and miss the most. Malaysian cuisine is the closest we can get to Singapore food, since they share many similarities (such as Hainanese Chicken Rice, Roti Canai, Char Koay Teow, Nasi Biryani, etc.). For me, PappaRich hits the right spot on many levels when it comes to relieving homesickness and satisfying cravings. Before PappaRich came along, finding good authentic Malaysian food in Auckland city is a challenge (let’s just not even talk about finding authentic Singapore food anywhere outside of Singapore, because chances are near zero). Now, Malaysian cuisine is easily accessible, right smack in the city centre. Established in 2005 in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, PappaRich now has numerous outlets across South East Asia, Middle East, USA, Australia, with its latest venture in New Zealand. Expect a long queue at New Zealand’s first and only PappaRich! Malaysian cuisine lovers are certainly anticipating the opening of more outlets across New Zealand.

Pappa Char Koay Teow ($15.50)

For those who have yet to experience Malaysian cuisine, the dishes reflect the country’s cultural diversity; think: Malay, Chinese, and Indian cuisines. PappaRich serves up a variety of popular Malaysian dishes such as Roti Canai (Indian), Nasi Lemak (Malay), and Laksa (Chinese), matched with traditional flavours you find in Malaysia. In case you’re wondering where the name PappaRich came from, Rich is the name of the brand’s founding father.

What to order:

PappaRich Crispy Fried Chicken Skin ($8.90) – Snack on these addictively crunchy morsels while waiting for mains to arrive.

Roti Canai with Curry Chicken ($14.50) – Ubiquitous on the streets of Malaysia, roti canai is a must-order. It is a crisp and light flatbread with a slightly flaky surface. The open kitchen concept allows diners to watch how it’s being made (and tossed). Here, it is paired with various side dishes such as beef rendang (tender beef pieces stewed and coated in a rich and aromatic sauce), and tandoori (Indian, char-grilled) chicken, but the one with curry chicken is a personal favourite.

Roti Canai with Dhal, Curry Gravy & Sambal – The roti canai encasing beaten egg and sliced onion gives a whole new level of roti canai enjoyment.

Pappa Special Nasi Lemak with Curry Chicken and Sambal Prawns ($17.90) – With much influence from Malay cuisine, Pappa’s special nasi lemak is essentially aromatic coconut rice accompanied by succulent chicken in rich curry and piquant sambal prawns. Can’t go wrong! For another rice option, try the Indian Biryani Rice with Beef Rendang and Sambal Prawn ($17.90).

Curry Laksa ($15.50 to $16.90) – Curry laksa comes in three variants: with chicken, vegetables, or seafood, doused in a rich coconut-based curry. Try the Assam Laksa for a tangy and lighter version.

Pappa Chicken Rice with Steamed Chicken ($15.90) – Chicken rice is one of the dishes I miss most from Singapore. PappaRich manages to capture the essence of a good chicken rice, bringing forth fragrant rice infused with chicken stock, pandan leaf and the subtle aroma of garlic. The steamed chicken is served moist and tender, with a tasty concoction of light sauce, sesame oil, etc., and not forgetting the garlicky chicken rice chilli and dark sauce for additional flavour.

Pappa’s ABC Special with Premium Ice Cream ($11.90) – For dessert, try the crushed ice dessert (ABC) that comes with a range of toppings such as sweet corn, peanuts and lychee –a dessert typically consumed to beat the sweltering heat in Malaysia.

To speed up service and minimise miscommunications, PappaRich is utilising a fuss-free ordering system, where diners simply write their selection on an ordering chit, press a little button to get the staff’s attention, and the order is quickly processed.

291-297 Queen Street, Metro Centre, Auckland
Tel: +64 09 300 3181
Website: http://www.papparich.co.nz/
Facebook: facebook.com/papparichnz
Instagram: @papparichnz

(Recipe) Bacon & Beetroot Muffin


This recipe is for the savoury-loving muffin lovers. For the best of both worlds, follow this simple recipe.

Recipe: Bacon & Beetroot Muffin
(Fills up a tray of 10-12 muffins)


– 300g soft flour
– 100g sugar
– 12.5g baking powder
– 3g salt

– 70g oil (plus extra for greasing)
– 1 egg, beaten
– 220ml milk

– 50g chopped bacon (you can have it cooked on a pan till crispy before adding into the mixture)
– 100g fresh beetroot, diced or grated


1) Pre-heat oven to 200ºC.
2) Sift flour and combine all dry ingredients.
3) Combine all wet ingredients. Do not over-mix. Just stir in gently till wet and dry ingredients are combined.
4) Stir in bacon bits and beetroot.
5) Place in greased muffin tins till ¾ full and bake for 25 minutes.

Serve with bacon for extra oomph!

(Mid-Autumn Festival 2015) Paradise Group


Celebrating mid-autumn festival, Paradise Group presents a range of mooncakes contained in exquisite and sturdy cases that can be reused for storage or as jewellery boxes.

Indulge in the elegant gold-dusted Signature Petite Black and White Truffles Snow Skin mooncake flavours that are well balanced with white and dark chocolate, or stick to traditions with four varieties of baked mooncakes.

White Lotus Paste with Double Yolk ($35 for 2-piece box or $64 for 4 pieces)

Purchase online at www.paradisegp.com from 24 August to 23 September, or at the following outlets:

Taste Paradise – ION Orchard #04-07
Paradise Pavilion – Marina Bay Financial Centre #02-01
Seafood Paradise Defu Lane – 91 Defu Lane 10, #01-01
Canton Paradise 112 – I12 Katong Mall, #B1-15
Canton Paradise AMK Hub – AMK Hub, #B2-01
Canton Paradise Alexandra Retail Centre – ARC, #02-30
Canton Paradise Bedok Mall – Bedok Mall, #B2-10
Canton Paradise Compass Point – Compass Point, #03-19
Canton Paradise Star Vista – The Star Vista, #B1-45
Paradise Dynasty Causeway Point – Causeway Point, #05-16
Paradise Dynasty Vivo City – Vivo City, #03-08A
Paradise Dynasty Westgate – Westgate, #02-13
Paradise Inn The Seletar Mall – The Seletar Mall, #03-10
Paradise Inn City Square Mall – City Square Mall, #B1-01

(Mid-Autumn Festival 2015) BreadTalk’s Hello Kitty Mooncakes


To all Hello Kitty fans, this Mid-Autumn Festival, BreadTalk’s Hello Kitty mooncake packaging is a must-have to add to your Hello Kitty collection!

Hello Kitty Mooncake Set ($59.80 for 6-piece box)

The durable case, fitted with a mirror, can be used as a makeup kit after you’ve enjoyed the mooncakes. The set is also accompanied by stylish metal cutlery.

A box of 6 comes with 3 flavours of mini traditional mooncakes of Lotus with Macadamia, Lotus with Cranberries and Lotus with Yolk Blend, embossed with Hello Kitty motifs.

BreadTalk’s range of mooncakes is available at all outlets island-wide from 10 August to 27 September 2015.

For the list of outlets, visit http://breadtalk.com.sg/

(Mid-Autumn Festival 2015) Szechuan Court, Fairmont Singapore


Expertise in dim sum making is just one of the many qualities Dim Sum Chef Mandy Yeo of Szechuan Court, Fairmont Singapore, possesses that makes her so invaluable. Creativity and technical brilliance shine through her creations, with great taste to match. This Mid-Autumn Festival, she displays her 25 years of experience in crafting mooncakes with an enticing ensemble, packaged in sophisticated boxes.

This year, Chef Mandy also partners with Executive Pastry Chef Sebastien Cocquery-Beraud to develop a new snowskin mooncake flavour that strikes a balance between refreshing yuzu and creamy white chocolate.

The Autumn Treasures Baked Mooncake ($67 for a box of 4) brims with a medley of textures and wholesome goodness, comprising sunflower seed, melon seed, white sesame, almond, and walnut, in the white lotus paste.

Don’t miss out on Szechuan Court’s signature flavours such as the Bailey’s Chocolate, Rum & Raisin Chocolate Truffle and the Champagne Truffle & Chocolate Ganache, as well as the all-time baked favourites like the Double Yolk in White Lotus Paste ($69 for a box of 4), and Peach-Shaped Single Yolk & Macadamia Nuts in White Lotus Paste ($67 for a box of 4).

Mooncake boxes are patterned with orchids, Singapore’s national flower, as Szechuan Court joins in the year-long SG50 festivities. The tower drawer design can also be used as a jewellery chest after the celebrations. Definitely a keeper.

For convenience, order online at celebrationscentral.com.sg. Otherwise, for enquiries or orders, you may call their Mooncake Hotline at (65) 6338 8785 or email fairmontsingapore.mooncakes@fairmont.com.

Szechuan Court
Level 2, Fairmont Singapore
80 Bras Basah Rd, Singapore 189560

(Mid-Autumn Festival 2015) Carlton Hotel Singapore


Carlton Hotel Singapore’s Signature Mini Walnut Moontarts with Egg Yolk have always been a highlight every Mid-Autumn Festival, it’s almost customary for our yearly celebration.

White Lotus Paste with Double Egg Yolk ($72 for a box of 4)

Apart from perfecting the craft of making moontarts, they also excel in baking traditional mooncakes.

Another must-have is the Mini Red Velvet Snowskin, filled with velvety cream cheese and crunchy royaltine.

For orders and enquiries on discounts, call (65) 6349 1292 or email restaurants@carltonhotel.sg.

Carlton Hotel Singapore
76 Bras Basah Road
Singapore 189558