Tag Archives: Singapore

I Have My Eye On: Elly

Parents endeavour to give their children the very best, and I am no exception. As a new mother to baby Faith, I am always on the lookout for quality clothes, toys, books, foods and other knick-knacks. I also believe that parents need some lovin’; whilst I am not busting my budget on the little one, I like to shop around for things that make our new routines a little easier, or sometimes, just a little prettier.

In the series ‘I Have My Eye On‘, I share my favourite finds for my little girl. Of course, Mamas and Papas need look no further than the ‘We Need Some Lovin’‘ instalments (watch this space!) for my recommendations for us big people!

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201302 I Have My Eye On

Lunar New Year is just round the corner. We are particularly excited for two reasons. Having lived in London for five years, this marks our first Lunar New Year in Singapore since our return. We are also delighted that baby Faith is here to join us for the festive season!

The Festival of Spring heralds all things new, so of course we’ve got new clothes for our daughter as part of the many traditions that come with the festive season. When I was pregnant, I set my eyes on the stylish cheongsams, designed by Audrey and Carol of Elly, which are oh-so-adorable and age-appropriate. These are nothing like the kitsch, precocious versions that plague the streets of Chinatown. I couldn’t wait for Faith to be born, just so I could justify getting one.

Elly Red Fishes

This year, I am absolutely enamoured with the Lunar New Year collection. Elly nails it again with gorgeous new prints and I simply couldn’t resist getting the Periwinkle cheongsam in Red Fish (S$65) for my daughter, even if she is only 5 months old and a tad tiny for the smallest size available (9-12m). It is just too cute! Well-made, and clearly designed for the chic bub (and style-conscious, *coughsmecoughs*, parent) in mind, the cheongsam is a statement piece that is bound to have everyone talking! I noticed that the cheongsam is cut a little wider, and I reckon it will grow well with the little one, hello….mileage!

I can’t wait to dress Faith in the cheongsam! Now, if I can just get my hands on a nursing-friendly cheongsam….

Elly is stocked at:

The Elly Store
501 Bukit Timah Road
#02-29 Cluny Court
Singapore 259760

Not Too Big
582 Orchard Road
#02-06/07 Forum The Shopping Mall
Singapore 238884

Photo published with permission from: Elly

A Seductive Lunch at Catalunya

Have I told you lately that I miss my life in London? The lifestyle, entertainment and numerous gateways to the rest of Europe. The freedom to live, breathe, drink and taste whatever we wanted at affordable prices. The broad spectrum of everything that Europe has to offer. Oh yes, I sorely miss that part of my life and have been whining to my husband about how I may never make it to that part of the world again, especially since the baby will be arriving soon. I whined again on Saturday night before falling asleep. After waking up to the blistering heat of Singapore the next morning, I casually flipped the local papers over breakfast and was pleasantly gripped by a review on the newest restaurant to hit the dining scene in Singapore. Something about some place called Catalunya, helmed by Chef Alain Devahive Tolosa who spent a decade in the kitchens of El Bulli. My eyes glazed over at the words Catalunya and El Bulli. Before I knew it, my eyes were skimming over the treats Catalunya has to offer, and it was fastest fingers first on my mobile to make a reservation. You see, my biggest regret in the foodie part of my life was having missed the opportunity to dine at El Bulli. I’ve already got Fat Duck under my belt, but *wails* what about El Bulli?! Ever since it closed, I knew I would die a regretful woman but no, I couldn’t possibly let that slide, could I?

I wasted no time in getting a table for two at Catalunya. We were there a swift two days later for lunch…talk about being efficient. What can I say? When it comes to food, nothing stands in my way, not even the nearing due date of a certain baby or the aches and pains that prevent me from getting off the bed, let alone out of the house.

It was a blazing hot afternoon. We got a little lost looking for The Fullerton Pavilion which houses Catalunya and had to make a huge detour just to park our car rightfully at One Fullerton. The pavilion was merely a short walk away but the heat was rather offensive and I couldn’t wait to get to the restaurant. On arrival, we were greeted by no less than five ladies at the door and were promptly ushered to our seats. Catalunya was about 70% full on a weekday lunch service, not bad for a two-week old restaurant with the office crowd, the occasional businessmen and ladies of leisure. The decor was decent (it didn’t wow me though) and I can see its potential for dinner service, as the pavilion overlooks the bay onto MBS and the night views are bound to dazzle. I did like the way natural light streamed into the pavilion – I kinda enjoy looking at my food when I eat. Catalunya did disappoint in one aspect – it was way too stuffy in the restaurant. It was much cooler and way more pleasant in the bar area closer to the entrance, but the double-volume space in the restaurant area hampers sufficient ventilation and both M and I found ourselves feeling rather hot under the collar ten minutes in.

The food, however, was more than enough to make up for our stuffy afternoon at Catalunya. I might be biased but I have long been enamoured by Basque and Catalan cuisines. My favourite holidays were spent in San Sebastián and Barcelona (yet to blog about) and really, I would kill to relive those times. Catalunya managed to bring these memories back to me. It didn’t wow me as much as I would have been (I reckon) if I had the chance to dine at El Bulli, but the chefs did enough to get me excited. We ordered a good mix of dishes that showcased the prowess of molecular gastronomy and those that sealed the deal that was traditional Catalan cuisine.

The tomato tartar confit and deconstructed tortilla were delightful glimpses into what-might-have-been over at El Bulli’s. The confit was pleasantly tart, surprisingly beefy (even though it’s probably only finely chopped roasted tomatoes) and nicely tampered with a touch of crushed capers, salt, pepper and olive oil. It made for a very refreshing start to a meal, and paired nicely with the wafer-thin toasts. The deconstructed tortilla has the Spanish omelette taken apart down to a T – a layer of sweet onion purée is topped with a dollop of smooth and rich egg yolk sabayon and finished with potato foam. It was a playful appetiser that I really enjoyed, although I would have added a touch of chorizo as I am partial to having that in the tortillas I make at home, but that’s just my personal preference (and my way is probably not very authentic in terms of flavours).

The croquettes were worth fighting bulls over. What’s not to love about piping hot croquettes with an incredibly crisp and light batter encasing a creamy, dreamy bechamel filling of my favourite jamón, smooth cheese and butter? I could have had more of these if they didn’t cost $12 for 4 pieces. The canelón was recommended by the server and we had no regrets chomping it down. The portion was a little small at $19 (I would have expected at least two pieces for that price), but I have to say the roasted pork was subtly divine and meaty, even in that small quantity, underneath that thin pasta.

We moved on to share the veal fricandó, which was a tad disappointing in terms of portion size and flavour. A new dish on the menu (it debuted for the second day when we were there), there was something lacking in the fricandó that would have made it a very hearty, flawless dish. Whilst it was savoury and rich, I thought it would have been better if the sweetness of carrots and caramelised shallots came through a little more. The veal was tender, but not quite as tender as the braised beef cheek I had at Bistro Du Vin recently (I know I shouldn’t compare as these are different types of dishes, but I prefer the meats in stews to fall apart when I tuck into it). The whole shallots were undercooked and hence too hard. For $55, I would have expected more veal than tripe, mushrooms and shallots. The real winner was the smoked mashed potatoes though. Smooth, creamy, rich and lightly smoked with what I suspect was the flavour of bacon, it was the perfect accompaniment (and saviour) to the veal.

We couldn’t leave without having dessert; after all, Catalunya is steered by chefs coming from all sorts of wonderful restaurants including Sketch in London, which is famed for its sweets. We had the torrija with smoked milk ice cream to share. Torrija, which means fried milk bread, is a divine piece of work. Soft, achingly tender, moist and wonderfully infused with a good dose of citrus, it went perfectly well with the crumble and milk ice cream, which has interestingly been smoked with charcoal. Eaten alone, the milk ice cream was a little too ‘charred’ and weird for me, but it worked as the perfect companion to the citrusy fried milk bread and caramelised orange peel. I would have this again in a heartbeat.

It’s a shame that we didn’t quite have the budget to go for more tapas and to try the Catalan creme for dessert. Even though the prices are comparable to what we were used to paying for a good meal in London, we have been a little more cautious about spending on food as we tend to be able to get cheap and good grub in different corners of Singapore. We probably need a shove in our mindset about paying ‘London prices’ for food in Singapore but for now, Catalunya will remain a once-in-a-while-special-occasion kinda place to dine at. I hope to visit again, this time for dinner, to enjoy a decent slice of Catalan against the breathtaking backdrop of the glittery bay.

*Updated: This post is featured on Tastespotting. Check out my profile on  Tastespotting to see my other featured posts!

Photolog: Singapore Eating Spree

[Food Photolog that is not suitable for viewing if you're, well, ferociously hungry.]

I have been eating lots, but I have also been suffering from tummy upsets. It’s probably a sign that I should stop eating – but other than the 2-day hiatus I took earlier this week because I was ill, I’ve been packing the calories in since. I’m eating like I would never eat again, and it’s truly getting a little disturbing. Oh well, I’m a Singaporean and our national hobby is eating, so I’m not to blame! Besides, we can’t get all this in London; even if we do, the local food is just not in the same league. Right, I’m running out of excuses as to why I’m putting on weight, the food in Singapore is just too good to miss out. I’ll show you why.

[Some photos were taken with my DSLR, others with the iPhone because I have been rather self-conscious about whipping my DSLR out. I've invited odd stares and/or feel that my family and friends shouldn't have to put up with my 'don't touch the food until I photographed it' ways...for now at least, until I return for good. So yes, this wasn't all that I ate! =p]

We’re back in time for the onslaught of mooncakes since mid-Autumn festival is just around the corner – dropped by Raffles Hotel to pick up the very delectable champagne truffle (top) and durian (bottom) snowskin mooncakes. I also got some baked mooncakes which I honestly think are done better elsewhere. The mooncakes are rather expensive at Raffles Hotel (I splurged an obscene amount, even the staff were amused) but thumbs up for the super soft snowskin and I reckon these made for perfect gifts! I’ve been eating too much so I’m abstaining from the superb durian snowskin mooncakes from Peony Jade this year, all for the sake of the ones from Raffles Hotel! *exasperated*

After weeks of planning, I finally met up with the lovely ladies, Yann of Yannisms, Sherie of Maameemoomoo, Z of Scribbles and Snapshots  and  J of Lady J’s musings who also kindly played host to us! We made ondeh ondeh with Sherie’s guidance – check out how perky they look! I gobbled 5 of these in one sitting, and mind you, they were huge! We also feasted on mooncakes, chocolates, and Sherie’s homemade sweet potato tarts – this was right before a massive family dinner. *burps*

I wandered round Chinatown yesterday (bought nothing from Sia Huat, can you believe it?!), and stopped by Maxwell for some snacks – good ol’ Rojak and Popiah – both of which were superbly done! We had this about 2 hours before the epic dinner I tweeted about yesterday.

We chanced upon Ah Balling peanut and black sesame dumplings in Chinatown, and also had these right about 2 hours before dinner.

Moving on to Thomson Road to meet our newlywed friends, we couldn’t resist sharing youtiao (dough fritters) and Rochor soya beancurd half an hour before dinner with them.

Have I also mentioned that I was munching on Garrett Popcorn on our way to Thomson?

FYI, this was just 80% of our epic dinner yesterday at Mellben Seafood (top to bottom: Chilli crabs, crab bee hoon soup, Penang durians, mangosteens).

Salivating yet? Right, shan’t torture you with more blown-up photos. Click on the gallery below, at your own risk!

Check out my other food adventures!

Happy Birthday, My Little Red Dot

London. A city where M and I chase our dreams, and perhaps even living other people’s dreams. It is fun and exciting. There’s always something to do. The summers are so irresistible and pretty that they make up for all the crap weather that rain relentlessly on us during other seasons. One smells freedom in the air – there are barely any boundaries to what we can do and where we can go.

Sounds perfect, no? Here’s the newflash – nothing is and ever will be. Despite everything we’ve got going on over here, all the milestones that we’ve crossed, and everything that we’ve achieved, we miss home dearly. We miss Singapore.

Some have fondly christened Singapore ‘The Little Red Dot’, for its incredibly small size, so small that it only appears as a red dot at the tip of the Malaysia Peninsula on the world map. But small it might be next to giants in the neighbourhood, Singapore is a whole lot of everything for us.

Singapore is love. Our family and friends are there. Our parents in particular have supported us in all the tough choices we’ve made, even though it is not easy for them. This year, I lived out one of my worst fears when bad news hailed from home. I’m just thankful to the big man upstairs that everything has blown over, and that home will always be home, with my family smiling back at me whenever they pick me up from the airport. Those smiles, hugs and the tender strokes on my head when I am feeling down, they are so very precious.

Singapore is everything else and beyond. Stability, efficiency, safety, we’ve got it going as perfectly as any other country can even dream of.

Think about all the social unrest in other cities. Right now, I’m thinking of the London riots and I shudder at how a developed city could descend into such chaos. Then my thoughts wander back to Singapore and realise how fortunate we are. As M put it very succinctly in one of our conversations yesterday – in London, we have to look out for places that are safe; in Singapore, we have to look hard for places that aren’t.

Things work as efficiently as they can possibly be in Singapore. Public transport letting you down? Trains not coming on time? The city crippled because of strikes? Trains packed to the point where you have to wait ages to board another one? Try living here. Getting banks/organisations to do what you went there to do – try waiting and people even die here while waiting in hospitals. I was in a horseback riding accident once and guess what, the nurse-led unit said I had to be flown to another city in UK to get an X-ray done. Go figure. (Well come to think of it, at least I could be flown, in other undeveloped countries, people walk for a day to get a checkup and even to give birth.)

My point is, every country has its trophies and skeletons. London offers many opportunities, both for carving out a livelihood and for leisure. It gives us freedom, the room to be creative and to think out of the box. But it is freckled. I’m sure there’s much to complain about Singapore too, seeing the debates that recent elections have sparked off. We don’t have that much freedom, we are controlled, some even say we’re puppeted, but I love The Little Red Dot nonetheless. After all, it is home. We have much to be proud of for a young, miniscule country with no natural resources whatsoever next to global giants. Our forefathers built our country with their very hands and little else. I hope we can go on and do the same for our children. Here’s to 46 years of independence and magnificent strides into the future, and more to come!

Happy Birthday, my Little Red Dot. We’ll be home soon.

[Photos: Palm Sugar and Coconut Salted Butter Caramel Macarons specially made for this occasion, from yours truly to you]

If you love macarons, join me on my macaron journey.

Check out what I have been baking in my own kitchen.

Also check out my other food adventures.

*Updated: This post has been featured on Tastespotting. Check out my profile on Tastespotting to see my other featured posts!

 

Singapore Comes To London

I’ve been dreaming. Not of beach holidays. Not of being a millionaire. Not even of hot guys, except M of course (and you’re not allowed to disagree). I’ve been dreaming instead, of something that resides 6000 miles from here.

I’ve been missing home alot, my family, Singapore and its lip-smacking array of gourmet delights. And I dream of going back for a holiday. Work gets in the way, flights are expensive, nah uh, looks like I’ve got to wake up from that dream….

…so imagine my delight when a little bird tells me that Singapore is coming to London.

Really?! Singapore’s coming to London?! Is it like Singapore Day?! (for those of you who don’t know, Singapore Day was held in London in 2009 and the famous hawkers were flown down to cook for us homesick people)

No it isn’t, but it’s better.

Indeed. I’ve been invited, along with a number of other food bloggers based in London and the media, to the Singapore Takeout. You might have read about it over at Chubby Hubby’s. So yes, Singapore IS coming to London in the form of a specially-customised shipping container. An initiative that is part of Singapore’s International Culinary Exchange programme (SPICE), this unique pop-up kitchen and restaurant is embarking on an epic world tour over the next year, dishing out the unique flavours of Singapore to the rest of the world. The container will dock at the shores of Delhi, Dubai, Hong Kong, Moscow, New York, Paris, Shanghai and Sydney, all this after London; that comes up to 67,509miles or 108,690km – almost 3 times round the world! Oh my word, It’s going to be more well-travelled than The Pleasure Monger!

Along with the pop-up comes Janice Wong, the young and uber talented chef-and-owner of 2am: dessertbar (you can also read her blog here). Having been based in London for the past few years, I haven’t had the chance to witness the evolution of Singapore cuisine, and I’m personally very excited at the prospect of meeting Janice, who graduated from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and has worked in some of the world’s best restaurants, including Wylie Dufresne’s WD50 in New York, Alinea in Chicago and Thomas Keller’s Per Se. Her ability to reinvent Singapore street food and desserts into gastronomical works of art have led to collaborations with other culinary stars such as Juan Mari and Elena Arzak of Spain’s (you can read about my meet-up with the Arzaks here) three Michelin-star hot-spot Arzak (my review here) and the celebrated patissier Pierre Hermé. As you can see from my old posts, I am a big fan of the Arzaks and Pierre Hermé; I am literally quivering with excitement when I think about the flavours that Janice is going to serve up. Just look at the menu:

Lemongrass infused Laksa Dumplings with Noodles

Sweet Salty Popcorn Yuzu. Caramel

Chilli Chocolate Corals Homemade Peanut Butter. Honeycomb

I’m really looking forward to being inspired by the flavours of home, to think out of the box when it comes to cooking, preparing and showcasing Singapore’s food, which I am so very proud of,  to friends from all over the world.

Now, I hope you’ll come by to join us in this one-of-a-kind experience. 25 selected members of the public will have a chance to get up-close and personal with Janice Wong in her 45-minute cooking demonstration on 10th June at 4pm, where she will reveal how she prepares dishes such as Chilli Chocolate Corals. Those who are not able to grab these limited (and highly coveted tickets, if I might add), can still sample her dishes, when the Singapore Takeout opens its doors to all members of the public (see times below). Complimentary tasting portions of these dishes will be given out to all visitors at these times:

THE ‘WHEN’:

10th June 2011: 5.3opm – 7.45pm

11th June 2011: 12.15pm – 3pm, or 5.30pm to 7.45pm

THE ‘WHERE’:

London’s South Bank, The Riverside Walkway (by Gabriel’s Wharf), South Bank, London SE1 9PP

THE ‘WHAT’:

Admission is FREE, with 2 complimentary sample dishes from the menu.

THE ‘HOW’:

To have a taste of inventive flavours of Singapore at London’s Southbank, all you have to do is to register HERE.

Being nosey, I might stick around after the private session, so if you see me at the public event at 5.30pm on 10th June, please come up and say hi!

For more updates on the Singapore Takeout event, follow the Facebook page here or @YourSingaporeUK on Twitter for the London leg. Don’t worry if you aren’t in London for this, remember that Singapore Takeout is going to drop by Delhi, Dubai, Hong Kong, Moscow, New York, Paris, Shanghai and Sydney, so look out for registration details!

Singapore, ahoy!

Photo credits: Singapore Eats Facebook Page

The Highs and Lows of Marina Bay Sands

During our holidays in Singapore, I was without a passport and we were unable to go on trips to neighbouring countries. I am a sucker for hotel stays (no need to clean up after myself, soft white sheets to sleep on, luxurious bathrooms to preen in) so we took the opportunity and pulled some strings to get ourselves a room, rather cheaply, at Marina Bay Sands (MBS), one of the two integrated resorts in Singapore. I was pretty psyched up, even though it was merely a night’s stay at the resort, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers; it was the only kind of holiday we were entitled to without a passport in hand.

I had high hopes, but unfortunately, our mini-vacation was peppered with hits and misses. Perhaps we were clueless in the Bayfront Avenue area, but we thought the signage for the hotel carpark was rather misleading. We ended up in the carpark for The Shoppes, and took the longest walk through the mall to get to MBS. When we finally got to MBS, I had no idea that I was in for the worst check-in of my life. We were ushered to the private check-in area away from the reception at the lobby. We stepped into the office and were courteously told to sit in the waiting area just outside the office, as the two receptionists were busy with other hotel guests. This was fine by us. We were also told that we would be served next. Then three big and burly men with flashy gold Rolexes marched straight into the office, and the minute the hotel guests in the office left, this group of men was served. Seeing that our queue was cut, we walked in and told the receptionist that we were next in line, and that we should be served first. Guess what the receptionist said? ‘Oh but you were waiting OUTSIDE the office, these men were IN the office when the previous guests left’. And then we said, ‘But you told us to wait OUTSIDE.’ You would have expected an apology next, but no, we were rudely ignored, and she went back to checking the men in instead. I was choked with anger. We left in a huff and checked in at the reception instead, and mind you, that was WAY quicker than if we were to wait in the private check-in area. If anyone from MBS is reading this, please kindly revise the kind of customer service you’re providing.

I was determined not to let the check-in issue ruin my stay, so we quickly went upstairs to our room and settled down. I was happy that the room is incredibly spacious and clean with two huge beds and an unobstructed view of the city skyline. The photo doesn’t look it but I practically whistled at the size of the bathroom; there was a private shower area, an enclosed toilet stall, and a bathtub right in the middle of the bathroom complete with his-and-hers sinks. Call me a country bumpkin, but hey, we don’t get this in European hotels unless we go bankrupt living in suites! The room also comes well-stocked with TWG Tea, which by the way, is really good and even better than some varieties of tea we have in the UK.

Not to waste another minute of our stay, we ventured out to The Shoppes. Many boutiques were still under renovation, but we were pleased that The Shoppes was not crowded. Having braved the packs at ION and Takashimaya, I was beginning to develop a fear for human beings, and it was nice to be able to browse through shops without bodily contact. I was particularly happy with Sephora and also picked up two pairs of shoes from Pazzion. We also swung by the food court to have a look (really expensive) and popped into the celebrity chefs’ restaurants to have a look at the menus. Exhausted from shopping, we returned to the hotel in the evening to meet my folks, bought some macarons from Sweetspot (which were really disappointing, they were more like sandwiched cookies than macarons), and went up to the Skypark pool to have a look. The view was nice-ish, and it was pleasantly cool up there. But it was a wee bit crowded and we left soon after for dinner at db Bistro Moderne at The Shoppes.

Some of you who have been following my blog for sometime might remember that I was in NYC during Christmas in 2009 and we, too, dined at db Bistro Moderne. I was less than impressed with the famed foie gras burger then but was otherwise quite happy with the other dishes we had. This time in Singapore (sorry no photos, because they turned out pretty badly in the dimly lit restaurant), I tried the coq au vin and was quite enamoured with the deep sticky sauce that smothered the tender chicken. My dad and brother tried the burger, which is surprisingly priced dollar-for-dollar; it was USD35 in NYC and costs only S$35 in Singapore. The burger however failed to impress again but the shoestring fries delighted all. Mum had the barramundi, which was pretty delish but the bouillabaisse that M ordered failed to please. With a 50% rate for hits and misses, I don’t think I would go back for the food (unless they get the Nantucket scallops in…..), but the service was very attentive, polite and professional. Thumbs up for that!

We ambled back to the hotel room for tea and macarons, admired the view for a bit (which is really more stunning from the room than from the Skypark), and said goodbye to my folks. I had a very good night’s sleep in the comfy bed, soaked excessively in bubble baths, and took a dip in the Skypark pool as well. Be warned though, the pool is insanely crowded and really quite cold! I didn’t last 15 minutes, and much preferred lounging in the room, reading a book on the chaise longue whilst admiring the view. That, and shopping at Sephora.

One more thing, if you are a hotel guest at MBS, and you parked at its carpark, remember to go to the valet service counter, tell them your room number and get a parking ticket for S$6 (per day). Remove your cashcard from the unit, slot this ticket in at the barrier, otherwise you will be in for a rude shock when you get out. This was something that the staff didn’t tell us about (can you believe that?), we knew about this only because my in-laws stayed over at MBS a while ago.

I would say that it was a mediocre stay. The room was great, and housekeeping was fabulous, but the check-in problem and the fact that no one told us about the carpark were both huge letdowns. When I asked the receptionists about the carpark rate for hotel guests and how I should redeem the ticket, no one seemed to know what I was talking about. They stared blankly at me and said they weren’t sure. I had to figure it out myself and hopped over to the valet service counter. The customer service leaves much to be desired, seeing as to how locals and tourists alike are flocking to the integrated resorts, these problems need to be rectified soon. Our resorts have got to be worth the hype. All I can say is MBS has been around for a while…even teething babies stop crying, so I can’t think of any excuses. Oh well, till the next stay then.

Read about eats I’ve had in Singapore.

Also check out my other food excursions and adventures around the world!

 

 

The Fat Dinner: Fried Chicken and Milkshake

When we were back in Singapore for Christmas, our itineraries were fraud with all sorts of food excursions, the types that are dangerous to our waistlines. Breakfast was typically a sumptuous hawker spread – Hokkien mee, char koay teow, chwee kuen, fried carrot cake, you name it, we had it. In short, some sort of hawker food permutation featured on our breakfast menu every.single.day. Lunch was either another round of hawker fare or a disproportionately huge one at some restaurant. Before we had time to even feel hungry, dinner came round with another massive onslaught of insanely good food that family and friends insisted on feeding us deprived souls. You would think that we had just returned from a famine-hit town, but no, we just ate like we returned from one. As a result, I put on 3kg over the holidays. M even dragged us both fatty bums up Bt Timah Hill in a bid to make us feel better about the next meal. Whilst I’m glad to have shed the pounds with regular gym and a healthier diet since, I am still recovering from the kind of food trauma that one could only get if he or she were in our shoes. Yes, I am still a little demented.

You would now go on to say that I should have exercised a little more self-control. And I will say to you that I could have (hmm, by the way this type of exercise doesn’t burn calories..), but you do know that there are some foods that you can’t say no to, right? In some countries, it’s rude to point at somebody. It others, it’s rude to not gesture furiously when you’re talking. To me, it’s just rude to wag my fingers at potentially good food. How can I ever deny my jelly belly *pats tum* a good meal? Diet and exercise can wait till the hols are over!

So of course we jumped up in excitement, wobbling tummies in tow, when my sister-in-law took us to Tras Street for a spot of finger-licking Korean fried chicken. We couldn’t say no to the promised land of crispy wings…

Said to be a popular lunch venue for the working crowd at Tanjong Pagar, we arrived at a rather empty restaurant on a Sunday night, thank goodness. Some of the diners were red-faced with some really aggressive slurping (hotpot, that is…). And some were just chilling with beer and a heap of fried chicken wings. We were clearly there to join the latter. Hands washed, food ordered, and some general banter later…this arrived.

Behold the Soy Garlic Chicken Wings. The sight of this alone made my salivary glands go into a state of unprecedented frenzy. I dived in like a piranha and emerged, declaring that it was some mind-blowing chicken. The skin was fried to a delicate crisp, generously coated with a sweet and savoury syrup, and gave way to the most succulent and moist chicken. The wings did get a little salty after a while, but there’s nothing like ice-cold refreshments to lighten that up. Besides it was nice to just chill, eat with our hands, lick our fingers and have an easy, casual, yet delicious dinner. We also ordered the kimchi pancake and the sweet and spicy wings. These didn’t impress me as much. The pancake was tasty but arrived slightly soggy at our table. The sweet and spicy wings were a little too tasty for me but I hear that this is a favourite with many diners. The chicken wings aren’t cheap, but the soy and garlic ones are worth a trip, if you ask me.

For dessert, us bottomless pits wandered over to Once Upon A Milkshake for a creamy afterthought. The stroll did well to digest ‘em wings, and by the time we arrived, I was ready for a mini peanut butter milkshake. Excellent stuff, really, and this is coming from someone who has had really good milkshakes in NYC and London. It’s creamy, luscious, thick and chock full of peanut butter goodness, just the way I like my favourite milkshake.

We must have put on a kilo after this meal, but oh well, we’re talking about a fat dinner of fried chicken and milkshake, HOW TO RESIST?!! You tell me!

P/S:  I really hate not bringing the DSLR with me, all my food review pics are just hopeless. Bear with me until I find the courage to draw unnecessary attention to myself when I whip out the DSLR in restaurants…

Read about other eats I’ve had in Singapore.

Also check out my other food adventures around the world!

Kko Kko Nara Korean Restaurant is located at:

57 Tras Street #01-01 Singapore

Once Upon A Milkshake is located at:

Maxwell Chambers, 32 Maxwell Road #01-08, Singapore

Outfits: Summer Makes Me Nervous

I was out with Miss D two days ago, combing through ION (well we actually spent most our time at Sephora and at lunch/tea, activities that are much in alignment with our priorities). She had left UK for Asia two months ago, and we have not seen each other since. We ditched our men for a much-needed girly meetup and her presence made for a soothing afternoon.

During our girly chat, D had commented that I looked nice and that I seemed to be able to pluck out different pieces and put them together easily. For the 10000th time, I told her that it was all kudos to my sister that I dressed the way I did for our meetup. You see, my sister is the one with a good eye for fashion. A sizeable number of outfits that I have featured on the blog are acquired by her. She would also rummage through my wardrobe, give a disapproving look and tell me that I should throw out decade-old clothes that are clearly a) never going to make a comeback in the fashion world and b) are very worn-out. I used to be a tee-and-jeans kinda girl and it was not until I started dating M that my sister gave me a makeover by buying me my first blouse. The rest was history.

It doesn’t help that I live in chilly London. All I need is a decent coat and I can hide the gunnysacks I wear, mismatched or not, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a black coat is the way to go if one is oblivious to fashion. Boring, yes I know, but so very practical and so very easy. I also used to muck around in a research lab – everything goes under the white labcoat, and when the coat comes off, nobody really cares if I’m wearing shite. So shite it is. The only times I dress up are for special occasions, or for that rare shopping trip in town, lest I draw murderous looks from the fashionable folks in London. When these occasions come round, I take ages to pull a look together, but I don’t feel exceptionally stressed because it’s going to go under that coat anyway.

The nerves kick in when I return to hot and humid Singapore. Suddenly, the coat comes off. Suddenly, I’m deathly terrified of the sinusoidal Kallang waves that my thighs make as I parade through town in my climate-friendly shorts. Suddenly, the ‘wings’ flap when I say goodbye to friends. Suddenly, I am rudely exposed, much to the detriment of my self-esteem and oh, do I need to say more about the psychology of witnesses who bear such scary sights?

What do I wear? What should I do? Arghhhh!!!

Having done the SIN-LON-SIN routine for a number of years now, I have come to draw on the habit of purchasing summer clothes before I fly back to Singapore. My sister, who acts as my personal buyer and stylists, aids me in the process. With her prolific knowledge on blogshops and her approvals on my shopping cart, I have come to acquire a few pieces that ease my struggles. As much as I would like to keep both arms and legs covered at all times, the weather in Singapore has made it impossible and I have come to compromise on my desired look. It’s either the arms or the legs that will have to bear the attention of passers-by (sometimes, also my reflection in the mirror). As my arms are the lesser of two evils, I have been flapping around town in my latest obsession, one that I wish I had discovered earlier – a maxi dress. I love this dress so much that I have worn it on a ridiculous number of occasions over the last two weeks. My sister even asked me if I had washed the dress at all (of course I have!!).

I move effortlessly in this piece from clothes&people. Priced at less than S$30, it keeps me covered in the right places without making me sweat like a pig. The high-waisted band also means that my slight paunch is well-hidden. I paired this with a tan leather boyfriend belt (£18) from ASOS, just to break up the black expanse so I don’t look that much shorter, and wore a pair of black sandals from Charles & Keith (not shown in picture). Methinks I’m going to get maxi-dresses in more colours! I’m not so sure about prints though, because they can dwarf a person in a maxi, but who knows, I might actually get one!

What are your pet peeves about your appearance (fashion-wise) and what do you wear to up your confidence?

Check out my other fashion posts!

 

Being Domestic at ToTT

Our holiday in Singapore has been marked with a flurry of culinary and social activities. With the incredibly short stay we have here before we return to wintry London, we have been trying our darndest to squeeze in gatherings with families and friends. It has been crazy, our schedule that is, and I wish I could split myself into two so I could meet everyone, but I can’t and to the ones that I can’t catch up with, I’m really, really sorry!

Weeks or perhaps even months before I returned to Singapore, I was glad that my diary had been earmarked with a long-awaited meet-up with two bloggers – E from Heaven in a Wild Flower and S from Miss Ene and The Boy. E and S have been friends for a while and I met them via our blogs. Thanks to S’s encouragement, E and I finally met (three times, no less!) in London and naturally, with my return to Singapore, I just had to meet S! After meeting them, I found that both E and S are incredibly lovely ladies whose personalities are truthfully revealed on their blogs, and who are so very entertaining and inspiring in their writing and thoughts. I like to think that we are pretty well-aligned in our interests and philosophies, and phew, I was so glad that E and S didn’t label me as a psycho!

For this meet-up, we felt that it couldn’t be more appropriate to head for nasi lemak at Adam Road, before hopping over to ToTT for a domesticated, civilised afternoon. After all, if you’ve read our Twitter and Facebook exchanges, you might have caught wind of our little joke on how we’re the domestic trio, with E being bestowed the title of Domestic Goddess for her insane culinary powers, me as the Domestic Pixie and S labelling herself as the Domestic Gnome (I wonder why because I’ve seen the stuff she cooked, and they looked yum and so very professional!). Yes, that is some serious Domestic Hierarchy thingy going on with the three of us. As if the Domestic Bunch wasn’t formidable enough, we were lent some star power – M came along for lunch and JY, friend of E and S, joined us for the day!

Armed with a passion for cooking/baking, 20% discount with S’s trade membership card and a benefits brochure from ToTT that I nicked from my in-laws’ mailbox, us four ladies headed to ToTT at Dunearn Road for a quiet, crowd-free afternoon of foodgeek shopping. ToTT is ridiculously spacious, and extremely well-stocked with everythinginthewholewideworld, ranging from fancy bubblegum-coloured Kitchenaid mixers, whisks that are of the same height as me, and dining ware that made me squeal with delight (so cuuuute!). I was on cloud nine, but fell abruptly back to earth when I realised that I don’t live in Singapore and that I can’t possibly lug everything back to London. I scratched the shopping itch by spending only $15 on two acrylic spoons, two beautiful placemats and a cake cutter. I like to think that I was good at being good.

We did feel tired after a while, and rested our feet at the bistro. We opened the Christmas presents that S had given us (I feel so undeserving of it, I’m practically a stranger to S but she’s so sweet and thoughtful!! Thanks, babe!). Being girls, we also chatted for a bit before getting our hands dirty in the kitchen at ToTT. The benefits brochure that I brought allowed us to buy two portions of dough for the price of one ($12.90 for a dollop). We picked two different flavours (chocolate and plain), added in bits that we liked (nuts and chocolate chips), snapped on the latex gloves and shaped our cookies. We made the usual round ones with the fancy ice cream scoops, and fashioned the remaining dough into our initials. Fourteen minutes later, our cookies were out. Naturally, we nibbled on them before they were completely cooled and doggy-bagged the last cookies standing. The cookies were alright, nothing fantastic but they weren’t bad either. The fun was really in ‘baking’ (it didn’t really amount to proper baking because all we did was to throw the ready-made dough into the oven) together for the first time having had numerous conversations online with the girls. We also mucked around and took some photos. I am not sure if E and JY would be comfortable having their pictures up on my blog (S does post personal pictures on her blog, so I assume it’s ok? =p Let me know if you want this taken off my blog, sweetie!), so it’s just S and me up here.

All in all, I do think that all cooking/baking/kitchen enthusiasts should pay ToTT a visit. It makes an eye-opening retail experience, I found gadgets that I had never ever laid eyes on prior to my trip. Pop by on a weekday and you should have the entire store to yourself. Sign up for the demos or culinary lessons if they are available. I read that pineapple tarts are up on the schedule, just in time for Chinese New Year! I’m not sure if these demos/lessons are any good though, but if you are planning to go to one, let me know how it turns out! Have fun!

Check out what’s cooking in my kitchen!

Check out what I have been baking in my own kitchen.

ToTT is located at:

896 Dunearn Road 01-01A Singapore 589472

 

Of Chocolates and Chips

On some days, I can’t make up my mind on what to have. You know how it feels, being painfully torn between two, sometimes three or even more types of food. But I think I’ve found the solution to commit the perfect food adultery, thanks to M&I again. Now we can all have the best of both worlds, and not feel like we’ve let anyone down.

Royce Potato Chip Chocolate

Behold potato chips that are drenched in chocolate from the ingenious people at ROYCE. I don’t know how long this has been around, and I don’t really care if I’m the only one left on earth who doesn’t know about this treat. I think they are so good, that they deserve some sort of a prose devoted to them on my blog.

Royce Potato Chip Chocolate

Sweet and salty, this fatal combination keeps me hot and bothered, and makes me clamour for more. The only two things that stop me are the costs, and the size of my jelly belly. It’s a good thing as well, I’m over the hill and it’s time to cut back on snacks. You know, survive on blandness for a bit (ewww). But once in a while, I still hope to enjoy these chocolate-covered chips, with style, grace and a few extra calories.

This, my dears, also marks the end of my food journey in Singapore. For now. I thoroughly enjoyed most things I ate when I was back. Till the next food trail on home ground, I’ll pester you with my incessant baking, cooking, and other food adventures in UK and beyond. That and my occasional tête-à-tête.

Check out my other food adventures!

ROYCE Chocolate can be found at these locations.