Author: Alex Chua
While you might not think much when you pass by Ho Fook Hei Soy Sauce Chicken 好福气豉油鸡, think again. Located at Great World City, this unassuming eatery serves a medley of authentic Cantonese specialties prepared with time-honoured recipes passed down from generations.
If you’re wondering what does ‘ho fook hei means’, it means prosperity and good fortune in Cantonese, and that’s what you can expect when you order the Specialty Rose Wine Soy Sauce Chicken 招牌玫瑰露酱油鸡. Juicy and tender, the chicken has that distinct floral fragrance imparted from the rose wine. Understand that two batches of chickens are prepared daily to ensure freshness. To elevate the braising liquid flavour, the same pot of braising liquid is kept and topped up each day, and the chef will taste the liquid each time to make necessary adjustments. Such attention to detail is admirable, and the soy sauce chicken gains the depth of flavour over time.
If you want just a simple yet utterly satisfying one dish meal, there’s the Specialty Rose Wine Soy Sauce Chicken Noodles 酱油鸡面. The springy Hong Kong-style egg noodles and the moreish homemade Crunchy Chilli Sauce paired perfectly well with the shimmery chicken.
My personal favourite dish is the robust Honey-Glazed Black Barbeque Pork Belly 吊烧黑金叉烧. Not discounting the fatty portion of the meat, it renders the luscious meat with a perfect balance of sweet and savoury flavour in each bite.
The Deep-Fried Prawn Rolls (Hei Chor) are crispy, flavoursome and not too oily. Generous with the fillings you can see the chunks of prawn meat inside each piece.
The hand-wrapped Shrimp Dumpling is HUGE in this bowl. Again, pretty generous with the filling, and the prawn is plump and juicy. With the soup its quite a comfort dish for a rainy day.
The Cod with Old Ginger Sauce has that comforting and familiar flavour, and the fish is steamed to perfection, rendering the flesh pretty much melt-in-the-mouth.
This Sea Bass with signature Nonya Assam sauce is so delicious, it is wiped out at our table very quickly. Fresh and sweet, the fish paired well with the very appetising sweet-sour-spicy Nonya Assam sauce.
Ho Fook Hei
1 Kim Seng Promenade, #01-141 Great World City, Singapore 237994
Tel: 6219 2262
Author: Alex Chua
Kazbar, known to serve authentic Middle Eastern cuisine in Singapore over the last 16 years, has recently launched the Lebanese beer Almaza along with a food and beer pairing event. Stands for ‘Diamond’ in Arabic, Almaza is born in 1933 and still remains as Lebanon’s leading beer till date. This is a match-make in heaven, since Kazbar patrons can enjoy the full Lebanese cultural experience with the incorporation of their national beer.
‘With Almaza, we want our customers to be able to enjoy a wholesome experience, from the spices, the food and drinks to the ambience and the attentive service’ said Angeles, owner of Kazbar.
During the launch event on 9 May 2019, beer sommelier Charles GuErrier showcased how some of the crowd favourites from Kazabar can be paired with Almaza beer to bring out the flavours of the dishes. He also gave a little background of its history, the brand’s DNA (Almaza is a beer for people who take fun seriously!), and a lesson of how to correctly taste beer.
Our first dish is a light Middle Eastern appetizer served fashionably on a cocktail glass. The Cold Mezze is a fine ground chickpeas (hummus) with tahini sauce, garlic and lemon juice, accompanied with a stem of sliced vegetables as dips. The pairing of the light and crisp Almaza helps compliments the subtle flavours of the hummus without dominating it.
Our last dish is a crowd pleaser, the Grilled Meat platter, featuring 1 lamb chop, 1 lamb kofta and grilled minced lamb flavoured with middle eastern spices. The umami is strong in this hot main, not to mention the oiliness. This is where the Almaza beer helps to cuts through the oils of the dish, and cleanses the pallet so that you don’t feel the heaviness. I personally fine this beer quite suitable for meal with many courses, as it helps reset the pallet without the lingering taste of other beer.
All in all, it was a pretty gratifying experience and a learning opportunity from a IBD Certified Beer Sommelier who had over 20 year experience in the food and beverage industry. Moreover, I had found a perfect spot if I had a sudden craving for Middle Eastern food in CBD area.
25 Church St, Singapore 049482
Phone: 6438 2975
Author: Alexis Chua
Indonesian kueh specialist OLLELLA and Ah Mah Homemade Cake, the purveyor of castella cakes, joins hands for the first time to bring their delicious traditional offerings under 1 roof. The products in this new concept store are handmade and prepared daily on-site, ensuring the products are fresh and in its best quality. For me, who am not a fan of kueh, I am pleasantly surprised that I took more than my fair share of kuehs and cakes. In fact, I had these kuehs for dinner and am not complaining!
The new partnership wrought OLLELLA to introduce 4 new products, the D24 Durian Dadar, Kueh Bugis, Kueh Salat and Kueh Wajik. We absolutely adore the D24 Durian Dadar ($2.50). Made with pure D24 durian flesh and freshly grated coconut, the filling is flavourful and rich while not overpoweringly so. One thing to note – the pandan crepe is prepared fresh on the spot and pairs with the filling very well.
Shaped like a fruit, the Kueh Bugis ($1.50) has a chewy texture; its moist coconut gula Melaka filling is aromatic and tasty. While the Kueh Salat ($1.50) features a kaya custard layer with a glutinous rice base infused with freshly extracted blue pea flower water and santan, giving the kueh a green, blue and white hue. It’s good for breakfast. Last is the Kueh Wajik ($1.50), which uses premium gula Melaka and rich santan glutinous rice, possesses that ultra-chewy texture.
Ah Ma Homemade Cake created the Pandan Brown Cake ($11) so the castella-cake lovers can enjoy the best of both pandan and gula Melaka worlds. The interplay of the pandan leaves aroma and sweetness of the gula Melaka, coupled with its soft texture and slightly crunchy surface (sprinkle of crushed gula Melaka and shredded coconut on top), you can be sure that I will be queuing for it next time.
Other than the new items above, the new concept stores also offers popular kuehs such as Rempah Udang, Rempah Ayam and Kueh Dadar, and a medley of castella cakes (from chocolate to pandan and marble). Among the 3 kuehs, Rempah Ayam ($2) is my personal favourite. Featuring shredded chicken braised in herbs and a medley of spices, the Rempah Ayam tastes akin to Lo Mai Gai – satisfying and filling at the same time.
OLLELLA X Ah Ma Homemade Cake
Outlet 1: VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk, #B2-K7 Vivocity, Singapore 098585
Outlet 2: Tiong Bahru Plaza, 302 Tiong Bahru Road, #B1-K4 Tiong Bahru Plaza, Singapore 168732
Author: Alex Chua
Home-grown cafe Strangers’ Reunion, located at Kampong Bahru Road just 5 minutes’ walk from Outram Park MRT, is set to redefine and elevate café dining experience with a new all-day brunch menu.
Best-known for serving some of the best coffee and all-day brunches in town, this time the new brunch menu features inventive cooking method with a conscience. Using fresh, seasonal and upcycled ingredients and sauces homemade from scratch, the resulting dishes reveals a level of sophistication more often associated with fine dining establishments. Now that’s more than a cuppa in a café scene.
Take the Salmon Skin Chips ($11.90) for instance. This moreish appetiser utilises salmon offcuts and trimmings from the café’s homemade coffee smoked salmon and deep-fried it to become a dish by itself. Studded with goma, avocado coulis and coffee-smoked salmon puree, it presents a juxtaposition of nutty, salty, sweet and sour flavours without being too overwhelming or oily.
The Snapper Ceviche ($13.90) contain a combination of snapper chunks cured in lime juice, avocado, cilantro and red onions. Light and refreshing, it is the perfect starter dish for a brunch date.
For the vegans and cauliflower fans, the Roasted Cauliflower Salad ($14.50) is the choice pick. It comes in 2 ways – charred to yield caramelised florets with deep hazelnut notes, and pickled in rice wine vinegar infused with black pepper and bay leaves. We had the caramelised ones and it is crunchy and irresistible. It’s just so good I am almost a vegan-convert by this dish.
Coming to the mains, the hearty Pork and Broccoli ($21.90) satisfies me thoroughly. Taking a leaf from the upcycling philosophy, the tender roasted meat uses the under-utilized pork collar ends and broccoli stems as accompanying greens. Complemented with 3 sauces – broccoli puree, coffee shoyu and burnt onion jus to give an extra depth of flavour. Simple, straightforward and in your face delicious.
Here’s the savoury protein – Pan Roasted Chicken Breast ($21.90). Chicken breast cloaked in a house-made jerk sauce and accompanying succotash of greens. I like how the sauce compliments and further accentuates the succulent meat.
Here’s a dish common in the café scene, Strangers’ Coffee Smoked Salmon on Toast ($18.90). Well, not quite so. The house-cured salmon is cold-smoked with spent coffee grounds and hickory wood to give the aromatic coffee-smoked salmon, while an espresso-infused crème fraiche is slathered on toasted sourdough bread. Sounds too caffeinated? It is not, the coffee is used just to give that light coffee aroma.
Undoubtedly one of THE go-to cafes for its quality coffee, now the café – in its cool tones of greys, whites and wood – can include inventiveness and upcycling to its name with the introduction of the all-day brunch menu.
33/35 Kampong Bahru Road, Singapore 169355
Operating Hours: 9am – 6pm daily
I drink Coffee or Milk Tea every morning before I start work and this has become a habit. If I don’t drink them before work, it feels like something is missing and I won’t be able to concentrate.
Recently, SkinnyMint sent me their 28 Day Fat Burning Coffee & Fat Burning Hot Chocolate to try. Even though I was very intrigued by the new launches, my first thoughts were……. “How will they taste? Will they really work?”
I would be skeptical about the results but since I have previously tried both SkinnyMint Morning and Night Teatox and both worked for me, why not give the new products a try too?
Instead of drinking coffee with high sugar content, I am drinking both the Fat Burning Coffee and Hot Chocolate on a daily basis. Just imagine…. burn your fats away while enjoying a cup of hot coffee. Sounds too good to be true?
What I am most happy about, other than the fat-burning portion is reducing my sugar intake! Although I do not really drink frizzy drinks, the coffee and tea I consumed on a daily basis is quite frightening.
Take a look at the supplement facts below – 0 Fat, 0 Sugar!
Both powders smell nice. The coffee has a coconut-y smell & taste as it is coconut flavored while the hot chocolate taste nothing less than a good cup of unsweetened chocolate. Good for people who wants that chocolatey taste in their mouth – without the calories!
You can even put them into your bag and bring them out if you do not have the time to drink them in the morning as they come in sachets form. All you need is a cup of hot water and pooooof!
The drinks can help suppress your appetite and boost your metabolism as they contain natural metabolism booster. Studies have also shown that 96% of the people who tried them had a significant decrease in appetite. As for me, I do find myself emptying my bowel more often – at a very regular timing too.
Also, whenever you feel like snacking at work, just make yourself a cup of hot chocolate. It is only 25 Cal per serving! Say no to chocolates and opt for the hot chocolate instead.
Join me and add these drinks to your breakfast today if you wanna lose some weight or control your appetite!
Do drink them for 28 days to see better results!
You can get them from skinnymint.com!
Author: Alex Chua
Pig out this New Year at Butcher’s Kitchen to welcome the Year of the Pig. Known for using fresh, safe and healthy ingredients, Butcher’s Kitchen team of experienced chefs unveiled their latest CNY menu for all to ogle, salivate and go oink oink. The restaurant’s latest cutesy 3 Treasures Porky Yusheng comes in the shape of a pig, fashioned with roast pork belly, pork lard and char siew. The Instagram-able lo hei is generously lashed with a tangy house-made plum sauce to toss for a sweet new year. Also, freshly-made chips – Butcher’s Kitchen very own creation – is topped on the pig as the alternative to the traditional golden crackers. The generous portion of the yusheng is suitable for 8 to 10 pax.
Besides the yusheng, The Butcher’s Kitchen has also introduced two pork-based pasta – Char Siew Pasta with Truffle, and Mala Pasta with Roast Pork Belly. I particularly fancy the Mala Pasta Pork Belly dish, which has that savoury roast pork belly with perfect meat-to-fat ratio which I can easily over-indulged! The crunchy crackling is not too hard with a heavenly mouthfeel to it.
But for my personal favourite is the Herbi Hiam Pizza. Cormprising of cheese, fried crispy pork lard marinated with prawn chili, and heaped with snow of dried sambal prawn, it is sinful beyond the nth degree yet understandably delicious. To give that powerful spicy punch, prawn chili is drizzled on top. Great for dinner with friends or for supper, which I am still mesmerizing it as I was typing about it.
Beyond the pork dishes, the restaurant has also launched the Original Fresh Chips. Fried daily, these all-natural, freshly made and highly addictive chips come in beautiful designed bottles for you to share and gift the goodies to your loved ones for a perfect CNY crunch. Better keep this away from me or else my new year resolution dissolves in bubbles.
The Butcher’s Kitchen
#02-472 Suntec City, North Wing, 3 Temasek Boulevard
Operating Hour: Tuesday to February 19, 10am to 10pm daily. Closed from February 4 to 6
Seating Capacity: 120 pax
Author: Alex Chua
Have a luxurious start to the year with Chef Chen Kentaro at Shisen Hanten – the highest Michelin-rated Chinese restaurant in Singapore for three 3 years in a row. Located on the 35th floor at Mandarin Orchard Hotel, this elegant restaurant, with its opulent chandeliers and dramatic flowers arrangement, is set to impress diners and guests alike. For the year of the pig the acclaimed Szechuan restaurant features seven auspiciously-themed set menus – from the eight-course Prosperity menu at $538++ for four persons, to the Splendour menu that features Braised Four-head Australian Abalone among its courses, at $2,588++ for 10 persons.
If you’re mesmerized by the 90’s original hit Jap TV show Iron Chef since young like me, be delighted to know that this swanky restaurant is started by the ‘Father of SzeChuan Cuision’ Iron Chef Chinese Chen Kenmin. You wouldn’t want to give this place a miss now would you?
The signature Foie Gras Chawanmushi with Crab Roe Soup is simply seductive and excellent. What is noteworthy about this is the subtle foie gras aftertaste which paired so well with the hot fresh crab roe chawanmushi soup. It is also a refreshing change from the double boiled shark’s fin soup that we see on so many menus nowadays. The Deep Fried Prawn Balls with Yuzu Sauce is executed superbly, crispy with a burst of mellow citrusy. You could definitely tell how fresh the prawn is from the first bite.
The ultimate gastronomic experience I have is the sizzling Sichuan delicacy Wok-fried East-spotted Grouper with Shishito Pepper. The succulent flavors are accented by accents of Shishito Pepper and while mildly spicy it wasn’t overwhelming so. Bathed in golden broth that numbs the tongue and satiate the senses, this fiery signature is not to be missed.
Have the best of both worlds with a duo of Braised Baby Abalone and Black Moss with Beancurd. A CNY must-have, the tender baby abalone is perfectly braised and the beancurd soaked up that rich umami broth. When eaten together with the black moss there’s a nice contrast of textures from the tender abalone, the slightly drenched moss and soft beancurd. Flavors well-balanced, this dish is purely a match-make in food heaven.
What I am anticipating most is perhaps the Stir-Fried Iberico Pork with Spicy Sweet and Sour Sauce. The prized iberico pork slices are layered on one end of the plate, the sauce and accompany veg placed on another end. While the presentation of this dish has a touch of western interpretation, the taste of the savory pork is very much Szechuan.
Ending the sumptuous 8-course dinner is the visually pleasing Double-Boiled Hashima with Yam Paste served in Young Coconut: a delight to look at, a delight to spoon it up and enjoy. I expect something light but the taste is much stronger. Nevertheless, to me anything coconut and creamy is addictive.
Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro
333 Orchard Road, Level 35, Orchard Wing, Mandarin Orchard Singapore, Singapore 238867
Author: Alex Chua
The wallet-friendly Hong Kong Sheng Kee adds a contemporary touch to its tasty range of Hong Kong cuisines with the launch Truffle Wanton Noodle. Available from 7 Nov onwards, the new Truffle Wanton Noodle is a refreshing new touch to bring an already perfected dish to an elevated gastronomic treat. Helmed by the experienced Senior Executive Chef, Mr Chan Wing Kin, he had skillfully fused all the well-like qualities of the original HK Wanton Noodle with a contemporary ingredient in which Truffle-phile would surely approve.
The Truffle Wanton Noodle uses fresh egg noodle which is springy and tastes quite eggy. Made with 8 ingredients including old hen, pork bone and sole fish, the Jinhua Ham Broth is both savory and refreshing. What I really love about this dish is the wanton – the hand-beaten meat is mixed with fresh prawns, premium tender kurobuta pork air-flown from Japan, and black truffle oil. Meaty yet with a tender bite, the wanton truly elevates this dish to a wanton-ful level!
Besides staples like noodles and rice, Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert also offers many other delicious HK grub, including a Dim Sum menu featuring Fried Dumplings, Glutinous Rice Dumpling, Mini Yolky Custard Pau and Siew Mai. Affordably priced and not lowering the ingredient quality, the dim sum here is a decent treat for those who suddenly has got an urged to have a dim sum affair.
Not to forget their desserts. First off I am biased towards their desserts as I am a regular diner there. But with the correct pricing, the numerous accessible location and the delightful desserts who wouldn’t? The SK Mango Pomelo Sago is one refreshing bowl in which I come time and time again. The mango taste is real, not artificial sweet, and the plating is simple, almost zen-like. My other go-to desserts include the Rice ball in Paste, Almond Paste and Yuan Yang Paste.
To get more bang on the buck, from 24 Oct to 30 Nov, diners get to enjoy $2 off HK Wanton Noodle or Truffle Wanton Noodle on the Plus app!
Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert @ The Centrepoint
The Centrepoint #B1-14
Timing: 11am to 10pm (Last Order 9pm)
We are almost done with our new nest and we are ready to move in anytime soon! The latest addition to the house is the mattress from Woosa.
This brand is very new to us as we have never heard of it but after reading the reviews online, we have decided to give it a try!
We ordered a King sized mattress and were very surprised to see that it was wrapped into a box. Look at the picture below; it came up by the lift! Not the stairs yo!!
The mattress was vacuumed packed and wrapped up into the box and unboxing this giant mattress was quite fun! We watched it “grow” to its full size within minutes.
The 100% made in Belgium mattress is a 9.5 inch full foam mattress – which was pretty surprising and the first thing that came to our mind was ” Can we can get used to it?” as we were too used to spring mattress. The answer is…. we had such a good sleep!!
Woosa mattress is made from scratch with extremely high quality latex Foam and PU foam and it comes with a 100 night free trial and a 10-year warranty. If you find the mattress unsuitable, they will pick it up and issue a full refund with no questions asked.
Don’t worry because returned mattresses are donated to charitable organization. They will not repack it and sell it again.
Also, 100 night free trial? Seriously? YUP! You can test it for 3 full months! And how many brands actually give you a 10 year warranty? Do you know that your bed will start to wear and tear after 5 years? I would say that the 10-year warranty is a bonus bonus plus point to note!
Woosa also carries pillows. The combination of Woosa Mattress + Woosa Pillows? Heaven!
Both James and I prefer mattress that are medium-firm and Woosa hit that spot. It was neither too soft nor too hard. The high quality latex foam and cushions kind of tweaked itself to meet our overall preferences for the maximum comfort and support. So no matter your sleeping position – side, frontal or back, or even the body shape, the mattress is bound to work for you.
We have already slept on it and I must say that we had such a good sleep and getting this mattress was such a right decision.
There was no pushy salesmen too 😛
Don’t be too shock when I share the price with you guys. The King-sized mattress only cost $1,699! We did a lot of mattress window-shopping and a good King-sized mattress can easily cost us $3,500 and above. If you think King is a little too big for you, you can check out the four different sizes on their website.
If you are keen to give them a try, head over to woosa.sg to find out more.
Author: Alex Chua
Ash & Char is a chic gastrobar located at McCallum Street, just diagonally opposite Amoy Street Food Centre. It is situated in a busy CBD area where the PMEs flocked around in daytime and chill at night. Specializing in Modern Asian cuisine, since its revamp this cosy gastrobar now features an Instagram-worthy interior along with handcrafted cocktails and comforting fusion good food!
Formally a café, Ash & Char transformation adds a breath of fresh air to the premise. With 2 large lightbulbs ‘chandaliers’ mounted on the ceiling as centerpieces, laminating the tuxedo black tables that are matched with sleek black, gold and silver high stools, Ash & Char eases between a cosy venue for lunch during day time and a chill out place as the sun sets. It is so cosy I can literally hop onto one of the high chair with the refreshingly fruity Mixed Berry Bramble and people-watch.
With a name derived from the techniques applied to the cooking (mostly charring and grilling), the owner obviously takes pride on the food and you can expect the food to be good. The Signature Char Siu is one of the many dishes in the menu we’ve sampled and simply love it. The honey and soy glaze is easy on the palate. The meat slices with charred edges are extra delicious and easily melt away in the mouth.
The Creamy Smoked Duck Pasta is pleasing to slurp down. The duck slice is flavorful and got a bite to it, though I would prefer it to be thicker. Just remember to watch your waistline!
One of the mainstays in the menu, the tangy and fiery Tom Yum Seafood Pasta is obviously a popular favorite among the patrons here as it caters to the local preference of spicy and sour taste. The seafood-tom Yum Gong pairing is succulent and authentically Thai, reminding of the time I had a similar bowl in an upscale Bar at Asiatique, Bangkok.
A standard bar dish, the Fish & Chips here are quite different among other establishments is the herbs embedded within the batter that seasons the fish naturally. A lover of this English national pride, I can woof this fried goodies down with a good drink (alcohol preferred) anytime.
Speaking of drinks, Ash & Char has got a new fruity alcoholic drink that would make you instantaneously fall in love like starring into a Birkin – the Santa Cruz de Alpera Blue Frizzante. Mid-night blue in color, this is an easy to drink wine with tropical notes which makes it suitable for an afternoon lazy tipper. Taste somewhat like the dessert wines (think Moscato), the bubbles touch just makes it a refreshing sensation in this sweet wine.
Ash & Char
Address: 21 McCallum Street #01-03/04 Singapore 069047
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday, 11am to 12am | Friday, 11am to 1am | Saturday, 5pm to 1am | Closed on Sundays
Contact Number: +65 8341 1951