Featuring local cuisine, gourmet food, international restaurants and more, DanielFoodDiary.com introduces some of the newest cafes & restaurants in Singapore, and best food & dining experiences in around the world
[Seoul] When I needed a good coffee recommendation, food blogger Daniel (yeah, same name) from Seoul Eats took me to Coffee Libre 커피리브레at Hong Dae near Hongik University Station.
The thing that makes Coffee Libre stand out from other coffee shops in the city is the fact that the owners are dedicated to coffee.
This is from sourcing the best coffee beans in the world, and choosing to have different brewing methods.
Established in 2012, Coffee Libre 커피리브레 is an independent coffee shop in Seoul with branches in Yeonnam-dong, Yeongdeung-po, Shinsegae, and Myeongdong.
The name of the coffee shop comes from the Spanish word “libre”, which translates to Mexican luchador wrestlers.
The icon on the cup did remind me of Jack Black’s character from the Mexican-American sports comedy film Nacho Libre.
Coffee Libre grinds beans for every single cup of coffee, and they have participated in dozens of coffee-related events in the country.
I have been to 3 different branches of Coffee Libre.
Hong Dae’s branch has more indie vibes for coffee aficionados; Time Square has a much bigger space and appeals more to the young; while Myeongdong’s outlet is a hidden spot right in the middle of a tourist hub.
This small branch of Coffee Libre in Myeongdong boasts a quite unusual location, as it is situated within the Myeong-dong Cathedral complex.
Yes, right in front of the famous church.
The interior is simple and cozy with several tables and a long bar. Guests can choose to either drink their coffee indoors or take it to go.
They are especially known for sourcing their single-origin coffee beans via fair-trade directly, and obtaining highly regarded CoE (Cup of Excellence) beans as well.
As one of the top independent roasters they participate in various coffee-related events in Korea, and top baristas worldwide claim to have used their beans in the World Barista Championships.
Coffee Libre offers several options on the menu including Espresso, Café Latte, and Americano. Their preferred method of brewing is from the AeroPress, which is known to produce well-balanced and aromatic cup of coffee.
The Dutch Iced Latte (7,000 Won, SGD$8.75) I tried was aromatic and well balanced, with the low acidity making it smooth and pleasant.
The Americano (4,000 Won, SGD$5.00) was bright, robust, and bitter with a clean aftertaste and lingering finish.
They are knowledgeable in the Aeropress drip process, and can do it for you upon request.
Also, they don’t stock up on soy milk, but if you bring your own they will accommodate your needs.
There is a 1,500 won discount if you order your coffee to go. When you order coffee beans, you get one drink for free.
[Taipei] Instagram has certainly changed consumer habits and how coffee shops keep themselves abreast in a very challenging market.
Mr R Drinks 雨田先生手冲饮品吧 at Zhongxiao East Road got into the social media limelight with its very photogenic drinks of Rose Milk and Marsh Milk Tea aka Mr Fox Milk Tea.
Sometimes, you get other animals on the drink.
Mr R Drinks 雨田先生手冲饮品吧 In Taipei - YouTube
Do not discount Mr R Drinks, or “Yu Tian Xian Sheng” as another one of those just riding on the Instagram trend.
The barista-owner is serious about his coffee, importing coffee beans from various parts of the world, offering hand-drips and takeaway cups. Until he was overwhelmed with orders.
When I visited, the shop had a limited menu of Marsh Milk Tea (NT$180, SGD$8.10), Rose Milk, Strawberry Milk and Baileys Milk (NT$150, SGD$6.80), Apple Cider (NT$150, SGD$6.80), Umeshu Soda (NT$140, SGD$6.30), Pikachu Soda (NT$65, SGD$2.90) and… Miso Soup (NT$90, SGD$90).
As this is a one-man-show operation and lines can be long, every customer is limited to buying just one cup.
During peak hours, you have to get a ticket first before queuing.
The barista was seen frothing and making his drinks cup by cup, so wait can be rather long. Each cup took at least 5 to 10 minutes to make.
I ordered the Marsh Milk Tea (NT$180, SGD$8.10) only because I was intrigued at the cute fox on the drink. Like how it got there?
However, I was slightly disappointed when he handed me a hot frothy cup of milk tea on one hand, a fox on the other enclosed in a plastic packaging, and told me to put it on myself.
I see. There wasn’t any 3D latte art involved.
For the Rose Milk (NT$150, SGD$6.80) drink though, he helped to carefully place the rose ‘biscuit’ made of egg white on the cup.
The drink was essentially hot milk with rose essence, while you could stir in the rose for more sweetness. A smooth and comforting cup for the winter period, though could be disappointing if you are looking for more.
Sometimes Instagram can really be a double-edged sword.
Mr R Drinks 雨田先生手冲饮品吧
No. 69, Lane 223, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
Opening Hours: 12:00pm – 9:00pm (Tues – Sat), 12:00pm – 7:00pm (Sun – Mon) Google Maps – Mr R Drinks
Taiwanese Bakery Kazo has opened at Chinatown Point (nearer Hong Lim Food Centre side), offering a selection of Polo Buns, Cream Puffs, and Kazu Kazu which are long choux pastries.
The brand is supposedly popular in Taiwan, with a different name of Nichifu 日芙洋菓子 with stores in Taichung. (My Taiwanese friends have never heard of it though.)
Having just returned from Taiwan, I was inevitably curious towards Kazo and its products.
Offerings included Premium Ice Cream Polo ($5.50 for 2 scoops, $3.80 for 1), Hokkaido Cream Golden Lava ($3.00), Crispy Cream Puff ($1.80), Kazu Kazu ($3.50), Cheese Tart ($3.00 for original, $3.20 for chocolate or matcha) and Kazoman Beverages ($3.00 – $3.50).
This is like many things trending / instagrammable all in one store.
The Premium Ice Cream Polo ($5.50) could remind some of Hokkaido Ice Cream Puff, in which you could choose from Hokkaido Cream, Matcha, and Chocolate.
The former boosted a more crusty puff pastry and creamier quality ice cream, but lacked of that buttery fragrance.
While I wished I could eat the Polo with my hands (like how the photos featured). In reality, the ice cream would start dripping within seconds and scooping from the provided plastic box would be cleaner.
I was curious how the Kazu Kazu would match up with the famous Japan’s Zaku Zaku – which by the way has opened in Taipei and ‘inspired’ many other versions.
This Kazu Kazu had a firmer crusty outer layer which I did not mind, though its filling of Hokkaido cream was mild and pale in comparison.
My sense is the Hokkaido Cream Golden Lava ($3.00) could land up being its most popular item, as local consumers are still fascinated by the idea of flowing lava.
Mine was indeed very molten. Though I suspect some might come expecting the salted egg grainy texture, this version was more sweet, smooth and creamy. Not bad.
Customers were tickled by the Kazoman Soya Bean ($3.00) and Matcha Latte ($3.20) bottles. Check out that torso with abs – a body I hope to have, but this blog is stopping me from achieving that goal.
The Soya Bean was lightly sweet, beany and tasty – I like, though the Matcha Latte was too sweet and overpowered the green tea component.
I wonder if some Singaporeans would complain about these bottles. I hope they have a sense of humour.
133 North Bridge Road, #01-30 Chinatown Point, Singapore 059413
10am to 9.30pm (Mon – Sun)
[Taipei] Jin Feng Braised Pork Rice is a well-known eatery (at least among the locals) in Taipei that serves one of the most popular Taiwanese dishes, “Lu Rou Fan” otherwise known as Braised Pork Rice).
Jin Feng Braised Pork Rice 金峰魯肉飯 – Popular Lu Rou Fan Eatery In Taipei - YouTube
There are several other places in the Roosevelt Road (Luosifu Lu) neighbourhood that serve braised pork rice, but this hole-in-the-wall dining spot has a reputation for being the best in town.
The good news is that this place is budget-friendly with reasonably priced dishes that come in big portions.
Keep in mind that there is usually a line in front of Jin Feng Braised Pork Rice, especially during lunch hours.
Do not expect too much from the interior, as this place is more like casual local eatery than an actual restaurant.
The tables are close to one another, and there is a chance that you will have to share a table with other guests. If you are in a hurry, you can always take your food to go.
The Braised Pork Rice, priced at NT$30, NT$40, NT$50 (SGD$1.30, SGD$1.80, SGD$2.50) for their small, medium and large bowls, is definitely the signature dish here at Jin Feng in Taipei.
The dish is served with a large amount of rice and topped off with a slice of bitter melon and braised pork.
One thing to note is that while Singaporeans are used to bowls with loads of meat with less rice. The reverse seems to apply to many Lu Rou Fan stalls in Taiwan where there is very little meat in contrast to rice.
I also noticed that other restaurants that offer this dish tend to serve it with more fat than meat, which is not the case here.
The draw to me was the savoury sauce on the fluffy rice, when paired with hot soup was very comforting.
You can also choose to have the braised pork on noodles, bee hoon, or clear vermicelli, all priced very affordably at NT$30 (SGD$1.30).
The Taiwanese style of bee hoon is extremely thin, which absorbs the sauce well, making it more flavourful on every bite.
On the menu, you will find other dishes such as Thick Pork Soup (NT$50), Ginseng Chicken Soup (NT$55), Pig Intestine Soup (NT$55), Pork Belly (NT$35), and Braised Tofu (NT$20).
The easiest way to reach Jin Feng Braised Pork Rice is to take the train and get off at the Chang Kai-Chek Memorial Station. From there, it should be about a 10-minute walk until you reach this eatery. (If not, cab or uber.)
Jin Feng Braised Pork Rice 金峰魯肉飯
No. 10, Section 1, Roosevelt Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, 100 (Near Chang Kai-Chek Memorial Station)
Tel: +886 2 2396 0808
Opening Hours: 8:00am – 1:00am Daily Google Maps – Jin Feng Braised Pork Rice
[Taipei] Yong Kang Beef Noodles 永康牛肉麺館 is known to be one of the best Taiwanese beef noodle joints in Taipei, well-known for its spicy soup.
Yongkang Beef Noodles 永康牛肉麺館 - One Of The Best Taiwanese Beef Noodles In Taipei - YouTube
This two-level restaurant serves up signature Beef Noodles with tender Australian beef and chewy noodles in a flavourful broth, definitively a winner judging by the line in front of this dining establishment. (The other famous shop in the neighbourhood is 老张牛肉麵店 Lao Zhang Beef Noodles.)
I went at about 10:45am and there were about 2-3 people in the line. Thinking that it should be okay if I take a stroll around the neighbourhood, I returned at 11:00am only to see about 30 – 40 people in the queue already.
Many of them brought along their luggage or entire families. Lesson learnt: Come early.
Yong Kang Beef Noodles was founded back in 1963 by Mr. Cheng who originally from Szechuan in China.
After he finished his military duties, Mr. Cheng decided to open a small stall at Yong Kang Street and sell beef noodles.
The stall became an instant hit and started to attract both locals and people from China who moved here to Taipei City.
After Mr. Cheng retired in the 1970s, the place was handed over to his protégé, Mr. Luo who is the current owner.
As for the interior, it has not much changed over the years.
There are dozens of tables and they are usually packed with customers. You will also see the counter with a menu to choose from. There is also a tourist-friendly English and Japanese menu with photos.
Most of the tables are round and can accommodate up to 6 people. If you come solo or in a pair, you are likely to be seated with other patrons.
Their signature dish is the Braised Beef with Noodles in Spicy Broth (NT$200 for small, NT$230 for large, SGD$9.00 and SGD$10.30).
I enjoyed the “Hong Shao” style of beef broth.
It was hearty, aromatic, with that distinct and unique herbal taste. Moderately on the spicy side, the soup was hot and flavourful, that I didn’t have problem finishing.
Another feature of the noodles was the Australian beef used, more tender and robust.
With that said, there were still pieces that I wished were less tough.
In comparison, the beef chunks in the Clear Broth version were much tenderer, almost melt-in-your-mouth.
The Clear Broth Beef Noodles, named “To Stews With Beef Noodles” on the menu (NT$230, NT$200), had a cleaner soup base which reminded me of shio ramen. My friend preferred this version as it was less intense and you could appreciate the natural flavours of the beef better.
Do not forget to add a spoonful of the salted vegetable, just like the locals.
Overall, while it did not have a “wow” effect on me, I found this a decent, delicious bowl of Taiwanese Style Beef Noodles.
Other dishes on the menu included Spicy Dumpling, Steamed Hog Spareribs and Steamed Hog Large Intestines, all priced at NT$110 (SGD$4.90) each.
The steamed rice served in a small bamboo basket with chewy pork intestines, which I found equally worthy to recommend.
Getting to Yongkang Beef Noodles is relatively easy. From Dongmen MRT, Exit 4, start walking straight and on the first turn go right. Continue walking down the street until you reach the Jinhua Primary School and then take a right turn. From there, you will arrive at your destinations in a few seconds.
Yong Kang Beef Noodles 永康牛肉麺館
No. 17, Lane 31, Section 2, Jinshan South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 (Near Dongmen MRT, Exit 4)
Tel: +886 2 2351 1051
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 3:30pm, 4:30pm – 9:00pm (Mon – Sun) Google Maps – Yongkang Beef Noodles
Each cup is made using milk, tea and colourful pearls, with no artificial flavourings, man-made essences, creamer or preservatives.
The menu in Singapore features a total of 37 drinks in a single cup size and divided into 5 different categories – Tea/Au Lait aka “served with milk” in French ($2.50 – $3.90), Ice Blended ($5.90 – $6.90), Matcha ($4.90 – $6.50), Fruit Tea ($3.90 – $5.90) and Cheese Tea, exclusive to Singapore ($4.50 – $5.90).
Pearls aka bobii (Taiwanese slang for tapioca pearls) that are preservative-free come in 3 different flavours: Original ($0.60), Butterfly Pea ($0.90) and Brown Sugar ($0.90), are made in Taiwan and air-flown to Singapore to ensure freshness and consistency.
One thing to note, the bobii in each cup is considerably less compared to other competitor brands out there.
Apart from their aesthetically pleasing appearance, each of their signature items have funky names that made me wonder what the flavours are, so I gave up on their names and ended up ordering by colours.
“Hi, can I have the blue and yellow layered drink?”
“Oh, you mean Mermaid’s Tears?”
“Ya, that one.” I cried.
The names included Don’t Want To Work, Pandora Treasures, Childhood Memory, Green Romance, and Don’t Want To Grow Up.
The Ice Blended – Mermaid’s Tears ($5.90) tasted similar to the one I had in Taipei, with pricing about $1 – $1.50 more expensive than Taipei’s.
It came with ice blended Butterfly Pea extract (blue) and Mango Juice (Yellow) with honey, yogurt and butterfly bobii.
Quite a citrusy and refreshing drink especially on a hot day.
My main gripe was that there was difficulty drinking the plump and soft pearls together with the blended ice as the pearls did not sink into the solid layer beneath it.
As a matcha lover myself, the Uji Snow ($6.50) was my favourite, made using hand-whisked matcha, brown cane sugar from Taiwan instead of fructose corn syrup and original bobii at the bottom layer.
I enjoyed this balanced drink with sweetness from the bobii and slight bitterness from the matcha powder.
While they are proud of their muah-chee like texture for their bobii, I found them way too soft without that pleasurable chew or bite.
Perhaps the pearls from Chen San Ding 陳三鼎青蛙鮮奶 and Jen Ju Dan 珍煮丹 in Taipei had set the standard too high, the brown sugar bobii in Extraordinary Bubble Milk Tea ($4.50) was actually well… ordinary.
With local celebrity Nat Ho on board as Singapore Brand Ambassador and Creative Director, Bobii Frutii is set to open their next outlet with seating capacity in Suntec City Mall in March 2018.
Will pretty, Instagrammable layered bubble tea be the next trend in Singapore? Looks like there are many other bubble tea shops opening up.
When I say “used to”, it could be as far a decade back when it was crowded, but not flooded with tourists like now. Unfortunately, the standard and consistency was not like in the past as the store gets more commercialised.
I was recommended to Chen Ji Mee Sua 陳記專業蚵仔麵線, or Chen Ji Intestine & Oyster Taiwanese Vermicelli Shop. Many call it the “Best Mee Sua in Taipei”, with “original local taste without over promoting”.
Mee Sua is a Taiwanese dish that is basically a vermicelli soup included with large pork intestine or oysters.
The noodles served with the soup should never fall apart or stick together. At least, this is what the general rule is.
Chen Ji Mee Sua looked like an average Taiwanese food stand.
No fanciful interior, just a counter where you can order food, and a couple of tables outside the shop.
A large bowl大碗is priced at NT$65 (SGD$2.90), smaller bowl大碗at NT$50 (SGD$2.25), with clear vermicelli soup清麵線at NT$35 (SGD$1.60).
If you like your pig’s intestines, then you would love the Mee Sua here.
I found the pieces extremely soft, tender, and flavourful, and as a friend @eileen_eats_alot described, ”clean unlike some that have strong porky flavour”.
I bought both large and small bowls to compare, and found the large bowl to be a lot more generous in ingredients. For the amount of oysters given, this bowl is reasonably priced.
The consistency was smooth and thick without being sticky. Tip: Have it plain before adding some chilli and vinegar for more layered taste.
I tried about 8 different bowls of Mee Sua in Taipei, this ranks as my top so far.
In order to reach this eatery, take the Exit 2 at the Long Shan Temple Station. Make the next left and walk straight down the street until you spot the traffic junction. When you cross the junction, Chen Ji Mee Sua is a few shops away.
Chen Ji Mee Sua usually gets crowded around lunch hours. Therefore, it is best to come during brunch time or late in the afternoon when there are fewer customers.
Chen Ji Intestine & Oyster Taiwanese Vermicelli Shop 陳記專業蚵仔麵線
No. 166, Section 3 Heping West Road at Wanhua District in Taipei City (Near Long Shan Temple Station Exit 2)
Tel: +886 2 2304 1979
Opening Hours: 6:30am – 7:30pm Daily Google Maps – Chen Ji Mee Sua
[Taipei] One of Taipei’s most instagrammable dessert café of late has to be Sugar Miss, with photos of their famed Marble Cube Cake trending in several social media feeds (at least the Chinese ones).
The Marble Cube Cakes come with varied fillings of matcha, raspberry and taro, available in very limited quantities.
Each is priced about NT$240 – 265 (SGD$10.80 – SGD$11.90), considered on the higher side for Taiwan, though Singaporeans should be used to these prices for cakes.
Do note there is a minimum expenditure of NT$200 required for each customer, which should be easily met as long as you get a drink.
Reservations are recommended, as the café can get very popular during the weekends. As I arrived about 2pm, there were just 2 Marble Cube Cake left.
The décor looked rather “Lady M” – all clean, white with marbled tables, and ironically Lady M Taipei is just located a short distance away with a moderately long queue.
The entire vibes felt rather ‘cold’ though, without the extreme friendliness you see at other Taipei café places.
Other offerings included the best-selling Marble Cheese Cake (NT$190 per slice, SGD$8.50), and Mille Crepe Cakes with flavours of Matcha Milk, Earl Grey, Valrhona Chocolate, Taro and Seasonal Fruit (NT$180 – 230, SGD$8.00 – 10.30).
The Marble Cube Cake was certainly a good-looker, different from other conventional cakes, placed on a marbled plate on white table. This café certainly knows about how to get good lighting for optimal photos.
Unfortunately, taste wise, it wasn’t the most impressive. It was OKAY.
While the top molten layer looked melty, it was solidified and didn’t add much taste wise. Beneath was a chiffon layer and raspberry fillings that didn’t quite flow at all.
It was probably just this cake, as I have seen other versions with lava centres.
Thankfully, it wasn’t that sweet and could pair well with some tea.
For the gram. If you are café hopping, this area is full of other café and dessert places. Lady M, Gontran Cherrier, Craftholic Café, Street Churros… just to name a few, are around.
106, Taiwan, Taipei City, Da’an District, Lane 290, Guangfu South Road (Sun Yat-sen Memorial Mall Station, Exit 2)
Tel: +886 2 2771 5320
Opening Hours: 12:00pm – 8:30pm Daily Google Maps – Sugar Miss
The one Korean dish that I enjoy for the level of comfort it brings is the Soontofu, the soft tofu stew with ingredients such as seafood and vegetables in a spicy broth.
“Soon” in Korean means “soft”.
SBCD Korean Tofu House is one of the few Soontofu specialty restaurants in Singapore, with branches at Tanjong Pagar Centre and a newly opened outlet at Millenia Walk.
The Millenia Walk branch was HUGE (at least in Singapore’s context), with spacious interior, tall ceilings, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, and open kitchen concept where you can observe the team of chefs preparing the soups.
Don’t have to worry smelling like Korean stew as you walk out as the space is ventilated enough.
One important highlight: At the back of the Korean restaurant is where the soft and silken tofu is made FRESH daily. The tofu you are eating is made right in the morning.
The chefs from SBCD use special soybeans imported from Paju, South Korea. The area is said to be close to Korea’s Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and contains the freshest-tasting produce due to the untouched nature.
Surprise, surprise. The Korean restaurant has also introduced NEW Jang-Eo (장어) dishes – fresh water eel imported from Korea.
While the Jang-Eo is popular during the hot summer days in Korea, you seldom see it in Singapore, at least not yet.
The NEW menu will comprise of 4 new Jang-Eo dishes including three under the dine-in menu and one for takeaway. Here are the food items you can expect:
Unagi Main on Hotplate ($19.90++, with Soju $29.80++)
The Koreans love their Jang-Eo – freshwater eel marinated in novelty sauces, with savoury and delicate taste.
Called the “Jangeo-gui” which literally translates to “grilled eel”, the Koreans believe that eating this dish can help improve stamina and prevent heat exhaustion during hot summer days.
However, Singaporeans are more likely familiar with the Japanese “Unagi”, which can be similar. Therefore, the restaurant chose to call these dishes “Unagi” in the introduction phase.
When the sizzling hotplate dish arrived, I could not tell initially what the difference was, at least purely from appearance.
The portion should leave an impression, so much for $19.90. Reasonably inexpensive.
The eel cut up to several small pieces, had a satisfyingly soft texture, mild richness, and sticky sweet taste from the sauces.
They were thick yet tender, very tasty when eaten hot with rice. (The differences between this and the usual unagi to me, is that the pieces were softer without that crispy outer layer.)
The Unagi Main on Hotplate can also be ordered paired with your favourite Soju.
Unagi Soontofu Combo ($39.90)
For a first timer to SBCD, I could recommend the Unagi Soontofu combo which allows you to try the best of both worlds.
The set contains a slightly smaller portion of Unagi on hotplate, with bubbling spicy soft tofu soup on the side.
Hot and comforting on one hand, delicious and filling on the other.
Unagi Hot Stone Rice (Top up $8.00 and upgrade from soups/combo regular hot stone white rice)
The dish includes thick-chunky pieces of the grilled eel, paired with strips of egg on rice cooked in hot stone.
The special price is available for a limited time as part of the launch offer.
Unagi Rice Bowl ($5.90, takeaway only)
For friends working around Tanjong Pagar and Millenia Walk who want a fuss-free, inexpensive lunch option, then the Unagi Rice Bowl for takeaways is really a good deal.
For those who have yet to try SBCD’s Soontofu, here’s a brief introduction of the signature dish.
The Soontofu is essentially a Korean spicy stew, prepared in 4 levels of spiciness – mild, medium, spicy and crazy hot. If you are used to spiciness, then “crazy hot” should also be manageable. (There is a Sesame Soontofu with no spice added in the broth.)
What I think is the key selling point is the tofu itself.
While many other Korean restaurants serve Soontofu as part of an extensive menu, SBCD specialises in just that. I respect the amount of resources and effort taken to make the tofu fresh in-house daily, from using some of the best beans.
The broth is made using a 10-ingredient secret recipe, put to boil, then left to set for a couple of days to bring out the full flavours of the ingredients without having to add artificial flavouring.
Choices include Original Beef ($18.90), Original Pork ($18.90), Seafood ($19.90), Oyster ($26.90), Abalone ($29.90), Intestines ($19.90), Dumpling ($19.90), Fishcake ($19.90) and a non-spicy sesame ($17.90).
The Assorted ($19.90) is one of the best sellers, which provide a variety of ingredients of beef, clams, crab, shrimp, and squid.
During my last visit I had a Ham & Cheese Soontofu ($19.90), and ended up happier that the “ham” was actually Korean spam – a better treat for me. The broth was served bubbling hot in a earthenware bowl, in which a raw egg would be added, and cooked from the heat within the bowl.
As part of the Korean tradition, rice is served in a hot stone bowl.
While I noticed some diners eating from the hot stone bowl itself, what SBCD would recommend is to scoop rice into the metal bowl.
A layer of crusted rice would usually remain at the base of the hot stone bowl, whereby you can add corn tea into the mixture.
Cover it up, and you would get some rice porridge (“nurungji”) to conclude the meal.
Other than Soontofu, there are other offerings of favourite Korean meat dishes such as L.A.
Galbi, Spicy Grilled Chicken, and Spicy Baby Octopus.
They can be ordered as a combo meal with Soontofu soup or as a main dish.
You would also notice that their banchan, which are side dishes served free, is different from the usual.
Other than kimchi, seaweed, pickled green chilies and spicy squid strips, the best part to me was the deep fried whole croaker fish with the fluffy crispy texture.
Marina Square App Deal: 1-for-1 Chirashi Don & Hokkaido Don
Freshness is the key to all the thick-cut sashimi slices and sushi offered at Senmi Sushi. I am a personal fan of their affordably priced Chirashi Don ($19), and there is also a Giant Chirashi ($54) which includes 6 kinds of seafood, from salmon, tuna, swordfish to shiromi.
You can go for the Salmon Lovers Platter ($17.80) with slices of flamed salmon teriyaki sushi, flamed salmon belly mentai sushi and salmon sashimi.
Or the ultimate Shokuhin Sashimi Platter ($61.80) plated with the freshest Hokkaido sea urchin, middle Bluefin tuna belly, yellowtail, salmon, squid and shrimp. The Bluefin tuna is from Uwajima Japan, flown in two to three times a week.
Better reason to go now, considering the Chirashi Don and Hokkaido Don are 1-for-1.
For the yakiniku and grilled seafood lovers, Gyuu+ Yakiniku Grill features premium meats such as the intensely flavoured dry-aged beef and fresh seafood. Specially imported grills from Japan are used for the grilling.
Prices of cuts here are comparatively lower due to direct sourcing of meats from Japan, Australia and U.S.A. by Emporium Shokuhin.
The recommended is the Japanese A5 Miyazaki Shin Shin ($32) – which provides good best proportion of fat to meat; and USDA Prime Sirloin Steak ($30). Both superbly flavourful.
The A5 Miyazaki Wagyu & USDA Prime Beef Buffet (90 min) is value-for-its money, which includes free flow meats such as A5 Miyazaki Shin Shin, USDA Prime Sirloin, AUS Ribeye Steak, Kurobuta Pork Rosu Steak, Japanese vegetables and airflown Japanese ice cream.
Prices are $98++ for adults, (Mon – Thu), $108++ (Fri – Sun, Eve & Day of PH), and $28.60++ for child (height 0.9m – 1.4m). Available daily for both lunch and dinner.
Marina Square App Deal: 1-for-1 Main Courses & Live Oysters (Daily) 3 – 31 Jan 2018
A contemporary European-Japanese Seafood Wine Bar, where you can indulge in seafood and sparkling wine.
Some of the seafood items are displayed chilled at the counter, from which you can pick your favourites and select from over 10 different cooking methods to savour the natural flavours.
Freshly shucked oysters, usually $8 per pc, are now 1-for-1 upon redemption using the Marina Square App.
During weekends, go for the 1-for-1 main courses with offerings of Hokkaido Scallop & Konbu Pasta ($22 for cold, $26 for hot), 6-hours slow-roasted Wagyu Short Rib ($32), Wagyu Burger with Portobello and Fries ($29) and 48hr Duck Leg Confit with Parma Ham and Lentil ($28).
One of the highlights is the Lobster, Prawn & Scallop Burger ($28) featuring juicy homemade prawn patty topped with BOTH lobster and Hokkaido scallop between charcoal buns, served with fries and salad.
Opening Hours: 12pm – 10pm, extended till 11pm on Fridays
Marina Square App Deal: FREE house beverage with every main purchase
Set up by DP Architects and The Food Explorer Group behind Cookyn Inc and Grub, redpan is all about “local fun dining”.
Their best-selling dish continues to be the Prawn & Hae Bi Hiam Pasta ($19), tossed with sakura ebi and sautéed prawns, using a house-made paste from Chef Mervyn Phan’s (from Cookyn) grandmother’s recipe.
Also look out for the Bak Chor Foie Gras Pasta ($19) which provides a new interpretation to one of our favourite local dish, added with foie gras; and Cold Pasta with House-Cured Salmon ($20) aromatic with a touch of truffle oil.
Get the house-concocted beverage such as the refreshing Roselle Sour Plum Soda, Lychee Earl Grey Tea, or Lemongrass with Gula Melaka.
#02-223 to 225A
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm
Marina Square App Deal: $5 Tingkat PeraMakan e-Voucher (fully redeemed)
PeraMakan is a play of words “Peranakan” meaning “local-born” and “Makan”, a Malay word for “to eat”.
While there is ‘tingkat’ in its name, the food is not served in the layered containers. It is to represent the image of bringing tasty home cooked meals to the family.
I liked that there is a ‘no-frills’ menu which allows you to order sets for the individual. There were choices of Ayam Kleo, Ayam Sio, Babi Pongtay, Nyonya Pork Ribs, Sambal Sotong, Sambal Ikan, Ikan Garam Assam and of course the quintessential Ayam Buak Keluak for the sets.
An entire rice meal with main, two side dishes, a drink and dessert for a price of $10 to $15.
This is considered very affordable, as Peranakan dishes are typically priced higher up due to intensive labour and time needed to cook.
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm
Marina Square App Deal: 10% OFF selected Western and Pasta Ala Carta
Getting to Olive Vine may need some searching, as it is located at the basement of Marina Square.
Head over if you would like a fuss-free casual meal. The Western selection includes Curry Pork Cutlet ($9.50), Half Spring Chicken ($11.70) Roast Pork Ribs in BBQ Sauce ($18.10), Pork Steak with Rice ($9.50) Grilled Fish ($11.70) and Chicken Steak ($9.50) with pepper, mushroom or BBQ sauce.
There is also a wide selection of pasta dishes, from Spaghetti Meatball ($11.70), Spaghetti Al-Fungi ($10.60), Fettucine Carbonara ($9.50), Spaghetti Marinara ($12.70), Seafood Fettuccine in Cream Sauce ($12.70) and Mushroom Aglio Olio ($11.70).
All at wallet-friendly prices, even more attractive with 10% OFF. Top up $4.30, and you also get a additional standard drink, mushroom soup and dessert.
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm
Marina Square App Deal: 20% OFF total bill
Just Acia provides the best bargain for the buck, with a starting price of $3.10 for side dishes and $6.30 for its set meals which are generously portioned.
Its menu is wide-ranging, from the most popular Salted Egg Yolk Spaghetti w Crispy Chicken ($13.90), to Bibim Ramyeon Noodles with Spicy Chicken ($9.90), Bulgogi Beef Dup Bab Set ($9.90), Tori Katsu ($6.30), Fish and Chips ($7.90), Spaghetti Aglio Olio with Mushroom ($6.30), to Chicken Teriyaki Ramen ($8.90).
Do you know that ALL set menus also include the following… FREE FLOW of Coffees (Cappuccino, Café Latte, Café Mocha with Chocolate Ice Cream, etc), Soft Drinks and 8 flavours of ice-cream including the all-time favourite Double Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice-cream. WAH.
It has been a while since I last visited Seoul Garden. Known for its affordable buffet, Seoul Garden has evolved quite a bit, now with 2-in-1 grill and steamboat concept for different ways to indulge.
Get some of those Ginger Bud Marinated Fish, Spicy Chicken Bulgogi and Beef Bulgogi for the BBQ.
The two signature soup bases are Saengseon Tang and Kimchi Jjigae for a combination of non-spicy and spicy broths; while other choices include Tom Yum, Vegetarian Mushroom, Herbal Chicken and Ginseng Chicken.
While waiting for the ingredients to be cooked, you can also try the ready-to-eat food items such as Gimbap, Kimchi Fried Rice, and Japchae.
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm
Marina Square App Deal: $14.90 Lunch Buffet
Add $10.90++ and enjoy free flow of extended variety of premium top ups.
Additional $5.20+ for laksa soup base
$5 Suki e-Voucher (valid for 1st 100 shopper redemptions, till 28 Feb 2018)
Suki-Ya prides itself as the “House of Hot Pot”, designed to offer all-you-can-eat Sukiyaki and Shabu Shabu at affordable pricings.
What I like about Suki-Ya is that there is a healthy salad bar to pick your greens and other ingredients such as assorted meat and mushrooms balls and a variety of noodles; paper thin slices of chilled beef, pork and farmed chicken sent right to your table upon ordering.
For soup bases, I would suggest getting the rich, cloudy soy based Tonyu Miso, or deep-flavoured Black Garlic Soup.
The all-new Marina Square app: Pay less for more!
Download the app from App Store or Google Play, and enjoy close to 80 dining and shopping deals available exclusively.
Redeem these deals in 3 easy steps:
1. Step 1: Launch the all-new Marina Square app
2. Step 2: Click on “Deals”
3. Step 3: Redeem deal by scanning the QR code in-store
Other participating Marina Square Restaurants and Cafes include:
Astons Steak & Salad 03-145/146
Lunch Buffet from $12.90
Grilled Salmon Fillet at $24.90nett (original price $32.90, limited to 20 sets per day) for both lunch and dinner
Attap House 02-230A /231A/232
Hor fun @ $5.80 for a limited period only
1 for 1 pasta dish with any 2 beverages purchased
Dragon Bowl 03-129A
Peking Duck Set at $78++ (UP $98++)
Jia Xiang Kuching Resturant 02-220A to 222A
10% off total bill
Free Vanilla Soft Serve
Mei Heong Yuen Dessert 03-207
Menzo Butao 02-180
Ramen Lunch Sets from $15.90; Rice Lunch Sets from $12.90