SETHLUI.com | Food, Travel and Singapore Nightlife blog
Having a keen interest in eating, traveling and drinking, we cover everything from hawker food to premium fine-dining restaurants like Ku De Ta, Morton’s, Long Bar Steakhouse and so on. Above all, we try to give honest, balanced reviews without getting sued by restaurant owners. This is more than your average food and travel blog.
Within the borders of Singapore, the obsession with Don Don Donki seems to have spread far and wide.
Japanese goods are all the rage now, and I’m going to take this opportunity to introduce to the true OG of Japanese supermarts, Meidi-Ya.
Located in the basement of Liang Court in Clarke Quay, Meidi-Ya is a supersized Japanese grocery store that houses an almost ridiculous variety of both Japanese and non-Japanese goods. Things you won’t find in the average grocery store are aplenty here – a great number of which are snacks and tidbits.
I hope I’ve piqued your interest now; here’s a list of 10 awesome food and drink items you can find in Meidi-Ya.
— Snacks —
1. Tsum Tsum Gummies
You cannot tell me you don’t find Tsum Tsum adorable, because it’s a fact and as everyone knows, when something is a fact, there’s no alternative.
Anyway, fans will love these Tsum Tsum Gummies ($5.90), that not only come packaged in irresistibly cute Tsum Tsum-themed wrappers, but are also shaped to look like Tsum Tsum characters.
I couldn’t quite bear to eat my Minnie Mouse-shaped apple-flavoured gummy. But I hardened my heart and did it anyway.
I loved the texture of the gummy – it wasn’t soft and mushy (as are cheap gummies), but chewy and gelatinous. I wouldn’t say that the gummy didn’t taste artificial, but its flavour was quite close to fruit juice – which is as authentic as it gets.
Expected damage: $5.90
2. Krispy Kreme Jelly Beans
I squealed with excitement when I saw these, because how can you not want to pop a million of these in one go. And to answer the million-dollar question: yes, they do taste like Krispy Kreme donuts, well at least to me.
The packet contains a number of flavours, including Original Glazed, Cinnamon Apple, Chocolate and more. My favourite was the Original Glazed; it had all of the sugary, buttery goodness that is so characteristic to Krispy Kreme’s signature donut.
I must say, however, that some of my colleagues didn’t particularly enjoy the jelly beans, because they thought it tasted a little too artificial. I didn’t think so, but to each her own.
Expected damage: $4.35
3. Premium Instant Noodles
At Meidi-Ya, there’s a whole section dedicated to Japanese instant noodles, with a range of prices. You can pretty much find cheap instant noodles everywhere, so what really caught my eye was the premium instant noodles that you can’t quite find anywhere else.
Mentaiko Instant Noodles
There are options like Mentaiko Yakisoba, Spicy Miso Tonkotsu Ramen, Asakusa Yakisoba and much, much more. They’re perfect for when you want to feel a little fancy, right in the comfort of your own home.
Okay, this is ridiculously expensive, and I couldn’t bear to squander $21 on orange juice, but it’s here for your reference. This better be the orange juice that the gods drink on Mount Olympus, ‘else it won’t be worth it.
If you’re feeling like you deserve a really fancy treat, or if it’s a particularly hot day, then perhaps you could purchase a bottle of this premium orange juice, and tell me if it’s really worth the price!
Expected damage: $21
5. Fujiya Peach Nectar
Now, this truly tastes like the nectar that Greek gods drink. It’s infused with a wonderful peachy fragrance and carries a gentle, warming sweetness.
Its consistency is quite thick, and it comes with sweet peach bits. Drink it ice cold, and you’ll have a fruity, refreshing treat perfect for a hot day. Here’s a warning: once you start, you won’t be able to stop.
Expected damage: $6
6. Japanese Soya Bean Milk
Before you buy this, I’ll have to warn you that it isn’t your typical soya bean milk. This is pure soya bean milk; that means no sugar or syrup. If you like that sort of thing, then this is perfect for you.
Smooth and silky, this soya bean milk will glide down your throat, giving you a sensation of pure bliss. It’s incredibly luscious and aromatic, and very satisfying! Healthy too, considering it doesn’t have sugar.
Expected damage: $2.50
— Food —
7. Uni & More Uni
If you go deep into Meidi-Ya, you’ll enter a glorious section of fresh fish. Amidst this literal sea of fish, you’ll find a beautiful box full of uni (sea urchin). I’ve honestly never seen uni in such a great amount, until I chanced upon this.
Of course, you can’t expect something like that to come cheap. This particular box goes for $179, and only a true uni-lover, with the wallet to match his/her appetite, would fork out the money for this. Or perhaps if you’re hosting a major uni party, which if you do, I’d like an invite.
Expected damage: $179
8. Other Kinds of Sashimi
Most of us probably don’t have the budget for a box of uni, so here’s something a little more affordable. It still doesn’t come cheap, but it’s alright for the occasional treat.
Meidi-Ya houses a truly incredible selection of sashimi. I mean, truly incredible. It is sashimi wonderland. There’s everything from salmon to maguro to, as you already know, uni.
If you’re ever in need of beautifully fresh sashimi, then Meidi-Ya is the place to go!
Expected damage: $5 – $15
8. Fresh Bento Sets
If you’re not a fan of raw food, Meidi-Ya also offers a fresh bento section. You can order a bento from the rather extensive menu, and it’ll be made fresh on the spot!
Besides bentos, they also have other treats that might be more appropriate if you’re just looking for a snack. I had a pack of fried oysters that would probably have tasted much better had I microwaved it before gobbling it all up. But I must say that the oysters were incredibly juicy.
Expected damage: $7 – $15
— Cooking Ingredients —
9. Mentaiko Mayo
Here’s something that I believe will pique the interest of many. Mentaiko is all the rage now; it’s used in sushi, rice bowls, fries and even pasta.
Well, now you can own your own bottle of mentaiko mayo and drown your food in it any time you want.
I don’t quite know why mentaiko is so addictive – perhaps it’s that wondrous combination of spicy, salty and almost buttery – I just know that I want it on everything.
Expected damage: $10.90
10. Premium Miso Paste
I walked past an aisle full of miso paste and although I can’t read Japanese, the difference in price between some of these pastes was enough to tell me they carried everything from peasant-quality miso to really premium miso.
It doesn’t matter if you’re low SES or high SES, there’s a miso paste for everyone.
Expected damage: $5 – $15
Meidi-Ya Supermarket: 177 River Valley Road, #B1-50 Liang Court Shopping Centre, Singapore 179030 | Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Daily) | Tel: +65 6339 1111 | Website
For many wonderful, valid reasons, Singaporeans absolutely love Japanese food, and I’m no exception. But with all the ramen places already open across Singapore, it can get a little boring sometimes.
That’s why I’m happy there’s Konjiki Hototogisu in CHIJMES to spice up our lives! Awarded Tokyo’s Michelin Bib Gourmand since 2015, this is one noodle joint that ramen lovers shouldn’t miss.
The outlet in Tokyo only has eight seats — yes, that’s how exclusive it is. Of course, the Singapore outlet that opened in end-June 2018 is slightly more spacious.
With both counter seats and larger tables available, you won’t have to squeeze with others for that coveted bowl of ramen.
To start off the meal, every order of ramen snags you a bowl of complimentary Fukugawa Meshi (clam rice). This small portion of clam rice definitely helped to whet my appetite for the upcoming bowls of ramen goodness.
Easily finished in two or three mouthfuls, the fragrant rice and plump clams made me anticipate the ramen even more.
But first, our server taught us the correct way to enjoy ramen. We started off by cupping the whole bowl with our hands, so that we could feel its warmth.
Next, we breathed in the fragrance, and tasted the broth with different toppings. Finally, it was time to slurp up the noodles!
Konjiki Hototogisu is famous for their clam-flavoured broth with Hamaguri clams, so that’s one of the first few bowls I simply had to try.
The Shio Hamaguri Soup Signature ($14.90, $16.90 with ajitama add-on) came with white truffle oil and black truffle paste in the broth.
The clear and sweet broth also contained bacon bits and slightly nutty porcini flakes, which added even more depth of flavour to the dish.
I liked that the noodles were smooth but still slightly chewy, because as I munched on a mouthful of noodles and broth, the chewing brought out more complex flavours.
Each bowl of ramen also came with two slices of chashu, each cooked in a different way. There’s the traditional chashu that we’re used to finding in our ramen; a thick slice of tender pork belly.
And the other is a slice of chashu sous-vide in their house-made marinade. This was slightly more marbled and tasted a little like delicious soft bacon.
The main difference between the various dishes is the broth, while the noodles and chashu were consistently yummy.
The Shoyu Hamaguri Soup Signature ($14.90, $16.90 with ajitama add-on) had a slightly darker broth that was heavier on the palate. I actually preferred the shio broth over this.
The lighter broth featured the clam flavour more prominently, while I felt that the saltiness of the shoyu broth overwhelmed the sweet clam taste. But if you enjoy ramen broths that are big on flavour, you’ll like this shoyu broth!
Of course, every ramen joint worth their salt will have a decent Tonkotsu broth, and Konjiki Hototogisu is no exception.
Their Tonkotsu ramen comes with three different types of broth: Tonkotsu Original ($13.90, $15.90 with ajitama add-on), Tonkotsu Spicy ($14.90, $16.90 with ajitama add-on) and the more localised Tonkotsu Smoke & Pepper ($13.90, $15.90 with ajitama add-on).
I always measure the quality of a ramen shop by their Tonkotsu broth, and Konjiki Hototogisu certainly passed the test. Although it wasn’t as creamy as Tonkotsu broths you’d find in other ramen shops, this lighter clear broth still packed a flavourful punch.
The pork fats made the broth a little oily, but just gulp it down with some spring onions and you’re good to go!
The pork bone broth wasn’t overwhelming, and I liked that it complemented the noodles and chashu.
If you want a bit more kick in your bowl, try the Tonkotsu Spicy. The pork bone broth is enhanced with a generous dollop of spicy minced pork and beans, a much tastier alternative to the chilli oil that’s usually added.
The spice wasn’t too intense for me, but I felt that the addition of spice actually flattened the taste of the dish. It somewhat masked the rich flavours of the Tonkotsu broth, which was slightly disappointing.
I was interested to try the Tonkotsu Smoke & Pepper, a ramen creation by Chef Yamamoto that’s exclusive to Singapore.
Served with two sticks of burdock root and sprinkled with pepper, the broth was different from the usual Tonkotsu. Instead of pork bone, the broth uses smoked minced pork meat, which was probably why it reminded me somewhat of bak chor mee.
The minced pork meat is smoked with sakura wood chips, and tasted much like smoked duck or other smoked and cured meats. This was definitely a unique ramen broth, and you wouldn’t be able to find it anywhere else.
So if you’re looking for a really solid ramen joint, head down to Konjiki Hototogisu at CHIJMES. It’s hard to find quality ramen at such affordable prices, and if you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of Chef Yamamoto himself.
Hola! Welcome to La Cala! Situated on the first floor of DUO Galleria in Bugis, this Spanish restaurant is in an easily accessible location.
The endless rows of glass panels silently draw you in, tempting you to have a peek into the restaurant.
With soft music playing in the background and a gentle wood interior, this has to be one of the most comfortable restaurants I’ve been to, especially with the rustic wood interior.
The glass panels surrounding the establishment meant that ample amounts of natural sunlight could illuminate the restaurant.
As I snuggled into my seat, I was introduced to the head chef, who is in charge of bringing us through a gastronomical journey.
The first stop on our journey was the Jamon Iberico De Bellota ($26), where a slice of Iberico ham was placed atop lightly toasted bread and topped with chopped chives and olive oil caviar.
As I took a bite, I was amazed at how light and crusty the bread was. The salty Iberico ham was tender, complementing the soft olive oil caviar which gently popped in my mouth and released the aroma of olive oil.
Coca De Recapte ($20) is another tapas that comes with a crisp puff pastry, topped with caramelised onion, zucchini, and anchovies.
The sweetness from the caramelised onions and the saltiness from the anchovies harmonised perfectly, neither overpowering the other. The crisp puff pastry also gave the Coca De Recapte additional texture.
The Patatas Bravas ($12) was a bite-sized delight. The thin layer of lightly fried potato skin was crispy, and it wrapped around the creamy Mediterranean aioli sauce.
This dish was then garnished with some spicy red sauce, giving the Patatas Bravas a slight kick.
The moment I popped one of these treats into my mouth, I was hooked on it. Everything just seemed to blend effortlessly together. I loved how the creaminess of the Mediterranean aioli sauce was subdued by the crispy potato skin.
Served on an ocean-blue plate that looked like sea-glass, the Carabinero Prawn Carpaccio with Ceps ($24) was a dish that left me in awe.
A thick layer of deep-sea Mediterranean prawns was served together with generous portions of sea urchin and ceps (also known as porcini mushroom).
The Carabinero Prawn Carpaccio was sweet and fresh, which went well with the soft and creamy sea urchin. The ceps were lightly roasted, giving off a pleasant earthy flavour.
I would recommend enjoying it together with the biscuit for a contrast in texture, as this dish is rather mushy.
After the Canelon De Carne ($14) was served, the chef carefully sliced the black truffle onto the dish, being careful not to damage the $2,000-3,000/kg truffle. Yes, it’s that expensive!
The Canelon De Carne had a mixture of beef and pork filling, wrapped in a layer of thin pasta and doused with truffle cream sauce.
The filling was soft, with a texture that resembled shredded meat, and the black truffle flavour was actually surprisingly mild. The truffle cream coated the Canelon De Carne nicely, without making the pasta skin soggy.
The Lobster Paella ($70) came with an entire Boston lobster, together with carnaroli rice.
The carnaroli rice was brilliantly cooked, with a semi-firm crust surrounding the rice. Biting into it revealed its hidden softness, while the thick gravy contained bits of chopped capsicums and seafood.
The prominent sweetness of the fresh lobster made me wipe my plate clean of any trace of lobster. It was just that good!
The Crispy Suckling Pig ($35) was probably one of the best I’ve ever eaten. A small dollop of black garlic was placed beside the boneless Spanish suckling pig, and the dish was accompanied with a chunk of melon infused with beetroot.
The crispy skin simply sang to my senses, and the juice oozed out with every bite, tantalising my taste buds. This is one dish I will probably never get sick of eating.
To end off the dining experience, the refreshing Lemon And Cava ($12) hit the spot.
Served with crushed cava-infused ice, lemon sorbet, lemon cream, and bread pieces, this was one refreshing dessert.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t as sour as I thought it would be. The ice was sweetened by the cava, which countered the tartness of the lemon sorbet and the lemon cream. Have it together with the bread pieces in order to add a different texture to the dessert.
Dining at La Cala was a delightful and unforgettable experience. The excellent tapas, the fantastic mains, and the refreshing dessert, all added up to a great meal. Head down to La Cala to try it for yourself!
Expected Damage: $50 – 90 per pax
La Cala: 7 Fraser Street, #01-40/41/42/43, DUO Galleria, Singapore 189356 | Tel: +65 6282 9200 | Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 6pm – 10pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun | Facebook
While the mala craze has taken the island by storm, the aromatic chicken hotpot is a tasty alternative to be reckoned with.
Located on the ground floor of Heartbeat@Bedok, Fatbird 胖胖鸡 combines Chong Qin-style hot pots with the spicy dry wok preparation method.
The tables have plenty of space so you don’t have to worry about your hot pots clanging into each other.
There are even the cute booth seats so grab a few of your close pals and cosy up over a meal.
Ady, the manager at Fatbird, explained to us that many have the misconception that they serve mala hot pot buffets, but it should really be referred to as a Chicken Hot Pot Buffet ($14.80++) instead. While they do offer mala broths, the main star of the show is ultimately still the Chong Qin chicken pot.
Just to initiate you into the ordering process, it’s done in three simple steps: First, you get to pick your hotpot base (ranging from chicken to beef and even bullfrog!), plus there isn’t a limit to how many pots you get to choose, so go crazy with all the different types of broths!
Next, you pick your spicy level – mild (小辣), medium (中辣) and extreme (大辣).
Finally, choose as many toppings you want from the vast selection; you can expect pretty similar toppings to what you’ll find at mala hotpot stalls. The chef will then mix it all in and bring out your piping hot pot.
Before we began, Ady came over to ask if we could take spicy food, like really spicy food. We’re no strangers to mala, considering how every Monday is Mala Monday here at the office, so we confidently said yes. Nonetheless, the fact that he had to ask a couple of times did leave us a bit nervous.
We started with the Spicy & Fragrant Chicken pot base in medium spicy level (中辣) with various toppings that the chef picked out for us, but of course, you can always customise your pot.
There were generous servings of chicken chunks in the pot, and they were delightfully tender too. I don’t know about you, but there’s something about the mix of meat and veggies soaked in red hot sauce that’s so mouth-watering to me.
All toppings are mixed in straight into the pot when cooked, with the exception of chicken sausages, mutton slices and beef slices (which is what we had). Diners can still get the experience of cooking these meats on their own to the doneness of their choice.
As with usual sukiyaki style meats, the thin slices only need to be swirled in the broth for a while before they’re ready to eat.
The Bullfrog pot base came as a shocker to me because I’m not used to having frogs in my meals, but my colleagues let out a tiny cheer of glee. All I could think about then was that I was lucky to have them taste it for me so I dodged a bullet there.
But I guess it’s difficult to find bullfrog in spicy hotpot, so this will probably get frog legs lovers hopping in their seats.
This came with the extreme spicy level (大辣), which we boldly took a huge bowl of. I thought that the spice level was tolerable, but still got a kick out of it. However, if you’re the type that can’t stomach a McSpicy to save your life, the 大辣 isn’t for you.
I was amused at how their vermicelli was served in a knot, giving it an interesting bite. This made it a little difficult to eat though, and the springiness of the noodle strands wasn’t helping either.
As if those two pots weren’t enough to send us into a food coma, Ady came over with the third pot, the Herbal Chicken in Chestnut Soup, along with many more ala carte dishes.
We really loved the herbal chicken soup — it possessed the right amount of richness, yet didn’t have an overpowering taste of herbs (for those who shy away from ginseng). Plus, it’s a great break from the previous two tear-jerkingly spicy broths.
Commonly found in many Sichuan restaurants, these Spicy Chicken Cubes ($14) look rather innocent, but they can send you choking up from the spice (as did one of my colleagues from complacence), “it can’t be that spicy what,” he said.
Trust us, it is that spicy. Proceed with caution with this one, the spray of dried chillies on the plate should have already warned you. But if you’re up to the challenge, it gets shioker the more you eat it.
One of my favourites of the afternoon was the Century Egg with Chopped Green Chilli ($4.80). It was so addictive I think I single-handed finished three-quarters of the plate (oops).
The chilli oil kinda reminded me of spicy Sichuan wontons in red oil, also known as 红油抄手 in mandarin.
We were treated to a plate of Salted Egg Fish Skin ($8), which can be considered a must-have at Chinese restaurants.
The pieces were light, crisp and well-coated with the savoury salted egg sauce. It didn’t reek of any fishy taste either, for those who avoid the snack because of this very reason.
The Spicy & Fragrant Stingray Pot ($14) admittedly fell short of its illustration in the menu, seemingly underwhelming and a little unappetising because of the unfortunate plating.
Still, the stingray soaked up the sauce well and fell apart in our mouths quite easily. Let’s just hope that they figure out a truer way to recreate the dish represented on their menu.
The Chinese Spinach with Salted & Century Egg ($10) is no stranger to us, and some of us might recognise it at the zi char table during family gatherings.
It was overall pretty decent, but nothing in the bowl made it spectacular.
You can never go wrong with these Golden Fried Mantous, right? Part of the buffet menu, these pan-fried buns were absolutely yummy; so yummy that we had to order seconds.
It came with a side of condensed milk for dipping too. I gotta tell you, my scepticism was through the roof when my colleague said the milk was a really great condiment because mantous are meant to be savoury, are they not?
Unconvinced, I tried dipping them in every spicy sauce available at the table but none seemed to sit well with the mantou. Until I gave the condensed milk a chance and was immediately converted. The sweetness was well-balanced by the bun’s crispy coating — all without being jelak either.
While their ala carte menu didn’t wow us, their buffet is truly well-worth travelling to the East for (yes, even if you’re a Westie). You’ll get to enjoy their spicy offerings all for the price of $14.80++ on weekdays, and if that isn’t a steal then I don’t know what is!
Expected Damage: Buffet: $14.80++ for adults, $9.90++ for children, (Mon-Thurs); $17.90++ for adults, $9.90++ for children (Fri-Sun, eve of & PH)
Fatbird 胖胖鸡: Heartbeat @ Bedok, 11 Bedok North Street 1, #01-24, Singapore 469662 | Opening Hours: 10.30am – 12midnight (Daily); Buffet Hours: 12noon to 4pm, 9pm to 11:15pm (Daily) | Tel: +65 6284 0473 | Facebook | Instagram
We’re particularly excited for the Spicy Charsiu Ramen ($16.80), known to be one of their more popular bowls that packs a fiery punch.
So clear up your calendar on the 27 July and make your way to Uma Uma Ramen to get your ramen fix for less!
PS: We’ll be working with Uma Uma Ramen to host an Instagram giveaway! We will be giving away $30 Uma Uma Ramen (Forum Outlet) vouchers to five lucky winners. Head over to our Instagram page to find out how you can participate!
Prices: $7.50 – $8.50 per pax after discount
Date: 21 July 2018 (giveaway), 27 July 2018 (1-for-1 Ramen bowls)
Uma Uma Ramen: Forum the Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Road, #01-41/42/43 | Opening Hours: 11:30am–10pm (Daily) | Tel: +65 6235 0855 | Website | Facebook | Instagram
This coffee bar literally operates in a hole-in-the-wall; it was so inconspicuous that I just walked right by it the first time.
And it was only when I saw this board with the words “damn fine coffee” on it, that I took a step back.
Truth be told, upon entering Maxi Coffee Bar, we all paused and looked at each other. Oh, like that only ah.
It was such a small space (only 100 square feet!), yet it felt so cosy — it was as though I had stepped into a friend’s tiny one-room apartment.
The cafe is named after one of the owners’ dog, Maxi. Co-owners Denise and Bryne capitalised on the name to make a play on the words. They wanted to maximise what they could do with this small space and clearly, they were not restricted by it.
Just look at how they’ve gotten creative with the space! We loved it.
The duo met at a coffeehouse and hit it off almost immediately, sharing the same philosophy and passion for coffee. So much so that shortly after, Denise decided to quit her job as a lawyer to pursue her dream. And that marked the beginning of this humble coffee house.
The Iced Cereal Milk Latte ($7.50) was the first to catch our eye, so of course, we had to order it. Before mixing everything together, I decided to try out the cereal milk on its own.
The cereal milk is made in-house daily and it reminded me of Magnolia’s oat milk — but the siew dai (less sweet) version.
I mixed everything together and took a sip again. This time, I was confused. Other than the slight sweetness of the cereal milk, there was a tinge of saltiness as well.
Judging by my expression, Bryne explained that they added a pinch of sea salt to bring forth the sweetness of the cereal. I must say that it worked out quite well, and amongst the three cups, this was the fastest one to go.
Next up, we had the Coconut Cold Brew ($7.50). It was a refreshing blend of coconut water and cold brew (which have been brewed for four days).
The coffee beans used are the fruitier and less acidic Brazil Ethiopia beans — to suit the palate of the CBD crowd. As such, I felt that the addition of the wedge of lime was rather superfluous as it merely increased the acidity of the coffee, rather than enhancing its flavours.
Non-caffeinated options in the menu include Chocolate ($6) and Coconut Chocolate ($7.50). We tried the latter and found it fairly interesting.
Their chocolate’s procured from a local chocolatier, Fossa Chocolate, a small batch bean-to-bar craft chocolate maker. They melt the chocolate to make their own chocolate sauce, which is then stirred into coconut water before serving.
If you feel a little peckish, fret not. They have some pretty solid toasts as well.
The Miso PB Honey Toast ($6) is basically the zhng-ed version of your regular peanut butter toast. Think homemade roasted peanut butter with a hint of red miso on fresh sourdough bread, drizzled with honey.
Although the miso taste wasn’t very distinct, it blended well with the peanut butter, resulting in a very balanced sweet and savoury taste.
The texture of the sourdough bread is also worth a special mention. While it is crusty on the outside, it is less dense on the inside, resulting in a very light and fluffy texture of the bread.
I know what you must be thinking. “Yet another place with avocado toasts?” Yes. But I still think their rendition of Avo Feta Toast ($8) topped off with toasted pumpkin seeds and chilli flakes were still quite decent.
Once again, the main reason was probably the sourdough bread. That being said, I would definitely make a trip there again to try out their Ricotta Jam Toast ($6) and Vegemite Cheese Toast ($6).
To the caffeine junkies and coffee connoisseurs out there, you’d be pleased to know that their happy hours are from 11am – 1pm. Their filtered coffee will go for $5 instead of the usual $7.
This cafe would definitely make you want to get out of office for some brilliant blends and tantalising toasts.
For now, they plan on staying in this cosy little hideout of theirs. However, do stay up-to-date through their Instagram and Facebook pages as they have some pretty exciting plans in the pipelines. (They may be adding booze into the menu).
Expected damage: $3.50 – $8 per pax
Maxi Coffee Bar: Emerald Garden, 31 Club Street, #01-02, Singapore 069468 | Tel: 9831 5760 | Opening Hours: 8am – 5pm (Mon – Fri), Closed on Sat & Sun | Facebook
If you love the beach and food, head on down to Sentosa GrillFest 2018 from 13 – 29 July 2018, where you can feast on a 1km spread of food and drinks.
You can even watch the sunset with a glass of champagne in your hand and your toes in the sand! Here are 8 reasons why you should head down to Sentosa GrillFest 2018.
1. 1km-Long Spread Of Food
We get it, you are tired of the usual fairs selling the same type of food. Don’t worry, this event will have a wide and varied selection of food for you to choose from! International food? They’ve got it. Local food? Sure. BBQ delights and drinks? Sign me up already!
Look out for the Tom Yum Prawn Burger from Craft ‘B! Juicy and cooked to perfection, you can taste the freshness in every bite.
Credit – One Faber Group
If you’re looking for more local food, try the Lobster Hokkien Mee by One Faber Group. It’s a must-try for its flavourful lobster. If you like the heat, ask for more chilli!
2. Live Music & Roaming Entertainers
You can boogie down and show off your dance moves, or simply tap your feet to the live performances if dancing is not your forté.
Local acts such as The JumpStart, Pam Khi & The One Boy Band, and AnchorBlanc are set to serenade you at this event.
The JumpStart plays a dynamic range of songs, including hits of the ’80s to the top 40 hits of today. So bring your dancing shoes!
AnchorBlanc is a two-piece energetic band that sings Top 40 Songs with a twist of beatboxing. Who says Singapore is short of talent?
There’ll also be a drumming ensemble accompanied by stilt walkers dressed as chefs; what a great way to get your hype on!
3. More Than 100 Menu Options
Credit – Sentosa GrillFest 2018
There’s something for everyone at Sentosa GrillFest 2018. After all, there are more than 100 menu options to pick from.
This year’s event showcases Sentosa’s F&B establishments, budding young hawkerpreneurs and second-generation hawkers presenting their culinary masterpieces.
One of such is these crispy Patatas Bravas from FOC Sentosa that really hit the spot! Fried to perfection, these potato chunks were topped with generous dollops of mayonnaise and tomato sauce.
4. Curate Your Own Gastronomical Delights
In collaboration with ANGLISS, guests attending the Sentosa GrillFest will be able to curate and create their own seafood meal.
It’s simple; just pick and choose your choice of raw ingredients and hand it over to the chef who will prepare it on-site for you. Who says personal chefs are only for the rich and famous?
5. Exclusive Deals All Around Sentosa Island
While you’re at Sentosa, check out the exclusive deals at Siloso Beach Resort, Le Méridien Singapore and The Kitchen Table at W Singapore.
Credit – Siloso Beach Resort
Siloso Beach Resort serves up arguably the best burgers on the island. With succulent made-to-order patties and fresh local greens, the burgers are topped off with creamy mayonnaise.
They’re having a burger promotion, so go get your burgers with the choice of beef, chicken or fish at only $13.
Credit – Le Méridien Singapore
Le Méridien Singapore will be having an extensive Du-licious Discovery Buffet* ($80++ for adult, $40++ for child between 7 to 11 years old). Even better, quote “Feast at Sentosa” and one dines free with every three paying diners!
If you’re more of a brunch person, you can get 25% off total bill when you pay with Mastercard® at The Kitchen Table. Well-known for their brunch selection and service, you’ll surely leave with a big smile on your face and a stomach full of treats. Trust me, this is something you don’t want to miss.
*Available till 12 August
6. Over 120 Dining Options On The Island
Still hungry? Walk around the island and you’ll stumble upon restaurants to further satisfy your hunger.
Credit – SolePomodoro Trattoria Pizzeria
For wine lovers, SolePomodoro Trattoria Pizzeria at Quayside boasts an extensive selection of Italian and international wines to complement your meals.
Credit – Tanjong Beach Club
If you prefer to dip your toes in the sand instead, head down to Tanjong Beach Club and unwind by the beach with a drink while you’re there. Sounds like the perfect weekend getaway for you to leave the hustle and bustle of city life behind.
7. Exclusive Prizes To Be Won
Credit – ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove
Don’t we all love prizes? Here’s another reason you should come down to Sentosa GrillFest 2018: Sentosa is giving away 30 staycation sets of prizes for lucky patrons.
Win a 2D1N stay in the Hill View Room at ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove worth $258 (yes, breakfast is included). If you’re looking forward to a fun day out, the Adult Sentosa Day Fun Pass– PLAY 3 (worth $96 per pair) will keep your energy up.
Credit – ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove
All you have to do is spend $50 in a single receipt, and charge it to your Mastercard® from now till 12 August 2018.
Remember to submit original receipts from any Sentosa F&B merchants, outlets and/or restaurants. They have to be submitted with the Feast @ Sentosa Staycation Draw Slip into any of the Staycation Draw Boxes at Sentosa Station, Waterfront Station, Imbiah Station or Beach Station.
Psst, if you’re a Sentosa Islander member, you’ll get double the chance!
8. Insta-Worthy Photo Spots
Anyone who’s been on Instagram for long enough will know that twinkling fairy lights, sumptuous food and gorgeous sunsets make up the holy trinity for a good Instagram photo.
Snap away in between bites of this year’s latest selection, because with so much going on, there just isn’t any time to waste.
You’ll definitely want to jio your foodie kakis down for this food festival! Who else will help you take you OOTD and candid shots? Besides, sharing is caring, so share some of that foodie joy with your friends.
Who says Singapore is boring? Expect a long stretch of food stalls and live music on one of our beautiful beaches — sun’s out, smiles out, because good food is always a reason to smile.
Sentosa GrillFest 2018: Siloso Beach, Sentosa Island, Singapore (alight at Beach Station if you’re taking the Sentosa Express) | Facebook | Website
Star Army Stew & Korean Food at Ang Mo Kio Street 11 coffee shop is opened by two former Mediacorp celebrities, Cassandra See and Tang Miao Ling.
Once favourites on the big screen, they decided to come together to venture into the F&B scene.
Photos of other celebrities supporting Star Army Stew are pinned up on a board beside the stall. Who knows, you might just bump into one of them when you’re there!
We were initially sceptical as to whether the food would be good, because neither of them was chefs previously. We decided to give them a chance, and I’m glad I did.
We started off with some Duck Meatball ($4.90), which didn’t stand out much, looks-wise.
The Duck Meatball tasted similar to nuggets and I couldn’t really taste the gamey duck flavour. The good thing was that it wasn’t too oily. The lightly fried meatballs had a soft crust, though we felt that it would be better if it was crispier.
However, I found myself constantly reaching out to the bite-sized Duck Meatballs because it was surprisingly addictive.
The G-Pho ($4.90) is basically the Korean version of fish jerky. These thin yet chewy slices weren’t too sweet, and they were great for chewing on to satisfy my mouth as I waited for the food to arrive.
The Bibimbap ($4.50) looked and smelled really authentic. The price point was also very reasonable; it was priced even lower than the G-Pho and the Duck Meatballs.
The bowl was full of delicious ingredients such as mushrooms, carrots, kimchi, seaweed, gochujang (red chilli paste), and a gooey egg. As is customary, when enjoying bibimbap, we started mixing the bowl up.
The all-too-familiar gochujang fragrance filled the air, making our mouths water. According to the two lovely ladies behind Star Army Stew, the kimchi and gochujang are made in-house with secret recipes added into it to make it more fragrant.
The one thing we loved about the bibimbap was that it tasted rather mild, allowing us to taste the different ingredients in the dish, while also enjoying the gentle spiciness of the gochujang.
The egg yolk helped to hold the rice together, creating a delectable creamy texture.
What’s Star Army Stew without the Army Stew ($19.90)? The broth from this all-time-favourite Korean dish is also made in-house and strictly no MSG was used in making it.
If you’re a big eater who would like more ingredients in your Army Stew, you can add more ingredients such as rice cakes and dumplings at a small price, ranging from $1 – $2.90.
We waited for quite awhile before the Army Stew started to bubble and boil. The whiff of the hearty stew made us impatient for the lettuce, white cabbage, luncheon meat, pork belly and other assorted ingredients to be cooked.
The broth tasted gratifyingly healthy. While retaining the original savoury-sweet Army Stew flavour, the broth was pleasingly light and had a clean after-taste. We enjoyed it so much that we couldn’t stop stuffing ourselves with food!
Don’t forget to add in the instant noodles, if you’re feeling really hungry. The ingredients in the Army Stew was actually more than enough for us. But if you need to get your carbs, then slurp up those noodles.
After the meal, we sat down with Tang Miao Ling (right) and Yvonne (left), her business partner, for a short interview to find out more about Star Army Stew.
Why did you decide on Korean army stew and not other cuisines?
Two years ago, during a New Year gathering, we realised that there was a problem with catering food for my friends at the party. We wanted a fast and efficient way of feeding our guests, so we cooked Korean army stew and as it turned out, they really loved it. Soon after, the idea of setting up a Korean cuisine stall came about and we went for it.
With Korean cuisine being rather saturated in Singapore’s food scene, how do you stand out from the rest?
Affordability is one of our key selling points. We want to keep our prices low to cater to a wider range of customers since we are located in the heartlands.
Who is your target audience?
We wanted to target the younger crowd, but interestingly, we found that even the older folks are trying out our food. This is comforting for us because at least people are giving our food a chance.
Do you come down every day to man the stall?
For the first two months or so, we came down every day to set up and prepare the ingredients. We worked from morning to night, for roughly 14 hours a day! But nowadays, we usually come down in the evening after settling our respective activities in the day.
Fancy a meal cooked by celebrities? Have a taste of it at Star Army Stew. The huge wok of Army Stew will satisfy even the biggest eater. Don’t forget to spot these two celebs walking about!
Expected Damage: $20 – $30 per pax
Star Army Stew & Korean Food: Block 108, Ang Mo Kio Ave 4, #01-74, Singapore 560108 | Tel: +65 8322 0161 | Opening Hours: 1pm – 10pm (Fri – Wed), Closed on Thursday | Facebook
Sumo Big Prawn Noodle first took the country by storm when they opened in Ang Mo Kio back in September 2016.
Incorporating the use of other crustaceans into their signature bowl of prawn noodles, they offer premium ingredients such as lobsters and crayfish at affordable prices.
Being the first of its kind then, owner and Chef Desmond has outdone himself again. Just recently, in June 2018, Sumo Big Prawn Noodle added a new item into their menu — lobster steamboat.
An all-seafood steamboat with luxury ingredients like lobsters and crayfish in a hawker centre is the first of its kind in Singapore.
The Lobster Steamboat Set ($25) includes one lobster, two big prawns and a handful of clams on top of free-flow prawn broth. I’ve been addicted to the broth since they opened in 2016. And lobster steamboat for just $25? I’m sold.
We heard the broth had a tendency of getting too salty after being boiled with an excessive amount of seafood. Thus, we opted to add other items to give the broth more depth of flavour.
The vegetables definitely helped abate the saltiness of the broth and the beancurd skin was shiok, having absorbed a substantial amount of their signature prawn broth.
The frozen foods included a selection of cartoon character fish cakes and mushroom, lobster and meatballs. These are sold at $2.20/3pcs and is a great alternative for kids who have yet learnt to appreciate the luxurious, sweet meat of the crustaceans.
Although these were bought from an external vendor, we enjoyed the Salmon Egg Rolls that was basically a fishball with salmon roe oozing out. Being cooked in the prawn broth gave it an additional sweetness that fed my all-things-salmon addiction.
But all this goodness aside, the spotlight had to be the lobsters.
Alone, the lobsters are sold at $20 apiece. But I was slightly disappointed when I saw how small it was. Then again, for just $20 (while most restaurants sell it for $50 and up), I guess I shouldn’t have expected too much.
Size aside, the lobster was fresh and the rich, salty prawn broth complemented the sweet lobster flesh. Having shared one lobster with a friend, that half was not sufficiently satisfying but I was hesitant to break my bank and order another.
I comforted myself and indulged in the other seafood items. Amongst these were the standard few items available at most steamboat places, including prawns, scallops, clams and mussels.
Unwilling to splurge on more lobsters, we opted for the next best option — Crayfish ($3/pc). The crayfish was succulent and sweet and definitely went well with the prawn broth.
Available at a more affordable cost, we’d recommend the crayfish over the lobster as it doesn’t break the bank.
However, the Chang Shou (长寿) Clams ($7.80/3pc) came recommended by Desmond and we got our first taste of this unique clam. Not readily available, Sumo Big Prawn Noodle boasts of this rare gem they found in Japan that is usually sold for over $10 apiece.
These clams require minimal cooking. Just a few swishes in the boiling broth, a dip in their signature chilli, and it’s ready to go into your tummy. However, the minimal cooking meant the briny taste of the clams could still be tasted.
Overall, it is an acquired taste as most of my friends thoroughly enjoyed it.
To find fresh fish in a hawker centre is a rarity, much less Threadfin ($12.80/3pc) and Cod Fish ($10.80/3pc). While the prices are steep, the freshness is irrefutable.
The only gripe we had was that the strong taste of the broth was overpowering and the delicate taste of the fish was masked. Then again, it might have been due to the fact we forgot about the fish and left it swimming in the boiling broth for too long.
What I’ve loved about Sumo Big Prawn Noodle since its conception was the thick and rich broth. With no MSG used, the broth is boiled with prawn shells and pork ribs for hours, making it the ideal broth for a seafood steamboat.
However, with the abundance of seafood we had thrown into the pot, the broth grew too gao for my liking. But a request to add some hot water to dilute the overly-thick broth soon made it perfect for drinking once again.
In retrospect, the lobster steamboat is rather pricey for a hawker centre. However, when you think about what you’re actually getting — lobster and other fresh seafood items — the price is justified.
So if you have a personal preference for seafood and don’t mind splurging a little for a sumptuous dinner, the lobster steamboat has to be on your list of things to try. Available daily from 5pm to 11pm, grab your friends and head on down to Ang Mo Kio today!
Expected Damage: $25 and up
Sumo Big Prawn Noodle: Ang Mo Kio 628 Market & Food Centre, Block 628 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, #01-72, Singapore 560628 | Tel: +65 9299 2621 | Opening Hours: 9am – 11am (Mon to Wed, Fri to Sun); 9am – 8:30pm (Thu) | Facebook
Duxton Hill isn’t an area one would think to enjoy a fine dining meal at, given its reputation for bars and casual bistros.
At Xin Divine, however, you can not only treat yourself to the finer things in life, but the dishes boast a unique spin on Chinese cuisine as well.
Climb the stairs to the second level of the shophouse and you’ll find yourself in a dining area that only fits several tables, so your experience will be one of intimacy and comfort.
The menu is an eclectic medley of Chinese dishes — many originating from the Szechuan province — and classic European techniques. The results are recipes that have familiar flavours, but re-invigorated to give you novel gastronomy.
One of the starters that many will be able to resonate with is the Trio Of Dim Sum ($24) with Siew Mai With Scallop, Truffle BBQ Pork Pastry and Home-made Carrot Cake.
The pork pastry was very savoury and had an exceptionally crisp outer shell, making it a delightful appetiser.
But my personal favourite had to be the Siew Mai With Scallop, which had minced kurobuta pork, prawn paste and itty bits of ikura on top. The ikura gave a nice salty edge to the pork and the chewiness of the siew mai was very satisfying.
A classic Hot & Sour Soup ($14) is recommended should you feel like warming your belly, as it uses dried chilli for that amazingly spicy kick and incorporates flour and egg for thickening.
I especially favoured how earthy the soup was with its generous handfuls of wood ear mushrooms and could’ve easily gone for seconds.
Adapted from a common fish dish at many Chinese restaurants, the Fried Sea Bass With Chinese Cured Pancetta, Diced Shiitake And Edamame Hot Sauce ($32) is one to beat.
Flaky on the inside, the pancetta and edamame hot sauce rounded off the flavours with a salty-spicy finish that made this effortless to finish.
Chicken breast is easy to mess up, given how it can turn out dry at the hands of a novice. Here, the Half Spring Chicken Breast With Stir-fried Minced Pork, Carrot Creameux And Girolle Mushrooms ($38) was anything but.
The meat was fork-tender and the minced pork bits had a nice contrasting chew to the soft fleshy bird. What made this dish even more fulfilling was the luxurious texture of the complementary creameux.
The carb section of the meal is usually filled with pedestrian fried rice or noodles, but here, the Longevity Noodle With Seafood ($16) will make you re-think what makes a good noodle dish.
Littered with clams, prawns and pickled mustard greens, the broth was utterly umami and rich.
The noodles were cooked till bouncy and soaked up all the deep flavours of the broth, which made me wish a single portion came in twice the size. The seafood was really fresh and sweet, and there is honestly nothing negative I could possibly share about this dish.
When I saw that dessert was a simple Mini Glutinous Rice Ball With Black Sesame Filling ($12), I didn’t think much of it. Even a single glance at it didn’t inspire excitement in me, and that’s saying something, since I am totally a dessert person.
But one bite of it immediately made me change my mind. The warm gooey sesame middle was comforting and subtly sweet. There was a gratifying nutty aftertaste that made me want to gobble up the dessert, but the part of me that wanted to prolong the pleasure stopped me from wolfing it down.
The thing I always find about Asian food is that there is always an element of comfort, although I’m not sure if it’s an inherent trait or simply because it’s a cuisine that triggers familiarity and bias.
Although the food at Xin Divine is elevated and prepared using a different method, it certainly hasn’t lost any of its punchy and full-bodied flavours — and therein lies its timeless appeal.