Hakka Zhar Yoke (Deep Fried Pork) Recipe

This is one of the most deliciously addictive things you can do with pork belly!  Once it is ready, it would be hard to keep everyone from pinching a piece.  Sometimes it might not even make it to the dinner table!

The recipe is originally from Aunty Ruby, whose recipe has been published in Food Canon’s Recipe book: Mum’s Classics Revived.  I just modified it by frying the pork belly in slices as it makes for better presentation. I have had this style of Hakka pork belly at some zi char stalls and I feel it works well as I like to see the contrast between the crust and the meat.   If you are a stickler for tradition, you can cut the pork into cubes instead. In that case, the pork will be covered with the tasty crust on all four sides!

Pork belly 1 kg (Skin removed)

Red fermented bean curd (Nam Yee) 3 pieces
Five spice powder 1 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Sugar 1 Tbsp
Sesame Oil 1/2 Tbsp
Chopped garlic 2 Tbsp
Dark soy sauce 1/2 tsp
Egg 1
Chinese wine 2 Tbsp

Plain flour 4 Tbsp
Rice flour 2 Tbsp
Corn flour 2 Tbsp


1.  Remove the skin and slice pork belly into slices 1.2cm thick
2.  Process the marinade and add to pork belly.  Marinade overnight or at least 4 hours.
3.  Remove the pork belly and dust with flour.  Leave to rest for 30mins for the flour to absorb the marinade
4.  Fry at 180°C for 5 mins.  Remove and rest for 10mins before slicing.

Here are my notes:

1. The main ingredient in the marinade is red bean curd.   I have tried a few brands and the one in the middle is the most fragrant, although the cubes are a bit mushy. You should be able to find it at the wet market.  The one on the right is from NTUC.  It will work too if you can’t get your hands on my preferred one.

2. When you buy pork belly, try to get the section that is closer to the ribs ie nearer the head.  The lower part of the belly ie closer to the hind legs don’t hold together very well and the layers will sometimes just spread out.   Pork belly that is too lean will not taste right.  You do need a nice balance of fat and meat in order for it to have that irresistible bite and flavour!  I have tried many different types of pork belly in the market.  Fresh is of course better, but fresh Indonesian pork tends to be very lean nowadays.  You can still get ones with a nice balance of fat and meat but you need to look around the wet market. I got great results from chilled Australian pork belly which I bought from Giant.  The frozen pork belly that you can find at the supermarket shelves are cut too thin for this recipe.  You will need to remove the skin as it will be very chewy.

Before and after resting

3.  I have attempted this recipe a few times with different ways of cutting the pork and dusting the flour.  What you want is a light and crispy crust which is full of the flavour of the marinade.   The key here is to allow the flour to rest after dusting.  Don’t be overly concerned about the even-ness of the batter as an irregular coating will give you nice crispy bits.  If you don’t allow the flour to rest, then you will have parts where the batter is white instead of pinkish brown.  I have tried using a wet batter where I add the flour into the marinade and just adding the pork directly into the oil without extra dusting.  It produces a thinner crust which is not as satisfying.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


6 Bizarre Fried Carrot Cake Flavours You’ve Never Tried

For those who clicked on this article because you were intrigued by the “bizarre” fried carrot cake flavours, you are not about to be disappointed. No Signboard Prawn Noodles (confusing name, will explain further later) serves some extremely unorthodox carrot cakes. Mala? Tom yum? CHOCOLATE? Cheese? Black pepper? Luncheon meat? All available at a standard price of $ 4 per plate.


Fried carrot cake (more popularly known as chye tow kuay among Singaporeans) has long been a cornerstone of Singapore’s local food scene. If you have never tried chye tow kuay at least once in your life, what have you been doing??? You are missing out on some eggy, fried, crispy-yet-soft goodness!

According to William Cowper, a famous English poet, “Variety is the very spice of life. That’s what gives it all its flavour”. This certainly is true about the food scene as well. Without further ado, let me share with you how the unique chye tow kuay flavours at No Signboard Prawn Noodles fared.


Black Pepper Fried Carrot Cake:
At first, I was under the impression that the black pepper sauce was to be infused into the carrot cake. Hence, I was slightly disappointed when the owners scooped a gloopy black pepper sauce with mushrooms onto the cooked carrot cake in the wok. The black pepper sauce was slightly sweet and spicy, and sadly still a little cold. As the strong peppery flavour of the sauce was a tad overpowering, the black pepper carrot cake did not make it to my Top 3 chye tow kuay flavours. Rating: 3/10.


Cheese Fried Carrot Cake:
This one actually works quite well, with the creamy cheese sauce and fried carrot cake sharing a harmonious relationship. The cheese added a salty creaminess to the fried carrot cake, while the carrot cake provided a soft and starchy base for the cheese sauce to cling to. While one would expect a strong nacho cheese taste judging by the colour of the sauce, this cheese sauce surprisingly does not overwhelm the dish. Instead, the light and soft creaminess of the savoury cheese provided a lovely contrast to the crispy, charred bits of egg. Rating: 6/10.



Chocolate Fried Carrot Cake:
In theory, this should not work, at all. If Gordon Ramsay were here, he would be aghast and screaming at the horribly mismatched pairing. But in Singapore, far away from the wrath of Ramsay, I dare say that this absurd combination works! In essence, this chocolate carrot cake tasted like a very eggy chocolate cake. Most of the time though, the Hershey’s Chocolate Sauce was so strong that that’s essentially all you can taste. Here’s a tip for those unsure if they want to try this combination: Just think of it as a dessert. Rating: 5/10.


Mala Fried Carrot Cake:

Considering how rare it is to find mala carrot cake, I had to order this. I was pleasantly surprised by the fragrant mala aroma — it was almost akin to eating straight out of the mala xiang guo. Evidently, this was a popular flavour at the table as it was completely polished off. Rating: 7/10.


Luncheon Meat Fried Carrot Cake:
This is reminiscent of the luncheon meat and egg bread my dad used to pack for me when I was attending primary school. Considering that luncheon meat and egg is a tried-and-tested classic combination, there really is nothing much to fault here. However, despite its ability to evoke nostalgia, it is not exceptionally outstanding. Rating: 5.5/10.


Tomyum Fried Carrot Cake:
I did a double-take when my food was served, wondering if I had mistakenly ordered chicken floss instead of tomyum. That is, till i actually sat down and tasted the carrot cake. I’ve heard of chicken, pork and fish floss, but never tomyum floss. The tomyum floss was very unique, with a powdery “floss” texture, and a spicy sourness that complemented the fried carrot cake well. This was quite delightful. Rating: 5.5/10.

My favourite would be the mala chai tow kuay, followed by cheese and, Chocolate. The chocolate chye tow kuay earns bonus points for its ability to masquerade as both a main dish and a dessert. Also, it does take courage to mix sweet Hershey’s sauce with bold savoury flavours, so kudos to No Signboard’s owners for that. 


For those wondering, yes, No Signboard Prawn Noodles actually does sell prawn noodles. 2 years ago, the friendly owners of No Signboard decided to experiment with fried carrot cake, and realised that their “special flavours” of carrot cake were growing in popularity. As such, they decided to expand their prawn noodle stall, and currently occupy 2 stalls at this coffeeshop. Today, the fried carrot cakes have become more popular than the prawn noodles!



Those interested in trying these interesting flavours can follow the address in the description box below. However, I must warn you that No Signboard Prawn Noodles is rather difficult to find. Look out for the stall name “Noodle House” at Ubi 301’s coffeeshop. Look for the inconspicuous Black and Yellow “No Signboard Prawn Noodles” sign positioned directly below the stall name. If you are not observant enough, you will probably end up searching through each and every coffeeshop. Believe me, knowing how the sign looks like will really save you precious time.


In conclusion, while I would not say that the fried carrot cake at No Signboard Prawn Noodles is of excellent standards, it certainly is at least decent. 

MissTamChiak.com made anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.

Victoria Cheung

Victoria is a fun-loving 18 year old on the permanent hunt for mouth-watering, lip-smacking good food. She is also a travel enthusiast, sky aficionado, tea connoisseur and avid writer.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Miss Tam Chiak

8 New Clubs In Singapore To Keep Your Party Nights Lit In 2018

New Singapore clubs to party at in 2018


Image adapted from: WAN

The Singapore nightlife scene has recently said it’s farewell to clubs like Cherry, Kyo and Refuge. But don’t let that get you down because the partying isn’t gonna stop. In fact, long-time favourites like Zouk might now be seeing some serious competition!

With special draws from free-flow alcohol to even aerial acrobatics, these new clubs in Singapore will keep your nights lit like strobe lights. So gather up your clubbing crew; it’s time spice up your nights!

1. AVRY – birdcage-shaped VIP booths


Image credit: @elliotjamesinterior

If you perk up at the mention of Ultra Singapore, this one’s for you. Among the founders the new hotspot AVRY are two people in charge of the annual EDM festival.

Inside, large LED screens and swooping coloured lights illuminate the birdcage-shaped VIP booths and dance floor in this mega club.  Your remixes will also be coming from a world-renowned sound system by VOID that’s bound to get you grooving.


Image credit: @elliotjamesinterior

Some people prefer not to remember their nights out, but if you do, then make sure to try out their touch-screen video booth where you can create GIFs with your crew and email them to yourself for a memento.


Image credit: @insaneileen

Here’s a bonus photo op: their neon-lined, mirrored entryway is also the perfect spot for a shot – the camera kind.

Music:  Hip-Hop, R&B, ’90s and early 2000s EDM remixes
Cover charge: $ 35, comes with one free drink
Ladies night: Wednesdays. Reserve a spot on their guestlist on the website.

Address: 9 Raffles Boulevard, #02-02 Millenia Walk, Singapore 039596
Opening hours: Wed: 10PM-3AM | Fri – Sat: 10PM–4AM
Telephone: 9111 2868

2. 36 – Korean clubbing experience 


Image credit: @charming5

Say annyeong to 36, a new Korean-themed club that brings the nightlife of Seoul to Bugis. 

Resembling clubs from South Korea’s youth district Hongdae, this boutique nightspot has a badass vibe with graffiti-filled walls and colourful neon lights.


Image credit: 36 

The space is also a cosy one that can fit 250 people – perfect if you want to avoid the masses.


Image credit: @aaron_teo 

For a true-blue Korean clubbing experience, 36 has a resident DJ from Korea, Queenzell, to rock the nights there with a good dose of BTS and G-dragon.

To complete the night, order some soju bombs – a shot of soju dropped into a glass of beer – at the bar. 

Music: Kpop, Electro and Hip-Hop
Cover charge: $ 30 for males, with 2 free drinks. Free for females.
Ladies night: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday

Address: 36 Beach Road ,#02-02, Singapore 039596
Opening Hours: Wed & Fri: 10PM-3AM | Sat: 10PM-4AM | eve of PH: 10PM-4AM
Telephone: 8186 4088

3. WAN –  free entry and alcoholic bubble tea


Image credit: WAN

Visit WAN for a Hong Kong-esque clubbing experience complete with gigantic red neon signs such as “吃喝玩樂 (eat, drink, play, happiness)” and dragon projections all around.

As promised by its name play on the Chinese homonyms 玩 (play), 晚 (night) and 碗 (bowl), WAN also offers everything you need for a great night out in one spot with an electric dance floor and outdoor gastrobar with creative eats.


Image credit: WAN

Here’s some good news: entry is free for everyone! But you would have to make a reservation first by dropping them a call. Ladies can also sign up for the guest list via the club’s Facebook events page for extra benefits such as free drinks.


Image credit: WAN

For dinner or pre-drinking, there is an alfresco gastrobar, WAN Bar + Kitchen, that opens from 5PM till late every Monday to Saturday, serving creative booze and grub like alcoholic bubble teas ($ 18) and Jajang Bomb Fries ($ 14) – an Asian take on poutine, with fries doused with mozzarella and sweet black bean sauce.

P.S.: Make sure you dress to impress, because the management is very strict about the dress code. Avoid wearing berms, sports shoes, or anything too casual.

Music: Hip-Hop and Classic Pop
Cover charge: None
Ladies night: N.A.

Address: 3 Temasek Boulevard, #01-434, Suntec City North Wing, Singapore 038983
Opening Hours:Wed & Fri: 10PM-3AM | Sat: 10PM-4AM
Telephone: 9171 2179

4. MAO – oriental-themed bar-club with booze at $ 8 nett 


Image credit: @charlottececile

Cherry Discotheque might be gone, but that team behind it didn’t leave us hanging with nothing. Enter MAO, an oriental bar and club near Telok Ayer. Complete with rows of dimly lit red lanterns and a scarlet colour scheme, this underground space gives off a sultry vibe.


Image credit: MAO

The music here is dynamic with different genres playing each day. Thursdays are for busting out your moves with R&B and Hip-Hop, Fridays with Basement Soul from international acts and Saturdays with Techno and House.


Image credit: MAO

But the best thing about this club has got to be their alcohol offers. From an affordable $ 8 nett, you can get Asahi Draft Beer and house pours at MAO’s Kitchen from 5PM to 12AM, from Mondays to Fridays.

Thursdays are the best time for ladies to hit this club because you’ll get free entry and complimentary free-flow drinks.

Music: Disco, Funk and Hip-Hop
Cover charge: $ 20 (females) / $ 25 (males), comes with one free drink. Free entry before 12MN.
Ladies night: Thursday. Comes with complimentary free-flow drinks from 10PM to 1AM

Address: 133 Cecil Street, #B1-02 Keck Seng Tower, Singapore 069535
Opening hours:Daily: 5PM-12AM (Bar) | Thu – Sat: 10PM-4AM (Club)
Telephone: 9740 7470

5. D’underground – Orchard Road club with old-school games 


For the best of dancing, drinking, and fun party games, head to D’underground. This all-in-one entertainment space is just a few minutes’ walk from Orchard MRT. 

D'underground games

On top of beer pong, there are games like air hockey and Pirate Roulette to add more excitement to your drinking sesh. 

To fuel yourself up to play, pop by from Tuesday to Saturday from 6PM-9PM for free flow drinks from $ 15!

D'underground snacks

Ladies, plan your Girl’s Night Out around this club on Wednesdays because you’ll get free entry and unlimited drinks.

Read out about our experience at D’underground here.

Music: Trance, Techno, Jazz
Cover charge: from $ 20
Ladies night: Wednesday, before 12.30AM, comes with free flow drinks

Address: 360 Orchard Road, #B1-00 International Building, Singapore 238869
Opening Hours:Tue – Thu: 6PM-3AM | Fri – Sat: 6PM-6AM | Sun: 4PM-2AM (Closed on Mondays)
Telephone: 6737 6269

6. Bar Rogue – 2-storey club with acrobatic performances

Bar Rogue 2-storey dancing cages

Image credit: @barrougesingapore

Originating from Shanghai, Bar Rouge raises the bar – pun intended – for nightlife in Singapore. Perched on the 71st storey of Swissôtel The Stamford and topped with performances throughout its 2-storey-high space, this is definitely one for the extravagance.

Bar Rogue aerial acrobatics

Aerial acrobatics.
Image credit: Bar Rouge

If you haven’t had enough of the acrobatic stunts from The Greatest Showman, make sure you hit up Bar Rogue because unlike the usual club, this one has aerial acrobatic acts above you!


Club washrooms generally do not have a very good rep. But hey, the ones here certainly are amusing with these Singlish neon signs.
Image credit: @michael_gurunathan

Ladies night here is set on Thursday, with free entry and free-flow drinks for ladies from 10PM till 1AM.

Music: Open Format
Cover charge: $ 25 with one free drink
Ladies night: Thursday

Address: 2 Stamford Road, Floor 71 Singapore
Opening Hours: Tue & Wed: 6.30PM-2AM | Thu: 6.30PM-4AM | Fri & Sat 6.30PM-5AM
Telephone: 9177 7307

7. Baliza – opens late till 6AM

Baliza dance floor

Image credit: Baliza 

If you love Attica at Clarke Quay, check out Baliza, which is brought to you by the same founders. With the doors closing at 6AM, you will be able to dance the whole night away here – and catch the first MRT train home.

Featuring 2 large dance floors – the Main Room and VIP Suite – this is the place for those who love to get hyped up with a crowd.


Image credit: @balizasg 

From Thursday through Saturday, click “going” on their Facebook page to get free entry before 12AM. Ladies night is on Wednesday as usual, but here’s a lil’ upgrade: Instead of the usual house pours, you’d get free flow champagne and unlimited chocolate fondue – great for fuelling any hunger pangs that ring throughout the night.

Music: EDM and Hip-Hop
Cover charge: from $ 28, comes with one house pour
Ladies night:Wednesday, with free flow rose champagne

Address: 6 Raffles Boulevard, #01-04, Singapore 039594
Opening Hours: Wed – Sat: 10PM-6AM
Telephone: 6883 1155

8. Peaches – LGBT-friendly club with alcohol buffets 


Image credit: @Peaches

LGBT-friendly club Peaches is a new hangout that has taken over Cherry’s space with it’s neon lights, raw unpainted walls, and remixes on 90’s pop music perfect for singing – or yelling along – to.


Image credit: @yourstrulyvandamissjoaquim 

If that ain’t enough, there are also occasional drag queen performances and competitions to spice up your night. Check out the schedules on their website.


Image credit: @booboorian 

Alcohol lovers, heads up: Peaches occasionally holds an alcohol buffet party ($ 35) from 10PM-11.30PM on Fridays, available only to the first 100 people per night.

Psst. if you are an NSF or a student, there’s free entry before 11PM.

Music: EDM, Old School Pop and R&B 
Cover charge: $ 20 (student and NSF) / $ 28 (regular), comes with free drink. 
Ladies night: N.A.

Address: 21 Mount Elizabeth, York Hotel, Singapore 228516 
Opening hours: Wed, Fri & Sat: 10PM-3AM
Telephone: N.A.


Bang Bang (revamped) – free entry and CO2 smoke guns

Bang bang dance floor and CO2 gun

Image credit: @bangbang_sg

After going through a revamping process, Bang Bang is back at it again, this time with the elimination of cover charge for everyone. Yes clubbers, your dreams are coming true; it’s the first club in Singapore to offer free entry for both ladies and gents.

This new version is heavy on the glitz and glamour with giant diamond-shaped cages framing the podiums and mirrored ceilings. Bang Bang takes their name seriously, so there are even tables equipped with CO2 guns for you to shoot out some smoke like a baller.


Image credit: @bangbang_sg


Image credit: @bangbang_sg

On top of the F.O.C entry, ladies can also sign up for the guest list for express entry and a complimentary drink before 12.30AM.

Music: EDM, Hip-Hop
Cover charge: None
Ladies night: N.A.

Address: 7 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square, Singapore 039595
Opening hours: Wed: 10PM-5Am | Fri & Sat: 10PM-6AM
Telephone: 8127 2808

Tuff Club (opening in April 2018) – pop up club in a Chinese restaurant

Organised by a group called The Council, known for hosting wild pop-up parties everywhere from rooftops industrial warehouses, Tuff Club will be open for partying in April and will only be around for 3 short months.

Tuff club

Image credit: Tuff Club

Inspired by Trim and Fit (TAF) Club from the old primary school days, Tuff Club’s slogan is “It’s leg day everyday at Tuff Club, so why run when you can dance?” Here, everything is carefree – even the dresscodes, where comfy sneakers are the recommended kicks to don.

Its exact location and opening date is still a secret at the moment – the only hint given was “a Chinese restaurant in the CBD” –  but you can sign up for first dibs on their webpage to make sure that you don’t miss out on anything.


New clubs in Singapore for a wild night out

If all the classic clubs are ”been there, done that” for you, make sure you check out these fresh hot clubs for a great night out. These new kids on the block are certainly worth a visit with their intriguing concepts and great music scene.

Also watch us on TheSmartLocalTV!

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Latest blog entries – TheSmartLocal


Ramen Teh: A Singaporean/Japanese Foodie Film

I have been writing this blog for 12 years now and it has been such a blessing for me.  Through it, I got featured in various newspapers and magazines, published a few books, went on overseas speaking tours and even hosted a TV series!  I said to my wife a few years back that the last item on my bucket list would probably be to work on a Singaporean foodie film!

Soon after that, I got the call from film director, Eric Khoo, to meet up for lunch.

Being lovers of hawker food, we met at Sixties Teochew Traditional Minced Meat noodles in Tiong Bahru where he shared with me his idea of making a Japanese/Singapore film that will showcase our culinary heritage.  The Japanese connection came through a collaboration with Yutaka Tachibana, a Japanese film producer whom he met a few years earlier.  The idea was to produce a film to commemorate 50 years of diplomatic ties between Japan and Singapore.

Eric floated the idea of a dish which would bring together Ramen and Bak Kut Teh, which he originally called “Ramen Bak Kut Teh”,  and asked if I thought it would work? I was initially a little skeptical, but there really was only one way to find out!

We headed to The Eureka Cooking Lab where my friend Jason made us the prototype Ramen Bak Kut Teh.  Jason teaches professional Ramen classes and also distributes Japanese noodle machines in Singapore and was the perfect person for the job. He combined freshly made ramen noodles in a peppery bak kut teh broth and it was quite clear to everyone that the idea would work quite well!  (In case you want to have a taste of it, Chef Keisuke Takeda’s version of Ramen Teh is now available from Keisuke Tokyo, Suntec City till end Apr 2018)

The original story line was based loosely on the real life story of Ah Hoe Mee Pok, and tells the story of a middle aged Japanese man who entered the hawker trade in order to continue living in Singapore after the company that employed him planned to send him back to Japan!  From there, the script evolved and, after many re-writes, came to be the story of a young Japanese Ramen cook who travels Singapore to seek out his roots!

My role was to contribute to the history of various hawker dishes as well as highlight aspects of our culinary heritage.  I am glad that there will be a scene from the movie that will showcase the tradition of having  Kong Fu Teawith the bak kut teh.  Sadly this is something that younger Singaporeans don’t even know about, so I hope that it will make it hip again among a new generation of Singaporeans!

My other contribution was to get grandma written into the script!  Some of the most memorable food moments for me were scenes from the the TV series “The Little Nonya” where the Zhor Zhor (played by Li Yinzhu ) was frequently stoked into to gastronomic ecstacy by dishes cooked by Yueniang and I really pushed Eric to include a grandma into the script.   I was also cognizant about the generation of Singaporeans who still remember the Japanese for their wartime atrocities and felt that these sentiments were best fleshed out in the film instead of being swept under the carpet.

It’s been a great honor to be part of the film and I want to thank Eric Khoo for the wonderful opportunity to work on it. I  can’t wait to watch it!  The film opens in Singapore on 29th March.  Make sure you don’t go on an empty stomach!

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


You Can Get PUMA's New Suede Bow At This Pop-Up Truck 1 Month Before Its Launch

The New PUMA Suede Bow

PUMA - shell pink suede bows

You’ve seen the PUMA’s classic Suede shoes at its cutest with last month’s Hello Kitty collection. Now, PUMA is rolling out the all new Suede Bow in two new colours, chic black and vibrant shell pink, for all the girls to rock. 

And for all you fashionistas who want to be ahead of the style curve, listen up. Though they’re officially dropping the collection only in late April, you can get these new kicks a whole month before everyone else at a special pop-up store at Orchard. 

But first, here’s a glimpse of these sweet sneaks: 

PUMA Suede Bow in Shell Pink

PUMA - shell pink formstrip

Flaunt the eye-catching Suede Bow in Shell Pink. Yes, this pair in bright coral pink will definitely brighten up any closet. And if you’re looking for statement shoes, the glimmering pink satin bows and formstrips on these kicks will steal the spotlight with their bold, playful style. 

PUMA Suede Bow in Black

PUMA - black suede bow

If you’re looking for a pair of shoes that’d pair well with all your outfits, the Suede Bow in Black is a great option. The classic colour compliments the slim design of the shoe, so you’ll look chic strolling down any street, and the gold lettering on the tongue and side of the shoe stands out effortlessly on the black base. 

PUMA - black satin bow

These satin bows will add a touch of fancy to usually casual sneakers! 

Get your pair of Suede Bows at the PUMA Pop-Up Store

PUMA - suede bow on display

If you’d like to own a pair of these pretty shoes, swing by the PUMA pop-up store, in the form of a black truck parked along Orchard Road with PUMA Suede 50’s gold logo displayed prominently. 

Get your PUMA merchandise at the nearby Robinsons, and with a minimum purchase of $ 50, you’ll be able to receive a free PUMA drawstring bag. Buying any pair of Suedes from the store will also snag you a free suede cleaner!

PUMA - customisation contest

Aspiring designers and hipsters, here’s your chance to get a unique pair of shoes that’ll set you apart from any store-bought kicks. Simply participate in the Suede customisation contest, where you’ll be able to create your dream designs on an iPad – the best design will win a pair of PUMA Suede shoes with their own design on it, so let your creative juices flow!

PUMA - Charlie Lim

Look out for a total of 38 collaborations with global brands, including the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, MCM and Michael Lau, that will be showcased in the truck. Apart from these international stars, PUMA’s 11 collaborations with some of our very own local artists, including talented singer-songwriter Charlie Lim and celebrity hairstylist David Gan, will also be on display at the pop-up truck. 

PUMA - #foralltime

There will also be an insta-worthy #FORALLTIME lightbox for you to take pictures with after viewing the celeb-designed Suede shoes on display.

Join in the celebrations for PUMA Suede’s 50th anniversary

PUMA - pop-up truck

Get your new kicks at the pop-up event before they’re all sold out – this is the time to show them off, while everyone is still wearing their overworn plain white sneakers.

PUMA is collaborating with established artists across Southeast Asia, including those from Singapore.

Date:17th – 18th March 2018

Location:260 Orchard Road, The Heeren, Outdoor Atrium

This post is brought to you by PUMA.

Also watch us on TheSmartLocalTV!

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Latest blog entries – TheSmartLocal


Buffet review : Ellenborough Market Café at Swissotel Merchant Court

Buffet review : Ellenborough Market Café at Swissotel Merchant Court

Ellenborough Market Café at Swissotel Merchant Court is popular for its modern Peranakan cuisine and the famous Durian Pengat. 

The buffet has a wide spread of choices, from seafood on ice, sushi, local / international dishes to salad, desserts and pastries with a section specially catered for their signature Peranakan cuisine.

The day of visit happened to be within the Lunar New Year celebration period and special Chinese new year LoHei and desserts were prepared for the occasion. Of course, we never missed the opportunity to have another round of Lohei. 

In general, food at Ellenborough Market Café were fairly good, we cannot single out a dish that we had tried was unsatisfactory.

At Ellenborough Market Café, the highlights was their signature Paranakan cuisine, one of the quintessential dishes has to be the Ayam Buan Keluak, a dish embedded with the essence of the Baba’s cooking traditional and flavour. Other dishes were equally good like the Achar – the preserved mixed vegetable pickles or Ayam Pongteh – a savoury / sweet enthralling meatball soup, DIY Kueh Pie Tie etc were commendable and worth to try, we truly enjoyed the authenticity of the Panarakan flavour here.

Burp…burp…..l! No matter how stretched of the stomach with full capacity, do not miss out the  dessert counter, from the delectable Chinese Cheng Tng, Ah Balling to the famous Durian Pengat, it complemented perfectly well to the main course.

One item worth to mention was the fried Nian Gao, a special Chinese dessert that ususally available during the Lunar New Year period, the Nian Gao was sandwiched in between the sweet potatoes and deep fried with flour for a perfect crisp coating and balanced sweetness, one of best Nian Gao we have tasted so far.

 Our verdict 

Ellenborough Market Café at Swissotel Merchant Courtis definitely a place good for the buffet goers based on the food standard and the price. Do reserve some space for their Peranakan cuisine which is their signature dishes of the café during your visit.  


Price: S$ 52 per person for lunch as of Feb 18, on weekends and eve of, and on public holidays.

* Prices are subject to 10% service charge and prevailing government taxes.

A: 20 Merchant Road, Singapore 058281

T: 62391847/1848

E: dining.merchantcourt@swissotel.com


Let’s block ads! (Why?)

I Eat And Eat


Ri Ji Porridge: Steamed cooked congee

I have been blogging for twelve years now and I thought I had seen it all.

In the early days, a lot of hawkers were highly suspicious whenever I try to interview them, but as blogging and social media marketing got more popular, many hawkers have become media savvy and it has been easier to talk to them.

There are, of course, those who still shy away from the media spotlight.  These stalls are usually already very popular and don’t wish to have the extra publicity for fear of bigger crowds.  Song Kee Fishball noodles and Kuthurar briyani were two of my most recent encounters.  I usually don’t get too flustered.  After all, they are just trying to do their business and it is really none of my business to get in the way.  I do get frustrated of course, because when I discover a stall worth recommending, I’d want to be able to say a little more than just “Oh, the food here is awesome!”.

But, this stall really took it to the next level! The lady at the counter was friendly enough at first, but refused to answer any of my questions, and kept insisting that she didn’t know anything, even basic things like opening and closing times and when the boss will come to the stall!  Her colleagues were even worse and would not even respond to a friendly greeting!

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a rant.  I am still recommending that you go try the food at the stall.  As a customer, you would probably won’t feel any difference in the service.   I am just relating a rather interesting experience I had.  In fact, I had a good laugh with my lunch kaki when I got back to the table.  It’s one thing to be told to get lost but quite another to get completely ignored!

Fortunately, I did manage to talk to the owner who had responded to my Instagram post.  The owner, Eric Wong, 34 was extremely apologetic and helpful.  He had taken over the stall from his father, Mr Wong Ah Kit, 2 years ago when the latter had suffered a heart attack and was forced to retire.  Mr Wong had started the stall in 1979 along Waterloo street before moving to its present premises in 1984 and Eric felt that it was his duty to keep his father’s legacy alive.

The young entrepreneur actually owns other businesses which is why he is not at the stall full time. He would come in at 3pm to cook the porridge and marinate the meats for the next day.

Since taking over the business, Eric has been looking for new ways to improve on the consistency and quality of the food.  He introduced a new porridge cooker 8 mths ago which uses steam to cook the porridge.  The process starts with the addition of rice to a stock and then steam is bubbled through the rice overnight to produce a smooth congee.   In the old days, the porridge had to be constantly stirred with a wooden paddle and the texture is highly  dependent on who is doing the cooking.

I found the porridge to be quite satisfying.  It had a thick and smooth consistency and the meats were well marinated and seasoned.  The only thing that was a let down were the quality of the you tiao which were thick and doughy.  I had the pork and century egg version whiles my friend had the cuttlefish and both were very good.  4.25/5

What I found was really special was their chee cheong fun!  Their version comes with a scoop of crunchy topping made from shallots and hae bee (dried shrimps) which really brought the umami level up a few notches. Eric tells me that their sweet sauce is also made in-house from a recipe handed down by his mother.  It really is one of the tastiest things you can buy in Singapore for $ 2!  4/5/5


Great place for a satisfying bowl of congee and the crispy hae bee topping really makes their chee cheong fun stand out from the crowd.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


House of Li Xiang – Fancy Some Affordable Mee Rebus for Lunch?

The owner owns not one, but three stalls under the name “House of Li Xiang”.  We were here to visit the stall which sells ONLY mee rebus and mee siam. We hear it’s really cheap!

noods and meat-3

noods and meat-8

My favourite of the two dishes is the Mee Rebus (small $ 2.50, large $ 3). For starters, the gravy was seasoned adequately.  The lovely sweet and savoury notes won me over. There’s something about yellow noodles soaked in a viscous and lumpy gravy that makes me drool. Don’t expect the sauce to be out of this world though. 

noods and meat-9

noods and meat-7

The dish felt complete. I loved that there was a good amount of thinly sliced tau kwa, and not too much bean sprouts. Remember to sweeten the boiled egg with a drizzle of sweet dark sauce. If I were to state one complaint, it would be that the chilli paste could have been made spicier. For $ 2.50, I’ll say that the mee rebus was pretty good.

noods and meat-4

The Mee Siam (small $ 2.50, large $ 3), on the other hand, leaves much to be desired. My team found the dish satisfying, while I didn’t think too highly of it. The smooth gravy had a good sweetness and tanginess, but it lacked that oomph factor.

noods and meat-5

Perhaps, what was missing was that prominent sourness and spiciness that you get with good mee siam. Nevertheless, the flavour of the gravy paired nicely with the cut up white vermicelli. Sadly, the mee siam became jelak after a couple of mouthfuls.

noods and meat-6

If you’re a fan of hae bee hiam, you’ll probably swoon over this bowl of mee siam because the fragrance of  dried shrimp is very distinct.

noods and meat

It’s cheap and it’s tasty, so what’s not to like? House of Li Xiang is an excellent place to grab lunch, especially if you’re craving for good and unpretentious hawker fare. Come prepared with a huge appetite and empty stomach as the portions are huge. You can patronize their beverage stall for some soya bean too.

Address: 162 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, #01-17 Mayflower Food Centre, Singapore 560162

Opening Hours: 8am to 2pm daily.

MissTamChiak.com made anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.

Let’s build a food community that helps to update the food news in Singapore! Simply comment below if there’s any changes or additional info to House of Li Xiang. We will verify and update from our side. Thanks in advance!

Sean Ng

Battling perpetual food coma while indulging in a menu that fills both the stomach and soul.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Miss Tam Chiak

10 Heartland Nail Salons For Affordable Mani-Pedis In Singapore Without Crazy Waiting Lists

Cheap manicures at neighbourhood nail salons in Singapore

cheap nail salons in singapore

Image credit: Shugar Spa

We all need a little pampering once in a while, and what better way to go about it than getting the princess treatment with a manicure. But with popular nail salons in town having their schedule packed for months to come, it’s pretty impossible booking a last-minute appointment. Besides, dressing up your digits comes at a price.

As an alternative, here are some nail salons in the heartlands where you can walk in to get a last minute fix, all at reasonably affordable prices. Some may even just be a stone’s throw away from your block!

1. Twenty Nails – Toa Payoh

best cheap and good nail salons in toa payoh

Image credit: Vaniday

Get all your twenty nails done at Twenty Nails. Boasting a chic interior design and curtains at each station for privacy, you will feel completely at ease thanks to both the ambience and price. Get an express manicure and pedicure at $ 15 each, and an express gelish manicure and pedicure at $ 35 each.

cute unicorn nail designs manicure singapore

Image credit: yelp

Address: 450 Toa Payoh Lorong 6 – #01-02, Hersing Centre Toa Payoh,  Singapore 319394
Opening Hours:  Mon – Sat: 11AM – 9PM Sun: 11AM – 8PM
Telephone: 6258 1861
Nearest MRT: Toa Payoh (5 min walk) 

2. Fancy Nails Paradise – Tampines

fancy nails paradise best nail salons in tampines

Image credit: Vaniday

Fancy Nails Paradise’s plush oversized armchairs and girly pastels are reminiscent of the kind of decor you’d find in a Barbie dollhouse. Enjoy an express manicure for $ 10, express pedicure for $ 15 and their express gelish manicure for just $ 25

sakura nail designs singapore nail salon

Image credit: @fancynailsparadise

Address: 139 Tampines Street 11 #01-56 Singapore 521139
Opening Hours:  Mon – Sun: 10AM – 8PM 
Telephone: 9778 5712
Nearest MRT: Tampines West (12 min walk)

3. Nourish Naturally – Marymount

nail salons that use natural ingredients singapore

Image credit: Yelp

All nail treatments at Nourish Naturally are highly personalised, and natural ingredients are used in their manicure and pedicure treatments. There are non-toxic nail polishes available as well, so your little princess can join you in dolling up. With an earthy toned-interior, this relaxing Thomson Road salon will have you seemingly transported to a resort spa in Bali. Manicures start from $ 12, and pedicures from $ 15

Address: 215 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574349
Opening Hours:  Mon – Wed: 1PM – 9PM Fri: 11AM – 9PM (Note: Thursdays are reserved for appointments only) | Sat, Sun and Public Holidays: 10AM – 7PM 
Telephone: 6458 3286
Nearest MRT: Marymount (10 min walk)

4. iNails Culture – Ang Mo Kio  

best and most affordable nail salons in singapore

Image credit: Vaniday

While this no-frills salon is not the closest to the MRT, it’s probably got the best deals on our list. Their services come at no frills prices as well – express manicures at $ 8, express pedicures at $ 12 and both at just $ 15! Say what? Their gelish manicures go for $ 18 and gelish pedicures, $ 28. Totally worth the distance.

iNails salon cheapest nail salon in ang mo kio

Image credit: @inailsculture

Address: 108, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 – #01-82, Singapore 560108
Opening Hours:  Mon – Wed, Fri: 11AM – 8PM Thur: Closed | Sat – Sun: 10PM – 7PM
Telephone: 9232 5509
Nearest MRT: Ang Mo Kio (19 min walk, or 4 bus stops with service 265)

5. Beauty Lady – Tanjong Pagar

affordable nail salons in central singapore

Image credit: Vaniday

You barely need to lift a finger with Beauty Lady located right at the doorstep of Tanjong Pagar MRT. While they’ve got friendly staff, your experience here will be made even more pleasant with their affordable prices. 

beauty lady nail salon manicure sample

Image credit: Beauty Lady

Get an express manicure and pedicure at $ 10 and $ 12 respectively, and an express gelish manicure and pedicure at $ 25 and $ 30

Address: 10 Anson Rd – #02-23, International Plaza, Tanjong Pagar, 079903, Singapore
Opening Hours:  Mon – Fri: 11AM – 6.30PM | Sat: 11AM – 7PM Sun: Closed
Telephone: 9232 7637
Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar (2min walk)

6. Beautiful Art Nail Indulgence Loi’s Studio – Woodlands

halloween nail inspiration singapore

Image credit: Beautiful Art Nail Indulgence Loi’s Studio

Those in the far North, this one’s for you. Beautiful Art Nail Indulgence Loi’s Studio offers a variety of cute designs at just $ 8 for an express manicure, $ 10 for an express pedicure, and $ 35 for an express gelish manicure.

Address: 848 Woodlands Street 82, #12-193, Singapore 730848 
Opening Hours:  Mon – Sun: 10AM – 11PM 
Telephone: 9620 0002
Nearest MRT: Woodlands (13 min walk)

7. The Nailworks – Jurong

affordable nail salons in the west

Image credit: Vaniday

Nestled in an obscure part of JCube is The Nailworks, with its small but cosy interior. Unlike other nail salons found in shopping malls, The Nailworks manages to keep its prices low. An express manicure and pedicure would cost just $ 12 each, and an express gel manicure and pedicure for $ 30 each

Address: 2 Jurong East Central 1, JCube #02-40, Singapore 609731
Opening Hours:  Mon – Sat: 11AM – 9PM Sun: 11AM – 7PM
Telephone: 6909 0333
Nearest MRT: Jurong East (2 min walk)

 8. Saigon Star – Yishun

cheap gelish manicures singapore

Image credit: Saigon Star

This salon is your one-stop beauty go-to in Yishun. Enjoy a gelish manicure at $ 23 and gelish pedicure at $ 25. Do check out their other beauty services such as eyelash extensions and facial threading at super affordable prices. 

Address: 291 Yishun Street 22, #01-353, Singapore 760291
Opening Hours:  Mon – Sun: 10AM – 9PM 
Telephone: 8524 7664
Nearest MRT: Yishun (14 min walk, or 2 bus stops with service 804)

9. Shugar Spa – Punggol

chic and affordable nail salons in singapore

Image credit: Shugar Spa

Take your mind off the stresses of school or work at Shugar Spa. Get treated like a queen with their express manicure ($ 10) or glitter tone gelish ($ 10) as you bask in the regalness of it all – chandeliers, ambient lighting, and a cream coloured interior. You’ll get a 10/10 luxe experience at an extremely affordable price. 

christmas nail inspiration singapore shugar spa

Image credit: @bel2410

Address: 83 Punggol Central #01-36, Waterway Point, Singapore 828761
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 11AM – 9.30PM | Sat – Sun: 10AM – 9PM
Telephone: 6385 7644
Nearest MRT: Punggol MRT (5 mins walk)

10. Honey Clover Nail Salon – Kallang

marble nail design singapore

Image credit: Honey Clover Nail Salon 

Thank you lucky clovers for Honey Clover Nail Salon! This humble and quaint salon offers an express manicure for $ 10 and an express pedicure for $ 15. If you prefer gelish, an express gel manicure would be an affordable $ 20, and an express gel pedicure would cost $ 25

best neighborhood nail salons in singapore

Image credit: Honey Clover Nail Salon 

Address: Blk 18 Upper Boon Keng #01-1127, Singapore 380018
Opening Hours:  Mon – Sun: 9.30AM – 7PM 
Telephone: 8823 8312
Nearest MRT: Kallang (8 min walk)

Affordable neighbourhood nail salons in Singapore

No need to think twice about splurging on a little makeover with these nail salons in the heartlands. They’ll definitely do the trick with their friendly staff and quality service. Plus, you save on the trip all the way to town. 

Also watch us on TheSmartLocalTV!

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Latest blog entries – TheSmartLocal


Good Thyme Bistro, AMK: We Don’t Even Have to Try/ It’s Always a

Ok, so maybe Good Thyme Bistro at Ang Mo Kio isn’t inspired by Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City’s song. Actually, I’m positive it isn’t because the cafe isn’t that hip. In fact, the cafe at the heartland is very far from hip, very far from the usual hipster cafe. BUT they value substance over style; the food is marvellous, and so is the service, and that’s all we care about.

The decor of the cafe isn’t the ubiquitous industrial chic, cement floor, white walls look; on the contrary, there isn’t much decor to speak of, but they make it personal and cosy by displaying photos. And the cafe is cleaner than most cafes.

The menu’s offerings consist of the usual suspects other cafes, such as truffles fries ($ 8), pastas (starting from $ 7.90), and beer battered fish and chips ($ 14.90 sole fish, $ 17.90 haddock). There is an interesting Southern French starter alligot ($ 5) that is mashed potatoes with cheese. The friendly and non-intrusive waiter also recommended the homemade mushroom soup ($ 4), cod fish fingers ($ 6), laksa pasta ($ 13 chicken, $ 16 tiger prawns), and aloha golden chicken cutlet ($ 12.90) topped with pineapple and cheese.

Although we had to wait some time, one thing we love is how the food came hot, showing they were preparing in the kitchen. We started with Korean chicken chunks ($ 4) which the waiter also recommended. The chunks are drizzled with their homemade Korean styled soy sauce, which is like a thick, concentrated version with a hint of sugar. When it arrived, we were disappointed because there were few pieces. Mr Fitness said, “It’s hard to open a cafe. When the price is affordable, customers complain the portion is small. But when they give enough, people will complain the food is expensive.” He’s right, but tastewise, this is just ok for us.

Although there are few pieces of chicken, the salted egg chicken spaghetti ($ 13) is very good. The salted egg sauce is intense and deep and, unlike other places, their version is more savoury and less sweet; this tastes like real salted egg. There is also a hint of chilli; my guess is they use chilli oil? which makes the dish a little jerlat and oily. I would suggest using chilli padi to toss with the spaghetti. The dish is also slightly one-dimensional and may be livened up with a little zest? or lemongrass? But on the whole, the pasta is delicious and head and shoulders above the inferior salted egg pastas out there.

The cutlet ($ 11.90) is perfection because it is, like the salted egg pasta, different and unique. Usually, elsewhere, cutlets tend to be salty, but here, they marinate it with musky, earthy spices (a dry rub?). The cutlet is also crispy and not at all greasy.

There is a choice of dips for the cutlet, and the waiter recommended their homemade garlic aioli dip which is nicely creamy. Their homemade coleslaw is also fabulous: freshly crunchy and light. I know their fries are probably the kind you can buy from supermarket, but they fry it well and I guess they fry it together with the chicken, so it has an extra chicken-fat flavour.

For dessert, the churros waffle ($ 8.90) is wonderful too. It’s just normal waffle topped with cinnamon sugar and seasalt caramel ice cream, but the waffle is done perfectly: crispy outside, fluffy inside. It’s also not overly sweet; really, it’s so good that one person can finish it.

Good Thyme Bistro is a fantastic, fine find. The food is scrumptious at a great price and the service is considerate. We paid $ 41.30 for two persons and ate until our pants split. Just being hyperbolic, but we were quite full. We highly recommend this cafe. Good Thyme Bistro lives up to its name; it’s always a good time.


Good Thyme Bistro
Blk 505, Ang Mo Kio Ave 8, #01-2674 Singapore 560505
tel: +65 6452 9741
T-Th 11.30am-3pm, 5.30pm-9pm, F 11.30am-3pm, 5.30pm-10pm, Sat 9.30am-10pm, Sun 9.30am-9pm, closed Mon

Price/ value: 7.5/10
Ambience/decor: 6/10
Food: 7.5/10
Service: 7.5/10

You may be interested in…
Summer Hill, Sunset Way: Rustic French Bistro by Former Chefs of Cocotte and Bird Bird
Best Food 2017 Part III: 5 Best Cafes of the Year
The Bakery by Woodlands Sourdough, Serene Centre: One of the Best Cafes This Year Serving Amazeballs
.elia Cafe, Jiak Chuan Road: Excellent House-made Pastas and Bread

Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.


Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Rubbish Eat Rubbish Grow