I don’t know about you, but when it comes to steak, I can actually plot the steak “milestones” of my life. I had my first truly memorable steak was when I was 18 at the now defunct Cairnhill Steakhouse. I can still remember the aroma of sizzling beef wafting out of the restaurant when the […]
Tsunezushi 常寿し at Hakodate Hokkaido is well-known among the locals and has amassed regulars and followers. (I know it’s empty in the photo but people were sitting on the second floor, and it was only 6pm when we were; the locals were still working.)
In 2017, the Michelin Guide has awarded it a Bib Gourmand, a category that means the restaurant serves excellent food for ¥5000 or less. And indeed the sushi is extremely affordable. There are sets starting from ¥2000. A 9-piece sushi set costs only ¥2200 and 11-piece for ¥3000. A la carte is also available and, according to Bib Gourmand, it is about ¥4000 to ¥8000.
Of course, in addition to being affordable, the restaurant gets its seafood supplies within Hakodate, the sea port city. When seafood travels less, you’d know that it’s fresher for the chef to work with, which in turn produces better results.
When we were there, the shop was manned only by the chef (owner?) who looks like a grandpa and two elderly ladies (perhaps one of them is his wife?). The restaurant exudes a cosy family-run feel but whether it is or not, I’m not sure.
Yandao went for a la carte and was seated furthest from me so I couldn’t take any photos. Chiobu ordered Chirashi don (¥2200, above). The bowl is jam-packed with ingredients; it even has expensive items like uni and ikura. Definitely value-for-money.
Mr Fitness ordered the 9-piece set (¥2200) while I had the 11-piece set (¥3000). It is better to get the more expensive set. For just ¥800 more, the ingredients get a lot better and more premium. The 9-piece set has several good stuff like snow crab and scallop sushi.
But the 11-piece set comprises of what 9-piece set has and with even better and more premium stuff like chutoro (medium fatty tuna), uni sea urchin, and ikura roe. These three are considered the expensive seafood.
But wait! There is something I have never eaten before. It’s long and yellow and grainy like a piece of golden sandpaper. It is… KAZUNOKO SUSHI (herring roe)! It is known to be a osechi ryori (Japanese New Year) dish because it is only available at the end of the year. It’s fun to try it for one time, but like fugu puffer fish, it is more for novelty than taste. It’s crunchy and quite tasteless. Not a fan.
Everyone on tripadvisor gives good reviews; I’m talking about Japanese people who wrote reviews in Japanese giving positive reviews. Maybe we are spoilt but I cannot in good conscience say that it’s good. The seafood seems a tad too dry and not flavourful enough. The rice is not vinegary enough.
At good sushi-yas, the chefs will apply everything and all you have to do is pick the sushi up and pop it in the mouth. But here, the chef hasn’t put on any soy sauce so you have to dip it yourself.
If you take the set, I guess it’s pretty good value. But tastewise, it is just so-so. We paid ¥14450 for four people.
One thing I love most about my family is our devotion to celebrating every occasion with big meals. However, something that I find hard to appreciate is my parents’ loyalty to Chinese food. While I count myself a big fan of xiao long bao and stir-fried noodles, I like my pizzas and french fries a lot more. This clash often results in our pre-meal family debate which ends with my sister and I grudgingly giving in to our parents.
With Christmas and New Year’s Day lined up in just two weeks, I imagine the exact same scene unfolding. Or maybe not. For those who often find yourself in the same predicament as me, we’ve found a place that gives the best of Western and Chinese food!
Available only from 22 to 24 December and 29 to 31 December, Kuvo is offering their first oriental buffet with festive-themed dishes. In an all-you-can-eat style, the restaurant near Somerset MRT Station will be serving up more than 20 dishes, whereby most are Chinese dishes that come with a twist.
Though I am one of those “strategic buffet eaters” who often dive straight into the main dishes to get the most out of whatever I’m paying for, I couldn’t help but be drawn to some of their more interesting appetisers. Alongside entrees such as Jelly Fish Salad, Smoked Salmon Platter, and Shrimp & Fruit Cocktail, one which really caught my eye was – Orange Peel Daikon Roll.
Dyed in a bright purplish-red colour, this was radish soaked in beetroot juice and topped with tiny bits of orange peel. Like those pickled radish served in Korean restaurants, the daikon roll was intensely sweet and sour, which I thought was a good appetite stimulator to kick-start a buffet.
In a bid to ration my stomach space, the only other appetiser I tried was their Fried Egg in Crispy Cup. Truth be told, the only reason why I picked the dish was because I mistook it as kueh pie tee.
Served in crispy pie tee cups, the snack was filled with fried scrambled egg, bean sprouts, and shrimp. Comprising such simple ingredients, this was a lightly flavoured dish but the combination of textures coming from the crispy cup, bean sprouts, and eggs was what stood out most to me.
The Prawn Paste Stuffed Turkey Roulade at the carving station was one of the highlights of the buffet. While most turkey roulades are stuffed with bacon, pecans, or pistachios, this had the mainstream ingredients replaced with thick chunks of prawn paste.
With a hint of lemongrass fragrance, the prawn paste reminded me of Thai prawn cakes which gave a different texture to the slightly tougher turkey meat. Having prawn paste and turkey together is a combination that I would never have thought of, but came together surprisingly well!
Another self-invented rule that I broke during my visit to Kuvo was one against eating any forms of carbs during a buffet. I knew I still had a long line of meats and seafood ahead of me but when I saw the Turkey Wanton Noodle Soup at the live station, I could not resist.
While their turkey roulade is a Western dish with an Asian twist, this is a Chinese dish with a Western touch. Instead of the usual crunchy shrimp that is found in the dumpling, this one was stuffed with turkey meat.
At the live station, another dish you can expect is Freshly Shucked Oysters. A unique feature was the house-made sauce that accompanies the oysters. Packed with bits of coriander, the sauce was intensely sour and tangy, which may not sit well with some but I thought gave the seafood a refreshing kick.
Finally, on to the mains. While most buffet spreads feature a variety of cuisines, Kuvo’s oriental buffet focuses mainly on Chinese dishes such as Shrimp Paste Marinated Chicken Wing, Wok-fried Beef in Ginger, and Cured Meat Fried Rice.
For something more out of the norm, their Champagne Pork Ribs is a must-have. Taste-wise, I could not quite figure out the champagne element in the dish but overall, it was still tasty and well-marinated.
The best part of the pork ribs would be its tenderness which made the meat come off the bone easily.
Their Snapper Loin tossed in Cranberry-Pineapple Sauce will remind you of sweet and sour fish fillet from atas Chinese restaurants. With bits of dried cranberry, the fried fish fillet also comes with caramelised onions, bell peppers, and pineapple slices.
The best dish to eat your money’s worth with would be their Wok-fried Prawn with Special Sauce. Coated with a thick layer of sweet and salty sauce, the dish tasted like stir-fried soy sauce prawns from Cantonese restaurants. For something found in a buffet, I wasn’t expecting to find prawns that big, so those who detest deshelling prawns can be assured that your efforts will not go unrewarded!
No Christmas meal is complete without log cakes and at Kuvo, they offer three different flavours – Crunchy Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut Praline, and Passion Mango. While I wouldn’t mind having all three in one sitting, they only serve one flavour a day and we got to try the Passion Mango one. This was a soft sponge cake layered with a tart cream and topped with berries.
For something slightly sweeter, their Mango Sago was also a pleasant treat to end the meal with. Filled with crunchy bits of pomelo, sago, and diced mango, this dessert is something that both the young and old would not be able to find fault with.
Festive dishes with oriental flair
If you and your family have been going for the old-fashioned cold turkey and roast chicken every Christmas for the past decade, Kuvo is the place to switch things up while still retaining some of the all-time festive favourites. And if the spread of food still isn’t enticing enough, you can also top up an addition $ 30 per person for two hours of free-flow drinks that include sparkling wine, beers, and soft drinks!
When I was younger, I used to flip through issues of Teenage just to read up on what fortune and luck lay in store for my horoscope in the departments of homework, relationships, or friendships that month. This obsession then evolved into “devouring” The Straits Times every day purely for their daily horoscope readings.
The old me would tell you I’m a Virgo, but now that I’m a little older, I proudly declare my star sign to be a Triceratops. It’s make-believe – just like all other star signs, and I don’t believe in getting into a relationship with someone just because our signs are compatible.
But, when my colleagues set me up on a date (again!) with someone they found was the perfect match for a Virgo man, it was the perfect chance for me to see if the stars would really align for us. Here’s how it went:
I knew nothing about my date, except for her star sign – she’s a Cancer. And I could only assume her likes and dislikes from what I gathered from horoscope sites.
Cancers: Musical, creative free spirits who love expressing themselves artistically, and relaxing outdoors especially close to natural bodies of water. They are also sensitive and guarded individuals with a huge capacity to love, but need to be romanced in a traditional manner.
Planning the date plan was hard, especially when I, for one, can’t draw to save my pet hamster’s life, and staying out of the Singapore sun is my idea of a good time. How could we possibly be compatible?!?
Two days into trying to make a compromise, reality hit me – the date wasn’t supposed to be about me, it was supposed to be about her. Thankfully, soon after, I had the perfect game plan:
Activity #1: A visit to The Cathay Gallery to appeal to her artsy side
Activity #2: A DIY Art-Jam & Picnic at Gardens by the Bay
Activity #3: Followed by a romantic walk through the Cloud Forest
Activity #4: And to finish things off, a simple dinner at The Connoisseur Concerto
Preparing for the date
There were so many things that I had to get for the date: a picnic basket, snacks for the afternoon, flowers, art supplies, and even a makeshift table to hold everything while we were art-jamming.
A quick Google search revealed that Cancer women have serious sweet tooths, so I went with the classics – Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies, Awfully Chocolate brownies, and some warm pastries from Delifrance.
And not forgetting, a gentleman’s blind date essential – a humble, yet classy bouquet of flowers.
There’s nothing worse than fumbling around with notes and loose change when you’re carrying a mountain of things, so I was thankful all the merchants I visited on my date recce accepted NETSPay.
This meant that I didn’t even need to whip out my wallet since I could pay for everything just by scanning the receipt’s QR code on my phone. All you need to do is make sure your bank account is linked to your e-wallet beforehand!
After a demanding three-hour journey checking all the items off my list, I finally had a picnic basket to sweep her off her feet.
The Actual Date
I waited for less than five minutes at the entrance of The Cathay before I received a text from my mystery date announcing her arrival.
“No backing out now, Mandon”, I told myself as I made my way over to a girl waving excitedly at me. “Hello! I’m Ci Hui!” Her eagerness warmed things up instantly. We laughed at the concept of a date dictated by horoscope compatibility, but there was one burning question off my chest – Are horoscope stereotypes even accurate?
I’d planned the entire date itinerary without knowing anything about her or her actual interests, at this point, I was about to find out if I was a winner, or a complete loser.
“I read that Cancerians love art, are you good at it?”
“Nope, I can’t paint! HAHA!”
Even though we now had a date itinerary that was centered around art and artistic expression, her easygoing and cheerful demeanour made me heave a sigh of relief. We then made self-deprecating jokes about how if we were held at gunpoint with only painting something as a way out, we’d both die ten times over, but decided to commit to the date plan anyway, for all the effort I’d already put into it.
When things don’t go your way…
We made our way up to The Cathay Gallery, and though she wasn’t the artsy film buff like I envisioned, she was intrigued to know that this little blast-to-the-past even existed!
It was closed.
When Plan A doesn’t work out, keep your cool and move straight onto Plan B… While I’d planned every element to a T, I hadn’t really considered logistics. I realised that I couldn’t manage carrying everything from the picnic basket to the foldable table to Gardens By The Bay on my own. Ci Hui reached out for the picnic basket, smiled and said, “I’ve got this.”
Even though I wanted to act as though I’d everything under control, I was secretly delighted when she offered. Maybe this girl was a keeper after all.
A happy Ci Hui with her surprise
Always be spontaneous
So there we were, beautiful backdrop, no artistic bone in both our bodies, trying to draw inspiration from the greenery around us. I was surprised to find our lack of skill created the perfect opportunity for us to bond and get to know each other on a deeper level. Laughing at our stained hands and masterpieces helped too.
Sitting down in one spot didn’t really help, so we decided to stand by the river like serious artists, canvas in one hand and paintbrush in another.
We even managed to fit in an impromptu photoshoot around the Cloud Forest just for kicks
Unlike the reserved Cancers I read about online, Ci Hui was not the least bit reserved, her bubbly personality completely evident, peppering our date with her thoughts and feelings.
This photo was taken in front of an audience watching a short film!
Ending our date with full stomachs and hearts
Ci Hui with her Baby Crayfish Spaghetti
After a long day of laughs, we finally left Gardens by the Bay for our first proper meal at the dinner spot I’d chosen – The Connoisseur Concerto at Bugis Junction.
The Ci Hui I’d come to know over the last couple hours had a zest for life that was refreshing, but during dinner, I noticed a quieter, more emotional and reflective side of her emerge as we discussed our childhood ambitions and future dreams.
My Egg-Drop Spaghetti Bolognese
I could not help but think about how wrong I was in trusting a horoscope website with my potential life partner. By birthdate, Ci Hui was a Cancer woman, but in real life, she was nothing like her reserved, artistic horoscope. She was much, much more.
There are just too many facets to a person for them to be boxed into a stereotype by birth date alone. So there, I got the answer to my burning question, horoscopes aren’t accurate. Or at least, not for me. And while I didn’t find my perfect soul mate like the horoscope sites predicted I would, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the date.
Tap your way through date night and scan with NETSPay
Image credit: NETS
If there’s another thing I learnt on my date, it’s how fuss free and convenient NETSPay makes the process of purchasing anything. I used it as my one tap payment method for everything on this date from getting supplies at Art Friend and food from the different merchants for the picnic basket, to paying for our entry tickets to Gardens By The Bay and dinner at TCC.
As someone who avoids carrying too much cash in my wallet for fear of losing or spending it all, I was glad to just evade keying my PIN in the NETS machine every single time I had to make a purchase. You’ll even be completely covered if you ever forget to bring your wallet with you out of the house since the only thing you’ll need is your mobile phone!
Think of it as a virtual wallet – NETSPay stores your ATM bankcard information securely in your mobile application, letting you make zippy, secure cashless payments anywhere you go! If you’re holding onto to an android phone, simply activate the NFC mode on your phone to tap and pay at any NETSPay merchant.
For all other phone models, NETSPay works just by scanning the QR code into the mobile app!
It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3! Download the NETSPay app from the Google Play Store or Apple Store, register & enter your bank card details, and you’re ready to tap or scan your way through any date! To know if your favourite haunts accept NETSPay, you can just look out for the acceptance decals that are attached on NETS Terminals or, you can ask the trained staff for help!
Just look out for the “Scan to Pay” NETSPay merchant sign above!
With over 30,000 touchpoints from retail and F&B outlets to cinemas like Cathay and even hawker centres like Yishun Park Hawker Centre and Tanjong Pagar Plaza Food Centre scattered across the island, you’ll never have to fumble for loose change or struggle with having no hands in any situation.
Also known as the time when we pause for reflection, get dressy for parties, and scramble to book last-minute flights for the holiday season. But wait a minute – your HR person is wagging a finger at you. What’s that, no leave balance?!
All’s not lost, though. Even if you can’t escape these shores, you can still treat yourself to a staycay in these boutique hotels that’ll cost you less than $ 180 per night. From minimalist to retro, these weekend getaways will tide you over till you’re safely back in “14-day leave zone” – aka next year. Phew.
Tell your friend who’s always in black you’ve found a place that’ll match their vibe. Yep, this hotel knows how to do monotone right – it’s black and white both inside and out, evoking a clean look worthy of Kinfolk.
But lest you think the minimalist ethos applies to function, you couldn’t be more off the mark. Flat-screen TVs and micro-gel fibre pillows are among the details that’ll make your stay feel oh-so-luxurious, so you can convince even your most practical friend it’s not all about the looks.
Accommodation: From $ 136/per night for a double room
Say “Hilton” and you’ll think quality, but with a hefty price tag. But this gem with the brand name opened quietly in June this year and starts from an affordable $ 125 per night.
The Hilton Garden Inn has 328 modern rooms, and we mean modern – it’s all designer Serta beds, ergonomic chairs and there’s even a digital check-in and key. Meaning you can unlock your room while walking towards it – useful if you need to head to the loo urgently.
But the views are the true show-stealers. Peer out of the balcony or window for this beauty:
You might spot nearby cafes such as Jewel Cafe and Bar and Cafe Salivation, which will be your go-tos for that staycay brunch. But if cosying up in the hotel’s more your thing, pop by in-house restaurant The Garden Grille for a generous continental spread.
Let me resist the urge to make a “Yo” pun, because this futuristic hotel has none of that cheese. In fact, the Yotel brand is a well-known establishment, with branches in Boston, New York, London – and it has finally landed firmly on our shores along the buzzing Orchard Road stretch.
Inspired by luxury airline travel, the over 610 rooms are known as “cabins”, and are pristine white affairs lit with pops of Ultra-Violet purple – Pantone 2018’s colour of the year, mind you.
It’s also a step into the future. Be awed by self-check-in counters where you can create your own room key, housekeeping robots and refillable shampoos, conditioner and soaps. (Eco-warriors, yay, cheapos who dabao toiletries, nay).
Leading us into infinity and beyond…housekeeping robots!
There are also rain-showers, 24/7 gyms, pool decks and terrace for that all-round pampering experience. And if you get hungry, whisk yourself up to the 10th level to Grains & Hops, a restaurant-bar that serves up rice bowls with skewers.
Not exactly a poke bowl, but the generous slab of Kurobuta pork sure makes up for it.
They have a happy hours promo where you get a discount based on a dice you roll – 50% off, please!
Yes, The Sultan is on-point – it was faithfully preserved from traditional shop houses, with colonial-style shutters and old-school prints that evoke a charming, rustic feel. It’s also set in the Kampong Glam area, home to the ethnic Malays and Arabs in the 1800s.
You’ll never be bored in the area, either. Pop by the Malay Heritage Centre to learn more about the enclave’s rich history, or coo over quirky knick-knacks at the Children Little Museum. When night falls, hit Blu Jaz Cafe or Piedra Negra for drinks. See, your itinerary is all set.
And did we mention the gym? The grey brick walls and B&W portraits – of people working out – lend it a chic industrial air, so you can work out in style among the punching bags, treadmills and cycling machines.
Burning calories is hard work, so reward yourself at Ginett, which serves up affordable French wines (from $ 6!) and mains such as rotisserie chicken and gratin. P.S. It’ll also be the spot that serves you that all-important hotel breakfast: think fluffy hot croissants and other pastries.
Just like a similarly named phone that’s known for its quality and affordability, a stay here is value-for-money: it has the usual pool and gym options, and rooms are airy with a tasteful, modern look.
But the real show-stopper is the hotel’s superb location. It’s just 1 minute away from the Downtown Line and is surrounded by a whole slew of marts and stores, so you can rummage for cheap food in the middle of the night if you’re inclined.
If you wish for your staycation diet to consist of more than just potato chips and maggi mee, take a short walk to cafes such as The Masses or Artichoke. You can see why the former draws in the mass…I mean, crowds, with pastas, Jap food and drinks all mostly under $ 20.
Loft-style staycations are here to stay. The high ceilings make the room feel extra posh and spacious, and climbing up the staircase adds to the fun of it – not to mention, tons of photo opportunities.
Greens and wood accents dominate the rooms, and it’s all pretty open-air, so you can try and feel at one with nature. You don’t have to give up your creature comforts, either: there are even rain showers and a full-fledged home theatre system.
The bigger rooms also come with a fully-equipped kitchenette. Image credit: Forest by Wangz
To get your zen mode on, we’d recommend a dip in the infinity pool. There’s also a shallow lounging area that goes up only to your ankles – perfect for non-swimmers and those who just want to lounge around and not work out. Hey, no judging.
These aren’t run-of-the-mill graffiti; the murals are actually done up by professional artists that include names such as Deborah Loh and Tomoko Tsuruta. And if you don’t get the art – aka most of us – little information boards that accompany the artwork will enlighten you.
The French couple, Marie Charlotte Ley and Antoine Rouland, behind O Batignolles and O Comptoir, brings Merci Marcel, a chic French cafe/bistro, to Tiong Bahru. It is a lifestyle concept store that combines food and paraphernalia; you can buy cheeses, wines, and teas displayed at the front and back of the restaurant. I bought a good Stilton and a creamy truffle brie.
Like O Batignolles, the menu here is kept simple. For starters, the semi-dry 18th month aged Bayonne ham ($ 16), which comes with bread and pickles, has a beautiful complex taste. A sweet, almost strawberry-like fruitiness mellows into a mild saltiness. Very yummy.
uck rillettes ($ 18) and marinated crab rillettes ($ 18) are popular among customers, and we went for the latter because it is less commonly found elsewhere. It comes with sourdough and the rillettes is pleasant enough.
The French pizza, or more accurately known as the tart flambee ($ 24), is super thin, almost like biscuit. It’s topped with asparagus, blue cheese (which is easy), apple (refreshing!), and bacon.
I think mains should always come with sides at restaurants but unfortunately, at Merci Marcel, they don’t. The best of the mains we tried, black pepper tuna ($ 25), is done tataki style, just seared on the outside while raw in the middle. It’s drizzled with yuzu and soy vinaigrette and has a Japanese touch. Excellent.
The pork tenderloin ($ 24) is not gamy but it is also not memorable.
The Australian Angus beef (400g, $ 39) is topped with creamy mushrooms (which you can also order as a side for $ 10). I forgot to ask what cut it was, but it is tough, tougher than what we expected medium rare to be.
For the sides, we had French ravioli, ravioles de royan ($ 18) which are little pockets of pasta filled with Tete de Moine cheese in a creamy emulsion, topped with more shaved cheese. With that much cheese, it would be terrible if it tastes terrible. Of course, it didn’t. On the contrary, I think I could have finished it all on my own and maybe some more.
The desserts are simple but executed well. The chocolate cake ($ 10) is moist and dense but not excessively sweet, paired wonderfully with a homemade whipped cream; after a full meal, it does not add to the heaviness. The creme brulee ($ 9) is a tad too small for the price, but the passionfruit on top creates a nice contrast to the custard.
Merci Marcel provides an easy, fuss-free meal best for groups of friends to gather over cheese, wines, and meats. But who is Marcel? He is just a made-up character to give a persona to the shop. But indeed, we should thank Marcel for bringing such elegance to the ‘hood.
Merci Marcel 56 Eng Hoon St #01-68 Singapore 160056 tel: +65 6224 0113 8am-11.30pm, closed Mon facebook
When Como Cuisine, one of the four restaurants housed under Como Dempsey, first opened, we were invited to a tastingbut for the sake of a fair and honest review, we rejected the tasting. Recently, I have been asking foodies which the best restaurants this year are and my longtime friend named Como Cuisine.
Como Cuisine is helmed by Anglo-Indian Executive Chef Timothy de Souza who has worked at three resorts by COMO Hotels and Resorts. Como Cuisine markets itself as “contemporary cuisine” but I wonder why it doesn’t market itself as “Indian-inspired modern cuisine” since, looking at the menu, there are many Indian dishes. To be fair, there are some Western and Middle-Eastern dishes and a Japanese dish, but by far, the Indian-inspired dishes outweigh the rest.
Maybe the direction of marketing is because, as some Indian restaurants owners tell me, majority of Singaporeans aren’t receptive to Indian food. But no fear here: it was full house when we were there on a weekday afternoon and they had to turn away walk-in customers. We took the lunch set (2 courses $ 38, three courses $ 48), and ordered, from the a la carte menu, samosas ($ 12) and lobster roll ($ 34).
The samosas ($ 12), which come with mango chutney and a mint dip, are just okay for us. The spiced minced lamb within isn’t gamy–always a good thing. But the shell may be too thick and fried too hard.
There is a kingfish sashimi ($ 20) on their a la carte menu but in their lunch set, which we had, offers a different rendition: the sashimi is curled beautifully with a slice of cucumber, like a clog. Lightly dressed with a Japanese sauce, it’s nice and light.
The vegetarian curry for the lunch set is basically a, well, vegetarian version of their fish curry ($ 32). It comes with a bowl of saffron rice. The vegetables include cauliflower, pumpkin, okra, and kale. I LOVE IT. The curry is robust and strong with a tinge of appetising sourness. Wonderful.
The chicken breast for lunch also has an equivalent on the a la carte menu for $ 28. While the a la carte chicken breast comes with grape, radicchio (something like purple cabbage), barley and walnut, the lunch chicken breast is simpler. It is merely accompanied by polenta and half a roasted tomato.
The chicken breast is sous vide–I know because I have a sous vide machine–and I don’t really like to purchase food I can cook at home, but they sear the skin, which provides a crispy contrast to the smooth meat. I like how the tart tomato serves to undercut any heaviness. I don’t usually like polenta but this one is good. On the whole, not bad at all.
We didn’t order desserts because they don’t sound appealing, and we preferred to go to Henri Charpentier. We paid $ 148 for three persons… wait! You may realise that we ordered a lobster roll and it didn’t come. I only realised it when I got home and checked the bill. Luckily, it wasn’t on the bill. Which probably means the waiter did not key in our order. The service has been impeccable except for this peccadillo. In any case, I’m considering this remissness as a win: The waiter helped us save calories and money!
I can see why my close friend recommended Como Cuisine. The ambience is fantastic, the service excellent, and the food is elegant. I definitely want to return to try more from their a la carte menu.
They say that dogs are man’s best friend. But when you’re a broke student, your closest bestie’s none other than good ol’ sales – especially when you’re looking to get a big ticket item, like a computer.
As part of Lazada’s Online Revolution 12.12 Sale, Acer’s giving out discounts of up to 25% on all their items listed on Acer’s Official Store from 12th Dec – 14th Dec 2017. Don’t worry if you’re a tech-noob – take note of these jargon and you’ll be all set on your hunt:
Solid State Drive Capacity (SSD): The internal storage space for all your files and data
Random-access Memory (RAM): This allows your computer to run its system and the applications on it
In-plane Switching (IPS): This makes the colours on your screen remain the same even when you’re looking at it from all angles
Whether you’re a photography enthusiast who’s really particular about the quality of your display screen, or a student who’s a “professional” gamer by night, here are some of Acer’s deals that you’re going to want to mark your calendar for:
1. Swift 3 – 1.7kg laptop with 10 hours battery life (from $ 748)
If you’re looking for a reliable study companion that won’t bail on you halfway through your lectures and intense revisions, Acer’s Swift 3 is a sturdy laptop that’ll deliver speed and performance for up to an impressive 10 hours on a fully-charged battery.
With its high-performance WiFi connectivity technology (2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi) and heavy-duty storage of up to 512GB SSD and 8GB RAM, there’ll be no need to rage about lousy internet connections, limited storage space, and slow booting up of apps any more.
Plus, at just 1.7kg, the Swift 3 is extremely light and sleek for a laptop with a display screen that’s 14 inches wide. With it being so easy to stash in your bag, it’s time to say goodbye to bulky notes and textbooks – it also comes with a backlit keyboard that helps you see the keys clearly even in dim lightings, which the nocturnal peeps will appreciate.
Original Price: From $ 998 After using code ACD1250 ($ 50 off): From $ 748
Note: The Swift 3 comes in 2 editions, one with a metallic body that comes in 3 different colours – silver, pink, blue – and another special edition with white, and a Corning Gorilla Glass top cover.
Find out more about Acer’s Swift 3 here, or get it here.
Great for passionate photographers, film, and design majors, Acer’s Spin 5 has a 13.3-inch full HD screen with IPS panel that lets you view your monitor clearly up to an angle of 178°. It also comes with a stylus, and can be converted into 4 different modes thanks to its 360° hinge: laptop, tablet, display, and tent.
Equipped with the latest 8th Generation Intel processors to ensure that you’re able to edit your work smoothly without hiccups, it also has an 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD.
The Spin 5 has a battery life of up to 13 hours, so that it can last you a whole day out Image adapted from: @euniceeunny
What’s more, the Spin 5 is lightweight at just 1.5kg and 15.9mm thin, which makes it hyper convenient to bring around on the go, especially if you’ve got a camera and tripod in tow. And if all that didn’t already make Spin 5 the epitome of functionality, it also includes snazzy features like an embedded fingerprint reader to keep your files secure.
Original Price: From $ 1,698 After using code ACD1250 ($ 50 off): From $ 1,298
Find out more about Acer’s Spin 5here, or get it here.
3. Nitro 5 – Gaming laptop with a 256gb SSD (from $ 1,348)
Lying in bed all day binge-watching dramas and playing MMORPG games can now become a sweet, sweet reality, thanks to Nitro 5’s nifty ability to combat screen glares and overheating.
With its in-built 15.6-inch Full HD IPS panel that’s flexible up to 170° and formidable NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics and Intel® Core i7 processor of up to 3.80 GHz, virtually every video watched on this laptop will have absolute clarity even when you’re lying flat on your tummy.
Thank heavens that there’ll also finally be none of that frustrating buffering when you’re watching the latest episode of Stranger Things on Netflix – Nitro 5 boasts up to 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and 2×2 Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output (MIMO) technology that allow for faster wireless speed.
Plus, Nitro 5 comes with dual fans and the Acer Coolboost technology. This means that it can keep its temperature down by 11%, and users can even manually control the cooling process if it doesn’t cool down fast enough on its own.
Original Price: From $ 1,698 After using code ACD1250 ($ 50 off): From $ 1,348
Find out more about Acer’s Nitro 5here, or get it here.
4. KG271 Display Series – Monitors used in professional eSports tournaments (from $ 268)
For those of you gamers out there, now’s the chance to get a gaming monitor at a budget-friendly price. We’re not talking just any random gaming monitor as well. Under Acer’s KG271 Display Series is the KG271A, a monitor used for professional eSports tournaments.
Left v.s. right: screen tearing v.s. no screen tearing Image credit: Acer
There are a total of 3 display monitors in the series, with each of them providing full HD 1080p resolutions, built-in AMD FreeSync technology that eliminates screen tearing, and Acer’s own BlueLightShield technology that protects your eyes from long hours of staring at the screen.
If you’re a hardcore gamer though, give the KG271B a shot instead for an even smoother gameplay with less motion blurring – it has a screen refresh rate of 240Hz, which is almost double that of the KG271A.
There are many things to look forward to in December – the end of a school term, year-end holidays, Christmas, and now Acer’s 12.12 Sale. Ranging from versatile notebooks and gaming monitors to laptop carrier bags and wireless mouses, you’ll find what you’re looking for – at a much-needed steal.
On top of that, as an added bonus, Acer’s official store is also giving away up to $ 200 worth of discount vouchers – simply use the promo code “ACD1250” if you’re spending more than $ 600 and you’ll be able to get your goodies at another $ 50 less. Yasss.
Here are some discount codes you can use in December:
$ 50 Off with min. $ 600 spending – For Full Month of Dec 2017 Discount Code: <ACD1250>
$ 80 Off with min. $ 1500 spending – 11 to 14 Dec 2017 Discount Code:
$ 200 Off with min. $ 2500 spending – 11 to 14 Dec 2017 Discount Code:
Ramen is a must eat in Hokkaido. It is cold at the northern part of Japan so a bowl of steaming ramen provides much comfort and fortitude against the weather. Even the Michelin Guide awards the Bib Gourmand to 50 ramen shops in Hokkaido. 50!
Hokkaido’s variation of ramen differs from other parts of Japan in several ways. Hokkaido specialises in miso ramen and shio (salt) ramen. The miso ramen often has sweetcorn, butter, bean sprouts, finely chopped pork, and garlic, and sometimes local seafood such as scallop, squid, and crab.
During our recent trip to Hokkaido, we tried two ramen shops, both awarded the Bib Gourmand: one in the district of Lake Toya and the other at Sapporo. To be absolutely truthful, we weren’t impressed by either. We have had better in Singapore.
First listed in the Michelin Guide 2013 and then again in 2017 (the Guide didn’t published on Hokkaido from 2014-2016), Ippontei (一本亭) is a popular ramen restaurant in the Lake Toya district (洞爺湖).
They cook their broth for 20 hours using more than 10 ingredients and “electronic energy water.” (Google Translate provided the translation from the ramen shop’s website but I guess it means “ionized water”?) Their egg noodles are supplied by Nishiyama Noodles Factory, a popular supplier for many ramen shops in Hokkaido. They are committed to sourcing pork locally, using fresh (not frozen) pork known as “golden pig.”
Ippontei is most famous for their black shoyu (soy sauce) ramen (黒醬油ラーメン). You can also order their red ramen, which is essentially the black ramen with extra shio (salt).
See lah, see lah. Didn’t do research. We didn’t know what their specialty was and we couldn’t communicate. So four of us ordered two spicy miso ramen and two shio ramen and two plates of gyoza. When the ramen came, there was no egg. We realized, after listening to Japanese patrons order, that we had to say “shio tamago ramen.” In any case, we added 2 eggs. You should probably add char siew since the original bowl has only a slice or none.
The best thing here is the gyoza, which is a sad thing to say about a ramen shop. The gyoza is well seasoned, has thin skin, and is crisp.
But similar compliments can’t be paid to the ramen. The noodles aren’t spring, aren’t eggy, aren’t thick enough to give a good mouthfeel; I felt like I was eating instant noodles.
The shio broth is not too bad. But I think it should be called a stock, not broth. It’s not dense enough to be called broth. The stock tastes subtle, which is ok. But the spicy miso broth is not thick enough although it is indeed fiery.
You don’t have to go all the way out to try this ramen but if you’re touring Lake Toya like we did, this is an acceptable (though not ideal) option for lunch. It’s inexpensive: we paid about 4500¥ (S$ 60) for 4 people. Might be slightly more. I forgot the exact price.
Ramen Shingetsu ラーメン 信月 1F, N Grande Bldg, Minami 5 jo Nishi 3 chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 北海道札幌市中央区南5条西3丁目 N･グランデビル tel: +81-11-533-4844 12pm-5am
Sapporo has a ramen street, which we saw some tourists taking photos of. It’s not so much as a street than a dark cyberpunk alley and if this is situated in a third world country, it would be scary to enter the street. Ramen Shingetsu is not on the street; it’s in the building adjacent to the street.
Popular among salarymen who come here after a night of drinking, Shingetsu is really a tiny food stand with bar counter seating of 10 seats. It is newly awarded Bib Gourmand in June this year.
The ramen starts from 710¥. We ordered two shio ramen and two miso ramen. Between Ippontei and Shingetsu, the latter is better. Perhaps it’s because Shingetsu cooks the broth freshly upon ordering and the aroma fills the small space, whetting appetites. Whatever it is, there are deeper flavors here than the ramen at Ippontei.
Still, I can’t get used to the spare bits of meat floating on the miso ramen; it looks like I’m eating someone’s leftovers. And the curly chijiri-men noodles are so commonplace.
I think the Michelin inspectors are duped by the ambience of the stall to give it a bib gourmand. A portable transistor radio plays old Japanese songs in the shop, giving it a nice atmosphere.
The best thing, however, is not the ambience. It’s the price. I think we paid about 3000¥ (S$ 38) for four persons. That’s really a steal in Japan.
50 Bib Gourmand ramen in Hokkaido. 2 down, 48 more to go!
Yummy Rice Shop definitely serves above average food, price is very reasonable and affordable, Most importantly, if you missed the Granny’s cooking, you could probably find some solace here.
Yummy Rice Shop Review @ Albert Centre Market & Food Centre
There are always chap cai puan or cooked dishes stalls available in the local food centres, good one are fairly rare with most of them serving run of the mill dishes. Among those cooked food stalls we have tried, Yummy Rice Shop is deemed to be one of the more impressive one that able to whip out plates of delicious dishes.
The stall is named Yummy Rice Shop in English, however, the Chinese name is ultimately different and can be translated into “Granny’s Rice shop”, the lady manning the stall looks much younger and not likely can fit into the granny’s category but it implies the taste of traditional and a definitely has the touch of home-cooked flavour.
You can go for the standard set like the Hainanese curry chicken set, Teochew braised pork set, good taste fish etc or go for the ala carte menu.
We ordered the ala carte that consisted of eggplant, omelette and pork chop, doused with curry gravy and resemble more like the typical Hainanese curry rice.
The cooked dish were tastefully done, from the seasoning to the flavour and texture, it was filled with a distinctive Grandma’s art of cooking, not the commercial taste but every bite was embraced with the trace of love and passion from the old granny. It warmed our hearts and we truly enjoyed this home-cooked taste.
Yummy Rice Shop definitely serves above average food, price is very reasonable and affordable, Most importantly, if you missed the Granny’s cooking, you could probably find some solace here.
Yummy Rice Shop
A: Albert Centre Market & Food Centre, 270 Queen Street #01-65, Singapore 180270