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The Bakery by Woodlands Sourdough, Serene Centre: One of the Best Cafes This Year Serving Amazeballs

Co-owned by two former engineers, Nurhasanah Johari and Chalith Kariyawasam, The Bakery by Woodlands Sourdough at Serene Centre started as a home bakery with occasional pop-ups. They close at 6pm to prepare, proof, and autolyse the dough to be baked the next day at 7am. Bread are freshly baked daily, using organic stoneground flour, water, sea salt and their own sourdough culture. These ingredients are halal but the bakery is not halal certified.

Besides sourdough bread, they also serve sandwiches, toasts, cakes, cookies, and bialys which are similar to bagels except bialys aren’t boiled before baking and don’t have holes in the centres. On Sundays, they have pizza nights. Their menu is meatless.

The shop space is very small; a narrow strip with enough space to display the breads and a single file of customers. There are 3-4 tables outside the shop, along the corridor, and another 2-3 more in the al-fresco grass patch in front of the shopping centre.

When we first saw the shop, we fell in love with it. It reminded us of Margaret Bakery at Perth, rustic, quaint, and unpretentious; just a focus on good food.

Instead of ordering sandwiches which were packed into brown paper, we were recommended by the helpful and handsome boy to get the caprese tartine ($ 6): “These are fresh from the oven!” (Side note: why can’t all servers be as cheerful and pleasant as this boy?) The sliced bread is topped with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella. Simple and clean and light. Excellent.

The nut butter toast ($ 4) is their most instagrammed item. And it is delicious. The house-made nut butter is thick and creamy, accentuated by the honey. The very wet sourdough comes on strongly, which I love. However, the sea salt was sprinkled unevenly. That can be worked on.

What I like about the toast is you can smell the aroma of the grain. They use a lot of water while making their bread, about 80% or more to the flour weight. They also bake breads at high temperatures. High temperature and high water content mean that the crust is hard and dark while the bread is moist. I love it!

The prune chocolate cake ($ 5) is an unusual combination, but it works excellently; you can taste individual elements but they don’t clash with each other. The dense dark chocolate is very sexy and bold and moist. What a delight.

The coffee from Cata Coffee (which roasts their beans fresh every week) here is also very good. I wanted an iced long black, my prefered choice of coffee, but the handsome boy recommended, “If you like black coffee, try the drip coffee. We make a good one.” Well, ok, whatever the handsome boy recommends, I would take it. The drip coffee uses Colombian beans and is smooth and not at all bitter. Fantastic.

Including two coffees, we paid $ 25. I regret that we were cafe-hopping that day and we couldn’t eat much at Woodlands Sourdough. But next time, I definitely want to buy one of every cake, cookie, and bread on display!


The Bakery by Woodlands Sourdough
Serene Centre, 10 Jalan Serene #01-05 Singapore 258748
8am-6pm, closed M & T
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Food: 8/10
Decor: 6/10
Service: 7.5/10
Price: 5.75/10


You may be interested in…
Nassim Hill Bakery, Orchard: SCORE! Brunch for only $ 16/pax
Croute by Hummerstons, River Valley
Carpenter and Cook, Upper Bukit Timah
Baker & Cook, Bukit Timah Singapore


Written by A. Nathanael Ho.

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East Bistro – Dim Sum & Pao Fan by the former head chef of Lei Garden

 Tony Wong, who has over 2 decades of experience as the former head chef of Lei Garden Singapore, is at the helm of East Bistro, which has rocketed to fame in recent months. East Bistro is famous for their exquisite dim sum and 泡饭 (pao fan).

East_Bistro_Shopfront

You might think that East Bistro was located in the east, but it is, in fact, located in Sembawang. The simple and modest interior was charming and had a homey feel.

East_Bistro_Interior

Other than the famous 东师傅催泡饭 (Chef special – “Pao Fan”, item #601, $ 6.80 for small), we also ordered a medley of their dim sum dishes which included the 香煎萝卜糕 (Pan fried radish cake, item #111, $ 4 for 3 pieces), 花菇皇叉烧包(“mushroom” char siew bao, item #103, $ 3.60 for 2), 四川口水鸡 (Chilled chicken in spicy sauce, item #203, $ 6) and the 黄金脆虾球(Deep fried prawn with salted egg sauce, item 310, $ 12 for small).

East_Bistro_Pao_Fan

Despite my bias against Teochew-style porridge (I prefer the Cantonese version), I have to admit that the 泡饭 was truly one of a kind. Remember to get your phone or camera ready before this dish arrives. Once the porridge arrived at our table, the server decisively threw fried rice crisps into the porridge and it started to crackle, much to our amusement. Since we were all still daydreaming, we missed the shot. Don’t be fooled by its watery texture and messy appearance. As you stir the dish, you’ll notice an aroma coming from the supremely rich and flavorful broth. The rice grains were soft and the addition of sesame seeds helped to enhance the fragrance of the dish. I also liked that the fried rice crisps had a contrasting texture to the softer rice grains. 

East_Bistro_Radish_Cake

In spite of the remarkable reviews of their 萝卜糕 (radish cake), we were not impressed by it. Despite the lightly-singed appearance, the radish cake had a good amount of flavor bolstered by the addition hei be (dried prawns) in the dish. While I did find it a little starchy, the essence of the fragrant radish cake was still intact. While the radish cake embodied the qualities of a good radish cake, it lacked the wow factor.

East_Bistro_

We also had the “mushroom” char siew bao which looked like two oversized Shitake mushrooms served in a traditional bamboo steamer. The bun was extremely soft and fluffy, unlike any other char siew bao you might find in Singapore. Bite into the airy bun to reveal a sweet and moist char siew filling, which we could use more of. However, I liked how the filling doesn’t soak through the bun. This was probably my favourite item of the lot.

East_Bistro_Deep_Fried_Prawns_With_Salted_Egg_Sauce

Last but not least, the deep-fried prawns with salted egg sauce were fresh, crunchy, and crispy. However, we felt that they could also have been more generous with the salted egg sauce. Regardless, the deep-fried prawns were still crazy addictive. Priced at $ 12, this dish did not disappoint.

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It also wasn’t difficult to notice friendly head chef Tony Wong sauntering around the restaurant to ask if the food was all right. If you speak fluent Cantonese or Teochew, you’ll soon find yourself deep in conversation with him as he is very 热情 (enthusiastic). Seeing how easy-going he was, we asked him for a picture and he gladly obliged. 

To cater to the local palate, East Bistro’s menu also includes tze char dishes like 螃蟹脆米泡饭/米粉 (Crispy rice/rice noodle with crab in soup, item #409), everyone’s favorite虾酱鸡中翼(Chicken wings in prawn paste aka Har Jiong Gai, item #303), 麦片虾(Cereal Prawn, item #403), 马来风光(Sambal Kang Kong, item #501) and even a 星斑炉 (Red Garoupa Steamboat, item #511). We went on a weekday afternoon to avoid the crowd but I hear you’ll have to call in to reserve a table if you intend to go on a weekend. I’m sure you’ll enjoy their hospitality and the good food.

Address: 10 Jalan Tampang Singapore 758954 (Opposite Sembawang Shopping Centre)

Phone: 6752 4844

Opening Hours: 11am to 3pm, 5pm to 10pm (Monday to Friday) and 9am to 3pm, 5pm-10pm (Saturday and Sunday). Closed On Tuesdays.

Cuisine: Chinese

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 XXX. We will verify and update from our side. Thanks in advance!

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Blackwattle, Amoy Street: Outstanding Australian Cuisine by Chef from Automata in Sydney

Taking over Zott’s, Blackwattle restaurant at Amoy Street borrows its name from a species of trees native to Australia, and serves–no surprise here–Australian food. A smart move opening an Australian restaurant, given the Michelin Guide’s penchant for the cuisine.

35 year-old Australian Clayton Wells who opens Blackwattle is the chef of Automata, which ranks 9th best restaurant in Sydney by Australian Financial Review. At 19 years old, Wells was an apprentice in a hotel kitchen before moving on to eminent Sydney restaurants such as Quay and Tetsuya’s.

Wells leaves 28 year-old Joeri Timmermans, his sous chef at Automata, to helm Blackwattle. They serve a 3-course lunch at $ 48++ and 5-course dinner at $ 115++. A la carte is also available.

The 3-course lunch starts with an amuse bouche–they call it “snacks”–that consists of a fried cheese-and-tapioca cracker and a stormshell clam in rosemary dashi topped with aerated cream. One crunchy, one smooth; one land, one sea; one sweet, one salty; one rich, one light. A good juxtaposition.

The appetitizers come with this great, warm bun and cream whipped with chicken jus and anchovies. Huccalyly asked for seconds, and she said, “It’s enough. We can pay and go now. I feel like I already got my money’s worth with this f***ing excellent bread and cream.”

The appetizer, a kingfish tartare mixed with capers, creme fraiche and yuzu kosho, is excellent. Very fresh, light, nicely balanced, and the plum slices add a wonderful summer feel and undercuts the richness of the creme.

The grilled beef tri-tip–think the server said wagyu?–comes with burnt carrot, wood-ear mushrooms 黑木耳, and tamari sauce. The beef is excellently executed and it is a nice cut; it is tender and fat enough but there is a really fantastic bite. It’s also interesting to see how they pair the beef with wood-ear mushrooms.

The other option for a main, barramundi, is simply pan-fried, which is the way fresh fish should be done. The fish is paired with a hispi cabbage decorated with buckwheat like a Christmas tree. A good balance between the fish and veg.

The dessert, a pumpkin seed sorbet with bitters meringue and dried plum, is the least exciting. It’s alright: a rounded sourness to alleviate any sense of heaviness from the meal.

We like Blackwattle because the dishes are easy and clean; nothing very complicated, just letting the integrity of the ingredients to speak for themselves. We also like that it doesn’t try anything funny. For example, the barramundi, an Australian fish, is simply pan-seared, which should be the way fresh fish be cooked.

The service for a new restaurant is impeccable. Kudos. In fact, the service was so good that we didn’t paying for $ 5/pax for Singapore’s already-filtered water filtered through the Norqac system. We paid $ 62 per pax for lunch.


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Blackwattle
97 Amoy Street, Singapore 069917
tel: +65 6224 2232
M-F 12pm-3pm, M-Sat 6pm-11pm
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Food: 7.5/10
Price: 6/10
Service: 9.5/10
Decor: 6/10


You may be interested in…
Cheek by Jowl, Boon Tat Street: Michelin-starred Modern Australian Restaurant Fails to Shine
Don Ho, Keong Saik Rd: Back Alley Restaurant Serves Modern Australian Small Plates Amidst Hawaiian Verdure
Whitegrass Restaurant, CHIJMES: Conversations Over a Hot Waiter And Great Modern Australian Food (Likely to Receive Michelin Stars)
Braci, Boat Quay: Brilliant Modern Italian Restaurant, a Deserving One Michelin Star


Written by A. Nathanael Ho.

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Black White Tale Cafe Review @ Tyrwhitt Road – Soul Food So Good

Black White Tale Cafe Review @ Tyrwhitt Road – Soul Food So Good

Black White Tale Cafe is a dream come true for a young couple – Robert and Elise, both have strong passion for good food and the opening of the cafe signifies a significant milestone in their life. The café highly stressed on simplicity in decoration, from furniture to walls, black and white theme lends itself to both cosy and comfy interpretations.

At Black White Tale Cafe, quality comes top on the agenda, besides quality ingredients are used, Chef Robert meticulously prepare each of the dishes with the soul and heart, implying clearly in the business logo tagline – Soul Food So Good.

And we have to agree, the food here is really good.

Toss & Turn Cheese Wheel Carbonara ($ 16.90)

Chef will have the Carbonara prepared right in front of the customers, the hot pasta was cooked in a full round freaking giant cheese wheel partially hollowed out into a bowl, tossing the hot food in the cheese bowl will slowly melt the layer of the cheese, the end result was a nice and cheesy carbonara.

Everything in the plate of the Carbonara was incredibly good, from the al dente pasta to the enthralling cheesy flavour, everything was well balanced to present you a high standard Carbonara, a highly recommended dish to order when dining here.

So Shiok Beef Burger ($ 16.90)

Thick grounded beef patty sandwiched in between two charcoal burger bread, melt Raclette cheese on the wedge-shaped was brought to the table and scrapping off the melting side cover the juicy beef patty, the combination of the savouriness of the Raclette cheese and the natural flavour from the beef patty provided a well harmonized flavour.

Shoestring fries was used as the side dish with the main, we are glad it was not the usual fast food featureless French fries but very well-seasoned shoestring fries, nice golden brown and perfect side dishes for the burger. It is another recommended item to order on the menu.

Hawaiian Fried Chicken with Raclette Cheese ($ 16.90)

Panko crumbed juicy thigh, tomatoes concasse and drenched with grilled Raclette cheese. Chicken thigh was well marinated, very much retained the juiciness and tenderness. The sweet potatoes fries were very appealing to the taste buds as well.

Quote from my son: “I don’t like sweet potatoes but this one is an exception.”

Ying Yang Fish & Chips ($ 12.90)

Two stripes of battered fish in two different colours – a usual golden brown and a charcoal coated black fish stripe, fish inner texture was tender and moist, the outer coating was thin and crispy, served with flavourful chilli crab sauce and salted egg sauce, another signature dish highly recommended.

Lava Cake

Not on the menu yet but we had the opportunity to try it, not too sweet chocolate went well with the smooth vanilla ice cream, another few seconds with the heating will probably more ideal to allow the lava to flow smoothly.

Our verdict

We are pretty much enamoured of the chef’s culinary skills at Black White Tale Cafe, besides the impeccable depth of the food quality and excellent customer service, the price here is very reasonable and that’s no reason not for a return visit.

Soul Food, So Good – we fully endorsed it.

No GST & Service Charge

Thanks Black White Tale for the invitation

Black White Tale Cafe

A: 35 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207536

H: Tue to Sun 12 noon – 10pm, Closed on Mondays

T: 81899970

FB:https://www.facebook.com/BlackWhiteTale/

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Wee Family Seafood: Zi Char with wine pairing


Assam fish with jackfruit

We might be worried about the disappearance of certain hawker dishes like char kway teow or satay beehoon, but not zi charZi char is alive and well and it is easy to understand why.  Whereas Singaporeans would complain about a plate of char kway teow which costs $ 6, no one blinks an eye at a plate of fried vegetables with oyster sauce that costs $ 8 at the zi charZi char is good business, which is why there are a lot of zi char out there.  The real challenge with zi char operators is how to come up with a few signature dishes which will help them stand out from the crowd.

Most zi char stalls serve a handful of tried and tested dishes which is usually a combination of fried proteins viz pork, chicken, tofu, prawns, squid etc in combination with a sauce, eg salted egg, coffee, sweet and sour etc.  Most will also do a fish head curry and some fried carbs like fried rice, beehoon, hor fun or noodles.  When you visit a typical neighbourhood zi char, you would probably end up ordering the same few dishes!


Steam squid

Our makan group has been meeting regularly for a zi char meal for the last few years and after a while, the meal does feel a bit repetitive.  Most places do their fried stuff quite competently and it is difficult to differentiate the hae zhor of one zi char from another.  I haven’t really come across one that was infamously bad, but neither have I found one that is so amazing that I could tag it with a “really must try” label!    What I am trying to get at is this:  In order to stand out in the crowded zi char marketplace,  what zi char owners need to do is find something that really makes them stand out.

Wee Family Seafood has managed to do just that.  The owner, Milton Wee,  happens to own a wine boutique and so one of the things he is able to do is to cater to wine lovers who are looking to pair their wines with zi char food.

Milton has also capitalized on his exposure to fine dining during his early days as a banker to give his dishes a different twist. Take his crispy fried pork knuckle for example.  Unlike other places that braise their pork knuckle to soften the meat before deep frying, he uses a pork knuckle which has been cured and smoked first.  As a result, the pork knuckle has a texture akin to that of a ham.  The smoke flavour was not as pronounced as I would have liked, but the meat was moist and the skin was crispy.  I won’t say it’s the best crispy pork knuckle I have come across, but it is certainly different pairs very well with a oak Chardonnay or a nice Shiraz  4.25/5 

Another dish is the red wine pork ribs which is the result excess bottles of red wine in his storeroom.  The pork ribs are marinated in red wine, then fried and glazed with a red wine reduction made from a Bordeaux or Cabernet Merlot.  You can’t really make out the flavour of the wine in the dish, but it does give the ribs a unique flavour that you can’t find at other zi char3.75/5


Salted Egg Crayfish $ 40

The dish that did it for me was the salted egg crayfish.  Most zi char will capitalize on the shells of the crayfish because they make up 2/3 of its total weight.  So you can have a more substantial looking plate if you leave the shells on.  However,  I find that crays actually taste better if you simply deep fry the meat in a light batter.  I think a lot has to do with the cooking time.  With the shells on, most cooks tend to over cook the meat.  Deep frying the meat alone results in a meat that is much more moist and juicy.  The salted egg sauce is also very good at Wee’s.  They use fresh crayfish procured from the market and real salted egg yolks to make the dish rather than frozen crayfish and the widely available salted egg powder.  It’s a difference you can easily taste!  4.5/5

The kakis alsol liked the Hakka mee sua which was one of the few dishes that can be said to be vegetarian.  Milton tells me that he has a group of friends who meet together regularly and one of them doesn’t eat seafood!  So, he and his chef came up with this dish which uses a thick mee sua that has a nice springy texture.  It’s accompanied by a sauce made with century, salted and fresh eggs and two types of mushrooms. It’s actually quite nice, despite it being a vegetarian dish.  Worth trying!  4/5

Conclusion

There is a growing trend of zi chars that are opened by professionals who have made mid life transitions to the food business.  They would often serve dishes which they themselves like to eat which often reflect their own travels.  As a result, our zi char scene is becoming more globalized with places like New Ubin Seafood introducing ribeye steaks and carabinero prawns.  Wee’s Family Seafood has carved a niche for itself by focusing on the market of wine lovers seeking to enjoy their bottle with zi char food.  However, even if you are not opening a bottle, you will still find a good zi char meal here with 9 dishes for about $ 20-$ 30 per pax.

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5 Farmers' Markets In Singapore To Switch Up Your Otherwise Mundane Grocery Runs

Best farmers markets in Singapore for fresh organic produce

Farmers' markets in singapore

Image credit: @flyeryang

A farmers’ market is a one-up from any supermarket experience; While with the same bustling activity and fresh food our traditional wet markets have, farmers’ markets focus more on organic produce, some homegrown. That’s not all – they also feature handcrafted items, workshops, and pop-up food stalls, making the whole atmosphere almost carnival-like.

Whether you’re a health nut seeking out organic goodies, or simply want a different sort of grocery shopping experience, these farmers’ markets in Singapore are worth hitting up. 

1. Farmers’ Market @ Loewen Gardens

Farmers Market @ Loewen Gardens

Image credit: @s_mart_grocery

Farmers’ Market @ Loewens sells a variety of gourmet meat, cheeses and local organic produce. All vegetables sold are grown without the use of fertilisers and pesticides, and since you’ll be buying them directly from the ones who farm them, these veggies are much cheaper compared to the ones found in grocery stores.

fresh;y baked goods

Image credit: @midnightbaker_sg

They always have freshly-baked goods for sale too! From banana loafs to cupcakes and macarons, homegrown patissiers come together each time to create the ultimate spread of indulgence for sweet tooths.

organic honey at loewen gardens

Sold alongside the greens are organic products such as the Raw Himalayan Honey, all the way from Nepal: Image credit: @organichimalaya

The farmers’ market is held once a month on a Saturday, with each event inviting new food vendors. Past ones include Carrotsticks & Cravings, The Meat Club and Papa’s Grove.

Address: 75E Loewen Road, Singapore 248845
Opening hours: 9AM-2PM
Telephone: 6474 0441
Website

Check for upcoming events here!

2. Open Farm Community Social Market 

Open Farm Community Social Market

Image credit: @openfarmcommunity

On any other day, Open Farm Community is a quaint restaurant serving up dishes made with produce from local farmers. But during their monthly Social Market, their outdoor terrace and carpark transforms into a bustling market, selling fresh produce and handmade items, along with a fun range of activities great for families to partake in together.

Each Social Market is themed differently, but accommodates people of all ages. Their recent “Kids Day Out” event had bouncy castles, game booths, and popsicles to keep the kiddos occupied – while their parents sneaked away to enjoy glasses of wine and cocktails!

Social market yoga workshops

Image credit: @openfarmcommunity

With activities and workshops such as yoga classes, painting and even beekeeping, OFC also creates opportunities for like-minded people to have fun, learn new skills, and interact.

Address: 130E Minden Road, Singapore 248819
Open Farm Community Restaurant opening hours: Mon – Fri: 12PM-4PM | 6PM-11PM | Sat – Sun: 11AM-4PM | 6PM-11PM
Social market opening hours10AM-4PM
Telephone: 6264 7960
Website

Check for upcoming events here!

3. Farmers’ Market @ Central Singapore

Farmers' market @ central singapore

Image credit: @sherl3l

People of the older generation are usually sticklers for tradition, so grocery shopping is pretty much synonymous with the wet market for them. But the Farmers’ Market @ Central Singapore is one that even gramps will enjoy.

workshops at central singapore market

Image credit: Central Singapore Community Development Council

The monthly event caters more towards the elderly, providing them with entertainment such as live cooking demonstrations and art and craft workshops. Local produce can be found at the stalls, along with pre-loved items and healthy organic snacks like macadamia nuts and dried fruits. 

artisan ice cream and cold juice

Image credit: Central Singapore Community Development Council

The heat may be overbearing for ah mah and ah gong, so be sure to stop by the food stalls for some cold-pressed juices and ice cream. There are also light bites like apple pie and salad bowls to refuel yourself with after making your rounds of the market.

Address: Varies
Opening hours: Weekends, date and time varies
Website

Check for upcoming events here!

4. Bolly Jolly Farmers’ Market

Bolly Jolly Farmers' Market

Image credit: @zheng_ltd

There’s no need to cross borders for a quiet escape to the countryside. Tucked away in Lim Chu Kang is Bollywood Veggies, a 10-acre farm filled with plantations and lush greenery.

Goods at Bolly Jolly

Image credit: Bollywood Veggies

Their Bolly Jolly Farmers’ Market is held on the last weekend of each month, with fresh produce, artisan confections, locally made condiments and handmade crafts for sale.

MOFO Chilli

Image credit: The Conceptual Store

If you’re a fan of all things spicy, check out the cheekily-named MOFO CHILI, a regular vendor at the market. Their chilli paste comes in just two variants, with Dodge The Bullet ($ 10) at heat level 5, and Final Destination ($ 12) at level 10. Warning: these are not for the faint-hearted!

nasi lemak platter for 2

Image credit: @thefoodwarriors

Besides the farmers’ market, there’s also a farm-to-table restaurant for visitors to relax and dine in. The Poison Ivy Bistro is known for its Sedap Nasi Lemak ($ 15), a dish big enough to feed two!

You can even join workshops for terrarium building, take up potting classes, and do a blind tasting of locally produced honey – perfect to end the day with!

Address: 100 Neo Tiew Road, Singapore 719026
Bollywood Veggies opening hours: Wed – Fri: 8AM-5:30PM | Sat – Sun: 8AM-6:30PM
Bolly Jolly farmers’ market opening hours: 8AM-6PM
Telephone: 6898 5001
Website

Check for upcoming events here!

5. Kranji Countryside Farmers’ Market

Kranji Countryside Farmers' Market

Image credit: @flyeryang

Held quarterly, the Kranji Countryside Farmers’ Market is the largest farmers’ market in Singapore, bringing together more than 40 local farms and food vendors. If you’re planning on heading down, do arrive early to avoid the crowd!

Fried frog balls

Tender frog meat is coated in breadcrumbs, fried till golden brown and drizzled with mayonnaise: Image credit: @jurongfrogfarm

The market sells a variety of items such as potted plants and handcrafted items, but we recommend going straight for the food. As bizarre as they sound, the Frog Pops ($ 5) and Crocodile Tail Nuggets ($ 5) are the best sellers! But if you’d prefer safer options, Har Cheong Kai and fresh oysters are available too. 

Archery workshops

Image credit: @jahbellajr

Parents can take the opportunity to sign their kiddos up for fun activities here – some of these include pottery classes, and archery lessons for aspiring Legolases.

Address: 240 Neo Tiew Crescent, Singapore 718898
Opening hours: Timing varies
Telephone: 6898 5001
Website

Check for upcoming events here!

Farmers’ markets with pop-up food stalls, organic produce and handcrafted items

Best farmers' markets in singapore

Image credit: @spgranola

Whether you’re looking for a next-level grocery shopping experience or simply finding a way to spice up your weekend, these farmers’ markets are worth the experience. Besides, getting local produce from the farmers directly makes them way cheaper than grocery stores, and the activities and unique products found will make any trip down worthwhile.

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Shima, Goodwood Park: New Value-for-Money Kaiseki Set Meals

Established in 1980, Shima Restaurant at Goodwood Park boasts to be the first teppanyaki restaurant in Singapore. The kitchen is helmed by award-winning chef Hoshiba Fumihiko, former Chairman of the National Culinary Society of Japan, with forty years of experience.

He has recently launched a Kaiseki menu at $ 48++ and $ 68++ for lunch; and $ 88, $ 188, $ 288 for dinner. Kaiseki menu focuses on fresh, seasonal ingredients with seafood flown in from Japan at least twice a week.

We had the $ 88++ set for dinner, which gives good value for 8 courses. Each dish is beautifully crafted and presented.

The appetitizer  zensai (前菜), or translated as “small pretty things,” consists of five small pretty things including an Aigamo duck steamed with sake and yuzu until it turns medium-rare. At first, given the tough texture, I thought it was beef.

The second course, sashimiis shy; it is covered with a translucent leaf. Gorgeously plated, each fish is accompanied with hand-carved root vegetables shaped like flowers and leaves. We heard the tuna is a chutoro but in reality, the fattiness is closer to otoro usually marbled pink throughout. At the end of the meal, Mr Fitness said, “I could still taste the otoro in my mouth.”

Usually, I won’t harp on chawanmushibut this one is bursting with flavors. There is a layer, smooth as silk, that tastes like peanut butter, but which is in fact a fishcake.

The Yakimono course consists of grilled or pan-fried dishes. Here, the chef chose to present a fish and a beef. A very thin slice of A5 Tochigi wagyu wraps around aonegi (or what we know as 青葱 green spring onion) delicately. However, Mr Fitness commented, “The ratio of the spring onion and beef isn’t quite right; the pungency of the spring onion overpowers the taste of the beef.”

As for the fish, it is a Japanese amberjack marinated in Sakana Kyoto miso for three days. It’s delicious but I wonder whether if this is a wasted opportunity. Shima is after all a teppanyaki restaurant. The yakimono dish should feature something from the teppanyaki grills. Now I feel like going into Ali Baba cave and coming out empty-handed without trying a teppanyaki dish.

The nimono is the highlight of the course. Nimono is a traditional simmered dish that is prepared over 2 days. A turnip (kabu) is carved in the shape of a chrysanthemum flower, the underside hollow to contain a prawn ball. It is then placed in a gooey kiku chrysanthemum broth. What a beautiful dish.

The agemono or tempura is so-so, but the penultimate course, matsutake mushroom rice is a winner. Matsutake is known as Japan’s answer to black truffle. It is cooked with dashi stock in a claypot over a fire stove. This is umami.

Matcha ice cream mochi, persimmon, pear

There is a difference between value-for-money and cheap. Shima certainly isn’t cheap, but it exemplifies what value-for-money means. It won’t be the bestest Japanese food you’ve eaten in your life, but it is still delicious. Besides, there is so much heart that goes into the effort of cooking the dishes and the intricacy of the carvings.


Shima Restaurant
22 Scotts Road, Goodwood Park Hotel #01-00, Singapore 228221
tel: +65 6734 6281
12am-3pm, 6pm-10.30pm

Food: 6.5/10
Price/value: 8/10
Service: 7/10
Decor: 6/10


You may be interested in…
Tatsu Teppanyaki, Chijmes
Teppan Bar Q, Robertson Quay: Flying Omelette, Hidden Teppanyaki 
Akari Japanese Dining Bar, Marina Bay Financial Centre: Launch of Kaiseki Set Courses. THIS IS ART.
Teppanyaki Hamburg Nihonbashi Keisuke Bettei, Tanjong Pagar: First Hamburg Restaurant in Singapore (With Salad Buffet and Free-Flow of Eggs of All Styles)


Written by A. Nathanael Ho.

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10 Lovey Dovey Things You Used To Do As A Teenager You’d Be Paiseh About Today

Things we did for puppy love

Oh, puppy love. From writing our crush’s names a million times in our diaries, to signing in and out of MSN Messenger just to catch their attention, it’s an unavoidable rite of passage we all had to go through during teenagehood.  Of course, this also probably left us making a couple of regrettable life decisions.

Here are 10 things most of us have done to profess our love for our childhood sweethearts that’ll make you want to facepalm…hard.

1. Folding paper hearts with bus tickets

 SBS Bus ticket hearts

Image adapted from: hkitalk.net and lemon-zil

Back when we didn’t have EZ-Link cards, dropping coins into bulky machines that issued ticket stubs was the way to go. But what were we to do with these random slips of paper as lovelorn teenagers? Fold them into little hearts to gift our significant others, duh!

And while it did help us score some brownie points, they were probably better off in the bin…because that’s where they all went in the end anyway. *sobs*

2. Dedicating a late-night love song to bae on 98.7fm

boy holding radio

Image credit: IndieWire 

For those of us who were painfully shy and could never get around to expressing our affection face to face, calling in to a radio station to dedicate “our song” to boo was our saving grace.

A cryptic text with instructions to tune in to the radio would be sent to them too, only for them to be serenaded by a sappy love song. *cue Truly Madly Deeply*

3. Showcasing your love by with matching outfits…and everything else

matching couple outfits

Image credit: YouBeauty

Though many of us might feel embarrassed at the thought of even wearing the same t-shirt by accident, our teenage selves were more than happy to be twinning from head to toe.

 Nokia 8210

The legendary Nokia 8210. Image credit: Singtel

From getting matching Nokia 8210 phone cases and customising analog 8-bit ringtones for each other, to hiding couple dog tags from 77th Street underneath our uniform, there seemed to be no better way to show the world that the two of you were exclusive than with his-and-hers items.

4. Ending text messages with secret number codes

Before the mighty emoji which allows your love to be sent in just a simple kissy face, short forms were all the rage. We’d swap words like “you” for “u”, and even got rid of entire phrases by replacing them with sneaky number codes: 143 for “I love you” and 60 or 68, which meant “lao gong” (husband) and “lao po” (wife).

And when we didn’t want to be boring like our parents, we came up with extremely creative ways to play around with the English language: lyke typinq lyke diis.

5. Texting 17317071 to your girlfriend on your Motorola Memo Jazz

motorola memo jazz secret code

Image source: Singtel

You gotta give it to the peeps of the 90s – when all they had were pagers that didn’t support alphanumeric text, they came up with ingenious ways to beat the system and send mushy memos to their darlings anyway – like this string of seemingly random numbers: 17317071.

Decoding it didn’t even require you to transform into Sherlock – all you had to do was to turn your pager upside down to read the secret message: “I LOVE U”. :’)

6. Making a personalised mix-tape with your crush’s fave hits

personalised cd covers

Image credit: Pinterest

As young romantics, CDs were probably the most versatile gifts ever. Just burn a collection of bae’s favourite songs and you were good to go for Valentine’s Day, anniversaries and birthdays. They made for brilliant peace offerings too. A modern day apology would be sneakily slipping JB’s Sorry into the mix!

7. Getting engraved couple rings from Couple Lab

matching couple rings from couple lab

Image credit: Mythical-existence

At $ 60-80 a pair, these couple rings from Couple Lab were not easy on our poor student wallets. And embarrassingly, they were often more of a proclamation of your relationship status to keep competition at bay.

It didn’t hurt that Couple Lab offered free engraving services too, so that we could etch each other’s pet names on the bands as a true mark of being together 4eva.  

8. Chatting on the phone for hours until mom interrupts

talking over the phone for hours

Before the birth of Telegram or Whatsapp, we used to have phone calls with our sweethearts on landline telephones that stretched on for hours.

I used to be guilty of this myself: giggling and sighing into the phone for hours straight, completely oblivious to my surroundings, when suddenly all I could hear was mom yelling “Oi! Mummy wants to use the phone also ah!”

Oops.  

9. Send ASCII flowers and hearts on Valentine’s Day

ASCII Heart for valentines day

Image credit: thatgrrl.hubpages.com

Imagine the age before Telegram and its wondrous treasure trove of stickers – a good morning greeting that can be easily settled with a cute sticker these days used to be a jumble of symbols pieced together painstakingly by your S.Os.

But it’s undeniable that as teens, ASCII art was all it took to turn us into a melty puddle of goo.

10. Serenading your girlfriend through songs on voicemail

Voicemails are almost extinct now, though it was often used by hopeful crooners to serenade their girlfriends with popular hits like This I Promise You by NSYNC and As Long As You Love Me by Backstreet Boys.

Leaving surprise voicemails was the thing to do to if you wanted your gal to boast about how cool you were to her friends. Unfortunately, this would also backfire if you weren’t a fantastic singer – a traumatic experience that still elicits embarrassed groans amongst men today. Shudder.

*Bonus* Proclaiming your love on Teletext

welcome to teletext

Image credit: Elle

This one goes out to all the older peeps. Way before the time of Twitter feeds and Facebook statuses, Teletext was the go-to for the latest updates, be it for news, classifieds or even 4D results.

But of course, Teletext was also the place where budding Romeos would send in lovey-dovey messages for their partners – in all its pixelated glory. Sigh, IG dedications will never be as pure and wholesome.

Everlasting connections with the world’s longest video call

longest phone call ever kimberly wang shane pow

Image adapted from:Singtel

As we look back on all the mushy things we’ve done for love, there’s a sense of nostalgia in realising it was all just a part and parcel of our growing up. With a large chunk of it involving text messages, online chat messengers and and phone calls, dating as a teenager wouldn’t have been the same if it wasn’t for our trusty telcos either.  

From not failing us as we professed our love through voicemail to making sure it’s only mum breaking up the conversation, Singtel is one network that’s been able to keep up with even the most sentimental of texts over the years.

Ever been on a call that you wish could last forever? Watch how a young couple stay on possibly the world’s longest ever video call. It’s anyone’s guess who will hang up first. Because with Singtel’s data network, you have the power to make the call. Find out more at singtel.com/youmakethecall In the spirit of staying connected, tell us how you use your mobile phone to stay in touch with your loved ones. The most interesting answer wins you and your loved one a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 each!

Posted by Singtel on Monday, 9 October 2017

We might have kept in contact with bae through all sorts of quirky ways in the past – but this modern day couple takes “connection” to a whole new level.

With a fast and reliable data network, Singtel gives its customers the quickest speeds in Singapore of up to 800Mbps – meaning our heart-eyed emojis get sent across in a breeze. LDR couples will be able to keep the ship sailing too. Singtel’s got 99.9% of the island covered, so Tampines and Tuas don’t seem too far away after all.

Plus, with constant monitoring and optimization, the network ensures consistent data speeds in even the most crowded spots. And as SEA’s first ever Tri-band 4G+ network with LTE900, rest assured that your signal bar at indoor and underground locations will be just as strong as your relationship.

But here’s the real showstopper – Singtel has recently launched DATA X INFINITY, which gives you unlimited data for just a flat rate of $ 39.90/month on top of their latest Combo 3 Mobile Plan and above.

So who knows, you and your boo might just be able to beat the record for the longest phone call ever!

Find out more about Singtel’s mobile plans here!


This post was brought to you by Singtel.

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Jia Xiang Nasi Lemak: Blue is in!


Chicken drumstick set $ 4.5

Blue rice is currently the in thing!  It’s actually not a new thing but an old thing, but somehow it has recently become THE thing!

Blue food really does capture the imagination doesn’t it?  There are not many foods that we associate the colour blue with.  One can think of blue cheese and blueberries perhaps, but blue is an uncommon colour for food.  Whereas reds are usually an indicator for heat, yellows for richness, greens for freshness and browns for sweetness, blue is usually associated with cold and rotting food.  So, we seldom see blue used for food.


Dried blue pea flowers

Blue pea rice is another exception, especially in Peranakan and South East Asian cooking. The colour comes from the petals of the blue pea flower,  (Malay: bunga telang) which is native to Malaysia and Indonesia.  Its resemblance to the female genitalia gave rise to its scientific name, clitoris ternatea and it is believed to be able to boost the female libido! (Same sort of reasoning with oysters)  It is also believed to have other medicinal qualities, but I think most of the time, it is simply used for its unique colour.

I don’t mean to be morbid, but my friend and food expert, Chris Tan tells me that blue is the traditional colour of mourning for the Peranakans and that the blue kuehs were made to be used during funerals!  Is this the common understanding amongst those of you who are Peranakans?  Do let us know!

Jia Xiang 家香 (lit flavours of home) was founded by two brothers, Kenneth and Shawn who hail from Alor Setar.  Shawn tells me that they grow a lot of blue pea vines at home and he grew up eating blue rice nasi lemak which is one of his grandma’s signature dishes.  In fact, it is still harvested, dried and sent to Singapore to make the blue pea rice at the stall!  So, the stall’s name,  “Jia Xiang” isn’t simply a nice name but there actually is some substance to it!


Chicken Rendang Set $ 5

I was introduced to Jia Xiang a while back when the stall was still in Tampines.  A good friend of mine, Amigo Chen, insisted that I need to try the nasi lemak and brought a box of it to the clinic.   I was immediately taken by the deliciously rich rendang ayam which went so well with the fragrant blue rice!

When I decided to pay their new home a visit,  I was really pleased to find that the rendang ayam was the special dish of the day!  (It’s on the menu on Tues and Sat).  For me, the dish was special because of the rendang ayam. The other components, viz rice, chilli, fried chicken and fried eggs where done very well, but it was the combination of the rendang and the rice that was outstanding.  The rice could be more lemak (rich), but Shawn tells me that he had deliberately cut back on the coconut milk so that his customers don’t feel too jelak after the meal.  Nevertheless, the rice grains were still plump and moist.  The fried chicken was good.  The meat was nice seasoned and juicy, though I felt the crust was a tad thick.  4.25/5

The blue pea flower is also featured in their drinks.  These are the brainchild of Kenneth’s wife, who is a make up artist by training.  The drinks are attractive, until you try to stir them and they become a dull duck egg green.  I was told that most of the ladies would just stir the bottom and leave the nice colour on top for as long as possible.  Taste wise, I think they were pretty standard drinks, but they are so pretty that I am sure most people will end up buying one, especially when it’s just an extra dollar for the blue chai tea with every set meal!

Conclusion

Good to see another young couple working hard at their craft.  I think the blue rice and blue drinks are great for marketing, especially in the age of Instagram.  But, in the long run, I think it is the quality of the food that will enable them to succeed.

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8 Countries Singaporeans Talk About Migrating To – Ranked By Costs Of Moving There

Reto your dream city

As much as we love Singapore, most of us have, at some point, dreamt of just packing up and moving to somewhere new and exciting. Unfortunately, getting a grasp of just how much it costs to buy a house overseas and getting an idea of the cost of living can be a daunting task.

But not to worry, we’ve picked 8 of the most talked-about migration destinations among Singaporeans and listed down living costs* and the type of housing you can get for the price of a regular $ 500,000 SGD 3 bedroom flat:

*Note: To sum up a rough cost of living, we used the cost of a Volkswagen Golf and the price of essential groceries (like chicken, eggs, bread and potatoes) as benchmarks.

1. New Zealand (Wellington)

best countries to migrate to

New Zealand’s new working visa has put Australia’s outdoorsy neighbour on the map as a migration destination, especially for young Singaporeans. Its capital, Wellington, is a hit with millennials who’ll be right at home in the artsy city centre. 

One of the biggest draws for Singaporeans has got to be Wellington’s spectacular natural beauty. Picturesque mountains, lakes and nature trails are all just a short drive away, and are some things we’d never be able to experience in SG. After all, there’s a reason why The Lord of The Rings was filmed here!

What you can get for the price of a flat: A comfortable family home with a large garden

Cost of a car: S$ 34,000

Cost of groceries: S$ 22

2. Australia (Melbourne, Perth)

 best countries to migrate to

Image credit: Johann Dique

Melbourne has topped the list of the world’s most liveable cities, so it’s not surprising this cultural melting-pot is a top choice for Singaporean expats.

Like New Zealand however, eating out in Melbourne is a pricey affair. But because of the abundant farmers markets with incredibly fresh and cheap produce, you’ll find yourself eager to cook up a storm at home. Another bonus is that cars are loads cheaper and also the best way to explore the neighbouring areas, like the gorgeous Yarra Valley.

But if city living just isn’t your thing, head west to Perth and enjoy the laid back city’s slow pace of living. One of the best parts of living here has got to be easy access to city’s beautiful beaches – so drive down to the coast and pack your boardshorts and bikinis for a spot of sand, sand, and surf.

What you can get for the price of a flat:a small apartment (Melbourne), reasonably-sized, landed family home (Perth)

Cost of a car: S$ 28,000

Cost of groceries: S$ 19 (Melbourne), S$ 18 (Perth)

3. United States (San Jose, California)

 best countries to migrate to

Image credit: Alliance Manufactured Homes

If your idea of The American Dream isn’t a shoebox apartment in pricey New York, move west to tech hub of San Jose, which is considerably cheaper and definitely more laid back thanks to its large population of young, tech-savvy millennials.

While the city might be located in the tech-hub of Silicon Valley, San Jose residents know how to have fun too. The city is home to a slew of nightclubs, bars, and award-winning restaurants and even Din Tai Fung! 

But despite its high-tech facade, the neighbourhoods like Willow Glen and Silver Creek manage to invoke a cosy, small-town feel. 

What you can get for the price of a flat:a large family home

Cost of a car: S$ 27,000

Cost of groceries: S$ 19

4. United Kingdom (Brighton)

 best countries to migrate to

Image credit: Tony Mould

Escape the bustle of London and make the quaint seaside resort of Brighton your home. In addition to rustic seaside living, Singaporeans will enjoy a true taste of Brighton hospitality – the town’s residents are a remarkably open and tolerant bunch. 

In addition to hosting major Pride events, the town has its own buzzy music scene that champions local artists like Bat For Lashes and Royal Blood. If you thought London was the only “happening” place in the UK worth migrating to, think again!

 best countries to migrate to

The view isn’t too shabby either! Image credit: The Telegraph

And if you ever feel like you miss city living, central London is just an hour away by train – perfect for a weekend shopping trip!

What you can get for the price of a flat:A cosy single bedroom flat

Cost of a car: S$ 34,000 

Cost of groceries: S$ 14 

5. Canada (Toronto)

 best countries to migrate to

Image credit: Jason Baker

Canada is also a prime destination for Singaporeans because of its general safety and migrant-friendly population. And if you’re a city kid through and through, Toronto’s vibrant city life won’t feel too far from home. 

Toronto prides itself on being an inclusive and welcoming city and is home to many Chinese, Indian, and Italian immigrants. Like Singapore, this mash-up of cultures has created a vibrant food and arts scene – a rojak if you will!

What you can get for the price of a flat:A quaint landed property

Cost of a car: S$ 26,000

Cost of groceries: S$ 16

6. Thailand (Bangkok)

If it’s street food, a tropical climate, and a lively city you’re after, you can’t go wrong making a move to the bustling city of Bangkok.

Anyone who has visited the “Land of Smiles” will already be familiar with how affordable the country is when it comes to transport, shopping, and of course, phenomenal Thai cuisine

Come nightfall, you’ll find no shortage of things to do in the city’s nightlife districts of Sukhumvit, Khao San Road, and Ratchadaphisek – the latter being more popular with the locals.

What you can get for the price of a flat: A large bungalow

Cost of a car: S$ 43,000

Cost of groceries: S$ 10

7. Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur)

Kuala Lumpur may not be as exotic a destination as the other places on the list, but the affordable cost of living there is a huge draw.

We’re familiar with Malaysia as our neighbour up north, so most Singaporeans won’t experience too much of a culture shock and won’t have much difficulty adapting to the lifestyle in KL. And while we’re all super proud of our local dishes, we gotta admit that the Malaysian food scene is a worthy competitor.

Best part? If you ever do feel a little homesick, Singapore is just a short flight or drive away.

What you can get for the price of a flat:A multi-storey bungalow

Cost of a car: S$ 52,000

Cost of groceries: S$ 7

8. Indonesia (Bali) 

 best countries to migrate to

Image credit: Selamat Made

For many Singaporeans, the dream is to migrate to a rustic countryside – far from the bustling city centre. For this, the idyllic, beachy, and ridiculously cheap Bali comes to mind. The cost of living here will be a relief for most Singaporeans, whether it’s massages, meals, or transportation.

And it comes as no surprise that the Balinese like to take things easy. With such a slow, laid back pace of life, moving to Bali means living the permanent vaycay lifestyle!

What you can get for the price of a flat:A beachside villa

Cost of a car: S$ 30,000

Cost of groceries: S$ 8

Migrate with help from an affordable investment plan

 best countries to migrate to

If you’re in your 20s and haven’t got a huge amount saved up to migrate, these prices might still leave you feeling a little disheartened. But whether you’re dreaming of moving to sunny California or a cosy flat in Brighton, a solid investment plan is the first logical step to take. 

AIA’s Pro Achiever Plan will give you the head-start that you need with an affordable starting price of just $ 200 a month. And when you start early, compounding makes your future goals all the more achievable.

More importantly, the plan gives you access to expert financial guidance that’ll help you grow your savings and plan any investment opportunities – that’s less time lost in a sea of financial jargon and more time with your friends and loved ones.

 best countries to migrate to

Image credit: AIA

AIA’s Pro Achiever plan also offers additional perks like 100% of premium invested from the start, no sales charge, bid-offer spread, and 5% bonus units on your premium amount to reward you for staying invested after 12 years of premiums, all the way till age 100 or when you surrender the plan.

With a little help from AIA, you can plan ahead and get your money to work for you right now – making a future move to your dream country a reality. We can almost see you sipping pina coladas by a Balinese beach!

Find out more about AIA’s Pro Achiever Plan


This post was brought to you by AIA.

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