Zoku stainless steel bottle keeps fluids at the right temperature

IMG_20181019_161722.jpgWater bottles. I’ve an affinity with them since I was a child. Plastic, glass, metal, hybrid, you name it, I’ve got it. In fact, the reason I have so many is because I have the tendency to lose them while young.

Some were lost when I left them behind in a football field or volleyball court while others were forgotten at various spots where I stopped for a bit of fun.

Besides losing them, I was also a specialist in spoiling them — OK, the quality wasn’t quite as good back in my growing up years. The plastic cover will break or leak due to wear and tear — more tear than wear, I figured.

These days, I don’t buy water bottles. People either give them to me or I get them at events.

Last October, I received a water bottle that I really like. The Tiger brand is renowned for its sturdiness and the size was just right for my sling bag.

After nearly a year of use, somehow the top cover gave way and could not be fixed. I was disappointed and for the first time in decades, contemplated buying a replacement.

But, God knew what I needed and at a recent event, I got one. Typically, water bottles given as memento tend to be the cheaper kind — those that end up in storage or being given away to others.

This one was special. The Zoku stainless steel bottle was sturdy and solid. The hallmark of a good water bottle is its ability to keep water or other liquid contents at the same temperature when poured in. And this one excels. The ice remains in solid form even after a day or two and the water is icy cold — my kind of water after a long walk.

Here are five things I like about the Zoku stainless steel bottle:

  1. Nice colours. The range of metallic colours make them suitable for all — men, women, young, and old.
  2. Good build. It feels solid and fits nicely in the palm.
  3. Temperature retention. This is very important. Whether you like it hot or cold, it stays hot for up to 15 hours or cold for up to 70 hours.
  4. Smooth opening. The polished thread-free mouthpiece makes it easy to drink without that feeling of something poking at the mouth.
  5. Easy carrying. The removable paracord lanyard makes it easy to bring the bottle around.

Priced at S$31.90 at Qoo10, it is not overly expensive. What you get is a water bottle that will last and one that you will be proud to carry around.

Chilled coconut pudding makes a sweet ending

Swee Choon.jpgSwee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant is always a hive of activities whenever we visit. Highly popular for its tim sum, there is a constant stream of hungry customers.

Opened in 1992, the restaurant occupies several units along Jalan Besar, from 183 to 191.

Over the years, the queuing system has improved tremendously with the adoption of technology, making the wait more pleasant.

There are so many favourites on my family’s list — siew mai, har gao, char siew bao, Shanghai xiao long bao, and chilled chicken in spicy bean paste. My personal must-eat item is shrimp hor fun in creamy egg sauce though I’m not a shrimp person. That’s why we order the chilled chicken as a side. The hor fun is simply heavenly and topped by an egg sauce that’s sweet and saltish.

Our favourite list keeps growing with each visit. Somehow, we always end up trying something new.

And I’m glad we did because during my most recent visit, I decide to try a dessert for the first time.

Chilled coconut custard.jpg

I opted for the chilled coconut pudding and it was ooohhh, so good! The dessert comprised pudding made from coconut juice and placed in a young Thai coconut.

The pudding was soft, gel-like and so fragrant and tasty. Each spoonful was a sheer delight with the coolness complementing all the other food that were consumed over dinner.

There wasn’t much meat in the coconut but the little that I had was soft and tender.

This chilled coconut pudding certainly makes a perfectly sweet ending to a great dinner.

If you’re planning to head to the restaurant, do note that payment is only via cash or NETS only.


Lost and found: Best fried sambal fish

Fried pomfret.jpgYears ago, an ex-colleague of mine brought a few of us to eat a dish he dubbed “the best fried fish he has ever had”.

“You can even eat all the bones,” he beamed.

The restaurant was along Ophir Road and such was its popularity that there was a line of cars parked on along the road, some on double yellow lines. I figured that the food must be so good that the cars were prepared to take the risk.

As we ate at one of the tables set up along the footpath, the lighting wasn’t so good. The famed fried sambal fish doesn’t look attractive under the dim light but one bite and oooohhhh, I couldn’t stop. OK, I had to because we were sharing one large pomfret.

It’s fried so perfectly that the skin is crispy, the meat tender and the bones totally edible, just like my friend said. The sambal adds the kick that takes a chilli lover like me to heaven.

I can’t remember much about the other dishes but the fried sambal fish truly deserves to be called “The best”, in my opinion at least.

I went back there once more with my wife but soon after, the restaurant had to make way for development.

Over the years, the memory of that fish has flashed across my mind occasionally but I didn’t know where the restaurant moved to. Worst yet, I don’t even know the name of the establishment.

A couple of weeks ago, my wife read on Facebook about a restaurant that serves fried sambal fish. She suggested that we go there for a meal.

I was piqued and when I read about the restaurant and its roots along Ophir Road, I knew it was what I’ve been pining for all these years.

It’s called Old Lai Huat Seafood and has two outlets — one in Rangoon Road and the other in Horne Road.

We made a booking at the Rangoon Road outlet that weekend. Located at the end of the road, it’s not a place that passers by will come by and pop in. But, after we settled ourselves at a table, a steady stream of customers came in. They looked like regulars because most had bookings and came as a family.

While I came just for the fish, we needed more than that for dinner so we picked a set dinner which the staff recommended. What’s best is that he allowed us to change some of the dishes.

Old Lai Huat set dinner.jpg

The fried sambal fish was just as it looked and tasted the first time I had it. It was simply heavenly and my family loved it too. The rest of the dishes were nice too but my focus was on that signature dish. We finished every bit of it.

Thank God for Facebook! Thank God for my wife! Thank God for this heavenly dish that was lost but has been found!


Wonderboom: Small body, big sound


How many speakers does a person need? How about one more? With a couple of Google Home speakers in my home, I wasn’t really in need of another speaker but the Wonderboom changed my mind.

Yes, it doesn’t have the smart capabilities of a Google Home. It can’t receive verbal instructions.

But, it’s sound does pack a punch and it is another great travelling companion. I can picture streaming music from my smartphone to it in my hotel room. With it’s 360-degree sound, it will fill the room with my favourite music nicely, especially in hotels where the TV channels are much to be desired.

Best of all, it can also be used safely in the bathroom and outdoors as it is waterproof and floats!

Here are five things that I like about the speaker (all in numbers):

  1. 360-degree sound: Great for listening wherever it’s placed.
  2. 1-metre under water: Chances of me using this outdoor are slim BUT should I want to bring it to the beach or by the swimming pool, I need not worry about the weather or dropping it into the water.
  3. 10-hour battery life: That’s enough juice for an entire day out without recharging, which incidentally takes about three hours to fully recharge.
  4. 33-metre range: It can stream music from your mobile device all the way across the house.
  5. 2 are better than one: If one Wonderboom is not enough, pair it with another and you’ll get stereo sound.

The Wonderboom scores for its portability, ruggedness and sound. Officially listed at S$149, it can be had for S$89 at Shopee.

Himalaya Salt candy is so addictive!

Himalaya Salt.jpgLast October, I was given a pack of sports candy called Himalaya Salt. As it was new to me, I tried it and got hooked by its combination of mint, sweetness, sourness and saltiness.

While there was a longing for more, I forgot about it over time — until my daughter told me about a sweet that she discovered while on a trip to Malaysia a few months ago. From her description, I guessed that it was the forgotten Himalaya Salt.

Turns out that this is a Malaysian product that is highly popular — it was sold out when my daughter tried to buy in from the shops near her hotel.

Everyone we offered the candy to loved it! Seems that some have tried it before but didn’t know where to buy it.

Thankfully, I found it available online in Shopee. OK, the price range was higher than in Malaysia but it beats having to make a trip up north.

After ordering a couple of boxes (12 per box), I found out that Teck Leong Lee Kee, a wholesale candy shop in Bedok in Singapore is selling it at close to Malaysia price.

If you’ve not tried the Himalaya Salt mint candy yet, do give it a shot. It’s refreshingly good and very addictive too!