Made in Singapore – The Singapore Salad: CNY Yu Sheng Edition

Made in Singapore – The Singapore Salad: CNY Yu Sheng Edition

As Chinese New Year approaches, many of us must’ve started figuring out our feasting plans. While we are limited by the number of houses we can visit and the number of unique visitors per household, I still believe that this season is one that we can all enjoy together – over food (of course).

Yu Sheng (or lo-hei) is such an integral part of our Chinese New Year tradition here in Singapore that I’m sure many of us eagerly anticipate it. While many restaurants and shops provide Yu Sheng, I’d like to introduce The Singapore Salad: CNY Yu Sheng Edition, which was recently released by Backyard Productions.

The CNY Yu Sheng Edition of the Singapore Salad includes a bag of locally grown Singapore greens, smoked barramundi, red radish, kale, and Crusty’s soy skin crisp. Chef Haikal Johari, a local Michelin-star chef, created the sauce just for this dish.

While this may not appear to be your typical Yu Sheng, it did contain the essential ingredients: colourful vegetables, raw fish, sweet and tangy sauce, and crunchy garnishes. We could tell the difference when I ‘lo-hei’ed’ this entire plate of goodies — there weren’t any shredded carrots or salt and pepper, but it was still a good toss.

The Singapore Salad: Yu Sheng Edition Toss

The Singapore salad with kale and red radish was crunchy and refreshing to the taste. The sauce was delicious! I was worried that the sauce would be insufficient, but the vegetables were delicious when combined with the sauce, smoked barramundi, and soy skin crisps (crunchy taukee).

This Yu Sheng version of the Singapore salad appealed to me since I knew all of the ingredients were sourced from local farms. These local farmers are constrained by Singapore’s resources, but they’ve done an excellent job of cultivating our local crops. So, as we continue to keep our lo-hei tradition in Singapore, we can do so with pride and joy thanks to this local product.

Image credit: Backyard Productions

If you are keen on getting it, you can order a set here for S$30.80 or purchase it directly at XPACE Xupper Club @ 218 Pandan Loop from January 14 to February 15, 2022.

Meatless meats, healthy alternatives

Meatless meats, healthy alternatives

Alternative meats are gaining greater visibility as more brands start rolling out their versions of the products. Besides being environmentally friendly, they are claimed to be healthier and do not compromise on taste.

Being a true carnivore, I am a little apprehensive about these as I really prefer the real bite feel, juiciness and chewiness of my meats. When Ayam Brand’s public relations agency sent the yumeat plant-based luncheon meat and minced meat with bean paste for testing, I adopted a wait-and-see approach.

Packaging wise, the two canned products look like regular items on the shelf. What stood out were the words “plant-based”.

It is understandable that these two items have been chosen as among the first to be released. Luncheon meat is popular for eating any time of the day and goes well with a variety of staples. Minced meat with bean paste is something which I have brought along on my travels, especially to Western countries where eating out can be expensive and spicy food hard to find.

The truth is in the pudding, or in this instance, eating the plant-based meats. I had them cooked for dinner, paired with white rice.

Plant-based luncheon meat: The air-fried luncheon meat looks like the real thing, except perhaps for the colour. It looked more brownish than pinkish. Smell-wise, it has the same aroma of luncheon meat. In terms of taste, the texture was softer compared to meat-based version, sort of more jelly feel.

Plant-based minced meat with bean paste: This is probably more authentic in terms of looks and taste. After all, bean paste is bean paste. This is a mite saltish so eating it with rice made it more edible. I won’t recommend having this on its own — complement with rice, bread or noodles.

While it’s hard for me to give up the original version, especially the luncheon meat because of bite feel, yumeat does have its merits.

  1. They are cholesterol free. Say “Hello” to guilt-free eating!
  2. They are healthier. Works great for the health-conscious who want the taste but not the cholesterol, MSG, GMO, antibiotics, sodium nitrite, and other preservatives.
  3. They are affordable. S$2.95 each for the 190g version.
  4. They are easily available. Get from more than 30 FairPrice Finest and Xtra supermarkets.

If you’ve not tried a plant-based meat product, these are great to start with. I’m thinking of getting the plant-based minced meat with bean paste for my next trip to Europe. Don’t want to risk bringing it into the US, in case it gets confiscated by customs for having the word “meat”.

Verdict

Taste: 👍👍👍

Bite feel: 👍👍👍

Look: 👍👍👍

Value: 👍👍👍

Overall: 👍👍👍

Amorecookies – A Chewy Affair

Amorecookies – A Chewy Affair

Instagram ads can be somewhat bothersome sometimes, but the fact is we can see these ads because we fit their target group. Let’s just say that the ads worked for these cookies I’m talking about today.

Amorecookies is a Singapore-based shop that begun during the Circuit Breaker season last year. What started of as a way to bless her friends, these baked goods were eventually sold to us, the masses.

Each box came with six cookies ($19.90) and a card that had the name of cookies stamped on it. For this box of cookies, it contained the Nutella Lava, Fudgy Double Chocolate, Cranberry Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Walnut cookies.

So now for the flavour of the cookies:

  • Nutella Lava – chewy chocolate texture and not overly sweet. Realized that I should have really heated it up before eating it as the Nutella wasn’t in a ‘lava’ form. It was better once we heated it up!
  • Fudgy Double Chocolate – on a slightly sweeter side and was on the chewy side as well. I’d choose the Nutella Lava version over this but that’s because I love Nutella!
  • Chocolate Chip Walnut – it didn’t have a lot of walnuts, but the contrasting taste between the chocolate chips and walnut was nice. The different textures also made the cookie stand out.
  • Cranberry Oatmeal – this is a good cookie if you’re not a fan of chocolate! Oatmeal cookies sometimes taste a bit too healthy, but this was actually pretty good!

We made a mistake when initially heating the cookies and ended up burning the chocolate in the microwave oven. The cookies were burnt and nearly inedible. So, follow the instructions on the card, but choose the air fryer option instead!

If you are a fan of chewy cookies, you can check this place out! They offer free delivery for orders above $55 too! As I’m writing this, I can’t help but think of the DrKitchen’s SBB Brownies – go check that out too if you haven’t!

Dr.Kitchen’s SBB – the blackest brownies ever

Dr.Kitchen’s SBB – the blackest brownies ever

We previously covered a review of some really delicious brownies, and as we go on to the another brownie review, here’s a local gem that we’ve uncovered.

Dr.Kitchen, a home bakery, offers a variety of desserts such as brownies, fruit cakes, sable cookies, and durian puffs. It has amassed more than 8,000 Instagram followers and regularly shows behind-the-scenes of the kitchen.

They take pride in utilising only the highest quality chocolate in their famous brownies. The So Black Brownies (SBB) brownies are the darkest brownies I’ve ever seen – and boy, do they taste amazing.

There are several variations to the brownies, including hazelnut Nutella, malden sea salt, and lotus speculoos. Their brownies menu is as seen below.

Dr.Kitchen SBB Menu as of Aug 2021

I’ve tried the three mentioned above and each brownie stood out differently.

Hazelnut Nutella – soft fudgey inside with molten Nutella (when eaten warm). It is not overly sweet and the richness of the dark chocolate complements the sweet Nutella filling. The hazelnuts sprinkled on the top are also generously distributed, making each bite wonderful.

Malden Sea Salt – a must if you are a fan of sea salt chocolate. The contrast of the saltiness and sweetness of the brownie is good. The saltiness is a little overpowering for me, but it is overall a great brownie to eat too!

Lotus speculoos – the gooiness of the chocolate and speculoos was smooth and it similarly had a good contrasting taste to the brownie itself. The biscuit crumbs (and half a biscuit at the top) added a nice crunch to it but I personally found it a little sweet (others loved it though!).

My family and I also tried their fruit cake, but I found it a little too dense for my taste (it’s great for people who prefer rich and dense fruit cakes, though!).

For additional information, see Dr.Kitchen’s Instagram feed. This bakery also provided wedding favors at a recent wedding I attended, and all of the attendees (including myself) raved about it.

Best wedding favours ever!

The SBB from Dr.Kitchen is by far the finest I’ve had in recent years, and I’d recommend it to friends at any time. It also makes an excellent gift!

Verdict: 👍👍👍👍👍

Mini Nasi Lemak from Ah Miao’s Kitchen

Mini Nasi Lemak from Ah Miao’s Kitchen

I recently stumbled upon an article about Ah Miao’s Kitchen, a home-based nasi lemak business, and decided to give it a shot. $1 mini nasi lemak isn’t typical in Singapore, and the photos in the article and on their Facebook page looked delicious. Interestingly, their page was only launched on July 16, 2021, and I was pleased to support this small business near my hood. 

The Malaysian-style nasi lemak is served with coconut rice, a slice of hard-boiled egg, Ikan Bilis, and a choice of sambal shrimps, sambal sotong or sambal Ikan Bilis. 

When I tried placing my order via WhatsApp late at night, I initially didn’t get a response and decided to give them a call to place my order. They were accommodating and allowed us to put our order three days before collection. Collection of the nasi lemak was at the driveway of Block 527A Pasir Ris Street 51, and although we ordered five packets of each of the choices, they were sadly unable to provide us with the sambal sotong version. We ended up collecting ten packets of sambal shrimp nasi lemak and five packets of sambal Ikan Bilis nasi lemak. 

Each packet is palm-sized and is pretty packed with coconut rice and a decent portion of ingredients (by decent, I mean decent for the price). When we called to ask, we were told that an average adult portion is around three packets of nasi lemak. 

The coconut rice was cooked using short-grain rice and was very fragrant. The coconut smell was stronger than the taste on the rice (still lovely, though!). The sambal shrimp was good – there was a good number of small shrimps, with one bigger shrimp there (bottom left image) The taste of the sambal was not too spicy and had a rich, strong flavour. I’d prefer it they gave slightly more sambal to go with the rice, though! The Ikan Bilis was also good, and the contrast of taste of the sambal and Ikan Bilis complemented the coconut rice well (bottom right image).

Mini nasi lemak is such a novel idea because it allows us to try many different flavours at a low cost. It makes an excellent treat for a party (when the COVID-restrictions are eased). I believe in supporting small businesses, and if you stay nearby, why not support Ah Miao’s Kitchen! The food’s good and their service is good too! You may want to check their Facebook page out on the ordering process, as it seems that they are pretty much booked out now. 

Verdict

Value: 4/5; Taste: 4/5

Gorilla Mobile Launches in Singapore

Gorilla Mobile Launches in Singapore

New telecommunications start-up, Gorilla Mobile, is on a mission to bring a comprehensive set of digital smart solutions to users in Singapore. Targeting primarily professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), Gorilla Mobile will be adopting a service-on-demand model. This model will allow users to only “pay for the service they use” – something that Gorilla Mobile claims is new to the telecommunications industry.

Making its big debut in Singapore on June 17, Gorilla Mobile Founder and CEO Xanne Leo launched its Switch25 Mobile Plan ($25 a month for 100 SMS/ 100 min/ 20GB of data). This mobile plan will allow users to ‘switch back’, or convert their unused mobile data to offset their bills.

“Our SwitchBack feature can be compared to the Singapore Parking app. Users pay only for their parking duration and get refunded for their unused time. Through SwitchBack, unused data never goes to waste. Its value gets reallocated to offset, purchase or exchange for other Gorilla services,” she said.

An exciting service Gorilla Mobile will offer is the ability to offset other services within a company account. This will allow SMEs to easily manage their accounts for the multiple lines they may have with Gorilla Mobile.

Apart from its SwitchBack features, Gorilla Mobile is also looking to launch its Global Roaming Travel Data SIM Card, Digital International Direct Dialing (IDD) and Global Office Telephony Solutions later.

Its IDD service is one of its kind where users will not need a local mobile subscription or a landline subscription with Gorilla Mobile. Instead, users will be able to download the Gorilla Mobile application to use IDD services.

The Global Office Telephony Solution will be launched in Q4. This digital solution will allow users to transfer calls globally, which will be helpful for businesses.

Gorilla Mobile will tap on the M1 network as its host Mobile Network Operator and MyRepublic’s enterprise Operating Support System and Business Support System telecommunications solution and managed services.

From June 18 to August 18, 2021, users can sign up for the carrier’s Switch25 mobile plan through the company’s website. New users will be rewarded with a bill difference of up to S$50 per mobile number based on their port-in mobile line plan and the new plan. The amount will be credited to their PayNow account upon successful port-in.

Changi Experience Studio@Jewel: Be immersed in Singapore’s aviation history

Changi Experience Studio@Jewel: Be immersed in Singapore’s aviation history

Fun fact! Singapore’s first airport was located in Kallang – near our port. As time evolved and Singapore saw the need to increase the passenger airport’s capacity, the government explored other options, including the Seletar and Paya Lebar areas. However, due to residential considerations and the further possibility of expansion in the future, Changi was selected, and that was how Singapore Changi Airport came into existence.

I learnt about the fun fact above when I visited the Changi Experience Studio located at Jewel recently, and I would recommend anyone interested in the aviation industry or if you’re interested in learning about how Singapore Changi Airport came to be.

At the entrance, we were presented with our own personal journey maps with RFID tags on it. With it, we could quickly go to different sections in the studio and opening the map activated content of that section to be projected onto it (something like a Le Petit Chef video experience).

Timeless Exhibit

As we walked through the different exhibits, each exhibit had a story to tell. The first exhibit was a simple introduction to how the journey map worked, and the second exhibit was where things got interesting. We travelled back in time to learn about how the idea of Singapore Changi Airport came to be, view clips of famous people visiting the airport, learn more about Terminals 1, 2, 3, and the budget terminal. It was fascinating to know how far Singapore Changi Airport has evolved from a single terminal in 1981 to the four terminals and Jewel.

The third exhibit had many stations within it, which told short stories about Singapore Changi Airport. From fun facts about the three runways to learning about the extensive baggage system that runs across the airport, and the Singapore Changi Airport’s distinct scent, this exhibit showed behind-the-scenes on how the airport is run, and ultimately how the airport experience is built.

Following, there were many other experiential exhibits that include a race down a runway on stationary bikes, simple games on identifying dangerous objects from bags through x-ray machines, and even a booth that ‘rated’ your smile. A photo booth was also present, and you can take a photo and get it tagged to your journey map. You’ll be able to purchase the picture at the counter when you exit.

The Changi Experience Studio is very impressive –the technology it utilised throughout the museum helped tell the Changi Experience story.

If you’re looking for an attraction in the east, or if you have some SingapoRediscovers vouchers to utilise, hit this place up – you will not regret it.  

Changi Experience Studio
Level 4, Jewel Changi Airport (closest to Lobby C)
Monday-Sunday: 11:00-20:00
Last admission: 19:00

Fancy Ban-mian!

Fancy Ban-mian!

It’s well-known that the Chinatown area has a ton of good food. Today, I managed to try out this particular noodle stall, 麵莊Mian Zhuang, at Hong Lim Food Centre that serves ban-mian (板面 also known as flat noodles) but with a twist. I first chanced upon this stall in an “Our Grandfather Story” video and was intrigued that the stall owners dared to venture out to start this hawker noodle stall despite having stable jobs previously.

A conventional noodle stall usually serves ban-mian with minced pork, an egg, some vegetables, and ikan bilis (anchovies). Occasionally, the stall will also serve it with sliced fish, but not many do.

However, this stall serves ban-mian with minced pork balls, ikan bilis, and something very different – fish maw! I had this combination and have to say that I enjoyed this combination. The soup was light and flavourful, the minced pork balls were fresh and gave more texture (as compared to just minced pork), the ikan bilis added the salty and crispy texture, and the fish maw was a delectable ‘sponge’ that absorbed the soup well.

The chili that was served on the side was spicy and had a slight tangy flavour which paired very well with the bowl of ban-mian. The texture of the noodles was nice and chewy, and it was evident that it wasn’t factory-made – quite rare in recent times.

At S$4.50, I would definitely recommend this modestly fancy bowl of noodles to others.

Other combinations are also available including ban-mian with abalone clams (S$4.50/S$6.50), abalone (S$13.50) and prawns (S$4.50/S$6.50). The homemade chili can also be bought at S$5.50/bottle.

Do check Mian Zhuang out if you’re in the vicinity! It is located at Hong Lim Food Centre #01-51 and opened from 9am to 3pm (Monday-Saturday). Do note that it seems to run out of items later in the day so do head there early!

Verdict

Taste (especially with the chili): 👍👍👍👍👍

Value: 👍👍👍👍👍

Changi Airport: A tourist attraction

Changi Airport: A tourist attraction

Singaporeans normally view Changi Airport as a place to board a plane for exotic tourist destinations. But, with travel curbs in place, the airport has itself become a tourist attraction.

Kudos to the folks running the airport for the immense efforts to draw people to the airport for reasons other than travelling. Well, if you stay at the other end of the island, it may feel like you’re heading to another town, another place.

Opened slightly more than a year ago, Jewel is a delightful mall to spend time a day in. It’s got everything — from food to shops, and hairstyling saloons to hotel. For this season, the gardens around the centrepiece Rain Vortex has been decked in Christmas glory, making for great sight seeing and photo opportunities.

Families who want something a little different can consider spending a night glamping at Cloud9 Piazza at Level 5.

While Terminal 3 may not be as crowded as before, it has also been given a Christmas makeover with dinosaurs, in line with the theme of Jurassic Mile. The fact that there’s less of a crowd is great because you can take your time to delight in the exhibits and take photos without having loads of photo bombers.

For the F1 wannabes, a go kart circuit — with separate tracks for children and adults — has been set up at the taxi rank outside Terminal 4.

A little round the corner is Jurassic Mile, which has also been decorated with lights to make it a sight to behold at night. Whether you’re a cyclist, walker or jogger, this stretch is worth exploring. But do note that you need to book a slot if you’re planning to be there on Fridays to Sundays.

So, if you’re looking for a place to go to during the holiday, consider Changi Airport — and you don’t have to worry about forgetting to bring your passport.

Jurassic Mile rocks!

Jurassic Mile rocks!

With travel almost non-existent, many in Singapore are suffering from a massive withdrawal. While the government is trying to encourage local tourism, it just doesn’t feel like the real thing of hopping on to a plane, landing in another country and taking in the sights and food!

As we struggle with the travel withdrawal symptoms, there was a glimmer of hope when social media broke news of a new attraction in Singapore. Dinosaurs (not the living kind) were spotted near Changi Airport.

As an avid cyclist who enjoys riding along the airport route, this was right up my alley and I started planning for trip to the said part of the airport. However, my plan had to be shelved when the authorities boarded up the location and placed a “Coming soon” sign.

Imagine my delight when a friend messaged me that the new attraction was opening on October 11.

The next day, I packed my bike and headed to the nearest car park in East Coast Park. Even though it was a Monday, that part of the park was surprisingly busier than usual with walkers, joggers and cyclists, including a couple of young ladies who were struggling big time on a tandem bike.

I joined them and headed towards the freshly-minted Jurassic Mile at Changi Airport Connector. The route was fairly straightforward, just cycle towards the Eastern end of East Coast Park and follow the signs.

Jurassic Mile is a one-kilometre stretch with dinosaur exhibits making for lovely Instagrammable opportunities.

The path is wide enough for three bikes to ride astride so both bikers and walkers/joggers need to exercise lots of grace and patience, especially along spots where people stop for photos.

A surprise is that beyond Jurassic Mile, the park connector extends all the way past Changi Airport Terminal 4 to Terminal 2.

The end point is the Terminal 2 arrival hall next to the car park.

Here are my thoughts on Jurassic Mile:

  1. It’s free. I can’t think of many places we can go for free but this is one and one that’s worth a repeat visit. Next time, I may consider putting my bike in one of the lockers and walk to Jewel for a meal.
  2. It’s open 24 hours a day. You can technically go anytime but bookings are needed for visits on Fridays to Sundays. This is understandable as the path is quite narrow and overcrowding may lead to mayhem.
  3. It is easily accessible. Take your pick. Cycle, walk or jog. It’s so convenient to get there. Park at T2 if you want to get some exercise or nearer at T4 if you want to reach the destination faster. A bicycle rental kiosk is located between Terminals 2 and 4.
  4. It offers loads of photo opportunities. The dinosaurs make great backdrops and photo companions.
  5. It’s a good way to spend family time. When I was there, both adults and children were awed by the displays. Besides posing for photos, the attraction is also great for walking and cycling at your own pace.
  6. It has cycling facilities. From renting to parking, everything is taken care of for cyclists, including a self-service bicycle repair station where you can pump your tires or tighten screws. And if you like, you can even take a shower before heading home.
  7. It has a cafe. This is so thoughtful. The Hub and Spoke Cafe is just reward for that exercise from the dinosaur adventure.
  8. It provides an access to airport terminals. I can now cycle to the airport. Before this opened, it’s always a case of so near and yet so far. I have cycled on the outskirts of the airport but could not get to the terminals before.

If there are areas of improvement, my wish is for some form of interactivity with the exhibits instead of them being purely static. Another is for the path to be wider so that it’ll be safer for all.

Overall, this is a place that is worth visiting at least once. I can foresee myself heading there again and again.

Verdict

Quality of exhibits: 👍👍👍👍

Facilities: 👍👍👍👍👍

Experience: 👍👍👍👍

Value for time: 👍👍👍👍

Overall: 👍👍👍👍