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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Lunch at Ah Hoi's Kitchen @ Hotel Jen Tanglin

1A Cuscaden Road, Level 4, Hotel Jen Tanglin, Singapore 249716
Tel: 6831 4373

Ah Hoi's Kitchen is situated in Hotel Jen Tanglin (formerly known as "Traders Hotel"), and is famous for its Singaporean and seafood dishes.

The interior is a large dining hall with vintage Asian furniture whereas the alfresco area offers poolside dining. Coupled with friendly service, how could one not enjoy their meals here?

I knew not what to expect when I came for the lunchtime 12 For 12 Promotion - mainly featuring 12 nasi padang dishes for a mere SGD$12.00.

*Sidney and I had with some cooling Lime Juice and Keropok served with different dips, while waiting for our meal to be served.  The chilli were very good, and spicy enough for my liking.

They started us with Soto Daging (Spicy Beef soup), a light soup, tasty with infusion of beef's sweetness. It reminded me of Kambing soup (mutton soup), except that it was not spicy.

Then the huge wooden stand was being set up and the dishes began to fill the tray up.

I started with the Vegetables in Coconut Curry, a spicy and creamy concoction that reminded me very much of lontong broth.

Next, I had the Ayam Penyet (Fried Chicken with Spices) - very crispy on the inside and tender on the inside. The golden crispy crumbs sprinkled over the chicken added to the crispiness and made the flavorful chicken even more so.

The Ikan Tenggini Asam Pedas (mackerel in spicy tamarind sauce) was another appetite-whetting dish, smooth and toned in texture; tasting really good with the spicy sauce it was cooked in.

I also tried the Tahu Telur (deep fried beancurd with egg), a deceptively simple dish with complex textures. The exterior is flaky with crisps; the interior was silken smooth with the tender beancurd and egg, so the texture contrast was simply awesome. The peanut sauce slowly led to spiciness through all the crisp and smooth softness; we could not stop eating this dish.

Following that, I tucked into the Daging Masak Rasa Padang (Padang-styled braised beef); it was very tender and a little spicy. I enjoyed the taste; it also reminds me of Filipino dish Adabo.

My favorite came up next - Udang Sambal (sambal prawns) - too bad it wasn't the shelled type (maybe to retain freshness?). To me, anything that tastes of the spicy piquant flavor of sambal is a delicacy, plus the prawns were bouncy fresh, hence made this dish very appetising.

Then the Rojak - fresh fruits tossed with rojak sauce and ground peanuts. I was never much a fan of this dish, but enjoyed the fresh crunchiness herein.

Moving on, the Goreng Kacang Perancis Dengan Udang Kering (stir-fried string beans with dried shrimps) - vegetables are a must for all my meals, hence these refreshing, crunchy beans gave the meal a great bite.

Now, it is interesting to find Kaki Babi Masak Cuka Hitam (braised pork shank in black vinegar) at an eatery selling nasi padang, so this is a must-try. I enjoy braised pork shank usually, and must say that this is very succulent, checking all the right boxes for appearance, taste and texture.

This is another chicken dish, cooked in a nice, light, saltish gravy with some shallots; the chicken was soft.

Next, I had the Bendi Rubus Cilli Api (lady's fingers in chilli sauce), another one of my favorite dishes. Over here, the flavor was good but I felt that the lady's fingers were not boiled soft enough. hence the texture was still hard.

Last but not least, this was the bowl of fragrant white rice that accompanied me throughout the entire savoury, heavy-flavored meal.  I really enjoyed this, and would definitely come back for more. It is really value for money too, because we all know that a plate of nasi padang usually costs SGD$5.00 - $7.00 at the stalls, and with alot lesser ingredients.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Afternoon Tea at Bosses Restaurant (黑社会) at Vivocity

1 Harbourfront Walk, #02-156 / 157 Vivocity, Singapore 098585
Tel: 6376 9740

Bosses Restaurant is an elegant, sophisticated Chinese restaurant with a good assortment of dimsum and other Chinese dishes. The restaurant itself is done up in a tasteful dark triad decor, with glossy tabletops and plush seats. If one is fortunate, they may get a table with gorgeous sea views overlooking Sentosa as well. Service was rather bruqsue though.

The complimentary dish was Fried Fish Skin, a very crispy and tasty starter that we could not get enough of.

We started with a pot of tea. We were here for afternoon tea, and everything on the Dimsum menu was at 30% off.

For food, we tried their recommended Mango Century Egg Glass Roll (SGD$6.00), a beautiful concoction respledent with flavors of the sandy-flavored century egg, soursweet overtures of mango and spiciness of ginger, all wrapped up in paper thin, satin smooth skin.

Then we had the Prawn Dumplings aka Har Gow (SGD$5.00) - juicy, bouncy luscious prawns wrapped in thin sheets and steamed to perfection.

The Chilli Crab Tarts (SGD$8.50) were remarkably good - crispy tarts filled with chunks of spicy and springy crabmeat. It was a combination of heaven literally, and the palate loves this burst of spiciness and the flakiness of the tarts.

One couldn't do without Xiao Long Baos (SGD$6.50) during a dimsum feast, so we had to have them too. Tender minced pork soaked in piping hot broth, all embraced in a sticky bun skin. This is always a delicacy, with or without dipping into the ginger-vinegar sauce provided on the side.

We also love the Custard Lava Buns (SDG$6.00), with soft and sweet buns filled with the most tasty salted egg yolk "lava" oozing out once bitten into. The rich, coarse "lava" paints the palate beautifully in its flavor and warmth.

Overall, we enjoyed our dining experience here at Bosses, and I have no qualms with returning to try the other dimsum items again, anytime. By the way,  if you come during the afternoons, you get to enjoy their Hightea Special Promotion at 30% off the dimsum items.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Review of Clarisonic Mia 2

L'oreal's Clarisonic  system combines beauty and breakthrough technology  to bring about healthier, younger and more radiant skin. This patented system uses gentle sonic frequency micro massage waves to cleanse and infuse skin better.  The key benefits include optimal skin and anti-aging effects; helping with oily skin, acne, large pores, sensitive skin and uneven skin tone so as to bring about brightness and radiance.

When a few lady friends began gushing about this amazing product (and they don't know each other), I did some research on this interesting device, and decided to get one to try. The newest ones are Clarisonic Mia 2, Mia 3 and Aria - the latter two products come with 3 speeds while Mia 2 comes ith 2 speeds.

I got Mia 2 to try.  It is around SGD$200.00, not that much cheaper compared to Aria (which comes with an extra brush anyway). When I opened up the magical box, there was the Clarisonic itself (in white), the charger, a travel case as well as a small tube of their house brand cleansing gel.

For the first time, do charge the Clarisonic for 24 hours - it should last up to about 24 uses. The light on the Clarisonic handle will blink slowly when it is charging; once it is fully charged, the light will be steady and unwavering.

Press the button to select the desired speed - watch the rotation of the brush in above video. It is gentle and slow, with a soft whirring sound to it, giving it an almost hypnotic effect.

You may apply your cleansing foam directly onto the brush, or onto your face first. Then press the brush gently onto the skin and rotate it in small circular movements, shown in this above video. Start with the forehead or cheek, it's fine; each press of the button should last for about 10 seconds, so it should take about a minute to cleanse the entire face.

The gentle pulsation of the sonic waves on the face is soothing, and skin feels clean after cleansing indeed. The brushhead is detachable as well, so it makes for easy washing. In fact, the entire Clarisonic is waterproof so it is safe to use in the bathroom. It is also recommended to change the brush every 2-3 months.

Not convinced or satisfied? They offer a 30 day 100% money back guarantee. I don't know - I have been using it, and have no intention of refunding anything because it is good thus far.  It is easy and fun to use, convenient to bring out, and does it job very well I feel.

Visit to the River Ang Bao 2015 (春到河畔)

20 Raffles Avenue, The Float at Marina Bay, Singapore 039805
Opening hours: 2.00pm - 11.00pm
Admission Fee:  FOC

I have not been to the River Ang Bao (also spelt as "River Angpow" or "River Angpao") for a few years, so during this long 5-days Chinese New Year break, decided to drop by for some festive atmosphere as well as to buy my favorite BingTang HuLu (also know as "Tang Hulu"), a Chinese snack made of candied fruit. I love the one sold at River Ang Bao funfair because they are made of hawthorn fruit.

The event for this year opened from 17 February 2015 to the last day of February (the 28th), celebrating the year of the Goat.  Upon reaching, we passed by the funfair section where there were many rides and games for the kids, such as Uncle Ringo and bumper cars etc.

Inching further in, there was the Main Entrance Arch as well as the gracefully-decorated Entrance Walkway, transporting us back to ancient China with the drapes and blossoms.

There were also the Twelve Zodiac, one animal representing each zodiac, with scripts depicting the fate / fortune of a certain zodiac this year. And the Wishing Well, where people were busy tossing their coins in alongside their desires.

The Giant Mural Wall, Giant Pine Tree and Lion Dance Cheers transformed the entire Floating Platform into another world entirely - all dazzling neon lights brightly lit for the festive season. It was rather rich in Xinjiang flavor due to this year's collaboration with them.

A giant Peacock and Sheeps Pasture made up the section "Let's Celebrate Together", making it a gorgeous backdrop for phototaking.

Next to the abovementioned pasture is the iconic God of Fortune, standing tall and statuesque against the dark skies. At designated time slots he would "toss" gold flakes for us to catch, for good luck, wealth, fortune etc blessings.

The Food Street is to the Fortune God's right - boosting of an entire stretch of food in various cuisines - Singapore street food such as oyster omelet and laksa, Taiwanese street food such as fried chicken cutlet and oyster mee sua, Taiwanese ice-cream, Malay's ramly burgers, Japanese's Takopachi balls, Korean's twister potato, grilled prawns, drinks stalls etc, and my favorite candied fruit snacks stall, of course. We wished we had thought to come here for dinner instead.

We did get the BinTang Hulu (candied fruit snack) at SGD$5.00 a stick, as well as the Takopachi (SGD$3.00 for 6 balls) - the latter was not nice as the flour coating was thick, tasteless and we could not taste the fillings within. I also tried the Grilled Prawns (SGD$3.00), Twister Potato (SGD$5.00) and Tutus Kuehs (cakes made of coconut or peanut) at SGD$4.00 for 5.

There were also some performances. We managed to catch the Tightrope Walking act by Guinness World Record Holders Adili Wuxor and Abulaiti-Maijun, both from the Acrobatic troupe of Xinjiang, China. It was heart-stopping to watch, but they did it so effortlessly, even exacting a dance during part of the act itself.

We were picked to do a short survey and at the end of it, they gave us a nice smile as well as this pack of red packets. Overall, it was quite impressive this year, and we were both glad that we came to visit despite having to park at Suntec City and walk over.