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My encounters with everything that’s Spanish has always been memorable and pleasant. From the first-ever Paella that I have tasted at PasarBella to my once-in-a-lifetime experience in Peru where the main spoken language is Spanish; I really do appreciate the rich Spanish culture.

If you want to experience a slice of the Spanish culture here in Singapore without having to burn a big hole in your pocket for a flight to Spain, there’s one place for it, Tapas Club.

Tapas Club

Tapas Club is a casual Spanish restaurant chain that first launched in Singapore in 2017. It brings Spain’s vibrant and rich culinary culture to diners at accessible price points.

Creating an immersive dining experience where guests are able to enjoy traditional Spanish food, Tapas Club offers hearty food, quality wines, and show-stopping musical and flamenco performances.

The restaurant also houses a mercado where customers can purchase authentic Spanish food products as gifts or for their homes. This includes a selection of beers and wines, as well as Spanish preserves, olive oils, preserved vegetables and seafood, and signature cold cuts like Iberian ham.

A Haven for the Wine Enthusiasts

Tapas Club is an ideal chill-out place for after-work wine and cocktails (last order at 10pm on weekdays). The wine list has over 50 different labels and features a wide variety of wines from key wine producing regions in Spain.

Prices start from SGD 38 and guests have the option of ordering their wines by the glass, carafes or bottles – perfect for wine enthusiasts looking to discover more Spanish wines as all varieties are fully covered.

At Tapas Club, there are over 20 varieties of grapes from different types of wines, including the renowned Tempranillo – a black grape variety that is natively grown in Spain. The wines available at Tapas Club covers the many regions of Spain, such as Rioja or Ribera del Duero, as well as up-and-coming regions like Manchuela or Ribera del Guadiana.

In addition, Tapas Club also arranges bi-monthly wine pairing dinners, taking guests on a journey through the different regions of Spain with an assortment of wines and tapas.

Our Dining Experience at Tapas Club @ VivoCity

Tapas Club @ VivoCity is Tapas Club’s second outlet in Singapore and we are really envious of the folks who work around the Tanjong Pagar area because Tapas Club is a wonderful place to dine at and chill-out. If Tapas Club opens an outlet in the heartlands i.e. Punggol, you probably will find us there downing jugs of Sangria every day.

The warm and rustic ambience replicates the look and feels of a Spanish tavern and recently, we were there for dinner and we had an enjoyable time because the service was impeccable, the food was excellent, and the Spanish live band entertainment was splendid ……

& the best part?

The food was reasonably priced and the portion was good enough for a group of 4!

The Tapas Menu

Highlights on the wine-friendly tapas menu include Berenjena Con Miel, eggplant chips fried in a light batter then drizzled with honey for a salty-sweet finish. Next, a hearty serving of Piquillos Rellenos, deep-fried piquillo peppers stuffed with a filling of seasoned ground pork, bechamel sauce and onions, enveloped in a savoury demi-glace sauce.

Another showstopper is the all-time Spanish favourite, Tortilla de Patata a traditional egg and potato omelette served with a soft, barely set centre.

The restaurant also serves signature Croquetas De Jamon – ham croquettes, a staple at any Spanish restaurant. These are encased in a puffed crumb and filled with oozy bechamel sauce and savoury Spanish Iberian ham.

The Tapas+ section of the menu offers more substantial dishes of great value. Each dish comes with one complimentary side (guests may take their pick from a selection) and is best enjoyed either as a main course or shared among friends.

Highlights include the Pulpo a la Brasa, a wonderfully charred grilled octopus, served on a bed of confit potatoes then drizzled with olive oil and pimenton (ground dried Capsicum annuum chillies).

A classic addition to any Spanish meal is the Arroz Negro, a rich and briny squid ink paella that is tossed in Spanish rice with cuttlefish and clams. Atop the al-dente rice sits hefty dollops of garlic aioli which is best enjoyed mixed into the rice for a creamy, savoury finish.

Tapas Club Specials

A group of musicians and dancers perform traditional Spanish flamenco shows one Thursday per month, while Saturday, Sunday and PH brunch sees the introduction of the communal paella pan. Guests may tuck into unlimited servings of paella cooked in a 1.2-metre wide pan for only SGD$10 between 12-3pm. This echoes the way Spaniards eat on weekends, where large communal sharing dishes enjoyed in a spirited, vibrant atmosphere are the norm.

For a slice of the Spanish culture, head down to Tapas Club this weekend and enjoy the great authentic feast that’s specially prepared by the chefs!

Recently, we were at Balestier Road and as usual, the whole stretch of road can get pretty busy as there are many budget hotels and eateries located in the area. We went to Oopen Pasta and Grill Restaurant (that is situated within the compounds of Ibis Singapore Novena Hotel) for a weekend lunch and we had their 3-Course Chinese New Year (CNY) Set Menu which is priced at $28.80 nett per person.

Image Credits: Accor Hotels

The 3-Course CNY Set Menu consist of the following:

Soup

Crab Meat Soup with Sweet Corn

The Crab Meat Soup with Sweet Corn has a rather homely taste and it is not the typical western-style sweet corn soup where milk and cream is added. Topped with some real crab meat (not the usual crab sticks), the soup is definitely a great way to whet the appetite.

Main Course

There are three different types of main courses that are offered for the set menu- fish, chicken or pork; and although most people would go for the Honey Char Siew Chicken Thigh or the Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs, I really enjoyed the crispy Deep-Fried Snapper.

Do note that all three main courses are served with Cantonese Rice, Chinese Sausage and Dried Shrimp.

Deep-fried Snapper with Stir-Fried Broccoli and Mushroom with Ginger Oyster Sauce

If you’re in the mood for some seafood, the Deep-fried Snapper is a good choice but of course, I also know that not everyone is a fan of fish. As for me, I really enjoyed it because it’s fresh and crisp and the batter is light.

OR

Honey Char Siew Chicken Thigh with Wok-fried Hong Kong Kai Lan with Shallot

The Honey Char Siew Chicken Thigh is a perfect choice and if you bring your children along, I’m pretty sure they will enjoy it too. The meat is juicy, tender and cooked to perfection with a smoky flavour to it.

OR

Sweet and Sour Pork Rib with Stir-Fried Capsicum with Onion and Pineapple

Sweet and sour pork is a pretty classic Chinese dish that one can commonly find at almost all Tze Char stalls and if you like to have something familiar, this is probably it. Tangy in taste, you can’t go wrong with the Sweet and Sour Pork Rib.

Dessert

“Tong Shui” with Glutinous Sesame Rice Ball

The “Tong Shui” with Glutinous Sesame Rice Ball is a sweet finish to the 3-course meal. The fragrant and sweet ginger-based soup is made with some brown sugar and it mellows down the spiciness of the ginger, giving the whole dessert a nutty caramel flavour.

Afterthought

Overall, the 3-Course CNY Set Menu is extremely value-for-money and if you are planning a CNY office luncheon with little budget, this is probably it! On a side note, Oopen Pasta and Grill Restaurant does offer takeaways from their a-la-carte menu.

If you don’t frequent Balestier or if you haven’t been there before, you can just pop by Oopen Pasta and Grill Restaurant for a quick casual meal before you begin to explore the rich heritage and culture of Balestier.

Image Credits: Roots.Sg

Some recommended places of interests in the area for first-timers include Go Cho Tua Pek Kong Temple and Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, and if you’re game enough, you can try some durians in Balestier too. Having said that, Balestier is also the home of Singapore’s best Tau Sar Piah stores, so if durian isn’t your cup of tea, then you should get some Tau Sar Piah, a traditional Chinese baked pastry with green bean filling.

Fun Fact #1:

The area of Balestier was named after Joseph Balestier, Singapore’s first American consul from 1837 to 1852 and the owner of a 1,000-acre sugar plantation which was located in Balestier.

Fun Fact #2:

In the 1880s, several bungalows were constructed, with one still remaining at Tai Gin Road known as the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall (formerly the Sun Yat Sen Villa or Wan Qing Yuan).

Fun Fact #3:

The Chinese labourers, who settled in the Balestier area, built a temple which still exists known as Go Cho Tua Pek Kong, with the area having the last free-standing wayang stage in Singapore that was built in 1906.

Lunar New Year 2019 is coming and in the days leading up to the eve of the Lunar New Year, most Chinese restaurants are usually very busy preparing and promoting their Lunar New Year specials and offers. If you have not made any reservations, you got to hurry because you don’t want to be caught in a situation where all the restaurants are fully booked.

If you are residing around Serangoon and Hougang and you don’t want to travel too far out for your reunion dinner, East Bistro is one Chinese-Hong Kong restaurant that you should consider because here, you can get 5-star quality dishes at wallet-friendly prices!

With renowned Lei Garden’s former Head Chef Tony Wong at the helm, East Bistro serves one of the best Dim Sum around and uses only the freshest ingredients to whip up some delicious Authentic Hong Kong Cuisine.

In this post, we will be sharing with you some highlights from our recent dining experience at East Bistro and what we think of it.

The Dishes We Had

Chinese New Year Menu
We tried some of their dishes from the Chinese New Year Menu and here are some of the highlights that we will like to share. If you are wondering which Chinese New Year Set Menus to get, we will actually recommend the 8-Course Set B ($528++ for 6 pax) Menu which includes Abalone “Lo Hei” Platter, Braised Shark’s Fin Soup with Sea Treasure, Steamed Garoupa Fish in HK Style, and many more!

Steamed Garoupa Fish in HK Style

Personally, we love this dish and we wouldn’t mind having the entire fish to ourselves. Prized by the Cantonese for steaming, Garoupa is known for its delicate, tender and firm white flesh. The whole fish is steamed and then dressed with julienned green onion and ginger. Hot oil is then drizzled over the green onion and ginger. Light soy sauce is then dressed on the side of the fish. A clean and simple, yet incredibly delish dish.

Smoked Chicken in Ginger

Based off a traditional Hong Kong Recipe, the Smoked Chicken in Ginger has an exquisite and unique smoky taste. Using only Kampung chicken for its tender meat, the chicken is steamed to retain the moisture and its natural flavours. Having said that, it would really be lovely if the chicken was juicier as we felt that it was slightly dry.

Chilled Double Boiled Snow Lotus Seed

The Chilled Double Boiled Snow Lotus Seed is a rather special dessert and we really enjoyed it. Specially imported from Hong Kong and rarely found in Singapore, the high-quality Snow Lotus Seed is first boiled and then added to the dessert that is made from dried longans and large red dates.

Red Dates Cake, Price: $28.80 per KG

The Red Dates Cake is a traditional delicacy enjoyed during Chinese New Year. Using only large red dates, it is first boiled and subsequently made into a puree with some coconut added into the mix. The sweet fragrance of the red dates works beautifully with the creamy flavour of the coconut.

Normal A-La-Carte Menu
The dishes from East Bistro’s normal a-la-carte menu are really delightful and they are really good on its own. Here are some of the dishes from their a-la-carte menu that we tried and would recommend.

Crispy Rice with Crab in Soup, Price: Seasonal

A must-try at East Bistro. Keep your eyes peeled for the crackling of the golden fried rice crisps when they are tossed into the porridge. The broth is made up of chicken and pork bone, that is simmered for up to five hours. Chef Tony only uses Sri Lankan crabs for this dish, preferring their inherent tenderness and sweetness. The bright orange hue of the crustacean adds an extra sweetness to the clear soup. 

Iced Sweet & Sour Pork, Price: from $9 onwards

Unlike the typical Sweet and Sour Pork in Tze Char stalls that uses tomato-based sauce, the signature orange sauce at East Bistro is made from Hawthorne. The pork is first deep-fried to create the crispy skin, stir-fried with the Hawthorne sauce and presented on a plate of ice.

Chilled Mango Sago Cream with Pomelo, Price: $4 per serving

A refreshing chilled dessert using mango puree as a base enriched with evaporated milk for a creamier texture and served with a generous amount of freshly cut pomelo and mango

Overall

We had an enjoyable time at East Bistro and we will definitely be back for more. In fact, we are really glad to have found this hidden gem that’s quietly tucked away in Serangoon Garden because having tried their dishes, we really want to bring our family there for our usual weekend dinner gatherings.

Opening hours

Mondays to Sundays: 11.00AM –3.00PM, 5.00PM –10.00PM

Contact Details

Address: 1 Maju Avenue, #02-01, Singapore 556679

Telephone: 6634 2998

Getting There:

By bus –73, 136, 315 or 317

By car –enjoy free valet service every Friday evening from 6.00pm to 10.30pm and weekends and Public Holidays from 10.00am to 10.30pm.

From a stunning lion and dragon dance performance on the first day of the Lunar New Year (5 February 2019) at the hotel’s main driveway to a wide array of prosperous Lunar New Year delicacies and takeaway goodies, there’s something for everyone this Lunar New Year at Mandarin Orchard Singapore.

Looking for a unique place to have a memorable reunion dinner?

Well, make the Year of the Pig a memorable one for you and your family when you dine at Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro, Singapore’s highest Michelin-rated Chinese restaurant in Singapore! Featuring seven auspiciously-themed set menus; from the eight-course Prosperity menu at $538++ for four persons to the Splendour menu that features Braised Four-head Australian Abalone among its courses at $2,588++ for 10 persons; you can look forward to a fine epicurean experience that’s unlike any other.


Image Credits: Mandarin Orchard Singapore

Making a debut on the menus this year would be the Double-Boiled Free-Range Chicken Soup with Bird’s Nest, Sea Coconut and Snow Pear, Roasted Chicken with Szechwan Mala Sauce, and Deep-Fried Prawn with Yuzu Sauce.

Prefer to avoid the crowds and have an intimate reunion dinner at home instead?

If you prefer to celebrate Lunar New Year in the comfort of your own home and yet have a slice of what Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro has to offer, you can opt to take away delicious specialities such as the Baby Abalone Fortune Pot and Prosperity Salmon Yu Sheng. Perfect for cosy home gatherings, Shisen Hanten’s rendition of the classic fortune pot is a combination of 20 premium delicacies that include dried oyster, fish maw and Chinese sausage. All purchase of the Baby Abalone Fortune Pot includes a complimentary Salmon Yusheng and Glutinous Rice with Dried Sausages.


Image Credits: Mandarin Orchard Singapore

Also available are festive goodies such as Hokkaido Pumpkin Steamed Nian Gao, Golden Pineapple Ingots, and Steamed Yam Cake with Dried Scallop, alongside traditional favourites. A new addition would be the Crispy Caramel Treats with Pine Nuts, a delicious snack that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.


Image Credits: Mandarin Orchard Singapore

For reservations and enquiries, call +65 6831 6262/6266 or email shisenhanten.orchard@meritushotels.com

Hungry for more?

A sumptuous feast awaits at Mandarin Orchard Singapore’s award-winning Japanese-inspired international buffet restaurant, Triple Three. Lunar New Year specials will showcase classics such as Buddha Jumps over the Wall, Braised Pork Trotters with Black Moss, Roasted Suckling Pig, and Glutinous Rice with Chinese Sausage wrapped in Lotus Leaf. For dinner, diners can also indulge to their heart’s content in grilled lobster topped with a decadent layer of salted egg yolk butter sauce.

Must-try dishes would also include Executive Chef Sam Chin’s Nyonya-Spiced Roasted Kurobuta Pork Rack where he incorporates flavours from his hometown, Penang. Other highlights of the buffet include the freshly-shucked oysters, seafood on ice, and sushi and sashimi.

Image Credits: Mandarin Orchard Singapore

No Lunar New Year festivity is complete without the tossing of the Yusheng for good fortune. On the first, second, and even days of the Lunar New Year, this ceremonial dish will be included on the lunch and dinner buffet spreads of Triple Three so that diners and their loved ones can toss their way to prosperity!

Also available are traditional sweets such as Love Letters, Pineapple Tarts, Kueh Bang Kit, and Cashew Nut Cookies. One other major highlight would be the coconut-flavoured jelly in the shape of a Koi Fish which symbolises abundance.

Buffet Pricing

Lunar New Year Eve (4 February)
Lunch: $88++ Adults $48++ Child
Dinner: $138++ Adults $48++ Child*
*Includes free-flow house-pour wine, beer, juices and soft drinks

First Day of Lunar New Year (5 February)
Lunch: $128++ Adults $48++ Child
Dinner: $118++ Adults $48++ Child

Second Day of Lunar New Year (6 February)
Lunch: $128++ Adults $48++ Child
Dinner: $118++ Adults $48++ Child

For reservations and enquiries, call +65 6831 6288/6271 or email dine.orchard@meritushotels.com.

Last but not the least, if you’re a tourist and you happen to be in Singapore during the festive Lunar New Year, you must check out Chatterbox because this is where you can feast on a scrumptious selection of local delights such as the Legendary Mandarin Chicken Rice, Chatterbox Lobster Laksa, King Prawn Fried Hokkien Noodles, and not forgetting the classic Salmon Yusheng for an auspicious start to the new year.


Image Credits: Mandarin Orchard Singapore

For reservations and enquiries, call +65 6831 6291/6288 or email chatterbox.orchard@meritushotels.com.

There’s really indeed something for everyone this auspicious Lunar New Year at Mandarin Orchard Singapore, so do make your reservations early to avoid any disappointments!

If your favourite drink includes vodka, then you are going to have a blast reading this article. Vodka has been one of the most famous spirits since people started drinking alcohol. Besides, so many modern cocktails contain vodka that it’s almost impossible to avoid it.

However, when you’re buying vodka, make sure you’re acquiring a high-quality bottle. In all honesty, low-quality vodka can make you give up on this spirit forever.

1) Vodka comes from the Slavic word for water – “вода”

The Russians and all other Slavic nations around the world love vodka so much they called it water. The sustainer of life! Alternatively, because it looks like water and it’s made with water, it just might be water? The truth of vodka’s etymology is probably somewhere in between. All we know is that Russia and Poland are still in disagreement about who invented this drink.

If you want to know, the first mention of vodka in Russia is in the 9th century and two centuries later, the first vodka distillery became famous through the Russian newspaper, “Vyatka Chronicle”. Poland on the other hand, has records from the 8th century, but they made it from wine, so we don’t know if that really counts.

2) It was a superstar spirit even in the 14th century Russia

In the 14th century Russia, vodka was gaining popularity and besides, they have been using it as a medical remedy for centuries. The man that made vodka the megastar of an era is monk Isidore from Chudov Monastery in Kremlin. With his knowledge of distillation, the first delicious Russian vodka was made. That’s how vodka became the national drink of the country.

3) It’s the purest alcohol in the world

Vodka is ethanol diluted with water; it’s so pure that it’s lighter than water. You see how the name makes sense now? One litre of water weighs 1,000 grams, compared to one litre of vodka that weighs just 950 grams. The best part? A pony shot of Vodka is only 64 calories.

4) Vodka mixes well with EVERYTHING

Yes. It does. Even green tea too.

Vodka is so adaptable that you can mix it with sweet, spicy, sour or bitter drinks. There is so much that vodka can do that you won’t believe it. Heck, you can even cook with vodka. Have you tried penne alla vodka? It’s mouth-watering! Vodka sauce? You can pull that off as well.

It goes with everything.

5) The time Russia ran out of vodka

May 9, 1945, was the day the Nazi surrendered to the Soviet Union. The party was so amazing that after 22 hours, they ran out of vodka. That must have been some fantastic festivity, but they deserved it for winning in World War II.

There is even a Vodka Museum in St. Petersburg (which is the first museum in Russia and the world dedicated exclusively to Vodka). Hence, it is not a surprise that Russia remains one of the largest consumers of vodka in the world.

6) The time Russia banned vodka

During world war I, Russia banned the sale of vodka, and as you can imagine, people were not happy because nobody likes prohibition! As a result of this foolish decision, the Russian government lost a third of its income. The Russian term for this time (1914-1925) is “сухой закон,” which means “dry law.”

7) Celebrities love vodka so much that they either inked deals with major vodka brands or start their own vodka brand

We’re just going to list some of them for you here:

  • Bruce Willis — Sobieski
  • Sean Combs — Ciroc Vodka
  • Dan Aykroyd — Crystal Head Vodka
  • Birdman — Grand Touring Vodka
  • Channing Tatum – Born and Bred Vodka

8) How many vodka flavours are there?

Plenty! Here are just some of the quirky vodka flavours there are out there in the market- Bacon vodka, Blueberry Pancake, Buttered Popcorn, Dill Pickle, Fresh Cut Grass, Wild Salmon and the list can go on and on! The most impressive flavour of them all is Scorpion (like the Drake album), and it has a Scorpion inside the bottle.

9) You thought all vodka is made from potatoes, didn’t you?

Not all vodka is made from potatoes. On the contrary, smooth vodka contains grains like corn, rye or wheat. However, there are some unique brands in the market that produce vodka entirely from potatoes.

10) How about that time when Russia took vodka to space

Of course, Russia would take vodka to space!

Even though NASA has strict rules about alcohol consumption, Russian astronauts are allowed to drink small amounts of vodka when they travel to space. Besides, it’s the national drink!

We hope you had fun reading and learning all the exciting facts about vodka in this article. We’re going to leave you with one additional fun fact; up until 1885, you could only buy vodka buckets. Not just any buckets, but 12.3-litre buckets. That’s why everyone calls them the golden years!

A seafood restaurant is a place that specialises in fish and other seafood dishes and most seafood restaurant owners decorate their restaurants with marine-themed furnishings and aquarium to let the customers know that they specialise in serving seafood. Occasionally, you can find non-fish dishes such as varieties of tofu, beef and chicken dishes on the menu in some restaurants.

Some Common Items on a Seafood Menu

Generally, you can find items such as salmon tartare, clams, salmon, lobsters, mushroom truffle crusted cod, bouillabaisse, sea bass, crab cakes, tuna carpaccio, and a lot more. There are other restaurants that offer what is called a “sea pizza” where frozen or fresh ingredients are served. Various types of seafood such as scallops, clams, shellfish, shrimp, lobsters, squid, and mussels can be used and these kinds of pizzas often lack cheese. Instead, the calamari and squids are served on top of a pizza dough with tomato sauce.

Preparation Techniques

There are many ways of preparing seafood to produce their optimum flavours. Some chefs incorporate the use of new technology to develop their menus. Whether a fish is served fresh or thawed, there are many preparation techniques and if you’re keen to check out the various ways of preparing seafood, you can click this link here.

Steaming

This is a method where a broth or water is used to transfer heat to the dish. This helps the seafood to soak in the flavourful juices and locks in the nutrients inside of it instead of letting it escape to the surrounding liquid. Chefs usually boost the flavours by simmering white wine, shallots, lemon juices, fresh herbs, and other spices into the liquid.

Grilling

This is a way to give the fish a smoky flavour and a crisped texture. If done in the right way, the fish meat will be firm and meaty.  The fish fillet is often sprayed with olive oil and salt and pepper are usually used to improve the taste. Some chefs combine herbs, oils, juices, and spices to form a marinade. Some other seafood that is commonly grilled for optimum flavour includes oysters and mussels.

Poaching

Poaching is a great way to bring out the full flavour of finfish and shrimps. However, this cooking technique is usually used for cooking sturdy fish fillets as the flakier fish varieties can tend to fall into pieces or have a mushy texture when done incorrectly.

Best Pairings for Fish

According to a Maalaea Restaurant, seafood can complement vegetables and other grains well because they bring out each other’s flavour. Some of the best pairings can include broiled fish, zucchinis, bell peppers, avocados, and eggplants. These offer a lot of nutrients and vitamins in the body.

Bean and corn salads can complement a blackened tilapia well and the slight bitterness of kale can be counterbalanced by the sweet taste of a salmon. Whether it be mashed, fried, or roasted; potatoes can make a great side dish regardless of their method of preparation and add greater taste and flavour with cod and other white fish varieties. For a simple mashed potoato reipe, you can add lemon and thyme to the potatoes and mashed them well.

Quinoa is one of the most preferred side dishes because it is full of essential nutrients such as Vitamin B, phosphorous, iron and potassium. The seeds are also rich in fibre, so you won’t have to worry about overeating. For other pairings, get more information on this website: https://www.matchingfoodandwine.com/news/pairings/wine-and-seafood-the-best-pariings-for-prawnsshrimp/.

Getting Started with Seafood Delicacies

There are actually a lot of recipes on the internet that can help you make a perfect seafood dish. An alternative is to try the food first in your local seafood restaurant and recreate it in your home. Since there is a lot of delicious fish out there and a lot of ways to cook them, we’re pretty sure you will enjoy seafood in no time!

You might have heard of Manuka honey as it is getting quite popular for its health benefits.

So what makes this honey different?

Bees in New Zealand, drink the nectar from the Manuka shrub that is indigenous to New Zealand and produce honey that has properties that are unique and unseen in other kinds of honey. These properties are antibacterial and aids in curing common ailments.

If you’re wondering whether Manuka honey can be purchased in Singapore, the answer is yes. Although you can buy it off the shelves, there are a few things you need to consider before purchasing Manuka honey.

Here are some considerations that you might want to look out for:

1. UMF Label

So what is UMF? UMF stands for Unique Manuka Factor. It’s an independent organisation that tests and rates Manuka honey from various manufacturers to check their authenticity. This agency was created for the sole reason to test the quantity of MGO and NPA in each Manuka honey batch. We’ll get to MGO and NPA, a bit later in the article.

Each batch of genuine Manuka honey has a UMF rating that can be traced back to the apiary it’s from. The rating starts from 5+.

If you want the best quality Manuka honey, then 22+ should be your choice. Do not buy Manuka honey if it does not have a UMF label attached to the jar.

The UMF rating and number on Honey New Zealand’s Manuka Honey

UMF hands licenses to genuine manufacturers of Manuka honey and nobody else.

2. MGO – Methylglyoxal

What makes Manuka honey unique is the presence of MGO. Methylglyoxal is the property that the UMF agency is looking for in every Manuka honey. It’s antibacterial and helps in curing many common ailments like sore throats, and ulcers.

The higher the content of MGO, the higher the Manuka rating; and it means that the particular honey possesses more antibacterial properties.

3. Active / NPA

Many Manuka honey jars have the Grade A label in them. So what does this mean? Manuka honey is one of the few types of honey in the world that still has antibacterial elements even when the hydrogen peroxide has been removed; this is NPA or Non-Peroxide Activity.

If you have a jar with Grade A written on it, it means the antibacterial property is present and it is active! So NPA or Grade A means, your Manuka honey has antibacterial qualities that can help with curing common ailments.

These are the three factors that one needs to look into before buying Manuka honey in Singapore.

If you’re shopping around for Manuka honey in Singapore, HNZ Manuka Honey in Singapore is the best of the lot. They have their own apiaries and they make the finest quality Manuka honey in the world.

Chocolate will always be in season, no matter how hot or cold the weather gets. Whether it comes in its traditional milk chocolate bar form, as a refreshing chocolate drink, as a sweet confection, or as something else entirely, there’s no doubt that chocolate will always be among the world’s most popular treats. Here are some chocolatey goodies that should help you beat the heat while satisfying your cocoa craving this summer.

Plant-based Chocolate Milk

When it comes to keeping cool while also getting your dose of creamy chocolate goodness, nothing can get the job done better and in a more delicious manner than a tall glass of ice-cold chocolate milk. No chewing involved; you just pour it out, drink it in, and enjoy!

Of course, there is a downside to this tasty treat, and that’s why full-cream chocolate milk isn’t exactly great for you, especially if you’re watching your weight and waistline. In this case, you should definitely swap your regular, full-fat chocolate milk for a healthier alternative such as Elmhurst’s peanut-based chocolate milk.

Because this particular type of chocolate milk is derived from peanut, it has absolutely no cholesterol and has a very low saturated fat count, in addition to not causing lactose intolerance. Elmhurst as a brand is also known for using no emulsifiers or added food gums to their product, so you can rest assured that you’re only getting what you pay for, with no artificial ingredients.

But does it taste just like regular dairy chocolate milk? It actually does, and it also packs the same amount of protein per glass, which makes it’s perfect as a post-workout drink or as a daily beverage that you can add to a healthy diet. So, if you’re on a chocolate kick this summer, do it the healthy but tasty way with chocolate peanut milk!

Low-Calorie or Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

Another chocolate-based treat that’s perfect for summer is none other than chocolate ice cream. It’s much cooler than a chilled beverage and just as easy to enjoy; just scoop some into a glass or bowl, add some garnishing like some chopped peanuts or bananas for a deeper and more exciting flavour profile, and you’re all set! Just don’t overdo it, otherwise, you may not only pack on the pounds but also an ice cream headache as well! As an alternative to traditional, calorie-packed ice creams, consider low-calorie choices such as Breyers Delight Creamy Chocolate Ice Cream or Snow Monkey Cacao Superfood Ice Treat, which offers the added benefit of being dairy free.

If you’re a wizard in the kitchen, you can also make your very own ice cream, and a healthier version to boot! Simply swap the full-fat dairy milk you intend to use with a low-fat alternative, such as skimmed milk or nut-based milk. You can also control how much sugar is going into your ice cream, making it even less of a fattening treat to enjoy.

Chocolate Ice Pops

If you’re looking for an extra-cold treat that doesn’t take a lot of effort or work to prepare, then chocolate ice pops could be for you. Simply pour chocolate milk into an ice pop mould, stick it in the freezer to harden overnight, and enjoy it the day after. It’s a treat that kids of all ages—as well as adults —will love. Just remember to eat it quickly, otherwise, it’ll drip all over the floor and make a mess!

You can also spruce up this particular treat by making its fruity version instead. Blend fruits like strawberries or banana into a thick milky smoothie, but use chocolate milk as the base instead of regular milk. Pour this mixture into the ice pop mould to harden just like before, and enjoy!

Chocolate Cake

Having cake during the hottest time of the year may sound a bit counterintuitive – seeing as it’s usually not something you associate with cooling you down—but it works if you chill it first. You don’t even have to deal with the heat from the oven either since there are many non-bake recipes these days that simply require you to chill the entire mixture in your fridge before you can slice out a serving or two.

If you’re puzzled as to what kind of recipe to look for, look for the ones that involve a lot of heavy fudge—those not only taste the best when they’re fresh from the fridge, they’re also so rich that your cocoa craving will be sated after just a few small slices.

There you have it, four chocolate-based goodies to cool you down this summer. Whatever you decide to partake in, however, remember to always follow it up with loads of water, even when you’re outdoors. It’s easy to forget about adequate hydration, especially when you’re enjoying your chocolatey treat!

Bubble tea shops have come a long way and the first bubble tea that I tasted was the Jasmine Milk Tea with Pearls during my secondary school days. Although many bubble tea brands come and go over the last 26 years; tea is still very much appreciated and valued by consumers.

Image Credit: Hi Tea Singapore

Yes, fads will wane eventually but the very essence of tea being a prized commodity will not. As much as I am a coffee person, I am equally a fan of tea too and I find both to be simple pleasures of life that helps take my mind off the busy hustles of life.

Recently, I was introduced to Hi-Tea, a local homegrown tea artisan brand that aims to promote the Chinese tea drinking culture by integrating new tea brewing methods with quality and fresh ingredients to make interesting tea concoctions.

Image Credit: Hi Tea Singapore

With only two outlets (one at Far East Plaza and the other at Northpoint City) in Singapore; Hi-Tea made the headlines when they showcased what could possibly be the world’s first D24 Premium Durian Jasmine Green Tea.

Image Credit: Hi Tea Singapore

I know the idea and thought of consuming Durian Jasmine Green Tea can be quite mind-boggling or even quirky but even if you’re the smallest fan of durian, you will certainly enjoy this creamy beverage that stops short of being a durian smoothie. The strong Durian flavours give way into the delicate sweetness of the tea, which introduces itself in the back of the throat, giving an aromatic aftertaste.

Costing only $6.80, the Durian Jasmine Green Tea is the ultimate fix to your unfounded durian cravings.

Even if durian is not your cup of tea, you should check out Hi Tea’s range of other cold brew fruits tea; my favourite being the Mix Fruit King!

Image Credit: Hi Tea Singapore

While there aren’t any toppings such as pearls and jellies available, the fresh cut fruits are a delight to have and it brings one’s attention and focus to just simply enjoying the tea.

If you haven’t tried Hi Tea yet, make a trip down to Far East Plaza or Northpoint City today! I wish they have more outlets though; then I will have more reason to drink some tea every day.

It is pretty hard to define what a simple meal is nowadays; especially when food options can be overwhelming. Many diners also rather spend more time editing and taking photos of their meal than really enjoying the meal or spending some time with friends and families having great conversations over a meal.

New photo by Melvin Lee / Google Photos

Pizza Hut would like to bring back the simple joy of a piece of piping hot and tasty pizza in this intricate world, making it much easier for all to have a better pizza.

A “Slice of Simple” with the New and Improved Pan Pizza

Pizza Hut has launched launch their new improved Pan Pizza and it is a culmination of customer feedback; a survey gathering inputs from more than 100 participants and as well as intensive brainstorming within the restaurant team’s of what an ideal pizza meant.

New photo by Melvin Lee / Google Photos

The product teams went through repeated product refinement and testing and finally served up the all-new Pan Pizza versions of familiar favourites (such as the Hawaiian, Super Supreme, Pepperoni and BBQ Chicken) with a crispier crust, improved signature sauce and topping close to the edge.

Unlimited Slices of Pan Pizza at Buffet Fiesta

For pizza fans who enjoy an extravagant indulgence and wants to try every flavour of the new Pan Pizza, Pizza Hut is serving 90-minute pizza buffets in selected outlets each week from 25 June to 26 August 2018:

  • 25 June to 8 July: Bedok Mall, Harbourfront Centre, Jurong Point, Lot One Shoppers’ Mall
  • 9 July to 22 July: Bukit Timah Plaza, Causeway Point, The Seletar Mall
  • 23 July to 5 August: Ang Mo Kio, Eastpoint Mall, NorthPoint City (North Wing), West Mall
  • 13 August to 26 August: Bukit Panjang Plaza, Plaza Singapura, Sun Plaza, West Gate
New photo by Melvin Lee / Google Photos

Prices are really pocket-friendly!

Adults can enjoy the buffet at $19.85 on weekdays and $22.20 on weekends, while children, age 5 to 12 years old, can enjoy the buffet at $12.80 on weekdays and $15.15 on weekends. Prices are inclusive of 10% service charge and prevailing GST.

Buffets are available in 2 sessions on weekdays (6:15 pm to 7:45 pm and 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm) and 3 sessions on weekends (4:30 pm to 6:00 pm, 6:15 pm to 7:45 pm, and 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm).

*For this limited time offer, you can make your reservations at http://pizzafestival.pizzahut.com.sg

About Pizza Hut Singapore

Started in 1981 with their first outlet at Jalan Jelita, Pizza Hut Singapore is now the largest pizza chain restaurant in Singapore with 60 outlets. They have an unmatched passion and celebration for their pizzas and they aim to deliver not just a wide array of pizzas, pastas and other quality foods that are always fresh, but also a casual atmosphere that is fun and friendly; all these without compromising what good restaurants have always stood- service and customer satisfaction.

Over the years, Pizza Hut’s service, menu offerings and ambience have evolved in keeping up with the times and trends. Since then, they have embraced the affordable casual dining concept where the emphasis is on creating a fun and engaging atmosphere for their customers. Pizza Hut is the favourite place to be at if you are looking to celebrate a special occasion or simply a relaxing time with friends and loved ones. They aim to make every dining experience a truly memorable one for their customers.

Globally, Pizza Hut spans more than 16,000 restaurants, 350,000 team members, in more than 100 countries.