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Being a frequent baker, it is important to me that I use only the finest ingredients that I can find in the market but the truth is, premium baking ingredients are not only expensive; they are hard to find as well.
When Nehal Patel from Foodsterr dropped us an email a few months back, boy were we so glad because in the midst of our busy schedules, we really had no time to go shop around for ingredients and Foodsterr came at the right time to answer to our baking needs.

Not only that, Foodsterr also has a whole range of other products that really intrigued me because recently, I have been trying to lose some weight and I honestly enjoy having my daily cup of coffee with full cream milk but I have since decided to substitute dairy milk with almond milk instead. Now, those of us who frequent the supermarket would know that the almond milk that is being sold in cartons are completely devoid of nutrients and I would very much prefer to make my own almond milk; which is really easy, but the most difficult part about making my own almond milk was to find whole almonds that are wallet-friendly.

So, here comes Foodsterr to the rescue!

For 500 grams of Natural Almonds from the USA, it cost SGD$18.90 and it is really more affordable when compared to buying almonds from a Brick and Mortar shop.

We are really pleased to announce that we have just signed a new partnership with Foodsterr, an online specialty foods marketplace (nuts, dried fruits, seeds, superfoods, flour and etc.) sourced from around the globe for wholesale and retail.

Image Credit: Michelin Guide Singapore

We’re pleased to share that Foodsterr is offering all our readers 10% off the total bill with the coupon code WINSOME(key in the coupon code in your order)

Photo:

*A minimum order of SGD$30 is required.

In case you’re wondering how you too can make almond milk; here’s a recipe that I follow which will yield about 470ml of almond milk

Image Credit: The Kitchn

Ingredients
140 grams of raw almonds, preferably organic
470 ml of water, plus some more water set aside for soaking the raw almonds
Sweeteners like honey, sugar, agave syrup, or maple syrup, to taste, (optional)

Equipment
Bowls
Strainer
Electronic Scale
Blender
Fine-Mesh Nut Bag or Coffee Sock

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Instructions

Soak the almonds overnight or up to 2 days.
Place the almonds in a bowl and cover with about an inch of water. They will plump as they absorb water. Let stand on the counter, covered with a cloth, overnight, or refrigerate for up to 2 days. The longer the almonds soak, the creamier the almond milk.

Drain and rinse the almonds.
Drain the almonds from their soaking water and rinse them thoroughly under cool running water. At this point, the almonds should feel a little squishy if you pinch them. It’s best to discard the soaking water because it contains phytic acid, which inhibits the body’s ability to absorb nutrients (you can also use the water to water the plants if you don’t want to discard it).

Combine the almonds and water in a blender.
Place the almonds in the blender and cover with 470ml of water.

Blend at the highest speed for 2 minutes.
Pulse the blender a few times to break up the almonds, then blend continuously for two minutes. The almonds should be broken down into a very fine meal and the water should be white and opaque.

Strain the almonds.
Line the strainer with either the opened nut bag or coffee sock, and place over a measuring cup.

Pour the almond mixture into the strainer.
Press all the almond milk from the almond meal. Gather the nut bag or coffee sock around the almond meal and twist close. Squeeze and press with clean hands to extract as much almond milk as possible. You should get about 470ml of almond milk.

Sweeten to taste.
Taste the almond milk, and if a sweeter drink is desired, add sweetener to taste.

Refrigerate almond milk.
Store the almond milk in sealed containers in the fridge for up to two days.

Additional Information:
The leftover almond meal can be added to oatmeal, smoothies, and muffins as it is. You can also spread it out onto a baking sheet and bake it for 2 to 3 hours in an oven until it is completely dry. Dry almond meal can be kept frozen for several months and used in baked goods such as macarons.

Last week, Jacqueline and I were invited by the kind folks from The French Cellar for a wine tasting session at Vanilla Bar and Cafe and we had an awesome time pairing Thai food with French wine.
For me personally, it was also a good refresher because ever since I earned my Bordeaux Level 1 Wine Certificate from L’Ecole du vin; I have not touched my wine knowledge somewhat and Lucas, (a French Sommelier from The French Cellar) covered a great deal of information about French wine that kept me engaged throughout the session.

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Fun Fact #1

France produces 6 billion bottles of wine every year!


We tasted 1 sparkling, 1 white, 1 rose, and 2 reds; all of which were refreshingly good. I especially enjoyed the reds and they paired really well with spicy food.

Fun Fact #2

French wines are usually not sweet as no sugar is added; unlike some other wines where sugar is added after the fermentation process.


After the wine tasting session, Lucas shared with us more about what his company, The French Cellar, does and we were extremely intrigued by the wine subscription service that his company offers (yes, we signed up for the wine subscription service because Jacqueline and I are wine-lovers).

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The French Cellar imports French wines directly from vineyards and they are carefully selected by their sommelier, Mr. Nicolas Rebut, who was the former Chef Sommelier of 3-star Michelin restaurants, Louis XV (Monaco) and Le Meurice (Paris). Based in France, Nicolas explores vineyards and forges privileged relationships with estates and winemakers in search of exclusive wines at the best value. Tasting thousands of wine samples each year, Nicolas selects only the best wines from renowned estates and undiscovered appellations.

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Fun Fact #3

The northern half of France produces more white wine while the southern half of France produces more red wine.


With The French Cellar’s wine subscription service, wine enthusiasts can discover two beautiful tasting wines every month, exclusively through their platform, thanks to a special and personal relationship they have between Nicholas and winemakers in France.

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If you are new to wine and have absolutely zero knowledge about wine-making, fret not because the wine comes with complementary tasting notes, written by Richard, so that you can enjoy an epicurean wine journey and learn more about the wines, winemakers and vineyards.

For more information about The French Cellar, do check out their official website and if you are intrigued by their wine subscription service just like us, do attend their complimentary wine tasting workshop to understand more.

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If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to us as we will help to direct your queries to The French Cellar.

Chef-In-Box is Singapore’s first Vendcafé that serves an assortment of instant meals, beverages, and snacks. Located at a corner of the void deck of Block 320C Anchorvale Drive, the Vendcafé is starting to attract quite a lot of people. In this blog post, I will share with you what I honestly think about Chef In Box.

Novelty Factor

Truthfully speaking, there is no novelty factor because vending machines that serves food, drinks, and snacks are pretty commonplace. Although Chef In Box’s vending machines may be state of the art, the idea of retailing food and the likes through vending machine is not. I really don’t think there is a big difference between buying instant food from convenience stores like 7-Eleven versus buying instant food from the vending machines because either way, the food has already been processed, prepared, frozen and all it needs is a microwave for it to be heated up.

Quality and Taste of Food

When I visited Chef In Box’s Vendcafé with Jacqueline, we had the Chicken Bolognese Spaghetti and the taste is below hawker standard. Seriously, a plate of spaghetti from the Western Stall at a Hawker Centre or even the Kopitiam tastes way better. Just don’t expect too much from processed frozen food. As for me, I would gladly head down to McDonald’s for a Fillet Ol Fish Meal any time. Just so you know, the food that they have in the vending machine are Halal-certified.

Value for Money

The price range for the main courses is between SGD$3.50 to SGD$5.00 and it is pocket-friendly. Although there is an assortment of main courses available, not everything that is displayed on the food menu is actually available. I would say that the price is quite similar to what one could get at the Hawker Centre or Food Court. What’s a plus point for Chef In Box is that they accept both cash and cashless modes of payment.

Environment Sustainability

In one meal, there are lots of non-biodegradable disposables and plastic packaging involved. I really don’t think this is environmentally-friendly as compared to having a meal at the hawker centre where plates and utensils are washed and re-used. Also, I don’t see any recycling bins nearby and I personally think that having a recycling bin nearby would have addressed the issue about being environmentally-friendly because their products are mostly packed in plastics, metal, and paper.

Will this fad die off? Maybe, maybe not. Vending machine is a convenient way of getting a quick meal fix and they are still largely popular here in Singapore. If Chef In Box can improve on their quality of food, be more environmentally-friendly, and perhaps consider more fresh food (healthier-choice food) versus processed food; then probably Chef In Box will be a hit among Singaporeans. 

Our comprehensive guide to Batam has been a hit with many Singaporeans and we want to thank everyone for all the questions that have been constantly pouring in.
In this blog post, we will be sharing with you some recent key updates and developments in Batam and some of the new and interesting places that we have just visited last weekend.

Apart from that, we will also be addressing some of the most common questions that we get from our readers about Batam.

To begin with, here are some common questions that we have received about Batam:

How much do you need for a 2 Days 1 Night trip to Batam?

For a 2 Days 1 Night trip to Batam, you don’t exactly need to bring a lot of money unless you intend to buy a lot of things back. In fact, changing SGD$250 to spend in Batam is more than sufficient.

Do you have any contacts for Traditional Kueh Lapis (Layered Cakes) in Batam?

Yes, we often buy our Traditional Kueh Lapis (Layered Cakes) from Diana Layer Cakes Batam and you can contact them via the phone at +62 778 466906. In our previous post about Batam, we mentioned that Diana Layer Cakes Batam accept Singapore Dollars but do note that as of last year, they have stopped collecting Singapore Dollars and they only accept Indonesian Rupiah now. The reason why we always buy from Diana Layer Cakes Batam is because they offer free delivery to our hotel and their layer cakes are the best that we have tasted so far. A 1KG original  Kueh Lapis cost 250000 Rupiah (SGD$26) and a 1KG prune Kueh Lapis cost 300000 Rupiah (SGD$31).

Is it easy to get around in Batam?

Yes, it is easy to get around in Batam. Taxis are abundant but like we always say; don’t flag off the taxis that are plying the roads. Always book a taxi or approach a taxi counter to get a taxi. Do note that taxis have a minimum fare of 25000 Rupiah (SGD$2.60) and taxis from Silver Cab or Blue Bird can no longer stop at Nagoya Hill . There are taxi counters available at most hotels or shopping Centres and you can just probably go there to pay for your cab fare in advance. It’s more expensive but better than having to haggle the prices.

So last weekend, we went on a short 2 Days 1 Night trip to Batam and we visited some new dining places (at our own expense) and tried doing some new stuffs like watching a movie at their local cinema.

We arrived in Batam at about 0915, cleared the immigrations that took about 45 minutes (weekends are always the peak season), and the very first thing we did was to make sure that we got a prepaid mobile line at the counter.

With a prepaid mobile line, getting around Batam is a breeze because the taxi is just a phone call away.

We walked to our hotel (Harris Hotel Batam Centre) which was nearby the ferry terminal to pick up the Kueh Lapis that we have ordered just 2 days before and since there weren’t any rooms available just yet, we headed to the nearby Mega Mall Batam Centre to walk about. By the way, if you plan to book a room at Harris Hotel Batam Centre, it will be cheaper to book through Agoda than via the Hotel Website direct and opt for just the room only because the hotel’s buffet breakfast isn’t that fantastic as compared to the food you could get at the nearby shopping malls.

For lunch, we went to Barletta Dining and Lounge at Da Vienna Boutique Hotel and from the table setting to the personalised service, we could tell that it was somewhat a place for fine dining. The food however, was a real disappointment. An online search revealed some positive reviews about the restaurant but seriously, we won’t want to dine there again because the quality of the food is so-so and isn’t value for money.

After lunch, we booked a taxi to Nagoya Hill where we spent the entire day there. Contrary to what most people would plan to do in Batam (go-karting, sea sports, and the likes), our plan was to simply eat, shop, and relax.

At Nagoya Hill, we went to catch the movie, “Independence Day: Resurgence” at Cinema 21 and the price for a movie ticket is just 35,000 Rupiah (SGD$3.50) per ticket! The fabric seats are comfortable and the theatre is not as run down as we thought it to be.

The cinema is located at the top floor of Nagoya Hill Mall and here’s a picture of the entrance leading to the cinema.

There is a small arcade corner located near the tickets counter but I wouldn’t suggest having a go at it because the (shooting games especially) controls are faulty.

Since we had a lot of time to kill, I decided to be more adventurous and went for a haircut at Willy Salon in Nagoya Mall. The haircut which includes washing cost me 120000 Rupiah (SGD$13) and I must say, it was overall a pleasant experience!

Bule, my hairstylist; is pretty good and if you happen to go to Willy Salon, look for him!

That radiant and fresh look after a refreshing haircut.

For dinner, we went to Taste The Crab @ Hill Cafe Batam which is within walking distance from Nagoya Hill. The food there is pretty awesome and we had the medium seafood combo which consist of prawns, clams, squid rings, and crab. In case you’re wondering, the medium seafood combo cost 190000 Rupiah (SGD$20) and the portion was actually rather small for us. The next time we visit, we will definitely get the large seafood combo which cost only 220000 Rupiah (SGD$23).

Oh, and having a pint of beer is a must because it really goes well with the seafood and it cost only 40000 Rupiah (SGD$4.20)!

The dinner pretty much concluded our first day in Batam.

For our second day in Batam, we booked for a half-day spa package with Spa Central Batam which cost SGD$88 per person for 3 hours. It was our 2nd time visiting Spa Central Batam and there are quite a number of changes since the last time we were there. Even the spa package and service menu has been updated and we were quite surprised to learn that the ownership of the boutique spa has been taken over by a Singaporean (yes you read that right).

The half-day spa package included a foot bath, our choice of 3 different categories of treatments (1 x 90 minute massage and 2 other treatments (one at 30 minutes and the other at 60 minutes excluding Galvanic Facial) from their spa menu. The half-day spa package also include free transfers to and fro the spa by taxi (only if you have a minimum of 2 people taking up a 2-hour treatment session).

The treatment room is very comfortable and clean. For couples, couple room is available as well.

If you plan to visit Batam on a free-and-easy basis and have the intention to include a spa treatment package on your itinerary; I would suggest that you book your ferry tickets directly with Spa Central Batam because it cost SGD$38 nett 2-way instead of the usual SGD$48. That is SGD$10 off in savings which you can use to spend on sumptuous food in Batam!

Needless to say, we ended our trip to Batam with our usual ritual of having an A&W meal!

For more information about Spa Central Batam, do visit their website where you can find more details about the various kind of spa package they have and the costs for the different treatments as well.

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It has been an exciting and exhilarating week so far and I am really glad that in 5 days’ time, I will be taking a long break away from work because I have been away from home almost every week.
Just yesterday, Jacqueline and I were at The Music Run by AIA and this year’s edition saw a vast improvement as compared to last year’s! The fringe activities along the running route were very engaging and while I’m not the sort of runner who will stop to take pictures, I was really glad that there was sufficient space that catered to both the walkers and the runners.

The entertainment likewise was superb and we had lots of fun swaying to the beats and tunes of The Sam Willows and DJ Sam Withers. Despite it being my first 5k run for the year, I was really pleased with the fact that I completed the whole run in 34 minutes without any formal training. The Music Run is definitely a good start to my two other upcoming runs that I will be participating in.

As mentioned, I will be flying off in 5 days’ time and for my coming trip, I will be heading to Taiwan with Jacqueline. We will be taking a direct flight to Kaoshiung via Scoot and then we will be returning to Singapore from Taipei via Jet Star. It has been quite a long while since our last visit to Taiwan and this time round, we will be heading to Kenting, Kaoshiung, and then northwards to Taipei.

As usual, we will often compare prices for our accommodation and boy were we glad that we chanced upon HotelsCombined because it has helped us to find the best accommodation deals in seconds! In case you’re mistaken, HotelsCombined is not a booking site but a research tool that helps travellers make the right accommodation decisions.

Their leading price comparison technology allows travellers to easily find the best price online from all the top travel sites (like Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, etc) plus many other credible sites you’ve probably never hear of too (like Amoma, Hotelopia, Skoosh, etc).

With HotelsCombined app, travellers can now have the convenience of being able to always find the best deal in seconds without having to install so many apps to compare deals one-by-one.

Since Mothers’ Day is also round the corner in about two weeks time, I’m pretty sure many people are making plans to spend quality time with their family and if you’re thinking of bringing the whole family for a classic dim sum dining experience that won’t burn a big hole in your pocket, you might want to consider making a reservation at Yum Cha Restaurant.

My family always frequent the outlet at Serangoon Gardens Country Club but unfortunately, the Yum Cha Restaurant there is no longer in operation and the only available outlets are the ones located at Chinatown and Changi Business Park. For Mothers’ Day this year, Yum Cha Restaurant is launching 3 special items that seeks to re-create the long-lost taste of traditional Chinese dishes that mothers and grandmothers would remember with nostalgia of their hometowns.

The three special items are the Braised Pork with Preserved Vegetables, the Pan-fried Salted Fish Bun, and the Almond Tarts.

Braised Pork with Preserved Vegetables

A notable classic Chinese dish, this delicious bun which was easily carried around in the past, was eaten for days while our ancestors were fleeing the war in China before settling down in different parts of Asia. Quality tender pork belly is braised in a secret recipe sauce for hours to create a sweet and succulent taste that is balanced by a soft steamed bun.

Pan-fried Salted Fish Bun

A traditional Chinese dish originating from the Guangdong province, this salted fish bun used to be a favourite of Emperor Kang Xi of the Qing Dynasty. The bottom of the bun is seared to golden brown, with a flavourful filling made from salted fish paste and minced meat. To enhance its flavour, a secret seasoning is added for a more savory experience.

Almond Tart

The classic Almond Tart has a soft and flaky texture. Served warm, its sweet taste will definitely bring back fond memories of the old days in Hong Kong.

How will you celebrate Mothers’ Day?

That’s all from us for now and it sure looks like the coming month of May is going to be quite an exciting one too!

I have not been to Korea but thanks to Singapore’s melting pot of cultures, I have tasted Korean food and I am a pretty big fan of it. Recently, we had the opportunity to dine at Andong Zzimdak, a Korean restaurant that serves a specialty dish known as Andong Jjimdak and if you have ever been to the City of Andong in South Korea to try this dish, I’m very sure you are probably craving for some of it right now.

Allow me to give you a brief introduction of the dish, Andong Jjimdak.

Andong Jjimdak (when literally translated into English) means Braised Chicken of Andong and it is a dish that originated in (you know it) the City of Andong in the Gyeongsangbukdo Province of South Korea. In 1980 at Andong Market’s Chicken Town, chefs began adding a variety of ingredients into their roasted chicken, and that is how the first Andong Jjimdak came about.

At Andong Zzimdak (the name of the Korean restaurant) that serves Andong Jjimdak (the specialty dish), they also serve other main dishes like the Boneless Jjimdak, Seafood Jjimdak, and Mayak Jjimdak.

When we were there for dinner, we had the Mayak Jjimdak and some other side dishes like the Chicken Karaage and Mini Seafood Pancake. Kimchi and Radishes were also served alongside the dishes and that made the whole dining experience authentically Korean.

The Mayak Jjimdak is lauded to be the spiciest dish served at Andong Zzimdak and it is a combination of the signature Jjimdak sauce with chicken pieces, carrot, potatoes, spicy rice cake, and sweet potato noodles.

The signature Jjimdak sauce is sweet and spicy and it goes well with a bowl of rice. The texture of the sweet potato noodles somewhat reminded me of the chewy pearls from the bubble tea shop but I suppose this shouldn’t come as a surprise since both are starchy food items. Personally, I don’t find the Mayak Jjimdak to be that spicy but if you have a low tolerance for spice, you probably might want to go for the Andong Jjimdak instead. For all you lovers of spice and chilli, you can request for some additional chilli paste which you can add into the Mayak Jimdak.

Fun Fact #1:
The sweet potato noodles and the signature Jjimdak sauce are all imported directly from Korea.

Fun Fact #2:
The Chefs at Andong Zzimdak (Singapore) have undergone culinary training that was conducted by Korean Chefs to replicate an authentic Andong Jjimdak dining experience.

Well… if you’re the sort of person who dislike having bones and meat in your food, the Boneless Jimdak would be a better choice but I personally would prefer a Boneless Mayak Seafood Jjimdak (eh no, Andong Zzimdak do not serve this dish, I actually self-created it). If only that option was available, I would have ordered it.

As for the Chicken Karaage and Mini Seafood Pancake that we had, they were fried items; so naturally, they were crisp and good, and best eaten while they were still hot.

Craving for some Andong Jjimdak already?

If you are planning a trip to Andong Zzimdak, be prepared to queue (Singapore do have a lot of Korean food fanatics here in Singapore) and do bring along your best friends or family members because the portion for the main dishes are bigger than you would have expected.

Cost per person? Approximately SGD$20.

For more information about Andong Zzimdak, do check out their Facebook Page!

Andong Zzimdak
Raffles City Shopping Centre B1-44F, 252 North Bridge Road Singapore 179103
Tel: +65 6533 3951
Opening Hours: 11.30 am – 10.00 pm Daily

I have never been to a buffet line where an uncountable amount of crabs was prepared in 12 different flavours and you can perhaps imagine my excitement when I saw them laying in the food warmer waiting for me to savour them all. Coupled with the fact that it has been awhile since I last had a hotel buffet dinner, I just couldn’t wait to start the crab feast, get my hands dirty and worry about the calories later.

The brainchild of Executive Chef Low Hoe Kiat, the Battle of the Crabs Buffet is PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road’s Annual Crustacean Affair and it is set to dazzle taste buds and satisfy the cravings of every crab lover.

Whether it is classic favourites like the Authentic Singapore Chilli Crab and the Salted Egg Yolk and Butter Crab, you can also get to savour Chef Low’s other new creations like the Steamed Marinated Spicy Crab with Light Sauce, Stir-fried Crab with Jalapeño and Fermented Black Beans, and Stewed Kimchi Crab.

My personal favourite is the mouth-watering Baby Crab Salad with Green Mango and it really makes a great appetizer with its citrus scent and tangy taste. I have to confess that one serving wasn’t enough for me and I actually helped myself to even more servings. Oh heck, I wouldn’t even mind having this for lunch every day.

If there is one crab that you must try at the buffet dinner, it has to be Chef Low’s signature Slow-braised Pumpkin Crab in Claypot! A delectable mix of lightly spiced creamy golden-yellow gravy and sweet crab meat, I reckon that the recipe for this dish is probably a tightly guarded secret. While I’m not entirely sure how this variation compared to its predecessor, I enjoyed having this dish alongside with some bread.

However, I have to admit that the crab buffet dinner isn’t all that perfect and there are certainly rooms for improvement.

What is probably most disappointing about the crab dinner buffet is the fact that some of the crabs weren’t that tasty at all. Sure, there are 12 different flavours of crabs that are available but only a few could hit the right note. Even classic favourites like the Authentic Singapore Chilli Crab and the Salted Egg Yolk and Butter Crab didn’t quite meet my expectations and I found some of the crab meat a little dry and flaky for my liking.

Other than that, I honestly feel that it was overall an enjoyable buffet dinner and I would consider going back again. Even if crabs isn’t your thing, the buffet line also has fresh sashimi, sushi, and other main courses and desserts that will not let your stomach go empty.

Are you in need of a crustacean fix?

Well, if you value quantity of crabs more than the quality of crabs or if you are looking for a place to eat unlimited crabs prepared in 12 different flavours, Spice Brasserie at PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road would be it.

Available from now till 13 December 2015 on every Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; the Battle of the Crabs Buffet will cost SGD$88.28 nett per adult and if you hold a UOB, DBS, or Maybank credit card, it will cost just SGD$70.62 nett per adult.

Want To Win A Crab Feast For 2 At Spice Brasserie? See below for more details!

I am probably ignorant about my surroundings whenever I head down to Orchard because yes, I have heard of the sleazy Orchard Towers, the shabby Far East Shopping Centre, and the big Toys “R” Us outlet at Forum The Shopping Mall; but I have never heard of Palais Renaissance.

If not for a media event that was held last week at Palais Renaissance, I will probably still be a suaku [mountain tortoise] and not know that such a place exists in Singapore. Well, getting to Palais Renaissance is not that difficult but finding the way that leads to the carpark is. With just 32 tenants that caters mainly to an upscale clientele, Palais Renaissance is a small cosy shopping mall that has escalators that are wide enough for only 1 person.

Negative much?

Not really.

In fact, there are a couple of things that we uncovered about Palais Renaissance that truly makes it a well-hidden gem.

First and foremost, Palais Renaissance does not cater only to an affluent clientele. What we found quite affordable at Palais Renaissance are the dining options that are available even for the casual passers-by. Whether it is Jing Hua Xiao Chi, Ishinomaki Grill & Sake Bar, P. Bistro, or PS.Cafe; you will not burn a big hole in your pocket for dining at Palais Renaissance.

When we were there at Palais Renaissance, we had the privilege of dining at Jing Hua Xiao Chi and it was a dining experience that I will never forget because the taste and the flavours of the food evoked so much personal memories of my childhood days.

Founded in 1989, Jing Hua Xiao Chi was started by native Singaporeans, Mr. and Mrs. Han, and was located at the place first known as the “Qun Zhong Eating House”. The family started Jing Hua as a means to make ends meet, and took their recipes from Mr. Han’s mother, who lived in Shanghai, and from Mrs. Han, who made good dumplings at home. That is how it all began, and over the years, the family slowly adapted their recipes to suit Singaporean tastes.

It is interesting to note that Jing Hua’s menu has remained unchanged at Neil Road since its beginning and this is a true testament of how consistent quality can withstand the test of time. Prepared with ingredients sourced from Chinatown’s wet markets, Jing Hua has built a strong reputation for serving up delicious homemade dumplings over the years.

Needless to say, we will definitely be patronising Jing Hua Xiao Chi again and if you are searching high and low for an affordable homely fare that has a traditional taste [古早味] to it, Jing Hua Xiao Chi is the place.

Apart from dining at Jing Hua Xiao Chi at Palais Renaissance, we also visited DeFRED Jewellers and TOUCHE Elite to find out more about the products and services they have to offer.

DeFRED Jewellers was established since 1984 and it is a brand name that is synonymous with precious pieces of fine jewellery. They are a specialised quality jewellery boutique so prices for their intricate jewellery are expectedly exorbitant. If splurging is your cup of tea, get SGD$200 off when you “like” DeFRED’s Facebook Page, follow them on Instagram, and quote DeFRED’s slogan, “Ultimate Gift of Love by DeFRED”.

As for TOUCHE Elite, they offer aesthetic treatments that are mainly for the ladies and they recently launched a new and advanced C Plus Anti-aging Treatment with RF Tech; a remarkable advanced scientific breakthrough medical-aesthetic technologies that defy skin’s aging and helps combat pigmentation.

Well, we haven’t had any treatments done at TOUCHE Elite and so we can’t really share much but if you would like to find out more about the aesthetic treatments that are available, you can visit their website at http://www.cls-touche.com/.

Having been to Palais Renaissance, we must say that the experience has been overall a pleasant one. If we ever visit again, it would most probably be to dine at the rest of the other food and beverage restaurants or to probably get an exclusive gift that can’t be found elsewhere.

So… have you been to Palais Renaissance? Yes, you have just been there after reading this blog post!

We all know that Singapore is a food haven and there is absolutely no way anyone could go hungry in Singapore as there are so many dining options that are available for people to choose from. However, what really troubles us Singaporeans are often the questions, “What should we eat?” and “Where should we eat?”
We know it is funny but it is also very true that sometimes we even argue with one another over what to eat and where to eat! This is the dilemma that we constantly face every day and making dining decisions can be really tough at times.

What about you? Do you often find yourself asking where to eat in Singapore?

Well, with the OpenSnap App, this problem can now be solved and what is even more intriguing to us about the OpenSnap App is that it gives us pretty good suggestions as to which Restaurants and Dishes in Singapore we should try!

Not only that, the dish rating system in the OpenSnap App is really helpful as it guides us to decide what we ought to order at a restaurant!

One feature that we like about the OpenSnap App is that it allows us to bookmark our favourite topics, offers, restaurants and photos so that we can revisit the bookmarks as and when we wish and find out what are the latest promotions and offers that are available.

What we like the most about the OpenSnap App is that it also features restaurants and dishes from other regional countries like Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries! This is truly one app you don’t want to go without if you are a frequent traveller to Asian countries!

Also, just for all you foodies and food photographers, we are organising a special giveaway for all of you and this is a giveaway you don’t want to miss because if you frequently take photos of your food dishes at restaurants and even hawker centres, winning this giveaway is going to be a stroll in the park for you!

All you have to do is just download the OpenSnap App, snap photos of what you’re eating, upload the photo, and hashtag #awinsomelife! It’s really that easy and this time round, we will be giving away two prizes; a SGD$50 Isetan Shopping Voucher and a SGD$28 Golden Village Gift Card!

As long as you download the OpenSnap App, snap photos of what you’re eating, upload the photo, and hashtag #awinsomelife; you will stand a chance to win the SGD$50 Isetan Shopping Voucher through a random lucky draw and if you don’t feel that lucky at all; fret not because if you upload the most photos, you will walk away with the SGD$28 Golden Village Gift Card!

Just make sure you remember to use the hashtag #awinsomelife so that we can keep track and tally the number of photos taken using the OpenSnap App!

All photos uploaded from 24 July 2015 to 24 August 2015 will be considered for the contest and the person who uploads the most food pictures and uses the hashtag #awinsomelife will walk away with the SGD$28 Golden Village Gift Card!

So what are you waiting for?

Download the OpenSnap App and start snapping away!

For Android Users | For iPhone Users

During my army days, I would always drive past Gek Poh Shopping Centre and the modern external façade never fails to capture my attention. However, it wasn’t until last Sunday that I stepped into Gek Poh Shopping Centre with Jacqueline.

Fun Fact: The meaning of Gek Poh in Hokkien is Jade Treasure

Given the modern external façade of Gek Poh Shopping Centre, one would probably expect that the shopping centre will be a highly modern one but this is certainly not the case. When we arrived at Gek Poh Shopping Centre, we saw a number of “vintage”, old-school shops that reminded us of our childhood days and they have pretty interesting names like Channel 8, a shop that sells footwear and Boyz 2 Men, a barber shop.

If you were born in the 1980s, a day at Gek Poh Shopping Centre would definitely be a nostalgic time as the shopping centre’s interior décor and old-school shops will remind you of the shopping centres that existed during the olden days of Singapore.

Though Gek Poh shopping centre was not that crowded when we were there in the evening, the crowd at the food-court is altogether a different story as it was packed with diners. The food court offers many local delights and we were honestly spoilt for choices.

After checking out all the food stores at the food-court, I decided on having a bowl of Oriental Buddha Jump Over The Wall Soup while Jacqueline decided to have a plate of Western Spaghetti with Meatballs.

If dining at the food-court isn’t your cup of tea, there are also many other Food & Beverage outlets available and if you need a quick lunch/dinner fix, there’s also McDonald’s and Subway available at Gek Poh Shopping Centre.

Although Gek Poh Shopping Centre isn’t that modern per se, it has almost everything; from gift shops and jewellery shop to hardware shop and even a pet shop. However, what can’t be found at Gek Poh Shopping Centre is probably just the bank and entertainment outlets.

I’m not sure how many of my friends staying in the west actually visits Gek Poh Shopping Centre on a regular basis but if you do, feel free to share with us your own experience of Gek Poh Shopping Centre by commenting on this post! We would love to hear your story of Gek Poh Shopping Centre [if any].

If you happen to stay near Gek Poh Shopping Centre, you might be pleased to know that HDB is organising 3 main events and activities to celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday.

1. Vote for your Top 50 shops

Acknowledging that retailers at the HDB Shopping Centres addresses the needs of the residents while being an important part of the community, HDB will be rewarding these neighbourly retailers this year with a decal and commemorative plaque for display in their shops as testament of their popularity.

Starting from 1 July 2015 till 31 October 2015, you can nominate and vote for your favourite shop via a mobile voting app that you can download and when you have submitted your vote, you stand a chance to win a prize in a lucky draw contest.

2. #myfavHDBmall Photography Competition

HDB Shopping Centres form an integral part of the residents’ daily lives by being a place for leisure, shopping, and community bonding and for this photography competition, all you have to do is shoot a photo that evokes a warm fuzzy feeling, depicting the homely environment that HDB malls are providing and submit your photos at https://myfavhdbmall.com/register. You can stand a chance to win some attractive prizes and the winning entries will also be exhibited at 888 Plaza on 14 November 2015.

3. Enter the Book of Records

To mark the momentous year, an attempt is underway to create the largest SG50 logo made from stamps to set a new record in the Singapore Book of Records. From now till end October, you can play your part by donating used and unused stamps for this record-breaking initiative.

To participate, you are to “post” your stamps at the specially designed post boxes at various HDB Shopping Centres and all submissions will qualify for a Lucky Draw. A total of SGD$2,000 cash vouchers will be up for grabs and the finished masterpiece will be unveiled with great fanfare at 888 Plaza on 14 November 2015.

With so much activities and contests that are now ongoing, what are you waiting for?

For more information about the ongoing events and contests, visit www.where2shop.sg now!