Nihon Mura at Punggol Plaza

There are many coffeeshops in Punggol but no malls like people in other neighborhoods are used to. We have this tiny “mall” called Punggol Plaza. At the basement, there is a Nihon Mura outlet, where the wet market is. Despite its odd location, it manages to draw in the crowds.

The prices are reasonable, the food is decent, and the service standards are good when the place isn’t packed full of diners.

But what I found most fascinating was the sushi rice machine:

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Each time she reaches out her left hand to grab the rice roll nearest to her, the ‘plate’ swivels and the Suzumo machine automatically dispenses yet another identical-looking rice roll. This definitely helps up productivity levels in this outlet. Even I would feel confident making sushi here. LOL.

The chawanmushi served here does not look the most awesome but it tastes ok:

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One main I would always order is the Salmon Ikura Don ($9.90) though the thickness of the salmon slices during your visit is dependent on which staff member is on duty that day, I think.

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And our common favorite? The Ribeye Beef Shabu Shabu ($10.90)

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Rice costs an additional $1.50 but they can top up the broth for free.

This meal cost us S$27.99 inclusive of 10% service charge and 7% GST.

If you are ever in the area and don’t know what you should eat, you can pop by Nihon Mura at 168 Punggol Field #B1-05.

Tel: 63878192

Lunch at Mezza9 – Grand Hyatt Singapore

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I had lunch today at Mezza9 at Grand Hyatt – it was my first time having a meal there, apart from the time I attended Stella’s wedding there. Stella is the mom of my twin godsons. Gee, I feel old now.

Anyhow, I googled ‘Mezza9′ while on the road (I wasn’t the one driving) and got my hopes up at the mention of “Mezza9 at HYATT – The Award-Winning Restaurant & Bar”.

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And you know what people say about how the higher your expectations are, the greater the disappointment?

I ordered the lobster set in the picture above. It costs S$54++.

The seaweed soup was close to tasting bland. The chili lobster wasn’t spicy at all and the “chinese white noodles” it was sitting on were laksa(?) noodles and not quite exciting either. The steamed prawn dumplings were good but not extraordinary like what I would expect from an award-winning restaurant. Haha! And as for ice cream? The two tiniest scoops of chocolate ice cream I have ever seen. It was like ice cream in ‘bite size’.

I think the Thai fish cakes and spring roll appetizers, ordered by those who picked the lunch sets, were good.

The wagyu burger was served with a burnt patty so… there is no need for any other comment. :P

For about 20 dollars more, the dinner buffet at Marriott Hotel would be more enjoyable and better value for money. :D

Still, the company I had for lunch was great! The rush to get there after zumba class was worth it. :)

Interview with Joe Cross (& A Giveaway!)

Joe Cross

Joe Cross’ first movie, ‘Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead’, has been viewed by over 20 million people! If you have not watched it, you can catch it in full here:

What’s even more awesome is that you can catch Joe’s second movie as my guest – ticket giveaway at the end of this interview…

1) Many people have a lot of resistance towards getting a life “reboot”. Often, it takes a major health scare (e.g. a heart attack) before they decide to change the way they live and eat. How can we persuade them to take action now, instead of waiting for that health scare to occur?

Well, people aren’t going to change until they are ready to but I have never met a person who is overweight and happy about it, or enjoying managing a behavior-related illness, or not having energy. In hindsight, I wish someone had reminded me that the longer I waited to make important changes, the more I was depriving myself of wellbeing, vitality and fun.

2) After the huge success of your first film, what do you hope to achieve with the second one?

My hope is that the 20 million people who saw the first movie, and particularly our passionate online community of 1.5 million Rebooters, are entertained by FSND2 and find useful information about how to stay healthy in an unhealthy world.

It’s tough out there, and we’re all constantly bombarded by messages that send confusing signals, whether persuading us that things that are terrible for our health are actually wonderful “treats” or showing us ideals of perfection that just simply aren’t attainable.

In FSND2, I talk to people all over the world about strategies to strengthen the different pillars of health, from diet and nutrition to sleep to the important aspect of community.

3) The weight lost from any kind of fasting is usually regained pretty quickly after. What are your best tips for maintaining a healthy weight? Do you eat YOLO* meals? (*You Only Live Once)

I think the best way to maintain a healthy weight is to follow an 80/20 rule – in my case, 80% of what I eat is pretty nutrient dense stuff, with lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, seeds, lean animal protein and whole grains. And the other 20% is processed or less healthy.

So yes, absolutely, I enjoy the whole spectrum of food – I don’t say no to a slice of birthday cake, a good steak, an occasional bowl of chocolate ice cream. But those are “special” foods and not part of my daily regime.

4) A popular DJ recently posted this status update (below) on her social media channels – what would be your response to her?

“i am beyond SICK of ‘influencers’ sharing their juice cleanse journeys on instagram. great. you got your free bottles of juices and you have to in turn instagram it. yawn. at least do some research before accepting everything free that comes your way. using your social media reach to promote any sort of extreme fad diets is irresponsible and inconsiderate – we are talking about physical health here. I’ve turned down offers from two juice companies for the reasons stated below.

THE CLAIM: juices help you cleanse yourself, detox, and shrink your waistline like magic! they are healthier than whole fruits, and give you more nutrients!

THE FACTS: first of all, there are organs that “detox” a body already. they are called the LIVER and the KIDNEYS. if they aren’t working, a raw carrot isn’t going to help. in fact, there is no cup of anything that will work the way these organs do. only an organ transplant will help. also, there is no evidence that making something into a juice allows you to get more nutrients out of it.

there are some real problems with consuming ONLY juice. fresh-squeezed juice is a haven for bacteria, so making a big batch of juice and saving some for later can be problematic. also: fruits are full of sugar, dumbasses. go on juice cleanses and you can consume too much sugar without noticing. too much kale can exacerbate hypothyroidism – a condition in which the body lacks sufficient thyroid hormone. since the main purpose of thyroid hormone is to “run the body’s metabolism,” it is understandable that people with this condition will have symptoms associated with a slow metabolism. slow metabolism means your body takes a longer time than usual to burn the fuckin fats. too much lemon can erode the enamel on your teeth. the sugar in fruit can do a number on your teeth, as well. juicing is an extreme change in diet – more extreme than any other fad diets really, and needs to be done NEVER. stick to a sensible diet of real wholesome meals, drink water, and dont fuckin starve yourself. do that and you will be fine. #RozzQuotes

ps: and don’t get me started on tea tox.”
(https://www.facebook.com/heyrozz/photos/a.431885760205458.98004.431034103623957/781461858581178/?type=1&theater)

Well, I respect that everyone has their own point of view. And I am not a doctor, although I do have a Medical Advisory board who have looked at the science of juicing pretty closely and feel confident that my enthusiasm for it is well founded. But most importantly, I do know how juicing changed my life. It made a profound difference to me. More than weight loss, it helped me reclaim my health and vitality, reset my palate to appreciate the amazing tastes of fruits and vegetables and change how I approach my nutrition. I know that what I eat is only one piece of the health puzzle – joining sleep, friendships and love, exercise, and a spiritual practice – but it is an important piece, and one that for me, will always include fresh juice.

{ GIVEAWAY }

Here’s the trailer to Joe’s second movie ‘Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2′

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2 – Singapore Premiere

Wednesday, 3rd Dec 2014

7pm – 9pm

GV Max, Vivocity

To win a pair of tickets (I have 3 pairs to give away), simply leave a comment on this blogpost and tell me who you’d like to bring to the movie premiere with you OR why you’d like to watch this second movie! :D

Winner announcement:

1) Jasmine

2) Siew Ying

3) Dorean

Congratulations! You should have received an email from me by now to claim your tickets. :)

Chocolate & Tea Appreciation Journey at Capella Singapore

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I had the privilege of attending the media preview of Capella Singapore’s Festive Chocolate and Tea Experience yesterday.

I have never thought that tea and chocolate could go well together.

But they do.

The pairing of Valrhona Chocolate and Gryphon Tea was amazing. I never knew that chocolate appreciation, like wine appreciation, is an art.

By warming your mouth with the tea first, it helps the chocolate melt when you put it into your mouth next.

Thus, I learnt not to pair chocolates with wine. ;)

And how do you go about appraising the chocolate? First you rub a small chunk of chocolate between thumb and forefinger, and observe its appearance. Then bite off a piece and let it roll around your tongue and melt in your mouth. Note the fragrance and maybe even fruity notes that surface. And then, yes, swallow.

If you are pairing the chocolate with tea, get a sip of tea first and savor it. Then put the chocolate into your mouth (as above) and then finish off with a piece of chocolate and tea together! Quite an experience, I tell you! :)

And the chocolate dessert buffet that follows? Amazeballs.

You have to check it out at The Knolls, Capella Singapore. Available every Friday evening for 6 weeks, from 21 Nov 2014 till 2 Jan 2015, 6.30pm to 10pm.

Price: $48++ (Definitely value-for-money!)

Includes: Gryphon tea-infused cocktail or mocktail, chocolate dessert buffet, free flow of tea and a take-home memory bag.

Reservations: The Knolls (6591 5046) or knolls.singapore@capellahotels.com

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{ Giveaway }

Valrhona Chocolate

I’m giving away some lovely bars of premium chocolate from Valrhona. To be one of three winners, simply leave me a comment here with your email address so I can contact you if you’re picked. :)

*International giveaway :D

*Winner announcement: 20 Nov 2014

Hello Kitty Pasta – Cutest Pasta On Earth?

Hello Kitty Pasta

I bought some Hello Kitty pasta earlier this year, from an organic food shop I think. And kept it in the kitchen till today. I didn’t realize how absolutely adorable this pasta is till I poured it out and identified 5 different shapes.

There’s kitty, kitty’s head, that famous bow, an apple, and a flower. Wow.

And the best part is, after the recommended 9 minute cooking time, the pasta still holds its shape well. I thought the kitties would be unrecognizable after the boiling process, but they all turned out well!

For this pasta dish, I didn’t use any of the usual sauces. I added a can of Ayam Brand sardines, sliced portobello mushrooms and some chili padi. I definitely should have bought some lime to squeeze onto this pasta, and give it some added zest.

But I’m happy with how it turned out. Anyway, this small packet (which cost me just S$4) can make up to 5 servings of pasta so I’ll definitely be experimenting with other ingredients and sauces. Stay tuned! :D

Hello Kitty Pasta

LEGO-themed Cafe: Bricks ‘n’ Cubes at The Cathay

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I had dinner with some members of my Blog Club at Bricks ‘n’ Cubes Cafe yesterday. :D I love the decor though the food and service leaves more to be desired.

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Thankfully, I had some food before leaving home and all I needed at this cafe was some ice cream. Each scoop of ice cream costs S$4.50. I ordered the Belgium Chocolate ice cream – it was a fairly large serving but served to me with a plastic fork. I have never eaten ice cream with a plastic fork before! (@_@)

The rest ordered pasta which took really long to be served. Half an hour, to be exact. Even though there were few customers at that time.

(The quality of the food is not quite consistent. Steven ordered the wild mushroom pasta and found it wildly flavorful. But Flore showed up late and when her mushroom pasta arrived, the sauce was at least 2 shades lighter than Steven’s)

And strangely enough, the iPads on each table were *not* for ordering food. They are just for customers to play games on. What a waste.

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I think kids would love coming by and building LEGO creations here. I thought the play area was, strangely, rather big. It would have made more cents to convert this into a dining area to serve more customers and keep the till ringing.

Pricing: $10.90 to $12.90 for mains

Address: The Cathay, 2 Handy Road, #02-12

Tel: 67357571

Plain Vanilla Bakery (Tiong Bahru) – Is It Just Plain Hype? My Review…

Plain Vanilla Bakery

I had an underwhelming dinner at Poteato (Tiong Bahru) this evening, so I thought getting cupcakes from Plain Vanilla Bakery would save the day (or night). It was not meant to be.

I loved the decor at Plain Vanilla. It looks like an awesome place to chill with a good book, some tea and a nice cupcake. But it was too late at night for all that. So I bought 4 cupcakes to take home, and another 2 more for my girlfriend to bring back. She chose Earl Grey Lavender and Vanilla Bean, while I took the 4 above – Milk Chocolate Banana, Milk Chocolate Chip, Red Velvet and Dark Chocolate Ganache.

Upon reaching home, I ate the Milk Chocolate Chip and Red Velvet cupcakes. The latter had a frosting/icing/whatever-you-call-it (‘cos I don’t bake) that was grainy. It was not velvety-smooth like I was expecting. So the contrasting texture with the moist muffin below was a tad odd. And that was made worse by the grains of sugar that I could see and most definitely taste.

How often do you bite into a cupcake and see grains of sugar? Hmm…

It was the same with the Milk Chocolate Chip. Darn.

I’m hoping that when I eat the remaining cupcakes tomorrow morning, I will not SEE sugar again. I know it’s a key ingredient, but I’d prefer if the cupcakes have a smoother consistency without awkward grainy bits, thank you very much.

I think I’ll head back again… but not for the cupcakes next time. ;)

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Pricing: S$3.50 for 1 cupcake, $19 for 6 cupcakes

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Opening Hours:

Tuesday to Friday 11am to 8pm

Saturday 9am to 8pm

Sunday 9am to 6pm

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Address: 1D Yong Siak Street [The other outlet is at 34A Lorong Mambong]

Lee Kum Kee Menu-Oriented Sauce: Soup Base for Black Pepper and Pork Bone Hot Pot

Lee Kum Kee Hot Pot Soup Base

I’m a huge fan of soup cooked Chinese-style and my favorites are what my mom cooks at home, of course. I was a little hesitant at how Lee Kum Kee’s hot pot soup base would turn out as I don’t usually add any such sauces to hot pots. If it’s a steamboat dinner, the flavors from the ingredients such as prawns, chicken, fish, carrots, mushrooms, etc, would be sufficient for the soup.

But Lee Kum Kee’s menu-oriented sauces are for the time-strapped individuals, or maybe even those who need to impress future mother-in-laws. So I tested it out…

Lee Kum Kee Hot Pot Soup Base

Just seconds after adding the sauce to the boiling water, the water became soup instantly. There’s MSG in the sauce so it’s definitely tasty, and there’s a lot of pepper in there, as it really packs a punch. So if you like spicy soups, you’ll take to this one, though you might find yourself drinking a lot of water after as it’s quite thirst-inducing.

To counter this, I’d recommend using either more water than recommended for this soup, or using less of the sauce. (The recommended ratio as stated on the pack is 1.5litres of water to 1 packet of sauce)

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Soups are usually left to simmer in the slow cooker at home, but this time round, I boiled all the ingredients to ensure they are cooked fast and then added the packet of sauce. Can you make a decent pot of soup in under 30 minutes? Now you definitely can.

For my soup, I added chicken, prawns, shitake mushrooms, shimeji mushrooms, baby carrots, broccoli and corn.

I felt the black pepper overpowered the taste of all the ingredients I added. So the next time I’m using this soup base again, I’ll probably just make it bak kut tek-style with lots of pork ribs. :D

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Check out my earlier blogposts about these Lee Kum Kee Menu-Oriented Sauces:

1) For Teriyaki Chicken Wings

2) For Tomato Garlic Prawns

3) For Ma Po Tofu

Lee Kum Kee Menu-Oriented Sauce: Sauce for Ma Po Tofu

Lee Kum Kee Sauce for Ma Po Tofu

This is one sauce that I did not like, and this is one dish which did not take well to steaming. LOL.

I found the sauce incredibly salty, and much as I love tofu, I could not bring myself to eat more than one piece. (@_@)

I guess you’ll like this ma po tofu sauce if you like dishes which are very salty and spicy. It was just too much for me.

Ingredients:

90g minced pork

250g soft bean curd

1 packet of Lee Kum Kee Sauce for Ma Po Tofu

Method:

“Stir-fry minced pork in 1-2 tbsp oil until done. Add soft bean curd and Lee Kum Kee Sauce for Ma Po Tofu. Stir well (gently). Cook over low heat until sauce thickens.”

This sauce can also be used for cooking beef, chicken and noodles.

It looked like some weird curry tofu mixture after I’d steamed it. Not too enjoyable. But next up… I’ll be blogging about the soup. :)

Lee Kum Kee Menu-Oriented Sauce: Sauce for Tomato Garlic Prawns

lee kum kee sauce for tomato garlic prawns

This is quite possibly my favorite sauce from the Lee Kum Kee Menu-Oriented Sauce range. I selected it mainly because I love eating prawns, but also because it doesn’t come with added MSG.

All you need are prawns and this packet of sauce to create this dish. Easy or what?

lee kum kee sauce for tomato garlic prawns

*Garlic and tomatoes purely for decorative purposes :D

According to the packet, you simply pan-fry the prawns with 2 tablespoons of oil until the prawns turn “golden yellow”, then lower the heat, add the sauce and stir well. Alternatively, stir-fry the prawns with 1 tablespoon of oil, add the sauce and stir it all up.

This sauce can also be used for cooking squid, beef and bell peppers.

As usual, I picked a healthier method of cooking, and steamed the prawns instead of frying them. Before adding the sauce, I removed the “gravy” that resulted from the steaming of the prawns, and added that yummy ‘prawn broth’ to the soup I was cooking.

After I added the sauce, I gave it all a good mix and then let it steam for another minute or two, and it was ready to be served.

According to the bf, this dish turned out to be “finger licking good!” :D

You should try it too! :D

lee kum kee sauce for tomato garlic prawns