About Grace Tan

Grace owns the award-winning business and lifestyle blog, WorkingWithGrace.wordpress.com. She is also the author of the best-selling book 'Blogging For A Living'.

Can Singaporeans Truly Live ‘Regardless Of Race’?

Racism in Singapore

Screengrab from Toggle.Sg

I missed the Channel NewsAsia documentary ‘Regardless Of Race’ when it aired on TV, so I watched it on Toggle.sg instead. Hosted by Janil Puthucheary, Chairperson of Onepeople.sg, the film sought to tease out Singaporeans’ thoughts on our race relations. But I guess a TV programme will have its (obvious) limitations – people are unlikely to speak their minds if they know that what they say will go out to the ENTIRE nation. So was this ultimately an exercise in futility or will it spark some kind of meaningful conversation? And why did this air now (so coincidental!), just as we are talking about which race our elected President (and perhaps also, our next PM) should (or can) come from?

*Here’s the URL if you want to watch the programme: http://video.toggle.sg/en/series/regardless-of-race/ep1/439373 (just copy + paste it into your browser)

Is racism alive in Singapore? And more importantly, are YOU racist?

#1: Racism (or Racial Awareness, if you’d like) is definitely alive here in SG

Because of its obvious negative connotations, few of us would want to admit to being ‘racist’. Also, I think people define “racism” differently. If you’ve traveled, studied, or lived overseas in countries which struggle with blatant racism, you might be of the opinion that racism involves people getting (wrongfully) shot by the police, getting harassed by people on the streets (being called “CH*NK!”, “N*GGER”, etc) when you’re just minding your own business, or if you’d steer clear of certain streets or districts inhabited by people of a particular race who are likely to rob you or even worse, kill you.

If you don’t want to admit to being “racist”, would you consider yourself “racially blind” then? Do you treat everyone the same way? Are your best friends all from different races? Do you enjoy being in the company of people of different races? As an employer, would you hire anyone from any race as long as he/she is a good worker?

I’m not sure if there are people who would tell me that there’s just one race here, and that it is the “Singaporean race” and that we are well and truly “one people”. Because it’s quite clear that there are people from many different races living here in Singapore and we are all very different. And because there are many nationalities of people living and working here, it simply adds to the confusion. For instance, you can’t exactly call me racist if I don’t like certain people of the same race as me but who come from a different culture. Ethnically, we are alike, yet we have different food preferences, backgrounds, practices and maybe we won’t even understand each other when speaking what is essentially the “same” language!

The pressures of urban living on what is a very small island-nation can potentially cause conflict to arise along any (real or imagined) fault-line there may be. It could be due to nationality, class, religion, (even) sexual orientation, and of course, race. That being said, I don’t think we’ll have a repeat of the racial tensions in the 1960s. Singaporeans are a pragmatic lot. I think demonstrations and protests are a thing of the past. We simply don’t have the time, money or energy to waste. And we most certainly want to avoid jail. #kiasi

#2: Don’t blame it all on RACE

I do think that the CNA programme might have inadvertently oversimplified things. Asking people how they’d react if they notice a neighbor being mistreated? And then following up with another question about what if the neighbors are of a different race?

Well, first of all, I’d pat those people on the back for being observant (or kaypoh, whichever it is) and noticing that a neighbor is being mistreated. Often, I’m holed up in my bedroom blogging, reading or watching a Korean drama so I wouldn’t know if a neighbor was being beaten up or worse, murdered. Thankfully, it’s peaceful in my neighborhood. Perhaps my neighbors are also watching Korean dramas.

Secondly, whether I choose to react or not will depend on more factors than one about race. Is a kid being mistreated, in a way that is unreasonable? For instance, a kid being caned won’t raise a brow among neighbors but a kid being slammed against a wall might, and should actually. If an elderly person is being reprimanded (or nagged at, whichever you prefer) for leaving the cooking unattended, or heading out for a walk without notifying someone else in the family first thus worrying everyone, I think it’s possible to look the other way. But an elderly person with a bruised eye, that I’m quite sure was inflicted on purpose? Then a police officer or social worker should be brought in to probe. I find it very hard to believe that people would respond differently if their neighbors are of a different race.

#3: Racism need not be a bad thing

Google the term “racism” and you get this definition: “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

People often dwell on the negatives, but neglect the positives. For instance, if I were to ask you to point out the race you would associate with:

(1) Lawyers in Singapore. There’s one particular race which seems to churn out the most lawyers, or the “best” lawyers. People from this race are thought to be the best at speaking, putting forth arguments, etc. Also, they are pretty good moneychangers. You know who I’m talking about?

(2) Making the best sambal? Or the best prata? Or the best Singapore chili crab?

(3) Alternative medicine, e.g. acupuncture?

I do think that Malay housewives are better at cooking than Chinese housewives (I like Malay food stalls more than Chinese cai fan stalls too!). And I’d view a Chinese prata stall with more than a bit of suspicion, and quickly pick the ones manned by Indians. However, I’d only allow a Chinese sinseh to prick me with acupuncture needles, and not a Malay or Indian doctor, and definitely not a Eurasian doctor. I’m judging them only by the color of their skin, and not their qualifications per se. But can you blame me?

I DO think that some races are better at certain things, and I think that’s great! We know who’s good at what (or we assume that what we think is right), and we (perhaps) spend our money wisely. Yes, I’ll happily be called racist for pooh-poohing the efforts of a Chinese man selling prata. But if someone other than a Chinese person is selling me char kway teow, carrot cake or hokkien mee, I’m not buying. #UnlessHeReceivedAMichelinStar #NeverSayNever

~

We won’t reach that utopic state of having eradicated “racism” in Singapore. But we can all put in a bit more effort to avoid alienating people of other races in our schools, offices, neighborhoods, etc. We can work at not making racist jokes and also, omitting unflattering terms from our vocabulary. But thinking that we can become racially blind is simply wishful thinking. As an Indian teacher in JC told my class, there is “veiled racism” in Singapore. It exists all the time, except when you’re being interviewed for national TV…

Rainbow Cottage: Kid-friendly Waffle / Gelato Cafe in Ang Mo Kio

Rainbow Cottage Waffle

Thanks to Groupon, my sweeter half takes me around the island to check out lesser-known cafes and restaurants. Sometimes we find hidden gems; sometimes we don’t. I’m glad we popped by Rainbow Cottage in Ang Mo Kio though. It’s one place we can meet friends-with-kids next time for gelato, cakes, waffles or simply, drinks.

As you can see in the first picture above, we had a waffle and 2 scoops of gelato (vanilla and double chocolate). The chocolate was good. I’ll probably skip vanilla for thai milk tea or some other flavor in future. And I believe that might be a Cath Kidston teapot. It’s super adorable. The pot actually sits atop the cup, so it’s excellent for storage. I like how feminine it is, what with the teaspoon with a ‘gem’ at the end, and two little iced gem biscuits beside the cup. Very, very pretty.

As for the waffle itself, it’s definitely crispy. However, it’s not fluffy enough for my liking. I like the waffles at Meet and Melt but I have yet to try the charcoal waffle (with salted egg) at Rainbow Cottage for a fair apples-to-apples comparison.

What is undeniably an edge for Rainbow Cottage is their kids play corner. Some parents I know will be so relieved to be able to deposit their children at the play area, and sink into a comfy sofa and enjoy a cool treat while keeping a watchful eye on their children.

Rainbow Cottage Ang Mo Kio

Singapore child friendly cafe

If you’re out with little kids in the Ang Mo Kio area, and you need a break from the children *ahem* I mean, from the hot weather, just pop in for some gelato. From the many tags on Instagram, I think Rainbow Cottage has earned many fans because of their cheesecakes. So, give them a try and tell me what you think.

Rainbow Cottage is located at Ang Mo Kio Blk 452 #01-1777

Tel: 6451 2483

Opening hours: 11am to 9.45pm

They are on Instagram @rainbow.cottage.

Janice Wong’s Edible Art: Colorful Chocolates, Magical Mooncakes

Janice Wong chocolates and mooncakes

Albert Einstein famously said that “Creativity is intelligence having fun” thus I think Janice Wong is one heck of an intelligent chef. Those chocolates are so playful yet so aesthetically pleasing, and the mochi mooncakes are like beautifully wrapped surprise packages. I actually ate one that has popping candy within! Amazeballs!

I follow Janice on Instagram so I knew that she’d launched a collection of mochi mooncakes (that retail for something like S$8 a piece). They’re terribly pretty…

Janice Wong mochi mooncake set

[ Image: Mooncake set from JaniceWong.com.sg ]

So when I found out that there’s a workshop involving the pairing of 4 of these mooncakes with Pryce Tea, I signed up for it. (In case you’re wondering, the workshop is a one-off session, and to my knowledge, there won’t be any other future sessions. But you can still buy Pryce Tea and Janice Wong mooncakes [[separately] at places like TANGS and Takashimaya)🙂

For those interested in mooncake + tea pairing, here’s what we had:
– Cherry Blossom tea paired with Japanese Yuzu mooncake
– Ginger Garden tea paired with Ginger Flower Rojak mooncake
– Peach Bellini tea paired with Praline Poprocks mooncake
– Mandarin Pu Erh tea paired with Dark Chocolate Truffle Infinity of 99% mooncake

Tian Peng from Pryce Tea also let us sample the Vanda Miss Joaquim tea which was the best of the lot.

And what is a mochi mooncake?

Mochi Mooncakes

Each one is made up of 4 layers. Snow skin on top of lima white bean paste, a mochi layer, and a chocolate core. These mooncakes are deliberately made to taste less sweet so you can eat more than one (clever!) As I’ve only sampled 4 flavors, I won’t be able to tell you which is the best of the lot. Go try it all yourself!😀

The mooncakes come in various flavors. There’s also Laksa Leaf Lemongrass, Chilli Padi, Chendol Red Bean, Kaffir Lime Caramel, Gula Melaka Pandan, Bak Kwa Poprocks, Condensed Milk Truffle, Salted Egg, etc. Worth that 8 bucks each? Yes, I think so.

How To Make Delicious Bergedil, Indonesian-style

resepi bergedil simple

I love getting bergedil whenever I order a meal of Indonesian nasi padang. If bergedil is sold out, I might just not order food at that stall and go eat dumpling noodles or cai fan (economical rice) instead. This is how much I love bergedil. So when I found an Indonesian who knows how to prepare and cook bergedil, I had to ask her to teach me.

In case you’re wondering what the fuss is about, since bergedil can be found at most food places selling Muslim food, I have to say that not everyone knows how to make good bergedil. It’s not like chicken, in which it tastes good (almost naturally) if you get it deep-fried, for instance. It’s hard to go wrong with an ingredient like chicken, but when you’re buying bergedil at a stall you’ve never patronized before, sometimes it could be a hit-or-miss situation. Hence, if you want to have control over what your bergedil tastes like, you’ll just have to learn to make it yourself.

*For the record, I’ve eaten some really horrible bergedil before – either really hard, really dry, or really salty.😦

Bergedil requires only the simplest of ingredients so you might already have them at home:

(1) Chop up some small onions and fry them till they’re golden brown. Peel, cook and mash some potatoes till they’re really soft and mushy (put on some kitchen gloves and use your hands if you have to).

how to make bergedil

(2) Chop up some chives and spring onions (the quantity depends on how much you like them). And add them to your potato+fried onions, together with some salt and pepper to taste.

(3) You can make bergedil in all sorts of shapes: balls, flat or even heart-shaped ones (like I did) Go ahead and be creative. *This would be a fun project for the children at home too. Coat your creations in some egg…

bergedil recipe

(4) Fry them till they are golden-brown. If you prefer a more crispy ‘skin’ then let it sit longer in the pan.

how to cook bergedil

Ta-dah! Enjoy your bergedil

resepi bergedil simple

*If you happen to have sambal belacan at home, yum, it’ll certainly go well with bergedil and rice.

*You can add any other ingredient you like, e.g. chicken, fish, etc. I might try adding chili padi next time so the bergedil has a fiery kick to it.😀

Thank God for potatoes, which taste so yummy whether as fries (curly, shoestring, crinkle cut, etc), wedges, baked, mashed, in salads, and especially in bergedil!😀

5 Things That Happened Right After Schooling Won Olympic Gold

Joseph Schooling Olympics Gold

Picture Credit: Minister Tan Chuan-Jin

#1: People have to eat their words: “Fat”, “Flabby”, “Old”?

You might have heard people commenting that Phelps is “old” and past his prime years as a swimmer. Then he gets gold after gold. You might have even read (like I did) how commenters wrote that Schooling seems “fat” or “flabby” in pictures or videos from Rio2016. He then went on to win Singapore’s first Olympic gold medal, setting an Olympics record in the process. Fat, your foot lah.

Journalists who went on and on about ‘The King & The Kid’ end up watching two champions face the media together. I kid you not.

#2: 4D punters realize the magic numbers of ‘5039’ are SOLD OUT way before lunchtime

4D 5039 sold out

Before I’d even properly settled down to a late breakfast, I heard that 5039 was already sold out at Singapore Pools. Wow. Those guys sure move fast.

Hopefully, Joseph Schooling’s gold medal timing also results in some people striking gold at the lottery. Even if 5039 doesn’t end up as a winning number, I think most Singaporeans already feel like Schooling has given us a National Day gift to rejoice about.

*Update: 5039 is not one of today’s 4D winning numbers (nope, not even a consolation prize). However, Singapore Pools appears to support the MAP which rewards athletes based on the number of medals they’ve won (see Point 5 in this blogpost) so 4D punters can congratulate themselves: the money they paid today goes towards rewarding this awesome young athlete🙂

#3: People realize journalists can upload articles with or without quotes, but athletes had better “TALK” at some point

When I woke up this morning, I found an email from a news site I’m subscribed to. The journalist had already put together a lengthy article about Schooling winning gold for Singapore. Included was also the backstory about his journey toward fulfilling his dream. There was NO quote at all from any athlete, coach or bystander.

More than 2 hours later, the article was updated with a few sentences from Schooling.

What does this prove? Journalists can upload a full article before getting a quote from an athlete, but an athlete needs to “TALK” at some point, so both parties can consider their “job” done. Otherwise, don’t blame the journalist for writing what he/she will and casting aspersions on your character for not speaking to the media when you “should” have.😛

Poor thing! You sweat, you train, you compete… AND you have to force yourself to talk.

#4: Singaporean parents start rethinking preferred career options for their kids

The oft-quoted trinity for Singaporean parents when it comes to preferred careers for their children has long been ‘Doctor, Lawyer, Accountant’. From now on, perhaps, kids who display a certain talent in sports can tell their parents that they want to be like Joseph Schooling, who brought glory to the entire nation.

Truth be told, I’ve met so many lawyers, and read about so many ‘black sheep’ highlighted in the news that I don’t think I’ll want any kid of mine to enter the legal profession. Why not be a doctor? It’s the only profession that saves lives within this ‘trinity’.

#5: Everyone pats themselves on the back; congratulating themselves on Schooling’s win

Joseph Schooling left for the United States at the age of 14, in pursuit of his dream. Seven years later, he fought hard and his dream came true. I wonder how much our country actually invested into his career. Did we sponsor (even partially) the coaching fees that must have been incurred over those years? Did we sponsor the airfares to and fro? If Schooling’s parents had tallied the amount they spent over the years in support of their son’s dream, it would no doubt be an astronomical figure.

And what about the athlete’s own investment of time, sweat, tears, blood, youth?

Sure, we have a Multi-Million Dollar Awards Programme (MAP) that rewards athletes who do well, i.e. win medals for us. Schooling stands to ‘win’ $1 million. But wait…

  1. The awards come with ceilings. For the Olympics Games, there’s a ceiling – just the first individual gold medal won at the Olympics. Supposedly, even if he wins more than just one gold medal, he’s entitled to only $1 mil.
  2. “It is mandatory for all athletes to plough back a certain percentage of the MAP awards to their National Sports Association for future training and development.” This “certain” percentage is not disclosed to us.
  3. Tax will have to be paid. And you can calculate that yourself.

To many, a $1 million award seems like a hefty sum. How much Joseph Schooling gets after taxes and mandatory contributions back to NSA, I don’t know. I do suspect that it won’t be able to cover the investment his parents put into supporting his career choice.

Hopefully, Joseph Schooling gets all the endorsements he deserves. Milo, BRAND’S, Pocari Sweat, are you guys reading this? Also, perhaps he might start a swim school – that could potentially be lucrative. I suppose kids from the region might even come here to train with him.

~

Just as Roger Bannister broke the ‘4-minute mile’ and paved the way for other athletes to shatter mental barriers, I believe (and fervently hope) that Joseph Schooling’s Olympic gold medal helps demolish those notions of parents who think that there’s no future in Sports for their kids. Yes, there IS a future, but your kid has to work his ass off to get there. And you have to be prepared for the financial outlay. Also, perhaps now Singapore will put more effort (and FUNDS!) into supporting our athletes and training a new batch of local-borns who will keep the Singapore flag flying high in subsequent editions of the Olympics. After the National Stadium, I think we love hearing our national anthem being played at the Olympics, no?🙂

Review: Paulo Coelho’s ‘Adultery’ and Lauren Manning’s ‘Unmeasured Strength’

Book Review Singapore

Completed reading 2 of the books I got at the recent Books Warehouse Sale, which is still ON till this Sunday by the way. I’m not sure how YOU pick out books (maybe read a chapter first?) but I chose these two simply because one was written by “Paulo Coelho” and the other was also a “New York Times Bestseller”. Turns out I hit literary gold with them.😀 And yes, these are available for the box sale for S$50. So you can stuff a box full of books (maybe 20+ titles?) and each copy will only cost about S$2 or less. It’s ridiculously cheap. As an author myself, my heart bleeds a little. As a reader, I’m over the moon.

Anyway…

Here’s my (short) review of the two books:

Adultery by Paulo Coelho

It’s quite interesting how a male author writes from the point of view of a married woman committing adultery. Strangely enough, it’s rather convincing. I think this book might speak to many people. How come some people seem to have it all (an awesome spouse and I mean nothing sexual by this, a beautiful family, a great career, etc) and yet feel “depressed” or sad without having a legit reason to feel that way? And how many can resist the urge of keeping BOTH a stable, loving relationship AND a thrilling, sexually-satisfying affair by the side? Variety is the spice of life, no? And what causes women to lose their senses when they think they’re in love with a guy (whom, on hindsight, appears to be the kind you should flee from, and not run towards)? How can you live with the guilt of having NOT confessed to your husband about the affair you were involved in, simply because he seems to know (and he seemingly says so) and tells you he still loves you the same? After ten years of marriage, how does one keep the spark (or dying embers) alive? Are couples simply staying together for the sake of the children, and nothing else? This book makes readers think, question, and also face up to their own myriad temptations, desires, fears, and expectations. A short book but it’s a thought-provoking one, for sure.

Also, did you note that there are three cherries on the cover? Cute.😉 Two are ‘facing’ each other, with a third party off to the side.

Unmeasured Strength by Lauren Manning

I didn’t actually pay much attention to the cover picture when I picked out this book. But if you’ll look closely, you’ll see that Lauren’s left hand is hidden behind her back, and there’s uneven coloration of her skin. The fact that she’s in a red dress and heels doesn’t seem out of the ordinary until you read her story and realize that this woman nearly lost her life during the Sept 11 terror attacks. She suffered burns on 82% of her body. And it took many years, an immeasurable amount of pain and equal parts courage for her to get her life back on track. This book made me cry… and cry again. It’s not just a recollection of what happened during that fateful day, it’s also her memoir. She got married once, and got divorced when the first marriage didn’t work out. And when she finally found Greg, the marriage wasn’t going as smoothly as they’d wanted. A heated quarrel, and a neighbor’s (unrelated) phonecall stopped Greg from being in the same building that morning. A situation involving missing keys at their weekend home caused Lauren to head to her office later than usual, hence she had not yet taken the lift up to her office when the terrorists struck. If she had been upstairs, she’d most certainly have perished like the 658 colleagues in her company who died that day. If Greg had also been at an event he wanted to go to, their ten-month-old child would have become an orphan.

Likewise, she recounts an incident from her childhood in which she was ahead of her sister running (accidentally) into a wasp nest. She got stung everywhere but some calamine lotion managed to do the trick. Her sister didn’t get even a single sting. Later on, it was discovered that her sister was highly allergic to bee stings, and if Lauren had not pushed ahead of her sister (to show who’s the eldest, i.e. the ‘boss’), Gigi might have been in serious trouble.

What I take away from this book is that when God’s hand is over your life, it doesn’t mean there will be no suffering. In fact, there might be tons of it. You might be stung from head to toe, but it means your sister’s life is spared and your family remains intact. It might also mean that you get burnt beyond recognition, yet you get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reconnect with family and long-lost-yet-treasured friends. Lauren once thought she had it all and could do it all. Then the terrorists struck and she almost lost it all. Only after that could she truly begin to understand what it means to have it all. Her husband’s love for her is really commendable. Lauren herself writes that other men might have bolted, but Greg remained steadfast.

I’ve always wanted to ask God why good people suffer while bad people seem to thrive. But now I am beginning to understand. Sometimes that suffering happens for one’s own good, for God’s purpose in your life to be fulfilled. Without going through all that unimaginable and horrific pain and suffering, and not witnessing Greg’s steadfast presence and committed love through it all, Lauren’s (second) marriage might not be as strong. I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended in divorce, assuming the terrorist attack on 9/11 never happened. Indeed, everything happens for a reason and it’s only by looking back that we can begin to connect the dots.

Read this book, but prepare some tissue first.

Thye Moh Chan 泰茂栈: Teochew Flaky-skinned Mooncakes

thye moh chan mooncakes

I think the older generation of Teochew people in Singapore would be familiar with this brand: Thye Moh Chan 泰茂栈. It’s been around since 1943 and is well-known for its flaky-skinned pastries. I picked up a box of mooncakes at their Paragon outlet (#B1-11) yesterday, and got 1 each of the 4 main flavors: Salty, Sweet, Double Delight and Yuan Yang. I almost didn’t believe they are mooncakes as they look more like Tau Sar Piah (豆沙饼).

And speaking of Tau Sar Piah, Thye Moh Chan has some with interesting ingredients: prune, bak kwa and longan. I’ve yet to try them but if you’re game for it, go pop by one of Thye Moh Chan’s 2 outlets: one at Paragon, the other is at Chinatown Point (#01-45).

I’ve always liked flaky crust pastries because they are so delicate, ‘light’ and give the illusion of having fewer calories (there seems to be just “air” between those delightfully thin layers?). The drawback, however, of eating these flaky goodies is that it gets messy really fast and, unfortunately, according to this Straits Times article from 2015, flaky crust mooncakes are likely to contain more fat than traditional baked ones or snow skin mooncakes. Uh-oh! Just exercise portion control and share the love with friends and family, ok? That way you can still indulge without too much guilt!

Of the 4 flavors, I like the sweet one best (no surprise there). The Sweet Tau Sar
甜豆沙 comes with just the right level of sweetness. I might have eaten the whole thing if not for my other half’s watchful eye and nagging.

If you’re not a fan of sweet stuff, then go for the savory ones: Salty Tau Sar With Salted Egg Yolk 咸豆沙(咸蛋黄), Double Delight 潮州双拼 and Yuan Yang With Salted Egg Yolk
鸳鸯(咸蛋黄). Also, there’s a “Teochew Mooncake 潮州月饼” which is big, flat and round like a frisbee. I’ve never tried one of those before!

Thye Moh Chan also has some ‘limited edition’ mooncakes: Yam With Salted Egg
Yolk 芋泥(咸蛋黄) and Mao Shan Wang Durian 猫山王榴莲. I don’t eat yam and neither do I like durian, so if you have tried these flavors, let me know!🙂

thye moh chan paragon

I’m not sure if the store decor at Chinatown is the same as in Paragon, but they have these cool sliding drawers that store the mooncakes in their Paragon outlet. LOL. Go have a look!🙂

thye moh chan mooncake review

Slide The City SG: Sign Up Now For Splashin’ Good Fun! :D

Slide The City

I can’t think of a more suitable city for an event like Slide The City to be organized in. We experience summer all year round, and when the weather’s as hot as it’s been recently, a ginormous water slide sounds like a great idea! And best of all, this event supports Club Rainbow, a non-profit organisation serving chronically ill children in Singapore. You get to have fun and do good at the same time!😀

For an idea of how much fun is involved, watch this video:

Slide The City will take place from 25 to 27 November 2016 at The Float @ Marina Bay. Online registration began today, and from now till 8 September, you can book your spot at the event from as low as S$35! You know you wanna be there… (and your GoPro needs to tag along too)

Slide The City Singapore

Slide The City registration

Slide The City Marina Bay

Slide on over to Slide The City‘s website for more details!

Seoul Jjimdak @ City Sq Mall: 51% Discount Till End-August*

Seoul Jjimdak

Fans of Korean food are in for a yummy treat! Seoul Jjimdak, a 3-month-old Korean restaurant at City Square Mall, is celebrating our nation’s birthday with 51% off their fan favorites: Seoul Jjimdak and Army Stew!* What this means is 2 to 3 people can share a meal of Korean ‘comfort food’, for just S$16.60! Do not miss this great deal, which will last only till end-August. It’s available DAILY (even weekends) between 1130am and 3pm, so it’s great for families, staff lunches and friend gatherings!🙂 Because of their generous SG51 gesture, I’ll have to crown them the Best Korean Restaurant in Singapore for good food in a comfortable, casual setting!🙂

Seoul Jjimdak’s motto is “Doing Simple Food Good” and it’s easy to see how they’ve kept to it. The restaurant’s name is the same as one of their hit favorites: Seoul Jjimdak. Jjimdak, in Korean, refers to braised dishes. Sometimes it’s also called ‘dakjjim’. ‘Dak’ means ‘chicken’ and ‘Jjim’ indicates something that’s steamed, stewed or braised.

The Seoul Jjimdak (S$33.90, now S$16.60) comes with braised chicken, potatoes, onions, dried chili and chewy glass potato noodles. You can choose to have the boneless version if you prefer a fuss-free dining experience like I do. It’s a really big serving, so go ahead and bring a friend or two! I specially invited my photographer pal from Hearted Moments as his skinny genes are a constant cause of envy for me. See how happy he is at being able to eat all he wants and never ever put on weight…

Seoul Jjimdak city square mall

Seoul Jjimdak boneless

Even though there’s dried chili, I found this dish sweet, and not spicy at all. I think children will enjoy this dish. And speaking of children, the restaurant has high chairs for kids so go ahead and ask for them. Also, some of the tables come with adequate space at the sides for your prams. If you’re wondering, this restaurant can seat around 60 diners, so bring all your colleagues and friends!

I really like the Seoul Jjimdak dish as it has my favorite ingredients – potatoes and chicken – braised to perfection. And the restaurant is so generous with the potatoes too! You can also opt for additional toppings, such as prawns & mussels for $5.90, assorted mushrooms $4.90, mozzarella cheese $2.90, etc.

*If you’re dining alone, go ahead and order the “mini” Boneless Jjimdak at just S$12.90. You can add $1 each for mushroom and cheese.🙂

If you prefer something more spicy, then choose the Army Stew (S$33.90, now S$16.60) which is a kimchi stew with luncheon meat (OH YES!), pork belly strips, vegetables, baked beans, tofu, etc! Likewise, you can opt for additional toppings such as sausages for $3.90, double cheese $3.90, etc!

Seoul Jjimdak Army Stew

Because it’s such a BIG serving, you won’t be able to finish it all very quickly. But no worries, you can heat up the food anytime you want with just a turn of the switch! So thoughtful!

Seoul Jjimdak Promotion

I liked having instant noodles with the Army Stew – it’s a nice contrast with the ‘chewy glass potato noodles’ in the Seoul Jjimdak. And anything with luncheon meat and pork belly in it has to taste good, as you can probably already guess. If it gets too spicy for you, just take a sip of the (free) cold water served or eat some of the pickles that come with the meal.

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Seoul Jjimdak drinks

We couldn’t resist the soda too, so yeah.😀 *Tip: The orange one was my fav!

Then the Spicy Cheese Tteokbokki (S$11.90) was served, as what’s a Korean meal without rice cake? We were so busy indulging in the Jjimdak that this dish had already cooled down by the time we tasted it. However, my pal realised that the rice cake could be dipped into the Army Stew and still taste awesome. So, here’s a tip for you, eat this right after it’s served!😀 The Jjimdak and Army Stew can be reheated at any time so there’s no hurry.

Seoul Jjimdak Spicy Cheese Tteokbokki

And we also had to try the Chef’s Recommendation: Seafood Pancake (S$14.90). I think kids will love this one as it’s tasty, not spicy at all, and it’s so crispy. It’s made with fresh spring onions, prawns and squid…

Seafood Pancake

If you’re still hungry, you can order the steamed egg (S$9.90), kimchi cheese fries (S$6.90) and the spicy seafood soup (S$12.90).

Seoul Jjimdak sides

Kids and the elderly alike will love the steamed egg. Cheese fries are always a hit, and the addition of kimchi gives it added oomph (must try!). Meanwhile, I simply love spicy soup with seafood (that have big, fresh prawns) like tom yam soup, so this soup’s also a must-order dish.

So, pick your favorite stew and side dishes and have a yummilicious meal at Seoul Jjimdak!🙂

~ Take advantage of this awesome SG51 promo now! ~

Seoul Jjimdak SG51 Promo

Seoul Jjimdak is located at #05-04, City Square Mall, Singapore 208539. Tel: 66342668.

*The restaurant is not taking reservations for this lunchtime SG51 promo. Walk-ins only!🙂

Sunday Market: Good Brunch Place In Kovan But Pick Tables Wisely!

Sunday Market brunch

I don’t usually eat brunch, and I most certainly do not visit “hipster cafes” just for brunch and the opportunity to get instagram-worthy snaps (I think that’s too much trouble, really). Today, we popped by Sunday Market which is around the Kovan area. Even though it’s called ‘Sunday Market’, it’s actually open everyday. I’ll include their operating hours for National Day at the end of this blogpost.🙂

The reason we came here for brunch was because my love had bought a Groupon voucher, and it was expiring soon. I didn’t even know this place existed. So, thank you, Groupon!

There’s a carpark right in front of the row of shophouses, and Sunday Market’s right at the end of the row.

Sunday Market

The cafe is somewhat divided into two portions. The first half houses the ice cream counter, cash register, etc. I’d recommend that you SIT HERE. The second half of the cafe houses the *erm* toilet. I don’t recommend you sit there. When we first entered the cafe, we got a shock – from outside, it seemed like the cafe was located in an ulu part of Singapore and that it might be rather deserted within too, but the inside was FILLED with diners. We took the only unoccupied table which was way at the end of the cafe, beside a huge standing fan.

While we were waiting for our orders to be filled, I noticed there were non-food smells within the area we were seated. Behind me, about 2 metres away, were the toilets, half hidden behind curtains. The thought of eating so close to the loo was a little revolting. And since the food had yet to be served, we bolted to the front of the cafe where, thankfully, a table had just been vacated! *Phew*

Sunday Market Lim Tua Tow Road

While I was settling the bill, I noticed that the cafe has an ‘A’ for hygiene and cleanliness, which was very reassuring. The staff also wore tshirts stating the address of the cafe: 22 Lim Tua Tow Road. Cute!

Now, for the food…

The Big Breakfast $19++

Sunday Market The Big Breakfast

There’s grilled chicken cheese sausage, turkey bacon, baked beans, scrambled egg, roasted mushrooms, roasted tomato, hashbrown, salad and toasted bread. It’s quite a spread, really. Though I probably won’t pay $19++ for it. I’d have loved more of the mushrooms, for one. The scrambled egg needs more seasoning. And the hashbrown probably shouldn’t have been cut up. This dish lacks a star ingredient that will make the whole dish shine. Otherwise, I’ll much rather pay less for a Big Breakfast meal at McD.

*Based on the ingredients in this dish, I’d hazard a guess that this cafe is a halal one. And most of their staff are Malays so I suppose I might be right.

Duck Confit Hash $17++

Sunday Market Duck Confit Hash

When this dish was served, I looked at the two fried eggs and went ‘wow’. Quite a treat! Underneath the eggs were the baby potatoes (too few of them), shredded duck leg (which was SO YUMMY), caramelized onions (again, too few), toasted bread, etc. On the menu, it is stated that there’ll be “Crispy Duck Skin” as well, but I didn’t see any on this plate. Despite all that, I have to say that the duck was incredible – seasoned and cooked to perfection. It was so tender. I couldn’t get enough of it. Give me more potatoes and I’ll give this dish top marks.

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All in all, I think the food here is satisfying – if you’ve ordered the duck confit, you’ll want to tell a friend. Service was prompt and the wait staff were friendly as can be during their busy brunch hour(s) service. I liked that iced water was served almost as soon as we sat down at a table – no need to ask, no need to pay.😀 Price-wise, I think it’s great to visit when you have a Groupon voucher. And it’s best to sit at the front of the cafe. #dontsayididnttellyou

Sunday Market is open Mon to Fri 11am to 11pm, Sat 9am to 11pm, Sun: 9am to 9pm.

National Day Opening Hrs: Brunch (9am to 3.30pm), Regular Menu (430pm to 11pm).

Tel: 6287 8880.

22 Lim Tua Tow Road, Singapore 547772.