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'.

1 Day Only: ‘Buy-1-Get-1-Free’ Promotion At Watsons

Watsons Buy 1 Get 1 Free

It’ll be worth your while to pop by a Watsons store today for the Buy-1-Get-1-Free promotion with selected items from the Watsons brand / Pure’n Soft / Orita. I bought their house brand shower gel, hand soap and wet wipes. And I received the Mr Juicy Orange Juice Drink as a free gift for spending over $10! πŸ™‚ Spend $18 and you’ll receive a free pouch! I’ll usually stock up whenever there’s this Buy-1-Get-1-Free promo, and just carrying these home today gave me a good arm workout!

If you haven’t already noticed, I picked the Lavender scented shower gel and hand soap even though there are many other scents to choose from. And it’s not because I’m particularly fond of the lavender scent or the color purple either. I’ve read that mosquitoes don’t like lavender so I try to have as many lavender scented items at home. (*Diffusers really work in keeping mosquitoes away too!) πŸ˜€

Here are the prices of the items I bought:

1litre shower gel: $6.90

500ml hand soap: $3

Baby wipes: $2

Got them all at Buy-1-Free-1 so it’s ridiculously cheap. πŸ™‚

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At Watsons, it’s great if you have a membership card and also make payment with a POSB Everyday Card – both earn you rebates you can use to offset your next purchase.

I’m a huge fan of Watsons and you can probably see why. Even when there’s a promotion like this, they also offer free gifts to people who hit a (low) ‘minimum spending’ amount. The last time they did this, I received a pouch upon checkout, and the aunty next to me wanted to get a similar pouch but didn’t qualify so I gave her mine as I’d gotten two gifts and the hand soap was more useful to me. Totally made her day and mine too. Now… who do I give this orange juice drink to? πŸ˜‰

15% Discount Off Gaston Luga Backpacks + Why Ladies Should Get A Unisex Backpack

I will never be able to understand women who purchase multi-colored Hello Kitty or Tokidoki backpacks and expect their husbands to help them carry those bags when their shoulders are aching, or when it’s their turn to carry the baby. Why make your man look so effeminate, especially when he’s wearing a nice shirt? Don’t fall into that peer pressure trap and get a colorful backpack just because your peers also have them! When I select a backpack these days, there are 3 main factors to consider: ability to withstand stains, (smart) design and versatility. No babies at the moment but I do have a man who does offer to carry my backpack for me often enough, simply as an “act of service” – his way of expressing love. In this post, we’ll consider whether this Gaston Luga backpack meets my criteria listed above for a great backpack.

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#1: Ability To Withstand Stains

Gaston Luga Backpack

I’ll pick a black backpack over a white or lighter colored one because stains won’t be as obvious. Also, apart from the canvas portion, stains anywhere else can be easily wiped off.

I like that there’s a contrast in textures too. The top and bottom are made of faux leather, I think, with a durable canvas material in the middle. So while it’s one uniform color, there’s a subtle difference in texture and shine which I appreciate. Plus, the logo is in the same color too, so it’s not in-your-face branding, unlike another range of backpacks which is so popular these days.

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#2: (Smart) Design

Gaston Luga Backpack Review

I like that there are two metal hooks which are “adjustable with four levels” according to how full your backpack is. I’ve used backpacks which are secured with one or two “buttons” – the magnetic pieces don’t hold on strongly if your backpack is really full and it’s likely to burst open. But these hooks are really secure! Much better than zippers too, which have a tendency of getting caught on loose thread or on my shawl or sheets of paper, etc.

While there isn’t a pocket in front for easy access to cards, keys, etc, there’s a slot at the back for that same purpose! As this backpack is crafted for people who love to travel, it makes more sense to keep your items safely at the back where thieves are less likely to get at them. Yup, your passport can fit in here too.

So in goes my ez-link card and house keys:

Gaston Luga Singapore

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And this backpack definitely meets the last of my criteria: versatility.

Gaston Luga unisex backpack

It’s a unisex backpack that he doesn’t mind carrying. The only drawback is that while the material used makes this backpack durable, it also makes it heavy. So try not to “overload” the backpack as there isn’t any form of cushioning along the shoulder straps. Otherwise, you’re good to go!

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Use code ‘workingwithgrace15’ and get 15% discount at www.gastonluga.com. Also, you’ll enjoy free shipping and a 20% tax rebate if you’re in a non-EU country!

The Only Reason I Enter Marks & Spencer Stores ;)

marks n spencer singapore

Some people visit Marks & Spencer to shop for new clothes. But I have only one agenda in mind: M&S chocolate! πŸ˜€ The person who introduced me to M&S is a certain GP tutor who used to come to class with a box full of sweets. You wouldn’t think that you’d need to reward (read: bribe) junior college students for good behavior, but food always works. And that much-needed dose of sugar on lazy afternoons is a real perk-me-up! And come to think of it, it was a classmate who gave me my first Twix bar and got me hooked on Twix! If anyone’s to be blamed if I suffer from obesity or diabetes, it’s these two! πŸ˜› Jokes aside, when I popped by Marks & Spencer at Plaza Singapura yesterday, I decided to check out the other F&B items on sale, besides the chocolate that I had gone in for.

And there were items such as this gluten free spaghetti! Yum! I bought 2 different jars of pasta sauce as well and surprisingly, the bigger jar is the cheaper one.

marks n spencer gluten free pasta

In the fridges, I also saw all sorts of items which looked like TV dinners – the kind you simply stuff into the microwave oven and you have a meal ready in a matter of minutes.

Also, I bought a “Tom Yum Soup Kit” at $9.90 – if the broth is yummy, it’ll be well worth the price. And a couple of other items I’ve never tried before too. Will update this post once I’ve cooked and eaten them all. πŸ˜€

But here are my favorite Extremely Chocolatey Milk Chocolate Rounds from Marks & Spencer. They’re on offer right now. Each box costs $6.30 and it’s Buy-1-Get-1-Free! There’s also Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate, Orange Chocolate, but Milk Choc is my absolute favorite. And I love not keeping them in the fridge.

marks and spencer

I love it when the chocolate’s all melted and gooey on a hot day. Some people love to keep chocolates in the fridge and they get all solid and are terribly difficult to bite through. I think they’re nuts. And I guess the feeling’s mutual. Just for the record, I like soggy fries too. So there. πŸ˜›

ValuDollar Store Opens At Waterway Point! Woohoo!

value dollar shop waterway point

Yet another store has opened at Waterway Point and it’s cause for celebration as occupancy rates in other malls in Singapore have been falling. The tenants in Waterway Point seem to be doing pretty well. I guess it is ‘cos there are many families with young children living in Punggol. And when you’re too tired to cook, eating out at an air-conditioned mall is the way to go. And thus the mall’s F&B and retail stores are doing a roaring business. Sandwiched between Daiso and Toys “R” Us is ValuDollar or Value Dollar or Valu$. According to the parent company’s website, it’s actually ValuDollar, so there you go. πŸ˜‰ After Toys “R” Us opened at Waterway Point, surprising quite a few people who didn’t even realize there was empty shop space there (the shop hoarding was done so well), people began to notice the space between Daiso and Toys “R” Us. I knew renovation was happening but I didn’t know what new shop would open here. And I’m very happy it’s ValuDollar ‘cos the things sold here are cheap!

Popped by yesterday evening and bought two items: Dove handwash at $1, and a set of 4 packs of wet tissues at just 50 cents!

valudollar waterway point

Also saw that they were selling fidget spinners at $1.95 each. Wow. Might even be cheaper than getting it off Taobao and paying for delivery…

waterway point valudollar

Those “FIRE SALE!” posters are certainly crowd-pulling. The store just opened so how can there be a real “fire sale” as if it’s clearing stock or closing down? Haha! Some items here are sold at the same price as in their stores elsewhere, I believe. But it’s been crowded every evening.

valudollar shop waterway point

If you’re visiting Waterway Point, why not pop by ValuDollar? You are unlikely to go home empty-handed. πŸ˜‰

Streats Hong Kong Cafe @ Nex: Delicious Curry Chicken & Beef Baked Rice!

streats hong kong cafe nex

Randomly picked this cafe for our dinner and it turned out to be a great choice! As we don’t usually head to Serangoon Nex for food (though you have to try that Spiderman-themed pizza, which is truly delicious), I picked this cafe as it didn’t look too crowded. Also, do you remember when we had the Streats newspaper a long, long time ago? I wonder if that’s where this cafe got its name from. πŸ˜€ In any case, I now consider Streats a hidden gem at Nex. It’s located on level 3, the same level as the FairPrice supermarket.

I ordered the Chicken Curry with rice (you can choose to have bread with your curry instead of rice) and though it may not look like much, it’s one of the better versions of this dish you can find in malls! And it came with a huge serving of rice which was almost enough for two people to share! But what I love most is that they light a flame under the claypot so your curry never gets cold! Hot curry and white rice… absolutely lovely on a rainy day!

streats review

(Price: $10.80)

He ordered the Black Pepper Beef Cheese Baked Rice ($11.80) which also tasted way better than it looks. There’s not too much rice, but lots of black pepper beef (which is oh so tender) and lots of cheese and I do love the onion strips just below the cheese. The whole combination makes for a very yummy dish.

streats black pepper beef cheese baked rice

We shared this beverage they call “Fruity Snow” which features soursop juice (or ice blend, if you will) and 3 longans.

streats hong kong cafe

Both of us were really impressed – we didn’t expect the food here to be so good. Streats is definitely worth a second visit! πŸ™‚

Streats is located at #03-08. Tel: 6509 1966.

Carouselland: Celebrating The Community’s Love For Carousell

Carouselland 2017

If you don’t already know, you can visit Carouselland this weekend at Suntec City Exhibition Hall 401 to 403, and you might just meet your favorite Carouseller! πŸ˜€ This morning, I got to hear from 3 of them as they participated in a panel discussion on stage. There wasΒ Jerome (@retrorider), Blanca (@icelebr8) and Alison (@budgetmama). Carousell, which started 5 years ago, certainly has come a long way. Now, it has 65 million listings worldwide and there are 120 new listings every minute! What a success! For small businesses like Blanca’s (she runs an event planning company during the weekends while holding an office job during the weekdays), Carousell can provide up to 70% (or more) of their clientele!

At @retrorider’s booth:

Carousell Retro Gaming

Indulge in all your favorite childhood games. You can even rent a Game Boy here! Time to teach your kids how to play your favorite games! πŸ™‚

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There are supposedly some 400+ stalls here (I didn’t count them, of course), but there’s a lot of space. Leave it to me and I’d pack another 150 stalls in here! πŸ˜€

Carouselland

Of course, as this is Carousell’s first event of this scale, there is room for improvement, such as in having more food stalls. Singaporeans love to eat. I dare say we love food more than we love shopping! πŸ˜€ But there are only a handful of food stalls here. So… fill your tummies before heading over? Or stay hungry and buy more things from the Carousellers? πŸ˜€ (Did you know that if you shop on an empty stomach, you’re likely to spend more money?) πŸ˜›

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I love Blanca’s story of how the Make A Wish Foundation got in touch with her via Carousell, to help plan a party for a child with terminal illness. Singapore Airlines even helped fly in a ‘Cinderella’ from Florida! πŸ˜€

icelebr8 make a wish

Photo from Carousell’s Facebook page

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At Carouselland, there’s much to see and here are two booths in particular which caught my eye:

One selling wedding gowns at $100 or less:

Carouselland gowns

And another one selling accessories, like this cute Corgi Butt Backpack!

Carousell Corgi Butt Backpack

So head on over to Suntec City for some retail therapy… and retro gaming! πŸ˜€

If you’ve ever wondered how Carousell makes money, well, I heard from Marcus (the co-founder) that they function just like traditional Classifieds platforms, and sellers pay to bump up posts in order to reach a wider audience. It’s just like how we boost posts on Facebook to reach more people. Otherwise, it’s free. To sell your unused items at home, it’s as easy as “Snap. List. Sell”. Certainly a good way to monetize the “junk” lying around and collecting dust. Now… if only I can decide on which items I can bear to part with. πŸ˜€

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*Carousell is looking to crown its hero-without-a-cape. There are 10 nominees for Carousell heroes. Vote over on Facebook. πŸ™‚

*Pictures in this blogpost are courtesy of Hearted Moments Photography.

Thoughts About Ramadan And isShoe’s Donation to Pertapis Children’s Home

isShoe Singapore at Pertapis Children's Home

I was enjoying a Sushi King buffet in Johor Bahru this week when something unprecedented happened. Around 6.40pm or so, Malay diners began streaming into the restaurant, taking their seats at tables all around us. Families and friends were taking plates of food off the conveyor belt and chatting happily. But no one was eating, except for us. We had entered the restaurant around 6.15pm so there was already a stack of empty plates on our table. Oops. Only at around 7.15pm did the Muslim patrons break their fast. We were the only two Chinese people in the entire restaurant so, being the “minority” for once, we immediately spotted what would usually go unnoticed. And yes, we felt a little embarrassed to be eating while everyone was still waiting to break their fast. And he was so happy when staff of Sushi King made the announcement, and the other patrons started tearing open the plastic wrappers of the complimentary dates which had been handed out to everyone except us. πŸ˜€

I’m guessing that not many of us non-Muslims make the effort (when we should!) to explore and understand the meaning behind Ramadan. According to the good people at isShoe…

“During the holy month, Muslims are to practise the 5 main pillars of the Islamic faith: Fasting , Prayer, Charity, a belief in God and Muhammad as his Prophet, and Pilgrimage. For the Muslim, the practice of fasting is viewed as a way to purify spiritually and physically, detaching themselves from food, smoking and water – things that they usually indulge in, reminding themselves that they are more fortunate than others.”

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As a company offering shoe storage and shoe care solutions,Β isSHOE Singapore has donated shoe racks to Pertapis Children’s Home and they will also be donating part of their yearly profits to the Home.

Pertapis Children's Home

(Photo courtesy of isShoe) I like that the children are involved in putting together the shoe racks. So they can learn how the parts fit together, and this might also give them a sense of ownership and cause them to take better care of the shoe racks they helped put together.

Many years ago, I bought a pretty large shoe rack for the sole purpose of filling it with shoes with the help of a shoe sponsor. I suppose I wanted to be an Imelda in training. These days, I own 5 pairs of footwear: slippers, boots, loafers, running shoes and a pair of heels. Because of our climate, it makes no sense to keep a ton of shoes at home (which you wear infrequently) because they’ll start falling apart. When possible, take good care of your shoes by cleaning and protecting them using proper methods, so you don’t have to replace or dispose of them regularly.

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While I was not involved in the donation to Pertapis Children’s Home, I applaud isShoe Singapore’s efforts in making a difference in the way they know best; whether it is by supplying shoe racks or donating part of their sales proceeds to the Home. Find out more about isShoe’s shoe storage and shoe care solutions here.

Joan Bowen Cafe: The Cafe That Feels Like Home

joan bowen cafe pork belly

Since reading about Joan Bowen Cafe sometime back, I’ve been wanting to visit. As it’s not located near one of my frequent haunts, I postponed the visit indefinitely. As luck would have it, a new friend was willing to visit the cafe with me so yay! Joan Bowen Cafe is ‘known’ as the cafe which employs youths with special needs, but I won’t want to introduce the cafe as such. This is because I watched a video on Facebook recently, in which a lady with Down Syndrome was explaining that people who are labelled as having “special needs” don’t actually have needs that are “special” – their needs are the same as everyone else’s. Things they need are those such as love, opportunities, employment, etc. It’s exactly what everyone needs. So what’s so “special” about their needs? I agree with her.

Still, I think cafes like this one deserve to have more people come by and try the food, and know that people whom society thinks have “special needs” can actually be trained in industries like F&B, and they can excel in their jobs too!

The cafe is a little out of the way if you don’t drive, or aren’t familiar with the Sennett estate. But you can take the train to Potong Pasir MRT station, and head out of exit B. Then turn left (following the direction of traffic) till you see a tall, dark condominium block. Take another left and walk straight till you see the cafe. It’s located at 9 Jalan Wangi.

Joan Bowen Cafe location

Joan Bowen Cafe is very cosy, just as if you’ve walked into someone’s home. Near the glass window is also an armchair and a study table where you might find a middle-aged lady working on a computer. I didn’t ask for her name nor inquire if she’s one of the owners (but I’m guessing she is). And just like a mother, she told us to tuck into the food (instead of talking and taking pictures) before it gets cold. And she even offered to heat up the mushroom soup (that we had yet to touch) if needed, but that we should eat the mains first.

joan bowen cafe jalan wangi

I love how the cafe works around the preferences of the staff. Many are used to their particular routines, so if you have guests ordering from an extensive a la carte menu, it might be a very stressful situation. Hence, it’s a simple set lunch menu with 5 options for mains. It’s great for the staff and great for guests who cannot make up their minds about what to eat either! πŸ™‚

joan bowen cafe menu

For just $20, you get mushroom soup, your choice of main dish, and dessert (oreo cheesecake). The motherly lady recommends the Pork Belly Confit and the Chili Crab Pasta – they’ve been serving them for 8 years apparently. My pick was definitely the pork belly, no doubt about it. If I see beef cheek or pork belly, I’d always go for them. Interestingly, to help my new friend in selecting a main, she said that salmon is salmon (however it’s cooked) so why not try the pasta or pork belly? πŸ˜€ I found that remark pretty hilarious.

Anyway, my new friend ordered the pasta. I think the sauce looks legit. I’ll try it next time. I don’t usually ask to try food that people I’m not familiar with have ordered. If it’s my darling I’m dining with, I’d just go ahead and swop plates. Haha!

joan bowen cafe chili crab pasta

The pork belly I ordered was a little too salty, but I liked the crisp on one side – so sinful and so delightful. Some parts were a little dry and tough, but overall, pretty satisfying. The pineapple salsa was yummy, and I enjoyed the salad on the side too. A pity the mashed potato was a little dry and flaky.

joan bowen cafe pork belly

As for dessert, we had the tiniest oreo cheesecake I’ve ever seen. I took it out of the mini cupcake liner and balanced the tiny confection on my fork…

joan bowen cafe oreo cheese cake

While it may be small, I have to say the portion is just right. After a substantial lunch, the last thing you want is a huge portion of dessert to deliver you straight into a food coma. This one was perfect. It was the size of a mini icecream mooncake. And it tasted like vanilla ice cream between two oreo biscuits.

If you haven’t been to Joan Bowen Cafe before, why not schedule a visit soon? Visit their website, note the opening hours, and make an online reservation. πŸ™‚

Pizza Hut’s Epic Cheesy Lava Pizza And Meet & Greet With Spiderman at NEX

Spiderman Meet and Greet at Serangoon NEX

I invited my neighbors to lunch with me at Pizza Hut (level 3 of Serangoon NEX) and try the new Spiderman-themed ‘Epic Cheesy Lava Pizza’ and the accompanying Spiderman-themed dessert. MyΒ atasΒ neighbor took one look at the pizza and went “How is this a Spiderman design?” but she spoke too soon ‘cos that is one epic cheesy, tasty and thoroughly enjoyable pizza! As for the “Spiderman dessert”; let’s just say that ‘desserts’ spelled backwards is ‘stressed’. πŸ˜€ It was one of those rare times I took one bite of dessert and one bite was all I took. Haha! This kiddo got it right: the pizza is delicious!

Pizza Hut Epic Cheesy Lava Pizza

So what’s on the Epic Cheesy Lava Pizza? There’s fried chicken, turkey bacon, pineapple, capsicum, and some basil (?) leaves, I think. There’s also black pepper mayonnaise, cream cheese and a “web” of creamy cheese sauce surrounded by the cheesy lava crust.

It’s SO cheesy! πŸ˜€

Epic Cheesy Lava Pizza at Pizza Hut

Price: $25.90 regular, $30.50 large. Additional charges for delivery / takeaway)

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Pizza Hut Divine Apple Tart

The Spiderman-themed dessert is their “Divine Apple Tart”, which features a Granny Smith apple tart on a chocolate sauce “web”, and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some strawberries. Strangely enough, the ice cream looked like mango ice cream, but tasted somewhat like vanilla ice cream (but not quite). All in all, a very strange dessert I wouldn’t order again. But the kid absolutely LOVED it. I cannot fathom why.

*Note: Children under the age of 10 get to dine for FREE with any ala carte mains ordered. Their all-day kid’s menu features pasta, lasagne, pizza and spaghetti served with Milo. This offer is NOT valid on the eve of PH and PHs.

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Spiderman Meet & Greet sessions at NEX

Spiderman Serangoon Nex

Pop by Serangoon NEX on 23, 24, 25 & 26 June (1pm & 3pm) to get up close with Spidey and get a photo! It’s entirely free, but limited to 50 passes per session. Each pass admits a family of four. Passes are available 1 hour before each session at the Atrium, level 1. *Do bring along your own camera for the photo-taking opportunities! πŸ˜€

And there are a number of games for the little ones to play. How come there aren’t any for adults?! πŸ˜›

Spiderman Games at Serangoon Nex

And a mock-up of a train for more photo opportunities. This little Spidey is a fellow blogger’s kid who habitually dresses up as Spiderman. He really gets into the role very well too!

Serangoon Nex Spiderman Meet and Greet

Bring your kid(s) here once and he/she will keep asking you when’s the next time you’re swinging by Serangoon Nex again as there’s good pizza to eat and Spiderman to meet! πŸ™‚

Spiderman Meet and Greet at Serangoon Nex

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All pictures in this blogpost are courtesy of Max Clyne At Work Photography Services.

Kam Long Restaurant in JB (ι‡‘ιΎε’–ε–±ι­šι ­) – What’s All The Fuss About?

kam long curry fish head

He said it was near City Square, so we set off on foot to look for thisΒ Kam Long Restaurant which supposedly sells really good curry fish head. But we were walking in the wrong direction so it took a while (and help from some kind Johoreans) before we found the restaurant which is located across the road from a Hindu temple. Apparently, it’s really not too far from City Square but you have to get your directions right first – don’t just blindly follow the unit numbers along the same street. And because we got there just before noon, the queue wasn’t too long yet. Just a group of 4 ladies ahead of us in the queue. But it was’t the case after we were done with lunch.

Singaporeans and Malaysians alike seem to love to queue here. As per the instructions from the bosses of a motor vehicle repair shop, just “look for the Hindu temple, and the shop with the queue outside is the one selling curry fish head”.

There it is:

kam long curry fish head jb

There are two levels. I suppose those who look young or able-bodied are quickly dispatched to the upper floor.

Up the stairs you go… *you might want to hold your breath here as the smells are funky*

kamlong curry fish head

Then you’ll find yourself seated on plastic stools, and immediately asking for a cold drink (100plus and Coke are favorites here). And then you wait…

kamlong curry fish head jb

We waited for over 20 minutes for our food to be served while other folks who arrived later than us got to enjoy their curry fish head before we did. Why? Because we had ordered extra veggies and beancurd skin, and apparently these additions take extra time to prepare? That was the “explanation” given to us by a guy who looked like he could be the boss’ son. But I didn’t quite buy this explanation as the veggie and beancurd skin were already in the regular (claypot) dishes of curry fish head. We’d only asked for extras on top. How come that means we need to wait an extra 15 or 20 minutes as compared to the ladies who stepped into the shop ahead of us?

Ridiculous.

So, folks. DO NOT order anything besides your regular claypot dish of curry fish head, ‘cos you will be made to WAIT and WAIT and WAIT.

Taste-wise, I really don’t know what the fuss is about. The curry tastes slightly sweet. And yes, eaten piping hot with the white rice, it sure hits the spot. But it’s nothing to write home about because on its own, it lacks oomph. Some added spice would be good (though I wouldn’t dare to order an extra spicy version for fear of a longer wait). It’s like Katong Laksa without the fiery chili paste, know-what-I-mean? It’s just… somehow lacking.

Like I said to him… why read those food blogs then rush down to the place ah? The standard might have dropped after the influx of customers (aka blog readers). I don’t mind the queuing… but the food had better be good! But for the price, I guess we cannot complain. RM34 lunch. That’s like S$12?