Waku Waku Box: Get Hello Kitty Items Direct From Japan!

Waku Waku Box

The Japanese phrase “Waku Waku” can be loosely translated to mean ‘excited’, ‘thrilled’ or anticipation of something fun that’s about to happen. And I guess that’s exactly the case with Waku Waku Box. I first came across the Waku Waku Box account on Instagram and I thought it was absolutely brilliant! There’s a new Waku Waku Box every month, and each has 15 specially curated Hello Kitty items from Japan. Each box costs $38 and is shipped worldwide via Japan Post Airmail. I think that’s a really small price to pay for a box of Hello Kitty goodies!

For this month (February 2017), there are 15 items including a tote bag, cookie mold, make up bag, bamboo chopsticks, bread mold, cup, etc.

Delivered to you for just $38!

hello kitty products online shop

There are a couple of reasons why I think this (small) business is brilliant:

#1: Anyone Could Have Done It, But This Individual Did

If you’re living in Japan (i.e. land of Hello Kitty), you get access to tons of Kitty items that Kitty lovers all around the world are craving for. What’s more – you get them cheaply. There are Kitty items in Daiso and the 100-yen shops, so picking 15 good items and packaging them for sale to Kitty collectors the world over is such a brilliant idea. You simply put together one sample box, post a picture and list of items online, take orders, then fulfill them. No need for inventory, no need to liaise with sponsors or suppliers, and best of all, you can reach out to customers ALL OVER THE WORLD.

This makes me wonder what people elsewhere could want from Singapore. Tiger Balm? Bengawan Solo’s pandan cakes? Nah. I really don’t know. 😦 #TakeMeToJapan

#2: Not A Subscription Service

I’m wary of businesses which want me to ‘purchase’ 6 months or 12 months’ worth of ‘boxes’ right away. The boxes for the first two months may be great, but what if the rest are lousy? I’ve already handed over my credit card details and it’s too late. And I end up with so many boxes of ‘stuff’.

I’d long suspected that those beauty subscription boxes won’t do too well. And many seem to have died a natural death. Same for those fruit-and-nut supplies boxes.

With Waku Waku Box, you place an order for a box that you want, and you’ll only get that month’s box of 15 items. Perfect! It also keeps the business owner on the lookout for great items every month. ‘Cos if this month’s box has less-desirable items, then sales will suffer as a result. As a consumer, I love when business owners are kept on their toes and do not become complacent after having gotten my money upfront. πŸ˜€ Same reason why I don’t sign up for facial, hair or any other packages.

#3: The Price Is Right

I like that the box costs just $38 for 15 items. If we take it that you pay $2 for each item (total of $30) and just $8 for shipping (airmail with a decent box so items inside don’t get damaged), you’ll be left wondering what the business owner makes. So I think one has to be really savvy in order to sniff out the best Kitty items that can be acquired at a low price, so as to earn a tidy sum from the sale of each box. πŸ™‚

Marketing is also simple, especially on Instagram where there are so many Kitty lovers. The latter might also get in touch if they need a certain Hello Kitty item from Japan. Instead of waiting for someone on Airfrov to get it for them, they might want to get in touch with Waku Waku Box too.

Tempted?

Hello Kitty Online Store

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When getting a Waku Waku Box, quote my name ‘GRACE‘ and you *might* get a special surprise with your box *WINK WINK* πŸ™‚ Head over to www.inselly.com/wakuwakubox now!

*Pictures courtesy of Waku Waku Box*

Rochor Beancurd House: Where Celebrities Go For Tau Huay

Rochor Beancurd House boss

Many hawkers lament the fact that their offspring are unwilling to ‘inherit’ the family business, preferring to focus on their own choice of career. At Rochor Beancurd House, though, it’s heartening to note how Jason quit his high-paying job as a systems engineer to run the family business – a tau huay chain with many regular customers who are celebrities.

Rochor Beancurd House (not to be confused with another beancurd business of a similar name, that’s run by a relative) has three outlets. You’ll find them at Geylang, Balestier, and Upper Thomson Road.

Judging by their photo wall with pictures of celebrities who’ve dined there – just about every Mediacorp celebrity I’ve seen on TV – there must be something they are doing right.Β I spoke with Jason Koh, the 3rd generation owner of the business, to find out the secret for Rochor Beancurd House’s success. Also, I asked if there’s indeed business ‘rivalry’ within the extended family, why traditional beancurd remains an evergreen item when chilled beancurd was a ‘flash in the pan’, and why (as the middle child, with two sisters) he decided to take over the reins of the business when he could have easily said ‘no’.

Rochor Beancurd House

Isn’t it interesting how a humble bowl of (now S$1.50) tau huay done well can give rise to 3 shops? πŸ™‚

#1: What would you say is the secret for Rochor Beancurd House’s success?

I think the secret (if any) is in our belief regarding ‘Right People, Right Food’.

Apart from our emphasis on quality control and knowing where our ingredients come from, I am selective about the people I hire. To be able to hire the right people, I have to first be upfront and honest with them about how this is a tough job with long hours – our shop is open till 1am at Upper Thomson Road, and runs for 24 hours at Geylang, for instance. Also, my staff must know that once they join us, they are considered family. That’s why I’m in the shop most of the time, on “standby” in case anyone falls sick, so I can take over their duties promptly.

To provide the right food, it all starts with the selection of soy beans. We use fresh non-GMO beans from Canada. The beancurd is prepared in a golden ration with other ingredients (let’s keep that a secret, shall we), and the right temperature is crucial too (100 degrees Celsius and above to get rid of the ‘raw’ taste of the beans). We do still use the traditional grinding stone. However, we now use a Japanese boiler instead of the previous wood stove which required much stirring to prevent charring. Quality control is important to us, and it starts at our centralized kitchen at Geylang Road near to Geylang Serai.

Previously we served only beancurd, soya milk and grass jelly. After I joined the business, I introduced youtiao (dough fritters) to our menu; we make the dough fritters ourselves and we fry them on demand. Now, we delight our customers with new menu items such as the Golden Squid (using squid from Argentina) and tofu fries which are healthier than french fries as tofu contains protein. These actually complement our signature products. After you’ve eaten fried foods (which are believed to be “heaty”), cool down with our tau huay and grass jelly. πŸ˜‰

Rochor Beancurd House Tofu Fries

For a healthier alternative, swap your french fries for tofu fries πŸ™‚

Rochor Beancurd House chicken chop

“For our chicken chop, we use the drumstick portion so it’s juicy and tender. We don’t use breast meat which is drier. We bought the recipe and do the marination ourselves.” – Jason

With our philosophy of ‘Right People, Right Food’, we seek to provide good service and even better food. I believe this is why customers keep returning, and bringing their friends here too.

#2: You treat your staff like family. What about your extended family; the relatives who are in the same line with similar-sounding shop names? Is there business rivalry?

Here’s a condensed version of how the business started: My father (Mr Xu Kun Ming) came to Singapore with my grandparents from Pulau Tekong, and they started the beancurd business at Rochor Road. There’s about a 15-year age difference between my father and his siblings. While my dad’s siblings got to study, my dad did not and simply sold tau huay. Once you become the chef, really, you’re stuck in the kitchen.

Later on, my second uncle brought my grandma to register the company in his’ and my grandma’s name. My dad thus became the ’employee’. However, my dad knew that if he left, the company won’t surviveΒ as he’s the only chef. So he stayed on for 30 years.

I think my father deserves to be a boss, hence we started our first outlet at Geylang Lorong 39. There was a tussle over the Rochor Beancurd name but my grandma supported us. We later registered the trademarks for our company, not toΒ find trouble with our relatives but to protect ourselves from any potential legal suits.

Was it tough in the beginning? Yes. For instance, to attract customers, we served up larger portions of tau huay. That did not go down well with our relatives. That said, it’s not in my interest to have their business go downhill. If anything happens to them (e.g. a customer has a less-than-pleasant dining experience there and tells a friend), it will affect me too as it spoils the Rochor Beancurd name after all.

No matter what, I believe we are still family.We should always look forward, not backward. We do not meet up regularly but we will sit down and have a chit-chat when we bump into one another. If you ask me, I think many people take ‘family’ for granted. They feel they do not need family around them but the truth is, our family is one reason why life is meaningful. We do our best to keep the family together as we really cherish family ties.

#3: You’ve turned a lot of empty wall space into a photo wall with pictures of celebrities who’ve dined at Rochor Beancurd House. Have they told you why they like dining here?

Rochor Beancurd 24 hours

Everyone from director Jack Neo to the pretty-and-talented Sharon Au have dined at Rochor Beancurd House. (Just one portion of the ‘photo wall’)

All these celebrities are friendly and they don’t put on airs. They really like our beancurd and have told us that our beancurd reminds them of ε°ζ—ΆεŽηš„ε‘³ι“ (the taste they remember from their childhood). My father was the original chef for ‘Rochor beancurd’ after all. Many celebrities also make bulk purchases of our beancurd for their filming team because they believe good, healthy food should be shared.

When we started our business in Geylang, people didn’t know us at all, then we happened to be featured on Coffee Talk and Hawker Woks, Channel 5 and people found outΒ about us and came to try our food. Then we were discovered by Channel U, Channel 8, Suria, etc. The quality of the food is the main reason, and how it’s our heritage. All these pictures help enforce our branding. When you bring a friend to dine here, he/she might notice these photos and think, wow, this is the same beancurd that celebrities enjoy.

I think our philosophy of ‘Right People, Right Food’ makes an impact on all our diners, and this quote by Maya Angelou effectively sums it up:

~

β€œI’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

~

#4: You’ve mentioned that you use non-GMO soya beans to make the beancurd. How can consumers really know whether GMO or non-GMO soya beans are used? Is there, for instance, some form of certification such as when products are certified ‘organic’?

The traditional method we use to prepare our beancurd does not allow genetically modified material to be present. The beancurd will not be formed due to the GMO, and that is why we can only use non-GMO beans, apart from health concerns.

There is no certification but we do our due diligence by avoiding GMO crops as stated in this list on AVA’s website: http://www.ava.gov.sg/docs/default-source/tools-and-resources/resources-for-businesses/listofapprovedgmcropswebsitever2.pdf?sfvrsn=2

We want to serve up only the freshest and healthiest beancurd, so we will never consider GMO.

#5: You offer reuseable bowls for dine-in customers when they order tau huay instead of using 100% plastic disposables in your shop. Is this because of cost or to be a bit more environmentally friendly?

We believe in environmental friendliness. And our customers tell us that they prefer ‘traditional bowls’ when dining in. Using plastic is convenient but we need to consider our impact on the environment.

Rochor Beancurd House Menu

It’s possible to have quite a spread at Rochor Beancurd House. Even if your friends don’t like tau huay, they can get a taro bowl or any of those fried goodies that are sure to be a hit.

#6: I was at a popular soya bean drink outlet recently and overheard a customer wanting to order soya milk with 5% sugar level. Staff told him he can choose either 0% or 25%, but there’s no 5% option. If that same customer came to your shop, what sort of response would he get from your staff or yourself?

We will usually put the requested estimated amount of syrup into the cup or container, and show it to the customer for his/her approval before we proceed with fulfilling the order.

Simply let our staff know, and you can have less salt, less sugar, less chili, etc with your order of beancurd or anything else on our menu.

#7: Rochor Beancurd House has its own in-house delivery service, instead of relying on food delivery companies like FoodPanda and Deliveroo. Is it due to how ‘fragile’ the beancurd is?

Yes. We’ll only deliver for large orders. These usually come from corporations, universities and churches. We accept only bulk orders of $100 and above. You can come and collect the beancurd yourself and ask for a discount. πŸ™‚

Our profit margins aren’t high because our labor costs and rent are very high. Plus, there is really no way you can cut corners with the ingredients when you want to serve up only the best-tasting tau huay. We don’t want to hurt the business by letting others handle the deliveries so we deliver all orders ourselves.

Because of the trend that started some time back, we did our own R&D and made the chilled soy pudding ourselves. Our local universities (NUS and NTU) order the puddings in bulk! πŸ™‚

#8: Three out of four millennials want to run their own business. What is your advice to them?

It is important to have the mindset of taking care of our parents / family. Our parents took care of us when we were young. When they grow old, it is our turn to care for them. We should take care of our parents, knowing that our offspring are watching us lead by example.

We have many young people working for us at Rochor Beancurd House. We are willing to impart our skills to them. We try to understand what they really want, and we work on assisting them to achieve their dreams. Some do want to run their own businesses someday. We teach them how we run the business and things like how to work with elderly people. For instance, we allow our staff to sit down, unlike in shopping centres where they usually have to stand. We also stagger their work timings so they can have a work-life balance.

Rochor Beancurd House Golden Squid

The Golden Squid made using squid from Argentina. A must-try! πŸ™‚ Jason told me that pretentious names like ‘Flying Dragon’ are a no-no as customers won’t be able to tell what it’s about simply by hearing the name. Picking a good name for items on the menu is just as important as getting the right recipe (he declined to share how much he paid for the recipe from a hawker in Taiwan) πŸ˜€

There’s an occupational hazard in this line too. As ours is a food business, we don’t go hungry. Whenever you feel hungry, food is definitely within reach. You’ll have to fight the temptation every day! πŸ˜€ To make matters worse, due to the manpower crunch, I’ve not been able to go to the gym in 6 months!

My two sisters work in the corporate world. It is not recommended for women to run hawker stalls because of the long hours.

I feel life should be meaningful. Understand what you really want and have an end in mind. When I started, I felt that I wanted to restore my dad’s “status”. I feel he should be recognized as a boss, instead of as an employee. I started working here at age 24 because I wanted to let my parents retire. Now they take care of the grandchildren. Because I’m in the business, it gives them peace of mind.

~

 Best Beancurd in Singapore

Jason (in the blue shirt) attending to the customers who are filling his shop on a weekday afternoon.

Rochor Beancurd Delivery

My pal, Steven, and I got to meet Jason on our second visit to Rochor Beancurd House. Thumbs up for their beancurd! πŸ™‚

I’ve visited Rochor Beancurd House twice and it’s clear to me that Jason is a very hands-on boss. If he wasn’t in the shop so often, he wouldn’t be ‘featured’ in every picture with those celebrities. What I find most commendable is his insistence that there will be no badmouthing of any business competitor, whether they are family or not. He’s on good terms with the other F&B business owners in the vicinity of his shop and can easily rattle off names and shops I should visit.

While chilled beancurd was sort of a fad (remember the long queues at Old Airport Road hawker centre?), once the trend is over, you realize that only traditional beancurd is here to stay as it’s that taste from our childhood that we remember and relish, just as those celebrities do. And if you pop by Rochor Beancurd House and have the pleasure of speaking to the friendly boss, Jason, he’ll be happy to tell you how he maintains 6-pack abs even while missing gym sessions (hint: it’s got to do with the beancurd :D) and introduce the various menu items that he thinks you should try. After all, he does make frequent trips to countries like Taiwan, to find the best and tastiest food items, and bring those recipes back to delight fans of Rochor Beancurd House. I guess herein lies the secret: serving up traditional tau huay of consistent, good quality, and introducing new menu items that continually tantalize the tastebuds of fickle consumers and have them keep coming back for more.

~

Go ahead and visit Rochor Beancurd House at these locations:

745 Geylang Road Lor 39 S389653 (24 HRS)

432 Balestier Road #01-436 S329813
(1pm – 1.30am)

232 UPPER THOMSON ROAD S574363
(1pm – 2am)

Subway’s New Pineapple Cookie: Here’s ‘Huat’ I Think

Subway Pineapple Cookie

I was about to say “Double Chocolate Chip Cookie, please!” at Subway when I spotted a teeny weeny sticker regarding the NEW Pineapple cookie. It’s the first time I’ve seen a pineapple cookie in Singapore. Pineapple tarts, yes. Golf ball pineapple tarts, yes. Pineapple ‘cake’ from Taiwan, yes. But pineapple cookie? And is it a good cookie?

Well, it has the qualities of a good cookie, or at least a cookie that I appreciate: It’s soft, chewy and moist. You know some cookies have gone stale when they’re hard and dry. So this one I most definitely like.

It doesn’t taste like pineapple tarts. And that’s great too as I’ve eaten SO MANY pineapple tarts this Chinese New Year. It does taste a little bit like the pineapple ‘cakes’ (or rather, pastry) from Taiwan. Similar, but not exactly alike. So I think it’s great for when I have a pineapple tart or cake craving but I don’t want to go out and purchase an entire box of them. A Subway cookie would do. πŸ™‚

I don’t know if it’s a permanent addition to their cookie offerings, but I sure hope it stays. Go try it if you haven’t already done so. And tell me ‘huat’ you think about it k!

~

Subway currently has some $5.90 combos which come with a sub, cookie and drink. My personal fav isΒ the BBQ Chicken Strips sub. πŸ˜€

 

Valentine’s Day: Gift TWO Bouquets Instead Of One

BloomBack Valentines Day Bouquet

We’re only a week away from Valentine’s Day, and now’s a pretty good time to ensure your presents are ready for your loved ones. If you are going to purchase flowers for that special someone, may I also suggest that you purchase TWO bouquets instead of one? But hold your horses, I’m not saying that you purchase two bouquets for the same person or send bouquets to two sweethearts. *ahem* One bouquet goes to the love of your life, while the other will go to someone who probably hasn’t received flowers in a very long time…

I’m referring to (social enterprise) BloomBack’s beneficiaries who are living in a hospice care centre or in a nursing home. I participated in a floral arrangement workshop at a nursing home recently and I saw how happy the residents were when they put together their floral creations, and especially when they brought the finished product back to their rooms.

Floral Arrangement workshop

I know flowers don’t come cheap during this ‘season of love’,Β so here’s a discount code for $20 off: BLOOMBACK. Use it here at BloomBack.org.

Not all of us have the time to spare to join the old folks for a workshop, but many of us can purchase a bouquet online and have the BloomBack team deliver it on our behalf and bring joy to that elderly or ill person and have him/her know that someone unrelated to them actually cared enough to send them a bouquet on this special day.Β πŸ™‚

Next Door Deli @ Sengkang CompassOne

Next Door Deli Sengkang Compassone

It was approaching dinnertime yesterday, and the crowds had yet to descend upon Next Door Deli in Sengkang’s CompassOne mall. So we decided to eat here for the first time. We’ve been to the outlet at Ang Mo Kio and I know there are certain items on the menu that are really good, such as their Organic Spaghetti with Meatballs. This time we decided to try two other mains.

This first one is their Wok Fried Laksa…

Next Door Deli Wok Fried Laksa

I still prefer regular laksa but this one is interesting as it comes with one whole chunk of fish cake instead of fish cake slices, and there’s an entire chicken wing too. Chicken wing with laksa??? You’ve gotta try it at least once. πŸ˜€ What this dish lacks, though, is really good chili for that extra oomph. Perhaps it’s in a container together with the cutlery at the cutlery station, but I didn’t get any. So you can look out for it when you dine here.

We also shared the Ribeye Steak. It’s decent steak, no doubt about that. I love that they provide thick-cut fries and a healthy side of broccoli.

next door deli ribeye steak

But I really miss the meatball spaghetti and roast chicken. Next time!

next door deli menu

Next Door Deli is at B1-34 of CompassOne. Their sister company, Pine Gardens cake is just next door – the Lychee Martini cake is awesome. πŸ™‚

Awesome 1-For-1 Dessert Promotion at Ji De Chi, Waterway Point

Ji De Chi Mango Puff

After we were done with grocery shopping at Waterway Point, we spotted the 1-for-1 promotion banners outside Ji De Chi. Truth be told, I don’t usually eat dessert at Ji De Chi, not because the desserts aren’t good, but because the seats are SO uncomfortable. I think they might have been specially designed to get diners eating quickly and leaving fast as the seats are small and really hard. Nothing like those at Starbucks, where people end up nua-ing for a long time. Anyway, since there is now a 1-for-1 promotion, I felt we just HAD to take advantage of it. LOL. By the way, it’s only for dine-in so don’t ask about takeaways πŸ™‚ In fact, most of the people who popped into the store to inquire actually wanted to get takeaways, but the staff gently advised them that the promotion is only valid for dining in. And the potential customers walked right out. (Perhaps they’d return later)

In the first picture you see above, we had their Mango Puff ($6.20) that tastes so good when eaten warm. It’s just like a steaming hot spring roll that comes with mango within and icing sugar and black sesame seeds on top. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare but it’s worth the wait.

And we also had the Mango Pomelo Sago with Herbal Jelly. The portion size is rather small, with lots of ice and syrup. I’m not sure it’s worth the $6.20 pricetag without the promotion. But as it’s 1-for-1 now, GO TRY IT! And oh, EVERYTHING on their menu is going at 1-for-1. I suspect I’ll be back again before the promotion ends I-dunno-when – I was told it’s Day 1 today.

Jidechi Waterway Point.

With regard to these 1-for-1 promotions, I have to admit that they seem to be offers that I absolutely cannot miss and yet it’s probably not that great for the business in the long run. There’s another F&B outlet within Waterway Point that ran a 1-for-1 promotion for their herbal soups previously and we really enjoyed their Buddha-Jumps-Over-The-Wall. But we never returned again after the promotion ended. I guess it’s for two reasons: (1) We’re waiting to return when they run the promotion again – since it happened once, there is a likelihood they might run it again, right? and (2) If you’ve had something at 50% discount previously, it’s unlikely you want to pay full price for the same thing again. Psychologically, it seems like you’re paying twice as much as what you did the first time. Does this make sense to you? πŸ˜€ (>_<)

Anyhow, enjoy the 1-for-1 deal while it lasts. Who knows when it’ll be back again.

Citrus Bistro @ Sengkang Swimming Complex: No GST, No SC

Citrus Bistro Sengkang Swimming Complex

The best perk of my “job” is being able to enjoy a slower-paced life while everyone else is hard at work in the office. We went for a swim (the water was SO cold) a week ago, then had lunch at the newly-opened Citrus Bistro at Sengkang Swimming Complex. Actually they were in business since December 30th last year, but we didn’t know that. πŸ˜€Β Lured by their handwritten sign regarding the Molten Chocolate Lava Cake at 20% off, I just HAD to dine there after our swim. When I went swimming again yesterday, I didn’t dine at Citrus Bistro because there were just 4 mains on their menu and we’d already tried (what we thought were) the best-looking 2.

In any case, if you’re at Sengkang Swimming Complex, why not drop by and try their food. It’s not a new establishment. There’s ‘Citrus By The Pool’ which is at Woodlands Swimming Complex. <- Never been there though

I like that they don’t charge us GST and Service Charge, and food prices are reasonable.citrus bistro tom yum seafood pasta

The Tom Yum Seafood Pasta ($10.80) comes with one large prawn on top of yummy pasta in a predominantly tangy sauce – more sourish than spicy. This tom yum sauce goes very well with the pasta, and it really whets the appetite. Unlike cream-based ones which can get jelat quickly, this one will have you asking for more. Unfortunately, the portion size is more suitable for ladies, and not men who are ravenous after a swim.

citrus bistro curry chicken with bread

Also worth a try is their Curry Chicken with Bread ($9.90). This curry reminds us of Indian curries. It’s thick, flavorful and packs a punch. The bread is crispy outside, soft and fluffy inside.

Citrus Bistro Men

Having only 4 mains, I guess they cater to the diner who just wants a quick bite before heading home for lunch or dinner.

A meal’s not complete without dessert…

Citrus Bistro Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

As for the “Molten Chocolate Lava Cake” ($8.80 – 20% discount*), I have to say the folks at Citrus Bistro have totally redefined chocolate lava cakes for me. This isn’t a cake at all! It is like a round blob – a thin ‘shell’ or skin enveloping liquid chocolate within. Prick the shell and the chocolatey goodness oozes out. Because it doesn’t seem to have much “cake” (i.e. flour) it seems like a ‘lighter’ version of the dessert. I didn’t feel like sharing and it didn’t get ‘jelat’ at all. I didn’t quite like the vanilla ice cream though – it was uninspiring. I know my favorite kiddo will like the sliced banana and strawberry in the middle of the platter πŸ™‚ Dip the fruits into the chocolate and it’ll remind you of chocolate fondue πŸ˜€

(*Β Like / follow them on IG and FB and you get to enjoy the same promo.)

Despite the carbs + sugar, I didn’t feel guilty about the lunch we had as we did go cycling afterwards, all the way to Teo Heng KTV at Ci Yuan Community Centre. The ride there was so long and tiring that I’m amazed we had energy left to sing. πŸ˜€

We paid just $18 (total) for 3 hours of singing in this room…

teo heng ktv ci yuan cc

From Monday to Thursday, there’s a “Happy Hours” promotion from 12noon to 7pm in which you can sing for 3 hours at just $18. If you’re in a group of 3, each person just pays $6. How affordable is that?!

Medium-sized rooms (for 5 pax) are at $20, and Large rooms (for 10 pax) at $22. Sing for 5 hours and you get 1 hour free. Best of all, you can bring your own food! πŸ˜€

Teo Heng KTV has 7 outlets. This one is at 51 Hougang Ave 9 #02-02, Ci Yuan Community Club, Singapore 538776. Reservations: 6385 3766.

Toys”R”Us Is Finally Coming To Waterway Point :)

Waterway Point ToysRus

The unit opposite Pizza Hut at Waterway Point has been vacant since the mall first opened its doors to the public last year in January. But the hoarding has been done so well that I think many shoppers didn’t even realize there’s an empty unit there! πŸ˜€ Now the hoarding is in bright red, announcing the arrival of Toys”R”Us. I think Toys”R”Us will do well here as there are lots of kids living in this neighborhood. And I think there’ll be spillover benefits for PizzaHut as well – kids can have a whale of a time in Toys”R”Us while tired parents can sink into seats next door and enjoy a pizza (you know you deserve it).

I never knew how awesome Toys”R”Us is for parents, until I got to hang out with friends who have young kids. The kids get to play with all the toys in-store (I wonder how many get damaged this way) while the parents get to chill for a while without fearing that their children will run towards escalators, for instance.

And oh… I noticed that a magazine store got replaced by a florist. And isn’t it amazing how the space under the escalator can actually be shop space that brings in rent for the mall? Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

Waterway Point ToysRus

And while I’ve been a customer at just about every store in Waterway Point, there’s one I only got to try recently. I guess I’ve been avoiding it since they sell mainly deep-fried stuff. πŸ˜€ This time, we caved in.

Waterway Point i love taimei

The mushrooms are good – have a bite and you get whisked back to the night markets in Taiwan. And the smell of those fried mushrooms ($4) – OMG – you don’t want to be in the same lift as someone carrying those, or else your stomach might start growling. The tofu fries are simply a novelty item (fewer calories, maybe, but not that great value for money). The extra crispy chicken (at $4.90) is worth a try but share it with someone or else you’ll feel like you should go for a jog along the waterway in other to burn it all off.

i love taimei waterway point

I Love Taimei is at B1-K5 of Waterway Point, not too far from Koi bubble tea πŸ™‚

Do visit Waterway Point if you haven’t already done so! πŸ™‚

$9.90 Sirloin Steak Set Lunch at Jack’s Place

jacks place promotion

I’m not sure about you, but I think $9.90 for a sirloin steak set lunch is a steal. And the set lunch comes with a Soup of the Day, wholemeal garlic bread, Dessert of the Day and coffee/tea. I think I’ll be eating steak a few times this month at Jack’s Place. πŸ˜€ And if you don’t fancy steak, how about a FREE Cheese Fondue Sampler Platter* (worth $16) with any main course / set lunch? (*If you have one of their mailers)

Just $9.90 before service charge and GST…

jacks place set lunch

Previously there was a Grilled Chicken set lunch, and after the Sirloin Steak one, it’ll be the Fish Fillet set. But I do still think that the steak offers the best value-for-money. πŸ™‚

As for the *Free* cheese fondue, I was surprised at the portion size. It was a yummy starter for us. It has portobello mushrooms, which you can dip in their very generous serving of nacho cheese. And there are onion rings, which I thought were calamari at first glance. And what I liked most were those chicken mid wings, which were well marinated so they are tasty throughout. Did not find the salad appealing but thought the fried crabsticks were interesting – not your usual addition to such platters.

jacks place singapore menu

As my fussier half prefers combos, he went for a steak and fish combo. And the staff at Jack’s Place are so nice – they come over with the condiments so you can decide how much goes onto your baked potato.

Thumbs up for the service πŸ™‚

jacks place halal

Also enjoyable were the soups and garlic bread. Soup of the Day today was cream of broccoli. It had some shredded crabstick on top. I’m not sure why Jack’s Place likes using crabstick in their food. πŸ˜€ But I have no complaints.

jacks place review

The Dessert of the Day was a slice of their fruit pie. I didn’t want us both to have pie since we’d always share our food. So I upgraded my dessert to Mango Pomelo Udders Ice Cream. πŸ™‚

jacks place cake

I was very impressed by the staff at Jack’s Place, SAFRA Punggol. Besides being friendly, I thought I saw the manager mopping the floor before the restaurant opened at 11am today (I’d popped in to check if they were ready as the sign still read ‘CLOSED’ outside). Their part-timer, a mother with a 30+-year-old son, was friendly and had a full face of makeup on, which I found made her look very presentable (I don’t usually see part-timers looking so good in F&B joints). And when staff emerged from the kitchen to serve us our food, we smelled cologne instead of ‘oil’.

If I had to offer recommendations for improvement, it’ll be to ensure there are no vegetable ends served. I found the sharp spiky end of a french bean on my plate, and also a small piece of spring onion on the dessert spoon that came with my udders ice cream. Spring onion ice cream might be a new flavor. Somebody tell Udders now! πŸ˜€

The $9.90 Sirloin Steak set lunch can only be enjoyed this month. Come February, it’ll be Fish Fillet. So pop by Mondays to Fridays and dine in to enjoy this offer. Apparently, there are only 50 sets per day so you don’t want to be the last in store. πŸ™‚ *Not available on eves of/and on Public Holidays!

Head over to SAFRA Punggol to enjoy everything listed here. πŸ™‚

*Present your SAFRA card for 10% off regular priced items on the menu.

Oblong: Ice Cream Cafe at Serangoon Gardens

Oblong Ice Cream

Cream cheese between waffle layers? Jackfruit ice cream with actual jackfruit bits? Rum-and-raisin ice cream that seems like it has actual alcoholic content?Β Yup. That’s what we had at Oblong Ice Cream cafe at Serangoon Gardens. If you’re craving for some waffles, brownies or ice cream, this is one cafe I’d recommend.

The first thing I saw when I stepped into the cafe was their brownies sitting pretty in a cake stand. I asked if they served the brownies warm (the staff said they can heat it up for me) and my mind was set. My pals ordered the waffle… and here’s their kiddo trying to telepathically communicate his desire to have some of that ice cream:

πŸ˜€

Waffles Serangoon Gardens

And you don’t say ‘no’ to those eyes.

Apparently, the mao shan wang and chocolate ice cream here is good (according to my pals). I went instead for the jackfruit and rum&raisin – both of which we’d sampled before deciding on what flavors to order…

Oblong Serangoon Gardens

The brownie is moist and tastes good when served warm. It’s not the sticky or chunky kind, which some people may like. It’s more like a light, sponge cake that’s not overly chocolate-y. The kind that won’t give you a sore throat too quickly. A good size for sharing too.

As a couple, I like to have us pick one ice cream flavor each when we’re out for dessert (that’s fair, no?) and this time, he went for rum&raisin (didn’t tell me why till later) and I thought jackfruit was such a ‘rare’ flavor for ice cream that I just had to order it at least once.

Apparently, the rum is pretty strong. I wonder if this ice cream can even be fed to kids. Adults will no doubt have a kick from eating this. Yumz. Yes, that’s why he wanted this flavor.

I like how there are the chewy bits of jackfruit in the ice cream and how it’s a fuss-free way to savor jackfruit. If you’ve eaten the fruit before (using your hands), you know it leaves a kind of sticky sap(?) on your fingers that goes away only with multiple washes. And oh… you get jackfruit breath after, too. πŸ˜€

Also, stalk Oblong on Instagram and you’ll find that some of the local radio DJs, Mediacorp artistes and famous Youtubers have been to Oblong for some “waffle lovin'” as they call it. πŸ™‚

Oblong is @ 10 Maju Avenue, Serangoon Gardens.