Menya Musashi: Possibly The Best Ramen Place in Punggol

menya musashi waterway point

I know Menya Musashi has been at Waterway Point for some time, but I’ve never dined there. Somehow it gives me the feel that the food might be so-so only. But as I had $10 Fave cashback to utilize, I thought *argh* why not just redeem for Menya Musashi’s deal at Waterway Point as it’s near to my home. For $12.90, you get a Shabu Shabu Pork Suki Ramen Set Meal w/ Gyoza and Lychee Tea. (And there are 6 locations for redemption, so you don’t even have to come to Punggol if it’s too far) I’ve read a user review on Fave that says their Black (Garlic & Onion) soup base is good, and they serve lychee tea (which is one of my favorite beverages), so I thought it shouldn’t be too bad an experience. πŸ˜€ And as you can see in the picture above, they provide a generous helping of shabu shabu pork so it’s well worth the price.

Also, it’s actually lychee lemon tea, which is delicious! Comes with two lychees too. πŸ˜€ The drinks are served without straws as part of the restaurant’s bid to help reduce plastic waste. πŸ™‚

I picked the thin ramen noodles today and I’ll probably try the thick ones next time. The thin ones were so-so; nothing to shout about. But the soup base is really good! And I don’t think there’s any/much MSG as I didn’t feel exceedingly thirsty after finishing up almost all the soup. Sis and I went to a crab place not too long ago and just the dipping sauce alone left us with a raging thirst after. I’ll blog about that in a bit.

The gyoza is also surprisingly good… the skin is paper-thin with a nice char on the outside. Not your regular sub-par gyoza at ramen places.

menya musashi review

When you’re almost done with the meal, you’ll finally realize what the guys are doing with those swords. Hahaha!

menya musashi punggol

Actually the Fave deal doesn’t offer incredible value, unless you dine here at dinnertime. Menya Musashi has a lunch special that is even cheaper – $10.90 Tsukemen Set w/side dish and houji tea (*free noodle upsize too!), $11.90 Cha Shu Ramen Set w/side dish and houji tea, plus rice sets from $11.90.

I like that the staff are friendly and polite. They seem like poly students doing an internship but I didn’t ask. πŸ™‚ Also, the restaurant provides hardcopy menus as well as the digital ordering system so you can pick your favorite mode of ordering and also check out more pictures and descriptions to help you decide what to select.

The downside of dining here is that the space is really being maximized, i.e. it feels rather cramped unless you are super skinny. I’ll certainly drop by again on a weekday for a quick lunch.

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#01-24 of Waterway Point, near Din Tai Fung.

Tsuta Soba Noodles @ Tai Seng: A Michelin-Starred Disappointment, Really

Tsuta Ramen Michelin Star

I was so excited about dining at Tsuta yesterday. This ramen place at Tai Seng looks very atas, and I believe I’ve seen the lunchtime queue outside the eatery before. Michelin star or not, Tsuta gives the impression that they serve very good ramen here. And you know what they say about the greater the expectation, the greater the disappointment, right? I’ve never felt so let down by a ramen place in SG before. Gosh. We popped by around the time they opened for dinner service (around 5-ish) and the place was empty. So the staff could take their time preparing the food for us. And it was finished off with a flourish – the way they added the toppings was almost like they were putting on a show for us. I was expecting the food to taste REALLY good.

We ordered the Ajitama Miso Soba and the Ajitama Teriyaki Chicken Spicy Soba. The two bowls of noodles cost us a total of S$33.60. There’s complimentary iced water though. πŸ˜‰

I tasted the broth before even starting on the noodles and I was shocked. I can describe the broth in one word: weak. I was trying really hard to conjure up that great taste I thought it would have but no… Even the noodles tasted so-so. They’re not very generous with the toppings either. But the egg was really good… as can be expected.

Tsuta Tai Seng

Just 20 seats. Hence you’ll have to queue up outside if you pop by during lunch hour on weekdays, I guess. Doesn’t exactly mean the food’s to die for. The staff aren’t Japanese either. They are either locals or Malaysians, but I didn’t ask.

The bean sprouts come with the ‘tail’ attached. And I even got a misshapen one:

Tsuta review

Utterly disappointing.

Though Tsuta doesn’t charge 10% service charge like most of the other F&B places, their prices aren’t exactly low to begin with. If you’re looking for a value-for-money bowl of ramen, may I recommend Takagi Ramen Shop instead.

If you want to visit Tsuta anyway, there’s a touchscreen self-ordering kiosk near the entrance. You have to pay before the food is prepared…

Tsuta price

Because I was still feeling a little hungry after dining at Tsuta, we headed downstairs for nomvnom – just truffle fries and a glass of cold-pressed orange juice (total: $11.80).

nomvnom tai seng

There are lots of stuffed toys at nomvnom. I can’t imagine why.

nomvnom tai seng review

They serve up stubby fries which are glistening with oil. Both of us agreed that MOS Burger fries are more enjoyable. πŸ˜€ However, that was a delicious glass of orange juice. I’ll certainly return for the juice and a burger or salad next time. πŸ˜€

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Tsuta is at #01-01 of 18 Tai Seng while nomvnom is at #B1-02.

Yole’s Everything-At-3-Dollars Promotion: Did You Get Yours? ;)

yole singapore promotion

Yole Singapore celebrated its birthday yesterday with a Everything-At-$3 promotion. I saw the posts on Facebook and when I visited the shop at Waterway Point, there wasn’t even a sign to tell folks about this promo. It’s a birthday celebration, but kind of hush-hush. Which was probably a good thing, too, since they seem to be understaffed. I’ve seen a couple of ‘complaints’ on their Facebook page regarding long queues, stores running out of toppings and even machine breakdowns(?!) Thankfully, everything went well over at Punggol when I went by with my sis. I’d ordered their Japanese Matcha Fresh Ice Cream while she picked the Original frozen yoghurt. I think hers is the better choice. Ha!

The large ibiza would have cost around $6.95 usually (?) but we paid only $3. You get to choose two fruits, two crunchy toppings and one sauce. She liked the white chocolate sauce while I enjoyed the dark chocolate one. As for the toppings, she didn’t like the strawberry but thought the kiwi’s really good. I made the wrong choice of picking coconut (so hard!) but I like the mango and mandarin orange.

There were so many other toppings and sauces that we didn’t get to try:

yole toppings

yole sauces

That shiny ‘golden sauce’ was really alluring but I only spotted it just as I was about to make payment. πŸ˜€

I think the promotion could have gone on for another two days, maybe? That way, we can get to try other ice cream flavors, toppings and sauces. Gives folks a chance to find their favorite combination.

On other days, I’d hardly drop by. Only ate here once previously, with my pal C (you know who you are). Yes, I’ve never even had llao llao before that.

It would be really nice too if we get to scoop out the toppings and sauces ourselves then weigh it all at the end and pay based on the weight of whatever we’ve chosen. I think I’d enjoy that a lot more. πŸ˜€

Seorae @ Plaza Singapura: Even Koreans Dine Here

seorae plaza singapura

See that Minion in a hawaii-inspired outfit? πŸ˜€ I won it on the first attempt at a certain claw machine in Timezone, Plaza Singapura yesterday! Super happy but there was no one to celebrate with as I’d reached the mall early, ahead of our dinner. Muahaha. Once again, it’s an Eatigo 50%-off discount, at Seorae this time. Actually I didn’t even know this place existed so their listing themselves on Eatigo is a wise move! The restaurant is actually located in the old wing of Plaza Singapura. I’d thought it should be the new wing but couldn’t find it there. (@_@) As I was waiting for my dining companion, I noticed that Korean ladies seem to like dining here. Maybe it’s the food. Or perhaps it’s the largely male staff. I think I spotted only one female who was tasked with serving the food. The rest of the wait staff seem to be male. πŸ˜‰ *Not that they are extra friendly or anything. Quite the opposite. Cold like the U.S. winter. πŸ˜›

They serve 4 side dishes here, all of which are yummy:

seorae plaza singapura review

At seemingly no charge… since it’s not stated on the bill.

And I ordered the Cold Barley Tea (you can have it warm too) ‘cos it’s refillable and costs just $4.90++. I highly recommend you get a jug of this. It’s a welcome treat on a hot day.

seorae singapore review

The Sundubu Jjigae ($14.90++) is a stew that comes with rice. The stew contains tofu, minced pork (so it tastes sweet), clams, vegetables and egg. It’s both spicy and sweet and just delightful. I’d order this again!

The Dolsot Bibimbab ($12.90) was a bit of a disappointment. I think the bibimbap I last ate at Patbingsoo in Northpoint was much better.

seorae korean charcoal bbq plaza singapura

Seorae is located at #02-01 of Plaza Singapura, near the escalator. In-between Itacho Sushi and ON Cat accessories.

Durian Empire Delivery: Mao Shan Wang @ 20% Discount With Freebies!

durian empire durian delivery

I first blogged about Durian EmpireΒ in 2017 and I’m glad to note that their business has continued to thrive and fans are still raving about them. πŸ˜€ I don’t get durian cravings but a certain someone does (and gosh how he keeps mentioning durians durians durians). So I placed an order yesterday for delivery of Mao Shan Wang durians as I’d spotted the offer on Durian Empire’s Facebook Page: Buy 3 boxes of MSW and get 1 box of MSW and 1 box of D13 FREE! They’ll also throw in two packs of red packets which I have no use for (anyone wants them?) The delivery came on time too and I’m super pleased with the quality of the durians!

To enjoy the offer, just use code CNY20 over at durianempire.sg (final 2 days!) *islandwide delivery

In the picture below, you’ll see the seeds of the MSW (left) and D13 (right). I’d thought that only the MSW will have the flat seeds but it appears that the D13 has both plump and flat seeds.

good mao shan wang in singapore

As for the taste, wow, the heady aroma of the MSW hits you the second you rip open the plastic packaging. And the flesh is bittersweet. I’d say the D13 is no less enjoyable because it’s sweet (which I like) though the aroma may not be as strong.

If you’re thinking of getting your durian craving satisfied, I’d recommend Durian Empire. The durians received were worth every cent of the $95.76 I paid. πŸ™‚

PlayMade vs KOI @ Waterway Point

playmade punggol waterway point

PlayMade opened its fifth SG stall at Waterway Point last week and the 1-for-1 opening promo ensured a continuous line of folks queuing up to hand over their moolah. But the real test, of course, is whether PlayMade will continue to be popular once the promotion is over. I popped by around 1.30pm today to try their Earl Grey Milk Tea and see if people are still flocking to PlayMade or if they’ve returned to their old favorite which is KOI. In the picture above, you can see a handful of customers waiting for their drinks outside PlayMade. And… here’s the queue outside KOI…

There’s all of just one lady…

koi waterway point

As for PARTEA nearby, well, the staff are probably having a party of their own since there are no customers. Maybe LiHo downstairs is doing a little better since it’s not located near PlayMade.

Well, fun times are ahead. Will PlayMade be able to take over the crown as the most popular bubble tea store in Waterway Point or will KOI be able to take back the lead? It all remains to be seen.

Truth be told, I think KOI’s Yakult Green Tea is better than PlayMade’s and GongCha’s Earl Grey Milk Tea beats PlayMade’s too. I actually haven’t found a favorite among PlayMade’s beverage offerings yet. XD But I like the Chrysanthemum pearls. If they take it off the menu, then I might stop going to PlayMade.

I think KOI should take immediate action to win customers back or else it’ll feel the pressure – I’m sure rent isn’t cheap at Waterway Point. I’ve seen too many stores close for good. Some things KOI can do would be:

  1. A 1-for-1 Valentine’s Day drink promotion
  2. Bigger cups. I love the XL size at R&B Tea. I think 1-litre cups are great for sharing. And you can charge a premium; people still think it’s worth it.
  3. Funky toppings. Sure, it might be following in PlayMade’s footsteps but since KOI’s drinks are already good, it might as well work on the toppings. Mango juice pops / lychee juice pops, anyone?

Grandma ONG ηŽ‹ε₯Άε₯Ά – Yummy Noodles Near Sutera Mall, JB

grandma ong johor bahru

This is one noodle stall I want to visit again when I’m in JB. It was a serendipitous discovery – we were looking for that great waffle + ice cream place we visited some 2(?) years ago and we couldn’t find it. What we did find was this noodle place that had quite a few diners though it was just after 5pm and not quite dinner time yet. And there’s that cute caricature of a certain ‘Grandma Ong’ and a general vibe that this place must serve up pretty good homely cuisine. The menus are also totally falling apart; a sign that this place must be popular, but what caught my attention were the posters advertising a certain 火山黑青, loosely translated to mean ‘volcanic black noodles’…

grandma ong black noodles

It’s a hearty bowl of noodles (not sure why they are black; doesn’t taste like squid ink) with ikan bilis, a poached egg, meatballs, fishballs that are too yummy, etc. We ordered the ‘medium spicy’ version though I’ll probably get the super spicy version next time. Medium’s kind of boring.

We also ordered two side dishes – the otah and ngoh hiang. Both are unremarkable so we just might skip them next time. Just two large bowls of the volcano black noodles will do!

Now, if you’re wondering why this place is named Grandma Ong, here’s the story: In 1997, due to the financial crisis, Grandpa Ong got retrenched and had difficulty finding a job. Grandma thus made her own noodles in order to feed the family of five. She usually included a vegetable they call ‘mani vegetable’ and whenever the family got bored of this dish, she’d add a “kampong koh” chili sauce. Just when the family was about to run out of options, a relative’s food stall was available for rent. Grandpa and Grandma Ong became hawkers out of necessity and have been delighting customers since with their noodle dishes since.

grandma ong jb

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This particular outlet is at 58 Jalan Sutera Tanjung 8/3, Taman Sutera Utama, 81300 Johor Bahru, Johor.

016-776-8356

Where To Buy Fortune Cookies in Singapore

fortune cookie singapore

It’s that time of the year when you’ll be able to get your hands on fortune cookies pretty easily! If you’re still wondering where you can buy fortune cookies from right here in Singapore, I have two recommendations which you’ll read about below. Interestingly, the fortune cookies sold in Singapore tend to come with 4-digit numbers on the paper slips within the cookies. I think it’s because 4D punters like activities which will give them more numbers to bet on. πŸ˜€ I’ve actually bought 4D with the first set of numbers I got from a cookie this year and the amount I’ve won is shocking (details below). But for now, let’s just focus on the taste, message contained within as well as the pricing and just where to get those cookies!

In the first picture above, I have fortune cookies from Guardian Singapore. I got mine from the store at Punggol’s Oasis Terraces. For a bag of 30 cookies, it’s S$5.95 but you can get two bags at just S$8, so each cookie will cost you only 13 cents.

I like the message in their cookie:

fortune cookie message

I’m trying to find a solution to a messy problem. Indeed, my problem is that I have trouble keeping my personal spaces tidy. Time to read Marie Kondo’s life-changing book again. Wait… it means it wasn’t life-changing the first time round. Damnit.

The other place you can get fortune cookies from in Singapore is Garden Fortune Cookies. Their office is located at 1 Ubi View #03-12 Focus One, Singapore 408555. The location is a little bit inaccessible for the general public unless you own a vehicle. The pricing is also steeper, at $8.80 for 30 pieces (29cents a cookie). *If you are too busy to make your way down to their office, they can send the package over via qdelivery for $4.50. You can find their website at foodieland.sg.

Their pricier cookies come in a box though so it might be a good gift option for some.

where to buy fortune cookies

I actually bought 4D with the numbers from one of these Garden Fortune Cookies and alas! I won the ultimate grand sum of zero dollars. Not even a consolation prize. So that was upsetting. The numbers were: 2675. Maybe the 3224 from the Guardian cookie will do the trick. πŸ˜‰ If it doesn’t, then I’m SO DONE with fortune cookies. Hahaha!

*The message within the cookie from Garden stated “Hope your day is sunshine and flowers with happy thoughts to fill the house.” Sounds pretty weird. Actually now I can’t wait to open the rest of the cookies to see what other funny things they’ll say. πŸ˜€

As for the taste, I prefer Garden’s as it’s not as hard. The one from Guardian is a bit too solid for my liking. Flavor-wise, they are about the same. These aren’t gourmet cookies after all. It’s just for a bit of fun during Chinese New Year.

Hotel Review: Suite @ Bliss Boutique Hotel in Johor Bahru

bliss boutique hotel

Our recent mantra has been to “Earn in SG, Spend in JB” because of the attractive exchange rate plus prices are generally a lot lower across the Causeway. Pineapple tarts manufactured in Malaysia, for instance, sell at a premium once they get to Singapore. So you might as well head over to the country of origin to purchase them. And whenever there’s a traffic jam with a long line of vehicles heading back to Woodlands, we can’t help but feel it’s a good idea to stay in one of the hotels located near CIQ / the checkpoint. Bliss Boutique Hotel is one of them, and it’s also near to Plaza Pelangi and KSL. It has an eye-catching facade – you must have spotted it at some point when driving into or out of JB and the lobby is also beautifully decorated.

Looks like it has lots of windows but there are quite a number of rooms w/o windows:

bliss boutique hotel jb

Over the weekend, we stayed in the Suite at Bliss Boutique Hotel and the ‘highlight’ has to be that bathtub though there’s a King-sized bed(!) in the room too. *I do wish they provided more pillows as I like to sleep amidst a ‘fort’ of pillows. Just one pillow per person (I’m not counting the decorative cushion) seems a little stingy. πŸ˜€ What’s great though is that the toilet and the shower stall (with a rainshower!) are located at opposite ends of the bathtub. And you’ll have to go check out the room yourself: the TV is visible from every corner; whether you’re sitting on the toilet bowl or whether you’re brushing your teeth! Probably tells you something about the person who designed this room. πŸ˜‰

bliss boutique hotel review

My favorite part of the room has to be the chair with an Ogawa neck and back massager though. I do wish they’ll get an actual massage chair ‘cos while my neck and back got a really good kneading, my legs were feeling sore from the 10KM run on Saturday and the subsequent shopping in JB. πŸ˜€ If the hotel would like guests to consider longer stays, then an actual massage chair might be a draw.

massage chair suite bliss boutique hotel

Overall, the decor within the rooms pale in comparison with that of the lobby area.

We stayed at Bliss Boutique Hotel previously when there was still the Christmas decor and we were pleasantly surprised to see they’d done up the lobby / lounge area with a CNY theme this time…

bliss boutique hotel christmas decor

bliss boutique hotel chinese new year decor

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There’s also a beverage dispenser near the entrance where you can help yourself to a ‘Welcome Drink’. It’s the best thing ever when you’ve just stepped out of the mid-day heat and need a drink to cool down while you fish your passport out of your bag and proceed with check-in.

In the Suite, there’s coffee, tea bags and also capsules for the Nescafe Dolce Gusto machine. πŸ˜‰

bliss boutique hotel in room drinks

Have your tea or coffee and enjoy this view. Instead of skyscrapers, most of the buildings in the area consist of just two storeys…

bliss boutique hotel suite view

As for breakfast, the spread is pretty limited. There’s lots of carbo in the form of bread, prata and noodles… and they even provide bananas! But what I found missing was vegetables, which I really love to have.

bliss boutique hotel breakfast

Prata is delivered around 8am by a vendor nearby so if you want to have it warm, be at the breakfast area by 8. If you’re lucky, the hotel will be serving curry with potatoes (!) too. We weren’t so lucky during the second stay. Just some watery curry with lentils?

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If you don’t mind some minor inconveniences, Bliss Boutique Hotel’s good for a night’s stay:

  1. The first time we stayed there, the aircon stopped working near midnight (room 2-158) and we had to pack our bags, make our way to the lobby and get a change of room.
  2. The next room (1-158) had mosquitoes and we didn’t have repellent with us. Now I bring repellent when I visit JB, on top of tissue paper as most public toilets don’t provide toilet paper (which you’ll know if you’ve been to JB before)
  3. There’s free transport to CIQ, courtesy of Bliss Boutique Hotel but it’s not quite reliable. We ‘booked’ it once and it didn’t materialize. Was told the driver went missing. (@_@) But a Grab ride costs under RM10 I think, so that’s fine.
  4. There’s tourism tax of RM10 per room which you have to pay upon check-in. For our 2nd stay, the lady at the reception forgot to collect it from us, and so put a call through to our room at 10.14pm… about the 10 ringgit. Not sure why she felt it necessary to call so late at night but staff have to do what they have to do, I guess. (*Note to self: first thing to do upon entering the hotel room is to hang up the phone)
  5. Watch out for bugs. We found some in the water tank of the Nescafe Dolce Gusto coffee machine in the Suite. I guess it’s generally a good practice to replace the water in the tank before making coffee. And another one came to say ‘Hi’ during breakfast…bliss boutique hotel breakfast buffetThere’s this little cockroach right there on the table where the breakfast spread is. While it is disgusting, I guess we can’t stop creatures with wings and legs from going wherever they wish. The food’s only uncovered when the guests come in for breakfast so I’m glad that little fellow wasn’t in the food, but was simply strolling past.

*I’ve already sent my feedback for both stays to Bliss Boutique Hotel so I’m hopeful that you won’t have to come across any little critters during your stay. That said, keep repellent close by. Prices for the rooms here are pretty affordable and for the convenience, I’m sure many Singaporeans will continue to be guests here.

Review: εŒ…ζ ˆ (εŒ…η‚ΉδΈ“ε–εΊ—) Bao Zhan Dim Sum Chain in JB

bao zhan review

Maybe you’ve heard of Bao Zhan from JB? I’ve only just found out about them this week. I’m not adventurous, especially when it involves food so I tend to stick with brands I’m familiar with. ThoughΒ εŒ…ζ ˆ has 8 stores in Johor, I’ve never come across them before, and don’t know if they are any good. So, when presented the opportunity to taste some of their products, after being told other people are raving about them, I decided to give them a go. So here’s my brutally honest review of their “Big Meat Bun” (ε€§θ‚‰εŒ…),Β θ±†ζ²™εŒ… and siu mai (烧卖)…

bao zhan red bean bun

TheΒ θ±†ζ²™εŒ… or red bean buns cost RM7.40 for 4pcs, i.e. S$0.60 each.

I found the red bean paste a little too watery. It’s almost like a ‘liu sha bao’ with the filling oozing out. The bun also has an interesting texture, like it’s halfway between a pau and a mochi – bouncy and squishy. It’s a big bun, unlike those we find in Singapore, so just have one with a beverage and it’s a meal already.

bao zhan meat bun

TheΒ ε€§θ‚‰εŒ… cost RM7.20 for 2 pcs, i.e. S$1.20 each.

I really dislike this bun. One man’s meat is another man’s poison, so my apologies in advance if this happens to be your favorite pau. I thought the taste was almost bordering on disgusting, and if you hold it too tightly, a brown fluid starts dripping out from one end. Gosh. And the bun to filling ratio isn’t ideal – there’s too much carbo. I ended up eating the filling and throwing away the rest. Oops. Just get Nam Kee Pau’sΒ ε€§εŒ… – only $1.80 and SO GOOD. It hardly ever disappoints.

The Siu Mai, at RM5.90 for 6pcs or S$0.30 each are surprisingly good.

It’s not often that you can find frozen siu mai that taste good after you steam them. These taste decent even when eaten without any sauce. But of course, I enjoy pairing my food with Tiger brand chili sauce – it’s the best!