Why Some F&B Businesses Survive While 9000 Others Fail

Cat And The Fiddle

Pic: Cat & The Fiddle Facebook Page

Some 9000 new F&B businesses are incorporated each year, and some 9000 close shop too. Thus the total number of F&B businesses in Singapore is kept constant at around 31,000. This is what Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, Assistant Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) told a group of F&B business owners recently.

At a sharing session jointly organized by NTUC’s U SME, Singapore Bakery and Confectionary Trade Association (SBCTA) and Food Innovation & Resource Centre (FIRC), Mr Yeo shared that it’s because the barriers to entry are low that competition is fierce, which results in the perception that the industry is a tough one to be in.

If you own a bakery, for instance, it is very easy for (new) competitors to replicate your products and price them lower than yours. Take BreadTalk’s floss bun for instance.

Competition aside, not everyone is equipped with the skills to run an F&B business. Chef Daniel Tay from Cat & The Fiddle also shared about that 1 million dollar mistake he made at the start of his journey…

Chef Daniel Tay

Chef Daniel Tay is the founder of Cat & the Fiddle Cheesecakes, Foodgnostic Food Solution and Old Seng Choong. “Seng Choong Confectionery” was the bakery founded in 1965 by his father. It folded in 1996.

“I came on board to expand my father’s business in 1995 but didn’t succeed in doing so then. I’ve always regretted that. Now, after spending the past two decades further honing my skills as a baker and sharpening my business acumen, I’m ready to revive the Seng Choong brand in his honour. And this time, I will do him proud,” says Daniel.

Back then, after some training in Bangkok and not really knowing about business very much, Daniel tried helping his dad to expand the business, and the factory they invested 1 million dollars in folded within a year. Daniel shared that the business was undercapitalized, and that he had been too proud, with no experience in doing business, yet expected overnight success. Daniel is heartened, however, that the brand has been revived and that it was done just a few months before his father’s passing, so the late Mr Tay got to see it happen. While Old Seng Choong sells its confections online right now, Daniel has plans to set up a cafe and gift shop for tourists to purchase these local creations.

Daniel also told the audience of F&B business owners that his companies have a ‘Glocal’ approach which stands for ‘Think Global, Act Local’ as the local market is just too small. He is even sending a container-load of cheesecakes to China, in a bid to enter the market there! When queried on why he didn’t just set up a factory in China to produce the cheesecakes, he says that he is leveraging on Singapore’s stellar reputation, rather than deal with public perception of what a “Made in China” cheesecake would be like. He is also franchising his production method so as to earn royalties.

Chef Daniel Tay’s 5 Tips For F&B Business Owners:

  1. Join an association. In the confectionery line? Join the Bakery Association. Together, there is a “stronger voice” for liaising with government agencies and getting the necessary assistance in a timely manner.
  2. Focus on only ONE product. Develop different flavors later. Improve your own product instead of copying someone else’s. Tai Cheong Egg Tarts at Takashimaya are selling 4,000 eggtarts a day just by focusing on one product.
  3. Use technology to be the best. Chef Daniel bought a $400,000 cheesecake blender, robotic cake slicing machine etc, because he wants to “be at the top of the industry”. (*He did this with the help of grants :D)
  4. Marketing must be done right. Brand must be strong, not boring, e.g. “Old Seng Choong” instead of “Seng Choong Confectionery”. Have a good storyline and a good PR company. Daniel says his business spends some $10,000 every month on online marketing. He also shared that they sold 3,000 Fickle Feline cakes in 2 days via qoo10’s website. Fickle Feline
  5. Be smart about grants: If you are known, it is much easier to get funding (and in larger amounts too). Your brand, your person, your business must be known. If you and your business are known to the public (and the government), you may get faster approval for your grants, and in a larger quantum too.

At the same event, we also heard from Joel Chan of the Food Innovation & Resource Centre (FIRC) which is located within Singapore Polytechnic. FIRC was set up in 2007 in a partnership between Singapore Polytechnic and SPRING. At the FIRC, business owners can receive assistance with everything from product innovation to process automation to sensory evaluation. FIRC can help with product reformulation, and also aspects like how to extend shelf life of the product, how to increase efficiency so you produce products cheaper, better, faster.

For instance, they are working on a machine which can produce kueh lapis, which is highly labor-intensive when done by hand.

Kueh Lapis

Image: harrianns.com

What was most memorable about this segment by the FIRC were Joel’s questions about the local fast food scene. He said that McDonald’s is raising the game with things like their curry sauce and how customers can go about customizing their own burgers. He commends them on the constant barrage of new and innovative additions to their menu. He asked the audience to name (off the top of their heads) items on McDonald’s menu, and it was evident that many people could name quite a few. When quizzed about the menu items of McDonald’s competitors, many people were stumped. It was clear that the point he was trying to make was that innovation and responding quickly to consumer trends is key to McDonald’s success. And this is what local SME bosses in the F&B industry ought to do too.

Finally, Mr Yeo from NTUC encouraged SME bosses to take advantage of what the Lean Enterprise Development (LED) Scheme offers in terms of helping SMEs:

  1. Become more manpower-lean
  2. Develop a stronger Singaporean core
  3. Build a quality workforce

Also, with the Industry Transformation Map that has just been released, there is a Limited Period Grant for 2018-2019 from SPRING, which small businesses can tap on for their ‘transformation’. As Chef Daniel Tay was quick to add, it is necessary transformation not just to survive, but to thrive.

Seoul Jjimdak: Good Food, Decent Prices, Free WiFi

Seoul Jjimdak City Square Mall

Korean food that suits the local palate @ Seoul Jjimdak (Pictures courtesy of Hearted Moments Photography)

I first visited Seoul Jjimdak at City Square Mall last month and found out that the local boss of this Korean eatery has a real estate background just like I do. This time round, I managed to meet him in person and while there’s much to chat about the sluggish property market, I found that Anthony has a lot to share about staff retention and welfare. This is probably why service is good here.🙂 If you’re at the City Square Mall / Little India area and want to enjoy decent food at reasonable prices, with free wifi, head to Seoul Jjimdak at the fifth level of City Square Mall. It’s right next to the cinema.

Also, please do not misunderstand: Jjimdak is not a duck dish… it is actually braised CHICKEN.😀 For some 30-odd dollars, you get a huge serving pan of the chicken dish which you can enjoy, communal style, with friends.

The Seoul Jjimdak (braised chicken) was still as good as what we enjoyed a month ago (thumbs up for consistency) and I suppose it tasted even better this time with the addition of cheese (I have to thank my pal for the suggestion). Also, the appetizers now feature egg and cucumber too. You’ll definitely want to ask for top-ups!😀 (*Tip: if you have a cough, like I do, order a cup of their hot citron – it’s rather soothing)

Seoul Jjimdak Steamed Egg

As mentioned earlier, I was impressed by what Anthony had to share regarding staff retention. I’m thankful that he let me pick his brains for a bit as I know that it’s very tough to hire staff for the F&B industry, and I wanted to find out what he’s been doing well HR-wise so other bosses reading this post can learn too.🙂

Anthony shared that while some of his staff have followed him from his previous work / ventures, for this current Korean food joint, he is happy about the ‘hype’ surrounding Korean food and pop culture. He believes that more people would be willing to work in a Korean restaurant versus a Western one as the environment is attractive (listen to nice Korean songs while working, enjoy the food tasting sessions, etc).

On top of that, on the topic of (new) competitors, Anthony said “You can copy my recipe, but you can’t copy my culture.” And what is this culture that he’s talking about?

For one, he brought his staff with him to Korea for a week to understand the Korean culture. For many of them, it was their first trip overseas. When he ventures into other upcoming F&B businesses, his staff will also get to visit other countries. Also, the staff get to try all the food at Seoul Jjimdak, and this helps them become more confident in making recommendations to customers. They are also paid well and receive AWS (i.e. 13th month payment). [I didn’t confirm this with the staff, so I’ll just take Anthony’s word for it :D] What I think is most commendable is that staff at Seoul Jjimdak are empowered to make decisions on their own. For instance, if a pancake gets burnt, they trash it, they don’t serve it.

Even for new staff, as long as they follow Anthony’s three steps, they “should be fine”…

  1. Repeat the Order
  2. Ensure there’s no empty glass – there are transparent carafes for water. (Customers can help themselves to the water. Wait staff will refill the carafe when they see that it’s empty.)
  3. Check back to ensure everything is ok

It was supposed to be a simple meal with my pals, but I’m glad that meeting the boss of Seoul Jjimdak gave me an insight into good HR practices.🙂

If you’d like to try the Korean food served at Seoul Jjimdak, simply pop by City Square Mall (located above the Farrer Park MRT station). If you’re lucky, you might meet the warm and welcoming boss, Anthony.

Compass One: Chef Wai’s Noodle Bar 樂牛 LeNu 私房面家

CompassOne Le Nu Chef Wai Noodle Bar

Lured by the brilliant advertising at its storefront, I popped into Le Nu at Compass One for lunch. In the picture above, you see their Braised Soft Pork Bone with Scallion Noodles (non-spicy version) and Long Jing Tea Lava Egg. I like this mini restaurant as they have a row of seats (Japanese-style) for those dining alone, like I did. A good plus is there’s no service charge – at least I didn’t see it reflected on my bill.😀 Located at level 3 of the mall that was used to be known as Compass Point, I think LeNu (why not LeNiu since it’s 樂牛 in Chinese?) is a welcome addition to the mall!

Food-wise, I liked the Long Jing Tea Lava Egg ($1.80 per egg) that you see above. And the pork bones are pretty good too (tender and flavorful). You can even order the Braised Soft Pork Bone with Scallion (4pcs) as a side dish for $5.80 if you don’t want it in soup or with noodles. For the noodle dishes, you have a choice of noodle: Rice Noodle, Thick Vermicelli or La Mian. The noodle dish I ordered cost $10.80 and it’s a nice meal for when the weather is cold.🙂

Next time, I’m gonna try their Braised Wagyu Beef Noodles ($14.80). As for drinks, I recommend bringing your own bottle of water, as a bottle here will cost $2 before tax.

Compass One food Le Nu

As one of Paradise Group’s restaurants, LeNu is likely to offer a pleasant dining experience each time you visit. I noted that some tables also had bag stands. I simply set my bag down on the unoccupied seat next to mine!😀 If you’re popping by on a weekday (non-PH), it should be very easy to get a table and with no need to queue. I’m not too sure about weekends though.😀

Le Nu is located at #03-05/06 Compass One. Tel: 6487 9489.

5 Must-Try Bar Bites @ Caffé B, Marina Bay Sands

Caffe B Marina Bay Sands

I had lunch with love and my photographer pal yesterday at Caffé B, Marina Bay Sands. I don’t usually visit MBS for food because it’s rather pricey there (even “economical” rice, or cai fan, at the foodcourt, can easily cost upwards of S$10, three times what you’ll pay elsewhere). So I was pleasantly surprised to find that there’s a Japanese Italian fine-dining restaurant which serves really tasty food at decent prices. And they all cost S$24 or less! Of course, these are quick bites which will go really well with the fine wine selection at this restaurant.🙂 With comfortable seats, pristine white tablecloths and gorgeous chandeliers, the ambiance in the restaurant deserves top marks. It’s a pretty posh setting that is perfect for date nights, so… how’s the food fare?

First up, here’s the *drumroll*… BEEF CHEEK!😀

Caffe B Beef Cheek Patty

Let’s just say that if I had time/money for just one item on the menu, it’d be beef cheek. Hehe! I’m a huge fan of this dish. I think the Beef Cheek Patty ($19) has been slow-cooked to perfection. I like the pairing with beet root on top too!🙂 Order this! Portion size is just right for one person, so tell your fellow diners to order their own.😀 If you’d like some wine, you can pair this with the Vignamaggio Gherardino Chianti Classico DOCG 2013.

Caffe B Smoked Salmon on Almond Biscuit

I don’t usually eat smoked salmon because of health reasons but what’s served here is really good. The smoked salmon has been marinated with garlic, italian parsley and extra virgin olive oil, and doesn’t taste too salty. It sits atop almond biscuits that are sweet, chunky and offer really good ‘bite’. I kinda fell in love when I bit into this. I know it’s a fancy restaurant and all, and the location is MBS, but just pick this up with bare hands and sink your teeth into it. My pal insisted on sawing away at the biscuit with knife and fork, and I think he missed out on the yummy crunch you’ll only get if you bite off a large chunk yourself. Definitely order the Smoked Salmon on Almond Biscuit ($15).

Caffe B Miso Chilean White Cod Burger

It’s been a while since I’ve tasted cod in a burger. This Miso Chilean White Cod Burger ($19) comes with marinated cubes of cod coated with miso (can’t really taste it though), egg, mirin and bread crumbs. You’ll probably also love the caramelized onion like I did. Together with cheese, tomato and gherkin (a pickle), it is one burger you’ll want to order again on your next visit.

Caffe B Beef Tripe Burger

Truth be told, I did not expect the Beef Tripe Burger ($20) to be delicious. But I knew my love would relish this kind of culinary ‘adventure’. Beef tripe comes from the lining of a cow’s stomach (how erm… appetizing) and in this burger, it tastes spicy, tender and overall, quite yummy.

And finally, since we’re on the topic of burgers, there’s the Wagyu Rump Beef Burger ($24)

Caffe B Wagyu Rump Beef Burger

The beef is very well-seasoned and tender, and the burger (or slider, if you will) is just the right size for ladies on a diet (i.e. me) or those who want to have a ‘burger’ yet still have enough stomach space for other items on the menu. Great for sharing if you’re on a date – one for you, and one for me. Gets tricky when you have three people.😀


Caffe B Menu

Apart from the 5 items I’ve recommended above, there’s also the Chicken & Japanese Leek Skewers ($14), Crispy Maguro Tacos ($15) and the Deep Fried Potato Skin ($16) that you may want to try. Personally, I do not fancy chicken skewers nor tacos, but since my dining companions like them, I’d say the taste is very much a matter of preference. As for the potato skin that comes with a blend of Chili Con Carne, it both smells and tastes fantastic. Not too sure if I’d pay $16 for potato and chili, but I’m sure other people won’t mind.

If you’re at Marina Bay Sands and you want good wine and tasty food to go along with it, pop by Caffé B at B1-15. Tel: 6887 3311.

Snowskin Mooncake Recipe: Mango Vodka and Pandan Rose Wine

Snowskin Mooncake Recipe

Do you like snowskin, traditional (baked) or flaky skinned mooncakes? I have a soft spot for snowskin mooncakes and especially ice cream mooncakes (like Swensen’s sticky chewy chocolate mooncakes!) but I’ve never really found out what went into making them. How come it doesn’t require baking? Are we eating ‘raw’ flour?! What other ingredients go into making snowskin and the filling? To find out, I attended a class to learn how to make Mango Vodka Snowskin and Pandan Rose Wine Snowskin mooncakes. In this post, I’ll share the recipe with you. (*Do note that you can tweak the recipe to your own liking, e.g. replace certain ingredients with your favorites)

For the Pandan Snowskin Mooncake, ingredients required are:

150g of Cooked Glutinous Rice Flour a.k.a Gao Fen (糕粉)

180g of Icing Sugar

40g of Shortening

and 170g of Pandan Water (bring pandan leaves and about 500g of water to a boil for about 5 minutes) *No-alcohol version: 170g of pandan water. *Alcohol version: use less water and add the alcohol of your choice to make 170g in total.

As for the Filling, use 1kg of Pandan Lotus Paste, and add any seeds of your choice e.g. sunflower seeds or some almond flakes if you like those.


  1. Make a dough from the flour, icing sugar, shortening and pandan water. (Machine-assisted or by hand)
  2. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  3. Depending on the size of your mooncake mould, decide on the amount of dough for the snowskin and paste for the filling. This particular mould works with 30g of filling and 30g of dough for the skin.
  4. Flatten 30g of dough between two sheets of plastic, using a rolling pin.
  5. Wrap the ball of pandan lotus paste within the flattened dough ‘skin’.
  6. Press the dough into the mould and remove.
  7. Leave the mooncakes in the fridge.

For the Mango Vodka version, instead of 170g of pandan water, use 75g mango puree, 75g mango juice and 20g of mango wine.

*You can make mooncakes in other interesting flavors too. Try red wine, ribena, chocolate (add more water if you’re using chocolate), coffee wine, etc. It’s up to your imagination!😀

 Tips from the teacher:

  1. Buy flour that’s from Korea or Japan if you prefer a ‘finer’ texture for the snowskin. Otherwise, it might be more ‘QQ’ (springy).
  2. Wear gloves when making these mooncakes as they don’t require baking (which has high temperatures to kill germs).
  3. The mooncake filling must not get into contact with flour otherwise it’ll not ‘gel’ well with the snowskin, and there’ll be a gap between the two, adversely affecting taste.
  4. When you’re rolling the pandan filling into a ball, before wrapping it in the ‘skin’, roll it till the outer surface of the pandan filling ball becomes visibly oily.
  5. Adding wine into the recipe apparently helps make the mooncake tastier and keeps it staying fresh longer.
  6. You can get Rose Wine a.k.a. Mei Gui Lu (玫瑰露) at NTUC FairPrice stores.
  7. Snowskin mooncakes have to be refrigerated or else the ‘oil’ from the shortening will seep out of the mooncake.
  8. The majority of ingredients are from Kwong Cheong Thye Pte Ltd: 61-63 Lorong 27 Geylang Off Sims Avenue, Singapore 388187. Tel: 6748 0128.

What To Eat At Sengkang Compass One

Sengkang Compass One

Sengkang Compass One on (Re)Opening Day, 1st Sept 2016 (Copyright: Hearted Moments Photography)

Are all the shops at Sengkang’s Compass One open? No. Should you visit anyway? Yes. Sengkang’s Compass One opened to much fanfare this morning at 10am. And I was one of those “don’t-need-to-work” folks who thronged the mall in search of all things new and sparkly. (In my defense, blogging is work too). I was in search of eateries and restaurants that I’ve missed since CompassPoint shut for renovation (and a change of management) and those which are not available at Waterway Point currently. And you’ll be surprised at what I ended up picking for “brunch”.

First, a picture of my fellow don’t-need-to-work shoppers. Almost everyone was taking pictures of the lion dance troupe. Come to think of it, what would they do with those pictures? *shrug*

Sengkang Compass One mall

In this post, I’ll share with you three categories for the food places you might want to visit at Sengkang Compass One:

#1: Food You Simply Have To Try (For Bragging Rights)

eyescream and friends singapore

If you are a fan of shaved ice, you might be happy to note that there’s now shaved gelato too! Located at B1-42, ‘eyescream & friends’ hails from Barcelona and is now ready to tickle your tastebuds! There are 7 flavors to choose from: Vanilla, Chocolate, Yoghurt, Strawberry, Cheesecake, Wildberry Yoghurt and Mango. Just a bowl of ‘eyescream’ costs $4.90. Add $2 and get 2 toppings (such as gummy bears and marshmallows) to go with it.

*Tip: The staff told me their favs are Cheesecake, Yoghurt and Mango. So I picked Cheesecake, and it was GOOD!

Lollipops are at $4.90 each while you can get gelato shakes at $5.90…

eyescream and friends compass one

There’s also Maki-San (not open yet) which I so want to eat again, Royal London Duck (is it the same as London Fat Duck at Waterway Point?!), and many more that have not been unveiled.

#2: Food You Won’t Need To Travel So Far For Anymore

Pine Garden Compass One

The Pine Garden (that famous cake shop in AMK) and its sister company Next Door Deli will open soon at Compass One. It states on the temporary hoarding that it’s opening in August 2016 but it’s evidently not ready for business yet. I guess good things are always worth the wait. I’ll be back!🙂 There’s also Ayam Penyet Ria (#01-34), Gurney Drive Signatures (#03-13), etc.

#3: Old Favorites That You’ve Missed

MOS Burger Sengkang Compass One

Yup, I ate a MOS Burger meal for brunch today. Staff were giving out fliers with a ‘FREE french fries’ tear-out coupon. This is the reason why some people like myself visit malls on opening day even though we know it’ll be crowded: FREEBIES! Yup, we had free llao llao samples, there were balloons given out, popcorn too, and various stalls had their own Opening Day promotions.

If you’ve missed Canton Paradise, Soup Restaurant, Yoshinoya, etc, like I have, well, THEY ARE BACK!😀


As you might probably notice in this picture below, some shops still have their pink and blue (and a couple other colors) temporary hoardings up. But I guess this soft launch is great for Sengkang residents who have been holding their breath waiting for the mall to re-open. I understand their joy because I waited years for a mall like Waterway Point to finally sprout up in Punggol too.😀

When Waterway Point first opened to the public, I had a meal at Pizza Hut. Simply because everywhere else was crowded. With Compass One, I guess I just missed MOS Burger a little and some of the restaurants and eateries I want to visit aren’t open yet.

So… I guess I’ll be back again very soon! ~

Sengkang Compass One previously CompassPoint

GroVe: Vegetarian Food at Waterway Point, Punggol (Part One)

GroVe Waterway Point

Waterway Point has been open for about 7 months now, and I’ve only just visited this eatery selling vegetarian food this week. I think I hesitated for SO LONG because I’m not the biggest fan of vegetarian, and especially vegan, food. Sometimes I just love meat and things like salmon sashimi (*sigh*). Having popped by GroVe at Waterway Point though, I think I just may have a few more vegetarian meals in the coming months!

If you haven’t already realized, vegetarian and vegan food are less taxing on your digestive system. The same burger + fries + drink combo would leave you feeling heavy and full if it’s not a vegetarian meal. The vegetarian version simply leaves you feeling pleasantly satiated, and it’s unlikely that you’ll experience a ‘food coma’.

This was what I experienced at GroVe.

I ordered a new item on their menu: the Hawaiian Teriyaki Burger with Fries ($8.80) and added a dollar for their original milk tea (there’s a version with peach, which I’ll try next time).

The burger buns were so soft and fluffy, the pineapple very juicy, and the fries were hot and crispy without being oily (I was so impressed!) The ‘patty’ itself has the same texture as luncheon meat! Go slice through it with a knife and you’ll see what I mean. Incredible! *Of course, this is processed food too. So I wouldn’t say it’s extremely healthy.

As for the drink, I was blown away by how similar it was to Koi’s milk tea. Just add the ‘pearls’, I guess, and it can pass off as Koi bubble tea. Apparently the drink is from the brand Utopia, which hails from Australia. I’ll definitely need to get another cup, since the $1 top-up makes the drink cheaper than those from Koi or GongCha.😀

*GroVe has a weekday promotion: Value Meals at $9.80 with a choice of Peach Tea or Plum Green Tea. Mains are: Smoky BBQ Burger w/Fries (Monday), Oyster Mushroom Cream Pasta (Tuesday), Potato Baked Rice w/Japanese Curry Sauce (Wednesday), Kung Pao Monkey-Head Mushroom Noodle (Thursday) and Sweet & Sour Monkey Head Mushroom Rice (Friday). *Not valid on Public Holidays.

You can find GroVe / Utopia at #02-20/21, Waterway Point. It’s located next to the foodcourt, and opposite Buddy Hoagies.

5 Reasons To Sign Up For Sky Premium Membership

Sky Premium Singapore Media Briefing

Bluefin Tuna Cutting Ceremony @ Sky Premium’s Media Briefing

I attended Sky Premium’s media briefing this afternoon, and wow, I think this ‘membership services club’ might be something worth investing in. It’ll be launched in Q4 this year, and while there’s not a ton of information available at this moment, from what I saw today, I think many people will be keen to find out more about Sky Premium. So, very quickly, here are 5 top reasons that I think would entice people to sign up:

#1: Preferential rates from esteemed brands

Sky Premium offers members exclusive privileges for travel, dining, fashion and wellness. Some of these brands include FJ Benjamin, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts, etc.

Also, members can look forward to exclusive invites to closed-door events, fashion shows, sake tastings, etc. They’ll also get access to business facilities at Sky Premium’s office.

Sky Premium Membership

Maguro Sushi @ Takujo, Emporium Shokuhin

#2: Panel Advisors: Allan Wu and Tan Min-Li

Sky Premium Singapore

Allan Wu and Tan Min-Li (background)

I guess you’ll be familiar with the hunky celeb Allan Wu. I’ve never heard of Tan Min-Li before today’s event though. Apparently, the lawyer is a partner of Colin Ng & Partners LLP. She’s won multiple awards for her legal work involving Corporate M&A and Capital Markets. She is also involved in film production and fashion. Both of these style-conscious individuals will be invaluable as advisers for Sky Premium.

#3: Members’ welcome package and exclusive portal

Members of the media were informed that the welcome package is “worth more than the membership fee”. At this point, I don’t know what’s in that welcome package, but I’ll update this post when I find out.😀 If you were to sign up, you’ll also get access to the members-only privileges portal. <- I’ll be happy to check that out!

#4: Premium Member Subscription Cost: S$1,200 per year

I believe there is an “initial processing fee” which I’ve not been advised regarding. But it’s stated on the factsheet that there will be no additional processing fees as long as you keep up with your membership dues.

I believe S$1,200 per year is really quite affordable for the well-heeled in Singapore. In fact, they might even consider it really cheap. I know of some people who can easily spend that amount on just one meal. And $100 per month is even lower than membership fees at certain gyms. When there’s more information made available closer to their launch date, I’d highly recommend that you check out their website and/or make a few inquiries and find out more.🙂

#5: Helmed by General Manager, Ms Margaret Koh

She has over 10 years of experience in the luxury service sector. Prior to helming Sky Premium, she was previously associated with luxury service organizations such as Banyan Tree Private Collection, Singapore Yacht Show and Raffles Marina. I think this means that great service and quality offerings from Sky Premium are just about guaranteed.

Find out more at: http://www.skypremium.com/official/


Pictures in this blogpost are courtesy of Hearted Moments Photography.

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.