VeganBurg, OKG & Unsatisfied Food and Beverage Cravings (@_@)

Today’s just one of those super weird days when many of the things I want to buy to eat or drink just aren’t available. So it started with Waterway Point… at LiHo, I found out that there’s no longer the $2 promo for Earl Grey Milk Tea. Now it’s just Milk Tea, and for the same price, I’d feel shortchanged somehow if I were to order it. So I walked over to ZTP for some Honey Aloe Vera. And they don’t have it chilled, though they usually always do. Honey Aloe Vera at room temperature would just taste super weird, no? Thus thwarted in my attempts to quench my thirst, I headed over to Serangoon NEX where, thankfully, OKG still has that awesome Lychee Tea. However, as you can see in the picture above, while at VeganBurg in Eunos, I missed out on having a brownie to go with my ice cream ‘cos they are out of brownies today (WHATTTTT??!!!)

I know I raved about OKG Express previously. The deal on Fave is really good, and is still available! My meal of curry chicken with rice plus lychee tea today cost $10.10. The Fave deal FOR TWO costs $14.90 and includes 2 bowls of their Signature Dry-Stirred Noodles with Scallop and 2 x Lychee Tea. (@_@)

I ordered the Curry Chicken because someone I’d recently met, while dining at Seoul Garden, told me that OKG’s curry chicken is good. So I tried it today and, erm, it’s not as mindblowing as I’d thought it would be. The gravy’s pretty thick, and the potato’s soft so your metal spoon will cut through it like a hot knife through butter. But they don’t give you two chicken wings. It’s just three parts – I received two drumlets and one mid joint. It’s like one-and-a-half chicken wing. Why not just make it two? Sigh.

But the chili sauce which you can help yourself to is very good – spicy, sour and will certainly whet your appetite.

As for VeganBurg, the Chocolate ice cream was served in such a tiny paper cup I believe I even said (out loud) “Oh that’s really small, isn’t it?” but the staff ignored me. XD For $4.90, you’ll easily get a bigger serving of ice cream elsewhere. And if you order the Seasonal Chillers at $2.80, you get a cup to help yourself to one of three drinks: Ginger Lemonade, Orange or Lemon Barley. I picked Ginger Lemonade as it was the closest to the cashier AND looked like it was the most popular. Turns out to be bleah… But the ambiance of the place is great for a chill out session or a catch-up session with girlfriends.

Such a weird day today. I just hope I get to eat sushi tomorrow, like I’ve planned to. 😀

~

And if you’re wondering, no, there’s no point to this post. Just a record (for me) so I know what to order next time at VeganBurg and OKG. 😀

Seoul Garden’s Transformation: Benefiting Employees & Customers

If, like me, you haven’t been to Seoul Garden in a while, boy, are you in for a treat! Seoul Garden even serves sashimi now, apart from the upgraded buffet selection. And after partnering with e2i (the Employment and Employability Institute), various initiatives have made Seoul Garden not just a better company for workers but also one which offers a lot more to customers as well.

(In the foreground of this picture, you see Mr Gilbert Tan, CEO of e2i, in white, and Mr Garry Lam, GM of Seoul Garden, in the black polo shirt. And at the back are (in black) Mr Andrew Lee, CEO of Seoul Garden, and Mr Gary Goh, DyCEO of e2i.)

I had the opportunity to meet the GM, Garry Lam, who shared his truly remarkable story of coming back from Hong Kong, landing an entry-level job at Seoul Garden and then quickly proving his worth to achieve rapid promotions.

Garry has undergone the Place-and-Train programme by Seoul Garden, with support from e2i. Joining the company as a trainee in September 2017, Garry quickly rose through the ranks to become the Operations Manager, then Head of Operations, and now, he is GM of the company. It is testimony to the success of e2i’s Place-and-Train initiative. Garry, age 50, had initially returned from Hong Kong to help out in his mother’s restaurant business here but times were really bad, and the business had to be sold. He then joined Seoul Garden and spent some six months serving diners, and he admitted that this required him to ‘lower his ego’.

Where e2i is concerned, there are three kinds of skillsets. The first would be Employability Skills. For instance, Garry had to have the right mindset when doing his mid-career switch and be willing to join the rank and file employees at Seoul Garden. Then, there are Vocational Skills, which would be the skills F&B staff need to have in the restaurant business. Finally, there’s the Workplace Skills, which Garry had to demonstrate his competency in, when handling equipment and the various processes. In Garry’s own words, being GM means you are “in charge of everything except finance”.

As Mr Gilbert Tan, CEO of e2i, rightly puts it, workers these days need to be attracted and retained. Businesses need to look at offering “a more exciting package”. Remuneration packages have to be reviewed to reflect the profile of our workforce. Workers doing mid-career switches like Garry need to be given the opportunities to reskill and upskill, and also make full use of their past experience and expertise to benefit their current company. Meanwhile, workers also have to be able to ‘value add’ to the company, such as going beyond just compiling reports to being able to analyse data.

One of the Place-and-Train Programmes in Seoul Garden is a 6-month compressed training programme which equips local workers with the necessary skills for roles such as Assistant Restaurant Manager. Getting upskilled has many benefits, such as a wage increment.

The company is also constantly improving the workplace for their employees and also, their customers.

Under the WorkPro Job Redesign initiative, Seoul Garden has implemented the Smokeless Grill System with non-stick grilling plates. This greatly reduces the frequency of having to change the grilling plates for customers, washing is made less tedious, and customers get to enjoy the buffet without the smoke. Likewise, when getting the raw food from the buffet selection, you’ll realize that there are no longer any ice shavings on the ice bed as Seoul Garden now has a new chiller and buffet system. This proprietary temperature control system allows for workers to place more food, compared to the amounts previously, and they do not have to constant add ice shavings to the ice bed.

Other hiring initiatives by Seoul Garden include the offering of more career opportunities for mature workers and those with partial disabilities. The company does this by creating a better work environment for these workers who could have, for instance, autism, and may be in their 40s, 50s or even 60s!

When you next step into a Seoul Garden restaurant, I’m sure you’ll be amazed at the transformation. Even the iced water served is no longer simply iced water. It might be a ‘Sugar-free infused detox drink”…

Rocky Master @ 18 Tai Seng

Rocky Master is this nice chill-out eatery at 18 Tai Seng. If you’re looking for a quiet and cosy place for dinner on a weekend, this would be it. We tried a few of the ‘Recommended’ items on their menu yesterday and the result was surprising: I didn’t think I’d enjoy the lasagne the most, but I did! 😀 In the picture you see above, there’s their Pan-Fried Carrot Cake ($8+) which comes with 3 prawns and lots of fried shallots. Without the chili though, it’d wouldn’t taste as good.

The Baked Beef Lasagne ($13+) was our favorite dish. A super generous helping of cheese on top, and the best part is this dish doesn’t make you feel jelat. You can also pair it with the chili from the carrot cake for a very interesting combination. 😉

I ordered the Iced Yuzu Lemon ($5.60+ for a large cup). I’ll likely not order this again since it doesn’t seem to offer much value for money. The cup was smaller than I’d thought it would be (just get bubble tea at Liho downstairs!) and didn’t taste all that good either. If you’d like some warm water, apparently it’s at 30cents per cup.

The Trio Mini Burger comes with a choice of 3 kinds of patty: veggie, beef and chicken. We ordered 2 beef and 1 chicken, but as it turned out, the chicken’s actually the better one. I think there’s a nice combination of herbs which went into making the patty, so it’s fragrant and all round delightful. We did the $2 upgrade from normal to truffle fries. The fries are good (no doubt), just a pity that they were dripping in oil so those at the bottom were almost a soggy mess.

Here’s a look at their menu:

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There’s no service charge here so go ahead and grab your own cutlery and condiments at the little counter by the side. I do enjoy the chillax vibe so I’ll be happy to be back. 🙂

Rocky Master is at #01-28 of 18 Tai Seng. It’s located outside the mall, so don’t go looking for it within the mall, ya! 🙂

KALM’S Vending Pop-Up @ Downtown East

It’s not too late – you can still pop by Downtown East today for the KALM’S Vending roadshow. Grab a full-sized beverage for just 50 cents, Japanese bento meals at 2 for $10, and enjoy lots of other great discounts such as Swarovski crystal jewellery sets from as little as $20.90 (usual price: $152). In this post, I’ll share with you my take on the bento sets I’ve tried, and also what I think you should absolutely not miss…

In the first picture you see above, there’s the Yakiniku with Pasta, and the Teriyaki Chicken Don. The meals are visually very appealing and in most cases, they’ve nailed the taste too. It’s never too salty, which is great. And I’ve found the beef is always really good. Just get a bento set from a machine, remove the paper sleeve, peel open the plastic seal and pop the platter into the microwave oven. Your food will be ready in a jiffy.

If you don’t already know, KALM’S shut all its physical stores by 2016, and is now into vending machines. With Korean investors on board, the company has gone into offering smart vending retail solutions for everything from plush toys and gifts, to flowers and even Segways! Now, the range of ready-to-eat meals is set to tantalise your tastebuds!

And here, we have the Sambal Prawn Capellini, Fish Curry & Coconut Rice, and the Gyu Don.

I think the pasta can easily pass off as a dish from a restaurant. Just transfer the contents onto a nice plate. I’d love more garlic with this bento though. As for the fish curry, my recommendation is to give it extra time in the microwave oven because, trust me, it needs those added minutes for the fish in the middle to really get heated up, and this bento would be perfect. As for the Gyu Don, I have no complaints.

If you’re a fan of Chef Justin Quek’s food, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a whole range of meals marketed under ‘modern asian cuisine+’ that feature his creations. There’s Wok Fried Vermicelli with Prawns in Spicy Prawn Broth and Kampot Black Pepper Beef & Rice, for instance…

These meals are really great for office workers who abhor lunchtime queues but still want a delicious hot meal. There’s also a halal range and I tried the Basil Minced Chicken and Rice. I think there’s too much rice for OLs who want to maintain their slim figures, but the gentlemen should be pretty pleased with both the portion and the taste.

And now for the machine that many people overlook but actually serves 50cent drinks at this event:

I have a sweet tooth so for me, the drinks from this machine aren’t sweet enough. I had the (hot) Milk Tea and the Iced Chocolate. Both tasted really ‘healthy’. Thankfully, the machine allows you to pick your preferred sugar levels (among other things).

At the event, you can download the Kalm’s app and with a $20 top-up, you get an additional $10 free. Like me, you can head to the ‘Her Jewellery’ machine and get a set of 7 PAIRS of earrings for just $20.90. Swarovski crystals, my pals! If this is not a steal, what is?

After you’re done making your purchases, look for the Boom Box machine where you can spin the wheel – 1 chance for every item you’ve bought. And here are the gifts you can look forward to winning:

Have a kid / feel like a kid? Grab a balloon! 🙂

The pop-up is located at Market Square at E! Avenue, LEVEL 2, right next to Starbucks. Impossible to miss because of its scale…

There’s a machine selling Japanese snacks and drinks too, so see what I’ve bought below…

Event lasts till 9pm tonight. So hurry on down. You’ll certainly find a machine that dispenses something which sparks joy for you. 😀

TPG’s Irresistible Offer Of FREE Unlimited Data

Yes, I’ve gotten myself one of their SIM cards. Free mah, why not? One of my initial reservations was that I had to use a credit card when signing up with them, though there would be no charge. But I am not fond of sharing my credit card details, knowing how easily they can be sold on the digital black market. With a friend’s help, I signed up for TPG’s offer of a free year-long trial and collected my SIM card from Shaw Centre last week.

After you’ve signed up at their website over at tpgmobile.sg, you can check where you should go to collect your SIM card. It’s based on your postal code. Mine meant I had to go all the way to Shaw Centre – which is not the place you go to for movies, but the less popular building next door.

If you were wondering, my pal offered to let me use his credit card since he’d already used it to sign up – for himself and for his parents. What an awesome friend! And he also advised me to head to the collection centre between 3pm and 5pm to avoid the crowd. Indeed, when I arrived, there were only 3 other people in the queue and once it was my turn, I got my card in under a minute, I think. It was THAT fast.

I thought I had to bring some proof of residential address like a mobile phone bill or something. But, no, all the staff needed was my IC. They didn’t even need to see the confirmation email.

So far, it’s pretty awesome. With a new mobile number (I have a spare phone at home too) it means I can sign up for new user offers like with GrabFood, which I’ve blogged about previously. Use code FREEFOOD for $18 worth of… free food.

Yesterday’s dinner was from Chick N Grains by WZ:

Chipotle bowls at buy-2-get-1-free

I have to say that they looked more appetising in the pictures over on GrabFood but oh well… it’s FREE! 😜

🤣

Live Till Age 85 & Above & Your Chances Of Getting Dementia Is 50%!

I did a quiz on Sunday evening and aced it all, except for one question about our chances of getting dementia at age 85 or above. The quiz happened at a roadshow near Punggol MRT Station. It was right next to a mini bazaar but wasn’t extremely popular, as you would have probably guessed. It was organised by LIEN Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Disease Association, or ADA.

One of the volunteers pointed out to me this particular info board which states that “1 in every 2 persons aged 85 years & above has dementia”. So if you and your spouse live till 85 and beyond, my goodness, it’s highly likely one of you would have dementia. And in my books, I think the one with dementia is the “luckier” one. The caregiver is, arguably, the one who suffers a lot more.

As I’d completed the quiz, I was given a chance to spin the wheel and win a prize. The yellow triangle represents the top prize, I believe, and that’s what I got! 😊

A copy of ‘All That Remains’ by James Tan. It is a graphic novel about dementia that is based on true stories! It also ends with tips on how to care for people with dementia.

If my memory serves me well, in about ten years or so, we’ll have some 100,000 people with dementia right here in Singapore. An absolutely mind-boggling figure. And unlike diseases like diabetes, people can’t manage dementia themselves. Family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues, etc, will all have to be willing to chip in.

Hopefully, with more of these roadshows, we’ll become a more inclusive society and better equipped to care for a growing number of people with dementia.

Review: Pietro Ristorante Italiano @ 12 Jalan Kelulut

Didn’t even know a ‘Jalan Kelulut’ exists till we made a lunch reservation via Eatigo (50% discount *whoots*). It’s in the Seletar Hills area, where there’s lots of landed property but, unfortunately, very few diners. It was a Sunday, at 12noon, and there were only 3 tables (including ours) with guests? Hmm. Interestingly, Pietro appears to be part of the group which also manages Ice Edge Cafe which I absolutely adore. That day, we had the Spaghetti Aglio Olio ($25) and Hawaiian Pizza ($22). Water is complimentary, so props to them for that.

The pizza has an incredibly thin crust so the 8 slices did not prove overwhelming for the 2 of us to finish. The pasta was decent – had lots of olive oil and also some chili padi, which is great.


The food is decent. Nothing to shout about but at 50% discount, nothing to complain about too.

What was disconcerting was when one of the waiters walked by really quickly with a question of whether we wanted an iced water or a warm water refill. My usual response, when people are in such a hurry and when my mouth is full, is to pretend I did not hear the question at all. I didn’t even bother looking up.

My darling, being the sweet and responsive fella he is, immediately said he wants warm water, and one tendril of cheese nearly made its way back to the plate. 🙄 Good grief. Just ignore the waiter!

We were also seated next to a guy who sounded like he had TB. He was coughing really badly. So I just wanted to hurry and finish my meal and get out of the restaurant.

Because the restaurant is pretty big, they try to seat diners as close to the kitchen as possible so… maybe… they can serve you quickly. But when business is, shall I say, not so good, you should seat diners closer to the entrance to your restaurant so it gives people walking by the confidence that “hey, there are people dining here so maybe I should too”. If they can’t spot your current diners and/or think this place is deserted, they’ll just walk on to the next eatery.

It’s unlikely we’ll be back. We definitely prefer Ice Edge Cafe. 😀

~

Pietro is @ 12 Jalan Kelulut, Singapore 809030

Tel: 6484 5528

Book Review: A Child Called ‘It’ by Dave Pelzer

This book is part of a trilogy, and is based on Dave’s life from ages 4 to 12. It’s a very easy read, largely because of the *ahem* large font size and generous line spacing. I have a nagging feeling that instead of a trilogy (which is, of course, where *kaching* happens), everything could have been condensed into just one book. 🤨 Nonetheless, it’s still a good read because what Dave shares is so horrific that you won’t imagine a mother ever doing to her own flesh-and-blood.

Dave’s mother has tried to burn him, drown him, poison him, create a ‘gas chamber’ in the bathroom for him, among other cruel acts of abuse. The main one would be starving him every single day, prompting the boy to steal food from his schoolmates’ lunches, fish leftovers out of bins, etc.

I’m not sure what mental ailment the mother must have been suffering from. Apart from alcoholism, surely some other mental affliction must have caused an originally loving mom to turn on one of her sons like that. Sure, Dave managed to escape thanks to his teachers and social workers. But his younger brother would end up taking his place as their mom’s punching bag. Apparently, the brother has also written his own memoir after watching Dave’s success at publishing. But I’m not sure I can deal with a double dose of what has certainly weighed heavily on my heart.

I think Dave’s father, being a fireman and all, should have done a lot more to prevent the horrible abuse happening in his own home and rescue his son who was being treated worse than a slave. Instead of pulling off a daring rescue, he goes on to impregnate his (already unstable) wife. 😰

As for Dave, I don’t really want to read the next 2 books in the trilogy because it seems to be motivated by money-making. While I have little doubt that he’d suffered abuse, I do wonder how much the actual abuse has been exaggerated in the telling of his story. After all, when you’re starving all the time, your memory will either fail or play tricks on you, no?

Still, this book has been a bestseller and over a million copies have been sold. Have a read, if you’d like. 😉

9 Lives Art & Design Exhibition @ 51 Waterloo Street

I’m nursing a cold but still felt the need to pop by the 9 Lives Exhibition this morning. I’d seen much of their promo material on FB and IG and thought I musn’t miss this. Did not realise that the bazaar only begins this evening though 😅 so there were only the exhibits to admire while I was there.

There’s also a craft area where you can paint your adopted wooden kitty ($15) and take it home. 🙂 Would have tried this if I didn’t have the sniffles. One giant sneeze and the paint will be flying EVERYWHERE.

I think the exhibit which made the biggest impression was the one with countless pairs of eyes in a metal cage. Imagine a cat in that cage. What do those eyes tell you? Fear? Resignation? Anger? Sadness? And how many kitties have had to be sent to AVA as a result of pet abandonment or heartless folks complaining about their community cats being nuisances? I think humans are the greatest nuisances – not the rodents, not the felines and certainly not pythons referenced in Parliament.

If you’re free this weekend, do drop by. The venue is very accessible. Near to Bras Basah station and Bugis. 🙂

*In case some people are still confused… feeding stray cats or community cats IS PERFECTLY LEGAL. It is NOT ILLEGAL. Feeders are given 2 hours to clear any leftovers. More than enough time for you to place some food at the void deck for your resident kitties, head home for a shower and a meal, and then return to bin the leftovers. If you have a cat (or cats!) in your community, lucky you. My Meow Meow has gone missing. Sigh.

OKG Express @ NEX: A Hearty Bowl of Noodles Paired With Lychee Tea! :D

Next to Eighteen Chefs at Serangoon NEX is a noodle place that is super easy to overlook. In fact, I’ll probably never dine there if he didn’t buy the Fave voucher. I’m not easily tempted by noodles, even if they come with scallops on top. But mention iced lychee tea and ok, I’m in! 😀 The noodle place is called OKG Express. And for just $14.90 on Fave, you can get their Signature Dry-stirred Noodles with Scallop plus iced lychee tea for TWO! Really good value for money!

Each carafe comes with THREE lychees on top! My goodness. How’s that for generosity? And there’s so much tea, you won’t ever need to order a second glass!

I’m totally heading back again, for sure.

The noodles are decent. A very hearty bowl of noodles for sure. Paired with the chicken rice chili sauce and some chili padi, you’ll be breathing fire in no time.

We also ordered the OKG Herbal Chicken ($6.80 for members, otherwise $7.50) Two drumsticks! Perfect! Soup’s ok, just that we were surprised to find there’s nothing else within. No herbs, no red dates, etc.

Speaking of membership, they have this OKG member card you can get. Top up $30 and you get $3 extra credited to your card. It’s a good way of collecting monies upfront for a decent amount of cashflow, I guess. And since OKG has 4 outlets around Singapore, it should be pretty easy to use up the credits. 😉

#01-58 NEX

#02-37 Alexandra Retail Centre

#01-11 Icon Village

#01-27, 3 Pickering Street