Slappy Cakes: Restaurant For Pancake Lovers To Play With Their Food

Slappy Cakes The Grandstand

Thanks to my pal, Steven, I’m already a fan of Dancing Crab at The Grandstand (Turf Club Road). Now, thanks to my neighbors, I’m also a fan of Slappy Cakes which is located just below Dancing Crab (the two are linked by a staircase, and served by the same staff). I believe Tung Lok Group brought in the Slappy Cake franchise from Portland. There’s also another Slappy Cakes outlet at RWS but I’ve not been to that one yet. Apparently, it’s next to Universal Studios (keep an eye out for it the next time you visit *wink*) Before reaching Slappy Cakes, I’d thought that it’d just be yet another place for pancakes (which may or may not taste good) and if there are any non-pancake items on the menu, they would probably not be very good. Oops! Thankfully, I was wrong.😀

I made only one of these pancakes. The rest were done by my neighbor…

Slappy Cakes pancakes

I made the ‘Hello Kitty’ pancake and my neighbor is ‘Mr Bojio’. Did you guess correctly?😀 *There’s a trick to creating these pancakes… you have to do everything in reverse, i.e. write the words or draw the facial features first before adding on the ‘background’

I like that the restaurant offers free wifi (look out for the username and password on sheets pasted on the walls). However, the ‘pan’ in the middle of the table takes up A LOT of space. The tables really should be bigger, especially if people are expected to order mains, and make pancakes for ‘dessert’.

 Slappy Cakes Bukit Timah

Each bottle of pancake batter costs S$8.50 before tax. It’s kinda pricey. Choose from Buttermilk (we heard it’s bland), Whole Grain, Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Pandan. You can see our choices above. We also had add-ons of banana for $1.50 (the kiddo likes it), roasted mushrooms ($2), and maple syrup ($3).

I made some chocolate (pancake) coins😀 They actually taste pretty good if they’re not too thick and left to cook till the edges are crispy…

Slappy Cakes Chocolate Batter

Now for the mains… some of us had the Old-fashioned Breaded Dory Fish ($17) which was decent. Crispy on the outside, tender and juicy within. The baked potato needs work though.

Slappy Cakes Old-fashioned Breaded Dory Fish

And do not be fooled by this ordinary-looking Carbonara ($12). The creamy white sauce is AWESOME! How do they make carbonara so tasty?!!! For just $12 before tax, this dish is a MUST-ORDER one.

Slappy Cakes Spaghetti Carbonara

Then, there’s Pan-seared Cajun Chicken ($18). Decent chicken, nothing exceptional. I liked the boiled veggies though.🙂

Slappy Cakes Pan-seared Cajun Chicken

Here’s my mini pancake tower:

Slappy Cakes Review Singapore

I think Slappy Cakes is great for a night out with friends. You can chat while waiting for the pancakes to cook.🙂 And it’s always funny when people attempt to make a hello kitty pancake and it turns out looking like a crab!😀


Slappy Cakes
The Grandstand
200 Turf Club Road (Old Turf Club in Bt.Timah)
Singapore 287994
Tel : +65 6465 1814

Slappy Cakes
The Grandstand
200 Turf Club Road (Old Turf Club in Bt.Timah)
Singapore 287994
Tel : +65 6465 1814

Kiseki Japanese Buffet Restaurant @ Orchard Central

Kiseki Japanese Buffet Restaurant

If you’re heading to Orchard Central for lunch on a (non-PH) weekday, there should be no need to call ahead to make a reservation, right? That’s what we thought. Till we reached Kiseki Japanese Buffet Restaurant yesterday and saw two moderately long queues outside the restaurant. One queue is for those who have made reservations (done online at least 3 days in advance, for example) and another queue for walk-in customers (which, unfortunately, meant us). For just S$23.30 all-in, you can enjoy a buffet lunch that includes salmon sashimi (yay!), cold prawns, tempura, and many other dishes. And oh… free flow drinks at no extra charge!

Considering how 10 slices of salmon sashimi can easily cost upwards of S$10 at places like NTUC FairPrice or Cold Storage, and I can as easily eat over 20 slices of sashimi at Kiseki, I wonder if the restaurant is in the business of F&B or philanthropy. Anyhow, just as I thanked my photog pal for the treat, I’ll like to thank Kiseki for the affordable prices for all.

Here’s some of what I ate: Salmon head (which was grilled with salt and pepper, I think), salmon sashimi, prawns, chawanmushi, tempura, and soup in a pot (I dropped some of the prawns in here too)😀

Kiseki Orchard Central

At the dessert station, there’s cake, fruit, chocolate fondue (no fountain, sadly) for marshmallows, and 5 flavors of gelato (chocolate, yuzu, vanilla, cookies & cream and what was probably green tea). Choose cookies & cream for its texture, or yuzu for that delightful fragrance🙂

Kiseki Japanese Buffet Restaurant Review

At the drinks counter, I mixed peach tea with green tea – the result was pretty good!🙂

If you’d like to know the prices for the Kiseki buffet, here’s a photo I took of their rates:

Kiseki Buffet Price

I highly recommend that you call ahead or make an online reservation via their website before you pop by Kiseki. Standing in the ‘walk-in’ queue and watching all those who’ve made reservations (but arrived later than you did) head into the restaurant ahead of you is not at all fun. Haha!

To make a reservation, call/sms 6736 1216 / 9626 7767


At the restaurant, you might see little signs which state that food wastage will lead to an “additional charge of $5 per 100g”. I think these signs serve as ‘gentle reminders’ because you pay up before even being ushered to a table, and you can leave as soon as you think you are full. There was no weighing and no paying for wastage. Still, I hope that diners have the decency to take only what they’ll finish eating. Anyway, if you ‘whack’ the salmon sashimi, you would have already gotten your money’s worth. #justsaying

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


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.

Grow Veggies Indoors With ToastBox’s Sprouting Kits

ToastBox Sprouting Kits

Bak Choy and Kai Lan sprouts [ Sprouting Kits from ToastBox ]

The folks at ToastBox have collaborated with ABLE (Abilities Beyond Limitations and Expectations) to introduce these sprouting kits which allow you to grow your own vegetables indoors! I’ve personally experimented with growing the bak choy and kai lan sprouts (as you can see in the picture above) and I have to say it’s a really easy way of getting pesticide-free veggies for my salads! What’s more, each sprouting kit costs just S$5 (good for about 4 harvests) and 100% of the proceeds go to charity! It’s truly a win-win-win situation as ToastBox’s recycled coffee grounds go into the soil compost (thus reducing waste), consumers get fresh home- or office-grown sprouts to eat (with no pesticides) and ABLE helps its beneficiaries lead more productive, meaningful and independent lives (the physically challenged help pack these sprouting kits!)😀

ToastBox ABLE

I don’t know who came up with this idea of this amazing collaboration between ToastBox and ABLE but… give that person an award!🙂

I’m looking forward to more spinoffs from this product. Perhaps ToastBox can package and sell its coffee grounds. I’m sure local growers will want to purchase them for their plants or gardens. Also, more plants for us to grow, please! Besides chili, bak choy and kai lan, how about tomatoes, eggplant, strawberries and others? Parsley and mint would be great too!

ToastBox Veggie Sprouting Kits

It’s a simple setup: empty the packet of soil into the cup, sow the seeds, and then water daily. You can leave the cup next to a window where the sprouts can bask in the sunshine!😀 It’s sure to be a lovely addition to your office or home – I like taking short breaks from working on the computer and just look at how well the plants are growing!😀

Here’s where the Sprouting Kits are sold:

ToastBox outlets at 100AM, Bedok Mall, BreadTalk IHQ, Bugis Junction, Causeway Point L1, City Square Mall, Clementi Mall, Compass One, Eastpoint Mall, Esplanade, Greenwich V, JEM, Kitchener Complex, Marina Bay Sands, myVillage, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, nex, Paragon, Parkway Parade B1, Pasir Ris Sports Centre, Plaza Singapura, The Rail Mall, Resorts World Sentosa, SAFRA Toa Payoh, Shaw House, Singapore Cruise Centre, Sun Plaza, Suntec City Mall, United Square, VivoCity B2, Waterway Point, West Coast Plaza, Westgate, YewTee Point, Zhongshan Mall.

~ Go get yours today before they’re all sold out! ~

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 暂牛 LeNu ç§æˆżéąćź¶

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 暂牛 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.

What Dementia Reveals About Us As Children

NTUC Health Silver Circle

Nurse He Li Jun (center) chatting with one of the clients at NTUC Health’s Silver Circle Senior Care Centre [Pictures courtesy of Hearted Moments Photography]

Dementia has memorably been portrayed in Channel 8 dramas by actors playing the pitiful-looking senior who repeatedly says “给我䞀ç‚č搃的搧” (“Give me something to eat”) even though he/she has already eaten, who goes missing after wandering out of the family home, or who views family members as unrecognizable strangers. But what is dementia, really? And if you are unable to care for your family member who has dementia, who can you “outsource” the care-giving to?

Dementia cases are on the rise in Singapore (by 2030, some 80,000 people aged 60 and above would suffer from it) and so, when I was offered the opportunity to ‘job shadow’ a nurse who works with elderly clients (some of whom have been diagnosed with dementia), I jumped at the opportunity to find out more about this illness which 1 in 10 of our elderly folks suffer from. Nurse He Li Jun shared more than just tips for caregivers, but also gave me an insight into her job and the importance of maintaining healthy parent-child relationships.

I was told that some people send their parents to these centres and when the nurses ask them about their parents’ likes, dislikes and hobbies, the children are clueless. Some might say “My mother is a housewife; she has no hobbies” and the nurses go on to discover that the elderly lady loves to sing and write, etc. And the children get a surprise when they discover their parent’s beautiful singing or stunning penmanship. What does this say about the state of our parent-child relationships these days? Would YOU be one of these clueless children?😉

By the way, if you think dementia is a “normal” part of ageing, think again. Nurse Li Jun emphatically pointed out to me that dementia is anything but normal – it is a brain-related illness, and it leads to memory loss, changes in personality and even a decline in intellectual ability. An early diagnosis can be very helpful in combating (but not curing, sadly) this illness.

Nurse Li Jun is one of many outstanding individuals who are employed by NTUC Health to care for the seniors at their various centres. NTUC Health runs 12 Silver Circle day and senior care centres in Singapore. I visited the centre in Jurong West which has just over 60 clients and was greeted by a sight I did not expect:

NTUC Health Silver Circle Jurong

The centre was very well-lit with ample sunlight coming in from the windows. The sofas and dining area chairs are in bright, cheery colors and there were makeshift ‘stalls’ with items the elderly would recall from their youth. On the walls are sensory boards with items like cooking utensils and various kinds of fabric. New clients often gravitate to these sensory boards with items that are familiar to them, and this helps them settle into the ‘new’ environment. Those who like caring for their grandchildren will also take to the dolls prepared for them – apparently cradling these dolls in their arms help calm them.

And if you’re wondering, nope I did not encounter anyone who came up to us with the plea of “给我䞀ç‚č搃的搧” but I did meet one gentleman who kept asking me “how many brothers and sisters you have at home?” – I would provide him my answer, he’d talk about something else, and then he’d ask me the same question again. Nurse Li Jun told me that he is known for having a bad temper (which I did not get to experience, thankfully), likes to sit on the same sofa everyday and not participate in group activities, likes to tell her that he wants to marry her (and yes, I witnessed that happen), and that he might sometimes watch people walk past him and critique their appearance (oh dear).

Throughout it all, the nurse was full of good cheer, very patient and it was clear to me that keeping their clients happy and healthy is of utmost importance to the staff at Silver Circle. Watching the supposedly-fiery gentleman looking almost bashful as Nurse told him “I treat you to lunch, ok?”, I realized that it is possible to provide good care to people who suffer from dementia. You just need lots of patience, a good sense of humor, and the ability to cajole, comfort and convince them you have their best interests at heart. One elderly lady was invited to help out in the pantry to towel-dry some already very clean and dry cutlery because she will say she wants to go home if she’s not occupied with a task. Of course, when they return home, they may have forgotten what went on during the day, and tell their family members that the centre provided neither food nor activities for them.😀 (This is why the centre has to sometimes take photographs to show ‘proof’ that their clients are fed, engaged and generally well cared for)

During my half-day at the centre, I watched some seniors play mahjong, sing 月äșźä»ŁèĄšæˆ‘çš„ćżƒ (a Teresa Teng classic), and participate in various activities. Some of them are suspected to have dementia, but the condition is not formally diagnosed.


Nurse Li Jun shared with me 5 tips for people with elderly folks at home who have either been diagnosed with dementia or who are suspected to be showing early signs of dementia…

Silver Circle

  1. Get an early diagnosis. Treatment can help slow down the progress of dementia.
  2. Validate feelings, not facts. Even if the patient is saying something which doesn’t make sense, it’s ok as long as he/she is happy.
  3. Be patient and spend time with your parents. Get to know their likes and dislikes, their hobbies, etc.
  4. Keep your home safe for the elderly. For those who like to cook, it can be dangerous if they leave the cooking unattended.
  5. Caregivers need rest too. In a week, schedule 2 to 3 days for breaks. Even a half-day respite would be most beneficial. Thus, Silver Circle centres provide ‘respite care’ for seniors who come in two to three times a week; during this time, their caregivers can take a break.

Silver Circle Jurong

In the picture above, you see the elderly folks participating in a group song / exercise activity. Many of these seniors are wheelchair-bound, and they reach the centre via a van which can take up to 6 wheelchairs at a time. Starting from 7.15am, the van ferries batch after batch of these elderly clients to the centre and work begins for Nurse Li Jun and her colleagues. There are about 16 staff at this centre and only 2 of them are foreigners. Nurse Li Jun herself hails from Hubei, China, and she has been working and living in Singapore for 18 years. I was particularly impressed by how proficient she is at reading and conversing in English. English language proficiency is definitely a prerequisite for her job as she has to do an assessment for each client, and the assessment can be 30 to 40 pages long. It’ll cover the client’s medical history, “life story”, etc in detail.

Silver Circle Day Care

Patients with dementia might have trouble with various aspects of daily living. Here, the nurse helps him button his shirt correctly.

Nurse Li Jun used to work at NUH (she spent 8 years there) and her current job at Silver Circle can involve anything from assisted feeding, diaper changing, to dressing of wounds. And even though each client has a nametag with his/her name, picture and other details, the nurses know them all by name, and regularly communicate among themselves regarding which clients to particularly look out for each day.

For instance, there is a client with dementia who is prone to hoarding. He would frequently attempt to bring items from the centre home. Nurses have found him taking toilet paper as well as food home in the bag he brings with him to the centre. And when he arrives at the centre, he’ll look for newspaper. I asked if it’d be a good idea to simply prepare a copy for him. But the nurse told me that it’s better that he walks around looking for newspaper and in the process, communicate with the staff.

All in all, I think Silver Circle staff are very creative in the way they engage their elderly clients (with or without dementia) and appear to be a special breed of people who have superhuman patience. Looking after 1 person with dementia is tough enough. But they care for over 60 seniors in one centre. Thankfully, they also have a passionate group of volunteers who help in the day-to-day operations.

To support the efforts of the staff, their employer also has to be understanding towards their needs. For instance, Nurse Li Jun shared with me that working at NTUC Health has been a joy and a relief for her as she was allowed to work part-time, half-day or 4-day weeks when she has to take care of her two young children. These flexi-work arrangements are definitely helpful for those with kids, and even for those without kids but who simply require adequate breaks to rest and recharge.


Do you have friends who lament about how tired they constantly are now that they have kids? If you have children of your own, do you remember how taxing it is to care for them and how prone they are to asking certain questions incessantly? I think there are similarities when it comes to caring for children and caring for elders with dementia. And in both cases, you have to be extra patient while being very observant as their moods, and even their likes and dislikes can change from day to day. And above all, take some time out of your busy schedule to really get to know your parents as people. Because there is a possibility that one day, they may not remember you due to dementia, but you should be able to recall what their hobbies are, what life experiences they’ve shared with you, and when the nurse has to complete the 30 to 40 page assessment with your input, it should be a breeze and not a bother.

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

Caffe B Marina Bay Sands

I had lunch with love and my photographer pal yesterday at CaffĂ© 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 CaffĂ© B at B1-15. Tel: 6887 3311.

ASUS ZenFone 3: Media Launch at 313@Somerset

ASUS Zenfone 3

I attended the media launch for the ASUS ZenFone 3 recently and while I’ve yet to review the phones personally, I have the phone specs you’ll want to know about. Also, the final section in this blogpost will involve my take on whether the mall (313@Somerset) is a suitable venue for hosting media launches of products like mobile phones. So read on…🙂

The Zenfone 3 comes in 3 colors, and there are a total of 3 models: there’s Zenfone 3, Zenfone 3 Deluxe and Zenfone 3 Ultra.

Let’s start with the basic model: ZenFone 3.

Available in 3 colors (Moonlight White, Shimmer Gold and Sapphire Black), the Zenfone 3 comes in 2 variants: 5.2 inch and 5.5 inch. The retail price (w/o contract) is S$398 and S$498 respectively. It’s available at all 3 telcos, ASUS Authorized resellers and ASUS Brand Stores.

Why I’d consider buying it: 77.3% screen-to-body ratio, 3GB RAM/32GB Storage, 16MP ASUS PixelMaster 3.0 Camera, 8MP 85deg wide-angle front camera – all for a reasonable price of $398 w/o contract.

Then there’s the ZenFone 3 Deluxe

Available in 2 colors (Sand Gold and Glacier Silver), the ZenFone 3 Deluxe will be available in late-September. The retail price is S$998 and S$1188.

Why I’d consider buying it: 79% screen-to-body ratio, 6GB RAM/64GB and 256GB UFS 2.0 storage, 23MP ASUS PixelMaster 3.0 Camera.

And finally, the ZenFone 3 Ultra

The phone costs S$778 (w/o contract) at ASUS Authorized resellers and ASUS Brand Stores.

Why you’d probably buy it: 4K UHD TV-grade video processor, 6.8-inch Full HD Display, 4600mAh battery which charges to 60% in 45 minutes and also functions as a power bank.

My take on the new phones: I’m overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the choices available. Such that I’d postpone my buying decision. Including the variants and color choices, there are probably 8 phones or more to choose from. It’s like having different versions of the iPhone launched at the same time – I won’t know which to buy. It’s probably easier to launch just one phone and call it the ‘best’ one at that point in time. Easier for me to make a decision to buy too.


ASUS ZenFone 3 Media Launch

I don’t usually pop by 313@Somerset for media launches, so this particular ASUS one might be the first (if my memory serves me well). There’s one main advantage of picking the mall for a media launch: the very accessible-location (just above an MRT station in town) means the turnout will be pretty good. *This is especially important since people aren’t being paid to show up and cover the launch.

In comparison with a previous ASUS launch that I attended, I noted three points:

(1) Everything has to be done ‘in public’

Unlike a previous launch held in a function room, you can’t conduct rehearsals out of the public eye. As I was there early (as I always am), I noted how the models wore skin-baring dresses with thigh-high (almost crotch level) splits. One eventually had to pin up the slit with a handful of safety pins.

What’s great is that the shoppers in the mall also get to know about the new phones while you’re introducing it to the media. And this also means that they help themselves to the buffet spread too, if you don’t ‘fence’ up the area. The upside: no food gets wasted.

(2) What you say might be heard throughout the mall

Behind closed doors in a function room or ballroom, one can make comparisons between a product and a competitor’s product. But out in a shopping mall, it might not be wise to openly state how a phone is superior to what is currently the #1-selling phone in Singapore (and possibly the world).

Likewise, it’s probably better not to state that the media get special freebies which the public won’t get… out in public. Yes, it *might* tempt some friends from the media to purchase the phones but people listening in might feel somewhat discriminated against. And with the microphones on, it’s unlikely that they can’t hear you.

(3) Put your new phones in the hands of the media, or they’ll use their own phones

I looked around me to see how many people were using ASUS phones, and only spotted one. The rest were using (you guessed it) iPhones, Samsung phones (yup, me too) and even a Sony one. Even the so-called ambassadors of the brand (probably on social media, not the official print and digital ambassadors) were using their own phones instead of ASUS phones. Yet they were still called up to the front to describe how much they enjoyed the ASUS experience. (Not enough to get an ASUS phone?)

I wondered how difficult it would be to let media friends have an ASUS phone in their hands while they attended the launch. They’ll take pictures using the new ASUS creation, upload them to social media and perhaps even buy it after. Sure, there’s an ‘experience corner’ but those are available at telcos and authorized resellers too. How about an experience just for the media?

*Finally, I’m left wondering whether it’s the ZenFone with capital ‘F’ or the Zenfone, as its usage is not quite consistent.

Interview with Swati Joshi, Author and CEO of Influenshine

Swati Joshi Influenshine

1) You are an engineer by training so how did you discover your passion lies in business and marketing? What prompted you to start your digital marketing firm, Influenshine?

I like to think of myself as a versatile person, and that I can become whatever I want to be. As a teenager from a small town in India trying to decide my future career path, I could only think of engineering as a profession that could lead to a feasible career and my desired lifestyle. I got into the best engineering university in India (Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur) through a lot of hard work and then joined a big corporation which allowed me to travel the world. Throughout my corporate journey, I felt I had much untapped potential. I knew I had more to give to the world. After meeting my husband, I found myself drawn further into his expertise areas of business and marketing.

While I was pregnant in 2015, I thought about the direction in which my life was going and the legacy I was going to leave. That’s when I first thought of taking matters into my own hands and starting my own company. Influenshine serves several businesses based in Asia and helps them enhance their digital presence. It is my way of starting to make an impact on the world.

2) What were the main challenges you faced in starting your company, and now in growing it?

The most challenging thing when I started the company was wearing multiple hats at the same time. It was daunting and time-consuming. But as the founder I wanted to get my hands dirty and be involved in every aspect of the company. I have now formed a team which can take care of many aspects of the business. Now the main challenge for me is find the best people who will take the company and the practice of digital marketing to the next level.

3) Which are your most memorable experiences of working with clients on their digital strategy? 

I love the part when clients are amazed at the reach they can get through digital campaigns. Traditionally, you could take out an ad in a magazine or newspaper for a few thousand dollars and hope for the best. But with digital ads, you can measure exactly how many people saw your campaign, clicked on it or took action. Clients are often pleasantly surprised at how much more cost effective this strategy is. It feels great to be able to craft campaigns that perform better than their expectations.

4) As a wife, mother, author and entrepreneur, what are your top time management tips?

Firstly, prioritize and delegate. If somebody else can do a task better than you can, give it to them. I try to get as much help as possible (that I can afford!) to help me both at home and at work. I try to focus on the ‘quality’ part instead of trying to do it all. It helps me keep my sanity!

Secondly, learn to use technology to help you. I list down my daily, weekly and long-term tasks and priorities, and save everything on my online calendar. I dedicate time slots for my work, and for my personal life. Everything from my client meetings, brainstorming for my next blog post to my daughter’s swim class is on my calendar. That way I don’t miss anything.

Thirdly, learn to say ‘No’ without being sorry about it. Saying ‘No’ to certain things means you are prioritizing and taking control of your time. Don’t let others waste your time if you can help it. Meetings can be a big time-sucker too – replace one with a phone call if it isn’t necessary.

5) You are also a blogger and you contribute articles to sites such as The Huffington Post. How did you get started with writing for The Huffington Post and which articles have gotten the most support from the online community?

Earlier this year, I decided to write more. I have always loved writing – I used to write and edit for my school and college publications. I started writing on LinkedIn, and to reach a bigger audience, I also decided to submit an article to the editors at The Huffington Post. They liked my article and set me up as a Contributor. I have written about 8 articles for them so far, and have always been amazed at the response I get and the number of tweets and mentions after each article. It has helped me reach a wider audience and I love publishing on their platform. The article that was ‘shared’ the most is about Video marketing, and I guess it really echoed the sentiments of the online community which is beginning to realize the potential of videos as a marketing tool.

6) Which are the books, people and/or movies that have made the biggest impact on your life?

I think there are too many to list! I learn so much from the books I read and the people I meet. I grew up reading a lot of science fiction, so technology has always been an area of interest. Of late I have been reading books about business and marketing – a few books which have stayed with me are: Good to Great, Made to Stick, Purple Cow and Zero to One.

7) You wrote the book ‘Untangling the Web: Developing a blueprint for Digital Marketing‘. Who should read it, and what edge does this book have over other existing books on Digital Marketing?

I got my understanding of digital marketing from many different sources. There’s a lot of information out there, yet it’s all scattered and fragmented, and isn’t structured well for the brain to process at one go. My book aims to give readers a concise overview of digital marketing, and help them derive the understanding and confidence needed to make decisions regarding business growth and strategy using digital marketing techniques. I try to take away some of the mystery behind the jargon, and help people gain a quick understanding of online marketing. So the book is ideal for owners of small and medium-sized businesses, entrepreneurs, and new marketing executives who want to grasp the fundamentals of digital marketing to enable them to make better decisions.

8) Which top (possibly international) brand would you like to have as your client, and how would you assist the company in doing even better?

I would love to work with a company like Unilever. They have an amazing leader in Paul Polman who believes in purpose and sustainability. He also has goals of increasing the company’s social impact, and I find that admirable. I would love to craft more stories around the company’s efforts in minimizing its environmental footprint and doing social good. We need more of such corporate stories!

9) You help companies craft their brand story. What is your personal brand story?

My personal brand story is about creating an impact, driven by passion and determination. Even since my childhood, I have always been passionate about stories and ideas, i.e. content, and how it influences minds and changes the world. I am determined to create top notch content that inspires and moves people. I believe I can empower business-owners and professionals, especially women like myself, to achieve greater success through the use of technology and powerful content. I would like to create more success stories through the knowledge I have acquired and through my wonderful team at Influenshine!


For a limited period starting from 3rd September 2016, you can download Swati’s new book for FREE here: