Universal Studios Singapore with Indonesian Celebrity, Indra Bekti

And of course, local award-winning (unicorn) blogger, Smith Leong too:

Grace Tan and Smith Leong

*Peace* a.k.a #plottwist

Thanks to Migme, I’ve had the opportunity of meeting Indonesian celebs like Tarra Budiman, and most recently, Indra Bekti, too! Admittedly, I’d never even heard of them (here in Singapore) before I got to meet them. But they are ‘household names’ in Indonesia. Even though he was dressed most casually with a snapback and all, Indra kept getting stopped by Indonesian fans in Universal Studios Singapore.

A picture with Indra Bekti:

Indra Bekti and Grace Tan

What we are holding are cutout versions of the Migme mascot, Midori. I made these two, and added a red bow à la Hello Kitty on one of them. If you’d like to check out a social media platform that has proven to be a lot of fun for me: http://mig.me/u/thegracetan

A huge THANK YOU to Resorts World Sentosa and Universal Studios for the tickets and express passes. The new Puss in Boots ride will be a well-loved one…

… as Smith shows us with his pose:

(Lotsa thanks to Ronald for the following 3 pictures! They look awesome!)

Universal Studios Puss In Boots Ride

I do still prefer the ‘Revenge Of The Mummy’ ride over the Transformers one. The former is still as scary (or perhaps even more so now) – I’d taken the ride around the time it first opened.

Universal Studios Singapore Transformers Ride

You can tell the Indonesians really like Midori 😀

Universal Studios Singapore 1

If you’re heading to Universal Studios Singapore, well, express passes are the way to go. You can take the rides without having to queue for long. 🙂 We had lots of fun that day. Thanks, Migme and RWS/USS !!!~

National Flowers of the World (In My #Migmepedia)

I’ve been having fun on a new social media platform (*new in Singapore, but rather established elsewhere). Head over to Migme and look for me (‘thegracetan’) 😀 I’ve recently been doing a series of posts about the National Flowers of various countries over on Mig and this blogpost is a summary of the posts that I’ve uploaded.

-> Connect with me: http://mig.me/u/thegracetan <-

1) National Flower of Nepal

National Flower of Nepal

2) National Flower of Bangladesh

National Flower of Bangladesh

3) National Flower of India

National Flower of India

4) National Flower of Pakistan

National Flower of Pakistan

5) National Flower of Singapore

National Flower of Singapore

6) National Flower of Maldives

National Flower of Maldives

*repost of National Flower of Nepal*

National Flower of Nepal repost

7) National Flower of Indonesia

National Flower of Indonesia

8) National Flower of Korea

National Flower of Korea

9) National Flower of Malaysia

National Flower of Malaysia

10) National Flower of Syria

National Flower of Syria

My Sushi Dates: With Indonesian Celebrity, Tarra Budiman & With FoodPanda and Maki-San

I was not paid to go on these ‘sushi dates’ but I’m really thankful that Blogging has allowed me to have these once-in-a-lifetime experiences. To the people who wonder why I quit my S$114,000 job to become a blogger, I have to ask why not? 😀

There has been quite a bit of sushi-making lately. A fair amount of salmon sashimi involved too. So, in short, life’s been good! 😀 Not too long ago, I flew to Indonesia to learn how to make sushi from an Indonesian chef (read that blogpost here) and today, I made Panda Maki at Maki-San, upon FoodPanda’s invitation. Do you like sushi too? Well then, read on…

Here’s the video of me making sushi and winning the friendly competition previously… in Jakarta:

And today, I was at Maki-San at The Cathay, with my blogging students (Steven and Kirbie), and a number of other bloggers as well.

Maki-San FoodPanda

*Sidenote: I find it disgusting how some bloggers are perpetually late for ALL events. If you are gonna be late, and miss the chef’s demo, then you might as well not turn up, ya? And showing up late and having the PR folks scramble to find you a seat, and causing inconvenience to other bloggers who turned up on time because they have to make some space for you at their tables when they have already started making their panda maki? What a nuisance!

~

Anyway, it’s really difficult to make the panda maki look good. Mine looked almost decent:

Maki-San FoodPanda

But what I loved most has to be going behind the counter at Maki-San and personally customizing my own maki roll. Cue lots and lots of salmon sashimi:

Maki-San FoodPanda

I picked unagi, salmon sashimi, cheese, tuna, tamago and asparagus. Topped it off with Japanese mayo sauce. Probably the best sushi I’ll eat in 2015. 😀

Maki-San has a machine which dispenses the rice laid out neat and flat, IN SECONDS! Just slap on the seaweed and you are ready to add the other ingredients. And when you’ve rolled it all up, there is another machine which cuts the maki roll neatly and efficiently. Two thumbs up for the use of technology at Maki-San. I have to say that those machines are worth every pretty penny (or twenty thousand) paid.

~

I most certainly had fun today, though I very nearly didn’t turn up for this event. I got so many emails and one phone call regarding RSVP-ing for this event that I was wondering if the turnout was going to be poor, so the PR had to ensure every single blogger showed up. In any case, I had invited my blogging students to join me for this event so I had to go, despite not liking the need to rsvp MULTIPLE times. Registration did not happen at the stated time (in the email) and the event itself did not start on time either. So… ask us to come so early for what?! 

*ahem*

I had my students join me as firstly, I thought they might enjoy this maki-making experience, and two, because I know that newbie bloggers don’t often get the attention of PR agencies and don’t get the invites that more established bloggers receive.

So I’m doing for them what I wish I had in the past, when I had just started out on my blogging journey.

Same reason why I wrote my book ‘Blogging For A Living’ and why I conduct Blogging Workshops. These are all what I WISH I had back then.

To join me at my next blogging workshop, click here:

blogging workshop

*Update: From 1st to 31st March 2015, order from these participating restaurants (Maki-san, Fleeaway cafe, Big Bern’s, The Soup Spoon, Nara Thai Cuisine, La Nonna, Outback Steakhouse and Yoshinoya) via Foodpanda’s website or app, and S$1 from every order will go to the Children’s Cancer Foundation. Use code ‘MEALSHEAL15’ upon checkout. **Remember: this happens only in March, NOT this month. And S$1 is a small sum but… do your part for charity. 😉

Sushi-Making with Indonesian Celebrity, Tarra Budiman

I won a contest on social media platform, migme, and got to fly to Jakarta to meet Indonesian celebrity, Tarra Budiman. Apparently, he’s very popular in Indonesia and can be considered a household name. I’ve never even heard of him before this trip, but I found him to be really friendly and funny. Tarra speaks good English though I don’t speak a word of Bahasa, so filming this episode entirely in Bahasa was a tad challenging as I had no idea what the chef was saying. Thankfully, I’ve made sushi once before…

Grace Tan Tarra Budiman

In-between takes, Tarra and I had questions for the chef. And we found out that:

1) He doesn’t like sushi (wow!)

2) Where sushi-making is concerned, he is self-taught (double wow)

Here’s the unagi sushi that the chef did for us as a demo:

Sushi from chef

It’s really interesting how the end of 2014 has been for me. I’ve already done a ‘cooking video’ with local blogger extraordinaires Xiaxue (Wendy Cheng) and Dr Leslie Tay (check out the blogpost here), and now this video is with Indonesian celebrity, Tarra Budiman! I take it as a sign that more food videos are in store for me. LOL.

I’m very particular about the way my food looks, so I didn’t make 8 pieces (as had been done in the demo) and served up just 4 bigger pieces with the ends chopped off. We also had to spell out the word ‘migme’ on our dish, so I wrote it in mayonaise on a piece of seaweed instead. The squeeze bottle wasn’t cooperative so the writing turned out wonky.

Three pieces of sushi, after Tarra ate one for judging:

sushi for Tarra Budiman

I didn’t have the guts to tell the chef that the reason his sushi didn’t get clean ‘cuts’ is because he didn’t clean his knife with a wet cloth in-between slices. I definitely struggled with mine too, as the cloths were all dry. So there you go… sushi-making tip from me to you!

Sushi-making with Tarra Budiman

In this picture above, the chef is the dude in the red uniform, the guy next to him is the Indonesian winner of a migme contest (he happens to be a bricklayer), Tarra is in the blue shirt, and there I am making sushi under those bright lights.

In the end, I won the sushi-making contest as the sushi I made was judged to be of a more consistent height and all, but Tarra gave both of us contestants a cap each from his own brand ‘Shining Bright’!

And of course, I got it signed by Tarra! 😀

Grace Tan Tarra Budiman

Tarra Budiman Shining Bright

Tarra Budiman Cap Giveaway

~

Looking back, it IS kinda crazy to fly 1.5hours to Jakarta, take a 1 hour cab ride to my hotel, and another car journey of 2.5hours in horrible traffic to get to the Japanese restaurant for this sushi-making experience! The filming lasted a really long time as it is generally ‘rubber time’ in Indonesia, and people do not exactly turn up on time (maybe due to traffic) and nobody is in a rush to do anything.

By the time I got to my hotel and was ready for bed, it was about 2am Singapore time. (@_@)

But I did meet some great folks from migme: @reynachan from the migme Indonesia team was awesome (thank you for going snack shopping with me!), Tarra was not intimidating though he’s a big shot in Indonesia, and lotsa thanks to everyone who took me around for food (I wish I remember names better). 🙂

More on the flight, hotel and taxi-hiring experience in a bit. Stay tuned. 🙂