Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hakata Ippudo SG (一风堂) @ Westgate [Next to Jurong East MRT Station]

When Japanese ramen started gaining popularity a few years ago, i had the good fortune to try quite a number of reputable ramen restaurants that were specially brought in from Japan. 

The one that eventually caught my heart was Ippudo Ramen at Mandarin Gallery. Four years have passed since and today, i am going to blog on Ippudo's newest branch in Singapore's latest shopping centre; Westgate! 

You may refer to my original review here as i realised the items we ordered in Wesgate's Ippudo were exactly the same as what we had then. For example, the Hakata gyozas were as delicious, and as TINY as i remember. 

Tori Karaage was hot and juicy with a marvellous crunch; other than that, i could not find much flavour excitement in what was essentially a piece of deep fried chicken. 

Akamaru Shinaji - with miso paste and garlic oil, this tasted plain yet had a smooth savouriness that totally appealed to my middle-aged palate. It was a tad too oily initially although i eventually came to the conclusion i didn't mix as vigorously as i should from the start.

Noodles, surprisingly, didn't appeal to me. You could actually choose the texture you want (soft, medium, hard or very hard) and i guess i made the wrong choice; my fault, my responsibility. 

I didn't show the picture here but the main star for that day was definitely the two pieces of pork belly! The beginning dullness of the meat was quickly replaced with bursts of wonderful, succulent flavour as i slowly chewed through! Absolute bliss! 


3, Gateway Drive, #03-03, Westgate 
[Next to Jurong East MRT Station]

Hakata Gyozas (5s) - S$7.00
Tori Karaage - S$8.00
Akamaru Shinaji - S$15.00
[Subject to GST and Service Charge]

Website (including menu)

Additional Information
There seems to be more rules now; besides the common practice of not allowing you to be seated unless all members are present, you are not supposed to celebrate birthday in their premises and there is no such thing as takeaways or packing of leftover food! 

I took offence with the last one since i have a high tendency to over-order! And i don't see the point of wasting food i PAID for. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Volunteering at Bukit Brown Cemetery Again and the Significance of 皇清 on Tombstones

It was a breezy Saturday morning at 9am and instead of lazing on my bed as i usually do on weekends, i was already standing right in front of the ancient gates of Bukit Brown Cemetery!

Our destination today was once again, a place i would unlikely venture to without proper guidance. See that red circle? That's where we were supposed to go and it was so deep in! 

The 'landmarks' would have to be these two Guanyin statues. Walk further in and you would reach the place where the four of us would be toiling our morning away. 

When i saw the patch of overgrown shrubs ahead of me, i thought it would not take too long for us to clear the area and i would likely be able to get back home comfortably by 12 noon.

Sadly, the facade was so deceiving! It was a few meters deep and after 30 minutes of hard labour, i honestly felt it was a mammoth task that bordered on the fringe of impossibility! 

Time to rest and enjoy the surrounding scenery!

After another 1 hour of continuous chopping, sawing and snipping, we managed to uncover more tombstones in lines of two at the back. Was this a cluster burial? There was also something very intriguing; the two words 皇清 on positions that would normally indicate the hometown of the deceased.

Ee-hoon called her friend to check out the tombs and before long, he came equipped with his trusty notebook, camera and chalk to record the newly exposed findings.

The chalk helped a lot to clarify the words! Anyway, i just checked the internet and there was in fact a post on the two words i mentioned earlier (in Chinese though; click here if you are interested). I was under the assumption 皇清 referred to the royal descendants of the deposed Qing dynasty but according to the post, it merely meant the citizens of the Qing dynasty. 

Anyway, it was another round of clearing and boy did we manage to clear a lot! To me, i thought this was way better than gym and in a way, more meaningful.

Found a liana that was shaped like a snake; my ultimate nemesis! It was so freaky to see it "bleeding" when i severed it. If it was a real snake, you would me scrambling far far away! 

More tombstones at the back! 

Ee-hoon striking a post! She loves to take our photographs even though we are very camera shy people and it was payback time! Not that it mattered much to her since she is a very sporty person.

Contrast this to the original picture i posted in the beginning of this post. Look so different right?!?!!? This was not even the "done" picture as I had to leave earlier due to a prior agreement to return home by 12 noon to return the car! The rest actually continued for another one more hour, i heard. 

Their commitment is really quite remarkable!


Location of Tombs
Block 4, Division C

Monday, February 24, 2014

Peony Jade Clarke Quay - Food Tasting for a Wedding Banquet

I am hesitant to write of this food tasting session at Peony Jade as it was a done deal so long ago. Just to give you a small hint, i attended the wedding in September 2013 and the food tasting had to be much earlier than that!

Notwithstanding the above, i guess this post might still be beneficial for couples who are looking for venues to hold their wedding. I would have loved to blog about what i had on the actual day but the stress of being the emcee for the banquet made it impossible for me to concentrate on the food.

Sauteed Fresh Pawns with Salty Creamy Yolk
Creamy is the right word to describe the dish; this thick creaminess layered on the prawns set it apart from others competitors as it was infused with so much salted egg yolk flavour! 

Braised Premier Shark's Fin Bouillon 
with Dried Conpoy
Advocates of anti shark's fin soup would not be happy to see this but as i have mentioned to many, eating any living creature is cruel, even the hens who laid eggs are kept in horrendous conditions and they have to suffer all the way till the day they die! 

Coming back to the dish, the broth was really quite appetising and there were many thick pieces of fins that would appeal to the older generation who sees shark's fins as one of the must-haves in wedding banquets. 

Deep Fried Soon Hock Hong Kong style
I would have preferred the steamed version which could have easily brought out the freshness of the expensive fish even though this deep fried version was pretty good. 

Braised Broccoli with Abalone Mushroom
Abalone is an expensive ingredient that didn't quite impress me and i would rather put my hands up for abalone mushrooms! Besides the tasty mushrooms, the braised broccoli was a godsend featuring a soft yet crunchy texture. 

Roasted Crispy Free Range Chicken
Free range chickens would be what some farms tagged as "happy" chickens as they have a wider space to run about and hence, would not feel stressed compared to one living in a small hatch with hardly any room.

I, for one, loved the meat, the cracker and the thin, crispy layer of chicken fats! The rest found this quite normal; another piece of evidence to prove that i am in fact a very passive eater! 

Chilled Cream of Sago with Honeydew
Disregarding the last sentence for the happy chicken, this was just too normal and unfitting for a wedding banquet! In the end, a request was put in to change it to red bean paste on the actual day.


A survey form was passed to the "newly weds" for their comments and it was obvious the feedback was taken seriously. Do take note, however, that cooking for one table versus cooking for twenty tables at one go can be incredibly stressful for anyone; hence, give and take a bit lah. 

After the sumptuous dinner, it was time to choose wedding favours! 

Selection was limited and i guess it would not surprise many that my pick was of course the uber cute piggies coin bank that came in bride and bridegroom outfit! 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Holland Village XO Fish Head Bee Hoon (荷兰村xo鱼头米粉) - The Infamous One @ Block 19A, Dover Crescent [Singapore]

The famous Holland Village XO fish head bee hoon was at the same time infamous for their incredibly horrible customer service and this was something my friend personally encountered a few years ago when we visited.

As i mentioned, it has been a few years and the stall in Holland Village is now over at another place nearer to Singapore Polytechnic; which wasn't that far from its original location. The address has changed but from what i read online, the bad attitude remains as it is.

XO Fish Bee Hoon
The milky broth was as delightful as i remember, with a heavy infusion of cognac that was surprisingly quite appetising for a man who doesn't hold his liquor well. Maybe it helped to have slices of garlic enhancing the flavour.

Fish meat was chunky although i would have expected nothing less for S$7. On the topic of XO in soup, Ms Thng brought up an interesting point; wouldn't it be easier if we bring along our own bottle of XO and add as much as we want.

Prawn Paste Chicken
In my honest opinion, the har cheong kai here was a much bigger star than the XO bee hoon; the crispy skin broke easily, revealing steaming hot chicken flesh that was optimally cooked and tasted so yummy with that desirable prawn paste aroma that wasn't excessively salty like some places! 


19A Dover Crescent, #01-05, 
Jumbo Coffee Hub [next to Singapore Polytechnic]

As above

Opening Hours
11.30am to 2.00pm
5.00pm to 11.00pm

XO Fish Bee Hoon - S$7 (1-person)
Prawn Paste Chicken - S$12

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Frozen Tundra - The New Home for Inuka, World's First Polar Bear Born in the Tropics! @ Singapore Zoo

Late last year, our beloved Mrs Kon got all four of us free entries to the Singapore Zoo and although we have been there countless times, that was the very first time we checked out the pretty new exhibit; Frozen Tundra!

Some of you might be aware that Frozen Tundra is the new home for Inuka, our local-born polar bear who is also the first polar bear to be born in the tropics! And boy was the facility so much bigger than his last dwelling! 

We were ten minutes early for the 10am feeding show and decided to explore the surroundings. 

Unlike the previous polar bear exhibit, there is now an indoor section where we can seek cool, air conditioned respite from the sunny weather! Yooooohooo!

If there is a bed, i would sleep just as comfortably as this raccoon dog in one of the exhibits. Besides Inuka and raccoon dogs, you can also wolverines (a weasel type animal) behind thick glass panels. 

Most people's interest, however, was fixated on only one animal. Guess i don't need to tell you which one.

Inuka, who was basking under the hot sun in a position that could only be described as relaxing! Honestly, i have never felt so envious of an animal until then. Bloody bastard!

But, Inuka has a rather lonely life in this big enclosure. His father, Nanook, passed away in 1995 whereas the mother, Sheba, had to be put down in 2012. His only companions were zookeepers who had no idea how to speak polar bear language. 

Sadness aside, it's time for the feeding show!

The now twenty-four year bear was mindful that it was "makan time" and plonked into the water to prepare himself for some visitor-needed interaction.

I can fully understand that enthusiastic parents would not want to miss the opportunity for their kids to get as close as possible to the water tan but do spare a thought for the rest of us!!! You would not want me to block your view as well right?

Being Asians, we are less likely to voice out our annoyance and would merely just grumble within ourselves. Thankfully, the presenter would firmly ask the parents (or any adult) to fall back to their seats! 

She was more sympathetic towards young kids who had their faces plastered to the glass wall. Anyway, you could always have a more close up photography session with Inuka after the show! I would share with you shortly. 

More pictures of Inuka during the show. 

The star of the show sure knows how to work his charm and would briefly glance at the audience while he was underwater! I didn't manage to get those shots though, given my poor photography skill. 

This is it; the close up photography session with a life sized replica of Inuka! You wouldn't really expect the real Inuka to take a picture with you, showing his full set of pointy white teeth right?!

By the way, you can also bring Inuka home! :)


For more information (ticket price, exact location etc) on the Singapore Zoo, please visit