Friday, April 30, 2021

Bubble Tea Shops in Northpoint City Mall @ Yishun [Singapore]

Northpoint shopping centre wasn't that huge of a mall when it opened for business in the 1990s but after going through two major expansions; it almost tripled its original size and is now officially known as Northpoint City

While there are many shops now, one thing that caught my attention were the sheer number of bubble tea shops, and that's not counting those outside the mall. I was on leave a few days ago and decided to do a pictorial count.

Tiger Sugar on level one, near bus interchange - famous for their signature brown sugar pearl milk that was delish but could be overly sweet for those looking for a less sinful milk tea. 

Playmade by 丸作 on level one, near bus interchange - started business in Singapore in 2017, I was drawn to the shop because of its grape yakult green tea. It was an expensive indulgence and I eventually made do with a home-made version instead.

Gong Cha on level one, near Starbucks - one of the older brands, with about 1,500 brands worldwide. Took Singapore by storm initially with its delicious milk foam on top of the bubble tea.

LiHO Tea on level one, next to Maybank - the company behind this local bubble tea brand originally owned the franchise for Gong Cha. From memory, I only tried it once but by that age, I had severely cut down on bubble tea.

ShareTea on basement one, opposite Cold Storage; I never tried before despite passing by on quite a number of occasions. Maybe I should as its top seller is the classic milk tea.

CHICHA San Chen (吃茶三千) on basement one - with a shopfront that's easy to miss unless you walk past, this brand is one of the most popular bubble tea brands in Singapore now, with fans heaping praises on the quality of the tea leaves. 

iTea on basement two, along the new underground passage from Yishun MRT station to the bus interchange - business always appears to be good for this shop and I heard it's really value for money.

The Alley, also on basement two, along the new underground passage from Yishun MRT station to the bus interchange - one of the newest bubble tea shops in Northpoint, it's a brand I have heard before and would be keen to give it a try.

Xing Fu Tang (幸福堂), also on basement two, along the new underground passage from Yishun MRT station to the bus interchange - also one of the newest bubble tea shops in Northpoint, I think I should check out their signature oolong milk tea! 

Koi, on basement two, opposite NTUC Fairprice - easily one of the most popular bubble tea brands with about 36 outlets in Singapore (and another branch in the next building, at Yishun Ten), I still remember how much I enjoy their oolong milk tea in the past, when they first started operating in the little red dot! 

Nine Fresh (九鲜), on basement two, near Koi - famous for its taro ball signatures which are desserts rather than beverages, I decided to add this store in as they do sell decent tasting bubble milk tea! 

So did you do a count? I did and there are eleven bubble tea shops in Northpoint City! There could be more as I didn't bother adding in restaurants like Feng Taiwanese Food that served bubble teas too. Are Yishunians that crazy about bubble teas?!  

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

SL II Muffin @ Hong Lim Food Centre [Chinatown, Singapore] #honglimhawkercentre

It's no secret that I super love the baby muffins from Uggli Muffins and have been recommending stall in Toa Payoh to friends! While taste might differ from person to person, one common feedback is that the baby muffins were a tad expensive! 

Given that I don't have muffins often (most of the times, I indulged for free), I am not aware of the common pricing for the normal-sized muffins; hence, imagine my surprise when I realized that the muffins sold at this hawker centre in Hong Lim Food Centre cost, generally, S$1.50 apiece! It's about doubled the size of  Uggli Muffins yet priced only about 20% more.

I am no stranger to the stall as I am quite a frequent patron to Hong Lim Food Centre and always noticed a queue, especially during lunchtime! For reasons unknown to me, I always thought it's called SLJ Muffin and its correct name is SL II Muffin / SL Two Muffin

Whatever the case, let's buy half a dozen although there are 14 flavours to choose from! My selection is limited to apple cinnamon, banana, walnut, chocolate chip, lemon and cranberries! 

First one to stuff into my mouth is definitely the banana muffin which I had to wait an additional five minutes for as the batch was still baking in the oven. A well-worth wait, if you ask me. 

Its exterior was crumbly, peppered with tiny pieces of banana and featured a thin, crisp layer that you could jolly well enhance in the oven / air fryer, as I did with the rest over the past few days. The inside was fluffy soft, buttery and just the right sweetness for me!  

Now that I have the muffins from SL II Muffin, I did think that Uggli Muffins were indeed pricey. But I would still occasionally visit Uggli Muffins for a simple reason; I love the muffins' crisp edges! It would be such a waste for me to just attack the tops of SL II Muffin and throw the bottoms away.... 

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Address
538 Upper Cross St, #02-32, 
Hong Lim Hawker Centre,
Singapore 050538

Map
As above.

Menu
As above.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Weak and Sore Shoulder - Let's See if Bloodletting (Traditional Chinese Medicine) would Help

For the past few weeks, I have been nursing a sore and weak left shoulder and I decided enough is enough; the polyclinic said it's not a major issue and I headed for acupuncture via the traditional Chinese medicine mode instead.

The physician suggested bloodletting instead and the above was the result! I didn't manage to take any photograph as I was lying flat down although I did feel the soreness of an acupuncture with one needle, then a lot of needles and finally the suction of the cup.

More bloodletting and with me sitting up; it's easier to take pictures! As you can see, the blood were oozing from the needle holes which were a result of this staple-like equipment that rapidly pierced through my skin! 

Another cup had an attached tube stuffed with paper towel and cotton wool. As you can see, the one without the tube had amassed quite a bit of blood. 

After removal; I bet the area would start bruising tomorrow. To be honest, I was all prepared for a bit of suffering, so long my shoulder can regain its strength and I can continue with my push-ups.

The two cups, with my blood in it. 

According to the physician, there were blood clots and bloodletting would improve blood circulation and help alleviate the symptoms my shoulder was feeling. I am not as convinced about the blood clots as blood coagulates shortly after it is exposed. What the case, my wish is simple; please make my shoulder well again.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Alex's Birthday 2021

It was Alex's birthday a week plus ago and since he lives with me; I decided to surprise him with a
classic original cake from Jelly Hearts when the clock struck midnight! I didn't manage to do so at exactly 12.00am as the candles kept moving due to the jelly! 

And the poor birthday boy had to quickly blow the lighted candles as the fire was on the verge of cooking the jelly! Oh well, we had a good laugh over it and that's a good start to his birthday. 

I have known him for more than 17 years and counted him as one of my closest friends who is aware of my good and bad traits, including my crazily bad temper. Of course he is no saint too and over the years, we just sort of complemented each other and knew when not to press certain buttons! 

He still looks young for his age and many people would also agree that as far as character is concerned, he didn't really change over the years; still as childish and as ignorant as I was, albeit with a lot more body aches. 

p.s. the cake from Jelly Hearts is not bad and I thought this would be a good alternative if you are sick of normal cakes. This original classic one had a cheesecake layer in between the biscuit base and jelly with strawberries.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

1-Altitude Rooftop Bar & Lounge - 360-Degree View on Top of One of The Tallest Buildings in Singapore!

I haven't been much of a drinking person until recent years and even then, I prefer to drink at home given how pricey alcoholic beverages can be in Singapore! However, there's the occasional indulgence and today, we are going to a popular bar located on the rooftop of one of Singapore's tallest skyscrapers; One Raffles Place

1-Altitude - entrance is via tower one of One Raffles Place, which used to be known as OUB Centre. Don't bother going into the shopping wing as there's no direct connection to the rooftop bar. To make it easier for you to navigate, you just need cross the road from the opposite UOB Plaza and should be able to spot the above entrance. 

Our destination; level 63, 1-Altitude Rooftop Bar

Unlike most enclosed lifts bringing you up to the viewing gallery, the ones at One Raffles Place allows interval outdoor views as the lift shot up.

Stopped at level 62 as a different lift would send us to the rooftop. Having been to both Taipei 101 (Taiwan) and Sky100 (Hong Kong), both of which are taller than One Raffles Place, I continued to have that butterflies in the tummy feeling!

 
Sight in front of us as we stepped out; okay, quite a bummer as I was expecting the impressive Singapore skyline! Personally, I don't think people would want to be seated at this hollowed arena, given the minimum spending and thought it would be better for the operator to build a tent in case of wet weather.

Anyway, let's climb up another flight of stairs.

At 282 metres above sea level, it's not an exaggeration to write that 1-Altitude Rooftop Bar towers over the other buildings at Singapore's central business district and it felt almost like an oasis amidst the clouds, as if I am invited to a drink in heaven upon my death.

I have always looked up to Marina Bay Sands and this was a rare opportunity to look down to it! Being the instagram era, it's a definite that many of us would whip out my mobile phones and shoot photo after photo. 

Seats given to us gave us a direct view of the Marina Bay area. As mentioned on my subject title, the rooftop bar gave a 360-degree view and this facing appeared to be the best! 

Another facing; towards the west where Chinatown is! Bet you can recognise that iconic People's Park Complex on the centre left of the photo. 

Good thing about this facing; the sunset view.

I have no idea how true this is but 1-Altitude was said to be the highest al fresco bar in the world! You  may refer to the list here for other notable rooftop bars in the world

Since it's touted as a bar, I was wondering if kids would be allowed. Seeing this family confirmed that kids are allowed; so feel free to arrange for a family get together at the world's highest al fresco bar! Note to ensure you adhere to the safe management measures; at the moment, no more than 8 persons.

This corner would be the best place to replicate that titanic moment; albeit high up in the sky instead of right out in the ocean. Given my fear for height, I am happy to just take photos.

Panorama of the marina bay area; with the floating platform right in front, I can imagine the high demand during the national day parade as this would be a perfect spot for fireworks! 

Can you spot the numerous structures here? Swissotel which used to be the tallest hotel in the world, the national gallery (former supreme court), padang (green field), the esplanade (known affectionately as the durian), the UFO-inspired supreme court, saint andrew's cathedral etc. 

Next 'door' neighbour; UOB Plaza.

A new skyscraper in the works - would this feature another rooftop bar to hype up the competition? Anyway, I always wonder how they manage to construct the cranes on top of the buildings? And after completion of the building, how would they be brought down? 

I am going for a staycation at this area tomorrow! Interesting trivia; do you know that three hawker centres can be found within this photograph? Smith Street on the left, people's park in the center and hong lim on the right! 

That empty plot of reclaimed land would have towering buildings in the near future! In land scare Singapore, continuous building, especially in such high prime area, is the way to go unless there's a historical link like the padang.

Am really keen to have a staycation at Ascott Raffles Place if the borders don't open soon. My priority, however, would be Marina Bay Sands though....

Sunset in the west!

It's a pity that the sky was overcast on the day of our visit and we can't help noticing that the rainclouds were inching slowly towards our direction! :( 

Less than 25 minutes after we were seated, we were asked to move as it had started drizzling. We could return to the rooftop bar should the rain subside but sadly, it didn't relent until we were about to leave. In a way, I should be happy that I still manage to take some photos. 

Sixty One Lounge - the enclosed area that we would be holed in for the next few hours. The good thing about this over the rooftop bar is that there's air-conditioning. 

For 3 persons, we were given quite a good seat which would sit 4 comfortably. 

An hour later, we were requested to move again, this time to the less comfortable high chairs with cocktail tables place in the middle of the lounge. Can't complain much as the group taking over had like 6-7 persons. 

Level 61 is still at a towering height and despite the dark environment, you do have full length windows on one side where you can continue to marvel at the skyline.

Only two facings but better than nothing and there's a glass table for you to place your drink if you prefer to enjoy the view in front of you. Well, that's the reason for coming to a rooftop bar right? Talking about drinks, it's time to review the food and drinks we had! 

Cookies and Cream Cookie Boozy Milk Shake
- nice and sweet with a manageable level of alcohol that's not overpowering. Ingredients include oreo, vanilla ice cream, whiskey and baileys. 

Temasek Smash - interestingly unique and tasted zesty with just a light hint of spiciness; note, you might find a tingling on your lips after a while, as I did. It has fresh mango (which I didn't taste), fresh red chilli, fresh ginger, gin, pineapple liquer, pineapple juice and sugar.  

Floral in Bloom - yet another cocktail. Light and refreshing; it was made of pomegranate seeds, gin, triple sec, cucumber syrup, pink grapefruit juice and fresh lime juice. I prefer Temasek Smash though.

Long Island Tea and Mojito; these shouldn't need any introduction! I can't drink without filling my tummy with food and let's continue with our food reviews.

1-Altitude Signature Grilled Seafood Platter
- one of the supposedly 8 must-haves at 1-Altitude, this luxurious platter had tiger prawns, squid, scallops, mussels, clams, octopus and oysters! 

Fresh, delicious seafood that didn't fail to impress us! Only issue is that there wasn't any carbohydrates like French fries, buttered rice and it's insufficient for three grown men.

French Fries with Truffle Oil - something I would order whenever I see it on the menu but this portion had just a very light truffle aroma and that's kind of a bummer. To look on the positive side, they were freshly fried and remained hot and crispy. 

Charred Iberico Pork Ribs - this was a major regret; the meat didn't slide off easily, it was just a tad spicy and the texture was mushy. I have had much better iberico pork ribs elsewhere.

Pulled Pork Mantou Sliders - while the pulled pork was better tasting than the pork ribs, I think it would be much better to replace this with chilli crabs. Why?

Because this would be the type of fried mantou that's absolutely perfect for chilli crab; pillow soft on the inside, crispy with just the right level of sweetness! I think these buns would give many seafood restaurants a run for their money. 

The Altitude Burger - another one of the eight must-haves, this had grilled wagyu MS8 beef patty, pimento peppers, caramelised onion and leek melting manchego, piquillo sauce and came with a serving of fries.

Great Kon advised me to "crush" the burger being taking a huge chomp! Good thing I took his advice as it was so juicy and incredibly full of flavour. Medium doneness beef patty was smoky, tender and went perfectly with this addictively delish, caramelised onion and leek melting manchego that I would die to know its recipe! 

Took a photograph of the facing overlooking Swissotel when we were about to leave Sixty One Lounge. Pity we didn't manage to check out the night views at the rooftop. 

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Frankly, I did enjoy my time at 1-Altitude with the spectacular view, the amazing cocktails and some of the food like seafood platter and the burger; it was sad that we didn't manage to stay throughout at the rooftop bar but well, we can't dictate the weather. Would love to be back but maybe when I strike lottery.

Address
1 Raffles Place 
Singapore 048616

Map
As above.

Website

Operating Hours
Mondays – Fridays: 5.30pm – 10.30pm 
Saturdays: 4.30pm – 10.30pm 
Sundays: 3.00pm – 10.30pm

Dress Code
Smart Casual.

Contacts
+656438 041 / info@1-altitude.com

Pricing
Cookies and Cream Cookie Boozy Milk Shake - S$18.00
Temasek Smash - S$20.00
Floral in Bloom - S$20.00
Long Island Tea - S$22.00
Mojito - S$22.00
1-Altitude Signature Grilled Seafood Platter - S$140.00
French Fries with Truffle Oil - S$15.00
Charred Iberico Pork Ribs - S$34.00
Pulled Pork Mantou Sliders - S$20.00
The Altitude Burger - S$34.00
(Subject to GST and Service Charge)

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