Saturday, April 30, 2022

Xun Wei Hotpot (寻味火锅) Buffet along Liang Seah Street @ Bugis [Singapore]

You don't usually see me suggest hot pot whenever I am dining out as I can easily do it at home. However, I wouldn't resist if friends offer and that's precisely the reason why I was at Liang Seah; the indisputable hotpot / steamboat street in Singapore! 

The street was in the news recently due to a violent slashing incident that had numerous videos, of multiple angles, being distributed on social media. Well, I don't really care as my focus was on the birthday treat by a dear friend at XunWei Hotpot (寻味火锅).

Space was limited with just about 7-8 tables! I wandered how the hotpot restaurant survived when safe management measures were tightened as the distance between each table (back to back) was less than 1 meter.

Turned out there was a second floor.
It's where the washrooms are located too.

Slightly more spacious on level two. Since we were quite early (about 5pm), this section wasn't operational but I heard from my friend that the eatery is always full at night and his usual dining timing is about 8-9pm. 

What's the relevance between Xun Wei and the monkey god? 
I noticed quite a lot of artwork similar to the above. 

A box of tissue on the table; important thing to have! I ever mentioned before that dining establishments in Singapore need to up their game, instead of charging customers things like plain water and tissues.  

Self served buffet wasn't allowed then and we can only order from the above piece of paper, with the quantity we wish to have. Not everything was free; mostly only the items on the right. I counted; 63 items ranging from meat, vegetables, fungi, vermicelli to even cooked food.

Condiment bar where you can mix your own dipping sauces! To me, this is the most important reason for me to dine in hotpot restaurants as I am quite fixated on what to have yet too lazy to replicate the same at home.

Beverages were included in the buffet pricing and I thought we were just limited to wintermelon juice, sour plum juice and plain water. It's actually fine with me since the buffet pricing of S$23.80+ on weekdays (Mondays - Thursdays), with a 2-hour limit, was very reasonable. 

But there were more drinks! 
You can also choose from 7-up, Pepsi & Pokka Green Tea! 

That's not all; there was an automatic drink dispenser.
It had blackcurrant juice, barley and calamansi juice! 

What's required after a meal? Ice cream of course!
There were strawberry, chocolate and vanilla.

Fruits were included too; not many but I was already satisfied with the sweet watermelon and the even sweeter rock melon! Contrary to most people, I like having fruits before my meal; mainly because I can self service. 

My preferred dipping sauce which usually consisted of sesame sauce, peanut sauce, a teaspoon of sugar and loads of spring onions / coriander. If fried peanuts were available, I would add them too. 

Our double pot; mala and tomato sauce! I am not that big on soup and would go for tomato soup, if it was up for grab. This was above average even though definitely couldn't beat the one from Haidilao

The arrival of the raw ingredients! Contrary to some online comments, we were served quite fast and this came within ten minutes from us stepping into the dining establishment. Likely because we were too early and the crowd hadn't descended yet.

For me, buffets mean I should avoid stomach fillers like rice and noodle, and concentrate on more expensive items like US beef slices, where each of us ordered no less than five portions, each! 

Another worth it item would be prawns and I was surprised to see such large prawns! The lala can be removed; had a sandy taste to them and they are troublesome to handle. 

Prawns tasted fresh and delicious! If my elder sister were with me, I bet she could easily help herself to no less than 20; in addition, she would likely help me peel too. *loved*

Scallops were overcooked; my fault.
Nonetheless, prawns over scallops for me.

Aside from the above, other raw meat we ordered included handmade pork ball, handmade beef ball. Latter was pretty good, with a strong beef flavor. I had cheese tofu; insufficient cheese in my opinion! 

My friend was right; the shabu shabu US beef slices were incredibly juicy with lots of fats at the edges. Perfect for my nutty dipping sauce! I was secretly screaming in ecstasy every time I put a slice into my mouth; at least until my last portion of beef slices.

I saw pumpkin pancakes on the menu and decided to order one serving to try out! One serving equated to four pieces and that's a bit too much to try for two persons. 

Texture wise, it had a nice breaded crispiness that some dim sum restaurants failed to even attain. The pumpkin filling was soft yet sticky like nian gao; only issue for me was that it could have been sweeter.

Deep fried buns were recommended!
C'mon, they would have tasted alright with the condensed milk! 

Actually not bad with a crunchy shell; albeit inside wasn't the fluffiness I prefer. Whatever the case, the condensed milk dip did a wonderful job in enhancing its palatability. 

Burp! I was stuffed! At my age, buffets are no longer as enjoyable as my intake had reduced so much as compared to my teenage days, when I can easily down 8 slices of pizza, 1 plate of pasta, and two bowls of lasagna. 

My friend can still eat ice cream!
p.s. I don't like cremo ice cream.

I shouldn't have filled myself with water though. In addition to four cans of pokka green tea, I also had two glasses of blackcurrant juice (ribena tastealike). 


Honestly, I was happy with the buffet. Indicated as S$23.80+ from Mondays to Thursdays, it was a steal, especially when you factor in the fact that drinks were free, the beef slices were good and the prawns were big! I can't comment on the vegetables but they did appear green and fresh. 

As this meal was a treat, I didn't notice the receipt until I was preparing for this review. My understanding is that the + beside the pricing usually refer to service charge or GST but in this case, both were added. Furthermore, soup base was separately charged at S$8.00, which I didn't remember was mentioned to us. My friend was cool to it though since he paid about S$30 a head every time he visited but to me; businesses shouldn't be sneaky about their pricing! 

28 Liang Seah Street, 
Singapore 189049
(Near Bugis MRT Station)

As above.

Facebook Page
Soup Base - S$8.00
Buffet - S$23.80 per person
(Subject to GST and Service Charge)

Friday, April 29, 2022

明榮四炒 - Local Delights like Hokkien Mee, Char Kway Teow @ Food Loft Yishun Block 717 [Singapore]

Have I mentioned in this blog before that I totally love where I stay? It's a short walk to Yishun MRT station, 5 minutes' away from my parents' home, and there are three coffeeshops near me!

There's one coffeeshop I seldom visit; located at block 717, I am, just not as motivated because I had to wait for the bloody traffic lights. For an impatient person, it's excruciating to wait for the green man! Furthermore, it's not sheltered all the way. 

Whatever the case, I decided to meet up with my mom and elder sister for lunch a few days ago since I was working from home, and thought to give the coffee shop a try! From a few online reviews, people seemed to enjoy the char kway teow and hokkien from the above stall. 

Hokkien Mee - since there were four of us, including Alex, I didn't have to procrastinate on what to order as all of can share the food. First up was the plate of almost overflowing hokkien mee! 

I personally thought it was not bad tasting with a discernable prawn stock, just that there wasn't much of a wok hei. whereas the rest felt that the flavor can be improved. In Yishun, the best hokkien mee is near Northpoint and you may refer to the location here

Char Kway Teow - this should be considered as my favorite local food although I am quite resistant to trying new stalls given the high calorie count; about 744 calories and my daily exercise expends only about 500-600 calories.

Strangely, this had more wok hei and had that nostalgia feel. Obviously, the large pieces of crispy pork lard enhanced the enjoyment; only issue was that I could do with a lot more pork lard, like the amount I was given at Ayer Rajah Hawker Centre

Burp - shall return for the char kway teow and the next time, I shall ask for more sweet sauce and an extra egg. Of course, extra pork lard too! That would have been so, so shiok! 


Block 717,  Yishun Street 71, 
#01-335, Food Loft,
Singapore 760717

As above.

As above.

Hokkien Mee - S$4.50
Char Kway Teow - S$4.00

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Easter Brunch Set Menu & A Surprise Birthday Party @ The Dempsey Cookhouse & Bar [Singapore]

The dempsey area is no stranger to me as it was the location of the HQ Medical Corps more than two decades ago and I had the opportunity to visit once, for reasons I have clean forgotten. 

Since then, the area transformed from a stale, boring arena to become the happening lifestyle hub we know today. My last patronage was easily more than five years ago and if not for a surprise birthday party I was invited to, at The Dempsey Cookhouse & Bar, I doubt I would visit as it's not that convenient without a car! 

While the exterior of the building appeared rather unassuming, the interior was another story altogether. It was like separated into four different sections, each with their own concept and I was almost mistaken that there were four restaurants.

I was brought into a private room where the surprise birthday party would be taking place! It was actually organized by the wife of a former colleague and I am honored by the invitation as the regulations then stipulated a maximum of no more than 10 persons for meal gathering. 

Interestingly, for a guy who was always late, I was the first to reach! 
Decided to spend the time taking selfie. p.s. this was the best picture. 

Table layout - smelt of high class setting and I guess this can be confirmed by the large number of expatriates who formed the main customer base for the cookhouse

Start of lunch with the arrival of the birthday boy! I am seldom impressed with the complimentary bread that was served as they were often just stomach fillers with feeble attempt to excite the taste buds. 

Lychee Raspberry Bellini - as there was a minimum spent for the private room,  I ordered a cocktail. Tasted pretty good although forgettable. I was expecting a bit more effort in the presentation. 

Crab Lettuce Cups - my starter which sounded like something I would like, given the combination of seafood and vegetables. Truth was, the filling was salty with a touch of pepper and a spicy tinge. Strangely, it failed to radiate the seafood goodness that would have wowed us.

Crunchy Spiced French Toast - I was deliberating between this and the crackling chicken for my main! It won partly because I love French toast although more often than not; it was disappointment that greeted me. 

Thankfully, this was amazing! Smelt of cinnamon, I love the sweet, crisp exterior of the toast and the slices of delish bacon which were not rock hard. Someone gives me the recipe for both items please! 

Add the syrup for enhanced deliciousness! 
Only thing I didn't like; the sour tasting apple.

Warm Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream - dessert, the last segment for our 3-course meal. Purpose of the above photo was to show you another cocktail I had; the Yuzu Drop, which was tastier than Lychee Raspberry Bellini.

Proper picture for my dessert.

I was telling a friend recently that with the proliferation of gelato parlors in Singapore, the chance of finding good vanilla ice cream is high! The one here didn't disappoint although my main focus was on the lava cake, which oozed alright but was a tad bitter for me. 

What's a birthday without a cake?! 

Custom made from Baker's Brew at short notice, it was supposed to be the 3D image of Tiger beer but the birthday boy is more a Heineken drinker. 

Frankly, I usually feel that such cakes are pretty yet not delicious. This changed my perception; the cream was nice without being cloying and the sponge layers were soft, fluffy and had a nice earl grey lavender flavor. Yummy! 


17D Dempsey Rd, Singapore 249676

As above.

Set Menu for Easter Brunch
As above. 
For other menus, visit their website here

Easter Brunch Set Menu - S$58.00
Lychee Raspberry Bellini - S$22.00
Yuzu Drop - S$24.00
(Subject to Service Charge and GST)