Sunday, 23 April 2017

Upin Hot Pot, Clarke Quay Central

My bro told me about Upin Hot Pot before he left for his exchange in Seoul and mentioned that the concept was very similar to Hai Di Lao but at a fraction of the price and without the queue! Love Hai Di Lao (especially the fresh ingredients and the yummy tomato soup base) but always felt it was a little too expensive and the queue was just too long, so I was really looking forward to trying Upin.

Made a reservation for Friday dinner with Zg, Tx and Ben and the place was full. No long queue at the door but there was a healthy crowd in the steamboat restaurant. We ordered the tomato soup base, the seafood soup base and the pork bone soup base. My all-time favourite was definitely still the tomato soup base, although I was also very fond of the seafood soup base. The pork bone soup base had a slight herbal taste so you either hate it or love it. We ordered a lot of ingredients (black pork, chicken, vegetables, mushrooms and assorted balls) and all of them were so fresh. The bill was approximately $35 per pax.

Service was great. The staff was attentive, helpful, and provided very good information when we asked about the various soup bases. They may not be hovering around all the time, and when it gets busy, it might take a while to call for a waiter or waitress, but generally I have no complaints. There was also a 变脸 performance halfway through the night!

Returned for lunch with friends from the office. Upin was extremely empty during lunchtime. In fact, I think we were one of two tables during that lunch. Great place for a quiet, peaceful chat over lunch. We tried the mala soup base, tomato soup base and seafood soup base. My friends enjoyed the mala but I am afraid of the spiciness so I did not take too much of it. 

Returned a third time with my aunts for lunch on a Sunday and, similarly, it was so empty! We ordered the tomato soup base, pork bone soup base, and mushroom soup base this time. The mushroom soup base was clear and fragrant, quite a good choice! 

I am so happy with Upin Hot Pot. Finally a place with great steamboat (quality ingredients, thick delicious soup base), good service, and reasonable pricing. Also helps a lot that we did not have to brave the crowd to enjoy such good steamboat!

#03-87 Clarke Quay Central

Sunday, 16 April 2017

A Noodle Story, Amoy Food Centre

I have always wanted to try Noodle Story but the queue at the stall (especially after they were listed in the Michelin Bib Gourmand Guide) was rather daunting and I never got around to battling the crowd to try this bowl of Singapore-style ramen.

So when TT suggested lunch at Noodle Story (largely because I needed to start saving for my upcoming wedding and house, thanks guys), SQ and I headed over in a heart beat. The queue was crazy long and TT kindly helped us queue (thanks again!) while I did the millennial thing to Instagram the long queue. After about 20 minutes, it was finally TT's turn and he returned with 3 bowls of noodles. We took the small bowls for $7. You could also choose the medium-sized bowls for $9.

The noodles were so, so good. Totally worthy of the long wait. Springy noodles in delicious sauce, juicy wantons, tender char siew, freshly-fried prawn wrapped in potato, and that running egg yolk <3. The soup was also surprisingly thick and fragrant, not the usual watery soup that goes with dry noodles. Recently, they have also started distributing wet tissues with each bowl of noodles!

I will definitely return often slurps. 

7 Maxwell Road
#01-39 Amoy Street Food Centre
Singapore 069111

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Open Farm Community

Throwback to Sunday brunch with Stef at Open Farm Community. Been wanting to try it out for the longest time but never got my lazy ass here because Dempsey is just rather far. So glad we took time off on a sunny Sunday morning to grab brunch together at Open Farm!

Love the greenery of the place, but was more thankful that the cafe was air-conditioned. 

Used our Entertainer App so we had 1-for-1 for our mains. 

Risotto:Saffron, choriso, cuttlefish, green peas, ebi. Very interesting combination and definitely a very special risotto. Love the savoury ebi with the fragrant saffron. 

Rigatoni, mushrooms, smoked pancetta, balsamic glaze. Very interesting dish too! Love the chewy rigatoni and the delicious sauce. 

Ended our brunch with coffee but was surprised when the staff came over to tell us that they needed our table as someone else had a reservation, just as our coffee was being served. They were nice about it and told us we could continue sitting outside in the al fresco area but we would have appreciated it if they had informed us that they needed our table before we ordered our coffee. At least we didn't have to sip our hot coffee in the heat outside and could have headed to another cafe in the area.

Still a good place for brunch, as long as you are seated in the air-conditioned area!

130E Minden Road
6471 0306

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Conrad Centennial Wedding Show

We were very interested in two hotels for our wedding lunch and Conrad is one of them. We met our coordinator a few weeks before the wedding show, and she was very friendly and responsive in the weeks we were communicating with her. We really liked Conrad's ballroom, the decoration, and we thought the location of the hotel would be great for our guests since it is right in the city center. So we were seriously considering signing our wedding package with Conrad during their wedding show.

Advice for future brides-to-be 

If you do not have time to read everything I have to share in the next few paragraphs, just remember this - if you intend to hold your wedding banquet at Conrad on a popular date, and you intend to secure your wedding date during the wedding show, you may wish to head to Conrad early in the morning and place your deposit even before the wedding show starts. We know this because we learnt the hard way…

So our proposed wedding date is apparently rather popular and we were told that it would be on a first-come-first-serve basis during the wedding show. Unlike other hotels which would share the wedding show perks before the wedding show and allow bookings with the perks before the wedding show, Conrad does neither and you would only know the perks and secure a booking with the perks on the day of the wedding show. 

As such, we asked our coordinator if we could meet earlier to place our deposit before the wedding show starts (registration starts at 11:30 am) and were told that it would be difficult as the sales team would be busy with preparation beforehand. Completely understandable so we decided that we shall be one of the first few to register when registration starts at 11:30 am in order to secure our proposed wedding date.  

We reached at 11 am and, to our utmost dismay, were told that another couple had arrived in the morning, placed the deposit, and booked the day we were looking at! I cannot describe how unfair and unpleasant I felt this was. We had made a similar request to meet earlier before the start of the wedding show but our request was rejected. Yet another couple, who did not have to take time to join Conrad for their wedding show and perhaps did not even have to pay for the wedding show, managed to secure the date even before the wedding show registration started!

For the sake of future couples who I hope would not suffer the same disappointment as us, I have written to the sales team and humbly suggested that for future wedding showcases, Conrad may wish to accept bookings of wedding dates only upon registration. Otherwise, if Conrad is going to accept bookings from the morning of the wedding showcase, this should be extended to all couples.

I am not sure if Conrad would change their internal policy (most likely not, but we shall see), but in the event they do not, future BTBs hoping to secure a popular wedding date should definitely go down early in the morning before the start of the wedding show and place your deposit. 

Why do we have a fixed wedding date?

The short answer is, the date was calculated for us and it was the only suitable date in the second half of 2018 for us. We could not have our wedding banquet in the earlier half of 2018 because of some personal reasons. To cut a long story short, we had to scramble and get another date in the middle of 2018. 

Wedding show

Eventually we did sign with Conrad because the food at the wedding show was great, the ballroom was beautiful, and service (aside from the glitch of booking wedding dates) was good. Our coordinator had been warm, friendly and approachable through the weeks and we really liked her. 

The LOVE theme with baby breaths and white hydrangeas, and a giant LOVE sign on stage. 

The HAPPINESS theme with the traditional red double-Xi sign on stage, and red roses with pink hydrangeas. 

The invitation cards.

It would have been a much better experience if we did not have to go through the unpleasantness and unfairness described above. But we trust that Conrad would deliver on the actual day and I would update our experience next year. 

If you wish to learn more about the package or my experience with Conrad so far, feel free to email me at

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Golden rules for wedding preparation

If you have caught up with Zg and/or I recently, you would probably know that we have (finally) started our wedding preparation. Frankly, there are so many to-dos, so many items to check off the list, and so many wedding vendors providing so many different services. All these choices just mean that it is very easy to forget that the wedding is just an event (albeit a very happy, meaningful and exciting one) and we still have the bigger task of enjoying our marriage thereafter.

So, while I still have clarity of thought and have not been completely suckered into signing a million things that we will probably regret, I have decided to set some golden rules which I hope we (I, mostly, since I am the more impulsive one) would remember in the months to come.
  • Stick to the budget. It is okay to exceed the budget by a little bit (up to $100) but it has to go if it is really too expensive. Just think about the amount of food that amount of money can buy and walk away. Recently, I have also been thinking about money in terms of the number of man-hours I have to put in to earn that amount of money. If the number of man-hours sounds too gross, then that item has to go. 
  • Don't have to please everybody. As long as we like it and we are happy, just smile and nod when the naysayers strike. There will always be naysayers and we don't have to mind what other people say. Frankly, why should we? It is our wedding and our money, and I do think we can decide for ourselves what we want to do thank you very much.  
  • Research. I'm a nut for researching so this one is easy. I think I research everything to the death of it so no problemo.
  • Know what you need and what you don't and don't budge. I'm stubborn as a mule and Zg is an Ox so we probably don't have a problem here too. People will probably have a harder time trying to convince us than we do resisting it. 
  • If you like something and the price is right GO FOR IT. Prices in the wedding industry only go north and vendors tend to increase their prices every year. So stop procrastinating, just go for it and hope that they do not pull down their shutters before your actual day. 
  • Have fun! Zg and I are pretty good at planning things in general (we are crazy fond of tables and spreadsheets) so I hope we would be able to have fun in the process of planning the wedding. We are also champion saikang warriors (otherwise known as staffers) so I think we should have no problem staffing ourselves. 
Hopefully I will get around to sharing my wedding preparation in the months to come!

Monday, 27 March 2017

Riverside Grilled Fish 江边城外

I love to eat fish but I'm not a big fan of whole fishes (i.e. with the bone and all). Plus, I am definitely not fond of ma la sauce because the spiciness makes my tongue numb. So I am pleasantly surprised that I fell in love with this place after my first visit with my friends at work!

The place was rather empty when we first visited, but fast forward to a couple of months later, and there is a sizable crowd at Riverside Grilled Fish now. No long queues (thank god) but definitely enough people to assure us that this place can survive in Raffles City.

The process is simple enough. You get to choose the fish, the sauce, and the side dishes which will be hidden under the fish. We usually go for the sea bass, the bean paste sauce (one of the two sauces which is not spicy), and lots of side dishes like mushroom, lotus root, luncheon meat, beancurd skin, konjac, and rice cakes.

The sea bass is always very fresh and delicious. The size of the fish varies (naturally) and sometimes we get a really large sea bass and sometimes a slightly smaller one. Not a biggie for me because we are always so full after the meal anyway. 

The sea bass has generally less bones so it was very easy to dig in and enjoy the fish with the sauce. 

The first time I came we also ordered the chinese sausage rice but realized we were so full from the fish that we could hardly finish the rice. Subsequently, we always ordered the 手抓饼 which was like roti prata and soaked up the sauce really well. 

Riverside Grilled Fish is a good place for gatherings since all of us will be huddled around a table attacking the fish together. That is probably the reason why we keep returning to this place when we need a good lunch, and for birthdays and farewells.

 252 North Bridge Road, Raffles City Shopping Centre,#B1-06/07, Raffles City Shopping Centre, 179103
6352 2035

Monday, 13 March 2017

Something just like this

"Where'd you wanna go?
How much you wanna risk?
I'm not looking for somebody
With some superhuman gifts
Some superhero
Some fairytale bliss
Just something I can turn to
Somebody I can miss"

Somebody who will accompany me to send my phone into the Samsung service centre, somebody who will treat me to dinner on Friday because I just spent $470 on my screen, (bloody hell, I didn't know LCD screens were so expensive until today), somebody whose brother lent me a spare phone (yay, thanks LG!), and somebody who will meet me after work to pick up my phone on a Monday night sans car. 

Painful expensive lesson to learn that curved screens are extremely vulnerable. But glad that I have someone to whine to :)