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Featuring The Refinery, Mr Baguette (Golden Mile Food Centre), Supply & Demand (Orchard Gateway), The Glasshouse, Free The Robot Coffee, NEATO (Burlington Square), Kane Mochi (Bugis+), Merely Ice Cream (Sunshine Plaza), The Usual Place, Seed & Soil
Vanessa Kou
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Gypsy Ham ($10) Breakfast Bagelwich - An already winning combination of Blackforest Ham, crispy Bacon, Egg and Hashbrown made better with creamy Avocado (add-on $2) and hearty Cheddar Bagels.

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Priced at a reasonable $29.90 for 2 to 3 pax, the fuss-free set-up comes with a deal of ingredients - sliced rice cakes, tofu, sausage, cabbage, luncheon meat, vermicelli, kimchi, mushroom, cheese, instant noodles and specially imported Korean baked bean. A steal really, their Army Stew also offers free refills of their chicken stock. Though flavours lean towards the salty, you do get a good balance of spiciness from the gochujang and lucky for me (and those like me who can’t handle spice) the heat of the chilli paste was surprisingly manageable. Hence, hearty and not all that spicy or rich, I could really enjoy the other elements like the springy cheesy noodles as well as thickly cut luncheon meat - tender and savoury.

So why wait, grab your family and friends to share a comforting spicy hotpot stew. Available at selected outlets; Hougang Mall, Bukit Panjang Plaza and starting 22 Feb, tomorrow, Junction 9.

Thank you Burpple for extending the invite and Nene Chicken Singapore for feeding us!

Highly recommended by my colleagues, I finally made my way down to Two Chefs recently. Covered with condensed milk powder and thrown-in with fragrant curry leaves, Two Chefs Eating Place’s signature Butter Pork Ribs was utterly delightful. Wondrously tender with a melt-in-your-mouth quality, the almost fluffy texture of the pork ribs were superb. A dish seen on almost every table; the addictive snow-like dust made with melted butter combined with flour, and milk is certainly a novel yet tasty idea. Hence, with the creamy overtones mixed in with the sweet and the savoury, it was right up my alley. And not cloying sweet, I will definitely order it again!

Crisp, savoury and fragrant, they are not just another run-of-the-mill salted egg snack as each bag of their signature Salted Egg Fish Skin is wok-fried with no artificial flavouring, preservatives or MSG. Similarly for their Laksa Potato Crisps, the snack was not overly seasoned and presents something more unique as well as localized. So visit their flagship store at The Midtown and grab a bag or two as you share the indulgence this festive period! They are also available online, and at various Fairprice Finest as well as Cheers outlets.

Thank you @snackycrisps!

📍 Snacky & Crisps
1187 Upper Serangoon Road
The Midtown #01-44
S533971
5min walk from Hougang MRT Exit B
snackycrisps.com

It seems to be a common tradition to have Reunion Hot Pot during Lunar New Year. Hence, opened throughout this festive period, 食间火锅-Shi Jian Hot Pot is a great option for us westies and anyone hoping to satisfy their ma la pot cravings or just to save the hassle of preparing an elaborate feast! Located in the heartlands of Chinese Garden, the humble Si Chuan hot pot restaurant aims to bring the authentic Chinese flavour to the masses and with the boss coming from Chong Qing, rest assured that the food packs a flavourful punch.

First off, our soup base was a half-and-half 鸳鸯锅 ($15) with the staff-recommended Pig Bone Soup 上汤大骨锅 as well as Red Oil Spicy 红油麻辣锅 at the spiciness level of 1 (playing it safe). As for the ingredients, go straight for their unique marinated meats such as the Coriander Beef ($8) and Mala Spicy Beef ($8) but my favourite was definitely their Handmade Mashed Shrimp ($10) - fresh, bouncy, smooth and went superbly well with the pork bone soup. Next up with drinks, I would highly recommend their Freshly made Cranberry Juice ($6) which was tangy, sweet and pleasantly refreshing. And not forgetting their sauce station, which offered options like Cumin sauce, Leek sauce and Mushroom Sauce. Thus with the more gamey tasting meats such as the thin Mutton Slices ($10), pair them with the stronger sauces for maximum enjoyment. So good!

Thank you Emily and @kelvinnnn for the invite as well as Shi Jian for the hospitality~ Oh and lookout for their new outlet in JCube at the end of the month and in the next few months, Bedok Point!

Dive straight into Meat Smith (Little India)’s small selection of stellar snacks such as their Pork Samosa & Mint Raita ($8) and Madras Pork Cheeks ($8). Well-executed and simply mouthwatering, the crack of the crispy pastry shell paired with the refreshing mint yogurt concoction was pure joy; while the fatty pork chunks were meltingly good with a lovely crunchy bite on the outside and perfectly balanced alongside the pickle slices to cut a bit of that heaviness. Not too dry or greasy, the petite starters were also nicely seasoned but be sure to have them while they are hot. (And note that the magic number seems to be four as most of their sides are portioned into fours. 😂)

A lovely place to rest your feet as you take a break from exploring the Higashiyama District, Salon de KANBAYASHI サロンドカンバヤシ /上林春松本店 is safely tucked away from all the hustle and bustle in a corner of Akagane Resort. The two-storey cafe though known for their Matcha Opera Cake 抹茶のガトー・オペラ 枯山水 (700¥) also serves a mean bowl of Matcha Shiratama Zenzai 抹茶白玉ぜんざい - Sweet Matcha Soup with Rice Cake, Red Bean Paste and Candied Chestnut (600¥).

Seated at level two, the attic-like space was also nice and cosy, perfect with the nicely balanced zenzai. Much like warm matcha milk with chewy dangos, it was not overly creamy but deliciously smooth and exceptionally fragrant. And while too pretty to eat, the Matcha Opera Cake with the sweet textured layers was just the right amount of matcha and chocolate - not one flavour overtaking the other. Yums!

📌〒605-0828, Kinen-cho, Higashiyama, 400-1, Kyoto Gion, Kiyomizu-dera

Seated beside the toasty wood stove and with a great view overlooking the main gate of Tenryuji Temple, I strongly recommend having lunch at Saga Tofu Ine (稲 ine) especially if you are in the area and a fan of beancurd. All reasonably priced, the sets offer a good variety of tofu dishes such as my order of 豆乳おばんざい鍋御膳 Soy Milk Obanzai Nabe Set (1980¥).

Presented with an amazeballs homemade Sesame Tofu, silky Tofu Chawanmushi, Kyo-Tsukemono (pickles), Five Grained Rice, White Miso Soup, tangy Ponzu sauce for the yuba, Nama-fu Dengaku (Roasted mugwort and sesame fu covered in Miso paste) and homemade Warabimochi fordessert. The steamy pot holding soy milk and miso sauce (homemade tofu, fried tofu fritter, yuba/homemade soy milk skin and Kyoto vegetables) was also light and delicate. Chewy, savoury and sweet, my first experience with Grilled Namafu was incredible as the miso paste really brought out the distinct flavours of the wheat gluten. Furthermore, made with sesame and kudzu vine, I will visit them again just for the Gomatofu. Truly satisfying, each component was able to complement yet shine, making this a wholesome meal to have at any weather.

📌〒616-8384 19 Saga Tenryuji Tuskurimichi-machi, Ukyo-ward, Kyoto-city

Started my solo trip on a high note last week, visiting Uji, Kyoto! Going in for the sweets, the fresh tea jellies at Nakamura Tōkichi Honten (中村藤吉 本店) was certainly on point. Fragrant and nicely textured, note that both the Hojicha and Matcha Tea Jelly (900¥) are limited to the main store. Served with soft chewy dangos and a dollop of sweet azuki paste, their signature items were also surprisingly refreshing. Imagine lingering tea aroma from the smooth bittersweet jelly and robust creamy ice cream. Though the sides were a tad icy, I would definitely recommend trying both and of course pin the place if you are in the area (but be there before noon to avoid the snaking queue)! Not forgetting their Matcha Warabi Mochi (950¥) which were really substantial chunks and went superbly well with their matcha sauce.

Prices might have increased since my last visit but Ronin’s smooth blanket of scrambled eggs is still as good as I remembered. Fluffy and creamy, the soft curds just glides down the throat with the right balance in flavour and texture. Paired with crisp toasts, I might have gone overboard on the sides… ordering well-seasoned juicy portobello mushrooms ($3.50), bacon ($4) and avocado ($3.50) with a wedge of lemon but oh so guuuud!!

Fruity, sweet, refreshing and utterly familiar; the childhood favourite flavour also turned out to be the perfect palate cleanser in my post-heavy-meal state. At $3.50 per scoop, the delicate sorbet/ slushie-like texture added to the appeal as well and let’s face it grape is still the best out of all the Yakult flavours!

A slightly pricier alternative to their main competitor, Uya’s 代目菊川 signature Hitsumabushi ($35/medium, $48/large) was significantly crispier, smokier and more charred. And further into the comparison, they offer a more refined experience with a lighter glaze to match their fresh unagi. Less sweetened, the tare does make the flavours of the grilled eel more pronounced. However, the caramelised and crunchy exterior did come off a little dry to me.

Served with dashi broth, miso soup and pickles, my favourite way is still having the unagi as it is but by having Ochazuke (rice with soup) with the condiments and dashi broth; it does solve my main gripe. And ultimately that aside, they put forward a great bowl of Hitsumabushi!