Thursday, 22 November 2012

2012: The worst has happen!

Before I begin a series of complains, I would like to thank everyone for their constant clicks, reading this silly blog of mine even though I haven't been updating or writing anything for almost two months. I know busy is never an excuse but the truth is, I have been so busy that I can't find time to relax and enjoy a cuppa at the local cafe much as blog about anything. To make matters, I made a wrong move and deleted all the photos by accident and now almost all my post and reviews are left photoless.

Instead of crying over spill milk and grumble to ZX, I decided to start afresh only this time, I'm using wordpress. Blogger has greatly disappoint me and I hope wordpress will help me scale newer heights! Maybe someday when I walk down the street, someone would recognize me as thedessertprince? You never know but till then, I will put in more effort, take better photos and write a whole lot more!

In the meantime, if you enjoy reading my silliness and poetic writing style, do visit my new blog at! Cya!

PS: It's another 10k pageviews for November! Many thanks to everyone and anyone friends or new-comers alike!

Have a Merry X'mas and a Happy New Year! That is if we survived 2012!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Food For Thought Cafe, Botanical Gardens

I have always been a fan of the huge portion and made affordable menu served up at Food For Thought. Food For Thought is almost always the first place I'll consider whether it's an elaborate all day brunch affair or a drink and a few sides to go with some personal quiet time. It's always on my mind even though I would end up trying some other cafes. 

So anyway right after our picnic at Botanical Gardens, ZX and I decided to check out the cafe but little did we know about the really really long walk under a scorching Sun from one end of the garden to the other until we did it ourselves. So if there's anyone who is keen on trying the cafe, do note that it's located at the Tanglin Gate. Do not take the circle line and alight at Botanical Gardens and attempt to walk. You have been warned.

It's a free sitting concept cafe which means that you either choose somewhere at a quiet corner or along one of those long communal tables. Besides that, be aware that it's a self ordering system in place so don't expect to sit there like a boss waiting for staffs to take your orders. Don't complain since they ain't charging any service charge. At least they still serve your food to you so that's still good.
Initially we were only here for a drink but flipping the clipboard menu, we just couldn't resist getting something to munch on. With cash to spare, I decided on House Works ($12). A combination of scrambled eggs, bacon, butter toast, tomato salad and then accompanied by small balls of deep fried hash browns. It's something I always see in a typical brunch setting only just made more affordable.

There's also Basic Works ($7) with only eggs, bacon and toast & Full Works ($18) which is just a further additional of all things good added in a plate. Alternatively, you can customise your own brunch set with your any of your favourite comfort must-have food ranging from $2-$4 and let's not even get started with their pancakes which I see almost one on every table around us. Are they that good? Maybe maybe... I can't say good till I try it right?
My Iced Lime Tea With White Wine ($7) (or red wine if you like) was a great sour sweet quench thirster while ZX's Iced Mocha ($6.50) was terrific and if not aromatic considering that most places I tried were nothing of cups of diluted iced coffee. Plain water are served for free but if this were their drink's standard, then I wouldn't mind spending a few bucks for something to slurp on.

Food For Thought is a great place to chill over brunch given the affordable price they set on their menus. Hence, it's little wonder why it's always a crowd in the late weekend mornings so come around the middle of the day which is much quieter. I couldn't spare a room for anything sweet this time and so does ZX too. Maybe we will will drop by sometime soon just for another brunch session by the gardens.

Singapore Botanic Gardens, Tanglin Gate #B1-00
1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569
Tel: +65 6338 4848

Monday, 29 October 2012

Singapore Botanical Gardens: Celebration of a girlfriend's 18th birthday

It's not everyday a girl turns 18 especially that girl which you've singing, dancing, eating, studying, travelling and cafe hopping almost 24/7 of your time. So when my girlfriend, ZX turned 18 this year, I had one thing in mind: How to make it an unforgettable 18th birthday for her?

I could have easily brought her up the hill for tea or something really classy like Prime Society? Then again I thought that would be too mainstream and I want it to be something we never done before. I racked my brains and decided that we brave the Sun and have a picnic just on her special day. Picnic isn't something strange to us since we have been planning for it, coming with a really long list of to bring stuffs and walking up and down along the rows of groceries within the supermarket but between you and me, I dare say it's not so mainstream, at least ZX managed to taste my cooking skills for the first time right?

I tried to keep it a secret hoping to surprise her only on the actual day but I think after giving so many hints and frequent trips to the supermarket asking her about her comfort food, I think she sort of guess it. Girls are smart and in front of my girlfriend, I ain't good at hiding things from her... But at least it was a good 3 weeks before she guessed it so good try!
To be honest, apart from the cooking the pastas, everything I brought was either precooked or raw and you can't blame me for being lazy. As much as I want to whip out something simple from the pan or bake a few sweet treats with the oven, I have a mum who doesn't like her kitchen all messed up and dirty. Even slicing some bread and cutting some veggie is enough to make her go crazy so I have little choice but to make it simple and neat...
For starters, we have chopped sausages, cucumbers and a whole lot of cherry tomatoes to pop while plates of angel hair pasta over sundried tomato puree and stacks of honey baked ham & cheddar cheese sandwiches for a proper meal and finally ending everything on a sweeter note with makeshift eclairs from the freezer, a packet of blueberries and gingerbread man for desserts. That's all we had. The food was secondary when the person you're dining is happy.
After a hearty lunch, we decided to take a walk and explore the different parts of the garden together. Having to say that, it is by no means easy but somehow we managed to walk from one entrance to another entrance and ended up eating more over at Food For Thought which I will blog at a later time.
It's not everyday a girl turns 18 but when my girlfriend does, I make sure it's a joyous occasion that happens once in a lifetime and being me, I like to make a before, now and later kind of birthday celebration. Just how it's gonna be? Stay tune to find out!

Feel free to visit ZX's blog and read how she enjoyed her wonder if not special day.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Eng Kee Bak Kut Teh: Daydreaming of Bak Kut Teh

I've been busy. Busy over families and busy over friends and even more busy when school started just two days ago. Hence, the lack of posts since my last. So busy that I don't even have time for a quiet afternoon tea and then I start to wish my long term holiday could be just slightly longer but the truth is... often not quite up to expectation ain't it?

But I like to dream and daydream is my forte. Somehow, I kept dreaming of those tender pork ribs partially submerged in a bowl pepperish broth I had a few months back over at Eng Kee especially during the long hours of lectures. Although the stall is housed amidst the unassuming Teck Ghee Food Center, it's barely unnoticeable especially with the long queue in front of the stall. It's like everyone (that I know off) associate Teck Ghee Food Center with Eng Kee's bak kut teh and true enough, they even end up being recommended by KF Seetoh in his Makansutra 2011.
Although it has been quite a while since I had my last bowl at Eng Kee, I still vividly recall sinking my teeth into those ribs. It's a simple process. Pick the rib either with your hand or chopsticks from the pipping hot soup and then ripping your way till you hit hard bone. Of course, ripping is an overstatement since everything falls out with a simple pull. Afterwhich you tuck the bones next to your bowl of rice and take another one.
As a little rule of mine whenever I have bak kut teh. I must have you tiao. If there isn't a bowl of fried fritters, it ain't a complete bak kut teh meal! I really appreaciate the fact that these were served fresh and not stale.
Another of Eng Kee's specialty; ter ka or pig's trotters stewed for hours in a broth of black soy sauce. A must have if you're a die hard pig fan. It's no doubt sinful but given a chance, I'm willing to take the risk and attempt a bowl of fatty cholesterol on! Any friends care to tag along?

A bowl of rice to go with everything else and viola! A complete bak kut teh meal and how I wished I'm back for more again. And I guess I have to keep myself occupied daydreaming till another day...

Teck Ghee Court Market & Food Centre #01-04
Blk 341 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 
Opening Hours: Tue–Sun: 8am – 3pm (Closed on Mon)

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Marina Bay Sands family staycation 2012: Fun, laughter & reflectons

Family [noun]: A basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not

For every member in any family, it's a place we call home. A safe haven where all things comfy and snuggling dwells. It doesn't matter if you're the youngest daughter in the family or the oldest son. The domestic keeper or just an extended member, say an uncle or an aunt. Everyone both in and out, plays an important role keeping this household running and it doesn't matter if you play a part big or small. 

Being the eldest in both my nucleus and extended family gave me an unprecedented insight of the different scenarios that were played out by members of my extended family. Listening to the woes of various families from friends just reinforce the word "appreciation" more about my family.
Ritual [noun]: An established or prescribed procedure for a religious or other rite.

In the family context, ritual is more than just religious rites. It's a series of actions or activities which involves almost everyone in the family which occur episodically, have a symbolic meaning for family members, valued by the participants so that they would like the activity to be carried on in the future. Having to said that and applying to my family's context, it'll be spending time sharing and laughing at each other life. Laughing not in the sense of mocking but rather laughing over the silliest things that happen in our lives.

I always make it a point to spend time with my family whenever I can. In fact, it's something I look forward too especially if it's over a meal just like the dinner buffet at Rise during our stay at MBS this year. Everyone ate at their own pacing and leisure. Some were quiet while some were noise pollutants but one thing was certain. We sure enjoyed each other presence. 
Speaking of staycation, this was my second time staying at MBS hotel with my family. Even though it lasted no more than a day, fun, laughter and joy. It was somehow much better than last year. Maybe because there's a extra member in the family demanding me that I carry him all day long while he licks his lollipop all day long. My cousin, he's turned one this year and it's like we shared a bond with one another. I can't really describe the bond though I wished I could understand what he's trying to say sometimes. He's cute and he's funny.

The sleepover was made horrible. It depicts the scene of a war zone or I should say sound like one. Thunderous snores and hideous sleeptalks. I just wish I had more pillows to muff all those noise. One is just not enough and just went I thought I could catch some sleep, the Sun is out and for once I wished breakfast didn't exist...  
We left civilization behind and ventured across the bridge. Gardens by the Bay that's where we were heading. I just wished I was sleeping in bed but my tummy said otherwise. So we walked with the Sun behind our backs and pressed on... 
Hill Street Coffee Shop somehow wasn't located at Hill Street but by the gardens instead. To be honest, I was thinking about Canele next door but somehow access was denied by my mum. She insist that I stopped my sugary diet for once and eat something proper. Canele, I guess I have to wait just another day...
Coffee, eggs and bread. Your typical Chinese old school breakfast at the coffeeshop. I love the strong and aromatic coffee just as I love dipping my kaya toasted bread into my runny egg yolk. If there is a competition  of bread and eggs between Ya Kun, Toast Box and Hill Street, I think Hill Street would make the other two relook at their bread and egg making skills. I have no idea why but I'm sure Hill Street fare no worst that others.
I'm a traditionalist. When I'm done with my eggs, I just wash the plate with coffee and drink the coffee-egg essence. It's very old school indeed. It's something I picked up during the good old youthful days with my grandfather. Where friends think I'm werid and uncle-ish, I like to think the act as not wasting very bit of goodness. 
There's no ham and bacon in a usual Chinese breakfast. How about Redang Chicken and Nasi Lemak instead? The rice smells good but the red chili paste? Let's just say I like it spicier. It just didn't pack a punch.
Mee Rubus is a malay dish that I grew up with but somehow never grew tired off. A little bit of tau foo goreng, a little of fried shallots, one hard boiled egg, a dash of beansprouts over a sea of gravy and noodles. It was great and made better with a fried chicken tight to chew on.
Then someone just have to talk about Harry Potter and before I could say "What a stupid idea to see that Harry Potter exhibition.", I found myself right at the doorstep of the it. I swear I could reiterate all the various scenes since my brother watched it everyday before he heads to school in the afternoons but just because I know what lies behind those rooms doesn't mean I should stop others from experiencing the "thrill and fun" right? 

It was an hour worth of walking and seeing but my brothers and I got really bored the moment we got in. No offense but it is as I said. I could reiterate all the scenes. So don't bother asking me was it fun or great. Even the one that suggested the idea think the money could be spent on cakes!

"So can we go back Canele already? I heard Strawberry Shortie calling out for me."
I got a no for an answer and found myself at the other side of the jungle. Only this time, we are heading into the clouds...
It wasn't a trip to clouds more like hiking up a man-made mount. What a great way to burn that calories. Don't you think?
Just as I appreciate these flowers and plants, I too appreciate all my family acts. It's not what they do that really matter but what the thoughts behind each acts that really does. Life is short. How many 10 years do you have to show care and concern with someone that you see everyday. Don't say tomorrow and or just another day for who knows but there won't be another opportunity like today.

So there it was, my family staycation over at MBS. Fun, laughter and reflections. The view was great and  taking a walk at Garden by the Bay sure make my day though I still think going for that Harry Potter exhibition could have been replaced by afternoon tea at Canele.

Rise: The pinnacle of joy of a dinner buffet

Think about all the roasted beef you can request, the oysters you can grasp and all the different cuisines you can plate and still be dazzled by desserts of every kind all in one place and one price. You walk in feeling empty and you start eating till your hearts content and you walk out full and satisfied, swearing that there won't be another buffet till sometime again. That's what buffet is all about. 

Speaking about good buffets, I have one of the fondest memories of buffets over at Rise by the lobby of Marina Bay Sands (MBS). It was like walking into heaven. Everything I could possibly thought off is there and still be surprised by everything that I never thought off. Especially the huge round marble table filled with nothing but desserts. I felt like I was The Alice in the Wonderland! 

The pinnacle of joy. What is left to say but let the feast begins!
Usually I would skip the carbos in most buffets opting for meats and seafood but I can't say the same when I saw the array of breads, rolls and loafs that Rise has to offer. Some were hard and some were soft but who really cares? You either spread some butter or cheese which you find them just behind the bread station and eat till your heart's content. Just remember to spare a room or many rooms for more dishes that lies await.
Just when you thought there weren't enough bread to break. Think again...
Another good thing about buffet like the ones at Rise is really the variety they have for almost all their stations. There was a good variety of cheese both hard and soft from various different country. My new found favourite has got to be Camembert and Pecorino Romano but nothing beats the soft Brie cheese. I love them slated on my olive sliced bread. 
One of those thing that I never taste much less imagine I could ever see it in a buffet is a honey comb, wax and if not dripping honey. It was a sight to see but way too sticky and even more sweet. Best to slat them on breads if you want to enjoy beewax.
I always find meat platters a little too expensive just for a few slices of cold cuts. Hence, I never really dare venture beyond hams and bacon for a start but that's a different story when you're having a buffet. Smoked Marlin, Smoked Haddock, Tuna Tataki, Mortadella with Pistachio, Air Dried Beef, Beef Mortadella, Beef Pastrami. I had them all. I wish they served Prosciutto or Parma ham but given the variety there is, I dare say I'm contented with cold cuts hams for the day.
Nothing really special about their salads. Just plain cheese, greens and meat.
What about the oysters? Were they fresh? I guess I can say yes after seeing how my brother slurp a mountain of them into his mouth with nothing but lemon to spare. 
Main courses were different cuisines ranging from Indian, Local and Western fare. It was great sampling a little bit of these and a little bit of that. So much so that I forgot to take a snapshot of what I ate. But as always, hits and misses are bound to stay. It's a matter of personal preference.
One of the dish worth mentioning would have to be the Laksa served upon request. The coconut gravy was rich and savoury and just about every ingredient that should be in a good of Laksa is in apart from cockles. Condiments are available just to spice up your nood broth just the way you like.
Just as I was about to get more helpings, my brother told me to take a shot of his carefully plated meat cuts. I can't remember if it's beef or lamb or it sure went well with the green mint sauce. 
Where I find them lacking in their main courses, their dessert station makes up for everything! The spread is commendable with most of the petite sweet treats pleasing to me and my family. 
What I look forward in a dessert buffet. A really tall fountain that flows nothing but dark rich chocolate! It's like a chocolate wish come true! Just talking about it just makes me so excited that I wished I am back there again... Awww, if only I have a fountain at home...
Fancy of a stick of chocolate strawberry joy? 
Ice creams and sorbets were nothing really special unless you love sour stuffs like their Passionfruit and Strawberry Basil. Stick to the chocolate and vanilla scoops just to stay safe.
Chocolate Paradigm.
Raspberry Chocolate Earl Grey Cake
 Cheese Flan.
 Strawberry Tart.
 Meringue Tart.
Mango Passion Fruit Mousse.
Portuguese Egg Tarts
 Chocolate Brownie.
Bread Pudding.
Cranberry Financier.
 Almond Financier.
What can I say apart from having a plate of everything...
Jelly Beans anyone?

The words good and affordable simply don't come together when we are talking about buffet. Hovering at $80 per person after tax, this is one of the more expensive buffets I've eaten this year. But that's what buffet is all about right? You pay a fixed price and you get to enjoy everything there is and to your own comfort and leisure. If budget is an issue then one might wanna consider their lunch buffet priced at $45++.

But for me and my family, Rise might just be one of the best family dinner we had for 2012.

Lobby Level Marina Bay Sands Hotel Singapore
10 Bayfront Avenue Tower 2,
Tel: +65 6688 5525
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