Friday, December 11, 2015

10 at Claymore

10 at Claymore is a restaurant in Pan Pacific Orchard, a very cozy place for a gathering of friends.  We were there for a buffet lunch, making use of their promotion of the 4th person dines free.

There is a mixture of western and Asian food, but more inclined to western, in particular meat heavy.  They offer different kinds of beef, mutton and chicken, as well as pork ham.  A mini version of Canivore that caters to all the meat lovers.

In addition to the items on display, they also have 4 ala carte dishes - Angus beef, lamb shank, turkey, and the award winning char kway teow with swimmer prawns.

Lamb Shank (2-person portion)

Angus Beef (6-person portion)

I tried the lamb shank and the Angus beef, both are not bad, though they are not of the top grade.  For the effective price of $36/pax, I think it is at least reasonable.

Last but not least, they have some good spread of desserts too.

I noticed from this link that they used to offer a more expensive lunch buffet, with a lot more seafood stuff, I don't know why they changed their strategy and decided to go for lower end of the customer spectrum.  Does it reflect the current economic situation?  Mmmh....

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

National Gallery of Singapore

National Gallery of Singapore, housed in the old supreme court and city hall buildings, had finally opened its door to welcome her first visitors in November.  It is after 10 long years of renovation and preparation work.  For a limited period, Singaporeans and PRs had the privilege to have free access to the galleries.

I managed to book my free tickets for the last day, 6 Dec, 10am - 2pm time slot.  We arrived at the gallery at around 10.10am.  There was already a queue, for ticket holders.

People queuing to enter NGS

Luckily the queue moved fast, we got into the gallery at around 10.30am.  I like the kind of Roman-Greek style of architecture, which shaped the city hall and supreme court buildings.  It really felt good with all the big stone columns, high ceilings, etc.

National Gallery is divided into four major sections, DBS, UOB, SingTel and Ng Teng Fong galleries.  Each gallery has further sub-galleries.  Overall, you have quite a lot of galleries, too much for a single visit, I must say.

UOB City Hall Courtyard


The interior is spacious and modern.   I still remember when they came up with a few architecture proposals and asked Singaporeans to vote, I voted, and I also asked my friends to vote too.  I am happy that the proposal that I like is the one that was chosen, and that's what you see today.

NGS is specialized in the collection of South East Asian art work.  There are some gems in the collection.  One of them is a painting by famous Chinese painter Xu Beihong.

Painting by Xu Beihong

Xu Beihong's signature

Another one is a permanent gallery dedicated to Chinese contemporary painter Wu Guan-zhong.

Chinese Small Town by Wu Guan-zhong

Notre Dame by Wu Guan-zhong

There are also many paintings that are closer to our home, for example, old attap house.  This will bring back lots of good memories for our pioneer generation.

NGS is not just about paintings, the buildings are also part of an art heritage.  Look at these beautiful columns with Corinthian capitals, which were part of the former supreme court building.

Columns with Corinthian Capitals 

As NGS was just opened, there were many visitors on that Sunday, so it was a bit too crowded to enjoy all the art works.  However, I will definitely visit NGS again, when it is less crowded and have more time to enjoy the art works from our region.  And the good news is that NGS will continue to be free for all Singaporeans and PRs for the permanent galleries.

Monday, December 7, 2015

ComNam @ Raffles City

This place has always been crowded, so decided to give it a try, to see what Vietnamese street eats means.

Everything is self-service here.  You look at the menu, choose what you like to eat, then write down your order in the order slip, which is placed in a very old-fashioned (read 'Retro') mug.  Then you go to the cashier with your order slip and pay for your food.  The food will be delivered to your table, but you have to go and get your own bowls, forks and spoons, etc.  The good thing is that they don't charge you a 'service charge'.

As the place is crowded, you have to put your bag on your laps.  There is practically no space for any extra chair for your bag, so don't go there with a big bag, or even your holiday luggage.

We ordered the spring roll to share.  Vegetable and beef wrapped up with spring rolls skin.  The vegetables give a fresh sensation, while the beef anchors the taste.  I thought the slice of sausage on top of the spring roll is for decoration only, but actually it gives another level of sensation.  It is not as light as the vegetables, or as heavy as the beef, it is something in between, just like the clouds flying in between heaven and earth.

My main course is lemongrass with wagyu beef and rice.  The rice they use should be an import from Vietnam.  It is not as sticky as the short-grain, or as dry as the Thai rice.  You can tell it is new rice, which means from the fresh harvest this year.  Sesame is generously sprayed on the rice, providing a crispy and pop in your mouth sensation.  Wagyu beef is tender and soft, a direct opposite of the sesame.  Lemongrass, chili, spring onion, onion, mushroom, all the herbs and vegetables bring about another kind of sensation.  This bowl of rice provides you with a multi-level sensation experience.

The food overall is not bad, but do expect quite a bit of waiting, so just be patient.  I think ComNam and NamNam are under the same boss, as I see NamNam staff and ComNam staff cross-serve the customers all the time.

It is a good place for a taste of Vietnamese food.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Founder's Bak Kut Teh - 2nd Visit

We went there on a cool, raining evening, perfect weather for a bowl of hot Bak Kut Teh.  We were ushered in in a minute, as there was a table readily available for us.  As we had four people this time, we ordered a couple more dishes to try.

Prime Ribs

Pork Ribs

Prime ribs and normal pork ribs are the must-order dishes.  They are both good as usual.  For the soup, as I mentioned in my previous post, it is the same whether it is prime rib or pork rib.

In addition, we also ordered pig's organ soup, and pig's trotters.

Pig's Organ Soup

Pig's Trotters

The pig's organ soup is using the same soup as the prime/pork ribs too.  The pig's livers are good, very tender, just nice, but still fully cooked, not raw, you don't see blood bleeding out at least.  The intestines are not very good.  I will not recommend it.

The pig's trotter is not bad.  A thick layer of fat, but it is not greasy.  The meat will melt in your mouth, like the Don Po Rou.  They must have stewed it for many hours to have this kind of texture and sensation.


You Tiao

The lettuce and You Tian are not bad too.  Last time we tried the Choy Sim, which was very good, and the lettuce is quite decent.

Somehow this time, I think the soup is a bit diluted, and MSG was probably added.  Nevertheless, it is one of the good Bak Kut Teh in Singapore.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Xin Hainan @Serangoon Garden

This is a 'new' restaurant that just opened for 10 months.  The deco is very Chinese.  There are many photographs on the walls, obviously this restaurant was previously known as Xin Haifu (新海府), but changed the name recently.

As we were there for lunch, and still needed to go back to office to work, I ordered fried beef with egg, served with plain rice.   The taste was quite decent.  The egg was smooth, and tasty, but the beef was a bit uneven.  Some slices were really tender, but some were really chewy.  Overall, it was still quite reasonable.

They have a lunch set menu, for my plate of fried beef with egg, the cost was S$6.80++.  I think it is pretty reasonable, considering we are eating in a restaurant.

Their signature dish is said to be the crab porridge, but we didn't have the time to give it a try, maybe next time.

Their service is again, an area for improvement.  I paid my bill with cash, they came back to say that they didn't have change for me.  Well, the change was only 25 cents, not a big deal, but it really doesn't reflect well on them.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Melben Seafood @ Ang Mo Kio Ave 3

It has been more than a year since I last visited this seafood joint.  Some new colleagues from Europe would like to try it so we went there again.

The sequence they brought out the food is healthy.  Wondering why?  The first dish that came was a vegetable dish.  It is said that vegetables are easy to digest, but the meats are not.  If you eat meat first, vegetables later, the vegetable will just get stuck in your stomach and produce gas.  If you vegetables first, as they are easy to digest by the stomach,  they will not get stuck.  And your stomach can get plenty of time to digest the meat later.

The second dish was salt and pepper prawn.  We ordered the medium size, which means you will have 7 pieces of prawn, for $30.  The prawns are good.  Deep fried till crispy outside, even the shell became crispy and you could eat it too.  The meat inside was still tender.  This is the kind of prawn I like very much.

Coming to Melben, crab bee hoon is a must-eat item.  The soup was real soup cooked with the crap.  I think they didn't put milk in the soup to make it look more milky, as I didn't sense the taste of cow milk.  The soup is thick, and a strong fragrance of crab meat.  The crab meat itself was very fresh, firm but tender.  Good quality stuff!  Thumb's up!

Another must-eat dish here is the butter crab.  It is still very good, but the butter taste is less strong now.  The crab meat, as usual, is firm and tender.  Not just the clamp is good, the body, which is quite coarse usually, is also tender and firm too!

We ordered the chili crab too, but before I could snap a picture, it was already gone.

They have three 'types' of crab, in terms of weight.  The SMALL is ~1kg/each, for $68/kg.  The MEDIUM is 2 crabs for 1.5kg.  I think this should be SMALL.  Then the BIG ones are ~2kg/each.  For 6 people, we ordered 3 1kg crabs, plus a medium-sized prawn dish, and medium-sized vegetable dish, plus drinks (both beer and soft drinks), the bill came up to a total of $346.  That's a pretty decent dinner with very good quality crabs.

Would go there more often, if there is no concerns for cholesterol.  :-)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Kay Lee @ Suntec City Mall

When the original Kay Lee Roast Meat was sold to Aztech in 2014 for 4 million dollars, it was big news in Singapore.  It was said that the recipe itself was worth more than 1 million dollars.  I was just curious what kind of recipe that would cost this much.

I ordered the 3 combinations with rice.  The 3 combinations include their signature black char siew, roast duck and roast pork.  I have never heard of BLACK char siew before, a black char siew, to me, means the cook was not good enough and the outside is burnt, which is equivalent to say your skills are no good, the food is no good!

When I took my first bite of the black char siew, wow... I was pleasantly surprised.  Never before in my life do I like char siew.  Usually it has a strange taste and I don't like it at all.  The black char siew here is different.  I suspect they use honey during the roasting process, so the char siew still has a tint of honey's sweetness, but not too sweet.  The 'black' part is not burnt, just darken, and it is not carbonized, just darker in color, probably due to the honey.  Inside, the meat is still tender and juicy.  When you bite it, it feel like a naughty boy jumping up and down on a bumping pad.  I told myself, this is the best char siew that I have ever had so far.  The 1 million dollars for its recipe obviously is worth every single cent of it.

The roast duck and the roast pork are decent, but I would say just average,  nothing to wow about.  As a matter of fact, I think both are on the salty side.

I also ordered the salty vegetable and duck soup.  Too much salty vegetable, the only taste of the soup is being salty.  There is room for improvement here.

I will give a 5-star for the black char siew, but at most 3-star for the rest.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Burger Up

Didn't notice this burger join until recently.  It is located on the ground floor of Yishun Ten, quite convenient to grap a bite before going for the movies.

What is special about this place is the way the customers order their burgers.  There is a vending machine like machine for you to interactively choose the fillings of your burger, from the type of patty, to vegetable, etc.  And you can also choose whether you would like to have side dishes and soft drinks.  Everything is fully customized.  Once you are done with your choices, a receipt is printed out which you take to the cashier to pay for it.  Then you can sit down and wait for your burger to come.

The wait time is around 10-15 minutes, not really fast, probably due to their small kitchen, and the burgers are all fully customized.

The burger came out to be decent, enough to fill your empty tummy, and satisfy your burger craving :)

It is quite novel to me, worth a try.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


Spectre is the latest James Bond movie (the 24th, as I was told), released just this week, starring Daniel Craig as the famous British spy 007.

I have never been a fan of Daniel Craig, the most un-handsome James Bond actor, but somehow in this episode, I think he did a pretty good job.  His coolness, his calmness bring out the charm of the James Bond naturally and perfectly.

The contribution from Q, in Spectre, is more impressive than the last Bond movie.  Q has evolved from an old techie playing with mechanical parts to a computer nerd, reflection of our time.

The movie is action-packed, other than pockets of love scenes, boring conversation has been less often.  Daniel Craig was jumping on top of building, fighting inside a helicopter, in a train, and involved in a high-speed car chase.  I don't know how much he was paid, but definitely he did make an effort to make every dollar he is paid worthwhile.

However, there are some laughable details.  For example, the bad guy built a secret facility in the middle of the desert, a secret facility that doesn't appear on the map, but you can find it from satellite images (probably from Google Earth?).  As it is a secret facility, the security is tight, there are security cameras everywhere, and guards watching Bond's every step.  Guess what, the facility was destroyed by Mr Bond with a SINGLE bullet to a critical pipe!  Alas, 'secret' facility.

Overall, I think the movie is not bad, good entertainment and you will never get bored.  Some initial reviews gave the movie a 1 out of 5 stars rating, I think those people more probably are some arty-farty nerds that have no idea what entertainment means.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant @ Carlton Hotel

Wah Lok seems to be a very famous restaurant for Cantonese dim sum.  For many years, I had tried to eat there but always told that the place had been fully booked.  This time, I made a reservation 1 week in advance, and I was lucky enough to get a table.

The restaurant opens at 11.30am on Saturday.  For lunch, they have two sessions.  The first session starts at 11.30am, ends at 1.00pm, the second session starts at 1pm, till 2.30pm.

When I arrived at 11.25am, there was already a small crowd in front of the restaurant waiting for it to open, and most, if not all, of them already made their reservation before hand.

Appetizer $4.00

Once I told them my reservation, a staff ushered me to the table right away.  Appetizer already ready on the table.  Their appetizer is quite uncommon, it consists of carrots, reddish, and apple slices, marinated, I think, in orange juice.

My friend was late, so I made the decision to order a whole chunk of dishes :)

Chicken Feet, $5.00

Xiao Long Bao, $6.90

Malay Cake, $4.80

Custard Bun, $5.40

For Malay cake, I still prefer the one from Tim Ho Wan more.  Wah Lok's is not as fragrant and sponge, somehow something is amiss.

Roast Pork, $15.00

The staff there recommended their roast pork.  When it came, I was quite surprised - 9 tiny cubes!  $15 for 9 cubes, so it is $1.67 for each cube!  In terms of taste, the skin is of course very crispy, but then other than that, I can't tell any difference from a less expensive, or 'ordinary' roast pork.  Mmmh...

Siew Mai (steamed pork dumpling), $6.90

For Cantonese dim sum, you can't not to order siew mai, so I did.  Wah Lok's siew mai saves the day.  It is the best siew mai that I have had.  Siew mai from other places tend to have thick skins, and stuffed with lots of flour, but stingy on the real fillings of pork and prawn.  Here, it is all the opposite, thin on the skin, flour is almost minimum, but generous on the prawn and pork fillings.  What makes a real difference is the biting sensation of the prawn.  The prawn kind of pops in your mouth.  It is firm, it is fresh.  The pork, as a supporting actor, brings out the freshness and sweetness of the prawn.  It is a perfect combination.  Such effect can only be achieved with the best ingredients.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Din Gi Noodle House@Plaza Singapura

Din Gi Noodle House is known for its one-strand noodle, one whole bowl of noodle containing of one single strand of noodle only.  It is a kind of showmanship to demonstrate that the chef is so skillful and the ingredient is so special that a single piece of noodle is long enough to fill the whole bowl.

While we were waiting for our noodle, we munch on the appetizers.  The garlic cucumber is nice, crispy and with the strong taste of garlic.  The spinach is too plain to tell there is any taste, but then it is in the name of healthy eating.

I ordered the beef noodle.  Indeed the whole bowl contains only one single strand of noodle, and the portion is enough to feed an adult male.  If you notice, the noodle is thicker than normal, and it is quite elastic when you bite.

Here, eating is not just to fill your tummy but it is also a way of promoting technical excellence and innovation.  Great!