A Food & Travel Blog

I guess it's pretty obvious what my favorite airline and frequent flyer program are (SQ and Star Alliance duh), but actually I do fly on other SA airlines (rather infrequently). For your benefit, and lest you think that I'm hired by SQ to shamelessly promote them, here's part 1 of my EVA Air SIN-TPE-JFK  flight report! I'll start with the SIN-TPE leg which was on the B777-300ER aircraft. It was supposed to be business class but we were lucky they used the Royal Laurel hardware for this particular short connecting flight.
Why EVA Air you may wonder. Well, the Royal Laurel class is the EVA's most prestigious. It's not first class (they don't have that) but this is marketed as premium business. Most importantly, they fulfil the essential criterion for a flight to NYC, a FLAT BED. Nuff said. 
Check in was at the SATS Premier Check in at Changi Airport. We took a day flight out on a weekday so the check in process was breezy easy. There's no direct entrance into departure though (that's still reserved for SQ First Class and Suites).
Off to the SilverKris lounge instead of the SATS Premier Lounge that's tied to the EVA Air. I was rather pleased with the  prawn noodles which had a sufficiently rich stock and fat prawns! It's now S's new favorite other than their bouncy fishballs kway teow. 
I found a yummy pumpkin ricotta tart too! There will always be hits and misses at the SilverKris buffet line, and it's all dependent on the time you visit. Dim sum and local chinese food are slightly better than the others. 
Here's a good look at the premium business class. First thought- there is a lot of plastic and plastic is what i expect in premium economy or a lower business class product, certainly not in a premium business (i've been spoiled by SQ). 

The reverse herringbone in a 1-2-1 arrangement is perfect for individual travelers, not so when you're with a partner as it's tough to converse with each other even if you're seated in the middle. With the 1-2-1, I get aisle access regardless of the seat I pick. For individual travelers, the window seats are quite perfect if you highly value privacy.
EVA obviously has the business traveler in mind with the multiple charging points, USB, audio and visual inputs too. The retractable dining table unfolds into a full size one which is perfect for working (and dining of course). There is also plenty of storage space for shoes, books, handbag, laptop etc.
The 15.4 inch TV screen is huge and i love that it's touch screen. It is so much more intuitive and easier to navigate as compared to using the console (which also works). The screen is closer to my seat than the SQ J class but it makes watching movies so much easier. EVA Air also has a wide selection of entertainment, similar to KrisWorld. 
A closer look at the cushion seats. I'd say this is Asian size in terms of width but it worked out ok since there were only Asians on our flight. Maybe that's the main reason. A retractable armrest makes it easy to slip in and out of your seat.
I liked how the seat can be easily adjusted for lounging, sleeping, and takeoff. 
Flat bed in action. This is the most essential feature that makes a long haul bearable. Each seat converts into an approximately 2-meter-long, fully lie-flat bed for a restful night's sleep. EVA's seats aren't the most comfortable though. I thought the fabric cover was a little rough and the seat wasn't padded enough so some bumps could be felt. 
No amenities kit is provided for the short flight between SIN and TPE. However, the standard pillow, comforter and slippers were already available on our seats when we boarded.
The customized Harnn products in the bathroom kinda makes up for the lack of an amenity kit.
I started with some bubbly, a Veuve Clicquot LA GRANDE DAME 2004 champagne which was crisp, slightly acidic and fruity. I liked that they served japanese snacks instead of the regular peanuts but i wouldn't mind some warm macadamia nuts of course.
Lunch service. We had a delicious garlic bread and a savory sun-dried tomato, olive, and cheese bread, served with a salted butter. Our starter, the Lemongrass Salmon with Pineapple and Mango Salsa was rather meh. It's pretty obvious from the picture that the salmon was overcooked and dry.
The food options were pretty limited and obviously i wasn't too pleased. Only 3 options for a premium business class? SQ's premium economy offers the same food service and i get more than 10 options on SQ Business Class Book The Cook service!
I was wise enough to have pre-booked my lunch in case i don't get any good options. Here's my Grilled Tenderloin with Truffled Mash. 
The meat was served medium but it was still very juicy and tender. The mash was fragrant but not overpowering in flavor. Real specks of truffle in the mash instead of the artificial truffle oil nonsense. S had the prawn noodles with pork ribs which smelled damn good. Well i didn't manage to get a picture of it before he devoured it.
For desserts, we had the way too sweet Mango mousse cake. BOO. 
From TPE to SIN and we had limited options once again. If you are taking EVA Air, stick with the chinese food options, their western food is really meh. I'll review the Taiwanese porridge option in my next post.
I gave the Premium Laurel Special a shot, a Beef Shank with Noodle Soup by Taiwan's most marketable brand Din Tai Fung. It tastes exactly as what it would in a restaurant, which is good. Flavorful herbal beef stock with tender beef shank with al dente noodles. Throw in the preserved vegetables for a more local beef noodles.
I'm not too swell about the Royal Laurel Class between Singapore and Taipei. For a premium business product, the food options are way too limited and not too appealing. I'd rather pay for their premium economy, which looked about as comfortable for a short flight.  
Next up, TPE to NYC on EVA Air.

Of the 'Hdb neighborhood cafes' that I've visited, Tolido's Espresso Nook is one that left an impression (a good one). Tucked in chaotic Crawford Lane among local coffee shops and singlet-wearing ah peks, and aunties hawking random stuff at void decks, this cafe juxtaposes with a relaxed and chic vibe that would warrant a repeat visit. 
I love the fluidity in the different spaces, loosely separated by the low coffee bar and the floor to ceiling glass panes that act as invisible barriers to the alfresco area. 
All-day breakfast is served here for all you breakfast eaters! Pancakes, eggs, toast, waffles and small pastries are available all day err day and there's no need to wait for the weekends. 

I decided not to be greedy and went with the Tolido's Pancakes ($9.90) which comes with 2 fluffy pancakes, streaky bacon and egg (sunnyside up). Typically, the greedy me would have ordered the Ultimate Combo ($11.50) which includes 2 chipolata sausages, and more eggs, on top of the basic pancakes but well it's quite a substantial portion already. The pancakes, while fluffy, were still kinda moist and sticky inside. A distinct milky flavor could be tasted and I liked that the batter was slightly salty. 

I topped up $2 for scrambled eggs instead of a sunny side up. The eggs had a nice height to it and was poofy like a cloud. It could be a little more funny but it was still decent.

S had the Waffle with Ice Cream ($10.50) which came with a choice of a single scoop of ice cream, sprinkled with freshly baked crumble and drizzled with your choice of sauce on a thick waffle. If you like a crunchy waffles, this would be up your alley but I thought it was a little more like a biscuit i.e. dry.  The generic but sufficiently rich chocolate ice cream helped to moisten the batter a little but did not make the dish spectacular. 

If you want something more substantial, Tolido's also does pastas and sandwiches at reasonable prices ($10.50 onwards). I would love to try the Croque Monsieur, only because i love the french ham and cheese sandwich. 
Now now, Tolido's also serves really good and pretty coffee. Yahava coffee blends are used here and the medium roast was fragrant and smooth with a low acidity. Head barista and owner Douglas Tan was the third place winner in the 2014 Singapore Latte Art Competition and that explains the photogenic cuppas.

Do not miss the Salted caramel latte. The flavor was well blended into the drink and every sip was a velvety mouthful with the perfect amount of salt. Yums. 
Adding to my list of favorites because of their salted caramel latte and lovely space! 

Tolido's Espresso Nook
462 Crawford Lane, 190462
Tel: +65 6648 0178
Tue - Thu: 9.30am - 7pm
Fri- & Sat: 9.30am - 10pm
Sun: 9am - 6.30pm

I bet that some of you are still scrambling to put yourselves together for the new year celebrations (the ladies at least)! I feel your pain on this one and i'm thankful that i've scheduled most of my beauty appointments in advance, well others i just can't be bothered because i have no time!! Here's sharing with you some places that i visit for my beauty fixes, especially if you're seriously pressed for time.

Ok I lied! This is really the last Chinese New Year post and I'm ending it with sweets from my all time fav Tiong Bahru Bakery. It's cny goods with a twist by French baker Gontran Cherrier with three localized creations to celebrate the Lunar New Year – the Pineapple and Coconut Tart; Orange and Chocolate Marble Cake; and Chocolate and Hazelnut Kouign Aman.
The first interesting dessert was Gontran's interpretation of our local pineapple tart - the Pineapple and Coconut Tart ($8.50). A smooth and light pineapple mousse is set on a snappy sugar pastry base, topped with light coconut chantilly cream, white chocolate disc, and a touch of edible gold leaves for good luck. I was surprised that the tart tasted refreshing instead of the cloying sweetness that i was half expecting. I liked this better than our normal cny goodie.
Then there's the Orange and Chocolate Marble Cake ($18 whole cake / $4.50 per slice). Not quite a substitute for the super rich (and fattening) Kueh Lapis but it would feature well on any afternoon tea. The coarse tea cake is full of dark French chocolate tinged with subtle citrusy zest. Flavors are on the mild side but done purposely so to cut through all that CNY richness. It's really a tea cake so pair it with a cuppa to moisten it.
S can vouch that I'm a KA monster and I can never resist getting 1 (or 2) of the original KA from TBB. The specially created Chocolate and Hazelnut Kouign Aman ($4.50) is made with rich French chocolate and has crushed hazelnut folded in. I thought it was more similar to the TBB croissant, with a laminate that is less buttery and thus a slightly more doughy texture and a matte appearance. Taste wise, I enjoyed the moist chocolate hazelnut center which wasn't too sweet. It was almost like a chocolate pain. Pretty obvious that my favorite is still the crunchy sweet original KA. Tip- toast it a bit to make the edges crunchy!

Tiong Bahru Bakery’s Chinese New Year creations are available in stores already! Grab them from now till end of the month (28 Feb 2015), at all Tiong Bahru Bakery outlets.
Of course, since Valentine’s Day is also around the corner, get your hands on the Nougat and Strawberry Macaron ($8.50), a big crunchy sweet heart for your sweetheart. It's a little too sweet but that's exactly what V Day is about isn't it? I loved that cream but not so the sticky chewy center. Think I had more fun breaking these hearts. Available from 9-15 Feb 2015, at all Tiong Bahru Bakery outlets!

I don't think I've done many TBB posts on the blog even though I do frequent their outlets quite often. Even if you don't fancy the seasonal creations, you'll not go wrong with their savory selection. My other staple at TBB is their Quiche Lorraine ($7). Trust me when i say i only eat the TBB quiche lorraine these days. The amazing silky egg custard has chunks of smoky bacon and a light hint of caramelized onion in it and it's amazingly yummy when the tart is fresh out from the oven and still crisp on the exterior. 
My new favorite is the Savoyard ($8), which has cherry tomatoes, bacon and cheese baked inside a soft bun! 
It's more than just another bacon and cheese roll btw. Can you see the herbs folded into the layers of ham and cheese? Yums! Other items that i like include the Spicy Hotdog Bun ($5.30) which is kinda like a pretzel chorizo dog peppered with sesame seeds. The Croque Monsieur ($9.50) appears to be kinda dry on the outside but it is absolutely not. This classic french toasted sandwich with shaved ham and béchamel suace and cheese isn't that creamy so you wouldn't feel too heavy from finishing the sandwich.
Tiong Bahru Bakery, always a favorite. <3 p="">
Tiong Bahru Bakery
56 Eng Hoon Street, #01-70 Singapore 160056 Tel: +65 6220 3430 
#B1-11/12, Raffles City SC, Singapore 179103 Tel: +65 6333 4160
L1-16B, Tangs Orchard, Singapore 238864  Tel: +65 6735 3787
Daily: 8am - 10pm
I promise this will be the last of my Chinese New Year posts (i think). Frankly i'm pretty sick of eating yu sheng already and we are still a week away from the Lunar New Year! BUT BUT BUT, if you don't really want all that typical cny feasting but still want to feel like part of the festivities, head down to Tian Fu Tea Room for their Reunion Imperial High Tea from 18 Feb to 5 Mar 2015. P.S. i think their yusheng is one of the best i've had this season. ;)
I love the high tea sets at Tian Fu Tea Room because i get quality variety and i wouldn't have to stuff myself as well. For $32 per pax, you'll enjoy free flow tea (which is paired with the dimsum) and 9 dimsum items (which includes 1 rice or noodles dish).
We started with a light Long Jing (Green Tea) which complements the next couple of dishes nicely. 
The Prosperity salmon yusheng with crispy fish skin is served regardless of the number of diners. So even if you're dining alone, you'll be able to toss your way to great wealth this year. This is the most balanced yusheng i've had in 2015 and it had the right amount of sweetness and tartness. And i never thought i'd say this but that crispy fish skin was so dayum addictive.
Next appetizer was the Salted egg wrapped with sliced duck. This is a Sichuan 家常菜 that takes a lot of effort to make. Tender young duck meat is first marinated in Chinese wine and spices for hours before it's made into a roulade with a salted egg yolk center and steamed. The salted egg yolk overpowers the meat flavor a little and gives it a slightly dryer and coarser texture but when you eat the meat on its own, you'll taste the light sweetness.
The Grilled spicy eel with Sichuan pepper sauce was another crowd pleaser. Such tender meat in the fragrant and spicy pepper sauce. Someone hand me some rice please!
Next was the Steamed fish balls with black moss. Well, not all fishballs are made equal and these were a cut above the rest. Black moss 发菜 is a must during cny and even though it didn't add any flavor to the fresh briny balls, it gave the dish an added texture. 
The Steamed Crystal dumpling with Prawn withstood the test of time while we snapped away and the transparent flour skin (no gluten) remained chewy and moist even after all that #cameraeatsfirst action. The prawn meat could do with a little more moisture but that could have been our fault for not eating while the food is still hot.
Now now, our favorite dish in the high tea set! The aesthetically pleasing and tummy satisfying Deep fried crispy puff with minced prawn
Just look at all that delicate layers that is as thin as filo pastry. The airy and buttery layers were crispy and light and I was surprised it could hold the juicy minced prawn so well! Could we have more of this please!!
A heavier Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (Red Tea) was served towards the end to help us digest the oilier and more carby dishes. 
The Fried Rice with waxed meat wrapped in fresh lotus leaf was so good i couldn't help finish the whole lot. Ever tasted a juicy lup cheong? Well this is one and there were many chunks of them. I love how fluffy the rice grains were and we could taste that distinct wok hei flavor. I sure hope this goes onto the Si Chuan Dou Hua a la carte menu! 
I wasn't too impressed with the orange Nian gao which was styled into an ingot. However, i was taken with the rice wine dumplings with the 甘香 flavor. The alcohol has been evaporated but it left a slightly sour flavor which was sweetened. The fermented rice grains tasted like sour grapes actually.
Tian Fu Tea Room is adjoined to each of the Si Chuan Dou Hua restaurants in Singapore and the high tea menu may differ slightly. The featured Reunion Imperial High Tea will be available from 18 Feb to 5 Mar 2015.

Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant

PARKROYAL on Beach Road
7500 Beach Road, Singapore 199591
Tel: +65 6428 3170

PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road
181 Kitchener Road, Singapore 208533
Tel: +65 6428 3170

TOP of UOB Plaza
80 Raffles Place #60-01, UOB Plaza 1, Singapore 048624
Tel: +65 6535 6006

Daily: 11.30am - 10.30pm
High Tea: 2:30 - 6:30pm