Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

It's terribly ironic that i'm a food blogger and a yogi at the same time but i guess it allows me that much needed balance in my diet. I typically eat light on weekdays and brunch/tea on weekends. That said, one can never be too sure that they are getting all the required vitamins for daily sustenance (and beauty) and that's where Swisse comes into my life! Here's introducing Australia’s #1 Multivitamin brand, which has just launched in Singapore.

Swisse is at the forefront of integrative health in Australia, and is used by successful international stars and elite athletes including Australian former Wimbledon champion and world number one Lleyton Hewitt, cricket legend Ricky Ponting and the Australian national rugby team, the Wallabies.
In Singapore, the bubbly and ever classy A-lister Rebecca Lim and Mod-Sin father/Celebrity Chef Willin Low have joined Swisse's rank of ambassadors.
At the launch event at the Australian High Commissioner's Residence, we were well fed by Willin's mod-sin canapes, inspired by the ingredients of Swisse Men + Women's Ultivites.

The Herbal Tea Onsen Quail Eggs revealed their gooey ginseng infused center when we popped them in.

You can have your nasi lemak and still be healthy, if it has tomato and ginger in it. Remember to always regulate your intake of hawker food. Here's Chef Willin's Nasi Lemak Arancini.

48h Beef Short Rib Rendang may not sound too healthy but it sure was well flavored. You can always supplement it with the Swisse Ultivates (that's kind of the whole point).
What's a celebration without some drinks? And I see a potential bar coming under Willin's belt of f&b offerings. The Swisse Celebration cocktail was a refreshing a gin cocktail, with chamomile, grapefruit, honey and mint. 
Juices are always a good idea and here is a tomato base fruit juice with papaya, orange and lemon.
I know for a fact that i'm not getting sufficient vitamins for strong and healthy hair growth after visiting Peggy at The DRx Medispa Tricho Center. I actually started on Vitamin B and C for that purpose. It's great that there's the Swisse Ultiboost Hair, Skin, Nails supplement that is specifically formulated to support collagen production and assist in the maintenance of healthy hair, supple skin and strong nails. 1 pill for many wonders! This is recommended by my dear friend Rebecca as well. Becks also recommended the Women's Ultivite for the extra boost of energy.In fact, i can easily last through a day packed with ceramics, yoga and writing without having the need to reach for coffee . Swisse has proven to be quite effective for  Type As! 
I will be sharing more on my Swisse journey with you guys and there may be a giveaway coming up soon so stay tuned. In the meantime, head over to selected Watson's, Guardian, Robinsons and Unity stores to get your hands on the Swiss range of supplements for that inner shine!
Can't complain about the lack of coffee spots in the East anymore with so many sprouting like mushrooms! I actually visited Craftsmen Specialty Coffee at Siglap V, just opposite Siglap Centre, when they first opened (that was months back). Well, it took this long because well.. it's just another cafe... who gets its beans from somewhere else, and in this case from Dutch Colony Coffee Co., which opened its outpost a few streets down... And as the story goes....
First, the coffee. The Craftsmen blend is 40% El Salvador Finca El Carmen, 30% Ethiopia Konga natural Yirgacheffe and 30% Sumatra Triple Picked Mandheling. You get balanced notes with a hint of ripe lemon and dark chocolate finish. The coffee was bold and robust, just the way i like it. 
Drinks are in the $4-$5 range. Our latte and flat white were both $4.50 each. To differentiate itself, Craftsmen also has a brew bar which does V60, Chemex, Siphon, Woodneck and French Press coffees ($6-$8).  You can also get your hands on the usual coffee making products- Hario, Bodum blahblah.
Food wise, we weren't impressed. Quiches ($9) and sandwiches ($15-16) are made in house. We had the Pulled Pork sandwich ($15), which was MEH. The meat wasn't seasoned well. It tastes of meat that's bland and tough. Where's the spice man? The choice of bread was also kinda off with a thin waxy brown skin and a strange center with a chewy pull. Well because the meat was so dry, it remained separated from the bread.
Thankfully, they chose the right cake and pastry supplier, Fathis, who apparently supplies to many cafes (i can't be sure of that) but anyhoo, i was thoroughly impressed with their moist and chunky banana walnut bread with a dollop of of cream cheese frosting. Other cakes available include a Salted Caramel Popcorn and Blueberry Cheesecake, and they look really hearty!
So well, head over to Craftsmen for coffee and a piece of cake if you're in the area. After all, it beats having the usual Coffee Club mudpie, or Udders ice cream. 

Craftsmen Specialty Coffee
2 First Street, Siglap V, #01-01
Singapore 458278
Daily: 8.30am - 8pm
In the process of clearing backlogs and found this one on Grand Mandarin, which is touted to have really good roast meats by Wong Ah Yoke of Straits Times. Well, if you're a lao ban (businessman) looking for a place entertain your Chinese clients, i guess Grand Mandarin would make the cut. It's one of the few restaurants that sell the crazy expensive Empurau fish (忘不了) in Singapore and that's sure to impress (it's all about 面子 'face' with them). 
A sampler of appetizers first. We had the deep fried prawn coated with crème lemon sauce ($32). Firm succulent crystal prawn was used and the dressing was decent and masked the blandness of the meat. I found the crispy soft shell crab coated with chicken floss and curry leaves ($18) rather interesting though it could be kinda dry. 
The honey glazed barbecued pork loin ($15) had fats that melted in my mouth. The meat was firm but juicy. This char siew is done slightly differently being first coated with brown sugar and then baked, giving the meat a crunchy creme brulee shell  that will satisfy any sweet tooth. It's  would come back just to take away some char siew for dinner. 
The Double boiled chicken soup with cordycep flower ($9) was very soothing on the tummy with a flavorful broth but i wouldn't recommend eating the chicken which was rather tasteless after being stripped of its juices.
I love my cod fish and the Steamed silver cod ($22/pax) kinda does it, if only they would go easy on the amount of pink ginger on top. It was a pity that the smokiness of the bonito sauce couldn't cut through the light spice. Put the ginger aside and eat as required.
Next, the roasted duck with Perigord truffle ($28). Loved that paper thin crispy skin but the meat was semi dry and tough. :/ Also, we couldn't see or taste much of the truffle. 
While the tofu with crab meat and egg white in carrot broth ($24) sounded healthy and refreshing, I'd advise you to skip it. We couldn't quite see the oil but we could taste it in every bite. Also, the tofu had a strange wok hei (burnt) taste even though it wasn't burnt at all. 
The meal somehow got oilier with the stir fried crystal vermicelli with pork collar in X.O. chili sauce ($22) The noodles did not match the description at all and 'oily and bland fried noodles with rubbery cuttlefish' would be more apt in fact. Hardly a hint of X.O. sauce was detected as well.
I was hoping that desserts will somewhat save the meal from going downhill. The Liu Sha Bao ($4.80) had a rich and viscous salted egg custard that was decent on the first few bites before punching you out with the sweetness. Listen to the doc and just stick with one.
The Green Apple jelly with lime sorbet and aloe vera ($8) helped to get rid of the residual oily mouth feel from the mains. It tasted very homemade in fact and reminded me of a boiled apple drink that my mama makes. The lime sorbet gave the dish a slight acidity which lifted the flavor, and our mood.
Hits and misses at Grand Mandarin located at the fringe of Chinatown. It's located near one of the exits of Outram Park MRT (which one annoying dining companion we had can't seem to figure out. i wonder what his smartphone is for). May head back for dim sum since it's a daily affair here. 

Grand Mandarin
325 New Bridge Road, Singapore 088760
Tel: +65 6222 3355
Daily: 11.30am - 2.30pm, 6.30 - 10pm

It is a brainless solution really, to do the Norway in a nutshell ® trip when visiting Norway. Surely it would be wonderful to take your time to experience the fjords, but it's a case of too-many-things-too-little-time. The 14 hour journey (between Oslo and Bergen, also available from Voss) takes you on/through the Bergen Railway, Flåm Railway, the Aurlandsfjord, the Nærøyfjord and the steep hairpin bends of Stalheimskleiva (only from May-September), which IMO is sufficient sightseeing. You can of course opt for longer transits at the fjords if you wish.

A special occasion called for celebration and S surprised me with treat at Shinji by Kanesaka, an extension of 2-star Michelin Chef Shinji Kanesaka’s Edo-style sushi restaurant first set up in Tokyo’s exclusive Ginza district. There are 2 outlets in Singapore and S went with the charming Raffles Hotel (good on him) and we had the pleasure of having Master Chef Koichiro Oshino serve us.

There's something real sexy kneading dough with your hands and turning them into delicious buttery wonders and that's what Do.Main Bakery does. French baker Chef Frédéric Deshayes has set up shop in the part shady, part gentrified Tanjong Katong, supplying Easties with authentic French bakes alongside seedy massage shops and residences housing foreign workers.
Upon entering the bakery cafe, I was distractive by the croissants, pain au chocolat, eclairs, tarts and cakes. All these amazing bakes are made using Elle & Vivre butter, Valrhona chocolate and high-quality French flour.
I'm appreciating chinese food a lot more these days (maybe it's an age thing) and i was thoroughly wowed by Chef Tony Wun, new Executive Chinese Chef of The St. Regis Singapore, when i sampled his exquisite 8 course set menu at Yan Ting ($168/pax). It was dish after dish of Cantonese food deliciousness which brought Chinese fine dining to the next level.
The Signature Set Menu began with a trio of appetizers. 

The boys from Saveur have gone from cheap and affordable French dining for the masses to modern French fine dining with Saveur Art! Their latest outpost, located at the swanky ION Orchard, is helmed by former sous chef of Jaan, Chef Tyler Lai. Despite the more upmarket location, the menu remains affordable with a 2-course set lunch at $29, 3-course $37, and a 4-course dinner at $52. 
Our meal started with an amuse bouche of Seaweed Sabayon, a custard in roasted potato skin dashi, with rice puffs. Flavors were earthy, smoky and umami, and it tasted like a liquified potato chips.
For appetizers, despite wanting to try different dishes, we were all reluctant to order anything but the 64 deg slow cooked egg and truffle ($12; to add shaved truffle, additional $15). The creaminess of the egg, light earthliness of the the truffled potato mousseline, crispy potato thins, and sweet macademia made this a standout dish for us. We could certainly do with another portion of this each!
For mains, we had the Mangalica Pork Belly ($20) with barley risotto, turnip, wild mushrooms, foie gras sauce perigueux. The fats were very well rendered fats and they disintegrated into nothingness when you bite into it. The smoky char of the rich meat paired well with the sweet barley and vegetables but i found the dish to be a tad oily overall. 
I had the Asian spiced braised beef short ribs ($28) with jalapeño and rosemary crumbs, apples, organic baby carrots. I've never had a braised beef short ribs done this style before and the jalapeño provided the lifting citrusy flavor to the fork tender meat. Pretty interesting and tasty dish!
The Market fish of the day ($26) (we can't remember what fish it was) was distinctly sweet because of the freshness of the fish. This is certainly recommended if you want a light dish. That's not to say that this is bland though. The salty and citrusy broth was robust without overpowering the fish. 
We could not resist having some desserts and you simply must order the Chocolate and Pistachio ($13). There is no chocolate overload here even though the Valrhona chocolate was presented in 4 different ways- Guanaja fondant, Tanariva mousse, Ivory white chocolate espuma, and Araguani chips. There were so many different flavors and textures in this one. I tasted peanut butter salted crumbles with crackle pops (i was the first to notice that), flowy baby lava cake (can't we have a bigger one), salty ivory espuma which reminded me of a goats cheese, and a nutty pistachio ice cream. It was a wonderful end to the meal, which would be better if we had more!
Hats down to the Saveur boys for pulling modern French fine dining off. I certainly see myself visiting again (before the queues get too long). My only grumble is that the portions are a little small and we could do with a little more even with our little ladies' stomachs. 

2 Orchard Turn #04-11, Singapore 238801, Ion Orchard
Tel: +65 6634 1141
Daily: 12 - 9.30pm

As promised, here's an update on the long haul flight on EVA Air's Royal Laurel Class from Taipei to New York City. We took the Business Class flight from Singapore to Taipei (thankfully EVA used the Royal Laurel product) and it was rather empty. That wasn't the case from Taipei to New York on the Royal Laurel Class as it was packed mostly with Taiwanese businessmen. Needless to say, the flight was rather entertaining and the passengers boisterous. 
We started with some Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004, only served on the Royal Laurel Class. This is another mark of the premium business product as this champagne is typically reserved for first class. I was also glad to see my favorite FIJIWater available on board to hydrate passengers on the flight! Lovely touches. Whee.
The noise canceling headphones in the Royal Laurel Class cabin are newly developed by EVA Air. With a soft ear padding and ergonomically designed headband, i found it comfortable enough to fall asleep with the headphones on. A convenient mute function allows you to talk to other people without needing to remove your headphones. It's no BOSE but it's better than nothing.
For the long haul, i appreciated that the remote, other than the HD TV screen, is a touch screen. The bigger touch screen remote was perfect for watching movies in bed as the affixed TV doesn't tilt. It also allowed for multi-tasking as it has a split screen function.
Another first class touch is the pajamas in the Royal Laurel Class cabin. The two-piece sleepwear set is made from a warm, soft, brown fabric. S actually found it too warm in fact. As for me, well the PJs isn't of the most flattering size (smallest is M), cut, or color and so i gave it a miss.

I wouldn't blame you if you aren't interested in the PJs because well, let's face it, the Rimowa overnight amenity kit took all that focus away. 
We were more than happy to add the EVA Air mini Rimowa to our current collection of ANA and TG kits.Rimowa kits come in crystal green and prosecco. The cases are made from the same premium materials used in the Rimowa luggage products. We received the kits in both colors during our departure and return flights.

The contents of the Rimowa overnight kits have also been upgraded to now include lotion and lip balm from Harnn, Thailand’s top spa and skincare brand; a screen cleansing cloth for mobile devices; a satin sleeping mask; sleeping socks; toothpaste; a toothbrush; and a comb.
Well, i brought my own essentials on board too- Derma-RX skincare products MAX C and Hydrator to keep my skin supple on the flight. Cabin air can be so harsh on the skin.
On to the food on the long haul. Appetizer of Goose Liver Terrine with grape champagne jelly and poached red wine baby pear. Nothing spectacular and the presentation was simply awful. The plus is that EVA Air provides Echire Butter with their assorted bread. Yums!
A creamy Apple and White Turnip Soup. I've never had such a combination and it was more fusion that western. 
S went with the Asian main dish- Braised Pork Spare Ribs Wu Shi Style with Egg Fried Rice. It looked really blah and the portion wasn't big.
I went for the Pan fried Cod Fillet with Superior Crab Roe Egg White sauce as i thought that the Prime Beef Fillet would be overdone (as many highlighted online). Sadly, this sucked pretty badly. The noodles were soggy and lumpy and also very bland. The crab roe egg white sauce was curdy, probably due to the cornflower starch that they added to make the gravy. 
The Pearl Chocolate Yogurt mousse on a glazed pineapple tart wasn't spectacular as well due to the cloying sweetness. 
The best part of the meal was the garlic and blue cheese course that came at the very end. I couldn't believe how bad the Western meals on EVA Air were until i experienced it for myself.

The horrible experience made me think twice about picking any more Western meals. The western choice for breakfast was sauteed seafood with pesto cream and potato gnocchi. Like seriously what were they thinking? S and I decided that the Taiwanese porridge option may be our safest bet.
It was a way better alternative in fact. Silky porridge (not quite Cantonese style congee or the grainy Teochew rice porridge sort) was accompanied by the Wok Fried Shredded Chicken with Green Sprout, and Braised Shiitake Mushroom with Egg Tofu. 
The porridge set was not spectacular but they were simply, hearty, home cooked dishes that we Asian Chinese are used to. The best part was the miso paste which i added to everything. 

For the NYC-TPE leg, we played it smart by pre-booking our meals. The selection still sucked nevertheless. 
The Lobster with Mango Salsa was on the rubbery end.
The Lobster Thermidor was sufficiently creamy and moist.
Skip the tough Pork medallion with mushroom risotto. You should never order pork as it can be very dry in the air. The soggy rice was also too salty.
Desserts was a caramel almond cheesecake which was decent enough.
The limited on board menu for dinner/supper at 1am. BOO. This food by EVA Air is really disappointing.
For supper, we tried the noodle soup with minced pork, fish ball, fish cake and preserved vegetables. This is typical Asian comfort food. The hor fun (flat rice noodles) didn't quite survive the plane ride though and became quite cakey. The fish balls also weren't very fresh or bouncy.
Other than the disappointing food selection and quality, we weren't very pleased with the lukewarm service that we experienced on our various EVA flights. Unlike the SQ flights where we were constantly being offered snacks and drinks, i even had to hunt down the EVA Air stewardesses and stewards to get my movie snack. What i didn't get was the look of bewilderment when i asked them for their selection of bites (i also caught the judgy look)! The snacks were all packaged and processed, which added to my disappointment. The french fries were similar to the famous Hokkaido Potato Farm version and the seaweed snack was recommended by the stewardess after she finally acceded to my nibble request.
Well well, at least i've Dom for company.
Me all tucked into my flat bed with the really fluffy comforter. 
For breakfast, i opted for the Royal Laurel Special, which has the interesting Braised pork in Shao Bing. Shao Bing is a scallion pan cake and is commonly found in Taiwan night markets.  
The pan cake/bread was fragrant and fluffy. It's not as fresh or piping hot as the night market ones but it was fairly decent for a flight meal. The pork was on the dry side as usual but i was quite happy just having the omelette and scallion pancake. 
Instead of plain porridge, a lily lotus seed porridge was served and it had an amazing light sweetness to it. Add some miso for an added umami! was really comforting and sweet.

It was obvious that EVA Air doesn't fare too well against Singapore Airlines in their category of Business class product. I appreciated the hard product but business class is more than just the seat, or entertainment. In order to have an edge, i believe EVA Air has much to work on their in flight menu (the food is horrendous and the selection limited) and their lukewarm service in order to appeal to international travelers.