Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

A secret dining venue hiding in plain sight, The Dragon Chamber is a modern Chinese restaurant hidden behind a beer vending machine in a kopitiam front. 
Stepping through the secret entrance and down a neon-lit alleyway, i felt like i was starring in a Hong Kong triad movie. At the end of the dark path, a door opens into a chic dining space that is a cross between a mahjong club and a Shanghainese bar. 
Cocktails are served alongside modern Chinese dishes. I had the Sake Mojito ($19), a minty infusion of longan with sake, elderflower and lime juice to start. 
The drink was helpful in alleviating the spice in the Firecracker Chicken and Maple Fritters ($16/$30). This is the perfect bar snack with the spicy and savory crunch of fried chicken cubes and cashew nuts. While i first proclaimed that the spice level was just right, i realised that it kicks in slowly. If you're wondering why maple fritters (you tiao), this dish is a twist on Chicken & Waffles. 
I've been ordering way too many food takeouts/deliveries but well do we have a choice? Here's revisiting some deliveries that i've tried over Circuit Breaker and Heightened Alert Phase 2 in Singapore. Here;s what i've tried from Goodwood Park Hotel Singapore and their one-stop platform for orders from Min Jiang, Coffee Lounge, and also their deli.
I've been meaning to head back to the Coffee Lounge for their Taiwanese Porridge Buffet since i tried it the last time. Well now that there's no dining in again, at least there's a porridge bento option. Each bento comes with 4 sides and a porridge for $13.20. A bit pricey for teochew porridge you say? I do agree and the portions are also rather small. I guess you could skip this and wait to dine in.  
Instead, go for the dishes at Min Jiang. Currently they have some rice bowls promotion, the likes of roasted pork belly and braised duck thigh, which starts at $13.20. You could also curate your own degustation with a 4 course menu for 2 for $100. We ordered some a la carte dishes previously, which consists of sauteed diced chicken with pine nuts, fried string beans, and fried rice. My mun went on and on about how good the fried string beans were because they still remained crunchy despite the delivery. The diced chicken were tender and flavored with peppers and the delicate fragrance of the pine nuts.
Vegans and Vegetarians rejoice! Homegrown restaurant Violet Oon has launched an extended menu of plant-based and gluten-free specialties at its Clarke Quay outlet Violet Oon Singapore Satay Bar & Grill, where you can enjoy smoke-kissed dishes alongside your meat loving friends. 
Expect big flavors with the use of regional spices, rempahs, house-made sauces, and the smoky sear of the grill. 

For starters, the Eggplant Goreng Dip with Emping Crackers ($17) was irresistible with the light bitterness of the belinjau nut crackers, balanced with the savoury coriander-infused eggplant purée. We got hold of some green chili sambal and boy it was a killer combination. 
The Grilled Cauliflower Sambal Tumis ($19) packs a smoky punch but I must warn that moreish sambal sauce requires a refreshing cocktail to extinguish the heat. Thankfully the cocktails at Violet Oon are perfect for that. Go for the Assam cocktail, it's my favorite of the lot.
Meatless Meatball Rendang ($18) was a soft mix of walnut, cheese and Impossible meat dumpling, braised in a spiced creamy coconut cream sauce. Honestly no one would have known that this was meat free. Certainly one of my favorite dishes on the menu. 

On to mushrooms, a crowd favorite is the Kunyit Lemak King Oyster Mushroom ($24), which sees a full-bodied grilled meat oyster mushrooms coated in an earthy turmeric-infused coconut sauce. 
It's been a long time since i last visited Golden Peony at Conrad Centennial and i remember being rather impressed on my first visit. The restaurant is helmed by Executive Chinese Chef Ku Keung who has over 20 years of professional culinary experience in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore. Over our Chinese New Year tasting menu, i noticed that Chef is actually quite playful and adventurous when it comes to incorporating new food trends and also elements from other cuisine. 
We started our feast with an appetizer inspired by the Indian Puri snack. This Pao Pao minced duck reminded me of the typical second dish when having Peking duck, except that puri is used in place of lettuce. A savory sweet mix of minced duck and diced vegetables filled the crispy puffs, providing textural delight.
The Fortune OX Yu Sheng with salmon and wagyu beef contained a surprising element, which is mock salmon. Chef wanted to give us a taste of this vegetarian replacement and the texture was surprisingly decent and almost fish-like (it was a bit more like jellyfish). 
Next, an abalone ingot pastry served with sliced abalone rolled with asparagus and prawn paste. The seafood roll is apparently a new item and i'm sure it'd be a crowd favorite for all seafood lovers.
If you enjoy Pen Cai, know that it's included in the Diamond Ox menu ($1998 for 8 pax). Among the usual delicacies like abalone, scallops, prawns, lobster, sea cucumber, fish maw, conpoy and roast meats, lies a homemade meatball, made using Impossible meat! If we were not told of this, we wouldn't have thought the meatball was anything but the regular sort! Sneaky Chef but it is a great way to change diners' mindset on alternative meats/meat substitutes.
Start your own Chinese New Year tradition at InterContinental Singapore Man Fu Yuan (MFY). Now this is one highlight that i look forward to every lunar new year. This year, Executive Chinese Chef Aaron Tan and his team at MFY will be offering a selection of delicacies and prosperity prix-fixe menus until 26 February 2021 and it caters to couples and also intimate gatherings with family.
We tossed our way into prosperity with visually stunning 60-inch Blossoms of Spring Prosperity Yu Sheng adorned with Hokkaido scallops, salmon, crispy fish skin, shaped in the form of the Chinese character ‘Chun’ (春). The golden yuzu and plum sauce with shallot oil provided refreshing and light sweetness to the yu sheng. It is also possible to arrange for individually portioned yu sheng for your own tossing! For a 牛 beginning, there's also a yusheng with with Japanese Omi A4 Wagyu beef with salmon and Hokkaido scallops.
Next up, a luxurious Superior crab meat and pumpkin bisque with generous amount of birds nest and crab meat and roe in pumpkin husk. Lovely savory sweetness in this one! A must order IMO. 
The Signature West Lake Longjing smoked duck with truffle sauce (from real truffles) make for a good appetizer with its thin crispy skin and juicy meat. 
Reimagine Sichuan flavors at Birds of a Feather with their first-ever tasting menu. I've been a fan of Chef Eugene See's contemporary and European take on Sichuan cuisine since Birds opened and now he has taken it to the next level with some really stunning and elegant dishes that knocked us off our feet. 
Leave your tongue numbing mala expectations at the door. The Reimagine Sichuan menu ($89) showcases the myriad of flavors- salty, aromatic, bitter on the individual plates that are even more refined than the usual communal menu at Birds. There is even a curated wine pairing menu which was an absolute delight, featuring a small batch Telmont Grand Reserve Champagne, Pouilly Fuissé Domaine Cordier Chardonnay, Château Mangot Saint-Emilion Grand Cru (our absolute fav), and a surprise cocktail to be paired with desserts, all for just $60. 
The seven-course gastronomic journey begins with the Homemade Pickled Vegetable Focaccia, served alongside a bright, salty Sichuan 碎米芽菜 pickled mustard green butter. The humble preserved vegetable is full of umami- very similar to kombu or preserved olive vegetables. We tried our hardest to persuade Chef Eugene to bottle this! The focaccia was also an amazing slice with an all rounded crisp and a fluffy center. 
Next, Chef Eugene presents a rotating Bird’s Snack which spotlights the Sichuan burnt chili. A thin chewy ravioli made from gyoza skin is filled with a mix of burnt chili eggplant and foie gras. The spice was very mild and slightly tingly, and further balanced with an earthy celeriac purée. 
Min Jiang at Goodwood Park Hotel marks another milestone in its decades-long history with a fresh contemporary look, together with refreshed menus and experiences for its patrons. Chef Chan Hwan Kee, who has been helming the kitchen for more than 10 years, continues to excite diners with his brand of signature Cantonese and Sichuan dishes. 
Min Jiang is one of the last few restaurants that are still serving their dim sum on push carts. I'm always terribly excited when the trolleys come around and it certainly encourages over-ordering, only because i can't help myself. 
A new range of hand-made dim sum has been introduced and you could order them off the menu. The creatively presented Min Jiang Land and Sea Quartet ($16.80/order) features a rabbit-shaped Steamed Prawn and Carrot Dumpling, accompanied by Deep-fried Pork ‘Char Siew’ and Pine Nuts in Glutinous Pastry fashioned like a carrot. Alongside are a Steamed Squid and Sea Cucumber Dumpling and Steamed Prawn and Chinese Stem Lettuce with Tobiko Dumpling formed like a sea cucumber and starfish respectively. This is perfect for the single diner who wants a variety of dimsum. 
 WHO: Singapore's favorite chicken rice Chatterbox and 2 Michelin Star Shisen Hanten
WHAT: 50% off all items from Mandarin Orchard. Chatterbox's world-famous Hainanese Chicken Rice is only priced at $13.50 now. Features tender-boiled chicken, jasmine rice, and chicken soup, served with homemade chilli, ginger, and dark soya sauce. 

Get yourself a DBS/POSB card and enjoy 1-for-1 deals.
Chatterbox Signature Bento ($34 for 2 sets)- Mandarin Chicken Rice, Braised Bee Tai Mak with Abalone, Tauhu Goreng, and Rojak. The sides change over time. The earlier set we had featured abalone ko lo mee which was fab. My mum had the bee tai mak recently and said it wasn't good. I'd recommend the chicken rice for sure. Oh and get another portion of the refreshing rojak! 
Shisen Hanten Bento  ($34 for 2)- Gave the Chen's Mapo tofu another try in this bento and still did not enjoy it. Too one dimensional with the numbing spice but it wasn't like spicy either. The bento was a lot less satisfying than the Chatterbox one. Give this a miss.
HOW: Place your orders on Free delivery over $80. Free parking for 30mins if you're taking away. 
WHO: 8Crabs. Chinese tzechar with their specialty AAA premium Sri Lankan sourced wild crabs. Apparently they said that they are the only restaurant selling this grade of crabs. 
WHAT: BIG, JUICY, and MEATY crabs that are caught, flown, prepared and delivered to you within 12 hours plus you get your crabs delivered an hour after ordering. 
Award-Winning Chilli Crab ($68- 125)- We had the extra large which is about 900g-1kg at $88. The pincers were HUGE and the meat was really fresh and sweet. My MIL thought it was better than Jumbo Restaurant's. 8Crabs may be right about that triple A guarantee. However the sauce was a little on the sweeter side. 
Signature Coffee Pork Ribs ($15-28)- I was surprised that the meat was boneless because that wasn't how it was presented online, but i didn't mind it at all. The meat was very tender and juicy with a smoky coffee flavor. 
Mee Goreng ($6-18)- thicker flat yellow noodles were used instead of what was shown online (again). This Chinese style mee goreng has more spices and is more savory compared to the Indian ones. I'm no mee goreng expert given how little i eat them but Jr on the other hand prefers Jumbo's though. I didn't mind this though.
Yang Zhou Fried Rice ($6-16)- quite regular. Small portion is good for 2 full portions or 3 slightly smaller portions. 
HOW: Visit to order. Free delivery above $120. 
WHO: BoBo Fish Balls Singapore aka your trusty steamboat supplier. If you didn't know about their wide variety of steamboat products, well now you do. 
WHAT: A mad variety of seafood products (i portioned them for a 2 pax steamboat)
Cheese meatballs/ Salted egg chicken meatballs, Cheese tofu- my absolute favorites and must have in any steamboat. Let them boil and bob around till afloat and be extremely cautious when biting into these scalding hot balls. 
Fresh fish balls, Fuzhou fish balls with chicken filling- bouncy things. I love that they are savory and do not have any overly fishy flavors to them. The Fuzhou fish balls has a fragrant sesame-oil flavored center. 
Fish Dumplings- another must-have. Slipper morsels with salty meat fillings.  
Big Fried Tau Kee- a new steamboat favorite for me! Pop them into the toaster/air fryer to reheat and crisp further. Generous layers of fishcake and beancurd skin. SO DAMN GOOD. 
Hi guys, hope you are well! Sorry for the lack of updates. The Circuit Breaker in Singapore has kept me very busy at work in fact and i resorted to updating more on IG @msskinnyfat instead. If you wanna stay connected with me, hop over to the other side to check out the meals i've been whipping up or work out with me! 

I was hoping that things would go back to normal soon but it'll be awhile before we can start dining out. I don't enjoy takeouts as much since the experience is very much diminished but i guess we all need something to look forward to and food is a way to maintain that normalcy. So i'm back to sharing here again but in a shorter form since things can get cray at work. 
Anyhow, here are some bentos from Yàn, a restaurant that i frequented. When it comes to takeaways, i enjoy variety and these are great for individual diners. There are 4 bentos to pick from and they are a steal at only $10.80. Plus you get a 20% discount if you pick it up yourself.   
My favorite is the Set A, which consists of Pan-Fried Carrot Cake with XO Sauce and  Chinese sausage; Honey Glazed BBQ Char Siew; Deep Fried Prawn Dumpling with Mayonnaise (2 pcs); and Mushroom with Broccoli. This bento holds up even with cross island travel and it also keeps well overnight in the fridge. I would know because i ordered an extra set to keep for lunch the next day. 
I'm not a fan of crowds (or human contact) in general and Chinese New Year is a chore for me. Have you had one of those super rushed reunion dinners at restaurants which have 3 seatings in 1 night? I mean, i already don't like people and i still gotta be hangry?? Well thankfully, there are now decent CNY takeaway meals by Goodwood Park Hotel's Min Jiang and Min Jiang at Dempsey to the rescue.
I enjoyed Min Jiang's (GWP) Joyful Abundance Yusheng ($168++/$179.75 nett, large portion only)., which is a fresh and refreshing salad with real salad leaves, alongside the tradition pickled melon strips, crushed peanuts and pine nuts, and sesame seeds. The dressing is a mix of calamansi juice, plum sauce and strawberry jam to provide a mix of acidity and fruity sweetness. Deep-fried cheesy chee cheong fan strips are used if you're dining in but are replaced by the simple but good golden crackers if you do takeaway. There're also fresh baby abalones and raw salmon. 
Follow it with a Pot of Gold ($243.95 nett for 8 pax, includes claypot), a pretty tessellation of braised pork belly alternated with creamy Australian pumpkin for a delicious bite, further adorned with Australian 6-head abalones and broccoli. 
As simple as the dish may sound, the pork belly and abalones have been separately braised in chicken stock and Chinese ham which gives it that extra umami.
Now now, this is what i'd definitely order. The Longevity noodles with baby abalones and roasted Iberico pork loin ($201.15 nett for 6 pax) is a plate that would tantalize your palate. Capellini is tossed in shallot oil, kombu, soy sauce and chives and topped with the cutest braised baby abalones and chopped chives. This is umami at its peak. The Ibérico pork is done char siew style, marinated overnight before seasoning with salt and caramelized with a house-made bbq sauce. 

Takeaways are also available at Minjiang at Dempsey. Their Yusheng is different from that at GWP ($108/$169++).  
There's nowhere else i'd head to for a good Sichuan meals but Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurants and they've introduced a variety of seafood dishes "Colours of the Sea" which is available till 12 Jan 2020 at their three outlets. TOP of UOB Plaza and PARKROYAL on Beach Road are offering special a la carte and set menus, while PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road serves a buffet. 
Did you know that Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant is pufferfish on its menu? Their fish is imported directly from Japan. Check out these cute Steamed pufferfish dumpling which is exclusively available at TOP of UOB Plaza, where you can also enjoy the rest of their delectable dimsum bites. Expect a refreshing sweetness in this dumpling.
Another must try is the Sliced pufferfish with fresh chili and sesame (right). I love the blend of spices and the sesame fragrance in this one.  
There's no such thing as regular seafood dishes at Si Chuan Dou Hua as we were wowed by the interesting combinations of flavors. In the seafood combination platter, what stood out was a crispy soft shell crab with Osmanthus sauce that all of us could not stop nibbling on due to the lingering floral taste. The salted egg fish skin was irresistible as well.
Kai Garden is one of my go to Chinese restaurants for dim sum and their very well priced and gorgeous Peking Duck! And guess what! Kai Garden has opened a new restaurant Kai Duck that focuses on innovative dishes made with their Cantonese-style Peking duck.
Their new outlet at Ngee Ann City is a modern casual restaurant that caters to smaller groups of diners. Yes, one can enjoy some glorious bird dishes even if one were alone. Oh the beauty of it! Unlike the traditional Peking style of baking the duck with fire, the duck skin used at Kai Duck is prepared by using the Cantonese method of drizzling the duck with oil after baking, to enhance the aroma and juiciness of the skin. 
We started with the Chilled Mini Tomatoes topped with Japanese Sesame Sauce ($10.80) which uses fresh Japanese cherry tomatoes marinated in a tart plum sauce, and is served with handmade squares of plum jelly. This refreshing appetizer complements the rich flavors of the other dishes. Save some for in between dishes! The plum marinade is exactly like the sauce that accompanies most roast ducks. 
One of the signatures at Kai Duck is the Peking Duck Salad Hand Roll ($4.80 ea). Think of it as a fried spring roll filled with juicy slices of Peking Duck, cucumber and lettuce, seasoned with Japanese sesame sauce and seaweed.
The first Shangri-La hotel, the first Shang Palace. Since 1971, both hotel and restaurant has been making history, from our little red dot, to the rest of the world. 
At the restaurant’s helm is Chef Mok Kit Keung, who has 40 good years of cooking under his belt (he started when he was only 13). Chef Mok is the one who brought Shang Palace Kowloon to its second Michelin star in 2011 and we think there's a high chance he may clinch a star (or two) for Shang Palace Singapore. Expect an extensive menu (or menus), ranging from traditional nostalgia, classic signatures, and innovative new dishes by Chef.
Taste the flavors of the good old days with Chef Mok's heritage dishes. Preparation of these heritage dishes is often painstaking, time- consuming and intricate, which explains why they are hard to find these days.
Take the Boneless quail filled with bird’s best in supreme Broth ($98/portion) for example, the tiny bird had all its bones removed, leaving the delicate flesh and skin intact to be filled with 40g of bird's nest. The supreme broth is also cooked for 8 hours using chicken, pork, and Jinhua ham to coax maximum flavour. If you think about all the work and premium ingredients that went into the dish, you'd understand why the dish is value for money. 
The Deep-fried crab meat, coriander and pork fritter 金钱蟹盒 ($36/6pcs) may look like a regular fried wanton, but the skin is actually hand-sliced pieces of pork fat (they're sliced so thinly that they're translucent). The skin wraps a mixture of Sri Lankan crab meat, mushrooms, Chinese coriander and bamboo shoots, forming a "coin" which is then deep fried till crispy. I loved how wonderfully juicy each bite was. 

A newer and better Min Jiang has opened at Dempsey! The move from their Rochester Park home of 12 years is a step forward for the group and it is certainly a refreshing departure. The timber interior of the main dining hall, and the choice of materials in the furniture are at perfect harmony with the lush and teeming greenery surroundings. Stepping into the space, i immediately felt peace and lightness, much of it attributed to the airy, light-filled place, enhanced with soothing color palette of gold and green.
Min Jiang at Dempsey not only sees a new design concept, but diners can expect a whole new menu by Master Chef Goh Chee Kong, who has devoted more than half of his 32-year career to Min Jiang. The menu presents familiar flavors of Cantonese and Sichuan cuisines in a contemporary presentation.
Intricate handmade dimsum creations are available for lunch daily. The Steamed ‘Goldfish’ Prawn Dumpling ($4.80/pc) ‘swimming’ in a delicate egg white sauce was too pretty to be eaten. The house-made crystal dumpling skin fell apart with a light tug, revealing a succulent prawn filling. The experience was enhanced with the contrasting pops of the tobiko and the smooth chinese ham and chicken stock broth further.  
If you're dining alone or with a partner, the Deluxe Dim Sum Platter ($38) is perfect as it features 4 pairs of bites, each with different flavors and textures. The Steamed Blue Pea Truffle Vegetable Dumpling is visually stunning and conceals a variety of textures- from the crunch of root vegetables, to the slippery strands of mung bean noodles. A baby stingray holds crabmeat, prawn and vegetable dumpling in its belly, while the scallop dumpling protected its delicate insides with its crystal dumpling skin. I would not have considered glutinous rice suitable for deep frying but Chef has wrapped the flavorful steamed sticky rice in a glutinous rice flour dough before frying them to golden buttery perfection.  This was absolutely delightful.
I've always been a fan of Man Fu Yuan's fine dining Cantonese dishes and there's more reason to love it now. Executive Sous Chef Aaron Tan is the new chef helming the kitchen and he has introduced a collection of 13 signature dishes. The essence of the MFY brand is still upheld even with the contemporary looking dishes. 
We started with a "floating" Roma Tomatoes ($18/serving) stuffed with chunks of crab meat and ikura roe. This cold appetizer refreshed our palates with bursts of sweetness from the fruit and seafood, and accents of sourness from the yuzu and plum dressing. The tea-infused smoke wasn't just for show, the light scent also helped to reinvigorate us after a long day at work.
We became fully present at the meal when the Slow-braised Pork Ribs with Steamed Mantou ($36/serving) was served. The medley of sizzling red sauce certainly woke us up. Short pork ribs were braised in an array of Chinese spices, herbs and red glutinuous rice, which works as a natural colour enhancer for the The meat was served on the bone but came off with a light pull of the fork (or a stir of the spoon). I enjoyed the light savory herbiness of the dish, which was balanced by the sweet fluffy buns. 
Perennial Cantonese classics are still served, including the new Braised Three-Head Abalone, fish maw, black truffle, broccoli ($128). Expect the usual fine standards of MFY. The meat was very tender and well flavored, having gone through 6 to 8 hours of braising.