Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

It's been a while since this travelerintransit was actually in transit. I've been grounded since Mar 2020 but was one of the lucky ones who managed to squeeze in two good trips before the world went to sh***. The thing about holidays is that they really restore your sanity because you could really take time to unwind and we haven't been able to with COVID. While i wouldn't have splurge on a staycation in the past, given the current situation, please feel free to take my travel money. 
Our first staycation of the year was to celebrate our second anniversary and we decided to go Shangri-La Singapore's Valley Wing Indulgence package. While the $650++ price tag may seem hefty, it comes with daily breakfast, afternoon tea, evening cocktails and all-day champagne at the elegant Champagne Bar. Other than the free flow Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label NV Champagne, the highlight for me was actually the 90-minute massage treatment for two at Chi, The Spa. The spa treatment alone would have costs $235++/pax so you're actually not paying that much for the stay. 
The nice folks at Shang upgraded us to one of their 26 Valley Wing suites for the special occasion. The 110sqm Deluxe Suite is split into a living and a sleeping area and there's even a dining spot, where some sweet treats in a lacquered box greeted us. I expected a bottle of complimentary champagne given the reviews i read but that never came. 
Our pool facing room came equipped with a Nespresso coffee machine and a nice selection of tea bags to be enjoy in one of those pretty Wedgwood teacups. They are very dainty in fact and fit nicely with the typical old school luxurious hotel decor (which i found a little dated).  
The marble clad bathroom with double-vanity sinks was very spacious, and there's a huge bathtub that fits two comfortably (tried and tested). Unfortunately, there was no view in the slightly dimly lit bathroom. Ok i correct myself, there was a good view of Jr in the tub and that's good enough for me. :P You could request for the bubble bath to be drawn anytime you want, since the butler service is 24h, just give them 30mins to prep it for you. 
The bath amenities in the suite are from Acqua De Parma, while other guest rooms in the Valley Wing are stocked with amenities from L'Occitane en Provence. There are two sets of these toiletries in the bathroom (at the shower and bath), and another set in the toilet in the living area. 
Afternoon tea is served from 2 to 5pm at the Valley Wing Lobby Lounge. The selection was quite simple, with a couple of sandwiches, fried spring rolls (which we had seconds of), sweets, and very delicious scones. I was very pleased with the quality of the scones (it is served with clotted cream and jam) and we had more of those as well. Simply tell the service staff which item you would like more of and they are more than happy to oblige. 

I'm not sure if there is a separate Champagne bar or if it is closed during Phase Two but we were happy to have our drinks at the lounge anyway. While there are quite a number of families on vacation, the children were all very well behaved (thank god). Other than champagne, there are other alcoholic beverages include some signature cocktails from Origin Bar, wines and spirits. So go ahead and knock yourself out. The staff was more than happy to top up our glasses without us asking.
We took a nap on the heavenly king bed and had to peel ourselves from the bed in order to catch the evening cocktails and canapes session (it was from 5 to 7pm and we got there 30 mins before it ended). We were still pretty full from the afternoon tea in fact so we didn't mind that we only had a serving of the canapes, which was quite unmemorable. A different spring roll was served and that was quite decent. We chose to sit outdoors on the patio which gave us a nice view of the garden, and we also spotted a proposal event! How sweet. 

Drinks are served until 10.30pm each day (yes champagne too) but we were too lazy to head downstairs for a nightcap after our bubble bath. Plans to have some food at Origin flew out the window too as we  too comfortably cocooned in the fluffy bathrobes. Well it's a holiday after all, why rush ourselves? 
Room service it was and we had the foresight to place our order before we adjourned to our bath. The timing was impeccable and the food delicious. The laksa with lobster claw was an absolute delight and so were the satays that accompanied the nasi goreng. I found the fried rice to be a tad oily and blank though it had a good wok flavor. 
Breakfast for Valley Wing guests are now served at the Summit Room. I believe you could still go to The Line if you wish but why squeeze with the crowd? 
Plus the menu at the Summit Room is definitely more exquisite, think a crispy egg confit with Kaluga Queen caviar and parmesan sabayon (this is a must-eat)! And why not steak and egg for breakfast too! Jr was very pleased with the 200 days grain-fed Australian tenderloin. Top it with the lovely rosti too!
The Bikini sandwich with Parma ham, mozzarella cheese and truffle butter was milky on the inside and a little crisp on the outside. Perfection. Can't say the same for the pancakes which were very very meh and dry. 
We were looking forward to the spa the most but what i didn't realize was that we had to book it ahead of time. I called a weekend before and was placed on the waiting list. I thought perhaps a slot would have been reserved for us with the package but i thought wrong. Since we were unable to get a slot during our weekend stay, we got a voucher for a return visit instead. My deep tissue massage was pretty strong and good!
Our stay at Shangri-La Singapore was fabulous and doing nothing at all was definitely a great break for us. Highly recommended! 

22 Orange Grove Rd, Singapore 258350
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. 
Easily one of my favorite Chinese restaurants, Man Fu Yuan at InterContinental Singapore has always provided finessed plates of comforting traditional dishes which bring together the family. Their latest menu by Executive Chinese Chef Aaron Tan has spiced things up with innovative techniques along with smoke and fire, providing diners with a multi-sensory experience. 
We started with a luxurious honey-glazed bbq Duroc pork belly char siew ($28 per serving) which was topped with caviar and gold flakes. The meat was served cold but the flavors were robust. I would have preferred a warm piece so that the fats would be creamier. 
The chilled Fanny Bay oysters in hua diao wine, ikura, bonito shoyu ($24/3pcs) was a stunning appetizer and is definitely my preferred way of enjoying the plump shellfish. Served in a cloud of tea-infused smoke, the presentation is certainly to impressed a corporate client but the dish is more than that. The refreshing yuzu dressing provided a touch of sweetness which enhanced the briny freshness of the creamy flesh. 
The braised beef short ribs, wild mushrooms, spicy sauce in lotus leaf ($68) is best eaten with a bucket of rice, which we regretfully did not have. That braising sauce had amassed all the goodness from the chicken mushrooms, morels and the gelatinous meat. The dish is served in a salt crust and flambéed with peppercorn for a very slight fragrance (hardly noticeable) but it was more theatrics than for flavor enhancement.  
 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. 
2020 hasn't been quite kind to us but life goes on. Hope everyone is taking the safe distancing thing and work from home seriously! Well if you get a chance to take a breather, i'm sure working from a tea lounge works too. Regent Hotel Tea Lounge has a well spaced layout that allows you to privately enjoy your three-tiered tea set that's served to your table on weekdays from 12 - 5pm. Regent's signature scones are one of my favorites in Singapore and best sliced apart and slathered with a thick layer to lush Devonshire clotted cream and a smidgen of lemon curd.  
On weekends, the tea lounge takes on a semi buffet format. The current theme is English Garden and you will find counters stocked with English cheeses and dainty sandwiches filled with black truffle, egg mayonnaise and cucumber. 
I very much enjoyed making these bite-sized blini sandwiches, which i generously topped with the various caviar. Other English delights include mini pot pies with Angus beef ragout, classic roasted Wagyu beef rump with truffle, and Yorkshire Pudding.
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++).  
In need of some fresh air this smoggy September! Short of going on a getaway (somewhere without the haze), i'm thinking of a mini afternoon break at InterContinental Hotel Singapore, nibbling on Chef Ben Goh's Classic Afternoon Tea. And no, you don't have to wait for the weekends to enjoy this because it's available daily at the Lobby Lounge.
This particular Classic Afternoon Tea set celebrates Chef Ben's recent win as Pastry Chef of The Year 2019, awarded by World Gourmet Summit. The sweet treats tell the story of Chef Ben's culinary journey- inspirations from his childhood (such as the buttercream cake and his grandmother's kueh lapis), and his milestone creations and award winning sweets. These are accompanied by some specially created light savory bites to balance the desserts. 
Starting with the traditional stuff, the nostalgic old school buttercream cake. I NEVER liked this style of cake because the colors look radioactive and it always has this oily Planta mouthfeel to it. Well Chef Ben's version was totally NOT that. I loved the light saltiness of the buttercream and the light sponge layers. Chef also took a leaf out of his grandmother's book for the kueh lapis and created a springy and eggy cake that wasn't too sweet. The secret ingredient is DOM Benedictine. 
My heart melted at the Peach Melba Cheesecake with the loveliest shade of pink. I mistook the exterior for a tart shell and was surprised that it was a chiffon sponge instead. It's a perfect harmony of sugar and acid in this one. 
The best thing about Chef Ben's desserts is that they are always delicate and nuanced, even with the seemingly rich stuff like chocolate. The award winning Chocolate Lemongrass Pineapple cake may look intimidating but the filling is an airy mousse that is a chocolate cloud, further lifted by the notes of lemongrass. If that doesn't lift your mood, head over to the ice cream counter and help yourself to the free flow of a creamy smooth yogurt yuzu ice cream!  
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. 

The best way to experience Singapore is through its food imho. Honestly there's nothing much to do in Singapore other than to eat really. Park Regis Singapore is currently offering guests their #sginsiders trail which takes them on a walking heritage food tour around Chinatown from now till Oct 2019. Put on your walking shoes and make sure you hit the ground running hungry. Every Saturday at 9.30am, the walking tour brings guests to four famous homegrown food spots, all within a short walk from Park Regis. 
The tour starts off at Hong Lim Market and Food Centre, where we had the local Singaporean breakfast set of kaya toast and a cup of ‘kopi or teh’ (local coffee or tea). While kaya toast isn't anything special to locals (we get Yakun toast everywhere), the experience was quite nostalgic. Seriously when was the last time you actually had toast at the hawker center? Also, we got to try the Tanglin Crispy Curry Puff (#02-36). This stall has been around for decades and they've been hand making their crunchy puffs for decades now. Expect crunchy flaky puffs stuffed with a variety of fillings such as chicken, sardine and otah. 
I was super excited about the second stop, which is the 83-year-old Cantonese pastry shop, Tong Heng! Before egg tarts were made trendy by foreign imports from Hong Kong i.e. Honolulu and Tai Cheong, Tong Heng was already serving their famous diamond-shaped egg tarts. The egg to tart ratio is extremely high and i'm always amazed at how that thin crust could hold up the wobbly custard. Escape the hot Singapore weather and enjoy the piping hot and crispy egg tart in Tong Heng's air-conditioned space. Yes you can dine-in at Tong Heng now! Other than egg tarts, there are also other traditional bakes like char siew sor, wives' biscuit etc. 
The Clifford Pier at Fullerton Bay Hotel specialises in local Singaporean cuisine and sees a number of visiting guest chefs present their specialties at the all-day dining restaurant.  From now till 28 June 2019, Guest Chef Philip Chia will helm the kitchen, dishing up a hit parade of Peranakan signatures.  This will be his third guest stint stint at The Clifford Pier, The Fullerton Bay Hotel. Chef Chi is a fourth-generation Chinese Peranakan and has been cooking Peranakan dishes since he was six years old!
Dinner started with a trilogy of Peranakan appetizers, which are also available on the ala carte menu.
A melange of textures and flavors were presented in the bite sized pieces of these appetizers. The Grilled Spicy Laksa Prawns and Wing Bean Salad had a lovely ginger fragrance that complemented the spicy and tart tang from the pineapple, calamansi and fried shrimp spices.
Instead of the regular soup, Chef Philip turned the classic Pong Tauhu into a fried snack. The silky soybean curd was blended with meat and prawns to give it that lovely bounciness and chew when you bite into it. Delicious.
Hai Tien Lo (海天楼) has been given a glorious makeover by new Executive Chef Ben Zeng, who brings to the table contemporary presentation of authentic Cantonese flavours. Seafood specialties steal the limelight at the award-winning restaurant now but be rest assured that your favorite roasts and dim sum are still available, with a twist of course. 
The twist comes in the form of Western cooking techniques employed. Some of the dishes would not look out of place in a fine-dining non-Chinese establishment but they still captured the essence of traditional Cantonese cuisine. 
We started with a Combination of pan-fried scallops and sliced crispy barbecued suckling pig stuffed with prawn paste in Thai sauce. The stuffed suckling pig skin is a classic that is done well at Hai Tien Lou. The sweet prawn paste with crunchy water chestnut was a juicy contrast to the thin crispy skin. 
In Hai Tien Lo’s new menu, Executive Chef Ben gives the traditional double-boiled Cantonese chicken soup a unique twist with the new Double-boiled Chicken Soup with Abalone, Dried Scallops, Fresh Prawns and Chinese Mushrooms served in Young Coconut. I absolutely loved the aroma of the young coconut and the light sweetness that it imparted to the broth that was already flavored by the seafood, chicken, Chinese ham and pork. 
I'm not a sea cucumber fan, but i polished a plate of the Deep-fried crispy sea cucumber stuffed with minced pork and shrimps accompanied with preserved vegetables. Chef took a traditional salty-sweet preserved vegetables and sea cucumber dish and turned it into something more palatable and attractive to younger folks. There's certainly a better balance of texture and flavors as compared to the traditional gelatinous dish that was often too salty.  
I was so in love with the Baked Sea Perch Fillet with Kumquat Chilli Sauce that i asked for the recipe! Orange peel was added for that pleasant citrus taste which balanced the fatty oily fish. The bitter-sweet spicy note at the end was divine. 
You can't possibly be on a carb-free diet when faced with Hai Tien Lo's Wok-fried rice with lobster and ginger spring onion. The wok hei in the rice was perfect and actually all i needed was the lobster bisque and superior stock broth that came with it. Honestly the flash-fried live lobster was just icing on the cake. 
To end the night, the newly added Chilled Lemongrass Jelly and Lime Sorbet will refresh your palate with invigorating flavours of lemongrass, fresh lemon and lime. 

I really enjoyed the new menu at Hai Tien Lo! The refreshed menu is extended to Hai Tien Lo’s four set lunch menus and six set dinner menus, prices starting from $58++ and $88++ per diner respectively. Regulars, fear not! Your favorites are probably still on the menu but now there's an opportunity to discover new favorites! 

Hai Tien Lo
7 Raffles Boulevard Singapore 039595
Pan Pacific Hotel Level 3
Tel: +65 6826 8240 
Daily: 11.30am - 2.30pm. 6.30 - 10.30pm
Behold the luscious King of all fruits, with the fragrance (or odour) of none- the Durian. Regardless of whether you're a durian-loving Singaporean, or a visitor who would like to give this thorny fruit a try, you should definitely head over to Goodwood Park Hotel for their durian fiesta, which is happening now until 14 July 2019.
If you don't already know, Goodwood Park Hotel has satisfying the cravings of all durian lovers since 1983, with their creative durian desserts. This year, they have six new exquisite D24 durian desserts, together with four perennial favourites and signature ‘Mao Shan Wang’ durian pastries. 
Their new collection includes the D24 Pandan Lapis Coconut Cake (THE BEST), D24 Royale Cheesecake, D24 Strawberry Bliss, Mini D24 Ice Cream Bars and D24 Matcha Mont Blanc Tart. This is on top of their mainstays such as D24 Mousse Cake, D24 Puff, D24 Crêpe, and D24 Ice Cream.

My favorite was the D24 Pandan Lapis Coconut Cake (see top right) [$16 nett per slice / $88 nett per cake (1.2 kg)] which perfectly balances the richness of the durian between the layers of pandan sponge and cream frosting and coconut flakes.

If you want a super intense bite of durian in each mouthful. then go for the D24 Puff ($22.80 nett per piece). This decadent choux pastry sees bountiful swirls of durian mousse sandwich in between a fluffy choux puff. 
Or for bite-sized happiness, there's the Mini D24 Ice Cream Bars going for $22 nett for a box of 4. Each stick of D24 durian ice cream is encased with flavours of dark chocolate, almond, cappuccino, and Oreo. 

To mark the 200th anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles’ arrival in Singapore, Goodwood Park Hotel has launched their D24 Singapore Commemoration Cake ($88 nett, 1 kg) on 15 March 2019 in conjunction with the Hotel’s annual Durian Fiesta. The 1-kilogram cake features four flavours – gula melaka, coffee, pandan, and durian mousse, is adorned with a mosaic of white chocolate squares imprinted with eight historical scenes of Singapore and Goodwood Park Hotel’s illustrious past. Limited to only 200 cakes, an advance order of five days is required, subject to availability.

From 4 May to 14 July 2019, Coffee Lounge will be serving its popular Dessert Buffet with D24 Durian Pastries at lunch and dinner. So yes! You'll be able to enjoy their 3-Course / 4-Course Design Your Own Local Degustation Menu (read it here), inclusive of Dessert Buffet with D24 Durian Pastries for only $49.80/53.80. 
Also, if you're a fan of Coffee Lounge's Taiwan Porridge A La Carte Buffet, they also have a special D24 spread on their dessert buffet on 4-5 and 11-12 May! For more info, check out Goodwood Park Hotel's website for the full list of durian sweets and offers.

Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road, Singapore 228221
Tel: +65 6737 7411