Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

If you need something to prep your stomach for a night of drinking, MEATliquour SIN, by popular burger joint from the U.K., will line your intestinal walls with hearty (and greasy) patties. The Duxton outpost is the first out of the U.K and provides a convenient stop for you the get the party started with their hangover food (when you're drunk the order doesn't matter). 
Communal dining is the way it is here. Food is served on customized trays that cover the entire table top and then it's all hands on deck. You never have to wait for your companion's food to arrive because they will be served together. 
The classic Dead Hippie ($22) rules the lineup imo. 2 x mustard-fried beef patties, dead hippie sauce (can't get the recipe out of 'em), lettuce, cheese, pickles, and minced white onions. The double patties gives the burger a better mouthfeel and it's a party going on in there with each bite.
USDA Chuck is used for the patties and the slightly tougher meat brings more flavor to the burger. Wagyu fats are added for the extra juiciness. The buns are made in house and they perfected that dense butter roll texture which holds the meat perfectly. 
New kid on the block is the saucy HDB Tower Burger ($21) (Geddit? Hurhur.) which features a deep fried chicken fillet, hash brown, jalapenos, cheese, slaw and Russian sauce (a ketchup mayonnaise yogurt base). Well I would call this a Russian sauce burger instead of a chicken burger actually since the sauce stole all the thunder from the dry meat. 
Perhaps chicken isn't MEATliquor SIN's strong suit but their sauces definitely are. The Buffalo Chicken Burger ($20) was on the dry and tough end despite being slathered in their house-made hot pepper sauce. The sauce is reminiscent of Buffalo and is just a tad spicy but I missed the mild Blue cheese sauce altogether. Perhaps some of that on the side?
Give the newly debuted Fish Burger ($19) a miss. The beer batter was bland and thick, with a sea bass that lacked seasoning as well and tasted slightly muddy. Well, fish is not meat anyway but I guess we gotta feed the pescetarians. Oh they also have something for the vegetarians too. 
When I thought the chicken couldn't get any drier, the Thai Thighs were served. I would have liked for the Thai spices to be in the seasoning rather than as a side dressing for the bland and dry Panko breaded thighs (which were more like chicken breast). S was like, "the chicken is dry but if you soak it long enough it's still ok". Oh boys. But that's the market MEATliquor is going for so I guess it works. 
The burgers do not come with sides so pick the fries for sharing. Our table liked the Shambal fries ($12), which is an expat take on the local sambal sauce (so it's super mild and a tad sweet). This definitely needs more sauce and a runnier fried egg (or 2) to coat the golden crispy fries with goodness. 
I preferred the Chili Cheese Fries ($18), which packed in more punch with their tangy beef chili and crazy jalapeños. Of course cheese, mustard, and onions on top. 
The Onion Rings ($9) are gigantic and if you like anything fried, this is it. We loved the sweet whole onion rings in it but did not enjoy much of the super thick batter which turned slightly rock hard when cold. Order this to share. 
After all that grease, a refreshing Pina Colada ($19) was much needed. Isn't the presentation lovely? That's a burnt coconut meringue, which tasted so good I wanted to ask for a topping of that to go with my unfinished drink (I would have asked if I was high enough but I wasn't). 

MEATliquor SIN is a burger joint made for the boys. The expats really dig this place. For me, I can only justify that Dead Hippie with an insane workout before and after (which I did). Even still, i think i can only manage one visit in 6 months.

99 Duxton Rd, Singapore 089543
Tel: +65 6221 5343
Mon - Wed: 5pm - 12am
Thu - Fri: 5pm - 2am
Sat: 5pm - 3am

Capella Sentosa is my piece of un-Singapore in Singapore. That ocean view and lush greenery gives Bali a run for her money and the Knolls has a great pool and ocean view the last time I dined there. This time I checked out their fine dining Cantonese restaurant Cassia and sampled some signatures and seasonal dishes. 
The meal started with dimsum and these were lovely crafted pieces of joy. My favorite would have to be the Signature Steamed Barbecued US Kurobuta Pork Bun with Black Truffle 黑松露蚝皇克猪叉烧包 ($4.80 for 2 pcs). It's so hard to get a simple bao skin right but this was light and fluffy and chef nailed the bun to char siew ratio. The truffle perfume was intoxicating when I broke the bun open to reveal that dark brown sauce with black fragments of the prized fungus. Oh and juicy Kurobuta pork... 
Random musing about knowledge, power, and money. I'm old school but knowledge is everything. And that is why sometime i would go for selected guided tours on my trips just to learn a bit more. I don't like the idea of leaving my entire itinerary to someone else as there is no flexibility and well i'm just too Type A la. So while on our sleepy holiday in UNESCO World Heritage Site namely Luang Prabang Laos, we did 2 such tours. 
If you travel like i do, and are not quite convinced, here are 3 reasons for going on a guided tour in Luang Prabang specifically. Actually it kinda applies to most guided tours anywhere in the world.

1. Find something that fits your needs
I knew exactly what i wanted to see and didn't want all the nonsense frills (you know the typical visit to some crappy souvenir shop) so i went searching with something specific in mind.
In Luang Prabang, I wanted to visit the Pak Ou Caves and Kuang Si Waterfalls in a day. I shopped around the various tour agencies, some provided separate tours to the 2 spots and that would waste more time (not that there's much to do) and cost more as well. So finally after all that snooping around, we found Green Discovery Laos which fit the bill and we had an English speaking guide who accompanied us. Oh plus they are quite legit (i'm such a sleuth thanks to all the CSI i watch).
Seafood is best eaten with your bare hands. How else would you be able to taste all that yummy sauce and also get to the crevices where the sweet briny flesh is hiding right? You've heard all about the Louisiana seafood boils in Singapore (I really love the Boiler) but how about one that adds on a zi char flavor to it? Check out Crab in Da Bag then, which has some interesting Asian spices tossed with their fresh seafood. 
The Kallang Wave Sports Hub outpost is the second outlet, because the one at Big Splash has been a hit. This outlet is huge and if you come at the right time, you'll be able to enjoy the gorgeous sunset over the city skyline. 
We started with some not too healthy Crinkled Cauliflower ($8) i.e. deep fried paired with a sourish Tahini sauce. Well at least it's cauliflower and not potatoes..
The Crispy Chewy Baby Squids ($12)  comes right out of a local zi char menu. Gosh these crunchy morsels were irresistible. Tossed in a sticky black sauce with some chili in the mix, they make for a really good beer snack. 
I really love the Ultimate Curry sauce and we had it with the Venus Clams ($21). I'm pretty sure this Northern Malaysian Curry  mix, stir-fried with aromatic curry leaves and chili padi would go well with any seafood of your choice. It's super rich in Indian spices and flavor. I think it would be perfect with prawns too as you can easily mop up the sauce! I'm salivating just thinking about it.
The salted egg Tiger Prawns ($26) has Louisana herbs and spices added to it but I thought it was fairly meh. The lack of salted egg custard was a disappointment for me and the batter was too stodgy. 
The Mum’s Pasta in da Bag  ($16) is a Asian home cook's interpretation of a vongole linguine. How else would you explain this sweet and sour brown gravy with bratwurst thrown in, and a linguine that tastes more like our local Hokkien mee? Anyhow, I could do with a thicker cut sausage but honestly I'd skip this. 
Now the highlight of any seafood boil would be the huge mountain of crustacean and shellfish that the restaurant pours onto your table for the feast. The Titanic Pot ($299 for 4) would feed 6 easily in fact and consists 1 Boston lobster, 2 Sri Lankan crabs, Alaskan king crab legs, yabbies, tiger prawns, Boston Bay mussels, Venus clams, Bratwurst sausages, corn on cob, potatoes, onions and lemons boiled in Louisiana herbs and spices.
Instead of being tossed in the sauce (there is also that option), this massive mountain of seafood is accompanied with 3 dips- Louisiana garlic butter, Malaysian Sambal, and Thai Green Bird. The Asian sauces fare better with more flavors and punch. My favorite was the Thai green chili fish sauce which is piquant and pungent. Well honestly I really wouldn't mind having the entire pot in the Curry sauce! For real. I found it a tad bland to have the seafood this way.
Overall, hits and misses at Crab in Da Bag. I did enjoy some of their special Asian sauces. The other plus is the less crowded environment though it may seem a little sterile. Definitely go with a bunch of friends to enjoy the food better. 

Crab in Da Bag
902 East Coast Parkway, Big Splash Block D #01-25 Singapore 449874 

8 Stadium Walk
#02-05 Water Sports Centre
Singapore 397699

Jalan Besar is certainly a good spot for cafe hopping/brunch these days though i must say that the options at Tiong Bahru and Duxton fares better. Nevertheless, there is charm in this industrious enclave. The Refinery took the decor of its workshop neighbors and put it in their 3 storey space, providing patrons with a hippie-chic restaurant-bar-designer studio concept (gosh all that hyphens).  
Level 1 is the restaurant which has a Japanese yakitori thing going on but for the for the weekends, there's a brunch and you know how we live for weekend breakfasts right.. 
First things first, coffee. The Flat White ($4.50) was pretty smooth and balanced, a tad milky though, and way too little coffee. The small cup was gone before any food arrived.
Japan is one of my favorite destinations and i think it's quite perfect for a foodie because every region/prefecture has its own specialties and they have such great seasonal produce as well and therefore it never gets boring even with repeated visits. On my last visit, we stopped by Nagoya (well SQ flies direct) and it being a short transit before we make our way to the slopes, i made sure we covered most of the must eats. So here is my list! 
HITSUMABUSHI- Broiled Eel Rice Bowl 
There is the regular unagi, and then there's the Nagoya unagi. Nagoya is the country's largest producer of fresh water eel (unagi), which is slit open along the belly, grilled without steaming, slathered in a rich, dark sauce, and served over rice. I'm not going into the whole Tokyo v.s. Nagoya unagi but anyhow this is damn delicious. 

There's no better place to try the eel other than at Atsuta Horaiken, an unagi institution founded in 1873. They trademarked their method the Hitsumabushi, which sees the eel being served in a traditional wooden tub accompanied by a rice bowl, a plate of condiments and chazuke (broth).
The Hitsumabushi method splits the serving of eel into four portions. Portion 1- have it the original way to savor the smokiness of the eel with sweet soy. Portion 2- have it with the sides of spring onions, nori, a touch of wasabi. Portion 3- add on the ocha to Portion 2 to make a chazuke. Portion 4- eat as you like it. I liked the condiments with my unagi, and the chazuke style was really yummy too. 
For ¥3600, the Hitsumabushi is a tad pricy but it was too darn good really. The portion is massive but nobody shared their bowl. There are other unagi sets which are slightly cheaper but you don't get as huge a portion of unagi. Make sure you try the Umaki (eel in omelette) as well! It's super darn good.

3-16-1, Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya-shi, Matsuzakaya Nagoya Shopping Center South Building 10F  (go to this one as it is slightly less crowded i think. Yabaton is on the same level!)

Jingu 2-10-26, Atsuta-ku 名古屋市熱田区神宮2-10-26
MISO KATSU- Fried Pork Cutlet in Miso Sauce
Nagoya is crazy about miso and i love them for that. They can put miso in everything and i'll eat it up. For some delicious Miso Katsu (fried pork cutlet), join the queue at Yabaton, a Nagoya franchise established in 1947. A thick cut breaded piece of juicy Southern Kyushu pork is drenched with a thick Aka Miso (fermented red soybean paste) sauce, thickened with broth and seasoning for that super umami flavor. It tastes familiarly of the red chee cheong fun sauce (Singaporeans and Malaysians would know what i mean) but the enhanced version. Don't be greedy. Each portion can feed 2 easily.

Yabaton (みそかつ 矢場とん )
3-6-18 Osu, Naka-ku, Nagoya

Kill 2 birds with one stone by eating the Cochin Chicken Miso-Nikomi Udon at Yamamotoya Honten, one of the best known restaurants hawking this flat chewy udon noodle cooked in a miso-bonito stock dish (yes miso again!) The cochin chicken is kinda chewier, leaner and richer in flavor than the regular chicken. I think it's the Japanese version of the Malaysian Kampong chicken, or wild/free range chicken. It's a prized meat that even the Japanese don't have this often. We weren't that impressed with the meat but i would have that udon anytime. Perhaps a better way is to enjoy the meat would be the yakitori style. For that, you may want to check out Kinboshi.  

Yamamotoya Honten
Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, Sakae 4-1-1, Chunichi Bldg B2F. (Underground arcade at Sakae subway station)
4-3-25 Meieki Minami, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi-ken; 052-541-3050.
TEBASAKI- Chicken Wings
Who can resist deep fried chicken wings? Tebasaki is so famous in Nagoya, it's one of those gifts that Japanese will take home when they visit Nagoya. #SRSLY Well head on over to Yamachan for crispy wingtips that are seasoned first and then fried without batter (they double fry it for extra crispiness), and then basted with sauce on both sides while being turned, seasoned with salt and pepper, and coated with white sesame seeds. This is perfect bar grub for ¥400 (for 5 wings). You can also get miso-katsu at Yamachan but don't miss the tebasaki. 
Yamachan 世界の山ちゃん
Many locations around Nagoya. There's one right at Nagoya Station.

TENMUSU- Tempura Rice Balls
Rice balls are done a little differently in Nagoya and they prefer some fried shrimp tempura in their rice instead. The Nagoya people treat this like an art, focusing on how well they wrap the tenmusu. First timers may find it a little bland as the rice is not seasoned, and so it's all left to the shrimp and nori to give the snack its flavor. This is simple take away food really and rather convenient to eat. Since i've never seen these anywhere else in Japan, I got some of these for my train ride to Gero Onsen.

Jiraiya (地雷也)
1-739 Tokugawa, Higashi-ku, Nagoya
Senju - Nagoya-Famous Temmusu (めいぶつ天むす 千寿)
4-10-82 Osu,Naka-ku, Nagoya

Well, there isn't a specific specialty dessert in Nagoya i think so i'm just throwing this in for good measure. I fell in love with Sadaharu Aoki's macarons after tasting them in Nagoya. I would say that this is the best Asian substitute for Pierre Herme (sadly none in Nagoya. i checked.) Love the shells, the light sweetness, and intense flavors. Very nicely done. If you can't get PH, SA is yums.

JR Nagoya Takashimaya B1F
1 Chome Meieki, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi
So that's my 5 Must Eat dishes in Nagoya Japan. What's your top 5 list? 
Onsen season has descended upon us once again and there's nowhere better to soak in minerals than in Japan and i swear that Kurokawa Onsen is the best place to do that. It's an amazingly beautiful town, and their onsens and ryokans are impeccable. From open air baths with a starry night sky view, or by the gushing river, or something in the middle of a forest, travelers are spoilt for choice here. 
If you stay at a ryokan, certainly they would have a hot spring for your use. Even still, you should, like the day trippers, go on a Rotemburo Meguri a.k.a. a tour of outdoor baths. Trust me, it's the only thing to do at Kurokawa onsen. Get your hands on the onsen pass for 1300Y which gives you access to 3 onsens, otherwise, the typical single entrance fee is 500Y. 
There are more than 20 participating ryokan and the pass is valid for up to 6 mths. It's a bit crazy to do all 3 onsens in a day but 2 days would be just right. You can get your pass at the tourist info center or at your ryokan. Too many onsens to pick from? Well I'm gonna highlight a couple of the really good ones that you could consider checking out. 

8.30am - 9pm
Accommodation: From 16,000 yen per person including 2 meals
Yamamizuki has one of the best outdoor riverside baths in Japan. It took us a while on foot, because i insisted on wearing the yukata and geta. It's a must ok. 
It's a long and winding road that took us through lovely forests and fields. It's surreal. 
The baths are mainly outdoors here and are separate gender baths. I was greeted with lush greenery and the sound of the running river. I could sit here and meditate to the sound of the rushing waters all day. 
After the really hot soak, take a walk through the rock path (also aptly called the naked path), which will lead you to the smaller indoor baths. 
The water isn't as hot inside so it was a little more comfortable. Plus you get to see a mini waterfall beyond the trees. 
Love this spot. The facilities are quite bare though with open wooden shelves for you to store your belongings and a simple onsen shower inside. Cool yourself down with some ice cream at their little cafe before heading off!

2. Hozantei
8.30am - 9pm  
Accommodation: From 16,000 yen per person including 2 meals
Another outstanding riverside bath you may want to check out is Hozantei. It's surrounded by forests and has a rustic atmosphere but the downside is that it's the farthest from the town center. I don't suppose anyone would want to be walking 3km in those clogs. 

I remember this as the starry night onsen because of its name and also their special mixed gender pool which is a wade out from the private pools. It's much closer to the trees and i'm pretty sure it would be dark enough for you to enjoy the starry night in the open. 
This is the female only pool. It doesn't look like much actually though the falling water is good for back massages. Stay here if you're not comfortable with naked bodies of the opposite sex. 
See that opening in the rock? That's the entrance to the mixed gender pool. It's quite a treacherous path and requires some maneuvering to get to. Did not get pictures outside because i was afraid of getting the camera wet. Anyway, the pool is quite deep so your modesty would still kinda be protected. HAHA.

Ikoi Ryokan is located in the city centre, just some flights of steps down from the bus stop. We first noticed it because it's next to our ryokan and it looks like a lovely place. We only visited because we didn't have enough time to visit another one that is far out and i was pleasantly surprised by their onsens.
Ikoi takes pride in their special pools, which are touted to give you better skin. Perfect for the ladies!
One of the deeper pools pools. The bamboo pools calls for some gymnastic action (only for vertically challenged ones like myself). I ended up doing some core workout on that. I'm not sure what's the actual purpose but i may just be right. 
There are many pools around actually and it's interesting because they are located on different levels. So yea, you gotta climb around a bit in the cold, naked and all but it's all fun! There are some steam rooms/sauna here as well. For in house guests, Ikoi has some pools that are reserved for them so there is some privacy as well.

So head on over to Kurokawa Onsen for the ultimate onsen experience in Japan. Trust me it doesn't get better than this. For more information on Kurokawa Onsen, you'd definitely want to read on here.

What is your criteria for the perfect beach holiday? Well my must haves include a monochrome fine sand beach (yes black is cool like at Alila Villas Soori Bali), clear aqua-marine waters, and of course a luxurious villa with the full works, and food of course. The Jumeirah resorts in the Maldives crosses all the boxes and my stay at the Jumeirah Vittaveli resort was nothing short of perfect. 
Jumeirah Vittaveli is located a short 20-minute speed boat ride from Malé, which makes it a convenient destination. While a sea plane ride is part of the quintessential Maldivian experience, i find it over hyped and honestly unnecessary, since you can get the same piece of clear blue ocean with gorgeous views practically anywhere in Maldives. Ok granted that not all house reefs are great but JV's reefs were quite amazing. Plus, it saved us a lot of time and pain and we got to spend more time exploring the gorgeous island.
From their Bolifushi location, JV offers 43 beach villas and suites, 46 lagoon villas and suites, with four restaurants and a beach side cocktail bar. All villas come with their own swimming pool and direct access to the beach or lagoon, perfect for snorkeling trips any time you fancy (snorkeling gear provided for free). Connect with high speed complimentary Wi-Fi around the island, or be a couch potato with the free on-demand movies on your Apple TV. Disconnect by exploring the outdoors on the Vittaveli bicycles parked right outside your doorsteps or out at/under the sea with the myriad of water sports available.
Expect great hospitality regardless of the accommodation you pick. Each villa has its own dedicated host who will ensure that your activities and meals run smoothly. The welcome snacks were a nice touch, bubbly included! We were greeted by smiles and engaging conversations everywhere we went and it was really comfortable. 
Introducing you to the hidden world of sake is Kakure, a boutique sake bar backed by the omakase powerhouse team at Ki-sho, both located in a beautiful black and white along Scotts Road. The setting provides an intimate environment for learning more about the art of Japanese cuisine and drinks. Kakure is specially kept small on the 2nd level of the house so that diners can interact with the two kikisake-shi or certified sake sommeliers John and Makoto-san. 
The sake list at Kakure, one of the largest in Singapore, has been carefully curated in a partnership between Ki-sho’s chef Kazuhiro Hamamoto and the 2 sommeliers. Expect handcrafted sakes, only in limited quantities, with over 50 different labels from multiple regions of Japan. If you want to get in on the insider secrets of Japanese connoisseurs, Kakure is the place to head to. 
For the full sake experience, Kakure presents an assortment of bar cuisine to accompany the sake. Crafted by Chef Hamamoto, the omakase is priced at $88 for 6 courses. Small plates are expected but we left feeling quite satisfied. The a la carte selection is sufficient if you wish to pick your own bar food (indiv prices stated). There's your usual tempura and tsukune and a good selection of oden.