Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

When we celebrated our 3rd anniversary last month, we "travelled" to Japan through Omakase @ Stevens new autumn menu, since we thought we wouldn't be travelling till next year. Chef Shusuke Kubota managed to bring autumn to us through the 11-course dinner omakase ($280/pax), using the freshest seasonal ingredients from one of our favorite countries. 
We stepped into my favorite season with a pretty delicate bowl of Gomadofu that resembled Koyo (autumn leaves). Under the warm orange Bafun uni and fresh Hokkaido Ikura lies the mochi-like homemade sesame beancurd with 'ago dashi jelly' which was slightly chewy and incredibly fragrant.
In the Hassun (snacks), the seasonal Pacific Saury made an appearance on top of a homemade brioche, dressed with garlic oil. Other snacks included the pan-seared Anglerfish liver on crispy Monaka pastry and topped with persimmon (almost foie gras-like); and the deep-fried yam with Wagyu Prosciutto.
The Hay-smoked Katsuo has been a fixture on the Chef's menu. The interesting use of Fourme d'Ambert sauce helped to tone down the fishiness, together with the sherry balsamic and walnut oil. 
This was followed by a cold Kagawa Somen tossed in a sauce made of abalone liver and rock seaweed, topped with sliced Chiba abalone and more uni. You know it's love when you get more of your favorite uni from your other half (i gave him more abalone). 
While i've had Shirako before, this was the first time i had it served hot in a broth. The heat gave the cod sperm an even creamier and milky texture. Chef Shu cooked this in his special chicken scallop broth and it does have a strong taste despite the chili oil. 
One of our favorite dishes was the fried tilefish with edible scales. Even though the fish was fried to a crisp, it was not oily at all and the fish remained crispy in the Matsutake dashi that was finished with some shaved Kabosu citrus. 
The maim event is also a staple on the menu- a charcoal-grilled Kagoshima Wagyu served with the seasonal lily bulb with Okahijiki and a sauce made with port and red wine and Sansho pepper. 
Even though we were stuffed, we couldn't help but add on Chef's special donabe. There were several toppings to pick from and we went with the Sakoshi Bay oysters on maitake dashi rice (since we didn't have it on the dinner menu) and boy were they huge! Jr was very pleased with this. 
For desserts, there's the choice of a boozy sake one with seasonal Nagano grapes on a sake jelly covered with sake kasu mousse and crushed sherbet, topped with crispy rice puffs and sake foam. The deconstructed Mont Blanc was truly a special one that is inspired by Chef Shu's childhood and his grandmother and resembles the snowcapped mountains in Nagano. 
If you're hoping to experience Japan (before any VTL happens), Omakase @ Stevens would deliver with their dinner plates and exceptional service. 

Omakase @ Stevens
30 Stevens Rd, #01-03, Singapore 257840
Tel: +65 6735 8282
Mon- Sat: 5.30 - 10.30pm

It feels so good to be able to travel again during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite all the changing border and testing requirements. I feel it especially since i helped to launch some of the Vaccinated Travel Lanes and then i benefited from it during my recent trip to Germany (more of that soon). The Singapore-Republic of Korea (ROK) VTL is probably the most exciting travel arrangements for Singaporeans since it's probably the most exciting Asian destination (was glad that my team pulled it off). While i'm not in a hurry to fly to ROK now given that the demand is really high, here's sharing what we did when we travelled before all COVID hell broke loose.
On my first trip to ROK, i did a lot of the cultural stuff like visit palaces and museums. I even did a walking tour of Changdeokgung before and this is not something you'd wanna endure in winter or summer for that matter. 
You could easily do the Gyeongbokgung + Changdeokgung+ Bukchon Hanok Village together. The Seoul Tower could be skipped imo. The best part of this area to me was the Tosokchon Samgyetang. Seriously please make a stop here for my sake. Best Samgyetang of my life. I ate some famous but lousy one on my first trip and it ruined the dish for me. My life was forever changed at Tosokchon. You could also give palace cuisine a try at Korea House, though i wasn't very impressed with the food when i tried it years back.
Another thing i loved doing was strolling along the Cheongyecheon. You could easily have food delivered to where you are for a picnic.  
Insadong-gil is a nice area to visit, for tea houses and art, and more food!). I tried a Hotteok for the first time in my life and woah this is sooooo gooood. Just look for the longest queue. You will only regret not buying more. For more sweets, head to one of to O'sulloc tea cafes. Their matcha drinks and desserts were still as good as i remembered. P.s. order the tiramisu.
Visited the Common Ground because #pretentioushipsters but really there's nothing much to do here. 
 
Instead, head to to Yeonnam area, which is a slightly more sophisticated Hongdae with cafes and boutique stores. Great coffee at Coffee Libre, and San Francisco bagels at SF Bagels! Also you can get really good breakfast rosti and pancakes at Cafe Travel Maker nearby!
Other non-eating activities include VR games which were all the rage then. The trend hasn't really caught on in SG yet. Here's one of me in a snowball fight.
We also visited the Noryangjin Seafood Market for fresh seafood and live octopus. Pick your seafood first and then have it cooked at one of the numerous restaurants! We went a little overboard. :) I didn't dare to try the live octopus in Hokkaido before but Jr convinced me to try it this time round. If you're squirmy, dip the tentacles into the sesame oil-salt dip and wait it out. It's really fresh!
       
Get your shopping fix at Dongdaemun, Myeongdong, Gangnam or Hongdae, depending on what kind of shopper you are. For me, i went crazy over the Tom's Farm nuts. 
Also my Dongdaemun experience this time round was searching for Sunji Haejunguk, an oxtail hangover soup with cow blood and Napa cabbage. The place i went to was 진짜해장국 Jinjja Haejang Guk Daehwajeong (Main Branch). I read about this in an article and it's a hole in the wall visited by locals. 
Ok who am i kidding, this is a food post disguising as a travel post LOL. Obviously the main itinerary is eating. Like A LOT. Koreans have this amazing stomach capacity. Have you seen their Mukbangs? I don't even know how! Here are the other eats that we enjoyed!
 
Michelin Bib Gourmand Myeongdong Kyoja. They are known for their cut noodles and dumplings and we enjoyed the thin skins and plump filling. The handmade kalguksu was simple but comforting and we also had the cold bibim chewy noodles. Delicious and super fast service.
We also went to Michelin 2 star Mingles, also #10 on the Asia's 50 Best. Their lunches are super decently priced!
My biggest regret was not having Jokbal (pig trotters) at the Jangchung-dong Jokbal Alley is one of the many must-visit alleyways in Seoul. Instead we had Chimaek (several times). There are plenty of brands to choose from and i can't decide what's my favorite. This was at 678 Chicken CDO and i enjoyed the crunchy spiced cheese flavor.
Do not miss the street food. I tried my first egg bread in Hongdae and to this day i'm still craving for it. Also grilled skewers are always a good idea, especially when it's cold, along with tteokboki and fishcake.
Honestly prior to this trip, i wasn't a fan of ROK and their food. But with all the K-dramas, i think our tummies have been conditioned to enjoy Korean food more these days. If you're not convinced, please go watch Let's Eat and i guarantee you'll start craving for Korean food. 

Ok since this is a pretend travel post, here are some links to refer to for your SIN-ROK VTL travel. 

Requirements for entry into ROK and requirements for entry into Singapore via the VTL. Hopefully in the near future, these testing requirements would all be scrapped and life can return to normal. Till then.

XOXO
Travelerintransit



























MadASS i.e. Mad About Sucre Social is the casual, eclectic sister restaurant of the award-winning Mad About Sucre. While it's "fast food", MadASS delivers the same promise as Mad About Sucre- hearty gourmet meals made with natural ingredients that are free from preservatives and artificial additives and flavours. 
For the office lunch crowd, customisable bowls start from $13.90. The main dish ranges from tofu to seafood (barramundi, grilled prawns), to turmeric chicken, Iberico pork, and even a Topside Grade A4/5 Wagyu. This goes on a base of your choice and the 3-colored wild grains was super fragrant and flavorful (there's also quinoa, soba, and salad options). 
The hormone free wagyu ($19.90) was super tender with not much fats in fact. We heard that these cows grace on flatlands so that their muscles aren't tensed up and thus the tenderness. 
Quick life update. Sorry for the radio silence, but 2020-2021 has consumed me because of work, and i've neglected this space because i didn't have the energy to share. Hopefully things would pick up in the next few months and 2022 and i look forward to reconnecting with you guys. For those of you who've been following me through the past >10 years, i'm sure you would understand how our life priorities have changed. Some of you would have moved on to a different stage in life, took on more responsibilities at work, got married, have kids and in the process... AGED (i can say this because it applies to me as well). That's the harsh reality of life LOL. Additionally because i'm very active, i end up looking more tired/older when i lose my face fats (such a double-aged sword).
At some point, facials, serums, lifting and wrinkle creams, and LED face masks can only help that much. That's when an extra boost is needed. Since the start of this year, i've looked into several of these anti-aging procedures and Ultherapy stood out for me.
Ultherapy is non-invasive ultrasound therapy to lift your skin and promote collagen production, resulting in firmer and tighter skin. It uses microfocused ultrasound (previously HIFU) or sound energy to generate a thermal effect for lifting and tightening of saggy areas on your face, neck and chest. I would not go deeply into the technical details, but basically the sound waves target the deeper layers under the skin (about 3-5mm), to stimulate fresh collagen. Due to the deeper targeting, you would also not experience any downtime after the treatment (YAY). Plus, the effect gets better with time, and it takes about 2 to 3 months to see the best results and improvements can continue and last up to a year.
There are many clinics offering Ultherapy but I choose to go back IDS Clinic after trying their products and services earlier this year. I consulted Dr Michelle Wong and she recommended me the IDS Baby Lift, which is their proprietary treatment for Ultherapy. The Baby Lift uses less lines (shots) compared to the full course and targets a depth of 3.5mm as compared to 4mm, and was recommended because my skin laxity isn't severe. Treatments are customized to each patient's needs and Dr Michelle Wong focused on the lower half of my face to treat my laugh lines and double chin. 
The whole process took about 1.5 hours for me, which includes time for the numbing cream to work. The numbing is to minimize any discomfort or pain, and i was glad there was none!
While some people may experience temporary flushed skin or swelling and tenderness after the treatment, it was all fine for me and i was able to head out for my dinner date immediately. For me, the tenderness was more from the pressure of the handpiece, which is a slight dull ache (feels like bruising), but there was no visible signs of swelling following the treatment and the ache went away in about a week.
I'm definitely looking forward to the effects of the IDS Baby Lift! Follow me at my Instagram if you like to check in on my Ultherapy progress - https://www.instagram.com/msskinnyfat/

If you like to read up more about Ultherapy, you can do so here or book an appointment with IDS Clinicto understand more in person.
Weekend brunch starts on Fridays at Burger & Lobster Raffles Hotel because this is the new normal. Served from 11am to 3pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, this indulgent brunch is only available at the Raffles Hotel outlet and you could enjoy it with their expanded cocktail menu.
Something unique to Singapore is the grilled Mala Corn ($6) tossed in a fragrant spicy rub that is more savory than spicy. I would also love this on their fries! Can someone bottle me the seasoning please! 
Another appetizer is the nutty and crunchy Fried Cauliflower ($6) served with a lime cilantro mayonnaise, which could do with a tad more acidity. Needless to say, you know which is my preferred bite to start. 
I gave up on any form of private dining since the scene started gaining popularity. Why? It is not because i turn my nose at fads and trends, it's just impossible to get a table at any decent ones, so i wait, until they become big enough to go commercial LOL. Mustard Seed is one of the private dining turned restaurant type and it is still hard to get a table- reservations are snapped up within a minute of their release on the first day of the month at 10am. I only managed to dine here 2 years after Mustard Seed set up shop in the sleepy Brighton estate in Serangoon Gardens, all thanks to my lucky friend and his extremely fast fingers. 
Mustard Seed is helmed by Chef Gan Ming Kiat, who serves his personal interpretation of Singapore's food, inspired by Japanese cuisine and technique. The fine dining, omakase style menu marries his prior experiences at Candlenut and Goto- Mod-Sin with Japanese. The menu changes every 2 months and starts at $140+ per pax for lunch and $168+ for dinner.
Jiu Hu Eng Chye is usually made with cuttlefish but at Mustard Seed, fresh squid is used, scored and seared quickly into tender scallop shapes. Instead of the usual kang kong, cucumber and kale were used instead, topped with a housemade sweet sauce which is a mix of sambal with red miso and hoisin. I don't typically enjoy the cuttlefish kangkong dish and i definitely prefer this version which is more elegant. 
Prawn Tortellini with Ipoh style broth eased us into the hot dishes and boy does it comfort the soul. The inspiration of the dish comes from Ipoh chicken hor fun and the broth is made with kampung chicken, and infused with prawn heads and prawn shell for more umami. The tortellini wanton provided a little more chew due to the pasta skin and it was quite a textural delight.
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.