Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Wah Lok Restaurant at Carlton Hotel Singapore celebrates their 30th year anniversary with a revival of their best dishes in the last three decades! The following dishes are available from now till 31 August and tasted of the good old days of traditional Cantonese cooking. Miss it, and you'll regret it.
We started with a refreshing Chilled Sliced Roasted Duck with Water Chestnut & Dough Fritter ($16 small).  
This definitely wasn't what i expected from the description. To put it simply, this is a Chinese chopped salad with juicy slices of roast meat and deep fried you tiao (which is almost cracker-like) plus refreshing bites of water chestnut, all coated with a tangy cocktail sauce. This could make a good substitute for the Chinese New Year Yusheng. 
I enjoyed the simple but flavorful Braised Bamboo Fungus stuffed with Asparagus and Crab Claw in Golden Crown ($18/pax). The superior stock sauce is key to this dish. Of course, the lovely crab claw was pillowy and sweet. There's a light wok hei aroma to the dish, without any of the bitterness.  
Prawns are usually done rather predictably in Chinese restaurants i.e. Salted Egg, cereal coated, wasabi mayonnaise... It's a first that i had Prawns with Rose Sauce ($30 small). Yes the sauce is made from the bandung syrup and thankfully it was not overpowering. The eggy and airy puff that hides the prawns was a crunchy cloud that did not turn soggy from the sauce. Try it if you're a prawn lover. 
You know you’d be eating balanced and well at Six Senses, a brand that pays high attention to wellness and sustainability. At Yellow Pot, Six Senses Singapore’s modern Chinese restaurant, Chef Sebastian Goh delivers a contemporary Chinese menu that avoids unhealthy additives, banging his buck on sustainably-sourced ingredients and local produce and contemporary techniques to please the diner’s palate. And it works.
Practically everything is made from scratch here- all sauces are made in-house, and there is no use of sugar or salt as well. 
We started with a juicy and refreshing Chilled Organic Vine-Ripened Tomatoes ($8 for 4 pcs) which were infused with preserved Li Hing plum and Farm Delight micro herbs. I was amazed by the tomato- it had a crunchy exterior but a plumy and jammy inside. Great way to whet your appetite.
Next, a rejuvenating Chicken Soup ($12/portion) slow-cooked with a shimeji-stuffed tomato. The rich but not cloying soup is made from simmering chicken for a good 3 days to extract all that goodness. The organic vine-ripened tomatoes are stuffed with an assortment of mushrooms, including wood ear mushrooms, enoki and shimeji and it has a comforting ginger zing to it.
Dashi is the ‘Broth of Life’ to the Japanese- it is the backbone to all Japanese dishes. At NAMI Restaurant & Bar, dashi is an art mastered to perfection by Head Chef Shigeo Akiba. While some fine dining restaurants in Singapore only have 1 to 3 dashi for their dishes, Chef Akiba showcases up to 8 different types of dashi in the refined dashi-forward menu, all prepared in-house using meticulous age-old methods and best picks of kelp and bonito and superior seafood.
To better appreciate this elixir of life, i'd suggest checking out Nami's monthly Dashi workshop  ($118/pax includes a 4 course lunch) where Chef will break down the various components of the dashi and you'll get to compare how superior dashi compares to the commercial hondashi.
TLDR version, awesome dashi at NAMI, it's damn labor intensive to make, and i'm ruined for life because i only have hondashi at home.
I don't know about you but i usually base myself at Shinjuku when i visit Tokyo. The location is relatively central (other than Shibuya) and extremely colorful (Kabukicho is Tokyo's red light district), has easy access to the airport, plenty of shopping, and lots of food. 
It's impossible to go hungry in this relatively mild red light district. If you're looking for something to fuel your late night partying, there are plenty of izakayas here! Check out the smoky Omoide Yokocho 思い出横丁near Shinjuku Station West Exit for all that bbq.

Lest you think i'm going all R21 on you, this post is on the other eats that will last you from dawn till dusk. I'm just scratching the surface as usual with only highlights of what i ate/checked out. 
Wake up to the smell of fresh coffee over at Blue Bottle Coffee! Well this is one of my favorite coffee chains from U.S. and i would buy their packaged cold brew for times when i can't make a pit stop at their cafes. Be prepared for the queue though, this cafe is extremely popular. 
We googled for the best pancakes in Shinjuku and Sarabeth's popped up. Well it's not Japanese pancakes (they hail from NYC)! We would have considered Clinton Street Bakery if not for the fact that it's not within walking distance from our hotel. Sarabeth's is conveniently located at Lumine II Mall right next to Shinjuku station. We had 2 of their signatures- the lemon ricotta pancakes (thin and fluffy with a light citrus, could do with way more syrup), and a creamy eggs benedict. They are satisfying enough but i wouldn't wait more than 30mins for this. 
When you are on the go, sometimes you just want a quick meal. Well here's introducing my favorite comfort food go-to MATSUYA.
If you want a Gyu-don (better than Yoshinoya), you have to come here. I'd dedicate at least 1 meal to Matsuya in every Japanese city that i go to (if available). What's not to love about thinly sliced marinated sweet beef and oozy onsen egg on rice! I always get mine upsized just for the meat! Thank god there are 5 outlets just around Shinjuku station!
I really do love my Ichiran ramen. It's 24h, it's fast, and it's tasty, and there are 2 outlets in Shinjuku. Perfect for that weird-hour hunger pangs. I'll always add their soft boiled eggs! 
On our most recent trip to Tokyo, we also tried another rather popular ramen, Fuunji Ramen. They are very famous for the tsukemen (noodles with dipping sauce) and i tell you.. it's an umami bomb. The super rich chicken broth is topped off with dried fish powder and you'd be surprised by how much of that rich cream the chewy noodles could pick up. I ordered the special without knowing what it entails. Turns out that it's a super large portion of everything, tsukemen style. Their soup ramen is less of an assault to your palate. I'd say go for the small portion, unless you're a big eater. We found it impossible to get through half a bowl each but the petite Japanese ladies don't seem to have a problem slurping theirs. 
Shin Udon is just around the corner from Fuunji Ramen and i've not managed to try it on 3 occasions for various reasons. We were either too full, too hungry, or too tired to stay in line for the handmade buckwheat udon that are made on order. There was always a substantial line for this 6-seater (except the time we were really full). Maybe next year. 
We tried our luck at Tempura Tsunahachi Shinjuku one night, after giving up on the queue at Shin Udon. And oh boy were we lucky to be immediately ushered into this popular tempura establishment without a reservation! Our fellow diners marvelled at our good luck as we tucked into the set meals, priced at ¥2300 onwards. 
The draw here is the fresh live seafood that is lightly battered and fried in sesame oil. Boy the prawns and eel were swimming right before us and we witnessed way eel after eel being skinned and thrown into the boiling oil. The basic set comes with two shrimps, assorted seafood, vegetables, anago (sea eel), kakiage, appetizer; and a set of rice, miso-soup and Japanese pickles. The more expensive sets uses better ingredients such as tiger prawns and you get more items as well. Their omakase is only priced at ¥8,000 (SGD$103). 

If you can't get into Tempura Tsunahachi Shinjuku, you may get lucky at the other very popular tempura restaurant, Funabashiya Honten, which is just opposite.
I wanted Unagi-don and the nearest to us was Unagi Unatetsu (Nodaiwa and Izumoya are too far from Shinjuku). Well.. lunch turned out to be at least a 45min wait in the smoky restaurant as the chef lovingly grilled the fresh eels over charcoal. We could not understand the menu but it seems like there are other skewers available. We simply ordered the unagi-don, and a una-tamago as a side. As the wait progressed, we regretted not ordering a bigger portion (we both went for medium). The silky tamago helped to ease the hanger pangs a little. 
What's great is that the don wasn't overly doused in sauce, even though it could do with a little more oomph in the flavor. The portions could also be a bit more generous! We paid about ¥8000++ for the 2 of us. It's definitely not as satisfying as the one i had at Atsuta Horaiken in Nagoya.

If you're wondering why this is under the 'take it slow' category, it's because the wait is long. But once the food to you, you really wanna gobble it and leave before you smell too bad. 

Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima is where i'd want to really take it slow for dinner. This one Michelin-starred restaurant offers traditional Japanese cuisine made with seasonal ingredients. For dinner, their Chef's selection is priced at ¥15,000, which features their specialty soup dish, the Owan. Their sardine lunch set is but a fraction of this price at ¥800 and you get to choose from 4 types of preparation- Sashimi - raw sardine with seaweed and sesame, furai - fried sardine, nizakana - sardine in soy sauce and yanagawanabe - sardine cooked with egg.

Now now, with so many options to pick from, why wouldn't anyone wanna base themselves in Shinjuku on a trip to Tokyo?

Riding on the Korean wave, home-grown brand Seoul Garden Group has opened two new Korean F&B concepts at Century Square mall- Seoul in a Sandwich and Two Hana to draw in the young and trendy. The former is a Korea sandwich kiosk, and the latter a Korean cafe, both with Western influences.
Time pressed but don't wanna reach out for instant ramyeon? Well Seoul in a Sandwich provides the warm comfort of Korean food in a convenient sandwich made with Western breads. I'm sure you'd know of the Issac toast craze, well, it's very similar but you get better breads at Seoul in a Sandwich for sure. 
Of course they have a similar Seoul Street Toast ($6.50), a simple buttered sandwich with onion-cabbage omelette, chicken ham, sliced cheese and mayo. It sounds really simple but woah, it's a sandwich that i can have for days. I would love for more mayo on this but apparently everyone feels that it's sufficient. How can there ever be enough mayo?? 
An unsuspecting favorite of mine is the Kimchi Prawn Cocktail ($7.50). I loved the fluffy and fragrant buttered focaccia bun which sandwiches a cold mix of Asian pear, kimchi, and mesclun mix. The kimchi flavor is very subtle in this one, which allows the light sweetness of the pear and prawns to come through. 
Something special is the Army Stew-wich ($8.50) made of a soft Tteokbokki, chicken sausage and spam, sliced cheese, daikon slaw on mayo ciabatta toast. I would say this tastes like what a healthier version of an Army stew. I was expecting punchier flavors but this was more balanced with a bed of refreshing daikon salad. If you love bulgogi, there's a Bulgogi Cheese Steak ($8.50) filled with sauteed peppers, grilled bulgogi beef and cheddar mozzarella mix, all in a buttered baguette. I'm not a huge fan of sweet meats so this wasn't for me. 
If you prefer sweet toast, give their Asian Pear Toast consisting of citron jam bits with cream cheese a try. The Matcha White Chocolate toast was also calling my name. 

If you have more time, head over to Two Hana for a modern Korean meal any time of the day. From 8am to 10pm, Two Hana promises to fill you up any time. What i love is the hearty and generous food served at value-for-money prices.  
Now, i'll just go straight to what i enjoyed. Go for the Korean Cauliflower Fritters ($9 for 6-8pcs) rather than the Kimchi Mac & Cheese or the Drumlets. The tempura battered cauliflowers are coated with a lightly spiced inspired dakkanjung sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds and spring onions. It's light and refreshing. 
The downfall of the Kimchi Mac & Cheese and the Drumlets (Honey Butter and Yangnyeom) is the oily flavor. It could be an opening issue so it could be rectified by the time you try it. I couldn't taste much of the kimchi in the mac & cheese cubes though, but be careful of the extremely spicy chili dip that it comes with. The drumlets had too much batter, some of which soggy and uncooked. Flavor wise, the spicy flavor helped to mask the oily taste but the honey butter sauce unfortunately enhanced it. 
For mains, i absolutely LOVE the Striploin Bap ($13). Kimgarou rice is topped with with generous servings of kimchi, spinach and beansprout namul, caramelised onions and 63 degree poached egg, crowned with perfectly-seared juicy medium-rare striploin slices. I cannot believe how much meat there was on my bowl. SO GOOD!!
For sharing, go for the huge Braised Gochujang Lamb Shank ($24) which if fork tender from being sous vide for 36 hours! There isn't any strong lamb taste to this and the flavors reminded me more of an ox-tail stew. Whatever it is, it's super hearty and perfect for 2-3pax. The lamb is served with a special kimchi-soft rolls, and a side of kimchi mash, which has a distinct butter flavor to it (we hear that it's 40% butter in this mix)! 
For something lighter, the Korean Seafood Ciopinno ($13) takes its inspiration from a soondubu jigae but i thought it was a little more like a tomato-based western soup. Anyhow, lovely creamy tomato flavor in this, with  fresh mussels, clams and prawns in it. Choose to have this with their soft rolls or tofu in this. 
Two Hana is perfect for that coffee break as well. Allpress coffee is used here and the desserts and ice cream are quire spectacular. Do not miss the Apple Caramel Waffles with Doenjang Caramel Ice Cream ($9)! Love the crispy waffles and the salty-sweet fermented soy bean icecream pairs perfectly with the cinnamon spiced apple puree. Their honey citron ice cream is very refreshing as well.
I also had the Cookies and Cream Affogato and that cream balanced the acidity in the espresso perfectly. Their Iced Matcha Latte ($6) isn't a bad choice either as it's not overly sweet. Oh and it comes with a super buttery fish bochubang! 

I need no more reasons to head back to Seoul In A Sandwich and Two Hana for a meal. Missing that Kimchi Prawn Sandwich and Sirloin Bap already!

Seoul In A Sandwich
#B1-23 Century Square 
2 Tampines Central 5 Singapore 529509 
Daily: 10am – 10pm

Two Hana
#01-21 Century Square 
2 Tampines Central 5 Singapore 529509 
Daily: 8am - 10pm
It took me too long to visit Bacchanalia and i'm glad i finally got to have a taste of Chef Luke Armstrong's dishes at this one Michelin-star establishment, after their brand revamp. So yes, expect new menus, which i'm sure is as good, if not better than what it was before. The new menus focuses on using the best seasonal ingredients from around the world such as Australia, Japan, and France, and also Southeast Asian citrus and local spices. 
We went with the 4 course Seasonal Inspiration menu for dinner ($168) and took here is sharing our selection. 
First up, freshly baked chewy sourdough with a lovely crust, served with an airy french butter and seaweed butter. Had to stop myself from finishing the entire loaf!
Next, the Amuse bouche of Majestic Oyster Bavarois. Creamy Ireland oysters, prepared a la minute, served fresh with glistening Schrenki caviar. The cream is whipped with oyster and champagne and it's like having a sip of the ocean in every bite. 
Want that unicorn hair but still want smooth tresses still? I feel ya. It's hard to achieve the vibrant colors without bleaching your hair. After that one time of bleaching my hair say 2 years ago, i've been doing treatments every 1 - 2 months just so that it doesn't get all dry and tangly, especially with all the hot yoga that i do. 
K Gloss is a new hybrid treatment with multi-benefits, which helps to strengthen and smoothen your hair, especially brittle bleached ones. What it does is to rebuild the holes in your hair using proteins, amino acid, hydrolysed collagen. Think of it as a botox for your hair. 
What's awesome is that it's quite a fast treatment and could be done under an hour, or together with other treatments. Trust me when i say it's highly raved by celebrities, influencers, and normal folks like me. 
The treatment starts with a wash and blow dry, before application of the K Gloss treatment. After which, your hair would be blown dry and ironed. And that's it. 90% frizz will be eliminated and the treatment is said to last up to 4 months. That is if you DO NOT wash your hair and avoid sweating for the next 72h. Ok the first 72h is going to be a little unbearable because your hair will feel stiff with the dried up product in your hair.
Private kitchens are all the rage now and we checked out Lucky House Cantonese Private Kitchen, run by Mr Sam Wong from his corner terrace home in Upper East Coast Road. The self-taught chef prepares the traditional home-cooked dishes with local ingredients and also produce from his own garden! 2 lucky groups (8 and 12 pax) could dine at Chef Sam's each night. For $80, we had 8 dishes for sharing. And if you are part of the larger party, you'd be entertained all night by the cooking action out in the backyard. 
Chef Sam developed his repertoire of Cantonese inspired dishes over the years, since learning to cook from his paternal grandparents when he was younger.  
We started dinner with a charcoal boiled soup, boiled for 8 hours over 6 batches of charcoal. Soup for the night was a pork shoulder with arrow root and peanut soup, which is naturally flavored, with no added salt, soy sauce, or pepper. The light sweetness comes from the added sea coconut and honey dates.  
Boy was the soup creamy and delicious. We also had to stop ourselves from gorging on the tender meat.  
Next, Concubine Chicken. This chicken was braised in the claypot with Chinese wine, galangal and rose liqueur. Gosh that light floral perfume of the chicken wafted in from the kitchen and had our drooling before the dish was finally brought to the table. And that sauce would have one finish a bucket of rice, though i must say that the rice available was way mushy. 
Next, juicy Fried Prawns with Rose liqueur, which smelled a lot like cuttlefish or some fermented seafood paste. I suppose that's where the saltiness of the dish came from. I'd advise eating this wrapped up in the sweet lettuce to combat the sodium. 
Fresh fish is best eaten steamed and we had a fatty 1.9kg wild caught red grouper from Batam, drizzled with a fresh batch of shallot oil. 
The simple omelette is taken to the next level with this crayfish version. Chef cracked a whole tray of 10 eggs into this one, fried with the juicy chunks of crayfish (the heads are just for plating) and flavored with fish sauce. 
Then, the signature Lucky House roast duck, which is marinated with five-spice powder, fish sauce, soy sauce, rice wine for two days, then sun-dried for a day before it is roasted in a charcoal oven for slightly over an hour over charcoal. Chef slices the ham-like bird tableside, and we were rewarded with juicy smoked and spiced meat. 
Instead of carbs, we ended with a simple dish of fried sweet potato leaves from Chef Sam's garden.  The vegetables, simply fried with some fish sauce, was fresh, crunchy and sweet, and not at all slimy.
For desserts, a simple Shandong peanuts and kidney beans was served.

Is it worth paying the the money for a meal at Lucky House Cantonese Private Kitchen? Well we feel that it is, knowing and seeing the amount of work that goes into the execution of these dishes. The dishes are certainly not as refined as that of a Chinese restaurant but the gu zao wei (taste of nostalgia) would be hard to replicate in a commercial kitchen. Looking forward to the next visit here (the wait list is likely past Sep/Oct 2018 by now) as Chef Sam shared with us his moreish curry dish that doesn't use any coconut milk/cream at all. 

267 Upper East Coast Road Singapore 466413
Tel: +65 9823 7268
Weekdays: 6.30 - 10pm

Bangkok is one city that i'll never be sick of dropping by for a chill weekend of food, massage, and cheap shopping! As we usually do relatively short trips, i've finally accumulated sufficient food content (ones worth sharing) for a proper Bangkok eats post. This post focuses on Thai food but if you're looking for brunch options, check out this other Bangkok brunch post.
Best Bangkok Pad Thai Thip Samai
313-315 Maha Chai Rd
I've heard of Thip Samai for the longest time but i've always been too lazy to travel to just one spot for simple street food. Plus, pad thai is great almost everywhere in Bangkok no? Apparently the locals love this and there is always a queue (that is very fast-moving thank god). 
Charcoal fire is used to produce the scorched smoky flavor of the noodles, which are fried in shrimp oil for that lovely orange appearance. Toppings such as tofu, little shrimps (like sakura ebi), leeks, egg, and bean sprouts are added. We went with the superb Pad Thai wrapped in egg (THB90), which comes topped with 3 chunky deep sea prawns. 
There's another version which has bits of fried egg instead of the egg crepe. They are the same essentially, except for their plating. I really enjoyed the chewy rice noodles. Make sure you add on more crushed peanuts and some chili flakes for texture and flavor!