Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

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. 
If you were following me on IG, you may have noticed that sometime back my cruise getaway was cancelled last minute due to a positive COVID-19 case on board. I was desperate for a holiday and immediately started searching for a suitable staycation. Unfortunately the suites at Raffles Hotel Singapore and Goodwood Park Hotel were both unavailable at the last minute (mind you it was mid-week). We finally landed on Sofitel Singapore Sentosa since it is the most resort-like without breaking the bank. I had previously stayed at the property before and remembered it to be decent. There are a few staycation packages to choose from and we went with a 3d2n stay with full-board option (without knowing what it really entailed because the t&cs were not clear). 
Sofitel Singapore Sentosa is a 5-star resort by the French Accor Group. The location is away from the hustle and bustle, so you get to enjoy the lush greenery with wildlife (the peacocks are free-roaming) and lots of privacy. Once we stepped onto the hotel grounds, we immediately felt relaxed with the expansive space, and breeze from the South China Sea. However, if you are more into the island life action, you should note that it is a bit of a hassle getting around if you don't drive as the shuttle bus service is quite slow, and it'll take you a while to get to the beach clubs or the integrated resorts. The hotel's own complimentary shuttle service to Vivocity is more reliable imo (every 30mins) and you could easily head out for a better meal, or for some shopping if you wish. 
Accommodation

Our bedroom for 2 nights was in the Luxury Garden Room and this was our view. 
Our room is quite sizeable at 36sqm and features a king-sized bed. A LED Smart TV, digital newspaper and magazines and WiFi access are also provided. There are several powerpoints and USB port for easy charging of your digital devices located next to the writing desk.
 
While there is also a pillow menu that you can choose your pillows from, their firm options were too flimsy for us. Our twin towers of pillows were absolutely useless in providing any decent neck support. 

Stay with a peace of mind knowing that everything is sanitized and wrapped. The standard coffee and tea making facilities are still available, with TWG tea bags and Nespresso capsules wrapped in a package. You could ask for more when you have finished this. The mini bar cabinet has been emptied and sanitised but you could request for it. Orders, requests, and bookings are all made through the hotel app, which i found extremely frustrating as it was either very laggy or didn't work. It was just much easier to call housekeeping/ front desk directly for assistance.
My favorite part of the room was the bathroom. Just check out the spacious bathtub for the perfect bubble bath! I was in a rush and forget to bring my bubbles but that was easily solved with an order from LUSH. There's also a separate rainshower area if you need a quick rinse. 
The bath amenities.
Dining
We were informed that dinners are served at Kwee Zeen and it is buffet style. Unfortunately, buffets only work if there were sufficient diners (and there weren't) and it was a terribly water-down version and a shadow of what i remembered Kwee Zeen to be. We were terribly disappointed with the variety and quality of dishes available- no live stations and the food wasn't fresh or piping hot and tasted really mediocre. The roast beef and soup were probably the more decent dishes and we only ate for sustenance. The a la carte menu certainly looked more appealing as we saw our neighboring diners polished their pizzas. Honestly that's all we needed, a simple pizza or burger instead of a sub-par buffet.
 
Breakfast was a lot better in comparison since it caters to more diners. My recommendations are the congee and laksa station. The nasi lemak is also quite satisfying with the crunchy ikan bilis and peanuts and a fragrant sambal.
 
I suppose our displeasure with the food didn't go unnoticed by the restaurant manager but the service recovery was very spotty as well, which we realized that evening. The manager shared that for our package, dinner is only served at Kwee Zeen (which we swore never to eat dinner there again), and offered to make arrangements for us to dine at The Cliff instead. While we were not really enthused about it, since we had a super meh dinner there not too long ago, we reckon it could not be worse than another lousy dinner so we agreed. That said, when we finally went to dinner that night, we realised that no reservations were made whatsoever, and we ended up being forced to order from the set menu and paid extra as it was considered a top up. Thankfully the food was better than expected and we saw no need to kick up a fuss. 
So back to lunch. As part of our dining entitlement, we could either have the set lunch at Kwee Zen or The Cliff. We went with the Kwee Zeen since they offered the a la carte menu and had more variety and honestly the food was a lot better than the buffet. We enjoyed the Hainanese Chicken Rice with poached chicken, which was smooth and the rice was very fragrant as well.
 
I was also very pleased with the beef burger. Just check out the size of the massive stack layered with ground beef patty, tomatoes, bacon, gherkin, an oozy fried egg & cheese and toasted sesame bun. The fries were fresh and crispy and exactly what was needed for a holiday. 
So The Cliff has been regarded as one of Singapore’s most romantic dining destinations but on this visit we noticed that the dress code wasn't strictly enforced and there were diners in shorts and slippers. Imagine you brought a date to what you thought was a fancy dinner and this happens? I guess they were just trying to fill the tables. 
 
We were made to order a 3 course dinner though we only had faith in their pizzas and pastas. Thankfully the starters delivered as described, though i can't imagine the combination of Heirloom tomatoes with burrata and basil pesto going wrong. 
For mains, we had the fennel sausage pizza with Mozzarella, panna, spring onion, fennel sausage, and fennel pollen; and the Linguine and clams with pancetta, chilli & white wine. Both dishes were seasoned and cooked well and we had no complains. Either we set a super low benchmark, or was really hungry, or it was actually not bad. Desserts did nothing for us, which we wouldn't even have ordered it if we weren't made to. 

Amenities & Activities
You would not miss the 33-metre pool at Sofitel Singapore Sentosa and if possible, i'm sure everyone would spend their entire day here. Unfortunately, each room is limited to one booking per day with a maximum of two hours per visit (which you could extend if it wasn't crowded). 

There's also a gym which is housed in a little shack. We didn't bother with this and headed to our own gyms in town instead. 
 
We took the opportunity to explore Sentosa on bike since Sofitel offers free bike rentals for 2 hours. Their bike was obviously too big for me to handle but i had to make to. We checked out the Fort Siloso exhibition and also went up the Imbiah Nature Trail (i meant to walk here but Jr convinced me that we should just cycle and it was just crazy with the rocks and roots). This was possibly the most exciting part of our stay because we've not experienced these before.  
We also discovered a shortcut to Tanjong Beach from the pool area! It's about 130 steps down to the beach, which we found rather convenient. This makes for easier suntanning at this less crowded beach.
From my review, it's quite clear that the stay was rather lacklustre for a 5 star resort. Skip the full-board package at any opportunity, it's really not worth it. The facilities and rooms are also little worn and not particularly comfortable but a night's stay is still manageable. As for us, i doubt we'd visit Sofitel Singapore Sentosa again. 

2 Bukit Manis Road
Sentosa 099891