Song Fish Tiger Prawns

Just a quick post about Song Fish’s frozen Tiger Prawns since I’ve been using them for my CNY dishes this year.

Not good.

I have a big family, and they are all prawn eaters. Naturally, I would want to serve them big, fresh, tiger prawns for my CNY meals (mee sua, steamboat).

The prawns were huge, no doubt. It’s a conversation starter, no doubt. But the skepticism started when someone peeled the prawns. Finally, it’s confirmed when someone took the first bite.

Not fresh.

Fresh prawns should be crunchy and juicy. Song Fish’s prawns were powdery and lacking in the sweet prawn juice.

My choice next year? Back to basics – Chinatown tiger prawns. To avoid the crowd, I’m going to buy them two to three weeks in advanced and freeze them.

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5D4N Four Seasons Kuda Huraa Resort, Maldives

Maldives – the highly sought after tropical country with crystal clear blue waters and soft white sand. While I’ve always wanted to visit this place, I have remained undecided about which island to choose from (because to be honest, the price tag ain’t cheap)…

Until I had my wedding at Regent Hotel Singapore.

Signing up with Regent Hotel Singapore allowed me to book their Four Seasons Maldives resort at a package rate. So after my wedding I packed my bags, brought my husband along, and headed to Four Seasons Kuda Huraa Maldives for 5D4N.

The Flight There

I took Scoot because it was the cheapest option but the timings were bad (the kind where you reach Maldives at 9pm Maldivian time) so I touched down a day earlier and stayed at Hulhumale for a night. Any inn along the beach would do; you are there only for the night. For details on how to get from Velana International Airport to Hulhumale, you may refer to this site written by a fellow Singaporean.

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa can only fix the speedboat schedule a day before your check-in. For me, because I arrived a day earlier but stayed on the mainland, Kuda Huraa very kindly informed me of the speedboat departure timing via the inn I was staying at.

Getting to Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

At Velana International Airport, you’ll see a lot of booths which can be confusing.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Four Seasons’ huge lounge where you can help yourself to biscuits and beverages. Talk about the start of luxury.

The speedboat itself takes about 30 minutes and while it is really pricy per pax for a two way trip (USD$250 before taxes), the interior of the boat was pretty comfy.

Checking in

Upon arrival there’ll be a few staff singing a welcome song and before you know it, check in is done and you’re ready to see your room!

I stayed at the Beach Pavillion with Pool. It’s the least expensive out of all the other bungalow options, but I was lucky to be housed near the activity and food area.

Entrance to your pavillion.

Private pool with Pavillion (unicorn’s mine!)

Every bungalow leads to the beach. This means that there are two entrances to your bungalow, and one of it is open to anyone who wants to walk in. Not a cause to be concerned though, I felt very safe in my 5 days here.

Short 30 seconds walk to the beautiful beach facing the sunset.

Activities

There are many activities available at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa. Take the opportunity to do complimentary non-motorised water sports such as stand-up paddling or snorkel at the snorkel trail at your own time. If you’re feeling more adventurous, go for their motorised water sports such as wakeboarding, dive at one of their many curated sites, or go on a snorkeling adventure for a fee.

Kuda Huraa offers guided snorkeling experiences such as Kuda Huraa House Reef or Turtle Adventure Snorkel (USD$25 and USD$75 before taxes respectively).

Feel free to snorkel on the sunrise side of the island.

Love the open waters but diving and snorkeling are not your favourites? Join Kuda Huraa’s cruises to get a chance to see wild dolphins putting on their best spinner shows.

Managed to catch some dolphins on camera!

If doing activities is not your thing, you can visit the various swimming pools on the island, head to the gym, or chill in your own villa pool.

Serenity Pool is an adults only pool. It is located at the Reef Club.

The gym is fully equipped and a personal trainer is available if you need one.

The resort also has a separate spa island which you’ll have to take a quick boat ride to get there. I didn’t do their spa but I’ve been advised to book my preferred treatments before my trip.

For the period I was there, I estimated the occupancy rate to be an average of 180 pax. Curiously however, I hardly saw anyone during the activities or using their facilities. It’s almost as if you were the only one on the island.

Restaurants

Kuda Huraa has four main restaurants for dining – Cafe Huraa, Reef Club, Kandu Grill and Baraabaru.

Cafe Huraa is your main restautant to go to. It’s where you’ll go to have your buffet breakfast in the mornings. The breakfast spread here is awesome!

Entrance of Cafe Huraa.

Reef Club serves Italian food. I’m not a fan of Italian food but their food and plating were very well done. Plus the view is to melt for.

Entrance of Reef Club.

Dining by the sea at Reef Club.

Kandu Grill, as the name suggests, is a place for your grilled seafood and meats. It’s only open for dinner. We tried the Mixed Seafood Grill and were surprised that we were full from the platter fairly quickly.

Kandu Grill. The entrance to this place is via Cafe Huraa.

By recommendation, I also tried the Indian food at Baraabaru. I ate their Reef Fish Briyani and Murgh Makhani, which tastes like butter chicken. This dish was super nice.

Entrance to Baraabaru.

Service

I really appreciate the meticulousness of the staff at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa. Their attention to detail is amazing. For example, they noticed that I dried my wet clothes by the bathtub and thoughtfully placed towels underneath the clothes to help dry it faster. On another occasion, my husband’s clothes were flipped inside out and placed messily on the bed. When we returned from breakfast, they had flipped it back and folded it nicely as part of their housekeeping!

Talking about housekeeping, this resort does housekeeping twice daily, once during breakfast hours, and once in the evening. It’s really very comfortable to come back to a clean and neat place.

Tips

Some tips for you:

  • It is important to make reservations for dinner as the restaurants can get quite packed during dinner time and you would want the best seats (such as those by the seaside).
  • You might want to ask if the food you’re ordering is too much for your party. We didn’t know the portion size and ended up wasting a lot of food for some of our meals. 😦
  • Some activities such as the Turtle Snorkel Adventure and Dolphin Cruise have limited seats, so do make your reservations a day at least in advanced.
  • Bring seasick pills along just in case. The boat ride out to certain sites for snorkeling may take up to 45 minutes across choppy waters.
  • The resort provides beach bag, bikini cover-ups, and after-sun gel. Sunblock is available throughout the island for that must needed replenish when you’re out playing.

I love Four Seasons Kuda Huraa for its excellent service and intimate island experience. Although the whole island is rather small (you can easily walk from one end to another in 10 minutes), most of the activities and facilities are empty as majority of the guests prefer to stay in their bungalows. I constantly wondered if there was some activity unknown to me that everyone else was at.

I told my husband we would come back here for our 10th anniversary. Let’s see what happens then. For now, sun out!

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Yakinikutei Ao-Chan

Go!!!

Happen to be in town and craving for better than average yakiniku (grilled meat)? Head to Concorde Hotel where Yakinikutei Ao-Chan is located on the second floor.

The layout is such that it’s rows of cushioned booths, with one row not more than 4-5 booths on one side. There’s a high wall next to each booth so it feels like you’re in your own space because the adjacent table (across the isle) is quite a distance apart.

If there’s only two of you and it’s your first time here I’d suggest getting the Prime Beef Course to share as it has a mini sampler of 3 different beef cuts, ox tripe, ox liver and ox tongue, together with a bowl of plum rice, ox tail soup, and a scoop of ice cream. Do not like tripe and liver? You may exchange it for pork or chicken.

Prime Beef Course, $45.80.

By sharing one meal between two people, you can order other items on the menu or seasonal items such as the A5 Hokkaido Snow Beef.

Toro Karubi, $42.

Oh my oh my. These things melt in your mouth! It’s so sinful cos of the extensive marbling of the beef but so worth every calorie. Apparently this is the Hokkaido Snow Beef where the meat is said to melt in your mouth like snow flakes.

Oh, they offer free flow tea and water (both of which are not on the menu).

Menu below:

I like Yakinikutei Ao-Chan because the their atmosphere is great and the quality of their meats are great. Price wise I think it’s justified, though I’ll only visit this place again if there’s a special occasion.

Concorde Hotel, #02-22/26, 100 Orchard Road, S(238840)

Mondays to Fridays: 12pm to 230pm, 6pm to 11pm

Saturdays and Sundays: 3pm to 1030pm

+65 6735 6457

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Strawberry Watermelon Cake Recipe

The Strawberry Watermelon Cake from Black Star Pastry is my all time favourite cake. I tried it once when they came to Singapore for The Great Food Festival in 2017 and it has been on my mind ever since. On and off I would have cravings for it, but never quite knew where to get them in tiny little Singapore.

So I decided to bake one myself.

The results blew my mind. Pretty decent for a first timer, and helluva impressive. Thought I should share the recipe with some tips so that you guys can make one yourself too!

Recipe from Her World (http://www.herworld.com/solutions/recipes/recipe-learn-how-make-famous-strawberry-watermelon-cake-sydneys-black-star-pastry), reproduced in whole here:Serves 12

INGREDIENTS

For the almond dacquoise:

150g almonds, coarsely chopped

150g pure icing sugar, sieved

5 egg whites

135g caster sugar

For the rose-scented cream:

300ml thickened cream

30g caster sugar

2 tbsp rosewater

250g seedless watermelon, thinly sliced

60ml rosewater*

4 tbsp caster sugar

40g almond meal

500g strawberries, halved

10 seedless red grapes, halved

1 tbsp slivered pistachios*

1 tbsp dried rose petals*

*Available at Phoon Huat stores including #02-01 Buona Vista MRT Station (6776-0153)

DIRECTIONS

  1. To make the almond dacquoise, preheat oven to 200C. Pulse almonds in a food processor until finely ground, then combine in a bowl with icing sugar.
  2. In another clean mixing bowl, whisk egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, about 3-4min. Next, gradually add caster sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form, for 1-2min. Gently fold the almond-icing sugar mixture into the egg whites.
  3. Line a 30cm x 40cm tray with baking paper, and spread the almond dacquoise mixture evenly. Bake for 10-15min until golden. Set aside to cool on the tray, then cut in half lengthwise. Leave it to rest for at least 4h, or overnight.
  4. Arrange watermelon slices in a single layer on a wire rack. Sprinkle with 20ml rosewater, then sprinkle with 2 tbsp sugar. Let it soak for 30min, then pat dry with kitchen towels.
  5. For the rose-scented cream, whisk cream and sugar in an electric mixer until soft peaks forum. Gradually add rosewater and whisk until you have stiff peaks. Do not over-whisk.
  6. Spread 1/3 of rose-scented cream evenly over half the dacquoise. Sprinkle with half the almond meal, and layer watermelon over the dacquoise, You might need to trim some of the watermelon slices to fill the gaps.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining almond meal over the watermelon. Spread half of the remaining rose cream. Layer with the rest of the dacquoise and rose cream. Refrigerate until firm, about 1-2 hours.
  8. Combine strawberries with the remaining 20ml rosewater and 2tbsp sugar in a bowl. Toss to combine and set aside for 15min. Carefully arrange the strawberries onto the cake, gently pushing into the cream. Trim the edges of the cake, scatter it with grapes, pistachios and rose petals. Serve.

Littlemissramen’s tips

  1. The recipe at best serves only 8.
  2. The almond dacquoise was way too sweet. Try cutting down the amount of sugar incorporated.
  3. Let your watermelon dry out for as long as possible. Mine wasn’t dry enough and after I assembled the cake, water started to seep into the cream and almond dacquoise. Had a super soggy cake base as a result. 😦
  4. HerWorld said that the rosewater, silvered pistachios and rose petals could be found at Phoon Huat. I found none of those and thus had to improvise.
  5. For rosewater, Phoon Huat sells rose flavoured water for $13 a bottle which you would need to dilute generously with plain water, about 1 part to 8 parts of water.
  6. For silvered pistachios, you can actually get those small packet pistachios from the supermarket and finely chop them.
  7. For rose petals, head to your nearest TCM shop. Besides getting yourself a liang cha to drink, ask for rose buds (the kind that you can make tea with). It costs only $2.50 for a huge tub. Back at home, chop off the stems and separate the petals.

I wish you fun and may your cake turn out great. Happy baking!

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Kuro Izakaya, Suntec City Tower 3

Worth a try.

Everybody loves to chill over bar bites and beer after work. Bonus points added if a place that has this combi is situated at the heart of town. Located at Suntec Tower 3, Kuro Izakaya easily attracts the working crowd when the sun goes down.

To find Kuro Izakaya, you’ll have to walk to Suntec Tower 3 (where Oppo, Harvey Norman, Timberland, GV movie are situated) and exit towards the taxi stand. It’s located outside of the building.

They have a huge range of Japanese whiskeys and beer, perfect for pairing with your bar bites (well they do have staples such as ramen and Japanese curry, but it’s really out of the place to be having those items here).

Pork Jowl, $5. Scallops wrapped in Bacon (Tare and Shio versions), $6. Pork Belly (Tare and Shio versions), $4. Enoki wrapped in Bacon, $4.

Chicken Breast with Mentaiko, $4.

The best kushiyaki? Pork Jowl, followed by Scallops wrapped in Bacon (Tare version). I tried both the tare (sweet sauce) and shio (salted) versions and I very much preferred the tare one. The scallops were huge and juicy, which I really appreciated. As for the pork jowl, I do think that it’s quite difficult to go wrong with it as the texture of the meat is excellent to begin with.

I thought I would like the Chicken Breast with Mentaiko, but unfortunately the breast meat was way too tough. Wrong choice of meat, Kuro Izakaya. Chicken thighs would have been much, much better. Either that, or you make sure you cook your breast meat well.

Kuro Izakaya is a nice and cozy place to chill, but I don’t think I’ll be back again as their kushiyakis aren’t well executed, and the place is seriously lacking in variety. Once is enough for me.

6 Temasek Boulevard, #01-604, S(038986)

Mondays to Thursdays: 1130am to 230pm, 5pm to 11pm

Fridays: 1130am to 230pm, 5pm to 1130pm

Saturdays and Sundays: 1130am to 230pm, 5pm to 10pm

+65 6235 1066

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8 CNY snacks to usher in the new year, Takashimaya

It’s pretty in pink at Takashimaya this CNY 2018 as local and overseas bakeries bring forth their best cookies to the table. Littlemissramen visited the fair on the first day of the event and here are my top favourites.

1. Yuzu Orange, Divine Cookies

This is my top favourite because after eating all the heavy and dense foodstuff everybody stuffed you with (because CNY), this unassuming, petite biscuit magically breaks the tardiness with it’s refreshing and light texture. You’re good to chiong again, and you’re welcome.

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2. Purple Boo-Berry, The Cookie Museum

Unfortunately the sales girl stopped me before I could get a better picture.

The name doesn’t do justice to what’s inside the cookie. It has purple wheat, purple corn, blueberry, oats and white chocolate. How’s that for a super power healthy cookie? You probably can’t tell there’s so much goodness in one single cookie because of the intense flavour of the blueberry, but I’m not complaining. the taste is excellent. These do not come cheap but they’re definitely worth a try.

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3. Bak Kut Teh Cookies, Old Seng Choong

Having this around will definitely break the silence during awkward CNY gatherings. Kampong Spirit also carries other unique flavours such as cereal prawn, but I felt that the Bak Kut Teh was the most outstanding.

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4. Caramel Oat Cookies, Kele

Yet another healthy cookie on the list this year. Those watching your weight will definitely feel less guilty munching this snack. I do shudder at the thought of an oat cookie, but caramel makes everything taste and sound good for some reason. Side point: Kele’s infographics are way too cute!

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5. Pink Champagne, Christine’s by The Cookie Museum

Okay I’m familiar with champagne in mooncakes but champagne in cookies? Now that’s something new, and definitely a crowd pleaser. Pink Champagne not only has liqueur, but also rose petals, grapefruit and cereal within. While the alcoholic tones weren’t particularly obvious, the grapefruit and rose petals certainly helped to carry the flavour through.

6. Three Layers White Cloudy Cookies, The Bakerhaus

If you’re tired of eating too much of the crumbly cookie texture, then I suppose the Three Layers White Cloudy Cookie would be a nice alternative. In all honesty the name of the cookie sounds a little silly, but trust me, you’ll be wanting your second piece in no time. There’s a crumbly layer yes, but quickly you’ll also feel an airy, sweet meringue layer.

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7. Salted Egg Potato Chips, Aunty Esther

The salted egg hype has been given a new breath of air because of the recent Straits Times article. I would say that their chips are really light yet the salted egg flavour is both creamy and gao.

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8. Lychee Kueh Bangkit, Butter Studio

Kueh Bangkit is one of my childhood favourites and I’m so glad Butter Studio still has the lychee flavoured ones this year. I ate this last year and made a mental note to find them again this year and so I did.

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Bonus: CNY Hampers, Asian Treasures

If you’re feeling generous this year and would like to up your hamper gifting game, do check out Asian Treasures for their CNY hampers. I particularly like this year’s hampers because apart from the usual Chinese delicacies like abalone, Asian Treasures’ hampers have incorporated local bakes like salted egg yolk cookies.

The Takashimaya fair runs from now till 14 Feb 18.

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1 Tyrwhitt Bistro Bar, Tyrwhitt Road

Go!

1 Tyrwhitt Bistro Bar sits in the vicinity of Farrer Park MRT, at a corner just opposite Jalan Besar Stadium. It is the place to go whether you’re looking to gather with a big group of friends, or when you just want to have one or two drinks with your buddy.

Screenshot from 1 Tyrwhitt Bistro Bar’s Facebook page.

Truffle Egg Pizza, $23.80.

I’ve been here a couple of times, including when they first started out a couple of years ago. Pretty happy to say that the Truffle Egg Pizza is still my favourite pizza to order when I’m here. The toppings are generous and the pizza base is thin and crunchy.

Mushroom Risotto.

This truffle aroma of the risotto was super satisfying! I also liked that they chose the right type of grains for their risotto.

Mushroom Prawn Aglio Olio, $16.80.

I was surprised when I took my first bite because this certainly didn’t taste like your usual aglio olio. In fact, it tasted a bit like 麻辣香锅. As a result, it was a great hit with my guests. This should be on our list of to-orders when we’re back here the next time.

Four Cheese Gnocchi.

At this point I must say that you should have your gnocchi done four cheese style IF you’re a serious cheese lover. The flavour was intense. I had two potato bites and I was done with this dish.

Chicken Chop, $16.80.

I know, it looks like a mess here but I would say that this dish is worth every penny. There’s mushroom medley, mashed potatoes, salad and a huge serving of chicken chop. The chicken chop was still juicy when it reached me!

Tiramisu, $8.80.

After gorging on the above, if you find that you only have space for one dessert, please go with the tiramisu. The whole tiramisu was well constructed, with each layer encompassing just the right amount of alcohol-coffee mix.

1 Tyrwhitt Bistro and Bar has got a huge variety on their menu. With soups to finger food to pasta, pizza, mains and desserts, you’ll definitely find something to share or to pair with your wines and spirits. Bonus point: they have a huge seating area and they open till 12 midnight so you can yak away comfortably!

1 Tyrwhitt Road, S(207522)

Closed Tuesdays.

Mondays, Wednesdays to Sundays: 1130am to 12midnight

+65 6341 5167

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