8 Korean BBQ, Clarke Quay Central


It does seem unlikely that a Korean BBQ place will do well in Clarke Quay Central (ask anyone to recommend a place for Korean BBQ and they’ll all point you to Tanjong Pagar), but 8 Korean BBQ has really done itself proud. This place takes their pork belly very, very seriously. I’ve been to many Korean BBQ places, but 8 Korean BBQ takes the top spot specifically for for BBQ pork.

Apparently, they use Mangalitza hog, which fat melts at a lower temperature than regular pork fat, and is still tender and juicy even after cooking.

For dinner, there are 3 set menus to choose from:

1. 8 Colours Set – 8 flavours of pork belly, $98.

2. Flower Pork Set – Pork Belly, pork neck, pork jowl, $68.

3. 4 Colours Set – 4 flavours of pork belly, $58.

The flavours for the pork belly include wine, original, garlic, herb, curry, miso, kalbi and red pepper paste. You can choose 2 flavours for the Flower Pork set. All set comes with side dishes and a stew.

The hot plate is tilted at an angle which allows the oil to flow into a hole embedded in the table. Talk about well designed tables.

Kimchi Stew with Pork.

Their kimchi stew has the right level of spiciness packed with chunks of cabbage and a generous helping of pork. An army stew version is available for a top up fee of $6.

The pork belly comes rolled up. Look at how thick they are! I picked garlic and kalbi marinate. Their meats are well marinated with the right amount of fats in each strip.

Their staff will help you BBQ the meat (yay!!). They will also place some kimchi, beansprouts, onion and mushroom on one side of the hot plate. These go well with the meat wrapped vegetables. Also, the meat and stew portion is enough for 3 to 4 pax.

They are super thoughtful you know! While waiting for the meat to be cooked, they will place a piece of paper so that the oil won’t splatter onto you.

The pork neck took longer to cook than the belly and jowl, so they told us to start eating the rest of the meat first. What surprised me was that they meticulously monitored and checked multiple times to see the pork neck was done.

I really enjoyed my dinner at 8 Korean BBQ at Clarke Quay. People who know me will know that I’m no big fan of pork (beef lover here!) so for me to give praises, this place must be really good.

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Chiak, Mapletree Business City

Worth a try.

Design Your Own Healthy Bowls are on the rise and Chiak at Mapletree Business City is no stranger to the game.

The clean, spacious outlook really draws you in and true enough, by about 1230pm the place was packed with long snaking lines no less.

The fun part of such a place is the choosing of your ingredients really. You’ll never know how the combination of your favourite food will turn out, which in turn drives up the anticipation. Fortunately, Chiak prepares your food quickly.

If you’re someone who hates decision making, there are preset bowls for you to choose from.

Chicken chestnut patty, soba, grilled eggplant, shimeiji mushrooms, corn, furikake, crushed peanuts, miso ginger sauce.

Red miso salmon, romaine lettuce, sous vide egg, Chinese kale, edamame, stewed peanuts, Thai basil leaves, balsamic soy sauce.

Green Curry chicken, organic brown rice, wakame fungus salad, mixed mango salad, cherry tomatoes, coriander leaves, toasted sesame, spicy like sauce.

Teriyaki chicken, vermicelli chicken soup, shimeiji mushrooms, broccoli and garlic, corn, coriander leaves, toasted sesame.

Red miso salmon, soba, broccoli and garlic, grilled pumpkin, cherry tomatoes, furikake, coriander leaves and plum sesame sauce (this was from their list of preset bowls).

Chiak bowls are simple, unpretentious, light and healthy. Because of this, they tend to be on the bland side, and the flavours don’t come through easily. The mains are certainly interesting with chicken chestnut patty and prawn otak but the rest of the components are a bit lacklustre. Plus, as concurred by my colleague, the topping options are quite… stingy? In his words, “so bo hua to choose coriander leaves or chilli padi”.

I’ve been to a couple of Design Your Own Healthy Bowl places and Chiak isn’t on my favourite list. However, I wouldn’t mind dropping by for that boost of healthy shot.

40 Pasir Panjang Road, #02-37, S(117383)

Mondays to Fridays: 8am to 8pm.

+65 6358 2313

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Teo Heng Teochew Porridge, Hong Lim Market and Food Centre


Good Teochew porridges are a rare commodity these days but at least they can still be found. Teo Heng Teochew Porridge in particular is my new favourite, especially during a rainy day.


I had their braised duck, braised pork belly and intestines, stuffed taupok, fish cake, boiled squid, salted vegetables and tunghoon cabbage (both not in pic). All of their dishes were superb. Not a single miss.

The braised meat and stuffed taupok were rather well done, so no complaints about that. The fish cake on the other hand, wow, it is as pure as it can get. The fish cake was super soft yet springy. What a pleasant surprise.

The boiled squid was not rubbery or hard to chew at all. It comes with a sweet sauce, which made it a dish that you can eat even without the porridge.

Special mention goes to the salted vegetables. When we ordered a bowl each (trust me, it isn’t that salty and it goes very well with the porridge), the uncle was quite shocked and said “nobody eats salted vegetables like that!!”. We later found out that the salted vegetables usually comes with fresh fish rather than as a stand-alone side dish. No wonder the salted vegetables tasted so fragrant.

Their braised eggs are also worth mentioning. Somehow they have the time and effort to monitor the timing of their braised eggs, because the yolk was lava-ish!!! Whuuut. Super mind blowing. Mind you, these are old folks running the stall.

Although the stall opens till 2pm, when I went for lunch at 12noon, items were already starting to get sold out. For example, we were one of the last few to enjoy the tunghoon cabbage, which, by the way, was very rich and tasty.

531A Upper Cross Street, Hong Lim Market and Food Centre, #01-56, S(051531)

Mondays to Saturdays: 7am to 2pm

Closed Sundays.

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Little Bastard, King George’s Avenue


Little Bastard is really a place which could do with some help from word out mouth recommendations. It’s almost unnoticeable, but yet at the same time it is exactly why it feel so exclusive.

The only way in is via the back of The Refinery (which has really good beef bowls by the way). Enter the cold metal door which reads “115”, head up the flight of stairs till you see this:

And yet, still nothing will signal that you have reached Little Bastard. Turn left and you’ll face this:

Yup, you’ve successfully found Little Bastard. And yup, still no signs that it’s the correct place. I opened the door not knowing what to expect and even after opening it I hesitated before stepping in, because:

This was the view. Any hint of Little Bastard is written on the bright little box by the left side.

So anyway I took my seat at one of the mahjong tables (go on, open those drawers!!) and ordered my meal. I thought the menu was quite interesting! You’ll see two or more very distinct cuisines coming together, a metaphoric portrayal of being a bastard. Well played!

One Night in Tom Yum, $20.

This is a very refreshing cold dish. The tom yam consommé had all the right perk-me-up flavours, the Japanese innaniwa udon was easy to slurp and the crab meat made the whole dish a whole lot sweeter.

Duroc Pork LuRouFan, $18.

In case you’re wondering, Duroc is another breed of the pig family, like how Kurobuta is. Appearance wise, Duroc is a red pig with drooping ears. Taste wise, I don’t know if it’s the pork, or the way they did it, but the braised meat was really delicious. It goes well with the fried shallots and quail egg. Comfort food anyone? The only disappointment was the rice patty, it would have been all right if they had left the rice steamed as it is, rather than compressing and searing it.

Apart from interesting mains, Little Bastard has a wide variety of alcoholic drinks. There’s your normal whisky and wines, but what’s even more eye catching are the concoctions that they come up with. In particular, Cheng Teng Gao and Not Your Average Cendol are cocktails I would want to try the next time I’m there.

115 King George’s Avenue, S(208561)

Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Tuesdays to Saturdays: 6pm to 12midnight.

+65 8459 9893

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Maru, Icon Village


Maru is an Asian fusion eatery that is newly opened in Icon Village at Gopeng Street. Like its food, the vibe of the place cuts across two or more cultures; the name sounds Japanese but the interior feels very backstage broadway. There’s even a cosy corner for added privacy if needed.

Maru’s menu is separated into lunch and dinner, which I think gives better focus and efficiency during the respective peak hours. I tried their lunch.

Bonito Grilled Eel Fried Rice, $13.

When I read that it was fried rice, I instinctively prepared myself for minced unagi fried rice topped with bonito flakes (come on, at $13 in Tanjong Pagar, who wouldn’t think so?). Surprise surprise! Two chunks of eel with bonito flakes, chives, furikake, omelette shreds and seaweed. Mix everything together and viola! You’ve got yourself a delicious rice bowl.

My friend tried the Uni Ikura Angel Hair Pasta ($26) and she said it was super good! I guess it’s another excuse for me to return to this place for lunch again.

Mixed Lotus Roots and Potates with Truffle, $8.

These thinly sliced vegetables with truffle oil are so crispy and addictive! I normally wouldn’t finish sides, but I couldn’t stop for this!

Popcorn Shrimp with Wasabi and Sour Cream, $8.

My impression of the shrimps is that they were very well drained. Throughout my whole meal, the prawns stayed crunchy and pleasant to the bite. I felt that the prawns can stand alone actually, no need for the sour cream sauce and corn bits.

Overall, I really like this place as the fusion food they serve is really quite creative. They have other items like iberico pork ramen and grilled pork jowl which sounds delicious. Might head here for dinner as well as!

Icon Village, 12 Gopeng Street, #01-05, 078877

Mondays to Fridays: 1130am to 11pm

Saturdays and PHs: 4pm to 11pm

Closed Sundays.

+65 6327 1123

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Bangkok in 5 Days and 4 Nights

I recently went on a 5D4N trip to Bangkok (BKK), Thailand and thought that I should pen down my itinerary here with some tips for you guys, as well as recommend some food places.

Day 1 – Talad Rot Fai Ratchada

I arrived at BKK on Saturday night, about 730pm. As soon as I cleared immigration and bought my data sim card (300baht for 8 days, 4G speed capped at 2.5GB), I booked an Uber to my hotel. I stayed at Arte Hotel, located within walking distance to Terminal 21. My fare there cost 300baht, $13 SGD.

Tip: Use Uber/Grab to get around BKK. That way, you wouldn’t need to bargain with taxi/ tuk tuk drivers, and you can be sure that your Uber driver would know where to alight you. Plus, you won’t have weird charges after your ride (I took taxi once and the driver wanted to charge me an additional 50baht for going a “faster” way). On average, the difference in price as compared to taking a metered taxi isn’t that much.

After checking in, I headed out and took the metro from Sukhumvit to Thailand Cultural Centre. Followed the crowd and cut through Esplanade Shopping Mall before exiting via the carpark which would eventually lead me to Rot Fai Ratchada.

River Prawns Combo, about 370baht, $15 SGD.

The best food I found at Rot Fai Ratchada was river prawns in a bag! I went for the river prawns combo because river prawns in Thailand are huge!!! Not like the tiny ones you get when you prawn in Singapore for an expensive $36 for 3 hours. I picked the original non spicy flavour but I’m not sure if they mixed up my order or the original taste was as such because it sure was spicy! Taste wise it had a strong hint of tom yam amidst other herbs. Yums.

End off your meal and walk with a thirst quenching (and pretty looking) ice blended watermelon for 60baht ($2.50 SGD).

Talad Rot Fai Ratchada is open from Thursdays to Sundays, 5pm to 1am.

Day 2 – Chatuchak Market, Siam, Talad Neon

Started the day at the famous Chatuchak Market, which opens at around 9am. I would suggest having breakfast elsewhere before heading to Chatuchak, because the food at Chatuchak is not exactly cheap and good. Plus, no rush to get to the market early because some of the shops won’t be fully operational till about 11am. 
Tip: Bring shades. And a battery operated fan. You probably won’t have the stamina to comb through the entire market systematically, so just make the best out of it. Also, if you see something that you like, just get it. Some shops at Chatuchak now are actually quite affordable. 

You would still be full from breakfast and Chatuchak snacks (be sure to eat their coconut ice cream with peanuts!), so head back to your hotel to rest and relax before starting your evening again. 

Tip: Bring your swimming gear along. Find a hotel with a swimming pool. Have fun!

Left my hotel at about 4pm and took the BTS from Asok to Siam. My main aim there was to eat beef noodles at Siam Paragon and shop at Siam Square One.

Australian Wagyu, 550baht, $25 SGD.

Introducing Nuer Koo! It’s basically sliced beef in a simmered beef broth that’s not any like I’ve tried before. These beef noodles do not come cheap, ranging from 180baht to 950baht ($8 to $38 SGD) for various types including rib eye and Kobe beef. The beef doesn’t come with staple so you’ll have to top up another 25baht for noodles. I tried the Australian Wagyu and it was so good. Trust me, it was so good that I’m having cravings for it right now in Singapore. Grrrr. 

I wanted to try the desserts at After You because  of all the rave, but decided to go for something mango because, Thailand. Googled around and they pointed me to Mango Tango along Siam Square.

Mango Tango with Sticky Rice, 160baht, $7.

Looks totally Instagram worthy, but sigh it’s not as delicious as it looks. The mango pudding was so disappointing. I liked the mango sorbet though, it had a thick, solid texture.

After my food I walked around Siam Square hoping to bag some shopping deals but unfortunately nothing caught my eye. So I headed to my dinner venue instead.

Ban Khun Mae Restaurant (screenshot from Ban Khun Mae’s website). 

My friend told me that this place had a long history and I didn’t believe him at first but after trying the food here, I second and triple him. A must try for this place is their Baked Pineapple Rice. 

To digest dinner quicker, I walked all the way from Siam to Talad Neon which is behind Platinum Fashion Mall. It was at least a 30 minute walk. 

At Talad Neon, I didn’t eat or buy much stuff. The place was similar to Rot Fai, so I got bored quickly after awhile. I did come across this sparkly drink.

You can have it either as a cocktail or mocktail. Prices are within 100 to 200baht ($4 to $8 SGD). I guess you could try it for the novelty, but that’s about it. 

Ending off the night, I went for a Thai massage at Healthland Asok which was near my hotel. It’s supposedly a popular place for  Singaporeans as well. A 2 hour massage cost 600baht ($26 SGD), which is quite reasonable given the better condition of this place. I tipped my masseuse 20baht, because she was standing there bidding me goodbye so I paiseh. I’m not sure if such a practice is still commonplace these days.

Day 3 – Platinum Fashion Mall, Chinatown

Woke up and Ubered to Platinum Fashion Mall for shopping. My friends said that the food court at Platinum Fashion Mall is not bad, but how, how can I resist the wonton mee and braised pork rice at one of the streets opposite Platinum Fashion Mall?

Braised Pork Rice.

Wonton Mee.

The wonton mee and braised pork rice isn’t cheap at 100baht ($5 SGD) each, which probably isn’t worth the price according to BKK’s standards, but still worth a try if haven’t done so. Chilli is a must for your wonton mee. Don’t say that you’ve tried their wonton mee until you’ve eaten it with chilli. The braised pork rice was also very pleasant; rather flavourful but don’t ever scrutinise their preparations haha. 

The feel of Platinum Fashion Mall is still the same, but majority of the clothes here sell for 250baht and above even at “bulk” price. That’s like $12 SGD. Still cheaper compared to the clothes in Singapore, but not as cheap as a couple of years ago where you could still get a decent skirt and dress for 150baht. And mind you, not like there was an improvement in quality of the clothes. 

After a lot of walking, I headed back to my hotel where I went for a swim again! 

Tip: Don’t bother getting an Uber from Platinum Fashion Mall. The roads there are too congested for any Uber car to reach you within 10minutes. 

Screenshot from Terminal 21’s Facebook.

After a good rest at my hotel, I walked over to Terminal 21 where it’s mainly window shopping. Each level is of a different theme, so you have London, Paris, Japan, Hollywood etc. Really cool but again, nothing much to be bought from this mall. I was more excited over the food variety in Terminal 21 hehe. Terminal 21 has many restaurants like Coco Ichibanya, MK Steamboat, Tony Roma’s, Ootoya, Swensens but I think the best place to dine at is the food court, also known as Pier 21.

The prices at Pier 21 are so affordable (average about 50baht, $2.50 SGD)! The natural instinct is to over order, but please control yourself. I tried the Pad Thai, Papaya Salad, Tom Yam Soup, Braised Pork Rice and Mango Sticky Rice. Of all the dishes here, the weakest was the Tom Yam Soup. You can skip it. 

Pad Thai.

Tom Yam Soup.

Papaya Salad.

Braised Pork Rice.

Wholesome pot of braised pork. See already also shiok. 

It sounds really crazy but after all these feasting at Pier 21, I headed to Chinatown to eat seafood dinner! It’s so strange, somehow I just could eat meals after meals after meals. Anyway, Chinatown is some distance away from Terminal 21 so there’s time to disgest the food in your tummy. 

Tip: Take an Uber to Chinatown. Being such a far place, few taxis will send you there on a meter. 

I dined at this place called T & K Seafood. It’s super chaotic on the ground level, so you’ll be quickly whisked away to the upper floors. Rule of thumb — minimally order crab, steamed fish and clams or mussels.

Crab with Glass Noodles, 400baht, $17SGD.

The glass noodles were soooo flavourful!! Reminds me of japchae, the Korean glass noodles. Also has the wok hei taste which makes it super yummy.

Steamed Fish in Garlic and Lemon Soup.

The fish wasn’t very big, it’s probably good enough for 3 pax. I liked the lemon soup! Masked the fishy smell and gave the extra punch.

After dinner I headed next door for bird’s nest at Nam Sing (strange, seems like everyone visits BKK’s Chinatown for three things only: seafood, bird’s nest and shark’s fin). Again, contrary to perception that food in BKK is cheap, my bird’s nest cost 300baht (about $14 SGD). It’s nice though, and the toppings are very generous. 

Bird’s Nest.

Day 4 – Roast Cafe, Asiatique

Having done all my shopping the past 3 days, I dedicated day 4 to cafes. By my friend’s repeated recommendation, I headed to Roast at EmQuartier Helix Building B. Because I was early, I got the sit by the full length windows and you know what? Best view ever.

Truffle Alfredo Pasta, 280baht, $12 SGD.

 The pasta was impressive. It’s freshly handmade, so the Tagliatelle strands are of varying sizes. It was also cooked al dante, and the toppings are generous. The creamy sauce can get a little jelat towards the end though. 

Slow Roasted Fried Chicken (480baht, $20 SGD). 

The Slow Roasted Fried Chicken was by far the best roast chicken I’ve ever eaten in a cafe. Having marinated in buttermilk and homemade hot sauce for 48 hours, the flavour of the chicken really hit the spot for me. The chicken comes with their special chilli in a separate bottle, but I didn’t think it was necessary. 

After my meal I was too full to do anything else. Not even have desserts! This was something I regretted. Should have eaten lesser so that I have space for desserts. Tried to walk off the heavy feeling but I just couldn’t, so I ended up going back to my hotel to swim (again!!!).

Headed out to Asiatique for the evening (because a lot of websites hailed Asiatique as one of the best night markets in BKK) and I must tell you here and now that you should skip this night market entirely. It was a total waste of my time. The shopping was mediocre and the food was unmemorable. Plus, the prices of everything was on the high side. To add on, getting here is not easy. You have to take the BTS to Saphan Taksin (44baht from Asok, $2 SGD) and then queue up for a free ferry which can take awhile because the ferry runs once every 15 minutes and if you’re going during peak hours, good luck.

Left within a couple of hours and since it’s my last night in BKK, I went for a full body massage at Healthland Asok again. Shiok.

Day 5 – Back to Singapore

My flight was at 12noon, so I checked out of the hotel at 930am and took Uber to the airport. The journey took about half an hour, and the fare was 375baht (inclusive of 25baht toll free, $15SGD).

At Suvarnabhumi Airport there are shops selling food and souvenirs. I grabbed a quick meal at Ippudo Express before getting onto my flight and it’s home sweet home Singapore!

Overall I feel that the three essential places to shop and eat in BKK are: Rot Fai Ratchada (one night market is enough, trust me), Platinum Fashion Mall, and Chatuchak Market. Shopping wise it was disappointing for me, while food wise I’m glad I found some really good ones.

All prices in SGD in this post are an approximate and not to be taken as is.

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Upot, Singapore Post Centre

Worth a try.

The newly renovated Singpost Centre just opened for business and like any other Singaporean that loves checking a new mall out, I paid a visit on a Saturday evening. 

Taiwan’s famous hotpot chain Upot opened a branch here so without a doubt I had to try it out. When I reached there at 630pm the queue was super long. Likely because they were having a promotion (more details below).

Tip: Make your reservations ahead of time! The kiasu me had already made my reservations earlier in the day. 

The food is served on a conveyor belt. There’s something about clocking up as many plates as you can when dining at a conveyor belt restaurant. Challenge accepted.

The good thing about this place is that you have your own personal hotpot. You can choose your own soup base, and put in whatever items you want. You’re your own chef. 

There are six varieties of soup for you to choose from. Xiaolongkan Old Hotpot ($9.80), Japanese Kombu and Bonito Soup ($7.80), Thai Tom Yam ($7.80), Tomato Soup ($7.80), Taiwanese Herbal Pork Rib Soup ($8.80) and Wild Mushroom Soup ($7.80). 

The food items are classified into different coloured plates. Green ($0.99), Orange ($1.99), Blue ($2.99) and Red ($3.99).

I tried the Tomato Soup. Every pot of soup comes with a bowl of vegetables and mushrooms. I loved my tomato soup. It was so sweet and addictive that I drank as much of the soup as I could. My party of six tried the other soups including Xiaolongkan Old Hotpot, Taiwanese Herbal Pork Rib Soup and Wild Mushroom Soup. No complaints, except for the Xiaolongkan Old Hotpot where there was too much zha within. I also saw a couple of patrons scooping out the zha halfway through their meal. 

While the soups were rather tasty, the food items were a major downer. Essentially, what you see on the conveyor belt is what you get. There’s no universal menu to refer to, so you don’t know what you don’t know unless you ask the staff for it. For example, I had to ask the staff what sort of staples they offered (for info, rice, udon and dong fen). To add on, imagine my regret from stuffing myself silly earlier in the meal with all the meats when the mushrooms and meatballs suddenly appeared at the end. Also, it didn’t occur to me that I had forgotten to ask about fish slices until I had left the place.

The upside of it is that the meat slices are sliced shabu-shabu style so it’s quite shiok to eat. If you visit from now till 11 Nov 17, they are having a 1-for-1 promotion on all red plates (all meats). In my opinion, it’s not that worth it to eat without the promotion. Look at my plate of beef above — 4 to 5 slices for $4? Don’t forget the GST and service charge. 

There’s a charge of $2 if you want the sauces. Honestly, their sauce variety is not anything out of the ordinary so I really can’t reconcile them charging me $2 just to have soya sauce with garlic and spring onions. 

40 plates for a company of 6. The bill came up to $160 (about $26 per person with the promotion. Without the promotion it would have cost about $32 per person). Talking about the plates, this place is way too cramped. It was a challenge to maneuver my space with my pot of soup, cup of drink, bowl of vegetables, bowl of cooked ingredients, and the pile of plates which can’t be cleared because they need to count the number of coloured plates for you to make your payment. One way is to pile them on top of the conveyer. Unglam, but you have no choice.

Definitely not that worth it compared to other steamboat places like Beauty in the Pot and Shi Li Fang. Won’t be back here again, but you could try this out for the novelty. 

10 Eunos Road 8, #01-137/138, S(408600)

+65 6741 6666

Daily: 1130am to 3pm, 530pm to 10pm

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