Pasta Licious, Temple Street


The plethora of cuisines along Temple Street in Chinatown is not unfamiliar to locals and tourists. Further diversifying this melting pot is Pasta Licious, an eatery offering pasta, and much more. 

Pasta Licious did its market research well. They knew a pasta shop was lacking along Temple Street, so they opened one. They also knew that folks like you and I like to chat over affordable beer, so they kept their beers and snacks reachable. What surprised me was they were well aware that bingsus were the current hot favourite for desserts, so even though bingsus typically do not pair with pastas, they did the unthinkable – bingsu on their menu. Super no reason for you not to visit.

Aglio Olio with Bacon and Mushrooms, $13.90.

Pasta Licious has got interesting pastas such as Spcial Pumpkin and Truffle Mushroom Carbonara. But since it allows you to customise your pasta (of course right), I obligedly did so and chose my favourite two toppings done aglio olio style. I liked that they used whole strips of bacon as opposed to bacon bits. It’s just more shiok to munch on. 

Grilled Chicken Thigh, $15.90.

The chicken thigh was so juicy! It is quite tough to get the timing of the grilling right, and I’m glad Pasta Licious done it well.

Pasta Licious is a family business, so expect to be served by your typical local friendly aunty. If you chat with her enough, she will share that the cook behind your dishes is actually her daughter. You can hear a mother’s pride and joy as she shares her daughter’s achievement with you. Really heart warming, this place. 

3 Temple Street, S(058556)

Daily: 12noon to 930pm

+65 6920 1308

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Lau Ah Tee Bak Kut Teh, Whampoa West

Worth a try.

Just next to Boon Keng MRT is a coffee shop selling traditional Teochew Bak Kut Teh. I’ve long heard of this place, and finally got a chance to try it. During my time there, I observed a constant flow of people, which is testimony that this place has a spot in many Singaporeans’ hearts.

Set in a coffee shop, Lau Ah Tee BKT scores maximum points for that nostalgic vibe.

Braised pork trotters, short ribs, salted vegetables, approx $20.

Unfortunately when I visited on a weekday night, the long prime ribs were all sold out. I settled for the shorter version which by default is tougher and harder to eat. Lau Ah Tee hits the right peppery notes familiar to that of Teochew BKT, but their soup was a little too diluted for my liking. 

The braised pork trotters were good. Well seasoned with the meat falling off the bone with just a little push.

Halfway through my meal the table next to us ordered steamed fish and upon closer observation, many tables around mine were having that as well. It did smell and look very fragrant, but because I only had my partner with me for dinner, we would not be able to finish the additional dish of steamed fish.

Would I go back again? Honestly I have mixed feelings about this place. A BKT shop’s main pride should be the soup, but Lau Ah Tee BKT’s soup really isn’t as strong and shiok as some others that I’ve tried, the closest one physically being Founders BKT at Rangoon Road, so in terms of distance I might choose Founders over Lau Ah Tee to satisfy my BKT craving. However, the thought of the steamed fish makes me want to give this a second chance.

Blk 34 Whampoa West, #01-67, S(330034)

Daily: 7am to 9pm

+65 9755 5250

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The Assembly Ground, The Cathay


If you’re thinking of a full day shopping trip in town, why not start your day with The Assembly Ground? Located at The Cathay which is a good landmark for the start of your shopping trip, The Assembly Ground serves coffee and food to start your day right.

The Assembly Ground has got a very relaxing interior. It is one of the better designed cafes in Singapore.

Truffle Scented Mushroom and Egg Pizza, $22.

You can’t really go wrong with this combination of truffle, mushroom and egg. While the crust was light and crispy, I would prefer if there were more mushrooms though. The pizza does get boring towards the edges, and unfortunately I couldn’t bring myself to finish the ends. The pizza was also served on a metal tray, which can be a little hot to the touch if you’re not careful. 

Salted Yolk Chick ‘N Waffles, $19.

Southern fried chicken with waffles, my comfort food. With so many elements on the plate, you kinda don’t know which one to chiong first. I went for the potato gratin and wow! It went beyond my expectations. The potato gratin was soft, flavourful and nicely layered. 

The main star of the dish, the southern fried chicken, was crunchy and not at all oily. Dip it into the salted egg yolk sauce for that oomph!

The charcoal waffle was a little disappointing because it wasn’t warm enough to melt the butter so I had to cut the butter into bits and fit them into the waffle squares. 

I think the best way to eat this dish is to combine everything together – waffle, fried chicken with salted yolk sauce, and potato gratin on top. Yummy.

The Assembly Ground offers a rather extensive lunch menu with local touches such as Bak Kwa Carbonara and Rendang Mac and Cheese. Would love to be back to try these dishes out.

2 Handy Road, #01-21, S(229233)

+65 6733 3375

Weekdays: 11am to 10pm

Weekends: 10am to 10pm

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Koki Tamagoyaki, Raffles City Shopping Centre


Koki Tamagoyaki is a specialty snack shop located in Raffles City Shopping Centre. They specialise in Japanese rolled omelette topped with savoury items such as unagi and teriyaki chicken.

While the bento sets look very alluring, Koki Tamagoyaki doesn’t have its own seating area so be sure to find a spot at the fountain before purchasing a bento. Otherwise, it’s going to be quite silly to be walking around eating from such a big box of food.

Flame grilled unagi, $10.50.

I tried the tamagoyaki topped with unagi and a generous helping of seaweed strips. The egg roll was fluffy and the unagi was well grilled. Definitely kept my tummy warm and fuzzy after a long day of shopping.

Koki Tamagoyaki also offers huge choux puffs which I have yet to try, because I don’t like the idea of trying something else from a shop other than its specialty. It’s like eating laksa from a shop famous for satay bee hoon.

I’ll be back to try out the other flavours, but I thought they could focus on creating a bigger variety of toppings rather than coming up with bento sets or choux cream puffs.

252 North Bridge Road, #B1-54, Raffles City Shopping Centre, S(179103)

Daily 10am to 10pm

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Shi Li Fang, City Square Mall


It took me a lot of courage to walk into this restaurant. The outlook totally looks like it’s meant for kids and that everything within would be a gimmick. Even the staff puts on a Pikachu cap. Gosh, super hard to take this place seriously.

I finally decided to try Shi Li Fang at City Square because I figured that if they could not only survive for that long but also open branches in places like Orchard and Tanjong Pagar, it shouldn’t be that bad right? Also, I googled and found out that they’re a Taiwanese steamboat chain. That explains the cutesy outlook of this place.

They seem to have a perpetual 50% off all ala carte dishes which further reinforces my perception that the whole thing is gimmicky. Why give this false perception that your diners are getting a better deal if they dine with you now?

They have set meals which I thought made my life so much easier. One thing about having steamboat is that you’ll want to have a basket full of vegetables or a platter of assorted meat so having to pick out your dishes one by one is a no go for me. 

You’re allowed to choose two soup bases. I picked the tonic chicken soup as well as the tomato soup. The pot came with a “pocket” where you can cook your meat without loosing them into the big pot of soup. Awesome!

Boutique Set Meal for 2, $46.80 + $1.20 for free flow drinks. 

The set meal consist of Japanese Kurobuta, Japanese Wagyu, fresh pork tenderloin, Australian beef and vegetable platter. I was pleasantly surprised that the meat was fresh (I.e., not frozen) and the quality was really good. My only qualm is that the meat was too thinly sliced.

Vegetable platter with assortment of vegetables and an egg. 

拉面! Which they will pull in front of you sometime halfway through your meal (see below).

Don’t expect it to be pulled into fine strands of noodles. It’s more like a long strand of Mee Hoon Kuey.

Shi Li Fang has a pretty decent sauce counter with the usual condiments.

 Free flow of drinks. Shi Li Fang takes this whole cartoon thing very seriously. Even their drinking cups are kiddish. Mine was minions I think.

Overall, I think Shi Li Fang is worth the money. Granted, it’s not as atas or high standards as Hai Di Lao or Beauty in the Pot, but  it serves as a quick fix for your steamboat crave. The price is very reasonable for the quality you get. The staff aren’t really the most friendly ones around like you see in Taiwan, but that’s a small issue.

And oh, every $38 spent at Shi Li Fang gets you one stamp. The stamps can be accumulated and exchanged for stuffed toys. A giant stuffed toy requires about 10 stamps. 

180 Kitchener Road, #02-53/54, City Square Mall, S(208539)

+65 6636 7899

Daily 10am to 10pm

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The Fine Line, Holland Village

Worth a try.

Tucked in a cosy corner of Holland Village is The Fine Line, a little establishment serving alcoholic drinks and staple food. I would think that people came here more for the drinks than food, because they had tables after tables lined up on the enclosed roads.

I visited on a weekday night, and decided to try their food instead of drinks as there was work the next day.

Bangers and Mash, $21.

I don’t usually try dishes with sausages but for some reason this caught my eye on the menu. I’m glad I went for it because it came with crunchy onion rings! The sausages themselves were also very juicy and flavourful. Eaten with mashed potato and caramelised onions, double delicious.

Hawaiian Pizza, $17.

I was disappointed with this pizza. As a working adult, ready-to-eat pizzas are always my fall back option for a lazy night, so needless to say I can discern that “frozen pizza” taste with my eyes closed. Unfortunately, The Fine Line’s pizzas tasted like that. 

To add on, I requested for chilli flakes for the pizza and this was what I got. Lumps of unappetizing spices. 

The Fine Line’s menu is rather ordinary, so unless I’m here for drinks, I doubt I’ll return for a second time.

23 Lorong Mambong, S(277682)

+65 9619 4568

Sundays to Thursdays: 3pm to 1am

Fridays and Saturdays: 3pm to 2am

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Top 10 Unique Snowskin Mooncake Flavours for Mid Autumn Festival 2017, Takashimaya

Pre Mid Autum Festival – my favourite time of the year is here! It is only during this period where I get to have 8 fanciful snowskin flavours all in one box for desserts for a full month. Being a fan of quirky snowskin flavours, I constantly seek out the most unique flavours from the hundreds available yearly.

A convenient spot for all major mooncake players in Singapore for that quick and dirty overview is Takashimaya, which traditionally holds the biggest convention of mooncake booths.

After combing through close to 60 booths, I’ve picked out my top 10 favourite snowskin mooncakes based on uniqueness, taste and packaging.

#10 Mao Shan Wang Durian Crystal Mooncake, 155 South Bridge by Chui Lau Heung

Mao Shan Wang Durian Crystal Mooncake (screenshot from 155 Southbridge’s website).

The focus here is the crystal skin mooncake. While the taste of the durian is ordinary, the crystal skin is surely a conversation starter. Expect to be impressed by friends and family the moment these exquisite little mooncakes are served.

155 South Bridge also caught my eye with their charcoal baked mooncakes. Some of the flavours include Charcoal Baked Dragon Fruit with Shredded Coconut & Salty Egg, as well as Charcoal Baked Laksa Lotus Paste with Single Yolk.

Some of their packaging comes in what looks like a book, symbolising a story to be told over mooncakes and tea. It wont be an eye catcher for all, but their mooncake flavours can make up for it.

#9 Prickly Pear with Bergamot, Goodwood Park Hotel

Prickly Pear with Bergamot (screenshot from Goodwood Park Hotel’s website).

Goodwood Park Hotel is well known for their snowskin. Every year, they come up with new flavours and this year is no exception. Their Prickly Pear with Bergamot has a slightly sourish taste with crunchy bites of diced pears. Definitely an enticing start to rounds of mooncake tasting. 

Goodwood Park Hotel has pretty nice boxes usually but this year they were a tad disappointing.,promotions_viewItem_1491-en.html

#8 Salted Black Sesame Truffle, Baker’s Well

Baker’s Well clean cut, colourful, modern image is apparent in their snowskin mooncakes.

Salted Black Sesame Truffle (screenshot from Baker’s Well’s website).

We’ve all heard of salted caramel ice cream. But Salted Black Sesame Truffle is relatively new for me, and Baker’s Well did a good job with the pairing.

I love their colourful moon themed packaging! The colours are so playful your heart would flutter even before savouring their mooncakes.

#7 Rosemary, Almond and Green Tea, Intercontinental Hotel 

Garden Collection (screenshot from Intercontinental Hotel’s website).

Intercontinental Hotel has herbs in their snowskin mooncakes. Yes, you read it right. Herbs! How unique and bold is that? The Rosemary, Almond and Green Tea Mooncake might turn you off at first glance, but you will get used to the idea after a while and hey, this actually makes for a good dessert with tea. 

The rose pattern is also an additional visual to their theme of Garden Collection. Let’s be honest here, how many companies would rather emboss their company name on the mooncake?

#6 Osmanthus and Walnut, Mandarin Oriental

Osmanthus and Walnut (screenshot from Mandarin Oriental’s website).

We’ve all heard of osmanthus and goji berry, but Mandarin Oriental has tweaked that slightly to include walnuts instead of goji berry. Walnuts are such good brain food, so it’s hard to say no to this. 

Mandarin Oriental’s mooncake box wins hands down. Elegant and classic, definitely a presentable gift for your parents-in-law.

#5 Bubble Tea with Butterscotch, Conrad Centennial

Right most: Bubble Tea with Butterscotch (screenshot from Conrad Centennial’s website).

My eyes lit up at the sound of butterscotch. I’ve always only eaten them either in candy form (think Chelsea sweets) or in ice cream tubs. Conrad’s Bubble Tea with Butterscotch sounds really sweet and sticky, but it’s really addictive. The bubble tea adds a tinge of tea fragrance to the butterscotch, making sure this mooncake is still suitable for your 赏月 (moon viewing).

I call this the treasure chest. Bulky, but impressive for sure. They have a limited Luxe Golden Flower, fitting for the Empress Dowager at home (i.e., your mom or wife).

#4 Cinnamon Red Bean with Spiced Wine, Regent

Right: Cinnamon Red Bean with Spiced Wine (photo taken from Regent’s mooncake brochure).

Finally, a snowskin mooncake for that man in your life. Regent’s Cinnamon Red Bean with Spiced Wine is fragrant and well balanced. I was afraid that the cinnamon would overpower the rest but Regent’s choice of spiced wine was a good complement. I would imagine this would be a hit with the mature gentlemen around. 

The mooncakes come in individual tin boxes stored in a unique carry-and-go wooden box. Very apt design for their spice themed mooncakes. Good one, Regent!

#3 Assorted Truffle Yolks, Chocoelf

Photo taken from Chocoelf’s mooncake brochure.

Chocoelf’s flavours are not unique, but their idea of a flavoured truffle yolk is somewhat surprising. Many mooncake companies today prefer to have a single flavour as it’s entire filling, but Chocoelf wraps it’s truffle yolk with the traditional lotus paste. I thought this would cause the mooncake to lose most of its flavour, but I was wrong. The truffle yolks (actually I just call it the jelly layer) are rather intense and I really liked the texture. 

Their best seller is the Intense Dark Chocolate Truffle Yolk. If you look around, chocolate mooncakes are no longer in fashion probably because chocolate just does not work as a mooncake but somehow Chocoelf gets it right. After all, they are a chocolate company.
Best of all? No sugar added! Perfect for those health conscious. 

Chocoelf’s packaging not really impressive. However, they allow you to fix your own corporate logo if you purchase 10 boxes or more.

#2 Crème Brûlée & Blueberry Cheese, Peony Jade

 Crème Brûlée & Blueberry Cheese (screenshot from Peony Jade’s website).

Peony Jade’s Crème Brûlée & Blueberry Cheese was a surprise for me. I thought the blueberry cheese would make me jelat after a while and was quite hesitant to try it at first but the Crème Brûlée saved the day. This milky icy texture is somewhat akin to eating ice cream. Yums.

Apart from that, Peony Jade also has a cute little pink piggy snowskin mooncake – Silver Lotus Paste with Egg Yolk Custard, which happens to be low sugar.

#1 Assorted, Grand Hyatt
Screenshot taken from Grand Hyatt’s online order form.

Grand Hyatt bagged the #1 spot for me because they’ve exceeded my expectations not once, but four times! They’ve got Peanut Butter Sea Salt Truffle, Chocolate Mint Fondant, Strawberry Lime Tequila Truffle, and Violette & Tanqueray No. TEN Gin. Most mooncake companies have only one or two star flavours but Grand Hyatt – wow. Just wow. The team at Mezza9 really did a good job this year. 

Alas! Their boxes aren’t as fancy as their mooncakes. It also comes in two designs – 2016’s and this year’s. Apparently, if you request for the 2016 box, you get to save $3.,promotions_viewItem_1811-en.html

# Bonus Mao Shan Wang, Golden Moments

New to the mooncake market, Golden Moments only have one product on the table – Mao Shan Wang Durian Mooncake. While their MSW isn’t as strong as the other major brands out there, Golden Moments’ company philosophy is what attracted me. The three Singaporeans behind this company hopes to use durian delicacies to bring families closer together. Such a simple yet sincere vision. I hope they will continue to work towards this!

Tips for shopping at Takashimaya’s Mid Autumn Festival 2017:

1. Bring your arsenal of credit cards to the fair. Different credit cards are entitled to different discounts for the same product. Bring along a pen so you can write the details down on the brochures.

2. Go early in the morning. You do not want to miss out on what would be the best mooncake you’ve ever eaten just because you failed to get a tasting sample due to the massive crowd.

3. Always ask about the longest possible storage period for the snowskin mooncakes. Some snowskin mooncakes have to be consumed within 5 days. Alternatively, ask if you can pay now (for the discounts and availability of flavours) and collect closer to the date. 

4. Try not to bring along your baby prams, especially if you’re visiting on a weekend noon. You’ll find it super hard to navigate, and from a safety perspective, a huge crowd means people won’t be able to avoid tripping over your pram.

5. Finally, do a quick search online prior to purchasing to see if you’re indeed getting the best deal. Some hotels offer their own discounts online but this usually means that you have to collect it from the hotel itself.

The Mid Autumn Festival fair at Takashimaya is happening from now till 4 Oct 17. 

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