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Blue Ginger, Tanjong Pagar Road

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Tanjong Pagar road is famous for rows of Korean BBQ eateries and bridal shops, but little did I know a charming Peranakan restaurant rests itself here as well.

As I came with a large group, I was immediately escorted to the second floor where the Peranakan setting was more apparent.

They don’t have set menus for lunch or for a large group, so do ask the staff if the food you’ve ordered is enough for your group; it’s hard to tell the portion size just by the price of it.

Ngo Heong, $12.50.

This dish was good, but must be eaten piping hot to experience that crackling skin sensation. We were hooked, and immediately ordered a second plate to share.

Kang Kong Lemak, $12.

Those chunks that you see are actually sweet potatoes! Oh my, what a delightful combination! Who could have guessed that sweet potatoes would be this delicious with coconut milk and chilli shrimp paste.

Beef Rendang, $18.

I think this was the best dish in the entire meal. The rendang was aromatic to say the least. My table unanimously agreed this was one dish not to be missed.

Ayam Buah Keluak, $20.

Was slightly annoyed that they didn’t provide picks to dig out the creamy flesh but other than that, the dish was well seasoned and prepared.

Chap Chye Masak Titek, $13.

The Chap Chye tasted weird. Apparently it’s prepared using prawn stock but it didn’t taste like the usual Nonya Chap Chye that my colleagues or myself were used to. I recommend skipping this dish.

Otak Otak, $4 per piece.

At this price, I expect the otak to be meaty, creamy and substantial. Blue Ginger’s rendition of otak had bits of fish within and a well balanced blend of spices. Yums.

Bakwan Kepeting, $6.80.

I felt this bowl was a tad too pricy. Granted, the meatballs were made with minced meat and crabmeat, but $6.80… Plus, the soup was also a little mild for my liking.

Nonya Fish Head Curry, $32.

I can’t begin expressing how disappointed we were at this dish. It was overly sweet! What a bugger because it was supposed to be the star of the show. Also, I had the belly area which tasted really, really bad. I am usually I am able to stand the smell of bellies but this was particularly repulsive.

Gula Melaka, $4.50.

Is there such thing as an overly sweet dessert? The gula melaka was so rich that I had a sugar rush shortly after my meal.

97 Tanjong Pagar Road, S(088518)

Daily: 12noon to 3pm, 630pm to 1030pm

+65 6222 3928

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Why I decided to discontinue MealPal Singapore after a month

TL;DR: Do NOT subscribe to MealPal.

When MealPal was introduced in Singapore majority of the CBD folks rejoiced, myself included.

(Screenshot from MealPal’s website.)

To put simply, MealPal is a subscription service where you pay a fixed amount of money for a fixed number of meals per month. You order your meal from the restaurant the day before, and simply show up to collect your food the next day when it’s time. No queue, no fuss.

The model is simple math. Taking the mid level package as a reference, you get 12 restaurant meals for $96, averaging it out to $8 per meal. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect to eat with MealPal:

(Screenshots all taken from the respective Facebook pages or websites.)

All’s good? Not quite.

Strike one. I should have seen this as a red flag. When I was still exploring MealPal I had wanted to see the variety of restaurants as well as food options under their belt.

I couldn’t.

I was prompted to sign up for an account, including giving my credit card details and choosing my meal plan before I could view the restaurants. I was definitely not comfortable doing that. Why do I even need to sign up for an account?! It’s like having to sign up and give your credit card details before you can browse Qoo10. I got around this by browsing through my friend’s app (she was already a member).

Strike two. Restaurants offer only one option per day. If you don’t like beef soup, then restaurant A is out for the day. The whole idea is to allow the restaurants to prepare the required demand so they don’t run into issues of insufficient food. Sure, I’ll just wait until a day where restaurant A finally offers that meal I really wanted; the meal they are well known for.

Wait long long.

Most, if not all, rotate their menu between two to three options across the days. It’s always either Green Curry or Tom Yam Chicken. After a while, you can guess tomorrow’s menu, and it screams boring. Also, this means that people with preferred dietary options have a super small selection to choose from.

Strike three. Some restaurants offer very limited sets. And I mean the likes of 10 meals a day. To give you context, MealPal opens the kitchen at 5pm sharp daily. Once an item is sold out, the pin would be greyed out, like in the screenshot below:

Needless to say, the greyed out restaurants offer something really value for money. So I tried to grab a meal. I went in daily at 5pm sharp. Got my co-workers to do so as well. None of us successfully got it for as long as a week, until Lady Luck smiled at one of my co-worker. When she went to collect her meal the next day, she asked if they (the restaurant) could release more meals.

The answer is no.

MealPal had capped the number of meals they (the restaurant) offered per day. The restaurant explained a little more, and I figured that MealPal wouldn’t be able to cover the costs if more sets were released. Sure, I’m fine that it makes perfect business sense, but as a customer, being unable to get my favourite meal even though I went in at 5pm sharp daily for a week no less, is just ridiculous.

Strike four. I was primed to think that I had only 12 meals per month. If I used up all 12 meals before the billing cycle ended, I would have to wait till the next cycle before my meals would be reset. Not too bad, I can choose to have other types of food however I pleased on the other non-MealPal days.

Nope.

The moment you finish your 12th meal, MealPal will start billing you for the next 12 meals. What this means is that even if you haven’t reached the 1 month mark, you might be billed again depending on how quickly you finish your meals. Not quite the typical way of how subscription services work.

Strike five. By this time I was starting to fume. I explored the notion of cancelling my subscription, and started looking through the app for that “unsubscribe” button. Couldn’t find any, so I tried looking for the “FAQs”.

There were none.

Wtfbbq? How could it be so difficult to unsubscribe? What was MealPal trying to hide from me? Desperate, I clicked on everything, and finally, the “Tems of Use” (who reads these anyway?). Cue enlightening background music. The answers were all there, within the 946261957462 paragraphs of words.

“For a cancellation to be effective for your next Membership Cycle, it must be received at least 7 days prior to the end of your then-current Membership Cycle or before you reserve your last meal in your cycle, whichever comes first. To cancel a membership, i) email hi@mealpal.com with “Cancel Membership” in the subject line; or ii) access “My Account” from the MealPal dropdown. To cancel your membership in My Account, click “Change Plan for Next Cycle”; then “Hold or Cancel My Account”; and then “Cancel Account”. ”

Oh I must have missed the “My Account” button on the App. So I checked again and:

This was the last straw that broke the camel’s back for me. Come on MealPal, isn’t it obvious that everyone works on their mobile smartphones these days? Going to a desktop meant that I’ll have to make that dedicated, special trip to my study room, and that I’ll have to key in my password (which I may have forgotten by now since mobile apps are unlocked via thumbprints these days).

Bonus strike. You have to unsubscribe at least 7 days in advanced, either before the last meal or before the billing cycle ended, whichever comes first. What is this 7 days notice about? MealPal are you paying me a salary? Do you need 7 days because you need to find a replacement for me? The last I checked I am in fact paying you close to a $100 a month. And note this ridiculous condition if you decide to unsubscribe but later for some reason think that you want back in: you have to pay $19 to re-join.

Still thinking of subscribing to Mealpal? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

To be honest, towards the end of my first month I was screaming to be released from MealPal. It was pure torture, having to settle for food that I didn’t really like (or rather, was bored of), coupled with the accumulated disgust I had for them.

So it’s goodbye MealPal, you won’t be missed.

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Maru, Icon Village

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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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Pince & Pints, Duxton Road

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Rated as having one of the best lobster rolls in Singapore, Pince & Pints can be hard to miss if you’re not paying attention since the whole row of shophouses along Duxton Road is nothing short of restaurants and bars. Its closed doors doesn’t look particularly inviting as well. However, step inside and it’s a different vibe all together.


Pince & Pints exudes an American burger joint vibe. The staff are friendly, the place is brightly lit, the chairs are red, chunky and cushiony.


The menu is encapsulated between two metal grills which seems like a representation of how lobsters are caught – in metal cages. 

The position of the food items is precisely in each square. How creative!


The Lobster Roll, $58.

The Lobster Roll is the classic, must try dish if you’re here for the first time. Large chunks of juicy lobster bits stuffed in a buttered bun and topped with chopped chives is the bomb. I ate this bun by the mouthfuls and each bite I took was filled with lobster. Wah damn shiok.

The Truffle Roll, $68.

You can never go wrong with truffle, can you? The Truffle Roll comes with truffle sauce and is topped with truffle shavings and truffle caviar. Luxurious much. Compared to The Lobster Roll, I much preferred The Truffle Roll. But like I said, if you’re here for the first time, do go for The Lobster Roll. It’s like eating steamboat, you have to try the soup au naturel first even though you know it’ll get better as you add your ingredients in.

Overall, Pince & Pints takes their lobster business seriously. No complaints about this place, except for the price. The two rolls above, after the relevant taxes, came up to $148. Yes the rolls were delicious, but was it worth this high a price? I don’t really think so. With this amount of money, you could be better off feasting on a decent buffet where the lobsters are free flowing. Also, they don’t serve plain water, which means you’ll have to fork out a couple more bucks for either still or sparkling bottled water. Pfffft. It was a good meal, but I won’t be going back again.

32, 33 Duxton Road, S(089496)

Mondays to Fridays: 12pm to 230pm, 530pm to 11pm

Saturdays and PH : 12pm to 11pm 

Closed Sundays

+65 6225 7558

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Wonton, Seng’s Noodle Bar, Amoy Street

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Noodles for the people! Wonton, Seng’s Noodle Bar specialises in wonton noodles and has dedicated a whole premise for it. In Singapore where delicious wonton noodles are ubiquitous, does their bold slogan still hold?

From a distance I saw someone leaving with about 10 bowls of tabao-ed wonton noodles.  I understood why when I finally entered the premise. 

Super, super, super limited seating. Wonton, Seng’s Noodle Bar uses mirrors to amplify the space, but it hardly helps. The tables are small and closely packed next to each other, while the counter seats are skin to skin. They offer a $1 discount on all takeaway bowls. Good move.


Self service soup. On every table there is a flask of soup which you will pour for yourself with the bowls provided. Well played, Seng’s Noodle Bar. One less thing to do for the kitchen. I’m not complaining though, because their soup is very fragrant! They definitely spent some effort concocting this soup. With this flask, you can help yourself to unlimited servings of the soup, which you will do so for sure.

Char Siew Noodle Bowl, $7.

The texture of the egg noodles is similar to Sarawak Jia Xiang Kolo Mee. It’s springy, supple and well cooked. I poked around my friends’ bowls and they were all the same consistency. My only complaint for the noodles is that it’s not served piping hot. Could be the manner the noodles are cooked to ensure this consistency though. 

The wonton bowl comes with torched char siew pork belly which was a tad disappointing for me. While it’s well flavoured, I would have preferred the pork belly to be softer. The boiled wontons were normal. 


Not surprising, Wonton, Seng’s Noodle Bar has their own homemade chilli. I usually pair my food with chilli, but for this, I felt that the noodles were already flavourful enough. No need for additional condiments. 

Overall, what will make me go back to Wonton, Seng’s Noodle Bar is their soup, as well as the other dishes on their menu. For example, they have Crispy Duck Noodles and Homemade XO Sauce Fried Dumplings. I do think the limited and squeeze seating can be a bummer though. While I was luckily to be able to get a seat during lunch on my first try, I felt that my meal was very rushed and I had no personal space to maneuver my food.

52 Amoy Street, S(069878)

+65 6221 1336

Closed Sundays

Lunch Mondays to Fridays: 1130am to 230pm

Dinner Mondays to Thursdays and Saturdays: 6pm to 10pm, Fridays: 6pm – 11pm

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Kuro Maguro, Tanjong Pagar Centre

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Kuro Maguro sits within the newly renovated Tanjong Pagar Centre (just above Tanjong Pagar MRT) For lunch, the fresh sashimi bowls come with affordable prices which makes it a good value.

For a small space, the high ceiling works to give a comfortable feeling. I was told that the Japanese chef changes his hair colour and style every now and then so it’s definitely something to look out for.

Salmon Ikura, $20.80++.

Barachirashi, $18.80++.

One of the things I look out for in gauging the authencity of a Japanese restaurant is not only the nationality of the chef, but also little details like the quality of wasabi and origin of the rice. Kuro Maguro didn’t disappoint. The wasabi is freshly grated, complimenting the soft and fluffy Japanese rice. My only qualm for the above two bowls is that the amount of ikura could be more generous. Come on, have you tried those in Japan?

Kuro Maguro offers other rice bowls such as those done aburi style or with tuna as the main fish (sorry, I’m a super big fan of salmon and ikura, hence you can see the similarity in the two bowls above), which I would definitely want to try some day.

They offer much more for dinner in terms of side dishes to share, but If you’re headed here for lunch, do go early as seats are really limited. 

Tanjong Pagar Centre, 7 Wallich Street #01-04 S(078884) 

+65 6386 8561

Daily 1130am to 2pm, 530pm to 10pm 

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5 The Moments, Tanjong Pagar Road

No.

5 The Moments along Tanjong Pagar Road breaks the momentum of a street lined with salivating smells of Korean BBQ and fried chicken. The colourful outlook and gelato signage were screaming out to me on a hot and sunny afternoon.

The interior is decorated with vintage items which keeps you occupied while you wait for your food.

They have a variety of waffles with ice cream (approx $11) starting with the all familiar buttermilk as your safest bet, to red velvet if you’re feeling more adventurous. They also have lava cakes in either chocolate or matcha flavour. If you don’t feel like having sweet stuff, they do have light bites (approx $9) such as Korean Fried Chicken. Heh but seriously who will order fried chicken here when there are established fried chicken eateries just next door?
Matcha waffles with ferrero rocher ice cream.

Buttermilk waffles with salted caramel ice cream.

The waffles, while crispy, were too thin. I’m the kind that will cut according to the waffle lines into little squares before scooping a spoonful of ice cream into those little squares before gulping them down. Sadly for me, the waffle squares didn’t hold up after being cut.

The salted caramel ice cream was rather weak too. I’ve tried many salted caramel ice creams, and this is one of the weaker ones. The taste and texture really didn’t impress. The ferrero rocher was all right.

On a whole, the waffle with ice cream wasn’t worth it. They also don’t serve water and do not provide serviettes. Put it bluntly, it’s homemade food at restaurant prices. I’ll leave it to you to be the judge if you ever drop by.

P/S: Stop trying to figure it out. “5 The Moments” stands for “Find The Moments”.

73 Tanjong Pagar Road, S(088494)

Sundays to Thursdays: 12pm to 11pm

Fridays and Saturdays: 12pm to 1130pm 

+65 6493 1839

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