Local food alert: naiise.com for Singaporean produce

If you know me, I'm a huge supporter of anything home-grown and local. After all, they are our friends, families, acquaintances, or neighbors. That is why I'll like to introduce everyone to a Singapore design collective and e-store, www.naiise.com which has a brand new local food section where you can buy loads of homemade goodies. Who knew that Singaporeans are secretly producing jam, veggies, granola and all sorts of delicious goodies? The secret's now out!

On the website you can find really interesting foodstuff, but the one that jumped out at me was this:

 Have a look, and buy some stuff if they catch your eye. Support local talent and businesses all the way!

Read more about why they have introduced a local food section and feel free to browse the other design sections as well.


Giveaway: Win a Philips Airfryer by catching the Airfryer Truck!

It's Philips Airfryer's third birthday already! How time flies. In commemoration of that they will be going around Singapore with their Philips Airfryer food truck to serve up delicious goodies at 6 locations. To be honest I've heard a lot of positive raves about the Airfryer but haven't had any of the food that comes out from it, so I'll be checking it out myself!

Here are the locations for the Philips Airfryer food truck. It will be parked from 11am to 8pm!

4th April, Friday: Century Square
5th April, Saturday: VivoCity
6th April, Sunday: Jurong Point
10th April, Thursday: AMK Hub
11th to 13th April, Friday to Sunday: Knightsbridge (Orchard)
14th to 16th April, Monday to Wednesday: One Raffles Place


That's not all! Go stalk the food truck, take a #selfie with the truck on instagram and tag me @alexischeong and hashtag #PhilipsAirfryer to win a Philips Viva Collection Airfryer (recommended retail price: $409) pictured below!

Photo credit: Philips
What are you waiting for? I'm going to be judging and looking for the best pic by 17th April, so #SELFIE AWAY!

Here's a selfie song to get you into the mood ;)

Buffet Review: Straits Cuisine at Orchard Hotel, 442 Orchard Rd Singapore 238879

Buffets are never my thing because its really not worth the money for the amount I eat, but sometimes I can't help thinking its the best type of food for someone like me. Why? Because all the food is out there for the taking and it's up to you to choose how much and in what order to get them, instead of waiting for courses to arrive in predetermined amounts, usually piping hot. (I really don't like food that's steaming or scalding hot). That's why I was really excited when the awesome folks from Orchard Hotel invited me to try out their new buffet menu, "Straits Cuisine" by Executive chef Paul Then. Walking to the Hotel from Orchard MRT took about 10 minutes, as it is just beside Delfi Orchard. Once in there, we were treated to a visual and sensory feast from the dramatic "Baba Theatre Kitchen". Food galore!

Here's what we had in totality - looks good doesn't it? You can have all of that, on top of the regular buffet items like oysters, seafood and etc..

I really liked the trio of starters. Prawn and mango salad, nonya fish salad with achar, and my favorite, the soya duck with chili vinegar dip! I was pleasantly surprised to find the appetizers to be so good. They sure opened up my appetite for more!

Next, the Crabmeat Kueh Pie Tee with Buah Keluak Caviar. It is definitely one of my favorites that night. Everything was really well-balanced, and the Buah Keluak added that special something. I read that this was co-created with Dr. Leslie Tay during the last Hawker Fest, and I hope it will be showing again this year.

I also really enjoyed the crab meat popiah, though the crab meat inside is negligible. Still, it was generous and homely. You can't get much more authentic than this.

The sambal stingray I felt you could skip. The ones at Chomp Chomp or Newton were flatter and you could get more chili with the meat. I suppose in this case it is better to be stingy with the stingray.

The nyonya laksa was excellent. We were all given a small bowl each, but I felt like on any given day I could just have a huge bowl by myself. The laksa gravy was just the right thickness, but was really fragrant. The only thing it lacked was a dusting of laksa leaves.

This, is what we call the mega Otah. Handmade with fresh black cod fish and spiced just right, it was bouncy and spicy, just like eating fish balls. I could imagine this to go very well with some nasi lemak! 

Next, the nyonya hokkien noodles. I'm hokkien, but do not recall eating much of this even though it seems like the noodle dish you get at wedding dinners. In any case it was quite well-made, but not remarkable. Save your carb quota for other food!

The chap chye on the other hand, really had the taste of home. If you are bringing a tourist around to Singapore, this Straits Cuisine buffet is definitely THE buffet to visit for a all-round sample of Singapore's best local Peranakan dishes.

The nyonya peranakan dishes are really unique to the Singapore-Malaysia region and combines Chinese ingredients with various distinct spices and cooking techniques by the Malay/Indonesian community, causing a true fusion of cultures and tastes. I am glad that we as Singaporeans have access to dishes like this - all the more so preserved through this Straits Cuisine buffet.

Other than Nyonya dishes, there are oysters and fresh lobster and crab legs for you to enjoy!

Lastly we have the trio of meats - the buah keluak chicken, which goes swell with a bowl of rice. I felt that the chicken is quite dry, but the sauce was really good. It is one of the star attractions at the Straits Cuisine buffet.

The beef rendang was rather plain for me. At this stage though you have to forgive my lack of enthusiasm - we were all really stuffed, and looking forward to dessert!

The assam fish is great especially for family gatherings. Fresh, spicy and sour.

Finally! Desserts! We were all looking forward to it - especially the durian pengat with pandan jelly. The durian puree was super smooth, but you could still taste the fact that it is made with quality durians. That's a super worthwhile dessert to have. 

The chempedak creme brulee was also delightful - they are like distant cousins of the jackfruit, but tastes like banana.. I think. 

We also had an assortment of nyonya kuehs, which looked pretty on the platter.

Lastly, some durian, peanut and chempedak pancakes made fresh by the buffet guys. I really enjoyed the durian one, which normally you would have to queue for to buy outside for a hefty sum.

I really enjoyed myself during this buffet tasting as I felt that more than 50% of the dishes I've tried were really excellent! For $68++ you can enjoy the same spread, and I highly recommend you do that, or bring a foreigner friend to try! Note that there's also a 50% discount during lunchtime for senior citizens aged 55 and above from Mondays to Thursdays, so do let your parents know. It's such a great deal!
Orchard Cafe Straits Cuisine Buffet
Orchard Hotel, 442 Orchard Road, Singapore 238879
Noon - 2.30pm (lunch),  6-10pm (dinner)
Lunch: $48++ an adult, $24++ a child; Dinner: $68++ an adult, $34++ a child.
+65 67396565


Right now Orchard Hotel Singapore is running a Facebook contest where you simply need to upload a photo of the dish you have at the buffet, get people to like it, and stand a chance to win a staycation! Contest closes 20 April.

Kin Kin Chili Pan Mee from KL: 534 Macpherson Road, Singapore 368220

I decided to check out the legendary Kin Kin Chili Pan Mee from KL today because of all the furor on social media about it. It almost seems like a competitive sport among Singaporeans these days to eat at the newest hot spot, and Kin Kin was just two weeks old.

Thinking that it'll take 2 hours maximum including journey time since it is near our office, we left at 1245pm. 20 mins of cab ride later due to a traffic jam, we arrived at the shophouse restaurant, amidst other restaurants in a very nondescript area.

We queued for 45 minutes, and reached the end of the queue. We were then told that its another ONE HOUR to wait for the food. Some people dropped out upon hearing that. We decided that they were just managing our expectations, and it will come sooner. After all we have already sunk in an hour to get here. So in we went! It was a strangely quiet interior because everyone had ran out of energy to talk, and all we could do is to wait and stare at each other or tell people on social media that the food was yet to be tasted.

We waited... and waited... and waited. After 1 hour, still no sign of food. By then it was 2.48pm.

Then finally we got it, after another 20 minutes. We had waited from 1pm to 3.20pm for a bowl of noodles.

Well, was it any good at least?

YES, but I won't queue for it, ever again. Not even 15 minutes! And I don't recommend for anyone to do so either. The secret to the noodles is in the chili. You can just buy this and add it to your dry noodles, and it will be the same. Everything else in it is very generic and nothing mind-blowing.

And so, this concludes the story of how I spent almost 3 hours to eat a bowl of noodles.

To quote someone:
"It is just like having bad sex. Two hours of non-happening foreplay, and then 5 minutes and it's over."

Kin Kin Chili Pan Mee
534 Macpherson Road, Singapore 368220
Opening Hours: 11am to 9.30pm, last order 8.45pm
(but i heard they ran out at 5+pm on the first day)

Top Instagram Users in Singapore to follow

So I realized that there are no lists to recommend top instagrammers in Singapore so you know WHO TO FOLLOW when you get on Instagram, I have decided to do everyone a favour and recommend a few that has at least 40k followers, that's based in Singapore and has high engagement and quality photos. Have a look and let me know if I missed out any!

1. xiaxue
The queen of blogging has moved to Instagram. Everyone knows that.

Consistently getting into the Popular page on Instagram.

3. wtfsg
I didn't even know this existed until I read an article about it. Wow, Singaporean reporting on fashion?

Budget barbie snaps her life for you to follow, if you don't read her blog!

4. ec24m
Famous for her hermes bag and branded goods everywhere, it is rumoured that she gets 1 million dollars every month in alimony from her ex-husband, an Indonesian tycoon she married when she was an air stewardess.

5. toshrock 
One of the few guys to make it to top 10, he's a Youtube personality turned composer for Jack Neo's Ah Boys to Men movie.

6. naomineo_ 
Very stylish....

Lovebonito co-founder and style inspiration for many office ladies.

His food shots make me so hungry.

9. speishi 
Another pretty instagrammer...

10. dawnyang 
Instagram's the new blog.

11. yankaykay 
I think its a fact that people enjoy looking at pretty girls.

yup. And photos of food.

Evidenced here. The white sheets, bowl and cutlery thing looks like a good idea.

Then we have the teenageguruz youtube superstar and his slice of life.

15. yutakis
Every shot makes me feel like he's in Japan!

Do you guys have any other instagrammers to recommend that has more than 40k followers? Comment and let me know!

Weekday Dim Sum Buffet: Hai Tien Lo at Pan Pacific Singapore 039595, 7 Raffles Blvd

Did I tell you guys how dim sum is one of my absolute favorite cuisines in the world? Only because its one of those that allow you to try so much variety in little portions, all the while being so exquisite. That is why I was really excited when Pan Pacific Hotel Singapore invited me to try their new weekday dim sum buffet menu with 20 new delightful updates to classic dim sum dishes, created by Chef Lee Siaw Cheen. That makes 35 dishes in total! Luckily we only got a sample menu to taste, or we would probably need to take the rest of the work day off just to digest all the food! The buffet is affordably priced at $48++, available from Mon-Fri from 11.30am to 2.30pm. It is great for work lunches really.

This plate of 4 dim sum specialty was really a joy to go through, except the birds' nest egg tart wi\hich was rather tasteless. The char siew bun is really amazing though -- super fluffy with just the right amount of honeyed pork inside that is not too sweet. If there is one item you need to try, it's the char siew bun.

However, the lobster and shredded abalone soup was so fantastic, it was like swimming in a pond with fishes. When one goes to a Cantonese restaurant, one must order their soups. I think that's a Confuscius Proverb.

We also tried the deep-fried soft shell crab, that goes well with the chili. This dish wasn't really my thing though! Rather plain.

I rather drink another soup! This time it is homemade bean curd with crab meat and aubergine in supreme stock, which nobody could really guess its ingredients for the yellow broth. I'll keep it a secret too, you should go and try it first and let me know. The crab meat was super generous, as you can see in the photo. I am one lucky gal that day!

Now moving on to the dim sum dishes! Of course we had to try a meat bun, but this time there's a surprise hidden inside. An abalone! So it is a 'bao4' in a 'bao1'. Hur. I thought it was innovative, but I would have preferred a smaller bao with your traditional egg inside. I'm classical that way.

Next, brioche with tuna filling! No really, that's exactly how it tastes like. It would have been a perfect thing to bring for breakfast in the morning, just two and I'll be satisfied. I quite liked this because I do like the breakfast mayo tuna type of filling, which some people might not.

We also had some spinach dumplings, which was my dining companion's favorite because it comes with a generous filling of prawns inside when you would expect spinach or chives. Juicy, springy prawns in a thin, wok-seared and greenish dumpling skin never tasted so good before.

We also had these assortment of dim sums, the names of which is probably too complicated for me to repeat. Just know that these are just some of the selection from the 35 items from the dim sum lunch menu. They are all crispy, delicious and worth the calories.

Special mention to the dessert. We have a choice between the mango sago and the osmanthus tea with pear and white fungus and almost everyone chose the former. I'm glad I did too, because it is one of the best mango sago I had in recent times -- now I would expect mango sago from Pan Pac wedding dinners to come with the same standard! The mango soup was rather diluted and it could do with more mango bits, but what made up for that was the fact that it wasn't too sweet, but fragrant with the essence of the mango instead. Definitely a highlight for me that day too!

If you are looking for a place to eat all the dim sum you crave without worrying about low quality or high prices, go to Hai Tien Lo and satisfy the urge during week days for exactly SGD$56.50 (after GST and service charge). Take a 3-hour lunch and savour the goodies slowly. It's worth it.

Hai Tien Lo
#03-00, Pan Pacific Hotel, 7 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore
+65 68268240
Daily: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6.30pm - 10.30pm