Have you caught on to our secret kitchen at #simplyfabmenus? This little initiative began on 6 April on our Instagram channel – @simplyfabulicious with our lovely readers from all over, who were in #stayhome #staysafe… More
With lots of time on my hands, I have been experimenting in my Auckland kitchen with various recipes. Warning! I am no gourmet chef. I am what you call a short-cut cook and if there is a way to shorten the process to make it fast, easy and palatable, I will find it.
So this little experiment started with me moving to a new home with a much bigger kitchen and then subsequently unpacking all the gadgets that I have collected over the years, wondering which to keep and which to donate. I ended up keeping my pie-makers, crepe-maker, pizza oven and my sandwich and grill press and decided that I should get my act together and make – yes, healthy guilt-free recipes. So here is an easy one that anyone with a pie-maker or a muffin pan, microwave oven or air-fryer can make.
In 9 mins flat, using a pie-maker make these delish THM friendly or Keto bread rolls. Two options here – with Egg white (gets you white bread) or with Egg (a yellow bread that looks like corn bread but tastes so good). For those not familiar with the programmes, this bread is wheat-free, gluten free and has a very low carb content and resembles regular bread in texture.
1 egg (remove yolk for white bread)
1/3 cup Almond Flour
1 tbsp Mayonnaise
1 dash Salt
1/3 tsp Baking powder
1 tbsp Cashew or Almond milk
Pie maker: Spray or coat the base of your pie-maker lightly with some coconut oil. Mix and pour the above into pie maker. The above makes 2 pieces in a standard pie-maker. Do not close lid, use wooden spatula to hold open slightly so bread can rise. At 6 min, loosen edges and flip over and cook remainder 3 min for the other side.
Mircowave: 1 minute should do it (you will have to watch it as different microwaves have different settings so some would need 1.5 mins if you want a browner, crispier consistency)
Muffin pan and Oven: You will only get about 4 muffins with this amount of mixture so do a bit of math (if you want more). Then set oven to 180 degrees and put it in for about ten mins.
Airfryer: I have not tried this recipe in the air fryer but I am pretty sure that if I did, I would put it in a small frittata tray at 180 degrees for 5 to 8 minutes and check it to see if I am satisfied with colour and consistency.
It’s time to head back out to the scene in Hong Kong. Accept that chaos is the new normal, its a business as usual sentiment on the eat and shop front.
Our email IN BOX indication sees new restaurants still busy opening … new concepts continuing to hit ground … a sure sign that the city’s pulse though somewhat unstable from the past few months of hyped up events is still going strong …
NECTAR .. Plant Based Dining
Plant-based dining hits the official ‘eat’ scene in Hong Kong with NECTAR by Chef Peggy Chan who opened Grassroots Pantry in 2012.
Born in Hong Kong and raised in Montreal, Peggy is one of the key speakers at the Global Wellness Summit that will be held in Hong Kong for the first time.
Her new menu challenges the notion that plant-based cuisine is reductive and an exercise in compromise.
Elevating it to a fine dining level, she has introduced clever combinations of plant-based ingredients and raw, functional foods into a nutrient-dense, seasonal tasting menu using locally sourced organic ingredients. Details on a 5,8 or 12-course tasting menu HERE.
Shop D, G/F, CentreStage, 108 Hollywood Road, Central
Telephone +852 2873 3353
GOLDEN GOOSE Flagship Opens At K11 MUSEA in TST
Sneaker fans will want to drop by K11 MUSEA when in Kowloon this season, where iconic Italian sneaker brand Golden Goose kicks open at THE LAB.
For the uninitiated, Golden Goose is an iconic sneaker brand by Italian designers Francesca Rinaldo and Alessandro Gallo who started the ‘ugly sneaker trend’ in late 2017 – 2018 where you pay hundreds of dollars for unattractive looking running shoes look hip when worn with trendy clothes.
All said, these kicks in leather, make their debut at K11’s Italian trend store THE LAB. Obviously to justify the price you pay, you get a Golden Goose Craftsman helping customers shape each product into something customisable and unique. After the specific treatment process for each shoe, you can personalise your kicks by choosing from a set of accessories made exclusively for the LAB, such as laces, charms, and tape, available in different colours, and then adding a personal hand-written message on it. Not sure what you like, just ask the two young Italian graffiti artists (following the company’s aim to involve and collaborate with talents from all around the word) who are on hand at the new store to help customers with the design process. Designs change up each month, there are full Female, Male and Kids collections, as well as new product categories.
In case you are wondering where it is, you won’t miss the store, as the walls, floors and ceilings are entirely covered with aluminium foil giving homogeneity and brightness to the whole interior. The furnishings, in galvanized steel and super mirror stainless steel, blend perfectly into the space, almost to the point of being camouflaged.
Golden Goose is at Shop G25 – G26, G/F, K11 MUSEA, Victoria Dockside, Tsim Sha Tsui Tel: 2638 1278
Recently, a local survey revealed that only 39% of people in Singapore visited a wet market in the last 12 months, and that this figure has been declining for several years already. It is not surprising, considering how much more convenient it is to shop online, coupled with the fact that wet markets are closed by lunch time, making it almost impossible for working people to shop there on weekdays. That confines wet-marketing to weekends for most.
But that’s sad, for it heralds the decline of yet another one of our traditions. For one who enjoys the wet market experience, let me make a defense for wet markets.
Remember those quaint farmer’s markets in Europe that self-proclaimed foodies like to visit while travelling abroad, and post photos of on their social media? Well, our neighbourhood wet markets are our local equivalent. So why covet those and not our own?
Like those, our wet markets offer a much more personal experience than shopping at supermarkets. I enjoy browsing at my favourite fish stall to see what unusual ‘catches of the day’ the fishmonger has on the icy display in front of him. I ask him about them, and he tells me what the fish’s flesh is like (firm, flaky, sweet, mild, etc), offers tips on how best to prepare and cook them. If I wanted, he would fillet it for me and give me the meat in one bag and the bones in another which I will make into a fish stock. Sometimes I find fresh crayfish, sweet wild sea prawns, even lemon sole priced at a small fraction of the price offered by ‘atas’ online shops—but equally fresh and line caught. Which is better? Go figure. At other shops, I get whacking big fish heads to make into curries, salmon bones for a song that can be made into a soup, clams of all kinds, and fresh slippery squid–big ones for stuffing and grilling, and small ones for deep-frying.
At the pork stall, Tommy the porkman would select a suitable rack of ribs and prepare it nicely for me. All he needs to know is if I am planning to bake honeyed baby back ribs or boil up a pot of bak kut teh. For stir-fries, he would suggest not simply ‘lean meat’ but ‘wu hua rou’, a particularly tender, lightly marbled cut. At another pork stall, the friendly proprietress tells me that this same cut, chopped finely with cleavers, would make springy, texture-rich ngoh hiang–much better than using pork ready minced by machine. If I needed beef, there is also the beef stalls that sell any cut you can think of– brisket, tendon– as well as lamb. And if he did not have it, just let him know in advance and he’ll get it for you. No problem.
Vegetable stalls are getting more progressive too. Apart from the usual Asian vegetables, there are exotic variations of such, as well as brocollini, purple cauliflower, beefy roma tomatoes, exceptionally sweet premium corn still with their beards (compared to the tasteless yellow ones often found in supermarkets), exotic mushrooms, burdock, beetroot, miniature capsicums, fennel bulbs, fresh wai shan, rocket leaves by weight, baby spinach, rosemary, fresh assam, sometimes even microgreens and edible flowers and lots more. All of these sold personally by the stallholder who, you can be assured, is pretty knowledgeable about his ware.
The egg sellers offer eggs graded in sizes and varieties; and the dried goods stalls are an Aladdin’s cave of culinary treasures, from fresh golden needles to bright orange dried prawns and salted or sweet pickled radish, and lots more. They may be dried goods, but they are always fresher than those greying, desiccated specimens hanging in packets from the supermarket shelves. Just take the dried prawns as one point of comparison: the difference is painfully clear.
The fresh yong tau foo and fishball stall offers great, handmade yong tau foo, fabulous homemade soi gau, stuffed plump with pork and vegetable filling; and excellent ngoh hiang which I buy and freeze for easy cooking another day. From good reputable stalls, these are often handmade, often from small-batch producers. They come at a premium, but like your small batch natural cheese and gin, the quality can be very good indeed.
And no, wet markets do not smell, nor are they dirty. But fresh seafood should and would be a little slimy and wet, and fresh produce, for the most part, would be piled high for you to examine and pick out the freshest ones.
Two more very compelling reasons for patronising wet markets: First, I appeal to you to support the small stallholders, support the humble salt-of-the-earth proprietors. In short, support your own. They offer more regional variety and fresh produce, thus giving consumers more choices, compared to the narrowed range of goods big businesses tend to dictate (eg. how many varieties of bananas do you see in supermarkets?). Wet markets also support the small businesses and cottage industries among us, and in turn the unsung artisanal food producers (eg. the small-batch ngoh hiang specialist) right here.
Small stallholders here still function on the age-old value of ‘guan xi’, or relationships and trust. Once you become a regular at their stall, they might offer value added services, like take your orders over the phone and keep it aside for pick up on a chosen day. In my elderly mom’s case, they would even call her once a week to ask for her orders (if any), and deliver them to her doorstep on the weekend after they close shop for the day. She may even ‘dongbang’ a few extra sundries along the way–like a jar of coffee powder or eggs, which they will buy on her behalf. She just pays them back on delivery, no extra charge. The friendships that emerge are special.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy supermarkets too – for their great convenience and comfort and the produce they bring in from far and wide. But hand in hand with it, do go to wet markets as well which offer different choices and experiences for the engaged consumer, and keen foodie. It is not just a shopping experience, but one of culinary discovery too. Explore the produce, talk to and learn from the stallholders, ask questions about produce you have not seen before, listen to the aunties exchanging cooking tips, and in this, you’ll have a vibrant culinary experience that really brings food and cooking alive. If you are a foodie, wet markets are fantastic places to learn about the finer side of Asian food and cooking. And you won’t need Nigella Lawson to tell you about her ‘discovery’ of pandan leaves.
One final reason to go wet-marketing: do some good for the environment. There is dramatically less packaging used in wet markets. Not all produce are stuffed in plastic bags, or cling-wrapped on styrofoam trays. Bring your own basket or bag, and your plastic footprint will be reduced when shopping at the wet market.
It’s National Day excitement in Singapore again. The grand preview of the National Day Parade is just over, and we’re all gearing up for NDP fervour this Friday. We are celebrating our 54th anniversary unshackled from the greedy hands of colonialism, and also marking the bicentennial of Singapore’s ‘founding’….But that’s like celebrating Nigella Lawson ‘discovering’ pandan leaves. Us in Asia knew about Singapore for quite a number of centuries already before Mr Stamford decided it was a good idea to pop over and grab it for the ‘empire’. Anyways, before we get too snide, let’s refocus our happy thoughts. If you’re not off to the parade, there’s plenty to do around town to feel the Majulah spirit. Here’s some nice stuff you can do….
Forest restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa has a brilliant $54 menu featuring five courses by chef Sam Leong’s 76-year-old mother Mdm Pit Yoke Eng, available til end August. They promise to be heritage dishes that remind you of grandma’s home cooking. These include Mama Leong’s Soup of the Day; ‘Samsui’ Kampung Chicken with ginger and homemade special sauce, signature chicken rice ball and steamed Soon Hock with preserved vegetables and shredded ginger. For $54, we think it’s great value. What’s more, several other RWS restaurants have $54 national day specials too. They include a 4-course crab themed menu at Tangerine (we love its tranquil setting), and a three-course lunch set at TEPPAN by Chef Yonemura comprising Sautéed Foie Gras, Prawn Kadaif and Saffron Rice with Beef Consommé; Iberico Pork “Pluma” Steak 110g and a dessert. Reserve online at http://www.rwsentosa.com/sg54-dining with the promo code RWSNDP at least 24 hours in advance.
Easy Asian restaurant Fat Chap at Suntec City celebrates national day with a big dose of ASEAN neighbourliness. We love how they celebrate not just the anniversary of our independence, but also of our neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia who also celebrate theirs in August. It has rolled out the ‘SIN-MYS-IDN Makan Trail’ menu for the entire month of August, showcasing favourites from the three countries. What looks good to us are Really Indomie Goreng ($12.90) with seafood and chicken satay, Lontong Sayur ($12.90) with sambal egg and beef rendang, sate ($18 for 6 skewers) including pork, Not Really Ramly Burger ($25) made with hand-chopped beef patty between homemade brioche buns and Durian Shortcake ($14) with homemade durian ice cream and cempedak brulee.
3 Temasek Blvd, Suntec City East Wing, #01-643, S038983
(Lobby of Tower 4)
Swissotel Stamford & Fairmont Singapore has the best vantage point for watching the parade and fireworks this year. If you didn’t book a staycation there, the next best thing to do is sit down with the girls and feast on a delicate yet patriotic afternoon tea ($52 per person) at Antidote, created by our friend and super talented head chef Tryson Quek. From a large, tiered jewel box are elegant bijou bites of inspired Singapore flavours such as chilli crab foie gras pao, lobster achar in coriander brioche, gula Melaka scones with kaya and clotted cream, pineapple tart with almond sable, and otah mousse with puff pastry and plenty others. If you’re feeling particularly celebratory, get a glass of Taittinger ($15) or don’t shy and go the whole hog with a magnum ($168).
The food at mod-Cantonese restaurant Mitzo is really excellent. But first, you have to get past its trippy lighting which, we admit, may not go down too great with our inner aunties. Settle down, and when the walls stop spinning, the reward is the five-course National Day Set Menu ($88 per person) made up of creative dishes inspired by heritage fare. Expect delectable like Scallop Spring Roll, Prawn with Red Yeast
Mayonnaise and Spicy Chicken Otah stuffed with Lotus Root, Abalone “Bak Kut Teh”, Cheese Baked Chilli Lobster and Braised Snow Vegetables and Sea Bass with Noodles. Finish with the Longevity Tea served with Sesame Ball. For hydration, take in patriotic cocktail National Treasure (S$21), an original creation of chamomile-infused
whisky, dry curacao, maraschino and grapefruit bitters, egg white and cranberry soda. (HSBC, UOB and DBS cardholders get a 10% discount.)
Other fun bits
As an “alternative cultural celebration”, the Former St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital, a state property, is open on National Day as the venue for I AM CITIZEN. A collaboration between Singapore Land Authority and The Local People, it’s a day of art, musical performances, art workshops (eg. calligraphy, bookbinding and block printing) and an art market where local designers and makers showcase their handmade treasures. Catch the national parade live streamed on the rooftop and see the fireworks from this unique building too. This is a fantastic opportunity to explore a unique building no longer open to the public ordinarily. Get updates from the ‘I AM CITIZEN’ Facebook page.
Details: 9 August, 5-11pm, at 5 Kadayanallur Street, Singapore 069183 (the former St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital, next to Maxwell Food Centre
Always something NEW to look out for in Hong Kong.
KFC Opens Concept Store At Causeway Bay!
Yes you read right, Mac-kers did it and now its the Colonel’s turn. KFC has opened a concept store in Causeway Bay on the corner of Hennessy Rd and Percival Street promising a contemporary chill-out fast food experience. The semi-cafe dining experience offers a street level grab-and-go “sweet box” for desserts and ice creams lovers. Go up to the first floor and find self-ordering kiosks with modern bar seats and a second floor main dining area with 150 seats. The new premises are comfortable with a chill ambience of unique insta-worthy pop-art and 3D art installations.
Try the Grilled Chicken Combo (HK$138) – freshly-grilled-to-order and serve with crisscut fries, salad and two soft drinks; Oven-glazed Hot Wing Platter (HK$88) – 3 garlic cheese-glazed, 3 honey BBQ-glazed and 3 sweet chili-glazed hot wings, plus large fries, salad and two soft drinks, Chizza (HK$88) – the chicken pizza with a giant KFC chicken fillet as the base with cheese & pineapple and two soft drinks (regular version with one soft drink is priced at HK$49) and Baked Rice with Chicken Fillet Combo (HK$52) – salad or tomato soup with soft drink. Go check out: http://www.kfchk.com
Late-night, Eat and Drink at TMK
Sheung Wan debuts another all-day dining venue, TMK by the Pirata Group worth checking out for its fun, rowdy ambience and food that take you through the day well into the night. Unapologetically loud and rowdy, this Japanese punk rock inspired joint has a 1980’s style Japanese custom motorcycle parked as part of the decor, Japanese art on display and a tattoo room inspired bathroom.
There are lip-smacking hand rolls, as well as a selection of sushi and sashimi with a refreshing take on the traditional Japanese temakeria. Interesting eats include the crispy Iberico Kushikatsu (HKD108) and the chewy textured Green Tea Soba (HKD88; additional HKD40 for Yellowfin Tuna), classic hand rolls such as the fresh Hamachi Tomato (HKD58) and the vegetarian Avocado & Quinoa (HKD38), Tuna Hotdog (HKD98) and Salmon Taco (HKD78) with a rich yuzu mayo and buttery avocado tempura. There are also two appetizing tasting menus – the Denim (HKD288 pp) is ideal for guests who prefer to drink their night away while the Leather (HKD398 pp) is a ‘best-of’ platter.
If you are feeling generous, shout “Drinks On Me”, it will cost you only HKD290 per round and each person there will be poured a generous serve of sake, with boisterous cheers and the sound of the restaurant’s gong following. Alongside this the beverage menu features a selection of smooth sake, refreshing draft beer and Japanese highballs and high quality sake. See: www.TMK.hk
Nostalgic Tea House Comfort Food At ‘Peony Garden’
Just opened at the Xiqu Centre in West Kowloon’s cultural district, wander into the Peony Garden Tea House which serves up quintessential comfort food classics – from tea house favourites to hawker street-food snacks in an exquisite 3,000 sq ft venue with an ‘open garden’ interior design setting that reminisces ancient traveler rest stops for weary travellers in China.
Hong Kong’s street-style cart noodles, popular Malaysian-style curry, braised Chaozhou specialties and Cantonese roast meat favourites like barbecue pork, roast goose, soy flavoured chicken and crispy pork belly are all part of the menu. With an expert Chef at the helm, who is one of China’s leading masters of Chaozhou cuisine, you can also expect specialties including premium Goose Fillet (HK$178), Liver (HK$158), and Blood (HK$45); Home-made Stewed Goose Soup with Preserved Lemon (HK$48), Premium Marinated Meat with Taiwan Ramen (Sliced Goose Fillet, Goose Liver, Goose Intestine, Pork Belly and Pork Intestine) (HK$138).
Go there for the classic favourite Cart Noodles, served from 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. to try their Handmade Taiwanese Ramen and Black Vermicelli with an array of soup bases are unique broths of Coriander, Seafood (shrimp and crab) and Chicken Chinese Rice Wine. Toppings like Chaozhou Handmade Fish and Beef Balls, Spicy Snails, Homemade Fish Maw, Spicy Duck Blood Curd, Deep-fried Bean Curd Sheet make this an impossible just finish quickly and up and go. See their Facebook page @peonygarden.hk
It’s that time of the year in Singapore again when we all get into that flag-waving, red-and-white wearing mood. It’s National Day round the corner, and this year, we mark the bicentennial of colonialism on our shores. Hmmm…
Anyway, food is something hardly controversial in Singapore, and round the corner from the historic centre where Singapore all began is Yan, a nice, tranquil Cantonese restaurant in the National Gallery Singapore.
From now until the end of August, it’s serving up a patriotic menu where elements of hawker favourites are spun into re-interpreted dim sum. The steamed xiao long bao ($5.80 for 4) with herbal bak kut teh stock was surprisingly good with full-on BKT flavours; and the hefty pan fried chilli crab meat bun ($9 for three), nicely chewy, was rather elegantly laced with a touch of orange zest.
A Hainanese chicken rice rendition of the glutinous rice, or nuo mi fan was all right except for having a bit too much rice; and the mutton satay spring roll ($6.80 for three) was good, rich, savoury-sweet in flavour but might prove a little heavy for some.
Surprisingly the one dim sum that combined my two favourite nibbles – chai tau kway and chwee kuay – and which I expected to be the best, turned out the most disappointing. Steamed chai tau kway with chwee kuay toppings of preserved radish and garlic should logically be great. But perhaps it’s the perennial problem of too much of a good thing. Best leave these lovelies in its traditional form.
Carry on with patriotic fervour and have the delicious braised mee pok with crab meat and so much aromatic, delectable lard you can see it. It is uncompromisingly good, so just eat it and leave the calorie counting to another day.
Best ‘Eat’ Deal – 27 and 28 July At Li Jiak Ba Buey
I guess if you look really hard you could find a meal under $3 in Singapore but 0.50 cents is an impossible price tag in SG these days. So that’s why we think that the The Fifty Cents Fest (五毛钱美食荟萃) happening on 27 and 28 July 2019 at Chinatown Food Street, Smith Street spotlighting Singapore’s Hokkien heritage with over 40 stalls and mobile vendors peddling an assortment of more than 50 different savouries and sweets, is worth checking out.
Everything on the menu at this award-winning festival is priced from a humble S$0.50 to no more than S$3.00 and visitors get to taste traditional Hokkien dishes ranging from Hokkien-style rice, noodles and nourishing soups, to snacks, small pastries, and ice-cold desserts and drinks. See: http://www.thefiftycentsfest.com.sg/
WOAH! Made-in-Singapore Low Fat Protein Ice Cream
The packaging of this made-in-Singapore dessert, reads “WOAH” aptly preparing you for the $24 price tag for a 473g pint (but as they say, you probs can’t put a price on your health!). We think spelling it “WAH” would have probably gone down better with us Singaporeans and brought some ‘Singish’ into the global marketplace as the brand has some exciting development plans! All said, we like the idea of a health conscious ice cream which is has as it’s key ingredient L-Leucine, a powerful branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) which stimulates protein synthesis, helps build muscle mass, is burned by the muscles as fuel and is especially beneficial to older people. Pitched as a Protein Ice Cream with premium ingredients and complete with a low fat, low carb, low calorie, low sugar and gluten-free labelling, there are 6 flavours to love: Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Strawberry,Vanilla, Peanut Butter and Cookies & Cream, with new flavours like Matcha, Red Bean, Latte and Milk Tea, all in the works.
Singaporean inventor and dutiful son, Edward Foo used his background in heath, nutrition and finance and put all 3 together into one product when he invented this humble but appetising food option for his mum who was undergoing chemo treatments in 2017. He shared samples of his concoction with her fellow cancer patients during his mum’s chemotherapy sessions. They loved it, the nutritionists loved it and even the kids that he gave it to loved it. It’s your turn to decide! See: www.woahprotein.co
KOMA opens at MBS
Another reason to visit MBS this month… KOMA, a brand new Japanese restaurant and sushi bar by leading hospitality company TAO Group opens 26 July with a modern interpretation of Japanese cuisine, featuring original creations by its Executive Chef Kunihiro Moroi and what they are calling an ‘elevated’ dining experience.
Bells and whistles meets bold and distinct – walk into a striking 20 metre-long passageway flanked with orange arches that greet guests as they arrive, to a dramatic 2.5 metre-high, one-of-a-kind bell that overlooks a traditional Japanese foot bridge and reflecting pool. Inside there are 230-seats, an oversized sushi bar and a private dining room at the mezzanine. See: www.komasingapore.com
MOONCAKE updates happening this week on our IG account – look up the latest and yummiest finds that Ee Waun has snapped up at https://www.instagram.com/simplyfabulicious/
More new eateries and places in Hong Kong to check out…
Eat Italiano Chic – Pici opens in Lai Chi Kok
Serving up fresh homemade pasta and simple dishes prepared with seasonal ingredients, the Lai Chi Kok branch joins its Wan Chai sister offering classic Italian starters and pastas boasting rich flavours.
We hear that the Prawn Casoncelli with squid ink Casoncelli pasta crab, prawn, tomato sauce, bisque and chilli packs a kick. Led by Italian Head Chef Andrea Viglione, the new restaurant has a modern, relaxed and casual pasta bar vibe that is hard to resist. See: www.pici.hk
So Great you won’t mind sharing
We visited the Great Room in the heart of Singapore’s Ngee Ann City recently to visit our publishing and watch aficionado friends at HighEnd Media who house their efficient operations in this hip and glam co-networking space that rents small to mid sized offices and desk space complete with access to meeting room facilities, a posh communal area called the Drawing Room where there is fancy coffee and water on tap, drinks in the fridge if you choose to stock it. Here, a group of like minded business partners are available to collaborate with as they are also co-tenants and won’t have a polite excuse to not meet you over breakfast or in the evening for after office drinks.
The same concept has launched in Hong Kong and Bangkok. Designed for “grown-up” start-ups and thought leaders. The space in at Swire Properties’ One Taikoo Place was designed by renowned international design agency HASSELL and takes inspiration from its roots as the old Sugar factory. See: https://thegreatroom.co/
Hipster Taiwanese Noodle and Bubble Tea Opens at IFC
Making a statement by opening at IFC Mall in Central, in collaboration with renowned Hong Kong hospitality group Lai Sun Dining, the Taipei brand KiKi Noodle Bar and KiKi Bubble Tea debuts this month. What to Try? Their iconic sun-dried KiKi Noodles, handmade from just flour and water is popular for being 100% natural and healthy, also their authentic Taiwanese tea and bubbles which they have branded as KiKi Tea.
Their Michelin three-starred Chef Albert Au Kwok Keung has created two exclusive KiKi noodle dishes – the KiKi Meat Dumpling Mixed Noodles, Scallion Oil; and classic Chinese favourite, Abalone and Fish Maw Noodles in Chicken Soup.
Crowd-pleasers to tuck into are the Stir-fried Minced Pork Mixed Noodles with Chive Flowers and Fermented Black Bean, with black beans sprinkled atop to mimic fly heads, mixed with crunching chive flowers, chili and savoury stir-fried minced pork; Sichuan Spicy Tofu Noodles in Soup, Duck Blood and Sliced Pork packing a punch of spice; and comforting classic KiKi Dan Dan Noodles. On top of the classic bubble tea there is refreshing Pineapple Green Teapresso; and Winter Melon Tea, pairing with Sichuan-pepper-flavoured “pearls” and fluffy cream mousse. There are also classic tea-style desserts including Earl Grey Chiffon Cake with Brown Sugar Pearls and Chestnut Mont Blanc. See: https://www.facebook.com/kikinoodlebarhk/
With the big top looming nearby, fairy lights overhead, there’s something incredibly old fashioned and magical about going to the circus. Toss in a free plastic-flute of prosecco and all is complete. We had come to Kurios by Cirque du Soleil, which opened yesterday in Singapore under the big top by Marina Bay Sands. It turned out a raucous, larger-then-life, buzzing, tumbling, heaving, gravity-defying Victorian era-inspired steampunk-laden extravanganza. Yes, all of that and more.
While it this Canadian act had always tended towards a more surreal, modern take on the circus, this time Kurios brought back the elements of the traditional circus, but thankfully without any scary clowns. Running through the acts is a story about a mad scientist called The Seeker whose cabinet of curiosities contain a fantastical world which steps out to engage him. Doesn’t matter to follow that ‘narrative’—you can fully enjoy the acrobatics and contortionists without knowing why they’re doing what they’re doing. Just soak in the amazing spectacle of crazy, gravity-defying human abilities, spectacular sets and creative imagination.
Highlights included a mind-boggling act by several petite but incredibly strong contortionists dressed in body suits that made them look like octopus tentacles or vague jellied sea creatures twisting and balancing themselves on a giant mechanical hand; and another set of vague finned acrobats bouncing and leaping and spinning off a huge net in an adrenaline and humour packed act.
Yet another played out at a mad hatter party type scene where a performer balanced, twisted and tumbled on top of an impossible number of chairs piled high, while from above, a similar scene played out in mirror image, until both images merged in the middle. There’s plenty more but I won’t spoil the surprise. In between was a quieter mini-drama performance where characters were played out by a performer’s hands and projected live on a Victorian hot air balloon.
All the while running behind the main focus was a parade of odd characters, including a tiny lady who often emerged from another performer’s oversized costume, strutted around onstage and babbled away incomprehensibly—to add to the mood and a constant non-stop flow of energy and spectacle, I suppose. All in all, it was a fabulously energised show—a sumptuous feast for the eyes and a dizzying immersion into a fantastical theatrical immersion well worth spending an evening on.
Before the show starts, do wander into the stores under the big top for the merchandise is worth looking at. While they do come at a premium, they are beautifully designed and was a good quality, and prices were all right. Look at particularly for the T-shirts and Victorian-style flight goggles ($25) and aviation cap. Buy them before the 25 minute interval ends for shops close by the time the show is over.
We didn’t buy the goggles, but it was tempting.
By the way, it’s worth noting that ‘facilities’ are quite sufficient in the form of air-conditioned loos housed in small containers. there are several cubicles in each container, so the queue moved quite efficiently.
I got a chance to check out The Old Man recently, the Singapore sister-outlet of the Hong Kong of the same name, and which recently took top place in Asia’s 50 Best Bars list.
A fairly new addition to Singapore’s hip Keong Saik enclave, this quiet, very grown up bar bears no signage, and for a while I was left quite lost, looking at the row of shophouse units which all went by the address 55 Keong Saik Road. The tricks is to look for a hanging pineapple shaped lamp that marks the spot.
The breezy white-washed exterior brings you into a darkened, masculine space dominated by an I-shaped counter. On the wall is a mural of tropical plants and a mosaic installation of Hemingway’s silhouetted profile. Indeed, the bar is a tribute to the literary giant who loved his tipples.
The menu is concise and tight, based on the first ever menu of its Hong Kong outlet. The cocktails—often technically complex using tricks like distillation, fat washing, fermentation —are named after Hemingway’s works, with flavour profiles as complex and intriguing as the writer himself.
Start gently with Islands In the Stream, a tall refreshing tipple of clarified pink grapefruit, salted gin and soda. Fizzy, tangy and fruity, with a slight edge, what’s there not to like? After that, all other drinks that came were quirky, adventurous, odd—but they all worked.
The Snows of Kilimanjaro is, as Louie the bartender described, “an alcoholic Yakult”. This creamy, mildly berry flavoured curiosity comprises gin, lacto-fermented raspberry, a touch of citrus to give it an edge and a dusting of 30-month aged gruyere to give it just a hint of a salty counterpoint. Unbelievable as it may seem, it worked nicely.
Still on milky libations, Death In The Afternoon is a shocking caterpillar green, lassi-like long drink of pandan yoghurt countered by sparkling wine and absinthe. Again, bizarre but enjoyable.
The Sun Also Rises starts off an ugly moss green, almost black concoction which you might hesitate to try. Put it to the light and miraculously, it reveals a bright green hue—great party trick and conversation starter. The most complex drink on the house, it takes days to prepare its individual components such as including copra fat-washed applejack, curry leaf infused gin and sweet vermouth sous vide with pandan. It is a fascinating jumble of herbaceous, citrus, soft rounded pandan, hints of peppery anise, and mellow applejack and vermouth. Again, delightful.
All drinks on the menu are at a reasonable $17.