Author Archives: Jaz の旅

Lunch Sets at Katanashi An「型無庵」

Katanashi An「型無庵」 is a hole-in-the-wall Japanese izakaya located nestled between some old shophouses. I had heard that they serve reasonably-priced ochazuke lunch sets only on weekdays and thus went to check them out.

At the very moment that I stepped in, I was greeted in Japanese by a Japanese wait staff and ushered to one of the few remaining empty tables in the pub restaurant. Lunch hour can be quite packed, so do try to arrive before 12pm to get a table.

月曜日から金曜日までに居酒屋「型無庵」はだし茶漬けのランチセットがあります。

The lunch menu is limited and revolves around the theme of ochazuke, with different variations available, including some monthly specials. In this instance here, the “tea” is actually dashi broth and thus referred to as dashi-chazuke.

I was amused by the drawings on the disposal wet tissues that were provided at the table. When I looked around, I could see different designs on every table. Hmm…I wonder how much time the staff spend daily to draw them?

According to the information given at the table (see photo above), the food can be eaten in two ways, but I prefer to follow the Nagoya-style for eating unagi hitsumabushi and thus eat this in three different ways!:
(1) Scoop the rice and its toppings into a bowl and eat it as it is.
(2) Do the same as (1), but eat it together with pickles.
(3) Pour the dashi broth over the rice before eating. It will be like having rice porridge (but with firmer rice).

You will find a marked contrast in the flavours, especially between (1) and (3).


The lunch sets typically come with two side dishes of seasoned seaweed and tofu, plus a teapot containing dashi broth. Some roasted rice pops, pickles and wasabi are also provided as additional toppings. My preference is to use the roasted rice pops as a topping for my “porridge”.

Tori Sansai「鶏山菜」– $12
Roasted Chicken and Japanese edible wild plant

This was surprisingly good! The chunky pieces of chicken were tender and had a nice flavour.

All 3 methods of eating go well with this set.


Salmon & Maguro「サーモンと鮪」– $15
Fresh Salmon Sashimi & Fresh Tuna Sashimi

My friend ordered this and she liked it, but didn’t use that much of the soup broth, as she preferred just eating it chirashi don style.


毎月もランチスペシャルセットがあります。三月のは豚そぼろセットと北海道丼セット (鮭、ホタテ、かに、いくら)。

These were the monthly lunch specials for March:

Buta Soboro Set「担々豚そぼろ」– $12
Spicy Minced Pork & Takana (Japanese pickled vegetables)

Mmm…this reminded me of a Chinese dish (i.e. 梅菜扣肉). It was extremeful flavourful and the combination of ingredients tasted better without the soup stock, so I decided to consume them separately.


Hokkaido Set「北海道丼set」– $20
Fresh Salmon, Scallop, Boiled Kani (Crab) & Ikura (Salmon Roe)

The seafood was fresh and I felt that just eating the main dish by itself was extremely satisfying (i.e. without the dashi stock).

If you still want to try it with the “tea”, then my advice is to leave out the salmon and the scallop, as those taste much better when eaten raw (i.e. after you pour the soup stock over, the sashimi will be cooked and thus leave a different feeling and taste in your mouth!), but at the end of the day it is down to personal preference on how you wish to eat it.

Regardless of which method was used to consume the food, it was value for money as the prices were nett, the ingredients were fresh and the service was friendly. Simple fare and yet satisfying.

美味しかったですね!

Address:
Katanashi An「型無庵」
1 Boon Tat Street, #01-01, Singapore 069611.

[Map]

Telephone: 6221 5101

Opening Hours:
11:30am-2:30pm, 5:00pm-10:30pm

Nearest MRT Station:
Telok Ayer

Advertisements
Categories: Eating in Singapore, Japanese | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Invited Tasting] 8-Course Omakase Menu at Big Sake Bar

In conjunction with Big Sake Bar’s first year anniversary, an eight-course omakase menu has been introduced and it features premium ingredients like grade A4 wagyu beef and otoro, plus an optional sake pairing option, with a choice from three seasonal sakes to suit the different customer preferences.

Located at the Concourse Skyline Building, Big Sake Bar is an izakaya concept restaurant, which boasts a large selection of over 40 different kinds of Japanese sakes and whiskeys. When I first stepped in, my eyes were immediately drawn to the back wall with all the various bottles on display!

The rest of its interior has pre-war Japanese beer posters on its brick walls and is reminiscent of a nostalgic era.

This Japanese gastropub’s trademark “大” (Japanese kanji character for “big”) emphasizes its philosophy, to be “big on food, big on service, big on sakes”. It is run by three good-looking young men, (from left to right) Co-Owners Jeremy Goh, Daniel Kwok and Head Chef Andy Quek.

In order to preserve the freshness of the ingredients and to ensure a great experience, Big Sake Bar will only seat six guests at the main sushi counter each night for their new omakase menu.

This will ensure that diners get to enjoy the full omakase experience as they watch Chef Andy at work. You can even chat with the friendly chef between courses, especially if it’s immediately after the dish has been served to you (i.e. before he starts to get busy preparing the next course).

Big Sake Bar’s new omakase menu will be available for a limited time only from 23rd October to 31st December 2017.

8-Course Omakase Menu
(Available for Dinner from Monday to Saturday, 6pm to 11pm, with advance reservation)
SGD$88 nett per person for the eight-course omakase menu.
SGD$108 nett per person for the eight-course omakase menu with sake.

Century Egg Tofu

This to me is somewhat of a fusion dish as it is usually found on the menus of Chinese restaurants. The century egg has been marinated with Chef Andy’s secret sauce, which is sweet and masks the strong flavour of the egg, so those who aren’t fans of the “100-year-old egg” may find themselves liking this! In addition, the silky smooth tofu is made in-house by the chef and is topped with sprinkles of crispy tempura flakes and slivers of spring onions. Overall, it was a nice start to the meal.


Sashimi Platter

This comprises of botan ebi, mekajiki (swordfish), salmon and aburi (i.e. seared) salmon. The seafood was fresh, the prawn was plump and firm and my favourite was the aburi salmon.


Wagyu Beef Sirloin

At first glance, this may look like a humble dish, but these are slices of grade A4 Kagoshima Wagyu Beef Sirloin flown in from Kyushu, Japan and is definitely a must-try! Although the accompanying ponzu sauce complemented the flavourful beef, I felt that it tasted just as good on its own. The marbling of the meat wasn’t overly fatty and was just right. For more information on beef grades, you can click here.


Sushi Platter

When we first set our eyes on this dish, the initial thought was on what that strange spiky thing at the far end was! It’s actually the prawn head from the botan ebi sashimi that we had earlier and a clever re-use of ingredients so that nothing is wasted.

We were told to start off with the shoyu ikura (salmon roe) and work our way down from left to right to gradually build up the flavours.

I don’t like eating ikura in Singapore, as it usually tastes a little fishy in the country’s hot and humid weather, but the one here was quite alright to me. The next morsel to chomp on was a piece of maki, topped with yuzu infused tobiko and the flying fish roe was really fresh and crunchy. Following on was the tamagoyaki, which was a bit overly sweet to me and I couldn’t really taste the flavour of the dashi stock in it (I’m quite particular when it comes to tamagoyaki, as this is one of my personal favourites).

The final bite was a challenge to eat as it was a deep fried prawn head, sat atop a blob of mentaiko mayo sauce. Now this is the typical sort of unusual food item found at Japanese izakayas and goes well when downed with alcohol. Don’t worry, it’s really crispy and you can swallow everything, plus it’s extremely flavourful! The trick to eating this is to chew off all the protruding sharp ends, which are very crispy, then munch carefully until you reach the main section of the prawn head.


Wagyu Beef Maki

This is actually a temaki (i.e. hand roll), made with wagyu beef as its key ingredient. The beef was seasoned with salt, which made it a little salty, but when eaten together with the other ingredients in one bite, the flavours actually went well together. I much preferred the previous beef dish to this one, although this was good too.


Negitoro Don

This dish uses otoro (the fattiest portion of the tuna, found on the very underside of the fish – this cut is fatty almost to the point of falling apart and can literally melt in your mouth) and is topped crisp green onions sitting atop a bed of premium Japanese rice from Akita prefecture in Japan. A raw quail’s egg is served on the side and you are supposed to add the egg into the rice bowl and mix well before eating.

Thus, I poured the egg in and voila – this is how the dish typically looks like at most restaurants in Japan:

This particular dish is probably what most Japanese will consider to be luxurious, as it contains the most precious part of the tuna.


Asari Miso Soup

People usually think of miso soup as an ordinary and simple soup dish, but the flavours of the soup stock may vary and the ingredients found in the soup may differ too. This one contained plump and firm asari clams, enoki mushrooms and cubes of tofu and the white miso-based soup had a fuller body and flavour, as the stock was made from boiling the clams.


Goma or Yuzu Ice Cream

We had the yuzu ice cream and its zesty flavour was really refreshing, plus it contained bits of peel, which gave each mouthful an extra dimension. It also helped to cleanse the palate from all the flavours from the entire meal.


(Optional) A tokkuri「徳利」 of guests’ choice of sake from a selection of three premium sakes, Toyo Bijin, Nabeshima “Pink Label” or Karakuchi Ki-ippon. Diners will first do a tasting of all three sakes, then pick their favourite one to accompany their meal.

From Left to Right: Karakuchi Ki-ippon, Toyo Bijin and Nabeshima “Pink Label”.

More information on the three different sakes:

Masumi’s Karakuchi Ki-ippon「純米吟醸 辛口生一本」 is a delightfully dry junmai ginjyo (milled to 40-50% removal of each grain of rice) from Nagano Prefecture. The word “karakuchi” means “dry” and this sake is said to be popular with drinkers.

Toyo Bijin「東洋美人」, a junmai daiginjyo (milled to at least 50% removal of each grain of rice) from the Sumikawa Shuzojo Brewery in Yamaguchi prefecture, has a clean entry with a slight sweet finish. This was previously served to President Vladimir Putin during a dinner party at the Japan-Russia summit meeting in December 2016 and it is said that Putin enjoyed the taste of this sake.

Nabeshima “Pink Label”「鍋島 特別本醸造 ピンクラベル」 is a tokubetsu honjozo (milled to 30-40% removal of each grain of rice) from Kashima City in Saga Prefecture. It is a refreshingly sweet sake, with slight effervescence and an excellent aftertaste. This was my personal favourite as I like my alcoholic beverages to be on the sweet side.

Regardless of which sake you choose, all of them go down well with the entire meal.

Overall, the meal was quite satisfying, the ingredients were fresh and my favourite dish was the Wagyu Beef Sirloin. Surprisingly, I did actually enjoy that crispy prawn head although it looked more intimidating than appetising – do give this a try and you may find that you’ll want seconds!


Address:

Big Sake Bar
302 Beach Road, #01-02 The Concourse Skyline, Singapore 199600.
[Map]

Getting There by MRT:
Nicoll Highway station exit A, take the connecting overhead bridge to cross the highway to get to The Concourse (about a 5min walk)

Seating Capacity
Indoor Table seatings – 24
Indoor Bar counter – 6
Outdoor – 12

Contact/Reservations Tel: +62912700 / 96567105

Opening Hours:
Monday to Saturday: 5pm–12am
Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays.

Email: enquiry@bigsakebar.com

Categories: Eating in Singapore, Japanese, Media Invite | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Minions Cafe in Singapore

After seeing the various posts about the Minion-themed pop-up cafes in Japan during the course of the year and wishing I was there to visit them, at last one has opened in Singapore and so I went to check it out.

This pop-up cafe is operated by The Guest Cafe & Diner, the same group who often operates different themed pop-up cafes in Japan.

The dining area isn’t that big and is decorated with minion plushies, balloons, decals and other stuff that are easily removable.

There is also a shop within the cafe premises and they sell Minion memorabilia, some of which are exclusive to the cafe.

A photo spot is available for both cafe diners, as well as those who have purchased merchandise at the shop. You will need to have made your payment, then show your receipt to the staff manning the photo booth.

As for the food, here are some of the items that I had ordered:

Menu:

If you order anything from the food or dessert menus, you will be given a limited edition placemat.

Those who order the “Minion Riceball Party” will be given a balloon on a stick as a souvenir to take home. These are some of the possible designs you may get (randomly given).

A limited edition coaster will be given with every drink order.

The desserts look cute and if you order the “Minion Pudding”, you can take home the bowl – i.e. the same bowl that your mango pudding is served in, but they will give you a new one in a box.

Minion’s Great Escape Cream Stew – $20.90

This plate was definitely a carbo overload and there was more rice on the plate than there was cream stew. I usually like to soak my rice with gravy, but there wasn’t enough of the stew to go with the rice. In addition, there were only two small slices of chicken in the stew, along with some carrot, potato and broccoli. The minion’s face atop the rice is actually made using edible rice paper, which is tasteless.

A small salad is served on the side in a minion bowl.

Minions Vacation Plate – $23.90

This is supposed to have a Hawaiian theme and same rice that was used in the previous dish mentioned above, is served on this plate, but at least in a more manageable portion for smaller eaters. The hamburg steak tastes like a hamburger patty from the supermarket’s frozen section. As for the prawns, they had a bit of seasoning over them and were served with rosebuds which I guess were edible, but they were really hard and so we didn’t touch those. Our biggest surprise was the cold soup, which tasted like it was made from green peas and we even found a green apple flavoured gummy bear in it!

S’more and Minion’s Ice cream – $16.90

Desserts were probably more pleasing than the main courses in terms of taste. This came with 4 pieces of Digestive biscuits and a big portion of marshmallows, topped with mango sorbet. I found it to be less sweet if you scoop a portion of the marshmallows onto the biscuits and top it off with some of the mango ice cream.

Minion Pudding (comes with an original Minion Cup) – $24.90

Initially I had thought that the entire bowl would contain only mango pudding, but when I scooped my way down to the middle, I found that there were cornflakes and quite a fair bit of cream and cake underneath, which meant that the mango pudding only occupied the topmost layer. Unfortunately, the cornflakes had lost their crispness and so it made this overall a little disappointing.

Upside-down Minion Jelly Soda Drink – $12.90

Visually it was colourful, but it’s actually a whole cupful of jello, which tasted a bit strange and the soda was tasteless.

Be Bad Cafe Latte – $8.90

At least this cup of latte tasted normal, but we didn’t like the design of the latte art and it was stated on the menu that the designs are random and diners aren’t allowed to choose.

Coasters are given (for you to take home) with any drink purchase.

Verdict:
Full marks for the presentation of the food and the cuteness factor. However, although the ingredients are fresh, much could be improved taste-wise and overall the prices are on the high side.

Address:
Minions Cafe
Orchard Central, Level 3

Dates:
23 November to 31 December 2017

Categories: Cafe, Eating in Singapore | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Review] Addams Family Musical in Singapore (2017)

Direct from the UK, The Addams Family have recently moved into the MES Theatre at Mediacorp and have brought along their entire clan, who are classified as being either living, dead or undecided.

For those who are still unfamiliar with this musical comedy, it is written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, the creators of multi award-winning Jersey Boys, with music and lyrics by Tony Award nominated Andrew Lippa.

Differing from the TV series, in this musical, Wednesday Addams is all grown up now and has a shocking secret that only her father Gomez knows – she has fallen in love with a sweet young man (Lucas Beineke) from a normal respectable family. Having been pleaded by his daughter to keep his “cara mia” Morticia in the dark, audiences will get to see whether Gomez manages to keep Wednesday’s secret until the two families meet for dinner, which turns out to be an eventful evening. Will love triumph or will there be disastrous consequences?


Photo Source: Mediacorp Vizpro

Playing the iconic role of Gomez Addams is established actor, Cameron Blakely, who was recently seen in Singapore’s season of Les Misérables as Monsieur Thenardier and also has a string of theatrical and film credits to his name. He seemed at ease with the role and sounded very convincing with his Spanish accent.

The role of Gomez’s beloved wife, Morticia Addams, is played by Rebecca Thornhill, who joins this show direct from the West End production of Mathilda The Musical, playing Mrs Wormwood to great acclaim.

If you had watched the previous run of this musical in Singapore in 2013, which was from the USA, this current production showcases a brand new orchestration and presentation. The sets look different in this West End version and it has also scaled down on the number of props used as compared to the Broadway version. According to the producers, having fewer props makes it easier for the show to go on tour.

Opening set:

Music is played live and you can find the musicians in the orchestra pit. Now this is what the real musical theatre experience should be like!

It’s funny how my favourite scenes in the musical have changed with this UK production. My new favourites are the opening scene and “Pulled”.

Wednesday Addams is played by Carrie Hope Fletcher, who previously played Éponine in Les Misérables. Apart from having an impressive theatrical and acting credit, she also has a strong social media following.

I loved her vocals, especially in “Pulled” and found that this song seems to grow on you, as I was even singing it when I got home.

25-year-old Grant McIntyre made the role of Pugsley Addams very believable and I wouldn’t have guessed his age if I didn’t know it!

Full Disclosure – this scene is one of the highlights of the show, so do pay attention otherwise you might miss the plot!

Photo Source: Mediacorp Vizpro

Excerpts from the musical:

There were many comedic moments in the show and I especially liked the part when Uncle Fester, played by Cory English, took a dig at the members of the audience who were seated at the cheapest seats!

During the night that I watched the show, somehow the audience didn’t get it when Lurch, played by Dickon Gough, broke out in song. I guess probably only true Addams Family fans will find it funny, as they will know that this butler usually only speaks in a series of grunts and groans.

I was somewhat horrified to find that “Thing”, whom I’ve always known to be a hand, turned out to be an arm in this show!

Despite feeling unsettled by the new interpretation of “Thing”, another one of my favourite songs is “Crazier Than You”, which features Wednesday and the Beineke family.

Photo Source: Mediacorp Vizpro

I thought the sound system at the MES Theatre was excellent, as we could hear every single word that was being spoken and sung. However, during some of the group scenes, the lead singer sometimes gets drowned out by the other vocals and thus I felt it could have been better if the sound balancing was tweaked a little.


Photo Source: Mediacorp Vizpro

The cast members divulged that they had injected some of their own interpretations to their characters. I thought they all did a great job!

Family ties are extremely strong in the Addams Family, so do come and meet this kooky family. I’ll leave you with parting words that the entire Addams clan will articulate to you,
“It’s family first and family last
And family by and by
When you’re an Addams
You do what Addams do or die!”

Venue:
MES Theatre at Mediacorp
[Map]

Getting There by MRT:
One North Station – take exit A and walk towards the left for about 11min.

Show Dates:
15 Nov 2017 – 03 Dec 2017

Show Times:
Tues – Fri: 8pm
Sat & Sun: 2:30pm & 8pm

Ticket Prices:
$65, $95, $135, $165 (excludes booking fee)


Special thanks to Mediacorp Vizpro for the invite to The Addams Family musical!

Categories: Media Invite, Singapore | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Toripy「トリピー」: Tottori Prefecture’s mascot

Tottori Prefecture「鳥取県」 is well-known for its pears, which they name as 20th century pears「二十世紀梨」 and thus it’s not surprising that its mascot has incorporated some pear elements.

Toripy「トリピー」 first appeared in 1997, as a mascot at the Yume Minato Expo「夢みなと博覧会」 and since then he has been a tourism mascot for Tottori Prefecture (in case you’re wondering why I used “he”, that because according to his biodata, this mascot is of the masculine gender).

He is part pear and part bird, but please don’t ask me to attempt to guess what kind of creature that makes him. Regardless, I do think he is cute!


(photo of Toripy and a tourism official taken at the Japan Rail Cafe, when they visited Singapore as part of a Tottori promotional event)

Categories: Japan, Tottori Prefecture (鳥取県) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oktoberfest & Thirsty Thursdays one-for-one drinks at Siloso Beach and other Night events!

Love relaxing and unwinding by the beach? From 5th October, consider heading to Sentosa in the evenings, as the Oktoberfest celebrations will kick off about three months’ worth of Thirsty Thursday deals at beachside bars, restaurants, hotels and attractions across the resort island.

Between 5th and 8th October, F&B outlets at Siloso Beach are celebrating Oktoberfest with authentic German beer and cuisines served by staff in traditional Bavarian costumes. Watch German music performances and take part in games including Hammer a Nail, Speed Cage Soccer and Golf Bunker Challenge.

Participating F&B outlets have partnered with Singapore’s only German Microbrewery – Paulaner Bräuhaus, to provide an exclusive Oktoberfest experience.

Enjoy live music with your cold brew.

Visitors to the Sapphire Pavilion may be “persuaded” to participate in a Chicken Dance in the midst of your Oktoberfest celebrations!

I’m not a huge fan of beers, but I have to say that this beer was really smooth and was quite enjoyable!

Some of the Oktoberfest fare include dishes like Traditional Pork Knuckle, Bavarian Meat Patties, Gourmet Sausages and Roasted Capon Chicken.

Dates: 5 – 8 October 2017
Time:
Thu & Fri: 6pm – 10pm
Sat & Sun: 12pm – 10pm
Venues: Sapphire Pavilion (Siloso Beach) and Participating Partners Venues
Participating Partners: AJ Hackett, Coastes, Flame Bar, Sand Bar, Mambo Beach Club, Ola Beach Club, Wave House Sentosa and Siloso Beach Resort
Admission: Free (but Island admission and car park charges apply)


Thirsty Thursday deals

From 5th October to 28th December, one-for-one drink promotions are being offered at AJ Bar & Beach Dining, Bikini Bar, Coastes, FOC Sentosa, Hotel Michael – Michael’s Lounge, Ola Beach Club, Hard Rock Hotel Singapore – Rock Bar and Wave House Sentosa.

More details can be found here.

I have to say that some of the beach clubs look pretty cool and the setting makes you feel as if you are in another country!

Coastes

Ola Beach Club

Mambo Beach Club

Wave House


Free GrabShuttle Service on Thursdays
Every Thursday from 5th October to 28th December, starting from 6pm, those who work in the Pasir Panjang and HarbourFront areas can enjoy free entry into Sentosa and complimentary rides to the doorsteps of these F&B outlets by hopping onto the Thirsty Thursday Bus (i.e. a special GrabShuttle service). Real time bus arrival timings will be available on the GrabShuttle App.

Guests working in the Pasir Panjang area can board the GrabShuttle service at Mapletree Business City and Mapletree Business City II. Departing at about every 30 minutes, the bus will bring guests to FOC Sentosa, Coastes, Bikini Bar / Ola Beach Club, Wave House Sentosa / AJ Hackett, Hard Rock Hotel / Hotel Michael and VivoCity.
[Last boarding at 1st stop (Mapletree Business City) is at: 9.30pm]

Guests working in the HarbourFront area can board the GrabShuttle service at VivoCity, Bank of America Merrill Lynch Singapore, HarbourFront Tower One and Keppel Bay Tower. Departing at about every 45 minutes, the bus will bring guests to FOC Sentosa, Coastes, Bikini Bar / Ola Beach Club, Wave House Sentosa / AJ Hackett, and Hard Rock Hotel / Hotel Michael.
[Last boarding at 1st stop (VivoCity) is at: 9.15pm]

The GrabShuttle route can be found here.


Photo Credit: Sentosa Development Corporation


Other Night Events at Sentosa

Merlion Magic Lights!
See the majestic 37-metre Sentosa Merlion come to life with vibrant and colourful lights and projections! This light and music extravaganza features a new neon theme for the first time!

Date: From 1 September to 29 October 2017
Time:

  • Weekdays: 7.45pm to 9.15pm (30-minute show intervals)
  • Weekends: 9.45pm to 10.15pm (Additional show)

Venue: Merlion Plaza (Imbiah Station, Sentosa)


ONE°15 Christmas Boat Light Parade

Singapore’s only Boat Light Parade, this features a flotilla of power and sail boats dressed in bright Christmas lights and decorations.

On 18 November, a lighted parade of boats will be on static display at ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove from 7pm – 10pm. On 19 November, boats competing for the top honor of “Best of Show” will parade from ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove, past iconic landmarks in Sentosa including Siloso Beach, Fort Siloso and Resorts World Sentosa, before arriving at the Sentosa Boardwalk, in front of VivoCity, between 8pm and 9pm.

Date: 18th to 19th November 2017
Time: 7:30pm onwards


Pop Up Night

Curated by urban artist Samantha Lo (aka Sticker Lady) and Singaporean visual artist, soph O, special neon light art installations will be put up at prominent areas along Siloso Beach, including the jetty, Ola Beachfront, Emerald Pavilion. There will also be interactive activities including UV Tattoo, Light Painting Booth and an interactive Doodle Wall.

Date: From 20 October to 12 November 2017
Time: 7pm to 11pm
Venue: Siloso Beach


Popcorn Movie Nights @ Sentosa

Singapore’s first beachfront outdoor movie screening series at Palawan Green. This weekly free outdoor cinematic experience combines awesome food, music and film for the perfect mid-week escape.
Date: 18 & 25 October 2017
Time: 6pm
Venue: Palawan Green (Beach Station), Sentosa


For more details on the night events, click here.

Categories: Singapore | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Hagi no Tsuki「萩の月」- A Sendai Specialty 

If you are familiar with the Chinese tradition of eating mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival, Japan has a different version of mooncake called “Hagi no Tsuki”「萩の月」. This Sendai specialty was inspired by the autumnal moon (“tsuki” in Japanese) dominating the night sky, over the field of Miyagino covered with bush clover (“hagi”) blossoms.

This is packaged in boxes containing 5, 8, 12, 16, 20 and 28 cakes each.

I happened to buy a 5-piece box of these cakes during the Sendai Tanabata Festival and it came wrapped in special paper for the festival.

After unwrapping and unboxing, I found 5 smaller boxes inside!

The shape and colour of this cake looks like the full moon, but it is actually a light and fluffy sponge cake filled with a mild-flavored custard cream. Unfortunately it’s shelf life is only about 2 weeks, so if you are planning to buy this as a gift for someone, you’ll need to make a note to check on its expiry date before you purchase it!

Overall, I liked the cake as it wasn’t too sweet and was very fluffy. Definitely a must-buy if you are visiting the Sendai region!

(In case you’re wondering – I bought mine from a department store in Sendai city, but these can also be found at the shops in the JR Sendai station)

Categories: Sendai (仙台) | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Sentosa Sandsation 2017

Building sandcastles is an activity usually associated with kids, but these days it has evolved into an artform.

Sentosa Sandsation 2017“, a three-week long sand sculpture festival (from 1-17 September), is Southeast Asia’s largest sand festival and features more than 30 larger-than-life sand sculptures.

The exhibition area is spread across 2,400 square metres on Siloso Beach and visitors can walk through three zones with different themes, which include a competition zone, as well as sculptures depicting Singapore’s unique blend of culture, humour, quirks and colloquialism. Admission is free and the event is open from 10am – 9pm daily.

Leading the team of sand sculptors for Sentosa Sandsation 2017 is JOOheng Tan, an internationally-acclaimed Singapore sand artist, whose works have been showcased in over 70 cities across more than 20 countries.

An interesting fact is that the sand sculptures are made with just sand and water! 1.2 million kg of sand has been used and 300 tonnes of seawater needed to compact the sand. In case you’re wondering, the sand will be recycled after the event.

Apparently neither rain nor wind will affect the sand sculptures as the rainwater will be absorbed (and evaporate), while the compressed sand will not be affected by the wind.

Zone 1: Our Sandsational Singapore (Singapore, Ho Say!)

This features 15 three-dimensional sculptures inspired by local culture and I found that most of the sand sculptures in this zone are tongue-in-cheek representations of familiar Singlish phrases. The sand piles here are about 16ft (4.87m) high!

Download the MixGo mobile app for an enhanced experience and watch the sculptures come to life with various Augmented Reality effects (the app also includes behind-the-scenes video features, simulated photo frames and filters, as well as gamification features).

Sentosa Sandsation

So Jialat! (Using lots of strength)

Use the MixGo app to scan the picture…

A photo frame will appear and you can use it to take your pictures.

Blur like Sotong, Gabra like Zebra (to describe a person as being totally clueless, and messes things up)

Using the MixGo app, an octopus appears on the screen!

Kelong (match-fixing)

Singapore National Theatre

Lia’h Boh Kiew (to express one’s inability to understand)

Jiak Zua (to jiak zua or eat snake literally means to skive or shirk responsibilities)

So Wayang (an act of pretence)

Steady Pom Pipi (to describe one’s ability to remain cool under pressure)

Kan Cheong Spider (refers to a person with a nervous disposition, one who is easily flustered)

Cut Queue (to jump queue)

Talk cock sing song, play ping pong (to engage in nonsensical conversation or to make no sense)

Chope! (to reserve a seat)

So Kiasu (afraid to lose out)

Tok Kong (superb, top of line)

Using the MixGo app here will launch a game:

Zone 2: Sentosa International Sand Sculpting Championship

Based on the theme “Imagination”, 14 renowned sand artists from 13 nations around the globe are participating in this championship and the sculptors spent a total of 28 hours over three and a half days to create these creative works of art.

On 31 August, Portugal’s Pedro Mira was crowned the winner of the Sentosa International Sand Sculpting Championship, clinching the Golden Shovel Award and a cash prize of USD 5,000. Togo’s Bob Atisso and Poland’s Borecki Wiaczeslaw were presented with the Silver Shovel Award (and USD 2,500) and the Bronze Shovel Award (and USD 1,500) respectively.

The winning sand sculptures were judged based on various criteria including concept, design, originality, three-dimensionality of the works, as well as carving technique.

[Belgium] …if cats got bigger? by David Enguerrand

[Canada] Tropical Splendor by Michel Lepire

[Czech Republic] Lion City by Jakub Zimacek

[France] The world through children’s eyes by Benoit Dutherage

[India] Save our Oceans by Sudarsan Pattnaik

[Italy] Smog City by Leonardo Ugolini

[Mexico] Way (or Uay) by Calixto Molina

[The Netherlands] Entangled by Marielle Heessels

[Poland] Evolution by Borecki Wiaczeslaw (Bronze Shovel Award)

[Portugal] Broken Heart by Pedro Mira (Gold Shovel Award)

View from the other side of the sand sculpture:

[Russia] Dreams by Aleksei Shchitov

[Spain] Everything can be possible, so why not? by Cuesta Marin Montserrat

[Spain] Game Over by Sergio Ramirez

[Togo] The Drive of Illusion by Bob Atisso (Silver Shovel Award)

Zone 3: Shifting Sand 2

In this last zone, JOOheng commemorates his 20th year of transforming ordinary sand into incredible artworks through a series of interactive sand art pieces.

Visitors can “step into” the art pieces and become part of the artwork.

A different theme is planned for each weekend and those who visit between Mondays and Thursdays will be able to witness the artist at work.

Week 2 (work in progress):

On the final weekend (15-17 September), JOOheng will be sculpting a vision of Singapore in the year 2040, based on a winning sketch submitted by a local child aged 5-12 years old who will imagine how it will be like to live and play in future Singapore, and what makes us a happy and cohesive nation.

Sentosa Islander members will get the exclusive opportunity to snap a photo with the interactive sand artwork from Fridays to Sundays*, from 12pm to 9pm. Simply flash your Islander membership card to enter the photo area and have your photo taken with JOOheng’s interactive sand art! You will need to provide your email address or mobile phone number, so that the photograph can be sent to you.
*Only valid on the following dates: 1-3, 8-10, 15-17 September 2017, from 12pm – 9pm.

People’s Choice Awards
Visitors to this sand festival can take part in the People’s Choice Awards and pick their favourite sand sculpture by taking a photo with their favourite sand artwork, posting it on Instagram with the hash tags #SentosaSandsation and #SandsationalContest, plus stating the reason(s) for their choice. One winner will be drawn from the entries featuring the most popular sculpture, and this person will get to enjoy a 2D1N Sentosa staycation package. The results of the People’s Choice Awards will be announced after 20 September.

Event Details
Date: 1 – 17 September 2017

Time: 10am – 9pm daily

Venue: Siloso Beach, Sentosa

Admission: Free
(Note: Island admission and parking charges apply)

Getting There: Guests can enter the island for free via the Sentosa Boardwalk, or take SBS Transit’s Service 123 to get to Sentosa’s Beach Station.

As part of the resort island’s 45th anniversary celebrations, from 4-10 September 2017, Singapore residents will also enjoy free entry to Sentosa with a waiver of charges for the Sentosa Express monorail and gantry fees for cars, as well as free rides on Sentosa’s on-island cable car line which brings guests directly to the Siloso Point Station where the event is. The free cable car ride starts from the Merlion Station at Imbiah (opposite the Sentosa Express Imbiah Station).

Those who are making their way from Beach Station can hop onto the Beach Tram and get off at Mega Adventure, where you can find the entrance to the sand festival.

Categories: Singapore | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Suehiro Ramen Honpo 「末廣ラーメン本舗」

After looking for recommendations for good food in Akita city, I came across this ramen chain Suehiro Ramen Honpo「末廣ラーメン本舗」, which has several branches across Japan, but mainly in the Tohoku area. One of their branches can be found at the JR Akita station, but many Japanese reviewers said that the food quality is much better at the main branch of this ramen chain.

Thus, I decided to go look for 「末廣ラーメン本舗 秋田山王本店」 – if you don’t understand Japanese, the word 本店 means the main branch (otherwise known as the very first shop which the chain started from).

It took us 30min to walk there from JR Akita station and it was definitely worth the effort!

The shopfront looks like an old traditional Japanese building. Upon entering, we found that there were only 10 counter seats.

The recommended dish is “Chukka Soba“「中華そば」, which is basically ramen noodles with a generous serving of pork slices in a delicious dark soy sauce soup base.

Diners have to use the vending machine located at the entrance, to purchase tickets for your food and then hand the tickets over to the chef at the counter.

Chukka Soba「中華そば」

I went with the recommended dish and it was absolutely delicious! The soup broth was flavourful and wasn’t overly salty, unlike most Japanese ramen. It tasted very much like a soy sauce pork dish that my late grandmother used to cook for me and thus it really warmed my heart and stomach!

Do note that the ramen is usually topped with spring onions (i.e. scallions), but due to my allergies, I requested for them to be omitted.

中華そばがおすすめです。スープに濃い醤油味、すごく美味しい!

If you love spring onions in your bowl of noodles, you can help yourself to as much as you want from the big bowl of spring onions placed at the counter. Unfortunately, the two elderly men who run this restaurant did not allow me to take any photos of the counter and the cooking area, so I can’t show it to you. I found it amusing that this bowl of free-flow spring onions seemed to be the highlight for many Japanese foodies who visit this ramen shop.

Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the food here and it’s definitely worth a try if you visit Akita!

Address:
末廣ラーメン本舗 秋田山王本店
2 Chome-2-4 Sannō, Akita-shi, Akita-ken 010-0951, Japan.
秋田県秋田市山王2-2-4 日興ビル1F (NHK横)
[Map]

Getting there:
30min walk from JR Akita station.
An 8-min ride on the Akita Chuo Bus from the West exit of JR Akita station. Alight at the “Akita Prefectural Office No. 2 Government Building”「県庁第二庁舎前」and it’s a 2-min walk from the bus stop.
秋田駅からラーメン屋まで歩いて三十分です。
秋田駅西口から秋田中央交通バスで8分「県庁第二庁舎前」下車、徒歩2分。

Opening Hours:
10am to 2am, but the shop may close anytime if the soup stock goes wrong or if the shop is in need of cleaning.
Typically closed on Mondays, but this is still subjected to changes.

Categories: Akita (秋田), Akita Prefecture (秋田県), Japan | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Babahera Ice「ババヘラアイス」- a Rose-shaped ice cream sold by Grannies in Akita!

Babahera Ice「ババヘラアイス」 is an ice cream that is well known in Akita. These are usually sold from pushcarts along the streets by old ladies dressed in bright yellow and red aprons and donning yellow headscarves.

The name “Babahera” comes from the Japanese words baba「ババ」, a nickname for old women or grandmothers and hera「ヘラ」, which is the ice cream scoop or spatula.

The uniqueness of these roadside vendors is that they scoop the ice cream into the shape of a rose! There is only one flavour available – banana, which is not in my list of favourites.

The ice cream wasn’t of the creamy kind and its texture felt more like a slushee. Tastewise, the Minions would probably enjoy the banana flavour more than I did, but it was still an icy treat to cool you down on a hot summer’s day! One serving of babahera ice costs ¥200.

I had seen many of these grannies selling babahera ice during my walk in Akita City, but only this particular lady, who had strategically parked her cart along the pedestrian arcade in front of the JR Akita station, was a spritely character and she did a little dance whilst scooping the ice cream! If you are visiting Akita, do look out for this friendly granny with a big warm smile!

Categories: Akita (秋田), Akita Prefecture (秋田県), Japan | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.