plain vanilla bakery, tiong bahru


not-bad baked goods from this beautiful whitewashed bakery in tiong bahru. from a yuppie enclave (i.e. katong), to this hipster one (the bicycles say it all) – this popular cupcake place actually also serves up a range of other items (that provide more compelling reason for a visit).

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rabbit carrot gun, katong

to follow on the brunch theme (does one post a theme make?), I’ve finally made my way to rabbit carrot gun – which is as strange and awkward (and can I say, unuseful) a name as an eatery could have – doesn’t really tell you anything apart from the fact that their owners are are probably modern types having an inside joke.

it’s a corner cafe in katong serving up fancified british, at prices the people of that fair isle would likely balk at – dominated by katong-type yuppies and expatriates all sitting al fresco in the heat (no one else but the too-cool and foreign would brave it – generalisation, yes, but stereotypes exist for a reason).

my bowl of homemade muesli served with yogurt and berry compote was decent, if small and unfilling. it was the french toast that really surprised us – thick bread that held its structure despite soaking enough egg-and-milk for a custardy inside, served with proper maple syrup and berry compote – it was delicious, and well-worth an order.

if you’re in the area for brunch, the food is pretty decent. which is to say I might come back again (although not travel specifically for) – but the prices are somewhat prohibitive (even for what is supposed to be an overpriced meal), and I like air-conditioning with my food.

Rabbit Carrot Gun
47 – 49 East Coast Road
Singapore 428768
tel +65 6348 8568
$$.5: 30 per person

majestic bay seafood restaurant, gardens by the bay

really rather good dimsum in this quite stunning restaurant set in the idyllic compounds of the gardens by the bay (one of my favorite places).

I had rather a far-too-much spree of dimsum a couple years ago, and so I very gingerly tread my way into dimsum restaurants these days, because of the very one-ness of their characteristics – they really only differ in quality. but at least this one was pretty much worth the calories (and repetition of flavors), and that view out the window is nothing to laugh about.

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las vegas, and some eating (part two)



part two of the las vegas update – during which I visit the famed cheesecake factory and jamba juice.

these chains are well-famous – one on the excessively calorific end of the spectrum, and the other a well-known purveyor of fruit-and-health-in-a-cup.

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yomeishu, the asian nightcap

nightcap
/ˈnʌɪtkap/

an alcoholic drink taken before bedtime.

yomeishu is one of those things that only adults would want to partake of, as with chicken’s essence (how is that name even appealing?) and eggplant.

my dad has a bit o’ the amber liquid every night before bed – and it’s really as asian as it gets: brewed with a hodgepodge of medicinal herbs, the japanese liqueur is meant as an everyday panacea.


I’ve seen that red box and dark bottle at home for the longest time – and it’s only recently that I got curious enough to have a taste.

it’s a pretty astonishing one – the liqueur is sweet and incredibly herbally – if you’ve ever been to an asian household and seen and SMELLED herbs brewing in a claypot over fire (usually done by the matriachs of the household), you’d recognise the intensity.



the dark bottle is topped with a distinctive red cap and comes with a plastic cup embossed with the same majestic bird atop. that cup should portion out the recommended 20ml serving – but I’d start slow, and go at it in sips until you take to the taste.

its appeal is likely that of a good amaretto or whiskey – beginners don’t usually take to its specific flavors, but connoisseurs wouldn’t see the fuss.

I’ve had three middling cups of it now, and it makes for that something-sweet I like after a meal. an acquired taste, but a pretty sophisticated one that deserves savoring – and even better that it comes with those health benefits, eh?

my point here, though, is that you should never diss your parents for their weird drinking and eating habits – you’ll grow up into them someday (and ain’t that the thing that really bites?)

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las vegas, and some eating (part one)


nothing says las vegas like bright neon lights advertising a bit of harmless (or not quite so harmless) gambling.

I’ve got to admit, it’s not my favorite city. I associate las vegas with stale smoke, seedy joints (even the hotel lobbies feel seedy in nice places), and loud, aggressive people. the last time I visited this place, I was young enough that only the sphinx made an impression, and this time – I can add exorbitantly cut-throat expensive dining to that list of why-I’m-not-so-impressed.

I was there for work, which meant limited time to enjoy their many food options, although I did have the chance to try out what the land-of-blue-and-red is really known for: their not-quite-fast-food-(but-almost) diner-eateries.


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ampang yong tau foo, katong

good ampang yong tau foo at this old joint in the totally chill neighborhood that is katong – the ampang designation indicates that the soya beancurd is here stuffed with a seasoned minced meat paste, instead of the typical fish paste.

the store serves only rice and the yong tau foo, which comes in a soup that is too salty for drinking but just nice for flavoring – you can pick from the available selection, or just more easily, just ask for a 1-2-3-4-person (you get the idea) portion of mixed items.

the combination comes with a couple of fish- and meatballs, tofu beancurd and meat-stuffed vegetables pieces (appreciating the stuffed chilli is truly an indication of adulthood), and a bowl of rice to go with.

but always ask for additional pieces of the deep-fried beancurd skin – and eat it the way the british eat biscuits with tea: give it enough time for the soup to get absorbed, but not so much that it loses all its crispiness.

it’s been a family go-to for many years now, and there aren’t many places where you can get your fix of proper yong tau foo, much less the ampang-style. this place is run by chinese malaysians, which seems to indicate that it might serve up something pretty authentic (ampang is also a place in malaysia’s capital) – but regardless, the endless crowds at mealtimes is more than testament to the quality of the simple offerings here.

Ampang Yong Tau Foo
225 East Coast Road
Singapore 428922
tel +65 6345 3289
$.5: 10-ish

prime gyu-kaku, chijmes

decent bbq-it-yourself wagyu (and more) at this newly-refurbished outlet of the gyu-kaku chain at chijmes.

the once-chapel has been redone, with a long stretch of mid-ranging japanese restaurants serving a range of specialties, from ramen to tonkatsu. this one specialises in beef, of course, with the marbled styles dominating a menu broken up with sides and a couple seafood options.

it’s easy eating – a comfortable casual-ish environ and good slabs of meat. and is it just me, or can you stare at that meat-flipping gif forever?

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monster curry, ion orchard

a seriously HUGE plate of rice with delicious japanese curry and fried peripherals at this small not-a-stall-not-yet-a-cafe at the basement of the ion shopping mall.

my sister is a big fan, so of course we had to try it sometime – I do enjoy japanese curries and their tendency toward the spicey-without-the-spicy, chock-full of soft carrots and taters, and it also reminds me of cold london winters and easy post-school meals.

this has one of those gimmicky customizable heat levels, enabled by varying squirts of chilli sauce squeezed into the same base curry – which is flavorful, pleasingly thick (not in a cornflour sort of way) and immensely eatable.

and also, make sure you share. the portions are huge.

we went for the combo, which had EVERYTHING: golden-brown pork and fish cutlets, shrimp tempura and boiled pork slices topped with cheese, all sitting in a moat of curry with a bank of good japanese short-grain rice.

and it was good. we enjoyed it immensely until perhaps the third-last bite, after which it was a little nauseating from the richness and sheer size. my favorite was the large, tender white fish fillet – I’d steer clear of the shrimp, which had a loose tempura coating that wasn’t cooked well enough.

next time (probably months later, given how stuffed I felt at the end), I’ll just get the large fish fillet, with the omelette option.

Monster Curry (ION Orchard Outlet)
#B4-52 ION Orchard
2 Orchard Turn
Singapore 238801
tel +65 6509 4555
$$: ten-ish a person

brewerkz, dempsey

good, quick-and-dirty american food at this chain of restaurants across singapore. mostly popular with the drinking crowd (unsurprising given the name of this place, and their booze-making status), I’ve recently rediscovered this place, as well as my love for comforting, gut-filling american dining.

there’s a certain impatience that comes with age – it’s got to be age or disposition, and I prefer to blame the first – and a meal of ribs and burgers is exactly the thing when you’re not into a foamy, decorated plate.

I had the pulled pork burger – a mass of meat bound with barbecue sauce and topped with thick slices of pickled jalapeno. the chillis pack a mild heat that creeps up on you, and the sauce could be a little cloying if you’re going bun-less (so don’t). it’s quite a generous mound of meat, so eat whatever doesn’t fit between the buns with the crisp salad on the side.

you get a choice of sides – and I usually go for just a salad, but the onion rings are thick and pretty decent, even if it came slightly greasy this time. and if you’re into beer – their daily specials are usually a tad cheaper than the other menu options.

the dempsey hill outlet is a little dark and small – basically a porch with a couple indoor seats – and doesn’t have the character of the one at riverside point. but it’s still a decent place to get a meal (without overpaying, as the locale would typically require), and relax at the end of a long day.

Brewerkz Microbrewery
18 Dempsey Road
Singapore 249677
tel +65 6634 1229
$$: easily under thirty a person, which is almost a steal