Monday, January 27, 2014

~ Reunion Lunch @ Hotpot Culture ~

Steamboat is a popular and traditional reunion meal as everyone gets to crowd around the table and cook their favourite dish inside the hot pot of soup. This year, due to my dad's health considerations, we decided to go to Hotpot Culture for our reunion lunch.

Although we have been to Hotpot Culture many times for their porridge buffet which offers 24 buffet dishes and free flow of homemade barley at $8.80++, it was our first time trying out their steamboat spread.

Hotpot Culture's steamboat buffet includes a sumptuous selection from 40 buffet dishes and free flow of iced tea or homemade barley. Each person has their personal hotpot and you can choose your preferred soup based from 7 selections. (Chicken, Hot & Spicy, Fish, Kimchi, Vegetarian, Herbal and Ma La)

We chose Chicken and Kimchi soup. The chicken soup tasted a little blend and I will prefer to go for Kimchi soup for a stronger flavour. Ingredients were fresh and there's lots of vegetable selection.


Our individual personal hotpot. Denver & Gladys gets to choose their soup base and cook their own food! 

Was delighted to learn that apart from the steamboat buffet dishes, we were also entitled to enjoy the porridge buffet spread which includes porridge, green bean soup, steamed rice and other side dishes. That definitely completes our meal!

Unlike the traditional style where we will gather around a single pot, we had our personalized pot and shared the dishes. The cons would be not able to interact with all the family members and enjoy the thrill of seeing lots of food cooking inside the big pot. On a positive note, there was more flexibility on the soup base and food selection. It was a fun experience having your own pot and cooking your own food.

Pricing is reasonable with weekend rates at $20.80++ for adults and half price for children. Children aged 4 and below dines for free.

Name: Hotpot Culture
Address: 6 Raffles Boulevard #04-102A, Gallerie @ Marina Square, Singapore 039594
Telephone: 6338 7873

Operating Hours: 
Mon - Thur (11:30am - 10:00pm), 
Fri, Sat, Sun, Eves of & On Public Holidays (11:30am - 10:30pm)

Monday, January 20, 2014

~ Counting down to Lunar New Year! Prosperity Horse awaits us! ~

Whenever we welcomed the New Year, it's also time to countdown to Chinese New Year. Yes! There's a lot to do and we burnt a big hole in our pockets but the entire process was filled with joy. Here's our daily photo capture during our 19 days of countdown to CNY. 

Day 19 - Spring Cleaning

Mommy used to be the sole fighter to clean the house. As the children gets older and independent, an extra pair of hands definitely helps! Spring Cleaning is more FUN and less WORK when it involves the entire family. 

Day 18 - CNY stalls in the Heartlands

From Toa Payoh, Ang Mo Kio, Kovan to Bedok and Hougang. We have been bringing our children around the various neighbourhood estates during the weekends. Apart from buying the CNY decorations for our home, we get to experience the festive season. 

Day 17 - Chinese New Year Decorations

Sprinkle of RED around our home with the CNY decorations!

Day 16 - Festive Flowers 

Floral and plant pots are another popular items on sale during CNY period. We enjoyed visiting the nursery and bring a pot back to beautify our home and for Good Luck. 

Day 15 - CNY Greeting Cards

With the advancement of technology, many has decided to go for e-greetings. Hence, it's heart warming to receive traditional CNY Greeting cards from our friends. 

Day 14 - CNY Goodies

Chinese New Year is never complete without delicious CNY goodies! Pineapple tarts, love letters, Bak Kua, almond cookies, Kueh Bangkit, Kueh Lapis and more have arrived! It's hard to reduce our waistline during this festive period!

Day 13 - Rice 

Every year, we always make sure our rice pot is filled with rice for Prosperity and Wealth.

Day 12 - God of Fortune

Everyone loves to invite the God of Fortune to their homes. Hubby bought one Fortune God ornament for his car to bring wealth and luck! HUAT AH!

Day 11 - Festive Bazaar at Chinatown

It's our family's little tradition to bring our children and have a walk around Chinatown during the festive season. Despite the crowd and heat, it was a yearly experience that we do not want to miss. Crazy as it may sound but squeezing our way through the festive market, grabbing free snack samples and checking out this year's CNY theme and goods brings lots of excitement and fun.  

10 More Days to Chinese New Year!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Flying Horses galloped its way to Prosperity at Chinatown

Shortly after we have welcomed the New Year, the Year of the Horse is galloping its way in another 12 days time. Its our family's annual activity to take a walk around Chinatown and within its festive bazaar despite the high volume of human traffic.

Compared to the previous year, I'm definitely loving this year's Chinese New Year deco. The majestic horse lanterns are set among trails of ancient golden coins, fitting perfectly to this year's theme - Galloping to Prosperity.

Flying horses on top. Speedy cars beneath.

More lanterns and impressive crowd! 

Gladys was able to spot balloons while squeezing and sandwiching her body through the crowd. This was her motivation to continue our walk through the festive bazaar.

Since we will be welcoming the Year of the Horse, its only natural that our feisty girl chosen a horsey shaped helium balloon.

Lovely CNY ornaments hanging around the streets. 

Traditional calligraphy in action - This uncle used gold paint and I like the strokes he adopted on the red paper.

Chinese New Year is a very important and significant festival to the Chinese and for our family. There is a lot to do as we make preparations to welcome the new zodiac. Apart from taking our children to the Chinatown Festive Bazaar, visiting the CNY fairs and stalls set up within the heartlands, buying new clothes, CNY decorations for our home and spring cleaning, we wanted our children to experience and not forget the traditions of this festival that has come a long way.

Monday, January 13, 2014

~ Our favourite Fried Oyster stall @ Hougang ~

I'm a Fried Oyster fan since young. Can't explain the reason why but I simply love the texture of the flour and the starchy flavour. This is a dish that people like to savour it on its own. However, I prefer to spread the fried oyster onto my plain white rice and eat it. To fry a plate of delicious fried oyster requires skill and it's not easy to find one that suit our taste bud. Moreover, one plate of small fried oyster can easily cost $4/$5.

Lucky for us, whenever we have a desire for fried oyster, the Hougang Fried Oyster stall at Hougang Avenue 8 is where we will be! The stall is managed by an old friendly husband and wife couple. We have been their faithful patrons when they were previously located near the old market at Hougang Avenue 7 (currently demolished to build a new Condominium).

Not only their fried oyster tasted heavenly, the pricing and serving portion is extremely reasonable. You can choose from $3, $4 or $5. Definitely filling and worthy for the price. :) Their oysters are medium sized and tasty. The proportion of eggs and starch is just right. While I like my Orh Luat to be watery, you can also request the owner to fry your fried oyster a little crispier which is how my hubby loves this dish to be. A scoop of white rice with Orh Luat is a PERFECT combi for me!

Our family also adores their Char Kway Teow ($2.50 or $3). They are not stingy with the cockles and I love its sweetness. Yes! I also prefer my Char Kway Teow to be watery and this dish fits it all!

Usually, we'll order a small plate of Char Kway Teow and a small plate of Fried Oyster for all to share.
The stall is located within a coffeeshop underneath a multi-storey carpark. It is our favourite dining hide-out and there are also other stalls which serves decent local food like Prata and Chze Char.

Name: Hougang Fried Oyster
Location: Blk 435A, Hougang Avenue 8 (Multi-storey carpark), S531435

Thursday, January 9, 2014

~ Bao Today (包今天茶餐厅) - Marina Square ~

Whenever I passed by Bao Today, it always reminds me of the Legend of Justice Bao because of it's name "包今天" sounding similar to "包青天". Stepping into the restaurant outlet at Marina Square, Bao Today offers dim sum and other traditional delicacies at a reasonable price.  

It was a dinner date with Jo, a good friend of ours and our kids' favourite aunt. :) We did not order their signature buns but tried their Fried Spring Roll and Crispy Fried Golden Dumplings as starters.

The fried dumplings and spring rolls were crispy but I find it a little too oily. Stuffing was filling and tasty. The children seems to like both dishes while waiting for their 'main course'.

Fried Spring Rolls ($3.80)

Crispy Fried Golden Dumplings ($6.80)

Hubby always has a liking for curry and with no doubt, he ordered Curry Chicken with rice ($6.80). It wasn't very spicy but the curry flavour was robust and thick. Chicken was tender and it goes well with the rice.

I had a go with the Braised Pork and Char Siew with Rice ($7.80). The braised pork was tender and not too fatty. Char siew meat was cut into thin slices and chewy. I particularly like the sauce and sweetness of the meat.

Seafood baked rice ($8.80) was our kids' top choice. This is a pretty cheesy dish with scallops and prawns within the baked rice. The rice was fragrant and the serving is just nice for our children.

Milk Tea ($2.50)for me and Hubby.

Milo Dinosaur ($2.80) for the children

Denver & Gladys having a great time with Jo. :) See the similarities? ^_^ 

Dining at Bao Today involves no service charge but there is a 7% GST charge. Our final bill was about $55. Pretty affordable for a decent family meal in the shopping mall.

Name: Bao Today (包今天茶餐厅) - Marina Square Outlet
Address: 6 Raffles Blvd, #02-234, Marina Square, Singapore 039594

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

~ Cruising the Singapore River ~

Thanks to Bunc Hostel, we were given 4 free tickets to the Singapore River Cruise. It was our first time taking the 40 minutes water taxi ride and we enjoyed the journey while snapping pictures like tourists.

Our Free Tickets!

There's ample space on board and we grabbed the window seats.

Initially we thought it was a bad idea to take the ride on a hot afternoon. We definitely do not want to be exposed and be victims of being roasted by the scorching sun! On the contrary, we enjoyed the breeze for the entire ride. For a moment, Hubby even dozed off because it was so comfortable!

We had a closer view to the thousands of wishing spheres floating on the waters.  

We stuck our heads out and let the boat took us on a cruise filled with rich Singapore History. 

The Fullerton Hotel

Along Singapore River

I love the rows of shop houses along the water banks. It's a lovely combination of the historic view within the modern city.

Clarke Quay - Central

I called it "the spaceship capsule" which is a prominent, colourful icon near Novotel.  

Clarke Quay

Father & daughter time - having fun and totally oblivious to others.

We may be familiar with the surroundings but it's an entire different feeling as we cruised down the memory lane. Memories flashes back on my mind and I just can't help feeling amazed how our homeland has developed and changed over the years.

Maybe Denver and Gladys will have a different experience when they cruise down the Singapore River with their family twenty years later.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

~ Loving the nature at SAF Changi Seaview Chalet ~

Thanks to our friend, we were able to enjoy a short staycation at SAFRA Changi Seaview Chalet before the December holidays ended. Needless to say, this continue to be our kiddos' favourite chalet because of the beach, the seaview, spacious rooms, privacy and great place for friends to gather.

The sound of the waves and horn from the ships became our alarm clock. Its absolutely refreshing sniffing in the fresh air and enjoying the sea breeze when you walked out to the balcony in the morning.

Gladys never misses going out to the beach to build her sandcastle. This time, we bought her a little sandcastle kit which really got her excited.

Gladys worked very hard digging into the sand.

We prefer to visit the beach at low tide. Hubby will be able to discover little sea creatures along the coast. Thanks to him, Gladys had 5 crabs to protect her castle! ^_^

Gladys' sandcastles and her crab protectors.

I love to see the children parking themselves in the nature than coping themselves indoors. This is where children belongs... discovering the nature and embracing it.

Denver finally put what he saw and learnt at Chek Jawa Wetlands to use. He was so happy and excited to discover a sea cucumber along the coast. After sharing his discovery with his friends, Denver released the sea cucumber back into the sea.

 Apart from the crabs, Hubby also spotted other lovely sea creatures from the sand bed. 

Snail with its wriggling head. 

Horseshoe crab with only the shell left

Hermit crab in action. We tried to be as gentle as possible.

Although it was a lovely view, it's sad to see our coastal bed filled with trash. Particularly obvious at low tide. Salute to my dearest Hubby, who always did his best to collect the rubbish along the shore. Within an hour, he managed to filled up two bags of trash. There's little one can do alone, but if everyone can do their part and not litter, our environment will definitely be a greener place to be in. The ocean creatures will also have cleaner and clearer waters as their homes.

SAFRA Changi Seaview Chalet - We love to be back again soon with greener trees and whiter beach.

Read more on our previous experiences at SAF Changi Seaview Chalet: