Monday, March 30, 2015

Aone Claypot House - Family-style Comfort Food

Food Tasting : Aone Claypot - this name rang a bell in my head with the impression of its presence in the food courts. The aspirations to develop the brand into an F&B icon in Singapore lead to the launch of complete and full-scale causal dining restaurants. Currently, there are 9 restaurants and expansion plans for more outlets across the island. Their goal was to create a casual atmosphere where everyone would feel comfortable eating and sharing family-style comfort food.

Aone Claypot House is a good choice for porridge lovers as it has about 10 selections to choose from. With its mantra that food should be consume at the right temperature, Aone uses traditional claypot cooking techniques to bring out the flavours of the ingredients. During the cooking process, heat and moisture is retained. Unlike traditional cooking, claypot cooking keeps the food's natural vitamins and minerals within. Little oil/fats is used which makes it healthier.

Dried Scallop Porridge with Minced Meat & Assorted Eggs (Century Egg, Salted Egg, Egg) - 干贝三色混蛋肉碎粥 ($9.90)

I have always enjoy the natural scent of the food emitted from the earthen pots and was captivated when this pot of Dried Scallop Porridge with Minced Meat & Assorted Eggs was brought to our table. Give the pot a good stir to mix the egg, century egg, salted egg and minced meat together. The porridge is soft and savoury. I do not need to add any sauces as the sweetness and flavour has been locked within the claypot.  

Premium Dried Scallop Porridge - 干贝艇仔粥 ($9.90)

Aone's traditional claypot scallop porridge uses pearl white rice, scallops and fresh slices of fish and cuttlefish, giving this award winning dish extra sweetness and smooth gooey texture. Another plus point to note is their porridge remains warm throughout our meal as the claypot helped to retain the heat. 

Fish Maw Stuffed with Mince Meat in Fish Roe Sauce - 雪花鱼仔鱼漂球
The tender meat taste sweet within the fish roe sauce. A comfort homely dish which I thought would be nice to go with a bowl of rice.

Pork Floss "Chai Po" Omlette - 肉松菜脯蛋

Fried omelette has always been a popular dish to share among children and adult. Unlike the conventional ones that we had, our kiddos cheered when they spotted pork floss topping which enhanced the flavour and sweetness of a simple omelette dish further.

Deep Fried Eggplant (Brinjal)

Unlike me, our children are not big fans of eggplants (brinjal). However, this dish took us by surprise and successfully garnered our votes as our favourite dish in this food tasting session! Crispy sweet on the outside and soft brinjal filling within. Each bite is heavenly sweet and smooth. We had no idea that we were eating brinjal until much later. Even after knowing that it was eggplant, the kids continued to sweep off all the fried brinjal from the plate till the very last bit. This is a new dish and hopefully it will be out on the menu very soon!

Premium Claypot - 一品锅
The Premium Claypot is filled with abalone mushroom, scallop, sliced fish, prawn, fish maw and assorted vegetables. Definitely a pampering and heartening choice to share with your love ones.

Assorted Vegetables in Sambal Sauce (四大天王) - $14.90
Normally I don't find vegetable dish as appealing compared to the other main selections. However, I would beg to differ when we had a taste of the "4 Heavenly Kings" (Eggplants, French Beans, Long Beans and Lady Fingers). Apart from the fragrance of the assorted vegetables with the stir-fried mince-meat, credit must go to their home-made sambal sauce which further enhanced the overall flavour of this dish making it spicy, tasty and savoury. An appetizing vegetable dish.

Stir-fried Lotus with Assorted Vegetables & Mushrooms
A nice variety of vegetables all within a plate (assorted mushroom, lotus, french beans) 

Deep Fried Big Prawns with Creamy Salted Egg Sauce - 黄金咸蛋黄大鲜虾 ($19.90)

This is another popular dish among the children. Creamy salted egg sauce topped over the fresh prawns which are deep dried to a crisp. Each mouthful is juicy and satisfying. Definitely a pleasing dish for salted egg lovers.

Assorted Fruit and Flower Tea - 花果茶 ($7.90)

This pot of fragrant fruit and flower tea definitely makes you feel refreshed whether it is before or after a meal. Our recommendation would be having it after your meal allowing the dried fruits and flowers to brew slowly and totally infused within the pot, giving the tea a sweeter taste and fragrant. You may like to know that it is caffeine free and sugarless!

It was a comforting meal at Aone Claypot House. The restaurant is decorated with natural woody interiors giving it a warm and homely feel. A great place for family and friends to gather and enjoy a wholesome meal together.

Aone Claypot House
Location : (9 outlets)
Causeway Point #03-31 S738099
Chinatown Point #B1-47 S059413
Junction 8 #01-49 S579837
Jurong Point (JP1) #03-09 S648886
NEX #B1-73 S556083
Suntec City Mall #B1-135 S038983
Tampines 1 #05-04 S529536
The Seletar Mall #02-14/15/16 S797653
The Sports Hub #01-33/34 S397628


* Disclosure:Our family was invited to the food tasting session at Aone Claypot House. All comments and opinions are personal and no monetary compensation was received

Friday, March 27, 2015

Thank You Mr Lee Kuan Yew....

Thank You Mr Lee Kuan Yew

The photo of Mr & Mrs Lee at the Bridge of Sighs, Cambridge warms my heart when it was first shared out. Am deeply touched by their love and decided to do a cartoon sketch. While the backdrop is different from the actual site, I thought Singapore, our homeland will be what is most significant to Mr Lee, who has spent his entire life building and shaping the country.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Wang Thai Kitchen (旺泰小橱) - Thai Food in the heartlands of Toa Payoh

(Food Tasting) - Earlier this month, our family was invited by Chef Ivan Then, owner of Wang Thai Kitchen for a food tasting session. Located within the heartlands of Toa Payoh, the shop has been in business in the area for many years, earning the support of a group of customers over time.

A humble and down to earth man, Ivan cooks up the dishes in the shop all by himself! To improve his culinary skills, Ivan even traveled to Thailand to learn the authentic Thai style cooking from the local chefs. Upon returning home, he made adjustments and fine-tune his menu items to suit the local taste-buds. Apart from emphasizing on taste, Ivan also gave a lot of thoughts on how each dish is presented. I was indeed impressed by his efforts, passion and dedication to make good food.

As Ivan headed in to prepare the dishes, we had some cooling drinks. The children adore the sweetness from the Thai Iced Milk Tea, while I voted for the refreshing homemade Thai Iced Lemongrass.

Thai Iced Milk Tea (SGD 2.80)

Homemade Thai Iced Lemongrass (SGD 2.80)

When I told my 9 year old girl that we will be having Thai food for dinner, she wasn't impressed at all as spicy and sour food is not her cup of tea. Unlike our 12 year old boy who is very accustom to spice, even surpassing me! Though we are not frequent patrons in Thai delicacies, we were delighted by the line up of food during the tasting session. The entire flavour was much milder than expected and it turned out to be very palatable for our family (particularly the children).

Thai Mango Salad with Crispy Fish Skin (SGD 10)

Topped with slices of mango and peanuts, this dish had a tinge of sourness which was not too spicy for our girl. Fish skin was crispy and crunchy which is a nice pre-snack before the main dish. Personally, I thought the salad was a little dry and it would be more appealing if there was more sourly sauce within to start my meal.

Thai Fish Cake (SGD 2 each)

When the fish cakes were served, I wowed at the generous serving. At SGD2 per piece, a single piece is definitely filling and satisfying. I like the mild scent of lemongrass within but thought it would be perfect if the fish cakes can be sliced and served in smaller pieces, easier for children to manage and for more to share.

Boneless Chicken Wings (3 pieces for SGD 9)

I love the way how this dish is presented - innovative and appetizing. This should be one of our kiddos' favourite. Denver & Gladys were surprised to find meat instead of chicken bones! As the name suggests, Ivan took the trouble to de-bone the chicken wings and stuff it with fish meat. Each bite is filled with the sweetness and fusion flavour of chicken and fish. A must-have if have your little ones with you.

Fried Kway Chap with Seafood (small - SGD 6, large -SGD 12)

An interesting dish as it was the first time I had fried kway chap in this manner. While I couldn't really recall the spiciness or sourly flavour within, the texture of the noodles were tangy and I applaud for the generous serving of big prawns.

Pineapple Fried Rice (small - SGD 6, large -SGD 12)
Woohoo! The pineapple rice is delicious! I could almost see every grain of rice is fried with the eggs. Topped with lots of floss, you can see the chunks of pineapple within which makes the rice really SWEET!

Green Curry Chicken (small - SGD 6, large -SGD 12)
Unlike the other green curry chicken that I have, this one tasted milky sweet instead of spicy. The creamy sauce is a big hit among our kiddos and they were able to savour the chicken wholeheartedly. Good news for me since I cannot manage spicy food very well but a little disappointing for those who prefer it to be spicy hot.

Thai Style Kang Kong (small SGD 6, medium - SGD 8, large - SGD 10)

Among all the dishes that we had, the spice factor within this Thai-style kang kong knocked me out. It was really SPICY but shiok! I had to gulp down my last bit of icy lemongrass drink to regain my taste-bud!

Homemade Toufu with Minced Pork and Mushrooms (SGD 12)

A decent, non spicy toufu dish which is good to share within the family. 

Seabass with Thai Lemongrass Soup (small SGD 28, large - SGD 35)

Fresh steam Seabass which remains warm for a very long time, thanks to the relentless flame. It would have score more points if the soup is more spicy and sourly. Nevertheless, this is a delicious dish to go with rice.

Deep Fried Pork Knuckles (small - SGD25, large - SGD 30) 

This is probably the only dish that I did not favour as much. While I applaud for the way the pork knuckles were presented, the meat was a little too tough and dry for my liking. On the other hand, our children swept off all the fried egg noodles from the plate. :)

Crispy Soft Shell Crab in Curry (small - SGD15, large - SGD 22)

This is another one of my favourite simply because I love soft shell crab. :) The curry is sweet and not too spicy.

A sweet, cooling dessert to end our meal.

On the whole, I feel Wang Thai serves economical and delicious food that comes with a generous serving. It is a great choice for families, particularly with children to share a meal and experience some Thai food that is much milder in flavour and taste.

Wang Thai Kitchen
Address: Blk 92, Toa Payoh Lor 4, #01-274, S310092

* Disclosure:Our family was invited to the food tasting session at Wang Thai Kitchen. All comments and opinions are personal and no monetary compensation was received

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Gigantic Dinosaurs Balloons @ Marina Square

Dinosaurs have landed at Marina Square, Central Atrium to mark the end of the March school holidays. We were back on time to catch the 10 dinosaurs and its prehistoric landscape made up of colourful balloons earlier today. The balloon extravaganza also broke the record for Singapore's largest balloon landscape ever.

Marina Square has been holding balloon events every March holidays for the past few years (Giant Balloon World in 2011, Balloonbots in 2012, Balloon Carnival in 2013, Balloon Paradise in 2014) and it gets better every year.

Going into its 5th year, this time we go back into historical times where we meet gigantic T-rex, Pterodactyl and more. With over 85000 balloons of different colours, shapes and sizes, the central atrium attracted families bringing their children there for photo-taking. We were one of them! :)

The dinosaurs looked so cute! No wonder the little ones are fearless of these creatures roaming around the atrium. We are looking forward to more balloon extravaganza next year!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Permas Jaya Pasar Malam

Our latest hunt for Pasar Malam (Night Market) in Johor Bahru was at Permas Jaya, which opens every Sunday evening. From Aeon Permas Jaya, cross the overhead bridge and you will find the vibrant night market (along Jalan Permas 10/10). The mobile vendor stalls stretched from Alliance Bank all the way to the end, near Reinaissance Hotel.

Not all the night markets that we have been to sell satay, so we decided to grab some.  

Chee Cheong Fun is uniquely different here as you get to choose the ingredients to go with the steamed rice roll.  

My personal favourite : Crispy Peanut Pancake (Ban jian kuih). Not only was it cheap, it was deliciously yummy. A great pick to share with the children.

I normally keep a look out of stalls sells their Peanut Pancake with a thinner crust. It is not so filling and I don't feel like I had too much batter :) 
Other stalls selling assorted kueh, cakes, roasted meat and more!

There are so many stalls but we can only pick a few to taste. 
Found familiar faces. :)

Spotted this gigantic squid and we knew we have to give this a try before leaving.
How big was it? You can only experience it yourself. :)

It was a cooling evening and we enjoyed our walk through the night market thoroughly. Roads were cordoned off and we were able to stop and 'spy' what the stalls are selling.

If you are still feeling hungry after visiting the night market, there are many cafes, restaurants and kopitiams within Permas Jaya, explore the rows of shophouses within and you will not be disappointed.

Permas Jaya Pasar Malam
Location: Along Jalan Permas 10/10, 81750, Johor Bahru (estimated)
GPS: 1.495354, 103.816173
(Opens every Sunday, 5pm onwards)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March Monster Mash @ Gardens by the Bay

We kick-start our March holidays at the Supertree Grove last Friday. It was a beautiful evening and we were welcomed by monsters of different colours, shapes and sizes around the gardens.

Lots of photo opportunities with the cuties as they don't look scary at all. 

If you look closer, each monster has a name - Winking Wena, Lost Louis, Sunny Spark, Speedy Sally, Mental Mel etc. Gladys spotted Daddy's name straight away and took a picture with monster, Burping Barry. :D

Unlike the other outdoor movie screenings that we have been to, the children get to decorate their very own cardboard car and experience an outdoor "drive-in" movie at the Supertree Grove! Drive-in movies used to be a big hit in the 1970s in Singapore. It's fun to mimic the older days with our children on a smaller scale.

We put our hands together to fix up our car before decorating it. Luckily, I brought my markers along and we were able to doodle. Gladys got her inspirations from a collection of cute monsters bookmarks ( Gardens by the Bay) and doodled her own monstrous creature. Denver chipped in by outlining his favourite characters.

To make it fun, I doodled the side of the car with more cute monsters. ^_^

Our car is not complete without a license plate!

Now it looks much better!

More cardboard cars filled the lawn and it was a colourful sight. Families laid their picnic mats with the little ones sitting in their personalized cardboard cars waiting for the show to start!

As the night falls, audience were entertained by the Garden Rhapsody (Children's edition), a combination of music and light show with theme songs from Lion King, Little Mermaid, Star Wars and more!

We sat through the movie - "Where the Wild Things Are", an adaption of the classic children's story from Maurice Sendak, which tells the story of a boy, Max on his encounter with the "wild". Max came from a divorced family and he ran off, setting sail on a boat after a heated argument with his mother. When he arrived on a different island, he met the creatures of the wild and was "crowned" the king. Max spent some time on the island with his new friends, learning and realizing the issues he caught himself in dealing with the relationships that was similar to that happening at home. Initially I thought the contents of the movie might be too dry for Denver & Gladys to appreciate. Surprisingly they did not complain and followed through the entire show.

More activities awaits at Gardens by the Bay this March holiday and visitors can expect heaps of 'monstrous' fun! If you missed the fun last weekend, check out what you can look out for this coming week!

Other Monstrous Activities
Monster installations
14 - 22 Mar 2015, 9am - 9pm
Various locations

Interactive Storytelling: I'm A Fine Storyteller And So Are You!
21 - 22 Mar, 2pm - 4pm
Flower Dome* (*Admission Charge to Flower Dome applies)

Garden Rhapsody - Children's edition
13 - 6 August 2015, 7.45pm, 8.45pm, 9.30pm^ (^ 9.30pm show is only on Fri, Sat, Eve of Public Holidays and Public Holidays)

Game Booths
17 - 22 March 2015, 10am - 6pm
Far  East Organization Children's Garden

Bouncy Castle
18 - 22 March 2015, 3pm - 7.30pm
Supertree Grove

Monster Craft 
21 - 22 March 2015, 10am - 6pm
The Canopy

Face Painting & Balloon Sculpting
21 - 22 March 2015, 10am - 6pm
Various locations

Water Play Performance: Splash!
21 - 22 March 2015, 11am - 5pm
Children's Garden* (*Children's Garden is closed on 16 March 2015)

Monster Family Parade
21 March 2015, 5.30pm - 6.30pm 
22 March 2015, 4.45pm - 5.45pm
Various locations

SSO @ Gardens by the Bay
22 March 2015, 6.30pm - 7.30pm
The Meadow

For more details, refer to Gardens by the Bay website.

Have a Happy March MONSTER MASH @ Gardens by the Bay!