Hong Ji Claypot Bak Kut Teh: Malaysian Style Pork Ribs Soup

Was actually here at this coffeeshop to try the Crab Shack that was featured on tv and got my mom 'harassing' me to try, heh. Thanks for the scouting Mom. But due to the overwhelming response, they had no choice but to turn away customers; they had quite a number of backlog on hand and so warned us that the minimum wait would 2hrs.

Good food is always worth the wait but with the exams just round the corner, that could wait.

This isn't my first time tasting the Bak Kut Teh here and it tasted not too bad - some of the pork ribs were tender while others were slightly tough and sadly it didn't achieve the fall-off-bone kind of tenderness.

Perhaps my tastebuds tango better with the teochew style bak kut teh, I found myself bracing for a peppery-spicy sensation with a sip of the soup. But it wasn't the case here; the malaysian style bak kut teh here is more on the gentler, herbal side. So if you're dislike the teochew style bak kut the, why not give this a try?

In addition, we ordered the Deep Fried Prawn Roll aka Hei Zou from the tze char stall at the coffeeshop. I didn't like the texture of it, too mushy inside and there were too little pieces of water chestnut to give it a good crunch.

I would return to this coffeeshop to try the other stall but not make a special visit for these two stalls.

Hong Ji Claypot Pork Rib Soup

Blk 107 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4
Tel: 9191 2614
Singapore 560107

Fish & Co : All New Student Meal & Happy Lunching Menus

Fish & Co has spent the last decade or so serving up the humble fish and chips and has made quite a name for themselves; speaking of which will inevitably evoke a picture of fish and chips - in a frying pan - in many people's minds.

In this time of Y and Z generation, people are constantly changing to keep up with the times, not needing to say, enterprises especially those in the F&B industry needs to come up with new marketing strategies to tug at the heart of hungry customers.

In a pilot project to test the waters, Fish&Co has launched the student meal menu and the happy lunching menu.

The new student meal features up to 10 dishes, each at $6.95 nett, with a drink and a choice of mushroom soup or coleslaw.

The mushroom soup is prepared differently here with blended mushrooms cooked with vegetable broth, resulting in a thick chunky soup and not your normal run out of the mill watery and slightly creamy mushroom soups.

The coleslaw is ordinary, with the consideration that some like it better more sour or some more sweet. Hence they decided to go neutral here.

Having tasted four different dishes from the student menu, my favorite would be the sea dog.

The sea dog was essentially a fried fish (dog) instead of your usual hot dogs on a bun. There was a hint of paprika which enhanced the fish, and masked its fishiness. They were exceptionally generous with the mayonnaise that day, you can request for less of it if you want to.

This was my first time trying peri peri chicken and a new launch from Fish&Co from their usual all seafood menu. The chicken disappointing - it too tough, bland on the inside and too oily. They can certainly improve on this.
On the other hand, the chicken burger (also a new dish) did a much better job. The chicken was tender but lacked in flavor still.

The fried boneless chicken, another non-seafood dish in the student menu, was fried to a crisp. (just look at the photo!) Our only complain was that the chicken was too skinny!

The student meal menu also prompt the guys at Fish&Co to come up with a student card which you will receive if you dine as a student and ordering six designated dishes from the student menu will earn you 1 free student meal - any dish from the student menu! (Currently only applicable at the outlets at Jurong Point, NEX and Clementi Mall)

Fish&Co also came up with a happy lunching menu with the student meal menu. We tasted the 1 for 1 platter from the happy lunching menu. It was more sizable at a slightly pricier price compared to the student meals. This will be a good option for those who wants to try a variety of seafood.

Going halal to reach a wider customer group by removing pork from its menu, Fish&Co has now gone one step further to stop serving alcohols and instead serve up mocktails to its customers. So bringing your Muslim friends here would certainly not be a problem now!

Thank you to Fish&Co and Sheena for the invite.

23 Serangoon Central, #01-10/11
NEX Mall, Singapore
Daily: 11.30am - 10pm
Tel: 6634 4230

Exams & Tests Preparation Tips: Work Hard And Eat Smart!

Almost a decade of education and counting, it's been an adventure in the pursuit for knowledge, social and life skills and friends and it's not the end. Learning has and will, I believe, always be a lifelong process.

10 years of education is a must for every Singaporean and it all comes down to little tests and major exams to determine how much we have learned. Though it is not necessarily the best indicator - many students will be nodding their heads in approval - but that Singapore's education in a nutshell for you.

So okay, to cut things short before anyone of you starts to yawn. Pre-examinations preparation is important, almost essential; allowing your body's immune system to malfunction before any exams, especially the major ones ain't gonna do you any good.

*Disclaimer : This is not a 100% A1 study guide or anything close to that. I just thought since it's so close to the major exams, I'll just share of my exam tips based on my reads on internets, tips for teachers, friends and churchmates. This list is definitely not the most comprehensive guide you can find or most complete list of advices and tips, but I'll update this on a regular basis once I find something worth sharing with all of you.

As quoted, 'Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. As a result, genius is often a talented person who has simply done all of his homework.' Thomas Edison. It still comes down to hardwork if you want to achieve those good grades, this is just to help you with your 1% of inspiration!

Below are some tips on what you should be eating/munching on and doing pre exam.

Foods that your diet should consist of :

• Nuts, particularly almondswalnuts and hazelnuts - Nuts are great brain boosters. Walnuts, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acid DHA - the major polyunsaturated fatty acid found in the brain - can improve brain function and mood. While almonds and hazelnuts are packed full of vitamin E, which helps to improve brain power. Hence, daily intake of nuts will lead to better grades. So nut lovers, you can go nuts over nuts now!

• Fruits such as berries and avocado - Avocado contains the healthy fats - monounsaturated fat - in them help the blood to circulate better, which is essential for optimal brain function. If you can get your hands on some berries like blueberries, cranberries and others, go wild for them simply because they shown to improve learning ability and motor skills in rats, and they are one of the most powerful anti-stress foods you 
can eat.
• Fish, especially salmon, tuna and sardines - Hate nuts, but desperate for an alternate source of omega-3 fatty acids? Thank God for fish, because they are your answer. 'Oily' fishes like salmon, tuna and sardines contains a substantial amount of omega-3 fatty acids in them, which will do your brain good. However, try to avoid fishes like swordfish, shark or king mackerel because they are high in mercury which is bad for health.

• Eggs - Scrambled, hard boiled, half boiled, fried, cook it any way you like and enjoy them for a hearty breakfast. They contain choline, the 'vitamin-B' like substance that our body needs, and it helps to improve our brain's memory. Do take note that it's found in the egg's yolk and not the whites, but the yolk are high in cholesterol so moderation is key! 2 eggs per day is the daily intake recommendation.

Trail Mix - Trail mixes are basically a ziplock bag full of nuts, dried fruits, oats and others, depending on your own personal preferences, and it makes a good snack during your study time. You can easily conjure your own with the recommended food items above, like nuts, dried berries, oats etcs. Be sure to cut down on the salt and sugar; buy baked and unsalted nuts and pure dried fruits!

Other nitty gritty things to take note of :

• Exercise regularly - Regular exercise is beneficial to all and exams are no excuse to stop them but instead, it's the time where you should do more! Exercise is an excellent way of releasing stress, boosting your immune system and will help to enhance your focus on the books. This will ensure that you do not fall sick easily with the stress build up and give germs an easy entry. You can play your favourite sport, go cycling, jogging or just about anything that keeps you active for at least 30mins.

• Be constant with your revision and turn off all distractions - Distractions can come in all forms nowadays - mobile phones, computers, iPads, music etc. Turn these off or stay away from them if you know you can't stand in the face of temptation. Be focus and clear about what you really want to achieve. Good grades or play? Don't allow yourself to go off track, take a 5 mins break for every 30 mins of studying if need be. Pray before you start your revision, if you are a Christian like me, God will help to keep you focus and on track.

• Power naps - Power naps are not naps; they are short, 15 mins rests. The optimum time for a power is - according to the internet - 10-15 mins and if you tend to fall into a slumber for an hour, it'll make you even more tired. So set an alarm or get someone to wake you up if you tend to over sleep!

In short : study hard, eat smart, focus, and you will be able to obtain the results that you want! All the best, jiayou!

And if you are reading this, I just want to say a little prayer for you:

'Dear Jesus, as the time approaches for us to take our major exams, our nerves may be wrecked, we may feel insecure and a storm might be brewing inside our hearts, but let us take heart and keep faith in you Lord. Guide us throughout this journey as we trust in you that you'll be with us, give us the clarity of mind and the peace we need as we prepare and take each exam. Let us live in your grace and faithfulness daily. May all the glory go unto you Lord, thank you Jesus. In Jesus' most precious name I pray, Amen.'

All the best and here's a little verse of encouragement : The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. - Deuteronomy 31:8

God bless.

Kay Fiery Grill Express : Tender And Juicy Chicken Chop

Situated within the same coffeeshop as the famous TipTop Curry Puff - and a few other famous stalls - is the Kay Fiery Grill Express. The coffeeshop is not very prominent but it's located right next to the Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic.

I was craving for western food all of sudden that night and being the only western food stall in the coffeshop, I decided to give this stall a go.

They do not have a very extensive menu here, offering the usual western food dishes here such as chicken chops, pork chop, steaks and etc. They categorize their dishes under three main categories: main with fried rice, main with spaghetti and main with side dishes.

You don't get to select your sides dishes; Everyone is served french fries, baked beans and coleslaw.

I was feeling a little adventurous and ordered the lamb loin with rosemary ($9.90). It was a disappointment; I ordered medium rare but the lamb loins came out well done and a little tough at some parts. You don't expect top quality lamb loins here but neither do I recommend you trying it here.

The sides dishes were average and the coleslaw was too sweet.

My mom's chicken chop was the real treat that night. The chicken, though a little small and doesn't exactly have the best presentation in the world, was grilled to perfection. The chicken may appear a little charred and dry here in the photo, but it oh so tender and juicy. I strongly recommend you trying their chicken chop if you are craving for one any day, it does the chicken justice.

Do you know of any superb western stalls that are situated within coffeshops or hawker centres but ain't receiving the attention they deserve? Please leave a comment at the below if you do, thank you.

Kay Fiery Grill Express
Hiap Hwa Coffee Shop
Blk 722 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8
#01-2843 (S)560722

Yahava KoffeeWorks @ Thomson

Originating from Australia, Margaret River, is Yahava KoffeeWorks who had very recently opened their first outlet here in Singapore. 

A spacious, quiet and tranquil cafe, with soft music playing in the background all the while, they hope to re-enact the laid back lifestyle of Australians here. The ambience and a cup of coffee here will soothe your s 

 They do their own roasting of coffee beans here with their in-house coffee roasting machine, so you can be guaranteed freshly roasted beans and not months old imported ones. They will change the kind of coffee beans served regularly as well, semiweekly or every 3-4 days. Quality, checked.

 I've been to this cafe twice now and ordered a cup of Latte on my first try. I'm not a coffee connoisseur so I can't say for sure if they serve really good and of high quality coffee beans. However, the cup of latte was a little strong for a non-coffee drinker like me, but I love the aroma of the coffee and the taste grew on me afterwards. 

I also had a little try of my friend's Iced Coffee Frappé which was sweet and carried a fragrant coffee aftertaste. Great for those who are looking for something cold, sweet and contains coffee.

 My peers drank the hot Mocha on our returning trip, initially they called for iced mocha but the person made a mistake and served them hot mocha. I like this better than the latte, it had a distinctive yet gentle coffee aroma and tasted a little milky too. I would highly recommend this to first timers wanting to try their coffee.

I had a cup of Chok Chai on my second time there. Chok Chai is basically hot chocolate with cinnamon. This didn't really work out for me, there was too much chocolate which overpowered the cinnamon; The subtle flavour of the cinnamon was drowned out by the chocolate and it was a little too sweet for my preference. I don't recommend drinking this unless you order one with lesser chocolate.

An array of items and merchandise are on sale here at Yahava, not just coffee but tea, t-shirts, cups and many more! 

They also have chocolate coated coffee beans for sale, and we tried the milk chocolate coffee beans. Encompassing a coffee bean each, the chocolates didn't go well with the coffee. The coffee bean left an unpleasant texture in your mouth after each bite on it with its brittle body. Chocolates and coffee don't go that well then, I suppose.     

This is a really nice cafe in the northern suburb of Thomson Hill, sustaining itself with the limited number of customers it has currently. Definitely a place to relax and chill out at if you're in the vicinity. Tucked into a row of shophouses, it's inconspicuous shopfront can be a little difficult to locate; Do check out it's location first before going if you're unsure of it.

They do have a pretty comprehensive website as well, you can check them out here.

Yahava KoffeeWorks
4 Jalan Gelenggang
Singapore 578188
Telephone: 6554 7080
Fax: 6554 7079

Open Daily: 9am - 6pm
Free Coffee Tasting: 9am - 5pm

Grill & Pasta : Sembawang Hill Food Centre

Along Thomson Road, in the vicinity of Lower and Upper Pierce Reservoir, lies a seemingly unnoticed and very little written about food centre - Sembawang Hill Food Centre. Here, it's a desolated ghost town for most part of the day, except during breakfast and dinner time I assume.

Having been there on numerous occasion  near lunch time, many stalls were closed and the reason is simple - there were very few customers. Only the hardworking stall owners would keep there store open for any patrons that might drop in for a meal anytime. Grill & Pasta is one of the example.

Here, at Grill & Pasta, it's a husband and wife team at work. The husband would be the one doing the cooking while his wife would take orders and assist him wherever she can.

This is my first time patronising this stall and didn't realise its existence, till my friends mentioned it recently. A few of us were actually planning on eating the Jing Ji Fishball Noodles, that is much raved about by my friend, but it was unfortunately closed. Not sure if it was a blessing in disguise, but I sure had a satisfying lunch of seafood marinara pasta.

The Seafood Marinara  is for seafood lovers, especially if calms are your absolute love. Cooked in a tantalising tomato sauce, the pasta was al dente with the seafood - squids, prawns and clams - well cooked. The stall owners were very generous with the seafood and served with grated cheese, I did not regret having the Seafood Marinara for lunch. I also loved the fact that the stall owners used canned whole tomatos and not canned pasta sauce, thumbs up for the effort to use authentic ingredients.

My friend ordered the Bacon Carbonara  which was filled with delicious, sinful bits of pan fried bacon, which adds a lot of flavor into the carbonara sauce resulting in a tasty bowl of carbonara pasta. This is definitely worth trying for all carbonara lovers out there.

My other friend had an upsized plate of Ham Carbonara which was very similar to the Bacon Carbonara, only that ham was in place of bacon. Both plates of carbonaras had my friends filled up so think twice before upsizing!

I will definitely be back on a separate occasion to try some of the other pasta being offered at here at Grill & Pasta. Come and give these pastas a taste test of your own if you are keen!

Grill & Pasta

Sembawang Hill Food Centre
590 #01-34 Upper Thomson Road

Opening hours : Tue - Sun 12pm to 2:30pm and 5:30pm to 8:30pm 
(Closed on Mon and every 3rd Sat of month)

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