Wednesday, 30 March 2011

CBTL Innovative Single Serve Beverage System from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

On Tuesday, 29 March 2011 - The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf has launched their New CBTL single serve beverage system in Singapore after their first launch market in U.S last December. I am honor to be invited as one of the media guests to witness and try out their innovative single serve system during the Media Launch event held at one of their Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf outlet at ION Orchard.

It's the first time a global coffee and tea chain company launching this single serve machine which makes coffee, espresso, tea and specialty drink. And this machine also blends modern technology and functions to create the perfect cup with just one touch that allows users to to enjoy their favourite Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf espresso, brewed coffee or tea from the convenience of their home or any locations.

Upon stepping into the outlet I was amazed by the classroom lab style setup where we are seated in pairs of two sharing one CBTL machine together with individual test kit and utensils. Each participant is given 2 types of Espresso (Italian and Premium Espresso), 1 House Brew and 1 Moroccan Mint Tea, 1 each of Chocolate and Vanilla Powder Sweetener together with different sizes of cup for making different drinks.

Here we get to test out different brewing methods using the given CBTL Capsules while the presenters explain and demo on the different functions of the CBTL machine. In the short demo we also learnt how to prepare "Cappuccino" using the Premium Espresso Capsule and the CBTL Milk Frother. Overall this is indeed a very good presentation where everyone gets to know more in depth about coffee and tea products as well as the art and knowledge of brewing a cup of premium coffee.

This CBTL Machine (http://cbtl.com.sg/machines.php) features easy capsule insertion, a large capsule drawer that holds up to 10 used capsules and with built in energy saving function too. The new KALDI edition comes with an ultra-sleek design which available in Metallic Red, Metallic Blue/Silver and Metallic White/Silver at S$389.00 each whereas the CONTATA model is available with Gray/Black at S$299.00 each. Look at the bright colour design and innovation functions, are you tempted to get a set for preparing your own premium coffee/tea too?

Furthermore with the add-on CBTL Milk Frother it produces just the right amount of heated or frothed milk for your favourite beverage such as Cafe Latte, Cappuccino, Macchiato, Cafe Mocha, Chai Latte like those sold at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf outlets. This cordless frothing pitcher is available in Black and White at S$149.00, but if purchased together with a CBTL Machine it is priced at S$99.00 each.

Here are some sample of the CBTL Capsules from the media kit. The in store CBTL Single-serve Capsules are available in a box of 10 at a retail price of S$9.10 with varieties include "Four Espressos, Four Brewed Coffees and Four Teas": Italian Espresso; Continental Espresso; Premium Espresso; Premium Decaf Espresso; Viennese Brew, French Brew; House Brew; House Decaf Brew' Chai Tea; English Breakfast Tea; Tropical Passion Tea and Moroccan Mint Tea.  I guess this price is quite reasonable to have a cup of freshly brew cafe standard coffee or tea for less than a dollar per cup (S$0.91 per capsule) which can be served at any time for our convenience at home or office. 

For your information, each capsule is hermetically sealed to prolong freshness and preserve the delicate aroma of coffee and tea. In additional, the internal double filtration system also ensures evenly balanced extraction and optimal flavour. These capsules also have a roughly 2 years shelf life from date of manufactured. For more related information about this CBTL Machine, Beverage Capsules and it's accessories, do visit their Singapore website HERE. (http://cbtl.com.sg/index.php)

Lastly I would like to thanks Eugene Tan and Joey Wong from Catherine Ong Associates Pte Ltd and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for the invitation.



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Sunday, 27 March 2011

S$10 Food Trail @ 51 Old Airport Road Food Center

Last Saturday, Miss Tam Chiak and I had organized our March Food Outing at 51 Old Airport Road Food Center together with 20 friends on an S$10 Food Trail gathering. Since we have a large group, we divided all the participants into 4 groups and each group will share 10 different dishes + 2 dessert which we selected from some of the well-known hawker foods that are available at the food center. Below are some brief descriptions of the food that we had during the Food Trail.

Talk about Char Kway Teow, I am sure most of us will have a desire stall that fried the most tasty kway teow. If you have being to Old Airport Road Food Center, you would have heard about this well-known Char Kway Teow stall known as Lao Fu Zi Char Kway Teow (老夫子炒粿条), #01-12. Actually their fried kway teow is a bit towards the sweet side with average taste that somehow or rather lack of wok fragrance. But surprisingly it is always pack with queue during meal hours. So I guess perhaps it might be that extra “Fried Lard” that draws patrons' attention towards the stall.
Opening Hours: 11.00am - 11.30pm
Price: S$3 - 5 per plate


Xin Mei Xiang Lor Mee (新美香卤面), #01-116 stall in the Old Airport Road sells both prawn noodles and lor mee but it seems there are hardly anyone in the queue that order prawn noodles. Their Lor Mee gravy is smooth and yet not too thick like glue texture and one of their special ingredients added is shark's meat which is not deep-fried like others Lor Mee stalls. The shark’s meat from Xin Mei Xiang is fried till crispy and golden on the outer skin then flake it before adding on top of the noodle.
Opening Hours: (Mon - Wed): 7:00am -3:00pm; (Fri - Sun): 7:00am - 3:00pm; (closed on Thursday)
Price: S3, $4, $6 per bowl


Xin Mei Porridge(欣美粥品), #01-91 has a wide varieties of porridge range from the usual century egg with lean pork, chicken, fish, cuttlefish and etc. We ordered their century egg with lean pork, peanut and chicken. Each bowl of porridge is served with their freshly handmade hot and crispy fried fritter,(youtiao) which they don’t sell it separately even if you want extra servings. Their porridge is very smooth and fragrance and each mouthful makes you crave for more.
Opening Hours: 7.00am - 2.30pm
Price: S$2.50 onwards


You can always see a long queue during lunch hours or weekend at this Blanco Court Kway Chap(白兰阁粿汁), #01-136. This stall is very well known for their Kway Chap and Braised Trotters. The meat and intestines for the kway chap was well flavoured, clean and fresh which lightly infused with the fragrance from the braising spices and sauce.
Opening Hours: 11.30am - 4.30pm (closed on Monday)
Price: S$3.30 per serving for kway chap


There are a few Prawn Noodle stalls available in Old Airport Road Food Center. And the one we tried was from Whitley Road Big Prawn Noodle(威利大虾面), #01-98 that comes with 2 medium prawns which slice into halves and a few pieces of pork ribs. Everyone has different view of this stall, some comments that the soup is good and flavour while others find that it seems to lack of something which cannot  brings out the unique taste of the soup broth. No matter what is your choice, it is always good to give it a try to see whether it suits your personal taste buds.
Opening Hours: Tue–Fi: 9.00am – 8.00pm; Sat–Sun: 9.00am – 9.00pm (closed on Monday)
Price: S$4.00 onwards


When you mentioned about Western Barbeque, #01-53 at Old Airport Road Food Center, the first thing that everyone thought of is their unique garlic sauce. Here we ordered their famous Chicken Chop that served with french fries, bread and baked beans. Chicken was grilled with a crispy charred outer layer leaving it tender and juice when bite.
Opening Hours: Noon onwards (closed on Monday)
Price: S$5.00 for Chicken Chop


Tan Beng Otah Delight (陈明乌打), #01-74 has being operating in Old Airport Road Food Centre for more than 10 years. They have about 6 different types of flavours including prawn, sotong, crab and fish head. And they even have a special fish otah cater for children where the otah are more unique and are white instead of the traditional orange colour because they not contain chilli. Other than Otah they also have 2 different types of Nasi Lemak available for your choice. Overall we find the Otah quite nice with the seasonings and hint of spiciness.
Opening Hours: 10.00am - 9.00pm
Price: S$1.50 for Otah; S$1.80 per packet for Nasi Lemak


If you like those soft, smooth and silky handmade Chee Cheong Fun, you won’t want to give this Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun(现做现卖猪肠粉 ), #01-155 a missed. Although there is a similar stall near our area at Chong Pang Market but the standard was average compare to the outlet at Old Airport Road where their Chee Cheong Fun was simply smoothing and taste great with their self-made soy sauce.
Opening Hours: Daily 8.00am - 10.00pm
Price: S$2.00 for Chee Cheong Fun; S$4,S$6, S$8 for Hae Chor and Sui Gao

Besides the Array of Chee Cheong Fun that we had, we also ordered some mixture of Hae Chor and Fried Dumpling. Their hae chor was quite tasty and contains lots of crunchy water chestnuts but on the down side perhaps it might due to the waiting crowds some of it seems to be overcooked and burnt.


I didn’t know that queuing up for a plate of Rojak can be so high-tech till there is a LCD screen displaying your queuing number even in Hawker center upon your order. This Toa Payoh Rojak(大巴窑罗惹 ), #01-108 stall at Old Airport Road Food Center can be consider as one of the well-known Rojak stall in Singapore. Their portion was quite generous with fresh ingredients such as pineapple, cucumber, you tiao, turnip, roasted crushed peanut and their self-made Rojak sauce.
Opening Hours: Daily 12.00pm – 8.00pm (closed on Sunday)
Price: Range from S$3.00 - S$5.00


I love Curry Puffs especially those wrapped with Sardine fillings and the outer skin must be hot and crispy. Personally I prefer those flaky crust outer skin compare to those shortcrust like Old Chang Kee. And the bonus point about this Wang Wang Curry Puff (旺旺脆皮咖哩卜专卖店), #01-26 curry puff stall is that it is freshly and handmade and deep-fry at the stall itself where you can be assured that these are not factory made. Other than the standard Curry Puff, they also have other flavours such as sardine, black pepper chicken and yam.
Opening Hours: Daily 9.00am - 9.00pm (closed on Monday)
Price: S$1.20 minimum


I have heard about this Chi Shuang Shuang (吃爽爽), #01-51 stall long ago but I always did not get the chance to try it as I was either too early or sold out. But a few ago I managed to try out some of their items such as the 3-in-1 Nian Gao and deep-fried During. Their durian paste was freeze in rectangle shape, deep in flour batter then deep-fried till golden brown and crispy, so when you give it a bite the durian paste will melt and ooz out from it. Worth trying if you like Durian but don't expect to pay S$1.60 for Mao Shan Wang standard of durian paste. For the food trail we have tried their Fried Durian, Banana and Jack fruit.
Opening Hours: Noon onwards
Price: S$1.60 for fried durian


I love to eat Soya Beancurd especially those from Mr Bean or one of that soya bean milk stall at Hong Lim Food Center which is behind the famous Ipoh Crayfish Hor Fun. This Lao Ban Soya Beancurd (老伴手工豆花), #01-127 has a very unique fragrance from their soft and skily beancurd which always sold out within a few hours. According to the boss these beancurd can be kept in the fridge for 2 - 3 days too, no wonder people always buy in bulks of at least 3 tubs.
Opening Hours: 10.00am - 9.00pm
Price: S$1.00 (Small), S$1.50 (Big) for original flavour; S$2.00(Big) for almond flavour



BONUS DISHES

(not included in the Food Trail Gathering)


I was honour to tag along with Maureen from "MissTamChiak" where she source and interview those "hidden gems" among the hawker stalls for her MyPaper 《贪吃妹寻美食》, Hawker Food Column which is published every Tuesday.


Recently we are there at Old Airport Road Food Center to interview one of the Cze Char Stall known as Mr Cook (双宝小厨), #01-130. This stall opens daily from 12pm to 10.30pm except on Thursday and they have a wide varities of signature dishes such as Assam Fish Head Curry, Steamed Herbal Chicken, Salted Duck Soup and etc. You can read more details at Misstamchiak's column HERE.


While waiting for the boss of Mr Cook to prepare the Assam Fish Head, we also tried some of the famous stalls such as this Hua Kee Hougang Famous Wan Ton Mee华记后港祖传驰名云吞面 ), #01-02 which is always flooded with long queue. And since we are early before the lunch crowds, I was number 4 in the queue.
Opening Hours: 11.00am - 11.00pm
Price: S$3.00/S$4.00 per bowl

At a glance this bowl of wanton mee seems to look good even before eating but after we tried a few mouthful, we were rather disappointed with their self-made Char Siew(roasted pork) which taste a bit of those porky smell. Although the noodles was springy and good but the char siew and wanton are not towards our liking. We still prefer the Tiong Bahru Food Center wanton mee over this one at Old Airport Road Food Center.



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Friday, 25 March 2011

Doggiestyle Cafe @ Pet Safari Vivo City

It has being a few months since I last step into Vivo City Level 3 where Daiso and Imperial Restaurant are. Previously we used to hang around "The Pet Safari" (which is just beside Daiso) during most of our weekends as my boy loves those cute little hamsters, dogs, fishes and etc over there.

Last week, after our usual shopping at Daiso we decided to pop-by our favourite Pet Safari to take a look at some hamster toys for our pet. Along the shop entrance we were attracted to this small cafe selling all kinds of mini snacks which at first glance I thought it was a newly open cafe in the pet shop.

Look at all these cute donuts, muffins, pies, tarts and etc. I am sure you would be delighted to have some for tea-break but upon closer look I realised that all these are not meant for human consumed. These yummy looking goodies are made especially for pet owners to purchase for their beloved pet dog(s). To my surprised they even have custom made birthday cake for pet too. So if you are thinking of what to get for your pet dog perhaps you can drop by the Doggiestyle Cafe for a look at their range.

The Pet Safari
1 Harbour Front Walk
VivoCity
#03-05 and #03-05A
Telephone: 6376 9508
Website: http://www.petloverscentre.com



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Thursday, 24 March 2011

Tanjong Pagar Plaza Food Center

Last week since we happen to be around Tanjong Pagar area, we decided to drop-by the near food center at Tanjong Pagar Plaza to join those working crowds to hunt for their favourite stalls over there. So for this lunch treat we have managed to conquer 5 stalls over there with 3 "Long-Queue" stalls which are popular among the patrons.

Tanjong Pagar Market and Food Centre
Blk 6 Tanjong Pagar Plaza
Singapore 810006

While queuing for the food, I saw most of the tables will definitely have a plate or two of this strange looking Ice Kachang that is sprinkle with generous amount of crushed peanuts. When our share arrived, we can't wait to sink our spoon into this yummy dessert which consists of finely shaved ice, rose syrup, cream corn and crush peanuts.
Price: S$1.50 per plate

Annie Peanut Ice Kachang
#02-36


While queuing for the "Ming Kee Cooked Food", #02-25 at the opposite direction, I saw a a lot of on-coming customers ordering this Fried Kway Teow that comes in either black or white version. And from the newspaper cut-outs that display at their shop front I read that they actually use freshly made "soup broth" to fry their kway teow. Their kway teow is served on a banana leaf with a generous variety of ingredients such as prawns, cockles, fish cake and Taiwan sausage. Worth trying.
Price: S$3.00 per plate

Katong (Peter) Fried Kway Teow
#02-14


Since we are sitting at the table next to this "Ah Seng Laksa, Prawn Noodle" stall I decided to get a bowl of their Laksa since few of us are craving for it. As I don't prefer cockles in my Laksa, I ordered a bowl without it in exchange with some extra fishcake, beancurd puff and egg. Overall the laksa gravy is still acceptable which is not overpower by the coconut milk taste but I find that it taste some how or rather similar to those "Longtong" curry.
Price: S$2.50 per bowl

Ah Seng Laksa, Prawn Noodle
#02-10


Dessert is always one of my 1st choice while sourcing for food around the hawker center. I love the traditional Tau Suan (Split green bean soup) with fried fritter or the Black Sticky Rice (Pulut Hitam) with thick coconut cream. This dessert stall sells only a few kind of dessert such as Green Bean Soup, Tau Suan, Almond Paste, Cheng Teng and etc.
Price: S$1.60 per bowl

Ren Mei Peanut Soup
#02-12



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Sunday, 20 March 2011

Domino's Pizza

Domino's Pizza has finally makes it way back to Singapore after it's hiatus for so many years. I remember this was my favourite takeway during my 2 years stay in Brisbane where we always pop-by to the nearest  Domino's outlet near our area on every Tuesday for their 1-For-1 promotion which you can get 2 regular pizza for less than AU$10.

Since last year, Domino's Pizza has re-lunched in Singapore with better flavour, products and services that capture most of the patrons palates. Recently we received some flyers in our mailbox on their value meals and A-la-crate Pizza offers which comes in handy especially during rainy evenings where we just want to enjoy some comfort food without leaving home.

Here is our "Value Meal 1" that costs S$29.80 nett plus an extra S$2.00 for our "Half and Half" toppings. I always love the idea of having two flavours in 1 pizza as I get to enjoy my favourite toppings without wastage of ordering two individual pizza which we could not be able to finish it up.

For this we have half each of the "Hawaiian Paradise" with 100% mozzarella cheese with smoked chicken breast, turkey ham and juicy pineapple while "Classy Chic" was topped with smoked chicken breast, chicken sausage, onion, green pepper and ripe olive. All these succulent toppings were all resting on top of the light and crispy Crunchy Thin Crust which was flat and thin that enables you to really enjoys the toppings instead of the flour dough. For your information, Half and Half only available for Regular, Large and Xtra Large pizza with the same pizza sauce base.

For side orders we had Cheese Onion Ring, Hot and Spicy Chicken Wings and Twisty Bread. But sad to say their hot and spicy wings taste rather tough and it was served in a pool of salty red sauce that soaked up the wings.

We love this Twisty Bread which was another version of garlic bread but with a softer, chewy kind of texture that topped with lots of yummy garlic powder.

Although we might not be very satisfied with the orders that we had but on the other hand I must compliment on their  good customers sservice which impressed us. Their operating staffs actually took the initiative to call and inform us about the possible of delay after 20 minutes upon order confirmation. And a 2nd call was received around another 15 minutes later to check upon the delivery of the pizza as well as their apology for the delay.

And to compensate their delay in delivery they also present us a FREE Regular pizza coupon which we can use on our next order too. Perhaps this coupon will come in handy for our 2nd trial on their speedy delivery pizza which might turn out better than what we had on this order.



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Wednesday, 9 March 2011

[Promotion] Burger King Tendergrill Chicken for S$1.00

(Print or download this promotion advertisement to your phone for redemption)

If you have missed out last week McDonald's 1-FOR-1 great deal. Here is another even better offer from Burger King where they are having a one-day promotion starting tomorrow, 10th March(Thursday) from 11.00am at all Burger King restaurants in Singapore (except Escape Theme Park) for the S$1.00 Tendergrill burger. (Usual price from S$5.25.)


HOW TO REDEEM

~ Redemption is easy, all you need is to flash the related advertisement or promotion in any visual form when ordering. It can be coupon print out, newspaper clipping, MMS, edm etc.

~ Redemption period is from 11.00am till restaurant closes on 10th March.


For more details you can visit their site at:-
~ Website : www.burgerking.com.sg
~ Facebook : www.facebook.com/BurgerKingSingapore




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Wednesday, 2 March 2011

[Value Set Lunch] Nanxiang Steamed Bao Restaurant

Last week I went down to Nanxiang flagship outlet at Plaza Singapura to collect my dinning voucher which I have won from on one of their Facebook event. To be honest, I have not try any items from their 4 outlets even though I am very interested to find out more about their King Size Nanxiang Steamed Soup Bun(蟹黄灌汤包) which comes with a straw for customer to sip the soup broth.

My S$20.00 Nanxiang Voucher from their Chinese New Year Facebook event.(read more HERE)

While collecting my voucher, we were attracted to their Set Lunch promotion menu which comes in two different different category such as Signature Value Set Lunch (S$27.60 for 2 pax) and Superior Value Set Lunch (S$35.60 for 2 pax).

Both of their value set lunch categories have similar items except on the "Steamed Bun and Home Made Style Dish". So after comparing both the menu, we decided to have the Superior Value Set Lunch because I wanted to try their "Salted Egg Yolk Prawns" and "Spicy Crabmeat and Pork Filling Steamed Bun".

Out of the 6 items from the "Shanghai Cold Dish" column we decided to try their recommending "Nanxiang Drunken Chicken(南翔糟鸡)" and leave the "Chilled Tofu with Century Egg" on our next visit. Their Drunken is lightly infused with Chinese wine fragrance that does not overpower the taste of the chilled chicken.
À La Carte Price: S$6.80 per plate

Making a decision between crab roe and crabmeat could be something difficult especially for those who loves to eat crab. Here at their Superior Steamed Bun column, you can either take up the non-spicy "Crab Roe and Pork Filling Steamed Bun(蟹黄小笼)" or be more adventure like us and try their "Spicy Crabmeat And Pork Filling Steamed Bun"(香辣蟹肉小笼).

At first we thought that their "spicy crabmeat" might be something similar to Din Tai Fung's Chili Crab Xiao Bao Long but when we get to taste it, it was totally different. This one at Nanxiang, the soup broth is rather clear with hint of spiciness from the spices used which makes it taste like a bit overdo for the combination.
À La Carte Price: S$11.80 per basket of 6 steamed buns

For Dim Sum pastries usually I would prefer something sweet rather than savoury. But for this round I am attracted to this "Salt and Pepper Cashew Nut Pastry(椒盐腰果酥)" which I am curious about it's taste. Overall this little treat taste great with bites of chopped cashew nut that mixed with their tasty seasoning which wrapped in layers of crispy dough pastry.
À La Carte Price: S$3.30 per plate



This "Salted Egg Yolk Prawn(黄金虾仁)" is the main reason why I choose their Superior Value Set Lunch(S$35.60++ for 2 pax) rather then the Signature Set (S$27.60++ for 2 pax). Each prawn is shelled for your convenient, coated with flour batter, deep fried till golden and crispy before coating with a luxury layer of salted egg yolk sauce. Thumb up for this!
À La Carte Price: S$12.80 per plate

To complete the value set, you can choose any 2 items from the Fried Rice/Noodles category. From the menu, we picked this "Shanghai Vegetable Rice(上海菜饭)" which might look plain but the taste is definitely better than some other fried rice that I recent tried in another Hong Kong cafe.
À La Carte Price: S$7.00 per plate

Other than Fried Rice we also try one of their noodle item which is the "Nanxiang Dumplings with Noodle Soup(南翔小馄饨汤面)". Sad to say although the texture of the noodle is springy and good but their dumplings were just average in taste, nothing fancy. 
À La Carte Price: S$8.00 per plate

Other then those dishes from the Superior Set Lunch above, we also order this Must Try "King Size Nanxiang Steamed Soup Bun(蟹黄灌汤包)" it will be serve with a straw to drink the soup broth.
À La Carte Price: S$6.80 each

The rich broth is being concealed in the thick layer of bun skin together with generous amount of crabmeat and roes. Each sip leaves you with that warm and sweet taste release from the ingredients used, but I find the taste a bit too strong to my liking.  And for your information those bun skin is rather hard for consuming as it is especially made to hold the soup broth but by all means you can still tear it open to enjoy the remaining pieces of crabmeat and roe after you have done with the soup.


If you are interested to try out their any of their steamed bun or Shanghai dishes, Nanxiang has 3 restaurant outlets(detail HERE) in Singapore whereby their new flagship outlet is situated at level 2, Plaza Singapura. And there is also a Nanxiang Express takeaway Xiao Long Bao, pastries and etc at NEX Mall, Serangoon Central. You can also take a look at their ONLINE MENU that comes with photo and price list HERE.

Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant(南翔馒头店)
68 Orchard Road
#02-01 Plaza Singapura
Singapore 238839
Contact: 6337 7446
Website: http://www.nanxiang.com.sg/index.php
Facebook Page : Click HERE

Operation Hours:
Monday to Friday:  Lunch 11.30am - 3.00pm,  Dinner 6.00pm - 10.00pm
Saturday, Sunday and PH: 11.00am to 10.00pm



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