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Saturday, 30 April 2016

Happy Mother's Day at Yum Cha

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Yum Cha is a direct translation from Cantonese 饮茶, which means drink tea.  But when a chinese friend offers you Yum Cha, it's not just drink tea alone.   Food, plenty of  food comes along too!
Traditional Yum Cha comes together with delicate bite size goodies called dim sum in bamboo steamers or small plates.  This Cantonese tradition has been pass down by our ancestors for more than a hundred years.

To most elders, no matter Cantonese or other dialects, Yum Cha is a comfort food, just like how burgers and fries are like to young kids.

Mother's Day is around the corner, bringing your Mama to Yum Cha Restaurant for nostalgia dim sum will definitely put a smile on her face.

Thank you Yum Cha  for the advance Mother's Day celebration!  Sharing with you guys some nice dim sum and dishes which I had enjoyed:
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Braised Pork with Preserved Vegetables Bun 梅菜扣肉包 S$2.00/PC

Pork belly is braised in savory sauce for hours.  Braised pork is soft and tender with distinctive taste of  the preserved vegetable though not a strain of it is found in the bun.

Pan-fried Salted Fish Bun 香煎咸鱼包
Not entirely salted fish, there's also minced pork in the filling.  The bun is steamed and pan fried very lightly for the little golden brown, so it's not oily at all.

This dish 大有来头 ok!  Have to trace back to China history during Qing Dynasty, this dish was an ordinary street food.  It was said that Kang Xi Emperor 康熙皇帝, was visiting Guangdong Province, by chance he tried the Salted Fish Bun and fell in love with it ever since!

Full story at TVB drama 食為奴:
Ok, it's fiction, heehee.... I found out that there's no concrete record of this in history.  But hey, it's still rather fascinating to try something from TV drama right!

Steamed Fish Maw in Shrimp Paste 百花酿鱼鳔 S$4.80 (3pcs)
Melt in your mouth fish maw is topped with bouncy ball of shrimp paste decorated with fish roe, each looks like a bloomed flower.  This is a succulent and beauty dish!  Fish maw contains high protein and nutrients that preserve fine complexion and invigorating blood circulation.  So this is a MUST ORDER for mama!

Prawn & Mango Sesame Fritters S$4.20 (3pcs)

Thick chunk of mango wrapped with thin crispy fritters, mango is so sweet that it taste like jack fruit.

Scallop Pea-Shoot Dumpling 豆苗带子卷 S$4.60 (3pcs)

A beautiful dim sum with fresh big scallops wrapped with very thin jade green dumpling skin.

Salted Egg Prawns 沙翠蔥片咸蛋蝦虾 S$23 - regular, S$34 - medium, S$46 - large

Very impressive presentation which sets all cameras busy.  Taste of the salted egg is not as strong as expected.

Prawns are fresh and bouncy to bite on and the spicy salad in the glass is surprisingly refreshing and delicious!

Black Pepper Beef with Lotus 莲藕黑椒牛肉
Check out this new dish!  "Non beefy" tender black pepper beef, as in the taste of beef is not that strong.  Deep fried lotus root chips are crazy addictive, they are as good as potato chips, seriously.

Crispy Fried Beancurd 七味脆皮豆腐虾 S$16 - Regular, S$24 - Medium, S$32 - Large
Special made tofu are silky smooth inside with slight crisp on the outside.  It's topped with 7 types of spice mix, slightly spicy and pepperish.  It will be perfect if comes with an additional dip sauce.

Stir Fried Vermicelli with Seafood 海鮮桂花炒面線 S$14 - Regular, S$22 - Medium, S$30 - Large
THUMBS UP for this perfect stir fried vermicelli overloaded with prawns and scallops.  This is looks simple but really tacky, myself when stir fried vermicelli, it's always either too oily or too soggy.   So I super duper appreciate this PERFECT STIR FRIED VERMICELLI!!  Totally worth it.

Almond Tarts 杏仁挞 S$3.20 (3pcs)
If you love the taste of almond, this will satisfy you fully!  Crispy crust, soft and smooth almond paste, I can easily finish half a dozen by myself =P~~

Salted Egg Lava Bun 流沙奶皇包 S$4.50 (3pcs)

Taste of salted egg yolk is mild but it lava nicely and steam bun is soft and fluffy, overall it's a pleasant dim sum.

The above dishes made me felt blissful.  As much as my miss my mother who's in heaven, I hope you guys can have a wonderful celebration with your beloved Godmothers, Mothers-to-be, Mothers and Grandmothers.

If mummy refused to step out of the house, Yum Cha can be delivered right to the doorstep!

Yum Cha Restaurant and happy me, hereby wish all mothers
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!




Yum Cha Chinatown
20 Trengganu Street (Off Temple Street)
#02-01 Singapore 058479
Reservation Hotline: 6372 1717

Yum Cha Changi
6 Changi Business Park Ave 1 #01-33
UE Bizhub East
Singapore 486017
Reservation Hotline: 6789 1717




Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Easy and Healthy with Garden Picks






Ever since I found Garden Picks, a online store selling healthy and organic dried food, life have been so much easier, seriously.

I don't have to coax or beg my hubby and kids to eat or drink healthy food.  They will come chasing after me for more.

Scroll down and you will be surprise how easily this can be done!
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Black Sesame Pudding with Chia Seeds & Nata De Coco
Black Sesame pudding bought from Daiso, the pudding is light grey in color but somehow looks whitish here.  I soaked the Chia seeds with Nata De Coco and it's syrup.  When the seeds puffed up like pearls (they do look frog eggs lolxx...), I add them onto the pudding.  Preparation was less than 10mins, just that the refrigerating part takes about 4 hours for both the pudding and sweeten chia seeds.

Another version....

Almond Pudding with Chia Seeds
Almond pudding mix, also from Daiso.  I soak the Chia seeds with fresh milk before putting them onto the pudding.  Can topped with some fruits to make it more colorful, but I was too lazy busy.  

Nevertheless, was yummy and healthy with Chia seeds packed with:

* Omega-3 fatty acids 
(good cholesterol which protects against heart attack and stroke)

* Antioxidants
(so that we don't fall sick so easily)

* Magnesium, Zinc, Iron & Calcium
(for healthy bones)

* Fiber
(good for me with constipation problems, good for my children who hates vegetables)

* Proteins
(growing children needs them and adult needs proteins to improve muscle mass, stabilize blood sugar levels, and yup, in another words improve your mood! lolxx..)

I have been taking Garden Picks Chia Seeds (from Bolivia) regularly.  It's odorless and tasteless, can be added into anything and everything!

Here's another lazy woman cum empty fridge dish:

Canned Spicy Pork Cubes with cucumber & Chia Seeds
Not trying to promote canned food, but to show how incredibly easy Chia seeds are.

Had added Chia seeds in pancake mix and stir fried dishes, click HERE.

Most of the time, I add one or 2 tablespoons of Chia seeds into my water tumbler and have them bit by bit throughout the day, it makes plain water fun to drink, heehee....

Garden Picks Chia seeds are very affordable at S$10.00 for 3 packets of 120gm.
Click HERE to purchase Bolivia Chia Seeds!


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Kind folks of Garden Picks also send me Quinoa to try.
Something new to me and looks like bird seeds, heehee...

Basically Quinoa gets cooked like rice, ie. boiling and it's as filling as rice but less fattening.
Quinoa is a great wheat-free alternative to starchy grains with benefits including protein, fibre and amino acids.

Quinoa can be serve as part of salads/dishes or as staple.

Garden Picks Tri-Color Quinoa looks pretty, so I used it to make some snacks:

Prawns & Butter Quinoa on crackers
I simply marinade shelled prawns with salt, white wine and pepper, then pan fried lightly.  For Quinoa, I fried minced garlic with butter, add Quinoa and water with a bit of salt and pepper to simmer for about 20 mins.  Piled the ingredients up and it's a delightful pretty looking snack.  Chilli or tabasco sauce can be added if you like them spicy.
Click HERE to purchase Tri-Color Quinoa!


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Endless fun in a healthy way!  Also tried Garden Picks Black Forest Granola.
It's a great mix with Toasted Oats, Chocolate Buttons, Pumpkin Seeds, USA Cranberry, Black Raisins & Organic Toasted Coconut Flakes!  Specially packed for people who wants everything!

You are looking at my morning breakfast of oatmeal with Black Forest Granola added for extra yummy-ness and goodness!


Here's another breakfast when I am not lazy lolxx....  Added Black Forest Granola to go with baby spinach.  And oh yes, Chia seeds were sprinkled on the half cooked egg too!

Click HERE to puchase Black Forest Granola!

So you see, you can add in more nutrition to home-cooked food quite effortlessly with Garden Picks products.

Order Garden Picks goodies online now at
www.gardenpicks.com.sg
And it will be delivered to your door step ^.^

More updates at -

Sunday, 24 April 2016

My Winter Vacation Part 9 - Central Street (中央大街) and Harbin Ice Festival


Part 1 click HERE
Part 2 click HERE
Part 3 click HERE
Part 4 click HERE
Part 5 click HERE
Part 6 click  HERE
Part 7 click HERE
Part 8 click HERE



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Destination:  HeiLongJiang (黑龙江), China

Duration: 23 - 30 Dec 2015 (8 days)

Mode of travel: Package with Chan Brothers Travel

Flight: Air China  (via Beijing)

Damage: S$1,878/pax, Tour Guide Tip: RMB200  Local Guide Tip: S$16, other compulsory/optional tours: RMB1,420 (slit throat + heart bleed)

Currency: RMB (we rough divide by 4.5 to convert to S$)

Time Difference:  Same as Singapore

Weather: -22 to -30°C




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29.12.2015


Now I know Volga Manor is rather near the city, the ride was only about half an hour.

We did a usual tourist activity, souvenir shopping.  Didn't buy any Russian dolls, only some Russian chocolates.
The longer we stayed, the happier the tour guides.  After 1 hour, Peter and I had to catch our fellow tour mates back to the bus, cos the more we idle, the lesser time we left for sight seeing...

Ridding on another few minutes, we had same boring lunch.
  Love the braised lion heads (minced pork balls) though.

After lunch, just another corner, we reached what they called Guandong Ancient Lane.  They should called it Replica Ancient Mall instead.
This was included as a compulsory tour which we had to pay extra for and it's totally not worth it.  It's quite a nice place but still doesn't justify to pay to get into a shopping mall.  This place is in the middle of the city, smooth traffic, neither did we see any ticket booth selling entrance tix.  Don't understand where the incur of extra cost came from.

The mall was small and quiet, hardly see any other shoppers except 自己人 (our own people).

It was relaxing and we thawed comfortably.

Following are some pics of the mall which I any how snapped..
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We saw lots of finger food...






We walked in to buy some tofu.

We ordered some pan-fried tofu to take away.


Took some pics of the restaurant.  It's amusing to see big soup pots on fire stoves at the corner of the dinning area.  OPEN CONCEPT lolxx...

Our pipping hot soft tofu in unknown sour and spicy sauces, heehee....

Looked colorful and interesting but had no idea what tibit these are.




From what I could identify, it's boiled pear with lemon, red dates, goji berries and lou han guo.


Bought a cup and it's freaking nice!!  But only managed to drink half and the other half was spilled in the bus
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Awesome tea break, sobs over spilled milk pear drink, last and only pic of it in full T__T

I spend the rest of the journey cleaning up the spilled drink and scolding my hubby at the same (he was the one who knocked over the drink offering it to the bus wth...), while the whole bus was laughing like hell.  I was fuming mad but they said our squabbling in cantonese was hilarious omg......

Yummy beef pie was not bad as a console.


Our small boy tour mate managed to get this blown candy FOC with his cuteness.

With commotions and laughs, we reached St. Sophia Cathedral 聖索菲亞教堂 .
(No. 88 Toulong Street, Daoli District, Harbin 15000, China)

This Byzantine style church was built in 1907.  With history and beauty, it became a landmark in Harbin.

It's now a Museum, showcasing multi-cultural developments of Harbin which we did not enter to view while outside the church was a playground and home of numerous fat pigeons.



Burnt marks at the crown where the bell could be seen, there was fire but the building was intact as told by the tour guide.  However I couldn't find any further information online about the fire.

Roads around the church was jammed with cars, it's freezing -25 degrees but people were walking and shopping like normal.

After a brief stay, we got up the bus, made a turn and dropped off along Song Hua River 松花江。

In China, everything is gigantic.  The river itself is 1434km in length (Singapore is only 50km in length, lolxx..)

Ice from Song Hua River is crystal clear.

For this reason, Harbin International Ice Sculpture Festival transports ice blocks from this river to it's venue for all it's ice sculptures, of course not for free.
Oh yes, caution, do not touch the ice with bare hands, it's not funny if skin is stuck onto it.


Boat Jetty may be in hibernation but the frozen river was still busy....


I just stood from the stairs above to watch, didn't engage in any activities.

 The iced river looked really slippery to step on... Kinda lost my guts as I get older, couldn't afford any falls that may break my old bones >.< 





As you can see, the river plays an important contribution to the economy of Harbin, more than just providing fishes.

From here we walked into Central Street 中央大街.
If not for the flight delay, we could had spend a day here shopping, we had only less than 2 hours, damn sad.

Besides countless shops and restaurants, along the street, there were snow and ice sculptures.



Very nice and clean place with european style buildings, doesn't even feels like China.

 I was half running most of the time, looking for the famous vanilla milk popsicle 馬達爾冰棍.  I did my homework at found that it's at unit no. 89.
 It's a pity that we couldn't slow down to enjoy fully.

Along the way, we saw people loitering around offering tours to Snow Village and Yabuli by shouting out on the streets to passer by.  We really don't know how trust worthy these people are....





Found it!  But not too sure if it's the authentic one.

Nevertheless, it just taste like milk, frozen milk.  Not bad for me since I love milk, it's something that I'll not be able to eat again once return to Singapore.  I slowly suck and lick it till we went back to the bus, it never melt lolxx...

Opposite, a crowd at a shop caught our attention.

It's a bakery that doesn't look like one.

We bought 2 loafs, both turned stoned hard by the time we returned to our bus lolxxx...

We gave one to the driver, another one we tugged it back to Singapore.  I kept it in the freezer, steamed it when wanted to eat.  
The texture was totally different from our bread, it's like half steam bun and half cake kind of texture.  Not sure if the freezer and steaming changed it's original taste and texture, so not fair to comment about the taste.

I had also read online that things are expensive in Central Street, but well, I gotten this 19" Baymax plush at RMB69 only.

Reluctantly we left Central Street.  Had tried to make it to Harbin Ice Festival before dark, but still too late.  It turned dark really too early...
Click HERE for prices of tickets.

Inside were buildings made of ice as tall as 10 storey, it's amazing and spectacular!  I am sure glad to made it here at least once in a life time!
There were numerous ice slides as short as the ones like kiddy playgrounds and very long ones that needed to climb stairs to get up, then screamed all the way down within 10 seconds.  I probably had used up all my energy at the Central Street, I was so exhausted that I couldn't be bothered with slides already.

I did the most energy saving thing by paying RMB25 to hug a snow fox for photograph.

Among all, this snow Buddha was most unforgettable, it's about 5 storey tall, very intricate details which this photo doesn't justify.
  It took my breath away and I almost died in awe.

Photos didn't turn out too well as I don't know how to adjust the camera, but still there are a lot to share, so I did a slide show:


Since I am already snail slow, it doesn't matter to be slower than snail (blames Descendants of the Sun which took away quite a bit of my time, heehee...), I decided to break this day up into another post for our stay at Shangri-la Hotel and the igloo steamboat we had.