Musings on Travel, Fashion & Fun

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Tai Cheong Bakery 泰昌餅家 opens its first Cha Chaan Teng in Singapore

Tai Cheong Bakery Singapore 泰昌餅家Tai Cheong Bakery, a Hong Kong brand known for its egg tarts, has opened its first Hong Kong-style cha chaan teng diner in Singapore. The diner at Holland Village comes after a series of pop-up stores and a takeaway counter at Takashimaya Food Hall.

Tai Cheong Bakery Singapore 泰昌餅家Diners can have a taste of Hong Kong with traditional cha chaan teng dishes at the 60-seat eatery located right in the heart of Holland Village. With already so many similar Hong Kong cafes in town, I was curious to find out if this one is as authentic.

Cha chaan teng culture came about in the 1950s as a result of Hong Kong’s increasingly cosmopolitan and westernized middle class. Back in those days when Hong Kong was still a British colony, only high-class restaurants served western food and most of them did not welcome local Hong Kong people. After WWII, in a bid to end such discrimination, local Hong Kong people started to open their own restaurants called Cha Chaan Teng (translated into tea hall) serving affordable dishes combining elements of Western dining with unique Hong Kong flavours for people from all walks of life. Such cha chaan teng operate-around-the-clock serving a wide range of food at a breakneck pace to match Hong Kong’s busy lifestyle. In fact, cha chaan teng is so much representative of Hong Kong that it was suggested that the humble local diner should be listed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

For me, visiting a (non-touristy) cha chaan teng is a must whenever I go Hong Kong. You learn to adapt to their pace and it’s the best way to experience the local culture. You get to share tables with the locals (tab toi), get scolded for hesitating over your order and overhear the latest gossip in the neighbourhood lol. Sometimes the waiters are the funniest bunch of people to talk to when they are not so busy.

Tai Cheong Bakery Singapore 泰昌餅家Tai Cheong Bakery will have a takeaway counter to sell its signature egg tart and other pastries, including a new durian and cheese tart specially created for Singapore and sold exclusively at the diner. Dine in customers can order up to 2 egg tarts per person and are not allowed to take away egg tarts. Customers at the takeaway counter may order up to 4 boxes/16 egg tarts.

Tai Cheong Bakery Singapore 泰昌餅家I visited the diner during its first opening weekend, and queued for about 45 minutes. You can give your name and mobile number to the staff, and the system will call your mobile once your table is ready. I chose to wait by the diner and feast my eyes on the menu.

Tai Cheong Bakery Singapore 泰昌餅家Piping hot egg tarts are the best! I always love eating them hot when the warm egg filling slides down your throat, and the crispy crust melts as your teeth sinks into it.

Tai Cheong Bakery Singapore 泰昌餅家We started out our meal with a coconut tart and an egg tart to share. The egg tart was up to expectation while the coconut tart was a disappointment – I tasted more flour than coconut.

Tai Cheong Bakery Singapore 泰昌餅家I loved my spicy cola boiled with lemon and ginger; it made me feel like I was in Hong Kong once again. The Hong Kong milk tea went terribly wrong though, it was tannic and didn’t taste anything like the Hong Kong tea we knew. Even after one packet of sugar the taste wasn’t right.

Tai Cheong Bakery Singapore 泰昌餅家The mains fared much better. We ordered the Three Colour Silky Egg with Rice (with roasted pork and crispy pork belly) after seeing it on many of the diners’ tables. The portion was huge. The curry fan in me initially wanted the Beef Brisket Curry Rice but decided against it after seeing the actual pitiful-looking dish being served. So, presentation does play an important part in whetting your guests’ appetite.

Tai Cheong Bakery Singapore 泰昌餅家
The Three Egg Macoroni Soup with Luncheon Meat was comfort food to me, though the luncheon meat strips were really salty. We were feeling a little ‘egged out’ by the end of our meal – almost every single dish had eggs in them so our cholesterol level must have shot up by quite a bit. Overall, it’s a nice casual place to hang out with friends, and I hope the downsides we had were just nuances of a newly-opened eatery. I would probably visit again if I am in the neighbourhood.

泰昌餅家 Tai Cheong Bakery Singapore
31 Lorong Liput Singapore 277742
Opening Hours: 10:00AM to 10:00PM (Mon to Fri)/9:00AM to 10:00PM (Sat, Sun, PH)
*Note that mains are available at 11:00AM – 2:30PM/ 5:30PM – 9:30PM (Pastries and drinks are available all day)
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/taicheongeggtarts

Tai Cheong Bakery’s original store in Hong Kong
Address: G/F 35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 8300 8301
Opening Hours: 7:30AM to 9:00PM (Mon to Sat), 8:30AM to 9:00PM (Sun & PH)
Nearest Train Station: Central MTR, Exit D2
Website: http://www.taoheung.com.hk/tc/brands/tai_cheong/index.html



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Hello Kitty Orchid Garden Café in Singapore

Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféReturning to Singapore on an odd-hour flight recently, I was able to skip the horrendously long queue at Hello Kitty Orchid Garden café which opened in May 2016. Located at Changi Airport Terminal 3’s Arrival area, it is the only 24-hour Hello Kitty themed café in the world.Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféInspired by Singapore’s garden city landscape as well as the national orchid flower, the cafe is shaped like a glasshouse in colonial black and white, and decorated with orchids. The cafe was full even at an odd-hour, so you can imagine how many feline fans there are in Singapore (my dad included heehee).Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféThe café serves all-day breakfast and desserts inspired by Hello Kitty, as well as locally-inspired dishes such as beef rendang and orange sugee cake.Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféA bit of trivia – Singapore’s feline mascot is the only Hello Kitty with 2 bows in the world. Talk about being kiasu (Singapore slang for being afriad to lose out), haha.Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféOut of all the character-themed cafes that I have visited in Singapore, this cafe’s food presentation seems to be the tamest. At least I don’t see a 3-D Hello Kitty-shaped rice or pink-coloured Kitty bread around.Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféTaste-wise, I would say it is one of the better ones cos’ the food arrives fast and hot (maybe cos’ minimal food styling involved). That said, don’t come here expecting Michelin-star standard. Service-wise, it was the best – the staff were friendly and not looking stressed from the crowd.Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféI went for The Cowabunga! Wagyu! which is a rendition of Singapore’s beef rendang as it is exclusive to the Singapore cafe. It tastes authentic, although my mum almost fell off her chair when she learnt I paid almost S$30 for a local beef rendang dish.Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféIf you are there for photos, the desserts are more Instagram-worthy.Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféWhile most people ordered Camping Under the Stars, I opted for the Kitty Goes Bananas Split sundae. Cos’ I go bananas for ban-nanas.Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféFor those looking for souvenirs, the cafe has a retail section offering a range of Singapore-exclusive merchandise such as tea blends, plush toys and postcards.Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféTea blendsHello Kitty Orchid Garden Café

Hello Kitty Orchard Garden Café
Address: Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 (Arrival Meeting Hall Central), Singapore 819663
Opening Hours: 24 hours daily
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/HelloKittyCafeSingapore



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Wimbly Lu – Sweet neighbourhood getaway

Wimbly LU

Posing wtih my date at Wimbly Lu – a red & white Beetle from the 70s. Let’s run away and join the circus!  :)

Wimbly LU

One thing I can never, ever steer clear of is dessert. I have been seeing so many Instagram photos of Wimbly Lu, a cafe located in a private housing estate off Upper Serangoon Road, that I felt compelled to visit.
And with such a whimsical name that sounds like it came off a child’s storybook, my curiosity was further piqued.

Wimbly LU

Wimbly Lu was created by 2 television producers who decided to turn their passion for baking and chocolate-making into a business. It is housed in a refurbished shophouse with its wallpaper stripped bare to reveal the original red brick foundation.
The dessert cafe is almost always crowded, being well-patronized by fairly affluent youngsters and yuppies.

Wimbly LU

The decor is kept simple with a vintage touch, and I felt like I had just entered someone’s living room.

Wimbly LU

Dining area
The high glass ceiling welcomes natural lighting and together with the mismatched furniture, it felt cosy. Exit through the backdoor and it leads you to a small playground – a child’s play indeed.

Wimbly LU

The cafe serves a simple menu of mains and dessert, but if you have tummy space limitations – just go for the desserts. Especially the rootbeer cake and the waffles. Another plus point that the deserts are reasonably-priced.

Wimbly LU

Wimbly Lu’s signature chocolates are made daily in small batches with Belgian chocolate. At $2 a piece, they are an absolute steal.

Wimbly LU

My sugar level shot up by just looking at the dessert display. I almost wanted to lick the glass casing.

Wimbly LU

Did I tell you I have a weakness for tiramisu?

Wimbly LU

And marshmallow pies…

Wimbly LU

And, and, and Rocky Road?
*control, control – think of the disappearing waistline*

Wimbly LU

The chunks of crispy apple in the pies made me wet my lips

Wimbly LU

Chocolate decadence

Wimbly LU

Decent selection of beers to wash down the desserts. Sounds like a match made in heaven. :)

Wimbly LU

I settled for its signature Rootbeer Cake – befitting the nostalgic, child-like ambience
Rootbeer is a very nostalgic drink for me, and probably for lots of Singaporeans my generation who grew up with rootbeer floats. The floats held happy memories for me since they were usually family outings to the neighbourhood A&Ws.
The moist Rootbeer Cake was pretty decent, though I felt that the rootbeer taste was a tad subtle. I would prefer a stronger taste of my childhood memories. And remember the time when I weighed as light as a feather.

Wimbly LU

… and a Molten Lava Cake
Can you spot the chocolate lava waiting to ooze out?

Wimbly LU

Chocolate Milkshake for a happy ending
No wonder I weight a ton now.

Wimbly LU

When in doubt, chocolate is always the answer. Or make you feel good about your chosen answer. :)
It was a happy outing to Wimbly Lu and I will be back to try the much raved-about waffles.

Wimbly Lu
15-2, Jalan Riang
Singapore 358987
Tel: +65 6289 1489
Website: http://www.wimblylu.com

Opening Hours
Tue – Fri: 1:00 pm – 10:30 pm (Closed on Mon)
Sat: 9:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sun: 9:00 am – 10:30 pm

MRT Stations: Between Lorong Chuan MRT and Serangoon MRT
Buses: 58 & 105

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Dean & Deluca comes to Singapore – Finally!

Dean and Deluca Singapore

I popped by Singapore’s latest gourmet store Dean & Deluca which recently opened at Orchard Central on 22 June 2012 over the weekend. It is a brand name that’s synonymous with the finer things in life – “a food institution synonymous with the New York way of living”. I wanted to pamper myself with some nice cheeses & parma ham for my garden picnic that weekend, and couldn’t resist trying out their all-day-brunch café. Afterall, it’s part of the Dean & Deluca experience, no? *wink*

Dean and Deluca Gossip Girl

You definitely can’t go wrong when we see Gossip Girl hotties Serena & Blair with a cup of Dean & Deluca – now that’s Upper East Side chic.
Source: Coolspotters

Dean & Deluca is a multi-channel retailer of gourmet and speciality foods, premium wines and high-end kitchenware with operations throughout the United States and abroad. Established in 1977, the food emporium started out as a corner grocery store in Soho, and has since opened in 18 international locations. Singapore is the 8th country it’s opening in. It also joins a growing list of gourmet food stores such as Jones the Grocer, Hediard, Culina, Cut the Mustard, Le Bon Marche, Huber’s Butchery & Bistro, Four Seasons Gourmet Market, Da Paolo and many more which have set up store locally to tap on the population’s insatiable appetite for gourmet food of the highest quality (even the local grocer has opened NTUC Finest in response to the demand). For me – it was especially exciting as I had previously done a project on gourmet food stores around the world, and Dean & Deluca was one of my favourites. And now I CAN shop in one – cool.

Artisanal Gourmet

Renowned as a culinary food haven with its trademark artisan foods and handcrafted products, the New York fine foods purveyor brings a wide range of gourmet food from all over the world to Singapore, from fine cheeses and charcuterie to high quality olive oils, herbs and spices for the discerning epicurean, prepared foods and delicious bakery, pastry and coffee. Dean & DeLuca’s private label products carry their stamp of approval for being artisanal quality products sourced from the best suppliers worldwide. Each product comes with a story – There are over 1,000 stories to discover, ranging from a profile of the farmer to the way the product was made.

DeanandDeluca - Teas of the World

I spotted this “Teas of the World” set featuring 12 teas from around the world. It also comes with a Frommers-worth booklet and the ideal brewing temperature and suggested steeping time are all well documented for each individual tea variety on the labels. Furthermore, store assistants armed with iPads are always on hand to explain about the products to customers, or even print recipes and help you with party planning.

Dean and Deluca Olive Oil and Vinegar Set

This is one dashing-looking olive oil and vinegar set. I have half a mind to play a prank on my dad and put it on the dressing table. And see what happens, haha.

Dean and Deluca Feel Good Chocolate

These chocolates are insanely cute – read the label. Would definitely put a smile on the lucky one who receives it as a gift. I want!

Dean and Deluca Kusmi Tea

Really cutely-packaged Russian tea. I also want!

Dean and Deluca Coloured Sugars

These brightly coloured sugars make me want to start baking something immediately!

Dean and Deluca Heart of America

I wonder how a “Heart of America” tastes like…robust and full-bodied?

 All-day-brunch café

The 3,200 square feet Singapore store houses a bakery, shop and a café. The 50-seater café will take up 40 per cent of the entire space and serves an all-day brunch menu, something which is only available in Singapore following local feedback. I guess Singaporeans just love their sunny side-ups and cheery breakfasts anytime! Or in my case – an excuse to sleep in and still be able to get breakfast *hee*

Dean and Deluca Cafe

The café serves dishes such as The New Yorker (scrambled eggs, dill-cured salmon and chives on a toasted bagel with a side of cream cheese), banana salted caramel and French toasted brioche, and the Berries and Flap Jacks (oat and honey buttermilk pancakes topped with fresh mixed berries and Dean & DeLuca’s organic pure maple syrup). Theres also salads and paninis to choose from.

Dean and Deluca Cafe

Cafe area

Dean and Deluca Food

I am hungry looking at the display already…

Dean and Deluca Food

Dean and Deluca The New Yorker

The New Yorker (S$22) was delish! The bagel was toasted beautifully and complemented with the fragrant aroma of black sesame seeds that peppered its surface, eggs were nicely done and salmon was cured just right (mind you, I am very particular about salmon as I can’t stand any fishy smell nor taste). As my friend aptly put it – “How can you ever go wrong with The New Yorker in a New York restaurant?” LOL

Dean and Deluca Apricot Tart

Apricot Tart from Baker & Cook (S$5.50) – A disappointment I would say; it tasted pretty normal.

Dean and Deluca Lemon Tart

Lemon Tart from Maison Kayser – this fared much better with a punch of sourish lemon. I actually liked this since you can taste the zingy lemon as compared to most tarts which tend to taste stronger on the custard side.

The café has a pretty interesting beverage menu – apart from gourmet coffee, tea and juices, check out the unusual drinks like Dirty Chai Tea Latte, Green Tea Chendol or Mango Sticky Rice Shake. I hear the Dirty Chai Latte is a popular choice (combination of Ginger Milk Tea infused with Spices and fortified with a shot of Espresso).

Dean and Deluca Tea and Shakes

From Left: Mango & Sticky Rice Shake, Cucumint, Tea (note the little green tea leaf!)
I tried the Mango Sticky Rice Shake since I never had the Thai dessert in liquid form before, and I was dearly missing my friend who was happily partay-ing in Bangkok at that time…I felt that the glutinous rice taste was a bit overpowering and lacking in the sweet mango taste. My friends were joking maybe glutinous rice were on sale now since the Dumpling Festival was just over. The drink also gave me an inspiration to start blending my food into digestible shakes – mooncake shake, anyone?

Dean and Deluca Freshly Baked Goodies

Freshly baked breads and pastries from Dean & DeLuca, Maison Kayser, Baker & Cook and Bread Project.

Dean and Deluca Charcuterie

The storefont offering a wide range of cheeses and cured meats

Dean and Deluca Cheeses

The store has a well-stocked variety of cheeses from around the world. Get the maître fromager to explain the characteristics of the cheeses and their recommended pairing for the best gastronomic experience. I picked up the Stripey Jack (cos’ this bimbo thought it looked so pretty) and Wensleydale with Cranberries to go with red wine – they tasted really good.

Dean and Deluca Charcuterie Display

The charcuterie also offers a comprehensive selection of hams, sausages, and pâtés. I got some parma ham to go along for the picnic. Yes, I know how to enjoy life. :D

Dean and Deluca is also a fab place to pick up gifts for chi chi or aspiring chef/gourmand friends – the store offers beautifully-packaged gift boxes and baskets filled with hand-picked selections of the best quality items. Those with a more decent budget can consider individual gifts such as their cute candy collection. You can find other top-rated gifts here. My faves? The spice rub collection, spice rack and Snacks on the Run *hint hint*

Dean and Deluca Gifting

Take your pick from the huge gifting selections available.

Dean and Deluca Gift box

For my honey..

Dean and Deluca Gift Pack

For the aspiring chef

Dean and Deluca Snack on the Run

These candies are so pretty! Check out the Lego-like candy – I wonder if I can stack them up and eat like a candy stick…

Dean and Deluca Meat Rubs

These meat rubs look so rood, I feel like rubbing some on myself…maybe I will taste more delicious too. Heh.

Dean and Deluca Spice Rack

And my most favourite of them all – ta-da! The Spice Rack – it makes me wanna start cooking up a storm at once!

Overall, it was a pleasant shopping and dining experience. The store was smaller than what I expected, but well-stocked. The staff were also polite and attentive, always ready to offer assistance. I will be back to try the sweet items on the cafe menu, although I must say it’s a bit pricey for a self-service concept (I paid over S$30 for a main, a drink and dessert). Then again, you are paying for attentive (and smiling) service and most of all – a lifestyle. Can’t compare to Starbucks!

Here’s my Look of that Day.

About Dean & DeLuca

Founded in 1977 by Joel Dean and Giorgio DeLuca with the opening of its flagship store in SoHo, New York, Dean & DeLuca has grown into a multi-

channel retailer of gourmet foods, wines and kitchenware with operations throughout the United States and international licenses abroad.

Dean & Deluca Singapore Store Opening – Video (Source: Lifestyleasia.com)

Dean and Deluca Store

Buy away!

Dean & Deluca Singapore
181 Orchard Road
#04-23/24 Orchard Central
Singapore 238896
Tel: +65 6509 7709
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeanDelucaSG
Website: www.deandeluca.com.sg

Open: 11:00AM to 10:00PM daily