spunktitud3

Musings on Travel, Fashion & Fun


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Yilan – Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋Just across Ji Mi Park in Yilan is Chalet Gelato, a cute little cafe serving gelato made from the season’s freshest produce.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋It’s also a great rest stop especially on a hot day to enjoy a well-deserved dessert.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋How does a lemonade topped with freshly plucked peppermint leaves or matcha freeze made with tea leaves from Shizuoka prefecture sound? :)

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋The floor to ceiling glass lets you take in the greenery surrounding the little cafe while staying cool.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋Really helpful to have the popular combinations of gelato flavours listed out on the board, and look out for the seasonal flavours. What’s your favourite?

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋All the flavours look just as tantalizing. The flavours are usually determined by what fruits or nuts are in season, and kept as natural as possible. When in season, they have an interesting dragonfruit flavour.

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Nothing artificial is added when making the gelato, just lots passion and hard work. Can you imagine squeezing a whole bucket of oranges by hand?!

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋I chose a lychee rose and matcha flavour combination.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋Time to enjoy. The texture was smooth and not overly sweet, with nature’s taste filling your palate.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋Time seems to move slowly in Yilan, as you automatically slow down to take in sights of its mountainous naturescape.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋I enjoyed the refreshing peppermint lemonade.

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋And an affogato makes the day even better. Coffee, anyone?

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋

Chalet Gelato 夏蕾義式冰淇淋
Address: 宜蘭縣宜蘭市和睦路鐵道一巷27號(宜興路與民權路交叉路口)
No. 27 Hemu Railway Road, Lane 1, Yilan, Taiwan
Tel: +886 3 933 3030
Opening Hours: 9:30AM – 6:00PM daily
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/chalet.gelato

Read more of my travels in Taiwan

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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
Address:
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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Bincho at Hua Bee – Breathing new life into heritage

Fishball Noodles at Hua Bee

Have a bowl of fishball mee pok (flat noodles) with coffee by day, and yakitori with Japeratifs by night

What do you get when you put local old skool fishball noodles, coffee & toast with modern Japanese yakitori? An interesting coffeeshop with two different identities located in a nostalgic part of Singapore called Tiong Bahru.

Hua Bee

Started way back in the 1940s, Hua Bee is a cultural institution located at the base of Block 78 of Moh Guan Terrace. Many living in Tiong Bahru would remember buying fishball noodles and coffee & toast from Hua Bee (that’s all the coffeeshop ever sold for over half a century). It was also the set for Eric Khoo’s 1995 movie, Mee Pok Man.

Hua Bee

When restaurateur Loh Lik Peng took over the premises, this ‘Chipanese’ oddball combi was born to address the laments of the residents who felt that neighbourhood icons such as Hua Bee were being displaced by monied upstarts keen to have a stake in the increasingly hip neighbourhood – it will continue to exist as Hua Bee serving its well-loved fishball noodles and coffee by day, and morph into a trendy Japanese yakitori bar called Bincho at night.

Hua Bee Mee Pok

The original mee pok seller was persuaded to come back and continue serving her fishball noodles.
For us, the noodles were a bit clumpy for our liking – we preferred it firm and springy. Still, it’s worth a visit down memory lane.

The traditional way of drinking coffee would be to pour & sip it from the saucer. People in the past used to do that to cool the coffee faster. Prop up a leg as you sip to up the old skool quotient.

Hua Bee

Say hello to Uncle Lim (in cap) at the coffee stall

Bincho

The front half of the 1,500 sq ft space looks exactly like how regulars remember it, while the back half will house Bincho, a modern open-concept yakitori bar helmed by Chef Asai Masashi as well as a cocktail bar featuring playful Japeritifs by Stefan Ravalli of The Library.
Bincho, which means charcoal in Japanese, has a 12-stool dining counter with three table seats. So do make reservations before turning up.

Bincho

Featuring 3 different sets – Sakura, Bincho and Miyabi, the menu changes daily to feature fresh ingredients.

Bincho

Cocktail Area
I’ll come back to try the yakitori at night. And definitely the Japeratifs.

HUA BEE
Blk 78 Moh Guan Terrace
#01-19 Singapore 160278
Tel: +65 6438 4567
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/binchohuabee
FISHBALL NOODLES and COFFEE & TOAST Opening Hours:
Tue-Sat, from 7:00AM to 3:00PM
Closed on Sun & Mon

BINCHO Opening Hours:
Tues to Sun – 12:00PM to 3:00PM (weekends); 6:00PM to 12:00AM
Closed on Mon