Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Shang Social MRKT – Casual Dining by Shangri-La Group

Dry Bamboo Noodle with Dark Soya Sauce and Crispy Pork Lard

Shang Social at Jewel is the Shangri-La Group first venture in standalone dining establishment outside of a hotel setting. The menu is curated by three Shangri-la’s Master Chef, specialised in Cantonese, Huaiyang and Sichuan cuisine. Shang Social is divided into three sections: formal DINING space, the casual MRKT and BAR to cater to every dining occasion.

Shang Social MRKT

LD and I have eaten at DINING and MRKT a few of times. This review is focused on Shang Social MRKT (‘MRKT’). Our last visit to MRKT is during the last week of March 2020, where MRKT is offering 50% discount for dim sum and dessert.

Shang Social MRKT

MRKT is focused on casual dining and retail market place. The menu consists of dim sum menu, Cantonese Roast, Comfort food of noodle, congee and rice.

The Menu Part 1

The Menu Part 2

Let’s begin the review from the dim sum selections:
Har Gow ($5.80, 3 pcs) & Siew Mai ($5.80, 4 pcs). The har gow has a nice crystal skin, supple with refreshing crunchy shrimp. For current restaurant standard, the size of the har gow can be considered small and it is easily consumed with one bite. The Siew Mai is juicy and succulent, topped with tobiko like the traditional way.

Har Gow

Siew Mai

Char Siew Bao ($5.80, 3 pcs). Fluffy bao with juicy and sweet char siew fillings.

Char Siew Bao

Pan-Fried Turnip Cake with Chinese Sausage ($5.80, 3 pcs). Crispy externally, moist internally and bursting with flavours from the lap cheong.

Pork Rib and Taro with Black Bean Sauce ($5.80). The pork ribs are tender and tasty, while the taro has a slight crunchiness to it. The black bean flavour is very subtle, you won’t notice it unless you see the black bean on top.

Pork Rib and Taro with Black Bean Sauce 

Chicken Feet with Bean Sauce ($5.80). A well balanced marinated which is sweet with a hint of spicy. The skin easily comes off the bones, allowing you easy access to devour it.

Chicken Feet with Bean Sauce

Pan-Fried Beancurd Skin Roll with Prawn ($5.80, 3 pcs). A thin layer of beancurd skin, filled with prawn paste. The prawn paste is bouncy and tasty; however, I find the beancurd skin is too thin & light, and it was slightly burnt for my liking.

Pan-Fried Beancurd Skin Roll with Prawn

Pan-Fried Beancurd Skin Roll with Prawn

Signature Pan Fried Bun with Pork ($2.50 per pc) and Suzhou Baked Minced Pork Bun ($2.50 per pc) are supposed to be the signature dim sums here. However, during our last visit, both these dishes were disappointing. The baked pork bun filling is sticky and lumpy. The skin is thin and fluffy, almost like tau sar pia.  For the pan-fried bun, the fillings also lumpy, missing the bursting meat jus. It seems the buns are overcooked and the jus dissipate.

Signature Pan Fried Bun with Pork

Signature Pan Fried Bun with Pork

Beng Hiang Kong Bak Bao ($7.60 for 2 pcs). The lotus bun is soft and fluffy. The pork belly is well seasoned and braised till fork tender. The ingredients for a delicious Kong Bak Bao is there, however, my peeve is with the size of the pork belly. Usually, the thickness of the pork belly should be the same as one side of the bun. This time around the pork belly is very thin, the thickness is less than one side of the bun. It is so thin, easily fall apart and easily cover by the lotus bun.

Beng Hiang Kong Bak Bao 

Moving on the rest dishes and noodles.

Four Treasures – Meat Ball, Pig Liver, Intestines, Stomach ($18.00). The first time LD and I tried this; we were impressed. The liver is smooth and velvety, the meatball is tasty and crunchy, the stomach and intestines are clean. The superior soy sauce and spring onions are simple yet produced an excellent taste of the four treasures. Impressed with the taste during the previous visit, we order the Four Treasure again during our last visit; but we were let down by it. The liver is stiff and hard, while the meatball is tasteless, pale in comparison to the previous visit.

Four Treasures - Previous Visit

Four Treasures - Last Visit

Pork Liver

Meatball

Soya Sauce Chicken ($16). The soy sauce well infused into the succulent flesh. The skin is glistening and bouncy, while the ginger spring onion oil dip is very solid. The crunchy peanut served with the chicken provided a contrasting texture compare to the chicken. A superb soya sauce chicken.

Soya Sauce Chicken

Drunken Chicken with Yellow Wine ($10). This entrée dish is served chilled, packs with succulent meat infused generously with the yellow wine. On the earlier visit, it was lacking the wine flavour; however, during the last visit, the wine taste just hits you. Yum.

Drunken Chicken with Yellow Wine

Another entrée that we tried is their Jellyfish and Cucumber Salad ($9.80). We like the crunchy, clean texture from the cucumber and jellyfish. The touch of tanginess together with a mini kick of chilli helps to open up your appetite.

Jellyfish and Cucumber Salad 

Dry Bamboo Noodle with Dark Soya Sauce and Crispy Pork Lard ($5.80). This simple version of egg noodle is just delicious. The noodle is thin, springy, seasoned with superior dark soy sauce and pork oil. This type of noodle can be dry and difficult to swallow, but the version here has the moisture spot on. It is topped with pork lard, spring onion and some kai lan. I just wished that they were more generous with the pork lard.

Dry Bamboo Noodle with Dark Soya Sauce and Crispy Pork Lard 

The same noodle is also used on their version of wanton mee. Dry Bamboo Noodle with BBQ Honey Pork Belly and Shrimp Wanton ($13.80). The shrimp wanton is juicy and crunchy, while the delicious fatty pork belly is a #Porkgasm experience.

Dry Bamboo Noodle with BBQ Honey Pork Belly and Shrimp Wanton

Moving to desserts, we tried Soft Serve Ice Cream Yunnan Pu Er ($5) previously. The tea flavour is strong, yet delightful. We wanted to order it during the last visit, but it is disappointing unavailable.

 Soft Serve Ice Cream Yunnan Pu Er

We then decided to order Chilled Wolfberry Osmanthus Layer Jelly with Coconut ($6.80, 3 pcs). The layer of Osmanthus jelly is sweet and flowery, while the coconut layer added a rich creamy texture to the dish. The wolfberry added the distinct oriental sweetness to this dessert.

Chilled Wolfberry Osmanthus Layer Jelly with Coconut 

Traditional Almond Cream with Peach Gum ($6.80) is just awesome. The hot thick almond cream is tasty and packs of almond flavour, while the mini bits of peach gum gave a slightly crunchy texture and vegetarian collagen benefits to our body.

Traditional Almond Cream with Peach Gum

Traditional Almond Cream with Peach Gum

For the drinks, do try their signature iced tea. It is light, with a floral taste and refreshing.

Service is very good. The service staff are friendly and knowledgeable. We were politely informed on the dishes that are on promotion and those that are not. On our last visit, the food came very fast as it was during office lunch hour. The décor of the restaurant is casual, yet classy at the same time. We were seated facing the Shang Social Bar. It is unfortunate that the Shang Beer is also not available currently, as one of our “makan kakis” was looking forward to trying it.

Part of Dining Area at Shang Social MRKT

Overall, the food at Shang Social MRKT is very good. There is some consistency issue that needs to be iron out, especially those dishes that are not up to Shangri-La standard. Hopefully, they can do it soon. The noodles, soya sauce chicken, entrée and desserts are exceptionally good. LD and I will definitely come back in the future, but not sure when. Need to support other F&B as well. Cheers!!

Food & Drinks: 7.25/10
Value: 6.5/10
Service: 8.25/10
Ambiance: 7.75/10
Budget per Person: $26 - $50

Shang Social
78 Airport Boulevard
#01-219 to 222, Jewel
Singapore 819666

T: +65 6346 0260
IG: @Shangsocial
OH:
MRKT 11.30 – 22.00 (LO 21.30)
DINING 11.30 – 14.30; 18.00 – 22.00 (LO 21.30)


Sunday, 29 March 2020

PRINGLES – New Mystery Flavour [MEDIA DROP]

Pringles Mystery Flavour

From the 1st March 2020, Pringles brings snack-lovers a brand-new Mystery Flavour. I was excited when I received the package last week. This limited edition also comes with a contest, Guess the Mystery Flavour correctly and one lucky winner will bring home a cash price of $GD5,000/-.

Pringles Mystery Box

Currently, Pringles has 6 flavours in Singapore: Original, Sour Cream & Onion, Cheesy Cheese, Hot & Spicy, Saucy BBQ, and Salt & Seaweed. Limited time or seasonal flavour will be available throughout the year.

Our Mystery Black Box comes in black colour, complete with Pringles Signature logo and it contains 2 tin of Mystery Pringles, a clue card, a magnifying glass and “Sherlock Holmes” hat (deerstalker hat).

Mystery Box Content

LD and I brought it to our staycation with our nephew and niece during the school holidays. We certainly have some great time with it.

The Kids Detecting the CLUES

Check out the Youtube clip below.
Clip 1 - Tasting and Deducting



Clip 2 - The Conclusion


Videographer: The Little Devil


How to Enter the Guess the Mystery Flavour Challenge
  • Buy any 2 cans of Pringles chips – if you can buy the Mystery cans even better. (Remember to save your proof of purchase).
  • Login to Pringles website at www.pringles.com. GUESS the Mystery Flavour & tell us your favourite mystery in not more than 25 words.
  • Be in to WIN SGD5,000 cash prize!
  • The promotion begins at 12.01am on 1 March 2020 and ends and 11.59pm on 30 April 2020

Sherlock "Chubby Botak Koala" Holmes

To help you guess accurately, Pringles Singapore will release one (1) clue every two (2) weeks on its Facebook page. There will be a total of four (4) clues to collect, so don’t miss out on these tips to help you “solve” the flavour correctly!

My Clue Card

For more information about the contest, please visit www.pringles.com or follow Pringles Singapore on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/PringlesSingapore/ . So, what are you waiting for, join in the fun with Pringles!. Cheers!!

Thank you very much Pringles Singapore and Bridges PR & Events Sdn. Bhd for the Media Drop.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Sembawang Claypot Rice – Traditional Taste

Claypot Rice (Medium)

A quick search for the best Traditional Claypot Rice in Singapore, Sembawang Traditional Claypot Rice (‘STCR’) will usually come out in the top three. Located in the “hidden” food street of Sembawang, this restaurant has perfected their original recipes from the 1980s and become a household name in traditional claypot chicken rice in Singapore.  

Sembawang Traditional Claypot Rice

Claypot Rice ($8.80 for S, $13.80 for M, $19.80 for L). There was seven of us, so we initially ordered the large version. It took them about 20 minutes to be served. Nice colourful presentation. The chicken looks well marinated, good portion and chunks of salted fish (the pale colour one).

Claypot Rice (Large)

For those uninitiated with STCR, don’t be surprised if the service staff just serve the claypot rice and leave it to the diners to mix it on their own. If you never do before, here is how Chubby Botak Koala did the mixing. 
  1. Take a photo first (you can skip this part) 
  2. Take out all the toppings, but gently set aside those precious chunks of salted fish.
  3. Generously squeeze a few rounds of their premium dark soy sauce. 
  4. Evenly spread the chunks of salted fish and start scraping and folding the rice form outer part to inner part. Remember to use the big metal spoon, not the plastic ones. 
  5. Once the brown colour of the sauce evenly coated all the rice, tossed back the rest of the toppings and to one more stirring. 
  6. Your claypot rice ready to be eaten. (Take a photo again)


While I was stirring the rice, I can smell the smoky aroma. The chicken is juicy and succulent even for the breast meat, while the rice is al-dente, fragrant and infused with the pungent flavours of salted fish. The Chinese sausage introduced a sweet and chewy texture to the rice, while the bitterness from the vegetable balance the sweetness of the dark soy sauce.

Claypot Rice after Mixing

After the first round of serving, you can start scraping the burnt rice. This crispy section secret behind a delicious traditional claypot rice. This also shows the rice is cooked from scratch. The crispy texture and the slightly burn aroma, mixed with sweet soy sauce is just yummy. Of course, if you can spread a bit of the salted fish on it, it will be even better. We ordered another medium size of the claypot rice as the large one was not enough.

The Sauces

While we are waiting for the claypot rice above, we were served the rest of the dishes that we ordered first.

Jin Do You Tiao ($10.80). Fried you tiao filled with sotong paste. It is crispy, tasty and packs with generous fillings of sotong paste. It is tasty enough to eat on its own or dip with mayonnaise.

Jin Do You Tiao

Da Lu Mian ($9.80 for Large). STCR version of KL Hokkien Mee. The noodle is thick, bouncy and crunchy. The dark sauce is sweet and robust, nicely accompanied the “wok hei” filled dish. The pork lard topping is just so addictive.

Da Lu Mian

Sausage Omelette ($8.80). I decide to order this dish as lap cheong filling is not very common. The omelette is fluffy, not salty. The lap cheong fillings is generous, allowing it to be evenly spread in every part of the Omelette.

Sausage Omelette

Sesame Oil Chicken ($12.80). Served pipping hot, the ginger and spring onion cover most of the top part. The chicken is juicy, succulent and absorbs the fragrant and robust sauce very well. The chicken parts consist of breast and thigh, it will be better if they only use the dark cuts of the chicken, no chicken breast.

Sesame Oil Chicken

San Huang Spinach ($12.80) or known as three-egg spinach. The spinach is covered in silky smooth egg, sparked by the flavours of the broth, salted egg and century egg.

Service is efficient, but not the friendly type. As I mentioned before, you need to mix the claypot rice on your own. This is kind of a minus point for me as each person do it differently, the taste delivered will be inconsistent. The service staff should be the one mixing it for you. Décor is simple, fuss-free.

Overall, the claypot rice here is worth the trip to Sembawang area, even if you travel from Jurong. The rest of zhi char dishes is good, you will have enjoyed the food here. A gem in Sembawang. Cheers!!

Food: 7.5/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: 6/10
Ambiance: 6.5/10
Budget per Person: $11 - $25

Sembawang Traditional Claypot Rice
4 Jalan Tampang
Singapore 758948

T: +65 6757 7144
IG: @Sbwtraditionalclaypotrice
OH: Daily 11.00 – 22.00

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

MAI by Dashi Master Marusaya – Premium Sushi & Dashi Omakase Menu [MEDIA INVITE]

Hokkaido Hairy Crab (Kegani) with
Sweet Vinegar Sauce topped with Hokkaido Uni.

MAI by Dashi Master Marusaya has launched its signature Sushi & Dashi Omakase at S$88++. Located at the heritage Bukit Pasoh area, it provides a great setting for this 38-seater exquisite yet affordable restaurant.

MAI by Dashi Master Marusaya

Seated at the Chef’s table, LD and I had the pleasure to see Chef Hiroyuki Ono work his magic preparing our omakase meal. We also had the pleasure meeting Marusaya Group Executive Chef and Vice President, Shinji Hara.


Please let the Chef or service staff know if you have any dietary restrictions or any food that you don’t like. In our case, we did not have unagi, as LD does not eat it.

Chef's Table at MAI by Dashi Master Marusaya

We started the culinary degustation with Hotaru Ika (Firefly Squid) with Japanese Kai Lan and Katsuobushi (Skipjack Tuna) - Spring dish. These 3 weeks old mini squid are crunchy, followed with cream texture internally. The bonito and kai lan introduce a savoury and bitter flavour to the dish, while tangy sauce made with katsuobushi and vinegar gave a refreshing tangy touch to this appetizer.

Hotaru Ika (Firefly Squid) with Japanese Kai Lan
and Katsuobushi (Skipjack Tuna)

Black Sesame Tofu with Ikura in Dashi Stock. The black sesame tofu has a firm and dense texture, tasted earthy, creamy and smooth. LD says it tasted like savoury black sesame ice cream. The saltiness from the ikura, together with the sauce made from soya sauce, mirin and dashi added the much-needed umami flavour in the dish, together with the refreshing mint flavour of the chopped perilla leaf.

Black Sesame Tofu with Ikura in Dashi Stock

Black Sesame Tofu with Ikura in Dashi Stock

Sashimi platter consists of Akami, Chutoro, Sawara and Kinmedai. The kinmedai is smooth and fatty, with a touch of smoky umami flavour as it was wrapped in seaweed. Sawara (Spanish Mackerel) has a firm and smooth texture. While Akami gives you a solid tuna flavour and the Chutoro just melts in your mouth. All the sashimi is served at almost room temperature, where you can taste the full flavours of the fish. In between savouring each slice of sashimi, you can cleanse your palate with the Japanese kai lan leaves salad.   

Sashimi platter consists of Akami, Chutoro, Sawara and Kinmedai

Sashimi platter consists of Akami, Chutoro, Sawara and Kinmedai

Tamago in Dashi topped with Katsuobushi. Served warm, the tamago is bouncy and accompanied with katsuobushi that enhance the tamago flavour further. The dashi stock nicely binds all the ingredients together at the end. A special tamago dish indeed.

Tamago in Dashi topped with Katsuobushi

Tamago in Dashi topped with Katsuobushi

Hokkaido Hairy Crab (Kegani) with Sweet Vinegar Sauce topped with Hokkaido Uni. A mini dish that brings you the flavours of the ocean. The crab meat is sweet, while the uni is creamy and gave the super OMPH in this dish. A slight touch of sweet vinegar sauce keeps the balance in check so you won’t feel overwhelmed. Yummy!!

Hokkaido Hairy Crab (Kegani) with
Sweet Vinegar Sauce topped with Hokkaido Uni

Sakura Ebi with Ashitaba (Angelica Keiskei, also known as Tomorrow's Leaf), Matcha Salt and Japanese lime (Tempura Style). MAI version of prawn crackers. The mini sakura ebi and as chopped ashitaba is coated with batter and deep-fried. The cracker is light and crispy. I suggest you eat it in three steps. First bite, plain. Second bite, with the lime. Third bite with lime and salt. The three different flavours transition is just remarkable.

Sakura Ebi with Ashitaba, Matcha Salt
and Japanese lime (Tempura Style)

Sakura Ebi

Iwate Wagyu with Bamboo Shoot and Japanese Kai Lan in Sukiyaki Sauce. The beef is braised until tender. When you bite into it, you can taste the marbling in the beef and the sweetness of the sukiyaki sauce. Served with the stem of Japanese Kai Lan, the bitterness balances the sweetness of the sukiyaki sauce, while the bamboo shoot adds the crunchiness in this dish.  

Iwate Wagyu with Bamboo Shoot and
Japanese Kai Lan in Sukiyaki Sauce

For the sushi: MAI uses rice from Hokkaido for their sushi, seasoned with apple vinegar, rice vinegar, red vinegar, sugar and salt.

Chef Hiroyuki Ono preparing the sashimi

Sushi 1: Hotate and Uni Handroll – A jumbo size of hotate, generous cut of hotate and scoop of uni, delivering a sweet, creamy flavour and wrapped in super crispy seaweed. LD give her two thumbs up! #Unigasm.

Hotate and Uni Handroll 

Sushi 2: Wild Fresh Tai (Red Snapper) with Tai Liver. The red snapper is torched slightly, allowing it to have multiple textures. Smooth, creamy, like eating foie gras sushi.

Wild Fresh Tai (Red Snapper) with Tai Liver

Sushi 3: Marinated Akami Maguro and Aburi Otoro. The ultimate maguro experience. Two layers of maguro, marinated Akami which is firm and silky, plus the Aburi Otoro, the fatty cut that just melts in your mouth. #Sushigasm

Marinated Akami Maguro and Aburi Otoro

Sushi 4: Saba with Momiji Oroshi (Spicy Grated Daikon Radish). A firm texture fish, silky with a strong ginger taste, tangy and spicy kick from the Momiji Oroshi.

Saba with Momiji Oroshi 

Sushi 5: Ika with Yuzu. The ika is bouncy and a bit sticky. As the yuzu is very mild, you can only taste it briefly before being overpowered by the wasabi.

Ika with Yuzu

Sushi 6: Kuruma Ebi (Tiger Prawn) stuffed with Egg. Sweet, fresh, firm and crunchy tiger prawn stuffed with chicken egg yolk. Nice presentation with a colourful prawn.

Kuruma Ebi (Tiger Prawn) stuffed with Egg

Sushi 7: Maki with Cucumber, Japanese pickles, Chopped Tuna and Aburi Otoro, topped with Ikura. Exquisite maki with two different tuna texture, topped with lots and lots of ikura.

Preparation of Chopped Tuna, Aburi Otoro Maki

Chopped Tuna, Aburi Otoro Maki

Maki with Cucumber, Japanese pickles,
Chopped Tuna and Aburi Otoro, topped with Ikura

In traditional Japanese way, Miso Soup with Tofu Skin and Cabbage round out this beautiful meal. Robust with unique ingredients in the soup.

Miso Soup with Tofu Skin and Cabbage

Dessert is Daifuku. Soft and delicate mochi, stuffed with red bean fillings and strawberry. You can choose coffee or tea to be served with the dessert.

Daifuku with Coffee

Daifuku

The restaurant is very spacious. The seating area can be divided into Chef’s Table, 2 private rooms and seating in the dining area. The décor is very grandeur, paying homage to Japanese elements.

Seating in Dining Area

The Bar

Overall, it was a memorable dining experience. Chef Ono Hiroyuki is very entertaining and skilful in preparing the superb meal. Please take note that the dishes will vary depending on availability of ingredients and seasons. LD & I are impressed with the food and service here, we look forward to our next visit here. Kanpai!! Cheers!!

Sushi & Dashi Course

Thank you very much Jennifer Yeo Consultancy and MAI by Dashi Master Marusaya for hosting us.

In addition to MAI, the group also owns flagship restaurant, Dashi Master Marusaya at Robertson Quay, TEN Sushi at Robertson Quay and Monte Risaia at Duxton. (Click on the link for the review of the other restaurants).

Food & Drinks: 9.5/10
Value: 9.5/10
Service: N/A (Media Tasting)
Ambiance: 8.5/10
Budget per Person: $81 and Above

MAI by Dashi Master Marusaya
46 Bukit Pasoh Road
Singapore 089858

T: +65 6327 8414
IG: @mai_by_marusaya
OH: Mon – Sat 12.00 – 14.30 (LO 14.00); 18.00 – 23.00 (LO 22.00)

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