Beauty Hope @ Relaxing at Waterloo Street

Beauty Hope has been opened since 2007 and it is a one-stop beauty solution centre based in Waterloo Street. The spa uses 100% natural plant extracts products to pamper the customers while their comforting ambience also allows customers to sit back and relax during their beauty treatments.

They do provide an extensive facial services as well as slimming , hair removal and massage treatments as well. Contact them today to find out more about their services !


Beauty Hope @ Relaxing (Bugis)

Blk 261, Waterloo Street, #02-42
Singapore 180261
Tel: +65 6883293
Mobile: +65 81685199
www.beautyhope.com.sg

Operating Hours:
Monday to Friday – 11.30am to 9.00pm
Saturday & Sunday – 11.30am to 6.00pm
Public Holidays – Closed

Bijin Nabe Japanese Steamboat at Tsukada Nojo Chinatown

Tsukada nojo at chinatown point
People queuing outside of the restaurant waiting for their turns.

Before the end of year, I hope to fulfill one last resolution for the year of 2014 and that was to visit Tsukada Nojo again for their Bijin Nabe. I had a wonderful ramen lunch at Tsukada Nojo in Westgate previously and today I am here again for their Bijin Nabe, but at their Chinatown Point‘s outlet.

Though plans have been laid days ago before the year end dinner, they does not accept reservation if the timing is before 6.30pm and the only way was to personally queue for seats. Traffic was bad that day and since we arrived, it was almost what we had predicted – people lining outside of the restaurant. Do not get it wrong, it was not the festive event that resulted the long queue, it has been this way all the way.

Related: Collagen Rich Ramen Lunch at Westgate Tsukada Nojo

Tsukada Nojo chinatown point
Waiting area with seats at the entrance of the restaurant.

The restaurant did some good arrangements to have some seats for those that has been queuing up and at least a place to rest their feet before ushering them to their tables. After 20 minutes of waiting, one of the Japanese waitress came and ushered us to our seats at the back of the restaurant.

Looking at the dinner menu, we were slightly confused thus requested the waiter to brief us on how we should order the food. If you are going for the steamboat, there is no hassle to choose between type of soup or ingredients, it is fixed. The only important factor was to determine the number of portions (1 portion per pax). It is not necessary that each person has to order one portion, but a lesser portion can be chose to share among a few (minimum two person). This is a really good concept because it allows you to leave more rooms in the event you decided to order some ala carte from the dinner menu as well.

The Bijin Nabe (美人鍋)

Bijin Nabe
Watch slowly while the “beancurd” starts to melt and turned into a pot of boiling collagen rich chicken soup.

Soon after, the waiter brings over a claypot with some beancurd look alike substance residing on it. That you saw above is actually the chicken gelatin. The restaurant painstakingly simmered the stock for 8 hours before reaching this texture. While the heat slowly breakdown the gelatin into a more liquidity state, you can start to smell the aroma of the collagen rich chicken soup.

Like a wine tasting session, the waiter filled four small ceramic cups with the soup and distributed to each of us. The purpose is to allow us to taste the soup’s original flavour. While we sipped carefully from the dedicated ceramic cup, you can feel a stream of hot and creamy texture soup running down your throat and at the same time leaving a strong after taste in the mouth. However, maybe due to its richness, you may feel slight stickiness along your lips as well.

Pieces of chicken meat hidden in the gelatin. 

That was not all. Hidden within the gelatin was pieces of chicken meat, which was only revealed after all the gelatin has melted off. As opposed to prolong boiling of chicken meat in water that could cause the texture to be hard and difficult to chew on, the meat was very tender and smooth. Even without any seasonings, it has a brilliant taste. What an eye-opener !


A platter full of fresh vegetables, meat and seafood.

While we are busily munching on the collagen rich chicken meat, the waiter started to arrange the ingredients on the platter carefully into the steamboat, like an artist trying to create a masterpiece. Matter of fact, as explained by the waiter, the steamboat is most of the time being served by the waiter rather than self-service.

Finally the Bjin Nabe is ready !

After about ten minutes of waiting, all the ingredients are ready to eat. All the ingredients has been inserted except for the prawn and noodles. This was to prevent the soup to taste differently and we were advised only to put it in after we had finished all the ingredients in the steamboat. Looking back, this was really a very healthy pot ! Collagen with fresh vegetables without any special homemade sauce nor the need for any seasoning. With all the flavoured absorbed into the ingredients, it has already tasted heavenly !

We ended the steamboat with a high note with the prawns and noodles cooked together. Much as what the waiter mentioned earlier, the soup indeed taste much different ! The prawns makes the soup slightly sweeter and fresher.

Our Ala Carte Orders

Below are some of the ala carte we have ordered on top of the Bijin Nabe. I will only write about the Coriander salad since I have already covered the other two dishes in my previous visit at Tsukada Nojo Westgate.

coriander salad
Coriander Salad. Price: $6.00.

Coriander is just like durian, either you loved it or you hate it to the core. For both my girl friend and I, we are the die-hard fans for coriander. The salad comes in a mixture of coriander and radish with some seasonings and sesame seeds. The radish is very refreshing while unlike coriander which you eats in Chinese restaurants, the smell are not that overwhelming. My sister whom was not a fan has tried and simply loved it too. The chilli sauce is an option, it just gives you extra spiciness you need if you have a heavy tastebud.


Nikumaki Onigiri – Original and Yuzu. Price: $3.80 per piece.


Chicken Nanban with spicy tar tar sauce. Price: $8.50.

While we are coming to an end for the dinner, the waiter has dished out an complimentary dessert with decoration on the plate saying “Happy New Year 2015”. The dessert looks like Osmanthus cake and had the some refreshing taste, but it is still hard since there wasn’t much hint you can find physically.

Conclusion

Bijin Nabe is certainly a delicacy not only for the women, but those that enjoy natural taste as well. Japanese are well-known to prepare and cook food that brings out the quality of the ingredients and I think this is no different. However, it can only be a occasional feast as you might grow sick of the collagen rich chicken soup if consume within a short period of time. Having the choice to chose the number of portions instead of compulsorily having everyone to get a portion is also one of the advantages that the restaurants has as well. Price at $25.00 for the steamboat, the price is definitely reasonable.

Tsukada Nojo
#02-37 Chinatown Point
133 New Bridge Road
Singapore 059413
Tel: +65 6444 8840

Opening Hours
Daily: 11.30am to 3.00pm (Lunch), 5.00pm to 10.00pm (Dinner)

Boon Lay Raja Restaurant Sold Shop Space and Receipes to Lian Beng Group

After operating for more than three decades, owners of old-fashioned Boon Lay Raja restaurant has finally decided to take a break and sell off the shop space and recipes to Mr. Ong Pang Aik, executive chairman of listed construction firm, Lian Beng Group as a private investment in October 2014.

With the restaurant is strategically located near good crowd and the business is earning decent profits from the restaurant, one of the owners, Mr. Henry Tan Kweng Nam has admit age is catching up with him and his partners whom are also in their 60s or 70s.  The 73 year-old owner has also mentioned that there are no successor in the business – neither were her daughter nor the restaurant’s chefs.

History of Boon Lay Raja Restaurant

Owner of Boon Lay Raja restaurant, Mr. Henry Tan.
Mr. Henry Tan posing outside of the restaurant. Photo by Straits Times.

The original Boon Lay Raja restaurant was open in 1979 which hailed its customers from nearby factories. Later in 1989, it relocated to a site in Jurong Gateway Road in Jurong East. Mr. Henry Tan was a former secondary school principal, was encouraged to enter the F&B industry by his three university classmates, whom later became the main shareholders for the restaurant as well.

However, Mr. Henry Tan was not a cook himself. What he did was study recipes and menus of other restaurants and he will then get his chefs to whip up the new dishes based on the ideas that came into his mind.

Restaurant Space Sold For S$15 Million 

Savills Singapore was appointed by the owners of Boon Lay Raja Restaurant to sell the restaurant space that can accommodate 60 tables or 600 person by tender. The space occupies 11,248 sq ft and only about 200 metres away from Jurong East MRT Station. Furthermore, it has a remaining lease of 69 years taken from the Housing and Development Board (HDB). A reserve price of S$15 million or S$1,334 sq ft was set in the tender which closes 3pm on 6th November 2014.

Lian Beng Group’s Mr. Ong was the final winner among the four bidders which he bought over as a private investment. The reasons for the bid is due to its good location, near proximity to Jurong East MRT and the boom of nearby shopping malls.

It was also commented by Savills associate director of investment sales, Derrick Tan that the prime HDB restaurant space is a rarity, especially in the Jurong Gateway precinct, which is the biggest commercial hub outside the CBD area. Furthermore, the area has been planned for further growth with the makeover of Jurong Lake District and possible site of the new Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail Terminus.

What is the Fate of Boon Lay Raja Restaurant ?

There are plans by Mr. Ong that the restaurant space will be rented out to a well-known Chinese restaurant and the operations are planned to start in May 2015. Meanwhile, business continues as usual until end of March. They are also already fully booked for Chinese New Year’s eve dinner.

For those that are interested in visiting the restaurant before they change the ownership, it is recommended to do it within these two months. Some of the trademarks dish are red garoupa in Nonya sauce, roasted duck with mango and Buddha jumps over the wall.

Boon Lay Raja Restaurant
#02-337, Block 135
Jurong Gateway Road
Singapore 600135
Tel: +65 6563 6643
Fax: +65 6562 4569
www.boonlayrajarestaurant.com

Chia Bee Lor Mee for Midnight Supper !

Chia Bee Lor Mee
Chia Bee Lor Mee – Noodles and gravy are being packed separately.

Before my sister landed in Singapore from her trip in Bali, her SMS had already came in the afternoon,  asking if I would be interested in having Lor Mee as supper. Knowing my sister for so long, I believed it was not her idea’s at all but it was her boyfriend’s idea ! For me, eating is just life and there is no way I would reject any offer like this, especially for supper.

Our initial plan was to go down to North Bridge Road straight and dine at the coffeeshop, but after overwhelming response at home that everyone wants to have supper, we opted to takeaway and have it at home instead.

While I was driving near to the coffeeshop, I could already see many cars parking along the streets and once I turned into the carpark, you can immediately see an substantial amount of customer sitting inside the coffeeshop just having Lor Mee. Just could not wait to taste it.

Since it was my sister that went down to order for the food, I am not sure the separate packing of the noodle and gravy is normal or upon special request. Even so, I think there will also be lot of people that are requesting for the same takeaway manner since soaking the noodles in the gravy just kind of self-destructing the dish.

Chia Bee Lor Mee
Pieces of golden brown fried fish lined on top of the noodles. 

Once you open the lid, you will uncover a bowl of noodles covered with pieces of golden brown fried fish. Looks alone seems to be appealing but what about the taste ?

Chia Bee Lor Mee
All mixed up and ready to eat !

I had deliberately poured the noodle and gravy into a bowl instead of using the takeaway container so that I can “flip” the ingredients over for the photo. Some of the ingredients you can see here are the fish of course, half-boiled egg, strips of braised pork belly and bean sprouts. What we did not include in was the chilli, garlic and vinegar. As each of us have a different tastebud, we additional requested earlier over the counter that the seasonings to be packed separately so that each and everyone of us could put the amount that is adequate to each taste.

One of the discovery was that chilli, which really helps to bring the flavours into the Lor Mee, that includes saltness into the dish. The flat yellow noodles was much of a delight while the fried fish compliments the Lor Mee just right. It is a definite fulfilling supper.


Conclusion

It was a great pleasure having the Lor Mee not only you can experience a good variety of texture, e.g. soft, crispy, crackling bites on the fried fish slices, you can also enjoyed the generous servings of the ingredients. Meanwhile, the thick gravy does makes the Lor Mee much more appealing as well. Those that are looking for extra kick, you may want to put in more vinegar !

Chia Bee Lor Mee
10 North Bridge Road
Singapore 190010

Opening Hours:
Monday – 12.00pm to 8.00pm
Tuesday to Sunday – 12.00pm to 10.30am

Finally, i Got My Haircut ! – Headlines Hairdressing by Gary Lee

Headlines Hairdressing at International Plaza
Newly Opened Headlines Hairdressing Salon outlet at International Plaza.

I was so proud of myself because I have achieved an amazing feat of not cutting or trimming my hair for almost two months ! However, as days goes by and my unkempt hair is getting on my nerves by falling over my forehead almost every other day, I think it is really time for a good haircut. My girl friend had helped me to booked an appointment at Headlines Hairdressing International Plaza outlet late in the evening.

Interior of Headline Hairdressing
Luxurious styled salon by Gary Lee himself. That him in the photo !

In the past, I does not really have a preference over any hairstylist or salon, but after I was recommended to Gary Lee, I thought he really had a good foresight and incredible skills to manage your hair which can really fits into your image. Apart from that, Gary really had a good sense of humour which will keep you entertain throughout your haircut session. I will always go for the “Omakase”, meaning leaving it to him to cut and style my hair, which he never failed me and his returning customers.

For those interested in having a haircut, below are the salon information. Do remember to call in to make an appointment !

Headlines Hairdressing
#03-32 International Plaza
10 Anson Road
Singapore 079903
Tel: +65 6223 3133
www.headlines.com.sg

Prior to that, International Plaza has recently revamped on its interior and the lightings and decoration are really creative with style. I took a photo or two to share with all !

International PlazaInternational Plaza

Singapore-based Firm Developed Halal App To Bring Muslims Food into Social Media – HalalTrip

Screenshot of HalalTrip Website.

A Singapore-based firm, CrescentRating Pte Ltd has recently developed a new mobile app HalalTrip, to aid Muslim eaters as well as travellers to share halal restaurant discoveries not only in Singapore, but around the world. This will definitely helps Halal travellers and eaters to have lesser problem looking for a Halal restaurant and at the same time, gives them a wider range of food selection which they can choose to eat from.

As explained by chief executive of HalalTrip, Fazal Bahardeen, Halal food is one of the biggest drivers of tourism for the Muslim market and when traveling is concerns, food become an important factor to these consumers as well. The social media element does not only try to discover halal food on the go, but at the same time making it a more fun and intuitive experience.

Halal Logo in Singapore

Halal is often being used in reference to food that are permissible for Muslims to eat or drink under Islamic requirements, specifying the criteria of the type of foods are allowed and how it was being prepared.

Beside providing a platform for Halal food, the HalalTrip app also enables users to take and upload photos of halal dishes, write comments and share them through the social media. With a click on a photo in the app, it will gives details about the dish as well as location of the restaurant. The app is available for Apple iOS and Android devices at the moment.

Related Post: Special Sushi Birthday Cake at Teru Sushi.

We does not end here. What we are going to do today is to download the app and give it a try. Before using any of the app’s features, the first time is to prompt for language settings, either in English or Arabic (written in Arabic language).

After that you will come into a clean interface with generally four topics – Halal Food Spotter, In-flight Prayer Time Calculator, Travel Dua and Book A Hotel (under development).

For the In-flight Prayer Time Calculator, you will need to login before they enable you to use the feature while the Travel Dua is free to open without any restrictions.

Since our focus today is trying to search for Halal food from the app, we will drill further only into the first tab, Halal Food Spotter and explore it.

After you have clicked on the tab, it will show you a series of photos with the type of food and the restaurant name. It will also have an indication how far it is the restaurant from you. (You need to enable settings in iPhone in order to track the distance.

Tab on any of the photos and I will bring you right into another interface which has more information about the restaurant itself. It may includes information like Non-Vegetarian, India, if restaurant is Muslim owned, etc. As I believe currently the HalalTrip app is not being widely used yet, so the photos and information are actually quite limited. I think as there are more users and social media power, the information within the app will start to grow slowly as well.


Interface of Halal Food Spotter Tab.

Before I end this post, I decided to search through the App Store and there was actually quite a few other established apps that offers similar services, such as Halal Food Finder (Singapore Only) and Zabihah.

Hot Pot Culture’s Buffet at Marina Square Suspended for Business after a WHOLE Rat was Found in One of the Dishes

Hot Pot Culture at Marina  Square
Hot Pot Culture at Marina Square.

Grossed as the post title might seems, National Envoirnment Agency (NEA) has suspended Hot Pot Culture in Marina Square following reports that a rat carcass was found in one of its vegetable dishes from a porridge buffet.

Ms Caron Chan was the unlucky customer that have found the shocking discovery. After finding a rat’s tail in one of the vegetable dish, she scooped up “a chunk of meat” which was a rat carcass.

The supposed to be value-for-money porridge buffet for the group of colleagues and turned into a stomach churning experience after Ms. Caron Chan allegedly spotted the dead rat.

Why Did Staff Wants to Serve a New Batch ?

While she had approached one of the staff member, there wasn’t any immediate reaction taken and she was handling something else before asking the help of another employee to remove the dish.

She apologised to Ms Chan and said that they will serve a new batch.

Ms Chan was completely turned off by their find and together with her colleagues they left the restaurant without paying and informed the table next to them about the incident, which they had already eaten the dish.

The lady at the table next to them was still charged by the restaurant. She lodged a complaint with the NEA as well.

Why No Actions Being Taken to Stop Serving Customers ?

While the following day, Yahoo Singapore called in to Hot Pot Culture, the manager on duty said she was unaware of the rat incident as the manager on duty just told her that the dish was not fresh and they had to replace it.

Ms Chan was also puzzled why didn’t the staff stopped the buffet line, but instead of making replacement for the dish.

The words of the “rat findings” has been widely spread in Singapore media, such as Facebook, Stomp, All Singapore Stuff and many other more.

Photo from The Real Singapore.

Jie Bakery and Confectionery – Three Decades of Traditional Bread

Jie Bakery & Confectionary

Living near the Tai Seng area, I have seen this bakery shop since I was young and after I returned from my Japanese language study in Osaka.  Even thought I was back in Singapore for more than five years, everytime when I drove through Upper Paya Lebar Road, I will take a short glance at the only shop that are still open along the line of shophouses where everyone else were closed. At times, you will see van (we called it bread van or 面包车) stopping along the road and picking up some of the prepared bread for delivery.

Last week, my girl friend and I happened to finish work early and while we was traveling along the street, we decided to take a peek at the bakery. Matter of fact, my girl friend was a die-hard fan of bread and the bakery has aroused her interest long time ago. We drove into the small lane and parked right in front of the bakery and there you could see loaf of freshly baked bread lying on the shelves.

Traditional bread lined along the shelves
Freshly bake bread loaf cooling off on the shelves.

As we slowly walked toward the bakery, you could see few of the bakers behind the kitchen busily lining up the bread onto the shelves while a lady was sitting behind the counter watching videos on her iPad. Right beside her was racks of cotton-white bread stacked on a big blue racks, as if she was waiting for someone like us to come by and buy the bread.

We were scrutinising the bread and the lady just suddenly start to introduce the bread – there was plain bread, sweet bread and some coloured bread as well. At the side of the counter, there was a very small price list for spread on the bread and we decided to buy two loaves – one plain and one sweet flavour. We chose to spread butter and kaya over the plain bread while peanut butter and butter over the sweet bread. Within a few minutes, she skilfully spread the bread and packed them back into the original plastic bags.

Even thought we had just finished our dinner at MBFC’s Hokkaido Ramen Kaiko and my girl friend was still feeling bloated, she could not resist but to take out two slices of bread and started chewing on it. The bread was so white and soft while the spread blended perfectly, bringing out nostalgia memories of our childhood where it was a luxury just to had that kind of bread.


Conclusion

The two loaves of bread cost about $5.80, but definitely we thought it was worth the price. These are one of the very few traditional bakeries you can find in Singapore which still retain the taste of traditional bread as compared to Japanese or European-style bakeries sprouting up in busy crowd. If you are also a fan of traditional bread, your trip will not be wasted. Furthermore, if you happened to visit the bakery in the noon, you might just be in time to taste another traditional food – Kay Lee Roast Meat Joint, a duck specialist shop right beside it.

Jie Bakery and Confectionery
123 Upper Paya Lebar Road (View Map)
Singapore 534837
Tel: +65 6289 7461
http://www.facebook.com

Oriental Traditional Therapy at Club Street

Seriously, I did not notice this TCM Therapy along Club Street until one day after I had finished my body massage at Le Spa and was walking towards the 7-11 to purchase a packet of cigarettes. At this moment, the brightly red-lit shopfront caught my attention. The shopfront have retained an oriental outlook while inside seems to be neat and tidy.

Understands that they do have another outlet at Blk 57 Eng Hoon Street as well, but I will be checking out their services in the one in Club Street.


Oriental Traditional Therapy

25 Club Street
Singapore 069412
Tel: +65 6735 1101

Opening Hours:
9.00am to 11.00pm daily

Bringing Xiao Jian for Training at Smartdoggy Studio

Smartdoggy Academy

My younger sister called me last minute in the late afternoon to ask if I will be free to bring her loved Bull Terrier, Xiao Jian, for training at Smartdoggy Studio. My dog has been not feeling well for the past week and it would be a good time to train her physical up.

I think Xiao Jian was too excited as she knew that we are bringing her out on my car. After she entering the car, it just became a playground for her, walking along my back seats and snuggling into the arms of my younger sister. We set off at 8pm and reached in time 8.30pm. Apparently, we was early and there was no other dogs inside Smartdoggy Academy.

bull terrier - Xiao Jian

Xiao Jian was so excited that she was moving around all the times while watching all the owners with the dogs going into the shop. The training lesson lasted for almost two hours before we hit the road back home. She just need to have more training

About Smartdoggy Studio

For those interested in training your dog, Smartdoggy Studio was opened by Lucas Bong, whom has been working as a private consultant since 1990, focusing on dog sports training. In 2004, he founded Smartdoggy Services to offer a wide range of canine services for dog lovers to achieve Wonderful Dog Companionships in Singapore. With more than two decades of working experience with dogs, Lucas is currently the multiple award winner of Singapore Kennel Club’s SKC Agility Dog of the Yera 2012 and The Overall Champion Top Agility Dog Award Winner in The Singapore Open Agility Championship 2011. You can check out more information of their services at their website below.

Smartdoggy Studio
118 Tembeling Road
Singapore 423617
Tel: +65 6448 2633
Mobile: +65 9790 3033
www.smartdoggy.com