Author Archives: alyss

Unlucky Plaza – Lame title for a surprisingly entertaining movie

Unlucky Plaza

Adrian Pang at his best – being a motivational speaker.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Yep, I came out of my blogging hibernation just to write my review for a local movie. HAH!

Well, actually the long story is this: a friend of mine wanted to have a catchup session with me and asked me if there was anything I wanted to watch. As she had watched Fast & Furious 6 and Cinderella, options for popcorn movies are pretty limited (I am not one for popcorn movies, but I thought that my movie-going companion is). Other option includes Insurgent and Child 44 but the IMDB rating for those two did not look too convincing.

Then I saw Unlucky Plaza on the list of movies and gave myself a good chuckling at the lame movie title. (-10 points)
Then I noticed that it was indie. (+30 points)
Then I saw the M18 tag. (+100 points)
Then I thought to myself, if I have to watch mediocre movie, might as well watch a LOCALLY-MADE mediocre movie, RIGHT?

The movie is a reminiscence of Fargo (Yes, I need to compare a movie with another movie because I am annoying like that) from the starting opening text: a note to audience that this movie is based on true story…. but I ain’t falling for that, Mr. Kwek! There is also the financial trouble and black comedy elements that enforces the idea in my head, but I digress.

Introducing our characters:
Onassis Hernandez, an Filipino single father and a restauranteur, who is barely getting by after a salmonella scandal in his food establishment. I love how he hires a PRC as a front staff and a Malay as a kitchen hand in a non-halal Filipino restaurant.
Terrence Chia a.k.a Sky, an actor turned financial motivational speaker whose complaints about Singaporean taxi drivers I can relate to 100%. Oh, and his $400,000 debt to a PRC loan shark triggers the chain of events that follows.
Michelle, Terrence’s wife, a promiscuous school teacher who is planning to elope with her pastor to Gili Meno, because obviously Bali and Gili Trawangan is too mainstream for her.
Wen, a submissive pastor. Also a godawful property agent (Wait, are all Singaporeans property agents in this movie?). Arguably the person who gets fucked most by the whole ordeal… in more ways than one ;D
Little Bear, a badass PRC thug/debt collector who is pretty damn good at his job.

Onassis’ and Terrence’s characters are well written, with enough dose of comic and human characterisation. Michelle and Wen in the other hand, felt a bit two-dimensional. Little Bear is so 2D and obviously there just to serve as a plot device (but still badass!).

If someone told me that the writer is a foreigner, I would have believed him, because it does feel like an Anti-Xenophobe movie (to me, at least) – one that tries hard to make a statement and still be politically correct.

…so I called the movie mediocre earlier. My apologies. It was surprisingly entertaining – the little things that I can relate to, such as Onassis’ love for Singapore from the eye of foreigner, Terrence’s inability to speak Mandarin and his rants of taxi drivers (oh don’t get me started on the taxi drivers!), made the movie an enjoyable ride. I will forgive the lame ending, as I know Asians love happy endings. Still, I thought it would have been better with a more toned-down end. I mean, whoever want to eat from a cleaver that has chopped a human!? Liu Maoxing will be appalled!

Itadakimasu! Tempura Soba

It’s no secret that I am a fan of Japanese food (or almost anything Japanese, really!). Occasionally, I dig up some recipes from the internet, and try them. Tempura Soba is one of the food that I feel most successful in making, probably owing to the fact that it is quite hard to screw up this dish. Below is the ingredients of my Tempura Soba. Maybe one day I will write out the direction, but they are pretty self-explanatory, I think.

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Tempura Soba (Serves 1)

Broth
1/2 cup Dashi Stock
1/4 cup Soya Sauce
1 tbs Mirin

Dried Soba

Tempura Batter
1/4 cup Tempura Flour
1/6 cup Cold Water

Kakiage (Vegetable Tempura)
2 pcs Green Beans
1/8 Carrot
1/4 Onion

Ebi Tempura (Prawn Tempura)
2 Deshelled Prawn (preferably big ones)

Chopped Spring Onion

Bornga – Home Away from Home

Googled “Best Korean BBQ Singapore” and Bornga came up. I am still on quest to look for a Korean BBQ place that can beat Sydney Madang which is the reigning champion of Korean BBQ in my heart!

Moar Korean BBQ

Quest for Great KBBQ Continues!

I did not take pictures of every single things that came to the table. I recall them giving us some soup-thing at the start of the meal.

The banchan comes in HUGE plates!

Simply Salad

Lettuce Salad

Radish Kimchi

Tasted like kimchi and looked radish – so I call it Radish Kimchi!

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Tasted seasoned and looked like leek, so… Seasoned Leek : |

You don’t get your usual straw woven basket of veggies here, you get one LONG plate! I doubt any normal eater can finish all those greens!

Lotsa Veggies

One long plate of lettuce!

We also order few side dishes to go with the BBQ:

Seafood Pancake

Tasted like Sio Bee (Teo Chew variation of Siew Mai). I can’t explain it!

Seafood pancake tasted like Sio Bee from my hometown. I don’t really mean it in a good way, sadly.

Jap Chae

Disappointing Jap Chae.

The Jap Chae was too peppery for my taste. Disappointing.

I ordered the pork belly and marinated pork loin. Did not really take picture of the marinated pork sadly (we were too hungry!).

Grill It!

The guys actually grill it for us… I like grilling it myself!

The taste was a letdown. My Dad’s comment was that the marinated pork tasted like bak kwa, which I couldn’t really argue with (rofl). The pork belly didn’t leave much impression on me.

They gave some desert-soup-thing at the end of the meal, too. Reminiscence of a berry-based palate cleanser I had in some fine-dining establishment.

I had high expectation of it, but this one fell short. Considering how big the chain is (or so I thought when I Googled them up), I was looking forward to a good meal (maybe average at worst), but wow, I am starting to doubt my tongue. I was a bit amused that some of the dishes tasted like some things I would get in my home town, considering the name is “Bornga”, which probably meant “Home” (“Home” as in your place of origin, that is).

Dôme – Coffee with an Accent

This week we watched RIPD. I am joining the general consensus that it is a boring and uninspiring movie. Jeff Bridges is cool in the movie, though!

We hang out at Dôme in Atrium@Dhoby Gaut after the movie.

Coffee Time!

Flat white – I was introduced flat white by my brother!

My Flat White was allright, I had better ones. Forgettable.

Ice Chocolate with Gelato

Mmmm… Float!

Mushroom Soup

I did not had this, but it looks decent!

Classic Caesar Salad

We had been missing exercise sessions so I ordered Caesar Salad to share for a healthier pick (original pick was french fries)!

I was excited over this Caesar Salad because I saw the photo in the menu and noticed it had BLACK OLIVES! It was pretty good – we ordered plain but I reckon it would be much better with chicken. We were so full so we didn’t order the meats.

The seat was so comfortable that we sat until closing time. We had a great time!

Skinny Pizza: Making Wallet Skinny

Watched Grown Ups 2 in Great World City (which you should watch if you like pee jokes). After the movie, we decided to get a bite at the nearby Skinny Pizza.

Is that a DVD

Looks like junk on a table to me, to be honest!

The decor on the table is very… rustic. Especially that DVD casing, which I found to be very tacky.

Ahi Taki Salad

Actually it came with raisins, but we asked it to be separated.

Ahi Taki Salad is surprisingly pretty awesome! The tuna tastes smoky and tasty!

The English Breakfast

Yummy-looking pizza!

Anddd here comes the main course *drumrolls* The English Breakfast Pizza! Not sure how much I liked the bacon, didn’t taste nor look too fresh to my liking.

Overall, it was a great meal, but with the bill coming up to over $50 for a meal for two, I am not sure if it’s worth the price!

Cheng Du Fragant Hot Pot – EXTRA SPICY… or is it?

We were at Vivocity after watching Pacific Rim (which I thought was just so-so, but maybe I had too high of an expectations since so many people were raving about it).

Anyway, Vivocity was crowded as usual and the food court (Food Republic) was impossible to get seats. Free ones were the reserved for the mini restaurants. One of them had fragrant hot pot and we were fans of fragrant hot pot, so we went there.

Supposedly this one is the same as 313@Somerset, but here, you tick the ingredients you want from the list instead of picking them at the counter.

Our side dish, stir fried potato came first.

Modest Meal

So-called “stir fried potato”. We all agreed that it tasted like stir fried turnip (lol)

ANYWAY! Since there wasn’t visual aid on the menu, we were quite puzzled when this arrived. I thought it was just the look that was deceiving and after I put it into my mouth…

…there was no way it was potato! Didn’t remotely taste like one! x_x

And the star of the show! YUM YUM YUM!

Moar Hotpot!

Delicious – though it was not spicy enough!

We picked pork belly, sliced dory, lotus root, chinese cabbage, beancurd skin and beancurd – on extra hot. It came out amazing! I dare say it was much better than the 313 counterpart! But seriously – this, extra hot? Puh-leez. Not sure if they got the order wrong or they lowered their ‘hot’ standard. The first time I ate in 313 branch I recalled it was much hotter and more numbing than this 🙁

Overall, still a satisfying meal!

Food Republic @ Vivo City
Vivo City Level 3 (next to Sentosa Express Monorail)
1 Harbour Front Walk
Singapore 098585

Siam Kitchen: Will I get Thai-ed of this?

Just happened to be in Bugis the other day to grab some nomnoms. I have been to Siam Kitchen a few times, and I don’t remember being disappointed by them before.

Siam Kitchen

Dinner for two

Siam Kitchen

Perking up appetite with Mango Salad!

Siam Kitchen

Why write “Kangkong with Chili and Shrimp Paste” on the menu when you can just call it “Sambal Kangkong?”

Where is the protein you ask!? Well, I forgot to take a picture of the pad thai we ordered :S

That’s it. Simple satisfying dinner! Nothing much to say about it either, though I never really found an Oh-God-So-Amazing Thai food in Singapore before. At least this one is better priced than Thai Express!

Yee Cheong Yuen Noodle Restaurant: Noodle Another Day

So we hunted food again in Holland Village for dinner. This time our aim was “Noodle”. We recalled seeing a noodle sign somewhere the last time we visited and it didn’t take long for us to find it again. It was just next to Yoshimaru Ramen, which I have yet to try.

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Interesting decor! And I love their logo!

On a quick look, I expected this place to be selling la mian, but it’s actually selling Ipoh hor fun. I was not really a fan of Ipoh hor fun, but hey maybe no harm trying things every now and then.

The auntie recommended us soya sauce chicken that is going at $12 a bird, which I thought was quite a bargain. But here is the thing, from the picture, I was expecting a roasted chicken, but my, I was so wrong. It’s a soya sauce chicken!

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Soya sauce chicken, which tasted so-so.

I was not really in a mood for soya sauce chicken, but I was trying to eat with an open mind. The meat was tender, which is always cool by my book, but I have serious issue with the sauce. One of it was the fact that it was slightly too sweet. Another reason was because…

Kailan

Kailan with oyster sauce – standard.

…our other dish, a kailan, tasted like it more or less share the same sauce with the chicken. I saw other tables ordering hor fun and noodles, seems like using the similar soya/oyster sauce mix, too.

To be fair, the food wasn’t that costly and I thought $12 for one whole chicken was pretty darn cheap. The service was good – as she cleared our table, the auntie quickly added that it was all right for us to sit around longer and just relax (we had a late dinner and the restaurant was quite deserted). Also, I love the ambiance! Maybe they just need to serve lamian *snickers*

Yee Cheong Yuen Noodle Restaurant
31A Lorong Liput
Singapore 277742

Taste Paradise: Taste like Paradise?

My parents had been wanting to take my grandparents out for dim sum since last week, but Taste Paradise in ION had a long queue and we had to wait for 2h for a seat! The plan was delayed until now, and we were smarter this time around and made a reservation.

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Fancy-looking menu to match the fancy price

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Obligatory taro puff, since me and my mom love taro puffs.

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I like cheong fun with prawns or char siew better…

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This vermecelli was fragrant with enough wok hei. Approved!

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Dunno how this one fare against Tim Ho Wan, but this bun got an approval from Mom.

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Not sure what to say about this bun. Wasn’t warm and runny enough for me.

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Forgettable siew mai.

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Grandma loves asparagus, so this one is for her. She seemed to enjoy it.

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XO Carrot Cake, exactly what it is.

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Recently I am in beancurd skin-love mode. This one wasn’t bad, but I had much better ones.

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I am a fan of chives. Thumbs up!

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Fun to snack on. Salt and pepper seldom go wrong.

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This dessert is AWESOME. Highly recommended!

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Very gimmicky with dry ice under the bowl. Had a taste and I thought it was a good palate cleanser.

There was also Xiao Long Bao, but I did not took a picture as it was gone as soon as it landed on the table (Grandpa loves Xiao Long Bao).

…okay that was an exaggeration, but was not so far from the truth!

And so we all went home with a satisfied stomach. Happily ever after – end of story! 😀