Mooncakes hold a special place in the hearts of many Chinese; it’s a symbol of the celebration of mid-autumn and, when given as a gift, is often seen as a symbol of togetherness.

To celebrate Mid-Autumn, Mandarin Orchard Singapore has unveiled an exquisite selection of mooncakes in an equally exquisite brand new packaging. Both baked and frosted-skin collections are available for people of different preferences too.

What’s nice about the packaging is that each baked mooncake is presented in a custom-designed carrier featuring the hotel’s iconic lattice pattern, accentuated by a motif of peony flowers in a red foil stamping. Adding an auspicious touch as well is a decorative Chinese knot with a tassel, finished in a vibrant red to complement the already exquisite box.

This year’s features include the limited edition Mini Baked Mooncakes made with premium ingredients. Two flavours include the Cempedak with White Lotus Paste and the Japanese Yuzu and Pistachio with Black Sesame Paste, which is made with a gold-dusted charcoal skin.

Another is the return of their signature baked mooncake with Mixed Nuts with Jamón Iberico (a type of cured ham; not shown here), which melds both sweetness and savouriness in every bite. Legit favourite there.

While I will never understand why people prefer snow skin mooncakes (heck yeah baked ftw), there are also snow skin favourites like the Lychee Martini and Chocolate, and Red Wine Cranberry Paste with Japanese Yuzu and Lemongrass. These delicately handmade and refreshingly innovative mooncakes are filled with creamy decadence, and will make you go all Crazy Rich Asian and channel your inner Eleanor Sung-Young!

Of course no Mid-autumn collection is complete without the time-honoured classic selection of baked mooncakes, like the Double Yolk and White Lotus Paste. The health conscious can also opt for the Macadamia Nuts and Low Sugar White Lotus Paste (watch your diabetes)!

We were also treated to a selected menu of Mandarin Orchard Singapore’s own talented chefs, such as an aerated salted egg concoction with croutons and truffle shavings, and a Kurobuta Pork Belly “Kong Bak Bao” (扣肉包). There were also matching German and French wines by Wein & Vin to pair with the mooncakes and food, and even the attendance of esteemed palm reader Master Khor!

If you, like me, want everything and can’t make up your mind when you order stuff like mooncakes, you can opt for The Mandarin Collection. Each set comes with four different flavours which include the aforementioned Mixed Nuts and Jamón Ibérico, Double Yolk and White Lotus Paste, Macadamia Nuts and Low Sugar White Lotus Pasteand Azuki Red Bean Paste and Pine Nuts.

The Mid-autumn Collection is available at Mandarin Orchard Singapore’s Festive Counter at Level 1 Lobby from 17 August to 24 September 2018 (from 11am to 7pm daily).

For larger orders or corporate enquiries, please call 6831 6320/6262 or email festivedesk.orchard@meritushotels.com. For more information, view the brochure here and the order form here.

This post is brought to you courtesy of Mandarin Orchard Singapore, by Meritus.

Singapore Coffee Festival 2017 – Organised by The Straits Times & Presented by DBS Bank

Just yesterday I attended the Singapore Coffee Festival 2017 (Media & Trade Day). Organized by The Straits Times and presented by the DBS Bank, it’s back for its second year!  This year it’s held at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore. To me even though it meant a 10 minute walk down a very long sheltered walkway, it is a big improvement over the previous location, as the entire immigration and boarding centre is turned into a giant festival ground, all in the comfort of cool air-conditioning! There are actually 2 levels of the festival this time, so instead of a claustrophobic corridor, now it is held in a spacious and tall indoor venue.

To cater to everyone, they’ve also split up the sessions into two: brunch (10:00am to 3:30pm) and sundown (4:30pm to 10:00pm). Be sure to go on time so that you have maximum enjoyment of your favourite cuppa. Before you read on, get your tickets here! Regular tickets are priced at $22 per session, and at $18 per session for DBS cardholders and Straits Times subscribers.


The Straits Times – Coffee and Conversations

Similar to last year, apart from just downing shots of caffeine, The Straits Times are holding a series of talks and conversations with interesting personalities, from baristas and start-up entrepreneurs, to social enterprises and corporate leaders.

The brunch sessions features Coffee with the Boss, a series of talks by towkays (bosses/leaders) such as DBS’ regional head of group research Timothy Wong on investment tips (Sunday), Singtel’s consumer chief executive Yuen Kuan Moon on the digital age and technology (Saturday), as well as Princess Cruises director for South-east Asia Farriek Tawfik on travel tips and destinations (Friday). The sundown sessions are more casual, featuring cafe owners, baristas discussing becoming a F&B entrepreneur, and having a mid-career change into the industry. Check out the full programme here.

Live Kind with DBS

Can a cup of coffee change the world? As part of its vision to create a positive impact beyond banking, DBS Asia For Good Foundation presents Live Kind, which include a series of interactive workshops like coffee brewing, latte art to snack making and tasting sessions. You can also  shop for some artisanal coffee, tea and snacks at The Good Market. Live ethically, effortlessly with these sustainable businesses from across Asia that will be showcasing a range of socially conscious coffee, organic snacks, and all natural skincare products.

Also get yourself some goodies by completing a list of tasks on the Live Kind Passport, but you got to register on the link first or at the festival!

Check out their website before you go down, over here.

Hook me up with some Caffeine!

This year, Singapore Coffee Festival boasts over 100 partners and exhibitors, from commercial brands to local coffee brewers. Get yourself some classic and curated roasts by various cafes (I went for Brawn & Brains’ Natural and Kochere coffee mixes (served in a pourover). Personally I preferred the natural for its berry taste and acidity! Otherwise, get some cold brews such as by Lorgan and Sons and 1degreec, or Coffee in a Cone by Coffee Academics just to name a few. Some festival exclusives are also available, such as Hyde & Co, whom are selling its cold brew iced teas in bottled form for the first time at $8 each, while Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee will be launching a special blend of coffee beans. There are also international specials like the Japan Roast (I love their Kenyan roasts) and Shiseido boutique are also here to show off some international love!

Do also check out the second level of the exhibition (there’s escalators and elevators available) where you can find coffee making paraphernalia for sale, and also Owa Coffee by Mandai & Wildlife Reserves Singapore, which is grown by Javanese farmers in an wildlife-friendly manner and protects the Javan silvery Gibbons, which is threatened by deforestation from practices such as coffee-growing. You can also participate in (you need to register online first) different workshops like Lab Sessions @ The Lab by Common Man Roasters.

Check out the different sections of the exhibition, such as a local Kopi Corner designed by Daniel Boey featuring Ya Kun Kaya Toast, and the sunset wharf where you can find Hyde & Co and Symmetry along with a power packed line-up of musical performances throughout the festival, featuring acts like local singers Inch Chua, Jawn , indie rock band Stopgap, and producer Tim De Cotta. I’d recommend chilling there, by the seaside, to end the night with your favourite beverage! For me it was the coffee pale ale (beer) by Brawn & Brains!

For a whole list of participating cafes and brands, click here!

Coffee Alternatives

Wished you had a better tolerance to caffeine (unlike me) and want to take a break from the coffee? There’s also plenty of options such as the flower teas by SWATi, Strawberry Oolong Tea by Boba Brew, and many more! Hungry? There’s also plenty of food choices, such as the watermelon soft serve (eat it fast, it melts really quick!) and Rendang Mac & Cheese with Ayam Keluak Kueh Pie Tee by Arbite. Check out the friendly magazine that’s available if you ever get spoilt for choice!

#Covfefe or Bust

Hope you people enjoy this year’s Singapore Coffee Festival like I had. As drinking a large amount of coffee does have a diuretic effect, be sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, and avoid it on a completely empty stomach!

More Information

Singapore Coffee Festival 2017 By The Straits Times and DBS Bank
Marina Bay Cruise Centre – Getting There
61 Marina Coastal Drive
Singapore 018947
Tickets here


Many thanks to The Straits Times & DBS for inviting!

“I am a coffee fanatic. Once you go to proper coffee, you can’t go back. You cannot go back.”

Hugh Laurie

UPDATE: VXX has closed.

As recent as 2010, Singapore was hit by a wave of artisan coffee houses, stemming from the Melbourne café scene that has pretty much took over the whole world. It’s no doubt that Singaporeans will always crave for better quality, and will jump on the first available choice AND be more than willing to shell out a premium. However it still remains a cut-throat arena; out of the 391 cafes that opened in 2014, at least a quarter of them didn’t make the cut since. That’s a lot of coffee going both ways!

Also, I personally observe that a lot of these cafés popping up like rabbits aren’t really that serious about the literal meaning of a café; well, the coffee.

Stephanie Phua (Duo Studio)

VXX Cooperative

Stephanie of Duo Studio sought out to disprove that by bringing me to a relatively new coffeehouse in the vicinity of her agency, in Jalan Besar. Speaking of the area, it’s a really under-the-radar and eclectic enclave of coffeehouses and small restaurants!

Creative & advertising agencies similarly have a tough life over here, and she’s glad that she can find such a place just round the corner that not only is a good place to tune out/do work in peace, but also has a satisfying dining experience.

VXX Cooperative

Started by coffee connoisseurs and professionals Joy and Aslam, VXX Cooperative takes pride in their coffee-centric nature, which is evident in the curation of available roasted brews. With a mix of local favourites Nylon Coffee Roasters, Cloud Catcher Roastery (Malaysia), Koppi (Sweden) and Tim Wendelboe (Norway), it’s a special kind of heaven for serious coffee enthusiasts. Coupled with the strong experience of both former baristas themselves, Joy and Aslam are able to bring out the best of what are already among the best roasts in town.

If you wanted to know, “VXX” is something of sentimental value to Aslam, as it is the area code (520) of the district.

I’m a relatively technical person myself, and I love it when being explained to the facts and technical aspects of just about anything, especially food. This was exactly the experience I got; Joy was really patient and enthusiastic to introduce the profiles of the special brews on sale that day and I made an informed choice to get the Nacimiento by Tim Wendelboe. Served in a metal flask, it’s meant to be enjoyed slowly to allow the aromatics time to vaporise and give you an olfactory treat.

If any, their logo is a good representation of their culture: sharp but multi-directional curation. Located at 20 Foch Road, the interior is nicely spaced, minimalistic yet comfortable. The flowery floor tiles were probably because it used to be a dispensary back in the days. It’s not somewhere you’d want to have a 50 seats birthday party at, but like Stephanie, it’s a pretty good place if you want some peace and quiet. When you enter the shop’s front hall you’ll be greeted with a really large flat wooden table, possible with some coffee drips running on it. Take your pick with the merchandise just next to it too, when I was there, I saw some really good chocolate!

In fact, she got so comfy with the place that her coffee choices are simply picked for her and she does not have to worry about not enjoying whatever is served! Joy does not disappoint.

VXX Cooperative VXX Cooperative VXX Cooperative VXX Cooperative

The food menu is something that constantly evolves, but keeps to their principle of serving simple food to a T. I do agree to not over-complicating your food as a café owner as it will rob the attention from the beverages, and turn you into one of those red-velvet-cake-eggs-benedict-please hipster cafés.

Opting for something balanced and light I’ve opted for the banana-walnut french toast, topped up with mascarpone cheese, berries and coffee custard. Stephanie (aka stooffi) got basically what she always orders: a beef chorizo bowl with shaved potatos and tomatoes, topped with a perfectly wobbly *jiggle* onsen egg. According to her this is the third iteration of the same dish, and it is rather different in terms of presentation and preparation style from the predecessors.

There are also several other interesting creations from breakfast items to full lunch menus. I heard the dessert is also to die for, so get them before they change the menu (yet again)!

VXX Cooperative VXX Cooperative VXX Cooperative

At the time of writing both Rudi and Joy are taking part in the Singapore National Brewers Cup 2017, happening at Cafe Asia 2017 over at MBS this weekend! All the best!


Nondescript shopfront, minimalistic furniture, artisan food and beverages? Check!

While you have to be prepared for some premium in prices, care is taken to prepare the food and (especially) coffee. You won’t feel shortchanged at all!

See above. Portions are just right regardless if you want a midday snack, or a hearty lunch.

Definitely a good local effort to bring quality coffee to the scene (a refreshing change in my opinion). They change up every 3-4 months to keep things fresh too, so you won’t get bored.

More Information

VXX Cooperative
20 Foch Road
Singapore 209261
Tel: 8720 0093
Opens daily 9:00am to 6:00pm
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To be honest, the first time I heard of PocoLoco I immediately thought of a similar sounding video game I used to play:


Situated in Ang Mo Kio, it wouldn’t naturally be the first on my list to go to as I live in the east (#eastsidebestside). As the SO had to work late on Valentine’s, I had to look for something in the vicinity that was still available for a comfortable meal that late (past 8PM). A quick search on Chope and there was PocoLoco, first on the list (I swear).

Being the only Italian place that I know of located in a HDB shop unit, PocoLoco puts the heart in heartlands by serving quality and affordable Italian food where “it is not necessary to dress up; your spaghetti, tagliatelle and maccheroni are served in a nice, informal environment where you feel immediately at ease” (from their website).

PocoLocoPocoLocoPocoLocoPocoLocoThe restaurant itself has a industrial and rather minimalistic finish, which is also prevalent in the linear kitchen design (given that space is a luxury in these shop units). The design helps both kitchen and service staff run like clockwork, as dishes get pushed out efficiently to hungry diners on a (from what I was told is a long, busy) weeknight.

For antipasto, we started out with some burrata cheese with parma ham (they had it on their daily special menu), and was presented with a generous dollop of cheese. Although at $16 I’d like a little more generosity with the ham, it was nothing out of the ordinary, being a staple dish in Italian cuisine.


Main courses came right after, as we didn’t want any primo like soups: A porcini mushroom risotto for myself and zafferano (saffron) pasta with seafood for her. Portions were just about right (some people, including myself, sometimes tend to equate value with volume of food on the plate) and both rice and pasta were also cooked al dente (a little bit on the firmer side for those who are particular).

For my risotto, the starchiness of the rice blended well with the distinct nutty taste of the porcini mushroom. But IMO there was a tad too much truffle oil drizzled atop, and even after the meal I could still smell the truffle in my own breath.

The pasta was also rather delightful; seafood was fresh, cream was quite balanced with the saffron. All in all what you would expect in a casual Italian diner. Oh did i mention that both main courses did not cost more than $15 each?

PocoLoco PocoLoco

Of course, being Valentine’s and all, we (read: the girlfriend) decided to indulge in some dessert to finish off the night. They’re pretty much known for their tiramisu (served in a cocktail glass), but we decided to get the special menu dessert instead: a matcha lava cake.  Complimentary cute hearts!

PocoLoco PocoLoco

The Verdict

I really did not expect such a find in the depths of the heartlands!

With nothing costing more than $15-16 off the regular menu, and $20 from the special menu that night, it is definitely good value!

The kitchen staff move tirelessly to make sure food is served quick and hot. Just a little bit rough on the edges but you can tell the food is made with good care and love! Definitely better than the PastaMania that’s set up just two units away #brightidea

Please come here, it’s not difficult for a Changi guy to come here to Ang Mo Kio just for this. Unless you live in Jurong, I’ll think of something else. Oh wait, I already have (read on)!


More Information

PocoLoco (Ang Mo Kio)
408 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10
Singapore 560408
Operating Hours:
12pm – 3pm
6pm – 10pm
Last reservation for the day 5pm
Moblie: +65 8436 3363
Email: enquiry@pocoloco.com.sg
Facebook | Instagram | Website

Menu (there are daily specials that you will need to contact the restaurant about):


**Jurong/Choa Chu Kang people, rejoice! You can now enjoy the same thing without crossing the border! They have opened another outlet in Snow City, which also boasts a microbrewery as well!**

PocoLoco (Jurong)
Snow City Level 2
21 Jurong Town Hall Road
Singapore 609433
Operating Hours
12pm – 3pm
6pm – 10pm
Last reservation for the day 5pm
Moblie: +65 8438 3833
Email: jurong@pocoloco.com.sg

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Picture this: you are enjoying a pint of your favourite beer after work, and like any beer lover you get the munchies 10 minutes into it. You’d wish for some light bites, but when you’re drinking craft beer at Smith Street Taps or The Good Beer Company (stories for another time!) in Chinatown Complex, it’s not easy getting something that isn’t too filling. Especially if you’re going to get dinner with the missus later!

Rudy’s Snack Bar

Open only in the evenings when the beer monster comes out to play, Rudy’s Snack Bar sets up shop just round the corner from where a handful of craft beer stalls are, all in a quiet corner of the Chinatown Complex Food Centre. Started just in November 2016, it serves an eclectic range of (well you guessed it) snacks that are both wallet-friendly and tasty!

Rudy's Snack BarRudy's Snack Bar Rudy's Snack Bar Rudy's Snack Bar

Apart from the more common fries and chicken wings/drumlets on the menu, they also serve some really addictive chewy fish crackers, which is actually based off the traditional malay fish cracker snack called Keropok Lekor. This variation is unlike the ones you usually find in pasar malams in Singapore and Malaysia as it is not crunchy, but instead has a fluffy texture. Served with a sweet and spicy chili dip, it’s a perfect pairing while you guzzle down pints of India Pale Ales (IPAs) on a humid evening!

Rudy's Snack Bar

One thing I didn’t get to try though, is their traditional nasi lemak. Wrapped in the ol’ school “bungkus” style goodness, it is only available on Thursdays (I passed by on a Tuesday. Check out their Instagram page for updates). I’ll be back, as there are plenty more snacks such as spring rolls, fried wanton dumplings and many others to try!

The Verdict

You wouldn’t expect such a snack stall to be in a hawker food centre, and it’s pretty much tucked in a corner of the place, which gives it this score.

A slight premium for a mix of difference commonness, but being situated within reach of the few craft beer stalls, it’s worth the convenience.

Food is served freshly cooked and piping hot, with generous dressings (for the cheese fries). The owner shared with me that their chewy fish crackers are also freshly prepared as they are quite popular amongst the regulars.

Never ever shy away from decently priced beer bites when you see it. Period.

More Information

Rudy’s Snack Bar
Blk 335 Smith Street
#02-066 Green Zone
Chinatown Complex Food Centre
Singapore 050335
Opens Tuesdays to Saturdays, 5:30pm to 10:00pm
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UPDATE JUL 2020: Guac & Go has closed.

The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

Audrey Hepburn

Beauty queens certainly don’t get it easy; from advocating various good causes, to maintaining their pristine image, it takes tenacity and confidence to perform their best and gun for a top spot in their respective pageants.

Stella Kae

Stella (Instagram) is no stranger to the world of beauty pageants, with 2 (TWO!) titles (Miss Singapore International 2011, Miss Singapore Chinatown 2012) to show for. Always game for an adventure whether its strutting down the runway or food-hunting, I brought her to another old haunt of mine when I used working in town, Guac & Go. Stella’s currently on the way to a brand new career, here’s wishing her a good 2017 and may her new year resolutions all come true!

Guac & Go

Guac & Go

Started in 2014 by 2 young people with a serious guacamole addiction who were getting bored with the limited and otherwise bland avocado scene (cue cringe-worthy Christmas avocado jingle). To which, they decided to shake things up by adding a myriad of tasty ingredients such as cilantro, lemon, honey, chilli peppers and even mango. In their words, they managed to make guacamole taste AMAZING! Not only that, they also have many dishes jam packed with other superfoods such as kale and quinoa.

It’s a little tricky to find them for first timers, as they are situated at the back side of Maxwell Chambers; you will need to traverse through a short corridor just to get to their shopfront, or go through the back if you’re coming from the newly completed Tanjong Pagar Centre. Looking in beyond the tinted glass windows without much (unnecessary) fanfare, take a seat in the spacious and sparsely furnished interior as you decide whether you want to make your own bowl, or try one of their several creations. Their menu has been updated considerably since when I first visited but I feel that it has much more variety right now. For me, I ordered the Guac & Hummus bowl while Stella chose to DIY a salad (guacamole included of course) instead.

Guac & Go Guac & Go

Happy New Year!!! Get started on the right foot – health up with the Guacamonster 🎉

A photo posted by Guac & Go Cafe (@guacngo) on

Guac & Go is also known for their smoothies; although we didn’t get to try them out, you should check out their interesting creations such as the Tropikale, berry, and (you guessed it!) avocado smoothies!

Never ending summer with our Tie Dye Peachberry Smoothie! We love the swirls of pink and yellow 💕

A photo posted by Guac & Go Cafe (@guacngo) on


When they first opened, the on-going construction of the now-completed Tanjong Pagar Centre make their location inconspicuous. Now that the road has opened up again, hopefully more people will have an easier time finding them!

Health food in Singapore unfortunately face a bit more premium than they’re supposed to, given that you mainly serve fresh produce in a comfortable setting which commands a higher rent by itself.

Food looks and taste fresh, and their guacamole is definitely worth its weight in (I would say avocado but) gold!

A decent find after all; some people may be put off by the over-saturation of ‘hipster’ health food-serving cafes, but who knows? You may deck your halls with their avocados one day.

More Information

Guac & Go
32 Maxwell Road #01-08
Maxwell Chambers
Singapore 069115
Tel: 6221 2117
Opening Hours: 7:30am to 5:00pm, Mondays to Fridays. Closed on weekends and public holidays.
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| Website

Cooking is about passion, so it may look slightly temperamental in a way that it’s too assertive to the naked eye

– Gordon Ramsay


Roti John is a peculiar dish. A product of the diasporic nature of early Singapore, nobody really knows its true origin. Except that it is a MacGyver-esque concoction in the 1960s, where an anonymous Malay hawker was asked by yet another anonymous Caucasian for a hamburger. Given the obvious lack of hamburgers, the hawker slathered a mixture of minced mutton, onions, and fried while coated with scrambled eggs (Source).

There are many places with long and famous history of selling Roti John, but today brings me to somewhere close in my childhood: Haig Road.

Rosy & Nora


Named after the two eponymous stallholders, this stall has been up and running for at least 35 years. Even ‘Kak’ (Sister) Rosy, who usually runs the show herself nowadays, cannot put an exact date to their long-running enterprise! Situated in Haig Road Market & Food Centre, most first-timers can easily miss their bright orange signboard in the glittering array of tasty Malay and Indian Muslim cuisine.

The Roti John

Roti John is usually made with a local variant of the French baguette that is shorter and supposedly softer in texture. I’ve been to quite a few Roti John stalls (including those that you find at the Pasar Malam here in Singapore), and always felt that their bread is still quite tough and chewy, perhaps due to overcooking as well.

However Rosy & Nora’s take on the iconic dish has always made me feel at home, as it is very much fluffier and has a generous layer of scrambled eggs and onions. Coupled with their secret chilli gravy dip, it’s a good balance of sweetness, acidity and savouriness coming from the spiced minced mutton and egg spread.

Rosy & Nora don’t just sell Roti John of course. Drop by during dinner and you will see unwavering lines of people coming in waves ordering the popiah (spring rolls;), burgers, and ball kentang (potato) served with soup as well. At just tree-fiddy ($3.50) per half-loaf of delicious bread, you can hardly get better value elsewhere. The Popiahs come in two options: Goreng (deep-fried) or Basah (“wet”, otherwise just the usual spring roll we know)

PopiahRoti John

One more to note: although various other food guides state their opening hours as 2pm-10pm, it often sells-out as early as 7:30pm!

The Verdict

It’s a hawker stall, come on! However, it is very popular among the regulars and during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, be prepared for Mcdonald’s-hello-kitty-toys magnitude of queuing nearing dinner time!

At tree-fiddy, it’s hard to beat.

Some may discount the quality for the lack of intense mutton flavour compared to other popular Roti John stalls, but the combination of the chilli dip with the generous egg and onion spread more than makes up for it!

Come and try it one day!

p.s. More Haig Road hole in the wall reviews coming up!

More Information

Rosy & Nora
14 Haig Road
Haig Road Cooked Food Centre
Singapore 430014
Opens Daily from 2:00pm to 10:00pm

Rosy & Nora sells Halal-certified food.

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