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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.

Freehouse

Right at the middle of downtown is Freehouse, a bar opened in 2016 that “was birthed from a thirst that could only be quenched by good beer and cider”. With up to 16 rotating taps of craft beer (they’re usually almost at full capacity), you can be sure that you’ll only be thirsty for that guy/girl down the bar 😉 Situated in a shophouse in the Telok Ayer area, its intimate settings ensures you that there’s definitely “no strangers here”.

Week of the Dog at Freehouse

Yo Dawg, so I heard it’s the Year of the Dog, so Freehouse’s got some (hot)dogs at the week of the dog, so you can dog while you dawg!

Just over the last week, while basically half of the bars you frequent were closed over the Chinese New Year week, Freehouse started the year of the dog with a week long event starring their very own bar manager, Christian!

The Week of the Dog featured a special event-only menu made of gourmet sausages, corn dogs and more importantly (to me), TATER TOTS “smothered in homemade meat/beach chilli! With Christian in the kitchen (no sandwiches today), we devoured most of the brutally-named menu, such as the Brat-tallica, a Bratwurst topped with home-made braised red cabbage, Sauerkraut, Bacon, Hefeweizen Cheese Sauce, Spicy Mustard and Devil’s Ketchup; or if you’re in camp Dave Mustaine, there’s The Megadeth Corn Dog, that’s dipped in a special honey-infused buttermilk batter and deep fried to golden glory!

We also checked out good ol’ Trogdor the Burninator, our favourite strong-armed winged beast represented with Tater Tots smothered in molten Cheddar Cheese (that’s enough to make Torbjorn breathe heavily), Home Made Stout Bean/Meat Chilli, Srircha, Sour Cream and Devil’s Ketchup. Beware of the fire-breathing dragon!

No Strangers Here

Beyond the special menu for the week, Freehouse also offers a pretty wide range of bar snacks and dinner items (they’re usually not open for lunch). Favourites include the Cereal Frog Legs, Grilled Eggplant and Japanese Curry Fries just to name a few. Food menu may also change time to time, so find out the latest while you’re there!

Of course being one of the increasingly popular craft beer bar in Singapore, Freehouse offers a rotating selection of delicious craft beer from around the world, as mentioned previously having a capacity of 16 taps in full view of their white tiled display wall. New and seasoned craft beer enthusiasts are more than welcome, as your friendly neighbourhood bar guy Christian will surely put the right beer in front of you. Events and tap takeovers from particular breweries (such as the recent Battle Royale of Vietnamese breweries Pasteur Street and Heart of Darkness) also happen regularly, so be sure to like their Facebook page to keep yourself updated. For a good deal, head down to their Pint & Grub Mondays, where any pint with a side from a selected list go for only $20++!

 

Verdict

hole-in-the-wall-ness:
Price:
Quality:
Overall:

More Information

Freehouse
21A Boon Tat Street
Singapore 069620
Email: info@freehouse.com.sg
Opening Hours: 5:00pm to 12:00am (Tuesdays to Saturdays), 3:00pm to 12:00am (Fridays only). CLOSED MONDAYS.
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Japanese food makes me feel particularly good

-David Mitchell

Despite being a cosmopolitan city, getting quality yet affordable Japanese food is not as easy as you think; either it costs you an arm and a leg, or it feels like a monkey with a spoon can do a better job.

Ming San (鳴 San) Casual Japanese Dining

Ming San, after their eponymous owner, sits just about at the edge of the Chinatown area. To get there, one way is to take a short walk through Pearl’s Hill City Park, and it’s not a uphill task at all! Geddit? <Insert corny punchline here>

(From here on, I will interchangeably refer to both the restaurant and the owner as “Ming San”)

The restaurant was the brain-child of Ming San, and was realised just in September 2015. Serving food in a casual, modern style, the interior does look proper with natural light flooding in from the full length windows and no-nonsense wooden furniture. Generally, the crowd consist of OLs and very often he also gets Japanese customers working in the area coming for dinner!

Ming SanMing San Ming San

Ming San serves up a plethora of Japanese cuisine from his humble kitchen (just behind the wall of mouth-watering photos). From bento sets to sushi platters,  you definitely will be spoilt for choice.

Speaking of which, when he first started the restaurant, the bento sets were initially a fixed selection of less than a dozen choices. However, this often lead to much confusion for Ming San as he has to entertain countless requests to customise the sets to suit each customer’s palate. So, to make sure everyone leaves Ming San a happy pup, he introduced the mix & match concept menu for his bento sets which are now a hit with his customers:

So instead of just under 10 sets, you can have different permutations of dishes to make up your bento with the 20 (wow!) items available. All for just $10! Ming San also told me that more selections will be added soon, and the menu will be updated from time to time to keep his customers interested.

Ming San Ming San

Although Ming San says that Sushi is not his forte, he does serve up some respectable hand-kneaded goodness, like his signature  salmon aburi available as a nigiri sushi or in a maki roll. The nigiri sushi, topped generously with crystal seaweed and roe, has a full-bodied flavor, where the freshness of the fish is locked in by the aburi sear.

Ming San Ming San

However, I felt that the ramen broth was too complex for me, as it is heavily loaded with tastes of shrimp and tonkotsu all jumbled up together. Personally, I prefer lighter and clearer broths, but you can see if this adaptation floats your boat. As the broth is now prepared by Ming San’s eldest daughter, it’s definitely worth encouraging her as she continues to experiment and find that signature Ming San ramen taste! がんばって!

Ming San

The Verdict

hole-in-the-wall-ness:
Tucked in the corner unit of a office building right at the edge of chinatown, it’s definitely off the beaten track. If not for me knowing that it is near a popular dimsum restaurant nearby, I would have much more trouble locating it the first time around!

Price:
Ming San prides himself for being able to give decent, quality food at affordable prices. You pay for what you get, but what you pay is worth the buck!

Quality:
The sushi, salad (not pictured) and bento sets especially were freshly made and flavourful, making the food a good hearty lunch for one, or a cosy dinner with your friends after a long day of salaryman work. However, I personally feel the ramen broth could use more fine-tuning.

Overall:
To Ming San, his restaurant is more than just a place of sustenance. To him, eating should be casual, enjoyable and most importantly, in good company of your family and closest friends!

More Information

Ming San Casual Japanese Dining
171 Chin Swee Road
#01-03
CES Centre
Singapore 169877
Opening Hours:  Mondays to Saturdays, 12:00pm to 3:00pm & 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Open for lunch ONLY on Wednesdays
Tel: 6386 9311
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mingsan0103/
Note: Call in advance and check their facebook page to avoid disappointment, as they are occasionally closed for private bookings/events. Catering menu is also available on request!


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