Tea Chapter 茶渊: Chinese Tea Experience

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Tea Chapter 茶渊: Chinese Tea Experience
Tea Chapter has been around for the longest time, and I finally got to visit for an introductory Chinese Tea workshop with my darling friends on Saturday afternoon. On the first floor, you'll see their retail shop. The tea house is on the second floor. This is where all tea sessions and workshops will be held.
Going up the stairs, you'll also feel like you're walking through their memory lane as old photos with celebrities and famous people photographed drinking their teas. In this photo, shows Queen Elizabeth ll tasting one of their signature tea (Imperial Golden Cassia, 御用黄金桂) during her visit on 10th October 1989.

You can choose to sit on the normal tables and chairs, or get to choose a Korean seating style, where you sit on low tables, atop a platorm. That's what we chose to go with. :)

 Teas galore! I feel like trying every one of them.
There's so many types of teapots to use for Chinese tea appreciation, and some of them include the Purple Sand Clay Teapot (紫砂壶, Zi Sha Hu), Cinnabar Teapot (朱砂壶, Zhu Sha Hu), Fortified Clay Teapot (鍛泥壺, Duan Ni Hu). Purple Sand Teapots are the most popular as they are termed the best teapots in capturing the essence and fragrance of the tea leaves.
We took up the tea appreciation package ($35+ per person), it included the sampling of 2 teas: the Imperial Golden Cassia tea 御用黄金桂 (the one which Queen Elizabeth II had), and Jasmine Pearls 茉莉珍珠, as well as a taste of their tea leaf eggs 茶叶蛋 and tea cookies.
Note: Did you know that there were 6 'colours' of tea? They are, in order, the green, white, yellow, turqoise, red and black. Outside of these 6 colours, you have floral tea! :)
We were taught how to correctly retrieve teas from the packet so we don't 'hurt' / damage the tea leaves.
As well as how to hold the teapot while pouring, and the timing for steeping the tea.

The ready tea was then poured into a tasting cup and we were taught how to appreciate the brew. It was a really refreshing experience and I learnt so much about tea in just one session! As a tea lover, I can tell you that I will definitely back to learn more in depth about this art.
 Their tea leaf eggs were also very flavourful, so good. A must-try, if you just come here for a tea session with your friends.
 Their cookies are also awesome! Goes really awesome with the tea.
Can't resist a happy selfie with my tea leaf egg, which I unravelled myself. If you notice, tea leaf eggs are supposed to have some sort of marbling on them, but theirs is totally brownish! Which can also mean the tea flavours are totally infused in the egg!

It was a really fun experience with good company, and I highly recommend you stop by if you are a tea aficionado! Visit their website for more information on business hours and workshop details. :)

Tea Chapter 茶渊 
Address: 9 & 11 Neil Road, Singapore 088808
Website: http://teachapter.com/

Mother's Day Gifts: Gift Ideas for 10 types of Moms!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Mother's Day Gifts: Gift Ideas for 10 types of Moms!
Mother's Day is coming soon again (on 8th May, y'all!), and before you get into a frenzy nail-biting situation over what to get your momma, here's some ideas you can take with you to the shopping malls to begin your shopping! Hope you'll find some of these useful.

For the Classy English Mom:
A classy mom deserves to eat from classy crockery. Doulton's classic tablewares will spruce up the table with elegance and style. We love Gordon Ramsay's Union Street Blue series, a full 16-piece set. For other sleek designs, check it out on the Royal Doulton website.
Photo Credits: Royal Doulton

For the Housewife Mom: 
Cleaning toilets, scrubbing sinks, all because she loves the family. Now, give her beautiful hands a well-deserved break and get them moisturised to smoothness with Bon Bon Shea's moisturizers from Tokyo-Milk. We love these non-sticky, yet moisturizing creams that also smell good. Choose from 8 types of scents from the TokyoMilk website.
Photo Credits: TokyoMilk
Also consider buying her a week off or two with ad-hoc part-time maid engagement services, from top cleaning agencies like Domestic OneAmahs & Cleaners or NTUC Income Cleaning Services, so she'll know that she can take a short vacation off her cleaning chores without having to worry about the dust bunnies piling up at home.

For the Fun Loving Moms: 
Think your mom can take a joke? Why not gift her this interesting present that might make her eyes sparkle a little after she realises she no longer has to withstand your (or her own) smelly business? Leave the crappy jokes to the team at Poo-Pourri, as they can not only mask your toilet scents, but also actually make you laugh at a shitty pun! Ships from US. Find out more about Poo-Pourri here. Our favourite toilet scents include the Poo La La and the Original Citrus.
Photo credits: Poo-Pourri

For the Skincare Lover Mom: 
They're probably gonna be looking at anti-aging products, with power moisturizing properties. Yet, in our humid weather, we would hate on products which get too oily for the skin to handle. I love Vecua Honey's Honey Dew Essence series, which is moisturizing and also not too oily. It also sports a lovely mild flower honey scent, which is going to be pleasantly delicious smelling for the older crowd. This brand is also available for testing at Tokyu Hands outlets.
Photo credits: Vecua Honey

For the Stylish Mom: 
Who could resist a lovely, unique scarf, which brings out the beauty of the most important woman in your life? We are lovin' the gorgeous scarves from Not On The High Street, a UK online marketplace which gathers more than 100 creative sellers, bringing you many items which are fashionable and unique. Ships worldwide!
Photo Credits: Not on the high street

If the stylish mom wants a bag instead, consider the Furoshiki Bag. Furoshiki is a type of Japanese wrapping cloth, widely used in Japan to wrap all sorts of stuff for easy travelling around. Taking it a step further, they provided a strap to make it a legit bag, easy to strap, string and carry around. It is a gift which will definitely make her stand out from the crowd. Available from the Link Collective.
Photo Credits: Link Collective

For the Foodie Mom:
The recently renovated Four Seasons's Jiang-Nan Chun boosts not only a lovely interior, but also extremely delectable dishes. The foodie mom will definitely enjoy the brand's dining ideology '享乐' very well, as it focuses on the little happy things in life that's truly worth dwelling on. They are currently having a 25% promotion off Peking Duck (just call Jiang-Nan Chun and quote "25% off Peking Duck" to book the promotions), and a special wine-pairing promotion @ $65++ for 3 glasses of wine curated by their in-house wine experts!
If the mom likes seafood, I also recommend a quieter, chill-out location in Kallang. Yes, you got it right. Kallang! It's the Gills & Shells, a modern European styled seafood restaurant & bar. Affordable and delicious. We totally loved the food here. Enjoy the fresh oysters and delectable mains, and pair the Mother's day celebration with a drink or two!

For the Zen Mom: 
She'd love to chill with a nice tea, and relax as she listens to her favourite classical tunes. Why not let her enjoy a lovely cuppa from Lupicia? Born in 1994, this Japanese tea shop has over 400 specially crafted teas for you to choose from, all of them are specially packaged pretty! Not sure which one's good? Go get a sniffin' at their Great World City or Vivocity outlet and decide for yourselves before getting it!
Photo Credits: Lupicia

For the Health conscious Mom:
Using all natural ingredients, and a natural beauty booster, the Snow Hashima is a good choice besides the usual bird's nest gift. Hashima is also known as the dried fatty tissue from the fallopian tubes of frogs. Don't be shocked by the mere sound of it, these jelly like substances are great for the complexion of the skin. It also helps to nourish the lungs! Available from Eu Yan Sang.
Photo credits: Eu Yan Sang Singapore
For moms who loves a good, healthy snack, get her some nuts from Garden Picks. They offer many types of snacks which will not pack on more on the waistline!

For the Drama Mommas:
See what I did there? Drama Mamas? Okay, never mind. If you've a mom who loves dramas (like mine), consider getting her a monthly Netflix subscription. Home to many movies and western drama series, monthly prices range from $10.98 to $16.98 in Singapore. To unlock the full range of what they're enjoying on the US Netflix, you will need to get a VPN though! With the additional VPN, your mom will also be able to enjoy her favourite South Korean dramas through the US version.

For the Straightforward Mom:
She's probably one who isn't into frills or expensive stuff. It doesn't excite her, probably might even earn you some nagging. So why not keep it simple by just being straightforward with her, telling her why she's the best mother in the world? Pen it down with all your sincerity, along with photos and present it to her. She'll probably appreciate this more than anything else in the world: your heartfelt thanks. To start off easy, get this 'What I Love about Mom' journal, all you have to do is to fill in the blanks! Available from Knock Knock Stuff.
Photo Credits: Knock Knock Stuff
If you're looking for something that allows you to convey more of your thoughts, consider getting the 'Mom, I've always wanted to tell you' journal. Available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Photo Credits: Amazon

On a side note, if you do decide to purchase from US sites, I personally recommend using Comgateway to ship your purchases, I normally use them and they are a-ok!

Any other gift ideas? Leave me a note!

Wishing your lovely mothers a very happy mother's day! :)

Spicy Thai-Thai Cafe launches a new menu!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Spicy Thai-Thai Cafe launches a new menu!
If you remember, early last year, I visited Spicy Thai-Thai Cafe for a meal. This round, I'm back here again as they have launched a new menu!

The cafe still remains well visited, so it would be good for you to call and check for seats first before you visit. 

Stir-fry Fish Maw, Crab Meat & Bean Sprouts ($18) 
An interesting mix, this could go well with rice. Enjoy when its just served. Once it turns cold, it loses its taste.

Fish Maw Crab Meat Abalone Soup in Coconut ($28) 
I loved this soup. this was not overly starchy or thick, and the abalone had a nice texture to it. Fish maw was done nicely, everything fitted well. But you could do well to share this with 3 people as this is a filling item. Surprisingly, the coconut taste was distinct even with the rest of the heavier tasting items. Overall, this was really nice.

Deep Fried Sea Bass with Mango Salad (Seasonal Price) 
The fish was so good, deep fried but doesn't taste super oily, the fish meat was tender and yet fragrant. Loved this.

Visitors to Spicy Thai-Thai will also get to enjoy new seafood delicacies like BBQ Japanese Squid with Roe (Seasonal Price), Thai Style Curry Crab (Seasonal Price) and Tom Yum Seafood Fried Rice (usual single person portion is $6). 

We liked the Thai Style Curry Crab's sauce, and we polished off the plates. The Tom Yum seafood fried rice will also come in a 'heart' shape if you order the big version of it! Very interesting! However, while the tom yum fried rice tasted good, I felt that the Tom Yum taste could have been stronger. 

Stir Fry Basil, Minced Chicken & Long Beans ($10) 
I liked this, but not one of my table favourites when pitted against the rest, which were special in their own right. 

Deep Fried Kang Kong with Special Thai Sauce ($10)
This dish was interesting, and instead of coating it with the usual deep fry batter, they used egg instead. Dip in the sauce to complete the entire crispy, tangy taste experience.

BBQ Pork Belly ($18) 
Remember how I previously had the Pork Neck? This time, cooked in the same style, but it's Pork Belly!!! Omg. Look at that lovely sheen of oil glistening on the meat. This is a must-have for meat lovers, and for those who understand that having fat in meat is awesome!

We also enjoyed the usual table favourites: Hommok (Thai Style Otak) and ($18), Lala Bee Hoon ($18). It was still good, so it would still be one of my recommendations when you visit!

Spicy Thai-Thai Cafe
Address: 115 Aljunied Avenue 2, #01-35, Singapore 380115 
Tel: +65-6747-8558
Hours: 11:00 am - 12:00 am (Mon-Sun)