Monday, February 23, 2015

Bacchanalia x Gaggan

San Pellegrino's Asia 50 Best Restaurants Maestro Dinner series is offering a special collaboration dinner between Chef Gaggan Anand (Gaggan, Bangkok: #3 Best Restaurant in Asia) and Chef Ivan Brehm (Bacchanalia, Singapore) on March 6. I heard there are few seats left, so I'd book soon if I were you!
Book via email ( or phone +65 6509.1453
Bacchanalia: 23A Coleman Street, Singapore

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What to do on Valentine's Day in Singapore

I've had a few people ask me for some restaurant recommendations on Valentine's Day evening. Others made quips about where someone could take me (how do you wine and dine a food writer on Valentine's Day?). So, I'm going to tell you what I told them.

My first choice would to not dine at a restaurant on Valentine's Day, especially not at a fine-dining restaurant. The same goes for New Year's Eve. I'm not a fan of forced prix fixe menus that are structured to maximise profit (i.e. mediocre-quality produce uninterestingly prepared – such as seared foie gras with apple compote, steak or seafood pasta, creme brûlée snoozy menus) and a glass of cheap sparkling wine, matched with the increased likelihood of worse-than-usual service because of the holiday crowd slam.

I don't blame the restaurants, and I wouldn't break up with someone who took pains to make reservations at a nice restaurant on Valentine's Day. But I'm a pizza takeout + board games + movie night in kinda Valentine's Day date (okay, I'm admittedly also a sucker for overpriced flower bouquets), and if you're anything like me, then here are some alternatives to fancy restaurant dates next Saturday in Singapore.

I've added a short list of recommended restaurants at the bottom anyway.

Picnic in the park:

Henderson Waves is an especially romantic spot at night.

Put together your own picnic basket, or visit places like Food for Thought, Casa Verde, and Jones the Grocer for picnic hampers already put together for you. Heck, it doesn't just have to be western-styled picnics; put together something local! Lovely spots include Henderson Waves, Botanic Gardens, MacRitchie Reservoir Park, Fort Canning, Marina Barrage, Gardens by the Bay, Kranji Reservoir Park, Labrador Park, the beaches at Sentosa, or even your own living room or balcony.

The Anti-Valentine's Day Party:

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a V-Day hater. But I do love the excuse to find an extra occasion to do something fun like this event. Here's a drink event, particularly for folks who want to meet new people or maybe even find someone worth going out with on a dinner date that's not on Valentine's Day. Hosted by Society W, Anti-Valentine's Day Party

Have small bites and a tipple:

Some of my favorite cocktail bars for both food and drink include: Fairmont's Anti:Dote, Bacchanalia's B-Bar,  CUT by Wolfgang Puck, Potato Head Folk, 28 Hong Kong Street, Tippling Club. If you want a beautiful setting, I recommend Manhattan Bar at Regent, New Asia Bar, WOOBAR or Wet Bar at W Hotel, The Library. If you're a whisky lover, I adore The Auld Alliance (they also permit take-away food from other establishments!).

See a show, a live music performance, or visit special exhibitions at art galleries or museums:

Here are some local singer-songwriters you might want to check out: 53ANathan HartonoThe Sam WillowsJack & Rai.

Cook together:

Cook together at home, or if you want to take classes together, places like ToTT have Valentine's Day cooking or chocolate making classes. (See full list of ToTT's cooking classes here)

Do a random activity together that you don't normally do with one another (it's particularly fun if one or both of you are terrible at it, but maybe that's just me).

Activities like bike riding, wake board or cable ski or flow riding, driving range (Marina Bay Golf Course), floral arrangement class, coffee cupping sessions (Common Man, Chye Seng Huat Hardware, Toby's Estate), ice-skating, paintball, shooting range, or even yoga (Hom Yoga, PURE Yoga).

Indulge in a full day luxury spa treatment:

Hotels such as Capella Auriga Spa, W Hotel Away Spa, and Mandarin Oriental The Spa have particularly wonderful spa experiences. Other recommendations include: So Spa, St. Regis Remede Spa, Banyan Tree at Marina Bay Sands.

If I must recommend Valentine's Day restaurants:

Corner House

Here are my personal picks. Blu Kouzina, Corner House (review here), Luke's Oyster Bar & Chophouse, Catalunya, CUT by Wolfgang Puck, Tong Le Private Dining (review here), Shelter in the Woods, Bistrot Du Sommelier, JAAN (review here).

Most importantly, remember to have fun and don't stress. It's supposed to a fun occasion. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Interviewing Kevin Hart and Josh Gad of The Wedding Ringer [video]

Back in December, Sony Pictures had me flown to Los Angeles for the screening and press interviews with The Wedding Ringer stars, Kevin Hart and Josh Gad. I was there to represent Night Owl Cinematics, of whom Ryan & Sylvia had their own questions for the actors as well (see Part II below)

The Wedding Ringer opens in Singapore cinemas on January 29.

Part I

Part II

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sexy Chubby Bunnies: A Christmas Vlog

Sexy Chubby Bunnies: A Christmas Vlog.
Introducing some of my siblings... The four of us took on the ol' #chubbybunny challenge, but it went a bit awry. This might be one of those videos that no one else finds funny except for us. Featuring Laibond, Laijhun, and Laiyin. Sad to be missing Laiyoung from the video.
Happy Holidays! xoxo

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Love Fiesta at Tong Le Private Dining

Tunglok Ambassador, A List

While taking an elevator to the top of Singapore’s OUE Tower to an elegant revolving restaurant, it did get some of us pause to wonder if the cuisine was going to be predictable and expensive. Fancy revolving restaurants have a history of being over-priced tourist traps, but the wonderful thing about Tóng Lè Private Dining, besides the fact that its modestly hidden amongst the towering buildings of the CBD area (read: surprising lack of noisy tourists despite the great view), is that the food is delectable. 

The menu is inspired by ancient Chinese recipes and the dishes have been recreated with beautiful presentational twists to suit the modern diner. It doesn’t feel forced, in the way some menus can be with too many typical luxury ingredients (e.g. let’s add caviar to everything!) and foamy, truffle oily things to swank it up. There’s a harmony to every dish, where ingredients come together in a sensible way. The restaurant's multiple set menus change every two weeks, keeping things fresh for regulars. Rather surprisingly despite the premium produce used in the dishes, the 6-course lunch menu starts at $80 and 7-course dinner begins at $120... that is until now on weekends, there is also a promotional menu offer at $60 and $80 respectively (see details below).

Tóng Lè Private Dining is split into two levels. The top level is where the prized revolving view is, but one level down are three opulent private dining rooms with access to a private outdoor balcony, fully decorated with additional plush couches and ornate décor—and get this—fully equipped KTV suite facilities.


A few months ago, I wrote an article for TOAST Magazine about Singapore's fine dining Chinese cuisine at Tong Le Private Dining. It's revolutionary. Pun intended. (Read the full article on TOAST.) 

This end of the year, Tong Le Private Dining has launched a LOVE FIESTA, offering their lunch and dinner menus at an incredible price every weekend. 

Indulge in a 6-course lunch priced at $60++ per person or 7-course dinner priced at $80++ per person while enjoying the perfect view with your loved ones every weekend.
Located at the heritage, revolving OUE Tower, Tóng Lè Private Dining is TungLok Group's most exquisite restaurant to-date. Set against the historical landmark of Collyer Quay, Tóng Lè presents a world-class fine dining concept over two levels of the Tower.  
Please view the menu here:
Tóng Lè Private Dining is located at the iconic OUE Tower at Collyer Quay. For reservations, please call (+65)6634-3233
在这里,我们提倡跟鼓励所有平时忙于工作,商务的朋友们,在周六多花点时间陪陪自己的父母,兄弟姐妹,亲人,朋友, 一切你爱和你爱的人!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Masterclass with Susur Lee [Ticket Giveaway]

Win a pair of exclusive tickets worth $100 to Celebrity Chef Susur Lee's Masterclass!

The multi-award winning, world-renowned Chef Susur Lee, is best known for his original style of Asian-inspired cuisine – expertly combining the best Asian flavours using Western techniques. Today, Susur is one of the most sought-after chefs in the world. He currently helms 4 restaurants, “Lee”, “Bent” and “Luckee” in Toronto, and “TungLok Heen” at Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore. He is also regularly featured on hit television shows, such as the current Chopped Canada, Food Network’s Iron Chef America, East Meets West, as well as Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, where his dish received the highest judging marks in the show’s history.

This Friday, he's hosting a one time Masterclass here in Singapore. We're giving away 3 pairs of tickets!

Here's how to win:
Comment below: What's your favorite Asian-inspired dish?
You can answer on this on comment section, Instagram @victoriacheng, or

Susur Lee, the team at TungLok, and I will each pick 1 comment and announce the winners on Thursday 8pm! 

Date: Friday 21 November 2014
Venue: TungLok Heen, Resorts World at Sentosa
Time: 4:30pm - 6:00pm (Registration starts 4pm)
Celebrity Chef Susur Lee will be conducting a one-session MASTERCLASS on 21 November 2014 at $50nett, where he will share with participants his recipe for 'Steamed Turbot with Sumac Pesto, Szechuan Bean Crumb, Botargo, Purée of Wakame & Spinach, and Crab Dumpling' as well as cooking tips that can be practiced at home. Inclusive of tasting portion, photography & autograph session with Chef Susur Lee.

Seats are also available for purchase.  The information is as follows:

Presenting to you the Ocean's Best featuring french black truffle:
From 17 to 21 November 2014, Chef Lee will be presenting his ‘OCEAN’S BEST, featuring French Black Truffle’ menu at TungLok Heen at Hotel Michael, Resorts World Sentosa. “I recently did a similar promotion at my restaurant Lee in Toronto and it was a huge success. The menu was inspired by the beautiful seasonal Canadian seafood. I know that diners in Singapore love seafood, so I thought it would be great for me to bring the menu to Singapore and share it with them,” says Chef Lee.
Available for Lunch & Dinner (17 to 21 December 2014)
6 course menu: S$198++
4 course menu: S$168++
(view menu here)

Special wine dinner (6 course menu with premium french wines):
For the wine enthusiast, also on 21 November, there will be a SPECIAL WINE DINNER in partnership with Vinum Fine Wines, pairing Chef Lee’s menu with four varieties of carefully selected premium wines from France.
Date: 21 Nov 2014
Time: 7PM
Price: S$278++

Chef Lee will also be conducting a one-session MASTERCLASS on 21 November  2014, where he will share with participants his recipe for Steamed Turbot with Sumac Pesto, Szechuan Bean Crumb,Botargo, Purée of Wakame & Spinach, and Crab Dumpling; as well as cooking tips that can be practiced at home.
Date: 21 Nov 2014
Time: 430PM to 6PM
Price: S$50nett (includes tasting portions and photography session with Chef Susur Lee)

TungLokFirst & MVG members will enjoy 10% off.
For reservations, please call TungLok Heen at (65) 6884-7888
Resorts World Sentosa
Hotel Michael, Lobby Level
26 Sentosa Gateway
Singapore 098138

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Restaurant Culture: Tips vs No Tips

In Singapore, many feel the "lack of service standards" and general difficulty in finding waitstaff to hire or uninspired hospitality culture could be partially solved if a tipping system became the norm.

However, according to this article, there is a trend in San Francisco restaurants who are opting to end tipping and instead charge a flat 20% service fee as many other countries do (Read: These 5 Bay Area Restaurants Are Ending Tipping).

What do you all think about the tipping vs no tipping culture?

Other Gastronommy service-related posts:
No Respect, No Love, No Thanks for Service
Sometimes, bad customers beget bad service

Monday, October 13, 2014

How to Peel and Eat Hairy Crab (Mitten Crab)

It's the season for the East Chinese delicacy, hairy crab!  Here's a tutorial on how to open the intricate crab properly, with TungLok restaurants.

Gastronommy visits TungLok's restaurants to learn how to peel hairy crab in the best, most efficient way possible.  The following TungLok restaurants are serving hairy crab and specialty hairy crab dishes until the end of November 2014. 


TungLok Signatures:
VivoCity, #01-57 Tel: 6376 9555
The Central, #02-88 Tel: 6336 6022
Chinese Swimming Club, Level 3 Tel: 6345 0111
Orchard Parade Hotel, #02-18 Tel: 6834 0660
Changi City Point, #01-26/27 Tel: 6636 0606

TungLok Seafood:
The Arena Country Club
Upper Jurong Road (opposite SAFTI) Tel: 6262 6996
Orchard Central, #11-05 Tel: 6834 4888

TungLok Heen:
Resorts World Sentosa, Hotel Michael Tel: 6884 7888

TungLok XiHé Peking Duck:
The Grandstand
200 Turf Club Road, #01-23/24 Tel: 6466 3363
Orchard Central, #07-07/08/09 Tel: 6736 0006

Tóng Lè Private Dining:
OUE Tower, Level 8 & 10 Tel: 6634 3233

Shin Yeh Restaurant:
Liang Court Shopping Centre, #02-19 Tel: 6338 7337
Shin Yeh Bistro
Square 2, #01-73 Tel: 6893 1123

Special thanks to Carolyn Tan, Lili, Steve Aw, and Steve Chew.

INSTAGRAM: @victoriacheng

INSTAGRAM: @tunglokgroup

Thursday, October 9, 2014

L'Oignon Gravitas: A review of Corner House (Singapore)

(written for Esquire magazine, October 2014 MaHB Food column)

It began with an onion.
No garnish. No frills. It was a singular onion served whole in its own raw skin, with an incision around the top circumference to indicate there is something to be revealed within its cavity. There were dishes served prior to this, and they were executed with no technical flaws, but the chef had yet to surprise us. “A meal should be a slow build-up…to a crescendo,” illustrates the chef. So here with this onion, we had our first real teaser of his creativity and ability. This is the moment of truth.

The waiter hints at what's nestled within the onion’s belly--egg, cheese, and truffle shavings--and it sounds  pretty ordinary. I popped off the top of the onion to see a fluffy layer of Gruyère and a generous sprinkling of fresh truffles. My spoon found a burst of hot yolk further in, followed by a mouthful that proved the dish to be much more than just an onion. The cheese is airy and light, collapsing into the creamy yolk, flooding my senses with cosy flavours. The truffles do not distract, but add an extra dimension to the experience. The onion itself suddenly becomes very attractive too, once the eater realizes its smooth sweetness that warms the mouth, rather than arriving to bites of pungency. I find myself pulling apart the vessel to eat it as well.

Meanwhile, the young and meticulous waitstaff have set down three more dishes. This course is degustation of onions: a dehydrated sliver of onion, a coin sized onion confit and Parmesan spread over crisp phyllo pastry, and finally, a foamy white onion broth drizzled with onion tea. The broth especially is silky and sweet, punctured by earthy undertones. I don’t think I’ve consumed so many onions over one sitting in my life before. I don’t think I’ve written so much about onions before this, either.

The menu reads something not quite like a menu, and more like Letterman’s Top 10 List: “Interpretation of My Favourite Vegetables: Oignon doux des Cevennes”, “Cocoa Pebbles: Alpaco, Mandarin, Shimeiji”, and so on. Such vague listings seem to be the trend these days. For the first time visitor, it is difficult to know what to expect, but the chef proves to be adept at surprises. The restaurant describes its cuisine as “gastro-botanical”, using natural seasonal ingredients often inspired by the Botanic Gardens surroundings.

Most of the documentation on the Malayan Peninsula’s floral life was discovered and written right in Singapore’s Botanic Gardens during World War II. As you might recall from your primary school history teachings, Eldred John Henry Corner (E.J.H. Corner), an English botanist and mycologist (he was a fun-gi!) resided in the Botanic Gardens with his pet monkeys, documenting what we know today about tropical fungi, trees, fruits, and even ginger and pandan. The Botanic Gardens is currently a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage status.

The 1910 black-and-white bungalow where The Corner House is located, was formerly the Les Amis restaurant, Au Jardin, until early this year. The Corner House is no less romantic than its former, though white tablecloths have been tossed away in favour of more contemporary furniture designs. Co-owners Singaporean chef Jason Tan and wine merchant Renny Heng have worked together with E.J.H Corner’s only son to preserve the botanist’s work and memories—his intricate artwork of Singapore’s faun and flora hang on the walls of the two storey bungalow, as well as black & white photos from times past when E.J.H was still alive. There’s much to be appreciated in the history of the structure, marvellously paired with Chef Jason Tan’s fresh and beautiful interpretation of his “gastro-botanical” cuisine.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What's your end game?

After a year of freelancing (writing, producing, presenting, consulting, creating), lately I've been innocently asked this a lot by peers who are fascinated by my boundaryless job scope.

"What's your end game?"

Three, five, ten, and even fifteen years ago, I could answer this question confidently. These days, I find myself stumbling over the answer. Over the course of the past year, I've broadened my job scope in many different directions as and when I please; but as time goes by, I realize I want to start zeroing in my focus again towards something meaningful. Don't get me wrong - objectively speaking, work has been steadily progressing, but deep down, there's still something lacking. The last thing I want is to find myself well into my 30's in a place I don't want to be.

Then I found that the question shouldn't be, "What's the end game?" It should be, "What's your legacy?"

I've been told by someone older and maybe wiser, that no one really knows the answer to that question, even if they seem like they do. Even so, most of us want direction. On those days or months where you find yourself questioning your path, here are two points below I like to remind myself to get me back on track or to at least recalibrate my direction (adapted from "7 Strange Questions That Help Find Your Life Purpose" by Mark Manson).
What most people don’t understand is that passion is the result of action, not the cause of it. Discovering what you’re passionate about in life and what matters to you is a full-contact sport, a trial-and-error process. None of us know exactly how we feel about an activity until we actually do the activity.
And again, if you fantasize about your obituary saying a bunch of badass shit that impresses a bunch of random other people, you’re failing here. Discovering one’s “purpose” in life essentially boils down to finding those one or two things that are bigger than yourself, and bigger than those around you. And to find them you must get off your couch and act. 
Read more here: "7 Strange Questions That Help Find Your Life Purpose" by Mark Manson

Edit: This is worth noting as well. After reading this, a friend has just reminded me, "We will never live to see our legacy. Legacy is for others down the road to decide. What's now is purely a life which should be built on what will get you excited to do. Enjoy the journey and not the end. Simply because at the end, a new tiring journey begins." -K.S.


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