Saturday, July 29, 2017

Singapore Food Festival 2017

What happens when you put a bunch of gals on a bus that takes you around Singapore Food Festival 2017? Here's a vlog below on some of the highlights of the festival along with Bella Koh, Jemma Wei, Aarika Lee, Roz Pho!


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Climbing Mount Kinabalu, Borneo


Standing majestically at 4,095m (13,435 feet above sea level), Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea. Mount Kinabalu derives its name from the Kadazan word, ‘Aki Nabalu’, meaning ‘the revered place of the dead’. It is also Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO.


Watch the video about our trip

Travel: We traveled in early May, hoping to avoid the rainy season.


2am at Summit Base Camp, ready to finish the ascent.

Shoes: You'll see some locals dashing from bottom to top in just crocs or slippers. I wore Merrell trail running shoes, Jeff wore his Asic sneakers, Adam wore supportive running sneakers, Celine and David wore trekking shoes... In summation, don't fuss over expensive trail shoes unless you want to spend; and boots will be overkill.

However, I had custom insoles that saved me a LOT of potential injuries or additional pain. Highly recommend that you see a podiatrist to get insoles made if you're often on your feet or going on long runs and treks; the Dr. Scholls stuff off the shelf isn't going to help. (I get mine done at East Coast Podiatry with Georgina Callahan-Tay. They also do insoles for high heels, which is just amazing).



Weather: We were fortunate. It was misty during the first half of our climb, so it was breezy and pleasant. You can see I'm wearing a sleeveless top and my friends are wearing short sleeved shirts. As we neared the summit base, it got cooler and only drizzled for a moment, which is when I put on a light Adidas windbreaker and a cap to block any light rain. Typically, you can expect it to be hot and humid at the bottom, and sudden gusts of unpredictable rain. Bring a small towel to wipe that sweat!


At the basecamp, it can get chilly especially after sunset. I wore a Lululemon fleece (so light and warm!), and a North Face windbreaker (also light, warm, and quick to dry!). I was a little cold, but was fine wearing light hiking pants, fresh socks, a buff/scarf, gloves, and a beanie. If you don't like the cold, consider wearing a much warmer jacket, and have leggings under your pants. The extreme wind at the top gets merciless at times.


The climb: Approx 4-7 hours. Stairs, so many stairs of all shapes and sizes. Keep your backpack light! You don't need to carry much, especially if you end up hiring a porter. Water, some snacks, toilet paper, face towel is all you need besides clothes.

Starts to get a tad cooler with each kilometer up.

Our path was lit by moonlight luckily.

Summit climb: Approx 4-6 hours. The top is a very different challenge in the dark, in the cold, and at higher altitude. There are vast flat granite slopes that can be slippery if wet. There are steeper inclines where you will need to use the rope to climb up short distances. We were also fortunate this night to have full moon lighting our paths – thankfully because my headlamp was not very bright.


Toilet breaks: There is a sheltered modern western style (no squatty potties) toilet and sink every 1-2 kilometers. Bring toilet paper. There are no toilets during the final summit climb, but honestly, you'll be too cold and tired to even want to pull down your trousers.

Summit Base camp 




Camping overnight: It's not glamping, but it's not camping either. In a multi-story shelter, you get a room, a bed with sheets and a pillow (bunk beds if you share a room), clean toilets and showers, and a dinner (6pm) & breakfast (2am) & brunch (6am) buffet spread. They provide you with towels, slippers too. The heaters are solar powered though, so if you need motivation, remember that hot water is in limited supply. First ones there get more, last ones might not get any! I had the ice cold shower option.

Bunk beds

Our view from the window

The showers (heaters are solar powered)

It's basic accommodations, but I was happy with it – it's much better than sleeping outside on granite ground in a tent with no bathroom. Some friends however have complained about it not being comfortable enough, the bunk beds being rickety, or the mattress being too short if you're a tall person. Bring extra cash here if you need to refill on bottled drinking water or a cuppa hot Milo; food is included if you are on the Amazing Borneo package (worth it).


Bugs, leeches, mosquitoes: We had no issues with any of these critters! If seen, Mosquitoes and leeches are usually around base level, the latter of which loves to show up during rainfall. It gets cooler and less humid as you ascend, so you don't see them much as you climb. I got mosquito bites only when I was boarding the van to leave the mountain base.

Descending after sunrise, you realize how steep it all actually was.

When locals zoom past you holding giant beams, wearing simple shoes.

Emergencies: There is a helipad for emergency evacuations at several points, and a few measures to minimize casualties in case of natural disasters (presumably in response to the earthquake a few years ago). On the way up, we saw a young woman being carried down the mountain on someone's back because she sprained her ankle at the summit. The experience didn't look particularly comfortable for anyone involved.


The Summit trail starts from the Timpohon Gate (1,800m; 5,906 ft) which is located near the Kinabalu Park Headquarters. Before reaching Panalaban (3,273m; 10,738 ft), climbers will encounter a series of trail shelters (pondok)—Pondok Kandis (1,981m; 6,499 ft), Pondok Ubah (2,095m; 6,873 ft), Pondok Lowii (2,286m; 7,500 ft), Layang-Layang (2,702m; 8,865 ft), Pondok Villosa (2,690m; 8,825 ft), and Pondok Paka (3,080m; 10,105 ft). The climb from Timpohon Gate to Panalaban takes approximately 6 to 8 hours.

----
Big Thanks to Amazing Borneo!
Special deal for Gastronommy readers:
SPECIAL DINNER CRUISE & CLIMB COMBO: Get your CRAZY CLIMBERS PRICE for the North Borneo Cruises Now when you book your climb package!

Option 1) Sunset Dinner Cruise @ RM199/pax (U.P. RM365) 4.50-7.00PM Daily Cruise Session
Option 2) KK City Night Dinner Cruise @ RM120/pax (U.P. RM365) 7.50-10.00PM Daily Cruise Session

- Booking Period: Now till 31 July 2017
- Travel Period: Now till 31 March 2018

Terms & Conditions for Promo: 
- Promo rates are Exclusive for Mount Kinabalu Climbers only (International and Malaysian). 
- Applicable for all Mount Kinabalu Climb packages. 
- Cruise dates are subject to availability and schedule. 
- Promo rates are not applicable for the following Peak Season Dates: 
24, 25, 31 December 2017
01 January 2018
14-17 February 2018

To book with Amazing Borneo tours, visit http://www.amazingborneo.com/

Special thanks to David Yeow Photography!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Advice for Social Media Influencer Wannabes

This is not a hate post. This is sincere advice as someone who also works on digital strategy behind the scenes, including engaging social media personalities for companies.

Influencer Wannabes: Ordinary people whose sole purpose is to be online famous and freeload with sponsored goods or services. 

protip 1: Don't caption every single post with an ad (giveaways, product listing etc). What is this, an online catalogue? 
protip 2: Don't post about anything under the sun just because it's free. You lose credibility. 
protip 3: Be real–tell us about you! Or be entertaining. Or be informative. Have some substance. 

Because people aren't stupid. You aren't "influencing" anyone with your boring Instagram ad. Smart marketers will eventually know how to differentiate numbers vs actual influence (or sales conversion rate). 
Show or write something real about yourself... Or is being an empty-headed narcissistic greedy fameseeking freeloader all you are? (on second thought, I guess that's still a lot of things to be! )

Thursday, March 23, 2017

[Video] How to Peel Crawfish | with Norman Hartono

I'm a little disturbed how convincing my 'act blur' acting is on camera, haha! I do know how to peel crawfish, but for entertainment's sake... here's what NOT to do when peeling crawfish (me) and how to do it properly (Norman).


Dancing Crab's founder Norman Hartono teaches us how to peel these Louisiana style crawfish! 
Come feast at the Annual Crawfish Boil with Dancing Crab Shack at Timbre+ on 
April 7th and 8th 2017, 6-10pm. 

Indulge in scrumptious fresh crawfish and chilli crab! Craft beers are available as well, along with LIVE music by a New Orleans Brass Band. 
Visit https://goo.gl/Y799q5 to join us!

Psst! There's up to 48%* off Live Crawfish if you purchase by 31 March 2017 through Chope.
*standard terms & conditions apply.

Follow Dancing Crab on

Follow Victoria on


Updated Biography

Trying to update my biography on about.me/victoriacheng but there isn't enough text space!



VICTORIA CHENG (born New York, United States) is a published writer, digital strategist, presenter and producer. Education: Bachelor of Arts degrees in Journalism (Broadcast), German Language & Linguistics, and studies in Comp Science. Currently: Masters in Nutrition
HONG KONG: She began her career in the Food & Beverage industry in 2006, helming the business development and franchising of start-up restaurant group, Concept Italian Company. Quickly over three years, the group saw numerous accolades for each of their restaurant concepts, notably Duke’s Burger and CaffĂ© Vergnano 1882.
SINGAPORE: Victoria combined her passion and curiosity of the city-state’s bursting F&B scene and became an established writer, food critic and social media personality.
JOURNALISM: Awarded for a co-coverage feature article concerning local farms and sustainable practices in Singapore. She was also the project editor for dining books and a food critic for multiple editions of Tatler Best Restaurant Guides. She is currently a judge on several prestigious restaurant award panels.
EDITOR: Victoria expanded her repertoire by joining the digital publishing space as Singtel's editor-in-chief building from the ground up, Singtel’s first online magazine www.notatourist.sg. At its peak, reached more than 20,000 page views a day.
STORYTELLING: Contributing writer for various news and lifestyle publications. Moreover, she consults for a number of the Asia-Pacific region's largest F&B brands on social media marketing, operations, branding and menu development. She directs and produces video content for brands, as well as TV presenting.
BLOG: Originally an outlet for her casual musings, her blog garnered interest amongst the social media community, leading to invitations to conferences alongside Hong Kong’s prominent chefs, journalists and television personalities. Panels include Millennial 20/20Singapore Writer’s Festival.
FITNESS: Victoria maintains an active lifestyle with a 2nd Dan Black Belt with 20+ years of practice in Taekwondo and competition Ballroom Dancesport. Also: snowboarding, diving, horseback riding, tennis, and archery.
Victoria’s formal brand endorsements include: Adidas, Shiseido Professional, SK-II, Cle de Peau Beaute, Nespresso.


See press coverage here: Press 

See a sample of published articles here: Articles 


Host, Presenter, Panel Speaker


Including
TV and Video cooking demos:
Cooking for Food For Life TV, 4ME, StarHub 109, by Brand New Media.
Electrolux: White Book Series
ToTT TV
La Maison Cointreau Regional Finals in Bangkok
Sony Pictures interview with Kevin Hart and Josh Gad
Optimum Nutrition FitterU
Appetite's Great Cookoff Challenge 2012

Events:
World Street Food Congress 2015
Betty Crocker SG50 breaks Guinness World Record for largest cupcake mosaic
Finest on Wheels (FairPrice Finest)
Red Cross Singapore 2015
La Maison Cointreau Regional Finals 2015 (Thailand)
Optimum Nutrition Fitness Competition 2014
UOB Summit Launch 2014
Heineken Star Serve x Gastronommy 2014
Social Media Week Hong Kong
Appetite Magazine's Burger Cookoff 2011

Acting:
- SG50 Music Video by Kevin Ou + MLC Productions: Sam Willows + Jimmy Ye's Come Back to You (actress)
- Action-Comedy Short Film: Impossible (Martial Arts actress, stunts)
- Golden Village TVC by Night Owl Cinematics (actress)
- Drama Short Film by JinnyBoyTV: The Rose (actress)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Travelogue: Urban Retreat in Singapore | Pan Pacific

SINGAPORE TRAVELOGUE: Things to do during a vacation-staycation in the Marina Bay area. We tried the Urban Retreat Staycation at the newly renovated Pan Pacific Singapore. It's made for the food lovin' Singaporeans or visitors, who want to spend a whole weekend noshing with easy access to the best sights in the city.
Special thanks to Pan Pacific for hosting, and Victoria Tay for spending the weekend with me!



List of Destinations in the area:
Pan Pacific Singapore: Keyaki, Pacific Club, Poolside Bar, Pacific Marketplace, St. Gregory Spa
Marina Bay Sands
Gardens by the Bay
Singapore Flyer
Art Science Museum
National Gallery
Suntec City: Adidas Flagship Store, Pasarbella
Marina Square: Kai Garden

Pan Pacific Singapore
7 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039595 Tel (65) 6336 8111 singapore@panpacific.com

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Funny Thing... About Eating with Girls

Ordering lunch yesterday with very sweet but health conscious girlfriends:


Friend 1: I'll have the Thai Brunch Bowl.
Me: I'll have the Superfood Salad, full sized.
Friend 2: I'll have the Superfood Semi-fried Rice
Friend 1: Can I get the coconut shreds not be toasted?  No? Okay, then just on the side. No? Okay, just no coconut at all.
Friend 2: Excuse me, for my semi-fried rice, can the rice be on the side?
Me: ....
Waiter: Anything else?
Me: ...Can I have my greens put on the side?
Me: --kidding!


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Guide to Scottish Whisky Flavor Profiles

Scotch whisky is my drink of choice. Here's an infographic I came across that breaks down 86 different brands into 12 flavor categories.  Click for full size.
[src: http://www.rsvlts.com/2014/09/26/scotch-flavor-infographic]



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