Ya Kun Kaya @ Hotel Santika, Kelapa Gading

While reading the book of Ya Kun, The Top Toast, I paid a visit to a Ya Kun store inside Hotel Santika compound in Kelapa Gading Sport Mall. It is such a coincidence that the founder’s Chinese name is similar to my dad’s Chinese nickname. My dad is usually called Ah Loi, and my dad was born in Pontianak (坤甸 Kūn diàn). The Chinese character of Pontianak, the capital city of West Kalimantan, appears in Ya Kun’s logo.


The logo of Ya Kun has changed into white font on maroon background, whereas before it was red font on white background. I wonder why the year written underneath the logo is 1944, because according to the book, the founder, Mr. Loi Ah Koon, started the coffeestall business with his wife in 1936. The wife invented the recipe of homemade kaya and use it to spread on toast. The kaya toast became a bestseller snack companion for drinking coffee in the morning. At the same time, Mr. Loi added a secret ingredient to his own roasted coffee – Planta margarine, which is known as Blue Band in Indonesia. The husband-wife made a perfect combo, and the business soon became a booming success. Their hardwork paid off, and they were able to raise their eight children. I really treasure their experience in fighting together at their early marriage stage to build a happy family. This touching story somehow affected how I see Ya Kun Kaya today. IMG_0053 IMG_0052I ordered the Traditional Kaya Toast Set Meal, which consists of 8 thinly sliced toasts, a cup of black coffee, and two soft boiled eggs. IMG_0057

I really like how the toasts are very crunchy, almost feel like eating crackers. The kaya jam was not too sweet, and the butter wasn’t overwhelming. I cannot wait to try their other menu: Crackers with Kaya, to taste how crunchy the crackers are.  IMG_0058IMG_0059

However, I was a little bit disappointed at the quality of the eggs. The eggs were probably not at very fresh condition, so they had a little bit of unpleasant smell. IMG_0055The interior of the shop is modern minimalist. IMG_0049 IMG_0051I should install this kind of grill in my future house, so that I can pack good toasts every morning for my husband to bring to office and for my kids to bring to school. IMG_0047

I’d definitely come back again next time, although the pricing is a little bit high for traditional breakfast. Actually, my parents’ hometown, Pontianak, serves similar style of traditional breakfast in much cheaper price. However, the history of Ya Kun has captured my heart. IMG_0050


Birthday Cake for Riri’s Mum

Today I placed an order of Cottony Cheesecake birthday cake from Mary’s Pastry Lab. I chose this cake since Riri’s dad said he really liked the Tokyo Banana and wished that he had bought more from Japan. Riri said that his mum likes orchid, so I requested for orchid decoration on the cake. I practiced making a birthday card just like the illustration below, but I’m not sure if I can make as pretty as the example. Slide1

Here is the final presentation of the cake. I’m quite satisfied with the look, and I hope that Riri’s parents liked the cake. IMG_1137Riri’s dad took picture of a slice of the birthday cake with a glass of Cafe 21 2in1 Instant Coffeemix. My aunt introduced me and my mum to this Singaporean instant coffee, so I bought it for Riri’s dad since he likes coffee too. IMG_20150125_174254


One of my 2015 new year resolutions is to train my Chinese language skill by watching Taiwanese TV shows, such as 康熙來了. Today, I watched the episode on New Year resolution for parent and child. In this episode, four pairs of parent-child were invited, and each parent had to write a message to the child summarised by only two Chinese characters, and also the other way around.

For the first pair of parent-child, the 15-year-old son wrote 放心 (fàng xīn, do not worry) to his mum, whereas the mum wrote 学习 (xué xí, to study) to her son. The mum explained how she always sent the son to school and picked the son after school since first grade of elementary school. Now, the son lives in boarding school in the US, so she cannot send him to school nor pick him up after school anymore. The mum couldn’t hold her tears when she shared this story, and I was automatically touched and almost cried as well. It’s priceless to be able to see the kid grows up and get involved in every aspect of the kid’s life.

After watching the show, I start to wonder what would I write  to my dad or my mum if I participate in the show. Maybe I will write 开心 (kāi xīn, be happy) to my mum, hoping that she can have great time everyday with my dad after my brother and I are able to run our family business well. For my dad, maybe I will write 享受 (xiǎng shòu, to enjoy life), because he has put in over 30 years of hard work to build a foundation of his empire. It is time for my brother and I to continue building the empire, to strengthen and enlarge the empire.

My parents’ wedding anniversary is just around the corner (January 29), and it is followed by my dad’s birthday on the next day (January 30). I still haven’t prepared anything for the two very important days.

Teenage Doll Collection

Ilo was a gift from one of my dearest friends, Francisca Sia. Ilo has a twin brother named Oly, which was kept by Siska. Ilo n Poky

In return, I gave Pika to Siska, and I keep Poky to accompany Ilo.
Poky n Pika - penguin fam

I also have a monkey couple dolls, Yoyo and Cici. Yoyo n Cici

I gave a small Yoyo doll to Tiffany for her birthday, which can be used as cellphone stand. DSC03741


My friend brought me to Chijmes nearby Mariana Square, where there has Chijmes Hall, a beautiful chapel famous for wedding venue, and there also has many restaurants, cafes and bars.

Decorative glass ceiling 20141230_184115We chose to dine in Shirokiya, because we were lured by the slogan of health and beauty Japanese restaurant and also the tall frozen beer tower. 20141230_184711

I really love the free crunchy salmon skin – what a perfect snack to accompany drinking beer. 20141230_185821

I was tempted to try the Tomato Frozen Cocktail, but I decided to order the original Kirin Ichiban Draught Frozen Beer. The foam looks very cute. 20141230_185838

3-litre frozen beer tower 20141230_195206What a beautiful presentation of Edamame 20141230_190137

Takoyaki 20141230_191015

Dashimaki Tamago Mentai So-su – Japanese style omelette with spicy cod roe sauce. I bet Riri would love to try it.  20141230_192957

It was fun to see how they served the homemade tofu 20141230_194325

The “Kamameshi” boiled rice was very interesting 20141230_195428

The charcoal grilled chicken was very yummy 20141230_195442

Cold ocha is served in tall glass 20141230_193647I’d love to come back here to try the other menu



Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King is a popular ramen shop located in the same building as Orchid Hotel, Tanjong Pagar, where there will always be lines of people waiting outside the restaurant.

Keisuke Takeda, founder of Ramen Keisuke, also created several other brands: Tonkotsu King, Tori King, Tonkotsu King Four Seasons, Tonkotsu King Matsuri, and Gyoza King. Gyoza King and Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King are located within 2 minutes walking distance.
20150101_113139To compliment the waiting time, Keisuke Ramen offers free Japanese Barley Tea. 

As an addict of spicy food, I was intrigued to try the Black Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen, as it is a quite uncommon menu. 20150101_114014

Each small table is packed with eating amenities and condiments. 20150101_120620

This ramen shop is famous for the free all-you-can-eat bean sprout and boiled eggs. 20150101_120627

Here comes my order:Black Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen with additional Seaweed and Flavoured Egg. The big seaweed sheet makes the presentation of the food nicer. 

The yolk of the flavoured egg 20150101_121635

To accompany my exotic Black Spicy Ramen, I ordered a bottle of Wasabi Ginger Ale. The wasabi was too mild, but I like all kinds of ginger drinks. 20150101_120912

Yoshinoya Bekasi

Yoshinoya recently opened a new outlet at Meli Melo Sentra Kuliner 3, Kota Harapan Indah, Bekasi. It is located in the same area as one of our business units, the 3-in-1 outlet of Barnival, Bakmi Naga and Seaside Suki. There are many other branded restaurants over there, including Sate Khas Senayan, Old Town White Coffee, XO Suki, Tekko, Duck King and Iga Bakar Jogja. Slide12 Slide13 Slide14 Slide15 Slide16 Slide17 Slide18 Slide19 Slide20 Slide21 Slide22If people ask me what I love the most in Yoshinoya, I’d answer without hesitation: hot chilli! The texture is very watery, almost looks like chilli sauce at traditional noodle restaurants.

Maison Ikkoku

 Arab Street is an interesting neighbourhood in Singapore that is filled with rows of cafes and restaurants.  I wanted to visit Maison Ikkoku partially because it is rated as top coffee roaster in Singapore, but my bigger reason is that the name sounds very Japanese and I expected to find some Japanese elements for inspiration. The facade of the cafe looks more European than Japanese. 20141229_134941 20141229_135002

The menu is very simple and neat, just like how small Japanese cafes usually are. I only see one Japanese element on the menu, the Wasabi Egg. 20141229_135422 20141229_135432

The interior design leans toward industrial design, as pipes are lined against the walls with light bulbs attached. The distinct design element is wardrobes on the ceiling. My mum imagined how chaotic it would be if the wardrobes fall off and hit any customers. 20141229_13561820141229_135626

20141229_13581520141229_141208The space of the bar counter is quite small and the counter is only painted black without any decorations or patterns. 20141229_14134620141229_135648The showcase at the bar counter displays several cakes that change seasonally. When I was there, they have Milo Nutella, Caramel Red Velvet, White Chocolate Peppermint, Molten Lava Cake and Grape Vitagen. 20141229_135824The Grape Vitagen cake is quite innovative, as it consists of layers of peanut butter and jelly between moist grape Vitagen cake. Perhaps Riri would try this Vitagen cake since Riri loves to drink Yakult. thumb_600

Both my mum and my brother ordered Hot Chocolate, but the two cups of Hot Chocolate appear with slightly different latte art. The top one is my brother’s, and the bottom one is my mum’s. The tulip latte art on my mum’s cup has more clear strokes. 20141229_140322 20141229_140344

I ordered Piccolo Latte. My dad wanted to drink traditional black coffee with condensed milk, but this cafe doesn’t have such combination as it focuses on espresso-based coffee. In the end, my dad had a cup of Hot Americano with extra fresh milk and sugar. 20141229_140723


According to the official website, Tampopo literally means Dandelion, which is a strong and resilient flowers that survive in tough environment. Maybe I should create an illustration for my favourite quote using Dandelion flowers.20140721_190035

Tampopo is the pioneer of Kurobuta (black pig), and it is nominated as one of the best ramen in Singapore. 20150102_112459On our first visit, my dad tried the Tampopo BP Koumi Fry RamenIMG_7790My dad ordered another dish of black pig for sharing: Deep Fried Black Pig GyozaIMG_7785 IMG_7786The rest of us also ordered ramen, but I couldn’t remember the specific names. 20140721_191656IMG_7788 IMG_7789There were three big categories of ramen: Black Pig Ramen, Kyushu Ramen, and Hokkaido Ramen. Moreover, there is a very unique ramen, the Triple Black Ramen, with a very catchy name: NIB (Noodles In Black)20150102_112006IMG_7781After spending some time to read the menu over and over again, I finally understood that Tampopo offers two types of noodle: Hokkaido and Kyushu ramen. Hokkaido Ramen is made of imported flour from Hokkaido, which may be the reason why it is $1 more expensive than Kyushu Ramen. However, additional soup for Kyushu Ramen is $1 more expensive than that of Hokkaido Ramen, because Kyushu Ramen uses pork bone that takes 2 days to make. The rich broth of Kyushu Ramen goes along with the noodle texture that is thin and hard.IMG_7779

The Hokkaido Ramen category is further divided into subcategories of Hakodate Ramen and Sapporo Original Ramen. You may easily upgrade the Hokkaido Ramen by replacing the normal BBQ pork to black pig with additional SGD $2.What an extremely complex ramen menu. 20150102_112010

On our next visit, my mum tried the Salmon Teriyaki, and I tried the Chicken Ginger Hotplate20140721_191709 20140721_191524

Everything we have tried in Tampopo tastes good, including the Black Pig Truffle Fried Rice20150102_113254

My brother was curious enough to try the less popular but healthier choice: Less Fat Black Pig Loin Cutlet Set20150102_112344 20150102_113912

Out of all mouthwatering menus here, I wonder which one Riri would pick. Would it be the Foie Gras Tonkatsu? Cannot wait to visit Tampopo with Riri in the future. IMG_7778


Ma Maison

Me and my brother decided to hunt Japanese food while we were in Singapore. We decided to go to Tonkatsu Ma Maison in Mandarin Gallery, because it was very near to our apartment and it was recommended by Riri. 20141231_114613

What a cute piggy mascot 20141231_123336

As clearly indicated from the mascot, Ma Maison specialises in Mille-feuille Katsu. I have heard the word “katsu” long time ago, but I never really care what it actually means. Now that I work in F&B industry, I learn to pay more attention to details, such as terminology. One may guess that “katsu” means “deep fried” or “breaded with panko”; apparently, “katsu” stands for “katsuretsu”, which means “cutlet”. Fried pork cutlet is called “Tonkatsu”.  20141231_114729

 There are three categories of pork katsu: Rosu Katsu, Hire Katsu and Miso Katsu. “Rosu” is the Japanese term for “pork loin”, whereas “Hire” is the Japanese term for “pork fillet”. Miso Katsu is either Rosu or Hire that is polished with miso sauce. In addition, there is a special pork, the black pork aka Kurobuta
20141231_114814 20141231_11481620141231_114802 20141231_114917

Other than pork, Ma Maison also offers seafood, Ebikatsu (Prawn), Jumbo Ebifurai (Jumbo Prawn), Kakifurai (Oyster) and Crab Croquette. 20141231_114741 20141231_114917 20141231_114827

For those who cannot decide which ingredient to pick, you may choose the mixed platters, including Iroiro Katsu and Okonomi Katsu20141231_114824 20141231_114836My brother picked the Mille Feuille Katsu Set – Deep fried multi layered slice pork cutlet, which comes with a drop of yellow mustard, a huge pile of shredded cabbage, a bowl of steamed white rice, a bowl of tonjiru, a small plate of pickled daikon and an empty three-section sauce plate. 20141231_12043220141231_120506

Each slot of the sauce plate is indicated with the name of condiments, which are salt, sweet Tonkatsu sauce and another unknown sauce. 20141231_120627 20141231_12064820141231_114552Tonjiru is actually miso soup with pork and daikon, the soup is much richer than regular miso soup. 20141231_120556

I ordered 1 piece of Jumbo Ebifurai (Deep Fried Jumbo Prawn). For all seafood menu, there is an additional homemade tar tar sauce. 20141231_120447

I chose the jyuokkokumai (multigrain rice) since I barely eat plain white rice. 20141231_121935

Ma Maison claimed that the rice is very delicious, because it is made with a traditional Japanese rice cooker called Kamado20141231_123313

By the way, do you know that this restaurant and many other similar type restaurants allow you to refill rice, cabbage and tonjiru for free???