Friday, 9 February 2018

Hao Lai Wu Steamboat & BBQ at Chinatown

Food videos ads on Facebook are really effective in luring you to visit the restaurant, and that's how I get to know about the new hipster steamboat place at Chinatown - Hao Lai Wu 好来屋 (Not Hollywood FYI). With a funky and colourful interior, it is surely inviting to step into the restaurant. I was however mainly drawn to the illuminated crystal steamboat pot which was a very new and interesting concept.

I tried touching the pot and it really doesn't burn at all, which will be really ideal for family with kids.

We chose Tom Yum and Chicken for our soup base (Extra $6 for 2nd selection). There was a free flow selection of meat and seafood to pick from, including the common steamboat and BBQ ingredients. Not forgetting the extensive variety of sauces and condiments to go along with your meal.

I didn't even pay attention to what was completely available at the buffet as we hurriedly dig in due to hunger. The starting impression of the meal was actually not bad, especially with the hipster interior design and decent spread of food available.

The pork belly was one of the better choices due to its tender meat (though it wasn't so fantastic overall). Unfortunately, the standards started to drop throughout our meal, the marinated meat started to get overly salty even when the grill was changed. Towards the end, I couldn't stand putting another piece into my mouth because it was way too salty and I had to drink quite a lot of water as compared to usual.

My friend also commented that the standards have dropped from the first time of her visit and she was quite disappointed with the soup. I felt that it was such a pity as it is really such a lovely place to settle your BBQ/ Steamboat cravings for an affordable price. Perhaps this was a hit and miss situation and hopefully they have better standards for their new outlet at Burlington Square!

Hao Lai Wu Steamboat & BBQ Price:
Lunch: $18.80+ 
Dinner: $23.80+ (Weekdays)/ $24.80+ (Weekends)

8 Sago Street
Singapore 059012

+65 62210065

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Hello Kitty & Friends Theme Park @ Sanrio Puroland Tokyo Japan

For all Sanrio lovers, you'll be very pleased to know that Sanrio Puroland is located at Tokyo, Japan - - an indoor theme park filled with all your favourite Sanrio characters including Hello Kitty, My Melody, Little Twin Stars, Gudetama and many others. As we had other plans on that day, we opted for a more affordable option and bought the afternoon passport at 2000 yen as compared to 3800 yen on weekends. Entry was only allowed after 3pm, but if you're only visiting the place for a short tour, I think it's worth your money!

We were unable to complete all the rides due to the limited time and focused more on photos and shopping instead. The rides didn't really appeal to us as they were more suitable for young kids. If I were a kid, I would love to be on those rides too!

Some of the special mentions include the Gudetama travel activity and Lady Kitty House which are perfect for photo-taking, but the queue for the Lady Kitty House was really long (about 45 minutes wait time). I thought it was still worth the wait for all these pretty photo opportunities!

As they only allow a certain number of people in at one time, you won't have to worry too much about people photobombing you.

Just a piece of advice: If you're not planning to buy the souvenir photo at the end, don't bother queuing to take a photo with Lady Kitty as they wouldn't allow you to use your own camera. The queue was quite a waste of our time. 

I never thought I would say this but I actually enjoyed the Gudetama section the most compared to the rest, partially due to the reason that it's uncommon as compared to Hello Kitty (I have already visited at least 3 Hello Kitty cafes from different countries). I grew to love this lazy egg character more as I decorated more Gudetama cakes over the time.

Each person will receive a Gudetama 'passport' to scan at every station - either a photo booth or game. We didn't have time to go through every single section but we played some of the games which was quite fun.


My dad always commented how I was always excited to window shop at Souvenir shops when we travel. And true enough, I was more hyped up about the Sanrio products at the store more than anything else. And we spent about an hour in the shop. Surprisingly, almost everything was reasonably priced. You know how souvenir shops always mark up their prices for tourists? This shop is nothing like that. In fact, I think some stuff are really worth the buy.

I visited this place with really little expectations and it turned out a lot more interesting than I thought! Is it worth it? This is really subjective though. I would say yes, if you're a Sanrio fan like us! Otherwise, the whole place might just feel very kiddy for you.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

HARRY Hedgehog Cafe in Roppongi Japan

I have fed quite a lot of animals throughout my various Japan trips but I never really had such close interactions with hedgehogs before. I am so happy to strike this off my list! Located at a secluded corner of the street, Harry Hedgehog Cafe is a 2-storey shophouse that is popular among many as proven by their snaking long queue. Everyone is waiting to touch those adorable little hedgehogs!

While I initially expected a real cafe with proper food and drinks, I was a little disappointed to know that the cafe is merely a cosy corner for humans to interact with the animals, with drinks served from the vending machine.

Admission fee: 2800yen/ 1 hour

We also opted for feeding and I totally wasn't expecting this, but we were given mealworms!!! Typing this word out already makes me irk a little. But when the staff passed me the bowl, I swear I almost dropped the whole thing on the floor. Yes I have a crazy fear over all kinds of insects, and because we paid extra to experience the feeding session. I braced myself to pick up the worms with the tweezer (while trying hard not to drop it on myself).

There were gloves if you feel uncomfortable to touch the hedgehogs directly (they can be quite a pain sometimes) especially if they are resisting your touch. Even with the gloves, they can bite really hard. My brother used his bare hands and got himself some wounds too. Nothing too serious though.

If the hedgehog likes you and finds comfort, they will usually fall asleep in your hands. It was quite a warm feeling to watch them snuggle to sleep. There was one hedgehog that refuses to get close to my brother or I though. We tried to tame it but I gave up eventually as I didn't want to give it too much stress.


There was also a Fennec fox which looks so adorable. We didn't really get to interact with it though.

Overall it was a decent experience with the hedgehogs, but I would prefer if the cafe was a little more spacious where I get to enjoy a cup of coffee and piece of cake while interacting with the animals - similar to most dog/cat cafes. There wasn't even a proper table for me to put my cup. The admission fee is quite high too. I think it's worth a try if you really like small animals, but one try is enough for me.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner at Amara Hotel Singapore

Are you looking for a suitable location for this year's Reunion dinner with your family and relatives? How does it sound like to enjoy a sumptuous meal along with a Karaoke session? Lo Hei is becoming more creative nowadays, you can toss Salmon Yusheng where the ingredients are adorably displayed in the shape of a dog. So cute I wouldn't bear to destroy it!

Enjoy a festive reunion 8-course meal with seasonal highlights which comes in a selection of three different packages:

Joyous Abundance Reunion: S$68++/pax (Min 6 persons)

Inclusive of Auspicious Lion Dance Performance and ‘Huat Ah!’ Goodie Bag

Golden Prosperity Reunion: S$88++/pax (Min 6 persons)

Inclusive of Auspicious Lion Dance Performance and ‘Huat Ah!’ Goodie Bag

Imperial Fortune Reunion: S$1,888++ per table

Private dining room with fully equipped karaoke system

Check out the festive menu below! 

Chilled Angel Hair Pasta with Truffle Oil and Kombu 

The angel hair pasta is packed with truffle flavours I just can't get enough of it. Some may find it too overpowering, but if you're a truffle lover, likely you will get a second or third serving. 

Drunken Chicken 

Cucumber with Sesame Dressing

Never expected myself to even mention about the cucumbers because who would have thought that cucumber dishes taste so good? It was very refreshing with a little spicy kick that lingers for a while. Excellent for an appetizer, and its a plus point that it's not too overly sour. 

Homemade Beetroot Salmon 

Homemade Mandarin Orange Salmon 

Both Salmon dishes were very appetizing especially with the citrusy taste from the Mandarin Orange. Can't decide if I like the Beetroot or Mandarin Orange dish more.

Black Pepper Crayfish 

I love the peppery taste of the fresh Crayfish and the meat was also easily removed from its shell. Glad that I didn't have to be in a huge mess just to indulge in it! And guess who had a second serving for this too?

Vegetarian Treasure Pot (Pen Cai) 

Roasted Chicken with Spicy Sichuan Sauce (Whole) 

Smoked Duck with Camphor and Tea Leaves (Whole) 

Beef Bourguignon 

Chempedak Crème Brulee/  Swiss Roll/ Agar Agar/ Pudding/ Butter Cake

Chempedak is a type of fruit which is similar to Jackfruit, with a sweet and pleasant fragrance. Amara Hotel has launched a series of Chempedak desserts, which is really interesting and unique unlike other common fruit flavorings. The Creme Brulee stood out the most, partially due to the nature of the fruit, making it a perfect complement to the mousse-like texture of Creme Brulee. I thought it mildly resembled a Durian mousse, except without the pungent smell. The rest of the desserts are worth trying too! 

Silk Road
Set menus with choices from S$108* per person, minimum 2 persons to dine, S$368* for 4 persons and above, S$838* or $968* for 10 persons.

*All prices quoted are in Singapore dollars and subject to service charge and prevailing government taxes.

For reservations:
Contact: +65 6879 2610

Amara Singapore Hotel
165 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088539
Tel: +65 6227 3848

Thank you Amara Hotel for the invite! 

P.S. Some of the photos are taken by my brother, Colman