Category: Others

5 More Tips For Dinner Dates in Singapore

By , February 14, 2014

Make your reservations
It is a must must must to make reservations. In fact, you should ask for the best spot when you call. A good F&B manager will know where. You don’t want to go to a restaurant to queue, or worse still, find it fully booked with the only option left… the food court.

Do your homework
There are enough blogs and websites which describe the menu and food provided. Impress your date with your knowledge of what the specialities and how some of the dishes are prepared. True story: Don’t send the carpaccio back because “it is not fully cooked”. Horrors.

Research on the restaurant
On a similar note, research on the restaurant. You don’t want to spend your first date at a restaurant rated horribly on HungryGoWhere. Or when DanielFoodDiary.com has given a bad review – then it is really bad.

Don’t expect too much
If your date (the guy) is still in school or just graduated recently, chances are he is short of funds. Go easy on him. It does not manner if he does not bring you to Waku Ghin, you can still enjoy your meal at Sushi Tei as long as you keep an open mind.

Keep your hands off the handphone
I know this is coming from the guy who instavideos most of his meal. Once your meal starts, all eyes on your date please, not on Flappy Bird. Resist the urge to take 10 shots of every dish. Even worse, you take pictures of your food, but NOT your date at all.

Last one, guys, offer to pay for the meal lah. You can do it by discreetly saying you need to visit the gents (and then pay), or flash your numerous credit cards (distastefully) then pay. Be gentlemanly okay? This may be the date of your life.

Happy dating, and happy Valentine’s Day!

Other Related Entries
10 Tips for Dinner Dates
5 Best Romantic Restaurants in Singapore
5 Romantic Restaurants for Dates, The Budget Edition

5 Tips for Dinner Dates in Singapore

By , February 13, 2014

Question, do Singaporeans care about Valentine’s Day? Maybe not as much because everyday can be a Valentine’s Day. Ohhh….

Dates are important, to build a relationship, to get to know each other beyond the surface. I remember the very first time I went on a date, it was extremely nerve-wrecking and stressful, I didn’t want to leave anything to chances. (Okay, we ended up at Sushi Tei. Seriously. It was not bad lah.)

Other than considering the 10 Most Romantic Restaurants in Singapore for fine dating, and 5 Romantic Restaurants for dates with a budget , I thought I should share some tips on the first or important dinner dates. This is essentially meant for the guys, and hey, I learnt from my mistakes. Some more painful than others.

5 Tips for Dinner Dates

Don’t go pricey on the first date
Don’t pick the most expensive restaurant or one that is likely to close for your first date / first Valentine’s Day dinner. Because THAT may the place you are likely to go again and again (if you marry that person – yes, I think long term.)

Always have a Plan B
Done with your dinner and not knowing where to go? This may be a premature call to an early night which is no good. Research on all the available coffee and tea places, walking spots, cinemas, and special shops around. Know exactly where to go after, and always provide options to your date.

Buffets? Eat too much, talk too little
Speaking from personal experience, having buffets during important dates can only mean too much food, and spending too little time together. Especially those buffets you need to walk far away to get food. For the 10 minutes you wait for your waffles to be made, you rather spend it talking to your date.

No 20 minute restaurants
By 20 minute restaurants, I mean places where you queue for more than 20 minutes and finish your meal in less 20 minutes – Keisuke Tonkotsu King, Nam Nam Noodle Bar and Tim Ho Wan. Unless you order 3 rounds of baked bbq buns.

Restaurants that smell? No.
Korean BBQ sounds good on paper, but their exhaust system is technically sound. No person would want to dress up to the nines, wash their hair with a sweet fragrance, use expensive perfume only to smell like barbecued pork after a long dinner date. Oh, and that expensive bag is going to have an odour.

Other Related Entries
10 Tips for Dinner Dates
5 Best Romantic Restaurants in Singapore
5 Romantic Restaurants for Dates, The Budget Edition

Dear Singapore, Why Are We Queuing For Donuts, Fried Chicken & BBQ Buns?

By , October 14, 2013

If there is any one word to describe the food trend in Singapore 2013, it would be “Queue”. Over the last year, we have queued for anything from sugar-coated donuts, fried chicken, nasi lemak, French macaron, local tau hway to BBQ Buns.

I am not even going to start about Hello Kitty, Minions and IKEA meatballs.

Perhaps we are indeed obsessed with queues, but some of these queues have stretched anything from 1 to 3 hours. Even more ridiculous, you get a free “I queued 3 hours T-shirt” in one case.

For those who have sacrificed previous times of leave (or MC) and weekends in the line, when you could have spent those hours sleeping, did that BBQ bun really tasted all that that that better than the other brands? Was that cup of bubble tea worth all that wait? After all, tt is JUST bubble tea.

It may all be boiled down to “bragging rights” and say “I had them – they are really good. I had them – so so only. I had them – not worth the hype. You MEAN you have NOT tried? Oh…”

Social media definitely played its role. In the past, you could only brag to your friends – they couldn’t care less. Now, you can brag to your 639 friends on facebook – 10 of them liked your photos, 49 may be curious to try it, and the rest still couldn’t care less.

It’s all about being the IN group. “You mean you still havn’t tried Tim Ho Wan?!” (Try facebooking about Beard Papa or Roti Boy now.)

The day I instagrammed having about Krispy Kreme donuts – on a quiet weekend two weeks before opening date – that instavideo received over 3000 likes, twice more than my average.

It is not just about the brands. Some popular overseas food brands opened in Singapore with less than desirable fanfare. (While the media would chatter, “PR bo zo gang ah?”)

The brands with ‘formidable’ queues, which I defined those which lasted beyond the initial days of hype, all played the public relations and marketing cards right.

Best case study: Tim Ho Wan’s PR company invited personalities, influencers, journalists, radio RJs, and every food blogger I knew for tastings which spanned a few days. Social media feeds were literally flooded with pictures of char siew buns.

Add in a charity event. Play the Michelin star factor. People forget it is those 2 branches in Hong Kong which got the star, not Singapore’s. Even Din Tai Fung had 1 star in Hong Kong, hello?

Krispy Kreme went beyond generous, sending boxes of 4 dozens (!) to print and online media writers, boxes of 2 dozens to food bloggers and to my doorstep, and some to universities and banks. There is no way you would miss seeing those round donuts unless you didn’t add anybody on your instagram or twitter.

Jollibee hired a reputable agency, but it was ironically the “alternative online news sites” who wanted to boycott the shop for employment discrimination, which pushed the Filipino chains to everyone’s attention. Singapore’s only branch subsequently became the top performing outlet in the entire world.

Full article – Dear Singapore, Why Are We Queuing For Donuts, Fried Chicken & BBQ Buns?

The #CookForFamily Cooking Class Giveaway

By , June 7, 2013

To encourage more people to #CookForFamily, Daniel’s Food Diary will be giving away 2 Healthy Culinary Adventure classes (worth more than $100 each) with Chef Judy Koh at Creative Culinaire.

The dishes that will be taught include: Wholemeal Canape with Smoked Salmon, Roast Chicken with Herb Potato and Flourless Chocolate Cake.

All you need to do is
Step 1: LIKE CookForFamily
Step 2: SHARE the picture on Daniel’s Food Diary facebook page
Step 3: COMMENT there once you are done.

Note: There is no advertisement or sponsorship involved in this (prizes are from me). This is purely an initiative for those who want to learn how to cook more dishes and bond with their family, and encourage more people to #CookForFamily through the sharing of recipes.

Time To Award Singapore Hawkers Their Own “Michelin Stars”

By , June 5, 2013

(Original Article at Time To Award Singapore Hawkers Their Own “Michelin Stars” )

There has been some food buzz online questioning if Singapore hawker food is Michelin star worthy? It started with HungryGoWhere asking “Are Singapore hawkers not Michelin-worthy?”, followed by food blogging guru ieatishootipost questioning “Can Singapore Hawkers take on Michelin starred chefs?”.

How should we even begin with this apples versus oranges comparison?

Let’s start with the Michelin guide, started by a tire company (nothing related with food), that anonymously awards restaurants on a three-star system based on food quality, mastery of technique, personality and consistency of the food. Note that interior décor, table setting and service quality are not included in the rating criteria.


1-star Michelin restaurant Tim Ho Wan and its barbecued pork buns

The recent thrill that arrived to our sunny shores is the one-starred Michelin Tim Ho Wan Singapore, sending frenzied crowds to a 2-3 hour queue. Frankly, only their barbecued buns gave that orgasmic feeling when eaten. The rest of the dishes were okay-good but not exactly exceptional.

So, if a shabby hole-in-the wall dim sum place in Mongkok can get one star, why not some of our Singapore food and restaurants? Some also seem to forget that even xiao long bao makers Din Tai Fung has one star for its branch at Tsim Sha Tsui.


3-star Michelin restaurant Lung King Heen serves humble wanton noodles.

The thing is Singapore is not one of the cities under the Michelin guide, unlike Hong Kong and Tokyo. We will NEVER get the Michelin star no matter how good our food is.

The guide will award establishments with at least two to three culinary specialties. Even if the Michelin guide does come to Singapore, it would be the usual suspects such as Andre, Waku Ghin, Iggy’s, Jaan and Les Amis getting the stars. This is the rule of their game.

So where do our humble Singapore hawkers stand, some spending their lifetime perfecting their craft of coming up with that one dish?

While some of the more popular ones earn a tidy profit, most do not get much recognition. The skilful hawkers have few or no disciples they can pass their skills to; many choose to retire after rising costs of rental and labour force them to shut down.


Singapore chicken rice can also be ‘atas’.

There are some other problems I see that are against hawkers in Singapore going further ahead.

1) There is no island-wide reputable recognition for them. Yes, they may have won some “hawker king” award here and there through voting or judging, but there is no single award which stands out from all the rest. If Japan’s “Ramen King” can be national pride and glory, why not our very own “Bak Chor Mee King”?

2) There are celebrity chefs in Singapore, but not really celebrity hawkers. Can you name the chef who cooks the famous Tian Tian chicken rice?

3) Few or no restaurants are bringing Singapore street food to atas high-end status. If a 3-star Michelin restaurant in Hong Kong can serve ‘simple’ fare such as wanton noodles and fried rice, why aren’t many fine dining restaurants “posh-ing” our Singapore food up?

Perhaps it is time to upkeep, uphold and upmarket our Singapore hawkers – upkeep traditions, uphold our culinary heritage, and upmarket their status.

Why not award our own “Michelin Stars”? If a tire company can award stars, perhaps our very own Telcos or the Singapore Tourism Board can honour the best hawkers and food with a one, two and three star system. This is also an opportunity to discover hidden gems that are present just near our doorsteps.


Divine laksa with abalone, is this worthy of a star?

How many you know can fry up char kway tiao with brilliant wok hei, hand-make popiah with the perfect skin and shape, or flip prata like a pro? These are all legitimate skills to be recognised.

Singapore is always waiting for others to give her awards of any sorts, why not provide recognition for your own talents first? If we claim we want to save our hawkers, but is all talk but no action, nothing is going to really happen.

So Dr Leslie Tay asked if a Michelin Star Chef like Gordon Ramsay can fry a plate of Char Kway Teow as good as Hillstreet’s Mr Ng? Well, even though Chef Ramsay has 14 stars under his belt, the answer is maybe (with no offence intended) no.

Other Related Entries
Time To Have A Top 100 Restaurants List For Singapore

Time To Have A Top 100 Restaurants List For Singapore

By , November 8, 2012

Two of Singapore’s renowned restaurants Iggy’s and Waku Ghin have made it to the the “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list. While we can be proud to say that Singapore has a place in the culinary map, it is about time that we should develop our own list of Singapore’s top 100 restaurants.

While the world list has definite international recognition, it is undeniable that the British-based list can be skewed towards European restaurants and food styles. The good news is that an Asian list is in the works.


Les Créations de Narisawa – Top ranked restaurant in Japan and Asia

Looking back at Singapore, travellers and locals alike do not exactly have a reference to which are the top restaurants in here. As a food blogger, I make decisions on which are the ‘best’ restaurants by various food review websites, iphone applications, and food bloggers’ recommendations.

However, there is no island-wide set standard, or Michelin stars that the Singapore culinary scene can look forward to.


Amber – Top ranked restaurant in Hong Kong at Number 44

Having a locally recognised list can perhaps spur many Singapore restaurants to work towards a benchmark, in both culinary skills and customer service. There are many excellent local restaurants which deserve some form of recognition, other than the usual top names like Iggy’s, Les Amis and Andre. It is time we unearth these hidden talents.

This can also act as a checklist for food enthusiasts, especially those coming around the world.

A suggestion would be for the Singapore Tourism Board to take a step forward to develop the list with the media and a panel– such as chefs, food experts, writers and bloggers. The list will probably be an exciting and colourful one, representing the multi food cultures of Singapore.


Perhaps restaurants such as Crystal Jade Dining IN would make it in our list of Top 100. If Hong Kong’s Ho Hung Kee can have a Michelin star, it is time we reward our own restaurants too.

阿桑走了。。。谢谢你给我们的音乐和感动

By , April 7, 2009

以《叶子》这首歌走红的“疗伤歌手”阿桑,在昨天6日早晨过世,得年34岁。本名黄嬿璘的她在两年前检查出癌细胞,转移成乳癌末期,对病情始终很低调。

《叶子》这首歌红到连庾澄庆都要翻唱,歌手阿桑因为嗓音特殊,还有个“疗伤歌手”的美名。4年前阿桑前进大陆,几乎每一首歌大家都会哼,当时还因为怕禽流感,随身必备维他命、感冒药来保命。

但其实阿桑两年前就检查出有淋巴癌,一直很低调,连家人都不太清楚,只有少数几个知心好友知道。去年健康状况相当虚弱住进台大医院,已经是乳癌末期,2月过完34岁生日还是不敌病魔,于今晨在新店慈济医院悄悄离开人间。

她就像歌坛上的叶子,静静地唱出触动人心的歌。没有大红大紫过,她的歌却陪伴我们走过许多回忆的过程,是偶像剧歌曲也好,是翻唱《温柔的慈悲》也好,夜深人静听她的歌声,格外舒服安慰。身为绿叶的她,也是那么静静离开。

阿桑走了。。。谢谢你给我们的音乐和感动。

叶子是不会飞翔的翅膀
翅膀是落在天上的叶子
天堂原来应该不是妄想
只是我早已经遗忘
当初怎么开始飞翔。。。

天冷就回来 If There Are Seasons 2007

By , March 16, 2009

(My review for 天冷就回来 during 2007. Looking forward to the new run in April.)

The Theatre Practice’s latest offering is an ambitious one – to create a musical based on Liang Wen Fook’s music. For those unfamiliar with his music, he has written more than 200 songs and is considered the pioneer of ‘xinyao’, having won the title of the “Person Who Best Represents the Xinyao Spirit”. ‘Xinyao’ is a distinct brand of ‘Singaporean music’ characterized with simple melodies and poetic lyrics about this homeland and lives.

“If there’re seasons” is the brain child of Liang, and several other big names such as award-winning playwright Raymond, and director Kuo Jian Hong, with cast members George Chan, Joanna Dong, Sebastian Tan and Magdalene See.

The story revolves around Ah Le, Ah Qiang and Rose, who meet up in New York, all searching for their dreams and nursing a wound from their previous lost love. This group of young friends share their love for music, and battle with reclaiming their old loves.

Fans of Liang’s music will enter a nostalgic pathway, reclaiming memories of songs they used to be familiar with. There is a total of 40 songs used, from the theme song “If there’re seasons” (Tian Leng Jiu Hui Lai), to “Anchored Love” (Lian Zhi Qi), “Worry” (Dan Xin) and “Let’s Watch the Sunrise Together” (Pei Wo Kan Ri Chu), popularized by locals artistes Kit Chan and Joi Chua.

The musical arrangement of Bang Wenfu breathes new life to these otherwise familiar tunes. And with the characters singing them in their own styles and stories, they bring a different interpretation which would still move the audience.

The lead actor George Chan (better known to local audience as The Dance Floor’s judge) does an amazing job in delivering the songs in his unique baritone voice and clear enunciation to many audiences’s surprise. Personally, I felt he could balance between retaining the original ‘xinyao’ flavour and adding his own emotions to the music. His duet with Sebastian Sim “If You Should Think Of Me” (Ru Guo Ni Bu Xiao Xin Xiang Qi Wo) was easily the most memorable and touching piece of the night.

While the musical’s strength is in its music, it could very well be its weakest link as well. Perhaps there were too many songs used, there wasn’t a clear identity or theme song unifying the whole musical. If you try to recall, there aren’t that many pieces that could emote fully but seem to be there to fill up space.

Because these songs are originally written as ‘xinyao’ or pop, the fit into the story appeared like a messy patchwork at times. While most of the ensemble pieces are entertaining and fun, there are too many solos which dragged the storyline. Somewhat forced and unnatural, the removal of some songs may actually do better good to the entire musical.

The beauty of Liang’s lyrics lies in its poetic nature, and the English translation may not bring out the full flavour of its original intention. Audience who do not understand Chinese may just see many words like ‘flowers’, ‘sun’, ‘moon’, and ‘sky’ used, and may be lost in deciphering the hidden metaphors.

While this journey is without its flaws, it would still appeal to those who grew up with the songs. “If there’re seasons” is like autumn. At times while it feels cold and draggy, the songs would still strike a chord, and bring you memories and feelings of warmth that you may have left behind.

More Yoga Lin Concert Pictures

By , February 23, 2009

Review of Yoga Lin’s Concert

林宥嘉演唱会没有唱伯乐!

By , February 22, 2009

如果我是评审老师。。。

林宥嘉,你真不简单,只发了一张专辑就敢敢开这么大型的演唱会。起初还担心室内体育馆会有许多空位 (应该有7-8成吧)。

看到你年纪轻轻却在舞台发光发热,歌唱技巧是有进步,为你感到骄傲。

还觉得你唱女生的歌很有感觉,《躺在你的衣柜》和《我要我们在一起》有你自己的韵味,让我刮目相看。不错不错!

谢谢你照顾我这年纪的‘老人家’,《青苹果乐园-不是每个恋曲都有美好回忆-失恋阵线联盟》带我走了一段回忆的旅程,是一大惊喜。能歌善舞,你这个冠军不是乱盖的。

可是你对你的特别嘉宾似乎有段距离。Olivia 好歹在日本卖了好多专辑,合唱歌曲不能看她多几眼吗? 你唱你的,她唱她的,这首Fly Me To The Moon 感觉白天不懂夜的黑。

Ella姐好辛苦把气氛炒热,你就陪她玩嘛!何必那么认真?Superstar 你只唱了两句,没时间配合阿?

演唱会越越老《今宵多珍重+叉烧包+Blue Suede Shoes》。哦?搞什么?

《走钢索的人-我爱的人》是你的拿手好歌,过后的安可曲,你把这部分当成是你在唱K 啊? 一大票的冷门歌,加上歇斯底里的演唱,还真的担心你会唱到破音。

歌迷苦苦喊叫你唱 《伯乐》和《你是我的眼》,你却没唱。我后边的人还说 “People’s going to be so p***ed he didn’t sing伯乐!”

还真的没看过只发了一张专辑却不唱成名曲的歌手。没怪你。可能这是最后一场,你要它只属于你自己。 正如你所说“人不能被影响,做自己很重要。”

说到来还是蛮Enjoy 这场演唱会,给你19分!(满分25)请加油!

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