Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Food Review: PS. Cafe (Palais Renaissance)

Whenever there is a cafe with acronyms, we will be very curious as to what the letters stand for, right?

HAHA WHO ARE YOU KIDDING?! No one would really bother to find out what the PS. means. What we are really concerned about is what kind of food do they serve in PS. Cafe and whether they are good.

I have never been to any PS. Cafe, but I have heard that it is always crowded. When I stepped into the cafe, I was really impressed by the number of plants decorating every nooks and corners! PS. Cafe is totally rocking the "City in a Garden" concept of Singapore. Also, the high ceiling and intricate fancy details of the interior makes the whole place really "atas". 

No wonder people like to laze their afternoons away here!

Cafe Au Lait ($6.50)

Cafe Au Lait at PS. Cafe (Palais Renaissance)

Recently, I have been ordering Cafe Au Laits instead of my usual latte as I prefer a stronger coffee taste. Of course, there are some cafes which do not differentiate between these two, but for those that do offer them in both versions, I will definitely order the Cafe Au Lait version. 

The coffee is not bad, but I expected more of their latte art, given the whole exquisite and expensive ambience of the cafe. Should have drawn me a diamond or something that is really expensive.

Truffle Shoestring Fries ($15)

Truffle Shoestring Fries at PS. Cafe (Palais Renaissance)

The fries comes with grated parmesan & parsley tossed in truffle oil. And the portion is HUGE. Like you can share it with 8 people that kind of huge. They should have a "eat all the truffle fries within 5 minutes and get it for free" challenge. No ordinary people can finish this alone... except for Sumo wrestlers. 

I have been told that PS. Cafe serves super huge portion. Even their cakes come in monster-sizes. Unfortunately, I was too full on that day to even order their XXL cakes. The Evilbean will definitely go back again to try out their famed chocolate cakes.

Banana Mango Crumble ($12.90)

Banana Mango Crumble at PS. Cafe (Palais Renaissance)

Warm, crumbly bits bury a gooey paste of banana and mango. It's quite amazing how they managed to make the crumbles so soft but still have that crunchy-bite at the same time. The dry crumbles complement the wet, sticky mangoes and bananas really well. The ice-cream serves as a palette cleanser whenever you feel that it gets too sweet in your mouth.

However, I felt that there wasn't enough crumbles to eat with the bananas and mangoes. Therefore, if you run out of the crumbly bits to go along with the gooey paste, then that's when you should stop eating. 
Again, the portion is so huge that it feels like it can be shared between 4 people omg. Generally, this crumble is quite good, but then, it is really hard to go wrong with crumbles. 

Overall, I was impressed by the ambience and the food is not bad. I think this is a really good place to just rest your legs when you are tired from all the shopping in Orchard, and to recharge your batteries for Shopping Round 2. 

And YES, I know it has been nagging at the back of your head ever since you read that first paragraph. "PS. CAFE STANDS FOR WHAT EVILBEAN? PLEASE TELL ME ALREADY." Hmmm I don't know. Seeing that they always serve huge portions for their food, maybe it stands for Plus-Sized Cafe? 




Cafe Rating (out of 5 Evilbeans):

  (3.5)

Evilbean's last words/recommendation:
- Super chill ambience with lots of angmos and atas pretty girls for you to ogle at. Totally a place for you to laze 2-3 hours away with your friends!
- MUST-ORDER: N.A. Ate too little to recommend a must-order.


PS. Cafe Palais Renaissance

PS. Cafe (Palais Renaissance)

Palais S.C, 390 Orchard Road, Level 2, 
Singapore 238871
Phone: +65 9834 8232
Opening Hours:

Mon - Thu: 11:30 am - 12:00 am
Fri: 11:30 am - 1:00 am
Sat: 9:30 am - 1:00 am
Sun: 9:30 am - 12:00 am

Sunday, 10 August 2014

10 pointers and tips to enjoy Alive Museum Singapore!

Evilbean in a Candy
"And yet another bean is born - the Candybean!"

Aren't you bored of your own display photos on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram which are essentially just selfies and selfies? Well, take a trip down to Suntec City's new attraction - Alive Museum and stock up on your #throwback and #profilepicworthy pictures! (I had 103 #profilepicworthy photos from this trip alone whoohoo!)

Being the world's largest chain of 3D art illusions, and the largest in Singapore at about 10,000 sq ft, Alive Museum is the leader in this field, thus ensuring that you will have the best collage of memorable and quirky photos with your friends and families.

Seriously, it was damn fun. And here's my review + tips of Alive Museum Singapore.

1.  I laughed

I LOL-ed the moment I stepped into the gallery. This hilarious-short-legged girl had me laughing in tears!

"This was hilarious OMG!"

"Finally you grew some legs girl!"

"Yes, pulling out Grandpa's teeth is perfectly normal here. Everyone's queuing to pull his."

D-Cup dying wish
"You get to scribble your dying wish here and someone wanted to die with bigger boobs. Well, you better wish there are bras in Heaven"

2. I felt like a King

"Alive Museum - the only place Bruce Lee (at the bottom left) will bow for you. In other places, Bruce Lee beats you up."

3. User Friendly Pose and Photo Points + Free WiFi

Photo Point at Alive Museum
"Photo Point"

If you do not know what or how to pose, there are pose points at every art piece to let you have an idea. The designated photo points are where you should take your photos at for the best and most realistic-looking pictures. The artworks are also designed for photo-taking without the use of camera flash for the best effects, so it's as easy as point and tap!

And, if you like a particular shot so much that you want to post it immediately to your social media platform, there is actually FREE WiFi provided! FREEEEEEEEEE!

4. Unleash your Inner Desires

Erm, just watch this video:




5. Uniquely Singapore Photos

There are over 80 masterpieces in Alive Museum Singapore, of which 9 are locally themed and unique to Singapore! Being a patriotic Singaporean, I wanted to spot those 9 so badly.

Here's one where our Merlion is giving me a "chest-shower":

Chest Shower from Merlion
"That's not new-water you are spitting out right?"

Stopping Marina Bay Sands from leaking
"A patriotic citizen always try to stop MBS from leaking"

There are 7 more, which I will leave you to go discover them yourself (if not you say Evilbean spoiler)!

Also, as part of the Singapore 50 project, the museum will engage the local communities through teachers, students and Singaporeans from various walks of life to create artworks that they think define the essence of Singapore. Of these, 20 will be showcased in the museum by early 2015, bringing the total number of artworks to more than a 100! 

6. You Become Distorted

There is this interesting exhibit called "The Camera Obscura". Basically, you will sit at a place while your friend will go into a booth and draw a portrait of you using tracing paper.

The Camera Obscura

Inside the booth

And, if your partner has bad drawing skills, you might end up looking distorted:

Distorted Evilbean
"ERM. OKAY."

And that is not the only place you will become distorted.

Distorted Evilbean again

Distorted Evilbean again 1

Distorted Evilbean again 2
"WHEEEEEEEE!"

7. You never knew you could have so many Expressions

From being scared:

Zombies
"Actually, I really don't mind being a zombie. BITE ME LEH!"

To acting cute:

"To the girl on my left: Why the hell are you crying when it's me that is getting hit?!"

To acting hurt while doing splits:

"Even now, it still looks really painful"

And even when you are on the chopping board:

"You automatically go into dying-mode-expression when you are on this! I don't know why!"

8. *Tip for Girls*: BEWARE OF YOUR PERVERTIC BOYFRIEND

If your boyfriend suddenly decides to bring you to Alive Museum and asks you to wear a skirt, BEWARE.

Basically in the museum, you would need to stand upside down, lie down and crawl into some objects/photoframes. Therefore, unless you want to spice up your relationship with him, you do not really want to give him a free show of your underwear if you are wearing a skirt. Besides, there is this super cool room called the "Mirror Disco Room" where the whole room is filled with mirrors! This room is the dream of every selfie's lover! 

Mirror Disco Room

You will be thoroughly exposed in this room if you wear a short skirt. Therefore, it would be best if you wear skorts and trick him instead: "SEE LOR SEE LOR INSIDE IS PANTS HAHAHA". 

9. *Tip for Guys*: DON'T LET YOUR GIRLFRIEND KNOW ABOUT TIP #8

Yeap.

10. Open up your Mind and Be Amazed!

"Batman: PLEASE. Someone just put a sushi in my mouth or something :("

There are quite a number of exhibits that made me drop my jaws in awe. Having their own dedicated R&D team, they are able to study different techniques and paints for the best quality masterpieces, further cementing their position as the leader in 3D visual illusion museum. If you are looking for an unconventional venue for your private function room, Alive Museum do have one that can host up to 60 guests for an unforgettable event! I guarantee that you will be the coolest person in the block for doing that!

I was really intrigued by almost everything during my visit. And I will continue to be intrigued by them as Alive Museum refreshes about 30% of their masterpieces every 12-18 months, with special exhibits during the various seasons such as Christmas, Chinese New Year etc. Essentially, every visit will be a brand new experience!

Before I end off, there is one big mystery that I would like you guys to solve together, and that is actually the exhibit right at the entrance on your left. No matter how we see, we couldn't see what they wanted us to see. 

Will you be able to see it?

Mystery Exhibit at Alive Museum
"Will you be able to see what they intended us to see?"

If you ask me, you would need to set aside at least 2 hours in order to fully enjoy each and every art exhibit in the gallery. Make it 3 hours if you go during their peak hours, given that you will have to wait for people to pose and take photo at each art piece. And some people.. pose... very.... long.......

After walking and posing and laughing for 2-3 hours, you must be tired and hungry. Fret not, because there is an AWESOME PROMOTION going on right now! Simply Like Alive Museum on Facebook HERE and get a FREE MEAL at Burger King Suntec (with purchase of a full-priced ticket) which is conveniently right beside Alive Museum! (Offer ends 30 September 2014) 

Also, enjoy 20% off the ticket price NOW if you book your tickets at their online booking portal here by using the promotion code: aliveopen

Where else to have an enjoyable day full of laughter, #profilepicworthy photos and a FREE MEAL with your loved ones?


Alive Museum Singapore

Suntec City Mall #03-372 (Between Towers 3 and 4).
Nearest MRT Station: Promenade (Exit C)
Opening Hours: 10am - 10pm Daily (Last admission at 9pm)
Ticket Prices: $25 (Adults), $20 (Children 3-12yrs)
Thank you so much to @omyblogclub and @AliveMuseumSingapore for the invite! :D

Thursday, 7 August 2014

8 Fun and Interesting Things to Do and Eat in Hokkaido! (Summer Edition)

Scenic Hokkaido Dusk View
"Hokkaido Sunset"

Finally, the Evilbean set his foot in Hokkaido, Japan! This is the place where they are known for their delicious Ramen, hotsprings and heavenly desserts. I once asked my friend which country she thought had better food: Korea or Japan. Without even giving it a second thought, she replied Japan. Having been to Korea for 3 times, and falling in love with their Dak Galbi and Tteokbokki, I gasped out loud and told her: "IMPOSSIBLE! How can the food in Japan be better than Korea?"

She was right. 


Evilbean Selfie for Hokkaido
"Mandatory Selfie with Boarding Pass before Jetting off"

I was blown away by Hokkaido. Most of the things that I saw and ate had me gasping, moaning and squirming in delight. Why?

I guess the reason is that most of us are exposed to the Korean Wave or the Hallyu Wave, which allowed us to see and understand their culture in-depth. We more or less know the sights and their foods from Running Man or other Korean dramas. Therefore, we kind of expect them when we are in Korea. However, most of us do not really watch Japan dramas or variety shows anymore.. well, except for guys who frequently watch ANOTHER TYPE of "Japanese dramas" AHEMs. Therefore, when I was in Japan, I was really blown away by a totally different culture, totally different food. Technically, food in Japan is not "better", it is just that the food are all so new and fresh to us that we are in awe. Conversely, if we were exposed to more Japan's culture than Korea's culture, food in Korea might seem to be more interesting to us. It all comes down to a matter of perspective.

And with that, the Evilbean shall list down 8 of the most fun and interesting things to do and eat in Hokkaido, summer edition. I am pretty sure that the things you can do in winter will be slightly different.

1. Catch your own Sashimi at Hakodate Asaichi (Morning Market)

We all know that Hokkaido has one of the best seafood in the world. However, instead of being served with their sea produce, why not catch one yourself?


Catching Your Own Sashimi


This is an eye-opening experience to not only catch, but also watch your freshly caught squid being prepared right in front of your eyes! Just look at my reaction at the end of that video! There are also lots of fresh seafood and lots of FREE SAMPLES for you taste first before you decide whether or not to spend your yen. Being a market, it also sells the famous Hokkaido Honey Melon, peaches, as well as something that made the Evilbean jumped up and down.. 

Raw, uncooked corn. 

2. Pure White Corn (Uncooked)

Pure White Corn

You must be rolling your eyes at me now. "Uncooked corn? And white in colour?!?! Sure can eat or not Evilbean?"

"YES. YOU HAVE TO EAT THIS!"

Pure White Corn 2


I swear, this pure white corn will be the SWEETEST CORN you have ever eaten in your life. Selling at between 150 yen - 300 yen, this corn that is grown in Hokkaido is juicy, refreshing, and downright orgasmic. The reason why the corn can be soooooooooooo oishii comes from the fact that Hokkaido has huge variation in their temperature - the day can be extremely hot and the night can be extremely cold. Because of this weather, the fruits in Hokkaido lock in the most amount of moisture inside them in order to prepare themselves for the erratic weather. 

And precisely due to this fluctuation in their weather, Hokkaido fruits and vegetables are refreshingly sweet and juicy! That is why their Yubari Melon can retail up to $100 in Isetan. And this is also why the pure white corn in Hokkaido is a MUST-TRY. You can eat this every day and not get sick of it! How I wish I lugged back a carton of this heavenly corn with me. I promise you that you will never taste any corn that is as awesome as this!

If you are in Hokkaido and unsure whether the corn can be eaten fresh off the cob, just ask the seller: "Nama okay?" which literally means raw okay? When they say okay, just buy 200 back. Give 198 to me. Thanks :D

3. Mount Io (Sulphur Mountain)


Marvel at the creation of mother nature of this active sulphur mountain in Kawayu Onsen District. You will be overwhelmed by the strong suphuric smell the moment you get out of your vehicle. Do you know that sulphur is used in some acne products to dry out your pimples and prevent blockage of pores? So, if you are daring enough, just place your face over at some of the spring pools for some free steam facial. Just pray that the hot jets of sulphuric water won't erupt into your face suddenly *insert Gwang Soo music*.



Ain't it pretty? It's so pretty I had to inhale some of the sulphuric fumes as a souvenir for my body.

Mount Io 4


4. Hokkaido Jingu Shrine


Hokkaido Jingu Shrine


This Shrine enshrines four kami including the soul of the Emperor Meiji. On the day that we went, we were fortunate enough to witness a wedding being held at this shrine!


Hokkaido Jingu Shrine Wedding

This is a truly serene place that is surrounded by tall, natural woods, unlike Singapore where you see high-rise concrete buildings beside the temple, destroying the very nature of holy places. 

You have heard of monks/priests blessing people, babies, or even amulets. But have you heard of them blessing cars? Yes, one of the interesting cultures in Japan is that you can actually bless your cars!


Hokkaido Jingu Shrine Car Blessing

Hokkaido Jingu Shrine Car Blessing 1

It is said that if your car always gets into accidents, or if you just bought a new car and want your travels on the road to be safe, you can drive your car here for the monk to bless it. Super interesting! 

There is also another interesting thing to do in this shrine and that is the purification ritual.

Hokkaido Jingu Shrine Purification

Hokkaido Jingu Shrine Purification Ritual

The best way to enjoy a country is to take part in their culture. Set aside your own norms and immerse yourself in another cultural activity. This is when you can discover yourself. Another thing you can try in the shrine is to pray the Japanese way called the Ni-rei ni-hakusyu ichi-rei (二礼二拍手一礼).

Ni-rei ni-hakusyu ichi-rei
Image from: http://mcha-jp.com/3816

To pray at the shrine, you should do the following steps:

1. Throw coins into the wooden offertory box. Do not use 10 yen coins. Any other coins are fine.

2. Bow twice.

3. Clap twice.

4. Pray and make your wishes.

5. Bow once.

Also, according to the locals, the shrine is believed to be very 灵验, which means that your prayers will be answered accordingly. They have this thing called the Omikuji or fortunes which you can draw for a token donation of 200yen. Inside each omikuji are your fortunes and some lucky trinkets which signify for different things. 


If you get a good lot, you should keep it as it will bless you for the entire year. If you get a bad lot, hang them on this thing and it will change into good luck at the end of the year. 


Trinklets and Charms from Hokkaido Jingu Shrine

They also sell some pretty little charms at their counter at 1000yen, of which I bought a few for my mum, friends and myself. The one with the purple strap is for myself, which drives bad luck away and brings in good luck for me. 

Right outside of the shrine, there is also this famous 六花亭 known for their snacks. 


Liu Hua Ting

Inside, they offer you free flow of cold Japanese green tea, which is super refreshing on a sunny day. They also sell a super delicious mochi which they pan-fry on the spot!

Liu Hua Ting Mochi

Overall, Hokkaido Jingu Shrine is a very tranquil, serene place for you to "have a feel" of the soul of the great Meiji Emperor (who played a great part in the molding of Japan now) and experience true Japanese culture from blessing of cars to newborns, as well as their Omikujis that will bring you good luck as long as you pray sincerely. You definitely have to visit this if you are open to cultural experience!


5. An Island of Ice-Cream

If you have seen my instagram posts (@Evilbean), you would have known that all that I have been posting recently are all ice-creams from Hokkaido. Hokkaido should also be called icecreamdo because they have SO MANY YUMMYLICIOUS ice-creams everywhere! Just look at the amount of ice-creams I stuffed into my mouth for this trip:


Vanilla soft serve Ice-Cream

Lavender soft-serve Ice-Cream

Rainbow Ice-cream

Rainbow Ice-Cream with 7 different layers of flavour. This is how a real rainbow should taste like!

Shiroi Koibito Ice-Cream

YES! Even 白い恋人 (Shiroi Koibito) Ice-Cream! =D

7-11 Gran Cacao Ice-Cream

7-11 Ice-Cream pouch

This ice-cream with a cute packaging is a little weird though. They wrapped it in a very condom-like plastic, and you are supposed to suck on it... Erm... Interesting experience? +_+

7-11 Ice-Cream pouch 1

7-11 Ice-Cream pouch 1


And the famous Yubari Melon with Melon Ice-Cream! Literally at every turn in Hokkaido, you will find a vendor selling soft-serve ice-cream. If you love ice-creams, you will find your paradise here at icecreamdo/Hokkaido.

6. Ramen Street at Sapporo Ramen Yokocho
(元祖さっぽろラーメン横丁)

How can you not have Ramen while you are in Japan right? At Susukino, which is the largest entertainment district in Hokkaido, they have this Ramen alley, which is also where "Miso Ramen" was first born. 

We chose this restaurant called Teshikaga (弟子屈) because it had the longest queue. Being Singaporean, our mentality of queuing = good prevails everywhere. And we were right. This 2 bowls of Ramen that we ordered were the BEST RAMEN we have ever eaten!

When you go into the restaurant, you don't "order" from a waiter. You choose what you want from the ticketing machine, pay, and pass the tickets to the chef. Kudos to the Japanese for coming up with such a hassle-free machine for both the customers and the chef.


Ramen Ticket Machine

Ramen Alley

Freshly grilled char-shu right in front of you! With highly trained skills, the chef expertly grilled the char-shu while multi-tasking on the noodles and even washing the cups. The result of the meat? Soft, tender pieces of char-shu with just the right amount of fats that gives superb texture when paired with the SWEETEST SOUP BROTH EVER.

Ramen 1

Ramen 2

I swear (literally), this is the best F******* ramen ever! The Ramen egg is medium-boiled to PERFECTION with just the right amount of runny yolk centre. The seafood is fresh, the ingredients that went into each bowl is generous, and the taste of the whole bowl of Ramen is just OIISHIIIIIIIII! Just look at our happy faces!


Of course, this is not called "Ramen Alley" for nothing. There are several other stores inside the alley that also sells Ramen. A pity we only had 2 nights in Susukino. Otherwise, I am pretty sure we will visit every single store everyday for supper!

7. Visit 白い恋人 (Shiroi Koibito) Park

Shiroi Koibito aka 白い恋人 is one of the many Hokkaido's famous brands that mainly produces the chocolate sandwiched between 2 pieces of cookies. At this park, you will get the opportunity to have an excursion through its Chocolate Museum to discover the history and production of the famed Hokkaido’s chocolate! 

Shiroi Koibito Park 1

Shiroi Koibito Park 2

Shiroi Koibito Park 3

Shiroi Koibito Park Passport

At 600 yen, you get a passport to enter the factory/museum and a piece of the 白い恋人 cookie!

Shiroi Koibito Park Factory

Shiroi Koibito Park 6

Shiroi Koibito Park 7

Shiroi Koibito Ice-Cream

At every hour, the whole park comes alive where the clock tower, the trees, and even the dustbins move and sway to the music that illuminates the park! This is a magical place for lovers and kids and adults-that-do-not-like-to-admit-they-are-old to laze 1 to 2 hours away sitting at their cafes and sipping afternoon tea while having a slice of their pretty cakes or desserts. Ranked at No.2 on TripAdvisor among 25 attractions in Sapporo, this 白い恋人 park is one of the interesting places to visit with lots of colourful candies and flowers as a backdrop for your photos!

8. Buy up their Snacks

Yeap, all their snacks and drinks look so mouth-watering that you can't help but keep tossing out your yens on their snacks! Hokkaido is truly a paradise for the Evilbean. Just look at the amount of noms noms that I bought during the trip. And these are just SOME of them.


Kagoshima Kurobuta Patty

Kagoshima Kurobuta Patty 2




Melts in your mouth Caramel Candy that has won awards for 3 consecutive years!

Cow-Shaped Snacks


If you ever see this drink at a vending machine, do not hesitate to buy this for your trip! Refreshing max and a milk tea taste lingers in your mouth! 

Hokkaido Melon Jelly Drink

Melon Jelly drink! The more you suck, the more awesome this jelly drink gets! 

Sapporo Agricultural College Cookie

I must have bought like 10 boxes of these super milky and creamy cookies!

Bakery Shop

Caramel Ice-cubes

And that's Evilbean's recommendations on the 8 most fun and interesting things to do and eat in Hokkaido, summer edition. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Hokkaido and I really wish to go back to Hokkaido again for their romantic winter soon! If you have been to Hokkaido and would like to recommend more things for the Evilbean to add into this list, do drop me a comment! :)

Hokkaido Rating (out of 5 Evilbeans):

 
 (5! TOO AWESOME ALREADY HOKKAIDO!)


Also, I lugged back a huge box of awesomeness from Hokkaido, where I will be reviewing all the MUST TRY snacks if you are planning to head over to Hokkaido. WARNING: there will be an avalanche of snacks. Keep refreshing my blog for Part II - Hokkaido noms noms soon!


Big Box of Hokkaido Snacks