October Milestone

After a period of procrastination, exercise inactivity (late July till now) …… I finally got moving and bought a trial pass at Yoga Inc to start yoga proper *grin*

And 1st October, being a Saturday and also the 1st day of a new month (and new quarter i.e. Q4) was the perfect day to make a new head start/beginning in my fitness/health & wellness journey, as well as to develop a new interest/hobby. And most importantly, another goal/resolution finally ticked off my list 🙂

And what better than a Warm Stretch class – which is a basic level stretch class, but with a slight twist as the room is slightly heated to a temperature of 35 degrees. As per class description, it was the perfect class for me to start off with and work out those stiff muscles again (after a good 2 months of inactivity/zero exercise). Although I ended up resting and recovering from the muscle achnes (particularly at the right shin) for a few days after class.

Will be looking forward to my next planned class (Basics) soon, with the eventual goal of making it a twice a week workout (long term) with some self-practice on my own at home. Am excited to see a more flexible me …… and also how far my yoga journey will go now that I have finally taken the 1st step to start.


Food Mission 2016: Ah Bong’s Italian

Finally a 1st food review entry for year 2016 after more than half the year has already gone by!

In the midst of daily life and the ups and downs experienced in year 2016 so far, new food and culinary experiences has been a bright spark that has brought some cheer into my life. And finally, I got to tick off Ah Bong’s Italian as one of the must-try on my list 🙂

Its not easy to find tasty pasta that is at the same time inexpensive, and this is where Ah Bong’s Italian comes in to fill the void. Ah Bong’s started off as a small coffeeshop stall @ 56 Eng Hoon Street (it was the original Two Face coffeeshop with a day and night concept before being replaced by Two Face – another set of owners).

In the daytime though, the place itself is a coffeeshop where a famous Yong Tau Foo store resides (as you can see from the huge lunchtime crowd). While Ah Bong’s takes its place at the other corner of the coffeeshop.

Overall, I would say both stalls have their own set of loyal customers.

The reason why I ended up at Tiong Bahru / Eng Hoon Street on a hot Monday afternoon for lunch was due to a craving for creamy-based pasta. Thanks to their regularly updated facebook page, I knew Crabby Mac and Cheese was on their menu …… and this fitted my intention perfectly 🙂

Unlike the typical Mac and Cheese which is usually very cheesy (i.e. has lots of thick cheese sauce) …… Ah Bong’s version differs quite a fair bit as they use a cheese sauce that is a lot less thicker, tinged with a mushroom taste. A note on the mushrooms – Ah Bong’s uses fresh mushrooms that come with a very earthly flavour. Thus overall, the lighter sauce will find flavor with some who prefer their sauces (and food) with a less heavy after-taste.

And yes, another important part of the dish is the crab meat. Unlike the foodcourt/coffeshop/hawker centre and even cafe pastas, this one comes with REAL crab meat (from crab legs) and not the manufactured crabs. For $12 at a decent portion, this made for a delicious and flavorful lunch!

I see that they have done well enough for themselves building up a loyal following amongst Singaporean food lovers (and on social media itself) to proceed on further expansion. This time to a eatery unit at Tan Quee Lan Street occupying the former GastroSmiths.

Just like their Tiong Bahru coffeeshop outlet, this cafe outlet is very simple (and almost no frills) in terms of interior …. which gives off a homely and rustic vibe. In that sense, Ah Bong’s has always been about serving good, unpretentious delicious pasta using fresh ingredients anyway.

This is what I had at Tan Quee Lan – Escaargot Pomodoro. Decided to try this at the waiter’s suggestion as it was late lunch post workout, and there were not many choices/ingredients left before the last order at 2pm. Besides, its pretty rare to have escargots together with pasta, hence something different for once.

Not only it was tasty, the escargots went perfect with the tomato sauce (freshly made and not from a can), with the taste further enhanced with fresh basil leaves. So once again, it does not feel overly heavy on the palate.

In case you are wondering where did the escargots go, they were hidden underneath.

Another reason why you MUST dine at Ah Bong’s – their everchanging menu that allow for experimentation and creativity. In addition, their Tan Quee Lan outlet offers starters and desserts to further enhance the dining experience …… which I will be back to check them out in the future.


Ah Bong’s Italian – Tiong Bahru                                                                                                             56 Eng Hoon Street #01-46                                                                                                           Singapore 160056

Opening Hours                                                                                                                                              1000 Hrs to 1430 Hrs, Monday To Saturday

Ah Bong’s Italian – Tan Quee Lan Street                                                                                                103 Beach Road #01-02 (Below Marrison Hotel)                                                                                 Singapore 189704

Opening Hours                                                                                                                                                Lunch: 1200 Hrs to 1400 Hrs                                                                                                               Dinner: 1800 Hrs to 2100Hrs                                                                                                                         Daily

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Michelin Half Star

One of the major news in July was the publication of Singapore’s first ever Michelin Guide.


And one unique feature of Singapore’s Michelin Guide would be its Bib Gourmand section which includes more hawker stalls and restaurants that offer good value for money (capped at SGD45 max).

Co-incidentally in the week that the Michelin Guide raitngs were annouced (Week 3 July), I happened to have tasted 2 dishes in the guide itself.

One being my usual Ba Chor Mee (Minced Pork Noodle) at Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle, and the other being my usual Fried Hokkien Mee whenever I lunch at Tiong Bahru Market (Hong Heng Fried Sotong Prawn Mee).

Only slight catch was that the Bar Chor Mee that I had was from a relative-run offshoot of the original Tai Hwa located at Hong Lim Food Centre. Thus this explains the blog title – Michelin Half-Star 😛

There has also been a fair bit of discussion online on why this particular hokkien mee stall in Tiong Bahru Market was given the Bib Gourmand market made it to the list …… as versus to much more well-known & better rated Hokkien Mee from the likes of Nam Sing (Old Airport Road), Ah Hock (Chomp Chomp), Hainan (Beach Road), Geylang Lor 29. Well I would say its a decent plate of hokkien mee, where you can feel the wok hei, plus it is really reasonably priced with decent portions (starting from $3). Of course, having tried Ah Hock and Hainan, I have to say these 2 stalls are better in my personal opinion and are the ‘gold standard’ of hokkien mee in Singapore.


Weekly Photo Challenge: On The Move – Part 2

Decided to do a Part 2, my first time ever.

Another Singapore/local theme intepretation. This time round my Vesak Day (yesterday) lunch cum jaunt around Tiong Bahru.

Did 1 exploration earlier back in end March …… and since I wanted to get out of the house for a short while to soak in some sunlight (more for motivation reasons, despite the warm warm weather), decided Tiong Bahru was the best place to go as it is along the East-West MRT line, and I could get lunch, do some shoe shopping + banking right at Tiong Bahru Plaza as well.

Decided to take a walk from Tiong Bahru Plza, past Kim Tian ….. instead of turning into Yong Siak (where 40 Hands is) as previously done so, walked straight where I would pass by Moh Guan Terrace. Missed out on the stretch during my last exploration back in March.

First up, Flock Cafe at #01-25, 78 Moh Guan Terrace. Googled a bit on the MRT ride and found pretty good reviews for Flock’s brunch and coffee. As I was not in the mood for any western style brunch (might have eaten at Flock if I managed to leave my house earlier) – so Flock will be on my to-try list for future brunches!


Just further down the road was #01-19 …. Where Bincho/Hua Bee is!


Some backstory on this coffeeshop. This was the coffeeshop where Eric Khoo’s ‘Mee Pok Man’. A unique combo of the old and new – where it is Hua Bee’s meepok in the daytime ….. and Bincho (located right inside) taking over for dinner at night (they serve lunch as well). Would have loved to have the mee pok for a genuiely local experience but the crowd kinda put me off. Am curious enough to want to try out Bincho one fine day (should I decide to pay for an atas Japanese omakase dinner one day) since it is one of Loh Lik Peng’s concept 😛

Walked further on and I was onto the long stretch of Seng Poh Road next. Right beside Seng Poh Road was Tiong Bahru Market and Hawker Centre. Since I was badly craving for some local food, decided to have my lunch here. Got myself a cold solid soy bean drink ($1) ….. followed by fishball noodles from Hui Ji (yet another solid recommendation from Daniel Food Diary). The noodles and fishball were both very QQ, only slight minus was that the dried sauce was a bit on the saltier side though. But really generous portion for $2.50!


After lunch, walked all the way down to Tiong Bahru Bakery, and continued on to the end of Eng Hoon Street, where I spotted this Monkey temple which J told me has a lot of worshippers on select days. You can read more about the Qi Tian Gong Temple here.


Its really hot so ended my walk here, and hopped onto a bus at the nearest bus stop (next to Sin Hoi Sai tze char) to head back towards home.