Peranakan at Violet Oon's Kitchen

posted on: Friday, January 23, 2015

Violet Oon's Kitchen nakedgloryvera-8 Violet Oon x nakedgloryvera Violet Oon's Kitchen nakedgloryvera-6 Violet Oon x nakedgloryvera 4 When one thinks of Peranakan food, perhaps ideas of an abundance of spices, curries/gravy and old school cooking comes to mind. But dining at Violet Oon's truly dispelled that notion of traditional old school cooking, but instead introduced me to a new experience of layers of flavours, textures and even scents.

I loved the black and white mosaic tiles on the floor, paired with black rattan chairs and marble tabletops at Violet Oon's - the whole place exuded a classic, timeless style which went well with the food, like flavours suspended in time. Wearing this beautiful lace number from Shona Joy available Luxe Boutique Sydney, which went along great with the vibe of the restaurant.

Violet Oon's Kitchen nakedgloryvera-15 Violet Oon's Kitchen nakedgloryvera-19 Violet Oon's Kitchen nakedgloryvera-3 Violet Oon x nakedgloryvera 5 Violet Oon's Kitchen nakedgloryvera-13 For starters, we had the Kueh Pie Tee, which is normally found in bigger hawker centres in Singapore. But this one was hands down the best I've tasted. The shell of the Kueh Pie Tee was crunchy yet slightly moist from absorbing the sauce from the bamboo shoots and turnip. It was topped off with a succulent prawn slice - so good I could've finished the whole plate by myself.

Another interesting starter which I tried was the 2 Dip Board with Pita Bread - the pita bread did give much to rave about but I thoroughly enjoyed the homemade black nut paste and chili crab dip.The Pong Tau Hu Soup was actually the most surprising dish thanks to the distinct, even slight bitter aftertaste of the prawn bisque cooked with julienned bamboo shoots. The meatball in the soup was really wholesome and I thoroughly enjoyed the crunchy texture of bamboo shoots with the prawn, pork & beancurd meatball.

Violet Oon's Kitchen nakedgloryvera-25 Violet Oon's Kitchen nakedgloryvera-1 Moving onto the mains, the Dry Laksa is a definite must-try. The laksa pesto sauce is made from reduced laksa soup, despite its "dry" appearance, it retains a very moist and creamy taste thanks to the reduction of coconut milk in the laksa soup. This was served with prawns, tau pok and beansprouts, making it a really good modern rendition of the traditional laksa.

For Nyonya mains, we tried the Garam Assam Fish, which was a mackerel fillet cooked in a slight spicy and sour gravy with pineapple slices. The fish meat simply fell apart in layers when cut and absorbed the flavors of its gravy in all its glory. I'm usually not one who appreciate such gravy-heavy meat dishes, but the slight tanginess in the sauce did not make the gravy taste very oily or overbearing.

Violet Oon's Kitchen nakedgloryvera-35 Violet Oon's Kitchen nakedgloryvera-34 Violet Oon x nakedgloryvera 3 Violet Oon's Kitchen nakedgloryvera-2 Finally, ending off on a sweet note we had the Bubor Cha Cha Pannacotta and Bread & Butter Pudding with Whiskey and Custard Sauce. The Bubor Cha Cha Pannacotta was the winner out from all the desserts - the pannacotta is actually made out from reduced coconut milk instead of the usual heavy cream and made for a lighter version of this dessert. It went really well with the texture from the agar agar jelly on top and a gula melaka layer. YUM.

We even managed to met Violet in person, who was still going strong at 60+. When we met her, she was just visiting the kitchen to bring home ingredients for the paste, dips and sauces, preferring to make them personally for the bistro. And it pays off in the flavours of all her dishes - this dining experience clearly changed my notion of Peranakan cooking.

For the full menu from Violet Oon's please visit this link.

Thank you Alistair for the kind invite to the tasting.

Home Spa DIY with Spa Ceylon

posted on: Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Spa Ceylon Sleep Therapy-1 Spa Ceylon Sleep Therapy-9 Spa Ceylon Sleep Therapy-5 Spa Ceylon Sleep Therapy-10 Sleep.

I guess that's the one thing that most Singaporeans or people living in cities lack. I recently got introduced to Spa Ceylon's signature Sleep Therapy range, which is designed to give you a night of deep, restful sleep. The entire range comes in the form of Bath & Shower Gel, Massage Oil, Hand and Body Milk, Body Soak (bath salts), Body & Pillow Mist and a Body Soap.

I never had any problems falling asleep, but I do have problems getting enough sleep, or rather quality sleep. So here are the steps towards getting quality, dreamless sleep:
  1. Wash down the body with the Bath & Shower Gel, which lets off a faint scent of Lavender and Ylang Ylang in the bathroom, while the citrusy essential oils lifts the spirits. 
  2. Let out the running water and added a generous scoop of the Body Soak bath salt into the bath and just, relax. 
  3. After bath, just gently massage a few drops of the Massage Oil on tense parts of the body such as the shoulders, followed by Body Lotion on the dry parts (for me it was my calves). 
  4. A spray of Body & Pillow Mist onto the pillow and I was immediately lured to sleep.
Spa Ceylon Sleep Therapy-6 Spa Ceylon Sleep Therapy-7 Spa Ceylon Sleep Therapy-3 Being the proponent of all-natural beauty skincare and bodycare products, I have looked through the ingredient list and can really vouch that its products are made from 100% vegetarian - No alcohol, No parraffins and parabens - plus it works with Sri Lankan farmers and workers to extract the essential oils from the products they manufacture.

Other than the Sleep Therapy range, Spa Ceylon also carries a whole other range of body, face and haircare products - all naturally derived and organized by dosha, a Sri Lankan term for your body type. I can picture myself visiting the shop again soon to grab some Sandalwood candles for home.

Bangkok in One Day - The Jam Factory

posted on: Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Jam Factory-29 The Jam Factory-6 The Jam Factory-5 The Jam Factory-3 The Jam Factory-1 The Jam Factory-8 Recently I traveled to Bangkok by invitation of Zalora x Thai Designers Collective and literally only had one day (actually half a day thanks to the traffic jams) in Bangkok. What does one do in 8h in BKK?

Besides absorbing the sights and sounds of the sprawling Chatuchak market, I would strongly recommend that you make a trip down to The Jam Factory. Situated in Klong San, near the river, The Jam Factory is an enclave of a Cafe + Art book shop, Art Gallery and finally a Restaurant & Bar, converted from old factory warehouses. It also houses the office of Duangrit Bunnag, arguably Bangkok's most influential architect, where you can see the models of all his projects displayed against the office windows.

During my visit, Tàmçois Dazed & Confused works were on display and I particularly like his portrayal of the human form - broken down and reconstructed, with a riot of colors and details. My favourite was just a simple watercolor nude and a portrait - I felt like they were riveting to look at. The Jam Factory regularly rotates its art exhibitions and organizes film festivals and other creative activities, attracting creative types from over Bangkok to come together and discuss things. I feel like Singapore is lacking such a platform which I saw in other countries - a place where creative types all hang out, inspire each other and collaborate together.

The Jam Factory-11 The Jam Factory-19 The Jam Factory-25 The Jam Factory The Jam Factory-23 The Jam Factory-28 The Jam Factory-18 A visit at The Never Ending Summer for dinner was an equally beautiful experience. Housed in an converted warehouse, the restaurant interiors literally took my breath away when I first stepped in with its high ceiling, exposed wood beams and peeling paint on concrete walls - industrial chic done right.

The Never Ending Summer serves very traditional Thai food with recipes from the Royal Family, which according my friend Pitchaya (aka Beer), cannot even be found in most Thai restaurants nowadays. The flavours came across strong individually, yet blended together harmoniously as a dish. Fresh herbs and raw vegetables, paired with chili paste, bean paste for starters served as a refreshing start to the meal.

Fish curry was really pleasant with the spiciness pared down by coconut milk, and the fried egg pancake was beautifully puffed up with crisp wisps of egg at its sides - this is done by dropping the egg mixture into boiling oil. We also had some lighter dishes such as the Yum Woo Sen, which is a vermicelli salad usually with prawns, condiments and peanuts and also this chicken bean paste which you were supposed to eat with raw beansprouts and a Thai root vegetable.

Forget Karmakamet Diner - this is the place which you should be visiting next. You can easily spend 4h reading and drinking coffee at the Cafe, visiting the art gallery, then watching the sunset over the river with a drink at the bar, and finally end of with a wonderful traditional Thai dinner.

2014 Best of Natural Beauty Skincare

posted on: Sunday, January 11, 2015

Beauty Finds 2014-1 Beauty Finds 2014-2

I thought that I should share with you what the skincare products which I've been using in 2014, which I'll probably be bringing into 2015 as well. I try to keep all skincare products I use all-natural, by buying into brands which uses ingredients from nature instead of from chemical origins.

If you're interested, you should check skincare ranges from Nuxe, Origins, belif and Trilogy.

Best for Hydration 
As like most girls, I have combination skin. I've a super oily T-zone with slightly dry cheeks and to make things worse, my T-zone is actually dry on the inside as I experience peeling on my nose. It is extremely hard to keep my oil secretion in check and to date I have not found a product which does it effectively.

But I did find the belif hydration range to be effective at keeping dry cheeks at bay. The belif Water Aqua Bomb is really the bomb for moisturized skin in the morning! I use it as sleeping pack and it functions as a water barrier which locks in skin moisture as I sleep. 

Best for Exfoliation
This cute gold ball-like thing is Orogold 24K Gold Deep Peeling, ie the best exfoliation product I've laid my hands upon. It contains micro jujube beads which gently scrub away dead skin to reveal smooth skin underneath! Upon application, the gel turns watery and disappears into the skin, leaving yucky white/yellowish residue, which are the dead skin cells and other pollutants on your skin.

Definitely recommended.

Beauty Finds 2014-5
Best for Acne-Recovery
Trilogy Mineral Radiance Mask is my to-go mask to purify and deep cleanse my skin. Its main ingredient is kaolin clay, which helps to cleanse and promote uniform skin tone, while drawing out impurities. The evening primrose oil and organic rosehip oils help to nourish and hydrate the skin, while botanical extracts help to tone and soothe. Excellent for sebum control and your once a weekly cleanse.

When I have new acne popping up, I automatically reach for Trilogy Blemish Control Gel, which is instant spot remedy. I'll just say this - it is really effective at zapping away acne within just one day plus it makes use of natural extracts and acids of natural origins to cure and soothe your skin.

Origins skincare nakedgloryvera-1 Origins skincare nakedgloryvera-3 Origins skincare nakedgloryvera-2 Daily Use - Origins
I use a lot of Origins in my daily basic skincare routine on top of the above mentioned products. From left to right:
Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins™ Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Soothing Treatment Lotion
Zero Oil Toner
Modern Friction dermabrasion for face
Clear Improvement Mask
(Not pictured: Check and Balances Face Wash)

I think I would rank Check & Balances Face Wash as one of the best cleansers I've laid my hands upon. It's designed for combination skin - just a pea sized amount is enough to foam up for the entire face. It cleanses very well, yet doesn't leave that stripping feeling after wash, unlike most foam cleansers I've tried.

I follow up my cleanse with Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Soothing Treatment Lotion for my aggravated clogged pores. It has a very gently scent which helps to soothe my skin down. Zero Oil Toner is then the next step in the morning, if not I'll use Lancome Genifique Serum for night.

Black and White fun with Modern Friction Dermabrasion and Clear Improvement Mask!
Modern Friction comes out in a thick paste of skin-refining Rice Starch, cushioned in cream to remove sluggish cells and evens out the skin tone. My skin looks really polished and smooth after this and there's no redness thanks to Aloe and Lemon Oil extracts in the product. It's really gentle on the skin and is the second thing I use after Orogold's 24K Deep Peeling.

All Origins products are available for purchase on Luxola - they offer free delivery for orders above $10! Beauty straight to your doorstep for 2015, how about that?

And that's my beauty roundup for 2014. I'm looking forward to discovering better skincare and restoring my skin condition to its former glory (pre-work) this year! All course, using all-natural products that work.
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