Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Singapore Food Blog - Hai Di Lao Hot Pot (海底捞火锅) @ 313 Somerset

Location: Orchard, Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

Note: This post is written base on the dining experience in 313 Somerset branch. Experience may vary from that of other outlets.

Recommended: Ramen (捞面) (SGD4), pork slices (五花猪肉片) (SGD14)

I wouldn't expect that a hot pot restaurant could garner so much support, and wouldn't even dream of finding it located in an upscale mall. Yet Hai Di Lao Hot Pot did just that - locating itself on the top levels of 313 Sommerset, one of the malls along Orchard Road and its legendary queue is testament to the support it garnered.

I only managed to enter this restaurant on my second try. A queue numbered ticket needs to be obtained upon arrival, which the waiter manning the machine will estimate from his long waiting list how long you need to wait before your turn is up. On my first visit we were told to wait for 2 hours, and it was 7 p.m. at that time, which meant we could only dine at 9. The hunger in my stomach had not such patience so we decided to return another time.

On our second visit, we were much earlier, arriving at 5 but still was told to wait for 2 hours. This time we had the patience to wait, and were treated to some pleasant surprises.

What else do you expect from Hai Di Lao Hot Pot? Hot pot of course! We asked for chicken soup and tomato soup (鸡汤番茄锅) (SGD22) as our stock.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Singapore Food Blog - Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King (豚骨王)

Location: Tanjong Pagar, Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

Those familiar with the Tanjong Pagar area may notice a long queue at a corner of Orchid Hotel just near the Tanjong Pagar MRT station. A closer look would reveal a wildly popular ramen restaurant called Ramen Keisuke, which had received rave reviews online. To differentiate this branch with the few others under the same owner, this was suffixed with 'Tonkotsu King'.

I was recommended to this ramen restaurant after our outing at Department of Caffeine, a session which lasted from mid afternoon to late evening. Since Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King was right near Tanjong Pagar MRT station and we were heading that way, we decided that we could try our luck getting fed here. Although it received a mixed review from my gang, I personally like the dish for its broth's superior taste.

The banner carrier

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Singapore Food Blog - Department of Caffeine

Location: Duxton Road, Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

I have read enough of "Top 10 cafes to visit in Singapore" that has been shared in the internet and I saw that Department of Caffeine has been on most of those list. Most probably they all copied from the same source and duplicate it as their own list of top 10, but the name itself is quite catchy. You definitely will look for a "department" of caffeine when you are looking for a cuppa joe.

Caffe Mocha (SGD5.50) - thick, good mix of espresso and chocolate, and topped with a nice latte art. What more could you ask for? The cuppa joe would get more acidic at the bottom, most probably due to the choice of coffee bean and method of roasting, so be prepared for that.

Friday, December 12, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Medieval Crime Museum (Mittelalterliches Kriminalmuseum)

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

I have visited a number of museums in Germany, but none as bizarre as Kriminalmuseum. It wasn't difficult to know that this is a museum dedicated to medieval crimes and laws, even with limited grasp of German. I wondered briefly what such a museum could show me and whether there were opportunities for my camera. After a brief internal struggle, I decided to give it a try anyway.

I remembered that the museum was heralded as one of the main attractions of Rothenburg, on par with Plönlein, in most tourist guidebooks. From the outside, the architecture was not impressive in the slightest but what in front told a different story. A large cage with wheels dominated the space outside of the entrance, and it could be observed past the gate that there was another cage in midair, held on the end of a long boom.  As if those were not enough to induce fear, beyond the entrance stood the icon of the museum, a cabinet the height of an adult and an eerily emotionless face of a lady. This was the Iron Maiden, a medieval torture device used in most brochures of the museum. Expecting some seriously frightening experience, I paid an entrance fee of €5 and entered the museum tentatively.

Cage in the air

Only need a few circling vultures to complete the picture...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Transports @ Rothenburg

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Full experience of my visit to Rothenburg ob der Tauber can be accessed through the list below:
Plönlein | DJH Jugendherberge + Roßmühle | Eiscafé Mauro

More about Germany can be read through the list below:

My Germany trip opened my eyes to just how different transportation could be. Bicycles came with carriage for the pedaling adult to pull kids along safely and under the shade. Tour vehicles were decked out to look like toy trucks with Christmas ornaments and presents. Some exuded antiquity to fit better to the atmosphere of a charming old town surviving the centuries. And surprisingly, horses were far common than I would expected, plodding along the cobbled streets

What I remembered the most was of course a stark red Ferrari F430 parked at a roadside, attracting attention of passing tourists. A sign on its windshield mentioned that it was for rental, and upon later online search, revealed this to be the asset of a business named European Sportscar Travel. The savvy business used it as a marketing tool to direct attention to the shop located at a corner of the town which saw lower foot traffic. Interestingly the rental included an instructor to go with, which of course was required as the high powered was not as easily controlled as a normal sedan.

Lady in red

This Ferrari was just parked on the roadside but there was a sign on it saying it was for rental. It attracted attentions of most tourists walking past. I later found online that this was in front of a shop specializing in renting out luxurious cars for traveling (check out European Sportscar Travel). Of course I wasn't the only photographer snapping off there.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Rothenburg ob der Tauber Part 2

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Full experience of my visit to Rothenburg ob der Tauber can be accessed through the list below:
2014 Germany Trip - Rothenburg Part 1 | Plönlein | DJH Jugendherberge + Roßmühle | Eiscafé Mauro

More about Germany can be read through the list below:

The charm in Rothenburg undoubtedly help the Romantic Road which wind through it earn its name, but the town's pleasant atmosphere hid a tragic past. Followers of my last post would know that the reason of the preservation of medieval architectures was due to its population being decimated in the Thirty Years War and the subsequent Black Death, but its history did not end there.

With the town's well preserved state from the 17th century, it caught the attention of a rising Nazi regime and its infamous leader, Adolf Hitler. Its conservation was used as a cultural propaganda by the Nazis to promote an example of an ideal German family life, hailing them as the "most German of German towns". The town, not receiving any attention for the past few centuries, was eager to accept that distinction, so much so that they expelled their Jewish citizens to the approval of Nazi supporters across the nation.


Various stores selling crafted toys and handicrafts could be found in Rothenburg, especially the area around Marktplatz. Most of these stores claimed their merchandise to be wholly handmade in Germany, offering even to ship the larger items by air with an additional fee. The handiwork was magnificent and most of them, crafted from wood, showed a high attention to detail. Even if you are not interesting in buying, going in for a tour in each shop is highly recommended. You may even find something to keep as a legit souvenir from Germany.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Rothenburg ob der Tauber Part 1

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Full experience of my visit to Rothenburg ob der Tauber can be accessed through the list below:
Plönlein | DJH Jugendherberge + Roßmühle | Eiscafé Mauro

More about Germany can be read through the list below:

Indecision plagued me when I was planning my trip to Rothenburg. From my accommodation location, it requires 3 transits and close to 3 hours to reach the German town, and it sounded rather inconvenient to travel to a location without any landmark. I tossed a coin in the air and it was only to help provide an excuse to a decision already made. The gamble paid off however, and I had no regrets for spending the time and effort to reach there. Pages of novel and a few beautiful vistas became my company on the journey, warding off boredom and anticipation. The last leg of the trip was particularly mesmerizing, so much so that I decided to dedicate a post to it (read more of the last leg here).

Street view

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