Mai Xiang Yuan: Dumplings, dumplings…and more dumplings


I love dumplings… if you can’t already tell. I’ve eaten dumplings more than 5 times ever since I’ve come to Montreal. #asian

I was reading up on places with good dumplings in Montreal, and Mai Xiang Yuan was one of the choices. I decided to venture down with my friends to check it out and satisfy our… or at least my never-ending dumpling cravings.

We ordered a plate of boiled pork & cabbage dumplings, boiled pork & mushroom dumplings and pork & cabbage dumpling soup. The boiled plates had about 15 dumplings on each plate, while the soup bowl had 10 dumplings. I’d say one plate of boiled dumplings would make a satisfying meal for under CAD$10!


The dumplings in the soup were very average unfortunately. The soup tasted like simple seaweed soup, and the dumplings seemed to have less filling than the boiled ones. The skin was also thicker, and the soup seemed to dilute the flavour of the dumplings. Perhaps some of the soup seeped through the skin of the dumpling, making the filling more watery and less flavourful.

I wouldn’t recommend the dumplings in soup. But what I would recommend are the normal boiled dumplings! The meat filling was generous and juicy, and the skin wasn’t thick. They are best eaten hot, so don’t waste time taking photos and just dig in.


I personally preferred the pork & cabbage dumplings, but my friends didn’t mind both the pork & cabbage / pork & mushroom versions.


The service is fast, just like you would expect in any asian eatery. If you’re looking for a place to relax and chat the afternoon away, this isn’t the place! Unlike chill cafes, Mai Xiang Yuan is more of a place to get your food and leave, so other customers can get their fill of dumplings. While you won’t be chased out, you wouldn’t feel like sitting around… unless you’re up for another round of dumplings that is.


Even their teapot has their iconic dumpling on it!


You won’t miss the cute dumpling signs that are unique to Mai Xiang Yuan. They almost look too cute to eat. Almost. Cause you know you are gonna eat them anyway.

Do I recommend it? Yes definitely. Just go straight for the boiled dumplings, and give the soup and fried version a miss. They have other variations of the fillings, including shrimp, so there’s something for everyone 🙂

Rating: 7/10

Mai Xiang Yuan
1082 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2Z 1J5

What do you want?

I’ll be honest. I don’t know what I want.

I’m still trying to figure that out.

I know what to say I want to make others happy, but I don’t know what I truly want. I’ve lived my life to please others. Not that being a people-pleaser is all that bad, but as I approach my twentieth birthday, I think it’s time I started to think about and for myself.


One thing I do know is that I want to write about things that I feel passionate about: random issues in life, great food that I’ve eaten, awesome recipes that I tried, my travel adventures… not about things that I should be writing to gain an audience for my blog, or to attract sponsors.

Lately, my posts have been lacking in substance. I know it, and sometimes I’m embarrassed to even post them, given the standard of my writing. But I still do, because that’s what I’m supposed to do as a blogger. It’s my obligation to the company to review them as agreed. It’s a known fact that to grow in the blogosphere, you have to sell your brand and make yourself appear desirable especially with countless sponsorships. But lately, I’ve been asking myself, is that what I truly want? Is there even meaning chasing this ‘ideal’ if what I spend my time writing about isn’t something that I want to? Isn’t there more to it than writing to gain viewership and sponsors?

I know I do not want to become one of those blogs that become like walking advertorials. I do not want to write for the sake of writing. I do not want to do what all the other blogs are doing, just because it’s what has been proven to be popular and accepted by society. I sound so selfish here, but I really want to hold firm to the fact that my blog is here to give an honest view about food, travels and life, and not what society deems as picture perfect. Life isn’t perfect, and my blog aims to showcase just that. The reality.


But I digress. I actually started this post with the intention to get you thinking about what you want. I just can’t think of a better way than to provoke your thoughts by sharing about my own experiences, and hopefully you’ll be able to identify with my struggles, and choose to do something about it!

There are so many areas in life that I struggle with being caught in a limbo between what I want and what others want from you. Even beyond writing, I feel that I often feel a need to meet the (un)spoken expectations that others have of you, and to do what would make them happy.

In your life, there’ll be a period of time where you search for your identity. You’ll feel lost and helpless and scared. This period could last a few months, a couple of years or even a lifetime. And if I could give you only one piece of advice from my short 19 years (almost 20!) of life, it would be to do what makes you happy!

You don’t have to be the smartest, fastest or most successful. But you should follow your passions, no matter what others tell you. You can challenge the limitations that other people impose on you, intentionally or not. If you doubt your own abilities, then all the more you should do what you’ve always wanted to do, but were too scared to do. After all, as Neale Donald Walsch once said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

There is a fine line between a want and a need. In economics, the difference is that a want is something that you would like to have, but don’t necessarily have to have. A need however, is something that you have to have.

For pretty much my whole life so far, I convinced myself that if I ever wanted anything, I should not go ahead with it, because it wasn’t a necessity and would hence be a waste of resources on myself. But I’ve recently come to realize that wanting isn’t a bad thing. Doing what you want can bring you a sense of satisfaction and joy that creates meaning in your life. Perhaps by fulfilling a want, you ultimately fulfill an intrinsic need for happiness and meaning in life.


Oftentimes we’re afraid to say what we want. Perhaps it’s Asian culture. But this leads to over-commitment and stress on our part, and disappointment for our friends. Maybe it’s time to focus our energies on the areas that we really want, rather than spreading ourselves thin over too many commitments.

In fact, I think knowing what we want even comes down to the people we choose to spend our time with. Are you spending your time with people who genuinely support you and encourage you in achieving your goals, or are you surrounded by people who put you down or are secretly in competition with you to win the never-ending race to ‘success’? (Quotation marks since I don’t believe in a single end point for success.) It is an amazing feeling to be surrounded by passionate individuals who inspire and motivate one another in achieving your common goals.

Spend some time this Sunday reflecting on what you want, and thinking about how you could rearrange your life to align with your goals. We have 24 hours in a day, and only 365 days in a year. Time is too short to be spent on things you don’t feel passionate or happy doing. There’s more to life than that.

Let go of stigmas, let go of expectations, let go of others’ opinions. Choose for yourself, because guess what? It’s your life, and no one else can live it for you. With that in mind,  I’m ending this post without a proper conclusion, precisely because it’s your life, so you must come to your own conclusion.

What do you want?

Assembly Coffee: A is for Amazing

I’m not easily wow-ed by desserts. Perhaps after tasting desserts of such high quality, everything else pales in comparison. If you check out my blog, you’ll realise that most of my ratings hover around 6-7 with the very rare 9/10, since nothing really impresses me enough to get such a high rating.

But Assembly Coffee has left an impression on me. I don’t really fancy all these fancy waffles from cafes, I prefer the pandan waffles slathered in peanut butter that you can find at the local neighbourhood bakeries. They cost slightly more than a buck, and provide you the same amount of happiness. I mean, who doesn’t love those fragrant pandan waffles that are slightly crisp on the outside, and chewy on the inside? Drenched in the spread of your choice (peanut butter/chocolate/jams), it was my childhood favourite. With something so yummy and affordable, there’s no doubt why I’m so reluctant to pay more than $10 for a waffle in some fancy schancy place!

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Before I talk about the waffles, let’s talk about their Granola and Yogurt which was pretty darn good too.

Granola + yogurt. ($6.90)photo 3-8

First thing that striked me was how they actually bothered with the presentation. After all, we eat with our eyes first. And in Singapore’s case, with our phones as well. The strawberry was sliced so beautifully, and the rays of sunlight just reflected off the glass so nicely, I had to take a photo.

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The yogurt was lovely…Tangy light yogurt. Would be nicer if thicker. But tastewise it was good.

Granola seemed to be homemade, and it was chock full of ingredients like dessicated coconut, sunflower seeds, almonds, dried cranberries, raisins.. It was very crunchy! There was more than enough granola provided for the amount of yogurt. We don’t usually eat yogurt and granola in equal proportions right? As you can see in the photo, the granola was given in the same sized cup as the yogurt, but I feel it would be better if they gave more yogurt to go with the granola.

On to the star of the show!

Chocolate syrup, vanilla ice cream, strawberries on buttermilk waffles ($11.50) 
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Although on the high end, the waffles were fluffy and not laced with the cloying sweetness you sometimes get from commercial waffles. The waffles were dense yet managed to retain it’s crispiness on the outside. Even until the very end, despite being soaked in chocolate sauce and ice cream, the crispiness held up. So pleased with that 😀

The chocolate sauce was rather generic, and was given in very very generous amounts. In fact, I would prefer if they left it as a chocolate drizzle, instead of giving me a chocolate downpour. (You can literally see the pools of chocolate my waffle is holding up) That being said, the chocolate sauce wasn’t too sweet either, and you could actually taste the chocolate flavour unlike some chocolate syrups.

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The icing on the cake, or rather the ice cream on the waffle, was that the ice cream was studded with vanilla beans! A sign of quality in vanilla ice cream 🙂 Thumbs up! Not sure if it was homemade, but it was yummy.

One area of improvement to highlight: Assembly Coffee folks should invest in another waffle iron. Given the popularity of their waffles, one waffle iron isn’t enough to keep up with the orders. My foodie friends and I ordered 3 waffles, and they served each waffle every 5 minutes or so since they could only make one waffle at a time. Not exactly very good service when you’re dining with friends. It’s best if they could serve at least 2 at once.

Kudos to them for warming up the plates though. Little things like that do count 🙂

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Yes, A is for Andrea, but A is also for AMAZING WAFFLES. If you haven’t already guessed, Assembly Coffee’s waffles have won my heart, and I would be willing to fork out $11.50 (My wallet cries in despair) for the waffles again.  I’ll definitely be back. These are so much better than Sunday folks/Creamier’s waffles (Read- Airy, light and tasteless. A review for another time perhaps!)

The cafe is TINY though, so be prepared to squeeze. (I don’t like crowded places so this was a slight turnoff)

Oh and if you’re the kind who likes having dessert for lunch…One waffle with ice cream makes a substantial meal 😛 (They have salted caramel and earl grey caramel waffle flavours for the adventurous, as well as cakes/tarts/pastries for the sweet toothed and even savoury options for those who need proper food)

But I’d still recommend the waffles with ice cream. It’s good for your soul. 😉

Rating: 8/10

Miam Miam: Not so yum-yum?

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After hearing much about Miam Miam, I finally found the time to go down and check them out. Miam Miam boasts a menu filled with fusion French-Japanese food, and also offers quite a variety of desserts, with their specialty being the soufflé!

We were there for lunch, so we ordered a total of 5 main dishes to try. The menu is rather small, so it was easy to decide. They offer a few main selections…Sandwiches, Pastas, Pizzas and Baked Rice.

First up, we have their Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich!

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The portion was rather small, and the sandwich was served on normal looking hot dog buns as compared to artisan bread. Aren’t the french good for their baguettes and freshly baked breads? Well, this was a visual disappointment.

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Tastewise, it was average, but there seemed to be too much teriyaki sauce, and the sandwich verged on being too soggy.

Next, we have the Bolognese with Onsen Egg.

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This definitely looked a lot better than the sandwich. The egg was runny, just how an onset egg should be. The portion was generous, and the pasta was al dente.

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My brother seemed to enjoy this dish, and he wiped the plate clean. Pastas would be a safe choice here!

Riz Au Curry is a baked curry rice dish with an egg and sausages. 
photo 3-3The portion was rather small, but sufficient for ladies. Especially since baked rice tends to be a heavier dish. The curry flavour was nice, and it wasn’t very spicy, just like most Japanese curries. The egg was runny too, which added a new dimension to the baked rice when the yolk was stirred in. This was not too bad!

I ordered the Squid Ink Baked Rice, although I can’t remember what it was called on the menu.
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I’ve never tried Squid Ink before, so I was not sure what to expect. The dish came topped with a generous portion of omu egg, but the eggs were cooked through, so the texture was closer to that of an omelette rather than boasting a rich creamy texture. The eggs were rather oily, although they remained fluffy throughout.

The squid ink did little to add flavour, and the dish was very salty overall. The prawns used were plump, but they used frozen prawns rather than fresh prawns which was a disappointment. Kudos to them for the fresh, and juicy squids though. I don’t normally like squid, but they cooked theirs well. Apart from that, I didn’t really enjoy this dish.

Souffle du Nuage

photo 4-3This is their specialty! In layman terms, this is a Baked Egg Souffle Rice, which is described to have tomato rice, topped with a light cheese and egg soufflé.  We were very impressed when it was served.
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However, even though it looked good, this was disappointing as the rice was barely coated in any tomato sauce, as you can see. The egg & cheese soufflé sounded amazing, but when executed, was rather lacklustre. It’s a good idea… but taste wise it was just tasted like an air-filled egg, egg foam to say the least.
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Overall, Miam Miam was a letdown. The ambience is very welcoming, and on the whole, Miam Miam looked very promising, and the dishes were visually impressive. Portions were on the small side…and taste wise, they were disappointing. Food that looks good, but doesn’t taste good? Well, I know I won’t be coming back again.

Rating: 5/10

Miam Miam
#02-14 Bugis Junction,
200 Victoria Street
Singapore 188021.
Tel: 6837 0301

Operating Hours:
Mondays to Sundays, 11.30am till 10.00pm

Miam Miam
#01-21/22 Westgate, 3 Gateway Drive,
Singapore 608532
Tel: 68370301

Disordered Eating.

I wanted to title this post “Why Everyone Has an Eating Disorder.” But I realised that would be inaccurate since an eating disorder is defined as any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits. Eating disorders are not a choice. A more appropriate title would have been “Why Everyone is a Disordered Eater” but that doesn’t have a very nice ring to it, so I decided on a more straightforward, no frills attached title: ‘Disordered eating”

Disordered eating is defined as  a wide range of irregular eating behaviors that do not warrant a diagnosis of a specific eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. There is a fine line between disordered eating and eating disorders, since eating disorders encompass disordered eating. But you could be a disordered eater without having an eating disorder. Gosh, this is quite a tongue-twister.

Let me explain further.


As a disordered eater, you face similar struggles and preoccupation with food and weight, albeit to a less extreme extent as eating disorder sufferers (ie extreme starvation/exercise/purging which causes much harm to their bodies and sometimes even leads to death).

When was the last time you were unhappy with your body? When was the last time you commented on the food you ate? (Cue #fatdieme #glutton #pig) When was the last time you let your body size determine your self-worth?

I say that we are a nation of disordered eaters because of the rise of fitspo and healthspo which pushes healthy eating and exercise to extremes. I say that we are a nation of disordered eaters because we feel guilty or compelled to skip a meal or compensate by exercising, if we had dessert. I say that we are a nation of disordered eaters because we’ve grown up thinking that carbs and fat are bad, and have cut out certain types of food from our diet at various points in our lives because of what we hear.

I know you’ve heard this so many times, but you are more than your body size. God made us all different and unique in our own ways. Can you imagine a world where everyone looked the same? *shudders*


I’ve been meaning to write a post on this topic for the longest time ever, and I’ve finally gotten down to it.

I know that I am touching an extremely sensitive topic,  but I think that the media has influenced so many of us, knowingly or unknowingly, with regard to our relationships with food, and it’s time we stopped listening to media, and start listening to our bodies.

I’m not a nutritionist or a doctor or medically certified in any way, but these are just my own personal thoughts, so do take what I say with a pinch of salt. Everyone is entitled their own takes on things, and I’d love to hear your opinions, after all, to each his own.


We can't possibly all look like this!
We can’t possibly all look like this!

Like it or not, the media has an influence over our thoughts and actions. Reading magazines or online articles about the latest fad diets or celebrity diets are bound to have an influence over us readers. It is not uncommon to see young teenage girls going on similar diets as their idols in a bid to look like them. The media’s influence extends beyond celebrities and the Hollywood ideal… With the strong influence of peer pressure, teenagers are pressured to conform to eat how society deems appropriate, or to eat like their friends.

This is what media should aim for. Real women, real beauty in their own unique way.
This is what media should aim for. Real women, real beauty in their own unique way.

Girls are expected to eat little carbs or opt for salads, guys are expected to eat big meals and burgers and the like. Deviate from the norm, and suddenly everyone’s asking why you eat so much or so little, or why you eat the way you do. This has resulted in a society of disordered eaters, trying to conform to various eating styles that are deemed acceptable, rather than what is best for yourself.

Of course I’m not putting the blame on anyone here, Media is just one of the factors in shaping the disordered eating habits of our society. In fact I think the main reason why we are disordered eaters is because we’ve lost, or become less attuned to our bodies, that we don’t know how to respond to our body’s hunger cues and cravings. Media just plays a major role in shaping our habits since we learn from what we see and hear daily.


One day you hear that fat is bad, the next day you hear that eating fat does not make you fat. One article insists that skim milk is the way to go, while another article debunks the facts with studies of its own, promoting whole milk instead. Your friend tells you about how light and energetic she feels after going vegan, while another swears by the Paleo diet.

There are so many diets and health information out there that it gets confusing and overwhelming at times to choose the best thing for yourself. Information that contradicts one study, supports another, and we end up reaching no conclusion.

Many poor souls end up going on one diet, and then trying another when the media promotes the newest and best diet. (Lose 10 pounds in 30 days!) Superfoods, 10 foods that boost your metabolism and burn fat, 10 foods to eat to burn muscle… the lists are endless. No wonder our eating habits have gone haywire.

Another reason for disordered eating could be due to the labelling of food as either ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’, which creates unnecessary guilt for eating a so-called ‘bad’ food, or feelings of righteousness for eating something ‘good’. There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods, it’s about moderation, and about choosing what your body needs at that moment.

Placing such labels on food indirectly places labels on people as well. If I eat a ‘bad’ food, then I’m ‘bad’, if I eat something ‘good’ then I must be ‘good’! Food ought to be looked at as something to nourish and fuel our bodies, rather than a representation of whether we are a ‘good healthy person’ or a ‘bad unhealthy person’.

With all the diets out there (Eat Clean diet, Atkins, High-Fat Low-Carb, Low-fat etc), there is no wonder why we struggle with eating normally. Media creates this sense of a one-size fits all diet; an ideal that we should all follow to achieve optimal health. The food pyramid, MyPlate, five-a-day are all examples of this one-size fits all approach. While these are useful as guidelines, we should do what is best for us, rather than trying to follow a central set of rules. After all, we are all built differently.

Even when given freedom of choice, we don’t eat what we want when we want, we do what society wants, what the people want. The friends we dine with influence what and when we eat. Its part of human nature, we want to fit in.

Earlier, I mentioned that we are pressured to conform to various types of eating styles. I suppose, in a sense, some people want to have a sense of belonging through the way they eat. By belonging to a certain group of people with similar eating habits, you get a sense of support and understanding from these people. Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, Flexitarian… you name it, we’ve got it! When we were created, I don’t think we were meant to follow such strict dietary regimes, and over the years, as we have developed over the years, our dietary requirements have probably changed quite a bit. We’re just supposed to eat when we are hungry, and stop when we’re full. There isn’t a right way to eat, or a certain food you’re supposed to eat, or certain foods you’re not supposed to eat.

While it’s great to have friends who have the common beliefs as you, but it’s not necessary for you to have to be placed under a certain label for you to feel like you have an identity. While your eating style is part of your lifestyle, it shouldn’t take precedence in your identity. I see so many people putting their ‘eating styles’ as the first thing on their profile descriptions. (i.e. 23 | Vegan ) To me, the first thing people would want to know about you is something unique about you, not what kind of eating habits you have!

Disordered eating can sway to the extremes, with people who overeat to the extent of obesity, and people who struggle with eating disorders and starve their bodies of vital nutrients. There are people who are emotional eaters, and others who have absolutely no interest in food.

It saddens me to see people calling themselves ‘pigs’ or ‘whales’ for eating. Why put such labels on yourself? Would you call a little girl a ‘pig’ for eating ice cream? Why would you talk to yourself that way then?

Even if people hashtag #fatdieme in humour, after eating a big meal or so-called sinful food, it just goes to show what media has instilled in our minds.


Parents are every child’s greatest role models. Children learn from what they see and hear. They model our behaviours. We don’t want to pass our disordered eating to the next generation right? Remember when we were young? When everything was much more carefree, and we were in tune with our body’s needs? You can’t force a baby to eat when he’s not hungry, and when he’s hungry he’ll eat. Simple.

Now, our lives look a little more like this – No dessert. No rice. No chocolate. I had a big lunch with dessert, I better skip dinner.

Would you let your child live off steamed vegetables alone? Why do that to yourself?
Would you let your child live off steamed vegetables alone? Why do that to yourself?

I’ve heard a father telling his 3 year old daughter that she would be fat if she sat down in her stroller after a meal. Is that the kind of thinking you want to instil in your child? That they should do anything to be thin in future, because being fat is ‘bad’? That being fat means you won’t be accepted?

People look at your character, not how you look. Be comfortable in your own skin, and be proud of how God made you, whether you are tall or short, skinny or curvy, you’re beautiful in your own unique way. It’s the inside that counts.

The dreaded numbers that everyone hates to hear. Well, here’s my opinion. Calories don’t matter, nutrition does. By putting a numerical value on what we eat creates an unhealthy obsession of eating as low a number as possible, rather than what is healthy for you. Something low in calories may not offer many nutrients, while an avocado may be high in calories, but is chockfull of nutrients! Eating more than a certain number of calories doesn’t make you a failure, every day is a different day. Some days you eat more, some days you eat less. Some days you have a slice of cake and ice cream, other days you have a salad. You don’t have to follow a rigid schedule or eat from a certain list of food to keep to your calorie goal.

There is so much more to life than numbers! (That goes for the number on the scale as well)


What is normal you may ask? Well, the picture above pretty much sums it up.

Normal is what comes naturally to you. You shouldn’t be reading a book on how to eat intuitively, since going by the book means its not intuitive anymore!

We have over-complicated things. We should listen to our bodies rather than read articles or books…There is no right way, everyone is different, so do what is right for you. There is no ideal!

I know that there are some people out there who have a very healthy relationship with food, one where they can eat normally without having to give thought to what and how much they are eating, they just follow their body, rather than following rules imposed on us by society. I’m not saying we should go all out and eat junk food to defy all the healthy eating rules, but we should strive to nourish and treat our bodies which God has blessed us with.

Feed your inner child, don’t over-think food and calories. Adopt your childlike attitude towards food again, eating what you want when you want…Fruits and veggies like your mum always insisted. Be kind to yourself, don’t use derogatory terms on yourself, imagine yourself as a child. Would you treat yourself the same way?

Your body is smart, it knows what it needs, you just need to listen.

RECIPE: Two-Bite Brownies


I can just see your eyes all lit up at the words ‘Two-Bite Brownies”. Well, yes, hold on to your seats as you’re in for a treat! These decadent bitesized babies are a cinch to make, and you’ll definitely have all the ingredient at home.


I made them bite-sized, rather than in a large pan as called for in the recipe. I mean, mini versions of food is always more fun to eat, no?

Another great thing about making two-bite brownies is that they are portable, and perfect for little kids.


These brownies are made without any chocolate at all! These are cocoa brownies. That means only cocoa powder, and a little flour goes into them, which creates an end product that is incredibly rich and sore-throat inducing. Let’s just focus on the fact that they are incredibly rich and bittersweet 😛


I think they come close to tasting like chocolate fudge, because of the richness and more-ish-ness of the mini brownie bites. I recommend chilling them, and enjoying them straight out of the fridge! These would be great alongside a glass of icy cold milk.

If you’re someone who likes sweet brownies, I suggest adding more sugar, or perhaps using a sweetened cocoa powder instead. These brownies are bittersweet, unlike those super sweet commercial brownies. But since these are cocoa powder brownies, the quality of your cocoa powder is essential to a good brownie.


This recipe while good, was not great. It was a tad dry in my opinion, but chilling it in the fridge did help. So give it a try, and let me know how it works out for you! I still chose to share the recipe with you all since the recipe received a ton of rave reviews, so maybe I’m just more inclined toward chewy brownies rather than fudgey brownies.

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Oh yes, look at that, it really does resemble fudge, no? Just a single two-bite brownie will satisfy all your chocolate cravings. For that day at least.



I can’t help but associate these cute little brownies to sunflowers! It must be those adorable yellow mini muffin cups that I used.

Two-Bite Brownies

Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet

Makes 18 mini brownies.

What you’ll need:
10 tablespoons (140 grams) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (65 grams, though some brands may weigh more) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process) –I used Hershey’s unsweetened.
1/4 teaspoon salt (or a heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt, as I used)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (75 grams) walnut or pecan pieces (optional)


1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F/165 Celsius. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. OR Line a mini muffin tin with mini muffin cups.

2. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Make sure the bowl isn’t touching the water!

3. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added.

4. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan/fill the mini muffin tins.

5. Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes.

6. Let cool completely on a rack. (But if you’re making them in mini muffin form, and you don’t have to worry about cutting clean lines, then please do what I did, and enjoy one fresh out of the oven! Hehe)

Switch things up!
1) Add a Hershey’s Kiss on top, just for aesthetic purposes of course. There’s just the added benefit of extra chocolate!
2) Stir in some mini chocolate chips for some moisture
3) Use any kind of nuts (You aren’t limited to walnuts/pecans) for texture
4) Use a mix of brown sugar and white sugar for a richer flavour
5) Add a teaspoon of instant coffee powder dissolved in 1 tsp hot water to bring out the chocolate flavour even more.

Bon appetit!



PAUL: Authentic French Fare?


I really like this photo! It’s like a French-Bistro filled with asians, Singapore’s very own little Paris perhaps? It’s rather funny to look at too, since the diners don’t look the slightest bit happy.

Going outside, it looks much more Paris-ien, with more expats seated along the alfresco dining area.


Well, my favorite part of any bakery is the well-stocked glass casing… Think croissants, danishes, tarts and breads, all fresh out of the oven! They don’t only look good, they smell amazing. A genius way to attract customers. Free smells anyone?


Rows and rows of perfectly shaped, and rather large, macarons front the glass case, along with generously sized eclairs of all sorts, and a whole variety of tarts. A dessert lovers paradise.


Look at that decisive hand, pointing to the side, “I’ll have that (humongous) chocolate dome in the corner, please.”

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Finding a seat was no problem in this quaint cafe, as the staff promptly greeted me and my foodie friend to a seat upon greeting us with a bright small. Brownie points for good service!


My friend ordered the Carrot Juice ($7.80) which was freshly squeezed and bursting with orange-y beta carotene goodness.


Have any of you heard of Hot Vanilla before? I know Hot Chocolate is a crowd favorite, but for me, I’ll go for Hot Vanilla any day. It tastes like melted vanilla ice cream… Sweet, creamy, and frothy. The perfect hot drink to sip on after a long hard day.

Well, now that you know that about me, it’s no surprise then that I chose the Hot Vanilla Flavored Milk ($4.90) as the drink of my choice. It was rather disappointing though. It was only slightly warm when I was served, and it was on the brink of being too sweet. I much prefer Cafe Galilee’s Hot Vanilla to this.

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Instead of lunch, my friend chose to have the Hi-tea set ($12.90) instead. For my sweet toothed readers, listen carefully!

The set comes with your choice of tea, macarons, creme brulee and a slice of cake. Dessert, dessert and more dessert.


The tea was the Red Fruit Tea which was nice and fragrant. The creme brulee was really nice, and not too sweet. The top was perfectly torched, and cracked beautifully to reveal the creamy custardy centre.


The Macarons were amazing. Definitely better than Canele. I was impressed with high quality of their desserts. I would definitely recommend their high tea set.


The praises don’t stop there! Even their chocolate torte was nice and chocolatey, it was rich but a bit dry. But on the whole, their Hi-tea set was perfection on a plate.


Their savouries on the other hand, didn’t fare as well. In fact, they didn’t even come close to the standard of their sweet treats!

Omelette ($14.90)
The omelette is served with salad and an oven roasted tomato, which were average. The omelette was normal as well, rather forgettable. The omelette was not exactly kid-friendly, since they used higher quality cheese which may not have been suited to kiddy tastes. For food connoisseurs on the other hand, it’s a good thing! I was rather put off by the fact that it wasn’t served piping hot. I like my food hot, really hot.


Mushroom Crepe ($16.90)
They were generous with the mushrooms, however it was served only slightly warm as well, so it wasn’t as enjoyable. The salad and tomato, same as the one served with the omelette, was normal to say the least. Their crepe doesn’t come close to the ones they serve at Marche.


The crepe was thin, and filled with sauteed mushrooms, but that was it. It wasn’t bursting with ingredients like those at Marche. The crepe was rather tasteless too.



One thing they could work on is the presentation of the savouries, since the fare served is rather basic, presentation is key! After all, we are paying more than $10 for an omelette.

I liked the atmosphere, which was very comfortable and laid back. The service was impressive, with the friendly staff who were always checking up on us. I would only recommend their bakery items though, their savouries aren’t worth the price.

5/10 (Savouries)
8/10 (Desserts)

HOUSE@Dempsey: Vintage High-Tea Buffet

It’s time for an extremely overdue post! This review on the hightea at HOUSE@Dempsey got pushed back by almost a whole year because I kept eating good food that I wanted to share with you all immediately.

Well, get comfortable, cause you’re in for a treat. HOUSE@Dempsey is the high-tea buffet to go for, and judging by the influx of nomworthy photos you’re about to see, I can already foresee that you will need little convincing to go and try this high tea buffet for yourself.

Above, you’ll see empty plates…that was all we left behind after enjoying 3 hours of non-stop eating. We definitely left with our bellies filled, and smiles on our faces.


High tea is quintessential to any lovely lady’s life. Whether or not guys enjoy it is another matter. For us ladies, we love to dress up in pretty little dresses, and sit down with a cuppa, nibbling on sweet pastries and cake as we chatter with our girlfriends. What makes it even better would be the presentation and ambience at HOUSE@Dempsey. They take the effort to lay out their delectable treats on vintage plates, and offer the most adorable decorations like flags, books and picnic baskets to complete the vibe.


Flowers, vintage plates and books…simple decorations, yet it is easy to find beauty in such simplicity.


Even their drinks are well presented, with a self-serve area of various types of teas to go along with your sweet treats.


Here’s one of their dishes, a simple creamy canape topped with smoked salmon, and embellished with a little egg mayo.

I suppose, I am quite a fan of savoury food. I would gladly choose a savoury sit-down meal, over a slice of cake. Perhaps that’s why my favorite part of the high tea buffet was the Bread Corner!

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Freshly baked bread all sliced for you, and an assortment of savoury toppings to go with your bread. Think truffled mushrooms, bolognese sauce, fresh cheese, dried fruits, creamy crabmeat, and even cold pasta for a side. Mmm, heaven.

For the sweeties out there, who love their cakes and cookies, fret not! This buffet was made for you. Majority of the buffet offers sweet desserts, with mini cakes and cookies all decked out like there’s no tomorrow.

Jammie dodgers anyone? Or perhaps some citrusy Orange Cake to add some kick into your life?


Another favorite was the oh-so-decadent chocolate cake which was so rich and good. Just look at that dark beauty, basking in all its glory. Chocolate lovers —  Attack!!!!


I’ve always loved Madelines as a kid, and judging by the perfectly-browned base of these madelines, these are yet another must-try at the buffet.


Truth be told, the hardest part about going to any restaurant is having to choose. Everything just looks so amazing that you want to eat everything. Luckily that won’t be a problem here since you can try everything they have to offer, no holds barred. Yes, that means even these lovely chocolate truffles can find their way to your plate, and you don’t even have to think twice about gobbling them down.

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In the background, you can see jars of cookies on offer as well, but I recommend their cakes instead, after all, it’s not everyday you see cakes lined out so prettily for you eh?


Some of their savoury offerings are canapes topped with all kinds of things, like sausages as seen below.

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Another perennial favorite is their mini Skinny Pizzas. Cute to look at, but sadly not as nice to eat since the crispy base became soggy after being left on display.


Here’s another shot of the Smoked Salmon Canape from earlier on, twas some good stuff.


I didn’t take a photo of every single plate of food, unlike the other girls there, all equipped with their humongous DSLRs (Notice the hint of jealousy here haha) who were busy snapping away. I needed my food, stat. So here are more photos of what they have to offer, from the close-up view of… my plate!

I don’t really like mixing sweet and savory, so the plate below are my savouries! All were delicious, especially the vietnamese springroll.

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For my first round of sweets, I went on a chocolate spree.. mini chocolate cupcakes, and chocolate cake. They were good, but not jaw-droppingly amazing.


Just for the fun of it, I tried mixing a plate of both sweet and savory to balance things out. I still stand by having separate plates for sweet and savory food.


The marble cake in the foreground was worthy of a mention. It was rich and buttery like butter cake, with a nice hint of cocoa.


I liked this mini lemon butter cupcake! Tiny and delicious. house8

Pretty little jammie dodgers which were chewy and sweet. Not sure if these are the best, since it was my first time eating a jammie dodger. I had my jammie dodger with a side of a pistachio cream trifle.


Now, back to a few savouries to balance it all off. Don’t mind my alternations between sweet and savory, that’s my secret method to eating more at a buffet, so I don’t get sick of a particular taste.

I topped the freshly sliced bread with some bolognese sauce. Simple homely fare. Mmmm. Sprinkle on more parmesan on top, and it’s like a cute lasagna/pasta canape.


Their truffled mushrooms were scrumptious, but were a tad salty.house5

Ah yes, you were expecting it this time, I’m shamelessly back to the sweet delights! This pistachio cake was average, not very memorable to be honest, so go ahead and give it a miss.


If something’s good, I’ll have it again. So guess which little bugger made a reappearance?


Here stands their Squid Ink Skinny Pizza. The squid was nicely roasted, not too chewy/rubbery. The base was disappointing though, since it was soggy, and tasteless. I had high hopes for such an interesting dish!

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Another skinny pizza I tried fared a wee bit better, with a slight crunch in the base, and the sharp salty kick from the cheese.


Remember the vietnamese spring rolls I mentioned earlier? Well, I had to go back for seconds and thirds… till they stopped replenishing it. The freshness of the crunchy vegetables went perfectly with the sour and spicy Thai Chilli dipping sauce. By far my favorite dish of the lot.

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The whole package was completed with the view of the lush greenery surrounding the restaurant. You don’t feel like you’re in a busy city at all!


Even their toilets were well planned out, with vintage hairdresser chairs on display.

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What’s more? Their Vintage High Tea Buffet is extremely affordable at just $30++ on every Tuesday and Friday from 3-530pm. They change their menu and decoration every time though, so what you see here may not be what you get on the actual day you visit. Do call in advance to book though, since they are in perpetual demand.

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A much younger photo of me. Good food = Happy Girl 😀

Rating: 7.5/10

Llaollao Yogurt: What the Froyo?

Have you seen the white towers of froyo crowning the clear plastic cups filled to the brim with fruits and crunchy toppings all over instagram lately? The seductively dripped sauces makes the yogurt parfait look even more attractive, don’t you think?


Llaollao seems to be a healthier choice to say, ice cream, since it’s frozen yogurt after all. I mean, look at the first lady in queue, she’s holding a yoga mat!


I went for the Sanum, which is the go-to choice for many people. It’s a yogurt parfait made with froyo, a generous amount of fruits, some crunchy toppings of your choice, finished off with a generous serving of sauce of your choice.

You have many sauces to choose from, as you can see above, from chocolate sauce for the chocoholics, to strawberry or peach sauce for the frutti-tutti lovers.

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This photo doesn’t serve to excite any gastronomical senses, unfortunately. When I arrived, the queue was so long, the poor server didn’t even have time to cut up a bunch of fruits to replenish the display. She would cut the fruits for each order since she didn’t have time to leave the counter. They were out of kiwi too.

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For the Sanum, you get a choice of 2 crunchy toppings, one added at the base and one added over the fruits.


I like the sleek and clean workplace of llaollao, it’s very simplistic and yet welcoming at the same time with the bright green chairs, and words standing out against a white background.


I went for a Sanum with Muesli and Dessicated Coconut as my crunchy toppings, and watermelon with a double serving of strawberries for my fruits. My sauce was raffaelo which was amazing. It was sweet, and had some crunch to it. It tasted like melted white chocolate with chunks of crushed cookies. It was delicious.

I probably wouldn’t choose watermelon again since the melon juice diluted the yogurt nearer the end of the parfait. The sanum looks really huge, but most of the space in the cup is taken up by the fruits. That being said, the serving of frozen yogurt is really generous.


The yogurt was harder than Yoguru’s , and less creamy in my opinion. While many have raved about the froyo at Llaollao, I still prefer the froyo from Yoguru. At llaollao, the yogurt serves as a base rather than as the main attraction, so it is more plain-tasting. What makes the Sanum so remarkable is the combination of the flavours and textures of the fruits, toppings and sauces. The crunch from the toppings, natural sweetness from the fruits, and the richness of the sauce paired with the simplicity of the frozen yogurt — delicious. But take them apart, and scrutinize the yogurt on its on, you’ll realise the frozen yogurt isn’t as amazing on it’s own.

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Look at the crazy queue behind me! A whole row of people waiting (impatiently) for their llaollao fix. Would I be back? Maybe. It was good to give llaollao a shot, and see what the hype is about, but I wasn’t blown away. I think most of the people are impressed by the sheer size of the Sanum, which is reasonably priced at $5.90, but otherwise, tastewise and texture-wise, I wasn’t wow-ed. It’s worth a try, once…maybe twice, but I don’t see myself as a regular here.

Rating: 7/10