Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014
This post is supposed to be published yesterday night. But as I was typing halfway, a blackout happened. I couldn’t watch TV and my wifi was not working. A friend consoled me and said, the universe is telling me to focus on the meaning of New Year. So I decided to stop whatever I was doing and slept. I am so happy that the everything was okay today and I can finish my first blog post of 2014!
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! It has been an awesome 2013 for me. In fact, time passes so fast that sometimes I didn’t have the chance to take a breather. There were lots of ups and downs and uncertainties in 2013. We bought a new EC in the beginning of the year. Done 4 operations and finally got my dental implant done. Got engaged in May during my first trip to Europe. Then I took a bold step and left my journalist job.
To be frank, being a full time blogger wasn’t in my pipeline. In fact, I was offered a social media position in a company and that’s why I tendered. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out and I tendered (again) after 2 weeks. On the last day of my job, I was humiliated badly and at that moment, I felt I was the most useless creature on Earth. So I decided to take a good 6 months sabbatical break to pick up my shattered pieces and find my direction in life.
Sometimes when I meet my ex colleagues from SPH, I kinda regret my decision. Leaving such a job with such a great future is a painful decision. I miss the luncheons that we always have and I miss the adrenaline rush of working in a publication. But well, there were many drastic changes in the editorial team after I left so thankfully I don’t have to go through those. That is probably the only consolation I have for myself.
During these six months, I spend more time with my family especially my Grandpa, I get to meet friends whom I haven’t meet for a long time, I head to the gym 4-5 times a week, I did food photography for some restaurants and I get to travel to to a few places. Actually I do have a few job offers but none felt right. So I told myself that I shouldn’t rush into things and spent more time on myself. So I guess it wasn’t that bad. I get the freedom I need but just that I wasn’t financially stable. I have to pay for the house and I can’t be relying on the fiance forever right.
With 2013 ending, I finally saw some light and decided to take a leap of faith to venture into new challenges. It’s too early to tell if this would be another nightmare but I certainly hope not. Thank you to all my family members and friends who stand by me during my darkest days. I am now fully recharged and ready to welcome 2014 with open hands! With that, let me share with you my top 10 posts for 2013. Enjoy!
I am very grateful to have the chance to travel to different parts of the world to eat because of this humble blog. In the beginning of 2013, I am honored to be invited by iSee Taiwan Foundation to embark on a 5D4N Food For Fun (食在有趣) trip around Taiwan. Coffee Area (珈琲院) in Taichung left me with the deepest impression. I was deeply inspired by the people there because they take a very passionate role in life and pouring their souls into something that inspires them. They are just doing what they love and they can spend hours telling you so much about coffee. I think that truly passionate people understood the world much better and of course live a better life. I hope one day, I can re-visit Taichung again, get a barista certification, conquer all the interesting cafes there, and WRITE A BOOK about it. You can read about other FOOD FOR FUN blog posts here.
I am happy to be join Tony from Johor Kaki to a one day food trail in Johor Bahru. We conquered more than 10 dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner! We had yummy roti prata, fish ball noodles, fried nian gao, herbal chicken, rojak and many more!
My red velvet cupcake recipes won a lot of love from all of you. I love it very much too and it is probably one of my best bakes for 2013. I have baked this recipe again and again and again for so many times and each time I am so in love with it. The cake is sooooo soft and moist that it kinda tastes like chocolate huat kueh LOL. So it is either you love it or hate it. The boy is a picky eater and this is the only cake which he sings praises. And I have even sold this cupcake to a few friends! Try it before I delete this post and start selling my cupcakes! Hoho!
I think you have heard about this from my blog, twitter, instagram and facebook. As a matter of fact, we usually don’t repeat our restaurant visits more than 3 times. But I have been to Tamashii for 5 times or maybe 7 times and I am still loving it. I really have to thank Amanda for introducing such a yummy restaurant to me and I have been here countless of times for lunch with different friends, as well as for dinner. Just a few days ago, the boy even treat me to an Omakase dinner back at Tamashii. Patrick (the owner) is such a talent and it is a joy to talk to him. We really love the Saga beef donburi! Pink and tender Saga A4 beef striploin sits on a bed of marinated short-grain rice, topped with a runny onsen egg, drizzled with truffle oil. Every mouthful you can taste the aroma from truffle, the silkiness from the egg and the flavours of the beef. Pricey, but worth the splurge!
NOX is one of the most interesting dining concept I had in 2013. I went as a paying guest to fully enjoy the whole experience. I cannot bring my camera up to the pitch dark restaurant so I drew out my own interpretations in the blog post. The peeps in the restaurant weren’t very happy about it. One moment, they asked me to remove the pictures. But as what I have stated, I just wanted to share my own experiences and it may not be true. Another moment, they dropped me another email to ask me to post my review on TripAdvisor. I think they are very confused. LOL. Anyway, I went as a paying guest and I have the right to share my experience. I just promised them that I won’t reveal the exact menu which I kept my promise. I am sure there are other patrons who shared their experiences in social media. I see this as a good publicity for the restaurant and most importantly, it is the take home message to take care of your eyes.
The opening of Michelin Star Restaurant Tim Ho Wan in Singapore drew a huge crowd, with many willing to queue for hours for a taste of its legendary Baked Bun with BBQ Pork. I wanted to wait for the queue at Plaza Singapura to get shorter and join in the queue. Because I find it ridiculous to queue for hours. But not long after, another one opened in Toa Payoh and now they have another two new branches in Westgate and Bedok Mall. Aiya so no need queue until so cham already. Anyway, we only spent about 45 mins to queue during a weekday lunch. Don’t expect the quality here to be on par or better than the ones in Hong Kong. In fact, a Hong Kong friend of mine has been complaining that even the HK branches are no up to the orginal and now defunct Mongkok branch quality. Having said that, we don’t have a lot of dim sum outlets in Singapore that sells dim sum for the whole day. So I don’t mind coming back here for a dim sum fix IF the queue is not that long.
When the girls from Nuffnang first asked if I was keen to do a Xmas Gathering cum Meet-The-Fans session at Pizza Hut, I was excited and scared. Excited because it is my first time doing such event and I am excited to meet my readers. Scared because, I am not sure how will the response be. Within 4 days, I received close to 150 registrations and Pizza Hut has gladly hosted about 70 people for my FIRST EVER MISS TAM CHIAK’S XMAS PARTY! I am really grateful for the opportunity and thank you for all who came!
Known as the “Rose of the North”, Chiang Mai is a wonderful small city with a history more than 700 years old. Big thank you to Chan Brothers and Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), I am honoured to be part of The Young Explorers project to Chiang Mai. Shiberty and I travelled to Chiang Mai. Together with my friend Toto who is also a tour guide, he brought us to the places less discovered by tourists. I learnt to cook Thai food, visited temples, eat Khao Soi, shoot guns and more! Enjoy reading my TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN CHIANG MAI! You probably will also enjoy my 10 Must Try Food Places in Bangkok.
Hai Di Lao Hot Pot (海底捞火锅), is a chain of hot pot restaurants founded in Sichuan Province in 1994. So what is so good about this place? Service is the magic word. They offer unlimited free snacks for waiting guests. You can also enjoy free manicure and nail colouring, plus card games while you wait for your table. We ordered our food via iPad but the jovial and friendly staff would still explain the food items to us. The restaurant also offered an apron that you could put on to prevent the sauces from splashing onto your clothes. He even provided zipper plastic bags for us to prevent our handphones from being dirtied. Be sure to order their handmade noodles and you will be entertained by the shop’s signature “noodle dance.” They stretch their dough till real thin and swirl it through the air and around our table.
Penang is truly a food paradise. It has a good mix of traditional Malay, Chinese, Indian and Peranakan dishes and many of them can be found in hawker stalls throughout George Town. Throughout my 4 days in Penang, I had seen and ate as much as I could. My tour guide in Penang brought us to places which sells good Penang food. We combed about 20 hawker stalls and picked my favourite 10 out of them. I really love the fact that the hawker food culture is still going strong in Penang. You can also read about my Cafe Guide in George Town, Penang.
I am privileged to be given so many opportunities for this little blog of mine. One of them is being part of the judging team for Food Republic Hawker Kings 2013. It is an initiative to motivate existing food operators within the Food Republic chain to enhance their offerings to the patrons. Read about it here.
I am happy to be also one of the judges for Epicurean Awards 2013 organised by Restaurant Association Singapore. Here is a shot with my co-judge Moses Lim.
Then I took part in filming for Channel U’s new program “Songs of Who We Are” (在我的歌声里). It will start screening from 21 Jan 2013.
I also had fun in doing the comic strip photoshoot with Pickat. Read about it here.
You have probably seen me on one of the ads on Channel 8. Yes, it’s me lah. I was one of the judges for Sweet Culinary Sensation by SCS and Channel 8. Read about the event here.
Last but not least, I appeared on Good Morning Singapore (早安您好) during Christmas Day to share about some nice food places to visit during holidays.
Thank you Comb Head Salon for always giving me nice hair and Prettify Me for doing cupcake nails for me.