It’s $10,000 at stake and a whole load of ramen!

Food eating contests are gaining popularity in Singapore. Previously MediaCorp partnered with several malls in western Singapore when they launched 8 DAYS Eat app and now Ramen Champion presents the ultimate grand prize of $10,000. But do you have what it takes to stomach it?

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Last month, I was lucky to be present when Ramen Champion opened their second branch at MegaBox, Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong. The highlight of the day was the Ramen “Face-off” between the pretty and petite competitive food challenger, Tomoko Miyake and the TVB stars.

Leading the entourage of popular Hong Kong TV celebrities and radio personalities was one of my favorite actor, Eric Tsang. And Koji Tashiro, the CEO of Menya Koji Group was also there to take part for the eating challenge.

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Fast forward one month later, and I’m excited that Ramen Champion Pte Ltd is launching the Ramen Big Eater Challenge as part of the Food Challenge Asia Championship which involves Ramen Champion outlets in Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand.

Details of Singapore Contest:

Qualifying Round

Date: 2nd October 2013 (Wednesday)

Time: 3.00pm to 5.00pm

Location: Ramen Champion @ Bugis+ (201 Victoria Street, Bugis+ #04-08/09/10, Singapore 188067)

Final Round

Date: 14th November 2013 (Thursday)

Time: 3.00pm to 5.00pm

Location: Ramen Champion @ Great World City (1 Kim Seng Promenade, Great World City, #01-21/22, Singapore 237994)

Here’s some questions which you probably want to ask Ramen Champion about the Big Eater Challenge:

Will the ramen be piping hot when served?

During the contest, the ramen is prepared on the spot and the chefs will try to control the temperature of the ramen broth so it won’t too hot when it’s served. It won’t be piping hot but it would not be served cold as there’s the need to maintain the quality of ramen. Side bowls will be provided so participants can use them to cool off the ramen.

Is it okay for non local to register for the event?

The organiser accepts non-local as long as they are residing in Singapore and not tourists. For example, foreign students or working professionals are eligible.

Must the soup be finished? Do I also have to finish the sides like egg and seaweed?

With regards to the contest, there is not a must to finish the soup during the contest and the organiser will only be serving noodles and broth for the ramen.

How big is the bowl of ramen and what style will be served?

The organiser are using the regular size bowl which is available at the restaurant and the ramen served will be Tonkotsu style.

Is the ramen served Halal/ Vegetarian?

The ramen served is neither Halal nor vegetarian. Also, the broth for both stalls is Tonkotsu style which means it is made from pork and pork bones, and may contain chicken and/or fish. It does NOT contain BEEF and LAMB.

Can I bring my own seasoning?

Contestants are discouraged from bringing their own seasoning.

Will water be provided?

The organiser will be providing ice water for during the contest and green tea will be served at the waiting areas.

What is the minimum age to join this contest?

The minimum age to join is 18 years old and above. All participants will be required to fill up an indemnity form together with the registration form and fee.

Can I register on behalf of my friend for the ramen eating contest?

Preferably the participant should come in person to register as he/she is required to fill up an indemnity form along with the registration form and registration fee. However, you may write in to the organiser at ramenchampion@gmail.com and they will review on a case to case basis.

How this contest works and how do I qualify the Finals?

The format of the contest will be based on the number of regular size bowls a participant can finish within 15 minutes and that will qualify him/her into the final round. The participants who can finish the most number of ramen will enter into the final round on 14 November 2013 at Great World City.

Do I still get my vouchers if I don’t qualify for the Finals? What vouchers will be given?

All participants will be given the $30 cash vouchers regardless if they qualified into the final round. The cash vouchers will be sponsored by Komars F&B Pte Ltd and can be used for restaurants such as Daikokuya, Bishamon, Menya Koji and Benten Café. There is no minimum spending required but it is not applicable for set meals or other promotional items.

Will there be any other prizes for the finalist other than the grand prize?

Currently, the organiser has decided only the grand prize of $10,000 will be given but they are working on the details of other prizes, if any. Ramen Champion would like everyone to walk away happily and hence $30 vouchers will be given to every participant.

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I had a wonderful time in Hong Kong witnessing the eating power of Tomoko Miyake and an photo opportunity with Eric Tsang, producer of Ramen Champion Hong Kong. Registration for Ramen Big Eater Challenge starts today (26 Sep) and ends tomorrow (27 Sep)! Head down to Ramen Champion @ Bugis+ between 6.30pm to 9.30pm to register.

Though no TVB stars will be joining the contest in Singapore, but who knows, the grand prize of S$10,000 could be yours to keep.  Just a word of caution, join for fun and eat within your limit.

For more information, visit Ramen Champion Singapore at www.ramenchampion.com.sg or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RamenChampionSingapore

Tim Ho Wan Opens New Outlet at Toa Payoh Central

Attention Tim Ho Wan Fans! Michelin Star Dim Sum will soon be available at the heartland near you. Malcolm ditched his diet plan for the highly anticipated food tasting at the second outlet by Chef Mak Kwai Pui.

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Expect longer queues and perhaps more jams along PIE as Tim Ho Wan is finally opening their second outlet. Strategically located at Toa Payoh Central (ERA Centre, next to Courts) this new branch which opens on 8 September will cater to the needs of residents in central and northern Singapore.

The real treats are the additional six new dishes to the menu which are exclusively available at this Toa Payoh outlet.  A few new dishes include Steam Chicken Feet with Abalone Sauce, Fried Noodle with BBQ Pork & Soy Sauce, and Deep Fried Dumpling with Salted Meat.

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There’s more news to rejoice ‘cos Chef Mak is planning to open the third outlet at Bedok Mall while the fourth outlet will open in the western part of Singapore. With these different outlets in Singapore, Tim Ho Wan hopes to serve residents living in different parts of the island.

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The Baked Bun with BBQ Pork (S$4.50) is my favourite dish! Slightly crispy on the outside, soft and tender inside. One bite and you can taste the sweetness of the char siew which melts in your mouth. Eat it while it is fresh from the oven for the best taste. It’s no wonder this is one of the 4 Heavenly Kings on the menu.

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Unlike other carrot cakes, this Pan Fried Carrot Cake (S$4.50) from Tim Ho Wan simply melts inside when you put it in your mouth. What I really love about this dish is that every bite consists of more carrot taste than the usual rice flour taste. Though slightly oily for my likely but an excellent dish for any dim sum lovers.

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The only sweet dish among the 4 Heavenly Kings, the Steamed Egg Cake (S$3.80) can be eaten with the main course or be served as a warm dessert. Be careful of the hot steam as you sink your teeth into the tenderness of this delicious but plain-looking sweet treat.

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We didn’t get to sample the Vermicelli Roll stuffed with Pig’s Liver yesterday. But we were one of the first to try the new item, Vermicelli Roll with Sweet and Sesame Sauce (S$4.20) available only at this Toa Payoh outlet. Those who are used to having your Hong Kong style vermicelli roll stuffed with meat will have a surprise when they try this dish. Though it’s not stuffed, the main attraction of this steam roll lies in the unique combination of the sweet sauce, sesame sauce and soy sauce. Take a moment to let the aroma of the sesame sauce fills your nostrils.

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How often do you get chicken feet served with abalone sauce? The Steamed Chicken Feet with Abalone Sauce (S$5.00) is a must try for phoenix claw fans. Every bite of this perfectly steam chicken feet adds to your daily collagen needs.

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Time to fill your stomach with some fried noodles to complement the dim sum! Fried Noodles with BBQ Pork and Soy Sauce (S$6.00) is one of the latest items to be added to the menu and only available at Toa Payoh outlet.

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Another new item on the menu, Deep Fried Dumpling with Salted Meat (SS$3.80) has a sweet crust with lightly salted pork inside. A unique combination of sweet and salted, but since it’s new may as well taste it.

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If food porn can seduce, this Steam Spinach Dumpling with Shrimp (S$3.80) has definitely lured me in. This crystal-skin dumpling combines the right amount of spinach, pork and shrimp to give a wholesome flavour.

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A fusion twist on the traditional fried prawn dumpling, this Wasabi Salad Prawn Dumplings (S$5.00) do not have the overwhelming taste of wasabi. Spread the roe evenly on the fried dumpling and pop half of it into your mouth for the fresh taste of the prawn.

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No trip to the dim sum house is complete with eating the traditional steamed Prawn Dumpling (S$5.50). The thin layer of skin envelopes the filling which consists of generous bits of fresh prawn.

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End off the main course with Congee with Lean Pork, Century Egg and Salted Egg (S$4.20) to clear your palate before the dessert.

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Can’t decide to choose between the Mango Pomelo Sago (S$5.00) or Tonic Medlar & Osmanthus Cake (S$3.50), why not choose both? The mango pomelo sago tastes slightly bitter with the pomelo sago but the sweetness and smoothness of it is able to cover for it. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, then try the Tonic Medlar & Osmanthus Cake for a herbal treat.

Tim Ho Wan Toa Payoh outlet

Address: ERA Centre, 450 Toa Payoh Lorong 6 #02-02, Singapore 319394

Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm

Contact Number: 6483 2000

Website: http://www.TimHoWan.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TimHoWan

Thanks Tim Ho Wan’s management and PR team for organising the food tasting, and Nicholas from Nichology.net for extending the invitation.

Cheesy Bites Trio

Attention please! Cheese lovers and pizza fans take note – Pizza Hut’s Cheesy Bites is back with 3 times the flavour and 3 times the fun!

Chipotle! Parmesan! Sesame! If you have watched Pizza Hut’s latest TVC, it will give you a clue on the ultimate cheese experience. Each bite is stuffed full of tantalising smooth cream cheese or a 3-flavour cheese filling for a delightful surprise in every delicious mouthful.

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We were invited to Pizza Hut’s launch for the Cheesy Bites Trio a couple of weeks ago. Besides the main pizza star, we were also treated to a variety of treats.

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[Photo credit: Pizza Hut (Singapore)]

Christina from huneyzworld.blogspot.com and I enjoy the pre-dinner drinks while posing for the camera.

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She took part in the pizza making contest and had a hands on experience making the Cheesy Bites Trio.

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Mommy blogger, Jac from hellomrstan.com won the pizza making challenge!

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Hut’s Signature Chef Platter of tempura prawns, sweet ‘n spicy drumlets, calamari rings and criss cross fries on a bed of mesclun salad. Thick Fries On Dips comes with mouthwatering salsa and grilled cheese sauce to complement the generous strips of deep-fried potatoes.

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Hut’s Chicken Steak: Succulent BBQ chicken steak seasoned and grilled to perfection with thick fries, seasonal vegetables and top with Hut’s special mushroom sauce. Spicy Seafood Parchment: Fresh mussels, prawns squid rings fused perfectly with spicy tomato-based sauce and linguine

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Happy ending with dessert treat of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

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Cheesy Bites Trio Pizza is available at all Pizza Hut restaurants and delivery service from now till 2 July 2013.

For Dine In

Cheesy Delight Meal at $27.90 (for 2-3 persons) (U.P. $39.90)

  • 1 Regular Cheesy Bites Trio (any topping)
  • 2 Soup of the Day
  • 2 glasses of Sparkle (Choice of Berri / Summer / Emerald / Lychee)
  • Additional $1 for city stores for the above meal

Cheesy Fiesta Meal at $46.90 (for 4-5 persons) (U.P. $73.50)

  • 1 Regular Cheesy Bites Trio (any topping)
  • 1 Regular Pan Pizza (any topping)
  • 4 Soup of the Day
  • 4 glasses of Sparkle (Choice of Berri / Summer / Emerald / Lychee)
  • Additional $2 for city stores for the above meal

Home Delivery

Cheesy Fun Meal at $26.50 (for 2-3 persons) (U.P. $33.70)

  • 1 Regular Cheesy Bites Trio (any topping)
  • 4-piece Honey Roasted Wings
  • 6-piece Mini Hash Browns

Cheesy Double Deal at $28.90 (for 4-5 persons) (U.P. $44.40)

  • 1 Regular Cheesy Bites Trio (any topping)
  • 1 Regular Pan Pizza (any topping)

Bon Appetit, Hippopotamus!

Eat like a hungry hippo with ABR Holdings latest F&B concept at Marina Square! Bon Appetit. 

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After the successful of bringing Swensen’s to our shore, ABR Holdings Limited  has introduced a new casual dining experience in modern French style. Created in Paris in 1968, the Hippopotamus restaurant Grill has gained a strong reputation in France, especially in Paris. Prepared with the widest selections of cut from the well-known Sirloin, Tenderloin and Rib Steak, to the rare Hanger and Skirt Steaks at affordable prices, Hippopotamus is a contemporary restaurant with a relaxed, friendly ambience.

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Meat lovers alert! Here’s a quick French lesson, “Pour l’amour de la viande” translates to “For the love of meat”. We are lucky to be invited by ABR Holdings for a lunch time food tasting session at Hippopotamus. (Those working near Marina Square, remember to check out their special lunch treats!)

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Get some greens before you start your main course with the Caesar Salad ($8.90) adorned with chicken, parmesan and an inimitable sauce. Pair it with Hippo’s traditional rendition of French Onion Soup ($8.90) – generously peppered with onions and melted cheese.

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Try the Hot Goat Cheese Salad ($9.90) – its refined flavour of goat cheese slathered on crisp toast, topped with herbs from Provence and olive oil makes it a sunny, charming starter!

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Go bold with Escargots ($16.90), an essential item on the French menu. Have it as a starter, this comes as a set of 6, topped with herb butter. Make believe you are in a Parisian diner with Bone Marrow ($11.90), heaving with haute French flavour in these unapologetically rich renditions of French classics.

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A scrumptious selection of house sauces (Barbecue, Bearnalise, Homemade Thai Chili, Stewed Shallot, Pepper and Roquefort Cheese) is available to accompany every main course ordered, while 6 dishes – French Fries, Potato Gratin, Green Beans, Baked Potato, Ratatouille and Steamed Vegetables provide for a medley of choices on the side.

Skirt Steak Rack of Lamb

[Photo credit: Hippopotamus Restaurant] 

Skirt Steak ($18.90) is a cut of beef from the plate of the mule. Long and flat, it is often neglected because it is not known for its tenderness. Rather, it is well-loved for its strong flavour in every cut. Rack of Lamb ($36.90) serves up deliciously tender Australian choice cuts of lamb. Slow- grilled for hours, it makes for a bold, flavourful dish that will leave you hankering for more.

Grilled Game Hen US Pork Chop

[Photo credit: Hippopotamus Restaurant]

The Grilled Game Hen ($21.90) features U.S imported Cornish Game Hen tenderly grilled to fork- tender perfection. Taste the difference with Hippo’s slow- grilled U.S. Pork Chop ($19.90) that is crisp on the outside but exudes a moist, smooth texture on the inside.

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Blogger friends, Christina from huneyzworld.blogspot.com and Tiffany from missytiffany.com enjoying the beef skewer.

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For the rib fans, go for the BBQ Ribs ($19.90), a hunky-dory set of luscious pork spare ribs served with barbeque sauce. Grilled King Prawns ($22.90) also make a strong contender on the menu for prawn-lovers. Flavoursome grilled whole king prawns are served atop a bed of fresh greens.

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To finish off the satisfying meat heavy meal, grab a cup of Chocolate Mousse ($7.90), or go with a French classic, Crème Brulee ($7.90), perfectly torched with cameralized brown sugar encasing a dish of smooth cream with subtle hints of vanilla.

Hippopotamus has also revamped its drinks menu with an assortment of different kinds of new cocktails, and an updated list of beers and wines. Pair your meal with a glass of classic French wine for a boozy gastronomic experience this week!

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Hippopotamus Restaurant Grill

6 Raffles Boulevard, #01-204/205 Marina Square S039594

Opens 11am – 1030pm daily

Tel: 63385352

Website: www.hippopotamus.com.sg

Taste of the Straits at Owl Cafe

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The familiar household name now has a new baby. Walking past Star Vista (shopping mall next to Buona Vista MRT station) one day with my friend, Christina, we spotted this unique contemporary style café serving fusion ‘nanyang’ cuisine.

After a history of 56 years, Owl Coffee (established in 1956) has given birth to an exciting café concept. No one knows coffee and café like Owl, with a story that goes as far back and as far away as the Straits Asia, being a melting pot of different cultures where Straits Asian coffee burst into life.

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Enjoy the various blends of authentic Straits Asian-inspired coffee that Owl café has perfected over 50 years of roasting and blending coffee while savoring Straits Asian (Nanyang) food prepared in a creative, fusion manner.

A good place for an affordable lunch or for those looking for a relaxing afternoon of coffee and chat, Owl Café has something to offer to everyone.

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Owl Cafe is a great place for lunch or dinner. Start off your meal with a glass refreshing Mango Soda or a cup of Gula Melaka Kopi follow by Hae Chor Salad with Oriental Dressing before proceeding to try their Spaghetti with Laksa Sauce.

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If you work near Holland Village, come down to this cafe located at Star Vista besides Buona Vista MRT station and try the high recommended Assam Chicken Wings or have the Assam Mango Chicken with Nasi Kuning for lunch!

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Relax the weekend afternoon with a cuppa while savoring the declicious Roti Bakar Assam Nanas (tamarind sauce topped with ham and pineapple slices) or their Otak-otak Toast. Coffee lovers should a taste of the famous 100% authentic Kopi Luwak (civet coffee served with coffee caviar).

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A meal is not complete with a happy ending. Choose between Chendol (with jackfruit slices), Glory Hitam or Soya Bean Curd. In need of a weekly/monthly dose durian? Try the recommended Durian Pengat, just remember to share it with your friends!

Happy Three Friends

One of the benefits of working in central is the joy of having to different friends to company us for lunch everyday. This is definitely a better appreciated change from my previous workplace in an ulu industrial part on the eastern shore. However, lunch is also more pricey in town as compared to other parts of the island.

Today, I went to Ramen Nantsuttei at PARCO Marina Bay @ Millenia Walk. My bowl of Golden Curry Ramen ($15) is a mash-up of the their famous ramen soup based and the unique minced meat curry sauce. The other two had the normal ramen at $12 and add-on an egg at $1.

I know Choon Liang from Katong Toastmasters Club. A jovial guy who often cracks humorous speech during our public speaking club meetings, he works at the office building next to mine. Often seem in his metrosexual chic dressing, sorry boys and girls, he is engaged and getting married next year.

Alyssa Rae works as a consultant near Beach Road. I got to know her when we were both volunteer panelists with Young Changemakers. These days, she is a food porn star, you can follow her and find out what she is having for lunch or dinner at @petrarae on Instagram.

 

I’ll miss having our Threesome Tuesday lunch together. Hur hur.