When I was munching on one of these Longevity Tea-infused decadents, I knew I had to blog about this.
It was simply something I wasn’t expecting at all.
As a first-time chewer of the TWG mooncake, an annual specialty available only at this time of the year in selected outlets (Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Philippines), I thought that TWG Tea stood out the most among other vendors of the Mid-Autumn Festival staple. Unlike the usual hard and chewy texture you get in traditional mooncakes (a separate collection that TWG Tea offers as well), the snow-skin mooncake envelopes a massive, ultra-soft mousse filling inside that slowly melts in your mouth. Thus, the delicacy must be refrigerated at all times. The silkiness is delicately wrapped underneath the vibrant colors you simply can’t ignore even from a distance – my pictures below will tell you the rest.
Out of the 800-something mélanges of TWG Tea, the white Longevity Tea sensitizes your buds with its fresh, crystalline overtones in the artisan mooncake. Handcrafted daily in such a humongous size each, and available at SGD 52,00 a set, these feathery sumptuousness are worth looking forward to again next year
Personally, I enjoyed the scarlet red one with the gold leaves best. It was the only mooncake of the four that has grainy chocolate pearls amidst the velvety filling, and I love the contrasting textures at every bite.
The worst part is when they start melting like fallen ice cakes after I leave them for only about half an hour. By then, they were no longer a pretty sight nor were they as plump as when I unboxed them.
Nevertheless, these tea-infused babies have definitely brought freshness and pizazz to the traditional Chinese celebration
For those who are celebrating, do you prefer traditional mooncakes with the egg heart, or are you the snow-skin type like me?
If I were to live in Singapore again, I’d be a dedicated food blogger venturing new stuff everyday, at least, I think so. Since I last remember, the country has changed so much that I could barely keep up with its burgeoning developments, particularly in the food department. For me, five days was enough to say that Singapore is truly a foodie’s haven. I’d eat happily everyday wherever my foot takes my heart to.
The view from the bay, right by the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Deep in my heart, I know that I’ll live a really full life if I reside in Singapore for the long haul. I speak three out of the four major languages fluently, five if you count Singlish as the fifth, and I can easily converse and connect with the locals. They’re people with conscience (go figure – the government has always done an excellent job making SGP 1,000 fines for littering and also on keeping their education systems ultra-strict). In fact, 10 said he could picture my happiest vividly living in the green country. He could see me traveling all over the clean city by foot, running laps at the spiral ramp on top of the Marina Barrage, or just throughout the whole Gardens by the Bay, or the Helix Bridge, and any quiet pavement from Bukit Batok all the way to Sentosa.
View from top of the Marina Barrage
I won’t lie – I thought about it. A year living where I used to live with my guardians – in the East Coast to be exact – would be awesome. The transportation systems are so convenient that everything is within reach. Now I can actually go to Jurong Bird Park without having to change SBS buses. I can just travel by MRT.
However … I also know that I’m a transformed rebellion. I won’t say I no longer rebel because most of the time I still do (quietly). As a writer I constantly question the status quo.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, one of the most powerful women in Silicon Valley and arguably in the world, once said that the single most important career decision that a woman makes is whether she will have a life partner and who that partner is.
Previously, on my long-distance relationship post, I opened up about my choice to not have a partner just before I met 10. Like, literally – it was a long-held conversation between my mother and I on the day before I met 10. That decision took me more than a year to make, but BOOM!, I fail to deliver based on the person I’ve willed myself to be when 10 suddenly came into my life. All my life plans changed. It took very long for me to switch my mentality into a partnership mode. Even after we became official, he made me aware that I still treat him like an outsider.
I cannot express the depth of gratitude to have found someone who’s willing to support anything I will myself to do. Most women I know don’t have that. I’m also very fortunate that flight tickets to Singapore have decreased vastly since the last time I went to school there. I can just go there whenever I want, wherever I want, for whatever reasons I want – depending on my deadlines I’m juggling at the moment.
Slowly, the fantasy to live in Singapore tapered off. My mother travels to Singapore annually for her medical checkups anyway. I can always tag along.
Not the lightest headstart to begin our munchies, eh?
Aaaanyway, anyone who’s ever been to Singapore have probably seen the loud, noisy hawker centers that permeate throughout the Lion City.
It was raining the other morning, so 10 and I got ourselves warm glasses of Kopi-O and some warm buns to start off our day.
Gosh, I just love yam buns. They’re pretty, filling, and super luscious inside. And that’s just one of the mucho munchies the little island has to offer.
The famous ground floor of Takashimaya flaunts every imaginable Asian taste buds to share, favored by locals and foreigners alike. As you may already know, I’m nuts for nuts. Once I have a bag of the crunchy thing in hand, I can never stop eating them.
Which is why I got myself some 300 grams of pine nuts, walnuts, and pistachios from this niche.
Like … are you kidding me?! They have all kinds of nuts in one place! I’d grab everything they have if I could, and I’d stop fidgeting right now if I can bite on some big-ass Brazil nuts. And we haven’t even get to my favorite candy …
Jelly Belly self-service at The Cocoa Trees
Ronald Reagan once said, “You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jelly beans,” so I’m guessing offering a jar of assorted jelly beans to the White House guests was how he read people and decide the right way he should be making deals with the different kinds of people he meet back then. The people at Jelly Belly figured that there are generally 10 different ways people eat jelly beans, and apparently, I fall in between types (2) and (3):
(2) Combining different flavours of Jelly Belly to create different recipes and astonishing flavours.
Obviously deeply creative you are able to use your intuition and imagination to invent interesting new tastes and flavours. You are almost certainly artistic, sensitive and generous in nature. Integrity is important to you and this combination makes you popular and much loved amongst your friends and family.
(3) Eating several random flavours at a time, chewed quickly and gulped down in a hurry.
Perhaps you have a certain impulsiveness or tendency to impatience? The colours and variety of Jelly Belly jelly beans and the informative menu that accompanies them stress that each little bean is a taste gem all of its own. Mix them up all together without a thought? Why deprive yourself of the total taste experience? You may tend to be a little on the emotionally retentive side.
Though we didn’t get the chance to try out Tsukiji Gindaco’s world-famous takoyakis, we did crunched on these sizzling Japanese taiyaki. The exclusive outlet stood out as an authentic one from the neighboring Japanese dessert niches at ION Orchard’s Food Opera.
I’ve always wondered why tradition have decided that the cake should be fish-shaped and not in any other shapes. Does anybody know the nits and grits behind this Japanese dessert?
10 got himself the classic custard flavor, which was super creamy, while I opted for the chocolate banana. I love that it’s warm and that its pancake was not as crunchy as it looked – it has, like, a chewier quality of a dorayaki pancake. Which was yummeeeh.
If I were to get something sweet and crunchy, I might as well go for some good ol’ churros.
Like the one I got at the Universal Studios.
It was actually quite funny to see that the lady behind the Churro stall was a Chinese. I’m used to seeing Latin Americans behind the magic of this Spanish pastry, which I think is a must-have snack to munch on in every legit theme parks. Just as popcorn is to a movie, somehow the chewy stuff enhances your fun-time experience.
Just too bad that I didn’t get a bite of fresh fruits during the whole Singapore trip. I’m sure I’ve mentioned the fact that I eat an apple everyday ever since I know how to bite
Guess what? I was just back from a 5-day 4-night trip to Singapore this morning, and there’s plenty to share I know what you’re thinking. The stuff I posted a couple of days ago were all scheduled to publish by automation while I was away. I did it all before I left on August 12. Yeap, that’s how convenient modern blogging has become today.
Better to be deprived of food for three days than of tea for one. - Ancient Chinese proverb
Read me long enough and you might have reckoned that I’m a tea aficionado. I consider Camellia sinensis as my daily drug (as well as various other herbs too). So I brought home these fragrant additions, which are offered in Singapore, to my already-hefty tea collection.
While browsing through ION Orchard’s Food Opera for lunch, we stopped by an ornate tea pavilion. Beautiful tea sets and other traditional antiques were on display all over the modest shop, so it’s very easy to spot Wang San Yan from afar.
Still in celebration of the Hungry Ghost Festival and holding the fast-approaching Mid-Autumn Festival in mind, Wang San Yang was having an awesome promotion that I just couldn’t ignore: Five blends for SGD 5.50 only!! There were countless medleys of tea leaves and herbs clustered on the storefront, each packaged to treat specific ailments. It took some time for me to choose my top five blends that I didn’t notice my 10 was taking a picture of me.
Clearly, I dig the flowery stuff, not that they’re too pretty to ignore or anything. It’s just that according to Pixiekrane‘s Alexa, rosebuds tea is beneficial for overall women’s health, and apparently there have been claims made that the rosy therapy boosts fertility. The vitamin C-packed rose petals also work to ease that bloated feeling in the stomach and help improve skin complexion, and I like to be able to enjoy all that in just one cup But really, I just like the smell of fresh roses.
Same goes with the bright and beautiful marigold leaves, which is called Calendula by another name. Fresh from the Mediterranean shores, it is often said that the plant has vast estrogenic properties that can help promote healthy menstrual cycle in women. Antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties are also found in marigold to treat mild sore throats, speed wound healing, as well as soothing ulcers of all kinds. I think my subconscious worked well in picking the right stuff for treating irregular periods.
As if I haven’t had enough tea already, I went on to have another tea-enriched supper at the Takashimaya branch of TWG Tea Boutique, which I’ll elaborate more in another post, as well as getting two USDA-certified organic, X.O. (Extra Old) tea varieties by the Hong Kong-based manufacturer, Eat Drink Tea. They’re having an exhibit at Takashimaya’s bustling ground floor at the moment. You can spot them easily because they’re the sole tea vendor nested amongst the endless mooncake caterers fiercely vying for sale.
And so I picked tea over those delicate snow-skin mooncakes. I just thought I can get those that are just as delicious in Jakarta as well, plus they’ll be taking up my carry-on space anyway (I was traveling very lightly without a check-in baggage, thank you very much). What’s special about the green and red teas from Eat Drink Tea is that they’re 100% pure and extracted from over two centuries-old tea leaves – so you can imagine the sheer concentrate of polyphenols you’ll get on each cup compared to the usual cup.
When I tasted the brewing red tea on the stall, I instantly fell in love with the plum-like aftertaste. There’s a rusty and earthy quality to it, but sweet as well, and I knew I had to grab one of those home. Besides, the semi-fermented gem is quite rare in Jakarta.
As I’m writing right now, I’m enjoying my second up of the ultra-soothing jasmine pearls (N4003) from TWG, which has been perfect for a late evening lift, while the herbal blends I got from Wang San Yang are waiting to be brewed even later at night
Over to you: Are you freakishly addicted to tea as well? If you are, have you tasted a classic red tea before?
Wang San Yang Tea Pavilion 王三阳茶庄
Singapore – ION Orchard
2 Orchard Turn, #B4-43
(+65) 6509 8805 www.wsytm.com
There’s something sweet, squishy, and delicious on my breakfast table this morning. It was a gift I received from Stanley upon his return from a four-day trip to Manado, the largest city in the Sulawesi province.
It’s the luscious Indonesian klappertart, which literally means coconut tart. Thank you baby! It’s great to keep my belly thick and warm while the weather’s making everyone trembling these days.
One word: YUM.
You won’t want to miss this Dutch-influenced dessert when you visit the city of Manado. Sold at just about every bakery store throughout the city, klaapertart’s allure has reached to a nationwide popularity today.
Thanks to heaps of young coconut flesh and juice, the klaapertart custard tastes piquantly soft, almost like the French soufflé. Blended with a fluff of wheat, eggs, milk, sugar, and margarine, the delicate custard had me melting at my breakfast table.
Stanley got me the one with the rum flavor, but I sensed dashes of sweet-smelling cinnamon too, with slivers of crisp almonds and raisin sprinkles smothering the crown of this feathery treat.
Nothing feels better than finishing the whole tart by the end of the day.
Tofu Pudding + Mangoes + Taro + Tang Yuan: If there’s anything that I don’t enjoy about my very own personalized dessert is, again, its portion. I don’t usually eat much in one sitting, especially for dessert. I won’t recommend people eating too much sugar right after a regular meal too. But because this bowl has all the stuff that I like (and also the stuff that are good for your health), it was a great treat to enjoy with all my heart’s content. I ordered the same Tang Yuan flavors as I did last time (red bean and black sesame), and mangoes are, obviously, one of my all-time favorite fruits. Imagine the perfect blend of natural sourness and sweetness of a the tropical fruit, snuggling in the midst of delicate tofu and mushy taro – the moment I sensed that pleasure in my mouth, I’m personally calling this treat a sweet bowl of abundant blessings. (You get everything you asked for fit into one giant bowl!)
Jl. Pluit Karang Timur Blok O8 No. 72
Jakarta Utara 14450
(021) 661 1213
Considering our servings are supposed to be a dessert, bowls are really, really large. Even though we were quite pleased with what we got at Sweet Poetry, we weren’t able finish both bowls. I love that we have the option to customize our own dessert – it’s almost like a DIY thing. We also get to choose whether we want our desserts hot or cold. Just look at the menu and your inner glutton can tell the many different combinations you can make to get the most out of your dessert!
Green Tea Ice Cream + Q Balls + Grass Jelly: Green tea ice cream did not taste as green tea as expected. As follows, it’s all sugar and all too sweet. Orange and gray-purple Q balls are yam- and taro-flavored respectively – they’re extra chewy little doughs, almost like the bubbles in a boba, as they are processed with tapioca too. These balls are popular in many Taiwanese desserts. As the ice cream was too sweet, whereas Q balls and grass jellies are almost tasteless, everything blends well when eaten together, though taste-wise this dish doesn’t live up to how luscious it looks.
Q Balls + Taro + Lotus Seeds + Tang Yuan: This is my custom combination. They all go nicely together, as nothing here is too sweet except the Tang Yuans, which literally means “Sweet Balls” in Mandarin Chinese. Popular across Asia, glutinous rice flour is the star ingredient in a Tang Yuan. The sticky dough usually serves as a wrapper for the flavored filling/paste inside. In this case I chose to indulge in the classic flavors: red bean and black sesame. The yellow stuff are lotus seeds. It’s a type of nut prevalent across East Asian cultures, and often considered as a medicine because it has a cooling effect on the body. For restorative health purposes, people traditionally eat lotus seeds to improve their vitality. Recent studies show that these nuts contain a rich source of protein and other minerals to help restore damaged proteins in the human cell. No wonder this dessert has such a calming effect on me – it was a pleasure for me to dine on this dessert bowl after a long, stressful day.
Jl. Pluit Karang Timur Blok O8 No. 72
Jakarta Utara 14450
(021) 661 1213
Once upon a time, a friend told me there’s a small bakery shop with a huge reputation, starring the nation’s best pastry chef making your dining experience sweeter than any other breakfast palates and baked goods. Rated as the Best Breakfast and Best Bakery in San Francisco in the Zagat Survey, I decided to give it a try. On the outside, it looks like an ordinary corner-street cafe. Yet throughout the day, people form long lines wrapping around that one block – just to get a taste of every little bites from the bakery. And it’s called Tartine Bakery.
Chocolate Hazelnut Tart: Just like everything else on the menu, all ingredients in this tart are organic. For someone who is nuts about nuts, bittersweet hazelnuts are the perfect choice for this particular sweet treat. Imagine its hardiness and the more chewy quality the hazelnut has than most other nuts as it dips itself into the smooth chocolate glaze. The moist and crunch and all-together sweetness make up a flawless contrast to taste in the mouth.
Frangipane Tart: The menu description was written as: “Light almond-cream filling baked in a flaky pastry shell with seasonal fruit.” In my case, mashed blueberries is the star fruit. It’s a clever combination to infuse the berry sweetness into the crusty almond texture. I was loving every bite I take. I savored the natural fruity flavor in my mouth as I slowly munch, especially favoring the soft, thin layers of flakes (organic, of course) crumbling down to my plate even as I carefully crunch. Then I nibble on the remaining little chunks to finish.
San Francisco – Mission District
600 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 482 2600
Hours: M 08:00am – 7:00pm Tu-W 07:30am – 7:00pm Th-F 07:30am – 8:00pm Sa 08:00am – 8:00pm S 09:00am – 8:00pm