Thursday, June 27, 2013

McDonald's Singapore - Hello Kitty or Drama Kitty

The craze will soon blow over, since the last version of the Hello Kitty Fairy Tale collection has been launched (and also sold out) within a couple of hours. People started queueing at McDonald's a few hours before the launch, and with some stores launching it at 12 midnight, and some at 6 or 7 in the morning, it didn't help with the situation.

McDonald's should have standardized their launch hours and every store should be selling it only at a stipulated time. This allows people to strictly be entitled to 4 purchases and not allow them to go from store to store (some launch at midnight and some in the morning) to re-buy the toys again and again.

There was also no official queue made even though queues for the morning stores started at midnight. This allowed people to queue on behalf of their friends, and allowing them to join in the queue later on. McDonald's should have officially given out the queue numbers as soon as they realized that the supply could not meet the demand instead of giving people false hope.

After queueing with a friend at a store for almost six hours (from midnight till the opening), the store manager decided to come out at 5.30am to issue coupons. There were about 500 people in the queue and we were supposedly within the first hundred (before others started to cut the queue). The coupons were issued to the first 100 people since everyone wanted to buy four toys each and they only had 400 toys in store.

My question to McDonald's Singapore would be :

"If you knew there wasn't enough supply to meet the demand, why didn't you tell people earlier instead of making people queue through the night and tell them just 30 minutes before your opening that you do not have enough toys?"

The next best part about their half-witted management was that they didn't dare to walk to the end of the queue (about 400 people behind me) to tell them it was sold out. Instead, people had the mindset that they would get a toy if they stayed in the queue and foolishly continued to queue only to realize that they won't be able to get it after a few hours of queueing. Thankfully, we were smart enough to leave the queue after knowing how the system works. 

At another outlet, there was a young boy in front of me selling his coupons and toys in the queue and the store manager at the scene was telling people in the queue that there are no more toys and their only resort was to buy from people who queued, or go online and buy it from eBay. Why would a manager condone such behavior from the black market sellers? 

To be honest, the staff working at each outlet looked like they were enjoying the "free entertainment" given by the people queueing (probably only once in their life time they felt "powerful" as a McDonald's Manager). 

Also, there were fights breaking out everywhere and the police had to be called in every now and then, wasting our government resources just because of poor management by McDonald's Singapore. In the drive-thru stores, traffic police had to be called in to make sure traffic was not disrupted. McDonald's should have clearly closed the drive-thru like what they did from McDelivery. 

Which brings me to my point, if McDonald's are smart enough limit their sauces, why weren't they smart enough to limit their Hello Kitty. One outlet had approximately 400 toys and they limited each person to buying 4 each. Really McDonald's, were you expecting only 100 people to queue for each store? Or did you just want to watch a free show thinking we consumers are circus animals?

I suggest the higher management at McDonald's Singapore start thinking about how such future events can be planned better instead of stuffing their faces with McMuffins and McSpicys. Either that or eating too much McDonald's makes you stupid (like them).

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ninja Mookata

Just like fashion, food trends come and go. With a recent hype about Thai Steamboat, as compared to the traditional Chinese style ones, many places are starting to offer it - barbecue and steamboat, all in one pot.

Located off Tanjong Katong Road at Peranakan Village, the whole nicely renovated place gives off a village feel with the wooden chairs and tables that does not resemble what you think would be a "hawker centre" or coffee shop.

A bit more about Mookata - basically the barbecued portion is on the top and surrounding it is soup. The best part about it is that as your barbecued food on the top cooks, the juices will flow down to the soup portion, which makes the soup taste better as you eat.

The Mookata sets at Ninja Mookata comes in standard or premium, which can feed two or four people easily. The only difference is that premium comes with an additional selection of black pepper meat apart from the standard set. The standard set includes pork collar, liver, belly, chicken thigh, prawns and squid for barbecue, as well as other vegetables and pork/fish balls for the soup portion.

What i enjoyed about Ninja Mookata is that each piece of meat was evenly marinated and tender. The seasoning wasn't overly salty or not tasty enough and the soup base was extremely flavorful, probably due to the meat as well.

Of course, just like any other steamboat places, you can order your favorite stuff again, ala-carte. My favorite was the pork belly and collar, as well as the beef rib-eye fillet.

And of course, what is steamboat without sauces. The highly addictive lemongrass barbecue sauce was the hot favorite among everyone at the table, followed by the suki sauce - both mixed in-house by the owner who went to Thailand to learn about Mookata.

The prices at Ninja Mookata are definitely cheaper as compared to other Mookata restaurants. The quality of course, is also equally good. There is also free ample parking just behind the place, which also means you can eat all night without worrying.

Ninja Mookata
369 Tanjong Katong Road
Peranakan Village
Singapore 437126

This was an invited media tasting.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Biotherm Homme

There are no ugly people, only lazy people. Which is also why i am always sourcing for the best products (for my face) each time i go shopping. Yes, i am hardworking in the way that i could possibly walk the entire mall just to find something that suits my skin.

What more a shop filled with nothing but only products for men? Theoretically speaking it means i could walk around the shop knowing everything on the shelves is something that would suffice, and not having to painstakingly source for men's facial products.

Biotherm Homme located centrally at town is what i call a haven (for vain people like me). They not only have a full extensive range of products to suit different skin types, they even have a facial bar for men to do an express facial (including eye brow trimming and a neck massage).

My favorite moisturizer at this moment is the Aquapower Ultra Hydratant that boasts the concentration of 5000 liters of thermal spa water. It aims to quench the skin with moisture for hours and is recommend to be used after shaving. It is pleasantly scented and does not leave your skin feeling sticky after application.

As the name suggest, the Total Perfector Skin Optimizing Moisturizer aims to improve roughness and uneven skin tone. The Mediterranean sea algae will improve your skin instantly, leaving your skin feeling soft and smooth. The scent is mild and results are almost immediate like what it promises.

One of their consistent best-sellers, the Force Supreme Youth Architect Serum refirms and revitalizes your skin. The ultra-fresh serum texture is made suited for sensitive skin and it helps to rebuild damage skin contour over time. Truth be told, this serum is for anti-aging and wrinkle, but prevention is better than cure (which is also the reason why i am starting on it). The smell comes off a bit powdery and unappealing, but i guess for beauty's sake, it is generally quite tolerable.

So now men, there is a reason for celebration. Especially when your girlfriends persuade you to go shopping in town, you know there is a place catered for you. And if her shopping bores you, go for a quick express facial fix. Girlfriends, you know where to get presents for the next occasion.

This is a sponsored product review.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Boxing Crab

Strategically located around the corner of Siloso Beach, sitting where the Underwater World is, The Boxing Crab is a relatively new seafood haven that recently opened in September last year. The dine spot is quite a romantic place for lovers and families to hang out - boasting the spectacular view of the coastline (they offer alfresco seatings too) and once in a while at around 8pm or so you'll get the chance to see cruises passing by majestically. Having said about the ambience and the locale, The Boxing Crab offers a wide variety seafood delicacies and other dishes that you would least expect a seafood restaurant to offer.

For a start, the Charcoal Grill Banana Leaf Otah Otah was served topped with coconut cream. I love the addition of the coconut flavor, which makes the dish very unique and refreshing, contrasting the spiciness of the chicken and prawn otah otah with a tinge of sweetness. It was, however, not of the usual spiciness, which is a boon and bane and caters each to his own taste.

The Mid-Joint Chicken Wing Skewer however, is one of the dish that misses the mark. The wings are a tad too dry for my personal liking. It was however well-marinated and the grilling really gave it a smoky flavor.

Most hardcore seafood lovers will not want to miss the Black Pepper Lobster. The portion and size of the lobster is indeed a stunner - this does not discount the fact that it is very fresh and the meat is tangy to chew. I am certain Singaporeans will love the spicy black pepper taste which is controlled and not too overpowering.

I have to say that the common Seafood Fried Rice is quite unforgettable. The squids, prawns, and scallops were given in pretty generous amounts. It was not too oily, and the rice seamlessly coats with the eggs which makes it very fragrant.

The Wok Fried Fish Fillet with Cereal and Curry Leaf is another dish that is set to impress. The deep-fried dory fish fillet does not have a thick coating of flour, which makes it easier for the sweetness of the cereal to set in. The cereal is not overly sweet, and I find myself scooping spoonfuls of it because it was that addictive!

Charcoal Grilled Squid however, turned out mediocre despite being nicely charred on the outside. The meat was not flavorful enough, but thankfully with the condiments that came with it, especially the home-made chili sambal, the squid tasted "slightly better".

The dish that you have to try (and I strongly recommend) is the Braised Pumpkin Crab with Fried Bun. To start off, the broth is indeed "superior" in every sense. It tastes like salted eggs but we were told that it was purely simmered pumpkin with other spices that made up the unique taste. The crab came in a generous size (like how the restaurant name suggests) and is submerged in the broth that absorbs its flavour well. To be honest, we ended up using the broth for every other food as dip, and they all tasted fantastic. For people who are afraid of dirtying their hands and outfits; fret not because the restaurant provides disposable gloves, a bowl of water, a "surgical" set of tools for ease of dissecting your crab, and a cute apron to prevent you from staining your clothings.

For desserts, we had the Chilled Mango Cream with Pomelo, which is quite ordinary. The serving of mango bits were generous, and the "tadpoles" were softer than usual ones elsewhere. We ended our experience on a sweet note with the Pineapple Sorbet. The sorbet is freshly-made and the raspberry sauce adds a slight sour contrast to the sweet fresh sorbet. The presentation is very unique and is definitely a pleaser.

The Boxing Crab is definitely a place worth a trip down to, if you are a big fan of seafood and appreciates spectacular views. Although prices may be slightly steep, that is what you get from a tourist hotspot and the location. Take it that you are paying for a different dining experience and it will be worthwhile.

The Boxing Crab 
80 Siloso Road, Sentosa
Singapore 098969
+65 6274 7760

This was an invited media tasting.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Beats By Dr. Dre : Beats Pill

Because Gwen Stefani, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga all have it, there is perfectly no excuse to why you shouldn't follow the trend. After all, celebrities are the ones that make the statement and we follow, yes?

Introducing the Beats Pill - a portable wireless speaker with built-in patented Beats Audio. The pill measures 19cm across and is by far the most portable (and powerful) speakers i have came across till date. Now, we all know Beats By Dr. Dre from their popular sold-out earphones and headphones which undoubtedly possesses one of the best audio quality around. The Beats Pill however, is a totally different gadget from that.

The wireless speaker not only plays music via Bluetooth, it also has call functions including speakerphone when paired with your smartphone - which also makes things a lot easier for people who are multi-tasking and using the Beats Pill at the same time.

One of the best parts of the Beats Pill that i like (apart from the amazing sound quality despite blasting the volume to its maximum) is that it comes with rechargeable battery which provides up the 7 hours of continuous playing, unlike their headphones that run on alkaline batteries.

Of course, unlike your smartphone which may have the Bluetooth function, your music player may not. Fret not because the Beats Pill also comes with the standard 3.5mm line out for connection - the size that fits most music gadgets. They come in black, red and white (with a matching case with every pill).

Retailing at SGD 310 a pill, this honestly isn't the cheapest medication (pill) in the market. But like they say, "Music's the medicine of the mind", and in this case it's a "rechargeable medication" you can use again and again and again knowing it will not fail on you. Also, point to note that with innovation comes imitation so make sure you are buying the real deal (or pill in this case) that comes with local warranty with every purchase. And trust me when i say that because buying an imitation will probably make Rihanna sound like a Piranha.

This is a sponsored product review.