Modus - The Unmodest Quinoa Bowls

[Media Invite]

Believe it or not, I had never tried Quinoa (pronounced as ‘kinwa’ or keenwa’) even though I am very much into health food. The fact is: I didn’t consume it because I don’t quite know how to cook it. And, commercially, other than occasionally found in salad bar, Quinoa is not that easily available when eating out. 

Quinoa has been perceived as ‘grain’, but, technically, Quinoa is a seed. It is actually a complete protein that has the nine essential amino acids that you should get via your diet, as your body does not make them on its own. This superfood is not only high in protein, it is high in fiber too. The fiber in quinoa can help you feel full longer, which is an excellent news to those who want to manage their weight or lose weight. And yes, you can eat Quinoa cold or hot, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can read more about Quinoa here and here.

When I got to know of Modus, Singapore's First and Only Quinoa Bowls, I was very excited, because, Quinoa is not that easily available when eating out. 

Modus is opened by two fine dining chefs (Ian Phoon, 28, and Alvin Tan, 29) who wanted to cook tasty, nutritious foods at a value-for-money price for everyone to enjoy. They aspire to create an exquisite sensory experience through the use of precise culinary techniques in the crafting of each dish without being pretentious. They believe that every dish has their own balance, and balance is their modus operandi. Armed with a combined experience of nearly 30 years in the fine dining industry, they took the leap of faith to set up their own venture in Singapore. They love the versatility of quinoa, crunchiness of fermented vegetables and the health benefits that come with these two. Hence, they started an organic quinoa bowl concept right at the heart of the CBD area – at Esplanade Exchange The Food Inn.

It is not difficult to locate the place.
Just look for Esplanade Xchange at Esplanade MRT station near the Suntec City/Marina Square exits. 

Walk into the Explanade Xchange, you will see The Food Inn Food Court

With choices of salmon, beef, pork and chicken, we get fantastic value-for-money lunches and dinners that are filling, tasty and nutritious. Modus aims to spread the perception that Quinoa not only can be kind to our gut (health), it can also be kind to our pockets too!

The Korean Bowl
Sauteed Beef & Onions, Homeamde Korean Kimchi, Marinated Sprouts, Fried Wanton Skin with Organic Premium Hondashi Quinoa 

The Thai Bowl
Thai Basil Pork Shoulder, Homemade Pickled Vegetables with Green Mango, Marinated Sprouts, Kao Kua with Organic Premium Hondashi Quinoa 

The Chinese Bowl
Deconstructed Kung Pao Chicken, Sauteed peppers, Homemade Thai Style Pickles with Organic Premium Hondashi Quinoa (add $0.50 for a Wasabi Poached Egg)

The Japanese Bowl
Aburi Salmon, Tsukemono, Sauteed Crabmeat, Corn Kernels, Furikake, Homeamde Fermented Sprouts with Organic Premium Hondashi Quinoa

Quinoa is low in GI thus preventing blood sugar level from spiking and crashing. It is a good alternative to your white rice or bread, especially to those who wants to cut down on carbohydrates intake and those who has diabetes. One could easily feel the difference in your energy level with such replacement! 

What I like is that Modus ferments their vegetables so that it not only adds different layers of taste to the dish, it also completes the meal with high probiotics, which builds up one’s immune system.

Imagine having a satisfying and delicious meal that is high in probiotics, complete protein, fibre and vitamins and yet low in GI, calories as well as price. I would call this “happiness in a bowl” and I seriously won't mind having this three meals a day, everyday.

Even the little one enjoys Quinoa so much, what about you?
(Daughter of Serene)


Review Of L'Oréal Paris Age Perfect And Revitalift Dermalift Skincare Range

[Product Review]

My sister started using L’Oréal Paris almost a decade ago. When I visited her place, I would witness bottles/tubes/jars of cleanser, toner, moisturiser and essence in her bathroom. Over time the range changed from White Perfect, to Revitalift Dermalift, to the current range – Age Perfect.

My sister, with L'Oréal Paris Age Perfect range of skincare products

I wondered why, so I asked her. She said she was introduced to this brand by her friend. The ranges of product suit her skin and the prices fit her pocket. I see, no wonder L’Oréal Paris Skincare claims to be No.1 Anti-Ageing Brand Worldwide. It has affordable skincare products that help ladies to delay ageing.

She told me I should be using Revitalift Dermalift range for my age. At this age, I need to work on regaining firmness and reducing wrinkles. “Start off with Revitalift Dermalift Day Cream,” she ordered. “This iconic anti-ageing product is the best selling cream in L’Oréal Paris. It is inspired by the self-healing power of Centella Asiatica, also known as the legendary Tiger Grass, it fights signs of ageing in 8 key zones to restore youth skin.”

Revitalift Dermalift Day Cream ($33.90)

90% of the testers agree that their skin is smoother after 2 weeks of using Revitalift Dermalift Day Cream

What is Centella Asiatica? I secretly went googling about it and found out from Wikipedia that it is a flowering plant native to wetlands in Asia and is commonly used as a culinary vegetable and as medicine herb. In fact, it is used as a medical herb in Ayurvedic medicine, Western Herbal Medicine, traditional African medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and in western orthodox medicine, for example to stimulate the regeneration of skin in burns while preventing the formation of scar tissue (you can read more about this plant in Wikipedia here).

Aww… … it looks like I have missed out quite a bit all these years and needed to work a little harder to defy ageing.

So I tried this best-seller in L’Oréal Paris Skin Care for a week and pretty much happy with my progress. What do you think, husband?

My sister, who is 10 years my senior, is using L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect range now. The Age Perfect cream, crowned as the most luxurious skincare in L’Oréal Paris, is infused with highly nourishing actives from France. It is an all-in-one solution to reduce the look of wrinkles, firm skin, restore radiance, lighten dark spots and smoothen skin.  This luxurious moisturiser is formulated with antioxidant Natecium, extracted from Bitter Orange, and precious Seal Lily (aka Lys De Mer) that boosts skin resistance to daily aggressors. The rich silky balm instantly smoothens the skin and delivers intense replenishment. She is terribly pleased with this range of product.

Age Perfect Supreme Regenerating Cream $49

L’Oréal Paris Skin Expert Age Perfect and Revitalift Dermalift skincare range are available at all leading Watsons, Guardian, major super/ hyper markets and beauty marts. This coming Mothers' Day, consider giving your moms and yourselves these age defying skincare products, because we are all worth it.

 From left to right: Age Perfect Supreme Regenerating Cream ($49), Milking Cleansing Foam ($15), Supreme Regenerating Dual Elixir ($54) and Supreme Cells-in-lotion ($36)

From left to right: Revitalift Dermalift Night Cream ($35.90), Anti-aging Milky Toner ($16.90), Milky Cleansing Foam ($11.90) and Day Cream ($35.90)

L'Oréal Paris

Superior Chia And Superior Birds' Nest

[Media Invite]

My family eats chia seeds as often as thrice a week because, you know, they are filled with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, protein and fiber, right? Or so I thought, until I was told by Freddy Yap, the CEO of Superior brand that not all chia seeds are created the same.

Chia Seeds and Birds' Nest from Superior Brand

Chia seeds are considered one of the most nutritious foods in the world. This superfood is believed to aid heart and digestive health, stabilise blood sugar and maintain stronger bones and teeth. High in fibre, gluten-free and transfat free, they are great for cleansing and detoxing and are delicious combined in food and drink recipes for that much needed energy boost.

What makes Superior brand's chia seeds different from other brands I have consumed or noticed in the market is that the chia seeds are micro-sliced to remove the husk. I was told that unsliced raw chia seeds eaten whole are digestible but the body is not able to absorb most of the nutritional value because of the husk. Micro-slicing exposes more of the surface area for nutritional absorption of the seed components and the chia oil.
Superior Chia is micro-sliced, certified organice and non genetically modified

Superior sources its chia seeds from Mexico and Peru, believed to be the origins of the superfood. The company only selects non-genetically-modified chia seeds from organic sources. These chia seeds are harvested in highlands with fertile soil, rich in nutrients. The end product, called Superior Chia, is a specially formulated mixture of the best chia seeds that have been carefully selected from five different varieties to maximise its nutritional value. 

Micro-sliced chia seeds in my chinese tea

And so we could easily add these mico-sliced chia seeds into our daily diet like beverages and food to reap the most benefits of chia seeds.

Freddy also demonstrated to us how micro-sliced chia seeds could be incorporated into our food (yes, besides oats, salad and smoothie). So we have Yan Restaurant serving their Chinese cuisine with Superior Chia Seeds in every dish.

Dim Sum Platter - Shrimp Roll, Prawn Dumpling and Chilli Crab Bun, all sprinkled generously with micro-sliced Chia Seeds

Fragrant Rice Soup with Chia Seeds and Crab Meat

Sauteed Grouper Fillet with Black Garlic and Asparagus with special Chia Seeds sauce

I really love how we can be creative with this superfood and have it incorporated into our daily meals. Click on the link here to find out more about Superior Chia.

Besides chia seeds, Superior prides itself in hand selecting only the best from bird’s nest houses in Malaysia. Swiftlet houses (家燕) are cleaned frequently to prevent contamination and birds forage for their own food and insects, ensuring each nest is created in the most natural state possible. Each bird’s nest is painstakingly cleaned manually by hand, using only distilled water. They are inspected for quality before being dried in a dehumidifier. After being soaked in distilled water, the nests are carefully shaped, dried for a second time and treated with UV light for a last stage of sterilisation. The final product is a natural, organic bird’s nest, free from any additives, chemicals or cleaning agents. Each nest receives a final quality check, ensuring its optimum colour, size, and shape- a fundamental criteria which contributes to its bite and springy texture after cooking.

Superior further sets itself apart with its transparency and uncompromising selection and cleaning processes. The company is HACCP (Food Safety According to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point System) certified, ensuring that each process, from source to product, is in compliance with the one of the highest levels of food and safety standards in the world.

Chilled Double-Boiled Superior Bird's Nest in Coconut Water served with Vanilla Ice Cream

We had chilled double-boiled Superior Bird's Nest in coconut water served with vanilla ice cream as dessert. You can see for yourself the quality of Superior Birds' Nest in the picture above. 

In fact, you can place their orders for bird’s nest or chia seeds online. Delivery can be made within 48 hours and is free for all orders above $75.

For those who want to enjoy the benefits of bird’s nest without the hassle of preparing the tonic, Superior’s double boiled bird’s nest (2 bowls for $158) is your go-to choice. Made by soaking dried bird’s nest in boiling water for an hour, it is gently double boiled for another hour before being naturally sweetened with rock sugar or honeycomb. You can also choose your preferred level of sweetness when ordering online. Each order of double boiled bird’s nest is delivered right to your doorstop in a porcelain vacuum flask that helps keep the tonic fresh, air tight and warm.

One of the best presents you could get for
your Moms this Mothers Day, perhaps?

Special Mother's Day offer! From now till 14 May 2017, enjoy two flasks of freshly prepared, double-boiled bird's nest at just $130, including delivery (U.P. $158).

Place your order at Use the promotional code "LoveMom17" to enjoy this special promotion.

“I personally believe that by eating well, you can live well and by taking care of your body you can in turn, take care of others. This is and always will be the core philosophy behind our brand.” 

Says Freddy Yap, CEO of Superior Brand.

Superior Brand - Finest Food Pte Ltd

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf All-Day Breakfast

[Media Invite]

I like Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL), not because of its tea or coffee, but its All-Day Breakfast! I refined my eating style in the recent years, nowadays I would skip dinner or eat light. Because of that, my breakfast the next day would be substantial. 

The CBTL outlet in basement of Suntec City, facing the wealth fountain

So glad to be alerted that CBTL has some new additions to their All-Day Breakfast menu and à la carte menu, so Serene and I went to check it out after our morning jog. And the new additions are: The Mediterranean Sandwich, Avocado Tuna Melt, Cold Pasta Salad with Turkey Ham, Smoked Chicken SaladSesame Dressing Chicken & Egg Sandwich, Honey Mustard Chicken Sandwich and Creamy Seafood Fusilli

I ordered The Mediterranean Sandwich while Serene had Creamy Seafood Fusilli. We shared the Smoked Chicken Salad.

The Mediterranean Sandwich $13.90

The presentation of the Mediterranean Sandwich may not look very appetising but the egg served in egg benedict style was really da boom. Even Serene who doesn't eat yolk commented it was nice. 

See the whole yolk!

The Mediterranean Sandwich uses Vienna bread as base and top it up with tomatoes, feta cheese spinach, eggs topped with hollandaise sauce, turkey ham and a side of mushrooms. If you love eggs, you would love this!

Creamy Seafood Fusilli ($14.90) 

Yup, Serene ordered Creamy Seafood Fusilli but it turned out as Creamy Seafood Spaghetti. We are not fussy bunch of people, so we didn't ask to have it changed. The Creamy Seafood Pasta (I shall change it to 'pasta' in this case) is made mustard cream sauce with ingredients like prawns, scallops and parmesan cheese. While the prawns and scallops were fresh, the parmesan cheese wasn't generous enough. The sauce was rich and creamy but pasta did not absorb the taste of the sauce, resulting it being blend. This dish can definitely be perfected.

Smoked Chicken Salad ($11.90) 

Serene and I shared this salad. The smoked chicken breast atop bountiful greens, cherry tomatoes, cranberries and almond flakes topped off with a palatable sesame dressing was a delightful appetiser. The added crunch from the roasted almond flakes, the tangy sweet from the cranberries and the sesame dressing worked together in perfect synergy. I would have wiped it clean if there were less food to finish up.

The new Mexican Chocolate Ice Blended® drink and Mexican Chocolate Latte (from $7)

Life A meal with friends is not complete without having dessert. So we ordered these 2 new Mexican Chocolate beverages. Serene enjoyed her much needed icy smooth cup of Mexican Chocolate Ice Blended® Drink after her morning run with me. As for me, I can't start my day without coffee, so this balanced blend between The Coffee Bean’s premium espresso and Mexican chocolate, the new Mexican Chocolate Latte simply hit me at the right spot. The roasted coffee beans, rich Mexican chocolate and earthy spice flavours fuse together to form an aromatic enchantment in a cup. If you like chocolate drinks or coffee and chocolate combined, do head down to CBTL for these. These 2 drinks are available till 24 May 2017 only.

A hearty brunch with Serene at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

Here are the 4 new additions which we did not try.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

Food We Ate In Ho Chi Minh, Saigon - Vietnam

We didn't capture much photos of our food, and I couldn't remember why too! But there are some restaurants and stall we went are highly recommended by TripAdvisor, so let me share some here.

On the first day we landed, we had a simple pho for lunch in a small family-run restaurant.

For dinner on the same day, we went Ngoc Suong Saigon, which is actually very near Fusion Suites Saigon, our hotel. It seems like a posh restaurant (in Vietname's standard) because we don't see that many customers inside. 

The Salmon Salad was quite nice.  They pan-fry the fish to add crispiness.

This crispy pork was a total dismay. The pork was tough and hard to chew on.

The grilled squids were lovely. It was the first plate to go empty.

The clams in soup was great too!

Another dismay was this plate of green. So tough to chew on.

This crab glass noodles was great! You have to order it!

Read about TripAdvisor's review on Ngoc Suong here.

Lunch on second day was a very late lunch because we went to Chu Chi Tunnel in the morning. We went to Song Ngu, which is also quite near our hotel for steamboat. It must be a popular lunch venue for businessmen and working class people, because we saw quite a few cluster of them having lunch here. The food here was indeed great!

Very fresh seafood

This plate of mixed vegetables didn't disappoint.

Read about TripAdvisor's review on Song Ngu here.

This is probably the only street food we tried. It was sugar biscuit wrapped in rice paper, pretty much like our traditional sugar biscuit in Singapore. But the Vietname version has added dried coconut stripes. The boy doesn't like dried coconut stripes so he only had one bite.

The night when we went Ben Thah Market we tried their hawker food. This stall that we eventually settled in served great grilled and barbeque seafood were delicious. The stall workers were super efficient in ushering customers to the respective tables, cleaning up the tables and serving food. They worked like an assembly line, each work had his/her designated tasks, yet they served with efficiency and pride. I wonder if the owner of the stall gives them profit sharing.

With this food post, I end the third instalment of our Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) trip. You may like to read the previous two instalments here:

Educational Trip to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Fusion Suites Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)