Forget Tokyo, Niigata Is The Next Top Japan Travel Destination!

Where and what is Niigata, Japan all about exactly, you might ask?

Niigata prefecture prides itself for its agriculture and breathtaking scenery. Geographically blessed with a location near the coast, tourists will be able to enjoy the best seafood and local delicacies too!

There is definitely a whole lot to eat, see and do!

Hello Niigata

As Niigata is a relatively new tourist destination, Mediacorp TV Channel OKTO aired a two part series, Hello Niigata, that provided a peephole into the region’s best-kept secrets.

[caption id="attachment_21166" align="alignnone" width="960"] Autumn in Niigata[/caption]

The hosts chat up Niigata locals and provide tips on where to go, what to do and where to eat.

[caption id="attachment_21167" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Winter in Niigata[/caption]

To celebrate the preview of Hello Niigata, we were treated to a 5 course meal at Tomi Sushi that showcased Niigata’s culinary flair.

Niigata cuisine at Tomi Sushi

If you would like to have a taste of Niigata cuisine before travelling there, we’ve got you covered!

You can have an authentic gastronomic experience right here in Singapore. Tomi Sushi specialises in Niigata cuisine and gets all their fresh ingredients from Niigata as well.

Also, Tomi Sushi uses 100% Niigata KOSHIHIKARI rice and a special blend of soy sauce specially curated for the restaurant. The first Tomi Sushi was opened in Niigata and presently, they have opened 3 branches in our little red dot (Millenia, Novena, Katong).

These are the famous Le Lectier pears which were impossibly sweet and juicy.

They are also hard to get your hands on as they are only in season in November and December, a good justification of its nickname, “the Phantom Pear”.

While enjoying our meal, they screened the Hello Niigata trailers. We had a first hand experience trying the highly popular KOSHIHIKARU rice (the rice balls made an excellent pairing with sake!) from Niigata.

The owner of a rice farm in Niigata was present to explain all about KOSHIHIKARU rice.

It was exceptionally inspiring to meet the men and women behind the companies in the flesh, speaking passionately about their craft.

Many of the farms were passed on from one generation to the next so you can only imagine the amount of effort and sheer hard work it takes to shoulder family tradition and legacy!

Hello Niigata – Catch Up On The Two Episodes On Toggle

If you are planning a trip to the land of the rising sun, Niigata is a must visit destination.

[caption id="attachment_21168" align="aligncenter" width="796"] Nagaoka Festival At Niigata[/caption]

You can discover their unique culture and harvests, such as their famous rice, sake, tea and seafood. We can attest to that from our delightful experience at Tomi Sushi!

To find out more about Niigata, you can also watch the two part series on Toggle to witness everything Niigata has to offer.

[caption id="attachment_21169" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Cherry Blossoms in Takada, Niigata[/caption]

Both episodes delve into the lives of the natives where the hosts will get up close and personal with them, giving us an insider view to their hometown.

If you are wondering where the Le Lectier pears originated from, the series will take you on a tour of Shirone’s Kingdom of Fruit. It’s a garden that cultivates high quality fruits such as Le Lectier pears and Echigo Hime (Princess Strawberries) each season.

Besides the realm of culinary tourism, you will be exposed to other recreational activities. For example, Sado Island (an island within Niigata prefecture) is known for Sado Nishimakawa Gold Park and the preserved Shukunegi Village. At this village, you can explore traditional merchant houses and row your own tub boats.

[caption id="attachment_21170" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Tub boat rowing[/caption]

To help satiate your wanderlust tendencies, definitely watch Hello Niigata on Toggle. You’ll see a part of Japan that many tourists may not know about.

Who knows, you might be well on your way to booking your plane ticket to Niigata, Japan sooner than you think!

Hello Niigata on Toggle

7 Nearby Travel Destinations To Consider For Your 2017 Long Weekends!

Kyoaji Dining: Affordable & Exquisite Japanese Food With A Surprising Twist!

If any of you were disappointed by the closure of Fukuichi Dining at TripleOne Somserset, you’ll be relieved to know that Kyoaji Dining is helmed by the same team.

Executive Chef John Phua, with over 30 years of experience in Japanese cuisine, continues to wow our taste buds with a thoughtfully conceived menu featuring familiar and well-loved dishes!

The rebranded name “Kyoaji” literally translates to “A taste of Kyoto”. Situated on the 4th level of the newly revamped wing of Centrepoint, Kyoaji Dining promises to serve authentic Japanese fare at reasonable prices. Read on for our experience!

1) Kani Tofu

A unique spin on the traditional chawanmushi, the Kani Tofu (tamago with tofu) is topped with a decadent layer of century egg puree with juicy crab meat!


The cold handmade tofu is incredibly silky while the liberally sprinkled Tobikko packs a subtle crunch with each bite.

Crab Meat Bean Curd ($6)

2) Shio Maguro Aburi Maki

Tired of the usual salmon aburi maki dominating the menu in almost every Japanese restaurant?


We have here a beautifully presented seared white tuna roll topped with Tobikko and green caviar.

We would aburi everything if we had it our way! Nice and smoky, each thick slice of tuna, wrapped around a california roll base, was fully savoured.

Seared White Tuna Roll ($22)

3) Caterpillar Maki

If you thought that Japanese food automatically translates into Insta-worthy captures, the Caterpillar Maki is a great example.


The avocado slices give the illusion of a caterpillar coming to life – it even has eyes (made of Tako) to boot!

On a low carb diet? This maki is made without rice.

Pop each little segment of the caterpillar body in your mouth and be overwhelmed from the freshness of each light bite.

Avocado roll ($20)

4) Ebi Almond Tempura 

If you’re a fan of almonds, this dish might just hit the spot! Here’s an ebi tempura with extra crunch and flavour.


Each tempura is generously coated with sliced almonds and deep-fried to perfection. We liked how the nutty profile complemented the sweeetness of the prawns. The batter coating was not too thick too!

Deep Fried Prawns with Almonds ($15)

5) Fukiyose Beinsu

This is one of Chef’s Phua’s signature creations.

A whole eggplant is sliced and stuffed to the brim with a seafood lover’s dream.


The fresh scallop and prawns are coated with a thick, savoury base braised with Japanese soya sauce, mirin and sake. Expect to pick up light notes of yuzu as well. This is one said to be one of their top signature dishes. A must-try!

Egg Plant with Seafood ($25)

6) Fagura Chawan Mushi

Kyoaji Dining sure knows how to get their chawanmushi right- They have an entire menu page dedicated to this particular dish.


This silky steamed egg custard is layered with foie gras liver sauce and cubes (an elevated version of the common chawanmushi) stole the show. The liver sauce tasted almost caramalized and gave the chawanmushi a lot more depth in flavour. The foie gras cubes were oh so sinful, but extremely satisfying.

Goose Liver Steamed Egg ($25)

If you were a fan of Fukuichi Dining, expect to find your favourite Japanese dishes resurrected at Kyoaji Dining. Have a look at their set lunches, they are affordably priced as well!

To celebrate the opening of their new restaurant, you can enjoy 15% of your total bill, valid till 30th November so head on down soon! We know, good news and great food have to be shared.

This was an invited food tasting session.

Kyoaji Dining
Address: 176 Orchard Road #04-17/18 The Centrepoint
Opening hours:
For lunch, Monday – Friday: 11.30 am-3pm (last order at 2.30pm)
For dinner, 5.30pm – 10.30pm (last order at 10pm)
Sat, Sun & PH: 11.30am – 10.30pm (last order at 10pm)
Website: Facebook, Instagram

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Want A Chance To Literally Eat Your Feelings? Shangri-La’s The Table Is Your Answer!

With the latest initiative by Shangri-La‘s Golden CircleThe Table, you can let a delish meal take you back to a particular moment in time you have once relished.

Eating your favourite food is a multi-sensorial experience that can evoke endless emotions and memories. We’re sure you feel the same with, for example, your childhood food. What do you feel now that you are thinking of it?

The Table

Recognising the emotional experiences behind eating, The Table pushes the boundaries. Their

With The Table, you can literally eat according to your feelings, and to your whim and fancy!

Moods At The Table

Culinary choices are categorised under five moods (Elegant, Intimate, Upbeat, Chill, and Adventurous), and you can certainly trust that your desired dining experience will be met!


You can also filter through the various restaurant and bar options by curated experiences, local offers and member benefits!

Our Experience

We had the privilege of experiencing each curated mood with its accompanying dish and drink pairing. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect! We’ll only feature three of the five different moods we’ve tried.

We’ll only reveal the ‘mood’ of the dish at the end, let’s see if you can guess the dishes’ moods right!


If you’re slightly more daring with your food, a fusion meal would definitely tickle your fancy.


Sea urchin crab chawanmushi topped with a chilli crab toast by Executive Chef Frederick Kho of Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore.

This tasty starter highlights the great flavours of the sea. The combination of local flavour from the chilli crab and the creaminess from the sea urchin over a chawanmushi bed certainly pleases the taste buds.


The answer’s adventurous!


On a date and want to impress your other half? You won’t go wrong with a classic dish of succulent steak and creamy foie gras!


Wagyu, foie gras, crushed potatoes, spinach by Executive Chef Franco Brodini of Shangri-La Hotel Singapore.

This dish was paired with an earthy glass of bordeaux, a quintessential steak wine.


The answer’s elegant!


Packaged oh-so-perfectly in a heart-shaped box topped with a striking red bow, this is certainly a romantic dessert!


Verbena, greens, buckwheat, lime caviar, white peach by Area Executive Pastry Chef Herve Potus.

The evening concluded with a beautiful landscape of sorbet lined with intricate clusters of verbena and greens. It was served on a paper thin layer of dark chocolate that provided a slightly bitter counter-balance of flavour.


The answer’s intimate!

About This Loyalty Programme

The Table by Golden Circle is a new food and beverage loyalty program that offers unparalleled benefits to members who dine at Shangri-La properties all over the world.


Fully integrated with Shangri-La’s current Golden Circle loyalty program, members are offered redemptions and access to special offers, food experiences and exclusive events.

If you want to find out more about the artisans behind your meals, seasonal menus and special offers, you can visit their

The next time you’re having difficulties choosing a place simply to dine out or exclusively for a special occasion, take a quick second to figure out what mood you’re in (while earning points in the process!) and enjoy your epicurean experience. Cheers!

This was an invited food tasting session. This article is brought to you by Discover SG x Shangri-La.

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Singaporean Men Not Creative? These 7 Tearjerking Wedding Proposals Prove Otherwise

Every woman dreams of a fairytale wedding, but let’s be real, a magical wedding proposal is just as, if not more meaningful. After shedding a tear or two (okay fine, I might have bawled my eyes out), I’ve rounded up 7 wedding proposals so good you can’t say no.

These proposals will leave men aspiring to be like their successful male counterparts, and women yearning for their time to shine. Hold back the waterworks. For all you hopeless romantics, you’ve been duly warned.

1. For The Adrenaline Junkie Couple

Bring your relationship to even greater heights with a wedding proposal executed mid-air. This lucky lady was whisked off to Macau where her fiancé defied gravity and the odds to plan this groundbreaking feat at the world’s highest bungee jump.

If you reckon your partner’s a full-fledged thrill seeker, an adventurous wedding proposal could be the perfect stepping stone.

2. Killing 2 Birds With 1 Stone

Tip #1: A birthday celebration could be a great decoy that will keep your future missus from guessing her surprise. In this case, a beachside staycation + romantic photo montage + gathering of friends and family seem to be the perfect equation for a successful surprise proposal!

3. Whose Proposal Is It?

Tip #2: Better yet, falsely lead her on so she’ll believe that her best friend’s the one getting hitched. We all know planning a proposal is no easy task. Sometimes, we need all the help we can get; even if some form of deception has to be involved. The look on your partner’s face will be priceless.

4. The Unlikely Star Of The Movie

Not every guy has the opportunity to star in a movie and propose to his long-term girlfriend ALL at the same time. But if you do, definitely take a page out of Sezairi Sezali’s playbook. The winner of Singapore Idol 3 popped the question on the last day of filming for the SG50 movie, 1965.

5. #NetflixAndPropose

I’d like to call this an elevated and monogamous version of #NetflixAndChill. All you HIMYM fans who have watched all 9 seasons would appreciate all this effort! Taking inspiration and reenacting certain scenes from your partner’s favourite TV series can bring your wedding proposal to the next level.

6. Merlion Park Flashmob Proposal

Hours of dance practices and rehearsals definitely paid off. All that effort coupled with a killer opening line makes the proposal a success for this couple. You can’t possibly say “No” to an innovative flashmob dance proposal at one of Singapore’s most scenic locations.

7. #TBT Proposal

Take a walk (or in this case, bus ride) down memory lane as this wedding proposal combines elements of nostalgia and sheer thoughtfulness. Having his fiancée communicate on IRC was a cute touch. Having problems deciding on the ideal date to propose? Learn from these childhood sweethearts. The happy couple got engaged on the very same day they became official 12 years ago.

If you are thinking of planning THE best wedding proposal for your better half, hopefully, these 7 perfectly orchestrated ones will inspire some of you to up your proposal game. Make the unromantic “Want to BTO?” proposal a thing of the past! You are welcome, ladies.

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