Chocolat N Spice’s Hummingbird and Pistachio Lover Cake – The Happiest Valentine’s Day to You All!

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My first and best discovery yet of 2015, Chocolat N Spice, this morning once again surprised me with a cake still rarely found in Singapore and at an unbelievable price point. A Hummingbird Cake was the last cake on earth I expected to find at a hawker stall/ bakery in Shunfu Market. At $5 a slice or $40 for the whole cake, the discovery made my morning!

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Less popular than its cousin, Red Velvet, this U.S. Southern classic consists of a banana cake fused with coconut and chunks of pineapple paired with cream cheese frosting. Wonderfully tropical and light, it’s one of my favorites that I have baked many atimes and converted many to the flavour at the same time. So far in Singapore I can only think of one other place that serves up this flavour: Cake Spade in Tanjong Pagar. So you can imagine how ecstatic I was when I saw this huge cake bordered with crushed walnuts priced at $5 a slice. I had to get it! Even if it meant after a huge plates of noodles and an embarrassing amount of deep-fried accompaniments.

On first bite we all squealed out “so fresh!” It really was. The clean crisp moist texture and flavours were unmistakable. Replacing the cream cheese frosting with a cost-saving airy-whipped cinnamon buttercream, thinly spread around the sponge cake and in between three layers. This could not have been more appreciated especially by my 1.5 years old nephew who would not stop picking at it. Generous chunks of pineapple found throughout and crunchy walnuts perfectly contrasted the banana sponge cake and buttercream.

Yet another wonderful find. But wait there is more. Look what I got for lunch from the same stall?!

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A slice of Pistachio Lover y’all! Because it’s Valentine’s Day and this singleton needs a lover. Chocolat N Spice certainly hit a pistachio-home-run with three layers of pistachio sponge interspersed with chunks of the same nut to provide texture. To bring home the message that this was a pistachio cake, a beautiful green and thin pistachio buttercream and the best part of it all: salty pistachio crumble bordering the entire cake.

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If you can finish this mammoth slice, be prepared for a pistachio-coma to hit you swiftly. I did and am now deeply worried for myself. I have better advise my parents to eschew this hawker centre for breakfast here on now if I want to save my waistline!

Before signing off, I wish you the happiest and most loving Valentine’s Day ever! ❤

Jing Hua Xiao Chi @ Palais Renaissance: The Classics Still SO Good!

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Jing Hua Restaurant has been around for 26 years(!) and specializes in variations of Chinese Dumplings and an uncommonly-seen Chinese Pizza. A deep-fried Pastry in the shape of a pizza and stuffed with minced pork and chives – which were effectively fillings of the dumplings. It was also the first place when I tried and swiftly fell in love with Crispy Red Bean Pancake.

I have not been to Jing Hua in the longest time. On my last trip to the main-Neil Road branch years back, right after it went through a makeover, I found the dumplings a little lacklustre and uninspirational. Fast forward to the past Sunday afternoon, my family hit up the Palais Reinanssance branch and I am DELIGHTED to tell you all that their famed dumplings were BETTER THAN EVER.

That afternoon we ordered our collective weight’s worth of food as our love for Chinese dumplings were reinforced and strong! Not every dish on the menu was excellent but the stalwarts were stellar: Pan Fried Mixed Seafood & Pork Dumplings 三鲜锅贴 (addictive little nuggets. It was hard to stop at one or three!), Chinese Pizza 三鲜盒子 (solid pastry), and Mixed Seafood & Pork Dumplings 三鲜饺子 (healthier steamed dumplings but STUFFED with meat and so delectable). My one true love, Crispy Red Bean Pancake, went straight to my heart with the generous thick and sweet red bean paste contained by a doughy fried pancake.

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They were in short, quite splendid.

New dishes (I never saw in the Neil Road branch pre-makover): long sticks of minced pork and green bean-stuff Fried Spring Rolls will see us return for more. Crispy Mixed Seafood & Pork Dumplings 三鲜饺子, fried version of the Mixed Seafood & Pork Dumplings 三鲜饺子 was equally as appetizing. Especially when the hot pork-broth bursts out when bit into. The little Rice Dumplings Balls filled with an assortment of Red Bean, Peanut and Sesame, made most of us happy campers.

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There were some dishes we definitely won’t be ordering again: Noodle with Minced Pork & Soya Bean Sauce 炸酱面, Noodle with Sliced Pork & Sichuan Vegetable 搾菜肉丝面, and Green Vegetables. Them three were terribly under-seasoned and lacked “oomph”; we collectively agreed these dishes could be better. If I had to douse the noodles with the complimentary black vinegar, there is no point isn’t it? Still this ONLY meant the next time, we will skip them and have more room for the sublime stalwarts.

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One of the best part of the Palais branch is the modern and fine decor. Located in Orchard Road but surprisingly quiet on a Sunday afternoon, I foresee being loads of visiting-friends to Jing Hua. It makes for the perfect respite from the hear outside and delicious grub, yeah can’t wait to plan my return trip!

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And that Crispy Lotus Seed Pancake is next on my Jing Hua-bucket list! 🙂

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Chocolat N’ Spice Tarts: First Amaze Discovery of 2015

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Hello friends and the happiest 2015 to you! Day three of the new year saw me accompany my parents for breakfast and swiftly ruin my traditional new year resolution: to lose weight. At Shunfu Market, a casual walk around the hawker centre led me to the display of the neatest-piped Meringues atop a tart. Famed for their muffins, I was surprised to find tart offerings at Chocolat N’ Spice. The price point of $3.50 each was too irresistible! I could not stop myself from purchasing a Lemon Meringue AND enquiring about other flavours offered. A Crème Brûlée was still being prepared in the kitchen so I milled around for a few minutes while the sugary tops were getting their torched treatment.

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My parents and I were impressed by two of Chocolat N’ Spice’s tarts! We surrendered at first bite. I was seduced by the Crème Brûlée crackly caramel top contrasted beautifully with the smooth creamy filling. While Mama could not get enough of the sharp gooey lemon filling. We both agreed the sturdy buttery tart shells were simply lovely. Now we have plans to throw a party and serve up these tarts.   

Tarts that look cafe-standard but at hawker prices, what’s not to love? What a great start to 2015.