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Featuring the Best

The Simplest Aphrodisiac: Best of the Year 2010

31 December 2010

2010 was a great year for this food blog, with a comfortable crop of over 200 food-related posts and hundreds more of pictures. It was also good that I was able to travel overseas more often this year, and in so doing got to see more of the world beyond Singapore and to eat more of what these amazing countries have to offer. Extra kilos aside, it was a lot of loving and pampering, but in a way that was happily shared with my fellow bloggers, friends and family. So as a toast to all the delightful and delicious memories of 2010, let me present to you The Simplest Aphrodisiac's best of the best of the year!

Best Meal of 2010: Otto Ristorante

It took a long while before we finally met, but it was well worth the wait and was truly a case of love at first bite. With the most amazing Boston Lobster pasta and the most divine crème brûlée that I could ever ask for, Otto Ristorante is the perfect choice for this blog's top position for 2010. [Review]

First Runner-Up: Mellben Seafood ~ Fresh, spicy and awesomely addictive, this is classic chilli crab at one of its finest. Just a little feistier and this would have been flawless. [Review]

Second Runner-Up: The Dunearn ~ A little sanctuary close to the Botanic Gardens, The Dunearn delights with its affordable set menus and its tranquil ambience. While monthly-themed menus may bring up hits and misses at times, this is still one place that is guaranteed to please your palates in one way or another, or more. [Review I & II]

Best Meal of 2010 (Overseas): Il Ristorante Trussardi Alla Scala & Cèpe

The force in the Italian is strong indeed. Coming in joint firsts, Il Ristorante Trussardi Alla Scala and Cèpe show how one cuisine, whether done in fine-dining or in pure simplicity, can produce equally fantastic results. While Trussardi impresses in overall dining experience, Cèpe scores on the perfect pasta. For that, they both share the top spot. [Review I & II]

Second Runner-Up: Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant ~ Exquisite Peking roast duck, and quite possibly the best there is in Beijing. Have it in a hearty pancake roll, or better, let it melt decadently in your mouth. Gone to heaven and back in a single night. [Review]

Best Lunch of 2010

No surprises, Otto Ristorante claims this spot as well for all the charms that it had entrapped me with. No doubt more romantic and intimate in the evenings, this lovely eatery is also great for peaceful and leisurely lunches. [Review]

First Runner-Up: Black Sheep Cafe ~ This was where I savoured the best duck confit that I've had in the year, trouncing the more established brand names that just can't seem to hold up to something so immacutely done, from the perfectly crisp skin to the absolutely tender meat and to the tantalising apple rosti. Brilliant. [Review]

Second Runner-Up: PS Cafe @ Orchard Palais ~ Good burgers make my day. Awesome burgers, on the other hand, make the list of the best of the year. Another wagyu burger that deserves only the highest of praises. [Review]

Best Dinner of the Year: Mellben Seafood

It took me a while to decide on Mellben Seafood's more than stellar feature in this list for 2010, but I shall insist that sublime Singapore-style butter, pepper and chilli crabs deserve some of the limelight. Contrary to some remarks, service here was good and waiting times were pretty tolerable. Just focus on the crabs and you should be quite delighted. [Review]

First Runner-Up: The Dunearn ~ Praiseworthy main courses and delectable desserts are usually the order of the day, but you will be surprised by how delicious some of the appetisers can be as well. Nevertheless, always leave more room for desserts. [Review I & II]

Second Runner-Up: Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck ~ This is the closest that I've come to authentic Peking duck in Singapore, and if I could tell a little secret, this was confirmed by a couple of officials from the Chinese Embassy here as well. If space permits, do try some of the other à la carte dishes on the menu, they are worth every cent you pay. [Review]

Best Dessert of the Year: Frigidarium

Fabulous gelato is hard to come by in this part of the world, but in Frigidarium we've ourselves a true gem. While it did well in core flavours like hazelnut and pistachio, it impressed even more in its innovative creations like sakura. I'm hungry just thinking about it. [Review]

First Runner-Up: Laurent Bernard Chocolatier ~ If you like your desserts in chocolate, you would adore Laurent Bernard to bits. Soufflé, tart, cake, ice-cream, pralines - you name it I love it. Chocolate desserts at their finest. [Review]

Second Runner-Up: Tampopo Deli ~ In particular, Tampopo's famed cream puffs, which has the smoothest and richest cream custard gloriously speckled with vanilla beans. Tastes even better when chilled; it's like having custard ice-cream in a soft puff! [Review]

Best Find of the Year: K-Ki

My love for K-Ki is immeasurable, and it leads the pack in this category by a long stretch. Delivering some of the lightest and most delicate cakes that you can ever possibly find, this is a little bit of heaven right here in Singapore. Antoinette, Mont Blanc and Kinabaru are long-time favourites. [Review I & II]

First Runner-Up: Oasis @ Grand Hyatt Singapore ~ I've been to Oasis a couple of times after my initial food-tasting session and it is still consistently impressive. Grilled Salmon and beef ribs are amongst some of the most delicious on offer. [Review]

Second Runner-Up: Kichn ~ Comfort food at its best, and one that doesn't burn a hole in the pocket for such pleasures. The chicken cutlet spaghetti with chilli crab sauce is a definite must-try, while the house recommendation lychee, Oreo and Milo ice-blend is a sky-high sugar boost. [Review]

Best Pasta of the Year: Otto Ristorante

Sometimes, minor tweaks to a dish can do wonders. In this case, the hint of spiciness in Otto Ristorante's Boston Lobster pasta, possibly in an effort to appeal to the local clientele, worked perfectly for the appetite and the senses. [Review]

First Runner-Up: Pete's Place @ Grand Hyatt Singapore ~ Pete's rustic seafood pasta, known as the Cioppino, exudes a homely and heart-warming feel that is set to melt your heart and please your tummy. [Review]

Second Runner-Up: Cugini Trattoria ~ The seafood pasta is a Cugini signature that is not on the menu, and is one of the eatery's bestsellers. Compared to the other two above, this actually tastes the most authentic in terms of pasta flavour, but loses out in its ingredients. [Review]

Best Pizza of the Year: Al Forno

Wrapping up this list and proving once again that Italiano is the flavour of the year, Al Forno is my pick for the best pizza in Singapore. Here you can expect to find excellent wood-fired pizzas with the right amount of dough, cheese and ingredients, and with a good balance that one would find truly admirable. [Review]

First Runner-Up: Da Paolo Pizza Bar ~ Finishing a (very) close second, Da Paolo serves up simple but extremely satisfying wood-fired pizzas. The light but crisp crust on the sides is a joy to munch on. [Review]

Second Runner-Up: Cugini Trattoria Pizzeria ~ I never knew electric-oven pizzas can come so close to those from the wood-fired ovens, but this did and was quite terrific stuff really. With Cugini now having a wood-fired pizza branch in Sole Pomodoro, Singaporeans have one more reason to feast on this Italian icon. [Review I & II]

So there you have it - the favourites and the best this blog has to offer for 2010. You may have noticed that several of the entrants this year are classics, but old is gold and I love them all the same. And for those who disagree, please don't hold it against me (or my tastebuds), it's after all based on my likes and preferences and I'm sure we're unique in our own ways. Finally, here's a big thank you to each and every one of you for standing by me and believing in what this blog stands for, which quite simply is to share the love for food, and for eating! It's really all about enjoying the simple indulgences and pleasures of life :)

With all that said and done, here's wishing everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR! :)

Yours Sincerely,
Harris Chai
Author | The Simplest Aphrodisiac

Beijing, China: Air China Business Class Lounge

30 December 2010

Am I being too pampered? I hope not. But there wasn't anything else to do in transit anyway (I spent my remaining renminbi on a duty-free Tommy Hilfiger cologne) and I thought I might as well make use of my privilege access to the Star Alliance lounge. Two hours of waiting is a lot of time and I needed some place comfortable to rest my feet.

The Air China Business Class Lounge is a fairly new lounge in the Beijing Capital International Airport transit space, and is affiliated with the Star Alliance Group of airlines. It's relatively big when compared to other airport lounges, and has different areas with different types of seating to suit the traveler's needs, from the sofas to the armchairs and to the typical dining chairs.

For the hungry traveler, you have nothing to worry, there's plenty of food to go around (refreshed frequently by the hardworking staff) and to keep you filled. This central area in particular reminded me of a 7-11 convenience store, with a respectable array of drinks and snacks.

Cupcakes, sliced cakes, biscuits, cereals, nuts, cookies... You would have to be happy there's no overweight charge for passengers.

There's also cup noodles (which to my surprise was very popular with the people here; me, I didn't even want to pick it up!) and a bread tray for those who would like a bit more from the carbohydrate section.

I liked the mini fridges more because of the assortment of sandwiches (which interestingly were all Halal-certified) and chilled butter cakes. The healthy ones would be glad (or relieved) to know that there's also selections of cut fruits and yogurts available here.

My little stash for a late afternoon snack. One of er... many rounds; they're just great nibbles to have while wasting time away in transit. Besides, compared to the limited offerings at the Singapore SATS Lounge at Changi Airport Terminal 3, this was considered good stuff.

For those hungrier beings stuck in transit in Beijing, I'm happy to report that fuller meals can be found at the back of the lounge. I spotted dim sum as well as dishes like fried rice and spaghetti bolognese, but decided that I really wanted to snack more and stack up on the caffeine and sugars. Part of me was feeling tired but I couldn't let myself fall asleep, else I'm sure I would have overslept and missed my flight.

So I sat at the TV lounge with a couple other lone and bored travelers, cosied up on the spacious armchair, and thanked God and Steve Jobs for creating the Apple iPhone. As my fingers thumbed through the touch-screen, I thought about the holiday I've just had and realised that it was really more enjoyable than I had expected it to be. Travelling alone was an experience in itself, sure there were times when I wished there was someone beside me to share my thoughts and feelings, but at the end of it all it was really a trip where I had my own quality me-time. It gave me time to think about things that had happened the year before, things that have been swept away so conveniently because of studies and work, and things which I have now learnt to accept and move on from.

In more ways than one, I feel renewed, and genuinely happy.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

Beijing, China: Acting @ BCIA

29 December 2010

Traffic conditions at the city were smoother than I had expected, and so I arrived early at the Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA) for my flight back home. Since there wasn't much to do at the airport, the only option left was well... to eat. There's a number of Western establishments here, such as Starbucks, Burger King and Häagen-Dazs, but I eventually settled for a Muslim restaurant called "Acting".

Chicken Curry Rice

I was surprised that the Chicken Curry Rice was literally chicken curry rice in that the curry was mixed with the rice. I would have preferred it on the side. The curry was a bit too sweet for my liking, and seemed more like a Thai green curry or Malay lemak. It's an interesting dish, and I can't say I disliked it because I actually finished it all up, but it wouldn't be something that I would order again, if ever. I would presume there was loads of MSG, sugar and what have you in that bright green gravy. Not cheap either.


100RMB for the Chicken Curry Rice
30RMB for a glass of Coke

Level 2, Departure Hall
Beijing Capital International Airport
Beijing, China.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

Beijing, China: Cèpe @ Ritz Carlton

28 December 2010

My love for all things Italian knows no bounds. No matter where my journeys will take me, I am sure little Italy will have a special place in my heart. On food, there is nothing pretentious about the cuisine, for what you find is something both hearty and heart-warming, and one which takes pride in delivering richness in almost intricate simplicity. It is little wonder then that even in a roast duck-filled holiday in Beijing I craved for pasta, more than I thought I should and more than I expected myself to be, and for that reason alone I found myself in one of the best places in China that could possibly satiate that intimate longing - Cèpe at Beijing Financial Street's Ritz-Carlton.

Cèpe is a modern and posh Italian restaurant which prides itself in quality food and service that one would naturally expect from The Ritz-Carlton. Its setting, sleek and classy, is also at once cosy and even romantic, and is perfect for that special occasion you've been trying to plan all along. Pure love.

Bread Basket

There is nothing more welcomed than a warm Bread Basket to whet your appetite. From the all-too-familiar fragrant foccacia to the crisp breadsticks and to the soft and supple ciabatta, these breads were quite simply a delight to have and to indulge leisurely in.


The Amuse-Bouche arrived in the form of a smoked amberjack atop a small bed of greens and a piece of herb-crusted bread. It was delicate and pleasant.

Zuppa di funghi porcini con castagne e rustico di ragu’ d’anatra al tartufo
Porcini mushroom soup with chestnuts

That Cèpe was named after porcini mushrooms, a traditional mainstay in Italian cooking, was no coincidence or gimmick. Chef de Cuisine Eugenio Iraci takes this ingredient seriously, and even oversees a mushroom humidor which houses a premium selection of dried and fresh mushrooms. The marks of care and quality was immediately evident from the Zuppa di Funghi Porcini, as it bore the rich flavour of the mushrooms from the very first spoonful. Thick and savoury, this soup is undoubtedly one of the best mushroom soups that I've had the honour of trying.

Linguine con astice, pomodoro fresco e basilico
Linguini with Boston lobster, fresh tomato and basil

"Sorry, what was that?" I asked puzzledly, as the well-groomed Italian manager leaned forward and suggested something in Chinese.

"Oh," he blinked, and then grinned, "Would you like to have some black pepper?"

Chuckling, I nodded and watched as he sprinkled some pepper on the pasta. When he was done, I thought it would only be gracious to address him in a way more familiar to him.

"Grazie," I smiled.

Taking an about-turn, he looked at me and laughed, "I speak to you in Chinese, and you speak to me in Italian."

"But I'm not Chinese, I mean, I'm not from China," I explained, "I'm from Singapore".

"Ah, Singapore, you come all the way here? On holiday?"

"Yes, but I'm missing Italian food... a lot." Then I added, "Been having too much Peking ducks as well."

Nodding, he smiled, "Then you must enjoy dinner tonight."

And boy, did I.

The Linguine con Astice was nothing short of amazing. It may even be possible that this is even better than Otto Ristorante's rendition of the Boston Lobster Linguine. While similarly done to al dente perfection, the pasta scored on its rich sauce which was thick, sweet and most importantly of all, authentic. And although I ordered a serving for one, it seemed to me like a whole lobster was used, but not that I'm complaining of course. Firm, juicy and fresh, the chunks of lobster were simply delicious. At one glance this dish looks simple, but each forkful was a magical weave of flavours, and pure pleasure.

Apple Crumble Tart with Vanilla Gelato

"Can I get you some dessert then?" the same Italian manager offered as he wheeled in the dessert trolley.

I paused. Desserts are always difficult.

"I can't decide between the tiramisu and the apple crumble," I admitted, "But I'm leaning towards the crumble... I think."

"Ah, the apple tart." His eyes twinkled and he made small wave at the tart as if he was a magician. "I know the best way to eat it."

I knew what was the best way I would eat it, but I wanted to be sure. "Tell me."

Clasping his hands, he said, "I'll warm it up till it's really hot, and then put a delicious scoop of cold vanilla gelato on the side."

This man knows his desserts too.

"I would love that please," I smiled.

And true enough, the Apple Crumble Tart with Vanilla Gelato turned out to be a winner. The tart was crisp on its ends but not overly crumbly, while fresh caramelised apple slices adorned its middle like priceless gems on a crown. The cold and creamy vanilla gelato, so beautifully dotted with vanilla beans, matched the hot crumble tart wonderfully.


"Excuse me," I waved to the waiter, "You left out my dessert in the bill."

The Chinese waiter took a look at the bill, frowned and disappeared for a moment with it. When he returned, he was smiling, "Our manager would like you to know that desserts are on him. He hopes you liked the dessert."

"Oh, I loved it," I said, as I got up, "But please, let me see him so I can thank him personally."

In all Italian warmth and hospitality, the manager put whatever he was doing aside and shook my outstretched hand with both of his. "If you return to Beijing, please come again," he said, "And maybe, try more desserts next time."

We exchanged cards, and with all honesty I said I hoped to return to Cèpe someday. Turning the card, I looked for a name - Alberto Michieli. A true Italian gentleman indeed.

This was definitely one of my best meals of the year.

110RMB for the Zuppa di Funghi Porcini
325RMB for the Linguine con Astice
90RMB for a glass of Italian white wine
60RMB for a bottle of still water

* Prices subject to 15% service charge.

The Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street
Xicheng District, Beijing.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

Beijing, China: Serve the People

27 December 2010

Chairman Mao would have been proud. His famous maxim "Wei Ren Min Fu Wu", literally translated as "Serve the People", has been put to good use by a popular Thai restaurant in the embassy district. Even the taxi drivers seem to know this humble eatery by name, which is no small matter given how big Beijing is.

Serve the People is primarily staffed by Chinese youths with a fairly good command of the English language, and I suppose it's because it needs to cater to the foreigners and expatriates here who make up the majority of its clientele. Cheerful, friendly and eager to oblige, these youths are a good bunch to have compared to some of the grumpier old folks I've come across. Eye candies are available too, if I may just add ;)

My Southeast Asian-inclined tastebuds were yearning for something spicy, and a quick check on Lonely Planet and Frommer's brought this place up with some pretty encouraging reviews. Reading the menu I realised that it has almost everything that you could get in a decent Thai restaurant in Singapore, and perhaps even more. It also meant that hungry (and greedy) me wanted almost everything on the menu, but since I was alone I had to make some choices.

Chicken Green Curry

The Chicken Green Curry was surprisingly good. Instead of leaning towards the Beijing-penchant for having things on the sweeter side, this curry was addictively spicy and flavourful. The gravy was rich and thick and had all the spices necessary for a good Thai curry. Served hot-pot style, it was kept warm throughout.

The chicken slices were tender and came in a generous portion. I'm quite sure this serving was meant for two but I suppose I was more than hungry enough to have been able to finish it all up on my own. I honestly never thought I could find such a good rendition of a Thai green curry in the middle of Beijing, not by a long mile, so this truly exceeded my expectations.

Phad Thai

The quintessential Thai noodle dish. The Phad Thai from Serve the People was just average, and lacked the authentic flavour that could have been helped with some grated peanuts. A big mistake was for the chef to succumb to the typical Chinese practice of adding cabbage to stir-fried noodles, which was what he did here and which was just odd. If you put that aside, it's alright I suppose, sweeter than I would have liked but at least the green curry was around to save the day.

Coke Bottle

We have not seen this served in Singapore for a long while now, it's all cans and PET bottles on our side, but at least they're more easily recyclable than glass bottles. Coke, is well, coke - probably the best soft drink in the world that's all.

Very good. Friendly and polite.

About 60-75RMB for all three items.


No. 1 Sanlitun Xiwujie, Sanlitun,
Chaoyang District, Beijing.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

Beijing, China: Novotel Xin Qiao

During my week-long holiday in Beijing I stayed at the Novotel Xin Qiao hotel, located just next to the Chongwenmen subway station and a leisurely 10-minute walk to the prime Wangfujing shopping district. I would have opted for Novotel Peace Hotel for its slightly better location, but it was fully booked so I made do. Since I had the Accor Club Gold Card (which gives me a free upgrade in Accor Group hotels) Xin Qiao turned out to be quite pleasant indeed. For your info, everything you see here was paid for (and earned) by myself alone, so you're not going to see a "Thank you blah blah blah" at the end of this post. You wouldn't think I would do sponsored tours and holidays and then be reduced to a sad mouthpiece, would you?

Fish and Chips

The breakfast buffet at the hotel can be pretty crowded on weekends, so on one of the days I decided to just sit in a while longer and order something simple from the room service menu. And when the Fish and Chips arrived, I was delighted - it really looked more promising than what I had expected it to be.

The fish batter was light and crisp, while the meat inside was amazingly fresh and sweet. It was, in short, delicious, and nothing you would expect from a room service meal. Fries were piping hot and filling, but it was really the well-done fish that was the highlight of the morning. Yums.

98RMB for the Fish and Chips, including taxes.

Novotel Xin Qiao Hotel,
Chongwen District, Beijing.

Additional Comment
In terms of location, Novotel Xin Qiao has its strong points. It's situated between Wangfujing Street and Tian Tan (the Temple of Heaven), so you could walk to either of these places with ease. Tiananmen and Qianmen Dajie are relatively close as well, but if you're tired there's always the taxi and the meter would hardly move from its 10RMB flag-down rate. The subway station meanwhile is a few steps away from the hotel front lobby.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

Beijing, China: Forbidden City

26 December 2010

I love this picture so much I thought I should share it. I was so affected by the crowds at the Forbidden City you see, that I decided to pay the authorities an undisclosed amount to have the whole place to myself for a whole hour before sunset. The things that only money can buy.

It's a different feel altogether when you're alone in such a vast space, so full of history, culture and of course, mystery. As you walk through the courtyards and alleys there's this sense that you're being followed, or even studied, by the ancient owners, guards and maids who probably were amused by my less than regal dressing. And yet with the fullest respect that you accord to them, so would they to you.

At sunset, the Forbidden City has a unique charm of its own. A camera alone cannot fully capture the beauty of it all, as the sun rays fall gently on the bright rooftops, one-by-one. It's a lot more about feeling than trying to put everything onto a picture - what you need to do is to just stop, admire and feel.

As night drew closer, I took my leave, out to the common entrance where everyone else were gathered. Some huddled around a pushcart selling traditional Chinese sweets, no doubt buying a sweet treat or two to keep their spirits up as the cold winter evening dawned upon the city.

Me, I had a hot cup of instant Xiangyue Yuanwei Milk Tea, and it was at once refreshing, and comforting. Turning the cup, the image of S.H.E brought back memories of my secondary school and junior college days, when I was quite a fan actually. How time flies. Holding the cup in my gloved hands I walked on, further and further away from the halls of emperors.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

Beijing, China: Wangfujing Street

25 December 2010

Merry Christmas Everybody!

This is the closest that I could get in this Beijing series to show something vaguely Christmas-y to usher in the holiday weekend. Starbucks in Beijing is a godsend by the way, because China is still very much a tea country and you would be hard-pressed to find a good cuppa. It's a perfect thing to have really in the middle of a cold, winter night.

Wangfujing Street is one of the oldest streets in Beijing, but it would be difficult to appreciate this historical fact when it's now lined with modern and well-established brands like Tag Heuer, Cartier and Hermès. You can find your delightful Starbucks here as well. Come to think of it, they're all not even Chinese, but there is that one Li-Ning flagship store if you're interested.

Beside Wangfujing is the Donghuamen Night Market, a popular tourist haunt featuring rows of interesting food and souvenir stalls. Everything here is up for a bargain, and so what you pay is really how much you want to pay. The souvenir stalls are pretty much similar in that their wares are the same, but you'd be surprised at how different the prices can be. Food stalls meanwhile have typical things like soup noodles, skewered meat and stir-fried dishes. Else, for the more adventurous of course, there's some interesting delicacies on offer.

Would you like your scorpion small and soft, or big, hard and (I suppose) crispy? How about a once water-galloping seahorse? Or maybe something absolutely mushy inside, a larvae perhaps? Food blogger or not, I did not venture into the unknown. I paid too much for dinner to want to be reminded of how it looks like (in abstract form) on the floor.

Still more posts on Beijing till the end of the year. Stay tuned! :)

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

Beijing, China: Nan Luo Gu Xiang

24 December 2010

One of my favourite places in Beijing is Nan Luo Gu Xiang (or, Nanluoguxiang), a quaint little street packed with bars, café, restaurants, boutiques and souvenir shops. It's a blend of past and present with the iconic hutongs and siheyuan (courtyard houses) transformed into modern commercial spaces. In winter evenings its usually quieter and less crowded, which makes it all the more peaceful and alluring.

Do take your time to peer into the shops, they are all quite different and unique in their own ways, a far cry from those tourist markets where every stall seems to be selling the same things over and over again.

Food-wise I can't comment much, because other than the churros I had, it was just a cup of coffee and some cake - the latter of which was (terribly) forgettable. There's some eateries offering Western grub, while some others appear to be serving up a variety of Taiwanese snacks and sweet treats. Popular with the Chinese youths.

It was a cold night when the both of us were walking along Nan Luo Gu Xiang after our amazing dinner at Beijing Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant. I didn't think I could possibly fit in anything else after all that food, but I saw this inviting little stall and did a double-take. Maybe I'm not so full after all ;)

In such cold weather, how does piping hot Churros and hot chocolate sauce sound to you? Sounds absolutely awesome right! This was something I could not resist one bit, and it was a good thing I couldn't because boy was it good. The churros were crisp and light, while the smooth, hot chocolate sauce was just a delight to slurp on as it dribbled down the wrapper. Pure comfort food.

Continue your leisurely walk to Hou Hai, Beijing's popular waterhole that's packed with lively clubs and pubs. Be prepared for some touting, but don't feel pressured and just take your pick on the type of music that you like. If pubs and live bands aren't your thing, be entertained by some sensual belly dancing instead, I enjoyed that quite a lot too. Clubs are beyond me now, but I heard some are worthy pick-up joints for a midnight tryst or two.

And since it's Christmas eve today, here's wishing a
Merry, Merry Christmas to one and all! :)

Nan Luo Gu Xiang Street,
Dongcheng District, Beijing.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D and Canon Ixus 80 IS.

2009 ·*the simplest aphrodisiac by TNB | Official Singapore Food Blog.