Starbucks Goes Hipster With Its New Mason Jars


By Cooking Panda

Starbucks is trying out a new look, it seems … by giving the mason jar a chance to shine like the hipsters. Customers in Singapore can now get their cold brew in one such jar, if they want to be cool.

Mashable reports that South Korea customers were blessed with Starbucks mason jars first, with a line of green-capped jars available to them in 2016. But Singapore’s mason jars of today come with black lids, apparently to match their fancier Reserve brand. I guess that’s what’s in right now.

The jars are marked with a Starbucks logo, and we think they’re probably great for the environmentally conscious consumers who don’t want to create more trash in the world. According to Seventeen, Starbucks has confirmed that the black-lidded jars are only available in Singapore right now (the green lids are still offered in South Korea). The jars are $8.50 or $5.90 if you buy yours filled with cold brew.

Just because you don’t have access to the mason jar glasses in the U.S. yet, doesn’t mean you have to settle for disposable plastic cups, so don’t get down. Sure, it’s disappointing that we don’t get the trendy new jars (unless they plan to surprise us for summer?), but Starbucks still sells lots of different to-go cups and mugs that can be re-used. So that’s what we’ll have to settle for using in the meantime. 

Who knows? Maybe they’re planning on giving us something even cooler and trendier than silly old mason jars. Maybe they’re giving us ombre mugs or something. That would be fun and different! Just keep your eye out for interesting new finds. I’m sure we’ll get something cool.

Also, don’t forget that we can still get that nice Reserve brand of cold brew with or without the mason jar mug. We don’t need a hipster mug to help us enjoy our coffee anyway. I’m happy enough just to have that yummy cold brew Starbucks is so great at making.

Not that it wouldn’t be nice to have a cool-looking glass …

Sources: Mashable, Seventeen / Photo Credit: Cheepeer/Instagram

Tags: cold brew, Mason Jars, singapore, South Korea, Starbucks
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Would You Drink A Cocktail With Ants In It? (Photos)


By Cooking Panda

If you found a ton of ants in your cocktail, you might run away screaming or dump your drink down the garbage disposal. But some people are paying $16 to down a drink full of insects.

Head over to Singapore’s Native bar, order the “Antz” cocktail and grit your teeth. Next thing you know, a yogurt and rum-based drink blended with local ants and topped with basil cubes and hulking, crunchy, black Thai ants atop a frozen leaf will materialize in front of you.

The bartender will probably instruct you to crunch the whole leaf (plus scary toppings!) in one bite before drinking the thick cocktail. You’ll wonder how you got into this mess, stare at your libation and get crunching.

You can thank Native founder and head bartender Vijay Mudaliar for the bizarre creation, something that he swears he didn’t come up with just to scare people. Mudaliar told Mashable that he crafted the drink as an homage to Brazilian double Michelin-starred chef Alex Atala, who has been known to charge lots of money for curious customers to gnaw on raw Amazonian ants, which have hints of ginger, atop pineapple cubes, according to the Guardian.

If ants are a little scary for you, you can still order a bunch of non-insect drinks at Native. Mudaliar mixes most of the cocktails at his bar with traditional local ingredients to fit the Southeast Asian theme of his bar.

“It makes more sense for the bar to be Southeast Asian themed, because that’s what we’re familiar with,” he told Mashable. “So many bars (in Singapore) are like New York speakeasies, or New Orleans clubs — why don’t we do something we know?”

For the ant concoction, Mudaliar said that he tried around seven different types of ants before settling on sour Singapore weaver ants, which are full of Vitamin C and harmonize nicely with the yogurt and rum. But they don’t crunch very well, so he added the Thai ants as a garnish.

“Sometimes, little bits of the ant legs and parts get stuck in people’s teeth,” Mudaliar said.

Sources: Mashable, Guardian / Photo Credit: Ng Yi Shu/Mashable

Tags: ant cocktail, ant drink, singapore, unusual cocktail, weird food
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Order A Goblet Of Fire At This ‘Harry Potter’ Cafe (Photo)


By Cooking Panda

Sure, we “Harry Potter” fans have Wizarding World at Universal Studios and such to keep us pleasantly occupied in our ongoing fandom. But couldn’t there always be more?

According to Hello Giggles, there is more! There is now a “Harry Potter” cafe in Singapore called Platform 1094 (according to its address) that serves Harry Potter-themed dishes. Among those, the Goblet of Fire has seemingly become an instant hit. The drink is actually blue, and is served in a big goblet. It’s made with Bacardi rum infused with blue Curacao liqueur and a sprinkling of cinnamon on top to add the highly necessary flare.

The idea of such a cafe comes from the people of Fresh Fruit Labs, who, according to Travelers Today, call themselves “elves.” The dishes served are of a Singaporean nature, but with a Harry Potter-themed twist. Some of the menu items include Crab Claw & Roe Tortilla Wrap, Giant’s Breakfast, Grilled Chicken Tortilla and Plaited Brioche with Smoked Salmon. The more magically themed drinks and dishes include Liquid Luck Pineapple, Truffle Wizard’s Cup, Elixir of Life and Bloodberry Dessert.

When walking inside this cafe, you’ll see a cabin-themed interior with stags on each chair to represent Harry’s patronus. Chandeliers, magic wands and witch-hat props complete the magical decor. Apparently, the cafe management suggests that Platform 1094 is only available to magic-users. Those who do not possess the gift are unable to see it, thanks to a magical aura of protection placed over it. It seems more of us are likely to have the gift than we originally might have thought. How convenient!

Head over to this quirky new spot right away, if you can, if only to sample that amazing-looking Goblet of Fire drink. Who knew that adding cinnamon — I mean, magic powder — to such a combination would start a fire? The entire restaurant looks spectacular, but according to its Facebook page, Platform 1094 gets booked pretty quickly. If you plan on being in Singapore anytime soon, I’d suggest calling way ahead.

Sources: Hello Giggles, Travelers Today / Photo Credit: The Smart Local

Tags: cafe, Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter, Platform 1094, singapore, Theme Cafe
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This Extravagant, Diamond-Studded Meal Could Be Yours — For $2 Million


By Cooking Panda

If you are anything like me, the second you decide to order either an appetizer or dessert at a moderately priced restaurant to accompany your main meal, you’re no longer just going out to dinner — you are indulging; splurging on something special; treating yo’self.

So if that’s a lavish gourmet experience, what do we call an eight-hour, 18-course modern Asian degustation dinner (with the included gift of a 2.08-carat diamond ring)?

Apparently, the prospect is so extravagant that it doesn’t even have a name — but it’s real, ya’ll. For a cool $2 million, the World of Diamonds — makers of The Jane Seymour Vivid Blue Diamond Ring — is curating a special night for two high-spending diners.

The entire repast is an 8-hour retreat which includes a helicopter ride over Singapore, a chauffeured Rolls-Royce drive, a luxurious cruise journey, 10,000 fresh roses decorating the rooftop of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, which will set the stage for an 18-course dinner at Singaporean restaurant Ce’ La Vi, with a 360-degree view of the city, 44- and 55-year-old vintage wines, and The Jane Seymour Vivid Blue diamond ring.

“This is the most expensive dining experience in the world, and the most lavish one possible,” Karan Tilani, Director of the World of Diamonds Group, told Forbes. “As a diamond mining group, we recognize that Ce’ La Vi is a diamond in the sky. [We expect] the response will be beyond overwhelming, but it’s only two diners who will eventually have the privilege.”

Forget forks and knives; Forbes reports that the utensils of choice for this meal will be diamond-studded chopsticks with the diners’ names engraved on them, and they will be seated in custom-made furniture configured to their tastes.

At midnight, the blue diamond ring — which is one of a kind, and designed to celebrate award-winning actress Jane Seymour — will be presented, along with Louis XIII de Remy Martin cognac. A display of extravagant fireworks will accompany the ceremony.

“If you consider all of this, then the dinner is a bargain indeed,” says Tilani.

Sound affordable and worth it? Tilani urges all who are interested to apply, but warned that “…because WOD Group supplies to luxury design houses and reputable diamond jewelers, we may have to offer our existing clients priority for The Jane Seymour ring, and therefore, priority over the dining experience. However, we still welcome additional interest globally.”

Source: Forbes / Photo credit: Forbes

Tags: singapore, The Jane Seymour Vivid Blue Diamond Ring, World of Diamonds
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McDonald’s Is Adding Some Serious Flavor To Its Fries


By Cooking Panda

McDonald’s tailors its menus to the tastes of each country it serves — that’s how the restaurant chain maintains its global popularity. 

In Singapore, the company has taken the classic curly fry and added a regional twist: crab-flavored seasoning. 

Picture this: a gloriously grease-stained bag of your dearest fried friends, on which you sprinkle a generous dusting of salt-pepper-crab mixture. You shake it all together. The seasoning perfectly coats each fry, fresh (*fresh?*) from the kitchen.

You pluck a fry from the hot bag, bite through the crispy potato exterior, burn your tongue a little but don’t care that much, continue chewing and reveling in starchy goodness, and then the seasoning finally resonates. And it’s a dang party.

Unfortunately for most of the world, the Twist & Shake Fries — or as I prefer to call them, Crabby Tater Tornadoes — are only featured on the Singapore menu. We’re also missing out on spicy nuggets, mini fried banana pies and salted egg yolk chicken burgers.

Feeling left out of the flavored fry game? If the answer is yes and you live in California, McDonald’s recently began serving garlic fries at several locations. You’re welcome.

Sources: Brand Eating, Fortune / Photo credit: McDonald's Singapore via Brand Eating

Tags: curly fries, fries, mcdonald's, singapore
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New 24-Hour Hello Kitty Cafe Lands At The Changi Airport In Singapore


By Cooking Panda

Alright, Hello Kitty fans. If you’ve been saving up for a vacation, we have just the spot for you.

The first ever Hello Kitty cafe has just landed (get it?) at the Changi Airport in Singapore — and what’s more, it is open all the time.

As of 10:30 a.m. on May 12, a crowd of more than 100 people were lined up in anticipation of the cafe’s 11:30 a.m. opening, Channel News Asia reports.

The 24-hour cafe, which is named the Hello Kitty Orchid Garden, is located in the public area of Terminal 3’s Arrival Hall.

The cafe sits 84 people, and has a take-out counter as well as a retail corner which sells Hello Kitty merchandise. The cafe’s theme, according to Metro, is Orchid Garden.

Fans who visit the cafe will dine in a garden-themed space, filled with various plants and statues of Hello Kitty holding bouquets of flowers.

As predicted, many of the food options will come in the shape of the famous Kitty herself, or else come emblazoned with a picture of her likeness.

For instance, according to Malay Mail, The Let’s Do The Salsa (~$12) is “a piquant shredded chicken sandwich with focaccia bread shaped like — you guessed it — Hello Kitty.”

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Sources: Metro, Channel News Asia, Malay Mail / Photo credit: Joyce Fang/StraitsTimes

Tags: airport, cafe, hello kitty, singapore
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