Singapore Top Travel, Beauty, Food, Lifestyle Blog

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Taipei Jan'17: KKBOX Music Awards 2017 第12屆KKBOX風雲榜

KKBOXthe leading digital music subscription services provider in Asia, held its 12th Music Awards at Taipei Arena earlier this month and I was honoured to be invited as a VIP guest at the awards!

KKBOX Music Awards is one of the most important music events in Asia, with awards generated on the basis of 9 billion streaming and download clicks all over Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand and etc in the year.

It shows the trend of pop culture and the influence of music, making KKBOX Music Awards not only a representation of the voices of the audience, but also acting as an indicator of market trends, especially in the Chinese music field!

This year, we were super fortunate to have an AMAZING line-up of performances for KKBOX Music Awards 2017, with famous artistes such as Mayday (五月天), JJ Lin (林俊杰), Hebe Tian (田馥甄), Weibird (韋禮安), Eric Chou(周興哲), G.E.M(鄧紫棋), Joey (容祖兒), Andrew Chen (陳勢安), Jess Lee (李佳薇), Kenji Wu (吳克群) and many more!

Singapore to Taipei - Let's go!

Thanks to the team at KKBOX for putting us up at FX Hotel, great location and very comfortable beds!

We had no time to waste once we landed and checked in at the hotel, all freshened up and ready for the KKBOX Music Awards Before Party - Electronic Night Out!

We first had a lovely dinner at Italian-themed restaurant Vapiano, with a gorgeous view of Taipei 101.
Meet all these lovely folks from the Singapore press team as well as the charming and hospitable folks from KKBOX! From left to right: Boey, Tina, Bao Zhu, Kwee Siong, Miao Ying, Andrew, Sheryl, Elaine, YZ and myself :)

Before Party - Electronic Night Out

The Before Party - Electronic Night Out was fabulous!

The KKBOX Music Awards - Before Party kicked off on a high note with popular mandarin and international tracks featuring EDM by well-known DJs from Taiwan such as Machi DiDi (麻吉弟弟), DJ Cookie and DJ Noodles, as well as internationally acclaimed Diamonds DJs from Poland and Germany –

The DJs getting the crowd hyped up and grooving along to the beat!

It was a great warm-up to the KKBOX Music Awards and the crowd was totally loving the upbeat tracks and energy!

KKBOX Music Awards 2017 第12屆KKBOX風雲榜

I can't tell you how excited I was for evening to come so that I could attend the KKBOX Music Awards 2017! The moment we reached Taipei Arena, there were already huge crowds of people milling about outside the arena and you could sense the anticipation and palpable excitement in the air.

Look at the entire Taipei Arena packed to the brim with music lovers and KKBOX fans! Every year's KKBOX Music Awards is well-known for its stellar line-up of performers and this year's was no different.

Two exhilarated Mandopop-loving people waiting for the eargasm to begin!

Needless to say, we both enjoyed the entire show from start to end immensely and were blown away by the fantastic performances and singing! It was entertaining and engaging throughout, with humorous dialogues by well-known hosts Jiao Jiao and former S.H.E. member Selina who shared funny banter and kept us amused during the show.

I may be biased, but my favourite act was easily JJ Lin (林俊杰), who wowed the crowd with his impressive vocals and musical prowess! SINGAPORE REPRESENT!

The crowd went absolutely wild when a surprise act by JJ and three members of Mayday was unveiled - A stunning tribute to three legendary musicians, David Bowie, Prince and George Michael in the form of a medley that had everyone cheering and clapping at the end.

What a incredible collaboration! That rare collaboration by two A-list Mandopop acts from different record labels certainly stole the show away and brought the show to a whole new level of high.

The night ended with everyone's favourite band - Mayday as they brought the crowd to a rousing ovation and came back with two encore songs! It was a great end befitting a great night and everyone couldn't get enough of it, remaining energetic and exuberant throughout the entire three hours of performances!

We certainly enjoyed every single moment and can't wait for the next KKBOX Awards in 2018, I definitely want to be back in Taipei to witness the next show!

Opening act by Hebe 田馥甄

Andrew Chen (陳勢安) and Jess Lee (李佳薇) both impressed first with their own song, and then doing a cover/duet of each other's famous top hits 煎熬 and 天后!

韋禮安 also had the enthusiastic crowd cheering with his soulful renditions!

Another artiste I admire for her powerful vocals - G.E.M. (鄧紫棋)!

JJ Lin - The highlight of the show!

The surprise collaboration with Mayday that blew everyone away!

Rocking the stage with the age-old classic Careless Whisper. Phenomenal!

Joey Yung (容祖兒) could certainly groove to the beat and sing perfectly well - Both at the same time!

I was awed with the choreography and her sleek dance moves!

Indie group Under Lover - My first time hearing of them but they definitely have a strong presence in the local music scene.

玖壹壹 911 that brought a different genre to the table with their hip-hop rap infused with local 台語 and lingo.

兄弟本色 G.U.T.S was also another indie group that was very interesting with none of the good looks and "idol" traits you'd attribute to Mandopop artistes and yet it was clear that their music had a strangely addictive and enjoyable quality to it!

Of course, the one and only Mayday that got the entire crowd on their feet and singing along - These guys are unbelievable!! So fortunate that they decided to satisfy the audience with two encore songs that ended the night on an extremely high note!

We even got backstage for a mini press conference with Mayday and it being my first time seeing them in person, I was really really thrilled!

The entire KKBOX Music Awards was a treat for the senses from beginning to end, and I love how it celebrates social media and digital music streaming by recognising all of the most popular artistes on KKBOX!

Watch KKBOX Music Awards Live Replay here via KKBOX's website/app and download KKBOX on the App Store to watch the show with multi-camera and 360-degree panorama!


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Taipei Jan'17: Man Tang Hong 滿堂紅 - Best Cheap Hotpot Buffet in Taipei

I got back just a few days ago from Taipei, and man do I love this country! It's affordable, there's great food abound, and not to mention the well-known "熱情" (hospitality and warmth) of the local Taiwanese - It's extra enjoyable if you can speak Mandarin and communicate with the locals with ease, something I really appreciate especially after returning from Seoul haha.

Most people always make a pit-stop in Taipei for their famous hot pot or "火鍋" in Mandarin, and you might have heard of "麻辣", one of the most well-known hot pot restaurants in Taipei. However, I want to recommend another restaurant that I personally feel is so underrated and yet extremely value-for-money: 滿堂紅頂級麻辣鴛鴦鍋!

I was first let in on this super awesome cheap and quality hot pot buffet secret thanks to my local Taiwanese friends, and I've gone back twice ever since then!

Believe it or not, for less than 25SGD per pax, you can enjoy a full-fledged hot pot buffet with 11 different kinds of meat, seafood and other offerings, free-flow drinks, even unlimited Häagen-Dazs ice cream - The only problem you're going to have is figuring out how to get EVERYTHING into your tummy! You really want to enjoy this hotpot buffet on an empty stomach for the most value-for-money experience!

滿堂紅 Man Tang Hong Hotpot Buffet
There are four branches located around Taipei, and I was fortunate that one branch was located just a short 15 minutes walk away from FX Hotel on Nanjing East Road where I stayed at during this particular trip.

Man Tang Hong at Songjiang Road

No. 185, Songjiang Rd,
Zhongshan District
Taipei City, 104

Tel: 02-2517-0889

Operation Hours:
Weekday Lunch: 11:30~15:30
Weekday Dinner: 17:00~01:30
Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays: 11:30~01:30

Check branch locations on Man Tan Hong's English website here

Man Tang Hong is VERY popular with the locals, so I highly suggest booking a reservation either online or their hotline (available on their website here) to ensure you get seats! It can be fully booked even during lunch times at certain branches, so do make a reservation just to play safe!

1. Select Your Soup Bases

best cheap hotpot steamboat taipei man tang hong
At Man Tang Hong, you can pick from different soup bases - My top recommendations are the 麻辣鍋 (Spicy) and 牛奶味噌鍋 (Milk) flavours, I LOVE these two soup bases!

best cheap hotpot steamboat taipei man tang hong
In the Mala soup, you even get fried tofu and cubes of duck blood, which YZ absolutely relished. Duck blood is well-loved by the Taiwanese, but cannot be found in Singapore due to some AVA food regulations.

2. Order Your Food!

best cheap hotpot steamboat taipei man tang hong
You will be given an order chit like this - Ask for an English one if you have trouble deciphering the Mandarin! We had skipped breakfast for this lunch and went a little crazy with the ordering, 7 plates of meat was a tad too much, even for the two of us big eaters. HAHAHA.

best cheap hotpot steamboat taipei man tang hong
What we ordered: Seven different kinds of meat (beef and pork - there's also lamb and other organ parts if you fancy), vegetables, fresh clams and prawns, mushrooms, squid/prawn paste, corn, yam and Prince instant noodles (王子麵)! What a feast!!! At just 25 SGD per pax, I don't think you can get any better than this!

best cheap hotpot steamboat taipei man tang hong
If you walk pass the kitchen, you'll see all the different kinds of meat displayed in the freezer, and you can even watch how the meat is machine sliced on the spot when orders come in!

best cheap hotpot steamboat taipei man tang hong

best cheap hotpot steamboat taipei man tang hong
No time to lose - LET'S EAT!!!

best cheap hotpot steamboat taipei man tang hong
We were really a little too greedy because the seven plates of meat was somewhat excessive for two of us. Thus, I recommend dining in a group of 3-4 pax because you then get to try all the different meats and you can then re-order whichever meat you like best!

best cheap hotpot steamboat taipei man tang hong
I found that I had a preference for the pork over the beef, but I don't think you'd be disappointed with the quality of the meat either way - For a 25SGD buffet, you'll never be able to find anything close to this standard in Singapore!

best cheap hotpot steamboat taipei man tang hong
The Milk soup is amazing, it has this rich creamy sweet flavour to it and tastes REALLY good with the veggies and pork!

best cheap hotpot steamboat taipei man tang hong
Wang Zi Mian 王子麵 or Prince Noodles can be ordered at Mantanghong and for the instant noodles junkies, you'll love this. Not sure how they do it but it has a nice taste to it and a good springy texture!! Oh you can buy this home from the supermarkets in Taiwan too, it comes in a pack of five!

best cheap hotpot steamboat taipei man tang hong
This may sound like a strange thing to rave about, but please also order the 金吉芋頭, or Golden Yam Cubes! Let these yam cubes cook for 20-30 minutes, and it'll soften into a stringy and creamy melt-in-your-mouth texture that is INSANELY GOOD. How come we don't get this kind of yam in Singapore?

best cheap hotpot steamboat taipei man tang hong
Don't forget to concoct your own dipping sauces - Much like what we have in Singapore at Hai Di Lao or Beauty In The Pot! The soups are already very flavourful, but dipping sauces make the meats taste even better.

3. Desserts - Free-flow too!

best cheap hotpot steamboat taipei man tang hong
It's quite a common thing in Taiwan, but free-flow ice cream is readily available, inclusive in your SGD25 cost per pax! It's not any nameless cheapo ice cream, but good quality Hagen Dazs and Meiji ice cream, with an array of flavours too!

Please save some space for ice cream, because it is the perfect ending to a satisfying hot pot meal.

best cheap hotpot steamboat taipei man tang hong
Yes, they even provide wafer cones too! Crunchy and non-soggy ones, may I add :D If you're wondering why my ice cream looks so nice, I used to work at Swensens 10 over years ago and mastered the art of creating a perfect scoop of ice cream during my time at Swensens LOL.

Final Bill For 2 Pax

best cheap hotpot steamboat taipei man tang hong
Our final bill for lunch came up to 1095 TWD, roughly SGD 50! SUPER VALUE-FOR-MONEY AND SO WORTH-WHILE! Both of us were bursting to the brim, really.

best cheap hotpot steamboat taipei man tang hong
If you're planning for your next trip to Taipei, do not miss out on 滿堂紅 Man Tang Hong Hotpot Buffet! It is honestly the most affordable and cheapest hot pot buffet I know of that still has such good quality food! I'm letting you in on this little locals' secret only because I want to share the good stuff! I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

WiFi Device - Happi.Fi

I stayed connected in Taipei with Happi.Fi - Quote "PMYINA" for 20% off your wifi rental!

They've got super good prices for wifi rental to lots of countries, and I love that the device is so sleek and small! Fits in even my smallest bag. (There are different devices for different countries - Do take note.) Each device can connect up to five users with no problem. They also thoughtfully provide a travel adaptor that charges USB ports as well as a mobile power bank - Super convenient!

Rent your pocket WiFi from Happi.Fi's website here.

More travel blog posts coming up soon, so stay tuned!


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© Yina Goes

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