February 27, 2013

Machicon Singapore ~ A Food & Fun Date Night

I love food.

I love meeting new people.

An event to enjoy delicious Japanese cuisine, Asahi beer and meet new people over food...

An opportunity for guys and gals to get acquainted and even a chance to meet their future partners...

How does that sounds? 

I've read much about dating events but never attended one before. I didn't know what to expect when I was invited to attend Machicon, which is taunted as a large-scale edgy dating event with huge success in Japan, where it originated. Brought to us by Foodrink News Singapore, the fun and interesting event happened on 25 February 2013 in Singapore, the first time it's ever held in Southeast Asia. Participants get to enjoy themselves at the participating Japanese restaurants and meet as many people as possible at the same time.

Being weaned on Japanese dramas, I'm not too unfamiliar with the concept of Go-con, but Machicon with its concept of moving around different restaurants and mingling with a larger number of people is something new. I'm excited to be part of this whole new dating experience and brought my friends, Joey and Alena, along as well. We called ourselves ~ The NicJA Gals! lol

It was a rainy Monday evening but it did not deter participants who have signed up ($100 for males, $60 for females) from making their way to Katanashi, a Japanese tapas bar located at Boat Quay. This is where they have to collect their tickets to gain entry to three restaurants of their choice. They were also given a map of the nine participating restaurants which are located along Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay. How do the participants identify each other? Easy! They were all given a pink wristband.

Katanashi is where I started my date night with fellow bloggers, Kimberly and Stephanie. Cheers to new found friends! This is the special menu from Katanashi which we and the other participants enjoyed. I think it's an understatement when it's said that food brings people together. Even dating events centred around food yo.

Here's the platter of Deep Fried Chicken Wings, Tuna and Avocado Tartare and King of Cream Cheese. Maybe I was hungry, but everything tasted so delicious, especially the chicken wings. Heavily flavored with black pepper, with skin deep fried to a nice thin crisp and yet retaining the succulent meat, it was very satisfying. But as I'm happily munching on this and manoeuvring my way around the bones, I wondered if the other female participants can managed to eat this daintily and carry on a conversation with their date at the same time. Haha maybe I'm thinking too much, but most girls are very conscious of the way they eat, and avoid difficult food like chicken wings, crabs, squid ink pasta during a date. Yes? No? Me? I don't care lah, I prefer to enjoy my food. Love me, love the way I eat lol.

Since I'm very happy that Katanashi is serving my favourite food, chicken wings, I can't help but camwhored with it :p

Next up is the Broiled Mackerel which was torched before us.

Alena love the fish and kept telling me to eat it while I was busy taking the food photos. The fish is decently fresh and a squeeze of lemon juice is all it needs to enhance the taste.

Another dish which most girls will avoid, Braised Pig with Potato Jam. FAT lah FAT, they say. So, would you want to avoid the braised until ooh so tender meat with melt in the mouth fats? Definitely not me. My colleagues always ask me why I can go sleeveless in the office when everyone else is freezing. I always tell them I've too much fats on my body to protect me from the cold. Must be the result of me eating fatty pork belly frequently lol.

The end of our meal at Katanashi is only the start of the dating evening, as we have to move on to another 2 participating restaurants of our choice to meet more people. It was still raining, so the NicJA gals decided to go to Ma Maison, where it's nicely sheltered inside The Central, and parking is easy. Armed with the entry ticket, map and wristband, off we went.

Alas, when we reached Ma Maison at 8.30pm, we were told that that the seats were full and we have to wait until the next seating at 9.30pm. We tried our luck at the other participating restaurant at The Central, Haramiya, but it was full too. Instead of driving out again and run the risk of unable to get a table at the other restaurants as well, we decided to just relax and wait at Haramiya. I feel that the logistics should be better managed to accommodate all the participants who turned up.

There were other participants who were caught up in the same situations as we were. We identified each other easily because of the hot pink wristband. The wristband seems to be the "come! talk to me!" sign. The guys were not shy to interrupt us in our camwhoring moments and strike up conversations with us. This is the first time I see guys being so straight forward outside of the clubbing scene. I'm amused by some of the things they said but is also very glad to see the participants living up the spirit of the Machicon event.

We started off our meal at Haramiya with a bowl of Marinated Salmon Sashimi Salad each. I'm not a fan of raw food so mine was shared among the table.

The Seafood Pancake is more of a Korean dish than Japanese. It's very generous with slices of squid but a tad cold by the time it's served. We actually grilled it again to make it more palatable.

Finally, something which is more suitable for the carnivore in me, the platter of assorted meat for the BBQ! This is an individual portion consisiting of Beef Short Rib, Pork Belly, Chicken Thigh, Shiitake Mushrooms and Carrots.

We barbequed it over the smoke-free grill. Good thing it was smoke free, we gals hate to have the smoky smell in our hair.

Here's a shot of me barbequing the meat. Have to be attentive to the meat if not it will get burnt yo.
Waste not any of the meat which the poor cow, pig and chicken have sacrificed their lives for to be food for us.

My favorite among the meat platter has to be the beef short ribs which I find to be very well marinated and flavorful. Joey and Alena said the flavor reminded them of bak kwa (barbequed pork slices).

(Photo credit: Machicon)

A Japanese guy joined us at our table during the meal at Haramiya. He can really talked non-stop and gave us some interesting insights on his views of dating. He joined the event alone but met some other friends here who are Japanese too. Seems like this Machicon event is rather popular among the Japanese. I also managed to sneak a few shots of the participants who looks like they are having an enjoyable time. Nice! Overall, I feel that this is a fun event for singles to make more friends.

Concerned friends have often asked me what's my criteria for a boyfriend. I always tell them it's actually very simple ~
Love God. Love Me. Love Food.

Simple right hahaha. Yes, it's listed in order of importance, the rest can come later. By the way, I've 3 cousins who are getting married soon, all within these 3 months. I wish them a blessed, enduring marriage, experiencing bliss always in their lifetime union.

To all the singles out there, I believe in right place, right time, the right one will come but positioning is also very important. Get out there, be open to events like Machicon and widen your social circle.  Hope you'd cross paths with your future partner soon.

Thanks to Jerome Chan for the media invite to this Machicon event.

Website:  http://www.machicon.sg/index.php

Address: 77 Boat Quay, Singapore 049865
Contact: +65 65330490
Website:  https://www.facebook.com/Katanashi.Singapore

Address: 6 Eu Tong Sen, #03-87 The Central, Singapore 059817
Contact: +65 65349468
Website:  https://www.facebook.com/Haramiya.SG

** Update on March 5, 2013:
Out of respect, I've removed the photo collage which I did of the participants as I received feedback from one of them that his friends are making a mockery of his presence at the event. I do not see anything wrong or embarrassing for singles to participate in events like this. Can you imagine how nerve wrecking it can be for the participants to go up to strangers and start a conversation? All the participants should be applauded for being proactive and courageous. Friends should be encouraging, not discouraging.

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