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Dave Tan
Just another caffeine reliant millennial from Singapore that writes to pay for his coffee.

A guide to a versatile yet underrated piece of equipment in the kitchen.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Have you ever wondered how Chinese restaurants get that irresistible smokey flavor when you eat fried rice? Or do you grow up in an Asian household like me, searching for your cultural roots and traditional flavors from Chinese or Southeast Asian cuisine? Are you tempted to cook your way and find out the mysteries of beef stir fry? Look no further if you want to become a wok slinger.

Enter the wok.

What type of wok should I buy?

The humble wok is the workhorse of a Chinese kitchen. It is extremely versatile as you can cook most of the Chinese dishes with the wok. …


The importance of eating together.

Eat Drink Man Woman (1994) | MGM

There is an unspoken rule about not touching the wet napkins provided by the Chinese restaurant during family dinner. Everybody in my family understands this. The Chinese restaurant will not charge for the wet napkins, and it will be excluded from the bill.

It just seems natural for my family to unite against the restaurant for a single cause: to save some pennies. It is a subtle but socially acceptable form of behavior, a simple act that gives me a sense of belonging and unity. I bet many Asian families practice this during their family dinners too.

Family centric meals…


Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Changing the way you view your phone, one swipe at a time.

I do not check my phone before I take my first sip of coffee every morning. I call it the coffee rule and practice this daily so that my smartphone does not rule my life.

I take control of it. I rule my smartphone.

Most people have no idea that they are a slave to their smartphones. I used to spend too much time swiping till my eyes turned sore. After I found out and mastered the art of smartphone minimalism, my digital life changed fundamentally.

My social media usage (mindless newsfeed scrolling) is cut by 50% and overall phone…


Photo by Pietro De Grandi on Unsplash

The illusion of control

Imagine you are a boat travelling in the vast ocean of time. You are given the wind and current of change while searching for happiness and meaning in your next destination.

Is sailing a more effective method of travelling or rowing your boat?

I feel that it is not efficient to use our limited energy to fight against the current. Instead, we should work towards harnessing the wind. It is better to work with nature, not against it. Rowing your boat only creates more conflict and suffering in your journey. Sailing helps you to thrive despite your circumstances.

The technique…


Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

The importance of humility

When is the last time you had a disagreement or argument with someone? Often, we have a conflict with other people because we hold different beliefs.

We have been taught to gather information and knowledge from articles, books, videos, self-help gurus and experts. Like a cup overflowing with tea, we sometimes hold many facts and opinions.

Our ego makes us feel that we are morally superior or more intelligent than people we know. We think that we are smarter because others hold different beliefs from us so we tend to look down on them. We are so confident and believe…


For the weekend baker to the aspiring patissier.

Author’s cookbook collection. The photo was taken by the author.

I can never get enough baking cookbooks, and they kept piling up on my bookshelves over the years. I just simply cannot resist the urge to collect another one of those baking gems every few months. It is one of those few good problems in modern life.

I have quite a collection of baking cookbooks and have read a number of them. The books range from french pastry techniques to classic American baking and even Japanese baking techniques. However, because of my passion for desserts and my sweet tooth, I realized I kind of left off bread baking in my…


My personal reflections and insights.

Photo by Z S on Unsplash

If my life is an eternal loop, will I be content? This question was stuck in my head for a while now and it made me re-examined my life in a fundamental way. I believe we only have one life on earth, so I should live it to the best of my ability. If I am to experience every joy and sadness again and again, how would I want it?

I think I would want to brew coffee in the morning again and again. It’s moments like this that give me that little dose of peace and joy. I believe…


Do not suppress your feelings.

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

Our feelings are like the weather. It changes. It comes and goes. But it will not last forever. There are some days filled with rays of sunshine over our heads. But the test of our inner strength is demonstrated in how we act when we see the stormy clouds above us.

It is important to acknowledge our feelings, but we should not dwell on it for too long and ruminate over it. We can make a conscious effort to cope with it in a positive way instead of a negative way.

Sit down and observe the rain. Feel the rain…


Photo by Omid Armin on Unsplash

How to make full use of the update.

In the latest iOS update, Apple borrowed the idea from android phones and introduced a new style of widgets. Previously, the options for customising the home screen was quite limited. But now, widgets are no longer limited to the left of the home screen. Although the widgets are not as versatile as android phones, widgets can now be dragged onto the home screen to create a more dynamic landing page.

My Home Screen

I want my home screen to be as practical and intuitive as possible. This means displaying my frequently used apps and important information or updates. I had chosen a completely…


Photo of a Sichuan dry pot takeaway taken by author.

Introduction to the spicy and numbing stir-fry

I wipe the sweat on my forehead, and my tongue is numb after a few bites. But I continue to use my chopsticks to take my next mouthful of noodles, aware that the heat from the Sichuan peppercorns is killing me slowly with every bite.

I just cannot stop eating it, and I notice my friend continues to plow on too, looking to attack the next piece of meat or vegetable.

When we both finish the large bowl of Sichuan dry pot, we know that we have reached the point of no return. We cannot differentiate between pain and pleasure…

Dave Tan

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