Thursday, September 22, 2011

McDonald's Open Doors 2011

You're hungry and the smell of the famous McDonald's fries wafted out from your nearby outlet. Drive-thru is even available lateeeee in the night because it's 24/7!

May I take your order, sir?

McDonald's is my favorite fast food restaurant, what's yours?

Two Saturdays ago, I attended McDonald's Open Doors 2011. It's the first time I've ever heard of one, but apparently this initiative has been around since 2009. A group of us bloggers were invited to join the crew behind the counter and take a look at what goes on around in the kitchen (and more). More importantly, we were shown how the foods are stored, prepared and served.

The tour began with the fries station. Frozen fries are dispensed from the machine, then brought to the frying err, sink? We saw how the crispy fries were prepared, and later after the tour enjoyed a big packet of the cheese shaker fries. YUMS.

Customers can request for salt-free fries!

McDonald's had implemented a new "Made-For-You" kitchen system in order to serve fresh food. Orders are taken at the counter and sent to the TV in the kitchen. When the staff members receive the order, they will repeat the order out loud before proceeding with the order.

Packed sesame buns

Putting in the beef patty

18 seconds and done!

This station is where the patties are cooked. One station for beef, the other for chicken. The staff member gave a demonstration of how a beef patty is grilled, in exactly 18 seconds. And according to them, the beef we eat at McDonald's has always been made with zero additives and fillers. With a dash of salt and pepper, your Quarter Pounder with Cheese is where you'll find your juicy red meat.

When handling raw and cooked foods, the staff wear different colored gloves and use separate utensils. This machine (heater?) helps keep the food warm before making into a burger at the station.

Check out the all the neatly arranged boxes and sauces! 

I wish they would give me more veggie *coughs* hint *coughs* for my next McD trip.

We then proceed downstairs to the storage rooms and saw sourdough bread ~

The freezer is kept at -20 degrees Celsius and we went inside to get a 'feel'.

Let's take look inside.

Where the frozen foods are kept.

I felt a little peeved by something. As much as McD promise the quality of their eggs (washed, sanitized and certified), do you know that the eggs in the Big Breakfast come from these carton eggs that were stored in the cold storage?

The hotcakes, corn and salad were also stored in the refrigerator.

Also, I didn't expect to see dehydrated onions! Those juicy ringlets on the burgers shown in the ad aren't freshly sliced onions. :(

Nevertheless, the storage rooms were very clean and tidy. There are numerous safety and quality checks in the kitchen and there is no doubt that the food is safe for consumption. :)

Moving on, we went into the crew room where staff members take their breaks. I find the room a little small, and sadly, the TV in the room is not for them to watch at leisure. There was an info-mercial on how to serve the customers on loop. The crew is entitled to free meals, but only from the McD's menu. Really, every day???

 The walls were plastered with service milestones, monthly sales target, employee of the month etc. They also had a reward system to encourage their employees.

This tour took place at the McDonald's @ King Albert Park. We were seated and served the favorites. I started with corn and milo, then I couldn't resist...


And the new Horlicks McFlurry!!!

Four of us girls shared a packet of large cheese fries. I could have wanted more if I didn't have lunch before that! I'm lovin' it. Hehe.

Fresh, piping hot apple pie!

We were told that the vegetable oil McDonald's use is free from trans fat and cholesterol. Yes, I see that eyebrow raising. But if you don't believe it, you can always join this open kitchen tour and see it for yourself!

The Open Doors kitchen tour is now open to the public starting from 18 September 2011 to February 2012, conducted at 25 McDonald's restaurants islandwide. Interested parties can register online at!

This guided kitchen tour is FREE at selected McDonald's restaurants, and you can learn about its "farm to fork". 

I've posted this on my Twitter a few times now, that although McDonald's isn't the healthiest choice around,  but when you're hungry in the middle of the night and desperately craving for its fries or burgers, you know the number to call - 6777 3777.

I don't eat it every day, but I still enjoy my meals whenever I dine at McDonalds. :P

Monday, September 19, 2011

Little Kitty Things

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but for the past year, I've come to grow an interest in all things Hello Kitty. Quite unlike the true fans, I don't need everything Kitti-fied. Occasionally when I chanced upon any shop that sells anything with Hello Kitty on it, I tend loiter there a little longer. Hehe.

On the 5th floor of Haneda airport lies a cute Tokyo Pop Town and the shops on the floor all sell novelty items, focusing on Japan's favorite cartoon and anime characters.

Guests with kids can spend time at shop that sells car models, where there is a car racing simulator circuit for the kids to challenge others! How thoughtful and such luxury!

The Hello Kitty shop is down the corner, facing R Burger. Kitty fans rejoice!

Within the Hello Kitty shop also lies the coin-pressing machine. Sis and I each chose a design. :)

You know how girls will sometimes buy anything as long as their favorite character is printed on it? Well, we did.

We even bought random stuff like Hello Kitty oil blotter and water bottle, just for the pretty sake of it. Haha. 

On top of that I also bought a box of cookies because I like the packaging so much.

Opening the box revealing the packet of HK cookies!

Each cookie comes in the shape of different character - there is HK, her friends and even her grandparents. Too cute!

I was munching on my cookie when I realised that the box can be folded!

It can be compressed and then kept inside your bag, saving space.

Seriously, that's brilliant product design. Ideal lunch box for school children.  Compact & handy.

I've also acquired some HK things from the US! Hahaha. I cannot answer the boyfriend when he asked me,

Since when you start liking Hello Kitty one?
Don't know when, don't know why!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shiraoi Ainu Village

Sakura in late Spring

Our family decided to go to Japan a month after the earthquake and tsunami. If anything, by visiting Japan helps boost their economy, a lot.

Sis and I at a convenience store, picking up fash mags.

So the first stop was an aboriginal habitat in Hokkaido. Situated next to the forest of kotan is Porotokotan, which means the village beside the big lake (Lake Poroto).

Ainu Village

We were introduced to their houses, such that in most cases, all the huts in the olden days are built in the exact same manner, where both the exterior and interior (called Qi-sei) design are identical. In fact, even the positioning of the furniture is the same too. Everything is placed in one direction.

Part of the Ainu's lifestyle include barter trading. Villagers trade bear skin in exchange for salmon.

Real salmon hung above our heads as we listen to the stories.

These salmon were caught in fall and dried in Summer. The hut do smell like fish. But not that kind of fishy. Hur.

Our very cute and lively host

The wood shavings are used as decorations to chase away the evil spirits.

Hi dad.

The Ainu museum showcases some of the past tools.

Before exploring the vicinity, we watched the traditional Ainu folk dance that feature songs and dances that evoke the natural splendor of the North, such as iyomante rimse (a ceremonial dance for sending bears' spirits back to heaven), saroruncikap rimse (a crane dance), and an Ainu musical instrument mukkari (mouth harp).

 Saroruncikap rimse - the crane dance

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