Delicious and Creamy Yoghurt that’s Made in Singapore!

The Wife and I are great fans of yoghurt.

Whether it’s yoghurt in a tub, or fro-yo in a cup, we simply can’t resist.

We’re trying to eat yoghurt regularly for health reasons at the moment.

But here’s a problem: we realised a lot of the big yoghurt brands sold in supermarkets are full of sugar – lots and lots of unnecessary sugar. That’s not healthy at all!

The only sugar-free yoghurt we found in supermarkets was Greek yoghurt (not to be confused with Greek-styled yoghurt). But Greek yoghurt is quite an acquired taste. Both The Wife and I find it difficult to consume it on its own. It’s incredibly sour, and the only way is to add other ingredients such as honey, muesli, etc.

Imagine just how pleasantly surprised I was to learn that <strong>someone’s making creamy, sugar-free yoghurt in Singapore!</strong>

The folks from Alvas Dairy Pte. Ltd., contacted me last week after reading my blog. They have been producing natural set yoghurt for almost 10 years.

It’s called: Alvas Yoghurt.

I was intrigued. I’ve not heard or seen this Alvas Yoghurt before. How is it that I’ve not seen it in supermarkets?

They went on to explain that their product is made “without preservatives, flavorings, sugar and we produce it everyday,” right here in Singapore!

Upon seeing that, I lit up with great excitement. I didn’t know we had a company freshly making yoghurt here in Singapore.

Best of all, this is a sugar-free yoghurt! A healthier option, for sure. But would it taste better than Greek yoghurt?

I accepted the free sample, a 500ml tub. (Disclaimer: I only received one 500ml tub, and nothing else – there is no commission or monetary compensation for this review.)

img_0280-1200x900
Alvas Yoghurt (500ml tub)

At first sight, I must say that the packaging isn’t very attractive nor is it very appealing (it even has grammatical errors on it at the back).

If I saw this on supermarket shelves, I wouldn’t give it a second look. Perhaps this is why I never noticed the Alvas brand in supermarkets at all.

Looks aside, the more important question is: how does it taste?

First, it is incredibly thick and creamy. It’s thicker and creamier than Greek yoghurt and several other brands of yoghurt I’ve tried.

img_0275-1200x675
Look how thick and creamy it is!

Secondly, as a natural yoghurt, it was a little tart and sour, but thankfully not as sour as Greek yoghurt. After the first bite, the sourness faded away and I was able to taste the yoghurt’s natural sweetness.

The more I ate, the more my eyes opened with amazement: This is incredible yoghurt!

Creamy, thick, and tasty! These are the qualities that made me love it.

Knowing that it’s sugar-free, and that it has no preservatives or flavourings, simply blows my mind.

How is it possible that I get to enjoy something so guilty yet healthy? Wow… For once I get to eat my cake (or in this case, yoghurt) and have it too.

Some reviewers online mentioned that the secret to such guilty, yet healthy pleasures, has to do with the use of milk solids in the yoghurt. Sure, there is fat in the milk solids, but there’s much less fat (and sugar) compared to what many other brands of yoghurt are using.

It was such a joy eating this. I loved it so much, I finished the 500ml tub in 3 days!

I must admit that I had initially pre-judged the yoghurt based on its unappealing packaging. I didn’t have high hopes or expectations for it. (If there’s one thing that needs to be improved, it certainly is the packaging design.) But my negative perception of it disappeared upon tasting it.

The Wife loved it too. Her view counts a lot here because she has a sweet tooth, an inclination for sweetened yoghurts, and a disdain for sour yoghurts. This means that people seeking healthier yoghurt options would not have a hard time switching over to a sugar-free yoghurt like this.

img_0272-1200x675
If you have a sweet tooth, a healthier alternative is to add real honey to Alvas Yoghurt. This way, you can take advantage of the health benefits of honey and yoghurt at the same time. Look how incredibly delicious this looks!

I learnt that Alvas Yoghurt is currently only sold at all Sheng Siong supermarkets and at many small provision shops.

The 200ml cups can be found at all Sheng Siong supermarkets at the amazingly low price of SGD$1.20!

alvasyogurt200ml-1200x675
Don’t let the boring packaging fool you. Inside each cup is incredibly creamy and delicious yoghurt made fresh here in Singapore!

At this time of writing, the 500ml tubs cost SGD$2.80, while the 1L tubs cost SGD$5.40. This is still much cheaper than the other major brands which costs at least SGD$7 for 1kg of yoghurt (still less than 1L). But not all Sheng Siong supermarkets keep stock of these tubs.

The experience with Alvas Yoghurt has been so great, and it is so healthy and affordable, that The Wife and I decided that we will switch to Alvas Yoghurt for our daily yoghurt consumption.

Here’s a photo of my fridge:

img_0276-1200x743
I bought two new tubs yesterday!

I mentioned before that I love to support local businesses. Here is one local business whose products bring me so much joy, that it is my pleasure to support them with my wallet and my stomach!

Sincere Optics: Opticians You Can Trust (And I Most Certainly Did!)

Two months ago, I finally went to the optician to make a new pair of glasses.

My old pair was due for a change for some time. But I’ve been quite reluctant to change it because of the cost and the effort of having to find a good optician. I made my old pair about 6 years ago, but the optician closed down his shop a few years back.

And so, I’ve been tolerating blurry vision for some time. I had to squint just to see the text clearly from a distance.

The last straw came when, about 2-3 months back, I accidentally flagged the wrong bus. I mistook bus 98 for bus 30. It was so embarrassing, especially when I was the only person at the bus stop. I waved and bowed apologetically to the bus driver who kept staring at me. How on earth did I mistake bus 98 for bus 30 remains a mystery to me. But the fact that my blurry vision led me to see the wrong numbers was a sign that it’s finally time to change my glasses. No more delays!

Also, as a philosopher, I really should take better care of my eyes, especially since I read a lot. I know of two philosophers who have strained their eyes so much that they suffered from detached retinas. Yes, that’s right. The wiring, which connects their eyeballs to their brains, had been under so much strain that it broke and detached itself from the eyeball! Eeew… I squirm every time I think about it.

Indeed, no more delays.

Part of the reason for my reluctance to change the old spectacles was that I couldn’t find a good optician. I’ve heard of some horror stories of friends who paid a lot only to get a pair that was so uncomfortable to wear, that they gave up and returned to their old pair. A big waste of money.

Moreover, it really doesn’t help that these days, I find it difficult to find an optician who’s sincerely motivated to help, or one with a decent set of technical knowledge. I’ve been to several shops but many are just bad or meh.

To my annoyance, those who appear passionate/enthusiastic about helping often gave me the vibes that they are more passionate about making a quick buck from you. I don’t trust them or their recommendations. And then there are those who lack the passion to help because they hate their jobs. I’d rather avoid paying for their service because they won’t be motivated to go the extra mile to help in case anything goes wrong.

It’s been such a turnoff, and so, for some time, I’ve had much difficulties finding a shop I could trust.

In the end, I decided to try my friends’ shop (they’re a couple). I knew that they’re involved in their family’s optical shop, but I usually try to separate friends from business because it can make the friendship rather complicated. But due to the urgent need for a new pair, I figured it might be worthwhile to give it a shot. And so I did!

(At this point, I should state that this blog post is done out of my own free will, written because I was genuinely very impressed by the service and experience I had while I was there. I think good businesses should be praised and promoted. It’s hard to find good service these days.)

Their shop is called “Sincere Optics,” and it is located on the 3rd floor of Beauty World Shopping Centre (144 Upper Bukit Timah Road), a very quaint and sleepy shopping centre that still retains its original 70s look and feel. Initially, I thought that no one comes to this shopping centre because it looks so old and run down. But I was wrong. On weekends, it’s filled with lots of people, especially parents who drop their kids off for tuition or dance classes, as they sit outside to read the newspapers.

Sincere Optics is a family business that has been around for about three generations. In fact, they’ve been around for so long, that they continue to serve loyal customers and their families, up to three generations! Talk about personalised service! Imagine that! Up to three generations have come and gone to their shop for spectacles and contact lenses. Wow!

As this business is their life, the people running the place are very friendly, passionate, and sincere in what they do. They have their family reputation and brand to uphold, but above and beyond that, they take pride in their family tradition, and hold true to their values, especially that of being sincere (hence the name of their shop).

The impression I got is that they’ve developed quite a friendship with their customers. Not only do they remember the names of their regular customers, but they also remember the prescription of their disposable contact lenses as well. It takes a lot of care, concern and effort to be able to remember these things very well.

Looking back at my experience with them, this is a truly wonderful service which you don’t get with modern “corporate” businesses. They’re usually so cold and impersonal. This, however, was a truly personalised service made a lot better with the extra care and concern that they have.

These were all that I witnessed when I first walked in to visit their shop. I haven’t even been served by them yet!

When my friends, Hanes and Melissa, were done serving their customers, they came to me. Though we are friends, they nonetheless delivered a very professional service. You could see the teamwork in their family operation. After using the machine to check my eye, they handed me over to their colleague, a long-time family friend and staff, who then tested my eyesight. He was fast yet very meticulous. Within minutes, they’ve determined the new power of my eyes. Turns out the power remained the same, but my astigmatism doubled.

Then came the fun part of choosing a new frame. This time, I was open to the idea of change. After all, I had been wearing this old frame design for 10 years. As I mentioned earlier, I wore the previous pair for 6 years. Before that, I had another pair of the same design for 4 years. I was supposed to wear it for much longer, but I lost that pair while I was out at sea. It was my first time seeing huge waves at the beach in Australia, and so I wanted to see the waves up close in person. My friends advised me to remove my glasses before going into the sea, but I stubbornly refuse. My desire was fulfilled when I got hit in the face by a huge wave, only to discover that my glasses had fallen out, never to be found again. Oops!

So I picked out a new design and paid for the glasses. In less than a week, I got a call that my new glasses was ready. I was excited and rushed down to their shop to collect. I’ve wore this pair for two months, and I can definitely say that it has given me absolutely no problems at all.

Here’s my new glasses and my new look:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
New glasses!

Looks good?

And here I am with the lovely couple who helped made this possible:

Jpeg
The wonderful couple – Melissa and Hanes of Sincere Optics – who made this possible.

Anyway, if you are looking for opticians whom you can really trust, I strongly recommend them. It’s their life and their life’s work. These are people, craftsmen and craftswomen, who take their work seriously, and are truly passionate and sincere in what they do – qualities I find lacking in many optical shops today.

It’s been such a great experience. I am sure to come back here again, and even bring my future children here to make their specs, thus following other loyal customers who have been here faithfully for generations.

Here’s their address if you wish to visit them:

Sincere Optics
144 Upper Bukit Timah Road
Beauty World Centre
#03-20
Singapore 588177 [click here to view map]
Tel: +65 6468 1618