Thursday, August 27, 2015

Singapore Night Festival 2015

ABBEY: Yahoo, another unwinding activity after a day's work. Singapore lit up the night when they launched Night Festival. We went last Aug 21. 

The first performance we saw is Anooki. :) They are performing at the front wall of National Museum. Yes, on the wall. It was a cartoon projection. The Anookis played, ran, and made the wall like jelly. They colored it with red, blue, green and even filled it up with balls. At the end, they whistled to the tune of Happy Birthday greeting Singapore for its 50th.

Then we went to Armenian street. Loud music caught our attention and we saw New Stream Brass Band playing and encouraging the crowd to sing and dance with the beat.

Next is the Peranakan Museum Variety Show (by The Main Wayang Co.). The Peranakans really got the crowd's vibes with their novelty songs. It was fun, cheerful and tiring (as you dance, shout and sing).

Few minutes after the show, we got to see the Spark! by World Beaters Music of UK. I thought they are yet to start their performance but they will be on a break. Luckily, they still beat their percussions and play along with the crowd as they marched to their place. They were all in white. And the drums have led lights. Taking snaps is easy as they got their own spotlights :)

We wanted to wait for Bloco Singapura (percussion band) but it was getting late so we headed home.

WILL: I am always excited once the Bras-Basah-Bugis Precinct will close its streets for annual Singapore Night Festival. Why? It is a feast. It never fails to amuse and make me glad. 

Last Friday, we watched the show of The Anooki Celebrate Singapore. They are so cute. I am smiling from start to the end of the show. It lighten up the mood of every people who witnessed that little Inuits. 

Then, we walked to Armenian Street to check out the New Stream Brass Band. I never get tired of clapping and stomping my feet on their beat. 

Next!!! The Peranakan Museum Variety Show. This is a total party! Abbey and I danced to their songs. 

We were on our way home when Spark (LED-lit drummers) marched towards to our direction. Do not get be intimidated if the first in line drummer is grumpy, because the last in line member is showing off her best smile. Haha! 

Great job Singapore Night Festival 2015 team. Till next year!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Comnam - Vietnamese Street Eats

ABBEY: Before heading to 2015 Singapore Night Festival, we filled up our tummies with food from Comnam Broken Rice bowl in Raffles City. It caters Vietnamese street food. 

I got marinated pork cutlet (with chicken ham, pickles, viet steamed egg with pork) for 10.5 sgd. Within minutes, the order was already on our table. It was zesty and tangy due to cilantro and lime and was flavorful. They are also using fish sauce which is used also in Philippines. Sweet, sour, salty, and spicy; all in one bowl. 

We also tried their version of sugar cane juice. They put lime on that as well. This is a sister company of NamNam Noodle Bar.

WILL: I am intrigued on the long queue that is building up every time I passed at Raffles City. So when Abbey and I got the chance to have dinner there, we instantly grabbed the chance. 

Comnam is serving broken rice. In Philippines this kind of rice is used for chicken feeds and I am not surprised that this store explains that in Vietnam's history it was taken by peasants. But now they discovered that this tiny rice absorbs more sauces and flavours. 

I went for Abalone, Pork Ribs, Soft Boiled Egg, Bean Sprouts Rice Soup. ($13.90 GST included / no service charge). The soup is tasty and the rice's texture is incredibly nice. I will love to consume this kind of food when it is raining or when I feel sick. It gives comfort to its consumer. 

A recommendable place to dine. :) 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Braised Pork/Mushroom Kimchi Recipe

Kimchi (whole cabbage as this will be used for wrapping)
Slices of pork belly
Onion (1/2 of king sized-thinly sliced)
Pepper paste (depends how spicy you want)
3-4 tbsp sesame oil
3-4 honey
Ground black pepper.

Vegetarian version:
4-6 shitake mushrooms (soaked for at least 3 hours to be plumped- cubed or sliced)
2-3 stalks of green onion (chopped small)
Onion (1/2 of king sized-thinly sliced)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
2-3 tbsp sesame oil
Ground black pepper

For the vegetarian version, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
On a pan, layer the onions.

Wrap the pork belly with kimchi. Put a strip of sesame oil before rolling. This will give more flavor to the pork. Ensure that the roll is tight. Put it on the pan when finished.
Do the same with the mushrooms.
Once all the rolls are on the pan, spread pepper paste on each of them.
Sprinkle with ground black pepper; drizzle with sesame oil and honey.
Put a cup of water and bring to a boil.
Upon boiling, lower the heat and rinse the rolls with the soup base.
Simmer for 45-60mins. This will give delicious aroma to your kitchen. :)
Add water if needed.
Serve with freshly cooked rice.

WILL: Abbey slashed one our week's menu and announced that he'll be cooking the menu I was drooling for months whenever I am watching it in Maangchi's youtube channel. 

The cravings end when the Braised Pork Kimchi touched my tastebuds. It is way too hot and spicy but I can't hold back my spoon to stop scooping the food inside my mouth. 

It is not only taste good but also one of the healthy alternatives in our daily menu. :) 

Love my chef a lot! Next time "Cooking Time" post please!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Muthu's Curry - Suntec City Mall Singapore

ABBEY: I first set my foot on Muthu's Curry at Suntec. It was when my colleague celebrated the arrival of his first child. It was really a treat. So from that moment, I want my wife to dine here. 

First, there's unlimited papadum which is really her favorite. Second, they have butter chicken. Third, the food taste great. We dined and ordered Dum Biryani (11sgd) and butter chicken. The biryani rice is aromatic and flavorful. It was served with raita (yogurt, onion and carrots) and chicken curry sauce. I wasn't expecting the serving of butter chicken that small which costs 12sgd. But it didn't stop Wilma to order another bowl of biryani rice. And we got a couple of bowls of papadum. 

WILL: I managed to come up with the decision what I will eat for dinner when I reached Abbey's office that night. I chose to buy some hot fish noodles but when I met my husband he announced that we will eat at Muthu's Curry. I protested for the idea but when he informed me that there is unlimited papadum there, I smiled and agreed. 

I ordered buttered chicken...?delicious!! How delicious? I asked for an extra rice and it is my first time. I love their self-served papadum. It is not oily. 

The price is quite expensive though. Anyways, this place is very recommendable. Find them at Suntec City at Fountain of Health dining area.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Singapore's Indian Heritage Centre

ABBEY: As people of all ages and races celebrated Singapore's 50th birthday, we also had some plans to participate. Since MRT and buses offered free rides it is expected for jam-packed destinations. Sentosa for one was really a crowd favorite. The snake line for Sentosa Express is very long that some people opted for the boardwalk. For me and my wife, we visited the recently opened Indian Heritage Centre at 5 Campbell Ln (nearest MRT is Little India).

We were warmly welcomed by their staff. They told us to go up to fourth story after giving us the information pamphlet. The museum exhibits the part of Indians in building in Singapore. How they thrive, built business and live in this land.

One of the busts that were given by Indian government to commemorate the museum inauguration is of Mahatma Gandhi. The first National Servicemen enlistee is an Indian. It was Mr. Albel Singh which served Singapore Armed Forces for 32 years.

Part of the museum shows their religion; from the gods up to the intricatedley-designed great door of temple. It was good to learn the culture, life and religion of other races so your knowledge will also be enriched.

WILL: Indians are one of the races who build Singapore and this Heritage Centre is to accredit all their works and milestones for the Little Red Dot. 

The centre showcases well the Indian culture, their contribution and their beliefs. It also magnifies how they live, their professions and their people who got a position in the government. 

It is a great idea to put this up. Hope it will housed a lot more information about the Indian culture. :)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

MacRitchie Reservoir's HSBC TreeTop Walk

ABBEY: You want to walk in a suspension bridge so you can be as tall as the trees? You're in for a treat as you go to HSBC's TreeTop Walk inside MacRitchie reservoir. 

I've been here twice. The first visit is when I traversed the long journey from Lornie road (Lamppost 51). It was exciting at first as you can appreciate nature and the views along the trail. But if you're walking nonstop for more than 4 hours on the heat of the day it is not funny anymore. The signs keep telling how much more to walk but it seems endless. I thought that we were already lost, that I have to save battery for my phone and water :) I just want to walk on the bridge. At last we saw the ranger station. I knew we're close. Few more minutes then we were on top. It was relieving. The long walk is worth it. I can't imagine I've done that.

The second time, I stepped up my game plan. I came prepared. We took the track from Venus Carpark. Within 45 mins, we reached it. I'm glad my wife finally saw it after my numerous stories of the bridge. Since it is one-way, we circled along the boardwalk until we reached the ranger station again and off we go out of the reservoir.

WILL: If not for the sake of the project we are doing, I will not visit this kind of place. I mustered all my courage to face MacRitchie's HSBC TreeTop. Great thing Abbey had already been there; already lost and researched to be more specific what will be the shortest way to be there. 

When I entered the forest, I felt that it engulfed me. That was it! No backing up! 

I fought my fear (fear to see any reptiles or snakes) and walked..walked..walked. When we reached the HSBC TreeTop, I observed in awe. Trees and wildlife really matters here in Singapore.  

I went home relieved. I never encountered any iguanas, monitor lizard nor snakes. Please be careful with monkeys, they are not friendly and they are lurking some of the visitors for some food. 

This is one accomplishment! Wooohooo!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Dinner at Wheeler's Yard

ABBEY: We planned on meeting my former colleague, Arnold but due to some office work he was not able to come. So Wilma came up with something and asked me and Grace to go to Wheeler's Yard at Lor Ampas (one-bus ride -139 from Toa Payoh bus interchange). Grace was delighted to hear that as she is a cyclist. 

The ambiance is like a warehouse you see in movies where the bad guys hide their kidnap victims. But instead of tension and fear, the cafe was filled with all-smiling and attentive staffs. It was warm and relaxing. 

I got their spring chicken. It took time to be served. But, oh boy, when it was served, it was aromatic and delicious. Since it was baked, the fat is almost gone leaving the skin crispy. The meat can easily be removed from the bones. It came with creamy mash potatoes and purple cabbage coleslaw. The meals starts from 15sgd. 

Other half of the place is for the bikes and accessories that are for sale. 

WILL: Wheeler's Cafe is one of the must visit cafes here in Singapore. And because Grace is a cyclist, I thought of going in here with her for some dinner. 

We were amazed my the interior designing of the place. It is very clever for bicycle shop to put a cafe beside. We sat in front of the long table that have bicycles displayed on it. 

I went for Steak Hanger ($19.90). The meat is quite tough to chew. But the taste complements well with mushroom sauce. Abbey and I was delighted to their mashed potato, it is creamy. 

Next time? ...  

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Happy 50th Birthday Singapore (SG50)

ABBEY: I've been here in Singapore for 6 years now. And coming from a not so progressive country, I can clearly see the difference. 

In terms of security, first and foremost, it was great. No worries if you left office late at night; you can enjoy chatting with your friends in your mobile devices. You can even use your phone to save your table while buying your food. And most of all, you can wear your backpack on both shoulders.

With less tax being withheld, we can save more of our salaries. You can breathe fresh air the whole day not only in the morning. Yes, MRT has service disruption, but compared to where I came where delay is a normal occurence, the service is efficient. And free buses are readily available when disruption happens. Taxi fare will be metered, not in a contract and most of the drivers are polite and friendly. You can ask directions if you're a tourist or just read the signs and you'll never get lost. Shop till you drop or go to their museums to learn their history. Diversity is everywhere; food, culture, race, religion and lifestyle but still they are united when it comes to being patriotic. 

I know there is still more for this country to progress and excel. Thanks Singapore for allowing me to live, work, and enjoy my stay at this little red dot. Little it seems but have big impact on the world. Happy Birthday.

WILL: Singapore... My second home. 

Thank you Singapore for the water on tap that is potable. Thank you for peaceful, secured place to live in. Thanks for the unpolluted air. Thanks for the trees and chirping birds. Thanks for the kind locals that surrounds us on our daily lives. Thanks for diversified cuisines in hawkers. Thanks for an opportunity to work in here. Thank you for protecting us consumers and commuters. Thanks for sharing to us how live in a first world country. Thank you. Thank you. 

In touring different sites and museums of Singapore, Abbey and I learned how you reached the top. How everybody worked to change and reach the goal. 

Majulah Singapura! Forward! Forward!  

Monday, August 3, 2015

High Tea Buffet @ Marriott Cafe, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel

ABBEY: Normally, the buffet we are going to is for lunch and dinner but this time, we went for high tea. It was at Marriot Cafe at Orchard. 

All the while, I'm thinking it will all be shortcakes, cold cuts, pastries, coffee and tea. Whoa, I was wrong. They are serving local delis. From Hainanese chicken rice, Hokien Mee to Nasi Lemak, you can have a couple of plates. They also have braised, duck and pork as well as bak kut teh. I indulged myself with slices of salmon. From time to time, I had a bite of their prata and chicken nuggets. I keep coming back for beef rendang, spicy but delicious. When we visited, they are offering 20sgd per person promotoion.

Room of improvements though: Don't try to hide the burnt side of prata, it cannot be hidden. Just don't serve it. For the crispy fried chicken, please try to completely fry it. I can still see the uncooked batter inside. And when making nigiri, make sure that the nori strip is fully wrapped around it. The ones I had have nothing at the bottom.

WILL: This is our first time to experience a high tea buffet and we are happy that it happen it at one of the most prestigious hotel here in Singapore... the Marriott Hotel Orchard. We arrived few minutes after 3pm but we stayed until 5:15pm for us to maximise the value of $20++ promotion. 

After we were escorted to our reserved seats, we immediately paved our way to roam around and check out the arrays of food available. Since we are pretty hungry (we didn't take our lunch that time) we are very happy to see few viands for us to enjoy. So I got some of their fish curry and chicken plus few pieces of prata. Not so many choices of sushi but still I took 4 of it. Fresh oysters are present, salmon strips for your bread and laksa, their delicious laksa(drooool). 

Time to get some desserts so I went for blueberry crepe and topped it two scoops of ice cream. 

Rest for a while then I ate muffin and pizza. Can I say something? Please improve the taste of those two. I only got a one bite of those and pushed my plate away to Abbey. 

I enjoyed this happy and excellent experience for us as a couple. Thanks Marriott Cafe. Till next buffet!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Wink Optics Singapore - Optometrist, Eyewear (OPTICAL SHOP)

ABBEY: Another year has passed and time for our specs to change again. Since we are getting new every year, we opted for glasses with cheaper prices. 

As long as it protects our eyes from computer radiation, changes the shades when outdoors and of course the right grade or power for eyes, we are ok. We tried Wink Optics (Seletar Mall branch). For a fraction of the cost (178SGD) from our previous purchase, we bought our new set of eyes. And after a week, we are able to use them. 

WILL: Many optical shops are out there offering promotions as part of Great Singapore Sale. And for our annual eye check-up/change specs, it is my duty to scout for great quality for a lower price. Then I saw Wink Optics. 

They are having a 50% off on the second pair and the most nice part is frames+lenses were only $98 and above. 

We headed to their Seletar Mall branch after our hike at MacRitchie Reservoir. Our eyes were checked (nothing changed) and we have some request to the lenses that alters the price a bit. Abbey wants, of course, a transition lenses and I asked for a Hoya brand lenses that will help blocked radiation from computers. 

We were shocked after the computation of the bill. Both of our specs cost almost of only Abbey's spec last year which we got from Owndays. 

Now we're wearing the glasses for more than a week, for me the lightness as a whole is great and the lenses gave me relief on a whole day staring at computer monitors. 

Next time for a cheaper alternative, review all the prices and better get it during Great Singapore Sale time. :)