Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Yishun 925 Hokkien Mee - AKA Toa Payoh (Lor 1) Come Daily Fried Hokkien Prawn Noodle [大芭窑(一巷)天天来炒福建虾面]

Yishun 81 Food Court may not sound familiar even to Yishunians but mention the famous 925 chicken rice and i bet some of you would immediately recall the exact location! 

Within the same kopitiam / food court was actually another notable hawker which had been there for as long as i remember the chicken rice stall although its queue may not be as legendary

The hokkien mee which goes by the name of Toa Payoh (Lorong 1) Come Daily Fried Hokkien Prawn Noodle! It's such a mouthful that my family named it simply as 925 hokkien mee. 

I have been wanting to blog about it for the longest time ever and the procrastination stopped due to a sudden craving for hokkien mee after the movie "Now You See Me 2" at Yishun 10! Now, i was supposed to have salad and it's extremely rare to catch me eating carbo-heavy food after 7pm! 

Sadness / lack of determination aside, i was glad to "satisfy" my need with a spike in the happiness quotient given the generous amount of crispy pork lard that can be self served via the huge container at the stall. *loved* 

Every strand of noodle was swimming in rich, flavourful stock and every spoonful was a delightful moment. Those looking for a robust flavour may find this a tad too sweet even though it's exactly this sweetness that complemented with the spicy sourness of the chilli. 

Satisfied, i was! 

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Location
Block 926, Yishun Central 1, 
Yishun 81 Food Court (永运食坊),
Singapore 760926

Pricing
Hokkien Mee - Minimal S$4 a plate

Love Locks @ Asiatique The Riverfront [Bangkok]

There are numerous ways for a traveller to spend their money in a foreign country and i am personally susceptible to a few of them except for one; the fascination with love locks! 

While many such "installations" are normally placed at high levels or over a body of water (by that, i seriously meant river) where a loving couple can throw the lock's keys away from sight, contributing in litter no doubt, this one at Asiatique night market plays it differently. 

On ground level, in the middle of the night market, at an area decorated like a Western-styled garden. And it was popular with the metal grilles heavy with the love locks! An idea came to mind - i should consider renting a place in Singapore's Botanic Gardens / Gardens by the Bay and do the same thing! 


Monday, June 27, 2016

Marine Monsters Exhibit @ Dusit Zoo [Bangkok, Thailand]

Conjuring images of fearsome looking marine creatures in his innocent brain, Alex insisted we should pay the 10 baht entry fee to Marine Monsters exhibit even though we had already forked out 150 baht for admission to the oldest zoo in Thailand. 

My jaw literally dropped when i stepped in; there wasn't any sight of gigantic squid, man-eating great white. In their place were about a dozen (or less) aquarium tanks housing ornamental fishes of little interest to me.

Singapore, despite its diminutive size, is a significant exporter for ornamental fishes and i had been to numerous fish farms when i still had a car. My sentiment was more of sadness though as kois, i thought, should be given a much bigger space. By the way, kois are not marine fishes! 

There was a long necked turtle and an African giant catfish (which honest wasn't that big); hardly fodder to wow me. Where the hell were the marine monsters!?

Alligator gar was more unique even though the quantity of one paled in comparison when compared to Singapore's River Safari. You may click here to check out my post on Rivers of the World

About 75% of the exhibit was reserved for the blacktip reef sharks! p.s. i don't really get what the panel was trying to inform and don't you find it funny that the shark image on the lower right belongs to another species?! 

The tank for the blacktip reef sharks. Honestly, my mind was going like WTF (as in what the fish) as it's such a disappointment! Compare that to the place i chanced upon in Maafushi Island, Maldives!

I actually spent a longer time in the marine monsters exhibit than Alex and even then, the time i took was less than four minutes; majority of which was to compose my camera in the low light setting! It was incredibly small even for the 10 baht we paid for each person! Don't believe me? Alex walked in, looked around and was out in about 10 steps. 

More appealing was the two-headed turtle at the ticketing counter of Marine Monsters exhibit. You don't even have to pay a single cent to take its picture, so long you don't use flash. 

Alligator gars, blacktip reef sharks, kois, long necked turtle and giant catfish - i have seen all of them before in other settings but a two-headed turtle; that's a first for me! 

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Location
Within Dusit Zoo,
Bangkok, Thailand

Price to the Exhibit
Admission - 10 baht per person
(Not inclusive of entry fee to the zoo)


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Lao Li Shark's Fin Restaurant (海外天) @ Bangkok Chinatown [Thailand]

Many people have reservation when it comes to eating shark's fin soup; for me, it's about fairness. Cruelty towards other animals might be as bad or even worse but you don't see me turning vegan. 

Case closed and we shall now turn towards my lunch at Yaowarat Road, Bangkok's bustling Chinatown district. T&K has yet to open for business and i thought why not just a restaurant that i have never tried before; hence, introducing Lao Li Shark's Fin Restaurant!

Strangely, the Chinese name of the shop (海外天), when translated to English, is actually overseas heaven. I am not sure if it's to reduce the risk of a lawsuit as 海外天 is also the name of a popular restaurant in Malaysia. 

The sweltering hot weather was especially felt at Chinatown given the lack of any trees and a few hours of walk made us crave for an Asian beverage with cooling properties; chrysanthemum tea! And boy was it thirst quenching although it was on a sweet side. 

Shark's Fin Soup with Crabmeat - at 500 baht, the content in the claypot was sufficient for two persons. I was a bit more selfish as i wanted more for myself! Now that many wedding banquets have stopped serving the Chinese delicacy, it's now becoming an infrequent indulgence for me. 

Soup was still boiling hot and i had to rein in my impatience lest i burnt the insides of my mouth; trust me, it can result in extreme discomfort, especially when oral ulcer sets in. 

I honestly think i have reached the stage where i can replace shark's fin with fish maw as it's the flavourful broth that really matters in the soup. 

Bird's Nest in Syrup - when this was served to me, i was thinking if the waitress had sent a wrong dessert to the table as i remembered i had asked for a 300 baht bird's nest, not a S$2 cheng tng. 

Feeling cheated is an over exaggeration even though instead of savouring the nutritional benefits of the birds' saliva, i had to spend the enjoyment biting through the tiny pieces of ice! 

Solution - wait for the ice to melt, and i hate to waste my time when i am overseas! To be frank, it did contain a generous amount of bird's nest. It might not appear sweet enough but that's quite alright for me since ageing had reduced the body's desire for sweet stuff.

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Location
457-461, Yaowarat Road,
Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand

Price
Chrysanthemum Tea - 60 / 120 Baht
Shark's Fin Soup with Crabmeat - 500 baht
Bird's Nest in Syrup - 300 baht

Additional Information
Ask for WiFi password! 


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Fantail Pod @ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Extension [Singapore]

The urban landscape in Singapore has undergone great changes over the past few decades but this development can also be seen in our nature reserves to hype up interest among the residents. 

Put in the boom for social media and you would know that structures like the above are, to put it plainly, instagrammable with the potential of numerous likes. For me, it's more bloggable than instagrammable and for the former, it would require a short exploration to check out the unique "interior". 

Reaching the top was an easy feat given that the structure wasn't tall to begin with; even the frequently used tower has been replaced with the term "pod" although i honestly thought it looked like a flower bud from far. 

Don't come in if you encounter heavy rain as the pod isn't a sheltered one! If visitor numbers continued to be as slow, it wouldn't be long before a big bird used the fantail pod as a nesting ground. 

I love static compass that shows the distance to notable countries / attractions etc. This one shows the direction and distance of wetlands; furthest of which is the Hong Kong Wetland Park at 2,580 kilometers away. 

The messy layering of wood pieces making up the structure's facade would be considered as "artistic" by some; at random intervals, you might be allowed to catch an expansive glimpse of the scenery outside.

There's an opening for a wider receptacle of the scenery of course and dad was happily pointing out places he had been to as a lorry driver; that tree-lined passage is a road and dam for Kranji Reservoir.

View of Malaysia - as this position was bit further away from the city centre, you don't see as many towering buildings. Anyway, the area for Malaysia was touted as hot prosperity given the amount of greenery on Singapore's side. 

They were at least a hundred or two hundred meters away from the shore but the water remained shallow for people to walk on it. Want to guess what they are doing? Answer: harvesting clams! Do be careful as the dam does release water every few hours and there had been incidents of drowning. 

Time to leave!


Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Cup Rice & Noodle - Healthy Korean Goodness @ Selegie's PoMo Mall [Singapore]

Green colour can be extremely therapeutic for the eyes but when it comes to looking for a place where i can indulge in a good meal, the same colour tends to result in a reduced appetite as the presumption is that the food would likely be too healthy for my liking.

That's my sentiment when i stepped into The Cup SG although the appearance of a primate plushie soothed me somewhat; i have to give face to my own kind. Nevertheless, i was keen to check out The Cup as it's rare for me to step into a new establishment nowadays. 

For those who are still wondering on the cuisine that's served at The Cup SG, it's Korean and the eatery was fairly a new entrant in the food industry; starting operation in October 2015. 

Setting was simple yet comfortable and the range offered was comprehensive from rice to noodle, soup, snack, salad and even the recent food fad; bingsu. 

It didn't take me long for me to decide as i always follow the chef's recommendation; in this case, the bibimbap that had a "best!!!" label next to it. For my two friends, things were a lot harder as they had existing allergies. 

That's when one of the staff came over and boy were we were touched by his willingness to replace ingredients my friends were sensitive from! In many places, the chance is rocket high that they would say no. 

Dakgangjeong Salad
Knowing my friends couldn't take spicy food, the dressing was replaced with honey mustard and teriyaki sauce! No complaint about the dressing even though the best compliment was reserved for the fresh and juicy chicken. 

Kimchi
This small serving was for me to try out and according to the same gentleman, it differed from your typical kimchi with less of an ammonia taste; there was indeed some differences. Sadly, they were sour for me and i guess i would very much prefer "normal" kimchi

Bibimbap 
Mine! At that point, i could find no relevance to the name of the shop. Initially thinking that food would be served in a cup (which means i would ingest much lesser), i was obviously disappointed to receive a bowl instead.

If you have had lunch with me in a Korean restaurant, you might have noticed i steered clear from seaweed soup. However, this small bowl that accompanied my main course totally changed my opinion with its rich intensity of pure seaweed that was simply beyond my shallow expectation; it was only later that i heard that no MSG was used in The Cup.

Back to my bibimbap - nothing special about the appearance; one look and you know it is the signature Korean mixed rice with one slight variation. The grain used for The Cup is gardenia seed rice; said to be heavy in nutritional benefits! 

More information on the benefits is listed on the placecards on each table! I have kindly taken a picture for your ease of reference. 

Once mixed (subject to the skill of individual), the taste was evenly distributed and i must say it was tasty and would be considered as comfort food for me if stress hits me! Extra credit to the beef which was sweet and apparently the result of a marination i had never heard of; that of the green kiwi! 

Comfort food = Licked-clean bowl. The next time i visit, i shall bring my parents who are into healthy fare and always complaining my diet is too hazardous for health. 

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Location
1, Selegie Road, #01-05,
PoMo Mall, Singapore 188306

Facebook Page

Order List
As above

Pricing
Dakgangjeong Salad - S$8.90
Bibimbap - S$9.90
(Subject to GST only)

Additional Information
Takeaways are available in the form of paper cups; mystery of the brand name is finally resolved (i think). If you are adventurous enough, go for their corn silk tea. 

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