Saturday, August 27, 2005

Have You Heard About This New Library?

Here i am finally in the national central library in Singapore; the biggest, the tallest in Singapore. No doubt i am awed by its design and really feel proud being Singaporean to have seen such a vast library in comparatively tiny Singapore, ever described as an insignificant red dot in the world map.

I am also impressed by what I saw within the building. Nice décor with spacious areas for which we are not required to walk carefully less knocking someone or something down. But yet, nothing is ever perfect.

Space is big but it doesn't relate to a big quantity of books. Loads of half empty shelves that gave a very cold feeling towards the warmth of reading. Slightly made up by some mini exhibition of some kind on every level; the family tree exhibition, the building of nation etc etc, but it just didn't have that warm feeling.

The old raffles road library has that feeling definitely. And I don't understand why those mini gardens in the new library is not open to public!! I don't mind going out to sit under the cloudy sky and read my books! Well, I do understand that those small little inconsiderate brats will eat there, drink there and even urinate there to dirty the place, to show that they have been there!

Another to take note is the lack of seats! I had such a hard time finding a comfortable seat and I never found one. Have to resort to sitting on the floor! It's warm with carpeting but it's dusty as well. Lol. A lot of libraries lacked seating capacity and somemore, I should not have come on a Saturday. There are kids flying around and yelling like it's their home and adults thinking they have gained weight by occupying seats for two when they haven't come to realization that they are just one person!

Furthermore, when I went into the Lee Kong Chian reference library, i waas barred from entering all because I carried a bag that can fit an a4 size paper. I don't understand the rationale! Stealing is a problem but it has always been for reference sections and don't they have those fanciful expensive theft alert system. And if that is ever activated, I don't think any one can escape the security guards! The only way for them to escape fast is to jump down from the 7th floor and best thing, no window is open! All of them are sealed!! The next funny thing was the big tables at the reference section!! It can work as my bed man! But yet, nothing except the laptop I brought and those books I took from the reference section were on it.

The funniest thing to happen is that there are not enough lockers around for usage! I am apparently using a fucking big bag. And the other best thing, I carried my cashcard, my ez link but no coins!! Remind me about Singapore ever being cashless. To change for coins, I had to go down from 11th floor to 7th floor! Such great convenience!! And to think that the national library board apparently still doesn't have enough not common sense to know the society changes and that the govt is recommending strongly for a cashless society!

In conclusion, nice library, nice environment but frankly, I didn't manage to find a lot of materials for my business projects. I will have a better chance with school libraries. The above events are funny but im not laughing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Books Books Books

I have always loved books. 

I haven't been reading extensively but recently my fascination with books is rekindled by Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown). Since then, i have expanded my field of books from ghost stories, dogs' nutritions, culture, history to well.. literature? Or novels? I don't know. I am not good in classification and don't know the difference between retro and techno~ lol.

Anyway, i am sharing a good book borrowed from my friend, weeeeeyuan. It's a book called Kane & Abel by Jeffrey Archer. When i first saw the book cover, i dunno whether the title is Kane & Abel or Jeffrey Archer. I dun have a big dictionary of authors and normally don't dwell too deep. Worse, i don't remember too much content of those books i read.

From the time i opened the book, the contents will be hungrily sucked into my mind, the contents will make an impact for the few days and in the end, they will flow out of my brains. *shrugs* Tats why i have decided to blog nowadays!! So i can at least remember some parts of it.

Anyway, Kane and Abel is fabulous and i heard that there is a second book that follows the storyline!! I am so desperate to get my hands on that book. But i am still so stressed over my projects… Sianz…

Anyway, this book is on two guys from two extremely diverse places; borned on the same day and same year. One from Poland, a baby abandoned in the wilderness and suprisingly, with one nipple. Yes, a nipple!! My heart will feel for him if he lives in Singapore where all guys have a chance or two to bare their half naked body to the public! Anyway, the other guy is borned with a silver spoon, in the luxury of a home that belongs to the chairman of a bank.

The book narrated the life of the two guys, from their birth, their difficulties and how they come to detest each other. Surprisingly, this book adopts very clearly stepped and concised narration as it switched from one guy and to another. There is no confusion and i really respect the author for this! I read another book called "The Historian" which is very confusing with the character switching rapidly with no apparent relation.

The end of the book was really quite unexpected (as most books are) but it really shows how wrong we can be even though we have researched it very well.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Stress Stress Stress

It's been a long long time since i got so stressed…

The last time was my exams last semester.. But well, i am almost half way through this semester and im getting stressed again!! Projects' deadline are around the corner and it's confusing sometimes to have lecturers telling you different formats for submissions?!?! It's like one tell you put dick inside a vagina will lead to pregnancy and another telling you that putting the dick inside the mouth will lead to preganancy!! One is correct and one is wrong but which is wrong for those who are not sure!?!??!

Hm… Medicine is so advanced now and there's a possibility in the future to have a kid through impregnation by mouth. Shrugs. Never know.

Anyway, im dead tired now… Been so busy altering my report after i got back home from my one of project meeting. I volunteered to help out because i am the only one who is not working full time. But well, since i have time, might as well help out right? My other group members seem so tired over their work and projects. I can still relax but their day of relaxation on a Sunday is usually burnt doing projects!!

My days of having to work full time eventually is getting shorter… Another 9 more months before i end this fun life…. STRESSSS!! And somemore, i am faced with fun limitations since i don't have the financial capability to do so!! Sighz.. Win some, lose some~

Will talk about food another day. Been so busy with projects that i haven't been eating much these few days. My course mate commented that i have lost weight though!! Yippeee~~ A moment of happiness in the whirlpool of stress~~

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Waffletown

I bet load of you don't what the hell or where the hell this is. For those who used to study near Ngee Ann Polytechnic, you should know because it USED to be at Bukit Timah Plaza. But as i said, it USED to be so where the fu*ck is its new location? Actually i did not know much on this place; yes, I went to the one at Bukit Timah Plaza once and i only ordered a drink! I was not so much of a foodie then (was more health conscious then).

Anyway, time changes and so has the mentality. I am very much a foodie now so i will surf websites like Makansutra and Can.com etc etc for good food!! And i happened to fall in love with waffles after i ate one in Cafe Cartel. So i checked throught the net (my projects had offered loads of training for web searching) and found a place called Waffletown, somewhere near Newton Mrt station, which offers great fried chicken. Though this doesn't satisfy my initial choice, i do love fried chicken too.

So off i went one great afternoon, driving my dear old toyota corolla.

It didn't take me long to find it and i parked right outside the row of shophouses that house waffletown. Yes, illegally.. Im a poor guy okay? I need to save and scrimp on expenses like parking. ANYWAY, the shop looked well.. normal. It has some seats outside but like the usual pampered me and a fucking spoilt and pampered Alex, i have to sit inside to enjoy the cold aircon.

At first glance, it looked like some family owned cafe and there was only a couple (lesbians) seated outside. I glanced through the menu and realised one thing; for a not so branded food outlet, it does charge quite high prices! And im just a poor guy…..

Fried Chicken
I heard it's good mah so i try lor! When compared to KFC, it comes in Original or i should say it looked more like the original type from KFC. I ordered two pieces and added $1.80 for e set that came with potato salad, coleslaw and a drink. For one, their drink was so damn small lor!! And i only ordered one to share with Alex. Anyway, back to topic, the fried chicken tasted reli good!! I can tell u, for those fat-conscious ladies or metrosexuals out there, the fat was reli minimal! It's only well.. skin deep!! Not those fatty skin you find in KFC!! The taste was really great! Not too oily, just right for me. Price quite expensive though - $4 for two pieces, $5.80 for 3 pieces, additional $1.80 for set.

Rating 9.5/10.

Waffles
The waffles were like Cafe cartel but cheaper! But came in a small portion lah~ A square waffle instead of the round one in Cafe Cartel. I dunno why but when i saw the square waffle, i was a bit sad. I am more into shape i guess, not long, not thick, just round and big~! Lol. You can choose a few flavours for the ice cream; normal ones so don't expect Hagen Daz Macadamia Nuts! The waffle's crust was thick and just of the right texture, not crispy like burnt bread and not too soft like normal bread, and with the ice cream on it, i finished the waffle before i finished the ice cream. Was the scoop too big or my waffle too small? Or was it the overall size? Anway the price was cheap at $2 for normal waffle wif butter and syrup. For ice cream waffle, i think it's $3.20 or $3.50. Im old liao lah!! So don't expect my memory to be like a 15 year old! But i have always been forgetful, even when i was 8.

Rating 8/10

Okay, that summed up the experience i had in Waffletown. I will recommend it of course, why not? The staff was friendly, the food was good, no crowd and best of all, no obnoxious chicken smell after coming out of the place!! Lol.

Forget to add, the place is at Balmoral Plaza i think. Along the road where Newton Mrt Station is located towards Novena road, turn left and go straight, the second bus stop is near to Waffletown.

Hm… Guess the next fast food i wana try is Carl’s Junior. The advertisement where Paris Hilton is featured is fabulous and makes me want to drool. Drool for the burger, not Paris. Im old and there's no more VITALISING energy. ;P

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Pasar Malam (Singapore's Night Market)

Pasar Malam - a term unfamiliar with many who don't live in Asean countries. In Singapore, it's really more of a social gathering for families and friends.

Basically, these Malay words stands for Night Market and it's filled up wif many stalls selling stuff like food, clothes, cars, basic nessities, accessories etc etc.

In short, it's like a small carnival though some have evolved to be big carnivals with exciting theme-park rides of a smaller scale!

I love Pasar Malam and i always think that it will be best if tourists can just come and take a look at our night markets. I have been to quite a few night markets overseas like Hongkong and Malaysia but i still love the one in Singapore!

Not as in the amount of finger food you can get here, it's also the weird things you can get every now and now. For example, I happened to catch sight of some sex toys in the Pasar Malam in Yishun at the moment. Wahahahaha. Shy to buy it though.

Without any surprises, my main lookout in Pasar Malam has always been food; from the sweet and nice taiwan sausages in the past to the Ramly burger that has been so popular in Pasar Malam recently. Besides that, there are thai salad, thai shark fins, sesame balls, salted fried chicken, mee goreng, fried chicken, bbq chicken, fried chempedak, fried bananas etc etc.

At times, you may even find steam crabs, bbq crabs though they are fucking expensive!! You can also find the fake bird nest drinks i used to adore when i am very young. It was missing for around 5-10 yrs before it suddenly reappeared in night market scene.

Pasar Malam always bring back happy memories for me. When i was young, i will be out with my whole family; savouring the finger foods, pestering my parents to buy toys etc etc. Well, my family still does that and we will jalan jalan (walk walk) in the night market. It was relaxing in a perculiar way because night-time is the most crowded period so you are jostling with others until your shirt is soaked with sweat!

Like many other things, Pasar Malam has evolved a lot. From one-street carnival last time to basically taking up a whole big field now! It also sells cars now, sometimes even houses and almost all came with a few Ramly burgers stalls and at least one auction house that sells Chinese artefacts! It's actually the same product every time but if you look closely, you can find some realy useful and nice items for yourself!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Lao Beijing (老北京) @ Plaza Singapura

Today is Singapore's National Day!!

The day Singapore is officially borned due to a much difficult separation from Malaysia back in 1965. Anyway, it's quite a big thing in recent years, with the so called lack of patriotism that is being noticed more and more in recent years. Nah, i am not one of those.

I love Singapore for what she is and i am really glad to be here! Borned a Singaporean and definitely die as one too. It's like your blood line; you can never reject it as easily as your stomach rejecting those unhealthy food (by farting, shitting, diarrhea etc etc).

E'nuff of this disgusting talk, especially when i am going to dwell onto my favourite topic!! Food as usual!! Lol. Anyway, today left only myself, Weeyuan and Alex for lunch so where should we go?! With so little people, the choice was made swiftly and we made our way to Lao Beijing in Plaza Singapura. If no buffet is available, we shall proceed to Gelare for waffle (not a definitive lunch but filling enough).

Lucky for us, Lao Beijing's buffet is still in operation and we happily stepped in and ordered whatever dishes they have; provided the titles did not sound too disgusting or weird.

Xiao Long Bao
Big, fat and juicy wif a sizeable piece of pork meat within that was steamed to an ultimate softness! But eat it fast because the skin will start to harden rapidly. The soup was not too bad although i still prefer crystal jade's version.

A nice rating of 8/10.

Guo Tie
Literally panfried dumplings. I have eaten guo tie from quite a number of places and i seriously think that all of them were just either okay-tasting or horrible-tasting. This one from Lao Beijing, however, took my breath away! The taste was great and it's unimaginable that it can be so different from the others i had.

Rating 10/10.

Fried Shredded Pork with Salted Bean, Chilli and Leek Sprout
Don't ask what it's called in Chinese - i barely remembered 4 Chinese characters. Anyway, this dish was sort of a … hm… a weird tasting. It's tasty but maybe because i never really like pork, i found it a bit disgusting. I guess i can empathise how the ang mohs feel when they eat durians.

Rating 7/10.

Fried Noodles
This tasted a bit like hongkong fried noodles albeit a really taste one. Maybe it was because of my hunger!

Rating 8/10

Lentil Jelly
Ok, this is one dish i don't have the acquired taste for and i wonder why people can even like it. It's mushy with a very beany taste (obviously made of beans). Just too weird for my taste i guess. It's under the dessert section and i normally expect dessert to be quite sweet but this wasn’t.

Rating 4/10

Almond wif Fungus
Warm, not cold as most of us thought it to be. It came in a bowl filled wif creamy almond (imagine almond jelly in a liquid form) plus a piece of fungus. Yes, you heard me right! One piece like a lone lotusin the pond. It's not sweet and doesn't suit my sweet tongue. Lol.

Rating 6.5/10

Custard Cream Bun
This is the most over rated dish!! When i read the words in Chinese, i figured it as a nice little bun with creamy, thick custard cream. The nice little bun part looked right but the insides were some pathetic, dried custard paste. Not creamy!! Not thick!! Just dried and crusty!!! Downright horrifiying. Luckily, this came last!!

Rating 2/10 (2 was given because at the very least, it was still edible)

Others
Tried a few other dishes of noodles for which you can actually ask for just one portion. They were not great though as compared to Crystal Jade.

Our only regret is not getting 4 pax to eat together!! A confirmed 4-pax will get us a self made popiah set for free!!! Sianz. But overall, this is a place worth going.

Price was $12.80 per person - not inclusive of drinks and subject to 10% Service Charge, 5% GST and towels charges. It was calculated to be around S$16.50 a person.

Overall Rating; a 7.5/10.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Crystal Jade Macau

This is a day overdue but i guess their food don't change over one day right? Haha. Anyway, i finally have a chance to eat at Crystal Jade's newest restaurant of a different theme, Macau.

By Macau, it means depicting food with a mix of a Portugese style that is different from the Cantonese style of the nearby Hong Kong island.

Here goes the review.

Special Combo
A dish that comprised of a lot of small dishes, machiam like an everything in one; grilled beef, grilled chicken, grilled pork, fried chicken wings and potato wedges.

My mum thought this dish sucked as it was too saltish!! But i personally think it's okay, edible but i will stop at that (which means, not very good lor). I especially hate the fried chicken wings. They tasted like re-used oil was used to fry the wings. 

At S$28.00, i think it's too expensive and not worth for that kind of taste.  
Rating - 4/10

Baked Rice
This dish was way better than the one above. Two plates were ordered: one with pork ribs and the other with a mixture of seafood cheese and pork.

Both were nice with thick cheese and a palatable reddish pork chop sauce. The only bad point was the stale looking pork ribs.

Costs around S$8.00 each.
Rating - 6.5/10

Pork Chop Bun
This was the best dish in the whole restaurant.

Basically it's like a hamburger but instead of a beef patty, you will find pork chop in between the buns. Cut in half, the bun was crispy and coupled with the sweet taste of the pork, it made for a refreshing taste i never had.

A bit on a high side at $5.90 for such a small bun.
Rating - 9.5/10

Boiled Eggs Custard
This is a dish not commonly seen in Singapore but fortunately, I tried it in Chinatown before. My friend, Weeyuan, called it Tan Tan (means egg egg i think) and i think it looked like soya beancurd with an eggy taste.

Just imagine a thicker and more solid custard cream and you will know what i meant. The one in Crystal Jade Macau was not bad but the egg taste was not strong enough.

Price: Cannot remember
Rating is 5/10 .

=========

Tried other dishes but generally they were only okay. Frankly, i would not go back to this restaurant unless for the pork chop buns. I think Crystal Jade Xiao Long Bao will still be my favourite haunt for now.

Besides Waffletown…..

Total cost - S$119.00




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