Thursday, December 31, 2009

Money Faces

Could someone please tell me why is it necessary to have a picture of a country's who's who on its currency? One reason i could think of is historical; Ancient Roman coins, from my understanding, have the face of its ruler (at the time of minting).

Anyway, a creative group (i believe they were really bored) of people found a way to prove that money could also be used as a mode of entertainment instead of being a medium for entertainment!

 Interesting yah?

It must be, because someone tried using Singapore currency too!



Sunday, December 27, 2009

Saizeriya (Again) @ City Square Mall

I was not exactly that hungry when i stumbled onto this newly-opened branch in newly-opened City Square Mall.

With its incredibly-priced dishes, always immaculate service and for this shop alone, ample seats, there's no way i am going to ignore its pulling presence!

Since we were pretty full, we only ordered two dishes! Including free flow of ice water. Don't you love restaurants that don't force you to buy bottled water?!?!?

Oh, i forgot. You do have a choice. You can choose not to drink.

Oven-baked Scallops in Cheese (i think)

Steaming HOT!! I might have preferred the dry ones from Hokkaido but the ones here were not too bad too!

The tomato sauce and cheese dampened the usually strong fishy taste of scallops. The overall result turned out to be better than expected.

Pork and Hamburger Steak

This is one dish i must have, every-single-time i visit. As i have blogged about this before, i shall spare you the main details.

Although playing a minor role in this dish, the corn kernels were really flavourful!!

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Location:
This second branch is located at 180, Kitchener Road, City Square Mall, #B2-55/56 and connected to Farrer Park (not Road hor) MRT Station.


Hainanese Chicken Rice (海南雞飯) @ Guan Gourmet House, Yishun

Everyone knows about Hainanese chicken rice; from the old ah mah selling vegetables by the OCBC bank in Chong Pang to the ang moh who contributes frequently to the Straits Times' column (Neil Humphreys lah).

Tell me you are kidding if you truthfully don't know! Foreigners are forgivable!

For the past few months, i repeatedly went back to this Hainanese Chicken Rice stall in Yishun Block 925. Quite a surprise since i have always preferred roasted chicken rice.

What's so good about it??

The Rice

Rice is an important component for this dish annd the one here didn't fail.

Grain upon grain of rice, each significantly apart from one another yet fused with the elements of chicken, garlic and ginger. The essential factors to provide a delicious chew that is soft and fluffy.

The Chicken

Pieces of solid bitey meat that were still sufficiently moisturized! The best part? They were deboned for easy chomping and de-fat to follow the Ministry of Health's advice (i guess)!

The Supporting Vegs

The tomato was a normal raw one; won't want to bore you with its health benefits. I love the achar! Crunchy, slightly sourish and spicy! A few strips of cucumber were hidden underneath the meat.

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Location:
This stall is located within a coffee shop at block 925 behind Yishun Bus Interchange. Please find the map usually placed in interchanges for further details on surrounding areas around a respective interchange.


Additional Information:
At S$3.50 (you can choose S$2.50 if you wish) for one pax, it's not exactly expensive.

Partial self service since you have to queue to place and pay for your orders. The service staff will deliver your meals to you.

If you drive, please do not park at the roadside since the traffic wardens frequently patronise this area. There is a multi-storey car park located right above the coffee shop. 


Friday, December 25, 2009

A Simple Christmas Brunch (2009)

First and foremost, Merry Christmas 2009!!

Though i am not Christian, Christmas has always retained a special place in my heart. I remember the first time my mum brought me to Orchard Road with all its glitter and festive decorations. It was such an eye opener for me!

So what was my first meal for Christmas this year?

Sarpino's Pizzas

We ordered home delivery!
Sponsored by my dear sister (the older one of course)!

Mama Mia pizza with grilled chicken strips, garlic, spinach, cheese with turkey bacon.

The Villaggio pizza (non-meat) with olive oil, parmesan, garlic, tomatoes, onion, black olives, mushrooms, spinach leaves and cheese.

Truthfully, i prefer Pizza Hut's pizzas. There was a festive pizza from Pizza Hut that will make me drool whenever i think about it; The Chinese New Year pizza with strips of bak kwa and BBQ sauce!

Fruit Cake

This was a gift from my sister's friend, Jean Tan! The best thing? Not only was the cake simply beautiful, it was home made by Jean's niece.

Taste-wise, we all agreed it was really good! The cake was filled with loads of candied fruits but did not give the overly sweet sensation usually associated with fruit cakes.

Definitely a lighter BUT healthier version!


Smelly Tofu (Again) @ Mini Star [星仔(香港)臭豆腐], Geylang, Singapore


A much needed update since my last post in 2006!

Reason No 1: Expanded Menu
Reason No 2: Better pictures (compared to HERE)
Reason No 3: I can never get enough of this heavenly scented snack!!

I shan't discuss about the usual smelly tofu since much had been said typed in this blog. The soft shell crab bun as well. Better quality pictures will be posted though; to tempt most of you to, at the very least, try it!!!

Seriously, you skeptical ladies and gentlemen really don't know what you have missed!!!

As mentioned, Mini Star (the shop's name) has more menu selections now! I ticked off numerous dishes that are rice and noodle-based.

Well-intentioned but with so much good edible food in Geylang, most of us probably will eat our main meal somewhere else and then proceed to Mini-Star for JUST its smelly tofu.
I could be wrong. For all i know, these main meals could be another die-die-must-try-when-you-come-to-geylang type! But before i even try them, i maintain my reservation.

One new kid on the menu was ordered though; the fragrant yet ultra crispy smelly tofu in slices. Especially catered for people who can never get enough of the crispy exterior! Personally, i find it to be less smelly than the original cube-form smelly tofu.

Don't think i mention this before. One important complement to the smelly tofu is the special chilli-sweet sauce concoction with pickled cucumbers!! It is so popular, it has upgraded to have a plate to call its own instead of sharing the otherwise limited space with the tofu!
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Location:
795 Geylang Road (near Lorong 41).

Additional Information:
For train commuters, this place is pretty near to Paya Lebar MRT station. If you are driving, you can park along Lorong 41. Since this lorong is pretty far from the "exciting areas", it should not be difficult to find a parking lot.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Killings in Faroe Islands

 
I received an email recently on this unique, deep-set culture for an autonomous island province of Denmark. With a history that stretched over 1,500 years, there lies a practice to trap and kill a few hundreds of long-finned pilot whales every year!

Traditionally, this is necessary to secure scarce food source. Contemporarily, this has become a festival celebrated by the ethnic Faroese; it is such a hunt that children are often given a rest day from school!

How it works?

According to Hoax-Slayer:
"When a school of whales is spotted close to shore, messengers are dispatched to inform local inhabitants of the particular island involved. A formation of small boats is then used to drive the whales ashore, where they beach themselves in the shallow water and are killed by waiting islanders. A special whaling knife is used to sever the animal's spine near the dorsal fin."

Personally, i find this practice inhumane but i do respect the many cultures in the world. Should we force our values on others just because we don't think it's right?  We should stop eating meat (chicken, pork, mutton, beef, fish) if we really want to eradicate cruelty towards animals!

Is killing a dolphin any less cruel than killing a cow? Or a chicken? A torturous long-drawn death versus a quick death; both painful. Which is better?  

There was an argument by the Faroese that in the modern world, humans have become so far removed from the harsh realities of animal food production that they have formulated unrealistic notions of how food actually gets to their tables (as quoted from Hoax-Slayer).

No matter how much i detest this social culture of whaling, i cannot deny the above mentioned argument. All i need is a video showing how pigs are slaughtered and i will wean myself from pork for the next few weeks or even months.

That, my dear readers, is the cruel reality.

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In contrast to the email(s) that most of you have received, this cruel slaughtering does not involve Calderon dolphins. Instead, the victims are the long-finned pilot whales that belong to the dolphin family.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Place in Memory @ Bidadari Garden

Hint: It's for the dead.

This is a place ironically named in remembrance to the eerie yet beautiful Bidadari (which means "fairy" in Malay) cemetery, which i am afraid is no longer in existence. A great pity, no doubt.

It wasn't more than 10 years that i had the opportunity to be stationed at one bus stop opposite the Christian section of this cemetery for more than twelve hours; main purpose was to collate the statistics of vehicles along the stretch of Upper Senagoon Road.

Back then, the Christian cemetery was a place of tranquility and beauty with human-size statues, crosses dotting the big area of gravestones.

In the morning, the area was usually covered with a thin layer of mist that added to its mystery and secrecy. At night, a commonly held belief that cemteries are scary and full of horror still hold pretty strong.

When the government earmarked this area for urban development back in 1996, they decided to build this garden as a reminder for Singapore's past. I mentioned "ironically" in the beginning of this post since i don't think many people know this garden.

The garden is divided into three areas; Christian, Muslim and Hindu, in accordance to the specific religious burials allowed for the cemetery then.

Besides the memorial plaques and numerous gravestones of famous occupants like Lim Boon Keng and former Health Minister Ahmad Ibrahim, this garden also bears an iron-wrought gate (first picture) dated 1908 for its entrance.

Although it is not worth the travelling, this miniature Bidadari Garden does provide an informative aspect of Singapore's history regarding the handling of death. If you are interested, SPCA is located merely a few hundred meters away.

For the daredevils or paranormal enthusiasts, the gates to the garden remain unlocked at night.  

Location: Beside Mount Vernon Columbarium.

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