Monday, August 30, 2010

Weng (翁) Pancake @ Maxwell Food Centre

This popular snack known in Singapore as 面煎粿 (Min-Jin-Kueh in Hokkien) is one of my favourite local kueh of all times.

It's not uncommon to see me chomping on one right after a filling breakfast or lunch, provided i can get a ready stall nearby!

Before i tried Tian Tian Chicken Rice, one of the "eats" i usually recommend in Maxwell Food Centre is the 面煎粿 from Weng Pancake!

Adopting the roll and wrap style, this stall attracted my attention then for its incredibly unbelievable price of just S$0.50 per piece!

Low price in this era may give the impression that quality is compromised.

But the certificates of recognition from Makansutra and The Green Book proudly displayed on the glass, say a different story!

A fragrant pandan dough (which is rare amongst its competitors) set below a generous layer of coarse peanut bits sprinkled with an additional layer of coarse sugar, rolled and wrapped with a final concluding gesture; cut it just like popiah!

Granted the size of one piece is not that impressive, i cannot deny the happy feeling i get whenever my teeth sinks into the skin!

The joy of having every bite with flavour!
Yum!

=====

Available fillings include my favourite peanuts (of course), green bean, red bean and coconut!

Never ask me to try those with peanut-butter-like filling.

HATE IT!!!
HATE IT!!!
HATE IT!!!

Location
Stall No.10
Maxwell Food Centre

Sunday, August 29, 2010

An Uninvited Guest on Hungry Ghost Month

Most Singaporeans do know that it is currently the used-to-be-unspeakable seventh lunar month; the month we all know from young to be the hungry ghost month when ghosts, including those of our deceased ancestors, walk on mortal earth.

Today is the 20th day of the seventh lunar month, a Gregorian day we know as 29th of August 2010. Something just happened in my humble abode to jolt me out of my deep slumber and render me unable to sleep again. 

This unexplainable incident seeks to reinforce the existence of paranormal beings; a status i thought was lost on me after a long period of inactivity.  

Here's what happened. 

Already in my deep sleep mode, i was awoken by the barking of rubee, my old dog of no less than 13 years of age at 5.45am. This bark was different from the norm; it was pitchy loud with a slight tinge of viciousness and anxiety.

With the bedroom door wide open, it was definitely not a case of wanting to get out of the room. Nor was it time for his twice a day pee pee session.

I walked out of my bedroom to the living room, just in time to catch the half-opened main door closing.

By itself, in a deliberating slow motion!

Spooked thoughts immediately ran through my now alert brain; who was that? did my sister or father go out for exercise at this ungodly hour? was it my mom who may have cut short her weekly weekend stay at my sister's house to come back home and then proceed out for grocery shopping? 

Was it the wind?

With these perceived explanations running in my head in mere seconds, i slowly opened the main door, revealing the lighted corridor outside.

Empty.
And no wind. 

Goose bumps immediately appeared on my arms and i felt a chill down my spine. Cavin is never comfortable when it comes to things that are entirely unexpected and coming at a time when he had less than 4 hours sleep!! 

I did a head count just to make sure. 

Everyone was accounted for; Dad, Pig sister and Alex were sleeping except for me. They heard the barking but did not bother to drag themselves out of the bed. The house keys were in the position they were supposed to be. I called my mom and she was still in my sister's place.

So who, in the god's name, was that?


=all pictures (except for the first and third) were taken after the incident as the author cannot stand a post without any picture=

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Upper Peirce Reservoir Park [Near Devil's Bend]

In a country that is barely 48km by 25km, this little red dot has managed to squeeze in quite a number of nature areas for the benefit of its residents.

The most inaccessible area is Upper Peirce Reservoir Park.

Look closely at the map i took from Streetdirectory.com. See the little red star? That's merely the gates to the park.

Here's another map from the same source. Notice the new position of the star? THAT, my dear, is the park. 

It's going to be a blooody long walk!!! If not for the invention of motor vehicles (thank god!), i will had no choice but to torture my legs and thighs!

In hot and humid Singapore, most residents will prefer to stay away from the heat and immense themselves in the many shopping centres we have.

There are exceptions to this preference of course.

Apart from being nearer to nature (and that usually includes the mozzies), the drive (or walk) through a relatively quiet road can be unusually relaxing and calming for the stressful urban environment. 

In addition, the opportunity of seeing the thriving monkey population (at no costs) can be tempting for a lot of urbanites. These inquisitive monkeys can be seen scattered in groups of 5 or even 20 on the road itself so motorists, please beware!! 

Yes, i know the species is called Long-Tailed Macaques but most of us know them by monkeys.

So monkeys they shall be.

Upper Peirce Reservoir Park itself provides not much excitement except for the tranquility it offers.

In the past, we used to see people catching some kind of lobster-prawn thingy (palm size) from the rocks near the banks. However, we did not manage to catch any such activity this time.

With the gates (to the park) closing at 7.30pm, it's quite a surprise to know that the road right outside the gates is not as empty as we thought it will be at night. 

Daredevils roam this area (highlighted red above) when night falls, speeding along the winding road infamously known as the Devil's Bend (with a paranormal link). 

It can be quite thrilling but always remember; 

Don't Speed!!!!!

If you don't treasure your life (or that of your family, friends), it's your goddamn business.

Just don't harm the cute monkeys okay?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice (天天海南鸡饭) @ Maxwell Food Centre

After a long hiatus, i am finally back in Maxwell food centre with a main objective to try possibly the most famous stall in Maxwell; Tian Tian Hainanese chicken rice.

Mr Kon never seems to get tired of the chicken rice from this stall and is a hundred percent adamant that it's the best in Singapore! 

For me, i tried Tian Tian around eight to ten years ago without much impression and have always preferred the steamed white chicken rice from Guan Gourmet House in Yishun! 

Of Course!
Cavin 10 years ago.. 
is not the Cavin 1 minute ago.

*For one, Cavin has gained more than 
10 kilograms over this period*

Enough on historical facts!

Have i ever mentioned i used to hate the "white" style, steamed chicken rice? Reason being the layer of whitish, fatty skin upon the meat. I would have loved the skin if it's deep fried or roasted though!

Removing that disgusting piece of skin, i popped the glistening meat into my mouth and gave that necessary bite...............

The meat was so tender and soft, the delicious meat juice did not required much, if any, chewing effort to reach my taste buds. 

This was no doubt, the best piece of steamed chicken i ever had in my whole life!!!!

Comparable to Guan, the rice was as palatable! Privately, i really love a bowl of steamed rice where the grains can be seen so distinctly from one another. 

Garlic chilli is a standard condiment for chicken rice and if you are a chilli lover, you would love this small saucer of hot hot hot chilli! 

Cavin is not a HUGE fan of chilli. 

=====


After trying both Tian Tian and Guan within a two weeks period, it's difficult to say which is better. 

No question, Tian Tian has better tasting chicken. Guan, besides having boneless chicken (for the lazy eater) and achar (for that additional zesty flavour), has an additional advantage of being located in Yishun. 


Location
Stall No.10 
Maxwell Food Centre


Price
Need i explain more? 

Additional Information
The queue can be terribly long during meal times!!





Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Random

A picture that narrated a typical scene in Chinatown way back in the 1980s.

Wait!
I took that picture only a few months ago! Have i finally attained the power to go back in time?!

I am afraid not.

Here's another picture to prove that the ancient street-style barber trade is still alive in the hidden, forgotten lanes of Chinatown, Singapore!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My deepest condolences to
the residents of Hong Kong

(Picture taken from the front page of The Straits Times on 24 August 2010)

As a person who always prefers to travel with tour agents, this incident in Manila is extremely shocking and sad.

It brings to picture the depressive feeling i had during the Mumbai siege back in 2008, where a Singaporean died innocently. 

No one can foresee the future and no one knows when our lives will end. My classmate from my polytechnic days aptly described what i have always advocated, in her blog;

"Since life is so unpredictable,
shouldn't we all just live for the moment?"

(as plagiarised from her blog)

Of course, we all know conditions are not always as accommodating for us to live for the moment.

BUT

We can always try.



Monday, August 23, 2010

Fishball Noodles (鱼圆面) @ Xiang Xiang (香香), Chong Pang, Yishun

I am very picky with fishball noodles!

Coming from a person who is very simplistic when it comes to food (good, average or bad), you can imagine the high regard i have when it comes to fishball noodles.

Since my primary school days (heck, that's twenty years ago!), this has been the one and only fishball noodles stall i patronise again and again and again.

The Noodles
I once sat at a table with a complete stranger who was left with no choice but just a bowl of noodles without fish balls (I had the last one in my mouth then).

She was so pleased with it although it was just noodles with a generous serving of bean sprouts and a few pieces of pork lard (my beloved)!

This incident greatly endorsed why i love the noodles so much more than the fish balls!

This is also one of the rare moments i will have mee pok instead of the more common mee kia.

The Fishballs
Xiang Xiang used to have them handmade and they were 20-30% bigger in size then. During the Chinese New Year season, you will see the employees pushing out trolleys of them for sale!

The balls were still good and at only S$2.50 for a bowl of noodles with five fishballs, i thought it was still worth it.

The morning long wait (sometimes more than 30 minutes) on weekends is usually a big turnoff and, before last Saturday, it's been more than half a year since i last had a bowl of fishball noodles from Xiang Xiang (香香鱼圆面).

With so many gems hidden in Singapore's numerous hawker centres, i need some time loads of time to slowly satisfy the uncountable cravings within me. 

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Location
Stall 01-177
Chong Pang Hawker Centre
Yishun

Additional Information
Two pieces of helpful hints.

One: Always mix the noodles well!!
The above is the result of an expert mix!

Two: Never, ever order takeaway!
The noodles will be hard, soggy and incredibly different from their otherwise delicious state when you have it fresh and hot!


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