Saturday, March 31, 2012

Exploring Changi City Point [Beside Expo MRT Station] - Another New Shopping Centre to Hit Singapore

Singapore has a small land mass but new shopping centres keep sprouting out! From my understanding, the government aims to have a commercial centre right outside every single train station.

On the surface, it is a fabulous plan although it has become apparent that most of the shopping centres feature the same retail shops and lack the creative diversity enjoyed by shoppers.

Changi City Point, a new entrant set in the Changi Business Park, is thankfully able to differentiate itself slightly from its competitors.

The landscaped garden, displaying a pair of iconic metal swans, has already created interests amongst photographers. Such effort to beautify the surroundings was almost unheard of in the past for shopping malls outside touristy districts like Orchard road or Bugis street.

That's not all. Mini gardens complete with plants and fountains are contained WITHIN the complex, allowing shoppers to take a breather (not smoking though) in a non-airconditioned setting.

Here's another one; such pockets of peaceful sanctuary are extremely soothing to the eyes and brain as i walk in the mall. And access is not restricted like many places!

Shopping wise, the three levels of shops (including the basement) might seem really limited. Having said that, Changi City Point is far much bigger (and better) than Greenwich Village along Yio Chu Kang road.

Here's another key attraction to this mall; Singapore's first Nike factory outlet! 

And that's not the only factory outlet in Changi Point; you can find other factory outlets from popular, reputable brands like Crocs, Adidas, Coldwear, Esprit, G2000, Lacoste, Timberland, Samsonite and Sketchers!

Installation of rooftop facilities have increasingly become the norm for any new shopping complex. And the same goes for Changi City Point.

Termed as "The Arena @ L3", there is an outdoor amphitheatre that would likely be the hosting venue for upcoming singers or celebrities.

I think this is the tree house trail even though i see it as a typical wooden staircase that is merely more artistic. Well, i could be wrong and would greatly appreciate any clarification on it.

Lastly, the indispensable draw for families with young kids; water playground! Damn, my childhood has only playgrounds filled with sand lor!

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Location
5 Changi Business Park Central 1
[Super near to Expo MRT station. Photograph taken from Macdonald's located on Level 1 of Changi City Point; yes, i had my first meal in Macdonald's. No bloody thanks to Alex.]

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Two Chefs Eating Place (雙廚菜館) @ Commonwealth Crescent

In modern Singapore, it is hard to find a housing estate that is filled with the spirit of the 1980s - an era when many villagers were chased away from their kampongs and rehomed in towering housing blocks.

Hard but not impossible; i found the 1980s "feel" in Commonwealth Crescent a few weeks ago when i visited the neighbourhood for food!

Two Chefs - it was quite well known and has been featured a few times by bloggers and even the national newspaper. I have always assumed it is a Western joint and only realised (upon arrival) that it is more a tze char stall than anything else.

At least it was reassuring to see a fully packed eatery past 8pm in a residential area. Due to our small party size consisting of four persons, we did not have to wait too long to secure a table! Thank god!

Furong Omelette
芙蓉蛋
For diners who are in a dilemma over what to have, ordering the furong omelette is usually a fool proof choice. It's simple to make, has an easy-to-swallow price tag yet delicious to eat.

Three-Egg Vegetables
三蛋时菜
The taste was off - likely the result of too much water that diluted the amalgamated essence of a normal egg, salted egg and century egg.

A drier version might be better although it might take more skills from the chef to balance the flavours that are well endowed for each type of egg.

Fried Hor Fun
什锦河粉
Average and nothing much to complain about. As i have always emphasised, hor fun is such a common dish in Singapore that it is rare to find a horrid-tasting one.

Honey Fried Chicken
蜜汁鸡
At first bite, there was nothing impressive about these chunky pieces of deep fried honey chicken. And they had to come with bits of bones that made eating a tad bit irritating! Go source out the chicken skin instead; they were sinfully good!

Mayonnaise Fried Prawn
沙律虾球
There was a uniquely zesty sensation to them even though i find it hard to nitpick at a combination (prawns and mayo) that is almost perfect [save for the occasional freshness issue].

Add pork floss to the picture and this becomes extremely pleasing to the eyes!

Butter Ribs
牛油排骨
Recommended on hungrygowhere, i have to admit that the snowy white powder did surprise me as i have never seen such a presentation before and there's no trace of those shiny oil slick so common on the surface of butter ribs.

Truthfully, the pork ribs were too tough and lacked the juiciness that is a basic requisite for any pork ribs! If not for the addictively sweet, orangey powder (tasted suspiciously like this Malaysian/Singaporean snack known as Super Rings), this would have likely been left alone by the Gang of Four.


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Location
Block 116,
Commonwealth Crescent,
#01-129

Operating Hours
1-3pm and 5pm-1am

Price
Furong Omelette - S$5
Three-Egg Vegetables - S$8
Fried Hor Fun - S$5
Honey Fried Chicken - S$8
Mayonnaise Fried Prawn - S$15
Butter Ribs - S$8
[No GST. No Service Charge]

Additional Information
Prices, as you can see, are pretty economical for such a popular dining outlet and it was a filling meal for the Gang of Four. There were definitely hits and misses but i am more than willing to try other specialties in Two Chefs, like herbal chicken, to reduce the strain on my wallet!

Menu as above. Please note that prices are subject to change.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nowhere to Park? Hit The Grass!

It was mentioned in my Lorong Halus Wetland post that only six official parking lots are available for car motorists even though the nature attraction covers a pretty wide area.



There are ample space by the roadside for motorists who could not secure a lot but as you could see from the above, this driver was apparently too worried that his/her black vehicle would be overlooked by any incoming traffic and chose to park on the poor patch of grass instead!



Well, i always believe in the goodness of humanity.



We can choose to believe that this Mercedes driver is trying his/her best to shelter the grass from the destructive wrath of the insanely hot sun.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Peranakan Patisseries @ Chinta Manis - Greenwich Village Mall

With quite a few bloggers in the local blogosphere talking about this newly opened mall in the quiet Seletar estate, i thought it would be a good idea to pay it a visit yesterday.

Nothing much on the mall which is much smaller than what i expected and given my latest medical checkup results, i was not keen to try out the numerous restaurants located in the premise.

But i was open to the idea of having some bite sized snacks. 

And the mouthwatering display of kuehs in Chinta Manis proved to be too irresistible! *the lady on duty didn't look too friendly so i chose not to ask if pictures can be taken*

To satisfy the sudden craving and yet to keep my cholesterol in check, i requested for only four types of kueh. Since they were to be shared with Alex, i was actually having lesser than my usual.

North and East - Cavin.
South and West - Alex.

The mango sago agar agar (jelly in yellow) was a bit too sourish for me while the Penang lapis (the layered kueh) was amazingly good; milky with a subtle coconut fragrance and not as diabetically sweet as the version we commonly see in Singapore  

Ondeh ondeh is a must order in any Peranakan kueh stall/shop! Although i have no qualms on its freshness, the lack of that sudden burst of liquefied gula melaka in this ondeh ondeh was a serious letdown.

I probably enjoyed this pretty rainbow agar agar the most - the bouncy feel was just right without being too quivery and best of all, it tasted similar to what my mom used to make in the 1980s.

As some of my friends are aware, my mom is one damn good cook!

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Location
1, Seletar Road,
#01-19, Greenwich V

Price
Penang Lapis - S$0.90
Mango Sago Agar Agar - S$0.90
Ondeh Ondeh - S$0.70
Rainbow Agar Agar - S$0.90

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lorong Halus Wetland - An Exploration!

Given my two posts on Serangoon Tidal Gates and Lorong Halus pedestrian bridge, it would just be a matter of time that i have to get my butt going on writing an entry for Lorong Halus Wetland.

Anyway, the main reason i was in those places on a weather-perfect Sunday afternoon is actually to visit the wetland and it is contradicting to have this post so much later than the other two!

First point of contact should be this sheltered building (otherwise known as Halus Wetland Kiosk) where you would have a better understanding of this man made wetland. Gaining the knowledge is essential before you start the walking trail.

Lorong Halus was a landfill from 1970 till 1999 (after which waste is sent to Pulau Semakau) but there lies a serious problem when the government decides to expand the water catchment area in Singapore.

The existence of leachate, a liquid that moves through landfills and can be toxic when added to drinking water. Not exactly the component you want for a reservoir.

I am going to spare you the boring information which is not as impressive as reading them while being surrounded by the impressive wetland.

After digesting the information, i began my walk. A lack of sheltered areas (only two) along the trail means that the risk of being struck by lightning has increased significantly.

To be honest, lorong halus wetland has a really uninteresting vibe to it and it's hard not to compare it to a park filled with towering trees, vibrant clusters of flowers, bbq pits, benches, swings, playgrounds, splashes of colours etc.

Okay, there are flowers - to be specific, water lilies.

Except all of them are located within the ponds known as polishing ponds.

Unlike many ponds we see in gardens and parks, the five polishing ponds in Lorong Halus have a similar installation that looks like a draining funnel.

Curiousity can be good at times to increase the knowledge of a layman who knows plants as merely plants - this bright blue panel seeks your curious mind to seek out the eight species of plants found in the polishing ponds!

Time to go into the reed beds zone. I was a bit apprehensive to go in for two reasons; one, the plants can be taller than me in some areas and two, i am dead alone in my exploration despite an article in The Sunday Times that very day promoting the wetland.

Loneliness is not necessarily a bad thing. If Alex is with me, i can bet he would resist stepping out from the air-conditioned car and declaring immediately he has a life-threatening headache.

Could you recognise this plant? Known appropriately as cattails, they are common features in children story books whenever a pond, marsh or lake is concerned.

What about this? This is a cattail as well although the sausage thingy has now disintegrated into a cotton-like material.

Devoid of humans. Any slight rustling can be unnerving even though it could likely be the work of a gentle breeze. Frankly, i am more scared that a snake might cross my path.

This structure (and a few restricted-access tanks and lagoons behind), are the first of three stages for the removal of leachate. Reed beds are the second while polishing ponds are the third.

Most of us are aware that ancient Egyptians invented a paper like material known as papyrus from a plant. I was feeling the papyrus plant for the first time in my life!

To a certain extent, a dried stalk of papyrus does appear to be the horsewhip used by Chinese gods (normally the ones with a full head of white hair and beard).

One question that ran through my brain as i trekked along the reed beds - how come i don't see any water at the base of the reed beds?

Because the water flows underneath the gravel where the roots of the plants take in nutrients from the leachate, thus purifying the water further.

Halfway through the trail - Ponggol town right ahead and you can also catch glimpses of the pedestrian bridge. As i was seriously dehydrated from all the walks, i quickly returned back to the kiosk!

Damn, no bloody vending machine!

For a while, i was contemplating if i should just drink the water from the polishing ponds to quench my thirst and moisture my parched throat.

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Location
As above. For motorists, you may exit at Lorong Halus from Tampines Expressway (towards Pan Island Expressway) and continue until you see a green sign showing Lorong Halus Wetland to the left and Serangoon Tidal Gates to the right.

Parking
Only six parking lots are available within the premise of the wetland.

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