Saturday, October 24, 2015

Flying Off To.................................................. Guangxi Province, China!

Thanks for visiting this humble blogspace of mine! I would be overseas from 24 October till 01 November 2015; it shall be my fourth visit to the middle kingdom, China

I am keeping my fingers crossed as i specifically signed up for a package with no "shopping" stops. For those who would like to read more on my past frustrating experience, please click here

Photo taken from http://images.chinahighlights.com/
Sure hope i would be able to spend more time on the supposedly beautiful scenery this time. *fingers crossed*.

Cafe Insadong Singapore - A Nice Korean Outfit @ 279 South Bridge Road [Chinatown]

With its bright yellow facade, Cafe Insadong was an immediate attention drawer for those walking past the shop at Chinatown; one victim was obviously me although its name also reminded me of the time i visited the cultural district in South Korea

Featuring patbingsu, injeolmi toast and a retail division (no surprise for the latter), I made a mental note to check it out in the near future as i was rushing for time that day. 

It didn't take me long to saw a promotional deal for the cafe at deals.com and frankly, compared to the prices i am paying at cafes elsewhere, i thought i should grab the offer without any delay! 

Business wasn't roaring on the Wednesday evening although i am not complaining as this means i can shoot pictures comfortably without any fear of offending diners. p.s. i have sought separate permission from the counter.

Paintings on the wall are for sale! I thought this was a fantastic arrangement; on one hand, the boring walls would be injected with unique artwork and on the other hand, an artiste can display his/her works with potential earnings.

I was captivated by the Feng Shui fishes that cost S$488 a set!

Food beckoned as i was famished! Aside from the common cakes and ice cream, you may also relax by having a bottle of the Korean alcoholic beverage. 

A scoop of ice cream would be part of our Patbingsu (basically, it is flavoured shaved ice) but our main aim was to partake on the set for two persons which included 2 mains (rice / toast), 2 drinks and 1 patbingsu.

Jujube Honey Tea
This was as good as those concentrates you can get from Korean-themed supermarket albeit at a much cheaper price since i can make many cups. The other difference is that i don't have such a nice looking spoon at home.

Yuzu Honey Tea
Likewise for this, you can get the same concentrate and make it yourself; the iced form cost S$0.50 more in the cafe! As a drink, it was refreshing and definitely welcome on a hot and stuffy day! 

Bulgogi Beef Rice
Often, i lamented about the vast differences in the menu and what was eventually presented on the table. Over at Cafe Insadong, they appeared exactly the same! 

The neat layering of the ingredients resulted in an amalgamation of spiciness, sweetness, sourness ad savoriness that was simple, balanced yet extremely palatable! It looked suspiciously like canned pet food though....

I cleaned it up in no time with not a speckle of rice grain to be seen! 

Bulgogi Chicken Rice
Pretty nice too. I admitted the ingredients were honestly nothing to scream about as you could likely be able to prepare them yourself. However, for a person who barely knows how to fry an egg, it was a godsend! 

Sweet Potato Patbingsu
It's interesting to note that i didn't have any patbingsu when i was in South Korea! I did attempt to try it but either the weather was too cold or that it was sold out! 

We opted for the "jelly crush" ice cream instead of vanilla which required another top up of S$0.50. Visually, i could not wait to dig into the slabs of purplish sweet potatoes topped with almond flakes and mochis stuffed with bean pastes! 

The ice was finely shaved and generally flavoured by the sweet potatoes and ice creams. It could not be compared to our local desserts like ice kacang which was much sweeter even though there was still a certain 'healthier' appeal to it. 

Injeolmi Honey Butter Toast
I was still hungry and decided a toast would fill up the remaining gaps in the stomach. Looking just like normal toast, i was on the verge on smacking myself for S$6.80 for two slices of normal looking bread.

This is when the word "injeolmi" comes into play; injeolmi actually means Korean rice cake and it was placed in between the bread as filling and then toasted! 

Sticky, sweet, buttery, nutty (contributed by the almond flakes) and toasted to a nice crisp, it was an apt finale to the comfortable meal we had! 

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Location
279 South Bridge Road
[Opposite Chinatown Food Street]

Operating Hours
Mondays to Thursdays - 12pm to 9.30pm
Fridays to Saturdays - 12pm to 11.30pm
Sundays - 12pm to 6pm

Website

Menu
As appended above! 

Prices
I am only appending the price for as i got a deals.com voucher for the drinks, bingsu and the two mains. Injeolmi Honey Butter Toast - S$6.80.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Cold Pantry & Its Charcoal Vanilla Softserve Ice Cream @ Rangoon Road [Near Farrer Park MRT Station]

It's time to indulge in desserts after a wonderful meal at Tendon Ginza Itsuki

My friend thought of the cold pantry which was near to Woodshed even though i have never noticed its existence!  Thankfully for us, it was open since most cafes tend to rest on Mondays. 

The place wasn't big (there were additional seating at the back for about 12 persons) but maybe because most people were nursing the Monday blues, there were only two groups of customers, including us. 

Chanced upon this quote after we made our order - "Life is like a bowl of ice cream. It melts very quickly. So enjoy it while it lasts." I think the quote-giver might have forgotten that life has its sourness, its bitterness and its saltiness although we should always treat it sweetly so that we feel better! 

Chocolate Root Beer Waffles
In all honesty, the presentation reminded me of something rather disgusting in nature even though i would not want to elaborate further. And it takes 15 minutes to prepare. 

Set in a perfect twirl, the dark colour can be off-putting to some but it might comfort those detractors to know that it was essentially vanilla ice cream with charcoal essence. 

Drizzled with homemade root beer sauce (please, please teach me the recipe) which added a nice, fizzy touch, the ice cream was smooth and creamy like most soft serves yet with a strong vanilla punch! Notice the cookie right underneath the ice cream? It has two noble purposes; to act as a flat surface to straighten the ice cream and to allow it to stay longer in that shape! 

We were warned at the counter that the "waffles" had a cake-like texture unlike conventional ones and i was glad she mentioned it as this kind of waffles generally doesn't appeal to me! 

Nevertheless, it's a must to order the cafe's top seller and it wasn't as bad as expected; freshly baked to a crisp, it had a subtle hint of chocolate flavour with a spongy texture. By the way, the charcoal vanilla ice cream looked like cement in the above photo!

Frizzy Root Beer Float
Featuring the same charcoal vanilla ice cream, it could translate into a scenario which shall not be named! It was yummy albeit with a slight disappointment; the root beer came from the normal can of A&W root beer which i could purchase for S$9.75 for 24 cans in the recent supermarket promotion.

=====

Location
131 Rangoon Road, 
[Near Farrer Park MRT Station

Map
As above.

Operating Hours
As Above.

Menu 
As above.

Prices
Chocolate Root Beer Waffles - S$12.50
Frizzy Root Beer Float - S$6.00
[Inclusive of GST, No Service Charge]

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fook Tet Soo Hakka Temple (望海大伯公庙) - The Temple That Used to Overlook the Sea @ Palmer Road [Next to Shenton Way Bus Terminal]

My mom has a standard list of temples to visit whenever she manages to arrow me to drive her around but Fook Tet Soo Hakka temple was only recently added. 

Situated in the central business district yet holed in a location that wasn't filled with office crowd, many people would have given it a miss without realising it is the oldest tua pek kong temples in Singapore that could even predate the arrival of Raffles! 

There wasn't anything particularly attractive about it and in the few times i was there, there were hardly any devotees. 

Nevertheless, it was said that the deities were known to answer prayers and this came from a close relative who has been winning the lottery very frequently over the past year!

The main altar in splashes of auspicious red and housed in a traditional Chinese courtyard. Official transition from a shrine to a temple was made in 1844 but the land it currently stands on was acquired by the government in 1982, which means it could be demolished anytime since the temporary occupational license is renewable on a monthly basis. 

With the focus on cultural preservation nowadays, i don't think the demolition would happen given the temple's historical roots, The bigger challenger is the dwindling number of followers for Taoism. 

Offerings section where you can purchase the incense, the paper money and candles to honour the deities. Speaking on behalf of my generation, our rational mind could not digest the purpose and henceforth the values for burning them.

Why the incense? The paper money can be used; burn trees would be better? Why do we need candles when the day is so bright?

Tea leaves and candied biscuits; i think i would curse and swear if i am ever given them on a long term basis. Tea leaves sound good although i would likely be immortal as a deity so i don't really need to keep myself healthy. Sorry for being such a skeptical nag today! 

One of two door gods to keep the evil out of the temple. I was sharing the story of an 'uninvited guest' to my house a few years ago during the ghost month and my aunt suggested that i pasted the image of the door gods for protection.

Main tua pek kong altar with over twenty statues! 

The everlasting light - from what i understand, this should never be extinguished. 

Pay a token sum to have your name / the entire family placed at the altar for better luck, protection, more wealth etc. Alternatively, for something more affordable albeit of a shorter term, you may consider the incense coils.

For devotees to light their incense sticks - you just need a hyperactive kid to knock this over and it would be an incredibly oily mess to clean up!

Altar for the horse god - i don't know if this animal deity is popular in other countries but there's one reason why it is popular in Singapore; it's supposed to be synonymous with 4-digit betting! 

The underworld altar!

These three are enforcers of hell; dua ya peh, di ya peh and the one adorning the brown straw attire is sa ya peh. There is supposedly to be a si ya peh which is rarely seen in the local medium circle like sa ya peh. 

Chinese characters can be confusing; as one character, it may mean something and when you combine them, the meaning can be different and confusing! The matter worsens when we tend to read from left to right when traditionally, it should be from right to left! 

Wall painting depicting 4 of the 8 immortals; not too sure of the history although it seemed like it requires a new coat of paint. 

Narrow walkway in between two compounds. 

The Tai Shang Lao Jun (太上老君) compound; even though i have heard his name since young, i don't really quite remember what his role in Taoism is. 

According to wikipedia, the founder of Taoism is said to be a manifestation of 太上老君. In terms of ranking, the highest is Yuan Shi Tian Zun (元始天尊).

Exiting to our last section.

General Tiger - as with the tiger god at 仙祖宫, meat is longer allowed in the mouth! I think some temples still allow the placement of raw meat and i guess i would show them in this blog once i manage to shoot some pictures.

Two more pictures of the temple's surroundings. As mentioned in the post title, it was supposed to face the sea but the excess reclamation means that the sea is now at a distance! 

Shall attempt to check out this quaint little mosque the next time i dropped by the area. Those who drive along AYE often should have spotted this in their journey! I was mesmerised on quite a few occasions when the sun shines on the dome and it shimmers as if gold bits were sprinkled on it! 

=====

Location
50H Palmer Road

Map
As above.

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