Sunday, September 24, 2017

Street Decorations (Light Up) for the Mid-Autumn Festival 2017 @ Chinatown [Singapore]

It's been a few years since i last covered anything on the mid-autumn festival but since i was on leave last Tuesday to accompany my dad, i thought i might as well make use of the time to take photos of the decorations at Chinatown! 

Hanging LED lanterns across the parallel Eu Tong Sen street and New Bridge road - not impressive enough although it could be a different story at night. Just like Christmas lighting along Orchard road, you can only feel its beauty at night. 

Still, i don't get the logic of the animals that were on display; initially, i thought it would be based on zodiac animals. However, there were also birds and fishes. Thankfully, i do read the Straits Times and i understand the ten animals on display were based on "traditional lanterns popular in the 1960s to 1980s". 

The main 12-meter centrepiece raised even more questions; why was the tree blue!? Was it with reference to the blue skin of the indigenous tribe featured in the mega-movie, Avatar?

Instead of fruits and leaves, sixty animal lanterns adorned the tree. My immediate reaction was horrified; it's like the animals were sacrificed and put on the tree as part of a ritual! 

Don't believe me? Convert the photo into a black and white image and then tell me if the centrepiece would look out of place in Halloween Horror Nights 7.

Whatever the case, there were more than a thousand handcrafted lanterns and they were "designed in collaboration with students from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts". Out of the ten animals, the chicken, the dragon and the rabbit were clearly represented in my childhood memory!

In addition to the animals, i found lanterns featuring people; from the look of them, it's likely the representation of the four major races in Singapore. 

Main performance stage which would be ready for the grand opening of the Mid-Autumn festival light up this evening.

Going down the staircase from the bridge connecting people's park complex and pagoda street. I love the way the photo panned out to include both the shophouses in the past and the covered canopy in the present. 

A recreated scene from the past - definitely before my era as i don't remember seeing any rickshaw when i was young! Such photo spots would be popular with instagrammers! 

Since i don't take photos of myself (and don't trust the skills of others), i shall present to you my lao-peh who would have looked right in place with his tanned skin, if not for his folded shirt and long pants. 

Lantern painting competition with some really good ones! It's already hard for me to paint on a flat piece of paper and it must have been quite a challenge to do it on a lantern.

This period would also be the time when lanterns were brought out to be sold; unlike lunar new year celebrations which is restricted to the respective zodiac animals, designs from past mid-autumn festivals can still be displayed for sale. 

There could be changes in material used though; in the past, paper, my time was cellophane, it later advised to hard plastic and then recently, plastic that could be blown up. 

Another change would be the design to reflect the latest trend for the kids; Jovyn's favourite cartoon now is the My Little Pony. I think her favourite character is rainbow dash. 

I still prefer my traditional paper lanterns; reasons being they are priced way cheaper and it's always a thrill to see them lighted up and gone in a flash. 

Do the above ring a bell? They were the same chicks and chicken used for the rooster year light up this year! You can actually adopt them after the festival; maybe i should do it every year and place them in my relatively empty living room.

By the way, Sago Lane was renovated and it now features a wider walkway and purpose-built stores with elevated platforms (to protect against flooding), power and better protection in event of wet weather! 

Ending the walk at the amazing Buddha Tooth Temple

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Street Light Up
Until 19 October 2017

For more information on the mid autumn festival at Chinatown (Singapore) and its various activities, please check out the Chinatown Festivals website here.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Akimitsu (秋光) Signature Tendon - Award-Winning Shop @ Northpoint City [Singapore]

Yishun might have been put in a negative light for the past year but things would be changing; especially when you have the president of Singapore living among us! 

Joke aside, you can't deny that Yishunians are getting excited over the slowly phase-opening of Northpoint shopping centre; there's now so many more dining establishments and today, i am going to share my review of one restaurant that just opened for business yesterday.

Akimitsu (秋光) - i first noticed the humongous advertisement pasted on the hoarding put up during renovation two weeks back and branded on it were the words "award winning tendon". 

I love tendon as evidenced by my reviews here (ginza itsuki), there (kohaku), this one (kogane yama) and that one (don meijin) and i was ecstatic to have one so near to my home! 

Glad that i knocked off at 5.30 pm on Fridays as i got the Akimitsu before 7.00 pm and didn't have to wait too long to get in! The above reflected the length of the queue outside the tendon shop at 7.30 pm. 

Ordering via the tablet hidden by the side of the table; you don't have to search for it as the staff would kindly bring out for your use once he/she brings you to your assigned table. 

In the meantime, let's attack the free flow beansprouts! 

Submerged in a concoction of god-knows-what, they maintained a fresh crunchiness with a hint of appetizing peppery spiciness (rather similar to Sichuan mala) that both mom and i really enjoyed! p.s. We cleared like half of the container!

Why did i show you a glass of plain water and a glass cold houji tea? Because i didn't know that Akimitsu serves plain free for free. Houji tea came in hot or cold at S$1.90 each but only the hot one is refillable. 

As part of the tendon set, we got complimentary chawanmushi and miso soup! Nothing exceptional for the soup whereas the steamed egg was quite good with a smooth consistency; only problem for greedy diners like me was that it was housed in a TINY teacup.

After a wait of about ten minutes, i got my Akimitsu Signature Tendon with the original (and recommended) asakusa original sauce! There were a ton of ingredients and i sure hope the eatery can either provide a bigger plate or a bowl next time so that we can place the deep fried goodies aside. 

So what fried stuff should you expect from this akimitsu tendon? A sheet of seaweed, french bean, baby corn, mushroom, eggplant, pumpkin, sweet potato, egg, white fish and prawns! 

It was a large piece of fried fish by the way which was managed superbly with the insides remaining so moist and tender! The two prawns didn't quite wow us even though the assorted vegetables tasted fresh and crunchy with just the right amount of sauce drenched on them. We took more issue with the crispy batter which was thicker than its competitors and proved to be overbearing towards the end of the end. 

If you like more sauce, please feel free to self-service with the tendon sauce bottle on the table. By the way, the sauce was relatively light and didn't taste utterly sweet; even though i prefer a sweeter sauce, the overall flavour was well balanced in both saltiness and sweetness. 

The fried egg is a must for any tendon as the yolk gave such a nice flavour to the rice! Okay, i am biased as i am an egg person and can have eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Rice given was actually little although it's great news for both mom and i since we are perpetually on a carbo-restricted diet, especially for meals after 6 pm! 

Yes, i cleaned up everything (except for the miso soup) but i can tell you; my stomach was on the verge of bursting; towards my last morsel of rice, i was struggling badly! In all, it's still a satisfactory meal but i could honestly make do with a thinner batter for the deep fried ingredients in the future. 

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Location
930, Yishun Avenue 2, #02-28, 
Northpoint City Shopping Mall,
Singapore 769098

Other Branches
As above.

Facebook Page

Menu 
As above.

Pricing
Akimitsu Signature Tendon - S$14.90
Cold Houji Tea - S$1.90
(Subject to Service Charge and GST)

Other Reviewed Restaurants in the Same Mall
(click to find out more)



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Qi Le Boneless Chicken Rice (祺乐起骨鸡饭) - Totally Worth it! @ S11 Coffee Shop [Opposite Yishun MRT Station]

Long long time ago, i was famished after a full day of work and just wanted comfort food for dinner; decided on chicken rice and ordered a packet for takeaway. Bloody staff collected S$4 even though the range was from S$3-4! Needless to say, I blacklisted the stall since then.

A few years passed and i honestly didn't know if the stall has changed hands. However, i did notice that it is now commanding the longest queue in the crowded coffee shop right opposite Yishun MRT station!

Dad felt like having chicken rice and i was too lazy to travel to another coffee shop; hence, i removed the 'blacklist' tag from my mind and decided to give the stall another chance. Price had increased to SS$3.50 - S$4.50 for a plate of chicken rice and this time round, i was charged (rightfully without asking) S$3.50.

I was amazed by the speed and efficiency of how the staff managed to place everything on a single tray! As you can also see from the photo, the stall doesn't scrimp on the ingredients! Just the size of the bowl of soup for one person was already significantly bigger than its other competitors!

It's not even your bland and clear chicken soup; the content was peanut chicken feet soup and there were so many peanuts! Now, my mom can cook a mean pot of peanut chicken soup and i could easily finish a pot of white rice with the soup drenched on it! This tasted as good as mom's version and despite such a large plate of chicken rice given to me, i think i could still manage another full portion of rice.

Seated on a bed of crunchy beansprouts was a generous amount of tender chicken meat that was also chopped quite thickly! Roasted skin wasn't the crunchy type even though the absolute deal maker had to be the savoury oily sauce poured over the juicy meat!

Chilli had a piquant spiciness to it but i could do without it as it was a bit too hot for me. I was more impressed with the rice; it wasn't oily and although it might lose out a bit on flavour, i could moisture the dryness with the soup! Anyway, less oily means a healthier meal right?!  Always good to balance things out.

So bloody delicious; i actually went back a few days later!

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Location
Block 744, Yishun Street 72, #01-197,
S11 Coffee Shop, Singapore 760744

Map

As above.

Pricing
Chicken Rice (1 Person) - S$3.50

Other Stalls in the Same Coffee Shop
(click the link to find out)




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