Sunday, January 29, 2017

First Day of Lunar New Year @ My Parents' Place!

This year marks the first time i didn't wake up at my parents' place for the most important event in our Chinese culture; Chinese / Lunar New Year (CNY / LNY)! 

In a way, i wasn't too far away since my parents' home, the place that i stayed at since 1986, was just a mere five minutes' walk from my flat. It's comforting to see the usual elements of the new year; festive decorations, bottles of drinks and boxes of snacks and sweets on the altar and cartons of mandarin oranges! 

There's a need for me to include something from my own kitchen; the osmanthus jelly with wolf-berries and red dates in a fish mold. p.s. it's really simple to make your own osmanthus jelly.

The one thing i die die must have on the first day of CNY; mom's cheng tng that's extremely generous with lotus seeds, longan, snow fungus, red dates and ginkgo nuts! As per our family's custom, a hard boiled egg would be added. 

Arrival of my elder sister and her boisterous two kids! 

Apples of the grandparents' eyes; it's rightfully so that i pulled them together to take this picture while everyone was still fresh. Towards the end of the day, you would likely see everyone looking tired.

Stole a shot of my sister taking picture of her beloved family! Joyvn might have appeared to lose some weight recently but she had in fact grown taller over the year. Her appetite remained ravenous and in this picture, she was happily indulging in a banana! 

Since last year, my sister had started on the age-old tradition for my parents to sit on the sofa while they articulated their blessings and passed them the red packets.

In reciprocal, the parents would also pass them a red packet. The essence of the red packet was for good luck / fortune for the new year and it's unfortunate to hear of a rate card for the amount to give. If there's a need to be so commercialised, save the earth and don't bother on using the red packets; give hard cash would do. 

Now for the sister to give to her kids! I actually didn't quite bother with such "stringent" practice and had in fact passed the red packets to my parents shortly after i opened the door to their house. 

Nevertheless, it's good to have the kids starting on the tradition so that they can continue to do so for future generations. It's quite a funny version that they had though.

After spewing out their wishes in rapid speed (with a few splashes of saliva), they would end by screaming "huat ah"! In the case of Jovyn, she looked like she was about to throw the mandarin oranges at my parents for good luck!

After the hooha, it's time for lunch and selfie time! Our family just recently got hold of the apps known as SnapChat and Snow and they were so fun! 

Like this amazing picture of Jovyn with two hair buns and freckles! After lunch was a frenzy of visitations at relatives' houses! So how's your first day of CNY / LNY? 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Lian Peng Bak Kut Teh (亮憑肉骨茶) in Changi City Point (Next to Expo MRT Station) @ Singapore

The erratic weather these past two weeks have brought to Singapore cooler than expected climate and there's usually one dish i would crave for during periods like this; bak kut teh (BKT)!

I was lucky as this supposedly new establishment at Changi City Point caught my eye as i was pondering on my meal option that day! Although Lian Peng was a brand name i have never heard of, i guess i should just take the plunge and then review about it in this blog.

Salted vegetables were something i would always order in a new BKT place as the addition of good salted vegetables to the herbal soup can result in a marvelous taste that can potentially make me down at least two soup refills! Sadly, this portion was nothing to scream about; not crunchy and didn't have that sweet aftertaste.

"Full" set that included the pork loin BKT, a bowl of plain rice and salted vegetables; usage of set was incorrect as i paid for them of them separately. Even plain water was chargeable at S$0.50 a cup.

A sudden rush of spicy pepperiness hit as i took a sip of the broth; i was thankful to have prepared for the unexpected and didn't choke on it! This was no doubt the type i like for the Singapore style BKT and it was so shiok to have on a rainy afternoon! However, in comparison to my favourite Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh, the taste lacked the oomph factor. 

Pork loin was more expensive than the usual pork ribs but i made it a point to order it if it was on the menu as the meat was generally tastier. I had mixed feelings here with regards to the pork loins; the first piece was too tough for my liking and while the second was significantly better with its tender meat, it was way too fatty! 

=====

Location
5, Changi Business Park Central 1,
#01-28, Changi City Point,
Singapore 486038 (Next to Expo MRT Station)

Map

As above.

Pricing
Salted Vegetables (S) - S$2.50
Pork Loin BKT - S$9.50
Plain Rice - S$0.80
(Subject to GST and Service Charge)

Friday, January 27, 2017

A Revisit to the Festive Street Bazaar in the Eve of Chinese New Year @ Chinatown [Singapore]

I have expressed quite a number of regrets in my post on the festive street bazaar at Chinatown for the Year of the Rooster and decided to return after a relatively early reunion dinner at Orchard today!

Craziness is in my blood as it is the eve of the lunar new year and massive crowd is to be expected! I sought solace in the fact that it was not even 8 pm and my intention was to cover just one street; Temple Street.

Upon arrival, i already noted there were changes to the composition of stalls; this vendor selling lighted candies wasn't there previously! On the lighted candles, they were marketed as an alternative to candles used for praying. They don't come cheap at S$5 apiece and 10 for S$35. 

This wasn't here two weeks ago too; the confetti guns would come in handy when the clock strikes midnight to herald in the new lunar year. If i recollect correctly, i ever bought before at S$5 each and the promotion price at the bazaar was 3 for S$10.

Joo Chiat Kim Choo Traditional Dumplings - a fortnight ago, it was a stall selling six flavours of lemonade. Anyway, the market real demand would shift the push and pull factors for products and in this case, the traditional products prevail.

It was people mountain people sea (人山人海) but it was definitely manageable as compared to the one or two hours before midnight. By then, it would be more a human jam / people pushing. 

Some vendors had already started slashing their price! Those offering festive decorations related to the rooster year would likely be the first to start the price war as it would be another twelve years before the same zodiac animal appears.

My first stop - buying the aromatic instant kopi o from Coffee Hock! I honestly need to cut down on my sugar level and it would be good to transit from 3-in-1 coffee to 2-in 1. 

Garlic decorations - no, it's not because vampires would come visiting. The pronunciation of garlic in Chinese is "suan" which sounds like counting and in this case, symbolizes the counting of money!

This was another new item and one that threw me into a dilemma; should i buy or should i not? Even though it was branded as a basket for mandarin oranges, the operator said it could also be used to store eggs! 

I really do need one and had in fact contemplated buying one off from Taobao.com. It didn't help that there were quite a number of designs for me to choose from and the price was reasonable.

Eventually, i pushed off the thought to purchase; my main worry was whether it would be lasting as i am not looking for something just to last me through the 15 days of celebration for the new lunar year and it did seem like the gold paint would drop after a while.

Ants have returned to my flat (no doubt the result of too much baking) and i couldn't wait to chase them out! This product had been seen on quite a number of occasions and i guess i should give it a try; 30 pills for S$14. Hope they work! 

I was on the lookout for this store as it would normally be at Chinatown street bazaar but i didn't see it two weeks ago! Glad to find it again as the air revitaliser at my parents' place was too dirty and a replacement would be necessary! Promotion: revitaliser plus concentrate at S$22 a basic set.

Peanut and melon seed operators were busied apportioning their goods into ready-to-go packages as a price reduction would be inevitable and by then, customers would just grab, pay and go! 

With so many pomelos, i can understand the reduction from S$12 to S$8. I never crave for pomelos as i don't know how to choose and many a time, they were more sourish and bitter than sweet, even the ones i had at Ipoh

Promotion from the King of Melon Seeds - not attractive enough for me to fork out my money! 

Remember the Korean mushroom store that's at Chinatown every year?! They started selling almond nuts in addition to the shitake mushrooms and mushroom seasoning powder. 

Another mainstay for the festive bazaar - the mushroom's next door neighbour that offered a long line of Chinese New Year biscuits and snacks. I am surprised to see that they had cleared so much stock! 

My surprise was to be expected when i saw the cardboard placard held on the operator; even i am tempted to buy 7 boxes since it would only cost me S$10! 

Carnation flowers at 3 bunches for S$10; i was thinking if i should get some for mum as she uses flowers for the altar and decided not to as she would likely have purchased some earlier in the morning.

Pretty right?

There was a long queue at the Taiwanese jelly stall and i wonder why as pricing was still quite high at S$1.20 per 100 grams (usual price was S$1.80). I was thinking of one plastic bag for S$10 and for customers to fill as much as they want. 

Certain stalls seemed to be rather cleaned out already; maybe the price slashing had already started much earlier? I did hear from the radio station that the rain in the past few days had resulted in very bad business and some stalls were already slashing the prices. 

I think the canvas shoes were S$10 a pair previously.

Personally, i disagreed with the priority for shops to rent the bazaar space in front of their shop as it merely became an extension for an activity that has nothing to do with the festival. 

Wow! Buy 500 grams of peanuts / melon seeds and get 1,000 grams for free; that's a ridiculous 66% discount! The uncle shouted that no phototaking is allowed; hello, camera phones are everywhere and sometimes, their photo taking capability is much better than conventional cameras!  

I went to my usual stall instead to buy 3 packs of 500-gram phoenix eye melon seeds at S$15. By the way, i checked with the store owner on the expiry date and the seeds can last for about six months; long enough for my mom and i. 

Barbie dolls lookalike.

The picture brightened up the dark alley a lot more but i had to take the shortcut as i wouldn't want to endure any squeezing through the super crowded Trengganu Street!

Walked past this shop and started remember i had to buy red packets. Even though i am unmarried, i have made it a point to give my parents ang pow as a blessing for them to remain happy and healthy.

Traffic control for Chinatown MRT station had already started for the entrance at Pagoda Street! I didn't want to join the queue and opted to walk further towards Chinatown Point.

Entire road was closed for pedestrians only and there was ample space at that time for me to slow down my pace and enjoyed the light spring breeze. 

Of course, who can miss the humongous rooster?! 

Hereby wishing all my readers happy lunar year and hope that the rooster year will give you plenty of happiness, no illness / ailment and overflowing wealth! Huat ah! 

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