Sunday, February 28, 2021

The First Day of the Lunar New Year - Year of the Ox under the Pandemic

You have heard it many times over the past one year; these are unprecedented times and with the all the restrictions put in place by the government, the lunar new year, counted as the most important festival for the Chinese, was expected to be like never before. 

Thankfully, I am still able to visit my parents on the first day! And in my hands were red packets (or in this case, gold packets) for them; it's an annual custom ever since I started working and just a small gesture. Filial piety can be better reflected than just giving red packet; dine with them often, visit them often and go out with them often would make them way happier. 

After wishing my parents happy new year, the immediate thing was to make a beeline for the kitchen where a pot of delicacies await me. This is something my mom would make only on the first day of lunar new year! 

It tastes like cheng tng and I could easily down two to three bowls in one sitting; by the way, having the hardboiled egg is essential. Now that my mom is older, I should really sit down and ask her to teach me how to make it! Heard it's quite a lot of work though...

Taking a selfie with my new shirt and jeans! 

Here's my parents waiting for the family "ceremony" to begin. First mooted by my elder sister to educate the kids on our Chinese tradition when it comes to auspicious greetings during the lunar new year, it has been ongoing for around 4-5 years now. To think that we were not that traditional when we were kids.

My generation shall start first; it's somewhat like the tea ceremony during weddings. 

And the grandparents with the grandchildren. One year ago, Jerald was still shorter than me and within a year, he has shot past me in height! And Jovyn too, although hers is more the waistline than the height. To be fair, I lost about 8 kilograms over the past year.

Kids' turn with their parents! 

As someone who is not married, I would usually get red packets from those who are married. However, I am trying my best to reject red packets as I am already over 40 years old and it can be quite embarrassing accepting it from someone who is younger than me.

Always appreciate the red packet by my elder sister as she would take the trouble to pen down something at the back! And she has such nice handwriting as compared to me.

Given the restrictions laid down by the government, it's the first time I didn't have a hectic day on the first day of the lunar new year. In the past, I would be visiting at least six households! Whatever the case, let's end the post on a happy note; a video of Jovyn rapidly spewing out the auspicious greetings in order to secure the red packet from me! 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Fu Lee Seafood (富俐海鮮) - Tze Char Food @ MEGA@Woodlands [Singapore]

With a married sibling, it can be hard to arrange a reunion dinner with the entire family on the eve of lunar new year, despite the fact that we do meet quite often for family meals throughout the year. 

For a few years already, we have opted to eat out instead as my parents wouldn't have to spend their time cleaning the house after we leave, which can be tiring, and exceptionally so given their age now.

To be honest, I have never been to this particular tze char stall suggested by my elder sister and my brother in law, who have patronized on quite a number of occasions for their economical and good food; e.g. nyonya fish tail curry at just S$10 would definitely appeal to people like my mom.

I am not too particular about where we would be having our meal; it's just a matter of whether I am going to review about it or not. And in this case, I would since family reviews were relatively positive.

Good thing about having a big group; we can order a lot more dishes, which made for a more balanced review on the food. Sometimes, I am stuck in a dilemma; trying one or two dishes out of 40-50 on the menu and didn't like what I was putting in my mouth. Should I review or should I not? Easier to add a caveat or link readers to my food philosophy

Anyway, the food beckons! And as expected, we relied heavily on the recommended dishes; usually identified by menu with enlarged photos if it's not explicitly indicated, like the above.  

Sweet & Sour Pork
- there was one period of time that I just couldn't get decent 咕咾肉 at tze char stalls; nowadays, the situation has improved and you get little nuggets of pork fried with a batter that remained crispy despite being coated with the sweet, sour sauce. This version at Fu Lee Seafood was clearly above average.

Mango Crispy Chicken - I enjoyed fusion dishes involving food after having some extremely memorable ones from Yi Jia South Village Seafood Restaurant. However, the presentation for this dish didn't seem to deviate from normal crispy chicken; having a few strips of mango on top and classifying it as a mango dish would be so laughable.

It was crispy alright with a nice, juicy texture on the insides. Batter was powdery and to me, not something I would enjoy in deep fried food. The sauce underneath the chicken was a chilli concoction that's a tad spicy and no, absolutely no hint of mango except for the few strips of mango that acted more like a decorative topping!

Thai Salad Pork Chop - love how the chef makes something that's sinful in the first place, appear to be healthy in the eyes of diner. The taste was refreshing; salad cream with slices of onions and cucumber over deep fried pork that retained its juiciness. This is something I would order again in future visits.

Cai Pu Homemade Beancurd - surprisingly, I actually prefer the smooth tofu over the cai pu (preserved radishes); latter of which were deep fried until they tasted somewhat bland. I think fresh, lightly fried cai pu would surely make this dish better.

Fu Yong Omelette - average at first bite but I am a sucker for onions! Therefore, when chefs put in extra onions in omelettes, as in the case here, I tend to enjoy it better! 

Salted Egg Prawns
- this would be what I called the classic version of salted egg prawns; the prawns were crunchy and fresh and the batter was immersed with the flavour of salted egg.

Deep Fried French Beans - fried with minced meat, these were delicious and absolutely perfect with plain, white rice on normal days when you don't want to overly indulge and just want a plain, simple meal. *put into mental note for re-order in future* 

Nyonya Fish Tail - stupid me always assume that when it comes to curry fish, it's always fish head. It never dawned on me that we could always ask for the tail portion! Whatever the case, this was a promotion dish at just S$10 and you can only dine-in.

One word - spicy and that's it. For a fish, I think it's quite worth its value even though there's nothing else that would appeal to me. Now that I am older and more discerning with my calorie intake; I would gladly pay more for way more flavourful curry fish at places like Ocean (Toay Payoh) / Chye Lye (Sembawang).

White Bee Hoon - with the famous sembawang white bee hoon restaurant just two kilometers away, I was wondering if this could hold up to its close competitor. Sadly; just not as flavourful as the original white bee hoon at Sembawang which had that miraculous effect of drawing you to clean up the plate in front of you! 

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In all, food was pretty good for the price we paid for. Two things to note; there's plenty of room for improvement for customer service although my sister did comment that it's much better at night. Irony is that there's a 1% service charge. Second thing is that food did take a long time to arrive; the first item placed on our table came almost 40 minutes after we ordered.

Address
39 Woodlands Close, #01-65,
MEGA@Woodlands, 
Within De Tian Coffee Shop,
Singapore 737856

Map
As above.

Menu
As above.

Pricing
Sweet & Sour Pork (M) - S$15.00 
Mango Crispy Chicken - S$15.00
Thai Salad Pork Chop (S) - S$12.00
Cai Pu Homemade Beancurd (S) -  S$10.00
Fu Yong Omelette (S) -  S$6.00
Salted Egg Prawns (S) -  S$16.00
Deep Fried French Beans (M) -  S$12.00
Nyonya Fish Tail - S$10.00
White Bee Hoon (S) -  S$5.00
(Subject to GST and 1% Service Charge)

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Hedge Maze @ Jewel Changi Airport [Singapore] #jewelchangiairport

There are two mazes at Jewel Changi Airport; one is the
mirror maze that I mentioned a week plus ago and the other one is hedge maze that's literally a stone's throw away from mirror maze.

It's part of the canopy park bundle package we purchased and we were excited to get lost yet wouldn't get sweaty in this air-conditioned maze! 

Now, a maze can be relatively boring as it aims to disorient those trying their best to find their way out. However, the original price of S$12 an adult for entry to the hedge maze would be exorbitant if there's nothing out there. Hence, special things like the above would appear out of nowhere.

I guess the function would be similar to a talking cup which wouldn't excite adults like us who have seen the evolution of phones; from the landline dialer version, the current smartphone.  

One set of doors open, another set would close; again, it's stuff that would excite kids. One theme suitable for this maze would be "Alice in wonderland"; imagine bunnies hoping out of the tall bushes and a large rabbit hole filled with doors of varying sizes! 

Artistic artifacts. Even though the maze didn't seem humongous from the map, the fact that we can't see across did make us feel relatively catastrophic. I am not a good gauge on the height of the hedges; figured it's about 8-9 feet? 

A rather peaceful passage that managed to elicit a scream from competitive Alex who was ahead of us! Please be assured that there's nothing horrifying jumping out from the bush. Watch the video below:

Is that beautiful!? Even though the flowers were fake! 

Going up the watch tower! Don't expect the height to be even close to the rocket tower at Upper Seletar Reservoir although it can still assist you to locate friends who are lost in the maze.

Like Alex here! 
Joking, he wasn't lost. 

From one end to another; as you can probably deduce from the photographs, the hedge maze is small and I would be extremely amazed if someone manages to be stuck inside for hours! 

Selfie taken at watch tower. To be frank, the stingy me would never pay S$12 (or even the discounted S$10.80 for Singapore residents).

Time spent in the hedge maze? 9 minutes and given the pricing, it's more worth it for me to watch a movie! Nevertheless, no harm experiencing for the first time, especially when it's part of a heavily discounted bundle package
   
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Address 
78 Airport Blvd., 
Singapore 819666

Map of Canopy Park
As above.

Website

Pricing Menu
As above; second photo is for annual pass. 

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