Sunday, January 31, 2021

Vegetarian Fried Stinky Tofu @ Newton Hawker Centre [Singapore] #newtonhawkercentre

I only intended to indulge in
oyster omelette last Friday when I was at Newton Hawker Centre but the bright red signboard, with three very important Chinese characters, stopped me in my track. 臭豆腐; translated to smelly / stinky tofu, this is one snack I find hard to resist whenever it appeared right in front of me!

Vegetarian Fried White Stinky Tofu - it's a pity they didn't have a mix black and white version; hence, I decided to go with the cheaper white version which still cost S$5.00 for the smallest serving. Unlike mini star in Geylang, you are allowed to choose from five flavours to go with your stinky tofu; two soup-based, and three dry version. 

Playing safe is my forte and I went with the signature five-spices sauce, non spicy. Others included minced garlic chilli soup base, mala soup base, specialty garlic chilli sauce (dry) and signature mala sauce (dry). Optional toppings were peanuts and coriander! 

Frankly, there wasn't any stench, signature of stinky tofu when I was at the stall. Even after I removed the mask back at my table, it was still non existent until I gave one piece a bite; the good old smelly flavour hit at the back of my palate and I must say the sauce played a darn important role in enhancing the flavour as in this case, there's a nice sweetness to the bite. 

Only problem? The lack of crispiness for the texture! And at S$5.00, I thought the serving was little. Thankfully, all my companions were not even slightly interested in stinky tofu and I had the whole bowl to myself!

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Address
500 Clemenceau Avenue North, 
Newton Circus, #01-67,
Newton Food Centre, 
Singapore 229495

Map 
As above.

Menu
As above.

Pricing
Vegetarian Fried White Stinky Tofu - S$5.00

Saturday, January 30, 2021

The Cat Cafe @ The Rail Mall [Singapore] #catcafesg #animalcafesg

This stretch along Upper Bukit Timah Road is familiar to me as I used to drive along this stretch before I scrapped my car almost 5 years ago; however, I can count, with one hand, the number of times I have actually visited The Rail Mall on the side, which is realistically just two rows of shophouses.

Purpose of visit this time; the cat cafe. Yes, that's the exact, simple yet to the point name, of the animal cafe. It's like going to a dental practice called the dental practice or the supermarket known as the supermarket. 

While my last visit to a cat cafe was with two friends, it's the company of Jovyn that I would be enjoying this visit. Nowadays, we prefer to gift experience rather than present during Christmas and Jovyn is rather an animal lover, just like her uncle.

Stepping in; the cafe area in front where there were a few tables and chairs, and the inner area where the felines roam freely. I do like this concept which is similar to the Big Dog Cafe in Bangkok; those who are not interested to pay extra to play with the animals / or are allergic to animal fur still have the option to enjoy the cafe experience. 

Rack filled with cute memorabilia; the old me might have paid for the ultra-cutesy floor mat! On second thought, I think I would still be keen but I would check if the same item is on taobao

Drink and food menu; the standard rate for playing with the cats is S$16 for first two hours, complimentary of one soft drink, which you can top up to a tea / coffee / chocolate / orange juice etc. 

By soft drink, it refers to the ones housed in the above fridge. Of course I would gladly pay extra to top up, especially when it's not even noon and I didn't have my cup of coffee yet. 

Remove your shoes before you step into the 'restricted' area.

Interior; compared to meomi cat cafe, the area at the cat cafe was a lot more spacious. It's a fact that even Jovyn picked up as she had been to meomi cat cafe before; not with me though. 

Hand sanitizer next to the entrance.  

Proper seatings; for those who are okay with being cross legged and those who are not. Latter is more for those with knee issues, especially the older generation who might find it hard to stand up after sitting cross legged for an extended period of time. 

I was wondering how come there's no rules and regulations before stepping into the feline area. Turned out it was pasted on every table; not sure if anyone would read though as the focus was more with the cats once cat lovers are in feline paradise. 
 
Corner at the end of the left passage was hoarded up as a "private space" for the felines. It can be frustrating and stressful to be the receiver of so much love and that space would be where they can escape from humans. Shall show more pictures about it later. 

If I ever keep a cat, the possibility of me installing overhanging cat walk would be quite high although the thought of cleaning and maintaining them could be a strong deterrent. 

Jovyn's orange juice (top up S$3.00) and my caramel latte (topped up S$3.50) that came with a biscuit. The silicone cup covers are required for a simple reason.

The cats would flock towards you and hope for a chance, no matter how slim, to steal a sip, a lick and / or a bite! Human food and drinks are just too irresistible! 

This handsome boy apparently adored cream and milk and upon seeing my latte; it quickly jumped onto my table. Pity for him - I was faster and managed to cover my latte. Okay, I guess it's time for the deluge of photographs showing the cats in the cat cafe

A total of eleven cats in the cafe and if you have realized by now; none of them are pedigree cats. Whatever the case, they exude a friendlier charm and to me, I really don't care about whether a cat is pure breed or not. 

Cat toys were available if you to need to entice the more playful felines to come to you. Unlike some cat cafes in Bangkok, the cafe doesn't sell cat snacks. They did in the past and I heard that aside from putting on weight, one greedy cat eventually had to extract some teeth too due to high-sugared snacks! 

Badly scratched cardboard - this is a reminder to me if I were ever to keep a pet. It would mean a home that might be shred to pieces and am I really willing to accept it?!

Having worked in a pet shop for a few years, I knew of hairballs in cats although I had never seen it before. Until my visit to the cat cafe! Looked more like vomit than a hairball and I was expecting a lot more fur!

The litter box; always a private place. 

With a donut (the nicer way of saying it's the cone of shame) preventing her from licking her wound, this particular feline captivated the hearts of many with her adorable expression. Her name? Mama! 

More photographs of the others! 


What's the best time to visit the cat cafe? It's when your visit coincides with their feeding time! In our case, it's scheduled at about 11.00 am and the felines were fully aware as they were all crowding around the doors! 

They waited and waited; and from one door, moved to the other one. The hunger pangs must be screaming at them but impatient, they were not. If it's a human kid, I bet he/she would have screamed his/her lungs off! 

Lunch was finally served! Each of them had their assigned bowl and peacefulness reigned until the greedier ones were done with the meal and attempted to steal from the rest! Thankfully, the dedicated staff would be on standby to ensure each feline gets the food intake they require. 

Seeing them eat made Jovyn hungry too! 

Our selfie time with the cats! It's so difficult to take photographs with them as they kept moving around and don't think it would be easier to take pictures after their meal. 



Most would escape to their 'private space' to take a snooze! Hence, this would be a bad time to visit, anytime after their food. 

Last two photographs taken outside the cafe, where the 'private space' faces out to. Jovyn mentioned this would be the nearest she had ever been with most the cats, separated by a layer of glass. 

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It was a relaxed yet enjoyable experience for both Jovyn and I at the cat cafe. Aside from the felines, I must commend the staff on duty for their dedication, passion, knowledge and great service. Not sure if the branch at Bugis would be as good and I guess the only way to find out would be to pay it a visit soon! 


Address
392 Upper Bukit Timah Rd, 
Singapore 678046 (opposite from above tree)

Map
As above. 

Operating Hours
Wednesdays - 3.00 pm to 10.00 pm
Thursdays to Tuesdays - 10.00 am to 10.00 pm

Website

Namecard
As above. 

Pricing
Entrance Fee (First 2 Hours) - S$16.00
Top Up Drink to Orange Juice  - S$3.00
Top Up Drink to Caramel Latte - S$3.50

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