Friday, September 30, 2022

8 Degrees Taiwanese Bistro (8度空間) @ Victory 8 (Opposite Sembawang Shopping Centre) [Singapore]

Procrastination; that's the key word today as I wasn't a stranger to the existence of 8 Degrees Taiwanese Bistro and recalled driving past its first outlet near Serangoon Gardens, numerous times, a long time ago. Despite its pretty good reviews, I procrastinated to visit, especially given the lack of parking space. 

Fast forward to present times and a branch recently started operations opposite Sembawang Shopping Centre; given the proximity, I asked my parents to join me for a meal! p.s. love it when people photobombed my picture, naturally.

Two dishes in Taiwan never fail to perk me up; stinky tofu and braised pork rice! And the humongous photo of the latter on the main signboard and one this place-board were actually the motivators for my inaugural visit. 

Scan to order! To be honest, technology doesn't necessarily make everyone happy. There were so many dishes to choose from, with permutations like sugar level for drinks, serve now / later for desserts etc. Saving grace is, I didn't have to pay 10% service charge; so I should shut my mouth.

Awaiting our food.

Milk Tea with Pearl & Green Lime with Sour Plum - both at 50% sweetness, I was satisfied with the flavorful richness of the milk tea whereas the other one was pure refreshing with an aromatic sourness! 

Salted Chicken
- looking like diced up pieces of chicken nuggets, these were super nice; served hot, they were tender, with a thin, addictive layer of crisp skin and peppered sufficiently of salt and pepper. Yummy!  

Brinjal with Pork Floss - how not to taste good with pork floss?! Combined with the savoury sauce, this was heavenly and the only one issue I faced was that you wouldn't have thought they were sliced brinjal if you were blindfolded.

Oyster Omelette - this was one Taiwanese dish that I tried a few times yet never once was I impressed; preferring the version we had in Singapore instead. Same situation for this one at 8 Degrees; sticky gooeyness with taste coming more from the sauce. 

Glass Jelly with Yam Ball - like a bigger bowl from what you can get from Nine Fresh Signatures, I like the soft bounciness of the various yam balls although as far as taste is concerned, I prefer Nine Fresh. It might also be good to have a serving of crushed peanuts for that extra texture and nuttiness.

Oyster Meesua
- yet another Taiwanese dish that I never have affection for but I had to buy as it's the order for my mom. p.s. no affection doesn't mean I hate it.

Adding the vinegar is a must; and I stole a spoonful. While there was a strong taste similar to bonito flakes, it was a bit on the bland side. 

Pork Belly Rice - the one I had been waiting for and it didn't disappoint! 

Loving the meat with plenty of fats and having them with a scoopful of rice mixed in with the sauce, which was more savory than sweet although still addictive enough for me to keep popping in spoonful after spoonful. One suggestion; please do not diced up the pickles so finely! 


Before and after! My parents liked what they had and with Bukit Panjang Dessert (武吉班让六味汤) just two doors away, I guess a second visit wouldn't be too far away.

8 Jln Legundi, #01-03, 
Victory 8, Singapore 759274
(Opposite Sembawang Shopping Centre)

As above.

Operating Hours
Mondays to Fridays (Lunch) - 11.00am to 2.30pm
Mondays to Fridays (Dinner) - 5.00pm to 9.00pm
Weekends and Public Holidays - 11.00am to 9.00pm

As above.

Milk Tea with Pearl - S$5.90
Green Lime with Sour Plum - S$4.90
Salted Chicken - S$7.00
Brinjal with Pork Floss - S$6.00
Oyster Omelette - S$8.80
Glass Jelly with Yam Ball - S$6.00
Oyster Meesua - S$6.00
Pork Belly Rice - S$6.00
(Subject to GST)

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

HOKA Experience Store @ CentralwOrld Shopping Centre in Bangkok [Thailand]

Some of you would have noticed that I seem to have lost quite a bit of weight during the pandemic and I attributed the weight loss to exercises; mainly due to an almost daily jog of about five kilometers. 

I was worried about overdoing the jogging and did face some pains on the base of the my feet in the beginning of my jogging journey. A friend recommended the brand HOKA, and I never looked back. 

Problem is; the shoes are not cheap and easily cost more than S$200 a pair. However, in my recent trip to Bangkok, I realized there was a HOKA Experience Store at CentralwOrld Shopping Centre; mind you, Singapore doesn't even have a store that sells exclusively HOKA products.

Wide selection of HOKA shoes, with many featuring neon colors! Aside from comfort, the key advantage to HOKA shoes is their lightness, which makes jogging a lot less tedious. My recommendation is always try the shoes, to ensure they are the best fit for you! For example, my feet didn't like their wide and extra wide shoes.

While prices at the HOKA Experience Store are quite similar to Singapore (you can get them from sports stores like Running Lab and Outdoor Life @ Funan), I have never seen a discount as steep as 50%! 

My heart was stirred but I already had five pairs of HOKA at home! Given that I jog almost everyday, I am supposed to change my shoes every 6-8 months. The above pair, at 6490 baht, would cost only 3,894 baht (about S$150). Dilemma! 


3rd floor, 999/9 Rama 1 Road, 
CentralwOrld Shopping Centre
Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

Monday, September 26, 2022

Taking the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat @ Tha Maharaj Pier in Bangkok [Thailand]

For a moment, I thought we would likely have to take GRAB as the downpour was unstoppable! Thankfully, it did just as we reached Tha Maharaj; the pier that would bring us to our next destination.

Checking out the route timetable beforehand for the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat. Single journey cost 30 baht per person on weekdays although you can also opt for all day river pass at 150 baht per person, with unlimited "hopping" between 8.30am to 5.30pm.

Buying the tickets.

Single journey ticket as it was already almost 2.30 pm and the remaining 3 hours wouldn't be worth the unlimited hopping that came with the all day river pass. 

Damn, started drizzling again!

Rain stopped shortly after and we boarded the Catamaran that has a capacity for 190 persons. Chao Phraya Tourist Boat has a total of five vessels, three of which are catamarans. The remaining two are the smaller monohulls, with a capacity for 150 persons.

The unsheltered second deck!
Praying it would not rain again.

With a population exceeding 10 million, it always wows the pragmatic Singaporean mind whenever we see such rustic structures in Bangkok, given the perceived land value. 

But that's also the reason I love Thailand; with its focus on the richness of her history, her culture, unlike the concrete jungle we have in Singapore, where tall buildings are literally everywhere. Not complaining though as I am mindful we are just little red dot on the map.

Wat Arun - the first temple in Bangkok that took my breath away when I visited in 2007; gosh, it's been 15 years ago since I fell in love with the city. 

The Grand Palace - another place that impressed with its sheer beauty! Maybe I should bring my mom there next time as I don't think she has ever dropped by, despite having been to Bangkok numerous times.

Residential buildings super near The Grand Palace. I am always on the lookout for new places to stay at. My primary criterion is proximity to MRT / BTS stations and with new MRT stations so close by, maybe I should consider staying along the Chao Phraya River for my next visit!

Sala Rattanakosin Hotel looks like a great choice although I can also clearly see the man in the room! Ran a check on the hotel's website and it was way beyond my budget.

Majestic Wat Arun

Many tourists were waiting to board the boat! To think that I thought Alex and I literally had the boat to ourselves, together with another four persons on level two.

Given the elevated view, many of them jostled for photo-taking opportunities with the temple of the dawn that was completed in 1851 although origins of the temple went as far back as 1656.

Long-tailed boats, the traditional vessel some would prefer with two disadvantages; slower speed with a tendency to get yourself splashed with the river water! 

Other boutique hotels I can consider on the side of the Grand Palace; with direct views of Wat Arun. They are ARUN Riverside BangkokRiva Arun BangkokAurum The River Place.

While The Grand Palace's area was devoid of skyscrapers, the same cannot be said further south, where you would likely recognize a few like Lebua at State Tower and King Power Mahanakhon.

The Royal Seminary - built to honor a queen of King Chulalongkorn, who drowned in 1880, at the age of 19 years old. The seminary was located "within the compound of Rajini School (the first girl’s school operated by Thais)".

Ancient Chinese building that drew my attention; a search on Google map revealed that it is Kian Un Keng Shrine, and was built during the time of King Taksin, before the Chakri Dynasty took over from 1782.

Santa Cruz Church - a Roman Catholic religious abode built in 1913-1916 although the land it sat on had churches on it since 1770. 

Buddhayodfa Chulalok Maharat Bridge - a memorial steel bridge named after King Rama I, and was "opened on 6 April 1932 by King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Chakri Dynasty".

Supposed to have a great view during sunset! 
Well, I should check out in my next visit! 

Would be nice to stay at this building.

Judging from the flags, I am wondering if this is a government building? Even Google Map draws a blank as the street view shows literally nothing; not even an address.

Guan Yu Shrine (Khlong San) - more than 200 years old and definitely drawing a few stares with its brightly colored facade. Building next door housed a coffee shop by the name of "My Grandparent's House". I am more interested in the abandoned house next to it! 

Building I mentioned a few paragraphs above is "Bangkok River Park Condominium". An imposing sight along the river, I can't seem to find much info about it on the web although it could be because I am using English whereas main communication in the country is Thai.

Again, houses on stilts; according to recent news articles, heavy rain has brought floods to Bangkok and Chao Phraya River had warnings of overflowing earlier this month! 

Wall murals; you can't deny that they always help to spruce up boring buildings and make the area appeared a lot more interesting for tourists.

See the line of Chinese lanterns in the middle? That's Lhong 1919; converted from a 19th century Chinese mansion, it's said to be picturesque and has been on my list to visit.

Another mansion next to Lhong 1919; looked private. 

You can't miss the Chinese pagoda, which is located within the compounds of Che Chin Khor Temple. To be frank, I am only keen in checking out the 8-floor pagoda, and maybe the eerie house beside it.

Banyan Tree Residences - 45-storey high with just 133 units, this luxury condo currently still has two 2-bedroom units for sale at 49.9 million baht; about S$2 million.

The Marine Department.

Remember the white building on the right? Millennium Hilton Bangkok, which I mentioned previously in the posting I made for the BTS Gold Line

I called this the pink building; officially known as Bangkok Education Office, I was more intrigued by the base of the longtail boat, propped by numerous poles jutting out from the water.

A private dock? Appeared absolutely deserted. 

Arrival at our destination; ICONSIAM. Although we could take the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat to BTS Saphan Taksin, which is nearer to our hotel, I guess it's hard to resist SOOK SIAM with its full blast air-conditioning! 

Finishing the post with a short video! 



Pricing and Route
As above.