Sunday, October 9, 2016

Far East Flora @ Queensway Flowers Plants and Other Gardening Stuff

Along Queensway, beside the McDonalds, there is a large nursery which is a branch of Far East Flora.  We like to come here to take a look at plants and other gardening stuff.  A pleasant place.  Some of the flowers are very beautiful, like this moth Orchid.

See this video compilation for more Orchids.

Some more flowers in this video.  Grab some home to grow if you wished, but we didn't.

They also have plenty of indoor furniture, as well as indoor plants, which you can see in this video.  Some claim that having indoor plants in your home will help you fight the haze.  Not sure how true this is, but here they are.

Back home, we decided to grow some humble Coriander.  Good fun to have fresh coriander at dinner. The plant in the pot seems to be thriving, under a tree.  Pretty neat.  The taste was good!
Far East Flora @ Queensway.  Check it out if you like plants.

Alexandra Village Food Center Various Food Shops Compilation

Alexandra Village Food Centre is a very famous cooked food centre along Alexandra Road.  Very busy during weekday lunchtime, and even in the evenings, this place has plenty of good food.  In this blog post, I will put a compilation of the various food that I have enjoyed at AV Food Centre for your easy reference.

The Old Stall Hokkien Street Famous Prawn Mee

Had a hearty bowl of dried prawn mee (kway teow plus yellow noodles mixed) for breakfast at this store, which is in the middle row.  The store has many newspaper cuttings on the signboard, you won't miss it.  It sells its own specially made chilli powder and has a very cute sign on 5 'must-eat' reasons.  Did I enjoy it?  Yes, good taste.  Worth a try if you like prawn mee.

Soya Sauce Chicken Noodle (Hong Kong style)

This Hong Kong inspired eatery specialises in soya sauce chicken noodle.  They claim that this is the only store, and no other branches.  How did it taste?  The chicken was good.  Tender.  The noodles, well, just average.  Overall, quite a decent meal.  Give it a try if you fancy some Hong Kong style soya chicken noodles.

Jin Pai Zi Char - Beef Kailan Rice

A hawker store selling Zi Char?  Yes.  At first, I was skeptical, given that the store looked so small.  There was just one cook and one lady helping (I assume they are husband and wife).  But I noticed that their business was pretty swift, so I decided to try a one-dish meal and chose Beef Kailan with rice.  I was blown away!  The portion was very generous, the beef was tender, the Kai lan was soft, the sauce was good and all that for just $4!  Impressive.  You would be aware that Zi Char stores at coffee shops and other eating places are not that cheap these days.
Jin Pai Zi Char Kung Pao Chicken Rice 

Same store as above, this time round I get the Kung Pao chicken with rice.  Again, serving was generous, cooking was not bad.  Best of all was the price.  $3.50.  Good stuff!  Support local hawker fare!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Book the Cook Singapore Airlines Business Class Meals

Book the Cook is a premium service offered by Singapore Airlines where you can reserve your main course dish up to 24 hours before flying.  They have a comprehensive list of dishes available for selection, from certain departure airports, with Singapore offering the most choices.  On this blog post, I will update on the Book the Cook dishes that I have tried, for your easy reference.  All the videos and pictures are from my travel experience on Singapore Airlines Business Class.

Screengrab from Singapore Airlines website.

Classic Lobster Thermidor (ex-Singapore)
Arguably the most famous Book the Cook dish - Lobster tail sauteed in butter, flambeed in brandy, sprinkled with cheese and served with creamy mushroom sauce, garlic and spicy mustard, and buttered asparagus. 

Watch my enjoy the Lobster Thermidor below, from the 9:00 minute mark of the video.  This was on flight SQ 322, Singapore to London on the A380.  

In the same video above, you will also see the Book the Cook breakfast of Dim Sum Selection.  This is a shorter video showing just the Dim Sum breakfast.

Lobster Thermidor (ex-London)
A slightly different variant of the Lobster Thermidor is served when you fly London to Singapore. Instead of rice, potatoes are used.  The dish was beautifully presented on this flight from London to Singapore.  Watch the video below from the 9:00 minute mark for the version of the Lobster Thermidor served out of London.

Nasi Lemak
I have had this dish a couple of times for breakfast.  According to SQ website, the description is fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk, accompanied by spicy sambal prawns, fried chicken, fried anchovies with peanuts, spicy pickled vegetables (achar), an omelette wedge, and grilled fish cakes (otah).  The online reviews of this dish are not good but I enjoyed it thoroughly!  I must say that it constitutes a very hearty breakfast, and hence not suitable if you don't like eating a lot of breakfast.

Sliced Grouper Congee
Grouped cooked in rice porridge with spring onions and ginger - this was a wonderful (and light) breakfast I had on one of my flights.  An excellent choice if you want something light, yet sufficiently flavourful.

Singapore Chicken Rice, Satay, Beef Brisket Noodle
You may wonder, why even choose Chicken Rice (which is widely available in Singapore at hawker centers) on a premium Singapore Airlines flight?  Well, you've got a point there.  The first dishes I tried on Book the Cook was the Lobster Thermidor.  But there was a particular trip I made where I reckoned that after being away for some time, and flying home, the Singapore Chicken Rice meal on board SQ would be quite cool!  So I did it! (Bucket list item).  This flight was on SQ 305 ex-London.  In the video, not only will you see the Singapore Chicken Rice (lunch), you will also see the Satay Service as well as my breakfast choice which was beef brisket noodles.  The breakfast choice was  from the menu (i..e not Book the Cook).

The description of Singapore Chicken Rice from the SQ website as follows - Poached chicken, sliced and served on long-grain rice cooked in chicken broth.  Accompanied by dark soya sauce, tangy ginger and fresh chilli and lime sauces.

Citrus Steamed Sea Bass - Deliciously Wholesome Selection
Singapore Airlines added many new dishes under a 'Deliciously Wholesome' section of Book the Cook starting April 2016.  I chose a dish called Citrus Steamed Sea Bass with Lettuce Puree, Legumes, Radishes and Sunflower Seeds in Citrus Vinaigrette.  See the video from the 1 minute mark.  Certainly a mouthful of a name, and it looked pretty much like a forest when it was served.  The large chunk of white fish was refreshing and suited my taste.

To be continued as I fly more on Singapore Airlines!  Thanks for reading and watching the videos.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Kai (Sea) Japanese Eatery and Wangz Cafe at Plaza Singapura

Had a nice sashimi lunch at this casual Japanese eatery called Kai (Sea), which is located at the basement level (B2) of Plaza Singapura, next to a Wangz Cafe.  I felt like having some Japanese that afternoon, and I chanced upon this eatery.  Didn't plan to eat here, but glad that I did.  I chose the sashmi set which was on promotion and the video shows you the food and some of the surroundings.

And here is a still picture of the sashimi set.  The pieces of sashmi were thick and very fresh.  Very enjoyable indeed.

After lunch, I had some coffee right next door which was a Wangz cafe.  Good coffee.

Food in Singapore.  Thanks for watching!

Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine Singapore

Had dinner at the Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine restaurant. This restaurant (operated by Jumbo Group) is located within Chui Huey Lim Club (190 Keng Lee Rd).  This place was very crowded during the weekends, so you should reserve in advance otherwise you won't be able to get a place.

This video shows you the food we tried, including braised duck, ngoh hiang and some other teochew favourites. For dessert, we tried the Orh Ni and Tau Suan. Overall, a fine meal and the price was attractive because one of my relatives had a voucher to boot. Cool!

Some of the food on our table.  You can see the Ngoh Hiang, the Duck and the Salted Egg Prawns. All very good!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Pokemon Go Craze Hits Singapore!!! Videos on catching Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go craze has hit Singapore. No doubt about that! I'm a grown adult, but I have jumped on the Pokemon Go bandwagon to collect these cute monsters from the Pokemon genre. Fun. In this first video, I show you how to set up the Pokemon Go Game on the iphone. Very easy.

Setting up Pokemon Go game on iPhone, and catching Charmander!

Second video, catching a RAT on the HDB void deck. Yes, a rat.

Continuing on the Pokemon theme, more monsters caught here.

Now, here is my first ever Gym battle against some 2000CP behemoth. Needless to say, I lost.

To be continued - more videos. Here is a Pokemon Rarity Chart from Reddit. (made by Rotom Guy)

Here are the specific names:
Rattata, Pidgey, Weedle, Caterpie, Drowzee
Virtually Everywhere
Eevee, Zubat, Venonat, Oddish, Magikarp
Very Common
Meowth, Spearow, Bellsprout, Paras, Krabby
Clefairy, Nidoran♀, Nidoran♂, Ekans, Cubone, Goldeen, Poliwag, Shellder
Jigglypuff, Growlithe, Gastly, Geodude, Exeggcute, Slowpoke, Psyduck, Jynx, Onyx
Ponyta, Vulpix, Koffing, Sandshrew, Staryu, Tentacool, Horsea, Magmar, Tangela
Very Rare
Abra, Machop, Grimer, Rhyhorn, Voltorb, Lickitung, Scyther, Pinsir
Dratini, Magnemite, Electabuzz, Hitmonlee, Hitmonchan, Chansey
Lapras, Snorlax, Porygon
Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, Pikachu, Omanyte, Kabuto, Aerodactyl

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Tallinn, Estonia, Cruise Port of Call - Serenade of the Seas

Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It is situated on the northern coast of Estonia, on the Gulf of Finland, 80km south of Helsinki. Population is under 500,000. Tallinn's Old Town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the best preserved and intact European medieval cities. The city was known as Reval from the 13th Century until the early 20th Century.

We arrive in Tallinn on the Serenade of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) cruise ship and would spend some hours in the city today. We did not take a ship tour, but we went about on our own. We relied heavily on Rick Steves Northern European Ports guide for how to walk, as well as navigated with my smartphone GPS.

In this part 1, I show you how we walk from the cruise port all the way to the Fat Margaret Tower, which houses the Estonian Maritime Museum. We didn't visit the museum today. The walk took about 15 minutes, max. It felt good to walk. The weather was gorgeous.

We continue our journey. Using the Rick Steves travel guide, we start at Fat Margaret Tower and walk along Pikk Street. Fat Margaret was built in the early 16th Century. Called fat because she was the largest part of the city wall's fortifications, and also built to impress visitors coming by ship. So we just followed along Pikk Street till we came to the town square. It was early, around 1000hrs, and many shops were only starting to open.

Continued from the previous video, from the Tallinn old town square, we headed in the direction of Olde Hansa, which is a restaurant featuring the medieval way of eating. This was a restaurant recommended by the cruise ship, so we came to take a look, though we decided not to eat here. Just outside the restaurant, there was this lady selling some spiced sweets/nuts, at 4 Euros per packet. She said it had medicinal value! Well, it tasted like sweet stuff to me.

We followed the walking directions in the Rick Steve's guide and headed up this smaller and narrow walkway, towards the upper part of the Tallinn. This would bring us to a place called the Danish King's Garden (with plenty of shade) and we took a rest near the flower bed. Then, we headed towards the Orthodox cathedral, called the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, went inside briefly to take a look. And we walked on.

Near the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, there were several very good viewpoints to see the lower city. We visited two of them, and to get there, you walked past many foreign embassies. This area was near the Parliament and the Government center of Tallinn. After taking in the sights, we started to make our way back down to the lower city center. We found a cafe that we walked past earlier this morning, and decided to stop there for some coffee and beer!

The Tallinn Old Town, including Toompea, is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Her old town is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe.

After doing the walk (as per Rick Steve's guide), we went to an info counter to figure out how to take a tram to the Kadrioru Park. Managed to find the train stop and we paid for the tram ticket with cash (Euros). It was an interesting ride, and not far. Kind people on board the tram told us where to stop. And we walked around the park a bit. There was some large playground with amusement rides, but we didn't ride any. The plan was to take a taxi back to the cruise port but we had difficulty finding one. So we ending up walking all the way back! It was a rather long walk, I think almost 3km, but we made it. All that exercise was good! Was the park worth going? Well, probably not. May be better to spend more time wandering around Tallinn old town. More charm.

And we reach back to the port gates after a long, long walk from the Kaidrioru Park. Plenty of sun to go around. There were three ships in port, and ours was docked closest to the port gates. Walking is good, stretch the legs. Be mindful of the sun though. It was very bright. Bring a cap and sunscreen if needed.

Back on board the ship, I didn't take any video of the lunch we had. Must have been too hungry! We probably had our lunch in the Windjammer, I can't remember. Anyway, the next video footage on my camera was this footage from the Park Cafe in the Solarium.

And then I stand on the sun deck looking at the port of Tallinn, and I decided to give you some commentary on how easy and convenient the port of Tallinn was to do, by foot! This angle gives you an idea of how near (or far, it is all relative) the old town is. Many cruise passengers do it on foot, as you can see the lines of people walking back to the ships.

Opposite us, in Tallinn, was the Holland America Zuiderdam. On closer look, her hull paintwork looked to be in a rather bad shape. I am not sure why they didn't paint the ship more professionally. It certainly did not look good in the sun!

This wraps up our day in Tallinn, Estonia. Thanks for reading!