Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Little Cactus Pot

Cactus, IKEA ($2.90)

Ric just bought this "cute mouse" from IKEA. Do you have trouble caring for these little cactus sold in narrow pots? i used to kill them with over-watering that rot the roots.

Over the years i learned that Cactus behaved like eccentric people who preferred to be left alone most of the time, or are really independent plants :) Don't be overly attentive, water them only when they are feeling light of weight; leave them to dry out (they enjoy it). Bearing in mind: Soil NEEDS drying out between watering.

Under-watering never kills them; they may just wrinkle a little but plumps up beautifully once you water. You may notice that the moisture after drought actually stimulates cactus growth.

I drenched my cactus thoroughly once every week for these little pots that sits in my sunny yet full blast air-conditioned office; and once every 3-4 weeks for the larger pots in the sunny garden. Hope you enjoy these little cacti as much as i do.

Justice to RamenPlay ;)

Shoyu Ramen ($9.80++)

This post served as a postscript to my negative comments about Ramenplay's ramen just a month ago at their Bishan branch. Read here. But things were quite different in NEX today; different in a good way.

Why the repeats after the previous bad experience? Well, we were given two $5 Groupon voucher for the Ramen and tasked to utilise them before the expiry date of this month.

Gleefully, everything works impeccably - the tamago was runny soft, the broth was suitably seasoned and the texture of the noodles was so....so right!

It was not a wasted trip and Ramenplay does have a place in the regional market. Keep it up! We certainly support our local entrepreneurs!

Complimentary: Stir-fried Chilli Chives

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Vintage Watches!

Art & Mechanique Incabloc

I am a sucker for antiques! Antiques watches, telephones, typewriters, it could be anything! Shall we look at my new purchases which Ric sourced out <3 from a reliable watch dealer? - a 1960’s vintage gents dress watch from Art & Mechanique.

Had actually loved a clear faced, 3 hands watch but soon discover that the sub-seconds dial could be such an elegant classic. The gold plated case looked great and fitted my small wrist snugly.

Omega Seamaster 600

This ivory 34mm was a special edition produced for launching the Omega 600 calibres in 1960's. Love these plexi crystal gentlemen who looked forever understated and clean!

Mido Commander Ocean Star Date/Day

And finally, i ended my search for vintage ladies dress watch from this Mido reproduction. The champagne silver M7169.4.71.1 was a 23.5mm that runs on automatic ETA 2678 and keeps perfect time. 'Day' display was in French as the watch comes from Europe stock; "VIE" reads FRI in English.

The hour markers and hands have a very retro look about them, and I have to own 1 of these nostalgic collections that comes with the legendary integrated bracelet and clasp!

Think i have enough for now ;))

海洋, Ocean Curry Fish Head

We had known Ocean Curry Fish Head stall for more than 10 years. Used to lunch here with colleagues for their Curry Fish Head where the place could be so... crowded, but personally we seldom make the trip here with families.

Ocean had recently moved to Blk 92, Toa Payoh Lor. 4 and we chanced on them today; it seems the fare was as good as it used to be ;)

Oyster Sauce Sotong ($4), Otah ($3), Japan Beancurd ($3)

Did not order their much-publicized Curry Fish Head; just some simple selection that feeds us two comfortably. Besides their signature Fish Otah, the Oyster Sauce Sotong was noteworthy.

Ric who had usually avoided having economic rice made an exception for Ocean; and yes, we could be here again for their many tasty looking home cooked dishes.

Rice ($0.60 per plate)

Best Yam Ball Fritters!

Probably the best Yam Ball fritters in Singapore! We have always travelled all the way here in Chinatown to pack these back for the elderly at home; my grandparents and parents love them.

Do not be surprise that the filling of the Yam Ball was not Yam but diced bits of moist, Char siew alike marinated meat. The Yam was mashed and made as the thin, light crust that molded and hold this Yam pastry - deep fried but never too oily.

 Yam Fritters ($0.80 each)

A definitely delightful, old-school food stuff that i'm beginning to appreciate. For my lighter taste palates, i enjoy the fritter over a small bowl of plain white rice ;)

培记,Poy Kee Yong Tau Foo

We spotted this another queue for Yong Tau Foo (there are several stalls of popular Yong Tau Foo here) in People's Park Cooked Food Centre, so let's try them. It was late lunch for us.

Yong Tau Foo, soup ($3)

Ric was having dry throat discomfort and opted for the soupy noodles while i had the dried ones. Standard ingredients from these traditional Yong Tau Foo stalls were served to you without the need for your selection, but they were all good and consist mostly Fish paste with bean curd or Tofu skin.

Although there was lots of Soy beans used in the Yong Tau Foo soup, we guess lots of MSG was in this delicious tasting bowl too? Were really thirsty after the meal. The anchovies (ikan bilis) throw in, however does sweeten the deal.

Yong Tau Foo, dry with Chili ($3)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

剉冰, Durian Shaved Ice

Durian Shaved Ice, 剉冰 ($5.50)

Believe this ice dessert originated from Taiwan? I had thought all Snow Frost Ice Dessert, 雪花冰 taste similarly smooth, fine and creamy but the ones we had today were lesser such. The durian flavored milk frosts were undesirably less milky and much structured - it doesn't melt easily!?

We were at Dessert First, Liang Seah Street, taking advantage of the 50% discount by BigDeal.SG vouchers.

Tanjong Pagar KTM Station Canteen

M.Hasan Railway Station Canteen

Enter the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station and you would be swarm by the dozens of photographers, seriously! I was therefore embarrassed to shot away likewise.

The Malay uncle whom we shared a table asked what was the commotion about? We smiled and told him that the railway station is closing at the end of June; the food stalls operating only till this Sunday. "It was never this lively around this station!" He said. And we were here for the food ;)

"You should have been on the KTM train, it's a great experience." He repeated thrice. With the tickets all sold out till the end of the month; it seems pretty unlikely for us to.

Beef Keema ($3), Chapati ($0.60 x2)

One of the most sought after food here would be the freshly prepared Chapatti cos you don't often find it in Singapore food stalls. I enjoyed much of the unleavened bread; hand tearing and dipping it lavishly into the Keema of minced beef and potatoes! Yum!

Goreng Pisang ($0.60 per piece)

Being regulars at this canteen, our Malay friend laments the standard of today's banana fritters - it was tasteless, unripe - probably in a haste to business the constant stream of customers who swiped off every plate of the piping fried Pisang!

And this stall !!
If anyone knows where they've been relocated, please add to the comments here. Thanks in advance ;)

Mee Siam ($2.50)

Gado Gado ($2.50)

Their Mee Siam may be just an average fare but their recipe of peanut sauce outshines many others! Order their Gado Gado and Tauhu Goreng to enjoy this probably best peanut sauce around.

Our newly acquainted Malay friend was indulging in his plate of Nasi Padang (he loves the curry) while his father was having the bowl of Mee Siam; i had wished to have the Mee Goreng, Tahu Goreng, Lontong, Mee Soto.. but pity our smallest appetite :(

So long, and goodbye to good food ;)

 Main building of Railway Station gazetted as a national monument on 9 April 2011.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lenovo Ideapad, Y460P 14"

Lenovo Ideapad 14" Y Series ($1,300)

;) Had a change of my home laptop.

Ric bought the Lenovo Ideapad Y460P that runs on 2nd generation Intel® Core™ i7-2630QM Processor (2.00GHz 1333MHz 6MB), a multi-core processor of Quad core with 6GB of random-access memory! Fast leh...! Haha... But it doesn't mean i could work faster.

Work aside, i'm making use of its JBL built-in speakers, SRS surround sound audio and video capabilities to the creation of some multimedia magic. The JBL was certainly more effective than the usual laptop speakers but has yet been able to replace the activeness of desktop speakers with sub-woofer.

My Lenovo was an obese 2.2kg deskbound while Ric got himself a nimble 1.5kg Asus X23F 12.5" ($699) for his working mobility - 'Tis the season of laptop upgrading.

Monday, June 20, 2011

山頭火, Ramen Santouka since 1988

Awase-Aji, Mixed Soup Ramen ($14++)

Ric wanted to show me the magic of Santouka Ramen, or should i say the magic of their Tonkotsu Soup ;) While i had their purest form of Tonkotsu soup in Shio Ramen, Ric had the Awase-Aji Ramen flavored with a combination of salt, soy sauce and soybean, offering a richer savoriness.

We find this set meal to be most valued for money. Ramen itself comes with all ingredients of tamago koji, bamboo shoots, chives and Cha-shu. A bowl of rice topped with fragrant Garlic grains for your savouring the Japanese Ochazuke style of dining at the end of the meal where ramen broth is used instead of green tea. Special Japanese pickles and Tea were also included!

Tamago Koji ($1.50++)

Shio Ramen ($13.50++)

This is their signature Shio Ramen which is mild and creamy soup seasoned with salt, the only ramen that is topped off with a Japanese pickled plum. It was this same Ramen that got Santouka started in 1988, Hokkaido, being the only item on their menu then. So do try it for nostalgic sake, yeah!

Santouka at Central

Sunday, June 19, 2011

El-Sheikh Lebanese Restaurant

Penne & Shawarma ($11.90+)

Looking back at our dinner in El-Sheikh tonight, it was a pretty unique experience at low cost. We skipped the many fanciful but authentic Lebanese cold and hot appetisers, going straight for the Mains. Glad that we did, for the Mains alone satiate our tiny stomach.

My selection was a combination of Penne in Arabiatta sauce with Lamb shawarma. An appetite whetting dish of vinegary tomato sauce and lusciously roasted mutton.

Riyash Ghanam ($14.95+)

This was Ric's marinated lamb chops, with a choice of either fries or their long grain rice. Which would you have? We have the latter. Disappointingly, the lamb chop could have been better grilled.

Lebanese Coffee ($3.50+)

For a truly memorable meal, you must have the Lebanese coffee! It completes the Lebanese treat.

Lebanese coffee is as strong and thick as an espresso, often flavored with cardamom. We added half a sachet sugar to the unsweetened and bitter coffee served in a small demitesse cup.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chopin & Liszt by the Lake

Anna Kijanowska on Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage.

The Embassy of The Republic of Poland and The Embassy of The Republic of Hungary presented a free public concert at the Singapore Botanic Garden featuring Anna Kijanowska playing pieces from Frederic Chopin, Franz Liszt and Karol Szymanowski.

I could well understand most from Chopin but less from profound composition of Liszt and Szymanowski. It's hard to follow the difficult pieces that do not rhymes or are even unpredictable ")

Howbeit, for the love of hammered strings, it was a lovely evening after an afternoon rainfall. Cozy up in the informal setting, lying back to enjoy the piano music with songs of the nature background by birds and insects..


Fryderyk Chopin Mazurka op. 17 no. 4
Karol Szymanowski Mazurka op. 50 no. 2
Fryderyk Chopin Mazurka op. 50 no. 2
Karol Szymanowski Mazurka op. 50 no. 16
Fryderyk Chopin Ballade No. 2 in F Major, op. 38
Fryderyk Chopin Polonaise A Flat Major op. 53
Franc Liszt Liszt Sonata in B Minor

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fiesta Japan Cheese Cake

Very quickly, after having the Japanese Cheese Cake from BreadTalk, Ric bought a similar one from the Ichiban Boshi Japanese Restaurant. See here for their convenient locations for a takeaway with their flavored cheese in Matcha, Coffee, Pandan and the Original.

Matched in price, Fiesta Cheese Cake seems to please our palate better with its richer cheese and equally fine texture. So, it's Fiesta over BreadTalk for us. What do you think?

Fiesta Cheese Cake, Original ($8.80)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fastum Gel, Ketoprofen

Fastum Gel, 30g ($4.45)

This will not be an article of medical terminology; just my personal experience with the Menarini International Fastum Gel, a non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug and hope it will be helpful to any injured individuals like myself.

Late 2007, I sprained my right hand ring finger that aches for a period of more than a year, during which i tried several application from Western pharmacies and Chinese Sinseh (跌打医师), faithfully applying the medicated ointment daily but to no avail. I was saddened as i resigned to live with this handicap.

Application of this odorless gel came in 2009 - it dries up pretty fast after a few stroke of gentle massaging. Like a miracle, the soreness in my finger was all gone by the next day! And it never came back since. I had thought the Fastum gel was a common pain killer, but no, it HEALS the pain-inflammation!

Note that Fastum works on pain and inflammation associated with rheumatic and muscular disorders, soft tissue injuries such as acute strains and sprains, and not really on common muscle aching; check with your pharmacists before purchase.

Available from any good local pharmacies like the Guardian and Watsons; mine was a gift ;) You could view its composition here.

Wish your irritating aches goes away soon!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Arbutus, 杨梅

Arbutus ($5 per basket)

My extended family is one who loves exotic fruits; third Auntie, especially, loves buying them as a treat for everybody. I had my first taste of the Arbutus fruits today.

There's no husk or shell to be removed, simply wash it by soaking in water and removing after the wash. Biting into the Arbutus will reveal its lovely texture with a tiny seed in the center of the fruit. Juicy, sourish sweet were the first impression; i don't particularly fancy :)

But if you haven't tried the fruit, you should. It is interesting.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Kintamani Indonesian Restaurant

The Furama RiverFront Hotel offers buffet styled dinning in 2 of their restaurants, namely "The Square - International Fare" and "Kintamani Indonesian". Having much fond memories at "The Square" a few years back, we were at the Kintamani Indonesian Restaurant (Halal) for the first time today.

Priced at $38++ for the lunch buffet, we were further treated with a 1-for-1 credit cards promotion.

Gado Gado Jakarta

A luxurious vegetarian dish of peanut sauce on bed of tempeh, boiled potatos, eggs, tofu, cabbage, string bean, raw onions, cucumbers and lontong rice with crunchy fish crackers! This is just yummy to begin with.

Mussels with traditional Chili

Deep-fried Squids

Sop Asam Pedas (Nusantara Sweet and Sour Seafood Soup)

Chicken, Mutton Satay

This was Ric's plate of the meal. Apart from the individually photographed dishes, you could see here also Ayam Rica Rica (deep-fried Chicken with chili Manado style), Rendang Mutton and Beef Rendang.

Though the varieties of the buffet spread weren't extensive, their many dishes were well executed and compliment one another, balancing out the heaviness of Indonesian cuisine. This is one of the rare buffets i wouldn't irk coming back within the same week. Really.

Udang Goreng Mentega (Deep-Fried Buttered Prawn)

Sotong Sambel Terasi (Squid cooked with traditional chili)

Mie Bakso (Beef Meat Ball Noodle Soup)

The dessert section doesn't disappoint with a good array of Kueh Indonesian and Nonya desserts - Kueh Koswee, Kuih Lapis, Ubi Kayu, Goreng Pisang, Ang Ku Kueh, Onde-Onde, Durian Pengat, Chendol...

4 flavors of ice-cream and exotic fruits of Water-melons, Honey dews, Jack fruits, Guava, Rambutans and Pears to choose from. Then help yourself at the coffee & tea counters.

This buffet is satisfying.