Friday, August 29, 2014

Singapore Philatelic Museum

Have always wanted to visit the Singapore Philatelic Museum, always. For i wanted to see what i've missed out in my collection, and also to enrich my history of Singapore philatelic.

Since we already have quite a collection of some of Singapore's oldest stamps, it doesn't awe us when we saw the displayed. But the old posting boxes are fascinating!

And it is especially nostalgia to see these stamp packs for sales - we used to save up pocket money to buy them! Now, you don't see them that commonly anymore.

Metal Portable Posting Box (Yellow, small), circa 1970
This posting box was only used in post offices during festive seasons for local greeting cards 
when mail volume was high. Mail was collected from these boxes throughout the day. Unbelievable!

Orange Post Box
This is repainting of the Yellow Post Box to reflect the merger of the 
Postal Services Department and Telecommunication Authority of Singapore on 1 Oct 1982.

 Yellow Post Box
In 1971, the Postal Services Department designed and locally manufactured new posting boxes 
for the first time. It featured double posting apertures for separating mails meant 
for "Singapore"and "Other Countries".
Don't we always wonder how's the inside of these metal boxes!

Lamp Posting Box, circa 1949
Lamp posting boxes were first used in 1896. Meant for areas where mail volume was low, 
these boxes were cheaper to install than the big, round pillar boxes. The display was used during 
the reign of King George VI (reigned 1936 - 1952). However, the king's cipher was removed 
(filed off) after Singapore became a Republic.

Red Pillar Box, circa 1952
This pillar box was donated by Hong Kong Post after the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997. The royal cipher of the QENR (Queen Elizabeth II) on all Singapore's posting boxes were 
removed by the postal department when Singapore gained independence in 1965. 
Each pillar box is made of 400 kgs cast iron.

包今天, Bao Today

Steamed Chicken Feet ($4+), Glutinous Rice in Lotus Leaf ($4.50+), Honeyed BBQ Pork Bao ($2.50+)

We never actually trusted dim sum served in air-conditioned dining, at least not whole-heartedly. So it was the 30% promotion at Bao Today's newly opened branch in Rendezvous Grand Hotel that lured us here tonight.

Happily, dinner was satisfactory - the steamed feet, char siew bao, dumpling and warm, smooth porridge. What's perplexing is their use of syrupy minced meat in the glutinous rice layer to produce the required mushy mouth-feel of this recipe; we thought it's bizarre. Meat pieces in the porridge tastes funny too..

With a good discount? Then yes, we can come back and be selective.

Fresh Shrimp Dumpling ($4.50+) 

 Century Eggs and Lean Meat Congee in Claypot ($6.80+)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

宝发, Bao Fa Claypot Rice

Claypot Rice, for 2 pax ($10)

Claypot rice is a rare find among Singapore's hawker, so there's always followers whenever a stall pops up - however it fares?

Ba Fa at Blk 283, Bukit Batok East Ave 3 seems to be such. Business is good and waiting time of at least 30 mins is guaranteed, but taste is fairly mediocre. There isn't the exciting "charcoal smell" we commonly associate with well prepared claypot rice, and we suffered badly from their dosage of MSG.

Consider instead, their morning offering of minced pork noodles - Bak Chor Me, which seems to be a much popular and delicious option.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Singapore Night Festival 2014

William Close featuring The Earth Harp, front lawn of National Museum Singapore

Singapore Night Festival runs for 2 consecutive weekends (22 & 23 and 29 & 30 Aug), starting tonight. Big and loud drums from ZingO opens the fest with a roar - it was brilliant that drums could be choreographed this way!

Then we catches William Close before walking away; there it struck me. I was alarmed when i saw a majestic visage of a divine figure looking down on us! Something from Ankor Wat? "You see that!?" I was jolting Ric. "Anybody sees that!?" Yes. I was pleasantly alarmed :)

The 7 light projections by Clement Briend on the trees are surreal, and mystic with their playing of ancient music. The night is feeling exciting!

Divine Trees 1

Divine Trees 2

Came back the 2nd weekend when it rained heavily, it stopped and we attended block party at the Armenian Street with the roving brass bands and treats of free durians - plenty for everyone!

Had thoroughly enjoyed the Night Fest! Mood was festive and enthusiastic, drawing much participation from the general public. And the dull city night is enliven!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

童年故事 - 47 x 50cm

童年故事 - Childhood Story

This is our simplest cross-stitch piece, purchased off Taobao - a China-based website. There are another 5 pieces which will take many years to complete as they were all full-frame stitch - meaning there won't be empty spaces without stitching! It would be tiresome but beautiful when completed. I can't wait!

It is certainly helpful when these new generation cross-stitch sets came printed with washable color markings, making the sewing easier as we need refer less to the instruction booklet for stitch count. It is a lot time-saving. Just 2 full months (20 Jun - 21 Aug) to complete this piece.

Of course, i got careless and smudged the top right corner of the piece with rainwater! I was therefore eager to finish the piece, and wet the entire work to remove the ugly smudges! Can't wait to see the designed colors too!

The cute picture says - "I didn't mean to make you angry." The girl replied, "But sometimes you just made me angry." Oh, so true and candid!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fish Bee Hoon in Tong Lai Eating House, 东来餐室

It was always a headache for us, when i'm craving for a bowl of hot fish soup while getting stuck in the West - There didn't seem to be any good fish soup around here, is there?

I was therefore so happy to discover this stall at Blk 283, Bukit Batok East Ave 3, in the Tong Lai Kopitiam. They are not the best, but surely above all average.

Fresh Fish Slice Bee Hoon ($4)

We appreciate that soup was served steaming hot, and comes with strong hints of ginger and dried sole fish (扁鱼干). No extra charges for our request of Bitter Gourd vegetables. It would have been perfect if less seasoning was used on the fried fish, and no added salt on the fresh fish slices.

While the stall serves only fried fish heads, and not the fresh ones, meat is fresh and firm - we're simply happy that fish heads are still available at this afternoon hour.

Fried Fish Slice Bee Hoon ($4)

Fried Fish Head Bee Hoon ($4)

Carambola Tree - Star Fruits!

I am a sweet Carambola tree, 
young and mature at 2.2 meters tall.

The ants love me.
Butterflies and bees too.

Can't help blooming full blossoms
with such strong sunshine blazing on me each day!
Oh! And the delightful rain showers! 

I am growing up to be large and sweet like this!

 Just this morning, i'm being photographed at my home 
by someone who is all the 'wows' and 'woos'
about my flowering tresses.

Yes, I am beautiful.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

风味小厨 - Fish Heads!

Assam Curry Fish Head ($15)

Fish heads are fabulous eat. To one who love eating fish, all the fishes' bony parts offer much tender meat and the joy of carefully sucking each individual pieces, clean!

I love fish heads and the bones. To Ric who can't figure out the complicated structure, he gets the prized portion of the head - fish cheeks!

风味小厨 at Changi Village Hawker Centre, Blk 3 impresses us with their fresh seafood and culinary skills; today we return to have our fill. Sucking on the plump Assam fish head, i had thought i'm working on sweet, meaty Crab's chambers. Yes, it was this good.

We noticed the stall having some promotional items - with one being the "Bean sauce steamed Song fish head" at $12! Looking good... from several other tables. We'll come back for that!

Sweet Sour Pork ($6, promotional price)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cat and the Fiddle - King Cat of the Mountain!

1/8 slice of 'King Cat of the Mountain' (Whole cake approx. 1.1kg, $35.20)

This cake from online store - Cat and the Fiddle has got to be our most interesting cheese cake, for we never had it with durian before, and a Mao Shan Wang at that! Usually, we would have preferred the real fruit to its product, so this is an exception. I dislike biscuit base but this is yummy. Just the right proportion of cheese and durian, it is excellent.

Our first purchase from Cat & the Fiddle, and we are placing high hopes to more, from their very affordable and tasty cake's creation.

This has got to be our pet dog's happiest day as he ran around and rubbed himself against me!! after i fed him a bite size of his favorite cheese and durian. No other cheese cake has this effect on him ")

Ng Ah Sio - Braised Pig Trotters!

Braised Pig Trotter ($8+)

There are 2 Ng Ah Sio's signatures we crave unceasingly - their premium pork spare ribs and gelatinous braised trotters.

A repeat of what we had 2 months back, with the braised trotters playing center stage this time. It is really good. Their premium, most pricey serving of spare ribs is value for the money - juicy and sweet, it is quality meat.

Ng Ah Sio remains our favourite BKT; possibly the best in Singapore.

Signature Spare Ribs Soup ($8.50+)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cereal Butter Pumpkin (Vegetarian)

Deep Fried Pumpkin with Batter

1 cup        plain flour
2 tbsp       glutinous rice flour
1 1/2 tsp   baking powder
1/2 tsp      salt
Mix with 2/3 cup of water, then add in 3 tbsp oil and mix well.

Cereal Butter Pumpkin

Bought some nice Australia pumpkin and we decide to prepare them "Cereal Prawns" styled. The recipe is similar to here - "Cereal Butter Prawns", steps 3-5.

The deep-fried pumpkin tastes great by itself; and shall you decide to proceed, it replaces the prawns in the recipe - Mum got this inspiration from a vegetarian restaurant. Nice.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Restoran Grand Straits Garden

Fishball with Seaweed Soup

Dinner at Grand Straits Garden Restaurant (besides Danga Bay) started out dishearteningly simple and light with fishball soup, bean curd and tomato with eggs... but we have to agree they are tasty and nourishes our tired bodies from the long day.

Then came our much-loved seafood - tender squids and crispy large prawns! Disappointingly, a lesser fancied Seabass compared to the freshness of lunch's Snapper fish, and a heady plate of grilled chicken that tastes like German sausages! I'm sure beer-drinking Dad would loves them.

This is a garden restaurant perfectly set for a romantic evening - piped in music, cool evening breezes, alfresco dining under a vast night sky - even the mood of our big group was lightened as we headed home...

Home-made Bean Curd Hakka Style

Tomato with moist Scrambled Egg

Stir-fried Fresh Squid with Celery

Crispy Oat-coated Prawns

Steamed Seabass in Hong Kong Style

Grilled Chicken

Teluk Sengat (Desaru) Crocodile Farm

Before some shopping therapy at Jusco mall, the tour guide introduces us to the Desaru crocodile farm which houses "more than a thousand" saltwater crocodile species; including 1 oldest, largest (more than 155 years) lizard who simply refuses to come out. You will see later :)

Caretakers with metal pole, 'disturbing' the sun-tanning reptiles.

The farm was built in 1979. And our guide thought we could help by visiting, to finance the farm's continuation. Our group really felt welcomed by the caretakers who brought us around, stirring up excitement in the waters for some photo moments! and performed feeding whole chickens to the pack of voracious reptiles!

It was a pleasurable trip and we were happy to be doing something for conservation.

Open pond with crocodiles of more than 155 years old! So many of them!!

The largest, oldest and most stubborn reptile - simply refuse to budge! He is huge! 

Feeding time by the jovial caretaker - we exclaimed!!