Sunday, November 29, 2015

吉祥可口, Boneless Braised Duck Rice

Assorted Braised Meat Combo ($23)

On days when lunch hour was tight, this was where we like to pack away economical braised duck rice that comes with a braised egg ($3.50); at 155 Bukit Batok St 11. Quite a heavenly treat for the busy day.

And when we could afford a lunch out together, the guys would order their combo set that includes boneless braised duck, beancurd, tau pok, egg, duck's liver and gizzard. A portion good enough for 4 hungry men. On these rare trips, we would have their hot kway chap in herbal soup instead of the usual plain white rice.

Kway Chap, 粿汁 ($0.50)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

52 Secrets of Psychology - Dr Chris Day

Many struggles of our life are of relationship and the emotions that come along and put us down. "52 Secrets of Psychology" by Dr Chris Day is like a light that shine through. Encouraging us to lead a life less plagued.

It is a simple, short and very enlightening book which i encourage you to read it in its entirety. I am keeping some notes here for myself. And yes, am re-reading the book again.

The eBook is now available from the National Library Board, Overdrive.

Why Do Wild Flowers Always Looked More Beautiful Than the Carefully Cultivated?


1. Four choices - When things are distressing you, you have 4 choices. Leave. Change things. Accept it. Do nothing, and stop complaining.

2. Control - Stay focused on what you can control - What you say, what you do, and to a very limited extent, your thoughts and mood.

3. "Should" - Are generally a combination of angry, resent and helplessness. Shift your focus from what 'should' be and look at what is actually happening. Fix it.

4. Truth - No progress is possible until the truth about your situation is uncovered and acknowledged. Be brave. Often the truth is painful.

5. Experience - It is not necessary, or smart, to learn everything from direct experience. Watch people you admire - what they do, and what they avoid doing.

6. Mind reading - If you need someone else to know what you want or how you feel, you must speak up or you will be disappointed.

7. Discover your values - Knowing what is important to you, helps you make decisions. Know the qualities and behaviors you value. Work to become this person.

8. Bad habits - A crucial component in breaking a habit is to completely avoid situations where you will be tempted.

9. The power of beauty - Clean up. Making your environment beautiful is a sign that you value and respect yourself.

10. Slow down - If you slow down at the right moments, you do everything better, you build relationships, you understand more and you make fewer mistakes.

11. Your thoughts are not you - Practice distancing yourself from negative thoughts by watching them, and then labeling them as "just thoughts".

12. Your business - Many of us spend a lot of energy on other people's problems and challenges. One of the keys to a happy life is to learn to spend it on your own.

Weeks 13 - 15: CHANGE

13. Change - Set some very specific short term deadlines and start immediately.

14. Courage - Courage to identify problems. Courage to change your mind and to learn. Courage to act on the solution you decided upon. Without, nothing changes.

15. Focus - Don't become discouraged by comparing yourself with others. Focus by asking yourself continually. "What do i want?" "What do i have to do to make that happen?" 

Weeks 16 - 25: HAPPINESS

16. Happiness - Devote your time to something you believe to be intensely meaningful and worthwhile. Serve your purpose by drawing on your strength. The transitory pleasures along the way are the icing on the cake.

17. Strength - Identify your strengths and make the most of them, you will definitely be happier and you will probably succeed more often.

18. Threes - Before you get up in the morning: Think 3 things you can be grateful for. 3 things you have to look forward to. 3 chores that have to be done that day.

19. Disappointment - Like all our other experiences, is transitory. This time next year your concerns are likely to be totally different. Try to focus on moving to "plan B".

20. Negativity - The obvious way to avoid negative rumination and self-criticism is to give your mind a more constructive problem to think about.

21. Loss - Nobody always gets what they want, or goes through life without losing things they value or people they love. Loss is part of the human condition. You are definitely not alone. 

22. Pessimism - It is important to face the truth, but there is nothing gained by negativity. Open up possibilities for action, rather than feeling down about an unsatisfactory situation.

23. Grumpiness - Is it worthwhile having a whole day of unpleasantness and grumping around?

24. Ignore yourself - When you are very tired, remind yourself to ignore negative thoughts. Or make decisions or have difficult conversations when fatigued. Wait until you can think more clearly.

25. Helping - Volunteering. You will feel less isolated when you are part of a group of like-minded people, working together to achieve something worthwhile.

Weeks 26 - 31: CALM

26. Anxiety - In situations that are both unpredictable and uncontrollable. Try to figure out how you can make some of the elements of the experience more controllable or predictable.

27. Dread - Think about the worst that could happen. Then imagine the best thing. Think about what you could do to minimise any possible unpleasantness or difficulty.

28. Instant Calm - Go somewhere quiet. Shut your eyes. Empty your lungs by pushing all the air you can. Concentrate on your breath. Breathe this way for a couple of minutes, then open your eyes.

29. Choosing - Wasting time and energy dithering about buying choices is a self-destructive form of perfectionism. No matter what you choose, this time next year it will be water under the bridge.

30. Television - TV plays on your emotions to get your attention. Cut back on news, documentaries, and any programs with arguments, swearing or violence. Do something interesting instead. Note the difference in your mood.

31. Feeling included - Rather than worrying about being accepted in social situations (Remember, everyone else is engaged in this same process), concentrate on assuring others that you accept them. 

Weeks 32 - 37: SOCIAL SKILLS

32. Meeting people - Remember that each new person is potentially a new friend, and each new topic of conversation is potentially a new interest or activity for you as well.

33. Manners - Acknowledged and appreciate others. They favorably predispose people towards us. Being civil also changes the way we feel about ourselves.

34. Backbiting - We demonstrate to others that we are mean and judgmental people, we are also likely to expose some shortcoming of our own. Try instead, focus on improving our own lives.

35. A pat on the back - Keep it simple. Identify the thing you admire or appreciate, and then say it.

36. Ask for encouragement - We all love to hear encouragement from those we love. Take a risk and tell them what you need.

37. Dealing with praise - Learn to accept compliments gracefully. A simple smile and a sincere 'thank you' is usually the best response.

Weeks 38 - 52: COMMUNICATION

38. Judgment - The only way to be sure of the intentions of others is to ask them.

39. When people don't care - Not everyone shares your values and behaves as you do. Accept the reality of how they are. And focus on making plans to limit the control these people have over you, your life and your loved ones.

40.  Expectations - A good question to ask yourself is why other people should meet your expectations. Another is whether you always meet other people's expectations, or even your own expectations of yourself.

41. Taking offence - When arguments flare up about what appears to be nothing, take a close look at what lies at the heart of them. Identify the hurt. Then, ask yourself, "What is so bad about that?" Don't let arguments get out of hand.

42. Resentment - Calm down and think clearly without being highly emotional. Remember that some situations and some personalities just have to be accepted. Accept, deal with the situation and move on. Refusing to prolong your suffering and moving on quickly is always your best move.

43. Goodwill - At the start of a relationship we credit each other with a certain amount of goodwill. As the relationship progresses, some people are in the habit of venting their stress on those they love.

44. Dispense with arguments - Arguments usually resolve nothing. You will generate more goodwill and have a happier relationship if, rather than arguing, you discuss the issue and find a solution.

45. Unity - Commit to unity before you try to solve problems with other people. When each person knows how much the other one values the continuation of the relationship at the start of a negotiation, it is less likely that the situation will descend into unpleasantness.

46. Kindly tone - The tone of your voice, kindly or harsh, is just as powerful as your message. People read intent from your tone of voice.

47. Intentions - To begin difficult conversations. State your desire to maintain a good relationship. When the other person knows that you care about them, the conversation about the situation is less emotionally charged.

48. Expressing yourself - When having trouble with others, you sometimes need to talk about it with them. Use "I" statements, "I am worried about..." or "I am feeling..." Never say "YOU", or speak about what they are doing.

49. Understanding - Few desires are as powerful as the yearning to be understood. Being listened to. It is a real gift to others to give them your full attention.

50. Influence - You can't control other people, you can only influence them. The first is by force and the second is by kindness. The fact is, people are more positively influenced by kindness than they are by force.

51. Nagging doesn't work - Try negotiating a few ground rules instead. Make deals you can both agree upon. Agree upon the consequences of breaking those rules. Let the rules stand and be sure to apply the consequences.

52. Success - A successful person awakens the potential in others. You need to be able to genuinely see their potential and respect it. Learn to listen and encourage rather than control and manage.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Christmas Wonderland in Singapore

Don't worry so much about your camera, photos or instant Facebook-ing. Enjoy the cool night air at the Gardens by the Bay, while holding the hands of your love ones. Take as many photos as you like, and the rest will fall in place. Grab a beer from the nearby kiosks. Get into the Christmassy mood.

Have a restful December.

88 Hong Kong Roast Meat Specialist

Roast Meat, Char Siew, Roast Duck Platter + 4 Rice ($22)

This is a return visit to 265 Bukit Batok East Ave 4 after tasting our life's best Sio Bak! Imagine a well-roasted pork that has crispy and brittle skin, yet layers of melting fat! It was really good.

But our return trip today (after 3 weeks) is a big disappointment. The skin of the roast pork can't even be bite into, it was dead tough! The only saving grace today was the succulent roast duck. What happened? The stall changes hand?

Our group refused to come back again.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

JUN Corner Nasi Padang - Spicy!

Just when we are complaining about how Malay Nasi Padang are no longer spicy, all sweet-tasting chili sambal/ curry, someone pointed us to JUN Corner at Blk 273, Bukit Batok East Ave 4. And it sure makes us sweat in the heat of its sambal. It was hot!

But we wouldn't want to stop. The burning sensation is both exciting and deliciously satisfying. Food is freshly prepared as the popular stall operates for lunch till sold out everyday, except Monday.

As i reviewed these photos, my tongue begins to feel numbness with thought of the chili sambal. It really was a good lunch albeit my pricier seafood items.

Sotong Hitam - Squid in Black Ink ($2.50), Fish in Sambal Curry ($3), Lady Finger ($1), Rice ($0.50)

Beef Rendang ($2.50), Sambal Goreng ($1.20), Sambal Petai ($1), Rice ($0.50)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Ci Yuan Community Club - the $2.80 Hawker Centre

#01-29 Traditional Pork Rib Prawn Noodle (Dry, or Soup $2.80)

We did came for the $2.80 dishes. Wanted to see the honesty of a $2.80 offering compared with our usual $2.50 and $3 in the neighborhood market. Our observations were of course, limited only to the stalls we tried on this page.

On serving size and generosity of ingredient, the $2.80 is clearly lacking behind $3. But it won by good recipe. Meaning the soup, sauce and seasoning that determine the success of a dish are expertly concocted. Ingredients are fresh but in smaller pieces. The $2.80 bowl doesn't fill you up. Many thus chose to 'up-size' their orders by paying more.
Still Ci Yuan Hawker Centre is worthy of repeats and exploration, where young entrepreneur hawkers are seen hard at work. Food choices are aplenty and tasty. The clean, airy and spacious dining hall doesn't leave you smelling like a kitchen. I fell for the place at once.

The food that we had tonight was above average, and totally enjoyable. You just need to order more.

#01-31 Leo Satay Cup Set (5 random sticks of Chicken & Pork + Ketupat + Cucumber & Pineapple Cuts, $2.80)

#01-14 Teochew Satay Bee Hoon ($3.50), Laksa ($2.80)

#01-18 JB Handmade Pau. Chwee Kueh (4 Pcs, $1) Chee Chong Fun ($1.50) Rice Dumpling ($1.80)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

天来饭店, Tien Lai Rice Stall

Roast Duck & Char Siew Platter, 4 Rice ($22)

This is our favorite hunt for takeaway at the Taman Jurong Market Food Centre. We love how the fragrance of their well-oiled rice filled the office when we unpack for lunch. We love the sweet, smoky, fat char siew with its charred burned bits. And most of all, the economics of it with prices being more than reasonable.

On your unlucky day, both roast meat and char siew could be sold out by 1130am. Today we missed the roast meat. So you have been warned. Don't be late.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Malaysia Boleh!

After many visits, we still couldn't fathom the perpetual queue for Penang Char Kuay Teow in Malaysia Boleh . JurongPoint. It was oily, and doesn't impress us with its taste. Yeah, we don't like it that much.

We like instead, the Klang styled pork rib soup, serve dipping hot in a claypot. The strong herbal essence of the soup, soft meaty pork ribs and slightly oiled fragrant rice are all divine. Amazingly, the soup goes well with soft, starchy, scrambled eggs-like oyster omelet. Never mind that the dish was unusually runny and oily! It is sinfully good.

Some of us were scraping hard at the tasty remains of the claypot rice. The others tickled themselves silly over the palm-sized Amy Yip buns. The juicy steamed bun oozes delicious meat gravy as we cut it open!

Our wicked lunch finished with a Chendol that transported us back to Malacca town!

Klang Bak Kut Teh 巴生肉骨茶 ($5.50, with rice)

 Traditional Handmade JB Amy Yip Pau 大马手工叶子楣大包 ($3.50) 

Petaling Street Famous Claypot Chicken Rice 茨廠街驰名瓦煲雞飯 (S, $5)

Penang Lorong Selamat Fried Oyster Omelette 槟城著名嘉嘉蚝煎 (M, $6)

Penang Road's Famous Chendol ($2)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Little Things

It's saying hello to a stranger,
Making someone smile,
And feeling loved.
It's the little things that matter most.

It's a book you can't put down,
Baggy sweatpants,
And hot coffee.
It's the little things that matter most.

It's thunderstorms,
The sound of water droplets on the porch,
And the smell outside after rain.
It's the little things that matter most.

It's making a decision,
Being confident,
And saying what you feel.
It's the little things that matter most.

It's the starry skies,
Cozy blankets,
And limitless dreams.
It's the little things that matter most.

It's the little things that make life:
And wondrous.
It's these little things that matter most.

- Grace A Wills (1957- )

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Kay Lee Dark Char Siew - Die Die You Eat!

Char Siew + Roast Meat ($5), Char Siew + Roast Duck ($7.50)

If i have a 'die die must eat' label, this post goes into it. That's how good it is.

You can forget about Kay Lee's roast duck or roast meat, yet make sure you buy a good portion of their black barbecued meat (Char Siew), at $50 for a kg. The recipe is well worth the 4 million it was sold for; the minimum pack for their Char Siew rice at $4, is a steal for the taste.

The taste, indescribable.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Rui Ji Hong Kong Roasted, 瑞记香港烧腊

Roast Duck, Roast Meat, Barbecued Pork Char Siew for 4 Pax ($27.80)

Lunch was decided at Bukit Batok, and we set out to visit our favorite Hong Kong Roast Duck which has relocate itself to the Skytech Building. But friend challenged us to Rui Ji instead, citing its equivalent, even possibly superior?

She was spot on. The roast meat and char siew are not the best, but the roasted duck is impressive. We especially appreciate the crispiness of the thinly roasted skin. So much, i was not giving way to the others on the table, instead vying for the last piece.

Prices might be slight steeper than our usual stall, but the roast duck is worth it.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

West Co'z Cafe - $10 Spicy Fish Head!

Curry Fish Head ($20+, SG50 Promotion at $10+)

Are Segar Restaurant, West Co'z cafe and A-Poh Kitchen familiar to you? They are 3 established dining names under the management of p2e (places to eat). And their outlets are growing. We were at their West Coz Cafe in Yew Tee Point today.

The half fish head turned out to be a rather big portion; fresh and really spicy! We thoroughly enjoy it. The prawn roll was prepared just how we like it, with crunchy chunk of sweet water-chestnuts. Overall, p2e do seems serious in making their eateries a success. Food is nothing mind blowing, but is good and decent.

We are making plans for a return visit within this week. For the fish head.

Oyster Omelette ($10+)

Sweet Potato Leaves, Sambal ($9+)

Prawn Roll ($10+)

Braised Beancurd ($10+)

Friday, November 6, 2015

吉发, Kiat Huat Wanton Noodle

First. We have to acknowledge the deliberate act of the hawker in keeping his customers waiting - his looking into the line constantly, taking a drink and checking into the fridge are obvious bid to building up the lunch hour queue... It is no surprise that the stall is the only queuing one at Haig Road Market & Food Centre.

But is the food good? Yes, it is. It is toothsome and does leave a lingering effect on me. I like the seasoning sauce, the al dente egg noodle, sweet roasted meat and the crunchy fresh fried dumpling. Many were having extra order of their deep fried prawn dumplings!

The long queue however, does turn away potential customers.

Wanton Noodle, dry ($2.50)

Fried Wanton Noodle, dry ($2.50)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

7Tea Cafe - 台灣茶飲小舖

from left - Cappuccino (L, $3), Honey Aloe Vera (M, $1.80), Ice Cream Milk Tea (M, $2), Honey Aloe Vera Grass Jelly (L, $2.50)

No meals at Taman Jurong Market Food Centre are complete without a drink cum dessert at 7Tea on level 3.

Healthy favorites of mine are the bitter Matcha Milk Tea with/ without red beans ($2.30/ $2), Yakult Green Tea ($2) and the Honey Aloe Vera Grass Jelly above. Occasionally, a Caramel Macchiato ($2.80) finished with pretty "cross-hatch" pattern of caramel sauce.

Prices are affordable, and quality is not compromised. It starts from just $1.50 for a typical Taiwan milk tea. Less ice option available at no extra charge. If milk tea is too much of a routine, you MUST at least take a sip of the hot foamy Cappuccino which is often sold out. You must. It might just knocks you off the chair.

Monday, November 2, 2015

財 Hor Fan - Fish, Beef, Prawn or Seafood?

Beef Hor Fan ($4)

One simply can't resist the tantalizing look of hot slippery Hor Fan kway teow. And you wouldn't miss it at the Yuhua Village Market and Food Centre where proud patrons paraded their delicious looking purchase before descending to chow. 

I fixed my sight upon the tender beef/fish slices which stood out right on top of their plateful! Oh! I want that too! And i had - the least MSG plate of Hor Fan than the usual. Yum. Satisfied.

Beef Stewed Rice (Mui Fan), rice in gravy ($4), Fish Hor Fan ($4)