Saturday, March 8, 2014

328 Katong Laksa, East Coast Road

Most of the hawker food found in Singapore are similar to the ones in Malaysia. Just like the famous 328 Katong Laksa, its very similar to the Nyonya laksa. Katong is said to be a peranakan area, thus famous for peranakan dishes. The Katong laksa with its slightly spicy coconut milk (santan) broth is delicious. The laksa noodle comes with prawns, cockle (siham) and fish cake. They don't provide chopsticks. The noodles are cut to allow easier consumption with spoon. Personally, i would prefer the noodles to be normal length, allowing me to slurp away with chopsticks :)  Costs $4.50 per bowl. They also have nasi lemak which was also selling fast, but i didn't get to try it. As for the otak-otak which was $1.20 each, it was good, but not memorable.Nonetheless, i would definitely head back for another bowl of laksa if i'm in the neighborhood. Even Gordon Ramsay loves it. aha. To locate their stall: click here. Yeap there are multiple stalls :), On East Coast Road itself, there are two 328 katong laksa stalls. I got lost as i made the stall my landmark to head back to the hotel,and then i found out there were two! haha. One's on the right of the hotel, one's on the left. 

Along East Coast Road, there is a Peranakan Food Stall, selling more than 8 variety of dumpling, known to many as zhang. It has been forever since i eaten one. Grandma used to make it for me every year but now no one makes it, in the family. I became very particular about the taste of zhang sold outside since grandma's zhang, to me, is the best. I can say that the dumpling at the Kim Choo stall was not bad. :D I bought a chili dried prawn one, and the meat dumpling. Both tasted okay. They also sell cakes (kuih) like tapioca cake, glutinous balls with sugar filling (onde-onde), kuih ketayap, and many other sweet varieties. There are also instant ingredients to cook peranakan food. :)

Another Laksa we tried was at the Ah Meng Cafe near the Singapore Zoo, it was yummy too but compared to the 328 Katong Laksa, it lacked cockle and the noodles were different. Broth was different too. Costs us $7.90 per bowl not including the tax, well cause it is tourist spot. An option if its difficult to head to Katong. For me, the original Katong Laksa is better :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

River Safari, Singapore

Here's my post on another place to visit in Singapore, *drumroll* River Safari! It is located right beside the Singapore Zoo. Other famous spots often talked about would definitely be the Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and Night Safari. Admission to River Safari costs $25(adult) and $16(child). Opens at 9am till 6pm. Their theme is about animals located in different rivers around the world. They are host to many species of common and rare fresh water fishes. My knowledge on freshwater fishes can be said to be close to zero *embarassing*, thus not really able to appreciate them, unlike other visitors, which i stalked watched from afar, sharing stories about the fishes. For me, I found the Giant Panda forest, The manatees, piranhas and squirrel monkeys, the highlight of my trip. :)
We spent around 3 hours in the River Safari. The place isn't that big but there's plenty of information on rivers and the animals that live around it. Lots of interesting knowledge to gain..

Houses the Mekong Catfish and the Giant Stingray

Boy and his pet alligator :P 

Red panda - Real active ones :)

Kai Kai and Jia Jia ( reminds me of the pandas at Ocean Park Hong Kong- An An and Jia Jia)

Kai Kai taking a looooooooooooong nap

Jia Jia exercising excessively. (she was walking in circles around the enclosure)

Next, The Amazon River Quest is a 10 minute boat ride which lets you view animals up close. It was complementary when I went, but currently they are charging $5(adult) and $3(child) for the boat ride. The boat time slot has to be booked at the counters before entering. A boat can fit around 12 people. Unlike the shaded galleries, it was hot during the boat ride, so make sure you bring a hat or put on sunscreen. We were slightly splashed with water during the boat ride but nothing to be worried about, it was due to the wavy terrain. To our disappointment, we only saw 50% of the animals on display during the boat ride, most of the time we were busy looking for the animal. It was rather comical. They were playing hide and seek :P As for the animals we did see, we were definitely at a close range.

As we entered the jaguar enclosure, we only got a glimpse of the jaguar, as we exited the cave. Felt like rowing the boat backwards. aha -.-'' Too bad it was a automated boat. 

who's there? Squirrel monkeys, small tiny size..

Piranha! they drop food (chunk of meat) about every 10 seconds, you get the picture :)

Manatee (Sea cows) whats with the frown? They have about 8-10 manatees i guess, living in a huge tank. I sat for 15 minutes here just watching them. They have feeding times for the manatees too where you can watch the divers feed the manatees lots and lots of veges.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Gardens by The Bay, Singapore

Another stop we made in Singapore was the Gardens by the Bay located on Marina Gardens Drive. Upon arriving, we headed straight for the audio tour around the gardens using a medium sized open air buggy and costs $5 per person. The audio tour gave us sometime to rest, listen, understand, take cover from the sun and soak in the beauty of the garden. The garden is divided into various parts. The highlight for me would be the 2 dome shaped conservatories "Flower Dome" and "Cloud Forest", the Supertree Grove and the Web of Life.

Web of Life - Really love the animal shaped bushes or hedges.

The Supertrees!. Standing tall at a height of 25-50 metres, the trunk of the trees are planted with real living plants, while the unique branches branching out from the trunk actually helps harvest solar energy. Awesome! At night, there is a Garden Rhapsody at 745pm and 845pm where the trees come alive with a colourful display of lights. Sadly, we missed the show as we were headed for shopping by then :D. We spent around 3 hours at the Gardens exploring.

The OCBC Skyway $5 admission, we didn't get to try this, but it is said from the skyway the view is spectacular.

Marc Quinn's Planet- Floating baby sculpture which looks hugely heavy, yet appears weightless. Stares in awe! Read more here.

There are 2 dome shaped conservatories the " Flower Dome" and the "Cloud Forest". We went for the Flower Dome first. The Cloud Forest was smaller than the Flower Dome and and can get very chilly at times. I enjoyed the cool weather in the conservatories unlike the burning heat outside, thus, spending extra time in both. :D Entrance fee for both conservatories is $28.

Dome shaped conservatory
The Flower Dome was filled with plants from all over the World. At one corner you see palms, another would consist of cactus and bulbous plants, there were so many types of beautiful flowers. It was a magnificent hideaway. I just stood at a corner of the conservatory and enjoyed the view. To capture the moment, i felt like a professional photographer?, trying to get the best shot, taking almost 100 photos just in this conservatory. haha! Never thought i had a thing for plants photography :P

The view 

Various types of Cactus

Bulbous plants or were they trees?

Owls ( my current interest)

the view from a different angle :)

The year of the Horse. neyyy~

Here a unique 3 petal flower :) reminded me of a 3 leaved clover. Hopefully it brings goodluck too!

The 1000 year old olive tree

Plenty of colorful magical flowers :)

Horses made of wood can be seen decorating the whole conservatory in conjunction with the Year of the Horse.

The second conservatory the Cloud Forest. Its main attraction would be the indoor waterfall and the cloud walk.

Indoor waterfall :)

The multilevel walk where you can enjoy the scenery

Lost World at the topmost floor

The secret garden snails :)
Before entering the secret garden, there was a short video about how humans have changed the balance in nature (changes in weather). It was a wake up call. They also have a presentation on how Gardens by the Bay actually use green technology  to function, from the rain water collected to water the plants, the solar energy to light up the super trees, the leaves as manure or burnt to create energy.

Overall, i enjoyed the Gardens very much, as it was just a stress free, peaceful place to soak in the beauty, away from the bustling rush in the city. It was my cup of tea, hopefully its yours too. :)