Singapore Fling

Credits:  Papers by Queen of Quarks; Elements from Scrap Matter’s Life’s Little Surprises kit and You Are Awesome Kit by Crystal W.

Daniel Boulud’s Bistro Moderne, Mario Batali’s Mozza, Boon Tong Kee’s Chicken Rice… all part of my dad’s 70th birthday celebration.  Our whole family of 8 flew to Singapore in lieu of a big celebration and could be the best decision ever.

Not all with favorable reviews, I’m afraid.  The Marina Bay Sands was a let down.

The long lines at the check-in counter had me by surprise, and after that long wait, one of our rooms was not even ready.

We could go up to the famous skypark infinity pool while we wait, they suggested.  If the line at the check in counter had not turned off me off yet,

the pool in similar fashion definitely did.  It looked like a market place – although it did boast of 12.400 square meter of space that can host about 4,000 people and it probably did that day.  We ordered drinks and bar chows while the kids had a swim.  Service leaves much to be desired for…   Chefs Boulud and Batali were the reasons why we opted to stay at the Marina Bay Sands.  Next time, we will take a cab.   😦

Dinner at DB Bistro Moderne was superb, I had the classic Coq Au Vin and a Yuzu flavored ice cream dessert.

The pizzas at Pizzeria Mozza, I truly enjoyed.  I also had my first Burata here.  Yum.

To save the best for my dad’s night, we dined with gusto at Osteria Mozza – a great choice to mark his 70th – he loves food more than all of us combined.

Wonderful French and Italian cuisines aside, we also had our share of chicken rice, but of course!

One day for lunch, we headed out to River Valley Road for an authentic Chicken Rice at Boon Tong Kee.  The chicken rice here ranks high on the best chart.  We ordered the steamed and the roast chicken and were not disappointed, the meat was tender and flavorful, the rice fragrant.  Many tend to think though that BTK is over-priced and maybe it is.  The chicken, although not disappointing, leaves no lasting impression, sad to say.

To be in Singapore with kids and not go to Sentosa is a crime – at least to my 6-year old nephew.  Not too large a place with an array of interesting marine life, Underwater World achieved to fascinate even (a kid at heart like) me.

I sat through the dolphin show with a cup of Cherry Garcia’s at an air-conditioned café overlooking stage/pool. We stumbled on it when we went to get ourselves some Ben & Jerry’s and found out that we could stay and watch the show comfortably for a reasonable consumable fee.

A great deal, if you ask me.  My nephews were equally as happy with their own ice cream cups in their little corner with a great vantage point.

The reason I love food so much is because I grew up in a family that enjoys good food.  More often than not, trips with my parents always involved food, so I say this weekend Singapore fling was a hit despite some lows.

Weekend fireworks at the Marina Bay Sands

Overall, we celebrated my dad’s birthday literally with a bang.

The Marina Bay Sands


No I have not been there.  My trip to Singapore was mostly business with free time so limited; I opted to visit it some other time.  I vowed to return to the bustling multicultural land of hawker food and chili crabs to do more exploring, hopefully soon. More than the street food and the famous crab dish, Singapore has of late been in the spotlight for its fine cuisine and celebrity chef restaurants, and there are 7 at the Marina Bay Sands.

Fast becoming a unique icon, the MBS, which from afar looked to me like 3 towers with a cruise ship perched atop, is actually 3 cascading hotel towers connected by a skypark platform at the top.  I heard that the view is incredible at the platform.

Built and operated by the US gaming giant Las Vegas Sands, the entire entertainment complex obviously is centered on the casino, the 2nd integrated resort (or the IR) since Singapore gave the go signal for casino gambling in 2005.  But even if I have no interest in gambling whatsoever, the world-class restaurants and perhaps its famous infinity pool are good reason to go visit.

Incredible Lightness

Credits: Quickpage by Jessica Griffin

The new donut craze in Southeast Asia that is soon coming our way (hopefully). Incredibly light and airy with good java to boot.  J.Co, originally from Indonesia has entered the shores of Singapore, Malaysia and most recently Shanghai.

Life’s Simple Kneads

Borrowing from their tagline, The Reflexology Company or TRC has been serving the Singaporeans’ “simple kneads” since 2005.  I’m a sucker for massages.  Doing the mall rounds (on a free day from a business trip) with friend V, I mentioned to her that I was going for a massage at the hotel that evening — doesn’t matter how expensive it is.  I was so in need of a back rub.  She looked at me and said, “better yet, why don’t I take you to where I get mine here and it will cost you half the price?”  Done.  Who needs to shop when one can get a massage instead?   😛  So off we went to Novena Square for that much-needed kneading.

A simple plan shiatsu turned into an hour of invigorating tuina massage.  It brought me back to my first authentic tuina experience.  While my first was a discovery albeit a bit too short, this was absolutely blissful – especially since I went for an hour of full body treatment by no less than their “master” trainer, or so they say.  He had forceful hands and is very precise in his moves – he was without a doubt a master in his craft.

The Foot Reflexology Area

If you find yourself in need of a massage whilst in Singapore, do check out The Reflexology Company in either the Novena Square or the Raffles City.

Useful Info:

The Reflexology Company
Novena Square #03-16
Tel:  6352-2874
Raffles City #03-12
Tel:  6337-7947

 

Dazed by Crab Beehoon

Or something like that.  Anthony Bourdain was all praises, enjoying almost all the dishes set before him at Sin Huat Eating House in Singapore.

I actually didn’t know about this episode of Mr. Bourdain’s earlier show A Cook’s Tour until my friend V insisted that we go there for dinner one night in Singapore.  If it’s good enough for Anthony, it’s good enough for me.

We arrived at a shabby looking eatery in Gaylang Rd. with tables extending almost to the sidewalk.  On one area of the restaurant, there were staffs watching TV.  Known to have a line, the restaurant was unusually quiet that night with only a few tables occupied.   But who’s complaining?

Our friend V, leaving there for a few years now was given the task of ordering our meal for the night.  She did well.

Served first was the scallops in garlic sauce — fresh and simply steamed and then topped with a black bean garlic sauce.  The dark sauce does not make for a pretty sight but is high up there in the flavor scale.

Essence of Chicken I am not fond of but this Essence of Chicken Frog’s Leg was a surprise.

They poured the essence over the dish just before serving, which had me worried for a second.  But there really wasn’t anything to worry about as the flavor of garlic won over the tonic taste.  Overall the dish, albeit not my favorite, came out pretty good.

Winning an award is a good sign, a very good sign for this trademark dish of chef/owner Danny.

The gigantic crab, sweet and firm, was cooked with the beehoon (vermicelli) in a wicked, spicy “secret” sauce that brought Sin Huat to fame.  A definite crab-lover’s paradise, if I may call it that.

As mentioned on the clip, this could be the most expensive restaurant in Singapore.   That said and despite the lack of ambiance, I see myself going back there on my next visit to Singapore to savor more of Chef Danny’s trademark and try his other fresh seafood dishes.  With food this good, who needs ambience?

Useful Info:

Sin Huat Eating House
659 Geylang Road
Loreng 35 Junction
Singapore 389589
Tel. (656)7449755

Xiao Long Bao: Dumpling of all Dumplings

Credits:  Quickpage by Joanne aka 2girlsand poodle from the You Are Awesome Kit.  Alpha by Scrapmatters.com Life Little Surprises kit.

If you haven’t heard of Xiao Long Bao, it’s about time that you do.  You absolutely must try this at least once in your life. This delectable steamed soup dumpling is named after the small bamboo basket it is steamed in.  Inside the dumpling are pockets of minced meat and gelatinized broth made of chicken, pork or cured ham.  When steamed, the gelatin melts inside the dumpling and the soup bursts into deliciousness in your mouth.

Best with vinegar and ginger slivers

The graceful way I eat this is to bite a small hole into the dumpling and sip out the juice before taking the whole dumpling.  A word of caution… wait a few minutes to cool the dumpling before devouring though – the last thing you want is to ruin the whole experience by burning yourself.

My first encounter with this Shanghainese specialty was in 1991, in Taiwan – the very first branch of Din Tai Fung, I recently learned.   And for a very long time, I could only dream of it.  It took me 10 long years to feast on these babies again, this time in Shanghai.  It took perhaps another 5 years for Xiao Long Bao to make its way to the Philippines.  Eat Well is a favorite and very recently, Crystal Jade opened its doors in Greenhills supposedly offering excellent xiao long baos.  The long line turned me off so I have yet to judge for myself.

Din Tai Fung. Singapore. Packed!

Recently however, I came full circle when a few months ago in Beijing and more recently in Singapore, I saw myself in Din Tai Fung for a treat of my favorite dumpling (and more).  Din Tai Fung has become known for their delectable dumplings for decades and opened up franchises in many Asian countries but sadly not in the Philippines (yet).  I saw that they’ve expanded their dumplings to more than just their signature Xiao Long Bao.  They now have chicken, fish and even a vegetarian dumpling.

Though I was a bit disappointed with the vegetarian dumplings, their signature dish remains to be my favorite and

Clockwise:  Cucumber appetizer, Fried Pork Chops on fried rice, Almond Jelly on crushed ice, xiao long bao with vinegar and ginger slivers.

I so totally enjoyed their pork chops and almond jelly dessert.  So really even if XLB made them what they are today, it isn’t just all about dumplings at Din Tai Fung. If you find yourself in a neighborhood with  Din Tai Fung near you, don’t hesitate at all.  Click here to see where they are around the globe.

Where to get XLB in the Philippines:

Eat Well Delicious Kitchen (sounds tacky but they really serve up delicious meals)

At The Fort
Unit C, Ground Floor, Net Quad Building,
30th-31st St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
For Reservation and Pickup only: +632 856-9408
At Greenhills
Missouri St. cor. Connecticut St., Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines
Phone Number: +632 722-8518

 

Crystal Jade
Unit 117-121 (near Haagen Dazs and Goodwill Bookstore)
V-Mall, Greenhills Shopping Center
Greenhills, San Juan City, Metro Manila

Phone Number: +632 570-6910, 570-6912