Go Singapore About traveling & living in Singapore. http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore <![CDATA[National Orchid Garden Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
Its visitors include Queen Elizabeth II in the 70s, Margaret Thatcher in the 80s and now Prince William & Princess Catherine on Sep. 11, 2012!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-National_Orchid_Garden-169-1836189-228211.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-National_Orchid_Garden-169-1836189-228211.html Wed, 12 Sep 2012 03:29:45 +0000
<![CDATA[Gardens by the Bay Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-Gardens_by_the_Bay-169-1836188-228210.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-Gardens_by_the_Bay-169-1836188-228210.html Wed, 12 Sep 2012 03:21:54 +0000 <![CDATA[Raffles Hotel Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Raffles_Hotel-169-1684125-228209.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Raffles_Hotel-169-1684125-228209.html Wed, 12 Sep 2012 03:16:33 +0000 <![CDATA[Hainanese Chicken Rice Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]> http://www.lunch.com/thericetable/reviews/food/UserReview-Hainanese_Chicken_Rice-44-1430063-213583.html http://www.lunch.com/thericetable/reviews/food/UserReview-Hainanese_Chicken_Rice-44-1430063-213583.html Thu, 22 Sep 2011 23:23:08 +0000 <![CDATA[Sands SkyPark Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>




Some incredible images of the SkyPark from the net. If you haven't seen these before, you'd definitely want to go on top it now, don't you? Well, enjoy your virtual trip and if you do make a trip to Singapore in near future, make sure you don't miss your chance of taking some spectacular pictures around this latest tourist attraction in Singapore!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Sands_SkyPark-1754355-211337.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Sands_SkyPark-1754355-211337.html Wed, 10 Aug 2011 14:09:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Simply breathtaking!]]> The latest tourist attraction in Singapore atop the Marina Bay Sands Casino & Hotel. The view from up here is awesome and the wow factor lies in the hotel's swimming pool which overlooks the entire Singapore CBD skyline! 



Go up around 6 pm to get a great day shot, 30 mins later the sunset shot and another 30 mins later the night shot! Do not go up in the day as it'd be way too hot by the time it opens at 10 am. The Skypark opens daily until 10 pm. The price of getting this magnificent view is S$20 (about US$18) and you are allowed to stay as long as you like. It's actually atop the 57 levels of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino. The newly opened hotel is the biggest one in Singapore and boasts some 2561 rooms. It's also touted as the most expensive stand alone casino, built at a cost of some S$8 billion (US$6.5 billion). 

Expensive you think? Well, take a look at its design. It's like a ship atop 3 buildings! Have you seen anything like it? I haven't! But now, I've stood atop it! What a great view and an awesome place to be! Get a drink or even a dinner up there. It shall be the most romantic one you can have in Singapore!



When I was there last weekend, it's certainly the best sunset I've ever seen after all these years of staying in Singapore! How blessed!

Tip:
You can visit the skypark for free if you stay at the hotel. Alternatively, you can also swap your Lion King entrance ticket for free if you're going for the show at the hotel. Last but not least, if you wish to visit the ArtScience Museum adjacent to the resort, the price is S$35 for 3 exhibits (Salvador Dali, Van Gogh & Tang Treasures) and the Skypark. However, imho, Van Gogh exhibit is a rip-off!

Last but not least, you can also go up to the same deck but not the skypark for free if you're dining at the restaurants. If I'm not mistaken, there is however a minimum cover charge of some S$50 per person!
 ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-Sands_SkyPark-169-1754355-211336-Simply_breathtaking_.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-Sands_SkyPark-169-1754355-211336-Simply_breathtaking_.html Wed, 10 Aug 2011 13:57:25 +0000
<![CDATA[National Museum of Singapore Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> The Treasures of Vacheron Constantin which exhibits some 170+ antique watches at the basement of the National Museum of Singapore. An excellent exhibit, not to mention its free admission! A great way to spend the hot afternoon in Singapore!

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-National_Museum_of_Singapore-169-1754353-211334.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-National_Museum_of_Singapore-169-1754353-211334.html Wed, 10 Aug 2011 13:17:18 +0000
<![CDATA[Lime Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> http://www.lunch.com/reviews/food/UserReview-Lime-20-1430231-208794.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/food/UserReview-Lime-20-1430231-208794.html Tue, 14 Jun 2011 21:26:16 +0000 <![CDATA[Singapore Airlines Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>



]]>
http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Singapore_Airlines-1433472-207656.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Singapore_Airlines-1433472-207656.html Sat, 21 May 2011 16:57:56 +0000
<![CDATA[Singapore Botanic Gardens Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-Singapore_Botanic_Gardens-169-1732597-206664.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-Singapore_Botanic_Gardens-169-1732597-206664.html Sat, 30 Apr 2011 17:42:23 +0000 <![CDATA[Jurong Bird Park Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
Despite the heat and humid climate in Singapore, if there is one thing not to be missed when visiting, this is it!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-Jurong_Bird_Park-169-1732596-206662.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-Jurong_Bird_Park-169-1732596-206662.html Sat, 30 Apr 2011 17:36:28 +0000
<![CDATA[Night Safari Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
Night Safari is the 1st nocturnal zoo in the world and has been in operation since 1994. Remember to bring along mosquito repellent when you visit!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-Night_Safari-169-1732595-206661.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-Night_Safari-169-1732595-206661.html Sat, 30 Apr 2011 17:28:57 +0000
<![CDATA[SilkAir Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
SilkAir flies mostly by 737 aircrafts so it shouldn't command that premium over the other low cost airlines. The only advantage is probably because it still offer "free" meals (which are already factored into its pricing)!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/airtravel/reviews/d/UserReview-SilkAir-129-1433518-205887.html http://www.lunch.com/airtravel/reviews/d/UserReview-SilkAir-129-1433518-205887.html Thu, 14 Apr 2011 06:28:45 +0000
<![CDATA[Greenwood Fish Bistro Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
Check out the menu: http://www.fishshop.sg/files/menu_noprice.pdf]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Greenwood_Fish_Bistro-169-1690448-199588.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Greenwood_Fish_Bistro-169-1690448-199588.html Thu, 20 Jan 2011 14:08:25 +0000
<![CDATA[ Swissotel Merchant Court Singapore: Not Recommended]]> Location

This is a review of the Swissotel Merchant Court, 20 Merchant Road, Singapore 05828 located beside the North-East Line (NEL) at the Clarke Quay Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station.

I stayed in this hotel for one week on business travel in June 2010.
 
The location of this hotel is rather convenient.  It is adjacent to Clarke Quay, an overpriced touristy area with restaurants, shops, and night clubs.  There is also a mall right across the street and it is within easy walking distance to Chinatown.  The mass transit station is basically right in the hotel and appears rather easy to navigate, although I never did make use of it.

Downtown Singapore is easy to get around in by cab and the cabs are not too expensive for Americans as the exchange rate is about three Singapore dollars to one American dollar (at least it was in June) and tipping is not customary.

Overview

I hated this hotel on so many levels.  But suffice it to say that this hotel is overpriced, there are better locations for tourists and business travelers, and the rooms were not that comfortable, especially for the business traveler.  I would definitely not recommend it, especially since there so many similar priced and most likely much better options.

Ambiance/Lobby

The lobby space is very large but does not have a lot of character.  It is essentially a huge white walled space with a lot of activity going on.  It appears to cater more to tourists than business travelers .  It does have a currency exchange booth and concierge stand.  It is not a particularly inviting lobby or one you would want to hang out in.

Check-In/Hotel Service

I found the door and service people to be modestly but not overly helpful.  The check-in counter is to the left immediately when you walk in. It was fast and efficient enough, but the demeanor of the counter staff is more like trying to get you in and out like a McDonald's than a five star hotel.

Further, when I had a problem with my room, the staff was decidedly uninterested in assisting me and I and to insist on their help, which I found utterly annoying.

The service was serviceable, but more what you'd expect from a Motel 8, not a hotel purporting to be a five star accommodation.

Rooms

The absolute worst thing about the room I was in was it was overly air conditioned and it was impossible to adjust the thermostat to be at comfortable level.  I tried to get the staff to look into it but they did nothing to solve the problem.  If I turned the thermostat to the maximum temperature and low the air conditioner would continue to run make the room to cold.  Of course if it was off, being in a hot, humid climate like Singapore, it soon got too warm, especially during the day. My temperature control in the room was basically turning the air conditioning on and off constantly to keep it at a comfortable level.  That, in and of itself, made the stay somewhat uncomfortable.

The desk area was rather small with a somewhat comfortable but not adjustable chair.  Thus, working from the desk was not very pleasant and given it was a business trip I needed to work at the computer frequently. 

I ended up with two twin mattresses in my room and at least the beds were comfortable enough.  The mattress was about the right firmness, not too soft and not too hard, and the pillows were equally comfortable.

Another decent feature of the room was the balcony.  While it was a small balcony, when I got too cold from the air conditioning I could step out and see a halfway decent view of the city.  The only drawback to the balcony was there was a large overhang where the balcony wall ended with lots of bird droppings, which was not too attractive.  But, there is not much the hotel could do about that.

The bathroom was quite clean and comfortable with penalty of the typical amenities, soap, shampoo, and even a small toothbrush and shaving materials for the forgetful traveler. 

Another plus for the room was they had plenty of alternative electric outlets that fit American, European, and Indian electrical gadgets, which made hooking computers and other item into the power source convenient.

Otherwise, the room had a nice, flat screen television but not much in the way of programming.  Mostly during my stay, when I had the televisios on for ambient noise, I was stuck watching international news which covered the BP oil spill off the coast of Louisiana incessantly.  I was an up to the minute expert on what was going on with that tragic event during my stay.

The room had a mini-bar with a very limited choice of beverages and a safe in the closest which was free to use.

Internet Connection

I also need to clearly point out that the internet connections in Southeast Asia are generally slow. The internet connection in this hotel, which I paid for ($12.95 a day), was excruciating bad, and no doubt worse than other areas of Singapore.  It was so slow that is severely hampered my work as it often froze up and did not work properly.  Given that the laptop I had was used before and after in other locations with no problems clearly indicates it was not a computer problem. 

This, on top of the temperature control problems, made my stay even less pleasant and utterly annoying.

Business Center

Given I was still somewhat on American time and working a lot after normal business hours in Singapore, the fact the business center was closed after normal business hours unfortunate.  They did not have very many computers there anyway and it was a rather sterile environment.  I didn't need to do any printing or faxing and only made use of their computer one time to get a faster internet connection to e-mail some documents. 

Other Amenities

The hotel did have a pool with a Jacuzzi that looked reasonably inviting but I never made use of it.  It was a little out of the way from the rooms, which lent it some privacy. 

Likewise, there is the obligatory fitness center that is open 24 hours a day.  I never used it but cruised by it and it seemed to have the needed equipment such as treadmills and weights for those inclined to use it. 

The gift shop is very small with a few souvenirs and postcards and various sundry items.  It seemed to get a reasonable amount of business despite that there was a mall across the street and a 7-11 adjacent to the hotel. 

Restaurants and Bars

There are two restaurants and a bar in the hotel.  The bar does not serve food and is located right off the lobby next to the elevators.  It is reasonably comfortable place to have a drink ($15 in Singapore currency) and the wait staff is friendly, but while I was there it rarely had much business given it was right next to Clarke Quay with all the restaurants and night clubs.  It also closed at 11 p.m. which was a bit early for me, particularly being a bit upside down in my sleeping patterns.  Of course, given they had no business and the bars around the area are open to the wee hours of the morning, I can understand why they didn't bother.

I ate at the Ellenborough Market Café in the hotel twice, once for lunch and once for dinner.  The service was very good, the prices moderately expensive, and the food average at best.  I had beef dishes twice and they were not that good.

The Blue Potato is located adjacent to the pool and I never ate there.

Price

My room rate was in the $180 per night range in American dollars and similar to other comparable hotels in Singapore.

Advice

A couple of words of advice.

First, I do not recommend this hotel.  I would definitely not say in this hotel were I to do it over.  In fact, I almost switched hotels during my stay but was too lazy to do so.

Second, if do find yourself in this hotel, I'm sure the allure of people and activity at Clarke Quay will draw you there.  But the food is overpriced and average at best.   The same can be said for the restaurant in the hotel. 

The Asian restaurants in the mall across the street were much better, there are some seafood places along a walk along the water to the South of Clarke Quay that are good, and Chinatown is just a short three or so blocks away and the restaurants there were all good.  So I would recommend venturing beyond the aforementioned areas for food.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Swissotel_Merchant_Court-169-1684134-126814-Swissotel_Merchant_Court_Singapore_Not.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Swissotel_Merchant_Court-169-1684134-126814-Swissotel_Merchant_Court_Singapore_Not.html Sun, 22 Aug 2010 23:29:35 +0000
<![CDATA[ Swissotel Merchant Court Singapore: Not Recommended]]> Location

This is a review of the Swissotel Merchant Court, 20 Merchant Road, Singapore 05828 located beside the North-East Line (NEL) at the Clarke Quay Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station.

I stayed in this hotel for one week on business travel in June 2010.
 
The location of this hotel is rather convenient.  It is adjacent to Clarke Quay, an overpriced touristy area with restaurants, shops, and night clubs.  There is also a mall right across the street and it is within easy walking distance to Chinatown.  The mass transit station is basically right in the hotel and appears rather easy to navigate, although I never did make use of it.

Downtown Singapore is easy to get around in by cab and the cabs are not too expensive for Americans as the exchange rate is about three Singapore dollars to one American dollar (at least it was in June) and tipping is not customary.

Overview

I hated this hotel on so many levels.  But suffice it to say that this hotel is overpriced, there are better locations for tourists and business travelers, and the rooms were not that comfortable, especially for the business traveler.  I would definitely not recommend it, especially since there so many similar priced and most likely much better options.

Ambiance/Lobby

The lobby space is very large but does not have a lot of character.  It is essentially a huge white walled space with a lot of activity going on.  It appears to cater more to tourists than business travelers .  It does have a currency exchange booth and concierge stand.  It is not a particularly inviting lobby or one you would want to hang out in.

Check-In/Hotel Service

I found the door and service people to be modestly but not overly helpful.  The check-in counter is to the left immediately when you walk in. It was fast and efficient enough, but the demeanor of the counter staff is more like trying to get you in and out like a McDonald's than a five star hotel.

Further, when I had a problem with my room, the staff was decidedly uninterested in assisting me and I and to insist on their help, which I found utterly annoying.

The service was serviceable, but more what you'd expect from a Motel 8, not a hotel purporting to be a five star accommodation.

Rooms

The absolute worst thing about the room I was in was it was overly air conditioned and it was impossible to adjust the thermostat to be at comfortable level.  I tried to get the staff to look into it but they did nothing to solve the problem.  If I turned the thermostat to the maximum temperature and low the air conditioner would continue to run make the room to cold.  Of course if it was off, being in a hot, humid climate like Singapore, it soon got too warm, especially during the day. My temperature control in the room was basically turning the air conditioning on and off constantly to keep it at a comfortable level.  That, in and of itself, made the stay somewhat uncomfortable.

The desk area was rather small with a somewhat comfortable but not adjustable chair.  Thus, working from the desk was not very pleasant and given it was a business trip I needed to work at the computer frequently. 

I ended up with two twin mattresses in my room and at least the beds were comfortable enough.  The mattress was about the right firmness, not too soft and not too hard, and the pillows were equally comfortable.

Another decent feature of the room was the balcony.  While it was a small balcony, when I got too cold from the air conditioning I could step out and see a halfway decent view of the city.  The only drawback to the balcony was there was a large overhang where the balcony wall ended with lots of bird droppings, which was not too attractive.  But, there is not much the hotel could do about that.

The bathroom was quite clean and comfortable with penalty of the typical amenities, soap, shampoo, and even a small toothbrush and shaving materials for the forgetful traveler. 

Another plus for the room was they had plenty of alternative electric outlets that fit American, European, and Indian electrical gadgets, which made hooking computers and other item into the power source convenient.

Otherwise, the room had a nice, flat screen television but not much in the way of programming.  Mostly during my stay, when I had the televisios on for ambient noise, I was stuck watching international news which covered the BP oil spill off the coast of Louisiana incessantly.  I was an up to the minute expert on what was going on with that tragic event during my stay.

The room had a mini-bar with a very limited choice of beverages and a safe in the closest which was free to use.

Internet Connection

I also need to clearly point out that the internet connections in Southeast Asia are generally slow. The internet connection in this hotel, which I paid for ($12.95 a day), was excruciating bad, and no doubt worse than other areas of Singapore.  It was so slow that is severely hampered my work as it often froze up and did not work properly.  Given that the laptop I had was used before and after in other locations with no problems clearly indicates it was not a computer problem. 

This, on top of the temperature control problems, made my stay even less pleasant and utterly annoying.

Business Center

Given I was still somewhat on American time and working a lot after normal business hours in Singapore, the fact the business center was closed after normal business hours unfortunate.  They did not have very many computers there anyway and it was a rather sterile environment.  I didn't need to do any printing or faxing and only made use of their computer one time to get a faster internet connection to e-mail some documents. 

Other Amenities

The hotel did have a pool with a Jacuzzi that looked reasonably inviting but I never made use of it.  It was a little out of the way from the rooms, which lent it some privacy. 

Likewise, there is the obligatory fitness center that is open 24 hours a day.  I never used it but cruised by it and it seemed to have the needed equipment such as treadmills and weights for those inclined to use it. 

The gift shop is very small with a few souvenirs and postcards and various sundry items.  It seemed to get a reasonable amount of business despite that there was a mall across the street and a 7-11 adjacent to the hotel. 

Restaurants and Bars

There are two restaurants and a bar in the hotel.  The bar does not serve food and is located right off the lobby next to the elevators.  It is reasonably comfortable place to have a drink ($15 in Singapore currency) and the wait staff is friendly, but while I was there it rarely had much business given it was right next to Clarke Quay with all the restaurants and night clubs.  It also closed at 11 p.m. which was a bit early for me, particularly being a bit upside down in my sleeping patterns.  Of course, given they had no business and the bars around the area are open to the wee hours of the morning, I can understand why they didn't bother.

I ate at the Ellenborough Market Café in the hotel twice, once for lunch and once for dinner.  The service was very good, the prices moderately expensive, and the food average at best.  I had beef dishes twice and they were not that good.

The Blue Potato is located adjacent to the pool and I never ate there.

Price

My room rate was in the $180 per night range in American dollars and similar to other comparable hotels in Singapore.

Advice

A couple of words of advice.

First, I do not recommend this hotel.  I would definitely not say in this hotel were I to do it over.  In fact, I almost switched hotels during my stay but was too lazy to do so.

Second, if do find yourself in this hotel, I'm sure the allure of people and activity at Clarke Quay will draw you there.  But the food is overpriced and average at best.   The same can be said for the restaurant in the hotel. 

The Asian restaurants in the mall across the street were much better, there are some seafood places along a walk along the water to the South of Clarke Quay that are good, and Chinatown is just a short three or so blocks away and the restaurants there were all good.  So I would recommend venturing beyond the aforementioned areas for food.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Swissotel_Merchant_Court-169-1684134-126814-Swissotel_Merchant_Court_Singapore_Not.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Swissotel_Merchant_Court-169-1684134-126814-Swissotel_Merchant_Court_Singapore_Not.html Sun, 22 Aug 2010 23:29:35 +0000
<![CDATA[Silversea Cruises Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Silversea_Cruises-155-1576017-122947.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Silversea_Cruises-155-1576017-122947.html Sun, 22 Aug 2010 12:04:12 +0000 <![CDATA[Singapore Airlines Quick Tip by megmeg]]> http://www.lunch.com/airtravel/reviews/d/UserReview-Singapore_Airlines-129-1433472-65440.html http://www.lunch.com/airtravel/reviews/d/UserReview-Singapore_Airlines-129-1433472-65440.html Mon, 12 Jul 2010 18:19:47 +0000 <![CDATA[ yum!]]> http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/food/UserReview-Bread_Talk-169-1440505-24386-yum_.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/food/UserReview-Bread_Talk-169-1440505-24386-yum_.html Mon, 28 Jun 2010 06:52:55 +0000 <![CDATA[Shrek 4-D Adventure (Universal Studios Singapore) Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-Shrek_4_D_Adventure_Universal_Studios_Singapore_-169-1443975-56491.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-Shrek_4_D_Adventure_Universal_Studios_Singapore_-169-1443975-56491.html Sat, 1 May 2010 12:41:21 +0000 <![CDATA[Durian Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
One man's poison, another man's meat (or profit? ;-)). It's the smell, baby, the smell!!! Best to take a glass of salt water after Durian as it is quite 'heaty'! Do not drink wine with Durians. It will kill. ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/fruitlovers/reviews/food/UserReview-Durian-316-1397572-56335.html http://www.lunch.com/fruitlovers/reviews/food/UserReview-Durian-316-1397572-56335.html Mon, 26 Apr 2010 04:22:33 +0000
<![CDATA[Hainanese Chicken Rice Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/food/UserReview-Hainanese_Chicken_Rice-169-1430063-56150.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/food/UserReview-Hainanese_Chicken_Rice-169-1430063-56150.html Mon, 19 Apr 2010 13:14:47 +0000 <![CDATA[Universal Studios Singapore Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-Universal_Studios_Singapore-169-1439240-55987.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-Universal_Studios_Singapore-169-1439240-55987.html Wed, 14 Apr 2010 14:31:06 +0000 <![CDATA[Durian Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/goindonesia/reviews/food/UserReview-Durian-142-1397572-55576.html http://www.lunch.com/goindonesia/reviews/food/UserReview-Durian-142-1397572-55576.html Tue, 30 Mar 2010 13:42:48 +0000 <![CDATA[ Mont Blanc]]>
Bread Talk was everywhere in Singapore, at the subway train stations, at supermarkets, at shopping centers. You can't possibly missed it when in Singapore. Now, I am seeing that trend repeats itself in China. A lot more competition in a country that's as big as China. Yet, it is selling whatever it sells well, and that's bread. Now, bread at Singapore's prices are hyper expensive for the local Chinese when there are many options the consumers are presented with. However, I see a trend that the Chinese are catching up with the world... there are many more Starbucks in China than Canada, is it not? And McDonald's? KFC? Got the drift...?

I recently entered Bread Talk more than I did in the past. I hate to queue so when living in Singapore, I was not going to Bread Talk ever! I don't think I've even been there more than 10x in the last 10 years! But I recently checked out Bread Talk in China & I more or less still don't like its bread that much. On the other hand, I am falling in love with its cakes instead!!! The girls at Bread Talk (the 2 stores I visited in Shenzhen) are great at recommending the right kind of cakes to me. The first was Mont Blanc & the second, Milo cake. They are both equally good!









]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/food/UserReview-Bread_Talk-169-1440505-19647-Mont_Blanc.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/food/UserReview-Bread_Talk-169-1440505-19647-Mont_Blanc.html Fri, 12 Mar 2010 06:16:34 +0000
<![CDATA[Durian Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/thericetable/reviews/food/UserReview-Durian-44-1397572-54644.html http://www.lunch.com/thericetable/reviews/food/UserReview-Durian-44-1397572-54644.html Wed, 10 Mar 2010 05:35:40 +0000 <![CDATA[ Singapore Girls & A380]]> Singapore Airlines is undoubtedly one of the top & best airlines in the world. It is very much coveted by expats all over the world for its on time & safety record. Not only does it has the best service around, it has some of the newest aircrafts in the industry and still chalking up considerable profits annually when the other airlines are filing for Chapter 11.




I do agree it is the best airlines overall but I don't have it right at no. 1 for one specific reason. Singapore Airlines is discriminatory in its services granted. It doesn't treat its passengers all alike. I don't mean different treatment for people in business class & economy class. I mean for those who paid the same amount for the same kind of seats. Unfortunately, in its efforts to try to be no. 1, the Airline has taken steps to treat 'foreigners' (aka westerners) better than Asians. That's preferential treatment and what it didn't realize is that many locals and other Asians find it totally offensive. Attitudes change is reasonably immediate when staff realized you are a local and especially if your intent is not business but vacation or other reasons that you're on the flight. To be fair, it has improved quite a bit since its heydays. When I was a 'poor' student, I hate taking this airline simply because I'll get my water/drink last! First, the blue-eyed man, then the 'blue-blood' lady, then the Asian businessman & lady, last... the student! It was testing, mind you. As I aged, I get better treatment. This should not be the way though! And to think if you're being spotted with diamonds or LV bags, you are being talked to nicely?! Yikes!



My stand on writing review is this... if what I'm reviewing is not great, I don't waste my time on it. I've lots to review and I ain't have time for those who are rotten to the core. And I don't have a vindictive streak either. So, anything that's unworthy, off my radar. Now, Singapore Airlines is not unworthy. It has something that needs to be improved to make it even better. Granted, it is already considered the best airline by many, but... here's the carrot: it can be THE best airline by the majority of frequent travelers and hehe... I'm one frequent travelers who also have better things to be said about Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Swiss International Airlines & even Northwest Airlines! So, it is not as if it doesn't have a single competitor in sight!

I do like Singapore Airlines to a great extend not because of Singapore Girls which the company prides in. I like it for its newest fleet of aircrafts, including the recent acquired A380. I also like it for its punctuality and its pilots' proficiency in executing their jobs. These are a lot more important than good service to me. We all want to have comfort, new seats and landing safely at the destinations. These are conducive to travel. What I don't like is Singapore Airlines policy towards competition. It charges a lot higher at home than abroad. That means if you buy your ticket originating in the U.S. or China, it is a lot cheaper than you buying at home. It pays to originate from anywhere but Singapore!!! That's dumping as far as I'm concerned. That may be necessary but that's crazy when the bulk of its loyal passengers are local. Singapore Airlines made Singaporeans pay for more simply because they trust in their own airline??!?!? That's ridiculous, is it not?!

I'd advise the airline to consider its competitive policy. Singaporeans may be loyal but they are not stupid. Over the years, they will substitute their travel expenses with other airlines and to elsewhere. While its company paid, sure, the passengers stay around. However, despite the fact that government backed companies may condition its staffs to take the home-grown airline, do not forget you are effectively robbing those companies of their own international competitiveness. Cost savings is something that every company aims for and in doing so, Singapore Airlines & its major stakeholder (essentially the government ;-)) may have boosted its own underlying profit but what goes around comes around.

For those travelers who had never been on Singapore Airlines, do not get me wrong. It is a darn good airline. My point is this, get your tickets cheaply and I'd advise you to not look elsewhere. It's a case of value for money I'm rooting for. No doubt about it, this is the airline you want to get on to go wherever you might want to go, just make sure it's not double the prices of all the other airlines! And it could well be, sometimes ;-)



Singapore Airlines attractions lie in:
  1. New fleet of aircrafts
  2. Excellent safety record
  3. Punctuality
  4. Good food & wine list
  5. Individual Movie Set on all aircrafts
Singapore Airlines is lacking in (which leaves room for improvement):
  1. Competitiveness in Pricing
  2. Fair treatment to all passengers
  3. Routing within the North America continent
  4. Treatment & compensation to passengers during delays and cancellations of flights
  5. Frequent flyer program (too stringent & not very flexible)

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-Singapore_Airlines-169-1433472-19413-Singapore_Girls_A380.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/d/UserReview-Singapore_Airlines-169-1433472-19413-Singapore_Girls_A380.html Tue, 9 Mar 2010 07:31:29 +0000
<![CDATA[Bread Talk Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/reviews/food/UserReview-Bread_Talk-1440505-54485.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/food/UserReview-Bread_Talk-1440505-54485.html Sun, 7 Mar 2010 03:58:19 +0000 <![CDATA[ Stuffed!]]> Niangdoufu (酿豆腐) in Chinese, Yong tao foo is Cantonese accent of the same term. Niang (酿) in Hakka means stuffed although in Mandarin it means fermented.

There is a little difference between those in China & Singapore in that the filling within the Tofu in China is mostly minced pork (with some shrimps) while those in Singapore is fish paste. Yong Tau Foo translates to mean stuffed bean curd or tofu. Generally, in China, other than tofu, bitter gourd and eggplant are commonly stuffed with the minced pork. Tofu are of 2 kinds, the white tofu and the fried tofu. These are the bean curd type rather than the soft Japanese tofu.

Traditional Yong Tau Foo                                               Singapore version of Yong Tau Foo


Yong Tau Foo in Singapore & Malaysia
I've tried both kinds of YTF. I had the traditional ones made for me by my maternal grandma whose dialect is originally Hakka. I remembered eating them as a child and enjoyed them very much, other than the bitter gourd ones. As I left for Singapore for education as a teen, I was introduced to the YTF in Singapore. Generally, I prefer variety and in Singapore, I found that. Fish balls and fish paste are widely used. As I grew older, I began to enjoy veges like ladies fingers, egg plants and bitter gourds. 

In Singapore, due to the hot and warm weather, although commonly served in soup, I much prefer my YTF the dried version. Sweet sauce and chilli sauce may be added and thereby render it a highly tasty meal. Yes, it's a meal as one may add noodles or beehoon (vermicelli) to YTF.

Interestingly, YTF has also been localised and some prepare it with curry or laksa soup. It's truly taste and mixes well with both curry and laksa. I suspect it'll be great with tom yum soup too!



Yong Tau Foo in clear broth


Curry Yong Tau Foo


Recipe for Hakka Yong Tau Foo 
(from RedCook.net)

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Slow cooking time: 20 minutes

Stuffing
  • 1 lb. firm tofu
  • 2 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/4 lb. ground pork
  • 1/4 lb. raw shrimp (finely minced)
  • 1/3 cup rehydrated and finely minced dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • A pinch of ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fermented black beans (coarsely chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing cooking wine (紹興料酒)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped red chili (optional)

Cooking Method
  • Cut up the tofu into about twelve equal pieces one half inch thick. Put the pieces on a paper towel to soak up excess moisture. Mix together all the stuffing ingredients in a bowl and divide into twelve portions. Hold a piece of the tofu with the flat side in the palm of your hand. Use a paring knife and make a slit in the middle without slicing through to the bottom. Then insert a portion of the meat stuffing into the slit. Stuff as much of the meat as you can into the tofu and push the rest down flat on top of the tofu. Do this for each of the tofu pieces.
  • In a wok heat the vegetable oil until it begins to smoke. Fry the stuffed tofu with the meat side up on medium heat until it just begins to brown, about eight to ten minutes. Flip the tofu pieces over and continue to fry for another three to five minutes. Take the pieces out and put them on a dry paper towel to absorb the oil.
  • Drain all the vegetable oil but one tablespoonful into a heat resistant bowl. Return the wok to the stove on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and stir-fry for about one minute. Then add the fermented black beans, Shaoxing cooking wine, salt, chicken stock and chili if desired. Bring the liquid to boil and mix thoroughly. Then thicken the sauce with the cornstarch pre-mixed into slurry with about two tablespoons of water. Turn the heat down to low and put the tofu pieces back into the wok. Continue to cook the tofu pieces in the sauce for about two minutes. Plate the tofu pieces and pour the sauce over them. Garnish the dish with chopped scallion and cilantro.

If anyone of you decide to try this recipe, let me know how it goes. I'm too lazy to cook and it's much too convenient and easy for me to get this food where I'm living right now but I do know some of you love to cook over here at Lunch.com. So, there you have it, something new for you to experiment. This is a very healthy dish and for me, a good source of veges in the tastiest possible way! It's also a great way to get some healthy food into children with their colorful and delicious stuffing!

In Asian countries like Singapore and Malaysia, Yong Tau Foo is highly popular and it is often possible to buy ready made ones from the wet markets and supermarkets. All one has to do is simply to cook them with some broth or even plain water and add chicken essence to it. It can well be Asian version of fast food!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/food/UserReview-Yong_Tau_Foo-169-1430080-18952-Stuffed_.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/food/UserReview-Yong_Tau_Foo-169-1430080-18952-Stuffed_.html Sat, 27 Feb 2010 04:25:08 +0000
<![CDATA[ Oishii desu ne!]]> Other than chicken rice, Singaporeans love their sushi to distractions. There are many outlets serving sushi and sashimi but one popular chain restaurants which I find good enough to recommend to readers on Lunch.com is Sushi Tei. It is a chain restaurants and there are at least 4 outlets I've frequented before; namely, Raffles City, Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Paragon Shopping Centre & China Square. Sushi Tei has 12 outlets in Singapore alone. In Indonesia, the chain has 13 outlets!

It's understood if you don't like raw fish, Japanese restaurants are not a good choice for you. However, at Sushi Tei, I'm glad to say you'll have enough good cooked food to satisfy even the most picky, like my sister! It has a varied menu of all kinds of Japanese food other than sushi & sashimi.





Sushi & Sashimi
As all of Singapore's fishes for Japanese cuisine are imported (unlike the U.S. or Canada), it is very important to go to a restaurant which offers fresh seafood. In order to do that, its stock must be replenished often and with a huge clientele, the probability of it doing so is high at Sushi Tei. That guarantees the freshness of its sashimi and sushi and hence a lot healthier and delicious for the restaurant goers. Other than that, Sushi Tei also offers a variety of sushi and handrolls which I like. The Dragon & Phoenix Roll is really good. Highly recommended. There are also the usual kinds of sushi you may order, like Nigirizushi or Chirashizushi. 



Tempura
Tempura is my sister's favorite. As for me, I normally order a Zarusoba with accompanying tempura.
A fresh shrimp made excellent tempura. It is really not difficult to prepare tempura at home. However, if you're lucky like I'm, it's a lot easier to have it at the restaurants instead ;-)

Zarusoba is buckwheat noodle served chilled with shredded seaweed topping. It is eaten by dipping them into small cup of sauce. I especially like this while in Singapore as the hot weather outside made a chilled noodle extremely refreshing and thereby increasing one's appetite!



Soba & Udon
For those who merely want a simple meal instead of a feast, you can enjoy a bowl of hot soba or udon at this restaurant as well. Generally, the soup and the noodle are as important in making a good bowl of soba or udon. The best I've had are still in Japan. It might well be the weather that's making the difference. I'm not too fond of hot soup in a hot country like Singapore and Thailand. However, if you're yearning for something warm, soba or udon can be had at this restaurant too. For those who are familiar with Singapore, the best udon or soba is really not served in restaurants but food stalls like the food court in Liang Court!

Soups
Salmon Belly soup is a must. This restaurant serves awesome salmon belly soup! It's a great way to warm up your stomach before you have any cold raw food. Alternatively, there are also Oyster and Seafood soup which you might be interested in trying. I've tried them all but I still prefer my Salmon Belly soup! Yummy!!!

Salads
If you'are vegetarian, don't worry, Sushi Tei also serves excellent salads. Mostly Japanese style salads with some incredibly taste sauce that's house specials. Be sure to try salads with raw salmon, it's awesome!

So there you've it, some of the goodies from Sushi Tei! Oh wait, there's still desserts!!!

Desserts
I love the coffee iceballs from Sushi Tei. These iceballs also come in other fruit flavors. Other than that, there are also chocolate and macha dusted ice cream, if you are interested. 

Do remember to leave room for desserts! It is easy to go overboard at Sushi Tei ;-)



Ambiance
I like the dining ambiance at the Raffles City outlet. It feels more like fine dining and you may select your very own "cubicle" or circle of seats if you are early. I am not sure if they take reservations as I've never done so. Anyhow, avoid weekends if possible. Most of Sushi Tei's restaurants are packed during the weekend and also during normal lunch hours at the China Square outlet. In any case, it's worth waiting for a table. One thing about dining in Singapore though, it's getting way too expensive these days! So be prepared for it, especially if you are having sashimi! ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Sushi_Tei-169-1438528-18667-Oishii_desu_ne_.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/restaurant/UserReview-Sushi_Tei-169-1438528-18667-Oishii_desu_ne_.html Sun, 21 Feb 2010 16:19:13 +0000
<![CDATA[ Singapore's "National" Food]]>
Singaporeans love their chicken rice and I know majority of them eat it at least once a week! Chicken rice can be found in any food court or hawker center in this country. So, no worries, you will find good Chicken Rice in Singapore for a mere US$3 or less. That shall be all that's needed for lunch! How economical is that?!




Rumors had it that the best chicken rice in Singapore can be had at the Mandarin Hotel's Chatterbox (coffee house) in Orchard Road. I have never tried it as it's at least triple the price of any chicken rice in the city! What I've had was a store at the Food Junction food court in Raffles City (3rd floor) and so far, that's my favorite! It's good, cheap and easy to access. Best after or before my shopping spree ;-) Another chain that specializes in Chicken Rice and I thought as good is Boon Tong Kee chain of restaurants. It's a bit pricier but the chicken is reasonably good. Swee Kee Chicken Rice was legendary but I'm not sure if it is still in operation though, my guess, it's closed since quite awhile back (1997).

The Art of Eating Chicken Rice?
Well, you guess it right, what's so complicated about eating a plate of chicken with rice? Well, it all boils down to how good it'll taste at the end when you put it in your mouth! Ok, just kidding. I like my chicken dipped with a little dark soy sauce (it's black in color & a little sweet in texture, thicker than the normal soy sauce, you can find it next to the chilli, no mistake about that). In addition, sometimes, depending on my mood, a little pounded ginger as well! Chili (the Chicken rice type, not the kind you find in supermarkets) is great on the rice, not on the chicken, for me that is. This chilli is mixed with garlic, so it's heavenly when you blend some with the rice.

For those who are lazy, don't worry, the chicken rice in Singapore is often served boneless. You can have a choice of the different part of the chicken too. Drumstick is more expensive than wings and breast meat is cheapest. This is where the Orient and Western consumers differ. Drumstick is very popular with children and adults alike in Asia. Most people in this region don't like breast meat! Interesting, isn't it?

If you like more variety in the chicken rice, you can ask for some tofu, gizzard or liver and also some vegetables (usually kailan or choi sum) to accompany your meal. No broccoli, I'm afraid. Not forgetting this is a very Chinese dish! ;-)

However, for the less initiated, be comforted that there is another type of chicken served at these Chicken Rice stalls. They are the Roasted chicken. These 2 type of chicken don't quite taste the same. So, give it a try before deciding which one your favor. Personally, I used to like the Roasted ones many years ago. Now, I prefer the white chicken. Strange how one's taste changed with time :-)

Other than Singapore, I also found Chicken Rice in Thailand, Malaysia, China (Shanghai & Shenzhen), Hong Kong and even Canada (Chinese restaurants in Toronto serve it). I'm sure you can find it in San Francisco or Los Angeles. The taste may not be as authentic but if you see lots of Chinese ordering it, then that's a good one to try! ;-) As with what they said about good restaurants... to look for a good Chinese restaurants, go to one that's fill with lots of Chinese and better still if you've a long queue waiting for tables. Chances are, it's the best Chinese restaurants in town! ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/food/UserReview-Hainanese_Chicken_Rice-169-1430063-18530-Singapore_s_National_Food.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/food/UserReview-Hainanese_Chicken_Rice-169-1430063-18530-Singapore_s_National_Food.html Thu, 18 Feb 2010 15:42:12 +0000
<![CDATA[ Laksa Exotica]]>
Laksa, as exotic as the name sounds, is still not a common item outside South East Asia. I guess it has to do with its spicy and concentrated mix of spices which made it difficult to prepare. Anyhow, it is something very unique to 3 countries in South East Asia, namely Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

The are 2 types of Laksa, generally, the Asam Laksa (found mostly in Indonesia & Malaysia) and the Curry Laksa (typically from Singapore). The main difference lies in the soup and its soup base ingredients. They taste entirely different as well.

As I preferred the Asam Laksa more than the Curry Laksa due to the fact I grew up eating the Asam Laksa, I'm reviewing the Asam Laksa here.

Asam Laksa can be found mainly in 2 cities. Medan in Indonesia and Penang in Malaysia. The one in Medan is known as Medan Laksa and from Penang, Penang Laksa. Easy enough. Ok, there isn't much of a difference between these two other than they are just eaten in 2 different cities.

Asam Laksa


Asam Laksa is a kind of broad rice noodle cooked in hot & spicy soup accompanied by fish & garnished with peppermint leaves & some other local ingredients. It's usually eaten in the afternoon as either snack or main meal. It tastes best when hot. The soup is sour fish based. Asam is the Indonesian word for tamarind. This gives it the sour taste. Other ingredients added are lemongrass, lengkuas and chilli that give it a very distinctive taste. The fish used here is usually mackerel. Onion, cucumber & pineapple slices are also added as garnishes. In the case of Asam Laksa, NO coconut milk is ever used. No hard boiled eggs either. These 2 things are only found in curry laksa.

Well, there you have it, an entire bowl of exotica. Until you've tasted it, you'll never know what you've missed or if you'd like it. I love it and the thought of it simply makes me drool!

Curry Laksa


For those who are culinary experts and would like to try to make some Laksa at home, BBC has a Curry Laksa recipe online. Check it out and see if you've any success with it! I'm too lazy to cook anything that complicated when I could get them at the food court ;-)]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/food/UserReview-Laksa-169-1422486-13365-Laksa_Exotica.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/food/UserReview-Laksa-169-1422486-13365-Laksa_Exotica.html Wed, 30 Sep 2009 12:20:57 +0000
<![CDATA[ Durian: It's not *that* stinky.]]>
Though my family loves durian, I tried it once when I was like, 5, didn't like it, then went through most of my life without consuming it again.  This was probably mostly because durian gets such a bad rap and is so stigmatized around here (yes, I used the word stigmatized to describe a fruit).  Durian is just about as stigmatized as a fruit is going to get.

My parents told me that back in the day in Asia, or at least China and Vietnam, besides getting beaten with sticks and rulers when students misbehaved, students also had the pleasure of kneeling on durian shells.  Uh, yeah, pretty painful.  I'm sure that this still happens in really, really rural parts of Asia.  That's one reason to hate durians -- its hard, spiky shell.

Can you imagine kneeling on these?


Another reason that durian is so stigmatized is because of its odor.  Believe it or not, not all people in Asia like durian.  The odor of durian is so offensive to some that signs are posted in subway stations in Singapore that prohibit the consumption or carrying of durian on their trains.  My mom use to always buy my siblings and I banh mi sandwiches to bring onto flights so that we don't starve, and she always made the point of telling the person making them to not include the pickled vegetables as the smell may offend other passengers, but uh, something tells me that durian takes the cake on most offensive smelling food.  By about a landslide.  Through Googling, I found all these amusing signs.  What's the fine for bringing a durian onboard anyways?  That's what I really want to know.


















And I'm not sure how mangosteen ended up on this sign.  I mean, mangosteen never did anything to anyone besides be fragrant, delicious, and rich in antioxidants.  Hmmmmp.


Hard hat area.

Apparently, those signs are up in some parts of Asia like "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service" signs are in the States and the smell of durian is just as offensive as smoking and pets.

Well, geez, it's just a fruit.

It wasn't until the past year or so when I decided to be a more adventurous eater that I decided to give durian a whirl.  I was offered a piece when I was in Hong Kong and decided, "Why not?".  I took a bite, chewed, swallowed and thought, "Hey... this isn't half bad!"  I ended up spending the rest of that trip hunting down durian desserts.  I had durian cream puffs, durian cake, durian with sago, durian with grass jelly and durian tarts. 

In the States, durian is readily available in many Asian supermarkets, like Ranch 99, if not fresh, then prepared and frozen.  Though I like durian now, fresh durian is still not something that I'd go out of my way to eat in the States.  There aren't street markets here where the keeper of the fruit stand will cut a fresh durian and prepare it right away for me, and I'd only want to eat it fresh, not frozen, so getting from the freezer aisle of an Asian supermarket is out of the question for me.  But, ya know, if there's fresh durian readily available and prepared... it might as well be in my belly!

My Asian friends always poke fun at me and tell me that I'm really, really white washed for an Asian person.  Well, when we hit up the Asian snack and dessert cafes, I show them who's really Asian... By ordering durian dessert.  Half the time, the cafe's out of durian and my friends are thankful.  The other half of the time, though, they hate me and move over to the next table as soon as the dessert comes out if they can.  Take that.

Mmmmm... Durian :)]]>
http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/food/UserReview-Durian-169-1397572-12062-Durian_It_s_not_that_stinky_.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/food/UserReview-Durian-169-1397572-12062-Durian_It_s_not_that_stinky_.html Wed, 12 Aug 2009 19:26:21 +0000