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Showing posts from September, 2013

Singapore - Imperial Treasure @ Crowne Plaza - Cantonese food at Changi Airport

Back to work dinners. Two days - two Cantonese dinners. I think this one was my favourite of the two. We headed to Imperial Treasure at the airport with colleagues and customers, around 30 of us in the end! I was one of three or four people who had a vegetarian meal, the rest had the standard menu which includes things like shark fin which I wouldn't want to eat. 
Below is a collage of my veggie meal. By the time dessert came, I was too distracted to take pictures! Sign of a good evening. We had the kiddies table, well, the more relaxed out of the three tables :)

Singapore - My first trip to Nandos in Singapore, or anywhere for that matter

The other day at work we felt like comfort food. We had been out the night before for a send off of a good friend who will miss lots and lots, which involved wine fairies under our office and Whampoa food centre. So we were a bit sad and a bit tired and I needed to buy an iphone charger cable so we wandered over to Bugis Junction. I got the cable, and we were then trying to find inspiration for lunch. I am not the biggest fan of the food court on level 4, and G wasn't inspired by going to the more "take out" section in the basement and neither of us felt like walking over to Bugis+. Stalemate. Until we remembered that Nandos is just around the corner on the bottom floor. So we decided to give that a go. No queue but quite busy at that time, lots of tables had groups at them.

Since G has last been (years ago in the UK), they have added a new level of spice, the extra hot, though a friend said that wouldn't be much of a challenge for a couple of chilli fiends like us (…

Phuket, Mai Khao -JJ's bar and food - cheap and great local Thai food

Oh my..... finding this place wasn't easy! First it doesn't show up under Mai Khao on Tripadvisor as someone put it under Phuket town by mistake. Then the descriptions online referred to going through the Marriott's staff car park and past the laundry and we ended up at the wrong Marriott, we were looking at the JW Marriott (and walked all through it, around it, to the beach, round the side etc) and just couldn't find it! The eureka moment came when we realised there is a different Marriott, the Marriott Beach Club to the right of the Anantara Villas, down the right side of the Turtle Village shops. So if you are looking at the shops, walk down the right hand side, past the supermarket and down further. Go into the Marriott Beach Club (just walk past the guards, they will say hi!) and walk down past the lobby, you will see car parks on your right. Head through them to the opposite side, and you will see two big buildings where they do the laundry, you will see lots of …

Phuket in a few pictures

So we went to Phuket last weekend. I took a few pictures.... as usual. I find the tropical plants and flowers so beautiful. So here they are. With a few spirit houses and other signs and things to pad out the post :)

Singapore - Lanterns in Chinatown for Mid Autumn Festival

Mid Autumn festival just passed (and left us with loads of moon cakes) and I happened to be in Chinatown during this period twice, once during the day and once at night so I got to see all the cute lanterns in daylight and lit up at night. Below are a few shots of Chinatown during Mid Autumn festival. Shout if you want moon cakes!

You can read more about the Mid Autumn Festival here on Wikipedia but the highlights are 1) it's on the full moon of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar 2) it's about gathering (with family), giving thanks and praying 3) it's linked to moon worshiping 4) lots of lanterns (I think the kid ones are shaped like animals and you go walking with them) 5) lots of moon cakes (super expensive things!)

Some lanterns which I think are always there:

The specific lanterns for the festival

A cow, an angry cow I always feel.

Singapore - Fragrant Hot Pot @ Bugis Food Junction

Another week gone... and we tend to get slightly creative (or de-mob happy, call it what you will) on a Friday and head to have lunch somewhere different. Our brains were seriously fried this week (a lot of pressure at work) so we only got as far as heading to the third floor in Bugis Junction for lunch at the Food Junction area. I was not that keen to go as there usually isn't that much that interests me there but a colleague told me about a hot pot place. I thought I would check it out.

I went there and it looked like any of the many steamboat places and I haven't had a steam boat in ages so I thought I would go for it. Awesome! There were quite a few other people picking out ingredients so I joined the queue. The system is that each ingredient has a price per 100 grams and you pay the sum of the total of your ingredients and the hot pot base (which I assume at this point to be a soup).

Singapore - Merchants Wine Bar, Duxton Road

We went for lunch in Chinatown on Saturday and then got into our heads for a while there that we had to be hipsters. Don't ask me why, but I vaguely remember that being one of my wonderful ideas ;-) We googled all sorts of things and discovered that Yelp Singapore has a Hipster filter which had us in giggle fits. Side note - must visit the Viking Cafe sometime! But eventually we ran out of ideas and couldn't be bothered to head to Tiong Bahru or Kampong Glam so instead wandered down to Duxton Hill knowing we would have to find something to our liking there. We headed down Duxton Hill, I vaguely had a destination in mind but came across Group Therapy which seemed to meet our hipster-y requirements, especially with fake grass in the hall!We headed up the stairs but were quickly disappointed as there was a waitlist! The place was packed and looked nice so will have to return another day.

So we wandered along, and came across the destination I had in mind, a place recommended by …

Singapore - Mumbai to Goa in Little India - Syed Alwi Road - Coastal Indian Food

We set up a food tour of Little India which after one stop at our local hawker and an aborted attempt to get Nepalese food near a dumpster, we ended up just making the one more stop at Mumbai to Goa on Syed Alwi Road. We ended up there upon a recommendation from Anita who was part of the 16 strong contingent of hungry Indian food lovers.

The poor restaurant guy assumed we were convinced we were part of a Thomas Cook tour group, ok, here were a few "any mohs" (Causcasians) but the majority of the group was Asian, with even many Indians in the group! He kept trying to usher us upstairs except for one of us with a broken foot who we insisted could not go upstairs. After 5-10 minutes of utter confusion and frustration we finally managed to communicate that we were not part of a tour group and we took over half of the inside of the restaurant.

Anita had been here before so we put our trust in her to order for all of us. She had most of the gang convinced once she mentioned Bombay…

Singapore - Jaan - Amazing creative fine dining at the Swissotel Stamford

Oh my gosh. OMG OMG OMG. Jaan is utterly amazing! It was my first fine dining experience so I didn't have anything to compare it to. But I utterly utterly loved it. Our awesome friend N organised it for us as she was just about to move away and wanted to go to Jaan before she left. We leapt at the opportunity and 5 of us had a Saturday lunch there. We lost track of how many courses we had, our best guess is something like 10!

My friend K also contributed to this Jaan review post, as did our lovely N also. Here is K's take on Jaan:

"Singapore has provided many great food experiences; and with Hawker food at very reasonable prices, there is no excuse to not get out there and tuck in.

Every now and then though, you might end up treating yourself to a fine dining experience. Thanks to N, we got the chance to try Jaan at the Swissotel Stamford, a 7 course foodgasmic adventure."

The chef (Chef Julien Royer) apparently grew up in a farming area of France and as you can see …

First year as an expat in Singapore - lessons learned and tips for newcomers :)

After a year in Singapore, what kind of advice would I give new expats in Singapore or people looking to move here? This is all utterly subjective so don't get annoyed with me if you don't agree, but I would welcome constructive criticism / advice. Especially from people in different situations than me as I am one half of a couple who moved together and work at the same company, with no kids and a mortgage back in Europe.

OCT14 - I have a new post which may also interest you, did a survey of expats and I wrote up my opinion of the results for Singapore here - Expat results for Singapore
JAN15 - Make sure to buy The Entertainer application. More info on that in this post about The Entertainer Singapore.

And what I will miss about Singapore and what I am looking forward to in Nice

JUL15 - My experience 6 months after leaving Singapore - my new life in Nice

Don't worry - you will get used to the heat on the Red Dot. It's 26 degrees at the moment and I fee…

Singapore - Saturday wander through Little India to Kampong Glam/Arab Quarter

La Pratolina - Rome / Roma - food coma inducing yummy pizza / pinsa :)

When I got to Rome, I did some research, especially about pizza as I looooooove pizza as you may have seen. I did like a blog called Parla Food so stored her recommendations in the offline TripAdvisor app for easy access depending on where we are at any time. This is one of the recommendations, with the note that it actually isn't pizza, it is something different entirely that has its origins in Roman times, called "pinsa".

La Pratolina was really well reviewed online and since we were staying in Prati we decided to head there one night. We made a booking for 7.30pm (early as we were tired and it was a Friday and we figured it would get busy with locals later on in the evening) just by walking up around 5pm.

Apparently one of the main differences with pizza is that they are oval shaped and the dough is thicker and rises a while longer than the thin crust roman pizza.

Gelateria del Teatro - Via dei Coronari - Roma

So what does one do in Italy? Well, eat pizza of course.... but you also have to have some gelato at least once! I did a lot of googling and got a bit freaked out about what the internet says about a lot of places, the ingredients seem pretty dreadful. They also said that any place where the ice cream makes those pretty peaks, you know the ones, where it is about half a meter above the container, they apparently put all sorts of chemicals in there so it does that. Yuck! They also said to watch out for the bright unnatural colours as it means a lot of chemicals too. I found some good recommendations though, saved them in my offline trip advisor app so I could see if any were close by at any time. One night after dinner, we decided we wanted ice cream and saw Gelateria del Teatro was on the way home (we were near Campo de' Fiori), off a side street heading up to the bridge at the Castel di Sant Angelo, on Via dei Coronari.

You have to take a number before you head on in.

There is a…

Capaccino - lunch in Florence / Firenze

My main memory of this place is that whatever I asked for, they didn't have :) They have a seasonal menu, only thing is all seasons are on the same printed menu! So you have to keep trying and trying to guess what could possibly be available until you give up and just ask her what she has and pick from that. So that is what we ended up doing.

G went with one of the daily specials and we had some really good foccacia bread delivered to us with the meal.

G's was an octopus salad, but he wasn't expecting the octopus to come in aspic! However it was delicious and he polished it all off.

The lovely fresh foccacia with a hint of salt.

I gave up trying to get grilled vegetables or any of the things I wanted so went with the simple tomato pasta. The pasta was fresh pasta and very good, quite al dente. The tomato sauce was fine, nothing to write home about but perfectly acceptable.

Florence / Firenze - Amici Di' Ponte Vecchio (yummy pizza al taglio and panini) - went twice!

This was another TripAdvisor find. I was peckish and so we wandered over the bridge (it was on the other side from our hotel) and just up the road on the left is Amici di Ponte Vecchio, a pizza slice and panini place. 

And a good recommendation it was! So good I went twice in our short stay in Florence. The first time I spotted the cherry tomato pizza and just had to have it, like usual with me and cherry tomato pizza :) The usual pizza slice deal, they reheat it and slice it for you. 
It was gorgeous :) Sweet juicy tomatoes with just the right amount of salty cheese and a lovely mid thickness base and I was in heaven. We took it to go and wandered back down to the Arno River and had it looking over at the Ponte Vecchio. 

It was so yum we went back the next day :) And I yet again went for the same cherry tomato pizza and was again very very happy!

G decided he fancied trying one of their sandwiches. 

And I had ummed and awwwed when trying to choose, and eventually decided to go for t…