Friday, July 31, 2015

Dian Xiao Er at JEM

Long time didn't visit Dian Xiao Er so on a Sunday, we decided to have lunch at its JEM branch.  It was lunch time but still not too many people.  The dining environment is not bad, surrounded by very traditional Chinese decorations, but the restaurant is a bit small and the place is a bit cramp.

Danggui Roast Duck

We ordered their set meal.  The first dish that came out was their signature dish - Roast Duck in Dang-gui sauce.  This is also my favourite dish.  The duck is crispy, while it has a strong taste of Dang-gui - a Chinese herb, and the meat is still tender.  No other restaurant here in Singapore can make duck dishes this good yet.

Fish Maw Soup

Next was the fish maw soup.  It has the presentation of shark's fin soup, but actually it is fish maw.  Fish maw is a lot more shark friendly than shark's fin, however, the taste is just as good as shark's fin.  

Dong Po Pork

There was a Dong Po Rou dish as well.  It is named after a famous Song Dynasty Chinese poet Su Dong Po.  Legend has it that when he was the governor of Hang Zhou, he managed the city very well.  Once people in the city brought him a lot of pork, to show their appreciation for Su Dong Po's good governance.  There was simply too much pork to consume so Mr Su Dong Po, as a foodies himself, taught the people how to cook this pork stew.  At the end, they used all the pork to cook this pork stew, and distributed it to the people in Hang Zhou.  As a memory of Mr Su's good deed, people named this dish after him.  The authentic dish actually would use pork with lots of fat, and it will have the sensation of melting in your mouth.  However, people nowadays are more health conscious, so the restaurant uses more lean meat than fat.  The sensation is less strong but it is more healthy.

Steamed Fish

Their steamed fish was not bad too.  They added some slices of pork, ginger, and dates.  The dates actually is a very important ingredient, it helps to bring out the freshness in the fish.

I would say this visit was pleasant and probably I will come back again in the future.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Menya Musashi Takatora at WestGate Mall

Previously I tried Menya Musashi's branch at Ion (See the post here).  Their soup was too salty for my taste.  This time, I tried their branch at Westgate Mall.

The decoration of the restaurant is interesting and unusual.  The mural is very Japanese and of the yester-years.

My order was the black pork rib ramen (Black Bukotsu Mori Ramen).  When the ramen was served, the soup indeed looked black.  At first I thought the soup looked black probably because they put soy sauce, but then as I used the spoon to scoop up the soup, I found the 'black' actually was some particles.  I didn't ask the service staff what that really is, but could be something interesting.

The pork was stewed till very soft and it really melt in your mouth.  Onsen egg was tender and soft too.  It is one of my favourite.   As for ramen, people always say the soup is what determines a good bowl of ramen.  In this case, the soup was excellent.  It was thick in taste, but light in salt.  I supposed they adjusted their salt content to suit the local taste, which I think is good and more healthy too.  The ramen itself was good too.  It was crunchy but not hard.

I would say this is one of the best ramen restaurants here in Singapore.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Astons Specialities at Safra Toa Payoh

The chain of restaurants bearing the ASTON name seem to be very popular.  There are always queues at the entrance on weekends, so I decided to give them a try.

We arrived at Aston at Safra Toa Payoh at around 7.20pm on a Friday night.  There was a short queue there.  Usually in a restaurant, you will be seated first, read the menu, place your order, and before you go, pay your bill.  At Aston, obviously the sequence is a bit different.  You read the menu when you are still in the queue.  Place your orders when it is your turn, and then make the payment at the cashier, and then you will be seated.  Food will be served after that.  I will say it is one optimization of the work flow, more efficient for the kitchen and also in terms of table turn-around.

The dining environment is pleasant, tables are not too close together.

I ordered a medium-well steak, which comes with two side dishes, which you can choose from their menu of both cold and hot side dishes.

The food is quite ok, not premium grade no doubt, but it is reasonable and acceptable.  For the two of us, food plus beverage was only S$32 after a 10% Safra member discount.  I think this is very reasonably priced.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ipoh Lou You Bean Sprout Chicken Rice

Noticed this shop at Bishan Junction 8 is always very crowded and hard to find a table.  Finally last Sunday we managed to get a table at a less crowded time.

I ordered the one person set meal.  It consists of a bowl of chicken rice, a small plate of Ipoh bean sprout and steamed chicken.

The bean sprout is different from the bean sprouts that other chicken rice stalls use here in Singapore.  Their bean sprouts are shorter, but a lot more 'fatter'.  The feel is quite different when you bite them.
The chicken is nicely done.  For those who don't eat chicken skins, it is a pity, as the chicken skin is like jelly, crispy yet tender.

The one person set meal costs S$8.50.  Comparing with the famous chicken rice in Bishan, I think they each have their own good points.  It is hard for me to tell which one I like more.  They are both good!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Terminator: Genisys

For the very first time, I watch TERMINATOR in a cinema.  In the past, I could only watch such western movies on TVB's Pearl channel on weekend evenings at 9.30pm.  

Back to the movie, the first impression is that there is quite a bit of naked flesh, especially man flesh.  The girls may like it.  The 67-year old former governor of California Arnold did a very good job.  He is both serious and funny, fatherly yet tough.  I am an admirer of Arnold, for his acting skills, and his way of living life to the full (his affair is not included).

The storyline is not plain or easy to guess, rather there are quite a bit of twists and turns, and sometimes you really need a bit of guessing to figure out what is true what is fake.

I will say it is a very good movie and you should not miss it.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ant Man

Going against the trend of bigger is better, Marvel came up with its latest super hero - Ant Man!  Well, I will say not really that super hero.  Our Ant Man, as the name suggests, is of the size of an ant.  He is of no super hero, rather he looks more like the guy next door, having many personal problems in his private life.  

The story line is not exactly very strong, as you can expect from sci-fi movies.  However, this movie is full of humorous conversations.  The audience will be kept in a laughter mode.  Ant Man is also a break from the normal stereo type of heroes, quite a fresh view.

I will say despite all the flaws, it is a movie worth watching!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Crystal Jade Dining In@Vivo City

Had a dim sum lunch at Crystal Jade Dining In at Vivo City today.  The environment is nice.  The big tables are near the window which has a very good view of Sentosa.

Deep Fried Prawn Dumpling

We only ordered 5 dishes.  The first one that came was the deep fried prawn dumpling.  The skin was crispy, and the prawn was crispy too.  You could feel the prawn crushing when you bit it.

Char Siew Pau

Har Gao

Siew Mai

Har Gao and Siew Mai are not the type mass produced from some factory.  You can tell they really make the dishes in their kitchen.  Each har gao is filled with one whole complete prawn, not something mostly stuffed with flour.

Chicken Feet

I in particular like their chicken feet.  I don't know why but just that it has that taste which entertains my taste buds well.

Overall I would say it is nice place for dim sum.  Elegant environment, reasonable service and price.  Affordable good dim sum.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

World Expo Milan 2015

World Expo Milan 2015 is an expo after the world famous Shanghai Expo 2010.  However, the contrast is huge in terms of publicity and visitor numbers.  In 2010, people had to queue for hours to enter the expo, then queue again to visit the pavilions.  Milan expo?  It is a breeze.

Our hotel's shuttle bus driver dropped us off at a very quiet place, a path that leads to the ticket office of the Expo.  

Occasionally, there are some stalls selling souvenirs, food and drink.  Hardly any people at 7pm.  

After about 15 minutes walk, we arrived at the ticket office and entrance.  There are two main categories of tickets for the expo.  A day ticket costs 34 euros, which lets you visit the expo for the whole day, from morning till 11 o'clock in the evening.  An evening ticket costs 5 euros, which lets you visit from 7pm to 11pm.  

After the ticket office, we had to cross a bridge, before we arrived at the main expo site, that takes another 10 minutes or so.  Lots of walking, if you are going, be prepared.

Taking center stage is the Tree of Life.  There is a light show a couple of times a day at the Tree of Life, with musical fountains, etc.  It is quite a relaxing show.  

Around the Tree of Life, there are many 'chairs' that look like a child's toy.  You can roll yourself around :)

The entire expo is very big, you might not visit all the pavilions in a day, let alone in one evening, so we picked some that we think we may like.

French Pavilion

The French pavilion is interesting.  They hang all kinds of food, drink, cooking utensils up on the ceiling.  Haha... This year's theme for the expo is 'Feed the Planet', how fitting it is.

Polish Pavilion Entrance

Polish Pavilion Garden

The Polish pavilion is interested, built with wooden boxes.  On the 2nd story, there is a reflection garden.  The garden is surrounded by mirrors, Perfect for people who like to take selfies.  

Polish Pavilion Stall

They also sell lots of Polish products on site, including many types of honeys, alcohols, etc.  Many of them are totally unheard of.  Have you ever seen having nuts immersed in honey?

Azerbaijan Pavilion

My favorite is Azerbaijan Pavilion.  It has very unique light installations, particularly beautiful at night. 

Functional Guitars

Their flower themed light installation are motion sensitive.  The intensity of light will increase when you move your hand close to the flowers.  It is a dance of your hand, lights, flowers.  It is so romantic!

Last but not least, the Chinese Pavilion.   Too bad, we didn't have time to go in to take a look.

If you plan to visit Expo, it is more worth to go in the evening.  You can enjoy the nice lighting effects, as well as enjoy your dinner, and the admission is only 5 euros.  You can come for 5 nights for the price of one day ticket.

As the site is really big, you should plan to visit for a couple of time.  If you plan to have dinner there, then you must factor in the time as well.  And try to have your dinner indoor with air conditioning.  It is hot outside and also there are many bugs, such as mosquitoes, fighting with you for your food and your blood!

Overall I enjoyed the expo very much.  It was a pity that I didn't have the chance to go there a few more times to cover more pavilions.  My friends told me that if you are facing the Tree of Life, those pavilions on the left side are better than those on the right side, so plan your visit wisely.  

If you want to have more information about World Expo Milan 2015, you can visit their official website here.  

Friday, July 10, 2015

Milan Bone Church

I had been to Milan quite a number of times, but I didn't know there is a church in Milan that was decorated with human bones, until recently.

The church is called Chiesa di San Bernadino alle Ossa.  It is built on a piece of land that used to be a cemetery.

The exterior of the church looks very plain and I think I had mistaken it as just any other normal building in the jungle in Milan.

Even the main chapel looks pretty normal.  It is designed with a dome and two side chapels.  But if you turn right into a dimly lit corridor, you will find a small chapel that is decorated with human bones!

The Main Altar

The Dome
Side Wall

Side Wall

Wall Opposite the Altar

All four sides of the wall, the dome, are decorated with human bones.  These bones were said to be from the cemetery that the church is built on.

Life and death meet here, reminding everyone their unavoidable final destination.  Life is short, so it is better than we live a more fulfilling life, rather wasting time regretting for what we have not done, what we didn't do, what we didn't do right.

I think this church is also featured in some tourist guide books, as many tourists come here to admire this beautiful work.