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Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Grandfather's House

In those days in the 1960s, my paternal grandparents were considered one of the slightly better off folks in Singapore. They stayed in Chinatown. Unfortunately, the place where the house once stood is now the Hong Lim Complex/Fook Hai Building. There are no pictures of the place available and so before my memories failed me, let me pen down what I can remember during the short and infrequent visits that I spent there during my early years.

In those days, Chinatown was informally divided into different zones or rather streets. Each street houses a special trade or people from certain part of China e.g. Sago Lane where all the death houses were or Teochew Street where all the Teochew stayed. My grandfather's house was in Pickering Street (if my memory served me correctly). This street was devoted to small business and was rather orderly unlike the next street where there were street hawkers.


The house looks something like this

The house itself was a 3 storey shop house. Unlike many of the other houses in Chinatown, the whole house ie all 3 floors were occupied by my grandfather's family.


The next street with the stalls was something like this
My grandfather runs a wholesale medical shop. The ground floor was the main shop where there was a typical counter with samples of herbs and ginseng displayed in wooden/glass counter. At the back of the shop was a small office and right at the back was an air-condition storeroom. And I guess that was what set my grandfather's apart from the other business in the area. They were one of the few business that actually had air conditioned! The most interesting thing about the ground floor was that to get from the front of the shop to the back or to upstair, one need to use a short corridor just next to the office. And guess what else is located in this corridor? Can't guess? It was a urinal! And there was no door to the urinal. Just a swinging half door (like those in the cowboy movie) and anybody walking by can see the back of the person inside doing his thing! What a weird place to have an urinal but all the guys use the urinal because it was much better and more convenient than using the 'toilet'. But more about the toilet later.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mooshi Bakes

Went by this bakery at East Coast, thought the place looks interesting and went back after lunch for a look see look see. Turned out it belongs to the people from Awfully Chocolate and was actually a 3 in one outlet comprising the Awfully Chocolate which had relocated from Katong Mall; JooJoo (what an unimaginative name!) which sells yakitori and finally the bakery which attracted my attention, Mooshi Bakes.

Was awed into silence when I saw their cream puff was priced at $3.90! Now what type of cream puff is worth that price? Of course, curiosity sufficiently piqued, went back after work and bought 1 cream puff plus an assortment of other breads to try.

The cream puff was fairly big and filled with lots and lots of errr very creamy cream. Ha ha I know it sounds kind of crappy but that was really the only way to describe it. In fact, I asked for it to be taken away and eaten there and then but the staff insisted on putting it inside a beautiful white box claiming the cream will squirt all over. In the end not daring to having cream on my shirt, I took it home to share it with the family. Their unanimous verdict? Yummy! So how come half of it is still in the fridge? While it is nice, I think it is a tad too big and creamy and would have been nicer if it was half its size.


The other pastry that impressed my colleagues the previous day was the Mooshi Mooshi - a bun like version of the raisin cream cheese bun made famous by Barcook Bakery. Yes this one was good. Not too creamy and with just a wee bit of raisin.

The other one that I liked was the Gooey, a cheesed topped cinnamon bun. It looks a bit yucky but I am a big sucker for cinnamon so yummy. Trouble is, it cost $1.90 each which sounds like a hell lot to pay for a bun.
This picture from http://life-bite.blogspot.com/

With so many so called 'Japanese' specialty bakery sprouting all over, I seriously wonder how long this outlet with its much higher price buns will survive. But I really hope I will be proven wrong though.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Marina Bay

I run along Marina Bay very often and every time I am captivated by the lights and I always vowed to go down one evening to take pictures. And finally after almost 3 years? I did it. But sadly even with a DSLR and a tripod, the images came out bad. Lesson to learn is a steady hand and a tripod is not good enough to avoid camera shake. But anyway, these are a few I managed to salvage.

The Singapore Skyline

Another view of the original Singapore Skylight. The sky had turned somewhat ''chocolatish''

The Helix Bridge with the Marina Bay Sands in the background

A panorama view of the Marina Promenade from 1 Fullerton Hotel to Pan Pacific Hotel 

Friday, October 15, 2010

MacDonald

Everybody loves a big Mac. And the french fries. But just exactly what do they add in it?

A lady has kept a hamburger since 1996 and apparently to date the hamburger has not decomposed.

Now another lady in the Big Apple has kept a happy meal since April and although it has turned hard as rock, it has not decompose. Check out the series of photos here.

Hmmm it's almost enough to make me go out and buy a big mac and do my own little experiment.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cocktail Event

Attended one of those super boring cocktail event where everyone walk around with a drink in hand making small talk and looking bored to death. What I don't understand about such events is... the organiser spent lotsa money on it yet the very basic thing they forget or ignore is how do they expect the guests to eat?

Like this one. There was this mini performance so there was a program booklet given out. After the performance , there was a door gift. This was an oblong shape thingy. So there I was program, gift in hand and the first meal counter they had there was serving mee siam in a bowl! So now I had to carry program, gift, a bowl, chopstick (I had already decided no way I could manage a spoon as well) in my 2 hands and trying to slurp at the mee siam at the same time. Looked around for some tables. All the round mini size cocktail tables of which there were only a few were already occupied. So I had to slurp up the mee siam with the program and gift tucked under the arm, and the same hand holding the bowl and trying to ensure the mee siam don't slip away. Naturally, most of the gravy ended up on the shirt. Gave up after 3 mouthfuls and several stains on the shirt.

The other dryer food was not so bad. But how do you balance a plate, fork and spoon and 2 other items in your hands and eat, exchange name cards and make small talks and look cool - all at the same time? Or are we not suppose to in the first place?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Bark Cafe

I have stayed in the East for more than 20 years. And I consider myself quite adept at sniffing out good food and yet I didn’t know of this place until a relative brought us there for dinner. I have even passed by(drive/ran) this place many times. What a mountain tortoise!
 I am referring to this little place, The Bark CafĂ©, next to the Changi Chapel and Museum. Located so far away from the bustle of the city light to be a prime candidate for ‘ulu’ restaurant of the year, it is a pub cum restaurant serving local fares. While we were there, it was never fully packed, but there was a good healthy flow of customers as the crowd kept streaming in. According to my relatives, the place hots up even more as the night progresses.

Apart from that, actually, the food is not that fantastic. At $14.90 for a plate of crayfish horfun, it is definitely not cheap. The final tab for the 16 of us that evening came to slightly over $400.00 and what we had were mainly local food like noodles, fried nice, local style ‘western food’ such as fish and chips plus drinks. But the fingers food are really finger licking good and I understand their sour plum drink is like out of this world although we didn’t tried it that night.

But I love the ambience. The breeze from the ceiling fans. The sound of the insects. And the dark surrounding! I can imagine myself there with a ‘gf’ having a drink and listening to the soft rock music they play in the background. So ulu what are the chances of being caught?  Or catching one of the EPL games with my buddies. Seriously, a good place to relax and wind down from the day. 

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