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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Joe's Kitchen

Went to this little Thai place at Alexandra. It wasn't as crowded as we feared after reading the reviews in HGW. But maybe it is because we were there around 2 pm. Well after lunch. 

We ordered our usual staples of Thai food.

Mango salad. This come comes with lot of mango, peanuts and onion. A bit too spicy for me but M loves it. But then again, she always like this dish everywhere.

Clear tom yum soup. M wasn't really impressed with it though. I thought the portion could have been bigger but then again it is for 2 so it wasn't that little.

Olive Rice. It comes with a separate dish of parsley, onion and cashew nuts to mix into the rice. The rice was topped up with fried egg. The portion was too big for the 2 of us but this was the dish that I really enjoyed.

Sambal long beans.

Stuffed chicken wing. Supposed to be their house special. At $2.50 each, it was kinda expensive but man, this is like damn shiok! I could have more than 1 except that I have been over eating for the past few days.

Plus drinks, the total was slightly over $40.00 which was really value for money. This is the place to go for cheap, home cooked Thai food.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Jurong Eco Garden

Been meaning to drop by the Jurong Eco Garden but never had the time until recently. Not very easy to find place set within NTU itself and with small teeny weeny signboard. To get there, it is easier to look for Thow Kwang Pottery, the last remaining kiln in Singapore. The Jurong Eco Garden is just next to it.

Disappointingly, the garden is another cultivated park. Perhaps there used to be a big forest patch there but most of these are gone now replaced by neat cultured landscaping, bridges and proper footpaths. Great for those looking for a stroll in the park but not great if you are looking for the great nature. And without the big trees, the place was hot hot hot!

About the only "natural and wild" portion left was a 1 km Nature trail but sadly that will also have to go in due course. There was a sign at the trail head that stated that the nature trail will only be opened till year 2019.

Nothing much to see there but still did managed to spot a fair number of critters.

A few different butterflies flitting around but despite our "request" for them to pose for my camera, none of the butterflies took heed except this one

At least the dragonflies were more co-operative

There were also a number of lizards on the trees

And I could hear the sound of parakeets and koel but they were nowhere in sight. Still I did managed to spot some birds

And these group of swifts or swallows flying over the pond. Too bad my camera skill and setup was not good enough to take a close up shot of them

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Salt Grill by Luke Mangan

Its the kid's birthday and since he is very big into steak, we decided to go upmarket. After checking out all the reviews, we decided that Salt at Ion was interesting enough. Got quality food, good view and great service. So we went there. Getting to the restaurant itself was already an eye opener. First we had to find our way to an obscure corner of the mall and there was a counter there where we were greeted by a staff and then shown our way to the lift that will take us to the 55 floor where the restaurant is located. And so after a 'long' ride, we reached the place.

We were served throughout by a very attentive Caucasian staff. I not too sure what they call these people in the restaurant (restaurant manager?} but it is rare to see someone take so much pride in his work here in Singapore. He was able to rattle off everything in the menu, told us what each item were and recommend them to us.

Beside the usual bread, we were served a complimentary soup which tasted like tomato soup and which came in a teeny weeny bowl. 

We ordered two starters to share. This weird looking dish is "sashimi of kingfish". Of course it comes with some other stuff. The taste was very unique. Being a country uncle, I especially like the yellowish sauce that they pour over it.

This is the crab omelette. Some egg and crab and enoki mushroom. It was real good. Too bad that like all atas restaurant, all the food comes in small portion not enough for the 3 of us to slurp it down.

The kid and I had our usual steak. This a an Australian restaurant so the steak are Australian steak. Not that I can tell the difference where they come from. A cow is a cow to me. But then again, I quite like my piece of steak. It has some toppings that is not usually found in other restaurant. And the size was big enough for me. Not a tiny little piece. Of course, it didn't exactly come cheap though.

The kid had this "miserable" looking piece that comes with chips. He assured me it wasn't miserable at all even though there was no other sides that comes with it.

M had the barramundi with prawn. She didn't complain either and wolfed down everything. I don't recall her passing me some of the stuff so either she was very hungry or it was real good. 

What is a birthday celebration without a birthday cake? Well since we didn't buy any cake, we decided to make do and ordered something from the dessert menu. We let on that it was the kid's birthday and the ice cream dessert came like this. No cheesy birthday song over the PA system or a group of waiters standing there singing to embarrass the crap out of him. Thank goodness.

We also ordered this Mango and coconut bomb. Why did we ordered this? Because we like that it was called a "bomb".

Overall, it was an expensive, probably the most expensive meal I ever had in one sitting for just 3 person. The staff were so friendly and so helpful. I mean they looked at our appearance but could probably tell we are country bumpkin and gave us the cold shoulder but no, everybody was so nice. When we walked out to the lift, the lady there asked whether we had took in the view and when we said no cos we were too shy to walk, she led us right back in to take in the sights. 

The view was great. The cameraman not so. Unsteady hand, poor lighting and a phone camera make for lousy photo. 

Overall, it was a great experience. Did I said that already? We enjoyed the food. Great service. Great view. But it not a place that we can afford to eat at regularly so I don't think we be back any time soon though. But for those who have some money to splurge and want to impress a date, this got to be The Place. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Extension

When the Nparks announced the opening of the extension, I was fairly excited. So one afternoon I went there only to discover that it was the former Kranji Trail which I had visited before and which sadly is now "sanitised to become the new Sungei Buloh Extension. The former nice trail has been partially replaced with a concrete path and there are now more beautiful viewing structures but somehow it seems more like a park now than a nature reserve.

Board Walk with shelters

Rope walk including one that goes partially into a pond

Nice looking shelter. There are a number of them all over

Didn't spot many birds. Some of the things we spotted in the short time that we were there

Common Nerita snails

My first hornbill photo

Mud crab

Tree climbing crab


Of course the monitor lizard

Golden Orb spider


A slug

Friday, January 16, 2015

Full of Crab

I have been reading a lot of these new no cutleries, eat with your hand seafood joints like Crab in the Bag and other cajun seafood places. And after more than a year, I finally get to eat at one. Full of Crab at East Coast Road!

The place is pretty small and there are only a few items on its menu. The friendly waitress recommended the combo for us. Each combo serves 2 - 3 and since there were 8 of us, we decided to have 1 each of the combo. Each combo comes with 500 gm of prawns and a choice of corn or mashed potatoes

This is the best of the lot - the King crab.

This is the Sri Lanka crab


Snow Crab

The food comes with 3 different choice of seasoning - cajun, garlic butter or a mixture of both. Most of us like the fully loaded house special which is the cajun and garlic butter mix.  And it also comes in 3 different level of spiciness - mild, medium or hot. Because we have all set, we tried everything. The hot was hot but not so hot to be intolerable. Mild is too mild. The medium is a good compromise and most people should be able to tolerate it. 

Our party of 8 spent slightly over $400.00 for the food which includes drinks and bread (must have) which works out to a reasonable $50.00 per person quite worth it considering the amount of seafood we had.

And the place had some quirky decor so do check it out when you there.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Quest for the Merlion

Everybody know the national emblem of Singapore is not the Lion but the mutant Merlion, a product of cross mating between a lion and a giant fish. Legend has it that the Merlion was caught in the sea somewhere off the Esplanade and so the wise gahmen decided to build a statue of it there just like how they put a statue of Stamford Raffles at the site where he first landed in Singapore.

But since the first Merlion came up, somehow mysteriously over the years, it has reproduced and today its offspring can be found all over Singapore. Some are legit and some are bastards. So one fine Saturday morning, a group of us decided to track down the legitimate children of the Merlion.

We started our hunt with the second most famous of them all - the gigantic one at Sentosa. This one was easy to spot. Right up there on top of the hill and bigger than its papa in town. 

But surprise surprise, we found another one not too far away. This one is a multi-colored Merlion. Now who is the mother? Some rainbow fish?

The next Merlion was not on an island or near the sea but right on top of the 2nd highest peak on the island. Poor thing. A fish errr lion out of water!

At our next destination, we discovered not one, not two but 3 Merlions. And one of them is colored too.. Talk about multi-racial! But hor the Merlion here seems to be like quite different. Probably from a different side of the family.

This one is too skinny. Either they starving it or its sick. And it looks funny too with its moustache.

This one seems about right though. Maybe because it is next to a koi pond and has a ready supply of food

This one must be a naughty boy though. Kept inside a glass cage. So sad.

And back at the original location where papa Merlion is, we discovered another bastard

And of course there is the baby of the family. Right under the watchful eyes of papa Merlion. But I think it got shingles. So many lines on its body.

And of course there is papa Merlion. The most majestic of them all

We heard there are some more Merlions all over Singapore. Some said Ang Mo Kio, Woodlands and even Batam. But I think we leave the hunt for another day.