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Filipino American Expat in Singapore

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The company I work for is big on learning and development. It’s also big on diversity. Together with other Filipinos in the office, we put together a “Filipino Day” where we can showcase the warm hospitality our people are known for.

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There was Pera o Bayong (Philippines’ version of Deal or No Deal), a tinikling dance (traditional folk dance involving bamboo sticks), food and drinks to share. We had lumpia, puto, pork barbecue, Chippy (those bags of chips)… and of course, since it was a Friday, we had a budget for San Miguel Beer.

Everyone looked like they were having a good time. ❤

We moved into a new office space this past week. Our company took over a new floor inside Marina Bay Financial Tower 2. We’re now on three levels in the building. Our team joins a few other teams in moving to the new floor.

There’s more spaces for collaborations and meetings. There’s a library, games room, training rooms, new “drop-ins” and a barista. I’ve heard multiple describe it as “it feels like Facebook” (but I wouldn’t know… because I haven’t worked there).

Without a doubt this is a hidden gem! Located in Basement 2 of Westgate Mall in Jurong East, it’s a simple “basement level” eatery that blends in with all the others. But I am consistently impressed by the fresh grilled taste of their pork belly served over rice. PJ also ordered the kimchi beef which is equally delightful.

What I love is that it’s rarely ever crowded. I’m surprised we always chance upon it as being almost empty. For a good price, you get a good lunch of freshly grilled meat (and the sauce is pretty good that it makes you want to eat more rice). They also have other meats and mushrooms on skewers which you can add onto your dish.

Definitely, a favourite when I’m in Jurong.

Location: Inside Westgate Jurong East, Basement 2, Kiosk 4 “B2K4” – 3 Gateway Drive

For our third week of cooking something every Wednesday Monday (because of Game of Thrones), we went with Tuna Pesto Pasta. This is not going to be some recipe post. You can find loads of tuna pasta recipes on the internet.

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A group picture of the ingredients

I’m going to describe to you my life-changing experience cooking it.

  1. Pour olive oil into a wok until satisfied.
  2. Add two tablespoons of ‘instant’ chopped garlic.
  3. Stir the chopped garlic before it gets burnt.
  4. Add in a slab of butter and watch it melt while thinking about our life choices.
  5. Pour in a cup of evaporated creamer (it’s supposed to be heavy cream). I google’d and it says it’s the same. But the evaporated creamer I got is used in ice kacang apparently so let’s see what happens.
  6. Once it’s all incorporated, add in a can of tuna chunks. It’s supposed to be tuna flakes LOL but PJ got the chunks instead because I forgot to tell him to look for the flakes one. I smashed the chunks into pieces using a wooden spoon.
  7. Add in the pasta. And then mix it all.
  8. While it would’ve been nice to smash basil and nut and create the pesto from scratch, I didn’t have time coming from work. Instead, add a jar of pesto sauce (which you can buy at the groceries) into the pasta and tuna. Mix everything.
  9. Add in parmesan, cheddar, and sprinkle with pepper and salt to taste.
  10.  Eat with your favourite protein. I picked roasted chicken. The store-bought one.

Made with ❤

Verdict: This pasta definitely tasted better than Game of Thrones S8 EP4.

PJ loved it but I think I could definitely put a little more love into making tuna pesto pasta. Investing in the ingredients would definitely pay off. Especially the part of getting the heavy cream done correctly and using a different type of pasta to scoop up the pesto sauce and tuna bits. I want to make pasta my go-to dish.

Here’s a photo:

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Tuna Pesto Pasta

Here’s a bonus video of me cooking it.

“Previously on PJ and George’s Kitchen”

We’re kinda in the middle of summer already. Can you believe that? Labour Day breezed by and we spent it at my friend Paul’s condo in Kallang. It has this gorgeous view of the Kallang River Basin, Stadium, Tanjong Rhu, and the area surrounding Golden Mile.

The video above is like a cutout of what a typical weekend (or public holiday) is like since I moved to Singapore. I enjoy spending it at a friend’s house having some drinks or singing videoke.

**

Bonus: What am I thinking about lately?

  • Job security and fulfilling my goal of securing a sufficient emergency fund
  • Getting good work done no matter how steep the learning curve is
  • A new sport or physical activity to try (outrigger canoeing, dancing, cross-fit)
  • Looking for an opportunity for solo travel
  • Finishing the third book in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy ‘Rich People Problems’
  • Reducing my belongings by half (donate, recycle, trash, digitize, etc.)
  • Shopping for new things as a treat to myself
  • A business trip to San Francisco
  • A holiday trip to Manila

I don’t think I’m anywhere near to being a true Spartan athlete. The truth behind these photos is that I failed at various obstacles. I hold myself accountable to a higher fitness level. Especially after being part of a dragon boat team. These photos are fabulous to look at. But they don’t represent where I want to be physically and mentally.

I am proud that I signed up for it and that my partner did too. I did the penalty burpees where and when required. I noticed I was less scared about heights and weights. I crossed the finish line acknowledging where I can improve. I only have to set realistic goals that can be measured. I’m turning 34 this year and I don’t want to turn into an MF skinny-fat Filipino gay guy.

I’m being cheeky.

I’ll sign up for the next Spartan, the next Standard Chartered race, or the next Metasprint. Until I get it done right. Because the only person I’m disappointing is myself.

My current living arrangement with my partner is simple. We take turns. Every weekend we alternate between his flat in Tampines and my place in Bukit Merah.

We plan to move in together eventually. But for now, we’re enjoying this arrangement of being able to enjoy two sides of the city.

Somewhere in Tampines West (okay, the address is at the end of this post) is a casual Thai restaurant called Soi Thai Kitchen. We both didn’t know it existed until we were walking and exploring the stores near his HDB block. There are two Thai restaurants at the location but we were intrigued with this one which had a larger crowd.

We ordered the Thai minced meat omelette (told you I’m obsessed with it based off a previous post). Added a large plate of Olive fried rice (I think we’d try Pineapple Fried Rice or Thai fried rice on the next trip). But the highlight for me was the dry tom yum. WOW. Every bit of that tom yum flavour… but imagine it as a sauce you could pour over your steamed rice. It was so good I might have it again next week.

I’ll update this post again when we try the other items on the menu.

Soi Thai Kitchen is located at Tampines Street 81, #01-28 Block 824, Singapore

There are a handful of Thai restaurants in the city and in the heartlands. Luckily here near my block, there’s one that sits right across Tiong Bahru Bakery. Little Elephant Thai Bistro sits in a beautiful spot next to coffee shops and a bus stop.

This is one of my favourites in Tiong Bahru.

I’m recently in love with Thai omelettes. These ‘minced meat’ pancakes could be quite oily at times. But they are also fluffy and filling. Add to that a plate of Thai stir-fried morning glory (a touch of spice) or a pot of green curry. Mmm. You have a Sunday brunch fix. Oh, and don’t forget a glass of Thai milk tea. Why is Thai milk tea so damn good.

Little Elephant really has a bistro setting. You can order beers as well. There’s an assortment of seating. Tall tables, tables for four inside, or even a boat-shaped table (where we normally always sit).

Little Elephant Thai Bistro is located at 57 Eng Hoon St, #01-72, Singapore 160057. Take note that it’s closed on Mondays. Closest MRT: Tiong Bahru (2 bus stops away)

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I’m so proud of myself.

I’m starting to cook something other than pork adobo. Clap! I mentioned in a previous post that my boyfriend and I will cook ‘something new’ every Wednesday and feature it in my blog. Last week we had pork steak. This week we listed down butter garlic shrimps, Filipino-style. Like where I get most of my current instructions… I learned this recipe from the ever-reliable Panlasang Pinoy. ❤

Here’s the finished result:

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It’s a very easy dish to make. You buy shrimps and you soak them in lemon soda for about 10 minutes at least. I picked out 7-up.

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Then you melt half a cup of butter and heat that up. Pouring in minced garlic (the fresh ones are probably way better, but this one in PJ’s kitchen wasn’t too bad). You wait for the bits to turn golden brown before you pour in the shrimp.

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This is one of the fun ones to cook. Waiting for the shrimps to turn orange. Watching them soak up the butter and garlic. Then you sprinkle in two tablespoons of parsley. I’m not going to get the credit for this recipe so I’ll point you again to Panlasang Pinoy this time. What would I do as an OFW without Panlasang Pinoy. ❤

Click here to see Mr. Vanjo’s recipe for Butter Garlic Shrimp.

And voila… you’re set! Delicious butter garlic shrimps ready within 30 minutes basically. I blanched some broccoli to serve as sides.

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My boyfriend PJ loved it! Can’t wait to cook again next Wednesday. 😀

Couldn’t help ourselves to some cups of rice.

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Lao Ban Soya Beancurd has become a sentimental favourite. As if I could lay stake to the word sentimental if I’ve only been living in Singapore for seven years! I used to get this for takeaway and enjoy it at home while watching Clone Wars on Netflix.

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Lao Ban Soya Beancurd – Almond Flavour (with Yuki-san the Whaleshark in the background)

There’s no Lao Ban Soya Beancurd stall where I live in Tiong Bahru. But there’s an easy-to-find kiosk at the Tampines Bus Interchange when I go visit my boyfriend at his house in the east. I got this for takeaway one evening and we enjoyed it for breakfast.

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Almond version of the Lao Ban Soya Beancurd

I think it’s one of the best bean curds I’ve tried. I love it for its silky texture. It’s great as a dessert or a cold snack. The almond isn’t overpowering. It costs only more or less $2.

Here’s the stall at Tampines Bus Interchange as of April 2019.

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Try it yourself!