Categories
Food Singapore

Unli-Rice at Orchard Road: The RiceTable Indonesian Restaurant

PJ is a rice lover. Often what we both want for lunch (or dinner) is different. I want my salads, pasta, and proteins. He wants anything else as long as it has rice.

On his birthday, I wanted to take him to a restaurant that specialises not in rice… but in what goes great with rice. Instantly I’d think about Peranakan, Malay, Thai, or Filipino. I didn’t want to take him to Gerry’s. We have Thai every other week. The good Peranakan can be pricy.

Through someone’s Instagram story I learned about a restaurant called “The RiceTable Indonesian Restaurant”. It’s a restaurant that features Dutch “rijsttafel”. Rijttafel means “rice table”. Think of it as a setting of Indonesian or Indonesian-inspired dishes placed over a plate warmer. In terms of having dishes laid out in front of you… I think it’s similar to the nasi padang you’d find in Jakarta?

I thought this would be perfect for PJ. Savoury Indonesian dishes coupled with “unlimited” rice.

Where is it? The RiceTable Indonesian Restaurant is located on the 2nd floor of the International Building (360 Orchard Road). It is walking distance from Orchard MRT station. The building is small… so once you enter, take the escalator to Level 2 and you’ll spot it right in front of you. Here’s how it looks like:

The restaurant is straightforward. It’s one open area with tables laid out on two sides of the space. The lighting is warm. The decor is minimal. There’s a gamelan soundtrack playing lightly in the background.

Easily you’ll come to notice this device in the middle of the table. It’s a plate warmer and this is where the wait staff will lay the dishes one-by-one in front of you.

Once seated, you’ll be served your lunch or dinner set.

For our lunch set, we had a delicious mix of satay, kangkong, curry chicken, and fish. Our favourites were the beef rendang and the kangkong.

Clockwise from top left: Chicken Satay, Kangkong Belachan, Otak, Grilled Chicken, Curry Chicken, Fried Sweet and Sour Fish, Ladyfinger in Bean Sauce, Beef Rendang, Vegetables in Coconut Stew, and Curried Tofu

Rice is “unlimited” – and PJ enjoyed his refills. The refills are done similarly to Mang Inasal back in the Philippines. One of the wait staff will come to the table to put scoops of rice onto your plate.

***

We had a great first dining experience here. I couldn’t help but think it’s a great place to bring my family when they come visit Singapore again in the future. Unlimited rice, Indonesian dishes, and a no-frills dining experience.

During this pandemic, I highly recommend making reservations at restaurants to guarantee your spot because of limited seating arrangements. I made my reservations via their website.

Note: This restaurant was PACKED when we visited on a Monday. We happened to be the last ones to leave the restaurant during the lunch hours… so it looks empty and clean. But it was packed!

If you’ve tried The RiceTable Indonesian Restaurant, let me know what you think?

Categories
Singapore

Photos: Universal Studios Singapore (February 2021)

Author’s Note: Yes, it is SAFE to visit Universal Studios Singapore (USS) during this period. Social distancing ambassadors are patrolling the park grounds. Entrance is restricted to those who are scheduled to visit on that particular day. USS is open 2pm to 9pm but with several rides closed, I think you only need 4 to 5 hours to enjoy the park.

One of the liveliest parks in the city is Universal Studios Singapore.

Before this pandemic, the park would welcome tourists from across this part of Asia. There would be parades, street performers, and fireworks. Queues would form at numerous rides. Those with extra cash to burn could utilise ‘express passes’ to skip queues. The park is one of Sentosa’s main attractions. It even has one of the best park experiences I’d recommend anyone: Halloween Horror Nights. They would install up to five haunted houses on the park grounds. Complete with scare zones and actors in character.

The real scare now is seeing scenes like this:

A full year into this pandemic and the park is visited by Singapore residents. Tourists have not been allowed entry into Singapore for almost a year. The effects of which include a decimated travel and tourism industry, thousands of lost jobs, and scaled-back attractions.

While it’s humbling to go to Universal Studios Singapore “to show support” by spending on tickets, food, and whatnot… the experience of going to an amusement park during a pandemic is bewildering. I suddenly miss the sight of tourists and first-timers entering this park. I dislike crowds but what I dislike more is the sight of emptiness. A closed amusement park food stall, Jurassic Park dinosaurs placed behind barricades, and constant reminders of where to sit, how to stand apart, and where to wash your hands.

I recommend visiting Universal Studios Singapore for the thrill of it. If you’re in Singapore, take advantage of not experience crowds and queues. Support local attractions. Book and schedule your visit because walk-ins aren’t allowed.

And for the rest of the region… stuck in homes, stuck in quarantine, stuck in countries with governments who have done a poor job at handling the pandemic… we’ll try to keep parks like these “alive” for the day you return.

The rest in photos:

We had a good time at Universal Studios Singapore. We visited the park on a Sunday in February 2021. We followed social distancing, wore masks, and applied hand sanitiser consistently.

Categories
Singapore

Christmas, 2020

This year’s Christmas celebration was a simple but meaningful gathering here at our home in Pasir Ris.

Our housemates prepared a noche buena spread of some classic Filipino dishes like lumpia, extra tender Bistek Tagalog, slices of Christmas ham, menudo, and juicy Bellychon (with lemongrass filling). PJ has a video demonstration of how housemate D prepared the bellychon.

There was also Biko and homemade chocolate ice cream.

Plus, the table setting was done by housemate W.

PJ and I were in-charge of the evening program. We had a traditional gift exchange (value today: SGD 50.00 minimum) as well as party games like Pinoy Henyo and Kahoot!. Like last year, we also played a little bit of 1-2 Switch.

What we’re grateful for this Christmas

On Christmas eve of 2020, you can only invite a maximum of five visitors. We celebrated noche buena with some of our friends.

Spending Christmas 2020 with my housemates in Pasir Ris

Happy holidays from all of us. ❤

Categories
Singapore

So, we’ve reached the end of the year

The most relatable cover. (The New Yorker)

The coronavirus will not expire on 31st December. But I bet we wish it could.

I’m comfortable. I’m working from home. I can exercise from home. I can order lunch and dinner to be brought to my doorstep. I can press a few buttons to have groceries delivered. I can chat with friends and loved ones through Zoom. Movies, TV series, music, concerts… all of it can be streamed online.

I admit my privilege in this pandemic. I’m not a front-liner in a hospital who is overworked and under-equipped. I don’t work in the travel or aviation industries. I still have a job.

For the sake of mental health, I promised to myself that I won’t worry about what’s going to happen after a few months. The only thing I will let myself think about is the agenda and the intention for the day ahead. The agenda is to get work done. The intention is to be easy on myself. I’m not a scientist and I’m not going to cure the world from a pandemic.

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Intentions for December 2020

  • Keep working out and practicing yoga. Six times weekly.
  • Finish reviewing a friend’s book – I’m so bad at reading books.
  • Get started on Becoming – another book, given to me by my brother
  • Start dance classes via Steezy. Commit when possible after the WOD/yoga.
  • Launch my podcast series before the end of the year.
  • Publish at least five more video blogs.
  • Terminate subscriptions I no longer need.
  • Complete a budget plan for 2021. Listing possibilities, limitations.
  • Send out gifts to friends and family.
  • Take PJ to see snow at Jewel Changi Airport.
  • Enjoy Korean BBQ at home. With a grill.
Categories
Singapore

My November 2020 Photo Recap

A pandemic continues to grip the world. This was my third month in our new house in Pasir Ris. Home is where everything is right now. Meals, workouts, and work. I have no plans to change any of that until this pandemic is over.

The past month also saw some triumphs. Biden beat Trump and is the President-elect. I published my first interview with a journalist. I completed workout sessions and yoga practices.

I’ll leave the rest in pictures.

There is hope.

Categories
Singapore Video

iPhone 12 unboxing… while drinking soju

Gaaah. I filmed this a month ago. But I only got to editing it over the weekend. I’ve had an iPhone 7 since 2016… so getting an upgrade in 2020 is WORTH IT. Face ID? Charging without a cord? Portrait mode that WORKS? Those are no longer strange and foreign concepts for me. Lol.

Enjoy the video. It’s NOT meant to be taken seriously. 😛

Drink moderately.

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Categories
Singapore

Monthsary Location: The Sushi Bar at TAmpines 1

PJ and I celebrated our monthsary at The Sushi Bar (Tampines 1).

The Sushi Bar is located on level 4 of Tampines 1 mall.

I made reservations by sending them an SMS a few days back. I was excited to take PJ for a sushi restaurant experience (compared to our usual conveyor belt sushi). Plus, The Sushi Bar is only one MRT station away.

The restaurant covers two levels. I think this is kind of unusual for a neighbourhood Singaporean shopping mall to have a staircase within a restaurant. A restaurant that’s already on the fourth floor. I could be wrong.

As with how everything else looks like at this point in 2020, the restaurant follows social distancing measures. Tables are marked and groups are separated by more than a meter from each other. I also noticed the staff were religiously sanitising tables after they were cleared.

Masks are to be removed only while eating and drinking. This is the standard everywhere. I also noticed that the chopsticks and tissues were packed in plastic.

PJ wanted to try the beef rice bowl (Gyudon) while I went for the Salmon Aburi Roll. We also wanted to try “sardine sheets” as an appetiser as well as enoki mushrooms wrapped in beef strips and chicken skewers (yakitori).

I was going to order sashimi as my “round 2” but I already got full from the salmon aburi roll and the two tiny plates of grilled meat and mushrooms. The appetiser was perfectly bitin (leaves you wanting more).

Overall, I feel The Sushi Bar at Tampines 1 is exactly what it is. A sushi restaurant that is built inside of a shopping mall. The ambiance was a nice shot (the sushi bar as you enter). But inside, it becomes quite standard. What I’m saying is… for this price point, I think you would expect a little more ambiance. Perhaps dim lighting. Service was kind and efficient.

Food tasted fine. It saves you a trip from going all the way into the Central Business District (which would take upwards to an hour from Tampines and Pasir Ris). That includes walking to the restaurant and getting settled in. Having The Sushi Bar in Tampines is convenient and the menu offerings are good enough.

Now I’m craving for a full Omakase experience. ❤

Categories
Singapore

Back-to-Back British

You can be any of these two versions below. It’s perfectly fine. It’s only human.

SAM SMITH – KIDS AGAIN

LITTLE MIX – HAPPINESS

Categories
Singapore

The President of the United States has the Coronavirus

Why am I not surprised? This whole year is a collective nightmare.

Some people are actually celebrating the fact that a sitting U.S. president is down with the virus. Of those who are infected, President Trump obviously falls within the vulnerable.

But he’s the president. He’ll have the best doctors and medical staff surrounding him. While millions of Americans and millions around the world can only watch. Like the Philippines president, he downplayed the virus. He refused to wear a mask. He could have done more. Practically, MORE. The simple act of wearing a mask and telling Americans to mask up.

People are screaming karma.

I’m not going to “celebrate” a sitting president being infected by a deadly virus. I’m going to be Michelle Obama here and say “when they go low, we go high”. I’m going to wish the president, the first lady, and all affected White House staff good health. Maybe there can be an awakening. A realisation that this COVID-19 shit is real. They can do more for everyday Americans.

On a personal level, I’m campaigning for Biden 2020. I’ve requested for my absentee ballot and I plan to vote Democrat in November. But I’ve also had it with liberal vs conservative, blue vs red, and all that keeps folks divided. The world is hurting. America is hurting. We should make an effort to build more and more bridges.

We will NOT forget about the Trump tax issue and his non-denial of white supremacy in a recent interview. He should recover fast so he can face the American public.

Categories
Singapore

September 2020

I wanted to squeeze in a quick update. I promised myself I’ll write a blog before the weekend ends. Even with a pandemic… much is happening at home.

A sunny September day at East Coast Park.

Since my last post, I’ve relocated to Pasir Ris together with PJ and my flatmates. We moved to a town that most commuters read and hear as the last MRT station on the East-West Line. Pasir Ris is a quiet coastal and recreation town that I wrote about in my previous post.

That’s the biggest news. It anchors the rest of what’s happening:

  • Getting settled into our new home – paying house and PUB deposits, paying stamping fees, fixing cleaning and laundry schedules, shopping for room and household storage solutions
  • Acquainting ourselves with the new neighborhood – finding the better grocery and convenience stores, locating bus stops, learning new bus routes, walkways, shortcuts to get to the MRT station
  • Trying out new jogging routes in the vicinity – exploring Sungei Api-Api, Pasir Ris Town Park, Pasir Ris Beach, condo jogging paths

I’m happy that I’m now able to settle in. When I moved to Tampines in April, I couldn’t really unpack all my things because we were anticipating this move in August or September. Now that we’ve found a nice place to call home, I feel like we can invest in some new things to help tidy up our home.

I’ll write more about our move and our setup soon. In the meantime, here are some other updates…

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Work

Briefly mentioning that I’m diving into full work mode by engaging and interviewing journalists, running verification work, and improving accuracy scores. I’m enjoying the new role because I’m challenged by it. I can really see myself growing in unexpected ways.

***

The pandemic

Singapore saw its lowest daily total of pandemic cases in recent months with around 11 reported the other day. Honestly at this stage… it feels like the country is back to normal. Except that everyone out in public has a mask on. I panicked a bit at Daiso earlier when the store didn’t seem to have social distancing in place (it was packed with shoppers)… where Uniqlo one level down had a queue outside their store because the store only allowed X amount of people inside. Kind of inconsistent!

PJ and I have been in and out of malls and public spaces recently because we’re buying things for the new rental condo we’re staying at. I still prefer to avoid malls and crowded places altogether. Even with the total daily cases reported… this pandemic isn’t ending anytime soon. The temptation to shop is back. But I have to pinch myself. People are losing their jobs because of this pandemic. This pandemic will close more businesses when the economic losses start to ripple across other industries. It’s wise to penny-pinch. SAVE NOT SPEND.

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New routines

I’ve signed up for a workout programme that my friend U was recommending. This new programme has two coaches that will train you via Zoom from Monday to Saturday. Currently, I can squeeze in Monday, Thursday, and Friday. I already have yoga on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I’m freeing up weekends for running and visiting parks in Singapore. Also, this condo rental has a swimming pool. A large lap pool downstairs. I’ll make time for that too.

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Going digital first

Earlier I suggested to PJ that we take this pandemic as an opportunity to force ourselves to be more ‘digital first’. This means forgoing cash altogether and even cards.

  • Using Apple Pay, PayLah, PayNow… and other apps to make payments at stores and restaurants. Scan a QR code and you’re done.
  • Making use of Singapore’s apps that carry a digital version of your IC. Instead of carrying around a physical IC all the time.
  • Using apps to top-up your EZ-Link card. No more visiting an EZ-Link machine.
  • Using apps on an Apple Watch to direct you to your location – dropping the need to use ‘traditional’ maps (like my fave ‘Street Directory’ which has dated UI) / also using same apps to indicate if a bus or an MRT train is leaving at a certain time.
  • Automated backups of photos and files.
  • Getting more devices to sync with each other.
  • Smart home, using voice technology more, etc.

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Cutting it there. It’s late. 🙂