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Filipino American Expat in Singapore

Posts tagged Singapore

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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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!

The truth is this. I’m aware of restaurant openings, events, and things to do wherever I go. I have lists of places I want to go to and food I want to try. So when PJ offered to take me out on a date one Friday evening, I let go. I let him surprise me.

And surprised I was.

He took me to an address: 5 Purvis Street. All I know is that it’s on the same street as the Clinton Street Baking Co. and Restaurant. But I was wondering if he was going to surprise me with something else.

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Saveur is located at 5 Purvis Street

At 5 Purvis Street is a French restaurant called Saveur (Suh-VERE) which markets itself as “French for everyone”. We entered the shophouse and it’s a casual setting. Tall white walls all the way in. You can see the whole restaurant from the door. This includes the open kitchen at the other end of the long dining hall.

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Saveur Menu

They have a three-course dinner set. But we felt like exploring and trying out some dishes ala carte and sharing the starters and sides.

Starters are divided into warm and cold or salad. We had the Saveur Pasta (SGD 9.00) which is capellini (thin pasta noodles) with ebi, chives, shallots, and in pork sauce and truffle oil. It was a burst of flavor with the pork sauce and truffle (which is normally really strong tasting, right?). But we loved the saltiness of the ebi (shrimp).

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Saveur Pasta

Being a French casual restaurant, I wanted to try the rotisserie chicken for one of the mains. PJ and I ordered the Rotisserie Baby Chicken (SGD 22.00) and Pot-Au-Feu (SGD 24.00).

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Rotisserie Baby Chicken

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Pot-Au-Feu (Pork Belly, Cheek, and Rib)

The roasted chicken was tender and I couldn’t stop dipping it in the sauce. The pork belly, cheek, and rib (Pot-Au-Feu) was in this aromatic broth. The pork belly melts in your mouth. Omg. Like… it just dissolves. Lord.

For sides, we ordered the Mash (SGD 6.00) and Braised Lentil & Bacon (SGD 6.00). This is the only way mashed potato should be enjoyed. REAL. Not like your KFC or Popeyes’ Chicken powered mashed potato. The mash was creamy, buttery, with a hint of truffle oil.

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Mash

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Braised Lentil and Bacon

The braised lentil and bacon is a strong-tasting side. At least, in that first bite! I was like, WHAT… an assault on the palate. But after a few bites, I couldn’t help myself. It’s a distinct taste from the mains. Loved it.

We didn’t order desserts at Saveur since I was thinking of taking PJ for Korean bingsu around the corner.

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Quite a number of awards for Saveur.

Would I recommend Saveur? YES. It’s French casual and the starters, mains, and sides we tried each stood out from each other. We noticed that the restaurant attracts a sizable crowd. PJ was sweet to make reservations for us.

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My date at Saveur 🙂

Location: Saveur is on 5 Purvis Street in Singapore. The closest MRT stations are Bugis and Cityhall. Learn more on their website here. It’s located near the National Library and also near Leslie’s.

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AROO! Experienced Spartan for a 2nd time earlier. Different venue, different feel! It was in Yio Chu Kang (Ang Mo Kio). Imagine running through a muddy obstacle course with HDBs in the background. Very Singapore! I loved it!

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Muddy. I should’ve worn an older pair of shoes and compression.

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Love this shot of PJ!

Three tips for beginners based on my experience (because there are elite + experienced Spartans I’ve to learn from too)

  1. Don’t wear new shoes when going to a muddy Spartan. Wear your trusty old pair which you wouldn’t mind getting dirty. This also means choosing appropriate race attire. Wear something comfortable. I wore my 2XU compression shorts and a singlet.
  2. Consider wearing gloves. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But gloves helped me with the climbing and grip of things (like the bucket obstacle).
  3. Beginners, perhaps take your time through the course. It’s a SPRINT. But for beginners, I say don’t feel pressured to finish the course as fast as the more experienced athletes on the course. This also means giving way and moving to the side to let others pass you. I think that’s important for sportsmanship.
  4. Smile and help others out. I wouldn’t be able to finish this 20+ obstacle course without the help and encouragement of the people around me. Some challenges require climbing up walls and it was great to hear tips from the people who were good at it. These people have trained and for sharing their knowledge, thank you! I also got to pay it forward and help out the person behind me by suggesting where to grip.

The Spartan Race is a test of strength and endurance. It’s also a test of physical and mental. After two Spartans to date (in the discovery phase), I’ve learned that it demands you train your whole body. Upper and lower body muscle groups. All of it. I can probably see why it’s so addictive for the elite Spartans (in red headbands).

Favourite obstacles (define favourite – lol)

  • Wall climb – all types
  • Sand bag on a muddy hill
  • That wall that’s tilted backward

Areas that I really need to train harder for

  • Atlas
  • Rope climbing
  • Obstacles that rely on upper body strength

I hope before I turn 40 I can accomplish a Spartan Race as an elite racer. Shirtless. 😛

This is not a sponsored post. But I’ll point you to the Spartan SG website to learn more.

Thank you Team UFIT and LinkedIn Wellness. ❤

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Ah, Liang Court.

One of my new favorite malls to visit. Why? Though it sits next to Fort Canning MRT station on the Downtown Line, it doesn’t have the stressful crowds of MRT stations you’d find in Ang Mo Kio, Cityhall or Tiong Bahru. Liang Court is an old mall filled with Japanese stores and restaurants. It seems to attract a crowd that stays in the nearby condos. It’s laid back.

It also happens to be a major transit point getting from my office (Marina Bay Financial Centre next to Downtown MRT) to my house in Bukit Merah. Bus 195 is a convenient ‘feeder’ bus that takes me from MRT station to my block on a 15-minute ride.

Enough about that. I’ve done some little exploring of this pocket-sized mall and I’ve discovered a restaurant in the basement that specializes in Okinawan cuisine. I’ll write about that next time. Today, I got my ramen fix from Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen. It’s located right across from Starbucks and Subway on the ground level.

Click the images to make them bigger.

It specializes in “kazan ramen” which is ramen served in a very hot stone bowl with a conical lid cover. But for my first trip here in weeks, I went for the classic tonkotsu ramen with a piece of cha shu.

For about SGD 12-15 (standard price for ramen in Singapore), it’s not too bad. Given you can enjoy free boiled eggs.

It’s good for a quick fix. But my favorite ramen places are still in the Tanjong Pagar area near Orchid Hotel. I want to try the kazan ramen next time and I’ll write an updated review about that here.

Location: Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen, Liang Court (177 River Valley Road). Nearest MRT Station: Fort Canning (Downtown Line).

The Jewel is open! Changi Airport’s much-anticipated new feature opened to the public on April 17, 2019, after a massive preview the week before (photos, also here). The renders and teasers looked spectacular. But up close, it exceeded expectations. It’s bigger than I thought!

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Jewel Changi Airport in daylight. It’s a monument that houses a reta

Designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie, the S$1.7B mixed-used development really is Changi Airport’s crown jewel. Inside the tallest indoor waterfall in the world called the ‘HSBC Rain Vortex’ which itself is the centerpiece of the Shiseido Forest Valley. It’s a fitting tribute to Singapore’s image as a ‘city in a garden’.

There’s an IMAX theatre, a hotel, and over 300 retail and dining options inside this massive space. I’m most excited about the forest valley, canopy park, and its unique offerings like an A&W (returning to Singapore from 2019), Shake Shack, and Pokemon Centre.

I guess it’s funny for other people to wonder what’s the big deal with seeing another QB House, Starbucks, or Cotton On opening. But if you can do it to this scale and make it a unique shopping experience each time? Wow. Great job, Changi Airport!

Shiseido Forest Valley and Canopy Walk

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The HSBC Rain Vortex has a night show.

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A line of trees in Jewel Changi Airport’s Canopy Park.

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I love how they keep the lighting dim in the evening.

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The ceiling reflecting in the pool of water.

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I think it’s a good place for a date. If you don’t mind the crowds.

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The indoor waterfall is the highlight of this spectacular space.

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Animal topiaries in the Canopy Park.

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Let’s pay attention to the seats in the Canopy Park as well.

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It wouldn’t be Singapore without the floral spaces.

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The crowds during opening week at Jewel Changi Airport.

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One of the exclusive areas for VIP guests at Jewel Changi.

Retail and Dining 

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The Pokemon Centre. The first permanent Pokemon store in Asia outside of Japan.

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I’ll come back after the opening week crowds dissipate!

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Get your chili crab fix at Jumbo Seafood.

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Duplex-style stores include Shake Shack.

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Another duplex-style store is Nike. This is the largest Nike store in Southeast Asia.

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QB House Kids

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The design is very open. From top levels to the basement.

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At different parts of the perimeter you can take a peek at the rain vortex.

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Tokyu Hands occupies one of the duplex spaces too.

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This is a Starbucks Reserve store occupying one of the duplex slots at Jewel Changi Airport.

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Also in a duplex is the Muji store in Jewel Changi Airport.

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Go to Tim Ho Wan for your baked bun with pork BBQ.

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I associate Bengawan Solo with SGH. But this one feels like a TWG Tea cafe.

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It’s nice to see Singapore brands occupy a whole stretch of Jewel Changi Airport.

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Gift stores selling new Jewel Changi Airport are also available.

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The Changi Airport brand appears in all sorts of media. Like this piece of literature for kids.

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A&W at Jewel Changi Airport. This is located in the basement area.

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Tong Garden has a store. I associate this with the cheaper peanuts you can buy at Sheng Shiong.

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Philippine snack brand Potato Corner which is expanding in Singapore also has a store at Jewel Changi Airport.

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There’s also an IMAX brought to Jewel Changi Airport by Shaw Theatres.

How to get to Jewel Changi Airport?

Changi Airport’s Terminal 1 is connected directly to Jewel from the basement level (Arrivals). You can also cross the street at the drop-off level in depatures.

There’s an air-conditioned elevated walkway connecting into Jewel if you are originating from Terminal 2 and 3. If you are coming from Terminal 4, take a bus to Terminal 2 and then take the walkway into Jewel.

Despite how massive the offering is at Jewel, Changi Airport MRT station does not connect to it directly. You’ll have to follow the signs and head up into Terminals 2 or 3 and then take the walkway. Alternatively, you can take a skytrain to Terminal 1 and walk into Jewel.

When the app said that the next Bus 195 to pass by Fort Canning will take 22 minutes (yes, THAT long of an interval), I asked PJ if he wanted to grab a drink at Clarke Quay. Clarke Quay is just a minute away from the bus stop we were at.

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Ordering the same thing with PJ. Win for let me try yours if you try mine too.

A-ha! We should try HEYTEA which serves alcoholic milk tea (how appropriate for the tourist-driven watering hole). Or maybe we could just enjoy brown sugar milk tea.

We walk over to Block A and enter HEYTEA. It’s an Insta-worthy bubble tea establishment that’s brightly lit and has funky tables in the middle. It’s a contrast to the numerous pubs and bars all around which are dimly-lit.

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HEYTEA serving you Apple store vibes in the middle of drunken Clarke Quay.

PJ and I couldn’t really decide between the other exotic flavors available. We ended up getting the EXACT SAME Brown Sugar Bobo Bubble Tea. Bobo, by the way, means dumb in Tagalog. But who cares. We’re here for the SUGAR RUSH. No kidding my songkran diet is completed f already.

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Filled with… youth.

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The alcoholic bubble tea beverages are sold at a separate counter.

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Above 18 only.

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Remind me to try the TIPSY ICE CREAM next time.

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Not quite sure what these are for.

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Clever design if you think about it.

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So deep.

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Brown sugar Bobo!

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Went for “LESS SUGAR” but each gulp of these sugary pearls = SUGAR RUSH.

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At first I thought you could order milk tea towers here. It’s just decor.

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“Make a dent in the universe” and by that, we mean taking photographs of black holes.

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They have a CLAW machine. You can earn tokens when you order MILK TEA.

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You can win stickers and tote bags.

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Clarke Quay.

You can find HEYTEA at Block A in Clarke Quay. Here’s a map for you.

Enjoy!

Don’t you love the sound of sizzling meat and vegetables? Teppanyaki is about the experience of having it cooked right in front of you. It makes me smile haha.

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Express Teppanyaki is located inside VivoCity’s Food Republic.

Happy to discover a teppanyaki place that isn’t far from my house in Bukit Merah! PJ and I usually go to Orchard for our teppanyaki fix (this is the one at the food court of Wisma Atria).

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You get to enjoy watching the cook prepare your meal.

Location. You can find Express Teppanyaki at Food Republic, VivoCity. If you don’t know where Food Republic is, it’s near the Sentosa Express. Within the food court, Express Teppanyaki is on the left side as you enter.

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Express Teppanyaki has three chef’s stations.

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Express Teppanyaki VivoCity’s menu as of April 2019.

Price. We spent about SGD 12-16 each here. I think it’s a little cheaper than the one at Wisma Atria. The offerings are the teppanyaki basics you’d find like sliced beef, prawn, and a few other set meals that are bundled in different ways.

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Sauteed bean sprouts.

Taste. It’s your food court-style teppanyaki so it’s best to manage expectations. Is it good? I’ll say yes. It’s a teppanyaki quick fix. I liked the sliced beef with garlic and chilli bits. This has generous amounts of brown sauce. PJ ordered the king prawn set and I love that more.

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Sliced beef with garlic and chilli. There’s a thick amount of sauce.

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PJ ordered the king prawn and this was delicious.

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Another set of vegetables were served.

Bonus Video with PJ after the jump.

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Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 4 opens October 31, 2017! They built it in under three years. It’s situated where the old Budget Terminal used to be. Terminal 4 or T4 is not connected to Terminals 1 to 3 via the Skytrain service. But shuttles will be provided.

If the video won’t play, you can click to see it on YouTube here.

The open house was a wonderful opportunity to check out the Fast and Seamless Travel (FAST) feature. These include the self check-in (already available at the other terminals), automated Bag-Drop and Boarding Gates with facial recognition technology, and new centralised screening areas.

It is a sparkling new compact terminal that will service budget carriers like AirAsia and Cebu Pacific. It will also cater to Cathay Pacific and Korean Air. Changi Airport is Skytrax World’s Best Airport for five consecutive years. Business Insider describes it as having “received praise from flyers for its beautiful architecture, efficient operation, luxurious amenities, and dining and shopping options.”

Other upcoming megastructures include Project Jewel, a lustrous facility with vortex waterfalls that will bridge the first three terminals together. And a fifth terminal megastructure with a new runway set to open in the next decade.