Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rex Curry Puffs

Right across the road from Rex Cinema was where it all started for Old Chang Kee. We all know what happened to them - they are now an empire, sprouting all over the island, feeding the snack hungry masses. There is of course an Old Chang Kee at the entrance of Rex (see top picture of my previous post).

But I was interested in a coffee shop across the road called Selera's that is also famous for their curry puffs. Theirs are slightly cheaper than Old Chang Kee at only $1. They too have a variety of snacks - perfect for our 3 hour long movie.

Bunches of bananas for goreng pisang

They have mutton curry puffs too but I ordered the usual chicken. Very good. They are generous with the stuffing which is moist & not dry.

Selera Restaurant
15 MacKenzie Rd


Go watch the 3 idiots. I highly recommend it.

We're going through a bit of a Bollywood phase. First the Merchants of Bollywood. Then the 3 idiots. My Indian colleague suggested it. To top it off, it was showing at the newly reopened Rex Cinema.

While maintaining the 70s look, the cinema is beautifully refurbished with state of the art sound system ( we were a little blown away by the sound ). Not forgetting the crowd it caters to, there was a sign reminding one not to spit betel nut.

The cinema aside, the movie is excellent. Watch it now. The Bollywood fan sat through the 3 hour movie without fidgeting nor complaining. The movie apparently set a box office record in India - not bad in an industry that releases 800 movies a year.

It's a story of 3 friends who met at a College of Engineering & how one who is not afraid to go against convention, inspired the other 2. It has the usual song & dance sequence but it's the story & the acting that will leave you laughing, crying & clapping.

It has been a while since I lost myself in the magic of a movie....and I now have a crush on Aamir Khan.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Getting ready for Chinese New Year

I'm not the kiasu type so you know I'm very excited about Chinese New Year when I started getting ready 2 weeks ago. In fact, right after we took down the Christmas tree, I was already planning what to get for the upcoming festivities. We went down to Far East Flora to buy kumquat plants & pussy willows only to be told it was too early LOL.

But we managed to get a bunch of deco stuff - lanterns, Chinese lucky characters, red streamers....The Girl surprised me by saying that "Nien" is afraid of red so that's why we have to get all things red - I most certainly didn't teach her that.

Where else but Chinatown to stock up. It was nice to see that they were all ready. I still didn't manage to get my kumquats & pussy willows but they seem to have everything else. Only around CNY, do we get to see the appearance of waxed duck & waxed liver - yeah !

My mother is addicted to these stuff. We both prefer the black rather than the smaller sunflower seeds. She is very particular & would only buy them from her favorite store.

Chinatown is buzzing, of course. We had gone to buy The Girl her chinese outfit & found ourselves browsing & walking around at the shops. There were 2 shops that specialised in chopsticks.
Not sure I want to have chopsticks with our family name.

More as a display item cos I doubt anybody nowadays would use it for it's designated purpose.

These stone carved owls are just too cute

Chinatown is interesting if you are an architecture buff.
From beautifully restored old shophouses to

the legendary People's Park Complex

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Entertainment Tonight

Remember my rave reivew of Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe's Journey to the West.

I don't talk about it much on the blog but we actually watch a lot of shows - I'm not referring to the movies. About twice a month. It may not seem like a lot to some of you but for someone who has missed out the past 5 years she was in France, this is entertainment heaven.

I'm going to review some of our other favorite shows of the year - the most recent being The Merchants of Bollywood. My Indian colleague was surprised to hear that I bought tickets for this show. Ha he hasn't met Bollywood's biggest fan - The Girl.

I loved it. So what if I don't know what they are singing, the music is catchy, the costumes glamorous (they had SO many changes), high energy level and above all, great dance moves. Be it free form Western or classical Indian dance - they were just a joy to watch. And the audience was lapping it all up, cheering & clapping all the way. Now that's entertainment folks.

Our number one favorite show goes to Korean comedic martial arts group, Jump ! Be sure to catch them the next time they come to town. It had us in stitches the entire time. There was audience participation, fancy martial arts moves but mostly, they were just plain funny.

They built the Arena Stadium Waterfront just for Reverie - Cirque on Ice. Although it is touted as Cirque du Soleil on ice, the show is really made up of 2 parts - skating & acrobatic performances. After the show, I was surprised to read that there is a storyline so needless to say, it was inconsequential compared to the spectacle of acrobatic, effects & costumes.

If you remember that we met in Havana, it should be no surprise that we went to watch the Afro Cuban All Stars. I love Latin Music. The musicians were very old school, performing in suits & wing tipped shoes. By the 3rd song, the audience was already spilling over to the aisles dancing & swaying to the music.

Sowesto - a South African Gospel Choir was another of our favorite. Their colorful traditional dress, animated dancing, drums & perfect harmony will make a believer of you. It is a very powerful & inspiring performance. You have to watch it live to feel their energy & passion.

There are shows that I pick because it will appeal to The Girl. In general, I don't like to watch kiddie shows because well, they tend to be very kiddie & I don't fancy watching a bunch of cartoon characters parading on stage. Those productions are very popular here but I guess I'm just fussy about what we watch.

But there are a couple of shows that appealed to both young & old. One of them is Duck & Dive. I made a note of the production company & wanted to make sure I catch their other performances. The storyline borrows from 2 classics - the ugly duckling & the frog prince. The music score & lyrics are catchy. The acting credible. More importantly, we all enjoyed it.

Despite being disappointed with SingDollar Musical, I wanted to give our local productions another try. Thank god Beauty & the Beast delivered. It was so much fun. Over the top costumes & a dialogue sprinkled with local humor. Very kitschy. Very fun. Even though this is not your typical children's show, The Girl loved it & this is exactly the type of show that we love - something we can watch as a family.

So dear readers, what about you ? Anything you watched that inspired you & that you would recommend ?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Nasi Padang @ Kampong Glam

There are lots of nasi padang shops in that area but this came highly recommended. We liked it so much, we went back again the next weekend. X is a big fan. I've had better nasi padang but the food here is fresh, good quality & most of all, inexpensive. Both times, our meal of 5-6 different dishes didn't cost us more than S$20 (including drinks) in total.

You also can't beat this place for authenticity. The patrons are mostly malays & the ladies are all beautifully dressed - perhaps they had just come from the mosque. Reminds me of this place up in Harlem that we used to go for weekend brunch. Right after church it would be packed with everyone in their Sunday best - great people watching, reason enough to make the trek to Harlem. Anyway, I digressed but you get what I'm trying to say.

Perhaps it's for that reason, the place is perpetually packed. You just have to brave the crowds, find a table & then send someone to stand in line to order the food. Tell them how many in your party & they will scoop the portion accordingly.

The tantalising sweets are all self service.
Pick what you want & then pay at the cashier.

Beef rendang, eggplant (at the back) that I always order double portion

Sayor Lodeh & Fried Chicken (the non spicy dish for The Girl)

We don't eat with our hands but if you do, this kettle of water is for washing your hands after eating.

Hjh Maimunah
11 & 15 Jalan Pisang
6291 3132

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cool & Glam Kampong Glam

Some weekends, I just want to be a tourist in my own country.

I go to the Singapore Tourism Board website (no kidding) & I browse the sections What to Do & What to See. Don't let anyone tell you Singapore is boring. There are lots to do if you make the effort.

So there I was looking at Ethnic Quarters on the site & realised that I haven't been to Kampong Glam in a while. A friend had recommended a restaurant in that area so with food as another motivation, that was where we headed one weekend.

I was in for quite a surprise !

The beautiful & elegant Sultan Mosque

Visitors are allowed into the mosque but the usual dress code applies & they have garments available if you are not. I'm always attracted to spiritual places.

This is the Malay Heritage Museum. I was disappointed with the collection but do go to check out the building which was the Sultan's Palace & the beautifully maintained garden.

The Girl on a buggy on display on the grounds of the Malay Heritage Museum

If you're looking for fabrics, Arab Street is the place to go. The whole street is devoted to textile shops & ornaments for making a outfit - lace, diamantes, sequins etc. Too bad I can't sew to save my life.

We had a lot of fun window shopping. Bussorah Street, in front of the Mosque is now a pedestrian mall. Haji Lane is now home to lots of small boutiques. I want to go back again to troll the shops when I don't have The Girl on tow.

A cool looking shop on Haji Lane

Sleepy Sam's - a bed & breakfast right smack in the middle of Kampong Glam

The little poser

I love how they've restored the old shop houses in that area into really quirky & chic retail outlets

There is also a real retro feel about the place. Can't remember the name of this shop but it's on Bussorah Mall - remember the chatek, those paper balls that we have to blow up, the marbles....there I go again, being all nostalgic.

Friday, January 8, 2010

MacRitchie Reservoir

We've been going to the Botanical Gardens so often, it was time to hunt for new picnic grounds. When X goes to MacRitchie for his jogs, we tag along.

MacRitchie holds a special place in my heart. During my school days, I used to go there several times a week for our canoeing sessions. Gosh I remember carrying the canoes into the water, rowing for hours, cleaning the canoes, carrying them back to the rack & doing our circuit training - I've lost count of the number of times I've ran around the reservoir. Those were the days....

I am happy to see that you can now rent canoes or kayaks for S$15 per hour. It's not quite like the Ardeche river but the water's calm & a fun way to explore the reservoir.

There's wild life too - we caught this monkey chewing on a ketchup satchet left behind in a KFC box while another one was munching on a piece of chicken. Why would anybody leave that behind ? Another time we were there, some monkeys grabbed food from a stroller.

There are lots of signs reminding us not to feed the monkeys. Once we start, they would expect to be fed & be agressive but worse of all, they won't learn how to look for food. So please don't leave food around for them.

We saw this lizard just lazing next to a walking trail. We're reminded that MacRitchie is a Nature Reserve & not just a park.

Having said that, we still enjoy picnics at the Botanical Gardens. Nobody seem to picnic at MacRitchie. Besides ourselves, we have yet to see anybody lay out a mat & have a picnic there.

But it's clearly popular with the joggers & the walkers. We love taking the various trails. We have yet to go to the Tree Top Walk but will do that one day. The walkways are well paved & well posted. You can choose the ones along the water or into the reserve with many different distances to choose from.

That LikeaBike is a hand me down from her cousin.

When we moved, I didn't pack her bicycle & thought of buying one here. However my brother offered her this after my nephew starting cycling without training wheels from using this Like a Bike. It's ingenious cos learning to ride is about balance & not about peddling so this is perfect.

This zig zag bridge hasn't changed one bit

It's awesome that we live close to town & yet within minutes from a Nature Reserve & a Botanical Gardens - a little bit of nature when you need it. Who says Singapore is a concrete jungle ?