Oh man… my term break is coming to an end! Term 2 starts coming Mon. But I am not complaining cos it has been a REALLY good break. I’d never felt more relaxed and carefree. Most colleagues whom I had met for lunch in these 3 weeks (yes, 3 weeks!! Whhoooaatt!!) had commented that I looked rejuvenated and happy. Well, not for long cos term 2 is gonna erase all this radiance and bring back those furrowed brows!! Arrgghh!!
Had also managed to meet up with school friends whom I’ve not seen in years. When I’m working, it’s always about being too busy and when there’s spare time, I don’t want to do anything except my own things. Now that I have some spare time, there’s no excuse not to keep up with these friendships on grounds of having no time. Bleah… These are some things in life that matters and should not be taken for granted.
During this break, some of my coursemates had flew back home, some on vacation and there are some who remained here. Like 2 of my project group mates, Charlie and Denise. Being ever so hospitable (haha), I had offered to take them around Chinatown and Kampong Glam, both sites rich in the history, heritage and culture of Singapore’s past…
We started off with lunch at Maxwell Food Centre. I have been here several times but can you believe I have NEVER tried the famous Tian Tian chicken rice and Zhen Zhen Porridge?? There are other good stalls too but there are only 3 of us and are not big eaters.
Many would say that Tian Tian chicken rice is overrated. I think if the price of 1 plate ($5) is reduced to a more palatable (depending on how you view it) $3 plus or $4, maybe that view may change. I had read reviews that their chicken rice is preferred over the chicken. Perhaps the chicken was cooked well that day cos I’d find the meat tender and not dry whereas the rice is a tad too oily for my liking. I like chicken rice but not crazy over it so I typically don’t eat much of it. However, for a better price and good (some may say, better) taste, I would recommend the “Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice” at the basement of Katong Shopping Centre.
Zhen Zhen’s porridge has a unique texture. Quite similar to instant porridge. Of course, the taste and quality is way better than the instant processed version. Just that I felt the rice grains seem extremely fine, as if they were blended to smaller bits before boiling them. Anyway, it is not a problem for me cos the porridge is still good and laden with ingredients.
After lunch, we walked briskly to Sago Lane where I wanna introduce them to my favourite egg tart shop. I can never remember the name of the shop except that it is along Sago Lane. Love the buttery flaky tart and the rich flavour of the egg tart. Thankfully, we didn’t overeat at Maxwell, otherwise no space for these tarts!
Maybe I had mentioned before in an old blog entry but anyways… I did a project on Chinatown for one of my history modules in university, and hence started my interest, and a soft spot (for nostalgic reasons) for this place. Even though much of it is very commercialised and many shops are selling stuff targeting tourists. Like those cheesy “Singapore is a Fine Country” T-shirts.
The weather was freaking hot that day. Actually, it has always been hot and worse, if hazy too. The “tourist guide” in me cannot take it. Need. ICE COLD drink. NOW. And air-con too, of course. #weakme.
After Charlie gets his shampoo from one of those toiletries shop in People’s Park Complex, we took a train to Telok Ayer, check out the Thian Hock Keng temple and then shield ourselves from the heat in one of the small cafes in that area. Too hot!!
It’s nice to just chill and have a cuppa and a chat. This helps us get to know each other better. Afterall, we had technically worked with each other, attended lessons together and even sat with each other in class for just 1.5 months. It’s actually not that long a duration but at least I do feel more comfortable with them now. To the extent of trying to be a tourist-guide wannabe and FAIL and end up hibernating in a cafe instead.. Haaa…
Ok…. it’s time to head down to Kampong Glam. It’s great that there’s a direct line from Telok Ayer to Bugis.
Had recalled the excitement upon discovering the street art by Ernest Zacharevic in Penang so I wanna relive that excitement again while checking out his artwork, even though not a lot, opposite Victoria Street. I especially like the ones with some accompanying props like supermarket trolleys stuck to the wall, which gives the effect of the kids sitting in them.
We had checked out more beautiful, most of them restored and repainted, shophouses along the small lanes nearby.
And then the magnificent looking Sultan Mosque (“Masjid Sultan”)…
We can’t miss one of my fave lanes- Haji Lane, filled with small cafes and eclectic shops. I love to browse through these shops but never buy anything. There’s a really cute pug in one of the shops. They have such worried expressions that it’s funny.
Dinner is at Zam Zam, famous for their briyani and murtabak. Vit, another project mate, had joined us after work.
If Tian Tian chicken rice is overhyped, so is Zam Zam.. Or maybe it’s because I do not really appreciate Indian food. But the fact is, I don’t find the briyani very flavourful. However, the biggest disappointment is the deer meat murtabak. It sounds cruel to eat Bambi but deer meat is really delicious and tender, and pretty common in the menus of Chinese zichar eateries. For this murtabak, the deer meat is minced and fried so the texture is rather dry so much so that I think it taste just like mutton except that the latter is cheaper. Hmm… I feel a little… cheated…
Well, we had compensated the lacklustre dinner with….3 scoops of Gelato and waffle!!! Initially, we wanted to check out some new Korean churros place but it was mad packed. Talking about the craze for novelty. But gelato and waffle are good too. Slurp…
What a day but it’s a good and fun one. Being local doesn’t mean we are familiar with some of these key attractions or heritage sites so it’s really nice to also visit them once in a while.