Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hello all!

Just a quick note to say I'm still alive and well- although I've succumbed to a cold. I always seem to be getting sick when the weather changes :( Work has picked up this week so I'm getting a little busy but I should be back soon! BRB!

I want to getaway on a holiday- thinking tropical places like Hawaii or Bali..... think beach, think sun, think tan, think splashing around in water, think running around in a bikini yay so fun! Only thing is, I'll be busy right up till end of March. Maybe Easter Break? But that's so long away urgh. Omgosh that's like 6 more months 0_0.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Trip down under (no, not that little piece of land called Australia)

When I was younger my family and I used to travel to Singapore every year and I always looked forward to the trips because it meant we could stay in hotels. I LOVE staying in hotels. :D :D :D I believe they add that 'little bit more' to the holiday experience and can sometimes even make or break a holiday. We used to stay at the Westin everytime we were there and I was always excited during each visit because it was the tallest hotel in Singapore then, and what's not to like about fluffy beds and pillows and 'self-cleaning' rooms? Leave it in a mess in the morning and when you return in the afternoon everything is back in its place! Tee hee. 

Then the exchange rate started to get out of control and it became too expensive to head to Singapore. What's great about the place is the fact that we can easily get tasty pork ribs everywhere. We would always takeaway a tupperware of pork ribs from one of the supermarkets and slowly savour it on the drive back to KL. I say drive because this was before Tiger (DO NOT EVER FLY TIGER), Air Asia and other budget airlines. 

Mom's birthday this year fell on the 10.10.10, so I decided to treat the whole family to an (almost)all-expense paid trip to Singapore- from flights to accommodation to food. [Ooooh my bleeding wallet]. First was deciding where to stay and after much research (by the boy obviously, my definition of research is Google> pick top result> the end), we opted to stay at Grand Park Orchard. Newly renovated, it was formerly known as the Crown Prince and was due to have a grand opening on the same day as mom's birthday. As they were still in the midst of launching their hotel, there were a couple of things they could have improved on- for example, we checked in around 4pm and one of our rooms wasn't available yet as it was still being cleaned. 

The rooms were a little dark, but the bed was SO soft and fluffy and HUGE. I could roll from one end of the bed to the other and it would take me 10 minutes lol. The pillows were great to snuggle into, the amenities were great, staff (especially the porters and lift people) were really polite and attentive- all we needed to do when we required a taxi was just let them know and they'd hail one for us, sometimes even hailing one by standing on the side of the street; and the hotel's location was PERFECT. They have incorporated a couple of 'boutique' touches to the rooms, one of the more notable ones would be the painting, pictured below, on one of the walls in the room. The hotel was located opposite Takashimaya and next to Paragon. In a nutshell, it was smack bang in the middle of Orchard Road- which is essentially what you want because after a hard day's work walking around Orchard Road and doing heavy-duty shopping (work those biceps!), the last thing you want to do is to have to walk 10kms back to your hotel. 

The boy's sister who works in Singapore, and one of my Singaporean friends recommended having a meal at Jumbo seafood @ Dempsey so off we went for dinner.
 We were seated inside, right below the fish tanks and next to the kitchen so we had a great view of everything!

Hahah mom hiding behind me so I would look like a giant beside her. I think it worked 0_o

Deep fried whole scallop stuffed with chinese pear and plum wine glaze. Sounds like a good combination, no? It tasted a bit like dim sum to me though.

 Fresh lobster with dragonfruit and lumpfish caviar. I like how they mixed lobster with a refreshing fruit, and added caviar for some taste.

Pork spare rib (which was humongous!) with chrysanthemum sauce or something. I can't remember what it was. Pretty ordinary as we couldn't taste the chrysanthemum, plus since we were having Tony Roma's the next day we shouldn't have ordered this!

Award-winning Singapore Chilli Crab. The crab was sooooooo fleshy and fresh. It was amazing. Even my parents said they haven't had such a juicy crab before. The sauce could have been better if spicier, but still was tasty when eaten with the mantous.

We were so stuffed after dinner we couldn't even eat dessert.*burp

Dempsey was bustling with nightlife and numerous restaurants and eateries. I wonder why I hadn't heard of the place before? The pictures below are dark, but this place reminds me of Bangsar at night.

We didn't have time to visit Marina Bay Sands (next visit I will! Most of the Singaporeans we met were so courteous and polite, I can't wait to visit again) so a picture of it in the distance is good enough haha.
The other side of the bay. See the teeny merlion?

Random giant avocado outside ION Orchard. Is there a reason behind this? Oh wait, it looks more like a pear! Hahaha oops!
 There's a massive variety of food in Singapore- the food courts are testament to this. And the food in Singapore is so cheap! I wouldn't mind coming to live in Singapore for a year or two in the future. This was some steamed black sesame cake with mochi and red beans.
Look what I found! Frozen yoghurt with mochi- reminiscent of Pinkberry in the US!!! Yay!
 nom....mMMmmmm! I don't know how to load .gifs onto blogspot, otherwise this is a pretty cool gif :D

The next morning we got to go to MOS Burger! Seafood clam chowder- surprisingly good and full of clams for fast-food chain standard.
 Teriyaki beef burger with rice for the boy with a predominantly asian taste in food.
 Spicy MOS burger for me!
 And ice-cream, yes, ice-cream for breakfast. Really, the food here is good for a fast-food chain.

One day we were walking around Orchard Road minding our own business when we came across a bunch of people dressed in traditional Chinese costumes promoting their restaurant. Keen to check it out, we found out it was for Paradise Dynasty, which created Xiao Loong Baos in 8 different flavours! Once again, we were seated next to the kitchen- the restaurant gods must've been smiling down on me yay.

The order in which the Xiao Loong Bao must be consumed. I liked the Black Truffle one best. The others were just gimmicky, and you couldn't dip it in vinegar and ginger so you could enjoy each one's true flavour. That's a crime! Xiao Loong Baos usually go hand-in-hand with vinegar and ginger :)

The other food we ordered were tasty as well. 
Radish pastry.
 La Mian in pork bone soup with preserved vegetables and shredded pork. So full of flavour- yum!
 Oh this was HORRIBLE! lol- I think it was some souffle thing with red bean. 
I had a really good time in Singapore compared to the previous time. I bought so many cosmetics imported from Japan in Watsons *in cosmetics heaven. Our Watsons do not even come close in terms of the products they sell. The hotel, the food and the company made the whole trip really enjoyable. More holidays please! :D

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Hey sexy girl from Kuala Lumpur....."

So tonight I head back to Melbourne after a week and a half holidaying in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. I have to say, I had a good time hanging out with family and enjoying the local cuisine. When I was still studying in Melbourne, every single time I came back for visits during the winter and summer breaks I always had to go to every shopping centre at least once. Pavillion, 1Utama, Sunway Pyramid, KLCC, Lot 10, Sungai Wang....I think it was some weird habit of mine to comb every shopping centre lest I miss out on buying something. 

This time around though, I only headed to a couple of shopping centres- clothes have become increasingly ugly. I told my mom one day, 'If only they stopped selling ugly clothes, people would stop wearing them.' Hahahah. With so many blogshops up and running nowdays offering unique designs from (mostly) Bangkok, I believe, I've resorted to purchasing online instead of visiting individual boutiques. I didn't really buy much this trip, but I did spend way too much *gulp. 

My second day back here we went to Rakuzen for some Japanese. I couldn't eat much so I just had salmon with yam because even though it was 7pm here, I was on 10pm Melbourne time. Which also means I've been eating 'supper' everyday since I haven't really adjusted to the time here. An extra 5kgs- here I come. I hope my clothes still fit me.

The food was really, really fresh and this is really important in Japanese cuisine. I guess this is what made the food there really awesome.

And then of course, there's always my grandparents' irreplaceable home cooked food.
 Mouth-watering sour and spicy Assam Fish
Steamed Herbal Chicken
What a typical meal looks like at my grandparents' place- YUM!
Local kuih-muih which is impossible to find overseas.

 Cute little toothpick holder with toothpicks coming out of its butt. My mom had trouble recognising what it was initially. She picked it up and said 'Octopus?' Hahahahahah. In her defense, she did only pick up the head without the butt and was holding it vertically.

And then it was off to Klang for authentic Bak Kut Teh for breakfast! Yes, it's typical breakfast fare for residents of Klang...'so when in Klang, do like they do'...:)

Boiling hot water in a kettle- situated right next yo your table for convenience. Pretty handy, as I like my tea hot!

Delicious Klang Bak Kut Teh- it literally translates to pork spare ribs in tea.
 If you like your spare parts ... intestines, cartilege etc then you'll be very happy here.
 When you've stuffed yourself with so much meat you need some enoki mushrooms to balance it all out.
Off to KL city for some indulgence- where I did this *click. The skyline of KL, with the KL tower on the left, and the Petronas Twin Towers on the right.
And also for some hawker food that are beyond famous with the locals.
 How can one not have nasi lemak ? Doesn't look appetising, but tastes better than it looks!

Parity baby!

The AUD has finally done it. After months of speculation, an interesting/ intense week of watching forex and differing opinions between analysts etc, we have finally hit parity. How awesome is that? :D The last time the dollar matched the greenback dollar for dollar was in 1982 so it's been a few (long) years coming now. Ok, maybe closer to decades...

It was trading as high as $1.0006 before midnight but has since fallen back to below $1. Still great cause for celebration- people will finally get to pop the champagne they've been talking about. Parity parties everywhere- wheee!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Uh oh...

I lied in my previous post. My fickleness reared its head again.