Friday, September 26, 2008

F1 Singapore


Well, F1 Singapore Night Race has just started with all the racers having their practice run right now at this moment. If you can't wait till tomorrow for the actual race broadcast, why not watch the practice run now online.

Most of the links are obviously not working but there should be at least one that works. There are no commentary for this illegal webcast.

I shall wait for the commentary on TV at 10pm. :D

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Food: Ah Chew Desserts

This isn't really a review as I only tried one dish.

Went to the rather famous Ah Chew Desserts (阿秋甜品) 2 days ago to try the desert.

Time was around 6.45pm, the store wasn't packed yet though there was a queue of china tourists (PR?) tapao (getting some takeaways) some dessert.

Ordered their signature dish, mango and pomelo with sago at $3.80. The serving was typically small. The mango cubes were sweet and delicious though I did not like the ice pieces.

Regretted not ordering steam egg with milk especially when I googled Ah Chew after I got home.

I need to try more mango sago dish from other stalls (eg. Ji De Chi) before I can give my verdict.

Ah Chew Desserts is at 1 Liang Seah Street #01-11 Liang Seah Place

Monday, September 22, 2008

20th Century Boys

20th Century Boys is coming to Singapore screens soon! I saw the poster for it yesterday at Jurong East Mrt Station.


Bad english subs but it's the only one I could find.

20th Century Boys is a best-selling manga by my favourite mangaka, Naoki Urasawa. The movie I have heard that it will stick closely to the manga. Which is great as the manga is EPIC. This is a trilogy.

Short Summary: Millions of people all over the world has succumbed to a virus released by terrorist in 1997. However, a loser by the name of Kenji sees something very familiar in what is happening. He realised belatedly that he has drawn out the entire scenario when he was a child! It is now up to him and his childhood friends to stop the mysterious figure, Friend and his cult from destroying the world.

This is my lousy summary of the thriller film. It is much better than what I had written here and I would strongly encouraged anyone who would like to watch this film to not read the manga now. The spoilers may ruin the twists the plot throws at you.

20th Century Boys would be shown in Singapore GV on the 16th Oct.

Food Review: AMK Hub wanton mee

I went to AMK hub's foodcourt at level 3 to eat recently. Being a wanton mee lover, I tried a noodle stall with nice little FBI Tips flags around it.

Noodles

The speciality of the stall seemed to be the handmade noodles as I saw some articles pasted on the glass panel, exhorting the wonders of it. The noodles is indeed rather Q. But it left a strange taste in my mouth. It is after mixing the noodles with some chilli that it becomes more palatable. The three wantons do not have prawns either.

I feel deceived by the numerous of articles placed all over the stall.

Rating: 5/10

AMK Hub, Food court at Level 3, Unit 9.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Seiran-sai 2008

The school

The Seiran-sai is organised by Waseda Shibuya High School every year. Like any typical Japanese high school summer festival, the students compete to organise the best stall. There were in total thirty-three booths. Each visitor gets two votes.

As we reached there really late at 1pm - it started at 9.30am - my group weren't able to visit everything. The cafe, haunted hospital and science lab are some of the highlights of the festival but we couldn't went for any of them as it was either sold out, super long queue or closed early.

The places we visited were okumuland, Olypico, Nezumiland (mouse land), Midori-hi, photo gallery, Waseshibu, Bazaar, Japanese tea ceremony, art pieces, OC room.

Mouseland

I really enjoyed all the games but the more notable one was Class 1B Mouseland. To enter the games section, the visitors would have to crawl in through a 'mousehole'. My friend and I were both very uncomfortable as we were wearing skirts. Somehow along the way I managed to lose my sandal and my friend bumped herself on the head.

There were 4 games to be played and each sections were nicely separated by black cloth. In fact, I was rather amazed at how the students were are to make full use of all the space such that they even have enough space for the students to rest. The games we played were answering questions (all mouse related), zigsaw puzzle, and finding a capsule with a picture of a mouse and finding a certain balloon while a whole mess of balloons were being stirred around.

Pizza
Throw a pizza through the mouth.

Another class with great games was 2b's Okumuland. While they did not make creative use of the space, the games were interesting enough to excuse it. Moreover, they are very organised unlike one class we went to. The games included dart throwing, hitting the mole, finding the correct ball and throwing (cardboard) pizza.

Mochi
Sakura Mochi: sweet and delicious

We also managed to go for the tea ceremony. I loved it though I had needles in my legs. Ouch! the mochi tasted fantastic! My only grudge was how the I cannot see properly how the student performed the ceremony.

Below are more photos I have taken.

Tea
Green Tea. Bitter but a good contrast with the mochi

Crossdress?
I wonder who forced all the guys to wear female yukata

Artworks
Some of the students' work

Food Map
More students' works

Sales
Items from the Bazaar

The only thing I hated about the place was the lack of food! Almost everything was sold out by the time we went there. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my trip and would most likely return next year. I have to try that haunted hospital!

Some words for people who would like to visit the place next year: It's open to the all members of the public as long as YOU DO NOT COSPLAY OR WEAR GOTHIC/PUNK/LOLITA. Wearing casual clothes and behaving as you would in any other school is strongly advised.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Overshadowed by Lehman Bros and Abdullah

Yip Pin Xiu won gold in the paralympic yesterday. At 58.75 seconds, she was way ahead from the rest of the swimmers. Yet, there was scarcely a celebratory mood in Singapore. The The Straits Times neglected to place her on the front page, preferring instead to devoted a huge section of the space to Lehman Brothers and Malaysian PM Abdullah.

Apart from the tiny she relegated not to the first page of the sports section - that honour belongs to the GP as F1 formulas are more important than any sports - but the first page of the so-called normal sport section.

Singapore finally won a gold, yet the quality of this gold seemed much lesser to its Olympic sliver counterpart. If Abdullah's weakening power are more important than our first gold, there must be something seriously wrong with our society.

Athletes who are disabled should not be penalised. As a gold medal winner, Yip Pin Xiu can only receive S$100,000. A mere 10 percent of the S$1mil that 'normal' athletes can receive if they won gold in the Olympics. Does this mean that she give only 10% of the effort? Just what kind of message are we trying to send?

Think about it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Saving Smartly

Once, one could create an online saving account such as e$aver with Standard Chart Bank at 2.45% interest rate.

That was three years ago. Since then, the interest rate has fallen dismally. This is the best time for borrowers but also the worst time for savers! A check at local bank reveals the following rate: a measly 0.25%! Even e$aver now offers only 0.5% (exclusive of current promotion). Just a slight improvement from the banks.

So what can we do when the banks are giving us peanuts for our money and the inflation is so high? We have to take it upon ourselves to find alternatives.

If you have more than $5000, Maybank online saving account,
isavvy, offers a good deal of 0.88% and thereafter a 6% interest on interest (IOI) every six month. Which mean every six months, maybank will give you 6% on your 0.88% interest. That would be 0.9328% p.a. Much higher than the peanuts the ordinary accounts give.

Another attractive choice is the FairPrice Plus online (FPP) saving accounts. FPP is fairly new to the scene and is a
collaboration between NTUC and OCBC. At 1% p.a, it offers one of the best interest rates for saving accounts right now. If you opt out of paper statement, you can get 10 NTUC linkpoints for every three hundred dollars you have. You can also earn linkpoints when you get spend at certain stores with your FFP debit or credit card.

Finally, we have e$aver by Standard Chart Bank. Normally, it has a 0.5% interest for deposit of less than $50,000. Thankfully for us, they are having a special promotion. From now till the end of the year, you can have 1% in interest if the average daily balance for a month is higher than the comparison month. BUT, you can only sign up for e$aver if you're 21 years old and above.

A short summary:
isavvy - 0.9328% (IOI inclusive, for accounts of $5000 to $49,999)
Fairprice Plus - 1.0% and linkpoints
e$aver - 1.0/1.18/1.30% (promotion rate for below 50k, 50k to $199,999, above $200,000)

These are the three more well-known online saving accounts, offering better interest than the ordinary saving accounts. I personally recommend people who has low fund reserves or are below 21 to consider placing their money in there. However, they are not a replacement for investment.
The high inflation rates (6-7%) we suffered from will corrode the value of the money if we just leave it in a bank (0.25%). This is just a stop measure that we can take to protect our money partially. It is better to do something than not do nothing.

Note: Information is accurate as of 15 September 2008.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Makan places

  1. Seoul Yummy
  2. Mariners Corner (no svc charge)
  3. Robert's Coffee
  4. Kuriya's lunch set
  5. Amirah's Grill's buffet lunch set (no gst)
  6. Hans (yes I still have yet to eat there)

Food Review: Hua Yi Kitchen

Dried Beef Noodles
stewed beef dried noodles

Tucked away in a corner at the International Building, it's hard to find the shop unless you know beforehand that it is there. Hua Yi Kitchen serves Shanghainese food, I went there on the recommendation of my cousin.

Food
I must have ordered the wrong dishes for I did not feel the food is worth any recommend. The stewed beef dried noodles (see above) was not to my liking. It was too salty though they did serve a healthy serving of the stewed beef. The noodles, which if I am not wrong are hand made by them, are thick and filling. There is also a small lump of salted vegetables.

Wanton Noodles
Wanton mee


The wanton noodles on the other hand was considerably much better. It comes with seaweed, 5 wantons and some lettuces. The soup was ordinary but drinking it made me thirsty.

Ambiance
Not much of an atmosphere since it is a tiny eating place.

Service
Very brisk but we were the only customers there at 2pm.

Price
The prices seemed to have increased since my cousin last visited it as the two dishes now cost $6 each which is quite typical of food of this sort cost. A bowl of hot and sour cost around $2.50.

Rating: 5.5/10

Like I say, I seemed to have ordered the wrong dishes. Perhaps, the guo tie or xiao long bao will be a much better choice?

Hua Yi Kitchen is located at #02-11 International Building 360 Orchard Road 238869

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Food Review: White Dog Cafe

Strange chicken soup

I have already been to White Dog Cafe once before but did not write a review as I did not have my camera along. This review is for the lunch set.

note: dish names may be wrong as I ate there last week.

Food

Rather disappointing. The chicken consommé did not look like how it was depicted in the photo that the waitress shown us. To order creamy mushroom or seafood soup, you will have to top up with $4. The garlic bread is also too small.

Pork

I ordered grilled pork with buttered rice. If you want to change your rice to french fries, you will need to top up with $1 or $2. The serving was amazing small. Perhaps it was due to the fact that I'm famished but the portion of pork and rice look really small to me. The taste of the pork was forgettable.

Fish

My partner ordered Breaded Fish with buttered rice. When dipped into the garlic cream sauce provided, the breaded fish tasted surprising good. If you do not know what to order at White Dog Cafe during lunch, order the breaded fish.

Ambiance
I have only been there during lunch. But of the two times I' have been there, I saw families with children there. This is a family-friendly restaurant. If you would like to have a romantic time with your loved one, perhaps going at night would be better.

Service
Bad. The service of this restaurant goes down hill whenever there's a crowd. I suspect this is due to the lack of staff. There always more plates to be served than free staff to go around. The soup was served after an amazing long time. Not only that the staffs forgotten to give us a jar of water! As we were in a rush to catch a movie, we just finished our meal quickly and drank our own water bottle.

Price
The price is fairly reasonable. Everything on the lunch set menu goes for $10.80 (gst and service charge not included) with the soup and a choice of tea or coffee provided. That is assuming if you do change your soup or rice.

I would return only because this is one of the most affordable restaurant in vivo city and that I have yet to try the baked rice.

Rating: 5.5/10

Friday, September 12, 2008

Money Eating Habits

"I don't spend much...", that's what most people say but in reality they do spend a lot!

Basic expenses such as transport, food and bills are unavoidable but what about the non-basic items?

For me however, the biggest culprit is food. Every month I'll go to restaurants at least twice. Higher tier fastfood chains such as Subway, Carl Jr and Pepperlunch are also favourites of mine that are patronised at least twice a month as well. Fastfood? Once a week.

sushi
Oh sushi! How can I resist you?

The next biggest culprit is books. I used to spend $10 dollars per week on comics. Fortunately I have stopped buying comics and have even sold a couple of series at a huge loss. Unfortunately, I still have not shake off my wallet killing habit of buying novels. I must have spend at least a thousand on my books though I do not regret it yet.

Books
My upper 2 shelves for my books. I have another shelf that is not photographed...

Third biggest expense is clothings. Even though I shopped at no brand outlets, I still spend a lot on clothes. The worst thing? I often buy on impulse. Meaning, whatever I buy will end up rotting in the wardrobe. I have been trying very very hard to curb this habit but have so far failed.

These are the three major expenses for me. As a student who lives with her family, I spend far less than someone who is working but more than what a person of my status should do.

So here's some basic tips in helping you (and myself) to save!

1.Keep yourself healthy! My trip to doc yesterday robbed me of $36.
2. Bringing a water bottle to lunch/school/work. Unless you are buying food that comes with free beverage, a water bottle will definitely save money for you.
3. Take public transport. Cabs are so expensive nowadays. Don't take unless you really need it!
4. Do an account of everything you spend. I know how hard this can be (I done it before!) But you can cut the amount of money you spend when you see exactly how much you spend!
5. Borrow books. Instead of buying books, borrow them! Or reserve them when you can't find them.
6. Wait for warehouse sales. You can get items at less than half the price at warehouse sales.
7. Buy online. Auction or even US websites can be far cheaper than buying physically. Be sure to use comgateway or similar alternatives if you buy from US sites.
8. Deposit your money smartly. If you are adverse to risk, you can try placing your money in time deposit or in banks with higher interest rates.

Hope everyone can benefit from these simple tips!

A Taste of Nightmare

I had food poisoning. It is one of the worst experience in my life and I don't ever want to go through it again. Which reminds me - I forgot to take my medicine!

It all started when my aunt recommended the claypot bee hoon store. You see, she suggested that we buy an additional serving of the soup and freeze it until we find the time to cook it with our own crab.

It was a great suggestion but it also resulted in us having food poisoning. Us being my sister and I. My mum decided that too much crab was bad for health so she cooked fish and prawns with noodles for us. It tasted fantastic but that was also the start of the nightmare.

Waking up at 2am with the worst stomach ache? Check
Being intimate with the loo? Check
Vomit for 6 or 7 times? Check
Vomit until the bile appears? Check
No energy to move anywhere? Check

I still can't fathom why my mum, who had eaten that potent dish as well, did not suffer from anything. Or indeed, why my aunt and her family did not suffer from any form of backlash as well.

Now, the mere mention of the claypot cab bee hoon makes me quavers in fear. I don't ever want to drink the soup again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Food Review: Marutama Ramen vs Tampopo

Tampopo

I had heard raves about the ramen at Marutama Ramen and Tampopo. Well, I just had to try both!

Food
Marutama Ramen:
If you ordered the basic ramen, you will only have 1 slice of char siew with some sea weed. Nonetheless, the char siew was incredibly tender and scrumptious. If you want additional topping, which I highly recommend, please get more char siew! As there wasn't much ingredient, the chicken based soup was the star of the night. It was tasty and yet as salty as I thought. Definitely one of the best ramen I have eaten.

Besides ordering the ramen, we also ordered a dango thingie which I have forgotten the name. The little meat ball has chilli infused in it. I felt disappointed when I ate it. It wasn't worth the money I spend to eat.

Tampopo:

I ordered the original Kyushu Ramen while my partner ordered the Black Pig Shabu Ramen. The ramen comes with one big slice of char siew, one lump of roes, one stewed egg and some fungus. The soup, which I believed is the same for both the Kyushu Raman and Shabu Ramen, is supposedly boiled over 2 days. And it shows - the soup is sweet and yummy with the roes giving it even more of a flavour. However, I find it be excessively salty. The char siew is also not on par as the one from Marutama. I did like the egg though. The yolk literally flows down my throat.

Ramen with Roes


The Black Pig Shabu Ramen comes with the shabu shabu and some green lettuce. I find the shabu shabu to be very delicious and the soup even tastier than the Kyushu Ramen, with the flavour of the meat in the soup. It is however as salty as the Kyushu Ramen.

Ramen

Aside from the ramen, we also ordered the California Maki. It was not bad but I have ate better.

Maki


Ambiance
Marutama Ramen:
The restaurant is actually quite small with windows looking into the mall. That also means that nosy shoppers will stare at you as they walk pass! It was rather comfortable and during the time I spent there, I spied several groups of people eating with their friends.

Tampopo:
Unlike Marutama, I went there during lunch. It wasn't that crowded as it was the week day. the ambiance is generally alright though I think the branch at Central has far more privacy.


Service
Marutama Ramen:
In order to make their service more efficient, at Marutama Ramen, each table had its own flask of water. The waitress will provide you with two cups and you can pour as much or as little water as you want. There is also a box of tissue. If the water is not your cup of tea (pardon the pun) you can ask the waitress to get you a cup of green tea for free. I am not sure if they would refilled that cup of tea though.

Tampopo:
There was a man that helped us to refill our green tea every time a mouthful was gone. Perhaps this only happens when the restaurant isn't as busy but I was impressed. The service as a whole was good.


Price
I find that the price for ramen in Singapore is generally quite expensive. A chicken-based ramen for $12 at Marutama Ramen is not very worth it. I don't feel full after eating it. The Kyushu Ramen cost around $13.60. It is more feeling than Marutama Ramen though the sushi may have contributed to it.

Ratings
Marutama Ramen: 6.5/10
Tampopo: 7/10

Tampopo wins with its shabu shabu ramen and its tasty broth.

Marutama Ramen is at 6 Eu Tong Sen Street #03-90/91 The Central @ Clarke Quay.
Tampopo is at 177 River Valley Road #01-23/24 Liang Court Shopping Centre.

Food Review: AMK Crab Bee Hoon

Crab Bee Hoon Soup

My mother requested for takeout for her birthday. My sister agreed and bought the famous Claypot Beehoon with Crab at ang mo kio.


Noodle
Noodles!

The day before we had already tried Chilli Crab and Buttered Crab from the House of Seafood @180 at Serangoon (near the circle). I have to say this is better than the crabs there! As the crabs are female, the meat is incredibly sweet and tasty. The soup was even more so due to the roe! The size of the crabs are much bigger than those you find at ordinary hawker centre.

Included with the dish is of course the bee hoon! The amount of bee hoon surprised us as the crab bee hoon soup we ordered is meant for 2 person. What we had however was bee hoon enough for 5 people to eat in small bowls.

Chilli Crab
YUMMMY

Chilli crab was delicious as well. The size of pincers was huge! The chilli is spicy enough however it tastes like the sauce commonly used else where. It is only alright when dipped in with the mantou. As we did not expect the crabs to be so big, we couldn't finish the chilli crab. -_-'

Scallop
My sister also ordered scallops with broccoli and thai-style sweet and sour fried chicken. Scallops with broccoli was only okay. The scallops were not soft enough though the vegetables were delicious. The fried chicken (which I do not have a photo of here), was succulent and mouth-watering. The sauce was just the right amount of sweetness and sourness. In fact, when you dipped crab meat into the sauce, the crab meat tasted even better!

Address: Should be Uncle Leong Seafood at Ang Mo Kio Blk 232 Ave 3 #01-1194

Go there to satisfy your crab cravings. Unless you want pepper crab, then proceed to House of Seafood @180 .

Rating: 8/10

Movie Review: Wall-E


Just go watch it. It's good.

Some gripes: Ending is too happy. And erm, ignore the fact that the robots have feelings.

Rating: 7.5/10