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Jan 18, 2015

Singapore Travelogue: Ya Kun Kaya Toast 亞坤 - Arab Street - Haji Lane - IndoBox (21 Jun 2014)

After Day 1 of Food Hunting and Attractions, a good rest was warranted. My stay at Harbour Ville Hotel was decent, albeit the location was quite out of the way (either you take a taxi or a bus, followed by MRT to major attractions). If I had a chance to choose again, I would definitely pick a hotel close to MRT stations (though it usually requires higher premium)

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9.30am: Almost Full House at Ya Kun Kaya Toast
My 2nd day in Singapore started with a rather common breakfast choice in any kopitiam. Of toast and eggs, Ya Kun Kaya Toast 亞坤 was my pick of the day. It certainly has garnered quite some fame itself for the coffee shop was almost full house at 9.30am. Despite so, I was lucky to get a table without much wait.

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Kaya Toast with Butter Set - Kaya Toast with Butter + 2 Soft-Boiled Eggs + 1 Regular Hot Coffee/Tea (SGD 4.20)
A single page menu was laid on the wall right next to my table and it did not take much time for me to decide what to go for. Some toast, eggs and coffee sounded just perfect - a Kaya Toast with Butter set for me please! Despite the skimpy outlook, the charred surface and porous texture were promising. All I needed was a little pressure and the toast broke apart, oozing with rich kaya jam and melty butter slices.

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French Toast Set - French Toast + 2 Soft-Boiled Eggs + 1 Regular Hot Coffee/Tea (SGD 4.00)
French toast, on the other hand, was rather disappointing. Despite the promising outlook, it was bland on its own, that little dash of kaya definitely insufficient to complement. Deep in my heart, I terribly hoped to replace this with another kaya toast with butter. Nonetheless, the soft-boiled eggs and coffee were decent.

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Interesting Graffiti at Arab Street
After some toasty goodness, I ventured to Arab Street and Haji Lane for some affordable shopping experience. There were plenty of interesting graffiti drew across buildings, which I found more interesting than getting to shop here.

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Masjid Sultan for SGD 2.50 - Any Taker?
From afar, you will see Masjid Sultan standing tall and proud. Colourful on its own, it stood almighty under the generous shower of afternoon sun. My skin, on the other hand, felt like it was going to crackle any longer under the bright afternoon sun. Shopping malls were my refuge.

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Ayam Penyet at IndoBox, ION Orchard (SGD 15.31 after Tax)
So what else to do but to eat at 2pm? After much hesitation, I ended up at Indobox in ION Orchard for some Indonesian food. Despite the random choice, I was delighted at the quality of ayam penyet served here. Ayam penyet itself was crispy, juicy and well spiced. Paired with some Indonesian pickles and spicy chilies, it was a concoction of flavours which I loved but simply couldn't depict.

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Ikan Penyet at IndoBox, ION Orchard
Ikan penyet, on the other hand, was nothing short of great. Similar to ayam penyet, it was crispy and juicy, albeit the texture was slightly off (mainly due to selection of fish). The portion was actually bigger than ayam penyet too!

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Cute Collage Mixed Graffitti

IN SUMMARY, my personal verdict for:
  • Ya Kun Kaya Toast 亞坤 - Would love to have more of their kaya toast!
  • IndoBox - Good Indonesian food with higher price tags (mainly for ambiance)

DINING INFO:
Ya Kun Kaya Toast 亞坤
Address: #01-01 Far East Square, 18 China St, 049560, Singapore
Operation: 7.30am - 6.30pm (Mondays to Fridays), 8.30am - 5.00pm (Saturdays & Sundays)
Tel: +65 6438 3638

IndoBox
Address: Ion Orchard #B3-24, 2 Orchard Turn Singapore 238801
Operation: 11am to 10pm daily
Tel: +65 6509 8600

Jan 11, 2015

Singapore Travelogue: Day 1 of Food Hunting & Attractions (20 Jun 2014)

Everyone can fly. AirAsia, you are so right. It has been pleasant boarding your flights to Kota Bharu, Kota Kinabalu, Hong Kong, and Bali. It was a pleasure flying with you again, this time to Singapore.

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4AM in KLIA2
It was my first time flying from KLIA2. Huge and new, it posed stark differences to LCCT. From the sky bridge, you can catch a glimpse at the planes lining in an organised manner. However, such arrangement has a downside: each boarding gate would have to be aligned in similar manner. All I can only hope that my boarding gate wasn't the furthest from here (which takes about 5-10 minutes walk).

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Landing safe and sound in Changi Airport
Flight to Singapore was about an hour. Before I could let sleepiness overwhelmed me, the plane had landed in Changi Airport. It was a bright morning and it was a good sign. Since there were no check-in luggage from me, I headed straight to custom clearance. Unfortunately, AirAsia did not hand out arrival form in plane, so I had to fill it up upon arrival. Albeit the slight hiccup, ustom clearance was quick and I must commend Singapore for such efficiency.

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EzLink Card for Transportation (SGD 12)
I tried to grab a MRT ticket at Changi Airport MRT Station to head to city but the machine refused my SGD, I had no choice but to get myself an EzLink card for SGD12 (it comes with refundable deposit but a full refund is only possible after a certain period, which did not apply in my 3-day trip).

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Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee (SGD 3)
I was starving by the time I reached Outram Park MRT Station. Without any mobile internet, I managed to hunt down this famous Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee in Hong Lim Food Centre. To my utter disappointment, it was bland (not spicy, not even salty enough), lack of texture (kuey teow that stuck to each other) and substance (few pieces of fish cakes countable with one hand).

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Colourful Heritage Buildings Outside Chinatown Point
I took a train from Outram Park MRT Station to Chinatown MRT Station, hoping to grab my SingTel simpack at Chinatown Point, and also visit Chinatown Heritage Centre and Sri Mariamman Temple. As much as I would like to grab a SingTel simpack at Changi Airport, it was too expensive as they tried to sell me the SGD38 simpack just because I needed a nano sim (FYI you can buy a micro sim and ask them to cut to nano size). Unfortunately SingTel in Chinatown Point opened after 11am. I went on to my next destination, Chinatown Heritage Centre.

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Sri Mariamman Temple on South Bridge Road
I came first to Sri Mariamman Temple, which is located next to Chinatown Heritage Centre, visible from South Bridge Road. Being gazetted as National Monuments and a major tourist attractions, it was busy with tourists in the hot afternoon. Looking at the intricacy of its gopuram, it was not hard to see why. I must be lucky for I managed to get SGD28 hi! Sim Card (came with SGD 28 value) from one of the prepaid vendors along Chinatown Heritage Centre.

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Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
Despite the sunny day, I decided to go on foot. As I was sweating profusely in the hot weather, I stumbled across Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum. Well-maintained, it stood glaringly proud among the other buildings.

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Iced Cham from Old Tea Hut (SGD 1.80)
As the sun moved higher up in the sky, my body was terribly heated and a cold drink was warranted. Recommended by a friend working in Singapore, I tracked down this Old Tea Hut in Robinson 77 building. Tucked deeply in ground floor of Robinson 77, I actually missed the building altogether due to lack of signboard.

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Condiments for Steak at Salta Argentine Parrilla + Grocer
Relying on my offline map saved in My Maps app, I met up with my Singaporean boss. He bought his colleagues and myself lunch at Salta Argentine Parrilla + Grocer in Icon Village. Each of us ordered SGD26++ 3-course set lunch menu, with a choice of appetiser, main course and dessert.

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Ensalada Caesar at Salta Argentina Parrila + Grocer
My set lunch selection was Ensalada Caesar, Bife de Chorizo, and Sopa de Frutas. The serving of Ensalada Caesar was quite huge, I must say. Surprisingly it was well dressed and prepared. No complaints from me.

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Bife de Chorizo at Salta Argentina Parrila + Grocer
This Bife de Chorizo came with 200g charcoal-grilled grass fed striploin with seasonal vegetables and pink chat potatoes. Price was fair, and quality of striploin was lean with easy texture. Flavour was slightly lacking due to its choice of meat (grass-fed) but it went very well with condiments.

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Sopa de Frutas at Salta Argentina Parrila + Grocer
This Sopa de Frutas was no less amazing. The wild berries salsa with rock melon gazpacho well complemented raspberry sorbet, giving it more complexity of flavours which I personally very fond of.

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Artistic Building at Marina Bay Sands
After the great lunch at Salta Argentine Parrila + Grocer, I paid a visit to signature Marina Bay Sands. The sun shone relentlessly bright though it was close to sunset. Despite so, I stayed put outside Marina Bay Sands and enjoyed every single moment of it.

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Coffee with Butter at 1983 - A Taste of Nanyang
I grabbed a cup of coffee with butter for the sake of curiosity at 1983 - A Taste of Nanyang in Marina Bay Sands. To my disappointment, it was just butter melted in coffee. I should have known better after the disappointing Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee experience.

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Koo Kee Yong Tow Foo Mee at People's Park Centre (SGD 3.80)
Since I was here, I decided to catch up with my ex-college mates whom worked in Singapore. Together, we gathered at People Park Centre and had our rather frugal dinner. Selections were plenty but somehow repetitive. After a long hesitation, I ordered Koo Kee Yong Tow Foo Mee. It wasn't spectacular, but satisfactory.

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Fried Sui Kao at People's Park Centre
With a total of 4 pax, we ordered some fried sui kao for sharing. Although too oily to my liking, it had crusty outer layer with plenty fillings. Pretty good for value as I could easily be filled with mere 6 pcs for a meal.

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Boiled Sui Kao at People's Park Centre
We also ordered boiled sui kao for comparison. Both were relatively good but my personal preference was fried sui kao.

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Vivo City View
After dinner, we headed to Vivo City for some fireworks from Sentosa which unfortunately did not happen. So here I was with the night view of Vivo City, casual light breeze and catch up chat. Good night everyone and Day 2 of Food Hunting and Attractions would come soon!

IN SUMMARY, my personal verdict for:
  • Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee - Avoid at all cost!
  • Old Tea Hut - Pretty decent and in fact, considerably cheap for working crowds
  • Salta Argentine Parrilas + Grocer - Set lunch was very good value for money. Would revisit if possible!
  • 1983 - A Taste of Nanyang - Coffee with butter was nothing exciting. I will stick to the normal one.
  • Koo Kee Yong Tow Foo Mee - Good for a simple and cheap dinner
DINING INFO:
Address: Blk 531A Upper Cross Street, #02-17, Hong Lim Food Centre, Singapore 510531
Operation: 6.00am - 4.30pm, except Sundays and Public Holidays
Tel: +65 9838 7619 

Address: #01-02A, Robinson 77 (77 Robinson Rd), 068896, Singapore
Operation: 7.30am - 5.30pm, except Fridays - Sundays, and Public Holidays
Tel: +65 9068 2749

Salta Argentine Parrilas + Grocer
Address: #01-56/57, Icon Village (12 Gopeng St.), 078877, Singapore
Operation: 12.00pm - 2.30pm, 6.00pm - 10.30pm on Mondays - Saturdays
Tel: +65 6225 8443

1983 - A Taste of Nanyang
Address: B1-01, Galleria Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Operation: 7am - 11pm daily
Tel: N/A


Koo Kee Yong Tow Foo Mee
Address: People's Park Centre, 101 Upper Cross Street, Singapore 058357
Operation: 10am - 9pm daily
Tel: +65 6589 8494

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