Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

A Glimpse Of Geylang

Geylang is reknowned as a redlight district in lil red dot.

Vice or sex trade is not condoned here but this is best “contained” here.

Quite funny to see street walkers disappear when police cars patrol and reappear once they leave.

Roads are divided into Lorongs and it is in a grid system with even numbers on drivers’ left and uneven numbers in drivers’ right.
Lorong is malay word for “alleys” or street.

Street walkers are segregated by nationalities. Yes, sadly foreigners come here to ply their trade.

We have mainland Chinese, Filipinas and Indians (*used to ply Desker Road with transvestites )

But the government has been slowly cleaning up Geylang and conservation of old shop houses.

Businessmen have opened restaurants and eateries here.

They are trying to bring in home owners.  But fact is, these owners lease out property for sex trade and mixed with genuine home owners, it is bad for resale of property prices.

Today I explored Geylang. It houses Buddhist temples, Buddhist Centres that serve free meals for anyone, free TCM clinics to serve marginalised poor in need of help.

Quite a hodge podge of culture as foreigners bring their identity and culture with them, best expressed in the food they serve.

Yes, Geylang is now getting popular for durians, rambutans, grill food, No Sign Board Restaurant chain is also here.


Ordering Coffee Like A Pro In Singapore

In Singapore, or we Singaporeans fondly call “Lil Red Dot,” ordering local coffee or “kopi” has to be the most complicated process.

It is indeed an art!

Our local Sunday Times for last Sunday printed these instructions which I felt was most useful to share in case my dear wordpress friends might one day visit my lil red dot.

Incidentally, for those only just starting to read Garfield Hug, I did write an earlier post on the art of ordering our local coffees. 

I had also explained how a former Indonesian President made fun of Singapore for its size, stating to the world that we are nothing more than a “little red dot” (*to exemplify to the world that we are “insignificant”)

To which, our late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew smiled and said, “we are a lil red dot but we are like chilli padi (*a small chilli packed with spiciness on a richter scale).”

Our neighbors need us as much as we need them. Lil Red dot has paid many many millions in SGD to Indonesia as “goodwill” but Indonesia has taken it all as “invoiced cost or demanded”.

I guess it is their corrupt style of demands to our lil red dot to stay “neighborly”

 But we do not need Indonesia’s slash and burn policies which caused haze and pollution to our blue skies during dry months of June to August.

Enough coffee shop talk as kopi drinkers in our coffee shops would say…here are the instructions on how to order a cuppa kopi in Singapore.

Now we can all order kopi like pros!

I am off to the coffee shop ๐Ÿ˜Ž


Ornate Bird Cages For Sale By Bird Man

Luxury bird residences, equivalent to the likes of our top notch residential districts was what came to my mind when Bird Man showed me these photos!

Talk about Baroque or Botecelli art and this is akin to a style that squeals opulent oranate decor of wood or porous material to avian hobbyists.

From simplicity….single colored or delicate ming blue drinking feeders that add contrast to the dark deep redwood cage to escalating complexity in designs.

I prefer the ming blue feeder bowls. Ha ha maybe because I find it artsy!

These ornately carved cages show opulence by bird hobbyists…

Lion faced clasp and lock. Regal or to me, ferocious to scare off any bird thief thinking of getting rich quick!

Natural anti theft device ๐Ÿ˜‰

I was amazed at the details. Theme of ample harvest is symbolically represented in the carved carriers and gourds to reinforce abundance.

In our chinese culture, grains…bountiful harvest signify wealth as one never goes hungry.

And in different materials…

Mother of Pearl inlay contrasted with material looking like bone and jade bauble at tip.

These cages would indeed make both owner and its avian friend elegantly displayed.

I was told these cages are from the 70s and are somewhat antiquated and unique. 

Price ranges from SGD15,000 to SGD20,000 for the carved ornate cages.

This indeed takes bird hobbyists to a whole new level! 


All photos published are courtesy of Bird Man 


Chef William Soh’s Chinese New Year Creations

This year Chinese New Year eve begins on 27 January 2017. 

Christmas has barely shashayed out the door and quickly the stores are ramping up sales of New Year goodies and restaurants selling reunion dinner menus for those finding it a hassle to cook.

Chef William has been made an ambassador for a certain brand of abalones and he has been busy experimenting on new improved recipes for traditional Chinese New Year dishes.

The dish in the earthen pot is called “Pen Cai” – a treasure trove of molluscs, shellfish, abalones and shitake mushrooms. A must have for cantonese families.

Chef William shared these photos with me and I felt it was too good to just sit with me. Good things and information on our local fare ought to be shared ๐Ÿ˜‰


Bunsy Bakes

My classmate has started a new project to sell freshly baked home made walnut bread.

I have been classmates with her since primary 4 all the way up to Secondary 4 or in US system it would be Grade 10.

I am happy she has this home project going to keep busy with her daughter.

Each loaf costs $15 each and it is a densely packed heavy bread filled with walnuts.

Walnuts are healthy brain food and the ones I get from Sunshine (*mass produced bread) has some walnut in it, not chokeful. So, I think this is a worthy find to chomp on and not feel guilty! ๐Ÿ˜‰

So this is a nice find and a treat especially eaten lightly toasted with butter or honey.

My German bro in law taught me a German way of eating bread. 

He suggested putting on a layer of emmenthal cheese, followed by  butter and a sourish marmalade (*quince) or raspberry spread…he said it would be scrumptious! 

So if you are Singaporean and reading this….and want to give Bunsy Bake a try…call them at the number given.

Happy healthy eating and enjoy!

*photos are courtesy of Bunsy Bakes

All the best Bunsy Bakes…..congratulations on your new project and spreading good healthy breads to consumers.


Boxing Day – 26th December & More Of Singapore

On the 1st day of Christmas, what is key is my furry inanimate furball wishing all Merry Christmas or we say “compliments of the season once past 25th, followed by 26th December or Boxing Day.

(*Jim Davis and Paws Inc is creative to create my fave pal wearing a nice red bow! Festive!!)

Today was a wash out as the rains poured non stop from the skies.

It was hard to do anything out doorsy as rain is so blinding that it was almost too dangerous to drive.

Luckily we completed part 2 of Kranji visit as we went to the “birdnest museum”

We learnt of the medicinal properties of bird nest as a tonic. 

Only the bird nests of black swiftlets or sparrows were edible as these birds would spit out a sticky substance that formed its nest in abandoned houses or specially constructured timber roofed sheds when farmed.

Wild sparrows would produce the costliest nests as the wild nests in the caves of Indonesia were hard to harvest. Sometimes called “blood nests” as these nests have mixture of blood and comes out in oxidised blood red colors.

But with the pollutants of slash and burning of forest vegetation, this has also affected the quality of birds nest in the region.

My good professor Fong has advised me against ingesting these nests as tonics through local natives’ method of cleaning unless they are rigorously processed and filtered through a factory processs, as the allergens could cause me to have breathing difficulties.

Good birds nest in its raw form with twigs and feathers could easily cost in the thousands of Singapore dollars per tael or per 10 grams of dried weight.

It is also touted as a useful tonic for cancer patients as it helps boost blood circulation and immunity against cancer cells.

I had to sneak to take photos as the curator said no photos and as I heard her foot steps approaching, I had to keep my phone. This picture of the raw birds nest is hence fuzzy.

They also sold birds nest made with chocolates and coffees flavored with durian. Chocolate was sold at $5.90 for 100gm bar.

SGD2.50 in a coffee cup ready for you to add hot water and your coffee is ready to drink with birds nest and a herb that boosts energy.

Adjacent to this mueseum was a prawn fishing pond.

Saw other species of fishes in the ponds.

Unsure if these were ornamental or edible fishes.

$18 per hour, a prawn angler would use a bamboo rod and bait to catch prawns singularly.

We met a guy who was fishing from 12pm to 4pm and he barely caught more than 6 prawns. His fee cost him easily SGD90!

For the sake of sport and not the amount of prawns caught…else it would be cheaper to buy prawns at $22 a kilo at Cold Storage supermarket  ๐Ÿ˜‰

Next stop was Dempsey Hill. This is a rather hip area of restaurants.

We spotted a new outlet selling lovely cakes. Name of the restaurant is called House of Dreams.

Each slice of cake averaged $7 to $12 a slice and these were large tall slices for cakes other than cheesecakes and cupcakes.

Nephew decided to have a snickers cheesecake! I had a taste. It was lip smacking decadent!

Dinner time swung by and we had to get home as Bro in law was flyingin from Ho Chi Minh.

Our dinner was Japanese for this evening just for 4 of us as mum and dad had a dinner engagement!

Soft shell crabs, maki and a platter of shashimi for them with a claypot of stir fried beef with veggies and 8 pcs of maki.

For me, I was not hungry and had a small plate of Tekan Maki.

Plus I hived off 2 pcs of maki from nephew๐Ÿ˜‰

I also learnt that russian caviar costs $70 for 20gms and $456 for 200gm! Too rich for my blood ha ha!


Winter Solstice Festival Today

Today is an important day for the Chinese as it marks the Winter Solstice Festival.

During this day, handmade glutinous rice balls are made in pink and white colors, boiled in sweetened soup of gula melaka or brown palm sugar accentuated with ginger and pandan leaves.

Ready made glutinuous rice balls are available in the frozen section of the supermarket too.

The Chinatown brand is a popular one and fillings available are in black sesame paste, red bean or peanut filling.

Boiled till it floats, these sticky glutinous rice balls are coated with pounded peanuts mixture.

Happy Winter Solstice all…็ฅๅคงๅฎถๅ†ฌ่‡ณ่Š‚ๅฟซไน,ๅนธ็ฆๅ’Œ่บซไฝ“ๅฅๅบท! *translated to mean happy winter solstice festival, wishing all happiness, prosperity and good health!


The Marmalade Pantry@Ion Shopping Mall

I had a lovely lunch with a good friend at an eatery located in Ion Shopping Mall called The Marmalade Pantry.

As this eatery was recently featured in the newspaper as a new great place to feast, there was a line of about 6 people ahead of us when we got there.

Typical Singaporean foodies….if there is a queue or line, then food must be good ๐Ÿ˜‰

The hostess said it would take half an hour but it was sooner than that as table turn was swift.

It was simply furnished. 

Food menu is western comprising pasta, burger, pork chop, salmon, salad and turkey.

Not extensive in food choices and not cheap either as salads cost $24 per plate and pork chop which I ordered cost $34 per serving.

We decided on 2 types of salad; Christmas spinach, red capsicum pumpkin salad and kale salad.

My friend had pasta carbonara. His dish choice cost $28.

Of course I had to take photos of the cake counter…

But as usual, we had no stomach space left for dessert plus we both wanted to stay clear off empty calories.

Company was good and it was all that mattered.

As for the Marmalade Pantry – my verdict is that it is overrated. 

Food is edible…ha ha what do I know ๐Ÿ˜‰


Nourishing Soups At Soup Restaurant

We have a local chain of restaurants called “Soup Restaurant” that specialises only in double boiled soups.

By double boiled, it means soups in porcelain jars of single servings are steamed in another pot over slow flame.

In my lil red dot, these clear soups are nourishing and effective pick me uppers for colds, coughs or feeling lethargic or recovering from surgery or childbirth.

I treat this as a meal as it is chokeful of goodness. 

My favorites are old yellow cucumber double boiled with pork ribs and sprinkling of red wolf berries and a piece of fig.

It is soothing and naturally tasty without any addictives.

My other favorite is pig stomach with gingko biloba double boiled in soup with black pepper corns. 

The chewy pig stomach cut in slivers and each bite with a spoonful of peppery soup and gingko is scrumptious.

Lotus root is another great root vegetable to use for soups. This has cooling properties and is great for lungs. This is also my delicious.

Our soups are clear broth like, unlike western cuisine that is creamy or filled with milk. 

Next time if you are in Chinatown in Australia, UK or USA…give it a try.

I hope you will enjoy it ๐Ÿ˜‰


Chef William Soh – Travelling Chef

I met Chef William online as professionals.

I interviewed him and found him pleasant and talented.

Unlike most chefs who have large as life egos, he is softspoken and had that quiet kindness in him.

Chef William is currently a celebrity Chef, quite like famed Jaime Oliver except that he specialises in Chinese banquet cuisine.

He is currently in China meeting with the 8 great chefs of China and showed me his culinary creations.

Above: Chef William Soh

Below: Chef William Soh and the 8 Great Chefs of China

He recently shared with me another event he graced as Celebrity Chef in Chansha China.

Below: Laksa Prawn Noodles

Below: Sambal Prawns

Below: Steamed Garoupa with chilli paste

Below: Curry Mackerel

Below: Display of dishes

All photos in this post are courtesy of Chef William Soh

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