Marina Bay Sands and Singapore Flyer

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Whenever we visit Singapore, we have the luxury to live at S’s aunt’s home so we never have to worry about the high cost of hotels in Singapore. This time around, we did the same, but I also wanted to check off something on my bucket list. Since the last time we visited Singapore, one of my regrets was not staying at the Marina Bay Sands. This time around, I made it a goal that we stay just one night! I think everyone should try to stay here one night during their trip in Singapore despite the high prices because it’s quite worth it!

 

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The hotel is architecturally amazing to look at from both the outside and inside. It is connected to a casino and the shopping mall, and also has a variety of restaurants inside. It’s also famous for the infinity pool which is now only open to hotel guests. In the past, you could pay a price to use the pool even if you didn’t stay at the hotel. Another reason why it’s worth the price!

 

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We decided to go with the Premier Room which I believe the only difference from the Deluxe Room is that it comes with an additional deep-soaking bathtub. After some price comparisons on different booking sites, I believe we booked it directly through Marina Bay Sand’s reservation system for $540 CAD for one night. Upon entering the room, there is a small hallway with lots of closet space. I was surprised at how spacious the room was!

 

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To the right was the bathroom. I loved the bathroom as it was so spacious with great lighting. Plus, the double sink is perfect for couples! The deep-soaking bathtub turned out to be great and I got to enjoy a bubble bath!

 

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As you can see, the room had plenty of space. There was no problem opening our two large suitcases and still having plenty of room to walk around.

 

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We opted for the King bed but you can also choose two single beds.

 

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Bedding and pillows were comfy and clean. No complaints!

 

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They also left a cute animal towel on our table.

 

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The room also came with a small desk with two sofa chairs. We enjoyed sitting here enjoying the view.

 

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We had requested for a higher level and they ended up giving us a city view which are available from the 19th to 39th floor. I was not disappointed in this view at all!

 

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We were also able to see the Esplanade and Art Science Museum from our room. The other side of the hotel would face the gardens.

 

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Look at the view during sunset! Just amazing!

 

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On our way to check out the Sands Skypark Infinity Pool, there is an area where you can see the view of Gardens by the Bay.

 

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You’ll need your hotel pass to get to this area because otherwise, you’ll need to pay to go to the Skypark Observation Deck. This costs $23 SGD and we did this the last time we visited. However, on the day we visited, it had a haze from a nearby fire so we could barely see anything. This time around, we could enjoy the views even without heading to the paid area since we had our hotel pass.

 

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Finally, we checked out the infinity pool to our left! Remember to bring your hotel pass to get in as each guest needs to bring their own. Honestly, the pool was breathtaking! It definitely tops one of the nicest pools I have ever been to. And I think the most impressive part is how long the pool is. It just stretched on for so long! I also liked how they had sections where it was adults only so we didn’t have to worry about kids.

 

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Up on the 57th floor, the view of the city is stunning. You can get the famous infinity pool picture here with the backdrop of the city. Towels are complimentary so it’s super hassle free to dry off or lounge around on the chairs. We’ve been to Sparkling Hill in Kelowna which also features an infinity pool, but the way this one is designed gives a much better infinity feel. It really looks like there is no ledge to the pool! I suggest using the pool both day and night to enjoy both views. It’s really a different experience although it can get a bit more busy during the evening. You can also order food and drinks here, but be warned that the prices are not cheap.

 

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After enjoying the pool in the afternoon, we decided to head to the Singapore Flyer. You can easily access it from a short walk from the hotel on this bridge. You can enjoy some scenic views of the Helix Bridge and Art Science Museum here!

 

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The Singapore Flyer is an observation wheel near the Marina Bay Sands which provides a 360 degree view of the city. The wheel will take you 165 metres above ground and takes around 30 minutes for a full cycle.

 

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The capsules are fully air conditioned which is a must in this heat! We were lucky because the Flyer was not very busy that day so we actually got to enjoy the capsule alone! Loved how we had the privacy to take as many pictures as we wanted. There are also benches in the middle for you to sit down and enjoy the view.

 

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Adult admission tickets are $33 SGD and despite the high price, I think it’s quite worth it on a sunny day. The views are quite spectacular from the city view to the gardens and the ocean. If you haven’t been to Gardens by the Bay, then I suggest purchasing the dual ticket on KLOOK as the two tickets only come to $52.50 SGD which is more than $10 SGD in discount.

 

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The view of the gardens from up top is truly magical! I can imagine the night time view to be just as good!

 

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Looking for a quick dinner, we decided to head over to The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands which is connected to the hotel. Here, you will find all the top designer and luxury brands. Even if you don’t plan on spending here, it’s a nice mall to chcek out as the architecture and design is quite nice. You’ll even find a section that looks like Venice and you can take a gondola on the fake river.

 

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Unfortunately, most of the restaurants at the mall are also high end. You’ll find international brands here, but they also have a food court which sells a variety of cuisines. The food court is called Rasapura Masters and is in the basement floor. S got some Hainanese chicken, but since I hadn’t had any Indian food this time in Singapore, I decided to go for some Indian food at Indian Express. What a mistake… The food was honestly a bit underwhelming with the curries just sitting in the heat warmer and served lukewarm. Honestly, the taste didn’t even annoy me that much that night, but I ended up getting mild food poisoning that night. And that’s not what I anticipated for my stay at Marina Bay Sands. Also, food at this food court is definitely not as cheap as the hawker centres. It’s still cheap, but given the price for the quality of food, I’d much rather go to a hawker centre if it wasn’t for the convenience of being close to the hotel.

 

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After dinner, we rushed out of the mall towards the water as we wanted to watch the light and water show. As we walked out, we turned around to catch a glimpse of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. It was all lit up and looked gorgeous!

 

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Towards the water, we saw the cool looking Louis Vuitton store and Art Science Museum. Also all lit up!

 

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And the city view all lit up night is truly breathtaking.

 

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Finally, Spectra – a Marina Bay Sands Light and Water Show began. The show features choreographed fountains, lava and mist effects and an orchestral soundtrack. It also features a 12 metre-high glass prism centerpiece that forms really interesting laser illusions! The show is free for the public so a must see!

 

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The show is at the Event Plaza on the first floor of The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and lasts 15 minutes. It happens twice every night at 8pm and 9pm with an additional 10pm show on Fridays and Saturdays.

 

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We then quickly hurried over to the Gardens by the Bay to catch the Garden Rhapsody which happens every night at 7:45pm and 8:45pm for free. The supertrees are all lit up and it changes based on some live music. However, we had a hard time finding the right exit from the hotel to the gardens, so we ended up watching it from this observation deck that leads to the gardens. We found the music to be too quiet from this area and the view to be a bit underwhelming. After further research after the event, I learned that the best view to enjoy this show is actually right under the trees at the garden. Just find a spot to sit down and lean back a bit. Will have to try that next time!

 

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After all the shows, we headed back to the infinity pool for our last dip. Then we headed back to our room to enjoy the night view.

 

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Really can’t complain about the price with all the views and amenities this hotel offers. This was probably one of the highlights of the trip and I can’t wait to find an excuse to stay here again! A must try when you visit Singapore, even if it’s just a night! The perfect way to end our trip in Singapore as well.

 

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The next morning, we headed to the Changi Airport as we were flying out to our next destination, Taipei, Taiwan! The Changi Airport is a world class airport with many amenities and attractions. There are now 4 terminals in total, so if you arrive early or have a layover at the airport, it is definitely worth checking out all the different attractions!

 

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We decided to have some chicken rice at the airport as our last meal. I can’t quite remember the name of the stall but it is in the basement floor.

 

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Chicken was smooth and tender. Not bad for an airport stall but portions were a bit small. And that ended our trip in Singapore! Until next time! But now we move on to Taiwan!

 

 

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Maxwell Food Centre, Toast Box, and Day 2 of Singapore Grand Prix Formula 1

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The next morning we headed to Chinatown for lunch before Day 2 of Formula 1. We had a great time at Maxwell Food Centre the last time we visited, so decided to check out what other stalls there are. The famous Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken stall had way too long of a line up this time so we decided to try Marina South Delicious Food 滨海南美食. They are famous for their Char Kway Teow here.

 

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Another dish they have is the Fried Carrot Cake. This is quite different from the ones we get at Dim Sum. The Singaporean style carrot cake is mixed with eggs and served almost like an omelette. The turnip is cut into diced pieces. Super smooth and full of wok hay and flavour. Quite enjoyed this!

 

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We also got the Char Kway Teow which was fantastic. Glistening in oil, but packed full of flavour and wok hay again. The noodles were evening coated and the Chinese sausage was pungent but tasty. We got large sizes for both of these dishes as we thought they wouldn’t be too big, but they were more than enough for two. I also decided to order a Deep Fried Fuzhou Oyster Cake from the nearby stall called Maxwell Fuzhou Oyster Cake. It’s the one pictured above balancing between the two plates. I’ve never seen an oyster cake like this. Inside, it’s piping hot with a mixture of oyster and minced pork. Apparently this traditional snack is barely seen anymore so be sure to try it next time you’re at Maxwell!

 

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After our bellies were full, we headed off to Day 2 of the Formula 1 race. As the afternoon generally consists of practice or other non-Formula 1 races, we decided to check out some of the other entertainment offered during the day. One of our favourites and probably the coolest experience was changing the tires of an F1 car. Of course this is just a model, but it’s cool to see how the tires are removed and new ones placed on.

 

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We both got to take part in the challenge and raced against other competitors to change the tires as fast as we could. Of course, we needed a lot more practice!

 

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You can also choose to drive a F1 simulator car. I believe the race car size is supposed to be similar to the real car. So quite tight and you are almost lying down when you sit in it.

 

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Some other entertainment included flying the drones through an obstacle, but this seemed to be a bit faulty at times. Singapore Airlines is also a huge sponsor of the event, so be sure to check out many of their booths. Be sure to grab one of those plastic fans! You will thank me later!

 

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We also wandered the whole area including the Civilian War Memorial which is close to our entrance to our grandstands.

 

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This is the concert area. As you can see, you get a beautiful view of the city skyline as well. Really cool how the race is in the middle of the city!

 

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Then we watched another one of their practice rounds which happened in the afternoon. The qualifying race would happen in the evening on Day 2. As you can see, at our Stamford Grandstands, we can see the race cars coming at this turn. As expected, because of the high speed and sharp turn, we witnessed a few crashes on the actual race day. Luckily, everyone got out okay!

 

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The race cars go by so quickly it’s hard to get a picture! Shutter speed needs to be at max! I also highly suggest wearing ear plugs as the cars are extremely noisy and damaging to your ears. Even with the ear plugs, you can hear the noise.

 

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As it ended up drizzling that evening, we grabbed a quick bite at nearby Toast Box as we simply did not want to look for food. However, the food was quite average. The Kaya Toast is not as good as Ya Kun’s. The toast is not as crispy, and the portion size is way smaller. I decided to get the Laksa, and as expected, it was quite average. Think of it as fast food, so really can’t expect much.

We headed back to watch qualifying that evening, and stopped by to catch Ariana Grande’s concert after. As we had recently watched her concert in Vancouver, we decided to just call it a night and left early to get a good night’s sleep! Day 2 of the Singapore Grand Prix done!

 

 

Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh 亞華肉骨茶, McDonald’s Nasi Lemak Burger, Day 1 of Singapore Grand Prix Formula 1

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The main reason for visiting Singapore this time around was because S wanted to watch the Singapore Grand Prix Formula 1 race. The race itself doesn’t usually start until night time although there are some other non-Formula 1 races going on in the afternoon. Therefore, we made sure to grab some lunch before heading to see the afternoon races. We decided to go to a nearby shopping mall, Raffles City Shopping Centre and found Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh 亞華肉骨茶. They are known for their bak kut teh. I decided to go with the Prime Rib Cuts and you get a bowl of tea with two large prime ribs and a bowl of rice. The tea is refillable and they will come around to ask if you want more.The prime ribs were very tender and the meat fell off the bone. The tea itself was peppery which I quite enjoyed.

 

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S wasn’t really feeling bak kut teh so he chose to get the Mee Hua Soup with Minced Pork Balls and this was served with you tiao or Chinese donuts. The good thing about this restaurant is they serve other dishes other than bak kut teh. Nothing too special about this Mee Hua though, and it was a bit small for the price. Be warned that the prices here are slightly higher as it’s a full service restaurant in the mall. It also charges for the use of the wet wipes, so don’t use them if you have your own and remember to check your receipt.

 

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After lunch, we decided to head over to the F1 race to check out the area and see where our seats were. The Singapore race is typically in September and the 3 day event is from Friday to Sunday. However, the final race is on Sunday and you can choose to only purchase single day tickets. S is a huge fan so we got the 3 day grandstand package. S chose to purchase the Stamford Grandstand which has a view of Turn 7 which comes just after the racers go at their highest speed. If you are able to take advantage of the early bird price, you can get these tickets at $448 SGD (regular price at $498 SGD). Given the amount of entertainment and concerts the Singapore Grand Prix offers, it isn’t too bad of a deal.

 

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The nice thing about the Stamford Grandstand is it’s close to the Raffles City Shopping Centre and Suntec City Shopping Centre. Given it’s still burning hot and humid in September, you’re likely going to want to head into a shopping mall for some air conditioning during the breaks. It was also good for our year when it decided to rain a lot.

 

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The entire vicinity is actually really easy to access as well. There are tons of volunteers around the area to direct you and answer your questions, but the map they give you is also really easy to follow. During our breaks, we would walk around the area to check out other entertainment which is laid out across the track. The best part about the Singapore race is that it’s a night street race. The track is in the middle of the city centre, so you can check out all the tourist attractions during the day. We were able to get some great shots of the Marina Bay Sands as one of the grandstands is nearby.

 

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Throughout the afternoon, there are also roving acts which are entertainers that move around. They are stationed at different areas at different times so be sure to check the schedule to see which acts you want to see and plan accordingly. A great act we had during the 2017 race was the Acro-Chaps. They are acrobats with mustaches and they can do some crazy moves! I love how they also try to incorporate the crowds into their acts!

 

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Dining at the venue is not cheap but because the venue is in the city centre, it’s easy to step out to go to a shopping mall or nearby restaurant to grab some food. For dinner, we decided to head to the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and check out McDonalds! Yes, I love to check out McDonalds when I travel as there are often menu items you won’t find in Canada. During our time in Singapore, they had the the Nasi Lemak Burger which was available for a limited time. We got the whole limited edition meal which also came with Potato Wedges and Bandung McFizz. The Bandung McFizz is a fizzy rose syrup drink and was great to quench the spice, but I personally wouldn’t get it again. It tasted like a syrupy soda.

 

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The star of the show was definitely the Nasi Lemak Burger though. The coconut flavoured chicken is juicy and crispy and coated with a cornflakes for a nice crunch. It’s paired with a sweet, spicy sambal sauce and topped with a fried egg, caramelized onions and crunchy cucumber slices. It really did taste like eating nasi lemak! And the crispy chicken was absolutely delicious. If you like spicy chicken, you’ll enjoy this!

 

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The first night is for practice so this is the time when the racers can test out the track and get ready for the next two days. This was the view we had from the Stamford Grandstand. To our left is turn 7 where you’ll see the curve and cars coming out and then to our right is a short straight. At our stand, you can also see the live TV broadcasting the cars.

 

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The night race is definitely a cool experience but keep in mind that it’s a bit more difficult to take pictures, especially since the cars are already moving at high speed. Be sure to bring your best camera if you’re planning on taking some high quality pictures!

 

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At night time, you can also enjoy the beautiful night views of Singapore. I loved how the lights changed compared to usual. The red and blue lights were really spectacular!

 

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Each night, there is also a huge headliner concert to enjoy. This will usually begin just after the last race. The 2017 year had some top headliners including Calvin Harris, The Chainsmokers, Arriana Grande, and One Republic. The Singapore Grand Prix really knows who to invite for entertainment! Even for myself who is not a huge fan of the race, there was plenty to do and the ticket price was well worth the concerts I got to attend. Of course, if you are not a huge fan, I would suggest getting the walk-about tickets so you can just quickly check out the race and then head to the concerts. However, I wouldn’t suggest spending the whole day there as you’ll likely be tired and sunburned without a seat. The price is roughly $100 less than getting a seat. On the first night, we enjoyed One Republic!

 

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If you are a huge fan, I suggest arriving early as fans are already sitting on the grass an hour in advance to be as close to the singers as possible.

 

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However, remember that the concert is outdoor and Singapore is still hot and humid even in the evenings. We had never had such a sweaty concert before! It was not very enjoyable to be honest because we were standing shoulder to shoulder with people and everyone was sweating!

 

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But arriving early to secure a spot did mean we could get close up shots of the singer! If you’re not a diehard fan, then I suggest just standing in the back as there are two large screens broadcasting live anyways. Plus, the music is booming up front and almost too loud.

 

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I think the coolest part about the live concerts in Singapore is the skyline you get in the background. Super cool to see all the buildings lit up just off to the side! Anyways, we rushed out just before the concert ended in order to avoid line ups exiting and to get on the Metro quickly. Day 1 of Singapore’s Formula 1 done!

 

Smart n Save Cafe

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Smart N Save Cafe has been around for quite a few years now, but I didn’t learn about this until recently because the cafe is situated in such a random location in Richmond. It’s on River Road on the second floor of a office complex and does not have too much signage you would notice while driving. The cafe is actually connected to the Smart N Save grocery store in Lansdowne Mall. If you’re craving Hong Kong style cafe food and snacks, then this is the spot for you.

 

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Imitation Shark’s Fin Soup

I love Imitation Shark’s Fin Soup and I always get this at the night market, so it was no surprise that I had to try it here. The consistency was thick and gooey with a good amount of chicken and vegetables. Pretty good and red vinegar was provided to add a splash of acidity.

 

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Fresh Beef & Eggs Sandwich

I heard that the Fresh Beef & Eggs Sandwich were a huge hit here, and it definitely did not disappoint. Such a simple dish, but the beef was extremely tender and the eggs were fluffy. I liked how they also toasted the white bread a bit. And yes, white bread definitely brings back childhood memories. And no crusts please!

 

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Deep Fried Prawn Paste Toast

Another dish they are famous for is the Deep Fried Prawn Paste Toast. This is such a classic HK style dish which we can’t usually find here. The prawn paste was bouncy and the toast itself was covered with panko bread crumbs and deep fried to golden brown. The mayo paired the dish very well.

 

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Mixed Sauce Plain Rice Roll with Spicy Curry Fish Ball

Another street food favourite is the Mixed Sauce Plain Rice Roll with Spicy Curry Fish Ball. The rice roll was surprisingly thin and smooth and the sweet sauce was delicious paired with the plain rice rolls. To add, the curry fish balls were a delicious complement. Loved the spicy sauce! Highly recommend getting this.

 

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Fish Paste Siu Mai

Last but not least, we had the Fish Paste Siu Mai which comes with 12 pieces and a side of soy sauce. I actually prefer eating the fish paste style siu mai rather than the ones you get at dim sum. Yes, these are the cheaper version, but they are so bouncy!

 

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Overall, I highly recommend checking this hidden gem if you’re craving HK style snacks. You won’t find much service here but it’s pretty cool since they have a QR system in place. Once you sit down, they give you a QR code for your table. Just scan it, and you’ll be taken to their website where you can order your dishes. When you click on a dish, it automatically transfers to the kitchen and you’ll hear a little ring. Then they will bring you your food when it’s ready. Water and utensils are self serve. The interior is actually better than I expected being bright and clean.

Pros:
– Great spot if you’re craving HK snacks
– Items are way cheaper and better than the night market

Cons:
– Don’t expect much service, but QR code system works

Price Range: $10 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 2 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Free parking in the complex Overall: 3.5

 

Smart n Save Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pike Place Chowder

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A must try in Seattle is Pike Place Chowder. I’ve been here in the past, but S had never been. I decided to take him to the one near Pike Street Market which is in Post Alley, which is also a tourist spot worth visiting. The tiny shop is within an indoor market and opens at 11am. We arrived right at 11am, and there was already a huge line up. The good thing is they give you the menu while you’re lining up, so the line goes by quickly. We were able to order within 15 minutes and our food was served pretty much right away since they just keep pumping the food out.

 

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Captain’s Roll and New England Clam Chowder
We got a whole Captain’s Roll which features Bay shrimp and Dungeness crab meat, mixed with secret seasonings, lemon juice, mayo and celery. S and I both loved this! They didn’t cheap out on the crab meat either. It does come at a high cost though at around $16 USD. Quite pricey for a small roll. We also got the New England Clam Chowder, which had meaty clams flavoured with bacon, cream, and a secret blend of herbs and spices. Pike Place Chowder has won many awards for many years, so you must get a chowder here! I really enjoyed the flavours in this one and they give you a piece of sourdough bread to dip in.

 

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Seafood Bisque

We stayed near Pacific Place, a mall on Pine Street. The night before, we had dined at Din Tai Fung, which is a new branch in downtown Seattle inside Pacific Place. There, we found that they actually had another Pike Place Chowder inside the mall! Since we were in a bit of a rush the next morning, I suggested we just grab some food at Pike Place Chowder again since it was nearby. This location has a lot more selection including beers, seafood and chips, and more. But of course, I had to get another one of their soups, so I decided to try the Seafood Bisque this time. This had a medley of Pacific Cod, Northwest Salmon,
Oregon Bay Shrimp, flavored with fresh basil, and simmered
in a creamy tomato-based broth. The bisque was packed with flavour and you got bits of fish in it. So good!

 

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Wild Northwest Salmon Fish n’ Chips
Since this location has fish and chips, S decided to try their Wild Northwest Salmon Fish n’ Chips. You can choose 3 pieces or 2 pieces. This was decent, but we found the salmon to be on the drier side. Definitely not as moist as Pajos!

 

Overall, Pike Place Chowder is a must try when in Seattle! With the two locations, I would suggest going to the Post Alley location as I feel like the turnover for the food is more frequent. However, if you have a large group or are looking for a larger menu selection, then the one inside Pacific Place might be a better choice since there is more seating.

Pros:
– Delicious chowders and seafood rolls!

Cons:
– Fish and chips could be a bit more moist

Price Range: $10-20 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 4

Pike Place Chowder Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Blu Burgers & Brew

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During the holidays, S and I made a short trip to Seattle for fun. Our first stop was to check out the Boeing Factory in Mukilteo near Everett. Since we arrived in the area during lunch time, we decided to go for lunch first. I did some Googling and there aren’t too many restaurants nearby. However, Blue Burgers & Brew had good ratings, so off we went.

 

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The restaurant is quite casual and you order and pay up front. You can then choose a seat and they will bring you your food. Of course, their menu consists mainly of burgers but there are some select sides you can choose from as well. They also have a selection of beers. Surprisingly, there were quite a lot of families with children here during lunch. I guess they are quite family friendly as well.

 

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Chicken Tenders

Given S does not fancy burgers, of course he went for the Chicken Tenders served with fries. For $6.50, this was decent with 3 strips and a decent amount of fries. S said the tenders could have been warmer in the center and that they were rather average. But then again, they are known for their burgers.

 

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Shroom ‘N Onion

For myself, I had the Shroom ‘N Onion which featured crimini mushrooms, onions, swiss cheese, romaine lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, and a house sauce. The burger stacked tall and they didn’t skimp on the ingredients. My mushrooms were overflowing and that house sauce was bomb. The patty was also very moist and juicy. My only complaint is that for around $9USD, I’d expect it to come with fries which was an added cost. Definitely not cheap given the self-serve type of set up, but the quality of the burger is great.

Overall, a good stop if you are heading to the Boeing Factory or if you’re in the area, but I wouldn’t make a trip out here just for this.

Pros:
– Great execution of burgers

Cons:
– Slightly pricey given self-serve

Price Range: $10-20 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3 Service: N/A Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 3.5 Overall: 3

 

Mag’s 99 Fried Chicken and Mexican Cantina

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After our trip near Squamish to bungee jump, I suggested we stop by Mag’s 99 Fried Chicken and Mexican Cantina for an early dinner. I read really good online reviews and it was just off the highway so really easy to get to. Look for the golden yellow building and you won’t miss it!

 

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To be honest, the interior can really use some renovations. It’s pretty ghetto looking and definitely more of a fast food restaurant. However, the place is packed! We were told that we would need to wait 30 minutes for our food but that clearly didn’t stop anyone from eating here. You order up front and they take down your name. Then, they will call you when the food is ready for pick up.

 

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2 Piece Fried Chicken with Fries

We tried the 2 Piece Fried Chicken with Fries which was around $6. Honestly, I didn’t think it looked that good, but the chicken turned out to be pretty moist. I think I still prefer the ones at LA Chicken more. The skin is not as crispy as LA Chicken’s. Not bad if you’re looking for a cheap meal since the Whistler area can be very pricey.

 

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Pulled Pork Chimichanga

We also shared the famous Chimichanga which is HUGE. We chose to have pulled pork as the filling and this came to around $13.50. I highly suggest sharing this with a friend unless you are starving because it’s extremely filling.

 

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There were re-fried beans, corn, tomatoes, rice, and pulled pork inside the large chimichanga. Great flavours and definitely not for the weak!

Overall, I was pretty happy with my meal at Mag’s 99. I wouldn’t say this is worth making a trip just for the food, but if you are in the area, then this is a good option for a reasonably priced meal.

Pros:
– Decent fried chicken and Mexican eats
– Reasonable prices

Cons:
– Long wait for food
– Interior could really use some updates

Price Range: $20-50

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3.5 Service: 2.5 Ambiance: 2 Parking: 3.5 Overall: 3

Mag's 99 Fried Chicken and Mexican Cantina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

[Japan Series] Day 7 Cont’d: Namja Town at Sunshine City in Ikebukuro (池袋)

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Being the jam-packed traveler that I am, on the way back from Odaiba, I suggested to S that we check out one more district. This was Ikebukuro (池袋). It has the second busiest railway station in Tokyo and offers entertainment, shopping and dining. The destination this night was to Sunshine City (サンシャインシティ) though, a shopping mall near the station. I actually remember living in a hotel near here back when I traveled with my parents. We stumbled upon the Pokemon Center while walking through the mall. They feature lots of Pokemon merchandise, many which I think are exclusive to Japan. I swear S had a really good time looking at the merchandise here!

 

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The real reason I cam here was because my sister had suggested we visit Namja Town. This is an indoor theme park by the creator of Pacman and houses some interesting attractions. However, admission is 500 yen.

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One attraction is the Gyoza Alley. Inside, there is a lane of gyoza shops. However, when we arrived, there were barely any people (probably because it was dinner time). It felt like a ghost town. Gyozas were also quite pricey here, especially after paying the admission to get inside.

 

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Since we were here, we decided we should still give it a try. We shared a plate of gyozas, and they were pretty good. I feel like any gyozas in Japan are good compared to in Vancouver though…

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The second attraction that made me want to visit was the shop at Ice Cream City. This ice cream shop features the weirdest flavours. You can choose from a collection of 50! There are normal flavours too, but of course I had to go for the unusual ones!

 

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The ice cream here is not cheap. To get a tasting of 6 different flavours, it costs 590 yen. But as you can see, the scoops are quite small.  Here is what I tried: Hokkaido Shirataki Potato Ice Cream, Shark Fin Noodle Ice Cream, Miso Noodle Ice Cream, Japanese Berry and Chocolate, Homemade Ice Cream Corn, and Shizouka Cantaloupe Sherbet. And guess what? The ice cream literally tasted just like each description. The shark fin had some fake noodles in it, and the miso was like eating ramen. The Japnese Berry and Cantaloupe were delicious but the odd flavours were the highlight for sure. Would I order a whole scoop of these? Probably not.

Namja Town was a bit of a disappointment to be honest. All the games inside are only in Japanese and are not included as part of the admission price. The food inside is interesting but if you add the admission and the cost of the food, then it’s quite expensive. I would skip this unless you have kids or can actually read Japanese.

 

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We didn’t find that there was too much to do in Ikebukuro. The area was quite similar to other areas with lots of shops and dining. However, we were sort of craving some snacks and walked past a McDonald’s… Ok I usually don’t like to eat McDonald’s when I travel, but in Asia, the menu items at McDonald’s is always so interesting. Here, the Fanta Melon Ice Cream Float caught my eye. Fizzy and bright green, the drink was a bit of a disappointment. The soft server melted in quickly and the flavour was just average. Nothing special.

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S opted for the Shaka Shaka Chicken which is sort of like a shake shake fried chicken. You can choose flavours like cheese or spicy, and they give you this packet of power which you dispense in and you just hold the bag and shake it. The chicken cutlet was pretty good and this was fairly cheap.

 

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I suggested we try the Sakura Peach Pie. The pie is flaky and quite different from the ones in Vancouver. The filling inside was delicious. Don’t expect real peaches, but it tasted just like those Japanese peach candy! Probably artificial but I love that flavour!

And with McDonald’s to end our last day in Tokyo, we headed back to our Airbnb to pack up. Off to Osaka!

Sunshine City
Address: Sunshine City, 3丁目-1番 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima, Tokyo 170-0013, Japan