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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Black Pepper Crab at Long Beach Seafood, Madam Tussauds at Sentosa, and Kok Sen Restaurant

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If you enjoy eating crab, then a trip to Singapore means you have to try either their chili crab or black pepper crab! We tried both in Malaysia last time, but this time S and I decided to just go on our own for lunch. It is said that the Black Pepper Crab dish was first created by the chef of Long Beach Seafood and therefore, the restaurant is known for this signature dish. We decided to take the bus to the King location and it wasn’t hard to find.

 

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We enjoyed a sleeve of Tiger Beer which is Singapore’s official beer. Cold and refreshing!

 

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We also shared a plate of Pea Shoots to get some veggies intake. The veggies were fresh and flavoured with a nice garlic broth.

 

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The crabs are ordered by the kg and they serve mud crabs here. I believe ours was under 2 kg which honestly isn’t too much shared between two if you’re only eating this. In fact, the mud crabs aer quite small compared to the BC Dungeness crabs we have in Vancouver. Only the claws are big. We decided to go with the Black Pepper Crab and it was full of pepper flavour. S actually found it a bit too spicy but for me it was just right. It would be delicious paired with a bowl of rice! I can’t quite remember how much the crab was per kg, but our whole meal came to over $100 SGD. So definitely not cheap, but the ambiance in the restaurant is also pretty nice. Be warned that they will place peanuts on the table which cost $2 SGD and towelettes are $1 SGD. You better check your receipt to ensure you don’t pay more. A great spot to try chili or black pepper crab regardless!

 

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After lunch, we headed to Sentosa. You can choose to take the monorail, cable car, or walk. At VivoCity, you can purchase tickets for the monorail which gives you a round trip journey and unlimited use of the Sentosa Express around the island for the day if you purchase the Sentosa Pass. However, as the weather wasn’t too hot that day, we decided to try walking to Sentosa from VivoCity on the Sentosa Boardwalk. It actually only takes around 15 minutes if you walk leisurely, and there are gardens along the way and also covered up top in case of rain. If you walk quickly, it’s probably only 5 minutes. I actually quite enjoyed this option as we got to enjoy some scenic views along the way.

 

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Finally, we arrived at the resort. As we had been here last time we visited Singapore and had purchased a fun pass, we had already done many of the activities on the island. You can check out my post from my visit two years ago if you’re interested in the activities on the island. This time around, we targeted some new activities.

 

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We decided to check out Madame Tussauds this time around. The wax museum featured famous legends from both North America and Asia. Before we even started the wax museum, we were able to take the Spirit of Singapore boat ride which takes you around Singapore in a boat. Sort of like a kiddie ride at the amusement park, but it was actually quite well made with all the famous sights being showcased. Tickets are normally around $40 SGD if you purchase at the venue, with around a $10 SGD discount if you purchase online. However, if you purchase through KLOOK, it only costs $20 SGD. Savings are quite good and the ticket also includes Images of Singapore LIVE, a 30 minute live actor-led show. If you pay another $3.50 SGD on KLOOK, you can also visit the new Marvel 4D Cinema which wasn’t open yet when we visited.

 

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You’ll find famous politicians like Obama!

 

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Sports players like Yao Ming!

 

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And of course the famous Bruce Lee!

 

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When we were exiting the wax museum section, we also noticed there is a Virtual Reality Racing experience. Here, you can pay an additional fee to race in one of two full sized virtual reality car simulators. You can choose to be on Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel’s team. S could not miss the opportunity to sit in one of these cars, so of course he paid for the experience. I believe it was roughly $20 SGD or so, and he said it was well worth the price.

 

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As our ticket included Images of Singapore LIVE, we decided to check it out as well. The show is only 30 minutes and we were actually able to learn a bit about the history of how Singapore came about. There are live actors who will take you back in the day while you walk around their staged sets. Unfortunately no pictures allowed though. If you have some time to spare, then it’s worth checking out after the wax museum.

 

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After an afternoon at Madam Tussauds, we headed towards the beach area. Looking for a quick snack, I suggested we see what special menu items were available at McDonalds. We found Sweet Corn Soft Serve, so had to give it a try. The flavours were interesting but I personally wouldn’t get it again. The soft serve itself was creamy and smooth like their typical vanilla cone but with a subtle corn flavour.

 

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We decided to end our trip at Sentosa by checking out the beach. There are a few beaches on the island, but we wandered to Tanjong Beach which has the least activities. It’s nice and quiet and the perfect place to unwind after a long day. We were able to catch the sunset here as well.

 

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After Sentosa, I had made plans to meet my exchange friends for dinner. They decided to take me to Kok Sen Restaurant 國成球記菜社 which has been listed on the Michelin Bib Gourmand. The restaurant therefore has become very busy and you’ll be expected to wait for a seat. The restaurant is not fancy inside as you’ll be sitting on stools without air conditioning. However, the food is delicious! We started with the Romaine Lettuce Stir Fried with Fermented Beancurd. It was slightly spicy but not overbearing.

 

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Cereal Butter Squid

Next up was the Cereal Butter Squid which was probably my favourite dish of the night. There are plenty of squid buried underneath the mountain of crunchy crushed cereal. This was the perfect dish to pair with rice!

 

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Sliced Fish Soup

The Sliced Fish Soup came in a clear broth with deboned sliced fish, choy sum, and mushrooms. The broth was flavourful despite being very clear.

 

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Hot Plate Tofu

I believe the Claypot Yong Tau Foo is famous at Kok Sen, but I don’t remember if it was sold out or why we didn’t order it. Anyways, we ended up with the Hot Plate Tofu which had plenty of tofu, shrimp and vegetables in a thick savoury sauce.

 

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Yang Zhou Fried Rice

Lastly, we had the Yang Zhou Fried Rice which had shrimp, barbecue pork and egg. Flavourful dish but nothing too special. Overall, the food at Kok Sen was pretty good and all dishes we tried didn’t disappoint. Just be prepared to wait if you don’t have reservations! I believe the restaurant has been around for 3 generations now, so the locals must love it!

 

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Kok Sen is located on Keong Saik Rd, and there are actually many bars around this area. We decided to go for drinks with my friends after dinner. Remember, drinks are not cheap in Singapore though so be warned that you’ll be ready to dish out around $20 for a cocktail. We ended up going to Potato Head which has a rooftop bar. Luckily in the evenings, the heat dies down a bit, but it’s definitely still quite warm for us! We ended up enjoying some delicious cocktails and called it a night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changi Village Hawker Centre and Jurong Bird Park

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Since it was my second time visiting Singapore, I wanted to visit some new places this time. S suggested we check out Changi Village so we headed to Changi Village Hawker Centre to have lunch. Apparently public transportation can be a bit difficult, but since S’s aunt drove us, it was no problem. She suggested we try the popular Nasi Lemak at International Muslim Nasi Lemak. The nearby stall Mizzy’s Corner is also famous for nasi lemak, but many often say it’s not as good. I got my nasi lemak with fried fish and otak which also came with a sunny side up egg, cucumbers, some fried anchovies and sambal chili sauce. The dish looked simple and messy, but this was delicious! The jasmine rice was fragrant and fluffy and delicious paired with the sweet and savoury chili. I did find the sambal to be quite spicy though but I normally don’t eat too spicy. I wasn’t a fan of the fried fish too much as I don’t normally like to eat a whole fish like that. Wasn’t really sure where to start to be honest. The otak which is a fish cake wrapped in a banana leaf was delicious and fragrant though. It also has quite the kick!

 

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S got the Nasi Lemak Chicken Set which comes coconut rice, fried anchovies, a sunny side up egg, cucumbers, sambal chili and a crispy chicken wing. The chicken wing is a favourite with a slight ginger flavour and light batter. A popular choice!

After lunch, we headed towards Changi Beach Park to take a stroll. This is a nice getaway from the busy city as the beach is quite quiet. However, I don’t think there’s much to do and doesn’t compare to the beaches in Vancouver. Still, it’s worth taking a quick stroll if you’re in the area already. You’ll also find Changi Point Ferry Terminal here where there are a bunch of junk boats parked ready to take you to Pulau Ubin, a nearby island, for just $3 SGD.

 

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After lunch, we decided to check out the Jurong Bird Park, but note that it is a bit far from the city and is all the way east. There are some buses that will take you to the entrance though. We were lucky enough to be driven there so it wasn’t too bad. Tickets aren’t exactly cheap. They’re $30 SGD for adults and if you want to take the tram to get around as well, it cost another $5 SGD. We bought it on KLOOK so only paid $30 SGD for the admission including the tram. The tram isn’t really necessary if you’re ready to walk and the weather is good. However, as we went on a rainy day, we thought the tram would be beneficial.

 

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I believe the bird park is one of the largest bird parks in Asia. It is well designed and very clean. With over 5,000+ bird with over 400 species, you’ll be surprised at how many types of birds there are! Many of the birds are actually roaming around free but of course the dangerous ones are caged. There are also many activities including bird feedings and we also got to watch the Birds of Prey where we saw some eagles flying around. It was a bit scary but the show was very impressive!

 

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You’ll find parrots, flamingos, toucans, pelicans, hawks and even penguins!

 

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I mean look at these cute penguins just roaming around!

 

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We also found a peacock just walking around when we visited the waterfall inside the park. This also unfortunately ended our picture taking because a monsoon arrived and the downpour of rain was unreal. We ended up having to sit around in a sheltered area for an hour before we could continue walking around. The tram therefore made it very convenient for us to catch up missed time and hit the spots we wanted to see. Even though the rain was unpleasant, the park itself had lots to see. Even as someone who isn’t big for birds, I found the park quite interesting. On a sunny day, this would be a great spot to bring the family.

 

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After visiting the bird park, we took the bus back out to the city center to meet up with S’s relatives. They took us to a hawker centre, but unfortunately I can’t remember which one. We enjoyed some soya sauce chicken.

 

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And also some delicious BBQ chicken wings!

 

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We also headed to the supermarket so I could purchase a bunch of food souvenirs. The aunt also suggested we try this durian cempedak which is a Malaysian fruit. It looks sort of like a durian but without all the spikes. Inside, there are many tiny bulbs of fruit which all have stone like seeds inside. The taste was closer to jackfruit and I quite enjoyed it! Worth giving some of these exotic fruits a try while you’re in Singapore!

 

 

Old Airport Road Food Centre, Bugis Street, Clementi Market and Hawker Centre, and Toa Payoh Lorong 8 Market & Food Centre

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The next morning, we had lunch with S’s relatives and they took us to the Old Airport Road Food Centre. This is one of the largest hawker centres with over 100 stalls! Luckily, we had locals to recommend us spots so we didn’t need to be so overwhelmed. We got the famous Prawn and Pork Rib Noodles from Albert Street Prawn Noodles. Although there were prawn shells still in the bowl, I liked how they had cut the prawn open already so deshelling the prawn was easy. The soup is rich in prawn flavour and therefore has a reddish hue. Noodles were nice and chewy. I recommend trying this at this hawker centre!

 

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We also share some Rojak from Toa Payoh Rojak. Rojak is a fruit and vegetable salad with a sticky sweet and sour sauce. There were pineapples, cucumbers, crushed peanuts and freshly toasted chinese donuts and tofu puffs in this one. The locals seemed to be a fan of this, but I personally still don’t crave for it. Worth giving a try if you’ve never had it though!

 

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For dessert we had tofu pudding from Lao Ban Soya Beancurd. This was the perfect dessert on such a hot humid day! The refreshing tofu pudding was silky smooth!

 

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After lunch, we hung out with the cousins for a bit and eventually made our way to the last day of Formula 1! Unfortunately, the evening was full of rain and we ended up having to hide in the Esplanade most of the afternoon as monsoon rain is no joke in Singapore! When it rains, it pours! Eventually, we had to buy a poncho at the race grounds, so I suggest packing your own to save a bit. Because of the rain, we kept our cameras and phones away most of the day and didn’t capture too many pictures. However, before the final race, you should check out the parade where the racers come around the race track in vintage cars to say hello. Finally, the race happened, but due to the slippery track from the rain, the beginning of the race was quite a show with many racers colliding early on! The rain definitely made the race a lot more exciting for the crowd despite sitting on the benches with our raincoats. Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton ended up winning the 2017 Singapore race! And of course, the rain cleared for the festivities later that night including celebration fireworks and shows by Chainsmokers and Calvin Harris. A great way to end the race!

 

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The next day, we had a pretty chill day since we were done the races and didn’t have much on our agenda. Given we had already visited Singapore before, we were really just looking to revisit some favourite spots and possibly finding some new ones along the way. But first thing first, we had to get some lunch! S’s aunt took us to Clementi Market and Hawker Centre which seemed like a popular local spot. The aunt bought us some chwee kueh from Bedok Chwee Kueh. It is a steamed rice cake with preserved turnip. Unfortunately, I’m still not a big fan of chwee kueh as I find the cake itself quite bland and flavours of the preserved turnip aren’t personally my favourite.

 

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S got his usual Kickapoo Joy Juice which has such an odd name. It’s essentially like Mountain Dew. Not sure why I’ve never seen it in Canada, but it’s quite popular here.

 

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For myself, I got an iced teh tarik. Can’t go to Singapore without enjoying one of these milk teas!

 

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I was craving Laksa so the aunt helped me find a stall called Hong Kee Satay Bee Hoon which sold a variety of noodles. This one has fish cake, tofu puffs and cockles. The soup was creamy with a slight coconut flavour and wasn’t too spicy. The thick slippery noodles soaked up the broth. I’ve had laksa a few times in Singapore now and I’ve learned they love to add cockles in it, which I’m still not a huge fan of. They taste sort of like clams, but I find them a lot slimier and very fishy.

 

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Of course S got his favourite Char Kway Teow. I thought this one was mediocre compared to the one from Maxwell Food Centre. It was a bit more dry and not as flavourful.

 

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After lunch, we did some errands with the family and then they dropped us off at Bugis Street. We had been here before and even though it’s a tourist spot with just random knick knacks, I remember it being pretty fun to wander the crowded area.

 

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The place is packed and you can find everything from cheap watches to snacks. My favourite spot is to go upstairs for some young women’s fashion! They have lots of Korean style clothing upstairs for affordable prices.

 

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A trip to Singapore also means trying some Durian! I can’t remember this stall’s name but you can find durian stalls all over the city. Many of them can cut open the durian for you on the spot with quite a few allowing you to eat at the spot as well.

 

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This location sells Mountain Cat, D24 among other varieties.

 

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Mountain Cat is known to be one of the best variety and is also very expensive.

 

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We bought some home to try, but we ended up not enjoying the Mountain Cat as much. It has a bitter aftertaste sort of like alcohol. We prefer the sweet durian from Thailand instead which happens to also be cheaper!

 

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For dinner, the family took us to Toa Payoh Lorong 8 Market & Food Centre. For myself, I got the Dry Fishball Noodles from Song Kee Fishball Noodles and opted for mee pok which is the thicker strand of noodles. The egg noodle was al dente and it was mixed with a chili sauce. Quite delicious!

 

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We shared some Oyster Omelette from Ah Chuan Fried Oyster Omelette. Juicy oysters will crispy eggs around!

 

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If you love chicken wings, then be sure to try the BBQ Chicken Wings from Sheng Pin Xiang. The sweet soy flavour was just right and the chicken itself was moist while the skin was crispy.

 

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We also tried the Deep Fried Chicken Wings from Da Ji Hainanese Chicken Rice. The skin was very crispy, but I still preferred the BBQ Chicken Wings as the flavour was just right!

 

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I love eating at Hawker Centres because you can order a variety of food and share it with everyone. Fortunately, we had enough people for dinner, so we also ordered some satay from Fang Yuan Satay. We had both the Chicken Satay and Beef Satay which are served with a warm peanut satay sauce and some pressed rice cakes. The satay were moist and flavourful and I prefered the chicken over the beef.

 

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To end our feast, we had some Singaporean desserts. I don’t remember the name of this stall, but they had a large variety of cold and hot desserts.

 

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We had some shaved ice with gingko beans and brown sugar syrup. I wasn’t a huge fan of the beans on top though and I still prefer the Korean or Taiwanese style shaved ice.

 

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The aunts also wanted me to try Dao Suan which is a sweet mung bean soup which has a thick syrup and topped with Chinese donuts. It was interesting, but not my type of dessert.

Overall, a great hawker centre with a large variety of desserts!

 

 

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 Kun Kaya Toast, National Museum of Singapore, and Singapore River Cruise

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The next morning, we decided to go to 313@Somerset, which is a shopping mall along Orchard Road. Our goal was to have our favourite kaya toast at Ya Kun Kaya Toast. There are outlets all across Singapore so be sure to try it whenever you see one. However, since we were planing to walk around the Orchard area after, this was a great spot for us. If you are deciding between Toast Box or Ya Kun, I highly suggest Ya Kun as the toast tastes much better! I started with a Hot Tea which comes with my set.

 

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Since it wasn’t our first time here, S decided to try the Kaya Peanut Toast. It is essentially the kaya toast but with peanut butter as well. If you haven’t had kaya before, it is sort of like a coconut spread. It is typically made of sugar, coconut milk and eggs, pandan, and sometimes margarine or butter. It is a common breakfast dish for Singaporeans or Malaysians. S also got a Chocolate Frosty to quench his thirst.

 

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For myself, I got the traditional Kaya Toast with Butter. Kaya toast is not exactly healthy as the kaya often comes with slabs of butter, but it tastes amazing! Guilty pleasures! The value sets also come with soft boiled eggs which you whisk together with some soy sauce and pepper. You can dip your toast into the egg mixture for a different experience!

 

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After brunch, we walked around Orchard Road and checked out some fancy department stores. We decided to check out the Singapore Visitor Centre which I suggest stopping by if you’re in the area. You can get all the maps you need and purchase any tourist tickets you’re looking for. They also have a small souvenir shop with some cute Singaporean items. On the second floor, they have an exhibition which changes and they have free tours  at 10:30 am, 11:30 am, and 4pm based on first come first serve. For example, when we went, it was close to mid-autumn festival, so they were actually teaching visitors how to make mooncakes! Unfortunately we just missed the start time!

 

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Right next to the Singapore Visitor Centre on Orchard Road is Emerald Hill, a neighbourhood which was a former home to many members of the city-state’s wealthy Peranakan community. The architecture here brings you back to the past and I especially loved the colourful buildings. Some of them are now bars so you can grab a quick drink here as well. Otherwise, it’s a nice detour from the modernized Orchard Road which doesn’t take too long.

 

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Our next stop was the National Museum of Singapore. For whatever reason, we decided we could walk 20 minutes from along Orchard Road to the museum. But it got confusing and after being lost for a while, we finally found the beautiful white building! The museum is just off the Fort Canning Park, so you can also quickly check that out. During our stay in Singapore this time, we used KLOOK to buy almost all our admission tickets. You download the app and it’s so quick and easy to use. For example, for the museum tickets, they normally go for $15SGD but we were able to get a $1SGD discount on KLOOK. It doesn’t seem much but it adds up and some of the other attractions are more heavily discounted. Plus, all you do is show them the QR code and oftentimes you can bypass the lineup.

 

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Anyways, we had a really good time at the National Museum of Singapore. Given I did not know much of the history, I found the museum to be extremely informative and well laid out. The exhibits were entertaining and dates back from 1887 to present day. You can definitely spend a couple of hours here and I have to add the exterior and interior is visually appealing! Great for those who want to get some Instagram pictures! They also had a Glass Rotunda which featured a cool interactive forest display.

 

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We also wandered over to Istana Park where we found the Festival Arch. Opposite to this is The Istana which is the official residence and office of the President of Singapore. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to visit the Istana Grounds although it is actually open to the public five days a year on special holidays.

 

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After lots of walking, we headed back towards Orchard Road to ION, a shopping mall. We were getting tired and hungry, so we decided to look around for food. We decided to settle on Hong Kong Wonton Noodle 香港雲吞面. I got the Prawn Wonton Noodle and it was actually pretty good. Noodles were chewy and broth was flavourful.

 

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We then decided to take the bus to the Clarke Quay area. After getting off the bus, we were greeted by the colourful MICA Building, also known as the Old Hill Street Police Station. There are 927 windows with colourful shutters!

 

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As we walked toward the water, you’ll find the famous Clarke Quay signage. This riverside district has some shopping, but it is more famous for the night clubs and night life along the water. Some of these restaurants/pubs are floating on water!

 

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We came to Clarke Quay mainly because I wanted to go on the Singapore River Cruise. Again, we purchased this through KLOOK because it is slightly discounted but mainly because you can cut the line to purchase tickets and it also seemed like we were able to get into a fast track line. We simply showed them our QR code and we were on the boat in no time. I suggest going on this cruise in the evening because the night lights in Singapore are very enjoyable.

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The boat is quite nice with seating outside as well as covered seating.

 

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Seating is really just benches but it is very clean. I suggest sitting outside to take advantage of the 360 view.

 

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The boat ride is roughly 40 minutes and departs every 30 minutes. The last boat departs at 10:30pm. The boat will stop by different spots such as Fullerton, Merlion Park, and the Esplanade. You can choose to disembark at the spots, but you won’t be able to get back on. I suggest just staying on to enjoy the full ride. I also liked how they had English audio playing with some basic commentary of what you were seeing. This made it informative if you weren’t sure what the buildings were.

 

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This is a great activity if you’re only in Singapore for a few days as you can see all the signature spots in just under an hour. I highly recommend this! On KLOOK, an adult ticket costs USD$17.

 

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After we enjoyed the cruise, we headed back to the Clarke Quay area to walk around the pubs. There are many Western style pubs in this area, but keep in mind that alcohol in Singapore is quite pricey!

 

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We decided not to indulge in the pricey alcohol, but instead on some dessert. Ended our night with some hazelnut cake and rested our feet before heading home!

Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice 威南记海南鸡饭餐室 – Singapore

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My posts for my trip to Singapore and Taiwan last year has been way overdue. I finally have some time to work on them now so hopefully the information is not too dated!

Anyways, on our first day after arriving at the airport, S’s aunt picked us up and took us straight to eat! She took us to Wee Nam Kee Chicken at United Square in the Thompson area. The restaurant has a few other locations and is a chain. Seating is pretty comfy and its air conditioned!

 

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The menu focuses on chicken but also offers many other dishes. Prices are very reasonable!

 

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Deep Fried Fritters with Mayonnaise

To start, we shared some Deep Fried Fritters with Mayonnaise. Essentially they were shrimp with salad dressing deep fried. Crispy and a great snack to share!

 

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Pork Chop

The Pork Chop dish was paired with a sweet and sour sauce. Quiet appetizing.

 

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Chicken Wings

The Chicken Wings were crispy and moist inside. It was glazed with a light soy sauce.

 

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Steamed and Roasted Chicken Rice

Of course we had to try the famous chicken. We tried both the steamed and roasted chicken which were both delicious. It was flavourful and the chicken was juicy and tender. One thing to note is that their dipping sauce for the chciekn is absolutely delicious! It is a mixture of spicy chili sauce, yellow ginger and salty (but not too salty) dark soy sauce. Couldn’t help but dunk my chicken in the sauce!

 

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Chicken Rice

Of course you can’t have chicken without chicken rice! The rice was so fragrant and flavourful.

 

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Overall, I enjoyed my meal at Wee Nam Kee and their famous chicken did not disappoint. I also liked how they offered both steamed and roasted chicken because most of the restaurants I’ve been to only offer the steamed chicken.

 

 

Singapore & Taiwan Trip (Day 2)

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Day 2 in Singapore started off with complimentary breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express Orchard. Had fruits, cheese, sausages, bacon, and a different type of fried noodles or rice each day. Not bad for continental breakfast and the chef and servers are super nice.

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After our tummies were full, we headed out to explore. The closest MRT was Somerset and I would highly recommend getting either a Singapore Tourist Card that provides unlimited travel for a certain amount of days if you’re there for only a short period or the EZ-Link Card which offers stored value and is more like pay per use. You can get both of these at most MRT stations or at the airport. The EZ-Link Card has a non-refundable cost of $5 so is only a good deal if you stay around a week like we did. The transit system here is awesome and trains are extremely clean. Maps are so easy to follow and I highly recommend downloading a map app on your phone which provides you with the quickest way to get around. Transit here is extremely cheap with many of our rides being under $1! What a steal compared to Vancouver…

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Anyways, our first destination was to check out Chinatown. You can get off right at the Chinatown station and take Exit A.

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I recommend checking out Pagoda Street if you want to buy Chinese souvenirs but this area is quite touristy. If you walk around the area you will also hit some open markets with more local goods. There is also the Chinatown Food Street with hawker stalls. My favourite was looking at the colourful houses on top of these shops which made it feel like you went back in time.

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Continue walking and you will find the Sri Mariamman Temple which is a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Mariamman, known for her power to cure illnesses and diseases. The entrance is covered with detailed sculptures of mythological beasts and people. Quite an eye catcher and you can also enter into the temple, although you will need to remove your shoes. We skipped this part.

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Moving on, we somehow wandered into the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum. This is a Buddhist temple and you are able to enter for free as well. However, those with shoulders or thighs showing will require a blanket which they can provide.

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Wandering around again, we spotted Maxwell Food Centre, which was definitely on my list of places to visit. We decided to grab lunch early which was a good idea.

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Maxwell Food Centre is covered and looks very similar to most of the other hawker centres that we would visit later on. At most hawker centres, the stalls will have a sign showing whether it is self-serve or full service. Self-serve means that you will need to line up, order, and wait for your food at the stall. This is the case for most of them. All hawker stalls also show the grading of their cleanliness and any that are A or B are good to go from our experience.

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We had originally anticipated the much talked about Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken, but for some reason it wasn’t open that day. We settled on Ah Tai Hainanese Chicken Rice which had the exact same banner and a long line up. Apparently this is opened by a former employer of Tian Tian…

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Since we weren’t too hungry, we shared the Steamed Chicken Rice which came with a side of soup and added the hard boiled eggs. This was only $3.50 SG which was a deal! The portion was a bit small but perfect for one. The rice was absolutely delicious and the chicken was tender with a nice jelly on the skin. Pretty good but I can’t say how it compares with Tian Tian since we didn’t get to try. We also got a Soursop Guava Slush which was extremely refreshing! Gotta get the tropical fruits here.

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Following lunch, we took the MRT from Chinatown to Clarke Quay station. Clarke Quay is a historical riverside quay which was used for trade back in the day. Today, it is more of a tourist area with the river being used for cruises for tourists.

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We crossed the river and found colourful buildings all along the quay. The area now houses expensive restaurants and nightclubs. Since it was daytime, they were all empty. I presume they are bumping during night time.

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Since it was extremely hazy and humid outside, we decided to head over to The Shoppes at Marina Sands for some air conditioning. The shops here are high end so of course we weren’t going to be doing any shopping here. However, it’s worth checking out if you’re a shopper since it’s very pretty inside.

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Although we weren’t planning to shop here, I highly recommend checking out the Louis Vuitton shop here. They have some interesting goods here that appear to be limited to Singapore. Like this chili crab suitcase… A tip is to go to their highest floor and exit to the balcony. You will be able to get a view of the Singapore skyline for free.

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Since we were pretty hungry, we decided to just eat at the food court at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. A bad idea, since this food court is overpriced and food is quite average.

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We ended up sharing the Char Kuey Teow which is a flat rice noodle stir fried with Chinese sausage, bean sprouts and beef. We found that there were way more bean sprouts than noodles… Would skip this.

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We were planning to visit Gardens at the Bay after dinner since it would be all lit up, but we exited the mall and realized it was pouring… We ended up heading back to our hotel, but along the way stopped by 313@Somerset, a mall right at the Somerset station. This mall offers more affordable shops, so we did a bit of browsing here. We then tried Toast Box, which is known for their kaya toast.

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Kaya toast is served with soft boiled eggs. And by soft boiled, they are very soft boiled. You crack these open and mix in soy sauce and pepper and stir it up. You can slurp this with a spoon or dip your toast in it. Kind of gross in the beginning, but I quite enjoyed it after…

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We ordered their classic Kaya Toast which comes with a thick slice of butter. Oh, this is so bad for you, but so delicious at the same time. Kaya is a coconut jam and along with the butter, this is a killer breakfast or midnight snack. We had this along with an almond milk and satisfied our late night craving. However, Toast Box is definitely not the best for kaya toast. I highly recommend Ya Kun which I will write about later on.  You can find both shops almost everywhere you go.

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We called it a night since it was raining pretty heavily. Some goodies I found at the supermarket were Singapore only flavoured cup noodles. Mmmm my favourite was the Black Pepper Crab! Great souvenir to bring back for foodies.

Details:

Chinatown Pagoda Street: Take Exit A from Chinatown Station

Sri Mariamman Temple: 244 South Bridge Rd, Singapore 058793

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum:
288 S Bridge Rd, Singapore 058840

Maxwell Food Centre: 1 Kadayanallur St, Singapore 069184

Clarke Quay: (Take Exit C from Clarke Quay MRT Station) 3 River Valley Rd, Singapore 179024

The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands: 10 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018956

Toast Box at 313@Somerset: B2 313 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238895