Singaporean Chicken Rice is LOVE

Alright, I know you have a reason to say that I am only obsessing over Singapore since I just blogged about it a week ago.  But please do not browse away from my page just yet. This time, we are going to explore the magic of Singaporean cuisine in Cubao (Yes, you won’t need to go too far!). Just stay where you are, stick to my blog for a while, and I swear, you are up to a delightful treat!

What you have to do is ride the LRT2 (or whichever way of transportation is more convenient for you) going to Araneta Center Cubao. From Araneta, just head straight to the corner of Gen. Roxas avenue and Time Square avenue. It’s just beside Shopwise building so be careful not to miss the big red sign.

If you are into fancy restaurants, Singaporean Chicken Rice is probably not for you. I am where there is good food, so to me it doesn’t matter if it’s served on golden plates or in wooden sticks sold along the streets. The place is not horrible at all though. We are talking about a fastfood restaurant that is clean and cozy, and there aren’t too many people too. (I don’t know if that matters to you, but I just hate it when the crowd gets suffocating.) The waiters are all very friendly and the service was surprisingly fast.

Let me share another surprising thing about this place. Apart from the fact that they have spaghetti on their menu when they are supposed to be a Singaporean restaurant (yeah, I found that a little odd), the prices are all unbelievably cheap! Really, you won’t expect that from a place selling anything  that is Singaporean.

Moving on to the most important part… the food.

My boyfriend and I ordered so much since everything on the menu was pretty affordable. We wanted to taste all of it (and we would have had if only we were blessed with a stomach that is good for five people). The first one on our checklist was the Kaya Toast. I can say that it is my most favorite since I’ve been craving for it ever since we first visited Singaporean Chicken Rice. You can have it for Php45 and that’s already good for two. You get six mini sandwiches that is rich with butter and sweet kaya spread, a very creamy mixture of sugar, eggs and coconut milk.

Next is the Nasi Lemak which is another must-try. I read that Nasi Lemak means “rice cooked in coconut  cream” which probably says a lot about it being a real tasty dish. It is served with peanuts, cucumber topped with spicy sauce, anchovies and a slice of scrambled egg. If it’s your first time, the way to eat this is to actually mix everything up. Seriously, slice the fried egg and the cucumber into bits then just mix it up with everything else- the rice, the anchovies, the spicy sauce, and the peanuts. It might not look as appetizing as the beginning, but trust me, the taste will be so much better. It’s a very flavorful dish, a little sweet and spicy, somewhat salty, and with a hint of crunchiness in every bite. And hey, did I mention it’s only for P35 per plate? It’s true, so dig in!

We also tried Pancit Chino (P55) and Pork Satay (P45). Pancit Chino was dubbed as the local favorite so we didn’t let the day pass without a taste of it. And Satay is also a famous Singaporean dish, so of course, we just had to order some. It’s also available in chicken and one order is equivalent to two sticks served with peanut sauce. Satay, I think, is like their own form of “barbecue” in Singapore, but the taste is not entirely the same so it’s worth a try as well. As for Pancit Chino, I did not find anything special about the dish. Don’t get me wrong, it does taste good. But that’s it. Just good.

We went back the next day to try Mee Goreng (P65). The cashier told me it is almost the same with Pancit Chino, except it’s sweet and spicy flavor. I like this one a lot better.

Now for the bestseller, they have the Hainanese Chicken Rice (P95). Do not be alarmed if your white chicken is served cool because it is normally dipped in ice water after cooking to seal in the flavor. It comes with warm rice prepared using flavorful chicken broth instead of just plain water. To maximize the taste, you may put a bit of ginger and red chili sauce to every bite. In comparison to the original Hainanese chicken rice in Singapore, I found it a little bland for my taste. But it wasn’t so bad, most especially if you consider the fact that the one in Penang Hill costs almost triple.

Last and definitely not the least, do not dare miss their Dinosaur drink! It’s a chocolate shake with powdered choco goodness on top. You can enjoy this heavenly treat for only P45, but I suggest you add another P15 and upgrade it into bigger size. You won’t regret it later, I assure you.

Well, that’s about everything from my experience in Singaporean Chicken Rice. Do pay them a visit, too. Who knows, you might be back for more… just like what I did! :D

A glimpse of France

Date: June 12, 2010

It is quite ironic how I chose to spend Independence Day this year. While some people in my Twitter feed vowed to only speak in Filipino today, I woke up early to go to Shangri-La Plaza to take part in the French Film Festival (not that this made me less patriotic, mind you). It is the 12th French Film Fest to take place here in the Philippines and the movies are being premiered in Shang Cineplex since June 6 and only until June 13. Hence, instead of watching Karate Kid first, we opted to grab this last chance of getting a glimpse of France through their motion pictures.

We arrived in Shangri-La around 10:30 in the morning. The film festival admission is for free, but tickets are to be given on a first come first served basis exactly one hour before screening time. The first movie is scheduled to be shown at 12nn so we decided to have our early lunch before heading to Cinema 4.

We went to Tender Bob’s to satisfy our craving for some juicy steaks. It was my first time to try their food but in fairness to the place I did enjoy my meal. I ordered baby back ribs and although I found it a bit too sweet, I can say that their side dish is the best mashed potato I have ever tasted (for the record, my mom never made mashed potato before). My boyfriend had pork chops and my friend chose rib-eye steak. My fork did not get to trespass on their plates, but I think they have nothing but only good stuff to say about Tender Bob’s. Another must-try is their shrimp pesto! Oh, it was just heavenly.

Going back to the film fest (sorry, I tend to talk too much when it’s about food), we were able to watch two French movies. Here’s how it went:

The first one was entitled Just Anybody, which for me was crap. Alright, I’m sorry for the term. But really, the pacing was just plain lousy like the characters didn’t know where they should utter a word from their script and on which spot they should actually drop the bomb (literally!). The lead actress reminds me of Marjori from America’s Next Top Model Cycle 11 who was also French, only she was not as talented as the latter.

The second film we saw was a little better than the first- Claire’s Knee. I’m not headed to saying it’s good though, because still I won’t even be generous with two stars. I don’t get the whole intention of the story. There was this point wherein I thought I knew what was going to happen, but after a while I lost it again and I was left even more confused.

Obviously, I’m not too ecstatic about the films we’ve seen. I do not know if we were just unlucky or if we just so happened to have been there at the wrong time hence we saw the wrong movies.

But please, do not misunderstand. I did enjoy the experience. I still would gladly travel all the way to Ortigas next year to watch another French Film Festival… I do hope the movies would be better though. Merci! :D

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My sister’s Cinderella Story

I am not entirely a newbie when it comes to organizing events. When I was in high school, it’s been a tradition for the junior confederation officers to make all the preparations for the junior-senior prom. I was the chairman then, so technically I was in charge. Surprisingly, (I hope my batchmates would agree with me on this) it turned out better than what I was expecting.

Just a few months ago, again I had to be responsible for organizing a big event. This time, it was for my sister’s eighteenth birthday celebration. Since our mom is in the states, my sister and I had to do most of the work for her debut. We’ve been busy preparing for her grand day since April (and of course, we had to report every detail to our mom every now and then).

Almost a week ago, June 4th to be exact, we were able to push through with the celebration. My sister’s debut, although emotional, was filled with very colorful memories.

Here’s how we were able to do it:

The event had to take place in our hometown, of course. We searched for a venue that’s big enough to accommodate all the guests. On our case, there were around a hundred and fifty. La Parilla Hotel also provided us a package which already included an emcee, the eighteen roses and the eighteen candles, the overall arrangement of the venue according to her motif (colors were purple and fuschia, by the way), and the torch parade entrance for the debutant.

As for the food, we attended the food-tasting three weeks before my sister’s birthday. I chose most of dishes (except for the fruit salad and buko pandan because it was my mom who insisted on those). The honey-glazed chicken was my favorite, followed by the fish fillet with tartar sauce. There were also other viands, including stir-fried beef and seafood with vegetables. Lechon was present, of course. My dad also made sure there were fruit slices, and I had to be certain as well that my favorite cucumber, lettuce and tomato salad wasn’t missing. No pictures are available because I was too busy during the event itself that I actually forgot to take a shot or two. Sorry about that.

Let’s move on, shall we?

Yes, the cake! My sister and I went to Edna’s Cakeland and we both fell in love at first sight with this beautiful seven-layered floating cake. They designed it according to the motif and it turned out exactly like what we have envisioned. And it does taste great, too! The flavors we chose were chocolate, mocha, and butter.

The souvenirs were scented candles shaped in butterfly. There were two colors to be given away, purple for the guys and pink for the girls. The invitations were designed by my good friend Jv Ruanto who used to be the layout artist of The Bedan. And aside from helping out with all the planning for my sister’s debut, I also made her audio visual presentation which was played as an introduction before her grand entrance.

My sister and my dad were the ones who hired the photo and video coverage team so I don’t know about that, but for her hair and makeup (and mine also), I was the one who came up with Glenn Agustin. He’s been our makeup artist since I was in high school which is why I trust him so much. He is professional and was very hands-on whenever my sister needed him during the entire occasion. Evidently in the photos, my sister was indeed very glamorous so I guess we didn’t make a mistake.

Of course, this blog entry wouldn’t be complete if I don’t mention the gown, would it? My sister wore a two-toned ball gown in fuschia with hues of violet as it catches the light. The upper part was done with silver beadwork and with scattered rhinestones all over. And lastly, the crumples were styled on her skirt with even more jewels sewn on it for the classic princess feel.

I’m sure my mom would be very proud if only she was able to witness how my little sister blossomed into a lady that night. It would have been a happier event for all of us if she was there because we miss her so much.

If you are reading this right now mama, we all love you very much- even more than how words could possibly explain! :)

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The reasons why I love Singapura

Two months have actually passed since I visited Singapore. But since I just recently promised myself that I will go back to old-fashioned blogging (thanks to WordPress for Blackberry), I feel like it is better late than never. Considering the beautiful experiences I have had with this likewise beautiful country, Singapore definitely deserves a page or two in my blog.

These are the reasons why I love Singapore:

“First impressions last.”

My friends and I arrived at the Changi International Airport around 3pm. Their budget terminal is way more inviting than any other airport I have seen in the Philippines. Not to discourage tourism in my own country, but you see, I’m just being truthful here.

Apart from that, I was deeply amazed when I experienced first-hand how a truly convenient transportation system works. The citizens were following the laws, the officials were implementing them effectively, and poverty is not at all evident in the streets. 

“The best way to my heart is through my stomach.”

Do you know the famous saying that the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? Well, I think it applies to the women as well, because Singaporean cuisine undeniably caught mine. Their much loved Hainanese chicken rice instantly became my favorite!

If you are to travel to Singapore anytime soon, also do visit Albert Food Centre located near Bugis Junction. It’s the cheapest food court we’ve been to during our stay. And trust me, an SGD 3.00 / meal would be a very rare encounter. After a while, you will also fall in love with pecking duck, roasted peanuts, carrot cakes and crushed ice with syrup for dessert (Sorry, I forgot what it’s called). And oh, they have a wide selection of beverages, including sugarcane juice and rose-flavored milk. My personal favorite? Their pineapple juice with real fruit chunks!

“I just wanna be on the beach!”

Alright. I know sunbathing might not be one of the primary reasons to fly all the way to Singapore, but come to think of it, Sentosa Island’s finest man-made beaches (Tanjong, Palawan, and Siloso) are still the perfect places to go for a swim. Palawan beach has this food and beverage zone where my friends and I enjoyed crushed ice and summer desserts (probably the best alternative to our very own halo-halo). We were also able to play frisbee with its wide beachfront so, yeah, do give it a try if you are someone like me who just wants to be on the beach… but no sunburn, please.

“Songs of the Sea” 

Singapura, oh Singapura, a land where flowers bloom for me and you.

Since we were already in Sentosa, we did not dare miss one of the best tourist attractions in Singapore- the very mesmerizing Songs of the Sea!

We booked our tickets first thing in the morning before we even headed to the beach. It was a magnificent performance and I really wish I could see it again. The story was that of something which only kids would enjoy, but the effects of water jets, flame bursts and lasers immediately caught my attention. Indeed, it was a billion-dollar project. I hope someday the Philippines can also make that kind of a breakthrough.

 “I don’t ever wanna leave Universal Studios.”

This is probably my most favorite part during our Singapore trip- a day at the Universal Studios Singapore!

We were very lucky to have booked the perfect date for our summer getaway, because it was just in time for Universal Studio’s soft opening. It is the first ever Universal Studios theme park in Southeast Asia, and second in Asia (next to Japan). We were there during its first or second week, I’m not so sure. But this I’m certain: My friends and I are one of the first few Filipinos who tried out all the attractions (of course, except from the Battlestar Galactica rollercoaster which is not yet open until today). Cheers to that!

I am partly proud of myself because I was so game then. I didn’t want to be the “KJ” in the group so I tried my best to conquer my rollercoaster phobia and just ride whatever’s next in our list. I personally loved Far Far Away’s Shrek 4D and Donkey Live because those did not include a matter of life and death. Sci Fi City, Madagascar, New York, and Hollywood all offered amazing experiences. And as for the other attractions, I was brave enough to try everything in The Lost World and in Ancient Egypt. I almost died from heart attack when we rode The Mummy’s Revenge, but as I write this blog, apparently I did survive.

“But wait, there’s more!”

There are just so many things to see and so much fun to do. Our 5-day stay wasn’t enough to experience everything that Singapura has to offer. But then again, we all tried our best to make the most out of it.

If you are also planning to see the beauty of Singapore, make it on top of your list to visit the world famous Merlion’s Park, make a wish in the Fountain of Wealth, shop ‘til you drop at Bugis street, and take your picture at the Singapore Flyer! :D