Saturday, December 31, 2005

Chinatown prepares for the New Year of the Dog

Christmas has come and gone. The new year is only hours away. And now Chinatown is preparing for the Chinese New Year of the Dog, which falls on 29 January 2006. Many interestings props were already awaiting in various "hideouts" waiting to be put up. Now, they are in the process of putting up.

A few weeks before Chinese New Year is probably the only time of the year when the place will be crowded as people from all over Singapore will flock here to buy the traditional stuff to prepare for the Chinese New Year (CNY). Others will come to soak in the atmosphere. In the old days, the very young would venture into the crowd with their parents risking suffocation as it was really shoulder to shoulder. These days, the crowd is as thick. But then, in those days, it could be the only time for the family to buy new clothes and some tidbits for the CNY. Ah, Singapore has come a long way.

Soon, traditional yummy food - maybe only for the older people? - like Chinese sausages, waxed ducks and meat, Yunnan Ham (that one uses a normal saw to saw it), and Shitake mushrooms will be on full display.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sausages - An Austrian Challenge

Right in the heart of the Chinatown that most people know, is a small roadside stall, the new ones that were set up along Trengganu St (on the side of Sago St.) Apart from the traditional and not so traditional stalls selling all kinds of things, is a stall that stands out. Inside this stall is an ang-mo. A jovial and outgoing person, this ang-mo (Hokkien for red hair, meaning caucasians) greets anyone and everyone who passes by his stall.

Erich must be his name as his name card is written as "Erich's Wuerstel Stand" with the slogan "Quality Grilled Sausages - Austrian Style". And the address? Chinatown Night Market Singapore F&B 3 Trengganu Street.

On that evening when I was in Chinatown with my Aussie friends, we thought it was a good idea to have Austrian sausages right in the heard of Chinatown. What a Stammtisch too! We had Bockwuerst and Bratwuerst with sauce and mustard. Oh, sie waren gut geschmeckt! Ah, in Singlish? Shiok! Sedap!

And what could have been better when we were enjoying the sausages and chatting with Erich, when the Crazy Horse girls walked down the road with the saucy Chinese blouses and tight samfoo pants. We did not know where they came from until we heard from Erich. And yes, he knows what's going on in Chinatown!

Erich certainly adds life to Chinatown! Judging by the number of news-magazine articles pasted all over his stall, his must be the most popular one in town.

Want to get another kick out if this? His name card has this declaration, "The Last Sausage Kiosk Before the Equator". Can anyone dispute this? (^^)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Chinatown of Yesteryear

Chinatown today is very different from yesteryears. For those who lived in Chinatown in the 1950s to the 1970s, most, if not all of them are no longer living in Chinatown. At least not in the old pre-war houses.

Chinatown can roughly be considered to have three main parts, the Cantonese part, near to the People's Park Complex (between New Bridge Rd and South Bridge Rd, right to the former Upper Chin Chew St) , the Hokkien part (the area around Telok Ayer St and Amoy St stretching to Boat Quay, the Teochew part (Merchant Road and Clarke Quay).

Many looked back with nostalgia. Here is an interesting Blog that shares with us on this yesteryears in the Cantonese part of Chinatown.

My Memories of Chinatown

[Ack:Lam Chun See]

Protection of the Land

As in many traditional Chinese shops around the world, in the Chinese shops in Chinatown, one could see the small altars at the back of the shop, in many cases, dedicated to Guan Gong, the red-faced General of the Three Kingdoms. And on the floor near to a wall, one could find a small altar dedicated to the Deities of the five directions and the local land. This is for the protection of the land and space where the shop is.

Some of these altars could be seen on the five-foot-way, as shown on the picture here. As in Taoist practice, the shopowners worship the Land Deities of the five directions for their help in protecting their shop, land, space and business. In offering, you could see give cups of tea, and sometimes, Chinese liquor and five joss-sticks are used. Fruits or offering of food are also put on the small altar.

Adjusting to the modern times, where there is more consciousness on cleanliness, small burning bins for joss papers are used. Here is a picture of a small red burning bin.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Internet Access in Chinatown

For some reasons, internet access shops or cyber cafe seem to be hard to find in Chinatown. A couple of times, I was embarassed to say I did not know of any when approached by tourists seeking internet cafes in Chinatown.

Was I glad when I saw this flyer in my mailbox. I have not verified the place and will recce soon. But in case you are looking for one, here is the address:

YOMA Internet Corner and Mynmar Arts
1 Park Rd #02-110B
People's Park Complex
Singapore 059108

Opening Hours: Daily 10am to 10.30pm

Tel: 65366577

[Disclaimer: No commercial interest in this shop]

Multicolored Condoms

In all shades, shapes and sizes, the Condom shop in Chinatown sure has quite a selection. When I first took notice of the shop, it was during the Mid-Autumn festival show where the VIP stand was just in front of the shop. I wanted to take a picture of the display but with two policewomen standing next to the shop, it might give a wrong impression. (^^) No, the policewomen were there for crowd control.

And so, on this bright weekday morning, while passing the shop again, I decided to take a picture or two to share with you. For emergency, collections or even Christmas gift, there's quite a range to choose from. When I took a peek inside, a couple was deeply in discussions on the various types of the tubes. (^^)

The boxers that came with special compartments to stock the supplies seem to be great gifts. (^^)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Spotted Wood Owl In Chinatown?

In the heart of the oldest part of Chinatown, at the corner of Amoy St and Boon Tat St, where there is a small green (with a few trees) next to Tian Hock Keng, one of the oldest Chinese temples in Singapore, I spotted an owl flying into the tree. I thought it was a bat, but it stopped for me to identify that it was an owl!

With friends, we have just had a wonderful porridge at the New Taiwan Restaurant, and were talking to our cars. Thanks to Tim who had a digital camera with him, even though conditions were bad, it was good enough for him to identify the owl as a Spotted Wood Owl. This was later verified by Subaraj, Singapore's first registered Nature Guide (, thanks to Prof. Wee YC (

In the part of the city where there's less greens than others, it is indeed surprising to see an owl there, and for me, it is a lifer. Thanks to Prof. Wee, I am using his picture of the Spotted Wood Owl to show a clearer view of this beautiful bird.

Acknowledgements: Prof.WeeYC, Subaraj, Tim

Monday, October 24, 2005

People's Park Complex

Probably the first shopping complex that houses many different shop units, the People's Park Complex was like a pheonix arising from the ashes, for before that was an old people's park of wet market, sundry and cloth stalls, open air restaurants, all thrown into one, that was partially destroyed by fire.

I had the good fortune of testing out the escalator and checking out the shop units as the complex opened to the public, with only a few shops opening. It was novelty for the Singaporeans, especially the residents of Chinatown. The Chinese emporium was the anchor tenant that attracts the crowd with its cheap products.

Today, People's Park Complex has evolved many times, upgrading to hold on to the crowd that has since been distracted by many other shopping centres. To Chinatown, this is an icon of modernisation. It will continue to evolve to make itself attractive and meaningful to the shoppers and residents of Chinatown.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Cobbler, Cobbler, Mend My Shoes

Cobblers have been a regular sight in Chinatown, ever since when I could walk to the old open-air People's Park that was market by day and bazaar and restaurants by night. With changing time, and new buildings, they adjusted into new niches. No challenge to anyone, other than the newcomer Mr. Minit, these traditional cobblers sat in a group, chat and work. Customers were offer tiny stools to sit on while waiting for them to mend the shoe.

They are like the smaller microcosm of the total ecosystem of the marketplace. Someone might want to mend a shoe or two, although these days, tendencies of throwing them away are higher. While these cobblers are not going to be rich, they manage to survive.

If you were to imagine a screen behind these cobblers showing the old days of the stinky canal next to People's Park to the present day, many things changed but not the cobbler. Maybe, some white hair, some replacement of cobblers .. but this trade could well be a vanishing one. Would Ronald be the last to bid them goodbye?

A New Barber in the Neighbourhood

Well, not really new, but it was a first time for me a couple of weeks ago when I decided to try out this S$10 a cut within 10 minutes. Service was efficient and friendly and since they use a kind of vacuum cleaner, I have less "hairlings" on my face, nape or shoulders. Interestingly, when I had my hair cut once in Raleigh, without any vacuum cleaner, this guy could make sure that I have no such hair to irritate my skin. (^^)

Jennie Tan was the main person of this, I suppose, 2-person setup, the People's Park Complex branch of the sprouting up chain of EC House (facing the old People's Park and near to the McDonalds). I think she's a trained hairdresser and so cutting hair was a breeze for her. It took some getting used to this advantgarde Japanese barbershop or haircut saloon. I must have a ten-dollar note to insert into a machine and get a card. This card was taken by the Jennie upon cutting my hair. I thought I would have a souvenir.

So, this new setup is going to be quite a challenge to the existing barbershop in the basement of People's Park Centre, manned by some 6-8 men, all of whom speaks Fuzhou dialect. (^^) This barbershop offers S$9 a cut. Come Chinese New Year, it is going to be interesting.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The history of Pearl's Hill School

From this National Heritage Board's information board at the corner of Amoy St and Cross St, there is this information about the origin of Pearl's Hill School.

Pearl's Hill School began in 1876 at Cross St as the Singapore Chinese Branch School, headed by Mr. E.T. Yzelman as its first Principal. The school was among the pioneer batch of government English schools set up by the colonial government. It served as a feeder school to Raffles Institution and other government-aided English secondary schools.

In 1883, the school was renamed Cross Street School. It shifted to Upper Cross St in 1889. Due to public housing development, the school moved to Pearl's Hill Road in 1914, next to the Police Quarters, and was renamed Pearl's Hill School. It was later relocated to a 12-storey building at Chin Swee Rd in 1971. It became known as the tallest school in Singapore. The school was officially declared open by the then Minister for Finance and Member for Parliament for Havelock Constituency, Mr. Hon Sui Seng, on 2 June 1972.

In its long illustrious history, Pearl's Hill School served the
educational needs of the residents in Chinatown. It was a popular school throughout the 1970s and nurtured many prominent old boys including a President (Dr. Wee Kim Wee), a High Court Judge (Mr. Choor Singh) and a Cabinet Minister (Dr. Yeo Ning Hong).

The school ceased operations in its Pearl's Hill site on 31 December 2001.

Today, the Cross Street School building is Hotel81. The school next to the Police Quarters and the multi-storey school has become hostels.

Ack: National Heritage Board

Sunday, October 02, 2005


Another Quiz.

Where is this temple?
Okay, okay, to those of you who gave up, here is the answer. To those who still want to find out for yourselves, skip this post. (^^)

If you walk along Pagoda Street, you will see this door which is part of the Chinatown Heritage Museum. If you have been to the museum, you might not notice it as you don't go in through this door. (^^) If you have yet to visit the museum, go and visit. It is certainly worth your 2-3 hours there.
This is one of the door bells of the Sri Mariamman Temple along South Bridge Road. It was gazetted as a monument on 28 Jun 1973.

The oldest Hindu temple in Singapore, it was originally built of timber and thatch in 1827 by Narayana Pillay. The present brick building was built between 1827 and 1847 by craftsmen from India. It is now a place of worship to the Hindus as well as a place of interests to tourists, local and foreign.

Interestingly, there is another temple with the same name in the Chinatown of Ho Chi Minh City.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Where could this place be? This place would remind the residents of yesterday and share with the children of today what it was like yesterday.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Eng Aun Tong Building

This building standing on the prominent corner of Neil Road and Craig Road was built by Aw Boon Haw in 1926. This was the factory of the famous Tiger Balm. In the 1950s, when I was still a kid, I would be sitting on the watchmen's "charpoy" (punjabi word for the rope-bed) watching the ladies dressed in light blue samfoo leaving work at 4pm.

It was said that the top of the building was to resemble the cap of the Tiger Balm bottle, but the architect persuaded otherwise. The top of the building has since been renovated a few times.

Once it was occupied by the French Business Centre. And now, EBay stands out prominently with its logo although I heard that it does not occupy the whole building. To the residents around this building, this was part of their economic activities. Since then, many of the residents, if not all, had moved out from Craig Road, Duxton Road and even Tanjong Pagar Road.

Ack: SingaporeHeritage List

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Austrian Wurst Anyone?

Nested between two stalls, in front of the Chinatown complex and facing the Da Dong Restaurant, nearer to the Smith St-Trengganu St junction, is a mini Austria. During the Chinese New Year shopping days this year, it attracted a lot of Chinese to try the Austrian sausages.

And now, by that small stall, is a mini stand where German speaking people are gathering for the sausages! Was! Ein klein Stammtisch! This must be the Austrian version of our Sarabat Stall which has made its way to the "Red Alert Book" of "Going to be extinct" makan relics of Singapore.

A jovial guy, the chef of the stall sure will make you "feel at home" when you drop by.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Chinatown Light-up for Mid-Autumn Festival

The usual part of the Chinatown, along New Bridge Rd and Eu Tong Sen St, on the part that stretches from the People's Park Complex to Yue Hwa Department Store, was lighted up tonight with illuminated Chinese images. The roads were cordoned off for the "parade" where the performers were to perform at two points, as I observed.

Save these two places, along the route, there was hardly any onlookers. There was nothing to see except the performers walking. Well, at least the enthusiastic NUS students would pose for anyone with cameras. It should have been a parade with performance all the way. After all the route is not so long. In this way, more tourists can see, and not just the VIPs.

The stage outside the Chinatown Wet Market was a more traditional place where the locals sat and enjoy the Chuan Opera from Sichuan, China.

As the fireworks took off, the shoppers along Pagoda street began to look at them, taking out their handphones. One poor stallholder was calling out, "Look at my watches leh."

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Guo Tie Anyone?

It used to be in one of the stalls in the old People's Park food centre, and a favourite with many. With the closing of the food centre for renovation, this northern Chinese food stall has moved to a small niche of People's Park Complex, next to the KFC. It's faithful customers followed, and come lunchtime, the place would be crowded with people.

The specialties include Jiao Zi (boiled dumplings), Guo Tie (Fried dumplings) and Zha Jiang Mian (Noodles with minced pork). The fried kangkong was surprising good too!

The name and address of the restaurant:
Tian Jin Fong Kee
1 Park Rd #01-100
People's Park Complex
Singapore 059108
Tel: 6532-3319


[Disclaimer: No Commercial Interests]

Monday, August 22, 2005

A shrine at People's Park Complex

Unknown to many, especially shoppers, at the back of the People's Park Complex, next to the garbage centre, is a very well-kept shrine. The shrine is in honour of Da Bo Gong, Ji Gong and the Monkey God.

Early in the morning each day, one could see a steady stream of people going there to pray and probably going on to work. As in typical Taoist mentality, many Chinese passing by would drop in to pray to the Gods, burn some joss-sticks, before continuing on their journey. Joss-sticks are available for anyone to use. There is a safe into which anyone could contribute. The Chinese calls this "Tiam Yu" (in Hokkien), meaning giving money for the oil so that the oil lamp remains lighted.

From the appearance of the shrine, it must have been well maintained by some people, who could be working in People's Park Complex. And the Deities must have provided good support to the businesses in People's Park. An interesting relationship

Monday, August 15, 2005

Kwong Zhou Hui Koon 岡洲会馆

This building of the Kwong Zhou Hui Koon (Cantonese) or Gang Zhou Hui Guan (Mandarin) has been standing there since 1924. It has seen much changes around it and has now found most of its neighbours gone. It has also undergone much facelift. The picture that I took last Friday show it at one of its best. I have not been inside for a long time to see if there were renovations as well.

My wife's "grandma" (not sure if she was adopted) had her tablet placed on the third floor of this building. And so every year, on Chinese New Year eve, we would go there to pay respects. As we entered the ground floor, we could not help noticing the typical Chinese Association set up, of very fine big black table in the centre surrounded by many wooden chairs, with more flanking from the wall. The furniture showed the better days that the Association has seen.

This Association has been and is still active with its own Lion and Dragon troupes (when there were few in Singapore) and its own opera group. Culture is passed down through its activities. You would notice that Cantonese Operas still draw the crowds.

Some of the furnitures of the Association are being displayed in the Chinatown Museum at Pagoda St.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Chinatown Basement Wet Market

Today, I am off from work and so had the time to take a stroll through the basement wet market of Chinatown, at Smith St. It is very different from the days when the stalls were lined on Smith St, Trengganu St, Temple St and Sago Lane. They was hardly any "shows" like the killing of snakes and turtles to be sold as food.

During weekends, this market is still thronged with people, not from Chinatown alone, but from elsewhere, probably formerly Chinatown residents. This is probably one of the three or four wet markets where tourists jostle with the locals, one buying for the week's meal, the other capturing the scenes of the diminishing wet markets in Singapore.

Here, live fishes such as the Toman (Snakehead, said to be good for after surgeries because it could lessen the pain), and others like bullfrogs, terrapins, and mud crabs are for sale. There are wonderful things like yong-tau-fu which you could buy back to make soup, fry and cook any style. Yes, there are trays and trays of different greens, fruits, eggs - fresh, salted or even century eggs (pi-tan), pork - chilled and rosted, freshly slaughtered chicken (gone are the days when one could pick up a live chicken and have it killed and defeathered rightaway) and yes, ducks - freshly slaughtered or roasted.

Visiting the wet market is an experience. Wet markets in China are also the same, except that the varieties are more.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Old People's Park

There was once a People's Park. And then, a new one took its place as the old one was burnt down. The old one was more of a big place that had sundry shops, cloth, clothes and yes, it came alive with many restaurants and alfresco dining in the evening. There were "singing girls" to entertain. The new one was an HDB styled one, taking away all that atmosphere.

Now that new People's Park has become the old People's Park as the People's Park Complex (first shopping centre in Singapore?) and People's Park Centre took over as the modern shopping centres. After seeing its heydays as the only specialised retail cloth centre in Singapore and late night makan(food)-centre, this old People's Park is now under renovation. Come January, 2006, we might see a new People's Park. Will it be the same? Will it invoke an atmosphere of yesteryears or in the new millennium? That remains to be seen.

Chinatown is renewing itself, albeit at a rather fast pace.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Hungry Ghost Festival - Offerings

Many shopping centres and some offices have begun organising combined offerings to the wandering spirits. Some held on to the age old traditions of putting joss-sticks and the triangular paper flags (which we love to collect as kids) on every dish of food on offer.

It is interesting that this is one occasion that many offices would allow their staff to organise such an offering. It's for the peace of mind for the staff. Especially if there had been cases of accidents, all the more important. So, in construction areas, this is a almost a must for the workers. It's happening in the hotels too. For those with a big number of "subscriptions" - people contributing towards this prayer - it might include dinners and even street operas, on top of the pailful load of goodies to bring home. Auctions during the dinners are also common, as this brings in more income for the next year's prayers. A few charcoal pieces could fetch thousands of dollars.

Such prayers and dinners are also good opportunities for company or community gathering and interactions.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Hungry Ghost Festival

Today is the first day of the 7th Lunar Month, the day when it is believed that the Hell Gate opens and the wandering souls are allowed to wander on earth. As in traditional Chinese practice, it is the time to offer food and "money" for these wandering souls to use.

For the Hokkien and Teochew, today, they would put candles, joss sticks, some food and joss-papers on the road side. In the old days, the whole streets could come alive with lighted candles and filled with smoke from the burning joss-sticks and joss-papers. While not in that grand scale of yesteryears, Chinatown still finds many streets filled with candles, joss-sticks and joss-papers. Where there are constructions, this becomes even more necessary to appease the wandering spirits.

More formal rituals are also conducted. Today, there is a Taoist event at the open field by Upper Hokkien St and a Buddhist event at the open field facing Maxwell Food Centre.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Recycling Ecosystem

At the third storey of Block 34, Upper Cross St, where now the toiletry shops are making great sales, they also have an informal symbiotic relationship with this old lady. When the shops close at 9.30pm, this old lady would come to flatten out all the empty carton boxes that they throw on the walkway.

By midnight, depending on the sales on that day, she would have more or less completed flattening all the cartons and tie them up together. In return for these discarded cartons, she would clean up the whole walkway, making it clean ready for the next day's business.

I don't know where she stays. Sometimes, past midnight I still saw her sleeping by her pile of flattened cardboards. Perhaps, that is the better way to guard the cardboards and bring them to sell the next morning.

There used to be an old man who does the same, but he would go round collected old newspapers. Many neighbours took kindly on this friendly old man and would gladly give him the newspapers and whatever he could sell. He was always grateful, cheerful and friendly. Alas, one day, I saw her being supported by a maid, suffering from a stroke. Since then, I have not seen him anymore. From what I heard, he had been doing this trade for a long time, supporting his children through university education.

There is still another old man who is still collecting old newspapers. But age is catching up. I am not sure for how long I would still be seeing him in the lift and being greeted by him in the traditional Hokkien greetings, "Jia Ba Buay" (Have you eaten enough?). Then, it might be the end of this ecosystem and a way of life.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Old Chinatown

Ronni Pinsler is a familiar face to residents of old Singapore, especially Chinatown, and in the Clarke Quay area. I first met him some thirty years ago when we were taking photographs of a Chinese temple at Duxton Road. Thirty years on, he is still chasing after temple events. Alas, many of the old scenes are no longer around. But Ronni's thousands and thousands of pictures stay, thankfully.

Some of these pictures are archived electronically in the National Archives of Singapore. Go to this website and key in his name, and you may see scenes of Singapore that the young Singaporeans might not be able to relate with.

He shuttles between Singapore and Penang these days, but at times, you could still see him at a Chinese temple events. He still contributes his vast knowledge on the Chinese temples of Singapore, many of them no longer in existence in the email forum: taoism-singapore.

To join in the list, send a blank email to

In many ways, Ronni has helped to archive many scenes of the past, many of which we now have learnt to treasure. We have Ronni to thank for.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Claypot Rice

Chinatown is also about food, Chinese food. In the old days, 1960s, in the evening, one could find tables decked out on the streets and one could order many kind of food. One of the popular ones must be the claypot rice (called sar-poh fan in Cantonese). Rice with an assortment of ingredients and add-ons, depending on the orders, are cooked in a claypot, first on a stove with very strong charcoal fire, and then, moved to the next stove, progressively, with each stove giving less heat.

These days, squeezed in a small stall space in the Chinatown Food Centre (along Smith St), it was quite feat handling it and meeting diners' demands in a small space. For those of us who enjoyed the claypot rice, the patience to find a place and wait for the pot will pay off.

I tried this at the Chinatown Food Centre, the stall named Lian He (Ben Ji) at 02-128, Chinatown Food Centre, facing the Sago Road side. While it may not be the best, well, it is surely something synonymous with the old Chinatown.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Vegetarian Beehoon

In the Chinatown Food Centre (2nd Storey), next to the escalator that goes down to the Sago St side, there is this Vegetarian Stall that has been there for decades, starting from Trengganu St corner, if I am correct.

This used to be my breakfast place in the days when I walked to work. For S$2, you can have a plateful of fried bee-hoon with some of the deep fried beancurd stuff and complete with Vegetarian curry or cabbage/carrot/black fungi gravy. I prefer the latter and by far, have found this stall's bee-hoon the best.

If you go in the morning of the 1st or 15th of the Chinese Lunar Month, you will find a long queue.

I enjoy a plate of the bee-hoon with a glass of Kopi-O.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

All your toiletry needs

Since the old People's Park closed for a year-long renovation, a part of Chinatown disappeared. No scenes of shopkeepers sitting and chatting with each other waiting for customers to come to their shop. Gone too were the days of hearty bargaining for the cloth. While some of the shop owners decided to take a year off, some probably retired, the rest went to a temporary holding place in Queen St.

Popular with the ladies were some shops on the third storey selling all kinds of toiletries. I am not sure if there are other shops that could boast of such varieties and well, reasonably prized. I think three of these shops from the Old People's Park have moved to the third story of the adjacent block 34, Upper Cross St. There were ample signs and banners directing the loyal customers. These are the shops where the customers don't buy one or two items. Baskets are provided for the shopping. No price tags, all are rattled off from the brains of the assistants.

At least some of the Old People's Park crowd has migrated to this otherwise very quiet lorong of Block 34.

Teh Halia Anyone?

Teh Halia, or Teh Sarabat or Ginger Tea is one of my favourites. I am still trying to establish the origin of this tea. It is basically the English Tea with condensed milk and ginger juice. Perhaps, a touch of evaporated milk to give it a flavour and taste.

In Chinatown, my favourite one is the "sarabat stall" in Far East Square along Cross Street. If you go in through the Fire Gate, you will see it. Until 10pm or so, there is a constant crowd of people queuing for various drinks. This is the modern age Sarabat, although you will see the Indian chap doing the "tarik" (pull) to cool the tea and give it some foam.

A great place for after dinner in the area, for those who do not prefer to have alcohol.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Lor Mee, anyone?

A week ago, with the family, we revisited our favourite "Lor Mee" [Lu Mian 卤面] stall at the Amoy St Food Centre, at Amoy St. As usual, there was a queue. From full service in the past to self service recently, the loyal customers never fail to turn up. In many cases, it is a 3-generation affair. And I suppose that's how one passes on the acquired taste down the generations.

I suppose Lor Mee is a Hokkien noodle dish with the gluey sauce over the noodles and topped with fish, sliced braised pork and deep fried flour balls. With sliced chilli and black vinegar, it tastes heavenly.

On Sunday mornings, this stall at the second floor is very busy.

The Place:
Yuan Chun Famous Lor Mee [Yuan Chun Chi Ming Lu Mian ]
Stall No. 02-79 and 02-80
Telok Ayer Food Centre

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Sending money is a breeze

This morning, I went to the Western Union to send condolence money to the family of a colleague in the Philippines who had succumbed to cancer. Wow, Western Union has transformed from a telegram company to a money-transfer company!

At the Lucky Chinatown branch, at the corner of Pagoda St, it was manned by a Chinese lady from Shantung and she speaks pretty good English. I guess most of the clients could be Chinese sending back money. But this is also a good and cheap medium for Indonesian and Filipino maids working in Singapore. For S$12 charge, one could send money across, which could be retrieved within minutes. All one needs is to call the other party to inform the MTCN number, the sender's name and the payout amount. Presto! Money is received within minutes!

This service is also available in major post offices.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Sarawak Kolo Mee

Last night, I went to try out the Sarawak Kolo Noodles at the Jia Xiang (Sarawak) Kuching Noodles at 271 New Bridge Road. This is at the row of pre-war houses between Kreta Ayer Rd and Keong Siak St.

At S$5 a bowl, the wriggly noodles (that reminds one of the instant noodles) was surprisingly nice with the mince meat, char-siew and prawns. They have more additions such as meat and abalone if you want. The bowl of wanton soup at S$2 is certainly worth the money. I would go for that anytime. Ah, a little of Chinatown in Kuching has come to Singapore?

Guten Appetit!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Carpark goes hi-tech

Carpark goes hi-techFrom 1 July, 2005, the Park Crescent Car Park went hi-tech using the IU device of the car which is used for the ERP. Gone are the nightmares to the users and the car park attendants when the drivers tried to push in their cash cards when they actually have to press the button for a card. But then, the familiar faces of the HDB carpark attendants are gone too. Wondered what happened to them. Did not get a chance to bid them farewell for their great job and patience handling visitors and residents alike.For residents, driving in and out is a breeze now. The detector seems to be able to detect the IU device very quickly. Gone will be the days when we have to back off just to get our device to be detected.Noticed that there is a similar system at the carpark to the Chinatown Food Centre carpark.