Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Driving Offence - Driving without An Off Peak Car (OPC) e-Day License Coupon

My weak heart always misses a beat or two whenever i receive a letter from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in my mailbox; their letters often result in lesser money in my bank account. :(

But nothing sufficiently prepares me for the content of the above LTA envelope.

As the owner of an off peak car (known popularly as red-plate car), i am always very conscious whenever i drive my Toyota Vios; the lack of an electronic day license for weekdays between 7am and 7pm can translate into a fine up to a maximum of S$20,000!

Therefore, you can imagine the look on my face when i read the following statement in caps "DRIVING AN OFF-PEAK CAR WITHOUT A SUPPLEMENTARY LICENCE IN FORCE". Date of Offence: 18 July 2012. Time: 5.48pm.

The first thing i did was to check out my calendar [nothing]; followed by web browsers [history shows activities starting from almost 9pm], corporate email [my last email was at 4.30pm], blog [no entry on that day] and facebook [first comment after lunch was at 9.30pm].

I was flabbergasted since both of us (Alex and myself) have been driving on quite a number of days in July and this particular date was almost two weeks ago! We simply could not remember who drove the car that day!

That's when my EZLink card comes in handy; there's a function in the EZLink top-up machines that logs all journeys you have made on the EZLink card. As i don't take public transport when i am driving my OPC, this function would tell me exactly if i am the driver that day.

Thankfully, I am not.

=====

There will be an update on the currently undisclosed fine.
Do look out for my next post on this unfortunate incident!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Famous Yong Xiang Xing Yong Tau Foo (驰名永祥興豆腐) - One Size Fits All @ People's Park Food Centre [Chinatown]

I have always recommended that should you be stuck in a local hawker centre without any idea on what to have, it's best to go with the stall that has the longest queue!

That same advice should have been used whenever i visit People's Park food centre but i never did have the chance to do so. Singapore's Chinatown area, with three huge hawker centers within walking distance, is simply put; overflowing with good food and my usual problem is not knowing where to start from!

Yong Xiang Xing Yong Tau Foo (永祥興豆腐) - a stall that has remained in the same location for as long as the Great Kon remembers and counts as his favourite place to dig into a soupy bowl of yong tau foo!

The queue is legendary and i counted around 40 persons queuing just to make a simple order [there is only one standard item on the menu (nothing more, nothing less) and ordering only involves telling the uncle how many 'sets' you want]!

Good thing about the long queue is that the food was delivered to you in mere minutes after you order. Guess it is a strategy adopted by the stall owners to ensure that customers don't go missing.

One look at the bowl of soup and it reminded me so much of another yong tau foo stall located in the same hawker centre; Poy Kee. However, unlike Poy Kee and other similar stalls, Yong Xiang Xing doesn't serve any noodles or rice. Definitely the right food for people aiming to lose weight (like myself)!

Contrary to some bloggers' review, i found the clear broth to lack the flavour savouriness i personally enjoy even though i presume that the older generation would likely prefer the blander taste.

Ingredients wise, i was more impressed with the handmade fishballs than two other beancurd products and to be absolutely honest, these handmade ingredients were necessary to provide a nice savoury touch to the soup.

If you ask me to pick one ingredient i absolutely love from this bowl of yong tau foo, it has to be this beancurd skin thingy (which in my opinion is entirely different from those white, almost tasteless beancurd)! I can easily finish half a dozen of those "skins"!

Poy Kee versus Yong Xiang Xing?
I cast my vote for.... Poy Kee.

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Location
101 Upper Cross Street,
#01-1084, People's Park Food Centre

Price
Standard Set - S$3.50

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Free iPhone / iPad Application of the Day - Save Money the Legal Way!

Being an active iphone user means i am frequently trawling the App Store for possible applications that would likely lock my attention and dispel any boredom faced during the long commuting to work.

I am of course guilty of keying in my password on numerous occasions to buy the apps although i would keep the cost to a maximum of US$0.99 (or S$1.28) each. Anything of a higher value would mean using Alex's account!  

In any case, i am happy to continue paying for good and interesting apps until i was talking to this friend who mentioned that most of her games, which i delightedly paid for, were downloaded as a result of Apple's "Free App Of The Day" or "Free for Limited Time Only!"

How lucky! 

This raised an interesting question - since there is at least one free app of the day for 365 days in a year, there must also be someone who will chance upon it and announce it to everyone in a website / forum right?

Apparently i am too late in thinking this million-dollar question as i found such a website that already has 91,000 Facebook likes and 35,300 followers on Twitter!

Damn, think of all the money i would have saved from download Angry Birds Original, Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Space, Water, Cut The Rope, KopiTiam etc etc!!!

To my dear readers, do check out http://freeappaday.com and download your well deserved free app of the day! For me, i am on my way to download my 8th application for free, saving at least S$10 within a few days.

^_^

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Natsumi Teriyaki Chicken - A Healthy "Burger" @ MOS Burger

Losing weight has been one of the main things i strive to achieve in my 30s although more often than not, temptations and cravings have proven otherwise.

In order to arrest the steadily rising weight, i have found a place where i could partake in a delicious meal without the need to take in unnecessary carbohydrates; MOS burger.

You heard me right! MOS Burger - the fast food restaurant from Japan that sells western fare with a nippon twist. And the healthy food i have in mind came in this paper wrap.

A bag filled with raw lettuce! Oh please, i will not pay the price of S$3.50 even if these few pieces of green lettuce were air-flown from Japan! The actual use of the lettuce is to wrap the meat patty!

These fresh greenies tasted crunchy and were especially nice with some chilli sauce. This is one of the rare times where i have my vegetables first and brought into picture the Chinese proverbial idiom "先苦后甜" - which means to suffer first before enjoying the fruit of your sufferings.

The "fruit". A chunky piece of grilled chicken cooked in a yummy soy sauce marinade that was all the more desirable with that layer of slightly charred fats!

To prove my point (however unreasonable that might be) that Natsumi Teriyaki Chicken is indeed healthy, you can even find a few strips of onions!

For those who are unaware, onion is also known as the KING of vegetables!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Snorkeling Right Outside Laguna Redang Island Resort (Last Episode) @ Pulau Redang [Malaysia]

My apology for taking so long to post my final snorkeling episode in Redang as i was seriously overloaded with work (yes, i do need to earn my upkeep for food and travel) for the past few months.

The good thing about working too hard is that i keep reminiscing about the great, relaxing time i had on the island and this means i am already planning for my next snorkeling trip!

Coming back to this entry - snorkeling is an easily achieved activity in Redang; you don't even need a boat when you can snorkel all you want right outside your resort!

Stupid us only realised that on our last day since we were under the assumption that snorkeling would not be as comparable to the open seas given the massive human traffic that usually congregates along the beach outside the resorts.

In a way, we were not wrong in our assumption; the area directly outside the Laguna Redang resort had indeed very low visibility and along the shoreline, we found schools of silver fishes that looked like ikan bilis!

You have to venture further away from the resort!

The water level was pretty shallow for around a hundred meters and i could see a lot of children exploring the little nooks and crannies of these rocks that dotted the underwater world.

Without the exhausting need to tread on water, even i have the energy to concentrate on the tiny movements made by sea creatures in order to spot them!

There's also the benefit of having more time to snorkel, with no one giving you a time limit to get out. That can be so irritating when you are reaching the peak of snorkeling enjoyment.

In terms of marine fish numbers, it would lose to top snorkeling spots like Redang's marine park.

However, both Alex and i agreed that we managed to see more varieties at this unassuming snorkeling spot outside our resort; like this sad looking angelfish.

Or this pink-yellow-white fish (please don't test me on the species)!

Be careful where you step; i found this camouflaged sting ray resting on the seabed and i was lucky to turn around just in time to see its two big eyes staring at my feet. Phew...

And jellyfish continued to make an appearance. We found this dead along the shoreline and Alex, as usual, could not resist holding it up for a picture!

Jokes aside, do note the surroundings and stay away from these beautiful marine pests.

For the adventurous, you could swim further out where you could find more marine life. I actually caught sight of my first group of clownfishes at the depth of around three to four meters!

As a conclusion for my snorkeling expeditions in Redang, you may also check out my inaugural youtube video! By the way, nothing beats seeing the underwater realm for real. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Jumbo Seafood (珍宝海鲜楼) -The Big Name in Seafood [Esp Chilli Crabs] @ East Coast Park [Singapore]

Despite having a hot and spicy love affair with chilli crabs for the past few years, i have never really thought of trying out two food establishments in Singapore that are well known for serving this famous local dish.

Maybe it was the perception that the crabs would be priced horrendously high and as far as i could recall, i have more foreigners than locals telling me how good they were!

Nevertheless, my elder sister specifically named Jumbo Seafood for her birthday treat and i was pressured to go along with her decision since she was the birthday girl! Frankly, i was actually excited since it would give me a chance to compare across seafood restaurants in Singapore serving the same dish.

Located within the Seafood Centre in Singapore's biggest park known as East Coast Park, Jumbo Seafood has a great view of the busy Singapore Straits with many diners opting for the alfresco seating in the evening.

My loving family always favours the more comfortable, air-conditioned area. We figured we could have all the hot air we want at home and therefore don't see the point to waste a cooler option to have our dinner!

This meal was held during the period when i was still recovering from my wrist surgery and as the Chinese believes, there should not be any ingestion of seafood that is considered as "poisonous". 

I really did try my best and although i failed to abstain from seafood, i am still proud to declare i ate a lot lesser!

Baby Squid
A perfect snack while watching drama serials on Channel 8 - they were crunchy and sweet like those from Uncle Leong; minus the chilli padi. I am generally not a huge fan of these deep fried baby squids though, unlike the birthday girl.

Beancurd Hotplate
For a hotplate tofu dish, the addition of scallops was clever as it set the dish apart from many competitors with its heightened infusion of seafood. The only complaint i had was the thin layer of egg that barely provided any bite.

Yam Scallop
These were pleasing to the eyes and i guarantee you would love the chomp of two extremes; that of the crispy yam casing and the juicy yummy scallop in the middle.

Sadly, it did not take us long to realise that the strong yet delicious taste of yam would eventually cover up the scallop's very own seafood flavour. To put it bluntly, i would gladly pay lesser for a plate of deep fried yam.

Mee Goreng
Rich and generous in ingredients (fish, squid, prawns), this was thick with gravy and could have been given the thumbs-up if not for the lack of wok-hei.

Chilli Crab
Now coming to the highly acclaimed chilli crab!

Here goes - I absolutely love Jumbo's chilli crab and will go as far as placing it as one of the best i ever have in my 32 years of life.

The initial sweeter tomato sensation (which did not sit well with chilli lovers like my mom) was just a prelude to the chilli-hot spiciness that lingered on my lips and the crab's long immersion in the pot of chilli gravy had resulted in full body absorption of scrumptious flavour that could only be described as amazing!

Definitely something i would go back for!

Buns
With the look of golden rocks, these were surprisingly not as oily as i expected even though i didn't find them to be exceptionally tasty. As i mentioned before in a few crab reviews, it would be perfect to couple Jumbo's chilli crab with the buns from Forture Seafood!

Oh, i almost forgot to mention that the buns must be eaten as soon as possible. They were almost inedible after 40 minutes in the open

======

Location
Block 126, East Coast Parkway,
#01-08, Seafood Centre

Map
As above (box with red border).

Price
Baby Squid - S$10.00
Beancurd Hotplate - S$28.00
Yam Scallop - S$21.00
Mee Goreng - S$15.00
Chilli Crab - S$52.00 per kilo
Buns - S$0.50 each
[Subject to Service Charge and GST]

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