Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pirates of the East - Zheng Yi Sao [鄭一嫂] @ Resort World Sentosa

'Pirates of the East' - a little known exhibit at Resort World Sentosa that has a high tendency of being passed over by visitors. 

Frankly, after going through two main attractions within the same building; S.E.A Aquarium and Maritime Experiential Museum, i doubt you would have much energy to explore further! Even i had to drag my feet to take a few photographs.

There weren't many exhibit items but the content was interesting as it touched on notorious pirates in this region; all of whom i am unaware of. Illanun, Balangingi, Xu Yabao and Zheng Yi Sao.

As the only female leader in a very restrictive Chinese society back in the 18th century, Zheng Yi Sao attracted my attention by carving out an impressive reputation for commanding the largest pirate empire in the world with 200 ships and crew numbering 40,000! 

Strange though - for an Asian, she appeared to have facial features belonging to an ang moh! 

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Trivia
Zheng Yi Sao was actually featured in "Pirates of the Caribbean 3"!  In the movie, she was the heavily makeup pirate known as Mistress Ching! 

Location
The exhibit is located next to the souvenir section for S.E.A Aquarium and Maritime Experiential Museum.

Monday, April 29, 2013

One Million Pageviews - A Milestone for this Blog!

From an average of only 20 pageviews a day, even i was taken aback by how far my blog has advanced to reach an accumulated 1,000,000 pageviews recently, with yesterday's count standing at 3,077!

Obviously, i am not comparing myself with professional bloggers and this declaration of a million pageviews is more a personal achievement worth remembering as a memorable entry in this blog.

No matter what, I would like to express my deepest heartfelt appreciation to everyone who has been encouraging me to continue this blog despite the thousand over entries marred with often incoherent English peppered with grammatical mistakes and, loyal readers who frequently return to check out my updates! 

You would not want to know the number of times i almost deleted this blog as it was taking up far too much of my time. But thanks to all of you; i am constantly given the courage and motivation to keep going. 

Once again, a big thank you!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Shin Minori Japanese Restaurant Buffet Lunch (À La Carte) @ UE Square [Clemenceau Avenue]

I have been thinking of trying Shin Minori Japanese buffet for the longest time and the chance finally came in the form of a birthday treat voucher! Although it was free, i thought it would be very weird to dine alone and hence, dragged Alex along as a companion!

Bad choice. Alex, as we are aware, is a picky eater, doesn't eat much as well and any kind of buffet would be utterly wasted on him. Oh well, it is Japanese cuisine and i bet i can eat the worth of two persons by having more sashimi! 

Ordering the ala-carte items was actually very simple using four different coloured sheets categorised as sashimi /sushi, agemono/ yakimono, temaki/ makimono and ippinmono/ itaemono/ nimono/ piza/ teppanyaki/ gohan/ men/ shiru.

There were 146 items to choose from and knowing the limited capacity of my stomach means i would have to strike a balance between dishes i personally like and those labelled as chef's recommendation!

First up was Kani Miso Shiru - Cream of crab bean paste soup that tasted almost like a not too bad mixture of sweet pumpkin soup and savoury lobster bisque. 

I am going to have my fix of assorted raw and good quality seafood; sashimi moriwase! Tuna, salmon, snapper, swordfish, octopus and cuttlefish - all, with the exception of cuttlefish, were so palatable! Alex doesn't take raw food which means i would have to finish everything on the plate.

Honestly, by the end of this, i was almost 50% full. 

Sushi! I didn't have any as i tried not to touch any carbohydrates when i am having buffets. In the opinion of Alex (who would be the best to judge the sushi), he claimed they were the best! p.s. i am not sure if i should endorse what he said since he has weirder taste buds than mine.

Tempura Moriawase - Assorted tempura prawns, fish and vegetables. I might be a person who likes deep fried stuff but when it comes to tempura, i have yet to try any that blows my mind away. 

Pumpkin with Special Sweet Sauce - despite the unexciting appearance, i did enjoy the freshness crunch of well simmered pumpkin. Unless you are a pumpkin lover, you can give this a miss. 

Tako Yaki - the octopus balls sold under the brand of Takopachi were much better and definitely much warmer than these from Shin Minori.

The waitress informed that the above was Tori Teppan (Chicken on Hot Griddle) and i wondered if she is telling the truth, even now. Nothing's wrong with it truthfully as i did love the thin, crunchy skin and garlic marination. However, i don't remember food cooked the teppanyaki style had such a texture. Well, i could be wrong.

Mystery deepened with the above two trays. I would have thought one was Tori Karaage (deep fried chicken) and the other was simply the same thing with wasabi mayonnaise! Wrong, the latter was supposed to be a pan-fried dish! 

Gyuniku Shogayaki - beef with special sauce that was incredibly delicious with layers of tender beef and should have come with an additional bowl of Japanese sticky rice to soak up the yummy sauce!

Tori Teriyaki and Buta To Garlic - both meat skewers were good (comparable to Tori Q) and i would have ordered more if i was not already 95% filled up by then. Surprisingly, my sister thought otherwise when she dined at Shin Minori last June.

Unagi Yaki Meshi - Eel fried rice that was moist, juicy and a well deserved carbo-rich conclusion to a good meal. For those hoping for desserts, i am sorry to say there was none!

How could i forget chawanmushi - the Japanese steamed egg? Alex was impressed even though i was pretty neutral with it.  

Knowing Alex, if he likes something, he will order more of it and befitting his character, he did request for three more servings of chawanmushi! 

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I covered at most twenty items, which was not even one-seventh of the menu. Nevertheless, i prefer Shin Minori over Shin Yuu and would likely make another trip to try other items on the extensive menu! 

The next time would see me bringing a bigger cohort to share the food! 

Location
81, Clemenceau Avenue 
#03-15/16, UE Square

Reservation
Please call 6733-2272

Rates and Operating Hours
As above.

Website

Menu
As above. For updates, please check out their website.

Price
Buffet Lunch Adult - S$32
[Subject to GST and Service Charge]

Additional Information
Sake is separately charged while a cup of green tea (in our case, cold green tea) cost an additional S$0.30 each. 


Saturday, April 27, 2013

My FIRST Participation as a Vendor in a Flea Market @ Yishun Block 745

I have to admit - i wasn't very involved in the operation of the flea market booth except for the setting up in the beginning and the packing up just a few hours ago.

Let's rewind to the very beginning - 2pm; an hour before the start of event with the designated void deck for the community flea market still looking pretty empty.

3.30pm - a hive of activity and working electricity (operating fans were essential to dispel the heat)! It's quite amazing to see experienced vendors who can practically set up their wares in less than twenty minutes!

With around 60 tables, a neighbourhood flea market might not be as bad as it sounds. The inexpensive rent (we paid only S$15) usually translates into reduced prices and the significantly lower purchasing power means you can get really incredible deals! 

5 t-shirts for S$10?! Do note that some items could be pre-loved goods (meaning second hand) and it would be best to seek clarification if you are particular about it. 

Hair bands - given my fringe and side burns, i am not embarrassed to declare that i am a frequent user of hair bands. I have my limitations; i will use them only at home. :P

Our next door 'neighbour' offered shiny accessories!

Some vendors started their operations in a less than a minute by dumping everything onto their tables! Such untidy layout might actually attract customers as they are aware that the products are free to be rummaged. 

Besides drinks and snacks, it is recommended for any vendor to bring along a portable fan! 

IT products - Two months ago, i asked for the price of an iPhone5 charging cable and was quoted S$8. Today, it was priced at S$3 and i believe i can bargain for an even cheaper price. 

As expected, there were a lot more ladies stuff; nail polishes, cosmetics, accessories, handbags etc etc.

DVDs and VCDs - Alex and I used to buy a lot of these until we found a phone application where we can watch movies and dramas for free without the hassle of converting them as a suitable format! 

The things that caught my attention here were the cookie cutters with adorable shapes of hearts and animals. I was supposed to learn how to bake in my semi-retirement, which unfortunately has yet to materialise.

Face masks 'freshly' imported from Korea! 

Beads-art and you are free to request for customisation. Honestly, i found them to be visually much more appealing than the acrylic artwork found in pasar malams. 

Again, female accessories. Business in general for everyone was frankly not good but in the case of my family, it was the experience that counts. 

Notice the CJ7 plushie? I could still remember that for a period of time after the Stephen Chow blockbuster, i had a hard time finding one that looked perfect without costing too much!

Toy figurines for the families with boys! Thought it was quite expensive at S$15 a pack.

Cartoon brollies! If Jovyn was with us, she would insist on getting the Hello Kitty or Disney one! 

The assigned table was not big and most vendors made full use of their creativity and resources to enlarge their space. The easiest way was to have plastic sheets on the floor where you can throw anything on them. 

A few, including us, brought along easily assembled clothes racks. A veteran  took the cake by having two-level clothes racks!

Some used the pillars to hang their products.

Quite a number even pull laundry lines to hang the clothes! 

Now, cheap is always good but in the case of the above, you are free to name your own price! Of course, it depends on whether the seller is willing to accept your price, or not. 

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Location
Yishun Block 745. Another flea market (likely at the same location) would be scheduled in July. 

For Yishunians who could not wait till July to be a flea market vendor can also consider another venue at Block 150 which would take place earlier on 05 May 2013! For more information, call 6853-4272.

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