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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Is It Worth Buying Electronics in Singapore Any More?

I remember the good old days when any trip to Singapore would mean bringing home several "Made in Japan's", like cameras, handycams, TVs, music systems, and what not. Then a few years ago, things changed. In the year 2010 to be precise, my friend in Singapore told me that the only electronics item worth buying in Singapore was LCD/LED TVs because everything else had become too expensive. I got to verify his claim too. During that trip, I spent a lot of time in Little India and so I was able to visit the three main shopping destinations for electronics in Little India, Singapore. Those were: (i) Mustafa Centre, the ever popular 24/7 shopping mall of Little India Singapore, (ii) Naranjan (close to Mustafa), the twin shops selling electronics at prices slightly lower than what would be charged by Mustafa, and (iii) Sim Lim Square, the digital mega mall which is at a walking distance from Little India and Bugis MRT Stations. Most of the stuff available in these three places was more expensive as compared to most of the online shopping websites in India. On top of that, the quality  and international warranty on the electronics purchased in those three places emerged as big concerns. Keep reading...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Vegetarian (Eggless) Cookies from Koi Kei Bakery in Macau & Singapore

Koi Kei Bakery (Pastelaria Koi Kei) has several shops in Macau. Still, due to its immense popularity, almost all those shops are always very crowded especially those located at Senado Square on the streets leading to the Ruins of St. Paul's. They have at least one shop in Singapore too which is located at 56, Temple Street, Chinatown, Singapore (Phone: 6225-7677). I love to shop at Koi Kei but being vegetarian, my choices there are always limited. In both their locations in Macau and Singapore I have been able to find at least two variants of their cookies that are vegetarian, which means that as per the list of ingredients these cookies do not contain eggs. However, before I give the details on these two variants, a disclaimer will be in order. These cookies are made in bakeries where cookies containing eggs are also made. Hence, similar to the warnings on possibly allergic ingredients found on many processed foods packages, the packets of these eggless cookies too have a warning on them that the cookies may contain traces of eggs. One needs to be practical here and decide whether one wants to eat these cookies or not. Don't we eat vegetarian food in restaurants that also serve non-vegetarian food? Now read more...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sichuan Pepper in Chinatown Singapore at Yue Hwa Chinese Products

In the past, I have tried to look for Sichuan Pepper Corns in super markets (not Yue Hwa) in Hong Kong but never succeeded, sometimes they did not have it and at other times I could not break the language barrier. Sichuan Pepper became important for me after I watched a Chinese food show on TV, in which they sprinkled a mix of this spice and sea-salt on batter fried vegetables. Must be different from the regular black pepper powder that I normally use. Motivated by this curiosity and suddenly having found myself standing at the doorstep of Yue Hwa Chinese Products in Chinatown Singapore, I decided to try my luck one more time. Yue Hwa Chinese Products is a multi-story building in Chinatown. To get there, go to Chinatown MRT station and take exit "C". When you come out, you will find yourself in front of People's Park Complex. Come out to the main road and turn left. Yue Hwa is at the left side corner of the road. There are six levels in this building out of which the top (6th) level is their office. Merchandise is sold on the first five floors. Keep reading...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Indian Vegetarian Food Near Mustafa Centre Little India Singapore

In my humble opinion, the biggest attraction of Little India in Singapore is its most famous shopping mall - Mustafa Centre. Another main attraction here, of course, is countless Indian restaurants. Fortunately for vegetarians like myself, the choice of Indian vegetarian restaurants around Mustafa Centre is heartening. I was really happy to find many restaurant names that are popular in India doing great business in the roads adjoining Mustafa Centre. There is Sarvana Bhavan from South India and Bikaner Express from the North, and so on. At least two of the Indian restaurants almost at the doorstep of Mustafa Centre open 24 hours a day, one of which is 100% vegetarian. Cost-wise too, there are options and bargains to look for. There is a SGD 5.00 unlimited rice meal buffet and and a tea/coffee with Samosa costs only SGD 1.50 if you know where to look for. Keep reading for the details and pictures...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Eight Treasures Vegetarian Restaurant Sago Lane Chinatown Singapore

A side benefit of eating at Chinatown's excellent CI YAN Vegetarian Health Food Restaurant was that a regular customer there told me about two other vegetarian restaurants in Chinatown. Annalakshmi Indian Vegetarian (Eat All You Can - Pay What You Like) was one of them which I totally recommend. The info on the other one - "Eight Treasures Vegetarian" came along with a warning - "It would be expensive to eat there". Since it was only the third vegetarian food joint in Chinatown I knew of, I had to go there. Expensive or otherwise. The location of Eight Treasures Vegetarian is interesting. Officially, the address of the place is 282, South Bridge Road. Its on the first floor, above its sister joint called "Well Dressed Salad Bar & Cafe". But the entry to Eight Treasures is on Sago Street or Sago Lane which is called the Street of the Dead. Eight Treasures could be called 'Food for the Living on the Street of the Dead'. Ironic no doubt, but the food they serve here is interesting too. An imaginative mix of real vegetarian preparations and those with fake meats created from soy and mushrooms. Eight Treasures Vegetarian opens everyday from 11am to 3pm, 5pm to 10pm on weekdays and 11am to 10pm on public holidays, 1st and 15th of the Lunar Calendar. It is possible to make reservations, phone: 6534-7727. Keep reading...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

CI YAN Vegetarian Health Food Smith Street (Food Street) Chinatown Singapore

This daily 11.00am to 11.00pm Street food festival at Smith Street (Food Street) in Chinatown (MRT Exit A) Singapore, is a mainly non-vegetarian affair. It is hard to find anything for vegetarians here unless one really knows where to go. I walked up and down the whole street twice before getting lucky to spot this joint close to the Temple Street end. Its called CI YAN Organic Vegetarian Health Food and is open daily from 12.00pm to 9.30pm. The menu is short, consisting of about six items of food and one of dessert, and it changes daily except for the "Brown Rice Set Meal" (SGD 6.50) which is served everyday. The "Today's Menu" is displayed on a black board outside the restaurant. Really helpful. When I visited them, it was, apart from the set meal, Braised Mushroom Duck (soy) Noodles (SGD 5.50), Sloppy Joe Burger (SGD 7.50), Minestrone Soup (SGD 3.00), and White Fungus and Papaya (SGD 2.50) for dessert. The rest was sold out and erased from the black board. The restaurant has basic furnishing (wooden stools for chairs), Buddhist temple like decor, and a couple of staff. One is supposed to order at the counter and pay before taking a seat. They serve the food on the table but afterwards the customers are expected to go keep the used dishes at the designated place. The food is good, really tasty, and the brown rice is organic. It does feel like one is eating healthy food so all that formality of ordering & paying first and clearing the used plates from the table does not seem like a hassle. Keep reading, see pictures below...

Friday, August 29, 2014

Best Money Exchange (Money Changer) in Singapore

In this page I will not only tell you which one is the best money exchange place (money changer) in Singapore but also the easy directions to get there via MRT. The two main places in Singapore where you can find the best exchange rates for your currency are: people's Park complex in Chinatown and Mustafa Centre in Little India. Of course there a few other places too, like The Arcade at Raffles Place and Lucky Plaza at Orchard Road but in my experience, being at Mustafa Centre or People's Park Complex takes the guess work and stress out of changing money. That way, out of these two, Mustafa Centre is even better because here you get several exchange counters belonging to the same company so there is no comparing of rates to do. Money Exchange at Mustafa Centre is the best in Singapore for three reasons: 1) Its open 24 hours a day / 365 days a year, 2) If a particular currency can be changed anywhere in Singapore, it can sure be changed here, and 3) The exchange rates are equal to the best if not the best. Money changers at People's Park Complex are more popular among the Chinese community. But here, since there is a choice of exchange outlets, one needs to walk around and find the one that is offering the best rate for a particular currency. Keep reading...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Hotel Fragrance Emerald Singapore Review

I like Fragrance Hotels in Singapore. Even though some of those are less than perfect but considering their budget pricing, their shortcomings can be forgiven. The shortcomings are not serious anyway. I stayed at Fragrance Emerald (Lorong 6 Geylang) for three nights in 2014 and my stay was not bad. The room was more modern than the one I got in Fragrance Crystal (Lorong 18) where I stayed just before coming to Emerald. Fragrance Emerald is either newer of the two or has been renovated in the recent past. The standard "Fragrance" comforts where there alright. A queen bed, a side table, an LCD TV, an open cabinet, A tea/coffee maker with daily supplies, two small water bottles daily, a not so small and clean bathroom, effective air-conditioning, and a window with a view. For 68 SGD per night, I could not have asked for more particularly since the hotel was a few yards from the Geylang main road and within 5 minutes' walk from Kallang MRT Station. The room itself was large enough. Though in Emerald, I did find a couple of things to complain about. The tea/coffee maker was not clean and not in usable condition (see picture below) and the bathroom fittings were not all in top condition. Keep reading...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Fragrance Crystal Geylang Singapore Review

Fragrance Crystal in Geylang (50, Lorong 18) Singapore is one of the older Fragrance hotels because of which the rooms here are larger than those in the newer hotels like Fragrance Sapphire. Another advantage of staying in Fragrance hotels in Singapore now is that the typical complaints of the past about these hotels stand resolved. My Superior Room (68 SGD per night) was not only large but clean and had all the basic facilities. There was a queen bed, a CRT TV in front of it, a side cabinet, a split AC that worked well, a window with a nice view, a hair dryer, a tea/coffee maker with daily supplies, two mugs, and two small bottles of water daily. The bathroom was decent sized & clean with hot water. House keeping cleaned the room daily. With the window closed, there was no noise from outside and I slept well for all my three nights there. AC was in front of the bed but gave me no trouble. Talking about the typical complaints that people sometimes have about fragrance hotels, I did not see any unwelcome visitor in the hotel in spite of the "licensed houses" outside on Lorong 18. Those houses operate at night and everything is quiet. One can walk through the Lorong and come to the main road in a couple of minutes. A mini mart type of shop is right across the hotel. Keep reading...
Blog by: Narinder Singh