Exploring Singapore, Episode VII

I was on leave again. Just like the Episode V, it revolved around food, but this time, I didn’t have much activities in between. Most of the time, I went out for lunch, then if there’s nothing to do, I went back home and played game.

Monday, 28 February

This day was quite intense. I started the day at Sixth Avenue, tried “Gerai Medan”, a stall that sold cuisine from Medan, my hometown. The menu was intriguing as they have Soto Medan, Lontong Medan, Bihun Bebek, Kari Bihun, and some others. Unfortunately, many of those menu are only available on certain days. I ordered Soto Medan, basically a kind of greenish yellow curry with chunks of chicken and taugeh (yeah that’s what makes it uniquely Soto Medan). The ingredients were there, but unfortunately the flavors weren’t good enough as it seemed like it’s quite diluted. However, the bergedil was nice although it’s weird to find a whole hard-boiled egg inside the curry. I found out that it tasted better when I added the green chili in it.

Soto Medan from Gerai Medan

After lunch, I went to my next stop: Little Wimbly Lu for ice cream. It was quite far from the previous place, and it was located in a neighborhood that’s not really accessible by public transport. Apparently it was a cafe that serves full meals and I was the odd customer who just ordered ice cream. I had hazelnut praline and espresso chocolate chip. I felt that they weren’t that exceptional.

Ice cream from Little Wimbly Lu

I spent the rest of the afternoon in Botanic Gardens. Again, I walked there from the current place as it’s already pretty close by. I explored the area that I haven’t seen before and also viewed some new exhibitions.

Lake in Singapore Botanic Gardens

After all these walks, I was already pretty tired, however it’s not time for dinner yet (my original plan was to have dinner around the area before heading back), so I went back home.

Tuesday, 1 March

This day, I went to Bencoolen area for nasi padang lunch at Putra Minang. The daun singkong and bergedil was pretty decent. However, the fried chicken texture wasn’t juicy enough. Overall, they’re quite satisfying for the price.

Nasi padang from Putra Minang

After lunch, I went to Merely Ice Cream for dessert. I tried their butterscotch and rum & raisin flavors. Both were really good, but butterscotch is the killer flavor.

Ice cream from Merely Ice Cream

Next, I went to National Design Centre to view the exhibitions. There wasn’t much things to see, but I loved the interactive exhibition on how to plan a small studio apartment with 3D-printed furniture. It felt so much like playing The Sims (build mode) with some problems to solve.

Exhibit in National Design Centre

I spent the rest of the afternoon browsing the malls in Bugis area and then went back to Jurong East. Had dinner in Ikea before going home. The salmon was well done, although pretty small. The croquette was really nice too.

Salmon from IKEA

Wednesday, 2 March

I started the day with a morning swim and then breakfast at a coffee shop nearby home. I had chee cheong fun and it was pretty good, especially without queue.

Char siew chee cheong fun from Chef Wei HK Chee Cheong Fun

For lunch, I went to had a lunch set meal from Tipsy Bunny at Jurong East. It consists of an appetizer, a main, and a drink. The appetizer, kale rojak salad was really yummy! The flavors were rich and refreshing.

Kale rojak salad from Tipsy Bunny

The main, nyonya bakar fish quinoa bowl, however wasn’t that great. The temperature of the fish was so much hotter than the rest that it felt wrong to eat them together.

After this, I went back home and played game for the rest of the day. I made lots of progress on Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order.

Thursday, 3 March

I went for morning swim again, but had breakfast at home.

For lunch, I had double up chicken at Astons. The portion was huge! The crispy chicken felt too thick, but the teriyaki chicken was pretty nice and juicy, although more sauce would be appreciated.

Crispy chicken and teriyaki chicken from Astons

I spent the rest of the afternoon watching The Batman. At 3 hours, it felt really long and since there weren’t many people watching, the cinema was freezing cold. I felt that it’s a decent movie, although I would definitely prefer Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

Ticket stub for The Batman

Friday, 4 March

This day, I had more rest in the morning. For lunch, I headed out to Beauty World Center to try Hapiha Mediterranean Food. I ordered diavola pizza. Although the preparation time was pretty long, it turned out really fresh, hot, and crispy! However, the serving was quite small and the toppings were just so-so, probably next time I’ll try with some greens.

Diavola Pizza from Hapiha

For dessert, I had my first tao suan. I was surprised to discover that it’s actually green bean. It was served with you tiao and it’s really nice and fulfilling.

Tau suan from Zheng Xing Desserts

The day was so hot and I decided to take bus to my next destination: ice cream at Salted Caramel. Of course I ordered salted caramel flavor, and also hojicha flavor. The salted caramel flavor was beautiful.

Ice cream from Salted Caramel

Former Ford Factory

After that, I spent the rest of my afternoon in Former Ford Factory, which is a museum about Singapore before, during, and after World War 2. This site is the place where the British surrendered to the Japanese during Battle of Singapore. I’ve been here before, but it was just a quick browse as that visit was done as part of a detour in a hiking trip. This time, I really spent my time in the museum. I learned that back in 1940s, Singapore was really a different place: the land was much smaller, Beach Road is literally beside the sea. I also noticed that the old civil airport in Kallang called “Kallang Aerodome” has circular shape.

I also took my sweet time to read the exhibits, like the newspapers, diaries, and letters. I was surprised that The Straits Times reported the battle in such an optimistic note in the days leading to the surrender. I wondered if this is because they’re forced to do so by the government (war propaganda effort perhaps).

Exterior of Former Ford Factory

The first half of the exhibition focused on pre-war, war, surrender, Japanese occupation, and the end of World War 2. It depicted how before war, the British were increasing their forces across Malaya, and when the war started, battles raged across Malaya and of course in Singapore. In Battle of Singapore, after the troops retreated to town centers, it kind of made sense to surrender, since access to fresh water & food supply, they were anxious how long they could last. I also read the transcript of the surrender negotiations and felt that especially during that time, long-range communication is a hassle: they were negotiating when to start ceasefire and the British need some time to relay these messages which takes hours to propagate across the island.

The exhibits on Japanese occupation was quite classic, like what I’ve seen in other museums in Singapore before: the Japanese propaganda, day-to-day life, Sook Ching massacre, life as prisoner-of-war, etc. One thing that’s unique here, I think, was the display on Indian National Army, formed by the Japanese with promise of giving independence to India (which were under British rule), but apparently this army never went to India to fight battles

I read the exhibits on the end of World War 2, and saw the newspaper worded the surrender of Japanese Empire as “acceptance of terms laid by Postdam Conference”. Furthermore it said that this “surrender” was to avoid further massive loss of lives like what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The second half of the exhibition focused on the life after the war (but before independence). It depicted how British military administration was set up before transferring to civil administration as Crown Colony. Greater autonomy was gradually given, and it eventually led to independence.

Unexpectedly, I’ve spent more than 2 hours here. I left the place and decided to go to Clementi to spend my time until dinner before going back home.

Closing Thoughts

Yet another week on leave well spent. I explored several food places and the most memorable one were the Kale Rojak Salad from Tipsy Bunny and butterscotch ice cream from Merely Ice Cream.

Other than food, I also finally completed my game Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order that I bought during the winter sale. The graphics of the game was amazing. Story-wise, it’s fine as a game. One thing that can be frustrating was the puzzles that may require you to perform some actions with little margin of error and if you had error, you have to retry again and again. But then, those puzzles are usually optional to get some additional items. Therefore, as a whole, it’s still a pretty good game.

Anyway, it was a good rest. Looking forward to my next explorations!

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