Saturday, January 16, 2016

Revisiting Singapore with our old Singapore Household

After living in Singapore for close to three years, it's still one of Sofia's favorite places. Whenever we used to chat about the places where we would like to live, Paris always tops my list and Singapore would top hers.

We still go to Singapore quite often, normally 2-3 trips a year on average, but I didn't realize that to Sof, it's different when we visit for the weekend, vs a short staycation which we got the chance to do with Yaya Naling last November when my meetings in Singapore coincided with the APEC school holidays.

We left on the Tuesday of APEC week, and thankfully our flight just got rescheduled to really early in the morning, but it didn't get cancelled.
Thanks to the nice ladies in the lounge, Sof and Yaya were both allowed
to come in, even if I only had 2 cards.
Home for the few days we were in Singapore was Park Hotel Alexandra Road.
The area is very familiar to Fi and Yaya because Anchorpoint Mall and Ikea
used to be one of the places we'd frequent when we lived in Singapore.
Little girl borrowing mommy's shawl.
Sofia playing house.  Our hotel room was quite small,
but it overlooks the pool, just like our living room did.

Sofia was in heaven because the hotel was right beside IKEA.
She was in the Smaland Play Area everyday.
It won't be long when she's not welcome anymore if she grows taller.
Meatballs, Fries and Wings (not in photo) remain to be
IKEA Restaurant favorites.
New IKEA thrills include buying her own (and treating mom) to a 50 cents
make your own Ice Cream Cone.
It's not just entertaining, it's yummy too!
Thanks for the Ice Cream Treat Fi!
Sof is also big enough to do the IKEA Self Service
check out for us.

Our routine would include Sofia and Yaya joining me for breakfast, if they wake up in time. Then Sof would play around the hotel and pool.
Mom goes off to work, Sof goes off to have fun.
Then we go off to places we have missed when I get back from work.

Having more days in Singapore means not rushing to go anywhere. So Sofia's transportation of choice is always the double deck bus.
We always try to get the front seat, but if it's taken, the back seat will do.
Can't beat the view from the front seat. This is as close as we got to
Little India during Diwali. Hahaha. We went before, it was chaos. 

Our usual haunts include Chinatown, where they used to have the Best Char Kway Teow. Used to being the operative words.
They renovated Chinatown Food Street. It now looks so posh and clean.
I guess, I'm not the only one turned off by the new look, and deteriorated
food quality if the empty tables are anything to go by. You used to have to
fight to get a table here.
All the food stalls now look the same. I still found a Fried Kway Teow Stall,
but it doesn't taste the same at all. Might be because cleanliness rating is
now A, and there are no more lines, where as before you get the flavor from
everyone else's order in the giant wok that doesn't seem to get washed in
between orders. Hahaha. Whatever it was, it used to be the best!
Good thing it's pretty hard to screw up Chicken Rice.

Other faves include Spize on River Valley Road.
We used to just walk to Spize from where we lived, you normally just ate
at tables on the street. Now, it's a proper restaurant with reservations, and a
line if you fail to make yours. But here the food remains superb at fairly
similar pricing to what I remember.

Orchard Roads staples include Build A Bear.
Especially when Ninong Tim foots the bill.
Garett's Popcorn
Chicago Mix please
Hanging Out at the Skater Park 
Even at 2 or 3 years old, Sof has always wanted to be a Skater Girl.

"Dirty" or Street-side Ice Cream Wafer Sandwich
We used to buy this from the vendors in Clarke Quay which was also one of our favorite places to bring visitors at night, but since we don't go there anymore, we had to get our Ice Cream Fix from the vendor on Orchard Road.
The Ice Cream uncle was on a toilet break when we arrived so we got
to take a lot of photos with his Ice Cream Cart.
Inflation was most evident in the price of Ice Cream! This used to just be
SG$1! That's a 20% increase in the 3 years we have been away. Hahaha.

Sofia's new favorites include Kinokuniya in Ngee Ann City (Takashimaya).
This is a great place to take a break when Sof gets too tired from shopping.
We had the privilege of being in Singapore at the same time as Geronimo
and Thea Stilton. 
We even bought a book, even if it was more expensive in Singapore
so it could be autographed/stamped.
A new Orchard Road discovery was weekend dimsum brunch at Taste Paradise.
The best BBQ Pork Pastry that I've had in quite some time. Hahaha.
Up soon on the blog, to see what else we enjoyed there.

We didn't feel the need to go to Orchard Road that often, since we had everything we needed within the Alexandra Road Area, two great hawker places included which deserve their own blog posts.
Sofia discovered a playground near the nearby community.
At least this one doesn't have a height limit.
My favorite discovery was Stew Kuche, the European Hawker Center across the street. Unfortunately, Sof and Yaya didn't want to eat there, so our happy compromise was they join me for a starter, hello - foie gras cooked in different ways from Immanuel French Kitchen, then we'd go have whatever they wanted to eat for that day.
I wasn't adventurous the first day, so I ordered the Pan Seared Foie Gras,
with the side salad. It was the biggest chunk of Foie Gras I've ever been
served outside Paris, and it was yummy and well-cooked too.
So  I had to come back the next day, if only to try the Foie Gras cooked
with miso sauce. So just imagine, Miso Soup with Foie Gras. It was heavenly.

After I wrapped up my work meetings, we checked out of the hotel, and moved to Tim's place for the weekend, to do our favorite things every time we visit him, both for weekends and when we lived there.
By the amount of luggage we brought, you'd think we were moving in.
Not quite yet. Hahaha.
I love the convenience of going down to have my fix
of Salted Egg Pork Rib, Cereal Prawn, and a new favorite,
Egg Tofu (since I wasn't able to order it at Spize).
Sof is easy. Her favorite is rice. Hahaha.
Another Favorite is Home Cooked Wagyu Steak, the special at Tim's house.
So much better with mushroom risotto, but white rice will do when we're lazy.
With a side order of Tim Ho Wan Carrot Cake, another favorite.
Sof used to be happy with the playground, now she is attempting to
play badminton too.

We were only in Singapore for a few days, less than a week in fact, but it sure felt like we just went back to our normal routine when we lived there.
Sof squeezes in a nap in the cab on the way to the airport.
We came back probably with 50kg luggage heavier. Hahaha.
And just life before, Sof went directly to the playground in the airport,
but this time with Bright Bear, her newest baby.
I guess Singapore will always be a second home for all of us, no matter where we stay, or how long we're there. Just like Paris. just saying.

Park Hotel Alexandra Road
323 Alexandra Road, 
Singapore 159972

IKEA Alexandra
317 Alexandra Rd, 
Singapore 159965

Chinatown Food Street (not recommended)
335 Smith St 
Singapore 050335 (Chinatown MRT)

409 River Valley Rd, 
Singapore 248307

Build a Bear 
Third Level, Plaza Singapura
68 Orchard Road #03-04

Kinokuniya (Main Store)
391 Orchard Road 
#04-20/20B/20C/20E Takashimaya Shopping Centre 
Ngee Ann City, Singapore 238872

Taste Paradise 
2 Orchard Turn, 
ION Orchard #04-07, 
Singapore 238801

Stew Kuche
Immanuel French Kitchen
Blk 119 Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-40, 
Singapore 151119

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