Saturday, January 10, 2009

A day of sight-seeing with RL on 3 Jan 2009

At Chilli Padi Nonya Cafe: Mee Siam, served the Peranakan-Chinese way.

Some people may mistakenly think that Singapore is a boring place, and would not have imagined how fun it would be to tour Singapore.

However, I would be one of those people who would advocate for locals to go sight-seeing in Singapore. It is fun and enriching to tour Singapore. I personally find it I am very thankful and pleased that I have found a lovely companion in my friend, RL, who I deem as my comparable match in sight-seeing Singapore on foot. Yeah! Cheers to RL.

Part of the lunch buffet. Photo taken by RL.

Nonya kuehs.

Our meeting point was Bugis MRT station. After RL was done with getting gifts for her precious loved ones, we went along with the flow and ended up at at the Chilli Padi Nonya Cafe. 470 North Bridge Road #01-02. North Bridge Commercial Complex. Singapore 188735. (Tel: 63397745). We were lucky. We did not make any reservation but we managed to get seats before the crowd came in. We had a buffet lunch that consists of a variety of Peranakan Chinese dishes.

RL was pretty pleased with the Nonya kuehs that were served. She recommended me to try one of the types of kueh, and strangely, I could not find it on the buffet table. We were wondering how on Earth that type of kueh had failed to get my attention. Many thanks to RL for getting a piece of that kueh for me after she realised that I couldn't seem to find it.

After lunch, we headed for our destination for the day: Kampong Glam. Along the way, I took a snapshot of The New 7th Storey Hotel. This hotel will soon be gone. It will be demolished to make way for the new Bugis MRT station for the Downtown Line.

The New 7th Storey Hotel. To be demolished in time to come.

RL and I made a stop at Parkview Square. This is a magnificent looking building. I was attracted to one of the sculptures that was found in the area. RL found a sculpture of Chopin at Parkview Square and had the pleasure to take a photograph with the sculpture.

The next stop after Parkview Square was Kampong Glam. I showed RL what makes me have a special liking for Haji Lane, possibly the most narrow lane in Singapore. We also have had a good time treating our eyes to a feast of beautiful textiles and fabric while walking along Arab Street.

Haji Lane.

One of the textile shops along Arab Street.

When we were near Sultan Mosque, I was so much in the mood of asking difficult questions that I asked RL a difficult question: (Refer to the photo below.) What is the base of Sultan Mosque's glided dome decorated with?

If you want to know the answer, you would be able to find it in one of my blog posts on one of my earlier visits to Kampong Glam.

Sultan Mosque.

While we were at Kampong Glam, we visited the Children Little Museum at 42 Bussorah Street, second floor. One of the staff there was very hospitable and helped us take a lot of photos while we were at the museum. I felt as if we were superstars for the day, posing with antiques and nostalgic items from the good old past. I have had a good time there. While it is a fairly small museum, it is worth a visit. Admission to the Children Little Museum is only $2 per person.

While we were at Kampong Glam, we also visited the Malay Heritage Centre. The Malay Heritage Centre was previously known as the previously known as the Istana Kampong Gelam, and was the historic seat of the Malay royalty of Singapore. Nearby the Malay Heritage Centre was a yellow-colour building that is known as the Gedung Kuning. I particularly like the open spaces that stood in front of the Malay Heritage Centre.

Istana Kampong Gelam was the historic seat of the Malay royalty of Singapore.

Gedung Kuning.

Nearby the Malay Heritage Centre was the Bussorah Mall. Bussorah Mall offers a lovely view of Sultan Mosque, and I recommend that visitors to Kampong Glam should check out Bussorah Mall, a pedestrianised street, to take photos and to shop. Bussorah Mall is one of my favourite parts of Kampong Glam. Hopefully RL likes it too.

Bussorah Street

When we got thirsty, we treated ourselves to teh halia at a stall located along Baghdad Street. This stall bears a blank, white signboad with a red Coca Cola logo at the left corner of the signboard. As best as I have gathered, it has the reputation to sell the best and the cheapest teh tarik in the city area of Singapore. Its teh halia (tea with ginger) is also highly recommended. Fellow blogger, Jaymeso07, had written about this stall here: The cheapest and tastiest Teh Tarik in Singapore! Many thanks to RL for her treat to teh halia.

The stall that has a reputation of selling the best and cheapest teh tarik in the city.

After savouring the simple yet lovely teh halia, RL and I explored the shops along Bussorah Mall. There were a number of shops that sell fairly exotic items. If anyone of you have the time to explore, you would find antique keries (Malay dagger) sold at one of the shops, and you would find a shop that sells Peranakan beaded slippers.

Good food galore at Kampong Glam area. When we were done with the browsing through the many exotic shops in the area, we headed for the Singapore Zam Zam Restaurant located at No. 697 North Bridge Road. The murtabak there is delicious, and is by far the best I have eaten. Food-blogger of ieatishootipost, blogged about Zam Zam's murtabak here: Zam Zam: Mega Murtabak Mania. I shall be mindful that the next time that I eat at Zam Zam with RL, I shall order murtabak without onions. The curry there is good.

Zam Zam's chicken murtabak.

RL and I must have been in the mood for sight-seeing that day. After spending time exploring much of Kampong Glam area, we headed for Chinatown, which is one of RL's favourite places in Singapore. We were lucky. That day, it was the Chinese New Year Celebrations Official Light-up and Opening Ceremony. This year is the Year of the Ox for the Chinese Zodiac sign. RL got attracted to one of the sculptures of an ox.


Thanks to RL for leading the way, we visited shops that sold toiletries, and got ourselves more aware about the science behind cosmeceutical products because one of the shop's personnel took the effort to spend about half-an-hour enlightening us on the subject matter.

One of my favourite parts of our visit to Chinatown was our visit to the Chinatown Heritage Centre. Dear RL had to put up with my insistence to visit the Chinatown Heritage Centre even though we were told straight in the face by one of the centre's staff that the centre's closing and if we were to visit it, we would only have 30 minutes to visit the centre. Thank goodness that RL was sporty to go along with my insistence and zealousness. Yours truly is admittedly close to being a freak when it comes to visiting museums in Singapore.

My favourite parts of the Chinatown Heritage Centre are the air-wells, the bucket-system toilets, and the replica of the living squatters of the ex-residents of the shophouses. Yes, I love air-wells and can get pretty fascinated by them.

Photography is not allowed at the Chinatown Heritage Centre. If the Chinatown Heritage Centre loves my writing, and wishes to gain free publicity, I do hope that it would grant me the permission to visit the centre (I will pay for my admission charges), take photographs of the centre and blog about it. For now, just try to imagine the air-wells, the toilets and the rooms. Meantime, I strongly recommend that you check out this post by June Yong: Cubicle Life and Museum Hoppin' - A Sneak Peek by Angela.

Chinatown Heritage Centre

We were pretty lucky. After we left the Chinatown Heritage Centre at about 7.45 p.m., we had the privilege to hear the sounds of firecrackers even though we could not see any of them. Then, we were lucky to get a glimpse of one shot of fireworks in the air. We must have been in good luck that evening.

That evening, I have had the honour and pleasure to chill out and catch up with RL, while we refreshed ourselves with watermelon-and-papaya-juice and pineapples. The various life events that had happened recently made me realised that life is made meaningful when we connect heart-to-heart with friends and/or our loved ones. Those moments are way more precious than many other things such as a job promotion or a passing of an exam.

Here, I am thankful to RL for having put aside time to sight-see my beloved country, Singapore, with me on 3 Jan 2009. Many thanks for the encouragement and support that she has given me that day. I had very much needed them.

I do conclude that there is so much to see and learn about Singapore, such that maybe a life-time may not be sufficient to tour every single part of Singapore in depth. Anyway, I have had fun and a meaningful time sight-seeing.


.:":.Ador.Verve.Serendipity.:":. said...

truely truely one of the most memorable days of my life .. as well as those @ the museum & esplanade ... & in sydney! :):)

Anonymous said...

I think I'd be a good companion of yours since I love exploring towns and cities on foot! I remember I walked for almost 6 hrs exploring the historic quarters of George Town, Penang with my friends last May.

oceanskies79 said...

Ruffie: Thank you for spending memorable days with me. :)

Kyh: Wow. I think you will certainly make a good companion on foot. I can't remember what was the longest duration that I had walked.

Would you be coming to Singapore in the near future?

Doreen said...

I don't find Singapore boring but I normally would just spend all my time in Singapore shopping. I don't think I can walk like you under the scorching hot sun. I get headache when it is too hot. Hehehe.

eastcoastlife said...

I have yet to try the buffet at Chilli Padi restaurant. My friends who have been there gave rave reviews.

Love the old men's teh alia!

I was at Kampong Glam for dinner that night. :)

oceanskies79 said...

Eastcoastlife: Go for the restaurant at Joo Chiat. So far, the raving reviews are for the restaurant there. The Cafe at North Bridge Rd is alright, but I don't rave about it. Admittedly, yours truly is very critical when it comes to food.

What a coincidence. Had we stayed for dinner, we might have met you that day.

oceanskies79 said...

Doreen: Ah...there are places to walk in Singapore, air-conditioned, where you don't have to shop. My recommendations: The museums. Please pardon me. As I have implied, I am a zealous museum-supporter. Museums are more interesting than our shopping malls, in my humble opinion.