The playgrounds

Last week, we took buddy to check out two playgrounds. One was the newly opened Marine Cove at East Coast Park, and the other was the Future World exhibit at ArtScience Museum of Marina Bay Sands.

Let’s start with Future World, which is touted as the largest interactive digital playground in Singapore. It’s a permanent exhibition at the museum, in collaboration with the Tokyo-based teamLab, which explains the Japanese elements found throughout the set up. The theme is basically about sustainable living with nature. The first couple of displays have complex messages, but the rest are enjoyable and fun stuff for the kids, which also appeal to the adults.

The first display is an animation of nature: the blossom cycle of a tree. It’s rather zen, as I think we are supposed to contemplate our relationship with nature as we view the petals forming and shedding, and butterflies fluttering around. It’s actually rather pretty, but Buddy wasn’t interested in reflection.

The next display is the 100 years sea animation diorama as we watch how climate change causes sea water to rise and inundate everything around us. The museum provided bean bags in front of the paranomic screen for visitors to lie down and view the 10-minute scene.

After the somber reminder of the damage caused by the warming climate, I think the kids are glad to have some fun at last. Here, a table with blocks on them allowed kids to use their imagination to create a transport system. Certain blocks form tracks for trains to move, some form roads for cars, some form clouds for planes or helicopter,  and others form river for boats. The interactive image on the table is reflected on the screen. Buddy had a lot of fun making train tracks.

There is also a slide within the hall, but Buddy only went for one try. I guess the other exhibits are more interesting.


There are three digital installations which allow the visitors to bring to life the images we create. They are displayed on a large screen showing a city (picture below) that features iconic singapore landmarks, and there is even a dragon. Kids and adults can choose the transport they want to color from the selections available in the side slots of each bench, sit on the lighted benches and color them using crayons provided. Once done, you then scan the image (scanners are located next to the benches), and it appears on the screen.

One other animated installation features nature, with the images appearing on the floor. You can choose from flowers or animals like frogs, crocodile, salamander, etc. There is even a big whale, which is a little scary to Buddy.

Here is my frog swimming in the digital river!

Buddy created a psychedelic crocodile, and apparently he wasn’t the only one. He mistaken this rainbow croc for his creation.

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Turned out it was Swimming right by my husband’s feet.

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There are more installations which, unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to check out because it was already lunch time and we were famished. It’s worth another visit to check out the other interesting set up.

The other playground, Marine Cove, opened a couple of weeks ago, after several months of makeover. According to news report, it took the park authority (N Parks) S$18 million dollar to build the huge playgroup the size of 3/4 Football field, the five F&B outlets next to it, and the open carpark.

The playground is truly huge, with lots of stations catering to kids of different age groups. The highlight is the big ass lighthouse cum slide. The only way to get up is to climb up the rope ladder. But Buddy has never been very adventurous since young, and so he didn’t manage to climb all the way to the top. (One thing for sure is that he will not be a base jumper.)


The lighthouse tower can be pretty scary for young kids. Some parents climbed up the rope ladder with their children to guide them. But sometimes it can still be overwhelming for the little ones. There was one little boy (probably younger than Buddy), who was wailing on the rope walkway as his father firmly repeated, “you can do it!’ I know it’s good to encourage kids to overcome their fears, but it takes time and patience to do so and insisting on it may not be a good move.

The station where Buddy had the most fun is this game that is similar to hit the mole/mouse.  There is a circle of signal stands which will light up with either green or red circle when the game starts, and the kid has to hit the button on it once it lits up. Buddy had a lot of fun running around with other kids for this game. Unfortunately, he tripped and hit his head against one of the stands which caused him to bawl. Poor boy had a cut and a bump on his forehead. Luckily it was nothing serious and an ice pack easily soothed the bruise.

This playground is definitely a hit with the kids. During our first trip there in the evening, the place was literally packed! This second trip was during lunch time, and the crowd was smaller because of the heat. Yes, it gets really warm in the afternoon. So if you want to check this out with your kids, best to come in the early morning or evening, though of course in the evening, you have to fight your way through the throngs of children. (Fight may not be unexpected, because my husband overhead a little girl telling her dad that another child hit her when she was playing at a station.)

While we were there, we also checked out the F&B outlets at Marina Cove. McDonald’s, as expected, is a big hit. It’s the first and only  McD restaurant in Singapore to have a salad bar, and waffles to boot.  Luckily the restaurant provides self-service order stations, probably another first in Singapore, which makes it convenient to get your food.

We went to Hill Street Coffee Shop for brunch, since we had tried its sister outlet at Garden by the Bay, and the food is acceptable. But I think some people are not familiar with the restaurant and got confused over how to order their food. They were not sure if they should wait for their table or queue up in line to place their order. Well, very easy, you just have to get a table, take note of the table number, get the order form (from the front desk), note down what you want on it while in the queue to save time, and then place order when it’s your turn.

The other restaurants are Coffee Bean and Tea Leave (which apparently can seat more than 200 pax), Babalicious which serves peranakan food, and Briyani House which also offers prata. Initially, we had wanted to have brunch at Coffee Bean which serves whole-day breakfast,  but was told the food would take 20 minutes! Anyway, we will check out Babalicious and Briyani House for our future visits. These two restaurants even have play areas for kids, which is a nice touch.

The latest cheongsam launches 

Since the last launch in April, Our Bitsy Prints has been quiet until now, when it will launch its 30th collection today at 9PM local time. Titled “Sunny Singapura”, it’s an advance shout out to our National Day on 9 August.

The collection features tropical  prints, batik fabrics and colors that are fitting for the sun-drenched nation. I wouldn’t say I am bowled over by the designs, but there are a couple which are quite pretty, like this pastel orange lace cheongsam.

I do like the design of this brown batik dress with bell-shaped sleeves, but the color is rather dull. I thought there should be lots of green and vibrant tropical colors?

Sissae‘s latest cheongsam collection is called “Daydreaming”, and pastel colors are chosen for the theme. (I take it that when you daydream, your mind is in a haze and so colors seem lighter?)

Sissae has always tried to make the cheongsam design looks ultra modern, with mix results in my view. This time, I must say the collection does look rather classy and elegant. I hope the workmanship has improved though.

 

Lark and Peony launched two designs for pre-order a few days ago. These are not new looks, but basically a change in prints.

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Cheongsam sales continue at Studio 55

Studio 55, the boutique by Peter Kor, has moved from Purvis Street to 222 Queen street a couple of weeks ago. I made a trip to the new location yesterday to check out the new shop. 

I must say I like the ambiance at Queen street better than at Purvis. Queen street is the lane along The Singapore Art Museum, which is a stone’s throw away from the shop. There is the Church of St Peter and Paul next door, and Singapore Management University is pretty close by. 

The place has a cultured vibe about it. In fact, as I was walking down the street, I noticed two pianos standing in this open space and there were two kids playing on them. There is also a relaxed air about the locale, even the cars drive by leisurely. 

The place is rather easy to get to, with the Bras Basar MRT station very close by, and lots of buses. For those who drive, parking is available at the church (except on Sunday), or the hotel across the streets.

Peter’s shop is located in this building called “Le Danz”, at #02-03. When I first stepped in, I was a little surprised to find the shop space had shrunk compared to the one at Purvis’. But it turned out there was more to the boutique as Peter led me along a hallway to a another part of the shop where more racks of dresses are available.

The decor retains the previous classy zen look. There is no clutter, lots of space to move around, and there are three changing rooms.

Peter has extended the relocation sale to the end of this month, 30 June. At either 50% or 70% off, the dresses and jackets are worth checking out. There are also non-cheongsams available, for those who want regular dresses. Peter will be launching his new collection in mid July, and there wil be an official opening of the new shop.

The return of Lai Chan cheongsams 

A couple of days ago, after a long hiatus, I popped by Lai Chan boutique to catch up on the new designs. I met up with the man himself and Eddie, and it was good to see both of them looking well. 

Eddie told me they managed to clear some custom orders and launched new clothes from the backlog designs. There are beautiful classic dresses with the semi-precious stone buttons are available in new fabrics and prints. 

First on the list, we have this cheongsam with an interesting retro print. Though it is not lined, it still retain the amazing workmanship! The fabric is a mix of cotton with elastane and other polyester, and so there is some stretch to it.

Despite having reservations about floral print, I really like this dress with a chinoiserie image of large peonies and mandarin ducks against a pink backdrop. I am attracted by its bold and striking look!

Lai Chan has created a cheongsam for the T-shirt crowd, using T-shirt material: a basic cotton cheongsam with stud buttons and no piping. For those looking for a casual cheongsam, this is it! However, I feel the sleeves make the dress looks rather matronly.

Below is an elegant cheongsam with floral appliqués. 

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Another floral dress, which is part of the new collection, featuring Japanese kimono prints. The fabric is cotton, and the collar comes with checkered piping.

Lai Chan’s cheongsams are mostly sleeveless. This cap-sleeved cheongsam is created in response to requests from the older customers (“aunties”) who want short sleeves to cover the flabby arms. However, this length is seriously not going to help, and Eddie agrees with me. You would need something longer, like elbow-length, which will then make the wearer looks even older. 

Here is a gorgeous long cheongsam, made from silk brocade fabric with a beautiful sheen. Eddie told me such fabric is hard to come by, and it is only sufficient to make a couple of dresses.

And here we have a modern piece for the plus size lady. According to Eddie, this dress is also for women who want a loose fit, and it even has a side pocket at the hip (see third picture). It also comes with a zip for easy wear. 

From dresses, we go to jackets. Lai Chan had made some avant garde pieces which may take some getting used to.
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 Guess what? Surrounding the collar of this jacket below is a layer of real bird feathers! 

 An elegant  bright red cape which is light enough to be worn in Singapore.

Finally, we have a regal-looking top that is partly  made from silk brocade fabric (front and collar). Another beatitude creation from Lai Chan!

Cheongsam sale from Joli Pretty

Joli Pretty is having a “Hello Summer” sale with up to 60% discount off attires and accessories starting today, for 10 days.  Dresses and a top from previous collections, including the last one, are up for grab. Even cheongsams for little girls. As for accessories, they are brooches in four different Chinese designs. 

Here are some of the merchandise that are worth considering.

Cloud Sky

Luxera

Kyoto Blossom

 

Secret Garden

Elephant March

Pink peacock broochRed bird brooch

 

Buddy is four!

How time flies in the blink of an eye!  Some friends still remember Buddy as a chubby baby, and indeed he was a mini sumo wrestler.


But that is in the past, because since he was two, he has been steadily losing the blubber. In fact he is rather lean now, thanks to all the jumping, rolling, and play-fighting. To be honest, I don’t know where he gets all the energy from. I get tired just from looking at him moving non-stop!

Our couch is Buddy’s favorite part of the home because of its multi-uses. It acts as a trampoline, the top of a tall building where he can jump off ala TMNT move, the scene of many fights, and, previously, together with the cushions, the island of Sodor for Thomas Train and friends.

Since Buddy was a baby, my husband had said that there are three important development areas for a child: mental, physical and morals. So far, we didn’t have to do much on the physical aspect because Buddy has been pretty active. He used to played balls and rode the scooter when he was younger, though, unfortunately, he has since stopped. (We had a pipe dream that he might turn out to be a good footballer since he had the ability to kick the ball at a very young age, but it looks almost certain the dream has been flushed down the drain.)

Instead, Buddy is most happy play acting as one of the ninja turtles fighting Shredder. My husband made him a pair of Sais at his request, when he wanted to be Raphael.

When the first paper sword went kaputt, Buddy wanted another in black. He also asked for a purple scabbard because that is Donatello’s color. He even turned it into a staff by removing the scabbard.




We didn’t make a nunchuck for him though, and I was wondering whether to get one. But it turns out he had found a creative solution: socks, since they can twist and turn like nunchucks. We encourage him, since that saved us  from getting new toys and besides, socks don’t hurt.

Since Buddy’s love affair with TMNT started, he has lost interest in the trains though he still plays with his dinosaurs sometimes.  Even the toy cars are hardly played with. But we have noticed he goes through phases with his toys. He started with trains before moving to dinosaurs, and then back to trains, and now to TMNT. So, he has a rather narrow range of toys since he is specific of his likes even when he was younger.

When it comes to mental development, my husband is very much involved in this because he places a lot of emphasis on thinking skill. He believes strongly in building Buddy’s foundation before his formal education begins in a couple of years’time.

Previously, Buddy worked on jigsaw puzzles and simple Learning Journey games. During the past year, we discovered Smart Games, a company that developed logic games for toddlers and adults. We started Buddy on Three Little Piggies before he proceeded to the rest like Camelot Jr and Smart Car, etc. So far, he is enjoying  these games and I guess that is a good sign.

As for Buddy’s moral / character development, we try to give him as much positive reactions as possible, as well as explain the good and bad behaviours to him. But he doesn’t seem to fully grasp what we said to him. Like when he does something wrong and I explain to him on why he has to apologize, he would do it but he cries after that. He doesn’t like to say sorry; which I guess it’s normal human nature?

He has been a strong-willed child as long as I can remember. He wants things to be done his way. For instance, when I notice he didn’t button his pyjamas top correctly, he becomes upset if I redo it for him. And he is particular about his pillow case. He is ok with pictures of safari animals or penguins, but not the one with sheep. Same goes for the bath tub non-slip mat from IKEA. Buddy has been using this blue-coloured curvy mat all this time and it’s become a little ratty. Unfortunately IKEA has stopped stocking it. I tried to explain to Buddy that we have to get a different one, but he insisted it has to be the same, and refused to accept the available crocodile design. I will have to take him shopping, and hopefully he will be able to choose one that he will use.

It’s the same with the books that I read to him. I usually borrow at least 15 books at the library each time. After going through the books once, Buddy would have decided which books he likes and want me to re-read to him. He doesn’t even mind listening to the same story every night after that. Like this TMNT book “Pizza Party”, this is a renewal loan, and he has been listening to the story for at least 4 weeks! But he loves it, and many times he will act out the story. So, basically, I have to ask for his opinions before getting most things for him.

I guess Buddy inherited his quirks from me or my husband. Like us, he is slow to warm up to others. He is very chatty and asks lots of “why” questions when he is alone with us, and is also communicative with people he is comfortable with, like his class teachers and classmates. (Though, like me, Buddy has his moods, and he doesn’t have any one best friend because it depends on whom he wants to play with that day.)

However, when there are unfamiliar people around, Buddy tends to clam up or speaks sparingly and softly. It’s a totally different persona! Perhaps he is not born to be an entertainer or politician.

Despite being comfortable with his  teachers and most classmates, Buddy still has a love-hate relationship with the daycare More often than not, he would whine when he notices the uniform on the bed, and cry that he doesn’t want to go to school. Instead he wants me to stay home to play with him. However, once we arrive at the center, he willingly enter his classroom. It’s the same with the Berries Chinese  enrichment class. He will cry on the way there, but is able to settle down for the class. When we ask him after if he had fun, he gave a resounding yes. We are trying to figure out the reason for the different behaviors, but my husband suspects that he needs to be eased or to transition to another environment, like me. (I don’t even realize this!)

Still, most importantly, Buddy is a loving boy; very often he tells us, “I love you, mama/papa!” and gives  us hugs. To us, he will always be our baby!

Buddy’s birthday celebration

Buddy celebrates his fourth birthday today, together with his classmates in school. For the first time, I ordered a character cake for him. And what else but a TMNT cake? Specifically, it’s a picture cake, and Buddy had selected this image for it.

As for Buddy’s birthday gifts, needless to say they are of TMNT. He had spoken about getting a turtle shell a number of times. Since he didn’t have one, he improvised by wearing a bag (like the Berries bag) on his back, imagining it to be a shell. We are not sure how to make one for him that has sword holders. It’s likely possible but might be tedious, so I decided to get one from Amazon instead.

And how can any self-respecting turtle go without a mask? The Leonardo eye mask that came with the combat gear from Toys R Us isn’t suitable for Buddy because it tends to slip and irritates his eyes. I searched on Etsy and found these felt masks with elastic band. I bought a set from the seller (including an extra Donatello mask for a classmate), and the seller very kindly included a free set of purple wrist cuffs to go along. These are pretty well made and comfortable, and I am sure Buddy will not want to take them off.

This year, I was wondering what party favors to give to Buddy’s classmates. I didn’t want to include sweet snacks because I usually throw away those that were given to him. I also feel the kids have enough of the usual party favors like blowouts, stickers, and the numerous stationeries. Initially I thought I would get each of them a special board game, like Frozen game for the girls and Avengers or some superhero game for the boys. Strangely, it was easier to find something cost effective for the girls but not the boys. So I decided to go for books instead. I settled on these 5-minute stories: Marvel for the boys, and either Frozen or Disney for the girls.

When I received them from Amazon, I was surprised to find that these hardcover books are 3/4 inch thick and were bigger than I thought. My husband didn’t appreciate them as party favors because he feels that books can be easily borrowed from the library. He said I should have gotten puzzles for the kids instead. But my female colleagues disagree and think these are great gifts. My hope is that the kids’ parents will take time to read to them, and they will enjoy the bonding session together.

So here is the birthday cake I ordered from Sensational Cakes, made of strawberry sponge cake and blueberry filling. I have to say it looks amazing!


When we arrived at the daycare to celebrate Buddy’s birthday, I found him with tears in his eyes. Turned out he was cranky from insufficient nap. One teacher told me it took him a long time before he slept, probably because he was too excited, and ended up only napping for 15 minutes. He cried when he was forced to wake up. So, unfortunately, the celebration didn’t get off on a happy start. But his mood got better after we sang the birthday song and he blew out the candle.

The mood turned into excitment when Buddy spotted the TMNT gifts. He immediately put on the shell and the mask, and that got rest of the kids all excited as well. And everybody shouted “Ninja turtles! Ninja turtles!” Thank God the celebration ended well.

So, you might wonder if the cake tastes as good as it looks. I couldn’t have it since I am sensitive to wheat, but my Husband did. He finds it average, like the cakes from Hans or Polar Cake shop. It can’t compare to the rainbow cake from Dean and Deluca we bought last year.

It looks like we have to get a cake from a really good baker and decorate it ourselves, like what we did last year. In fact, I also realized that I have to get a cake from a halal baker because the Malay kids couldn’t have any since it’s not certain the TMNT cake is halal. They also couldn’t have the strawberries and blueberries I brought along for the kids because I had prepared them at home. Oh well! At least I know now where I should get the cake for next year: And All Things Delicious (which I reviewed in the post “And they are truly delicious” dated 5 August, 2015). That should please everyone.

Cheongsam news from Peter Kor

Peter’s boutique is having a massive relocation sale from now till 31 May! Everything is on sale, including new designs, at an amazing 50-70% discount. I strongly encourage anyone, who loves his clothes, to rush to his shop at 15 Purvis Street now.

Peter does not only design cheongsams but also working clothes for women, that include jackets and blouses. But I am only interested in cheongsams, and so those are what I am featuring in this post. 

Peter’sdesigns are very well-made, and the fabrics are beautiful. At such deep discount that comes once in a blue moon,  I am not surprised they will be flying off the rack.

So here are some of the beautiful cheongsam pieces available, if you are still wondering whether to make a trip down.




The Spanish Place that leaves much to be desired

A few weeks ago, my new boss bought lunch for my colleague and I at this Spanish Restaurant, My Little Spanish Place, at Boat Quay. It was my colleague who selected the venue after gotten to know about it from others in the office.

I had no expectations of the place since it was my first time there, and honestly I had not even heard of it before. (But I have to admit I have not been following the food scene since Buddy came along.) So I went along with an open mind, and of course, was keen to have some tapas.

My Little Spanish Place (MLSP) is located in the middle of the Boat Quay stretch of restaurant/bar joints. It was a relief to enter the cool and dim eatery from the scorching sun outside. We arrived shortly after noon, and the place was rather quiet, with only  one diner in there. So, despite not making any reservation, we had no problem getting a table.

I have not been to Spain, but the menu looks like the restaurant serves some authentic fare. There are the usual Gazpacho, a selection of tapas, jamon ham and sausages, and of course the ubiquitous paella. 


We decided to order some tapas to share among the three of us. My boss and colleague each also ordered a paella, but I was not very hungry and opted for the Gazpacho instead. 

The cold tomato soup wasn’t anything special. The flavor was rather one note and there was no oomph factor, it was like having a can of tomato purée. Seriously, I can make a better Gazpacho than this, and in fact, my husband and I used to make the soup when we cooked at home BB (before Buddy). 

As for tapas, here are what we ordered:

Ham stuffed creamy croquettes

Prawns cooked in olive oil, chili, garlic and secret sauce

Potatoes with spicy sauvce and manchego cheese

Flat coca bread with chorizo, pepper, onion and aragula

White clams cooked in chorizo broth

The tapas were a mix bag. There were some tasty ones like the croquettes and potatoes, but the rest were plain average. In fact the prawns and clams were tasteless, and the sauces were flat. I don’t know what kind of secret sauce the restaurant claimed, but I suggest they should really go back to the drawing board. 

As for the paella, which my colleagues allowed me to have a taste test, I had it much better at  Providore, even a cold one. The paella at MLSP is just bland! I don’t know if the Chef forgot to add broth to the rice but seriously, it was rather crappy.

Honestly, I wouldn’t return to MLSP, nor would I recommend it to anyone. I don’t know if other outlets would be better, but I rather check out other Spanish restaurants. I don’t have to dine in Spain to tell that the quality is not up to scratch.

Something comfy, something tasty in JB

A couple of weeks ago, we went to JB for the weekend again. In fact, we have been going to JB rather often for the past couple of months for family reasons, and as a result, we became more familiar with the place.

So we were wondering if we should stay at Double Tree Hilton like before, or if we should check out another hotel. My husband wasn’t very keen on the Hilton because of the increased room rate in the weekend, which is S$145 for a King room without breakfast. (FYI, the Johor state in Malaysia follows the Middle Eastern countries’practice of having weekend on Friday and Saturday. This was a decree passed down by the state sultan a couple of years ago, and it is the only state to have this wierd arrangement. It is especially puzzling since the Sultan recently stated that the people should not blindly follow ME practices. What gives, man?)

We had previously tried Tropical Inn, which is across the street from the Hilton, because we wanted an accommodation within the same vicinity. I can tell you, this hotel sucks big time! The website claims there is in-room wifi, but it turns out to be a scam. We couldn’t even find the network inside the room. Not only that, the room has a musty smell and not soundproofed (I could hear the highway traffic the whole day.) Looking back, perhaps we should have realized that the rate, being less than half that of the Hilton’s, should be an indicator that you truly get what you paid for. But we are still peeved that there was no wifi as claimed.

Here are some pictures of the superior triple room: a double queen bed and a single bed. It is seriously basic despite the “superior” name. Look at the TV! Thank God it was only for a night.

After the experience at Tropical Inn, I told my husband to check out the top five rated hotels in JB on TripAdvisor. One hotel that caught our attention is KSL Hotel & Resort which is above a mall. The reviews are mostly positive;  there is parking available, good accessibility to retail stores and eateries, and it even has a dinosaur-theme pool for the kids and a gym. The rates are priced between Hilton and Tropical Inn; for a King room, at about S$105 after tax. We decided to give it a try, though we were mindful that it might be too good to be true.

I made prepayment online (for pretty good rates), which wasn’t difficult to do. But I don’t like the fact that there is no explanation online to guide hotel guests on the parking. (We had been to the mall during a previous trip and parked at the basement carpark, which is quite rundown). Luckily there was an online chat facility available with the customer service agents. It turns out that there are parkings available on multiple high levels, with entrance next to the hotel, and guests can park on level 3-6. Best of all, it is complimentary for guests.

There were a number of Singapore cars in the parking lots and my husband suspects KSL might be a popular hangout for the Singaporeans. The carpark is enclosed and stifling hot (God knows why the management did not allow air flow). It was a relieved to finally get into the building.

The lobby looks pretty presentable. There is even a Starbucks at a corner. Check-in was a breeze and the staff is well trained and friendly. He even helped us to log into the wifi network in the lobby.

Upon entering the room, we liked what we saw. It looked pretty comfy and clean, and turned out to be so. Check out the flat screen TV, that is an indication of keeping up with the time! 

Granted it appears a tad less fancy as the one at Hilton, but that is really unnecessary. It has almost all the things I want in a hotel room: slippers, wifi, toiletries, sufficient towels, mini fridge, kettle, and even ironing board and dryer. The only thing missing is a shower cap.

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Instead of a shower cubicle, there is a bath tub with both a flexible shower head as well as a  rain shower head on the ceiling. But the tub is not suitable for a rain shower, it causes a mini flood since the shower curtain is not able to keep the water inside the tub. It should  be used inside a bath cubicle instead, which is how the Hilton bathroom is designed. So, if you do stay at this hotel, don’t use the rain shower.

Other than the minor inconveniences, we actually like this hotel better than Hilton. In fact, we found the best bed here, or to be more specific, the best mattress. It is even better than what we have at home! It is firm but not overly hard. We literally fell into a deep comfortable slumber. I have to ask the hotel for the mattress brand.

We went to check out the hotel pool, but Buddy didn’t go into the water as I forgot to pack his swimsuit, and besides we didn’t really have time for a dip. My husband went to the gym, and he discovered the equipment were like brand new. It’s likely that you could count on one hand the number of people who had used them.

For the rate of S$105, KSL is really best value for money! The hotel also offers tickets and transport to Lego land, which, I must admit, is rather appealing. I have not considered going to Lego land until I stayed at KSL. 

Adding to the convenience of staying here is the easy access to KSL mall, where there is a hyper mart, various dining options (most of which are not appealing to us) and retail stores. (The convenience is absent for the Hilton.) However we found Souper Tang restaurant (汤师父), which is located within the hotel premise, next to the lobby. We were introduced to the chain restaurant many years back, but because we didn’t go to JB often, we had never been back until now.

As its name implies, the restaurant is famous for its double-boiled soup. But the main dishes turned out to be pretty good as well. We wanted a simple lunch, and ordered a steamed chicken with sesame oil and shredded ginger as well as Chinese spinach cooked in a broth. My husband ordered a soup but not me. The sesame oil in the chicken dish gave it an appetising smell and a nutty flavor, and the ginger added a little heat, which makes it especially tasty. The vegetable dish is pretty good too. In fact, I love Chinese spinach (苋菜), and this is cooked perfectly in the vegetable broth.

We were told by a family friend, who live in JB, that across the street from the hotel is a row of famous eateries like Soon Soon Heng Bak Ku Teh (pork ribs soup) and Eastern Dragon restaurant, etc. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to check them out.

Before I forget, there is something for travellers to consider before choosing KSL hotel. As it is located in the city center, with a popular mall and a stone’s throw from a food row, traffic can be rather busy near the hotel. 

Another eatery that we checked out was Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul at City Square, another mall that is popular with Singaporeans. The find was discovered by my husband’s brothers when they were walking around the mall.

There are the usual fares like curry noodle, Chee Cheong Fun (rice crepes with sweet black sauce and Chili), Penang Laksa and Penang Rojak, as well as local desserts like ice kachang (known as ABC in Malaysia) and chendol. All of which are also very popular in Singapore, though there are different versions of the food. (In fact, variants of Laksa and Rojak are also available in Indonesia and parts of Southern Thailand).

Penang Assam Laksa

In Singapore, the laksa tends to be the curry version, rice noodle soup cooked in rich and savory coconut milk with sliced fish cake, shrimps and cockles and topped with coriander. On the other hand, the Penang version, also known as Assam Laksa, is a spicy and tangy noodle soup cooked in a tamarind-based broth, with shredded fish, shallots, mint, chopped pineapples and shredded cucumber. Both have totally different flavors, and they have their own fans. I, for one, prefer the curry laksa whereas my husband prefers the assam taste.There are also different versions of the Rojak (which means mixture in Malay), in the Southeast Asian countries of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. It is basically a salad of local fruits and vegetables, like cucumber, pineapples, bean sprouts, jicama (benkoang), and fried dough fritters. The Penang version has more fruits added to it, like Jambu (rose Apple) and guava etc.

The cheong fun with the fried onion strips and sweet sauce and chilli was a hit with the guys, though I didn’t find it particularly special.

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Chee Cheong Fun

ABC with Durian Ice-cream

This shaved ice dessert is known as ABC, which stands for Air Batu Campur,  in Malyasia, and Ice Kachang in Singapore. Like many food, there is a slight variation between the different locales, like the Malaysian version has chopped peanuts. The shaved ice is done well here, unlike some others eateries 

where the ice is a little coarse.

Chendol

The chendol, another shaved ice dessert with thick coconut milk, gula Melaka, and jelly noodles (made from rice flour), is the signature dish here.Among all the food, I only tried the chendol, ice kachang, rojak and the nasi lemak (which unfortunately I forgot to take a picture). In general, I find the food above average but not very memorable. There is no “wow, this is fabulous” moment. It might be because the shop tries to offer too many food options instead of focusing on serving certain top-notch dishes.

In my previous post  on JB “The JB trip” dated 31 March, I mentioned the amazing food at New Lucky Restaurant. Well, we had been back every time we stayed overnight at JB. Finally, during one trip, I remembered to take photos. By the way, the restaurant is rather close to KSL hotel. 

Live tanks are part and parcel of any Chinese seafood restaurant. 

The typical table layout, with the floral-print table cloth, peanut and cracker snacks, as well as packaged wet towels and Chinese tea.

One of the signature dishes at New Lucky is the salt baked steamed chicken, which is fabulous! The chicken is cooked to perfect tenderness, and the saltiness makes it ultra tasty. 

Below picture shows my favorite Chinese spinach, this time stir-fried with garlic. In the background, is a large pot of pig stomach pepper soup, which is a major hit with my husband and his brothers. There was non-stop ravings of it being the best pig stomach soup they ever had. And it is true. The pig stomach is double boiled in chicken stock, complete with a big chunk of chicken in it. It should be renamed as “pig stomach chicken soup” because the chicken stock adds much flavor and sweetness. Coupled with the white pepper powder which added heat, you can’t stop having it.


We had tried other dishes, but the excitement at the food made me forgot about taking more pictures. 

New Lucky is the best Chinese restaurant we have been to in JB so far, not that we have been to many. But the food is generally exceptional, and I strongly recommend to everyone. Only problem is parking can be a  bloody pain in the ass. So you have to be there early, by 6.30pm. 

I will check out other good eats and post my reviews.