About Grace Tan

Grace owns the award-winning business and lifestyle blog, WorkingWithGrace.wordpress.com. She is also the author of the best-selling book 'Blogging For A Living'.

*Giveaway Winner* Who / What You’d Like To Make More Time For?

Bunny Music Clock

I ran a simple Facebook contest recently and asked folks to comment and let me know who or what they’d like to make more time for. πŸ˜€ I’ve read every single entry and replied to those which particularly resonated with me. Quite a number of people mentioned spending time with family, especially their parents and young children. A handful felt they want to carve out some time for “me” time; I think this is super important. Take care of yourself before you take care of others, as airlines like to remind us during flights. πŸ˜€

I do sometimes think that parents in Singapore don’t spend enough time with their children, because they’re too busy with work. And even when they are at home, their mind seems to still be preoccupied with work matters. I’ve seen lots of maids in my estate. And this thought crossed my mind not too long ago: most of us no longer take care of our young and our old, if you’ve realised. Kids are left to maids or grandparents, or placed in daycare / childcare centres. And older folks who can no longer take care of themselves are left in the care of maids, nursing aides or relegated to old folks homes.

Is there someone you’d like to catch up with or spend some time with? Schedule it asap. Is there something you’d like to do for yourself – quiet “me” time, a spa, manicure or even just a good ol’ afternoon nap? Allocate time for these things. πŸ˜€

~

Here are some of the top comments I’ve chosen, which will go into a name generator for the winner to be (randomly) picked:

Adela Chew

I will like to spend more time reading novels as in really hold a physical book to read it. I missed the smell of fresh paperback books and feel of flipping the paper as I reach the end of the page. I have gotten a few books for myself but have yet to read through them. I will need to get down to it and revive the enjoyment of good old reading habit.

Ruth Priscilla How

I would like to make some time for watching movies with my partner. There is really a long list we want to watch : ‘A Simle Favour’, ‘The Predator’, ‘Mandy’ and also, the drama series ‘Story of Yanxi Palace’ (廢禧攻η•₯) and ‘Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace’ (如懿传). The list goes on. Even though life is busy, but simple things like this can always be arranged because busy is simply a state of mind.

Life is short
Time is fast
No replay
No rewind

So, cherish the time with our loved ones, and make that time!

Tina Ong

I have always been passionate about writing and I have been writing a diary since I was a teenager. Later, I turned to writing short stories and fictions. Really love how writing lets me be creative, be myself, and it has been a good ally when I was feeling depressed. But since getting married, having kids and getting back to work, writing has taken a back seat. And that is what I would love to make time for now. The kids are a bit older and are more manageable and it would be great if I can start writing short stories for children once again. A story about a bunny perhaps πŸ˜‰ 🐰

Rejyn Mesa Baello

I’d like to make time for myself. Ever since I got pregnant with my first baby, I forgot about “ME” time. My gorgeous hair before, was now untidy. My morning and night beauty routine were all forgotten, because after a long tiring day of work then taking care of your child when you get home, you just want to lay down and catch some Zs. Being a parent is not easy. It is full of challenges every day. So maybe even just for a day, I want to pamper myself and do all the things I deserved to do and to have. 😊

Teo Joanie

I’ll ❀ to make more time for my grandma as everyone is so busy with their life and nobody visits this lonely lady at all. I’m gonna remind myself to drop py her place on weekends so that I can spend more time with her and not to regret if I ever miss the chance.

Angel Ch

i would like to make time for myself.
Carving out a little solitude and time for myself is necessary, just to revitalize my mind and body at the same time. Let just say, sometimes we have to take time to ourselves. Not to mention when i am in the thick of things, i must be struggling to get much perception. Isolate the things that stressing out, exult and relax instead of thinking. Day of rest, time to enjoy and do anything I want. Whenever my schedule is not tight, I often visit this particular place. It has a quiet ambiance and a perfect place to chill, calm, and relax my mind.

Woon Ling Halle

I’d like to make more time for my cat, he has been waiting at home far too many nights for me to come home!

Jamie Feng

I got my diving license more than 10 years ago. I have not been diving since…I would love to pick up this hobby again and explore more places to dive and see more sea cuties….

~

And now… *drumroll* All names are in the random name generator and the WINNER IS…

Name generator

Congratulations, Jamie! Kindly drop me an email at gracewwg (at) gmail.com to claim your prize by 26th September, 2018. πŸ™‚

A big thank you to all who participated. There will be more of such random giveaways coming right up so stay tuned, and ‘like’ my facebook page in order to be notified when they happen. πŸ™‚

Either There’s No Cat, Or There Are Two!

punggol stray cats

As it’s been raining today in Punggol, I thought the stray cat which frequents my block might be hungry. I’m always hungry when the weather is cold, so I figured Meow Meow might feel the same? πŸ˜€ Couldn’t find Meow downstairs so we went to do some grocery shopping and also get two cans of cat food. On the way home, I spotted Meow one floor down at the carpark so I happily rushed down to stop the cat in its tracks and show it I have food! Haha! This time I’m all prepared with a plastic tray. But what gave me a shock was the sudden appearance of a bigger, stockier cat. I thought the two would end up fighting over food but my fears were unfounded because Meow reacted as if to say “What’s up, bro? Here got makan. Come share!” And it appears the two cats know each other? The bigger one took a few bites and then went on its way. I’m not at all concerned about it ‘cos it looks so well-fed that it must belong to someone. It also has a very attractive coat; cannot be a stray, right?

This time round, Meow’s having Aatas cat food. Like, seriously, this is named Aatas. It’s a product of Thailand and there are quite a few flavors. I bought Tuna & Saba (‘cos I like both kinds of fish) and Tuna & Salmon! πŸ˜€ Each 80g can cost $1 at the supermarket and there was a promotion: buy-10-and-get-1-free. πŸ˜€ Maybe next time!

Aatas Cat Food

Meow gets spooked very easily by people shutting their car doors, a plane flying overhead, folks exiting the lifts, etc. So I had to move the tray to different spots and wait for Meow to come back and resume eating. I guess I’m a lot more patient than people think. πŸ˜€

Punggol Community Cats

He asked me whether I’m too young to be a cat feeder, or to be involved in feeding strays. Perhaps most people think only crazy old cat ladies will do this. I beg to differ. I think that even kids should be taught at a young age to care for (if not love) young animals. Then perhaps we’d have fewer cases of cruelty to animals.

Most people have pets for the sake of vanity. Sure, some pretty breeds will beautify your Instagram feed. They may even help get you, the owner, onto the cover of a Pet magazine. But that’s totally missing the point of having pets.

Everyone finds it easy to love the gorgeous pedigree cat. But few would give a skinny stray cat a second look. It’s ok. To me, the skinny stray needs more love than the gorgeous pedigree one. So I’ll give it what I can. πŸ™‚

Don’t get a pet because you think it’s gorgeous. You’ll have to walk the dog even when you don’t wish to. You’ll have your furniture scratched by the cat and your heart may bleed. πŸ˜€ And the worst thing to do would be to release the pet into your neighborhood and have it fend for itself when it has already forgotten how. Whenever possible, adopt, don’t buy. And if you find that it’s too much for you, get your pet rehomed.

I certainly hope today’s big, plump cat was simply out for a stroll and is not someone’s missing or abandoned pet. It would be a crying shame if it became as skinny as Meow Meow (whom I definitely intend to fatten up).

The Tsum Tsum Lanterns @ Vivocity Are A Big Hit!

tsum tsum lanterns vivocity

I did not expect to see so many people at Vivocity’s Sky Park (who even knew it’s called a Sky Park?) yesterday at around 9.30pm. Thankfully, the weather was great and everyone could take as many pictures as they fancied at the tsum tsum festival area that’s out in the open, near the food republic foodcourt. I think the person (or people) who decided to have tsum tsum as part of Vivocity’s Mid-Autumn celebrations deserve a big raise! πŸ˜€ I think fans and non-fans alike absolutely adored the decorations, especially this lantern tunnel of sorts…

So IG-worthy…

tsum tsum lanterns vivocity

Crowd control was needed, I felt. Because people entered the ‘tunnel’ from both ends and as everyone was stopping to take pictures, it got a little chaotic. I think what could have been better was if there was ticketing at the entrance.Β Since Vivocity is selling their “wishing card” at $2 (available at TANGS Customer Service Counter at Level 1), why not have everyone pay $2 to get a card and then enter the tunnel? In case you are wondering, 100% of the gross proceeds will be donated to the Children’s Cancer Foundation. Vivo will get to sell more cards, the CCF will receive a larger sum in donations, and there will be crowd control (pause sales when the tunnel is still filled with people), and everyone will get to take a nice picture within the tunnel without too many ‘photobombers’. πŸ˜‰

There were lots of photo spots around too, including this one…

vivocity tsum tsum

There’s still time, till the end of this month, to visit Vivocity and check out the tsum tsum decorations. Obviously, it’s best to pop by in the evening / night. πŸ™‚ Bring your family. I think it’s worth a visit.

fArt tArtz @ Yishun Junction 9: Very Instagrammable Cafe With Decent Food

fart tartz yishun junction 9

I’ve been putting off visiting the fArt tArtz cafes mainly because the name sounds rather inappropriate. It reminds me too much of “F*ucktards” and since when is ‘fart’ even associated with a cafe or food? Arty-fArty name aside, I think the main reasons why I would visit them again are the palatable food (you wouldn’t expect from an Instagram-friendly cafe), the absence of GST or service charge, AND the free iced water (with lemon slices I believe as I spotted some pulp). However, one thing they might want to work on is the salt content. The food we had yesterday was definitely on the salty side. A little bit of salt makes food seem tastier but too much of it makes customers empty their plastic water jug! We sure did! πŸ˜€

fart tartz striploin beef burger

The Striploin Beef Burger ($16.90) comes ‘deconstructed’. I like the caramelised onions with the beef slices. I love the crispy toasted buns, which remind me of mantou served with chili crab. πŸ˜€ And there’s a side of nachos, which we weren’t expecting since it’s not stated on the menu. The seasoning is a little overdone, especially since we were prone to eating the various ingredients separately. The beef, on its own, would be far too salty. However, such an arrangement is great for carb-fearing girlfriends who wish to nibble on the protein and the veggies while leaving the carb & cheese to their partners.

Gooey Mentaiko Fish fart tartz

The Gooey Mentaiko Fish ($17.90, or $13.90 on promotion) is also saltier than expected but I really do love mentaiko. Their grilled flatbread burgers are delightful! It’s like very crispy prata. I LOVE IT! Would go SO WELL with curry, actually. The fish they use is tilapia and it comes with a marinade already so when paired with the mentaiko, it can be a little overwhelming because it’s way too salty. PERHAPS, they can do this “deconstructed” as well, with the mentaiko sauce in a little ramekin or sauce cup so diners can decide how much sauce they want to add.

Nutella Mud Tart fart tartz

The Nutella Mud Tart (at $5.60) is a pretty decent dessert. And it’s not overly sweet either. They serve the mud tarts with plastic flowers on top, so it’s really pretty. But how about using edible flowers in future? πŸ˜‰

Judging from the decor, it is obvious the owners of this cafe want to reach out to younger customers. I had even thought the owners might be millennials but after some snooping online, it appears there might be 4 people involved in this business (3 male, 1 female) and they are already parents of millennials.

That said, as you can tell from this picture below, older folks do patronise this cafe. I’m not sure (don’t shoot me) but perhaps when we get older, our tastebuds are less sensitive? Then what would seem overly salty to younger people would actually taste just right to older folks? πŸ˜€ Haha! In any case, it’s a very pretty place to have a meal. πŸ˜‰

fart tartz yishun review

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The cafe at Yishun Junction 9 is located at level 1, facing a temple. You won’t find the cafe inside the mall, per se. It’s located outside instead. You’re welcome. πŸ˜‰

Junior Chef Symposium 2018: Classic Dishes From 4 Dialect Groups Made Progressive

Junior Chef Symposium 2018

(Junior) Chef Tien Jia Chen explaining how he put together his progressive Hakka dish.

Recently, the spotlight of the local culinary scene has been focused on cuisine from theΒ Cantonese, Hainanese, Hakka and Teochew dialect groups. On 7 August,Β local ground-handling firm Sats and the national culinary team from the Singapore Chefs’ Association (SCA) announced their new dialect-based airline menu for passengers. “Dishes include Cantonese braised beef short rib and tendon with radish, Hainanese duck with pineapple and bamboo shoots, Hakka red mushroom with pork rib soup, Peranakan spicy prawn with sataw beans and Teochew-style twice-cooked garoupa.” reported The Straits Times. Four days later, I attended the Junior Chef Symposium held at Nanyang Polytechnic, where veteran chefs paired up with their junior counterparts to present local classics from the four dialect groups, and their ‘progressive’ versions. The Junior Chef Symposium is jointly organised by Singapore Junior Chefs Club (SJCC), Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) and e2i (Employment and Employability Institute).

The event was packed with young chefs eager to learn and industry partners such as F&B bosses. And the day began really early, at 8am, even though the event officially starts at 10am.Β Chef Edmund was the first to arrive, and the team of chefs got cracking soon after. Watch this video I’ve put together of the highlights of this year’s event:

During the event itself, the veteran chefs first demonstrated how to put together the classics – Cantonese Carrot Cake, Hainanese Lamb Stew, Hakka Steamed Egg Sausage Roll in Rich Chicken Broth with Straw Mushrooms and Winter Bamboo Shoots, and Teochew Style Twice Cooked Fish Fillet. The Junior Chefs would then present their version of the same dish but prepared and presented differently.

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I think the Junior Chef Symposium offers a wonderful opportunity for young chefs to learn from the more established ones and also for industry partners, such as people who are running F&B businesses, to come by and get to know these promising young chefs and ‘headhunt’ them to work in their restaurants upon graduation. πŸ˜‰

That said, these young chefs have to demonstrate an eagerness to learn and be unafraid to ask the veterans for advice and guidance.

As for the food, like I commented to some other people present, when chefs cook for other chefs the food can never be bad. πŸ˜‰ It was quite the gastronomic experience. I saw cured egg yolk being shaved onto ice cream in a Youtube video recently, and when I saw it before my eyes at the Junior Chef Symposium, it’s like dΓ©jΓ  vu.

The best thing about coming to the Symposium is that you get to learn a few extra tips from the chefs such as how to select the best ‘small intestine’ to use in your Hakka soup dish, what sort of pot to use when making carrot cake at home, and even how to make a delicious XO sauce (apparently miso and brown sugar work wonders). *You’ll find more tips in the video above. πŸ™‚

Hearing Inclusive Workshop with Puzzles SG

Puzzles SG workshop

Each of us received a “label” from one of the facilitators of the workshop, based on her first impression of us. I got “over confident”. O… K.Β 

I’m still in a bit of a shock. I’ve been to many training programmes, courses, classes, etc, and I’ve never come across one as damaging shocking as today’s. It was supposed to be a “hearing inclusive workshop” led by Puzzles SG, a cafe that hires people with hearing impairments and also gives customers 10% discount if they were to place their orders using sign language. I wasn’t expecting the workshop to deliver such a punch to the gut, really. It started off extremely well, in fact…

We were taught how to sign the alphabet – A to Z – which is something I’ve learnt in CCA during my Secondary School days but conveniently forgot, save for how to sign my own name. πŸ˜€ Then we were led to a table with multiple items laid out on it – Vick’s vaporub, lipsticks, powder compacts, etc, and we were supposed to use sign language to indicate which item we wanted without pointing at the item. I immediately went for VICKS! Five easy letters to sign mah. πŸ˜€

Because we had taken a pledge of silence, there’s no talking for 20 minutes. Then we also had to decipher the instructions given to us in sign language, and get ourselves into a row according to date of birth (such confusion!) No one knew what was happening, especially since there were three people born in the month of August, and they had to arrange themselves according to date of birth!

~ The (next) very scary bit about LABELS ~

One of the two female facilitators said she used to be given the label of “bad friend” so she wrote this down on a sticky note. She had been given that label largely because she used to be involved in so many activities and had so many friends that she didn’t really have much time to spend with each person. THEN… *cue scary music* she wrote down for each of us one (negative) label based on her first impressions of us. AND sticks the notes to our sleeves.

(I think the faint-hearted would have… fainted)

She dished outΒ labels like slow, bossy, jealousy, lazy, disrespectful, etc. I think I got away too easy with the label “over confident” which to me, seems to be praise more than anything else. Hahaha! But the elderly lady next to me seemed somewhat affected. She was given the label “slow”. She even tried to defend herself, saying she usually walks too quickly, so it’s probably wrong to call her “slow”.

It was rather horrifying.

Another lady, who arrived late at the workshop but was HIGHLY proficient in signing, was given the label of “disrespectful”. (Might be accurate since she came with a Mr Bean drink. Late already still can buy drink huh? πŸ˜› BUT who would dare to call her out for being disrespectful this way?) Someone’s got balls, man.

Then we were asked to write down a new label for ourselves. I simply decided to strike out the “over” and keep the “confident”. The elderly lady who was given the label “slow” decided to switch her label to “kind” instead. And the “disrespectful” one? She chose “dependable”.

We thenΒ got to reflect on how we simply label the hearing-impaired as deaf… and frankly, at this point, I’d shut out their voices already. The exercise had too much of a shock factor for me. Especially when the participant labeled as “lazy” ended up labeling himself as “sensitive”. So the facilitator just called a sensitive person lazy! O.M.G. (@_@) I thought he might have been tearing up, or it could have been my imagination.

Did you know that it takes about SIX positive comments to counteract the effects of getting ONE negative comment? Google it. There’s even an article in the Harvard Business Review.

I think that this activity, if conducted recklessly, is highly dangerous. Plus there’s physical contact when the notes were pasted onto our clothing.

I think the distinction between physical attributes and character traits must be clearly distinguished. When we call someone “deaf”, it merely describes the person’s physical attributes. It’s the same if someone were to call me “old”, “obese” or “fierce-looking”.

But to call someone slow, bossy, lazy or disrespectful, among other labels, that’s not stating a fact; it’s stating an opinion. I’m not sure if the lady called “slow” would take less offence if called “old” instead. ‘Cos she really is old(er) mah. I can only say the facilitators got balls lor.

After the session, the facilitator shared with me that at other workshops, people even broke down in tears because of the labeling. I really do disapprove of this particular activity. Seriously.

The really scary thing is that these are all done on purpose. Now I’m horrified. And I wonder what we, as a society, have done to the hearing impaired community that we have to be shaken up this way. In case you are wondering, the facilitators are part of us, the “hearing”, and they are not deaf. I would really love to hear (sorry for the pun) from the deaf community themselves.

To me, the term “deaf” doesn’t have any negative connotations attached to it. I’m sure lots of people with hearing impairments are highly intelligent, creative, loving, inquisitive, extraordinary in their own ways. If possible, I’d love to interact and communicate with each one I meet.

So I’m not sure why this “labeling” thing is such a big deal. Like I said, I’d already zoned out from the horror.

~

What I liked about this session, though, is the small group size and the sharing about some of the difficulties that the deaf face e.g. when they want to ask for directions, it would not be as straightforward as going up to a stranger and asking “Is this Lobby A or Lobby B?” And ordering food, for instance, can be problematic when service staff get your order wrong because they cannot understand you.

I suppose most can write down their questions and there are definitely apps to assist.

At the end of the day, I think we can do more. I gave the Puzzles SG crew a suggestion that people who are open to helping the hearing-impaired can wear a pin on their clothing or bags that indicate they know sign language (and maybe even state their proficiency e.g. basic, intermediate, advanced). It would mainly indicate their willingness to assist and also communicate with people with hearing difficulties.

Much as we’d love for the whole of Singapore to be “inclusive”, not everyone will be patient / kind / caring / loving / helpful, etc.

We can start with some merch. πŸ˜€

p/s: Read about the previous workshop I attended, which involved leather crafting with Personalised Love. So much more chill and enjoyable. πŸ˜€

We Are NOT Ready

Universe

Isn’t it interesting how many different voices tell you to do this, or change that, and then as uncomfortable as it may seem, you try and see things from their point of view. But at the end of the day, you know that quibbling over who should stop doing what, or even losing friendships over these unnecessary debates is frankly, quite pointless. I’m not implying that the desired outcome is pointless, but that the quibble is. Whether it be to go vegan (animals are friends, not food!) or to quit using plastic straws (save the turtles!) or anything else, really, it’s often an annoying vocal minority demanding that things be shaken up.

I don’t have vegan friends (anymore) because I’m really not that big a fan of vegan food and I hate having to feel guilty for liking meat apparently more than I should.

As for straws, I’ve actually bought quite a few metal and glass straws. When a friend of a friend commented on Facebook about her frustrations regarding KFC’s decision not to provide straws anymore, I sent her some even though I’ve never even met her before. Even after spending all that money on glass and metal straws, do I use them all the time? NO! It’s really quite troublesome bringing them around (especially when you’re out for a jog), cleaning them (with a special brush) and storing them well (dry and not in danger of the glass breaking).

On 6th September, I was having breakfast at KFC when I noticed this interesting sign saying “this KFC restaurant will no longer serve plastic straws” and lo and behold, there’s a straw dispenser that’s about three-quarters filled with straws right below that sign…

KFC No Straw Initiative

Either the sign is redundant or the straw dispenser is. Can KFC please pick one?

The point I am trying to make is that change takes time, and hopefully everyone realizes that the change they want to see may not happen in this lifetime, or even in their children’s lifetime, but it may happen two to three generations down the road. What is most important now is not this debate (which simply drives the wedge further, and make people more upset about what they think they are losing), but education and awareness.

(1)

Firstly, acknowledge that the status quo is such, for a good reason.

When having iced milo with my KFC breakfast (that’s the only beverage I’ll have at fast food outlets in the morning – habits die hard), I use the straw to stir it up so there isn’t a layer of water from the melting ice cubes at the top but with the milo concentrated near the bottom.

Having straws removed all of a sudden will definitely get people upset. It’s a no-brainer. What do you want me to stir the milo with? My fingers?! πŸ˜€ Haha! Actually I used the plastic spoon meant for the porridge but it’s just awkward. Also, parents let young kids drink from the cups using straws, so as to avoid accidental spillage.

Will I resort to getting a straw from some other restaurant or food court if KFC doesn’t give me one? I might, if I have sensitive teeth. Will I go so far as to buy plastic straws for use? I hope not. But I do know of people who will buy plastic bags for their trash if supermarkets stop providing them free-of-charge. πŸ˜‰

(2)

People get to vote.

I’ll hazard a guess that KFC put straws back in its restaurants (at least this one I went to) because customers got upset, threatened to bring their business elsewhere, and essentially decided to vote with their wallets.

Can any business afford to upset its customers this way?

People will vote to show their satisfaction or their displeasure. And if the majority is displeased, it would be wise not to anger them further.

Repeat after me. Education and awareness. Education and awareness.

(3)

What’s the main agenda? And how committed are leaders to it?

LOTS of businesses will jump on the zero waste bandwagon simply because there’s the potential of huge cost savings. KFC’s press release said that not providing plastic straws and also plastic caps for drinks (bought for dining-in) would lead to a “reduction of 17.8 metric tonnes of single-use plastics in a year”. How much $$ does that translate into, assuming KFC successfully stops providing these plastic disposables from now on?

While KFC had made it known that they won’t be serving straws starting from 20th June, now the straws are already back. Leaders are unable to commit because of point (2). Supermarkets won’t stop providing plastic bags either, for this same reason.

Unless the will of the people at the top is strong enough, the outcome will simply be to bow to the pressure of the (majority of the) people.

So this quibble over straw or no straw is pointless, no?

~

I won’t tell you to stop using plastic straws, and I’ll definitely not try and make you feel guilty for using one. But if you want to get rid of plastic straws in our country, I’d like to see you put a reusable straw in the hands of every man, woman and child first.

Bangkok Street Mookata (Punggol) – Mixed Feelings About This Stall

Bangkok Street Mookata

Because of some mahjong kakis’ recommendation, we had dinner last weekend at Bangkok Street Mookata in Punggol – one of the chain’s seven outlets. I’m not sure about the other locations (AMK, Bedok, Jurong West, TPY, Upp Thomson and Woodlands) but this one in Punggol is located within a coffeeshop. The platter for two costs S$22 nett and the one for 4pax is S$39. I have mixed feelings about this particular outlet, and I’ll explain why in a bit.

First up, do note that reservations are necessary for weekend dinners. Apparently, Singaporeans have a thing for mookata. But why? Aren’t the portable butane stoves dangerous (if not used appropriately, they can overheat and explode!) Somehow I’m not too keen on mookata being my final meal on Earth, to put it simply. πŸ˜€ I’d much rather have salmon sashimi, but that’s just me. πŸ˜€

Also, the auntie’s kinda fierce. If you dare to ask for a table (you think this is a restaurant?!), you’ll be told to go look for one yourself and come back and tell her what your table number is. And you make payment before they’ll prepare your order!

Bangkok Street Mookata Price

For the set for 2pax, we’re given just about everything in pairs – 2 prawns, 4 scallops, 4 pieces of crabstick, 4 fishballs, well, you get the drift. However… ONE egg. Why? πŸ˜‰ So everything’s nicely in pairs and then you end up having to split one egg?

Bangkok Street Mookata Review

They very kindly kept the prawn’s head and tail on, and have removed the rest of the shell. But the prawn’s not deveined, so after biting into it, you’ll still have to use your fingers to remove that black vein anyway. But of course, I do not dare to suggest to ‘fierce auntie’ that they can take this extra step when preparing the prawns. πŸ˜€

And your mookata meal could have been a zero waste one here. They have crockery and then they also have disposable chopsticks. It’s like they’re transitioning? Halfway there? The chili sauce is served in a disposable plastic bowl too. No saucers meh?

Bangkok Street Disposable Chopsticks

That said, their chili sauce is really good. An absolutely delicious mix of sweet and spicy, it’ll get you all sweaty before you’re done with your meal. πŸ˜€ I’m sure the drinks stall profits from this. They don’t even have drinks assistants coming to take orders; you’ll be going to the stall to get your own choice of chilled beverage, guaranteed.

I think the marinated meats here are a little thirst-inducing, if you get what I mean. But overall, I think it’s tasty. I’m not sure if I’ll pay $11/pax for food I have to cook myself again (and risk exploding butane stoves) and also have to top up extra for rice or tang hoon (80cents each).

Mookata’s not even something I have when I’m in Thailand. So I really don’t understand why Singaporeans are such fans. Phad Thai, yes, I love the dish. But mookata? Why not Seoul Garden leh? It’s a buffet and there’s even dessert.

~

Address: 312A Sumang Link #01-05 Singapore 821312.

Kit Kat Chocolatory: The Nasi Lemak & Ice Kacang Kit Kat Rock!

Kit Kat Chocolatory Kuala Lumpur

When I was in Kuala Lumpur about two months ago, I spotted the KitKat Chocolatory at Mid Valley Megamall and was immediately enticed to enter! πŸ˜€ Usually, you get to customise your very own KitKat creation there but they were experiencing some technical difficulty that day and I could only get their off-the-shelf KitKat creations. Oh well, better than nothing! I picked the Traditional Malaysia Nasi Lemak, Ice Kacang and Fruitilicious Milk Chocolate that you see above. πŸ˜€

The flavor I was most excited about trying was the nasi lemak one, of course.

Kit Kat Chocolatory Traditional Malaysia Nasi Lemak

And, as you’ve probably already guessed, it tastes nothing like nasi lemak! HAHA! BUT it definitely tastes a lot better than your regular KitKat (and maybe even some of those from Japan *gasp*). This particular flavor tastes like a certain brand of peanut candy I enjoy during Chinese New Year. But it comes with a spicy aftertaste. It confuses your tastebuds, yes, but that’s part of why it’s so enjoyable! πŸ˜€

I like the Ice Kacang one as well. Of course, it tastes nothing like ice kachang! LOL. But the flavor and the texture are really good. I recommend storing these chocolates at room temperature. Once you refrigerate them, you won’t be able to truly appreciate the taste and texture anymore…

Kit Kat Chocolatory Ice Kacang

But make sure you skip the Fruitilicious Milk Chocolate. I’m a big fan of milk chocolate and especially chocolates with fruit and/or nuts in them. But I absolutely dislike this one. Overly tart, it leaves a sour taste in your mouth (literally).

Kit Kat Chocolatory Fruitilicious Milk Chocolate

If you’re wondering how much these novelty chocolates cost, it’s a bundle price of RM36 (just over S$12) for these three. There was a selection to choose from but I picked these 3 ‘cos I thought I’ll like them. πŸ˜€ The Chocolatory puts out new flavors frequently so make sure you pop by and try them all. πŸ˜€

Part 2: I Went For The FREE Chinatown Walking Tour

Free Walking Tour Chinatown

After surviving the Kampong Glam walking tour (2.5 hours is no joke), I took a break for two days then returned for the Chinatown walking tour, again with Monster Day Tours. πŸ˜€ Our guide for the morning was Basirun (or Bas). The meeting place is at Exit A of Chinatown MRT station, and the walking tour ends at the Fuk Tak Chi Museum in Telok Ayer. I thought Bas had a “air steward” sort of voice – the kind that’s so pleasing you’ll either zone out or fall asleep. But he confirmed that he had never been employed as cabin crew before. :DI liked that he used an iPad during the tour, to show us pictures from Singapore’s past, etc. The highlights of this particular tour is the trip to the hawker centre (free popiah!) and a tour of the wet market located at the basement.

free chinatown walking tour singapore

It’s a tough job, I think, trying to make the tour entertaining and engaging for not-easily-impressed angmohs. Using an iPad means there’s no need to search within the bag for laminated pictures, as the guide during the Kampong Glam tour did.

I thought it was really funny how Bas took us to a shop that sells paper offerings which, as you probably already know, are burnt as gifts for deities and deceased loved ones. There are chicken rice sets, cigarettes (what?!), cars, clothes, passports and ferry tickets, among other “essentials”. I could not believe my ears when an angmoh lady said she was going to buy some of the items to bring back and show to her pals. (@_@) I didn’t even want to step into the shop, as I had no business to be there. Maybe I’m slightly pantang. πŸ˜€

chinese paper offerings for the dead

former opium den chinatown

Bas points out what was formerly an opium den for the rich (levels 2 and 3) and for opium sales to coolies (level 1).

We also saw lots of artwork along the streets, one of which depicted a scene from a ‘mass wedding’. Bas had even prepared a picture to show us. I think he said the photograph was from one of his colleagues. We were told that couples had to pay just $6K to participate in one, and they got a honeymoon trip to HongKong, Bali and Japan too, alongside all the other couples. Sounds pretty unromantic to me. But I guess people had to do what they had to do back then…

mass wedding mural and photograph

I absolutely LOVED the trip to the wet market. Here I am thinking that seafood at FairPrice supermarkets is cheap. And at the wet market, I saw prawns being sold at HALF the price I’m used to paying! My goodness. I’m going to shop at wet markets from now on…

live frogs chinatown wet market

I thought it was HILARIOUS how the angmohs tak boleh tahan this part of the tour. They looked like they were going to pass out. So nauseating meh?

It was quite funny how a group of us were standing outside this live frog stall at the wet market, and as the boss was taking out some of the frogs (presumably for another customer), one agile frog managed to escape and stood proudly on the cage, breathing what must be the air of victory and freedom, and along comes the dude again, giving the frog a backhand swipe so it falls back into the cage! The angmohΒ ‘cheerleaders’ were devastated. XD

Joked with Bas about their reactions, and he simply said he had already forewarned everyone about what they’ll experience during the wet market tour and everyone still wanted to participate so yah… πŸ˜€ We wisely decided not to tell anyone about the yummy frog leg porridge at Chinatown. πŸ˜€

~

Overall, I enjoyed the tour. Gave the guide a $10 tip ‘cos I felt he deserved it. He bought popiah for everyone to share (I didn’t eat it ‘cos he’d specifically ordered popiah without chili and I think popiah HAS to have chili in it lah).

The vibe I got from Bas is that he’s very friendly and open, and he cared enough to ask me what I work as, whether I was on leave that day, etc.

When he told me that his wife had just given birth last week, and he’s now the proud father of his first child (a girl), I was so happy for him! I really think he should have told the group this good news at the start of the tour. So if he ever looked tired, all the guests who are parents would be able to commiserate. I’ve been told that babies keep their parents awake throughout the night but have never experienced this myself, so I can only try and imagine, you see. I’m sure they’ll be more generous in tipping too. *wink wink*

And he was happy to satisfy my curiosity about his job too. He shared about his journey to becoming a tour guide, money matters, and even about their non-competition clause. Also, I learnt how some tour companies actually disallow people from joining their tours if you’re training to be a tour guide and you’re going to work for another company. (What? They know some secrets about Singapore’s history that no one else knows, is it?)