Thursday, December 18, 2014

Malacca 2014 - Jonker Street

Since becoming a World Heritage Site together with George Town in 2008, Malacca has become increasingly popular both with local and foreign visitors. Hotels are mushrooming everywhere, and there are lots of new projects catering to the tourist crowd. I just hope they are careful with their developments - especially the old buildings, or they could be in danger of destroying the very things which draw people to the City.

The top draw in Malacca is no doubt Jonker Street. This short old street transforms into a night bazaar on the weekends, and it is standing room only during peak hour. 

If you are a collector of old curios, this is the place to be. 

Walking down the street during the weekend night bazaar is always a joy. You never know what you are going to find.  

If you are feeling a little peckish, there's also plenty of good street food to be had. The dim sum stall is justly popular with lots of great, cheap and piping hot morsels for takeaway.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Singapore 2014 - Nam Nam Noodle Bar

Finding affordable good food in Singapore can be a real challenge - especially if you come from Malaysia. The currency makes everything 2 1/2 times more expensive, and a simple meal can easily cost RM30 after conversion. Therefore it is quite a surprise when one of the most successful fine-dining restaurant groups - Les Amis - has ventured into affordable Vietnamese food. Nam Nam Noodle Bar is a new concept fast-service restaurant that specializes in Vietnamese street food. I went to their outlet at the basement of Raffles City - they have another outlet at Wheelock Place. 

Nam Nam's decor is simple and chic. The menu has been pared back to the basics - with Pho and Banh Mi being the stars on offer. The Pho is reputably very good, but I was there for the Banh Mi as I was still nursing a craving for this simple yet delicious Vietnamese delicacy from my last trip to Hanoi. At Nam Nam they have about 6 varieties ranging from pork, chicken to sardine and tofu. I ordered what I thought was the most delicious sounding on the menu - Banh Mi with caramelized pork belly, cold cut and chicken floss.

This Banh Mi is really great. It is packed with flavours from all the fresh ingredients, the bread is really good with a crunchy crust and soft centre, and the caramelized pork belly makes it really sinful yet delicious bite.

The other surprise was the drink I ordered. It looked really simple when it arrived, but was filled with pineapple, jackfruit, lychee and several other ingredients which gave it a unique tropical punch.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Singapore 2014 - Parkroyal on Pickering

One of the more unusual new hotels in Singapore is the Parkroyal on Pickering on Pickering Street. The design of this hotel takes the concept of "greenness" to a whole new level. While the 3 towers that accommodate the rooms and an office block are quite ordinary glass boxes - the garden terraces which span across the towers are planted with lush tropical greeneries. 

Even the interior carries through the garden and landscape concept, with the ceiling and walls designed like the stratified layers of a canyon.

The all-day-dining restaurant Lime is on the ground floor. It serves a very popular buffet that is one of the most reasonably priced in Singapore - at SGD 62++. I gave it a try and can report that it is quite good. At the seafood section the oysters were freshly shucked, really fresh and delicious. The other dishes were all expertly prepared - and you can see the great effort they put into the buffet from the huge service team behind the kitchen.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Singapore 2014 - Blanco Court Prawn Mee

After wondering around Kampung Glam, if you get a little hungry you can head over to Blanco Court Prawn Mee which is just at the corner of Beach Road and Haji Lane. This unassuming corner kopitiam is a real find. They serve just prawn noodles - but it comes in many combinations. You can have it with jumbo prawns, normal prawns, with pork ribs, without pork ribs - or even without the prawns. 

It was my first time there after stumbling onto it during my Haji Lane sojourn - so I ordered the prawn and pork ribs noodles which seemed like the most appealing. The noodles came with 3 halfed prawns and a generous portion of pork ribs. This only cost SGD 4.80, quite a steal ! The soup was really rich and flavourful - full of the umami of pork bones and the sweetness of prawns. Delicious !

If you ever visit Kampung Glam, don't miss this little gem at the corner of Haji Lane. Really satisfying noodles are a very reasonable price.