Monday, 28 September 2009

Food Republic @ VivoCity

I first came across the "Food Republic" food court when I was in Kuala Lumpur. It is located in the basement level of the Pavilion KL. My first impression was that this food court must be a franchise owned by Singaporeans because of the word "Republic" and I was right!. It is owned by the "BreadTalk" group of Singapore which is also famous for its pastry shops across Singapore. My second encounter with the "Food Republic" food court was in Singapore at Level 3, VivoCity (where the above pictures were taken). I like its concept of serving hawker fare in an old "kampong" setting which reminds me of my childhood days in Malaysia! The ambience and atmosphere alone (not to mention the great food) is worth a visit.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

F1 Fever is back in Singapore

It seems only like yesterday that the first F1 night race was held in Singapore. Tonight, we will witness the second F1 night race which is also held in Singapore with the live telecast on Star Sports at 7.45pm. Unfortunately, there was no live telecast of the qualifying rounds last night. This Renault F1 car pictured above (taken at Changi Airport last year) will not be the same again this year minus most of its major sponsors amid the scandal of a deliberate crash by Nelson Piquet Jr. at last year's race which helped teammate Fernando Alonso to win the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix after the safety car was deployed. Good luck, Alonso!

2009 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix update: P1 - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes), P2 - Timo Glock (Toyota) and P3 - Fernando Alonso (Renault).

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Beware of Scottish Pounds!

Recently, I came across an incident whereby one of my colleagues exchanged a 50 Scottish pound note with a foreign couple and guess what; this 50 Scottish pound note cannot be exchanged anywhere in Brunei or Singapore (I even got a Singaporean friend to try to exchange it in Singapore but failed!). Out of curiosity, I googled "scottish pounds" and found out that only notes issued by the "Bank of England" are acceptable abroad and notes issued by three other Scottish banks, namely "Bank of Scotland", "Royal Bank of Scotland" and "Clydesdale Bank" cannot be exchanged abroad! However, the exchange rate is the same as that of the British pound. Guess I would have to plan a trip to Scotland to spend this 50 pounds! LOL...
Today, I got back B$100-00 for the above note; a friend of mine spend the 50 Scottish pounds in London recently after I've kept it for almost 3 years! Updated on 28 July 2012.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Glutton Street, Lo Wu (罗湖)

Lo Wu is a border town between Hong Kong and mainland China. Getting there is quite a hassle especially on weekends as the Immigration Control Post is very crowded. I took a bus from Hong Kong Airport to Sheung Shui Station and then took a train to Lo Wu; at least that's one of the ways on how I got there. I've been to Shenzhen on numerous occasions and on one of these trips, a Chinese friend took us to "Glutton Street" which got its name because of the numerous restaurants, eateries and vendors located along this street. The prices are very reasonable and the seafood is very fresh. Lo Wu is also a haven for cheap fake "branded" products but don't buy too many as the Hong Kong Customs are known to confiscate these items if you purchased too many!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri!

Tonight is the night for the sighting of the new moon but regardless of whether the new moon can be sighted or not, the holiday spirit has already begun. The roads to all the major malls and supermarkets are jammed with vehicles with people rushing for their last minute shopping. Long queues were seen at the petrol stations as well with one petrol station at Jalan Tutong running out of unleaded fuel and diesel! Brunei will still have three days public holiday starting from Sunday and I want to take this opportunity to wish all my Muslim friends "Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri". This year, I opt to post this e-card as it is environmental friendly, saves our forests and best of all it doesn't costs anything!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Down Memory Lane

The date was somewhere between 15 to 27 Nov 1993; I couldn't remember the exact date. I attended a course in Tokyo and a "home visit" was organized to visit a postmaster's family at his home. His name is Yasuyo-san and his wife is Yojiro-san with their three kids. It was late when we arrived and a reporter and photographer were already waiting at Yasuyo-san's home. Out of 29 students that attended the course, 3 of us were chosen, a Filipino lady, a Thai lady (unfortunately, I've forgotten their names and have lost contact with them; e-mail was not so common in those days) to visit a typical Japanese home. We were treated to some snacks, played games with the family and even tried out some "kimonos" & "yukata". A belated "Thank You" to Yasuyo-san for sending me a copy of the magazine and wishing you & your family the best of health.

Friday, 11 September 2009

"Tang Li Yuen" Restaurant (唐荔园)

 Mr. Xu, my friend from Guangzhou.
Set in the middle of a lake, "Tang Li Yuen" Restaurant (唐荔园) in Guangzhou offers fantastic food and is famous for its Deep-fried Pigeons and live seafood. Sitting outside and enjoying the scenic view of the lake is a satisfying experience and there is even a row of boats in the lake where diners can use to dine in privacy (ideal for lovers). A word of caution though; this restaurant is definitely non-halal!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

You Can Make A Difference!

A few years ago, I made a decision never to eat shark fin soup again (and I've kept my promise!) after I saw a documentary on how sharks were "finned" and thrown back into the water to die (this clip is available in the above video). It not only has little nutritional value; it's also expensive. Sharks are an endangered species and indiscriminate "finning" has reduce the shark population to the brink of extinction. For our next generation and generations to come, stop eating shark fin soup today. You can make a difference! (in support of

Saturday, 5 September 2009

What a Catch!

This approximately 150kg Garoupa was caught off the coast of Brunei by local fishermen using just a line and hook! It was divided and sold in double quick time but not before some pictures were taken as this picture showed a Singaporean friend, Henry, standing beside this giant Garoupa (photo taken by Michael).

Friday, 4 September 2009

Source in China!

Mr. Chhan, the Managing Director of Hotel Sarangnova, is seen here on one of his "shopping trips" to Guangzhou. If you are a developer, contractor or sub-contractor (a hotelier in Mr. Chhan's case), China offers great savings and the quality of these products are pretty good. At least in Mr. Chhan's case, he saves 30 to 40% on his renovation and set-up costs! Not to mention the free trips and fantastic food (will blog about that later) we enjoyed while in Guangzhou. Anyway, most of the building materials and products found in Brunei or Malaysia are also made in China!

Nantian International Hotel Facility Trading Center

 Mr. TC Chan.
If you are the housekeeper, purchasing manager or restaurant manager of any hotels or restaurants, Nantian International Hotel Facility Trading Center is one place you must visit if you happened to be in Guangzhou. Here you can find anything from cooking pots, linen, cutleries, hotel amenities & supplies and much much more and needless to say the prices are very reasonable. There are hundreds of shops in this complex and it would take one whole day (maybe two!) just to browse through every one of them. However, be prepared to get soaked in perspiration if you visit in summer (June to August) as most of the shops are not air-conditioned!