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Lake Toya, Japan

Spot of Tranquility.

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Little India, Singapore

Spices, gold and splashes of colour!

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Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay

Garden City, City in a Garden.

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Bryce Canyon, USA

Thor's Hammer

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Chocolate Test, Singapore

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." -Charles M Schulz

Monday, December 31, 2018

In an Instant: Polaroid At the Intersection of Art and Technology

I recently met up with a good friend whose boyfriend was very into polaroids. I always had the impression that polaroids were the same as instaxes but had this misconception roundly thrown into the bin. He showed us his polaroid cameras (and how to use them) and they were fascinating.

To learn more about polaroids, we headed to the National Museum. It costs $12.50 for adults (Singapore citizens and PRs)- more price categories available at the link above.

1. Edwin Land- Scientist, Inventor, Visionary

The first part of the exhibition introduced Edwin Land, an American scientist and inventor, who is best known as the co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation.

As to how the Polaroid came about, the story goes that he was on vacation with his family in Santa Fe, when he took along his camera to take a few pictures. His 3-year-old daughter asked, "Why can't I see the picture now?" And that was the inspiration behind Land's invention.

You would also come across the Polaroid Cinema: The Fishbowl Experiment.

When you first enter the room, you will see that the screen is white. However, once you put on a pair of Polaroid sunglasses, the images on the screen magically appear. The Fishbowl is a short movie about how Edwin Land fine tunes his invention, the polarizing filter.

2. Polaroid: Art and Technology at Play

Besides exhibiting a range of Polaroid cameras (and some prototypes as well), you will also get to see Polaroid artworks produced during the height of the Polaroid's popularity.

3. The New Instant

The last part of the exhibition is where the curator tries to tie in the Polaroid theme with something relatable- that of the experience of Singapore social influencers navigating through this digital world of instant feeds, uploads and hashtags.

Thoughts about the exhibition 

While the premise of the exhibition is interesting, I felt that it did not live up to its full potential. Granted that there were polaroids taken by superstars like Andy Warhol, I didn't feel like I got much information out of most of the polaroids.

While the last part of the exhibition involves interviews with social influencers, I felt that the link was rather tenuous. Yes, I see the link between the two- the instantaneous factor. But I wished the interviews could be with people who had a closer connection to Polaroids.

At the end of the exhibition, you can go into a photobooth where you get to take pictures with Polaroid sunglasses and send these pictures to your email. You can also get a physical picture taken at a token sum. If you are interested in the Polaroid eyewear or wish to buy a book about Polaroids, they are also available at the museum shop.

In an Instant: Polaroid at the Intersection of Art and Technology 
National Museum of Singapore
93 Stamford Road
Singapore 178897 

Friday, December 28, 2018

Garlic bread

I love garlic bread. In fact, sometimes I order soup and get excited waiting for the bread.

I have tried plenty of bad / average garlic bread and a few good ones. The worst garlic breads are definitely those that use garlic spread. I am guilty of buying a bottle of garlic spread and that was a bad mistake- threw it away and resolved never to buy another bottle of garlic spread.

I recently tried a recipe from Ina Garten of Food Network and it's definitely a keeper.

Credit: Food Network

- 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- 1 loaf ciabatta bread
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


1. Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F.

2. Place the garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until minced. Add the parsley, oregano, salt and pepper and pulse twice.

3. Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan and add the garlic mixture. Remove the pan from the heat.

4. Slice the ciabatta bread in half horizontally, and spread the butter on 1 half. Spread the garlic mixture on the other half of the bread, and put the halves together. Wrap the bread in aluminium foil.

5. Place the bread in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Open the foil and continue baking for an additional 5 minutes.

Comments about Recipe 
- I did not add fresh oregano leaves as the supermarket didn't sell them. It still worked well though.
- 1/2 cup olive oil seems a tad too much and you may want to reduce it slightly.
- I replaced the ciabatta bread with French baguette because the bakery didn't sell ciabatta.
- Instead of using a food processor, I used manual labour (i.e. hand and arm strength) to mince the ingredients. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Ding Tele 鼎特乐

We visited Ding Tele 鼎特乐 when it first opened and have been back numerous times ever since. There can be a quite a queue on weekends so do come early. There is not much ambience to speak of in the restaurant and the tables are closely packed together. But it is definitely worth a trip. 

We started off with the Appetising Platter ($9) where you could choose 4 side dishes. We went for the Original Shanghainese Drunken Chicken Wing, Coriander with Bean Products, Wheat Gluten and Shiitake Mushrooms and Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs. This is probably good for 2-3 people to share. While these dishes were decent, they were nothing to shout about.

Ordering the Signature Steamed Pork & Soup Bun ($5.40) is always a no brainer. We saw a table of 4 have at least 6 of these bamboo baskets stacked up. It is difficult not to compare these to the benchmark of Din Tai Fung and these little dumplings certainly hold their own weight.

I find that the Signature Pan-Fried Crispy Pork Soup Buns ($5.40 for 4 pieces) are one of the best, if not, the best in Singapore. They are so good that I can't resist sinking my teeth into these little goodies once they arrive at our table, despite knowing that they will probably burn my tongue if I don't exercise some patience.

Five out of five times, I burn my tongue, each time knowing that this is the consequence of greed. Besides the fact that the soup inside the buns is incredibly hot, there is a lot of soup in each bun- be careful not to spill the soup on yourself. What I like about these soup buns is how they manage to be chewy at the top and crispy at the bottom, with generous pork fillings and soup, all at the same time. The soup is a little too salty for my liking, but it does not negate how delicious these pork buns are. We could each easily eat 3 pork buns each, even with other dishes.

We rounded off the meal with Crispy Rice Dumpling with Red Bean Paste ($4). After the fantastic sheng jian baos, these were again, decent but nothing extraordinary.

Value for money, and definitely come here for the sheng jian baos.

Ding Tele 
949 Upper Serangoon Road
Singapore 534713
Tel No: 6282 4380 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Mui Kee Congee

We thought that the infamous queues at Mui Kee would have cleared by 8+ pm on a rainy day. However, we could not have misjudged the situation more, as there were still around 10 people ahead of us when we reached the restaurant. Thank goodness, the turnover was quite fast and we got a table within 15-20 minutes. 

Mui Kee was bustling on a Saturday evening despite the rain. It started off in Hong Kong in 1979 and the shop today is helmed by the founder's grandson. The seating was a little tight and many had to share tables, but I guess it's better than waiting outside for a seat.

I went for the basic Homemade Pork Meatballs Congee ($9.80). Raw rice grains are mixed with century eggs, and pork and fish stocks added thereafter. I enjoyed the smooth and clean porridge. There was a generous portion of meatballs in the porridge as well. We shared some very crispy Youtiao (Dough fritter) ($2) to go along with the porridge. While the porridge was served quickly, the youtiao took some time to come as they were probably prepared in batches.

We also ordered the Fried Bean Curd Skin ($6), which was crispy on the outside and had distinct layers of bean curd skin within, accompanied by a mayo dip.

To end off the meal, we shared a Soursop & Passionfruit Shaved Ice ($5). This was certainly enough for 2 to share, and could even be shared by 3 for the smaller eaters. This was certainly worth it, compared to Korean bingsu which always charged an arm and a leg. It was a refreshing and cooling end to the otherwise piping hot meal.

Service was prompt and friendly. I recommend this place as it is value for money and serves good food. The only thing that would prevent me from coming back frequently is the time spent waiting to get a seat in the restaurant.

Mui Kee Congee 
Shaw Centre
1 Scotts Road
Tel No: 6737 2422