This post isn’t as photobombed, sorry! (?)
Itinerary for the day 4 ; Chinatown, Telok Ayer (which we didn’t reaallly get around to), Meet dad’s friend for lunch, Night Safari.
As you may know, buses have been our main choice of transport and one thing we learned from our bus trips was how close everything is! Or should I say how small Singapore is! Maps are misleading! – everything looked so, so far. They say Singapore is the size of Sydney, I believe that. Most of the places which tourists would visit are conveniently next to each other, it’s almost like traveling around the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Hard to experience this on the MRT as most of it is underground
In relation to day 4, we had a strange start. We were so certain that we were on the right bus until we found ourselves in Raffles Place (CBD in SG) and we thought, oh crap where is this bus going?? So we hopped off to avoid going any further. Opened up our reliable iPhone map app (so handy!) and it shows that one of the main streets in Chinatown was just streets away! Just a 5-10min walk we found ourselves at the border of Chinatown.
First stop. Breakfast at Maxwell Food Centre.
There seemed to be a few recommended places in this hawker centre (even some that we had not read reviews about, you could tell they are popular based on the long lines!), and since we were meeting my Dad’s friend for lunch, we only had breakfast time to conquer it!
One of the well known stalls is, the best Hainan Chicken Rice stalls – Tian Tian Chicken Rice. (Stall #10, Maxwell Food Centre, Singapore)
and its Anthony Bourdain approved.
At just S$3.50 a plate it’s a bargain! (again we shared a plate for breakfast, probably one of our least hungry mornings)
Now the verdict -
What I enjoyed about Tian Tian chicken rice is that, the chicken was tender and juicy, although a bit on the oily side but I guess thats what gives it the flavour! Definitely the nicest hainan chicken I’ve tasted during the trip. As for the rice, it was OK to me; wasn’t as flavourful as I thought – which was a bit of a let down as you would hope the chicken rice itself would match up to the chicken! I preferred the Boon Tong Kee rice more as it was more flavourful.
Our appetites weren’t as big as we wanted it to be so instead of having another dish of something we went for snacks.
I felt so “heaty” inside from all the hot food we’ve been having the past few days and not hydrating enough so we wanted a cooling drink badly! Havent had sugarcane juice for 2 days to balance it out so maybe that’s why.. Other than sugarcane juice, herbal jelly tea is a great cool drink alternative so we bought one. I love how they made it convenient for people on the go with the plastic bag handles on the side! Though at times I was so scared it’ll slip out or rip! so I just hold it normally anyway!
This also reminds me of some things we did not experience such as, drinking ‘teh’ (tea) out of a plastic bag or eating hokkien mee out of brown paper package.
Pan Cake – Stall #26 Maxwell Food Centre 7am – 5pm daily, 7am – 3pm Sunday
This ‘Pan Cake’ stall doesn’t sell the type of western pancake you imagine. In Singapore, pancakes or otherwise known as Mee Chian Kueh, are generally pancakes rolled up with flavoured paste in the middle. At this stall, the difference of their pancakes is that pandan is the base flavour of their pancakes and you can choose from green bean, red bean, coconut and peanut as the filling/spread in between.
Pandan Pancake with Redbean!
I read recommendations for the Red bean Pandan Pancake combo so that was a quick decision made! It was a little chewy and not too sweet which is good, but what I loved most is how the redbean complimented the pandan perfectly.
The boy could not resist the Chinese dough sticks at the Pan cake stall! Also S$0.50c!
[Break from photos begin]
After this short food stop, we were extremely exhausted. Tried our best to walk down the main strip of Chinatown, you’d find the Chinatown markets and several temples. It was also particularly hot that day! or only in Chinatown? We chose to find a airconditioned space to sit (and drink or something) instead of walking around and waiting for my dad’s friend. Never knew it was that hard to find one! until we came across OG department store (which by the way, the clothes they sell in there felt like it was straight from the 90s), airconditioning – tick, courtesy seats – zero. We realised Singapore isn’t big on courtesy seats There was a mini cafe inside the department store so we just bought a bottle water and sat there pretending we were planning where to go next, making sure we look like tourists so we don’t get shooed off.
We rested enough and walked around the outside of OG building, there were other shopping centres around; nothing exciting. Such as the People’s Complex (i think??) where you’ll find cheap, cheap electronics, and cheap, cheap (dodgy) looking massage and facial places. I.. wouldn’t go there.
Yum Cha in Singapore
Lunch time finally came around, my dad’s friend did not want to take us to local eateries instead to experience Yum Cha in Singapore. It turns out that it is hard to find a restaurant that does Yum Cha like its supposed to be – rolling carts around. So we should be thankful to still be able to experience that in Sydney! Anyway him and his wife took us to Yum Cha Restaurant (yep thats the name) amidst the Chinatown markets, wasn’t as crowded for Sunday lunch – most of the people there seemed like tourists. A lot of the buildings in Chinatown were old terraces revamped into shops etc. This restaurant was no different, situated upstairs you get the old chinese home feel with the wooden chinese windows etc. The servings were quite small, as in the size of a siu mai almost felt like half the size of the juicy fat siu mai’s we get in Sydney! Other than the usuals there were some interesting dishes that we’ve never had before. They were awesome of course I wish I had taken photos of them now!
We strolled around the markets downstairs, it almost felt like an outdoor paddys markets so Chinatown is the place to go for your cheap souvenirs. A lot of the souvenir in Chinatown felt like the souvenir you would buy if you were in China e.g. chinese statues, engraved personalise stamps. Dad’s friend tells us, there really isn’t a truly Singaporean souvenir as a lot of the things are inspired by neighbouring countries (Malaysia, Indonesia etc.) As orchids are Singapore’s national flower, we did come across ornaments where the orchid is in a glass/resin casing. So pretty, but pricey! about S$20-50. We did not buy one Bought our share of Singapore magnets and got a lift back to the hotel as we were still so exhausted and wanted to rest up before the Night Safari!
Singapore Night Safari
Was raining so heavily just when we were about to leave for Night Safari! we kept our hopes up that they rain will stop later (which it did!). There were several options to get to the Night Safari, by certain bus routes or you can hop on to the Night Safari shuttle bus (costed $4.50/pp but you can purchase the entry ticket onboard and save a few dollars too, i think it was S$30, usually S$32) has several pick up points in Orchard, Little India, Marina Bay etc. Check their site for pick up points!
We chose one of the Orchard stops, sooo close to missing it, thank god the shuttle was a few minutes late! It was about a 40min-1hour ride, the longest distance we’ve travelled in Singapore! We got there a little early, just as it was starting to get dark – we allowed enough time to look at the shops, eateries, performances on site.
We watched the Creatures of the Night show – which was awesome! It was an outdoor performance, where you watch certain animals (e.g .wolves, raccoons) come out for performances and have the chance to say.. hug a giant snake! the show is Recommended!
Next, we hopped onboard the Night Safari. At first we thought it’d be a short ride but we were mistaken! Actually went for a good 45mins. Travelled in the darkness and you’ll get to see a variety of animals, exotic ones. Which really made me wish we had time to go to the Singapore Zoo as well! It was interesting and weird that they had hyeenas on one side of the track and deers on the opposite side. You’d wonder how they keep the hyeenas from jumping across the track to get their meal..
Some shots we took, it was quite dark so it was tricky to capture! Wished we had the 70-200 f2.8 lens. .
They give you the option of hopping off half way through the ride and go on the walking trail; which we didn’t do since we were so tired (not bothered)!
Photo taken before the ride! It was probably one of the better photos we’ve had from these sorta attractions, aaand because we hardly had much photos ‘together’ during the trip, so we splurged.
That was the end of our Night Safari and it is highly recommended! I mean this is probably the closest you’ll get to a safari of some sort without going to Africa.. so why not??
We got on the shuttle again (another$4.50/pp) and was dropped off on Orchard. Its soo impossible to find food in Orchard around 10pm by the way. We gave up and took the bus back to our hotel. Then we remembered there was another recommendation of a chicken rice (yeh 2nd serving in a day) place not far from our hotel.
We got off 2 stops early just to buy a quick takeaway from Wee Nam Kee (Novena Ville , 275 Thomson Road, Singapore, 10am – 12:30am) Not a hawker stall, but a small family restaurant. What I love about Singapore, dining places open late!
S$4 Late dinner (we got one each by the way). Have not experienced eating out of a foam box in a while.
Our 3rd and final serving of Chicken Rice from the whole trip. I must say, it definitely doesn’t match up to the other 2 we had, tasted a little more MSG than; Boon Tong Kee and Tian Tian Chicken Rice. But aye, its still better than the chicken rice we find in Sydney foodcourts!
Sorrry for the long post! I realised, no photos mean have to write more! grr Hope it was a tadbit interesting/useful regardless!
Stay tuned for Day 5
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