the memorable Chicken Rice

Chicken Rice – the “national dish” of Singapore – is served everywhere in the country from hawker centres and canteens to major restaurants. For me, it is my highly consumed food during my first month here in Singapore and mainly because of two reasons. 1. It is cheap; the cheapest is just S$2.50. 2. It is the most obvious edible food for a person who is not familiar with Singapore food. In fact, I bet a lot of Filipinos share the same story.

More than three years passed and now I can say that I discovered the best chicken rice experience in Singapore; in Loy Kee. Loy Kee means ‘memorable experience’ in Mandarin. They started selling chicken rice with a unique recipe in Raymond Market in 1953.

The place is not so big, but it is homey and the interior is a mix of old and modern decor. There’s a wall of old photos of the owner and the celebrities who have dined there, old lamps and antiques and tables are round and the chairs are made of wood. There are big ceiling fans and air conditioning, though there’s still an area for smokers who want to dine.

Richard worked as assistant manager of the restaurant before, brought me to Loy Kee for lunch. He enthusiastically told me how the restaurant was before while pointing to the changes made in the shop. Kimi, one of the service attendant assisted us with a genuine smile. We didn’t wait long for the food, and it came steaming hot, teasing us with the yummy Hainanese aroma.

Loy Kee Chicken Rice Set

Everything was nicely cooked. The chicken meat was tender, the rice was tasty served in a plate garnished with cucumber. There was also a side dish of steamed Chinese cabbage, as well as condiments such as minced ginger, chili and dark soy sauce on the side. Other dishes like Hainanese beef stew were also just as tender and delicious and I loved the guyabano juice that was served in a mason jar, though it was sweeter than I thought.

Loy Kee Chicken Rice

We ate a lot! We couldn’t help it. Having lunch at Loy Kee is value for money. The experience is like dining in chicken rice’s own home.

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a horror night to remember

How have you been spending your Halloween nights?

My friend Liza got inspired with scaring people because of an episode of The Ellen Show (you can view it here) that she suddenly wanted to go for a Halloween event.

Cel, Liza, Jacky and I
Cel, Liza, Jacky and I

She told Cel about it and Cel arranges our passes for Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights at Sentosa Island.

USS Halloween Horror Nights
Universal Studios Singapore Halloween Horror Nights
Queing for the first Hunted House - Adrift
Queing for the first Hunted House – Adrift

We came in a big group and for this kind of happenings, the more the funnier.

Vampires at Attack of Vapires Zone
Vampires at Attack of Vapires Zone

Cel is so jumpy while Jacky is so pushy; a good combination for a frolicsome Halloween night.

there's also a band performing
there’s also a band performing
and a gang in costume dancing.
and a gang in costume dancing.

It was hilariously fun; we always end up sweaty with a painful tummy from laughing so hard every time we finished a haunted house. We also get to go for attraction rides.

Cel and Jacky at Jurassic Park ride
Cel and Jacky at Jurassic Park ride

tour guiding before and/or after work…

When touring with a group of people of different ages and interests, premeditated plan or itinerary is impossible to follow. That’s what I’ve learnt long time ago in traveling countries. Ate Bang, tita Eve, Lek and her boyfriend Pete were in town for vacation and to pay me a visit. I didn’t file any leave from work as I’m saving it for April vacation. So I spent my before or after work free time to be with them and here is how it goes:

Day 1 – I met them at the airport then we head straight to a hotel in Paya Lebar so that they can leave their things. We ate lunch at Geylang Serai – a known hawker centre from what I’ve read somewhere way back long ago. Since they don’t know what to expect they agreed to have their first taste of Singapore food there. the group at Changi mrt The Geylang Serai Market lies in the heart of the Singapore Malay community and has been recently remodelled to embrace the rustic quality of the old Malay kampong houses. The second floor has a hawker centre and a market on the other end. We choose food based on how they look on photos as nobody is familiar with Malay and Indian food. Pinoys love to eat western food thus my attempt to welcome them with Singapore local food is not successful. We did like the Chap Chay though which is like Chop Seuy in Philippines. We spent the afternoon at Art Science Museum to catch the exhibition ‘The Art of the Brick’ by Nathan Suwaya. We were surprised to see how creative is the artist; he was able to make sculptures, miniatures and even painting-like artworks using Lego bricks. A touch of modern technology is always present in every exhibition of Art Science Museum, we spent almost half an hour in area wherein you can take a photo of yourself and make the image legolized. Nathan Sawaya's Yellow Apart from The Art of the Brick, Outside In: A Magnum Photos Showcase – Photography exhibition of works by three distinguished photographers – Stuart Franklin, Mark Power and Jacob Aue Sobol. I was able to attend the Darkroom Developments workshop though I was in the waiting list; they let me join by just watching and observing. We finished touring the exhibition early so we went to attend mass at St. Joseph’s Church in Victoria Street.  We ended the day with a dinner at Zebra in Bugis + instead of the original plan of dining at Din Tai Fung, Marina Bay Sands.

Day 2 – I met them at the nearest MRT station from their hotel then we head to Singapore Zoo. Have to be at work before 2pm so I just join them for lunch and then went to work. I came to MBS early, I managed to drop by the I.T. Show thinking I can just buy a service warranty for my laptop but they only sell servicing and warranty as extras for those who bought laptops. Anyway, I was able to take nap in the changing room for a few minutes before work. I had a hard time doing the room check in as I am working and MBS is so strict now for staff’s room reservations. Len and Yo helped me in doing so on my behalf. It was late afternoon when they came back from the zoo and they all look tired from a rain and shine weather of Singapore. Lek and Pete went to the I.T. Show while tita Eve just stayed in the room and took care of the sick ate Bang. I spent my break time there playing with Tiffany – Len’s baby whom I finally met after several months.

Day 3 – Woke up early and brought Lek and Pete to my house so that they can put their things and be familiar with the place. We came back to Marina Bay Sands just in time for me to go to work. They went to China Town and Sentosa. My one hour break turned into a siesta in our huge hotel room. They went shopping at the Marina Bay Shoppes and watched the Lightshow just from the room’s window, tsk tsk tsk. Lek and Pete at Skypark Day 4 – I woke up too early for sunrise, so I slept again and woke up again with the sun already high up in the sky. It’s always been like this. Lek, Pete and I went for a swim and took some photos from Sky Park. I checked out before going to work and was thinking I could still see ate and tita before their flight but no since I was working in the museum. Lek and Pete accompany them to the airport and stayed in a hotel in Geylang for the night. Finally slept in my bed again but didn’t had a decent rest as I have to wake up early to attend Len’s wedding.

Day 5 – Lek and Pete went to my house, prepared our things for the wedding then head to Registry of Marriages. I find their travel to Singapore in good timing; there’s an ongoing I.T. Show in Marina Bay Exhibition Halls and now they can witness a ROM. Since I have to take some photos for the couple, Lek and Pete went to Philately exhibition in the nearby Peranakan Museum.  I had a hard time using Yan’s Tamron 70-300mm Macro lens for the wedding. I know I’m not suppose to use this lens on this kind of occassion but my Tamron 18-270mm is still under repair. We had lunch buffet at Sakura after the wedding, the tourists were so happy with the food. We visited tita Letty and her family at Punggol after; their new house is nice and spacious. Lolo and lola are there as well for vacation. We only stayed then for more than an hour then went to Cielyn’s house for Madam and Marissa’s farewell party. Lek and Pete went to meet some friends for dinner. Anyway, it was a good blast of eating Pinoy food and Videoke singing at Cielyn’s house. Ikea studio unit sample Day 6 – I had a hard time opening my eyes at work. We went to Lucky Plaza and Ion in Orchard then head to Ikea to shop and unquestionably to dine!!! I love the food there but that time the salmon don’t taste that good, hhmmm. Anyway, Lek and Pete like the food.

Day 7 – We head to Singapore Flyer for a Ducktour – an hour tour in the central roads and bay. Then Singapore Flyer, which I didn’t enjoy because we were in a cabin together with a big group and my Olympus TG2 is out of battery, thanks to my hard headed sister.  I should not forget to mention that she lost my Olympus TG2 lens ring and the accessory is not available in the market, gggrrrrrhh. Singapore Local Food Local food like Laksa, Fried Egg and Oyster, Roasted Chicken Rice and smoothies from Each a Cup for late lunch at Singapore Trail. They went shopping for souvenirs at China Town while I wait for them at home. Then for dinner we met up with ate Camille and Ronald at Dempsey Hill. We ate at Chang Korean Charcoal BBQ, the food is just ok but the service is superb. We sleep over at tita Letty’s house. I like their new house – huge sala, 2 mins. Walk from train station and the building is all new.

Korean Charcoal Barbeque

Day 8 – I went to work in the morning and leave the two bakasyonistas sleeping. This is my favourite day because we went to meet Leah. A Filipina who does tattooing for a cause, I’ve wanted to write a feature story about her. Lek got inked, please don’t tell my mom, let my sister do the talking, haha. I was not able to ask Lea all the things I want to know about her charity works, thinking some information are confidential so I’ll just ask her by email. Lek's tattoo OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Long John Silver for dinner, I’m not a fan of this food chain but just for them to try local food chain. Is it a local food chain? We head to Clarkquay after and instead of having a drink, we ended up shopping as there are stalls there selling affordable clothes, accessories, bags and shoes. Day 9 – Lek and Pete’s last day in Singapore. We are so tired yesterday night we woke up late to do nothing than me cooking for lunch then accompanying them to the airport. When my sister hugged me tight before going to the departure area, it felt sad. Anyway, I’ll be spending vacation there on April. I crawled straight to my bed when I came home. Turned on my laptop to check our photos in Singapore and discover that memory card is nowhere to find. Lek!!! aarrgghh, ahahaha. She forgot it in her laptop, haayyzz. I ended up editing some photos from Kelvin and Len’s wedding instead.

a weekend less ordinary..

My friends Natz and Amit paid me a visit, making one of my weekends less ordinary. It was a few days of fun-filled activities; Yo and her family were also part of the happenings. Where did I and Yo brought them? Here are places we went and the activities we did.

• Dinner at Marche – a Swiss restaurant that offers a tranquil ambiance, fresh and quality food.

Savory Crepe

• Amit tried the sport of body flying in iFLy Singapore. It is said to be the largest wind tunnel indoor skydiving in the world. I tried indoor sky diving once in Resorts World Genting and it’s way cheaper there. Check out the indoor skydiving video I made.

• Luge Sentosa which is part go-cart, part-toboggan action ride that’s suitable for all ages. I thought this ride would be boring but if you’ll do it like a race, it’s gets exciting. We did this twice and I won on the first race!

luge sentosa

• Watch Crane Dance – a combination of ground breaking audio and visual technologies, astounding light and water effects.

• Dinner ay Din Tai Fung – a Michelin star awarded and ranked as one of the world’s Top Ten Best Restaurants by The New York Times. It’s all about love for dim sum and dumplings!

Work plus these activities is equals to cumbersome. Though touring friends can be fatiguing, the experience is simply priceless.