Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wrought iron spiral staircase

Singapore has such a nice mix of architecture and unlike earlier years, conservation has helped to restore and preserve some of these heritage places.

I have always loved the spiral staircases of some old shophouses built during the colonial years but iron wrought ones are quite rare in Singapore. Chanced upon one just the other day behind a shophouse at Veerasamy Road. It reminded me of some of the exhibits of iron works on display at the V and A museum in London as these were very popular European architectural pieces during the early 1900s.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Saw some beautiful batik displays in Malacca . I have always wondered what are the differences in batiks worn by the Peranakan Nyonas, the Malays and the Indonesians. The first design featured below seem to have some Chinese influence with the strong flower motiffs so that could possibly be a design favoured by the Peranakans. 

Five foot way shophouses in Malacca

A series of art depicting shophouses on the walls of a hotel in Malacca caught my eye and I couldn't resist taking shots of them while my family were having breakfast. Most of these shophouses are called five foot ways and they are commonly found in cities with a British colonial past such as Malacca, Penang and Singapore. Five foot ways in Singapore date back to the time of Stamford Raffles who included this and other details in his town plan of 1822.  Each shophouse has a five foot sheltered walkway in front of it and they provide shelter from heat and rain. And if business is good, activities spill out onto the walkways. Fortunately, some of the best food in Malacca are still found in coffeeshops with five foot ways in contrast to those in Singapore which have been affected by modernisation. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Traditional candy - the Ting Ting man

For those old enough to remember the Ting Ting man will surely look back at those days with sweet nostalgia. He sold a kind of hardened maltose candy in an aluminium tray which had to be chipped off by a chisel and hence the sound "ting ting". Kids would run out to buy those sweet morsels as the Ting Ting man puts them into little packets. I was one of these eager kids whose eyes lit up on hearing that familiar chiselling sound.    

And at the night market at Jonker Walk, Malacce last weekend, I saw a stall selling an updated version of the candy with various flavours - wheat grass, mint, gincer, sour plum and more. The ting ting man of yesteryear only had one flavour but his accompanying music had a special flavour that couldn't be replicated. I bought different types and the best was the mint. A few stalls away was an old man selling maltose candy too which looked closer to the real thing. His stall displayed a newspaper cutting that showed how he sold his ting ting sweets from house to house back in those days with his chisel, aluminium tray and stand.Today, his sweets are pre-packaged in big packets of 5 riggits. His candy tasted good and even better with  an updated mint flavour. I should have bought more and taken a picture with him. Perhaps next time in my next weekend trip to Malacca.

Another favourite street snack of mine was muah chee which costs at least $3 at a stall in a mall in Singapore but here in Malacca, it costs only 2 or 3 riggits. Just as the signboard says, muah chee is made of glutinous rice pounded into a paste and coated with sesame and peanuts. Simple yet delicious as a snack.   

Maltose sweets in a variety of flavours

Muah chee, a family favourite !

It says on the board Hainanese mua chee. 

Bazaar Marketplace at QT Gold Coast

A well thought of layout at Bazaar Marketplace in QT Gold Coast Australia gave a good flow of the food making process, from the kitchen to the display area. From the cold rooms of meat stocks to classic pot roasts in colourful dutch ovens, from the sea food spread of scallops, oysters, prawns and mussel to the stir fry section of Asian food, everything looked beautiful. And backlit from a fridge of exotic fruits and fresh produce adds a beautiful glow to the food spread laid out.

You can order what you like or choose from the buffet spread. Staff are just happy to explain their creations or recommend a nice topping or sauce for the food. The classic pot roast section was very popular, with tender beef cheeks to ribs, all slow cooked to perfection. Being Asian, I skipped most of the fare that I can get back home and hovered around the pot roast and seafood sections like a bee to honey. Almost had no space for desserts but changed my  mind when I saw the spread. Macaroons, meringues, sticky date pudding, tiramisu and more. The sticky date pudding was one of the best I've tasted. It was fragrant and best of all, not cloyingly sweet. Overall, a nice place in Gold Coast, Australia for ambience, service and food.

Cans of my favourite dace fish with black beans are used to decorate the shelves

The beautiful decor within Bazaar Market place

A lovely selection of salads 

Service - Excellent !  Staff here are happy to explain the dishes and its ingredients and even to pose for a picture 

My favourite corner of the buffet spread. 

Beautiful backlit for the buffet spread.

Peter's Fish Market - Gold Coast Australia

The last time I had fish and chip from a take away shop was when I was in Cornwall, England during my teen years. It was wrapped in newspapers and I gleefully headed to the beach with it so that I could enjoy the sea breeze and my hot and fragrant fish and chips.
But things turned ugly as a flock of seagulls descended upon me like a group of well trained commandos. Think my fish and chips were ultimately abandoned on the beach as I made a dash.

Well that was years ago and here I was in another country where fish and chips are enjoyed with a similar gusto. The billboard at Peter's Fish Market in Gold Coast says "Fresh and cooked, straight from the trawler."
I could see a funny looking seagull at the corner of my eye but at least he was alone. According to Sun Tzu's Art of War, it is important to know your enemies. As for the fish, it was battered and fried and served with fries. The fish was fresh so it definitely tasted better than the average fish and chips served at family restaurants. But what I loved were the oysters costing only Australian $15 for a whole tray. They were fresh and succulent and ultimately, I abandoned the fish and chips midway, left them to my lunch companions while I just focused on the oysters. Perhaps fish and chips and me were never meant to be.

There are lots of seafood offered within Peter's Fish Market and I was particularly amused by the bugs , a name that locals call this clayfish looking creature as well as the spanner crabs which somehow looked too plastic to be eaten. You can choose your seafood and request it to be cooked to your liking. Battered, crumbed or grilled , seasoned with lemon pepper, spices or cajun pepper. They also do their seafood with a Thai vinegrette - with garlic, chilli and lime. The food can be enjoyed at the benches and tables outside, Alfresco style or you could take them to the beach ! Just be wary of those innocent looking seagulls. Everything is casual and relaxed at this place.

Tiger prawns from Australia 

Spanner crabs- don't they look plastic ! 

Australians call these bugs

Fish that I don't see back in Singapore markets 

Fresh succulent oysters 

Fish and chips