Posts Tagged With: Singapore

Augmented Reality Effects Bring New Life to Exhibits at the Trick Eye Museum Singapore

Combine 3D together with Augmented Reality (AR) and you’ll get an out of this world experience!

27th May 2017 will mark the launch of Trick Eye Museum Singapore’s new AR mobile app, which you can use to take pictures at the museum and also discover the additional animations which appear with each of their art exhibits. This app is available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. You can use the app to take both photos and videos of yourself interacting with the art installations. There are added sound effects and music if you take videos using the app and you can watch some of my clips towards the end of this post.

The AR experience starts outside the entrance to the museum, where there is a hideous sea serpent waiting to pounce on unsuspecting visitors!

Running apps on your mobile with AR features does drain your phone battery life and I forgot to bring a power bank, thus in order to conserve my phone battery, I took only AR photos and videos during this visit, but I’ve also included some pictures from my previous visits for comparison.

If you have visited this 3D art museum since the last time when they had refreshed their artworks, you would be familiar with the rest of the pictures in this post but do take a look at how the pictures have been enhanced to provide a more fun and entertaining experience to your museum visit.

Original:

With AR turned on:

It puzzles me as to why a tiger has appeared at the Island of La Grande Jatte! Really unexpected!!

If you already think that this scene from the “Ghost” zone looks impressive in 3D…

…you will be pleased to know that it looks even better with the AR features turned on! I felt as if I was part of an animated movie with the skeletons moving about!

Some of the artworks have not-so-elaborate AR features, but the effects are still good as they enhance the visuals of the 3D exhibits.

Original:

With AR turned on:

Original:

With AR turned on:

Original:

With AR turned on:

Here are some other scenes with AR effects:

The addition of the AR features are best captured on video and you can “interact” with some of the animated characters (this is a chance to show off your acting skills!).

Here’s a compilation of some of the exhibits (please excuse my poor acting skills):

Do note that unless you are taking a selfie, you won’t have any idea of what special effects or animations are taking place in the space around you. If you have a friend helping to record the video for you, that person will need to be the director, otherwise it is pretty much up to your own imagination with regards to how to react in the scene!

Don’t worry if it’s too noisy at the museum, as the app will not record the background noise but instead overlay its own music and sound effects to your video.

Overall it was good fun and the AR effects certainly provide a different kind of interactive experience with the art installations!

Things to take note of before heading to the museum:

    • Download the “Trickeye” app (Free) from both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
    • Bring along a power bank in case your mobile battery runs low from using the app.
    • Try to familiarise yourself with the functions on the screen, otherwise if you are not sure, you can always refer to the tutorial page.

From 27 May to 26 June 2017, visitors to the museum will enjoy 50% off admission prices for tickets purchased from the Trick Eye Museum and Sentosa ticketing counters.

Thanks to Trick Eye Museum Singapore for the media preview of the new AR features!

Categories: Media Invite, Museums, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

KoKoPanda – A Korean Superfood Dessert and Beverage Parlour

Officially opened on 16th December 2016, Kokopanda is a new Korean soft serve and beverage concept focusing on “superfood” toppings to cater to the health-conscious. Yes, you can indulge without feeling guilty!

They offer three unique soft serves, which include White Cremo (a rich smooth and creamy Korean soft serve ice-cream made from premium Korean milk), Black Yogo (a black frozen yogurt made from roasted coconut husk that contains edible activated charcoal, which helps to cleanse the body of toxins) and for the undecided who want to try both – KoKo Twisto (a combination of both Black Yogo and White Cremo).

White Cremo

Black Yogo

Koko Twisto

Quality ingredients sourced directly from Korea are used, including Korean Milk and a selection of superfood toppings like KoKoCrunch granola (a blend of dried fruits and rice puffs) and dried fruits that are rich in vitamins and fibre. The best part is that the fruits are not artificially sweetened and if you are familiar with Korean strawberries and tangerines, they are naturally sweet! The Korean Milk used here is preservative free and thus has a shorter shelf life, so this is regularly flown in fresh from Korea.

A variety of dried fruit is available and this includes Jeju tangerine, Korean strawberries, pear, apple, persimmon, orange and lemon! My favourites are the pear, tangerine and strawberries.

Interestingly, when you eat the dried fruit on its own, their texture is what you’d expect dried fruit to be like, but when you put them into the soft serve, some of them turn a little crispy! I tried this with both the tangerines and strawberries and there was an added crunch to them!

Fruit Bombs (made from real fruit juice) and Jelly Pearls (made from seaweed) are some of the other toppings that are available. If you like nuts, you can try the Honey Butter Almonds, which I absolutely loved!

In addition, there are also Jellies and Chia Seeds that you can choose to add to your dessert or beverage.

A variety of different drinks can be found on their beverage menu, which include Seoulistic Iced Tea Lattes, Korean Fruit Vinegar Ciders and Fruit Enzyme drinks, Exotic Gangnam Iced Teas and ChiaChaCha, which is a refreshing combination of 100% coconut water with Chia Seeds.

One of their signature drinks is the Jeju Green Tea Latte and you can have this with black KoKoPearls, i.e. if you are the type who’s into bubble teas. I usually like my drinks with 0% sugar and I found the green tea latte with black pearls to be just right for me as it wasn’t too sweet and I think those who don’t like the slightly bitter taste of Japanese matcha may like this as this Korean green tea doesn’t have that same bitter taste. Premium grade Jeju green tea is used and it contains natural polyphenols and antioxidants.

Those who can’t do without sugar haven’t been forgotten and similar to other beverage outlets in the market, you can customize your sugar levels, but of course to be healthier, try to slowly reduce your sugar intake and go for 0%! ^_^

Although I’m not a hugh fan of coconut water and healthy drinks, I did try the ChiaChaCha with added Mango Fruit Bombs and I have to say that those fruit caviars burst easily in your mouth and made each sip of the drink very flavourful! Hmm…possibly something I can consider drinking more of in the future, with health benefits!

Weight conscious individuals can opt for the Green Grapes or Green Apple Cider with Chia Seeds, as these are made from pure fruit vinegar ciders known for extra health benefits such as weight loss and maintaining blood sugar levels.

If you haven’t already noticed by now, the shop’s logo has a cute panda in it and you can find this mascot on both the drink and dessert cups, on the staff’s t-shirts, as well as at the shopfront.

On what sets KoKoPanda apart from other dessert and beverage outlets, Katie Kang, Managing Director for KoKoPanda states: “We are all about superfood desserts and beverages. We noticed that many of the drinks and desserts available today are mostly made from sugar and syrups with little goodness included. We are here to spread our concept of guilt-free indulgence by adding the benefits of superfoods into delicious desserts and beverages that people already enjoy.”

I’ve always thought of health foods as being bland and taste-wise not to my liking, but this has somewhat altered my perception. Healthy desserts and beverages that taste good too! Do come and give it a try!

As part of their Opening promotions, Kokopanda will be having a special Buy-1-Get-1-Free promotion on all items on their menu during their launch weekend from 16–18 December 2016.

Thanks to KoKoPanda for the dessert and beverage tasting!

Address:
KoKoPanda
#B2-60, Plaza Singapura,
68 Orchard Road, Singapore 238839.

Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm Daily

Categories: Cafe, Desserts, Eating in Singapore, Korean | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Latest Exhibits at the National Museum of Singapore

As part of the final stage of the National Museum of Singapore’s revamp of its permanent galleries, the Glass Rotunda has reopened on 10th December 2016 after two years of renovation works. Two permanent installations “Story of the Forest” and “Singapore, Very Old Tree” are showcased here.

Story of the Forest

  • Glass Rotunda, Entrance on Level 2
  • Daily from 10am – 7pm
  • Free admission for Singaporeans and PRs.

Health advisory:  Those who are prone to epileptic fits or seizures may want to use your discretion on visiting this exhibit due to the lighting and moving/flashing images.


Upon entering the upper level of the Glass Rotunda, one is greeted by the sight of a floral blizzard.

You’ll soon find yourself being immersed in a larger-than-life interactive digital installation that is inspired by the National Museum of Singapore’s prized William Farquhar’s Collection of Natural History Drawings. This treasured collection was brought to life by internationally renowned Japanese digital collective, teamLab, using the latest cutting-edge technology to transform 69 drawings into animated illustrations.

As you make your way down the passage towards the lower floor, visitors will encounter various flora and fauna. Try to spot and interact with the various animals that inhabit this forest! I found that the birds and the deer are easily startled and tend to take flight when you approach.

Oriental Pied Hornbill

Black-naped Oriole

Ohh…I spotted a Black Panther!

I love the vivid colours and that the scenes change from day to night and as you walk along, it may start to rain too!

For a more immersive and educational experience, visitors can download a free mobile application via the App Store or Google Play and you have the option of going on “hunts” to “capture” the different flora and fauna that call the Glass Rotunda home. Valuable insights into the illustrations from the William Farquhar collection will be revealed when you have successfully “captured” the animals using your phone’s camera function.

When you reach the lower level of the Glass Rotunda, you can either sit or stand in the middle of the room to take in the 360 degree view of the scenes being projected. This display certainly takes your breath away and is simply visually stunning!

Singapore, Very Old Tree

  • Glass Rotunda, Level 1
  • Daily from 10am – 7pm
  • Free admission for Singaporeans and PRs.

The lower level of the Glass Rotunda houses the Singapore, Very Old Tree exhibit by renowned local photographer and artist Robert Zhao. This features 17 images of significant trees in Singapore and around the vicinity of the National Museum, as well as various stories which present visitors with an alternative perspective of Singapore’s history and the personal connections that Singaporeans have with our local trees.

What is Not Visible is Not Invisible

  • Exhibition Galleries, Basement
  • 7 Oct 2016 to 19 Feb 2017
  • 10am – 7pm (from 1pm on Thursdays)
  • Free admission for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and visitors aged 6 years and below.

This exhibition of multi-media installations uses unconventional approaches in art-making and features selected artworks from the French Regional Collections of Contemporary Art (FRAC). Its title and design takes inspiration from the artwork of the same title by French artist Julien Discrit.

Go on a philosophical journey with the various artworks, which will take each visitor into a new state of mind through personal interpretations of the presentations, its surrounding space and context.

When you enter this space, you will see three infrared lightbulbs strung from the ceiling in front of a blank wall. These bulbs are triggered by the viewer’s presence and they will light up to reveal the ultraviolet text on the wall: “What is not visible is not invisible”. The work only appears when it is seen, thus highlighting that to express the invisible, one needs to paradoxically have to make it visible.

I’m not good at interpreting art pieces, many of which are too profound for me, but cobwebs – yes, I agree that sometimes these are “invisible” if you don’t notice them.

This exhibition has several spots for those who like to pose for photos or if #OOTD is your kind of thing.

Moving through the exhibits, I came across a room filled with green balloons (Work No. 262 by British multimedia artist Martin Creed), but my foodie mind immediately made me think of luscious green grapes, thus I didn’t know how to interpret this installation.

I think it makes quite a nice background for a photo – no?

This one below is titled “Repulse Bay” (by Dominique Gonzales-Foerster) – I was a bit confused as its name reminded me of the beach in Hong Kong, but then again, it also resembles a swimming pool! Apparently the artist’s intention is to attempt to have an exterior/interior situation where you are unable to differentiate between whether you are indoors or outdoors.

I was clueless as to what these pieces of paper are for but apparently you can take one home if you like. The faces do look cute!

Wings of a Rich Manoeuvre

  • Level 2, located above the bridge
  • Daily from 10am – 7pm
  • (do check with museum staff on the timings when the chandeliers will be in motion)

This is a new kinetic installation by home grown artist Suzann Victor and it took 2 years to be completed! This stunning contemporary masterpiece features 14,000 handpicked precision-cut Swarovski crystals accentuated by sophisticated LED technology that hang from eight wing-like stainless steel chandeliers. Wow…each “wing” spans 1.2m in length!

At various times in the day, these chandeliers will swing, being propelled by customised electromagnets and they can form 8 different swinging patterns. I especially liked them when the blue lights were turned on, but you need to be quick to photograph them as the light patterns will keep moving and changing too!

Address:
National Museum of Singapore
93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897.
[Map]

Telephone: +65 63323659 / +65 63325642

Opening Hours:
Daily from 10am to 7pm.
Last admission to Glass Rotunda at 6:15pm.
Last admission to all other galleries at 6:30pm.

Categories: Museums, Singapore | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pokémon Research Exhibition at S.E.A. Aquarium

Pokémon fans may be thrilled to visit the Pokémon Research Exhibition, which is being held for the first time outside of Japan, from 22 Oct 2016 to 2 Jan 2017 at the S.E.A. Aquarium in Resorts World Sentosa. You can also get to meet Pikachu there!

Upon entering, you will be given a briefing by the research assistants in lab coats and basically you have a mission to accomplish at this exhibition and that is to identify the Pokémon hidden in a Poké Ball.

You can choose only one Poké Ball out of the three difficulty levels – the red Regular Poké Balls (easy), the blue Great Balls (medium) and the yellow & black Ultra Balls (hard).

I don’t have much knowledge about Pokémon apart from watching some episodes from the cartoon series in the past and playing Pokémon Go, so I selected an “easy” ball.

There are 7 interactive stations in total, where you can pick up clues to try to identify the mysterious creature contained within your Poké Ball. However, note that you can only pick 4 out of the 7 stations to receive your clues, so do choose wisely as to which ones you think will be able to provide the most details for you to accomplish your task!

Place your Poké Ball at the slot on the machine to begin the analysis.

Remember to pay close attention to the given clues, as the machines will not provide you with the details a second time (haha…occupational hazard and I was “testing” their system!)

Took a short breather for a photo with this giant inflatable Pikachu.

When you’ve finally obtained your 4th clue, you will be prompted by the machine to make your final deductions and head over to the “Goal” for the answers.

I decided to go check out the Pokédex wall to see if I could find more clues to help me identify the Pokémon in my Poké Ball. More than 700 Pokémon are featured on both sides on the wall. Unfortunately, after scanning through all the pictures, I was still clueless!!

I could swear that this Totodile was laughing at my incompetence!

Ok, I gave up and headed for the last station and to my surprise, the answer was automatically given without me having to key in my guesses!

What in the world is this Pokémon? I’ve never ever seen or heard of it!

Unfortunately, all Poké Balls cannot be kept as souvenirs and have to be returned just before you exit from the exhibition, so please leave them at the trays.

The highlight for me at this exhibition was meeting Pikachu and trying to catch him and bring him home! LOL!

Pikachu Appearance: Daily at 11:30am, 2:30pm, 5:30pm

Venue: Inside Pokémon Research Exhibition & S.E.A. Aquarium – B1 Entrance Atrium (2:30pm session)

Those of you who are interested in visiting this exhibition, do know that an admission ticket to the S.E.A. Aquarium is required and there is an additional admission fee for the Pokemon exhibition on top of the aquarium ticket. S.E.A. Aquarium Annual/Season Pass Holders can enter at no additional cost.

Dates: 22 Oct 2016 to 2 Jan 2017.

More details on tickets and pricing can be found at the Resorts World Sentosa website.

Categories: Anime / Games, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore, Theme Parks | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seoul Garden’s All-U-Can-Eat Buffet at Harbourfront Centre

Seoul Garden has opened a second outlet at Harbourfront Centre #01-65/66 and this is a buffet restaurant (different from their hotpot restaurant located at the 2nd floor).

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For those who are unfamiliar with their buffet concept, both cooked food and uncooked ingredients are available in the buffet spread. You can choose to cook the raw meats and seafood on the grilling pan or in the hotpot(s) at the table.

Here’s a look at the buffet spread…

Take your pick from a selection of meats (beef, lamb, chicken) that you can put on the grill.

Premium meats and seafood are available in the dinner buffet – I was eyeing the crayfish and scallops! :p

Other items at the buffet for the hotpot/grill:

Various sauces to go with your food, or you can also use them as an additional marinade before cooking the various meats!

For those who can’t wait for their food to be cooked, a selection of cooked and ready-to-eat dishes are available.

Sushi:

Salad and pickles:

Instead of a soup base, you can opt for Queso Fundido, which is a cheese dip and these are some of the foods that go well with the dip!

Moving along…here are the drink dispensers, plus an ice shaving machine (at the far right of the photo below), which you can use to make your own version of ice kachang.

Fruits and ingredients for your ice kachang:

Ice cream and available toppings to go with it:

Both Western cakes and Asian “kueh“:

We tried the Thai Tom Yum hotpot and the Queso Fundido (cheese dip), which was topped with kimchi and grated cheese. I know the combination of kimchi and cheese sounds weird but surprisingly it actually goes well together!

  

In case you are unsure of the optimal temperatures to use for cooking, we were told to use P2 for the cheese dip, P4 for the grill and P3 for the hotpot.

Okay…time to start cooking and tucking in!

The good thing is that this restaurant has certainly kept up with the times! I’ve patronised Seoul Garden since my schooling days and when I first entered the workforce and in the past, after a BBQ meal, your clothes and hair will end up smelling of the food that you had cooked earlier – well, gone are those days as the restaurant has a ventilation system which absorbs the cooking “smells” and when you are done with your meal, your hair and clothes still smell exactly the way they did as when you first entered the restaurant! ^_^

I think the buffet spread is quite decent for its price and I loved the grilled meats, seafood and the cheese dip!

Thanks to Seoul Garden for the invite to the food tasting!


Address:

1 Maritime Square, #01-65/66 HarbourFront Centre, Singapore 099253.

Telephone: 6710 6339

Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10:30pm

Buffet Prices:
Weekday Lunch – Mon-Thur (11:30am-4:59pm), Fri & Eve of PH (11:30am-3:59pm): Adult $21.99++, Member $17.99++, Child $8.99++
Weekday Dinner – Mon-Thur (5:00pm-10:30pm): Adult $28.99++, Member $25.99++, Child $11.99++

Weekend Lunch – Sat-Sun & PH (11:30am-3:59pm): Adult $25.99++, Member $22.99++, Child $8.99++
Weekend Dinner – Fri-Sun, Eve of PH & PH (4:00pm-10:30pm): Adult $31.99++, Member $28.99++, Child $11.99++

Student Meal is available for Lunch on Mon-Fri, excluding PH (11:30am-3:59pm): $14.99++ (present bus-pass, matriculation card or student pass before ordering)

Senior Citizens (60 years and above): Mon-Fri (11:30am-4:00pm) – $15.99++

Kids (below 1.0m in height) dine for FREE on Sunday with every paying adult.
Child price is applicable for kids between 1.0m to 1.3m and those aged 9 years and below.

Soup Base (freeflow, per table):
Basic Soup Base $1.99++
Soup Upgrade $5.99++ which gets you a choice of any 2 soups OR 1 soup & 1 Queso Fundido (cheese dip)

Soup flavours include:
Herbal Beef Broth, Ginseng Chicken, Chinese Herbal, Thai Tom Yam, Seafood Kimchi and Miso.

Categories: Eating in Singapore, Korean, Media Invite | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

SAVOUR Wines 2016

For the uninitiated, SAVOUR is Asia’s premier gourmet festival which features the finest food and drink, live demonstrations and culinary shopping, all in one special purpose-built location. This second event in 2016 is held from 9-11 September and has its focus on wines.

DBS Treasures held a private event for their clients (before the event opens to the public) and each person was allowed to bring a friend along. I was glad to have the opportunity to check out the event’s offerings a day earlier and went to check fill my tummy with food first before going on to sample the wines. A doctor friend who was there said “why waste time on food when the wines are so good?” but I live to eat and I guess she loves alcohol more than food!


GOURMET VILLAGE

The two photos below were taken about 5mins before the event closed as I was too pre-occupied earlier with the lovely food and wine, so I didn’t take many shots of the venue, especially with the crowds.

Wandering past the various food stalls, everything looked good but I couldn’t possibly eat them all in one night and so I had to prioritise and only select the dishes which “called out” to me.

These were some of the dishes that my hubby and I had tried…

RESTAURANT EMBER – by Chefs Pan Sihui & Alex Phan
Sakura Ebi Pasta ($12)
Sakura Ebi Pasta with Konbu, Chilli and Crustacean Oil

This was a lovely start to my dinner and I enjoyed the crunch of the Sakura shrimps, mixed with the other flavours in the pasta.


Foie Gras ($12)

Foie Gras with Chinese 5-Spice Caramel and Market Fruits

The foie gras was cooked perfectly and I thought it was a refreshing touch to have it served with jambu slices.


XPERIENCE RESTAURANT, SO SOFITEL – by Chef Trevor Paulo

Beef Short Rib ($12)
Onion Puree, Broccollini, Onion ‘Paper’, Shallot Jus

This seemed to be one of the crowd favourites and the beef was very tender and easy to slice! The various accompaniments and seasonings in this dish seemed to revolve around onions but I couldn’t even tell that THAT piece of crispy “paper” is made using onion! Interesting!


MITZO – by Chefs Nicky Ng & Ben Yapp

Truffle Noodles with Prawn Ball & Lobster Claw ($12)

There was a crazy queue at this booth and I guess everyone must have ordered this dish!! It was served piping hot and the taste of truffle was well balanced and did not overpower the dish, which came with a prawn and a lovely piece of lobster claw. Ohh…the indulgence!


RABBIT STASH – by Chefs Matthew Mok & Soon Teck (Skydy)

48hrs Slow Cook Wagyu Beef with Trompette Stew, 58 Degrees 1st Born Egg and Crispy Brown Rice ($12)
French-Singaporean inspired dish with an Oriental Marinated Beef slow-cooked for 2 Days

This was another booth which had extremely long queues, in both the ordering queue as well as the collection queue. Loved the flavours in the beef, which was served with mixed greens on a croissant-like pastry that you can use to clean up the plate especially if the egg yolk has broken and oozed out all over the plate. The crispy brown rice added an extra crunch to the dish.


ANGELA MAY FOOD CHAPTERS – by Chefs Tee Lee Hing & Angela May

Lobster and Crab Roll with Salted Egg, White Wine and Kabocha Squash
+ Locally Grown Curly Leaf Kale Salad and Pomegranate Seeds
+ 1 Dark Chocolate Cream Choux with Toasted Marshmallow Topping
($26)

This was one of my initial picks for food but I ran out of food coupons and was saving the last two for dessert! There was a lady showing us a sample of the dish, so I asked if I could take a picture of it. Apologies, but I can’t tell you how it tasted.

Anyway, it was time for dessert!…

BIRD BIRD – by Chefs Fiona Ting & Bjorn Shen
Durian Softie Pie ($12)
Durian pudding, almond pie crust, caramelised white chocolate, gula melaka caramel, brown butter soft serve

I was drawn to this dessert as it sounded interesting with all the varied ingredients! Wow! There were so many flavours and textures in this dessert – it was creamy, yet crunchy and sweet but also with a hint of saltiness. The best part was when you got to the durian pudding, which actually contains real durian flesh!


There’s also an Oyster Bar and Cheese Room, which is located next to the Wine Market.

I found popcorn here…

…as well as oysters.


WINE MARKET

Go on a wine tasting journey where there are hundreds of specially curated wine labels from all around the world to choose from!

Access to the Wine Market is limited to Wine Tasting Card holders only (max 700 per session).

The Wine Tasting Card (Single) – $15 (online pre-event price) includes the following:

1 x Wrist Band for single person access into the Wine Market
1 x Wine Tasting Card with 10 Tastings
1 x Badoit Sparkling Water (330ml)
1 x Limited Edition SAVOUR Wine Glass

Here’s an idea of what you’ll get, minus the wrist band and the fact that my wine tasting card has been used up.

I had initially started tasting wines from the booths which seemed to be more popular with the crowds but as I am not a wine connoisseur and my preference is for sweet wines (yes, I love dessert wines!), so after about 3-4 tastings, I decided to switch focus and hunt down only sweet wines! ^_^

My favourites of the night were…

De Bortoli Emeri Pink Moscato NV (Australia)


Little Eden Moscato (Australia)


Balan Viola Moscato NV (Italy)

Even if you are not a wine lover or you don’t drink alcohol, you can still come to SAVOUR Wines 2016 and check out the food!


SAVOUR Wines runs from 9-11 September 2016

9th (Friday): 6pm – 11pm
10th (Saturday): 11am – 4pm & 6pm – 11pm
11th (Sunday): 11am – 4pm & 6pm – 11pm

Location: Bayfront Avenue, next to the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre

Entry to the Gourmet Village is complimentary to all visitors. However, the purchase of dishes and drinks are on a consumption basis.

Access to the Wine Market is ticketed and limited to 700 guests per session, so if you’re a wine buff or are looking to learn more, it is to best pre-purchase your wine tasting card to avoid any disappointment! I hear that they are selling out fast…

Categories: Eating in Singapore | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Oriental Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis)

If the Oriental Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis) is supposed to be a common bird in Singapore, then why is it that I’m only seeing this for the first time?

From afar it looks like a dark coloured bird but if you manage to get a closer look at it, you’ll find that its chest feathers are blue and its wings have a greenish sheen. Since it was my first encounter with this bird, I couldn’t help taking several shots of it.

Apologies that this next photo was a little blurry as I was laughing at its comical expression when I took this!

Several die-hard bird photographers were waiting to get shots of the Dollarbird in flight and I decided to wait with them for a bit – let me tell you that this really is a test of your patience!!

The experienced birders told me that this bird is rather territorial and whenever it appears, the smaller birds will fly away, so if you are hoping to get pictures of other bird species, your chances of spotting them have been greatly reduced by this one’s arrival and until it decides to fly away, all you’ll be seeing is this Dollarbird for an extended period of time.

Well, I didn’t mind since I haven’t seen it before and I just love the shine on its feathers! ^_^

Location: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Categories: Nature, Singapore | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Birding at Kranji Marshes

The Kranji Marshes opened to the public in February 2016 but my schedule had not allowed me to check it out until now. This is a 56.8-hectare freshwater marshland that located along the northwestern shore of Kranji Reservoir and is one of the largest freshwater marshes in Singapore.

More than 170 species of birds, 54 species of butterflies and 33 species of dragonflies can be found here and it is an important habitat in the Kranji area for the conservation of biodiversity, especially marsh birds.

I decided to sign up for a two-hour guided walk organised by NParks for my first visit but it took me 4 attempts before I got a place on the walk!! There’s a limit of 20 people per slot and you’ll need to register your interest with NParks, after which all applications will be subjected to balloting and you will then be notified a few days before the walk as to whether you have been selected.

The sky was rather gloomy as I made my way there on a late Saturday afternoon and we met up with the NParks volunteers at the Kranji Gate. We were then split up into 2 groups for the walk.

The area immediately next to the Kranji Gate has a small pond with noisy frogs in it but they were so well hidden amongst the reeds that I couldn’t spot them although I could heard them croaking away!

This area has been quite tastefully landscaped with a nest-like archway at the end of the path.


We lingered here for a bit as we could hear various bird calls and thus tried to spot the feathered creatures. Unfortunately there was a lot of backlight and thus I couldn’t really make out all the bird species, as seen in my photographs below. I’ve attempted to identify them to the best of my knowledge.

Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis)

Pink-necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans)

Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus)

Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)

Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)

No idea what these are:

Scaly-breasted Munia??

I learnt from a signboard after the nest-like archway that this area is called “Neo Tiew Woods”. It’s about a 1km walk from here to the “Marsh Station”, where the observation tower is located.

Along the way, we spotted a few more birds and these were the noisy ones as we could hear them screeching away at the top of the voices!

This Long-tailed Parakeet (Psittacula longicauda) seemed to be waving hello! LOL!…

Couldn’t help taking more pictures of it! It’s supposed to be a common bird in Singapore but somehow this was my first time seeing it!

Red-breasted Parakeet (Psittacula alexandri)

This next bird was so well camouflaged and I wouldn’t have spotted it if not for our experienced NParks guide! Can you spot the bird in the picture below?

If you couldn’t find it, here’s a close-up of the Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus), which is a nocturnal bird and it appeared to be snoozing.

It rained heavily about 10min before we reached the Marsh Station and I later spotted an Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) which looked like it had been soaked from the rain.

Finally, we arrived at the Marsh Station…

…and the Kranji Tower can be found here.

There are some bird hides in this area too, but I didn’t manage to spot anything apart from swiftlets that flew too fast for me to photograph them.

As part of our guided walk, we were allowed access into the restricted area (i.e. core conservation area), which is for researchers only and thus not opened to the public (unless you are on a guided tour) as this part of the marshes is considered to be ecologically sensitive.


I found the place well sign-posted and it’s a good place to try to spot more birds, so it’s a shame that the public can’t gain access to it! NParks should at least consider allowing serious birders to enter (or perhaps follow the example of Mai Po Marshes in Hong Kong, where visitors need to apply for a permit to visit!)

There was a bird sitting on the railing at the far end of this link bridge and I have no idea what it is! (sorry, I’m still an amateur birder)

We went to the first bird hide (Duck Hide) in this area and couldn’t spot anything with our bare eyes.

Our experienced NParks guide then pointed out a Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis) perched on a branch at the opposite end of the lake.

This was the best shot that I could take as I didn’t bring a tripod with me.

Alas we couldn’t venture further into this area as time was running out and we had to make our way back to the Kranji Gate for those who needed to catch the last bus at 18:33 back to Kranji MRT.

This concludes my first visit to Kranji Marshes and it was a fruitful 2 hour visit considering that I managed to spot several different bird species, although not the ones that I hoped to see as found on the signboards at the various bird hides. Probably most of them went into hiding due to the rain.


Location:

Kranji Gate:
11 Neo Tiew Lane 2,
Singapore 718814.

Opening Hours: 7am to 7pm daily.

Access:
By MRT/Bus: Take the MRT to Kranji station, then take the Kranji Express shuttle bus and get off at Kranji Marshes.

Timetable and bus schedule:

By Car:
Drive to Neo Tiew Lane 2 and the car park at Kranji Gate is located just next to the D’Kranji Farm Resort.

[Map]

Categories: Nature, Singapore | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ramen Keisuke Lobster King

When I first heard that Keisuke was opening a branch specialising in lobster broth ramen, I was looking forward to it as I had tried this unique ramen dish at their anniversary celebrations two years ago.

Located at Clarke Quay, this ramen shop opened on 20 Feb 2016 but we only went to try it several weeks later on a Thursday night and found that at 7pm there was already a huge crowd of people queuing to get in!!

Here’s another picture below of the entrance – as you can see from the lighting in the photo, we were still in the queue after the sky had turned dark.

Nothing much to do whilst queuing, so I entertained myself by taking pictures of the menu displays outside the shop. :p


We finally got a table 2 hours later! The interior has a huge bell as its centrepiece.

As it was already 9pm and I was both tired and hungry, the only picture which I took of the menu was of what I was planning to order!

Order sheet

I decided to try the version with Rich Soup, whilst my hubby opted for the Miso version. Plus since we had queued for ages, we ordered their “Special” which included ALL toppings!

We had tried Green Tea Cola previously at other Keisuke outlets and quite liked it, so we ordered it again here.

Similar to their other branches, free beansprouts and hard-boiled eggs are provided to all customers.

Each bowl of ramen is served in a pretty bowl with lobster motifs!

This was my bowl of Lobster Broth “Special” Ramen (Rich Soup) with seaweed, flavoured egg, bamboo shoots, prawn wanton, deep fried prawn balls and a slice each of pork chashu and chicken chashu.

Would I queue 2 hours again for this ramen? Perhaps not but I think 30 mins would still be bearable.

I was somewhat disappointed by the flavour as I had eaten Keisuke’s lobster ramen previously as part of their anniversary celebrations and it was really good but somehow the soup stock at this shop seems to pale in comparison. However, I did think that the Miso version here somehow tasted better than the Rich Soup!

If you have no basis for comparison, you’d probably like the lobster broth at this place. It actually is quite palatable but I will probably go back again when the queues have disappeared.


Address:

Ramen Keisuke Lobster King
3C River Valley Road, #01-07 The Cannery, Singapore 179022.

Tel: +65 6255 2928

Opening Hours: 6pm – 5am Daily (Last Order 4:30am)

Nearest MRT station: Clarke Quay

Categories: Eating in Singapore, Japanese | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Star Wars has taken over Changi Airport!

Stormtroopers have taken over Singapore’s Changi Airport!!…

There were so many of them and they even rode on the escalators!

But on a more serious note, Changi Airport has unveiled a life-sized X-wing fighter at Terminal 3’s Departure Hall, as well as a TIE fighter at Terminal 2’s Departure Hall.

X-Wing Fighter from the front:

R2-D2 was also there and was scurrying around the grounds. Wow…an actual “working” R2 unit!!

How the X-Wing Fighter looks from the back:

There was a brief performance and the Rebel Alliance first made their appearance…

…followed by the arrival of the Imperial Stormtroopers!

The two opposing forces began to fight each other…

…but eventually ended up posing for pictures together. Hmm….

Once they were done with their business at Terminal 3, it was then time to head over to Terminal 2.

Oh no…there seem to be so many Stormtroopers out and about! Where is the Rebel Alliance??

Here’s a quick re-cap at what took place up to this point:

Err… is the policeman guarding the Stormtroopers or is it the other way around? ;p

This huge TIE Fighter can be found at Terminal 2 (near the Burger King outlet):

There was another media frenzy when the Stormtroopers and the TIE Fighter Pilots arrived.

A closer look at the characters…

Back view of this starfighter:

I caught up with this TIE Fighter Pilot.

Is this Stormtrooper’s companions leaving him alone to guard the TIE fighter?…

Nope, they all came back!

Arghh…and no, I’m not trespassing!… Help!!

I then escaped from the Stormtroopers and sought help from this X-Wing Fighter Pilot!

The Force within me was awoken and guess which side I joined? ^_^


Character Meet & Greet
Don’t miss the opportunity to meet the Stormtroopers and X-Wing Pilots over the next few Saturdays. There will only be 7 appearances and the details are as follows:
Venue: T3 Departure Hall – Immigration
Dates: 14 Nov, 21 Nov, 28 Nov, 5 Dec, 12 Dec, 26 Dec 2015 & 2 Jan 2016
Time: 4pm


The X-Wing Fighter Experience
Venue: T3 Departure Hall – Immigration
Weekdays:
10:00 – 12:00
16:00 – 18:00
13:00 – 15:00
19:00 – 21:00
Weekends:
10:00 – 12:00
13:00 – 15:00
19:00 – 21:00

Get the opportunity of a lifetime to enter the cockpit of the life-size X-Wing Fighter! Tickets will be given on a first come, first served basis. There are 80 tickets given out for each time slot and each participant/family is allowed to redeem only one ticket for one photo.

You can choose to don the costume of your favourite character – choices include Stormtrooper, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Jedi or an X-Wing pilot.

I chose to be a Jedi!


Interactive Wall
Venue: T3 Departure Hall – Immigration
Dates: 12 Nov 2015 – 5 Jan 2016

Right behind the X-Wing Fighter, you can find C-3PO with his own Language Centre, where he will teach visitors popular Star Wars phrases in 10 commonly-spoken languages. Next to him is a showcase of Star Wars model displays.

When I was there, C-3PO was mostly speaking in Japanese!

This is the Start screen for the language centre and I tried out a few different languages:

Clockwise from Top Left: Japanese, English, Chinese and Spanish.


Obstacle Course with BB-8
You will need to present a receipt with a minimum spend of $30 to participate in this Norway-themed obstacle course designed just for the BB-8. If you successfully navigate your BB-8 droid and complete the course in record time, you will stand a chance to win exclusive Star Wars giveaways!

Venue: T3 Staff Entrance (Event area opposite Check-in Row 11)
Time: 12pm-10pm (Last session at 9:45pm)
Registration closes when the last session is full.


Do check out http://starwars.changiairport.com for more details on the Star Wars events at Changi Airport. I certainly had fun there! ^_^

Categories: Singapore | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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