Singapore City Diary (Summer 2015)

Trips back to Singapore used to happen twice a year when I was in university, during the winter and summer breaks. Since graduating, the trips have decreased and now, time back in my sunny hometown is always treasured and enjoyed to the fullest.

My blog (and self) is Hong Kong based but I do think about Singapore fondly. This post will be dedicated to the city I am happy to call my first home. It’s funny how much attention Singapore is receiving these couple of years since I moved to Hong Kong. When I first came here, I got a lot of “Singapore? What Singapore?” These days, almost every Hong Konger I meet tells me how wonderful Singapore is, from its housing to its food to its people to its education. It’s very amusing because it always feels like they are telling me about the very place I grew up in.

Anyway, I was back in Singapore last summer and explored some new places while visiting some of my old favourites. Here I’m sharing a diary of the highlights and some recommendations!


EXPLORE

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One of the places I checked out for the first time is the Singapore Sports Hub! It’s a large sports complex made up sport facilities, the Singapore Indoor Stadium and a shopping mall too.

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I really liked how the mall stuck to the sporty theme and I was very amused by this numbered track at the entrance of the supermarket!

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I was also wowed by the National Stadium (below), which I’m told the huge open roof is movable!

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SHOPPING

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Fun shopping experiences with Volkswagen cars in Orchard Central and this princess carriage-vanity table spotted in Etude House Singapore. If I ever have the space, I think I need this carriage-vanity table in my life.

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I also visited this two floor Starbucks, which is surrounded by greenery: Starbucks Rochester Park. If the Bing Sutt Starbucks is like the ultimate Hong Kong Starbucks, then this feels like the Singapore equivalent. Peaceful, spacious and surrounded by greenery, things I tend to associate with Singapore. :)

(To get there by public transport, it’s a 5 minute walk from Buona Vista MRT station.)

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Spotted at the wine section in the supermarket! Yes everyone, this is true. This is so going to be added to the most frequently asked questions people ask me about Singapore, after chewing gum. Hahaha!

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CITY WANDERS

There is one factor I always wholeheartedly agree with when Hong Kongers talk to me about Singapore: that it is a beautiful city. As much as I love you, Hong Kong, this one goes to Singapore, hands down.

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EATS

“What do you miss most about Singapore?” I get asked this question all the time and I know the answer from a true born and bred Singaporean is “Singapore food”, I’ll be honest and say I rarely miss the local cuisine!

I was raised on Cantonese cuisine and have always preferred a lighter taste to food, not the spicy, sweet and strong flavours typical of Southeast Asian dishes. To the amusement of every Singaporean I know, despite growing up there, I don’t do spicy food. Except chilli crab – I make an exception for chilli crab. ;)

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Kaya toast from Toast Box

There are a couple of things I enjoy though, one of them being kaya toast! Complete with eggs and a drink to complete the set, of course! (Kaya toast is a popular dish of crunchy toast with kaya -a sweet coconut jam spread- and butter.)

How do you enjoy yours? My drink of choice is a hot milo and kaya toast with no butter. See that stack of toast on the right missing the yellow chunks of butter? That’s mine. :)

IMG_1662Kaya toast from Wang Cafe

I was recommended to check out this place called Miam Miam from a local friend, because it is apparently very popular right now. I am not updated on what is “right now” in Singapore and depend gratefully on recommendations from friends! :)

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I don’t remember the name of this dish but it’s a baked rice dish with a cheese souffle top! Very interesting look and I remember the souffle being all light and fluffly, a nice contrast to the baked rice.

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I came across this chain cafe Pies and Coffee that serves Western style all day breakfast sets (among other dishes). I really like this place for its food, its ambience and its wifi!

Another place I spent a lot of time in while in Singapore was one of my favourite cafes, Brew Maison (check out my post about it here). Coffee, cakes, spacious and comfortable seats, pop music and unlimited wifi!

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I also really love their pretty coffee art designs, especially this one of swan princesses on my latte. :)

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Kim Gary Restaurant is one of my go to places when I feel like Hong Kong style food. I thought it was very interesting how my baked rice was served in a dim sum basket!

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READ

Every trip to Singapore means a visit to the library for my sister and I! We are both huge readers and the book selection in Singapore libraries is amazingly large and updated with the newest titles. You won’t believe how much I miss this!

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Yes we borrow all the titles we can’t find in HK and read as much as we can on holiday!

The snapshot above was taken at my childhood-teenage library (the Queenstown Public Library) and I still visit it now! This library (among many others) is attached to a branch of the chain cafe Cafe Galilee, where I stop by for coffee and snacks when I’m in town. :) If you happen to pop by a Cafe Galilee in Singapore, get a milkshake and their fried chicken chunks! Yum.

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Speaking of libraries, I also visited the beautiful library@orchard, which is a book lover’s dream. The white shelves, the ladders, the reading nooks, the wall of sliding magazine shelves… #booknerd

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If you are shopping for books instead, which I always do, because books in Hong Kong are ridiculously expensive, this branch of Books Kinokuniya (located inside Takashimaya shopping mall along Orchard Road) is my favourite. My sister and I grew up here. :) The book selection is incredible and there will always be a new title to discover, it’s hard to leave empty handed.

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ART

My sister is an art blogger so we went on a trip to check out some art galleries at Gillman Barracks.

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Speaking of art, I never really realised that there were so many pieces scattered around the central area of Singapore! I don’t know much about art but my sister was very excited when we spotted this piece, a sculpture by famous Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama. (She did a whole post on art pieces around Singapore, check it out here!)

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Before my flight back to Hong Kong, I popped by the huge Toast Box at the airport to have more of these Singaporean treats before leaving. Till next time, Singapore!

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