Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Food, Services and Souvenirs...

Customer Service...

Firstly, I'll like to gripe about the customer services provided by Secret Recipe's KL Sentral branch. I'm not a fussy customer, really. However, it irks me to see the double standards of serving customers there. It was blatant that customers are treated and served according to skin colour. When we arrived there, no one approached us. We just chose a table and sat down on our own. We signaled to a waitress to come take our orders, and she told us to wait. So we waited. Yet, no one came to take our orders. It wasn't like they were busy. Oh wait, they WERE busy. They were busy chatting with each other, ignoring us. We had to signal to another waiter to come take our orders, which he did reluctantly.

And then, a foreigner stood at the front of the shop. The waiter IMMEDIATELY ran to her to invite her in. Another waiter was making faces at him, probably teasing him about serving the foreign lady. Of course, she was given a first class treatement and service by them. It's really sickening to see this happening as all of us are paying customers and we expect the same treatment. I don't think it takes much to do that. Needless to say, my friend refused to leave any tips for them after that. The only good thing about that branch is the food, but with double standards like that, who has the mood to eat?

Food and Souvenirs...

Are on my top ten favourites list :D It is pretty embarassing when even your boss knows that the way to make his staff happy (meaning yours truly) is to provide her with good, and I mean really good food/snacks/anything edible/beverage. Even most food and drink coupons would be given to be. But all embarassment would be gone when I eat or drink whatever I've received (if it's good). My friend Micchy, baked cookies and biscotti for me since I've been constantly bugging her to do so on her blog...

(Please bear with the low quality pictures, my digital camera has officially died and these were taken with my cheap webcam).
Banana Oatmeal Cookies on the left and Spicy Chocolate Biscotti on the right! And she came all the way to our old school to pass it to me *sniff* THANKS MICCHY! MUAKS!!!

My aunt, uncles and cousins have just gotten back from Japan recently...Of course, they did not forget to bring back Japanese sweets (meaning desserts, kuihs, delicacies...etc...) with them for me. How could they forget, when yours truly has been reminding them to do so? :D

I have no idea what this is called, but it looks like a flat green "wan tan" to me. However, when I ate this, it was the first time the word "quality" came to my mind. ABSOLUTELY OISHII! the green skin tasted like angkoo kuih but the texture was smooth, fine and not sticky. It has genuine red bean filling which wasn't too sweet.

Cute tangerine sweets. There's actually a piece of real tangerine in each sweet. I have no heart to eat them...

Some sort of persimmon sweet. This little note came with it...

I have no idea what the note is about although I can read hiragana and katakana. Pity...

Snacks review:
It's really odd to see a fish in the middle of the rice crackers and other stuffs. This little packet contains 10 different types of snacks in there. As expected, the description at the back of the packet was in Japanese, so where the name has XXX it means that it's a kanji (chinese) character and I don't know how to read kanji...

1. Aji
I really, really didn't have the appetite to eat this. I kept on imagining myself as a cat, with mouth wide open, waiting for the fish to be dropped into my mouth. My mom insisted that it tasted good so I gingerly picked it up and tried to stuff it into my mouth. In the end, I agreed to share half with her, she took the head portion and I took the tail portion. It tasted not unlike our fish satay snack.

2. EbiXXX

Has prawn flavour, peanut inside. Not very salty.

3. Ebi arare

Tasted like our keropok udang, but not as flavourful.


Salty and spicy. Has peanut filling.

5. Atarimepii

Also has peanut filling. The white stuff on top is, according to the description, mayonnaise topping. It has subtle wasabi flavour, though (or maybe I was imagining things).

6. Norisen

This one is on the salter side...strong seaweed flavour.

7. NoriXarare

Obviously a seaweed rice cracker. Crunchy and salty.

8. XXshouyuXX

The one with the most complicated name. Has this blood vein like thing all over it. It has peanut filling, strong soy taste and slightly spicy.

9. XXyorinopiinattsu

Pretty obvious that it's a peanut, even by the name.

10. XXdaiXXarare

Erm...rice cracker with fried garlic on top? Seriously...I have no idea...

Besides food, I have also received postcards, keychains (from Korea) magnets and pictures. To me, pictures and postcards are real treasures as I can imagine myself (I know it's pathetic) wandering around those places. Travel through pictures perhaps?

Since Teru-chan has departed temporarily, I should replace him with either one of these:

but I think it'll be REALLY freaky if THESE dolls' heads got detached from their bodies...

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Singapore - VivoCity

Singapore's latest biggest thing when I was there was probably VivoCity. In fact, Suntec City's popularity was probably badly affected by VivoCity (in my opinion lah). VivoCity is one of the more upper class shopping centres, where the things there are again, too "atas" for my "bawah" pockets and wallets. Sad, sad. VivoCity is linked to HarbourFront Centre (a more affordable place) where cheaper food can be found. So if you happen to be at VivoCity, just hop over to HarbourFront Centre for a more affordable meal at their food court. VivoCity has a food court as well, very well designed. I like the atmosphere there. There are fastfood shops as well, such as Carl's Junior and Burger King. You can get a HUGE pastrami burger(non-halal) at Carl's Junior for around SGD13++.

Anyway, what I liked about VivoCity was probably the location, design and beautiful, beautiful view. You can actually see Sentosa Island from VivoCity. VivoCity's exterior is like a large cruise ship and it's no wonder, it was designed by an award-winning Japanese architect, Toyo Ito. So, here are the pictures...

View of Sentosa Island from the highest floor of VivoCity. It was quite hazy in Singapore at that time, even more than Malaysia. That day was one of the "not so bad" days. The red-roof building on the island is the ferry's jetty. Directly in front of the cameraman is the super tall snowman.

Three green decor pieces looked like big green tables to me... Right at the end there is a jetty for ferries going to Batam Island (I think).

More green tables...LOL! The port/harbour can be seen from here. Those tall, crane like things (I'm sorry, zero knowledge when it comes to shipping and cargo) looked like mechanical giraffes to me. Can you imagine if they started walking one day?!!

Side profile of Mr Tall Snowman. Doesn't look very happy...

The Imperial Cheng Ho! Not sure whether it's Imperial Cheng Ho II or III, not that it matters anyway. The Merlion of Sentosa Island can be seen beyond the junk.

OK, a little bit of information on the Imperial Cheng Ho (be it II or III), the modern Chinese junk. I quote the brochure

"The Cheng Ho is modelled after the famous ship Da Fu (number four) of the Ming Dynasty, when Chinese naval power was supreme." The all-new Cheng Ho III sailed from Wuzhou in southern China to SIngapore in just nine days in September 2005, joining her 'older' sister, Cheng Ho II, to offer leisurely harbour cruises reminiscent of ancient maritime days."

So it says in the brochure that the owner and operator is WaterTours Pte Ltd. There are several types of cruises which should be shown on their website. Price range is from SGD25 and above for adults. I supposed food is included. Anyway, it's a beautiful boat, in my opinion. From far, of course.

To get to VivoCity by MRT, hop onto the North-East Line and go all the way to HarbourFront station (connects to VivoCity Directly).

And now...a piece from the present time...

I had a friend who said that I have a morbid sense of humour, but even this is too much for me...

I dropped my handphone. My handphone's ok but not the handphone chain.

My teru teru bozu got beheaded! How morbid! My first thought was, "OMG, IT"S GONNA RAIN EVERYDAY!" And then.."but it has been raining everyday..." Apparently, there is a famous nursery rhyme on teru teru bozu. AND THEN, I read this on Wikipedia's website,

"Like many nursery rhymes, this song is supposed to have a darker history than it first appears. It allegedly originated from a story of a monk who promised farmers to stop rain and bring clear weather during a prolonged period of rain which was ruining crops. When the monk failed to bring sunshine, he was executed."

I...I don't know what to say. Now is seems as though as I'm the farmers-united who executed Teru-chan, the monk for failing to bring the sunshine! Morbid coincidence?It HAS been raining everyday lately...

I'm sorry Micchy...I'll fix Teru-chan as soon as possible. I will never execute him on purpose.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Public Facilities in Singapore

I always dislike using the public washrooms here. They stink, they are dirty and they have things n there which makes me lose my appetite, although there's slight improvement now compared to a few years back. It's also irritating how, in this modern time and city, some folks DO NOT KNOW HOW TO USE A SITTING TOILET BOWL. You sit on a toilet bowl, not climb onto it like a cat and squat. Now in Singapore, the public washrooms there are what I call neat and believe it or not, cozy. At least you can do your business, be it big or small in comfort without needing to hold your breath and suffocate. Or if you don't hold your breath, you'll suffocate anyway. THIS is an example of a very neat washroom in Singapore's Botanic Gardens, which I will blog about later.

Very neat and clean washroom

I just couldn't resist taking pictures of the washroom for my blog. Of course, I had to make sure that there weren't anyone else in the washroom. Now, on to my next complaint. It's also amazing how lazy some folks can be. I don't think much energy is needed to PULL/PRESS THE FLUSH. Maybe what they need is a hand censor flush like the one they have in Singapore Botanic Gardens:

If you look closely, right at the top of the toilet bowl, there's a hand censor flush there. Just place your palm there and it'll flush. And then again, it might not work because some folks here might find it too troublesome to wave their hands in front of the censor. Either that or the flush will be spoilt by those who can't resist waving non stop just to amuse themselves like this cat here.

I'm beginning to wonder whether there is an award for the best designed toilets in Singapore. This was one of the washroom taken at one of the upper class shopping complexes (can't remember which one).
Holland themed washroom. So cute!

To the Singaporeans, answering nature calls while enjoying nature must be quite important, I guess...

because the zoo's toilet also has the same theme as this one. This was taken at the Singapore Botanics Garden.

I know that Singapore is a "kiasu" country, especially when it comes to education but this is certainly something...really kiasu...
Educational poster behind the washroom's cubicle's door.

"Inputting" while "outputting". This was taken from INSIDE a cubicle at the Safari Zoo. No, don't ask me what I was doing. I know it's a little dark, but there were people in the washroom and they'll be suspicious to see a flash going off INSIDE the cubicle. So sadly, I couldn't take picture of the washroom itself.

Ok, enough on washrooms. Next, MRT stations. I've once commented how a stranger can get lost in the MRT station if he/she has a lousy sense of direction. The following pictures are taken from Dhoby Gaut interchange (I think) or was it City Hall?

There were escalators everywhere!

One problem I had with MRT stations was that the place had no DUSTBINS. None at all. Apparently, this is so that the terrorist can't plant bombs there. I also found out from Kenny Sia's blog on what happened when HE took pictures inside the MRT stations. Well, I guess I was lucky.

Even the MRT stations here have beautiful art on their wall. I saw a few Philipino maids standing there to take pictures. No one bothered them either.

I know this isn't a public facility, but I still like this not-so-small aquarium in Wisma Atria, Orchard Road.

Again, there's no harm in EDUCATING the young and old on the different types of fishes in there.

This technically, doesn't belong to Singapore, but, ah well...a familiar sight everytime we leave Singapore.

Everytime I see this sight, my heart feels heavy as it signals that fun-time has ended and it's back to reality.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Singapore - MOS Burger

Ok, ok...back to the less interesting topics. Walking around Takashimaya, my sister and I saw many expensive looking restaurants. There were a few fast food joints too, but I only saw Yoshinoya and MOS Burger (for more info on Ngee Ann City Shopping Centre, please visit here). Since we can't find MOS Burger in Malaysia (is it?) my sis and I decided to have an early dinner there. The price was rather attractive too. Most of the items on the menu were below SGD5.00. Being the poor salaried employee I am, earning less than RM2k, Takashimaya's other eateries were too "atas" for my "bawah" pockets and wallet. My verdict on MOS Burger? OK laaaah. Boleh tahan, for the price they are charging.

Tiramisu. Seems full of cream to me, can't really taste the cheese and for coffee taste...I think it was there. =/ I've tasted a better one, one with real cream cheese and coffee powder at MG Cafe, Desa Sri Hartamas.

Early dinner...Beef Teriyaki Rice Burger on the left, Korokke on the right, and my sister's Chilli Dog upfront.

Beef Teriyaki Rice Burger. It tasted it taste like when you eat beef teriyaki with rice. -_- Anyhow, I preferred McDonalds Chicken Rice Burger which is, strangely, missing from their website. At least you don't feel as though as you are eating fried chicken with rice. OK, ok, I know I don't make sense. Just go and try it yourselves. By the way, I'm just making up the names. Can't really remember the real names.

Oh, and while walking around Takashimaya's LOVELY food department...I saw TAIYAKI! It was good T____T So goood...T_T And there were so many expensive Japanese sweets there. Those that my "bawah" wallet can't afford. On the plus side, I DID eat one of the sweets which was on display, which my uncle gave me back at his home. YAY!

A little bit of randomness...
You know it is time to change your pillow when you see this:

Mr Feather decided he wants OUT of the pillow.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Commercial Break: Parcels from Australia

I'm always happy to receive parcels from Australia. Seriously, I am. BUT...

I have just arrived home from work. I saw a parcel on the table. Heh. As Michelle said, it can only be sent by one person. Must be Darke's. So I started to walk away when my mom turned around and gave me a weird look.

Mom: You gotta tell your friend to stop sending parcels like that...
Steffi: ...
Steffi: What name did he put this time?! *rushes to the table*

And on the parcel, it was written clearly "To Steffi the Banana Lover" with drawings of banana on top. DARKE, YOU GOTTA STOP THAT! You know why?

Mom: The postman actually asked me, "This house ah?" while showing his five fingers.
Steffi: ...

WHICH AS I MENTIONED IN YOUR BLOG, WASN"T NECESSARY becaaaaaaaaaaaause I have the number "5" sign stuck outside on my pillar, AND another BIGGER one stuck on my porch wall. So unless you are blind, you WON"T be wrong about the house number.

If I have the cops searching my house for "Sexy SM Queen" or "Dancing SM Queen" or "Steffi the Banana Lover", I'll be coming after you with the whip. That is if I haven't been locked up at the police station. If so, please bring me more of those delicious Darrel's Macadamia chocolate you got me.

Finally. Thanks for the parcels! Aussie chocolates are goooooooooood.

Update: I kept two of the boxes that I have received from Darke. So as requested, pictures added on Nov 4th...

The previous parcel sent in September andddddddd....

The last straw that burst the postman's curiosity bubble (if there's such a thing).