Lohei at Si Chuan Dou Hua

So I always end up trying new places whenever I meet up with foodies Ade and Puey. We had a reunion lunch at the Tian Fu Tea Room by Si Chuan Dou Hua during Chinese New Year About two months ago, and it was glorious.

How so? You may ask. For starters, Tian Fu Tea Room is located on the 60th floor of the UOB Building, providing a spectacular view of the Singapore skyline. Secondly, the Yusheng is hands down the best I’ve had to date. Thirdly, we were served two kinds of tea during our meal (Huang Shan Mao Feng green tea and Red Robe oolong tea), and I do love tea. Lastly, the presentation on the dim sum was just so pretty! I’m salivating just looking at these pictures.

Ren, Ade, and Puey with lohei at Tian Fu Tea Room by Si Chuan Dou Hua in Singapore.Huat ah!

Prosperity Salmon Yusheng with Crispy Fish Skin at Tian Fu Tea Room by Si Chuan Dou Hua in Singapore.Prosperity Salmon Yusheng with Crispy Fish Skin.
The fish skin and biscuits were so soft and crispy! The fish skin was such a great complement to the salmon. I couldn’t get enough of this.

Steamed Chives Dumpling with Golden Flake at Tian Fu Tea Room by Si Chuan Dou Hua in Singapore.Steamed Chives Dumpling with Golden Flake.

Steamed Minced Prawn with Seaweed at Tian Fu Tea Room by Si Chuan Dou Hua in Singapore.Steamed Minced Prawn with Seaweed.

Pan-fried Crab Stick Pancake at Tian Fu Tea Room by Si Chuan Dou Hua in Singapore.Pan-fried Crab Stick Pancake.

Steamed Shark's Fin Dumpling at Tian Fu Tea Room by Si Chuan Dou Hua in Singapore.Steamed Shark’s Fin Dumpling.

Steamed Rice Cake in Teochew StyleSteamed Rice Cake in “Teochew” Style.

Steamed Vegetarian Bun with Mushroom at Tian Fu Tea Room by Si Chuan Dou Hua in Singapore.Steamed Vegetarian Bun with Mushroom.
I’m opening the bun in here for the picture because I tend to grab the food first. Everything was so delicious! XD

Fried Rice with Waxed Meat at Tian Fu Tea Room by Si Chuan Dou Hua in Singapore.Fried Rice with Waxed Meat.

Pumpkin Ball with Almond at Tian Fu Tea Room by Si Chuan Dou Hua in Singapore.Pumpkin Ball with Almond.

Pan-fried New Year Cake with Glutinous Pearls at Tian Fu Tea Room by Si Chuan Dou Hua in Singapore.Pan-fried New Year Cake with Glutinous Pearls.

Singapore skyline from the 60th floor of the UOB Building.View of the city from the 60th floor of the UOB Building.

Self-timer selfie of Ren, Puey, and Ade at Tian Fu Tea Room by Si Chuan Dou Hua in Singapore.Me, Puey, and Ade taking advantage of the invention of the self-timer at the pretty walkway leading into the seating area.

All photos taken by Ade and edited by me.

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Giraffe in the Woods

It’s spring! Not that it matters in equatorial Singapore, where it’s summer forever. But the nice thing about the internet is the ability to live vicariously through other peoples’ temperate climate lives and slobber all over the pretty, pretty pictures. Anyway, here’s a self-portrait photoshoot I did one day, because it was a good day to do so. Also, Mum had offered to drive me to this spot and ended up taking part in this madness. I say there’s nothing like some weird to cultivate a typical mother-daughter relationship. XD

Animated gif of Ren walking through the woods in a giraffe mask.

Self-portrait ootd: bratop camisole, bysi skirt, urban outfitters floral tights, Mixit brown mary jane heels, Paris Kids dark rose necklace.

Self-portrait with giraffe mask in the woods.

Self-portrait wearing a giraffe mask and green Cotton On sunglasses.

Self-portrait ootd: bysi skirt, urban outfitters floral tights, Mixit brown mary jane heels.

Close-up of Paris Kids dark rose necklace.

Self-portrait ootd: bratop camisole, bysi skirt, urban outfitters floral tights, Mixit brown mary jane heels, Paris Kids dark rose necklace.

Self-portrait with giraffe mask in the woods.

Giraffe mask.

Animated gif of my mum walking through the woods.

Animated gif of Ren walking through the woods.In which I take some pointers from Mum and incorporate more zigzags in my path.

Ren with tripod.Mum took a candid of me while I was preparing to set up my tripod at another spot. XD

Mum wearing a giraffe mask.I’m not sure why Mum thinks of giraffes as thus. Sure, they are dangerous beasts when provoked, but to go as far as to pretend they are monsters? My favourite mammal with big brown eyes and a highly terminal kick? Noo.

Animated gif of my mum and I jumping.Jumping! I let Mum have fun with the remote.

Pastels are usually a little too saccharine for my tastes, but I guess one could infer from the way Mum dresses that she didn’t raise me to the mantra of girls being made of sugar and spice and that nonsense- that I only learnt from the social conditioning of cartoons. However, sometimes it’s perfect for conveying the emotions elicited by the bursts of light pink trumpet flowers that bloomed throughout Singapore recently, resulting in an island-wide frenzy; because god knows we rarely get a glimpse of spring.

Pastels also just so happened to be the trend of spring 2014, so this may be the first time I’ve actually hit a trend by sheer chance. Hah! I don’t actually bother about trends even though being part of the community, I can’t help but notice them. Perhaps I’ve just never been too comfortable with the idea of conforming to the ‘in’ crowd. The thing about trends is that it sometimes highlights a particular interesting item, resulting in its mass production and therefore affordability. That is good. But the key, I feel, lies in incorporating said item into personal style, instead of falling into the trap of donning a uniform, albeit a transient one. Who sets the trends anyway? I guess I need a bit more research on that front.

 

OUTFIT
Emart bratop
bYSI skirt
UO floral tights
Mixit mary jane heels
Paris Kids rose necklace

Photos assisted by Mum.

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Bangkok

Bangkok was really just a touch-and-go for Ottie and I. We spent two nights there, but not before taking the opportunity to walk across borders from Cambodia to Thailand. It was so exciting!

The experience was educational, showing the stark difference in wealth between Cambodia and Thailand. The Cambodia border was really just an wooden stand on a dirt road, where we were herded into confusing lines under the hot sun for about half an hour before getting our passports stamped. A Cambodian official even told Ottie that he could expedite him for USD $5. A ten minute walk later, we found ourselves queueing up in an orderly fashion in an air-conditioned room with no obvious signs of corruption. It felt pretty surreal.

Graffiti handwritten scrawls in the Cambodia Departures office.People from all over the world scrawled words on the table at the Cambodian Departures stand. I wrote Singapore somewhere. It may have been in Japanese.

Once we cleared Thai customs, we sought transport that would take us to Bangkok. I guess it was a testament to the hardened tourists that Cambodia had shaped us to be when we managed to finagle a preview of our ride before paying. We even negotiated our price down to $9 from $10. Four hours later, we got dropped off at Khaosan Road. Ottie and I strayed onto a smaller road parallel to Khaosan Road and chanced upon Viengtai Hotel. Thanks to Ottie’s skills, the receptionist gave us a deluxe room for the price of a standard room. It was a pretty sweet stay:

Framed pictures in Vieng Tai Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.Illustrated plates in Viengtai Hotel on the way to the rooftop pool.

Breakfast of eggs and ham at Vieng Tai Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.Buffet breakfast every morning.

We spent our days strolling along the quiet streets lying just off of bustling Khaosan Road. It was the perfect laid-back atmosphere.

Tourist alley in Bangkok, Thailand.

Road in Bangkok, Thailand.

Tom Kha Gai and Coca Cola glass bottles in Bangkok, Thailand.As usual I always order my favourite Tom Kha if a place has it.

Ren and Ottie posing with a 'WTF!' graffiti in Bangkok, Thailand.WTF!

Ottie standing underneath a sign of Bung's Tears Coffee in Bangkok, Thailand.Bung’s Tears Coffee, a parody of Starbucks Coffee.

Yellow chairs by the dock at Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand.Chairs by the dock at Chao Phraya.

Ottie jumping by Chao Phraya in Bangkok, Thailand.I requested jumping shots of this dork at Chao Phraya – he didn’t disappoint. Haha!

Ottie in front of a Hello Kitty stall in Patpong Night Market in Bangkok, Thailand.We visited the Patpong Night Market and spied a Hello Kitty stall that Ottie insisted on taking a photo with.

We also visited a ping pong show at Patpong. It sounds way more exciting than it really is, though it did open our eyes to the tenacity of the human vagina, chief among them the ability to expel darts, bursting balloons from across the room.

I read about Terminal 21 while searching for things to do the morning of our second day. It’s an airport-themed shopping mall, each floor a different country or city. It sounded pretty exciting, so we took a cab down to Sukhumvit. That high-end district was such a different facade of Bangkok compared to where we were staying.

CCTV at the entrance of Terminal 21 in Bangkok, Thailand.The entrance to Terminal 21, with a fake metal detector and CCTV.

Ren and Ottie posing with a Maneki Neko fortune cat statue in Terminal 21 in Bangkok, Thailand.I’m super derpy here (obviously failing at #selfies), but Ottie brought his A-game with this aegyo pose in front of a giant Maneki Neko on the Tokyo floor.

Cat display and green terracotta warrior in Terminal 21 in Bangkok, Thailand.Cool displays I spied in some shop windows – a well-dressed cat, and this chill terracotta warrior.

Filming of toys and figurines at Terminal 21 at Bangkok, Thailand.We wanted to visit the toy store, but found that it was being used for a shoot on how to assemble a figurine or something like that.

Green Matcha Tea from CoCo in Terminal 21 in Bangkok, Thailand.I found CoCo in Thailand!!! They were sold out of my favourite Milk Tea with Pudding, so I tried their new Matcha Green Tea; it wasn’t as good. :(

Protests and camp outside Terminal 21 in Bangkok, Thailand.By the way, there was a peaceful protest right outside Terminal 21. This side street was filled with tents and street stalls selling demonstration and propaganda merchandise. Even though it lied adjacent to the actual protest area, the air here was already so charged!

Soi Cowboy was right across the street, so Ottie and I had no choice but to cut through the sit-down protest and into the famed red-light district. The juxtaposition was just incredible, and I actually felt a bit ashamed to be entering a place so sleazy while the good Thai people were trying to make a change behind us. At the same time, I didn’t actually want to put myself into a potentially dangerous situation considering that recent protests had turned a little bit fatal.

Ottie and I went past the city centre twice during our stay, each time witnessing the aftermath of protests. One morning we spied three badly charred cars – one of which was a police car. But I digress.

Soi Cowboy in Bangkok, Thailand.Soi Cowboy at night.

With a ladyboy at Soi Cowboy in Bangkok, Thailand.First stop was to a ladyboy bar! There is only one pretty girl in this picture, and it’s definitely not yours truly. I was actually surprised when she asked if I wanted to take a selfie, but I guess we were the only ones to actually try to hold a normal conversation instead of being pervy. Also check out her makeup, she does everything in ten minutes. Mad skills~

Speaking of mad skills, Ottie and I took a walk around our block after dinner one night, when we walked past this unassuming stall on the more deserted face of the block. I literally backtracked, dragging Ottie with me, and the both of us ended up squatting in front of the mat for twenty minutes asking this talented man about his craft as he quietly worked on another critter. I really wanted everything he was selling, but affordable as it all was, our light travel didn’t exactly accommodate a shopping frenzy. He also doesn’t have a website, which just killed me. T^T

The only details he provided on his stall was a name and a telephone number. If you’re ever in Bangkok, search for him! His work is exquisite.

Palm Leaf Art handcraft insect critters in Khaosan road in Bangkok, Thailand.PALMLEAF ART
TEL: 0869749346

Regarding our experience getting around Bangkok, Ottie and I primarily hailed metered taxis. They’re not that hard to find, if one is persistent enough. Most tuk-tuks and taxis would quote a fixed price upon knowing your destination, but that price is usually inflated by about 200%. One example was when a cab quoted us for 200 baht (which we rejected and immediately turned to the next cab in line)  and it turned out that our metered cab charged us for only 65 baht. Dude. We ended up giving our honest cab driver a generous tip as a reward. (TT w TT)

Symbols inside a taxi in Bangkok, Thailand.I had a bit of a problem interpreting the symbols on one of our cabs. The first five were easy – No Durians, No Dogs, Wine, No Smoking, and VIP. But the sixth confused me, because it looked like a man peeing into a bidet. I pointed it out to Ottie, who recognised it as a reclining chair… Let’s just say that I’m glad that there’s someone to be the voice of reason. ^^;

This concludes our trip! My videos from Bangkok are in this post. :)

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