Monday, October 31, 2011

Halal Seafood Singapore - Newton Food Centre

Newton Food Centre

It's been a while since we last visited Newton Food Centre, we took the opportunity to enjoy the seafood there  as we had left the kids with my parents for the evening. The last time we went there was sometime in December 2010 and we left with me resolving to complain to MUIS (Islamic Religious Council of Singapore) about the widespread usage of the MUIS halal logo on the seafood stalls signboards without the halal certificate being displayed. 

Well, the e-mail was certainly sent to MUIS though there was no reply up until now but the situation at Newton Food Centre has greatly improved, I would say, there are more stalls with the halal logo on the signboards and the valid halal certificates are prominently displayed. 

We headed to our favorite stall no 46 Jian Fa Seafood (which we didn't patronize last December due to halal certificate not displayed) and were very pleased that the halal certificate was prominently shown at the stall front. Yeay! We can enjoy our seafood dinner tonight! Yummy.. as usual we ordered tom yum, kangkong belacan, garlic tiger prawn and chilli crab to go with two plates of white rice.

Chilli Crab

Garlic Tiger Prawn (Front) Kankong Belacan (Back-Right) Sambal Belacan (Back-Left)

Tom Yum

Tom Yum was not too spicy with generous portion of squids, clams, prawns and mushrooms. Kangkung Belacan don't really look very appetizing but tasted great nonetheless. Garlic Tiger Prawn was huge and fresh, you must dip it in the accompanying sambal belacan if you want the extra kick. Chilli crab was also not very spicy (I think they cater to the tourist tastebuds) but still fresh and taste nice and what we like about the stall is that they will crack the crab's hard shell for you. Mmmm..mmm.. of course you won't really enjoy the meal if you eat with the plastic fork and spoon, get down and dirty with your hands.. now that was a finger licking dinner! Total cost? SGD114.00

The lady boss at this stall seems to be good friends with her customers and many are returning customers (like me) if you decide to try some other stalls, do be sure to check the scales and prices before ordering as there are some stalls that charge notorious price for tourist (erm and maybe unwitting locals too - cos we were cheated once during our second visit, which was quite some time back)

After dinner wash everything down with thirst quenching lemon sugarcane juice, though this time around I went for Mango Juice instead. 

Fruit Stall

Newton Food Centre is still our preferred halal seafood hawker centre for variety of dishes, size and freshness of seafood even though the price is a bit on the high side. We would recommend this place over East Coast Hawker Centre as the halal seafood selection there is quite limited. 

Newton Food Centre is just a walking distance form Newton MRT station and below is the map

View Larger Map

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Arab Street in Singapore

Sultan Mosque

If you are travelling to Singapore, Arab Street is a wonderful place to visit, it's situated in Kampong Glam;  home to Sultan Mosque, a very prominent Muslim Landmark in Singapore. If you come on a Friday afternoon, you will see a huge crowd gathering for the Friday Prayer there and may even hear the Friday Sermon (if you understand Malay). There's a short introductory tour on Islam available at the Mosque but they will not let you in during the Friday Prayer, you will have to wait until 2.00pm. 

Sarongs @ Melor's Curios

Kebayas @ Melor's Curios

More sarongs at Arab Street
The Traditional Capal

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There are also some interesting shops selling unique items that you might want to bring back home as a souvenir. Among the notable shops are Melor Curios and Malay Art Gallery (Bussorah Street just in front of Sultan Mosque) selling kebayas, sarongs, traditional malay toys and even keris. If you are keen on silk there's rows and rows of textile shops lining the street. Looking for Islamic Art? Try "Khazanah" at Jalan Pisang. While headed there, why not check out OVA boutique as well? It maybe a Muslimah Store but who knows if there's something that you fancy? (OVA Trendy  has now shifted to a new location instead of being 2 stores away from Hajjah Maimunah at Jalan Pisang, it is now on the same stretch as Zam Zam Restaurant opposite Sultan Mosque-will do a separate post on them as soon as I get back to Singapore again :) )

The Malay Traditional Weapon - Keris @ Malay Art Gallery
Face Mask @ Malay Art Gallery
Traditional Toys
Halal restaurants also lined the place, predominantly the malay cuisine and the middle eastern cuisine. If you want to try the popular malay "Mixed Rice", you might want to avoid lunch hour as it gets really crowded. Though those that caters to the lunch crowd usually close by 6 or 7 pm. Among my favorite restaurants are Sabar Menanti at Kandahar Street and  Hajjah Maimunah at Jalan Pisang, I also love Rumah Makan Minang's Tahu Telor dish though I felt that the other dishes are slightly spicy, Rumah Makan Minang is also located at Kandahar Street and is just in front of Sultan Mosque. Best time to go will be around 11.30 am for an early lunch so that the food will be fresh.

Turkish Lanterns in Singapore?
Baskets, baskets and baskets
textiles of mind-boggling colors and designs

If you are in the mood for middle eastern cuisine, there are also a variety of restaurants to choose from Egyptian, Lebanese, Moroccan, Turkish, Persian and others. Cafe Le Caire is popular with the locals though personally I think there's not much to shout about, I think the crowd goes there more for the shisha. For myself, I am partial to Pyramid Restaurant, Amirah's Grill, Alaturka (all at Bussorah Street) Nabin's (at Sultan Gate) and Sufi Restaurant at Arab Street. The Lebanese Gulf Beach Restaurant looks inviting too but I have yet to give it a try as they only turned halal recently due to change of management.

Cafe Le Caire @ Arab Street

Halal Swedish Cafe @ end of Arab Street

Lebanese Gulf Beach Muslim Restaurant at Arab Street (opp Fika)

Pyramid Restaurant (left and easily missed)

Rumah Makan Minang in front of Sultan Mosque's Annex Building

Sabar Menanti near Malay Heritage Centre
Zam Zam Restaurant at the junction of  Golden Landmark Hotel and Arab Street
If you would like to try Prata or Murtabak, then Zam Zam Restaurant (across Sultan Mosque) is the place to go, if you would like to eat Briyani or Pilao Rice, then Islamic Restaurant (same stretch as Zam Zam but further down) is the place to head. In the mood for Thai? there's a nondescript Thai Restaurant just before Islamic, the exterior maybe nondescript but the food is above average with very affordable price. 

Take your time to explore Arab Street and it's surroundings, there is so much to discover and if you walk far enough till Hajjah Fatimah Mosque at 4001 Beach Road, you might just want to pop by Golden Mile Hawker Center nearby for the famous Singapore Sup Tulang! Be warned though that the bright red color might put you off if you are not used to your food being so colorful.

To get to Arab Street, do alight at Bugis MRT Station and it's just a short walk there. Below is the map to Arab Street.

View Larger

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

To Do In Singapore : Sky Park at Marina Bay Sands

Singapore as seen from SkyPark Marina Bay Sands

Sky Park is an observation deck located on top of Marina Bay Sands, it stretches longer than the Eiffel Tower laid down and can host up to 3900 people. The view of Singapore from this deck is simply amazing especially at night when the skyline lights up. I am a Singaporean and was still amazed by the view. I also like the fact that the deck is spacious enough for my two sons to run about without knocking into other people. 

Unfortunately, the access to infinity pool and gardens is now limited to the guided tours at 10am, 2pm and 9pm, on the first 50 people registered (for each session) at the SkyPark Box Office located at B1 Tower 3. I would have loved to see it. 

The SkyPark is open from 9.30 am - 10.00pm (Mon - Thu) and 9.30 am - 11.00pm on (Fri - Sun) though there would be occasions when access is not possible due to private events, you can call 6688 8826 before hand to ensure that the deck is open for public visit on the day of your intended visit. 

Tickets are priced at:
SGD20.00 (adults)
SGD14.00 (child 2-12 years old)
SGD17.00 (senior 65 and above)

Come in the evening to avoid the heat and to see the beautiful lights. While at Marina Bay Sands, try to catch the free light and water show "Wonder Full" at the Event Plaza; The Promenade at 8.00pm and 9.30pm every evening and snap a picture at the Art and Science Museum and the iconic Helix Bridge. If it amuses you, there is also a gondola ride inside the Marina Bay Sands itself though it's called "Sampan Ride" the local version of gondola in Asia.

Sampan Ride at Marina Bay Sands Shopping

Marina Bay Sands Shopping

View of Fullerton Hotel from SkyPark Marina Bay Sands
View of ArtScience Museum from SkyPark Marina Bay Sands

View of Singapore Flyer from SkyPark Marina Bay Sands
I guess the Marina Bay Sands is not only about the casino, the shopping area is amazing in design though intimidating in price for me. It seems like a nice place to chill out after work for a romantic dinner with your other half, now if only there is a nice halal restaurant there. At this moment, the only halal cafe there is Coffee Bean and Tea Leaves and the food court is expected to have a halal stall soon but no halal fine dining yet. Read about my post on halal food in Marina Bay Sands here.

How to get to Marina Bay Sands? You can get down at Promenade MRT Station (Circle Line) and take the free shuttle to Marina Bay Sands or walk 10 minutes to Bayfront Avenue or get down at Marina Bay MRT Station (North South Line) and take the free shuttle to Marina Bay Sands.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fish Farm In Singapore

Fish Farm in Singapore
There are a number of fish farms in Singapore either in the Kranji area or Pasir Ris area.

The Kranji area offers much more with vegetable farms, fish farms, frog farm, crocodile farm and dairies. I was really keen on the dairy, unfortunately I read on the website that we are not allowed to feed or pet the goats due to AVA regulations. So, I scratched that plan. Information on Kranji can be found at

Pasir Ris Farmway offers fish farms and pet farms. Since it's nearer to my place, I decided to check that out instead. It's not really very convenient unless you drive or take a taxi in. I would suggest flagging a taxi either at Pasir Ris MRT Station or Pasir Ris Drive 12. Do note that some taxi drivers may not be aware of the fact that Farmway 1 is not along Farmway 2 and 3.  So, make sure that you know the general direction before hand. 

We went to Mainland Fish Farm at 1 Pasir Ris Farmway 1, there is also another place called Kids Kampong a bit further in, I did not get the chance to go in there (was alone with my two boys) but the pictures from their website looks interesting with their pet station and touch pool, safer too I think since their fish pools are quite shallow. 

But, back to Mainland Fish Farm, admission is free and it is open everyday from 8.30 am - 7.00pm. Activities available are Fish Spa (didn't check the price) Prawn Fishing ($15 per hour - i think) Feed the fish ($1 per small packet) and Longkang Fishing ($4 per half hour and you get to keep the fishes caught)

Since they also sell fishes, your kids will also have fun looking at the fishes in the tank, though aesthetic is not a big factor here. It's not really a touristy place but nice enough to spend maybe an hour or two with the kids with minimal money shell out at a non-crowded place. What more can you ask for?

Here are some pictures of the place. 

Feding the Fish

Feeding The Turtles
Feeding the Beautiful Ducks
This is how you hold the net adik!
I'm going to catch one!
Where are the fishes mommy?
A beautiful rooster on the loose

variety of fowls
more ducks

small garden area

my kids love the swings
Fish Spa
Prawn Fishing

Map of The Fish Farm:

View Larger

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