December 31, 2005

OMG! I was surfing around flickr among my contacts and I saw this in hirman‘s photos!

This was eons ago! Can’t belief time passes so fast. And yes I was very expressive when I was young-er (I am still considered young right?) And the funny thing was that when I mendeklamasi the sajak again in front of the photographer, I managed to have the same expression as on the screen itself! Hahahaha.


Chicken Rice @ Food Culture

December 26, 2005

Isn’t this picture simply heavenly? I can just spend hours just looking at the glistering oil on the golden brown chicken skin, as the light falls on its steamy sensuous aura, making my heart flutter and yearn in desire. Simply delicious! This is one of the best Chicken Rice I have eaten thus far, besides Habibie and the one in the Bugis area! Even though chicken breast is my preferred chicken part, I wasn’t disappointed by this slice of deboned roasted chicken drumstick, which was extremely juicy, surprisingly tender and deliciously warm. I particularly liked the fact that it was deboned, which makes it even more easier to tear pieces of the chicken to eat with spoonfuls of rice and cucumber and kailan. Though the servings cannot be compared to those at Habibie, it was enough to satisfy my hunger in the late afternoon.

This was the scrumptious Kailan I was talking about! I just knew I had to try the Chicken Rice set, simply because it had the delicious stir-fried Kailan! Usually, most Malay Nasi Ayam stalls don’t serve vegetables with the chicken rice. My instinct tells me its because most Malays don’t eat vegetables, or at least haven’t developed a taste of it with Chicken Rice. Since Chicken Rice stall in Food Culture was co-managed by a Malay woman and a Chinese Man, the Kailan was introduced as part of the dishes served. There were even eggs and fried tofu sold with the chicken rice itself, which is usually sold in Chinese Chicken Rice stalls! The crunchiness of the Kailan goes well with the lightness of the soy sauce used to stir-fry the vegetables. A definite must try for Kailan lovers out there!

My whole Chicken Rice Set meal which was $5.80. A little expensive since the Chicken Rice ala carte cost$3.20 but I thought it was worth it since it was quite delicious! You also get a choice of steamed (white skin), roasted (golden brown skin) or fried (same as the chicken cutlet you get in Western stalls). Come and try it!

Chicken Rice Stall
Food Culture
2 Tampines Central 5 #04-10-13
Century Square Shopping Centre
Singapore 529509
Tel : (65) 6781 3114

The dilemma of Malay Marriages: Part 2

December 26, 2005

According to the Singapore Department of Statistics on Divorces in 2004, among Muslims, personality differences was the main reason sited for 30 percent of the divorces in 2004 followed by infidelity (19 per cent). The proportion who cited neglect and irresponsibility increased from 0.7 per cent in 1994 to 8.6 per cent in 2004. Proportionately more Males (44 per cent) than females (19 per cent) petitioned on the grounds of personality differences. More females (26 per cent) than males (3.4 per cent) petitioned on the grounds of inadcequate maintenance.

Why is personality differences cited as the main reason for 30 per cent of the Muslim divorces in 2004? I personally believe that there is more to Muslim divorces than just simply “personality differences”. That such “personality differences” is a result of unmet expectations in the marriage itself, that marriage is seen as an end in itself, that marriage is a solution to the problem of fornication or that marriage is a panacea that will solve all problems, especially to inculcate a sense of maturity and financial responsibility.

Marriage is seen as the eventual goal to be achieved in life, and nothing else. This level of contention disregards the possibility of a highly successful career, stellar academic qualifications and other possible life goals which you may desire (I always had a dream of travelling around the world, meeting people of different cultures and eating all the delicious food I can find). According to the Department of Statistics, Muslims divorces for males (648 out of 1855) were mostly between 25 – 29 whereas for females (780 out of 1855) were between 20 – 24. Looking at these statistics, I would argue that to most Muslims/Malays, a life of academic achievement or career development is not as important as marriage which they see as the next stage of life. Being in line with the Malay culture deficit thesis, Malays lack a certain cultural gene for initiative and progress and would rather accept the modus vivendi that is marriage itself. Therefore, marriage is the end in itself.

To add a religious dimension to the whole argument, marriage to some Malay Muslims is seen as a guard towards fornication. By marrying your child as soon as he reaches puberty, the problems of premarital sex or having teen pregnancies would be averted. In the worst of all cases, as globbed mentioned in a comment in my previous entry, the Malay teenager is forced to marry because of unplanned pregnancy before marriage. Again this contributes to the Malay teenagers marrying early, and heading straight for divorce.

One other argument which I find extremely puzzling is the belief that marriage would force a sudden metamorphosis, that the transition between being single and being married would cause an individual to be more mature, more financially responsible and more intelligent in some way or another. Or in some cases, solve all the problems the abovementioned survey noted as reasons for divorce, like personality differences, infidelity, etc. Its as if marriage is a social panacea to cure all of societal ills, or at least act as a catalyst to speed up the maturity process in adolescence. Again there’s not logical reasoning behind this belief. The largest proportion (35 per cent) of Muslim divorces was among couples who were married less than 5 years. If two people already have problems before marriage, how would being married solves such problems?

My thoughts on this issue. Its interesting hearing the responses of different people to this problem. What do you think?

Ambrosia Cafe

December 24, 2005

In Greek mythology, ambrosia was a balsamic juice, which served as the “Food of the Gods” and was said to preserve their immortality. Mortals who were permitted to partake of ambrosia were said to receive additional beauty, strength, and swiftness.

Through our food, we hope to evoke the azure skies, even bluer Aegean seas, white-gold sand, the vibrant reds, greens, yellow & oranges of the flowers & spices – the paint pallette colours of the Mediterranean.

A feast for the senses… Buenisimo!

Called the Pita De Queso Y Ensalada, these Spanish-style Mediterranean sandwich pockets are filled with cheese, fresh salad, home-made dressing, with minced beef. I personally felt that it was quite expensive for main course since the servings wasn’t very big. My main gripe for this dish is the fact that it tasted vaguely like the pizza topping from Pizza Hut. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to eat the juicy tomato and cheese filling mixed with minced beef, but I felt it did not live up to its extremely long name. (Note to self: Never trust the long exotic names. Always look at what the description of what is being served) To put it simply, its just a normal kebab from a typical pasar malam, with some added kicks here and there.

Pasticcio – Italian-style hearty meat and pasta, encased in a creamy golden baked crust, served with a side of air flown greens. One of the most beautiful dishes on the menu, however the taste wasn’t truly spectacular. Though the cheese was nice, the bite I took off this dish was burnt and hard. Somehow my dining experience here was not going my way. Fatma who ordered this dish agreed with me that it was simply a normal Italian pasta/lagsane dish which you can buy anywhere. Andee thought it was especially nice because of the high cheese content.

Morrocan-style chicken served with a walnut-based sauce, served with couscous and Mediterranean salad. Circassian Chicken was by far one of the better dishes we tried, ordered especially by Andee! The juicy chicken was rich in spices, making it a truly memorable dish to eat! My mouth could not stop watering after taking a bite off the chicken from the metal kebab stick. None of us has ever tried eating couscous before. Even though I thought that it tasted vaguely like styrofoam bits (the ones you sometimes get in boxes after buying new electrical appliances? Not that I tried eating them of course. The circular texture just reminded me of them!), I grew to like eating the couscous. The salad also added a extra crunch to the whole dish!

Fresh spiced lamb sausages served with a refreshing yoghurt salad, Hummus Bi Tahina and couscous. Kofta was another truly delectable dish savoured by all three of us. The lamb was especially sweet and tender and was so rich in texture that I groaned in pleasure upon every bite. The harsh taste of the lamb goes well with the sweetness of the summer tomato puree. Another dish that must be tried by all!

Named as the Ambrosian Elixir, the true ingredients of Ambrosia Divine is truly unknown. But there’s a definite taste of fruit and milk in the mix. Quite sweet and extremely refeshing!

The whole ambience of the cafe wasn’t up to my expectations. It was quite hot and stuffy (yes I wore my jacket but even Fatma who wore a normal t-shirt and jeans felt hot too) and the chairs weren’t very ergonomic and appropriate for eating. I had to bend forward and stay at the edge of my seat to properly eat my meal because the back of seat sloped all the way down! And the loud grinding of the blender, making our ice-blended drinks, disrupted our dining conversation as we had to speak out louder to make ourselves heard. The lighting can also be improved (as you can see from the not so spectacular pictures I took in the cafe).

Overall I will give Ambrosia Cafe 2/5 stars, because of the Kofta, Circassian Chicken and the Ambrosia Divine which was quite nice. They can definitely improve on the overall ambience of the place and make it even more pleasant for all its customers.

Ambrosia Cafe Private Limited
19/25A, Baghdad Street,
Singapore 199658
Phone: 62927313
Fax 62911422

Swenson’s Restaurant

December 24, 2005

A medium rare ribeye steak, topped with black pepper sauce, with boiled potato bits, fresh salad and nuts! I initially wanted to order my usual Fish and Chips but since they were having these Christmas specials, I decided to try them out. Frankly, I’m not a fan of steak. I prefer the subtle textures of chicken and fish. But when I took a bite off the staek, I knew that it was worth the $18.90! Extremely juicy and tender, the steak simply melts in your mouth upon every bite. The boiled potatoes creates an added dimension to the meal, rather than the usual fried wedges you get for most western dishes. The nuts on the side, cooked in a special spicy sauce, reminded me distinctly of a Malay dish my mum cooks but I can’t remember exactly which one.

Next on the Christmas Specials, we have the Chicken Cheer which Yazid had ordered. I was quite shocked to realise that it was a Roast Chicken Leg covered in spicy chocolate sauce! I asked him how it tasted like. According to him, the sauce was quite spicy to the extent that the chocolate flavour did not make the dish taste too weird or anything. It will be quite weird to taste chicken dipped in any chocolate derivatives, since both chocolate and chicken don’t really mis with one another. But according to Yazid, it was quite a pleasant dish to eat!

This was the dish Hanis ate. I’m so sorry for the shadows on the top left hand corner of the photos. I had to sneak a picture while Hanis was eagerly enjoying the food. Called Jingle Grill, the dish consisted of Lamb Shortloin with almond crush, Turkey Steak and chicken vienna sausages, with potato wedges and salad on the side. According to Hanis, almond was quite a weird combination with the lamb and the turkey tasted like chicken. Even I took a bite off the turkey steak (I have never heard of a turkey served as a steak in my life before!) and realised that it tasted vaguely of chicken. Maybe its really chicken? Albeit the weird and suspicious tastes, Hanis still finished the meal and thought it was quite delicious!

Last but not least, we have the appetizer, chicken soup! It was by far the most creamiest cream of chicken soup I have ever tasted and most definitely one of the very best. What makes it so great is the fact that the chicken bits are quite big and visible so you actually get to taste the texture of the tender chicken meat on every spoonful of soup! it wasn’t powdered or uneven(sometimes you get large globules of cream in the soup) or anything, every spoonful was deliciously viscous, balanced and simply tantalising! Sigh. My only gripe was that they should have served garlic bread with the soup, rather than with the main dish itself.

When I was ordering to Baby (yes, my waiteress was called Baby. I didn’t realise until Hanis and Yazid told me after we ordered!), I burst out laughing when I read out the names of the yoghurt drinks that came along with the dishes (besides the main dish, you get the soup of the day and a yoghurt drink)! Hanis ordered Berry merry (Berrynice yoghurt from Macdonalds?!?!?), Yazid ordered Melon Fantasy (I was like WHAT?!?!) and I ordered the most hilarious of them all, Honey Darling! Who comes up with such names??!?! Anyway, I could not stop laughing as I read out the names to Baby, who must have thought I was quite crazy or something.

A thoroughly enjoyable meal, though not the best dishes, but still quite memorable in its quirky ways. Heheheheheh.. I will give Swenson’s 3/5 stars!

Protected: Army Nostalgia

December 23, 2005

I suddenly had the urge to look through my Taiwan pictures once again. I never realised how many hilarious pictures we took!

Here’s the four of us looking relatively dry and warm after going through the mother of all storms through the night, smiling! And you can see how the lack of hygiene has caused two bumps to appear on my forehead (which are thankfully gone now! Phew!).

This was another wacky photo! WE didn’t realise that Staff Boh was behind us until the shot was taken! Even though he looks innocent enough, the fact that we look so evil makes him even look even more suspicious! Hahahahah. He was hilarious though. I am especially thankful to him for being quite understanding when I was the Platoon Sergeant for a mission, shielding me from my PC which was a total monster!

All fous of us back in our bunk. Imagine forty odd people in one classroom size room! We’re like immigrants living in squatters in Singapore in the late 19th century! It was quite terrible though living in such conditions, sorely tested the boundaries of “no-privacy”. But an interesting experience nonetheless, one which I don’t wish to relive anytime soon.

Handwriting Analysis..

December 22, 2005

I don’t usually do this but this is quite accurate! Except for the last line about “do not depend on the opinion of others”. I sometimes do. Hehehe! So cool!

What does your handwriting say about YOU?

The results of your analysis say:

You plan ahead, and are interested in beauty, design, outward appearance, and symmetry.
You are a person who thinks before acting, intelligent and thorough.
You are diplomatic, objective, and live in the present.
You are a talkative person, maybe even a busybody!
You enjoy life in your own way and do not depend on the opinions of others.