Our Last Singapore National Day Reception in Jakarta

President Jokowi and Ibu Iriana are currently in Singapore for the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat held today. 2017 is a particularly significant year for both the Republic of Indonesia (RI) and Singapore (SING) because it marks 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Hence the ingenious tagline RISING50!

On a related note, I can’t believe one year+ has gone by since Singapore National Day Reception 2016. Annual events like this make the passing of time even more salient and remind me that our time in Jakarta is soon coming to an end. *sobs*

At this year’s National Day Reception, we celebrated Singapore turning 52 years as well as RISING50. Pardon the lack of photos, I was too busy helping myself to all the delish local food.

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Singapore food street, Shangri-La Hotel.

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Haji Lane brought to Jakarta.

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Happppppy 52nd Birthday Singapore!!!

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So glad to bump into Mia. What a small world.

The photo booth was really pretty and we couldn’t help hogging it for a while hehe.

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Singapore Embassy in Jakarta housewives.

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Trying to be posh. FAIL.

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Cool attempt. FAIL.

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What would I do without these ladies?! They add so much colour to Jakarta! 🙂 

The 52nd National Day Reception was very special because Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Teo Chee Hean officiated the event. Two days later, DPM Teo also met the Singaporean community living and working in Jakarta at Singapore Community Day.

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Singapore Community Day, Hotel Indonesia Kempinski.

Together with fellow Singaporeans, we sang the National Anthem and recited the Singapore Pledge. Never felt any prouder to call Singapore my home. ❤

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On stage to cut Singapore’s birthday cake.

The Haji lane photo booth found its way from the National Day Reception at Shangri-La Hotel to the Singapore Community Day at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski. And we couldn’t resist taking more photos!

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Just chillin’ at Haji Lane.

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Shiok lah.

One thing I’m really thankful for here in Jakarta is the huge Singaporean community. They’ve provided me a home away from a home. And they’re one of the reasons why I’m going to miss this place so much.

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” 
― Anaïs Nin

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Singapura May trippin’

By now you must be wondering…just how often do you go back to Singapore?! Well, about once a month actually. One of the things I’m most thankful for about Agent D’s posting to Jakarta is distance. 🙂

A one way trip to Singapore takes slightly under 1.5 hours by air. When you factor in the taking off and landing, toilet trips, announcements, etc, it is hard to even complete one movie in the plane (!). In fact, travelling 5km within Jakarta (with macet) would take 1.5 hours or more heh.

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Hello there, sunny island!

So anywayyy…I went back this time mainly for Adeline’s wedding but also to spend time with family and friends. Here are some pictures from the beautiful union of #Shaunade:

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Their Holy Matrimony was held at the charming Arts House (formerly Old Parliament House).

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Managed to steal a shot with the glowing bride before her first march in.

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A sacred moment. 😉

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Team Bride! Before rushing off to the hotel to set up.

Props & Crafts transformed the entire hotel reception area into the prettiest botanical garden EVER. They do customized props rental for all occasions/settings — bridal showers, baby showers, proposals, photo shoots, dessert tables, and of course weddings. Perfect for lazy people like me who cannot DIY for nuts.

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Together is a beautiful place to be. Aww.

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Photo table.

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Well wishes table + letters from the couple to their guests.

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Walking down memory lane with #shaunade.

As with all weddings, I was really happy to see and catch up with friends (some of whom I haven’t seen since I moved to Jakarta).

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With the whole bridal crew.

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awkwardzzz.

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Team Groom.

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Serene’s getting married in June and I’m counting down to that one.

I also managed to see lil’ baby Asaph for the very first time. He’s such a sweetheart, with such tiny toes and fingers. Congrats Josh and Cheryl – may God grant you both wisdom and love in raising Asaph. x

Weddings and friends aside, I managed to satisfy some of my many food cravings. Time spent in Singapore is always so short and I take my meal planning very seriously.

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Fried carrot cake (Chai tow kway) is an all-time favourite.

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Photos don’t do this justice. Fried hokkien mee from Tian Tian Lai, which I waited 45 minutes for.

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So simple yet so good. Economical bee hoon from Sembawang Hills Food Centre.

There definitely was more food that went into my tummy but I was either too hungry to take a picture, or my hands were oilyyy (some food simply tastes better with hands).

Not forgetting, precious time spent with my favouritest family + savouring every bit of home cooked meals. ❤

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Continue staying healthy and happy, Mama.

And before I know it, I find myself bidding farewell to Singapore again. Did the weekend just pass me by?

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Singapore Changi Airport.

2nd March Trip to Singapore

This March, I flew back to Singapore on two consecutive weekends with only 4 days in Jakarta in between. Bad planning on my end. :/ As usual, there is always so much to do but so little time to spare in Singapore.

My first trip back was mainly to celebrate the love of Pam+Hon Inn as well as welcome new beginnings — Adeline’s hens party and Cheryl’s baby shower. (You can read more about it here: Back Home)

For keepsake — some photo memories of my second visit home:

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Got super excited seeing Singapore in the near distance!!

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Home at my favourite airport.

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First meal upon landing – steamed chicken dipped in ginger sauce and wrapped in lettuce. PURE YUM.

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The entire stretch of Orchard Rd has pretty much changed except #1 TANGS.

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and #2 Takashimaya (please stay this way forever!).

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Old school ice-cream cart against modern Ion.

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Catch up with friends I’ve not seen in ages #1 Hazel. Its been a year (??!) since we last met.

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and #2 Shumin. I think its been 1.5 years. 😦

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Lunch with Agent D at Candlenut – the world’s first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant. 

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Mama Lee (93 y.o.) working on her daily colouring. Although she no longer recognizes me, I am thankful that she’s healthy, eats well, and ever so cheerful. 

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Steamboat on a cold rainy night with great company.

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L Dearest – circa 2004.

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Last meal in SG with mom before heading to the airport.

“What i like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”Karl Lagerfeld

And I find myself back in Jakarta again battling the intense traffic. 🙂

Back Home: Of Wedding Festivities, Bridal and Baby Showers

Of Weddings

Many of my good friends are getting/have gotten married in the first half of this year. Last month (Feb) was Greg’s wedding in Miri. This coming April will be Adeline’s union with Shaun. In June, Petrina and Serene are getting married two weeks apart. And just last week (March), I flew back for Pam’s wedding.

Pam and I go a long wayyy back to primary school days. We went on to the same secondary school and junior college and have been in close contact ever since.

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18 years of friendship and counting.

Many fond memories flood my mind as I think back on our growing up years —  going to school and coming home together (we were neighbours), hanging out after school at each other’s homes/nearby malls, wearing cool baggy jeans with belts hanging out (gross!), experimenting with make-up for the first time, exploring IRC chats with weirdass nicknames, playing snake on our Nokia phones while waiting for the train, riding on our skate scooters/bicycles around the estate, playing futile badminton in an open-air space, the list goes on.

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From primary school…to secondary school…to JC…to now. What a long way we’ve come.

I still find it hard to believe that 18 years on, we are now at the stage of getting married and having kids. Where did all that time go?!!

It was a real joy to witness a good ol’ friend walk down the aisle with the love of her life and I couldn’t help but get all sentimental. Here are some photo memories captured on the day itself:

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Bridesmaids duties – THE GATECRASH.

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Three ‘fun’ tasks for the groom and his boys.

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Hon Inn and his bros in full force.

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United by our polka dots. 🙂

The groom and his friends were super sporting and everyone had a good laugh. After the eventful gatecrash, we proceeded to Bishan Park for photo taking.

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Pam in her beautiful gown.

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Bishan Park – one of my favourite parks in Singapore.

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Sharing a moment together.

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3/10 of L Dearest.

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Whoooop.

At the hotel, we had some time to freshen up and help with the decor. Everyone was tired from waking up at 5+am in the morning but adrenaline kept us going.

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Decor for the main table.

Hon Inn and Pam handcrafted a paper flower wall for their guests to take photos against. Each and every wallflower was painstakingly cut, folded, and threaded into its intricate shape. Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous?!

During the Holy Matrimony, Hon Inn couldn’t hold back his tears as Pam walked down the aisle and when he was saying his vows. I’ve never seen this softer side of him and it was really sweet.

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Mr. and Mrs. Hon Inn. Congrats you two!!

At the dinner banquet later in the evening:

With all of us in different parts of the world, a wedding somehow helps to bring everyone together. I was really happy to be a part of Pam’s big day + catch up with friends that I’ve not seen in a long while.

Once again, congrats Pam and Hon Inn!!! Wishing you nothing but the best and lots of love and joy in this marriage! ❤ ❤ ❤


Of Bridal and Baby Showers

As I mentioned earlier, Adeline’s wedding is going to be held in April, just one month from now. Coincidentally, Cheryl will also be popping around that time.

As such, we decided to hold a 2-in-1 celebration for the two of them: Adeline’s bridal shower CUM Cheryl’s baby shower.

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So much to look forward to in April for GSF+1.

Both Adeline and Cheryl were not expecting it…Adeline was informed that it was going to be Cheryl’s baby shower whilst Cheryl was told that we were hosting a hens party for Adeline. BOOOOOM SURPRISSSSSE! ❤

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With our Mrs-to-be, last one of GSF to get hitched.

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Congrats my dear! Really looking forward to flying back for your big day.

Adeline and Cheryl were both my cell leaders back in Singapore and have a special place in my heart. I’m really excited for them as they move into a new phase of their lives — as a new wife and a Mom.

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With our Momma-to-be, can’t wait to meet your lil’ one!

Over good food, we talked about their hopes for the future and discussed girly topics. Everyone had a good belly-laugh, an awesome remedy for the soul.

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Till our big reunion in April again. 🙂

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” — Khalil Gibran

Friends forever. xxx

Last Trip of the Year to Singapore: Nowhere Else We’d Rather Be

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Gardens by the Bay, Singapore. HOME TRULY.

And now on to our year end holiday in Singapore, where Agent D and I were like tourists in our homeland.

GOOD OLD FOOD

First thing we did upon touching down was…SATISFY CRAVINGS with oily lardy awesommmme hawker fare. That which never grows old on us.

Our first stop was Chinatown Food Centre where we had char kway teow (ohh the hum), a huge serving of claypot rice originally intended for 4 (complete with lap cheong!), and chwee kueh with loads of chilli.

After a very fulfilling lunch, we walked away the fats to my favourite egg tart store a few streets down – Tong Heng Confectionery. Their diamond egg tarts have a slighly flaky but firm crust with an almost jelly-like, egg-custard filling. Simply dan-talizingly shiok.

Another day, we headed all the way to Little India to have Beach Road Scissor Cut Curry Rice. Do not be fooled by its appearance. Although the rice rice looks unappealingly messy and unsightly – it is absolutely sinfully delicious. A plate of ‘heart attack’.

And no Singapore trip would be complete without my hokkien mee

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Hokkien Mee with plate of greens (meant to offset lard and oil).

This time round, Agent D and I hardly had time to check out cool and exciting new cafes/restaurants. One exception was Hana Japanese Restaurant, which my friends brought me to.

They’re known for their “flying noodles”, in particular the Flying Truffle Somen and the Flying Salted Egg Yolk Udon. You should also try their 4×3 grid box (chef’s selection of 12 small bites) and Matcha-misu dessert (beautifully decorated like a terrarium).

SIGHTSEEING IN OUR HOMELAND

Food aside, Agent D and I probably covered more ‘tourist attractions’ in one week than in half a year when we resided in Singapore.

In between our food hunts, we explored and walked the quaint streets of Chinatown.

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Chinatown, Singapore.

We also spent one lovely evening at Christmas Wonderland in Gardens by the Bay.

I loveeee the gardens. It is a nature park spanning 101 hectares of reclaimed land in central Singapore, adjacent to the Marina Reservoir.

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Gardens by the Bay, Singapore.

Christmas Wonderland has been held in Singapore for three years now (including 2016) and it was our first time visiting this yuletide fair. So glad we made it. 🙂

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Magnificent sculptures of light.

The lights came on at 6.30 p.m. and the entire place became more and more magical as the sun set and the skies darkened.

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Beautiful Singapore.

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Gorgeous luminarie lights.

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Ice Palace.

Ohh and we finally got to visit Adventure Cove Waterpark in Sentosa – an aquatic amusement park with an aquarium, waterslides, a wave pool, tubing, snorkeling, etc.

Agent D and I spent an entire day taking high-speed water slides (screaming our lungs out!), drifting on a lazy river, and bouncing around the wave pool. SUPER FUN!

Didn’t get to take any pictures because we left our phones in the locker. Here are two of my favourite rides (photo credit: RWS Sentosa):

Adventure Cove Waterpark Riptide Rocket

Riptide Rocket – Southeast Asia’s first hydro-magnetic coaster. 

Adventure Cove Waterpark Spiral Washout

Spiral Washout – an oscillating tube ride through a twisting, turning water flume. 

We also did some Christmas shopping at Public Garden Christmas 2016, an annual flea market which runs during the Christmas season.

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Checking out unique jade rings with gemstones.

Public Garden brings together quality brands and independent businesses with unique merchandise. Industries include design, stationery, art, jewellery, apparel, home decor, vintage, beauty, etc.  #supportlocalbrands

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Flowers, anyone?

If you missed Public Garden last December, you can always look forward to the next one this year! 🙂

MEETUPS & CATCH UPS

Around year end, there are more meetups, gatherings, celebrations and potlucks than usual. And we are thankful to be part of some.

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Queky and Charmaine.

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Happy Birthday Aileen and Alice!!

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Agent D’s church homies.

A FLOWERY SWEET SURPRISE

Something to remember this trip by…Agent D surprised me with a bouquet of the prettiest flowers at our GSF +1 gathering.

I asked him why he got me flowers and he replied, “We don’t need a reason to buy you flowers.” Awww, what a keeper. (Actually, he had just spent close to 500 bucks on board games that day…perhaps that was the untold reason heh??!)

Anyhow, the flowers made my day and gave me something to remember this SG trip by. ❤

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Thank you husband! XOXO

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Our flight back to Jakarta was two hours delayed and we boss monster-ed away!

Already missing you, Singapore. Till the next time!

 

Singapore and 3 Fs: Family, Friends & Food

This is a super delayed update on our two weeks in Singapore (late Sept – early October)…but oh well better late than never I guess! For most of the SG visits so far (to settle the house, attend weddings etc), I’ve been going back alone. So it was really nice that this time round, Agent D and I could head back together. 🙂

For this year, we actually made a decision to forgo a long holiday elsewhere and spend more time in Singapore instead. And I’m glad that the ‘sacrifice’ was worth it – we got to satisfy food cravings, spend quality time with family, and catch up with various groups of friends.

Here’s our SG trip summarised in pictures:

1) Family

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them” — Desmond Tutu

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Day out at Sentosa with dad and mom.

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Both our parents! Such a cute picture.

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Tourists at Madame Tussauds wax museum.

Its been a while since I last visited Sentosa Island and it has changed so much! Singapore’s landscape is constantly evolving…after a couple of months away, new buildings seemingly sprout out of nowhere and old buildings are suddenly gone.

2) Friends

“True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island… to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.” — Baltasar Gracian

Agent D was a happy boy because he spent an entire day board gaming with Shane (pretty sure 1 day wasn’t enough actually) — something he was really looking forward to leading up to the trip.

I even indulged him in a game of Eclipse one of the nights, which left me pretty much brain-dead thereafter. #wifeyduties

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Eclipse!

Get–togethers with friends are always great, as usual.

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Half of L Dearest, missing the other 5. When will we ever get full attendance with us in FIVE different countries?! 😦

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Congrats on your lil’ one, Hannah and Fred!

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GSF +1 + unplanned blue coordination.

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Agent D’s church mates.

And more pictures…meeting baby fatty is always a highlight of my trip! Ain’t he so adorable *pinch cheeks*.

3) Food, food, and MORE FOOD

“Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale.” — Elsa Schiaparelli

Singapore’s hawker food is one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable anywhere out of Singapore (at least to me). Usually after landing, the first thing I do is eat a delightful plate of hokkien mee. #comfortfood

Time allowing, I always stop by Melben Seafood for some good crabs.

So happy we finally got to check out the seafood buffet at 10 at Claymore, Pan Pacific Orchard. During my last SG visit, when they were having Oyster Occasions (1 June to 31 July 2016), I called to make a reservation 1 week in advance but they told me they were fully booked EVERY DAY for the next 3 weeks. :/

Oceanic gems aside (fresh lobsters and sashimi included), their other food like the premium New Zealand Grass-Fed Organic Beef and Penang specialties such as Char Kway Teow, Bak Kut Teh with Kurobuta Belly Ribs, Assam Laksa with Barramundi Fillet were good stuff too.

Agent D and I also got to spend time chilling at cafes with a book. Simple pleasures I’m missing now.

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High tea at Saveur.

Korean Bingsu (consisting of ice shavings and various ingredients) is currently all the rage in Singapore. I saw about 10 new Korean Bingsu shops during my short time there. Reminds me of the bubble tea/froyo/salted egg yolk anything craze, which have all more or less died down by now.

I just had to try one…

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Green Tea Bingsu at O’ma Spoon.

Ending off this post with my all-time favourite salmon sashimi bowl from The Sushi Bar.

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Thick, fresh pieces of salmon sashimi. #sogood

OH I WANNA GO BACK TO SINGAPORE SOON AGAIN! ❤ ❤ ❤

 

Singapore National Day Reception in Jakarta at the Shangri-La

Not only are we (Singapore) close neighbours with Indonesia, but our birthdays are also close together. Yesterday, 17th August, Indonesia celebrated her independence of 71 years. Happpppy Birthday Indonesia!!!  Here’s wishing you many years of prosperity ahead! ❤

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At Singapore’s 51st birthday party in Jakarta (oops I was holding the thumbs-up sign the wrong way).

One week earlier, Singapore celebrated her 51st birthday on 9th August. Here in Jakarta, the Singapore National Day Reception was held on 10th August at Shangri-La.

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Invitation to the reception.

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Singapore National Day Reception at Shangri-La.

One night before the big day…

I accompanied Agent D to Shangri-La to see how things were going along. Although we reached the hotel close to midnight, the entire ballroom and foyer area was bustling with activity!

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Setting up the Singapore food street in the foyer area.

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WOAH.

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Testing out the proportion of the photo booth.

The day of the reception itself…

It seemed like magic had happened overnight; the events and decor company did a great job in transforming the ballroom into a lil’ Singapore city.

Here are some pretty pictures of the entire place without any crowd.

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Singapore night skyline as the main backdrop (check out the individually lighted units of the Marina Bay Sands!).

Food is a unifying cultural thread amongst Singaporeans and is pivotal to our national identity. As such, it seemed only natural for the main theme of the reception to be ‘food’.

Singaporean cuisine is diverse and greatly influenced by the cuisines of various ethnic groups, for example, Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Peranakan. At the national day reception, there were live stations featuring food from the above four groups. I almost felt like I was back in Singapore!

Guests were starting to slowly file in around 6.30 p.m. My friends and I decided to take some pictures at the photo booth before it got too crowded.

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SHIOK LAH.

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Celebrating Singapore’s independence with this bunch of weirdos. 🙂

Here are some pictures of the ‘Lau Pa Sat food centre’, which consisted of Singapore food vendors based in Jakarta.

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Earlier in the day at 11 a.m.

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Teeming with people at 7.30 p.m.

Among the food vendors present were Founder Bak Kut TehIsland CreameryBee Cheng HiangTwelve CupcakesYa Kun Kaya Toast, Klaud’s Singapore Soya Delight, and Gryphon Tea Company. Food samples (in generous portions) were given out for guests to try. #SupportSingaporeBrandNames

There was even a Singapore Airlines booth. In celebration of Singapore’s 51st birthday, guests were given a special discount promo code. YAY for cheaper air tickets . I like.

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I was feeling 50% full after sampling all the food in the foyer area. Mental note to self – better reserve some tummy space for the main hotel food.

There was such a wide spread of food. Sadly, I didn’t get to try everything because my stomach had only that much space left. I couldn’t risk my black dress bursting at its seams.

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Dessert table.

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At the Chinatown section. Spot the glorious roast meat?!!

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At the Peranakan section.

I stopped taking pictures thereafter because fooood >>> pictures.

Ended off the night with this bowl of laksa and a cuppa Gryphon tea. Both were pretty good stuff!

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Cravings satisfied.

I left the place a happy girl. 🙂 🙂 🙂

A big thank you to everyone who came to celebrate Singapore’s 51st birthday with us.  See you again next year!!! #loveSG