Good but Expensive – The Coconut Club

While I do enjoy good food, generally I baulked at paying high prices for what I called hawker food. The few exceptions are when the food in question has got a very good review and the ingredients somehow justify the price. Even then, probably just once to see what the fuss is all about. Which is why it took me a long time to go down to The Coconut Club which is just a stone throw from my office for their famed Nasi Lemak.
One of the reasons is that the few times I pass by , there is always a long queue along the corridor. The other thing was paying $12.80 for a plate of nasi lemak which I can get equally famous and good one from $3.00 at food centre. Still curiosity got me going and I roped in M for a lunch date at The Coconut Club. We reached slightly early and there was no queue! The queue started to form around 12.15 pm. Thank goodness.
We ordered one plate of the $12.80 nasi lemak, 1 otak and 1 spicy dried prawn long beans (haebihaem long beans to share. The waiter didn’t seem to mind that the 2 of us ordered so little. Or maybe he pitied us and thought we were too poor to order more because when the food was delivered, it came with a complimentary bowl of Sayur Lodeh! How about that for great service!

The nasi lemak comes with a chicken leg joint cut into 2 unlike other places that usually just serve the drumstick. There was an sunny side up egg ; peanuts and ikan bilis. That was all but it was a rather big plate. And of course, after tasting the rice, I can understand how it got its fame.
The otak came in the usual banana leaf. It was rather big so I guess they must have made it themselves and the waiter confirmed that later. Although it was freshly made and filled with fish, I think it was overpriced at $10.50.
The haebihaem long beans which incidentally was not on the menu was a tad salty but the serving portion was very big.
I felt that the Sayur Lodeh was a bit too watery but there was a good mix of vegetables in it.

Overall, while a bit expensive, I couldn’t mind coming back for the nasi lemak. I heard the Chendol is good but I didn’t try that so maybe good excuse to go back.

Never Stop Exploring – Bulim Forest

The Bulim/Tengah forest will soon be gone – converted into another block and block of flats and condominium. So before it is gone forever, I went down with some friends to have one last look and also first look at the place.

First thing that strike me when I entered the place was its sheer size. From the main road, it looks just like any small patch of forest but once in, we were like Oh Wow! Just take a look at these photos:

As I understand, these place used to be a kampung before the villagers were resettled in the Chua Chu Kang and Bukit Batok areas and the SAF took over the place for the army training. Hence, the nice wide paths that criss cross the entire area.

There is supposed to be a small stream but we didn’t manage to locate it. Instead what we saw was this little longkang which I understood was a lifeline for the people there during the second world war.

This stream and all the mini waterways there eventually leads to this new longkang.

While we were there, we observed many birds including a large flock of Long tailed Parakeets and many other smaller forest birds. We also spotted Brahminy Kite and White Bellied Sea Eagle flying overhead.

A rather beautiful place to admire Mother Nature and admire its beauty. Sadly scene like these will disappear soon as the crazy Gahmen continues on its relentless quest to concrete the whole of Singapore.

When is a footpath a footpath?

There is this car park in Pasir Ris that is heavily utilized by the people fishing at the fishing pond; the residents of the surrounding HDB flats and visitors to the White Sands Shopping Mall. It is especially busy during peak hours in the evening and even more so on Friday and Sunday evenings where parents pick up/dropped off their sons to/from Tekong.

The carpark serves as shortcut to pedestrians from the MRT station to Pasir Ris Drive 1 and beyond. And inevitably everyone walk on the carpark itself notwithstanding that there is a footpath between the row of parked cars and the pond. 
Oh wait, did I just said footpath?Apparently it seems that not all footpath are “footpath”. When I sent the feedback via OneService App, it was to ask that something be done to prevent the rear of the parked vehicles intruding into the footpath and thus forcing pedestrians to walk on the car park among the moving cars. Like what this photo shows.

Simple query and to me a simple conclusion. Just install railings along the footpath or car stopper on the lot. Problem solved. But not so it seems.

A friendly guy from HDB called me and informed that that is not a footpath but a drain cover. And because it is not a footpath, they cannot do anything. Stunned by the answer – I asked him what is the definition of a footpath. Apparently, a footpath is a footpath only if it leads to a HDB block or some building and since this one leads to the park and the road it does not count as a footpath.

So now we know. A path that is clearly a path is not necessarily a footpath. Maybe just like a train breakdown is not a breakdown but a signaling fault and a flooding is not a flood but a ponding!

Reptopia @ Singapore Zoo

The Singapore Zoo replaced the old Reptile House with a brand new “Reptopia” which opens in late May this year. The old Reptile House which was looking very dated with all the snakes in small glass tank enclosure. The new Reptopia is firstly air conditioned and very much more comfortable for visitors.  The old walk through exhibit which used to have the iguana and tortoises is now divided into 2 smaller areas with one of them featuring the Caiman crocodile and the other the same iguana and the tortoises.

The snakes and other reptiles are now housed in much bigger enclosures with different compatible species kept in same enclosures.Here are some of the snakes that are displayed in the new Reptopia. 

Ball Python

Green Tree Python

Reticulated Python

King Cobra

Keeled Rat Snake

Gabon Viper

Emerald Tree Boa

Western Diamond Backed Rattlesnake

Mangrove Snake

Sadly though, the number of snakes specimen has been reduced drastically. The Singapore snakes area is no more and the popular anaconda has been moved to the River Safari.

There are now a lot more lizards some of which I understand from some sources are confiscated lizards from the public. In addition, there are weird looking lizards like gila monster, beard dragon and skink.

Caiman Lizard

Fuji Banded Iguana

Gila Monstor

Bearded Dragon

Ornate Spiny Tailed Lizard

There are now several species of chameleon. I didn’t know there are so many species and so colorful too.

Parson’s Chameleon

Panther Chameleon

Yemen Chameleon

Last but not least there are a few rare frogs and even a tarantula.

Dyeing Poison Frog

 

All in, despite the reduced number of snakes, I think this new Reptopia is certainly worth a visit especially for those who are into reptiles.

Toa Payoh Town Park

Took a walk down memory the other day when I dropped by Toa Payoh Town Park previously known as Toa Payoh Garden. In its hey days in the seventies, it was probably the 2nd most popular place in Singapore for wedding photos after the Botanic Garden. Now it is a shadow of its past mostly deserted and frequented only by exercise enthusiasts on weekend morning and Myanmar maids.

Toa Payoh Park is a smallish 4.8 hectares park dominated by a pond with beautiful overhanging willow trees.

Time seems to stand still here. Practically all the iconic landmarks are still there. Good thing is looking at the paintwork, it appear that there has been regular maintenance and everything seems relatively well maintained. 

The restaurant is still there but now it is the famous Oasis Porridge restaurant that used to be at the old Kallang Lesiuredome.

One interesting thing about Toa Park Park is that despite having a small little pond, it has multiple bridges like this nice zig zag bridge

And a similar design but straight bridge

More unique is this stone bridge reminiscent of those traditional Chinese bridge in China

The most famous of all landmark is of course the 25 metre high Observation Tower. There are only 2 other similar towers in all of Singapore – the more famous Rocket Tower at Upper Seletar Reservoir, and the gigantic one at Jurong Hill. Unfortunately the tower is now locked and the public are not allowed to go up to the top for the view not that there is much of a view. A better view can be obtained from the Toa Payoh Hub and other HDB flats around the area.

The tower was given conservation status in 2009 so which means the park is probably going to be there for a long long time to come. Nice little place but probably have outlived its purpose.

Butterfly Hill at Pulau Ubin

I confess I have no idea there was such a place at Pulau Ubin. I only saw it when I went to shoot the Pesta Ubin Run recently. And I knew I have to come back to take a closer look at it.  Soback on Pulau Ubin over the weekend for a full day trek, we made a pit stop here to check out the scene. 

And my golly, there were indeed butterfly galore. Just walking alongside it, I could see a few butts flying –  a couple of Jeezebul and some Yellows. I knew I must explore the place in depth. But the hike training has to take priority and after just about half an hour of looking at the many different butterfly flying around, I have to move on with just 3 photo of butterfly out of the so many there. One Peacock Pansy, a Glassy Tiger and an unidentified butterfly or maybe moth.

Peacock Pansy

Blue Glassy Tiger

Unidentified Butterfly/moth

I consoled myself that earlier on right at the beginning of the day, I had got a photo of the beautiful Common Birdwing at the Assembly Area.

Common Birdwing

And there was bound to be other butterfly around although I swear I am so gonna come back to Butterfly Hill again just for the butts. 

Anyway, at the fruit farm, I managed to shoot a beautiful Lascar. Not too sure whether it is a Common or Malayan Lascar though.

Lascar

There was also a pair of Glassy Tiger flying around the same plant

Dark Glassy Tiger

On the way in to and out of Chek Jawa, there were a few butts flying around despite it being almost 4 pm. Despite being pressed for time, managed to get a photo of a Knight. Too bad the angle isn’t too good. It was too skittish and it didn’t help that there were many cyclists whizzing through and every time one of them pass by, the butterfly will take off.

Knight

I shall return and the next time it will only be butterfly time!