I have always been a big fan of Thai Food; I remember the days back in Metro Manila wherein I would indulge myself in cheap authentic Thai Food after my MBA classes in Rockwell. Things were unfortunately different though when I relocated here in Singapore as so-called Thai Restaurants are either too expensive or are simply not at par with what I was used to then. This was the case until my beautiful girlfriend discovered this cheap and authentic Thai Hawker Stall in Bencoolen Street.

M11 @ Bencoolen - unassuming facade

Thai Food is this unassuming stall at this unnamed hawker just in front of Hotel Bencoolen; for reference sake, I shall be naming this hawker as M11 @ Bencoolen since there was a signage within the area with that name printed. I can assume that this is run by Thais judging by the way they talk.

Thai Food - even the name of the establishment is very unassuming

As they cannot speak English very well which was why we just pointed out from the menu what we wanted to eat. We ordered this dish called Moo Tawd Katiem (which is actually just fried sliced pork with garlic) and the very famous Tom Yum Goong (Thai Soup with Seafood) plus two servings of rice. I paid the bill and was surprised that it will only cost us 15 SGD; I remembered paying close to 30 SGD for a similar order in this famous Thai Outlet in the Esplanade several months back.

busy ordering a meal

Service was actually quick and the food was ready in less than 10 minutes. I was happy to note that the serving size is quick large as I was expecting just a miniature dish that is good for only one person. The pork was very good; it was cooked just right, not too crispy and at the same time not too chewy. I would suppose that this would be a very good when paired with a cold glass of Tiger Beer. On the other hand, the Tom Yum Goong was just excellent. The soup was very sour, to the point that I can say that it is really authentic. Apart from the delicious soup, it was served with a very generous amount of fish, squid and prawn. Honestly, I would say that this is worth more than its 6 SGD price.

this might form a perfect pair with an ice cold beer

authentic thai seafood soup @ 6 SGD!

I ended up very full that Friday, so full I was that we decided to stroll around a bit before I took my bus ride back to my apartment. Since I was so impressed with what we ate, we popped by M11 @ Bencoolen again and had early dinner just before hearing mass – this was after just less than 48 hours since I discovered this place. 🙂

Yesterday was the start of the Chinese New Year; so first and foremost, I would like to greet each and everyone Gong Xi Fa Cai. It is also opening of the much awaited casino of Resorts World located in Sentosa Island here in Singapore.

Resorts World Sentosa is an integrated resort with key attractions that includes one of Singapore’s two casinos, a Universal Studios theme park and the world’s largest oceanarium. Once fully operational, it will employ more than 10,000 people directly. The casino opened at exactly 12:18 on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, an auspicious time for local Chinese. I just learned that 12:18, when pronounced in the Cantonese dialect would mean prosperity.

Our friends, Nino and Nina, suggested the idea of visiting the establishment on its opening day. I first though that this would be crazy since I definitely know for a fact that it will be pure chaos as a lot of people will definitely be there on Day 1 – a proof of this was the sneak peak ticket for Universal Studio which was on put on sale a few days back which I heard was sold out in a matter of a few hours. Since we have nothing else do for this particular Sunday, we let curiosity overcome us and headed towards Sentosa Island.

the eager crowd waiting for the Sentosa monorail

As expected the queue was very long; we waited for more than half an hour before we stepped into the Sentosa Monorail. We alighted at the Waterfront Station, just a stop away from Vivo City. There were a lot of people immediately upon stepping out of the monorail; people of all races were there, some were trying their luck at the casino, some were just wandering around, some were shopping while some were on their way out of the island.

taken upon alighting at the Waterfront Station - noticed the people?

workers doing some last minute fix at the huge fountain

We were not able to visit the casino but I hope to be back there while I am still not liable to pay any entrance fee in order to enter the gambling area. Just for information, the Singapore government adopted a 100 SGD levy for all citizens and permanent residents – this is their so-called safeguard against any possible ill-effect of gambling to the island nation.

various characters helping out in putting a festive mood

one of the entrance to the shopping complex

one of the beautiful halls in Resorts World

the entrance to the underground casino

The integrated resorts is still not complete, in fact it may take a few more weeks before everything will really go full swing but nonetheless I would expect that this would be one of the newest attractions that should be able to help Singapore Tourism Board attain its goal of having at least 17 million visitors a year by 2015.

one last look at Resorts World

Singapore Airshow 2010

10 February 2010

Last weekend, I got the chance to attend the 2010 Singapore Airshow. This biennial event is considered as Asia’s largest aerospace and defence event and one of the top three airshows in the world. I was expecting much from this event since the previous airshow held in 2008 displayed a number of good air exhibitions which included the Airbus A380 making some rounds in the sky. Added to the fact that I have always been a very big fan of airplanes and flying – it is obvious to note that this event is one of the things that I have been looking forward to for Q1 2010.

Clear blue sky at the Singapore Airshow

It was a long way going to the Changi Exhibition Center where the event was held. I had to take a ride from my apartment going to the Changi International Airport; from the terminal, we had to take another 15 minutes shuttle ride going to the actual venue. It was two in the afternoon when we arrived, a full hour to go before the start of the much awaited air exhibition. We went inside the main building to cool ourselves from the scorching sun and at the same time wander around the various exhibits being displayed. People were everywhere inside, some of the were taking photos while some were queueing up to get closer to some static displays.

Actual tires and landing gear used in airplanes

Boeing displayed several models of their commercial planes...

The afternoon air exhibition started on time and featured death defying stunt by the F-16 and the AH-64 Apache of the RSAF. Not to be outdone, the USAF did some stunts in their A-10 Thunderbolt – I must say this one is unique, the plane looks like a flying pig yet it can be able to maneuver with grace up in the sky. The final air exhibition was by the Italian firm, Alenia Aermacchi, using their new M-346. I was amazed by all the tight aerial exhibition but I was actually expecting some more stunts, like multiple birdies flying up in the sky and doing the same move all at the same time – I heard this was the case back in 2008. At any rate, I posted below a clip from the airshow courtesy of YouTube.

The air exhibition lasted for probably half an hour. Afterwards, I took a quick stroll outside the building to take a look at the various airplanes parked for the public to see and touch. There were a lot of fighter planes which I could not name, these were mostly from the RSAF and the USAF. A Boeing 737-800 was there on display courtesy Garuda Indonesia; the company is supposedly leveraging the airshow this week to spotlight its new livery and interior decor. This said display was open to the public and several people queue up in order to get a glimpse of the new interiors of the Indonesian airline. I did not stay too long in the tarmac as it was getting too hot then.

from private jets...

... and fighter plane

there is even an Airbus A330-200F

It was an experience to attend this event. Despite not being able to fully satify my expectation, I believe it was well worth the 20 SGD I spent on the ticket. If I will still be in this island then, I will definitely attend the 2012 edition of this airshow, hopefully it will be much better by then.