Category Archives: Singapore

STAY: Village Hotel Katong – Singapore [Far East Hospitality] (JAX, Dec 2015)

Experiencing the charm of Peranakan neighborhood of Katong in the island-city state that bridges history, cultures, and comfort.

There’s always a road less traveled even in a sprawling city such as Singapore. While the architectural feats of this island city-state fascinate millions every year, this time, a little change of scenery to another neighborhood showed me that Singapore is more than just a modern metropolitan.

The verdant Katong is a charming neighborhood with a long history for hundreds of years. Katong was once filled with plantations and estates owned by wealthy Europeans and Asians settlers which we can still see the latter preserved almost everywhere in the vicinity. Additionally, all of this made Katong an area rich in both Peranakan and Eurasian heritages.

Katong was once filled with plantations and estates owned by wealthy Europeans and Asians settlers which we can still see the latter preserved almost everywhere in the vicinity.

In the light of preserving this legacy and to bring everyone to see a completely different Singaporean experience, Village Hotel Katong introduces itself as a bridge of history, cultures, and comfort.

VH Katong (2)

Situated conveniently on both Marine Parade Road on the southern part of it and East Coast Road from the north side, Village Hotel Katong offers a strategic advantage for those who wish to scour the area, to shop or dine, and for any lovers of nature and culture.

The hotel itself is across the street from Parkway Parade shopping mall and a short walk to the East Coast Park and the beach. Meanwhile from the East Coast Road, heading to Joo Chiat Road has never been this easy, especially to find out more about the street’s beautiful shophouses and restaurants.

Aside from serving as Katong’s best hub for such adventure, Village Hotel Katong presents itself as an envoy of Peranakan culture where patrons can witness artistic finesse around the hotel, from the lobby and up to each of its 229 rooms.

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Premier Peranakan Room
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Superior Twin Room

The main highlight should be given to Village Hotel Katong’s design of the room. With different colors representing different types of room; each of it actually bears beautiful similarity from the silver backdrops, intricate Peranakan motifs found from the carpets, drapes, and also the artworks.

The Peranakan Club for example, possesses this harmony between space, comfort, and its esthetic aspects. The warm blue color enlightens many parts of the room but retains the balance with this homely atmosphere that makes the room feels luxuriously relaxing.

In addition to the hotel’s comprehensive facilities such as the swimming pool, gym, meeting rooms, the Peranakan lounge for club rooms, and the halal-certified Katong Kitchen as the all-day dining; the whole establishment is made complete with a shopping arcade connected directly to the hotel.

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Village Hotel Katong Gym
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Katong Kitchen Resto

In order to make the staying experience more memorable, Village Hotel Katong also prepares complimentary shuttle services.

Firstly, for the business travelers, the hotel provides a dedicated one-way shuttle from the hotel to the industrial and business areas around Bedok, Kaki Bukit, Ubi, Tai Seng, and also Changi.

Secondly for everyone, a complimentary airport shuttle is available every day, departing from the hotel every 90 minutes from as early as 5am to as late as 12:30 a.m.

By providing such services in addition to the hotel’s strategic and comfort values, Village Hotel Katong is seriously vying to become the frontrunner of hospitality right from the heart of this historic neighborhood. The charming Katong area with all of its uniqueness and rich legacy is now made complete with this one jewel that is ready to welcome you anytime.

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Village Hotel Katong

Address:
25 Marine Parade Road, Singapore
T: +65.6344.2200

Website

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Original link: http://jax.co.id/village-hotel-katong/

Photos are courtesy of Village Hotel Katong

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STAY: AMOY – Singapore [Far East Hospitality] (JAX, Nov 2015)

In a strategic area in the neighboring city-state is where luxury of modern interpretation and traditional values live side by side in harmony.

A harmonious coexistence between progressive urban landscaping and cultural legacy of olden times is known only in few selected cities around the world. Singapore is one of them.

In many areas where Singaporean government strictly preserves; the economic and cultural activities thrive from shophouses to museums and hotels. Among them there is one that sets a fine example of marrying both worlds.

AMOY is located in the vicinity of Far East Square, a plaza where a collection of Peranakan heritage shophouses are rejuvenated into restaurants and retail shops.

Here lies the nearing two century old Fuk Tak Chi temple. As a relic of the past where the Earth God was once revered by the locals, this temple has now been transformed into a museum, and it has become a vivid reminder of the olden days.

Uniquely, the museum is now an essential part of the hotel and entering AMOY by a luxurious limo from the airport through here is an experience of its own. Head further in and you will find yourself in a junction heading to the mazes of Far East Square, but before that, there’s the lobby for you.

Greeted with smile and a refreshing welcome mocktail, the courteous staff warmly welcome me and readying the room swiftly. On the second floor, a small adventure awaits. After several turns and small steps of stairs in between, finally it’s home sweet home.

In addition to the usual numbers, the rooms here are also named over commonly used Chinese family names – which are also inscribed on a wall at the lobby. Turns out it was a useful reminder, especially when one time I accidentally forgot my room number!

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Cosy Single Room
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Deluxe Double Room

The deluxe double room is an amazing example of utilizing the space for maximum comfort. It begins with a couple of short steps descending to the bedroom, where coziness awaits in a form of a queen size bed, flat screen TV, iPhone docking, and a Nespresso machine. Free amenities from Wi-Fi, landline call, as well as drinks and snacks from the minibar are also at your disposal. Most importantly as well, the bedroom is all basked under natural lights coming from the broad windows – bringing in both spirit and contentment.

There’s a touch of Chinese heritage on every angle; from a coffee book table of old Singaporean postcards since 19th century, the embroidered cushions and porcelains, and if you are lucky – real beams from the past on the ceilings. The bathroom itself has that darken, elegant atmosphere where Asian influenced wooden flooring and panels are all designed in details and harmoniously befitting each other.

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JIN Fine Dining
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Offers you a rich, full fledge Japanese cuisine for lunch and dinner.

Local and continental breakfast are the options in the morning for AMOY’s inhabitants at JIN Fine Dining on the ground floor. Additionally, the restaurant also offers a rich, full fledge Japanese cuisine for lunch and dinner with excellent service.

AMOY also boasts its strategic position to start the city exploration. Just across the hotel, you will directly find a taxi stop and an MRT station. I prefer to enjoy the urban scenery by walking, starting from the financial districts and heading further to Boat Quay or to as far as Merlion and Esplanade.

A stay at AMOY means experiencing excellence, fulfilling beyond the basic comforts one would seek any hotel. As a wonderful addition to that, let us immerse with what this country has to offer from its vibrant past, present and future.

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AMOY (Far East Hospitality)

Address:
76 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore
T: +65.6580.2888

Website

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Original link: http://jax.co.id/amoy-hotel/

Photos are courtesy of AMOY

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Quikskoop™: Ya Kun Kaya Toast – Singapore

Ya Kun Kaya Toast is everywhere in Singapore. As one of the oldest, they have even expanding themselves in other Asian countries, including Indonesia as well. One time, I enjoyed my brunch having the kaya toast and a cup of hot black coffee back in Bandung.

But how does it feel to have it at the origin country itself? It’s an experience that I have to try myself.

Staying at AMOY on Telok Ayer Street during my last visit to Singapore was a great experience. Not only that I witnessed firsthand at how the old heritage can live side by side peacefully with the modern Singapore, but I got to stay at an extremely pleasant hotel with a rich selections of food around the neighborhood.

Ya Kun Kaya Toast at 18 China Street is the first one that started it all. As the jewel of the Lau Pa Sat region here, people are flocking since early morning for breakfast and even in weekends. China Street itself lies in the heart of Singapore’s CBD and it is quite surprising to find a lot of people around on holiday.

We were seated and service was quick and helpful. Courtesy is not to be expected – which typically a Singaporean character, but if your breakfast come in early and right, you won’t have any complaints about that.

Due to the speedy nature of everything, breakfast was confined only to two set menus – it’s either kaya toast or French toast with coffee/tea and soft boiled eggs. Perhaps the menu will be more complete in the afternoon or night, but then again, due to so many people around, it was arguably the management decision to limit the menu.

Kaya toast
French toast
French toast

For a very affordable breakfast like this and quite fulfilling apparently, I was thoroughly pleased. It’s good to actually eat in a pleasant surroundings, swift service, and quite hearty (for an Indonesian like me who prefers bubur ayam or nasi uduk in the morning).

The eggs were good with a bit of soy sauce and peppers and the milk coffee worked just right. The bread was perfectly toasted, crisp, and works really nicely with the butter and the kaya spread. I decided to bring back a bottle, but from Mustafa apparently. However, thanks to Ya Kun for the motivation!

It’s another good round of kaya toast breakfast like last time when I visited Tong Ah in Chinatown. I think I can enjoy more of breakfast like this, setting aside rice once in a while.

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YA KUN KAYA TOAST – SINGAPORE
Halal-friendly
Suitable for vegetarians

Website

Halal Eat Out: Long John Silver’s – Singapore

Yup, right. Long John Silver’s. My first time with Singapore’s one of oldest fast food chains. My aim was to get a good pseudo-experience eating something that Fish & Co. or MFM has to offer, and it was actually quite pleasant. Here’s a bit about it.

Ubiquitous all over Singapore, Long John Silver’s has been known to Singaporeans since 1983. Faithfully offering fast food style fish and chips and other variations of it, well, apparently it is something which is currently non-existent in Indonesia.

Indonesians love their rice and fried chicken too much and it forces some burger-based fast food chains to adapt with this extreme fondness. Lucky that it seems more and more Indonesians fell in love with burgers every year.

However, when it comes to fish in fast food chain, well, not so much. My one and only love aside from Indonesia’s McD’s muffins is the Fillet O’Fish, used to be missing for several years and now reappearing to the surface. Hey! Perhaps it is high time for Long John Silver’s to arrive here.

So, one night, I was visiting the one at Bugis. Cramped and full of people, the cashier greeted me coldly. Tried my best to be helpful and smiling but to no avail. Well, couldn’t complain about this side of Singaporeans but most importantly, she did the job right.

My usual set of fish and chips were okay. It was a bit too oily (well, what do you expect Rian?) but I kinda enjoyed it. Meanwhile, my wife decided to try something else. The grilled dory with chili crab sauce and it was much, much better.

The dory came in big, all bathed beautifully with the chili sauce, and served with vegetables and rice. Tried to snatch several of scoops from her plate and she became protective. Haha.. But that’s my wife! A foodie like Joey Tribbiani.

Anyway, I was happy to clear her plate up since she became full quite fast. At any rate, it was always a pleasant thing to do with her with all these foodie adventures.

Next time, I might be trying the Fish & Co. in Singapore. first. It’s not yet halal-certified in Indonesia and I pretty much like to have it with some peace of mind. Or, Long John Silver’s, maybe you could come here instead.

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LONG JOHN SILVER’S
Halal-certified
Unsuitable for vegetarians

Check the website for addresses and menu

Opening hours: Daily, 7.30am or 8am (at selected outlets) – 10pm

Halal Eat Out: TAJ – Singapore

Visiting the Chinatown area in Singapore is a must-not miss opportunity, especially for foodies.

Previously, I had my share of breakfast at one of the oldest kopitiam in the city. Quite recently, I learned that the Chinatown is actually not all about the Chinese, but it is also a melting pot of people with religions such as Islam and Hinduism.

It’s cool to actually feel the all Chinese atmosphere around with the lanterns and typical Oriental-style trinkets and souvenirs around, but to also witness a huge Hindu temple and the oldest masjid in Singapore was another wonder for me.

After visiting the Masjid Jamae Chulia, the cravings for good lunch started to kick in and looking at TAJ on the intersection of Mosque Street with all the halal food offerings suddenly draw us in further.

Entering TAJ was probably the best decision we ever made in Singapore. Although at one point we were unsure of the price since there’s no menu around to be seen, but the owner ensured us indirectly with words such as “halal” and “affordable”. Now becoming surer than ever, we ordered another good deal of nasi biryani with lamb curry for my wife and two huge garlic naan for me.

While we were waiting, we looked around and see how underrated this place is since no one was there yet perhaps or we were too early. TAJ is clean, air-conditioned, neat, and very strategic. We were about to taste their Northern Indian offerings in a minute but I felt already comfortable with everything.

It’s probably because the food is presented like in a canteen and you can choose anything you want from what we always order in Singapore to tandoori, dal, and other good looking Indian food.

Not long, the food started to come and we dug in heartily. It was really good! After all, I slightly preferred this over Mufiz, perhaps because TAJ is air-conditioned and made it more comfortable for us to stay and dine.

The naan was also exceptionally delicious. We thought that it was too much for both of us but we managed to finish everything, squeaky clean. Lastly, the big surprise was that everything only cost around USD 15!

We would be very happy to visit TAJ some other time because of everything that we had experienced. However, it would be better if we scour Singapore for another interesting Middle Eastern and Indian eateries somewhere else. Let’s find somewhere else that could beat TAJ (or perhaps none in the end?).

Let’s find out about it!

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TAJ
Halal-friendly
Some dishes are suitable for vegetarians

Address:
214 South Bridge Road (on the corner of Mosque St.), Singapore
T: +65 6226 6020

Opening hours: Mon – Sat, 11.30am – 8pm

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