spunktitud3

Musings on Travel, Fashion & Fun


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LeeSsang 1st Asia Showcase

LeeSsang - 1st Asia ShowcaseI recently caught hip hop duo Leessang’s first Asia showcase at Shanghai Dolly in Clarke Quay with oppa Darren. While both members are more recognized for their participation in Korean variety programs Infinite Challenge (Gill) and the wildly popular Running Man (Gary), Leessang has produced 8 albums with at least one #1 hit in each.

LeeSsang - 1st Asia Showcase

Gary & Gill!

LeeSsang - 1st Asia Showcase

Kang Hee-gun or more affectionately know as Gary in SBS’s Running Man. He is also the group’s rapper and writes the lyrics for their songs.

LeeSsang - 1st Asia Showcase

Judging from the music showcase, he’s quite the ladies’ man with his honeyed-tongue too ;)

LeeSsang - 1st Asia Showcase

LeeSsang - 1st Asia Showcase

Gil Seong-joon (Gill) the husky vocalist of the group

LeeSsang - 1st Asia Showcase

LeeSsang - 1st Asia Showcase

Even without saccharine looks nor addictive dance moves, LeeSsang does know how to work up a crowd

LeeSsang - 1st Asia Showcase

She must be the happiest fan that day
Gary gamely played “Pepero” with this lucky fan, a game where both bite on a cookie stick to see how long before they stop (for modesty’s sake). Gill naughtily pushed Gary’s head forward, much to the fan’s delight. Even the emcee was captivated.

LeeSsang - 1st Asia Showcase

17 years of friendship and showmanship honed from participation in variety programs showed in their comfortable interaction with each other – and crazy antics. Towards the end of the music showcase, they gave each other a splashing good time – by downing each other with bottles of water.

LeeSsang - 1st Asia Showcase

I was quite sure the fans thoroughly enjoyed the entertaining, albeit short, music showcase. Cos’ they refused to leave after the showcase has ended, not even when the host repeatedly announced that there were no more encores. They only left after Gary and Gill personally came out to thank them for their support. I have never seen anything like this LOL. I’m sure they will be looking forward to Gary coming back next Feb to promote his new album.

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Yam’s Village Dim Sum Restaurant

Yams-Village
I can never get enough of dim sum. Unfortunately, it is usually available only during breakfast or lunch. So you can imagine my glee when I discovered  Yam’s Village at Downtown East – now I can have reasonably-priced dim sum anytime – even during dinner.
Crispy BBQ Pork Buns $3.50

Yams-Village
The dim sum restaurant is an offshoot of Yam’s Kitchen located at E-Hub which is popular with the nearby residents. The restaurant is helmed by Kelvin Yam, who won gold at the International Young Chef competition 2011 in China.

Yam's Dim Sum Village

Yams-Village
Egg Tarts

Yams-Village
The steamed chicken claws with black truffle oil ($2.80) was pretty good.

Yams-Village
I don’t touch glutinous rice. But I couldn’t resist this Lor Mai Kai ($2.80). The sausage was lean and rice flavourful, and the small portion convinced me that I wasn’t ingesting too much carbs, hurhur.

Yam's Dim Sum Village
The mini Yuan  Yang Dumplings ($3.80) were just what I was craving for – carb-guilt in mini portions!

Yams-VillageIn addition to dim sum, the restaurant also serves a pretty decent Klang-style bak kut teh ($8.80) chockful of pork ribs, pig intestines, beancurd sticks and golden mushrooms. It’s a great choice for a one-dish meal.

Yam's Dim Sum VillageThe meatball congee with century egg ($5.80) was passable. I felt it didn’t have enough texture.

Yam’s Village is a nice casual eating place for family outings or simple gatherings, and not too crowded for now. The service can be a little slow, but the pleasant service staff make up for the slight wait. It’s also nice to see the chefs making your dim sum at the open kitchen. I’ll be going back to try more dishes, and adding on photos to this post. So check back often :)

Yam’s Village Dim Sum Restaurant

1 Pasir Ris Close
#01-35 Downtown East
Singapore 519599
Tel: 6584 6678
Opening Hours: Mon to Fri – 10:00AM to 10:00PM; Sat & Sun – 10:00AM to 10:30PM


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Penang – Air Itam’s Nostalgic Eats: Lim Sister’s Curry Mee & Pasar Air Itam Laksa

Air-Itam-Penang-Eats-02What’s capturing Darren’s undivided attention underneath a makeshift tent? Don’t let your thoughts run wild… :)

Air-Itam-Penang-Eats-03

On our way to Kek Lok Si temple, we passed by the little town of Air Itam located at the foot of the hill.

Air-Itam-Penang-Eats-04

We took the opportunity to search for a gastronomic legend which has been bubbling under the same tree for the past 60 years.

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Air Itam’s famous Lim Sisters Curry Mee (Noodles)

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The Lim sisters, Lim Kooi Heang & Lim Kooi Lai (both in their eighties), have been selling their signature Penang style curry mee for over 60 years under the same tree. The broth is simmered over a charcoal stove, and the stall is basically set out on the ground with pots of noodles and ingredients placed around them. It would be my first time eating from such an interesting makeshift stall. And I simply can’t imagine spending my life sitting on a stool cooking curry noodles. I admire the sisters for the pride in their craft, and determination to cook a bowl of curry noodles for anyone who is interested to try their 1950s version of the famous Penang dish…for as long as they can.

Air-Itam-Penang-Eats-01

Eat a bowl of 1950s Penang

Air-Itam-Penang-Eats-07

Basically no-frills, you order the noodles and eat it on one of the tiny stools littered around the stall, or bring it to the coffee stall opposite for a proper table (do order something from the coffee stall, and there’s only coffee & tea, no carbonated drinks).

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Darren looks pretty happy with his curry noodles (RM4)

Air-Itam-Penang-Eats-07a

Digging the retro porcelain bowl and wooden black chopsticks… I seem to have stepped back in time
A mixture of thick yellow Hokkien noodles with vermicelli topped with beansprouts, beancurd puffs and coagulated pig’s blood pudding (we opted not to add this), the star ingredient for me would be the saltish dried brown squid strips which blended so well with the light curry base. Don’t forget to mix in a spoonful of the sisters’ homemade chilli paste for that extra oomph.

Air-Itam-Penang-Eats-08

The elder Lim sister (in red) taking a break. Years of sitting huddled over their stall has resulted in a hunchback.
Despite the physical conditions, I am touched by the 2 sisters’ cheerful demeanour, never loosing their cool despite the flurry of customers and sitting for hours in front of a burning curry cauldron. They are chatty and patient with curious tourists armed with cameras – like me. I am humbled by their attitude in life, and I promised myself never to complain about not having air-con ever again, nor  recklessly lose my temper. I never knew a bowl of curry noodles could bring out so much emotion in me.

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Do have a bowl of curry noodles and say hello to the affable Lim sisters the next time you are in Penang. They are just located under the big tree along a row of wooden shacks lining the small side road.
The elder Lim complains the big tree has recently being trimmed, hence having to put up numerous blankets and towels in front of the stall to block out the scorching sunlight. I hope the tree would have sprouted new leaves to shelter the jolly sisters when I next visit.

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Opposite the road from the Lim Sisters curry noodles is the Air Itam market housing more street eats waiting to be discovered

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We took the opportunity to try the famous Pasar Air Itam Laksa

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This was one of the better Penang eats (RM4) we had
You can order your laksa and have it delivered to the soya bean shop opposite the road for a comfortable eat. Talk about a win-win partnership – offer your shop’s seating to the town’s most popular stall, and customers will order your drinks in return. Clever indeed.

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I liked the spongy texture of the thick rice noodles – which was melt-in-your-mouth, and the thick mackerel (ikan kembung) broth was well complemented with the sourness of the assam (tamarind) and Penang’s prawn paste.

Air-Itam-Penang-Eats-14

You can take Rapid Penang Bus 201, 202, 203, 204 and 206 to go to Ayer Itam Market. Which I will the next time I visit Penang :)

Lim Sisters Curry Mee
Address: Jalan Air Hitam, Pekan Ayer Itam, 11500 Pulau Pinang
Right after the Ayer Itam Bridge (side road leading up to Chinese Methodist Church)
GPS Coordinates: N5 24.020  E100 16.695
Business Hours: Mon – Sun 8:00AM to 1:00PM (except during Chinese festive holidays)
Facebook (yes they are on social media!): https://www.facebook.com/currymeesister

Pasar Air Itam Laksa
Address: Air Itam Market (Jalan Pasar), Air Itam, Penang 11500
Opening Hours: Mon- Sun 11:15AM – 7:30PM


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Penang – An Alternative Guide to George Town’s Street Art

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

My Facebook page has been flooded with photos of George Town’s street art for this entire year. Curiosity stoked, Darren and I decided it was time for us to do our own interpretations of George Town’s famous street art. You can be sure they will be quite atypical ;)

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Best way to go on a street art trail – rent a bicycle. We got ours for only RM8 for an entire day!

It was only recently that Penang’s street art stared to generate quite a buzz on social networks from Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic’s series of murals painted during Mirrors George Town for George Town Festival 2012. What is not widely-known is that the seed to plant art in George Town started back in 2009 when Kuala Lumpur-based art company Sculpture at Work won the Penang state government’s commissioned art challenge ‘Marking George Town: An Idea Competition for UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sculpture at Work proposed to tell stories of Penang inspired by their residents and culture through 52 steel rod caricatures place all over George Town. Together with the wall murals, they caught the world’s attention and tourists started flocking to Penang for another reason – other than its food.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Every Penangnite wants a piece of the tourism business. Shops such as this clothing store rent out bicycles to tourists, and have their own ‘street art’ outside their shops to attract business.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Here we go on our street art exploration!

First, to find the famous murals painted by Ernest Zacharevic…

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

The Trishaw
Jalan Penang
When Darren stopped in front, I kept asking “Where? Where?” Until I raised up my head. Silly me.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Kungfu Girl (no, not the one in sunglasses)
Lebuh Muntri

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Boy on Chair
Lebuh Cannon

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

When visiting during weekends, be prepared to queue for your turn to take a photo

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Little Children on a Bicycle (yes, all 3 children)
Lebuh Armenian
This would easily be the most popular mural of his series

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Cycling – a great way to see the city. Do it together on a double bike!

While Ernest Zacharevic started the street art faze, other Malaysian artists have also started to leave their mark around the heritage town, such as 101 Lost Kittens.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Skippy to Penang for animal awareness (by 101 Lost Kittens)
Gat Lebuh Armenian

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

It looks like the cat and the rat have been painted by two different artists. The one who drew the rat obviously has a wry sense of humour!

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Love me like your fortune cat
Gat Lebuh Armenian

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

While we usually back away if we see people gathering in back lanes, in Penang we go towards it. Because there’s likely to be a street mural.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

The real Bruce Lee would never do this
Lebuh Ah Quee

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

I can help catch rats
Lebuh Armenian

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Scent-sational
Not much is known about this unnamed artist. I sure had a good time with this mural!

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Rob me Rob me – no money, got honey!

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Art defaced
This used to be half the face of a Chinese opera singer, and half skeleton. It has since been destroyed. Many people ask the question – what if street art gets vandalized? I think it’s is just part of its natural evolution; created from inspiration, added on to over time, faded with memories and then something new will sprout up signifying the rebirth of yet another cultural expression.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Magic
Lebuh Armenian
Super vainpot :D

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Grandma & Grandson
Entrance of Chew Jetty

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Lebuh Armenian

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Lion dance mural found outside a shop

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Peek-a-boo!

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Minion Invasion. They are everywhere in the streets.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Minions
Lorong Soo Hong

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Fatt Choy Minion?

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Stylo-mylo

Did you know the streets of George Town were named after its trades, people and events? Learn about how each street got its name through the 52 steel rod sculptures placed all over the city which were inspired by Penangites going about their daily chores.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Procession
Lebuh Armenian
The Tua Pek Kong Hneoh Grand Float Procession is held in the Year of the Tiger to wash away bad luck and bring great wealth and health.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Cannon Hole
Lebuh Cannon
A cannon shot fired during the 1867 Penang Riots made a large hole in this area, hence the name.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Quiet Please
Lebuh Gereja
To the dismay of parishioners of the Portugese church there, Church Street also housed the headquarters of the notorious Ghee Hin secret society.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Ah Quee?
Lebuh Ah Quee
The street is named after Kapitan Chung Keng Kwee who generously donated this house to the Municipality for vehicular access, ensuring that his name lives on for posterity.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Budget Hotels
Lebuh Chulia
At the turn of the last century, many shophouses were turned into cheap hotels, making this internationally-known tourist strip very popular with backpackers.

My favourites happen to be drawn by a young non-commissioned Malaysian artist Louis Gan:

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Two children playing basketball
Lebuh Gat Chulia
Very cute shot, and an extremely happy family.

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Brother and sister on a swing
Lebuh Gat Chulia
Louis depicts childhood in Penang through a mural of a brother and sister balancing on a swing

Penang - Street Art in Georgetown

Unleasing the Inner Child in me

I think it’s a wonderful idea and meaningful art/heritage trail for every visitor to Penang to embark on. I enjoyed my ride on wheels around the city, venturing along small laneways and hidden alleys in search of art. And Darren’s company was icing on the cake – he was great with the map and way -finding!

Street Art Maps
Street Art Map
Best map I have seen from Timeout Penang
Learn more about the 52 steel rod sculptures
Mural Map iphone app

You will not need to print the maps out; simply get a street art brochure when you arrive at the airport or from your hotel. Have fun :)

Read more about Penang
Penang – Made In Penang Interactive Museum 美因槟廊


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Hermès Games 2013: Ready, Get Set, Go!

Hermes Games 2013

I attended the Hermès Games event during Thanksgiving at the former International American School, and it was easily one of the most fun events I went to this year. And – I got a mini work-out in the process :)

Trivia: Evidence of Hermès’ attention to detail – the entire ceiling was done up just for this event – because the original ceiling looked too worn-down.

Hermès Games

Welcome to the Hermès Games!
All the sporting games which you are about to experience are familiar activities, done with an interesting twist.

Hermès Games

Hula Hoops wrapped in the patterns of Hermès famed scarves

Hermès Games

Glam Snakes & Ladders

Hermès Games

Everyone got a bit of the action

Hermès Games

Fancy a hopscotch on Hermès scarves?
Your mother would probably kill you if you did this at home with her scarves.

Hermès Games

Another use for your scarves – as an exercise equipment! Ingenious.

Hermès Games

Luxe tag team action
How I wish I could cart so many boxes from the boutique…that would be a happy Christmas :)

Hermès Games

Claiming the champion pedestal

Hermès Games

A Threesome Game…of badminton
This must be the most high-class game of badminton I have ever seen – with a glass of champagne in hand lol

Hermès Games

Fancy a double Dutch?
The girls were really cute and good, and I felt like Humpty Dumpty skipping with them

Hermès Games

Hermès Games

Tug of War

Hermès Games

Julian (he’s my elementary schoolmate!) & I did some horse-racing – with horses made up of broomsticks

Hermès Games

After all the body work-out, it was time to work-out our mouths – food!

Hermès Games

Very interesting stalls offering a varied menu

Hermès Games

Hermès Games

This was Julian’s favourite – char siew bao (BBQ pork bun) with a twist

Hermès Games

Flattened char siew bao toast with a layer of cheese added
I like the crispy texture

Hermès Games

Even the beverages were so interesting…gotta try making them at home

Hermès Games

Very artistic-looking dessert, couldn’t bear to put them in my mouth

Hermès Games

Cheers!

Hermès Games

Moving on to the indoor games area…

Hermès Games

Victory! Can you sense the girls’ elation? :)

Hermès Games

Throw the Hermes ball into the wastepaper basket
Not as easy as it looks. I kept throwing at the cute guy standing behind instead. Poor thing.

Hermès Games

Throw the rings into the sticks
I totally sucked at this. I only managed to get 1 ring in out of TEN.

Hermès Games

A luxe version of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey

Hermès Games

Topple the Hermès boxes!
In other instances, I would say you are crrrazzzy

Hermes Games

You have played ping pong, now be introduced to zing zong – played in stye with Hermès bats!

Hermès Games

Fancy some Hermès boxing gloves?
I think I would be too scared of spoiling the gloves to hit.

Hermès Games

Everyone got to try out a scarf and take a photo with it

Hermès Games

I’m a medallion winner at the Hermès Games!

Hermès Games

Hermès Games

It was a awesome end to the fab night, I enjoyed every bit of the event!