Archive for December, 2007


Post War Classic – Cars

December 11, 2007

I was walking around Seng Poh Lane last Saturday and I spotted this beauty.

I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures.

I think the owner had come all the way to Tiong Bahru to get the car seats restored.

If you are unaware, there is a shop at block 60 Seng Poh Lane that can restore all type of cushion seats.

If you have some antique looking chairs that needed restoration, this shop can be a great help to you.

I’ve never used the services of this shop as I’m a “buy and throw” away kinda person.

The only encounter I had here was back in the eighties when my 3rd uncle bought a brand new Mitsubishi Lancer.

He decided that his car seats was just too plain looking to impress and so he had his car seat re-done up here.

I couldn’t understand why he chose to cover his seats with the “furry furry” type of materials.

The loose “furs” kept getting into my mouth whenever I sat in his car.

Back then I haven’t been introduced to the word “kinky”.

Today, my 3rd uncle drives a Toyota Corolla with factory fitted leather seats…..kinda safe and boring hor?

(By the way, I had to ride in my uncle’s car every morning from Monday to Friday to help him avoid paying a levy when entering the CBD. To make up 4 people, my brother and I had to accompany him and his girlfriend into the CBD every working day. And when passing by the gantry, we have to make sure our heads are high enough to be seen!)

Those were the days where we will do anything the adults tells us to do.

Okay, back to this Merc. I was curious enough to search the Internet for some info on this car and this this what I found out :

This Merc is a Mercedes-Benz 300 and was produced from 1951 through 1958.

It is one of the most graceful and classic creations of the post-World War II era.

The style was both classic and modern and built to high standards.

They were constructed from fine materials using the latest in technology and achieving minimal weight with a high degree of strength.

For those who are interested to find out more about this rare car, you can check out CONCEPTCARZ.


Interesting Shops in Tiong Bahru

December 10, 2007
Cafe Pralet

There were many happy discoveries in the simple menu, which offers both Western and Asian favourites. Cool Chef
Thu, Dec 06, 2007
AsiaOne – Wine, Dine & Unwind
First posted in CoolChef

Cafe Pralet is the latest extension by Creative Culinare, a well known pastry and bakery school that provides baking classes and consultancy services. It is the showcase for Chef Judy Koh’s inspirations and creative talents in pastry arts and bakery.

The cafe has two dining concepts – a formal area to handle the more challenging dishes on the menu and a cozy patio for coffee, tea, pastries and nibbles. There are books on a variety of subjects, as well as wireless internet access for those who live by the net. Or one could just simply laze and watch the world go by in old Tiong Bahru.

There were many happy discoveries in the simple menu, which offers both Western and Asian favourites. The small Asian selection includes curry, ayam tempra, laksa and mee siam. There are also made-to-order sandwiches and salads, chops, pasta and fish and chips. There are also snack breads with different fillings and cookies as well as festive specialties. The pastry selection is based on Judy’s inspiration of the moment. Best of all, the prices are very reasonable, considering the ambience and quality.

The fish and chips are the best we’ve ever had in a cafe setting. Crusted with crispy buttery batter, the entire piece of white dory (or Vietnamese catfish as it should be more correctly known), took up more than half of the space of the dinner plate and required an extra serving of tartare sauce and chili sauce. More importantly the food was serving piping hot – crucial for a dish that is deep fried – and the chunky quality catfish free of any “mud taste”. Given the serving that we enjoyed, it costs less than $10 per order! An excellent value-for-money item.

My wife loved the low-calorie laksa. To meet its claim, very little (I suspect none) coconut milk used in the preparation, yet it still manages to achieve the right level of richness. The freshly chopped laksa leaves reinforce the dish’s character despite the absence of the other key element.

My mum enjoyed her Mee Siam. The sour assam-flavoured gravy had a decent pungency of fermented soya beans and was enriched with the right tinge of coconut milk, giving it a nice aroma.

When it comes to their pastries, the most celebrated piece would be Judy’s signature’s Pralet. Chocoholics will love this ganache layered piece of indulgence elegantly topped with a small piece of gold leaf. The base is supported by a crispy wafer crust and the ganache tastes of quality bitter chocolate with a nice gentle sweetness. It goes excellently with coffee or tea.

L-R: Chef Judy’s signature Pralet, brownie with rum & raisin ice-cream, and Bavarian Kirschtorte, aka Black Forest Cake.

The brownies here are much lighter on the palate and resemble a combination of moist chocolate cake and fudge, specked with chunky pieces of walnuts in between. Best of all, the home-made rum and raisin ice-cream topping this brownie will sent you on a “high” with its intense flavour.

One of my favourite sponge cakes is the Bavarian Kirschtorte or more commonly known as Black Forest Cake. Unfortunately many local chefs distort this wonderful recipe by using non dairy pastry whip, maraschino cherries, chocolate rice and an absence of any flavoured liquor. Experiencing Judy’s creation was like rediscovering a lost heritage. The whipped cream, the sour cherries, the liquor-soaked chocolate sponge and the chocolate shavings? everything was there in the right proportions.

A patisserie cannot do without a brulee hence Judy puts out a classic version for all cr?me brulee aficionados. The rich creamy custard is a steal for its price but it will be ridiculous to expect real vanilla for it. Nonetheless the custard still merits a mention for its rich and silky smooth texture. It left a very pleasant and smooth aftertaste in the tongue. I found the caramel crust a little too thick for my liking but that’s an issue that can be easily resolved.

Beside the cream based pastries, another house specialty is the Baked Guava Tart. A cross between an apple pie and an Austrian Linzer, the filling is made with a unique mix of fresh guavas and spices. A lovely crust made with crushed crackers and nuts provides the perfect contrast between crust and filling. It is great with coffee!

We cannot wait to return to Cafe Pralet for another lazy weekend afternoon sometime soon.

Cafe Pralet by Creative Culinaire
Eng Hoon Mansion #01-03/04,17
Eng Hoon Street,(S) 169767
Tel: 63241663

Coolchef is a local professional chef who cooksm blogs, educates and lives life to the fullest with his wife in Singapore. A former CIA & SHATEC alumni, accredited with the Global Chefs Advisory Board, at-Sunrice The Singapore Culinary Academy, Coolchef seeks out gastronomic experiences and picks up culinary knowledge of different cuisines from his work in different countries during the course of his career. Keen to share his knowledge and expertise, Coolchef is also a visiting Guest Chef Instructor with People’s Association.

Notice to a mysterious Cat Thrower in Tiong Bahru

December 6, 2007
Look what I saw today!
I was slotting my flyers into the letterboxes around the Post War flats within the Tiong Bahru Estate when I chanced upon this hilarious notice.
I think this is one very misunderstood cat owner.
They may have a cat but it doesn’t mean that they are ready to adopt just about any other cats.
I think whoever has been leaving kittens there must have assumed that this is a home of cat lovers.
The cat food and water……not to mention a very cosy cardboard bed lined with soft fabric are placed just outside the home.
So the “cat thrower” may have mistakenly thought that the owners would be elated with more and more kittens.
The owners must have been so cheesed off that they took the trouble to put up this notice.
Thank you Mr and Mrs One Cat Is Enough For Us, your notice certainly brighten up an otherwise gloomy and cloudy day.

I would have done the “notice” this way


Smoke Screen

December 5, 2007

I had a viewing for a Tiong Bahru Pre-War flat at 9pm tonight and the buyer was late for 20 minutes……because she could not find GUAN CHUAN STREET!!!!

Instead of apologising, she went on to complain about the bad road design and how old this estate is.

And before I even had the chance to bring her up to view the unit, she started to share with me her opinion about this place.

“Too small….no good, Face road junction….bad fengshui, Above a shop….very lousy”.

I was thinking to myself, why can’t you reserve your comments till after we have view the unit? (By the way, she has an agent representing her and the agent obviously did not screen his client properly)

And tonight’s unit was probably the worst unit to show a Tiong Bahru newbie as the place is tenanted to 18 people.

As the main door was left opened, I pop my head in to inform the tenants that I am coming in.

To my horror, 4 men were standing there with nothing but their towels and one was even walking around with a SUPERMAN coloured underwear.

I pulled my head out, stopped the agent and buyer from going in, popped my head back in to ask SUPERMAN to cover up.

So we ended up viewing the flat with 5 men with towels covering their lower halves.

The viewing ended rather quickly and the objections came fast and furious.

“Only 1 toilet….no good, too longish….waste too much space, Very Old…needs a lot of renovation, Remaining lease too short……no value. No En-Bloc potential…….bad investment”…..etc etc etc.

But despite all these objections, she pointed out some units that she would like to view and would definitely buy them if they do come onto the market.

I was puzzled. If these things irks her so much, why is she still keen? Maybe that is her way of throwing smoke screen to confuse the agents.

But I think she targeted the wrong people. If she really want to bring down the price, she has to meet up with the owners to demoralise them….not the agent.

I remain optimistic that Tiong Bahru is a great place to work, live and play and like wine, the older it gets, the more valuable it gets….something like some overused cliche OLD IS GOLD.

Sorry Auntie, you wasted your effort on the wrong person tonight.

But despite what you have commented about this place, deep down I know you like this place very much but is probably annoyed with the current price level.

But if you see things on the positive side, it is because prices has risen to this level that we are beginning to see more and more beautiful units being put up for sale.

Just a year ago when prices were so much lower, most owners were reluctant to sell their flats. But at today’s prices, owners are tempted and hence there is a wider selection for the serious buyers.

So SERIOUS buyers out there, this is the best time to check out the unit that suits you most……but you must be mentally prepared for the price. Have Fun.


See Moh Guan

December 4, 2007

See Moh Guan was born in Malacca and was the fourth son of Si Hoo Keh.

He was in the pepper and gambier business.

In 1879, he assumed chairmanship of Heng Shan Ting temple, taking it over from his father.

Mr See died in 1879.

Later, a street was name after Mr See Moh Guan.

Located within the Tiong Bahru Estate, the first Singapore Improvement Trust estate built between 1936 and 1941, this street is the address of a unique ring-shaped five-storey block of flats which used to boast a clock on its facade.

Among the older generations, Moh Guan Terrace is often referred to as Tiong Bahru Gor Lau (A Hokkien term meaning “the five-storey flat in Tiong Bahru”) in honour of the only five-storey building in Tiong Bahru.


Tan Yong Siak (1835 – 1914)

December 3, 2007

Yong Siak Street is a road between Chay Yan Street and Moh Guan Terrace.
(These are street names found within the Tiong Bahru Estate)

It was named after a Teochew merchant Tan Yong Siak (1835 – 1914).

Born in his native Zhaoan in 1835, he came to Singapore when young.

He first worked as an apprentice before becoming manager of Chop Ban Seng.

In 1863, he founded Chop Yong Hak Seng at 49 Circular Road and Ban Seng Soon at 71 Boat Quay in 1879, both dealing in Siam rice, rattan and rubber.

He was a founder member of The Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

He was a charitable man and an arbitrator.

He died in 1914, leaving behind many children and grandchildren.

Tan Jiak Ngoh was his second son.


HDB Transacted Prices

December 3, 2007