Archive for the ‘People’ Category

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The Reason

March 19, 2008
Early this morning, the current Thai prime minister, Mr Samak Sundaravej, dropped in for a visit.

I wasn’t there when it happened.

Anyway, this signage made it crystal clear why there were so much “touch-up” painting activities going on for the last whole week.

And I thought it was some routine maintenance.

So if you want to experience how Tiong Bahru Market was like when it 1st opened about a year and a half ago, today would be a good day.

And when you visit the market, please take care of the place as we do not want to depend on such VIP visits to look fresh and clean.

Mr Samak Sundaravej’s trip to Singapore was not just about official business. The Thai leader had requested a taste of Singapore’s food culture, and got that when he toured the Tiong Bahru market. And he proved to be quite a food-lover too! Mr Samak said, “My favourite (dish) is fried rice, we call it ‘fried rice, governor style’. But now I am not the governor anymore, I call it ‘fried rice, ex-governor style!'”

excerpt from ChannelNewsAsia, 19th March 2008

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Trishaw Man

March 18, 2008

I was pleasantly surprised during my “early” morning stroll today.

As I stepped off the escalators within the Tiong Bahru Market, happily sipping my coffee, I spotted this trishaw man resting in his “sar leng chia”. (It means a 3-wheeled vehicle in Hokkien).

He is resting in the exact spot where many of his “KAKIS” (Buddies) used to hang out.

In the distant past (in the 1970s), a dozen of them could be found here in the mornings and many uncles and aunties would use them to get around. Some of my classmates even travelled to school in them.

My grandma, on days when she needed to get to Neil Road to visit her relatives, would bring my brother and me to board a trishaw at the exact spot where this guy is sitting. (She only rides the trishaw when she won money in the “Chap Ji Kee”, otherwise, it would be leg power.)

I could still remember the trishaw man pedalling tirelessly through the “SI PAI POR” compound to get us to Neil Road.

Now that I am much heavier, I don’t think this guy would be interested to help me ride down memory lane today. So I just took some pictures (secretly) and carried on with my stroll.

Doing some online research on Trishaws in Singapore (History of Trishaw), I found out that Trishaw became popular back then because petrol was not readily available.

With the petrol prices hitting the roof, maybe, we will see more of these “uncles” around.
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Tiong Bahru Hokkien Prawn Noodles

March 13, 2008

Extracted from
The Tanjong Pagar Town Council’s WINDOW

Number 48 (February 2008)

This stall is located ar #02-50 within the Tiong Bahru Food Centre.

Mr Soh Chuan Siew runs the stall with his wife.

He’s the 3rd generation in his family to sell prawn noodles.

When he came from China, his grandfather sold them from a pushcart here – for 30 cents per bowl!

He taught his son who used to sell them at $1.20 a bowl in the eighties.

Now Mr Soh sells the same great prawn noodles for $3 a bowl.

But he also sells a smaller serving for $2 – and that’s what most people buy.

“We’ve had customers in Tiong Bahru since 1951.

We are well-known.”

The noodles are perfect, the soup rich and tasty, and the prawns are so fresh you expect them to swim to the bottom of the bowl!

Open 6am to 2pm, closed on Mondays

Additional picture from my computer

Mr Soh Chuan Siew’s father, who operated the “HEY MEE” stall at the original Tiong Bahru Market in the 1980s.

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TBone Steakhouse Cafe

March 12, 2008

The Business Times

Wine, Dine & Unwind
Dec 01, 2007
By Geoffrey Eu

It may be the new kid on the block, but it looks like it’s ready to stay awhile.
A trendy steakhouse in sleepy Tiong Bahru may not be the most outrageous culinary concept in the world – but it comes close. And that’s not all – if you haven’t heard of the One-Concepts group, chances are you might be visiting, uh, one of their outlets sometime soon. In addition to the recently opened Tbone, which takes up two shop lots just down the road from Tiong Bahru market, One-Concepts is planning a virtual onslaught of outlets in the near future.

Next up is Riverone bar and restaurant by Robertson Quay, followed next year by Unopuro, an Italian trattoria-style place, and Soi One, both also along the river. There will also be sister restaurants, cafes and bars in Bali and a catering company, One Private Dining. The entire brand exercise will be capped off by the arrival of a 60-metre luxury schooner that is being built in Kalimantan.

The man behind One-Concepts is Adrian Hobbs, a Bali- and Hong Kong-based concert promoter who has big plans to grab a slice of the burgeoning lifestyle market, or as he calls it, the luxury market. ‘I’ve been doing entertainment for years and I’ve also had a passion for food,’ says Hobbs. ‘When I looked at places like St James (Power Station) and Ministry of Sound, I decided to get into the lifestyle business, but I wanted to take it one step further and get into the luxury business.’

Hobbs has kept a low profile here since 2004, when he was involved in a dispute involving a cancelled Jose Carreras concert at The Padang. He looks to be making a comeback of sorts in a related field. ‘Tiong Bahru is the last location in Singapore that is Central Downtown,’ he says. ‘I wanted a British-style steakhouse that could serve the locals and the expat community as well. Tbone is very casual – we’re trying to do a total fresh food style, very much like what you would get in Australia.’

He adds: ‘It’s a two- or three-year market sentiment play – I just felt that this is the right time and I didn’t want to miss the boat.’

The menu at Tbone runs the gamut from a 520g T-bone wagyu steak ($110) and a more moderate Black Angus tenderloin ($45) to burger, fish & chip and steak & cheese pie options. There’s also a beef rendang dish, courtesy of the Indonesian-born chef who came here by way of New Zealand. Tbone may be the new kid on the block, but it looks like it’s ready to stay awhile.


TBone Steakhouse Cafe
42 Eng Hoon Street
(S)169785
Tel: 6220-2927
Copyright ©2007
Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.

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TIONG BAHRU WALKING TOUR – SUN 24 FEB 2008

February 19, 2008

Here’s an opportunity not to be missed!

Heritage Guide, Geraldine, will be conducting a tour this weekend (24th Feb 2008) from 9:30am to approximately 12:30pm.

If you are keen, please give Geraldine a call at +(65)6737-5250 or +(65) 8155-1390.

Cost per person is SGD$30/=

The following is what you could be expecting from the tour :

Heritage Guide Geraldine will start the tour with a short talk of the history of the area and Cheong Hong Lim, the donor of the most amazing Geok Hong Tian Temple 1887.

The group would be able to witness devotees celebrating the birthday of the Jade Emperor & the Monkey God which happens around the ” Chap Go Mei” – first full moon after Chinese New Year.

The walk will bring the group past some interesting trees and also the grave of a well-known philanthropist, Mr Tan Tock Seng, founder of 4 hospitals in Singapore!

The group will stop to have refreshments near the famous Singing Bird corner that was once a Tiong Bahru Landmark. The bird corner is closed temporarily but we all hope it would be back in a jiffy!

Along the way, the group will also check out the best local cake shop and the new Tiong Bahru Market whilst walking through some of the 1930’s Art Deco block of flats.

The tour will end with a visit to Eng Hoon Street to observe the Monkey God’s birthday celebrations and to hear about the rituals & customs that are practiced there.

After which the group can have lunch at the numerous eating places nearby.

If you are interested to join this tour, pick up the phone and call or SMS Geraldine now. Don’t procrastinate.

______________________________________________________

Acknowledgement

Many thanks to Kelvin Ang and Melvyn Wong for forwarding the email for this event to me.

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Interesting Shops in Tiong Bahru

November 8, 2007
The Straits Times – Urban Section
8 November 2007
Tan Hsueh Yun
LE BON APPETIT

MARCHE CACHE: Shirley Tang and Stephane Herve invite you to sample their wares, like the Emmanuelle Baillard juices and nectars and the clementines in vanilla syrup.

With so many gourmet shops popping up all over the island – selling meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruit and gourmet groceries – it is quite possible to do like chi-chi Europeans do and patronise only small shops.

The latest one to open has all the fixings for dinner and then some.

At three-week-old Le Bon Marche in Tiong Bahru, you can get some plump chicken, luscious San Marzano tomatoes on the vine, French cheeses, anchovies from Barcelona and premium smoked salmon – champagne-glazed no less – from French brand Labeyrie.
Soon, there will be Donegal oysters from Ireland.

The shop is run by Stephane Herve, 37, who was a chef at various restaurants and a food division manager at gourmet chain Culina.

He and his wife Shirley Tang, also 37, provide the kind of friendly, knowledgeable service lacking in Singapore.

Try some nectarine juice, they’ll say. Want a taste of anchovies? How about some cheese?

Shopping here is such a pleasure, with new things to discover on every shelf.

I highly recommend the Emmanuelle Baillard juices and nectars.

Emmanuelle Baillard juices and nectars

For people who don’t want to drink wine with dinner but want something more exciting than water, try the Chardonnay grape juice ($6.50 for a 250ml bottle).

It is pressed from the same type of grapes used to make the wine and the non-alcoholic juice has a light, floral scent that’s quite irresistible.

The raspberry nectar ($6.90 for a 250ml bottle) has a deep berry flavour which makes it a great cocktail mixer.

I also like the clementines in vanilla syrup ($13.50 for a 150g jar).

Clementines in vanilla syrup

The slices of small mandarin oranges taste so tangy and fresh on buttered toast.

Or use them to top a lemon curd tartlet.

If you like gingerbread, pick up some Mulot & Petitjean gingerbread with apricot ($21 for a 200g box).

The little round cakes are lightly and aromatically spiced.

Bite through the thin shell of cake and the decadent apricot jam starts spilling out.

Tiong Bahru has always been a magnet because of its old-style architecture and the great food served in atmospheric coffee shops.

Herve says it was this charm that drew them to the neighbourhood. I’m hoping they stay a while.

hsueh@sph.com.sg

Le Bon Marche, 78 Guan Chuan Street, 01-41, tel: 6226-3269. Opening hours: 10am to 7.30pm (Mondays to Saturdays), 11am to 5pm (Sundays). Closed on Wednesdays.

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Interesting Shops in Tiong Bahru

November 8, 2007

The Straits Times – Urban Section
8 November 2007

Tan Hsueh Yun

PS OF HEAVEN


Right next door to Le Bon Marche is a cake shop with a screaming pink and white sign.

Walk into Centre Ps (pronounced centrepiece), and you’ll find another very pink wall.

I’ve never been so glad to see dark brown from the dark chocolate used in the rather fancy-looking cakes in the display case.

They are the creations of pastry chef Steven Ong, 39 (above), who is letting his imagination run wild and free after leaving the hotel industry, where he’s worked for 20 years.


The unfettering was a good thing too. D’Tanjung Katong ($7 a slice), named after another old, charming area of Singapore that he likes, has a dark chocolate ganache and sweet, chunky bananas in between layers of coconut dacquoise.

I like how the bananas still have bite and provide a sweet counterpoint to the dark chocolate.

The cake sounds terribly rich, but it isn’t.

Dark chocolate fans should try the Grand Cru Royale ($7 a slice) – a deeply chocolatey cake on a crunchy hazelnut base.

I’ve eaten more ethereal macarons ($18 for a box of 18) but I am going back for the chocolate and cafe creme ones.

The violet one, in a bright blue hue, is fantastic.

Ong says he’s happy to customise cakes for his customers.

He also has a terrific sugee cake, made originally for a resident in the neighbourhood who used to go to the East Coast to satisfy her craving.

I had a taste of one of these cakes warm from the oven, and it was a springy, buttery thing.

Soon, the shop will also offer quiches, pies and pissaladiere, a Provencal-style pizza topped with caramelised onions, olives and anchovies.

hsueh@sph.com.sg

Centre Ps, 78 Guan Chuan Street, 01-43, tel: 6220-1285. Opening hours: 10am to 8pm (Mondays to Thursdays), 10am to 9pm (Fridays and Saturdays).