Thursday, March 20, 2008

Guess who came to market...

The Straits Times
March 20, 2008

IT WAS not the usual request of visiting VIPs. But Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej asked to see the Tiong Bahru wet market and dropped in yesterday morning.

Here on an official visit, he is an accomplished chef and used to host a popular TV cooking show. And he clearly knew his stuff.

'Oh yes, this one, it is also the most expensive fish in Thailand,' he said, pointing to the giant ikan kurau, or threadfin.

He spent an hour touring the market and chatting with stallholders, accompanied by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Swee Say and National Environment Agency chief executive Lee Yuen Hee.

Fruitseller Yao Caiping, 38, said he gave her some tips on storing mangoes. 'He is very friendly, not as serious as we see him on TV,' she said.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Reason

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Trishaw Man

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.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Here we go again!!!!

Georg S said...
After having finished the surface a week ago I suddenly heard the noise of drilling again yesterday and was shocked to see the entire path converted to rubble this morning. I went down to ask the workers what was going on and they said "Bad cement, bad cement". Well, at least they seem to fix their mistakes right away

Today : The tractor drilling into the newly surfaced pavements

Concrete Mixer transferring "GOOD CEMENT" for resurfacing the pavements

Hopefully this part (in between Blk 35 & 37 Lim Liak Street) is made from GOOD CEMENT

Perhaps BAD CEMENT was the reason why this part of the work was stalled for 2 days...I kept thinking the weather was responsible.

Tiong Bahru Hokkien Prawn Noodles

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.

So Guan Chuan

Guan Chuan Street within the Tiong Bahru Estate was named after So Guan Chuan.

Guan Chuan was a merchant in the 19th century Singapore.

Little was known about him, other than the fact that he was elected a member of the Singapore Chamber of Commerce in 1837.

The chamber then had only a few Chinese merchants as members.

He was also a founder member of the Qing De Hui and he contributed generously to the building funds for the construction of the Tian Fu Gong in Telok Ayer Street.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

TBone Steakhouse Cafe

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
Tel: 6220-2927
Copyright ©2007
Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

New "Enhancement"

This rustic laid back image has been erased forever.

For the whole of last week, I was wondering why there were so much hacking and drilling activities and I thought a new neighbour was renovating their place.

It was only when I was walking to the Tiong Bahru Market that I spotted some workers along this pavement. I thought they were repairing the drains or just doing some resurfacing of the walkways as there were some cracks along the pavement.

Perhaps someone complained about those cracks as it made roller blading a little bit more challenging.

Anyway, I walked off thinking that it was just some routine maintenance undertaken by the Tanjong Pagar Town Council who responded to some of the resident's frivolous request.
Saw this yesterday while on the way to Eng Watt Street. So not only did the town council made this pavement a better place to roller blade, they made it a nicer place to roller blade as well!

I hope this "enhancement" will quell all talks about this place being en-bloc in the near future.

By the way, I do not know how to roller blade and I am hoping to learn it someday. Yes, someday.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Zebra Crossings

This is the lone pedestrian crossing in the whole of the Tiong Bahru Estate! And we don’t have any traffic lights here.

This zebra crossing is located along Chay Yan Street, where it used to serve the students of Tiong Bahru Primary School. I still remember the lollipop man who was dressed in a white coat helping us crossed the roads safely.

But since the school closed down in the 1990s, this crossing is quite redundant. It now serves cyclist who park their rusty bicycles at the bicycle stand there and some dog owners who bring their pets there to poo-poo.

But then again, traffic is so low, there isn’t a need to use them at all. In fact I felt very sheepish when a car stopped for me to cross while I was trying to snap a picture of this zebra crossing from various angles. I think that driver who stopped for me must be rather surprised that I used that crossing this morning....because it really leads to nowhere. Maybe I went for a leak amongst the trees, he must have thought. Hahah.

Today’s blog was inspired by today’s Sunday Time “Watch out! Everyone's jaywalking”.