Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chinese Garden and StraitsKitchen

Yesterday after lunch I decided to venture out in search of a garden centre in our vicinity. I love houseplants and wanted to buy a few to liven up the decor in our apartment a little. I ended up taking a slight detour to the Chinese Garden where I discovered an amazing koi pond full of fish.

Koi fish in the Chinese Garden

I also paid a visit to the Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum, which is within the walls of the Chinese Garden as well. They boast over 50 types of turtles and tortoises, some of which are scary looking like the snake turtle (right), or goofy like the pig nosed turtle.

It cost me S$5, which I think was a bit overpriced. I feel sorry for the poor turtles and tortoises that are cooped up in cages, although the lady working there assured me they took them out every so often to swim or run around. I doubt they ever take the guy below out of his cage on account of his being so mean. Don't be fooled by his friendly grin. Is he wearing lipstick?

After my adventures in the Chinese Garden I got all dolled up and went to meet Julius for a work dinner at the Grant Hyatt Hotel, right off the famous shopping street called Orchard Road. The restaurant was a fancy buffet-style place called Straits Kitchen.

Singapore is known for it's marketplace style dining where hawkers make and sell their own food. StraitsKitchen is a more up-scale hawkers food court in a restaurant setting with top-notch renditions of local favorites. You go and grab what you want, but there are also servers who wait on you hand and foot. For the buffet dinner it was S$52 per person (£26/$42/32). I would definitely go there again. The chicken rice (boiled chicken with rice cooked in chicken broth) was so flavorful and tender, it was absolutely to die for.

I have never before in my life seen so many extraordinary tropical fruits. My favorite was the mangosteen. It almost looks like a fake fruit from a Mario Bros video game. Once you've opened it by pulling it apart with your hands, you eat the little white fruits that look like garlic cloves! It is so sweet and so delicious. If you buy them you have to eat them the same day or keep them in the fridge to avoid instantly attracting a bunch of ants. It probably doesn't ship very well, which is why it's not readily available to purchase in the US or Europe (as far as I know).

Posing with Mangosteens: Julius is holding one that has been cut open so you can see the fruit inside 

Another highlight of the evening was Julius tasting durian ice cream. Durian is a very stinky fruit, and to most westerners it smells and tastes horrible, like rotting meat or cheese, but Singaporeans and especially kids go crazy for it! Julius didn't seem to like it much.

Julius tasting durian ice cream

Group picture! It was fantastic evening full excellent food and lively conversation. Thank you!


  1. Durian is really stinky. I would describe it as a mix between a stinky shirt you use to go to the gym and never wash mixed with a hint of milk that you forgot in the back of the fridge before going on vacation and is so disgusting it even has little milk chunks. SO imagine all this together condensed into an ice-cream scoop. Brrrrrrr

    1. Congratulations for at least giving it a try! Now you know.

  2. That's a great picture of all the koi fish!

  3. Hi, Kelly! I found your blog! So, I'll write you my comment about Turtle. OMG!!! That turtle is so terrible!!! and scary!!! I didn't say something!!! ahaha~. I saw that turtle picture then I remember you draw a turtle on the white board in LASC. :) Why were you draw a turtle??? :) Enjoy stay in there! Have a good day! Mutsumi.

    1. Hi Mutsumi! Nice to hear from you! Hope you're enjoying your studies in CA. I knew you loved turtles, so I drew that turtle on the white board for you! But as you can see, not all turtles are nice and cute. That snake turtle is a scary story! ;)