The best ice cream in Singapore


One of the things I enjoy most about Singapore is the heat… I know I know, some of you might find it unbearable…

Well, I believe that after a few days your body gets used to it and you can get to the best part of Singapore (in my opinion) : being able to wear only summer clothes, bathe in the sun, have a quick swim and… enjoy an ice cream break !!

Here are two of my favourite ice cream places in Singapore, that I discovered thanks to very good friends. In my opinion, definitely some of the best ice cream places in Singapore. Go try them out !!

1. Cold Stone Creamery

Their menu is quite impressive. But the way they prepare your ice cream is even more breathtaking. They simply scoop up the flavour you like, toss it in the air, and land it in the cup or waffle you asked for. And if you ask for a flavour with add-ons (like apple bits for instance), they will show you how they mix the ice cream with other ingredients, on a clean frozen granite stone (thus the name Cold Stone…) and you can just tell from their gestures that they are experts at it. They blend it all and create a new ice cream to fit your taste. Such a delight to watch!! Plus the staff is very friendly.

Last time, I had the “Apple Pie a la Cold Stone” and it was really good! Although a little too sweet, you could really taste the apple bits and the caramel topping was superb. I truly recommend it!!

2. The Daily Scoop

Unlike Cold Stone Creamery, the Daily Scoop has more of a small cafe feel. They are located in Clementi, but have recently opened in Holland Village too.

The great thing about Daily Scoop is that they make it a point to use super fresh ingredients and they prepare the ice cream for you in real time when you order it. And they have more than 40 flavours available, some of which are very local (like with chendol, green tea, durian or cempedak!).

When I went there I had the Lychee Martini ice cream, as recommended by a friend. Really worth your time !! Especially on a super hot day like there are many in Singapore.

What are your favourite places for ice cream in Singapore?

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More nightlife spots


When you ask people about the best bars and night clubs in Singapore, most of them will tell you to go to Clarke Quay (CQ). Of course, CQ remains a top-of-mind location for Singaporeans and Foreigners. However, there are more nightlife spots that you might want to check out.

Here are a few personal favourites:

1. Club Street

Club Street is not very far away from Chinatown. It is a small circular street where you can find many restaurants and bars worth trying out! Drinks and snacks might be a little more expensive than in Clarke Quay, but the atmosphere is more refined and relaxing, and you can also choose to go there during happy hours if you are on a budget. To me it is an ideal place to go for a drink and chill.

The best bar I can recommend is Barrio Chino. But really, you can just try any bar in the area. Club Street bars are mostly shophouses, which makes evenings there very pleasant as you can step onto the roof top for some fresh air and admire the view over Chinatown.

2. The Long Bar at Raffles Hotel

Singapore is famous for being an extremely clean city. But did you know that there is ONE place in Singapore where you are allowed to litter?

It’s the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel, where it is a custom to throw peanut shells on the floor! It’s also where the Singapore Sling was first created. Although quite pricy, the Long Bar is definitely a must-do for drinks in Singapore!!

3. Cocktail bars

If you feel like trying something a little more sophisticated, try cocktail bars! You can go to B28 on Ann Siang Road, which just recently opened not too far away from Club Street. I haven’t tried it yet but it’s definitely on my list. They also have Jazz sessions with both local and foreign musicians! Otherwise you can also go to Haji Lane and have a cocktail sip at Bar Stories, although the place is smaller.

4. More night clubs

Aside from Attica, Zirca, Rebel, Le Noir… which you can find in Clarke Quay, Singapore has more nightclubs in other areas.

Of course, Zouk is one of the most famous clubs. They have 4 different rooms and regularly have guest stars performing. And let’s not forget Mambo-Jambo night every Wednesday, where they play disco music from the 70s and 80s… Great fun! They are also very famous thanks to Zouk Out, a giant beach party organised by Zouk every year in Sentosa.

Other clubs include St John’s Power Station’s Power House, a former power station transformed in a night club, located near Harbour Front, and Butter Factory, also an icon in Singapore’s nightlife, near the Fullerton Hotel by Marina Bay (super trendy people call it “Butt Fac” !).

And you, what are your favourite nightlife spots in Singapore?

CNY 2012 in Singapore


Chinese New Year (CNY) is coming up! Although it is officially on Monday 23rd Jan this year, celebrations in Singapore begin before hand. So why not take advantage of this week-end to see as much as you can?

CNY 2012 in Singapore will include :
– streets light up in Chinatown
– lanterns and light shows along Marina Bay Reservoir
– the Sentosa flower event to celebrate the upcoming Spring
– the Chingay Parade on Feb 3rd where there will be dragon shows
– music, theatre and play performances all around time
– and of course many shopping bargains and commercial events…

You can start planning your outings here.

But for those of us who are not familiar with CNY, what is this celebration really about? Chinese New Year – also called the Spring Festival (春节— pronounced chun jie) – celebrates the end of one year (ie the Rabbit year) and the beginning of a new year (ie the Dragon year).

It is a tradition for Chinese people to gather with their families at this time of the year, enjoy good food and spend time together. In mainland China, people are usually allowed a full week of holiday, which is enough time for them to travel back home.

Homes are decorated with red paper cuttings, families thoroughly clean their houses to get rid of bad spirits and welcome good ones for the new year… and also, the elderly usually give out a little money in red envelopes to the younger members of the family. We call them 红包 (pronounced hong bao).

As this is a time of the year for peace, sharing love and gathering with your loved ones, I would like to sincerely wish you a very happy Chinese new year !!

恭喜发财
Gong Xi Fa Cai
Prosperous new year (literally : Wishing you a lot of money) 

新年快乐
Xin Nian Kuai Le
Happy New year !!

If you want to make a joke to your friends, you can tell them : 恭喜发财,红包拿来 !(pronounced : gong xi fa cai – hong bao na lai), which means “Happy New Year! Give me the red envelope!”.

English Translation:

In every avenue and street
From the mouth of everyone
The first sentence when we meet
is congratulations
Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you
Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you

The winter has come to an end
That’s really good news
The warm breeze of the spring
will wake up the earth
Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you
Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you

The heavy snow has melted
The plums are about to blossom
The endless dark night is over
We hear the crowing of a rooster
Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you
Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you

After so much difficulty
with so much discipline
So many hearts are looking forward
To the news of spring
Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you
Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you

Singapore Idol


Today I would like to share with you the Singaporean version of “American Idol”.

You know, the TV singing competition, where the winner gets to record a new album and be famous? The show was locally adapted in many countries, including in Singapore.

Sylvia Ratonel and Sezairi Sezali, finalists in the 2009 season. Sezairi Sezali won with 61% of votes.

3 seasons were broadcasted on Mediacorp, in 2004, 2006 and 2009. Candidates came from various backgrounds but were all determined to try their luck to break through in the competition. And as usual, the jury was delighted to make crisp comments on each of their performances!!

I must say the show was very popular!! But like in all “Idol” shows, some singers are really good, while others… well… just see for yourself…

I hope you can manage to understand their Singlish accent 🙂 What strikes me most is, as mentioned in the video, problems some candidates have with bad diction. Maybe this is one of the results of being part of a culturally and linguistically mixed-up environment!

And to end on a positive note, this one REALLY makes me laugh a lot !! It was during Singapore Idol‘s first season.

Singapore’s colonial heritage


You might be thinking, like many, that Singapore destroyed most of its old buildings to make way for skyscrapers and office towers… and that Singapore is something like this:

But can you spot the low old-looking building right in front of the towers? That’s the Fullerton Hotel. One of Singapore’s many colonial buildings that still exist today… Did you know that the Fullerton Hotel walls were built in 1928? That’s how old some pieces of history are in Singapore. It was once the Singapore Chamber of Commerce, before it opened as a hotel in 2001.

Another masterpiece of Singapore’s colonial heritage is the Raffles Hotel. It was in 1887 that it first opened its doors… and at that time it had only 10 rooms! And did you know that people say this is where the last tiger of Singapore was shot dead? In 1902 in the Bar & Billiard room…

Still today, the Raffles Hotel remains an iconic landmark of Singapore. You can go have a walk inside the hotel and have a look at the luxury shopping boutiques. The inside courtyard is also splendidly taken care of, and you can really feel the luxury and long history of the site when you wander around for a while. Of course, you shouldn’t miss out on the Long Bar, THE most famous place to have a Singapore Sling in Singapore… And you shouldn’t miss out on the Raffles Museum either !!

Last but not least, I would like to share with you one of my favourite things about Singapore… shophouses. They are a heritage of Singapore’s colonial era. Their structure is very simple : a shop or restaurant on the ground floor and a comfortable living space above. To give you a better idea of what they look like, here are some pictures:

Aren’t they beautiful? My favourite shophouses are located on East Coast Road. Their colours and detailed sculpted facades are simply gorgeous. You can find them basically anywhere in Singapore, like in Chinatown, Little India, or downtown around the Raffles Hotel, like on Purvis Street for instance.

Needless to say, Singapore has many hidden treasures. And unlike what people may think, she is still taking care of leftover pieces of her very valuable history!! The URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) is the organisation in charge of preserving this beautiful heritage.

Shopping: is Singapore expensive?


Let’s say you are in Singapore and feel like going on a shopping spree. But you were told that Singapore was expensive. Well here is news for you! Singapore might not be as expensive as you think, it simply boils down to knowing the right places…

1. Garments and accessories

Of course the first place which comes to your mind is Orchard Road, the perfect place for luxury and branded items (if you haven’t been there yet, check out ION, Tangs, Ngee Ann City or the recently opened Abercrombie and Fitch store).

However, you can also find less expensive clothes in globalised brands outlets, like Uniqlo or Zara for instance. Most of these brands are in shopping malls like 313@Somerset or Vivo City near Harbour Front. If on the contrary you are willing to try unique garments, you should go for designer clothes and jewelry from Haji Lane!

Finally, if you would rather not spend too much, check out Charles and Keith outlets for shoes : they are usually comfortable, trendy and cheap. Another option for tighter budgets could be Far East Plaza’s basement, Bugis Street, Chinatown or Little India where garments and accessories are usually coming from China. Do not expect excellent quality though…

2. IT products

Singapore might not be as cheap as other Southeast Asian countries when it comes to IT, but there are still many places where you can make a bargain.

You could start with Orchard Road, the most obvious place to go first. However if prices seem to high or if you find the selection too restricted, go to Funan Shopping Mall or Sim Lim Square. Both malls are famous in Singapore for the choice they provide regarding IT products (I bought a 500GB hard drive a year ago in Sim Lim Square and it really does the job!). Also, Holland Village is a safe bet for cheap and reliable devices (try Parisilk for example).

3. Fine art and decorative objects

If you are looking for fine art or decorative objects to bring back to your home country, you can try Chinatown, Kampong Glam or Little India. They are safe bets and not too expensive compared to what you could find on Orchard Road. You might also find fine art items from Cambodia in the Holland Village Shopping Mall, and typically Peranakan objects in shophouses along East Coast Road.

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For other types of items, here is what I would recommend:
– Books : Kinokuniya in Ngee Ann City for their large choice of literature,
– Fun accessories : Bugis Street for cheap and shiny party add-ons,
– CDs and DVDs : HMV, or Mustafa Center in Little India,
– Fine jewelry : Chinatown, definitely.
– Sports equipment : Queensway Shopping Center of course!

Also, do not forget that the best way to make a bargain while shopping in Singapore is to wait for the GREAT SINGAPORE SALE, which takes place every year in June and July. Discounts are really worth it !!