Yum(mee) Middle Road Pork Ribs Prawn Noodles

Yum(mee) Middle Road Pork Ribs Prawn Noodles

Don’t you just love it when you chance upon an eatery, only finding out that it is actually a pretty famous place with wonderful food?

After exchanging foreign currency at Mustafa’s Foreign Exchange (one of the better money changers in Singapore), I was about to head to City Square (the nearest mall there) for a meal but spotted a Chinese eatery nearby – and I’m sure glad I decided to head there to eat!

The place is not fancy, in fact, it is like any other simple coffee shop in Singapore – not even a hawker centre, but it was crowded with an office crowd which can mean two things – the food must be reasonably priced, and the food must be good!

Upon seeing what others ordered, I decided to place an order of Prawn and Pork Rib Noodle Soup at the Middle Road Pork Ribs Prawn Mee stall which seemed to have no queue – but almost every table had someone eating from there!

An order of a mix of prawn and pork rib noodle soup got me the following:

Prawn and Pork Rib Noodles (S$4)

For S$4 (they have three price points $3/$4/$5), it came with around three pieces of pork ribs and two halved prawns.

The soup was thick and definitely one of those that has been boiled for a long period of time. It has a hint of pepper and I find the prawn stock delicious. The pork was tender, and the meat pulled off the bone easily. The prawns were a disappointment though – they were tiny. I would have much preferred the pork rib noodles (same soup) to enjoy more pork ribs!

An old man seated at the same table as us ordered the mixed pork organs version of this noodles and he looked like he really enjoyed it! If you happen to enjoy eating the organs, you may want to give it a shot!

Do expect a wait of about 15 minutes during the lunch period as the office crowd really does come in.

Would I come back? Definitely! It does pay to follow the crowd sometimes 😉

More information on the stall can be found here:

Middle Road Pork Ribs Prawn Mee
Kim Leng Eating House
6 Verdun Road, Singapore 207279
Opening hours: 8am – 2pm (Closed on Mondays)

Earning credits one survey at a time!

Earning credits one survey at a time!

Have you ever googled ways to earn money by doing surveys? I’ve personally done it myself, but I’ve never really succeeded in building my survey bank in order to get cash-outs. A friend of mine recently recommended Google Opinion Rewards which is rather interesting.

Upon downloading the application, you’ll be asked to answer some simple questions on your demographics – as the range is pretty wide, I personally feel that it’s not too private to share.

There isn’t a constant list of surveys to do, but when a survey is available, it will appear on your task list on the main page. Each survey has around two to four questions and do not require lots of thinking and understanding. These questions can range from behavioural questions to advertisements recently seen. For 20 to 30 seconds of your time to fill in a single survey, you can be awarded some credits which can add up – I’ve just been onboarded this application and taken three surveys, earning SGD $0.87 – that’s almost SGD $0.30 per survey that didn’t require much of my time!

For Android users, credits earned will be in the form of Google Play Store credits. This allows you to purchase applications within the Play Store and is pretty neat. Credits can be stored for a year and the transaction history can be seen via the application. For iOS users, pay-out is via PayPal – but you’ll need to hit a certain amount before being able to withdraw the cash.

While the cash-out isn’t too much per survey, this application is a simple way of earning some cash, and the little amount can eventually grow. In addition, the user interface is straight-forward and easy to use. I’m enjoying the use of the application so far, but I sure hope that more surveys come my way! Are there any other survey applications that you are using that you’d like to recommend?

Google Opinion Rewards on Android can be found here.

Google Opinion Rewards on iOS can be found here.

One of those EUREKA moments!

Continuing from my previous post where I introduced Amazin’ Graze’s nut mixes, here’s another article on a similarly amazing Southeast Asian snack brand – Eureka!

If you’re a fan of popcorn, you’ve definitely heard of Garrett’s Popcorn from the US where each popped corn is amazingly tasty, fresh and delish. However, the brand Eureka may not be familiar to some but the localized taste of it is something that attracts.

This Malaysian snack company, Eureka snacks, prides itself in its distinct flavours that appeal to Southeast Asians. Each popcorn is lightly coated with the seasoning of choice and here are just but some of the flavours I’ve tasted myself and a quick summary of it.

  1. Original Sea Salt: The best in my opinion – one popcorn gives you both the sweet and salty taste and each of the flavours do not overpower each other. This is the kind of popcorn that’ll get you coming back for more.)
  2. Caramel: Not as rich as Garrett’s, and there’s just a light coating over each popcorn. However, I like it as it is not too sweet and leaves a refreshing taste.
  3. Cheese: Salty cheese powder but has a hint of sweetness to it. Not every popcorn is equally coated but is addictive nonetheless. A mix of Eureka’s cheese and caramel popcorn will give you a very mild and light flavour as compared to Garrett’s Chicago mix
  4. Seaweed: If you’re a fan of seaweed, this may appeal to you. The seaweed powder taste is similar to that of a lighter version of McDonald’s seaweed shaker fries powder but with an additional hint of sweetness.
  5. Sour Cream and Onion: I know people who absolutely love it and those that gets mixed feelings while eating it. I fall into the latter category as sour cream and onion should be for potato chips, not popcorn! My sibling really loves this flavour though – it’s the only flavour I buy for her when I’m at a store.
  6. Wasabi: In my latest purchase, I decided to buy the can version (smaller one) of this flavour and I was.. less than satisfied by it. The wasabi taste is similar to the wasabi nuts flavoured powdered wasabi but the mix of it with popcorn just screams strange. If you really like wasabi, however, do give it a try!

Eureka popcorn is getting more popular, with a shop set up in Singapore’s Jewel as well. However, if you’re crossing the causeway anytime to Malaysia, do buy it in Malaysia as it is almost a third the price there (due to currency conversion).

Southeast Asian snack companies are really coming up, and if you’re visiting Southeast Asia, I strongly recommend picking a few flavours to bring back as gifts. The localized flavours are something that you probably will not get back home!

Festive snacks that come and go!

Festive snacks that come and go!

Introducing to you… a seasonal product that is off the shelves at the moment, but I believe will come back (and should come back!).

Christmas Edition!

The frosted cinnamon nut mix by Amazin’ Graze consists of crunchy pecans, almonds and pepitas that are warmly glazed with cinnamon and sweet molasses. This delectable combination of nuts is the result of a Christmas special Amazin’ Graze product that was sold in the 2019 festive season.

Though not a fan of cinnamon, I was excited to have received this product as a gift last year as I’ve long heard of this brand. True to what I’ve heard, the nuts in this product are fresh and crisp – not your soggy, hard nuts – and with the sweet molasses, gave a very refreshing flavour.  The cinnamon was not over-powering, and the overall product was not too sweet, making it really appealing.

Nut clusters

Each nut cluster was covered in an even coat of sweet molasses mixture which were not too hard (think light caramel crisps). With a light coat, and crunchy nut clusters, this product can easily be consumed.

Founded in Malaysia, Amazin’ Graze began in 2015 and expanded into Singapore in 2016. Apart from nut mixes, the company also carries granola and nut-butters in its stores. Flavours are non-conventional and are tailored to the taste buds of us in Southeast Asia!

The company is known to make products that are healthy and unique. Here are some of the unique nut mix flavours they carry:

  • Pandan Coconut
  • Coconut Curry Lime
  • Tom Yum Kaffir Lime
  • Zesty Maple Glaze

In addition, their granola mixes look tempting and I’ll probably give it a shot soon! They deliver to many countries but have physical stores selling their products in both Malaysia and Singapore. You can check out their products here.

A meal that gives back

There has been an increased awareness of supporting inclusion in Singapore which has urged many employers and employees to step up in providing support and opportunities for individuals with special needs. Singapore has built a strong momentum to ensure that these individuals are not neglected and are provided with avenues to support themselves. One way an average consumer like us can do our part is by dining at Professor Brawn Cafe.

Birthed by Mr and Mrs Roland Tay in the late 2000s, Professor Brawn Cafe is a cafe that keeps the spirit of supporting inclusion alive. This cafe was set up with the purpose of training individuals with special needs on-the-job F&B-related skills as well as to serve as a cafe that employs these individuals, allowing them to earn their keep. As time went by, the couple decided to gift the cafe to the Autism Resource Centre, where the café is now further focused on allowing even more individuals with special needs to be trained and employed.

There are currently three Professor Brawn cafes across Singapore at Raffles Institution, Enabling Village and Pathlight School.

Each cafe serves a range of mains, desserts and snacks that appeals to both the young and the old. Having visited their first branch in Novena back in the days of old, I am constantly appealed by the good ol’ Rosti that is on par with Marché’s. Food is freshly prepared and other than the Rosti, the grilled chicken with truffle sauce and fish and chips are also great mains served here. If you enjoy thick and creamy mushroom soup, you may want to give it a shot!

The Pathlight School branch of the cafe (the one I’ve most recently visited) is well-decorated, with comfortable seating and good ambience. On an average day, you should be able to find ample seats. Service by the staff is good but do be patient as they are still learning on the job! If you are driving, there is parking at the Pathlight School branch in the evenings and paid parking at the Enabling Village branch.

It may just be a simple meal to you but by coming to Professor Brawn, you are allowing the employees to put their skills into practice. Through your interaction with them, you are empowering them with the confidence that can allow them to further attain F&B jobs. More than just a meal, you will be supporting the cafe that is constantly seeking to be that platform for these individuals with special needs.

Professor Brawn takes reservations and is a great place to hold corporate events as well! More information can be found on their website and Facebook page.  

On damaged baggage and how to deal with the situation

On damaged baggage and how to deal with the situation

A missing wheel, a cracked bag, a burst zip with missing items – all these damages to your checked-in baggage can be claimed (subject to further assessment) – but do you know how to do it? 

Here’s to a series of fun facts on travel tips and what to do in times of need. 

Beginning last year, my family and I have had a series of broken and/or spoilt check-in baggage. These baggage are of decent quality (mostly under Antler) and prior to recent months, they did not give us any issues as they are polycarbonate baggage. However, on quite a number of our recent trips, our bags have been subject to poor handling and as such, we filed for claims for them. 

Every airline has its own partnership with a local company that deals with missing and damaged baggage in the local airport. Upon collecting your baggage from the carousel, always take a look at the condition of the baggage. Minor scratches and minor dents do not often fall under the damage baggage claim, but large ones should be evident to the eye and a claim should be filed before you leave the airport, and the claim should be made in person. 

To file a claim, you will need to have the baggage tag on the baggage itself, your passport, boarding pass (or e-ticket), as well as the baggage tag which was given to you upon check-in at your destination of boarding. Without these items, it may be difficult to submit a claim. Once you have located the baggage claims counter in the airport terminal, you will be required to fill in a form with your particulars – it is important to ensure that the information you’ve provided is accurate as the company will contact you via the information provided to ask for more details. The initial details on baggage condition, model of baggage and age of baggage will also be asked then (you will most probably be required to submit your receipt for the company to determine the value of compensation of your bag). Upon leaving the counter, you will be provided with an incident report with the details you have provided and will be advised on further actions you may have to take. 

For example, when my baggage got damaged during a Singapore Airlines flight from Adelaide back to Singapore, we filed the damaged baggage report and returned home. The bag was collected by the company staff from my provided address and it was further assessed. I received a call after from the company that told me that the baggage could not be repaired and was provided a monetary compensation which I collected from the airport counter a day later. On a different flight, also by Singapore Airlines, my baggage was damaged but could be repaired. The company staff collected the baggage from my provided address, assessed and repaired it, before delivering it back to my address. Communication was fairly simple for both cases and both were resolved easily. 

However, for my Etihad Airways experience on my latest trip to Switzerland, we had damaged baggage issues the moment we touched down in Zurich where our baggage was so badly damaged that we had to discard it at the airport. We filed a damaged baggage report, got the report ID and had to fill in an extensive form on Etihad Airways site with our receipts, baggage tags and photos (it was a pain). Similarly, another bag got damaged on the way back to Singapore and we had to go through the hassle of setting the claims. To date, our second claim has not been fully processed (almost two months from the incident). While I know that we’ll eventually get our money back, it is indeed a hassle. 

Every airline has its own operating procedures, but some are just more convenient than others. You may not always get your desired amount compensated to you so do not get your hopes high – but please always remember to check your baggage and make a damage claims report before you leave the airport! If possible, try to take a picture of your baggage at the check-in counter as evidence of how your baggage originally looked (in case the airline requests for it). 

No one likes to receive a damaged baggage but if you do, do take note on the steps described above!

Education isn’t something you can finish – Here are some platforms to pick up new skills!

Education isn’t something you can finish – Here are some platforms to pick up new skills!

Many think that our learning journey ends the moment we step into the workplace, but with the increasing need to remain relevant, there has been a shift in mindset – and many explore options to further develop their skills. Be it professionally or out of interest, there are many online academies and platforms that have emerged over the past few years, and I’d like to touch on some which I think are useful.

YouTube

Self-help Videos on YouTube

I’ve turned to YouTube to look for quick solutions. For example, I’d type in “How to use XXX Excel Formula” and I’d get a quick simple guide with video examples on how to use the formula with use-cases.

Also, YouTube is useful to get simple guides on cooking and how-to videos. There isn’t a specific YouTuber which I follow on the platform for guides but there’s sufficient content on this platform for me to find solutions.

I’ve not seen many channels offering a fully curated course on specific topics that have interest me but for quick-wins, YouTube is definitely the go-to platform!

Skillshare

Skillshare is an online platform that has tons of curated, structured content. Unlike YouTube where it is easy to find self-help videos, Skillshare has structured courses on a specific topic that allows students to follow-through easily. From learning how to use the Procreate application to picking up photography skills, Skillshare is a platform where one can adopt relevant skills in a more systematic manner, and this tends to give a more holistic learning experience. I’ve personally watched a full beginner’s photography class where I learnt photography skills that’s meant for mobile phone users.

Another course of interest on this platform is the Business Analytics course – as you can tell, the range of courses are quite diverse. The ability to also interact with other users and sharing of projects set-up by the instructors also provide an avenue where students are able to learn from others and not just from the instructor himself.

A quick question from sceptics is – why Skillshare and not Udemy? In my opinion, both are pretty good in terms of the range of courses but Udemy is slightly more restrictive in a sense where you pay for each course you take. For Skillshare, you pay a monthly subscription fee for as many courses as you’d like – and it’s easy to cancel your subscription too!

Online Academies by Known Universities

Online platforms like Canvas

This is the most expensive option for online learning, but you get instructors from renowned universities taking part in this. A platform/ school I’ve enrolled into the past year is Emeritus Online Certificate Courses. I completed my Digital Marketing course on this platform, and it cost around $1,500 for it. What I liked about this course is that each module had an assignment and the instructors went through them – not just over a video – but assignments are graded and returned to students. While tiring, the constant need to submit assignment ensured that students do not slacken, and I appreciated this. Materials were also relevant and real-life use cases were also provided to allow students to learn industry practices. It forced us to research on other companies while instructors reinforced the learning and practices. 

Thoughts

Regardless of platform you utilize, I see the significance in remaining relevant and also picking up new skills. Who knows – you may end up in a different industry altogether after picking up new skills! 

If you’d like a two-month subscription trial from Skillshare, you can sign-up using my referral code here!

Savour panoramic views of Switzerland via the Golden Pass Line

Savour panoramic views of Switzerland via the Golden Pass Line

After our stay in Grindelwald, we departed for Montreux via the Golden Pass Line route which was a truly unique experience. Having taken many train rides across Switzerland over the first few days of our trip, I did not really know what to expect from “yet another train ride”. 

The route we took was from Grindelwald to Interlaken, Interlaken to Zweisimmen followed by Zweisimmen to Montreux. The second and third legs from Interlaken to Montreux were part of the Golden Pass Line. 

The views on the Golden Pass Line were spectacular – particularly so for the Zweisimmen to Montreux leg where each train carriage provided an unobstructed view of the mountains and valleys we were passing through. The glass roof of the carriages allowed us to see our surroundings with a panoramic view. Seeing the alps from towns and actually going through them via train is definitely a very different feeling. 

Considering that the views in Switzerland were already very stunning, I actually thought that I would be less than impressed because we had already seen such wonderful views in Grindelwald. However, the train ride passed through farms and small towns which allowed us to see how the locals lived – something that is often not seen in the touristy regions of Switzerland. It definitely is one of the ‘must-dos’ as recommended by fellow tourists alike! 

Here are some tips before you go on this route – 

  1. The Golden Pass Line passes through many stops and you do not necessarily have to sit through the entire route to truly enjoy the experience. My original route from Grindelwald to Montreux could have been slightly shorter but pencilling in the train on the Golden Pass Line only extended our trip for a short while but gave us much more spectacular views!
  2. If you have the Swiss Travel Pass, your pass covers the trip but it is recommended to consider the timing of trains you intend to take (via the SBB timetable). For certain legs of the Golden Pass Line (i.e. Zweisimmen to Montreux), it is highly recommended that you make reservations (extra cost involved) to ensure that you get seats if you are in a group. There were certainly enough seats across all carriages but they were all scattered and mostly facing backwards. You can reserve your seats here
  3. Bring a pair of shades along! It gets really bright with the glass roof on the carriage!
  4. The ride can be long – it’ll be good to bring along some food for the ride! Alternatively, you can purchase food from the in-carriage meal service. 
  5. Other than the panorama trains, there are other train types. Do your research on which train you’d like to experience before making your reservations (i.e. the Chocolate train). 

Here’s a short clip from the ride!