Tag Archives: Singapore

S’pore’s railway breakdown as traumatic as Kim Jong-Il’s death

By now you’ve probably seen the videos of North Koreans sobbing hysterically over the passing of their dictator, Kim Jong-Il. Turns out, Singapore’s got problems, too. I seriously don’t go one day without seeing a breaking news update about Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit system (the public train everyone takes to get around the sunny island). The MRT faced a recent series of breakdowns that had commuters out of sorts. But who knew both Kim Jong-Il mourners and distraught Singaporeans could relate to each other in their time of sorrow. Watch the video below to see what I mean:

Snail slime: Better than botox?

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You know that slimy trail that snails leave as they slide across the ground?  Well, put that stuff on your face and apparently your acne, wrinkles, and scars will improve dramatically.  In Asia, snail creams have become the hottest phenomenon in beauty products. A Korean company, It’s Skin, recently launched a hugely successful product called “Prestige Cream d’escargo.” Able C&C, which owns the Korean beauty brand Missha, came out with their own snail cream last June.  In fact, since I moved back to Singapore last month, I’ve been bombarded daily by Facebook ads for “Snail Street: No. 1 Snail Cream in Japan.”

Obviously, I couldn’t help but click on this bizarre ad.  Here’s what I’ve learned about our slithering friends: You wouldn’t have realized it, but snail slime has incredible regenerative qualities — it’s what allows snails to regenerate their own shells when they get injured in the wild.  Snail creams started in 1980 when a Chilean family had a snail farm, and the farmers noticed how soft their hands were, and how quickly cuts healed without any scars.  The eldest son was a doctor, and did research on snail secretions.  Turns out, their snails produced a slime that could heal human skin.  Snail creams started selling in Europe years ago, but only recently has it become really popular in Asia.

Honestly, I’m torn.  I’m utterly curious, but even talking about snails makes me cringe.  I shudder at the thought of their slimy antlers feeling their way through the ground.  Ick.

What do you think — would you try this?  A jar of the cream costs about $43 here, if you’re brave enough to buy it!

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Asian Glee: Kitchen Musical stars Asian cast with a foodie appeal

So I’m back on the sunny island of Singapore (yay!) and discovered a new show on TV…the Asian Glee!  Well, kind of.  At first, Kitchen Musical seems to be Asia’s spin on the American hit series Glee, but the concept is actually pretty fresh.  The musical TV series’ predominantly Asian cast star as chefs, waitresses, and even a sexy sommelier at a high-end restaurant.  Each episode has a full menu — appetizer, two mains, dessert, and wine pairings — and at the end, they give recipes for the featured dishes.

I don’t know about you, but I’m convinced fobs tend to be die-hard foodies, so the show’s dedication to cooking and eating is smart.   Right now, Kitchen Musical airs only in Asia and Europe.  But don’t worry, Ben Silverman, who adapted BBC’s The Office and the Colombian show Ugly Betty for US viewers, is working on bringing Kitchen Musical to the American audience.

Prada and Gucci execs: Asia is our #1 market

Emily and I were talking the other day about how the culture of cities like Singapore and Hong Kong is extremely brand-conscious, much more so than even the US.  Maybe it’s just us, but it seems many Asian high-end consumers are more concerned with status symbols than fashion statements.

In fact, I recently read how Prada’s Chairman and Gucci’s CEO claimed that Asia is their number one market. “The top luxury market is with Asian customers today,” said Prada’s Deputy Chairman Carlo Mazzi.  So despite all the fake stuff you see sold on the streets, sales in China contributed the most to the Italian company’s revenue for the first half of this year.  Even the CEO of PPR, which owns the Gucci brand, admitted that China is the biggest market for their luxury line.

Seems like fobs might be even more materialistic than Americans.  Or maybe Emily and I have just been hanging around too many granola-eating, Prius-driving, Etsy-buying San Franciscans…

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Fobby Flashback: Singapore’s REAL ice cream sandwiches

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I absolutely love ice cream. And because I love carbs, ice cream sandwiches are my weakness. But when I talk about ice cream sandwiches, I literally mean ice cream in-between two slices of real bread, a popular treat in Singapore. This ain’t no Klondike “sandwich” you see in the US where the ice cream is in between two chocolate “cookies.”  The Singaporean ice cream sandwiches are usually sold on the streets for $1 or less. What makes these ice cream sandwiches yummy is the super fluffy, subtly sweet and soft pandan bread, which is bread flavored with juice from the tropical pandan plant found Southeast Asia. You also get to choose unique flavors including durian and sweet corn!

The method of eating this ice cream sandwich as similar to someone eating a hot dog on the streets of NYC. Just fold it up and take a bite! Got a loaf of bread lying around and some ice cream? Make your own home made ice cream sandwich!

Love fobby desserts? Try Japanese artistic macaroons and Chinese fruit cakes.

Google says happy birthday, Singapore!

I’m totally loving Google’s tribute to Singapore’s national day today. Look closely, and you’ll see the crescent star and five stars that characterizes our hometown’s flag.  See it?

Even after living in the US for all these years, Amy, Emily and I still feel the nostalgia of our childhood in Singapore…and sometimes all it takes to kindle that homesickness is looking at the homepage of Google.com.sg.

Happy Birthday, Singapore! We heart you forever more!

Man jailed for 2 years after breaking in, stealing $2

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Yikes, talk about a bad deal.  A Malaysian man in Singapore was caught breaking into a sushi restaurant and stealing from their cash register…which contained a whopping 2 Singapore dollars (about $1.60).  Things could have been worse though — the perpetrator, Ansar Anwar, 24, apparently could have been jailed for up to 14 years.

Total bummer for making out with just $2, but personally, I think the guy probably should have known who he was messing with.  After all, this is the legal system that banned chewing gum, canes criminals, and sentences drug traffickers with death by hanging!

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Fobby must-haves: coconut water sports drinks

Um, has anyone noticed that coconut water is apparently now a sports drink? It seems to be the trendy thing to gulp down, with hip-looking bottles of “ZICO water” and “Vita Coco” donning the shelves of Whole Foods and Peet’s Coffee. Gotta love how western companies are capitalizing on this fobby beverage. ZICO’s packaging writes, “There was a time not long ago when you had to shinny up a tree and machete-open a coconut to experience this miracle. Not anymore. We climbed the tree for you.”

Kinda makes me nostalgic — the guy shinnying up the tree with a parang (Indonesian word for machete) was my dad in our backyard.

But as commercialized as they’ve made my favorite childhood drink, I’ve admittedly become a huge consumer of ZICO and Vita Coco. It tastes soo good, and apparently it’s full of electrolytes and has more potassium than a whole banana.

Join me tomorrow @ SF Underground Market for real street food!

Everyone’s crazy about food trucks lately, but *yawn* that’s old news to us fobs.  Street food is as ubiquitous in Singapore as Starbucks is in the US.  I decided to take things up a notch and sell my own street food!

Tomorrow night, I’ll be selling BBQ baby back ribs and tri-tip steak sandwiches at the SF Underground Market.  It all started a few months ago when I first heard about SF’s Underground Market, a farmer’s market for budding food entrepreneurs.  The term “underground” refers to the somewhat stealth nature of the event — most of the food vendors aren’t licensed restaurateurs, and don’t cook in (expensive) commercial kitchens.  This is why you need to sign up for a free membership to attend.

Anyway, chef Hubie and I applied online for the next market.  We got an email from them asking us bring in samples of our dishes.  A couple weeks later, I found out we were accepted…we’d beat almost 100 other vendors for a spot!

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Seth Rogan talks caning in S’pore, sexy China dancers

When Seth Rogan talked about Singapore and China on Conan, I knew I had to share it with you guys. Rogan jokingly said Singapore “was a very frightening place” and he’s thankful that he “didn’t get executed.” Thank goodness he’s out of Singapore, because he committed a big no-no by calling the city-state a “benevolent dictatorship.” Shhh! You can think it, but not say it!

He did mention some things that had me rolling my eyes — Rogan brought up Michael Fay or “that dude [who] did graffiti and got caned a few times by the government,” and then, of course…the gum ban. The only two things that Singapore is known for. I swear every time I mention Singapore, people always, always mention caning and gum.

After the Singapore spiel, Rogan talked about his unique experience on a Beijing variety talk show, during which the producers had a team of sexy dancers who escorted him out to his interview. Anyway, enough of my talking — you gotta watch it for yourself!

Random fun fact: “that dude who did graffiti” actually went to the same high school as Amy, Suzie, and me.

(Thanks, Lu!)