Food, Glorious Food – John

Hello guys! For this blog, I’ll give you some tips and introduce you to the three best dishes in my opinion and a few bars you should visit while in Singapore! I’m not going to talk about the famous chicken rice of Singapore because it’s too cliché and I still don’t quite understand what it’s so famous for (It’s literally just chicken on rice). I won’t be too wordy on this blog as the pictures will describe for itself! 🙂

ALWAYS REMEMBER that MOST (but not all) of the food sold in places have additional charges of 10% for service charge and 7% for GST charge. When you go to places like the hawker centre (food courts) or on-campus food courts, you don’t have to worry about these charges.

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This first dish is called “ayam penyet” or smashed fried chicken and is commonly sold in hawker centres under the Indonesian category. It is the first dish that my Singaporean buddies suggested to me during orientation week. I’d say it is one of the top dishes under $5 that you could get for a fulfilling lunch. There are various types of “ayam” or “chicken” so it’s always a good idea to also give other ones a try too!

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If you happen to stay in the NUS campus quite often and want to try something new, try this dish called “ma la xiang guo” or also known as “mala hotpot”. This dish is a combination of meat and vegetables chosen by you and cooked on the spot. It’s commonly sold in on-campus food courts and it also isn’t too costly. You can choose what to put inside and when you go to the counter to pay, I recommend you to ask for a “xiao la (little bit spicy)” or you could challenge yourself to a “zhong la (medium spice level)”. At first, I didn’t really prefer this dish but the more I ate it, the more I loved it.

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The third one is also quite a famous dish of Singapore and it’s called “chilli crab”. It is one of the main dishes you should try while in Singapore. But brace yourselves because it is quite pricey if you want to get a good one at a restaurant and some places even charge you the “market price”.

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This famous place is called “TWG tea” and they sell a massive variety of teas from all around the globe. When you go here, there’s a thick booklet which introduces you to all the different kinds of teas and it’s quite interesting to have a read and choose which tea you would like. If you feel like being classy one day, an afternoon tea with some chatter would make a great day.

Now that’s enough of food, let’s get to the second part of the blog; drinks! A moderate (be a sensible drinker guys or else you might get spanked by the Singaporean police) amount of alcohol goes well with enjoying the night life of Singapore fully. If you like to enjoy your weekend nights, you will fall in love with the night vibes of this city and who knows, you might even also fall in love with someone special.

 

 

This place is called “Level 33” and is a craft-brewery. They make their own beers and it tastes great too! We ordered a beer set which gave us stout, pale ales, lager, and wheat beer for a reasonable price. This is also known as one of the best places to see the night view of Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and in my opinion, the best place to feel the MBS vibes. Other great rooftop bars I recommend other than level 33 are “1-altitude” which is the highest rooftop bar in the world and “Ce la vi” on the top of MBS.

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This cocktail is called “Singapore sling” and is commonly seen in most bars. This one was when I went to “Holland village” which is the nearest place from campus where there are a lot of bars that open till late. This drink is for those people who like fruity cocktails and would like to try a Singaporean cocktail.

To be honest, there are more good food places than just these that I’ve introduced to you. Now it’s your job to explore more of the tasty and EXPENSIVE Singaporean food! 🙂

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Accommodation Awards – John

I’ll introduce you guys the on-campus accommodation that I’m currently staying in. The place is called Ridge View Residential College (RVRC) and it consists of five blocks (A, B, C, D, E), a tower block and the main administration building where the dining hall is. I’ll divide this blog into three sections so it will be somewhat of a review.

Location 

I’d say that RVRC has one of the best locations out of all the on-campus housing / school hostels. Most of the on-campus shuttle buses (A1, A2, B1, B2, C, D1, D2) are within walking distances of around 3 minutes from my place. And yes, NUS have on-campus shuttle buses that operate on a regular basis because the campus is too big to walk around. Also, it is quite close to University Town (UTown), where all the good things are at such as good food, plenty of study spaces and STARBUCKS. I have classes all over the place including the science block, Biz (Business school) and FASS (Faculty of Arts and Social sciences) so the location was perfect for me as all the buses were within a few minutes of walking distance.

Facilities

As RVRC is quite a large residential college, we have many cleaners working to clean the walkways, toilets, and other facilities. Other than the cleanliness, I’d say that the number one necessity while living in Singapore would be an air conditioner. But in RVRC, we don’t have one.

The good thing about facilities is that we have the University Sports Centre within 5 minutes walking distance. It has an outdoor and indoor swimming pool, and a gym. If you’re a student at NUS, it’s all FREE. As the weather in Singapore is extremely hot and humid, staying in the pools is the best thing to do when it gets too hot.

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Food 

Here’s a picture of a typical dinner meal in RVRC. RVRC has a compulsory meal plan included for students. I’m not sure whether it applies for other students but it does for exchange students. The food is undoubtedly cheap as it costs about $3 per breakfast and $4 per dinner. For this price, the food is worth the price. It’s not that great, but it’s not too bad! I normally wake up late so I rarely eat breakfast but I’ve heard that the breakfast meals are better than the dinner meals. The meal plan is divided into a few cuisines including Asian, Malay, Indian, Western and Noodles so you are given quite a variety of choices.
In conclusion, I personally like RVRC except for the fact that there is no air-con! I made quite a few good friends from RVRC, so I don’t have to eat every meal by myself. We made some good memories while having some late night noodle sessions and overnight talks. Overall, it has good accessibility to plenty of facilities and the food here is not that bad, too.

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First Impressions – John

Hey guys! To start off, I’ll just briefly introduce myself as this is my first blog. My name’s John and I’m a second year BCom student majoring in Accounting and Finance. I’m currently on exchange at National University of Singapore (NUS) in Singapore.

As soon as I got out of Changi airport, I could instantly feel the humidity and hot weather here in Singapore. It was quite an extreme weather change for me as I was on my way from South Korea which was about -4 degrees, to 26 degrees in Singapore. January is apparently the “cold” season of Singapore when there is unexpected rain and it is very humid. It’s similar to NZ, where weather forecasts are quite unpredictable. Local friends in Singapore told me to always carry an umbrella to prepare myself for unexpected rain. But carrying an umbrella is a bit pointless as heavy rains will make you wet anyway so it’s a better idea to just get used to it.

During my first few days after arrival, it was quite depressing because I didn’t know a single thing about Singapore. Staying in the dorms would make it worse so I decided to go around places near campus to buy some essentials. Singapore has quite a lot of welcome parties and programmes prepared for exchange students so you just have to socialize.

After arriving in the dorms, I attended two orientations, one for all exchange students and another for all business school exchange students. During orientation, I got a chance to talk to other exchange students who came from various countries such as Poland, Finland, Taiwan, Canada, US, Thailand, Taiwan and more. It was an interesting experience to talk to people with different backgrounds. I also noticed that I could even be the youngest student out of almost all the exchange students as most students were third or fourth year students. Other than that, orientation sessions were the typical informative talks which weren’t so interesting, so let’s skip to my first impressions of Singapore.

Although Singapore seems to try quite hard to promote the use of proper English, most of the locals don’t speak proper English, and some don’t speak English at all so they will directly speak Chinese to you which was quite surprising. Also, due to their local Singlish accent, I couldn’t understand more than half the things they were trying to say. The locals mostly speak Singlish which is a unique mixture of various languages including Malay, Chinese and English. When speaking to locals, it is a good idea to simplify your sentences and only speak of the main words you are trying to say or use body language if you can’t communicate at all.

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Singapore has one of the greatest night views I’ve seen in my life. The above photo is the view of taken from the world’s highest rooftop bar (apparently), 1-Altitude. They have free entry for ladies on ladies’ night but unfortunately for men it’s around S$30 for the entrance fee + one drink. It sounds costly BUT it is definitely worth it as you get the view from the highest building in Singapore and they also had awesome live music there!!

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Moving on to the country itself, it is a modern city with a very convenient transportation system. It has a country-wide network of buses and trains (called MRT and LRT) as seen in this photo. I really like the transportation system here as the trains operate on a regular basis, taking an average three minute gap between each one.

That’s my story for now and I’ll bring you with more exciting stories about Singapore and more when I go travelling around South-East Asia! I’m really enjoying my time in Singapore, living the high-end life, spending too much, soon to be seeing minuses in my bank account. 🙂

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