Saturday, 14 July 2018

Things to do in Singapore.


Singapore Flyer

The year 2017 ended on quite an amazing note. The people who know me will tell you that I prefer traveling solo and exploring the places and that's what I did somewhere in the middle of 2017, booked myself a ticket to Spain to explore the country. But the year ended with another trip that I made and it was not a solo trip but with family. I am glad it was a family trip, it was more fun, and I got to eat my mothers made Dal Kichdi (trust me, it's amazing and it's my favorite dish).

I was there for only 5 days and tried to cover as much as I could but whatever I saw, I enjoyed it and personally, I would love to visit the place again in order to try more stuff. But I have a list of 10 things one should do in Singapore. This includes food, shopping, nightlight, and adventure as well. Also a bit of sightseeing.

Lets being with the food part first because I love food and I travel for that mainly.


Flat Noodles with Chili and Green. 


1. China Town
China Town is one amazing place for people who enjoy the food. The place is not only about food, there are places where one can go and shop for things as well. One great thing I had there was the candided bbq pork and chicken floss. I know it sounds weird but tasted really good. If you are a Tintin fan, please note that it is the only Tintin store in Asia.

There are innumerous restaurants as you walk along the streets in the area that will serve some amazing food and I can tell this because of the aromas that you get to smell by just walking around.






Thai Style Basil Chicken with Jasmine Rice

2. Bugis Street and Albert Center.
Bugis Street is known for cheap shopping, a place where you can bargain (I tried that but didn't get much success). This is a 3-floor mall kind of area where you will find things from clothes to electronics to souvenirs to food items. It also has a small food-court and there are a few things that I tried there and it was pretty good. At one of the food spaces there, I ordered the som tam salad and a portion or Thai style basil chicken and jasmine rice, trust me when I say that the basil chicken was just amazing and flavourful. I liked the area soo much, I went there almost 3 times during my 7-day stay. Also, before you enter, there is a fruit market and the fruits looked lovely and fresh. I just picked up some mangoes and persimmons and while eating them back at the hotel, they did taste good.
Albert Center, this is just opposite Bugis street and is filled with hawkers who serve food of the locals, from the neighboring countries and regions. This place is I guess a 6 level building, can't remember clearly, but I can say it has quite a lot of food for sure.
P.S. there is also a 1$ shop next to the street, you should check it out.


View from the top of Singapore Flyer
3. Gardens By The Bay and Singapore Flyer.
Want to do all the touristy stuff then these two places are for sure to be on your list. They do not need much introduction but will give a basic idea to all those who aren't aware.
Singapore Flyer is like a giant Ferris wheel which moves very slowly, there are pods in which people go and it takes you all the way up and you can get an amazing view of the city from there. One of the images I clicked from the top it on the cover image at the start of the blog so you can check that out. From there one can see the Gardens by the Bay which consists of the Cloud Forest, Super Tree Grove, Flower Done which is the home to a hell lots of different flowers so if you love it, then it has to be on your list. There are a couple of more things around the Gardens By The Bay like the OCBC Skywalk which is walking over the bridge between two Super Tree Grovers, also the World Of Plants and more, you can check the details on the official website. But Super Tree Grove and the Cloud Dome was just amazing

SuperTree Grove and OCBC Sky Walk. 


4. Shopping 
I do not remember what this was called, so if you know, let me
know in the comments below. I forgot the name. 
For all those who love shopping, this point is for them. Personally, I am not one who loves shopping and roaming around the mall. As mentioned, I was traveling with family and some of them love to shop and shop and shop. There are a lot of options spread across Singapore for shopping, some of them that I visited was Vivo City Malls, Raffles Center, did take a round of the Orchard Street which is known for its shopping and has great brands and pretty good looking shopping centers. Also, there is one place that most Indians love visiting and i.e. Mustafa Center.

Mustafa Center is spread across like 3 buildings which are interconnected. The place is open 24x7 and one can find anything and everything here, right from clothes to electronics to grocery, you name it and it might be there. I have seen people come with empty luggage bags and have filled them and left. I did spend here a couple of hours but could just see only 1/3rd of the center. So it is on my list to check out the rest of the center when I visit next.


5. Clarke Quay
Singapore has something for everyone, some love eating, some love shopping and some love partying and exploring the nightlife as well. If you are one of those who enjoys partying, Clarke Quay is the area to be in. The area is filled with restaurants, bars, and pubs and they are damn crowded on weekends. As I was traveling with family, didn't get much chance to explore the nightlife but I did take a walk around this area one late evening and even tried the food a couple of places and it did not disappoint me. I have this on my list again for the next time I am in Singapore, in fact, the list keeps increasing as I keep writing the article because a lot of things come to the mind that needs to be covered.

6. Merlion & Marina Bay Sands
Merlion
Two more attractions that one can add on to their itinerary if they want to do tourist stuff. Believe it or not, going and checking the Merlion out was on my list ever since the discussion of visiting Singapore started on our family whatsapp group. I even took a picture where the water is coming directly into my mouth as if I am drinking it, I know it sounds so not like me but had to do something crazy (I am not sharing that image anywhere, not even on my instagram handle).

Marina Bay Sands was something I wanted to visit from a long time, have a look at the view from the top, visit the casino and maybe play a few hands as well and also just to tick it off my list (touristy stuff), but due to some family issues, couldn't make it and had to cancel the plan at the last minute. This gives me another reason to visit Singapore soon and explore all those things I have missed or couldn't see due to various reasons.



7. Universal Studios
Another great attraction for all the tourists is the Universal Studios. This is a fun place to spend the day and for people who like adventure in terms of rides and roller coasters, then this is the place to visit.
Make sure you take the express pass if you want to try and cover up the whole of the Universal Studios because the queues can be a pain at times. You can purchase the tickets online, this will save you time at the entrance.
This might take up your entire day if you plan to visit all the rides.



Apart from all the above-mentioned places, there are some more that I have in mind and I had visited which you might want to try and see. All though there is another list I have in some word document in my emails which I am unable to locate, that contains a few more places that I will most probably visit on my next trip. So here are the things -
Banh Mi at Banh Mi Brothers

  • If you are a foodie like me, then you must visit the cheapest Michelin Star place in the world. It is a hawker who serves amazing chicken and rice. Be careful, you might have to wait in the queue for some time but it was worth it because I was hungry as well. 
  • Night Safari & Singapore Zoo - animal lover?, then you have to visit the place. The night safari also has long queues but if you run towards the bus, you might get a seat on the bus soon. They also have a trekking path for people who want to explore the wildlife on the foot. You can stop various animals and for them, the park is made in such a way that it looks like a jungle. 
  • Singapore Sling - the National Drink of Singapore. It is said that the drink was created on the occasion when the treaty was signed. Raffles Hotel is the place where it was invented. I quite liked the drink that I had a couple of them on my way back on the flight. 
  • Just like how Vada Pao is to Mumbai, Kaya Toast and Milo is to Singapore. One can find Kaya Toast with Soft Boiled Runny Eggs and Milo at many places across the town. I quite liked it, I, in fact, made some Kaya Jam at home and had it spread over bread and had it. 
  • Kaya Toast and Milo
  • Banh Mi - This is one of my favorite sandwiches and I have had it in Hongkong, Bangkok and then in Singapore. Crusty bread with meat, pickle and fresh cilantro, just perfect. I tried the same at two places in Singapore but the one at Banh Mi Brother was quite good. They are located at Income By Raffles.


So that's all FOLKS, I have tried to list down as must as I could remember but in case I visit again and explore new places, I will surely share it with you all on the blog. But you can follow me on my social media handles for regular updates on food and more.
Instagram - Hungrybawarchi
Twitter - @hungrybawarchi

Friday, 30 March 2018

Basic Travel Essentials

Pic Courtesy - http://thegud1.com

For me as a person, there are two things that I love the most, one of which is Food and the other is Travel. For the last 2-3 years, I have taken up the travel part a bit seriously and prefer traveling solo in order to explore as much as I can on the foot.

Some of these items are quite common hence a person has a tendency to forget them easily.

Based on my past travel experience, I decided to jot down some basic essentials that you should carry while traveling.

1. Travel Charger & Power Bank
- I remember on my recent trip to Spain, I had made sure that everything was packed but then one morning which I reached Seville, I realized, that I did not have the correct adapter and my travel charger. Luckily I had 2 power banks with me and both of them were full charged which helped me get through the night and helped me charge my phones just enough to use them for the day. Always carry Power banks if you have and keep them charged, they do come handy and helpful many a times. The first thing I did was go and purchase travel charges. At times they do not come cheap :P.


2. Comfortable Shoes
- This is one of the most important if you are planning to walk and explore the area. Make sure that you are already using the shoes for at least a couple of days so that you are used to them and there is no sudden surprise when you wearing them for the 1st time. I had a similar incident but luckily I had a stop in Dubai while traveling to Spain and I left my not so comfortable shoes at my relatives home and picked up one of my brother's sneakers.


3. Laundry Bags
- A few cloth or plastic laundry bags will help you collect all your used clothes. When you are jumping from one city to another, these bags can be used to keep the clothes and then when there is time, all you need to do is pick up those bags and go to the laundry and have them washed.


4. First Aid Kit
- A small pouch or box with all the medications that you need, some band-aids and other first aid essentials is always a good idea to have in your bag. I remember, while I was traveling to Hongkong and may it was something I ate and it did not suit my body and got an allergic reaction after a couple of hours. That is when one of the tablets came handy. So its always a good idea. Another good idea is to have travel insurance. Put in a sunscreen and a moisturizer as well. They are always there in my kit.


5. Nuts and Snack Bars
- For these, I would recommend that you carry small packs of assorted nuts as they are helpful when you are hungry all of a sudden and there is nothing around. I used to carry small packs of biscuits, nuts and also a couple of protein bars (not that I needed the protein :P). Whenever I was hungry and there was nothing, I used to eat these up to be satisfied temporarily


6. The Light Trolley Bag, Backpack, and waterproof pouch
- Another important thing that you should keep in mind while traveling solo or even with family and friends. Always opt for a trolley bag which is light and has not two but four wheels. It helps drag it around when you are hopping from one place to another. I had taken a spacious handbag which had two wheels and trust me, after one point, it became a bit difficult pulling it. A waterproof pouch is also helpful when you know the weather in the place you are traveling is very unpredictable and also if you plan to go for a swim or something. For me they have been a blessing on two of my trips, the first one being to Bunol where I had attended La Tomatina, it did save my phone from stinking of tomatoes after the event. Next was in Singapore (a blog is coming soon about the food here so follow and subscribe) where the weather is quite unpredictable. It can rain at any time.


7. Water Bottle
-A big bottle will come useful if you are backpacking and are also working on a budget. You can fill the bottle before leaving the hotel or hostel if the water there is drinkable. I did a similar thing while traveling across Spain, filled up my bottle from different places in order to save some bucks and enjoy more with the saved ones. Most of the places have drinking water flowing from the tap so it's perfectly safe and fine to do that.


8. Camera
- Do carry a camera if you have one so that you can capture some amazing views, food and maybe have a couple of photos with you in it as well (a new facebook display photo :P). Nowadays phones also have pretty amazing camera but have a DSLR makes you look more touristy (just kidding).

Also, there might be more basic travel essentials that I might have not listed but feel free to add them in the comments below for the other readers to make a note of so that when they decide to travel, it can be of help to me.

Btw, I forgot the mention, I do keep posting more about my travel and food on my social media pages and you can follow me on the for updates.
Twitter - @HungryBawarchi
Instagram - HungryBawarchi
Facebook - The Hungry Bawarchi

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Memorable Dining Experiences.


To all those reading this article, there is one question that I would like to ask you all. 


How many of you have gone back home after dining out and raved about it? It has to be one of those meals that you will remember always and not stop telling people about it.

Recently I was just looking at the year gone by and was thinking as to which were the places that served outstanding food. Most of them were on the streets for me on which I will be writing a post soon but as of now I can think of the meals that I have had at restaurants till to today i.e. 30th Jan (I'm writing this post, lets see how many days it takes me to finish it :P.)

To begin with, there are 4 places that come to mind and they are as below. These are the places that I will always remember and I have been raving about them quite a lot to my friends, colleagues and at times random people on who ask for suggestions on social media platforms.
1. Smoke House Deli - Mumbai - 2014
2. Gaggan - Bangkok - 2016 (yes, I dined at Gaggan and it was on my Birthday).
3. Olive Kitchen & Bar - Mumbai - 2017
4. POH - Progressive Oriental House - Mumbai - 2018

The experience at Smoke House Deli was a food review I had attended (Perks of being a food blogger) and the restaurant wasn't aware of it. I already have a post written about it, you can click here and check it but I will still throw in a short review about the place here, like a summary.

I was dining it at the place with a friend of mine and we had decided to meet each other at the restaurant. Only after reaching the place, I realized, we are at the wrong outlet (it was my fault, back then I was bad with such things according to some of my friends). Somehow we managed to reach the correct outlet in time to order and enjoy the food.
It was kinda dicey to pick as to what we should order so we just asked the servers to suggest some and we are glad that we let them help us here.
What all we had? (I will just list down the highlights here)


Aubergine & Mozzarella Fry with Sundried Tomatoes and Garlic Salsa
1. Aubergine & Mozzarella Fry with Sundried Tomatoes and Garlic Salsa
- This I can say hands down was the best dish I had here. Personally, had never imagined Aubergine being served like this. The outside was crispy yet soft and gooey in the center due to the molten cheese. I tried to replicate the dish at home the very next day and failed miserably. It's time I give it another try.


Wild Mushroom Risotto
2. Wild Mushroom Risotto
- Cooked perfectly, Al dente and creamy, this risotto was the 3rd best thing I had (2nd was the Pannacotta). The flavors were earthy from all the mushrooms that they had used while making it and was just spot on.


3. Vanilla PannaCotta
- Jiggle is one thing that will make it sure if the Pannacotta you are eating is good or no. This one was just what I was expecting, had very clean flavors and that lovely JIGGLE.



The next was my birthday meal at Gaggan, I had made a note that I have to dine in here ever since I had heard about it. So for one of my annual birthday trips, I had a stop in Bangkok and I made a reservation to eat here. I can say for sure, its one great meal and an amazing experience. I couldn't have asked more on that day and it was the perfect way to treat myself.



Yogurt Explosion
It was a 19-course menu which lasted for about 2 hours approx. All the dishes that I had on that menu were just amazing and I did enjoy each one of them. some of the dishes that I still dream about are


1. The signature - Yogurt Explosion.
- This will just explode like a bomb in your mouth and leave it with the chatpata (Umami of the Indians) flavors. I did try making this at home and did come close but not the same though.


2. Pork Vindaloo
Pork Vindaloo
- This would have to be one of my favorite dishes from the whole lot. The was crispy AF and creamy and tender and flavorful and amazing. (I think you got the point :P)


3. Mango Uni Sundae
- Never imagined a sundae to be like this and served with a portion of sea urchin i.e. Uni. It was the first time I had it and didn't know what it was until I came back home and read about it. Trust me it was good in a weird way but it was worth trying.

Two experiences are down and two more to rave about. The next on the list as mentioned above is the food at Olive Kitchen and Bar in Bandra - Mumbai. 


This is one of those places where I will want to go back for the food and the whole experience. Right from the 1st course till the last course, each of them was just getting better and better and better. Here I am just going to write about 3 of the many dishes tried, not that others weren't good but these were just, just amazing. 
Brie, Mascarpone & Parmesan on Raisin Bread





1. Brie, Mascarpone & Parmesan on Raisin Bread - Perfectly toasted bread with a huge piece of Brie cheese which was warm and then there was creamy mascarpone cheese and then there was the nutty parmesan cheese. The delight for a cheese lover. The best part was the gooey Brie cheese.
BTW the bread was also made in-house.

Baby Lamb Ribs with Sweet Corn Miso and Charred Co

2. Baby Lamb Ribs with Sweet Corn Miso and Charred Corn. - 
That Sweet Corn Miso was just spot on and my mouth is watering. The ribs were cooked to perfection. The only thing disappointing on this dish was why didn't I get more of that miso corn (there was a generous portion already but I needed more).


3. Duck Bacon Fettucine Carbonara. - This has been the best Fettucine I have ever had. In-house made pasta tossed along with creamy carbonara made using the duck fat and bits and pieces of duck which were tender and would just dissolve in your mouth. If you are going here, this is the dish you need to have for sure. 

It's about the most recent meal and the final meal that I have to rave about in this post. It was at the newly opened POH - Progressive Oriental House in Mumbai. Ever since the place opened up and I saw the images and read about it, the restaurant was on my radar to visit and eat some delicious Oriental food. To be honest, there was a lot I ate and I can't really remember the names of all the dishes I had but the best ones are what I remember and here's the list. 

Non-Veg Sushi Platter
So the thing is I don't have photos of the dishes listed below but of some other dishes, I had as well.


1. Crispy Duck - 
The meat was so tender and cooked in such a way that it would just melt in your mouth. Confused with the same crispy duck right, the meat was melt in the mouth but the skin was crispy, so it was the perfect balance of textures when you eat the dish as a whole. It is the best duck dish I have ever had.

Sichuan Pepper & Poached Apple.

2. Pork Belly with Vanilla Pomelo Salad - Another soft, juicy and cooked to perfection dish. The cubes of Pork Belly would just fall off the stick on which it was served. Also never had I imagined that the vanilla being used in such a way with the pomelo to compliment the pork. If you love Pork then it is a must try dish.


3. White Peppercorn Ice Cream - This does sound weird but tastes heavenly. The moment I read it on the menu, I was a bit skeptical as to if I should order it or no but I'm glad I ordered it. The ice cream was creamy, smooth, had the right amount of sweetness and just the perfect kick from the white peppercorn. 

So these were some of the best meals I have had to date. Also, I have an idea in my mind where I am thinking of doing a post like this every year focusing on the best restaurants I have visited in that span of a year and then put it up. Let me know if you think it is interesting you would like to read about it. 

Also if you have had such a great meal, do let me know about it in the comments below. 


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