Sunday, August 28, 2011

Snapshots of Singapore!

For those of you just tuning in, I've just come back from a great 2-week vacation in Singapore, the land of great food, shopping, and much more! A comprehensive guide of this country's numerous attractions, this post is not. But I do hope I succeed in capturing your imagination with my snapshots and encourage you to visit yourself if you have the chance!

I really can't write about this trip without mentioning the incredible love and generosity of my aunt and cousin, who were my hosts on this trip. As my mom's eldest sister, "Dayi" has always treated me like her own daughter and taken my problems to be her own. She's one of the strongest, most generous people I've ever met. Without Dayi and my cousin this trip wouldn't have been possible, and I owe them my greatest thanks and love!


Though I'm normally not a big fan of "tourist attractions," this island resort was too much for me to resist. Sentosa means "peace and tranquility" in Malay, and after walking the gorgeous beaches there I found the name quite appropriate! We chose to take a cable-car onto the island, which provided an exciting bird's eye view of the island. Then we enjoyed the lovely beach, aquarium, and a 3D action ride. Of course, there are many other exciting parts of Sentosa. Hopefully I'll be able to visit again sometime and check out the huge zipline and Universal Studios Singapore!

Welcome to Sentosa Island =)
Pretty Rope/Wood Bridge (where I lost my lens cap...oops 8p)

Cousin and Aunt at Sentosa and Child on Beach
My Cousin and Aunt at Sentosa and Unknown Child on Sentosa Beach

Sentosa Lunch Shiitake Mushrooms and Pork and Claypot Tofu
Lunch of Shiitake Mushrooms with Pork and Claypot Tofu

Dessert of Pandan Waffles Stuffed with Cheese
Dessert of Pandan Waffles Stuffed with Cheese (surprisingly tasty!)

Sentosa Aquarium Shark and Tunnel
Sharks and Tunnel at Sentosa Aquarium

Spider Crab
Huge Spider Crabs


Gorgeous Seahorses...I want one as a pet =D


My cousin, who I was visiting on this trip, lived just up the hill from Chinatown, so this become quite a frequent haunt of ours. It's a diverse area full of delicious street and restaurant food, a beautifully decorated temple, and streets full of shops for visitors to load up on souvenirs. Right across the street from the temple was a bakery (Tong Heng Confectionery) selling the best egg tarts I've ever tasted. Imagine perfectly smooth egg custard encased in a delicate, unbelievably flaky crust...I'm really kicking myself right now for not having gone back more time 8).

Chinatown Street and Chopstick Stand
Chinatown Street and Chopstick Stand

Chinatown Temple and Statue
Temple and Statue of Guardian King Outside

Chinatown Mango and Durian Ice Kacang
Mango and Durian Ice Kacang (SO GOOD!!)

Chinatown HK and Portuguese-Style Egg Tarts
Hong Kong and Portuguese-Style Egg Tarts

Chinatown Szechuan Food - Spicy Chilled Mung Bean Noodles (Liangfen) and Fried Eggplant
Szechuan Food - Spicy Chilled Mung Bean Noodles (Liangfen) and Fried Eggplant

Chinatown Passionfruit White Chocolate Mousse Entremet
Passionfruit White Chocolate Mousse Entremet Cake


By the power of Twitter, I was lucky enough to meet up with 2 groups of bloggers while in Singapore. Both get-togethers were absolute blasts, and left me wishing these ladies and gents lived a bit closer than across the world ;-). The first meeting was for hot pot at Vivocity Mall by the Harbourfront. I met up with my friend Eunice a bit in advance to go prop-shopping at Daiso and whet our appetites by perusing the food stands outside. We ended the evening with really good bubble tea, a lot of delicious girl-talk, and a gorgeous view of the harbor from the boardwalk outside. Thanks, ladies, for an unforgettable evening!

Harbourfront and Seafood Stand
Harbourfront Boardwalk and Seafood Stand

Tutu Kueh Sweet Rice Cakes with Coconut Peanut Filling
Tutu Kueh (Sweet Steamed Rice Flour Cakes with Coconut Peanut Filling)

Harbourfront Hot Pot
Raw Ingredients for Hotpot

Harbourfront Vivocity Bloggers Meetup
Harbourfront Vivocity Bloggers Meetup
From Left to Right: Lyn, Selene, Rachel, Eunice, me


My aunt and I took a brief jaunt around Little India on my second-to-last day in Singapore. We stuffed ourselves with vegetarian Indian food (I had my favorite idli sambar) before doing some fabric shopping and enjoying the colorful surroundings. Later on I enjoyed even better Indian food for my second blogger meet-up at the famous seafood restaurant, Gajalee. We had a ball chatting about everything from food (of course!) to Singaporean politics. Then I was surprised by the sweetest food gifts: addictive chakri made by Vijay's mom and an incredible Valrhona chocolate tart with poached Shanghai peaches from Pickyin! And Shirley treated me to dinner! It's rare to meet anyone as warm and generous as these bloggers. Thanks so much, you guys!

Little India
Little India and Colorful Flowers and Fruits

Gajalee Crab with Green Chili Sauce and Fish
Gajalee's Crab with Green Chili Sauce and Fish Curry

Gajalee Blogger Meetup
Gajalee Blogger Meetup
From Left to Right: Vijay, Pickyin, Shirley, and me


When I arrived in Singapore and realized my cousin lived right next to this hawker center, I couldn't believe my luck! I'm both jealous of all the scrumptious and cheap local food she has at her fingertips, but it's probably for the better than I don't have such easy access as I'd just be (over)eating out all the time! This was my first time EVER trying laksa and Singapore's famous chili crab. Definitely worth the wait!

People's Park Hawker Center Laksa Noodle Soup
Laksa (Spicy Seafood Rice Noodle Soup)

People's Park Hawker Center Otak-Otak Spicy Fish Paste
Otak-Otak (Spicy Fish Paste Steamed in Banana Leaf) and Iced Coffee

People's Park Hawker Center Chili Crab and Silken Tofu
Singapore's Famous Chili Crab and Chilled Silken Tofu


When I first met up with fellow macaron-baker Eunice at Harbourfront, I half-jokingly confided that I was already missing baking. Since she was actually in town to bake treats for her friend's wedding, Eunice kindly invited me along to her chocolatier friend's commercial kitchen to help her! Have I mentioned that she's awesome?! On top the free macaron lesson, I got to document each step for an upcoming macaron tutorial she'll be sharing here soon!

Truffs Chocolate Shop Drinking Chocolate and Cappucino
Drinking Chocolate and Cappucino

Macaron Making
Making Macarons with Eunice at Truffs (owned by her friend)
Guest Post with Picture Tutorial HERE!


Mee Siam and Char Kway Teow Noodles
Mee Siam and Shrimp Char Kway Teow Noodles

Cendol Ice and Mango Black Sticky Rice Roll
Cendol Ice and Green Tea Roll with Mango and Black Sticky Rice

Flaky Chinese Pastries and Pingpei Mooncakes
Flaky Chinese Pastries and Pingpei Mooncakes


Although people tend to talk more about how clean Singapore is, the feature of the city that most impressed me was actually the abundance of trees and other greenery throughout. So imagine how delighted I was upon entering the Singapore's famous Botanic Gardens. Ancient trees with winding roots, shaded walkways covered in vibrant flowers, and over 1,000 varieties of orchids. Words really can't do them justice, so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves!

Botanicals Garden Hanging Flowers
Pretty Hanging Flowers

Botanical Gardens
Parasitic Plant and My Aunt with an Ancient Tree

Botanical Gardens Statue and Flowered Archway
Hear No Evil, See No Evil Statue and Flowered Archway

Pretty Orchids

Orchids 1
More Orchids from the Famous Orchid Garden

Orchids 2
And Yet More Orchids...

Walkway with Flowers
Lovely Shaded Walkway Covered in Flowers

Willow Tree
Willow Tree with Writing on Its Branches

Orchids 3
Orchids, Some with Plentiful Tendrils

Strange-looking Orchids
Strangest-looking Orchids

Orchids 4
Long Bell-shaped Flowers (maybe orchids?)

My Aunt at Singapore's Botanic Gardens
My Typically Serious Aunt in a Moment of Adorable Asian-ness ^_^


  1. Wow, this is amazing! Thank you for sharing your trip, and I seriously NEED a trip to Asia soon! Singapore? Japan? So happy you got to spend time with family and friends and food! :)

  2. Singapore! I need a vacation asap. Crossing fingers so I can go to Tokyo before this year is over... I'm flying to Miami next Friday but I wouldn't call that a vacation. LOVE your photography, can you believe I have never tried pandan? ps. You're cute :)

  3. i have always wanted to go to singapore!! i wanna see exactly how clean it is! oh and i love their food, drooools

  4. What lovely photos! You made me drool just looking at the local food pictures you took. Mmmm. It was a pleasure meeting you too and do come back and visit again - there are LOADS more local food you haven't tried ;)

  5. Very cool pictures. Captured the essence of the trip really well. What did you use to merge the pics, if you dont mind my asking.

  6. From what I see, you ate a lot of yummy foods over there. Oh..I love the making macs with your friend part. Can't wait to read the guest post :D

  7. You've managed to capture Singapore in a beautiful way, I have been there in July but only for 2 days so didn't get to see as much of Singapore as I would love to!

  8. Thank you so much for these lovely photos. Brings back so many fond memories of my homeland!

  9. Your photos are so beautiful! I must go there!!

  10. Wow, great place with lovely nature and interesting places! Thanks for this virtual trip.

  11. Thanks, everyone!

    Sid, I used a free program called Photoscape to combine the photos. I sent you a FB message with a few more details.

  12. Wow, great pictures! Looks like you had a lot of fun :)

  13. Oh wow! Looks like a wonderful trip! Great shots! Thanks for this virtual trip and I love the look of the food! :)

  14. stunning pics! the willow tree branch is my favorite, the bokeh is so beautiful.

  15. It was awesome meeting you! You certainly did a lot, but there's loads more to try! Come back to this part of the world, and soon! =D

  16. I love how you captured our homeland! Really glad that we met up, and really sorry that i couldn't come and help you girls out with the macarons! Perhaps we will meet again when I visit US at the end of the year!!

  17. Xiaolu, you have me totally inspired to visit there now. Truth is, I never had any desire previously and missed a great opportunity. My friends who lived there for several years are now living back in Georgia. You photography capturing the places and food was a feast for my eyes.

  18. Looks like the trip of a lifetime~gorgeous scenery, delicious food, friends and family!

  19. Beautiful clicks .... quite a virtual trip of Singapore :)

  20. Thanks again, my friends. It really was a fabulous trip!

  21. so much food!! looks like lots of fun

  22. Hey, This is a lovely post....!!!!
    I remember Sentosa is so much fun to be in with loads of exciting activities to do. Loved these beautiful pictures, all are gorgeous. Have a wonderful week ahead. Thanks & Regards, Sonia !!!

  23. Have always loved to see Singapore through a visitor's eyes. You've captured your Singapore adventure so beautifully. I am so glad that we could meet!

  24. Xiaolu, thanks for sharing your wonderful holiday pictures with us. What an amazing trip you had and your photographs are beautiful as always.

  25. Your pictures are stunning!!!
    I would love to have some of that shaved ice

  26. Your post is a color riot. Such mouth watering food.
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful holiday pictures..

  27. Beautiful post and photos Xiaolu...and not forgetting the amazing foodphotos :D

  28. So many gorgeous photos Xiaolu!! My parents are in Singapore at the moment actually, so it's great to see some of the sights they will be seeing. It looks like you had a wonderful time.

    I especially love the look of the Passionfruit White Chocolate Mousse Entremet Cake. Yum!!!!! The orchids are simply stunning too. One of my favourite flowers.

  29. Gorgeous shots - have a ball!

  30. Lovely photos! I went to Singapore when I was a teenager - I loved the mix of all the various asian cultures and foods. I would love to go back now that I'm older - I think I would enjoy it that much more. Happy you had a wonderful trip.

  31. It looked like you had an amazing time on our little island. The photos you took are really gorgeous!

  32. I am also heading to SE Asia for a few months trip: Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Lankawi and possibly Singapore, and then my home country Taiwan. It's great to see how vegetarian friendly Singapore can be, even though it's more expensive than Kuala Lumpur, I've heard. Flowers look gorgeous there.

    xxx from Vienna and PDX,

  33. OMG, gorgeous photos, Xiaolu - the jellyfish, the scenery, the pandan waffles with cheese (I think they look and sound fabulous!!), So glad you had a wonderful time in Singapore and thank you for sharig it with us!!

  34. love this!! looks like you had an awesome trip! i love your captions - esp the very last one! thanks to you, i have a peek into what it would be like to travel to singapore. my parents went when i was still in my moms womb. :) all photos are incredible here but my favorite photos are the ice kacang, chopstick stand, the jellyfish, passionfruit cake, pink macarons, and pandan waffle....the waffle is so intriguing!! and chakri is the ultimate travel snack! have you had 'chevro' yet? It's on my blog to-do list..

  35. This is what went through my head while looking at your post: Ooo! Lovely! Yummy! Ooo! Lovely! Yummy! Ooo!
    LOL Looks like a wonderful vacation.

  36. Shame on me! I never knew so much about the botanic gardens :O

    I will be in Singapore during turn for chomping! My treat for putting myself on long-haul flight.

    Love all your photos - so beautiful!

  37. Looks like it was an amzing trip, that wooden bridge is awesome. And how fun that you were able to meet up with some blogging friends too!

  38. Loved the Singapore shots, gorgeous!
    Esp. the Bridge ones.

  39. I really really miss singapore..seeing all the pictures I am way too tempted eating the singapore food and wish I can go immediately :)Gorgeous shots....and wonderful food.

  40. Thanks again for the sweet responses!

  41. Sorry for my late comment here - Welcome back Xiaolu! Thanks for sharing lots of pictures! I really enjoyed every one of them. Very nice pictures and definitely dreaming of a day that I can visit! And the food pictures were too good. I miss Asian food...!!

  42. Nice roundup on your trip Xiaolu, it was our pleasure to meet you and good to see you had a blast with dinner and our 'gifts'. So when I'm in your neighborhood we cook in your kitchen ok?

  43. Pickyin -- hehe I'd definitely be up for it but unfortunately I'd probably have to travel from VA to NYC to meet you! But lemme see if I can bribe one of my friends into letting us commandeer his kitchen =D

  44. AW! My beautiful Singapore. Glad you enjoyed yourself!

  45. Thank you for taking me on vacation with you :) Gorgeous photos. Wish I could have a bowl of laksa for lunch today.

    PS Orchids are my favorite flowers.

  46. Truly amazing photos... Looks like the trip of a lifetime! I wish I was there, but it almost feels as though I was because these images are so vibrant. :)

  47. Xiaolu, these pictures are phenomenal! Makes me wish I was there! I'm glad you had a great vacation!

  48. Hello
    All your photos are Incredibly beautiful!!
    Yes, I am also thankful that Irene did not cause much damage around my area. Nice vacation

  49. Xiaolu, Wow, what gorgeous photos. Singapore looks amazing and you have definitely made me want to book a trip! The food photos were making me so hungry! Thank you for sharing. :)

  50. Hey girlie, I completely missed this post. What a beautiful recap and homage to Singapore sites, foor, your aunt and your cousin. So very sweet and you are absolutely adorable!!

  51. It looks like it was an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing photos. :) That pandan waffle looks so yummy!!

  52. What in the heck!! I was out of town when this post did its thing and posted. And. I. Missed it.

    My favorite subject, too (travel + food + chocolate, if that's a subject). Everything looks crazy good, and beautiful. Sweet peace sign from your aunt;)

  53. Loved your post.can tell u had an awesome time.just back from a weeklong holiday in singapore,had a fantastic time!after going through your page..there is a need for me to go back only to view singapore through your eyes! :)


I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu