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Kokoro Ramenya + Hosting Event

My 2017 didn’t start smoothly, I kept on going against the current, thus, I end up waking up blearily, spending a couple of minutes staring at the ceiling to just sigh and guarantee myself that this day is going to end soon.

But thanks to Artist League Manila for giving me avenues to pour my energies into. So one of the first hosting events they gave me is a kid’s fashion show at Fishermall. It was my first time hosting outside my school, not to mention that the event is also considered informal– thus needing more effort in inserting adlibs. But I’m not that worried because I wasn’t hosting alone!

It was a Friday and my class ended at 12nn. So my BFFs, Pammy and Krizia, went with me to Fishermall and we ate at Kokoro Ramenya. I don’t remember our craving for Japanese cuisine because technically it’s just me who likes Ramen the most among the 3 of us and since they are very understanding and they were comforting me… We went for my preference.

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I ordered the Hakata Classic (Php275) not only because this is one of the recommended ramens, but because I also wanted to try other variants of ramen. They were able to cook the egg just how I liked it, the pork was tender, and there were also shrimp, squid, and vegetables to complete my diet. However, I was quite surprised with how this tasted because it is way too far from the Ramen I usually eat. I am not saying that it didn’t taste well, but the taste of the soup seemed like it’s a soup from a Chinese restaurant, and it’s not in the category of Ramens.

This is an eye opener that I should avoid trying new food– especially if I’m the one paying it. lol kidding 

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The last 3 dishes balanced the mistake I made with choosing the ramen. Although there is nothing special about the way they cooked The Chicken Teriyaki (Php195), I think it is just similar to how the usual Chicken Teriyakis tasted.  

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Same thing with the Katsudon (Php145), it also tasted the same with the usual Katsudons served in Tokyo Tokyo or Yoshinoya. However, I have noticed that they seemed to have a larger serving and that there are a lot of eggs! So why not!

We also had the Gyoza (Php155), although I wasn’t able to take a solo picture of it. Some parts of the Gyoza was harder than the other parts, which I think is because of the inconsistency when they cooked it. Some parts felt like fried, some felt like steamed.

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But overall, it was a good restaurant and here is a picture of us while we were waiting for our orders.

This day is one of my memorable days because I had a roller coaster of emotions the whole day but I was still able to get myself in front of a lot of people, pretended everything was fine and laughed with their jokes. I know I was also going to be reprimanded because I told them I’d be home by 9 pm, but I actually went home at 1 am.

But I think God understood my pain that day so I just had fun that night and I wasn’t reprimanded when I went home.

So there you have it! If you want to visit a Ramen restaurant in Fishermall, go to Kokoro Ramenya! You can find it at the Upper Ground Floor, Fisher Mall, Quezon Avenue, Del Monte, Quezon City . Hope to hear your experience!

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National Library of Singapore

When I went to Singapore, part of my itinerary was to visit Libraries to satisfy my proactive soul and look for a possible undergraduate thesis topic. My goal was to even visit all, however, that would be far-fetched because aside from there are a lot of libraries, most of the libraries I’ve seen on the list are for children! Just imagine looking for a hardcore Linguistic book, and finding a colorful book of Red Riding Hood, instead?

Among the libraries I visited are Sports Hub Library, Toa Payoh Library, and National Library, but it was the National Library that enticed me to return several times– which led me to not visiting other anymore because I found the one.

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I can still remember the exact moment I visited this library the first time. I was shrinking, I wanted to know if I have to pay anything to get in. But I was alone, and I just felt so diffident just by looking at the lady at the information desk. She looked strict, reserved, and intimidating, like those nuns administering convents for young ladies– and then only God knows how my imagination led to an entire soap opera

I circled around the exhibit in the lobby, and honestly, I was already thinking about aborting my mission.

I wanted to go back to my comfort zone.

I wanted to go home.

But I reminded myself that I have no time to be hesitant because I’ve traveled so far, and it is embarrassing to fail at something just because I was shy. Myself, my family, my mom, my ancestors, my countrymen– they will all not be happy if I go home– just because I was shy.

So I took a deep breath and approached the lady. She politely smiled at me, and under my shaking smile I asked, “Hi, I am a tourist and I want to enter the library, do I have to pay anything?” She smiled more and then she shook her head, “No no, you can just go in, sit, and read.” She even swayed her hand, gesturing me to go in. So, I said thanks, and I went in.

And after that, I returned to the National Library several times, and I started smiling and greeting uncles around the place.

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National Library of Singapore, is also called Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. It occupies the 5th and 7th-13th levels of the National Library Building, at the Victoria Street, Singapore. It is located near Bras Basah Complex and Bugis. They are open Monday-Sunday from 10am-9pm (except on Public Holidays).

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But for me, I usually stayed at the 8th level because that is where the Social Science and Humanities Collection. In this section, I was able to find a lot of books in all the fields of Linguistics. They have such a huge collection and their books were really kept well. I was even fascinated to find books that are part of the references of the books I’ve read in the Philippines. I don’t know if I am normal but I felt like I am seeing a celebrity in person when I touched their books!

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The staffs are also very diligent in their jobs. They have a table on the sides, wherein they will ask you to put the books after you use it, instead of inserting it in any bookshelves. The staffs really make sure that that table will always be free of any books because they put it in their rightful places right away.

Although in using the Online Catalogues, it was quite stupid-eating because it’s different from what we have in the Philippines. In their catalog, if you search for one book they will all give you results even from other libraries. And the call card number is different, I don’t know how to use it. Seriously.

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They also have a cafe outside the library but I wasn’t able to check it out and eat there. But they always have a lot of clients, so I think the food there tastes good.

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With the rise of the internet, research, and the import/export of books, information has been at the tip of our thumbs. Thus, I don’t believe that ignorance is bliss. It was never, and will never be. At this age of technology, it is embarrassing to still be ignorant.

As anyone has noticed in the facade, facilities, and books at the National Library of Singapore, everyone will agree that it is a modernized library, and being a modernize library actually helped enticing more students, tourists, and people in general, to visit and spend time at the library.

That’s why I do hope that the Philippines would invest in these kinds of establishments. To encourage more students to study and to be able to entice more researchers in the country. Filipinos are already intelligent people, we just need more venue to hone our talents.

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Royal London Duck

It is seldom to find restaurants in the Philippines that serve duck. However, in Singapore, you’ll find it everywhere. You’ll find it in those fancy Chinese restaurants or those in the hawkers– although, honestly, I find Hawker foods more authentic than those from the commercialized and overpriced restaurants. hmpft

So today, we went to the Mandarin Gallery at Orchard. 

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Aside from the advertisement stand found near the elevator, this view will actually entice you to dine in their restaurant. As much as, it was quite uncomfortable how the brownish-colored duck and yellowish-colored chicken were hooked that way, but, it actually succeeded in catching our attention.

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Splendor is flashing inside the restaurant, with its red colored chairs– which is very Chinese marketing strategy– and the interior of the restaurant. The restaurant is also not a confined type of establishment, like a usual restaurant space enclosed by its four sides and then a double door in the middle of one side. Here, they actually have 2 sides that they opened and they only have a balcony-type of a divider from the outside of its restaurant.

So basically, the air of the entire mall circulates with their own air. And in my opinion, that is like saving electrical energy and it’s more comfortable because the sight not suffocating.

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Royal London Duck

Of course, we ordered Half Royal London Duck (SGD25) because, basically, that’s what we came for. The duck wasn’t chewy, the skin was in the middle of being crispy and being hard, and the sauce was fantastic with the white rice. It was definitely cooked well!

Although I must say that diners should really be careful when feeding elders or toddlers because there are some small duck bones you will only discover once you’re eating them already.

Then I also ordered this one, because a Beef Brisket Noodle Dry (SGD8.80) is a must in every Chinese dining. I love how tender the beef was, however, I’d prefer if they would not serve me the fatty part of the brisket next time. I just want the meat itself, please.

We also ordered the RLD Black Pepper Bun (SGD5.80), which was like a pork steamed bun, minus the fact that it’s not really steamed because the buns are like the ones from Tim Ho Wan, which I think is a baked one, and also it’s not pork, it’s a duck.

We ordered Congee because we have a very picky toddler and who panics everytime the food is not color white. (Yay I miss baby Noelle!!) And of course, Royal London Duck Xiao Long Bao (SGD5.20) though, I think the wrap was thicker and it’s less watery (I mean the soup inside it) but overall it still tasted like the usual Xia Long Bao that I tasted.

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For our dessert, we had Snow Lady (SGD4). It’s like a whip-cream-icing combination and small Mango cubes wrapped in Mochi skin. This is my first time tasting a Snow Lady, and even though I read one review that it seemed like it’s below their expectation. I’d set this as my standard, and let’s see how it goes.

So there you have it! If you want to visit a restaurant that serves just the right duck for your craving, Go to Royal London Duck! You can find it at 333A Orchard Road, Mandarin Gallery #04-21/22/23, Singapore 238897. Hope to hear your experience!

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Gardens by the Bay

Almost 3 years ago, just hours before we return to the Philippines, we visited Gardens by the Bay and watched the Supertree Grove‘s lights gracefully twinkle with the lullaby.

But this time, we went to 2 conservatories, which are the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest.

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We first visited the Flower Dome, it is a conservatory housing different kinds of flowers and trees from different parts of the world. Although it was raining outside, I noticed that when we entered the conservatory, the temperature suddenly dropped in accordance to the needed temperature of the plants.

According to their website, Flower Dome was hailed by the 2015 Guinness World of Records as the largest columnless greenhouse in the world! It replicates the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean regions like South Africa, California, and parts of Spain and Italy.

While roaming around I found these unique-looking flowers. I am not sure if there are flowers like these in the Philippines or even those that are a little alike. But whatever, I like these flowers!

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After finishing wandering around the Flower Dome, we entered the Cloud Forest. As much as according to their website it has the same indoor temperature with the Flower Dome, I found it colder because of the water spritzing from the gigantic falls. Looking at the multileveled edifice behind the falls, I found myself cringing because it looked like a submerged ship covered with mosses– and I have Thalassophobia, so looking at this “submerged ship,” I am having thoughts about sharks and other only-in-Marianas-Trench-found creatures are dangling between the leaves. oh my god

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Basically, there is not much attraction in this conservatory aside from the gigantic waterfall and the abundance of green leaves masking the edifice holding the waterfall.

But there are these lego-constructed flowers.

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And they also boast the bridges that will make your legs wobble because the paths are not a hundred percent covered. So, the edges near the railings are transparent and you’ll see ant-sized heads below. To add more to that horror, once people are running, hopping, or jumping you’ll feel the bridge vibrate like your phone vibrating when the grim reaper is calling to pick you up.

Gardens by the Bay occupies such a huge area so it will be tiring to walk here and there. But worry no more, they expected tiresome (and/or lazy) tourists, so they offer unlimited shuttle services. For only SGD3, you will have an unlimited access to their shuttle that will transit you from the conservatories to the ticketing office/main entrance. For everyone’s information, the nearest MRT is Bayfront, and it’s accessible near the main entrance.

So there you have it if you want to visit Gardens by the Bay, please buy your tickets on their website.

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Derwish Turkish Restaurant

Singapore, as many people know, is a multicultural country that is home to Malaysian, Chinese, British, Australians, Indians, Americans, Asians and other European descents. When we speak of culture this will include language, religion, cuisine, norms, music, and arts. So basically, we can infer that the culture of the people living in the country has been promulgated to every corner of the country.

That’s why, when I went here for vacation, my sister and I pledged that we will be trying different kinds of cuisines because most of the restaurants prioritize the authenticity of their dish– although for sure, it’s going to be pricey~

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For tonight’s restaurant, we went to Derwish Turkish Restaurant for dinner. It is located at the busy street of Arab, which is dominated by European and Middle Eastern cuisines. Among the lavishly designed restaurants that we passed by, it was this restaurant that captured our attention– since the one who was offering us to check the menu was a Filipino. (#Bias #patriotism #kidding) He greeted us in Filipino, “Magandang Gabi” (Good Evening) and then he started talking about trying their dishes. Though he is not a pushy kind of server, he was in fact very calm when he was pointing at the overwhelming varieties of dishes, but later we just found ourselves saying, “Okay, table for 2 please.”

The restaurant is elevated, with an almost-3-steps stairs leading to the main door. They have tables located outside the restaurant, but we preferred the ones inside because the grandiosity of the interior was pleasing me. Besides it was warm outside since it has been unpredictably downpouring and sun burning. I almost believe a Goblin was on PMS. Kidding.

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When we entered I found myself in awe with the flamboyance of its design. The tiled walls were occupied by different impressive patterns and in the middle, there was a frame of people carrying gold jars.

The white table complemented with the prints of the chairs. I think having blue prints on the chair and blue utensils holders gave an impression of being a royal blooded person. You know, it looked so first-class.

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Hummus and Bread (SGD9)

This is my first time trying Turkish food, and upon seeing this dish it gave an idea that probably the cream will taste sweet and that I don’t want to try that greeny-yellowish liquid in the middle because that might not taste good.

But thanks to my sister, she gave me a heads up of what will be the taste. The cream or dip is called Hummus, and according to the dictionary, it is a thick paste or spread made from ground chickpeas and sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon, and garlic. So apparently, it won’t taste sweet and instead, it tasted a little salty and it did a great job complementing with the bread. And I would also recommend you to dip near the greeny-yellowish liquid a.k.a. the Olive oil. 

However, the bread was cold and I would prefer if it’s warmer.

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This is one of their appetizers, it a bloated bread while it’s warm then it deflates as it gets colder. I preferred dipping this bread to the Hummus because due its warmness the consistency of the Hummus with it is observed.

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Chicken Kebab (SGD25)

In this restaurant, aside from the Chicken kebab (SGD25) they also serve Lamb kebab. However, I am not used to the taste of lamb, so we chose this one instead.

The thick and tender kebab were skewed in a sword design skewer, and before it was even set on our table, its rich flavors are evident with the tantalizing aroma it comes with. It smells so good, you’d find yourself senseless to other things while swallowing that imaginary lump in your throat! It is also served with vegetables and short-grained rice. The servings are enough for sharing if both of you are not so hungry.

Although, Turkish restaurants, in general, are pricey. It is not only the architecture of the restaurant, the extravagance of its tables, chairs, and utensils, or the title of it being a Turkish restaurant.

You are actually paying for the authenticity of the culture enveloped in the dishes they serve. You are paying for the quality of the herbs and spices, the tenderness of the meat, the freshness of the dough, and the mastery of the chef in bearing these dishes for you. You are paying for the culture that they preserved and handed down to generations after generations.

Here are my solo picture and a picture with my sister! 🌻

So there you have it! If you want to visit a restaurant that serves authentic kebab with a touch of extravagance and cultivation of culture, Go to Derwish Turkish Restaurant! You can find it at 60 Bussorah Street Singapore 199476. Hope to hear your experience!

PS. There are a lot of Turkish restaurants that you’d find at the Arab St., and nearby streets, but please find this restaurant. It looks like this from the outside.

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2017, I am so ready

For the past years, it has been my tradition to list my new year’s resolutions. Despite the fact that I am unconsciously only doing half of it, or it has been the same resolutions I have been doing annually,  I still do it because it allows me to expect a certain view of my whole year.

Indeed, 2016 was eventful, I even claimed it as my year. Imagine, this year I was able to maintain being on the dean’s list, I got my article published in Thought Catalog, and I even joined a televised singing contest called “Tawag ng Tanghalan.” Aside from that, I also met new friends and developed a tight relationship with them. Even though there were a lot of mishaps that happened around the world– wars, elections, territorial dispute, etc– I still believe that for me, 2016 is the year that I grew as a person.

So, for the year 2017, I decided to make 5 SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound) resolutions. This time I am not going to focus on the goals, instead I am going to focus on the specific activities that will help me achieve the goals.

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Be a better version of myself

One insecurity that I have is that I am plus size. Probably some people think that I am not, and I am just unproportionate for having smaller legs for my body. But even though I’ve heard too much positive and negative comments about my body, I would like to achieve a better version of myself.

Activities: I would like to focus on running at least 2-5 times a week, I will continue avoiding soft drinks, and I’m buying fruits every week. In terms of my diet, I am going to pursue this 1 rice a day diet. Strictly no rice at night!

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Knowledge is power

Part of becoming a better version of yourself is being motivated to do so, and I believe that some people tend to lose motivation because of the influence of other people, so if I have a healthy mind then people will find it difficult to imbue bad influences on me.

For the past months, I found myself having difficulties studying because I was too distracted and lazy to do an active reading. But I realized that if I will manage my time properly, my mind will be in a way programmed that in this specific time, I should be studying. In this way, my mind will be reminded that during this specific time, it should be absorbing all the words I am reading.

Activities: I will strictly follow a schedule so that I will have the abundance of time to read academic and non-academic books, and at the same time I will still have time with my friends. Also, this year, I would like to read books about culture and world histories, so that every time I am going out of the country I will be able to understand diversity and at the same time I will not be always in awe when people say trivia, and instead I’d be able to add something too.

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I’m going to reap what I sow

For the past year, as far as I remember, I was only able to save up until the first quarter of the year. No need for explanations, I fail in budgeting and I am an unreasonably spendthrift. And I don’t want to make the same mistake, so this time I will definitely use my allowance well.

There has been a 52-week challenge that has gone viral on Facebook, but as a middle-class student, we found the 52-week challenge very difficult to maintain because the amount is progressively increasing. So Krizia decided to create our “personalized” 52-week challenge. (You’re free to use it, we’ll not get 10% of your final savings~ hehehe)

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Credits to Krizia 

Activities: Every month, my allowance will be divided into my monthly savings, toiletries, yogurts, milk, and fruits! And I will also keep away from spending too much money on fast foods or high-maintenance eat out with my friends.

Realization: It’s also better if you’re doing this 52-week challenge with your friends who you’re always spending with. In this way, it will help you all together to save up and not spend on unnecessary things.

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No to negativity

Aside from being physically, mentally, and financially equipped this 2017, I also would like to gloss this year with emotional stability. As I’ve said 2016 was the year I met new friends, but it was also the year I lost ones. Now that I am starting a new year, I don’t want these negative experiences to hinder me from meeting new people, because of my fear of going in the cycle again. Now that I am starting a new year, I want to prioritize those people who never gave up on dealing with my emotional instability.

I admit, being mean and having strong personality are already circulated in my blood. But I want to make people realize that being strong doesn’t mean that I am always capable of healing. I am also a needy person who needs assurance and consistencies every once in a while.

Activities: I will always welcome the day with a smile and whisper grace to God for giving me another day to do better than yesterday. I will always try to see the good in every situation, and if people told me that it’s impossible to always choose the easier path, then I’ll prove them wrong. I will make sure, every day, that I am not making decisions that will complicate me in the future. I am still not yet done solving my problems from 2016, I can’t afford to be more drowned in debt.

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When an act becomes a habit

This year I will be more selfish, and I will focus on my self-growth. I want to stop wasting my time to other people. I want to stop robbing myself the happiness that she deserves. I believe that some people, prefer friends over their own success because they think that when they succeed they will lose the friends– who would compliment them for the good work.

First of all, if they are your true friends they would be there through thick and thin. You don’t have to stoop down to a level that all of you are together, as a friend you should focus on helping each other climb up the ladder of success. Second, why would you need people to compliment you for your good work? Posting it online just means that you’re sharing a good news to them, but not necessarily to fish their compliments. After all, whether they appreciate your success or not, the success is still yours.

Activities: I will write every Friday for Thought Catalog and/or my blogs, and I will practice songs/playing Piano every Saturday, and I will read books every Sunday. I’m not doing this the whole day, I will schedule it together with my school works. Regarding the Youtube videos, I am still thinking about it. hehehe

2016 was a daring year, but 2017 will be more daring. Let’s continue the hard work last year, and be the best version of ourselves! Let’s learn from the mistakes of last year!

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Chicken Up!

On my first day in Singapore, my sister took a leave because she had to attend different hospital appointments. Me, who’s still “jetlagged” from yesterday’s flight (lol, as if Manila-Singapore flight takes more than 16 hours. Lol), kept on pleading for snoozing my alarm that’s why we ended up not having breakfast at all. So for our first meal of the day, we went to Chicken Up.

Chicken Up, most likely is in the same genre with Korean fast food chain like Bon Chon. According to their website, Chicken Up is known for serving best-selling marinated chickens Yangnyum (sweet and tangy flavor) and Ganjang (Soya-based blend). Unfortunately, there is no branch in the Philippines yet, and it can only be found in Singapore and Johor Bahru.

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When we entered we were welcomed by a very accommodating staff, whose name I, unfortunately, forgot to check. He was consistently smiling at us with his eyes really attentive on our needs. He led us to our table and helped us with our orders, especially when we asked about their best sellers (or Manager’s choice), he immediately suggested that we should try their promo of unlimited beers/Soju and Chicken wings! … Let’s not forget that it’s only 1 pm! It’s too early for getting drunk and doing honest hours! 

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As you can see in the interiors, the walls and the floors looked like their undone. But I guarantee you that the floors are smooth enough and you won’t find any cement ashes falling on your food as you eat.

They also have wooden-metal mixed material for the tables and chairs. In fact, I found the chair very heavy when I tried to push myself nearer to the table. On the table, you’ll find an empty pint with a plastic wherein you can put your chicken bones or any rubbish. They also have tissues, wet wipes, and spoons and forks on the side.

As you scan the menu for your order, you will find yourself singing along– or babbling actually– along with the music because they are playing Korean Drama OSTs that are kind of sketchy from which drama it came from.

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Popcorn Chicken (S$20) + Plain Rice (S$2)

My sister ordered Popcorn Chicken (SGD20), which is a boneless chicken that is suitable for people who are too hungry to even pay attention to chicken bones. She ordered it in Soya-base and when they said that they marinated the chicken for more than 12 hours, I agreed to that because the taste of Soya is not only found in the skin but it’s also in the flesh itself! Very worth it!

They also serve a generous amount of rice, which we are both thankful for because this is our first meal and we were really famished!

My sister even said, “I have been eating so much but the chicken seemed to not have lessened.” I agree, guuurl! 

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Ganjang Soya Chicken Wings (S$12) + Plain Rice (S$2)

For me, I ordered Ganjang Soya Chicken Wings (SGD12) and I was surprised with how big the chicken wings were! It’s totally a mother chicken compared to the chicks Bon Chon in the Philippines serves. The rich flavor of Soya can already be found in the skin and even in the flesh.

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Topokki with Cheese and Sea Food (S$20)

I was once a kdrama junkie and I have always been fascinated about the taste of the rice cake or Tteokkboki. Even on Facebook, there are a lot of videos about “What to do in Seoul” or “5 things to eat in Seoul,” and Tteokkboki is always part of the list.

Now that I have seen it in on the menu I agreed to order it. Despite being aware that it is spicy– and I’m not a fan of it–, I still agreed. Because why not, it’s 2016, change is coming. lol

The Topokki that we ordered has shrimp, mussels, noodles, cheese and rice cakes. They serve an enormous amount of shrimps and mussels, I mean it. Not only enormous but also fat. The rice cake was also chewy, but it won’t hurt your teeth. However, if you don’t like spicy foods just don’t sip the soup. It’s more bearable.

 

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Honey Ginger Tea (s$5) AND Honey Ginseng Tea (s$5)

 

For our beverage, my sister had Honey Ginger Tea. Even if I have always been encouraged to drink ginger to soothe my singing voice, Ginger still holds the smallest place in my heart. #sorrynotsorry So when we ordered my sister insisted that I order this, but I declined. So she ended up ordering it for herself instead, praying that she’ll have my singing voice… Kidding.

I ordered the Honey Ginseng Tea, and as a first timer, I was pleased with how it tasted. Every time I am eating in a restaurant in the Philippines, I always prefer water over everything since the choices are limited to soft drinks, shakes, and ice tea. But since here in Singapore, they always have varieties of teas, I try them. This Honey Ginseng Tea is sweet and it tasted like the Arnibal (sweetening syrup) whenever we eat the “Taho” (Soft Tofu).

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A picture of me and my sister

So there you have it! If you want to visit a restaurant that serves nurtured and 12-hour marinated chicken, Go to Chicken Up! You can find it at 2 Tampines Central 5, #01-44 Century Square, Century Square, 529509. Hope to hear your experience!