May 28, 2011

Daily Lunchtime Adventures from Si Pai Por

It has been more than a month since I moved on to my new workplace at Si Pai Por. The location is really convenient; the MRT is literally at my doorstep with the nearest exit a stone's throw away. My commuting time is also shortened and for the first time there is no need for any bus-transfer. While the remuneration and perks are not fantastic, the opportunity, where location is concerned, is a godsend.

For lunch, I have been wandering by myself to try out the different food in the area. Well, if you read this blog, you'd know I am not a connoisseur of food. In fact, the part about me trying out different food is a misnomer; if I recall correctly, for the whole week or consecutively for many days, I was having Kway Chap for lunch. My real purpose in wandering alone was to explore the history and heritage of Si Pai Por and its vicinity. Lunch gives me the perfect opportunity to do that.

By eating that same food many days, caution was thrown to the wind but my wandering - on foot of course - was enriching and fulfilling. Si Pai Por's location at the city fringe is also strategic; at a confluence of history and heritage of vastly different flavors, it is a natural springboard for exploring all the "places of interest" around it. For example,
  • I made it a point to try out all the food centers within walking distance of Si Pai Por - some for the very first time and others first in a very long time. So far, I have tried the ones at Hong Lim Complex, Maxwell, Chinatown Complex, Tanjong Pagar Plaza, Jalan Kukoh, People's Park and Tiong Bahru. Any one you think I missed out? Going further, I may try the one at Jalan Bukit Merah and in another direction, the ones at Havelock Road and Beo Crescent.
  • I have also tried the food courts at my workplace and in the malls, though I'm not sure if I should do a complete coverage like for food centers. The list is quite endless even if we consider only air-conditioned eating places. Once, I even ate at a Chinese restaurant (餐馆) but the Sichuan Dan Dan Noodle (四川担担面) at upmarket price was so-so only. The other time, I ate at the food court under our first 50-storey public housing, having discovered it few months ago while searching for a lost railway line.
  • I did not hesitate to experience, also experiment, different food which explains why I had Kway Chap for so many days (I hope this is no binge eating because I had Kway Chap again just now for dinner). Once I had Kway Chap and Char Kway Teow in one sitting, that lunch took a pretty long time; the other time I bought two big Chinese pancake/prata (饼) back as snacks but they turned cold in office.
  • I did not forget to pamper myself. A Koi Cafe gives me the chance to try their various concoction. In between sips of bubble tea, I have climbed the hill nearby with a peak reservoir and also examined the land where a notorious prison once existed. It was good workout in the heat of the day and I had my soaked business attire to prove it.
  • The wandering also brought me to Tiong Ma-Lu where our blogger friend Peter Chan had a colorful childhood. This time in between sips of sugar cane juice, I combed the neighborhood of pre and post-war SIT flats. Finally I have a good idea of the photos and streets in his blog article. Nothing beats seeing the real thing up close after reading the anecdotes. Again, I would not return to office without a soaked business attire.
There are so many things to do from Si Pai Por, activities we normally do not associate with heritage. My hobby has taught me the world is our museum - every hill, building, street, open space, drain is a potential museum artifact - do not restrict yourself indoors. Incidentally there is an indoor museum in Si Pai Por, a member of the Museum Roundtable, which I believe many have not visited or even heard of it. Admission is free so I stepped in that day to enjoy the exhibits and air-con; the visit was brief since I was in a bit of a rush. My attire was not as heavily soaked, thanks to the museum.

What should I do next? What I have done is a recce of the vicinity, the real work has yet to start. Now that I am more familiar with the surrounding, any investigative work should take less time and hopefully less sweat. Lunch, anyone?


yg said...


across the road, there is blair plains for you to explore. go towards kg bahru, you have spooner road and the two blocks of flats for m'sians working for the railway. for a quiet time, head for pearl's hill park.
do a secondshot of the demolished sepoy lines post office.

Icemoon said...

Today I went to the FC at Jalan Bukit Merah, beside the railway track. The houses at Silat Road looks interesting.

By the way, where is that sepoy lines post office?

yg said...

icemoon, bt merah has a number of food courts. there is the abc fc, nearer to the former safra. you should also visit redhill food centre. the curry rice on the first row is nice. at redhill, there are threading, pedicure and massage services carried out in the open - something for you to blog about.
there is a picture of the defunct sepoy lines post office in the national archives.

me said...

what is si pai por?

Unknown said...

i'm lost too... si pai por?

i see in the map, a sepoy-something...

but i'm lost! can only tell it's somewhere near cantonment, at my best guess...x

Icemoon said...

sehsuan, I'm also puzzled where is that sepoy place on the map today. That fork-road on the map, I can't seem to find it on the map today. Maybe I will blog about it next time.