Friday, 16 April 2021

The Australia-New Zealand travel bubble is finally here - Quartz

The Australia-New Zealand travel bubble is finally here  Quartz

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Scoot passenger flights barred from entering Hong Kong after two passengers tested COVID-19 positive - CNA

Scoot passenger flights barred from entering Hong Kong after two passengers tested COVID-19 positive  CNA

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HK travel bubble: Leaders 'finalising details' | HRD Asia - Human Resources Director

HK travel bubble: Leaders 'finalising details' | HRD Asia  Human Resources Director

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Hong Kong to Ban Some Scoot Flights From Singapore Until April 29 - Bloomberg

Hong Kong to Ban Some Scoot Flights From Singapore Until April 29  Bloomberg

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Qantas boss Alan Joyce reveals next potential travel bubbles for Australians - NEWS.com.au

Qantas boss Alan Joyce reveals next potential travel bubbles for Australians  NEWS.com.au

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4 best bak chor mee (minced meat noodle) stalls in Singapore

bak chor mee singapore
Traditional spicy dry noodles served with mushrooms and pork. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Bak Chor Mee, which translates to minced meat noodles, is a quintessential dish in Singapore that’s comforting at any hour of the day. The dry variant of the noodle dish comprises noodles tossed in vinegar, chili and other sauces, topped with minced pork, pork slices, stewed mushrooms and pork lard, and finished with a sprinkle of chopped scallions. Typically served with mee pok (flat egg noodles) or mee kia (thin egg noodles), it usually comes with a clear soup on the side. You can also have it in a soup variation – the hot, piping bowl with minced pork ‘floating’ in the broth can be particularly soothing on a cold day.

Now you can find the humble bowl of noodles almost everywhere in Singapore, but which stalls serve the best moreish bowls? Our editors share their favourite picks.

1. Yan Kee Noodle House

“For those who used to party at the Boat Quay area, BK Eating House was a traditional stop either before drinking (to line your stomach) or after drinking (to tackle those post-bender munchies). Specialising in dry bak chor mee sua (minced pork rice vermicelli), the noodles here are springy and full of flavour, thanks to the fiery sambal chilli that accompanies each serving. However, if you’re making your way to Circular Road, do take note that the original Yan Kee is now longer housed within the BK Eating House coffeeshop but is instead occupying a shop just across the road. The reasons for them moving are hazy at best, but one thing you need to know is that the noodles are still as scrumptious as before. Don’t forget to order a bowl of handmade fishball soup to accompany your noodles!” – Vanessa Tai, Editor & Content Strategist

Address: 9 Circular Road, Singapore 049365

Fa Zhan Fishball Noodles bar chor mee
The excellent sauce and springy noodles are what keep regulars coming back. Photo credit: Joy Fang

2. Fa Zhan Fishball Noodles

This hole in the wall coffee shop at the corner of 928 Upper Thomson Road – next to the famous 928 Ngee Fou Ampang Yong Tau Foo – is out of the way and looks unimpressive at first glance – I thought so too, and it was purely by luck that I tried the bak chor mee here one morning. I’ve never looked back since. The noodles are springy with a great mouthfeel but I particularly love its wonderfully balanced sauce that comes with a good dose of chili. Everything in this bowl is just right  – it’s flavourful without being overpowering and the portion is perfect. Best of all, the lady helming the stall noticed I’m not a fan of pork balls (I go there that often) so she swaps it with a fishball every time, without me asking. If you’re a fan of carrot cake, her rendition is pretty good too. – Joy Fang, Digital Editor

Address: 928 Restaurant, 928 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 787121

3. Ming Fa Fishball

“After 13 years in Singapore, I still wouldn’t call myself a bak chor mee expert, so when asked for my pick, I turned to Pamelia Chia for advice. I was interviewing the founder of Singapore Noodles for an upcoming story on SilverKris and knew that she’d have some good tips. Her choice was Ming Fa at Marymount, which she pointed out as being a supper haunt during her childhood. The dressing for its Minced Meat Mushroom Noodle is well-balanced with the perfect amount of vinegar, and the accompanying soup is full of flavour.” – Alexandra Karplus, Editorial Director

Address: 246B Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574370

The Art of Mee Pok
A bowl from The Art of Mee Pok features treats such as prawn and fishballs. Credit: Rachel Eva Lim

4. Jalan Tua Kong Lau Lim Mee Pok Kway Teow Mee – The Art of Mee Pok

“A close alternative to bak chor mee, I love the mee pok here for its super-springy noodles, moreish minced meat, ample use of zingy chilli and vinegar – the more the better – and plump and flavourful dumplings stuffed with a generous amount of pork. It’s always crammed with hungry diners during peak periods, so try to come here at an odd time if you don’t want to have to jostle for a table. They also have an outpost at Queen Street, but I can’t speak to the quality as I haven’t tried it for myself. Pro tip: the stall offers free-flow crispy lard bits (on top of the portion already included in your bowl) that you can use to zhoosh up your dish – not exactly heart-healthy, but certainly delicious.” – Rachel Eva Lim, Editor & Content Strategist

Address: 306 & 308 Bedok Road, Bedok Shopping Complex, Singapore 469469

Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.

SEE ALSO: 4 hidden, lesser-known hawker gems in Singapore you have to visit

The post 4 best bak chor mee (minced meat noodle) stalls in Singapore appeared first on SilverKris.



from SilverKris

Singapore and U.S. to Deepen Transport Cooperation, Work to Revive Air Travel - AviationPros.com

Singapore and U.S. to Deepen Transport Cooperation, Work to Revive Air Travel  AviationPros.com

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Thursday, 15 April 2021

Singapore's Wary Travel Reopening Draws Fewer than 20000 Arrivals - AviationPros.com

Singapore's Wary Travel Reopening Draws Fewer than 20000 Arrivals  AviationPros.com

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Hong Kong Bans Some Scoot Flights From Singapore To April 29 - Bloomberg

Hong Kong Bans Some Scoot Flights From Singapore To April 29  Bloomberg

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Singapore to accept IATA Travel Pass from May 1 - Japan Today

Singapore to accept IATA Travel Pass from May 1  Japan Today

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Riau Islands government proposes travel corridor with Singapore starting May or June: Senior Indonesian official - CNA

Riau Islands government proposes travel corridor with Singapore starting May or June: Senior Indonesian official  CNA

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HK travel bubble: Singapore 'finalising details' | HRD Asia - Human Resources Director

HK travel bubble: Singapore 'finalising details' | HRD Asia  Human Resources Director

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Singapore and U.S. to Deepen Transport Cooperation, Work to Revive Air Travel - AviationPros.com

Singapore and U.S. to Deepen Transport Cooperation, Work to Revive Air Travel  AviationPros.com

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Hong Kong-Singapore bubble: ‘mid-May’ target for Covid-19 travel deal - South China Morning Post

Hong Kong-Singapore bubble: ‘mid-May’ target for Covid-19 travel deal  South China Morning Post

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Singapore and Hong Kong finalizing 'travel bubble' details - Hong Kong Standard

Singapore and Hong Kong finalizing 'travel bubble' details  Hong Kong Standard

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Singapore finalising details of air travel bubble with Hong Kong: Ong Ye Kung - CNA

Singapore finalising details of air travel bubble with Hong Kong: Ong Ye Kung  CNA

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S'pore and Hong Kong 'finalising details' of air travel bubble, hope to announce plans soon: Ong Ye Kung - The Straits Times

S'pore and Hong Kong 'finalising details' of air travel bubble, hope to announce plans soon: Ong Ye Kung  The Straits Times

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Commentary: Air travel bubbles remain important for Singapore, but are not so easy to achieve - TODAYonline

Commentary: Air travel bubbles remain important for Singapore, but are not so easy to achieve  TODAYonline

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Hong Kong Bans Some Scoot Flights From Singapore To April 29 - Bloomberg

Hong Kong Bans Some Scoot Flights From Singapore To April 29  Bloomberg

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Singapore and Hong Kong Finalising Air Travel Bubble Details, Says Ong Ye Kung - Tatler Singapore

Singapore and Hong Kong Finalising Air Travel Bubble Details, Says Ong Ye Kung  Tatler Singapore

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The Australia-New Zealand travel bubble is finally here - Quartz

The Australia-New Zealand travel bubble is finally here  Quartz

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Here's what tourists will find when they return to Singapore post Covid-19 curbs - Hindustan Times

Here's what tourists will find when they return to Singapore post Covid-19 curbs  Hindustan Times

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The Promise Of International Travel: April EU Travel Restrictions, Covid-19 Test Requirements, Quarantine By Country - Forbes

The Promise Of International Travel: April EU Travel Restrictions, Covid-19 Test Requirements, Quarantine By Country  Forbes

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Singapore and Hong Kong finalizing 'travel bubble' details - Hong Kong Standard

Singapore and Hong Kong finalizing 'travel bubble' details  Hong Kong Standard

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Singapore Orders Corrections to Facebook Posts on Vaccine Risks - Bloomberg

Singapore Orders Corrections to Facebook Posts on Vaccine Risks  Bloomberg

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Singapore's economy unexpectedly grows in the first quarter of 2021 - CNBC

Singapore's economy unexpectedly grows in the first quarter of 2021  CNBC

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Singapore opens up international travel with digital apps - Travel Daily

Singapore opens up international travel with digital apps  Travel Daily

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Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Singapore Airlines COVID-19 Travel Pass: Is This the New Normal? - ValueChampion

Singapore Airlines COVID-19 Travel Pass: Is This the New Normal?  ValueChampion

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Singapore's economy unexpectedly grows in the first quarter of 2021 - CNBC

Singapore's economy unexpectedly grows in the first quarter of 2021  CNBC

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New leadership for Singapore Airlines in UK & Ireland - Breaking Travel News

New leadership for Singapore Airlines in UK & Ireland  Breaking Travel News

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Singapore to accept IATA Travel Pass from May 1 - Japan Today

Singapore to accept IATA Travel Pass from May 1  Japan Today

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Why Green Singapore Wants to Go Even Greener - Skift

Why Green Singapore Wants to Go Even Greener  Skift

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Singapore's economy unexpectedly grows in the first quarter of 2021 - CNBC

Singapore's economy unexpectedly grows in the first quarter of 2021  CNBC

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Singapore and U.S. to Deepen Transport Cooperation, Work to Revive Air Travel - AviationPros.com

Singapore and U.S. to Deepen Transport Cooperation, Work to Revive Air Travel  AviationPros.com

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Singapore Airlines names new UK and Ireland boss - Travel Weekly UK

Singapore Airlines names new UK and Ireland boss  Travel Weekly UK

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Singapore's economy unexpectedly grows in the first quarter of 2021 - CNBC

Singapore's economy unexpectedly grows in the first quarter of 2021  CNBC

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Commentary: Air travel bubbles remain important for Singapore, but are not so easy to achieve - TODAYonline

Commentary: Air travel bubbles remain important for Singapore, but are not so easy to achieve  TODAYonline

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1 community case among 27 new COVID-19 infections in Singapore - CNA

1 community case among 27 new COVID-19 infections in Singapore  CNA

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Singapore Airlines names new UK and Ireland boss - Travel Weekly UK

Singapore Airlines names new UK and Ireland boss  Travel Weekly UK

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New leadership for Singapore Airlines in UK & Ireland - Breaking Travel News

New leadership for Singapore Airlines in UK & Ireland  Breaking Travel News

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Singapore and Hong Kong 'finalising details' of air travel bubble - The Star Online

Singapore and Hong Kong 'finalising details' of air travel bubble  The Star Online

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1 in 5 Singaporeans have short term travel plans - Travel Daily

1 in 5 Singaporeans have short term travel plans  Travel Daily

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Singapore's economy unexpectedly grows in the first quarter of 2021 - CNBC

Singapore's economy unexpectedly grows in the first quarter of 2021  CNBC

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Singapore and U.S. to Deepen Transport Cooperation, Work to Revive Air Travel - AviationPros.com

Singapore and U.S. to Deepen Transport Cooperation, Work to Revive Air Travel  AviationPros.com

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J&J Shots Paused Over Clots; Pfizer Boosts Output: Virus Update - Bloomberg

J&J Shots Paused Over Clots; Pfizer Boosts Output: Virus Update  Bloomberg

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Singapore's economy unexpectedly grows in the first quarter of 2021 - CNBC

Singapore's economy unexpectedly grows in the first quarter of 2021  CNBC

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Singapore's economy unexpectedly grows in the first quarter of 2021 - CNBC

Singapore's economy unexpectedly grows in the first quarter of 2021  CNBC

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Singapore's MAS Holds Policy Stance While Softening Dovish Tone - Bloomberg

Singapore's MAS Holds Policy Stance While Softening Dovish Tone  Bloomberg

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Singapore and U.S. to Deepen Transport Cooperation, Work to Revive Air Travel - AviationPros.com

Singapore and U.S. to Deepen Transport Cooperation, Work to Revive Air Travel  AviationPros.com

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Saudia Joins IATA Health Passport Trial On Kuala Lumpur Flights - Simple Flying

Saudia Joins IATA Health Passport Trial On Kuala Lumpur Flights  Simple Flying

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Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Singapore's Wary Travel Reopening Draws Fewer than 20000 Arrivals - AviationPros.com

Singapore's Wary Travel Reopening Draws Fewer than 20000 Arrivals  AviationPros.com

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Hong Kong requires people leaving for Singapore to be vaccinated: Carrie Lam - The Straits Times

Hong Kong requires people leaving for Singapore to be vaccinated: Carrie Lam  The Straits Times

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Saudia Joins IATA Health Passport Trial On Kuala Lumpur Flights - Simple Flying

Saudia Joins IATA Health Passport Trial On Kuala Lumpur Flights  Simple Flying

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More than 18200 people visited Singapore through unilateral border openings; 70% from China - CNA

More than 18200 people visited Singapore through unilateral border openings; 70% from China  CNA

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Over 18200 visitors from low-risk regions entered Singapore under travel pass scheme since September - The Straits Times

Over 18200 visitors from low-risk regions entered Singapore under travel pass scheme since September  The Straits Times

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Hong Kong Wants To Require A Vaccine For Singapore Travel Bubble - Simple Flying

  1. Hong Kong Wants To Require A Vaccine For Singapore Travel Bubble  Simple Flying
  2. Hong Kong Wants Only Vaccinated Travelers for Singapore Bubble  Bloomberg
  3. Covid-19 vaccination not a must for Hong Kong bubble flight travellers to Singapore: Carrie Lam  The Straits Times
  4. Encouragement for Hong Kong travel as quarantine requirement for Mainland visitors to be dropped from mid-May and Singapore travel bubble nears - The Moodie Davitt Report  The Moodie Davitt Report
  5. View Full Coverage on Google News


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Saudia Joins IATA Health Passport Trial On Kuala Lumpur Flights - Simple Flying

Saudia Joins IATA Health Passport Trial On Kuala Lumpur Flights  Simple Flying

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Singapore's travel reopening draws few - Yahoo News Australia

Singapore's travel reopening draws few  Yahoo News Australia

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Hong Kong Wants Only Vaccinated Travelers for Singapore Bubble - Bloomberg

Hong Kong Wants Only Vaccinated Travelers for Singapore Bubble  Bloomberg

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Hong Kong Wants To Require A Vaccine For Singapore Travel Bubble - Simple Flying

Hong Kong Wants To Require A Vaccine For Singapore Travel Bubble  Simple Flying

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Singapore's travel reopening draws few | The Courier | Ballarat, VIC - Ballarat Courier

Singapore's travel reopening draws few | The Courier | Ballarat, VIC  Ballarat Courier

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Vaccines are a national priority but not 'silver bullets' for reopening, Singapore minister says - CNBC

Vaccines are a national priority but not 'silver bullets' for reopening, Singapore minister says  CNBC

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Singapore Rolls Out IATA Travel Pass Acceptance To All Arrivals - Simple Flying

Singapore Rolls Out IATA Travel Pass Acceptance To All Arrivals  Simple Flying

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Hong Kong Wants Only Vaccinated Travelers for Singapore Bubble - Bloomberg

Hong Kong Wants Only Vaccinated Travelers for Singapore Bubble  Bloomberg

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Covid-19 vaccination not a must for Hong Kong bubble flight travellers to Singapore: Carrie Lam - The Straits Times

Covid-19 vaccination not a must for Hong Kong bubble flight travellers to Singapore: Carrie Lam  The Straits Times

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An essential guide to Songkran and where to celebrate it in Singapore

What is it?

Observed most famously in Thailand, but also in Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and north-east India, Songkran is the celebration of the Buddhist Lunar New Year.

When is it?

While the dates change depending on the lunar cycle, Songkran is now officially held from 13 to 15 April in most of the countries listed above.

What happens?

Traditional activities include making merit by giving alms to local monks and pouring water on Buddha statues to symbolise the cleansing of sins. These customs have now morphed into wilder water fights – where people take to the streets armed with water pistols, hoses and buckets.

Must visit

Chiang Mai has a distinctive take on Songkran. Activities start on 12 April, when the revered Phra Buddha Sihing statue is taken on a vibrant procession through the city. The next day sees locals visiting Wat Prasingh temple to construct sand pagodas, a symbolic way of making merit. 14 April is when the water fights commence in earnest, and they continue into the next day.

Tip

Get a waterproof or Ziploc bag to keep your smartphone and camera safe from the inevitable drenching.

Where to experience it in Singapore

Songkran Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore  Thai Tea-Time Snacks Workshop
Learn how to make purple-blossom dumplings at this workshop

1. Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore

The wellness resort is offering a host of food and beverage promotions, activities and workshops to allow guests to soak in the festivities on the Little Red Dot. The first 50 bookings made to stay in the hotel during the festive celebration season between 5 to 18 April 2021 will receive a complimentary box of traditional Thai snacks. If you miss out, fret not, as you can also purchase the snacks at the hotel. During your stay, tuck into special Songkran dishes including Chef Donnapa’s Signature Khanom Jeen Nam Ngiao (Spicy Curry Pork Noodles) –  a rich noodle dish with homemade curry broth – at all-day dining restaurant the Greenhouse; and Som Tum Gai Yang Kaeng Khanun (Pork & Jackfruit Curry) at Tee Deck, an al fresco bar and grill serving a selection of Thai-inspired BBQ dishes. To try your hand at making something, sign up for the Thai Tea-Time Snacks Workshop (17 April) that teaches you how to make Kanom Cheep Nok, or dumplings shaped like well-fed birds, as well as Chor Muang, purple-blossom dumplings. 

2. Wild Wild Wet

The popular Downtown East water theme park is holding an epic Songkran Water Festival for the month of April that involves daily water gun fights (3pm to 5pm) in a massive water fight arena. Remember to bring your own super soakers and water blasters for the battle with roving talents who will be armed with water gun backpacks. In between getting soaked, snap some photos with the Thai-themed installations dotted around the waterpark such as an actual tuk-tuk, and tuck into Thai-inspired treats and beverages at Ola Beach Club. Do note that there’s a cap of 50 people at certain attractions.

Blue Jasmine's Songkran feast
Blue Jasmine’s Songkran feast

3. Blue Jasmine

You won’t get drenched here, but you’ll still get to join in the Songkran fun by indulging in some delicious Thai dishes from its Songkran Festive A-La-Carte Buffet Dinner (available from 16 to 17 April 2021). A selection of dishes found in different parts of Thailand during the new year will be available and served fresh and hot to your tables. Start with the refreshing Thai salad Tam Mua, which consists of Thai green papaya, seafood, fresh vegetables and crispy chicken skin coated in a zesty dressing of lime juice, tamarind and fermented fish. Then move on to a steamed sea bass dish with a tangy lime and seafood sauce, as well as a fiery plate of squid stir-fried with a homemade chilli pesto sauce comprising Thai fresh chilli padi, galangal, garlic, turmeric and lime leaf. Best of all, the restaurant will be decorated with fresh lotus blooms floating in bowls of water, so you get to enjoy your meal in a peaceful atmosphere in line with the festivities. Desserts include a delightful mango sticky rice dish.

Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.

SEE ALSO: Visit these heritage restaurants in Singapore for a taste of nostalgia 

This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Silkwinds magazine and was updated on 13 April 2021.

The post An essential guide to Songkran and where to celebrate it in Singapore appeared first on SilverKris.



from SilverKris

Vaccines are a national priority but not 'silver bullets' for reopening, Singapore minister says - CNBC

Vaccines are a national priority but not 'silver bullets' for reopening, Singapore minister says  CNBC

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More than 18200 people visited Singapore through unilateral border openings; 70% from China - CNA

More than 18200 people visited Singapore through unilateral border openings; 70% from China  CNA

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Breakthrough for Hong Kong travel as quarantine requirement for Mainland visitors to be dropped from mid-May and Singapore travel bubble nears - The Moodie Davitt Report - The Moodie Davitt Report

Breakthrough for Hong Kong travel as quarantine requirement for Mainland visitors to be dropped from mid-May and Singapore travel bubble nears - The Moodie Davitt Report  The Moodie Davitt Report

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Vaccines and air bubbles rekindle hope among Singaporeans to travel again - WIT - Web In Travel

Vaccines and air bubbles rekindle hope among Singaporeans to travel again - WIT  Web In Travel

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Vaccines are a national priority but not 'silver bullets' for reopening, Singapore minister says - CNBC

Vaccines are a national priority but not 'silver bullets' for reopening, Singapore minister says  CNBC

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Singapore agencies fuel wanderlust with NTO tie-ups - TTG Asia

Singapore agencies fuel wanderlust with NTO tie-ups  TTG Asia

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From Taipei to Kaohsiung: An adventurous journey around Taiwan by bike

A bicycle tour is nothing like a road trip. It’s rarely a linear journey from origin to destination. It’s never a simple narrative reducible to an itinerary of meals and must-see attractions. Instead, a bike tour is a circular story, with each day a montage of idyllic landscapes, gruelling climbs, friendly locals, deserted byways, monotonous highways, bustling towns, punctured tyres, soggy misery and detours into mysterious alleys. Time moves slow enough to drink in an abundance of culture and nature. But a bike moves fast enough to experience a wide variety of settings each day. And maybe no place has a better assortment of settings than Taiwan.

Taiwan is not a huge country,” says Frank Hou, the international manager for the touring arm of Giant, a beloved local brand that’s the world’s largest manufacturer of bicycles and owns most of cycling retail shops here. “It’s a small island, so in one day you can ride from the ocean to the mountains.” He proudly emphasises how safe the country is. Vrooming scooters are locals’ preferred transport, so car drivers are used to keeping close watch in their side mirrors. And Taiwan has one of the lowest crime rates on earth, so cyclists can carry the lightest of bike locks.

Taiwan cycling trip
Scenic lakes and mountains make cycling in Taiwan an enjoyable journey

But the thing that has drawn me to Taiwan is its citizens’ love for all things cycling. “Most Taiwanese have three things they must do in their life,” says Hou. “Climb up Jade Mountain, swim across the Sun Moon Lake, and ride all the way around Taiwan. It’s the mission for Taiwanese people.” It’s this national pride that’s led the government to cover the landmass in dedicated lanes and scenic cycleways, complete with rest stops and service stations for circumnavigators. Murals of happy bikers decorate schools and bridges. And police stations give out free water and allow tourers to pitch tents in their front gardens.

To discover why cycling has captured the heart of an island I adore, I’ve decided to ride down the East Coast from Taipei to Kaohsiung. Famed for generally traffic-free roads, aboriginal culture and the beguiling beauty of the East Rift Valley, the route is a favourite for cycling-obsessed travellers.

Taiwan cycling trip
The iconic Taipei 101

Day 1, 8:15am

Fog encircles Taipei 101, the city’s 510-metre postmodernist totem. The spire guides me eastward along a winding bike path hugging an estuary of the Tamsui River. I weave past sports fields, meadows and the Muzha Zoo, one of Asia’s largest. Soon, the metropolis recedes as my fresh legs furiously pedal up the 106, a treelined mountain highway with few cars and lots of wildlife. As I climb, I’m cooled by a light rain and accompanied by a small flock of Formosan magpies, who glide above, trailing long, blue tailfeathers. A pink-faced macaque pokes out of the forest to give me a grunt before swinging back into the dense vegetation.

Taiwan
Taipei’s magnificent skyline

Day 1, 11:10am

When I called Simon Foster, the Taiwan manager for Grasshopper Adventures, for advice, he warned against making each day a race from hotel to hotel. “We view bike touring as a way to experience Taiwan,” he said. “If there’s something nice to see, stop and see it.” And so I’ve taken a long detour to loop around the quaint mountain town of Shifen. The area is best known for its Niagara-like waterfall and a charming shopping street bisected by a railway. Known as Shifen Old Street, it’s home to dozens of shops selling massive sky lanterns. Every few minutes, another floats up into the sky, carrying with it the hopes of tourists who have spent NTD $150 (about S$7) for the honour. It’s a bargain for dreams coming true. As the sky fills with wish-granting lanterns, I can’t help but feel I’m in a dream.

Taiwan cycling trip
Scallion pancakes are a popular street food in Taiwan

Day 2, 12:51pm

Stomach grumbling, I pass by noodle shops, a Mexican taqueria and an African restaurant, but stop when I see a long queue in front of a literal hole in a wall on Hualien’s Fuxing Street. Two women are frying scallion pancakes and stuffing them full of deep-fried eggs and hot sauce. Customers seem happy to wait for the greasy street snacks, so I get in line. As nobody at Lao Pi speaks English, a helpful neighbour rushes over to translate for the famished foreigner wrapped in Lycra. “How many do you want?” “Two… make that three.” Cycling 120 kilometres a day is hungry work and the satiating morsels are the perfect fuel to power me further south and into the Rift Valley, the crown jewel of the East Coast.

Taiwan cycling trip
The picturesque Liyu Lake

Day 2, 2:15pm

This is why the Taiwanese love to ride, I think as I roll alongside emerald green rice paddies and through picturesque villages tucked into cloud-filled ravines. Each East Rift Valley town has a network of seductive cycle paths, where unexpected treasures are hidden away from car-accessible roads. In the town of Fenglin, I stop to admire old Osaka-style tobacco-processing buildings built during the Japanese occupation. Hungry again, I then sprint to the Hualien Sugar Factory, where souvenir stores sell crafts made by local aboriginal tribes. More importantly, a busy shop here sells the East Coast’s most famous ice cream. I wolf down two scoops of taro, hop back on, and ride with hands stretched to the sky, basking in the day’s sunshine.

Day 3, 12:26pm

Bike de Koffee is a cutesy café in Chishang, an arty town that hosts music concerts in the surrounding rice fields during the summer months. As I sip a perfectly brewed cappuccino and munch a homemade bagel made from local rice flour, I watch sizeable groups of cyclists alighting from the train station across the avenue. They’re likely heading to the bikeway where I spent my morning. The converted railway connects the towns of Yuli and Dongli, meandering through farmland and over a bridge that marks the fault line dividing the Philippine and Eurasian tectonic plates. As I ride through clouds of butterflies and past sublime views of the valley, I become convinced this is the greatest stretch of bikeway on the East Coast, if not the whole of Asia.

Day 3, 3:16pm

Enormous fields of wildflowers and mighty river deltas line the road up to Luye Highland, a squat, circular mount filled with teahouses, kids flying rented kites and Instagrammable views of the valley below. From late June, the hill hosts the Taiwan International Balloon Festival and will be filled with hot air balloons for 10 weeks. After sipping a local oolong, I plunge down the backside of the hill, through pineapple fields and up into the foothills of the Central Mountains. Hidden away on an unmarked road, the Bunun Tribal Leisure Farm is an aboriginal cultural centre devoid of tourists but filled with magic. Huge wooden carvings peer at me as I cycle up the drive, and a gaggle of giggling children do their best to say hello in English and show me how to weave bracelets with indigenous patterns.

A typical meal in Taiwan of beef noodle soup and lu rou fan (braised pork rice)

Day 3, 5:15pm

It should only be a quick ride to Taitung, where I’ll soon be refuelling in the night market with trayfuls of takoyaki (fried octopus balls) and bowlfuls of stinky tofu, Taiwan’s notorious fermented street treat. The sun is getting low, as is my energy, but today has taught me that a bike journey should never follow the shortest, easiest course. So when I see a small side street leading up a steep hill, I give in to temptation and deviate from the straight shot to the city. At the top of the exhausting climb is Yuan Sen, a botanic garden and hotpot restaurant. I’m having too much fun to stop, so I fly right by towards a country road pointing sharply downhill. My bike wheels begin to spin faster, around and around. Like a five-year-old boy, I pump the pedals, release the brakes and let out a joyous howl.

The steep curves of Lanyang Plain

Day 3, 5:33pm

Swooping down a steep, serpentine road, I lean into the curves, I whoop in delight, I forget the pain burning in my legs. The descent seems endless, as do the vistas of the Taitung Plain, which occasionally whiz by as I veer through a series of technical switchbacks that demand all my attention. The world is painted in electric blue; the sun is submerged behind the Central Mountain Range but not yet beneath the horizon. Gradually, my bike slows. Gradually, my heartbeat slows. Gradually, the country roads turn into city streets. And not for the first time, I think a cycling story could be better told in verse than prose.

Taiwan cycling trip

Tips for travel on two wheels

  1. It’s tempting to pop in headphones when cycling all day. But don’t. It’s unsafe and discourages locals from talking to you. Instead of missing out on memorable interactions, disconnect and let your mind meditate to the sound of wheel rubber massaging the tarmac. Save that audiobook for the hotel room.
  2. Keep waterproof trousers at the ready even on cloudless days. While you might think you look super sexy in your Lycra cycling shorts, it’s polite to show some modesty when hopping off the bike for an upscale lunch or museum visit.
  3. Unless you’re zooming down a mountainside at 80kph, white-knuckled hands latched onto handlebars and eyes glued to the road, etiquette demands that you wave and smile at riders passing in the opposite direction. Enjoy cycling’s sense of camaraderie.
  4. A multi-day bike tour is a fun way to strengthen your legs and improve your cardiovascular health, but be wary of using the trip to lose weight. Keep your body well fuelled with calories, or you might find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere with no energy.
  5. Want all the adventure but none of the hassles? Consider a self-guided tour organised by a cycling travel agency. They’ll transport luggage between hotels, swoop in to fix a broken bike, and supply bike computers with suggestions for picture-perfect routes and sweet spots to stop along the way.

Day 4, 10:12am

The roads south of Taitung are lined with custard-apple stands. But the narrow farming roads soon converge into the four-lane Highway 9. The only road between Taitung and points further south, 9 is a traffic-filled exception to the East Coast’s otherwise bike-friendly reputation. A steady stream of Taiwanese tourers, halfway through their anti-clockwise around-the-island circuit, pass in the opposite direction. Some shout encouragement as I slog up long steady inclines. The so-called bike lane is just a tiny shoulder with only centimetres of safety on either side. To the right is a perilous, metre-deep drainage ditch. To the left, lorries brush by at 120kph.

Taiwan cycling trip
Expect differing road surfaces if you embark on a multi-day cycling trip through Taiwan

Day 5, 1:50pm

On a bike tour, you can spend hours contemplating road surfaces. Silky asphalt, capricious gravel, vibratory cobbles. Roads speak to your hands on the bars, your feet on the pedals and your backside on the saddle. The roads that crisscross the Linhai Industrial Park, 15 kilometres south of Kaohsiung, are made of macadam, which speaks in the raspy voice of an old cigar smoker. The loose pebbles joggle when heavy-equipment vehicles roll past post-apocalyptic power plants and chemical factories. Google Maps has led me astray again, but I don’t care. I relish riding through strange, forgotten areas far from the tourist trail. This misadventure reveals the unfathomable scale of Taiwan’s manufacturing sector. I wave at all the dump truck drivers, who, not used to foreign cyclists flitting through this forest of smokestacks, give me wide grins, waves and thumbs up.

Day 5, 2:58pm

So as to not get grease on other travellers’ luggage, I loosely wrap my bike with sheets of cardboard a bus driver found lying around the station. Taiwan’s high-speed rail system only accepts folding bikes or those packed in boxes, so instead I return to Taipei on a considerably slower Kuo Kuang Bus. After five days of slow travel, I appreciate the unhurried pace as I stare longingly out the window at West Coast roads I want to ride. My tired knees disagree, but my heart know this journey has been too short. As we approach the capital’s glowing skyline, crowned by the immense Taipei 101, I promise my beloved Taiwan that I’ll be back. I’ll climb its Jade Mountain. I’ll swim its Sun Moon Lake. I’ll complete the 1,000-kilometre loop atop a bicycle.

This trip (and all photography) was undertaken before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking and seating requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.

To learn more about Singapore Airlines flights, visit singaporeair.com. For updates and travel advisories, please visit Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

SEE ALSO: The enduring beauty of Taiwan’s majestic mountains

The post From Taipei to Kaohsiung: An adventurous journey around Taiwan by bike appeared first on SilverKris.



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Singapore agencies fuel wanderlust with NTO tie-ups - TTG Asia

Singapore agencies fuel wanderlust with NTO tie-ups  TTG Asia

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Monday, 12 April 2021

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Vaccines and air bubbles rekindle hope among Singaporeans to travel again - WIT  Web In Travel

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Scott Morrison hints at next travel bubble country  Yahoo News Australia

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6 places in Singapore to break fast in style with your loved ones during Ramadan

The holy month of Ramadan falls in the period of 13 April to 12 May this year for those residing in Singapore, and during this time of Ramadan fasting, Muslims can eat any time between iftar (the sunset meal) and suhoor (the pre-dawn meal). Iftar in particular is a joyous occasion usually spent with family and friends – it’s a celebratory time that Muslims look forward to as they can break fast and replenish their energy levels after abstaining from food and drink for a whole day.

While it will be a relatively muted affair this year due to the social distancing measures in place, you can still indulge in a bevy of delicious Ramadan dinner sets and scrumptious halal buffet spreads with a small group of loved ones that will end your day on a satisfying note. Below are a few options for a hearty treat.

Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium_Atrium Restaurant Ramadan Highlights
Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium’s sumptuous buffet spread

1. Atrium Restaurant at Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium

Besides perennial favourites such as beef rendang, gado-gado (Indonesian salad comprising blanched vegetables and fried beancurd drenched in peanut sauce), ayam masak merah (chicken cooked with dried chilli sambal) and assam fish, diners will get an additional treat of tucking into halal-certified Korean cuisine such as pajeon (green onion pancake), beef bulgogi, kimchi fried rice, and squid cooked in tteokbokki sauce. Available from 12 April to 16 May 2021, you can also dine in the comfort of your home with their range of takeaways that include a Nasi Ambang for two that comprises nasi kuning (rice cooked with coconut and turmeric), mutton rendang, sambal long beans, masam manis (sweet and sour sauce) fish fillet, sotong bakar (barbecued squid), ayam goreng kunyit (fried turmeric chicken) and pisang pengat (coconut banana soup).

Iftar At Kinta Ramadan Buffet Highlights
Iftar feast at Kintamani

2. Kintamani Indonesian Restaurant

The halal-certified restaurant at Furama RiverFront is offering a toothsome buffet feast of classic Indonesian dishes for Ramadan. From 12 April to 16 May 2021, indulge in unlimited servings of familiar favourites such as the tender Rendang Daging Sapi (beef chunks simmered in spices and coconut); the piquant Ayam Panggang Woku (chicken baked in a bold green chilli concoction) and crispy Udang Bijirin (deep-fried cereal butter tiger prawns). Meat lovers will enjoy the Peha Kaki Kambing (roasted leg of lamb served with chef’s special sauce). What’s more, each table will receive a complimentary serving of Ikan Bakar Dabu Dabu (Grilled Golden Pomfret with Kintamani Sauce) and Ketam Sambal (Chilli Crab) during lunch and dinner respectively. No buffet is complete without dessert, so don’t miss the rich Pulut Durian Pengat (durian paste with glutinous rice) and Agar-Agar Gula Melaka (Gula Melaka Pudding). Takeaways are available in the form of its “Minangkabau” and “Nusantura” Sharing Sets – good for four or six people – or ala carte dishes.

Sama Sama's Ramadan Set
Sama Sama’s Ramadan Set

3. Sama Sama Restaurant

Feast on delicious Ramadan classics from Indonesia with Sama Sama’s Ramadan Set Menu of six mains, an appetiser and a dessert. Available from 13 April to 16 May 2021 at the Jewel Changi Airport eatery, whet your appetite with the pan-fried classic Indonesian fritter Bakwan Udang that comes with a juicy tiger prawn before tucking into delights such as Opor Ayam, a braised chicken thigh curry in a creamy, robust coconut sauce cooked with Indonesian spices; Gudeg Nangka, a traditional Javanese dish where young unripe jackfruit is stewed overnight and served with hard boiled eggs and tofu; and Semur Jawa Daging, fork-tender grain-fed beef stew cooked with fresh tomatoes, shallots, garlic, red chili and sweet soy sauce. Finish with the indulgent Indonesian dessert soup Kolak Pisang that comprises bananas boiled in coconut milk, Javanese palm sugar and pearl sago.

Ramadan Highlights, Carousel, Royal Plaza on Scotts
Carousel’s Nasi Ambeng with butterfly pea rice

4. Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts

The hotel’s signature buffet restaurant is offering a whole host of Asian delights for Ramadan. Available from 12 April to 12 May 2021, there will be more than 100 dishes available in an a la carte buffet style. Standouts include the mouthwatering Nasi Ambeng (comprising a platter heaped with dishes such as beef rendang, deep-fried turmeric chicken, begedil (fried potato patty), chilli ikan cantik, sambal goreng and butterfly pea rice) and Lobster Mee Soto (where the crustacean is served with yellow noodles in turmeric chicken broth and begedil).  Other local favourites include Singapore Rojak, gado-gado, chicken and mutton satay as well as traditional nonya kuehs. Desserts are not to be missed, especially the creamy Chendol Delice topped with red beans, Gula Melaka Crème Brûlée and the oh-so-addictive Durian Pengat. The pastry chef has also created Bandung Ice-cream with selasih (basil seeds) to accompany the sweet and fluffy Pandan Waffle just for the Ramadan menu.

PastaMania Ramadan
PastaMania’s family bundle

5. PastaMania

For more casual fusion fare, head to PastaMania. A Family Feast bundle is available at the homegrown Italian chain, and each feast comprises four pastas with selections from its Aglio, Creamy and Tomato family (worth up to S$12.90 each), a choice of four appetisers such as calamari, honey garlic chicken or waffle potato with cheese, and four soft drinks. Available from 12 April to 30 May 2021, it can be ordered both for dining in and takeaway. The meal will go to a good cause too – PastaMania is donating a plate of pasta worth up to S$11.90 with every Family Feast bundle sold, and these will go to needy Muslim families in Singapore in collaboration with non-profit organisation Badan Agama dan Pelajaran Radin Mas (BAPA). You can also expect two new additions to its menu – the Chicken Rendang Pasta with creamy, fragrant rendang sauce loaded with tender chicken and a Mediterranean vegetable mix; and the tangy Tandoori Chicken Pizza with a mango chutney sauce base that’s topped with tandoori spiced chicken, sliced onions and mozzarella, and drizzled with cucumber raita.

Swensen's Bagus Burger Ramadan
Swensen’s Bagus Burger

6. Swensen’s

For a local twist on your favourite Impossible Burger, head to casual-dining chain Swensen’s for their Ramly-style Bagus Burger, available until 31 May 2021. The burger comprises a juicy Impossible patty wrapped in an omelette that is topped with crispy fried onions and drizzled with a sweet and tangy homemade Swensen’s Bagus sauce. Sandwiched between buttery brioche buns, the dish is served with fries and coleslaw. End your meal with a Goreng Pisang Split – a variation of its popular Banana Split sundae – featuring the fried banana snack in place of the usual fresh bananas. The goreng pisang sandwiches the iconic ice cream trio of Chocoholic, Vanilla and Strawberry and is finished with toppings of chocolate fudge, strawberry, pineapple and chopped almonds. The dishes are also available in a meal for two that comes with two cups of soft drinks and a side of your choice (U.S. fries – cone, calamari rings, mozzarella cheese sticks or buckaroo wings).

Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.

SEE ALSO: 5 best halal hawker stalls in Singapore you have to try

The post 6 places in Singapore to break fast in style with your loved ones during Ramadan appeared first on SilverKris.



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Singapore approves use of IATA Travel Pass for arriving passengers  International Airport Review

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Singapore to accept COVID-19 digital travel pass from next month  WHBL News

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Vaccines and air bubbles rekindle hope among Singaporeans to travel again - WIT  Web In Travel

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Scott Morrison hints at next travel bubble country  Yahoo News Australia

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Vaccines are a national priority but not 'silver bullets' for reopening, Singapore minister says  CNBC

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Travel searches to Singapore spikes after talks of travel bubbles - Travel Daily

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Vaccines are a national priority but not 'silver bullets' for reopening, Singapore minister says  CNBC

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Sunday, 11 April 2021

Singapore to accept Covid-19 digital travel pass from next month - CNBC

Singapore to accept Covid-19 digital travel pass from next month  CNBC

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Singapore to accept COVID-19 digital travel pass from next month - Reuters

  1. Singapore to accept COVID-19 digital travel pass from next month  Reuters
  2. Singapore accepts IATA Travel Pass, coming into effect May 1  Travelweek
  3. UPDATED: Singapore rolling out IATA Travel Pass  Asian Aviation
  4. Singapore opens use of IATA Travel Pass by any airline, passenger  Executive Traveller
  5. Singapore to accept IATA travel passes from May  Time Out Singapore
  6. View Full Coverage on Google News


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Vaccine Passports Could Unlock World Travel and Cries of Discrimination  The New York Times

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7 of Yogyakarta’s best street foods

What is a trip to Yogyakarta (also affectionately known as Jogja) without tasting its local cuisine? Bursting with flavour and diversity, Yogyakarta’s culinary offerings are a dream for any self-professed foodie and is the best way to get an insight into local culture. Below are seven of the best scrumptious street food you have to try the next time you’re at Yogyakarta.

Lupis Yogyakarta Street Food
Lupis is a traditional Indonesian sweet cake made from sticky rice with a sprinkling of coconut and a dash of palm sugar syrup. Photo credit: Mardiya/Shutterstock.com

1. Kue Lupis

Pronounced as “koo-eh low-pis”, this is a very popular street food in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Usually eaten during breakfast or tea time, Kue Lupis is a sweet dessert made out of glutinous rice that is cooked in banana leaf and topped with shredded coconut and palm sugar syrup. It can be found in marketplaces and is sold by dessert and snack vendors. Many locals flock to the ones made by Mbah Satinem, who was featured on a Netflix show on street food.

Bakso Yogyakarta Best Street Food
Bakso can be found easily at most food places and stalls in Indonesia. Photo credit: bonchan/Shutterstock.com

2. Bakso

Ask the locals what their favourite Indonesian staple is and they’ll most likely say bakso. This comforting dish is widely available at many restaurants and push carts with each vendor serving their own specialty. Bakso is essentially a dish of large beef meatballs swimming in a peppery beef broth topped with green onion leaves. It’s usually paired with slippery noodles. This dish is simple and easy to come by and even in Yogyakarta’s sweltering heat, you’ll want seconds.

Nagasari Yogyakarta Best Street Food
Nagasari can come with many types of filling including banana and corn. Photo credit: Jazenraz Side/Shutterstock.com

3. Nagasari

Another common breakfast or dessert item, Nagasari is a traditional Javanese steamed snack with a chewy cake-like texture. Rice flour and corn flour are mixed with coconut milk and combined until it reaches a firm consistency. It is then divided into pieces, filled with a slice of banana, wrapped in banana leaf and steamed. Nagasari are usually green – due to pandan leaf extract – or white in colour, while some vendors produce a blue variation using colour from butterfly pea flowers.

Gudeg Yogyakarta Best Street Foods
The jackfruit in Gudeg is stewed until it absorbs the flavour of the seasoning. Photo credit: Sahabat Ransel/Shutterstock.com

4. Gudeg

As one of Yogyakarta’s traditional dishes, Gudeg is popular with the locals. The star of the dish is an unripe jackfruit which is cooked in coconut milk, palm sugar and seasoned with chilli and other spices. Gudeg on its own could be considered a vegetarian meal, however, it is commonly served with eggs or chicken. There are many variations of Gudeg – dry which has less milk and is thicker, or a wetter version which is prepared with more coconut milk. If you get one from street stalls it is usually packed in besek – a rectangular package made out of bamboo leaves. Also featured in Netflix’s Street Food show was Mbah Lindu, who had been selling gudeg for over 80 years. She passed away in July 2020.

Kopi Jos Yogyakarta Best Street Foods
Kopi Joss is a beloved beverage in Yogyakarta. Photo credit: CahKlirong/Shutterstock.com

5. Kopi Joss

Kopi Joss or charcoal coffee, gets its name from the sound that the sizzling hot charcoal makes after being dropped into coffee. The idea behind this concept is that the charcoal neutralises the coffee’s acidity but it doesn’t affect the overall flavour of the beverage. The beverage is first prepared in the usual Javanese style, with loose coffee grinds and sugar added to a cup and hot water poured on top, then topped with a flaming hot charcoal. Let the charcoal sit in the coffee for a moment. Then simply remove it with a spoon and enjoy.

Jenang Yogyakarta Street Food
Jenang served on a banana leaf. Photo credit: Indriani Mardani/Shutterstock.com

6. Jenang

A traditional sweet dessert, Jenang is a thick porridge made with glutinous rice and served with coconut milk or brown sugar. It is usually served on banana leaves and eaten with suru (spoon-shaped banana leaves), but increasingly local street vendors are improvising by serving the treat in bowls to be eaten with spoons. Locals enjoy their Jenang with slices of jackfruit which helps to enrich the flavour of the porridge.

Dodol Yogyakarta Best Street Foods
Dodol is usually eaten on festive occasions but it can be found as a street food as well. Photo credit: image_hit/Shutterstock.com

7. Dodol

Well loved by children for its glutinous and toffee-like consistency, Dodol is a a sweet confection made from coconut milk, rice flour and jaggery. It is characterised by its dense, chewy texture, and is typically cut into squares, strips or triangles. The dessert comes in many flavour combinations such as vanilla, durian, mango, banana and coconut and is popular not just in Indonesia but throughout Southeast Asia.

Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about. 

The information is accurate as of press time. For updated information, please refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

To learn more about Singapore Airlines flights, visit singaporeair.com.

SEE ALSO: Yogyakarta: The way to this city’s heart is through its food

The post 7 of Yogyakarta’s best street foods appeared first on SilverKris.



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