Singapore: First Impressions

Jumbo Seafood

East Coast Seafood Centre: Jumbo Seafood

In my previous life, I used to handle the PR for the various departments of the Singapore government. It was always slightly ironic because I had never actually been to Singapore. I’m happy to report that I’m finally visiting this great city-state! I’m in Singapore this week for work and wanted to share some highlights from the past couple of days.

Jumbo Seafood: Chili Crab

CHILI CRAB!

Of course, the first stop was chili crab. That’s all I wanted to eat so it seemed proper to visit Jumbo Seafood— arguable the most famous seafood restaurant in Singapore. While there are multiple locations, I would recommend going to the East Coast Seafood Centre because you can sit outside and enjoy a view of the sea.

How did Jumbo Seafood stack up to Fatty Crab? Truthfully, I liked the chili sauce better at Fatty Crab. Jumbo Seafood’s chili crab sauce was too sweet and wasn’t spicy enough. However, I was loving the deep-fried buns (炸馒头) at Jumbo Seafood and their crab definitely tasted fresher (the crab meat was sweet with a hearty texture).

ESSEC Singapore

Top left & bottom right: Views from ESSEC Singapore’s campus. Top right & bottom left: Model for the new campus, which will be built by December 2014.

This week is also great because my classmates and I are working from ESSEC’s Singapore campus. I appreciate seeing my soon-to-be alma mater’s campus on the other side of the world from Paris. ESSEC is also building a brand-new campus, which will be unveiled at the end of 2014.

Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre

Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre

Fresh Roti

Fresh Roti

I don’t think any trip to Singapore would have been complete without visiting one of the famous street food hawker centres. Major thanks to Edna who had blogged about Lau Pa Sat! The girl used to live in Singapore and I trust her taste in food.

Mang Kiko's Lechon

Mang Kiko’s Lechon

Lau Pa Sat literally has any type of cuisine your heart could possibly desire. I walked around all the stalls twice to get a complete lay of the land and you could find Filipino, Japanese, Indian, Chinese and Italian food. I felt too greedy to have chili crab two nights in a row so my friend and I settled on garlic naan and lechon manok and liempo (roasted chicken and pork). We were two very happy campers. The naan was piping hot, slightly flaky and served with a delicious curry-based sauce. The roasted chicken at Mang Kiko’s Lechon was literally one of the best roasted chicken I’ve ever had in my entire life. It was juicy, tender and flavorful. I could tell it had been brined for a long time. Once I added the sweet gravy sauce, it was truly a euphoric moment.

As I sat there eating, I worried that I would never have chicken quite that good again. I highly recommend you go to Mang Kiko’s Lechon but don’t order the pork. That was dry and relatively tasteless. Chinese suckling pig is way better.

It’s been a fantastic couple of days and I can’t wait to see what is in store for the rest of the week!

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RBJello’s 2nd Blogiversary!

Jumping for Joy

Jumping for Joy

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of my blog! It’s been a big milestone in my life. What started out as a hobby has turned into a real part of my life and a piece of my identity. I started my blog with no expectations, but I’ve gained so much from it. It has been a wonderful channel to journal my past year abroad in Paris and my experience in ESSEC’s MBA in International Luxury Brand Management.

I think my biggest surprise was the wonderful network of fellow bloggers I met in Paris. I had never met random strangers through my blog before, but I met a wonderful group of women whose blogs inspire mine. Much love and respect go out to Diane, Grace and Edna who supported me during my MBA this past year. It’s always great to find like-minded, adventurous people who have so many great stories to share (plus, it doesn’t hurt that we’re all super into food).

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite posts from the past couple of years:

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Switzerland: Lausanne and Audemars Piguet Factory Visit

Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet Manufacturing Factory in Vallée de Joux

Earlier this week, I had a class field trip to Lausanne to visit Audemars Piguet watch manufacturing factory. It was my first time in Switzerland and a very short trip (less than 24 hours), but it was such an honor to actually visit one of the premier watch manufacturers.

Lausanne: View from my Hotel

Lausanne: View from my Hotel

Lausanne: Café de L'Évêché

Lausanne: Café de L’Évêché

My classmates and I had an authentic fondue dinner at Café de L’Évêché. As soon as you stepped into the restaurant, your olfactory senses were overwhelmed with the distinct smell of stinky cheese. Despite the way it smelled, it was delicious (and extremely filling) and so nice to have real fondue with unpasteurized cheese (an impossible feat in the United States). I desperately needed some meat to balance out all the cheese, bread and potatoes. My friend and I split a ribeye steak, which was also perfectly seasoned Florentine style– just salt and pepper. If you only have one night in Lausanne, I would definitely recommend Café de L’Évêché for a reasonably priced dinner.

Audemars Piguet

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Italy: Milan, Florence and Ermenegildo Zegna Factory Visit

Duomo in Milan

Duomo in Milan

March was a busy month in terms of travel. For ESSEC’s MBA in International Luxury Brand Management, we had field trips to Hong Kong, Dubai and now Milan and Florence. It was incredible to visit all of these cities, meet people from different companies, and learn about the luxury industry in different regions. We even got to visit the Zegna textile factory and the Gucci shoe factory. I thought I’d share a few photos from the packed week in Italy.

Il Giardino dei Segreti

Dinner at Il Giardino dei Segreti

Our first night in Milan, we had an amazing meal at Il Giardino dei Segreti. I had tagliata (thin cut rare beef) and spaghetti alla bottarga (spaghetti with fish roe) for the first time. They were both incredible and I would highly recommend the restaurant for an authentic, casual eatery.

Zegna Textile Factory

Zegna Textile Factory

Casa Zegna- Museum

Casa Zegna- Museum

Casa Zegna- Fabric Archive

Casa Zegna- Fabric Archive

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Dubai: Where Anything is Possible

Madinat Jumeirah

View of Burj Al Arab from the Madinat Jumeirah

I just got back from a two-week field trip to Hong Kong and Dubai. It was an incredible trip because it was my very first time in Dubai. I really did not know what to expect and the city really surpassed imagination. I felt like anything you wanted, you could get. It was a surreal experience. I took over 250 photos so I thought I’d share a few!

Ibn Battuta Mall

Inside the Ibn Battuta Mall, which has Themed Buildings. This was Egypt.

Sand Bottles

Sand Bottles

Outside of the Dubai Mall is a Fountain Show Every 30 Minutes

Outside of the Dubai Mall is a Fountain Show Every 30 Minutes

Armani/Amal

Armani/Amal, the Indian Restaurant Inside the Armani Hotel

Armani/Privé

Armani/Privé

View 123 Floors Up

The View from the World’s Tallest Building, 123 Floors Up!

Burj Khalifa

The World Tallest Building- Burj Khalifa

Skiing Inside the Mall of Emirates

Skiing Inside the Mall of Emirates

Daly Chihuly Sculpture Inside the Atlantis Hotel

Daly Chihuly Sculpture Inside the Atlantis Hotel

Level

The World’s 2nd Largest Shoe Collection is in the Dubai Mall

At the Textile Souk

At the Textile Souk

Drinks at Burj Al Arab

Drinks at Skyview (Inside the Burj Al Arab)

Thanksgiving in Paris and the Best Mashed Potato Recipe Ever

Thanksgiving Potluck

My classmate made homemade pumpkin pie and it was a little taste of home.

Thanksgiving in Paris

Thanksgiving Potluck

A couple of my classmates and I planned a Thanksgiving potluck at school to celebrate this wonderful American tradition. This was only my second Thanksgiving spent away from my family, so I was definitely feeling a little homesick. The potluck was a huge success! My classmates and I had a fantastic time eating our hearts out and feasting on an international array of food, including Chinese tea eggs and French cheeses. We literally demolished all of the food. One of my classmates made 5 kilos of beef (almost 9 lbs. of meat) and we licked that pot clean. Another of one of my classmates made homemade pumpkin pie, including making the pie crust from scratch and cooking a real pumpkin for the filling. I explained to her that in America, we tend to make pumpkin pie from a puree that comes from a can. I was so impressed with everyone’s contribution.

MBA Class of 2013

ESSEC’S MBA Luxe Class of 2013

For the potluck, I wanted to make mashed potatoes so I researched online and found the absolute best recipe for mashed potatoes. The trick is to steam them and not boil them. It’s amazing how different the consistency of steamed potatoes are. My mashed potatoes were smooth and naturally creamy. I had to refrain myself from eating the entire pot. I posted the recipe at the bottom of the blog post.

Fight On

Fight on, Trojans!

On top of celebrating at ESSEC, my alma mater, University of Southern California, also held a Thanksgiving dinner this past weekend. Apparently, it’s the biggest event that the USC Alumni Association of Paris plans. We had people join us from London, Munich and Madrid! I was very impressed because the alumni association rented out a restaurant for 60 people. AND, our free-range turkeys were flown in from Italy! While Paris does have roasted turkeys for Christmas, most butchers don’t have turkeys available this early in the year. Leave it to USC to get creative to make sure we, Americans, got our tryptophan fix.

USC Thanksgiving in Paris

USC’s Thanksgiving in Paris

On top of a great meal, there was also a fun trivia game and our table won (go team 5)! There were definitely some memorable moments like dancing to PSY’s “Gangam Style” and Christophe serenading the room with Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration.” Our prizes were USC alumni T-shirts, which is perfect because I didn’t bring any USC gear with me to France. Thanksgiving in Paris was a blast and I’m glad that I was still able to celebrate with friends and family (because at USC, we are all part of the Trojan family).

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