There are times when I would really miss working in the city area because of the vast varieties of food available for lunch, not to mention the choices for coffee, local or foreign. Of course, the crowds at lunchtime are not something that I miss, having to be on an ever-ready standby mode to snare the first available table at the eating places without table service. Still, convenience is key and where I am now, convenience is the last thing on the list.
On some days when we have the luxury to venture a little further, the colleagues will enjoy checking out some good food in town. So it was on this day that we made a visit to Hock Lam beef noodles at Far East Square. They are quite the fan of this stall’s beef noodles I think, because it wasn’t the first time that we went there, but this time we saw that the stall has had a facelift. Before, the cooking area was right at the front of the stall where you queue to place your order and pay, now you get yourself seated and write your orders on a piece of paper before handing it to a wait-staff, then pay on your way out. I think this was meant to elevate the customer’s dining experience, but with the renovation, the stall appeared like it could now sit less customers, and of course I think the prices now would factor this in. I don’t remember how much the noodles used to be, but now they are priced at about S$8 or S$8.50 per bowl for the usual beef noodles? Those were the comments from the colleagues so I believe prices did go up, but apparently, the taste and quality remains.
We were pretty early that day and the stall had only a few customers then; as I wasn’t that hungry yet I just ordered the beef ball soup, which is available as a side order, and cost S$4 for a bowl of soup with 5 beef balls. My colleague, probably trying to go on a diet, dished some of his kway teow to me so I ended up having beef kway teow soup.
According to the others, the portion seemed to have shrank a little too because after we finished our early lunch, we decided to hop a few stalls down to Ya Kun, which they have also been wanting to visit since that is the original stall and one of my colleagues swear by the quality of their drinks and toast. Perhaps it being without air-conditioning, the prices were relatively cheaper than the usual Ya Kun stalls island-wide, e.g. a cup of tea with evaporated milk (teh-c) would cost S$1.70 typically, but here it is S$1.50. Being early, we also had the benefit of getting a seat indoors with a fan overhead; it can get really toasty sitting outside even under the shade of the umbrellas, such is the merciless heat which is uniquely Singapore!
So we ordered kaya toast to supplement our lunch! Comments at the table were all with approval for this original Ya Kun stall, because one colleague mentioned this is the best Ya Kun bread, crispier and tastier than all others he has tried, and also the butter is more well-spread over the bread, not just sandwiched as a slab between the slices of bread.
Opposite where Far East Square and China Square Central, there is this semi-automated multi-storey parking facility that we were rather amused with. Probably we are just being ignorant, but it was quite interesting to drive the car into a lift, get out and press a combination of numbers, and when the lift doors close, the car will automatically get parked in an available lot within the structure. To retrieve the car, we need to key in the combination we had entered earlier and the machine will get the car from where it has been parked, and when the lift doors open again, we will see the car there! I think there should be more of such parking buildings around so that it saves people time of waiting around the carpark in their cars for a lot, which most times depend on luck whether you are quick enough to get an available lot based on where you were waiting!