23 September, 2016

Laksa Love. #SingaporeInvites #VisitSingapore

No trip to Singapore would be complete without a nice, warm bowl of Laksa. This spicy noodle-soup dish traces its roots from both Malay and Chinese cultures, but is very popular in the Lion City. I have been to SG a couple of times but oddly, I have not had the chance to enjoy authentic Laksa until last February's trip — sending lots of love to everyone from the Singapore Tourism Board ( STB ) for taking three of my closest friends and I to a memorable and truly filling ( burp! ) trip.

A first and more firsts
My last visit to Singapore comprised of a lot of firsts which I'll be sharing in a series of #SingaporeInvites posts. I joined a photo contest sponsored by STB last year and I was one of the Lucky 25 winners who won a trip to SG. This was the first time that I stayed in the Eastern side of Singapore at Joo Chiat / Katong. Being Singapore's first heritage town, Joo Chiat is an interesting area to explore. It has its distinct vibe that both locals and tourists love. I have obviously overlooked this part in my previous trips, but I am glad to have had the chance to experience Katong and its rustic charm a couple of months ago. There aren't skyscrapers around. There's not much vehicles, too — at least that's what I recall. What you'll see are these beautiful, Instagram-worthy preserved Peranakan shop houses that line the streets and a lot of small yet interesting food places to go to. It is in Joo Chiat that I had my first-ever spicy and steaming bowl of Peranakan Laksa.

Laksa Love

I'm no Laksa expert, but one thing I'm sure of is that Laksa may not be for everyone. In my family and in my circle of friends, there are a few of us who enjoy this flavorful, super spicy, creamy coconut-based aromatic soup-noodle dish. Most people I know shun spicy food, the same way that they do not like anything coconut-based. However, if you like gastro-adventures and dig that burning feeling on your taste buds, you're definitely in for a treat with a hearty bowl of Laksa.

Our STB Singapore Invites tour guide, Wai Keong took us to the best Laksa place in Joo Chiat, 328 Katong Laksa. Wai Keong shared with us that 328 Katong Laksa is THE go-to restaurant for authentic Peranakan Laksa. Not only that, the guys here beat master chef Gordon Ramsay several years back for SingTel's Hawker Heroes. This certainly made 328 Katong Laksa a huge hit. It got foodies curious. Tourists would go out of their way to try their Laksa. I got to talk to this French dude and he admitted that he almost got lost going to Katong district taking the subway and the bus so he opted to go to Joo Chiat using Grab. After devouring his bowl of this popular Peranakan dish, he said it was so worth the extra bucks he had to shell out for the ride. Aside from this, its history makes this dish more interesting.
"The descendants of these Chinese traders were called the Peranakans, and the tradition of Laksa was born out of the Peranakan desire to marry Chinese food with existing Southeast Asian flavors like coconut milk, and those brought over by South Asian traders, like chilis. Often, the desire to marry cuisines resulted from literal marriages between Peranakans and locals. In Indonesia, for example, the origin story of Laksa traces back to the Chinese coastal settlements. Chinese sailors set out to find local wives, and these women began incorporating chili peppers and coconut milk into Chinese noodle soup." [ Read more: How inter-marriage created one of the most delicious food ]

If you get the chance to travel to Singapore in one of your future trips, don't forget to visit the Joo Chiat / Katong district for an authentic bowl of Peranakan Laksa. Want the best Laksa? You know where to go.  ☮..Peace + _Love + Good Vibes. RUSS.

The SingaporeInvites Series
» Lucky 25. #VisitSingapore #SingaporeInvites
» The build up of anticipation

15 August, 2016

Rainy day blues

We've been deprived of a beautiful sunny day for over six days now.Ö I am the least bit thrilled about it because I'm a sun baby. I live for circuit training, mojitos on a hot day, blue skies, and a lot of sunshine. The whole of last week was just awful and weather reports say that there wasn't even a typhoon. My Howe on the other hand is the opposite. He is like Edward Cullen; he loves this no-sun kind of weather.

Rainy days make me feel tired and lethargic.
I'm a pretty punctual person except for last week. From Monday to Saturday, I clocked in between 8:01AM to 8:05AM. Sure, this was still within the grace period set by the company, but little me does not like being late at all. Waking up in the morning, I rely on the natural morning light that pours through the tiny space in between the shades by my window. Obviously, I had none of this daylight for the past days, which made waking up in the morning challenging because each time I'd open my eyes, it looked like it was 4 o' clock in the morning outside.

Rain, rain go away.

Rainy days force me to skip the gym. Boo :(
Missed appointments and gym dates — blame it on our poor drainage system and Metro Manila traffic that goes from bad to worse to terrible when it rains. My gym is just a 10-minute drive from my work place, but last week was just so bad that I missed training thrice. I braved the rains on Monday but got stranded in one of the side streets because of the floods. It wasn't something that I was willing to go through again so for the next days, my gym bag just sat there at the back of my car. Sorry, Coach Ron.

And even if I don't like the rainy days, I love how they're perfect for cheese pizza and wine.
When all plans fail on a Friday night because of the rains, pizza delivery will always save the day ( or your evening! ). Last Friday, I discovered that Yellow Cab's 4 Cheese Pizza is yummy. My usual pizza is always overflowing with toppings, something like the more, the merrier because I have this impression that Cheese Pizza is boring. Surprisingly, even if Yellow Cab's 4 Cheese Pizza looked a little plain, it did not disappoint. Ramen has always been my favorite rainy day comfort food, but now there's a delivery alternative: 4 Cheese Pizza! When dining out, I often pair my pizza with a Cab or White Zinfandel but last week's bipolar weather made me try on a different wine style. I opened a bottle of Rosé and just like magic, being stuck at home didn't feel so bad anymore — nothing that a glass of wine can't fix.

It's Monday. I was up extra, extra early because I woke up to sound of rain pattering on my window. Even if I want to go back to bed, I'm all awake now. As if it's not enough that dark, grey skies and the gloomy weather are making me feel like I am trapped in a bubble, I got some Monday blues to cure, too. What a bad combination, no? But I'm a trooper. I've had more than enough of the rainy day blues and I refuse to be bitten by any of the Monday blues. I just want my sunny days back. I'd give anything for a nice, warm weather.

I miss Mr. Sun 😕
5 days is just too much. I never really liked the rainy days.

A photo posted by R U S S (@ruussso) on

Are you a sun-lover like me? Or are you the type who finds the rainy days relaxing and uplifting? What's your favorite rainy day comfort food? How do you beat the rainy day blues?  ☮..Peace & _Love. And still waiting for a lot of sunshine. RUSS.

10 August, 2016

Supergirls get upset, too.

There are two important lessons I learned the hard way these past 3 weeks at work.
1. I tried hard to be cautious and trusting at the same time — you cannot be both.
2. In connection with Lesson 1, I also learned that there are two types of people in this world.

There are people who, on the surface, would want to be your friend. They will look you in the eye, flash you a big & pretty smile, and well — for whatever reason(s), they will passionately and effortlessly lie to your face just to prove a worthless point. Want to know what makes it worse? They think it's cool and they effin' think they can get EASILY away with it.

There are people who will tell you stuff that you don't like to hear. They're not afraid to tell you the real deal. It will probably not make you the happiest person, but one thing I learned as I get older is that the world is full of crap and I don't need any more BS.

I am peace-loving person, but two things that tick me off are People #1 and people who make a conscious choice to continue to be People #1 especially when they know that you've let your guard down. Talk about pathological and expert levels of deception. I try to stay away from People #1 because they suck the energy out of you. Unfortunately, I had to deal with one this week. There was a person who forced her way to talk to me alone on a day that I purposely did not want to talk to her. I learned about how this person twisted facts about something that concerned my team & I.

There were issues, which I knew, will have to be sorted out eventually so I wanted to cool down first because I didn't want to get into an argument with anyone. I know how I'd feel and I know how it takes forever for this 'angry' feeling to go away so there was a conscious choice to stay away from this particular person. It is good that I've mellowed down and I find it easier to forgive, but I take forever to forget. Sadly, this person annoyingly forced her way to talk to me despite me expressing how I didn't want to talk yet and that if we were to talk at that moment, I didn't want us to be alone. I've been burned by this person several times and have caught her repeatedly lying to my face. I knew that this time around, I'd have to call her on this after I've cooled down, but she was soooo irritatingly persistent & just wouldn't give that time I needed to cool down.

Things got ugly.

If you think about it, knowing the truth is not as painful compared to knowing that you've been lied to. It pisses me off when people act cocky and mighty thinking they can easily charm their way out of a mess they made. That is just so screwed. You know what most people say — sh*t happens and all the crap just piles up so you have to be wary of People #1. They're not just pathological liars, but they will also climb their way up without giving a sh*t with how they treat others. Reckless ambition can be a dangerous thing.


I feel a little better.
Thank you for hearing me out. ☮..Peace + ❥_Love + Good Vibes. RUSS.

Portrait: @JefferyHaugen