Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Paradise Dynasty - a meal to remember!

For our recent Singapore weekend, I carefully made selections for some well appointed meals in restaurants that we loved, and also left some meal times "free" to explore and try interesting places we might happen upon unintentionally. We were lucky enough to find this great place that I feel compelled to write about - it's a must!

On our second day, hubby and I were wandering around Ion Orchard at lunchtime and were getting hungry. As I had left this particular mealtime "free", we walked around on the 4th floor looking for restaurants that we might find interesting. From afar we noticed a huge crowd of people mingling infront of a specific outlet and of course that piqued our curiousity. As we went in closer, we found it was a Chinese eatery called "Paradise Dynasty", famed for its 8 coloured/flavoured "Xiao Long Pao" ( Chinese dumplings with soup inside ). The queue was so long but we knew that the longer the queue, the better the food must be ( one of our all-time no-fail ways to select a restaurant when travelling )!! We took a number and settled down for the wait. It was well worth it!

Settling down for the wait...check out the computerized queue system! Very well organized indeed!

As we waited, we checked out the menu and the signage detailing the various colours and flavours of Xiao Long Bao - they even had instructions as to which order to eat them in to maximize enjoyment! While we were still in line, hubby and I had already decided to share one order and immediately began negotiating which flavours we each wanted - I ended up with Foie Gras, Cheesy, Szechaun and Black Truffle.

Love the colours and the instructions!

We finally got a table after about 20 minutes, and ordered the signature Xiao Long Pao along with some other accompanying dishes. The food came quickly and did not disappoint!

The famed 8 flavours! 

Had to order my favourite string beans with spicy pork - a must for me whenever I find it on the menu!

A truly enjoyable meal and one that I would love to repeat on my next visit to Singapore. Coincidentally, when I got back to Bangkok I found that Paradise Dynasty has just opened a branch here at the Paragon Shopping Mall  as well - so I will be able to enjoy the unique 8 flavours of Xiao Long Pao easily whenever I want! yumss!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunny Singapore and the Gardens at the Bay!

Hi everyone! Last weekend hubby and I took a short break to Singapore - one of my favourite weekend getaways for shopping, eating, and catching up with good friends. I used to work in Singapore ( a long long time ago!) and ever since, I have always felt a strong connection and find every excuse to go back for a visit when possible. Also, a few of my nearest and dearest friends live there so its always great to meet them for a delicious meal and fun times whenever I am in town!

This time we stayed at the Grand Park Orchard and I have to say, this hotel gets my vote hands down for location. It's right on Orchard road, opposite from The Mandarin Gallery and Paragon shopping mall - perfect for popping in and out to drop off the masses of shopping bags accumulated after a long day of intense shopping in Orchard's numerous shopping malls! The hotel itself is trendy and modern but still quiet enough that it feels like a respite from the ultra urban Orchard road.

Our Premiere room at Grand Park Orchard - hubby is enjoying it!

On this visit we decided to visit the newly opened Gardens on the Bay which is located right by Marina Bay Sands. Its kind of a indoor/outdoor botanical gardens with lots of flora and fauna attractions. I wasn't sure what to expect and although I'm not a big fan or expert of trees and fauna, I admit I was impressed and enjoyed it alot! We visited one of the many attractions, The Cloud Forest, which is a huge dome spanning about 7 floors with a central "mountain" of trees, plants, flowers and all kinds of beautiful fauna. At the entrance of the Cloud Forest there was a huge waterfall that flowed from the top of the dome. Stunning!

The entrance to the Cloud Forest with a massive waterfall that spanned about 7 stories! love it!

Once you are inside the dome, you can take a lift right up to the top and slowly walk down the various levels, which they have designed as a kind of "skywalk" where you get the feeling that you are walking in the midst of the sky and clouds. I was impressed with how well designed the walkways were - but I am super scared of heights so I had to hold on tight to the handrails while we were walking along the skyways up high! Here are some shots of the walkways taken from the ground upwards. 

Looking up towards the sky walkways high up above within the Cloud Forest.

Being afraid of heights, I wondered if I would be able to brave the walkways!

Another view of the sky walkways high high above.

Some sights along the way....

Curious looking plants...

Hubby was interested in this specimen!

We made it to the top by lift! Now we start the long descent down via walk ways!! 

Even though the walkways were sturdy and strong, I was nervous to be so far out from solid ground!

Carefully and slowly making my way down...while clutching onto the handrails...

Notice how everyone stayed away from the netted middle section!

Finally we reached the indoor Crystal cave ! From this level you can take escalators down to ground level. Thank goodness!

There were numerous other fun and educational attractions at the Gardens at the Bay, but we didn't have a chance to enjoy them all as we had to get back into town for lunch. This calls for another visit back, and soon!