Category: Singapore

ADV: Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, Singapore

I’ve always wondered how the word “hospitality” come about.

The word “hospitality” is clearly derived from the word “hospital”, yet for some reason it is the hotel industry that seems to use that word more than hospitals.

When you think of the word “hospitality”, you think of a night at a nice intimate luxury hotel, where your every whims and fancy are being taken care of.

We’re talking soft comfortable beds with high thread counts, breakfast in bed, powerful hot showers, and a little space for privacy when you need it.

But when you think of the word “hospitals”, more often than not it is the complete opposite loh!

You think of stressful doctors in white jackets, crowded patient wards, family members sleeping on the floor, overworked nurses in scrubs.

You think of tears, fear, pain.

And death.

Isn’t it ironic that two words that sounded so similar can conjure up such completely different images in our heads?

Which is why when I received the media invitation to attend the sleepover at Parkway Group’s new Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Novena, Singapore, honestly I had similar doubts in my mind.

Having spent many cold and lonely nights at the hospital with my father in his final days, spending a night over at a hospital is no where near the top of the list of things I look forward to.

‘Cos seriously, how nice can a spending a night at a hospital possibly be?

This is the same question Dr Lee Hong Huei, CEO of Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital asked himself when he embarked on this grand project to design this new hospital.

What can a hospital do to make going to the hospital, not really like going to the hospital? And the first thing he did was throw out the conventional rule book on hospital designs, and start from absolute scratch.

It begins with a few questions.

What if hospitals are designed like hotels?


What if hospital food actually tastes good?


What if long queues in hospitals can be made a thing of the past?


What if we can heal people without hurting the Earth?

After 23 months of construction, Singapore’s first private hospital in more than 30 years opened on the 1st July 2012.

Just how closely does Parkway’s newest hospital resemble a hotel?

As I found out, it starts right at the lobby.

No glassed up counter. No plastic waiting chairs.

Just a clean reception counter with a front desk receptionist ready to point me to the right direction.

Suddenly, staying overnight in a hospital doesn’t sound so bad.

But it gets better.

None of the staff we met while we’re there were wearing those stereotypical white coats. They figured psychologically, some patients may have a fear of hospital for that reason. So as part of their uniform, staff at Mount Elizabeth Novena actually required to wear business suits.

I was escorted to my room on the 11th floor of the hospital where a line of nurses was there ready to greet me.

My room was a Deluxe Room. As is all the case with all the patient rooms throughout this hospital, it has a single bed in there – which means I did not have to share the room with anybody.

From the design, it’s difficult to tell that I was actually in a hospital. The only thing that reminded me I was in a hospital, was the bed with lots of buttons on them.

Even then, the bed linen was one with a high thread count, and really, really comfortable to sleep in!

I made a mental note to play with the hospital bed later.

Right from the bed, I can look out through the floor-to-ceiling windows. The windows cleverly positioned to let plenty of natural light to come through.

There’s a sofa, convertible into a sofa bed in case patients have loved ones who would like to stay over to take care of them. Right under the sofa are 2 HUGE drawers which the nurses say are “very useful for putting away your shopping bags”

Well, we’re in Singapore after all!

Then there’s the TV – which is not just any ordinary TV but a SMART TV.

Apart from the usual 361 TV channels (dunno how many TV channels Singapore has now), the TV is also where the patient can surf the web, browse through Facebook and Twitter…

Or even playing Angry Birds.

‘cos nothing says “Get Well Soon” better than smashing a bunch of feathers into the wall.

There’s a minibar with complimentary healthy drinks, ie. no beer.

Finally, there’s a bathroom, which is unlike any hospital bathrooms I have ever seen before.

Dr Lee said that majority of falls in hospitals resulted from patients going to the bathroom. As part of the safety features that prevent falls, all rooms are designed such that patients take the fewest steps possible from the bed to the bathroom.

And what a kickass bathroom it is.

We’re talking powerful overhead showers, amenities from luxury UK brand ABAHNA and my personal favourite – a Japanese-style electronic toilet seat that heats your butt up when you sit on it and spray water to your butthole when you’re done making your chocolate cake!

As if that wasn’t impressive enough, check this out.

The controls for the electronic toilet seat…

… can be taken out!


What purpose it serves, I have absolutely no idea. The only possible reason I could think of is when you wanna prank on an unsuspecting friend sitting on the toilet bowl.


I later found out that the Deluxe Room I was in was just one of the 4 types of patient rooms available at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital.

Top of the line are the ultra-exclusive 3 Regal Suites truly fit for a King.

Royalty do fall sick too, and when they do, they normally go to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore to receive treatment.

Each suites comes with it’s own pantry, dining area,  living room, 2 separate bedrooms, full butler service and of course – a cool price tag of S$12,888 a night!

Even if you get a heart attack when you receive your bill, don’t worry!

The doctors at Mt Elizabeth all very good one.

Suddenly, the term “getting hospitalized” don’t sound so bad anymore.

After leaving my bags where I’ll be spending the night, we were ushered out for a tour of the hospital facilities. When we visited, the hospital has yet to open up to the public, so we can actually wander throughout the hallways.

Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital boasts many medical advancements – some of which are the first of its kind in Singapore or Asia.

Everything, from the service hallways hidden from the public, to therapeutic lavender scents, to the multitude of paperless check-in counters located throughout different sections of the hospitals, are designed for complete patient privacy and to reduce waiting time to as little as possible.

The Accidents & Emergency Department opens 24 hours and is equipped with everything from a standard day ward to a full-featured ICU room.

Mentally-ill ICU patient not included.


Operating theatres are all equipped with shadow-free LED light required by surgeons to carry out procedures to surgical precision.

Mount Elizabeth Novena is the first private hospital in Singapore to utilize a hybrid operating theatre.

With traditional operating theatres, if a surgeon performs a minimally-invasive keyhole surgery on a patient’s hear, had something gone complicated, the doctor had to unhook everything and move him to another operating theatre to do an open heart surgery.

There’s lots of valuable time lost in this transition, which in a medical situation could mean lost lives.

In this hybrid operating theatre, everything can be done at the same place.

The CT Scan rooms have soothing pictures mounted on the ceilings to calm patients.

I actually told Mount Elizabeth Novena that if I were the patient lying down on the machine, looking up at picture makes it seem like I was being buried alive…

Well, they promised me they would change the picture eventually.

The pride and joy of Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital is Asia’s first Biograph mMR.

The mMR combines Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) in a single machine.

Anyone who had undergone MRI or PET procedures before knows how scary entering a tunnel can be. The experience not only screws with your head, harmful radiation from multiple sessions could potentially screw up the body.

The mMR gives a complete picture in just one scan, reducing examination time and any harm it may cause on your body.


By now, everyone in the media contingent was mighty impressed. By the time we were ushered to the hospital’s cafeteria for dinner, any pre-conception about the palatability of hospital food are gone.

Yes, even hospital food – the bane of all overnight hospital patients – are carefully thought out.

As conversations flow that evening with doctors and the CEO, plates of Omega-3 Salmon Salad with Citrus Caviar and Steamed Hong Kong Style “Jade Cod”, came out to entertain our tummies.

If it weren’t for the cafeteria style seating, I would have sworn we were dining in a gourmet restaurant.

I retired to my room that evening with a full stomach and a happy smile on my face.

But of course… since I’m staying in a patient ward and not a hotel room, I could not resist the temptation playing with my hospital bed.


This is Kenny sleeping.


Kenny sleeping high.


Kenny sitting low.


Kenny Sia cannot decide whether to sleep or sit.


Kenny squashed up by the bed.


Kenny on an incline.


Kenny on a decline.






Kenny gone crazy in ICU liaw.

Singapore River Festival 2009

The Singapore River Festival was awesomely fun!


Singapore has always been my favourite big city in this part of the world, only because Singaporeans have always treated me very well and that there always seems to be endless things to do in such a small place.

Taking advantage of the fact that it’s the Great Singapore Sales, I went to Singapore with the returning Pinkpau (fresh from her summer holidays in the States and certified free from swine flu) to also attend the launch of the River Festival.


We were put up at the Park Hotel Clarke Quay. The rooms here are approx S$200 per night, is completely brand new and located smack in the middle of the night entertainment district of Clarke Quay.

I like it that the general manager of the hotel handwritten me a note to welcome my stay.


Nice touch.

Another nice touch was that all non-alcoholic drinks in my room’s minibar was complimentary.


Perfect for inviting unsuspecting girls back from the bar with the pickup line, “Are you thirsty? I have drinks in my room’s minibar.” Unfortunately for me, Singaporean girls are too smart to fall for that. 🙁

I thought my room was very tastefully decorated. However, I ain’t seen nothing yet. When I popped over to Pinkpau’s room to have a look, I was gobsmacked.

Pinkpau’s room is… special.

So special that the only word I can use to describe it is SCANDALOUS.


You see, Pinkpau’s room is one of only three in Park Hotel that features a see-through shower. What that means is that from the bed, you can have full view of your partner washing her armpits or scrubbing her ass crack.

Obviously this type of room is meant for loving couples.

Or zoo animals.


One of the attractions I finally did in Singapore was the Singapore Flyer. 


I’ve been wanting to get on the Flyer since the Jurassic Era. Somehow I’ve always put it off because The Largest Ferris Wheel In The World has always attracted The Longest Queue In Singapore.

When I finally managed to get on the Flyer, I realised why it’s so damn popular.


The flight up to the top was nothing short of breathtaking. So breathtaking that our friend Boss Ming had to take a seat and stablize himself with a few deep breaths when we’re nearing the top.

The dude is scared of heights.


Pinkpau and I, on the other hand, were having a ball.

It’s impressive to see Singapore’s skyline constantly changing. The construction on the left is the new Marina Bay Sands casino, also known as The Most Expensive Casino In The World.


When completed by the end of this year, it’ll cost Singaporeans S$100 to get in. For foreigners, it’s FREE. It’s Singapore’s odd but effective way to limit the negative social impact of gambling.


One of the main highlights of the Singapore River Festival is an appearance by master illusionists ‘Magic Babe’ Ning and JC Sum. The two will attempt to put Singapore in the record books by achieving the World Record for Most Number Of Illusions Performed In Five Minutes.


We were given a preview of what they were capable of during one of their stage shows, where they showed us how they can float in the air, walk through metal, make money appear out of thin air and solve the global economic crisis.

Okay maybe not solve the economic crisis, but they really can make money appear out of thin air one. Don’t play play, but dunno why they still need to charge ppl for entrance!


The opening ceremony of the Singapore River Festival was a VIP event that took place in front of the Asian Civilizations Museum.

Coincidentally on that day, the museum was holding a free exhibitio
n by photographer Steve McCurry, famous for taking this haunting image of The Afghan Girl.



This is Kenny Sia, The Afghan Boy.



The grass lawn in front of the Asian Civilizations Museum were laid out with mats and pillows. IMG_0255

There’s something amazingly unique about lying on the ground, looking up towards this amazing backdrop of blue skies and towering skyscrapers.


The Singapore River comes alive this entire week with an array of free events, activities, parades and parties. During the opening ceremony, we were treated to a variety of ‘modern interpretive’ dances.

Otherwise known as ‘siao lang’ dance. Interpretive dances are always like that. No one knew what those dancers were trying to portray except themselves.

So we made up our own meanings.



Xiaxue: “Wah! Look like Ku Klux Klan.”


Kenny: “Singapore army’s underwater unit, preparing to attack Johor.”



Kenny: “Poor fella kena mobbed during Great Singapore Sale.”

Something substantially more entertaining than those modern interpretive dances though, was the Singapore River Festival’s bumboat parade.


The bumboat parade starts 7:30pm every night from now till this Saturday. I highly recommend having a look at this unique light and musical showcase of traditional boats and dancers in giant bubbles.

For a list of free events and activities during the Singapore River Festival, be sure to click on

We found out the River Taxi Ride is free of charge during the Festival. After the show Pinkpau and I hopped onto one of the boats.


As you can see, Pinkpau absolutely enjoyed it!

Both of us have been to Singapore multiple times, but to see the architecture of the country from the waters while enjoying the breeze blowing in our face was truly an unforgettable experience.

The river at night is amazingly beautiful.


I still find it difficult to imagine that as little as 40 years ago, Singapore was a fishing village no bigger than Kuching. Yet today it’s sprouted into such a beautiful modern city.


The taxi ride took us back to Clarke Quay.

Here, we joined the rest of our friends and partied the night away at The Arena.


Now, here’s the problem.

The party we were going to was a pajama party and the dress code was obviously, pajamas.

The problem is, I don’t wear pajamas to sleep. I have no pajamas in my wardrobe, so I went to Singapore without any form of sleepwear tucked in my suitcase.


Naively, I thought since it’s the Great Singapore Sale, I should be able to easily grab a set at one of Singapore’s many many many many many shopping centres.

So earlier during the day, I asked Stickgal to follow me pajama-shopping at Vivo City.


This is Stickgal. For those who not know, Stickgal is the now-retired comic blogger who inspired this entry.

Vivo City is one of the biggest shopping malls in Singapore, but even after scouring every corner of it, we found no signs of pajamas on sale at all.


Not for men’s anyway.

It wasn’t until we p
opped into La Senza that I finally picked up my attire for the Pajama Party for 70% off.

Yes, LA SENZA. The lingerie shop.




Can’t help it, satin felt soo good.

(My reputation has evaporated.)

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Cafe del Mar Singapore

I’m a big fan of chillout music.

Ever since I got to know about this genre of music a few years ago, I’ve virtually stopped listening to pop music altogether. My musical collection was revamped from manufactured crap by the likes of Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls, to chillout/lounge music by artists no one has even heard of under the Cafe del Mar label.

Everytime I sit down in front of the computer to blog I must put on some chillout, otherwise I wouldn’t have any inspiration to blog at all. This kind of music is perfect for stuff that requires a lot of my concentration, like blogging. They’re not as sleepy as Enya and not as noisy as the Black Eyed Peas. Just some nice slow tempo beats that’s not too overbearing.

Cafe del Mar is actually a bar popular for tourists to congregate to watch the sunset.
The original Cafe del Mar is located on the Spanish island of Ibiza. Recently, they also opened up a branch in the Singaporean island of Sentosa.

I hadn’t been to Sentosa since I was a kid. That time Sentosa was still largely children’s playground with the Underwater World being its main attraction. Now, the place is slowly turning into a rich people’s playground featuring a huge country club and the soon-to-be opened casino.

The setting of Cafe del Mar is great. There’s heaps of sundeck chairs lining up along the beach for people to relax.
And because it is located on the beach, naturally the view here is fantastic.

(in Borat accent) “Nice!”
If you feel like dipping into chlorinated water, there’s even a pool located in the vicinity.

Personally, I wouldn’t wanna swim in that pool though. In Kuching, when we wanna go swimming, we wear our goggles and maybe put on a swimming cap.
In Singapore, when they wanna go swimming, they wear sunglasses and earrings.

Like that how to swim? No wonder Singapore never produced any gold-medal winning swimmers.
But I better not stare at those girls too much, or else the tight T-shirt-wearing security guard over there with bigger breasts than me might come and kick my ass all the way back to Malaysia.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Singapore and I love Cafe del Mar. It really is a great place to chillout with friends and I can’t wait to go back there.
There are few things in life more enjoyable than lying on the beachfront, listening to good music, sipping vodka orange while watching the sun sets.

Legs courtesy of Mia.

Unfortunately, Singapore doesn’t quite have the best beach sunsets in world.
In Phuket for example, watching sunset by the beach looks something like this.

But Singapore, being a port city, offers sunsets that look something like this.

Bloody cargo ships, spoil the view only.

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Singapore’s Left Hand

I met up with some friends while I was in Singapore during my stopover to Auckland, who remarked to me how much of Singapore was built based on the principles of Feng Shui.

A lot of people have this misconception that Feng Shui revolves around strange monks doing weird chants.
As much as Feng Shui is sometimes being disregarded as superstition, you gotta admit it is a pretty cool topic to know more about. It’s not so much a New Age “Zen” thing like psychic gypsies and astrological starsigns, more so a traditional Chinese way of life. Despite being an ancient practice from yonks ago, a lot of its recommendations are still very practical in the modern world. Sometimes you don’t realise how powerful it is until you apply them yourselves.
In East Asian countries especially, Feng Shui is very much part of the protocol in the business world by de facto. Even today, when people want to get married or move to a new home, they still have seek consultation “to get a good date”.

The Chinese believe that in order to achieve harmony, the sky (“tian”), the earth (“di”) and the human (“ren”) must be in harmony. “Tian” being what we’re born with – it’s our predetermined genetic make-up, our DNA. “Earth” being the environment we live in, which is something dynamic, and sometimes evade our control even with the best of Feng Shui applications.
The only variable left in charge of our destiny lies within ourselves.

Master Vincent Koh, a celebrity in the realm of Feng Shui

Feng Shui is big in Singapore. So big, you can even attend a course in Singapore Polytechnic to obtain a diploma in Feng Shui if you want to.
When I met with Master Vincent Koh, founder of the Singapore Feng Shui Centre and the lecturer of the Feng Shui course at Singapore Polytechnic, he explained to me that Feng Shui is simply a set of guidelines to ensure our way of living responds to our surrounding elements.
I have to admit, I am a bit of an idiot when it comes to this whole thing. Although I have travelled to Singapore extensively many times in the past, I never notice how heavily the design and architecture of the buildings in Singapore are influenced by Feng Shui.

Sarawak’s own Master Shang

It wasn’t until I met Master Shang Zong Wei of Shang Architects in Singapore, that I understood why some of the most prominent Singaporean buildings are structured a certain way. Many Singaporeans, and some believe the father of modern Singapore Lee Kwan Yew, are firm believers of Feng Shui. It is little coincidence that the Little Red Dot has today one of Asia’s wealthiest economy.

The single most prominent symbol of Singapore’s dedication to Feng Shui is undoubtedly, Suntec City. The collection of 4 tall skinny buildings, 1 short building and the wide convention centre are intentionally positioned that way to resemble the shape of the human left hand. Left hand being the symbol of authority, pointing towards Singapore’s financial district at Raffles Place, commanding all of Singapore’s cash to come to momma.
Why is the left hand the symbol of authority?

Because Darth Vader says so. And NOBODY disputes with Darth Vader, the great Sith Lord.
Placed at the “palm” of the “left hand” is the world’s largest fountain – water representing life and wealth. The ring-shaped structure of the fountain is essential in “retaining” the water. Without it, water (and thus, wealth) flows out through the fingers.
It’s a pretty impressive concept having Suntec City resemble a left hand. If it were up to me, I would have built a similar “left hand” in Kuching. Except it’ll have four short buildings and one tall building in the middle, pointing towards Indonesia saying “OI! Thanks A LOT for giving us the haze, buddy!”

Double trouble

Unfortunately, life isn’t always a bed of roses for the highly successful Suntec City. Its harmonious environment was disrupted shortly after that spiky-shaped Esplanade building was completed in its nearby vicinity. While performing maintenance work, crane at Suntec City fell and damaged one of the fountain’s supporting pillar.
Whatever you think it is, you gotta admit that it’s a pretty freaky coincidence.

There are a lot more icons of such success stories in Singapore. Some are the stuff of legends, such as how the octagonal shapes of SGD$1 coins are meant to resemble a Chinese “ba gua”; and how the doors of the Grand Hyatt Hotel were designed to slant at right-angles to each other.

Previously, when the reception at Grand Hyatt was facing a long flat glass door entrance, it was doing poorly despite its brilliant location.
Along came a Feng Shui Master, who noticed that good vibes were flowing out from the lobby counters, through the glass walls and spilling into the streets. So the front doors were redesigned and the counters repositioned. Today, the Grand Hyatt Hotel today enjoys one of the city state’s highest occupancy rates.

Other Singaporean Feng Shui stories are less well-known.
Master Shang told me that when the Paragon Shopping Centre on Orchard Road was being built, his teacher Master Tan was consulted. He was worried that fortress-shaped Ngee Ann City from across the road might “intimidate” the Paragon building. So the wise ol’ Master suggested that Paragon be built to include features of a White Tiger – a celestical creature in Feng Shui. Y’know, just to show Mr Ngee Ann who’s the one in charge around here.

The silver “stripes” on the white building are done exactly for that reason.
Feng Shui has huge following worldwide. So huge, they’re organising a 2-day International Feng Shui Convention in Singapore on the 4-5 November. It’s the largest English-speaking Feng Shui convention of its kind, and is targeted towards everyone from architects to designers, business owners to home owners, to just everyday people.
For cultural buffs like myself, I think it’s just an invaluable opportunity to find out more about this traditional Chinese culture.

I think the Feng Shui Convention is gonna be really worth it lor. This convention isn’t just one person talking. It involves many practitioners from different schools and sects in Feng Shui, including Masters Vincent Koh and Shang Zong Wei. Where else can you find an event that includes some of the most knowledgable Masters from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, UK and Australia all under one roof? It’s gonna be like Feng Shui Idol, man.
You know what the best thing is? I managed to negotiate for readers to get a sweet 5% discount off registration fees if you decide to book through this website.
Just in case you’re wondering – don’t worry, there will NOT be strange monks doing weird chants during the opening ceremony.

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Sex And The City State

I’m back in Singapore now for a short stop after a long 10 hour flight from Auckland.

The city state is having this Singapore Biennale thing, which is interesting because half the population probably don’t even know what the word “Biennale” means. Heck, I don’t even know how to pronounce the word “Biennale”, but I’ve caught enough of it to understand that it’s some sorta large scale art exhibition.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bagging it. In fact, I’m enjoying myself going through their art pieces on show. I love it because some of the sculptures they put up are quite… erm… well… stimulating. 😉

Like this one in front of Wheelock Place that features a faceless lady that kinda look like she’s from the Night Elf faction in Warcraft III.
In case you’re wondering, yes, those are breasts. And those two little things in front of her lady lumps are called nipples. Don’t be silly, art pieces don’t have to wear bras. Because if they wear bras, its not called art anymore. Doesn’t matter that it’s placed right in the middle of busy Orchard Road with kids walking by.
But that was nothing. My favourite sculpture though, has gotta be this one in front of Ngee Ann City.

I believe the title for this is called “The Headless, Armless, Big-Boobed, Buck Naked Lady Having A Caesarean-section To Lay An Egg”. Serious.
I don’t have rock hard evidence with me, but I was told Geylang reported a unprecedented increase in sales immediately after these exhibits were revealed to the world.
Y’know, if this is what the Singapore Biennale is all about, I support it 100%, with three thumbs up.
Don’t ask me where my third thumb is.

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Singaporeans Love Their Chickens

I’m confused.

Why is that the computerised voiceover on Singapore MRT pronounce “Outram Park” as “Poo-Chor Park”, instead of the supposed“Out-Ram Park”?

On a different note, I spotted this at a mobile phone repair shop in Dhoby Ghaut, Singapore.
Only those who can read Chinese will get this joke.

“Hello eskew me, what your latest model handheld chicken?”

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Singapore Jia Xiang Kolo Mee Vs Authentic Kuching Kolo Mee

Gorgeous Mia Tan told me about a shop claiming to offer authentic Kuching Kolo Mee near her place in Orchard, so we made a date to pop in there one evening to have a look.

Kolo Mee is such an inseparable part of the whole Kuching culture. Ask any true Kuchingnite living overseas what they miss most about their hometown and they would all invariably say,
“Kolo Mee… Laksa… Tomato Kueh Teow…”
“How about Mommy and Daddy?”
“Oh ya, almost forgot! Mommy and Daddy too!”

We Kuchingnites LOVE our Kolo Mee. No, it’s not the same as Wanton Mee in the Peninsular or Char Siew Mee in Singapore.
Our noodles are firmer, curlier and tastier than our western counterparts. The noodles are quickly cooked in boiling water, drained then ‘dry-tossed’ (hence the name ‘kolo’) in a bowl containing a concoction of soy sauce, char siew oil and fried garlic oil for the extra oomph!
The result is a delicious, aromatic and addictive bowl of noodles that’s good to savour anytime of the day.

Jia Xiang Sarawak Kuching Kolo Mee is a fairly new chain of restaurants by a Kuchingnite living in Singapore. They pride themselves being the first in Singapore to offer the signature dish at their outlets, with the noodles specially air-flown in from Kuching to guarantee authenticity.
Their restaurants must be doing quite well from what I can see. We were there a bit past dinner time at 7:30pm and the tables were still about 80% full. Either there are lots of Kuchingnites in Singapore, or Singaporeans are starting to warm up to our yummy delicacy.

Jia Xiang seems to have gotten a bit creative with their menu. Their recommended dish is kolo mee in soup or topped with prawn and abalone.
I don’t think there’s anyone in Kuching who eats kolo mee with abalone. 😐

Got myself a cup of ice-cold Luo Han Guo (Air Mata Kuching) to round up the experience.

As far as I’m concerned the “default settings” for kolo mee is dry, topped with bak chor (pork mince), steamed vegie and char sio (BBQ pork). Anyway, that’s what we ordered instead of their recommended dish.

This is Singapore Jia Xiang’s version of the Kuching Kolo Mee (SGD$ 3.90 / RM9)
Compare that to the RM2.20 Kolo Mee you can get anywhere in Kuching.

An actual Kuching Kolo Mee. LG Chocolate not included.

I say it’s pretty good.
One bite on the noodles… once the taste engulfed my mouth and immediately I knew I’ve got authentic kolo mee right there. This is it! This is what I’ve been eating growing up, people! Of course, I know.

Jia Xiang Kolo Mee Vs Kuching Kolo Mee

I do have some minor gripes like the amount of bak chor was a bit too much, a bit too dark and the vegies tasted a bit different for my liking, but overall it’s pretty close to the real deal.

I cringed a bit when I saw Mia and Eugene mixing their Kolo Mee with sambal. I’m not sure why Jia Xiang done it that way, probably to cater to local tastes, but this is the first time I’ve seen sambal offered as the default condiment to kolo mee.

Over here, we eat it with seasoned cut chillis. I think they do offer cut chillis as options. It’s just puzzling the sambal is there by default.
Another thing that came across as bizzare to me is the decor.

It’s odd that for a restaurant serving Sarawakian food, the interior is furnished with ancient Chinese furniture. Most of the staff they employed are from mainland China (as evident from their distinctive accent) and they’re even dressed up in traditional Chinese restaurant workers outfit.

Say hello to the very shy (and pretty) Maggie. You can order anything you want from the menu, but you can’t order Maggie Mee.

What’s up with that? What if people think Kuching is not in Malaysia, but in China? Then how?
Will I still be asked to “drive down the causeway from Kuching to Singapore” by my less-informed friends?
I do have to give Jia Xiang full marks for one thing though.

This is the definitive but often omitted ingredient to a good bowl of Kuching Kolo Mee. I don’t care what you put inside, it is NOT Kolo Mee if it’s not served inside the chicken bowl!
Everything tastes better in the chicken bowl.

Apart from a few oddities I’d still call it a true blue Kolo Mee experience at Jia Xiang. The noodles itself is 100% authentic and a definite must try. The decor, toppings and condiments (sambal wtf?), I’m not too sure.
Overall, it passed the authenticity test and I’m giving it a generous 7.5 out of 10. Just remember not to take kolo mee with sambal.

Want some?

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