Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ion, Tokyo Sonata, First Thai

It was a startling short day - morning being the invisible beings (as much as possible) we are again but a keep the ball rolling tutorial and after that we rolled out off sgh cos all the tutors seem to be busy with the aus visitors (?) so early day = outside lunch.

Went to Ion Orchard (cos Kiliney was full - no chance with Freshly Baked) so we ended up in Food Opera - tried the Scotts Beef Noodles. This is comfort food from secondary school days - i ate it almost every time I was in town in the old Scotts Picnic Food Court that Kelly remembers it. My mom and I can eat 3 bowls of beef noodles collectively last time.

I always took the set previously - dry beef noodles with beef ball soup - and in the good old days it was under $5 - tough luck now, a similar set cost $6.50. I thought I'll try something different today so I took the beef noodle soup ($5) and indeed the soup is still as good as previously - but its abit hard to douse your noodles in the chilli and chinchalok like you can normally do with the dry noodles (I just dump the whole lot in and mix it around) as the the chilli just dissolves away into the soup. Kelly enjoyed the dry version tremendously, cos she likes her noodles in thick gravy. She thinks its a little like lor mee.
Went to hunt around for dessert but after spying the tiny mountain of ice kachang on one of the tables we decided to go to Mei Heong Yuen (Ion Orchard, Basement 1) for the durian ice. Tried this before at the Chinatown branch and liked it enough to recommend it to Kelly again - but she prefers if they use a more authentic puree (the durian paste was bright yellow, really artificial looking, though its supposed to be made from D24). Well, I thought it was perfused enough with the durian flavour - the milk ice and the durian paste. Probably one of the better durian milk ice imho.
On the way out we passed by Wisma's Food Republic and we just couldnt resist Rojak there! We had the biggest version there before and it was $5 - there was only $4 and $5 to choose from and a whole range of add-ons - cuttlefish, mango, stuffed taupok. But since we already had a full lunch we decided to just go for the $4 one...though I was thinking $1 difference might as well...but of cos I listened to the more rational Kels...

Anyway, she thinks this version is a little too healthy tasting cos each ingredient taste distinct from another - Rojak to her must be a little messier lol. Whats missing for me is the beansprouts, though I'm a big fan of the sauce and the generous peanuts here.

We found a Mr Ten Thousand Year shirt and found a new nick already (hahaha) and we tried to inhale as much popcorn as possible for we couldnt bring any popcorn into The Picturehouse!

Proceeded onto watch the movie, Tokyo Sonata. It is a family drama about a typical Japanese family - parents and 2 sons who were all trying to run away from their 'home' where normalcy and sanity was stretched when circumstances outside home were perturbed. It was as if they were trying to seek an equilibrium at home, but it was not a place where they sought solace and comfort in each other. You must have plenty of tolerance to sit through the entire movie (or alternatively just read the synopsis off Wikipedia) for you to understand what I'll be talking about in the following paras (or you can just skip it, just for Kelly and my reference)

This movie brought me back to the days when I read Japanese novels (Haruki Murakami, Kazuo Ishigaro, Natsuo Kirino) - it explains the isolation one feels even as globalisation happens, and civilisation seemingly enforces the density of the population - the more urban you are, the chances of you being in a dense population, being close to other humans, being in an artificial man made city, being far from nature (which reminds me,the director of Moon is directing a show dealing with this isolation too). But, physical distance is definitely not drawing us closer, technology and technical convenience is not bridging that distance either. In the movie, I kept questioning - who is the most isolated in the family? Who is trying the hardest to run away from reality and home, and what is repelling them from the most seemingly stable and orderly unit of society, the family when an open conflict doesnt even exist?

It makes you think - is the facade you maintain within and outside your home different? How is it you can regress to being strangers despite history? - in the context of divorce, meeting family in the outside context - running into them and discovering their secrets

Then you question how important is the family unit if it is there for the sake of being there? With the age of multitasking - is the fundamental unit of the society, the family still efficient or viable? Life is mostly incentive driven - we seek love cos we fear loneliness, we seek wealth because we fear poverty and hunger. Taken in this context, a family was practical in the olden days of agriculture and farming, because it meant a consolidation of manpower, and a organised delegation of duties and manpower. Laughter is multiplied and sorrow is divided, simple needs attained - but in the modern fast paced, incentive-driven world - can we truly share joy and laughter, sorrow and woe at the same frequency, at the same level of intellect and emotion?

Truly, in a human's quest for what he wants, realises what he needs ultimately. Question your motive for your thought, behaviour, and action frequently - and you realise you might be chasing the wind, doing everything but carpe diem ;D

For in the movie, I wondered if individual family members be better off alone - for being in the family is keeping them FROM being sane, and restricting their freedom. The movie describes a savage vision of family life as a charade that’s long since stopped meaning anything to its participants - the participants act as independent entities, simply being physically present in the household cos they function as part of a regime, an unspeakable, unquestionable routine. What drives us to maintain this status quo, and the hum and drum of daily living, daily routine? Do we all crave for a form of order in our lives, or do we delight and thrive in chaos, encouraging change?

What subjects humans to authority, and willingness to submit to them? What controls us from stepping across the line? Respect to me, is when someone exceeds the moral threshold and expectation we formed of the person, and that is when - to put it simply, someone's behaviour, action or thought impresses me. But we are human after all, and this expectation we have of people, is often biased and might not be even taken in the right context. The circumstantial meeting of the wife and the husband in the shopping centre when neither comprehended each other's situation (and hence misunderstood) is a clear illustration of this point. We saw the breaking down of barriers - father-son (questioning the protection of country vs the protection of the family) and teacher-student - how far does a role model have to practise what he preaches? Should a doctor too, practise what he preach?
Wanted to eat at the vegeterian place at Fortune Centre but we couldnt find it (we made an effort, went to the fifth floor where this equally lost student asked us about night classes) so we went straight to First Thai at Purvis Street, my second time here after Matt and Chiara and I ate here, last year.

The service was much better today, and there werent so many people (F1 phobia?). Maybe you can try again, Michelle!

I remembered liking the mango salad ($8) very much. Tangy, with a good dallop of prawn paste sauce. One of the rare sour dishes I like (I can do Thai anytime, for that matter)
Tom Yam (Prawn) here ($7 for a one person rice bowl portion) is clear, and deceptively spicy. When I was here previously and had the $15 one, there were +++ straw mushrooms.
The phad thai ($8) was wonderful. Plenty of wok hei, and there was alot of fish sauce in the eggy parts, with the greasy noodles going well with the fresh shredded carrots and peanuts.
Green curry ($8) was okay, though it was murky in colour and not as creamy as I like it to be.
Kelly's green bandung and my iced coffee . Pandan flavoured bandung which she liked and I absolutely liked my thick coffee.
Mango sticky rice - salty glutinous rice, with saltier barley bits atop and coconut. Kelly's favourite
Wanted the mixed ruby (looks like mix of chendol jelly and jackfruit) but had to order this red ruby. Not impressive, the ice came in chunks and was a little difficult to much on. Otherwise it was red ruby and coconut milk. Just go for the mango sticky rice and stop there. (or go to Tom's!)

Brings us back to the days of admiring the city skyline in Hong Kong, except we're in aircon comfort (not in Starbucks overlooking the waterfront of Tsim Tsha Tsui!) and looking at the brightly lit F1 tracks, far away from the toxicity of burnt rubber and crazyloud engines =)

1 comment:

soaps/ lin said...

hello! my hungrytummy led me to your blog...
can i humbly suggest "nana" at golden mile... they serve the BEST SOM TUM. thats my fav dish, so i'm biased :)

alright, have a blessed day. thanks for the blog and suggestions!