Monthly Archives: September 2015

Your SingaporeNYC Events


Photo credit: YourSingapore

Singapore marketed its 50th year of nationhood in August, but its Golden Jubilee is carrying over into September with a variety of events put on by Singapore Tourism Board and held throughout New York City. It’s an opportunity to learn more about this Malaysian city without needing a passport and plane ticket. But hurry, it wraps up this Sunday!


Various restaurants have put together special menus or add-on menu items of Singaporean dishes or drinks worth trying. From now through September 27,  Singapore Restaurant Week has participating eateries offering everything from fish and chicken dishes to cocktails. They include Andaz 5th Avenue, The Meatball Shop, The Red Cat, and Delicatessen. At its Madison Square Park location, Shake Shack is serving up a special beverage called Onde Onde Shake now through September 27. Its recipe takes traditional Malaysian sweet rice dumplings and turns them in to a shake format. And in NYC’s Flatiron District, now September 27, a pop-up venue called Singapore Hawker Pop-up will dispense Singapore style street food by K.F Seetoh.

Visual Arts
One big feature is Singapore: Inside Out, an artistic exhibition on view in Madison Square Park now through September 27. It’s a showcase of multi-sensory creative experiences designed by various Singaporean artists and performers. And if you walk along Fifth Avenue toward Bergdorf Goodman, find in the luxury department store’s windows, pieces by Singaporean photographer, John Clang until October 6. There is also a number of theatrical and musical performances as well.

Costa Rica’s Central Market (Mercado Central)

photo 5(35)In heading back to San Jose, my group made a stop at the Central Market, which has been a staple in the city’s day-to-day living since 1880. Known more so as Mercado Central, this block-long indoor marketplace can be bustling as a meeting spot as well as for getting lunch or groceries, a cup of coffee or a souvenir.

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Open pretty much from sunup to sundown, Mercado Central contains more than 200 businesses – shops, stalls, and casual restaurants known as sodas – with some that are roughly a century younger than the market itself. As a maze of stands and corner stores, Mercado Central can get a lot of foot traffic. You walk through various alley-like ways and it’s easy to turn your head while you’re moving en route. But of course, you have to make stops in between.

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Here is where I did.

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Helados De Sorbetera Lolo Mora.
Since 1910, this ice cream shop has been serving their recipe for sorbetera. The yellow colored iced treat is whipped but with ingredients like nutmeg, clove, vanilla, and cinnamon.

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Café Rey. Owned by the Tapia family, this fifth generation-owned restaurant has had a space in Mercado Central for just over 120 years! One dish to try is the family’s arregladas (stuffed tortillas).

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Cafeteria y Cafe Central. This coffee shop is where you can buy any java from black to an espresso or even a sweet specialty drink. Plus watch grinding of, and smell the scent of roasting, Costa Rican coffee beans in large machines. You can also see what is used as a coffee pot in Costa Rica – a chorreador. This device, which is a simple wooden stand, works by pouring hot water into a white cloth that looks like a jean pocket but acts like a filter.

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At Mercado Central, you can also find fruits, spices, flour, and cheeses plus even a nice bolso or floral bouquets. It’s definitely worth a visit!

A Day in Manuel Antonio National Park

Costa Rica has a number of options for viewing wildlife. One of its best known, and said to be one of its most popular attractions, is Manuel Antonio National Park. Located on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, Manuel Antonio National Park gets thousands of visitors annually and has four lush beaches, a number of hiking trails, forests, and several inhabitants on land and in the water. It’s a pretty bio-diverse location.

If you like sloths, monkeys, lizards, iguanas, and birds, then this is the best place to see them!

If you want to visit Manuel Antonio National Park, go early. When my media group went to see the park, our guide told us that there is limited amount of daily visitors permitted in the park. You have to pay an admission fee to enter the park, and it’s open every day except Mondays. If I remember right, we got there before 9 a.m., and a line was already forming.

Another good tip from our guide was to, well, get a guide. Park guides are certified – in having been extensively educated about the park – and often can stop and point out the various wildlife that you might not see at first yourself. It’s said you can rent a guide at the park or possibly book a reservation in advance through your hotel. Of course, you can go on your own and just take in the views. And if a crows stops at a certain section, it’s a good indication they’ve spotted something.

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After walking through one of the trails from the entrance, we headed down to one of the beach areas. It’s a bit of a trek down a hill, but along the route, there is a changing room/shower area. At the beach area, there are picnic tables or just random sections for putting your items down. But as a note, watch your stuff. Not just because of the obvious reasons, but there are some creatures that be curious about what you’ve got. There a few different species of monkeys here, one of them being a white-heard capuchin. My group spotted a few of them wandering around the beach area. Let them be, but note that they seemingly are curious.

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In heading to the beach, I got to go into the water for a while. I’m not a strong swimmer but I had a bit of time in the water. The waves can be a bit strong — you can come across riptides —  so I just ended up letting them just me back toward the beach. There are also rocks underwater the water, too, but so watch where you step.

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In heading back, we went on a different trail where we spotted other creatures like this land crab that’s a bright reddish color. This one below was pretty camera shy.

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In all, Manuel Antonio National Park is worth a visit!