15 October 2006

A New Shopping Experience

The Girlfriend and I went to the newly opened VivoCity for a look-see. We had arranged to meet at the shopping mall but due to the immense size of the place, it took us a good 15 minutes to find each other. From her time in US, she felt it seemed like a very American mall, everything also big. All the shops are big, especially the all-American brands like GAP, Forever 21 and so on. (I forgot many of the brands already. Don't look at me like that.)

Adding on to that, the Girlfriend also commented that every shop at VivoCity are all unique on its own, another similarity to US malls.
Of course, that I feel is a very important lesson that Singapore must learn. If we can't outdo others, we should do something totally unique and different for us to stand on our own.
Then we came across our national dish, chicken rice. It is now a snappy-looking restaurant here at VivoCity. Branding is one thing, but this is a whole new level of attracting attention. Which leads me to speculate, "We are making something special out of the ordinary. Oh no! We are turning into America!"

Anyway, prior to finding her, I came across a traffic control...

...and a Segway driver (which is yet another American-ish stuff made for the lazy people.)

"Excuse me, why you ride on a motorized 2-wheel vehicle without a helmet? The Segway website pictures all have helmet. This is a book-able offense, ok? show me your license..."

I weaved through more shops on the ground floor, looking for the Girlfriend. I tried calling, but the network died on us. We finally managed to meet up after many attempts on the mobile phone. Then we moved on to Tangs and they got interesting stuff over there. Look!

Chairman Mao (comes in many colours)

Fancy pouches...

Vintage-looking postcards...

vintage-looking handbag for the wet-market...

Double Happiness totes

More nicely done up satay fans.

Then we came up to the kitchen stuff section...

Fancy-coloured egg beaters!

Chocolate fountain!

Then some miserable attendant in the department store says I can't take pictures.
I returned a stare.
He asked if I was the supplier.
I returned a stare.
He walked away.

We found ourselves at the other end of the building which faces Sentosa and it was quite a surprise.

Still under construction

The amphitheatre

Sort of an artificial beach. Quite a number of kids waded in it.

And there were cutesy mascots too.

Walking around this mall is surprisingly hard work, which means we got hungry. We decided on something more budget-friendly and of shorter walking distance. Since we were at the top floor, we headed to Food Republic. It's quite interesting there. The place is dimly lit with those old tungsten filament light bulbs. hanging over our heads. It felt like those period shows about Singapore like The Awakening and Tofu Street. It felt like those hawker stalls and even had the mess of dirty, used crockery and utensils all over the place, except this one has got air-conditioning. The Girlfriend described it best, confusing and disoriented.

Not to be outdone by the "authentic" decor, there are some gems found here too. Like the absolute best laksa in Singapore that is served in a claypot.

A short history of this stall - The stall was first set up at a humble coffeeshop in Depot Road, near the CMPB. Few years back the coffeeshop was torn down and the stall moved on to Alexandra Village food centre. Now it's here at Food Republic in VivoCity and at a higher price. They sell a bowl at $6.90 now. They used to sell different sizes at $3, $4 and $5. But to me, the fragrant gravy is worth its price.

As for the Girlfriend, she ordered the hokkien mee or stir-fried prawn noodles that is relatively cheaper. But that didn't stop her from pinching the gravy from my laksa. So I pinched from her plate too! :p

Satisfied but still with an appetite, we got dessert. A boy had been standing by our table hoping to take over when we are done. I think he ran out of patience after I went to get a second bowl of dessert. Warning though, the dessert stall serves the smallest portions and every item is at least $2. So be prepared.

Full, satisfied and re-eenergized, we continued the VivoCity experience. Back at the ground floor, we came across an organic grocery store by Cold Storage. And they had interesting stuff there. There are plenty of organic stuff here as you will see from the following pictures, all of which healthy-looking.

Even got organic coffee. Heard from someone it tastes horrible, but need to try then can say. The new nescafe not organic also taste like shit.

Not only have they got organic health food, they have organic junk food!

Organic potato chips! No worries about eating mutant kantangs and jagongs!

And organic ice-creams!

If you didn't already know, Ben & Jerry's buy their milk from farms that rear cows without using rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone). Essentially, that makes the source of the milk we currently drink, well, questionable. Think mutant cows. And below the rows of B&Js, true blue organic ice-cream!

When we got to the end of the isles we saw this, which I think Zengrong will be crazy about, especially since the last time we saw an eco-friendly detergent, it looked like a bottle of pee...

Then when we went to the cashier, they had these books on sale.

They really think of everything.

As the Girlfriend and I walked our way out of the building, the ceiling caught my attention.

Quite nice.

And I think it makes visiting Sentosa more appealing.

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