Friday 26 July 2019

Aladdin Musical is Genie-us

Aladdin is a childhood classic story that most of us grew up with. Not only was it written in stories, directed in films, it is also adapted to a musical in the recent years. We are so thankful to have caught the hit Broadway musical, Disney Aladdin at Marina Bay Sands last evening. Always magical to catch a timeless story coming to live on stage. And this is not one ordinary production, it is a shining, shimmering and dazzling show that will bring you into a Whole New World of magic and colours.

Photo credit: Base entertainment

This production of Disney's Aladdin opened in Sydney in 2016 and has travelled to Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Auckland and Adelaide before making its way to Singapore. It will play in Singapore as its only and final stop for this tour. Witness it with fans flying in from our neighbouring countries just for this musical.


We love this adaption of story for the stage. Great story with brilliant choreography and acts. We heart each and every of its casts, specially the Genie played by Gareth Jacobs. If I can say, he was the hit of the show! It was the perfect role for him, and we hope to catch him back on stage some day. He cracked up our night with funny acts and jokes. Part of his jokes were scripted to our local audience where you will spot the Genie showing our iconic Merlion out of his huge pocket, which he said was from his pre-show shopping. As well as talking endlessly about the chilli crab he ate. The Merlion was too small to see from where we were far seated. The front audience got the joke and I knew what it was because I attended its media call explaining some parts of the show. For that, I could tell the kids what it was. So in case you wondered, it is a white Merlion figurine. Maybe from a souvenir store at MBS.

Photo credit: Base entertainment


Exclusively, this musical includes new characters, Jafar's lackey, Lago and Aladdin's friends and fellow thieves, in replace of Abu the monkey I guess. Putting them together brings forth a whole new level of humour.

From left to right, the casts are Iago (Jafar's lackey), Jafar, Sultan (Jasmine's father), Kassim, Omar and Babkak (Aladdin's friends and fellow thieves).

Hardcore fans may be disappointed to not spot Abu the monkey and Jasmine's pet tiger, Rajah. All is saved when a special Disney montage of fan favourite songs was put together by the Genie. That was a fantastic treat that I didn't want it to end.


Songs from the musical were serenading. In addition to the five songs that appeared in the 1992 film, this musical show includes four new songs and three songs that were written for the film, but not included due to running time. It will be a special opportunity to hear them live at this musical. Other than our all time favourite, 'A whole New World', I specially love the song, 'Proud of your boy'. One of the songs that is not featured in film, but only in musical. The song was sung by Aladdin about his unnamed mother. He acknowledges his bad ways and promises he will make things right. Motherhood ingrained, it just touches me about children learning from their mistakes and making them right.

Photo credit: Base entertainment


Other than keeping our eyes fixed on the singing and dancing, costumes were equally captivating. The crystals on their costumes were shining bright through to where we were seated. Glad I had a backstage tour to look into the designs and details (Sharing more towards the end). Pay special attention too, to the Sultan's costume. It is the only piece made and beaded in middle east, while the other costumes are made in Australia. Knowing its story is set in the middle east, props, sets and costumes are beautifully put together with hints of Arabia.

Cave of wonder was absolutely amazing too! 120 pieces of gold came together to form it. Same gold finish as C-3PO in the Star Wars films. And you know its gold because it blings and shimmers genuinely the moment they are all put together.

There are a total of 500 sets and props in this production. That being said, Aladdin's sets may be scant compared to other Disney musicals with extensive and denser stage sets. It is assuredly, still magnificent and gorgeous! 

Photo credit: Base entertainment

Photo credit: Base entertainment

Parts of the show had cleverly weaved in magic to impress. They were some tricks that will keep your mind working, but most impressively, I enjoyed the part when Jafar made his three wishes. He had 3 sets of clothes changed out in that short segment, and each change was within a split second. Right before our eyes.

Magical sums it all!


The awesome part, the highlight and the attraction of the night was none other than witnessing the couple tour the world in their magic carpet. This segment of the show really wowed us. It was astounding, and I wished they would tarry longer on there. The kids gasped in awed and went, "how did they do that?!!" I have no idea, and the production did not reveal how the magic carpet flies in the musical. It is part of Disney’s magic! Be amazed with this breathtaking flight.

Delighted too, that the magic carpet made appearance again in the final act.

Photo credit: Base entertainment

We very much enjoyed the show that was collectively put together, specially the comedy that kept us laughing and songs that almost got us up dancing and doing waltz at the A Whole New World moment. It was a weekday night that had the kids bedtime stretched. A well worth delayed sleep for the theatre, which the kids and us enjoyed tremendously.

A colourful night for us indeed

A spectacular and Genie-us musical!

We went on an insightful backstage tour to bring you some sights and facts behind this spectacular production. The production boasts a cast of 34 and a staggering 337 glittering costumes which feature 1225 different fabrics, 712 different styles of beads and almost 500,000 Swarovski crystals. 40 tonnes of exotic flying scenery and 60 tonnes of automation and staging has been transferred to Singapore in more than 30, 40' sea container to recreate the fantasy city of Agrabah including the colourful marketplace, the lush palace of the Sultan and his princess daughter Jasmine and the legendary Cave of Wonders.


The ensemble outfit, first from left has got microphones in its pants! Can you make a guess before the reveal? Just so the audience can hear the clear feet tapping sound during the tap dance segment. So much about sound effects eh.


This purple costume which I recalled was what Jasmine's servants wore, weighed quite a ton! Imagine all the movements and dancing with it.

The hats are also meticulous to the top, where it's beaded and crystal-ed with designs. We know how theatres are architecture of not only front, side to side stage view, but a top down view as well.

This pattern here on the middle piece costume is the smoke pattern when the Genie comes out in the original animated film feature. It’s a little recognition back to the film. I wonder if the 1992 film is still around for watch. 

Here, a closer look.

There are 108 costume changes that take places in less than a minute, and 58 costume changes that take place in less than 30 seconds. Every costume piece is a pride. It is detailed to the seam and even if a costume appears for only a few seconds on stage, it is one that was given an equal amount of effort. And shoes, there are 161 pairs of custom made shoes in the show. Who said shoes are insignificant on stage?!!


A closer peep into a portion of the cave of wonder and other props.


50 shows! That's how much the sets, props and costumes need to withstand to be away from its base to Singapore. Touching up and durability are important elements to keeping their props beautiful for showtime. There is just so much about the story of being behind the scenes. 

May your wishes come true!

Aladdin is a popular story with a strong fan base. It will be very much enjoyed by every young and old. And if you didn't know, Agrabah is a mythical city. Not a real city, a fictional place. This Broadway sensation, Aladdin is now playing at Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands until 01 September 2019 to a limited season of 50 performances.

Tickets are available from $68* (exlcude booking fee) and a matinee performance has been added to celebrate National Day on August 9. Buy four tickets and save 10% when purchasing via Marina Bay Sands ticketing and Sistic

Event Date
Sun, 21 Jul - Sun, 1 Sep 2019 
Tue - Fri: 7.30pm

Sat: 2pm and 7.30pm
Sun: 1pm and 6.30pm
Friday 9 Aug performance will be a matinee at 2pm.

Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands
Ticket Pricing
(Excludes Booking Fee)

Tue - Thu

VIP Reserve : S$208
A Reserve : S$178
B Reserve : S$148
C Reserve : S$128
D Reserve : S$98
E Reserve : S$78
F Reserve : S$68
VIP Box (4 seats) : S$832
A Reserve Box (4 seats) : S$712
B Reserve Box (4 seats) : S$592
Restricted View: S$90

Fri - Sun
VIP Reserve : S$228
A Reserve : S$198
B Reserve : S$168
C Reserve : S$138
D Reserve : S$108
E Reserve : S$88
F Reserve : S$68
VIP Box (4 seats) : S$912
A Res Box (4 seats) : S$792
B Res Box (4 seats) : S$672
Restricted View: S$100

Disclaimer: Media invite. Thank you Base entertainment for having us at the show.

Thursday 11 July 2019

JB Food - All in a day!

During the June holiday last month, we drove nearby to Johor Bahru for 3 days of fun. We stayed 2 nights at Double Tree by Hilton

Our drive and hard work of setting off early allowed us to beat the jam and arrive early in JB for breakfast. Here's sharing our food adventure in JB.

If you arrive early like 8 am, hunting for food may be a challenge. Malls are definitely not open. Here is one we set our taste bud on that early morning we arrived. If you like Foo Chow rice wine mee sua with chicken, which is one vanishing or hard to find dish in our local scene, you may want to give this a try. 

1. Restoran Lima Ratus

Foo Chow red wine chicken mee sua

Foo Chow rice wine mee sua is our love! And I like anything claypot, it keeps food hot for some time while savouring it. Good for busy Mamas juggling toddlers and food at the same time. I don't have to come back to cold food. 

This claypot of goodness is thick in its soup. I guess the sticky texture of mee sua must have been part of it. It is not too bad tasting and our kids love it a lot! I like how it tastes except that the broth could have been more flowing.

More famously of what the stall sells would be wantan mee. We ordered and fell in love the texture of its noodles. Feels somewhat like a perfect al dente if I were to relate to to pasta. Ask for less chilli if you are not a fan, they go easy with their chilli. It has good traditional coffee too!

Wantan Mee

Restoran Lima Ratus
4, Jalan Undan 18, Taman Perling, Johor Bahru 
Opening Hours: 
7:00am to 3:00pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

After food was food again!

2. Hiap Joo Bakery and Biscuit Factory 

This is a must for banana cake fans, Hiap Joo Bakery! Queue was already snaking up when we arrived at about 12:30 pm. The queue may be long, but it moves fast. I got my buy within 10 minutes. Other than their banana cake, you do have to try their coconut buns. 

Their buns and cakes are traditionally baked with a traditional taste. Really soft and fragrant!


If you intend to buy 20 big boxes and above, you may pre-oder at 07-223 1703, with pick up time between 2 to 5pm, Monday to Saturday. There is no pre-order for buns. So says their sign on shop front. 

Pre-order available

Zooming out the details. According to this notice on their shop front, Banana cake is available:
Monday: 12pm to 5pm
Tuesday to Saturday: 7:30am to 5pm
Sunday: 8:30am till while stock last

Though this is their published timing on shop, I read around that banana cakes are not be ready for sale super early. A good timing will be 12 noon onward. I was there on a Friday at about 12:30pm, managed to get coconut buns and 2 big boxes of banana cake. 

Big box is at 10 pieces (RM10) and small box at 5 pieces (RM5).

Not accurately updated on price and timing

Banana cake is sold fresh and warm upon buying. To manage expectation a little, the first slice was not impressive. It tastes good, soft, fluffy and not overly sweet, but it did feel like it can be easily replicated with any good recipe. It was until we sat the cake overnight in our hotel room and had it the next day, that it tasted awesome! Not that we were overly hungry, but somehow like the science of how fresh warm cakes need time for flavours to sink in. It was then that we felt like going back to get more. Though it was near our hotel, parking is a big challenge in that busy street. We gave up that thought. Walking 20 minutes under the unforgiving weather was not our kind of option too. 

Tastes better the next day

And the kids really love this cake too!

Interestingly, the street in front of these shops are converted to a night market after sunset.

Bazar Karat

Hiap Joo Bakery and Biscuit Factory
13, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, 80000 Johor Bahru
Opening hours
Mon to Sat: 7.30am – 5.30pm
Sun: 8.30am – 12pm

3. Restoran Kin Hua

Since there were so many eateries and cafes around Hiap Joo. It was more food hunt for us. If you are a fan of nasi pandang, you have to try the stall directly opposite Hiap Joo. In Malaysia, Restoran is not the restaurant you had imagine it to be. Kin Hua is a traditional coffeeshop. It sells irresistible nasi pandang and breakfast meals like kaya toasts, eggs and coffee/tea. We hear their coffee is good, but I needed coke from the afternoon heat. 

It was lunch for us after getting those banana cakes, and we conveniently settled with nasi pandang. Visiting at about 1245pm, most dishes were already selling out. Do be early for more yummy options.

The must order dishes we had are Assam fish and mutton curry. They were so good! Assam gravy is yummy along with its fresh fish, and mutton is soft and tender for chew. The other dishes we ordered were chicken curry and bean curd, which were not too bad as well. 

Nasi padang
Our dishes for share

One glace, you can tell these are not child friendly food. We had an excuse to explore more food since the dishes we ordered were not to the kids' appetite.

Restoran Kin Hua
8 Jalan Trus, 80000 Johor Bahru
Opening Hours: 
7am to 2pm (Nasi Panding ready at about 11am)

4. IT Roo Cafe

Not too far away from Kin Hua, we food trailed into It Roo cafe. Slightly of a comfort in here because it is air conditioned. On the outside, it read "The Best chicken chop in town". Since it was calling out loud to make our calories count, we entered.

Having a tummy filled with nasi pandang we previously ate, I ordered 2 chicken chops (RM16 each) for the kids to share. One golden fried chicken chop and another grilled chicken chop. Between the two, I have a stronger liking for the golden fried one. Mushroom sauce for grilled chicken chop was good, but somehow the chicken revealed obviously that it was frozen thawed. It was tough to chew and not quite to my liking. 


Grilled chicken chop

Go for the golden fried one instead! 

It Roo Cafe
17, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: 
10am to 9:30pm

5. TANBA Japanese BBQ

I love Japanese BBQ, and especially one that serves cow tongue is my selection criteria. I am just another crazy (not rich) Asian that eats any part of an animal. Not that we don't get this in Singapore, but that eating in Malaysia gives my wallet a better value. We were on a buffet of RM98++ per adult that Friday evening we stepped in. That is about SGD35! Good food range, great ambience and great tasting. Not an easy find in SG for that price.
And the best part of Tanba is that it offers charcoal for grilling of our food.

Tanba offers a great variety of food, from raw to cooked food items. Beef in the buffet menu was not its best range. The premium beef and food items require a different top up. Which of course, we worked with what our buffet offers, any food that fills the tummy is just food. Fill it with the better tasting ones from the buffet menu.  

We had numerous servings of shashimi, beef tongue and prawns. There were vegetable options like butter brocolli and spinach as well as sushi and fried fish skin which can delight the kids. Quite a good range of choices I must say.

Charcoal grilled


Beef galore

Only down side was that orders were often held up, not served or wrongly served to us. With patience, we managed to get them sorted. Within this same premise, they offer Mala steamboat too. Your crave can help you decide which to go for.

Parking is available outside the restaurant at a low fee. There are 2 outlets in JB, but we went the one nearest to our hotel, which is twin galaxy.

Outlets Address:
OUTLET 1: Twin Galaxy, Jalan Dato' Abdullah Tahir, Johor Bahru
31, Jalan Molek 3/20, Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

Buffet Pricing 
Monday - Friday
Lunch : RM78++ (12pm - 5pm)
Dinner: RM98++ (5pm - 11pm)
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday
Lunch : RM88++ (12pm - 5pm)
Dinner: RM98++ (5pm - 11pm)
Below 5 years old - FREE
6 to 12 years old - Half Price
60 years old and above - 10% Discount

Opening hours:
12pm to 11:30pm

When it comes to shopping, we can shop endlessly till money do us apart. When it comes to eating, there is an end to how much our bellies can take. All these in a day, and we had more than enough! We even had hi tea in the hotel before dinner this day. Can't believe we could actually trail and explore this much.