- Universal Studios Singapore
What took me so long huh?
Well, if you haven’t been to South East Asia’s first movie theme park and have been patiently waiting for friends to be willing to be $66 poorer with you, grinding your teeth on the inside in jealousy while you see news of people enjoying the thrills and spills of Universal Studios Singapore…
I suggest you don’t.
Because the Transformers attraction won’t be ready till 2011 (I’m assuming it’ll be cool), and other attractions are still undergoing maintenance.
Like the Battlestar Galactica mega coaster that I went there for.
I can’t even begin to describe my anguish.
Oli and I were at the ticket counter when we were told this and he almost had to drag me kicking and screaming into the park after paying because the sexiest attraction in Universal Studios wasn’t open.
And I was so psyched. I was ready to ride it at least 5 times on the Human and Cylon coasters each, even if that meant alone since Oli would’ve turned inside out from emptying his stomach cavity. I wanted my corkscrews, loops and barrel rolls. And we went on a weekday! Perfect time to spam roller coasters! And the Universal Studios website says nothing about which rides are under maintenance.
Unless you don’t care for coasters, then by all means go ahead.
But don’t go with me.
Sausage McMuffin with Egg
I have a disclaimer: The following manners of food consumption is not advisable and highly discouraged from adopting into a daily basis due to health and financial concerns.
Jokes aside now, I do not eat like this every day. With this exception, I chow on fruits and veg like a cow and barely eat carbohydrates and bad snacks, and I definitely don’t promote fast food and junk as a lifestyle.
Right, so that’s dealt with, on with the show!
I was fed this (*Gasp. Fast food?!) for breakfast in the morning by the birthday boy who in addition to buying his own caloric-nightmare breakfast, was thoughtful enough to think that “I’ll buy another in case Crissy is hungry”. Hellooo?!?! I hope you haven’t forgotten the bajillion times I’ve told you that I can eat – an extra subway foot long on top of my six-inch meal, or decimate the dessert table after stuffing myself with Hokkaido Crab legs at Kuishinbo – even when I’m full and not hungry anymore. I am Bottomless Pit personified and de-metaphorised. I just don’t have rocket metabolism. So I’m much more prone to overshooting my daily caloric requirement of 1300kcal (I’m small. That whole shiz about the average woman’s daily caloric requirement of 2000? Doesn’t apply to me. BAH.) within a single meal (!!!), and much more prone to blowing up like the Hindenburg.
So who am I to refuse that when you buy it for me?! Was I going to bear the guilt of you consuming an extra 500kcal++++ when it was meant for me? No.
Martyr Complex, I know.
Don’t you stop to wonder who exactly are in those costumes? Those same people you hug and squeal over? Well I heard they lose up to 2kg swimming in their own perspiration and they earn a fair bit. And hey, I wasn’t wearing a costume and I was sweating out of every single pore. If you do visit the park, please – for the love of all sanity – seek refuge in the indoor attractions with glorious air-conditioning. Like the Mummy’s Revenge, an indoor high-speed rollercoaster with a ridiculously long queue area (empty because it was a weekday!) which we exploited thoroughly till we saw stars and were on the verge of suffering from horrible whiplash. Do not eat before jumping on this ride.
But please eat park junk food. A theme park is not a theme park if one does not eat park junk food.
“Do you smell that?” I asked, stopping in my tracks, eyes darting about the lush foliage for the source.
“Huh. Smell what?” Oli frowned at me.
“CHURROS!!!!” I shrieked, flinging my arms in the air and running off with my nose leading the way.
We’d just stepped into Jurassic Park and I smelt toasty cinnamon sugar, which could only mean Auntie Anne’s Pretzels or churros in the middle of Jurassic Park, but since we left Auntie Anne’s back on mainland Singapore, it’s got to be churros. Shakira’s hips don’t lie and neither does my nose. I just feel like smacking myself for not buying the original cinnamon one. Churros are Spanish fried dough, or Spanish doughnut, fried fresh and sprinkled generously with fragrant cinnamon sugar. This chocolate one was too crunchy, hard, fried early on and tasted nothing of chocolate. How disappointing. Makes me feel like flying all the way to Tokyo Disneyland where I had my first churro when I was six.
Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure
So do not resist when you feel like you’re being bombarded by the staggering aroma of Turkey Legs, caramel popcorn, churros or chicken wings. This is the only time you’ll ever hear me say this. Carpe diem. Seize the day, because tomorrow you might be dead. Take the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure, once, twice, get soaked, hell jump into the water and splash around! But for goodness sakes, don’t eat at the Discovery Food Court. You want local fare, you head to your nearest hawker centre.
Oasis Spice Cafe
We stopped by here for lunch, led solely again by my nose because the potpourri of middle eastern spices clobbered me over the head and dragged me in by the heels. The air-conditioned interior boasts Egyptian themed decor and a cafeteria style concept where one shuffles along the queue picking up their meals before paying at the counters. If you have been led here by your brochure which happily marks the Oasis Spice Cafe with the ‘Healthier Choice’ heart symbol, I’m telling you now to forget about grabbing that Butter Chicken, Palak Paneer, Bhindi Masala, Aloo Gobi and anything drenched in curry. But better yet, since your sinuses would be saturated with the heady and robust scents of cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek, cilantro….I would like to appropriately suggest that you take out a pen, and viciously black out that silly ‘Healthier Choice’ heart on your brochure because no amount of wraps and hummus salads will quell your sudden and intense currylust.
Beneath that ‘Healthier Choice’ facade lies an array of Halal Mediterranean, Turkish, Lebanese and Indian cuisines, although I would say that it leans much more heavily towards North Indian. Pick among a selection of healthy wraps, salads or dive right into ordering from a choice of 5 combo meals consisting of a main of briyani or naan with sides of vegetables and meat, and a choice between Gulab Jamun or Almond Kheer for dessert.
Butter Chicken, Palak Paneer, Briyani rice Combo ($11.80)
Now I don’t eat North Indian food often, so when I do, I am completely unrestrained. In my opinion, there is no such thing as diet Indian food because, to my knowledge, every single dish is prepared with ghee at the start, and then ghee at the end as a condiment. To put things into perspective, ghee is composed of 100% butterfat (what is left when you remove the water and milk solids from butter). So hey, why else do you think the food tastes that good?
It was a no-brainer that I picked Combo 4 which had Butter Chicken, Palak Paneer with a gorgeous heap of colourful Briyani which was as vibrant tasting on the tongue as is pleasing to the eye. The Butter Chicken was fantastic, creamy and tangy with a good portion of chicken although it was a little on the sweet side. The Palak Paneer was oddly dull beside it, lovely and thick but tasting completely flat. I wiped my plate clean anyway.
What I didn’t even have a full spoon of, however, was the Almond Kheer, which I will now very indignantly and aptly rename the Almond Queer. Ever eaten something that smelled of paint thinner, looked like baby puke, had the texture of cold and clammy curdled mommy’s breast milk and tasting like an abomination of overly sweet rice pudding that was pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten for six months? No? Well try this. This thing was so vile it gave me mouth spasms. I didn’t pick the Gulab Jamun because the balls all looked like they’d been sitting out in the air-conditioning, soggy and miserable for hours. So you’re better off not having dessert here unless you suddenly feel inspired by Andrew Zimmern. Good luck with that.
Chicken Wrap ($8.50)
Birthday Boy bought a Chicken Wrap and a Coke Lite because his entire digestive system has been doing the funky since morning. The Chicken Wrap, based on my one bite, was warm (thank goodness) bland, boring, oozy and…well…boring. Good portion of meat and veg though.
I wish to rant about one thing.
The buffeteria concept as emphasized in the brochure here? Not happening. What on earth is a buffeteria anyway? See this is how it works: You join the queue, pick up a tray and inch along till it’s your turn to place your order over the counter, at which point you will continue inching along as the people in front of you only start deciding what they want to order when asked at least three times by the service staff and eventually blurt out ‘Rice’, or ‘Meat’, not considering that there’s plain rice, briyani rice, pineapple rice and that their definition of ‘Meat’ is pretty much ‘Chicken’, only that they realise it’s not chicken by the time the queue starts inching along again and so turn around to point out the service staff’s mistake and ask again for ‘Meat’. And you resume inching along.
I don’t even want to start about how bad the hold up at the cashiers were because how hot your food remains once you’re done queueing, ordering and paying is directly proportional to the number of miscommunications that occur with the 20 or so people in front of you.
On the bright side, we were given $10 food rebate vouchers each when we bought our park tickets so our meals (cold meals) effectively cost less than $2 each.
I was really sore about this. REALLY.
We inevitably passed by the Sci-Fi segment of the park where my baby resided, majestic yet sadly dormant, and I think we spent more than 10 minutes in that empty area while I mourned and wept and went through all five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) before shuffling off to get violently whirled about in a Sci-Fi teacup ride. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster.
I needed comfort food thereafter, so after watching an impressive and surprisingly polished musical in the Pantages Hollywood Theater, we stopped by the Celebrity Cafe & Bakery in the Hollywood segment. Also because, well, it rained (Duh) and we didn’t get to take a picture with Shrek and Fiona so we went inside to sulk.
Celebrity Cafe & Bakery
Lemon Meringue Tart ($4.20)
Looks pretty aye? Tasted nothing like what it looked. The meringue was overbeaten and hence lumpy and undesirably stiff, and the tart crust felt like it had been made the day before and had been sitting in the display counter since. Stay away from all desserts in the park. Evil.
Also, stay away from Loui’s NY Pizza Parlor if you treasure your authentic Italian thin-crusted ideals.
Pizza Magherita & Hawaiian Pizza ($7.80 each)
Don’t expect your pizzas to be frieshly made unless you want one ginormous pizza costing about $32 which will be made only on order. The crusts were thin but based on the slight glossy sheen and biscuit texture, a lot of oil and sugar definitely went into the dough. The toppings themselves were rather tasty though gummy from having been baked at least an hour before and kept warm. They’re the kind that you can pull right off the very well-oiled base. But of course this is all according to my preference, and my preference tells me that these are over-priced and not worth the caloric bomb.
I’d love to describe my experience with every single one of the rides but I won’t spoil the fun for you. I must commend the park staff though, because they were delightfully chirpy and were very much responsible for the park’s merry atmosphere. It’s refreshing, really, all of their pleasant disposition and smiles and even though some of them come across a little forced, hey at least they’re trying. It actually left an impression on me, that effort and sustained cheer amidst working under such weather conditions. Very well done.
Before leaving the park, we stopped by the shops in Hollywood across from the incongruous Hollywood China Bistro (Cantonese cuisine in the middle of Hollywood?!) to grab some souvenirs since we were given $5 shop vouchers each on top of dining vouchers, and an additional $25 Passioncard holder promotional shop voucher because I’ve got a Passioncard.
What. Passioncards are not only for senior citizens ok?
So wait a little longer, maybe a few months before grabbing your camera, umbrella, sunglasses, wallet (I cannot stress how much you would be overspending) some friends or family and heading for Universal Studios. Keep an eye out for promotions on the Resorts World Sentosa website and please, please call up the park to inquire about any ride closures or maintenance. Whatever the circumstances when you do eventually step into Universal Studios, I’ll guarantee you’ll have a great time like I did.
Tickets may be purchased online at www.rwsentosa.com via the Resorts World Sentosa Call Centre (+65 65 778 899) or on-site at the ticket booths from 8am onwards, and prices may be found here. Shopping and dining vouchers are only available during the soft opening period.
Hollywood Boulevard will open from 7-9pm on Fridays and Saturdays