Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bollywood Farm - A Trip Back to Nature !

We had a company outing sometime ago. There was a choice of either playing bowling or visit to a place of interest. I guess everyone had enough of air-conditioned comfort, thus we ditched our jacket, don in casual outfit for some outdoor advanture at Bollywood Veggies Farm. The farm has a famous owner - Ivy Singh-Lim who is well-known to be outspoken.

My first impression of her was that she looked like the female version of the Crocodile Dandee. She wore a cowboy hat, in boots with a sharp knife at her waist and all she lacked was a string of crocodile teeth to complete the look. Ivy explained that she belonged to a special race of Indian (forget what race) who was well-known for their bravery and had traditionally carry a knife with them.

Our tour started with her giving us an "opening address". She told us that her father was sort of like the Rajah for Singapore before we gained independent. I had first thought that she was boasting, but in a bearable way when she claimed that she was born with a golden spoon in her mouth and is very well-off. The moral her story was that even though she was borned into a wealth family, her father did not spoilt them which is why she is so successful now. Later, I realised that she is really rich and it was really not boasting. Read on and find out why...

Interesting handmade painted wooden signboard greeted us at the gate.
The tour guide explained that they are trying to see if grapes would grow in Singapore. To their amaze, it did but has yet to bear any fruits yet. She added that even when the fruits did appear, they would probably taste too tart for comsumption.

Bollywood Veggies Farm main crop are bananas. For the first time in my life, I learnt that there are over 1000 types of bananas in the world ! We happened to see a banana tree with banana at the entrance. One of it was ripe.

Apart from bananas, the farm also grow exotic plants which we seldom see in the city. The flowers of the plant looked special and it has a very apt name in my opinon. Can you guess what was the name?

They are Cats Whiskers ! I mean they really looked like it. So cute hor?

They also got longan tree, but too bad it was not the longan season, thus no fruits.

Can you spot the fruit ? There is a gourd hidden between the wire mesh and leaves.

Oh my god. Dogs... Big dogs. Their sheer size would make boxer looked like a puppy in comparison. They are big dane. I would have fainted if there was no fence sheltering us. Worse, they are baking at us non-stop. Well, they have to as they are guard dogs.

I don't think I ever see house like theirs in Singapore. Their house got a pond in the middle of the backyard. The whole decor looked like some Bali resort hotel. That was when I thought Ivy was not boasting when she said that she is rich, she is in fact very very very wealthy. Besides, normal people would not be able to buy land in Singapore, but they owned the land they build the house on and according to her, it was "cheap" as it was first stated to be farming land. All of us were dumb - strucked staring at her posh mansion.

Then seeing that we are not moving off despite all the barking, the dane demonstrated in body language which I believe to be "FXXX off".

Taking the heed from the dane, we move off to see more exotic plants. Then, we saw this sign under an ordinary tree. Butter Fruit it says... Staring hard at the tree, I did not see any SCS butter hanging on it. Hmmm... perhaps they melted.

Then on a near-by tree, I spotted something familar, but it was well camouflage that if you blinked, you missed it. See if you can find what it was.

Can't find? There is a star fruit! Find harder.

This should be familar. A Coffee plant. I wondered if it was Starbucks' or Coffee Bean's.

This tree with weird scientific name was actually the common bread fruit tree. Nope, Sunshine and Gardenia have not delievered to them yet, thus no sign of fruits.

There are no milk fruit on the plant too. Perhaps they were taken by AVA to run test to find out if they contained melamine.

A banana plant with flower still attached. Yup, they can grow to very huge size. Actually there are a lot of interesting facts about Bananas that we have not heard of.

The plant below with flower that looked like a lotus is actually a banana plant too. The name is lotus banana. A very beautiful plant, but deadly as well. It is poisonous, thus the fruits beared cannot be eaten. There is an easy way to tell whether a banana plant belonged to the poisonous and inedible variety. The guide explained that if the banana flower grow upwards towards the sun, they belonged poisonous variety.

Somewhat, nature had a way of teaching us about ourselves too. Like human, you can't tell one's heart by looks. One may looked beautiful, but has an ugly heart. Also, when one knows no humblenss, only wanting to please the people at the top and looked down on people they considered as lowly, they are no doubt poisonous at heart too. The cost of being unscrupulously ambitious? Well, one bear poison fruits at the end. Those who ate it will be poisoned.

Anyway, back to bananas. This is how the lotus banana fruits looked like when riped. Screamed in red to warn people that they are poisonous.

The common edible banana tree. Noticed that the flower grow in the direction of the ground. People should aspire to be the common banana tree. They should always have humbleness conscienciously, remembering their roots no matter how much they achieved in life. Only then, one can grow edible fruits to share with others.

Oh, this is how the kiam sng ti 无花果(fig in chinese) looked like? They are local variety, different from their European cousins which is bigger and sweeter.

Another variety of banana. The fruits looked smaller and we were told some birds actually like to feed on them.

Endless rows of young sweet potato plant. I also want to own a farm next time to grow my own vegetables.

The farm not only has vegetables, but there are fungus growing along side with shoots. I thought they looked cute and added decoration to the soil.

I like this photo. The green plant just seems to create an interesting contrast against the blue sky and white fluffy clouds. There is a sense of peacefulness.

We were told that Malays love the fruits from the plant and they can be found along East side of Singapore. The yellow fruits resemblence jambu and was extremely sour. We tried tasting fresh from the tree and it was horrible. I would have prefered bananas (non-poisonous and ripe ones of course).

Yup, Belinbing was the name of the tart fruit. I wonder how Malay eat them. With Chili and dark soy as with Jambu?

Ok, I am sure some of you have seen this before. It is Mr Papaya tree - a male one. They do not bear fruits, but existed to pollinate female trees. Like most of the animals well. Hahha.

Just then, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me or that the plant was named Snake Den. We did not ask but guess it was really home of the snakes....

They also grow herbs in pots. I want to grow them too. These are Oregano.

See the white fluffy bit? It is real cotton, a cotton plant.
Just heard from news that England scientists developed Purple tomatoes which contained a lot of anti-oxidant that fights cancer. I wonder if this purple bell pepper does that too.

Finally the tour was over. I almost fainted under the sun as I wore black. Luckily, a scumptious tea awaits us at the farm's bistro -Poison Ivy. See below.
Yummy. Just to say, the ice-cold herby tea really hit the spot. It takes the heats off us immediately and was really refreshing.
My first Kueh Pie Ti. I always eat Popiah, but never tried this before. It was really good. I had a lot as no one was interested with it. Strange...

Then there was this - Fusion-style Papaya Salad, but what was unique was that it has flowers petals. I never eaten flowers petals before too. It appeared that it does not have a unique taste.

Wah, their organic banana cakes and kueh are to die for. They are really really good. I think I gorged myself that day.

They also have Roti-Prata! For special curry. See below, guess what is the main ingredient?

It was a very mild curry which tasted like chickpeas curry. However, this particular one was actually Banana Curry. It has a savoury taste and the texture is somewhat like mesh potatoes or mesh peas.

Of course, for meat lover there is all-time Singaporean favourite - Curry Chicken. Some of my colleagues thought it was not bad, but it could be further improved. I find the curry taste too mild and should be stronger.

Menu attached below for those who wish to visit the place.

Conclusion: I really enjoyed the tour, had a lot of fun and had learnt a lot . Before we left, they even gave us a goodie bag consisted of pandan plant, some dill, a small pack of tapioca chips and a local grown huge lemon-lime. Cool.

Thank you, Bollywood Veggies Farm!

For those who are interested to visit them, please visit their website for more details:

1 comment:

Admin said...

Cool description of the place. And yes, I admired her house ! DAMN COOL !!! A nice house, a nice backyard (what a nice place to eat ur breakfast) and a pond ! my god !!