The Tourist Sim Saga & Genki Sushi at Orchard Central SG

The Tourist Sim Saga:

On arrival at Changi airport, I purchased five sims under my name and passport from the currency exchange store outside arrivals. These were Singtel tourist prepaid sims providing 100GB of data, 90 minutes international calls, and unlimited Whatsapp, valid for 10 days: $50 for two sims sharing the data allowance, a $30 sim for the full allowance, and two of the $15 sims which have a validity of seven days. 

I’ve now found that these sims are widely available; the advertisements are in windowfronts at mobile retailers everywhere. Unwarranted haste with obtaining these while at the airport.

The three sims are for the three of us for the first ten days and two more for the parents who are staying the week after. 

What I wasn’t informed when I bought the sims was that Singapore allows a maximum of three sims to be registered per person. I had five.

This came to light after a spammy looking service text threatened to end the service of the $30 sim, as apparently that sim had not been properly registered. I visited the Yishun Singtel shop to inquire. The text was legitimate but no they couldn’t help. Only two stores could reactivate the sim. One at Orchard Road and Bugis? And I’d need to present physically at these stores to have these reactivated. 

I was ready to write this sim off. 

In a big city like Singapore, that only two places could service us and provide a resolution to an issue they caused during activation seemed more than a little ridiculous. Cynical me says what a rort; easy way to make it too hard for tourists to bother. 

A $30 sim shouldn’t drive our exploration of Singapore, no point going out of our way to resolve the issue; if we happened across the store then I’d get this fixed.

An intermission on the sim saga. We decided to Orchard as there was a sushi place around there the parents wanted to try.

Arriving at Orchard Station I popped into the Singtel retailer. The sales rep was more helpful than the last but again they required a physical presentation at their main store. 

The food: Genki Sushi 🍣

That brought us to Genki Sushi at Orchard Central for lunch. The place was difficult to find. Traveling up and down escalators, through a bazillion shops, passing a plethora of eateries, I had to wonder why this place instead of others? A recommendation based on a miniscule number of eateries sampled surely isn’t the best way? How do most people pick a place to eat? Do the tourists go for anything? Do the locals know exactly what they’re after? Is it just a gut feeling? 

Genki Sushi works like this. 

There’s an iPad which directs you to menu options to ‘commit to purchase’ aka order. There’s also a big warning sign about the CCTV footage used in the venue. I guess since sushi thievery is a fishy business. Those who get away with it must have a whale of a time and they’ve got to catch them hook, line, and sinker. Hopefully, no red herrings in the haul.

The plates of food are then whizzed out to you on a toy train. Inventive, cool, and gimmicky come to mind. The cutesy eating plates provided, in addition to the serving plates, are petite and at about eight centimetres across, a tad impractical.

We tried an assortment of dishes:

The Ocha are orders of green tea. Genki provides matcha powder and it’s self serve hot water for a DIY green tea. Matcha green tea tastes like seaweed water. The flavour I could maybe learn to like.

This Surf Clam Salad was alright. Heavy-handed on the sauce.

This Pollock Roe Roll was yum. Soft, juicy, delicious with the mayo sauce provided  It also had a bit of fried salmon on the inside. Dish of the day for me.

I liked this Chub Mackerel. It was different.

These Shrimp Fritters tasted just as they looked. Deep-fried and crispy. Could have eaten a bucketload of these.

The Creme Croquettes had a corn, cream filling. It was a sweet dish.

This Oyako Don I had to order because it looked interesting and I didn’t know what I was ordering. I like surprises. Those large bits tasted like chicken. Then there was egg. All was sat on a heap of rice. 

The Smoked Duck Udon I don’t have a picture of. The parents liked it.

Not sure what I was expecting, but the beef bowl was a no-surprises beef bowl. Thinly cut beef on rice. Almost too aptly named.

The sushi train tracks for our trains of food:

Taste verdict Overall, the experience at Genki was fair. The food is average to good at best. The train is sure to thrill young ‘uns. Not worth a second visit with the plethora of eating spots in SG.

⭐️⭐️1/2

Back to the Sim Saga:

We headed in the direction of Somerset Station Opposite this was the Singtel flagship store. 

I explained the issue. Initially, they advised that they required the packaging the sim came in to assist as this had various codes. This was ridiculous. Surely the sim, and the information on the sim, is the primary identifier. Spoke to the storeperson’s manager. After much cajoling, she looked me up on the system by sim number. Hallelujah. Lo and behold in the Singtel system was a colour scan of my passport, my picture, along with all my personal details, and four phone numbers registered against my name. The manager was able to remove one additional sim from my name – $15 gone​. The $30 sim was saved. I realised later the second additional sim wasn’t against my name; it remains to be seen if this $15 will work.

I then inquired about activating more sims when I visit Singapore again. 

Given tourist sims have a validity of 10 days, would they be deactivated after that time? You’d think so. No, the sims may expire but they stay as registered against a name on the system for 2 years.

How would I activate sims then? I’d need to present physically at this store and request for cancellation of the current sims. 

A nation with millions of tourists, and this is the process. Unnecessary and inconvenient, and a great money maker for Singtel.

Sunshine Bread – Australian Oats, SG

Snack food:

Couldn’t not pick out this bread as we went past the supermarket. You know, ‘cos I’m a sucker for name dropping, and I harbour mild jingoistic attitudes when it comes to food. The packaging states the oats are from Australia and the bread’s made in SG. The oats definitely tasted like good ol’ Aussie oats. Mmmm. #placeboeffect

Chicken Rice from Chong Pang SG

Tast verdict For $2.50, this cross between Hainanese chicken rice and roast chicken was fair food for the price. Average tastiness. Good fuel for the tank.

⭐⭐1/2

Starbucks Flat White at North Point Yishun SG

Starbucks caught my eye from across the mall. I had to say hi. 

Coffee was $7.60. They asked me if I wanted a bag. “Er, sure.” And so the takeaway cup was served in a bag with a coffee cup tray designed for the bag. Righteous.

The coffee was sufficiently creamy. The flavour of the beans was weak. It was a reasonable coffee. Maybe not seven plus dollarydoos worth of goodness, though.

The vibe of the place was awesome. 

A random observation: Starbucks don’t top their coffee with a shake of chocolate. The shakers are at their self service stations. 

Taste verdict Awesome vibe. Coffee’s good.

$2 McChicken at McDonalds, Chong Pang, Yishun SG

Taste verdict The McChicken was great value. Bigger size than the cheeseburgers off the loose change menu in Oz. Tasty and hot.

⭐⭐⭐