01 December 2021

Emerald Quest Part 2: Hanis@NLB

The pursuit of emeralds continues...

100 Victoria Street, #01-01
National Library Building
Singapore 188064
1.00pm - 5.00pm
:electric_plug: :x:

:arrow_left: Continuing from where we left off…


We decided to head to Hanis, a cafe on the first floor of NLB for lunch. They had affordable set meals, about $10 ish for a set meal including a soup of the day and a drink.

We got the following:

Me: Fish and chips set with iced lemon tea

Mik: Grilled dory set with orange juice


both of which cost $9.80, and mik gave me half of his grilled fish while I gave him one of my fried fish fillets so that we could get a little taste of everything.

Soup of the day

The soup of the day was a fantastic pale yellow soup. I really like that the colour of the soup is so consistent. Without tasting or smelling it, the solid colour of the soup gives it the room to be anything.

The food was OK, grilled fish a bit tasteless and the batter of the fried fish– while good, could have had a bit more flavour. All the items taste of pre-frozen food that’s just been dumped into the deep fryer/on the grill. Not that that’s a bad thing, just pointing it out :P

Frozen food is jolly good… perhaps the season of giving is making me weak… :santa:

It was corn soup, which we are 90% sure was from a can of campbell’s. It even had a little bit of the weird chunks that are left if you don’t cook the canned soup for long enough. Also forgot to mention that the soup came with this really cripsy garlic bread that felt more like a biscuit than a piece of bread. Regardless of the texture, the garlic bread tasted pretty good.

Our description above may not be selling Hanis very well, however, we genuinely feel that it offers extremely good value for money considering the amount of food you are getting, and the very central location (in the heart of the city).

The Experience

Something we did not expect coming to Hanis, was finding out that it is actually a pretty decent spot for exploitation. While it is in the open air (no air con) and is sorely lacking in plugs, the vibe there was pretty decent. The ceilings are so high they are practically nonexistent.

Hanis at NLB

Though I was hearing from friends and family that today was extremely hot, for some reason, the place we were seated at (all the way at the end of the seating area, against a rock wall) was surprisingly comfortable and breezy.

Mik spreading

Above is an image of Mik selfishly manspreading under the table, breaching into my leg space. From the way he is seated, you can tell the chairs must be pretty comfortable.

I forgot I was not in the palace… :crown:

The Wifi

So about the wifi situation… The only available public wifi here is the Wireless@SGx wifi.

The thing about using this wifi is, is that you have to download this Wireless@SG app into your phone or laptop or whatever to use the wifi. It is very unfortunate for me to say that IMDA provides Wireless@SG clients for Windows and macOS, but NONE for Linux-based operating systems. This is discrimination of another kind that goes against what the Singapore pledge stands for… Regardless of race, language, religion or operating system…

So people who are on linux, no free wifi for you (Unless you’re willing to go through some lengthy tutorial that reverse engineers the whole connection process).

Might as well use your hotspot, which is pretty much what I did, and what Mik did too, since he was not able to download the client onto his work laptop :P This issue would have brought down the rating of this place pretty hard if we had intended to stay here for an extended period of time. Alas, this was not the case.

The Toilets

The toilet is not too far away from the cafe. Though it seems like there are no toilets in the vicinity, there is actually a staircase next to the establishment that leads down to the toilet.

The toilets here are nothing special, just your standard Singaporean public toilet with no butt washing spray.

However, mik experienced something truly fascinating during his visit to the toilet…

Image of guy that took of his shoes to take a piss, socks on toilet floor and everything

Mik thought he caught young lovers in the act… but in reality, this dude deadass took off his shoes just to pee in his socks!!!

Total Damage

$9.80 for each of us


Yes, this place has

  • no plugs
  • questionable connectivity to wifi
  • no air con at all…

BUT the affordability of the food here plus the atmosphere gives Hanis@NLB a solid 3.5/5.

The Emeralds…

From here on, it is all extra content, so if you are here just for the cafe reviews, you may pack your bags and leave. For those who are interested in the extras… Join as as we venture forth in the quest for the emeralds…

What are the emeralds…?

At the dawn of our friendship… Mik and I, along with a certain gigantic individual aka GOOB, bonded over our exquisitely see-thru spectacle frames.

Krystal Squad

Okay, truth be told, it was only Mik who had the krystal frames when the 3 of us first became friends. It was only through Goob’s and my undying admiration for this wonderful individual that we coincidentally decided to get cheap imitations of his krystals from Owndays. Mik, absolutely humbled by our gesture, cried a single tear (which was unobscured from our vision due to his see-thru glasses).

Thus, Krystal Squad was born…

At the end of our first semester in uni, I went on a trip to India with my friends from Tembusu, which included the Krystal Squad. On the flight to India, while walking to our seats on the plane, we spotted an old Indian man with the most exquisite translucent green spectacle frames.

Goob, Mik and I were especially enamoured by his glasses and have been on the hunt for the emeralds ever since…

And we found them! Courtesy of Mik who is a seasoned AliExpress patron. We got the frames for <20$, and decided to get our lenses done at New China Optics for $45 (Mik paid $55 because his has horrendous astigmatism). The lenses were ready in like 30 minutes which was wild…

Here is a picture of us featuring our brand new emeralds


Dear readers, please DO NOT TELL GOOB about the emeralds… for we have a surprise planned for him…

A Hiatus

Thank you so much everyone for all your support of our blog. We are sad to announce that we will be taking a hiatus till the next semester of school starts, for Mik is going to New York to visit his sweatheart Su to spend the Christmas and New Year!!

I am not going anywhere unfortunately. I planned to go to Milan, but because my parents were unwilling to let me go at this time, I have to be filial and listen to their wishes. (Shoutout to my boys Theo and Edo and sorry, see you guys in Jan).

Fret not, for this is not the end of Cafe Exploitation. We shall be coming to you with new quality content when the time comes…

See you guys soon and happy holidays!


Not Jewel