Late June Kaohsiung Trip

I just came back from my first visit to a Chinese country and this trip is to Kaohsiung, Taiwan. It was a four days three night trip with a group of colleagues and their family. The flight departed from Singapore in the early morning at 6.00am on Thursday. I went to the airport earlier with thought I can spare some private time at the Jewel Changi. Well, it was really private and quiet as most of the stalls were closed. Huh, it was not a 24-hour mall at all. What a miss!

Well, Pikachu is going to have its dance shows coming soon at Jewel during weekend, maybe I can plan a trip down to Jewel to catch some good pictures and watch the show.

Back to my trip, I hope I can quickly write up all the 4 days, unlike my Busan-Seoul solo trip last year which I did not manage to write all about it. I will try to keep it simple with more pictures because I did not manage to get the names in English and I do not write Chinese. Yep, bear with me if my pictures come without description.

Default picture from the Kaohsiung International Airport. The airport is not big at all and nothing much within the complex. We did not spend too long at the airport after clearing the immigration and waited some of them to get their sim cards for their mobile phones. There is a Family Mart convenience store and foreign currency exchange there at the arrival hall.

Our organizer has arranged the airport transfer, so the coach was waiting for us outside at the parking lots. Shortly, we headed to our hotel, The Lees Boutique at Wufu 1st Road, Xinxing District.

Since we arrived earlier than the check-in time, we did not manage to load our luggage into our hotel rooms. We left the hotel and headed to our first activity of the day. We planned to play for half a day at E7Play which is located at Lingya District, Sanduo 1st Road. We headed there by using Uber. In Taiwan, they are using Uber, there is no Grab.

Before the game started, my group had our first Taiwanese lunch at Dan Dan Hamburger, a fast food chain which is originated from Kaohsiung. We tried some of the set meals and it shared among 5 people. One of the meals we tried was the mee suah. It is quite delicious, peppery and starchy, even without putting the chilies sauce, it is already well tasted and quite filling for myself with a drink.

Then, we hit the games within this complex. It was kind of shocked when our driver said “huh, anything nice to play there?” 😅 Well, I ended up learning well with anyhow throw the darts, anyhow roll the balls down the lawn and anyhow play snooker.

After few hours later, finally we prepared ourselves back to the hotel to wash up and get ready for our night event, the buffet dinner at Hi-Lai Harbour. It is located at the level 43 of the Hi-Lai Grand Hotel, Chenggong 1st Road, Qianjin District. One of my colleagues took a nice picture of the sunset facing the sea from our tables.

The buffet dinner on the weekday is quite affordable and area is quite crowded too. The selections of food are good and always replenished. I loved their roasted beef and ham, Sashimi section and their soups. The seafood is one of the recommended dishes too and you can find different types of seafood available at the counters. Free flow for drinks, any kind of drinks basically and they served a great range of desserts too.

After a great dinner, it is always nice to spend some time walking around before heading back home. So, our first night, we went to Shinkuchan night market. It is a place where we started to crazily shopping around for beauty products and etc. I tried to look for clothes and shoes but in vain. It is not my style and quite limited outlet. I was a little disappointed because I thought it was something like those in Myeongdong, Seoul or the night markets in Bangkok, Thailand.

After the shopping spree, we walked back to hotel. It was a tiring night because I did not really sleep for the day before the departing time. The hotel bed was waiting for me! One thing I wanted to share, probably it was something that I did not know why, the air conditioner in the hotel was not really cold during the night even we lowered to 24 degree.

It is summer, so warm and yet the air-cond did not able to help to cool down ourselves. I am not sure if this is an unique thing about Taiwan that they do not on the air-cond in such low degree even during summer season. Are they used to it already or is it something to do with environmental concern?

Melt Cafe, Mandarin Oriental

This year company’s Christmas celebration was held at the Melt Cafe at Mandarin Oriental, Singapore. The cafe was chosen by my colleagues with the helpful hands from her husband to do the research and presentation slides to our boss. It was a Christmas month’s menu so we can expect some Christmas’ theme desserts. From their long listed menu, we can find they have included turkey, log cakes and etc in the list on top of their international buffet.

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well,
if one has not dined well.”

For a start, I chose to eat seafood first and concentrated on eating more than the red meats. The seafood is rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals. The first plate before I began to dirty my hand with the food,

I took the cold seafood selection which consists of lobsters, prawns, oysters, snow crab and mussels. There is clams as well but I did not try them. It is fresh, well cooked and smelt seafood. With some lemon sauce, I started my dinner. Then, I continued with second plate of seafood with more lobsters, prawns and crab to fill up my stomach, before I moved on with dishes from the salad bar.

The Prawn Salad was good and finished quite fast when I tried to get some again. Next to the salad bar is the ham section. They offer some pretty good ham. Around this corner, we can get our bread, fruits, aloe vera drink and juices. The pink guava juice is one of it which tasted good. I am not sure whether they are freshly made or from the packed drink.

At the other section, we can have all the cooked food including the roasted pork, chicken and of course turkey. Some vegetables and Indian food as well. Outside, we can get the BBQ-ed salmon, prawn, lamb and beef. All of them were delicious and not over burnt.

I started to feel full and decided to slow down with a little intake of carb from the Japanese section. The sashimi section looked a bit not appetizing so I gave a skip and took the inari, the only one with carb. I tried the deep fried squid which is crispy and crunchy. With this, I moved to cheese and dessert which are something I should limit my intake.

There are four different kind of cheese, I forgot all its names but confirmed one of them was blue cheese. I cut a small slice of cheese and took the crackers. If my stomach can still be filled with food, I would have made a bread with cheese and ham.

Lastly, I took some dessert and a quarter waffle with strawberry ice-cream on top of it. I tried to make it Instagramable picture but the ice-cream was not positioned nicely and the chocolate syrup was a bit too overflowed on the waffle.

We were given some complimentary birthday cakes for birthday babies by the restaurant. I think it is one of the good idea or initiative by the restaurant to give out the birthday cakes to the guests. Five of us received the nice designed birthday cake and we sang them a song and took some group pictures together to wrap up the day.

I could have took the picture from the front view of the restaurant’s entrance against the great views of all the hotel rooms. Overall, this is one of the good international buffets in town one should try. Their menu offers more than what I can eat and I am sure they do have other delicious dishes which I did not try. 

Rocku Yakiniku

Rocku Yakiniku, 201 Victoria Street, #04-06 Bugis+, Singapore 188067.

I saw the Eatigo’s promotion for the Japanese charcoal grilled buffet with 50% discount for weekday’s lunch. The promotion did not include drink. The promotion ended in 30th June. I found it quite good for my team gathering and suggested it to my boss to bring the team for a quarterly gathering. Unfortunately, the booking through the Eatigo cannot be done because of limited quota allocated per day. Although, we cannot make it for team lunch, my colleague and myself went on our own on one of the weekdays.

Upon arrival, we saw a big crowd of people in the restaurant, we wondered whether they were closed for event or something. I approached the waitress and told her about my booking. We were served shortly after that.

Unlimited meat replenishment, from beef, pork to chicken but need to pay extra for salmon and prawns. I do not recommended to go for salmon as it could be hard to grill on this kind of surface. The salmon might be quite sticky on the surface and it would be wasted. 

Our first round of meat consisted of pork, beef and bacon. We did not order the chicken 🙂 The fire is hot and easy to grill and then, we started to add more meat and placed more orders for meat and mussels. The meat did not really marinated but it is still nice tasted. However, I found the bacon was slightly salty. I think it is common. There are sauces at the bar for us to dip with the meat. Besides that, we grilled some mushrooms and vegetables which we can get them from the bar too. Selection of vegetable is quite limited.

Somehow, after the first round of mussels, the next order for more mussels came late and we got 3 plates in the end. So it became mussels feast for the 2nd last grilling session before we wrapped up our lunch with last round of grilling the beef and pork.

Other sides dishes from the bar which I took was the chawanmushi, fried noodle and edamame.

Overall, it is quite worthy to try for the charcoal grill which limited to 80 minutes per session and I think they do not really check the timing during our visit, but they will ask us to pay the bill before end of the session. Without the promotion, this buffet is quite expensive with limited selection and quite poor services because of big crowd especially when the tour groups are in the restaurant.

Ban Heng Restaurant

Ban Heng Restaurant
Address: 181 Orchard Road #11-01/02, Orchard Central, Singapore 238896.

I was with my aunt and cousin for my aunt’s birthday celebration at Ban Heng Restaurant which located at Orchard Central. It is my first time visiting this Chinese restaurant. They serve dim sum eat all you can during weekday and we went on to try it.

It starts with their default dishes which are 8 of them.
– Drunken live prawns with Chinese herbs
– Shark fin soup with crab meat
– Deep fried Halibut cod fish in Thai style
– Chilies crayfish
– Braised whole abalone with brown sauce
– Deep fried soon hock with superior soya sauce
– Steamed half shell clams with garlic and ginger
– Steamed red Garoupa with superior soya sauce in Hong Kong style

After finished with the default main dish, we ordered other steamed dim sum, fried dim sum and dishes from the menu. The portion which they served us was not small at all. The quality of the dim sum is normal and nothing great to share. The taste is mild and need a lot of improvement to bring up the quality of the food.

It is not a good selling point when you focus on giving a big portion of food to your customers and forgo the quality and taste of the food. End of the day, your staffs complained about the customers were not able to finish the food they ordered.

The prawns with wasabi mayo, prawns with oats and fried squid rings.

We ordered a plate of the braised Ee Fu noodle which turned out to be slightly flavoured and I ate it with the plain green vegetable and a fried chicken.

The fish maw soup has the same soup based with the shark fin soup. Even  soup, they serve more than enough for three of us.

Lastly, we ordered the yam paste in Teow Chew style. I was slightly shocked with the yellowish liquid in my bowl of dessert and I was thinking how come it has so much oils inside. It does not taste anything and I did not know what it is. I skipped the entire “liquid” and just scooped the yam paste.

Again, quality of food is important too as customers enjoy the taste and presentation of the food more than the quantity of the food served. Hope there is improvement from the chefs.

Mookata Charcoal Thai Steamboat

Mookata Charcoal Thai Steamboat at Vivo City, Singapore.
Address: #03-07, 1 Harbourfront Walk, VivoCity, Singapore 098585.

Friday’s night, after staying back and finishing up some works, there was a call for dinner and I did not know the location even when we took an Uber car to the place. When we reached the Vivo City drop off then I realised our dinner destination was at the west side, a place which recently quite popular by Pokemon players.

Without any ideas what we wanted to eat, we walked around to look at the information counter as well as the restaurants around the first floor. Then, we decided to try the mookata. It is my first try of mookata in Singapore. The word mookata derives from a combination of a Korean barbecue and a Chinese hot pot. In Thai language, Mu (moo) means pork meat and kata means pan or skillet. For Thai version of barbecue, they use charcoal.

For this mookata restaurant which is located at the level 3 of the Vivo City, it does not use the charcoal. It is using gas. It is just a name of the restaurant. It is sad that this restaurant is not using authentic method to serve. The selection of meats and ingredients lay on the two rows of counters and another row of counters with cooked food and desserts. We put most of our meat on top of the steamer and the rest of the ingredients into the steamboat pot. It is optional to have the steamboat, the price differences is just minimal.

There are various soup based, we chose the tomyam and chicken clear soup. We went for two rounds of meats and vegetables before we ended our dinner with desserts. On the other side of the steamboat, it is the  Overall, the dinner was just another steamboat and I do not really enjoy the fun of mookata-ing, I am not eating it authentically with charcoal.

Steamboat at Liang Seah Street

Liang Seah Street at Bugis, Singapore is very famous with many steamboat restaurants. The whole street houses more than 10 steamboat restaurants and some of them are similar styles. I have been here for few times and different steamboat restaurants. When it comes to steamboat, the most important ingredients must be the soup based because the rest of the ingredients are not marinated and it cooks inside the hot pot.

Head down to the city if you wish to have your steamboat fix for today since it is a wet Saturday 🙂

Big Apple Restaurant

Weekend Hi-Tea at Big Apple Restaurant, Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They offered the intercontinental hi-tea on the day I visited the restaurant before I took my bus back to Singapore. They offer quite a big selection of food, desserts and coffee and tea are included. The food comprises both cold meat, Sashimi and normal cooked dishes or cooked on the spot per request.

After trying few different dishes are the the best ones that you can choose next time if you visit here:-
Cold meat selection with salads.
The cold meats and salads are fresh and plenty to choose. For salads, they have few different salad dressings for you to choose from the salads bar. If you love breads, they have made few different breads and put at the baskets for people to choose. I tried it with the ham.

Spaghetti Aglio Olio cooked in a very small portion which I think it is good and we can try a little bit without wasting the food. I added every ingredients inside and added some salads from the salads bar. It tastes good and portion is just right for tasting.

For those who love desserts, the desserts bar has more than 10 different desserts to choose and you can find some local kuih too. Overall, their food is quite okay, portion of food is reasonable and they keep replenishing the food as well. However, try to avoid their steamed egg, it is totally overcooked steamed egg. It is hard and tasteless. Other than that, do press their coffee machine for some crafted coffee.

Address: Big Apple Restaurant, Level 14, Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Pagoda Steamboat

Jiu Mao Jiu, Pagoda Steamboat, Selegie.
Three girls decide to conquer the four-layer steamboat tower on one of the Saturday. This steamboat shop offers buffet style with wide selection of meats which include the chicken, pork and beef and vegetables. All the vegetables will be cleaned and cut into smaller pieces before served. The drink is not included in this buffet.

We choose to have two different soup based, the hot spicy soup with lowest level of spiciness and the clear soup. The clear soup we add the radish, corns and the prawn heads to make the soup tastes sweet and better than just a clear soup. You can add other ingredients into the clear soup to bring up the taste. Even, putting the meat into it would make the clear soup slightly tastier.

Since, the steamboat comes with grilled pan, we marinate our meat with butter and garlic before putting it to grill. You can marinate it with little sesame oil and soy sauce, will do. The marinated meat tastes better than the raw meat that we just take from the fridge.

There is no time limit of how long you want to eat or you can eat. The buffet does include a crab per table and two big prawns per person. We then, add in the crab into the clear soup to make the soup based even better. If you wish to eat the crab, best it steam it with garlic and some parsley.

Address: #01-16, Pomo, 1 Selegie Road, Singapore.

Ssikkek BBQ

I have forgotten what was the occasion that my friend asked if I would like to have dinner together. It was in June 2015, we went to  Ssikkek BBQ, a Korean Grilled BBQ restaurant which is located at Thomson Road. I took the Novena MRT to its nearest station and went up to the restaurant to meet up with my friend who was waiting in line. The restaurant was full house and we have to wait for about 20 minutes before getting our table.

It is a buffet dinner style and it has a wide range of meat selection. My friend cannot eat chicken so we took beef and pork most of the time. I think they have lamb too. While waiting for my friend to get all the ingredients, I took the pictures of the restaurant.

When the ingredients laid on the table, we started to grill all of them one by one.

Of course we had a good chat on that night too. I am glad to have my friend around all the time to talk with me and share my ups and downs in my life in a foreign land. Thank you so much.

Address: 101 Thomson Road, #B1-14/15/16 United Square Shopping Mall