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?

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Old Chang Kee

On the Raya day, I went out to Bugis and stopped by at Old Chang Kee in Bugis Junction to get a curry puff. It has been very long I did not eat their curry puff and they are selling few other favours too, one of it I saw was the nasi lemak puff. It does look odd to me to give myself a try. So, I decided to try their chicken puff, away from the traditional curry puff. For something non-spicy, this chicken puff definitely is a good choice. Inside the puff, it is filled with generous ingredients and the savoury taste of the sauce made it tasted good.

And that made me think of the days when I was working in Tampines and I walked across to the Century Square to get a pack of chicken porridge as my breakfast.

Finally, I did that this morning, I bought a pack of chicken porridge with a bag of yaotiou. It is a traditional Chinese breakfast to have porridge in the morning. I felt it was a blessing that Old Chang Kee still selling porridge. It is only available in the morning and always selling fast.

This time, I did not get it from the same old place at Century Square. They have moved since after Century Square renovated. Now, they are at the Tampines MRT station, conveniently located next to the MRT station, along with Cheers at the traffic light.

This is definitely one of the good choices for big and economic breakfast of a day. Do be there early to get your porridge as it is selling fast at times.

Kelly Jie Seafood

Back in February this year, my friend from Perth, Australia came to visit Singapore after her family trip to Japan. We met up at Kelly Jie Seafood is formerly known as Melben Seafood which is located at Toa Payoh. It is her friends’ recommendation to try their crab here.

Seriously, I did not really go for branded restaurants to eat crabs. Since, it was a recommendation, I just followed with my friend’s craving. It was my first visit to Kelly Jie Seafood.

Being the first time visit, I opened up for any recommendations from the restaurant and we chose to try their signature chili crab. I myself always do not think Singapore chili crab is anything nicer than a black pepper crab and sometimes, I do feel that a steamed crab is always a good way to eat.

Besides that, we ordered lobsters cooked with buttery sauce and a plate of fried mantao (little buns) which can dip the sauces.

Overall, I prefer the lobsters over the crab probably also because I did not like the crab’s starchy sauce. The dish got cold very fast under the air-conditioned room and it made the starchy sauce even worse.

The service was a little slow on the day I visited the restaurant. I have no ideas whether it was due to Chinese New Year period or the restaurant simply has so many people eating there. It was crowded and noisy. My friend and I did not manage to spend a quality time chatting there and decided to finish the food and back to her hotel.

Address: Blk 211, #01, Lor 8 Toa Payoh, 11/15, Singapore 310211.

Hand In Hand Beijing Restaurant

You can enjoy a Chinese cuisine at reasonable price and nice ambiance at
Hand In Hand Beijing Restaurant which is located at Jalan Besar. It is quite near to the Jalan Besar Downtown MRT station and easily accessible by cars and public transportation.

My colleague introduced the malaxiangguo dish which is off the menu for this restaurant. For those who do not know what is it, it is a spicy stirred fry pot with a lot of different ingredients. In some places, the ingredients are based on your selections, it can be a combination of vegetables and meats. Usually, for this dish, the cook puts some of the peppercorns which are spicy and numbing together with the chili oils and dried chili to stir fry the ingredients. It has different level of spiciness and different cooks have different level of spiciness too.

For the first time, we tried with little spiciness because we have a colleague who cannot too spicy. It turned out to be quite decent level of spiciness and it went well with other dishes we ordered that day.

To balance out, the other two dishes were fried vegetable and self-hand-made spring roll with minced meat. I am not able to find out what is the English name of this vegetable but yes, it is delicious especially when it cooks with garlic. The portion is generous and it is more than enough for a table of four persons.

Last but not least, the hand-made spring roll with minced meat. This dish is slightly to its plain taste, yet, it goes well with shredded cucumbers and lettuce. The portion of the meat was too much and we were given 6 skins to wrap. Perhaps, they should allow us to refill so that we can have more wraps. In that case, we can omit the white rice.

This restaurant serves xiao long bao as well, but we did not order for this visit. There are various types of xiao long bao and other dumplings in their menu. It is also one of the good to try dishes.

Address: 143 Jln Besar, Singapore 208859.

EAT

EAT is a local Singapore food outlet serving local traditional food such as minced pork noodles with mushroom (“Bak Chor Mee”) also famously known as BCM, fishbal noodles, laksa and many others.

You can find their food outlets in some shopping malls around the neighbourhood. I had tried this food outlet for twice before this visit at City Square Mall at Farrer Park recently to collect my race pack.

As mentioned they serve local Singaporeans’ food and one of my local favourites is the fishballs noodle. As usual, I will go for the set meal which I think it is quite worthy to order.

It comes with 3 big fish balls and some slices of fish cakes, fresh fish balls, springy and thick egg noodle and a bowl of clear soup which has all the essence from the fish and meat. The fish ball is made of yellowtail fish according to their website. Their set comes with a cup of coffee or tea of your choice.

A closer view of their thick mee pok (egg noodles) which I feel the texture is thicker than the usual one and it was still springy when I tried it. I took quite a while before start digging into the noodles and mixing with the sauce which include some chili and vinegar.

It is pretty standard sauce in Singapore if you go for dry version of noodle. If you do not want to add chili, I would recommend you try their soup version.

Address: 180 Kitchener Road, B2-K5/K5A/K6 City Square Mall, Singapore 208539.

Wanton Fu

Famous with its slogan, “special homemade hot chili sauce and wantons”. I visited Wanton Fu a few times as it is located ARC 380, near by my current office and not far from the Bendemeer MRT. Simple setting, the shop is quite packed with people during the lunch time.

This is how the chili sauce that they mentioned in their banner. Their label is extra spicy. In my personal opinion, it is hot and spicy chili sauce, a good mix for dry type of wanton noodle.

Usually, I will order the dry wanton noodle. The noodle is not the normal wanton noodle, the handmade noodle is slightly thicker and they cooked it al-dente and not soggy even we eat slowly.

The noodle quality and quantity remain same as compared with older pictures I took previously. The tiny sliced char siew (barbecue pork) laid on top of the noodle while the three small sized wantons at the bottom of the noodle. With green pickled chilies and fried garlic mixed with their homemade chili, fill up my stomach. Besides that, there is a free flow of pork lard too.

Additionally, I tried their fried wantons too. The fried wantons are the same as those served in the bowl of wanton noodle.

Overall, the wanton noodle is not something exceptional good in my personal opinion. I liked their different style of noodle, thicker and handmade. Most of the bloggers recommended to try the fried ngoh hiang.

Address: 380 Jln Besar, #01-09 ARC 380, Singapore 209000.

Chinese New Year Celebration

The second year I spent my Chinese New Year’s celebration with a bunch of great people from my workplace. It was full of laughter, good food, great people and awesome entertainment. This year, we changed from lunch catering to BBQ dinner at our office’s balcony.

The celebration started at 5.00 PM, slightly late because of the HOD meeting before that. First and foremost, we started with the lou hei (prosperity toss), a Chinese tradition which we practice since young in Malaysia and Singapore. Thanks to my HR and Admin’s team who prepared the loh hei’s ingredients

Shortly after the lou hei, we continued our feast with the dinner we bought from some zi char stall before we started to grill our wagyu beef at the balcony. The weather was still hot and the sun has not set yet, so we started with some light meal and of course playing games, such as mahjong, cards and etc. The BBQ session started shortly after the sun was about to set. We have to do it quick before there was no lights at the balcony.

Then, I did not join the birthday celebration and the gambling session back in the office. I missed some fun I believed!

The whole session ended around 10.30PM and we all headed for second round which I joined too but decided to leave earlier at 11.45PM to go home for a rest for Saturday’s gathering. Now, I am a little a bit regret for joining, knowing that alcohol is bad for myself. Moving forward, I have to be more discipline and control my food intake.