Daytrip to Melaka

On Saturday afternoon, while sitting on the bus to Johor Bahru, I wondered out loud if it was possible to go on a day trip to Melaka.

Turns out we can.

Except because we left Singapore in the mid-afternoon, our day trip was going to involve spending a night in Melaka. Which, really, isn’t a big deal.

So how did we do it? Simple. First, take a train to Bugis station and get on the express bus to Johor Bahru. There are many options but we chose the yellow express bus on Queen Street. When you buy a ticket to Johor Bahru, you are actually buying a ticket to Larkin bus terminal. Which, we later found out, is not the terminal at the Malaysian Immigration.

After you have cleared immigration, most people would turn right to go to the City Sq mall. Walk straight until the end where there are escalators and on Platform B, there will be buses taking you to Larkin Bus Terminal. Its located about 15 mins away from Johor Bahru center.

After alighting from the bus, walk to where the ticket counters are (you will pass by a few clothing stores, and some hawker stores). We basically got tickets for the bus that was leaving in 5 mins and hustled on over after forking over RM 20.90 per person.

Once we were on the bus, it was smooth sailing all the way (no restroom break, no jam!) and arrived in Melaka at 5.30pm. At this point, I was panicking a bit because we didn’t pack anything other than our passports and some cash. There was no change of clothes, no PLAN on where to stay for the night. After arriving at Melaka Sentral, we hopped on a taxi to Jonker St for RM20. Luckily, there was free wifi around the area where the church was. I whipped out the expedia app and swipped on the Holiday Inn because I desperately needed access to a computer for work purposes. It was a bit more expensive than I hoped and there were certainly cheaper options. But well. A business center was something that could not be compromised on. After that, we walked along Jonker street looking for food. I started off with some gula melaka iced latte at this hipster coffee joint belting out some old jazz classics.20170617_143813[1]

The coffee is super sweet but so refreshing on such a hot humid day. After the drink, we wandered around Jonker Walk, buying random kueh from the various food stores, and tried on a few cheongsams. I almost bought a

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I almost bought a kua but realised that my figure would probably change by the time I’m ready for my traditional wedding ceremony. And then we realised that we really needed to buy something to wear the next day. I was already wearing my green elephant pants so we bought 2 t-shirts from a store for the next day. Then we headed to Mahkota where there was a Uniqlo for the other neccessities.

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We checked into the hotel and took a quick shower before heading out to Jonker walk again for the night market.

There were lots of quick accessories and more clothing stores. And a lot more food. We got more street food and a coconut jelly. I briefly considered getting a Henna but didn’t think my workplace would appreciate such impulsive behavior.

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By the time we finished the walk, I was exhausted, and it was 9.30pm. So we headed back to the hotel where I proceeded to check my email. BIG mistake. I finished up my assigned tasks before heading back to the room to sleep for a few hours.

The next morning, we feasted on the buffet breakfast at the hotel before heading out again.  We climbed up Bukit St. Paul. Only the outer shell of the church remains.

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After the brisk climb, we headed back to Jonker walk for a second breakfast. We found a chendol place that served quadruple duty as a currency, gem museum and tribute to Mao. They also had some nonya laksa. The chendol and laksa were both very good.

After getting our second wind, we proceeded to walk around the area again. We found one of the oldest mosque in Melaka, an old kwan im temple and more food stores.

But we were completely stuffed. So we settled for some curacao coffee instead.

After that, we headed back to the hotel, took another quick shower and checked out. Got a taxi back to Melaka Sentral and took another bus back to JB where we stopped for a quick dinner. Unfortunately, we were part of the unfortunate crowd that got stuck in JB immigration around 5pm. Took about 2 hours to clear immigration, another hour to finally board a bus back across the causeway. Luckily, clearing Singapore immigration was much quicker (30 mins) and we caught the first causeway link out of Woodlands. We then took a train from Kranji back home. The journey from JB to Simei took 5 hours. Maybe we should stayed another night in Melaka?

Prague

So I haven’t updated the blog in a while. I want to say that it’s because I’ve been busier than usual. But that’s a lie. I’ve kinda entered this weird lull in my life where nothing much has changed and I’m bored. I’m not as anxious as I normally am but the pressures are still there. I think I’ve just tuned it out. Or I’m burned out. Not sure which.

Anyway I just returned from a 7 day trip to Prague. Prague is a lovely city and I chose to go during the ‘off’ season in the first week of May which was supposed to have a smaller crowd but if that was the off season, I’m sure the ‘on’ season crowd would have been terrible because there were a lot of tourists when I went. Now 7 days in Prague is a lot. Most people would have planned day or overnight trips to Dresden or something like that. But I’ve been off my game and didn’t plan anythijg except buy my air tickets because i wanted to go to the andre reiu concert and it so happened that the joseph strauss orchestra was going to be in Prague during my designated vacation days. Yea. So this free and easy holiday emphasizes the easy part. Anything that required more effort wasn’t going to happen. Based on this trip i would say a full 3 days in Prague would be more than enough to see the major sights and catch at least 2 operas or see a couple of shows.

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All of the museums and most churches require an entry fee in Prague but a majority of the fees are quite low. If the church required a fee and you are into classical music, i suggest you buy a concert ticket instead. I didn’t bother with the castle. I went to the grounds and walked outside (that’s free) but didn’t bother with the inside.

20170509_075435.jpgTo see the big cathedral with the beautiful stained glass, I recommend buying circuit b. Otherwise just walk in and see a bit of the front parts of the church. If that bit already draws your attention and you MUST view the rest of it then go get the ticket.

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Interior of the st. Vitus cathedral with the beautiful stained glass windows.

I prefer the solitude so I walked up to the castle grounds early morning. I recommend catching the train elevator things across from Most Legii (the bridge that isn’t Charles Bridge) up before strolling to the castle. Less painful on the legs. The Starhov monastry is at the top of the elevator and its a more pleasant walk then climbing up to the Castle.

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In the wee hours of the morning the Charles Bridge is a lovely place to take photographs but in May the sun was already rising at 5.30am. The people that were there had gigantic lenses poking out from their DSLRs and large tripods. A few only had cellphone cameras but were mostly drunk teens/20ish kids on the tail end of their night out.

Another major Prague attraction is the astronomical clock which is super popular with tourists. The show goes from 8am to 11pm. I never bothered to stick around for one but did snap a few pictures at random times.

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Now I know it sounds like I didn’t have a good time in Prague. I did. I REALLY did. I took a tour with Tour4Charity where the 400czk fee goes towards a charity that helps children in foster care adapt to life after they are out. I also did a food tour with Taste of Prague (point of note, the staff at Taste of Prague were incredibly helpful. Helped me obtain a last minute reservation with DeGustation, gave lots of helpful pointers on things to do, where to eat, etc EVEN after the tour was over. Totally worth it. LOVE their service). So I learnt about the history of the Czech Republic as well as their food history so I wasn’t a complete failure as a tourist. But if I’m honest about it, i walked around a lot, saw the interior of a few churches and one synagogue, ate quite a bit and dinned at some rather nice establishments.

I had a grand time watching the opera and it was so affordable I had to pinch myself.

But yep. That pretty much sums it up! At some point i will probably blog about some specific sights. But for now this is just a quick hello! And what have you been up to lately?

Noodles

Noodles, as everyone knows, is a universally beloved way of ingesting carbohydrates and Singaporeans are no exception. We can have noodles for breakfast, lunch AND dinner. Almost all of my favorite asian dishes involves some sort of noodles. The kind I normally eat in the morning is either bak chor mee, which is essentially noodles with minced pork, or fishball noodles. Yes, that’s right. Fishball noodles. The Swedes have meatballs, we have fishballs. Soft bouncy ones.

In the past 2 weeks or so, I’ve been rather stressed and my appetite is bigger than normal, which also means I’ve been craving more carbohydrates than usual. One of my favorite noodle stores at Bedok Interchange is Teo’s noodles. Its really quite good, and the chili isn’t bad. I don’t think that their fishballs are the best in the world or anything, but they are pretty decent.

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Teo’s Noodles

And then we saw that a lot of people are also queuing up to buy noodles from this other place called “Handmade Fishball Meat ball noodles”. It had pictures of them posing with some local celebrity on a local food show and so we tried it. I will admit, I was a bit skeptical at first but their fishballs were nice and bouncy, as were their meatballs, not hard like the Ikea ones. And the noodles too were rather delish.

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And of course when I have to go downtown for work, I will definitely go to Ah Hock fishball noodles at Albert complex. Part of the reason is because to avoid having to pay for the MRT, I’ll take the super early train in order to exit Bugis MRT station by 7.30am, and the major reason is because their handmade fishballs are very very good. I always order the lao shu fen there because its just so good dried and the chili is my absolute favorite.

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Ah Hock Fishball noodles at Albert Complex

So what’s your favorite noodle store?

Miam Miam

A few weeks ago, Akiko finally introduced her beau to me. As I had to work on a Saturday, it was up to me to pick a place to eat. Initially I thought we should go to Percolate but my colleagues said that Percolate tends to get really crowded on the weekends. So I dutifully got my Chope app out and found out that Miam Miam is now open in Tampines One! Having read so many reviews of the food from Miam Miam, it was now my turn to try and so a reservation for 3 people was made.

Now miam miam is one of those places that serves Japanese-French fusion inspired cuisine. Their menu had japanese curry, but they have it as a soufle. They also had matcha soufle which I was quite tickled by. As it was our first visit, I followed the instructions on the menu very carefully and their very first step was to order dessert first! yum! My favorite course. A chocolate soufle and matcha soufle was ordered. I also ordered the squid ink rice and Akiko’s beau ordered the japanese curry soufle. Akiko went healthy and had a salad. We also ordered a mushroom soup which came with a runny egg which we are supposed to mix with the mushroom soup. It came out tasting much better than we expected. And as it happened to be during the lunar new year holidays, we also ordered the new year salad which came with edemame.

Overall, the food was rather good. But the waiters did not seem to understand the concept of clearing food before serving the next course.

Details:

Tampines One. Basement.

Monday 11:30AM–10PM
Tuesday 11:30AM–10PM
Wednesday 11:30AM–10PM
Thursday 11:30AM–10PM
Friday 11:30AM–10PM
Saturday 11:30AM–10PM
Sunday 11:30AM–10PM

habits are hard to change

So. 68.4kg. So not too bad right. Didn’t manage to hit 10K per day. But if you average it out, it came out to about 10K steps/day. So statistics.

Unfortunately, I’m now suffering from really bad muscle spasms. When this happens, I usually think, maybe I should take up yoga. But when the spasms go away, thoughts of yoga float out of my head too. Maybe I should take up something else? Any suggestions Internet?

Prego

Having heard all the rave reviews about Prego, I made a date with the girls to go there for dinner on the last day of Jan. Sort of a mini-celebration for having survived the first month of 2017. Unexpectedly, I made an earlier reservation as a last chance to see TheCube and his wife before babyboyCube arrives.

Our first visit, in my opinion, was a bit of a disappointment. I had ordered the squid pasta and it arrived rather dry-ish and wasn’t very good. TheCube had ordered the carbonera which appeared to taste much better. The only saving grace of the evening was the desserts.

On my second visit with the girls however, it was a much better improvement. I’m not sure if it was due to the bottle of wine we ordered. But the food tasted much better this time round.

After ordering, water duly arrived, along with the bread, in a cute little breadbox. I liked the neat compact presentation of the bread even though there clearly wasn’t enough bread for 6 hungry girls.

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Good thing we ordered plenty of appetizers. First up was the insulata di cypress ($24) which I had learnt how to put together in my Italian cooking glass in Bologna. The cheese was marvellous and the tomatoes were sweet. Then we had thyme infused scallops ($28) which we had ordered because it sounded so fancy. And we also ordered some calamari as the ‘safe’ dish because you really can’t go wrong with calamari..($26).

Next up were the mains. The first was the spaghetti pescado range. The sauce wasn’t too heavy this time. ($36)20170131_183844-01And the next was the agnolotti di vitello all suggest d’ arresto. I was surprised I liked it since I’m usually not a ravioli fan. ($36).

20170131_183846-01The capelli  aragaosta known at the table as the angel hair pasta was a fan favorite. ($38)

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20170131_183859-01The strozzapreti or braised oxtail ragu was a tad heavy but still wildly delicious ($34). And then we had pizzas. I mean, can you honestly go Italian without some pizza?
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20170131_185711-01This was my favorite and i think it’s the funghi misting ($34).

After that, dessert time!

I didn’t really think that the chocolate tart was very good (even after having tried it twice on two different occasions). The tiramisu was very good, as was the caramelised peach dessert. Overall, the pizza and pastas were quite good. The setting and service was only average. In my opinion, the hype is over-rated though.

Here are the details:

Located in: Raffles City
Address: 2 Stamford Rd, Raffles City, Singapore 178882
Hours:

Monday 6–11AM, 11:30AM–2:30PM, 5–10:30PM
Tuesday 6–11AM, 11:30AM–2:30PM, 5–10:30PM
Wednesday 6–11AM, 11:30AM–2:30PM, 5–10:30PM
Thursday 6–11AM, 11:30AM–2:30PM, 5–10:30PM
Friday 6–11AM, 11:30AM–2:30PM, 5–10:30PM
Saturday 6–11AM, 11:30AM–2:30PM, 5–10:30PM
Sunday 6–11AM, 12–3PM, 5–10:30PM