Breakfast chronicles – French omelette

You can’t go wrong with serving eggs for breakfast. The French omelette style is especially tantalizing. I was actually inspired to do this after stumbling upon this YouTube video by a saucy Chinese lady living in the US.

Well, for my first attempt I would say it turned out quite okay, since I didn’t try hard. I actually bought the rather expensive Boursin cream cheese (S$7) just to try this recipe. Overall, the omelette was a little too creamy for my liking, but I would do this again.

It helps a lot if you have an extra wide spatula to do the flipping
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Taobao product recommendation – automatic coffee machine

This is one of the most expensive items I have purchased on Taobao. As with most things on Taobao, it is cheaper than the equivalent coffee machine sold in the stores. The closest competitor is the De’Longhi Magnifica S which sells for around S$900. At 2980 Yuan (S$605), the Thermos is a no-brainer choice. The pricing fluctuates, but the 2980 is about the lowest i have seen so far. You might want to purchase from the official Thermos Taobao store if the price is the same.

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Taobao product recommendation – household ozone sterilizer

This is another product recommended by Dr Tom Wu. I felt it delivers a big impact for a fairly low cost. Food is becoming less safe in this age when there is tremendous pressure to drive the cost of food down. This inevitably implies widespread use of chemicals in agriculture.

An ozone sterilizer is an effective and convenient way to mitigate the problem. It is convenient because it runs on electricity and does not involve any consumables. It is also actually quite effective in killing bacteria and removing pesticide.

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Taobao product recommendation – high speed blender

I never thought i needed a blender until i was introduced to Dr Tom Wu’s nutritional approach. He advocates consuming the Phytochemical found in plants, and he suggests that the best way to get them is to break down the plant cell walls using a high speed blender. This is a very subjective matter, and nobody has a conclusive say on whether Dr Wu’s claims are true. Nevertheless, i was sold on trying out the blender. For one thing, i know i will be consuming more fruits and vegetables when i make it a point to put something into the blender every now and then.

Another valid point is that when food is already chopped into tiny bits, the nutrition is more easily absorbed. Also, unlike a juicer, you will consume the whole fruit or vegetable, which allows you to get more out of it. It is definitely more filling too, so you can make do with buying less food. Good for mother earth.

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Breakfast chronicles – Prata Quiche

A Quiche is very easy to make (you just need to mix all the ingredients together), especially when you have ready made puff pastry, which unfortunately is not affordably available here. Frozen Prata is a viable substitute. It produces flaky pastry, though it doesn’t taste buttery at all.

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Taobao parcel forwarder review – SGShop

I never expected to have to try yet another Taobao parcel forwarder after i have already gone through Taobao official shipping, ezbuy and 86of. I had to ship a piece of phone battery, which is obviously a sensitive item. Taobao official sea shipping does not allow it. Ezbuy still does not work (and probably won’t for the foreseeable future, unless you use VPN as suggested by Aber). As for 86of, i can’t get a definite answer from them whether they can ship a phone battery.

I have actually registered with SGShop for some time, but didn’t find their rates attractive. Anyway, since the other options are not available, i decided to check them out, and I discovered a major advantage they have over the others: instant response local chat service (ezbuy has chat service too). I was able to get confirmation (they verified with the Chinese counterpart) that they can ship the phone battery via sea shipping.

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2019 Cashback Credit Card Strategy

It’s been a long time since i did a check on the ins-and-outs of the world of cashback credit cards. Things have changed tremendously. For the longest time (more than a year), i’ve been relying on the OCBC 365 Credit Card, but they put a stop to the benefit i needed the most from the card and i probably have to kiss it goodbye.

Nevermind if the minimum spending was raised from $600 to $800, the 3% cashback for online transactions (unless it is travel related) was removed. There’s no way i can hit the minimum spending of $800 if i can’t accumulate online purchases towards the $800. So, what’s next?

There are two cards that look like suitable candidates for replacement: OCBC FRANK and Standard Chartered Unlimited.

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Another ezbuy fail – eBay forwarding

Update: Not sure what happened, but i don’t get that error message anymore. So my post below does not apply anymore, and yes, i’m back to using ezbuy for USA forwarding.

I have used ezbuy to forward eBay purchases from the US countless times, but when i tried to checkout my cart today, i encountered this error message: “This item cannot be purchased because this item cannot be sent to your shipping address.”.

Scratch my head.. the address has never been changed and it is correct. I tried to register a new eBay account, and then i discovered the reason – a mobile number must be paired with the shipping address. A landline won’t do. I guess this almost means goodbye to ezbuy, because i can practically ship nothing through them anymore (i haven’t tried their latest China forwarding address though).

Instead, i might turn to SGshop or vPost or comgateway. I have done a Taobao sea freight forwarding through SGshop and will post my review very soon. Now, i might try to forward my eBay purchases through them also. Their USA shipping rates are almost the same as ezbuy – S$3.99 per 500g, plus a clearance fee of $0.98 for each parcel (which also applies to China parcels, lame). ezbuy is still the cheapest, with no per parcel fee, and there is an option of charging by actual weight, at S$3.99 per 500g. Unbeatable. Hopefully they can supply a mobile phone number in the future.

By the way, i am not endorsing SGshop, not yet at least. They seem to be just a “reseller” for uclick2buy, because the warehouse address is exactly identical, and “UCB” is part of your forwarding address, and it obviously refers to uclick2buy. Interestingly, uclick2buy charges S$13.50 for the first 500g and every additional 500g costs $4.25, which is a lot more expensive.

The Google results also show that sellers have been scammed when sending to freight forwarded buyers – the recipient receives the products but they claim they got an empty box and refuse to release payment. Sellers are probably quite wary when they see freight forwarding addresses, so you probably need to have a credible purchase history for them to trust you.

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Breakfast Chronicles – Bak Kwa seaweed glutinous rice wrap

I’m sure many of you are like me, you don’t know what to do with the Bak Kwa leftover from Chinese New Year. I decided to incorporate it into the tried and true Japanese combination of seaweed, rice and mayonnaise. Basically Sushi.

I happen to have Kombu on hand, and it is easier to handle than dried seaweed. I also put some mustard for added spice and toasted sesame seed for aroma. The outcome? The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.

Now, what shall i do with the rest of the Bak Kwa..

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North-South Highway lunch stop – Tangkak revisit

I started off from KL fairly early in the morning and i wanted to have a quick lunch stop. Well, more like a snack stop. As with Yong Peng, Tangkak is just a short distance from the Toll booths, so it is good for a quick stop.

Everyone probably goes to the beef noodle shop. Not for me when i want to grab a quick bite and run. From Google maps, the eatery that caught my attention was Lok Pin Hotel & Coffee shop, conveniently located on the main street. From the name, you would know that it harkens from the days (many decades ago) when it was popular to run a hotel and coffee shop as part of the same business. It certainly reminds me of Chong Kok Kopitiam in Klang, which uses 中国酒店 as its Chinese name, meaning China Hotel. Except, Lok Pin Hotel is actually still in operation.

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