Food is obviously one of the most blogged about topics on the internet. I’m sure everyday there are new, young bloggers starting their new blogs on food review. I’m not going to be one of those (though I am young) who focus on reviewing food in overpriced, fancy restaurants. On my blog I aim to share with you about food that deliver a high level of satisfaction without costing you an arm and a leg. This does not necessarily mean it’s always about cheap food, it’s about value-for-money food experience. This includes home cooked food, which gives you the highest bang for the buck (and sense of accomplishment).
To make Tamagoyaki, you really need a special pan. You need a small pan so the eggs would be thick, and it has to be rectangular or square so you can make a roll out of it. I needed little convincing to buy one of these pans on Taobao.
If you’re lazy to do parcel forwarding, you could buy from Shopee and the like. However, the cheaper ones you find on these local marketplace platforms are the ones with coloured bottom (green/pink). I don’t like these, they look unprofessional. I rather go though a little bit of hassle and buy the stone coating, or the really made-for-Japan ones.Continue reading Taobao product recommendation – Tamagoyaki pan
These pancake machines are wildly popular in China because the Chinese eat pancakes regularly. Chinese pancakes that is, and there are so many varieties throughout China.
As with most kitchen gadgets, this one claims it is one size fits all – you could make pancakes of course, and also grill meat and cook all sorts of things. Well, it is shaped like a cooking pan, so obviously you can cook anything that you otherwise also can do with a normal cooking pan.
I bought this gadget mainly because it is cheap (70 Yuan or S$14) and because i wanted to see if i could make a better pizza out of it than using an oven – to get slightly burnt crust. To jump to the conclusion, it does work well for that purpose. Well, heat is applied directly onto the dough, so it is sure to get burnt crust.Continue reading Taobao product recommendation – Pancake machine
If you’re into history and food, these destinations may be of interest to you. I took advantage of a Jetstar promo and bought return tickets to Jieyang/Shantou for only $64. Here’s my itinerary:
Jieyang airport is about half an hour from Chaozhou, an hour away from Shantou and two hours from Meizhou. You may actually start your trip from any of the three cities. For me, Shantou seems to be the logical place to start. The Jetstar flight timing is such that by the time you’re checked into your hotel, it’s almost time for dinner.
Fuyuan is the place to be for Teochew dishes.
After dinner, we took a long stroll towards Xiao Wu rice rolls (小吴肠粉), stopping by Suning mall along the way.
The Shantou old city area is worth spending half a day to check out. Various traditional food outlets are littered throughout this area.
First stop, Laomagong (老妈宫) dumplings. It is named after the temple across the street, which is near the centre of the old city area.
To relieve the stomach from too much food, we visited the Shantou development museum, which is free admission and interesting enough. Still quite stuffed but had to proceed with lunch, at Fuhecheng (福合埕), just to check it off the list.
There are frequent buses to Chaozhou, although it is somewhat annoying that the bus spends half an hour picking up passengers in Shantou before actually starting on the journey to Chaozhou. It is also possible to take a train to Chaozhou and the trip takes only half an hour (vs more than an hour by bus), but you may have trouble finding a taxi when you arrive! In fact, this was the biggest problem we faced when in Chaozhou. The taxis don’t go by meter and you have to haggle over the price. More importantly, you may not even be able to find a taxi when you need one!
Other than this very distasteful tourist trap of being swindled every time you need to get around, Chaozhou is a pleasant place to be, despite being very touristic.
You could say this was the day when everything went wrong. My plan was to take a train to Meizhou. There was conflicting information on the train schedule and it turned out the 11am train I was hoping to take was no longer available since years ago. Lesson learnt: the train schedule that is actually available for booking online (via ctrip website for example) is accurate.
It’s unfortunate that Chaozhou and Meizhou are not well connected. There is only a single train trip per day at 530pm and two bus trips at 915 and 3pm respectively. The situation will be much improved when the high speed rail link is launched later this year (2019). If you’re interested to go to Meizhou, you might want to hold off your travel plans until the high speed rail is operational. It departs from the high speed rail station near Jieyang Chaoshan airport.
Anyway, I decided to catch a bus to Jieyang and transit to another bus for Meizhou. Little did I know, there was a detour from the usual 2 hours route from Jieyang to Meizhou due to road closure, and the journey became 4.5 hours! Anyway, this was still the best outcome possible, being able to arrive at Meizhou around 6pm. If I took the 3pm bus from Chaozhou or the 530pm train, I would have arrived at 8pm! It was raining the whole day anyway, and I may not have been able to do much anyway if I arrived at the planned timing 1pm.
My original plan for the day was to visit the neighbouring small town called Songkou as well as the Nanyanfei tea plantation (雁南飞茶园) and Qiaoxi Hakka village (桥溪古韵). Instead, I moved the itinerary I had planned for the day before to the present day, and thankfully it worked even better this way.
The plan for the day was to buy Hakka goodies and to have the final meal in Meizhou. The 1230pm bus arrived slightly ahead of the scheduled 230pm at Jieyang airport. Given we had more than 2 hours before the check-in counters open, we decided to explore the neighbouring villages. There isn’t any public transport at all, so we took a taxi to save some effort (the nearest village 孙畔村 is actually within walking distance). The fare had to be higher (20 Yuan) because the taxis usually take people into Shantou and Chaozhou instead of the nearby areas.
We knew we would arrive at the airport too early, so I did research and found out there were villages in the vicinity of the airport worth checking out.
Having been to Swatow and Teochew, i discovered that a lot of the food that many identify as “Singaporean” are actually Teochew. Here are the proof:Continue reading The Teochew connection
Yong Peng remains the best lunch stop, timing wise, when traveling down to JB from KL. 688 coffee shop is a lively place with 5 stalls, which is considered a high stall count for Yong Peng. There is the drink stall that also sells Bak Kut Teh, Assam fish and porridge. There’s also a chicken rice stall, a Wanton noodle stall, a Tze Char stall and a soup stall (fish balls, pork ribs etc.).Continue reading North-south highway lunch stop – Yong Peng 688 coffee shop
Want instant cool drinks but don’t want to dilute the drink with water? Then stainless steel ice cubes are for you. Just cool the cubes in the freezer as you would do with ice cubes, then drop them into your drink to chill it.Continue reading Taobao product recommendation – Stainless steel ice cubes
Before i proceed any further, i must put forth the disclaimer that i have not purchased the product from Taobao that i am introducing today. I still own and use the Anova circulator i have gotten many years ago.
My Anova still works flawlessly, but the clamp for holding it to the pot has broken off. Having used a Sous Vide circulator, though only on and off, i think it’s actually quite worthwhile owning one.Continue reading Taobao product recommendation – Sous Vide circulator
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.
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.Continue reading Taobao product recommendation – automatic coffee machine
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.Continue reading Taobao product recommendation – household ozone sterilizer