Qoo10 product recommendation – Imex CR-100 coffee bean roaster

Doing home coffee bean roasting isn’t so popular in Singapore, so it’s not easy to buy a home coffee bean roaster machine. Thanks to Qoo10, we have access to Korean made machines, and Imex is an established brand. Specifically, the CR-100 is a good entry level bean roaster. It is a fluid bed roaster (hot air keeps the beans moving while roasting), which is supposed to produce an even roast.

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Taobao product recommendation – Coffee filter

My coffee sock became worn out and I looked for a replacement on Taobao. You could say the options are plentiful now because the Chinese are drinking coffee. Not kopi, but filtered coffee, and of course Espresso. Well, a coffee sock isn’t actually cheaper on Taobao than what you can get in Malaysia, where it sells for just RM2 (S$0.68), but I did find something interesting – a metallic filter, that could potentially last forever.

Replacement long overdue
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Venture to Northeastern China – Harbin, Changchun and Shenyang

Autumn turns out to be a good time to be in Northeastern China. The weather is cool, and the colour of leaves in shades of red, orange and yellow are breathtaking.

Harbin was especially mind blowing. They are obsessed about cleanliness! There is an army of cleaners tending the streets endlessly. Owing to Russian influence, the architecture is quite a bit more interesting than the generally drab ones built all over China during the 70s through 2000s.

Shenyang, in Liaoning province, is where people queue up to board transportation vehicles (and I have witnessed the same in Dalian a decade ago), something not emulated in other provinces. Their driving habits are horrendous though.

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North-south highway lunch stop – Bukit Gambir revisited

This was my 3rd visit to Bukit Gambir, and this time, i went to the restaurant 侨興 that was marked on Google maps. There must be a good reason for a restaurant to be highlighted in Google Maps, especially when it shows up at low zoom levels. True enough, 侨興 is one of the few restaurants has been around for ages in Bukit Gambir.

Located along probably Bukit Gambir’s only remaining row of old wooded shop houses

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Medan 5 days itinerary

Medan is a bustling city, being the third largest in Indonesia. Prices are cheaper here than in Jakarta and Surabaya, so if you want a cheap getaway, Medan fits the bill.

Here is an important travel tip for Medan – use Grab for cheap and efficient transport around Medan (should apply to all Indonesian cities as well). For a six-seater car, it cost only 15 to 20k (S$1.50 to S$2) for travel within Medan city, which is quite affordable. For a normal sedan, it is even cheaper.

Grab is the no brainer choice to arrange for your airport transfer, costing less than 150k (S$15) for a six-seater, plus 15k for toll. The journey takes almost an hour. Here’s how you can use Grab upon your arrival – when you exit the airport terminal, go to the parking area A (Parkir A) on the right. The Grab cars are all just waiting there. Book a car and proceed to look for the car when the driver confirms the booking. Continue reading Medan 5 days itinerary

North-South highway lunch stop – Kampung Serom

Having passed by Kampung Serom 3 after having lunch at Sungai Mati not too long ago, I vowed to check out this place, and so i did. Except for a Char Kway Teow stall, there was no other food to be found here, so it’s not recommended for lunch, unless you just want to check out this place.

What attracts me to Kampung Serom 3, as usual, is how old the place is. The two rows of shophouses by the road look like they are at least 60 years old. Locals seem to enjoy hanging around the 3 kopitiams (especially at the two that does not serve food). Just sitting around and sipping kopi.

Johor style wooden shophouses

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Okinawa 5 days itinerary

Took advantage of the now available budget direct flight to Okinawa. There’s not so much to see in Okinawa, to be honest, but it’s Japan nevertheless. Here’s what we did in 5 days.

Day 1
Ashibinaa Outlet – Aeon – Hamabe-no-chaya Teahouse – Banta Cliff

The flight touched down at budget flight kind of timing, 8am. Fortunately, the driving in Okinawa is quite well mannered, and the general speed limit of 50-60km/h is safe enough for driving under lack of sleep. By the way, I did not make use of the ETC card and i avoided the toll highway completely.

I did not plan beforehand where to have breakfast, and while driving about looking for a place, we stumbled across an A&W restaurant.

All American, including the music which was the radio broadcast from the US Air Base

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Not your usual Taiwan itinerary (Part 3)

Day 7 – I booked the Wang Gong clams picking tour (王功採蚵車摸蛤生態之旅) nearly two months ahead to ensure i got a place. You can do so via Facebook messenger, which was how i contacted them. Otherwise, you can also sign up for an adhoc tour at some of the restaurants in town, or, you could just walk to the beach area and DIY.

Riding the “Mad Max” vehicle is a major part of the fun. Cigarette-wielding badass-looking chauffeur, check.

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Not your usual Taiwan itinerary (Part 2)

Day 4 – South bound. Main attraction of the day – Brown Boulevard, named so after the advertisement shot here. Win.

The eastern coast enroute to Taitung is quite scenic

Continue reading Not your usual Taiwan itinerary (Part 2)

Not your usual Taiwan itinerary (Part 1)

This is my third time to Taiwan in ten years. I have been to all the major tourist attractions, save for Taroko Gorge. Nevertheless, I managed to put together a 9 days itinerary that worked well.

Our trip began with sampling the beef noodles at Ling Dong Fang. At 9pm, there was still a queue. Waiting time was 20 minutes or so.

The new outlet has a nice facade

Continue reading Not your usual Taiwan itinerary (Part 1)