True Singapore Food – Bak Chor Mee

I have to admit that i may have been wrong when i said Fried Bee Hoon was, to me, the national dish of Singapore, because now I am of the opinion that Bak Chor Mee (minced pork noodles) may be even more commonplace. Often times, Fried Bee Hoon is only sold as a breakfast item, whereas Bak Chor Mee is sold throughout the day.

It took me a while to appreciate Bak Chor Mee, because i never had vinegar in my food since childhood. I never liked Bak Chor Mee during my first twenty years in Singapore. Once i got used to vinegar though, i came to love it! The taste is rather strong, and i would say you either love it or hate it. This uniquely Singaporean dish is not found in Malaysia. No, not even in JB. Continue reading True Singapore Food – Bak Chor Mee

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Coopers beer kit tasting notes

My 9th batch of beer, the IPA, is just ready for consumption. I made a different flavour each time, and here are my thoughts on those Coopers beer kit i have tried thus far. This is a very subjective matter of course. Also, beer expert i am not, and i can only talk in lay man terms.

I realized that it is true, that, over time, anyone who is into beer will better appreciate beer that is more heavily hopped, and i am no exception. Having made my own beer for over a year, i now have higher expectations, which is a good thing, since i can derive more enjoyment out of good beer. I can no longer accept the typical bland and diluted beer you find in the supermarket.

Overall, i think the Coopers beer kits are unbeatable when it comes to ease of brewing your own, and i will continue using them until i have the time to move on to grain brewing. Here is how i would rank the Coopers beer kits: Continue reading Coopers beer kit tasting notes

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Breakfast chronicles – Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Cake

This is my first time using a cake mix. Obviously, a cake mix is fail-proof – the cake rises like magic. If you have 45 minutes to prepare breakfast, then this is an option you can include in your arsenal of breakfast recipes. Continue reading Breakfast chronicles – Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Cake

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Amazon product recommendation – Philips Sonicare 3 Series

I have used a sonic toothbrush for quite a few years by now, and i will not settle for less. I have been quite happy with the Arm and Hammer Sonic toothbrush. Me and my wife, we share the toothbrush by swapping the brush head. Even though the battery’s retention of charge has deteriorated, it is good for 4 days’ usage per charge, which is still decent actually. However, due to wear and tear, there is now a hole in the flap that covers the on/off switch, and this could be dangerous, so it is high time for an upgrade.

Time for retirement

Continue reading Amazon product recommendation – Philips Sonicare 3 Series

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Europe one month itinerary

The highest concentration of nations is found in none other than Europe, which means you can experience the highest diversity of culture in the shortest time here. Europe also offers much in terms of places of historical significance, natural landscape, food, shopping and more, which is why you keep having to go back.

There are millions of permutations when planning for a Europe itinerary. Here’s how I am going to do it this time:

Days 1 to 8

Villa d’Este http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1025

Italy. I have been to Rome twice, yet there are many places near Rome I have not visited, such as Necropoli della Banditaccia (UNESCO heritage site) and Civita Di Bagnoregio. No trip to Italy is complete without a visit to The Mall, the famed luxury goods outlet centre. This would be my fourth time there. Continue reading Europe one month itinerary

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How to get a Russia Tourist Visa in Singapore

St Basil’s Cathedral is the first thing that comes to my mind at the mention of Russia. The iconic cathedral with multi-coloured onion domes is something i thought i should behold someday. Well, the day is coming soon. I have just obtained the Visa for entry into Russia for tourism.

What deters many from visiting Russia, besides the distance, is probably the difficulty in getting a Visa. Yes, Russia is one of the few countries for which a Visa is required for a tourism visit with a Singapore passport. Vfs handles the application for Russia Visa in Singapore, and their website provides comprehensive information on how to do so. Continue reading How to get a Russia Tourist Visa in Singapore

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Renting a car in Hokkaido

The rental car business is a very competitive one in Hokkaido, because the majority of visitors to Hokkaido will rent a car. This means plenty of choices and relatively low prices. I booked a rental car for JPY 32120 (S$405) for 7 days, which is only S$58 per day. This is inclusive of a one way fee of JPY 1500 (S$19) for returning the car at a different location (pick up at Airport but return in Sapporo), but excluding CDW, which would have cost an additional S$100.

Here are some findings that may be of interest to you. I basically tried getting a quotation from all the rental companies that are listed that may offer the Hokkaido Expressway Pass. Not all of them worked. Some of them are aggregator sites for which i have no interest. Some of them don’t allow one way rental. Here is a summary of the quotation for a compact car: Continue reading Renting a car in Hokkaido

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Hokkaido 9 days itinerary

It took 3 days to work out this itinerary and book all the hotels, so you could say a trip to Hokkaido is actually not difficult to plan for. I do still need to work out details like where to go for meals, finding exact view points to see, as well as to book a rental car (that will be another blog post), but once the accomodation reservations are done, the rest are less worrying.

All my itineraries are planned with the same basic assumption – that i will never visit there again. This itinerary covers all attractions that are significant in Hokkaido, including places that seem less attractive, like Hakodate. I guess everyone has different preferences and pacing when it comes to how they do a trip, and few people will do it like i do. Nevertheless, i believe i have tips to share that may be useful for reference and consideration.

My trip happens in mid June, and unfortunately, the timeframe is in between the Pink Moss and the Lavendar bloom. Some people might be going to Hokkaido specifically for these. If so, to catch the Pink Moss, you need to be there mid to late May, and for Lavendar, mid to late July. Continue reading Hokkaido 9 days itinerary

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Klang Bak Kut Teh and Kopi, round 2

My better half was feeling “gian” (or yearning in the Hokkien dialect) for Klang Bak Kut Teh (BKT). Specifically Teck Teh’s BKT. Well, the ever curious me decided to check out the other popular BKT places in Klang instead. Anyway, I was guessing that most of the better known BKT restaurants would be closed on this day, the 3rd day of the Chinese New Year. I was right.

For the record, I found out that Seng Huat and Teck Teh were closed. The other BKT place I was planning to visit, Lai Choon, was also not open. I suspect this would be the standard practice, that these restaurants would remain closed at least up to the 3rd day of the Chinese New Year. So, if you’re wondering if you could visit any of these three, then you better have a back up plan. No worries though, because you will definitely be able to satisfy your craving for BKT during the Chinese New Year, as it is said that there more than 400 BKT restaurants in Klang, and some of them are bound to be open. Continue reading Klang Bak Kut Teh and Kopi, round 2

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Quick Meal – Sambal Stingray

Sambal Stingray is a popular dish in Singapore that is often thought to be only available from a hawker centre. Actually, you must have noticed that when you placed an order for Sambal Stingray, you got served within 15 minutes. That means it must be quite easy to prepare, and that is exactly the case.

If you did a search, you will find quite a few recipes posted online for Sambal Stingray. Some even tell you how to make the Sambal sauce. Well, i think it is not necessarily worth the time making your own Sambal sauce, unless you make a huge batch and plan on using it in other dishes. Sambal sauce is fairly easy to buy off the shelf, and it isn’t exactly very expensive. There are many types of Sambal sauce, and I noticed that the type used by hawker centre seafood stalls is the shrimp type (Belacan would work too), and that’s the one you should get.

Anyway, after a few not-so-successful attempts, this is how i would say is the quickest and easiest way to do it. Continue reading Quick Meal – Sambal Stingray

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