North-South highway lunch stop – Simpang Renggam

Simpang Renggam is less than an hour from JB, so it makes sense as a lunch stop when driving up north from JB if one were to leave JB before noon.

There are ample eateries in Simpang Renggam, and we chose Restoran Tai Kai Hock (大家福酒楼) since they are quite highly rated on Google. They are basically a Tze Char restaurant and the standard is above average.

Their signature dish is the crispy duck, and indeed it is pretty good. Overall the food is value for money, and well worth stopping over for lunch.


Raining cats and dogs in Hat Yai

This was the first trip ever I had to change my itinerary due to adverse weather. It slipped my mind that when we went to Krabi last year, we heard news about flooding in southern Thailand. The weather in Krabi was really good, while on the eastern coast, the monsoon wreaked havoc. History repeated itself this year.

My plan was to drive to Koh Samui from Hat Yai. Hat Yai is too boring for 4 nights, and there isn’t much to see around the region as well. The coastal route would take me from Nakhon si Thammarat to Donsak pier in the shortest time possible. Unfortunately, i had to turn back as the road was closed due to flooding.


Continue reading Raining cats and dogs in Hat Yai

Tour of my ancestral land – Part 3 – Fuqing and Fuzhou

The only clue I had when searching for my grandfather’s hometown was my surname. As the Chinese proverb goes, that sounds like searching for a needle in the ocean bed, right? Fortunately, in the olden days, Chinese families, those with the same surname, stick closely together. An entire village would consist of families of the same descent. And so, just by searching using my surname, I managed to find two villages in Fuqing where people with the same surname as mine lived.

To be honest, i felt that my chances were pretty low on actually hitting the jackpot, but it would be good enough for me just to get a feel of the place. Continue reading Tour of my ancestral land – Part 3 – Fuqing and Fuzhou

Tour of my ancestral land – Part 2 – Dabu and Tulou

While my dad is from Fuqing, my mum is Hakka. Specifically, from Dabu 大埔. I didn’t plan for it initially, but after checking the map, i discovered that Dabu is not too far from the Tulou area. Well, afterall, the Tulou are built by the Hakkas. So, i decided to add on an itinerary to check out Dabu, even though my mum wasn’t so keen.

Dabu is located in Guangdong province, just bordering Fujian. Just so that we could do some sightseeing (because there isn’t much to see in and around Dabu, other than ancient dwellings which does not interest my mum again), i chose to visit the terraced paddy fields of Pingshan (坪山梯田).

Enroute to Pingshan, we passed by Pinghe (平和), and they are famous for Pomelo (蜜柚). I have not seen Pomelo, or anything at all for that matter, grown in such a scale. Continue reading Tour of my ancestral land – Part 2 – Dabu and Tulou

Tour of my ancestral land – Part 1 – Xiamen

For a long time, I had in mind to bring my father to his father’s birthplace. It finally came to pass. My grandfather came from Fuqing, Fujian. Since then, none among my relatives have gone back to visit, so nobody has an idea what the place is like. Not sure about you, but I find it intriguing to get a glimpse of how my ancestors lived.

When I chanced upon a cheap flight (S$280) to Xiamen, without second thoughts, I went ahead to book. If one keeps procrastinating, it will never happen.

Here are some tips on organizing a free-and-easy trip in China: Continue reading Tour of my ancestral land – Part 1 – Xiamen

Hokkaido food review part 2


Although you can get seafood from any part of Japan, Hokkaido justifiably lays claim to having a special association with seafood. Prior to visiting Hokkaido, the seafood we ate, when visiting the other parts of Japan, were limited to Sushi and Bentos.

While in Hokkaido, we had the priviledge of trying a few things we never did before, such as Uni (sea urchin) and crab (see part 1). I just found out that the summer months actually fall outside of the sea urchin harvesting season, but you will still get to eat them since they are farmed.

Uni Murakami was the restaurant specializing in Uni that i chose to sample this interesting sea creature. The squishy stuff actually tastes pretty good! It’s like one of those wonder ingredients that a Michelin 3 star restaurant would use.

3 way seafood Don. Obviouly, this was cheaper than getting a bowlful of Uni.

Continue reading Hokkaido food review part 2

Hokkaido food review part 1

Part of many traveller’s motivation of travelling to Japan is to sample Japanese food. For me, you could say it’s half the reason I’m there. I know exactly what I want to eat and plan for each meal of my trip.

Hokkaido is choke full of food offerings. Here are the food I sampled in Hokkaido and what I thought of them.


The first thing i have to say about Ramen is, it’s almost impossible to get Ramen of the same kind of quality outside of Japan. For one thing, it’s consistently served piping hot in Japan, whereas i often get Ramen with lukewarm soup in Singapore. To be honest though, i don’t eat Ramen much outside of Japan, because the price and quality is not justifiable. And i have even less reasons to now, the more i visit Japan. Continue reading Hokkaido food review part 1

The best Malacca chicken rice, according to me

This is a topic that invites much debate, and there will never be a conclusion. Pardon me for borrowing the popular phrase spoken among Indians: “according to me”, I say Chung Wah is the best.

It is often mentioned that chicken rice sold at Jonker Walk are hype and are to be avoided. My tastebuds tell me otherwise. Chung Wah sells the most awesome chicken rice at a touristic location. To me, what really sets Chung Wah apart from the rest is the minimal use of soy sauce. You can see from the featured photo above that there is hardly any gravy. That’s because the chicken is already packed with enough juiciness and aromatics to need to be supplemented with much soy sauce at all. Continue reading The best Malacca chicken rice, according to me

North-South highway lunch stop – Panchor

Today i found my new favourite lunch stop along the North-South highway – Hin Thoy restaurant at Panchor. It is easily accessible from the North-South highway – merely 8 minutes from the Pagoh toll exit.

Panchor is a quiet village by the Muar river, and i love the sense of serenity here. This was much more pleasant than the other nearby towns, Yong Peng and Tangkak, and even Pagoh.

All quiet on the river promenade
Exceptionally calm waters

Continue reading North-South highway lunch stop – Panchor

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