Japan, Nov 2010 (Part 2)

Continuation of my favourite pics from Japan.  Sigh.. seeing the photos make me want to go Japan again!

(Captions are below the photos)

Hakodate & Hakone

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Goryokaku Star Forte at Hakodate.

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I really love the autumn leaves!

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Check out the generous serving of ikura!!

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Hakodate city at sunset.

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I just thought this was really smart – a baby seat to free up mothers’ hands while they do their biz.

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Yummy Japanese curry rice from this shop at Shinagawa JR Station.

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Food stall along the streets of Tokyo.

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Train to Hakone

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Hakone’s really beautiful!

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Taken at the onsen where we stayed.

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Stingray being grilled!

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Cable car to the top of Mt Hakone!

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That’s Mt Fuji in the background.

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Temple gates

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Temple (forgot the name)

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The obasan getting ready our dinner at the onsen!

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Mt Fuji at sunset

That’s it for Part 2!

Japan, Nov 2010 (Part 1)

This post has been long in the making.  I know I’ve said a few times that I will eventually post my Japan photos… but never got down to it.  Problem is that I took loads and loads of photos and after uploading them to FB, it just became too much effort to post the photos here.

That said, on this hot Sun afternoon, I’ve decided to just pick my favourite photos & share them here.  I originally wanted to diarise my trip my doing a day by day post of what I did in Japan… but like I said… it’s just TOO MUCH EFFORT!

And for those expecting the last instalment of my HK (Mar 2011) trip photos.. sorry lah.  Change my mind.  Hahahahaha.

(Captions are below the photos)

Sapporo & Furano

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Pokemon plane!

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Another cutesy plane!

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First taste of ramen in Japan.  My favourite combination – scallops, butter, corn & char siew!!

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Even the construction work signs are so cute.

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Sapporo Clock Tower

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Pretty leaves & berries.

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Tiny houses at the Shiroi Koibito chocolate factory.

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Pretty wedding cakes!

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More pretty cakes!

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Patience enjoying the view at the cafe at the chocolate factory.  (Well, she was enjoying the view before taking the pic).

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Yummy chocolate!!

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Love the reflection.

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Choo!  Choo!

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Love the colours of this pic.

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Char siew being flame grilled (Sapporo Ramen Alley).

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The end product – the best char siew I’ve ever had in a ramen!

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Squid ink cheese from Sapporo Cheese Factory.

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I’ve always liked this sort of long paths framed with trees. Smile

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Lavender scooters at the Furano Lavender Farm

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Lavenders at the green house at the farm.More photos coming up in Part 2!!

Hong Kong (24 – 28 Mar 2011) – Part 2

More food photos!!

 

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I hardly hardly eat street hawker food in HK… the one and only time was when I shared this erm… flour egg balls thingy with Azure last year.  After trying the curry fish balls, however, I’m totally in love with it!  Yummy!  I prefer those that just come with the “curry sauce” rather than those with peanut gravy mixed in.  🙂

 

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Tried the spicy pork cube noodles from some random Cha Chan Teng.  Paled in comparison to my now defunct Kam Moon Kok.  *Sad*.

 

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My friend’s pork chop bun… looks not bad… but the slice of pork was a little small I think.

 

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Booze Queen’s breakfast.  The Polo Bun with 2 slices of butter looked sooooooooooooo delicious!

 

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Happy to share that the French Toast at the random Cha Chan Teng was as good as the one from Kam Moon Kok.  The secret is to spread a bit of peanut butter inside the thick toast before dipping it in egg & frying it.  And I eat it by pouring tons of syrup on top.  YUMMY!

Ok… Gonna leave the last set of photos from Tai Ping Koon Restaurant for another day… Heh.

Hong Kong (24 – 28 Mar 2011) – Part 1

The trip was extremely fun despite the terrible inconvenience and distress caused by Jetstar (they kept sending me SMSes & e-mails saying my flight itinerary changed, despite me logging into their system to confirm the amendment to my return flight 3 times.  Then on the night before my  flight to HK, I got an erroneous SMS saying that even my departure flight was changed when it wasn’t!)

Shopped quite a bit & ate even more!  Only sad news is that my favourite cha chan teng, Kam Moon Kok, has closed.  Learnt from a neighbouring Chinese medicine shop that they sold the shop to this real estate company and closed.  I guess they cashed out.  Sob.

Anyway, I didn’t take much photos of my companions nor me this trip… my photos are all of… FOOD!  Here’re some selected shots!

 

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Saw this on Jetstar’s menu.. poor chicken.. had its balls crushed and laughed at?

 

Che’s Restaurant

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Fried fritters in cheong fun.  Not bad.  The fritters were light & crispy, cheong fun skin was thin.

 

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Custard & salted egg bun.  Really love this.  I like the balance between the sweet custard & the salted egg bits.  There is also a generous amount of filling!  Slurp!

 

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Siew mai.  I’m not a fan of the siew mai at Che’s ‘cos I find the meat a little fatty.  It’s tender & tasty & the skin is thin… but I don’t like the bits of fatty meat inside.  Heh.  Personal preference.

 

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Har gow – I love this ‘cos of the super fresh and crunchy prawns.  The skin could be thinner though.

 

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I didn’t order the beef tripe but was told it was pretty tasty.  It comes with some dried beancurd skin that’s hidden below the tripe. 

 

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Egg tart.  This really has to be eaten when it’s fresh out of the oven so that the egg in the middle is still gooey and the flaky crust melts in your mouth!

 

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Char siew cheong fun.  I’ve always liked this ‘cos the char siew is lean & the soya sauce makes the entire dish very tasty.

 

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Dumpling in chilli oil & vinegar.  First time I tried this at Che’s.  Average… Booze Queen says the one from Din Tai Fung in Singapore is better (will try that soon!!)

 

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Che’s signature crispy char siew pau.  This is the epitome of crispy char siew pau!  The crust is crispy, sweet & buttery at the same time.  The texture sort of reminds me of the Rotiboy bun that took Singapore by storm a few years ago.  The char siew inside is tasty & moist with gravy.  Excellent!  This never disappoints!

 

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Lotus leaf rice.  Looks normal right?  Wait till you see what’s inside…

 

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There was a fresh scallop, baby abalone, dried scallops, mushroom & meat!  Super tasty!  Probably the best lotus leaf rice I’ve ever tried.  Yummy… Will definitely have this again on my next trip!

 

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I can’t remember the exact name of this dish.. white sesame & black sesame ball or something.  Anyhow, it was good.  Really like how the black sesame inside flows out the minute you bite the ball.  *Slurp!!

 

Yat Lok

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Tried the highly recommended roast goose from Yat Lok.  I really liked the skin – super crispy & tasty even after being soaked in the soup.  The meat, however, was smelly!!!!  Only ate some parts that were less odorous and gave the rest to Iceman.  Bleah!

 

Tim Ho Wan

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This is an apparently well known 1-star Michelin dimsum place.  It opens at 10am but Azure got us there at 9am and she obtained pole position in the queue!  Well done!

 

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Check out the losers in the queue behind us!

 

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The dimsum was pretty good… but I didn’t like it more than Che’s… the pricing, however, definitely deserved that 1-star!  Super cheap!  The 4 of us paid what 1 of us paid at Che’s!  (In other words, the price was like a quarter of Che’s!)

 

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Funny English. Heehee.

 

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Phoenix claws aka chicken feet.  Hehe.  I didn’t (and don’t) eat this but I recall those who ate saying that the way it’s done is pretty different from Singapore… so… maybe it’s not not nice… just that it doesn’t match our expectations.

 

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Char siew cheong fun.  The parsley (“yim sai” in Cantonese) inside totally ruined this for me.  The only thing I thought was good was the super thin cheong fun skin (better than Che’s).

 

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Har gow – average.

 

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Siew mai – I didn’t really like this.  Somehow the taste wasn’t that fantastic. 

 

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Crispy char siew pau – there wasn’t enough crispy bits on the skin.  The char siew was also a little too sweet so the blend between sweet & buttery/ salty wasn’t there.  Really paled in comparison to Che’s.

 

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Pan fried carrot cake.  Bland.  Tasteless.  🙁

 

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Lotus leaf rice… I can’t remember much about this except it was super salty and we couldn’t finish it.

 

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Steamed pork ribs.  I think this was not too bad.  Tasty.

 

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For dessert, we had this osmanthus flower & wolfberry seed cake.  It was good.  Light & refreshing, I like the bits of flowers & wolfberry inside.  Good!!

 

Tong Tai Seafood (Temple St)

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Sweet & sour pork ribs.  Not that good.  I wouldn’t order this again.

 

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Kangkong in bean paste.  I thought this was average only.  The kangkong was a little “old”… would have been nicer if it was more tender.

 

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Salt & pepper squid with vinegar dip.  Super love this!!!

 

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Pomfret steamed in soya sauce (Cantonese style).  I really hate pomfret ‘cos I find the flesh very smelly but this one was actually not too bad (I pinched a small piece).  Maybe ‘cos it was taken fresh from the tank… or maybe pomfrets in HK are less smelly… I don’t know… but my friends agreed this dish was the highlight of the night for them.

 

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Claypot bittergourd.  The gravy was tasty.  (Can’t say much ‘cos I don’t eat bittergourd.  Haha).

 

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Razor clams cooked in black bean sauce.  This was not bad.  Would’ve liked it more if it were spicier!!

 

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Ah… beer… Tsingtao… one of my favourite…

Ok… that’s all the pics for now.  Just way too many food pics and my stomach is churning like crazy.  Will post the rest another time!  *Drools*.

Picture credits: Nokia N8!!

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Haven’t blogged for so long because my boss went on a 2-week Japan holiday.  Nearly died trying to cover all the deals that seemed to flood in.  The minute my boss came back, I took leave to just nua.  After that, I got busy preparing for my own Japan trip.  Hehehe. 

Here’s what I did…

1. Hair Cut!!

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To ensure that I earned the right to walk next to Booze Queen in Japan, I went to cut my hair.  In fact, I got it cut not once, but thrice!

I showed the stylist a pic of what I wanted.  It was risky – ‘cos the style I wanted required waves at the back and my chin length hair was a little short for it.  Nonetheless, he decided to take up the challenge and thus my hair got permed, then trimmed.

Unfortunately, it totally didn’t come out the way I wanted.  So I decided to chop it all off, and go with this 2nd choice of hairstyle (which I also had a pic of).  I didn’t leave the salon till 11:15pm that night!  Heh.  Poor stylist.

Anyway, that was last week.  I visited the salon again 2 days ago, with the intention of colouring my hair.  The stylist was however, rather traumatised that the curls he did for me all straightened.  So he insisted on perming and cutting – again!  What was supposed to be a 2.5-hr perm & cut, stretched to 4hrs!  The pic above was taken by Azure when she arrived at the salon for her hair appointment!

 

2. Winter Wear

The last time I travelled during winter was way back in 1995 and I used a winter jacket borrowed from my mom’s friend then.  The hunt for winter clothing thus started.

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I initially couldn’t decide to buy a trenchcoat like jacket, or a leather jacket, but chose the latter since I figured it would go with both boots and sneakers.  Bought the above from Mango at an obscene price and earned myself membership rights at Mango at the same time.

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I was also very tempted by this white down jacket from Uniqlo.  It’s sooo light!!  Only 200g!  And you can fold it into this small bag so it’s extremely space efficient. 

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Here’s a pic of me trying it on for size.  Was dissuaded from buying by Booze Queen since I probably can get it at a cheaper price in Japan.  Heh.  Cute hor?

Uniqlo also has a range of inner wear with their “heat tech” technology that’s supposed to keep you nice & warm.  I bought a black scoop neck long sleeve top, as well as the polka dotted turtleneck top.  Here’re more pics of me cam-whoring.

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I also bought nice & warm knitted socks from Uniqlo.  Am a little worried about my feet cramping in Japan – they tend to cramp if I have to stand for more than an hour, or if it’s too cold.  Given that I’m likely to stand more than 1hr in cold weather in Japan, I’m… quite screwed.

I also liked this beret from Uniqlo but decided that I can get it in Japan.

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If my ears get too cold, I have these cute furry ear muffs borrowed from Booze Queen.  Hehe.

I also bought heat tech leggings but didn’t really like them – ended up giving them to my mom who’s also going to Hokkaido the same time as me!  Hehe… but she’s going with a tour group whereas I’m going with Iceman, Azure, Ms Trenchcoat & Booze Queen (only for Tokyo leg).

I’m so looking forward to the trip.  Hehehehe.  I will, however, miss Twitter and Weibo terribly.  Sigh.

Ok.  I gotta get back to doing my policy wording now.  Ciao!!

Manila 2010

Realised I never got down to posting about my Manila trip this year.  This is very likely to be my last business trip to Manila as I will be handing the 2 Filipino accounts I handle over to another unit within my company.  Yeap.  双手奉上.  I’m not going into the details since I have photos of myself on this blog, least to say that it’s not something I necessarily agree with.

In any case, I’ve always enjoyed going Manila.  Though it’s not the safest place on earth and the air can be quite bad, the service is good and the hotels I get to stay in are always excellent.  Of course, my favourite part of the trip is always to eat the oysters at Via Mare!!  I think I made a mistake in my last blog post… I mentioned Via Mare is at Greenbelt 4 but it should be at Greenbelt 3… not too far away…

 

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I stayed at The Peninsula this time.  Yup – that’s the hotel where the army tanks rammed into the lobby a couple of years ago when some poor army general tried to stage a coup but it flopped badly due to lack of support – the one where the general was later seen crying on TV when he surrendered.  *Sigh*. 

 

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Staying at The Peninsula is more of a prestige thing I’m told because of its magnificent history.  I, however, felt that the rooms were a little old and small.  My favourite hotel remains the Shangri La Makati, which is just across the road from Peninsula.  The food at the Peninsula is great though.

 

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I ordered room service the night I arrived (reached the hotel after 9pm).  It may not look that great in the pic but the club sandwich was heavenly!!  The layers of ham and bacon and egg… oooh… I can salivate just looking at the photo.  The fries that came with it were also the best fries I’ve ever eaten in my life!  They remained really crispy even after they turned cold.  So damn good!

 

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Even the sauces that came with the club sandwich looked so cute.  The ketchup is still in my kitchen cupboard.  Haha.

 

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I only managed to visit my favourite restaurant in Manila once on this trip.  But it’s ok.  I made sure I gorged on the oysters.  Just look at the pic above.  They’re absolutely the freshest, best, most yummilicious (yes, I just made that up) oysters I’ve ever tried.  No oysters in Singapore can compare.

 

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The baked platter was equally scrumptious.  5 different flavours.  *Drool*.

 

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This is the French Onion soup.  Sorry if the pics are a little whitish – took them with my hp camera and I’m too lazy to edit the pics.  Hehe.

 

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And to round up the fantastic meal, nothing better than a San Miguel light!  Woot!

 

Ok.  Iceman just bought lunch back for me… so gotta go makan now.  I’ll miss the oysters…

Taipei 17-21 Apr 2010 (Part 4 – Jiufen & Wufenpu)

Jiufen’s an old mining town with lots of shops selling local specialties & tea houses.

 

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To get to Jiufen, we took the MRT to Taipei Main Station, then changed to an express train to Ruifang.

 

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Here’s a pic of the train station at Ruifang.

 

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You can get lots of snacks at Jiufen.

 

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As well as shops selling curios!

 

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This looked so yummy while it was steamed…

 

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It turned out to be not so yummy vegetarian I don’t know what you call it.  Thankfully, we only ordered 1 bowl!

 

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Climbing stairs is a must.

 

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A really old movie billboard & a 100-year old wheel.

 

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A teahouse

 

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Lemon w/ kumquat & lime and tea jelly

 

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There’s this really good “zi char” place called Chang Wang near Wufenpu.  Food was CHEAP & good!

 

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Kangkong cost only SGD3.60 (and it was good!)

 

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The beancurd wasn’t too bad either.

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Sweet & sour pork was normal tasting but cheap.  Costs around SGD5.

 

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This “3-Cup chicken” was the best of the best!  *Slurp*

 

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My shopping in Taipei!  😀

Taipei 17-21 Apr 2010 (Part 3 – Danshui & Ximending)

Booze Queen, AK and I didn’t join the day tour organised by Chan Brothers.  Instead, we visited Danshui and Jiufen on our own.  Danshui was quite a nice place to relax and pig out.  The smell of salt was so strong!  I don’t think the water would’ve been 淡 at all!

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Smelly Toufu can be easily found in Taipei. 

 

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I wonder which is smellier to the locals – smelly toufu or fried durian?  Haha.

 

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The fried sotong (very common too) was sooooooooooooooooo yummy.  Salted & seasoned with chilli powder, it was sooo addictive.

 

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We tried to eat at stalls that have been around for a long time…

 

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I can’t remember the name of this anymore but it’s nice.  The pinkish soup tastes like fermented beancurd (“lam yu” in Cantonese) and the taupok skin absorbs all the flavour of the meat & seasoning.  I liked this.

 

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The pau was also tasty.  The pork filling was really good though the skin of the pau could’ve been softer.

 

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Found this store selling snacks and toys from my childhood days.

 

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Cam-whoring at Danshui

 

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Lady belting out Hokkien songs

 

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Ximending!

 

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Ah Zhong’s mee sua – the best mee sua I’ve had in my life

 

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People in Taipei love to bring their dogs out.  I saw more dogs than kids!

 

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I really love mala steamboat!

 

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It was gooooooooooood!

Taipei 17-21 Apr 2010 (Part 2 – Tpe City & D&D)

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Kiki’s Restaurant – serves Sichuan dishes.  Opened by Matilda Tao & some other celebrities.

 

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Kangkong with fermented beancurd.  Reaaaaallly good.

 

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Mala beef – this is a must try!  The medium spicy mala soup leaves a tingly feeling on the tongue.  The beef was tender & absorbed the flavour of the mala.  Soooooooooooooooooo good!

 

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Sour & Spicy soup – didn’t really like it.  Felt that the flavours were a little muted.  The tiny strips of duck’s blood in it were… tasteless to me.  Haha.

 

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“3 layer” pork w/ garlic + vinegar dip.  Pretty good.  The garlic adds a zest to the meat.

 

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Obese ikan bilis (aka anchovies).  This would go great with beer!

 

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My TPE clique and me at our company D&D.  Yay.  Finally a photo with my long long hair & curls.  Didn’t want to cut my hair b4 I took a photo.  Wahahahahaha.