Thursday, October 19, 2017

Rum & Raisin Frappe at Point Cafe in Indomaret Ground Zero Convenience Store behind Sari Club Memorial @ Legian [Bali, Indonesia]

While paying my respects at the sari club memorial which was built as a reminder for those who perished in the 2002 Bali bombings, I was suddenly taken by an immense urge to release the pee in my bladder! 

Boy was I ecstatic to see a sign right behind the memorial that indicated available washrooms on the second floor of a Indomaret convenience store!  

It was Alex's turn after I am done with my "release" and I took the opportunity to linger around the store. Nothing much for me to buy although I did notice a cafe that was stationed within the store. 

Coffee to the Point - now, I don't really go for coffee as my preference has always been the local Singaporean / Malaysian style of coffee with condensed milk. However, I am always keen for ice blended coffee, especially if the weather is hot! 

Would have opted for my usual caramel frappe if not for the notice and pull up banner publicizing a rum & raisin frappe! I love rum and raisin ice cream and wondered if this would be as good as the ice cream version.

Let's not waste time while waiting for the frappe; ample seating both indoor and outdoor! It's also a WiFi zone (didn't try it as I was on StarHub Data Travel) and there are power points for you to charge your mobile devices. 

Ready and couldn't wait to try it! 

Took a deep, long sip and I must admit it tasted as good as rum and raisin ice cream in blended, drinkable form and featured the little bites of raisins! Refreshing and you know what's the best thing? It cost only 15,000 rupiahs (about S$1.50) after a 50% discount! 

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Location
Jl. Raya Kuta, Kuta, 
Kabupaten Badung, 
Bali 80361, Indonesia

Drink Menu 
As above. Frappes cost only 30,000 rupiahs and you can get other interesting flavours like choco banana and avocadoffee.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Day 0 of The 8 Days, 7 Nights (Mostly Self-Drive) Summer Trip in Hokkaido [Japan]: Comprising Furano, Otaru, Lake Toya, Noboribetsu & Sapporo!



Rest assured, day 0 would be relatively picture-light as i can't foresee there's anything i could add since all my air trips from Singapore start from the world famous Changi International Airport

Nowadays, i don't even feel the motivation to shop and explore! 

Most of the times, i would find a quiet spot, get an expensive cup of local coffee and then proceed to do some photo-editing on my laptop for the many photos that have yet to be uploaded to this blog. Maybe things would be different if the plane were to depart from the newer terminals. 

Loving the spaciousness of the passageway that branches off to the individual gates for departing planes. Was i excited? Sure am as it's my first trip to the land of the rising sun

Boarded the Boeing 777-300 plane of Thai Airways, which was celebrating its 57th anniversary! As some of you are aware, my air ticket to Sapporo was incredibly cheap and i am still hoping for the same good deal this period so that i can revisit Japan again next year.

Dinner - Thai fish with rice that came with cucumber salad with tuna. Former was not bad even though i am more impressed with the serving of the appetizing veggies on the side; so much so that i stole Alex's bread so that i can slather said veggie on it before wolfing it down my throat! 

Looked like the mainland of Thailand - just in case you are unaware, we would be transiting at Bangkok before moving to Hokkaido

Arrived at the Land of Smiles

Decoration literally filled with various types of orchids. 

The passage leading to the transfer counter was on the other side of Suvarnabhumi Airport and even though i didn't have to haul along my large luggage, it's still a bloody long walk!

Tempted to try the exclusive ride until i came to realize its exclusivity came at a price; 1,070 Thai bahts which would be more expensive than a typical taxi ride from the airport to downtown Bangkok!

Walking would be cheaper, and healthier. 

Arrival at the transfer counter on the upper level where we had to show our boarding passes and also to go through a round of security checks which i thought was redundant. Oh well, we shall abide by the rules and regulations in a foreign country. 

Tsk tsk tsk, can see all the accumulated dust! Those with OCD would likely ask for a vacuum cleaner so that he/ she can suck everything up! 

Regretted going into the transit area so early as there's practically nothing to do and the juice on my phone was running low....

Happiness enveloped me when i saw a charging station but maybe there were too many people attempting the same thing as I; the charging speed couldn't match with my web-surfing speed!

Have to take the shuttle bus as the aeroplane we would be taking wasn't connected to an aero-bridge. Likely didn't manage to get a slot since Suvarnabhumi Airport was said to have reached its maximum passenger capacity and is in serious need for expansion.

Boarded the humongous Boeing 747-400. I am actually not well versed with the differences between the planes but i guess size is always a good comparative measure.

Movie watching time! Not really as it was already past midnight and being the victim of a car accident when i am self driving in a foreign country; i am aware that ample sleep is necessary if i am to self drive the next day! 

And i dislike in-flight earphones where i had to put on the foam cushion pads myself as i have the tendency to tear them.. my fault, none from the airline.

Hm.... when would a blanket be unsuitable for airplane use? 

One good thing about full service airlines; the amenities in the washroom which would be beneficial for those on overnight flights.

Not about the toilet paper which would be provided even on budget airlines. 

I am looking for the oral care set as i am anal in having my teeth brushed before i sleep! Of course i have my own toothbrush and toothpaste but they would be in the checked-in luggage. Flossing is a must though and i brought along a compact box of dental floss in my carryon bag.

Is that the compartment for facial tissue or toilet seat cover?

Late night snack (crab stick mayo sandwich) was given when i was back in my seat! Not one to crave for late-night supper and especially not when i had brushed and flossed my teeth; i decided to keep it aside. 

Rise and shine to find that the sky had already lighted up before 6 am! Note for those who would like to travel to Hokkaido in summer; the sun rises at 4 am and do get a room with thick curtains if you are the kind who couldn't go back to sleep when it's bright outside.

Breakfast was served shortly after; it's udon with prawns and i once again affirmed my dislike for udon! The portion of cut fruits was pretty sweet though. 

Fortunately, i still had the sandwich which was delish; to the extent that i took over Alex's one too as he preferred the udon. 

Before landing, do remember to fill up the disembarkation card and the custom declaration form! Just a piece of advice - please put in the full address of the local accommodation; failing which you would be asked to fill up in a separate counter. 


Monday, October 16, 2017

Vegas Barbershop in Kuta @ Bali [Indonesia]

Alex has a habit whenever he travels overseas and in my opinion, it's a darn irritating one as i often can't stay still for extended period of time (except for massages); not when i should be checking out the foreign country! 

What does he like to do? He totally enjoys having a haircut when he is out of Singapore! I am someone who is extremely particular over who manages my hair as i don't wax / gel and the hairdresser would usually cut it too short or just give it a light trim.

Never mind the language barrier since his main objective is usually to have a clean cut that can be easily styled using wax and gel. While he was getting ready, i was just sitting on the sofa and playing my candy crush; an utter waste of my time!

Anyway, the concept of the barbershop was like a throwback to the retro 60 / 70s and this retro 'uprising' was already in place in places like Bangkok. Bet many millennials would not know how a cassette tape looks like. 

30 minutes were wasted just like that! Oh well, compromises are required whenever we travel with others and it's a small sacrifice given that Alex is always the designated model in my photos. 

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Location
In Kuta (pretty near to Warung Babi Guling Bu Dayu)
Click here for the map.

Website
http://vegasbarberbali.com

Price List
As above.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Legendary Ramen Master (王师傅) - Chiong for the Xiaolongbao! @ Northpoint Shopping Centre in Yishun [Singapore]

Clarification is required before you read further as many would have assumed the legendary ramen i am referring to in the subject is Japanese ramen; it's actually Chinese ramen which isn't broth based.

To say the truth, i personally prefer Japanese ramen over Chinese ramen as the former has more ingredients and usually features a way more intensive flavor due to the soup (could also mean it could be MSG laden). 

Nevertheless, i was drawn to the above poster which spoke of a legendary rainbow ramen! It didn't escape me that there were only three basic colors (rainbow has seven) although they represent three healthy ingredients that were added to the flour; pumpkin, spinach and carrot! 

Touted as a must-try, it's easier for me to persuade my mom to give it a try since she has always believed in eating healthily.

It's also easier to convince her on the hygiene level when the dining establishment had an open kitchen concept that looked out into the common passage; similar to Din Tai Fung

Photographs taken for the purpose of this posting were from my second visit. Hence, i have a better idea of what to order given the initial experience and i am also ordering more as my second visit comprised of a much larger group. 

Signature Pickled Vegetables - spiciness is subjective as i found the supposedly mild spiciness to be too spicy for my liking and tasted more like kimchi without the sweetness found in Chinese pickled vegetables. 

Fragrant Crispy Fried Beancurd - looking like fried dumplings / wanton from the menu, the main reason why i got it was because there was a "chef recommended" sign next to it. 

It failed as a dumpling as the texture of the filling was too soft and it didn't succeed as a fried beancurd as the tofu was too weak in holding the ingredients together; a plain old beancurd (tau kwa) would taste better deep fried. 

Lala Soup - i missed this out on my first visit as the waiter said i should try it when i was paying for my meal! Hence, i specially ordered this even though it wasn't even on the menu. 

Obviously, i was expecting the soup to be darn flavorful but sadly, it just tasted heavy of coriander with a hint of Chinese wine. Thankfully, the lalas were meaty and had an extremely nice, sweet taste without the fishiness i sometimes encountered in lala. 

Spicy Braised Pork Ramen - i mentioned earlier that healthy ingredients were added to the flour and even though the ramen in the menu for the dish was the plain whitish ramen, my sister opted for spinach ramen and it was served green like pieces of vegetables!

Visually appealing, i thought i already felt healthier just by looking at it! The ramen were flat like ban mian and honestly quite tasty with an appetising spiciness that's much more manageable than the pickled vegetables.

Golden Egg Fried Rice with Prawns - too dry and the wok hei only surrounded the dish without having it infused inot the rice; hence, resulting in a plate of fried rice that lacked the addictive flavor common in tze-char stalls. 

Legendary Rainbow Ramen - for all the novelty (just the word rainbow is enough to raise a few eyebrows) and the way it was served, the expectation for this dish was high. 

Mixed them all up (including the braised abalone) and you would notice they didn't generate much of a wow factor. Taste wise, it was more like sheng mian (生面) which doesn't rank high in the many types of noodles i have in my whole life. Spicy braised pork ramen was fact better tasting.

Steamed Dumplings (Original) - actually, the main reason for my return visit was because of the xiaolongbao at 王师傅 and you know what the interesting thing is? It didn't bear the "chef recommended" logo. 

Whatever the case, it has been quite a while since i last had such great xiao long bao. The meat juice encased within each dumpling was generously rich and sweet; to the extent that i would want to eat it again and again! Pity there were only eight in one serving!

Of course the best way was to have it with vinegar and shredded ginger! 

Steamed Scallop Dumplings - featuring the same delicious juice, the pieces of scallop meat added into the pork overshadowed the original sweetness. Therefore, if you ask me, the original was definitely the one you should order. 

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Location
930, Yishun Avenue 2, 
#B1-51, Northpoint Shopping Mall,
Singapore 769098

Website

Pricing
Signature Pickled Vegetables - S$3.80
Fragrant Crispy Fried Beancurd - S$4.80
Lala Soup - S$6.80
Spicy Braised Pork Ramen - S$8.80
Golden Egg Fried Rice with Prawns - S$10.80
Legendary Rainbow Ramen - S$13.80
Steamed Dumplings (Original) - S$8.80
Steamed Scallop Dumplings - S$9.80
(Subject to GST and Service Charge)

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