Sunday, November 12, 2017

Solo Biz Trip HCM

Sorry I've not been posting daily. Have been busy lately as the pace of my project started picking up. I'm actually attempting to blog this from my mobile phone! Almost a first if not mistaken....And as the above photo shows, I'm currently in Vietnam, again. Only this time, I'm on a solo trip...

 I've actually just arrived today. The flight was more Japanese than Vietnamese as I sat with a bunch of students here. I've so far taken 3 cabs while here, one from airport to the hotel, one from hotel to Chinatown for a hot stone foot massage, and one from bahn min store back to hotel. 

Here's what my hotel room looks like. Kinda brings back memories doesn't it? Again, if only they have long bath!

Incidentally, I took a photo of my work clothes for this week, and wow, the lack of color is amazing! Lol. But yeah, that's basically how my work wardrobe looks like. It's fast and simple. I guess you can say it's kinda like my uniform. 

Anyway, that's all for now. Time to take a bath, get into bed and listen to emo songs again! 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Houjicha Latte Success!

Ahhhh, is that just a beautiful photo of a homemade houjicha? The satisfaction I get just from looking at that. Knowing that I can now make that anytime I want. Not having to rush out to buy it, or complain about how much it cost outside. Now, all I have to do is boil some water and milk, and voila! Homemade houjicha, with foam and all too!

My husband bought a milk foam making thingy, and I finally managed to get it to work correctly after he finally pass me the manual for it. I have made houjicha before, you can read about it here. But this was by far the most successful experiment. First of all, I brew two packs of tea instead of one to get a strongly taste. Note to self, need to pack separately for latte making vs normal tea drinking. I also managed to get the foam making thingy to make hot milk, and because it was hot milk, the foam finally rises nicely as I want it to. Plus, when mixed with the tea, since both are hot, I don't get a luke warm latte like I did previously. And the whole making process probably took 10 minutes inclusive of boiling water and milk timing! Not too bad!

Since the foam was so pretty and firm, I wanted to add some colours to it. So I threw a ready pack of matcha powder on it. Not too pretty is it? Lol. 

Anyway, I managed to make two small cup of houjicha latte, although one was a mutated green tea wannabe too. I didn't add any sugar to it. I was quite tempted to do so, to get that Starbuck sugar high taste. Luckily, since I have been eating healthy lately, I stopped myself from going overboard.

It has been fun having the time to play in my kitchen lately and experimenting with all sorts of food and drinks. The plus side is, I save money and eat healthy all at the same time! My meal portion are also smaller and I have better control on what actually goes into my food and drink. The only part I don't like is the washing up. But something's gotta give, right? Here's to more houjicha! Cheers!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Beautiful Bedok Reservoir

Sometimes all of us are always so busy working and taking care of our families and friends, that we don't stop and really appreciate the beauty around us. So from time to time, usually more often than most people I know, I would take a break, do on a holiday, take a walk, do something different. Just to break from the norm, and see life from a different angle. And this post is about ordinary places, looking so beautiful that we never really notice them in our daily lives. Today's post, is about photos of Bedok Reservoir. I have been spending some time there lately, cause it's so relaxing to take a walk there.

These photos were taken on a Saturday, when my husband drag me there to accompany him for an evening walk. The whole circle is around 5km, and I can cover that in 1 hour just by walking. My motivation was to complete the walk so that I can go get my houjicha fix. But as we walk, we notice how beautiful the sky colour has changed. So we stopped along the way to take some photos. Actually I only took these 3 shots. And they are all so beautiful. Capturing a moment in time. So simple. So empty. So calm. So peaceful.

The reflection on the water, the canoe floating on top, the pink sky. Everything about that day was just perfect. All shots taken with my lovely HTC U11, which reminds me, I haven't done a HTC review for ages, partly because the previous model kinda sucks. But the recent one is awesome! Love it to bits! Especially the squeeze function. But we are getting side tracked again. So just stay calm.... and look at these photos.... hopefully they would also inspire you to go out and take a walk and admire the beauty around you.... Life is too short to stay at home! 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A.R.C. Coffee

It's amazing how much time you have when you stop studying part time. I quit my Japanese study in July 2017 after 3.5 years due to work. And it has only been 3 months, but I felt like I've done so much  in those 3 months. One of the things I find I have more time now is meeting up with friends and drinking coffee in cafe! So one Sunday, I meet up with two of my friend (one excolleague and one current colleague) in a place call A.R.C Coffee. The one thing I love about this place is the warm feel of the whole place. The wood furnishing, and how the light just shine in from the french window, and how they actually use real spin record to play their music in the cafe! We were seated in level 2, at a table looking out of the window. I could have sat there whole day. Everything about this table was so comforting and welcoming! I haven't even starting writing about anything, and already one long paragraph on the feel of the cafe itself. Would I come back again? Yes! It's just so relaxing here!

Anyway, back to business. They specialise in coffee. Interestingly, I didn't order any! Hahaha. I shared the above 1+1 platter with my friend. It comes with one order of milk coffee, plus one espresso. Since I'm an espresso drinker, I took the bitter among the two. It wasn't really to  my liking sadly. It was kinda acidic, sourish. Kinda like my Vietnam drip coffee, but even more acidic. Didn't like it.

One of my friend order this nitrogen cold brew coffee and it looked so cool! It smells wonderful too. And the staff there explained to her that as the coffee cool, the taste changes! Yup, this is definitely on my to-order list next time I come back here again. It look so delicious. I didn't order it cause I have been eating too much lately, and I wanted to give my liver a rest from all the caffeine and alcohol it has been consuming.... As I write this, I am actually 2 weeks alcohol free! (except for chocolate liquor...)

Next is the food. I needed starch in my tummy, so I order rice bowl. I needed to be healthy as well. The donburi was actually quite simple and healthy, and served so beautifully too!

My friend also ordered rice bowl, but hers was salmon while mine was beef. The only thing I can say is, the food wasn't salty enough, which you can say is either a good or bad thing, depending on your taste preference. 

One friend ordered the salted egg chicken cutlet, and seriously, it wasn't salty enough for me. It was value for money cause the piece of chicken was rather big, but I wish the sauce was more addictive, if you know what I mean.... Oh yeah, above are normal fries, but they also serve truffles fries, and it smells heavenly! 

Dessert was ok. We ordered tiramisu which comes in a pot and a spade. I really like the spade. The serving was rather small, and nothing memorable. We also ordered I think an affogado, and that was delicious cause the coffee was awesome there over creamy vanilla ice cream.

The last item we ordered as apple crumble cake. It was very sweet, but the cinnamon taste of it was very strong that I really love it. And they soak the cake in maybe apple juice? I don't really know, but it was so yummy even though it was a big too sweet for me.

Been hooked on nice cafe lately. They are expensive to go to. But when I go with good company, I don't really mind. Here's to more Lim Kopi outing with friends!

A.R.C. Coffee

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Dark Gallery

I am a chocolate lover, and I will always support any chocolate cafe at least once. My favourite place for chocolate is actually Laurent Bernard Cafe at Roberson Walk. I'll leave a link below in the reference section. My to-die-for drink there is Irish Hot Chocolate serve with Whiskey. It never disappoints! So I was excited when I read a review of a new chocolate cafe in Singapore from the Straits Times. This place was call The Dark Gallery, located at Millennium Walk. So one day, I brought my chocolate loving friend there for her birthday treat. Aside from chocolate, they also server coffee and tea. The coffee was ok, but the tea was really overpriced considering they serve it in a paper cup with a tea bag.

We tried two of their platter. Each was around maybe SGD10 or so. So above was the first one my friend selected which comes with macaroons, praline chocolate, a marshmallow burned treat, and a chocolate banana pudding. I did't try everything, but the chocolate pudding was my favourite of this plate cause it was thick and bitter. I only eat dark chocolate whenever I can help it. 

Above was my selected platter. It also come with mini macaroon, a chocolate ice cream, and one hot chocolate shot. I like mine better cause it was an overdose of chocolate! I really like the ice cream and wish I had drank the chocolate shot while it was hot. The only complaint I have of this place was, I wish there were more dark chocolate. The menu is kinda limited as compared to Laurent Cafe. It's fun and the location is central. I may go again just for socialising sake. But should I ever need a fix, I would always go back to Laurent Cafe, cause that damn Irish Hot Chocolate can make everything okay for me. Maybe I should go there again to get a fix soon.... Oh yeah, the Irish Hot Chocolate cost SGD9.50, and it's better than any Starbuck drink! Trust me, go try it! Isn't it weird I am writing a post on cafe A, but asking you to go cafe B? Lol. My loyalty lies in the best chocolate cafe!

The Dark Gallery
Laurent Bernard

Friday, November 3, 2017

Soya Stick Soup

Sometimes I have no idea what to cook during the weekend, and sometimes, some childhood memory would just suddenly pop into my head and I remember soya stick soup! So that was what I cooked last weekend. Again, not saying I am a health freak, but I totally adore soya products! So I am really happy I am Chinese cause we have soya milk, soya bean curd, soya sticks, tofu, soya skin etc. In case you don't know what is soya stick, the yellow thing above in the photo is what I am referring to. It was part of the ingredient, together with pork ribs, some garlic, and carrots. 

Pork was really expensive. The above pot cost me SGD8 for pork alone, soya stick SGD1, and carrots maybe another SGD1 or SGD2. But it was enough for 5 servings, so around SGD2 per serving. And because I didn't have enough meat, I actually added omelette as one of the side dish, as well as some green vege. This meal also gave me some thoughts on whether I would be able to live on SGD10 per day when I retire... 

To cook the soup, add oil in the hot and stir fry some chopped garlic until slightly brown and fragrant. Add carrot and stir fry a bit. Then add pork, and some soya sauce. Cook for a while until brown (maybe 3 -5 minutes?). Then add water and let it bowl. Done! I really love the soya stick taste that adds to the soup. I'm the type that love soya milk steamboat, and yes, there really is such a thing! 

So here above is my lunch and dinner. I added stir fry green vege for lunch, but was too lazy to cook them for dinner. The soup was surprisingly tasty considering all I used for seasoning was some soya sauce (also a soya product!). Chinese cooking is so easy! So healthy!

I even have a surplus, or rather, I did planned to cooked enough to pack at least one serving for weekday lunch. It looks so yummy and full of stuff that my container was to show case all the wonderful colours of the food. Lol. Probably one of my most messed up bento ever!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Earth Friendly

Today I'm sharing with you my earth friendly habit that I practise. No I am not an environmentalist. I am just naturally earth friendly. Plus I really really hate plastic bags! And if there is one thing I am very proud of my state of Penang in Malaysia, it is that it is the first state in Malaysia that stop issuing plastic bags in supermarket. It is such an easy thing to do to stop using plastic bags that I sometimes wonder why people don't do it more often, or why people are resistant to change. My bag of choice is actually cloth bags like the one shown above.

I actually use cloth bags for everything! I have a bunch of them hanging in my kitchen. I use them for marketing, for shopping, for bringing my lunch to work. I also use them for gym, to carry my clean clothes to the gym, and carry my dirty clothes back. And they are so convenient cause I can throw them in the washing machine and just wash and reuse them. They never tear! Heck, I even make my own! You can see them here and how I got started with all this.

If you are in Penang market, the seller would usually wrap your produce in newspaper. But in Singapore, for some reason they wrap everything in plastic. So above is actually the view of my vegetable drawer in the fridge. Everything is wrapped! And the amazing thing is, if you buy these from the market, they will put it in more plastic bags for your ease of carry. So I've been just carrying them home in my cloth bags. I don't even like the plastic they come in, but since they are already pre-packed, I'm ok with it, I guess.

One of the thing I love about my wet market egg seller is, they wrap your egg in these cardboard looking egg carrier. I love these although they tend to take up a lot of space in my bag. You can also keep the carried and bring it back with you the next time you need to refill your eggs. So environmentally friendly!

And this weekend was the first time I started using glass container to carry my meat back. We have lots of these glass container at home which I use for my office bento. Now we bring them to the market to buy meat in. The seller was ok with it, so I guess I'll use this method more often. I have a big round one too which I think I'll start using to buy my weekly fixed of Mala Fragrant Pot! They charge me SGD0.30 for the take away container which I always throw away after just one use! Interestingly, people in Penang have been using these type of carried, and sometimes even thermos carrier whenever they go out and buy things. It is very common there, where tiffin is still used to buy dishes in. But in Singapore, people are so plastic crazy! Ugh. Hope they ban plastic here soon! 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


I've been cooking a lot of rice lately for my weekend meals, as well as my weekday lunch bento; I thought I'll share with you how my rice are like. I have mentioned before that I usually cooked mixed grain rice. Well today, I'm going to show you what I actually mean. So above is what my rice grain looks like. I've switched to Japanese short grain rice since last year June. They are more expensive, at SGD7 per kg, and it is one of the luxury I allowed myself. I can eat 2kg of rice in 2 months. I started this switch after coming back from Wakayama where I ate an average of 4 bowl of rice a day (2 bowl for breakfast, 2 bowls for dinner), not to mention sometimes rice is also eaten for lunch! Yes I do love my rice. I am truly asian!

Interestingly, I also love mixed grain rice. Actually I fell in love with mixed grain rice from my trip to Korea. Again, I ate a lot of rice there, and they usually serve me glutinous rice or mixed grain rice. I want to say that I am not a health freak or anything, but I really love brown rice or mixed grain rice cause it makes the rice texture so much chewier and crunchy. So again. small luxury I allow myself, I buy like 2kg of mixed grain from Taiwan whenever I am there for a business trip. The above was my latest buy which I got in May this year. It has ten types of grain inside it! 2kg should be sufficient to last me for maybe 2 years. 

You must be wondering why I can go through 2kg of white rice but 2kg of mixed grain can last me 2 years. Well above photo might explain a bit. So for example today I cooked total 5 serving of rice, using 2 cups of white rice, and half a cup of mixed grain. The reason being, I just wanted to texture, and mixed grain usually need longer to cook. It is better to soak the rice before cooking as well. And now that I've learned to use my timer function on my rice cooker, I usually let the rice soak for one hour or two before cooking it. I read somewhere that Japanese rice is also better if you soak it before cooking. 

So there you have it, my high end rice eating habit. When I cook more japanese dishes, I don't add the mixed grain at all to make it more, well, Japanese like. This usually mean grilled fish dishes, or Japanese curry. I will probably continue to support my little expensive rice habit until I can no longer afford it. It is not really a necessity, its just those small pleasure that I really enjoy in life. And because the grains are so damn expensive, I actually pick up every single grain that fell on the floor. And when cooked, not a single rice is gone to waste. It really makes you appreciate your rice a lot better!