Minasan Konnichiwa!!

APRIL 2009 – Despite having traveled to Japan probably five times previously, it’s nevertheless my first attempt visiting Kyushu – the southern most island of Japan.  It was a free & easy trip in Spring.  The weather was cool, but my feelings were constantly ‘hot’ like the hot springs! 🙂
For the 11 days, we decided to be adventurous and took different modes of transport to as many parts of Kyushu’s unexplored lands as possible.  From trains to buses, cable cars to bullet trains; we explored Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Aso, Beppu and Yufuin.  Every part of Kyushu was a totally different experience for us in terms of food, places of interests, shopping, people and culture!
Here are some of my fond memories of Kyushu. Enjoy!
Suizenji Garden
Suizenji Garden <the bird incidentally flew into our frame>
Scenery @ Yufuin
Yufuin
 
Glover garden @ Nagasaki
Glover garden @ Nagasaki
For now, I’ll definitely like to go back to Kyushu to continue exploring other parts of the city such as the southern part. Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka? Hmmm….perhaps after I’m done with Kyushu 🙂

Weekend Food Expedition: of fish balls & fish cakes

It’s definitely not our first time having breakfast at the Old Airport Road Hawker Centre.  Contrary to our usual indecisiveness, this time we surely knew what we wanted and where that stall is located. Straightaway, we brisk walked towards that direction as if the stall’s already calling out to us. Poof! The queue was already forming and as expected, very long 😦

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This was my 2nd visit. K told me he discovered this stall by chance on one weekday morning.  “It was probably the only stall with queue and naturally I joined in too” he said.  He was impressed with the fish balls and fish cakes. The 1st time I posted it on my fb, a makan guru friend shared that the original is at the Holland Hawker Centre. This one is managed by the owner’s daughter. And I thought the petite pretty gal is just a helper! After having paid more attention to the stall, I noticed they have been selected to partake in last year’s Singapore Day at New York. Impressive!

I’m not a fan of fish balls and fish cakes. But this one really won me over the 1st time I tried. Really juicy and bouncy! The fish cakes run out quickly as customers will also ta-pao a few pieces. To-date, I’m still curious as to why the owner will weigh every piece of fish cake before packing them for her customers. They selling by weight? Hmmm…

Since the queuing time took us about 35 mins, I told K we might as well also ta-pao the fish cakes.  We paid $5 for two pieces. *BURPs*

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<For those who are interested to try the original stall at HV, pls note that the hawker centre is currently closed for reno for 12 months, I was told…>

Weekend Food Expedition: my novice journey

Weekday mornings usually flash by without us even noticing.  We wake up reluctantly, rush to wash up and dress up and zoom, off we leave for work.

Weekend mornings are less cruel, most of the time. At least we can afford to wake up as and when we like, take our time to wash up and then, ask ourselves: “So what’s for breakfast or brunch?”

Last weekend we decided to continue our wanton noodle expedition and drove to Eng’s Noodle House at Tg Katong. To our horror, it’s only opening at 11am and we’re like 30 mins earlier.  To wait, or not to wait?  After loitering outside the shop for a few mins, we decided to have our Teh C at the corner coffeeshop to kill time.

disappointing roller shutters..ha

disappointing roller shutters..ha

Barely 5 mins past 11am, the shop was already quite packed! Without much ado, we placed our orders and waited excitedly for our food’s grand arrival.  While waiting, I took a good look at the environment.  The ambience reminded me very much of Ang Mo Wanton Mee. Similar spartan set up though Eng’s is slightly more spacious.

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Alas, here comes our noodle! I also read from the newspaper article and posters on the wall that the special chilli is a must-try.  Not really a chilli fan but I didn’t want to let go of that moment to try it. Really…it’s very shiok!

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If I were to give my frank opinion here, this is not my type of wanton noodle cos I prefer the HK noodles. This is very similar to Ang Mo’s.  But if I were to compare with the other popular Fei Fei, I would choose this, no doubt about it.  I only tasted and remember the generous ketchup in my bowl at Fei Fei. *BURPz*

Sense of serenity

As one who is very prone to be affected by things happening around me, I appreciate a friend’s kind gesture of often sharing nice quotes with me.  I find them motivating, inspiring and most important of all, uplifting 🙂

Would also like to share some with you here:

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[Movie] Oz the Great and Powerful

IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1623205/

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Following the spade of fairytale remixes, Oz the Great and Powerful is a retelling of the Wizard of Oz story. Thankfully it’s not another one of those dark interpretations – there’s hardly any blood and you’ll be hard-pressed to recall any death. This is not surprising given the target demographics – not to mention it’s a Disney production.

James Franco, best known for his role as Green Goblin’s son in the Spiderman series, played the title role. But you could hardly tell. He displayed quite a different persona here. Guess what, he can even act funny sometimes. However, one can’t help but wonder what an actor like Johnny Depp would bring to a movie like this. IMHO he makes a much better choice for the role.

Storywise, it is told from the perspective of Oz, the stage magician from Kansas, instead of Dorothy the little girl in the original story. Major characters – like lion, scarecrow, tinman, and Dorothy – are also missing from this movie. Instead we have a flying monkey, china doll (from china town, get it?), and Glinda the Good accompanying Oz through his adventure.

The movie sets and effects are gorgeous. One minor complaint though, is the handling of china girl towards the end. It’s quite obvious that the actors are acting without an object in hand when they carry her – either the matchmoving is bad or the movement gave it away.

Overall, the movie is enjoyable and makes for a safe family outing choice.

Rating: 4/5

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Valentino’s

It was a happy occasion and the family decided to pamper ourselves with good food (as usual).  So the 7 of us gathered at Ristorante Da Valentino at Turf Club Road on a mid-week.

As described on its website, the restaurant offers a homely feel.

nice, cosy ambience

nice, cosy ambience

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The staff were all attentive and spontaneously offered the ladies a hook each for their bags.  Take a closer look, it is creatively made out of a spoon! Nice! 🙂

We ordered a main each – chicken penne, agio olio, spaghetti bolognese, the popular squid ink fettucini (the ink is already pre-mixed into the pasta), the other popular thin crust pizza.  Ordered seafood soup and calamari as starters. The soup was good for 2 pax and we ordered 1 more.  Bread was served generously.

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A meal would not be complete without dessert.  We had the pineapple sorbet and coconut ice cream served in their respective husks, berry fruit tart, tiramisu (tasty!), banana split and lemon sorbet (opps! the last 3 items not captured here)

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It was indeed a good dinner and we truly enjoyed the ambience, service, food and definitely the family bonding! *Burpz*

Lively Moments @ Kimly Live Seafood

Most Singaporeans would have thought of the east side when they’re on the topic of ‘Food’. Thanks to our friends’ good recommendation, our typical weekend family dinner in the west side turned out to be an unforgettable one too 🙂

It was not our first time to the TradeHub 21. But we certainly have not explored that place enough to notice there’s actually a spacious makan place within (though dad claimed he heard of it before) besides Sakae Sushi and Mac.

金味Live Seafood is located within a place that looks like a big canteen, together with a row of stalls selling a variety of food.  Though not air-conditioned, it is cosy. The staff strength is also notable.

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As there were only 4 of us, we decided on seafood hor fun, salted egg/yam crab, veg & mushroom and toufu.

Just as what our friends said, the hor fun is tasty. We were also impressed with its generous portion. I’d told the staff it’s for 4 pax and she said “ok, that’ll be $10”. When it was served, we were taken aback by its portion and thought it would be more than $10. But when we got the bill, it was really $10!!

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The veg and toufu were delicious. On the relatively healthier side, they complemented the crab very well.

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Of cos, the ‘yummiest’ of all was the crab! We noticed almost all the other tables had either the same type or the chilli crab.  This was the first time we tried such a combi – salted egg and yam. The yam was cut into strips and fried like fries. With lemongrass and dried chilli as part of the spices and garnishes, this dish scored points especially with crab lover dad.

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What a FULFILLING dinner indeed! And it was value-for-$, costing S$101 (can’t rem whether it was the service charge or gst that’s excluded).

As we left the place, we already planned to make a comeback – with a vengeance and more empty tummies! *BURPs*