Saturday, September 11, 2010

Malacca revisited: Day 3

Our home away from home -- Hotel Puri. We're back here because it's familiar, it's located right where the shopping is and though the rooms are a bit Spartan (oh, beware the hot water in the shower!!!) they are decently comfortable enough.

Because we woke up early, June and I walked over to look at the historical part of Malacca before repeating all the shopping madness of the previous day.

The ruins of St Paul's are the gutted remains of this historic edifice. We get a real sense of history looking at these burial slabs dating back hundreds of years inscribed in a text so alien to us today.

Our second attempt to sample the cendol at Jonker 88 failed again. We settled for Donald and Lily's cendol and laksa instead. Also not bad.

Mel found this great chill-out place just down the street from our hotel. The Baboon House is so unlike its name, so tranquil, cool and relaxed. Great for reading and (ahem) grading papers -- yes, that's what else we came to Malacca to do.

I realize that for this trip my camera didn't point at too many people. It's more for the food and the sights. So, for the record, apart from those already mentioned and/or photographed already, my travelling companions also included Amy, B-lo, Fen, Liz, HP, To*ny and Wendy A. Always a pleasure, guys!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Malacca revisited: Day 2

A couple of misses on this trip. We liked the cendol at Jonker 88 the last time we visited, but today we couldn't get past this crowd. The other miss was my much anticipated A&W root beer float which I could almost taste... but the service was so slow we had to leave to meet our bus just before my turn at the counter.

But there's no passing up Nancy's Kitchen for Peranakan food. Fish maw (her pio) soup behind the ayam buah keluak.

Kueh pie tee, light, crispy, savoury-sweet. There were other dishes as well, but eating always takes precedence to taking pictures.

Night time found us at the Geographers Cafe. Our orders were a crazy mix of international flavours and some smuggled-in street food as well.

Mmm... satay made with chunky chicken meat, still juicy not grilled to death. The gravy was a bit watered down though, so good thing the meat could hold its own without it.

In case you think we did nothing but eat, we also did stuff like strolling along the riverside for a view of the nightlife here.

And shop for souvenirs for my graduating kids. These are personalized wooden teddy-bear cut-outs made into fridge magnets. The shop is Home Sweet Home, Mahkota Parade, and they make other wall hanging products as well.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Malacca revisited, Day 1

Road trip to revisit old Malacca town. None of us wanted to drive up here ourselves so we chartered a 14-seater bus with driver. Our journey began in fits and stops. There were initial problems with the bus, but in the end the bus driver broke down and had to be replaced. Eventually we arrived, checked in and made a bee-line to this shophouse for lunch... chicken rice balls!

For the uninitiated, the chicken is in front and the rice balls are behind. There is actually no need to ball up the rice other than for its novelty value. And maybe to distinguish it from the Singapore variety which follows a similar recipe.

No pix from dinner at the Portuguese Settlement. Fingers too busy and too covered with viscera gravy to wield a camera. Returning here was quite an experience. As always, we got lost and took the scenic tour of Malaccan backroads before getting our bearings right. After a little spiffying up, the place is now overrun with seafood touts that surrounded us, each promising the best dining experience and 'no regrets'. Travellers tip: the longer you delay the more persistent they get; so just make a decision (Wayne arbitrarily chose Stall #6) and that was that. No further harassment, and true to their word, no regrets over the quality of the food.

Study techniques that work

Am temporarily making a note to link this NYT article on study techniques that work. Don't have time to sift through it right now, but I don't want to lose the URL 'cos it may be important, you never know.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

You want fries with that?

At Everything with Fries (Holland V), it's hard to tell if the main course is the thing you ordered or the fries that accompany it. The cheeseburger I ordered was thick cut served with a standard fresh vegetable topping and a side Caesar salad, but all that only took up half the plate. The remaining half sat a pile of garlic and herb French fries in the midst of which perched a single garlic clove which suggested that their fries are done with authentic ingredients.

So the curry fries came fried in curry leaves and curry powder -- a very flavourful concoction, while the sour cream and onion and salt-and-vinegar combinations were thankfully subtle, not overpowering. Overpowering was Mel's lemonade which nearly bowled her over at the first sip. But that's the way Mel likes it, so no problem there.

Not so sure about the one egg soup Wendy A was raving about. It's a chicken stock soup with an egg yolk beaten into it; the remaining white is made into a soufflĂ© raft  floating on top of the soup. It tasted oddly sweet and savoury -- an acquired taste, says Wendy.

We shared a Nutella tart for dessert which was sweet, sweet, omg sweet. Some things come too rich for my taste. I don't know how the others felt about it, but it disappeared quite quickly despite my not helping so much.

The Holland V outlet has great service staff. Ours was bright and chirpy, genuine in her responses, patient about our queries (Mel, Wayne and I arrived earlier than Amy, HP and Wendy so she had to endure lots of questions from us while we waited for the rest of our table to apparate). Overall, the atmosphere is clean, friendly and pleasant.

As to the amount of fries that went with everything, barring that it was a rather late lunch, I didn't need dinner. At all.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Mo' money blues

The way to S'porean hearts is through their bellyachin', especially about the sad, hard lives they live. And nothing gets S'poreans as riled up as the issue of National Service. So the PM announces in his NDay Rally speech that our citizen soldiery will receive a token of recognition for their contribution to national peace and security valued at at least $9000 each that will go towards funding their further education and ease the cost of home ownership. And predictably, the cries of anguish over our abuse and mistreatment rise to the heavens.

Old retired soldiers of Mr Brown's generation (including yours truly) are angsty that because we've already completed our service the award isn't meant for us:

The currently serving NS men are insulted at the paltry sum offered. By their calculations, they should be receiving at least 15 times as much. Yes, there's nothing like having an education and an Excel spreadsheet to make an unhappy army camper.

And S'porean women are upset too because for once they don't get it.

In S'pore there is so much peace and security we find no greater joy than in bitchin' over how our lives could be so much better. Sigh, if only we had mo' money, we'd be much happier people...!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

National Dog Walk 2010

Q-tip's new summer look keeps getting her mistaken for a chihuahua, especially today at the National Dog Walk & Carnival 2010. Sad to say, because of the rain the venue was a swamp so we didn't stay long. We did, however, visit a stall run by a pair of enterprising college alumni designing and selling Tees (human sized). Part proceeds go to Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD). They have a blogshop, CHlittleshop, so go visit and support, 'k?

Since we were in the Sunset Way neighbourhood, we made a pit-stop at The Daily Scoop. But they only open at 1400 on Sunday, so lunch before dessert at June May's.

Interesting set lunch menu: lasagne and float. Here's the lasagne.

And here's the float. The iced lemon tea on the left is not part of the set.