Monday, October 29, 2007

Dragon Phoenix Restaurant@Novotel

(1) Steam Soon Hock (2) Broccoli with fresh scallops (3) Kyoto Pork Ribs
I must say that this restaurant was abit hard to find amidest the whole Daimaru Shopping mall is undergoing major renovation!

and plus the fact that the carpark doesnt really tell the driver exactly where is the lobby or the hotel's location above. So when we managed to find the lift lobby of the carpark and to our surprise when we hit L1 button, we landed at the back service alley of the hotel! So weird. Next we had to walk one whole round to get the main entrance of the shopping mall, find the hotel lift and get to the 6th floor...Hopefull the renovation works will address the wayfinding issue.
The restaurant was well known for their chef Mr. Hooi Kok Wai, a renowned Master Chef in the Chinese culinary world who invented the chinese lunar new year 'Lo-hei' dish as well as the chilli pepper crab.

The floor manager attended to us and introduce us to a few dishes which we listened and followed. Typical singaporeans.

He recommended:
Phoenix Spring chicken
Kyoto Pork Ribs
Steamed Soon Hock
Broccoli with scallops (a little veggie is needed here please)

The first dish that came was the Phoenix Spring chicken which according to the Manager on the floor was one of the house's specialty. True to his words, it tasted different from the normal ones we ate. This one was marinated and roasted with their own special spices.
Crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside. Not bad! Worth the try.
next up, waiters came over to our table and set up a pair of 'golden' cutlery! WHOA...a fork and a knife. Hmm...must be for the pork! Yup! soon, the Pork Ribs arrived on separate white plates for each individual. Not bad service. As for the meat, it was tender,nice colour and i must say, some parts were quite fatty! Which explains for its juicy and tender bite. Not good for health conscious people....
3rd up was the Steam Soon Hock, nothing great here. The sauce was okay. Fish was fresh. Enough spring onions and ginger to go along on top. Quite a big one though...heehee...think the whole fish came up to $78.
Lastly was the broccoli and scallops. Normal. But it was the only veggie dish that nite so i wholloped everything up.
Finally, there is a discount for UOB and HSBC credit members as well as Amex members. Think it's about 10 percent discount.
Dragon Phoenix Restaurant
Address: 177A River Valley Road Level 6 Novotel Singapore 179031
Tel: (65) 6339 3368

DIY nails

T h e s e a r e d o n e b y W J !
We were browsing along Daiso at Plaza Sing and i bought the 'ribbons' and coloured beads for $2 per packet and box. Each packet came with 10 ribbons. They are selling pink and white ones.
As for the coloured beads, it comes in a box with 4 compartments and 4 different colours. Lots of beads in each compartment!
Can find most stuff at the "nails" department...i even found the nail glue to put these beads and ribbon stuff. And they last pretty long, about 3 weeks before the ribbons started dropping off first.
ritey...Have fun if u are going to DIY!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Nectarie le'Dessert Patisserie

At The Cannery of Clarke Quay, most of the action transpires after dusk. However, it is a little known fact that the area is also charming in the day with establishments such as Nectarie le'Dessert Patisserie, brought to you by the same people behind the uber-hip Ministry of Sound, Aurum and Café del Mar. Opened in the first quarter of 2007, this little patisserie-deli is serving up delectable bites and alluring desserts, all in an experience conceptualized by executive chef Edward Voon. Personally for me, it was because of an earlier soft launch party at Lunar that i actually discover this little 'alley' sized dessert house.

Fronted by tall glass windows, its name encrypted in golden letters, the place has adequate seating afterall despite it being of high stools and table tops. There's quite a wide selection at the counter as it stretches down the entire length of the interior. For the perfect way to while away your afternoon, perch yourself atop one of these chairs with a cup of tea in hand and watch the world go by. The al fresco seating is more comfortable (white shell with pink cushion egg chairs) and its tables can accommodate bigger groups of people.

Wj and I both went with the popular choice of a berry-laden Strawberry Shortcake ($6). The sides were stuck with thousand and one almond flakes which will sent those nutty intolerant people to a cardiac arrest. I dun mean it in a bad way of cos....while on the insides it was layered with soft layers of soft sponge cake with infils of fresh cream and sliced strawberries. The strawberries were sour sweet, just right while the little red berries sent shivers down my spine and straight to my temples! IT WAS BLOODY SOUR!!!!

The other favourite was a rich, bitter-sweet Chocolate Terne with Coconut Mousse ($6). My parents settled for a made to order waffle which took especially long with a scoop of their hyped up ice-cream.

There is no better way to enjoy your dessert than with a cup of good tea. The fragrant Peony Jade ($6.50) is really an agreeable choice as the flavour is light and subtle with a naturally sweet tinge that does not overpower your taste buds. Freshly brewed from tea leaves, their white teas are very popular with patrons as they are touted to be the least processed.

Specializing in desserts, the food selection is rather limited to a handful of sandwiches, quiches, soups and salads. Nevertheless, items like the sandwiches are reasonably priced from $6 for a Grilled Ham and Cheese, to $8 for a Roast Beef. Add $8 to the price of your sandwich and get a set meal consisting of a soup, dessert and house coffee/tea.

Those working nearby, I heard that they have a very interesting Duck Confit with Truffle Quiche ($6.50), served with a small side of mesclun salad. Tender slivers of savoury duck meat is added to an egg mixture and baked in a thin pastry crust, resulting in a warm medley of textures. Ask for some honey dill mustard to heighten the flavours of the quiche and enjoy every single bite. (Think there is some promotion going on from 3pm-5pm, check it out...)

Freshly prepared to order, the strudels here are a must-try. With interesting creations such as Sarawak Pineapple Chutney & Tamarind and Alphonso Mango with Lemongrass, making up your mind might be the hardest hurdle to cross. However, for something tangy and uplifting, try the Wild Strawberries & Balsamic Thyme ($6). While the berry compote is a little sharp with the acidity, it complements the sweet custard in a perfect marriage of flavours. Unlike strudels you will find elsewhere, the presentation is faultless as each ingredient is carefully layered and not jumbled to form a chaotic mess.
oh wells, hopefully, when i next return back to singapore, i might be able to sample their chocolate cake and a cuppa tea in a cooling afternoon, watching passerbys come and go and stare at me, wandering 'how come she doesnt have to work' look. hahah.

Friday, October 26, 2007

6D5N Taipei Itinery

20.10.07 Saturday Day01:

Arrival > Check-in > Shihlin night marketJetstar Asia $9343K521 20 Oct 2007 Leave SIN 1300 Arrive TP 1740
3K522 25 Oct 2007 Leave TP 1825 Arrive SIN 2300

WELCOME WJ and Velle to
Upon arrival at 桃園國際機場Tao Yuan Airport. Please take a map!
Take Freego airport Bus NT$140 per person. Turn left upon exiting the arrival hall. Check in Futurestar Hotel. Get EasyCard (悠遊卡) (NTD500 per card with refundable NTD100 deposit)
To get to Shihlin:
From Ximen Stn Green/blue line take MRT to Jiantan Stn, redline. It's dinner time!
1. Medicinal Pork-Rib Stew 药暾排骨 (Stall no 78)
2. Oyster Vermicelli 蚝仔面线 (Stall no 381)
3. Smelly Bean curd 臭豆腐 (Stall no 441)
4. Oyster Omelette 蚝仔煎, Stir-fry Squid 生炒花枝 (Stall no 488)
5. Eight Treasures Ice 八宝冰and Mango Ice 芒果冰 (Stall no 497)
6. Steamed Buns 水煎包 – veggie and pork stuffing (Stall no 528)
7. Beancurd Pudding with bubbles 豆花 (Stall no 533)
8. 大餅包小餅 (Stall no 534, 9am to 9pm)
9. Aiyu Jelly 爱玉
10. Pearl Milk Tea 珍珠 (Stall no 536)

** try to go Shihlin night market on a weekend as they have more stuff. There is a mini indoor Go-Kart. NTD300 for 13mins racing.
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Shihlin Market

21.10.07 Sunday Day02:
City Tour > CKS MH > Taipei 101> NYNY, Warner Village, Mitsukoshi Dept > Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall > Guanghua Electronic Centre >XMD西门町
8am: wake up and prepare. From XM Stn go to CKS MH Stn. (end of red line)
9am: Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall(中正紀念堂), opens from 9am-5pm CKS MH Stn.
From CKS MH Stn take MRT to Taipei City Hall Stn
Taipei 101 Shi Fu Road, free shuttle service from Taipei City Hall Stn exit 2, left side with many bus stops, take the one with a sign “Free 101”. NT$350/pax. I personally think it's worth going up to see the whole of taipei area and familiarise oneself.
From Taipei 101 there is a bridge link to纽约纽约NYNY, from there can walk to华纳威秀Warner Village and Mitsukoshi Dept.
5pm: Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, walkable distance from Mitsukoshi Dept. Look for orange pitch roof.
7pm:Guanghua Electronic Centre (Zhong Xiao Xin Sheng Stn, blueline) Exit 4, turn right and walk to second junction, turn left at traffic lights and walk about 2mins to Guanghua. The first traffics lights is BaDe Rd, on the right is full of Computer shops as well. Blk 3,4 and 5.
Dinner time!!!!
西門町Ximending (Jiantan Stn) XMD shops opens from 1030am – 11pm
1. ***阿宗面綫***famous dish in XMD. Cost NT55 big bowl and NT40 small bowl. Ask around, it’s in one of the lanes.
2. 上海老天祿滷味鴨翅 (城都路),
3. Jap BBQ/ 熊一炭燒肉 this is a buffet,
4. Duck noodles@鸭肉扁
5. Bubble tea (鼎级 beside Rainbow hotel is not bad)
6. 甜不辣 (near East Dragon Hotel)
Walk abit more to Tao Yuan street for beef noodles. (worth the walking and looking around)
Beef noodle shop: Address: No. 15 Taoyuan Street (MRT Ximen Station Exit 3)Directions: Coming out from the exit 3, walk all the way straight until the 2nd road junction. There are two junctions after exit 3, one is after the shopping mall just before the bus stop, the other is further down after the bus stop. That’s the right junction. Cross the road to Tao Yuan St. (which is on your left) the noodle shop will be on the right of the street. It’s the 3rd stall, beside this breakfast shop that sells prata-like crepes and Soya bean milk. The 1st stall along that line is actually a pao dimsum stall. Quite a big bowl so it's advisable to share with your partners as me and wj couldnt finish one bowl by ourselves and there were so much more snacks to sample at XMD. NT$140/bowl

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Day 2 Taipei Part 1
Day 2 Taipei Part 2
22.10.07 Monday Day03: (Full day Hiking)Yeliu野柳 > Jiu Fen 九份> Keelung基隆> MiaoKou庙口 Night Market
*** Please prepare wet tissue paper here.
[MRT Taipei Main Station is connected underground to TRA, just follow the signs and take the escalators up]
Walk to Taipei Intercity Bus Terminal (direct exit from the west exit of Taipei Railway stn and walk straight, you will see a building with 'Taipei Intercity Bus Terminal) should be Exit 1 from Taipei Main Station.
Took the 国光客运 "To 金山" route [Counter 19, bus 19]
Bus to 野柳 (80 mins) NT$90/pax
Walk to the Geological Park from through a small town from the drop-off point. A short walk to a small shop called 阿枝小吃店. Can come here for lunch later after the walk at the park.They serve small dishes like 卤肉饭, 猪血汤
Visit 野柳风景特定区 (Geological Park) NT$50/pax.
After exiting the park, lunch at阿枝小吃店
Yeliu > Jiu Fen (spending time circa 2~3hrs)
Walk back to the place where you alight and cross the road. The bus stop is in front of a 便利店 took a "to 基隆" bus, alight at 基隆 station, it’s the last stop along Keelung harbour where u will see Starbucks and Burger King. Ticket NT$45/pax.
Cross the overhead bridge to take a Keelung bus to 九份. (Approx 50mins bus ride) Ticket NTD50. Will pass thru Ruifang, up the hills. Stop after the “Police station” stop, the 2nd Jiufen stop, near the 7-11 located at the entrance to 九份老街 if you dun wan to climb the stairs up. Walked around 九份.
1. 赖阿婆芋丸,
2. barbeque sotong. NTD50 a pc.
3. Yu Yuan (Lai Ah Po)
4. Bak Gua (very thin slices)
5. Grilled Mushrooms NT$70 small cup
6. 九份古早丸 Big fishballs (got many Taiwanese stars photos plastered all over the wall)
Zhang Shi Fu Bing Dian:凤梨粟 3 boxes for NT500, Tai Yang Bing, Tam pastry, Yogurt filling Muah Chee etc.
Jiu Fen > Keelung基龙- Keelung Miaokou庙口 24food hour street.Where you alighted for Yeliu (convenience store) take a bus to Keelung. NT45/pax
Once you reach Keelung, cross the overhead bridge, go down the stairs, on the left, walk straight along忠一路, turn right at 爱三路 (abt 10 mins from station). Walk passed the Keelung River all the way to the otherside to the McDonalds. Passing the shops in that street, Miaokou is on your left at the first Junction.
It is the best place to sample the wide array of delicious snacks in Taiwan. Nearly 200 vendors line the street in front of Dianji Temple. Taro balls, Tempura, Bubble ice, lots of seafood

Eat:1. Wu’s Dingbiansuo Stand 27-2 in front of temple on Rensan Rd 10am to 2am (not many pple here so we didn’t try)
2. Mango ice
3. Glutinous rice(油饭) and crab meat soup (stall5)

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Jiufen Lao Jie 23.10.07 Tuesday Day04: (Full Day)Lungshan Temple龍山寺 > Miramar美丽华> Wanhua Wholesale area > Wufenpu Garment Wholesale Area五份铺 > Raohe Night Market8am:Rise and shine
9am: Breakfast around the area. Lungshan Temple龍山寺 Longshan Temple Stn, blueline next stop from Ximen Stn. One of the popular temples in Taipei.
11am: Miramar Entertainment Park Free shuttle service from Jiantan Stn. Visit Ferris wheel. The shuttle service back is at another spot of the shopping mall, ask around.
1pm: Lunch at Shihlin. Ate the black pepper steal NT$150.Back to XMD for some shopping
4pm: Wufenpu Garment Wholesale Area Take MRT, exit 1,Houshanpi Stn. Opens from 430pm11pm.
** Very big will take some time walking and shopping. Should be about 4 hours.
** Wufenpu is good to go on all days except Mondays where they update their inventory.
Raohe Night Market for dinner, walk from wufenpu garment wholesale area. Located across the street of Shongshan Train Station. At the train station, you should be able to see a red bridge on the left hand side.

Dinner time!!!!
1. At the entrance of Raohe night market, you will spot a long queue in front of a stall selling pepper buns。
2. At the other end of the street, there is another stall selling a local delicacy 'Stinking Toufu'.
3. 三兄弟Mutton herbal soup NT$70 and Pork Rib soup NT$60 and lufan
4. Fruits are cheap here, NT$50 for 3 packets.


Read here for:
WuFenPu & Raohe Market
Long Shan Si

24.10.07 Wednesday Day05: (Full Day)
Yangmingshan 阳明山 > Hsin Peitou Hot springs>淡水Danshui Laojie>渔人码头 Fisherman’s Wharf7am: Wake up! Rise and shine.
8am: Yangmingshan 阳明山is the national park. (1.5h bus ride from Ximen MRT bus stop exit 3 Bus260)
**Check water, sweets, wet tissue, umbrella, change of clothes, swim wear. NT15 for bus rides.
YMS opens early and the first bus up the mountains starts at 530am from Taipei Main Stn.
1pm-3pm: Take bus red 5 to Jiantan Stn. Take MRT to Xin Beitou stn for hotsprings.
1. Springs City Resort. Has free shuttle bus from Hsin Peitou to resort. Spring alfresco spa : 800NT per pax
2. Villa 32. This one has very nice setting. Private room for 2 NT$2000 for 90mins
4pm: Visit the library. Wooden structure, very unique.
5pm: Take MRT from Hsin Peitou Stn to DanShui Stn. Walk around Danshui laojie.
Take bus 26 to Lover’s Bridge. Watch sunset. Lover’s bridge lights up at 7pm. Take bus back to Danshui Stn. Dinner at Danshui Laojie.
Seafood, fishball soup, 阿嬤的酸梅湯, 鐵蛋, 黑糖麻署, 冰梅 minty sour plums, 阿给, cone ice-cream that is curled till very tall for only NT$20, which is around S$1.9pm: After dinner if not tired, take ferry back to Danshui MRT then to Huaxi Street Night market (LongShanSi Stn) or 24 Eslite Bookshop (ZhongXiao Dunhua Stn)

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Villa 32 and Fisherman's Wharf

25.10.07 Thursday Day06:
Free and easy.
Please book return bus to airport. Can call Freego (02)2586-3065 or go to the East Dragon hotel entrance to enquire about ticketing. They have pick-up every hour or so.
Don’t forget to refund your MRT cards.
250pm: Board Freego bus to Taoyuan Airport
625pm: Byebye Taipei and Home Sweet Home.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Totally Taipei!

what a rat race man!!!!

it's all mr goh's craziest idea of going to BKK on a tuesday, walking and with tons of shopping and returning friday midnite and then flying off to Taipei the next day in the morning, lots of walking here again, sightseeing, hiking up the mountain, shopping and finally we are back in sunny isle once more!

But it's all worth it!!!!

Taipei was so happening!!!! So much eating to be done just like the Taiwanese Variety show 十字路口!!! we race around the clock to so many nite markets, queued the longest snake queues, sampling all their local snacks, desserts and noodles till we bloat like 2 chinese puffer fishs! Totally awesome!!!

will post BKK photos soon!!! ones will have to wait awhile....haha!!!! cos there are tons of them! i need some time to sieve thru them first before i can post them!!! i even used up my 1G memory card while i was in taipei and wj had to buy a new XD card for me so that i could cont taking pictures!!!! oh wells! i will post my Taipei 武林密集 itinery first for reference if any of u gals are planning to visit there!!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Day 06 Returning home

and that's all for taipei taiwan...i truly enjoyed myself these past few days, oogling at the pretty girls here, many bikes on the roads, snacks on streets, very chinese speaking locals, visited old streets, the very fast paced city and shopping areas including the infamous Ximending and of cos the very very well known Shihlin Night market.
all good things must to an end... so well, goodbye!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Day 05 Part 01 - YangMingShan > Villa 32

Our 2nd last day in taipei and today is the day where we are GOING HIKING people! yes me, miss velle is going hiking!!! muahaha, the cows are flying. And the hiking venue is the National Park - Yang Ming Shan!
SO i packed my sweets and wet tissue, lots of shillings for bus rides, cap for a sunny day, just in case, one can never be too sure, an umbrella if it rains, and finally a positive attitude! we are climbing! so definitely need lots of morale support!!! hahahhaa....

above: photos taken along the climb! and trackers on earth to tell us how much distance we have covered.

taduh! we have reached the visitors' centre after hiking 1.7km!!! WHAT! we have climbed for half an hour and we haven even really started the trail!?!? *fainting here*

Finally, we have reached the first lookout point at Yangmingshan...and trust me, there were afew hurdles on the way, like fallen trees on path, path broken and signages warning us of snakes!!!!! *fainting spells*

above: we gave up at the first lookout point after 1.5hr of climbing, er, i think i did pretty great already. *blush* So we took the bus up and down YangMingShan and finally back to Shihlin for lunch! heehee... so shiok ah!

Above: Next stop, a visit to Hot Springs at Villa32! woohoo, it's a relatively new spot, about a year and still very new and hip! We opted for a private "soak soup"

Above: snapshots..and more snapshots of our private soaking soup room....

tribute to my first love: ahren...he loves what i love, do what i love and follow wherever i go.

to be continued....

Day 05 Part 02 - Villa 32 > Fisherman's Wharf

After a refreshing soak in the soup, wj and i went to visit the city library and what a terrific cozy building it was! made from wooden structure and shaped like a ship, nestled in lush greenery with a small lotus pad pond, it was tranquil and scenic, the perfect spot for some light reading. the feeling was really great, inside, they had this little niches amongst books, the shelves were low and didnt give readers a overbearing or towering feeling like most libraries.
Outside, there was a timber deck with nice wooden benches for visitors..facing the lush greenery...oh how perfect! Really really love this place!!!

left: library
right: me at Danshui Lao Jie...looking at a tall mocha soft cone!

above: wj asking directions to the Fisherman's the end we took a cab. we certainly were lost.

yippee we are there and ahead of us is the famous Lover's Bridge!

dinner: back at Ximending, our hotel area and having a good hot bowl of duck noodles! *slurps*

and since it's our last nite already! yes people! how time f-l-i-e-s!!!! wj is having his last bowl of small intestine vermicelli. while i trying to pick out some earrings for biaojie but in the end gave up! and bought her something else....

Day 04 Part 2 Wufenpu>Raohe Nite Market

Lunch time! rite, we admit, we know really little about taipei, so we went back to Shihlin to eat and i had my first try at Ivory Bittergourd drink!!! imagine that! abit bitter, cooling, even refreshing and thanks to added honey, it was bearable and thirst quenching on a sunny afternoon!

WJ had his beef steak all sizzling on his hotplate, came in a set with bun and drink plus soup! anyway, we had some time on our hands to while the time away cos Wufenpu only opens after 4pm...and note people, it stock checks on monday so avoid mondays!!! other than that, i bet shopaholics will go quite wild there! so many shops flanking right and left with lots of plastic bags of clothes all stashed up. Abit disorientating when i got there, my eyes just swerve left and right! Really!!! so many clothings!!!

after some shopping at Wufenpu, Wj bought really few stuff, think he was quite picky...haha he only managed to get a cheap steal on his tee and a fred perry polo. Other than that, the rest in the plastic bags were mine....muahahhaa

here's us queueing at the infamous Q of the pepper buns, just right in front of the 'gate' of Raohe Food street cum Night market. First we thot, what the heck, come all the way here, we should try and not regret later even though we werent hungry at all. after queueing 10mins, seeing how many people in front of us were buying like 5-10buns in one go, we sort of went...yah, wait so long then buy one bun to share, abit 'boh hua' i thot wj, let's just get 2.
another 5 mins pass
... hey, why not buy 3 lah, then tonight can eat for supper? what if really nice how, then regret not buying more right?
wj: nod nod in agreement
1min went by, im stretching my knees now...
...jie, i think let's buy 4 buns lah, then tonight u one i one...
jie: yah i think so too leh.
nearing to the Q...
we ordered 4 buns to go. GOSH.

this mutton and herbal pork rib soup is good man!!! thumbs up! and highly recommended! and so were the fried cuttlefish! so thick and juicy!!! shop shop.