Sunday, December 25, 2016

Tokyo Chikuyotei 东京竹叶亭 JR Central Towers Nagoya

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Our first meal in Nagoya was at this place at the 12th floor of JR Central Towers at Nagoya Station. One of the things that I wanted to try was the Hitsumabushi or grilled eel bowl. Authentic ones, please.

As usual, we were hungry. Hotel was nearby Nagoya Station and we were too tired to go hunt for food. Was walking around and saw the directory for restaurants at the station. Hmm, Din Tai Fung? No thanks. But it was pretty popular amongst the locals there. Steak? Ooh, maybe. Grilled eel? Yes please!

this was how we decided on lunch
So having locked on our target, we went up to recce the restaurant. Thankfully, the queue wasn't too long and so we put our names down and sat quietly awaiting to be called.

Chikuyotei shopfront
Once seated, we were served hot tea and wet towel.


We were quick to decide on the Hitsumabushi lunch course. One could choose amongst two styles; Nagoya or Tokyo style. Friend chose the Nagoya style so I had the Tokyo one. We enquired on what's the difference and was informed that the difference was only in the sauce. Nagoya-styled has sauce glazed onto the eel.

Tokyo-styled Hitsumabushi @ ¥3,640 (incl. tax)

One could read the instructions from the card on the 3-ways of enjoying the Hitsumabushi dish. Or, do it free-style as you like!

can't wait to dig in

I liked the Tokyo style and so did my friend. The Nagoya styled eel had a more crispy exterior and a tad tougher. Mine was all soft and nice. Yummy!  But I think mine had more rice, judging from the size of the bowl.

Nagoya-styled Hitsumabushi
eaten with soup
There's sansho peppers powder on the table to jazz up the taste if you think it was a tad too boring. It has a slight numbing effect much like the peppercorn in mala-hotpot so exercise caution!

sansho pepper 山椒

It was a satisfying meal. Made a mental note to try this in Kyoto to check out the difference or simply, to enjoy grilled eel again.

Tokyo Chikuyotei 东京竹叶亭 

Location: JR Central Towers 12F, 1-1-4 Meieki, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, 450-6012, Japan
Website: http://www.chikuyotei.com/nagoya-en.html
Tel: +81(52)589-0112
Business Hours:
Lunch: 11:00~15:30 (Last order 15:00)
Dinner: 17:00~23:00 (Last order 21:30)



Saturday, December 24, 2016

Shodoshima Daigi Ginza Core 小豆島 大儀 銀座店 - 銀座コア

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It was by chance that we stumbled upon this shop. Wanted to eat sushi buffet at Tsukiji Tama Sushi but unfortunately we arrived without reservation and by the time we queued, the buffet wasn't available. Wandered around Ginza Core and chanced upon this udon shop.

The shop has various condiments and somen packs displayed at its store front and we were greeted by the proprietress, an elderly lady. Decided to dine there and sat ourselves down. The place was rather quiet and we were the only customer at that time.

Japanese menu
quiet shop
Wet towels and hot tea were served immediately while we pored over the menu. Request for an English menu and it was rather easy to order. Just point at the picture!

English menu
Was feeling famished so ordered a Tenzaru set. The shop only has udon or somen, so make your choice. Friend was having the Gyuniku Udon so I got myself a somen.

Gyuniku Udon ¥1274.40 (incl. tax)

Was very happy with my choice of the somen. It was very good. The noodles were cooked just right and retained its bouncy-ness. Cold somen dipped into the soy sauce and sometimes eaten with minced daikon, ginger paste or spring onions. So yums!

Tenzaru Somen ¥1566 (incl. tax)

The tempura portion was rather generous too. It had prawn, brinjal, white fish, sweet potato, ladies finger, and asparagus.

天麩羅
素麺

It was a happy meal! ごちそうさまでした!

Shodoshima Daigi 小豆島 大儀 銀座店 - 銀座コア

Address: B1F Ginza CORE, 8-20, 5-Chome, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Business Hours: [Mon-Sun]11:00~20:00 (Last Order 19:30)
Website: http://www.ginza-core.co.jp/shops/gourmet/gourmet_09.html

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Exploring Telok Ayer - Royz Et Vous and Fu Lin Bar

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Got a chance to explore the Telok Ayer area a little bit more the other day in November when a few of us (Kris, Jennifer and myself) trooped down there to meet up with Tiara for lunch.

For first timers to the area, the famous landmark to look out for would be the Thian Hock Keng temple. It's a Mazu (Sea Goddess) temple and is one of the oldest and important temple for the Hokkiens. Rebuilt in 1839.

Thian Hock Keng Temple

Next to this landmark, is Chong Wen Ge cafe. Hmm, a cafe in a temple-like structure? Instagram-ready with its beautiful tiles.

Chong Wen Ge Cafe

Directly opposite of the temple would be Royz et Vous cafe that serves decent cuppa. The cafe is spacious and serves halal-food.

Royz et Vous Cafe
interior
Mocha and Piccolo

For lunch, we had yong tau foo at Fu Lin Bar. That place would be packed by 12pm so head on down early. Otherwise, the wait for a table would be at least 20 to 30 minutes.

Fu Lin Bar
Yong Tau Foo in a hipster looking bar but with traditional signboard. Interesting. The interior had dim lightings and crowded on weekdays as the office workers nearby seemed to like this place by quite a bit.

To order, just pick your ingredients and pay at the counter. Indicate whether you'd like rice or noodles. Pay and wait. You'll be buzzed once the order is ready. Most items will be deep-fried after payment.

wait
interior
Got myself the minimum pieces (6) and the noodle was good. Doused with meat sauce and pretty Q.

Fu Lin Yong Tau Foo

If you're still feeling peckish, there's always Frankie's Peanut Pancake to fill the gap.

peanut pancake - ban chiang kueh

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Day Trip on a Weekend to Johor Bahru

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Getting to Johor Bahru By Public Transport (requires patience aplenty)

Great if you drive, but if you don't then there's lots of public transport going in. We went via bus #950 from Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange. This will bring us to Woodlands CIQ (Checkpoint) where passengers will disembark and go through the Singapore Customs. Yes, there was a traffic jam on the way in and that stole about half an hour away. Upon clearing the immigration, proceed to take original bus or whichever bus that you fancy to bring you across the Causeway. (ps: the queue for the bus was really really long...)

Then, we paid another $1 (cash) to board the smiley bus (yellow) CW1 which will then bring us across the causeway to Johor CIQ. Again, there was alot of people going into JB that day and we spent another 40 minutes to await our turn to get through the Malaysian customs.

Please note that there's no toilet at the Johor CIQ after you've cleared the customs. Nearest washroom would be at City Square mall. There's money changer and you could also get local data SIM card there too. Digi is offering 1GB of data and able to make local calls at RM10. Adequate for 5 hours of usage and kept us connected during our day trip there. Just remember to restart your phone after the installing the SIM card.

bus ticket issued to travel to JB Customs


All in all, allocate about 2 to 2.5 hours to travel from Singapore to Johor Bahru inclusive of clearing the customs on a Saturday morning.

After which, just follow the link bridge to City Square Mall to start shopping or to hop onto a cab to bring you to your next destinations.

1st Stop: Tai Chiang Coffee Shop Saleng (沙令大眾茶餐廳)

Address: 7 Jalan Jelawat, Taman Saleng Jaya, Senai, Johor, Malaysia

What is it

An old school coffeeshop that serves up eggs and toast nanyang-style (think soft-boiled eggs and charcoal grilled toast), good ol-kopi, hainan chicken rice, fried kway teow and yong tao fu.

kampong chicken soft-boiled eggs (RM1 per egg)
looking good
kopi @RM1.80 and kaya butter toast @RM1 per piece
fried kway teow (干炒河粉)@RM5

There were a lot of uncles and aunties enjoying their weekend breakfast there. Wanted to order char kway teow (those with seahums) but ended up with a plate of fried hor fun. Haha! But it turned out to be quite good. Enjoyed our breakfast there especially those who ordered the organic kampong chicken eggs.

The chicken rice looked promising with its chunky 'white' chicken but a customer whispered to our ears and said that the chicken was a tad rough for that day so we ended up not ordering any.

Was supposed to try wild boar meat on our next stop but unfortunately, it wasn't open at the time that we wanted to go. Plus, it was drizzling so decided on bak kut teh for lunch instead.


2nd Stop: Shoon Huat Bak Kut Teh 顺发肉骨茶

Address: No. 11, Jalan Sutera 1, Taman Sentosa, Johor Bahru 80150
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShunFaRouGuCha/

What is it

It's a curious place. It looks like it has a cafe-front that also sells local products like heong peah (biscuits), chinese new year cookies and coffee packs. It even has cold-press fruit juice! But the back of this shop, is where one could order the bak kut teh.

One pax pot is priced at RM14 while a 4-pax pot is priced at RM56. We took the 4-pax pot and added everything on their menu except kidney since we ordered a pot each of kidney and chicken in ginger and wine sauce.

bak kut teh @RM86

chicken in ginger wine sauce @RM15

The bak kut teh here is leaning towards the peppery variant instead of the herbal variant. The soup was pleasantly mild. Loved the ginger wine claypot chicken. Such tender bouncy meat and a slightly sweetish sauce with a tinge of chinese wine taste. Great sauce to go with the steamed rice.


3rd Stop: 7 Oaks Bakery Cafe

Address: 134, Jalan Serampang, Taman Tebrau Jaya, 80400 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sevenoaksjb/

What is it

A rather opulent looking bakery-cafe with interesting facade and decoration. It sure has very pretty looking cakes. The dining area is at Level 2 and it has its own lift too. The view at the balcony is pretty nice too but unfortunately, that's also the smoking area.

cakes

One chooses the cakes either from Level 1 or 2, make payment and the staff will serve them when you are seated. All the tiny pretty looking cakes were retailing for RM14.70. P&P, pricey and pretty.

D'Or @RM14.70++
Mango Charlotte and Lavender @RM14.70++ each

Taste wise, we enjoyed the gelee like skin of the D'Or and Lavender. The Mango Charlotte was ruined by the mango toppings which had a flavour that wasn't agreeable to us.

Salted Egg Croissant
salted egg lava @RM6.90++

"It didn't flow." We were saddened.

That was the reaction and we thought it was because the lava had hardened when the pastry had cooled down. So, off it went for a reheat and it turned out the same. Nevertheless, the croissant was adequately flaky and buttery with the salted egg yolk fillings having a custard-like texture.

Sparkling water "Rossa" @RM9.50++


4th Stop: Lavender (Flagship Store)

Address: 64/66/68, Jalan Serampang, Taman Pelangi, 80400 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Website: http://www.lavender.com.my/
Contact: +6 07 335 9966, +6 07 339 1333 
Business Hours: 9am-10pm daily

What is it

As this place is nearby 7 Oaks, plus it has the much raved about cheesecake by Tiara and Ivan, hence, it became a must-visit place with a mission to purchase the cheesy goodies.

The flagship store is huge! There was a nice guard who opened the door and welcomed the guests with a smile. Wow!

inside the shop
The shop has counters to display the cakes, tarts and also the usual shelves to display the daily bakes. So many variety and one getst that feeling needing to buy this, that and well, almost everything! Interesting much!

cheese tarts

For tourists, you may want to purchase individual items and try it at their cafe with a cup of coffee before deciding what to buy back. We tried the hanjuku cheese cake, cheese tart and also the nama chocolate cake.

Nama Chocolate Cake @RM16.90

Made a mistake of taking a big big bite of the Nama Chocolate cake. As its namesake suggests, the texture of nama chocolate which in a way had sort of a dense texture once it gets into your throat. Hence, savour this cake/chocolate slowly. Velvety smooth and not too sweet. One cake is shareable by 4 to 6 pax.


Hanjuku Cheesecake @RM3.80 per piece
If you think about it, RM3.80 for a tiny weeny piece of cheesecake that can be finished in 2-small bites is really expensive. After conversion, this is about SGD1.25 apiece. But, it was really good. So soft, so cheesy, so enjoyably sweet. You can purchase this in a box of 4 or 6 pieces and can be kept for up to 5-days in the fridge.

Even more exhorbitant pricing, was the Hanjuku Cheese Tart at RM6 per piece! Smaller than Prima Deli's cheese tart, I think. This version has a crisp crust and the same cheese as the cheesecake but a tad firmer. Amongst the group, some prefer this over the cheesecake.

Hanjuku Cheese Tart @RM6



5th Stop: Chua Kee Seafood Restaurant 蔡記海鮮樓

Address:Jalan Kacang Panjang, Gelang Patah, 81550 Gelang Patah, Johor, Malaysia
Contact: +60 12-761 0529
Business Hours: 11:30am to 11:00pm (closed on alternate Weds)

What is it

Seafood restaurant! Yay. This was what we needed as a finale for our day-trip to JB. And, the address amuses me. Jalan Kacang Panjang? Why, that's Long Bean Road! Hahahaha.

The restaurant has its own parking space which is at the opposite road. It was raining that evening and the parking lot road could get quite muddy. With nary a care to the price, we ordered away.

There's 6 of us and we ordered 8 dishes. Yup, that's our style!  As first-timers there, we ordered their signature dishes.

signboard
our dinner

We had a complete meal which had soup, vegetable, egg, meats, seafood and carbs.

Lala (Clams) Soup @RM18

The soup was an interesting milky coloured ginger clams soup with some wolfberries and lettuce in it. Comforting bowl to start off our dinner in the cold weather.

The butter chicken cubes were really tiny tiny deep-fried flour coated chicken with sweet savoury spicy sauce. Addictive like a crispy sweet-sticky popcorn chicken. 

Butter Chicken Cubes @RM18
Seafood Hor Fun @RM20

The seafood horfun has an interesting visual. Loaded with clams, some lean pork, fish cakes and prawns. The hor fun had good wok-hei, and you can't help but to scoop up some more after you've tasted this. Or, was it because we were hungry? Can't be, 'coz this was our fifth stop of that day!

Black Pepper Crab @RM132


The must-must order is really the seafood. The crab. We had two good sized crabs done in black pepper sauce style. Has a spicy kick and so shioks. The meat was fresh and sweet and not too firm. Lovely! Will come back for this.

it was a good meal


Thoroughly enjoyed the day with fellow foodies. My spend on that day was about SGD50 for a taste of the above.

Thank you Hence for getting us around JB, Tiara and Jen for the bus-trip company from SG to JB, and Kris, Tracy, Ivan and Justin for the makan recommendations and queuing up at Hiap Joo Bakery.
 
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