Monday, July 31, 2017

Dogs at Sukawati Art Market in Ubud @ Bali [Indonesia]

Having dogs running on the street is a common sight in Bali and that's quite a surprise since Indonesia is predominantly a Muslim country, with Bali being the unique one for having a population that believes mostly in Hinduism. 

While pet dogs are more the norm in urban areas like Kuta, stray dogs took the position when i was at Sukawati Art Market in Ubud and i didn't even travel far. Most appeared malnourished with bad skin problem! 

I remember an article circulating in Singapore's local media that unscrupulous operators are selling dog meat as satay in Bali and if the dogs indeed came from strays, i don't think it's good / safe for consumption. 

Not that i condone eating of dog meat but i have always opined that there are differing cultures all over the world and a dog is no difference from a chicken; it's still a life.

On happier matters, not all dogs are strays; some were kept by shop owners and much better groomed with shiny, frequently-brushed fur and watery, puppy eyes.

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Cantik Agriculture Luwak Coffee - Sampling the Coffee, the Tea and the Cocoa @ Bali [Indonesia]

I was told that a trip to Bali is incomplete if i didn't manage to pay a visit to the numerous kopi luwak plantations on the island. Hence, boy was i glad to have been brought to Cantik Agriculture Luwak Coffee! 

Now, i do have my suspicion this could be the same kind of "commissioned shopping tour" that i totally dread but since this was part of a tour package and i am with a much bigger group (trust me, numbers count); i decided to keep my zip my mouth.

To be honest, i was pretty excited as i heard so much about the luwak coffee; including its shitty origin and the astronomical pricing it commands.

The winding path wasn't long although i kept looking left and right; in case of small little civet cats decided to pounce on us. Nope, it didn't happen and it was, in fact, just a cooling walk. 

Anticipating a long line of cages with civet cats indulging in the coffee beans that they love so much? You would be sorely disappointed; customers would be blessed with just two cages, side by side.

One in each cage - they appeared to be sleeping yet a slight movement revealed an alertness that's ready to kill. Commercialism is actually detrimental to the welfare of the civet cats; poor felines were just enjoying their raw coffee beans and the nasty humans had to cage them up to 'milk them' further. 

Anyway, we were brought to a wooden hut decked out with benches and tables. I roughly knew what's coming and chose to excuse myself to explore the immediate surroundings.

Nice, peaceful view in front of us. The huts were built in such a way that they don't block off the scenery in front of us. Should this agricultural business venture fail, Cantik should consider building a resort here! 

Want to guess what the above is? It's a cocoa fruit and it's the first time i am seeing it for real using my eyes! For those who don't know, the beans in a cocoa fruit gave us chocolate.

Education continued - this was an opened coffee bean and we were encouraged to suck it as the seeds were too hard to bite through. There's a sweetness to it; no wonder the civet cats like it so much! By the way, trivial time - if you pop a coffee fruit and there was one seed; it's a male. Those with two seeds are female. 

See how airy the huts are! 

If there's heavy rain, as we thought we might encounter that day, there's a traditional roller blind that you can unroll to reduce the watery onslaught.

Back to the table with a hard, plastic laminated place-mat. From the look of it, i would have assumed this would be the full range of beverages produced by Cantik.

It only dawned on me its true purpose when the staff brought in a tray of tiny little glass cups filled with liquid of varied colours. 

One cup for each item on the place-mat; ingenious in my opinion as the staff would not need to repeat himself every time a visitor forgets what he / she is drinking from among the twelve types of beverages! 

So what were the good ones after tasting every single one of them? Mangosteen tea was my favourite for being so relatable to Ribena whereas turmeric tea had that spicy punch to perk up my sense. For coffee, i was most impressed with ginseng coffee, coconut coffee and vanilla coffee. 

With a mix of tea and coffee swirling in my tummy, i had to refrain myself from drinking more lest i had to make numerous toilet stops later! For your information as well, the group of us had to share the content in the 12 cups and some were not comfortable as most were all from the healthcare industry! 

No chance to try Kopi Luwak as it's priced at a separate 50,000 rupiahs a cup! To put it bluntly, i am not keen to pay for coffee that came out from a butt-hole but if it's free, i will take it. haha.

Lastly, we were of course brought to a retail shop where we can buy souvenirs of coffee / tea powder we tried earlier, chocolate that didn't taste like they deserve the pricing and the highly acclaimed kopi luwak. 

They came in really desirable packaging; however, i got a shocker when i looked at the price tag. Trust me, i actually turned to the price tag again as i couldn't believe the pricing; a 50-gram coconut coffee costs 60,000 rupiah?! That's freakish expensive considering that my favorite Old Town coffee with 15 sachets at 35-gram each cost lesser than that! 

I grabbed a pack of mangosteen tea (which i absolutely enjoyed tasting earlier) - it was priced at 410,000 rupiahs for 500 grams! No way am i going to buy one, regardless of its organic tag! Those interested in kopi luwak may wish to note that a 50-gram pack would set you back by 250,000 rupiahs. 

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Location
Br Temen Tampaksiring Gianyar Bali


To know what else i did on my 4-day, 3-night Bali tripclick here.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Chicken Chop from Rasa Sayang Western Food @ S11 Food Centre (Ang Mo Kio Central Block 711) [Singapore]

Remembering that i almost blogged about the chicken cutlet from rasa sayang western food stall a second time, i selected another item on the menu facade; chicken chop!

I am super particular when it comes to the chop as my preference is always with the ones that have a sweeter marination and i count Kallang Western Barbeque's chick chop as my favourite. So how did the above fare in comparison?

Before we start with the chop, let's talk about the accessories; love the crispy shoestring fries, the fresh and the nice, cold coleslaw! Garlic bread was hard and chewy and i couldn't comment on the beans since i don't like them. No complaint about the sunny side up which was a top-up at a nominal price.

Though it didn't have that honeyed marination i look out for, there's a traditional taste to it that the older generation might like. My main grouch wasn't the taste; it's the size and thickness. Compared to the chicken cutlet here, there was a significant drop in the size for the chop and it was too thin to derive any satisfaction!

I cleaned it up in no time! Wait, what happened to the portion of baked beans?! I had Alex with me and unlike me, he absolutely digs beans!

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Location
Block 711, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8,
#01-3501, Singapore 560711

Map

As above.

Menu
As above.

Pricing
Chicken Chop - S$6.50

Other Stalls in the Same Coffee Shop


Friday, July 28, 2017

Kogane Yama Tendon - Udon Style & the Original Matcha Latte @ Bugis Junction [Singapore]

I didn't give a raving review for Kogane Yama Tendon but taste differs from person to person and in Alex's opinion, the tendon restaurant at Bugis Junction is good enough for us to drop by again for lunch after a karaoke session at Manekineko Bugis +.

To efficiently spend my hard-earned money, i had to justify the meal with a blog post and the only way is to have something other than the normal tendon; soba was out of stock so that left me with only udon.

Since it's soup based, we didn't get the nice, instagram-worthy picture of a small bowl of rice literally overflowing with deep fried stuff. For good reason too as the soup would render the crispiness totally useless.

This time round, i also opted for the spicy sauce. In my food reviews, i always prefer to go with the basic / original unless it's for local dishes where i have a better grasp of what to expect or i was advised by others to choose something different.

My preference after trying both the non-spicy and the spicy sauce level one - the spicy sauce wins for the pinch of spiciness that totally tingled the taste buds and set it aside from the sweeter sauce found in other tendon eateries. Having said that, my heart still remains with Kohaku and Ginza Itsuki.

Udon tasted like the udon i always know; not impressionable and only seek to reinforce the notion that i am better off with the local mee poh / mee kia. Soup flavour was plain and simple; again, i would be better off with good old Japanese rice. 

Matcha Latte - this was one section of the non-extensive menu that caught my attention previously and i decided to get a cup of original matcha latte this time! 

Available only in cold, this was like your common green tea milkshake with a weak green tea taste that should have been intensified for that unforgettable oomph.

There's even a piece of lightly roasted marshmallow; no idea what it was there although i get the feeling it's merely to beautify the beverage. 

Okay, i couldn't resist roasted marshmallow with their charred, caramelized layer and devoured it in no time; and feeling a pang of guiltiness after that for ingesting extra sugar into the body. 

As a milkshake, i did enjoy the matcha latte and would feel better if the glass wasn't filled with ice; mind you, i am looking at about three quarter of the glass!

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Location
200 Victoria Street, #02-50,
Bugis Junction, Singapore 188021
(Beside Chir Chir Chicken)

Map

As above

Facebook Page

Menu
Refer to my original post here.

Pricing
Mixed Tendon Set - S$17.80
Matcha Latte (Original) - S$4.80
(Subject to GST and Service Charge)

Additional Information
For my original posting on Kogane Yama Tendon, click here

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Steamed Corn in Sukawati Art Market @ Ubud [Bali, Indonesia]

Manned by a chain smoking uncle with unblinking eyes that pierced right through me when i was taking a picture of the street lined with art shops on both sides; i honestly don't think i would dare to buy anything from his mobile stall. 

After i was done taking tons of pictures, i walked back to find Alex gnawing at a ear of steamed corn. Looking around, the only one that's convenient was owned by the chain smoker. 

Since Alex was the one who bought at 2 for 20,000 rupiahs, i happily took half a ear and sank my teeth into its middle; even though there wasn't the buttery saltiness found in Singapore's steamed corn, this took the cake for having a wholesome sweetness that's not cloying enough for me to feel unhealthy! 

Good enough for me to take the other half for myself too! 

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Location Map
As above (red star). i just checked google map of street view and the same man was captured, with his mobile cart but without his cigarette.



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