Saturday, July 20, 2019

Have Your Wish Granted @ The 'Nine-Dragon' Screen in Hongfu Temple [Guiyang, Guizhou, China]

The 9-dragon screen was such a famous artifact that it's unsurprising to find replicas except that this one in Hongfu Temple at Guiyang (provincial capital of Guizhou) is said to have the ability to grant wishes! 

Frankly, i wasn't aware of the above until our pretty tour guide, Huan Huan, shared with us. Apparently, it's not as simple as going ahead to touch / rub something and you have to go through a process! 

The tiles at the courtyard were either square or rectangular; however, there's one section that had its edges chipped off and looked almost like a circle tile. That's where the wisher shall stand, towards the direction of the 9-dragon wall. 

Say your wish, stretch out a hand, fix your gaze on the little buddha in the middle of the wall, close your eyes and walk straight until you touch the wall. Once you open your eyes and your hand is on this particular symbol at the feet of the baby buddha, it means your wish would come true! 

Took a video of someone attempting it; with the help of a friend. Now, that's no fair and i doubt you would get your wish come true.

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Location
Hongfu Temple,
Qianlingshan Park,
Guiyang, Guizhou, China

Yi Shi Jia Wanton Mee (益食家云吞面) - The Good, Old Traditional Taste @ Kovan Hawker Centre [Singapore]

I went round the hawker centre twice as i didn't know what to have for lunch; should it be the minced meat fishball noodles with long queue, the roast delight or something new? Turned out i have been craving for noodles in recent weeks and i eventually cast my vote at a stall that's rather hidden at the back of the food centre.

Yi Shi Jia Wanton Mee (益食家云吞面); it's interesting for a wanton mee stall to differentiate its menu using spicy, ketchup and soy sauce! Usually, it's more like the customers asking for either spicy or non-spicy or the stall owner checking if you want spicy or not. 

It's funny that when it comes to wanton mee, it's never the wanton (dumplings) that matters. Like many other similar stalls, the three small wantons at Yi Shi Jia were nothing to scream about and the soup didn't make a significant impact for my taste buds. 

Char siew wise; again, not the fatty kind with charred bits that i totally love. p.s. i did notice that the operator was generous with the char siew as there were so many slices!

Swimming in an appetising sauce that's mixed in with ketchup (tomato sauce), the noodle was definitely the biggest draw with an alluring taste of nostalgia! The strands of noodle were soaked with the sauce and had an eggy and subtle akaline flavour; each scoop into my mouth brought me back to my childhood when a plate of wanton mee cost only S$1.50.

Satisfaction, max! 

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Address
209 Hougang Street 21, 
#01-57, Kovan Food Centre, 
Singapore 530209 
(Next to Kovan MRT Station)

Map

As above.

Operating Hours
9.00am till 4.30pm

Pricing
Ketchup Wanton Mee - S$3.50 a plate. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Hunger's Kitchen - Affordable Drinks & Generous Roasted Chicken Salad @ Shaw Tower [Singapore]

Every Wednesday evening, i would be in the vicinity of Bugis and with the abundance of food outlets; i am often spoiled for choice. Trust me; that's a major dilemma for a person who loves to eat! 

For the past few weeks, however, i have been patronizing Hunger's Kitchen at Shaw Tower. There are a few reasons for this continual patronage; one of which is its close proximity to where i would be attending my weekly activity.

Another reason; i need a place where i can hole up for about an hour plus and it's good to note that the air-conditioned restaurant offers extremely low prices for drinks! A cup of hot mocha cost only S$1.80, a bottle of mineral water is S$1.20 and ice lemon tea is S$1.70; that's almost coffee-shop pricing! 

Mocha Coffee - for S$1.80, i am not complaining and this would defnitely last me more than an hour. But drink is only one component; it's dinnertime and i would need something to placate the growling monster we call stomach. 

Roasted Chicken Salad - with me hitting the big 4 o next year, it's important for me to make some change to my eating habit and one of the things i have been ingesting on a frequent basis is salad although i would always prefer mine to consist a meat protein.

While most salad would not contain much meat, i was pleasantly surprised to find a quarter of roasted chicken on my salad that also included corn, black olive, cherry tomato, cucumber, red onion, Parmesan cheese and drenched with lemon vinaigrette! 

It was a good and satisfying meal, especially for a person like me who is somewhat health conscious yet couldn't do without meat! My only wish? For the restaurant to offer even more meat options for their salads! 

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Address
100 Beach Road, #01-01, 
Shaw Towers, Singapore 189702

Website

Pricing
Mocha - S$1.80
Roasted Chicken Salad - S$8.90
(Subject to GST)

Additional Information
Would love to check out their set menu in the future! 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Minority Culture Museum of Qiandongnan Prefecture (黔東南民族博物馆) @ Guizhou [China]

The first stop on day seven was still within the city of Kaili, where we were brought to the Minority Culture Museum of Qiandongnan Prefecture! I am actually not a museum goer when overseas as i could literally spend hours and that's not very good use of my vacation. 

Since this was part of our Guizhou tour package, we might as well go through the flow and it's great to have Huan Huan, our tour guide, explaining and clarifying the exhibits. 

Opened in 1988, the museum was undergoing rather extension renovation and certain sections were closed. Not a big problem for me as this would mean spending less time in the museum and more time in other attractions! 

Region we were in is the Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture and according to the explanation above, is known to be the intangible natural museum and has 276 traditional villages, comprising 10.8% of the total in China. 

Miao ethnic group is always mentioned and talked about but in this prefecture, the Dong ethnic group takes up a signification percentage in the population and the one thing that always comes to mind about the tribe is their choir (known as 侗族大歌)! It would be a great honor if i can hear them sing! 

Other tribes in the prefecture. It's interesting how culturally distinct each ethnic group and amazing how they manage to maintain their roots in the modern days. 

Sedan from the Dong tribe; well, i am no expert but what difference is this from the other Chinese sedans? Look about the same to me. 

Window Climbing - a courting ritual for the Dong tribe. Wait, i have seen those stairs before! I remember seeing the same type at Mari Mari Cultural Village at Kota Kinabalu; about 2,500 kilometers away! 

Tools used for agriculture.

Moonlit Melodies; a social gathering for the pursuit of romance. The girls would weave and sing while the boys take out their musical instruments and play the melody.   

Scale down replicas of the traditional houses; i am not sure if i would be keen to stay there given the need for modern conveniences like radiator, air-conditioning, internet etc. Furthermore, big houses mean more household chores! 

The wind rain bridge is said to be a unique architecture by the Dong tribe. 
I should know because i saw it before at Guilin three years ago! 

Drum tower - seeing this makes me sad as it reminded me of my loss the day before. Anyway, the drum tower of the Dong signifies the existence of a surname; the more you see in a village / town means there are a few surnames and taller the tower is, the greater the respect. 

Picture of their Dong welcome ceremony for guests.

Composition of the Dong tribe in other provinces; in Guizhou itself, the province houses close to 50% of the Dong ethnic group!

Interest expressed by our tour mates. Before i embarked on my visit to Guizhou, i didn't know it was culturally richer than Yunnan and Guilin with a large group of minorities. Within Qiandongnan prefecture, there are already 33 ethnic groups and that's significant given that China recognises 55 ethnic minority groups.

Ancient fossil found in the area; long, long time ago, the Qiandongnan was an underwater kingdom! 

Spectacular photos taken of the traditional villages! It's a pity that my trip only covered about two days in the prefecture. However, the area is not developed for tourists yet and if you are still keen to explore, you might be inconvenienced with the lack of comfort and modern amenities. 

What's so interesting about the pieces of wood?

Look at the ugly engraving on the surface! During the dynasties of Qing and Ming, the wood traders would make the wood so that in the event it was lost (for example, in a flood), they could find the ones that belong to them! 

This last exhibit didn't generate much interest for me even it was all about a literary giant who is insanely famous in China; Lu Xun, the father of modern Chinese literature.

His life, his works were all display. Well, i don't read Chinese books (except for Chinese comics and novels from Qiong Yao when i was younger) even though i know of him; hence, i wasn't enthusiastic in learning more.

Unlike my cultured tour mate above.

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Sunday, July 14, 2019

Big Dog Cafe & Bistro @ Bangkok [Near Thailand Cultural Centre MRT Station] #bigdogcafe

Among the many animal cafes in Bangkok, Big Dog Cafe is one of those that are featured frequently on friends' social media! Hence, when my younger sister suggested a visit back in April, i was happy to join her as the cafe is conveniently located near the Thailand Cultural Centre MRT station

Even though we read somewhere that it would be better to make an appointment to reserve a time slot; we couldn't be bothered as we prefer flexibility. Turned out our arrival timing at about 4.30 pm on a Thursday wasn't a busy period and a slot at 5.00 pm was still available. 

Change to the cafe's slippers before you step in; separated into three sections, the cafe operation is in the middle one whereas the one facing the main road would likely be open should there be a crowd. The inner section would be where the mingling with dogs shall take place and as mentioned above, the next slot is at 5.00 pm.

Interesting thing about the Big Dog Cafe (which would be celebrating its 10th birthday this year) is that you don't have to pay the cover charge of 199 baht if you don't have the intention to play and mingle with the dogs! 

Dog lovers would be pleased to note that there are over 40 dogs in this compound and they range from the diminutive Pomeranian to the gigantic Great Dane! 

Certification of vaccination for your reference.

A few dogs require extra attention and those paying the cover charge should be mindful on the dos and dont's listed on the booklets placed around the cafe; for example, not to wear sunglasses, mask, cap when the Tibetan mastiff is around.

Be mindful around the wolf hounds too! You may attempt photo-taking only when the trainer / carer is around to assist you. As the bites for big dogs can be lethal, especially for some of the breeds, it's good to take precautions. 

Other cafe rules as above! 

Awaiting the dogs to bounce down the ramp from the second level and crowd out the not-too-big compound; Alex chose to sit in the air-conditioned cafe and guard our belongings while we prepared for the doggies arrival at the inner, non-air-conditioned section.

Some ongoing renovation for another structure next to the inner section; maybe an expansion to include birds or reptiles? Or maybe an air-conditioned mingling area given how hot Bangkok can be.

A swimming pool for the dogs!

Canines are generally greedier than felines and having a bag of treats would make it easier for you to get closer to the dogs! Available at 150 baht a bag and promotion was buy two, get one free! Stinginess runs in our family as we didn't bother to purchase.

Here come the dogs! 

As it's impossible to get all the dogs down at the same time (imagine the noise, the confusion and the mess), there are shifts limiting to about five dogs at one time and each shift is about 15 minutes. In order to see all the dogs, you would need at least two hours. 

Time to bombard you with picture and picture of the adorable doggies! 

'Accidents' can happen and i don't know why people can still willing sit on the cement flooring! Aside from the risk of dirtying your clothes, you would likely be potential urine "markers" for the dogs.

Thankfully, there were a lot of staff members on standby and once they spot the "accident", they would proceed to mop up the mess. However, if you "kenna" the urine, there's really nothing much they could do except to pass you wipes and febreze fabric refreshener spray. 

Fans and air-coolers were placed at strategic locations and it's so cute to see some of the dogs making use of them to cool themselves down; like this kawaii pomeranian! 

Bowls of drinking water (for the dogs) were also available and the doggies knew exactly where to get them! Just note to steer clear of them after they drink as they would shake off the excess water once they are done! 


A time-lapse for your viewing pleasure! Those people in yellow vests are the friendly staff members who would help you entice the dogs to come over and take photos for you, regardless of whether you bought their treats.

My younger sister with some of the dogs!

While her original choice was the Alaskan Malamute, i think it's the breathless English bulldog that eventually won our hearts! How can it be so ultra cute?!


Check out the video i took of Beary!

A satisfied sister even though we didn't manage to check out all the dogs given that we had already scheduled dinner with our elder sister. p.s. how they did manage to squeeze in 40-over dogs on the second floor?!

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Address
82 Ratchadaphisek Rd, Khwaeng Huai Khwang,
Khet Huai Khwang, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10310,
Thailand [Exit 1 of Thailand Cultural Centre MRT Station]

Map
As above.

Facebook Page

Menu
As above. 

Charge to Play with Dogs
199 Baht - Per Person

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