Thursday, August 22, 2019

Blossoms Once Again @ Guiyang, Guizhou [China]

Like my dad, i love flowers and nothing beats seeing an entire tree heavily laden with flowers so vividly bright and beautiful! In my Guizhou trip, the last day was most memorable as there were just so many sakura trees located near Jiaxiu Pavilion! 

I was literally lost for words although i believe there were other places elsewhere (in China, Japan etc) where the blossoms would be even more expansive. Oh well, i am already happy to be surrounded by so many. 

Dad was obviously the happiest! Maybe i should consider planning a trip with him to Japan / Taiwan where the annual sakura season is literally a major tourist period. I am hesitant though since my dad has always preferred tour packages whereas i am keener with free and easy in Japan and Taiwan... 

In comparison, dad appeared a lot more stern in the above picture with Jiaxiu Pavilion; the most iconic structure in the Guiyang; the provincial capital of Guizhou.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Salted Egg Chicken Rice @ SP Mini Wok in Singapore Polytechnic's Food Paradise Food Court

As a Singapore Polytechnic alumnus, i have fond memories of my alma mater, especially the meals i had in the food courts! Back in my time 20 years ago, food court 3 is not known for any good food but i guess time has changed.

Quite a few stalls caught the attention of my colleagues and i and my personal favourite had to the salted egg chicken rice from this SP Mini Wok which always attracts long queues; i have ever waited more than 30 minutes for my food! 

Served - my order of salted egg chicken rice with an extra fried egg! Luck was on our side today as it's the exam period and there were only a few persons in front of me; even my colleague felt the need to order from the stall despite her initial intention to have yong tau foo.

I have high expectations for salted egg food dishes and this hit the right note every single bite! The chef managed to lock in the delicious flavour of salted egg that had an addictive sweetness i couldn't resist! As you can see, there was a lot of meat and i love the occasional layer of crispy chicken skin that's sinfully good. Add a fried egg to mix into the white rice for that extra ommph! 

Craving satisfied - it has actually been at least half a year since i last patronized and with so many food options in Singapore; i felt guilty as it has been so long! Gosh, now i am thinking about the teriyaki chicken from Kazan Japanese Cuisine (Chinatown Complex Hawker Centre) which i have not had for a few months too...

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Address
500 Dover Rd, Food Court 3,
Food Paradise, Singapore 139651

Menu
As above.

Pricing
Salted Egg Chicken Rice - S$3.80
Fried Egg - S$0.50

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A Box of Fried Bananas for Only 15,000 Rupiah near Pasar Penuin Wet Market @ Batam [Indonesia]

The aroma of deep fried bananas drew me to this particular stall at a coffee shop diagonally across Pasar Penuin Wet Market and i was tempted to get some to try out in spite of the language barrier since i don't speak Bahasa Indonesia!

Thankfully, a man who understood English came over to assist and told me a box would cost 15,000 rupiah. Since it converts to about S$1.50, i requested for one serving even though i didn't know how many pieces i would get. 

It's a whole box, by the way!

I counted 11 pieces which was a real steal for just S$1.50; in Singapore, a singular king raja goreng pisang would have already cost me S$1.80! Of course, it's a different banana species i got from the box; not as sweet and could have been fried longer for a crunchier bite. Nonetheless, i am not complaining for the price and i absolutely love fried bananas deep fried with sesame seeds! 

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Address
Jl. Komp. Ps. Penuin, Batu Selicin, Kec. Lubuk Baja,
Kota Batam, Kepulauan Riau 29444, Indonesia

Map
As above.

Pricing
Fried Bananas - 15,000 Rupiah a box 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Chuan Kee Boneless Braised Duck Rice (全记无骨卤鸭饭) @ Yishun Chong Pang Hawker Centre [Singapore]

I am aware that the original Chuan Kee Boneless Braised Duck Rice is at Ghim Moh and while i wasn't that impressed with what i had at the temporary food centre then, i couldn't help wondering why it continued to command such a long queue, even for its sister branch at Chong Pang hawker centre!

However, the scenario was different yesterday; just one person in the line and i didn't even hesitate to quicken my pace and quickly order a plate of duck rice before the queue builds up! Well, i can only keep my fingers crossed and hope food would be better at this stall operated by the wife of the owner. 

Hm...  it didn't look the same and a comparison check with my post here revealed that the one in Yishun was drenched with a ton of braised sauce! Gleefully hoping for the best, i eagerly picked up my fork and spoon and took a bite.

Way better than what i had in Ghim Moh back in 2014, the rice had an intense braised flavour that was further enhanced by the accompanied sauce and i couldn't help relishing each and every spoonful into my mouth! Duck meat was a bit tough but i am willing to excuse it due to the delicious sauce! 

Definitely a few notches better than what i had a few years ago even though my heart continues to flutter towards Sean Kee braised duck rice at Geylang!  

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Address
Block 105, Yishun Ring Road, 
Chong Pang Hawker Centre, #01-161,
Singapore 760105

Pricing
Braised Duck Rice - S$3.00 a plate

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Day Seven of Our Eight Days' Guizhou Tour Package by Chan Brothers Travel



I couldn't sleep much given my loss the day before and woke up early for breakfast at Longdu Jingyi International Hotel. Well, not much mood for me to fill up my tummy despite the many words of encouragement and condolences offered by my tour mates.

With some time to kill before the tour group congregated at 10.30 am, i brought my dad to check out the calm lake across the hotel. Not an easy task given that the pavilion where i lost my DSLR is by the lakeside. 


The said pavilion that incurred much sadness. 


There was actually a prequel for my loss and it all started at silver shop housed within the Kaili Minority Cultural Museum (凯里民族文化馆) next to our hotel. 

Selling quality and beautiful silverware (including jewelry), i couldn't decide then if i should buy a bracelet with Buddhist scriptures written on the inner surface. It didn't take me long to decide to save my money instead; should i have bought it, my DSLR might still be with me as i definitely wouldn't have time to rest at the pavilion.   

Given my frustration with the loss of my camera (and six days of photos), i was determined to go back and buy the shining bracelet (costing RMB 498), which caught my eye the day before! 

Dad playing with a stray kitten next to the museum. It's interesting to note that the kitten expressed much more interest in my dad and he's not known to be a pet lover. Click here for more photos.

On our way back to Guiyang! 

Actually not really; we were brought to the Minority Culture Museum of Qiandongnan Prefecture in the same Kaili city instead where we gained insights about the minorities in Chinese (notably the Miao and Dong which had a high concentration in this prefecture) and Lu Xun. 

A ferocious looking dog standing guard over a few cages on a pickup truck. We didn't think too much about it as we were in a rush to return to the coach parked a further distance away and i didn't peek further to see what's being caged. It was hence with surprise that my photo did manage to capture what seemed to be another dog in one of the cages.

Turned out there's a restaurant selling dog meat not too far away. :( My stand has always been that every country has their own culture and it's not appropriate for us, as foreigners, to raise our opinions.

On a happier note, i still don't get it why my dad likes to take pictures with the coaches! I do take photos of the coaches but mainly because i need to keep a copy of the license plate in case i couldn't remember the driver for our tour group! 

Saw on the road - how to navigate with so many items?! If i am the driver, i would likely have an accident right after making a turn since i have severe doubt about my balancing. 

侗嘎佬 - a restaurant still within Kaili city; aside from musical performance right before entering, the men were subject to rice wine drinking as part of their welcome guest custom! 

Dad was drinking again! 

Nothing beats seeing the grinding of corn into corn meal; guess they went into making our dishes earlier although it could have been for show only since it's much more efficient to use machine-ground flour.

Out of Kaili, onward to Guiyang where we enjoyed the scenery dotted with rolling hills, agricultural land, hillside cemeteries and swathes of canola flower fields. 

Harnessing the wind for power! 

Safety alert - if the gas tanks were to scrap across the tarred road, would the sparks of friction result in an explosion? Just wondering. 

BRT stands for Bus Rapid Transit with a dedicated line for buses! I originally thought it's a train system and till now, still don't understand the difference it has with our bus lanes in Singapore, with exception that the latter operates only during peak hours.

Qianling Hill Park (黔灵山公园); i don't visit parks when i am on free and easy but it's the norm when it comes to tour packages! Thankfully, the parks in China are unlike the ones we have in Singapore.

Furthermore, the season i chose is always during spring when temperature is much cooler than Singapore. Hence, i am not complaining about the 900-steps climb up to the temple, with the monkeys as companions! 

The ancient Hongfu Temple (弘福寺); have your wish granted by performing a simple ritual in front of the nine-dragon screen! Click here for more info.

Had a little disagreement with my dad towards the end of the Qianling Hill Park (黔灵山公园) visit. Therefore, kept myself occupied with photo-taking of the busy roads after office hours. 

Many motorists and passengers on bikes continued to be helmet-less.

Did you notice the Jiaxiu Pavilion? It's the icon of Guiyang and heavily featured in mementos for tourists! More would be share about the historical structure in due course as we went there the very next day. 

Dinner at 南粥北面! This is the same restaurant where i found a urinal that's not for normal people. Click here to understand why! 

Morning takeaway operation for the restaurant where buns, eggs, porridge etc would be on sale; a bun cost just 2 RMB (about Singapore 40 cents).

Tickets for the optional Colourful Guizhou Folk Show and Dance (多彩贵州风) at Guiyang Grand Theater! Our tour guide, Huan Huan, was honest right from the beginning of our trip by telling us the real ticket price (at RMB 198) was cheaper and the extra top up (to a total of RMB 250) was for them. 

Unlike my first visit to China, i am already quite used to such optional items for the tour package and was already prepared for the extras. And since Huan Huan expressed such honesty, i think it's a given to support her! 

I wanted to share the compiled videos of snippets of the performance but my software appeared buggy! Anyway, just refer to the photos as above first. 

To say i am impressed is an understatement! There's just something captivating about the props and attires of the minority tribes. Even though the show doesn't have much acrobatic elements; the songs were catchy (especially 我在贵州等你, i am waiting for you in Guizhou)!

And it's fascinating to see the use of LED TV walls as replacement for the traditional props! The details and effects were incredible; we should have such technology exported to Singapore, at a reasonable cost. 

Dolls for sale after the performance! You can also choose to buy the CDs for the performance even though many in the audience were happily recording the whole show! 

Remember New World Guiyang Hotel, our accommodation in day one of Guizhou? We would be staying at the same place on our last night in Guizhou too.

Some pictures for your viewing pleasure; bathtub, walk-in wardrobe, a sizeable gym! The only one thing i dislike (applicable for most of the hotels we stayed in this trip) is that there's usually no lock for the bathroom and one even had a transparent door! 

Since it's our last night in Guizhou; time to prepare the basic tips for the tour guide, tour leader and the driver, and the feedback form! To be frank, this was one of the best trips i had in China (despite the LOSS) and i believe it's only right to top up a bit more for the tips. 

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