Friday, May 31, 2013

Original Herbal Jelly (龟苓膏) & Bird's Nest (燕窝) @ Halle Suite House (中国华佗涼茶館) - Malacca

Sweating under the hot sun while searching for a particular teochew restaurant somewhere near the famous Jonker stretch in Malacca, the Gang of Four unintentionally chanced upon this quaint little shop selling Chinese herbal tea. 

From the menu, it's obvious that the owner was trying to break away from the traditional operation of a typical Chinese herbal shop and market it to the likes of bubble tea or jelly beancurd establishments in Singapore. 

Whatever the case, we needed to buy something in order to justify the use of the facility (that came, fortunately, with a fan). Our order - Original Herbal Jelly X 1 and Bird's Nest with Crystal Sugar for 2 persons. 

Original Herbal Jelly
It came in a bloody plastic container! 

That's not all! The texture was hard; similar to those red jellies found at fruit juice stalls and it didn't taste as bitter with only a very mild herbal flavour. Super fail if you ask us. 

Bird's Nest Soup
For two persons, we were expecting something bigger that this tiny bowl. Nonetheless, we continued to be hopeful that the content would be "heavy".

Hm....... for a moment, i was dumbfounded; RM 38 for what appeared to be plain sugary water!?!?!?!

The next moment, we scooped up a huge chunk of bird's nest! *phew* However, seasoned drinkers would have noticed that the colour was way too transparent. In addition, it lacked the subtle unique aftertaste that i could usually find in bird's nest soup. 


Overall, it was a disappointing experience but i was personally more affected by the pathetic serving size of the bird's nest soup! It's hardly enough for even one person.

Corner of Jalan Hang Kasturi and Jalan Tukang Besi

Original Herbal Jelly - RM 6
Bird's Nest Soup for 2 - RM 38

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Another Use for Casio G-Shock - Fly Eliminator!

All of us are aware that a wrist watch helps us to tell the time and in the modern age, this portable device performs multiple functions; stopwatch, timer, alarm, calculator and even covertly as a spy camera. 

I thought i have seen and heard it all until recently; on my return trip from Malacca to Singapore. We were too early for departure so the Gang of Four decided to while the time away in MacDonald's at Melaka Sentral Terminal.

The world famous fast food restaurant was infested with flies and our dear Alex was suddenly reminded of his favourite past time when he was with the Singapore Navy. He only asked to borrow my Casio G-Shock. 

He quietly took his position, aimed at the irritating target and released his hold of the watch strap at the most opportune time. 


I was aghast at this act of wanton cruelty (the poor fly was totally smashed) yet very surprised that such a common item could be so easily converted into a killing weapon! 

The crime scene, which might include body parts, can be quite hard to stomach. 

But for the sake of convenience to eliminate the irritating flies that kept landing on your food and drinks, you just have to make do with what you have.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Venus Boutique Hotel - A Review @ Malacca / Melaka [Malaysia]

Malacca, only a three-hour drive from Singapore, has proven to be a popular destination for Singaporeans keen to have a short getaway for two to three days. 

Unlike most Singaporeans who would prefer signing up for a tour package that comes with accommodation, the Gang of Four chose to book a much smaller (and cheaper) hotel via the most convenient mode in contemporary times; online booking

Our choice - the purplish Venus Boutique Hotel. 

Converted from shophouses built in recent times, I have learnt to rein in my expectations; having had my fair share of boutique hotels with online pictures that differed vastly from actually seeing the place with your very own eyes. 

Hence, i was pleasantly surprised to find the room clean, comfortable and modernly furnished; almost as nice as the pictures on!  

Do take note that i am a traveller who is not very particular when it comes to overseas accommodation; a room with air-conditioning, television and an attached bathroom is all i need. 

The provision of dressing table, safe, hangars, hot flask etc can only be considered as good-to-have, not must-have. Though I would love to see a bar fridge (this hotel didn't have one for the room), the lack of it prevented me from buying ice cream, chocolate and refrigerated snacks that would otherwise be disastrous for my expanding waistline!

In normal circumstances, such a bathroom would meet my basic standard. Unfortunately, the shower curtain had a stale, musty smell that was a constant nasal irritation whenever i drew it! 

This window view can be quite scary at night; just imagine a lady staring at you while combing her shoulder length black hair.... So did we encounter any strange happening at Venus? No, we didn't. Sorry to disappoint u!

Buffet breakfast was provided together with our booking. Variety was limited and you get your usual toasts, fruits, cereals, coffee, tea, juices, porridge, fried noodles, sausages, eggs etc. 

Decent fare to fill up the stomach. A note of advice; don't eat too much. 

I literally filled up my tummy at 10am on the first morning and before it was even 2pm, the Gang was already into the 5th dining establishment!


No.18, Jalan PM6, 
Plaza Mahkota, Melaka Raya
[Very near to Mahkota Parade Shopping Centre]

As above

Superior Twin - Around S$60 a night
This is subject to change so do visit to check out the latest prices and promotions.

Additional Information
Free wifi for your room even though most of the times, signal was quite bad . 

You may (i repeat, may) find better connectivity in the two desktops near the lift lobby. 

Bikes were available for renting. Given the busy traffic, especially on weekends, riding a bicycle on the roads could be suicidal! 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Yet Another Original Melaka Cendol (albeit a disappointing one) @ Bibik House 娘惹屋 [End of Jonker Street]

A colleague told me she had seven bowls of cendol when she was in Melaka a few months ago. I am not as obsessed and only managed two servings in my two days, two nights trip to the heritage town! 

The second time was accidental; we stepped into the shop partly because there were quite a number of customers despite it being located at the end of Jonker street on a terribly hot afternoon and our initial thought was actually on the local food produce stacked nicely on the long row of shelves.

There was nothing we could do about the bloody weather but another bowl of cold dessert would surely help to cool us down! To prevent over-eating, one bowl was deemed to be more than sufficient. 

Humans are weird; when i was younger, i liked my ice kacang without kacang (red beans). Likewise, there are people who enjoy cendol better without cendol (green worm-shaped jellies). Hence, it does make perfect sense to have the cendol separately! 

At first look, I could not help comparing this with QQ Ice 86; the gula melaka in this case barely drenched the ice and in Cavin's makan dictionary, this was definitely not preferable. 

As i was complaining in my head, i caught sight of this pink-topped container placed on every table. Blooody hell, it was GULA MELAKA!! And i am free to put as much as i desire! 

Sadly, the disappointment that came with the first impression continued to the taste of the gula melaka; grainy texture plus an overbearing sweetness that would have invited a round of incessant nagging from my dear father if he was travelling with us. 


129 Jalan Hang Jebat
[Taking hard rock cafe as the starting point of Jonker Street, Bibik House is towards the end. If my memory serves me right, it would be after this permanent stage that you would not miss]

Original Cendol - RM5.00 
[I seldom comment about price although in this case, i feel i have a moral obligation to do so. For such an unsatisfying bowl of cendol, it was way overpriced considering that i paid only RM3.00 for a much better one at QQ Ice 86]

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Original Melaka Cendol - Gula Melaka is the key! @ QQ Ice 86 [Jonker Street]

I mentioned before that a trip to Malacca would be incomplete without digging into a plate of chicken rice balls. What i neglected to add then was that there is a dessert that a visitor also die-die must have in that UNESCO world heritage site.

Cendol (otherwise known as chendol in the Singapore context). For more information, kindly refer to the wikipedia page at

The top priority of my long delayed visit to Malacca (it was already nine years since my last visit) was to check out the numerous stalls selling Cendol with the signature gula melaka. According to friends and colleagues, the good ones are all along Jonker street! 

In case you are wondering, the queue that appeared in the previous photograph originated from Jonker 88, a famed eatery selling Peranakan food. Queuing is not something the Gang of Four would do overseas as time is usually far too limited. Hence, the shop we eventually chose was the less crowded QQ Ice 86; Jonker 88 next door neighbour. 

Wanton Noodles
First up was a plate wanton noodles! As a die-hard pork lard fan, i was totally pleased to find sprinklers of them in the noodles and David Sng would be as happy to know that the noodles' kee-taste was almost non-existent here. Having said that, the Great Kon thought otherwise. In his opinion, noodles must have noodles taste! 

Traditional Cendol
What do you look out for in a bowl of traditional chendol - richness of coconut milk, density of gula melaka, flavour of the green worm jellies or even to the extent of comparing the texture of the crushed ice?

Personally, gula melaka matters the most! And it's not just banking on the sweetness of the palm sugar. A perfect gula melaka must be fragrant, of a thick consistency and have a very subtle, barely discernible burnt aftertaste.

I can only say i am totally satisfied with the cendol from QQ Ice 86! Furthermore, I wasn't even hit by the jelak monster!! Truly yummy!


86, Jalan Hang Jebat

Wanton Noodles (S) - RM 4.00 
Original Cendol - RM 3.00

As above. 

Additional Information
The long passageway leading to the washrooms could be very eerie at night! Ask someone to accompany you if you feel jittery. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

金星上人图书馆 - A Cozy Buddhist Library in a Tourist Spot @ Malacca [Jalan Hang Jebat]

The Chinese characters [金星上人] on the signboard caught our immediate attention while we were searching for a place to indulge in some Malaccan chendol!

Translated roughly as the Noble Man of Venus, the Gang of Four was very curious on what to expect from the shop even though we were notified right at the entrance (via a wooden placard) that it was a library. 

What caught us by surprise were the decor and atmosphere when we stepped in. Decked in traditional Chinese furniture that was probably the rage decades ago, the entire environment was peacefully relaxed and cozy! 

Rules and regulations were in place to ensure correct display of Chinese virtues. Let me share with you a few; no using of your handphone, no eating and drinking, no chatting, speak softly if there's a need to talk, sit in an upright and graceful position and lastly, wear proper attire with at least knee-length skirts and pants.

A darn good place to remember the stiffing Chinese social traditions that are so out of place in modern times!

Nonetheless, members of the Gang did behave themselves and even took to searching the many bookcases for interesting books. For those who thought it would be filled with Chinese literature, we found English books as well. 

Unlike typical book rental shops, this library had numerous artifacts placed at nooks and corners; each appearance added a certain charm and character to the already historically rich shophouse. 

So who was this "Noble Man of Venus"? He was a Buddhist monk who passed away in 1980 and also the founder of the Malaysian Buddhist Association. 

Hence, this totally explained the zen feel that hit us as we entered the library, which was set up in memory of him. Compared to the usual noise and bustle along Jonker street, the existence of this comfortable abode only seeks to remind us to slow down our footsteps. 

And nothing's better than to immense ourselves in the company of Buddhist literature and scriptures. 

p.s. you can find other kinds of non religious books like nature and art etc. 


Along Jonker Street. I could not remember the exact address but if you enter Jonker Street from Hard Rock Cafe, the memorial library would be on your right.