Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Polo Fried Chicken - Michelin Bib Gourmand @ Bangkok [Thailand] #michelin

Give my great love for deep fried chicken, it's an embarrassment for me to take so long to check out polo fried chicken at
Bangkok! I am aware of it for more than ten years ago and finally decided to grab down in my recent visit.

Strange thing was; despite the eye catching signboard, what I saw in front of me appeared to be a kitchen, with no seating area and customers were waiting just for takeaway. Well, I remember it was a sit-down eatery. 

Turned out the air-conditioned (it was cold) restaurant was a few doors away, nearer to the main road. With no signboard, I had assumed this was another dining establishment and was wondering why the GRAB driver decided to drop us there instead.

By the way, this was a Michelin Bib Gourmand eatery! Now that the Michelin Guide is in quite a few countries in Southeast Asia (next being Malaysia), we are in for a wide array of good food to try within a few hours flight from Singapore! 

Cutleries with plastic; this pandemic has definitely scaled back efforts on reducing plastic waste. Anyway, you would see me drinking plain water nowadays. In a way, cheaper and of course, likely healthier than the many sugary drinks available for ordering.

Reaching before 11.00am was a great choice; not many customers and our orders of half fried chicken and grilled pork neck came in less than 10 minutes! p.s. there were many items on the menu but we decided to pace out as it would be a food-filled day.

Two types of chilli; my preference was the lighter one which was similar to my favorite Kimball Thai chilli, albeit more watery with spreads of vinegar. 

Half Fried Chicken - guess what was my first thought when I saw the fried chicken placed on the table. The exact sentence that went through was "this is fried chicken?" It didn't have the desirable fried chicken batter and I was wondering if it was roasted, instead of fried. 

The next few thoughts were on the generous amount of fried bits on top. I took a bite and they were deep fried garlic! Bursting with flavor, they complemented the chicken perfectly and I must say their role in this dish was as important as the chicken.

Finally on the chicken; it had a thin, crisp skin that I enjoyed although I thought a thicker skin / batter would have made it even nicer. Meat wise; some parts were hard and some were juicy, and not deeply marinated, if any at all. 

Grilled Pork Neck - this came recommended by the Great Kon! It had a chewy texture with a smoky flavor similar to char siew, yet without the sweetness. I can't say I love it more than char siew though.

To enhance the taste, dip the neck into the saucer of pickled chili! 


A satisfying meal even though I was expecting a different kind of fried chicken. Nevertheless, the chicken was still quite good tasting, especially with the help of the sprinklers of fried garlic and the chilli. 

137/1-3,9 10 Sanam Khli Alley, Lumphini, 
Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

As above.

As above.

Half Fried Chicken - 130 Baht
Grilled Pork Neck - 100 Baht
Bottled Water - 20 Baht
Steamed Rice - 10 Baht

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Day Trip to Batu Pahat (Yong Peng) and Muar Districts in Johore [Malaysia]

I was up at 4.30 am on Saturday, 15 October 2022 so that I can prepare to take this coach at 5.30 am! Reason being I was persuaded by my mom to join my uncle's family for a day trip (priced at S$80 per person) to the northern districts of Johore state in Malaysia! 

The background is that my uncle would visit Johore quite regularly before the pandemic, mainly to pray at temples that would supposedly bring luck to the devotees. It's usually with the same group of friends and the cohort got sizable enough for them to engage a tour agency.

Aside from my mom, my uncle's wife and daughter,  Alex also decided to join us! Good for me as I would want to sit with my cousin whereas Alex shall work on entertaining my mom, which he doesn't mind. In fact, he takes care of my parents much better than I do.

Main organizer; a chatty guy with an aim to make us feel lucky! Aside from the constant chanting of "huat" (meaning prosperity in Hokkien), he will hype up the passengers with sentences like "we shall take the top three prizes on 4D tonight" etc! Sadly, such stuff doesn't rhyme with me. 

Pending Detailed Postings

Starting the tour by crossing the second link, with Forest City on our left! Built on man-made islands super near Singapore, this integrated residential development was "described as one of the world's most useless megaprojects". The target was to sell 700,000 units but by end of 2019 but the reality check was that only 15,000 were sold. 

Change of bus after stamping our passports at the Malaysian custom! Thankfully, the crowd was manageable, unlike the crowds seen recently due to the Deepavali long weekend. 

There were USB ports on the 39-seater bus! I always made it a point to bring my 20,000mAh power bank, which wasn't used at all as the charging capability for the ports was good. 

Two things said to make our luck better; the prosperity water (just a bottled mineral water) and huat cake. It's all about auspicious sounding things to, I guess, make you feel like you are absorbing all the positively lucky energy.  

It started drizzling heavily! Not a good start to the day although the Chinese believes that water brings fortune and you can always adjust your tune accordingly to evade the negativity. 

Our breakfast at the Gelang Patah district. This would be self-expensed; i.e. not covered by package. Aside from my essential cup of kopi, we had toast for sharing and I also ordered wanton mee at 友發咖啡店

Large swathes of palm oil plantations as the coach ventured up north. Frankly, there wasn't much to see along the highway, unless you are in Perak where there were the Titiwangsa mountain range and many limestone cliffs.

Out of the highway to a place I am very familiar with; Yong Peng! It's a town where coaches from Singapore would stopover for passengers to grab a bite before they continue their journey to popular destinations like Genting Highlands, Kuala Lumpur etc.

Abandoned car parts or awaiting salvaging? 

First temple for the tour; Tian Pao Kong Chinese Temple! Paying homage to Ji Gong, the crazy, unconventional monk, its most noticeable structure would be the 68-feet tall statue! 

Despite the Buddhist roots, the temple was more Taoist and there was an interesting donation box that should find its way to Singapore soon! Put money in and it would dispense 4 random numbers, digitally, for 4D buying! Gamblers would love this! 

A Munchy's factory! Well, I didn't know it's a Malaysian brand and actually started operations right here at Batu Pahat district back in 1991. 

Our next destination was an hour drive away and how do you keep 39 passengers occupied? Play bingo! At RM 10 a ticket, it's irresistible for Chinese. Total jackpot; over RM 300. One win and I would have won back my tour package. 

My cousin won! 

Played a second time and this time, my mom was the lucky winner! As we were seated at the back, Alex was the designated representative to help her collect the winnings of about RM 200 plus.

Palm oil plantations again; do you know that Malaysia is the second largest producer of palm oil, after Indonesia, and it takes up over 15% of the total land area in Malaysia!? Among the Malaysian states, Johore took the lead with close to 39% of land devoted to palm oil. 

A pre-war building along Jalan Jabbar, Parit Jawa. As Singapore is a very small place, I always want to check out the little towns in Malaysia, to see if there are interesting history or things. According to the tour guide, Parit Jawa is famed for their asam pedas! 

My cousin said there's a crocodile in the river! 
I circled in red for your reference. 

The tour guide, Kai Ming, pointed out the uniqueness of this particular school which is said to be the only school in Malaysia named after a Chinese deity; the Child God Of Wealth - Shan Chai Tong Zi (善財童子). This is rare privilege given that Malaysia is predominantly a Muslim country. 

A jetty beside a river that leads to the Straits of Malacca. The muddy water wasn't too inviting and my only worry was hidden crocodiles with a powerful bite that can pull you underneath! Unfounded worries maybe but no harm being more careful. 

A lonesome tree; this would be nice for some photo-taking. 
If only the building at the back can be removed.

Anyway, our second destination; Nam Thien Temple. I am going to separate this into two sub postings; the Buddhist section and lastly, the souvenir shop.

With a history spanning more than 70 years, this temple was partially burnt out back in 2020; about the time that pandemic hit the world and the newly built premises exuded a simple beauty of calmness. 

Buddhist section, left untouched by the blaze given that it's a separate building. In terms of historical relevance, you can find things like an ancient clock and retro looking switches. 

There's also a towering statue of Gautama Buddha although focus was on touching the feet and stomach of another statue, of Maitreya Buddha, known as the future savior of civilization. With the mess that the world is facing now, would I get the fortune of meeting him/her soon?

This honestly gave me the Taiwanese vibe! Housing a small little cafe and a souvenir shop, I knew I have to go in for a better look. According to my cousin, this area used to be chockfull of little stalls but they appeared to have been eradicated after the fire and the pandemic.

A ready model is always welcome! 

I forgot to share a picture of the coach that replaced the one we took from Singapore to Malaysia custom; license plate number Y9582. No doubt my mom would buy the number for 4D lottery for at least a few weeks. 

Lunch at Ting Ting Restaurant; said to be popular for its signature fish bee hoon, I must say I wasn't impressed. Dishes I enjoyed more were the tofu and the roast chicken! 

After a short ride of less than 500 meters, we were asked to disembark. We could have walked for good digestion after such a filling lunch. Well, I can't speak on behalf of the rest, many of whom were 10-30 years older than me.

Food souvenir shopping at Yong Sheng Gift Shop Flagship Store (荣成礼坊旗舰店)! Sampling was provided for some products and my mom and I spent like almost RM300. One interesting product was "潮州白劳饼" - it's like wife's biscuit, with much thicker filling. 

I bought a few packets of the dried jackfruit and it was so addictive! It was a Vietnam brand that was available in Singapore though; however, it was at least 30% cheaper from Yong Sheng.

Given my love for eggs, this would be a place that appeals to me! According to Google review, it has a rating of 4.5 among 14 reviewers. Maybe I should keep this in mind for a future road trip with Yongde and my elder sister! 

Finally some photos of a cemetery; albeit a Muslim one. We did pass by some Chinese cemeteries too but I couldn't get a decent enough photos for posting. 

More on the palm oil plantations, and was that soil erosion for the last photo? Maybe it was excavation of some soil for construction / mining purposes.

Karaoke time! Given the majority of the age group in the coach, songs were in dialect and these obviously didn't attract my cousin and Alex to grab the mic. We shy also lah.

We were back in Yong Peng! I was a bit disappointed at this point as I thought we would be going to three temples but I understand that we were running short of time and going back too late might result in us stuck in jams during the peak period. 

Stopover at Ming Ang! This was one of two rest stations in Yong Peng and I actually prefer this one as Ming Ang pastries are superb! In the past, I would sometimes walk over from the other rest station just to buy Ming Ang pong peah! Nowadays, it's no longer as troublesome as Ming Ang has some branches at Johor Bahru; one of which is at City Square Shopping Centre.

Discount card distributed to us by the tour guide. Yes, I know he will get commission but that is common practice anyway. 

There were food stalls too; as we were still full from lunch, I didn't take a look at the prices. Before the pandemic, prices were comparable to Singapore and I would usually only buy snacks like buttered corns, tea leaves eggs etc. 

Main souvenir section for last minute shopping! Again, be expected to pay higher prices compared to Yong Sheng. My recommendation was to try Ming Ang pastries instead; aside from pong peah (we call it ma ti su), my personal favorite is their siew pao! 

Another stopover but this time, we shall stay on the coach. This would be the collection of the famous Muar otak otak! The Xiao Mei brand is supposed to be one of the better ones, among the 300 otah stores in Muar itself. 

I mentioned two rest stations in Yong Peng; this would be the original one by the name of Lucky Garden. As Singaporeans made up a bulk of the customers, it didn't survive the pandemic. With border control released, maybe it would rejuvenate in the near future. 

Whenever I see unpainted concrete buildings with not many windows in Malaysia, I will suspect if it would be used to attract swallows. The prize? Bird's nest! 

Banana trees and papaya trees. Can you differentiate them? The joke was that my younger sister only knew how a banana tree looks like recently! For me, I stayed in the village for a good portion of my childhood and the two fruit trees were commonly planted in the area.

Bingo time again and I thought I would finally be rid of my spate of bad luck in 2022! I only left one number to shout bingo, and I had a 20% chance of either winning or sharing the tidings with others.

I lost to my cousin!
Yes, her second winning! 

The hill in the background is Gunung Pulai; with an elevation of 654 meters, the hike up is considered to be suitable for beginners. 

A sign that my luck would continue to be bad; my cousin's bingo card already had six numbers out whereas I could only manage a pathetic two! 

Last number for my mom. And she won, again! Strangely, five bingo games and all were won by passengers seated at the back of the coach. Pity I wasn't one of them, despite seated at the back too.

Dinner at Cathay Restaurant 新国泰冷气酒家(古来). A posh looking restaurant that seemed popular as a wedding venue; the food was generally average. A review would be posted in due course! 

Organizer and tour leader, Peter, giving a closing speech! And with the conclusion came the request for tips for both the tour guide, Kai Ming, and driver, David. 

Thankfully, no jam at both Malaysia and Singapore customs! I never knew it can be so smooth sailing for the second link as the causeway is a much nearer option for me since I live in Yishun, and Woodlands / Kranji is just a few MRT stops away. 

Ending the post with my box and bags of food. 
Getting fat with all the unstoppable snacking! 

My verdict for this tour package was that it was fun because of the company, including my uncle's friends. Food wasn't fantastic but I am not complaining since the price of S$80 wasn't exorbitant and the temples we were brought too were not run of the mill kind. And I did enjoy bingo, even though I didn't win.