Thursday, February 29, 2024

The View of Taichung City from Freshfields Hotel in Taiwan

A hotel is just a place to sleep but it's often a bonus when something else pops out! In the case of
Freshfields Hotel at Taichung in Taiwan; the bonus lies beyond this door by the side of the lobby! 

Stepping into the arena; we were greeted with the night view of Taichung City! Honestly, my photos didn't do it any justice; p.s. I am horrible with night shots.

Dad with the background of the night cityscape.

Swimming pool of Freshfields Hotel; as we were already in the winter season, swimming wasn't on my to-do list. In addition, signing up for a tour package means a pretty packed itinerary and my previous time would be better spent in the gym.

The allure of lights

A different sight greeted us the next morning! And I was happier to soak in the view given the cool temperature and that photographs turned out to be way better. Time: 6.35am.

A refreshed dad who enjoyed the climate more than the scenery. Can't blame him as he is very much in love with mountains, rivers and seas whereas I am more into a mix of everything. 

Panorama of Taichung City, with the Central Mountain Range behind. 

Looks so mystical with a layer of mist arising from the base. It's a pity that the hotel didn't have some sort of signage to point out places of attractions, like Fengchia night market, Taichung's tallest building etc.

I did notice this colorful chimney which was from the Taichung City Refuse Incineration Plant. Guess it's necessary to have something positive to reduce the negativity associated with its purpose. 

Personally, I did enjoy staying at Freshfields Hotel, which was one of the more memorable ones for my Taiwan trip. You would read more about it on my review for the hotel, which also has a hot spring! 

Just a teaser - the view from my hotel room. 


Monday, February 26, 2024

Ho Meng Kee Wan Tan Mee @ Johor Bahru in Malaysia

Humans are strange as we do crave for certain food sometimes; recently, the craving I had was for wanton mee and in my recent trip to Johor Bahru in Malaysia, I was on the lookout for wanton mee stalls that were near us! 

Ho Meng Kee Wan Tan Mee was flagged out as it was within walking distance from Fives Hotel and we still had some time to go before the official check-in.

One thing of concern although I know we shouldn't discriminate based on age; the two operators were too young and I am worried that the wanton mee might not compare to one coming from the hands of a seasoned chef that experienced years of cooking noodles.

Ordering the small portion that cost RM 8.00, the first thing that came out from my sister's mouth was "so small"! Next thing she did was to put out her small hands to take a photograph, with perspective.

I am actually alright with the portion even though it was indeed pricey, However, the reduced serving means more stomach space for other food! 

Noodles were chewy and despite being drenched with lard oil; it wasn't as tasty with the spiciness overshadowing the good taste of noodles. Saving grace was of course the crispy pork lards, and the slices of lean char siew, which were surprisingly flavorful.

Another thing to highlight was the wanton; there were four pieces in the soup and the meat that wrapped up was nice, and decently sized!  


Jalan Trus, Bandar Johor Bahru, 
80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
(Opposite Johor Ancient Temple)

As above. 

Wantan Mee (Small) - RM 8.00

Sunday, February 25, 2024

茶楼 Cha Lao Dim Sum @ Holiday Villa Hotel in Johor Bahru [Malaysia]

I can't remember when was my first dim sum in Singapore ; it could have been Red Star in Chinatown. Nevertheless, it kick-starts my everlasting love for this Hongkong style breakfast.

Having quality dim sum in Singapore nowadays can be pricey, and since we do travel to Malaysia quite often, my family would at times visit a popular dim sum restaurant located at Holiday Villa hotel

Known as 茶楼 Cha Lao Dim Sum, which literally means a teahouse in Chinese, the prices might not be the cheapest in Malaysia but quality was said to be better! Do note that it can get very crowded for breakfast and my visit was timed at past lunch hours; at about two plus pm.

Insides of the restaurant; dining area was on level two. 
p.s. photos were taken at about 3.00pm.

Table setup. There's an interesting way to order here which I thought was messy; although items were listed on the menu, you can't just order everything through the service staff.  

For some of the dim sum items, you had to wait for these metal carts that would travel from table to table. While it was fascinating to see, given that it was the traditional mode in the past, my main objective was to quickly get my food and dig into them.

Another thing to note; the refilling of hot water for your teapot was self-serviced even though service charge was included in the bill. To be frank, I am alright to do it myself as the service staff can be quite busy when there are a lot of customers.

Let's now start with our food review!

Siew Mai - size of each dumpling was quite large and the filling within was meaty, flavorful and enhanced with a nice, satisfying crunch from the prawn hidden inside. 

Poached Shrimp Dumpling with Szechuan Chilli Oil - I am so not a fan of dumplings with thick skin but this was remedied by the addictive mala spicy sauce that drenched them! 

Mini Paper Wrapped Chicken - for that one-second moment, I was wondering why I was served prata. Turned out it was the paper wrapper for this dim sum dish.

Unraveled the paper to reveal the chicken! The taste was like roast chicken although I felt that the marination could have been stronger, more intense. Texture wise, very juicy!

Fried Sweet and Sour Pork - this cost RM 15.00; if not, I would have ordered a few rounds as the gulurou was surprisingly nice with an old school flavor, and a crunchy shell. Guess the yam ring (not a fan of it) resulted in the high pricing! 

Steamed Custard Bun with Salted Egg Yolk - Despite the presentation, the dough was too thick and the salted egg yolk custard was semi-solid, instead of being totally liquify. 

Deep Fried Beancurd Skin with Shrimp Dumpling - this dim sum in many places always fails to impress me but this one did for two reasons; the beancurd skin wasn't too salty and the prawn filling inside was quite generous.

Steamed Rice Roll with Prawn - smooth down the throat and tasting like a classic chee cheong fun. This was definitely one of the better ones, and it got the thumbs-up from Alex, who is a huge fan of chee cheong fun. 

Steamed Shanghai Pork Dumpling - the xiaolongbao was perfect except for one very serious flaw; the meat was mushy! A pity as the skin was thin and the meat juice was delicious! p.s. love having tons of ginger to go with the dumpling.

Steamed Pork Spare Ribs with Black Bean - not bad tasting but I have a problem; it's a chore to separate the meat from the bone! Okay, I am just lazy although I also think it's not worth the effort for so little meat.

Har Gow - looking promising, my expression changed to disappointment when my teeth bit through the prawn dumpling. It was too dry inside and that didn't leave a nice taste on the tip of the tongue.  

Char Siew Bun - pillowy soft looking, the dough had the tendency to stick to my teeth, and it's frustrating! Filling was also quite little; tasty though.


Some hits, some misses but generally, I would likely be back again. However, I am curious about Pin Ming Xuan, another dim sum eatery just about 300 meters away but it always had a long queue! My sister did try and her conclusion was that Cha Lao Dim Sum is still better. 

G-6, Ground Floor, Holiday Villa, 260,
Jalan Dato Sulaiman, Taman Abad, 
80250 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

As above. 

Facebook Page

As above.

Total - RM 183.15 
(Inclusive of Service Charge and Tax)