1. Boom Shouk-la-ka-la-ka

    First entry on food review here in Brisbane. 

    Ever since I touched down in this beautiful city back in May, I’ve visited and tried a couple of restaurants / cafes all over and have been pretty happy with it. The quality of food is great, portion is huge, and definitely worth every penny you pay. However, the food that I’ve tried somehow lack of inspiration for me to do a feature here in this blog. They are all like the usual ones I eat back in Singapore - eggs benedict, pulled pork sandwich, toast and eggs, muesli and such. So repetative, so boring. 

    I tried my luck again this morning by visiting some food blogs and was pleasantly surprise to see this cafe being reviewed by a couple of bloggers. A quick taxi ride later, I reached Paddington and found this place easily. I was greated by Guy, the co-owner of this place at the door. 

    Shouk Cafe serves middle east inspired dishes and going through the menu gives a fresh take on brunch. The food here reminded me of my favorite brunch spot back in Singapore, Artichoke. Without thinking much, I ordered the Shakshuka - a Tunisian style baked eggs with thick tomato sauce, olives, fetta cheese and sausages. Very good and satisfying especially on a cold morning. Menu here

    The cafe is rather small with limited sitting space, so do come early or be prepared to wait. Once inside, the warm hospitality of the team will make you feel at “home” - in Egypt, Jordan, Israel or whatever you fancy.

    Shouk Cafe

    14, Collingwood Street, Paddington

    Brisbane 

     
  2. Bali is always a good idea

    A 5 hour transit in Bali brought me here to Kuta beach for a little fun in the sun while drinking my Bintang beer. Great to escape the chilly winter in Australia and back in sunny South East Asia for a couple of days.

     
  3. "You Will What You Imagine"

    A quote displayed on the roof of the Art Gallery of NSW for the Biennale of Sydney 2014.

    It was at the museum that I met JK, a fellow instagrammer and pet photographer based here in Sydney. Previously, it was tumblr who set the platform for me to reach out to a lot of interesting individuals out there but as of late, instagram too has open up a lot of opportunities. 

    Although my meetup with JK was a brief one, we managed to do a lot of walking around the botanic gardens where it leads out to this look out point of the harbour bridge and the opera house (photo above). We also did a quick tour at the art gallery before walking back to Potts Point for dinner at a Thai restaurant. It was a huge relief for me to eat something “asian” after 3 days of continuous poached eggs, sandwiches, pastas and bagels. 

    My short trip to Sydney this time around has been pretty fruitful because apart from JK, I also managed to meet up with a tumblr friend whom I’ve known for more than 4 years virtually but only meeting up for the first time.

    I won’t reveal now but you will have to wait until the next post!  

     
  4. This Won’t KALE You

    Kale is everywhere nowadays since it is listed as one of the super foods of 2014. One of the more common ways to consume kale is to put it in the juicer, blend it and drink it straight (in shots). But, that’s too disgusting to my liking. 

    Kale chips, however, is delicious and definitely a healthier snacks in between meals.

     
  5. Autumn in Sydney

    Currently in Sydney for a couple of days before heading to Brisbane.

    Such beautiful city.. 

     
  6. The Sky & The Sea

    Enjoying my last day back home in Penang before heading to KL and then back to Singapore for a couple of days. 

    Currently on my 3rd week of holiday and one more week to go before I on my work laptop again, logged in to Microsoft Outlook with hundreds of overflowing work emails. I wish I could just select all, delete everything and start a brand new inbox. hah! 

    On a less stressful note, heading to Sydney next week for 3 days before enroute to Brisbane. Shoot me an email or “ask” if you have any good recommendations of the city. Much appreciated! 

     
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  8. Clan-house Grandeur

    The Khoo Kongsi clan house temple was made famous after it was used as one of the filming locations for the 1999 blockbuster - Anna and The King, starring Jodie Foster and Chow Yuen Fatt. I remember visiting the set with my friends back then and was literally blown away with the huge production crews and how Hollywood transformed the quiet street / area in Penang into a buzzling 19th century Siam market. Very impressive. 

    Today, Khoo Kongsi remains one of the top attractions here in Penang with tourist flocking to visit the temple to see its grand main hall filled with intricate carvings and amazing art. I heard special artisan from China are specially flown in to restore the carvings and drawings all around the temple from time to time. The lower basement of the temple is a museum where you get to learn and see how the Khoo clan has its influence in Penang as well as the history of various parts of the temple.

    We visited the temple on a weekday and that makes it more pleasant as we have the entire place on our own - walking from one part to another, admiring the intricacy of the carvings and the opulence of the renowned clan. 

    Khoo Kongsi

    18 Cannon Square

    Penang

     
  9. Calm by sunset

    Penang can get very hot at this time of the year but once the sun starts to set, it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy the warm balmy breeze. 

     
  10. Penang in 72 hours

    The impromptu trip back to Penang the last 3 days was probably the best decision ever. I managed to meet up with my tumblr buddy, E, as he make a pit stop in my home city before heading to Sydney. Travelling with him to Penang was Daisann – a well-travelled and very knowledgeable journalist who’s famous column (Real Travel) was published in National Geographic Traveler for more than 10 years. She now runs a food tour company called Little Adventures in Hong Kong, obviously in Hong Kong.  The three of us, all with the same common interest in one particular topic – FOOD, make this meet up one hell of an interesting one. So much laughter, so many stories shared over cocktails and champagne. Good times!

    Throughout the 3 days, we explored the heritage part of Georgetown, eating our way through – by the streets, alleyways, coffee shops and food centers. No fancy restaurants, just simple hawker fare that Penang is famous for. We even explored to the other side of the island - Balik Pulau, to look for the famous assam laksa but alas, luck wasn’t on our side as the stall was closed. (The owner is currently on holiday probably somewhere in the world looking for delicious food to eat just like us). We ended up eating chicken rice at a local coffee shop which turns out to have one of the best char siew (bbq pork) and siew yok (roast pork) we have ever tasted. Travelling is all about exploring and trying out new things isn’t it? 

    Apart from all the eating, we also did some exploring on various attractions in town. From Khoo Kongsi to Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion to Butterfly Farm, we did good covering all other attractions within the short time frame. Out of all, we enjoyed the Butterfly Farm the most as we get to see and “feel” the butterflies either flying freely or staying stationary on the hibiscus sipping the sap. The “green house” with thick vegetation and flowers creates a natural habitat for these fragile little creatures.   

    Besides all these attractions, we also found Seven Terraces Boutique hotel by chance as we were walking to Coffee Atelier one afternoon. The boutique hotel is beautiful and chic, with modern and colonial antique furniture all over. Amazing light all across the lobby which makes it very photogenic too. But the one thing that got us hooked was Bababar – an in house bar with an interesting array of cocktails and whisky selection. We went in for a cup of tea in the afternoon, liked it so much that we return at night for more drinks. This time around with cocktails to unwind after a long, tiring day of walking.

    I hope they enjoyed their stay in Penang as much as I enjoyed hosting them in my home city. Now, let me just keep this short and sweet and let the photo do the talking. They are arranged in the same color scheme inspired by Alice Gao.

    Have a great Easter Sunday! 

     
  11. Gelato: Anytime of the day

    I was introduced to Azzura gelato for the first time last weekend thanks to my friend, Sonya, who invited me to tag along for a tasting session as well as to get to know the brand better. We met Marco, an entrepreneur and also a gelato making expert with more than 10 years of experience in this industry. Just when we thought Azzura is another Italian brand, we were pleasantly surprise to know it is actually a 100% Australian brand with it’s birthplace in Perth. Every single ingredients used are sourced locally and they ship only the freshest gelato to our shore every fortnight.   

    We were introduced to a few of their best sellers such as bubblegum, peach, buttered peanut, blossom nougat and also a “world premiere” of their new flavor – the mocha chip cookie. What makes Azzura gelato stands out among the rest is how smooth and creamy their products are. Also, they are not overly sweet that you have to reach for a glass of water immediately after the first spoonful. My favorite from the tasting session was probably the peach gelato which comes in the shape of a peach and a ferrero rocher in the middle as the “seed” of the fruit. Very creative and absolutely delicious.

    Apart from the gelato, the outlet also sells artisan coffees and teas. What better way to keep the kids and adults happy with gelato and coffee. The space is bright and airy - a great after lunch chill out place for the family and friends alike. 

    Do swing by if you’re in the east!   

    Azzura Gelato Bar

    Katong V, 30 East Coast Road #01-01

    Singapore

     
  12. Wine and Chocolate

    We will talk about that in a bit

    But first, I want to thank Jules (or some of you might know her as JustJules) for this beautiful postcard she sent me recently for her postcard exchange project. Just like everyone in this community, Jules is one of the many that inspires with her dreamy yet minimalistic photos – clean, simple and the ability to channel the mood right. Something I am still learning to master. I am always thankful for the friendship from fellow photographers here in Tumblr as I have known most of you for quite some time now. The projects and the photos from everyone that I follow are nothing but inspiring and it makes my feed looks really good. I know Instagram is taking the world by storm, but somehow, I felt that it’s rather “cold” compared to Tumblr. Here, when someone sent fan mail or message, we answer them publicly or at least privately. In Instagram, you complimented or commented on a photo, the “famous” photographer will never reply or at least say a word of “thank you”. Not all are like that, but most of them are. Sad but true.

    Tumblr still matters to me most and it’s the place I want to hang out all the time.

    Moving on to a lighter note, it’s Sunday today meaning another food post! I bought this Monggo chocolate from Yogyakarta, Indonesia and it’s my all-time favorite. Indonesia has some pretty good local chocolate and these dark chocolate (58% and 69%, both shown in pic) are smooth and hands down a must-buy. Goes well with red wine too!

    Have a great weekend!    

     
  13. High Tea, Your Majesty?

    I am not a big fan of buffet and I try to avoid it as much as I can. To me, eating buffet is self-torturing where you “force” yourself to eat as much as you can to make up with the amount of money you pay. And often time, a buffet meal (lunch or dinner) don’t come cheap here in Singapore. A decent fare in a hotel would cost up to SGD70 per person. If you want a more decadent spread with oysters, caviar and wine, be prepared to fork out at least SGD150 easily.

    Recently a few of my colleagues have been raving about the high tea in Shangri-La Hotel for its quality of food at a decent price. I told my foodie friends and they seem to hear a lot of good things about it as well. A few phone calls later, 8 of us made our way to the very beautiful Shangri-La hotel this afternoon. The high tea is set at SGD45++ per person and there are 2 seating available – 11:30am to 2:30pm or 3:00pm to 6:00pm. We chose the first seating as we thought we could finish by 2pm and still have half a day to walk and burn all the calories.  

    I won’t go in details on each and every item available but I can assure that it is one of the most affordable high teas around in Singapore for the spread they offer. From sashimi to sushi, cold cuts to various salads, selection of dim sum to DIY “Singapore Laksa” – all were fresh and only the best ingredients were used. If you’re a bread person, then you’ll be amazed by the selection of sandwiches available. Each of them arranged beautifully on a 3 tiered platter where it looked too good to eat. The cheese section was pretty amazing too with Gouda, guyere, blue cheese among others and a few soft cheeses (which I forgot its name) to go with a selection of crackers, nuts and dried fruits. 

    A part of the dining room was dedicated to only desserts and if you can’t control yourself, you would probably die of food coma sooner than you thought. Chocolate cake and pudding, chocolate fondue with various dips, macarons and tarts, ice-creams and cheese cakes and not forgetting bread pudding and scones – all made fresh from the kitchen and replenish from time to time.

    I have been eating a lot in Indonesia the past week so I control paced myself not to over-eat today. Two rounds of appetizer / mains and two rounds of desserts followed by a great catch up session with everyone. 

    The Rose Veranda

    Mezzanine Floor, Tower Wing

    Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore

    +65 6213 4486

     
  14. Laundry Day

    Was in Surabaya, Indonesia the past whole week for work and just got home this afternoon. Very tired but before I get to rest, I need to wash this huge pile of clothes as I will be on the road again next week. 

    Travelling for holiday is fun, but for work - hmm, not really. 

     
  15. Last One Standing