Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Royal China London – Dim Sum just like in Singapore!

Finally starting on my UK posts. If you didn’t already know, I’ve just returned from my epic trip to the UK. Epic not just because of the duration and places covered (more on that in subsequent posts), but also the fact that I travelled together with my parents and the toddler, without my husband! The last time I did a road trip together with my parents was a decade ago! We were all fearing that we might throttle each other’s throats by the end of the trip, now that we are older and fussier. The husband did actually join us for half the trip, but he had to return to Singapore first.

Anyway, more on the epic trip itself later. For this post, I wanted to talk about our lovely dim sum lunch at Royal China Baker Street, on our first day in London. If Royal China sounds familiar to you, that’s because there used to be a Royal China at the world famous Raffles Hotel in Singapore. It closed a year or so ago to facilitate the refurbishment of the entire Raffles Hotel. It doesn’t seem to be in the line-up of restaurants opening at the soon to be opened Raffles Hotel, which is a real pity because Royal China was one of my favourite places to go for dim sum.

So I was really happy to have the opportunity to check out Royal China in London. There are actually several branches, each with a slightly different menu. We chose to visit the flagship one at Baker Street because of the extensive dim sum menu, although we would also have loved to check out the Canary Wharf branch with supposedly one of the best views for a Chinese restaurant in London.

Royal China Baker Street Dim Sum

Photo Credit : Royal China Group Instagram

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People & Places Cafe [Johor Bahru]

Quick post on this super instagrammable cafe that I visited in JB during a quick daytrip to JB. It’s called People & Places, and according to my friend who has been to JB countless times, this is a very popular cafe especially on the weekends. Food in general is also above average. And as with most things in Malaysia, the cafe food is cheaper than in Singapore, which is always appreciated!

I have to agree that this cafe as many instagrammable opportunities because of the layout and decor. There are lot of plants around, there is a special cosy seating corner and there is also a long flight of stairs leading to the 2nd floor where you can take overhead shots of the cafe too. We spent 10 minutes eating and drinking but nearly 1 hour taking pictures, we were that crazy! Scroll down for all the nutty pictures that we took!

People and Places Cafe (4)

The super popular pancake. It’s not bad but not the best. Would have liked a sweeter topping to drizzle over as the pancake was a little dry. Also the bitter veggie garnish totally did not go with the pancake, although it made for a lovely shot… The drinks were good though, no complaints there.

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Kedai Bak Kut Teh Hin Hock 兴福肉骨茶 [Johor Bahru]

Last year, I visited Johor Bahru for the first time in many years. It was a trip unlike any other because my friend brought us around like a local. We got to check out a popular bah kut teh eatery, 2 Instagrammable cafes and even had time for a cheap massage by Singapore’s standards! You can read more about my day trip to Johor Bahru via public transport here. But for this post, I thought I should write more about Kedai Bak Kut Teh Hin Hock, which is worth trying if you ever visit JB.

The interesting thing about this place despite their name is that they are also very famous for their steamed fish. In fact, the Grab Driver who drove us, knew about the steamed fish but not the Bah Kut Teh. Another interesting point is that most of their dishes are steamed or boiled, eg the veggies.

Here’s a video of lunch hour on a weekday at Kedai Bak Kut Teh Hin Hock. Check out that enormous package of herbs that was dunked into the BKT broth.

Kedai Bak Kut Teh Hin Hock

We left the ordering entirely to my friend and so this is what we had for lunch that day. As is quite common in most Bah Kut Teh outlets in Johor Bahru, the Bah Kut Teh tends to be quite heavy on the herbal flavour, as opposed to the more peppery kind that you might be more familiar with.  The Bah Kut Teh tastes good, especially when you first try it because of the intense flavours. But I must admit it does get slightly overwhelming after a while, especially if you are trying to drink the soup.

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Day trip to Johor Bahru via Public Transport

Last week, I went on a day trip to Johor. You know something? Travelling around Malaysia has been on my wishlist for the longest time. Yes I know that Malaysia is our nearest neighbour and it’s just across the Causeway, but truth be told, my parents have never liked the idea of going to Malaysia because of perceived safety concerns. Every time I try to broach the topic, nobody is keen, or we simply end up travelling to some other “safer” country instead.

The reason why I’m so keen to travel around Malaysia is because of the novelty of it being soooo close to us and cheaper thanks to the ringgit. And of course, I love anything that gives me a glimpse of how Singapore was like back in the 70s and 80s. I love all the luxuries of modern living but I also like experiences that are steeped in history. I have in the past scoured old maps of Singapore, reminiscing how things looked like previously. Oh another big reason to visit Johor in particular is because I don’t need to take a flight to get there. I almost always fly by Singapore Airlines, it being after all our tried and trusted national carrier, so any savings on transportation is welcome!

Am so glad to report that after a decade of waiting, I finally visited JB again last week. Yes my last trip was probably a decade ago, and much has changed at JB Sentral! The journey to get into JB was quite eventful on its own. Thank goodness I was travelling with great kaki so we managed to pass the time somehow. Even though we chose a weekday to cross the border, it being the December holiday period, between the Christmas and New Year holidays to boot, the crowd at the immigration checkpoint was probably as crazy as that on a weekend! We took a total of 1.5 hours to cross the Malaysian checkpoint! My friend, who has travelled to JB countless times, shared with us numerous tips on how to choose the shortest queue. It’s so hilarious the tips he mentioned, like you must observe the THICKNESS of the queue and not just the length! These tips on how to cross the Malaysian checkpoint as quickly as possible probably needs an entire post on its own!

Kedai Bak Kut Teh Hin Hock

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Dine at Stevens – Choose from 11 cuisines in 1 dining destination

The recently opened Dine at Stevens is a development housed within the Mercure Singapore on Stevens and Novotel Singapore on Stevens, that boasts a grand total of 11 restaurants. A number of the outlets are housed in individual "pods" that are designed to resemble lily pads from an aerial view, while the rest are within the 2 hotels.

So what can you fine at Dine at Stevens? An impressive 11 different cuisines and various price points to choose from:

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