QuikSkoop™: Lai Heng

Lau Pa Sat, the hawkers haven!

An old friend of me told about this hawkers nest called Lau Pa Sat Festival Market which I found very very close to the place where I attend my seminar. Thanks to my ability of reading maps easily, it was only like 10 minutes max walk from the office. If you guys wondering where, you just take the MRT to Raffles Place shelter. You gonna find tunnels interconnecting the office premises and you should walk further than Republic Plaza. I forgot the alphabetical exit (they use A-H exits to point easily where you need to get out if you happen to care reading the locality map in the shelter), but don’t take it wrong way to One Raffles Place which happens to be on the opposite site of Lau Pa Sat and there’s no way you can cross the street from there.

What’s so special about this place? It’s a cheap food haven! You can find all range of cuisines available in Singapore. Mostly of course Chinese or Singaporean Chinese and Indian. You can find Padangnese cuisine in Golden Shoe nearby the other exit of Raffles Place shelter, but here it’s mostly those two main cuisines of Singapore. In extra, you might find other local food like rojak (rujak in Indonesia), kopitiam, and even Western food.

It was around dinnertime when I arrived there. We were famished and my friends just order anything that they can find right away. With plenty of choices though I bet they won’t bother choosing wisely. As for me, I prefer to suppress the hunger first and take a good look about what they serve there. It’s pretty interesting to try each one of them plus Singaporeans indeed serve big portions! I didn’t know why but my mind was stick into carrot cake that night. My first experience 2 years ago sampling it was not a memorable experience but that time my relative said that if I want to seek the true Singaporean thing, it’s the carrot cake.

What’s carrot cake by the way? It’s probably like what we call noodle or the one made from rice which was kway teow or kwetiau. Carrot cake was shaped long and thicker from a mixture of some kind of radish or lobak/daikon and rice. It’s chewy if you want to taste it. Then I found this one hawker called Lai Heng that actually specializes in char kway teow which was the kway teow stir fried with veggies, eggs, plus sauces that make them look a bit black. It’s actually blacker in Singapore instead of those in Indonesia.

Fried Carrot Cake

They also use the technique for the carrot cake, but I prefer the Fried Carrot Cake instead which they stir fry it with eggs and scallions plus it’s not black at all so I guess it’s supposed to be more salty. I gotta queue a bit, but the owner’s wife came by and asked what I want. I learn a bit about Singaporean Chinese and you gotta really express what you want clearly and briefly. So I asked for the Fried Carrot Cake, chose the SG$ 4 portion (they got smaller portion for SG$ 3), and stated it that I don’t want it spicy. I queued again for awhile, paid it, and not long after that, I received the plate fill with these carrot cakes and eggs. I add a bit chili sauce for a spirit (I forgot that I should’ve asked it spicy since it’s not that spicy in Singapore). It’s worse in Malaysia actually, they call a sweet sauce spicy. Jeez…

Well by the way, the dish may not look much but you gotta taste it. The carrot cakes were tender and they put fried eggs plus the scallions to enhance the taste. There were of  course, spices used in Chinese cuisines plus the chili sauce which worked perfectly to the already divine dish. Though my first experience two years prior was bad, but this one remedies every not-so-memorable nostalgia I had with carrot cakes! I seriously beg you to try this one if you happen to be at Lau Pa Sat. The place was vast, hot though with many ceiling fans, plus that this Lai Heng hawker seems to be always crowded with quite a long queue but it’s really worth the wait! My Taiwanese friend tried the Char Kway Teow but he said that it’s not that good. Perhaps I shouldn’t trust much people with untrustworthy tongue and passion about food, so next time I’d really try all the dishes they offer. Next time, Lau Pa Sat!

LOCATION:

Lau Pa Sat Festival Market hawkers food court near Raffles Place MRT, Singapore. Just take the underground tunnel to the farthest exit after One Raffles Place, once on surface turn right after the Ascott Hotel, walk straight and cross the street, you’ll find the big sign by the way.

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QuikSkoop™: The Rock Bar

This bar sounds so mythical the first time I heard of its exploits. It’s a bit tricky to find this bar at first because it’s located high on the hills of the shores of a further south of Jimbaran and yet there was only one road leading here. Ah I forgot to spare the story for my next posts in my travel blog : http://daytripswashbuckler.wordpress.com. Visit it from time to time for my travel experience and this one, about Bali, will come soon. Long story short, we took the path just right from the great swimming pool of Ayana Resort, a very prominent and luxurious romantic Bali resort. You should consider coming here even though just for a few hours trip. Next, you’ll see the elevator to the downside of the cliff just beside the chapel. The elevator which I forgot the specific term of it but let’s just call it that way, can only bring up to three persons at one time plus one attendant that operates the machinery.

As you can see on the picture above, we need to queue first just to get down there. You can see The Rock Bar which was built upon a magnificent concept. Open air with a view straight to the sea and with the best view of sunset. You may read later about sunsets in Bali on my visits to Kuta beach and Dreamland in Pecatu.

On the picture down there you can see the vast, beautiful horizon that indulges the visitors of Ayana Resort and in this case, The Rock Bar. Too bad I didn’t get the sunset picture but at least you notice why people keeps on coming there no matter how far the place is.

Since it’s only a bar, they only serve drinks and since I’m not into alcohol, luckily, they have juices and mocktails. I’ll tell you later about the menu but the price range starts from IDR 50,000. It’s pretty expensive for juices or mocktails but that’s what you get from a place as extravagant like this. Mostly, the patrons come from Japan since they really promote a lot about this resort, notably in one of Jakarta office buildings that contains many Japanese companies. There were also, of course, visitors from the West.

The drinks were okay and we’re also provided with snacks. As for the service, they’re very polite and helpful. Not to mention that the waitresses also wear sexy dresses, one thing that makes certain people comfortable. Don’t ask me about it though. LOL.

The ambience also was great. Aside from the sounds of the waves and people chattering, they also play lounge or nu-jazz music which also very in-line with the concept like this. Though that time, a singer played live with only a guitar, happens to be a foreigner too, plays a frustrating ballad songs which reminds me instantly of funerals. Not a good choice indeed. We need a classy music but keep it as subtle as you can because we’re there to have a relaxing evening, Rock Bar.

Surely, this is a place that you must visit. A romantic honeymoon would also be recommended as you can travel around the vast area of the hotel and you’ll be amazed of what they have to offer and surely, making your spouse content though at the cost of your wallet. Haha.. Anyway, I’ll tell you later in my other blog about it, but meanwhile, enjoy the sea, the sunset, and the drinks there!

LOCATION:

Ayana Resorts and Spa. Jalan Karang Mas Sejahtera, Jimbaran, Bali 80364

TGA Milestone: Concerns, Thoughts, and Side Jobs

Hello, my dear readers. I’d like to announce few things regarding my blog. You see, it’s been a while since I last posted something but there are some reasons behind that.

First of all, I’m now really into my new blog which actually hasn’t been yet published on a grand opening scale but you can actually read it a bit in:
>> http://daytripswashbuckler.wordpress.com
or here
>> http://travelpod.com/members/pokamamil

It’s quite a time consuming process and it’s not quite finished yet but you’re very welcomed to visit the sites.

Secondly, I received several concerns about my judgment for every places that I visited especially regarding to the scores. It’s only my thought, but I’m actually considering to drop the scoring since it’s a bit misleading.

Why’s that?

It’s actually because of my nature. I have actually introduced myself and my characters all over my writings but it seems that when it comes to scoring, people still think that either I gave the score too low or they’re discouraged by my scores. Well, the place and the food may be decent for most people, but perhaps I was a bit harsh in judging and that’s making people scared to come to the place. So it’s still a thought, but I’m considering it seriously.

And finally, I wish to also change a bit about the way I’m wrapping my writings. I might add more information there, such as for instance, Recommended Menu or Credit Card Availability or something like that. Plus I’ll improve my posts with links for things I deem necessary.

Perhaps that’s it for now, so please wait for my next posts and of course, I shall return with an improved version and definitely, still harsh as ever.

Thanks!

QuikSkoop™: Menega Café

What’s one of the best things you can do in Bali? Relate this to my blog, my specialty, then it’s gonna be to spend a great time watching the sunset eating the frutti di mare in Jimbaran, Bali! So we spend one afternoon going there, turning right after the main road to find the so-called seafood restaurants corner just behind the Four Seasons Hotel, Jimbaran. Park your car there and pick the place you wanna eat. My friends who had visited the place earlier recommended the Menega Cafe right away. So the next part was to select the food.

Fresh from the sea and from an unpolluted sea, that’s what seafood lovers expect of right? Anyway, as if anybody cares as long as it’s tasty! So among all lovely creatures offered, we (7 of us) chose 0.5 kgs of king prawns, 0.8 kgs of squids, 1.5 kgs of shellfishes, and 1.2 kgs of yellow crazy fish (darn.. I forgot the Indonesian word for it). Well, since it was still around 4 PM, we instructed them to serve the dishes around 5 PM.

We played around the beach, got our feet drenched a bit, took many photographs, and spent a good time since it’s our first time together in Bali. It was our first day and we gonna move from beaches to beaches but that was one quite memorable. Meanwhile it’s closing to 5 PM yet there’s no sign of sunset at all! It was still bright and we should’ve asked them to serve it around 6 PM.

Fried Squids
Grilled Shellfishes
Kangkung Plecing
Grilled King Prawns
Grilled Yellow Crazy Fish

Since we haven’t had our lunch, we tucked in greedily and said ‘Sunset? Whatever!’. Haha.. We had all of them grilled leaving only the squids fried. The dishes decorated beautifully and made us almost spilled the saliva to the ground. We’re also given several plates of kangkung plecing, a traditional Lombok dish (popularized by Balinese) made of kangkong or water spinach dipped in a special Indonesian sambal terasi or chilis mixed up with shrimp paste, served fresh.

The best part was the shellfish, grilled with greasy butter that made them appears very intriguing and it was heavenly! The fish was good also, they divided it into two horizontal parts and removed the bones completely. The grilled prawns were also delicious! But unfortunately, the fried calamaris were not that good, so it was up to me to finish it. LOL. Anyway, I recommend you to make it all grilled if you happen to visit the place.

You can see the busyness of every restaurant there after 5 PM. They brought out the tables, chairs, plates, and every other dining utensils. The customers came out around before the sunset up until night, so that’s indeed the best time to dine there and certainly not in the afternoon though they open like all day long.

Forgot the damage done to our wallet, it need to be mention everywhere actually. So, for 7 of us plus the drinks, the totals were IDR 339,500! That’s quite cheap though many places offer the same level or even more delicious seafood, but Menega certainly offers you better. The beach view, the sunset, the beautiful dishes, the smoke gets in your eyes (they grill and fill the air with smokes!) but not to forget, the romance in the air. ^^

LOCATION:

Jl. Four Seasons Hotel Muaya Beach, Jimbaran – Bali

WEBSITE:

http://www.menega.com/cafe

Restaurant Review: Waraku

Kaminabe Wazen

I need to remind you that this Waraku is not the same as Pasta de Waraku though they’re products of a certain company from Singapore and available for franchise. Pasta de Waraku franchise right was bought by Ismaya Group, but for this Waraku I have no idea. Well, it’s as if that important and already too many ‘Waraku’ words mentioned so it gets annoying. But however, this new installment in Grand Indonesia seemed to be interesting since they have the same attractions in front of the joint similar with Pasta de Waraku, attractive and colorful foods made out of wax I suppose. We browsed the menu first and they got almost everything from Japanese dishes! Including some of those I haven’t seen before. After further deliberations, we decided to try it out.

Once inside, it’s not really Japanese anymore. Well, Pasta de Waraku was not that Japanese style interior restaurant also but much cozier. I don’t really like this place, it’s too open (I prefer a warm atmosphere no matter how busy the place is) and I can’t get myself along with the place. I got this so-called chemistry between me and the place. It’s different if it’s a hawker, but if you own a permanent place and you got like the whole money in the world then make it so! Make the food genre you offer get along with your place. It’s like nowadays KFC, I hate the place and I hate the fact that they promote newbie bands with their annoying music and it disturbs you a lot while you’re eating there. I know it’s only a fast food chain, but those facts really bother me a lot and I prefer to take my meals back home.

Whan an extensive menu they had there! So I was looking for a somewhat rare dish that not every Japanese restaurant in Jakarta can offer. For instance, it’s rare to find kamameshi or an unagi yanagawa dishes and certainly not in the famous joints like Sushi Tei or Sushi Groove!

Gyu Kaminabe

Since ma cherie wanted a bowl of ramen, therefore I suggested her a strange variant of it, Ishiyaki Chige Ramen (IDR 49,800). Whilst I, took a serious interest about this new wonder for me, a kaminabe dish. Kaminabe is one from many nabemono dishes, a soup with many ingredients from meat, seafood, and veggies in a hotpot usually made from cast iron or clay. But this kaminabe is different, instead from a cast iron or clay, it’s made up from a paper! You can also pick from 3 kinds of broth. It was wafuu, chige, and miso. I chose chige and the waitress said it was made from beef broth.

Straight to the taste, this kaminabe was surprisingly good and has the ability to keep the food warm and even hot at some stage! It’s lit up with fire until it extinguishes itself eventually. I picked the Kaminabe Wazen (IDR 88,000), using the meat and veggies only but you can pick the seafood version if you want to. This set comes with tempura and sashimi so I can taste a glimpse of the other dishes. Well, next time I’d pick the kaminabe only since the rest was just so-so. While my partner’s ramen was quite good at first with the squids and the egg helping the taste of the spicy chige broth, but the taste declines as time goes by and she even tucked in on my dish instead. I’m not putting the picture of this ramen also since it resembles Indomie with egg a lot! Haha..

Well, it’s a good place to try many dishes of Japanese cuisine in the same place, but I didn’t feel like at home no matter how Japanese the dishes might be. I also particularly feel that the kitchen wasn’t ran by a Japanese chef though I haven’t got any clue though for this ‘accusation’. Anyway, it’s a decent place for beginners and for those who haven’t tried a kaminabe like me for instance. As for the rest, I pronounce.. Average.

The Judgment (based on scale of 10 score plus the comments):

1. PRICE (5/10)

Calculation Method

GT = (Principle Price + (Principle Price x Service Tax)) x Restaurant Tax

– Service Tax = 5% (Decent service)

– Grand Total = IDR 181,010 (2 people)

2. INTERIOR (5/10)

No matter how casual the theme, it’s just too bland to see..

3. SERVICE (5/10)

Quite helpful, though one of them had said that using Debit Card was accepted but turned out that it’s not allowed. What the!

4. TASTE (5/10)

The kaminabe was great, but the ramen did not meet my standard. I assume the rest might be doomed for that also.

5. OVERALL (5/10)

Additional Information:

Location :

  • Grand Indonesia Shopping Mall, Jakarta
  • Taman Anggrek Mall, Jakarta
  • Pondok Indah Mall, Jakarta
  • Many other outlets around the world

Website : http://www.waraku.com.sg/

The exciting gastronomic escapades of a foodie journo!

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