In 2011, I marked a great personal record that I travelled almost 80% of my time. I boarded the planes more than car and took the most photos “ever” in my life. Thinking back, I also accidently set a record of draining my bank account in the shortest time “ever”.
Not all records are set in easy manner, some has to sacrifice pretty much a lot of my time. I remember I used to spend almost 11 hours transit in airport, luckily the lounge helped at that time. Airport malls become a regular place for me to hang out but sadly, I did not know any of the pretty air stewardesses at all.
While transit in Doha recently, I spotted a chocolate haven that sells almost any kind of chocolate. From high end super expensive chocolate to low end super cheap chocolate. Of all the chocolate, I somehow attracted to this 3 colors Kit Kat. Not pricy, just affordable.
Besides the usual brown color Kit Kat, there is white and dark Kit Kat chocolate. I think it is somehow symbolize 1 Malaysia, if you agree with me. If you are familiar with brown color Kit Kat, try with the combination of 3. Meaning with 1 white + 1 brown + 1 black = marvelous taste.
This product sells at slightly more expensive in Malaysia as compare to Doha. By paying about ~RM40, I get the pleasure for multiple times as this package comes with 9 smaller packets of Kit Kat. So, instead of 1, you get 9 x of fun. You can easily get this in KLIA but I think you have to pay about ~RM20 extra.
For me, this really a good snack while transiting for long hours in airport. It definitely gives me the “Get a Break, Get a Kit Kat” moment every time when I bite this tiny little chocolate. Without realizing it, I completely finished up this pack in just few hours. I guess before I know it, I will become one diabetic patient
Yuyuan Garden is a famous classical garden in Shanghai. Although the existence of this garden is about 400 years now and undergoes multiple reconstructions, this place still remains as a famous tourist spot in Shanghai.
Sometime I felt amaze on the architecture of ancient times. It seems like they really spend a lot of time building, reconstructing, refurbishing and try to preserve the crisp of the culture. Technically, we should embrace our history but the remains turn out to be so good for photography.
Maybe I sound a bit melodramatic but as a newbie in the world of camera, ancient buildings turn me on. This is just one of the many buildings in this garden. If you have good stamina, you can walk the 20 000 square meters park, within a day. I am fit (or I wanted to believe that), so, no problem for me.
There are 6 main scenic areas that you must visit: Sansui Hall, Wanhua Chamber, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Hall, Yuhua Hall and Inner Garden. I went there twice and I don’t think I ever visited those places or maybe I did but forget the names.
To me, the main attraction is not those scenic spots. I have discovered Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant, the most famous and authentic siu long pau. Now, I also discovered the best dumplings in Shanghai called Ning Bo Dumplings (don’t know where they get the name from).
This restaurant is usually congested and probably you need to spend some time queuing to get seated and queuing to order and pay the bills. Maybe this place is the most affordable as compare to others? To me, crowded means good.. hehe..
As you might notice, they do serve big pau and some other dim sum too but the highlight is definitely the rice ball dumplings. Instead of ordering one, the long queue makes me order additional bowl. The sesame and crab roe dumplings.
In Singapore Chinatown, you can get this with almond or just plain sugar water soup. Over here, they only serve with plain water as the soup. In that case, the soup is like drinking hot water. On the other hand, the dumplings taste very nice and the texture is just perfect.
Two bowls are definitely not enough for me especially on good food. As soon as you walk out from the restaurant, you will notice that they also sell take away dumplings. I did not get it but I think it is a good deal. According to the lady, it can last about 3 weeks without fridge.
I am not leaving that place empty handed. I bought myself herbal bean curds with pigeon eggs. No, it is not stinky bean curd. This also taste good except a little spicy. Gosh, you should try to drink the soup too. Now, my floor is wet coz I can’t stop drooling when I write about this.
Ning Bo Dumplings
Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai
Cell phone is so common that almost everyone in the world has one. The convenience of it can almost make you physically and emotionally attached to it at all times, even while you are on vacation, hanging out with friends bla bla bla.
One tip of advice, try to avoid using it while you are in the toilet. It is rude if you talk to someone on the phone while he/she can hears the sound effect of it while you are doing your big business. It becomes really nasty if you accidently dropped the phone in un-flush toilet bowl.
The mess is one thing but try to imagine you are on the other side of the phone?
Maybe this is not a good start especially when I am about to write about Yo.Ba Yogurt Ice-Cream. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to relate toilet to ice-cream although both have H2O elements in it.
What I am trying to say is cell phone makes my photo taking possible. You know, sometimes, on this one day that you feel like you do not want to carry your baby with you, u need em? This time, my cell phone saves my day.
When everyone is busy with window shopping, this is the time when I snoop around the mall with my dinky phone to keep me company. Spying around what good on the shelf, snapping photos in a no-photos zone and of course, Angry Bird as my stress relievers once in awhile.
Speaking of stress relievers, Yo.Ba rightfully disengage my cell phone bond with me that never been separated since the day I own it. With multi topping choices, finally, I can forget about my cell phone for a record of 10 mins.
Someone told me, if you take the courage to make the first step, the second, third, fourth and so on will be a lot easier. I am back to defer because as soon as colorful M&Ms, raisins and cold creamy ice-creams are gone, my phone got magnetize back to me again. That shows how strong our bond is.
BUT I discovered a new hypothesis. RMB 24 (RM 12) can help phone addicts to stay away from their addictions for 10mins. M&Ms and raisins are major contributors here.
So, to summarize, with RM 17280 (RM 12 x 10min x 6 x 24hr), you will be free from phone addiction for a day in return. Well, everything come with a price, right?
Yo.Ba Yogurt Ice Cream
Super Brand Mall
Maybe it is too early to ask this to some of you but have you think of places where you want to go with your soul mate for honeymoon?
A very special person to me once suggested Maldives. Coming from tropical country, I directly object it, which led to the reason why I travel ALONE nowadays.
Come on, when the weather is at average of 28 deg C, beaches and expensive, how romantic can it be? I can no longer take off my clothes when you are cold and you need a lot of tissues to wipe my sweat.
Why not I suggest an alternative colder place, Honeymoon Dessert instead? It is cooler, sweeter (not sweater) and affordable? If you minus the crowd, we can spend some quality times together.
You might think I am cheapskate but I am not. I am a realistic person. What happen when all of the sudden you are hungry while we both enjoy the scenic sun rise moment.
Aha.. that why over here is better because you get to order at least tofu fah or durian pastry. Forget about the “big egg yolk” sun as these are much tastier for sure.
I might not bring you to love warm heaven but I bring you to sweet desserts heaven. You might say I don’t know you but I can tell you, I know you “inside” out. When I say inside, I meant your stomach and not something else.
Mango and pamelo slush might be ordinary to many but I know you are craving for it. Sweet potatoes and glutinous rice ball is on the list although I remember you said you will have gas when you have it.
Romantic is never about the places but it is always about who you are with at that time. Again, you can call me not romantic but I am not a cheapskate and I can justify it.
With air ticket from Malaysia+ RMB 67, you really think this honeymoon is cheap? Ohh, I did included shopping in the itinerary too and it is on me! Does that change your mind?
Road 699, Block B, 3rd Floor, 200-333,
Shanghai Changning District
TEL: +86 21 6275 5777
Did you know that most Peranakans are of Hoklo (Hokkien) ancestry? Ok.. if you don’t know what is Peranakan, they are mixed-race descendents, part Chinese, part Malay/Indonesian.
Maybe the word Peranakan might be strange to you and I bet Baba-Nyonya will ring a bell. Normally, Baba-Nyonya is always associated with a historical place called Malacca.
Yes.. Malacca, A famous tourist spot where Red Stadhuys is located! Speaking of which, just few minutes walk from that spot will lead you to a busy “pasar malam” street on Friday night.
The place will start to get really congested in the late evening. Besides I get to buy my favorite cuttlefish, I noted that they sell a lot of cute souvenirs and chairs too! Quite impressive I would say.
My mission to this street was to locate Jonker88.com. What exactly is that? Isn’t you suppose to search on internet instead?
Jonker88.com is a famous dessert shop in Malacca. Many tourists will stop by at this to grab some chilly desserts. Considering that I am a tourist too, I joined others in queue to try out what is so great about this place.
The dessert shop isn’t a typical modern dessert shop like Chatime or Snowflakes but it is rather a museum to me. You get to see a lot of certificates, old notes, drawings etc here.
What amaze me is they kept many ancient artifacts over here too. If you are at my age, you will probably come across typewriter or ring dial telephone before. Believe it or not, they have it here too!
After spending few minutes in queue, instead of one, I decided to order two desserts. One is Cendol Gula Melaka and the other one is Sago Gula Malaka.
Both are really amazing. I love the taste of Gula Malaka although it is a bit too sweet for me. When I put inside my mouth, I can taste the nice coconut fragrant in it too! Yummie!
The desserts are quite affordable and it ranges only from RM 3 – 5 per bowl. Give it a try especially on hot sunny day!
same row as Malacca Chicken Rice Balls
Hello, can I call for room service? Ok.. What service do you want, sir? We provide all kind of services to our customers including some special one.
I am curious about the special one but let’s not get there. This is a typical type of conversation you will have when you call front desk in hotel. Nothing special about it.
Try again if either of you do not speak English. The conversation will become as challenging as what Chinese said, like chicken and duck speak.
Believe it or not, a simple mushroom soup will turn out to be the most difficult soup to order. If the soup turns out to be tasteless, the effort just goes to drain. Luckily, it did not happen to me this time.
By right, most menus should be numbered. It simplifies the communication between the guest and the hotel when in urgent need. When come to this, pictorial menu is completely useless.
Imagine how I ordered Sirloin Steak with Tiger Prawns and Fries, medium rare? The waitress for sure is patient and polite but probably in her mind, she will say this “What the F*** are you talking about?”
In normal circumstances, I will order a soup, main course, desserts and a drink. Now, the conversation is not only testing her patience but mine too.
The Banana Fritter and ice cream is one of the tough one. I know how to describe banana and ice cream but definitely not fritter in foreign language. I nearly fainted when I ordered strawberry milkshake and turned out to be orange juice.
All the hard works did paid off when the dinner was finally sent to my room but 30 minutes late. This is really a milestone for me and in fact one of my biggest fear in foreign places. Imagine if they sent “something special” and not food!
How old do you plan to retire? Many will said, “Do I look that old?” To me, retiring is not about sitting there waiting to die but rather quit from your daily responsibilities and do what you want.
Of course you need to get financial independence first. In other words, escape yourself from becoming a slave for money. Question is how? My concept is, instead of savings cents by cents, earn more more more than what you can EVER use.
Rich dad or wife is an alternative but unfortunately, I am not that lucky but hey, money is never enough anyway.
Rather than dwelling too much on what I don’t have, why not just flip the coins, see what I want to do about it. OK. I plan to physically retire in Singapore. Not because I like the ‘fine’ country but I love the food there!
Because of Bedok Hawker Stalls, I will re-consider Singapore again. Why? Foods here are deliciously nice and affordable. For instance, chee cheong fun and Jian Bo Shui Kueh cost less than SGD 5 (~RM 10).
That secures my daily breakfast. What about lunch? All I need is to spend another SGD 5 (~RM 10) and I can get decent lunch such as lemon chicken rice, kuey chap or duck rice. I have tested all and the foods are highly recommended.
With that, I am not going to live in poverty or resorting in something not decent as all these foods are my favorites! Who say I must eat steaks or bird nest on every meal?
When clock strikes 3pm, maybe I can plan to have a short tea break. Over here, I get to order lek tau suan (green pea soup), lotus seed soup, or even tou fu fah. Tou fu fah is common but lek tau suan or lotus seed soups are hardly find in other places.
So, did you get it yet?
The fundamental rule to achieve financial independence is to have a simple life. All you need is getting a decent shelter (not in dodgy place) and securing your stomach (not with bird nest) AND you are a step closer to your retirement.
(don’t act smart by asking what about dinner and supper! That you have to figure it out youself :p)
Bedok Hawker Stalls
Blk 207 New Upper Changi Road
#01-XX Bedok Interchange Food Centre
GPS: 1.325362, 103.930546
Pears with White Fungus Soup
2 Pears (Skinned and cut into thin slices)
10 Red dates (Cut into half)
10 g White Fungus
1 Pinch TikkoSS’s Secret Ingredient
1. Soak white fungus in water until soft. Cut and remove the soft part.
2. Blend white fungus in a food blender. Set aside.
3. Boil 1L of water. When water is boiling, add pears and red dates.
4. After boiling the mixture for 5 mins, add white fungus and simmer the mixture over small fire for 30 mins.
5. Sweeten the mixture with rock sugar according to personal taste. Ready to be served.