Travel: Our Macau/Hong Kong Getaway (6D/6N)!

Follow our 6 day, 6 night adventure in these lands of amazing food, awesome culture and astounding sights. See how we ate, shopped and laughed our way through Macau and Hong Kong! :)

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Food: Tim Ho Wan Hong Kong Dim Sum 添好運 @ Plaza Singapura, Singapore

During our recent Singapore trip (okay, so it ain't exactly thaaaat recent any longer due to our procratination and other backlogged posts, but bear with us), I had a list of 3 things I wanted to do.

First #1, to taste my first ever Laduree macaron, next #2 to visit Gardens by the Bay, and last but not least, #3 to try the Singapore branch of the famous Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan which we missed out on when we visited Hong Kong in 2011.

I'm pleased to say we achieved all three. *happy dance* Needless to say, Adam was very patient with me that trip because #1 meant spending an unintelligible amount of our SGD on sugar shells, #2 was just to walk around and look at flowers, and #3 involved standing in queues for a long time. I do appreciate it all, ok! :p


Queues

Yup, and more queues
The crazy thing about Tim Ho Wan is that since its opening in Singapore till the time we visited in the middle of last year, the queues haven't eased one bit. Once we touched down at Changi Airport, we hopped onto the MRT and made our way to Plaza Singapore at about 12:30 pm on a working THURSDAY afternoon and the queue was still madness! I was about to give up hope until Adam suggested we have a drink and a quick bite somewhere else first, to tide our hunger before checking in again on the queue later.



I think the time we spent in the queue was approximately... 45 minutes perhaps? We people-watched instead to pass the time. Brisk office workers on their lunch break shaking their heads at us as they walked past, not fathoming the craze but yet still wishing they didn't have to work so they could do crazy things like this. A boyfriend waiting alone in the queue while the girlfriend only joined him much, much later, and yet he still sweetly greeted her. Shocked expressions from people who had just rounded the corner and saw the snaking queue... all in a day's queue at Tim Ho Wan



It's said that the original restaurant in Hong Kong, proud owner of 1 Michelin star and the distinction of being the cheapest Michelin starred-restaurant is nothing more than a hole in the wall. It doesn't seat many, queues are even worse than what we've endured here, and space is limited, nearly non-existent. I suppose we have it better in Singapore!


Once seated, there's no leaning back

Still, you may get in very close contact with other diners :p This was right next to me, where we sat in communal-style seating arrangements.

Tim Ho Wan has their famous dish of four (四大天王, loosely translated to be the "Four Heavenly Kings"), so we decided to order all four to try. The most famous and most talked-about one is of course their signature Baked Bun with BBQ Pork (SGD 4.50).





This is so popular that you're only prohibited to only ordering a plate of 3 for every diner you have. I overheard the table next to us trying to get some extra but they weren't allowed to.




What's so amazing you may ask? The moment you sink your teeth into these, you'll understand. There's a very slight sweet crisp to the top of the bun, like a polo bao and beneath that, you'll find a fluffy, pillowy soft bun encasing bits of piping-hot, sweet barbecued pork. 



It's just that good. We couldn't talk for a few seconds as we tried our first buns each... If I close my eyes, I can almost taste it in my mouth! Argh, this is pure torture.



The Vermicelli Roll  with Pig's Liver (SGD 5.50) is also another one of the famous four, but we didn't fancy this one as much. The vermicelli sheets (cheong fun) was not as smooth and slithery as we would have liked and I found the whole thing a bit bland, in general. I think this is a case of personal preference, or rather preference towards the Malaysian rendition of Hong Kong cheong fun that we're so used to compared to the authentic thicker Hong Kong ones.



The Pan Fried Carrot Cake (SGD 4.50) was also something I enjoyed, Adam not as much cause it isn't really his kind of thing. It got a bit much for 2 people to finish, but I enjoyed the pan-fried crispiness on the outside that brings that bit of fragrance, and the imperfect texture of the sweet radish strands coupled with savoury bits of meat. I never liked my radish or yam cakes to be mashed to a pulp with zero texture from its original form, so this wins points from me.



The sweet dish of Tim Ho Wan's Four Heavenly Kings was none other than a simple Steamed Egg Cake (SGD 3.80), also known to many as ma lai kou, a dish we both enjoyed nibbling at immensely. The cake was airy and soft, and it had such strong hints of brown sugar. Wonderful eaten warm. Although I haven't tasted many ma lai kou-s in my day, I daresay this is the best I've tasted thus far :p




Of course, we couldn't leave a dim sum joint without ever trying their siew mai or Pork Dumpling with Shrimp (SGD 5). It was decent siew mai, nothing to fault, but nothing to shout about either.




I also decided to try the Deep-Fried Spring Roll with Egg White (SGD 4.20) because I saw a Singaporean blogger raving about it. It turned out to be a bad decision, not because it was bad but because we were so full and could barely eat anymore when this arrived. Just a simple popiah with bits of egg white, carrots and turnip within, that would probably have been tastier had I not been so stuffed. -__-




Turnaround time for the tables are relatively quick because this isn't really a place you want to linger around for long, sipping on your tea because it's not exactly the most comfortable (also, you may feel guilty by the long queues outside, haha!) Service is also very fast, although that is to be expected of a dim sum restaurant. Now, if only the queues weren't so long, I'd return to Tim Ho Wan often for the amazing BBQ pork buns!





Tim Ho Wan @ Plaza Singapura | Site
Getting here: Take the MRT to Dhoby Ghaut Interchange, follow signs to Plaza Singapura exit
No. 68, Orchard Road
#01-29A/52
Singapore 238839
Tel: +65 6251 2000
Email: customercare@timhowan.com
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri, 10am-10pm; Sat, Sun & PH 9am-10pm
Note: Since our visit, other branches have now also opened in Westgate, Bedok Mall & Toa Payoh

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Moving Comfort for Neubodi Active 28 Days Challenge

*Drops of Contentment wishes all readers an awesome Happy Chinese New Year, and happy holidays! Gong Xi Fa Cai to all those who celebrate, and to the rest, take this opportunity to drink and be merry as well!

***

Today, we're going to do a post that's pretty out of the ordinary for Drops of Contentment. Over the past few years, we've focused on our food and travel escapades (and yes, more food escapades even during travels), that's led to a less than healthy lifestyle for the both of us. Couple that with long, stressful and busy working hours and other commitments during the week, that leaves us with scarce time to do much else. So, it's become more and more important to us that we keep fit while still enjoying our love for... food. /whispers nervously

Getting my hands on the Moving Comfort for Neubodi Active range. Yay!

So when Neubodi came along with the opportunity for the Moving Comfort for Neubodi Active #28daysFIX Challenge, I thought it was perfect. Plus, the timing couldn't have been better, because it's that time of the year when we're surrounded with so much good, artery-clogging food for Chinese New Year!

For those of you who aren't yet familiar with Neubodi, it's a lingerie brand that strives to provide the right lingerie fit and support with their top-notch products, all whilst providing both the accentuation and comfort that the modern woman needs. Sounds good?

This year, Neubodi is taking it one step further by hooking up with Moving Comfort, a sister company of Brooks who specializes in sporting apparel for women workouts, specifically in sports bra fitting. Through this collaboration, Neubodi's now gotten a really neat range that I've mentioned above - the Moving Comfort for Neubodi Active - that I'm going to be testing out for the next 28 days.



Interestingly, I was doing some reading online about these Moving Comfort sports bras and apparently what they're trying to do is move away from the conventional sports bra categories that just range from low, medium and high impact and instead focusing on many other different traits such as fit, sizing and adjustabillity that also contribute towards what sports bra we should pick. So, Moving Comfort's got three different collections for us: secure, stabilize and control.



The Secure collection is likened to a receiving a hug, molding to your body to provide just enough security for your chest yet still enough comfort and support during your workout. Control, on the other hand, is designed to eliminate bounce during your high intensity workouts and could be ideal for those ladies blessed with more in the chest area. The bra I got is the Luna, from the Stabilize range which I feel is the perfect balance between the Secure and Control, a mix of both comfort and support.

I've only worn it once during the fitting and during today's light workout and I'm loving it already! I've never enjoyed wearing sports bras simply because I feel constricted and like my chest can't breathe, but there's none of that whatsoever with the Luna. It's lightweight, fits snugly, and provides me with a lot of comfort and support... and to be a little vain, it doesn't flatten me. Hee. :p Will see how it goes after another 28 days!



I also got a capri-length bottom from the Neubodi Active Haute Slim collection that has a premise that I find very enticing indeed - a collection that's designed to fit and slim your entire waist, hips, buttocks and thighs. Seriously every girl's dream, I think. :D



When I first tried it on, I thought wow, this kinda feels like the type of material that people go deep sea diving in. Body-hugging and pretty thick. It turns out though, that the fabric is actually the secret to it all. In designing these pants, Neubodi uses this neoprene heat technology in the fabric that insulates and heats up our body's temperature while we work out. This helps to double our metabolism rate and yes, helps us to burn double the amount of calories too. :D



The best part is, Neubodi's actually tried it out on various women of various walks of life (think a housewife, a working professional, teenagers) and they've all consistently used these Haute Slim pants throughout 28 days during their preferred workouts (the housewife just did household chores like mop the floor!)... they all lost a pant size after the 28 days. *motivated* 



I love the vibrant blue it comes in, but sometimes we all do wanna change things up a bit, and so the reversible Haute Slim pants gives you that option.


Just as awesome in black!


And so, here I am, on the 1st of February, taking on the Moving Comfort for Neubodi Active #28daysFIX Challenge (yeah okay, I have to use Mr Bump to cover my unsightly bits :p), to rid myself of all the extra calories inhaled during Chinese New Year. Here's to a stronger, fitter me in 28 days time! 

(Unfortunately Adam can't have his share of Neubodi too... but it's okay, I'll drag him to work out together with me!)




*The Moving Comfort for Neubodi Active collection ranges from RM149 - RM179 only. Now already available in store at Neubodi Bangsar Village II, Empire Shopping Gallery & 1 Utama Shopping Centre! :) For more information, like them on Facebook here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Food: Ishin Japanese Dining @ Old Klang Road

This year on New Year's Day, we got out to lunch late, around 2:30pm. We knew we wanted to avoid the malls because they would be jam-packed with shoppers so we drove around Old Klang Road hunting for places to eat. For the second year in a row, we hunt for Japanese food as our first meal of the New Year, but sadly most places were already closed.


Thankfully, there was still Ishin Japanese Dining! We've considered eating here in the past, but always chose something else over it instead because of how expensive and exclusive it looked.



To our surprise, while prices are still on the steeper end, it wasn't as bad as we had expected. We each got an iPad to browse through their menu as soon as we were seated. It's a thoughtful move to go "e", but most of the time, the e-menus aren't as friendly as a hard copy menu. Perhaps we're a bit old-school that way. :)



Sashimi is always a must, and there's no exception at Ishin. In fact, we'd say it's a double-must at Ishin, simply because it was excellent. One Sashimi Moriawase consisting of 5 types of assorted sashimi will put your back by RM 72, but we thought it was worth every penny. 



We got thick, succulent cuts of salmon, butterfish, scallop, tuna and amberjack; each bite fresh and absolutely delightful. My personal favourite was the scallop, so naturally sweet and tender.



We had the Soft Shell Crab Salad off their specials menu, big leafy greens drizzled with a tangy, appetizing dressing. The soft shell crab was excellent - deep fried to perfection - with a crispy exterior and within, flaky crab flesh that nearly melts in your mouth. 



We liked it so much that we ordered an a la carte serving of soft shell crab, but to our disappointment it came fried in a different batter, one that was thicker and more flour-y. :(



The Special House Maki (RM 33) was pretty good, albeit a bit smaller than we had initially expected. Taste-wise, no complains though, just the right ratio of popping roe, bouncy tempura prawn, crunchy cucumber and a light bit of mayo to bind everything together.



Adam got a bit adventurous with our other sushi order and decided on the Philly Roll (RM 32), a simple seaweed roll with smoked salmon & cream cheese. This is really only recommended if you're an absolute cheese fan. Else, you're probably better off ordering one of their other many rolls. We thought the cream cheese was far too pungent here. 



The Nabeyaki Udon (RM 32) was decent, nothing really to pin point, but nothing to praise either. We also had an a ala carte order of mackerel below, quite nicely done, we must say!




Ishin has a whole range of bento-type set meals that make for pretty good lunch options. In fact, I think there's currently even a special promotion for these sets if you visit on weekdays. I had the Tempura Udon Set (RM 28), a petite serving of udon with some assorted tempura and fruits.


Assorted tempura



Adam on the other hand, went for the Shake Teriyaki Set (RM 28), with two pieces of teriyaki salmon which was pretty good as well.



The Hotate Cheese Yaki (RM 55) was a dish that looked like pure indulgence from the moment it was set on our table; four big scallops generously topped with a creamy mix of cheese, mayo and mushrooms chunks. These were oh-so-sinful, but any more than one per person, and I daresay it'll be too much. Best consumed hot after it arrives.

To conclude, I'd say Ishin is a pretty good recommendation for Japanese food that doesn't disappoint, I think maybe a close second to our favourite of Coco.Tei. While you have to mentally prepare yourself for a hefty bill, I suppose the quality of the food does make up for it, especially for the luxurious, fresh cuts of the sashimi served.  



Our friends and us always ponder upon just where we're going to toss our yee sang this year, knowing full well that Chinese restaurants will be fully booked and one of the suggestions was to go for Japanese instead, which we personally think is a great suggestion. There'll be less hustle & bustle, plus the fresh fish in the lou sang is always far better at Japanese places.




So as luck would have it, we saw that Ishin also has a CNY yee sang menu available until 14 February 2014, with choices like fresh salmon, assorted fresh fish, soft shell crab, baby sardine, and even healthier options like sweet potato or fruits. The whole list of their yee sang choices are available here. Plus, they're open all throughout Chinese New Year too... now quick, make those reservations!


Ishin Japanese Dining
| Site
No. 202, Persiaran Klang,
Batu 3 3/4, Off Jalan Kelang Lama
58000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +6 03 7980 8228
Opening Hours: Daily, 12pm-3pm & 6pm-11pm

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Food: Restoran Tanjung Karang Seafood @ Off Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur


Some time ago on a Sunday night, we dropped by downtown near Imbi for some seafood at Restoran Tanjung Karang, excited at the promise of some fresh crabs, prawns and fish.




Tanks of fresh seafood are located around the restaurant, and you can watch the staff pick out your seafood, or even point out the ones you want. When we were there, the fishes were particularly angsty and kept on jumping - so beware, you may get wet if you're seated too near to the tanks. :p



We also found the tank segregation sadly amusing. The fishes in this tank had lots of space to swim around freely, as if they were in a luxurious mansion... 



While for this tank, we deduced it was meant for the 'commoners'. Look at how little space they have! :S


Catching our sang har!


We had our sang har (fresh prawns) done in two ways, three prawns in a simple au naturale steamed version, and another another three prawns cooked with noodles and ginger in egg drop gravy (the usual sang har meen version). Both were RM 117




We unanimously preferred the steamed version; I guess with seafood, less is more. The prawns were excellent, firm with freshness, and pleasantly enjoyable with its natural sweetness. The sauce was light and used more to complement the sweet flesh of the prawns, instead of overpowering it.





The prawns were still good in the noodle version we had, but after having the steamed one in all its fresh glory, this one paled in comparison. We also prefer the way the noodles are done at Greenview in SS2.



We really enjoyed the crabs (RM 107) here too. We were lucky to have gotten pretty fresh ones that were relatively big, and the chef managed to execute this dish perfectly.



The crabs were fleshy and their salted egg rendition was top-notch. We licked every bit off our fingers. :D





When I was younger I could only appreciate fried fishes doused in soy sauce, but I'm so glad that I grew up. There's no better way to enjoy a good fish than simply steamed Chinese-style, with soy sauce and topped with ginger, scallions, and cilantro. The fish (soon hock, RM 187) we got was also excellent. Flaky and smooth, almost melting in your mouth. 




The dong po yuk (RM 25) was a recommendation of the wait staff, and it was decent. Not too fatty which I appreciated, but I think many would argue and say that it's not really dong po yuk if the ratio of fat doesn't surpass the meat. Heh. I wished there was more of the sauce to dip the buns in though.



And some vegetables (RM 12), stir-fried with garlic and crispy dried prawns (har mai) to ensure we don't walk away from the dinner table full of guilt. :P



We finished dinner with some simple lychee-flavoured jelly on the house, and left feeling completely satiated from a good seafood meal, one of the better ones we've had in a long time. If you don't want to spend your Chinese New Year visiting the usual haunts and paying RM 1288++ or more for a ten course meal that you aren't going to enjoy anyway, why not try something new this CNY and go for some seafood at Tanjung Karang instead? 







Restoran Tanjung Karang Seafood
No 53 Jalan Barat, Off Jalan Imbi,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 03 2141 8551


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