The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Seafood feast @ Ling Loong Seafood [Top Spot Food Court], Kuching (Malaysia)

When we visited Kuching earlier this year, our Kuchingite relatives kindly organised a dinner at Ling Loong Seafood for the visiting relatives. As soon as we walked through the undercover carpark to the lift, I recognised that we were taken to this same food court 11 years earlier by a friend (one of the many foodie places this generous Kuchingite friend took us to on that trip!). Our relatives filled up two tables, and we all enjoyed catching up over a delicous seafood feast. The dinner showcased the local specialties that can only be found on this side of Malaysia, and I didn't realise I'd missed having these local food until I saw them again that night!

O-chien - oyster omelette is a delicious combination of seafood and egg:

Manichye, also called cangkuk manis in Malay which means sweet leaf. It has a texture much like spinach, but without the bitterness:

The last time I had Midin was 11 years ago when we visited Kuching. This local fern grows in the wild, has a distinctive curl and a lovely crunchy texture. I do wish midin is more readily available outside of Sarawak:

Another local seafood delicacy is the bamboo clam. These clams have a delicate seafood flavour and a texture similar to perfectly cooked scallops. Curry sauce is a popular way to serve bamboo clams in Kuching:

Here we have Butter Prawns. These deep fried crunchy goodies are not the healthiest choice, but they taste so good, I ate them whole with the heads, shells and tails!:

Classic Steamed Whole Fish. I'm not sure what kind of fish this is, but this was perfectly cooked and seasoned with a light and simple ginger soy sauce:

Deep-fried silken tofu in a mixed seafood and vegetables sauce:

Ling Loong Seafood Top Spot Food Court
6th Floor
No 6 & 33, Jalan Padungan
Taman Permata, 93100 Kuching
Sarawak, Malaysia
Tel. +60 14-684 8368

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Malaysian takeaway and Nonya Kueh @ Colonial Cafe, Melbourne

Hubby and I celebrated our anniversary a couple of weeks ago, and given the current lockdown status in Melbourne, we didn't have a choice but to celebrate our anniversary at home with our kids. I ordered in some Malaysian food from Colonial Cafe based on recommendations by my sister who had ordered from them recently, and we enjoyed the food for both lunch and dinner on our anniversary date. Contacting the business to order was easy via the Facebook page, and response time was quick. During the Covid-19 lockdown, Colonial Cafe delivers to further suburbs on certain weeks (announced on their Facebook page), but we live close enough to be able to order for next-day delivery. The food was delivered chilled, and I was happy to reheat the dishes for my own peace of mind. We all enjoyed the food, and we found the quality didn't suffer too much with the delivery option. Flavour-wise, this is as authentic as Malaysian food outside of Malaysia can be. The Nonya kueh (cakes) I ordered were also pretty good I can see why my sister and cousins enjoy ordering from Colonial Cafe. 

The whole haul, enough to feed a family of five for two meals:

Wonton mee (AU$7.50), a clear favourite with the kids. We only wish there were more than two dumplings:

Char Koay Kak (AU$8). These stir-fried rice cake cubes resemble one of my all-time favourite chai tau kueh (stir-fried radish cakes), but with a firmer texture. I found this a bit too salty, but otherwise it's a tasty dish:

Mee rebus (AU$8.50). I remember buying mee rebus from the school canteen when I was young (only occasionally, as my parents always packed food for us to bring to school, and I really didn't hold much money at that age), and this dish holds a special nostalgic place in my heart. This version from Colonial Cafe was delicious:

Nasi Lemak (AU$8.80). The ikan bilis (fried anchovies) were no longer crunchy, and the rice wasn't as fragrant with coconut milk as it should be, but the sambal was excellent and the fried chicken was a delicious accompaniment:

The chicken rice (AU$8.80) is one of the best dishes in the order. Rice was fragrant and rich with chicken flavours, and the chicken pieces were tender and flavoursome:

Curry puff (AU$3.50). Beautiful flaky pastry and delicious filling. For that price though, it would have been nice to have some protein (like a quarter of a boiled egg, or some chicken pieces, or some beef mince) in the filling:

Kueh ketayap aka kueh dadar (AU$6). This is one of hubby's all-time favourite Nonya kuehs, and this version didn't disappoint.:

Kueh lapis (AU$6) - the kids enjoyed peeling this kueh to eat it layer-by-layer (just as I did when I was young, and in fact I still do even now whenever I get my hands on kueh lapis!):

Kueh Seri Muka (AU$5.50). This is one of the classics that I always buy whenever I see it - I love how the smooth pandan custard layer pairs so well with the sticky glutinous rice base rich with coconut milk. This one was pretty good:

Kueh onde ondeAU$5.50 - another of hubby's favourite because of the copious amount of dessicated coconut and gula melaka (palm sugar) in such a tiny ball. This was delicious:

There were a few more items in my order not pictured above. The rice dumplings were ok, the nasi lemak bungkus was delicious, and the lo mai gai was another family favourite. All in all, we were satisfied with the quality and flavour of the food from Colonial Cafe.

Colonial Cafe
Located inside Colonial Fresh Market
Ground floor Westfield shopping centre
619 Doncaster Road
Doncaster VIC 3078
Tel. 0401 862 638
Facebook Page

Colonial Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 28 August 2020

Munich, Germany

It is amazing how much can change in a short train ride in Europe - one could be in another country with a completely different culture, language, scenery and architecture in as little as a couple of hours. Following on our epic Europe trip, our first stop outside of Switzerland was Munich. The train ride was around 6 hours, with a couple of changeover stations, and although we started early from Lucerne, it was dusk by the time we arrived at our accommodation in Munich. Travelling in this manner with three young children and many luggage - it proved difficult to pack lightly for the largely variable weather of spring season for our itinerary spanning across a large distance in latitude and altitude - was certainly a test of our resilience, patience, strength, endurance, and in more than a few instances, speed! Despite the challenges hubby and I faced, I consider the effort entirely worth it, and all part of our experience. Travelling with children is certainly better than not travelling at all. At some point on our train journey from Switzerland to Germany, we noticed the scenery outside the window had changed markedly. We were no longer seeing the beautiful snow-capped mountains, the rolling hills and the green pastures that we had gotten used to in our six days in Switzerland; the German scenery was more of a stark beauty in comparison. We stayed in Munich for two days, as a transit stop before heading into Austria. We would return to Germany again 10 days later, to explore the northern parts of the country by car. 

Hubby began our walking tour at Siegestor, triumphal arch "dedicated to victory, destroyed by war, urging peace":

We walked down Ludwigstrasse, which is named after King Ludwig I of Bavaria. The public buildings on Ludwigstrasse maintain the architectural uniformity envisioned as a grand street "worthy the kingdom" as requested by the king
A humungous door at one of the buildings we walked past:

View of the Theatine Church as we approached Odeonsplatz

Feldherrnhalle, the site of the brief battle in 1923 that ended Adolf Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch, a failed coup d'état by the Nazi Party leader:

Looking up at the yellow-coloured towers of the Theatine Church

One of the streets of Altstadt (Old Town)

Neues Rathaus (New Townhall):

The tower of Neues Rathaus, at the top of which is the fifth largest clockwork in Europe

The Rathaus-Glockenspiel consists of 43 bells that chime and 32 life-sized figures to re-enact two stories from the 16th-century

The golden Mariensaule standing in the centre of Marienplatz in front of the Neues Rathaus. The Marian column was erected in 1638 to celebrate the end of Swedish occupation

Altes Rathaus, the Old Townhall, which was first documented in the 14th century:

View of the Altes Rathaus from the Viktualienmarkt, the Munich food market

We walked past the Glyptothek

The walk to Nymphenburg Palace was quite pleasant along the canal

There were many gorgeous swans and ducks swimming on the lakes in front of the palace

Nymphenburg Palace:

A sculpture in front of the palace

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Outer Circle Social Club

Melbourne is in Stage 4 lockdown at the moment, so it's a very sombre mood everyone here is feeling. This is not a good time for business owners, and I hope that I won't see too many of our local favourites close down for good when we emerge from lockdown. Outer Circle Social Club is one of our favourites for coffee and brunch around here. It's tucked away from the main street in the middle of a light industrial area, and this is the closest cafe to our house that serves superb coffee and delicious food. The space is a cleverly converted warehouse with a bright and modern minimalist design. Service was genial and welcoming, and the coffee and food certainly warrant coming back for more. I loved the quirky names for the menu items. Although hubby has enjoyed a few coffees here since we first discovered this little gem, we only managed to squeeze in one brunch date here before the Covid-19 lockdowns happened. I miss dining out, I miss kid-free time, and we will most definitely revisit Outer Circle Social Club regularly once we can dine out again.

Ample outdoor dining space:

Converted warehouse interior:

Excellent coffee:

Pig In A Blanket - smoked pulled pork shoulder wrapped up burrito-style with slaw, avo and a black bean, corn, jalapeno salsa:

Old Mate Ruben The Reuben Is Still Here - house-smoked brisket piled high and toasted between rye bread with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing; served with crisps and a pickle:

Outer Circle Social Club
1/299 Arthur St
Fairfield VIC 3078
Tel. +61 3 9486 3119

Outer Circle Social Club Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Chocolate High Tea @ Mámor Chocolates & High Tea Szalón, Melbourne

Hubby celebrated his birthday a few weeks ago, and our original travel plans to commemorate the milestone event was thrown out the window due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. Fortunately it coincided with the first week of restrictions being lifted in Victoria, and restaurants were able to have limited numbers of dine-in customers. Hubby's birthday date was also the first day in months that all three kids were at kinder or school! And what better way to celebrate a birthday than with a chocolate high tea at Mámor Chocolates & High Tea Szalón! Booking online was a breeze, and there is a 50% deposit required to secure the booking. The front of house manager wasn't around, but we were very well looked after by the owner and chef, Janet. We enjoyed every bite, and loved being in such rich and lush surroundings, so unlike the world outside. A lot of thought and care have gone into the details, from the crystal chandeliers right down to the fine bone china and silverware, and we enjoyed every part of the experience. The chocolate high tea at Mámor is highly recommended by us

Stepping into Mámor feels like stepping into a different time and place, with lush red and black velvet curtains and gorgeous baroque furniture:

Opulent is one word that comes to mind when describing the interior:

The window gives a glimpse of the real world outside:

We literally had the whole place to ourselves for the next two hours, and were given the best seats in the house:

The three tiers of delicious goodies, including lemonade scones with house made jam and cream:

Savouries were charcoal brioche bun with sriracha mayo chicken and Asian slaw...

... and free range pork/veal sausage roll with flakey pastry and nectarine chutney:

The sweets plate held delicious macarons and a few cookies:

The chocolate course didn't disappoint the sweet tooth in us, which included cheesecake with ruby chocolate (a naturally pink chocolate!), chocolate hazelnut choux, and raspberry yuzu chocolates:

Hubby was still a little peckish, so we enjoyed some delicious leek and mushroom tartlets:

Mámor Chocolates & High Tea Szalón
153 Johnston St
Collingwood VIC 3066
Tel. +61 3 9419 3869

Mámor Chocolates & High Tea Szalón Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato