Saturday, March 30, 2013

~ Food & Leisure Trip to Johor Bahru - Day 1 (Part 3) ~

The main reason why we chose to stay in KSL Resort and visit Johor Bahru on a Monday instead of over the weekend is because of the Pasar Malam (Night Market) located outside KSL City.

Time: 6:00pm
 Pasar Malam (Opens every Monday only)
Location: Just outside KSL City Mall

This was probably our most relaxing walk through the streets as we were not in a rush to return back to Singapore as compared to our previous experiences. Its our third visit and we were familiar with the stalls and surrounding.

Mobile vendors occupied the entire street, stretching from KSL City to Grand Paragon Hotel. We were hungry again and this is where we will be eating and drinking to our hearts content!


Before we begin our eating trail through the market, I must give credit to Denver and Gladys who have been following us in most of our trips. We are very blessed that they are not too picky about food and rather adventurous in trying out new things. It was rather crowded but they endured the heat and followed us closely as we hop from stall to stall.

1) Fried finger food - The children love fried stuff. Fried fish fillet (RM1.50) and chicken (RM2.50) was our appetizer to start the evening. 

2) Penang Rojak - Walking further down, we found the Penang Rojak Man with his mobile rojak stall on a motorbike. Despite visiting the market twice, we never notice his existence. It was through JohorKaki's recommendation that we kept a lookout for him this time.

Unlike the other rojak that we have tasted so far, this was totally different. It has a variety of fruits (including pineapple, jambu, apple etc) mixed with cucumber, ground peanuts and his specially made thick, gooey sauce. Customers can choose to add more spice into the sauce which looks really tempting... but we decided to keep to the original flavour so that our kiddos can try it too.

The fruits were fresh and nicely cut. The sauce was nothing like the ones we tried before. It was very thick and sweet which blends well with the fruits. Gladys seems to love it and keep on munching on the fruity rojak. Hubby is not a fan of sweetness and I believe the spicy sauce would add on to his preference. A box of fruit rojak costs RM5.

3) Muah Chee - made from glutinous rice flour, these little sticky, chewy dough mixed with peanuts topping is also one of our favourite street food in Singapore and JB. :) Big box cost RM4.50 while a smaller box is RM3.50

4) Roasted pork - A MUST eat for Hubby and myself whenever we are here. The skin of the roasted pork is crispy and its meat is sweet and tender. We love the size the roasted pork was chopped into and the little bit of fatness within that made us drool. Total enjoyment. We spotted two particular stalls and bought a box from each stall, costing RM10 per box.

5) Soya Milk - There are many stalls selling drinks but we particularly like the soya drink stall from JiaJia. Price is cheap and they have soya bean curb available in original sugar or brown sugar. Perfect drink to quench our thirst after eating so much.

6) Carrot Cake - Carrot cake seems to be rather popular here. Crowd surrounded these stalls for their orders. Just looking at how this couple work together is amazing. The uncle is in charge of frying the carrot cake while the auntie crack the eggs and lay the styrofoam boxes in order. They are so systematic and fast, filling up the boxes with carrot cakes to meet up with the customers demand.We also joined in the line and ordered a box of carrot cake at RM3.50.

We spent 1.5 hour to cover the entire stretch of the night market. Total 'damage' for our dinner is RM39.80 (~ $16 SGD) for the amount of food we ate along the way.

As the night falls, the lights were up and the night market is as vibrant as ever. We love this pasar malam and will try to pop by whenever we are in JB.

Time: 7:35pm
Name: 51 Soya Bean
Location: LG - S7, KSL City Mall, 33 Jalan Seladang, Taman Abad, Johor Bahru 80250, Malaysia
(GPS: 1.485455, 103.762462)

We made our way back to KSL City. The children were tired and we sat down to have a bowl of Original and Mango flavoured soya bean curd (豆花) at 51 Soya Bean.

51 Soya bean is quite famous in Singapore with an outlet in Old Airport Road. Similiar to "老伴豆花", the soya bean is smooth and silky. There are always long queues observed in Singapore but we were able to sit down and enjoy our desserts here. It is also slightly cheaper costing RM3.20 (~$1.30SGD) for a bowl of original flavour soya bean curd.

Time: 8:00pm
Name: Hotel Room

We were finally back at the comfort of our hotel room. It has been a long day and everyone is tired. Hubby and I managed to squeeze another hour to do some night window shopping at KSL City Mall before we rest for the night.

Friday, March 29, 2013

~ Food & Leisure Trip to Johor Bahru - Day 1 (Part 2) ~

Date: 18th March 2013 

After lunch, Hubby suggested that we head back to Hiap Joo Bakery and Biscuit Factory to see if we can "tapao" (packet) some nice buns or cakes back to the hotel. Since it is not too far from Teck Seng, we drove back to Tan Hiok Nee Cultural Street hoping to grab some of their famous Coconut buns and Banana cakes.

Time : 2:40pm
Name : Hiap Joo Bakery and Biscuit Factory (协裕面包西果厂)
Location : 13, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, 80000 Johor Bahru 
(GPS : 1.456701, 103.764421)

It is not the usual trendy bakery shop where you will expect to see cosy interior deco and rows of cakes and buns nicely displayed in front of the shop space as you enter. Instead, it was dimly lighted and the same counter top that is used to make these delicacies is the exact place where you can grab them, pay and go.

Hiap Joo (since 1919) may look a little run down from the outside, but never judge a bakery by its cover. After tasting their cakes and buns, you will understand why customers continue to return and patronize them after so many years.

I asked for some coconut buns and banana cakes and was surprised to learn that the coconut buns were all SOLD OUT! My goodness! These buns were only ready around noon and within 3 hours they were all snap up! Sniff! I had to settle for a big box of banana cake instead (RM8). A small box of banana cake will cost RM4.

Upon returning to our car, the fragrant of the banana cake filled the air instantly. We could not resist taking a piece each to try. Guess what!? It was SO YUMMY, SOFT, SWEET and WARM that within 5 minutes, that big box of banana cake was gone! I did mentioned that I love my food more especially when they are warm. :)

Denver & Gladys love the cake so much and they wanted MORE!!! Luckily we did not drove off and I went back to Hiap Joo to buy another small box of banana cake. That box did not last long either and it was almost gone when we return to KSL Resort.

Time: 3:10pm
Name: KSL Resort, KSL City Mall
Location: 33 Jalan Seladang, Taman Abad, Johor Bahru 80250, Malaysia
(GPS: 1.486196, 103.76279)

It was a bad queue at the KSL resort counters during our visit. The hotel seem to be doing an upgrade to their check-in system but that has caused a lot of unhappiness among the guests who were frustrated with the long queues forming up. Long awaiting time for their rooms and wastage of precious time definitely was an unpleasant experience for a 5 star rated hotel. We were lucky to arrive early and completed our check-in. However, re-queuing again to get access to our room was simply terrible. I gave up queuing and walked straight to the front counter to have someone help us with our room key. Thank goodness, we got our access card and finally managed to get some rest!  

We booked a triple room (without breakfast) online via the resort's homepage. The room looks trendy and it is clean. Since it is a new hotel, everything is new and in good condition. The Queen and Single bed are comfy which helps to rejuvenate our tired bodies after a long day out.

Toilet is clean and spacious. I love the rain shower and it is convenient for the kids to take their own shower. 

We stayed on the 14th floor and had a good view of Johor Bahru from our room.

Holiday Plaza is just nearby and you can walk over for another round of shopping.

Great view from the lift lobby. Suddenly reminds me of Spiderman climbing its way up overlooking JB. :) 

Time: 3:50pm
Name: KBO Plus Family Karaoke
Location: Within KSL City Mall (Level 2)

After 'dumping' our luggage bags in the hotel room, we were on the move again. ^_^ This may sound a little bit unusual, but Hubby and I brought Denver & Gladys to their very first Karaoke session! For only RM25 (weekday, non peak hour - small room for 5 pax), we can enjoy an hour of 'shouting' (urmm.. singing) to our hearts content. 

Denver & Gladys were totally clueless when we were taken to the Karaoke room. After spending a few minutes on the screen, they were able to pick things up really fast and started picking some of their favourite songs. 

It was a little 'tormenting' to our ears with the kiddos' out of tune singing and high pitch laughter over the microphones, but it was really cute to see them hogging on to the mics and singing happily. 1 hour doesn't seem to be enough for them afterall.

Time: 5:00pm
Swimming Pool
Location : Within KSL Resort

In almost every vacation, our children favourite past time is hitting the waters in the swimming pool (no matter how tired they are). 

They were jumping with joy seeing the nice pool from the top and even WOWed when they saw Dinosaurs! "Dinosaurs Alive" Water Theme Park is located next to the resort's pool side and is currently open for viewing. We saw 3 life-size dinosaur replicas but it did not feel right to pay RM30 (Adult) and RM20 (Child) to go in for viewing only. -___-

Having said that, relaxing by the resort's swimming pool is an obvious choice.

Hotel guests can also rent some games or purchase kiddy's art activity materials while they are at the pool. 

More updates on our favourite pasar malam in JB in Part 3

Thursday, March 28, 2013

~ Food & Leisure Trip to Johor Bahru - Day 1 (Part 1) ~

Last week, we brought the children on a 2 days 1 night trip across the border - Johor Bahru. Thanks to JohorKaki blog, we were able to do some research of the yummy-licious local food before we embarked on our food & leisure tour.

Date: 18th March 2013

As the saying goes, early birds have worms to eat. We drove in rather early in the morning and stopped at our first destination for breakfast.

Time: 8:30am
Location: Roti Canai Bukit Chagar (Next to Pine View Apartment)
(GPS: 1.467941, 103.766743)

Roti prata has always been one of our favourite and we wouldn't miss tasting it on most of our visits to Malaysia. This is our first time finding our way to this stall (thanks to JohorKaki recommendation) which is located very near to the CIQ - Custom & Immigration Quarantine Complex.

There were cars & motorbikes parked outside the stall and business was quite good. We ordered and collected our pratas, noticing a big pot of curry placed beside the table. Customers can scoop the amount of curry they needed for their pratas.

Our orders: 
5 pratas - kosong (RM4)
1 chicken (RM2.5)
2 Teh Tarik (RM1 per cup)

I like the pratas which were crispy and not too oily. It was a pity that the curry, chicken and prata were a bit cold and somewhat discounted my overall enjoyment. I love my pratas more if they are hot. ^_^

The curry is not too spicy which is suitable for the children. Denver & Gladys enjoyed their breakfast pretty much, completing their meal with a cup of Teh Tarik.

Time : 9:30am
Name: Salahuddin Bakery
Location: 26 Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru
(GPS: 1.456915, 103.763428)

After having a heavy breakfast, we drove to our next stop - Salahuddin Bakery. It is a traditional bakery that still using charcoal and wood fire oven for baking. I wonder if there are any such bakery in Singapore.

We nearly missed the shop as we parked our car further away. It was a quiet street and we don't see many people around that area on a Monday morning.

We spotted the wood fueled fire oven but seems like we arrived too late and missed the baking action, as all bread and puffs were nicely baked and placed on the counter top already. 

They looked so appetizing and we could not resist the temptation to buy a couple back for tasting. 

Gladys picked the creamy puff (RM 1.50 each) while I grabbed the triangular Bengali curry puff (RM 1.70 each) to try. The cream puff was really THICK and CREAMY! One bite is more than enough for me to bear but the children had no problem finishing it, leaving traces of cream around their mouth. Hubby & I shared the ayam curry puff, with a good stuffing of potatoes and chicken inside and still flaky and crispy on the outside.

Taking a stroll back to our car is like taking on a little heritage tour around Johor Bahru. You will not miss the Red House located within Tan Hiok Nee Cultural Street (陈旭年文化which is known to host many Chinese cultural events.

*We heard that this street comes alive every Saturday evening. It will be nice to visit if you are around the area.

The richness of this heritage street can be felt by its unique charm that it exhibits as you passed by the shophouses, spotting the various traditional bakeries, kopitiams and other businesses in the area.

We were feeling thirsty and decided to take a little rest at one of the coffeeshop.

Another famous bakery in the area not to be missed is Hiap Joo Bakery and Biscuit Factory. Unfortunately, we were a bit too early and the owner told us the cakes and buns will only be ready at noon time. (We will be back later to cover this.)

Time: 10:10am
Name: KSL Resort, KSL City Mall
Location: 33 Jalan Seladang, Taman Abad, Johor Bahru 80250, Malaysia
(GPS: 1.486196, 103.76279)

We headed to KSL Resort, the accommodation that we will be staying for the night. Long queues were spotted for check-out and so we tried our luck to do an early check-in instead. (and luckily we did, as the queue turns out to be very bad in the afternoon). As our room was not ready, we decided to catch a movie first! :)

One of the advantage of staying in KSL Resort is its shopping mall - KSL City Mall. Dining, leisure and shopping all house within the same roof. MBO Cinema (with 8 cinema halls) is located on level 2 of the shopping mall and we bought tickets to "Ah Boys to Men 2".  We had a good laugh and enjoyed our local production very much! 

Movie tickets pricing :

Adult - RM12 
Child - RM9

Time : 2:00pm
Name : Teck Seng (德星茶餐室)
Location : 3 & 5, Jalan Sutera Satu, Taman Sentosa, Johor Bahru
(GPS : 1.490356, 103.767789)

Amazingly, the children were hungry after the movie despite a filling breakfast. :) We drove out of KSL City to have our lunch at Teck Sing Restaurant - famous for its Paper Baked Chicken.

The kampung chicken is wrapped in paper and upon tearing it, you can scent the fragrant aroma instantly. The chicken meat is soft and tender and the herbal sauce is strong and rich. The children love the taste of the sauce to go with their white rice and their eyes were always aiming for the meat. Hubby only finds it a little bit salty for his liking but I find the overall taste and flavour balanced well with my rice.

Standard fruit serving at the end of our meal (though we did not order it). 

Lunch orders: 
Paper baked chicken - RM18
4 bowls of rice - RM4.80
1 can of 7-Up - RM2
3 glasses of Barley - RM3.6
1 fruit serving - RM2
4 wet towels - RM1.60
Total Cost - RM32

More excitement after lunch in Part 2. :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

~ Earth Hour 2013 @ The Float ~

Another year has passed and its our family 4th year participating in the Earth Hour. From playing shadow game at home to getting out of the house and enjoying a family night out. This year, we are here at The Float@Marina Bay to spend the lovely evening.

We could hear the music from afar as we make our way closer to the stage. 

Gladys learnt how to make a grasshopper with the help of a student volunteer. :)

"I Will If You Will" (IWIYW) is a challenge-based platform to encourage people to protect the planet and make a difference by offering them something in return. This aims to achieve a positive chain reaction to inspire more people to take urgent action to protect the environment.

Denver & Gladys pondered for awhile before taking on the challenge. Will they be able to fulfill their promise?

"60+" sign formed using Philips tea light candles. 

Dance 2 Power Earth Hour is the highlight for Earth Hour 2013. The first-of-its-kind, kinetic dance-out at Marina Bay! Participants only need to move (jump, step etc) on the kinetic pads and energy is harvested from their footsteps to electricity which is stored and used to power the outdoor movie screening of Dr. Seuss 'The Lorax' at Earth Hour.

Everybody is enjoying themselves on the kinetic pads. 

Different groups of participants dancing till the sun sets........

 to move forward to their common target of have enough electricity to power up the movie screening later. 

I particularly love the ambiance of the light generated by the tea light candles. 
Protect our planet so it will still be home for our future generation

At 8:30pm, several hotels and main buildings switched off their lights for Earth Hour. This includes ArtScience Museum, Esplanade, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, Marina Bay Financial Centre, the Merlion, Singapore Flyer, United Overseas Bank etc.

While some may feel Earth Hour does not make a difference, it is important to understand the objective is to raise people awareness to global warming concerns. Going Beyond the Hour to commit to lasting action on climate change.