Japan Day 5 – Tsukiji Fish Market, Akihabara and Dinner in Shibuya

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On our 5th day we did a mix of places and our first stop was Tsukiji Fish market for some breakfast. We initially planned on camping the night before to catch the Tuna auction early in the morning but we scrapped that idea as we figured proper sleep was more important than seeing cold slabs of Tuna being sold off for millions in the cold EARLY morning. But hey if you’re up to it, then by all means go ahead. We were just too tired after walking around back to back on our 5th day so yeah sleep is our priority.

Getting there was fairly easy for us as we were staying in Shinjuku which literally connects you anywhere. So we hopped on the Oedo Subway Line from Shinjuku Station to Tsukijishijo Station. It takes about 20mins and costs 270 Yen one way. As soon as you reach the station, simply follow the signboard to Tsukiji Market. The building is actually just above the station.

There’s the outer part and inner part of the market. Since we just wanted to grab some breakfast, we wandered off at the outer market and found rows and rows of tuck shops serving fresh bowls of sushi! Continue reading

Japan Day 4 – Square Enix Artnia Cafe

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Since we had some time to spare in the evening after our trip to the Ghibli Museum, we decided to head back to our place in Shinjuku and drop our bags off at our AirBnB and head out again within the area to the cafe.

Getting there was a little tricky at first as we didn’t really do our research before hand on how to get there. But if you have a pocket wifi with you, it should be pretty easy to navigate your way there (I’ve included the address at the bottom of this post).

After asking around various shops, convenience stores and random passerbys, we found our first landmark which was the iconic Square Enix headquarters in Shinjuku. Gamers and Final Fantasy fans would be in awe when you see this building. It’s literally the place where all those famous games are created. Being a fan of the Final Fantasy franchise myself, this was a really cool experience. The cafe itself is right next to it and you will be able to easily identify it by the various sign boards and its’ unique egg design.

Inside there’s another room which is a gallery featuring a number of figurines of characters from their franchise. Continue reading

Lombok: Day 1 – Waterfalls & Ayam Taliwang

Once again, this post has been way overdue. I had the trip way back in February and so I may not remember all the details. But i’ll try and capture as much as I remember anyway.

My friends and I managed to get cheap return tickets from KL to Lombok via AirAsia (RM300+) which is about 75 USD. So we immediately booked our tickets there and then. Our flight was in the evening and by the time we reached Lombok it was already around 9pm+. Getting through immigration was a really long process. The airport was fairly small with very few counters which is to be expected. So do expect to wait for some time to clear through that. They do have free airport wifi, but the connection was quite unstable but good enough to get a few whatsapp messages through.

By the time we collected our bags, it was already 10pm++. So we decided to stock up on some snacks at the convenience store in the airport before heading off to our hotel. Do try out their instant noodles (Pop Mie) which is fairly cheap and really nice for snacking. Getting a taxi at this hour was really easy as a bunch of Taxi’s were readily waiting for customers outside the airport. So don’t be shy to haggle as there are many options around. We were staying at Living Asia Resort & Spa which is located around Senggigi (roughly 57KM north from the airport and about 1.5 hours journey). The taxi ride came up to IDR285,000 (~USD22).

We took the partial sea view room and booked via Agoda. The room was on offer at that time so we managed to get it for a total of RM450 for 3 nights (~USD112). To be honest we didn’t really see the partial sea view from our room, but we assume it was named so due to the fact that the room is closer to the sea. The rooms are arranged in a double-storey concept with one room on top and one room at the bottom. If you manage to get the room on the top floor, then perhaps you will get the partial sea view. But since our rooms were on the bottom floor we didn’t get the view. Not a big issue though because as soon as we stepped out of our rooms we had a clear view of the infinity pool and the beautiful sea view. From the pictures above, you could see that the room was quite spacious and the bathroom in particular was huge with an open roof concept.

The next day we had an early start and made our way to the hotel restaurant for our breakfast by the sea. The breakfast buffet spread was just nice with a mixture of local and western selections. One thing I loved in particular were the freshly baked bread section. The croissants are really lovely! I literally had it everyday.

After our breakfast we asked the hotel to help find us a driver to take us around. We managed to get a friendly uncle who was very obliging and took us around during our entire stay. It’s common to hire drivers here and again, you can negotiate for the best price. I can’t remember how much we paid for the entire trip, but it was definitely a reasonable amount and I would highly recommend it. We spent our first day visiting the waterfalls near the foot of Mount Rinjani. There are two famous waterfalls here. The closer and smaller one is called Sendang Gile while the further and more majestic one is called Tiu Kelep. Both waterfalls require a hike through the forest, so we hired a guide just to be safe. You can hire one at the starting point of the hike where there’s also a small local restaurant for you to grab a bite or stock up on mineral water bottles.

The hike to the first waterfall was fairly easy. Just 10 mins hike with proper pavements. While the 2nd one was an additional 30mins hike through hills and small rivers. The path to the 2nd waterfall didn’t have proper pavement, so be prepared with proper shoes. I would advise something light and quick to dry as you will be passing through water at various points. Do be careful during raining season as the water levels may pose as a danger and guides would advise against it. However luckily for us, we managed to complete our hike right before the rain started pouring in.

Later that evening our driver took us to Mataram for the special local delicacy called Ayam Taliwang (spicy grilled chicken). Probably the best meal we had throughout our entire trip!

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That’s all for day 1! I’ll continue the rest in my next post (soon!)

 

Marjorina Cafe

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I say it’s about time for Kajang to have its fair share of hipster cafes too! This pleasant coffee shop is located in Taman Prima Saujana tucked in between a row of shop houses just in front of Giant Kajang.

Like most hipster cafes it’s menu is catered towards the brunch or dessert crowd. We ordered the lemon cheese mille crepe (RM13), strawberry custard pie (RM14) and hazelnut latte (RM11).

The lemon cheese mille crepe was really good! The lemon taste wasn’t too strong and just nice and mild which goes well with the light taste of the cream. The strawberry custard pie was unfortunately quite dry and the taste was just alright. The hazelnut latte on the other hand was pretty good and up to expectations as far as hipster cafes go.

In terms of design, one feature that stands out is this lovely hand-drawn mural on their wall. Other than the hand-painted drawings, the cafe is decked out in industrial-like tables and chairs which adds on to its’ quirky design. They also play some nice soft music in the background which makes it a good place to chat and relax. It also wasn’t too crowded when we went there despite being a weekend (we went on a Sunday afternoon).

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Location:
Marjorina Cafe
C-35-GB, Jalan Prima Saujana 2/E,
Seksyen 2, Taman Prima Saujana,
43000 Kajang, Selangor

Contact number: +6012-488 3644
Email: marjorinacafe@gmail.com
Social Media: Facebook || Instagram

 

 

Expat Life: Week 11 – Ramadan Bazaars & Flea Markets

Ramadan Bazaars

This post is a little late by a few weeks. Hence why i’m still blogging about Ramadan Bazaars even though it’s already Raya. Well better late than never! Throughout my stay in Singapore i’ve been to two of the popular bazaars here (one in Arab Street and the other in Paya Lebar).

First up is the one in Arab Street because it’s the closest for me. This one is situated right next to the Sultan’s Mosque and is pretty small to the usual bazaars that I get back in Malaysia. Most of the stalls here were selling Ramly burgers, kebabs, briyani rice, hotdogs, and some fried snacks such as karipap (curry puffs), pisang goreng (fried banana fritters) and etc. I tried not to compare with the variety that I get back at home, but I still couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed in this one. I was hoping to get the more rare kuihs such as tepung pelita, seri muka and etc. Also I was craving for murtabak (some kinda meat pancake?) and nasi tomato (tomato rice). Not sure if it’s just that particular day, but while I was there, there were only like a few stalls and selling similar things.

Next was the bigger bazaar situated right next to the Paya Lebar mrt station. This one was huge and well planned. All the stalls are located under big white canopies which were set up specifically for this event. So rain or shine, it’s business as usual. I was a little too excited to see the huge canopies and hence raised my expectations. Unfortunately among the huge numbers of stalls only a few sections were catered for food. The rest were for clothes, shoes, and other Raya prep stuff. Since I went there for the food and not for shopping, it was a bit of a let down as I still couldn’t find my nasi tomato and murtabak! Most of the food stalls were again kebabs, Ramly burgers, fried snacks and etc. They did have more variety compared to the one in Arab Street. Other than the usual stuff mentioned earlier, I also saw char kway teow, otah-otah, grilled squid, coney dogs, pizzas, mixed rice and a variety of drink stalls. I went ahead and got the grilled squid, coney dog and sugar cane drink.

Although I didn’t manage to find what I was craving for, it was still a fun and festive experience. If I had to recommend a bazaar, it would definitely be the one in Paya Lebar. Especially if you’re looking at doing some Raya shopping as well. There were a lot of stalls selling baju kurung, baju melayu (traditional malay outfits) and Raya cookies.

Flea Market at *Scape

Singapore has plenty of flea markets around and one of the more “hipster” flea market was at *Scape which is just a short walk from the Somerset mrt station. I went there towards the evening where there was a live band performing. In terms of stalls, it’s quite small scale. But i do love the items on sale. From phone & laptop accessories, to necklaces, custom charm bracelets, clothes and my fav was the vintage watch stall. This particular shops assembles their own watches with a vintage style. I got mines for around 40 dollars and it comes with warranty too!

Other than the stalls outside, do check out the shops inside the building as well which hosts a lot of items sold by young entrepreneurs.

Expat Life: Week 10 – Maison Ikkoku, Makansutra & Coconut Icecream at Esplanade

Maison Ikkoku, Kandahar Street

I stopped over at this cafe for a cup of coffee after walking along the streets of Haji Lane. The place is located along the same road as the Malay Heritage Centre and also pretty close to the Sultan Mosque. So finding the place wasn’t really difficult. I managed to navigate my way there at night and I would admit my sense of direction is pretty bad. So for me to find it effortlessly would mean that it’s definitely not difficult for everyone else.

The cafe is located on the ground floor while the the other floor above is apparently a bar according to their website. I didn’t venture upstairs but settled in nicely at a table near the door. I loved the fact that this place is not overcrowded even on a weekend. I tend to travel with my laptop and park myself at a table for a couple of hours. So it’s great to find a cosy and quiet spot. Another plus point is that they play some really nice chill music in the background. Some of the tracks playing that night was the likes of Ed Sheeran and Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World”.

I initially ordered the French Toast with Berries. However they noticed that I was Malay and helpfully pointed out that this contained alcohol and suggested the Banana Caramel French Toast instead. Plus points for the helpful tip and also for noticing that i’m Malay (people somehow always mistaken me as a different race). The Banana French Toast itself was a nice sweet treat to compliment my latte.

Makansutra & Co+Nut+Ink Coconut Ice Cream at The Esplanade

I had a friend visiting from KL so I asked my colleagues around for some good spots to have dinner which led to Makansutra (also known as  Gluttons Bay). The place is located near The Esplanade and home to a couple of local style stalls and seafood. We settled for the the seafood stall furthest to the end near the river. Ordered the sambal grilled fish, clams and a plate of stir-fry vege in garlic sauce to go along with a bowl of white rice. We also had whole coconuts for drinks. The seafood was alright but I’ve had better at a fraction of the cost back in KL. Still worth a visit if you’re not from this side of the world and wanting a taste of some asian flavors by the river.

After dinner we took a walk along The Esplanade and stopped for some coconut ice cream at Co+Nut+Ink (yes more coconut goodness!). I ordered the one with Red Ruby (Sago) and it was really refreshing and light with a mild tinge of sweetness from the sago. Coincidentally the light show was also starting up and we got to enjoy our ice creams with an amazing view.

Expat Life: Week 8 – Mustafa Centre

Mustafa Centre is a popular destination for tourists looking for cheap souvenirs. The place is a 24 hours shopping centre selling just about anything and everything from watches, to cooking ware, food items, electrical items, shoes, bags, perfume, memorabilia and much more. The place is situated within walking distance from Farrer Park MRT. It’s quite simple to get there as there are signboards leading towards the place and since it’s a popular spot, you can simply ask anyone around and they’ll lead you the way.

Some of the popular items here were the perfumes which are sold at cheaper prices and also food items such as chocolates and snacks which would make a great souvenir.

They also have a food centre at the rooftop floor where I had some really good indian cuisine. I took the escalator up but you can also access the floor from certain elevators. I ordered the mango lassi, lamb kebab and pakoras.

I also walked away with a new phone casing for my Samsung S3. Yes I still use an S3 and it’s very rare to find phone cases for this nowadays. So I was glad to find this one for 10 dollars.