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Ipoh Travelogue – (Part 1): WEIL Hotel, Concubine Lane, Ipoh Booth Cart, Thean Chun Coffee Shop (天津茶室), Kong Heng Square, Burps and Giggles, Yum Cha Tea Bar and Tong Sui Kai 糖水街

Think of Malaysia, think of Ipoh. Located within the state of Perak, Ipoh took our breath away and we were just drawn by its slower pace of life as we took a short break away from Singapore.

This trip was so impromptu that we only had a couple of days to come up with the itinerary and we thought the trip went pretty well! In this blog series, we will cover some of the best cuisines in Ipoh, well-preserved historical landmarks and quaint cafes that make you fall in love with this town.

Instead of hopping into a dreaded 8 hours journey by coach, we took the budget airline and arrived at Sultan Azlan Shah Airport after an hour flight.

The airport was relatively small and you would probably be visiting these two booths – Car Rental and Purchase of SIM Card.

I bought a 6GB plan for RM35, which was more than sufficient for a 3-day use.

We rented a MPV which cost about RM100/day. The car park was just in front of the airport so picking up the car was a breeze.

We would be staying at the WEIL Hotel. Apart from just 6km from the airport, this beautiful hotel is adjoined to the Ipoh Parade Shopping Centre and had so many reasons why visitors should be staying there.

Concubine Lane

Our first stop was exploring the Concubine Lane, which was along Lorong Panglima and is the busiest among the three lanes today with shops and restaurants. As cliche as it may sound, one of the must-do activities in Ipoh is the heritage walk around the old town area.

It was no surprising that the street was packed with tourists since it was a weekend.

Brightly colored umbrellas.

It might sound sinful, but what a shame it would be if a visit to Ipoh was completed without trying some of their unique desserts!

We sampled the Honey Ice Ball (RM5 per ball); an ice ball bigger than the size of a fist shaped with shaved ice then drizzled generously with gula melaka (palm sugar syrup).

Kuma Brand‘s rainbow cheese toast (RM13 per toast) certainly captured our hearts! Brushed with butter on the surface, the bread was being toasted to golden yellow.

The fun part of it? Stretching the cheese to your heart’s delight.

We tried the cold dessert at Tau Fu Fa, which was a great respite from the sweltering heat. To create the traditional atmosphere, long and squatting stools were set up for dine-in customers.

Their bean curd literally melts when you eat it. A must-try dessert shop at Concubine Lane.

Panglima Dua Lima, a charming little cafe housed in an old shophouse serving freshly prepare Ipoh white coffee.

The cafe was coated with attractive interiors. Old wall, wooden furnishing and displays of old school items added a rustic charm to this place.

Address:
30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Ipoh Booth Cart

Situated on the upper floor of the corner shop lot Restoran Sun Yoon Wah was Ipoh Booth Cart. We wouldn’t know of this place (opposite Concubine Lane) if not for the banners placed outside.

This place catered to a few booths or kiosks selling souvenirs and drinks.

Hey, admission is free!

Thean Chun Coffee Shop (天津茶室)

Thean Chun Restoran is highly recommended in the media and they are famous for their “Kai See Hor Fun” aka Chicken Kuey Teow Soup, egg caramel custard, chee cheong fun and satay.

We were very full but capturing pictures is a must!

Address:
73, Jalan Market, Ipoh, 30000,
Ipoh, Perak, 30000, Malaysia

Kong Heng Square

Nestled amidst Ipoh Old Town colonial buildings is Kong Heng Square Artisan Market (KHSAM).

An area rejuvenated with rustic blend of old and new architecture and shady trees, has been given a new “life” with burgeoning local arts, crafts and eateries. It is a hub where passion meets creativity.

I fell in love with photography few years ago and felt that Kong Heng Square actually was a good spot for photo-taking.

Previously a decrepit and abandoned space, Kong Heng Square has been rejuvenated into one of the cool hangouts in town.

Can you believe on top of this building is actually a hotel?

New Star Salon, an old school barbershop that have stood the test of time.

Popular Plan B Cafe, a place for all-day dining.

We heard much about Burps and Giggles and glad that it was conveniently located at Kong Heng Square.

Customers are greeted with great ambience and the cafe is furnished with eclectic decorations.

Don’t miss out their Fish & Chips and red velvet cake.

Yum Cha Tea Bar

The Bubble Tea world is on a rage. We heard that Yum Cha Tea Bar is selling White Rabbit Bubble Tea here.

Tasted but not to my liking..

Should have tried the matcha flavour.

Traditional Tea House / Wood Craft Workshop

As evening beckoned, we chanced upon this interesting tea house as we went to collect our car.

The friendly owner invited us to tour his premises.

Every bit of the interior was lovely and filled with charm.

According to the owner, this place was used to host wood craft workshop and corporate sharing sessions.

Tong Sui Kai 糖水街 or “Dessert Street”

Tong Sui Kai 糖水街 or literally “Dessert Street” is one of local’s famous food spot with many stalls selling local delicacies such as rojak, cockles, noodles and many others.

Chicken Wings at RM2.70 per piece.

Wanton Noodle (Stall 44) at RM10 and Ice Kacang at RM5.

Memories of Ipoh on our first day.

Why not try Ipoh when planning your getaway? I am in love with Malaysia. Looking forward to explore this beautiful country again.

Address:

Jln Sultan Ekram, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Negeri Perak, Malaysia

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California Travelogue – (Part 2): San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, Maritime Museum, Ghirardelli Square, Lombard Street and Chinatown

Soak into the sights, sounds and smells of San Francisco. We did a tour of the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. The Park includes a magnificent fleet of historic ships, a Visitor Center, Maritime Museum, Maritime Research Center, and Aquatic Park Historic District.

It was an easy tour as the place wasn’t huge.

A short walk further down was the Maritime Museum which was located in the Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building.

Ghirardelli Square is a convenient stop for chocolate and ice cream while already visiting at Fisherman’s Wharf.

No trip to San Francisco is complete without tasting sweet chocolate from those chocolate dream-makers at Ghirardelli. Ghirardelli’s sundaes are real special.

We did not drive during our stay in San Francisco. Instead, we walked, walked and walked.

As you can see, the roads here were steep and it was a test of endurance and good form of exercise.

This picture is a good example to get a sense of how steep the streets were.

We did have the chance to see the splendor of the West Coast, here was what San Francisco looked and felt like.

Strolling down one of America’s crookedest streets in the form of Lombard Street is a blessing! The steep, hilly street was created with sharp curves to switchback down the one-way hill past beautiful Victorian mansions.

Lombard Street is definitely one of the most photographed spot in San Francisco. Tourists just couldn’t resist its charm and uniqueness.

 This street has eight tight hairpin turns through the neighborhood where guests can either drive, or walk, down for an interesting adventure.

After exploring Lombard Street, we walked to the Chinatown.

San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest one in North America (surprisingly well maintained) and covers 24 city blocks.

Trying out the delicious and yummy dim sum!

We finally found the the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory after getting lost! Located in Ross Alley, formerly called the “Street of the Gamblers”; the little factory here makes fortune cookies.

We had no idea why it was so popular among tourists. In fact, we don’t think there is anything special about fortune cookies. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant sight watching the lady sitting at the assembly line, folding and filling the cookies by hand.

Big and Small M at the Dragon Gate, the official entrance into Chinatown on Bush Street, where Grant Avenue takes you into the heart of Chinatown.

Another Macy’s in San Francisco 🙂

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Jin Yu Man Tang Dessert 金玉满堂甜品 – The Flow @ East Coast

Katong’s little known world of desserts is quietly gaining popularity. Just when you thought the area is all about the famous 328 laksa and Katong throws out a little surprise.

Jin Yu Man Tang Dessert 金玉满堂甜品 which serves up local Chinese, HK, and Taiwan-style desserts is located at The Flow.

As it is facing Hotel Indigo and Holiday Inn Express, it is a convenient place for tourists and locals to check out.

Customers can choose to dine at the second floor.

A cute little swing for photo-taking.

Apart from desserts, Jin Yu Man Tang Dessert 金玉满堂甜品 also serves light food in the likes of snacks and noodles.

Their menu includes:

Snacks 小吃

Noodle

Double Layered Milk Pudding Series (Cold / Hot) 双皮奶系列 (冷/热 可选)

Peach Gum Series (Cold / Hot) 桃胶系列 – 孕妇慎用(冷/热 可选)

Gum Tragacanth Series 雪燕系列 – 孕妇慎用(冷/热 可选)

Fried Custard Series 炒蛋奶 ( 新鲜美味 / 即点即炒)

Sago Milk Series (Cold / Hot) 西米露系列 (冷 热 可选)

Chinese Herbal Jelly Series 龟苓膏系列

Grass Jelly Series 凉粉系列

Taro Ball & Grass Jelly Series 芋圆仙草系列

Mango with Mini Rice Ball Series 芒果小丸子系列

Milk with Clear Jelly Series 牛奶水晶系列

Hot and Cold Desserts Series 糖水系列( 冷 热 可选)

Tea / Drinks Series 茶 / 饮料系列

The Flow

66 East Coast Road 01-03

Singapore 428778

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Kallos – (Empowering teen girls to live out their faith in a relevant way): Dinner With Dad

When was the last time you had a relaxed dinner alone with your teen daughter? Come, go on a fun dinner date with your teen daughter.

Kallos’ means beauty in Greek.

1 Sam 16:7

 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

Hope to get hold of this lovely T-shirt soon for Big and Small M, as a reminder that they are beautiful inside.

And that’s all that matters.

Everyone had a taste of the popular Nasi Lemak, served in local buffet style at Old School Delights.

Organised by Kallos, which mission is to help young girls to live out God’s purpose in their lives, I thought this would be a meaningful occasion to have a personal dinner with Big M.

There’s more to life than grade.

Very often, we as parents are guilty of letting grades to define our kids.  It is a timely reminder not to allow our children to define their worth solely in terms of academic achievement.

This simple box of memories.

It is personal, old school, childlike, and will not break the bank. Everyone took a walk down memory lane as we shared stories about our school days.

As fathers, we have been shown the brutal truth of how life operates on in many occasions.

Life can be tough when the rubber meets the road. But each time, we try our best to take the lessons we are being taught, dust ourselves off and stand back up as tall as we can.

Sometimes we have been successful, sometimes we have not been, but isn’t that just a part of life?

What was your biggest reality check when you became a father or daughter?

Jason Wong, founder of the Dads for Life movement, sharing with us on ways to build up our daughters’ self-worth and how to support them during stressful times.

Create regular conversations with them make parents aware of what they are experiencing in school and their lives. This is not just about asking their grades or whether they have done their homework.

When parents create an environment where our children can share his/her successes, failures and anxieties, they will be a step closer to fulfilling their calling.

One memorable sharing by Jason was when he was sharing about his late father. When it came to the end of his life, he would make sure there were two books near to him every day – the bible and photo album.

The bible would draw him closer to God (knowing he would be meeting his Creator soon) while the photo album would bring back beautiful memories of how he had spent his life with his family.

Shiwei Quek, Director of Kallos, shared about the undeniable salience of fathering. The role that a father assume can be trying and challenging.

As father, we learn to celebrate the good days and venting about the tough ones – the throwing up by our little ones, tantrums they are creating, and disapproving of the boys they are going out with, amongst others.

Create happy memories for our daughters, that they will internalise and grow up to be healthy adults who are able to deal with life’s curveballs.

Continue to give them the reassurance, to let them have a sense of self worth.

As daughters, tribute our love for our fathers by way of words and actions. It can even be a simple phone call.

This means even after my father has placed my hand into the groom’s hand and I am no longer staying with my parents.

My best bud.

Affirmation time through writing letters for each other before we closed with prayers.

Kallos

Websitehttps://www.kallos.com.sg/

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Traditional Nyonya Food – Peranakan Inn @ East Coast Road

The Peranakan Inn Restaurant located at East Coast Road.

Despite being newly renovated, we could still feel the artistic touch and reminiscence of the rich and cultural Peranakan heritage. Diners will be immersed in sophisticated comfort and plush interiors.

 Developed by Chinese-Malay Peranakans, Nyonya cooking is the result of blending Chinese ingredients with various distinct spices and cooking techniques used by the Malay/Indonesian community.

A treasure trove of Nyonya cuisine that you should scribble onto your must-eat list.

This is a beautiful, historic-rich neighbourhood that is widely adored for its colorful rows of Peranakan shophouses. So take your taste buds on a culinary adventure, Peranakan Inn is the place to get your fix.

East Coast Road
Singapore 428909
Tel: 64406195
Open Daily 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm

 

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California Travelogue – (Part 1): San Francisco Cable Car, Powell Street and Fisherman Wharf

After our New York trip, we took a 6.5 hour flight to San Francisco.

San Francisco, in northern California, is a hilly city on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. It’s known for its year-round fog, iconic Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and colorful Victorian houses.

Our first impression of San Francisco was its cleaniness. The tram was really clean and a big contrast to NYC in which it was not crowded.

Thanks to our friends staying in California, we were recommended to take the BART train to Powell Street.

So clean and fresh!

We would be staying at Axiom Hotel, which was just located above the Powell Station. It took about 2 to 3 mins walk to the hotel.

The reason we chose Axiom Hotel was it’s close proximity to the train station. The place was centralised to every tourist activities but we were cautioned that it was near to the Tenderlion neighbourhood where the streets were shady and you wouldn’t want to bump onto people you wouldn’t want to meet. Glad that there was a right soul who walked up and told us not to cross the street, else we would be venturing into the neighbourhood. Yes, the google map did fail us at times.

Cute robot to attend to our needs.

Burger King was beside our hotel.

We were glad that the cable car station was outside our hotel. During peak hour, the queue could linger till late into the night. The ticket cost $7 each.

We are going to the Fisherman’s Wharf. Fisherman’s Wharf, on the northern waterfront, is one of the city’s busiest tourist areas. Souvenir shops and stalls selling crab and clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls appear at every turn.

The streets of San Francisco was just amazing. It would take a lot of energy just to walk up the slopes and they were appearing at every junction we stopped.

Slopes again. How to survive without owning cars here?

No experience is more uniquely San Francisco than a ride on a cable car. A must-try experience here!

It’s convenient to travel here and we don’t really need to drive.

The Ross store is a great place to find cheap stuff.  

Love these laundry buckets so much (only $13) but how to bring back home 😦

The crab meat and prawns were very juicy. It cost about US$70.

Spent the afternoon exploring the streets.

If In-N-Out Burger comes to Singapore, it will beat all the fast food restaurants hands down.

Our favourite pasttime. Buying a loaf of cheap bread when visiting the harbour to feed the birds.

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New York Travelogue – (Part 3): The High Line, Chelsea Market, Subway, Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square

This was our final day at New York City. Our main goal was to cover two attractions. Some say The High Line is a must-go attraction and we shouldn’t give it a miss.

The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.

Saved from demolition by neighborhood residents and the City of New York, the High Line opened in 2009 as a hybrid public space where visitors experience nature, art, and design.

Elevated 30 feet in the air, this former railroad has taken in a form of a beautiful stretch of pathway.  The walk is about a mile and a half in length and takes you from Gansevoort Street up to 34th. We arrived just when the sun was setting and took some beautiful shots.

The Chelsea Market was near to The High Line. An indoor food hall, most of the shops in Chelsea Market were food related.

A suitable place for cafe hoppers also, not to mention there was a variety of shops selling gifts, spirits, groceries and more. The building was formerly used to be a biscuit factory, which was why much of the interior and aesthetic was a reminiscence of its past.

Intrigued to see the Youtube office here..

Not surprising to see the Google’s office here as Manhattan’s Chelsea Market building was bought over by them.

So, that wrapped up our New York vacation. We hope to have more time to visit Pennsylvania and Washington DC. Maybe we will do it next time 🙂

Ending our Big Apple vacation with some memorable pictures.

Definitely not to our liking, we were still figuring out how to take the subway in NYC before we left. Absolutely confusing.

Big M at the vibrant Manhattan’s Chinatown, where when you are in food hunt, you know you will never go wrong with dumplings, pork buns and hand-pulled noodles.

You have all the reasons to walk the famous Brooklyn Bridge. It is likely to be crowded but hey, who cares? We are talking about the epitome of Big Apple.

 Who says you can’t find pockets of spaces to connect with others in one of the most densest cities in the world?

Dazzling with lights all day long, there’s a magnetic pull about Times Square. One of the most visited places in the world with over 360,000 pedestrians daily, we just loathe this place, wondering why Singapore can’t replicate it. This little adventurer was totally mesmerised. The next part of our journey would see us at the west coast of America – California where we would see San Francisco, Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

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