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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 SGD100/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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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/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/kallosmag

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/kallosmag/

 

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All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

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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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Sleepwiz ErgoLush™ Gel-infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper

In one of the earlier blogs, we shared about the usefulness of SleepWiz™ eye masks which has become one of our must-bring essential items during travel especially for long distance flight to London and United States.

This time round,  we have an opportunity to try out  ErgoLush™ mattress topper which has a positive effect on allevating back pain.

The first of its kind in Singapore, ErgoLush™ mattress topper is a gel-infused memory foam mattress topper that does not retain heat like traditional memory foam. Small M tried and it made her such a happy girl by giving her a soft comfortable feeling akin to sleeping on a giant marshmallow, which molds into the shape of your body like a supportive cradle.

So we realised there are actually air vents promoting airflow within the memory foam to let your body remains relaxed and cool for a good night’s sleep.

ErgoLush™ provides other great benefits:

  • With the viscoelasticity of our memory foam, it absorbs kinetic energy from movements, so you remain blissfully asleep when your partner climbs into or out of bed.
  • Relieve bodily pains as it molds into a supportive cradle in the shape of your body, preventing excessive load-bearing by your hips/shoulders and diffuses this supportive pressure evenly along every square inch of your body.
  • Protects your existing mattress from everyday wear and tear, and cost a small fraction to replace

Direct purchase of The ErgoLush™ mattress topper can be made here.  Apart from FREE shipping within Singapore, they even offer a 7-day free trial for all our customers!

ErgoLush™ Gel-infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Website: https://mattresstopper.sg/shop/memory-foam-mattress-topper-gel-infused-ergolush/

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London Travelogue – (Part 4): Camden Market, Stables Market, Oxford Street, Hamleys and Harrods

When searching for quality markets to visit in London, the name of Camden Market will inevitably appear in the most recommended places to explore. We heard there were few hundred stores here and thought it would be a nice place to have our breakfast in the morning.

We walked about 15 mins from the London Tube to reach Camden Market.

Anything that is colourful and bright will capture the kids’ attention. Camden High Street is lined with shoe stores, leather shops and vintage clothing and vintage vinyl.

Being a tourist attraction, do not expect to find cheap stuff here.

Finally reached the market!

The labyrinth of shops led us to various food vendors.

Craving for Asian food, Thai delicacies were just so yummy.

It didn’t take long before these furry friends were in front of us yearning for little treats. Bad idea to toss some crumbs, only to invite more of them to come.

Next to Camden Market lies the Stables Market. Over here, there were many boutiques and pop up shops.

Venturing into the narrow alleys was fun in itself as we browse through the apparels and home goods.

An interesting spot for photo-taking. We had a hard time waiting for the right moment to take pictures 🙂

The popular Pret A Manger sandwich chain that are scattered all over London. This time trying it and we ended up dining there for at least three times during our stay.

We found ourselves at Oxford Street, a major road in the City of Westminster in the West End of London, running from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch via Oxford Circus. It is the Ochard Road of Singapore and jam-packed with people everywhere we went.

Where you can find the sleek lines of Apple’s products here.

Hamleys is the oldest and largest toy shop in the world and one of the world’s best-known retailers of toys. With Christmas round the corner, they were showcasing all performance to bring in the crowds.

The streets were awashed with buskers singing or playing musical instruments.

Finally we had the opportunity to take a photo here at the main Oxford street.

As night fell, we were treated to a magnificent Christmas lights extravaganza with a dazzling array of fairy lights and decorations. Everyone was soaked in the joyous mood, holiday spirit of London.

London underground station Marble ArchBond Street & Oxford Circus, Central Line, Zone 1
At Oxford Circus station you can also use Bakerloo Line and Victoria Line.

Next, we explored the Harrods. This is a department store located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London. It is owned by the state of Qatar and no wonder everything here was so, so expensive!

Our favourite section was the food halls on the ground floor which were the most popular departments at Harrods. This is where you can find a wide range of fine delicacies is offered in 4 huge halls.

Although items were way too expensive, the effects of Brexit weren’t felt at all. The mall was filled with so many shoppers that one would not see any spirit of recession.

To get here, look out for London underground station Knightsbridge, Piccadilly Line, Zone 1.

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London Travelogue – (Part 1): Gatwick Airport, Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Chinatown Gate and Trafalgar Square

This is our first trip to London and we were told that it is an extremely expensive city for vacation. All this while, we thought it wouldn’t be possible until we discover some London hacks that made our trip a reality.

For once, we realised apart from travelling with the usual prominent airlines there are actually options to travel with budget airline to London for an affordable price of $1.1K in total for 2 adults / 2 childs (one way) – Norwegian airline.

Journey to London

Norwegian airline offers a direct flight from Singapore to London without any stopovers. To ensure further comfort, inflight entertainment are available. Ear phones were not provided.

The inflight meals were simple and nothing fanciful.

As we booked the flight early, we managed to get the best seats which gave us more room.

The 14-hour flight was surprising smooth without any turbulence and we arrived at London Gatwick airport by 5:40am.

If you are travelling to London Zone 1 or 2, we would recommend you not to take the express train which cost about $20 per adult. Our travel from Gatwick to Islington/Highbury was horrid as we needed to change platforms during the morning peak hours.

Towing 4 big luggages with us up and down the subway stairs without elevators and waiting for multiple trains before squeezing in was no joke. The weather was about 10 degrees but we were already perspiring. We would recommend booking the airport transfer (Blackberry cars) instead as the price was almost the same with no hidden charges.

The train ride brought us to the Victoria station where we would need to buy Oyster cards to travel in the London Underground, or the “Tube”. In simple terms, this is a version of our MRT. London is segmented by 9 zones with the touristy areas being in Zone 1 and 2.

Image result for london map zones
Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_fare_zones

The morning crowd at Victoria station were beginning to build up.

We had our breakfast here before continuing our journey to the Airbnb.

This was already the third train ride. We were tired.

Finally arrived at Highbury & Islington station.

But not before taking a 5 min bus ride and another 2 min walk to our Airbnb apartment. For all the hassle, it would be wiser to take Blackberry cars next time.

Covent Gardens

Covent Gardens is one of the ultimate Instagram spots in London. An iconic area with thriving street arts, we heard that it is usually crowded with tourists. However, it was not that bad.

The streets were easy to explore and it was not uncommon to take a pause every now and then to soak ourselves in the historic architectures. Covent Garden is a popular tourist spot such that Din Tai Fung has recently established an outlet here.

Something similar we have seen back home.

The locals love coffee so much and very often cafes would be packed with people. The scent of fresh coffee permeated the cafe and we couldn’t help but to order a cup.

Address: 13 Floral St, London WC2E 9DH, UK

Leicester Square / Piccadilly Circus

As Covent Garden is located centrally, it is near to Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. Google maps may not be reliable. Having these street directories made it easier for us to find our way around.

We were in for a treat during winter as Leicester Square Christmas Markets was up and running.

Not a fan of shopping but food tasting was our theme during this trip. Unlike the States, Christmas markets are common throughout Europe and UK.

Didn’t stay too long in the Christmas markets as some strangers kept looking at our belongings. We decided to leave and go into M&Ms World for safety reasons.

Address: 1 Leicester Square, London WC2H 7DE, UK

Have you been to M&M’s World? It is situated directly opposite Leicester Square Christmas Markets.

The bright, colorful storefront would inevitably draw anyone in. The staff were friendly and helpful, even if you are not buying anything.

Abbreviation familiar to a tween.

Address: Leicester Square, 1 Swiss Ct, London W1D 6AP, United Kingdom

London Chinatown is close to Leicester Square. The nearest underground stations to Chinatown are Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. Bus available are 14 / 24 / 27 / 29 / 134 / 168 / C2.

Eat all you can for $10.50.

We dined here over the next 2 days as the price was cheaper compared to other restaurants. Some restaurants open till 3am.

Address: 10 Wardour St, London W1D 6BZ, UK

Our jet-leg started to kick in. One final stop at Trafalgar Square before we ended the day. The attraction here is surrounded by museums, galleries, cultural spaces and historic buildings.

Trafalgar Square is a public square in the City of Westminster, Central London, built around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. Its name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars with France and Spain that took place on 21 October 1805 off the coast of Cape Trafalgar.

Address: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, UK

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