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Top 5 cities to go for its food during long weekends in 2016 (Singapore travellers)

Have you heard the good news? Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower has announced 2016’s public holidays.

The news outlets reported that there will be six long weekends in 2016. But if your workplaces gives you off-in-lieu for Saturday public holidays (not all companies do), you actually have eight long weekends (nine if you take leave on 8 August, Monday).

2016 long weekend singapore yqtravelling

I really love weekend travels. Even though this means that my trip is short, I don’t want to use my work leave. I’m a hoarder even when it comes to annual leave.

If you are planning to go for more weekend travels in 2016, I recommend these locations to go for their yummy yummy food.

Ipoh, Malaysia

I would visit Ipoh again and again for its food. It might not be as famous as Penang for its local food but that little town serves really good chicken.

Ipoh Beansprout chicken

Beansprout chicken feast in Ipoh.

How to reach Ipoh from Singapore: 

Long-distance bus (7 to 8 hours)
Several bus companies run Singapore – Ipoh routes.

Train (6 + 2 hours + waiting time)
You can take the night train from Singapore/Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur. From KL, there is high-speed train to Ipoh, but the price isn’t budget friendly.

Airplane (1 hour 35 minutes)
Firefly and Tigerair has flights between Singapore and Ipoh. Remember to research on the timing.

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Pronounced as “Jogjakarta”, the town on the Java Island is home to gorgeous historical sites such as Borobudur and Prambanan. But the food is fantastic too.

Nasi gudeg Jogja

Nasi gudeg

I was deceived by nasi gudeg the first time I ate it. I thought the dish had a surprisingly generous serving of beef boiled so soft that I don’t have to chew it like a cow. Later found out that the “beef” is actually young jackfruit. I was disappointed but it’s still a very tasty dish.

mie nusantara siomay

Mie and siomay

I also had the best mie while in Yogyakarta. It was in a noodle shop inside the main shopping mall. The noodles were springy and seasoned lightly with soy sauce.

How to reach Yogyakarta from Singapore: 

Airplane (2 hours 15 minutes)
AirAsia flies to Yogyakarta at a rather good timing. But the flight back leaves in the morning which is annoying.

If you find the flight timing for Yogyakarta terrible, your second best choice is Jakarta since it is the capital. There you can drink all the avocado juice you like.

Bangkok, Thailand

I went to Bangkok for my birthday in April, spending a three-day weekend there. I ate normal stuff like pad thai, I didn’t eat enough food. I still haven’t tried Mango Sticky Rice.

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

How to reach Bangkok from Singapore: 

Airplane (2 hours 25 minutes)
Loads of budget airlines fly from Singapore to Bangkok. Pick those with good departure and return timings so you can maximize your trip.

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

When I was in university staying in the dorm, my Vietnamese neighbors would cook with fish sauce. The potent smell wasn’t to my taste so I avoided Vietnamese food.

Then I went to Vietnam and I discovered that fish sauce is kind of like durian–stinky when you smell it but delicious when you taste it. I also discovered many other deliciousness that doesn’t involve fish sauce.

Vietnamese Pho

Vietnamese Pho

Declious banh mi in Saigon

Declious banh mi (Vietnamese baguette)  in Saigon

Extremely addictive Vietnamese Coffee.

Extremely addictive Vietnamese Coffee.

How to reach Ho Chi Minh from Singapore: 

Airplane: (2 hours 5 minutes)
Loads of budget airlines fly from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh. As usual, pick those with good departure and return timings so you can maximize your trip.

Shanghai, China

I would travel to Shanghai for just a weekend so I can eat the food. In fact, I’m doing it at the end of May.

My tongue still longs for the taste of shengjianbao: dumplings fried on one side ’til crispy. Take a bit and the soup flows out so you have to slurp it up fast. After two slurps, you can eat the meat along with the crunchy part.

The most delicious tiny buns/dumplings: shengjianbao

The most delicious tiny buns/dumplings: shengjianbao

小笼包 (xiao long bao)

Can you look at these delicate 小笼包 (xiao long bao) and not feel like licking your screen?

The home-cooked style restaurants in Shanghai are fantastic too. The soups come in porcelain basins and the servings are gigantic. I loved Grandma’s Place (a chain restaurant) when I was in Shanghai.

A feast at Grandma's Place.

A feast at Grandma’s Place.

How to reach Shanghai from Singapore: 

Airplane (5 hours 25 minutes direct)
Choosing a plane with a good timing is critical. I am taking Malaysian Airlines so I will reach Shanghai early at 7:30am on my first day and leave at 2pm-ish on my last day.

Another good alternative is Taiwan if you don’t want to fly that far to Shanghai.

Check out all the Weekend Travels posts:

 

 

overnight muesli and yogurt.10

The ugly, tasty truth about overnight muesli

Since I had not been travelling much, I will share a little about my domestic life. Today, I’ll be talking about a simple dish: overnight muesli.

A few months ago, I saw an acquaintance post her overnight muesli on Instagram. I was intrigued and I started making it for work. Since my experiment. a few colleagues and friends have started making their own overnight muesli. Hurray!

I love overnight muesli but it’s not as beautiful as the internet is trying to make you believe.

Beautiful lies about overnight muesli

The ugly truth is of overnight muesli is that once you start digging into it, it looks downright disgusting.

 

A few comments about my overnight muesli that I’ve received:

  • Eww… It looks gross.
  • It looks like baby puke. But it must be tasty ’cause disgusting things are tasty.

The following photo has rolled oats, raisins, honey and Greek yogurt. It looks messy and icky.

Despite all the comments, I still love my overnight muesli and I’ve been having it nearly every morning for breakfast. It’s filling and can keep me filling satisfied until late into the afternoon. It’s also very good for the bowels. ;)

How to make overnight muesli if you’re lazy

After four months of making overnight muesli, I’ve discovered my secret lazy recipe. It requires less effort but is tasty too. In the past, I use regular milk or half-sweetened soy milk then add honey and Greek yogurt.

Nowadays, I use half-sweetened almond-flavored soy milk and I can skip honey and Greek yogurt.

Recipe for overnight muesli

What’s your go-to breakfast? Share your favorite homemade breakfast recipe with me in the comments.

tea of peru

FoodFriday: The teas of Peru

Welcome to YQtravelling’s FoodFriday. The day of the week when I show off some of the lovely eats I had while travelling.

Today we’re having a cuppa in Peru.

Teas of Peru

From top to left: Anis (Anise), anise, herba luisa (lemon verbena), te puro (black tea), manzanilla (chamomile)

While in Arequipa, Peru, I studied Spanish at a language school for two weeks. I stumbled upon EDEAQ through Google. It’s a great place to learn Spanish since they have 1-on-1 lessons that are much cheaper than the group lessons I had in Buenos Aires.

At EDEAQ, there is one tea break between the morning classes. After the tea break, you switch to another teacher.

During the tea break, I discovered that Peruvians drink a lot more types of tea than other places I’ve been to. (Even in China, I don’t think they bring out such choices of tea.)

These tea taste weird for my palate. I feel that anise should only belong in cooking but they drink it in Peru (and probably other places around the world!) Hierba luisa reminds me of lemongrass while manzanilla tastes like regular chamomile.

coca tea from peru

There was another very exciting tea that I had in Peru. That is coca tea (mate de coca). This tea is very useful for altitude sickness and motion sickness (not that it helped when I was on the bus to Nasca since I threw up as soon as the liquid hit my stomach.)

What makes this tea exciting is that it is made from coca leaves which is the same ingredient used in making cocaine. But this does not mean that every traveller sipping from coca tea bags are on drugs.

From Wikipedia entry of coca tea:

A cup of coca tea prepared from one gram of coca leaves (the typical contents of a tea bag) contains approximately 4.2 mg of organic coca alkaloid. (In comparison, a line of cocaine contains between 20 and 30 milligrams.)

What is the weirdest tea that you have tried?

El Salvador chocolate drink cubes

FoodFriday: Chocolate drink cubes from El Salvador

El Salvador chocolate drink cubes

El Salvador chocolate drink cubes

While in El Salvador’s supermarket looking for souvenirs, I found these interesting chocolate cubes (cylinder?). It was pretty cheap, about 50 cents each.

I bought four of them, imagining that I would have hot mugs of warm cocoa when I get back.

When I did make a batch at home, it turned out disgusting. I dissolved one cylinder in a mug of hot water. The liquid was pale brown like mud and smelled like burnt rubber.

I poured the cup away and tossed the rest.

Have you ever bought terrible food while abroad?

Bottle of Inca Kola

FoodFriday: Inca Kola in Peru

Welcome to YQtravelling’s FoodFriday. The day of the week when I show off some of the lovely eats I had while travelling.

Today’s feature is not food but a mysterious drink from Peru. Let’s check it out.

I have a soft spot for soft drinks despite knowing how bad they are for my health. I try to avoid them as much as I can but I occasionally reward myself with a cold can of Coca-Cola.

Of course all diet rules are out while travelling so I tried Peru’s famous soft drink Inca Kola. I usually order this drink to accompany my meals in local restaurants.

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Ghee dosa

FoodFriday: Ghee dosa

Even though I grew up in multicultural Malaysia where Malay, Chinese and Indian are the three biggest races, I am terribly unfamiliar with Indian food. It’s because we don’t have as much Indians where I live.

To tell you the truth, the only Indian dish I can order confidently is plain roti canai (which is yummy and flaky).

So when my friend Debbie introduced me to the wonderful world of Indian food, I was curious. And now, I am proud to say that I have a favorite Indian dish: ghee dosa.

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san camilo market

Glutton in Peru: I ate at San Camilo market and didn’t get food poisoning

Welcome to YQtravelling’s FoodFriday. The day of the week when I show off some of the lovely eats I had while travelling.

Today’s meal is at San Camilo market in Arequipa, Peru.

After arriving in Arequipa, I started searching online for good cheap food. From GQ Trippin, I found out about San Camilo market. It seemed like the most amazing place for affordable and yummy food.

I expressed my interest in the market to my Spanish teacher to ask his opinion as a local. He discouraged me from going because I might get food poisoning.

Next, I told fellow student/ posh Russian-American Tasha (not her real name) about the market and she turned her nose at it, adding that the “food there is rough” (aka not refined enough for her palate).

What is a poor glutton to do? Visit the market on my own of course.

I was slightly worried about food poisoning but I was very sure that my stomach of steel would mean no problem. Plus, I was armed with knowledge from the famous Jodi. Quoting from the post: Eating Cheap Good Food Abroad

Everyone tells you to eat at the stalls with the longest line of locals, but an important addition to that is to opt for the stalls with women and children in line, too. More variety in the customer base usually means the stall has been vetted enough that it’s safe for everyone. Yes, it’s still better to choose a long lineup of men over crickets and an empty stall, but given the choice, women and children in line is where you want to go.

The market was easy to find after I had the directions from my teacher. The cobbled streets of Arequipa were not kind to my shoes since I kept slipping on it.

In the market, I walked past several ceviche stalls several times because I was too shy to sit down at any of them. Finally, I saw the stall that looked like where GQ Trippin ate and luckily a family just left their side of the table. I sat down and smiled at the ladies working at the stall.

Using my still-limited Spanish, I asked for ceviche and something I had no idea what it was. Now, I think it might have been fish soup because it’s a soup and it has fish inside.

Chupe de pescado at San Camilo market

Fish in my fish soup

Next was the ceviche. Ever since eating ceviche in Buenos Aires, I had been dreaming of this raw fish dish. But since Arequipa wasn’t even near the sea, I hesitate eating it. Still, my gluttony overcame my good sense.

Ceviche from San Camilo market

They definitely used a different fish at the market compared to my delicious meal in Buenos Aires.

Close up of ceviche

I wasn’t satisfied with the tiny bits of fish which were dwarfed by the large sweet potato. Of course I should have known that carbs are more important than decadent protein.

After the stomach-bursting meal of soup and sweet potato, I still walked around the market. I stopped by one of the drinks stall and ordered a “surtido con leche” (which is a mix of unknown fruits).

The vendor poured one large glass for me. When I finished my glass, she poured another glass from the same batch. Turns out there are two servings with that price.

My very large glass of juice

By the time I sucked the last bit of juice, my stomach was stretched to its limit. I waddled back to the hostel, planning my next meal at the market. (Unfortunately, I never did get to go back and eat, although I had another juice.)

I did not get food poisoning like my teacher thought I would. If the locals are eating it, it’s probably safe enough to eat it too.

Related posts:

alpaca crepe

Glutton in Peru: Alpaca meat

Welcome to YQtravelling’s FoodFriday. The day of the week when I show off some of the lovely eats I had while travelling.

Today we’re feasting on fluffy alpacas. I promise they look less cute in meat form.

Have you seen alpacas? You’ve probably seen their photos since I featured many of them on my Facebook Page.  They are so cute and fuzzy wuzzy but kind of stinky. [While you’re there, please “Like” my Page. Mucho gracias.]

While in Peru, I had the chance to eat some alpacas.

Hey, I don’t see you complaining when you eat mutton so don’t complain about me eating something this adorable:

"I'm so cute. How could you eat me?!"

“I’m so cute. How could you eat me?!”

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chicharron

Glutton in Chile: Foreign food edition

Welcome to YQtravelling’s FoodFriday. The day of the week when I show off some of the lovely eats I had while travelling.

Today, we’re still in Chile but we’re having food that is not Chilean. Does that even make sense? Let’s eat.

For the past few weeks, we ate good and bad food in Chile as well as fast food. Today, we’ll be munching on some exported cuisine, just to mix up our palate a bit.

Japanese food in Santiago

My first meal in Chile wasn’t Chilean. It was Japanese, although not very authentic Japanese.

But wait, there’s more!

glutton in chile fast food

Glutton in Chile: Chilean fast food

Welcome to YQtravelling’s FoodFriday. The day of the week when I show off some of the lovely eats I had while travelling.

Today we’re still in Chile and we’re checking out fast food.

Last week I showed some of the highlights of food in Chile that I ate. In the next few editions of FoodFriday, I’ll bring you different sorts of Chilean food–the fast ones.

I try to avoid international fast food chains when I travel because they probably taste the same as back home. While in Chile, I avoided international fast food chains and visited local ones instead.

Check out the rest of the post…!