Tuesday, 29 March 2011

thru their viewfinders

During the recent term break, DH was back to spend the one week school holidays with us. We took on the opportunity and went on a makan trip (makan, a Malay word, which means to eat) to Malacca, Malaysia. It was a 3 hours drive away from Singapore, we left home at 6.30 in the morning and didn't return before nine in the evening. We practically ate our way throughout the day trip...from breakfast to dinner ;)

My boys were the official photographers of our trip. So, come join me, to get a glimpse of Malacca through their viewfinders...

Once we crossed the Woodlands checkpoint, we went straight to Ah Soon Bak Kut Teh for breakfast. Since we were early, we were the very first patrons...the place was empty as business would only begin at 8am. The eatery was a rather old and traditional coffee shop...not a familiar sight for my kids. Nowadays, you can hardly find such old coffee shops in Singapore.

I chanced upon this eatery while googling for a place to have our breakfast in Johor Bahur. The bak kut teh was good, not too peppery or salty, and it didn't have too strong a herbal taste, more over, the soup was boiled in a claypot over charcoal. The tao pok (deep fried bean curd) was really good...it was the best I have eaten!

can you spot the giant pineapple tarts?

The first thing we got into the town of Malacca was to look for parking space. We were lucky to get a parking lot along a side street...it was just a few steps away from the famous Jonker Street. We bought parking coupons from a nearby shop and my kid had fun scratching the coupon away...yes, unlike our parking coupons, the Malaysia coupons are more entertaining...and a lot more cheaper ;)

Our first must try on our food list was Malacca's signature dish...chicken rice balls...Hainanese chicken rice with the rice shaped like a ping pong (or rather fish ball) sized ball. You can find at least 3 shops that are famous for this dish at Jonker Street. During our previous trip to Malacca, we ate this dish at Hoe Kee, this time, we went to Chung Hwa. Just look at the long queue outside Chung Hwa. We didn't have to wait too long as we were there just before the lunch crowd. Compared to Hoe Kee, I find Chung Hwa's chicken rice balls softer and taste better. The chicken was tender and my younger kid actually declared that it was the best chicken he had tasted.

After the chicken rice ball fix, we went strolling along Jonker Street. We must have walked up and down Jonker Street at least 4 times!

Just before our trip, a friend suggested that we have peranakan or nyonya food at this Nancy's Kitchen. I didn't think too much about it and wasn't that keen to include it in our food list. However, when I first got off the car, I looked up and caught sight of this big signage that says "Nancy's Kitchen'. We happened to park right outside this nyonya restaurant, so I thought we might as well give it a try. After our walk along Jonker Street, we returned to this eating place for a late lunch. We ordered a few dishes...stir-fry sweet potato leaves, cincaluk omelette, otak and ayam pongteh (because they had run out of babi pongteh). The food has got a very homely feel to it...both taste and presentation...it was as though the food was dished out right from your kitchen. I find the ayam or chicken pongteh rather delicious, the other dishes were just 'so so' to me. Either those were common dishes that we got to eat here or I think I have yet to really appreciate nyonya food?

The highlight of our makan trip is none other than the chendol at Jonker Dessert 88. We didn't get to try the chendol at this famous dessert stall during our last trip, so, even though we were quite full, we still went for the dessert right after our meal at Nancy's Kitchen. I was a little disappointed when I found the chendol 'just ok'. Of course it is not easy to find chendol that tastes as good as this, but I thought the palm sugar (gula melaka) syrup and coconut milk was a tad too diluted? Was I expecting too much?? 千里迢迢去寻找到的美食...结果切根本不是那回事...(^^''')

Anyway, I found the environment of the dessert shop quite interesting...it actually pride itself as a museum...with old antiques displayed all over the premises. Those Chinese words of wisdom on display at one side of the walls did caught my attention...

We spent the rest of the afternoon taking a walk around the town...

can you spot the bee?
My boys trying their hands at taking macro photos...

Do they look like potential food bloggers?? It was the first family trip that I did not have to take a single picture ;)

We ended our trip with a seafood dinner near the second link. I found this Tian Lai Seafood on the internet. This eatery is located at Gelang Patah which is about 15mins drive away from the checkpoint. The food was good and of course cheap! I am seriously thinking of going back again :)

It was a few nights before the super moon...but the moon was already so big and bright on that night. It was indeed a very pleasant food trip for us...and what can I say? I can't wait to start planning for our next holiday!


  1. wow your boy's photos are so good! they have defintely have potential as photographers :) i went to Malacca last year with family as a family trip and it was great fun! chicken ball rice, chendol and kuih, a great trip and laughter in the car too :D

    glad you had fun. cheers!

  2. I love the words of wisdome, your boys are good in taking photos, keep up the good work :)

  3. Great to see you had a wonderful family trip. Next time i also want to train my kids to take photos , so I can relax and enjoy my foods, hehehe. Oh, you miss the Melaka famous Mille crepes.

  4. Hi HHB,

    My family and I like to drive up to Malaysia during holidays too. Cheap food and cheap shopping!! Heehee! Like you, I also love those claypot Bak Tuk Teh that's cooked over charcoal. Simply yummylicious! =) I usually patronise one of the stalls in Taman Sentosa. A very unglam bak tuk teh shop but the food is great! It's located next to Mr Cuttlefish.

    Last June, we stopped over at Malacca for lunch while on the way to KL. We dined at Nancy's Kitchen too. It's one of the suggested restaurant shown in our GPS so we just tried it out. Oh my, I love the food! Their braised duck is superb! Sambal kang kong, ngo hiong, pie tie and pineapple fried rice are all v good. My girl usually dislikes fried rice. But that day, she asked for a second helping! Haha! I definitely agree with you that the food has a very homely taste. It's almost as though they were cooked by my mom. =) Did you see the photograph hung on the walls? Our President, Mr Nathan, also dined there before! The shop isn't nicely furnished and it seems v old. But I'll definitely go back again one day to eat their braised duck again. Aiyooo.... 现在想了都让我流口水!!哈哈!

    We totally forgot about displaying carpark coupon that day and "suey suey" got summon. But then the fine was only Sing 50cents cos we paid the fine within 30 minutes. LOL!

    Your sons are good photographers! You have taught them very well!

  5. Hi, I think your boys are really good photographers and perhaps that's in their gene due to their mum? Hehe. I am glad you enjoyed your trip to Melaka. I am drooling already :)

  6. Hi, I cant believe it, you can eat and visit so many place in a day ! At least 6hours on the road ! It must be tiring. Next time try to stay there at least a night. As for nonya food - Ole Sayang is a better choice I believe.


  7. I cannot believe you say your boys took the photos. They (the photographers and the photos) are so good. Maybe I shd seriously start taking photography lesson from you besides baking lessons. ;-p

  8. Wow glad u have a feast in Melaka. It is indeed a foodie heaven. I always end up binging too much when I go to Melaka. There's a Teochew restaurant that has really really good Oyster Noodles, teo chew fish and Orh Nee. Next time if you go to Melaka again you can try that place :)

  9. how i miss Malacca food - so far only been there once and long to go back there again someday! :)

  10. hi grub, we have done a number of road trips in the States but this is only the second time we drove to Malaysia, didn't know it will be equally fun :)

    若水, nah, they are just beginners, still lots of room for improvement.

    Sonia, I didn't show my kids how to take pictures, they can figure out the functions themselves. Kids nowadays are very good with digital gadgets, just give your children a camera, and I am sure they will be clicking away. Yes, I read about the mille crepe before our trip, but we simply couldn't eat anymore...will try it next time!

    Jasmine, this Ah Soon BKT is also located at Taman Sentosa...just a few shops away is Soon Huat BKT. We didn't order those dishes you mentioned...aiyah, I should have find out more about Nancy's kitchen's signature dishes before the trip.

    Weng, I didn't teach them how to take photos since I really don't know much about photography...my photos are all point and shoot (^^')

    Ling, we are really greedy aren't we? lolz!

    Sherlyn, just set your camera to auto mode, and click away! If you want to take close up photos, just turn off the flash light and turn on the macro function. So far, this is all I know about photography ;)

    Swee San, I think I have read about the Teochew restaurant...will certainly make it a point to stay for a night the next time so that we can get to eat at more places :)

    Alice, hope you can get to visit the place again soon :)

  11. they did great, all this food has my head dizzy

  12. Thanks for sharing. Talented photogs in the making! BTW "makan" means to eat. "Makanan" is food. JFYI. :o)

  13. Thanks Ren! I have updated my post :):)

  14. your kids took those pictures! amazing! i seldom let my younger ones handle the camera cause i am so worried that they may drop it...guess i must learn to trust them more....
    the chicken rice balls look good and the chicken looks really yummy. will go and give it a try if i go to melaka again. your post has rekindled my interest in the place again!

  15. A very nice writeup there! I love your collages of the food, as well as the sights and sounds of Melaka. Makes me want to go there for a quick getaway!

  16. Hi HHB!

    Sorry to use this post for this. I just tried your sweet bun bread and it was excellent!

    I just wonder if I were to use oil to replace butter, will it make any difference? Actually what is the role of the butter in making a bread that differs from Oil? Thanks.


  17. In my hubby's words, he would say the pics have 'good composition'. Looks like you have some budding photographers are home !

  18. HEHE..I think your boys have your genes! Can take really nice pictures~!!!

  19. Thanks HHB. Sounds simple, but you still did not see I have good pictures :) hehe. And yes, these pictures have good compositions.

  20. HHB! So happy to learn that your trip, which took you all the way from Singapore to Melaka, turned out to be a blast! Yup. I'm proud of Melaka, it's my second home in Malaysia. Other than KL, I frequent Melaka the most, since it's my mom's hometown, and we still have a bunch of relatives there.

    Next time you should try satay celuk! Melaka's specialty, aside from the chicken-rice balls. Erm, did you get to buy any gula melaka there? The one my mom and I have been using is from Melaka. Compared to those in the usual supermarkets, it's unadulterated -- it melts even at room temperature! It's uber dark amber in color. So, we've been storing our gula melaka in the fridge. LOL! (Well, some say the gula melaka from Terengganu is best. I haven't gotten to try that myself, so I can't attest to that.)

  21. hi norahs, I am not too sure about the role of the butter...probably to make the bread softer. I think it is not advisable to replace it with oil in that recipe, since the butter used is in solid form not in liquid.

  22. Hi Sherlyn, I think likely it is due to poor lighting condition. Try to take photos near the windows with natural light coming in. Don't take photos under lamps...it will give a slightly tinted yellow colour to your image.

    Pei-Lin, I remembered telling you that I didnt visit Malaysia for a long time...and the last trip we went was last year...to Cameron highlands...just to let my younger child gets a Malaysian 'chop' on his passport ;)
    Yes, yes I bought the gula melaka, thanks to Octopusmum for her recommendation. I kept it in the fridge when we got home...will want to use it to make oneh oneh.

  23. Hi HHB,

    Can you give review for your new oven? As i am planning to get the same model (HBN331E2J). As you know that it doesn't have the Top and bottom heat with fan function and that is what i am worried about. Btw, I am a beginner, never do baking before. thanks.

  24. Hi Anonymous,
    This Bosch oven do comes with Top, Bottom heat plus fan function. It is known as the 3D hot air function.

    My previous oven is a small 20-litre tabletop tefal...there is only top heat, no other function. My review here is based on using it as a point of reference. The Bosch oven has got more functions (compared to my old tabletop)...I tried baking cookies on two trays, using the 3D hot air function they were browned evenly...at least I dont have to turn the tray around half way into baking. I made two pizzas on separate racks, both browned/cooked at the same time too. The oven temperature is quite stable...unlike my previous one...which could drop by 20degC after I put in the cake. I tried roasting a chicken, it takes about 50mins to get nicely browned, whereas my previous one could take 1.5hrs. But, it was a tedious job trying to clean the oven after roasting as you need to clean the oil stains at the side walls, since it doesnt come with self cleaning funtions. Do note that my Bosch oven is the cheapest, most basic range, if budget is not a constraint, you may want to take a look at higher range ovens. Hope this helps.

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  26. Wow your boys take really good pictures! Sometimes you really can't belittle kids nowadays.. They do better than adults.. I've been to malacca quite a few times this few years and your photo brings me memories. I also had my lunch at Nancy kitchen twice :)

  27. As I was reading your post, I told my hubby, maybe we should go Melaka. :)

  28. We were in Malacca during the March hols and I took the same pictures @ Jonker 88, but your pics look much better :p

    I share the same sentiments about their cendol. We were in Malacca last week (our 3rd trip within a year) and i went to try out their cendol again. It seemed better. Looks like their standard is not consistent.