To be honest, I didn’t want to write this post - but Universal Studios Japan took up the entire day and was so fun, it had to be a separate post on its own.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
I was most excited for this place because one of my cousins is a Potterhead. So we ended up going there early (to the point where the cast members had to tell us to return later for crowd control purposes).
It was cool (hehe) to experience Wizarding World at a lower temperature - the snow-capped buildings didn’t feel so out of place. Regardless, we had loads of fun immersing ourselves with themed souvenirs, photo opportunities, and of course - BUTTERBEER.
Our only disappointment was that Forbidden Journey was down on that day due to a ride fault (Yes, the ride SMRTed on us. Grr…).
Note: Until now, it is still assumed that you need to line up on the day itself and hope that there are still tickets / timeslots left to Wizarding World for the day. What we did was to buy the Express Passes in advance which guaranteed access to Wizarding World, together with express lines to a few other rides. Just remember to buy your entry ticket separately as well!
Cities of USA - New York, San Francisco, Hollywood
Main street is always a joy to walk through - definitely putting you in the mood for the theme park itself.
Hollywood is home to a crazy amount of shops and Mel’s Diner, where I had one of the greatest burgers ever (I’m not a burger person), as well as the queue to Hollywood Dream, one of the tallest and longest rollercoasters in Asia. The Tiger and Sarah went on this ride before, you can stand in line for up to three hours.
New York was where we had fun with the Spiderman ride, one of my favourite rides in the park. Be careful when you’re heading here during parade times though - it can get rowdy! Food and souvenir carts are aplenty here as well.
A new addition since we last came - the minion park was chock full of people, curious or just enamoured by the bright colours and adorable minions dotting the place and just making the environment an amazing place to be at.
The Minions 4D Ride is also great fun - unlike its Universal counterparts in the USA, Japan’s version will have you experiencing Gru’s lab and minion training the moment you step off the queue, and into the ride’s pre-show.
Just remember to resist the temptation of the banana.
While this place is definitely for the children, I was sure my Mom had the most fun here. Universal Wonderland boasts areas for various childhood characters - Snoopy, Sanrio (Hello Kitty and friends), and Sesame Street.
Mom was decked out in full Elmo gear just for this moment - and got a snapshot with their Easter Elmo as well. Rides here are mostly sheltered and milder to cater for the younger age group, peppered with bright colours to boost the happy atmosphere.
Like you do with Duffy Bear in DisneySea, don’t forget to say hi to Moppie - a Universal Studios Japan-exclusive (ish) character who can always be seen around Elmo and other Sesame Street friends.
And that’s it for my trip to the Kansai region! If you’d like to see the places we went to in one place, search for the Osakejiak18 blog posts or click here.
I saved Osaka city for the last post because it was our ‘homebase’, so to speak. That being said, be prepared for a longer post - and all the places we were to around the city.
We stayed in Higashishinsaibashi (Eastern Shinsaibashi), just a stone’s throw away from the main shopping area in Osaka. Here’s a glimpse:
Shinsaibashisuji & Dotonbori
We stayed near Shinsaibashisuji the first time we came here in 2016. Fast forward two years later, I brought my parents, neighbours, and cousins to the same place.
Very much like the main shopping street of Central Osaka, Shinsaibashisuji is a line of shops and branches of restaurants leading across the river to Dotonbori, another popular area among tourists. On top of the many clothes, accessory, and shoe shops, these two places are lined with snacks and gifts as well.
Some of the places we enjoyed were:
It was nice to walk through this place - since this trip didn’t include a visit to either DisneySea or Tokyo Disneyland. If you’d like, you can buy tickets to the two parks on the second level as well.
2 Chome-1-23 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo, Osaka
A 24-Hour Bookstore on Dotonbori, spanning five (5) levels and a basement. Grab a drink at the Starbucks on the first level and have a seat on Level 2 with a book. If not, each level has a specific category for your reading needs (that is, if you can read Japanese). One of my favourite places to head to in Osaka.
1 Chome-8-19 Dotonbori, Chuo, Osaka
Speaks for itself, doesn't it? Also, note - there are two branches along Shinsaibashisuji itself - one where you can buy takeaway tarts, and the sit-down restaurant.
Another note: Remember to check out their seasonal specials and branch exclusives!
2-8-1 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo-ku, Osaka
The Second Best Melon Pan
Here’s a statement of confession: I regret not getting one of these the first time I came to Japan.
Here’s another statement of confession: I regret not getting two of these when I came back again.
Like the less greasy, more heavenly version of the Po Lo Bun, Melon Pan is one of the most iconic foods we know from Japan. Located in a food truck along the Dotonbori shopping street, get in line early or fight the long queues!
1 Chome-4-19 Dotonbori, Chuo, Osaka
It’s not difficult to spot this place - just find the dragon.
I knew I wanted to eat Ramen, but with so many noodle places to choose from, and with such a large group - the parents just wanted somewhere convenient to eat. No matter, the Ramen here was still a warm bowl of comfort amidst the cold weather - and one thing I was super grateful for: NO PORKY TASTE / SMELL. (One of the reasons behind why I cannot get used to Ramen here is the strong meat aftertaste or smell in many tonkotsu-based Ramen places.)
Kinryu only has 2 items in the menu - Tonkotsu Ramen, and Tonkotsu Ramen with extra meat. Take your pick!
1-7-26 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka
Eggs N’ Things
According to my cousin, the potatoes here can send Anime wind onto your face and through your hair.
While looking for breakfast places that could fit up to 7 adults, I came across Eggs N’ Things, which was a straight road down from where we were staying. Founded in Hawaii, Eggs N’ Things serves Western / Hawaiian-style breakfasts - sweet and savoury.
Eggs N’ Things serving sizes follow the American portion, so if you’re not a big eater in the morning, I suggest you either give this a miss or come in for lunch. Also, note that you might have to queue for the Shinsaibashi branch.
Nishishinsaibashi 2 Chome-10-2-CriceNikko, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi
A holiday without a visit to the destination’s markets is kinda like a wasted opportunity to see how the locals live.
Located in Nipponbashi, this market was a ways from where we were staying. Despite that, it was rather straightforward to get to the moment we knew where to turn.
Filled with stalls selling produce, snacks, fresh seafood, cooked breakfasts, and many more to choose from, Kuromon market is an ideal place to head to if you’re thinking of a Japanese breakfast but have no idea of what you’d like to eat.
Personally, I recommend any stall selling Yuba Doughnuts, Oden, or Croquettes. And the lady selling grilled fruits on a stick - that one’s a winner.
Note: 2nd regret of the trip and possible excuse to return to Kuromon Market again - I DIDN’T TRY BLACK VANILLA ICE CREAM. /writes note to self for when I return
2 Chome-3-2 Nipponbashi, Chuo, Osaka
Together with Shin-Osaka, Umeda is one of the most bustling city centers I’ve been to. The only difference? Shopping in Umeda just has that many more options.
These were the places we touched base with in the middle of the bustling city center:
Ever since I went to the huge LoFT in Shibuya, I knew it was going on my list of permanent to-visit places whenever I return to Japan. Apart from their huge range of lifestyle products (AND different from Tokyu Hands), LoFT is also distributor to some of my favourite stationery brands - Hobonichi and Kokuyo, just to name a few.
Also, I finally got my Nintendo Switch from here.
16-7 Chayamachi, Kita, Osaka
Pokemon Center Umeda
Also, what’s a visit to Japan when you don’t visit the Pokemon Center?
It’s on the 13th floor of Umeda’s Daimaru Building, sharing the floor with a Uniqlo branch. While not as big as the main store in Ikebukkuro, Tokyo, Umeda’s Pokemon Center still gives you that jump into your childhood with familiar tunes piping through the speakers, and colourful pokemon in various forms and functions.
Daimaru Umeda, 13F
Momofuku Ando Cup Noodle Museum
We’ve seen this in various videos on the Internet for a while now. Also, Cup Noodles is the embodiment of childhood MSG memories. With that in mind, we made our way a little out of the city area, towards an area known as Ikeda.
Set up to give recognition to the father of the instant noodle, Momofuku Ando, the museum covers almost every product Japan had to contribute to the cup/bowl noodle trade, together with how this product came about.
It was crowded by the time we got there, so the fam decided to skip out on getting the custom Cup Noodles. However, do give it a shot if you decide to head down for this - it’s ¥300 per plain cup, before you add all your desired toppings.
Again, another reason to return!
8-25 Masumi-cho, Ikeda-shi, Osaka
So that’s our Osaka Homebase adventure post - stay tuned for the coming and last post for this series - Universal Studios Japan. Again, check out posts for this trip under #Osakejiak18 or here.
Still the sacred capital of Japan, Kyoto was most certainly on the list - given how I didn’t manage to go the last time. And thanks to Lyn’s previous itinerary from when she last went, we had a rough idea of where we were going to.
But first, the Shinkansen!
I wanted my parents to experience travelling via the Shinkansen at least once. And while it was about a 15-minute train ride to Kyoto, it was nice to see the rest of the group get excited about ekiben (Bentos you eat on the train) and the speed of the train itself. Before we knew it, we were at our destination - Kyoto Station.
We took the Sanin Line from Kyoto Station to Saga-Arashiyama station later on. Our plan was initially to eat lunch first, then take our time along the main shopping street and places of interest.
No such luck later on.
The main street towards the Arashiyama Park and Bamboo Grove was decked with traditionally-built shops, surrounding the main temple with stops for snacks, crafts, and with various restaurants. We had to stop quite a few times because some members of our group kept getting distracted by various snacks, coupled with the Singaporean-Chinese need to bargain and question everything. (Yeesh)
Note: Please don’t bargain at a Japanese market - it’s rude and bad form. Also, Japanese shop owners are generally quite trustworthy so you don’t have to worry about them selling you “fake” or “inferior” goods.
We managed to get some amazingly delicious soba near the river at the end, followed by a relaxing stroll through the Arashiyama Park and Bamboo Grove. Like Nara, the Sakura were in bloom, which lent the place to some great photo opportunities.
Arashiyama Park was just across the river from where we had lunch - you could choose to have a stroll along the river, or skip stones at the rocky river banks. The Bamboo Grove on the other side of the main street - a place just as serene, but bearing a different kind of beauty.
Among the street stalls, rickshaw pullers, and yukata-clad people, it was a different kind of amazing to capture the image of the sunlight peeking through the lush green bamboo forest. The cemetary at the corner and the different shrines that dot the forest gave that level of zen you’d expect to get in this place.
That being said, we made our way back, knowing full well that we’d be too late for Nishiki Market, but not before we made a stop at Molette, a restaurant near Kyoto Station specializing in Omuraisu.
PLACES WE VISITED:
Places of Interest:
Arashiyama Park Nakanoshima Area
Saganakanoshimacho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Saganonomiyacho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto
Japan, 〒616-8385 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Ukyō-ku, Sagatenryūji Susukinobabachō, 1 本家桜餅
Estimated cost per person: ¥~1,500
JR Kyoto Isetan, 11F
Estimated cost per person: ¥~1,500
Check out my other Japan trip posts with the hashtag - #Osakejiak18, or click here for the rest of my posts.
Note to self: Head to Nishiki Market the next time I head down. No excuses.
Our first trip to Kobe was motivated mainly by gluttony and eyes bigger than stomachs. My second trip to Kobe (and this group’s first) was motivated by the same desire to have Kobe Beef again.
That being said, I can tell you the TL;DR version of this post now - we were at Steakland and it was all worth it.
We split into two groups (Dad can’t eat beef), and the cousins and I got the dinner shift. What you see above was my dinner (just my share) with the cousins. The above-pictured meal consists of cubed Kobe beef, crispy fried garlic, sauteed vegetables (bean sprouts, xiao bai cai, mushrooms, zucchini), konniyaku, a croissant roll with the world's best butter (Hotel brand), and dipping sauces.
This was the non-Kobe beef lunch shift - where my cousins and I went to Coco Curry with my Dad. We were still full from a heavier breakfast so the four of us shared a salad, a corn soup, Croquette curry, and Vegetable Curry. Also, YES FINALLY - COCO ICHIBANYA IN JAPAN.
In between, I brought them all on a walk to the wharf. Being a pier city, I thought it would be great to take everyone to the seaside to have a look. So we took a walk to Kobe Meriken - near where the first American Embassy was in Kobe.
With the cool wind from the sea and the colourful flowers that dotted the place, it was no wonder so many locals flocked to this side of the city for a relaxing Sunday afternoon. The wharf is also the location of the 1995 Kobe Earthquake Memorial - a sombre reminder of the brutalities of nature and the hope of recovery after.
After a relaxing afternoon on the pier, we made our way back to the Kobe-Sannomiya station by way of the Motomachi Shopping Street.
It was not until I returned from this trip when I realized that Kobe was quite well-known for its desserts. That being said - here’s to more excuses... ahem, I mean... reasons for returning!
PLACES WE WENT TO:
Places of Interest:
Kobe Meriken Park (Also where the 1995 Kobe Earthquake Memorial is located)
2-2 Hatobacho, Chuo Ward
Steakland Kobe (near Kobe-Sannomiya Station)
Miyaba building 1-2F, 1-8-2, Kitanagasadori
Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo, 650-0012
Expected Prices: ¥1,600-2,000 (Lunch) ¥4,500-6000 (Dinner)
The last time we were here, a deer ate a good chunk of our map. This time, we were ready.
Emerging from the depths of Kintetsu-Nara station, we quickly obtained at least 3-4 maps for our rather large group (7 of us). That being said, the amazing people at the Tourist Information Centre circled a few places, smiled, and said, “We have cherry blossoms today!”
Sarah’s Luck had finally rubbed off. LOL.
After a quick run to the bathroom - off we went!
One of the great things about Nara was how you could see the transition from the city-area to the suburban and sacred spots. In a sense, this place embodies the attraction of Japan to many people - the balance of the bustling, efficient city, and its accessibility to the calmer, peaceful country-esque locations that speak “Japan”.
Like what happened before, we encountered the deer just a short walk from the station. Following trusty Google Maps and the main road, we found ourselves in front of the Himuro Jinja Shrine, with trees in full bloom and neighbouring shops selling grilled mochi and ice cream to add to the experience.
For a person who has not seen Cherry Blossoms in real life, I do get why it’s such a big deal - they bloom in various shades - pink, pale pink, red, white - but the flowers only stay open for a few days before fluttering to the ground. Needless to say, the place was packed with tourists and locals alike, so we made our way to Todaiji soon after taking the photos we wanted.
Standing tall and grand, the Todaiji Temple is a Buddhist Temple that survived two major fires (and countless incidents) since its construction in 752 AD. One of the incidents got so bad that craftspeople had to replace the Buddha head because it got too badly damaged. That’s why you could see the different shades between the Buddha’s body and head when you enter the temple.
Apart from its vast, zen aura, Todaiji Temple is peppered with various other Prayer Halls, each there for anyone to visit. But remember, keep to their rules - both out of respect for the people, and respect for the place:
That being said, we had a pleasant time at Todaiji. And the sweet potato (along with the other snacks) we had on the way back to the station helped too.
AND NOW - TO THE FOOD.
We were a big group (7 of us), so I thought Kameya was more up to our speed in terms of space and food. Check it out:
Mainly teppenyaki-cooked food from the area - Okonomiyaki, Yakisoba, Yakiudon, and the Yakisoba Rooru, which is Omelette-wrapped Yakisoba, and apparently our favourite. If you’re looking for a family-friendly place, or just a place to sit a group that’s larger than 4 people, where you can eat the local cuisine and hang out, I’d suggest Kameya.
BONUS: It’s just down the road from Nakatanidou Mochi - where we were fortunate enough to have front row seats to a fresh batch of mochi being made. You can catch a glimpse of the video I took on my Instagram here.
PLACES WE WENT TO:
Places of Interest:
406-1 Zoushi-cho, Nara-shi
Entrance Fee: ¥500 (Temple only)
樽井町７, Taruichō, Nara-shi, Nara-ken 630-8218
Estimated Prices: ¥1,000 to 1,500 per person
29 Hashimotocho, Nara 630-8217
Prices: ¥130 for 1 freshly-made Soybean-filled mochi
Note: There are also many street vendors from Nara station to Todaiji so do grab a few snacks along the way if you'd like. Just take note of the deer (Yes, they'll snatch your food away from you).
So that’s it for us in Nara! Check out the rest of my trip to Osaka and Kyoto over April under the tag #Osakejiak18. Or access all the posts for this trip here.
Getting off the plane and stepping out of the airport, we all took a deep breath to ward off the fatigue from almost half a day in the air. While everyone else looked around in excitement, I only exhaled under my breath, “TADAIMA!”
And while the travel blogs for this trip come up over this month, here’s a list of posts affiliated with this trip:
That being said, be prepared for loads of food. To follow these blogs and photos on my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Blog, check out #osakejiak18.
This is, what I’d call, the result of a group of hungry fat kids having disposable income, and being surrounded by places with delicious food.
After a quick trip over my birthday weekend, I met the Tiger and his parents to celebrate three birthdays - mine, and the Tiger’s parents’s. Thanks to the photos of our food, the rest of the Valkyrie Knights were more determined to head to Penang before the year ended.
So our Penang Food Trip was decided - and here are, possibly, our Top Five bites for Penang 2017-8. In no particular order:
To quote the Tiger, this was the youtiao which endeared me to Penang.
I won’t go that much into taste and texture, but you’ll have to try it for yourself. Don’t worry about it, we’ve tested it and the fritters stay crispy without retaining their oil even after 3-5 hours post-sale. A great feat considering how simple their set up really is.
Do note that the store owners don’t like it when people head to their stall to take photographs though, so keep your phones in your pockets!
Damage expected: RM1.50 per youtiao
Cintra Street You Tiao is located on 76 Cintra Street, Penang. They are open 12PM to 7PM daily.
Mee Mamak & Nasi Kandar
Penang was one of those places where Mamak culture started - a culture very prominent in Malaysia and among the Indian Muslims residing in the area. So food like Mee Mamak (fried noodles) and Nasi Kandar (mixed rice) are staples when you visit Penang.
Mee Mamak is often the first foods the Tiger and I go for when we head to Penang - fried noodles with squid, bean sprouts, tofu, potatoes, and greens, fried with amazing wok hei and balanced, spiced gravy. You can pretty much find Mee Mamak in most places, but our favourites are in Jalan Burma - Swee Kong Coffee Shop (my favourite), and Seng Lee Coffee Shop.
Likewise, Nasi Kandar can be found almost everywhere in Georgetown, but our favourite was definitely the popular Line Clear. We only had Roti Canai there because we ended up at the place NEXT to Line Clear (Restoran Yasmeen) for Nasi Kandar instead - it was still good though!
But what really drew me to Line Clear and Restoran Yasmeen was a combination of the warmth of good, home-cooked food, and their kuah campur, a mixture of all their curries and gravies that turned into an elixir bringing your plate of rice or roti to the next level. And if anything, just your rice and this mixed sauce is enough to send your appetite into overdrive.
So yes, don’t say I bo jio.
Damage expected: For Mee Mamak - RM5-7, For Nasi Kandar - RM5-9
Swee Kong Coffee Shop is located on 232 Jalan Burma, 10350 Georgetown (Opposite Balai Polis Pulau Tikus). They’re open 5:30AM to 5PM but note that the Mee Mamak stall owner will most likely only arrive at 11-12 NOON.
FOR SCIENCE, you can try another Mee Mamak stall down the road here - Seng Lee Coffee Shop, 280 Jalan Burma. They are open 8:30AM to 6PM from Tuesdays to Sundays. LIkewise, the Mee Mamak stall owner will most likely only arrive at 11-12 NOON.
Line Clear Nasi Kandar is located beside 161 & 177 Penang Road, 10000 Georgetown and they are open 24/7. Just make sure it’s the correct place - you need to walk IN next to the inflatable balloon waving visitors into Line Clear.
Moody Cow Cheesecakes
WARNING: This is not for the lactose intolerant or light eaters.
The first time i tried cakes from this place was when the Tiger brought them to Singapore after a trip in Penang. After I tried it for the second time, I began to realize why each slice cost at least in the high 30s.
Compact, good-quality cream and cheese make up a bulk of their cheesecakes, and their tall cakes with various flavours (Durian, Salted Egg Yolk, Oreo, Chempedak etc…) were as big as two slices of usual cafe cakes.
Great for the sweet tooth, but sharing is mandatory. Do check them and their savoury dishes out as well.
Damage expected: RM38-45 per slice.
Moody Cow is located at 170 Transfer Road, 10050, Georgetown. They open from 12PM to 12AM, and are closed on Mondays.
Note: sorry no pic - we were so excited we didn't take any photos. LOL.
They served the noodles to us in a bowl that was the average size of a serving rice bowl.
And that was considered a small bowl.
The first time I tried these beef noodles, their soup was dark and it was located at a smaller coffee shop. This time, the soup has now gone clear, but don’t be deceived - all the flavour remains. Seeing how much we ate that morning, I was glad for our decision to go beef and soup only.
Despite that, it was enough to satisfy us, both our physical hunger and our tastebuds.
P/S - Wash it all down with Teh Ais (Iced Tea) or White Coffee - you won’t be disappointed!
Damage expected: RM5-10
ST Loo Beef Noodles / OO White Coffee Cafe is located on 262 & 264 Lebuh Carnarvon, 10100 Georgetown, next to Teoh’s Clan Ancestry House. They’re open from 10AM to 9:30PM and are closed on Wednesdays.
Char Kway Teow / Assam Laksa
And there is no Penang trip complete without a meal of Char Kway Teow and Assam Laksa.
I’m not a fan of a stickier, gravy-heavy char kway teow that seemed to be very popular in many other char kway teow stalls in Penang. However, in a bid to find halal char kway teow, we found Bee Hwa Cafe, just down the road and a right turn from Cititel (our hotel). Apart from char kway teow, they also sold curry mee and noodle soups, all halal.
I took mine without chili, but the noodles held their own - thinner rice noodles with crunchy bean sprouts, fresh prawn, and wok hei enough to retain the flavour long after your plate is empty.
After which, we went to Joo Hooi Cafe, which is further down the road to Jalan Penang. Lyn and Raven had their fill of Assam Laksa, while the rest of us had Chendol and Ice Kacang. While I’m not a fan of Assam Laksa, both Lyn and Raven finished their Laksa and left the place utterly satisfied.
I trust their tastebuds and judgement on food any day.
Damage expected: RM4-7
Bee Hwa Cafe is located at 10 Lebuh Dickens, Georgetown. They open from 7AM to 5:30PM on weekdays, 7AM to 3:30PM on Saturdays, and are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
Joo Hooi Cafe is located at 475 Jalan Penang, 10050 Georgetown. They open from 11:30AM to 5PM.
Of course, these are only my own recommendations. Regardless, I hope you’ll enjoy these foods when you’re on your own trips to Penang. If anything, there will always be good food in Penang. You can find our photos of this 32-hour whirlwind of a trip on Instagram with the hashtag #feedmenang.
Two weekends, one festival market, and a major cough after, I’ve managed to muster up some energy to get this post down. LOL.
At the beginning of this month, the Rolling Ronins, together with AK, took our first trip as a group to Jakarta, Indonesia, to attend PopCon Asia 2017. It was meant to be a quick trip – only there for the event and then back home again. Despite that, we still had quite a few story-worthy moments to share.
HEART ATTACK PASTRY
I think Indonesian food, I think Bakar (barbecue), Mie Bakso, IndoMie, and Martabak. While we got our fair share of Indonesian noodles and rice, the one that blew our minds (and possibly arteries) was the Martabak.
We can only get proper, Indonesian-style Martabak at J Town, in Emerald Point (At least, that’s the only place I know), and they’re almost always sold out by the time we reach. From what we know, Martabak is a pancake cooked on a high-sided griddle before it’s filled with decadent fillings (usually cheese, chocolate, peanut butter, or a combination of the three). After it’s cooked, it’s slathered with butter, cut into portions, and then served.
When we had our first Martabak in Indonesia, we were introduced to Martabak Asin a.k.a. the Savoury Martabak.
I believe Jerry’s words were, “Can we just skip PopCon and just keep eating?”
While sweet Martabak continues to dominate the menus, savoury Martabak was a revelation – meats and herbs fill the pancake while it’s wrapped in a thin layer of pastry, fried in a generous amount of oil, and then topped with sauce and cheese.
So keep your hand wipes within reach and your stomach empty. Martabak is life.
We went to two places:
Martabak Gokil – BELLAGIO MALL | Kav. E4, Jl. Mega Kuningan Barat No. 3, RT. 5/ RW. 2, Kuningan Tim., Kecamatan Setiabudi, Kota Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, 15810, Indonesia
Martabak San Fransisco – Jalan Burangang No. 42, Pujasera San Francisco, Burangang, Lengkong, Kota Bandung, Jawa Barat 40111, Indonesia
Note that Martabak San Fransisco is a delivery / takeout-only establishment, so be prepared. Savoury Martabak is also prioritized for their delivery customers and usually run out if you try to order it via takeout instead.
THE FALAFEL INCIDENT
As you can gather, most of our travel stories revolve around food. This one was a sliver of humour during a rather late dinner.
After lunch on our second day, a friend of Anna’s recommended Halal Guys. Knowing their reputation as a New York Street Food establishment, we were game. Unfortunately, some of us had to split from the group so dinner at Halal Guys only had myself, the Tiger, Ben, Alfonsus, and AK.
I ordered a Chicken Platter while the guys mostly ordered platters with hummus. Ben got a Falafel sandwich, while AK had an extra order of Falafel. And the Falafel came freshly fried.
AND IT WAS GOOD. AK was kind enough to share one (of his two) falafel with the rest of us.
That started Alf going through the best possible permutations of what to order back home for supper. Unfortunately, he took so long deliberating that by the time he got up to order more falafel to take home of the day, they were out.
Cue the dramatic widening of AK’s eyes as his gaze darted from the final piece of falafel on the table and back to Alf.
Spoiler alert: AK ended up splitting that falafel with the rest of us again because he hungry-ordered his meal. (He had a mixed rice platter with an added side of hummus and flat bread on top of the falafel)
If anyone in Singapore wants to bring Halal Guys to the country – I will gladly support you. And by support, I mean go to your outlet and eat all your Falafel.
The Halal Guys are at SENAYAN CITY, Jalan Asia Afrika Lot. 19, Gelora, Tanah Abang, Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, 12190, Indonesia.
POPCON ASIA 2017
And of course, the event we were gunning for.
This was our first time in PopCon, and first time in Jakarta for some of us as well. Needless to say, it was quite an experience.
Firstly, our booths had a backing board – similar to those at STGCC, but very different from the booths we were used to in Comic Fiesta and CAFKL.
Secondly, LINE WebToons has a huge following in Indonesia, where readers can access and read indie comics for free. Many browses ended in, “Are you on WebToons?” Plus, the long line outside the LINE WebToon booth spoke for itself.
Regardless, we had quite a fun time – especially since our booths were right next to the stage. It got loud during programmes, but that also meant that our area was bustling. At the same time, it made us easier to spot – many thanks to Stephani & Royce, Wina (Veleries), Azisa, and many other people (the guys from GnB) for coming down to support us! As well as a special shout-out to ToysREvil for signal boosting our booth on his blog.
Snippet: Here’s Jerry representing us during one of their Doodle Battles on Saturday!
To find out more about PopCon Asia, click here.
So that was our trip to Jakarta! In between the food and the malls, we will probably be seeing this city again. Until next time!
My greatest observation about Bangkok – Watching Bangkok traffic is like watching the organized chaos of individually-contrasting instruments come together to play as an orchestra.
Since we went to Japan last September, we have been putting the idea of going to Bangkok into each others’ heads. When 2017 came to be, the Tiger came to us with news that he needed to clear leave by March. With Lyn going every year, we booked tickets in January and got her to help plan our trip.
Sarah joined in later, only that she was heading to Bangkok on a cheaper flight (day before ours) and taking a train back.
So we flew off on Thai Airways for a #longbkkend.
Many things have happened during our trip, but there were three aspects of the trip that stuck with me:
Talad Rodfai / Rot Fai Market
Talad means Market in Thai.
Rodfai means Railway in Thai.
True to its name, the Rot Fai Market in Bangkok is the night market which initially took over an old railway but moved to a different location. I had an initial fascination when Lyn suggested this place, and going to the place myself was like stepping into an explosion of nostalgia and night market goodness.
Apart from the great photo opportunities, Talad Rodfai had a great variety of street food. We had one of the best beef beehoon soup in a while (and squid eggs, grilled cheese sandwich, octopus hot dogs, and copious amounts of Cha Yen).
Talad Rodfai is a night market at Soi Srinagarindra 51, Nong Bon, Prawet, Bangkok 10250, Thailand. To find out more about them, click here.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
No excuses – this place is the place to go for any shopper in Bangkok.
My first encounter with Chatuchak, or Jatujak (JJ) Market, was when I went to Bangkok at 14. We took the skytrain to Mo Chit station, where upon leaving the station right before Mo Chit, I lookout out the train window and asked, “So where is this market?”
My mother pointed to the array of zinc roofs and said, “This is the market.”
Fast forward a good 15 years later, it’s back to JJ Market – and it’s Sarah’s and the Tiger’s first time ever.
JJ Market is only held on the weekends, which is why many people in the know make sure that there’s at least a full weekend within their travel plans to the capital. This market of all the markets spans 27 acres and features stalls for clothes, antiques, furniture, books, food, the lot.
Chatuchak / JJ Market is located at 587/10 Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, Khwaeng Chatuchak, Khet Chatuchak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10900. To find out more about them, click here.
There are two main kinds – the green and the orange-lined river taxis. The green river taxis are usually meant for tourists, with tickets going at 40 Baht each. We took the orange river taxi, which operated like our buses, tickets go for 15 Baht each instead.
(Note: If you’ve decided to take the orange river taxi, know the names of the stops you’re getting off at – you won’t get the luxury of people telling you the names of stops repeatedly or assigned seats.)
And if you only had a single, full day in Bangkok, the suggestion is to take a river taxi up and down the Chao Phraya – just to take in the sights and all things Thai.
We had a good lot of fun for this trip – loads of walking, food, and heat. LOLOL. And what warmed me (in a good way) was how welcoming the people were despite the crowd and the heat.
So apart from the accessible shopping and the amazing food, Bangkok will be a place we’ll be coming back to for sure.
We were staying at GLOW Pratunam (Book them early!) and took Thai Airways for this trip. Click on their names to find out more about them.