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Kaffee und Kuchen

sunny 19 °C

One of my Dad's colleagues is German, and had a business trip to the refinery in Hamburg. Coincidentally, he was from Luebeck, and his sister lives in Hamburg! We got in touch and I was invited over to his sister's house for tea. She lives in a suburb northeast of Hamburg, technically not even in Hamburg state (which they are very proud of!). Many of the houses are like a hundred years old or something, very cool. M (the guy) drove me over from the train station in his sister's convertible Mini : ) Have I mentioned that I like Minis? After The Italian Job haha.

We had lovely tea in the backyard. Eventually I got to meet his sister's husband, son, and daughter. We played this card game while waiting for the Rhabarberkuchen (rhubard tart) to be fully cooked. The cards had pictures on them, and it’s a competition to put down all your cards, by naming the one picture on it that is present on both the card on the table and in your hand. So I named as much as I could in German, with help from the little 7? year old daughter. I learnt Kerze (candle) and Schloss (lock) then, along with a few other words haha.

The Rhabarberkuchen was really yummy! They were trying to find the most typically German things for me haha, so we had that with whipped cream and coffee.

The sister and her husband are both in the water industry, the husband for a governmental organisation and the sister for an NGO. According to the son, they end up talking about toilets a lot of the time during dinner hahaha. Sounds like my family, except maybe with a less physics and chemistry slant.

Anyway I had a lovely time, everyone was very nice. And the son will actually be going to Singapore with his grandparents in June! I promised to give them food recommendations haha. For both the son and for M, the colleague.

Here's my email to them, let me know if I missed out anything : )


Hi ____!

Most of the food that I will recommend will be local dishes, which are generally Chinese, Indian, Malay, or a fusion. Most of these places will be in coffee shops or hawker centres.

This list is a really good place to start, although it's not a complete list of the 'best' Singapore food as you can tell from the comments below it. http://sethlui.com/best-local-famous-foods-to-eat-singapore/

One of my personal recommendations would be the Katong - Joo Chiat area. This is mainly the stretch of East Coast Road between Still Road and Tanjong Katong Road. Not only are there many many good food shops in the area, the buildings are in typical Peranakan style. If you're interested in history and architecture it will be a nice walk. Here's a list of places to eat, some taken from the sethlui list.
- Katong Laksa (noodles. there are two along East Coast Road)
- Bak Kut Teh (pork ribs. Sin Heng Claypot Bak Kut Teh 439 Joo Chiat Road)
- Wanton Mee (noodles. Fei Fei Wanton Mee, 10 min walk in from East Coast road, 62 Joo Chiat Place)
- Chicken rice (either 5 star or Boon Tong Kee, they serve slightly different styles, both along East Coast Road)
- Din Tai Fung (famous chinese food and Dim Sum chain, one outlet is at the big shopping mall Katong I12)
- Chin Mee Chin Confectionary (Kuchen, 204 East Coast Road)
- Nonya/Peranakan Kueh (Kuchen, Kim Choo Kueh Chang, 109 East Coast Road)
- Crab (whether chilli, black pepper, or other styles. Long beach. 1 hour walk along the beach from Katong)

Other places with a cluster of famous food stalls include Maxwell Food Center, Bedok Block 85, East Coast Lagoon Food Village (along the beach) and Old Airport Road Food Center. Check out this list of hawker centers. http://www.ladyironchef.com/tag/best-hawker-centre-singapore/
This blog is also good to find really good cafes selling western food.

One thing you really have to try is durian! It's a pungent fruit that looks like a round pineapple. There are two varieties, sweet or slightly bitter. Most people either hate durian or love it (I'm the latter). I'm not sure if it will be in season when you go, but here are some places to buy them: http://www.hungrygowhere.com/dining-guide/hawker/where-to-buy-durians-in-singapore-*aid-69763f00/ the best types are Mao Shan Wang and D24. Expensive, but worth it.

Alternatively you could try durian ice cream! Udders has it (there's one along East Coast Road), here are some others http://www.hungrygowhere.com/dining-guide/best-and-top/durian-ice-cream-*aid-f7981900/


I think I might have overloaded them with information. But I think I controlled myself pretty well already! I also realise that it's very skewed to the East hahahaha.

Posted by seaskimmer 01:53 Archived in Germany Tagged food singapore germany hamburg Comments (0)

Goodbye Iberia

semi-overcast 13 °C
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We finally got to Porto at 3pm. Put our bags in our hotel, whereupon I happily munched on my tarts which I'd bought on the way for 1.15 :) hehehe

Decided to have a quicker run down of what I did in Porto:


Café majestic, much too expensive for us so picture outside

São Bento train station and the gorgeous blue and white tiling. Oldest train station in Portugal!

Sé Cathedral, walked up and up

Random hobo path up rocks, strewn with litter and leading to an abandoned house. Kinda gross but interesting and fun. Looks out at the

Don Luis Bridge, second most spectacular iron works structure in the world, after the eiffel tower (and built by the same Eiffel), spanning the Douro River

Football-playing kids in the plaza outside the closed photography museum

Francesinha (awesome sandwich with cheese, beef, pork, and sausage inside, and smothered in more cheese and a fried egg on top, served with fries), a famous Porto speciality eaten at the famous Cafe Santiago


Bought groceries (12 pastries to last me a few days, some oranges for some vitamin c)

Crossed the river to book a port tasting tour, randomly picked Offley at 2.15pm

Cafe Adao for lunch, cheapest place in the area which is obviously quite touristy cos full of wineries.

Offley port wine tour of half an hour, but good 3 glasses of port after. We had the fruity white, the nutty tawny and the full bodied ruby reserve. Favourite was the tawny. Mmm. Had a good chat with a polish guy, he recommended us a Krakow visit and polish beers haha. He was a cool guy, we talked about lots of random stuff! And I really like port. Seriously, so good.

More pastries for a total of 2 more eur, but I've got an idea if what I like now so it's better. Ate some then, kept some for later/breakfast

Photography museum, it was cool but we only spent a short while there. Watched some people climb up the Colegios tower in an old video to replace the flag with a Portuguese one. Tried to find more info but a cursory Internet search reveals nothing about the incident. Obviously I was very taken by that video, totally looks climbable Hahahaha. The museum used to be a jail! Lower floors had poor crammed conditions, upper floors for more genteel law breakers. Famous prisoners included writer camilo castelo branco and his future wife Ana.

Livraria Lello! Beautiful old carved bookshop. Made me really really wish for one in my home! Tried very hard to buy a book there but the only English fiction books were expensive.

Pasties and more pastries.

Dinner at recommended Cafe Carça! And it was certainly good, and cheap, and so much food for the 6.80 menu do dia that I was bursting. Yayyy. Finally got my Portuguese cheese, it was alright I guess haha. Oh Yaaaa and it hailed while we were there! Thought it was a very heavy rain, but when we left we saw snow/hail on cars outside. Mind blown, that was amazing. Too bad we didn't go out to see.

Back to the room, watching castle while D packs for his 6am flight to London for **Singapore day!** which I will not be going for. Oh well. T went out to send him to the metro, I initially wanted to go but it's too cold outside. Need to pack tonight, my flight leaves at lunchtime tmr so not much time in the morning.

Posted by seaskimmer 16:20 Archived in Portugal Tagged food books portugal porto Comments (0)

Pasteis de Nata

semi-overcast 14 °C
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Random music reminds me of different people. Sometimes I hear some dance or electronica music, or whatever it's called and then I think of you climbing people! Once I heard Love Story (the old one) and I thought of my mum and her old jewellery/music box. And put your hands up, by that white rapper, that was P's song haha. And then imagine dragons, A introduced that to me.

After getting off the bus at 5pm Lisbon time (an hour before Madrid, we got a shock, thought the bus was an hour late) we dumped our bags in our hotel. It's a small hotel, not the best but totally comfy apart from being a bit cold. But the old reception guy, from Mozambique I think, is such a dear, and gave us extra blankets and towels, and when asked, showed us places to eat and the cheapest grocery store in that area (Chinese). And it's a hotel cos somehow the hostels are more expensive here. This was pretty cheap at about 10plus eur a night per person.

Went out searching for Bacalhau, the famous cod of Portugal. Apparently it's cooked in an unlimited number of ways, from grilled to cooked with cream to with egg I think. But anyway I really wanted to eat it. After walking down the whole of a famous road (rua portas de santo antao) located in the restaurades district (no points for guesses), we finally decided on a place to have dinner. Every shop on the street will have someone really aggressive (in a nice way) to come talk to you and pull you in to their restaurant. But you just have to check prices and be firm about it. We took it cos it had the cheapest bacalhau haha. Still not cheap (prices are pretty standard), we had the grilled bacalhau plus a Portuguese beef for the three of us, no drinks. It was nice, but not awesome, maybe we didn't choose the best place. Went back and had kit kat and Leftover pie for supper haha. Also went to a grocery store to get breakfast (bread and ham). The Bangladesh guy stayed

Woke up in the morning with the guys complaining that I talked in my sleep (I do that a lot haha), something about ordering a ticket. And I know cos I woke up when I said that. Some people will know of more violent events that happened overnight haha oops.

Famished in the morning, had tons of

Walked to alfama district, got some postcards and stamps. Waited for the sandeman tours, almost thought I'd got some info wrong cos they weren't there til 11 on the dot. Met 3 other sg kids on exchange or studying in Europe! So cool.

This tour guide was a youngish Portuguese student who spoke really good English and kept hitting on some Australian girls lol. Despite that he did try very hard to make it a fun tour, with lots of pictorial aid and he even wrote a skit about the very very cool double Agent Garbo. Garbo was a Spanish spy who tricked the Germans into thinking that cologne was a diversion and that they should concentrate their troops further north. Hence without him, the allies would likely have lost the d-day battle and the tide of history would have changed forever. He also talked about this author (name forgotten, will find later) who was pretty much unknown for most of his life and only published one of his many works. When he died they went through his stuff and discovered he was a brilliant possible schizophrenic genius who wrote many works as different authors with completely different styles and personal viewpoints. Very cool.

Tour done, with even a sg photo taken (check it out on fb), we headed on our half hour walk to the national museum of ancient art, which was actually a collection of paintings by Dutch and flemish artists. I'm still not very sure why they're displaying artists from there but okay haha. It was fairly interesting, I think I learnt a bit about how artists think, like sometimes they do works just to sort of improve their skills? Like there was a period where they painted lots of winter scenes so they could investigate the complex interplay of blue and pink in the sky.

Walled to the castle of St Jorge, so named after the patron saint of England because of something the English did for Lisbon. I don't remember. But the castle itself was built as a military fortress by the moors sometime in the 11th century. The moors! Cool. Later on when they got overthrown the Portuguese changed it into a bit more of a palace than a military place, and even later it became a bit of both. This I felt was somewhat similar to Gravensteen in Belgium, since it was primarily a military fortress, but it was built with the characteristic simple elegance of the ancient Islamic empire. Unfortunately not as much info on the place so couldn't enjoy it as much. But still cool. The winds up top on the walls and the courtyard outside were crazy!! Super strong, I had to angle my body a little against the force of the wind. But somehow it wasn't cold, just be very shiok. Really nice view of the city.

Walked to a place we'd seen along the way that had a full set for 8eur person, the cheapest we'd seen so far. Considered buying 2 sets then were like whatever let's do 3 sets. We couldn't understand the main menu at all though, so we didn't know what kind of main we'd get (out of 4) And the old couple came over and set down this huge plate of beef stew with potatoes and carrots. We began to o cheer immediately and I was about to cry because IT LOOKED SO GOOD and I was hungry and that was a HUGE HUGE pile of meat. We tucked in, had the bread, had the beer, the soup, even the espresso at the end. Multiple times along the way we actually checked if we'd gotten the right things because we couldn't believe all was included in the set and we were afraid that they'd charge us more for things we hadn't ordered. But no, all inclusive. That was our budget blown for the day but it was rationalised away as a 'welcome to Lisbon' meal haha. So happy so full so good so yummy.

Walked to the Chinese grocery shop again then back to our room. The guys went out for some beer, I stayed behind in the room cos I couldn't be bothered. Had a nice long hot shower then an orange. Attempted to use the bad bad wifi then went to sleep. Had some trouble because espresso!! Haha.

Let me end off this long long post by saying WHEEEE PORTUGESE EGG TARTS aka Pasteis de Nata! I had three from segovia, ate 2 yesterday. I'll eat two today and one each day til Saturday. Limiting myself because I need to try the other portugese speciality desserts and pastries as well. One thing is that the custard us much softer this in sg which is not a bad thing. Just different. Haha.

Posted by seaskimmer 03:06 Archived in Portugal Tagged food lisbon portugal singaporean eggtarts Comments (0)

Stark raving mad

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So I couldn't wait a day to get this up, here it comes!

Our sandeman tour guide suggested and pointed out an area near the beach but not actually at the beach (touristy) where we could get some good paellas. So at 8pm we set off, and trawled the area for paellas. We thought we could get some for 15 shared, but turns out our info was wrong cos it was all 15 per pax. In the end we went back to this small cosy place we saw on the way even though it had no paella.

And what a good choice it was. When we returned we saw that there was a queue outside, and Singaporeans being Singaporeans that cemented its star status in our minds. I chatted in broken Spanish and English with some of the cute old men in the queue and they said it was a famous place actually with good and cheap seafood! So we were like Yay! And we joined the queue.

The food indeed was affordable, fish ranges between 5 and 8.50, meats 3 and 8. Fried vegetables 1.50 or 1.75.

We ordered
5 eur fried sardines (5 fishes)
8.50 eur small fried hake (4 fishes)
3 eur veal
1 eur bread with thin tomato sauce layer
1.50 eur fried tomato (6 medium halves)
1.80 eur estrella (30 cl x 2) for them
1.20 eur estrella (20 cl) for me

Super awesome okay. I wanted to die in happiness then, it was so good and tasty, and in the back of my head, inexpensive haha.

Everything was quite lightly salted etc, with minimum dressing. But it was so fresh and well cooked that it was just amazing! And the atmosphere of the place was relaxed, like and older but nice coffee shop. The food was very simple and no nonsense, with no sides apart from a lemon slice for the fish. Presented on plain white plates, obviously a bit old.

Very little conversation especially at the start, everyone was concentrating on and enjoying the food. It was delicioso! Mmmmm still thinking about that lovely friedness. I ate almost everything on that fish, ate all the small bones, ate as much of the crunchy head as I dared to.

It was so affordable. I wasn't supremely full after that to be honest, but I think paying another 1.75 for frites (still thinking in French) would have gotten me very nice and full. As it is, that's 8 eur spent very well.

So anyone who's ever in Barcelona, GO. Nearest metro is Barcelonata. It's on 12 Carrer del Baluard, probably called Can Mano.

Okayyy I'm gonna sleep now, my rave review is over.

Oh but PS there was a musical group that came in around 9 plus. A guy on trumpet, one with accordion, last with a drum. They were playing what a wonderful world, that was nice. But layer they started offering a hat around and I'm like oh. Touting. Oh well.

Posted by seaskimmer 17:03 Archived in Spain Tagged food barcelona spain seafood Comments (0)

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