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Following the previous post on 5 snacks and cheap eats at Macau, it is only fitting that I cover some of the places that offers proper meals which we tried over the course of our trip to this former Portuguese colony. There are no shortage of restaurants in Macau, with a decent selection of different cuisines, but mostly variation of Chinese food, which suits us just fine.

obligatory Macau photo at St. Paul's church
obligatory Macau photo at St. Paul’s church

Before we talk about food, first, here’s a picture of us at St. Paul’s church, an obligation for anyone traveling to Macau I believe. The facade of the church is located just a stone’s throw away from Senado Square, which is the best place to shop for souvenirs and everything touristy in town.

Wong Chi Kei at Senado Square
Wong Chi Kei at Senado Square

And if you found yourself at Senado Square, like most people would, one of the places to dine would be Wong Chi Kei. The place is almost always pretty packed, but service is relatively quick, and like many places in Macau, sharing table with strangers is a norm.

pork ribs rice, shrimp wantan mee, mixed fried noodle
pork ribs rice, shrimp wantan mee, mixed fried noodle

The shop offers a wide variety of single serving noodle and rice dishes, with prices starting from around 32 MOP onwards.

We tried pork ribs rice, shrimp wantan noodle, fried noodle with pork innards and squid, as well as shrimp roe noodle. I like the thin noodles and it’s texture, shrimp wantan was delicious, as with the innards. The shrimp roe has a pretty special taste to it that isn’t very different from ebiko but much, much dryer, the bowl of soup served on the side isn’t really enough to counter the fact.

Overall it’s a pretty decent place to dine that won’t break your wallet.

the shrimp roe noodle & our traveling partner in crime, Tian Chad & Bobo with their SO
the shrimp roe noodle & our traveling partner in crime, Tian Chad & Bobo with their SOs

Address: Wong Chi Kei, 17 Largo do Senado, Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, Macau
GPS22.194078, 113.540164

"Xiang Zhi Wei" near our hotel, fantastic Hunan cuisine
“Xiang Zhi Wei” near our hotel, fantastic Hunan cuisine

For the second night, we ventured around the surrounding of our hotel and ended up at this tiny little shop by the name of “Xiang Zhi Wei“, a Hunan restaurant at Edificio Royal Center.

The selection of dishes are quite extensive here as well, with about three quarter of them being spicy, typical of Hunan cuisine. For the two of us, we ordered the brinjal with long bean and steamed tofu with egg and minced meat.

simple, spicy, and absolutely delicious
simple, spicy, and absolutely delicious

Both dishes were excellent, with the only minor downside being that the egg yolks in the tofu dish were slightly more cooked than we would have liked. The hint of spiciness in the brinjal and long bean dish was superb, and something that I would try to order in other Hunan restaurants now.

Total bill came to slightly less than 200 MOP for the dinner, which wasn’t cheap, but considering the taste it was well worth it.

Address: Xiang Zhi Wei, Edificio Royal Center, Rua de Pequim, Macau
GPS22.191680, 113.547411

Chan Kong Kei, famous roast goose/duck/pork/chicken etc
Chan Kong Kei, famous roast goose/duck/pork/chicken etc

On the last day, we went over to another pretty famous restaurant, Chan Kong Kei, for lunch. The place is perpetually packed and again, sharing table is a norm. We also discovered that the locals usually dine about 3x as fast as typical Malaysian (probably not having to snap pictures speed up dining time quite a bit, haha).

The restaurant offers roast goose, roast duck, roast pork, bbq pork, soya chicken, and more.

roast goose with roast pork, and a side of duck blood with vegetable
roast goose with roast pork, and a side of duck blood with vegetable

We tried the roast goose with roast pork and a side of duck blood with vegetable soup on the side. The roast pork and goose drumstick were top notch (80 MOP), the meat very flavorful and even the fat has a soft and smooth texture.

The duck blood (33 MOP) though, was entirely something else, why wouldn’t we have this here in Malaysia? Pork blood is nice, but duck blood is even smoother and in every sense, more delicious (the only places that serves duck blood in Malaysia are probably a few kuih teow soup places, such as the one at Anson Road in Penang)

Address: Chan Kong Kei, 19 Rua Do Dr. Pedro Jose Lobo, Macau
GPS22.192082, 113.541577

We traveled to Macau in late July 2014 for a three day two night of sightseeing and food spotting trip, and I’m happy to report that when it comes to food, this former Portuguese colony surely did not disappoint.

Should you find yourself at Macau, here are some of the places you may want to check out. This is the entry where I cover snacks and cheap eats, there will be another talking about the few restaurants that we tried during the trip.

we arrived at Macau on the evening, beautiful cityscape
we arrived at Macau on the evening, beautiful cityscape

As for weather, Macau isn’t different from Malaysia at this time of the year (July), temperature and humidity are pretty much the same, so light clothing and perhaps an umbrella if you’re afraid of the heat is advised.

The city is one that never sleeps, and I got the impression that it was very safe to walk around at any time of day. Public transportation by bus is very good, so keep plenty of coins and small change available as change is not provided on the buses.

HK dollars as well as Macanese Pataca or MOP are accepted pretty much everywhere, including the buses. At the time of travel, 1 MOP = 0.40 MYR.

Pro tip: there are many free hotel shuttle buses going to and from the airport, you can utilize them even if you don’t stay at the same hotel.

road side stall with chee cheong fun and dimsum in the city
road side stall with chee cheong fun and dimsum in the city

The first thing we tried at Macau was this little road side stall situated  opposite Centro Commercial Central.

We tried the chee cheong fun with siu mai which was priced at $30 MOP. The sauce was lighter than the one usually served in Malaysia, and the chili sauce has a stronger taste of vinegar to it. We found it pretty delicious and fitting as a pre-dinner snack or post-dinner supper.

Address: outside 48 Avenida do Infante D. Henrique
GPS22.191888, 113.541432

the famous Portuguese egg tart at Margaret's Cafe e Nata
the famous Portuguese egg tart at Margaret’s Cafe e Nata

When in Macau, one of the snacks that you must not miss is the famous Portuguese egg tart at Margaret’s Cafe e Nata.

The egg tarts are $8 MOP each and was really as good as everyone claimed. The pastry soft yet crunchy, and the filling smooth and super flavorful with the aroma of milk and egg at their best. We only had 2 each but we really should have brought more. It was very delicious!

There’s always a queue at the shop, but you wouldn’t have to wait for more than a few minutes before being served.

Address: Margaret’s Cafe e Nata, Rua do Comandante Mata e Oliveira, Macau
GPS22.191993, 113.542178

fried fish paste, pork bun, and beef tendon noodle at Sang Lei, next to Margaret's
fried fish paste, pork bun, and beef tendon noodle at Sang Lei, next to Margaret’s

Right next door to the egg tart place is Sang Lei, a shop that perhaps thrive thanks to Margaret’s being constantly filled to the brim. We tried fried fish paste ($19 MOP), pork bun ($22 MOP), and beef tendon noodle soup ($22 MOP) there.

The food actually turned out pretty decent. The fish paste is pretty similar to those we get in Malaysia but tasted fresher, the beef tendon noodle was simple but if you’re a fan of tendon, you’d be delighted. The pork bun though, did not impress.

Address: Sang Lei, Rua do Comandante Mata e Oliveira, Macau
GPS22.191954, 113.542136

cheap roast goose "fan hap" at Sek Kei, Rua Dois do Bairro lao Hon
cheap roast goose “fan hap” at Sek Kei, Rua Dois do Bairro lao Hon

While trying to go to Taipa island by bus on the second day, we accidentally took the bus heading to the wrong direction and ended up at this little strip of shops at Rua Dois do Bairro lao Hon, which is located near the border between Macau and China up north.

Since I was hungry, we stopped by Sek Kei for a roast goose rice that was served in a styrofoam box commonly for those who wants it to go. Lucky for us Sek Kei actually has ONE table in their shop that I could eat. It turned out to be rather good and only cost us $27 MOP for the meal!

If you want a bargain, you can’t top this.

Address: Sek Kei, Rua Dois do Bairro lao Hon, Macau
GPS22.212118, 113.550351

Yee Shun steamed milk, a must try!
Yee Shun steamed milk, a must try!

As for dessert in Macau, Yee Shun steamed milk is the one place that shouldn’t be missed.

The steamed milk custard ($28 MOP) has the consistency of our familiar “tau fu fa” but with that creamy aroma of fresh milk that made it so irresistible. We also tried their warm milk ($22 MOP) and papaya milk ($30 MOP) which did not disappoint either. The same place also serves sandwiches, eggs, and even pork bun.

Even as a person who’s slightly lactose intolerant, I now want to know how to make this at home!

Address: Yee Shun milk company, 60 Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, Macau
GPS22.192741, 113.540461

Disclaimer:
I am blogging on behalf of Visa’s Travel Happy campaign and receive compensation for my time, but the thoughts, words, and promotions on this page are mine, not Visa’s.

After our positive experience visiting Bali in 2011, I’ve always wanted to go back again. Hence when given the opportunity to head back to the island for a 3D2N tour, I was more than happy to plan a trip that maximises what we can do.

So instead of a normal vacation, we made it a road trip!

P/S: contest to win an Agoda travel voucher worth RM 1,000 at end of this post!

bali itinerary 2014

Our itinerary to Bali started on a flight on Friday morning and ended on Sunday night, a total of 3 days with 2 nights spent on the island.

Instead of taking a cab to the airport, we decided to drive. Parking fair at the KLIA long term parking came up to RM 130 or so, which is still a little bit cheaper than taking a cab.

we met Firdy at Denpasar Airport, totally by accident
we met Firdy at Denpasar Airport where I withdrew IDR with Visa

Soon as we touched down, I stopped by the ATM to withdraw some Indonesian Rupiah using my Visa debit card for places that doesn’t offer credit/debit card payments.

Denpasar airport does not have any car rental booths, so do plan ahead if you want to rent a car, otherwise it’s another hour’s wait for the car to arrive.

We rented a Toyota Avanza for our trip. I opted for self drive (armed with GPS brought from Malaysia), but you can get one with local driver too.

Check out some of the offers exclusive to Visa for car rental here. There is also a Mobile App you can download for iOS & Android devices that allows you to check the latest Visa offerings.

Additionally, there is the Global Customer Assistance Service available where you can get emergency card replacement in as little as within 24 hours.

when in Bali, one must have babi guling
when in Bali, one must have babi guling

Coincidentally, we met Firdy at the airport. While we traveled cashless, this guy went one step further and didn’t even bring any luggage! He ended up joining us for half our trip.

First order of business was lunch, and when in Bali, one must have Babi Guling!

To be honest, my previous experience of babi guling at the famous Ibu Oka was not exactly very positive, but this version at Sanur (around 30,000 IDR per person) completely changed my mind about this unique Balinese dish. It was very, very good, I’d definitely go there again on next Bali trip.

Address:
Babi Guling Sanur
Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai, Sanur (Opposite McDonald’s)
Bali

GPS: -8.682743, 115.259062

you can refuel at the gas station, of from these road side "premium" bottles
you can refuel at the gas station, of from these road side “premium” bottles

From Sanur, we got on the road and cut through the middle of the island on the way to Lovina. Roads in Bali are usually pretty tight, which makes for some challenging driving.

To refuel, there are gas stations, but there’re also road side stalls that offer gasoline (referred to as “premium” in Bali) by the bottles. No prize guessing which option accepts Visa.

Danau Beratan is at around 1200+ meters up, as high as Genting Highland
Danau Bratan is at around 1200+ meters up, as high as Genting Highland

By the evening, we reached Danau Bratan, one of the three lakes in Bratan caldera, which was a Volcano that was erupted hundreds or even thousands of years ago.

The lake is situated at around 1200+ meters high, making it as high as Genting Highland. It was windy and very chilly, but of course, the scenery was definitely worth a a shiver. I would love to stay a night here next time.

our dinner at Warung Ayu, Lovina, it was lovely
our dinner at Warung Ayu, Lovina, it was lovely

For dinner, we stopped by Warung Ayu by one of the beaches that is popular as a take off point for dolphin watching (which we planned to do).

This restaurant was a complete random choice, but one that turned out to be a rather awesome! We ordered traditional Balinese food and they turned out to be very, very good. I can have that grilled chicken over and over again, it was a new taste that I’ve never had before.

The server explained that it was grilled with soya sauce and Balinese sauce. I gotta try to make that some day.

Address:
Warung Ayu
Kalibukbuk Lovina, Jalan Mawar, Bali
GPS-8.159648, 115.026056
Tel: +62 82147555034

our first night was spent at The Lovina Bali, with a private garden
our first night was spent at The Lovina Bali, with a private garden

We spent the first night at The Lovina Bali hotel (about RM 380 including tax), it was a pretty lovely hotel with a King sized bed, a day bed, LCD TV with DVD player, and a small private garden too.

Access to the hotel is through a beautiful paddy field, and the rear of the hotel is the Lovina beach, with a pretty decent size swimming pool too.

dolphin watching started at 6am in the morning!
dolphin watching started at 6am in the morning!

The next morning we woke up rather early for the dolphin watch, one of the things I have always wanted to do. My first dolphin sighting was on a trip to Tenggol Island, and second being when we were at Maldives.

While there are places you can swim with dolphins in Bali, I wanted to see them in the wild instead of in a confined area.

For 60,000 IDR (RM 17) per person, the boat man took us on a boat way out to the middle of the ocean. It was a lot of waiting but the dolphins did come, they were somewhat cautiously curious and did not come too close to the boats. Still, it was a very exciting experience!

Bali Asli, a lovely restaurant at the East side of Bali
Bali Asli, a lovely restaurant at the East side of Bali

We hop on our car and continued the road trip after the dolphin sighting. A little over two hours and some 100 KM later, we arrived at Bali Asli in Gelumpang village.

The restaurant offers traditional Balinese cuisine with an excellent view to boot. Bali Asli also accepts Visa if you book online. We had a great meal and loved the experience. At 195,000 IDR (RM 55) per person, it was very reasonably priced too.

Address:
Bali Asli

Jalan Raya Gelumpang
Gelumpang village
Amlapura
Karangasem
GPS-8.426548, 115.607427
Tel+62 8289 7030098

Tirtaganga water palace, just a short drive from Bali Asli
Tirtaganga water palace, just a short drive from Bali Asli

If you are at Bali Asli, Tirtaganga water place is just a little over 3 kilometers away. The water palace is a maze of pools and fountains surrounded by lush garden and many stone carvings.

The water palace was built from 1948 onwards by the late heir to the Kingdom of Karangsem, definitely a place worth visiting. Entrance fee is 20,000 IDR.

Ubud, one of my favorite places in Bali
Ubud, one of my favorite places in Bali

We then continued our road trip, destination Ubud, one of my favorite places in Bali. The 60+ KM journey took us another two hours on the road.

We spent some time walking around the streets littered with many shops offering local arts, paintings, and more. Haze bought a wooden mask from a local artist too.

Dinner was at Melting Wok Warung. A restaurant that’s quite highly rated on TripAdvisor but one that we did not find agreeable to our taste. The food was perhaps catered more towards Western tourists with quasi Balinese + Western dishes. It wasn’t bad, but I couldn’t finish my minced chicken as I thought the chicken breast was too dry.

If you’re a mat salleh, you might love this place though, since the place was fully booked with plenty of Westerners dining in.

Address:
Melting Wok Warung
13 Jl. Gootama, Ubud, Bali
GPS-8.509321, 115.264251
Tel: +62 82 153666087

our private pool villa at Kajane, so I can skinny dip :D
our private pool villa at Kajane, so I can skinny dip :D

We decided to splurge a bit and checked into a villa with private pool at Kajane, one of the nicer hotels at the main stretch of Jalan Monkey Forest in Ubud.

The villa was huge, and comes with open air bath tub, a king size bed with entertainment system, an outdoor breakfast area with a day bed, and of course, the 8×2 meter private pool which allows one to skinny dip (don’t judge.)

Pro tip – sometimes online prices can be cheaper than walk in, so I actually paid for this villa (RM 740) via my phone with Visa while sitting at the lobby of the hotel.

Breakfast was served at our villa the next morning. My English breakfast was awesome, but it seems like Balinese are terrible at Japanese cuisine as Haze’s Japanese breakfast was rather terrible. Worst miso soup ever, it was sweet.

Bebek Kruwil for lunch, and shopping at factory outlet before heading back
Bebek Kruwil for lunch, and shopping at factory outlet before heading back

We checked out from Kajane and headed to Sanur for a bit of shopping and lunch.

We stopped by Soto Ayam Suroboyo and had some pretty awesome Bebek Kruwil (20,000 IDR), a local style duck dish that went very well with rice and some Balinese sambal. I really loved it, and it tastes even better than the Bebek Bengil we tried during the previous trip, not to mention about 4 times cheaper too.

Address:
Soto Ayam Suroboyo
Jl. By Pass Ngurah Rai No. 210,
Sanur, Bali
GPS: -8.71742, 115.215224
Tel: +62 361 7806065

Finally, we bought some cloths from one of the few outlet stores along Sanur before leaving the island with heavy heart.

So, you want to travel too?

You can and should participate in Visa’s contest by submitting your most creative travel photo with the hashtags #TravelHappy #VisaMY to your Twitter or Instagram account and stance a chance to win Agoda.com travel e-voucher worth RM 1,000 every week for four weeks. Click here for more!

P/S: at the point of travel, 10,000 IDR = 2.81 MYR.

 

Disclaimer:
I am blogging on behalf of Visa’s Travel Happy campaign and receive compensation for my time, but the thoughts, words, and promotions on this page are mine, not Visa’s.

For my birthday back in 2011, Haze took me to Bali. It was a rather awesome trip and we did quite a lot in the few days we spent on the Indonesian island.

Fast forward 2014, and we decided to head there again to do and see some of the things we missed the last time around, only this time we decided to go cashless – with the help of Visa.

beautiful resorts, quirky people, great food
beautiful resorts, quirky people, great food

First of all, why Bali?

The decision is simple, the largely Hindu island has plenty to offer and remains a pretty affordable travel destination despite its popularity. On top of that, they are lots of resorts and hotels to choose from, covering the whole spectrum of budget. A simple online search reveals over 3,000 hotels and resorts on the island smaller than the state of Negeri Sembilan.

getting wet at waterbom, and marvelling the mantas at Nusa Penida
getting wet at Waterbom, and marvelling the mantas at Nusa Penida

The last time around, we did the following:

  • had a massage at one of the resorts
  • went to Waterbom, a waterpark
  • went diving and managed to see mola-mola and manta rays
  • rented a bike and rode up to the volcano
  • visited monkey forest
  • visited many art galleries
  • drank cafe luak
  • visited kuta beach
  • tried bebek begil and babi guling

For this trip, I’m keeping my options pretty free. We will certainly rent a motorcycle to get around (traffic isn’t the best), perhaps take a day trip to see/swim with dolphins, or dive the Liberty wreck. Finally going to see what Tanah Lot is all about could be in the list as well.

monkey forest, paddy field, motorbiking, chicken on bicycle, art
monkey forest, paddy field, motorbiking, chicken on bicycle, art

Secondly, why cashless?

Well, I’m always a bit wary of carrying a bunch of foreign currencies when it comes to traveling. Furthermore, it is always a bit messy when it comes to tracking your expenses when everything is based on a currency you aren’t familiar with (I track all expenses on my phone). Using the Visa card for these purposes only seemed logical.

For the time when cash is needed (such as eating street foods), withdrawal can be done at the local ATMs too.

I also found out that there’s Visa travel assistance services that provides pretty neat services such as emergency cash provision, emergency card replacement (1 business day)

Additionally, there are also offers exclusive to Visa that you can take advantage off when traveling. These include discounts and upgrades for participating hotels and car rental services, discounts on shopping, restaurants, and more. Definitely something to check out, the offers are unique to each destination.

I got my tickets booked, and can’t wait for our Bali trip 2.0!

To find out more, Click Here.

p/s: This post is brought to you by Visa.

Earlier this month, I decided to bring Haze to somewhere quiet and relaxing for a short birthday holiday after a super busy end of 2013.

After a bit of research, I chose picked The Dusun for a night stay, recalling the blogpost kinkybluefairy wrote about the place a couple years ago.

vacation in the rainforest, The Dusun
vacation in the rainforest, The Dusun

Dusun translates to plantation in Malay, and this is precisely what this place was, and still is, a small family run resort situated within a durian and other tropical fruits plantation about an hour away from KL city.

Started in 1984 as a private family retreat, the couple turned it into a nature resort in 2009. It started out with two houses, and since expanded to five unique houses  that fits 2-5 adults each.

our room at the Berembun House, with a bathroom and kitchen
our room at the Berembun House, with a bathroom and kitchen

Each houses come with bathroom, a private kitchen, BBQ set, and are situated apart from each other. We chose Berembun House for the night as it is closest to one of the two infinity pools at the resort, with an expansive view over the Berembun forrest reserve.

lovely infinity swimming pool
lovely infinity swimming pool

While the chalet style room is only big enough to house a queen size bed and a small furniture somewhat resembling a closet, there’s a huge deck and a big outdoor carved bench to laze about.

There isn’t air condition units nor you really need one at this resort. The Dusun is located about 250 meters above sea level, making it a few Celsius below average and rather windy and comfortable at night.

took a well deserved afternoon swim
took a well deserved afternoon swim

The swimming pool too was gorgeous, it isn’t much for swimming laps, but that’s not what we went there for anyway.

After a dipping session while admiring the nature, we also spent some time playing boardgames that’s available with the room. It was a bliss staying away from all that city noise.

dinner was a self-cooked BBQ affair
dinner was a self-cooked BBQ affair

Being a small resort, The Dusun doesn’t have an in-house restaurant, what they provide tho is a private kitchen at every house and a BBQ pit with charcoal. So for dinner, I marinated some chicken chops and bought along a fish and a couple sweet potato for grilling. We also ended up buying some brinjal and sambal at the local grocery store 5 minutes away.

We had a great dinner under the stars that night, it was awesome.

breakfast and a walk around the fruit plantation
breakfast and a walk around the fruit plantation

Fortunately, breakfast is included, and we were served coffee, fresh juice, toast, and scrambled eggs the next morning right at the table on our balcony.

We then spent some time walking about the surrounding area before heading back to the reality of city life.

Other activities provided at the resort includes jungle trekking to a nearby waterfall, bird watching, massage, and even fishing trip. For a longer stay, those distractions will be quite welcomed.

I can get used to holidays like this.

map to The Dusun, Negeri Sembilan

Address:
The Dusun
Pantai New Village
Negeri Sembilan
GPS: 2.8018, 102.0151
Web: thedusun.com.my
Email: hello@thedusun.com.my