The Amazing Glass Dome in Berlin @ Reichstag Dome

Saturday, November 30, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-


This post is dedicated to my fellow colleague, Mark who recommended me to include a visit to the Reichstag Dome, the glass dome on top of the Reichstag building (which is also the German Parliament building) during my last visit to Berlin.
The Glass Dome in Berlin
It might be a slight hassle as the visit to the dome as it required a prior reservation via the online booking at www.bundestag.de . However, it is definitely worth the effort as the 360-degree view of the surrounding Berlin cityscape from the top is simply splendid plus the stage-of-the-art large glass dome is perhaps the best design by Sir Norman Foster to symbolize the reunification of Germany.
The Glass Dome in Berlin
The design is very much stemmed from the concept of environmental friendliness. Energy efficient and zero carbon emission are part of the features incorporated into the design. 

The mirrored cone at the heart of the building work in unison with the glass pane of the building to direct daylight into the building and effectively decrease the carbon emissions of the building as the building is brighten up by the natural ray of sunlight.
Reichstag Dome, The Glass Dome in Berlin
Another great feature of the building is the unique steel spiraling ramps which provides visitor a relaxing way to enjoy the view and atmosphere in the building without worrying the opposite direction flow. Plus, with the absent of staircase, visitor can 'cruise' effortless to the top of the dome.
Reichstag Dome, The Glass Dome in Berlin
Do pay a visit to the Reichstag Dome if you happen to be in town of Berlin. You will not be disappointed.

Awesome and Easy Stir-fry Chinese Radish Cake

Thursday, November 28, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Stir-fry Carrot Cake
This is my version of stir-fry Chinese radish cakes, a dish I am super proud of.

I always wanted to make the dish at home but struggled since aeons to assemble the bill of materials. The ready-to-eat pan-fried radish cake from QQ Bakery sounds good but not perfect as they are way too oily for stir-frying. Until recently, I discover the frozen Chinese radish cakes from Amazing Oriental Chinese grocer which is just perfect for my stir-fry Chinese radish cakes.
 
It is actually pretty simple to prepare this dish. As long as you have the right ingredients, you can made your own stir-fry Chinese radish cakes at home with minimal fuss and cost.

The ingredients: 2 slices of frozen Chinese radish cakes, 1 beaten egg, some beansprouts, some spring onion (cut into stripes), finely chopped garlic, chili sauce, thick soy sauce and light soy sauce.

First, steam the frozen Chinese radish cake in microwave for 3 minutes. Then cut the cake into cubes, roughly 2cm in length and width. Put aside for later use. Next heat up a table spoon of oil in the pan and brown the finely chopped garlic. Once the garlic turns slightly brown, add-in the steamed radish cake cubes follow by the chili sauce, think soy sauce and light soy sauce. Stir-fry for 2 minutes then add-in the beaten egg and carefully coat the radish cake with the egg. Lastly, put in the beansprout and spring onion and stir-fry for another minute until all the ingredients are mixed well. Plate out and garnish the dish with fried shallots.

For a simple dish that costs at least €5/plate at the dim sum restaurant, I can actually made it at home with minimal cost and way healthier too.

Additional tips:
a. For additional flavour, you may add-in the preserved Chinese radish (chai-pu) into the dish. Just stir-fry the finely chopped chai-pu with the garlic before putting in the Chinese radish cake cubes.
b. Best to put in the beansprout and spring onion last to preserve their crunch
c. For those who dislike greens, you may skip the beansprout and spring onion all together as the stir-fry radish cake on it own (or with egg) is also pretty awesome.

Stunning Autumn Scenery in The Hague

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Winter is just around the corner. Mercury that barely touched double digits, frosty mornings, hails and damp air are all the telltale signs that winter has arrived.

I know the stunningly vivid autumn will wave us goodbye soon. Thus, I grabbed my trusty DSLR fitted with prime lens and headed to the parks in The Hague for some amazing autumn shots.

Featured in this post are some of the magnificent shots which I captured in several parks including the Clingendael Park, Jozef Israëlsplein Park, Voorburg Park and Rijswijk Park.
 

1) Jozef Israëlsplein Park
I just adored this pictorial shot. It was taken at the quiet park near to the Jozef Israëlsplein Park. When the sun shines through the sea of vividly yellowish and reddish leaves, it transformed the entire park lane into fairytale like golden lane.
Clingendael Park

The Clingendael Japanese Tuin is closed for public when I visited the park. This is the only shot I managed to capture through the closed gate.
Voorburg
Another favourite shot of mine, taken from the park in the old town of Voorburg. The park was busier than usual due to the Saturday market and the visit of Sinterklaus (Dutch version of Santa Claus). Glad that I found this quiet moment for my perfect shot.
Rijswijk


Perfect Home Away from Home @ Adagio Studio Suite Basel City

Saturday, November 16, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-


EUR50 for a return flight to Basel from Amsterdam is just too good to be missed. However the hotel rate in Swiss is a complete polar opposite. Even a room in a 3 stars hotel is commanding a rate of above 100 Euros.

To still enjoy our trip with limited budget, we opted for the studio apartment which is equipped with basic amenities such as kitchen appliances and laundry ware which allow us to do our own cooking and laundry. This can definitely help to save some bucks.

We found this 3 stars studio suite, Adagio Studio Suite at Basel City which fits the bill perfectly. Well equip studio suite with strategic location for EUR 130 per night.

  • Kitchen: well-equipped kitchen with build-in electronic stove, microwave, dishwasher, fridge, electrical cattle, coffee maker, cooking wares and utensils. Even the washing liquid and sponge are provided too.
  • Bathroom: the space of the bathroom is rather small but space is well maximized with build in dryer to dry your cloths.

To maximize the limited space available most of the cabinets and wardrobe are built-in; side table could be extended to form a wider table for dining and the bed provided is a sofa bed. By flipping the mattress against the wall, you get the sofa frame. With the separate cushion pillows on it, it is comfy sofa. Just brilliant!!
Adagio Studio Suite @ Basel City


We really made full use of the kitchen in the suite throughout our two nights stay, 2 breakies and 1 dinner.

The western breakies: toasts, sunny side up, mushroom chicken ham and some salad. We got all the ingredients from the Migros grocer at the central train station.
Adagio Studio Suite @ Basel City


The dinner: Korean spicy Ramen with eggs, greens and local Swiss sausage. Yup, we pop-by Migros again on our way back to the hotel to get the ready the yummy local Swiss sausage and fresh greens. We were lucky as there is an Asian grocer just a stone throw away from the hotel and there was where we got the Korean spicy Ramen :).
Adagio Studio Suite @ Basel City
We did have a very enjoyable stay in the hotel and definitely will opt for Adagio Studio Suite chain again when we travel to other European cities. Love it.

Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant @ Luxembourg City

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

You can spot numerous Indian restaurants named after the famous white marble Taj Mahal palace in almost every country. I doubt these restaurants are franchised under the same restaurant chain. The only reasonable explanation is to leverage on the famous name and one of the 7 wonders of the world. Taj Mahal after all is synonymous with India, let it be the uniqueness of the country or the authenticity of Indian cuisine.

After days surviving on bread and pasta, I developed the great craving for rice. When I first spotted the restaurant while strolling near the main train station of Luxembourg, I knew I gonna have Indian cuisine for dinner. 6pm sharp, Pheobie and myself head straight to the restaurant.

We basically knew exactly what to order as we have scanned through the menu when we passed by the restaurants earlier. Similar to Chinese restaurants, the serving of the main dishes are usually huge and meant for sharing. 

We picked vegetable samosa as the starter, papadom as side dish and chicken Dopiaza (ala carte menu that serve with white rice) as the main course. I added-on the house special chapatti as they simply looked tempting in the photo.

The service was prompt. Right after our order was taken, we were served with the drinks. Caught us by surprise, the tonic served was the Indian Tonic, truly an Indian experience!

The vegetable samosa tasted fine but not a dish to shout about. The filling was good but not for the pastry skin, a tad too thick for my liking.
Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant, Luxembourg

The chicken Dopiaza was extraordinarily good. Chicken pieces were well-marinated and cooked to perfection. The consistency of the gravy was just right and went perfectly either with the long grained basmati rice or chapatti. Packed with great flavours, it is definitely the star dish that you will not go wrong with.
Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant, Luxembourg

I love the puffy chapatti. Unlike the flat and dry chapatti back home, the chapatti served here was the puffy version. It formed a thin pouch when you halved the chapatti. The chapatti puffed up nicely where the air in it helps to keep the chapatti moist. Great technique by the chef. Thumbs up!!
Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant, Luxembourg
I would never imagine that the best papadom I ever had is in a small and unassuming Indian restaurant in the faraway land of Luxembourg. Unlike the normal plain papadom, this one was packed with cumin seeds. Not sure what is the in-house secret which made the papadom so crunchy and crispy.
Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant, Luxembourg
Quality food, affordable price and impeccable service, the Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant in Luxembourg is definitely a highly recommended restaurant. Do give a try if you happens to be in Luxembourg.


Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant
2, Rue de Strasbourg
Luxembourg City L-2560,  
Luxembourg

Nyonya Malaysia Express @ Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Saturday, November 09, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Nasi lemak or coconut milk rice

Words just could not described how excited I was when seeing this signboard "Nyonya Malaysia Express" in the Amsterdam city.

Not being exaggerated here but I really failed to find any Malaysian Restaurants in The Hague area which served the authentic Malaysian signature dishes like nasi lemak, roti canai, char keoy teow, rojak, curry laksa and teh tarik. Although with a name that matches the historical state in Malaysia, the Malacca Restaurant in the Hague does not serve any dish close to the signature dishes mentioned above. Quite a disappointment when the images of my favourite nasi lemak and laksa depicted at the front cover of the menu were not even listed as a dish offered in the menu.

It was thankfully the polar opposite with Nyonya Malaysia Express. It has every dish I crave for (for months) and I was totally spoiled by the selections. We both ended up ordering their signature nasi lemak, char keoy teow and teh tarik.

I don't really fancy teh tarik but love the teh tarik served here. Unlike the teh tarik at the mamak stalls back home, this is the quality teh tarik, not overly sweet, not too milky and most importantly it has the strong aroma of quality tea. 
Nyonya Malaysia Express, AmsterdamI was drooling away while taking the shots for the char keoy teow, also known as stir-fried flat rice noodles. Hailed from Malaysia, the chef produced a plate of char keoy teow almost as good as the one you can find in Penang. Packed with succulent prawns, fish cakes and beans sprouts, and most importantly the breath of the wok ‘wok-hei’was prominent throughout. This is perhaps the best char keoy teow you can get in The Netherlands.
Nyonya Malaysia Express, Amsterdam
The nasi lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk) is lip-smacking good. The fragrance of the rich coconut milk and pandan leaf immediately filled the air when the dish was served. The rice is cooked to perfection with individual strand still intact. It is actually what a plate of good nasi lemak kukus should strive to achieve.

A dash of spicy and savory sambal complete this plate of awesome nasi lemak. The best way to enjoy the nasi lemak is to mix the sambal with the peanut and fried anchovies and top it up with a spoonful of rice. All the contrasting flavours mixed together (crunchy, spicy, nutty, salty), it tastes heavenly!!

Other condiments such as veggies achar (Nyonya style pickles) and fried chicken wings tasted equally good. I especially like the sweet and sour achar, very refreshing. The fried chicken wings are indeed a bonus as I did not expect it to be this good. Well marinated, tender and juicy inside and crispy outside.

Nyonya Malaysia Express, Amsterdam
For such a great Malaysian cuisine in The Netherlands, I really wouldn't mind paying the premium price of €12 for a plate of nasi lemak, which equivalent to over MYR50 comparing to only MYR8.9 for a plate of nasi lemak in Old Town Kopitiam back home.

Nyonya Malaysia Express 娘椰马来西亚美食站
Kloveniersburgsval 38
Amsterdam 1012CW 
Tel: 020-4222447
Mob: 06-17828888

Best Beef Burger in Schiedam

Wednesday, November 06, 2013 0 Comments A+ a-

Best Burger in Schiedam


It was a cold and windy day when I visited Schiedam, a city which is best known for Jenever (Dutch Gin) and almost a dozen of old windmills, including the tallest in the world. Schiedam in fact is just a short train hop from Rotterdam city and is part of the South Holland province in the Netherlands.

After visiting a few windmills, my tummy was screaming for something sinful and I was instantly attracted to a burger stand operated by a pair of young chaps barely out of their teens outside a ice cream parlor nearby Schiedam townhall. Apparently, adhoc stalls are aplenty due to local celebration.

A choice of hotdog and burger was on offer and I just could not resist a beef burger with caramelized onions topped off with ketchup and mustard sauce. One bite and I was in heaven, the perfectly cooked beef patty coupled with the sweet caramelized onions worked in unison with the sauce to create a simple yet wonderful burger.

I even went for a 2nd round after I completed my Schiedam city tour. Trust me, it was really that good and at only Euro 2.50 a pop, it was truly a steal.

Best Burger in Schiedam



Best Burger in Schiedam


Best Burger in Schiedam

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