Sunday, December 4, 2016

5 Tips for Hong Kong Travel with Children

Why did we choose Hong Kong as our children's first overseas trip via plane? One reason is that the flight time is relatively short, about 3.5 hours, so it serves as a warm-up for the children. Another reason was that I am familiar with the place and I can speak Cantonese, so I am more confident to bring my children there.



We survived our first trip to Hong Kong in June 2015, together with the children's grandparents! Here is our 5D4N itinerary for our Hong Kong trip in June 2015, and our 8 tips for planning a trip to Hong Kong with senior and children.

Guess what, we are visiting Hong Kong again in December 2016! Now the children get to experience both the summer and winter seasons in Hong Kong!

Last time, we booked a free-and-easy package through a travel agency during a travel fair, this time, we settle all the bookings by ourselves!

If you are planning to visit Hong Kong with your children, let me share with you some tips:

Tips #1. Bring a baby carrier or stroller?

A few things to consider:
  • It is crowded in town areas.
  • There are many staircases at the MTR stations. 
  • Many eateries have limited space. There is no high chair and no place to put stroller in some eateries.
So you may want to consider carefully whether you should bring the pram or stroller along.

If you are visiting Disneyland Hong Kong or Ocean Park, of course it would be very tiring to carry your baby or toddler around. But not to worry, they have rental of stroller! The rate is HKD100 per day + HKD100 refundable deposit.


Tips #2. Sharing of table at the eateries

Due to space constraint, do expect that the waiters would arrange strangers to share the table with you. And please note that they will not ask for your permission to do so. As mentioned just now, there is no high chair and no place to put stroller in some eateries, so you may have to carry your your young children while having your meal.


Tips #3. Order food fast

Not that your children are impatient. Some waiters in some eateries may roll their eyes if you do not place your order within 5 seconds after you have seated! Well, I would just say that they are very focused on efficiency. My suggestion is to check the menu beforehand. I would check OpenRice Hong Kong for menu and review before visiting the eateries. 


Tips #4. Finding the toilet

I found the smartphone app "Toilet Rush (iOS / Android)" quite useful when you need to rush yourself or your children to the toilet! I would also look out for shopping mall, and force ask the children to go to toilet, before we move on to the next place.


Tips #5. Great deal for Disneyland tickets & Sim card

I heard that it is cheaper to purchase Hong Kong Disneyland tickets from Klook or some online sellers (if you trust them) as compared to the official website. However, before our trip in December 2016, I saw the promotion at the official website, the package includes 1-day admission ticket and a combo meal. It is really value-for-money, since we would have our meals inside Disneyland!

For the Sim card, I bought 4G Sim card from Klook, which cost me S$8+ after a discount. It was very easy to purchase through their mobile app, and immediately after I made the payment through the app, I received the QR code for collection of the Sim card at Hong Kong International Airport. So convenient!



Our Hong Kong (June 2015) Travelogue:


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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Parkway Parade: We're Dreaming of a Sweet Christmas

[Media Invite]

Have your heard of Moomin? They are a family of popular fairy tale characters from Finland! Are they adorable?



If you want to get to see Moomin, check out Parkway Parade from now until 26 December 2016!

Sweet Christmas Rewards:
  • Stand a chance to win a brand new BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer (minimum spend S$50)
  • Moonmin porcelain dish (minimum spend S$300, or S$350 from Giant / Cold Storage)
  • Moonmin designed gift wrapper or have up to 2 gifts wrapped (minimum spend S$50)
  • Parkway Parade S$10 voucher (minimum spend S$150, or S$200 from Giant / Cold Storage)

Sweet Affaire:
  • Moomin pop-up store at Basement Outdoor Plaza
  • Moomin snack bar at Level 1 outside Ding Tai Feng
  • Fun in the Falling Snow at Basement Outdoor Plaza (6 p.m. and 8 p.m. daily)
  • Sweet Whimsical Fair at Basement Atrium
  • Performance by Candy King from 2 to 11 December 2016, 3 p.m., 5 p.m. & 7 p.m. daily
  • It's a Sweet Challenge from 22 November to 7 December 2016, 12 p.m. - 8 p.m. daily, minimum spend S$50 to participate - complete all 5 tasks within 3 minutes to be rewarded with a buffet of candies and chocolates
  • A Snowy Playtime from 8 to 26 December 2016 (closed on 12 & 19 December), 12.15 p.m. to 8.15 p.m. daily, minimum spend S$30 to participate / PP Junior Members are entitled to 1 free admission)

For more information, check out Parkway Parade's official website!


Disclaimer: We were invited to We're Dreaming of a Sweet Christmas. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and photos are mine, unless otherwise stated.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Okinawa (Japan): What to Eat

Please read this post after your meal! We are sharing some of the food that we had during our trip to Okinawa (Japan)!

Okinawa Makishi Public Market (那覇市第一牧志公設市場)

Okinawa Makishi Public Market is coined as Okinawa people's kitchen. It is similar to wet market in Singapore, but it is air-conditioned and is very clean! There are two levels - wet market at level 1, eateries at level 2. You can choose your ingredients at level 1, and then bring to the eateries at level 2 which would prepare the cooked food at 500 yen per person (3 dishes).



There is a famous saying by Okinawa people that "every part of the pig can be eaten, except for its voice"! How true it is! There is also the skin of the pig's head available in the wet market!



The part of the wet market that caught my eyes was of course the row of seafood stalls! Look at the fresh seafood!



Do you dare to eat puffer fish?



I have heard of this yakougai (夜光貝), and I finally get to try it!



I chose a small yakougai, which cost about 1500 yen, quite expensive though. I also ordered uni (sea urchin), which cost 1000 yen.



However, DaDi had stomach upset after eating the Pablo cheese tarts, so I had no choice but to finish the sashimi ALL. BY. MYSELF! This sea urchin was the cheaper type, it was creamy and not too bitter, but to be honest, it can be quite a torture to finish the whole plate of sea urchin because of the strong after taste! I was glad that the strong taste was "neutralised" by the freshness of the yakougai. The yakougai offered two textures, part of it was soft, and the other part was crunchy.

Okinawa Makishi Public Market
Website: http://kousetsu-ichiba.com
Address: 沖縄県那覇市松尾2-10-1
How to get there: By Yui Rail, alight at Makishi (牧志) station, walk a few minutes


Grilled Lobster with Sea Urchin Sauce

One of the must-try food at Okinawa is the grilled lobster with sea urchin sauce! It is available in some fish markets by the sea, however, we didn't manage to visit those fish markets, and in the end, we had this dish at a restaurant near our hotel in Naha city. 



The set meal cost 2980 yen, and it comes with a few slices of sashimi, chawamushi, pickles, soup and rice. The lobster was a bit too tough in my opinion, but the sauce was quite delicious.



海産物料理市 ICHI
Address: 沖縄県那覇市おもろまち3-3-1 あっぷるタウン2F
Website: https://www.hotpepper.jp/strJ000989935/ (Click on the orange button クーポンと地図 for discount coupons!)
How to get there: By Yui Rail, alight at Omoromachi (おもろまち) station, walk 15 minutes. Or by driving, there are outdoor parking lots at the shopping mall


Ice-cream

You can see Blue Seal ice-cream outlets in many places. We tried Okinawa salt cookies and beni-imo (Okinawan sweet potato), very yummy!


Blue Seal
Website: http://en.blueseal.co.jp


Another must-eat ice-cream in Japan is Creamia! The soft-serve ice-cream is so creamy and rich in milk flavour. Unlike the usual cone, this cone is so crispy and tastes like cookie! At the price of 500 yen, I know it is quite steep, but it is really delicious!


You can find Creamia at Naha International Airport, in a cafe near the departure gate.


Okinawa Soba

We had Okinawa Soba a few times during our trip. Although it is called "soba", it is not the same as the soba that we usually have. Okinawa soba is made of flour, instead of buckwheat, it is thick and the texture is similar to that of udon. 

We had our first Okinawa Soba at Tedako (てだこ), after we visited the long slide at Urasoe Park. The children had their first experience of sitting on tatami floor to have their meal!

The three popular dishes are Okinawa soba with pork belly (沖縄そば三枚肉), Okinawa soba with pork cartilage (ソーキそば) and gyoza! The pork slices and pork cartilage were soft and tasty, and the gyoza were very crispy.




In our few encounters with Okinawa Soba, I think Tedako serves the best Okinawa Soba!

Tedako (てだこ)
Address: 沖縄県 浦添市 仲間 1-2-2
Mapcode: 33 281 290
Car park: A few slots in front of the restaurant, free parking (must be patient because there are many patrons!)


Ishigaki Beef (石垣牛) & Agu Pork (あぐー豚)

They are the premium meat in Okinawa and are quite pricey! Initially I thought of visiting a BBQ restaurant, but DaDi was afraid that we would "damage" the meat if we cook the meat ourselves! So we had Ishigaki steak and Agu Pork cutlet don for lunch at a restaurant called Sakurana さく来奈 near the sea side resort hotel that we stayed (Rizzan Sea Park Hotel Tancha-Bay).

It was a pity that the Ishigaki steak that we had was slightly too well done, even though we ordered medium. It was the cheapest Ishigaki steak that I could find in Okinawa, but I think I would rather pay more for one with better quality.



Agu pork cutlet was the best pork cutlet I have ever tried during the trip! The outer layer was crispy and not too thick, and the meat was very tender due to the presence of fats, but it wasn't too oily.



Sakurana さく来奈
Address: 〒904-0414 沖縄県国頭郡恩納村前兼久866−1
Mapcode: 206 096 626*46
Website: http://www.sakurana.com/index.html
Car park: A few slots in front of the restaurant, free parking


Sea Grapes (海ぶどう Umi budo)

The sea grapes were bursting in our mouth as we tried to chew them! Taste wise, they were quite salty, and I think it would be nice to have them with rice. Other than restaurants or izakaya, you can get them from supermarkets too.




Mozuku Seaweed

It is said to be a healthy food, but the it was served with some sauce that tasted too sour to our liking. Nevertheless, it was quite an interesting experience to try Mozuku seaweed!




Grilled Garlic Shrimps

I read some Taiwanese blogs, and almost every one of them raved about this - Shrimp Wagon!



Located at Kouri-jima, a northern island in Okinawa, it would take about 1.5 hour to drive from Naha city. Not to be worried about where you can eat the food, we had our meal at a sheltered cafe next to the van.

We ordered Original Garlic Shrimp Plate (1000 yen) and Garlic Shrimp Butter & Lemon (1200 yen). Yes, not very cheap, but the grilled garlic shrimps were succulent! It was rather oily though.

Be mindful about the waiting time, we were the third in the queue when it opened, and we waited for about 20 minutes, I heard that the waiting time can be as long as 1 hour!

Shrimp Wagon
Address: Japan, 〒905-0406 Okinawa Prefecture, Kunigami District, 今帰仁村古宇利348ー1 ブルーガーデン内 ブルーガーデン
Website: http://shrimp-wagon.com/english/



Milk (玉城牧场牛乳)

I chanced upon this brand of milk at a supermarket. The moment I opened the packet, I almost fainted because of the strong "cow smell"! But the moment I drank it, it was so delicious! So my suggestion is to hold your breath while drinking it!




Izakaya (居酒屋)

Izakaya are casual drinking establishments in Japan. In most izakaya in Okinawa, non-smoking seats are not available, so if you have concern about smoking environment, then you may have to think twice before going in.

We had two dining experiences in izakaya near the hotels that we stayed, because it was raining and we didn't want to drive out to have dinner. We finished our meals as fast as we could as the izakaya became quite smoky when other patrons started to smoke after their meals. But it was quite an eye-opener for the children when they witnessed the Japanese gatherings, like those that we watch on Japanese drama series, the Japanese took turn to make a speech, then the rest applauded and drank!

One of the izakaya we visited was Yukino (ゆきの) next to Yugaf Inn Okinawa located in Nago. Although we had to queue in the drizzle for a short while (there was no space inside), this was compensated by the nice food at reasonable price. We got the opportunity to sit on tatami floor again. One plus point is the self-service free-flow hot and iced tea.

Look at the presentation of the set meals! Isn't it appetizing?



Yukino ゆきの
Address: 沖縄県 名護市 字宮里450-8
Website: http://tabelog.com/en/okinawa/A4702/A470201/47004700/


Calbee Plus

As a great Calbee fan, I was determined to try the freshly fried fries! I wanted to order the sweet potato one, it was a pity that it was not available during our visit! Anyway, we ordered Poterico Salad, which was very delicious too! The children cleared the whole cup within a few minutes even though the fries were piping hot!



Calbee Plus
Address: 沖縄県那覇市牧志3-2-2
Website: http://www.calbee.co.jp/calbeestore/shop/


Pablo Baked Cheese Tarts

There was a craze over baked cheese tarts in Singapore some time ago, but we didn't join the queue. We had our first baked cheese tarts in Okinawa!




We prefer the red potato one to the original one. The red potato cheese tart is available only in Okinawa!

Pablo
Address: 〒900-0014 沖縄県那覇市松尾2丁目8-19 ドン・キホーテ1階
Website: http://www.pablo3.com/



Our Okinawa Travelogue


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