Japan 2013 Part 4 : Day 4 – Nijo Castle 二条城 and Nishiki Market 錦市場

December 29, 2013 at 11:49 pm

The posts and summary for the whole trip, can be found here

♥November 25th Monday♥

This is how our room in Sakura looks like. Every night when we got back, we had to lay our futons out and put on the sheets ourselves (sheets were always folded and not laid on the futon after the room was cleaned) and after we woke up, we would fold the futons and put them at the side so we have some space in the room.

We’d stayed in 2 other Japanese style rooms later part of this trip, and the futons were always laid out for us.

Sakura Standard Room

That day we decided to do some city tour. We were told by the staff at the hotel to bring along an umbrella as it would rain later.

We took a bus to visit Nijo Castle 二条城 (Nijojo).

From Japan-guide.com : Nijo Castle was built in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period (1603-1867).

Entrance ticket was purchased via a ticketing machine (¥600 adults, ¥200 children).
Nijo Castle Ticket Machine

Zaria trying zen sand drawing. She wrote 我要回家 (I want to go home), she actually meant going back to the hotel!
Nijo Castle Zen Art By Zaria

Nijo Castle Roof

Girls in Kimono at Nijo Castle

To be honest, I didn’t think this was a nice castle to visit. The landscaping isn’t that great, and the castle building itself wasn’t that interesting. The girls however did learn about the nightingale flour (uguisu-bari), which was a security measure to prevent people sneaking around undetected.
Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle

And just as the weather forecast, it started pouring when we finished our tour at the castle. We took the bus and headed to Kawaramachi 河原町 as we have plans to visit the Nishiki Market 錦市場. Because of the rain, for lunch, we picked the first restaurant that we came across, and lucky us, it’s this super nice Udon restaurant Omen うどん, we all ordered set lunches except Zaria who wanted grilled chicken.

Their chili pepper came in a variety of ‘flavours’.
Omen Chili Pepper

Here is what we got for lunch.
Omen Grilled Chicken

Omen Set Lunch

Omen Udon Condiments

We had a walk about around the departmental stores at Kawaramachi, i.e. Takashimaya, Kyoto Marui, just because we couldn’t walk on the street under that weather.

Busy Kawaramachi

When the rain subsided to a drizzle, we walked to Nishiki Market 錦市場 or Nishiki Ichiba, a 400 years old market located on a road near Kawaramachi, and runs perpendicular to Teramachi Street 寺町通 (a covered shopping street), it is renowned as the place to obtain many of Kyoto’s famous foods and goods.

Nishiki Market

There’s a small but busy temple at Nishiki, 錦天滿宮 Nishiki Tenmangu.
Nishiki Tenmangu

The rest of the market, is shops after shops selling food stuff (ready to eat, ingredients), tea, kitchen utensil.

Nishiki Market Pickle Shop

Nishiki Market Pickle Shop

Nishiki Market Grilled Eel Shop

Nishiki Market Chest Nut Shop

Nishiki Market Anchovy Shop

Nishiki Market Nara Pickle

Nishiki Market Pickle Shop

Nishiki Market Cake Shop

Nishiki Market Fresh Seafood Shop

Nishiki Market Fresh Seafood Shop

Nishiki Market Fresh Seafood Shop

And for a female, when in Kyoto, a visit to Yojiya よーじや is a must, a famous Kyoto cosmetic/skin care brand.
Yojiya at KawaramachiNot that I bought much from the shop as I try to stick to natural skin care/cosmetic these days.

We wanted a yakitori (grilled chicken) dinner on that cold wet day, so we walked about to search for one; again, it was a lucky find, we went to Yaoki 八百起, which has pretty good food and drinks (the hubs like their Sake, I like their Sawa サワー, i.e. shochu and soda added with fruit juice).

Yaoki Yuba (bean curd skin) Salad

Yaoki Yam Balls

Yaoki Yakitori

After dinner, the rain finally stopped! We walked back to the hotel.

Japan 2013 Part 3 : Day 3 – Arashiyama And Sagano 嵐山嵯峨野

December 27, 2013 at 12:19 am

The posts and summary for the whole trip, can be found here

♥November 24th Sunday♥

Weather forecast for that day was clear and sunny, so we decided to go to Arayashiyama 嵐山, which is another to go places on my list.

We walked to Kyoto Station to take a JR train, and stopped at a Drug Shop to stock up on snack. We just love the drug shops there which sell a wide variety of things.
Shopping at a Drug Shop Japan

Saga-Arashiyama Station 嵯峨嵐山駅 is just 15mins away. Upon arrival, we picked up a map from the JR station which provides walking route options, and what to see on each route (these sort of maps are common at JR stations). This round, we didn’t want to walk with an empty stomach, so we bought our lunch from a nearby Lawson (24hrs convenient shop), before we started our walk.

When we were approaching Daikakuji 大覚寺 (our 1st destination), there were lots of big banners with 大根供養 written on it. I know it has got something to do with daikon or radish, so I went to check further.

Daikakuji Daikon Memorial Festival 大覚寺大根供養

The temple was doing a Daikon-kuyo 大根供養 (Daikon Memorial Festival). From one of the ladies who were serving the daikon, we were told the daikon was offered to Buddha, and after that, they will be cooked and served to the public and those who eat the daikon will be blessed.

The daikon was cooked in these big pots for 3 days.
Daikakuji Daikon Memorial Festival 大覚寺大根供養

We ordered a portion (¥900) from these ladies.
Daikakuji Daikon Memorial Festival 大覚寺大根供養

Daikakuji Daikon Memorial Festival 大覚寺大根供養

They gave us an extra portion when they knew we were foreigners. Oh boy, the daikon was so delicious!! So glad we tried it.
Daikakuji Daikon Memorial Festival 大覚寺大根供養

We were warmly sent off by the ladies after our daikon break. Paid for our tickets (¥500 for adult, and ¥250 for children) and then entered the grounds of Daikakuji 大覚寺.

(Per Japan-Gude: Daikakuji was originally built in the early 800s as the detached palace of Emperor Saga, who thoroughly enjoyed spending time in this calm area on the outskirts of Kyoto. Thirty years after the emperor’s death, the palace was converted into a temple and has since been one of the highest ranked temples of Shingon Buddhism.)

We found a spot at the garden, and had our picnic lunch while the hubs went to take shots of the Osawa Pond (the oldest man made pond in Japan).

Dried lotus plants in the Osawa Pond

Duck in the Osawa Pond

Osawa Pond

After lunch (and waiting 30mins for the hubs to finish his photo shooting), we went into the Temple which is made up of several buildings connected by elevated wooden walkways.

As a security measure, the covered corridors has low ceilings so that no one can swing swords or spears, and the floor is uguisu-bari (nightingale floor) which squeaked quietly as you walk over them ensuring none could sneak through the corridors undetected.

Monks at Daikakuji

Chokushi-mon or The Gate of Imperial Messenger

Tablets for the death at Daikakuji

The temple is beautifully landscaped with some nice autumn leave viewing spot.
Daikakuji Autumn Leaves

Berry Plant at Daikakuji

Autumn Leaves View at Daikakuji

After Daikakuji, we went to Adashino Nenbutsuji 化野念仏寺 to view thousands of stone Buddhist images and stone pagodas. (¥500 for adult, and ¥250 for children)

Taken from Secred Destination: From the Heian (794-1185) to Edo (1603-1868) periods, the destitute of the Adashino area brought their dead to this hill, leaving the bodies exposed to the elements. Receiving no tombstone or proper burial, their souls were honored by stone Buddhas.

The place is so beautiful with autumn leaves scattered on the mossy ground and the mysterious looking roughly cut stone Buddhas every where.
Autumn at Adashino Nenbutsuji

Autumn at Adashino Nenbutsuji

Autumn at Adashino Nenbutsuji

Autumn at Adashino Nenbutsuji

Autumn at Adashino Nenbutsuji

Exiting Adashino Nenbutsuji, we walked through an old street where the buildings are traditional machiya (“town houses”) that served as private residences but are now converted to shops and restaurants.

Old Street at Arashiyama

Souvenir sold at Arashiyama

Since there was still some sunlight (although it was soon getting dark), we made a quick stop at Gioji Temple 祗王寺 (¥300 for adult, and ¥150 for children), a nunnery with a small thatched building and an equally small moss garden.

Giouji Temnple

Giouji Temnple

Giouji Temnple

Giouji Temnple

The temple was so small, we covered it in about 15mins.

We walked back to the town area of Arashiyama. I do like this town as there are lots of beautiful houses, and little temples here and there (not mentioned in the guide or the JR map).
Decoration at road side

Temple At Arashiyama

We made a stop at Bruce 2 as my guidebook has recommended the shop to get hand made little ‘man’ pencil case.
Inside Bruce 2 Arashiyama I bought myself one as a souvenir.

Not knowingly we reached the Arashiyama Station (Keifuku Line), where a bust of activities were going on. Tenryuji 天龍寺 temple was having autumn light up (i.e. the temple garden got lit up to highlight the autumn colours in the night), there was a counter selling some packages, ie. train ticket + ticket to view the autumn light up, and people were queuing up to buy them. We joined the crowd as well. Got our tickets, had a simple dinner at the station, and then walked to Tenryuji to view the light up.

It was an extremely cold night and the place was packed; although the crowd was orderly, I didn’t enjoy myself at all.

Tenryuji Autumn Light Up

Tenryuji Autumn Light Up

Tenryuji Autumn Light Up

After this, we took the train and headed back to Kyoto. It was a long day, and we walked a lot and I was again amazed with the girls’ stamina and ability especially in this cold weather.

Japan 2013 Part 2 : Day 2 – Takao 高雄

December 19, 2013 at 6:28 pm

The posts and summary for the whole trip, can be found here

♥November 23rd Saturday♥

A year ago, I saw a Hong Kong friend posted his beautiful Kansai photos (during autumn season) on FB and one of the places he went to was Takao 高雄. Some research later, we found that Takao is one of the best places to view autumn leaves, so it was on our to-go list.

After checking the weather forecast in the morning, reporting clear and sunny weather, we decided to go that day. We took a bus near Sakura, stopped a few stops away to change bus, got lost looking for the bus stop to take the bus bound for Takao (it was our 2nd day in Kyoto, still not familiar with bus system, but after taking the bus a couple of times, with the bus map on hand, it wasn’t that difficult to map out route and know what bus to take etc), thank goodness for kind Japanese, we managed to find the bus stop, and even got prompted to board the bus when it arrived.

50 minutes later, we reached Takao at lunch time.

We saw some stalls selling roasted sweet potato, mochi, and this, deep fried maple leaves. We didn’t know what they would taste like, but you can’t go wrong with anything deep fried right? So we just bought a pack to snack on.
Fried Maple Leaves

¥500 for a pack, not cheap, but it was good. Its batter is sweetened, and mixed with some sesame seeds, crunchy, sweetish, they were really delicious.
Fried Maple Leaves

Since we spotted these stalls, we thought it was going to be like Nara, with shops lined streets along the way. We bought a couple mochi, a roast potato, and thought we’ll snack on these, do some walking first, and then have late lunch.

With no map to guide us (1st time), we didn’t know we actually went on the Tokai Nature Trail 東海自然步道, as there were lots of people heading there, we just followed the crowd, not knowing we would be embarking on a 4.5hrs walk covering almost 8km with no proper lunch!

The consolation is, the view we got on this walk, was spectacular!

Autumn colours at its bestTakao Autumn Leaves

Takao Autumn Leaves

This part of the Tokai Nature Trail 東海自然步道 is along the Kiyotakigawa 清滝川 (Kiyotaki River), and at the banks of certain part of the river, people stopped to have picnics, sip tea, while enjoying nature. There were some tea shops set up next to the river too at the beginning of the trail.
Takao Kiyotaki River

Zaria disrupted the tranquility by tossing pebbles into the river.
Picnic at Takao Kiyotaki River

This was the last restaurant we saw on the trail, and because they were charging a lot for lunch, we thought we would push on.
Entrance of a Restaurant at Takao

From then on, it was just a walking trail with stunning view.
Takao Forest along Tokai Nature Trail

Takao Kiyotaki River

Takao Autumn Leaves

We came across a wide open space. A big group was there having a hot pot lunch. We only had some Kit Kat (since that was the only thing we brought along and some water). Bad planning on our part (but none of my guidebooks nor Japan Guide talked about this trail!).
Takao Tokai Nature Trail picnic spot

Some part of the trail is a bit tougher, but Zaria enjoyed these the most, taking the lead all the time.
Takao Tokai Nature Trail

Most part of the trail is easy and runs parallel to the river, probably because it was a weekend, lots of elderly people were walking on this trail too.
Takao Tokai Nature Trail along Kiyotaki River

The water from Kiyotakigawa was blue and clear.
Clear water of Kiyotakigawa

There were sign boards along the trails, stating the distant to the next main stop, and we were heading to Kiyotaki 清滝.
Sign Board along Tokai Nature Trail Takao

Arriving at Kiyotaki, a small village, we thought we could find a place to eat, but there was nothing near the trail.
Kiyotaki Tokai Nature Trail

Kiyotaki

We saw more people having picnics or just a rest next to the river.
Kiyotaki Tokai Nature Trail

Checking some signboards posted at Kiyotaki, reading words in Kanji, I managed to decipher the notices (or so I thought). I discussed with the hubs that we could either take a bus from Kiyotaki 清滝 to Arashiyama 嵐山, then back to Kyoto or continue walking to Saga Toriimoto 嵯峨鳥居本 to take the bus.

We decided to go to Saga Toriimoto.
(I think we took the wrong way). After walking about 0.5km, we couldn’t see any sign boards pointing to Torrimoto, so we walked back to Kiyotaki again to reread the notice. It was mentioned in the map that there’s a view point at Ochiai 落合. We decided to walk to Ochiai just to check out the view point, and if we couldn’t find Torrimoto, we would walk back to Kiyotaki to take the bus.

We knew we were on the right track when we arrived at Ochiai tunnel 落合隧道.
Ochiai Tunnel

After the tunnel it was the viewpoint, from which we could see the Hozukyo Gorge 保津峡.
Hozukyo Toroko or Gorge

Hozukyo Toroko or Gorge

We saw some boats were sailing by, and realised later that this is the Hozugawa-Kudari 保津川下り or Huzugawa boat ride, a world famous sightseeing experience which covers a 16km boat journey from Tanba-Kameoka to Arashiyama.

We couldn’t find any more walking trail after this point, but just a tar road, with occasional cars or cyclist going passed.

It was then decision time again, to walk back to Kiyotaki, or continue walking on the tar road? But to where? There was no signage.

We then saw 2 Caucasian men coming out from the tunnel, walking towards us. We asked them where they were going, and one of them said to a JR station. We couldn’t believe there’s a JR station out in this wilderness. The man said we could decide to walk to the JR station, or go back to Kiyotaki to take the bus, but JR train would be more frequent than bus, and also it would be tar road leading all the way to the station.

Since they knew exactly what they were doing, we followed them.

Walking along Hozukyo Toroko or Gorge

And yes, half an hour of walking later, we saw the station, i.e. JR Hozukyo Station JR保津峡.
JR Hozukyo JR Station

One last look at the view, before we finally got to rest our butts on the train and headed towards Kyoto.
Hozukyo Toroko from JR Hozukyo Station

That day, we walked for 4.5hrs from 12:30pm to 5pm(with lots of photo stops), covering more than 7km with no lunch!; The distance of the trails :
from Takao 高雄 to Kiyotaki 清淹 (3.8km);
then from Kiyotaki to Ochiai 落合 (~2km);
and then to JR Hozukyo Station JR 保津峡 (~1.5km).

This was what we covered.

Walking path - Takao to JR Hozukyo StationView Takao to JR Hozukyo Walking Trail in a larger map

We were truly amazed with the girls! They just walked on and on! There were times when Zaria complained about being tired, but when she saw another rough and tough path, she would brighten and then take the lead going through those sections first. Zara would occasionally mentioned she’s really hungry, and I would whip out another Kit Kat to fuel her. They really did well.

When we arrived back at Kyoto Station, it was rush hour at full swing!
Kyoto Station Rush Hour

We were all so keen in having something hot to eat, we chose the restaurant at the station with the shortest waiting queue!

Japan 2013 Part 1 : Day 1 – Nara 奈良

December 13, 2013 at 11:19 am

The posts and summary for the whole trip, can be found here.

♥November 22nd♥

We arrived in Kansai International Airport the morning. Following the advice from our hotel in Kyoto, we bought a 1 day JR Kansai Area Pass for ¥2,000 (Children half price).

At the JR ticket office, the girls experienced their first (kind) hospitality shown by Japanese. We were just commenting on the origami on the table of the ticket agent, and while we waited for our credit card transaction to go through, the ticket agent went to the back (office area) and took 2 origami cranes out for the girls!

We found rubber stamps for visitors too at the JR ticket office. After visiting a few JR stations, we realised this ‘facility’ is common; most popular JR stations and other tourist attraction have unique rubber stamps for visitors to make use of. The girls started their ‘stamping’ journey, looking out for rubber stamps at all the other stations, which they used to stamp on a notebook they carried along.
JR Station Stamps

We arrived at our ryokan Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura at about 11am. Sakura is not cheap, especially when we wanted to have 4 in a room. We selected it because it’s located about 10mins walk from Kyoto Station, 5mins from Gojo Station (五条駅) on the Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line, and there is a bus stop (Nishi Hoganji Mae 西本願寺前) 2mins walk away; making it a good base to explore Kyoto and the surrounding area.

As it was too early to check it, we left our bags there, and left for Nara (奈良), since the train fare there is covered by the JR Kansai Area Pass. Lunch was onigiri (the girls’ staple 1st few days of our holidays until they got sick of them) and buns from Kyoto station which we ate on the train.

Nara, a beautiful town, is 45mins train ride from Kyoto. Upon arrival, we walked towards Nara Park to find the famous Nara deer. Quaint and lovely shops lined the street.

Deco placed outside of an organic clothing shop. I should have gotten something for myself, but because we just arrived, I didn’t want to start shopping immediately. REGRET!Organic Clothing Shop Deco

Sugitama (杉玉), gathered leaves of Japanese cedars, traditionally hung at the roof of a sake brewery to thank the God of Sake. Seeing the change of colour from fresh green (from the start), the age of the sake brewed can also be gauged.Good luck deco in shops

We have to stop at almost every shop! How can we not, every shop is interesting!Shopping at Nara

Nara Pickles (奈良漬) is famous, but no, we didn’t get any.Nara Pickle shop

This shop, Nakatanidou (中谷堂) was drawing a crowd. It’s a shop famous for mochi, made on the spot (the dough making was supposed to be quite dramatic, but we missed it, as they’d finished making the dough when we arrived) using the best ingredient. They were so fresh, they were still warm when we bought them! Delicious.
Famous Mochi Shop at Nara

The hubs was walking with us through the town, until, we first sighted autumn colours! He was lost in the beauty (and we lost him!) and took his time (sometimes too long) to photograph them!
Beautiful Nara

The first temple we came across on this trip was Kofukuji Temple (興福寺), a part of it was undergoing renovation.

The girls tried to ‘bath the Buddha’ by following what others did before them.
Bathing the Buddha

The Kofukuji pagoda (五重塔) is almost 1200 years old.Kofukuji pagoda (五重塔)

Ema (絵馬) or wishing plagues that were hanging on the temple boardWishes Board

And then we spotted them! The deer!
Deer at Nara Park

Zaria was caught trying to train one of those deer. “Come here boy!”
Zaria training a deer at Nara Park

Don’t let these deer with bambi eyes fool you. Yes, they are tame. Yes, some allow you to touch or pat them. But a couple of them can turn aggressive when food is involved.
Deer at Nara Park

One tore off a page from my travel guide, when it discovered I didn’t have any deer food on me! Some went to sniff our bags to check for food.
Deers at Nara Park

I bought 2 stacks of deer biscuit from vendors at the park. Once these deer knew we had something, they started following us, nudging us for those biscuits.
Deers at Nara Park

FEED US NOW!Deers at Nara Park

An aggressive one actually nudged Zaria, then stood up and pushed Zaria with its front hooves, scratching her eyes! That was when we tossed all the biscuits to the ground, and had enough!

We were meant to visit the Todaiji (東大寺) Temple, where the main hall, Daibutsuden (大仏殿), is the world’s largest wooden building. Unfortunately, due to hubs spending too much time taking photos of the park (have to admit the park is beautiful!), we arrived just when they closed, i.e. 4:30pm.
Beautiful Nara Park

It got dark pretty quickly after that, so we have to head back to the station.

Deer even roamed near shops, as though they were shopping.Deer shopping at Nara Park

We chose a small home style restaurant (we were told later, they have been operating for 60years) for dinner. Food was quite good, at a very reasonable price, set meals for ¥650~¥750 (rice + soba/udon + tempura). Their menus are little drawings pasted on the wall.
Creative dinner menu

After dinner, we spotted a cafe which served green tea dessert. The cafe, Kyousyouan (京匠庵), had nice little potted bonsai plant as table decoration. This is real plant, and we were worried Zaria would pull of the little apple like fruit dangling from the plant!
Miniature bonsai

We ordered 3 items, a matcha pudding, a hot matcha with glutinous rice balls, and the girls shared a matcha parfait. All of our orders came out great, all packed with fragrant matcha.
Kyousyouan Green tea parfait

After dessert, we walked toward the JR station, and passed by more shops.
Souvenir At Nara

Shopping At Nara

Nice shop signboard At Nara

Nice shop At Nara

Nara is a pretty nice town, with lots of arty farty shops, trendy and traditional restaurants. Would love to come back to this place again.

Back in Kyoto, we walked back to Sakura from Kyoto Station. During our stay in Kyoto, the Kyoto Tower would be our beacon to find our way back to Sakura.
Kyoto Tower

Penang Trip 2013 P1 – Kuala Sepetang, St Anne’s Church

July 15, 2013 at 9:09 am

♥June 1st♥

We made our annual trip to Penang during the school holidays, as with every year, to visit St Anne’s church and give our thanks for another blessed year.

This year, the hubs wanted a detour to Kuala Sepetang, formerly known as Port Weld, which is famous for mangrove swamp and charcoal factories. As it was not a planned stop, (the hubs just thought we still have time, and exited the highway at Changkat Jering before informing us where we’re heading), we’d done no research and don’t know what to expect. We just parked our car, and walked about. As we just had lunch (if he’d told us where we were going first, we could have saved our stomach for later), we didn’t even have room for the famous mee udang (Malay: prawn noodle), where a few restaurants were serving.

At one of the houses next to the river, we bumped into another family who was trying to gather enough people to hire a boat for a river cruise, and we agreed to join. The river cruise cost about RM60 for 4 of us (adult RM20/head, children RM20/head) for a 30 minutes cruise.

Poooh-weee! We had to put on the stinky safety vests which probably never got washed/cleaned since the first day the boat started operating.

Even with the smell bothering us, it was still quite a pleasant ride. We cruised past the fishing village.

Saw fishing boats anchored at the back of the houses.

And also went pass mangrove forest, with monkeys playing at the banks.

When we were done with the cruise, and walked back to the car, we saw some salted fish being dried. So we bought some as well. It’s very tasty by the way, should you visit this place, don’t forget to buy some of these long salted fish home.

And then we drove just a KM or 2 to get to the charcoal factories. We were told Kuala Sepetang charcoal is considered one of the best in Asia and it’s in high demand in the international market.

Just so happened we arrived at the famous Mr Chuah’s charcoal factory, Mr Chuah was about to end a guided tour to a bus load of tourists, so we joined in as well (tour is free, and to avoid disappointment, best to give Mr Chuah a call before going).

In the factory, there are domes like this which are the kilns where the de-barked mangrove trunks will be ‘baked’ and dried.
Once dried, the ‘door’ to the kiln will be sealed off for the charcoal to cool down for a further 8 days.

There were pile high of mangrove branches/trunks awaiting to be turned into charcoal.

Who, but the foreign workers, would want to work in a smokey environment? They are the ones who toiled for us so we could have our good quality charcoals!

Charcoal are broken into smaller pieces and bagged up to be sold.
We bought a big charcoal log to be placed in the house as deodoriser, as well as a pack of charcoal. 2/3 of it has already been used up since we got home. Verdict : super fragrant barbecue! So don’t forget to buy some home if you visited this place.

(Mr Chuah’s charcoal factory, 34650 Taiping, Perak. Tel: 012-573 9563)

Then it was back to the NKVE and to Bukit Mertajam. The hubs have to drive a bit faster because St Anne’s Church closes at about 7pm.

The ambiance in the old chapel is always very serene and quiet. That’s where we’ll always go to for our thanks giving.

9th year in a row… our yearly tradition of going to give our thanks, and also taking a shot at the front of the old chapel.

And we always wash ourselves at the St Anne’s water, and fill up a bottle with the water to bring home.

We’d never seemed to be able to find a good eating place in Bukit Mertajam. One year, we were looking for this highly rated place Yoong Kee which is located near the Bukit Mertajam market for lunch, but it was closed. This year, we managed to find it after asking around at the market.

The restaurant has been operating for more than 60 years. It’s at a shabby shop lot which you probably won’t notice except for the crowd gathered there.

We ordered 1 fried fish for the girls, and 1 steam fish with plum for us, and a mix vege. The vege, fried with a pork sauce, was very homely. The fish were both very good, very fresh, and well prepared.

The hubs claimed this is the best steam fish with plum he’s ever tasted.

It was a cheap and satisfying dinner (if you didn’t mind the occasional rats zooming under the table).

(Resturant Yoong Kee, Jalan Pasar, Penang, Bukit Mertajam, 14000. Phone: 04-539 8764)

Continues here.

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