Sydney: Bills

30 July 2014

My sister is a frequent visitor of Singapore and she's always on the lookout for where to eat breakfast. One description that kept popping up on various websites was, "Just like Bills." So there was way no way we'd skip it while we were in Sydney.

Full Aussie Breakfast (AUD 24.50)
Scrambled organic eggs, sourdough toast, bacon, cumin roast tomato, miso mushrooms, pork and fennel sausage

Brioche Roll (AUD 13)
With chili fried egg, rocket and spiced mango chutney

Sweetcorn Fritters (AUD 21.50)
With roast tomato, spinach and bacon

Ricotta Hotcakes (AUD 20)
With banana and honeycomb butter

Our meals were interesting - what I would describe as not bad, but not great, and we would only try once. For example, the fritters I ordered is better suited as a side dish during lunch. I guess my taste runs toward the traditional so I preferred my dad's meal which was the Full Aussie Breakfast.

Katrina thought the pancakes could have used a bit more cheese and Mom, who had the Brioche Roll, commented that Lonsdale was better.

Sydney: Chat Thai

25 July 2014


Enough said.

Fresh Spring Rolls (AUD 12)
Smoked fish sausages, chicken, and crab with caramelised tamarind relish

Som Dtum Thai (AUD 12)
Green papaya salad with peanuts and dried shrimps: spicy, salty, and slightly sweet version

Padt Thai (AUD 14)
Stir fried thin rice noodles with chicken, peanuts, dried shrimps, bean sprouts, garlic, and chives in a tamarind and palm sugar sauce

Emerald Duck (AUD 16)
Stir fried five spice duck with seasonal greens

Khao Padt (AUD 14)
Fried rice with chicken, eggs, and chinese kale

Sticky Rice Durian (AUD 8)
Sticky rice steamed with sweet coconut cream and palm sugar accompanied with durian custard and pieces of fresh durian

Thai Coffee & Thai Tea (AUD 5 each)

Sydney: Meriton Serviced Apartments Campbell Street

20 July 2014

There is a reason why I always bring a bottle of rubbing alcohol with me every time I travel - housekeeping agents usually do not care about the cleanliness of the rooms they clean, but I'll get to this later.

Here's what I loved:

1. There are literally tons of great dining options within walking distance from the hotel starting with Chat Thai just two doors down.
2. Darling Harbour is 15 to 20 minutes away depending on how fast you walk.
3. The free shuttle bus (route 555) stops practically beside the hotel.
4. Free wifi.
5. World Square Shopping Center is at the next block and it has two supermarkets.
6. Capitol Theater is right across the street.

Here's what I didn't like:

1. Leftover poop on the toilet seat cover (not in picture is the other end which was just as problematic). I had never encountered this before in the other hotels we've stayed at.

2. Another first is the huge cockroach that greeted me on my second night at the Meriton. I didn't want to squish it because of the carpet, so I emptied a tissue box and trapped it with one of the hotel information cards. I then hurriedly brought it out to the balcony and left everything there.

3. The carpet wasn't clean as every time I took a shower, the water beneath my rubber slippers turned black. I did not use my flip flops outside so I can't think of anything else to account for the dirt. This also hasn't happened before.

4. The soap dish in the shower had soap scum from previous guests.

5. Dust under the swivel TV mount. It was so thick I wrote a note for the housekeeping agent and it never disappeared during the four nights we stayed there.

I told the duty manager about the toilet problem and he offered to let housekeeping go back and clean it. I declined by saying that since they couldn't get it right the first time, I'd rather do it myself. He also offered to give us late check-out, but I told him that we didn't need it as our flight was early in the morning.

Tip: Unless you want water dripping all over the place, bring your own soap dish because the one they have is a wire basket that's located on a ledge away from the sink.


15 July 2014

So much to do yet so little time - four days is definitely not enough. Though it's just as well that our trip was short because eating out in this city is a rather expensive affair. You'll need around AUD 11 for a full meal from a food court, unlike in Singapore where you can get noodles, soup, and a drink for under AUD 5.

Here are some of the the places we visited in no particular order:

Paddy's Market & Market City

Paddy's Market is where you'll find row upon row of souvenir stalls. Market City, on the other hand, has outlet stores and Asian supermarkets.

Harry's Cafe de Wheels

Pies in clockwise order from the top: Cheese & Bacon Pie (AUD 4.70) - chunky lean beef pie with fresh bacon and cheese, both cooked in and melted on top. Beef Pie (AUD 4.50) - lean chunks of beef in black pepper gravy. Tiger (AUD 6.70) - signature dish named after founder Harry ‘Tiger’ Edwards. Chunky lean beef pie served with mushy peas, mash and gravy (the house special). Seafood Pie (AUD 5.90) - white fish, whole prawns, scallops, salmon, cooked in a creamy cheese sauce.

I liked the Seafood and Tiger pies best. The Beef Pie was just okay and I couldn't really taste the cheese and bacon in the Cheese & Bacon Pie.

Darling Harbour

A short and scenic walk from our hotel. There's a mall and numerous restaurants lining the harbour.

Strand Arcade

Gumshara Ramen

Ramen is not my favorite dish, but after trying their BBQ Pork Ramen Noodle (AUD 14), I just had to come back the next day for seconds! The soup was thick and tasted like it had liver pâté mixed in the broth (which is what I loved about it). Now that I'm back in Singapore, I'm eating ramen left and right trying to find something that comes close. No luck yet so far.

Queen Victoria Building

The Rocks

We timed our visit to the oldest part of Sydney to coincide with the Foodies Market. It was quite crowded so it would be best to get there before lunch if you want to have a comfortable place to sit down and eat.

Roast Pork Roll (AUD 8)
With slaw, apple sauce, gravy and crackling

The line was very long for this sandwich which is why I had to try it. Hmmm... the crackling was salty and made me wish I had rice instead of bread.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Opera House

What's your favorite place in Sydney?

The Pros and Cons of Living in Singapore

10 July 2014


1. Safe. Anyone can walk alone at midnight and not have to fear for their lives.

2. Clean. Hardly any trash and no graffiti (you could get caned AND jailed for what others would call public art).

3. Efficient public transportation. Cars are not a necessity in the Lion City.

4. There are no hurricanes, tornadoes or flooding. The monsoon season is something you only see on TV.

5. Airline hub. You can fly non-stop to over 120 cities from Singapore and with six budget carriers operating here (Jetstar, Scoot, Air Asia, Tiger Airways, Lion Air, and Cebu Pacific), the travel possibilities are nearly endless.


1. Shopping is a bit on the expensive side. Except for electronics, you can get the same item for less in other countries.

2. Watching a movie? Popcorn with extra butter does not exist here (*sniff sniff*). And while we're at it, pizzas that are overloaded with toppings and oozing with cheese are hard to come by.

3. No such thing as cool weather. Even the Philippines has areas where you will need a sweater from December to February. For example, Manila has had temperatures as low as 18°C (64°F) and Baguio even lower at 8°C (46°F).

4. Big hips, big feet, big problem. In a land where over 90% of the women are slim AND during a time when skinny jeans are in vogue, I have to go to other countries to find something that will fit me. Oh, and many shoe brands don't stock the larger half sizes as the average seems to be a size 5. My feet are 8 ½ (or 9).

5. Dessert is just mildly sweet. I have a huge sweet tooth and I find that most of the desserts here are low on the sugar content. In the mood for a rich and gooey chocolate cake? What you'll likely get is a cake that's a tad bittersweet without much icing.

Fortunately, there's not a lot to complain about around here. Despite its size, there are many things you can do in the Little Red Dot, which is why it's my favorite city in Asia.

What are the things you like (or are not so fond of) about the country you live in?

Canberra: Australian War Memorial

05 July 2014