Friday, January 12, 2018

11 MUST-TRY Xi'an Street Food

Xi'an is the ancient capital of China and the start of the silk road, it happens to be also the hometown of my lovely Lady M. We were recently there in November 2017 where we met her relatives, explore the history with all the terracotta and Emperor Qin, and stuff our faces with all the mouthgasm street food. If you have not been to this beautiful part of China, here's a quick summary of the food - most are both spicy and heavy in taste. Yup, all thanks to the influence of their close neighbour a.k.a. Sichuan.

One of my favourite places in Xi'an is the Muslim Street (回民街) - the bustling food haven for both tourists and locals. Okay, maybe more for the tourists. Also translated as Muslim Quarters, this street is open from day till night, with stalls selling all sorts of Xi'an goodies in this really, really long street. 

If you're heading there, here's what you should not miss out! Oh, as with every other food street, there are plenty of stalls selling the exact same thing. Don't know which stalls to buy from? Here's a general rule - Go with the longest queue.

1. Lamb Skewers (羊肉串)

The Chinese pretty much have skewers on everything - chicken liver, beef, quail eggs, and even scorpions, but lamb skewers top the list with its herby, spicy and gamey taste. Most stalls carve the meat literally next to the stall and grill it upon ordering. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Looking back at 2017

Like they always say - in a blink of an eye, it’s the end of another year, again. It seems just perhaps a couple of months since I painstakingly crafted out my new year resolutions, which by the way, are still 50% incomplete. Time flies when you hit 20. At age 26, I finally get the meaning. I used to dread about going school and how slow time passed from term to term, semester to semester. I would countdown to the next December break every year and hoping the year pass as quickly as possible. You know what? Now I wished the opposite. The grass is always greener on the other side, eh? 

They say time passes even faster when you hit 30, and progressively faster after that. Not complaining, at least I am still alive at this stage and that’s one thing to give thanks for. People, especially Singaporeans, like to complain and that’s because we don’t find reasons to give thanks for. We wah lao and wah biang everything. So, here’s my annual attempt to give thanks for:

Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

To the readers of this humble blog,

Here's wishing you a Merry Christmas. Thank you for supporting my content by either reading or even sponsoring Nomsaurus in various forms. 2017 marks the fifth year since I started Nomsaurus for fun at the most unexpected place - my army camp. Without much intention, Nomsaurus has grown from a personal food diary to a place where I share my recipes and travel journals with over 300,000 views annually. Although it's nothing compared to the blog giants, I want to thank you for being here, right here, right now.

From the fullness of grace, we have all received one blessing after another 
- John 1:16 -

Here's to a blessed Christmas. Cheers!

Thomas (salutation: limbeh)

Friday, December 8, 2017

9 Days Iceland Summer Road Trip Itinerary: Day 8 & 9: West Iceland

The whale-watching town
Akureyri > Dalvik (35 mins)

We were recommended by our host to drop by Dalvik before heading west. If we are lucky enough, we may spot a whale coming up to the shore and do its magical thing - spouting water and do a few backflips, stuff like this. Despite keeping our eyes on tour boats, which apparently have the best chances as the locals would have a better understanding where to spot a whale, we did not see Moby Dick, unfortunately. 

Dalvik is a small harbour town, with a few tourist attractions like the museum or swimming pool, or hiking and skiing tours for the sporty.

Journey to the West
Dalvik > Airbnb (3 hours 40 mins via Route 1, 4 hours 10 mins via coastal route)

The drive to West Iceland is going to be one of your longest drive in the whole trip. We continued with the coastal route - and to be honest, there isn't much to see. You'll pass by many small towns, explore, get lost and immerse in the beauty of Iceland, take breaks, breathe.

Friday, December 1, 2017

December Scribbles - 2017

Here am I sitting at my desk in a half-empty office, having a break from prepping for the next meeting, still 80% stuck in holiday-mode from my recent trip to Xi'an, thinking about what to achieve in life, and scribbling thoughts here - which is pretty much the original purpose of having an online journal, isn't it? It's been a while since I have written anything personal - probably an annual habit, and I thought, why not? So here's a break from all the food and travel posts.
Dear reader,

In yet another blink of an eye, we welcome December again - a season of festivity and joy. It's also a period where you sit down, calm your heart and soul, and reflect on the year that is soon to be gone - along with your list of unachieved resolutions. Don't worry, you are not alone, I probably have half of my 30 items still unfulfilled. On a brighter side, January comes and you'll probably have another list soon.

A couple of days ago, we came back from my fiancee's hometown in Xi'an, China. It's a nice, ancient city, a perfect getaway for history fanatics (and foodies - the lamb skewers, nom). We went with the main objectives of visiting her relatives and giving them invites, and to take our second pre-wedding photoshoot. Speaking of which, I am very excited to show you the final products (probably in the next Scribbles). In addition to their professionalism and PS (photoshop) skills, it is not expensive at all at around RMB$4900 (which converts to SGD$1000) and includes a crazy lot of free gifts - some of which we have no idea how to bring to Singapore because of the considerable size. (Don't worry, I will include some posts of Xi'an within the next few weeks or so.)

Over the recent months, Lady M and I have been busy preparing for our wedding in February. We did a checklist - as detailed as we could - and tried to follow as tightly as possible. Thank God that we are not lacking behind much, it seems that there are so many things to do, to get, to settle. The procedures, the finance, the guestlists, the gifts, the decorations, the food, and the list pretty much goes on and on, and on. To be honest, we pray every night that may God pave the way for us and make the preparations a joyful and not an overly stressful process. God is good, even when we fail in so many ways. He is good, all the time.

"December will be magic again."

The sun goes down, and the moon goes up. That is all, folks. Have a pleasant Friday.

nom on.

- Thomas Chan

Friday, November 17, 2017

7 Best JB Cafes That You Can Walk From City Square

Johor Bahru's cafe-scene seemed to be blooming in recent years. The reason is pretty simple - Singapore's cafe food is too expensive. One plate of egg benedict and a cuppa at a decent cafe costs probably SGD$25. With the exchange rate now, that is equivalent to RM$75 and that can settle a pretty good 3-person meal (thank you Malaysia, truly Asia). That's why Singaporeans flock over during the weekends or holidays, and THAT IS WHY JB prices are rising as well. Wah lao. (Sorry ah, limbeh Singaporean so need to complain a bit.)

My mother always told me "ah boy, you siao (crazy) ah, go all the way to JB and eat, worth the time and money meh?" Okay, I don't go to JB all the time. Sometimes, the customs queue is a huge turn-off, but I do catch some movies and restock my own contact lenses there (damn cheap wei - but that's another story). So whenever I'm there, might as well go try cafes, yeah?

No car? No time? No problem. Here are 7 cafes that you can walk from City Square - the mall just after the Malaysia customs (if you're going from Woodlands Checkpoint).

Disclaimer: Cafes are not ranked in any way. Just that the first picture makes a good cover photo.

1. The Replacement Lodge and Kitchen
33, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru

This dainty, modern cafe sits at a prominent spot in Jalan Dhoby (aka Jalan Cafe or Jalan Hipsters, just kidding) and features an exterior of clean white walls - now this is worth mentioning because buildings are generally old and torn down around the area. The design of the cafe is minimalistic - pretty wooden furniture paired with white-washed walls. Sibei hipster.. and so much inspiration for my future home. To start off, The Replacement is seriously, and I'm saying it with a serious face, seriously insta-worthy. OMG, damn it, just look at this.