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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.

Friday, November 3, 2017

9 Days Iceland Summer Road Trip Itinerary: Day 6 & 7 - North Iceland

North Iceland is home to two magnificent waterfalls (save the best for the last eh) and the Mývatn geothermal area. Wake up early on Day 6 to prep yourself for what's to come. Lady M and I headed to the supermarket, Bonus, in Egilsstaðir to get some bread, juice, yoghurt (and chocolate) - yeah that's like our standard road-trip snacks. It's a 2 hour-plus drive to the day's first attraction - Dettifoss, so you better be prepped.

The largest waterfall in Europe
Egilsstaðir > Dettifoss (2 hours 10 mins)

Besides carrying the title of the largest waterfall in Europe, do you know that Dettifoss is known as "the beast" as compared to Godafoss, which is "the beauty"? People have told us that Dettifoss is so powerful that you will hear the gush and feel the tremble of the ground before you even come close to the waterfall. Well, there might be some exaggeration on the "tremble" part, but I shit you not, this waterfall is crazily strong with an average of 96,500 gallons of water crossing its bow every second! Most paths to Dettifoss are gravel roads (meaning unpaved), but the journey is definitely worth it.

Trivia time! If this waterfall looks a tad familiar, it has appeared in the opening scene of Alien: Prometheus (2012), where the pale-looking being swallowed some shit and fall into the fall. Fall into the fall (see what I did there?)
Would you just look at the mist?

Friday, October 27, 2017

9 Days Iceland Summer Road Trip Itinerary: Day 5 - East Iceland

On Day 5, we explored Eastern Iceland with the intention of self-taking our pre-wedding photos and my engagement proposal. Since the drive was short, we decided to wake up slightly later and had the best breakfast we had at our Airbnb's host with servings of cheese, jam, salami, smoked salmon and bread. The best thing? It's free of charge!

Airbnb (Þjóðvegur) > Egilsstaðir (2 hours)

It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining with the cold winds. Without much hesitation, we began to make quick stops in between the drive towards Egilsstadir for our DIY photo shoot.

Friday, October 13, 2017

6 Superfoods That You Should Be Eating More

Happy Friday! This week's guest post is by Susan Conley from Cook the Stone ( who is kinda a superfood-manic. I am pretty sure you have heard of superfood before, let's see what Susan has to share about these superfoods that you should be eating more.

The term “superfood” has been abused as of late. Whenever there’s a new food supplement introduced in the market, expect its makers to label it as a superfood to highlight its nutritional value. But this trend should not make you cynical of foods that are in reality packed with all sorts of nutrients that can keep us healthy.  In this article, I will list down some of the true-blue superfoods that everyone should be eating more of.

1. Eggs

Source: Huffington Post

Do you love eggs? Let me tell you something--- I can’t have breakfast without it. Whether it’s a sunny side up or scrambled eggs, I should always eat eggs in the morning. Why? Not only because it’s delicious; eggs are also very nutritious. 

A large egg contains high levels of iron, selenium phosphorus and vitamins A, B2 and B 5. It also has choline, a nutrient that supports brain function. It is also rich in two antioxidants that promote good eyesight—zeaxanthin and lutein.

And don’t worry as eggs won’t cause heart disease unlike what your folks used to believe in.

Friday, October 6, 2017

9 Days Iceland Summer Road Trip Itinerary: Day 3 & 4 - South Iceland

South Iceland brings the most scenic attractions to almost every itinerary in Iceland. Wake up early, prepare yourself as you drive along Route 1 for a myriad of amazing sights - waterfalls, beautiful towns and beaches. 

Our first stop: Seljalandsfoss 
Airbnb (Selfoss) > Seljalandsfoss (55 mins)

Or better known as the waterfall that you can walk behind or the "I'll Show You" by Justin Bieber's waterfall. Whatever it is known as, you can't deny the breathtaking views of Seljalandsfoss, even from the Ring Road. In September 2017, the waterfall was temporarily closed due to falling rocks. After all, it is Mother Nature and she's pretty temperamental, so take caution especially if you're walking behind the waterfall!
Here's some tip for those who want to walk behind the waterfall:

Friday, September 29, 2017

Snacking around the World with DreamBox

Ever had the feeling of returning back to Singapore and missing all the great overseas snacks you had? I definitely do, and I thank God for DreamBox, a local initiative by two students - Simon and Joshua - who aim to deliver snacks from all over the world to your doorsteps. Every month or so, they will scout the world for delectable sweet and savoury snacks. For the month I got my starter pack which consists of 5-6 snacks, you can probably guess that it's annyeong-Korean-hasaeyo time.

Friday, September 22, 2017

9 Days Iceland Summer Road Trip Itinerary: Day 2 - The Golden Circle

Day 2 of our road trip brings us around the famous Golden Circle before heading to Selfoss for the night. If you have not heard of the Golden Circle, it is actually a popular route that tourists take for a day's trip. The total distance is approximately 300km (about 3.5 hours drive) and the loop starts and ends at Reykjavik. Major attractions include the Þingvellir National Park, Geysir, and Gulfoss.

Renting a car
There are organised tours to the Golden Circle, well you can, but there's nothing like a self-drive tour which allows you the freedom to stop whenever and wherever you want. For this purpose, Lady M and I (well, mostly me) did a hell lot of research about car rentals, because there are a lot of horror stories about excessive charges about minor damages to the car etc, and for one, we definitely do not want that to happen to us. One of my friends recommended Lotus Car Rental, and we were impressed with the variety and competitive prices (I'm not paid nor sponsored to say this).

Friday, September 15, 2017

9 Days Iceland Summer Road Trip Itinerary: Day 1 - Reykjavik

Iceland, an idea became reality on August 2017. 

Our flight from Heathrow was around 8pm, our bodies beaten from yesterday's 10-hour wedding photoshoot and the earlier shopping trips, but the thought of embarking on this adventure excites us. We booked a round trip with Icelandair for approximately SGD$500 each. They even have a simulation of northern lights within the cabin.

We landed at Keflavik at about 11pm. The skies were still dimly lit because of the midnight sun. The weather? Freezing. Everyone was literally trembling while waiting to board the buses. Surprisingly, you can still see people donned in shorts and carrying shit tons of beer. Here's a tip: Get your trip's alcohol at the airport, but remember, if you drink, don't drive.

Friday, September 8, 2017

9 Days Iceland Summer Road Trip - Guide and Itinerary

Why Iceland?

I never once dreamt that one day I would travel across the magical world of Iceland, also known as the Land of Fire and Ice. Right now, I'm pretty sure that the opening theme of Game of Thrones is playing in your mind now. Let me tell you, the name is darn apt, as active volcanoes and glaciers lay just beside one another in this land of 300,000 people.

I don't even know where to start, a while ago, Lady M and I were planning to explore the outskirts of London - Oxford, Cambridge, York, Windermere. Turned off by the exorbitant rail prices, we looked to explore Dublin, but it looks rather boring. We zoomed out on Google maps, and we saw an island just located 3 hours away from London. We looked at each other, and the next moment, we were booking our air tickets. You know what? We even prepped ourselves by watching "Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and listening "Dirty Paws" (by Monsters and Men) again. Prepped might not be the right verb, but it certainly made us 400% more hyped about this trip.

Seljalandsfoss (don't ask me how to pronounce this)

The idea of travelling the whole ring road may sound daunting, especially those who do not even drive in my homeland (yes, that's yours truly). Oh, for those who have no idea, Ring Road (a.k.a Route 1) is their main road which covers various major attractions, such as Seljalandsfoss, Reynisfjara (black sand beach), Jokulsarlon (glacier lagoon), and Myvatn (volcanic lake). If those attractions sound really unfamiliar, fret not, I will be covering them later on.

Source: zigzagonearth

This Guide

The total duration of our Icelandic trip, or shall I say, pre-honeymoon, lasted 9 days. Although it is possible to cover the whole ring road in a day, you might not want to do that because you will, and I am sure, that you will stop every now and then to enjoy the beauty of this island. We went in the end-summer periods in mid-August 2017, when crowds have started to die down but prices are still considered high. We explored Iceland, starting from their capital Reykjavik and going in an anti-clockwise direction. I hope this guide serves as an overview and valuable add-on for your Icelandic itinerary.

Chillin' at the coast of Reykjavik

Friday, September 1, 2017

Duck and Waffle @ Bishopsgate, London

Widely known as one of the best restaurants in London, Duck & Waffle is a high-end restaurant situated at the heart of the city. Duck & Waffle was the first few restaurants that Lady M and I placed on our makan (eating) list. Despite booking a month ahead, we did not manage to get any slots for dinner so we settled for lunch instead. Yeah, that’s how popular it is, so if you are planning for a romantic dinner, plan ahead.

Besides being a 24/7 establishment (yes, you can still get your fix at 4am), it brings your dining experience to a whopping 40-storey experience. After going through a brief security check on the ground floor, we took the lift all the way up – which was really, really fast – but I mean, who needs to fork out extra for a breathtaking view of London?

Friday, August 25, 2017

Aubaine Selfridges @ Oxford Street, London

One of the first few things that we plan for any overseas trip is cafes, and London was no exception. Lady M and I (well, mostly her) were searching for noticeable cafes when Aubaine appeared on her screen. "Wahhh, let's go this one! The lavenders are so beautiful!" Yeah, that was before we found out that the flowers were wisteria. Fake wisteria. Our hopes were dashed but we still went.

Nestled on the second floor of London's favourite mall, Selfridges, this adorable cafe sits in the midst of luxury brands. Don't worry if you can't afford those shoes, there's always a place for you in Aubaine. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Monochrome Fashion with Claudia & Chernice

The fashion world has seen hundreds, if not, thousands of trends come and go during the last few decades – flared pants, skorts, chokers, and the list goes as long as Singapore’s Hello Kitty queue. Although some of these came back eventually, most died down within a couple of years or so. Yet, there is one trend that never runs out of fashion, and it is none other than monochrome.

On model: Plain Mermaid Dress

Timeless, classic, and sophisticated, yet it holds a powerful and bold statement. Of course, Black-and-white colour palette is nothing new to the fashion world. Simply look at the Hollywood award ceremonies and gala dinners, you will see that huge celebrities strutting their monochrome outfits.
On model: Polo Tees Dress

Friday, July 14, 2017

Walking the Psychology Path in Private University

"Can you tell me what I am thinking right now" is perhaps the most irritable question you would face if you happened to be in the shoes of a psychology student. 

Image source: thedailytouch

I mean, come on, doing psychology doesn't make me psychic, I still need my crystal ball and tarot cards. If you do not know me personally, I am a research assistant in National Institute of Education (NIE) at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) for more than a year. For those who are interested to know more about the life of a research assistant, read on:

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Replacement - Lodge & Kitchen, Johor Bahru

Cafe-hopping in Singapore might burn a hole in your wallet, but at Johor Bahru, you get to leverage on the currency, and yes, that means you get to eat great food at 1/3 the price. On our recent trip, we had plans to visit Coffee Valley, but was disappointed that it was in the process of moving to Sutera Mall (update: they are opened now at Sutera Mall!). We decided to explore around the corner and found another gem - The Replacement instead (how apt, because it actually replaces one of our cafe-hopping location).

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. 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.

Friday, June 2, 2017

13 Reasons Not to Skip Breakfast in Singapore

Breakfast is known to be the most important meal of the day, because of a dozen benefits, such as having a balanced diet for weight loss, better energy and focus for the day. Yes, these are reasons not to skip breakfast, but my reasons are different. I wake up for my favourite kaya toast, you tiao, and nasi lemak. Eh, not that you can't get them after 11.59am, but somehow, just somehow, they taste at least 2.5 times greater during morning.

You see, one of the greatest benefits of staying in Singapore is our multi-racial cuisine. Dim sum, mee rebus, roti prata, you want ang moh (Western) breakfast also can (but not featured here ah). So throw away your nutella sandwich, because here are 13 preferred dishes that a local Singaporean would have for breakfast. Don't tell me otherwise hor, this is from an extensive research conducted by limbeh with three people (my mother, brother, and girlfriend). Mai siao siao.

1. Kaya Toast

I swear, nothing else in this list represents a Singapore breakfast as much as our favourite kaya toast, paired together with soft boiled eggs, and a cup of kopi or teh. The crux of this dish is none other than the kaya, which is basically coconut jam, made of... COCONUT (genius!) milk, sugar, pandan, and eggs. You don't twist, lick, dunk with this, but you can either dip the toast into the eggs (preferred!) or coffee for the extra flavours. Kaya toast is also a popular snack for tea-time.

Recommended: Tong Ah Eating House (Cantonment), Ya Kun, Chin Mee Chin Confectionery (East Coast)

Friday, May 26, 2017

Recipe: Date and Walnut Loaf - Baking with Stevia

It's Friday again! What is better than to welcome the weekends with a freshly baked date and walnut loaf? My dear recently brought some really fantastic dates straight from the Holy Land and I decided to mix it up with some flour and what else, the result? Fragrant, moist, and dense bread filled with a nice mixture of dates, walnuts, chocolate chips and raisins. Doesn't that sound like a bite to take in? 

What's better is that there is zero sugar (and low calories) in this loaf! I'm always sceptical about using stevia as a substitute for sugar, but oh boy, the little tablespoon of wonder is able to replace a whole cup of sugar, you know what that means? 

Yup, that's right - guilt-free pleasures!

For those who are wondering, what is stevia? They are a natural sweetener from the chrysanthemum family and are 200 times sweeter than sugar! Yet, this is way healthier and provides an alternative for people who wants to enjoy sweet treats without compromising on the taste. Sounds pretty crazy yeah. Equal has recently launched Equal Gold, sugar-free and contains zero calories within each sachet. Because of its excellent heat stability and quick soluble formula, Equal Gold is the perfect choice to incorporate into your daily cooking and baking!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Buttercake n Cream @ Sunset Way, Singapore

A few days ago on Labour Day, I was searching for a nice cafe to treat my mother, as a thanks for bearing labour pains. The true meaning of this day is definitely not as such, but I don't think we need a reason to treat our mummies to a meal. To be honest, I have been to Buttercake n Cream quite a few times, and I still constantly mispronounce it as "buttercream and cake". This cafe is located in one of the ulu (rural) places in West Singapore, Sunset Way, and serves affordable food and pretty desserts.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Baking for Dummies - Top 10 Baking Tips

Hey aspiring home bakers, yes you! I mean who doesn't want the magical skill to whip out some aromatic muffins or fluffy cheesecakes out of their very own kitchen for a fraction of the retail price? Be it for self-consumption, sharing the love, or just simply to garner likes on your Instagram (and of course, eat it afterwards), here are some baking tips for you. My friends and some of you have asked me some questions about tips and tricks on baking, and I have compiled them right here - ALL IN THIS POST (so ffs, please stop asking. Just kidding, I love you guys.)

Okay, mai gan jiong (hold your horses), some disclaimers first: I do not claim that I am a professional baker, but just an average dude who spends most of his time in the kitchen other than paktor-ing (dating). I first baked about God knows when, perhaps 10 years ago, and failed terribly in my coconut macaroons. I stopped for quite a while but am back in action since last year. With my experience garnered in this period, I present to you, the first of many (or maybe just one): Baking for dummies.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Recipe: The Most Fluffy Cheesecake Ever

Don't you just adore cheesecakes that wiggle and jiggle like a pair of uh, Jigglypuffs! Okay, I am not talking about New York style cheesecakes, which are much denser and cheesier than their Japanese counterpart. My mother loves cheesecake, but she dislikes cheese - oh, the irony. After experimenting with several recipes, I finally found one that delivers the fluffiest and moist cheesecake. Now you can enjoy homemade cheesecake (and the fun) at a fraction of the price you pay in bakeries!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Ehbuzz - Your One-Stop Portal to Know What's Buzzing

Recently I came across this new portal, Ehbuzz, this one covers various categories such as gourmet, beauty and tech. At Ehbuzz, you would be able to find buzzes a.k.a things to look out for, like food recommendations, promotions and other rave-worthy findings. Maybe you would be like, wah lao eh, another food portal? There's so many around already. You want to find out what's different? Continue reading!

Friday, January 27, 2017

"Yu Sheng" - What to Say When You Lo Hei

Chinese New Year is a great time to put away your diet plans and feast upon the festive goodies. Now, if you are familiar with the local Chinese customs, it is most likely that you have came across this rainbow-coloured dish, which is also known as Yu Sheng (鱼生), or better recognised as Prosperity Toss - Lo Hei (捞起) for the Cantonese. If you would have noticed, people usually recite certain Chinese phrases and sayings while they are adding and tossing the ingredients together.

So which phrases are associated with which ingredients? Let's check it out!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Bravery Cafe @ Horne Road, Singapore

The Bravery Cafe - it has been a while since I been on a cafe-hopping trip, and my recent expedition has brought me to this dainty cafe located at Horne Road. If you have no idea where is that, it is totally walkable (3-4 minute) from Lavender MRT station. When you're strolling along Horne Road, do keep a lookout for an exterior of red and yellow acrylic wall - not really glamourous just like its industrial worn-out interior - but it provides a good environment for a weekend chill out.