Saturday, November 30, 2013

Taska & Tadika Kembangsari: Concert & Graduation 2013

I think by now everyone knows that I make a trip back in November every year. The reason I make this annual trip, or try to, is to be part of our centre's Concert & Graduation, which is the biggest event on our calendar. This year, this event is extra meaningful because it is to celebrate our 20th anniversary.

Mum postponed it to the final week of November, instead of the usual 3rd Saturday of November to accommodate my schedule. I missed not being part of the setting up, especially to be there at the school hall to watch the stage come to live. There is much involved in making a large empty stage fit for a childcare centre/kindergarten concert. Our main props: colourful balloons and long pieces of cloth.

Oh, and lots of wire, fishing line and stainless steel rods.

Not to mention lots of (loud) coordination between the people on the stage, below the stage and right at the top.

We had two staff members and an ex-student who decided to overcome their fear of heights to help with the tying of the cloth.

Slowly but surely, we filled up the airspace and had quite some fun positioning the different pieces of cloth.

Of course, the stage would not be complete if it did not had the theme displayed:

As the children and educators had already prepared the backdrop, we made use of it after we added some glitter to it.

The result was fantastic:

I really liked how the shadow dances as the stage lights switch. From down stage, that depth effect was mesmerizing.

The hall was full for the entire evening, something we are very proud of every year - supportive families who stay till the very end of the event.

After a successful evening, we took down everything the next morning and brought the balloons back to the centre. Like we do every year, we gave the balloons out to the children during the year end party.

Here is to thank everyone who has supported us throughout the years. Honey Bee would not be what it is today without all of you. Thank you!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Kampong Boy

Hurstville is located on the opposite end of town from us and therefore, we seldom visit the suburb. However, whenever we land at the airport, we try to make a short stop there for makan before heading home. One place we finally got to try was Kampong Boy.

Owned and managed by a Malaysian couple with business and finance backgrounds, they have been around for a few years. We saw that they had Claypot Lao Shu Fen ($12.80) on their menu and decided to give it a try. Slightly less oily than Petaling Street's version but lacked the char taste.


One dish recommended by Helen of Grab Your Fork was the Belacan Fried Eggplant ($10.80). We enjoyed it but concurred that it was really oily. However, we also knew that without that amount of oil, the eggplant would not be able to achieve that crispy outside but tender inside effect. It was very fragrant and spicy from the belacan so not for people who can't take spicy.


One dish that had us all excited was Nestum Prawns ($18.80). I think the last time I had Nestum Prawns was back home and that was quite some time ago. The Nestum complimented the prawn to give it a slighlty sweet flavour but with an extra crunch.

We were taken aback by the amount of oil that we saw as the Rendang Beef ($15.80) was placed on the table. Although the beef was tender enough to come off shred by shred, we did not dare to drizzle too much of the rendang on our rice.

Their Cendol Ice ($5.00) was a little disappointing because it did not have all the ingredients typically found in cendol. We also suspected that instead of palm sugar, it was just brown sugar that they used to drizzle onto the cendol, which made it tasteless compared to the original. However, they were pretty accommodating when we asked to add more to it to make it sweeter.

KampongBoy on Urbanspoon

Kampong Boy
370 Forest Road, Hurstville, NSW, Australia
Tel: +61 2 8094 8409
Tuesday to Friday 11:30am to 2:30pm, 5:30pm to 9:30pm
Weekends 11:30am to 4:30pm, 5:30pm to 9:30pm
*Cash only

Friday, November 22, 2013

Shanghai Stories 1938

Shanghai Stories 1938 is the fine dining cousin of a chain called Taste of Shanghai. I did not realise until I read their menu. I let my friend do the ordering, as she was familiar with the food.

We started with a super crunchy House Special Prawn Toast ($9.80), which essentially was like you tiao but with prawn in it. Have too much of this and you would get a sore throat the next day. A tad overpriced, I felt.

As it was my first time trying the Steamed Pork Belly with Cucumber and Garlic ($12.80), I found it a refreshing dish. It felt unusual having to eat pork belly served cold.

The Poached Pork Dumplings in Chilli Oil ($9.80) were slightly overcooked for my liking but had a spicy kick due to the chilli oil.

The Szechuan Grandma Tofu ($17.80) was just average to me and for that price, I have had better.

The most reasonably priced dish of the evening was the Noodle Soup with Snow Cabbage and Shredded Pork ($9.80). The portion was huge, although the soup leaned more towards the bland spectrum. It reminded me of the plain noodles that I have when I fall sick (minus the snow cabbage and shredded pork, of course).

I did not expect the Osmanthus Rose Jelly ($8.80) to be sticky. It tasted more like mochi than jelly but apparently, this is a popular street food in Shanghai.

I left feeling unimpressed, especially with how we had to ask for the same thing thrice and needless to say, the price. Unless I feel like splurging, I would rather dine at Taste of Shanghai and pay less for the same food.

Shanghai Stories 1938 on Urbanspoon

Shanghai Stories 1938
Shops 4 & 6 The Concourse, 409 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood, NSW 2068, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9412 3880, Fax: +61 2 9585 8853, E-mail:
Open daily from 11:00am to 4:00pm and 5:30pm to 10:00pm

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Happy birthday, Mummy and Li'l Bro!

Sigh, yet another year of birthday celebrations without me being home. But at least, I have next year to look forward to!

Here is to wishing my 

Wonder Woman Mummy 

and my cat-loving Didi


Thank you for everything that you have done for me!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lok Lok Dumpling Bar @ Rhodes Shopping Centre

We were unsure of what to have for dinner when we chanced upon a quirky looking place while at Rhodes one evening. Their name caught our attention.

Hm, dumpling for dinner? We approached the counter to have a quick look through the menu.

We liked their wide selection of noodles and dumplings, and not to mention their reasonable pricing. The dinner time crowd kept the kitchen busy and we were lucky to secure a table as someone was just leaving.

As XW is a soup person, she ordered a bowl of Shredded Pork with Chinese Pickles in Noodles Soup ($9.80). The bowl was almost dry, as the soup was flavoursome.

I opted for a bowl of Szechuan Style Noodles in Spicy Sauce with Beef Mince ($9.80) because I felt like something spicy. Mixed the ingredients together and I was a very happy young lady that evening. It was not too spicy and I liked the texture of the noodles. The portion was just right, too.

You can't come to a dumpling bar and not order dumplings, right? We ordered 5-piece serve of Shao Long Bao or Steamed Shanghai Mini Pork Soup Dumplings ($5.80) and were pleasantly surprised. Lots of juice inside the dumplings, full of flavour and had the right level of moist.

We will come here again to try other things on their menu (that is if we do not end up dining at IKEA).

Lok Lok Dumpling Bar on Urbanspoon

Lok Lok Dumpling Bar
Shop 73A Level 1 Food Court, Rhodes Shopping Centre, 1 Rider Boulevard, Rhodes, NSW 2138, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9743 3808
Open daily from 10:00am to 9:00pm
*Free wi-fi throughout the food court

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tian Ci Vegetarian Restaurant

From the exterior of the shop, it looked like any other Asian restaurant with its glowing bright red and green neon lights practically shouting the name of the restaurant into your face.

We were the first ones there that night and were quickly ushered to a table that sat three of us comfortably. They had a pink and apple green interior with some Chinese decorations.

A quick glance over to their handwritten lunch special menu hung on the wall and the Mandarin accent of the lady who ushered us in suggested that the owners or at least the management were Malaysian.

After deciding on chrysanthemum tea for the table, we scrutinised their menu and put in our orders. For entree, we ordered Vegetarian Pumpkin Rolls ($5.00).

We really liked this! In addition to the lovely pumpkin filling, it also had some sweet corn in it, which gave it some texture and added to its sweetness. The skin was crispy, as it was served piping hot.

I am a sucker for real eel and have never come across imitation eel (yes, I realise that they are all made of bean curd but hey, was still intrigued). So, when I saw Veggie Eel with Black Bean Sauce ($16.00) on the list of chef's suggestions, I asked if we could give it a try.

It tasted a little odd. We still finished the whole plate but I did not think it tasted anything like eel. Hm... not quite sure how to describe the taste, really.

The Spicy Eggplant and Minced Pork Hot Pot ($16.00) was a bit of a disappointment. The eggplant strips were too soft and the sauce was not as spicy as we would have liked it.

The dish of the day and one that we recommend is the Bean Curd with Salted Mustard Vegetable ($16.00). The salted mustard vegetable was cooked to perfection and was a good contrast to the soft texture of the white bean curd. The plate left the table empty.

After clearing the table, they served complementary dessert. We did not ask what cookies those were but they were yummy.

Serving daily yum cha, they claim that all their meat dishes are substituted by imitation meat made of 100% natural ingredients such as soy bean. The food arrived quickly, the service was friendly, the place clean and was bustling with activity as nearly all their tables were taken up as dinner progressed (when we left, only 3 of their 12 or 13 tables were empty). They also provide takeaway and catering services.

I think I will be back. :)

Tian Ci on Urbanspoon

Tian Ci Vegetarian Restaurant
1006 Victoria Road, West Ryde, NSW 2114, Australia
Te: +61 2 9874 9197
Sunday to Thursday 11:00am to 3:00pm, 5:00pm to 9:00pm
Friday & Saturday 11:00am to 3:00pm, 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Closed on Tuesday

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bao Dao Taiwanese Kitchen

After a week of soup, porridge and Gastrolyte, we were craving for some proper, solid, flavoursome food. We decided to have dinner at Chatswood because XW needed to replace her phone there. Unsure of where to go, I recalled J bringing me to a small Taiwanese place called Bao Dao and so that was where I recommended.

Located just next to Westfield Chatswood along the same row of shops as Moochi, they had a few tables for outdoor seating and had colourful Chinese paper lanterns aglow indoors.

We were greeted by a very friendly woman, presumably the manager/owner of the place who quickly seated us and handed us the menu. They had an open kitchen concept and we had to place our orders and pay at the counter before food was served.

Ignoring the fact that we were all recovering from a bout of gastroentiritis, we shared a serve of Baodao sticky rice with pork sauce ($6.60). So obvious that this was XW's choice because she's a sucker for sticky rice. It was like our rice dumpling but a healthier version with vegetables.

XW, D and S had Baodao half and half spicy beef noodle soup ($11.00). S had one bowl to herself while XW and D shared a bowl, which they more or less licked clean. They thoroughly enjoyed the soup.

I had a serve of pork sauce on rice ($6.60), which although was small, was just right for dinner. The pork was tender and the pickled vegetables gave it a refreshing contrast in taste.

The one thing I said that we must all have was the gwa bao or pork belly burger ($4.50), which was very similar to those at Ippudo but had a lot more ingredients (minus the mayo that Ippudo uses). This is the must order dish, in my opinion.

When you get bored with all the other places in Chatswood, do consider this place that is tucked away in a corner. Clean, no fuss and friendly, they accept card payments, too.

Bao Dao Taiwanese Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Shop 8, 376 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood, NSW 2067, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9419 6290; E-mail:
Sunday to Wednesday 11:00am to 9:00pm
Thursday to Saturday 11:00am to 9:30pm