Jan 112014


today happens to be my birthday and the start of our latest travel adventure, we left home last night, after a lovely ‘last supper’ with jeremy & leesi, they dropped us at the airport and we headed off to darwin. we had one of the worst flights i have ever had, really bad turbulence due to big thunderstorms in darwin. we ended up circling for an hour waiting for a gap in the storm cells to plonk the plane on the tarmac.

we then had a couple hours waiting in darwin airport before we left for singapore, so i turned 21 again in australia, eventually we boarded our silk air flight to SNG and headed north. after flying through the early hours of the morning we arrived at changi airport at about 7.30am and cleared customs and immigration then stumbled around the three terminals showing kai the airport and filling in a bit of time before catching a bus across to the border, clearing out of singapore customs and immigration and then into malaysia.

the system was as good as i remembered it, you basically hop on and off the bus either side of each border crossing, the bus is automagically waiting for you on the other side, a massive, mobile, seething mass of people relentlessly moving in the same direction, with fast and efficient government employees making the whole thing happen seamlessly and in a timely fashion. (take note australia!)

so by the time we were jumping in a taxi as we exited malaysian immigration, i was in the 3rd country for my birthday, and by this stage feeling a bit second hand! our good fortune was doubled when the hotel informed us the previous guests had already checked out and our 2 bedroom family suite was cleaned and available to check in! so we were able to settle in to our room at 9.30 in the morning which was a great relief after a long night of travel.

we ventured out for brunch and i found a little local restaurant that cooked murtabak daging – one of my favourite morning dishes in malaysia. if you are not familiar its an Indian Muslim wrap. It’s a large, thin, roti stuffed with various meat fillings, along with eggs and onions and then fried on a hotplate. daging refers to the meat being beef. its served with dahl and a couple of different curry sauces, you tear the murtabak into pieces and dip them into the sauces. its simply the best way to start a day!

we then returned to the hotel for a well deserved siesta, there are no photos of the brunch because we woofed it down before i thought of taking a pic! we did some more wandering around Johore Bahru in the afternoon and picked up a bit of shopping. its great to be somewhere where you simply dont see any other tourists and no one humbugs you on the street on in the shops. most tourists dont stop in JB, they stay in singapore and then go straight to malacca, KL or Penang.

tonite we went to a little local food court round the corner and filled up on chicken satays, beef rendang, pork ribs and various vege dishes, all washed down with a couple of carlsberg beers! again i forgot to take photos until the meal was nearly finished, but here is a snap of the mainly empty plates!


time for an early night now, i feel as if my birthday has gone on for about 3 days! we are off to legoland tomorrow which has kai beside himself with excitement, but i know it will be another big day so we need to recharge the batteries.

Jan 172012


whenever i think of indo i think of those wonderful little satay carts with their tiny chargrills, fanned by hand – or in the more upmarket version , a little 12v fan! wonderful, little spicy flavour filled satay sticks with a side of lontong (compressed rice in a banana leaf).

although the standard ones cooked in a marinade of sweet soy and sambal are excellent, today I am whipping up another favourite, minced spiced chicken on lemongrass sticks. the first step is to make up the chicken mix, its just chicken mince with garlic, coriander, chilli, ginger, galangal, kaffir lime leaf, lime rind, fish sauce and some thick coconut milk. i just incorporate the ingredients and leave sit for a couple of hours to let the flavours meld.

you can also prepare the lemongrass for the sticks, i just chop off with scissors and remove any loose leaves to create a neat little satay stick.


serve with satay sauce and rice – i make a coconut rice with a bit of cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, tumeric, and saffron but plain rice is fine if you cant be bothered.

for the food porn addicts there are a couple more images on the gallery, here.