The fasting month is always filled with iftar sessions between friends, families and loved ones. I have always hated having to wait / rush when breaking my fast so its either I have proper plans made for iftar or I'll break my fast in the comfort of my own home. I love going to Malaysia though. Not only is their bazaar a hundred times better than Singapore's, their restaurants aren't as packed as it is here too. If you're looking for a good place in Johor Bahru to have your iftar session at, here's one that you can check out.

107, Jln Adda 3/1, Taman Adda Heights, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Opening Hours:
Regular days, 4pm to 10pm daily, unless otherwise stated.
Fasting month, restaurant starts operating at 6.30pm instead.
It's best (and safest!) to double check with them either via Facebook or WhatsApp before coming.


How To Get There
The restaurant is located at Taman Adda Heights, along a stretch of shophouses and landed property. I wouldn't say its easily accessible via public if you're coming in from Singapore (because it will take you more than an hour and multiple bus transfers) but a short trip on Grab or Uber will only set you back by just a few dollars. 

If you are travelling with your own vehicle coming in from CIQ / Woodlands, drive up using the EDL / AH2 all the way til you see exit 255C leading to Bandar Dato' Onn Utama. My brother remembers this route as the "new expressway" route. Hahaha. It will take you around twenty minutes to get there, that is, if you don't take a wrong turn.

The Restaurant
Just like any other restaurant where you wait to be seated, browse through the menu and order through a waiter. Every single time Uncle (the owner) finds out that a customer is from Singapore, he will ask them how they knew about Cookies & Ginger. This restaurant has been around since October 2013 but there was never a huge hype hunt for Cookies & Ginger. Hence, not many Singaporeans came to dine here despite it's affordable price, satisfying food, plus fast and friendly service. 

The restaurant has recently updated their menu online, you can find it here. I wouldn't say that the prices are cheap (Singaporeans only view it as cheap because of the advantage that we have in exchange rates) but it is fairly affordable and reasonable for the quantity and quality of the dishes.

My teammates and I got different dishes each, so that we could have more variety on the table and tried each others' main course. Not everyone is comfortable with sharing their dishes so if this isn't your cup of tea then don't do it - but if you do have close friends like these, get one dish each and you'll get to try everything on the menu for the price of just one dish! 

Watermelon Juice - RM9.00

Hand-Shaken Pina Colada - RM10.10 

Nachos El Grande with Beef Chili - RM15.80 

Level 3 Crazy Hot Buffalo Wings - RM14.40

Original Beef Lasagna - RM22.30

Flame Grilled Chicken Chop with Black Pepper Sauce - RM16.40

Spagetthi with Tom Yam Chicken & Prawn - RM12.80

Flame-Grilled Lamb Shoulder Chops - RM31.80

Pan-Fried Norwegian Salmon Fillet with Black Pepper Sauce - RM26.60

Cajon Dory & Lamb Shoulder - RM27.70

Only for the month of Ramadhan:
  • Restaurant operating hours will start from 6.30pm, instead of 4pm.
  • Reservations can be made at least one day in advance either through Facebook (Cookies & Ginger) or WhatsApp (Natasya +6010 5433 881).
  • You get to enjoy this entrée of Nasi Minyak that includes Ayam Masak Merah, Kurma Daging, Kari Masala Kambing, Acar Nenas, free flow of syrup drink and assorted Malay kuehs for just RM20 per adult, RM15 per child below 12 years old. 

What We Liked:
  • Prompt yet friendly service. 
  • Cosy interior with the high stools and bar concept that looks like a set of How I Met Your Mother.
  • Extremely satisfying food at such an affordable and reasonable price. 
  • Flexible ordering options / customisable sauces for main courses. 
  • The restaurant has both alfresco (smoking area) and indoor dining. 
  • It has its own toilet for customers too.

What We Didn’t Like:
  • There were a few items (like the lasagne) that were selling out when we came. However, we found out later on that the restaurant only keeps a certain amount of meat in their freezer and do note keep them frozen for a long time - this is to ensure freshness / quality of their dishes. 
  • Most of their marketing publicity is being done in Malay, so those who don't speak the language may face a struggle in keeping up with their online updates.

Things to take note,
  • Walk in and dine in only, no takeaway or reservations.
  • Cash terms only, no credit cards accepted as of now.
  • Alfresco dining is open to smoking at the table, so if you're particular about the smell of cigarettes then please dine indoors.

Would I Dine Here Again?
Most definitely. Thank you Uncle Fairus & the CG team for such a good dining experience!

This review was not written under any pressure or endorsement of any of the parties mentioned, and was written under my own initiative. All visuals were taken by Sany Poe and all opinions here are as always, my own, unless otherwise stated. 

Review: Cookies & Ginger (Johor Bahru)

When thinking of a quick visit to Indonesia, most people would opt for the likes of Bali, Lombok or Jogjakarta. Most visitors would make Surabaya a place of transit. Very few would actually jump at the idea of paying Surabaya a visit, thinking that there is nothing much to do here - which makes this authentic city even more unique and underrated than it already is.

Being the second largest city after Jakarta, Surabaya actually has lots to offer, more than you can imagine - but very few would actually crawl out of their comfort zone in going to a place that is less frequented. Here's to trying to break that travel stereotype with 8 reasons why you should visit Surabaya if you ever get the chance! 

1. Cheap Travel Costs

One of pulling factor to get away is when an airline has promotions up for grabs. However, even without travel discounts, it is still much cheaper to travel to Surabaya. as compared to her frequently visited neighbours such as Bali, Lombok or Yogyakarta. With its newly refurbished international airport, there is quite a fair amount of flights, from many different service providers, going in and out of Surabaya in a day.

If you're from Singapore, return tickets would cost you as low as SGD50 per pax. Within the island, you can opt for a ride around on the tri-shaw, regular taxi, motor-taxis or even Uber/Grab your way around. There are also trains readily available to take you to the outskirts of Surabaya.

2. Affordable Accommodation   

Accommodation is also easily available within or on the outskirts of Surabaya. A night's stay in a cosy hostel would cost you as low as SGD8 per person while a night's stay at a well furnished hotel room would cost you between SGD30 - SGD90, depending on how luxurious you would like the space to be.

However, if you're the adventurous type, you can choose to stay in a local home or guest house via airbnb and get an entire apartment or private room for as low as SGD20 per night. You just need to put in a little extra effort and search for the right kind of accommodation that fits both your curiosity and budget😎

P.S. You can save even more on accommodation by claiming this airbnb travel credit

3. Authentic Indonesian Food

Credit: imanueljeff on Instagram

I dare say that one of the main reasons why I enjoyed my trip to Indonesia so much was due to the fact that it was a breeze when it comes to finding halal food as compared to neighboring Southeast Asian countries like Taiwan or Philippines. Be it street food, local stalls (also known as warung in Bahasa Indonesia)fast food franchises or local restaurants - almost everything is edible for us Muslims.

Credit: kulinersby on Instagram

One of the dishes that you have got to try would definitely be the Soto Ayam Ambengan (Ambengan's traditional chicken soup) or my personal favourite, the Sate Ayam Ponorogo (Chicken satay) with peanut sauce. My friends and I had a huge feast every night!

4. Historical Significance

Credit: dianairish7 on Instagram

I did not know this (until my Indonesian friend mentioned it to me), but it is here in Surabaya where Indonesia holds a lot of its history - especially due to the fact that this was where Indonesia had her battle for independence in November 1945. It was the largest battle of the Indonesian National Revolution, so significant that it become a national symbol of resistance and independence for their country.

Credit: rina.choa on Instagram

If you are a History geek like I am, there are many different museums (such as the 10 November Museum or the Surabaya Museum) as well as many different monument sites or war memorials for you to check out and pay your respects to. 

5. Unique Places of Visit

Credit: mahardikaprasetya on Instagram

Apart from the historical places of visit, there are also other unique spots where visitors can check out. One of the more unique museums that they have here is called the House of Sampoerna - a cigarette factory that turned into a tourist attraction, solely dedicate to showcasing one of Indonesia's most famous kretek cigarette manufacturers. You don't have to be interested in the tobacco industry to find this place interesting, the whole Sampoerna empire will explain itself.

Credit: tuabaru on Instagram

Another one worth mentioning is the Monkasel, otherwise known as Monumen Kapal Selam or the Submarine Monument. It is actually the KRI Pasopati 410 submarine (one of the Indonesian Navy fleets, built in the Soviet Union in 1952) that was taken apart into sections, brought to shore, pieced back into its original shape and then turned into a monument as a tribute to the Indonesian heroes from the Battle of the Arufura Sea. 

6. Masjed Muhammad Cheng Ho

Credit: windiyulia on Instagram

Surabaya is home to many Chinese Muslims and this mosque was named after Admiral Cheng Ho, who was believed to have been the one that brought the teachings of Islam to Indonesia’s Chinese Community.

Credit: Adib Wahab on Flickr

Having been brought up in Singapore and Malaysia, I have never seen a mosque as unique as this, not even while I was in China! I have never seen a mosque as unique as this, not even while I was in China. The mosque is mainly in the colour red, green and yellow - predominantly resembling Chinese architecture. How unique!

7. Suroboyo Carnival Park & Night Market

Credit: Ilham Ageng on Flickr

The first theme park in Surabaya that showcases both traditional and modern entertainment at a really affordable price. I would think of it as the Indonesian version of Luna Park in Australia.

Credit: richardvsw on Instagram

There are approximately 25 different rides and attractions, a whole long row of carnival games and food, a Family Fun House, magic shows, a mini circus, it's own archery range plus even meet and greet sessions with different characters. The best part? You get to experience all that with an entrance fee as low as SGD8 per person!

8. Mount Bromo 

Credit: Andreas Hunziker on Flickr

I'm sure most of you have heard of this beauty. The cheapest way would be for you to take a train or bus from Surabaya to Probolinggo and then continue on to Cemoro Lawang, a town at the base of Mount Bromo.

Credit: Wasin Waeosri on Flickr

The whole journey would take approximately 3 - 5 hours, depending on the time spent waiting and in traffic. However, if you are planning to pay Mount Bromo a visit, I would suggest to dedicate two days just for this. The first day for the visit to this stratovolcano itself and the day after to hibernate in bed from all the workout.

Credit: lightsray on Instagram

A unique experience would be for you to go on the Bromo Midnight or Sunrise Tour. You can either conquer the tracks on foot or (if you're as lazy as I am) ride a jeep all the way up to the crater. It is beautiful beyond words to be able to see the view at sunrise but then again, who am I kidding? With such an amazing creation of His, any time of the day would still be scenic to our eyes.

“No place is ever as bad as they tell you it’s going to be.” – Chuck Thompson

So the next time you find yourself contemplating on where to travel for a short getaway or feel like you have ran out places to visit for a short getaway over the long weekend, try Surabaya.

Now that you’re done scrolling to the end of the page, what are you waiting for? Stop eyeing that flight ticket and just, go. Safe travels, always! ♥

8 Reasons Why You Should Visit Surabaya

It has almost been two months since I last travelled out of the country (I go to Johor more than twice a month but that doesn't count) but after talking to Am last night, I found myself craving for good authentic Thai food and a spontaneous adventure all over again. It has definitely been awhile. So I thought, what better way to get over the wanderlust than to talk and write about it, right? Right. 

Without further ado, here's a completely unhealthy food post of what Am and I consumed over the days spent in Phuket - and boy, did we consumed a lot of fatty foods. If you're famished and reading this from the office without any access to yummy, greasy goodness - I suggest you press Alt + F4 right now. 

We only spent 250 baht (SGD10.10) for this meal at the Malin Plaza night market. Here's how our meal typically looks like and most of the time / as usual, I will always not finish my portion. I know, right? I'm surprised how I can possibly be so chubby too. Sometimes I pity whoever it is that goes out to eat with me but most times, I'm just thankful they have the tank capacity of titanic. 

Chicken Cutlets - 50 baht (SGD2) & Tempura Shrimps - 100 baht (SGD4) // I couldn't resist these giant chicken and shrimp pieces. You simply pick the plates that satisfy you in terms of size and appearance, and then let them refry them to make it even crispier. Plus, where else on earth can you get them at this price?! 

Street Cart Coffee - 25 baht (SGD1) // Every morning (or whenever we are cranky and thirsty) we would go in search of these side cart coffees selling drinks in a huge 1-litre plastic cup. Specifically, the ones in these gigantic cups. 

Chocolate Cookie Rolled Ice Cream - 45 baht (SGD1.80)

Coconut Ice Cream - 30 baht (SGD1.20)

One of my cranky nights and Am went, "you need your coffee" so we crashed to Starbucks (because it always feels like home to me), grabbed a drink each, sat down on the comfy sofas for almost an hour without saying a word to each other. Now that I think about it, I forgot what I was angry / annoyed / complaining about. Hahahaha. 

If you watched our vlog from day two, you would have seen the pretty front lawn that we stumbled upon and enjoyed this scrumptious home cooked meal from the generous owners. In all honesty, this was the best Pad Thai that I've ever tasted in my life. I still think of it whenever I'm craving for Thai food.

Am had this plate of some beef dish and rice. Meh. My Pad Thai was much better. 

The last time I was in Phuket with Fizzy, we frequented Malin Plaza quite a lot too, and Am loved this place just as much so we came back again for dinner on a different night. Again, we spent around 250 baht (SGD10.10) in total for all these yummy dishes. 

On our last day, we rode our bikes to find a place to have breakfast at and stumbled upon this whole stretch of Muslim food stalls over in the Kamala / Kathu district. Man, did we enjoy all of the goodies here - of course, again, with our gigantic cups of iced coffee and milk tea for 30 baht (SGD1.20) each.

Fried Chicken - 15 baht per piece (SGD0.60)

Packed rice and dishes - 20 baht per packet (SGD0.80)

I can't give an exact address but it is on the right side of the highway linking Kamala & Kathu, and their target audience were factory workers from the nearby construction sites - which is probably why we were the only tourists there and everything that was being sold here were mostly by Muslim vendors and at half the price of what was sold at Malin Plaza. How awesome is that?!

A hearty breakfast indeed. We sure didn't regret skipping the hotel's buffet breakfast for these. 

Shaved Ice with Syrup - 20 baht (SGD0.80)

Am and I try as much as possible to avoid restaurants but on our last day, we found ourselves stranded along Patong Beach with no transport to get us to the airport on time for our flight and what with all the rush and stress, we decided to indulge a little and have a hearty meal at this fancy-shmancy pizza-hut looking restaurant with free wifi. 

Well, that's the end of this fattening post. I started this series specifically for my friends who kept asking, "where's this place" every time I post something on snapchat or instastory - especially while in a non-Muslim country. There are a lot of options available if there are absolutely no halal food to be found. For example, making your own home cooked food, bringing your own cup noodles from home, vegetarian food, Muslim-owned stalls, etc. But this is of course, to each it's own and that is why this series is called "what we ate" and not "what to eat" while in whatever country. Hehe. I hope you've enjoyed feasting your eyes over all the yummy pictures as much as Am loves eating / I love compiling posts of things I ate overseas. Eat well and travel often, everybody! 

What We Ate In Phuket

I haven't been writing anything on here for quite some time now and I am fully aware of this. I don't even know if anybody still reads this space or even wonder where I've been, but heck it. I thought I'd do what I always do back when I was fourteen - sit down, face the screen, and punch in whatever my brain tells my fingers to do. It does help that it feels really good to be typing with a fresh set of keys, though. It is in moments like this that I try to get my inspiration and passion for writing, and I must say, I think it's working.

Well, life has been kind of weird lately - somewhere between positively / negatively overwhelming because at the same time, it feels like nothing is wrong yet nothing is going perfectly right either. It's completely weird. Or maybe, I'm just completely confused. Whatever. Well, this feeling isn't entirely new to me, but the past weeks have just gone by like a blur and I need to find a way to get my life back in order.

So life lately has been about:
  1. Finally getting my wrecked laptop replaced. Oh, it feels so good to be typing on a new laptop.
  2. Having dinner and spending time with friends / teammates / the girls. 
  3. Making plans and setting goals, and actually following through with them. 
  4. Attending events and meetings, slowly making things legitimate. 
  5. Learning to listen to myself better in order to make sense of things. 
  6. Falling back in love with event and street photography.
  7. Getting back on the fitness track and taking proper care of my body.
  8. Finding peace in solitude and finally being okay with spending a lot of my days alone. 
  9. At the same time, learning the hard way that the only person who won't let me down is myself.
  10. Binge watching 2 Broke Girls, Love Vivy and Girl Boss. I love the subliminal self-empowerment message from these shows.
  11. Envisioning (or more like day-dreaming about) the business space that I will one day have. 
  12. Falling in and out of love with the same person the past year, but at the same time learning to accept the fact that you cannot force someone to love you if they don't.  
  13. Finding it hard to swallow that despite whatever I say about freelance being the ideal job that pays a hell lot for short hours, it isn't consistent enough to keep me stable. I have always dreamt of having my own business but until then, I actually do need a full time job.

Sigh. This is why I write. To remember the tiny milestones that happen in my life - every break up, every foul day, every accomplishment. It has never mattered to me whether or not anyone was reading my blog - I write for my own sake, and keepsake. I started this blog merely for it to be a space where I track my adventures and misadventures - and that is what it will continue to be. Having people read them is just a bonus that makes my day even better, so to anyone of you reading, thank you. It really means a lot. 

Life Lately: Where Have I Been?

If you follow me on social media, you would know that my boyfriend, friends and I are all very involved in this unique sport called foam archery. It is still relatively new but there has been tournaments held quarterly, a major league annually and countless of team bonding programs for schools and corporate clients weekly. It isn't established, yet, but it is really heart warming to see how much this sport has grown so far. 

Earlier this month, A and his foam archery team had a free open session to introduce this unique sport to the public over at Tampines North CC. Our cute little foam archery community is still trying to spread the joy of the sport to the rest of Singapore and it was eye opening (and pretty impressive / inspiring) how my friends were able to share their knowledge with so many of these new enthusiasts who attended the free session.  

An Introduction to Foam Archery

It has been a tiring and trying month, no doubt. I have been waking up this past few weeks with no sense of direction nor inspiration whatsoever. Today, I dragged myself out of bed and then to work, just to spend my Sunday at work staring into space, and then rereading some of the old posts that I wrote the previous years. I was bored as hell but then, I came across this particular paragraph from a post that I wrote in 2015:
I read somewhere that when two people get into a relationship, they need to be two different wholes that come together. You should not expect your partner to complete you, you complete yourself. It is like a mathematical graph where two circles overlap in the middle - and right there, that overlapping area is where the two of you are infinite.
Being with A has made me more independent than I actually am. As alpha as I try to be, I am still a cringe-worthy twenty four year old who sometimes break down and wish that her other half significant other is instantly available to hold her hand whenever she feels the lack of self love. I just wish we can skip all the adapting stages and get to the destination where everything has settled down, and so have we, with the dream house that we always talked about and pursuing a career that we both love. But obviously, there is no such thing as a fast forward button, and no such thing as a luxurious life without putting in the effort, first. 

With A, I learnt that while here I am, trying to figure my life out, there he is trying to grasp the concept of adulting too. We are both stressed out and extremely overwhelmed with so many things on our own plate, honestly most days, our relationship is the last thing I think about. We are both burdened by a gazillion things but at the end of the day, I'm just glad I have someone who replies to my good nights and tells me to stay safe. Sometimes you don't need a fairytale bliss, you just need something just like this. Ironic, how he is the younger one in this relationship, but definitely the wiser one too. Haha oh well.

Anyway. A third of the new year has crept up and zoomed by without me accomplishing anything worth writing about. Nonetheless, I have a really strong feeling that 2017 is going to be yet another roller coaster, but a ride that is gonna be worth every second of, for the future. Let's be more productive from today, for our own sakes.

Have a good end to April, everyone. 

A girl can dream.

What an eventful weekend it has been. Without a doubt, this has got to be the most challenging yet memorable season for me - and I am not just saying that because my idol is now my number one fan - but it really was such an eye opening season for so many reasons. 

A few days before the competition date, I finally passed my coaching assessment. A day before the competition, I got to spend some time with A and then went to watch the Power Rangers movie with his teammates (who happens to be my opponents in the arena, but my good friends by heart) and then had a staycation with my own team after. 

Over the two competition days, I felt like rolling pin going all over the event space. I got the opportunity of coaching two amazing teams. At the same time, played in a completely new team, spent almost seven days straight with the Team Happy Happy Je family, watched my friends make it to the finals, and became the most supportive girlfriend that I could be, watching my better half not only play, but perform in the sport that he loves so much - alongside friends that he regards as family. What a great weekend it was, indeed. 

Archers At Base

Well, who would've thought that I'd stick to something this long. The blogosphere has evolved in ways I never would've imagined. While I agree that everything that goes online has to be curated and content creators cannot be as transparent as they wish to be in a country as systematic as ours, I guess I just needed to remind myself of why I started blogging in the first place. 

Three cheers to ten years.

I have always wanted to explore Phuket on two wheels and make all of the island view points our pit stops. I never got the chance to do that when I visited in 2014 (because of the accident) but this time round, instead of succumbing to the usual touristy activities, we decided to make use of the money we initially set aside for tours to renting two bikes instead of one, and indulging in all the food we could possibly consume and stopping anywhere we thought was nice for a scenic picture - at our own time and pace. Best, decision, ever.

Exploring Phuket On Two Wheels

© Nurul Mimsy | A Visual Diary