Feb 22, 2015

Japan Travelogue: Bound for Tokyo Haneda International Airport (23 Oct 2014)

The day before was a hectic one; last minute purchase for my tanner half in preparation for the chilly autumn weather and traveling. Bought a new Crumpler for day carry, Uniqlo's Heat Tech long sleeve shirt and padded long pants, and Cotton On's pull-on cotton jacket for the expected chill in Japan.

We were bound for Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND) from KLIA2 (formerly known as LCCT) via AirAsia. Bought a year in advance, my flight costed RM933, including one-way add-on luggage, 3 meals onboard, return Skybus tickets and normal seat selection fees. Cheap, was the perk; odd, was the time; our flight was bound HND at 2.30pm from KLIA2, touching down at 11.30pm Japan time.

Best Dry Pan Mee @ Black and White Kopitiam
A quick meal of my favorite Pan Mee at Black and White Kopitiam, Damansara Perdana - backing up with some Malaysian food before 11 days of Japanese instead - and a last check of luggage, we grabbed a cab to One Utama and boarded our Skybus to KLIA2. To my surprise, the bus arrived at KLIA2 15 minutes earlier than expected - traveling during non peak hours on normal workdays helped. It was by then 12 noon and we headed straight to check in and patiently waited for our departure.

Terrible Donuts @ Dunkin Donut at KLIA2
Dunkin Donut was few doors away from our departure gate. To be safe, we grabbed a donut and some water for the flight. This particular donut might looked all tempting but felt like few days old. I regretted for even spending both money and calories on this.

Seat Belt On!
Finally, it was time for boarding. It was my first time flying on a huge plane. Clever me selected the last rows of 2-seater near the window to have access to both window and alley, without realising it would also mean we had to wait for everyone in front of us took their seats before ours.

Japan, Here We Come!
It took quite some time before all parties settled down and finally we took flight! I could already feel my grumbling tummy 30 minutes into the flight but I had to distract myself for another 30 minutes before my meal onboard was served!

Pak Nasser's Nasi Lemak on the Sky
My first meal onboard was none other than the much promoted Pak Nasser's Nasi Lemak. Served with Pak Nasser's special chilli sambal and tender chicken rendang, accompanied with traditional condiments of fried anchovies, crunchy groundnuts and half of a hard-boiled egg, I was a little disappointed by the size and outlook of the meal and the meat portion. That aside, it was quite good as far as taste and texture went.

Kimchi Chicken Duruchigi on the Sky
I spent some time reading onboard before sleepiness took better of me. By the time I woke up, it was time for my next meal, Kimchi Chicken Duruchigi. Similar to the Pak Nasser's Nasi Lemak, the size and outlook was equally disappointing. Taste wise, it was not bad though I prefer Nasi Lemak.

Edo Market @ Tokyo Haneda International Airport
After 8 hours of flight, finally, we arrived at Tokyo Haneda International Airport close to 12 midnight. Starving we were. Guided by the airport map and helpful information counter staff, we headed to Edo Market at 4th Floor in seek of food. Most of them were closed, except Setagaya Ramen (5am - 12am). Our thought of exploring other options ended up in vain. By the time we wanted to give it a shot, we were rejected at door.

24-Hour Yoshinoya @ Edo Market
That left us not much choice, at the very least, we found Yoshinoya. Menu was promising, plus they were selling beer for 380yen! We went ahead without hesitation. Best bang for buck so far - we spent a total of 1,380yen for two mains (1 big, 1 medium) and a pint of beer.

Icy Cold Suntory Beer for 380yen @ Yoshinoya
It was hard to say no, both at the price and quality. Served icy cold, this pint of beer was easy and refreshing. Definitely need some of these after a long day in flight. If you do not wish to order any drinks, Yoshinoya does serve free flow of green tea. Help yourself with some!

Medium Stir Fry Pork Don ロース豚丼 for 450yen @ Yoshinoya 
550yen for big, 450yen for medium and 350yen for small, I opted for medium while tanner half opted for big. The only difference was the pork portion. For 100 yen more, you get about 25% more pork, not too bad an idea. Taste wise, it was good, though I wished I had more gravy to soak up my rice.

Everything You Need @ Air Lawson in Tokyo Haneda International Airport
After our satisfying meal in Yoshinoya, we scouted for a quiet place to crash in airport. Yeap, we spent our first night in Tokyo Haneda International Airport - something new and unusual. Our final pick was next to Air Lawson, within close proximity to both necessities and charging station.

Midnight View @ Tokyo Haneda International Airport
So we thought it was a good choice to crash near Air Lawson, it turned out to be rather opposite - airport staff passed by intermittently, escalator kept speaking whenever someone walked near them - too much distraction for a decent crash. I ended up wandering in airport around 3am, which brought me here at the open. Despite the chilly air, condensed breath, I felt peace - it was quiet save for the usual night harmony.

Haneda Nihonbashi @ Tokyo Haneda International Airport
I also stumbled across this Haneda Nihonbashi, which is a miniature version of Nihonbashi in Tokyo. On the wall, you can see 9 different pictures, illustrating different parts of Japan. As much as I wished to understand more, the sign board was all in Japanese (totally beyond my interpretation).

Japanese Modern Toilet Functions @ Tokyo Haneda International Airport
Before it slipped my mind, I must say the toilets in Japan are really awesome - look at those buttons - there are everything you need, from music (to conceal the real businesses), to waterjet and dryer (for your bum) - I was speechless.

Sleeping Time @ Tokyo Haneda International Airport
Okay, time to crash for 4 hours before the real journey began. Stay tuned!

P/S: I tried real hard but truth was I barely slept. What was your experience sleeping in Tokyo Haneda International Airport?

Feb 8, 2015

Singapore Travelogue: A Day at Marina Bay Sands & Pizzeria Mozza (21 Jun 2014)

As a continuation of Day 2 of Food Hunting and Attractions in Singapore, Marina Bay Sands was where I spent the rest of my day, after enjoying some Ya Kun Kaya Toast and IndoBox, and visiting Arab Street and Haji Lane.

Sunny Day at Marina Bay Sands
It sure was a bright shiny day: the sky was all blue without a trace of clouds. The sun was relentlessly hot and I wished I was in Marina Bay Sands Hotel, enjoying the views over a glass of icy cold martini.

Lion Head
Despite the scorching afternoon sun, Marina Bay Sands was no less packed with throngs of tourists, snapping picture after picture with this signature lion head and Marina Bay Sands Hotel at the background.

Icy Cold Golden Ale
Lucky that it was not a long wait. Soon, it was time to retreat to Pizzeria Mozza. A bottle of icy cold Golden Ale would do for now. Light and easy, it was a perfect choice to go with our choice of dishes.

Meatballs al Forno, SGD16
Our first choice of dishes was none other than the antipasti, Meatballs al Forno. Coated in a luxurious golden layer of baked crust that was constructed to the thinnest, all you need is a bite into it and all the flavours encapsulated in the succulent minced beef would be released without any reservation. So complex the flavours yet familiar to tongue. So moist in it yet so crispy around it.  I was awed.

Tricolore with Parmigiano Reggiano and Anchovy Dressing, SGD18
My expectation was skyrocketed with the amazing Meatballs al Forno and yet, I was left to be disappointed with this Tricolore with Parmigiano Reggiano and Anchovy Dressing. It lacked the balance which many salads failed to achieve: yes, too much tricolore, too little dressing and parmigiano reggiano. What it needed was JUST a little more of those.

Goat Cheese, Leeks, Scallions, Garlic and Bacon Pizza, SGD17
Thank goodness Mario Batalli was saved by this unique pizza with goat cheese, leeks, scallions, garlic and bacon. I was totally amazed by the very pizza texture which looked and tasted almost like fried: hollow and airy, yet crispy and soft. While the bacon gave the pizza its savoury end, leeks and scallions gave the pizza its sweeter note, and casually accentuated by the pungent goat cheese. Despite so, there was some flavours missing that could further elevate the excitement of such great pizza.

Night View at Marina Bay Sands
By the time we were done with our dinner, the sky had transformed into a stretch of dark canvas. What accompanied the dark canvas was the bright buildings and cold evening breeze. It was a tranquil place to be, sans the crowds, but I knew that they were waiting for something.

Fireworks at Marina Bay Sands
There was some movements on the water as vessels moved into their respective positions and got ready for the show. Shortly after, the night sky was graced by the beautiful fireworks that grew in size and colours. Despite the cliche, it was the close distance viewing that mattered.

Pizzeria Mozza, will ya?
IN SUMMARY, my personal dining ranking based on following criteria are:

  • Ambiance - 5 out of 5 (Cozy setup for some pizza and beer) 
  • Price - 4 out of 5 (Worth every dollar paid!)
  • Food - 4 out of 5 (It would be a 5, without the Tricolore with Parmigiano Reggiano and Anchovy Dressing)
  • Verdict - Both eye opening and awe seeking dining experience. Wouldn't mind another pizza from Mario Batali :)

Pizzeria Mozza
10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore, 018956
Operation Hours: 11.30am - 10.00pm (with exception on Fridays and Saturdays), 11.30am - 11.00pm (Fridays and Saturdays)
Tel: +65 6688 8522

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