Tuesday, September 28, 2010

EATZ: Hatched! the perfect egg invasion brunch

Rise and Shine to breakfast all day!
At Hatched, every dish is egg, eggs and more eggs!
Be it boiled, poached, scrambled, baked, omelette, fried or sweetened.
Hatched has got them all!
With just a little cozy space, Hatched is always seeing a crowd anytime.
Run by a family with a father and son taking the helm, Hatched is still very much a family business.

Nothing beats waking up on a late lazy morning and still find a perfect brunch!

Sir Benedict

An English muffin with a slice of Black Forest ham, poached egg, Hollandaise sauce and homemade and greens.

El Chorizo

This could be easily called "Bangers-&-Mash", because of the spicy Chorizo sausage and homemade mash potatoes. Served with scrambled eggs and toast, this is big breakfast!

Pancake Party with Apples
The small portion comes with two thick slabs of heavy pancakes topped with either apples or bananas, served with maple and butter.
That is more than the daily consumption of eggs!
But eggs are good!
Everyone loves eggs!
Everyone will love Hatched!
Hatched is not exactly located in the most accessible of places.
One can easily drive there along Bukit Timah Road and turn in at Evans Road.
Hatched is just located on the other side of Botanic Gardens.
26 Evans Road
#01-06 Evans Lodge
t: 6735 0012/13
url: www.hatched.sg

Photography by William Tan
Copyrights Reserved 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Japan Trip 2010: TAKAYAMA

Japan Trip 2010: TAKAYAMA
The second leg of our Japan Trip is Takayama.
Takayama is not your usual tourist attraction.
We actually deviated from the original to plan to visit Hakone and take on Takayama.
Takayama is a laid back city located among the mountainous Hida region of Gifu Prefecture, where many natural onsens are located.

From where we last left off, Japan Trip 2010: TOKYO,
we took the Shinkansen to Nagoya Station, where we changed to the Hida Wide View train to Takayama.
The Hide Wide View is not a bullet train, but as the name suggests, the cabins are covered with tall and wide window panels, meaning that you get an unblocked panoramic view of the scenery of the country.

Since we were seating at the front of the second cabin, we got a good view of the train control panel. If you didn't know, the trains can be separated and operated independently.

We had our 1000yen bento sets ready for a good ride on the Hida Wide View.

For trigger happy photographers, this ride gives you uninterrupted view of the other side of Japan.

Arriving at Ryokan Odayu Yamakyu.
If you didn't know, a ryokan refers to a traditional Japanese inn, where guests get to experience a true ethnic Japanese stay and sleeping on futon. Reminds me of Doraemon's house.
Odayu Yamakyu is a not too expensive ryokan located farthest away from the train station, but the hospitable owner picked us up upon our arrival.
On our way to the ryokan, we got a brief insight into the small city of Takayama.

We actually requested for meals to be provided.
If you want a true Japanese home style meal, you can have it in a ryokan.
Indeed we had a full course Japanese meal and this is breakfast!
Preserved wild vegetables and boiling miso paste, are definitely what you don't get outside Japan!

Immediately outside the ryokan is where most of the shrines are located.
The shrines in Takayama are generally small and most of them are found along a trial which begins here.

We skipped the shrine trial and decided to explore the city.
In fact, I feel weird calling Takayama a city, when its size is nothing compared to Tokyo.
Hence, I prefer to call it a town.
Takayama is a peaceful, quiet and lovely little town, which we soon explored on foot.
There were no fancy retail malls and western influence, but small traditional wooden shophouses with sustainable trade for the locals.

The main highlight of visiting Takayama is to visit Shirakawa-go. Shirakawa-go is a UNESCO village located among the mountains, where many historical "grass houses" still stand since the feudal ages. You might probably see them in Japan travel brochures and advertisements.
However, getting to Shirakawa-go is not easy. You will need to first get to Takayama, and then get on an hour-long bus ride to the village.

The village is hidden beyond the trees across this river.
Getting across on the hanging rope bridge is the only way across.
Of course there are vehicular roads on the other side of the village.

If you are on a guided tour, getting up to the top is no feat, but if you are like us, we trekked our way up.
The temperature was not exactly fantastic and left us sweating like back home!
However, the effort was worth it.
Breathtaking view of the village from the hill behind the village.
During winter, every grass house will be snow-capped!

The grass houses have thick straw roofs in the shape of "praying hands".

We visited one of the grass house which is now a museum.
There is a small charge for entry, but is worth the visit.

A samurai outfit passed down from the owner's ancestor.

Visitors can explore the 4-story grass house.
Inside the house, you can smell the strong scent of burnt charcoal emitted from the traditional fireplace on ground floor.
If you close your eyes, you can almost imagine yourself transported back in time to feudal era.

From the second floor, you can look through the small window and watch the fireplace.
On the third and forth floor, you can find old tools and accessories that were used in the feudal ages.

This lazy dog watching tourists go by.
We decided to find some food before heading back to bus point to catch the hourly bus ride back to Takayama town.
The prices of food here definitely tends to be more expensive, since this is a tourist attraction.
We could only afford to settle for zaru soba and dumplings!

Remember to take a photo with Sarubobo, a mascot and lucky charm for the folks of Gifu Prefecture.


Back in Takayama town,

Hida beef for dinner!
We know Wagyu beef, Kobe beef, but until you tried Hida beef, you will think all beef taste the same.
I am also surprised that Hida beef does taste better than normal beef, and it is not because of the marinate.

Back at the ryokan.
Sencha and Sweet Potato Dango.

Another full course traditional breakfast.

Sparrows' nest can be found everywhere in Takayama, even in the porch of someone's house.

Granny's handmade mochi are big and soft.
No preservatives, so they can't last till you get home.
These mochi are the real stuff, it is just different from those that you get at souvenir stalls.

A walk in the local morning markets.
No fancy tourist gifts, and just the way the locals shop.

Examples of some old town houses.

A visit to the Takayama floats museum was a must, since we did not visit during the matsuri.
Anyway, it is very difficult to get access into Takayama during the matsuri.
During the matsuri, some of these floats will join the other districts' floats in a grand parade.
These floats date back to the feudal ages, and has been well preserved till this day.
It was said that these floats were also used during war times to show off the troops' strength and morale.

These floats weigh a great deal and needed around 30 men to lift one.
These floats have different platforms that can be collapsed and stored within the base platform itself.
These upper platforms are raised only when they are in the parade.
Believe it or not, these platforms can allow a few men to stand on top of it.

Part of the museum is a shrine as well a gallery of dioramas.

Before departing Takayama, we made friends with this Japanese family on tour to Takayama.
The lovely boy just wants some camera action too.

With our heavy baggage, we hopped on the Hida Wide View and head towards our next stop!

Not to forget our bento sets!

Changing train at Nagoya to the Shinkansen.


Photography by William and Fiona
Copyrights Reserved 2010