As we enter Al Ain, I can see why the city is dubbed as oasis city or garden city. The city is indeed a green oasis amidst the bare desert, worthy of its title as one of the UNESCO Heritage Site.
Al Ain is part of Abu Dhabi region, as we are coming from Dubai, we need to pass by a checkpoint where we have to show our Al Hosn apps and do an EDE scan. For vaccinated individual, we need to have PCR done within 14 days and for the unvaccinated, PCR test has to be within 96 hours of entry.
We make our way to Al Ain Zoo, greeted by the giraffe, hippopotamus, white tiger and many more. I am really glad we gave Al Ain Zoo another chance. Our first visit to the zoo was not pleasant as we missed out quite a big part of the zoo and saw mainly the oryx and gazelle, and with the scorching sun, it did not help.
TIPS: Do check out the map and make a right at the entrance to check out some of the cool animals before going to the right side where most of the animals are located. Also, as most of the zoo is not shaded, it is definitely a good idea to visit when the weather is cool. It was 17-25 degree Celcius when we visit.
We had our lunch at the Zerafa Restaurant inside the zoo, and the prices are really reasonable. The avocado juice is great and fried chicken is pretty yummy too!
One of the highlight for the kids were the petting zoo, and there are lots of grounds for kids to run around and picnic can be a good option too. The zoo is still undergoing extension and we could see koala, elephants and gorilla coming soon!
Personally, I really like the big cats exhibit where the white tiger, lion, King Kong , and jaguar roaming around. This is another good reason to come in the winter as these big cats does not sleep as much and really walking around, being active.
Time pass really fast and we actually spend a good 7 hours in the zoo, having fun!
Open 9am to 6pm daily, definitely recommended to visit if you have not done so. The entrance fees are super reasonable at AED 31.50 for adults and AED 10.50 for kids 3-12 years old. If you fancy to feed the giraffe, you can do so at an additional AED 31.50 for 4 pax!
Don’t forget you need GREEN AL HOSN to enter the zoo!
We left the zoo at 5pm, heading to check in our hotel at Aloft Al Ain, just 20 minutes away from the zoo. The room is really spacious and modern. Despite not having much facilities in the hotel, we had a really nice stay. Breakfast was not included when we book our room, but upon checking in, we were offered a breakfast deal of AED 40 for adults and kids under 12 eats for free. If you do not fancy the hotel food, there is a good selection of restaurants within walking distance from the hotel. We had dinner at Ziryab followed by desert at Lore. I have to give 5 thumbs up to PULL ME from the dessert menu, definitely one of the most amazing dessert I have ever tested. Their kunafe cheesecake is amazing as well.
The next day, we headed to Jebal Hafeet, the second tallest summit in UAE, but I was quite disappointed as there is no hiking trail on the mountain. I am guessing it is because it is very near the UAE Oman border, hence not advisable to hike around there. They are still constructing the area, so the rest area are under construction. There is no toilet at the submit (at the moment) despite having a small coffee shop. We had ice cream and it is very good price (AED 25 for 4 ice cream at the top of Jabal Hafeet). At the foot of Jabal Hafeet, there is a public park/hot spring but it was not open until 3pm on the day we were there. Seems like it is always only open late afternoon.
Hence, we decided to check out the camel market, yes you heard it right. A camel market, selling camels, for their meat, milk or for pet?
We ended our day checking out Jebel Hafit Desert Park. There is a couple of hiking trails, mountain biking, camel riding and one can even do staycation in the cool looking star bubble clamping tent! The entrance to the park is at AED 20 per family or AED 10 for adults, AED 5 for kids. We reached close to sunset so decided to give this a miss and keep the fun for our next trip down to Al Ain.
1. 500g of skinless chicken thigh (cut into small pieces)
2. 4 tbsp of hoisin sauce
3. 2 tbsp of oyster sauce
4. 2 tbsp soy sauce
5. 4 tbsp sugar
6. 2 tsp dark soy sauce
7. 1 tsp sesame oil
8. A dash of white pepper
Frying the fillings:
1. Some oil
2. 6 cloves of garlic, minced
3. 4 small shallots, minced
4. 100g of green pea
5. 3 tbsp of tapioca flour plus water
WHAT TO DO: In a frying pan, add oil, then stir fry the garlic and shallots until fragrant, add meat. Fry until cooked, add green pea. When the mixture is less watery, add the tapioca flour with water. it will instantly become very sticky. Let it cool down.
For the water dough:
1. 200g all purpose flour
2. 20g sugar
3. 35g unsalted butter, melted
4. 15g cooking oil
5. 90ml water (+/-)
6. 1/2 tsp baking soda
7. 1/4 tsp salt
8. 2-3 drops of red colouring
WHAT TO DO: Mix all together and let the dough rest for 10 mins. Then cut into smaller piece, and follow the YouTube video on how to make.
For the oil dough:
1. 100g all purpose flour
2. 55g unsalted butter, melted
3. 15g cooking oil
WHAT TO DO: Mix all together. Then cut into smaller piece, and follow the YouTube video on how to make.
Add egg wash and bake in oven preheated at 180 degree C for 15 minutes. Then remove from oven. Add another layer of egg wash, sprinkle some sesame seeds, bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown.
I have seen a couple of people sharing Crescent Moon Lake photos using drone and they always look amazing. The fact is the lake really look amazing from above due to the shape and colour.
This is the aerial view we took using our Mavic Mini 1 on 10th September 2021. If you look carefully at the main crescent structure, in the water, the lake is surrounded a thin layer of sand and in the middle of the lake it is all dark green and this is due to the algae growing in the water. Whereas, at the secondary structure in the middle, it is mainly sandy and with a little algae growing in the middle and hence, not as dark green as the main structure.
This is our second attempt to go here and we are glad that it was a success. This area is accessible using 4WD as some part of it are off road and on windy sandstorm day, the sand build up on the road can be quite significant , hence increasing the difficulty to reach the area.
If one would like to come, do choose a day where there is no sandstorm and come in the daytime before it gets dark. There is no clear signage so if you put in Crescent Moon Lake in google maps, follow the main road to Qudra area and there will be an area of Onyx enclosure and that’s where u start to go a little off road. Be careful as the sand build up may be thick or thin depending on weather etc.
The lake is smaller than we had expected and to be honest, the view is not as great as seen from above. Attached are some view we had while we are there. I am lucky to get some sunset shot which are amazing.
I have seen many people going off road into the sandy area further down the lake and it might be a great adventure for those who are adventurous.
1. 1.5kg Glutinous rice (soak overnight, sieve to remove water)
2. Shallot fry in oil
3. 1/2 soup spoon of white sugar
4. 1/2 soup spoon of white pepper
5. 1/2 soup spoon of coriander powder
6. 4 soup spoon of fish sauce
7. 5-6 soup spoon of mushroom water
8. 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce
9. 5 tbsp of soy sauce
WHAT TO DO : Soak rice overnight, sieve. In a frying pan, pan fried shallot in oil until fragrant then add rice and all the flavouring, fry the rice until dry.
1. 1kg 250g of pork
2. 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce
3. 4 tbsp of soy sauce
4. 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil
5. 1/2 tbsp of white sugar
6. 1/2 cloves of garlic, minced
7. 1/2 teaspoon of five spice powder
WHAT TO DO: Marinate overnight
1. 20 pieces of mushroom, wash and soak until soft (keep the mushroom water)
2. 1 tsp of fish sauce
3. 1 cup of mushroom water
4. 1 tsp of white sugar
5. a dash of white pepper
6. 3 tbsp of oyster sauce
WHAT TO DO: Soak mushroom until soft, then add the flavourings and fry until dry.
1. 2/3 cup of dried shrimps, soak and blend
2. Shallot, garlic, dried chilli, soak until soft– blend all together
3. A stalk of lemon grass
WHAT TO DO: In a pot, stir fry blended shallot, garlic, chilli with the lemon grass until fragrant. Remove the lemon grass and add dried shrimps. Fry until fragrant.
1. 250g chestnut
2. 1 tbsp of white sugar
WHAT TO DO: Wash and boil in water for 5 minutes, then switch off the heat and leave it in the pot for 10 minutes. Remove any red lines or impurities, then stir fry with sugar until sugar melted.
SALTED EGG YOLK
1. 12 chicken egg
2. 500g of salt
3. 4 cups of water
4. Large glass container with lid
WHAT TO DO: In a pot, add water and salt, cook until the salt melted and starts to crystallise, this shows that the salt water has reached saturation point. Remove pot from heat and let it cool down to room temperature. Wash the eggs and place them into the glass container. Slowly pour the salt water and salt crystals until all the eggs are submerged. Cover and keep in cool dark place for 3 weeks. Once ready, wash the eggs, dry them and place them in fridge.
BLACK EYE PEAS
1. black eye peas
WHAT TO DO: Soak overnight.
Wash and rinse in hot water to clean the leaves.
Follow this video as visual aid on how to wrap them:
A couple of friends and me tried MasterChef Business Lunch menu and it exceeded our expectation. We went with an open mind and the flavour is really very interesting, definitely open up our mind on the limitless possibilities of food.
Located in Millennium Place Marina, this is the only restaurant in the hotel. Although the place is not big, it is very cosy and feature an open kitchen where we could see the chef at work. The staff greeted us warmly and show us to our seat. We were served tap water (which is really rare in Dubai) so that we could hydrate ourselves while looking at the menu to choose our food of the day. There is 3 of us and as Asian, we like trying different food so we ordered three different starter, main course and dessert to share. Their drinks menu are also reasonably priced with mocktails, tea and coffee priced between AED 20-30.
We started our meal with three amazing starter.
First starter: Grilled Figs, Halloumi & Roasted Hazelnut
This salad is very special, I can taste some flower-y and I am guessing it is jasmine. The figs are fresh and the nutty makes the salad crunchy.
Second starter: Pink pepper spiced prawn
Smoked cauliflower, grilled prawn with brown butter sauce. What surprise us is the fried parsley on top which is very flavourful and crispy, add a different layer to tantalise our taste bud.
Third starter: Roasted King Oyster Mushroom
This has to be our least favourite starter. There are too much spices to our liking ,although the pomegranate does makes it sweet and helps a bit.
Next, moving on main courses:
First main course: Pan fried roasted seabass
This may look normal but it is our favourite main course. The hit with this is how the seabass is pan fried to perfection. The skin is crispy and the meat is juicy. Coupled with the sauce and vegetables, definitely our favourite dish for the day.
Second main course: Short Rib Beef Rendang
We had high expectation for this dishes but were quite disappointed as the rendang is not what we had expected. We had a hard time guessing the vegetable that were served with it, although we narrowed it down to green mango and Seng Kuang.
Third main course: Salmon Fillet and Mushy Green Bean
There is no surprise in this dish, nicely fried salmon, mushy peas. The only surprise was we were ask how well we would like our salmon cooked.
The final course, dessert… of course we had to end it with sweet endings..
First dessert: Whisky Chocolate Mousse
This is definitely a hit for us. The chocolate mousse are very nice and not too sweet, coupled with the baked honeycomb candy – I definitely name this the best dessert on the menu.
Second dessert: Hello Dollies
I had high expectation for this as I like Lotus biscuit but it disappoints. It is way too sweet and it seems that it had some shredded coconut that does not goes well overall with the concept of this dessert.
Third dessert: Frozen Yogurt Parfait
We are glad we tried this last as it is sour and refreshing, wonderful to end the meal.
It was a great dining experience. Although the food had hit and misses, our overall experience was great. The staff is amazing and they takes time to explain to us about the food when the food is served, introduced us to some of their other special event – Mystery Box, Friday Brunch, Ladies night etc. We felt welcomed and valued as customer during our 2 hours there.
It is also a special occasion for us as our friend celebrating her birthday. MasterChef has kindly arranged for a complimentary cake and it makes her day.
The manager told us that they changed their business lunch menu every 3 months so I am guessing another visit is in place… let’s plan for another wonderful meal!
The business lunch are reasonably priced at AED 85 for two courses and AED 105 for 3 courses. The most amazing thing is on top of that, there is an additional 50% off the lunch menu for ladies.
Recently, after much consideration, I have decided to bring my daughter for HPV vaccine.
There are 3 HPV vaccine available in the market namely Cervarix, Gardasil and Gardasil 9. Cervarix protects against HPV 16 and 18 while Gardasil covers 6, 11, 16 and 18. The most coverage is provided by Gardasil-9 covers HPV 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.
HPV 16 and 18 is considered high risk variant and accounts for 70% of cervical cancer and 84% of anal cancer. Hence, if you are looking to cover for these high variant cancer, then either one would be sufficient. However, in light of new studies, there are a few other high risk variant discovered and they are covered by the Gardasil 9. If cost is not a concerned, then Gardasil 9 would be a better choice as it also covers genital warts and some other high risk variants.
Since the Gardasil 9 is covered under our insurance package here in Dubai, we have decided to go for it instead of waiting to get the free injection in Singapore when my daughter is 13-14 years old (most country offers it between the age of 11-14 years old). The vaccine is recommended for kids 9-26 years old so since my girl is already 10 years old, it seems like a good time for her to get the injections. Another pros of getting it early (before 15 years old) is that you only need two doses at 0,6 months instead of three doses at 0,1,6 months.
After the immunisation, I do need to update the immunisation record with Health Promotion Board in Singapore so that in the event that we go back to Singapore in secondary school, my girl will not need to take the jab again.
So, in order to update the record, I will need to email the following documents to the HPB
Citizenship Certificate (If not Singaporean at birth)
Identity card of both parents (front and back)
Contact number and email for both parents
Residential and mailing address
Email address: email@example.com
If you would like to assess and check your child past immunisation record, you can log in using your Singpass at the same website. Log in using your own SingPass and add your child’s birth cert under dependant and you will be able to view their immunisation records.
If your child has endless energy and love thrills, ADVENTURA is the place for you. However, I would only recommend this during winter time as it is 100% outdoor. Although some area are shaded by trees but in summer time, it will be too hot to be doing any of these activities.
Located in Mushrif Park, you do need to pay an entrance fees to enter the park using the NoL card. If you do not have the card, it can be purchased on the spot at the entrance.
There are different trails that are suitable for different heights so there is something for everyone. There are a few package available and it all covers 3 hours of unlimited fun with an option to add on gloves rental or unlimited mineral water, Adventura Earth bags. Entertainer has buy one free one offer but not applicable on the basic package. Therefore, we had chosen the Adventura package which includes 3 hours of fun plus unlimited water and gloves rental.
We were there on a weekday as the kids school had parents teacher conference and the kids had the day off. So, it was relatively empty or should I say very empty as the first two hours of our time there, we are the only guests, so we had the whole place to ourselves.
We started with training to get used to how the strap and hook works. There are safety measures in place so at any one time during the course of the obstacle, we can only remove one of the hook (there are two hook to ensure that we don’t fall off). After we got used to how to use the safety hook, it is time for fun.
Our first trail is the blue trail (Explorador) which is suitable for kids above 1.25m and even adults. Took us about an hour to finish it, it is a mixture of monkey bars, balance bars, hanging bridge and some ziplines. We all had lots of fun with that.
However, when that is finished, we had a hard time finding another trail that is suitable for the whole family. We try the rangers which is designed for kids 1.15m and above but it was too short for the adults so we played with the kids for a bit and then venture out to try the Adventura trail for 1.4m and above. It was exciting but not easy, I had a hard time doing the sideway wall climbing as it requires a lot of hand and upper body strength.
Overall, we all had a good experience despite the heat is getting really unbearable towards mid day but I still had a good time. Hope to go back again in the winter time.