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Apple Announces Free iPhone X Display Repair Program For Ghost Touch Issue, Here’s What You Need To Know

By | November 11th, 2018

Over a year after its release, the iPhone X has a new display replacement program going live, with Apple announcing that it will replace iPhone X displays that exhibit the ghost touch issue.

This new replacement program is for something that has actually been a problem for the last year or so, with some iPhone X units experiencing issues with the responsiveness of their displays. Some users even reported that their displays were exhibiting phantom touches, with the screen registering a touch when one hadn’t been initiated. Now, Apple says that it will replace displays that are defective due to a faulty display module component.

Anyone who has been living with such issues can now get themselves a free repair by either an Apple retail store or one of the many Apple Authorized Service Providers. Perhaps tellingly, Apple has not said whether only certain serial number ranges are impacted, suggesting this problem can befall any iPhone X on existence, even those that have been sold recently. The iPhone X was available to buy prior to the arrival of the iPhone XS.

Anyone planning to take Apple up on its offer of a free repair should make sure that their devices are fully backed up before going to a repair center or Apple Store, and Apple also says that if a device has a cracked screen that may need to be repaired before the defective component can be replaced. That won’t be covered under the free repair process, of course.

If you have already paid for a repair that would fall under this new program, Apple says you can contact Apple Support in order to get a refund on any fees you paid.

For more on this, check out Apple’s page on the issue here.

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iOS 12 Jailbreak Status Update: Here’s What You Need To Know Before Upgrading

By | September 17th, 2018

Want to jailbreak iOS 12, iOS 12.0.1 or even iOS 12.1 final version? Here’s what iPhone and iPad users upgrading from iOS 11 to iOS 12 need to know.

Apple has officially released iOS 12 into the public domain. With that release comes a slew of device owners distributed all over the globe pondering about whether or not the move to iOS 12 is worth it. Apple’s latest iOS update really speaks for itself in terms of the features, functionality, and improvements that it offers but some iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch owners also need to pass in the variable of jailbreaking when making their decision.

Unfortunately, unlike many generations of iOS ago, the current jailbreak landscape isn’t as smooth and plain sailing as many would like it to be. With that in mind, it means that device owners really need to take a long, hard, and informed look at the landscape and ascertain whether or not it’s worth upgrading to iOS 12 and losing access to a jailbreakable version of iOS 11 or whether it makes sense to stay jailbroken on iOS 11 and forego all of the new iOS 12 improvements.

It’s a tough decision which requires being informed. Thankfully, in order to try and help, we are going to look at where the community appears to be as far as an iOS 12 jailbreak goes.

The Current Jailbreak Situation

Currently, pre-iOS 12, jailbreaking is actually in a relatively positive position. In the last twelve months, we have seen a lot of jailbreak-based activity which initially resulted in Electra being released for early versions of iOS 11 and then subsequently expanded on the back of a new vulnerability release to support devices running all the way up to iOS 11.3.1. Those same vulnerabilities have been patched by Apple in iOS 11.4 and beyond, meaning that iOS 11.3.1 is the furthest that Electra support goes for production firmware, but even that is enough to class jailbreaking as far as iOS 11 goes as a success giving the circumstances.

Apple’s Cat and Mouse Game

Apple doesn’t want iOS 12 to be jailbroken. In fact, Apple doesn’t want iOS jailbroken full-stop but, according to recent tweets by developer @nullriver, it seems that the company is putting at least some effort into trying to make iOS 12 harder to liberate. With iOS 12, Apple has introduced an initiative in the form of the CoreTrust framework which is tasked with checking and verifying all signatures to ensure that they come directly from Apple. There has also been work carried out under-the-hood to make sure that iOS 12 works in conjunction with the new A12 Bionic chip to make things harder for jailbreakers. Not show-stopping changes to the platform but certainly enough of an effort on Apple’s part to signify the company’s intent and to at least have developers performing in-depth research.

iOS 12 Jailbreak Timeline

Well, friends, that’s a wonderful question and one that is entirely easy to answer! Since June, when the first developer preview of iOS 12 was released, developers and security researchers with an interest in jailbreaking and cracking security have been hard at work on iOS 12. And, much to the delight of the community, some of that work has resulted in positive progress being shared publicly. So, let’s have a recap:

Should Jailbreakers Update To iOS 12 Today?

We’ve had very public acknowledgments that jailbreak developers are actively working on the platform. We’ve had the discovery of multiple 0day bugs within iOS 12. And we’ve had developers with jailbreak pedigree actively working on iOS 12 liberation. No-one has yet managed to demonstrate and showcase an end-to-end iOS 12 jailbreak that could be released to the public but we think it’s only a matter of time. Still, if you are some who is jailbroken on iOS 11 and relies a lot on jailbreaking, we will suggest staying away from iOS 12 update for now until there’s confirmation of one coming for public really soon. We will of course keep you updated on this situation as it develops. Stay tuned for more.

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Royal Sporting House Lets You Trade In Old Kicks For $40 And Donate Them To Those In Need

Trade in your sneakers at Royal Sporting House

Royal Sporting House - donate your old shoes

While it’s better to give than to receive, it’s better to give and to receive. From 6 to 26 April 2018, Royal Sporting House is running a promotion in which you get $ 40 off your new pair of running shoes when you donate your old shoes.

Here are the details:

Trade in the old, run with the new

Royal Sporting House - new running shoes

We have have that pair – or if you are a shopaholic, several pairs – of shoes that sit in the shoe racks untouched and long forgotten. It’s time to take those out and trade them in for something that you would actually use.

For gym junkies or those who are planning to start on the fitspo life, new workout shoes always give an additional boost of fitspiration. That’s one step closer to getting your abs!

Royal Sporting House - $  40 off your new pair of running shoes

All you have to do is bring your old running shoes to a participating Royal Sporting House outlet and voila, you get $ 40 off your new pair of performance (walking, running, training) shoes.

All 20 outlets islandwide – including ION Orchard, Tampines Mall and Vivocity –  are participating in this campaign, so regardless of whether you are an Eastie or a Westie, you can easily head down to make the trade. Make sure you do it fast because this campaign only lasts a short 20 days

*This promo applies only to shoes priced $ 129 and above from participating brands.

Choose from brands like Adidas, Nike, Under Armour

Royal Sporting House - sporting brands

There are shoes from 11 brands up for grabs with designs for all kinds of exercises from running to HIIT to tennis.

If you are looking to work some well-known brands in your workout sesh, there’s Nike, Adidas and Reebok waiting for ya. For those who prefer more “specialised” kicks, other brands participating in this include Saucony (for runners) and Babolat (for tennis players).

Here’s a complete list of participating brands:

  • Reebok
  • Saucony
  • Adidas
  • Nike
  • Merrell
  • New Balance
  • Under Armour
  • Asics
  • ON (available only at Tanglin Mall)
  • Wilson
  • Babolat

Royal Sporting House - donate your shoes to soles 4 souls

Donated shoes go to SOLES 4 SOULS

Here’s even better news: remember said “untouched and long forgotten” shoes? Those donated to this campaign will go to SOLES 4 SOULS, a non-profit organisation that distributes shoes and clothes around the world to those in need.

Royal Sporting House - donate to those in need

Image credit: @soles4souls

While the easiest way to declutter is to toss your shoes away, join in this campaign and drop it off at the Royal Sporting House instead. Even if you aren’t planning to check out that $ 40 discount, your unwanted shoes will be of better use with another owner!

Give and receive with Royal Sporting House

Royal Sporting House - give and receive

Image credit: Run Society

Saving $ 40 and helping someone at the same time – this is perhaps the definition of a win-win situation. So dig out all your preloved kicks this 6 to 26 April for this charity campaign by the Royal Sporting House

Save the date and don’t say bojio!

Find out more about Royal Sporting House’s promotions here


This post was brought to you by the Royal Sporting House.

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PUBG Mobile Mod For Android Now Available, Here’s What You Need To Know

By | March 22nd, 2018

You may or may not be aware but the smash-hit PUBG Mobile for Android is now available with built-in modifications, in an unofficial capacity, of course.

Like many other games or “++” defined apps on iOS, the modified versions of PUBG Mobile on Android are released into the wild by developers looking to enhance the game with their own features and functionality.

If you are an active PUBG Mobile player on Android, whether that be the Chinese or English version, it stands to reason that you might want to take a little peek into the world of game modification and see what’s actually available. Of course, the features and functionality offered really depends on the modified version that you download, but we’ve covered some of what you can expect below.

What does the modded version on Android actually do?

Like most modified versions of any game or title, the purpose behind it is to introduce additional functionality or capability which isn’t offered in the official version. Where modified versions of PUBG Mobile are concerned, the additions can be extremely plentiful, and include, but are not limited to, some of the features highlighted below:

  • Automatic aiming
  • The ability to aim and lock onto a target
  • Aim assist functionality
  • Rapid fire abilities
  • No recoil in place
  • Unlimited financial resources
  • License verification bypass
  • No fog within the game
  • No grass within the game
    and much, much more depending on the modified version that you install

How to get it?

First of all, you are going to need to download the necessary modified APK file as well as the accompanying OBB data file. We won’t be linking you directly to these for obvious reasons but a little search should sort you out.

Step 2: Once downloaded, extract the OBB file and all of its contents and move it to sdcard/android/obb

Step 3: Install the modified PUBG Mobile APK on your Android device. This is pretty much all that you need to do other than launch the game and enjoy the associated modifications.

Keep in mind that, like many other apps and modified titles, Tencent Mobile might actually start detecting users who are accessing the game from modified versions of the apps, meaning that do run the risk of having your account banned from its servers.

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Apple Confirms Using Google Servers To Store Some iCloud Data But There’s No Need To Panic

By | February 28th, 2018

Apple has made amendments to its living iOS Security Guide document to confirm that it now uses Google servers to store user’s iCloud data.

Under the iCloud heading in the document, Apple now references Google Cloud Platform alongside Amazon S3 as one of its utilized third-party storage services.

Previous versions of the iOS Security Guide had confirmed that Apple used Amazon S3 and Microsoft’s Azure platform to securely hold iCloud data. It was suggested as far back as 2016 that Apple would make some changes to how that data is stored and that it would likely use Google’s mature and efficient Cloud Platform as part of those changes.

Over twelve months later, the iOS Security Guide has been revised to confirm that Google is now part of Apple’s iCloud solution.

As far as data is concerned, it’s possible that Apple is storing photos, contacts, calendar information, documents, and videos – basically, anything that can potentially be uploaded to iCloud through first or third-party apps – on Google’s servers, but the company is keen to stress in the Security Guide that the data is meaningless to Google and that the company cannot access anything meaningful or access a user’s private files – which for endusers mean there’s no need to panic:

Each file is broken into chunks and encrypted by iCloud using AES-128 and a key derived from each chunk’s contents that utilizes SHA-256. The keys and the file’s metadata are stored by Apple in the user’s iCloud account. The encrypted chunks of the file are stored, without any user-identifying information, using third-party storage services, such as S3 and Google Cloud Platform.

Apple uses the iOS Security Guide to give additional insight into the steps and actions that it takes to ensure that iOS is as secure as it possibly can be. Having references to Google’s Cloud Platform within this document could immediately be a red flag for some users who knowingly choose to boycott any Google services or products through privacy concerns.

However, given how intricate a feature and service iCloud is, and given that Apple uses multiple third-party storage providers to make iCloud work, it’s likely that a user’s data is spread out across multiple services rather than having a single-point of failure. You can read more about iCloud and iOS security in general in the iOS Security Guide.

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7 Things That Happen In Pre-Schools That Parents Need To Know About

Things you never knew about preschools

While some admire school teachers for their intelligence and immeasurable patience, I envy them most for how seemingly good their job looked. What can possible beat the fun of playing with kids and pasting “well done!” stickers on their worksheets? 

Well, that was before I spent a day at My First Skool really learning the intricacies of being a preschool teacher. Aside from a sense of newfound respect for these teachers, I also went home with some new secrets I never knew about preschools. 

1. The first step of dealing with a crying child is to bring him/her away from the group

My First Skool 13

At the mention preschoolers, one of the first things that come to mind is a group of restless and crying children. And one of the many mysteries I could never quite solve was how preschool teachers are able to run classes without having to stop to calm the children down every two seconds. During my visit to My First Skool, one secret I learnt is that the first step to take when a child cries is to separate him/her from the group and give him/her extra assurance or attention. 

“If one of them cries, bring him or her to one side, otherwise you will see the herd effect and all of them will start crying.” 

2. Teachers eat with the students to ensure the standard of food the centre attendants cook

My First Skool 2

At the age of 5, kids in preschools are more than capable of consuming the same food as we do. But when I saw the tiny ones waiting eagerly at their tables, I was somewhat still expecting lunch to be baby-food-like meals. So imagine my surprise when the centre attendant wheeled out a huge pot of fragrant fried rice and vegetable soup. 

My First Skool 3

What surprised me more was seeing the teachers mingle among the students and having their meals with them. Besides forming a stronger bond between the teachers and students, this is also their way of ensuring the standard of food given to the children. 

My First Skool 4

The kids had fried rice on the day of our visit but on other days, they also get exposed to international cuisines such as Japanese Curry Rice as well as Mee Soto for a taste of local delicacies. With rotational menus that feature such meals, I wouldn’t mind having my daily meals there either! 

3. School time now includes shower and grooming sessions

My First Skool 5

“Shower Time” follows “Lunch Time”. When I heard this I wasn’t sure if my memory was just failing me or if this is a new norm for preschools. A quick poll with my colleagues told me that the new generation is more than well-cared for in their preschools. 

My First Skool 6

After lunch every day, the kids go for their daily showers. The best part is this – besides teaching them to dress themselves, the teachers also help style the girls hair with every kind of fancy braids they like! 

4. The word “trash” does not exist in a preschool teacher’s dictionary

My First Skool 7

If you thinking throwing out your used paper into the recycling bin makes you an eco warrior, you obviously have never seen preschool teachers at work. From fallen twigs to Yakult bottles and toilet rolls, the teachers keep everything for the art and craft lessons or for decorating the school. 

My First Skool 8

Christmas decorations made of twigs

5. Hands-on learning doesn’t always mean arts and crafts

My First Skool 9

As part of their daily activity time, the students are also taught how to bake. When I was there, the pastry of the day was egg tarts. 

My First Skool 10

In just 30 minutes, the teacher single-handedly led a kindergarten class of more than 10 overly excited preschoolers into preparing dozens of egg tarts from scratch. I can barely manage that even with Martha Stewart’s step-by-step Youtube tutorials. 

6. There are two language teachers in every class so no one gets left behind

My First Skool 11

Comparing my own subpar grasp of Mandarin to the impressively bilingual five-year-olds that I met at My First Skool, it is obvious that language lessons have gone a long way since my time. It was impressive to see the effort put into creating an immersive bilingual environment. The presence of two language teachers at any one time help the children better grasp and improve their command of both languages. 

And this didn’t just apply to the language classes but their baking and physical exercise periods too!

Beyond basic learning at My First Skool

My First Skool 12

While I did pick up one or two tips on how to manage kids, I also brought home more respect for preschool teachers than I ever had. As we give thanks and show appreciation to unsung heros like young hawkers and construction workers, these preschool teachers are another group of teachers who deserve the spotlight. 

In the 130 institutions found islandwide, My First Skool has more than 2200 of these early childhood educators who share the same passion- to help the child be the best he or she can be. On top of meeting the basic training requirements set by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), most educators also hold a diploma in Preschool education.

With all the worries that come with the job of being a parent, the least you can fret about is your child’s wellbeing in the hands of the teachers at My First Skool.

Find out more about My First Skool here!


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12 Gorgeous Places In Kanchanaburi So Untouched By Tourists, You'll Need Google Translate All The Time

Things to do in Kanchanaburi

When it comes to Thailand getaways, most instinctively think of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, or Phuket as go-to destinations. If you’ve already paid a visit to these places, you may be wondering where else you can go in the Land of Smiles. 

Only 2 hours away from BKK, Kanchanaburi is nature-heaven for Singaporeans who want to escape the city and spend their days living on misty mountains or lazing by river banks. If you’re up for a challenge and love exploring the undiscovered, here are 12 things to do in Kanchanaburi that will satisfy every adventurous traveler’s wanderlust.

Note: If you’re looking to spend more than a day exploring all that Kanchanaburi has to offer, a private driver will be the most convenient way to get around without all the fuss and hassle.

1. Live in a fruit at Ban Pha Sawan Resort

live in a pineapple house

Ban Pha Sawan is another new and out of this world accommodation you’ll only get in Thailand. The place is so surreal – it’s almost like a gigantic fruit plantation or theme park filled with larger-than-life durians, mangosteens and dragon fruit. Due to its location which is off the beaten track, the resort is peaceful and quiet with only a few tourists.

Ban Pha Sawan

Due to its location which is off the beaten track, the resort is peaceful and quiet with only a few tourists.

single-storey pineapple room

We stepped into the shoes of Spongebob and stayed in a single-storey pineapple room for 2,200 Baht (~S$ 90) which was spacious and equipped with a mini fridge, TV and water heater. Wi-Fi is available throughout the resort, as well as a mini convenience store selling cup noodles and chips if you’re in need of a midnight snack.

complimentary English breakfast

A complimentary English breakfast is also served every morning at the resort’s restaurant

The highlight of the resort would have to be its water park, where guests can zip line, roll around in live-sized hamster balls, or jump off a water blob – all for free!

Address: 55 Moo 5, Tombol Sahakorn Nikom Amphor Thong Pha Phum, Kanchanaburi
How to get there: Take bus No.8203, 80 Baht (~S$ 3.30) from Kanchanaburi to Thong Pha Phum. You can get a taxi from Thong Pha Phum to Ban Pha Sawan Resort, or call the resort to arrange a pickup for 200 Baht (~S$ 8).
Telephone: 08-4435-0555
Rates: From 2,200 Baht (~S$ 90)/Night for a one-storey fruit room

Website

2. Go “Glamping” at 3199 Mountain Camp

Glamping at 3199 Mountain Camp

For those wishing to step up their Glamping game, 3199 Mountain Camp in Kanchanaburi is the place for you to experience glamorous camping, unlike anything you’ve seen in Singapore.

caravan photo booth at 3199 Mountain Camp

A caravan photo booth at 3199 Mountain Camp

Upon stepping into the camp grounds, you’re immediately whisked off into another world with boho tents lined up neatly in rows, fairy lights, and photo booths at every corner. There’s also a fortune-telling booth and free dress up services with jewellery, bags, and headscarves that’ll immediately transform you into a bohemian gypsy!

The Sweet Package Tent

The Sweet Package Tent

We stayed in the Sweet Package Tent for 1,990 Baht (~S$ 82)/ night which came with two beds, ample blankets, towels, a standing fan, and free Wi-Fi. Outside food isn’t allowed on camping grounds, but you get a complimentary dinner and breakfast buffet every day! If you’d like, you can also visit the 3199 Cafe located just outside the entrance to the campsite for delicious coffee and pizza.

set schedules for meal times and activities

The set schedules for meal times and activities bring the spirit of the camp to life!

shower cabins at 3199 Mountain Camp

If you’re concerned about showering at the campsite, you’ll be glad to know that 3199 Mountain Camp has three “shower cabins” with spacious and clean cubicles for you to bathe in comfort. While the cubicles do not have water heaters, basic shower amenities like shampoo, body soap and hair dryers are available.

Address: Nong Bua, Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi 71190, Thailand
How to get there: Private transport via Route.323 or Route.3199 (To get out of the camp, you can request for the staff to call a Songthaew)
Telephone: 09-6770-9696
Rates: From 1,990 Baht (~S$ 82)/Night for the Sweet Package

Website

3. Live in a “flintstone” house at The Tara Cape Resorts

Live in a “flintstone” house at The Tara Cape Resorts

The Tara Cape Resorts is a completely new accommodation experience that you can add to to your travel list. Floating on a lake surrounded by a breathtaking mountainous view, the resort made us feel as though we were living in a 5 star-themed kelong.

Tara Cape Resort's room

At 3,145 Baht (~S$ 130)/ night, the rooms are cosy and come with amenities such as a flat screen TV, air-con, towels, BBQ pit and a mosquito net canopy.

porridge and eggs

The reception is located on land, so you’ll have to take a 10-minute boat ride to your rooms after check-in. Each morning, a local breakfast is placed on a table outside where you can enjoy your porridge and eggs as you watch the sunrise. In-room dining is also available at the resort, so you can order fried rice or pad thai when hunger pangs strike!

A mini hut outside your doorstep

A mini hut outside your doorstep

kayaking at Tara Cape Resorts

Image credit: The Tara Cape Resorts

Those who like to get their bodies moving can go kayaking with the canoes parked outside the doorstep or take a quick dip in the outdoor “mini pool”. If you’d like, you can also “sunbathe” while lying on the hammocks suspended over water!

Address: 284 Moo 4, Nong Pet, Si Sawat, Kanchanaburi, 71250 Si Sawat, Thailand
How to get there: Only accessible with private transport via Route.3199
Telephone: 06-4525-4462
Rates: From 3,145 Baht (~S$ 130)/Night for a King Room

4. Swim in Sai Yok Noi Waterfall

Swim in Sai Yok Noi Waterfall

Despite being listed as a popular tourist attraction online, we found that Sai Yok Noi Waterfall was the complete opposite. While the waterfall is relatively smaller compared to Erawan Falls or Sai Yok Yai, it is beautiful, serene and also more accessible from the city.

Sai Yok Noi Waterfall

Here, you don’t have to wear proper swimming attire since the locals usually enter the water with whatever they’re wearing. If you’re bringing along younger children, you can also rent a float on-site for 20 Baht (~S$ 0.80).

top tier of Sai Yok Noi Waterfall

You can choose to soak at the base of the falls, or climb to the top of the tiers where the water is cooler and you get a bird’s eye view of the area.

There’s also a smattering of food stalls and restaurants nearby to fuel you up after the swim, such as pork satay and an assortment of dried fruit.

How to get there: Bus No.8203, 37 Baht (~S$ 1.50)/ Take Excursion Train No.909 from Bangkok directly to Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi Train Station on Saturdays, Sundays and designated public holidays
Admission fee: Free

5. Visit the Sunken Temple at Sangkhlaburi – Wat Samprasob

Visit the Sunken Temple at Sangkhlaburi - Wat Samprasob

Those who want to maximise their trip and get as many new experiences as possible can take the path less travelled to Sangkhlaburi, a remote village bordering Myanmar. Home to several Thais and Burmese, the village houses the mysterious Wat Samprasob, a.k.a the Sunken Temple. Built by the Mon and Karen tribes, Wat Samprasob is the only remaining structure from a lost village that was destroyed by flood in 1968.

boat tour to the Sunken Temple

The Mon Bridge

The Mon Bridge

To get to the Sunken Temple, we crossed the famous Mon Bridge –  Thailand’s longest wooden bridge and the second longest wooden bridge in the world. We headed towards the riverbank with boats for hire, and paid 300 Baht (~S$ 12.40) for the 20-minute boat tour.

While approaching Wat Samprasob, we couldn’t help but feel goosebumps as the sun disappeared behind the temple’s eerie and mouldy silhouette. The guide was kind enough to circle us around the temple a few times in order to get the perfect shot, and we even got close enough to touch the walls!

Note: The surrounding water dries up in mid-April to reveal the temple in its dry state.

How to get there: Take Bus No.8203 from Kanchanaburi Bus Station
Admission fee: 300 Baht (~S$ 12.40) for 1 temple, 500 Baht (~S$ 20.7) for 3 temples

6. Escape to the hills at Keeree Mantra Restaurant

Escape to the hills at Keeree Mantra Restaurant

Image credit: Keeree Mantra Restaurant

The hills are alive at Keeree Mantra Restaurant, and every moment here feels like a scene out of Jurassic Park, sans the dinosaurs. As most restaurants in Kanchanaburi are known to be on water, Keeree Mantra is a good alternative if you’re looking to hit up a restaurant on land.

Keeree Mantra Restaurant's food

At this outdoor restaurant, sit back and relax as you enjoy authentic and value-for-money Thai dishes from 150 Baht (~S$ 6.20), such as Pineapple Rice, River Snail Coconut Curry, and Pork Satay. To end our dinner on a sweet note, we ordered a slice of Hokkaido Cheesecake at 120 Baht (~S$ 5).

sprawling green plains and hills around Keeree Mantra Restaurant

Sprawling green plains and hills

The highlight of our dinner had to be the stunning view of the hills, vast fields and tall fountains surrounding the restaurant. After dinner, we took an outdoor stroll while enjoying the night breeze – and were pleasantly surprised that they were hardly any mosquitoes around even after sunset!

OOTD shot at Keeree Mantra Restaurant

Address: Nong Bua, Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi 71190, Thailand
Opening Hours: 10AM-10PM, Daily
Telephone: 3454-0889

Website

7. Shop in a boat at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Shop in a boat at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

People who have never been to floating markets in Bangkok should pay a visit to Damnoen Saduak – a more authentic and less crowded floating market. With its narrow canals fitting only 5 longtail boats at a time, the colourful market makes for Nat-Geo worthy pictures and is a great place for you to pick-up cheap fashion finds like bohemian-style sundresses and elephant pants.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

From sundresses at 170 Baht (~S$ 7) and “I Love Thailand” knick-knacks, to local delights like coconut ice cream and mango sticky rice, be sure to switch on your kiasu mode and bargain as hard as you can to snag good deals!

Tourists buying food from their rowboats

Tourists buying food from their rowboats

You can choose to tour the market on foot or rent a rowboat at 200-300 Baht (~S$ 8-S$ 12). While joining the boat tour allows you to view more of the market and nearby villages, we recommend exploring on foot to get a closer look at the stalls on the walkway. After all, walking is free!

Note: Avoid peak hours from 9AM onwards if you want to beat the crowd!

Address: Damnoen Saduak, Damnoen Saduak District, Ratchaburi 70130, Thailand
Opening Hours: 9AM-4PM, Daily
How to get there: Public bus from Southern Bus Terminal, 50 Baht (~$ 2)
Admission fee: Free

8. Travel back to olden day Siam at Mallika R.E.124 Village

Travel back to olden day Siam at Mallika R.E.124 Village

At Mallika R.E.124, visitors are transported back in time to when Thailand was still referred to as Siam. Here in this living museum you get to dress up in traditional Thai costumes and explore the old shop houses, markets, as well as homes of different classes of people from 1905 A.D.

dress up in traditional Thai costumes at Mallika R.E.124 Village

Mallika R.E.124 Village

Just after the entrance to the village is the Saphan Han Bridge – a turntable bridge made for boats to pass through. Inside the bridge are shops on both sides selling handicraft, snacks and imported dried fruits.

The market zone

The market zone

Not only did Mallika give us all The King and I feels, it also allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in Siamese way of life by changing our Thai Baht to the ancient Satangcurrency.

The tour guide gave us 20 Satang (100 Baht) per person, which we used to buy souvenirs and food from the market zone. Toward the end of the village was the Ruean Phae, a floating house with boats selling street food. We bought the coconut ice cream for 8 Satang (40 Baht), which was served in a ceramic pot that you can wash and bring home after.

Preparing rice at the Cooking Kitchen

Preparing rice at the Cooking Kitchen

We also tried our hand at rice production in the Cooking Kitchen, where “villagers” taught us the process of rice milling and rice pounding. After spending 10 minutes here, we started to appreciate where rice comes from and how they’re made!

Address: 168 Moo 5 Tombol Singh Amphoe Sai Yok, Kanchanaburi
Opening Hours: 9AM-7PM, Daily
Telephone: 03-4540-8846
Admission fee: 250 Baht (~S$ 10) for adults, 120 Baht (~S$ 5) for children

Website

9. Visit the French gothic Nativity of Our Lady Cathedral

Visit the French gothic Nativity of Our Lady Cathedral

Be up for some cultural exposure at the Nativity of Our Lady Cathedral, a French Catholic church built in 1890. With its gothic architecture and stained glass windows, every corner of the church from its entrance to the walkway makes for a photogenic backdrop.

Nativity of Our Lady Cathedral

Address: Moo 7, Bang Nok Khwaeg subdistrict, Bang Khonthi, Samut Songkhram
Opening Hours: 7AM-8PM, Daily
Telephone: 03-4761-3467
How to get there: Follow the Samut Songkhram – Bang Nok Khwaek route (the same way to King Rama II Memorial Park) for around 5KM. The church is around 100M from the Somdet Phra Ammarin Bridge Junction.

*Bonus*

Just a 30-minute drive from the cathedral is Gong Meng Chan Ba Mee Kiao, a hidden restaurant selling only Thin-egg noodles. Earning itself the nickname “noodle in drawer” due to its freshly-made noodles being stored in drawers, their noodles are bouncy and soft and topped with caramelized char siew. A bowl of noodles costs approximately 50 Baht (~S$ 2.06).

Gong Meng Chan Ba Mee Kiao

Image credit: Qyer.com

Address: 638 Diamond Road, Samut Songkhram
Opening Hours: 10AM-5PM, Daily
Telephone: 3839-8006

10. Drink coffee and have a private photo shoot at Rim Nam Cafe

Drink coffee and have a private photo shoot at Rim Nam Cafe

Kanchanaburi has a multitude of coffee shops and cafes, and you can hardly go 10 minutes on the road without passing by one. One of the more unique coffee shops you may have missed is Rim Nam Cafe, a well-kept local secret serving amazing cold coffee, sodas and cakes for as low as 45 Baht (~S$ 1.85).

OOTD Shot at Rim Nam Cafe 1

OOTD Shot at Rim Nam Cafe 2

OOTD Shot at Rim Nam Cafe 3

When we first entered the gates of Rim Nam Cafe, we couldn’t help but be drawn to the garden filled with creative booths and backdrops. After spamming our gallery with pictures, we made our way to the end of the garden which is the entrance to the coffee shop. Just like the exterior, Rim Nam Cafe is intrinsically decorated with vintage decor and cute dolls, as well as books for you to read – or use as props when you pose for pictures!

OOTD Shot at Rim Nam Cafe 4

Rim Nam Cafe's coffee

After ordering your coffee, you can head outside and rest on the benches overlooking the river, or relax indoors while listening to English hits played at the cafe. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of elephants having a drink below at the water’s edge.

Address: Lum Sum, Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi 71150, Thailand
Opening Hours: 10AM-5PM, Daily
Telephone: 08-4727-1959

Website

11. Explore the Mini Grand Canyon at Ratchaburi

Explore the Mini Grand Canyon at Ratchaburi

Image credit: @nicencm

Just 1.5 hours away from Kanchanaburi city is the “Mini Grand Canyon” at Pong Yup – a jaw-dropping natural phenomenon with weird looking walls as high as 5 metres. Certain areas of this “Grand Canyon” are made up of pillars forming a maze of sorts, and with correct angling, your pictures will look as though you’ve landed on Mars!

Pong Yup

Image credit: Tina Mue

Pong Yup is located in a private area which looks almost like a ghost town, but the quiet and natural surroundings make a good getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can choose to go there by car, or rent a motorbike and ride there yourself if you’ve got a license. The views on the way to the site are also spectacular with winding roads and misty green mountains.

Address: Baan Takoei, Tambon Takoei, Suan Phueng 70180, Thailand
Opening Hours: 6AM-6PM, Daily
Admission fee: 30-50 Baht (~S$ 1.2-S$ 2)

12. Sleep in a Camper Van at Ozono Resort

Sleep in a Camper Van at Ozono Resort

Image credit: Ozono Resort, Ozono Resort

If sleeping in a hotel is too mainstream, try a staying the night in a caravan instead! From 2,200 Baht (~S$ 90)/ night, you can stay in Ozono Resort’s Camper Van equipped with air conditioning, TV, an outdoor bathroom, and breakfast. The resort is great for couples who want to have more privacy and quiet time away from large tour groups or families with squealing toddlers.

Ozono Resort

The campgrounds resemble a little Italy with brick buildings and houses

The campgrounds resemble a little Italy with brick buildings and houses.

Ozono Resort is strategically located near attractions such as the Baan Hom Tien candle shop (a 1-minute walk from the resort), as well as Bo Klueng Hot Springs and Kao Chon Waterfall (both an 8 km drive away). Numerous coffee shops, sheep farms and convenient shops are also within walking distance from the resort, so you’ll never have to worry about having nothing to do during your stay.

Address: Ozono Resort Suan Phung 33/3 Moo 2, Suan Phung, Suan Phung, Ratchaburi 70180, Thailand
Telephone: 09-9819-1025
Rates: From 2,200 Baht (~S$ 90)/Night for the Camper Van

Website

Your must-see, must-do list of things to do in Kanchanaburi!

Your must-see, must-do list of things to do in Kanchanaburi

If you’re itching for a trip to Thailand and want to experience something different, it’s time to include Kanchanaburi in your travel itinerary and explore its undiscovered gems before the rest of the world finds out!

Bonus for TSL readers: Travel to any of the places mentioned in the article between 3 January and 18 March 2018 and redeem FREE $ 50 Cold Storage vouchers!

All you’ve gotta do is take a selfie at one of the of the locations, tag Tourism Authority of Thailand Singapore on Instagram (@tatsingapore) and caption the photo with hashtag #opentothenewshades while you’re there. Have fun!

Find out more about this exclusive redemption here!


This post was brought to you by Amazing Thailand.

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iOS 10.3.3 “Jailbreak” Root Exploit Announced, Here’s What You Need To Know

By | December 8th, 2017

Developer Siguza, who defines himself as a “hobbyist hacker,” has taken to the micro-blogging social network to confirm that he is currently working on an exploit for iOS devices known as v0rtex.

It’s been an information-packed week so far where the iOS jailbreak community is concerned, with this latest exploit able to achieve root on devices with an Apple A7-A9 processors running versions of iOS less than or equal to iOS 10.3.3. This comes hot on the heels of the release of a semi-jailbreak tool called Houdini for iOS 10.3.2 and below.

As with any announcement of this type, it is most definitely worth mentioning that this is not the announcement of a jailbreak tool itself, nor is it a guarantee that a jailbreak tool will follow on the back of the fact that another highly capable member of the jailbreak team is working on an exploit that could be used as part of the creation of a wider jailbreak. As mentioned by Siguza in the Twitter post, this exploit currently allows him to achieve root access on A7-A9 devices running iOS 10.3.3 or below but it doesn’t currently extend beyond that to allow code to be executed at a kernel privilege level.

It’s interesting to note that the comments in the v0rtex code – viewable by heading over to the project repository hosted on GitHub – suggests that even the developer himself isn’t sure “what’ll really become of this,” suggesting that the “hobbyist” part of his Twitter bio is once again kicking in here. The same comments are also suggesting that he will leave any attack on iOS 11 to Ian Beer of Google’s Project Zero team, who you may or may not know recently announced the existence of a tfp0 exploit applicable to iOS 11.1.2 which allows the highest level of kernel access. Siguza currently has tfp0 listed as “Very much TODO” on GitHub but it remains to be seen if anything will come of this.

We aren’t currently sure where this one will go, or if it will ever become useful at all. However, with Ian Beer announcing an important exploit which is soon to be released, and tihmstar recently demonstrating a JailbreakMe jailbreak for iOS 9 devices, it seems like it could once again be an important and exciting time to be involved in the jailbreak community.

(Source: @s1guza [Twitter])

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SIM-Free Unlocked iPhone X Model Now Available In The U.S., Here’s What You Need To Know

By | December 5th, 2017

Finally. Just ahead of the Christmas holidays, Apple has launched SIM-free unlocked iPhone X model in the U.S.

The SIM-free model of iPhone X has arrived in the U.S. market almost a month after the company initially launched the handset in the U.S. and other markets.

While the iPhone X sold from Apple Stores in the U.S. comes unlocked when bought outright for full price no matter which carrier variant you buy it, the SIM-free model is the “truly” unlocked model with support for more wider range of bands not only nationally, but internationally as well. Unlike the carrier specific models, as the name suggests, the SIM-free model doesn’t come with any carrier SIM as well.

Apple’s official explanation of SIM-free iPhone model is as follows:

“SIM-free” means your iPhone doesn’t ship with a carrier SIM card. The SIM-free iPhone sold on apple.com and at the Apple Store is unlocked. That means you’re free to use a SIM card from any carrier that provides service for iPhone.

While internationally, Apple has always launched SIM-free model of iPhones (including iPhone X) on day 1, but because of the carrier situation in the U.S., SIM-free model in the States almost always arrives a month or two after the initial launch.

If you head over to the apple.com’s iPhone section, when buying the iPhone X, you will now be presented with a fifth SIM-free “Buy without a carrier” option alongside the usual AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint models.

If bought today, the SIM-free version of iPhone X will ship in a week time from now, just like all other variants of iPhone X.

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Leslie’s Kuih Bingka (Bika) Ambon Recipe: Everything you need to know

I don’t know what got me started on this Kuih Bingka/Bika Ambon recipe, but my first attempt was in April this year where I used a recipe from Mrs Leong Yee Soo’s cookbook.  You can see the disastrous results below.  (Main photo) To be fair, I don’t think it is a problem with her recipe, it just didn’t contain enough details for a newbie like me to achieve the perfect result.  But it did get me intrigued. Up till then I haven’t even eaten the original Kuih Bingka Ambon from Medan, but I knew that what I baked was no where close to the real thing.


My multiple failures

I consulted Christopher Tan’s Nerdbaker cookbook and was surprised that he didn’t have a recipe for this though there was a photo of it in his book.  When I asked him about it, he told me that this was one of the most difficult kuihs to get right and he wasn’t 100% happy with his own recipe yet. That gave me the impetus to master this confounding confectionery.  There really isn’t much incentive in publishing a recipe that every internet cook already knows.   But to publish a recipe that many regard as really difficult,  now, that is a challenge!

There are many recipes online and I have probably looked through all of them, including the ones in Indonesian.  None of them have all the information you need in order to create a kuih that looks like the one in this photo.  In this post, I will share with you everything that I have learnt through the numerous attempts at making this enigmatic cake.


First, let us define success.  A successful Bika Ambon means that the strands in the honeycomb structure go all the way from the bottom to the top so that you can peel it strand by strand when you eat it.  That is, to me, the defining characteristic of this kuih.  To be able to do this properly, not only do the strands need to stretch all the way from one end to the other, but it has to be long enough so that you can feel the satisfaction of stretching and pulling each strand off.  That means that the kuih has to be at least 2 inches high.  If it is too short, you won’t get the same stretchy satisfaction!

I had the great fortune of being able to taste the real thing from Medan since starting this bika ambon pilgrimage, thanks to a dear friend whose mom brought it all the way back for me.  With this as the gold standard,  I would say that I have succeeded.  It might not be as good as the one from Medan but it is close enough.

I must confess that after failing umpteen times, I was almost at the verge of giving up.  I even went to the extent of changing my oven to one that had only bottom heating but it still wasn’t able to get the result I wanted.  I had tried all sorts of hacks, like wrapping  good morning towels around the baking tin, placing trays of water over the kuih, baking it on a pizza stone, covering the top with baking paper, using different brands of tapioca flour,  altering the yolk to whites ratio, baking it over steam ………… after trying different permutations and combinations for 6 months, I was out of ideas.  Just what does it take to bake this kuih properly?  Can it ever be done successfully at home or do I really need a proper bika ambon oven to bake this?

I came to the point where I was desperate enough to pray.  I do pray regularly, but it had never occurred to me to specifically ask for a recipe!  Well I did.  Then two things happened.

Firstly I met Chef Damian at Folklore, and was blown away by his Kuih Kosui.  He was kind enough to invite me to his kitchen and gave me step by step instructions on how to make Kuih Kosui (my next project). Then we began talking about Bika Ambon and things started to fall into place.

Up till then I had already worked out some basic principles of baking the kuih, based on my own failures and observations.  Chef Damian helped to confirm my working hypothesis on how the kuih should be baked and how the batter should be handled.  For example, I had come to the conclusion that some egg white was essential in the recipe but a lot of the recipes I have come across use only egg yolks!  Chef confirmed that a bit of egg white was important for a good structure.  That helped me to fix that variable so that I don’t need to experiment with an all yolk recipe.  Then he also told me that in the old days, Bika Ambon was baked in old Jacob biscuit tins over a charcoal fire.  That got me to change to a square tin and eschew the oven altogether and bake it on my BBQ grill!

The second thing that happen was nothing short of a miracle.  I had been using a basic recipe which used 8 yolks.  After a few experiments, I changed to a combination of 3 yolks and 3 whole eggs.   The extra 3 egg whites gave the kuih a better texture.  Because the batter takes a few hours to ferment, I sometimes ask Mylene to make it for me so that I can bake it when I come home in the afternoon.  She misread my recipe and instead of either 8 yolks or 3 yolks and 3 whole eggs, she read it as 8 yolks plus 3 yolks and 3 whites!  I only found out the mistake the day after my first successful bake!  You can call it fortunate mistake but to me, I felt God saying: “Son, here is the recipe you asked for!”


Entry in my recipe notebook

So, after almost half a year of experiments, I am pleased to share with you everything I have learnt in this baking journey.  My advise to you is to follow the recipe exactly the first time round.  Once you have succeeded, then go and try tweaking the recipe.  Things like the shape and size of the baking tin is important.  The baking tin costs less than $ 10, so rather than trying to tweak the recipe to fit your existing tin, just go out and buy the exact one that I use.  Trust me, it will save you a lot of heartache as well as chicken eggs.

Leslie’s Bika Ambon Recipe

Ingredients

Group A
Water 100ml
Instant yeast 2 tsp
Sugar 1.5 Tbsp
Plain flour 2 Tbsp

Group B
Coconut milk 500ml (400ml after cooking)
Pandan Leaves 3
Kaffir Lime Leaves 4 stalks (double leaf)
Lemongrass 1 stalk
Vanilla 2 tsp
Salt 1/4 tsp
Sugar 300g

Group C
Egg yolks 8 (65g eggs)
Whole eggs 3  (65g eggs)
Tapioca Flour 200g

Method
1. Mix all the ingredients in Group A together and leave to ferment for 15mins.  It should be foamy or else you need to buy some new yeast.
2. Using a pair of scissors, cut up the lemongrass, lime leaves and pandan leaves and add the rest of the ingredients in Group B in pot. Slowly heat it up, stirring constantly till it is almost simmering.  Turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 15mins and then stir in the sugar to dissolve.  Leave it to cool.  After sieving you should be left with around 400mls of coconut milk.
3. Separate the eggs and place in mixing bowl.  Using a spatula, stir the eggs to mix.  Don’t beat as we don’t want to thicken the batter.  Add the tapioca flour and all the ingredients in Gp A and B into one bowl and stir to mix.  Do not use a whisk or egg beater to mix.
4. Pour the mixture through a sieve and leave to ferment for 5 hours.  (I have done it in 3 hours but the extra time means more flavour).
5. Prepare the baking tin by making a paste from flour and water and use it to seal the seams in case your baking tin leaks.
6. Heat up the tin and when it is hot, spray or brush with oil.  This will help to render it non-stick.  Leave to cool.
7. Stir the batter and leave it for 10 – 15mins for the foam to settle. Pour through a sieve into the baking tin.
8. Skim off the foam and then bake on a 1cm high rack in a heavy stainless steel bottom pot at medium to high heat at 230°C-250°C for 1.25 – 1.5 hours or until the top of the cake has solidified.  You should see bubbles appearing on top around 15 – 20 mins into the baking.  If not you will need to turn up the heat. Remove from heat once all the bubbles on top have burst and the top of the cake is firm and full of pock marks.
9. Place in oven at 200°C for 5 mins to brown the top.
10. Leave to cool completely before de-panning!

IMPORTANT NOTES

According to many kuih experts this is one of the most difficult kuihs to get right, so it is important to follow all the instructions closely.  Do read through these notes carefully and note every detail as it will save you a lot of heartache.

The first step is to make the starter.  Traditionally, this kuih is made with a fermented palm wine aka tuak which contains the yeast that produces bubbles in the batter.   But this is difficult to get, so we are using ordinary bread yeast.  Just add all the ingredients in Gp A together in room temperature water and give it a good stir.  After 15mins, you should see it foaming.  If not, it means your yeast is too old and you need to buy fresh ones.


Fermented coconut water

In order to make the kuih more authentic, I have tried fermenting coconut water overnight and using it in place of water in Gp A.  It is easy to do.  Just put 500ml of coconut water in a jar and add 1 Tbsp sugar and 1/4 tsp instant yeast.  Cover with cloth and leave it on the kitchen counter for 24 hours.  After that, you can leave it in the fridge for a few days. When you are ready to bake, measure out 100ml of the liquid and use it in place of water in Gp A.  It does give the kuih a nice subtle fragrance but it isn’t spectacular.  So, if you have time and are trying to impress your future mother-in-law, you could do it so that you have something else to brag about.  I am still trying to get my hands on some real toddy to see what difference it will make to the kuih!

Prepare the coconut milk by cutting up the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and pandan leaves and adding it all in a pot.  Heat up the coconut milk, stir constantly but don’t allow it to come to a boil or the milk might separate.  Freshly squeezed coconut milk is the best, of course, but if you can’t get your hands on that, then the fresh coconut milk sold in packets in the fridge section of the supermarket is your next best choice.  If you are using UHT coconut milk make sure you get those without thickeners added.  Kara is widely available but it has carrageenan added to stabilize it and this will thicken the batter and affect the rise.  It still works but I prefer the ones from Thailand which have 100% coconut milk written on the packets.  Heat and stir the coconut milk until you can smell the floral aroma of the leaves.  Leave it to infuse for 15 mins before adding the sugar.  Stir to dissolve and leave it to cool then sieve.  You should be left with around 400ml of coconut milk.

Eggs are a big part of the recipe and it is important you get eggs of the right size.  In this recipe, I used Seng Choon’s carrot eggs which are 640g for a tray of 10.  If you use small, 55g eggs, then your kuih will not look the same as mine and the texture will be different as well.

The key is NOT to whip the eggs as you don’t want to thicken the batter.  The runnier the batter, the finer the strands will be.  I have tried using recipes with no egg whites but I found that the structure was not strong enough and the rise was not as good.  In the end, through a fortunate mistake, I struck on the 11 yolks and 3 whites ratio which gave me the perfect combination of rise and tenderness.

Just stir the eggs till the whites are broken up and add the rest of the ingredients then sieve the batter to make sure the whites and the tapioca flour are well mixed.

I sort of worked this bit out when I saw an online video of a lady mixing the batter by hand in a big plastic tub in a village somewhere.  Then it occurred to me that this cake is supposed to be simple and made with the most basic equipment.  Essentially, when you beat with your hands, you don’t incorporate air into the batter like what you would with a electric egg beater which I had been using for my previous attempts.  What you want is a batter that is dark yellow rather than pale yellow in colour.

Fermentation adds flavour as well as produces the tiny bubbles required for the batter to form the tunnels in the kuih.  I think 3 hours is the minimum and 8 hours is about the longest you would want to leave it. If it ferments too long the flavour will become too strong for some people.  5 hours is my preferred time. (based on the ambient room temperature in Singapore)


Rest for 15mins for foam to settle

After mixing the batter in the mixing bowl for all my previous attempts, I finally worked out that a blender is the perfect equipment for mixing the batter.  Just throw everything into the blender and blend it at low speed till everything is mixed and leave to ferment. About 15 mins before you want to start baking, give it a few pulses to mix the batter and allow to rest so that the foam rises to the top and then pour through a sieve into your baking tin.

The bake the kuih, you will need a 7x7x3 in baking tin.  This should cost less than $ 10 at the bakery supply store.  Don’t use those black, non-stick tins as the bottom of the cake will tend to burn.  Don’t use a round baking tin as you want the cakes to be in nice oblong slices so that you can tear the strands from top to bottom from one end of the kuih to the other.  Just go get one of these 7x7x3in aluminum tins, ok?

You might need to leak proof your tins before use.  Just fill it up with water and see if they leak.  (most of them will).  If it does, make a paste with flour and water and use it to seal the seams before you add the batter.

Before adding the batter, you need to render the tin non-stick.  To do this, heat the tin over the fire till it is hot, then spray or brush some oil onto the bottom and sides. It has to be heated up as it opens up the pores in the metal which the oil will seep into to render it non-stick.

Do not use baking paper as they tend to float up and destroy the nice honeycomb pattern.  Yes, they do, even if you oil the tin before placing the baking paper.   DON’T do it!  It destroyed my kuih a few times already, so unless you are a masochist, don’t use baking paper!  Just DON’T do it!

After the fermentation stage, give your batter a gentle stir so that all the tapioca flour at the bottom is well mixed.  Don’t whip or introduce more air into the batter.  Allow the batter to settle for 10-15 mins or till you see the batter turning back to dark yellow and a layer of foam settles. You can give the mixing bowl a few sharp taps on the table top to burst the bubbles and get the foam to settle.  Pour the batter through a sieve discarding any foam trapped in the sieve.

Next you will need to skim off the foam.  This layer of foam, if not removed will become a dense layer on top of the kueh.  This has been a problem from day 1 but I did not realize it until recently.

After skimming off the foam on the top, you will be left with a nice yellow batter IF you followed my instructions about not whipping air into the eggs.  This is how you want it to look like just prior to baking.  More foam will form during the baking process but that is fine.

How I wish someone had just told me categorically to forget about using the oven to bake this cake from day 1!  That would have saved me countless heartaches and sleepless nights!  Many people say that this kuih is the most difficult to do.  But, it is in fact, very simple and uses only very basic equipment.  All you really need is a shallow heavy bottom stainless steel pot, a baking tin, a rack, a stove  and you will be able to make this kuih with great success!


1-1.5cm high rack

The basic principle is this.  The batter must be runny and the heat must only be applied from the bottom so that the bubbles will form and rise to the top creating a nice long track.  The top of the cake must remain below 65°C or else the egg will start to thicken on top and form a thick dense layer which will stop the bubbles from rising to the top.  This is the commonest problem with many home made kuih ambon.

When you try to cook this in the oven, the heat will usually circulate even if you use just bottom heat and open the oven to let the heat escape.  The sides of the cake will also start cooking first, so that the sides don’t rise as much as the middle, causing the kuih to dome.   I tried to get around this by doing all sorts of things.  I tried wrapping the baking tin with a towel and foil to insulate the sides and a tray of water on top.  I even went to the extent of changing my oven to one with only bottom heat!  But it still did not work!  So let me say this categorically, DON’T use the oven, use the STOVE!

My breakthrough came when Chef Damian told me that the cake was traditionally cooked in an old Jacob biscuit tin over a charcoal fire!  That got me thinking of starting a charcoal fire! (I was desperate enough by that stage)  Then it occurred to me that rather than cooking over charcoal maybe I can cook it in my gas BBQ!  That was my moment of epiphany, the climax in the kung fu movie when the vision of sifu appears just before the enemy strikes the final deathblow!

After two successful bakes on the gas BBQ, I decided to try it over the stove because I wanted  a recipe that everybody can use.  My hypothesis was that since the kuih requires infrared heat from the bottom to bake, this can be simulated by heating a stainless steel bottom pot!  I had seen someone do it online before, but I wasn’t convinced.  But, lo and behold, it worked!  And it actually worked better than the gas grill!

What you will need is a shallow stainless steel pot that is at least 26cm in diameter.  Why 26cm?  Because your 7×7 in tin has a diagonal length of 25cm, so it will fit nicely into the pot.  (That is why you should not use your existing 8x8in tin because you will then need a 29cm pot which is huge!).

I repeat, go buy a 7x7x3 square baking tin!

You will also need a rack that will elevate the tin about 1 cm above the bottom of the pot.  It will be best if you get a heavy bottom pot as you will be heating the pot to a temperature of 230-250°C for over an hour and you don’t want it to warp.  These pots are not designed to be used in this manner, so it’s best to use an old pot which you don’t mind throwing away.  It must also be shallow enough so that the level of top of your baking tin is ABOVE the rim of the pot.  If your pot is too tall, the heat will build up above the kuih and it will cook too early, resulting in the same dense layer that you get when you bake it in the oven.

Don’t use a non-stick pan as the non-stick material may melt.  Don’t use a cast iron pan as you will destroy the non stick surface and you will have to re-season the pan again.  (Guess how I know?)   If you have an electric stove, you can try to put a rack directly over the heating element (legs around the heating element, not in direct contact) and placing your tin on the rack.  I haven’t tried it but in principle, it should work.  I tried using an induction cooker to heat up the pot but it didn’t work.  I think somehow my induction cooker will not continue to heat up the pot unless there is something in it.

You will need to heat the bottom of the pot till the temperature reaches 230°C to 250°C and cook the kuih for 1 hr15min to 1 hr 30 mins.  If you are using gas fire like mine, use the double ring one and turn it to about 3/4 of maximum heat. (see photo)  You should see lots of bubbles on the top of the kuih by the 15 min mark.  If you don’t see any bubbles, you will need to increase the heat.  The kuih is ready once the bubbles at the top have all broken and it is marked with lots of holes. (see photo below)

Please keep a close eye on it when it is baking and make sure there is nothing flammable around.  If the pot starts to smoke a lot, then you will have to turn off the heat.  I have done this on my stove top four times already and it has been ok. I used a laser thermometer to monitor the heat and it is around 230-250°C.   There is a chance that the pot might might burst into flames especially if there is some oil around, so do make sure you keep an eye on it.  If you walk away and forget all about it then you might have a fire to deal with!  Make sure you have a fire extinguisher or fire blanket handy!

PLEASE KEEP AN EYE ON IT!  ieatishootipost will not be liable for any mishaps that happen in your kitchen.  You bake this kuih at your own risk!

The cake is ready when all the bubbles on the top have burst and the top of the kuih is dotted with pock marks. Now remove it and place in the oven at 200°C for 5 mins or until the top turns golden brown.   If you don’t have an oven, you can simply place the pot over the tray for a few minutes.  The browning may not be as even, but it will work.  You can even serve it as it is.  It just doesn’t look as good but it will taste fine!

Once the kuih is done, leave it to cool completely before de-panning it.  I know there is a great temptation to take it out and slice into it see if you got the honeycomb pattern, but if you try to remove the kuih when it is hot, you might break it as the starch is still soft. (Guess how I know?)  If you are in a hurry, place the whole pan in a tray of ice water.  Once the cake is completely cooled, it should be easy to remove.

Once the cake is completely cooled, slice the cake in half and then into 1.5cm thick slices.  To make cutting easier, use a wet towel to clean and moisten your knife before each slice.  This is the optimum thickness as you can fully appreciate the honeycomb structure.  Please tell your guest to peel off the layers and eat it instead of just taking a bite like any other cake.  It took a lot of effort to get it this way, so teach them how to appreciate it.

Another reason for not cutting it too thick is because you will invariably come across people on a diet who will not even want to take a slice when they see that it is thick.  Others might not even want to try, giving the excuse that they are too full or on a diet or that their goldfish had just died and they are in mourning.  Make a mental note of such people and don’t ever offer them anything else because, really, how many times do you want to suffer rejection?  Just “unlike” and “unfollow” them and go find yourself a group of new friends who will rejoice with you at your success, shower you with endless praise and peel away the strands of your kuih with squeals of delight! (Just kidding……. )

One last thing.  You don’t really need to put this cake in the fridge if you are planning to eat it in the next day or two. But if you do, slice it first and warm it up in the microwave for 20 secs before serving.  This will help soften the kuih and make it tender and chewy again.

All the best with your baking and do snap a photo of your kuih and share it with us!  Here are some of my other “everything you need to know” recipes:  Japanese Cheesecake, Roti Prata, Pandan Chiffon Cake, Tau Huay.

Please remember to “LIKE” and “SHARE” with everyone you know!

Acknowledgements
I would like to thank Chef Damien D’silva and Christopher Tan for their invaluable tips and advise!

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