Friday, March 30, 2018

LTS 2018

Hall of History

On the 13th of January, I was back at a large Nu Skin Success Together event called the Life Transforming Seminar at Putra World Trade Center (PWTC). I was there with KH to received some recognition for his hard work. I also managed to meet his boss at the event, who was currently on the TR90 programme. As usual, the atmosphere was super-charged with many ageLOC Superstars, performances, and sharing sessions. The Singapore team did an amazing job with their ageLOC into the future performance, where they envisioned that TR90 would become TR9, a Nu you in 9 seconds. Haha. They adopted a Japanese style of visual art where stage hands donned black Zentai suits to create visual effects (e.g. Kabuki Kuroko). Actually, Sharky was also at PWTC, working freelance for Malaysia Cyber Games, a gaming event. Unfortunately, we had no chance to meet.

Life Transforming Seminar 2018

Malaysia Cyber Games 2018

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Otherwise

Exterior

Hidden in the SS4 residential area is a quaint place for coffee called Otherwise Cafe. It's neighbours are a Protestant church, a Buddhist society, and a design firm called Yipieyaya Studio. I suspect that it's related to the designers from next door. Don't expect a huge signboard, there's only a small logo out front. Just look out for a quaint looking place with vintage wooden chairs and lots of metal and rivets out front. I really wonder where the designers source for all the quaint stuff in there. Surprised to see a vintage diving helmet in the window display. The counter is made out of old railroad sleepers. Some of the chairs are the vintage folding chairs with red cushioning. The last I saw those was at Yan Keng Benevolent Dramatic Association in Petaling Street. At one corner, they have an old barber's chair with an antique gramophone and ship lanterns. If you like to sit cross-legged, you can also climb onto an antique metal bed frame that they transformed into a table.

Interior

Barber's Chair

Interior aside, the place has not much to offer in terms of food. When mum and I got there, we were only presented with the choice of kaya butter toast (they use the Hainanese type bread, but it was kinda dry), and a kampung egg mayo croissant (quite lemak). The iced latte did hit the spot. But if you're looking for a quiet place to chill, and get some artistic inspiration, it is a great place be. Just ask all the hipsters who like to go there.

Kampung Egg Mayo croissant

Iced Latte

Monday, March 26, 2018

Automobile Ouch

Ouch

When I first got my Almera, I scratched it at church against a pillar. That was the right side. So like a good Christian, I turned the other cheek, and scratched the left side as well. That happened against a wall at the wet market's multi-level car park. My heart sank when I heard the groaning of metal against concrete. Ugh. The damage was worse than the right side. Oh well. The body and paint work would cost a bomb so... I'll just let it be for now.

Sarawak Laksa

As much as I tried to forget about the whole incident with the car, it still managed to make my Mee Kolok and  Laksa Sarawak lunch at Rumah Asap Tan 16 a little less fantastic.

Mee Kolok

By dinner time, I was feeling much better and enjoying my Japanese meal at Uroko. It was SK's first time there and she was quite impressed by their Salmon Ball Salad and kushiyaki.

Kushiyaki

Salmon Ball Salad

Since Happy Mansion was nearby, we went there for some coffee and cake before calling it a night. Tried Good Blue Men and we weren't disappointed by their selection of coffee and tea mocktails. Their Green Tea Tiramisu Shake is worthy of a mention.

Green Tea Tiramisu Shake

Cake

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Catching Up With Kenji 2018

YTF

Kenji was back in KL as part of his long vacation. The last time we reconnected in Malaysia was in 2015. Asked him what food craving he had as a way to decide on the lunch venue. He answered YTF, so we went to Ker Yuen Kitchen in OUG, a convenient location for all of us. KH was with us but Sharky wasn't because he was in Europe with his family. Always a pleasure to see Kenji's eyes light up when the food arrives.

And with Kenji, a meal is never complete without dessert. We walked to the nearby Chaplang Cafe for coffee and waffles. When I saw the Bulatan Kampung Pandan Waffle on the menu, I ordered it without a second thought. Where can one find a waffle with four big scoops of g-Lat ice cream on a pandan waffle? The choice of flavours was also very Malaysian. Took the Neslo, Teh Tarik, Chocolate, and Coconut Gula Melaka. Kenji's sweet tooth was satisfied. The cafe is decorated with antiques and all sorts of old knick-knacks. Comics strips also covered the walls giving it a cheerful atmosphere.

Comic Strip Wall

Did lots of catching up with Kenji. And as usual, he would drop a bomb here and there. Never boring when talking with him. Stayed on until KH had to leave for another appointment. Although it was raining, we dashed back to my car, and I send Kenji home.

Bulatan Kampung Pandan

KH and I met up again during dinner, this time with Dan, KH's insurance agent. Dan wanted to treat us to dinner at Songkhla Thai Seafood Restaurant because of the policy referral that I gave him. That restaurant in Bandar Puteri Puchong is really quite popular. Didn't expect a line outside. Wonder if its due to the free steamed rice, ice cream, and fruits. Seafood tomyum, tamarind steamed fish, and stir-fried asparagus were pretty good. And the stir-fried glass noodles came with many ample-sized prawns.

Lime Steamed Fish

The restaurant ran out of free ice cream, so we went to the Sangkaya next door. As Dan pointed out, the place was super quiet, perfect for working and appointments. But it also makes one wonder how long more can it last with such dismal traffic.

Ice Cream

Saturday, March 17, 2018

NYE 2018

Big Pau

On New Year's Eve (after a Big Pau Breakfast), reconnected with Peng and her husband after a long hiatus. Met them over lunch at Let's Joy Cafe in Kuchai Lama. For as long as I can remember, Peng was thin as a reed. Now I can see some padding on her. Guess we can't stay slim forever. On the other hand, her husband has managed to maintain his figure although he has a voracious appetite. The milk tea and Japanese curry baked rice at the cafe was pretty good actually. Plenty more to choose from actually. Even the dessert menu is extensive.

Big Pau (Cross Section)

Cheese Baked Rice

At 10:00 PM, mum and I went to church again. As usual, there was an NYE mass that ends with fellowship and fireworks. So unlucky that a lady knocked my phone out of my hand while I was recording the fireworks display. Got a small crack at the corner which prompted me to get a more protective casing. Hope your 2018 started on a better note than mine!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

East Coast Road Trip III: From Cherating to Calong and Celup

Pool

Although I wasn't happy with the hotel room, I slept like a baby anyway. When I got up, KH was randy and wanted to get inside me. I went to clean-up, then he got me nice and ready with foreplay. As he was poised to enter me, we got a knock on the door! Bwahaha. Time to get ready and have a walk on the beach. So we tucked our woodies into our shorts, combed our hair, and headed for the pool. SK already her morning swim on that dreadfully windy monsoon morning. If the weather was nicer, it would have been great. The beach was clean, but halfway through our walk, we were hit by sporadic showers. Anyway, we didn't have long to linger there as we had a breakfast appointment with the Y Tribe in Kuantan.

Windy Beach

Breakfast was the famous Mee Calong in Beserah. A fairly new addition to Kuantan's culinary dictionary. Created perhaps a decade or so ago. They brought us to Joe Warung Mee Calong dan Keropok Beserah, an open-air restaurant that's built right in front of Joe's wooden house. The Y Tribe's patriarch is actually one of Joe's suppliers, so they know each other quite well. Mee Calong is something like the Malay version of Chinese fishball noodles. Instead of fishballs, they use keropok lekor fish paste. Kinda like Indonesian pempek. The clear soup is a mixture of anchovies and Malay spices which gives it a delicious flavour. As the name suggests, Joe also specializes in keropok lekor. Truth be told, of all the keropok I've had on the trip, Joe wins the prize for best taste, and texture.

Mee Calong

Keropok Lekor

Riding on Joe's success, kuih and nasi lemak suppliers also sell their stuff there by consignment. Pretty decent really, especially the onde-onde, and kuih cara berlauk. Believe it or not, we extended our breakfast just to wait for nasi kukus ayam goreng berempah and rojak to be available. LOL. Whenever you're in Beserah, do pay this JJCM-awarded restaurant a visit.

Nasi Kukus

Rojak

Aneka Kuih

I grew up in a government quarters called the Survey Quarters because my late father was an employee for the Land Survey Department. The whole compound had no fencing, and everyone stayed in identical single-storey houses, with red cement flooring. Living room, dining room, three bedrooms (to get to the master bedroom, one had to go through an intermediate bedroom), and a garage. The toilet and the bathroom are connected to the garage. So when I was a kid, it was a daunting task of unlatching the folding doors to get 'out of the house' to use the toilet in the middle of the night. Every house was fronted by a big field that when combined with neighbouring houses became a huge playground for me. Back then, it was also a very multi-cultural community-- Malay, Chinese, Indian, Punjabi, and Portugese. But that doesn't mean I didn't hear the occasional, "Cina Babi" heckle. That aside, it was harmonious.

I Grew Up Here II

Although my old neighbour had warned me that Survey Quarters ain't what it used to be, nothing prepared me for the sight of my old house. Firstly, the government decided to erect a high wall around the compound. Better security perhaps. Secondly, the houses had gone to shit. In this day and age, I think civil servants would rather rent a house outside with their housing allowance. Hence many of the houses were abandoned and subsequently 'claimed by nature'. My old house was one such example. It had a rumah mat gian vibe to it.

I Grew Up Here I

When in Kuantan, it's a must to buy salted fish. My hometown is well-known for a variety of salted fish known as mui heong which literally translates into "rotten fragrant". Perfect when used to steam minced pork or to add into claypot chicken rice. Jalan Besar used to be a hot spot for the salted fish business, but many of the shops have closed down. One big player still remains though-- Chen Hing. All sorts of dried seafood products can be bought here. A great one-stop shop.

Dried Seafood Shop

From town we made a quick detour into Bukit Sekilau so that I could take a quick look at my old primary school. Still remember the places I used to play during recess, and the field opposite the main entrance where a lady used to sell aiskrim ikat underneath a cashew tree.

I Used To Play Here

Field

Then I visited my secondary school or whatever is left of it. The St. Thomas Secondary School is no more, as it is now Regent International School. There's some controversy surrounding the whole issue because the Ministry of Education deemed that the relocated St. Thomas school would be renamed to Sekolah Mahkota Abdullah, effectively erasing its history as a missionary school (established by Rev. Fr. Louis Guitat in 1950 and later taken over by the Brothers of St. Gabriel in 1960). The red sports house was named Guitat.

Regent International School

Just beside the old site of St. Thomas Secondary School is St. Thomas Church. Mum and I made a quick visit around its compound. I don't have much memories of it as I just attended mass there once in my life. The tall bell tower was just a landmark to me.

St. Thomas Church

Rushed over to lunch at Tanjung Lumpur. The Y Tribe's extended family was already waiting for us at Gerai Mok Na. So much East Coast Malay sin food under one roof. All my favourites were there-- otak-otak, satar, ketupat palas, ikan goreng tepung, keropok lekor, tebosa, pulut panggang, etc. I also got my laksam fix there. For dessert, there was pengat pisang and kuih asam gumpal. It was a very satisfying lunch! From there we bid farewell to the Y Tribe, and Kuantan as we were making our way back to KL.

Malay Goodies

Ikan Celup Tepung

Laksam

But of course, we made a stop at Seri Jaya, for more food! Hahaha. Been craving for Restoran Sin Tong Kok's big pau. SK had to pre-order, else we wouldn't be able to get it. Ahhhh, a truly fruitful trip to the East Coast.

Famous Pau

And look at this coffee shop opposite Sin Tong Kok. It's weird enough that they have a pillar right in the middle of the entrance, but they made it more 'presentable' by installing a huge God of Prosperity on it. LOL. Only in small towns I guess.

Choi San

P.S.: I didn't get fat from all the food. Blek.

Friday, March 09, 2018

East Coast Road Trip II: Delicious Dagang

Lining Up

According to Lynn, there's this legendary nasi dagang at Kampung Atas Tol (quite some name eh?). Due to its popularity, we had to get there really early. Got to Kak Ros Nasi Dagang at around 7:30 AM, but there were no free tables, and a long line had already formed outside (we were the only Chinese there, something I often notice in KT). The side of the road was full of parked cars. The drizzle failed to turn people away from the allure of the nasi dagang. There were actually two queues, one for eat-in and the other for take away. The former is the slowest moving because people tend to take-away a lot of packets. Easily twenty packets per order. If you're eating there, they'll assemble you order on a huge metal tray, and you can carry it away one shot! To accompany your nasi dagang, you can also have keropok lekor (sedap jugak) and Teh Tarik Meleleh (literally translates to Dripping Pulled Tea). In my opinion, it's a like an overflowed tea cappuccino. The foams stays at the side of the cup long after you've finished the contents. After forty five minutes, we got our food and left.

Kampung Atas Tol

Nasi Dagang

Breakfast

Abang Sado

We had our breakfast at the hotel, together with The Tribe. Mum and the kids had just woke up! Made coffee from the provided Indocafe premix, and Big Monster was immediately hooked. In my opinion, the nasi dagang was really good. The rice was very creamy, and the kari ikan tongkol delicious. Big Monster gave his thumbs up for the nasi lemak.

Nasi Dagang

Next up, we packed our bags and checked out. Then went to Kampung Cina which is Kuala Terengganu's Chinatown. To get there we had to use the Sultan Mahmud Bridge which crosses the Terengganu River, and two inland islands (Pulau Duyong and Pulau Besar). Another landmark is the Terengganu Welcome Sign, which is a huge "Allah Peliharakan Terengganu" located on Bukit Besar. Kampung Cina is really touristy, very much like Jonker Street in Melaka. Whole lot of murals along the road lined with pre-war shop houses. And of course there is an oriental gateway there. And one of the narrow alleys was turned into Turtle Alley, dedicated to turtle conservation.

Gateway

Turtles

Street Art

Dragon

Like Hobbits, we had a second breakfast which was Roti Paun Terengganu at T. Homemade Cafe. The cute six-pack buns were toasted and served with butter and kaya. They also sell a bun with tebosa (fish) filling which is pretty cool.

Roti Paun

Tebosa Bun

For shopping, we went to the local market called Pasar Besar Kedai Payang. On the ground floor, one can get fresh fish, poultry, meat, eggs (turtle eggs too!), fruits, and vegetables. Plenty of snacks and tid-bits too (like jeruk, keropok, and serunding). The units upstairs are mostly dedicated to clothes and crafts. There's also a food court there.

Market I

Market II

Serunding

Turtle Eggs

Our last stop in Kuala Terengganu before heading out to Kuantan again was Masjid Tengku Tengah Zaharah, or more commonly called the Floating Mosque. The name comes from the fact that the mosque is built in the estuary of Ibai River. The white mosque seems to be floating when viewed from one side of the estuary.

Floating Mosque

Back in Kuantan, mum made a visit to her neighbour again because a reunion was arranged with another two neighbours. It was great that she could see old friends. We also made an appointment to see the kids that my mum (The Y Tribe) used to babysit. I used to sit the little one in front of the TV and shove heaps of rice into his mouth. And he loved to watch me play Worms Armageddon on my PC. Twenty years later, the kids are taller than me.

The Y Tribe treated us to dinner that night at Restoran Baru Hock Hin, a place famous for Foochow cuisine. That night we had steamed fish, oyster omelette, steamed tofu with ginger sauce (the tofu version of ginger steamed fish), red wine residuum chicken, and an excellent kung pao baby eel.

Ginger Tofu

Kung Pao Eel

Our accommodation for the night was at The Legend Cherating Resort, which was quite far out of town. In my opinion, the place is pretty run-down and in need of a face lift. The retro feel to the rooms reminded me of my stay at Manohara Hotel in Borobudur. The room was huge, but the bathroom door was a horrible plastic, the toilet roll was obviously wet before we checked in, dust was all over, and there was sand in the sheets! Cheered up with Hokkien mee that we tapau-ed from Restoran Kim Kee back in Kuantan.

Run Down

Hokkien Mee