Johor Bahru 2D/1N Work Trip

I was in Johor Bahru for work last week! I ate at the famous Woon Kiang Kuey Teow Kia in JB but didn’t manage to eat other local food since we had an event there. We mostly ate near the hotel, branch office or the airport at other times. Our HQ team was staying at Midori Concept Hotel – we arrived slightly past lunchtime and headed over to the shops nearby for food.

Grandma Traditional Tastes was one of the few restaurants still open at 3 pm. We ordered their Traditional Curry Seafood Bamboo Pot, which is a medley of prawns, mussels and squid inside an open bamboo tube. The broth is a curry sauce base which tastes really good with rice.

Signature Golden Crust Beancurd is their version of in-house fried tofu. The exterior was crispy and it had some kind of seaweed crust. There’s a bit of gravy at the bottom and some mushrooms and broccoli to round up the tofu with vegetables.

Signature Ice Gu Lao Pork With Lemon was our choice of protein. This is sweet and sour pork served inside a bed of ice! It’s one of their flagship dishes. The gu lao pork is cooked normally but chilled down inside the ice until it becomes cold. It’s unusual and different. I think it works better as an appetizer than a main dish to go with rice though.

I grabbed a boba at The Yunique Tea for dessert. This is a bubble tea from Taiwan with a similar logo to Daboba (bear) but with a cap on the bear.

We headed over to Woon Kiang Kuey Teow Kia for a very late dinner later that night. This is a JB institution which is open till late – or more like, early in the morning. There’s a busy station with various cuts of pork and pork innards.

The place was packed even at midnight on a working weekday!

This is everything we’ve ordered – there’s braised chicken, braised egg, tofu, stomach, liver, intestine, pickled vegetables and lean pork.

You eat the dishes with this kueh tiaw kia soup dish. This is a thin, flat noodle inside a mild tasting broth.

I like it. I can see why people enjoy these things. It’s not my first choice since I prefer more heavily seasoned food but I’m glad I tried it. They’re very popular!

Breakfast the next day was a quick Malaysian style spread of kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs at the café below our JB branch office.

We had Korean BBQ at Mount Austin for lunch!

This was a set for 8-10 pax with seafood, pork, kimchi soup and pancakes.

🔥

There were a whole bunch of us and we all ate our fill.

We were slated to fly back to KL that night so the four of us from HQ grabbed a quick bite to eat at the airport.

This is Lavender Bistro & Café in Senai Airport. It was still Ramadan at the time so they took a really long time to serve our food coz we ate around buka puasa.

I liked my order of salmon on crusty focaccia bread. I haven’t been to JB in at least 8 years so it was good to be back.

Weekend Update: Pokemon Detective Pikachu ⚡, M&M Popcorn 🍿, BKT 🐷, NL 🍚, Diet 💪!

This is a compilation of the things we did during the previous weekend and the Wesak/Nuzul Al Quran break. I write these things so I can look back and see what we’ve done together so far. Mandy isn’t huge fan of Malay food but she saw Restoran Warisan Sambal Opah while I was picking her up from work one day and wanted to try it.

This place is really good. I used to eat here often when I was working in production coz they open till late (up to 5 am). It’s not uncommon for shoots to wrap up around 1-2 am so it was a good place to get hot food after work. Their hot nasi lemak is delicious and they have lots of sides to go with the nasi lemak.

We also ordered a bunch of satay coz Mandy was craving for it. They’re all very delicious. This was so good that Mandy wanted to tapau the NL to bring home to eat during Wesak break.

I love eating NL with my hands but I’ll only do it at home. Yum!

I didn’t have work on Nuzul Al Quran either while Mandy was working as usual so I drove her to work. She’s been wanting to try the dim sum opposite our condo for a while so I stopped and tapau some har gao and lau sar pao for her.

We went to watch Pokemon Detective Pikachu coz Mandy is a Pikachu fan. I would have preferred to watch John Wick 3. We headed over to Kedai Kopi Malaya for some food before the movie. Mandy wanted to eat chicken chop there. I ordered a nasi lemak ayam goreng berempah. It was decent but nothing special. It was such a hot day I got heatstroke while eating, despite it being an air-conditioned outlet.

Mandy saw this M&M flavoured popcorn at the cinema so we got one to share. It turns out it wasn’t M&M flavoured – it’s merely regular popcorn with a bag of M&M slotted in front and packaged in M&M branding. Very misleading advertising.

The Pikachu movie was predictable and boring for me but Mandy seemed to like it.

You might enjoy it if you’re a Pokemon fan.

We headed to SS14 to eat BKT at Mandy’s favorite bak kut teh place. They have really delicious dry BKT with generous portions of meat. I really enjoy their salty and savoury dry BKT but they use so much salt and MSG you’ll be extremely thirsty after.

Mandy always orders the mushrooms too.

This is the perfect thing to eat on a rainy day!

I was in the mood to cook noodles so I made jjajangmyeon with thin yellow egg noodles and lots of seafood. I got 250 grams of prawns and 250 grams of mixed seafood. I also bought zucchini – you can’t have jjajangmyeon without it coz it provides and important crunchy texture to the noodles and cleans your palate so the bean sauce isn’t too cloying.

Best eaten with a slice of melted processed cheese on top!

It’s durian season again and I bought a 1.5 kg Musang King for RM 48. It’s still quite expensive now but it’ll get cheaper in the coming weeks.

I need to go on a diet coz I’ve been eating too much these few months. Our pre-wedding shoot is coming up in two months so I need to slim down before that. This is the last cheat meal I’ll be having until our pre-wedding shoot. I swear! From now on it’s carefully portioned meals with no extra calories until I reach 73 kg. Determination!!!

✈️ 10 Hours in Penang: Chef Wang Fusion Kitchen, Super Tanker Hawker Food Center

I’m heading to Penang again tomorrow so I thought I better post about the delicious meals I had during my previous trip there last month. This was a whirlwind work trip where I only had 10 hours on the island state. We headed straight for lunch at Chef Wang Fusion Kitchen after arriving at the airport.

Chef Wang Fusion Kitchen is a private kitchen setup where you need to reserve the tables and order the dishes in advance. I believe the chef is from China. The food here is really good. I was impressed. Our business partners pre-ordered the dishes and we occupied 2 tables. We were the only ones at the restaurant.

The pork rib soup was mild tasting and almost refreshing. It’s served in a claypot and tasted like something my maternal grandmother would cook. It’s less intensely flavoured but goes very well with the strong-tasting dishes that followed. Rice was also served in a steel pot.

I really liked their asam fish. The sour and sweet notes are very appetizing. They also have shredded raw green mango on top to add a crunchy dimension. The fish is reasonably fatty too, which is a good thing. Lean fish doesn’t taste very nice in these dishes. You need good omega oils to add mouthfeel and taste.

Next up was kiam chye pork with prawn. This is salted vegetables stir-fried with pork and topped with peeled prawns. The gravy looks sinister but doesn’t really taste as intense as it looks. This is a milder tasting dish, but still good. The salted vegetables are not just one dimensionally salty, but sourish.

You can’t eat in Penang without running into the perennial Hokkien favorite tau yu bak. Pig trotters are cooked with soy sauce to make this slightly sweet and savory dish. It’s one of my favorite things to eat. Chef Wang’s version was pretty good too.

I found their belacan fried chicken to be an unusual twist to fried chicken. I hear it’s pretty common in Penang to marinate fried chicken in belacan before frying though. It tastes really good this way! The salty and prawn-y belacan elevates this dish to new levels. The chicken was fried well too, and the meat was juicy and tender. It’s served with chilli sauce.

The deep-fried whole prawns in oyster sauce was really delicious too! The shells of the crispy prawns were fried long enough to be eaten. I love the head butter inside these babies too. One of the best dishes of the meal.

A dish of homemade tofu rounded up the meal. This was quite mild tasting and inoffensive to balance out the stronger flavors of the other dishes. It works well.

The morbidly obese waitress also brought out a dish of tong sui for dessert. This was a concoction of taro and sago pearls in a sweet syrup. It was decent but savory dishes are this establishments strong suit.

We had a presentation and meeting with our media partners before we had to fly back to KL.

Before that, our Penang branch manager brought us to Super Tanker to indulge in some hawker food.

I ordered a very dismal bowl of asam laksa. It tasted dilute and tepid. I was surprised I could find such a terrible implementation of asam laksa in Penang. I had to force myself to finish the bowl.

Luckily the char kueh tiaw I ordered was excellent. Smoky and delicious, this was a really good example of how Penang does CKT right.

Sam also ordered some o chien (oyster omelette) to share. This was really good as well. I like the Penang style of mok mok (soggy) o chien better than our Sarawak crispy o chien.

I managed to tapau some chai kueh for Mandy too.

It’s actually more for me, since I like eating chai kueh. Haha.

We also got some apam balik to eat on the way to the car. The apam at Super Tanker is remarkable too! Crispy, hot and delicious! We had to rush to the airport and nearly missed our flight due to the traffic jam in Penang. We made it though. I’ll be going again in a few hours!

Weekend Update: Flu 🤒, Ramadan Bazaar 🥘, “One Pot” Hainanese Chicken Rice 🐔

We were both down with the flu last weekend so we didn’t go out much. We’re both still recovering. Influenza will mess you up for at least 2 weeks. There’s been a virulent strain going around this year. You can hear coughs and runny noses in the office and LRT/MRT and people start falling sick. We even ran a fever for a couple of days, but we’re both much better now.

We headed over to the USJ 4 Bazaar Ramadan late Saturday afternoon. My experience tells me the best time to go is around 5 pm. That’s when all the stalls are running in full gear (but also when the crowd is at its peak). USJ 4 is the closest big Ramadan bazaar. I believe the biggest in Klang Valley is either in Shah Alam or Kelana Jaya.

I was tempted by this huge cucur udang so I got one at RM 5. It’s more like a pancake udang. That’s how big the thing was. Unfortunately, it was too doughy and thick so I didn’t enjoy it. I had to pack the leftovers into my lunch box for the next two days. It also looked like they had huge prawns in the cucur but compared to the sheer amount of dough, the shrimp was almost negligible.

One of the most tempting drinks in a Ramadan bazaar is the mango juice. This is an upgraded version with sweet mango cubes and vanilla ice cream piled on top. I’ve had these drinks at pasar malam before but they’re usually watered down and dismal. I had one just a couple of months ago with Mandy at the Setia Alam pasar malam. We were both disappointed. We got watermelon juice this time instead and loved it.

The longest queue at USJ 4 Bazaar Ramadan each year belongs to the nasi briyani run by Arabs at the very end of the bazaar. They always have an insane number of people lining up for their food! I tried it last year and it was decent, but not something I’ll spend 30 minutes under the hot sun waiting in line for. I gave it a pass this year. The murtabak opposite this stall also has a long line of people.

I also got a Roti John Beef Special with Egg and Cheese for RM 11. For the uninitiated, Roti John is a long submarine bun filled with savory minced meat (usually beef or chicken) and wrapped with a thin egg. It’s then slathered with black pepper sauce, mayo and chilli sauce. I enjoy eating this calorie bomb, especially when it’s hot off the grill. This one is good but I wish they had more meat filling.

Mandy enjoyed the Malay style Sarawak laksa that she got. My favorite among our haul was the ikan patin tempoyak. Tempoyak is fermented durian and ikan patin is a type of catfish. Combined it results in a thick, gooey gravy that’s acidic and appetizing. It’s delicious when eaten with rice! I always love this dish and have even eaten it in Temerloh, the birthplace of ikan patin tempoyak.

Walking around the neighbourhood Ramadan bazaar is a fun thing to do during puasa month. It’s crowded and you have to jostle with sweaty, sticky, smelly people from all walks of life (read: dubious provenance) so it’s not something I want to do every day. But definitely worth at least one visit.

I was craving for chicken rice over the weekend so I cooked up a batch with 2 kg of chicken legs. I boiled the chicken legs with lots of chopped spring onions, garlic, and ginger. I also put chicken stock powder into the broth. This broth infused with chicken essence and oils was then poured into raw basmati rice to cook my chicken rice.

I later learned that a lot of people steam the chicken in a steamer with sesame oil instead. I do it this way coz it’s more efficient to boil large quantities of chicken but Mandy says steaming it results in a smoother chicken texture. I’ll try that next time.

I’ve also been having a lot of “Sandwich Days” lately. Been craving for these naughty empty calories sandwich bread. I eat them with lettuce, sliced tomatoes and fried Danish luncheon meat or deli ham and a side of scrambled eggs. Delicious!

My marriage proposal to Mandy in Midhills @ Genting 💑

It was the Labour Day holidays so we decided to go somewhere cooling for a short vacation. We’ve recently been to Fraser’s Hill and enjoyed ourselves so we planned to go to Genting this time. Cameron Highlands is too far away for a 2D/1N stay. I found a nice apartment at Midhills @ Genting and booked it for a night. I also planned to propose to Mandy on that night.

I sneaked out the Sunday before with her ring in tow to purchase an engagement ring. I know she has a couple of rings at home but it took me a long time to find it, coz she stored them in a random box in her luggage. I went to Sunway Pyramid to look at rings before settling on a plain gold band.

There are two different options for even a plain gold band. One was a simple ring while the other was a modern, square design. I thought she’ll like the simple design better but I went with the square one for a modern touch. Turns out she preferred the simple ring. Haha.

I also arrange to have 24 pink roses delivered to the office. I had taken the car keys that morning and planned to put these in the boot so she wouldn’t see it. I’ll find an excuse to come down to the car while she was showering to retrieve them when we go to Midhills @ Genting. We both had work on 30th April, so we’re only driving up at night.

We reached the apartment at around 10 pm and she went for a shower. I told her I left something in the car and went to get the flowers and the ring. I waited till she was about to exit the bathroom and went down on bended knee to propose to her. She said yes.

In hindsight, I should have done this at our home. I could have had more time to set up fairy lights, letters etc. I didn’t think of it at the time. I’ll KIV that for the future. Haha.

She was feeling under the weather and didn’t feel like going out so I went to tapau some food from Gohtong Jaya. I’ve heard good things about Restoran Hou Wan so I headed there. Unfortunately, they were out of their famous steamed frog legs but they had their crispy kon chou sang mee (dry fried sang mee). I ordered chicken wings, Guinness pork ribs and two types of noodles.

The standout dish from Restoran Hou Wan is their famous kon chau sang mee. This was a dish of deliciously crispy noodles with a slice of century duck egg. You’re given wonderfully thick gravy on the side, which is poured on the noodles to rehydrate it. The gravy is full of seafood and egg and has notes of garlic and wine. Very yummy.

We headed to Genting Strawberry Leisure Farms the next morning. This is a strawberry farm in Gohtong Jaya. Mandy wanted to eat some strawberries.

The farm also has various cold climate flowers.

There’s a café selling all types of food with strawberries in them. They also had a chocolate fountain where you can dip strawberries to get chocolate coated fresh strawberries.

We also bought strawberry ice cream with fresh cut strawberries on top. Delicious.

They also had freshly made waffles and we went for a strawberry + chocolate filling. Not bad.

Mandy wanted more of the chocolate dipped strawberries so I ordered another one, but told the lady to put it inside their fridge for a few minutes so the coating will harden. Mandy liked this version better.

We walked around the farm some more…

…and picked our own strawberries!

You can get pruning scissors and a basket to collect your own strawberries.

Just cut the ones you like from the vine!

There were some very luscious ones!

The ones you see at supermarkets are cheaper but it’s fun to pick our own strawberries. These are so much fresher. I paid RM 23 for this.

It’s a nice afternoon spent strolling around the flowers and strawberry fields.

We headed uphill to Genting Highlands after and parked at First World Hotel. While walking around SkyAvenue mall, we passed by the Genting cinema and a poster for Avengers: Endgame. We both haven’t watched it so we bought two tickets to the show.

It was almost dark by the time we finished watching the 3-hour opus so we went in search of food.

Mandy wanted to eat Beauty in the Pot but they were so full due to it being Labour Day holidays that the earliest slot we could get was 11 pm! She settled for Palsaik instead.

Palsaik is a Korean BBQ restaurant famous for their 8 flavored pork belly. I’ve eaten here many years ago. We also needed to wait before a table was available.

The staff will grill the pork belly for you. You’re supposed to eat it wrapped with leaves, Korean style.

Genting was fun but there was way too many people on Labour Day. These public holidays tend to attract people from the Klang Valley so everywhere was crowded.

We managed to get some fancy donuts to eat on the way back! It was good short trip.

Weekend Update: Company Annual Training 🗣️, 14-course French Tapas Dinner 🍽️, Bosch Cordless Vacuum Cleaner 🧹

Our company’s annual training was last weekend so we didn’t go on our usual Saturday night date. Instead, we’re heading to an AirBNB in Gohtong Jaya for a short stay this coming Labour Day holiday. 🎒 I was in the office on Saturday for our training and my long-lost cousin from my mom’s side invited me to a dinner on Saturday night. I haven’t seen her in 28 years!

The company training was pretty fun. We were broken up into small groups to finish teamwork tasks and a project. It was very interactive, with games and physical tasks we had to complete together. I got the chance to sing YANK by Wali Group for bonus marks. 🎤

My team got second place out of 7 or 8 groups so that was pretty good. HR also did a small birthday celebration for all April babies after our buffet dinner at Eastin Hotel. My birthday was on 5th April. 🎂

My cousin is an advisor with Thermomix (the cooking machine) and this was one of their events – a sit down dinner with Chef Nathalie Arbefeuille of Nathalie Gourmet Studio. The dinner was held at Lightbox. 🍴

This event was to celebrate the launch of Spoonfuls of Love – The Thermomix Cookbook for Children. The book is written by Olivia Tan. 📚

Chef Nathalie trained under Chef Anne-Sophie Pic, who has 3 Michelin stars. 👩‍🍳 She also did a live cooking demonstration with – what else – a Thermomix. She said her kitchen has 4 of these and she has another one at home. I think they’re nifty too but too expensive.

This is a tapas style dinner that kicked off with Spaghetti Bolognaise In a Bite 🍝 and Crispy Puff Pizza, Eggplant, Tomato and Mozzarella Cream. I can appreciate the intricacy of the first dish, which twirls spaghetti into a “filling”. The crispy puff pizza is an Indian carbon copy bite which draws inspiration from the street food snack panipuri.

The second course had Tabouleh Salad in Couscous Version and Crab and Avocado Crispy Cone. 🦀 I like the fresh and acidic flavors of the couscous salad. The crab and avocado crispy cone is delicious! I’ve had something similar in Gaggan with exactly the same plating. You can say she’s inspired by the 2 Michelin star restaurant in Bangkok.

Next up was Mushroom Cream, Truffle Emulsion 🍄 and Mini Chicken and Chorizo Burger. You’re supposed to eat them together. I liked the mushroom and truffle soup but the burger was forgettable.

Homemade Tortellini Zucchini Basil, Basil Pesto was ill-suited for such a huge event. 🌿 The pasta was served so lukewarm it’s almost chilly and so al-dente it was bordering on tough. The flavors are decent though.

Homemade Duck, Chicken and Foie Gras Meatball, Potato Espuma, Duck Jus was a better bite. 🦆 It was quite flavorful and goes well with the potato espuma. I blended boiled potatoes in cream with a food processor once but merely called it mashed potatoes. I should have used espuma.

Slowly Cooked Salmon, Grean Pea and Mint Cream, Mint Emulsion 🐟 was the last savory dish of the night. It was very good. This is one of the times when frothy creams serves to add texture and mouthfeel instead of just being added for the sake of modernity. Very good.

Cranberry Scones, Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries and Raspberry Royale, Vanilla Chantilly, Lemon Sable 🍋 kicked off the dessert courses. I didn’t think much of the cranberry scones but I enjoyed the raspberry sable dessert. It tasted good and looked beautiful. There’s lots of interesting textures inside too.

Lemon and Flowers Popsicles was a nice palate cleanser after those creamy flavors too. 🌺

Chocolate Mousse, Mint Espuma 🍫 was the last dessert but I couldn’t stay since Mandy was sick. I rushed home to take care of her. I only missed this final dessert though. It was interesting to see how a renowned chef works with a large dinner event like this. I also haven’t seen my cousin in decades. We used to play together as kids.

I will end this with my 3 packets of Mi Sedaap, leftover Korean fried chicken, meal prep ayam pongteh, century egg and bird eye chillies cheat meal. 🍜 It got a lot of likes on Facebook for reasons unknown to me. I post things like this every weekend! Maybe it’s the warm colors.

I also bought a Bosch cordless vacuum cleaner. It’s so convenient! You don’t get held back by cables. There’s no need for a dust bag. The suction is also very strong and it picks up hair and cat litter with ease. 🐈 I’m loving it.

36 Hours in Penang 🇲🇾: Macallum Connoisseurs Coffee Company ☕, New Siam Road CKT 🍝, Sup Hameed 🍲, Moody Cow Café 🍰, Nasi Kandar Beratur 🍛, Lorbak @ Kheng Pin Café 🍢, 92 Armenian Bird’s Nest Delicacy 🐦, Ang Bak Kia Durian 😋, Air Itam Market 🥩

I was in Penang for a business trip last week. 🏝️ It’s the land of food so I made sure to properly plan my meals so I could maximize the amount of delicious hawker food I could indulge in during my short time on the island. I made a list of the must eat foods within close proximity to Cititel Penang (the hotel I was staying at) and walked to most places so I could work up an appetite.

The first meal I had was at Macallum Connoisseurs Coffee Company. ☕ I had a work lunch meeting here so I took a Grab straight from Penang Airport. This is a converted warehouse that serves primarily coffee (and gelato) as well as a selection of hot food. I went for the Macallum’s Coffee Spaghetti (RM 23) and an iced latte.

The coffee spaghetti was made with creamy coffee sauce and chorizo pork sausage. 🍝 It tasted surprisingly good. I originally expected this to be more of a novelty dish but it was rich and delicious, with an aftertaste of roasted coffee beans and pepper. The latte was excellent too! Our business associates picked up the bill – thanks for lunch!

I checked in the hotel after lunch and worked for a while before heading out for some char kueh tiaw. I wanted to eat at the esteemed New Siam Road Char Kueh Tiaw. 🍳 This is probably Penang’s most well-regarded CKT, better than the tourist-overrun Lorong Selamat CKT. There was a sizable queue even at 4 pm in the afternoon.

I waited about 20 minutes for my plate of CKT. You need to queue up before you can get seated. They don’t take orders and deliver to the table. Check out the huge industrial blower they have going! 🔥 This is still made on an old school charcoal stove and the blower supplies the wind to keep the heat high.

I love the CKT here at Siam Road. It’s easily the best CKT I’ve eaten in Penang, which makes it the best CKT in the world. The wok hei flavors come through really well, providing a smoky aroma that goes perfectly with the charred lap cheong (Chinese sausage), soft cockles, and crunchy beans sprouts. 💨 It’s exceedingly delicious! 10/10.

I could still eat after that so I went to Sup Hameed beside my hotel for a snack. I’ve eaten the sup torpedo here 10 years ago. That’s bull penis soup. 🐂🍆 I remember enjoying the gristly and gelatinous bovine dick. I wanted to try something different this time so I ordered their famous Sup Kambing (Goat Soup).

All their soups use the same base, it’s just the protein that’s different. You can see the different cuts of meats and organs they have on the soup prep station. 🍖

This is what their goat soup (RM 7.30) looks like. 🐐 People usually eat it with thickly sliced bread (RM 0.80). Their bread has a charred, bitter edge that goes very well with savory soup dishes. There’s not a lot of goat here though, but I didn’t expect much due to the price. It’s mostly bones with a bit of meat sticking on them. Not a bad snack though!

I had to rest for a while after all that food. The next destination was a good 4 hours later at night. I’ve heard of a place called Moody Cow Café which serves slices of cake priced RM 42 and above. 😱 I thought that was a shockingly expensive price tag for just a slice of cake! I was very intrigued. I had to go and see what they’re about.

Moody Cow Café is one of those Instagrammable cafes with a beautiful interior and seating arrangements. 📷 I love their vintage high-backed chairs and quiet environment. It is very dark inside though. I think that’s why they’re named moody – the temperamental lighting is a conscious ambiance cue.

I ordered their flagship Cempedak Madness (RM 42) cake. 🍰 They have several different premium ones, including a chocolate rum concoction but the owner recommended this as their bestseller. The RM 42 slice was generous, tall and thick. It’s made with tons of real cempedak fruit. It’s an extremely rich cake with lots of butter and cream and tropical fruit and I had to struggle to finish the slice.

The cake slices here are definitely meant for sharing. It’s too cloying for a single person to eat. 💀 I did enjoy the Cempedak Madness cake though. I know I’ll have enjoyed it more if I were hungry. It’s very expensive but worth a try if only for the sticker shock kudos you’ll get from social media.

Nasi Kandar Beratur is another Penang institution that I wanted to try. This place is famous for opening at 10 pm at night! 🌙 I went at 11 pm and there was a queue coming out the front. Luckily it moved quite fast. It’s popular among the locals for some late night noms.

They have a selection of freshly cooked dishes to pair with rice. I opted for a fried chicken leg, which I hear is a must have. I also added on prawn curry and sotong (squid) curry as well as a personal bag of papadom. 🍛

My meal cost RM 22.50. 💸 The fried chicken leg is very small, likely from a free range kampung chicken. I wasn’t too impressed by it. The squid and prawns were decent but nothing special. I prefer the dishes at Nasi Kandar Line Clear. I’m glad I tried this though.

I went to Kheng Pin Café the next morning for some Penang lorbak. 🍢 This is a very famous stall that’s right beside my hotel. It’s run by a friendly husband-and-wife duo. They’re really busy in the mornings – every table I saw had a plate of lorbak.

The lorbak is freshly deep fried before being delivered piping hot to you. I opted for a selection with everything plus century egg for RM 8. 🦆

This the second-best meal I had in Penang this trip, after the Siam Road CKT. The prawn fritters are particularly delicious and I love the ngor hiang too. 🍤 It goes very well with their house chili and lu dipping sauce. 10/10.

92 Armenian Bird’s Nest Delicacy is a café specializing in all things bird’s nest. 🐦 Mandy made a special request to tapau their bird’s nest egg tarts so I walked here after my lorbak breakfast to order some egg tarts.

This café has the best packaging I’ve seen. They lovingly bundle up the 2 egg tarts I ordered into a fine, red box and put that into a high-quality custom paper bag. The egg tarts are attached securely via custom holders and there’s a nook that fits a small vial of bird’s nest beside them. Very impressive. 🍮

The egg tarts are priced at RM 9 each. 🥚 You drizzle the bird’s nest soup over the egg tarts before you eat them. I wouldn’t say they’re very delicious but they’re not bad and the packaging is superb.

Next meal was herbal duck drumstick mee sua. 🍜 My Penang colleague picked me up and we wanted to go to a popular hawker center for lunch but he couldn’t find parking. It was close to our next meeting so I told him we can just eat anywhere there’s parking. It was pretty good – a nice, blander change to my heavily seasoned normal meals.

The next time I could eat was after work commitments, when I popped into a roadside durian stall to indulge in a durian. The durian seller said he only has 1 local durian and the others are from Thailand. 🇹🇭

I was told this is Ang Bak Kia – a local Penang breed. 😋 However, I’m not so sure as the Penang durian season is yet to start. This is likely a Thai durian.

It was RM 22 for this Ang Bak Kia durian. It satisfied by durian craving but I have serious doubts about the provenance of said durian. 🤔

I was in the Air Itam area for work but unfortunately the famous Air Itam Laksa was closed on that day. The local favorite Bisu Laksa @ Air Itam Market was also closing by the time I finished with work so I couldn’t eat there either. 🤫 I ended up patronizing a random CKT shop and had CKT with duck egg. It’s not as good as Siam Road, but sufficient to tide me over till my next trip.

I forced myself to scarf down one last meal before I flew back to KL. It was at a lor mee / prawn mee stall at Air Itam Market. After seeing my hesitation in deciding, the seller suggested mixing the two soup bases together. Big mistake. The unholy marriage tasted quite appalling. I didn’t enjoy it at all. 🤮

Before booking my Grab to the airport, I stopped by a local bakery down the road called Sin Ka Onn. The shop was the perfect place to wait and I’ve heard good things about their store made kaya. 🥥 I also grabbed a half-loaf of soft, pillowy bread to pair with the spread.

I thought that half loaf would be too much for the two of us. Wrong! I only ate two pieces before Mandy inhaled the rest! She really enjoyed it. 🍞

Weekend Update: Homemade Sandwich Party 🥪, Korean Fried Chicken @ Mont Kiara 🍗, Korean Grocery Haul 🇰🇷

Mandy has been craving for sandwiches lately so I bought a loaf of bread to make a few different types. I also got a can of Danish luncheon meat, some deli ham, and eggs. 🍖 My plan was to make 3 different sandwiches – a fried SPAM sandwich, a fried egg sandwich, and a cold cut deli ham sandwich. Naturally, there were fresh tomatoes and lettuce to complete the sandwich.

I fried 3 eggs with dark soy sauce, pepper, and fish sauce before compiling it into a sandwich with chilli sauce. 🥪 The next one was a cold sandwich with deli ham, tomatoes, lettuce and some Kewpie sesame salad dressing. The third comprised of fried slices of luncheon meat from Denmark with lettuce and tomatoes. They’re all really good! It’s worth it to pay more for expensive SPAM since they hold their shape when fried.

My girlfriend works on weekends and the McDonald’s below our apartment only opens at 8 am in the morning so we’ve never gotten a chance to eat their breakfast hash browns before she has to go to work. 🥔 I decided to tapau one for her during breakfast on Saturday and keep it in the fridge before heating it up when she woke up on Sunday. Haha. She said it didn’t taste as good though.

Our Saturday date night was in Mont Kiara. We both love Korean fried chicken and we decided on Chicken House for dinner. 🐔 This is a small Korean run restaurant that serves mainly chikin and a variety of Korean stews. They’re better known for their chicken. I’ve been here before a few years back (but with a different girlfriend). Read my first Chicken House @ Solaris Mont Kiara review here.

We ordered a whole chicken – half in sweet and spicy sauce and the other half in soy sauce + garlic. They’re both pretty good but the edge goes to the sweet and spicy sauce. 🍗 The soy sauce also tasted a little sweet. It’ll be better if it tasted savory and salty with no sweet notes as a contrast.

The bill came up to RM 141 for 2 pax inclusive of drinks and beer. 🍺 Mandy felt that KyoChon tasted a lot better and I agree. There are free peanuts here as well as pickles though. You can actually get KyoChon to serve free pickles if you ask. Their pickles are better than the ones here too, but Chicken House tastes more like a home kitchen.

We went to a Korean grocery after that to check out what’s on offer and came back with a haul of Korean instant noodles, ice cream and drinks. Haha. 🇰🇷

This Paldo cheese jjamppong ramen is really good! Spicy and creamy. 🍜

But it was this Jin Jjajangmyeon that I was super impressed with. 🌱 It’s so delicious! 9.5/10.

We capped the night with some mudslide ice cream from the US. 🍨 This tastes heavenly with some cheese crackers from the Philippines.

Weekend Update: Crab 🦀 + Fish 🐟 + Prawn 🦐 @ Sun Ocean Seafood Restaurant, Filipino Food @ Kota Raya, Lucky Me! Pancit Canton Review

Mandy was craving for some crab on Saturday night so we headed to Sun Ocean Seafood Restaurant in Puchong so she can get her fix. Crab is her favorite food – we’ve eaten crab at Pulau Ketam, crab at KKB during Valentine’s Day, and crab in Kuching during CNY in the past few months. She eats these scarlet crustaceans about once a month! 🦀 I enjoy eating crab when it’s peeled like in 1 Michelin star Raan Jay Fai and I love the Alaskan king crab I had in Korea but I find it too troublesome to bother with harvesting the flesh of local flower and mud crabs.

I enjoy eating fish more, especially steamed fish. This is asam tilapia (RM 39) which was recommended by the colourful waiter. 🐟 The savory asam sauce goes very well with rice! There’s a fair bit of meat on the tilapia too.

The restaurant also served us a bowl of complimentary bitter gourd 🥒 and tofu soup. It tasted slippery and starchy. Quite decent for a free soup.

Mandy also had butter prawns (RM 20). 🦐 You can choose either “dry butter” or “wet butter” – the former is deep fried strands of crispy butter and the latter is more like a buttery sauce. I tend to prefer the wet type since the sauce goes better with rice.

She also wanted tofu so we got salted egg yolk tofu (RM 12). 🍢 The tofu is homemade and coated with salted egg crust before being deep friend. I don’t like tofu but my dad and Mandy loves tofu so I’ve grown to tolerate it.

This is the main dish – black pepper crab (RM 68). 🧂 They gave us 3 medium crabs but the “medium” here was quite tiny. The crabs had tons of roe though! Crab roe filled the shells and the body. I love crab roe and the black pepper sauce was delicious!

This restaurant also has free self-service ice cream. They only had two flavors – cookies and cream and mint chocolate but they’re pretty good. I indulged in a big bowl of ice cream and ate another cone with two scoops. You’re never too full for dessert! We ordered too much food for 2 pax though. I managed to finish all the dishes except for the crab but I was stuffed! I tapau the leftover crab for Mandy. Dinner came up to RM 142.50. The food is actually very reasonably priced here. It tastes good too. 😋

My bro Eddy and his wife came down to KL so I went to Kota Raya to meet them. We had lunch at the stall formerly known as Mariza’s Delights. It’s under new management now but they haven’t saw it fit to replace the banner hanging over their shop. Kota Raya is a Filipino hub in downtown Kuala Lumpur – it feels like a mini Manila! 🇵🇭 This shop came highly recommended so we went to check it out.

It’s a Pinoy chap fan stall with various dishes you can pick and choose from. The interior was PACKED with Filipinos! You have to be comfortable eating with your knees pressed against the person beside you and having the plump back of the person behind you rest against yours. 🍽️ It’s that kind of place. I believe travel guides use “full of character” to describe places like this.

The food was slightly unfamiliar but I liked the pork soup with plantains and the pork cooked in thickened pig’s blood. 🐷 However, all of the dishes were cold. It would have been a lot better if they’re cooked to order, but this is a chap fan stall.

I also ordered a halo-halo. 🍨 I had halo-halo during my trip to Boracay in the Philippines and I enjoyed it very much. It’s a complex dessert with condensed milk, milk, coconut cream, yam ice cream, various jellies and a baked scorched milk custard. They go very well together and there’s so many textures going on, it’s like an adventure! Very nice.

The bill came up to RM 112 for 6 pax, which is a surprise for this kind of stall. 😱 That works out to almost RM 20 per person – quite a lot for this type of dining experience. It was fun to experience the Philippines in the middle of KL though.

Kota Raya had many grocery stores selling imported food from the Philippines. I picked up several different flavors of Lucky Me! Pancit Canton. 🍜 This is a dry noodle from the Philippines that I’ve heard a lot of good things about. They’re selling it for around RM 11 per pack or RM 2 per packet.

I tried the Lucky Me! Pancit Canton Xtra Hot Chilli Flavor that night. 🌶️ Each noodle brick is 80 grams, similar to Indomie. There’s a powder sachet and a twin liquid sachet containing light soy sauce and chilli sauce.

I ate 3 packets of Pancit Canton (literally Cantonese noodles) with the leftover crab and ayam pongteh. 🐔 It was decent but light years behind the Indomie/Mi Sedaap benchmark, which I consider the best in the dry noodle class. I gave it a 6/10 and Mandy rated it 7.5/10. We both rate Mi Sedaap as 10/10.

However, a Filipino commented on my Facebook the moment I posted my review to disagree. 😄 He said he felt Lucky Me! tastes better than Indomie and gave me some tips to improve the flavour, like adding 2 sachets of flavor to 1 packet of noodles. I like the loyalty Filipinos have to their home country but from a neutral taste perspective, Indonesia is still the king with their Indomie/Mi Sedaap duopoly. Haha.

My 38th Birthday! 🎉

It is true. I have turned 38. The big 4-0 is looming close, practically nipping at my heels. 😱 That said, I’m pleased to report that I still receive comments and messages expressing surprise that I’m 38. I hear I look youthful. Although, truth to be told, there are fewer of these remarks as I grow older. No matter. My (much younger) girlfriend gave me a birthday surprise when I got home last Friday.

I already expected something coz she has been asking me strange questions the past week. She also called to enquire when I’ll be reaching home, which is quite suspicious. 🤔 I told her I’ll be back 15 minutes later than I actually would and quickly barged in the moment I got home. Hahaha. I’m terrible.

She was still in the midst of lighting a candle at that point. She later told me she planned to turn off all the lights but I unlocked the gate and ran in so quickly she didn’t have time to do so. 🚪 She also prepared a lot of gifts on my bed for me to discover! She got me dress pants from Uniqlo coz I tore 2 in a row at work. She also bought me a shirt so I have more options to wear.

Mandy printed a photo of us she liked and got a frame so we can put this at the bedside cabinet too! 💑 My cat periodically flattens this frame though so I have to right it every few days.

Since it was my birthday, I thought it’ll be apt to break open this The Macallan Whisky Maker’s Edition. I bought this for 4,300 baht (RM 553) in duty free a few years ago but haven’t found a suitable occasion to drink it. It was delicious! Complex, woody, nutty and deep. 🥃

She also cooked mayo prawns with condensed milk for me! 🦐 That’s my grandma’s recipe that she asked for during our Chap Goh Meh trip to Sibu recently. It’s best paired with 3 packets of Mi Sedaap and century duck eggs.

Thanks for making my birthday special babe. Love you always. 👫

I had work the next day (Friday) and our boss Sam took the entire SPU team out for a dim sum lunch at Eastin Hotel. 🥟 Our office is in Phileo Damansara and there aren’t a lot of great food options here. Ee Chinese Cuisine in Eastin Hotel is definitely one of the better ones! The restaurant is really nice and the food is great too! I ate till I was stuffed.

I liked their wat tan hor too – the flavors are spot on and there’s lots of egg and seafood inside the noodles. 🍲

Here’s a photo with the SPU team! ✨

That night, I had 3 packets of Mi Sedaap again and got ice cream, whole milk and keropok. I wanted Super Ring but the grocery downstairs didn’t have it. My favorite Cadbury Caramello ice cream was unavailable too so I went with Bulla, another Australian brand from Victoria. 🍨

We also checked out the newly opened Daboba in Subang Jaya Boba Street. This is another brown sugar bubble tea but with a cheese topping. You’re supposed to drink the cheese foam first before mixing it in. They blowtorch and caramelize the top of the foam with sugar so it tastes really good. Innovative and tasty, this is the best we’ve had on this street. 🥤

I felt like having chicken rice on Saturday night so we went to Kar Heong in SS14 for my steamed kampung chicken rice fix. They have one of the best chicken rice in my area. Kar Heong’s chilli sauce is the bomb! The other place I like is Kong Sai in Puchong but Mandy doesn’t like their onion oil. 🐔

We also got some 🍢 tofu…

…and bean sprouts. 🌱

I got to eat everything I wanted during my birthday weekend. Happy 38th to me! 🎂 Now to get back on my diet. I really stuffed myself last weekend.

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