Night view of Taman Danau Desa a.k.a. "I'm in KL!"

hb in kl

I’ve just arrived at our office in Taman Danau Desa…flew in on the late flight from Kuching to KL. I will be here for a couple of days on a business trip, so you know the drill – 016 888 3166 is the number to call if anyone wants to meet up. πŸ™‚

I’m heading out now with my CTO to grab something to eat…will update again in a while.


DIY Prawn and Peanut crackers

pp crackers packet

Prawn and Peanut crackers is a local snack that is a variant of the home made Malay keropok (crackers). It isn’t actually made with prawns (shrimp) but ikan bilis (a small indigenous fish fry that has been dried and salted). It’s just what we call these crackers (YMMV). The crackers are about the size of a 3 inch CD. pp crackers diy

The crackers are made by DIY (a small Kuching cottage industry) and retails for RM 1.30 at most coffee shops. One packet of the crackers contains about six pieces, which makes the price per cracker at slightly above 20 cents (MYR). The cracker usually has one intact fish fry and several peanuts embedded into the cracker itself.

pp crackers

This is what the crackers look like up close – the ikan bilis and peanuts is placed on the chilli infused batter base before the deep frying treatment, producing this effect. It’s a favorite snack in our office. The crackers taste like spicy keropok before the salty ikan bilis tang starts to shine through as the cracker is munched, with the experience ending on a nice aromatic roasted peanuts note.

It contains very basic ingredients, but it’s executed so well that the whole is better than the sum of its parts. It’s also home made, so that means no preservatives. πŸ™‚


Coffee Bean Taro Ice Blended

coffee bean taro ice blended promo

Coffee Bean came out with a new promotional drink – Taro Ice Blended. The tagline for the new drink is emblazoned on the banner advertising it in front of the Coffee Bean outlet – “Sooth your senses with Taro Ice Blended”.

coffee bean taro ice blended poster

The new Taro Ice Blended promotion is done in conjunction with the 3-Cheeses Grilled Sandwich and the Belgian Chocolate drink which is back for a limited time due to high demand. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is introducing the Taro Ice Blended for RM 12.

coffee bean taro ice blended morning

I went to Coffee Bean earlier this morning to check out the new Taro Ice Blended drink. I did bring along my digicam, but alas, the battery was missing as it was still charging at home. Thus, this post is brought to you by the Crappy Cell Phone Cam (TM). πŸ˜‰

coffee bean taro ice blended making

This is a photo of a Coffee Bean employee blending the Taro Ice Blended drink and pouring it into one of the large sized containers. I opted for whipped cream on top (which comes at no extra charge).

coffee bean taro ice blended

The Taro Ice Blended drink comes out purple – it’s made of taro (purple yam) and it tastes great! Whipped cream is essential to the Taro Ice Blended experience – the mixture of the two tastes creamy with that umami taste.

Coffee Bean’s new Taro Ice Blended comes highly recommended from me. It not too sweet and full of taro goodness! πŸ™‚


Shepherd's Pie

shepherd pie

Shepherd’s Pie is traditional British dish that consists of a bottom layer of minced (ground) lamb in gravy covered with mashed potato and (often) a layer of cheese. (from Wikipedia)

penny shepherds pie

This is Penny’s version of the Shepherd’s Pie – it consists of ground beef, mushrooms, carrots, green peas and the killer ingredient – onions. I strongly belief that good Shepherd’s Pie should contain onion. Onions are great!

shepherds pie

She brought it to work (said she’s make some for me) and I ate it for lunch. The recipe she uses consists of herbs and cheese mixed into the mashed potato. It works…and it’s delicious when it’s still piping hot.

Who there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch? πŸ˜‰


Swiss Delice Supreme Noir Authentique 78% Cacao vs. LINDT Chocolat Cree a Berne

swiss faceoff choc shop

This is a face off between two premium Swiss dark chocolate (Chocolat Swiss Noir) – Swiss Delice Supreme Noir Authentique 78% Cacao vs. LINDT Chocolat Cree a Berne. I wanted it to be a straight Swiss dark chocolate comparison so…

cote dor

…the Cote d’Or Belgian extra high quality dark chocolate is out of this post’s scope

cote dor content

(and also coz I noticed that the Cote d’Or only contains 56% cocoa solids – a very low figure compared to the two Swiss brands I’m evaluating)

swiss delice supreme

The Swiss Delice Supreme Noir Authentique 78% Cacao is an extra dark bittersweet chocolate with a high cocoa solid content – the highest amongst the two, weighing in at 78% cacao.

swiss delice supreme noir

It retails for RM 9.90 each and comes in a thin cardboard package containing just 100 grams of chocolate. Weight for weight, it’s more expensive than the Cote d’Or brand (which I wouldn’t be mentioning except it was brought up :p) with its 2 x 200 g (400 g) packaging priced at RM 27.90.

swiss delice supreme back

The back of the package lists the contents of the chocolate and also has text that goes “Swiss Delice invites connoisseurs from all over the world to take part in a culinary journey throughout Switzerland. The delightful specialties are carefully created using traditional recipes and only the finest ingredients. Take a real taste of Switzerland home with you.”

swiss delice supreme foil

The packaging of Swiss Delice Supreme Noir Authentique 78% is impeccable – the slim cardboard packaging has a side that parts to reveal a thin block of dark chocolate wrapped in foil (which is the best wrapping for our climate – unlike the paper wrappings in Australia, our heat does not allow anything except foil for long term shelf life).

swiss delice supreme slices

The Swiss Delice Supreme Noir 78% cacao breaks apart easily at the perforations and produces neat imprinted dark chocolate in bite sized pieces. It’s about the size of the ubiquitous After 8 thin dark chocolate dinner mints for a better mind size comparison.

swiss delice supreme bite

I ate (nearly) the entire block of Swiss Delice Supreme Noir Authentique 78% (which isn’t much considering it’s only 100 g – the size of a large Mars bar) while waiting for my flight (which was delayed). There was someone sitting beside me, traveling alone too (Swinburne student – Hello Alice!), and I offered her a slice, which she accepted. She pronounced it good, as do I.

Swiss Delice Supreme Noir Authentique 78% Cacao is smooth high cocoa solid content chocolate – it has a melt in your mouth quality and its bittersweet nature is great. This is real dark chocolate – the product does not disappoint.

swiss faceoff lindt

LINDT Chocolat Cree A Berne is also another Swiss dark chocolate product which caught my eye due to its retro packaging. It looks like a product from the 1940’s – the candy wrapping is minimalist and heavily text oriented. It certainly has novelty value.

lindt chocolat

I sampled the LINDT Chocolat Cree A Berne the next day (and an important note here is that I wasn’t fully in withdrawal hell as I planned to stop my opiate consumption on Friday night and I was still VERY MUCH under the influence of Oxycontin bliss during the time of this review) at home.

lindt chocolat back

LINDT Chocolat Cree A Berne also comes in a slim 100 g package. Unfortunately, it weighs in at a (relatively) dismal 49% cocoa solids content. LINDT Chocolat Cree A Berne retails at RM 8.90 (all chocolates is this review is from the Choc Stop franchise at the airport).

lindt chocolat foil

The LINDT Chocolat Cree A Berne chocolate bar is also wrapped in foil and comes in smaller perforated chunks. I personally prefer an After 8 sized slice, much like the format of the previously featured Swiss Delice Supreme Noir Authentique 78% Cacao instead of this smaller chunk.

lindt chocolat pieces

The chocolate perforates nicely to reveal chocolate chunks with the Lindt signature on each of the chunks. I’m still harping about the size of the chunk – IMHO, I feel that premium chocolate should come in the larger format instead of this Cadbury/Hershey’s (tick according to your country) style chunk which is associated with mass produced chocolate.

lindt chocolat bite

The LINDT Chocolat Cree A Berne breaks nicely and takes well to biting smaller chunks off it. It tastes great, with a bittersweet symphony that indulges the senses. However, I still prefer the Swiss Delice Supreme Noir Authentique 78% Cacao as it has that elusive mouth-feel from the higher cacao content.

swiss faceoff noir best

Swiss Delice Supreme Noir Authentique 78% Cacao is the better of the two. It’s definitely a must try, with its high cocoa solid content – which is what chocolate is all about. πŸ™‚


The extended family Mother's Day dinner

md hong ping

The entire clan descended to Hong Ping Corner at the fast developing new Sibu Bus Terminal commercial area at Lorong 7, Jalan Pahlawan for the Mother’s Day dinner last night.

md extended family

This is candid shot of everyone (Headcount: 14) including the matriarch of the family before the gale force winds made their grand appearance (which is the best part of this post, bar none). It’s hard to coordinate shots what that much people…

md gale winds

Download: Gale force wind during Mother’s Day []

md gale force

This is a really funny video clip, especially when the expressions of the people are taken into consideration. πŸ™‚
Sibu was struck by gale force winds last night and it caused a bit of a havoc with chairs flying around and tables topping (with food on it). Classic!

md our table

This is our table after everything has settled down – there were 3 mothers in here – the Grand Matriarch, and two others (one of whom is mine). We ordered about 20 dishes in total and booked two adjoining tables.

md grand matriarch

All Hail the Grand Matriarch!
(the one in dark red – she’s my grandmother, so won’t even exist without her and the procreation that she experimented with many decades back)

md candid family

Download: Candid video of my extended family []

md family funny

I love this one – it’s a candid pan of my entire extended family and back and the final money shot still makes me laugh (warmly) today. I miss my cousins and aunties. πŸ™‚

P/S – They all read this blog. Seriously.
I guess I’m the de facto superstar of the family (or the black sheep, depending on how you look at it).



Thunderstorm = Fried Modem

fried sibu modem

My modem in Sibu was fried during a heavy thunderstorm in Sibu last night (which tripped the ELCB from a near direct strike as well, plunging the house into darkness) so I won’t be able to update until Monday morning.

Anyway, I got an SMS from nepasalaver telling me that our favorite local Malay tabloid is at it again – apparently, they have a serious lack of content (not to mention a dismal understanding of the English language). I hope they get more news coverage soon coz digging out old stories is just…old… πŸ˜‰


Royal Selangor Spring 2006 Collection – Mojo

royal selangor spring lineup

Royal Selangor is a Malaysian based company which has gone international (seen an outlet in Chadstone in Melbourne, Australia) that manufactures pewter based products. It used to produce classic designs (think pewter) but has recently branched out into more contemporary showpieces and personal accessories.

royal selangor mojo range

The Royal Selangor Spring 2006 Collection has several new pewter lineups for this season – Mojo, Plus, Palladio, Plasma and The Ark. Mojo is a lucky charms based lineup for this new season and I saw a range of wearable charms on display at the Royal Selangor booth in the airport just now.

royal selangor mojo purchase

Mojo by Royal Selangor reintroduces charms as pewter designs on chokers for RM 110 each, and one particular charm caught my eye and I stopped to read the Mojo advertising spiel. It seems that Royal Selangor is breaking away from their traditional target market and moving into pewter items for today’s generation.

royal selangor mojo charm

I got the Flame Charm from the Mojo series. The Royal Selangor Spring 2006 Collection is all about different themes – The Ark is a series of nicely crafted pewter items such as picture frames, piggybanks and pen holders. Mojo is a whimsical personal accessories charms lineup and the others in the seasons collection each has its own cohesive theme.

royal selangor mojo flame charm

This is what the Flame Charm in the Mojo series looks like up close. I bought it coz the design looks great. I was just browsing around since my Kuching – Sibu flight was delayed from 8:30 pm to 9:25 pm (again…) and decided to get it on an impulse purchase. The Mojo range comes in a Royal Selangor display box and includes a choker strap and a protective cloth pouch in addition to the pewter charm itself.

I like the charm – it should protect me from being engulfed in flames should I nod off on a high opiate dose someday and drop my lit cigarette on the bed. πŸ˜‰

Flame On !


Game Boy micro review

gameboy micro display

Nintendo came out with the Game Boy micro as a revamp of the Game Boy Advance SP system with the tagline “smaller. sleeker. brighter.”. It takes in Game Boy Advance SP cartridges and the Game Boy micro is one small and sleek unit, which prompted me to purchase it. I bought it bundled with a game for RM 410 – I chose Need for Speed: Most Wanted for the GBA.

gameboy micro buy

The Game Boy micro retails for RM 380 (stock) and it’s marketed towards the iPod generation with its sleek design. It’s very small – just slightly larger than the cartridges it accepts. You’ll be hard pressed to imagine just how small the Game Boy micro actually is until you see it. It’s about as large as the screen on the Sony PSP. That’s how small it is.

game boy micro box

The packaging of the Game Boy micro is suitably sleek (sorry for the repeated use of this word) – it looks like a product from Apple instead of from Nintendo. The design of the Game Boy micro returns to the horizontal screen and it looks like a controller for a conventional console with an LCD screen built into it. It is easy to mistake this new product for an iPod instead of a handheld.

game boy micro box open

The Game Boy micro package opens up to reveal the Game Boy micro unit – it’s exactly the same size as depicted on the packaging. (!!!) The handheld is protected with a mini bubble wrap covering and the Game Boy micro is going back to basics with the D-pad (directional pad) and the bright and high resolution LCD screen coupled with the A and B buttons on the side.

game boy micro charger

The charger for the Game Boy micro is included with the package. The Game Boy micro has inbuilt rechargeable batteries (non-removable) that charges up with the included AC adapter in about two hours to full battery status. The play time for a full charge is about 6 hours with the speakers on (which is the only bad part about the GBM – the speakers are tinny) and about 6 1/2 hours with a self-powered headphone.

game boy micro unit

This is the Game Boy micro unit itself (still inside the shrink wrap). The Game Boy micro accepts a standard headphone jack and I found gaming to be more interesting with one of my powered vibration headphones. There are Start and Select buttons at the bottom of the unit and two Left and Right buttons on the top. This unit is built to look sleek (apologies for the repetition).

game boy micro manual

There is also a Game Boy micro Instruction Manual. The manual describes the operations of the Game Boy micro and it seems that most of the GBA accessories are incompatible with the Game Boy micro due to the smaller form factor of the latter. However, all the GBA (Game Boy Advance) cartridges are fully compatible with the GBA. Nintendo has also stated that they’re coming out with a Wireless Adapter for the GBM.

game boy micro pouch

There is also a black traveling pouch included in the Game Boy Micro box. It’s built perfectly for transporting the GBM and has a pull-shut string on the top to seal the cotton pouch. It is however, made of cotton and thus would not protect the GBM from shocks and drops. However, I have dropped the Game Boy micro from waist point to solid concrete once and it powered up without any problems. It seems pretty solid for a design of its size. That good coz I tend to drop things…a lot. πŸ˜‰

game boy micro box contents

That’s the standard accessories included in the Game Boy micro box – the Game Boy micro unit itself, the AC Adapter for recharging the built in lithium ion rechargeable batteries, a carrying pouch, and the Instruction Manual which comes with an international warranty. It’s priced at RM 380 which is affordable enough for an impulse purchase and there’s value for money in this latest release from Nintendo.

game boy micro

This is the Game Boy micro handheld unit. The Game Boy micro is made of aluminum metal and looks like brushed silver. It looks good for a handheld – small and sleek. The LCD screen is incredibly bright with high resolution due to its smaller dimensions from a GBA unit (which are the games you would be playing with the Game Boy micro). The simple D-pad with A and B buttons is perfect – back to minimalist handheld gaming.

game boy micro bottom

There is also a Start and Select button on the bottom of the Game Boy micro unit. It flashes blue for several seconds if it’s on a full charge and goes dormant (same color scheme occurs during the charging process – the Start and Select buttons go blue during charging and goes dormant when it’s fully charged). The two buttons goes red when the Game Boy micro unit is low on battery. The Start and Select buttons should be familiar to gamers. The On/Off toggle switch is also located at the bottom of the GBM.

game boy micro top

The top of the Game Boy micro unit is built in with the receptacle that accepts the AC Adapter included with the Game Boy micro unit. This placement is crucial, as I found out, as it allows gaming even when the unit is being recharged (and this is very important for long RPG’s like Final Fantasy IV for the GBA – there is a problem with saving games and you basically have to go through the game in one shot). There are also Left and Right buttons at the top. It’s all very intuitive for console and handheld gamers.

game boy micro back

This is the back of the Game Boy micro unit. The bottom of the unit accepts the game cartridges. The Game Boy micro is compatible with all Game Boy Advance (GBA) and Game Boy Advance SP cartridges. That’s a huge library of games at your disposal. However, the cartridges are expensive though – it would be cheaper to get one of the aftermarket GBA cartridge converters that accepts an SD Card – which you can use to download ROM’s for the GBA online and transfer it into the SD Card for gaming on the go (beats playing it on an emulator on the PC any day). Please note that this is illegal if you do not own the original copy of the GBA game though. πŸ˜‰

game boy micro size compare

Here is a comparison to show the actual size of the Game Boy micro – it is pictured here with a normal King Size cigarette box (20’s). It is only slightly longer than the cigarette box. The official dimensions for the Game Boy micro is 4 inches by 2 inches. It’s the smallest handheld unit on the market.

game boy micro size depth

This is a picture to compare the thickness of the Game Boy micro. It’s hardly near the bulk of the cigarette box – the Game Boy micro measures 0.8 inches in depth. The cartridge adds minimal bulk to the unit, which is surprising. The Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advance SP cartridges all fits in snugly with minimal outcrop.

game boy micro nfs most wanted

I bought Need for Speed: Most Wanted for the GBA bundled with the game. The Game Boy micro does not have a library of its own – it takes in GBA and GBA-SP cartridges for games.

game boy micro cartridge

This is how the cartridges are slotted into the Game Boy micro. It has an auto-interlock system for safe insertion of the cartridges and the raised portion of the cartridges allows you to pull out the cartridges instead of depending on a push-out button, which minimizes mechanical failure during constant swapping of cartridges.

game boy micro cartridge insert

Here is the Game Boy micro with Need for Speed: Most Wanted for the Game Boy Advance. The GBA cartridges all slots in with minimal outcrop, which is great for pulling out cartridges and inserting them.

game boy micro splash

This is the Game Boy micro boot up screen – it shows the Nintendo Game Boy micro boot up sequence (video below) and the Select and Start buttons are red – indicating low battery status.

game boy micro bootup

Download: Game Boy micro (GBM) boot up sequence video []

game boy micro nfs most wanted game splash

Here is the Need for Speed: Most Wanted splash screen on the Game Boy micro. The LCD screen is incredibly bright and has a very high resolution compared to the GBA (first and second editions), partly due to the smaller LCD screen, which compresses the pixels. I was impressed by the clarity of the screen on the Game Boy micro.

game boy micro nfs most wanted game

This is how Need for Speed: Most Wanted looks on the Game Boy micro. The rendering is impressive on a handheld of the Game Boy micro generation (GBA). I was interested in how a racing game would perform on a Game Boy micro and it performs much better than on the original platform (GBA) – probably due to the faster processor.

game boy micro nfs game

Download: Need for Speed: Most Wanted game play movie []

game boy micro final fantasy

The faster processor on the Game Boy micro can also lead to problems with classic GBA games…Final Fantasy IV Advance runs much faster than I remembered on the Game Boy micro compared to the Game Boy Advance SP. The graphics and the sound has depth to it though – much more than the GBA. The tests were run with a self-powered headphone attached to the stereo jack – the sound output is dismal on a stock Game Boy micro.

game boy micro ffiv

Download: Final Fantasy IV Advance on Game Boy micro []

The Game Boy micro is a great handheld system for classic games though – the return to the basic D-pad and the A and B buttons with a higher resolution and brighter LCD screen and the sleek form factor just cannot be beat at this price range.

I’ll give the Game Boy micro two thumbs up but one of them is on the directional pad and the other on the A button. πŸ˜‰


This is an endearing stock photo from my archives

endearing photo

I saw this family of four sharing the same small sized drink back in Sibu and I though it was endearing. Soccer mum. Kid in BB (Boy’s Brigade). Younger sister. Older sister.

…and now for something completely random




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