Home made deep-fried Mars bar

deep fried mars bars

Deep-fried Mars bars are the stuff of legends. It originates from fish and chip shops in Scotland and is the epitome of unhealthy eating! I decided to make my own using a entire new bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) to give it a healthier veneer. ;) I not only did it with a Mars bar, but also battered and deep fried some other of our favorite candy bars.

candy bars

  • Snickers
  • Mars
  • Twix
  • Kit Kat Chunky
  • Cadbury Crunchie

I opened up a new bottle of fairly good quality EVOO – the bottle costs about RM 30 and you can’t reuse the oil since deep frying Mars bars causes the oil to turn entirely black (a snippet I heard from an interview in Scotland, where the battered deep fried Mars Bar originated) and chocolate will sink to the bottom.

deep fried mars bar recipe

Here’s my recipe for the deep-fried Mars bar:

  • Aroma Banana Fritter Flour
  • Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Mars bar (and the other candy bars)

plating

This project was done for our anniversary – I wanted to make Ling something sweet which also means something to us. Those are our 5 favorite candy bars and I wanted her to try the notorious battered deep fried Mars bar for our anniversary.

evoo

It’s very simple really – I heated up the 500 ml of EVOO in a frying pan until it’s hot (contrary to popular belief, fair quality EVOO can be used for deep frying – you won’t reach the smoking point) and prepared the batter.

batter

I should note that this brand isn’t ideal as it doesn’t coat the chocolate bars properly. I have beer batter meant for fish and chips from NZ in my pantry but I totally forgot about it. The banana fritter batter only has baking powder, flour and salt so you can use those three in the right proportions if you want.

deep fried mars bar

My first test was done with the Cadbury Crunchie bar – I had hoped that it’ll melt the honeycomb center but it didn’t. I also realize that the batter was too thin and fixed it for the rest of the chocolate bars. I then battered and deep fried the Twix, Kit Kat Chunky, Snickers and then Mars last – after I have perfected my technique.

black oil

I coated the Mars bar with the batter and dunked it into the hot oil. It tastes a while to melt everything. 1-2 minutes is ideal since it melts down most of the chocolate bar inside the batter while retaining its shape.

fried candy bars

Deep fried Mars Bar verdict:
It’s the best! The gooey caramel and nougat melted while the chocolate was runny – biting into it is awesome. The crispy batter gives way to a hot mess of goodness! Surprisingly, Snickers gives Mars a good run for its money with the addition of peanuts.

deep fried candy bars

Twix did really well too, the biscuit inside softened and turned it into something *magical* and I loved the deep fried Kit Kat Chunky as well. Crunchie was disappointing coz the honeycomb center didn’t melt but the other awesome candy bars more than makes up for it.

eating deep fried mars

You wouldn’t believe it but between the two of us, we ate all the candy bars! I made my dear promise to eat half (she ate more like 1/3) and we both agreed that the deep fried Mars bar is a delectable, if somewhat expensive venture (due to the use of EVOO).

deep fried mars

We loved it! Just be prepared for the sugar rush of your lives! :D

The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Scam

damnoen saduak floating market

or how we got scammed in Thailand and ways to avoid it

I have vague memories of people being scammed at the Damnoen Saduak floating market in Bangkok but never really researched it. Thus, when our taxi driver offered to take us on a full day tour for just THB 1,200 (RM 120), I didn’t bargain and thought it was a pretty good deal.

boat tour

I didn’t want the extras, I just wanted to cram in two floating markets (Tha Kha and Damnoen Saduak) for the day. It takes about 40 minutes to an hour to reach the latter and there’s a reason the taxi driver gave a lot of excuses not to go to Tha Kha (it’s too small, you won’t like it, etc).

floating market

Damnoen Saduak floating market is basically a well known tourist trap. It’s what you see on the postcards and has lost it’s original meaning of being a floating market for locals but rather a scam to bring tourists there for the same trinkets and souvenirs you’ll find on the streets of Bangkok.

tha kha floating market

Tha Kha floating market is the one that locals go to.

scam floating market
Unhappy tourists who were conned before us

Anyway, the way the scam works is that taxi drivers offer you a really good price for a day’s tour (you can hire the cab to go anywhere for the day) and bring you to a pier where you’re forced to take a boat tour. Our driver kept insisting that there isn’t a way to go to the big Damnoen Saduak pier, which isn’t true as we found out.

salt farm

It took us an hour and you can see lots of salt flats where they farm salts on the way to Damnoen Saduak floating market. It’s quite interesting to see the locals harvest salt and sell it in bulk by the roadside.

damnoen saduak scam

We got shuttled to Shang 2 Pier. I later found out that there are heaps of “private piers” like this one – they arrange a commission with the cab drivers to bring tourists here. A woman immediately approached us as we pulled in and told us it’s THB 3,000 per person or THB 5,000 per boat for a 1 hour boat tour of Damnoen Saduak floating market.

That’s RM 500 for the boat!

floating market scam

I said no way and walked back to the taxi driver and told him to bring us straight to the Damnoen Saduak floating market pier. He kept insisting that there’s no roads to go there except by boat. His English was pretty bad but I told him I don’t want a boat tour and finally the woman (who followed us over) said she’ll do it for THB 2,000 (about RM 200) per person.

That’s a ridiculous price and not knowing if there’s actually a way to the pier of the Damnoen Saduak floating market, I finally bargained with the woman and got us a covered motorized boat for a 1 hour tour for THB 1,700 (RM 170) per boat.

private pier

I realized later that we could have gotten it for much cheaper had we bargained more but there’s no way out of this scam, the driver will just drive you to different “private piers” which are just fronts for scamming people into expensive boat tours.

boat vendors

The driver of the longboat to Damnoen Saduak floating market was nice though and even helped us take a photo (which we learned some other less scrupulous drivers will charge you for).

damnoen saduak us

Damnoen Saduak floating market is a tourist trap but it’s worth a visit for the experience if you don’t mind paying the over-inflated price. It’s like the Venice of Asia with the canals and waterways. The shops are right beside the canal – it’s now concrete after the tsunami and floods but still interesting to see shops where you literally have to row up to.

coconut sugar farm

There are also various boats selling food and a coconut sugar farm inside.

coconut sugar

I liked the coconut sugar – it’s exactly like those brown sweets from primary school except this is a large, hot wok and the taste straight from the paddle is incredibly sweet and nostalgic. They also offer a tour of the coconut factory but we didn’t go for that one.

It’s quite a nice experience sitting in a boat while traversing the waterways of Damnoen Saduak floating market but getting scammed into the boat tour took some of the fun out of it. You can get a (much) cheaper boat hire by getting to the Damnoen Saduak floating market pier itself. The pier bit in that last sentence is the most vital part – that’s where the regular boats depart.

floating market stalls

I hear it is near impossible to get a taxi to go to the pier itself since they have lucrative deals to scam tourists into the private piers for the commission (the lady consulted with our taxi driver on the THB 1,700 price before agreeing). There are also tours which scam you into the private piers so be careful of that.

damnoen saduak pier

My suggestion is to go to a floating market that the locals actually use e.g. Tha Kha floating market and take a boat to Damnoen Saduak floating market from there. I got quoted THB 200 an hour per boat for a tour (RM 20) departing from Tha Kha before bargaining.

floating markets

That’s a huge difference from THB 1,700 and closer to the real price. Tha Kha is more of a pier and not the postcard picture perfect floating market you think of but it’s a nice market where practically no one speaks English and meant more for locals. It’ll be hard to convince a taxi driver to go there though.

grilled bananas

Ours didn’t want to go to Tha Kha at all until much coercion and asked for THB 100 for lunch which I absolutely refused to give after the scam he pulled. I only gave it to him when he said it’ll come out of the THB 1,200 price we agreed upon (e.g. I’ll just pay THB 1,100) coz he didn’t have any money for lunch.

damnoen saduak

When it was time to go back, our taxi driver put the meter on so I thought he wanted to scam us again (it’s THB 2,000 from Damnoen Saduak floating market to Bangkok if you follow the meter) but I was quite hostile to him and paid just THB 1,100 and left.

damnoen saduak photo

The Damnoen Saduak floating market scam is pretty well documented. Be careful of the private piers and go straight to the Damnoen Saduak pier. If you want a more local experience, get a taxi that’ll bring you straight to Tha Kha and head to Damnoen Saduak floating market from there, which will cost just THB 200 (RM 20) per boat.

One day in Bangkok!

bangkok

I applied for a debit card before I came here coz I always felt that having a debit card when you’re traveling is essential. I also thought that since I’m gonna be spending more often than I would while back home, it would be apt that I tried to win prizes every time I swipe my card. ;)

cash connect

Speaking of which, RHB is currently running a ‘Spend Small, Win Big’ contest, and the prizes up for grabs are pretty attractive:

  • 1 x Nissan Almera 1.5E(A)
  • 1 x Honda CBR250R Mugen
  • 3 x iPhone 5 (16GB)
  • 5 x Mini iPads (16GB)

I’m eyeing the iPhone 5 myself. I just needed to spend the equivalent of RM 30 to qualify for an entry – it’s all done automatically so you don’t even have to fill out any forms! I’ll have plenty of quirky places to do just that on my vacation so I figured it would be nice to bring it to Bangkok! :)

Jatujak Market

jatujak market

The place is heavily commercialized now but still fun to go to when you’re in Bangkok. Contrary to popular belief, this is no longer a “cash only” market – you can also use cards. I applied for the RHB Debit Cash-Connect MasterCard and put cash in it so that I can manage my spending.

jatujak

You know how hard it is to do that on vacations if you have a credit card. I figured it’ll be much safer to bring my RHB debit card instead of lots of cash and use that instead.

shop

I bought a couple of shirts and souvenirs here. There are boutique shops that will even customize attire for you! I spent THB 400 in just one shop (about RM 40) – it’s one of those witty t-shirt places and a bunch of Americans (I presume) were laughing loudly at all the funny words and pictures on the shirt.

Internet access

hotel

Our packaged tour got mixed up and we stayed at 3 different hotels over 5 days (!!!). The first one doesn’t have internet access so I bought a 24 hour net access card for THB 600.

pool

That’s around RM 60

net

…and the worst part was we shifted hotel right after I bought it. -_-

Oh well, at least that got me a contest entry.

Groceries at 7-Eleven

thai easter eggs

Now, the 7-Eleven in Bangkok has a lot of interesting stuff. I’ve mentioned it before on one of my posts. I only got the equivalent of RM 10 at the time but on the last trip (we went to 7-Eleven each night) I spent almost THB 500 (RM 50).

frozen pork burgers

I mostly got a lot of these microwave pork burgers to bring back home. :)

security

My check-in luggage got opened by customs – probably due to the suspicious package – so it’s a good thing I had a TSA lock (which allows customs to open your lock with their special key without damaging it).

Gourmet Market @ Siam Paragon

durian chips

This is an awesome place that first visited 7 years ago. Siam Paragon was a new mall then and the Gourmet Market was newly opened. It’s an import specialty shop.

hello kitty rice

We bought loads of stuff to bring back. Everything from Hello Kitty rice flavoring (it’s supposed to be sold only in Japan according of the label on the back)…

durians

…to durians!

hokkaido milk

The total cost was THB 857.50 – about RM 86.

Mango Sticky Rice Blizzard

dairy queen

You can only get this Blizzard at the Dairy Queen in Bangkok. :)

thailand dairy queen

It’s a country-specific specialty that goes for 690 baht (about RM 6.90) for the large version. It has a lot of sticky rice on top of mango ice cream and it tastes really good – a great twist on the street vendor version.

dairy queen mango bar

There’s also Mango Bars – only available in Thailand. I figured since we were going to freeze the pork burgers to bring back, we might as well try bringing this back too. The total amount on the bill was around 350 baht (RM 35) – bought an extra couple of sticks of ice cream to bring the total over RM 30.

dairy queen mango sticky rice

My RHB debit card also has a 0.5% unlimited cash back in addition to the contest. You just need to apply for the RHB Debit Cash-Connect MasterCard and tell them you’ll be traveling so the card will be activated for overseas spending. The best thing about the contest is that you only need to spend RM 30 and entry is automatic! No more filling in long and bothersome forms while you’re on vacation! :)

<3 your <3

pool

I swim every other day – it’s convenient for me since I can just walk out of my studio apartment (sometimes in my swimwear) and press 13 in the lift for the rooftop and jump into the pool and start doing laps.

My dad is a huge believer in exercise. He’s well into his 60′s and he jogs every single day without fail. There’s a park near our house that he goes to – he doesn’t drive there, he walks there before starting to run laps around the track. The dude then walks back to complete his daily exercise routine.

He’s probably fitter than I am!

Scratch that, he *is* fitter than I am from all the daily runs he goes on.

golf not exercise

A lot of people will kill me for this, but golf is not exercise. Getting out and putting the ball with your 9 Iron before going back into the motorized golf kart just doesn’t cart it. ;)

Neither is gaming, although they call it “cybersports”. smirk

You want cardio – a sustained exercise that gets your heart pumping for a prolonged period of time for it to be beneficial to your heart. The former probably does wonders for your business contacts and the latter might be a great diversion but it doesn’t do anything for your health.

Swimming and running are easy ways that you can get some exercise. My family has always been big on jogging. My parents used to bring me and my sister out and encouraged us to jog. I hated it though, have always prefered the water so my dad runs with my sister while I swam with my mom when we were kids.

family

We’re all at different locations now but it’s good to keep the tradition going. I was back in Sibu to vote during GE13 and my mom also flew in from Singapore. We started talking about exercise and how good it is – my dad has high blood pressure and my mom is fighting cancer so they’re both always looking at ways to improve health.

A healthy heart is important as a lot of Malaysians suffer from cardiovascular diseases. Expanding waist lines due to nasi lemak and teh tarik sessions combined with a sedentary lifestyle will come at the expense of your health.

sedentary

You want to live longer but you also want quality of life and that has been something my family has always found important. We’re always talking about the latest developments in “superfoods” and health supplements and one thing that has caught our interest is Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 is a naturally occurring substance e.g. found naturally in your body and it plays an important role for the health of almost all human tissues and organs.

CoQ10 has also been found to counteract the free radicals and the damage they cause to your body, and especially your heart. Your body will decrease its natural production of CoQ10 as it ages. Cholesterol is very susceptible to free radical damage, which leads to the formulation of a toxic derivative called oxidized LDL-cholesterol.

Simply put, CoQ10 is important as it inhibits (prevents) the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol).

The older you get, the more important CoQ10 supplements are as your body’s ability to synthesize CoQ10 declines with age.

coq10

I’m sure you all know about the benefits of fish oil and the Omega-3 fatty acids contained within. It’s considered an essential fatty acid e.g. something your body needs that it cannot synthesize by itself. Thus, it has to be in your diet or taken in supplements. It’s necessary for their anti-inflammatory effect and their boost to your immune function.

My mom takes Omega-3 supplements due to the radiotherapy and chemotherapy sessions she goes through for her small cell lung cancer (a type of cancer that affects people who doesn’t smoke). Chemo and radio leaves your body’s immune system vulnerable and that’s when you need supplements which can boost your immune system.

Blackmores produces several CoQ10 supplements. There’s pure CoQ10 in three (3) dosage forms – 50 mg, 75 mg and 150 mg. The amount you need depends on your age. They also have Omega-3 supplements in the form of Omega Cardiwell and Omega Active with high amounts of EPA and DHA.

Find out more about their products and interesting posts and articles on health and healthy living on their website and in the Blackmores Facebook. I love my parents and I want them to live longer – I want my family in the future to be healthy too – that’s the key to true happiness. :)

happy healthy

Taking supplements together with a healthy diet and exercise is the true key to not only living longer but having a better life! You can’t just depend on supplements just like you can’t just rely on exercise – it’s all part of a system for healthy living! :)

Eating Fried Insects in Bangkok: Beetles, grasshoppers, frogs, crickets, worms, red ants!

fried insects

It’s a veritable feast of creepy crawlies! The first thing I think of when I see, say, a spider, is to throw a shoe at it. The Thais go about it in a completely different way. The immediate thought seems to be “I’ll fry and eat it!”. smirk

fried insect stall

I found this street vendor selling all sorts of deep fried insects on the streets of Bangkok. Okay, frog is not actually an insect but she also had grasshoppers (huge and small ones), crickets (not the sport), beetles (which I am secretly scared of) and even red ants! Deep fried red ants! Imagine that!

deep fried insects

I bought a pack of large grasshoppers for 20 THB and a mixed bag of every single insect she had for 30 THB (RM 5 total). The street vendor laughed and complied with my request – a deep fried cricket here, a sprinkling of deep fried red ants there. There’s even two types of beetles (water beetle and weevil). It’s supposed to be a delicacy here.

fried bugs thailand

I ate it sitting on the steps where my girlfriend took this video of me eating all the deep fried insects:

I also made her eat some, much to her disgust, but at least now she’s tried it. :)

I’ll give a quick review of the insects:

fried grasshopper

Deep fried grasshopper
Surprisingly crunchy and delicious but the legs can have spines that can cut your tongue.
Deep fried frog
These are tiny frogs that can fit in my hand. They don’t even remove the bowels! Tasty and crunchy.
Deep fried beetle
The wings can be hard to swallow coz it sticks to the top of your mouth like peanut butter.
Deep fried cricket
Tastes like grasshoppers but has more of a bee-like texture to it.
Deep fried bamboo worms
Tasty and creamy!
Deep fried red ants
Highly toxic when consumed in large quantities. It makes my mouth itch just thinking about it.

eating insects bangkok

I’m not a huge fan of deep fried red ants – it’s hard to pick up (they’re tiny) and I find their venom to be a bit hard to take. It actually made me sick!

snacks insects bangkok

I was feeling slightly unwell after eating all these, she thinks it might be coz of the fried grasshoppers, I thought it was the toxin from the deep fried red ants. It’s an interesting experience nonetheless! :)

Posted: 10:30 am Bangkok time (GMT +7)

Bangkok: The airport security incident, RM 1 Red Bull and pork, pork, pork!

breakfast

Sawadeekap! I’m in Bangkok, Thailand! Six of us flew in late last night – it was supposed to be a couples trip planned after a HCMC trip was cancelled. We’re staying at Indra Regent Hotel, which is just a stone’s throw away from the overrated and commercialized Platinum Mall.

hotel room

Oh! I’ll tell you an funny incident last night. I was going through airport security, and took off my belt to go through the metal detector. I don’t know what happened, but it must have been stuck in the machine coz I didn’t see it – worse – didn’t realize it until the plane landed in Bangkok, I reached to tighten my belt…

belt

…and noticed it wasn’t there. -_-

sliced milk bread

Anyway, we hit the local 7-Eleven opposite the hotel as soon as we finished checking in. The 7-Eleven over here is really quite good – it has a lot of interesting stuff and it’s cheap!

red bull

The Red Bull over here is particularly cheap – all of them going for THB 10 or less. That’s about RM 1 – a price which you’ll be hard pressed to find in Malaysia! In fact, I paid less than the equivalent of RM 10 for all my purchases!

pork tom yam noodles

There’s a lot of nice pork wares too – even the store branded instant noodles is Pork Spare Ribs with Tom Yam Flavor. It sounds very Thai. ;)

pork pocket sandwich

We had this Shredded Pork Mayonnaise Pocket Sandwich for breakfast just now. THB 12 or RM 1.20 for a sandwich stuffed with pork floss and mayo with the edges (crust) sliced off, just like your mom used to do for you when you were a little kid. smirk

sliced butter bread

I also found this interesting bread product that goes for 7 baht each – around RM 0.70. I don’t know how to translate it properly coz the writing is all in Thai. It’s just a slice of bread with either butter or milk spread on top but it’s super delicious!

Posted: 11:42 am Bangkok time (GMT +7)

Surface RT Launch Party

surface booth babes

It’s finally here! I had a sneak peak at the ultra-light Microsoft Surface RT during the Windows 8 launch in Singapore last year and was very impressed by it. It’s a thin, sleek and amazingly crafted device functions and both a tablet and laptop!

surface rt launch party

The Surface RT Launch Party was held in Publika on the 25th of April.

microsoft surface

There was a lot of people lining up to be the first in Malaysia to own one of these babies.

tablet made into skateboard

There’s even a custom-built skateboard from a Microsoft Surface device! Carlos Lacerda, the Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia came on stage on one of these to deliver his speech.

tablet skateboard

They basically turned a Surface into a skateboard. Check it out! It’s incredible! :)

elecoldxhot

There was also a performance by a dance crew Elecoldxhot featuring Surface devices. I’ve seen them before and they really hyped up the crowd at the launch.

danny ong

Danny Ong, the Chief Marketing and Operations Officer gave a demonstration of the capabilities of the Surface RT device.

mizz nina surface launch

Mizz Nina also came on-stage to do an impressive choreographed song and dance routine.

mizz nina windows surface

She is also an early adopter of the Surface and told us how using it has allowed her to write songs, review contracts and proposals while keeping in touch with her fans on social media and playing games at the same time!

surface launch

Everyone had a chance to check out the Surface in detail at the demonstration booths all around. It’s really quite impressive and loaded with cool features!

Full size USB port
There’s a full size USB port on the Surface (as in the tablet, not the top – lame joke) which allows you to connect to all sorts of devices. You can plug in anything from a thumb drive to external card readers for your digital camera memory card.
MicroSD slot
The Surface also has a microSD slot so you can expand the memory of the device or transfer files. It’s a feature that is lacking in a lot of other tablets, and a very important one.
HD video-out
It also had a HD video-out port so you can connect it to a large screen television to to show off your vacation photos at home to friends or present a slideshow during a business meeting. It’s the ports on the Surface that makes it so versatile.

surface rt

Touch Cover / Type Cover
There are two options for the Surface device:

  • Touch Cover comes in five vibrant colors and comes with a slim, spill-resistant keyboard
  • Type Cover combines the speed and comfort of a classic keyboard with a super-thin classic keyboard

Unlike other tablets which are not designed to be a hybrid, the Surface does not require third party or aftermarket keyboards to turn it into a notebook. The laptop functionality is built natively into the tablet – the two types of covers comes with an magnetically attached keyboard! There’s a kickstand on the tablet that allows you to use it like how you’ll use a regular laptop.

surface office apps

Surface starts at RM 1,549 and comes with Windows RT – a touch operating system that allows you to have the full Windows experience that you’re used to. There’s Live Tiles and you can download the apps you want from Windows Store. Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT is also included so you can get all your work done as you would with a regular laptop! I was really impressed by it.

surface skateboard

(and also the Surface tablet custom made into a skateboard)

surface owners

Serious. Fun. Starts. Meet Surface.

Cooking at MAGGI Celebrity Potluck with Belinda Chee!

cooking belinda

I had the awesome opportunity to cook with Belinda Chee a couple of days ago! She created a hearty Fish and Vegetable Soup recipe and I helped her create the dish. It’s a contest called Celebrity Potluck organized by MAGGI and we were the second team to present a dish.

maggi celebrity cooking

I asked Belinda about why she choose this recipe – it’s something that she cooks herself at home and it’s easy to cook but tastes delicious at the same time.

maggi kitchen

The first team came up with a Seafood/Vegetable Tom Yam Soup. Peter Davis (of Mixed Martial Arts fame) cooked the first one and Sazzy Falak cooked the vegetarian version. It’s basically the same thing, except one has more protein in it, had a nice chat with Peter about MMA competitions and weights categories too.

belinda chee

Anyway, I actually cooked twice in this MAGGI Celebrity Potluck event. The first was helping Belinda out with her recipe and it goes like this:

fish vege soup recipe

Yup! I didn’t realize that the walls of MAGGI Masak-Masak Kitchen was actually hand-written with the 3 recipes from the 3 different teams. It was so nicely done I thought it was the décor!

sixthseal belinda

The trick to Belinda’s Fish and Vegetable soup is to stir-fry the thinly sliced shallots with a bit of oil in the pot first before anything else. Chopped garlic and ginger was added to the mix and sautéed for a while for that extra bit in taste.

chef muluk

The item that makes this really fast and easy are the MAGGI Ikan Bilis Stock Cubes. These are soup cubes (ikan bilis is the local word for anchovies) that produces the wonderful flavor and aroma. It’s really very versatile as I came to find out later.

tasting

I tasted it while we were cooking and it’s delicious! You just need 2 MAGGI Ikan Bilis Stock Cubes for 1 litre of water – it’s a standard, convenient pre-measure that makes it easy to scale up or down.

sarawakians

That makes it really convenient to cook delicious and fast dishes! Two MAGGI stock cubes for each liter of water, it can’t get any easier than that. It’s also surprisingly tasty since the ingredients they use basically concentrates the flavors so you get instant stock/soup/topping/whatever you can think of.

cooking belinda chee

The Fish and Vege Soup was left to simmer for 15 minutes and served to the audience afterwards. I didn’t get to eat this one coz it was all gone by the time I got down from the kitchen on the stage. Haha!

mystery ingredient cookoff

No worries though coz there’s a second cooking competition! I was paired with Belinda again and 4 other members of the media joined us for the MAGGI Mystery Ingredient team challenge to create a dish with the following:

  • 1 mystery ingredient
  • MAGGI Stock Cubes
  • Ingredients from the table
  • 30 minutes for everything

mystery ingredient

It felt like a I was in one of the popular cooking shows on TV. Heh. We got “Dory Fish Fillet” from the mystery box and there was a mad rush to grab items from the table.

ingredients table

We could only use those and some of them were nicked by other teams and once it’s taken, it’s gone, we had to make do with what’s left!

masak masak kitchen

Our well equipped kitchen island!

dory fish fillets

We wanted to make something a little different so we went fusion and decided to bake the fish fillets. We’ll just use ginger, garlic, shallots, button mushrooms and celery (I know, a lot of people went “Celery?” too, but it worked out well) to pile on top of the dory fish fillets.

baking

The fillets were sliced and then marinated – the most important part of the cooking. It was a quick marinade (more of a topping) made with MAGGI Tom Yam Stock Cubes. We crushed two of the cubes into 2 tablespoons of water (it’s very versatile – you can use it like this too) and then realized we didn’t have starch to thicken the mixture (!!!).

cooking contest

Luckily, there was custard powder on the table. It’s flavor neutral e.g. not sweet, and it coagulates the tom yam topping to the texture we wanted, so that’s perfect! We dissolved that into the hot water with 2 MAGGI Tom Yam Stock Cubes and poured the mixture on top of the fish fillets before adding MAGGI Thai Chilli Sauce and MAGGI Concentrated Chicken Stock and chucking it into the preheated oven (220 Celsius) for 5 minutes.

siamese fish fillets

We were running out of time and we thought 5 minutes wasn’t enough but that’s all the time we had in the 30 minute cooking challenge. It turned out fine coz dory fish fillets cooks really fast! We all tasted it and concluded it was delicious!

judges

I ate a lot of it myself coz it was so good! There were a couple of fish fillets left after we plated 3 of them for the judges (Siew Ling, the Brand Manager was one of them) and everyone came in and ate some. We didn’t have enough to serve everyone – it’s my fault guys, sorry, I was the one who ate the rest of the fish fillets. I evaded the question at the time, but it was me who ate it all. I apologize. It was tooooo good! smirk

team belinda

Our dish was presented to the judges and we didn’t win but we all got a consolation prize anyway! It was a large senduk (a kitchen utensil used for scooping stuff from liquids) which was perfect! I cook a lot more nowadays since it’s a common hobby I share with my girlfriend. I cook for her sometimes, she cooks for me sometimes. The MAGGI stock cubes will really come in handy here. I want to try out Awal’s recipe for Golden Braised Chicken with Fresh Mushrooms. It was the winner and a well deserved one! It’s so tasty that I must cook it at home – I shall be using the recipe add to my kitchen accomplishments! Haha! :)

maggi stock

It was a really fun session! Thanks for helping with the photos Sue Ann! :) I got to cook in a nice kitchen (the MAGGI Masak-Masak Kitchen is really something) and got great tips from the MAGGI Executive Chef (Chef Muluk) and I learned the versatility that comes with MAGGI Stock Cubes. The sky is the limit, it’s not just for soup, but can be used for practically anything! I can’t wait to try it in my kitchen. I’m planning to cook a nice dinner as a surprise for my girlfriend during our anniversary and I bet she’ll love the golden braised chicken. It’s always better to cook than to eat out, I believe – cooking comes from the heart.

maggi celebrity potluck

We named our dish Siamese Fish Fillets. The crunchy texture of the shallots and ginger goes really well with the baked dory fish fillets topped with MAGGI Tom Yam Stock Cubes. I’ll share the recipe we used if anyone is interested! :)

A funny story about voting in GE13 (and indelible ink)

ge13

My voting station is in SRB Tung Hua and all the hype about indelible ink (or rather the delible nature of the ink) has made it the central topic in my mind.

tung hua voting station

I flew back to Sibu to vote in the GE13 (13th General Elections) yesterday and I’m flying back to KL later. I had changed my address here coz I think the Opposition has a good chance in my constituency. There’s three (3) candidates for the 212 – Sibu seat – DAP, BN and an Independent.

rocket

Ling took a video of me this morning letting off a fireworks rocket – I guess that much tells you which party I voted for. ;)

(For those unfamiliar with Malaysian politics, DAP’s logo is a rocket taking off)

oscar ling dap

I don’t even know Oscar Ling, the DAP candidate for my constituency – I wanted to vote for change, so I voted for the party instead of the candidate.

212 sibu

I went to the voting station and got assigned a number. I was asked which hand I write in (I’m right handed) so I got the indelible ink painted on my left hand. It’s done on the opposite index finger.

I took the slip into the voting booth…

malaysian elections indelible ink

…and promptly put my left index print beside the DAP logo. -_-

indelible ink malaysia

Indelible ink has been on my mind all the while and I thought the new rules is to mark for the party you’re voting for using the ink. That doesn’t make sense at all coz:

  1. Voting is supposed to be anonymous and having your fingerprint there isn’t anonymous
  2. They wouldn’t have asked you for the *opposite* finger you write with if you’re meant to mark it
  3. There are writing implements there, just like past elections

I somehow looked past all that and for some robotic reason put my thumbprint (or index print rather) for the DAP candidate.

Mom: Idiot! You’re like a first time voter, being so blur.
Me: I thought that was the new rules instead of putting an X.

voting us

It’s okay though, I asked and old people have used their thumbprints or just put a single dot using a pen on the candidate they want to vote for in the past and it’s *confirmed* counted. It’s all good. :)

ge13 removable ink

…and on the subject of the ink, it’s not really that indelible. I’ll say it’s hard to remove, but after a shower and two hand washes, it has faded. I’m sure a dedicated person can totally remove it.

ge13 indelible ink
Obligatory GE13 photo: Giving the finger to show where my support lies. ;)

I have blue ink all over the tissues and other stuff I touch when in contact with oil or water e.g. during lunch!

Update: 212 Sibu is won by DAP! The other major urban seat 211 (Lanang) was also taken by DAP with over 8,000 votes! :D
Unfortunately, the smaller rural areas didn’t swing due to lack of education and Internet access. This, I believe, will change in the future.

I’m back in Sibu to vote! (and Foochow chicken rice)

ling hb sibu

I’m in Sibu! I flew back with Ling early this morning and arrived at the airport so I can spend some time with my family (mom is flying back later tonight) before we all go to vote tomorrow. I think we might be voting for different parties but that’s the beauty of democracy ain’t it? :)

chopsticks sibu

Anyway, I noticed that Chopsticks Chicken & Rice now has a new signboard. This is a place that has been around since my childhood! I remember eating the mixed rice there as a kid and chu cha (dai chow in Cantonese) when they moved over to Pedada.

chopsticks pedada

However, what they’re really famous for is their chicken rice. My dad is a huge fan of it. There are scores of Sibu people who loves the chicken rice here. Lunch time will be *packed* with people ordering chicken rice and it’s sold out real soon.

chopsticks chicken rice

They’re doing so well that they dedicated an entire shoplot just for it. That place was previously Peppino’s Pizza (also by the same owner).

roasted chicken

There’s a bunch of things you’ll expect from a chicken rice place – char siew, roasted chicken, duck, innards, siew yoke, braised egg and also some that you won’t.

foochow curry chicken

…like this Foochow style curry chicken.

braised egg

It’s the same thing I’ve eaten as a kid – there used to be three compartments (not including your rice) and I’ll have curry chicken for all of them). Arthur ordered this one for us – he was kind enough to pick us up from the airport. It’s milder (in spiciness rating) than regular curry yet more intense (they put a lot of the curry powder). A peculiarity of Foochow cuisine.

char siew

The signboards are new and there’s a lot of people eating there but what I really crave is kampua mee. Unfortunately, everyone was sold out then (must be the people coming back for elections!!!) so we had lunch here.

chicken rice

It’s not too bad though, I think most people come here for the rice – it’s fragrant and what makes Chopsticks Chicken Rice special! The char siew is also good – glazed with honey and with no color additives that makes it radioactive red.

ling in room

We’ll be staying a night here – she’s already met my grandma and we’ll have dinner together and vote tomorrow! :D

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...