Wonderland Food Store Seafood, Langkawi

wonderland langkawi

This is supposed to be one of the best seafood restaurants in town. I say this based solely on the fact that a lot of people like taxi drivers in Langkawi use it as a landmark/drop-off-point. Wonderland Food Store is just one of many seafood restaurants along the waterfront in town.

lobster

There are Thai style seafood restaurants, Malay seafood restaurants, and Chinese seafood restaurants, but many of the last don’t serve pork anyway. We decided on Wonderland Seafood coz we’re never eaten there before and a lot of people talks about it so we checked it out.

wonderland food store

It was a huge disappointment!

wonderland seafood

The mantis prawns were frozen instead of fresh, most of the dishes are unappealing with no plating considerations and even though it was packed, the clientèle seems to be mostly tourists – Japanese, Chinese, Korean etc.

wonderland coconut

To add to the list of sins, they hired an unlicensed taxi for us – which costs RM 1 more than the standardized fare – and is a highly unusual practice in Langkawi since the taxis are heavily regulated.

Kam Heong Mantis Prawn

mantis prawn

This is deep fried since they didn’t have any fresh ones. The proprietors said that the fishermen didn’t have any catches since it was the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays. The frozen mantis prawns tastes alright but I was looking forward to fresh steamed ones so it was slightly disappointing.

Fried Squid

squid

The squid was too chewy and just wasn’t fresh – it’s exactly the *opposite* of what I had hoped to eat in Langkawi, which is famous for their seafood since it’s a duty free island.

Soft Shell Crab

soft shell crab

This was fried the same way as the other two dishes so it’s quite jelak to eat so much deep fried battered seafood, even if all three are very different creatures. I thought it was mediocre.

Seafood Fried Rice

wonderland fried rice

RM 8 a plate and it comes with lots of squid! I suspect that the “seafood fried rice” contains whatever surplus seafood that you ordered. It’s oily and repetitive.

Steamed Sea Bass (Siakap)

sea bass siakap

This is the saving grace of our seafood dinner. I liked it so much I ate all of the fish – mostly by myself. Haha. The rest of the food we tapau and took it back to the hotel coz there were so much leftovers it was obscene.

wonderland bill

The bill costs RM 99 which was pretty reasonable. However, dinner wasn’t what we expected – we had been looking forward to a nice seafood meal in Langkawi. It could be the lack of fisherman’s produce due to the Hari Raya holidays as the restaurant didn’t have fresh seafood and had to resort to frozen ones. Or it could be just the wrong place to eat.

wonderland us

I can’t say I recommend Wonderland Seafood from our dining experience but I had a lot of fun with the kids and my better half! That’s all that matters. :)

Water buffalo steak basted with BBQ Sauce and eggs

buffalo steak

I had bought a pack of frozen water buffalo meat from India a while ago. I’ve always only seen these in ground meat format but this time I spotted a sliced meat package and decided to get it.

buffalo meat

Buffalo meat from India is very competitively priced and sometimes called carabeef. You’ve probably eaten it before as it’s often used in dishes like rendang since it’s halal and cheaper than beef.

crime scene

I decided to cook it last night as my studio had a 5 hour total blackout which resulted in the package of frozen buffalo meat defrosting and dripping smelly blood all over the fridge. It was starting to look like a particularly gruesome *crime scene*.

buffalo meat india

You will need:

  • Buffalo meat
  • Eggs
  • BBQ sauce
  • Olive oil

italian olive oil

I first used some olive oil to pan fry the buffalo meat. It cooks very easily when grilled for 1 minute on each side. However, water buffalo meat is supposed to be one tough mother. It sure lived up to its reputation.

steak eggs

I also cooked a couple of sunny side up eggs to go with the steak.

buffalo steak fry

Thus, I continually basted the meat with BBQ sauce using a pressure fryer. I used Frontera Border Barbecue Sauce in the Original Sweet & Smoky flavor. The name is a bit of a repetition since frontera already means border in Spanish. It’s like calling Timor Leste as East Timor – timor already means east in the Indonesian language so East East sounds a bit off. smirk

buffalo steak bbq

Back to cooking (and eating), the buffalo meat was tough – really tough…

buffalo steak eggs

The buffalo steak tasted really good with the egg though especially when the runny egg yolk mixes with the BBQ sauce. It’s wonderful but obviously new cooking methods needs to be applied since the meat was tough to the point of being near inedible.

I had to use a very sharp steak knife and masticated each piece until my jaws were so sore I was sure I won’t be able to talk for 3 days.

buffalo steak sliced

It was so tough I was afraid I’ll need someone to perform the Heimlich maneuver on me each time I swallowed. I wish there was someone with me so if I choked while swallowing the half-chewed buffalo meat, at least I won’t die unnoticed for several hours.

I was seriously worried and wondered if was possible to do it myself in case of an emergency and called my better half while eating to verify I was still alive and not blue in the face with a piece of buffalo meat stuck in my throat. -_-

Our wonderful anniversary: Burgers, durian mooncakes and home made gifts!

sixth anniversary

It’s our anniversary today! :)

I had told my better half that I totally forgot about it, thinking it was Monday. I think I managed to really convince her I dropped the ball (all the better for my surprise) for once. Haha!

fat boy burgers

We have traditionally celebrated it the night before leading up to midnight. Last night, both of us were craving for burgers so we headed down to Publika. S.wine was booked 14 tables in so we headed to old faithful – Fat Boy’s.

This place has special significance to us and the burgers are good so since it was a special occasion, we custom-made our own burgers instead of getting one off the menu.

I had:

hb burger

Honey Oat Bun (RM 2)
Lamb Patty (RM 14)
Guacamole (RM 3)
Bacon (RM 3)
Fried Egg (RM 2.50)
Beetroot (RM 2.50)
BBQ Sauce (RM 1)

Total: RM 28 (with 4 add-ons!)

She had:

ling burger

Sesame Bun (RM 2)
Pork Patty (RM 11)
Coleslaw (RM 1.50)
Mozzarella Cheese (RM 1.50)

Total: RM 16 with just 1 add-on (she didn’t even want sauce!)

custom burger

It’s a stark contrast to our personalities – my burger was so large and messy it was more like eating a sloppy Joe. Yup, I always believe in eating burgers with the hands – it’s just a burger joint, it ain’t fine dining. I think a lot of the people here think Caucasians eat burgers with knifes and forks (and pizzas too for that matter – never fails to makes me chuckle). Burgers are meant to be grabbed with our hands so a huge bite can be take out of it! :D

alcohol milkshakes

It’s a special day so I also ordered an “spiked milkshake” (contains alcohol) to share, which this place excels in. Burgers and milkshakes go together like cigarettes and lung cancer. smirk It’s just meant to be consumed together. I had previously enjoyed their Chocolate Malt Stout (combination of chocolate ice cream, malt, and stout for RM 18) but opted for the Bourbon Street today.

bourbon street

It’s a New Orleans style boozy shake with vanilla ice cream, malt, Nutella and bourbon for RM 23. We’ve always shared a drink together when we go out – the beverage I mean, we don’t drink alcohol much. Her policy (which I found rather charming) is to order one drink only and share that. It’s a good thing they have complimentary ice water here though. The milkshakes here are really thick – they’re generous with the ice cream – and full of malt!

bon odori

There was a Bon Odori festival going on and my dear wanted to check it out so that’s what we did after dinner. We bought a durian mooncake home. It’s RM 5.50 and about the size of a X-mini speaker. It’s tiny and it’s meant for our anniversary cake! :D

brownie crush chips

We headed back after that and settled down to eat the durian mooncake with some good California chocolate ice cream and Seth Greenberg’s Authentic New York Brownie Crunch Toffee Chips. The latter is a wonderful concept – just the crispy edges of brownies, complete with endearing story of how the daughter only ate the edges, leading to the product’s inception – and costs RM 18.70 for a 113 gram bag. It’s a good topping for ice cream and fun to eat on it’s own too. We both thought the durian mooncake was mediocre though – tastes too much like dodol (durian paste) to me.

durian mooncake

My gf had wanted to book tickets to watch a movie but there’s nothing good going on that we haven’t seen so we went back to snuggle down and watch a movie at home. She handed me my anniversary gift at 11 pm.

It’s a beautiful hand made photo frame documenting our moments together! The “photo frame” started out life as a Godiva chocolate box and she even put a ribbon on top (for hanging) and an adhesive backed hanging clip! I really appreciate the time and effort she took to make this – it means much more to me than something you buy. Thanks for the awesome gift dear! <3 godiva photo frame

I said I’ll go and take a photo of it in the kitchen (where it’s brighter) and then sneaked back with a Naraya bag filled with gifts. I told her I haven’t forgot after all. Haha!

pandora heart charm

I don’t think I can pull this off much longer though. ;)

heart pandora charm

I got her a Pandora charm! I’ve been meaning to get her one for ages but I just bought an iPhone 5 for her so I had to save up for it. It’s a heart with a gold arrow going though it. I’ve been looking around for a meaningful one and I’m glad she liked it! It’s better than truffle oil, I hear. smirk

hand made card

I also made her a card, which used up 3 sticker packs and massive amount of double sided tape (one of the sticker packs wasn’t self-adhesive). She loved it, and I’m glad I can hand made (kinda) something for her, even though it’s not as awesome as the one she always makes for me.

half anniversary

Despite the apparent simplicity, it’s one of our best anniversaries! We had lots of fun together, enjoying each other’s company. Love each other and appreciate what you have in life. It’s something we both believe in! I’m lucky to have you dear! *hugs*

Dragon cod poached in red wine and eggplant steaks

cod poached red wine

I found a nice piece of what’s called dragon cod at the huge fish supply market. It’s a 1/5 of the price of regular cod and the only English references I could find in Google is allegedly from a fast food place in China substituting it in their fish burgers. It’s called 龙鳕鱼 in Chinese.

cod dragon

Dragon cod is supposed to have fat that the human body cannot digest but I ate a piece of the sample (the tiny bit that comes in the package – you know, for like tuna) raw and it tasted fine to me.

cod okra

I ate it like that coz it’s from one of those huge fishing clearing house that can have much fresher produce than your local fishmonger.

dragon cod fish

It tasted really good and paying RM 12 instead of RM 58 for the same size sounds like it’s worth a try! :)

dragon cod

I pan-fried the dragon cod after patting it dry with serviettes. The good thing about dragon cod is that it has no bones (except for the obvious one) – much like a regular cod.

pan seared cod

However, it has a very high moisture content. I wanted to dry it sufficiently so it’ll have a nice sear on the fish steak.

red wine poaching

I used a lot of butter for frying the dragon cod. I initially wanted it to be served like that – with a reduced butter sauce before I saw a really old bottle of red wine in my fridge.

red wine cod

I poured the entire remainder of the Crimson Cabernet bottle into it – about 1/4. It’s a very sweet red wine. Think of the sweetest red one you’ve ever had and multiply it by a factor of 10 and you’ve got an idea of how this wine tastes like, which is why I couldn’t finish it.

red wine sauce

I let the dragon cod poach in the red wine for a while and then took it out and reduced the sauce before thickening it with some corn starch for some bubbling goodness that I spooned over the fish.

sliced okra

My other half was responsible for the eggplant steaks. She just sliced them down the middle…

fried okra

…seared them, and before

okra sauce

….made an awesome sauce of chopped garlic, shallots and chilli fried in oil to bring out the flavor.

okra steaks

It’s poured right on top for a delicious meal we ate together with rice! :)

cod red wine reduction

I’m quite proud of the dragon cod poached in red wine. It tasted really good, the taste of the sweet Cabernet still shines though in the sauce and the cod was flaky and moist!

Nyonya cuisine at The Mansion, Malacca

majestic hotel

I had a rather enjoyable Nyonya dinner at The Mansion at the Majestic Hotel in Malacca – a historical period building that has been turned into a rather nice inn. It’s not one of them budget lodging houses despite how the exterior looks.

mansion malacca

It’s right in the middle of town and the river that courses through Malacca (or Melaka as it’s spelled here) is just opposite the street, if you fancy a stroll by the waterfront.

pianist

The hotel even had a pianist playing soothing Bach (or was it Chopin?) scores while you’re eating your food. I’m being irreverent, I wouldn’t know one from the other although I had piano lessons till Grade 4.

peranakan food

Dinner was buffet style, with most of the dishes located in a central area – there are classic Peranakan food like udang masak nanas (prawns cooked in pineapple curry).

mansion toilet

The toilets are superbly maintained and clean – I was immediately soothed by the scent of vanilla instead of the usual odor of ammonia assaulting the nostrils. Oops…I probably shouldn’t have had this aside, kinda puts people off after talking about shrimp. smirk

bubur cha cha

Back to the food, I was quite full from lunch so I had several bowls of bubur cha cha – a sweet hot soup-like dessert made with gula Melaka (palm sugar) and yam, tapioca, sweet potatoes, all diced up into miniature cubes instead of the clumsy chunks that’s usually served up. It’s much more refined fare over here.

nyonya cuisine

There’s also classic Nyonya mainstays like pai tee (crispy pastry cups filled with an assortment of ingredients) and of course:

popiah
Popiah
Fresh spring roll made of sauteed sweet turnips wrapped in a wheat flour crepe

nyonya otak otak
Otak Otak with Kerabu Nanas
Spicy mackerel paste wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled, served with a tangy pineapple salad

lemongrass satay
Satay Lilit
Grilled chicken skewered on a lemongrass stalk

nyonya food

I didn’t know that otak otak is *only* made from mackerel! It’s information plagiarized gleaned from the leaflet that was on the table, which describes the unique Nyonya cuisine which is a product of inter-marriage between Chinese immigrants and the local Malays.

wine nyonya food

Fun (unresearched and vaguely remembered) fact: There’s a difference in salutation when a Chinese male marries a Malay female and the other way round. I believe the latter is called Nyonya and the former is Baba but I could be very mistaken since that was textbook stuff I recall from half a lifetime ago when I was studying Form 3 History.

kueh

I also found out Shiraz also goes well with Nyonya food but I’m blasé about Chardonnay. However, the best and arguably most well known product of this cuisine is the kueh (or pastries, but dismiss that mental image of pastries coz these are different) with the complex play of textures and flavors!

Tonight, we shall feast!

swimming with kids

I woke up having pains and aches in places I didn’t even know existed. I had been running around the pool with the kids for several hours last night, swimming and remembering how to do stuff like:

Underwater somersaults

-_-

pool night

Haha! It was a lot of fun though, and we went just opposite the hotel to the tourist trap seafood restaurants for a bite to eat.

3 antara

I wanted to head over to this cool looking place with the menus written in English and Cyrillic script (!!!) called 3 t.i.g.a. Antara (no relation to the 3 Line criminal gang) which looks like something out of the trendy beach front eateries of Bali or Boracay. I figured if you wanted to be ripped off, at least we can get ripped off…in style! smirk

seafood restaurant

The menu was surprisingly cheap but the kids didn’t like anything on it so we walked to a Chinese seafood restaurant (which strangely serves no pork).

tourist trap

The place was comfortable though – we’re just beside the beach so we can feel the breeze being enhanced by the ceiling fans.

old coconut
Fresh coconut (RM 4)

wah tan hor

Now, the lady taking the order warned us that small is VERY SMALL. Sorry, that should have been very small. The wah tan hor (Medium – RM 12) that came out made us apprehensive about all the other Small orders – would there just be a few pieces?

guinness stout chicken
Guinness Stout Chicken Fillets (RM 9 – Small)

venison deer meat
Venison (Deer Meat) with Ginger & Onions (RM 15 – Small)

fried rice
Fried Rice (RM 5- Small)

ate well

It turns out that there’s more than expected and everyone ate well (for just RM 57 at a tourist trap – woo hoo). It’s very forgettable food though…

family dinner

Tonight is the night that we’re heading to town where the locals go for a *proper* seafood restaurant to eat the ocean’s diminishing supply of creatures – delicious treats like mantis prawn!

holiday villa

Tonight, we feast! *tears eagerly into a foot long cod*

Family trip to Langkawi: Day 1

subang airport

We have arrived in Langkawi!

kids

(with two little checked in luggage)

fried durian balls

After eating at two fast food joints in a row (granted, one had some pretty awesome deep fried durian puffs)…

balcony pool

…it’s the room with a balcony and a pool view!

jumping on bed

The kids are jumping up and down on the bed in anticipation of the swimming session later in the evening.

family langkawi

The adults are planning to crash for a while to rest them tired ol’ bones. smirk

langkawi

I’m planning to get a rental car tomorrow so we can get around town – seems like the best way to get around Langkawi – which is not an island, but 99 individual islands, or so I read on the brochure.

Fireworks accident: Aerial starburst shell from 3″ mortar explodes on ground after hitting obstruction!

fireworks accident

I had a rather gnarly experience during Chinese New Year earlier this year – one of the locally produced 3 feet Roman Candle style mortars with 5 x 2” shells exploded barely a meter in front of me!

Yup, this is the precursor to the *badly delayed* annual Chap Goh Meh fireworks and firecrackers round-up of 2013 (post up tomorrow!). I had procrastinated due to the sheer amount of videos I had to upload so I decided to put it up during Hari Raya Aidilfitri – another occasion for fireworks, though not as large scale. /excuses

roman candle mortar

I bought two of the 3” long Roman Candle mortars that shoots out 2” shells and let off the more powerful version – a dual salute (report) with stars. To give you a perspective of how large the aerial shells are, here’s a 2” shell from a reloadable mortar:

2 inch shell

Anything re-loadable above 1.75” is classified 1.3G – requires a licence in the US and is a possession is a felony – they’re not meant for consumers but professionals. However, in Sibu, anything goes – even 3” and 5” display grade shells.

This particular disposable cardboard mortar is not the more intense 3” aerial shells that we launch from a metal mortar tube made by local blacksmiths.

3 inch fireworks shells
3″ fireworks aerial shells (requires mortar – these are display/professional fireworks but can be bought)

The 3” fireworks shells pictured above from my stash are definitely not consumer fireworks. I played with them last time but lost my mortar, one of this exploding 1 meter away would do me serious bodily harm.

nylon

I had stupidly tied the 5-shot Roman Candle disposable aerial shells to my automatic gate with shabby nylon. It’s supposed to be half buried (1 ½ feet) into the ground for safe display.

fireworks disaster

What I *didn’t* see was that the mortar was really close to being blocked by a solid metal piece welded to the gate.

How aerial shells work:

  1. Lift charge launches shell into the air
  2. Shell bursts open safely hundreds of feet in the air
  3. Watch and enjoy

shells exploding

What happened:

  1. First shell of the five inside the mortar tube launched
  2. It had such a powerful lift charge the mortar tube shifted
  3. Second shell still left the tube safely and burst in the air
  4. Third shell hit the metal slab and bounced back down and burst one meter away
  5. Videographer (me) shouted “Shit!” in surprise at the force of the blast
  6. Forth shell exploded right in front of me, showering me with flaming debris
  7. I shouted “Fuck!” in a bit of a panic as I saw the mortar canted at an angle towards the house
  8. Fifth and last shell went into the porch and exploded beside a car


Full video of the fireworks accident

The problem with the digicam is that it cuts off the last 3-4 seconds so you can’t really see #8 but the pressure wave was so strong that my dad, who was standing at the door, felt it.

These 2” aerial shells are supposed to explode harmlessly hundreds of feet in the air.

Instead they exploded *right in front of me*.

It wasn’t fun, people and property could very well have been seriously injured/damaged but it’s a good thing nothing bad happened.

hammer

I had to use a hammer to knock the 1” stainless steel gate that bent (!!!) at the force of the explosion impact though. -_-

Wild flower honey and dates marinated free range chicken rice from scratch!

chicken rice dates

I’ve wanted to cook Hainanese style chicken rice with fresh and dried dates still on the branch for a long time. Unfortunately, I keep getting veto-ed by my better half who thought it’ll be an unsavory dish. Pun not intended. smirk

chicken marinade

We had gotten two free range chicken legs for RM 18.50 from our trip to the wet market last week and one of them is still in the fridge. The other has been cooked into a wonderful Hainanese style chicken rice and I wanted to do the very same dish – except mine would be a sweet version. I finally convinced my honey with the same.

Witticisms aside, you will need:

date rice recipe

  • One whole chicken leg
  • Rice
  • Wild flower honey
  • Dates on branches
  • Fresh dates

fresh date rice

I did this with two types of dates – the sweeter dried dates and the fresh ones still on their branch I got from the Ramadan bazaar a while ago. The latter is used to flavor the rice. I measured one cup of rice and added 1 ½ cups of water to it.

drumstick honey rice

This method of cooking and marinating is what I learned from my dear. The dried dates are opened up and the tiny seed taken out before being smashed for the flavor to come out. I used a whole branch of Tunisian dates, which is a sweet variety with relatively good moisture content.

wild flower honey

I then took a good gunk (which is about 3 heaped tablespoons if you want exact measurements) of New Zealand wild flower honey – chosen for it’s refreshing and light nature – and mixed it with the mashed up dates and massaged the mixture into the chicken leg for a good 3 minutes.

marinating chicken

I made sure to molest caress every fold and curve of the chicken leg like a gentle lover to massage the dried dates + honey marinade into the smooth skin until it’s moist and tender.

honey dates marinate

The marinated chicken leg is then sealed into an air-tight baggie and left in the fridge for 24 hours.

cooking fresh dates

The fresh dates goes into the rice before it’s cooked. I made sure to poke multiple holes into each date before it went into the pan. I also used a fork to pick apart the fresh dates so that the maximum surface area will be exposed with tiny bits going with the rice before setting it to boil.

cooking dates rice

The dried dates + wild flower honey chicken leg is placed on top of the rice just as the water starts to get hot. Don’t wait for it to boil!

honey date rice

The pressure pan is closed for 5 minutes on low heat to cook the chicken leg and rice. I was amazed by the fragrant sweet smell when I opened it!

our date rice

The fresh date rice is mildly sweet with bits and pieces of dates embedded into the fluffy grain. It’s fragrant and goes very well with the dried date + honey marinated chicken leg. It’s sweet, but not overpoweringly so, it’s a very subtle nuance.

dried dates chicken

I liked it but I think marinating the chicken for 48 hours would do better in absorbing the sweet dried dates and wild flower honey right into the bone! :)

Ninja cooking vs Kung Fu cooking (kung fu chow)

ninja cooking

I was cooking last night when my better half looked up from where she was sitting at the dining table.

Ling: How come you cook no sound one?
Me: I’m stealth! I’m not doing kung fu chow.
Ling: What kind of cooking is that then?
Me: Erm…ninja chow?

We had a good laugh over that. I live in a studio apartment so I don’t have a gas stove. I have an electric hob and I favor butter and EVOO so my cooking tends to be silent compared to the loud, cacophony of traditional Chinese cooking known as kung fu chow.

Kung fu chow literally translates to kung fu cooking. It’s a kind of wok martial arts that is often accompanied by bursts of flame, the clang of a metal frying utensil on the wok and the sizzle of hot oil coming into contact with water.

The high heat involved produces a lot of “wok hei” – the intense heat that caramelizes and gives noodles its flavor. The elusive wok hei cannot be achieved with a non-stick frying pan and a plastic spatula on a electric heating element with a high powered hood to suck all the smoke away, which is what I have in my condo.

Thus, I tend to do more Western style cooking but I did a pretty good Chinese meal last night – ninja style! smirk

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...