Bebek Bengil Dirty Duck Diner @ Ubud, Bali

Bebek Bengil Dirty Duck Diner

We were looking for something local to eat and happened to chance across Bebek Bengil in Google Maps. It actually took us more than 30 minutes to walk over but I thought it was worth it since it’s touted as “The Original Crispy Duck Since 1990”. Bebek Bengil Dirty Duck Diner is known for their crispy grilled duck.

Bebek Bengil Waitresses

This is a different dish from the popular bebek betutu in Bali. Bebek Betutu is a seasoned steamed or roasted duck that’s popular in Bali. Bebek Bengil (which means dirty duck) serves crispy duck. You can even order 1 whole duck for IDR 300,000 if you book one day in advance. It’s a pretty good deal at RM 94/duck if you want to go for it. The service by the uniform clad waitresses is pleasantly discreet and unobstructive.

Bebek Bengil (IDR 125,000)

Bebek Bengil

I had this original dish, which is half a duck steamed in Indonesian spices which is then deep fried for a crispy finish. It’s served with rice and Balinese vegetables and it cost RM 40. It’s their flagship signature dish and it tasted alright. I’m not a huge fan of deep fried duck and I thought it was slightly too crispy but personal tastes aside, it was pretty good.

Thirsty Duck (IDR 44,000)

Thirsty Duck

This is what my better half had – it’s a concoction of pure orange, markisa (passionfruit in the local language) and melon sugar.

Ice Bebek Putih Jambul (IDR 39,000)

Ice Bebek Putih Jambul

The drink I had was chosen at random from the duck-themed options. It turns out to be a shaved ice confection with lots of interesting goodies at the bottom – love the white squiggles and fresh fruit slices.

Bebek Pelalah (IDR 122,000)

Bebek Pelalah

My dear ordered this dish. It’s one of the specialties and the Balinese recipe came from one Ibu Agung Raka Sueni. I have no idea who that is but the owners of Bebek Bengil thought it was noteworthy enough to highlight this in their menu. This is the grilled version of the duck (as opposed to my steamed and deep fried duck) with Balinese sauce and steamed rice. It’s very spicy! I really like the sauce here.

Bebek Bengil Bali

I thought the ambience of Bebek Bengil is unique – the place is totally dark (as you can probably gather from the photos) with the exception of mood lighting from the pavilions where we were seated. There were not a lot of people due to the higher than usual prices. The meal came up to around RM 140 for the two of us and it’s worth a visit for the atmosphere alone. The water features around the raised dining pavilions made it really romantic.

Bebek Bengil Ubud

Bebek Bengil Dirty Duck Diner
Jalan Hanoman, Padang Tegal,
Ubud, Bali

Ubud Morning Market & Ubud Traditional Art Market

Ubud Morning Market

We went to Ubud Morning Market as part of our cooking class. There are actually two markets in Ubud, both interconnected. The Ubud Morning Market is where the locals go while the Ubud Traditional Art Market is a more tourist oriented market. The latter was featured in Eat Pray Love and is known locally as Pasar Seni Ubud.

Ubud-Wet Market

I thought that going for a Balinese cooking lesson was a cool thing to do while on vacation, although I can’t claim credit for it. My better half was the one who thought of it and booked us the classes. The van picked us up in the morning and we went to the Ubud Morning Market for a tour of the place and to sample some local produce as well.

Bali Spices

Our guide took us through the sight, sounds and smells of the Ubud Morning Market…

Bali Market

…and I thought it was very refreshing that there was no attempt to sell us on anything (probably coz these are mostly produce).

Ubud Market

The fruits, vegetables and meat are mostly familiar except for this unusual specimen:

Bali Passionfruit

This was described as a “sweet passionfruit” to us and we all got a taste of it. I thought it was a buah salak at first. It’s not passionfruit as we know it, this is a South American breed called granadilla. Unlike our purple passionfruit, this is orange and features a seed matrix that looks like kiwano (horned melon).

Granadilla

It’s very sweet with no sour notes and nice to eat by itself. The pulp is very tasty.

Balinese Orange

A clockwork orange. :)

Bali Grapes

Bali is also able to grow their own grapes now. I tried one of the first batches of Balinese wine made from Balinese grapes in Club Med Bali in 2013 and it was decent, if rather immature.

Ubud Handicrafts

There are also knives and other local goods on display at the Bali Morning Market.

Bali Crafts

My dear spotted a mortar that she really liked – it’s made out of volcanic rock from Bali! I paid IDR 60,000 (about RM 20) which is quite a good deal.

Ubud Traditional Art Market

We also walked around the touristy Ubud Traditional Art Market after we finished our cooking lesson. It’s worth a stroll even though you’ll find most of the things here are mass produced souvenir kitsch. My better half also had a theory that if we were carrying a certain color of plastic bag, it means that we were willing to spend more, or rather am susceptible to be conned more easily. Haha!

Pasar Seni Ubud

I don’t know how true that is, but I had limited headway while bargaining for a set of three kittens that my dear liked. I think we ended up paying RM 80 for it. I don’t think there’s a plastic bag conspiracy though, it seems quite unlikely in the free market everyone-for-themselves nature of the tourist trade, but you never know. smirk

Top 5 Condo Upgrades that are Worth the Investment

If you’re looking to take your next steps on the property ladder, getting rid of your existing condo can be time- consuming and expensive. But if you’re impatient to put in an offer on your dream next apartment, it’s simple and affordable to speed up the selling process. I’ve assembled a few great ways of giving your condo property a serious spruce-up to command higher asking prices, and see your listing shifted in no time at all.

1. Upgrade your exteriors

First impressions count, so make sure your property proves an instant hit among prospective buyers. If you have complete access and right to your property’s exterior, now might be the time to invest in a serious image overhaul. If interested buyers can see the exterior of the condo upon approach, any neglect of the brickwork, cladding and finer details will be on show for all to see. Basic cosmetic fixes needn’t cost a lot, and can help justify headier asking prices. If you share communal space with other residents and neighbors, consider checking with your building super independent about exterior maintenance and upkeep.

2. Doors and windows

Some studies show that buyers make their final decision about a property mere moments after stepping over the threshold. Make sure you’re helping them make the right one, and ensure your doors and windows are up to scratch. Investing in newly- glazed windows and a secure front door can add several thousand to the value of any building, and can help a condo apartment stand out among a crop of similar units.

3. Bathrooms and kitchens

These are some of the most important rooms of any home, so make sure both the kitchen and bathroom are fit for purpose and don’t require any huge investments from buyers. A decent bathroom suite need only cost a few hundred, but can make all the difference when customers come to view a property. People are less inclined to buy if they think there’s a lot left outstanding on a property, so make sure all the hard work’s taken care of for them. Kitchens can be a more costly venture, but complete refurbishments can add thousands onto property values. For a more affordable option, simply replacing or repainting cupboard doors and counter tops can give any kitchen an instant makeover. These rooms should also reflect safety and style. Make sure you are ready to move out after refurbishing such rooms, since you wouldn’t want to ruin the paint job. Buy a condo easily on Zipmatch today, with must-see properties in your area.

4. Storage

If you’re trying to shift a property that’s short on space, helping potential buyers solve their storage woes in advance is a great way of cinching a sale, and bumping up the asking price. For small condos and apartments that are already tight on square footage, packing use of awkward spaces and integrating storage space into living and sleeping areas are great ways of ensuring there’s a home for all those odds and ends. Exposed staircases can be optimized with inbuilt storage cubes and shelving. If you have a generous budget, consider underfloor storage, along with innovative foldaway furniture and room features.

5. Designer fixtures and fittings

A fresh lick of paint can do any property the world of good as you prep for putting it on the market, but make sure you’ve given it the designer finish with premium fixtures and fittings throughout. You needn’t spend a fortune to ensure a stunning aesthetic, either. For meticulous buyers looking to inspect every last detail, getting the finer finish can help make or break a potential sale. When looking to boost property prices, a designer facelift can yield thousands more to add to any asking price. You needn’t pay designer price tags, either. Sometimes, a close imitation does a good job; however, always opt for quality every time. The right dimmer switch, sideboard choice or light fitting can help coordinate a room, and will be noticed by the more eagle-eyed property hunter.

I touched a dolphin @ Yehliu Ocean World, Taiwan

Dolphin Show

Yup, I got an opportunity to pet a dolphin in Yehliu Ocean World in Taipei, Taiwan. I actually did it twice, once in front of the crowd and the other time during a behind-the-scenes tour. It was a remarkable experience, dolphins are a lot more intelligent than cats and dogs, and they’re one of the few creatures in the world which are self-aware (like us).

Sea Lions

The show started with sea lions. This is a male and female pair trained to perform various tricks.

They can even play basketball!

Sea Lion Show

They called for volunteers to come on stage and I was the first to offer myself.

Sea Lion Tricks

I got a peck on the cheek from the sea lion for my trouble. :D

Sea Lion Kiss

It felt very nice.

Russian Clowns

The show at Yehliu Ocean World also incorporated clowns (a Russian duo) and synchronized swimmers.

Russian Swimsuit Girls

There was a man who remained resolutely immobile throughout the entire show, even when the sea lions and dolphins came on stage but excitedly clicked away with his smartphone the moment the Russian girls in their swimsuits came on stage. He nearly fell off his seat in his excitement, which I found puzzling. I wonder how his wife (who was sitting beside him) felt about that. smirk

Yehliu Ocean World

The dolphin show was the highlight of the session.

Dolphin

They asked for a volunteer from the crowd to come on stage and interact with the dolphins. Naturally, I was the first to put my hand up (again).

Bottlenose Dolphin

There is a floor mat with disinfectant which you need to step on before you can go on the stage. You have to use liquid hand sanitizer before you can touch the dolphins too. I was also told that dolphins do not have good eyesight (which makes sense considering they use sonar to communicate) so I have to exaggerate my movements.

Fun With Dolphins

I was trained to use my hands to direct the two dolphins to jump – it was quite an unforgettable affair!

Jumping Dolphin

The dolphins are capable of flinging themselves a remarkable distance up from the water.

Kissing Dolphin

One of the dolphins even allowed me to kiss her (!!!).

Dolphins Up Close

I was taught to bring her up using my hands and she used her flippers to balance herself while I came over on her right flank and nuzzled up against her side. She felt wet and smooth and slippery.

I felt very privileged to be part of the dolphin show.

Dolphin Training

We also got a backstage tour after everyone had left. I realized that I shouldn’t have volunteered for the dolphin show since we got *another* chance to touch the dolphins. I didn’t know or I would have let someone else in the audience have the opportunity.

Feeding Dolphins

The practice training session was going on and we were beside the dolphin trainers while they worked.

Dolphins

It was a wonderful chance to see how the dolphins and trainers interacted up close.

Dolphin Food

We also saw the frozen fish food storage where the dolphins are fed frozen fish as a treat during summer. This is also a backdoor for their medication – apparently dolphins don’t like taking pills and thus vitamins, supplements and meds are inserted into the body cavity of small fish before being fed to the dolphins.

Dolphin Pharmacy

The guide also led us through the secure on-site pharmacy. You’re lucky I don’t read Chinese. Haha.

Dolphin Anatomy

One of the trainers even gave us a detailed dolphin anatomy lesson.

Training Dolphin

All the dolphins here are bottlenose dolphins – the ones you’ll normally associate with the word “dolphin”.

That’s how the dolphin show is done. It’s very interesting stuff!

Dolphin Kiss

I managed to get a photo taken up close by the Yehliu Ocean World photographer while I was hugging the dolphin. :)

U Mobile new iPhone 6s / iPhone 6s Plus plans allows everyone to own one with zero-deposit no-credit-card installments!

iPhone 6s Plus

U Mobile is one of the launch partners of the iPhone 6s and they’re offering a great deal with their all-new Flexi U MicroCredit. You can own a brand new iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus with no deposit, no collateral and no credit card required! You just need to pay for the device over time. This applies for both postpaid and prepaid plans.

I’ve gone through this plan and it’s very innovative – they’re the first to allows anyone, and I literally mean everyone, to own an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus. This level of affordability based on your means opens up possibilities for students and young adults who don’t own a credit card as well as working adults who wants some flexibility in payment terms.

U MicroCredit

The best thing about the U Mobile Flexi U MicroCredit is the ability to choose the financing amount (RM 1,000 to RM 3,500) and repayment tenure (12 months – 36 months). That means you’re the one who selects the amount of financing you need and the number of months you want to repay the installment.

The affordable monthly installment starts from just RM 48. You can even elect to pay in cash if you don’t have a credit card.

There’s also a Full Financing option for the people who wants a complete loan.

Here’s an example of how it works:

U MicroCredit Plan

The prices are all inclusive of GST and the above calculation is based on a fixed interest rate of 1.2% for Flexi U Mobile MicroCredit and an interest rate of 0.84% for full financing.

iPhone 6s Plus Plans

The plans come with increased data allowance from i60 upwards with unlimited calls if you go for the i90 plans and above. They also have a clause called Contract Freedom which allows you to terminate your contract with zero penalty fee for postpaid subscribers!

Of course, you’ll need to pay back the subsidy for the remaining number of months left in your contract but it’s still a pretty sweet deal if you decide you want to change your mind.

There’s an upfront payment for prepaid subscribers but postpaid users who pay via credit card and subscribe to auto debit for their monthly commitment will have the upfront payment credited back to them over 24 months.

U Mobile Trade In

U Mobile also has a trade-in offer where you can give up your old smartphone in return for rebates up to RM 1,900!

iPhone 6s

You can apply for MicroCredit here (or walk into any U Mobile branch) and collect your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus from a U Mobile branch or dealer. Get more details on their iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s plans and Trade-In Offer and own your dream device now!

Café Madeleine Bistro, Oasis Square

Café Madeleine Bistro

My better half told me about a café cum bakery that’s supposed to be quite good and we drove down to Oasis Square to check it out. It says Restaurant Madeline on the signboard but this is actually Café Madeleine Bistro – they have several other outlets in Sunway and Monash (even one in Sunway Medical Centre I remember from my doctor shopping days).

Café Madeleine

There’s an vague Australian vibe in the interior décor with the large central table/bar and magazines lining the shelves on the sides and it seemed like a great place for weekend brunches. The service was a little on the Chinese side (it’s unusual to see so many local Chinese waiters in the era of foreign help) but functional, if unremarkable.

Affogato (RM 8.50)

Affogato

This is a bit of a disaster – the ice cream in this affogato is instantly recognizable as the cheap locally produced Nestle “ice cream” (not sure if it meets the criteria for ice cream since it’s quite low in real butterfat and undoubtedly has palm oil as a substitute). I tasted it and my dear tasted it and we looked at each other and said “Nestle“. That’s how bad it was. To be fair, the whole thing tasted better after the shot of espresso was poured in, but if I wanted Nestle crap I would have made it at home, even my home has higher quality ice cream.

Hot Chocolate (RM 11)

Hot Chocolate

This was my better half’s order and it seemed to go down alright.

Cappuccino (RM 10)

Cappuccino

The waiter actually forgot my order – he thought I just wanted the affogato. I had to remind him to get my drink. Like I said, the service was dreary but I got the feeling that they did try their best…their best is just not good enough. smirk

Teacher’s Pet (RM 15)

Teachers Pet

This is a croissant sandwich with a filling of tuna or chicken ham. Yeah, I didn’t know it was pork free either. My dear’s order, she tried valiantly to finish it. Notice the pepper? I’ll go into that soon.

Madeleine’s Signature Chicken Bravo (RM 25)

Madeleine Signature Chicken Bravo

This is supposed to be “Cajun marinated whole leg served with 2 side dishes”. There’s nothing Cajun about it, and it was way too salty. It also looked like they spilled the pepper shaker on our dishes – everything was covered with pepper! This wasn’t an optional “Hey, I’ll grind a bit on your plate if you want some” deal, it came out like this! Pepper on everything, including the side salad. I was aghast and had to force myself to eat it, although I didn’t finish it. The sauce was disgustingly salty and it was pre-poured on everything, even the (pepper filled) mash potatoes.

Macarons (RM 4.50/piece)

Café Madeleine Macarons

This was the only redeeming feature of our lunch. My dear told me they’re better known for their baked goods (it’s called Madeleine Patisserie after all) and we had one each of Lemon, Summer Love (mixture of berries), Salted Caramel. They’re nowhere close to the likes of Pierre Hermé, Ladurée or even Adriano Zumbo of course, I only made the comparison due to their faux French name. The macarons tasted good, but until today I’m not sure if it’s coz the meal was so bad that they tasted good in comparison.

Café Madeleine Oasis Square

I’ll say avoid at all costs unless you plan on just having the baked goods. The kitchen didn’t impress at all, the food was horrible and overseasoned. I also didn’t like the use of cheap commercial ice cream in their affogato. The bill came up to RM 83 for the two of us, and we would have had a much better meal pretty much anywhere. We won’t be coming back when there are so many good cafes out there. Don’t be fooled by my dear’s great food photography, this place is at best a 1/10.

Mid-Autumn 2015 Mooncake Roundup (Taiwan Special): Pork Floss Mooncakes, Walnut & Medjool Dates Mooncakes, Haagen-Dazs Handcrafted Ice Cream Mooncakes

Walnut Date Mooncake

The majority of mooncakes here are from Taiwan. I was there before the Mid-Autumn Festival and bought all my mooncakes from I-Mei’s flagship shop in the middle of Taipei.

Mooncakes 2015

They’re mostly Taiwanese style mooncakes with flaky pastry shell but there are some of the classic mooncakes too, however all of them are made in Taiwan unless stated otherwise.

I Mei Taiwan

I had actually planned to get all the mooncakes from Taiwan. I thought it’ll be nice to give out mooncakes from Taiwan – it seemed like the ultimate souvenir, although I did buy other gifts too. It was a very busy trip and I couldn’t find time to get out, until my very last day, when Diana took me out at 10 am in the morning to a shop that sells mooncakes.

Diana

You can get mooncakes at 7-Eleven and the airport but for the former, you have to order in advance and the latter are commercialized stuff and I’ll rather go for a local producer and this place fit the bill perfectly!

Packing Mooncakes

The friendly people there even helped me pack everything and explained what each mooncake was (granted, I spent quite a lot) so that was good, considering I don’t read Chinese.

Pork Floss with Mung Bean Taiwanese Mooncakes (NTD 630)

Taiwanese Savory Mooncake

This is really good! I would give this Best of 2015 due to its unusual savory-sweet mix. I love how the pork floss interacts with the sweet mung bean paste and I really enjoyed eating this gem. I had specifically gone looking for a savory mooncake after hearing about it from Diana (our Taiwanese liaison).

Pork Floss Taiwanese Mooncakes

I was slightly taken aback when she asked me if I was looking for sweet or savory mooncakes. “Savory mooncakes? Whatever do you mean?” I asked. It turns out that pork floss mooncakes have been around for a while and the award winning combination with mung bean and the Taiwanese pastry skin is quite common here.

Pork Floss Mooncakes

This box cost NTD 630 (about RM 85).

I-Mei Specialty Mooncake Selection 2015 with Premium Gift Box (NTD 750)

Taipei Mooncakes

I got this one for my better half. It has a nice painting on the front of the box showing the exact street where I bought this mooncake from in the early days. I-Mei has been around since 1934 and they came out with a commemoration box where they commissioned someone to paint the street scene of their flagship store in Taipei where I went to.

Imei Mooncakes

This has a mixture of Taiwanese style mooncakes, Hong Kong style mooncakes and a selection of Taiwanese pastries (pineapple cake etc). It also has a wonderful Taiwanese mooncake flavor – dates and walnuts! It also appears in the previous box above (I think) as well as the one below (in the Hong Kong skin) and it’s a wonderful flavor!

I Mei Hong Kong Style Mooncakes (NTD 900)

Hong Kong Mooncakes

This is the most expensive selection in their shop and I got in for my dear’s parents. It’s all Hong Kong style baked skin mooncakes but they’re all made in Taiwan. There’s a HUGE mooncake (200 grams) in the middle which has a pineapple filling as a tribute to its Taiwanese heritage but the others come in a variety of flavors including chocolate, walnut and Medjool dates.

Pineapple Mooncakes

I got to taste the pineapple filling and it was really good.

Pineapple Mooncake

I thought the walnut and date filling is really awesome too (but no one else did). In fact, I’ll say the single yolk date filling Taiwanese mooncake is my second favorite this year.

Medjool Dates Mooncake

I also choose a very interesting pack which had dried scallops and XO in a mooncake but for some reason it wasn’t packed and I wasn’t charged for it. I suspect this happened when we switched from a longer box to a flatter one and before it was tabulated and sealed so I didn’t realize it. Oh well.

Teochew Pure Green Bean Mooncake (RM 9.50)

Teochew Mooncake

This lard filled mooncake is from Setapak Teochew Restaurant. It’s been around since 1912 and they’re using their time-tested recipe. It’s a lot of lard (can smell it as soon as you open it) and decidedly (and proudly?) non-halal and there’s a certain charm to old school mooncakes like this, much like the Foochow mooncakes.

Teochew Lard Mooncake

It’s quite good, although the lard smell/taste is a bit overwhelming and the filling is a little too sweet for today’s standards.

Haagen-Dazs Handcrafted Ice Cream Mooncakes (RM 95)

Haagen-Dazs Mooncakes 2015

My better half got this for me. She knows I love mooncakes (especially unusual ones) and thus brought this home one day. It’s the Petite Collection which contains 5 hand-crafted ice cream mooncakes. Each set has:

  • White Chocolate Mooncake with Mango Ice Cream
  • Strawberry Chocolate Mooncake with Summer Berries & Cream Ice Cream
  • Milk Chocolate Mooncake with Chocolate Ice Cream

Handcrafted Ice Cream Mooncakes

The first one is the best and the “rarest” e.g. each mooncake configuration will have 1:2:2 ratio with the White Chocolate with Mango Ice Cream being the smallest number. Their Deluxe Collection also has the same kind of ice cream mooncakes, but with 2:3:3 respectively.

Haagen-Dazs Mooncakes

The Strawberry Chocolate Mooncake with Summer Berries & Cream Ice Cream is very refreshing too but my dear liked the Milk Chocolate Mooncake with Chocolate Ice Cream, which tasted like the Mother’s Day ice cream cake from Haagen-Dazs I got earlier this year. This is also the same mooncake we featured in TumblingMinis. :D

Taiwan Mooncakes

Like I said, most of the mooncakes this year were purchased during my trip to Taiwan and are made in Taiwan. We both thought that the Taiwanese style pastry mooncakes were much better than their attempts to make a baked skin mooncake. I loved the pork floss with mung bean mooncake and the walnut and date mooncakes came in a close second.

Jombali @ Citta Mall

Jombali

We were at Citta Mall when we came across this relatively new restaurant. Jombali had taken out a large sign which advertised (of all things) a Michelin inspired dish. smirk

Michelin Inspired

Needless to say, this had nothing to do with Michelin and I have no idea where the whole “inspired by Michelin” bit came in.

Oreo Shake

I ordered an Oreo Shake (RM 8.90) and my better half had a Coconut Shake (RM 8.90). The latter was quite enjoyable, tasted a bit like the Thai counterpart it was meant to emulate but the former wasn’t anything to write home about.

Nasi Goreng 3 Rasa with Ayam Goreng

It was dinnertime so I had the Nasi Goreng 3 Rasa with Ayam Goreng (RM 13.90). This was from their Jomabli Top Sellers menu and the 3 Rasa part means “3 tastes”. It pulled that off quite well – the fried rice was salty, sour (from the tomatoes) and spicy. The portion was GIGANTIC though and I couldn’t finish it although it was good.

Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng Berempah

My dear had the Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng Berempah (RM 10.90) – the chicken is the same but hers is made with rice steamed with santan (coconut milk). It also came in a Supersized portion but the rice wasn’t very hot. I think part of it was due to them trying to serve us both at the same time, a very noble concept but maybe not so suitable for an eatery of their aspirations.

Jombali Citta Mall

Jombali serves up decently priced food and adds to the selection at Citta Mall but we probably won’t be going back again unless we were really hungry.

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