Martin Yan’s Longevity Noodles

Chef Yan Longevity Noodles

This is a special Chinese New Year menu item on all AirAsia flights. They’re made specially by Martin Yan for the Lunar New Year and features longevity noodles in an inventive recipe that includes a delicious thick sauce Chef Yan created himself, along with fresh minced chicken and a variety of vegetables like pickled carrots and radish, as well as green zucchini and red chilies.

Martin Yan AirAsia

Martin Yan’s Longevity Noodles by AirAsia goes for RM 15 a la carte or RM 16 as a combo with a 350 ml bottle of mineral water. The spicy chicken meat sauce goes very well with the crunchy texture of the julienned vegetables and the cooked-just-right longevity noodles with the perfect amount of soft-firm bite.

AirAsia Martin Yan

The hot sauce whets your appetite and the amount of sodium can probably kill a small horse but yet I was looking forward to eating this when I boarded. I forgot the pre-book the meal coz of the 24 hour minimum requirements and made sure to remind the cabin attendants (two of them, in fact) to let them know I wanted it so please hold one Martin Yan meal for me if possible.

AirAsia CNY

I finished eating it with satisfaction and asked the lady next to me to take a photo. Let it be known that I strongly approve of this particular meal! I’ve eaten food cooked by Chef Martin Yan before and I don’t usually go crazy over airline food (not even 1 Michelin star ones) but the Martin Yan’s Longevity Noodles had me licking the microwave foil container clean while not being too obvious about it. smirk

Martin Yan Longevity Noodles

I pondered ordering another one but I thought having a second 241 gram meal right after the first wouldn’t taste as good. It would be overkill and my taste buds are saturated anyway but it was an awesome festive lunch 30,000 feet in the air before I came back for Chinese New Year! :)

2016 Chinese New Year Fireworks Roundup in Kuala Lumpur

Fireworks KL 2016

I’ve started buying fireworks in KL for the kids to enjoy. Kuala Lumpur doesn’t have the sheer variety of fireworks we have in Sibu but they carry a few different things we can’t get here and vice versa. One big thing about Sibu is that 3″ fireworks shells and larger are banned. So are rocket and tube launched aerial break shells. This seems to be an agreement between local cartels and the police. However, we do get a lot of large scale display fireworks cakes and Chinese firecrackers.

KL on the other hand has a relatively mediocre selection of the last two. I did manage to find some novelty fireworks for the kids and my better half though. It’s a great way to usher in the Chinese New Year! :)

Jumping Frog Novelty Fireworks

Jumping Frog Fireworks

This is an interesting implementation of a relatively simple firework. It costs RM 5 per box and there’s 5 pieces of the “frogs” in a box, making them RM 1 each. These are made in Thailand and I’ve never seen them in my hometown before. The “jumping frogs” work via the knots in the string – the way it’s tied makes the entire firework leap around as it reaches the bends and folds.

It’s quite interesting since our fireworks mostly come from Philippines (like Judas Belt or triangle firecrackers) or China due to our closer proximity. I let the jumping frogs off for the kids to see coz these aren’t really suitable for children. You light up the fuse and throw it away and the firework will jump around.

Happy Boom

From a fireworks enthusiast perspective, how this works is that the entire firework is a long fuse. The flash powder is meant to fizz energetically instead of exploding. You can see this if you bend a Chinese firecracker before lighting it up – it’ll become a sparkler of sorts instead of going boom. The string knots around the folded fuse directs the energy of the combusting powder out the end of that section, effectively propelling it around 5 times.

These are quite cheap to make but it’s still very fascinating stuff.

Peacock Fountain Fireworks

Fireworks Fountain

I got this RM 70 fountain for the kids to see. I’ve let off a similar one called London Bridge in Sibu last year. This one isn’t as impressive since the manufacturer skimped on the gerbs (the tube like things which produces the effects) and there are only 6 inside (1 sparkling rain and 5 directional effects) vs twice the amount in the London Bridge fireworks fountain.

It’s still fun to watch though.

Fuseless Sparklers

Fuseless Sparklers

These are the newer sparklers that don’t come with a fuse. It’s shaped like a tube instead of the “coated stick” design of previous sparklers. The pen shape makes it easy to hold but one downside is that the sparkler can get very hot as the effects burn down into the tube. They cost RM 10, making each sparkler RM 2.

There are Disney designs all over the packaging and firework but I sincerely doubt they have a licensing deal. smirk

Disney Sparklers

You light the top of the sparkler and the contact makes the chemical composition burn with vivid colors. I tried one to make sure it’s safe and passed it to the kids. They seem to enjoy it as all kids do, so that’s the important thing. The thing they love the most is still the Pop Pop contact fireworks though. Haha.

Frog Fireworks

Chinese New Year reunion dinner is tonight! I’ll be letting off the bulk of my firecrackers and fireworks at the stroke of midnight and the rest tomorrow during the first day of CNY. I’ll keep everyone posted on the (much larger) Sibu fireworks roundup – there are multiple large cakes both vintage and new and I have a huge 530 shot monster this year, bigger than anything I’ve ever had. Happy Chinese New Year everyone!

Gong Xi Fatt Chai! :)

8 interesting things I bought for Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year is coming up in a few days! I’ve got all the things I need. I highlight some of the more interesting/quirky/unusual items I’ve purchased each year and here’s the list for 2016:

1. Famous Amos CNY Hamper

Famous Amos CNY Hamper

I bought this for my dear. I always get her a hamper during Chinese New Year and I heard her mentioning something about Famous Amos hampers. I know she likes the Famous Amos cookies so while at Curve one day, I went to look and decided to get her something that she enjoys eating. :)

2. Maxim Mini Egg Rolls

Maxim Mini Egg Rolls

I had gotten the same thing last year but it was the regular sized ones. They didn’t have the miniature size last year. This year, they imported in the smaller sized egg rolls and I bought it for my better half. Maxim is a well-known baked goods brand in Hong Kong (ironically there’s also a confectioners named Maxim in France, where I think they got their name from) and consistently has good egg rolls, although slightly more expensive since it’s imported for RM 68.

3. Sanbanto Bak Kwa

Sanbanto BBQ Pork Jerky

Sanbanto consistently comes up with the best bak kwa (BBQ pork jerky) in town. I always make it a point to grab some every CNY. It makes for a perfect gift as well. This time I bought 5 packs for friends and family while my better half got 2 packs for my dad. They’re a mixture of sliced pork jerky (which is more expensive at RM 69) and minced pork jerky (RM 63).

4. Brand’s CNY Essence of Chicken Hamper

Brands CNY Hamper

This one is for my better half’s parents. Her mom likes to drink Brand’s and I always get them a hamper for Chinese New Year too. Last year I got them a random hamper full of stuff that they might or might not like so this year I thought I’ll go the safer route and give them something I know they’ll consume. Funny story, I actually ordered this online from the Caring Pharmacy ecommerce site. However, I didn’t know it took so long for them to actually send it out and I made a special request to pick it up from Paradigm Mall since I was going to Sibu soon and they kindly accommodated me.

5. RM 20 instant noodles from Taiwan

Foos Kitchen Chili Beef Noodles

This is more like a purchase for Chinese New Year since you’re so busy entertaining guests to cook. I’ve never seen a RM 20.15 bowl of instant noodles before. This is Foo’s Kitchen Chili Flavored Beef Noodle Soup. It contains a 600 gram single serve microwavable bowl that has real beef slices and pork bone broth. I haven’t eaten it yet but it sounds good. There’s also the novelty of eating a RM 20+ dollar bowl of instant noodles! That’s the second most expensive instant noodles I’ve had. The most expensive is still the RM 62.50 bowl of Maggi instant noodles. smirk

6. Scotch Brite Chinese New Year Monkey Pad

God of Prosperity

I didn’t buy this per se. I just happened to be at the hypermarket beside me, stocking up on drinking water, when I saw this guy dressed up as the God of Prosperity walking around the cashier exits. One of the girls came up to me and asked if I wanted a free monkey shaped Scotch Brite pad.

Scotch Brite Monkey

It’s a limited edition sample meant for Chinese New Year so I thought it’ll go well here. It’s the Year of the Monkey, which is why there are so many monkey themed motifs. I gave it to my dear.

7. Starbucks Exclusive Coffee Wafer Rolls

Starbucks Exclusive Coffee Wafer Rolls

This is an interesting one – I didn’t plan for this purchase at all. I had gotten all I needed for CNY and was about to fly back to Sibu when I chanced across this at the airport. It was RM 42 and came with a free drink! I had time to kill before my flight at KLIA2 so I bought one. The barista was kind enough to let me choose *any* drink so I went with the latest Strawberry Red Velvet Mocha Frappuccino under the new Starbucks Espresso Confections.

Starbucks Ang Pow 2016

It came complete with whipped cream. This drink would normally cost around RM 20 for the largest size at the airport so that’s a significant discount from the “free large drink with purchase”. I also got two nice Starbucks ang pows from the barista.

8. Crab Stick Crackers

Crab Stick Crackers

This is the most amazing and wonderful thing I’ve ever seen. Yes, this is the first time I’ve seen it, although I’ve heard rumors of delicious morsels of surimi (crab sticks) that’s been deep fried as a Chinese New Year snack. It has the distinctive red color from the crab sticks, which are actually made from fish paste and crab flavoring. On the plus side, the color is very auspicious too. My dear’s mom got this for our family coz I was so intrigued by it. The crab stick crackers sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try it! Happy Chinese New Year, everyone.

Shopping for Chinese New Year clothes!

Shopping for CNY

I don’t make a big deal out of shopping for clothes every Chinese New Year. It’s a tradition to wear new garments but some years I didn’t buy anything or just got a pack of red underwear (which turned out to be the best I ever had).

Onitsuka Tiger

However, I wanted to get my better half some clothes so we went to purchase new attire over two weekends.

MUJI

We ended up buying more stuff for me. My dear got me two awesome shirts from MUJI, one long sleeved casual and one work shirt from MNG and a pair of “drop crotch chinos”. I have no idea what that last one was, she just thought I ought to wear something different. smirk

Clothes

I did manage to get her something though – we went to Levi’s for a pair of denims and H&M for more garments.

UNIQLO Disney Chinese New Year Collection

I also got attire for the kids.

Disney Chinese New Year 2016

I really liked this shirt but they didn’t have one in my size. It’s from the UNIQLO Disney Chinese New Year 2016 collection.

Onitsuka Tiger Asics

I spent the most in Onitsuka Tiger. I had wanted a pair of bright blue sneakers from adidas a few months ago but unfortunately they were out of my size. My dear remembered that I liked that particular shade of blue and brought me to Onitsuka Tiger to get a similar pair.

ASICS Onitsuka Tiger

Onitsuka Tiger don’t make their own shoes. They’re actually made by ASICS and branded as Onitsuka Tigers. Interesting, I didn’t know that. It makes sense though, why would an apparel company go into the shoe business when they can just co-opt and OEM (rebadge) from an existing sports company? Pretty smart business move.

RM55 Socks

I do like the brand though and since there was a 30% sale on accessories if you buy footwear, I got two pairs of socks to go with them. Unfortunately, the discount is only valid for one (1) item so I also got an overpriced RM 55 pair of socks from Onitsuka Tiger. Haha.

CNY Shopping

It was fun going shopping with my better half though and I got all my Chinese New Year wardrobe sorted out. The reunion dinner is coming up soon! Have you all gotten all your shopping done?

Peacock Fountain Fireworks

Peacock Fireworks Fountain

We were at the wet market on the weekend when I saw this firework. This is a RM 70 display-in-a-box. It’s a fountain that’s built almost exactly like the beautiful London Bridge Fireworks I got last year. This one is called 孔雀开屏 – it means Peacock Blooming but the last two words also represent “blossom” (like a curtain). I was surprised when my dear read the Chinese characters for me. I didn’t know she could read Chinese!

Peacock Fireworks

I decided to grab it for the kids, since a similar fountain I got last year was very nice. This isn’t made by the same company though, it’s likely a clone of the more famous London Bridge Fountain Fireworks but the basic design is the same.

I grabbed the kids and we let it off in the park, on a stone bench so it’s elevated:

I totally forgot that the camera was set to QVGA mode so it’s not recorded in HD. Sorry for the poor quality, I always keep it at HD 1980 x 1080 for recording but the settings were changed and I didn’t realize before I pressed record. You still can see what the firework looks like though.

Peacock Fireworks Taken Apart

The kids liked it but I thought it was a poor imitation of the original London Bridge Fountain. It has less gerbs (the things that shoot out the effects) and doesn’t last as long. The range of colors and different effects were also inferior but generally KL doesn’t get the quality fireworks we do in Sibu. However, it was still fun for the kids to watch and that’s what matters. :)

Our RM 890 8-Head Abalone Poon Choy Dinner

Poon Choy

This is a Chinese New Year tradition that I do with my better half and the kids. Her parents usually come along as well so it’s 6 pax for our poon choy dinner. I make it a point to do a lot of research before ordering the year’s poon choy (which is a big bowl feast with lots of stuff inside) and decided on Unique Seafood, Kota Damansara for our 2016 table.

Prosperity Poon Choy

I had to order and pay for the poon choy in advance – it costs RM 411.65 for a 5 pax poon choy with with 8-Head Abalone. It says RM 374.20 nett on the poon choy reservation slip, but that’s for take-out only. You get a 16% surcharge for service and GST if you dine-in, which is what we opted for this year.

Table Reservation

I made reservations for a table of 6 for 6:15 pm.

Seafood Fish Tanks

My dear’s father is a huge fan of fish so that was one of the reasons I had chosen this place for our Chinese New Year dinner. They have a wide range of seafood on offer – everything from lobsters to fish. It’s also super fresh (since they’re still alive and in aquariums) and you simply walk over to choose the specimen that you want and the chef will cook it for you.

King Grouper

He went for the King Grouper (RM 173/kg) and one of the waitresses fished out the 1.3 kg creature and it eventually ended up on our dinner table.

Abalone Salmon Yee Sang

I also wanted to have yee sang with everyone so I asked for their most premium version, which was the Abalone and Salmon with Fuji Apple Yee Sang (RM 160.90 for half portion). It’s good for them to offer 1/2 portions since a full portion would be too much for our table of 4 adults and 2 kids.

Lou Sang

The abalone was very good and sliced well, but the salmon was a little sad looking. We later found out that Japanese restaurants around Klang Valley has started offering fresh salmon and other seafood for yee sang at extremely competitive prices. Nevertheless, it was the symbolic tradition of the lou sang toss that means more than the food itself.

2016 Poon Choy

The 8-Head Abalone Poon Choy (RM 411.65) came next and it was enclosed in a claypot, complete with lid, and a heating source at the bottom. I dare say that this was the best poon choy we’ve had over the years and the hot nature of the ingredients contributed to that. Of course, the awesome selection of goodies was cooked to perfection too.

8-Head Abalone

This year had 8-head abalone, fresh prawns, fresh scallops, black moss, sea cucumber, huge sheets of fish maw, oysters, dried scallops, roasted duck, steamed chicken drumsticks, mussels, mushrooms, abalone slices and plenty of vegetables at the bottom. There was a lot to eat! Unlike last year’s poon choy, our 2016 poon choy was cooked together and all the flavors combined really well.

Grouper

The fish came after the server saw we were done with the poon choy. The King Grouper was cooked two ways – the first as slices of grouper in superior stock. This proved to be a hit as well, the entire grouper cost RM 224.90 (not inclusive of RM 12 cooking charge) and the flesh was soft and tender. I like how the freshness was accentuated by the cooking style too. The slices of grouper rested on soft and silky tofu, a very nice way of presenting it.

King Grouper Soup

The second course for the King Grouper came as a soup. Unique Seafood fried the head and bones and cooked it with some vegetables to produce a flavorful soup. It’s usually taboo to not serve a whole fish for Chinese New Year but since we have kids, it’s a lot easier (and more practical) to have the restaurant slice up the fish so there’s no bones and cook the head separately.

Waxed Meat with Glutinous Rice

I also ordered the Waxed Meat with Glutinous Rice (RM 44.35) which is a Chinese New Year staple. We barely made a dent in this since we were all full by then. I tapao it and we enjoyed it the next day though and it was delicious!

Seasonal Mixed Fruits

The kids wanted to have dessert so I ordered a platter of Seasonal Mixed Fruits (RM 20). They first had this when they came over to Sibu a few month’s ago. It’s nothing spectacular but maybe that was coz we were almost bursting with food at this point. Haha.

RM890 Bill

The bill came up to RM 890.50 for everything. I had already paid RM 414.50 when I reserved the poon choy earlier in the week (you have to pay up-front nowadays since it costs a lot to prepare the top shelf ingredients) so I just needed to pay RM 476 more after dinner. It’s slightly more than if you had booked a banquet but this way we got to choose what we wanted to eat and we had it centered around poon choy, which you can’t do with the banquet option.

Stuffed Scallops

I particularly enjoyed the fresh scallops stuffed into gourds and the fatt choy (black moss – a type of bacteria). I was quite surprised to see the little one eating a whole 8-head abalone by herself too. It was really yummy and we nearly managed to finish the poon choy despite just having 4 adults.

Unique Seafood

It was a great poon choy dinner and I’ll be looking to try a different restaurant’s poon choy around this time next year. Chinese New Year is coming up in less than a week’s time! Happy Chinese New Year everyone! :)

Australian Yee Sang Dinner @ Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial KL

Australian Yee Sang Dinner

I just came back from my second yee sang dinner of the year. It was a Tourism Australia event for partners and media and this is a dinner I try to attend every single year. It’s always a blast to meet up with the tourism reps and the food at Celestial Court is good. This year had an ingredient for every dish (usually seafood) brought over all the way from Australia.

Abalone Yee Sang

I thought that was a brilliant idea!

Prosperity Yee Sang with Tasmania Ocean Trout with Truffle Sydney Green Lips Abalone

Prosperity Yee Sang with Tasmania Ocean Trout with Truffle Sydney Green Lips Abalone
The highlight of the yee sang is the Sydney green lips abalone (something I’ve been seeing a lot in yee sang this year) and the Tasmanian ocean trout. The plum sauce and acidity of this raw salad is spot on. I’ve never really enjoyed yee sang for the sake of it, it’s more like a tradition for me, but Celestial Court’s yee sang is quite yummy.

Double Boiled South Australia Mini Abalone Soup with Fresh Ginseng

Double Boiled South Australia Mini Abalone Soup with Fresh Ginseng and Wolfberries
I love abalone, especially in poon choy, and this year we’ll have another abalone filled poon choy too. The double boiled soup was done really well, with lots of ginseng goodness and a nice baby abalone in the clear broth.

Jasmine Tea Marinated Northern Territory Barramundi with Melbourne Vegemite

Jasmine Tea Marinated Northern Territory Barramundi with Melbourne Vegemite Soya Sauce topped with Fruity Dressing
This is my favorite dish of the night. I’ve had barramundi in Australia before and it’s always with crispy skin. However, barramundi cooked Chinese style with soggy skin is even more fabulous! I like the umami sauce, it’s made with Vegemite and goes very well with the flaky tender barramundi. I saw an extra piece on the table and didn’t hesitate to help myself to seconds. The hint of smokiness from the Jasmine tea marinate is just irresistible. smirk

Wok Fried Queensland Scallops with Celery and Flower Fungus in Premium Scallop Sauce

Wok Fried Queensland Scallops with Celery and Flower Fungus in Premium Scallop Sauce
The fresh scallops were really awesome too. There were two Malay guys sitting beside me (this is a pork free restaurant) and one of them told me this is his favorite dish due to the spiciness. The scallop sauce is actually a hot sambal and it goes surprisingly well with the soft and moist scallops. Very nice.

Stewed Bean Curd and Bean Puff with Dried Oyster Sea Moss and Darwin Broccoli

Stewed Bean Curd and Bean Puff with Dried Oyster Sea Moss and Darwin Broccoli
I am usually not a huge fan of soy bean and tofu byproducts but I was quite hungry tonight since I skipped lunch (was too busy and had to rush to make dinner in time). It turned out that this was quite pleasing to my palate, but no one could finish it, unlike the other dishes.

Five Grain Rice with South Australia Kinkawooka Blue Mussels and Barbeque Meat Topped with Bonito Flakes

Five Grain Rice with South Australia Kinkawooka Blue Mussels and Barbeque Meat Topped with Bonito Flakes
I ate every single mouthful of this individually portioned dish as well. It was the standard filler but I enjoyed the mussels from South Australia. I generally enjoy all types of seafood and would prefer it to any other protein.

Victoria Frost Berries with Chinese Nian Gao

Victoria Frost Berries with Chinese Nian Gao
The nian gao (sticky glutinous rice cake) is usually eaten around Chinese New Year. This was sliced and pan-fried and it tasted good with the tartness of the Victorian frost berries.

Chrysanthemum Ice Cream topped with Western Australia Macadamia Nut Crush

Chrysanthemum Ice Cream topped with Western Australia Macadamia Nut Crush
Wonderful stuff! We were all wondering what the ice cream flavor was since it was very mild when contrasted with the toasted macadamia nuts. I finally got a hint of chrysanthemum and thought it was ingenious to make a chrysanthemum flower flavored ice cream. It’s a very adult dessert, not too sweet with plenty of texture.

Tourism Australia Koala

There was a picture under the ramekins when they served up the ice cream. It’s either a hot air balloon or a tower and the latter was limited to 68 pieces. You can redeem it for a Tourism Australia koala soft toy while the default door gift was a gold wire mesh kangaroo with two Mandarin oranges. I got the first one but they were kind enough to give me one of each. The kids would love it!

HB Shamila

Thanks for the wonderful dinner Shamila! I really enjoyed all the seafood from Australia.

Titan Raga Moonlight Collection Launch @ Svago, KLCC

Titan Svago KLCC

I have heard a lot of good things about Titan. They’re one of the largest watch manufacturers in the words (5th largest to be exact) and ranked among the top 100 luxury watch companies. Brought and distributed in Malaysia by Chronosoft Sdn Bhd, I’ve seen their timepieces around and when I heard about the launch of their Moonlight collection, I dropped by Svago in KLCC to check it out.

Titan Raga Moonlight

The Moonlight collection by Titan is inspired by the beauty of objects captured in moonlight. Mr Vijesh Rajan (Business Head International Division, Titan Company Limited) was there to share the stories behind the creation of each of the watches.

The Taj

I was particularly impressed by this one. It’s inspired by the Taj Mahal and features Swarovski crystals. This is called The Taj and is described as “a stunning illustration of the iconic monument, these timepieces draw inspiration from the awe-inspiring silhouette of the Taj Mahal on a full moon night”.

Mystic Luna

Mystic Luna is inspired by the moon goddess Luna and I like the beauty and elegance of the design.

Titan Moonlight Collection

Titan only uses Swarovski crystals exclusively in their Moonlight collection. The range is priced between RM 375 to RM 1,985 and there were models there to showcase the timepieces.

The Moonlight collection is under Titan Raga, which is a range of exquisite watches for the modern women. This leans towards the more mature and luxurious target market and often features precious stones and gems embedded into the timepieces.

Titan Edge

I also managed to examine their Edge range, which is the slimmest quartz watch in the world. You can see just how thin each one is. Amazing.

Titan

I also got a limited edition Titan watch!

Titan Watch

Titan creates a range of limited edition watches for the Penang Bridge International Marathon each year and this one retails for RM 525. They’re also one of the sponsors of the event and the official watch for the Allianz Penang Bridge International Marathon.

Watch

This particular watch has a large face with 100 meter water resistance.

Titan Penang Bridge International Marathon

It has the Penang Bridge International Marathon emblem engraved into the back of the watch.

Titan Watch Design

I like how there is a LCD display with digital timekeeping in addition to the regular chronograph and the day of the week is displayed as well.

Titan Men Watch

The leather strap offers a practical functionality and I personally prefer leather straps for versatility but you can swap it out if you want.

Work

I’ve been using this watch exclusively for almost a month now, both in KL and in my business dealings in Sarawak and I love the way it’s appropriate for both work…

Casual

…and play.

Titan Watches

Titan has a range of watches for both men and women and if you’re keen to hear more about it, drop by their website at Titan World or interact with them on the Titan Facebook page.

Acer Predator 15 Gaming Laptop Review

Acer Predator Launch

I have a problem which I’m sure a lot of other games share. I own a relatively new notebook (bought it earlier this year) since I need a portable device to use for work when I’m out and about. However, I believe that notebooks should be dual purpose and it must be able to handle the games I play when I’m home too.

Buy Games

Unfortunately, that isn’t a reality for the majority of us with regular notebooks. I can’t play a lot of the new games for this very reason. I didn’t buy even buy Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void until two weeks ago coz I knew my (relatively new) notebook can’t handle the graphics on the highest settings and I *want* to play it on the highest settings.

Predator

Hell, I’ll even go so far to say that I deserve to.

Hearthstone

However, you can’t expect that in a normal notebook. There simply isn’t enough processing and graphics card power in a notebook format. Thus, I mostly play Hearthstone, a relatively non-intensive game. Anything remotely related to FPS (first person shooter) and MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) genres are out of the question. Games like Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. Alien Isolation, Heroes of the Storm just doesn’t run well on work notebooks.

Acer Predator Box

Enter the Acer Predator laptop. It’s a notebook that’s built to gamer friendly specifications. I was amazed when I scrolled though the technical details. The Acer Predator laptop all run the latest and most powerful NVIDIA GeForce notebook GPUs! The new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M and 980M has been rated to run at up to 70% of their desktop counterparts.

Acer Predator Unboxing

That’s a huge figure if you know anything about notebook gaming. Previous notebook GPUs can only achieve less than 40% parity with their desktop counterparts. Finally, we have a gaming laptop solution which is almost equal to the most powerful desktop gaming machines (and definitely more powerful than most mid-tier gaming desktops).

Acer Predator 15

You can at last run the latest and greatest games like Call of Duty: Black Ops III on a notebook and get better performance than all but the highest end desktop machines, courtesy of the Acer Predator laptop series. I was lucky enough to get an Acer Predator 15 for review. This laptop is equipped with:

  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • Full HD 1920 x 1080 15.6″ display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M with 3GB GDDR5 VRAM
  • 128 GB SSD drive + 1 TB SATA HDD

This unit retails for RM 6,999. You can also get 24 GB DDR4 RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M with 4GB GDDR5 VRAM and a 256GB SSD drive for RM 8,999. I can tell you that the graphics card alone is easily a third of the cost when you buy it from stores, this is not as expensive as you think, gamers spend this amount for GPUs all the time.

Acer Predator Gaming Series

I say this coz I heard a lot of people commenting about the price during the launch of the Acer Predator. I silently thought to myself “These people have never played a single game in their lives, much less know about GPUs and the price of the latest NVIDIA GeForce graphics card”. I didn’t say it out loud coz I didn’t want to appear to be condescending but that’s the point of the Acer Predator laptop series.

Acer Predator

It’s for GAMERS.

FrostCore Acer

There’s Predator FrostCore, the swappable fan design which injects this powerful gaming rig with extra cold to keep heat down and performance up. It’s additional cooling, the notebook is already cooled, but if you don’t need the DVD drive, you can swap out the bay easily by a switch via the back.

Predator FrostCore

Pop in the Predator FrostCore and you’ll see a noticeable change in your performance.

Watch Dogs

I found out that putting the Predator FrostCore in for games like Watch Dogs gives a 5-10 fps (frames per second) increase. This is on the highest quality settings with all the bells and whistles (4xSSAA anti-aliasing etc).

FPS

I also liked the Killer DoubleShot Pro technology. It basically uses BOTH your WiFi and Ethernet to combine and optimize bandwidth. You can use this by selecting the fastest one (which can differ according to circumstances) to dedicate to your game or select one to use for your game and the other for streaming.

Steam

This is perfect for Twitch streamers. You don’t need a lot for your games but NVIDIA ShadowPlay takes a lot of bandwidth so you can use the faster one (be it Ethernet or WiFi) for uploading ShadowPlay recordings to Twitch or YouTube Gaming.

Subwoofer

The Predator SoundPound 4.2 boasts four speakers with two powerful subwoofers and Dolby Audio surround sound. I was quite surprised at the fidelity of treble notes and the intensity of bass in a laptop. The Acer Predator 15 I had was LOUD!

PredatorSense ProZone

The PredatorSense intelligent gaming keyboard control and customization options lets you set up keyboard macros (essential for anyone who plays World of Warcraft and similar games). It’s quite useful for RTS (real time strategy) games like Starcraft II also. The Predator ProZone keyboard is insanely accurate and has four (4) customizable backlight zones and programmable macro profiles you can share. The backlight is very useful if you’re gaming in the dark and you can set the intensity as you wish – notice how the W, A, S, D keys are brighter than the surrounding ones.

You can use up to three (3) monitors including one NVIDIA G-SYNC monitor with the Acer Predator gaming laptop too so you can setup the most immersive gaming experience at your home. The features above are standard in all Acer Predator laptop series.

StarcraftII

The Acer Predator series is not for the average Joe who fiddles around with Microsoft Word and uses Excel once in a while to do their taxes. It’s not for the casual gamer who thinks Angry Birds or Bejeweled is the pinnacle of gaming. It’s for gamers like us who plays AAA titles like Call of Duty. It’s for the competitive gamers who participate in DOTA tournaments. It’s for Twitch streamers who wants to play Counter Strike: Global Offensive and have enough processing power to do it in the highest resolution and quality settings while rebroadcasting it to their fans.

Acer Gaming

The gaming industry has grown exponentially over the past decade and games are now the biggest budget titles and earners instead of Hollywood films. This trend will continue and for those of us who enjoys playing games, you’ll want to have a high end notebook, especially if you’re someone like me who only wants one (1) device to do it all – both work and games.

Find out more at the Acer Predator website.

5 fun things we did for our Christmas Eve celebrations!

Christmas Family Photo 2015

Christmas is just around the corner! The kids have been asking me about our annual turkey since our Melaka trip so I decided to celebrate Christmas early this year. Here’s what we did for the festive season:

1. Christmas shopping

Glenfiddich Mince Pies

Yup, this is one of the highlights of my year. I went out with my better half to look at what we’ll be getting for our Christmas celebrations. I saw this really cool Glenfiddich mince pies. It’s made with their 12 year old expression of single malt Scotch whiskey.

Glenfiddich Whisky Cake

They even have a Glenfiddich Whisky Cake!

2. Christmas turkey

Christmas Halal Turkey

This is a mainstay of our Christmas celebrations each year. The kids like to eat it and I like to roast it. It’s fun and it’s one of the things we look forward to.

Halal Turkey

Excuse the Islamic script, the turkey I bought is not haram this year. It’s called Midamar Turkey and despite coming from Iowa in the United States, it’s certified halal.

Brining Turkey

The turkey costs RM 348 and weighs 5.8 kg.

Roast Chestnut Cranberry Apple Stuffing

I used a roast chestnut, cranberry and apple stuffing for the turkey.

Jellied Cranberry Sauce

I stuffed our Christmas turkey and popped it into the oven…

Roasted Turkey

…and we all ate it with slices of bread and jellied cranberry sauce.

Turkey Christmas

Delicious!

3. Pistachio panettone

Flamigni Gran Pistacchio

My dear chose our annual panettone. It was a choice between panettone filled with mascarpone cream, chocolate covered and filled, a pandoro, or a pistachio crumb covered panettone with pistachio cream filling. She chose the last one, it’s RM 132.50 for a 1 kg cake.

Pistachio Panettone

This is made by the good people at Flamigni, the individual panettone is actually made by hand in Italy before being filled with pistachio cream and topped with crushed pistachios. It’s described as “Panettone con Crema al Pistacchio ricoperto di Chocolato Bianco e Granella di Pistacchi” which translates to panettone with pistachio cream covered with white chocolate and chopped pistachios.

Panettone with Pistachio Cream

The kids loved it! The white chocolate topping holding the crushed nuts was sweet and the cream even more so. I was very happy with our panettone this year, it’s absolutely fabulous! I can eat it all year!

4. Christmas crackers

Kids Christmas Crackers

This is another one of our Christmas traditions. I’ll go with my dear and buy some crackers for the kids. If you’re not familiar with Christmas crackers, they’re meant to be pulled by two people after Christmas dinner and (traditionally) the person with the largest half gets to keep the party favor or gift inside. It makes a snap / bang when you pull it.

Playing Christmas Crackers

The kids really liked them when I first got it for Christmas so I thought I’ll get them every year. We always give the kids two crackers each and we’ll each have one.

Happy-Clapper

I got a Happy Clapper from my cracker. Haha.

5. Family Christmas photo

Christmas Dinner

This is something we’ll do each year, take a photo together after we’ve eaten our turkey dinner and opened our Christmas crackers.

Christmas Crackers

The novelty paper hats are actually from the crackers. My better half printed the selfie props. This idea came from the stuff that came in last year’s Christmas crackers and we thought it’ll be fun to incorporate it into our annual festive photo. This year’s family Christmas picture has a “White Christmas” theme (coz we’re all wearing white).

Christmas Family Photo 2015

We make it a point to celebrate Christmas with the kids every year. It has become “our” tradition with a turkey, Christmas crackers, panettone and a group photo. This is our 2015 family Christmas photo. Merry Christmas everyone! :)

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