The famous curry fish head in JB at Kam Long Restaurant

jb famous curry fish head

There is a Chinese style curry fish head place in JB that seems to be VERY popular among the locals. Kam Long Restaurant serves curry fish head and curry fish head only. It’s their flagship, signature dish and…the only item on the menu. ;) I have heard about the prodigious queues forming just to get a taste of this very dish and I was very keen to check it out.

kam leong restaurant

The funniest thing I heard (which I didn’t get the first time) was from Lainey bff who told me – DON’T WRITE ABOUT IT. Geddit? I didn’t the first (or second time) either. smirk

curry fish head

Anyway, it just so happens that I was reading The Dead Cockroach’s review of the place the day before we were heading down. We drove along Jalan Wong Ah Fook twice and still couldn’t find the place so we stopped and asked for directions several times.

fish head

Okay, the problem with this place is that you can’t exactly see the Kam Leong Restaurant signboard while you’re driving. It’s obscured by some pull down canvas shutters to keep the sun out. It’s actually not hard to find – you just have to drive down from the BEGINNING of Jalan Wong Ah Fook and stop at the first traffic light.

queue

You’ll be able to see the queue of people outside the humble restaurant – just cross the road to join in.

curry fish head prep

It should be noted that the queue is not strictly first-come-first-serve. The small size of the restaurant and the limited seating arrangements allowed us (a group of two) to share a table with other people while if you’re in a larger posse, you might have to wait longer until a table clears.

steaming curry fish head

Well, since there’s only one thing to order, we went for the famous curry fish head for two people. It’s RM 18 inclusive of rice and you best be able to read Chinese coz there are no other languages on the menu. In fact, there is no menu, save for a small signboard beside the industrious kitchen.

kam leong curry fish head

I have to admit, the Chinese style curry fish head is very good. Lainey finished her rice, which is quite uncommon and I loved the curry sauce. They put in a lot of vegetables too – okra, long beans, tofu and so on but the fish head is the centerpiece and it does not disappoint.

hb lainey

The flesh of the fish is tender and juicy and the curry sauce complements the fresh fish head very well. My only complaint is that there isn’t enough fish meat to go around so if you’re feeling particularly hungry, order +1 people more than your group. :)

Anyway, I’m heading to JB again in a couple of hours despite just coming back early this week. Heh! We were in JB for Freedom. There’s another one this Saturday right in KL so don’t miss it! I’ll be going to the Freedom in Penang at the end of the month too!

The most WTF sign I’ve seen

pencuri

HOLD ON TO YOUR PANTS LADIES!!!

(and gentlemen)

Spotted at a JB toilet. It basically says “Beware – Thief. Don’t hang your pants here. Thanks.”.

Surreal. In other news we’re staying at Zon Regency Hotel by the sea and Gods be good it’s a duty free haven.

 jb food

I can’t say much about the quality of food (it’s alright but nothing to write home about – wait till my next post for an awesome JB specialty). However, it IS exactly like the photo in the menu so no one can say that it’s false advertising.

jb view

The best thing however is the ambience – it’s al fresco dining beside the sea…and yes, you can see Singapore yonder.

duty free

…and the alcohol? Duty free prices baby. :D

Chilling with Christy at Colmar Tropicale, Bukit Tinggi

swan pose

I just came back from a road trip to Bukit Tinggi (also called Berjaya Hills) with Christy, Hollie, Nic and Patricia. We headed up Monday morning and spent the night at the French medieval themed resort.

colmar tropicale

It seems that Colmar Tropicale has been around for quite a while and the last time I came here was during my birthday.

group

This time around it was supposed to be a very chill and relaxing trip and I think we spent the most time fishing for ducks (and eating). Heh.

room

Christy booked one of the regular rooms and I was bunking with her while the other 3 squeezed into another room.

hb christy

Some of them went to sleep as soon as we got there but me and Christy started watching TV and talking instead.

ryo zantei

Lunch at Ryo Zantei @ Japanese Gardens. Most of us had the Ten Zaru Soba (RM 29) coz the weather was rather hot. It’s cold soba with tempura and soy dressing topped with…

raw quail egg

…a raw quail egg.

ten zaru soba

Lovely.

japanese garden

Walking around the Japanese Gardens. A lot of people come up here to rent kimonos and have the Japanese tea ceremony that it’s become a bit of a cliché.

la boulangerie

Tea time pastries at La Boulangerie.

fishing

There was this duck pond full of yellow ducks with hooks which you “fish” with a pole. We spent the better part of an hour and about RM 50 trying to get a duck with a winning number on it.

stuffed toy

The fruits of our labor. One tiny stuffed toy.

breakfast

It was a lot of fun though and it’s surprisingly hypnotizing to watch the fake ducks swirl around the plastic inflatable pond.

la flamme

Dinner at La Flamme.

le vin

Drinks at Le Vin. Notice all the French names? We ordered a bottle of wine to share before finally retiring to the room.

christy colmar

I think me and Christy was the last ones to sleep – we spent the night in bed talking about all sorts of stuff…like long distance relationships back in your grandparent’s days where they had no technology. Heh.

Epic weekend: An impromptu trip to Ipoh, dodgy hotels, losing my wallet and my car bumper

brussels

The Friday night out

It all started on Friday night at Brussels Beer Cafe. It was during this inspiring round of drinks that the impromptu trip hatched. I was supposed to meet Bonnie there and truth to be told I don’t even remember how I got to know her and inquiring minds want to know. I also had half a mind to FFK the drinks on Friday thing coz I was really sick but I’m glad I didn’t coz it turned out to be one of the best weekends I’ve ever had. :)

We were having drinks in Jaya One when I finally got around to around to asking her how we know each other. It turns out that we don’t. She reads my blog, added me on Facebook and it was a random and casual “Okay, let’s have drinks sometime” that led to this particular day. Bonnie turns out to be 22 (!!!) and she’s a student at Monash. She also acts part time in local productions.

Anyway, it seems that we have something in common so we were just talking and suddenly I thought about going on a road trip. It was 12 am at the time and the plan was to head down to Ipoh for the dim sum.

house

I’ll follow her car back, pick her up, and then head down to Ipoh and stay the night at a hotel before waking up for breakfast.

Losing my wallet

The first thing that went wrong was losing my wallet. I think what happened is that I took it out and used my credit card to pump gas. I remember leaving the wallet on the boot of the car and taking the receipt but I did not remember taking the wallet back into the car. I suspect my wallet was still on the boot when I drove off. FML.

I had about 1-2k inside but what’s worse is the MyKad, driver’s license (!!!) and credit cards which I have to replace.

I only realized it when I got to Ipoh coz when it came to the toll, Bonnie paid for it but I was puzzled as to where my wallet was – it was supposed to be on the dashboard. However, after a prolonged search when we arrived there, it was nowhere to be found. My car can be a black hole sometimes, but it’s still a confined space so after looking into every nook and cranny, the most plausible explaination is that I left it on the boot and drove off.

Naturally, without any money, Bonnie had to withdraw from an ATM and we went in search of a hotel.

drive

She also took over the driving.

Dodgy hotels

room

I think we went to 5-6 hotels but all of them were full. It was insane! There’s apparently some kind of military function going on there and it was about 5 am when we finally drove up to this dodgy looking place called Shanghai Hotel.

bath

They had one room left and it was RM 40. I guess some would call it rustic and charming and maybe even full of character but it’s the kind of place where you’re afraid you’ll get syphilis, gonorrhea AND herpes just from sleeping on the sheets. >.<

This is what the hotel room looks like.

Anyway, my pillow had this really weird smell to it so I shared Bonnie’s pillow and we slept, fulling intending to wake up at 8 am in the morning.

dodgy

It was 11 am when I woke up.

Foh San dim sum

foh san

This is what we were down in Ipoh for. Bonnie swears by the lam mei pau. It’s a bun that’s filled with fatty pork and it’s absolutely fabulous. It was well worth the drive down.

foh san dim sum

We also had some other stuff – my usual har kao (prawn dumplings) and a memorable dim sum made with juicy succulent prawns and salted egg yolk.

lam mei

However, the lam mei pau was every bit as good as Bonnie said it was. We were afraid we’ve missed it but apparently even though the dim sim place tells you it’s no longer available, you can get it by going to the take away counter and ordering it.

ipoh white coffee

Try it, and thank Bonnie (or rather, her mom) if it works. We even got a box to tapau back home.

Caption: Why drink canned Ipoh white coffee in Ipoh?

Anyway, since I didn’t have a license and Bonnie was rushing for her class, she drove down instead. It was an interesting experience to have someone else drive you car at 160 km/h and swerving through lanes to avoid traffic. It’s like a roller-coaster, without the safety features. ;)

bonnie

Oh, and I also lost my rear bumper somewhere during the drive to Ipoh.

shanghai

It’s not an epic weekend unless you’ve lost a car bumper, your wallet and all the identification in it, slept in a dodgy hotel and sped back to KL…and the weekend is still not over. Bonnie crashed at my place last night and helped me out with something I had to get done during the weekend.

I know it sounds like a tragic weekend, but it’s really an awesome one. Seriously, it’s not a havoc weekend unless you’ve lost something and now I’m driving with no driver’s license, MyKad and with a missing bumper.

bumper

Cop magnet much? This illegal PRC immigrant says yes. I’ve been diligently avoiding roadblocks so let’s hope I can keep up with that until Monday.

I had a great weekend. How’s yours? ;)

Keropok lekor and cendol pulut in Kuantan

kuantan-keropok-lekor

Now what says East Coast better than keropok lekor and cendol pulut, the mainstays of traditional food when you think about Kuantan? :)

fish-sausage

I just came back from a weekend there and tasted some of the best keropok lekor I’ve had. Kuantan faces the sea and there is seafood in abundance. This makes fish and the likes very cheap.

keropok-lekor-stall

Keropok lekor is made with fish and sago before being stuffed into a casing – it’s like a fish sausage of sorts. The keropok lekor is then sliced and deep fried. There are two version that we had but the definitive Kuantan keropok lekor seems to be the chewy type as opposed to the crispier Terengganu keropok lekor.

keropok-lekor

This cup of keropok lekor sliced into bite sized pieces just cost us RM 1.

keropok-lekor-kuantan

It’s eaten with a type of chilli sauce that’s black in color and sweet in taste. The chilli sauce is homemade – that’s the trick that makes it taste so good. The stalls in Kuantan all have their different recipes for the chilli sauce. This particular keropok lekor is chewy and tastes like a sausage made with fish.

keropok lekor

There’s also another version of keropok lekor which goes for RM 1 for 8 pieces.

keropok lekor authentic

This is the crunchy type and is the more traditional version. It’s also really good and you can really taste the fish in these crackers – it’s almost made entirely out of fish!

cendol-pulut

However, the best thing that I’ve had the pleasure of introducing to my taste buds in Kuantan is cendol pulut. We have cendol pulut over here, but most of them consists of a meager piece of pulut placed into cendol. The one we had in Kuantan has HALF of the cup filled with pulut.

pulut

It’s very filling and it tastes awesome – the gula melaka (palm sugar) used in the cendol basically seeps though the pulut (a type of glutenous rice) and the sheer quantity of it makes it an authentic Kuantan style cendol pulut. I think people eat it to get full – it’s like a meal in itself. -_-

The Pursuit of Happiness

happiness

The United States Declaration of Independence has an oft quoted line – Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It’s misunderstood by a lot of people. Your happiness is not guaranteed…the sentence is supposed to give you the basic unalienable human rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (emphasis mine).

What is happiness? Well, it depends on the individual but it is your right to seek your own happiness. To me, happiness is a state of mind where you’re content with everything in your life.

flying

Happiness is something money cannot buy. A lot of people are unhappy about their financial situation but I believe that’s an unnecessary worry. The Chinese has a proverb that goes “Money is something that you can always earn back when you lose it”. There’s another phrase that goes “There will be water if God wills it” but that comes from the less reputable and more modern Dark Tower series of books by Stephen King. ;)

roman bath

Happiness is a state of mind that I always try to strive for. I’m happy when I’m doing the things I like such as travelling. It enriches me and makes me a more understanding and better person when I meet new people and learn about new cultures. I’m even happier when I’m spending quality time with loved ones – friends, family, my girlfriend.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the rat race and forget about the simple things in life that lifts your mood:

  • Finding a parking space as soon as you enter a full car park
  • The smell of freshly cut grass
  • Laughing at corny jokes
  • Having a baby smile at you
  • A fellow commuter stopping to let you drive out of a particularly busy exit
  • Waking up and realizing it’s the weekend so you can sleep in
  • Watching a sweet TVC that makes you smile

These are all little things which makes yout day just that little bit brighter. It has a cumulative effect and happiness is highly contagious – it’s like laughter. It’s meant to be shared. :)

I watched the Cadbury TVC and repeated it twice coz it was just so sweet. I found it adorable – the simple sweet joy (pun not intended) that permeates the entire commercial. It has all the elements done right – the humor, the camaraderie of neighborhood love, and a dash of romance.

resort

I took it upon myself to make a video similar to that. I was in Miri, Sarawak at that time to help my girlfriend move her stuff to KL. We spent a weekend in the Marriott Resort and Spa in Miri. It’s located right on the beach by the South China Sea and we booked a chalet facing the pool and sea.

You just need to open the sliding glass door to get out. There’s a balcony which is less than 10 meters from the pool – it’s almost like having a pool right at your doorstep!

view

I thought up the idea of having a series of unfortunate events much like the original TVC. The entire video was shot over a period of 2 days. I didn’t have a professional videographer so I had to think of how to get the scenes right.

I also wanted a “happy” vibe so everything is shot in daylight – it’s bright and sunny with no indoor scenes except the initial phone call. I’ll go through the more interesting bits to give you a behind-the-scenes peek at the making of the video. :)

The splash

tripod

The first mishap you see (the one where I exit the house just to get splashed by a wayward neighbor’s dirty mop water) is done using a tripod. The one holding the bucket is…*drumroll*…Jeanie herself. The bucket was too heavy for her and we had to do two takes. I ended up changing coz the first splash totally failed – she went into the scene, propelled by the momentum and weight of the bucket of water.

We filled it with less water in the second take. I didn’t want to use up the rapidly dwindling backpack of attire I brought along. :x

The car not being able to start

You’ll see the same car in the next scene so I did an extreme close up so you won’t see the make, model or color of the car. :)

The accident scene

car

This one wasn’t too hard to do. It only required the two of us to pull it off. I filmed Jeanie driving towards me. I told her to put her foot on the gas and not worry about hitting me.

After that part was filmed, I passed the camera to her and she filmed me being caught like a deer in the headlights as the car (apparently) came barreling down on me.

The next scene was me twitching on the car bonnet after being “hit”. It took some video transitions to make it look comically realistic (without actually hitting me with the car).

It was originally longer but I thought the bit where I ended up wandering about dazed after being hit was a little too much so I cut it from the editing board. You can watch the full original scene here:

I spent a lot of time editing the videos – it’s a good learning process but it took me the better part of 3 days of almost continuous tweaking to get the timing and synchronization right. I’m a newbie in video production, thus the learning curve.

The sea

beach

This is one of the scenes that I took out of the video as I thought it won’t contribute much to it. The beach walk also had to be sped up 4x so it won’t drag on.

The underwater scene

underwater

This is a bit of a retrofit. It was meant to be all fluff – a cool video taken underwater. I have a waterproof digicam and I figured it would be nifty to take a video underwater. I knew it won’t make much sense since I appear with my shirt on in the next scene…until I saw someone being escorted out by security.

pool

The Marriott has a strict policy – only guests are allowed to use the resort facilities and The Proverbial Light Bulb (TM) came on. It shall be the scene where I evade the guards! smirk

I put that in the caption (used the Confucius angle), and the rest, as they say, is history.

The end scene

people

After all those trials and tribulations, we finally shot the last scene beside the pool. There’s this comfy sofa and we enlisted the help of a kind lady from France who was more than obliged to help us film this scene. The inter-cuts you see at the end is filmed by us – I did her and she did me.

The chocolate

cadbury old

I swear this was the hardest part of the video – we went to several different shops in Miri but none of them had Cadbury Dairy Milk. They have others – the ones with nuts, Old Gold, and others…but not the original. It took us 2 hours before we stumbled upon a shop that sells it. I bought 5 x 75 gram bars.

cadbury new

I then realized that it was the old packaging when I chanced upon a shop with the new packaging. I bought more of it and re-shot some of the scenes again. I have a lot of chocolate now but I love Cadbury Dairy Milk so it’s all good. :D

cadbury dairy milk

We actually did share it – there were a couple of kids running around in the resort and I passed them several bars. I thought their parents would balk – candy from strangers and all that, but they thanked us for it and one even bought us drinks from the poolside bar.

poolside

The kids loved it. One of them came up to me and she showed me her toy – a launcher she was playing with beside the pool that launches a baby dinosaur up into the air by pumping air into the tube. That was the highlight of doing the video – sharing the Cadbury chocolate and seeing the little ones enjoying it by the pool during their holiday. :)

Here’s my masterpiece:

What do you think?

Do you need a dose of happiness? Join the Cadbury Facebook page and get some! :)

BARcelona Spanish food and SOHO Irish bistro

barcelona soho

It was a lazy Friday night and we got a call from Wendy asking us if we would like to join her for dinner. She’s buying and we headed down to BARcelona for food and drinks. BARcelona is a place that serves Spanish food and the best thing about the place is that you can order stuff from SOHO (which is next door) too!

barcelona us

BARcelona and SOHO are located in adjacent lots and belongs to the same owner – you can sit at either one and order food from the other. SOHO specializes in Irish food and I’m pretty sure both establishments share the same bar.

There’s an outdoor patio type canopy that allows you to chill al fresco style. It’s Miri so there’s always a nice sea breeze going on at night. ;)

barcelona facebook

I am intrigued by BARcelona’s concept – they have different seating arrangements to suit everyone. You can have a private dining area or sit in one of the side booths where there’s a computer screen on the table. I saw a lot of people logging on to Facebook and showing their friends photos.

I facebook-like the idea. :) It brings social media back to the real world.

Anyway, the photos I took are really horrible coz I didn’t bring my dSLR here so I’ll use a thousand words instead. Heh!

Jeanie had the broccoli soup from SOHO. I like it – it’s very creamy and rich. I’m not a big fan of soups in general so that’s saying a lot.

barcelona salad

The other thing that surprised my friends was the large Cobb Salad (RM 15) which we ordered for starters. This also came from SOHO and contains organic mixed greens, honey roasted chicken, tomatoes, onions, bacon with blue cheese crumbles and hard boiled eggs. I don’t eat a lot of veggies but the salad uses a balsamic vinegar dressing which hits the spot and the bits of bacon inside helped a lot too. I ate quite a bit of the leafy greens – enough to hit my usual monthly quota. smirk

The chef also recommended several tapas dishes that we had. The most memorable one is Albondigas Picante (which will hereby be referred to as the meatball tapas). This is quite surprising since it looks rather plain at first glance. However, when the Taste Test (TM) is applied, it turned me into a believer. The meatball is firm but literally bursts with juicy goodness when you bite down into it. Nice!

barcelona tapas

There’s also the Patatas con Alioli Picante which all the others liked but I didn’t care much for. It does have very nice dressing but eating potatoes just doesn’t do it for me. To each his/her own!

The Baranjas con Salsa de Pimentas (eggplant with Spanish sauce) was good though. I love eggplant. It’s one of the few vegetables I like, mostly due to it’s creamy and rich texture. The tapas dishes all come with slices of bread to soak up the gravy.

barcelona paella

I love the Paella Marisco (seafood paella) too – it came with huge prawns, mussels and squid. You can request for them to use the more authentic Spanish rice instead of the regular rice tailored to local tastes – it tastes much better this way.

The rice is firm and each grain is distinctive. It’s flavorful and goes very well with the seafood. Trust me on this – ask for Spanish rice. :D

barcelona pizza

Next came another one of their specialties – the Valencia Pizza (RM 19). It’s 10 inches, made with a topping of onion, chilli, pepper, bacon and minced beef and comes in a proper thin crust. I had my doubts initially upon setting my eyes on it. Chilli slices on a pizza? It looks like the product of an overzealous fusion chef but when I bit into the thin crust and tasted the pizza, I fell in love with it immediately. I eat a lot of pizza and I usually forgo it when I’m eating out but this one tastes exquisite!

barcelona pizza closeup

It’s one of those rare moments when fusion cuisine works very well. I can see why it’s on the recommended list in the menu. I would recommend it too. :)

barcelona maghrita

Down to the cocktails, I had three – this is the Ultimate Margarita (RM 20). It’s done well and I love the sea salt lining the rim of the glass. It’s a small thing but you’ll be surprised at the number of places that don’t do it, especially in smaller cities. It’s not a proper margarita unless there’s sea salt on the rim. I like the attention to detail in BARcelona.

barcelona tea party

I also had their signature BARcelona Tea Party (RM 25). It’s listed on the alcohol menu as “Star & Strong Alcohol”. It’s true, the alcohol content is rather high in this long island tea variant. I love it! :D

barcelona wings

The best dish that we had that night was hands down the humble chicken wings. It’s oven baked and marinated with juices which complement the chicken very well. The skin is crispy but the meat tender – a wonderful experience. Do not miss this one if you’re ever in BARcelona. It’s perfect as finger food or a main course. Succulent.

barcelona neon

BARcelona and SOHO is located diagonally from Mega Hotel in Miri. It’s outside of the main clubbing distinct and as such, provides a nice change of scenery. The bill is affordable too – the tapas ranges from RM 5 – RM 10 and the mains are reasonably priced. It’s a great place to have dinner or drinks with a couple of friends.

barcelona me wendy

Thanks for picking up the bill Siaw Yin! You’re too kind. Next meal is on me. :)

Latak Waterfall @ Lambir Hills National Park

latak panorama

It was a boring Sunday and we decided to get ourselves acquainted with nature by heading down to Lambir Hills National Park. Lambir is a 31 km drive from Miri (according to the roadsigns) and is said to be one of the most bio-diverse parks in Malaysia.

lambir hills national park

We departed a little bit late due to some domestic issues but managed to reach the park at about 12 pm.

tickets

We were a bit apprehensive about getting down with nature at that hour, considering its fiery temper – namely, the sun, but surprisingly the sheer amount of trees in Lambir Hills National Park totally negated any heat from the sun.

trail

Lambir Hills National Park is home to a few waterfalls, but the most popular one is Latak Waterfall. There’s a good reason why Latak Waterfall is so popular – it’s neither the highest nor the most tranquil waterfall in Lambir but it is the nearest. smirk

main trail

It only takes a leisurely 20 minute stroll to reach Latak Waterfall in Lambir Hills National Park. You’ll pass by two smaller waterfalls on the way but it’s not accessible unless you’re willing to scale over untamed forest brush to get to what amounts to a glorified puddle with a trickle of water from above.

smaller falls

Latak Waterfall on the other hand is a comparatively majestic 25 meter wall of water rushing down from a cliff above. You can hear the roar of the waterfall before you even see it…which is true of most waterfalls anyway so I don’t know why I’m mentioning this.

latak waterfalls

It is however quite grand, better than my expectations. The pool of water created by the waterfall cascade starts out shallow and quite suddenly drops down in depth.

latak falls

I guess a trained eye could see it from above based on the color of the water but it surprised me when I stepped from waist deep water into what seemed like an abyss.

frolicking

I think the buoy line warning swimmers not to frolic beyond a certain point is there for a good reason. smirk

latak falls pool

I would guess that it’s about 5 meters deep just before the buoy, it’s bound to be deeper at the base of the waterfall but unfortunately there was a guard on duty that day so I couldn’t venture there.

bbq

The place seems rather lively even for a Sunday – there’s family bringing their kids swimming, a couple of giggling college girls (and one shemale) plus your regular assortment of the dredges of humanity making a ruckus.

jeanie latak

This is Jeanie doing some sort of yoga pose in the water and failing badly.

falls closeup

Latak Waterfall has BBQ pits for your use and changing rooms are within walking distance from the falls. The water is VERY COLD and that’s a great thing. The only downside is that there’s a lot of stones which can cut your feet and random flotsam drifting around the outer fringes of the pool.

trees

I don’t think the water is the type you bottle and ship too coz we both got very itchy soon after coming out of the pool.

Nevertheless, it’s a nice diversion on a weekend and well worth the RM 10 entrance fee. There are better and more private waterfalls in Lambir Hills National Park but you’ll have to be prepared to walk 3 hours to get there.

feet

Take only photographs, leave only footprints. smirk

latak us

It was a well spent Sunday – relaxing by the waterfalls with an occasional dip into the cold natural pool, looking up at the foliage above.

Nasi Lalapan

nasi lalapan

Nasi Lalapan is an Indonesian dish that’s very popular in Miri. I went to Muara Restaurant just now based on Jeanie’s recommendation to check out this unique incarnation of Indonesian cuisine. Muara Restaurant is self-dubbed “The Founder of Lalapan” – very lofty claims indeed. smirk

muara restauran nasi lalapan

This is the original restaurant at Miri Waterfront Commercial Centre. There’s another newer establishment in Miri but the first Muara Restaurant is located at a much more appealing location – it’s right beside the river!

nasi lalapan river

There is a very nice breeze and you can see the bustling activity of the river right from the vantage of your dining table.

muara restaurant

Muara Restaurant is supposed to serve the best nasi lalapan in Miri and coming from Jeanie (who doesn’t like spicy food) it was intriguing enough for me to check it out.

nasi lalapan crowd

We went there well past lunch hour (it was around 3 pm) and there were still heaps of diners eating nasi lalapan – a great testament to its popularity.

nasi lalapan tofu

Nasi Lalapan is basically a dish of vegetables, tofu and meat arranged around a unique sambal based sauce. You can choose the meat that goes with your nasi lalapan – there’s everything from chicken to prawn. The rice is served separately on a plate and there’s also a bowl of soup to go with your meal.

nasi lalapan stuff

Jeanie had the Nasi Lalapan Empal (beef) which costs RM 8. Here’s a top view of what nasi lalapan is all about – starting from the 12′ o clock position, there’s tempeh (a soy product which tastes like nuts), a piece of deep fried tofu, the meat (in this case, beef), some greens (spinach if I’m not mistaken), cucumber slices, uncooked long beans (called ulam in Malay), a lime, and some cabbage.

lime

You start eating nasi lalapan by squeezing the lime into the sambal based sauce and mixing it up. The sauce is the cornerstone of lalapan and it tastes great – spicy, with visible flakes of chilli and a tangy finish.

dip vegetables

The vegetables can be picked apart using your fingers and dipped into the sauce. I saw people eating it this way so I emulated them.

eat veggies

It tastes much better when you use your hands to eat. Primal. :D

nasi lalapan beef

I really liked the beef in Jeanie’s Nasi Lalapan Empal – it’s smoked beef and tastes delicious, with a lingering sweet aftertaste.

huge catfish

I chose Nasi Lalapan Keli (RM 10) for my late lunch. Ikan keli is catfish and I was surprised when the plate of nasi lalapan came out – the fish is humongous! I forgot to use something as a reference point so you can’t appreciate the sheer size of it, but trust me, it’s gigantic!

nasi lalapan catfish head

It’s deep fried to perfection. The skin is crunchy and the flesh is tasty – delectable! The presentation is awesome too! They must have a really huge wok to be able to fry that mutant catfish wholesale. I particularly liked the precision in which they sliced the fish so that you can easily use a fork to spear a segment of the fish.

nasi lalapan chicken

We also ordered a chicken drumstick – you can order the meat in the nasi lalapan variants separately. I saw a lot of people eating the chicken nasi lalapan and wanted to try it. Unfortunately, it’s nothing to write home about – I preferred my catfish and Jeanie’s smoked beef tastes much better.

nasi lalapan meal

Muara Restaurant has really good nasi lalapan. You can determine the authenticity of the food based on how many Indonesians visit the joint and the spicy tang of the sambal goes very well with the vegetables and meat. The dishes range from RM 8 – RM 15 depending on what you choose as your meat and the entire meal just set us back RM 21.80.

nasi lalapan us

I only realized that they forgot to charge us for the chicken when I looked at the receipt. :x

6 Corner, Senibong Seafood

senibong

Senibong is a seafood haven located at Permas Jaya in Johor. I was very keen to try out this place since it has a reputation for having the freshest seafood in town. The restaurant we went to has been featured in Jalan Jalan Cari Makan, a local food TV feature. It turned out to be a truly extraordinary dinner!

jetty

Kampung Senibong is situated right by the sea and and boasts a long row of restaurants serving a wide range of various aquatic creatures.

catch

Senibong itself is a village of seafood restaurants and all of them display the catch of the day – everything ranging from the relatively mundane fish to exotic stingrays.

dining

I could be mistaken but I believe most, if not all, of the restaurants are halal. This is also another attraction since my experiences with halal seafood is limited, to say the least. The seafood I’ve eaten is usually cooked Chinese style and I thought it’ll be awesome to sample Malay style seafood. :D

sea

Senibong seafood is really just a long alley inter-spaced with private jetties owned by the restaurants. I imagine that’s where the fishermen unload their catch to be sold to the eateries. It manages to balance the fine line between commercialism and a quaint village like ambiance. I found the place very warm and inviting.

senibong seafood

The lot of us descended to 6 Corner, one of the restaurants in Senibong. Dusk was just setting in and you can see the sea stretching out from the dining area.

6 corner

I was told you can even glimpse Singapore from that vantage point.

bulb

Regardless, there’s just something about the sea breeze that whets your appetite like nothing else. :)

mussels

The first dish that came out was mussels cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce. The gravy was delectable! I nearly finished my plate of rice just from eating the mussels and the gravy inside.

fish

I thought nothing could surpass that but then came the fish. It’s deep fried and cooked with Thai chilli sauce and pineapples. I’m not sure what type of fish they used but it didn’t come with a lot of bones, which is always a good thing. I sat on a table that has the fewest people, just so I could eat more of the food. smirk

fish sauce

It turns out that the fish wasn’t sufficient so I was thick skinned enough to “borrow” the adjoining table’s dish. Heh! It really is that good. Who would have thought Thai chilli sauce and pineapples would make such a mouth-watering gravy?

vegetable

This is the obligatory vegetable dish. I’m not keen on vegetables, especially when there are other more delicious fare on the table so I can’t comment on this. I ate some anyway.

egg

This is just a plain egg omelet but 6 Corner somehow manages to elevate this simple dish into something extraordinary. The seasoning goes very well with the egg and the omelet neutralizes the stronger taste of the seafood dishes.

prawns

The deep fried whole prawns with chilli dipping sauce is awesome. I don’t know what they put into the batter but it tastes great and it’s crunchy enough to eat the entire thing whole – head and all. I also like the boat dish that it was served in.

calamari

I’m more blasé about the deep fried calamari. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, but the other dishes were so divine that this feels bland in comparison.

tomyam

The tom yam soup is one of 6 Corner’s specialties as well. It’s very appetizing and spicy but it came rather late in the game so everyone was pretty full by then.

crabs

Just as we though the parade of dishes was ending, there was one last encore – black pepper crabs. I loved the sauce but I was too stuffed to eat more than a token claw.

dinner

It feels like I’m heaping lavish praises on the seafood here but I can honestly say that this is one of the best seafood dinners I’ve ever had in ages. It was truly an extraordinary feast. I ate so much I think my companions were taken aback. smirk

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