Angry Birds Board Game Review: Playing real life Angry Birds with the kids over the weekend!

playing angry birds board game

We brought the kids to Kidzania over the long weekend and after that we went to Borders to get some stationary for them. The big one needed some color pencils for school and while we were browsing, I saw an Angry Birds board game for RM 99.90 and thought it would be fun to play with the kids.

angry birds the board game

I was actually quite curious and looking forward to playing the game too. smirk

angry birds board game

This is called Angry Birds: On Thin Ice. There’s also Angry Birds: Birds in Space and Angry Birds Happy Holidays Edition. We brought it back and opened it up – there’s two Angry Birds inside, the most recognizable big red one and the more streamlined yellow one. I know they have names, the kids told me but I totally forgot what the names of the birds are.

angry birds card game

It’s a lot of fun! There’s 3 levels of difficulty represented by 3 different stacks of cards and a “free building” deck of cards. Your mission is the same as the game – to knock down the green pigs!

game of angry birds

There are three (3) pigs included with the game and each stage will incorporate them. The level is built according to the card you draw and it also states which Angry Bird you can use, the order you use them, and how many times e.g. Yellow Bird, Yellow Bird, Red Bird. You need to knock down all the pigs to clear the stage and you get 100 points for each pig, plus 100 bonus points if the pig is wearing a helmet (*and* you manage to bump it off their porcine heads).

You also get extra points if you’re the one to clear the stage e.g. “kill” the last green pig. It’s 100-300 points, depending on the level. The fourth card deck is a method to keep track of scores – each card is 100 points and the first person to reach 1,000 points wins!

building angry birds

It turns out that building the set is the hardest part – the blocks are all very wobbly and prone to falling down if you even breath hard on them. It’s designed that way so that you can easily break the tiles and destroy the level, just like the game, when the bird launches.

angry birds board game card

I thought it was quite ingenious! It’s also very realistic and faithful to the original game – the “ice blocks” can be *cracked* and split in half, since it’s actually two pieces fitted together. The most interesting block is the TNT crate – it functions in the same way as the game!

angry birds launcher

The TNT crate actually has strong springs inside so when you close it up, there’s tension and potential energy. This energy is released when you either:

1. Hit the TNT crate with a bird
2. Make the TNT crate fall down

angry birds board game complete

When one of the above two criteria is met, the TNT crate will actually “explode” and send pigs and blocks flying around. Haha!

Here’s how the TNT crate looks like when it went off. This is a video I took of me and the kids playing the Angry Birds: On Thin Ice board game.

angry birds on thin ice

Board games nowadays are so canggih and innovative – I’ve never seen stuff like this as a kid. It really jacks up the kids imagination and they all had a lot of fun launching the Angry Birds at the “levels” (which are sets that you build according to the cards).

angry birds launching

It made for a fun Sunday afternoon playing together with my better half and the kids! :D

My mobile Zumba session at Kelana Jaya Park

me zumba

I was at Kelana Jaya Park over the weekend for a very invigorating session of Zumba. It’s always good to get a bit of exercise in, and I must admit that I sometimes lack the motivation to get off my lazy posterior and work it.

zumba instructor

However a Zumba session is very different – it features fast bass-driven music and you always feel more energized to exercise when there’s hot and happening tunes playing! :)

There was a bit of rain on Sunday but the mobile Zumba session went on anyway after it cleared up! I went ready with my track pants and a workout tee. The certified Zumba instructor is Sharon and I loved the pumping music and fast paced workout! I even got a video of myself at the Zumba session. Heh.

sharon instructor

I loaded up with some NESTUM 3-in-1 before the hour long Zumba session in Kelana Jaya Park too, which helps a lot with energy. There was a NESTUM 3-in-1 Truck at the venue, giving out free cups of NESTUM cereal.

nestum truck

NESTUM is one of my favorite hot cereal brands – it’s something all Malaysians have grown up with! My parents would always get me to eat something before I go off to primary school and when I wake up late, I’ll fix myself a cup of NESTUM and I’ve loved the taste of the fragrant cereal ever since.

nestum drink

There’s a huge range of delicious and whole grain products such as NESTUM 3-in-1 and All Family Cereals now. I personally love the fragrant aroma of the Original but you can also get Oat, Honey and Chocolate. All of the NESTUM 3-in-1 variants has the goodness of whole wheat, corn and rice and it’s a great way to uplift your day!

nestum samples

I couldn’t get the NESTUM tune out of my head too – you might have seen the tummy tapping dance on TV and online and I tried to incorporate into the Zumba workout. I was even humming the tune the entire night, which drove my better half nuts! Haha.

nestum guys

The Zumba session is actually organized by NESTUM and it’s FREE for all members of the public to attend. The NESTUM Truck has been going around town every weekend now – there’s two slots every Saturday and Sunday (8:30 am and 5 pm).

era fm

The Era FM crew was there to get the members of the public at Kelana Jaya Park to join in the Zumba session and soon enough there’s a whole crowd of people moving to the beat. It’s a great way to get some exercise in – a healthy lifestyle does wonders to your body and mind!

Here’s a video of me at the Zumba session.

zumba me

My first experience with Zumba was actually at the Club Med Bali resort and I’ve loved the concept ever since. If you haven’t tried it out, I can guarantee you that you’ll love it! You can burn calories while doing exercise that’s actually *fun*.

nestum zumba goodie bag

Come and join the enjoyable and invigorating mobile Zumba session with certified instructors every weekend! There’s going to be a NESTUM Truck around the corner offering samples of NESTUM 3-in-1 Original and you can purchase limited edition NESTUM 3-in-1 Zumba Goodie Bags for just RM 10 (worth RM 18).

zumba session

Best of all, you’ll get a wonderful workout fit for all ages and the Zumba sessions are open to the public at no charge. Get more information on where the next mobile Zumba session is going to be and catch the NESTUM Truck at the NESTUM Malaysia FB or www.nestum.com.my!

Quick thoughts on the Tai doping controversy regarding sibutramine

I’ve read with interest that Malaysia’s first gold medal in the 17th Asian Games won by a Tai Cheau Xuen is now under jeopardy as she has tested positive for the stimulant sibutramine.

Source: Tai tests positive for sibutramine and may be stripped of her gold medal from The Star Online

reductil box

Now, I’ve experimented with sibutramine in the past and blogged about the effects of using sibutramine recreationally. It’s not very fun. In the second episode, I actually landed myself in ICU and I’m still not sure if my extensive renal failure is due to intravenous injection of methamphetamine or insufflating sibutramine since I was doing both before I got hospitalized.

sibutramine contents

It’s worthy to note that sibutramine has an high body load (drug culture speak for “it has really bad cardiovascular effects”) and I felt like I’ve run a marathon after doing it each time. I’ve had extensive experience with stimulants and have been prescribed legal amphetamines in the form of Dexamphetamine (pure dextroamphetamine in 5 mg pills) when I was studying in Australia.

meth iv

I’ve also been addicted to injecting and smoking methamphetamine for several years but I’m totally clean now. This is just a little bit of history so new readers will know that I know what I’m talking about when it comes to CNS stimulants, legal or otherwise. ;)

Sidenote: If you didn’t know the story about veritas, it was a pseudonym I used for writing drug posts – it was more than a little strange how veritas was in Melbourne when I was, in KL when I came back to work, and in Sibu when I came back for the holidays. It was a funny charade but a very open secret – everyone knew I was veritas, the disclaimer was just for fun. I finally (publicly) admitted to the truth in 2004.

This is a very curious case as I’ve met pro athletes before and they’re *VERY* careful about their food and drink. I once met a famous national athlete (who shall remain unnamed) and he was very concerned about this during the lunch we were at. I didn’t know who he was at the time and found it surprising that he won’t touch his drink after he has left the table e.g. he’ll get a new drink everytime his drink has left his direct control.

I found out later that this was to prevent people from slipping him anything since the stakes are so high at his level of competition that saboteurs could be anywhere.

Thus, I’m sure the same applies to Miss Tai, I would expect her to exercise the same amount of care and caution (which looked remarkably like paranoia to me at that time) with regards to her food and drink.

Which leaves what?

Sibutramine has been withdrawn from many markets e.g. Australia and the US since it’s been found out that it is associated with a lot of cardiovascular damage, just like many other similar drugs. Remember phentermine combined with fenfluramine a.k.a. Phen-Fen?

reductil 10

I’m just saying that it’s *very hard* to get a hold of sibutramine nowadays (my experiments with it was before it was banned in most countries after it was discovered to have negative cardiovascular effects) and you really have to make an effort to seek it out.

I’m sure a pro-athlete wouldn’t be stupid enough to take “herbal supplements” with the bad reputation that they have (many of them contains the exact active ingredients of popular drugs for the ailments they claim to improve) so I’m just saying that this entire thing is very…er, puzzling. smirk

I shall leave it at that.

What would I do with so much cash?

win expression

I would travel the world taking *upside down* photos from dizzying heights! I think this could be the next big thing. smirk The photo above was taken in New South Wales at the Sydney Tower Eye & SKYWALK. I’ve also taken similar photos during my travels to Melbourne (Eureka Skydeck 88 – second highest building in the Southern Hemisphere), Paris (Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe), and Georgia (the insanely deep Rustaveli station in Tbilisi with an escalator length of 120 meters).

Yup, RHB Now Internet & Mobile Banking is having a contest where you can win prizes worth up to RM 100,000!

700 dollar electricity bill

This RM 700+ power bill from TNB doesn’t look so bad now when I can get 20 entries by paying it using the RHB Now Mobile Banking app. A minimum of RM 30 on any 6 online banking transactions could win you loads of cash. It’s just so convenient to be able to do online banking using the Internet at home or my cell phone via RHB Now that I hardly ever go to a physical bank anymore.

eligable transactions

The more you transact, the more your entries and those with the highest accumulated entries will win the prizes on offer!

What prizes, you ask?

prizes 2014

How does RM 20,000 as the grand prize or weekly prizes of a Samsung GALAXY S5 & GEAR 2 sound? :)

photo contest

There’s also a way for you to win even more cash with a photo contest, which was what I was talking about in the beginning of the post. Just take a photo that captures “What would you do with so much cash” and upload it, completing the slogan:

“If I won cash and prizes from RHB Now, I would….”

and get up to RM 200 more on top of the RM 100,000 worth of prizes that are up for grabs! This contest runs till 30th November 2014. It’s just that easy, the more you use RHB Now, the more entries you’ll accumulate and the more chances you’ll have to win prizes worth up to RM 100,000!

RHBNow Transact Win 2014

There’s a lot of things you can do with that kind of money – a RM 20,000 Grand Prize can fund a trip to Japan (eating at all the Michelin starred places from metropolitan Tokyo to the rural ryokans). That’s our next planned destination! I’ll love to travel the world more, so here’s your chance to win just by using RHB Now!

travel world

Get more details at the Let’s Transact with RHB Now page.

AMPLIFY @ The Rabbit Hole, Changkat Bukit Bintang

amplify

The number one question I’ve received from friends visiting from abroad is invariable – “Where can I chill with a couple of beers and a live band?”. You ever notice that? It’s never “Where’s the hottest club in town?” (once you get past college) or “Where’s the best place to pick up girls?” (unless you have a creepy set of friends).

live music

People just want to have a good time and kick back at night with a good brew in hand and some live music while they chat with friends.

rabbit hole changkat bb

I was out last Saturday night at The Rabbit Hole @ Changkat Bukit Bintang to check out one of the first iterations of Amplify. Guinness Amplify is a brand new music platform from Guinness – described as a journey of sound and sensation, it’s a celebration of the journey of talented, dedicated and passionate musicians.

amplify jumero

The Rabbit Hole was nicely decked out with a feature stage and a great sound system. It was packed by the time I got there for the JUMERO set. There’s a nice mix of locals and foreigners there too. There’s nothing better than listening to the best local bands that we have while downing a couple of pints of Guinness on tap!

jumero

There are three live sets each Saturday night – JUMERO was followed by THE MARQUEE before the headlining act OJ LAW. Each set lasted from 30 – 45 minutes and each had it’s own character. I particularly liked Jumero’s stage presence and how The Marquee got the crowd’s support with great covers. It’s so different from other music events – the musicians doing their gigs here is definitely made of more – they have the passion and dedication which makes them a cut above.

Here’s a video of The Marquee in action!

rabbit hole

The best thing about the live stage music is that it showcases local talent – they’re all bands from Klang Valley and a lot of the names will be familiar to you. I browsed through the bands that will be performing and recognized a lot of the bands. Yup, there’s going to be a Guinness Amplify event every Saturday night till October 11:

SEPT 20
Bierhaus @ Austin, Johor
AN HONEST MISTAKE
BIHZHU
FROYA

SEPT 27
Foley’s Irish Bar @ Oasis Ara Damansara
TEMPERED MENTAL
NICK DAVIS
DASH

pint music

OCT 4
SOHO Gastro Pub @ Precinct 10, Penang
THE ENDLEAVES
FROYA
KYOTO PROTOCOL

OCT 11
Laundry Bar @ The Curve
HALFWAY KINGS
PAPERPLANE PURSUIT
THEY WILL KILL US ALL

amplify tour

Entry is FREE for all events. There are no tickets required except for the finale show. Come early to grab your seats coz it’ll be pretty full once the first set starts! Guinness on tap was at RM 10 all night long at The Rabbit Hole and you’ll get 1 Guinness free for every 2 Guinness you buy, and there are give-aways between sets for the exclusive finale show at KL Live at every one of the Saturday night live events.

guinness amplify

Also, have I mentioned that Guinness will celebrate the Finale Show with a bang? It would be “Rude” of me if I didn’t reveal that Canadian band MAGIC! will definitely be performing alongside our local talents OJ Law and DASH in this much anticipated finale.

the marquee

You’ll love this – it’s all about passionate musicians showcasing their passion. It’s really different from other live band venues. Get more details about the weekly Saturday night events and how to win tickets to the phenomenal final show at KL Live @ www.amplify.com.my!

Yuzu Ramen @ Yamagoya Ramen, Publika Solaris Dutamas

yamagoya ramen kl

We’ve been hankering for some good ramen so my better half and I decided to drive down to Publika over the weekend so we can do some grocery shopping and satisfy our ramen craving at the same time. I actually don’t think about ramen much, it’s my dear who loves to eat it, so I try to accommodate her. <3

yamagoya ramen

Yamagoya Ramen has been open for a few years and it’s claim for fame is Hakata style ramen with their tonkotsu (pork bone broth) made with pork bones flown all the way here from Japan! Their black garlic ramen is pretty well known too and I wanted to order the flagship Mukashi Special Ramen (RM 24) before I was tempted by a Japanese flyer advertising some ramen made with citrus.

yamagoya ramen menu

I asked one of the waiters and he explained that it was their new yuzu ramen, made with that citrus fruit which is a hybrid of sour mandarin and Ichang papeda oranges. It has a pork broth that looks appealingly lime green in the picture and I was quite intrigued by it. They also have a lemon ramen if you’re so inclined.

Yuzu Ramen (RM 26)

yuzu ramen

I was expecting an intensely overpowering yuzu flavored broth. I was wrong. It was perfectly balanced. The tonkotsu was seasoned with a reasonable amount of yuzu citrus fruits and it actually tasted really good!

I ordered it as a lark but it turned out better than I expected. The char siu (pork belly slices) I got with my ramen had a nice and distinguished layer of fat together with the lean meat and it was a wonderful bowl of ramen that I’ll go back for.

Roasted Char Siu Ramen (RM 24)

roasted char siu ramen

My better half got this and the broth was a lot more hearty and robust compared to mine. The thickness of the roasted char siu is commendable too – one slice is easily more than ½ inch which makes one piece of her char siu equivalent to 3-4 of mine.

It has a nice char (smirk) on it too – the roasted flavors comes through forcefully and considering there are 3 slices of the roasted char siu inside this bowl of ramen, it has a rather generous amount of protein for a ramen dish. It’s worth the RM 62.65 bill for two.

yamagoya ramen us

There was a Japanese family next to us who used the sesame seed dispenser *liberally* and I tried that too. It turns out that it works very well with the flavors of ramen. You can also order a bowl of rice to eat with your leftover broth if you want. The correct way to eat it is to take a small scoop of rice from the bowl before submersing it into your leftover broth and finally putting it into your mouth.

sesame seed ramen

I read that while researching for our Japan trip. Haha. It’s actually a good way to finish up the leftover broth instead of ordering the usual additional portion of ramen noodles.

Yamagoya Ramen
A2-G2-8, Solaris Dutamas
1, Jalan Dutamas 1,
50480 Kuala Lumpur

Flaming Melt @ Kota Damansara

flaming melt

I’ve watched this grilled cheese café with great interest. I live around the corner and usually eat here at night so I’ve seen it grown from an empty lot being painted and renovated to the opening day. However, I had to go back to Sibu to finalize some stuff for my late mom so we didn’t visit until a couple of days ago.

flaming melt kota damansara

The Flaming Melt is a self-service restaurant (kinda, sorta). You order at the fast food style counter with a very familiar ordering experience for quick service restaurants aficionados and the food gets delivered to your table. The service was really good for a QSR – the Japanese-style Welcomes and Goodbyes are in full effect here (and it is a Japanese custom, you just don’t holler like that in the States, diner or deli).

flaming melt menu

The friendly lady behind the counter asked us what we wanted and we asked for recommendations. We finally went with the two best-sellers:

BBQ Pulled Chicken Melt (RM 11.90)
Homemade BBQ Pulled Chicken, Mac ‘N’ Cheese, Cheddar

BBQ Pulled Chicken Melt

My better half had this (actually we each had half of each other’s order since the sandwiches are conveniently sliced in half for sharing) and I quite liked it. You can add RM 2.90 for a soda (the usual suspects) but we opted to order a la carte and get a milkshake instead. The chicken was slightly dry but I love the addition of macaroni and cheese to the sandwich!

That’s exactly how I like mine! The creamy addition of mac and cheese really made this sandwich, although I would have preferred a more generous helping. It’s still good comfort food.

Tomato Sriracha Chicken Melt (RM 11.90)
Chicken, Chopped Tomatoes, Sriracha, Cheddar

Tomato Sriracha Chicken Melt

This is as Americana as it gets. A grilled cheese sandwich with Sriracha sauce! Sriracha sauce is a hot sauce that is popular in the US. This is the green capped rooster sauce made by Huy Fong Foods, not the generic ones you actually get in Thailand (which tastes different). You can add RM 3 for your bread to be changed to wholemeal.

I was lamenting the fact that the sandwiches don’t come with some type of side starch like French fries but you can get that as a side order and the red cabbage coleslaw is delicious!

S’mores Melt (RM 10.90)
Homemade Strawberry Compote, Marshmallows, Nutella

Smores Melt

I got this one to share since I wanted a dessert sandwich to finish our lunch. They can actually serve it after you’re done with your “mains” upon request! I asked them to prepare it only when we’re done and that’s what they did, which I thought was nice in a QSR. The marshmallows goes very well with the homemade strawberry compote and it’s all dusted with sugar. I couldn’t taste the Nutella though.

Best eaten while hot, the melted marshmallows are heavenly. I just wish there were (s)more. smirk

oreo milkshake

We also ordered an Oreo Milkshake (RM 7.90) to share. Flaming Melt has a variety of shakes and sodas and this one came with a full Oreo cookie on top. It was suitably rich, while not the best milkshake I had, it did hit the spot nicely. Our lunch came up to RM 42.60 and we also got a RM 2 coupon off our next order.

flaming melt bill

Flaming Melt has a RM 8.90 breakfast special for their set of The Classic (mozzarella, cheddar) with tea or coffee on weekday mornings. It’s too bad this outlet doesn’t serve pork coz I felt that it limited the choices of their grilled cheese sandwiches. Flaming Melt is billing itself as Everything Grilled Cheese and I think they’re trying very hard to get there.

flaming melt grilled cheese

It’s the Malaysian version of Spencer Rubin’s Melt Shop – at least, the signage and color scheme reminded me of that Manhattan grilled cheese restaurant which put sinful comfort food back on the trendy food map.

Flaming Melt
17-1, Jalan PJU 5/10
Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara
03-6150 4248

Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams mailed all the way from Australia!

a.k.a. The incredible Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams Australian adventure!

adriano zumbo red velvet tim tams

I had the first trio of Adriano Zumbo’s limited edition Tim Tams when I was in Sydney a couple of months back, and when I heard that he just did *another* collaboration with Arnott’s Tim Tams, I knew I had to get it mailed to me (at considerable expense).

red velvet cream cheese

The latest collaboration between pâtissier extraordinare Adriano Zumbo with Arnott’s is Red Velvet and it’s so delicious that words does not do it justice. It’s magnificent!

adraino zumbo red velvet

But first, I also want to tell you the story behind this rather interesting experiment. I have mailed various snacks back when I was studying in Australia and I know it can be done (without a cold bag) but I half expected the new Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams to be fully melted when I got it.

adriano zumbo new red velvet tim tams

I rallied my old friend Karen who’s living in Melbourne to mail these treasures to me, since I’ve left Australia and could not hand carry them on my return flight. I just had to have the latest Adriano Zumbo Tim Tams – I not only had the first set of three, I bought a whole lot of his Zumbarons back and we used his macaron baking kit too (post about that soon).

adraino zumbo red velvet australia

Karen is someone I’ve known for practically my entire life – we went to school together and we ever had a class play called Okana featuring her as the lead when we were 14. That was just before I left for New Zealand and we met up again when I was doing my college and uni in Melbourne. I remember celebrating her birthday in Dion (a nice Greek restaurant on Lonsdale St) before going to Moomba in 2003. I spent 5 years there – she never left!

Thus, I knew I could count on her and sent her some simple instructions on how to get the Tim Tams to me:

huai bin

smirk

Okay, maybe not that simple. Here’s her reply:

karen lau

Haha! In my defence, my better half is a huge fan of Adriano Zumbo too and I wanted it to arrive in mint condition so we can open it together. I was more than pleased – the way Karen packed the Tim Tams made them so structurally sound (due to the inner plastic tray stacking and resisting external pressures) that it not only arrived without breaking, the chocolate did not melt at all.

australia post

Thanks to Karen and David who took the trouble to get them and send it over with my simple complicated and excessively verbose instructions. :D

limited edition red velvet tim tams

I knew the Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams weighs 165 grams each from the Coles site. I thought I could get 5 of them (165 g x 5 = 825 g) into a box and still stay below 1 kg but it’s a good thing I didn’t push it and settled for 4 coz the weight came up to 0.912 kg!

There was no huge temperature fluctuations and I kept them in my permanently air-conditioned bedroom for several days before me and my dear opened the box.

limited edition red velvet

It was a very happy unboxing! The fact that I could eat the newest and latest Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams was more than awesome, we had looked forward to this package for a long time. I honestly didn’t expect it to taste great despite all the (good humored) baiting I got on Facebook since I expressed my interest from Cyd (another one of my ex-classmates).

How do the new Adriano Zumbo limited edition Red Velvet Tim Tams taste like?

My verdict on the taste:

red velvet tim tams

I didn’t think the Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams would taste this awesome. It’s honestly the best Tim Tams I have ever had! I’ve only really liked Salted Caramel out of his first collaboration trio and my favorite Tim Tam flavor was Turkish Delight (until now).

red velvet us

My better half says it tastes *exactly* like eating red velvet cake. I thought it was a cross between eating red velvet cake and a Tim Tam. Adriano Zumbo did well in this second collaboration – it surpasses the original triplet of limited edition Tim Tams. It’s rich, decadent and balanced well. The buttery red velvet Tim Tams pairs up with the cream cheese (!!!) center to produce an irresistible biscuit.

The new Red Velvet Tim Tams by Adriano Zumbo comes in the standard 9-biscuit pack, unlike the “Treat Pack only” (5-biscuit) format of his previous collaboration with Tim Tam.

adriano zumbo red velvet cream cheese

It’s really delicious and well worth the postage to get them here. I spent AUD 32.50 on postage and each pack of Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tam retailed for AUD 3.49. That comes up to AUD 49.49 in total (or about RM 144). Thus, each pack cost me RM 36. That’s RM 4 per Tim Tam biscuit (!) but I’ll happily get a second batch over in a heartbeat. Don’t miss out if you ever see them around, the latest Arnott’s Tim Tams x Adriano Zumbo collaboration will blow you away with the velvety red velvet cake inspired Tim Tam with the buttery cream cheese center!

Mid-Autumn 2014 Mooncake Roundup: Dragon Fruit with Coconut Single Yolk, beetroot infused Crimson Opera, and traditional Foochow lard mooncakes!

crimson opera

We bought a lot of mooncakes this year – so much so that there’s a lot of leftovers still sitting in the pantry! The Mid-Autumn Festival festival is based on a rather interesting legend:

There was an noble archer called Hou Yi who shoots down 9 of the 10 suns scorching the Earth and was hailed as a hero and pronounced King by the people. However, he eventually he grew corrupted during his reign and became obsessed with finding the Elixir of Life (for immortality) and coveted it for himself. His wife, knowing that he has become an evil ruler, decided not to give it to him and swallowed it herself to save the world from her tyrannical husband.

donutes mooncakes

That was the version I was familiar with – it was told by my grandparents. It’s also listed under Mid-Autumn mythology in Wikipedia. My great-grandmother was a great believer in legends and *swore* I would get my ear cut if I dared looked at the full moon during Mid-Autumn Festival. Apparently the magnificence of Yi’s wife would somehow reach down from the celestial heavens and slice off the ear of an innocent 7 year old boy just coz he wondered what the bright light was.

mooncake 2014

Okay, I was actually quite naughty and stared stubbornly at the moon in spite of her admonitions and my great-grandma (God bless her soul) actually took out a great big pair of tailoring scissors and seriously wanted to cut my ear lobe off (!!!) to make her point. Fortunately, my uncles saw the severity of the situation and took the scissors away from her. I still remember her story though. Yeah, I was raised with lots of TLC. smirk

mooncakes 2014

It’s like how the original Grimm Brothers stories were all very twisted and realistic (with a veritable cast of regular people with all their flaws) but children’s storybooks and eventually Disney changed them all to become easy-to-digest nice stories without any of the nastiness.

I digress, here’s this year’s mooncake roundup! :)

1. Donutes Taiwanese Mung Bean Mooncakes

taiwanese mooncakes

These come in a box of 9 pieces for RM 49.50. There are two flavors – Mung Bean Original and Mung Bean Crisp Garlic. The latter is quite interesting and it’s the first box of mooncakes I got for my better half’s parents.

2. Dragon Fruit with Coconut Single Yolk

dragon fruit coconut

I found this to be the most interesting from Tai Thong’s offerings this year. It’s a dragon fruit flavored mooncake with a single yolk inside – what makes it intriguing is the coconut jam (kaya) surrounding the preserved egg yolk. I was quite pleased to find the flavor combination works very well.

3. Shanghai Egg Yolk Mooncakes

yong sheng shanghai mooncakes

This one I bought in Sibu from the import speciality grocer Ta Kiong for RM 49. There are 8 mini Shanghai mooncakes inside and they’re individually wrapped in twin packs.

egg yolk pies

It’s made by Yong Sheng and they’ve been around since 1952 – before Malaysia’s Independence Day! Each of the miniature pies have a full sized egg yolk inside and I gave them to my dear and she quite liked it. The black sesame topping goes very well with the flaky pastry.

homemade shanghai mooncakes

I also have a home-made version from Fairy Flower Cake Shop which comes in a box of 6. Surprisingly, the home made ones are quite expensive since they’re small batch.

4. Starbucks Mid-Autumn Mooncakes 2014

starbucks mooncake

I wrote about the Starbucks Mid-Autumn Mooncakes in a previous post. These are miniature 90 gram mooncakes – slightly less than ½ the size of regular mooncakes.

5. D24 and Musang King Mooncakes

durian mooncakes 2014

My dear kindly bought me two durian flavored mooncakes coz I really like durians and I really like mooncakes. We’ve had them last year and we found them tasty – it’s in the 2013 Mid-Autumn Mooncake Roundup.

6. Traditional Foochow Lard Mooncakes

jing su gao

These are called jing su gao and they’re traditional Foochow lard mooncakes. They don’t have no fancy snowskin, chocolate or ice cream mooncakes back in the days. This was all they had. You’ll notice that all three (3) packs are different despite looking the same. It’s made by 3 distinct bakers – Sin Hing Leong Cake Store, Kinsen Trading Co and Fairy Flower (Ko Kee) Cake Store.

foochow mooncakes

The middle one looks pleasingly brownish-yellow like freshly baked cookies while the outer two are a pale white. It’s due to the lard vs butter content. My favorite would be from Fairy Flower (Ko Kee) Cake Store – it has the right combination of lard and butter to my taste buds. These Foochow mooncakes are more like biscuits (or cookies) with a crumbly texture and a distinctive taste of lard.

7. Taste of Crimson Opera

taste of crimson opera

This is Casahana’s flagship mooncake of 2014! It costs RM 19.50 per mooncake and we bought it the day before Mid-Autumn Festival. They also have a charcoal black sesame brown sugar omochi mooncake called Dark Knight but I decided to go for their signature one – expansively named “Taste of Crimson Opera”.

beetroot cheese chocolate

There’s a burst of beetroot and cocoa followed by the tartness of cheese and creamy white chocolate. There’s nothing traditional about this mooncake – all of the 4 ingredients (beetroot, white chocolate, cocoa, cheese) are not something you’ll usually find in a mooncake.

beetroot mooncake

The intricate floral pattern on the top of the mooncake is beautiful too! I was pleased to find that the beetroot is also baked into the skin (so the color isn’t artificial) and it’s not too thick. I would have thought the flowers would make the skin thicker but it’s actually part of the skin. This gets Best of 2014 from us! :)

Starbucks Mid-Autumn Mooncakes 2014

Starbucks Mid-Autumn Mooncake Collection 2014

We saw this while walking around the mall one day. I didn’t realize Starbucks sells mooncakes and the barista told me they’ve been doing so for three (3) years – just not during Mid-Autumn Festival. I laughed at that and asked when they actually sold it, and it turned out to be the Lunar New Year (!!!). This is the first time they’ve sold mooncakes at the *right time* during Mid-Autumn Festival.

Starbucks Exclusive D24 Durian Mooncake

The mooncakes are RM 48++ per box or RM 288++ for 2 boxes in a gift set with a pair of Starbucks mugs. The gift set also has the Starbucks Exclusive D24 Durian Mooncake. My better half bought a box for my dad, which I brought back home to Sibu and I bought a box for my dear so she could try them.

Starbucks Signature Banana Chocolate Mooncake

These are not full-sized mooncakes – it’s mini mooncakes!

Here’s the Starbucks Mid-Autumn Mooncake Collection 2014:

Apricot Hazelnut Latte Mooncake

Starbucks Mooncakes 2014

This is a very interesting mooncake – the skin is made of aromatic Starbucks VIA coffee! That’s their brand of ready to brew coffee which retails for RM 28 for 5 packs. I’ve had them before, you just need to add water and it’s an ingeniously stable way to add real coffee into the baked mooncake skin.

Apricot Hazelnut Latte Mooncake

There’s also hazelnut lotus paste inside with bits of chunky apricot and the faux “egg yolk center” is made of cream cheese soft filling. I love the strong taste of coffee and was wondering where it came from before realizing it’s in the skin! It’s an exciting treat that adds indulgence in every bite – a real winner!

Chewy Nutty Cranberry Mooncake

Starbucks Chewy Nutty Cranberry Mooncake

This tastes eerily like the fruits with nuts and ham traditional mooncakes! It has a similar texture and if there was a blind taste taste, I might be hard pressed to differentiate the two, if not for the slight tang of cranberry and the absence of lard.

Chewy Nutty Cranberry Mooncake

I think it’s meant to be this way – the mooncake is jammed with cranberries, orange peels/zest, a variety of nuts and melon kernel seeds with the savory twist of a salted egg center. It’s rich in taste and texture – a halal version of a classic.

Signature Banana Chocolate Mooncake

Starbucks Mooncake Collection 2014

This is their signature mooncake of 2014 and it contains banana in lieu of the traditional salted egg center. It’s quite an interesting flagship offering – the pastry skin is made of chocolate and there’s bits of actual banana in the center.

Signature Banana Chocolate Mooncake

It sounds very simple but the taste and texture works very well together – the creamy chocolate lotus filling, the baked chocolate pastry skin and the addition of real bananas are a treat!

Green Tea Azuki Mooncake

Starbucks Green Tea Azuki Mooncake

This tastes suspiciously (or refreshingly) like the Green Tea Latte drink in their outlets. That’s probably coz they used the same premium green tea in the lotus filling. There’s also the classic combination of red bean paste and white kernels in the filling, making it a perfect combination of Japanese inspired flair.

I really liked how the matcha is baked into the pastry skin. I’ve been quite annoyed at mooncakes that promises the moon (haha) but doesn’t deliver – mediocre tasteless baked skins with only the fillings as innovation. I’m glad Starbucks went the harder route – actually baking flavors into the mooncake pastry.

Starbucks Mooncakes

I thought the Starbucks Mid-Autumn Collection 2014 was quite interesting. It’s also very competitively priced (at least at first glance) but they’re actually miniature mooncakes instead of full-sized ones. We also got a couple of vouchers for Starbucks drinks included and each box came up to slightly over RM 50 after taxes and all.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...