Julie’s x LINE Limited Edition Cookies Media Launch

julies girls

You remember the Julie’s biscuits that we all grew up with? I fondly remember eating lots of these when I was a kid, it was one of the staples of growing up. I absolutely *loved* their Cheese Sandwich back then, I couldn’t have enough when it came out. It was revolutionary at the time. Absolutely fabulous!

julies cheese sandwich

This is what it looked like! This is the box with 18 convenient individually wrapped packs which wasn’t available back in the early 90′s, but I would have happily eaten the entire box when I was a still growing boy! :) There was a media launch event for the unveiling of a new product dubbed Julie’s x LINE on the 4th of July and true to the name, it’s a collaboration between Julie’s and LINE (the app).

juliesxline art

I was quite surprised coz this isn’t a usual collaboration – there’s not much in common between a confectionery manufacturer and the developer of a communications app for smartphones – at least that’s what I thought at first.

juliesxline mascot

It turns out that the popular characters from LINE – Brown and Cony – is a collaboration between Julie’s and LINE for this season’s Oat 25 cookies range.

cony brown cookies

The first collaboration came out with Brown, the popular character from LINE and this second launch is to add one new character – Cony!

juliesxline registration

Interestingly, we received instructions to either dress in brown or pink. I didn’t quite get it at first until I realized that they were the colors of the popular LINE characters!

juliesxline me

Brown is the color of the the LINE character Brown (the bear) and Cony the rabbit/bunny is the pink bit! I have a pink shirt, which I don’t wear a lot (but I hear looks good on me), so I thought I’ll go with that to the launch of Julie’s x LINE.

juliesxline cookies

The Julie’s x LINE OAT 25 Cookies are limited edition. It’s available in these cute little metal boxes which has Julie’s oat biscuits inside and either Brown or Cony from LINE on the cover.

juliesxline

The Cony and Brown variations aren’t purely superficial though – the chocolate and strawberry flavors in Julie’s x LINE Limited Edition cookies are specifically chosen to match Brown’s peculiar characteristics and Cony’s sweet attributes. On top of that, Brown is known for his love for chocolate cookies while Cony looks adorable in pink.

juliesxline cony brown

I thought it was a stroke of pure genius, at least when the Julie’s mascot came out with both LINE’s popular Cony and Brown! You can get the limited edition Julie’s x LINE Oat 25 Cookies in any AEON, The Store, selected Popular outlets and many more hyper/supermarkets nationwide!

juliesxline media launch

There’s also a Snap, Tag & Win photo contest going on with the hashtag #JuliesLINEcookies, so if you’re a fan of both LINE’s cute characters and Julie’s biscuits, head on over to the Julie’s Facebook page for more information about this Facebook and Instagram contest! :)

juliesxline event

Smoking = go to jail?

underage smoking

Yeah, I’m talking about tobacco! I was watching this expose on cigarettes in an episode of VICE on HBO and realized that the place they’re talking about (Indonesia) could very well be in Malaysia! I’ve actually spent a couple of years in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and the trade in illegal cigarettes there is really bad.

It’s causing a lot of young kids to smoke…just like in the documentary, children as young as 6 years old are starting to smoke on a daily basis and no one stops them coz illegal cigarettes are not regulated! A lot of these cigarettes are sold by vendors with no operating licence anyway so they don’t care who they sell to.

kids smoking

Small children can afford the price of these illegal cigarettes since they’re so cheap compared to the premium legal brands. This causes health problems as well as social problems. The Ministry of Health’s Dr. Chong has also talked in length about the danger of kretek (clove) cigarettes in this New Straits Times article.

The predominant brand there at the time is JOHN (RM 2.50) but there are others like GG, Manchester, Canyon, Luffman etc. It’s usually sold by immigrants and those cigarettes tastes nasty. I was in a facility at the time and this was all that they could get.

I think I did more damage to my lungs in that time than ever before. These illegal cigarettes are not made to the exact specifications of the premium legal brands like Marlboro, Dunhill etc and some of them, I hear, are scraps of tobacco and other detritus just packaged together and sold as is – caveat emptor!

Any pack of cigarettes that is sold below RM 7 is illegal. That is the minimum price set by the government and crime syndicates brings in these illegal cigarettes for sale via various points around Malaysia. I know that Kota Kinabalu, Sabah is a large distribution center and this leads to a lot of illegal activity, gangs, and the revenue from this funds a huge criminal enterprise and there’s an article on NST that ties the illegal cigarette trade as a smokescreen for gangs.

Crime syndicates nowadays rely on a lot of revenue streams and besides the classic triad of prostitution, drugs and racketeering, the “lower risk high reward” items are still illegal alcohol and cigarettes (besides gambling) which can really bring a lot of harm to society. I come from a small town with a large gang problem (which was helped somewhat with the original Operasi Cantas Kenyalang) so I know first hand what crime syndicates will do to a town.

I’ve never the urge to purchase illegal cigarettes as they taste foul but I know some people do it coz of cost concerns. However, there’s a nationwide crackdown on illegal cigarettes now and not just retailers, but consumers i.e. YOU can go to jail if you’re caught buying illegal cigarettes.

smoking cartoon

Don’t support criminal enterprises – just like I never buy illegal lottery tickets (there’s the risk of not getting returns) I don’t ever buy illegal cigarette brands like JOHN, GG, Manchester, Canyon, Luffman etc. It’s not just coz they taste bad but smokers can be jailed up to 2 years and/or fined RM 10,000 if caught in possession of illegal cigarettes.

…and that’s no joke!

3 interesting stalls @ Eveleigh Farmers Market

watsons orchard

Eveleigh Farmers Market is an “all weather” market open every Saturday and it’s home to fresh and seasonal produce! There’s so many stores that it’ll take you an hour to walk and every single one has *samples* for you to try, spread out in front!

oranges

There’s these Mandarin oranges grown on a personal orchard. That’s the primary theme of the market – everything there is organic and small batch – mom and pop operations mostly, with a great love of what they’re selling.

billy kwong everleigh

There’s a lot of things to see (and taste) here – especially if you like low-food miles organic produce.

Here’s 3 of my favorite stalls:

1. Kylie Kwong @ Billy Kwong

billy kwong

Yes, this is also where the famous Kylie Kwong will be every Saturday. I hear she’s here without fail, once a week to tend to the Billy Kwong stall. There are heaps of her fans (mostly, I gather from MasterChef Australia Season Six since she’s in charge of the Immunity Pin now) gathered here and you’ll see Instagram filled with tags every Saturday with photos of her.

kylie kwong

Billy Kwong supposedly sells “Home-Style Chinese Cooking” but I’ll rather call it “Australian-Style Chinese”. However, they do have quite a good Steamed Pork Bun with House Chilli for AUD 8.50. It’s basically a bao/pao that has chilli on top, like how an Australian pie would have ketchup on top. She’ll swap in beetroot puree if you can’t take the heat.

steamed buns

There’s also a special every week and that was Steamed Sticky Rice Parcel with Macadamias, Warrigals, Goji Berries & Roasted Insects. Don’t worry, warrigals aren’t dingos, it’s an Aboriginal word meaning “wild” and refers to a spinach type vegetable with arrow-root like leaves. It’s basically “bak zhang” with insects for the protein instead of meat. This one goes for AUD 9 and I like how there’s roasted insects in them.

kylie kwong everleigh

However, her best-seller has got to be the Steamed Savoury Pancakes with Organic Egg, Saltbush, Caramel-Tamari (AUD 12.50). Saltbush is an Aboriginal native herb/vegetable that also makes a huge appearance in this season of MasterChef Australia.

kylie kwong fans

I came here to get an autograph for my better half and it took me an hour of waiting to get it!

2. Spuds Galore!

potatoes

Have you ever seen so many varieties of different potatoes in one place? They’re all artisan farm-grown organic spuds and there’s more than 12 of them!

  1. Dutch Creme
  2. Kennebec
  3. Ida Rose
  4. Sapphire
  5. Charlotte
  6. Snow Gem
  7. Spunta
  8. Kestrel
  9. Pink Kiss
  10. Emma
  11. Kipfler
  12. Burgundy Beauty

everleigh farmers market

Some of the potatoes are good for boiling (Ida Rose), Charlottes are good for roasting in its skin, Kennebec makes for great chips. I love the idea – different strains of potatoes with different starch content for different cooking purposes!

3. Hand n’ Hoe Organic Macadamia Butter

organic macadamia butter

This is my favorite stall hands down. I’m still kicking myself for not gettng more jars back. The small ones retails for AUD 12 and they have two varieties – Natural Smooth and Roasted Crunchy. Hand n’ Hoe Organic Macadamias is a small Australian family owned business located in the pristine and remote rainforest off the Comboyne plateau in New South Wales. I tasted both and knew I had to get some to bring home.

hand-n-hoe macadamias

All their macadamia nuts are hand harvested, made into butter and vacuum sealed right on their farm, which is also solar powered (!!!). The friendly brothers manning the store says they’re the only family owned macadamia nut farm left in Australia and even though their macadamia butter (100% pure crushed macadamia nuts, no preservatives) is slightly more expensive than store-bought ones, it tastes a lot better too.

macadamia butter

However, you have to consume it within 3 days of opening (since they don’t use preservatives) but that won’t be a problem – it was so delicious that I ate it within 24 hours…and I wish I had bought more! Arrggghhhh….

everleigh market

Eveleigh Farmers Market
Every Saturday 8 am – 1 pm
243 Wilson Street,
Darlington, Sydney NSW

Interesting fact: My Kitchen Rules Season 5 (2014) Australia was filmed in this exact location! Episode 35 features the pop-up restaurants of the Final 8 teams and their challenge was held at the Eveleigh Farmer’s Market.

InvestSmart by Securities Commission Malaysia, Taylor’s Lakeside Campus

investsmart games

No, read on, this isn’t as boring and dry as it sounds, trust me! smirk I was at the very informative InvestSmart event at Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus the other day. InvestSmart is an initiative by the official Securities Commission Malaysia (Suruhanjaya Sekuriti) which has a goal of making you an informed and confident investor.

investsmart prizes

The way they approach this is with a good dose of fun and education embedded in the aforementioned fun bits. The InvestSmart initiative aims to:

  1. Encourage you to take control of your finances
  2. Enable you to exercise judgement and discretion in making investment decisions
  3. Raise awareness on the role of the SC and their agendas

khairy jamaluddin

…and to that end, they appointed a lot of interesting speakers to talk about investment and how to manage your finances. There was a speech by the Guest of Honour, YB Khairy Jamaluddin who came to the stage wearing a very dapper outfit, with matching pink shoelaces and socks. I don’t think I can rock pink as well as he can!

investsmart app

He was also there to launch the InvestSmart app which you can find on Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

investsmart speakers

There was also a panel discussion themed “Take Control of your Life and Finances: Anything and Everything is Possible” where the attendees can talk and get feedback from the speakers, who come from a diverse field with one thing in common – they’re all successful young Malaysian entrepreneurs.

The four (4) speakers are:

  1. Hidayah Hassan, Creative Director and Founder of Cipela
  2. Hugh Koh, Co-founder and Creative Director of Pestle and Mortar
  3. Shanker Joyrama, Founder & CEO of Orion Social Media
  4. Adrian Yap, Co-founder and Chief Executive of Freeform, Founder of Urbanscapes Arts Festival

investsmart panel

I thought that would make for an interesting morning so I went bright and early at 7 am to catch the panel speakers in action. Not only was the auditorium (it was a lecture hall in Taylor’s University) packed, there was a lot of interaction between the crowd and the speakers too.

discount code

Also, the speakers came with gifts in the form of discount codes for their stores, where relevant! :)

investsmart booths

There was also an interactive games and exhibition area where you can win:

  1. ASUS Transformer Book T100
  2. GoPro Hero 3
  3. Crumpler Sling Bag
  4. RM 1,000 PRS vouchers

soccer me

You just need to get four (4) stamps from the 4 interactive games booths and drop your completed slip into the box for a lucky draw win. I decided to give it a go and did all the booths.

Interactive Games Booth #1 – Soccer

soccer booth

Each game booth comes with a question booth so you need to get both correct in order to get the two stamps e.g. complete the task and answer all the questions about investing correctly. The first booth aims to educate you about goals (pun intended) and has a soccer setup on one end and the Q&A on the other.

You need to complete both to get the two stamps required to participate in the contest.

Interactive Games Booth #2 – Ping Pong

ping pong

This is a booth where you match the ping pong balls (which has answers to them) to the correct box. There are about 10 ping pong balls so you really need to know your stuff to get them all right, and yes, you need to sort every single one of the small bouncy balls to get a stamp.

I did everything right the first time, but then again I’m slightly older and have a couple of investments under my belt so I know all the answers already. Plus, I read the entire handbook while waiting for the program to start since I arrived 45 minutes early. ;)

Interactive Games Booth #3 – Basketball

basketball

I thought this was the most interesting booth, maybe coz I didn’t think my hand eye coordination was that great. I managed to score every single ball that I threw, despite the balls being of different sizes.

There are answers written on the basketballs and questions on the hoops. You need to search for the correct answer on the basketball and throw it into the hoops in sequence.

The game itself is about InvestSmart which I thought was great! This makes learning about investing and finances entertaining instead of just being a games booth.

Interactive Games Booth #4 – Red Light Scam Alert

scam booth

This is also an interesting interactive games booth where you are asked questions about potential scams. Answer it right, and you get a green light. Get it wrong, and the red light comes on and you have to start all over again!

The red light comes with a satisfying buzz too! I heard it go off several times, which was what attracted me to the booth in the first place.

basketball booth

I didn’t win the prizes but everyone who completes the four (4) tasks will get a complimentary USB drive, which was great since I collect these things.

usb drive

I thought the InvestSmart event was a fun and educational way to get people to be aware of their finances and learn more about investment opportunities at a young age so Taylor’s University is the perfect place to hold it. I didn’t know you could start investing in stocks at 18 years of age until that day!

lucky draw

Learn more about investing and finance management at InvestSmart. It has a lot of tools and tips for everyone, and you can always check for suspected scams here.

The Best Free Meal or Drink!

7eleven clerk

The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil matches are going on right now, with up to four (4) matches each night, usually at 12 am, 3 am and 6 am. This sudden change in sleep routines can make a person very hungry, and it’s hard to get something to eat at this hour, especially if all you want is a snack and a drink.

free items umobile

I’m here to tell you that there’s a solution to that problem…and there is such a thing as a free lunch, or a free meal anyway. Umobile is offering a free Revive Isotonic Original 500 ml drink with every RM 30 top up and one Mamee Express Cup Curry Flavour + Revive Isotonic Original 500 ml with a RM 50 top up!

umobile redeem free

I had an RM 50 top up that I just got and I drove to the local 7-Eleven during half time to grab a quick snack and drink. This is a fairly new promo so the night shift there wasn’t really sure about how to go about the redemption.

umobile 7eleven

Here’s how the redemption works:

  1. Get the items and bring it to the counter.
  2. Scan the items
  3. Pass your Umobile top up card over to the cashier
  4. They will scan it and it will offset the charges, making the items FREE

umobile 50

That’s all there is to it! :)

7eleven umobile

It’s a good thing my local 7-Eleven has complimentary hot water so you can cook the Mamee Express Cup on the premises and eat at the provided tables.

hot water

However, I was watching the Japan – Columbia match at home so I decided to quickly grab the instant noodles and isotonic drink and head on home.

7eleven tables

It’s soooo good to eat Mamee Express Cup instant noodles (which has a plastic fork included) and chase that down with a Revive isotonic drink in the middle of the night. All you need to do is to get a RM 30 or RM 50 Umobile top up and you can redeem the items at any 7-Eleven nationwide!

thebestfree

You can also top up your phone so you can chat about the matches with your friends – just keep the Umobile top up card so the barcode can be scanned to provide you with #TheBestFree snacks! It’s so convenient to redeem too, since there’s a 7-Eleven around every corner! This promo lasts till 31st August 2014 – surf over to the Umobile site for more information.

redeem mamee

I’m sitting here happily eating my Mamee Express Cup Curry Flavour noodles while watching Japan get trashed by Columbia, all thanks to the good people at Umobile. I can have a free snack *while* I get a top up which I need anyway.

mamee noodles

The only bad thing in this equation (for Japan fans anyway) is what the friendly neighborhood 7-Eleven guy put best: “Alamak, Colombia masuk satu goal lagi!

63 degree egg, PB&J with Nutella and bacon @ Devon Cafe, Surry Hills

affogato

I’m eating the best breakfast I’ve ever had in my entire life with the Sakuma’s and drinking the most delicious affogato on a chilly autumn morning and I’m happier than a pig rolling in the proverbial stuff! smirk

devon cafe surry hills

Devon Cafe is a trendy breakfast spot located at Surry Hills. The shape of the cafe is slightly unusual due to the extensions, and they have parts in the middle where it’s almost al-fresco, except for the camouflage nets thrown over the ceiling in an effort to keep the heat in.

devon sydney

We were seated at the back, where lots of interesting graffiti graces the walls but unfortunately, a member of our party (her first time in Australia) couldn’t really tolerate the cold so we all shifted to a table beside an industrial heater.

chai latte

You can actually see into the courtyard beside the cafe since it’s practically al-fresco, with just netting and fences, which reminds me a lot of the inner-courtyard of Adolf Wagner in Frankfurt. Devon Cafe is listed under Modern Australian in The Good Food guide and they deliver a short and concise but immensely delectable selection of breakfast dishes.

BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA’S (AUD 27)
miso grilled king salmon, smoked eel croquette, 63′ egg, radish petit salid & kewpi mayonaise

breakfast with the sakumas

I asked our very bubbly waitress for a recommendation and she suggested this. I was torn between ordering this or the Eggs Blini and I’m glad I followed her recommendation coz this is one divine dish, as expected from ex-Guillaume chefs.

The delicious 63′ egg shimmered on my plate and it was the perfect combination of runny and soft textures. A proper 63′ egg has the *same* consistency for both the yolk and white and takes at least an hour to prepare. I’ve seen a lot of local breakfast places attempt to do this with an off-the-shelf vacuum sealer and sous vide combo (about RM 2,000 from your friendly neighborhood appliances store) but they’ve all failed miserably compared to experience and skill with a bain-marie.

sous vide salmon

However, the most wonderful component of the dish was the miso grilled salmon. I have never thought it possible for salmon to taste this good. I don’t even like salmon (and won’t eat it unless it came from Devon’s). The salmon here is sweet and grilled to perfection, before being given the sous vide treatment and it practically falls apart when I gently applied pressure with my fork.

It’s salmon perfection on a plate! The miso gives the entire piece of king salmon a strong dose of umami as well, making you want to eat more. I have yet to find a better tasting salmon and our guide (who has a Norwegian boyfriend who cooks fish well) even said this tastes better than his and she’s not one to give compliments to fish lightly. It’s so tender, moist and flavorful it’s amazing!

The crispy smoked eel croquette was so good I could happily eat 3 plates in a single sitting.

LITTLE LOST BREAD (AUD 18.50)
PB&J brioche French toast, warm banana, nutella, jam, peanut butter ice cream with bacon

little lost bread

This is just awesome. There are no other adjectives to describe it – the PB&J is “de-constructed” e.g. the peanut butter is actually an ice cream, and there’s a dollop of jam as well as a very generous smear of Nutella on the plate and piles of bacon on top.

LAMB SANDWICH (AUD 20.50)
slow roasted lamb garlic confit, roasted capsicum, cheddar cheese, spinach with chips

lamb sandwich

This didn’t go down very well, but the chips are good and the aioli dipping sauce is wonderful.

KAYA TOAST (AUD 13.70)
coconut jam, butter, light soy 63′ eggs, brioche toast

kaya toast

It’s not 100% authentic since the coconut jam is actually mixed with butter but they made it even better and I love the sous vide egg.

devons affogato

I also had Devon’s Affogato (AUD 7) – a wonderful concoction where 3 perfect coffee beans are put on top of two scoops of artisan ice cream, a cup of melted chocolate with a shot of Five Senses single-origin espresso on the side. Devon’s Cafe has a barista on staff and they only use Alchemy beans and Five Senses single-origin coffee. It’s sinfully good.

devon cafe owner

We had a change to speak with the owner and it turns out that the husband-and-wife duo is Malaysian and Indonesian, respectively. However, their chefs are all poached from Guillaume Bistro and their barista used to train others at Toby’s Estate (still have an unopened tin of single origin Ghana drinking chocolate in my pantry by them).

devons magic muffin

Devon’s Cafe is also very famous for their muffins and we had one to share. It’s best eaten while hot – this is Devon’s Magic Muffin (AUD 4). Seriously, that’s what it’s called! There’s neither THC/CBD nor psilocybin inside (you should head to Amsterdam for those, I had a really good magic muffin while I was there) but it’s still magically delicious.

devon cafe

I would seriously recommend a trip to Surry Hills to check out trendy Devon’s Cafe if you’re in Sydney and into a modern twist on classic Australian dishes. It’s near the station and located right on Devonshire Street so it’s hard to miss. The breakfast here is to die for.

Devon’s Cafe
76, Devonshire Street,
Surry Hills, New South Wales

Cielo Dolci Gelato with hot dishes, salad and other modernist dishes @ Whimsical Gelateria & Caffe, Solaris Dutamas

Whimsical Gelateria Caffe

Whimsical Gelateria & Caffe at Solaris Dutamas started out as a gelato place before expanding their menu to offer a very interesting combination of gelato with hot dishes. It all sounds very exciting, new and interesting and thus we dropped by over the weekend to check it out and have a late breakfast.

whimsical salad

I actually first heard about this place from Sean (who provides a very up-to-date listing of Klang Valley restaurants) and was intrigued at the unusual menu. It’s molecular gastronomy, in a sense, or rather modernist cuisine. I originally thought it’ll be somewhat gimmicky but I was proven wrong.

whimsical solaris dutamas

They don’t just put gelato into every single dish, they only do it if it makes sense and adds to the experience. I thought that shows remarkable restraint. The dishes with gelato are helpfully marked with an ice-cream symbol and we ordered ALL the unusual ones.

Tomato Basil Salad (RM 20.90)
Cielo Dolci Basil Gelato manifests as cooling dressing on a garden of large Japanese cucumber strips, Romaine lettuce, red + cherry tomatoes, chive & goat cheese, with the complete touch of balsamic reduction.

Tomato Basil Salad

This was the salad that we ordered to share and what dispelled my initial thoughts about gimmicky use of gelato. We had sharing plates and tasted everything and it was amazing! I don’t usually give rave reviews for salad but this one works very well.

The crunchy bits of baguette adds sweetness to the juiciness of the salad, and the balsamic vinegar works well for a touch of acidity but what made the dish magic is the basil gelato – it wasn’t sweet and it wasn’t savory, it just tastes strongly of basil and I was surprised at how well gelato goes with salad to provide a textural contrast and a delightful mouth-feel.

Rise & Shine! (RM 24.50)
Cielo Dolci Beef Bacon Gelato shining upon a bed of pancakes with beef sausage, scrambled eggs & strips of beef bacon. Rounded up with salad on the side.

Rise and Shine

This is pure genius! The classic hot full breakfast with eggs, sausages and (beef) bacon is given a touch of magic with a scoop of beef bacon gelato! I didn’t quite like the usage of beef bacon but that was the only beef I had with the dish. smirk

The beef bacon gelato goes very well with the hot breakfast, which I didn’t expect. I thought it’ll all become a messy gooey mess but it didn’t melt that fast, surprisingly. I ate this by cutting up the bacon, putting some eggs on it and scooping some beef bacon gelato into the eggs before popping it into my mouth. The pancakes soaks up the melted gelato well too!

Duck on the Run! (RM 23.90)
A stack of smoked duck, caramelized onion & poached eggs on waffle & finishes with house hollandaise sauce.

Duck on the Run

We couldn’t find any more hot dishes with gelato so my better half ordered this instead. It’s okay, albeit the pancakes were slightly too thick in comparison to the (admittedly) paltry amount of duck.

Maybe this didn’t come across as interesting with the other contenders with gelato thrown into the mix so I gave it an honest fair try but I simply can’t recommend this dish. My dear couldn’t finish it either so we’ll try the other fare on offer next time.

Cotton Candy Affogato (RM 13)

cotton candy affogato

This is a delightful concoction which rivals the best affogato I had in Sydney about a week ago. It consists of Cielo Dolci Coconut Gelato with gula melaka (palm sugar) which is topped with a nicely spun web of cotton candy!

cotton candy

You pour the shot of espresso into the mix and it’s puzzlingly categorized as a dessert over here (I was asked if I wanted it now or after my meal, at brunch) although it’s served as a standard coffee drink in Australia and Europe.

affogato cotton candy

Nevertheless, it was a great affogato, the second best I’ve had in my life, and that is high praise indeed considering we just came back from France earlier this month and I just came back from Australia a couple of days ago.

gelato flavors

We also had a scoop of Cielo Dolci Bailey’s & Chocolate Gelato (RM 10.90) for dessert.

Cielo Dolci Baileys Chocolate Gelato

I asked for a recommendation and the lady there suggested this flavor. There is a RM 3 surcharge for flavors with alcohol ingredients, which I thought was well worth it. I thought it was very good, as did my dear.

whimsical bill

The service is attentive and good, and there is a current promotion where you get 30% off your bill if you fill in a survey form (which we didn’t get, but we still got the discount). I also strangely got a complimentary Whimsical Lemonade (RM 13) which no one told me about, but which I had asked about since it was so good. The total came up to RM 71.75 for the two of us after the discount, which is quite significant, considering the original price is RM 93.20.

whimsical gelato

Overall, I’ll say this is a great place for brunch on the weekends. It can be a bit full at times though, and besides the one miss on our order, I thought all the hot and salad dishes with gelato was delightful. I’ll like to see them do something with their nasi lemak gelato in a dish someday. Do note that they take cash only so no credit card facilities are available at this place.

whimsical us

It can also be a bit tricky to find if you’re not very familiar with Solaris Dutamas, and there’s no signage up yet, so here’s the address:

Whimsical Lemonade

Whimsical Gelateria & Caffe
D2-G3-05, Solaris Dutamas,
No. 1, Jalan Dutamas 1,
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-64190966

Seafood platter @ Vues on the Bay, Port Stephens

me seafood platter

This is the very first meal I had during my recent trip to New South Wales! We arrived at Sydney in the morning and drove 2 ½ hours to Port Stephens for lunch. I’ve had quite a few seafood platters in Australia and it always has a hot and cold component.

seafood platter cold

I thought I saw a Moreton Bay Bug at the bottom left of the cold platter and I asked about it. The waitress wasn’t sure so she went to ask the cook, who came back with the answer – it’s a Balmain Bug! It’s also another species of slipper lobster and looks a lot like the Moreton Bay Bug but the Eastern Balmain Bug (officially called butterfly fan lobster) is more common around NSW.

fresh oysters

The cold components of the dish are mud crabs, the Balmain bug, plenty of oysters and prawns with a side of salad and fresh fruits. I’ve eaten several seafood platters during my time in Australia and these ingredients are always the same, although sometimes you’ll get a regular lobster as well as the bug.

vues on the bay

The seafood items in this platter are all boiled and shocked in ice water so it’s eaten cold and I’ve always like the style of this execution. The oysters are a little small in this case, but they’re all local and not flown thousands of miles away coz oysters don’t taste good after a long journey. This was at Vues on the Bay, a very playfully named Australian cuisine restaurant right in the middle of town. Yup, this is the hub of Port Stephens with a wonderful view of the pier.

vues view

Interesting fact: Port Stephens only has one (1) traffic light in the entire township and it’s right in front of this restaurant. The residents petitioned very hard against it since they didn’t want any traffic lights in their town. :)

seafood platter hot

This being Australia, the hot component of the seafood platter has plates laden with thick cut chips, like the ones you’ll get at the local fish and chip shop, and calamari (battered and fried squid). I like how modern Australian cuisine don’t do it in ring shapes but either cigar shaped (very nice) or thick curly (like this one).

I love the calamari here, it’s so fresh that you don’t get the off-putting taste of squid and it’s soft and practically dissolves in your mouth the moment you bite into it.

Whose side will you take?

socceroos

Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is upon us again! :)

olabola football

It’s another month of going to mamaks and watching the games in large projection screens on Astro, sleepy people at the office and lots of fantasy football games and I have been looking forward to this one for four (4) years!

game on

Astro is also integrating a lot of social components into the 2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup this year. They have a portal called Whose side will you take? which has several different things going on all at once. There’s a face-painting app, fantasy football based on the games, fixtures of upcoming matches and more all on the same site so there’s easy access to everything from contests to news!

facepainting

The first one is a drive to show your support for your favorite team by painting your face in their colors! Don’t worry, you don’t actually have to get your face dirty if you’re concerned about that (boo, not a real fan :p) – the wonders of modern technology allows your face to be *virtually* painted!

Just allow the Facebook app access to your profile and you’ll have a cool profile picture to use during the World Cup season!

olabola facepainting

It’s a really cool app too, the way the colors are painted virtually on your profile picture is amazing, it’s really realistic! Best of all, it’s aiming to be the largest face painting drive so you get to be part of history!

fantasy football

There’s also the Ola Bola Fantasy Football where you can pick your dream team and see how you perform during the World Cup season! It can be as complicated or as easy as you want so it satisfies both hard core fantasy football fans and casual gamers.

I found it to be a lot of fun! I want a lot of customization so I chose my own players (you can choose 4 max from each country) but if you just want to get into it, the fantasy football app can automatically choose everything from the players to the team for you!

lucky dip

I suggest using the auto-pick if you’re new to fantasy football.

The best thing about this is that there are prizes to be given away! The best team in the Fantasy Football Olabola Edition will get:

First Prize
RM 5,000 + PlayStation 4 + FIFA 14 game

Second Prize
RM 3,000 + PlayStation 4 + FIFA 14 game

Third Prize
RM 1,000 + PlayStation 4 + FIFA 14 game

prediction

There’s also an app called the Olabola Football Predictor where you can show off your prediction skills in real time during the World Cup! I know people who would love this! If you’re always saying how good you are and how would have predicted the match right down to who got the first goal and the exact score, it’s time to put your mouse where your mouth is and you could win a foosball table!

world cup

I’ll see you all inside Ola Bola! Pick a side for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and come and challenge my uber powerful team if you can! My team is called SixthSeal.

Korean Burger Revolution @ Bulgogi Brothers (and how to get 10% off)

bulgogi brothers

I was fortunate enough to be invited for a tasting session of four (4) new authentic Korean burgers before their launch. I was a bit dubious at first, since the burgers are made by Bulgogi Brothers, who are more renowned for their Korean BBQ than their burgers but I went with an open mind and said mind was blown away!

I’ve been to Korea twice before, the first trip was to Busan for the Pusan International Film Festival and the second to Seoul.

bulgogi brothers burger

Bulgogi Brothers are the first restaurant in Malaysia to successfully reproduce the taste of Korean dishes in a burger. You’ll know you’re not eating a regular burger from the use of authentic Korean flavors. I sampled all four of them and I’ll be back with my better half in tow to make use of my own discount code (more on that later) today!

bulgogi brothers promo

The new Korean burgers are all made with premium Korean beef bulgogi and they’re wonderfully creative:

Bibimbap Burger (RM 25.90)

Bibimbap Burger

Bibimbap is a dish that uses rice and other ingredients mixed together in a stone pot with a raw egg to make a quick and tasty meal. It’s probably one of the most popular dishes in Korea. Eating this burger is like eating bibimbap, without the rice.

It’s made up of a huge home-made beef bulgogi patty (90% meat and 10% beef fat for a delicious and moist burger) topped with sprouts, carrots, zucchinis and a sunny side up egg to get all the flavors of bibimbap into a burger. It doesn’t quite look like bibimbap but it tastes spot on!

I really liked how everything meshes together, and the sunny side up egg is perfectly done to emulate just how the egg would turn out in a bibimbap. The charcoal buns are specially crafted for Bulgogi Brothers and biting into this stack was one of the greatest pleasures I had that night, with the runny yolk coating each mouthful richly.

Kimchi Burger (RM 22.90)

Kimchi Burger

I’ve never quite liked kimchi. I can’t put my finger on it but it’s just not something I’ll eat regularly. I don’t usually even touch the complimentary kimchi when I eat Korean. However, I ate some of the kimchi at Bulgogi Brothers and I can honestly say that it was the best kimchi I ever had. The balance of the kimchi was perfect – the spiciness, the acidity and the umami finish.

The Kimchi Burger comes with the hand-made beef patty with mushrooms and lightly sautéed kimchi. It was moderately spicy and despite my aversion to kimchi, I found that I liked it quite a bit and this turned out to be my second favorite burger.

I particularly liked how well the kimchi goes together with the burger, making it a lot more than the sum of its parts. All their burgers are served with a side of crispy home-made sweet potato chips, which goes very well with the spicy kimchi burger as a sweet component.

Spicy Gwangyang Burger (RM 25.90)

Spicy Gwangyang Burger

This is a fiery burger for all fans of spicy food! The Spicy Gwangyang Burger is made of tender sliced beef brisket drenched in the Bulgogi Brothers sweet-and-spicy barbecue-like Osam sauce. It’s garnished with button mushrooms and onions, along with slivers of melted American cheese and comes off tasting like a Korean version of a Sloppy Joe.

I highly recommend this burger if you can take the heat. It’s painfully delicious and yet the osam sauce provides a sweet component so it’s not all spice. I like the selection of the brisket for the burger too, as it’s a very flavorful cut. If you’re only going to eat one burger, I’ll suggest this – you’ll definitely want more once you’ve taken a bite!

I could eat this every day for a month and be a happy man! :)

Unyang Burger (RM 28.90)

Unyang Burger

The burger for meat-lovers (get your mind out of the gutter), it’s a heavyweight offering with a thick home-made beef patty layered with American cheese, beef brisket in savory sauce and crispy shredded potato sandwiched in a toasted charcoal bun. The beef patties at Bulgogi Brothers are surprisingly juicy and I asked the head chef about it.

It turns out that they’re made with 90% meat and 10% beef fat mixed inside so when the latter melts, the juices are all retained in the patty. The Unyang burger is a very “clean tasting” beef burger that’s perfect for those who’re not into spicy food.

I like the flavor combinations and I ate a whole Unyang Burger and it stuffed me to the point of a near food coma…and I can eat a lot! The burgers are good value for money due to their sheer size, while not compromising on quality.

burger revolution

The Burger Revolution menu is a rather clever idea since you don’t always have the time or the inclination for bulgogi at lunch. It’s a quick burger that stays true to its Korean heritage and I loved the ambiance of Bulgogi Brothers with the K-Pop music playing in the background – you get the authentic experience the moment you step foot inside.

eating burger

You’ll get a 10% discount when you order from the new Burger Revolution menu when you mention my blog too! Just say “SixthSeal” from 16th June – 30th June at any of the Bulgogi Brothers restaurants in Malaysia and you’ll get 10% off your order and get an awesome meal to boot. Let me know which one is your favorite!

I’ll be going with my dear in tow and use my own discount code too. Haha!

Bulgogi Brothers
Paradigm Mall, Kelana Jaya
Pavilion KL
eCurve, Mutiara Damansara
Mid Valley Megamall

Facebook: Bulgogi Brothers Malaysia
Website: http://www.bulgogibros.com.my

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