Borneo Cultural Festival 2014

borneo cultural festival

The Borneo Cultural Festival is back! BCF 2014 is the latest iteration of this Sibu festival celebrating local Dayak/Iban and other native cultures. It’s our version of Kuching Festival and there’s a similar emphasis on food! The last time I went was when I was working here, during Borneo Cultural Festival 2008.

sellers

I went with my dad for the last two days and the layout is similar, with sections for Dayak cuisine, Malay cooking and Chinese food. I first wrote about Borneo Cultural Festival in 2003 when my blog was just over a year old (they had a beauty pageant for Miss Malaysian Chinese that year) and went again for BCF 2006 – check out the Borneo Cultural Festival category for full coverage!

bcf2014

Here is my photoblog for BCF 2014:

ayam pansoh

Ayam Pansuh is a Sarawakian dish that uses bamboo to cook chicken. The meat is stuffed into the tube with tapioca leaves and some water before being cooked over a charcoal fire. The bamboo is then cracked open and the water becomes the stock of this chicken dish. You can eat the tapioca leaves too!

beancurd sheet

This is a piece of tofu skin that’s been dipped in *real fish batter* before being deep fried. I’ve never quite had something like this before. It’s made of soybeans – basically a bean curd sheet that’s rehydrated and coated with fish. My dad loved it.

satay

12 different types of satay! There’s chicken skin, chicken heart, chicken liver, rabbit, beef, lamb, cockles, ostrich, and many other unusual proteins on skewers. No pork satay here though coz this is a halal stall. However, my favorite guilty pleasure is here in abundance – grilled chicken skin actually tastes wonderful, but you can’t eat too much of it or you’ll get sick of the ultra rich fat.

wife biscuits

Wife Cake comes in many different variants here. Besides the traditional lao por peng, there’s also “Husband Biscuits” (Biskut Suami) which uses star anise as a filling.

pulut panggang

Pulut Panggang makes an authentic appearance too! It’s glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves that’s been grilled over a charcoal BBQ, giving it the distinctive smoked flavor. I bought several of the beef and chicken filled ones and it was good.

potato twisters

I got potato twisters as well – a staple fair food. It’s a whole potato that’s been cut into spirals and this version uses a sweet batter to coat it before it’s deep fried and slathered with mayo and chilli sauce.

bcf2014 me

Awesome stuff.

ice cream cone

This is a very diluted soft serve ice cream cone. It’s a mix of chocolate and vanilla but it tastes horrible – akin to a penny pinching coffee shop being miserly with the cocoa powder. smirk

chess competition

Chinese chess competition that’s open to the public. It was played on one of the smaller stages in a tournament format.

best pavilion

This particular booth got Best of Show. The Chinese pavilions are usually very well decorated compared to the sparse Malay booths.

pavilions

Here’s another example.

chinese culture art

These pavilions are usually made by clan associations e.g. Heng Hua, Foochow etc but some of them are owned by more general groups like the Chinese Culture & Art Appreciation societies…

gula melaka puffs

…and they have the manpower from clan membership working inside too!

clan pavilions

The Chinese pavilions line the side facing the main road so it’s beautiful when you look in that way – the lights, the glitter, the jazz! (or rather, er-hu ;))

taiwanese food

There’s also a huge Taiwanese food trend in the stalls this year.

bcf

Music, dance and cultural performances are constantly done on the main stage – it’s also a major attraction besides the food.

sugar machine

Sugar twill machine that makes candy on a stick with CAD printing that you can choose – anything from your Chinese Zodiac (Rooster, Dragon, Snake etc) to intellectual property (Doraemon, Hello Kitty and the Disney character lineup). It’s very popular with kids.

sugar twill

(and the young-at-heart)

sibu pasar malam

The Sibu Pasar Malam Association also has a booth selling traditional night market fare.

UniqBun

Gardenia, Massimo and other commercial large-scale baking and distribution operations in KL don’t sell their RM 0.80 ready-to-eat cream filled buns here, so people often buy them in bulk at LCCT/KLIA2 before flying back. There’s now a Sibu company doing it – UniqBun.

cook-to-order

This is my favorite food of the Borneo Cultural Festival 2014. I award it my personal blue ribbon. ;) I even went back the next day with my dad to get some more. It’s cooked-to-order palm sugar balls filled with glutinous rice (pulut). It puffs into a ball when it’s deep fried and it’s a sweet treat at RM 1 each.

palm sugar balls

You just can’t argue with piping hot, deep-fried sweet balls of caramelized airy dough.

dabai sarawak

Oh, and it’s dabai season again! I like how this stall had samplers that has been blanched and marinated in soy sauce and sugar (the traditional way of preparing it). You can only get these in Sarawak. It’s called okana (black olives) but it’s not technically in the olive family. A delicious, seasonal local delicacy.

cultural performance

I quite enjoyed going to this year’s Borneo Cultural Festival with my dad. It didn’t run for a while due to politics but now that it’s back, I hope it’ll be an annual event. It wasn’t very packed on the last day due to the rain and some of the food items sells out fast since it starts at 5 pm but it’s a lot of fun!

food stalls

More importantly, BCF 2014 is a festival we can call our own! :)

Shell FuelSave Challenge 2014 starts now!

sibu

I realize there is one thing that my humble hometown has that not many other states have – a traffic garden! I come from Sibu and we have a miniature town complete with small stop signs, lanes that have directions and even mini traffic lights! It doubles as a favorite jogging spot but that was how I learned the fundamentals of driving by pretending to be a car on my cycle as a 9 year old kid.

rtm me

I was quite involved in local events back when I was working in Sibu and I remember Shell did a traffic event there too.

shell station malaysia

However, there’s something more exciting coming up and there’s going to be auditions in Johor Bahru, Kuantan, Penang, and Selangor! The 6th Shell FuelSave Challenge is back!

shell fuelsave

The Shell FuelSave Challenge is an annual driving event which showcases how easy it is for everyday individuals (that’s you and me) to become advocates of fuel-saving and be awarded when they practise the Shell FuelSave Tips, coupled with the use of Shell FuelSave 95 – a Fuel Designed to Last Longer per Tank.

fuelsave 95

Interesting fact: Did you know that UPS in the United Sates almost never make left turns? Their courier delivery service trucks makes a right turn 90% of the time to save on fuel! This was actually tested in an episode of Mythbusters and it turned out to be true!

The episode of Mythbusters was dedicated to “hypermiling” and refers to a series of techniques for energy efficient driving.

Shell FuelSave Tips #1: Keep your tyres at the right pressure. Correctly inflated tyres are safer, last longer and improve fuel economy.

tyres

Shell FuelSave 95 is formulated with Active Efficiency Ingredients designed to improve fuel and engine efficiency as well as save costs. This year, participants will be able to enhance their knowledge on making smart choices on the road though the Shell FuelSave Challenge, which will have both a real-life and online component where you have the opportunity to win exclusive prizes and rewards!

Shell FuelSave Tips #2: Use air conditioning sparingly. Air conditioning puts added strain to the engine and uses fuel to operate, limit use to particularly hot days.

fuel consumption

Shell FuelSave Challenge 2014 is back and you can join the driving challenge that will test all your preconceived notions of fuel efficient driving! You think you can squeeze the most kilometers out of a single litre of gas? This challenge is for you! There will be four regional winners (North, East Coast, Central and South) for RM 2,000 each and the best of the best will come together for the National Finals! Just register and stand a chance to win the RM 20,000 grand prize!

Shell FuelSave Tips #3: Avoid carrying excess weight. Extra weight affects your fuel efficiency. Keep your boot and back seat clear of unnecessary items that just add weight to your vehicle.

driving challenge

You can also participate the Shell FuelSave Journey after registering online – there will be tasks and “missions” that can be completed by just answering a few questions and clicking a mouse button. This is the online bit if you’re more inclined to participate in a digital format. There will also be exclusive prizes and rewards even if you don’t make it to the Driving Challenge!

Start your engines now at the official Shell FuelSave Challenge page!

Wakudoki Your Way to Tokyo

I’ve read a lot of articles on the net trying to explain what the term “Wakudoki” mean – they range from “heart pumping, adrenaline racing” to “sprained neck” (haha wtf?). I’m here to tell you the official meaning of “Wakudoki”:

  • Waku-Waku” is a term in Japanese used to describe when your heart is pumping with joy and you can’t sit still
  • Doki-Doki” is Japanese for the sound of your heartbeat

Okay, I know that second bit from my college years watching anime.

Thus, “Wakudoki” is the creative expression for the joy you feel when your heart is pumping with excitement…and you can win a trip to Tokyo just by dancing the Wakudoki dance! :)

wakudoki

Thinking about winning a trip to Tokyo is giving me the “wakudoki” feeling. I’ve been wanting to go for ages! It’s one of the few countries where I haven’t been to, and it’s so close nowadays and since the visa requirements have been reduced (it’s now visa on arrival) we’ve always planned for our next trip to be to Japan.

Did you know that Japan has the most Michelin star restaurants after France?

Just thinking of eating at Sushi Saito by Takashi Saito or Ryugin by Seiji Yamamoto gives me the “Wakudoki” feeling. :)

There are 13 Michelin star restaurants in Tokyo alone as of 2014!

It’s time to WakuDoki Your My Way to Tokyo. I love the Wakudoki dance! It’s a fun way by Toyota to engage the youth of the world. I’ve seen dance covers on YouTube and I thought they were hilarious! I think I can make this work since it’s quite simple.

waku doki

Still confused? Don’t worry! The site will guide you through the steps of the Wakudoki dance!

wakudoki dance

It’s so easy everyone can do the Wakudoki! Just use your smartphone or notebook so you can access the front camera/webcam and start with the “Beginner Mode”.

wakudoki toyota

You’ll be given a tutorial video where you can simulate the Wakudoki dance simply by following an animated silhouette of the dance moves.

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the steps, check out “Expert Mode”! This mode doesn’t have a guide to help you out so you have to memorize the steps!

There are two rounds to the Wakudoki Your Way to Tokyo contest! The user whose video gets the highest number of views will win a “Beats by Dr. Dre” earphones at the end of each round. There will be one winner from each country! :)

The most remarkable dance video wins a trip for two to Tokyo!

wakudoki japan

Yes, there will again be one winner per country so every country (including Malaysia) will have a grand prize of a trip for two to Tokyo! Join the Wakudoki dance at www.wakudoki.asia to do the hottest dance in town now!

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

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!

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.

Can you kick a football faster than 100 km/h?

fuleco kia

I tried!

whats your speed

I didn’t do so well. Haha! I was at the World Cup ROCKS with KIA roadshow @ Suria KLCC. The interesting bit is how I got there…

World Cup ROCKS with KIA

I first went to Menara Naza and checked out the all-new KIA Picanto. I’m too late for the free entry with a test drive promo (where you can win a trip to Brazil to watch the world cup) but I could still enjoy the roadshow, and of course, the drive there.

kia picanto

The first thing I did was to hook my smartphone up to the car. I was surprised that a car priced at this range has this feature, and it was easy to use too! I just needed to go to the dashboard and pair my smartphone…

car pair phone

…and vice versa.

smartphone kia

That’s all you need to do! I can now drive safer by using the Answer or Decline buttons on the steering wheel. There’s a toggle to browse through the call list though, which I thought was a nice feature – it’s better to have that as a toggle instead of a button since you can navigate faster and get tactile feedback.

steering toggle

There’s also volume control and music features on the steering wheel. I like the decision to make the volume control as a toggle instead of a button too! Mute as a button is fine since you only need to press that once. For things you need to press multiple times (volume and call list browsing comes to mind), having a toggle is much more comfortable.

suria klcc

I drove the KIA Picanto to Suria KLCC and back to Menara Naza after the event. I also took the chance to drive around town to get a feel for the car’s features. I like the compact size of the all-new KIA Picanto as I was navigating the carpark. It makes the turns and ramps all the easier to tackle with it’s small footprint and turning radius.

picanto me

I can see why cars like this size is so popular in the market nowadays. It’s very easy to park in cramped parking lots too and you can squeeze through traffic better. I didn’t feel dangerously close to other cars during peak hour city driving, unlike my current full-sized sedan.

driving picanto

It’s a very nice change to be able to cruise through tight spots and park in small spaces.

picanto parking

Anyway, back to the roadshow, they had all models of KIA vehicles out for display as well as World Cup merchandise.

KIA Fuleco

You can also pose with Fuleco the Armadillo!

speed kicker

Fuleco is the 2014 FIFA World Cup mascot, if you didn’t know already. It’s a species of armadillo which is native to Brazil.

optima

Interesting fact: The name is a concatenation of the worlds Futebol (football) and Ecologia (ecology).

fuleco me

There’s a life-sized Fuleco at the World Cup ROCKS with KIA roadshows going around so if you’re a football fan, go and take a picture with him! Strike a pose and share the photo via Instagram.

experience

There’s also Experience booths at the World Cup ROCKS with KIA roadshow where you can sit down and talk to the various sales representatives about the cars there. It’s aptly shaped like a football with chairs around, I thought that was cute!

kia world cup merchandise

There’s also various 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil official merchandise for sale! There’s shirts, mugs, keychains, and even the Fuleco plush toy!

registration

Or, you can try and win some merchandise by in the Speed Kicker game! :)

2014 world cup balls

I couldn’t kick fast enough but maybe YOU can so check out the World Cup ROCKS with KIA roadshow when it comes to a place near you! For more info, please log on to KIA Malaysia website at www.kia.com or go to their FB page at www.facebook.com/kiamalaysia.

The Original 80′s Power Breakfast

cornflakes milo

Growing up as a kid in Malaysia in the 80′s was a very interesting experience which I’m sure a lot of us share. I drank a lot of Milo growing up but one of the quirks that us 80′s babies did was pour Milo over our cornflakes. It was the original power breakfast! smirk

I haven’t had cornflakes in a while since I switched to granola / muesli and raw milk but back then such things were scarce, especially in a relatively remote rural area. I tried it again this morning and I have to say, the way the hot Milo makes the cornflakes soggy really brings me back to my childhood.

milo

There’s also another “secret” recipe me and my sister did when we were kids – she likes to mix pure Milo powder and sugar and eat it *JUST LIKE THAT*. I prefered to pour sweetened condensed milk over Milo powder and slowly lick the spoon while watching cartoons – it was the chocolate of our day.

I’m sure everyone in Malaysia grew up with Milo, and now that we’re all adults we’re also incorporating it into our diets. After all, the 3 most common office-sponsored drinks are coffee, tea and Milo.

All nostalgia aside though, the importance of breakfast is something a lot of us don’t really think about in our busy lifestyles nowadays. How many people do you know skip breakfast altogether?

malaysia breakfast day

It’s quite common in every single company I’ve worked in. Start your day by eating right, get positive energy with Milo. Milo is here to set you right with Malaysia Breakfast Day 2014!

milo breakfast day

There’s a lot of healthy recipes on their website (remember to click on the Like button – half a million people can’t be wrong)…

positive energy

…as well as interesting facts about positive energy and breakfast. It’s really important to get that good kickstart to your day and a cup of Milo can provide your with a lot of the major requirements for you to start your day with a smile instead of slogging through until lunch (upon which you go into a food coma).

milo instagram

Milo is also out to spread the #MILOPositiveEnergy with a Twitter and Instagram initiative (OMG, that bowl of soggy cornflakes with MILO is sooo goood :D) which you can participate in. I just said that coz I’m taking bites/slurps in between writing – I’ve forgotten how much I loved this as a kid!

milo tarik

There will also be a celebration of breakfast at the 2014 Malaysia Breakfast Day Run. There will be performances, games, a fun run which you can start registering for right now, and the deliciously good MILO van!

Venue: Perbadanan Putrajaya
Date: 20th April 2014

There will be an 7 km competitive run and a 3 km family fun run – get details on how to register, and the prizes, race bibs, finishing medals and goodie bags at the Malaysia Breakfast Day page. There’s also a lot of information on what Positive Energy is all about!

Imagine the good feeling of having a deliciously cold cup of Milo from the truck on a hot day! I can never get my Milo as good as the ones from the van so I always look forward to it! :)

My grandma’s cousin’s 79th birthday 8-course banquet

Interesting taboo: Females celebrate their birthdays by the decade e.g. 70th, 80th while males do it one year beforehand since the numbers “sounds” better. 9 in Chinese has various positive associations, since it also sounds like “long”.

79 birthday

He’s probably older than that – they didn’t have documentation like birth certificates back then and birthdays are largely chosen and might be off by years. The birthday banquet was held at Sheraton. This was a very popular place back in the days – there were only a few “opulent” restaurants at the time, and Sheraton was one of them.

steamed peanuts

Deep Fried Boiled Eggs with Longevity Noodles

deep fried egg

This is a classic birthday dish in my hometown. It’s of Foochow origin, I believe. The boiled eggs are slightly coated with batter and then deep fried before being served with fried longevity noodles. It’s supposed to bring good luck, but this dish that’s becoming a little old-fashioned and I only see it during banquets thrown by the older generation now.

It’s good when done well and I ate 4 eggs myself since a lot of people at the table passed up on it.

4 Seasons Hot Platter

four seasons platter

This is supposed to be the first dish in every banquet but since it’s a birthday, the longevity noodles come out first. There’s fish maw, shrimp, mushrooms, chicken, sliced abalone and other goodies piled into sectors on the platter.

fish maw shrimp

There’s something for everybody and that’s why it’s a very popular dish in restaurants. It’s a little like poon choy in some ways, except this is the appetizer portion. smirk

Shark’s Fin Soup

You have to see this from the perspective of someone born in the old country (that’s China) and went through WWII with Japan and the resulting famine, uprooting and all that comes with war. They had little and food was important to them. “Luxury items” like shark’s fin isn’t something immoral (only first world countries and the newer generation of people now have that mentality – you can only afford to think about environmental issues when you are living in relative comfort).

sharks fin

It’s just another must-have (to them) on the menu coz old habits die hard and they don’t see the plight of the sharks and probably won’t care even if they did. This is the generation that was born into war, and any food is good food and “status items” like shark’s fin is just another dish to them.

I just wanted to stave off the debate about this coz it seems that everyone needs to have a disclaimer and a stance nowadays. Honestly, as a traveler, I am of course for conversation but then again I don’t believe it’s an issue about education, at least not with the older generation so naturally consumption will die off as the new environmentally conscious generation comes of age.

Deep Fried Breaded Cod

breaded cod

Sheraton is well known for it’s fish – you can get your empurau fish steamed here and they do a mean curry fish head as well. I thought this would be mediocre since I prefer my fish any other way except fried (which ruins most of the taste, IMHO).

fried cod

However, my cousin politely served me some so I had to politely eat some and I was amazed and went back for second helpings…except there was none left! This is easily the best dish I had in the banquet – the fish is battered and dropped into the deep fryer for only a few seconds, leaving a crisp exterior but and extremely moist interior with the cod flaking off with the natural juices still inside.

I’m getting hungry just thinking of this surprisingly well executed deep fried cod with the spicy dip. The plating is not much to look at, but trust me, it tastes spot on!

Paper Wrapped Chicken with Deep Fried Buns

paper wrapped chicken

This is one of my favorite dishes in Sheraton coz they do it so well. Paper wrapped chicken is a cooking technique that has the chicken and herbs wrapped in foil (and sometimes another layer of paper) so the entire bird’s juices is sealed inside, making it extremely tender and tasty.

fried bread

However, the coup de grace is the deep fried bun. It’s a large, round piece of bread that’s the size of an Arab bread but this is baked in-house with chicken flavors infused into the loaf, which is then deep fried and served warm. It’s the contrasting textures that makes this work so well – the crunchy exterior with the soft, warm flavored bread that goes well with the herbal chicken.

Sea Cucumber with Sliced Abalone on top of Enoki Mushrooms

abalone sea cucumber

This is another classic Chinese dish – the sliced abalone comes out of a can, and the sea cucumbers are re-hydrated so the starchy sauce has to carry everything. It’s often said that Chinese cuisine is more about contrasting textures vs the balanced flavors (base and acidity pairing) and plating of “classic cuisine” e.g. French cuisine and I have to agree.

The soft and juicy Enoki mushrooms contrasts well with the chewy abalone slices and the slightly crunchy sea cucumber.

Asian Surf and Turf

asian surf turf

I just made that up. Haha! There’s no seafood here, the two ingredients are pork and chicken done two ways. This is a very Taoist concept symbolizing yin and yang – the pork is good but the chicken is bad.

Geddit? ;)

ang pow wet tissue

The banquet finished up with the classic fruit platter and I even got an RM 10 ang pow since I wasn’t married and it’s still Chinese New Year (and will be until the 14th of February). I think it’s a great idea that people do their birthdays on CNY since everyone is back in town and it was good to sit down with my uncles and cousins and for a relatives birthday banquet.

birthday banquet

P/S – No, it’s not his actual birthday, I don’t think he even remembers the exact date – this wasn’t uncommon, my mom doesn’t either since my grandma didn’t register her birth until she was a few years old so we celebrate it on a fixed date every year that’s easy to remember.

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