The Joy of Sharing, Kota Damansara

pulau ketam set

I wanted to bring my better half out to a new fish head place last night that I’ve been meaning to try for a while but it was raining heavily so there were no tables outside. It was also the Deepavali public holidays so a lot of people were out eating that night.

the joy of sharing

Unable to get a table, we went for a steamboat dinner instead at The Joy of Sharing. This is a very popular hotpot place that’s constantly packed but we managed to get seated. I always say that I’m not particularly fond of soup dishes or tofu (and steamboat has both in spades) but truth to be told, my palate has changed a lot as I’ve grown up.

joy of sharing

I’ll eat anything and enjoy it nowadays. We decided to go for a mixed Seafood Superior Soup and Tomyam Soup combination in our hotpot. The Seafood Superior Soup is the flagship of The Joy of Sharing and it’s actually quite nice. I also upgraded our order from the Pulau Ketam Set (RM 33.60 for 2 pax) to the Special Mix Set (RM 37.60 / 2 pax).

joy of sharing hotpot

The latter has everything the former seafood heavy option has, plus some pork offerings which you can cook shabu-shabu style in the hotpot:

  • Thick cut bacon
  • Pork balls
  • Pork slices
  • Scallops
  • Prawns
  • Fish balls
  • Fish noodles
  • Tofu
  • Eggs (quail and chicken)
  • Enoki mushrooms
  • Vegetables
  • Homemade dumplings
  • Rice vermicelli
  • Noodles

…and that’s just the ones I can remember. smirk

homemade dumplings

It’s actually a pretty good deal and I can see why the place is packed all the time. The service is good and refills for soup comes pretty fast too.

thick cut bacon

I found that I actually rather enjoy eating hotpot/steamboat during a rainy night and having to build up the flavors of the soup in the pot by gradually adding in ingredients is fun! The Joy of Sharing also has a new “soup” called Silky Porridge which is an innovative congee based soup for steamboat!

hotpot noodles

Parking can be a bit of a pain in that area, especially if it’s raining but as per custom with steamboat places over here, the staff actually helps you with parking. You can double park and block someone else’s car and if they finish before you, one of the waiters will come and get you to shift your car.

joy of sharing us

Our car was also blocked when we were done but the diner came out in less than a minute so I thought the system works really well. It’s a good dinner and we enjoyed the 2 hour respite from the rain, eating hearty and warm hotpot – the Seafood Superior Soup is really good.

scallops prawns

We’ll be back to try the new Silky Porridge “soup” when we feel like eating something more substantial. The bill came up to RM 48.40 for two, inclusive of drinks, which is quite cheap considering the items bundled into the set.

The Joy of Sharing
(also known as Ba Sheng Zai Huo Guo)
15, Jalan PJU 5/3
Dataran Sunway
Kota Damansara

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

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.

Your body is your amusement park temple

dialysis

I have treated my body (and mind) as more of a amusement park instead of a temple. I have done that for almost half my life, searching for the next hedonistic experience and by the time I realized that you can’t just do that and expect to live forever, it was too late.

kidney damage

You see, I used to have nothing to live for (or thought I didn’t). In my short sightedness, I have taken various interesting pharmacological agents to excess, damaging my kidneys in the process. I even needed an emergency dialysis and nearly didn’t make it – the doctor fully expected me to die and I was obstinate enough to recover.

home funeral

I have so much to live for now. My mom has passed but my dad is still around and I want to take care of him. I also have the best partner ever, which I’m very lucky to have. My better half is the best thing that has happened to me and she really set my life on the straight and narrow. I have two kids that I love to bits and I like to be there for them too!

jacuzzi

I am starting to live a very healthy lifestyle now and part of that includes exercise. You really can’t have a healthy lifestyle without exercise. I run, swim and play badminton with the kids (and sometimes my better half, who is, naturally, better than me).

family dinner

We Malaysians like to eat (a lot) and most of the time, the food that we eat is superbly unhealthy. That’s all fine and good but it needs to be balanced out by having an active lifestyle.

mooncake family 2013

The 1 thing that matters to me is being healthy enough to take care of all my dependants and to give them a happy life.

happy us

#matterstomeMY

kids

I can’t very well do that if I die of obesity related complications like heart disease or diabetes and I don’t want to give up eating well so I have to exercise a lot. It’s the best way to have a healthy lifestyle.

morib goldcoast us

I swim…

riding bicycles

I cycle…

run

I run…

bicycles

It doesn’t really matter what kind of exercise you do as long as you do it – but if you run, you might want to download the Allianz Pacer app from Google Play or iTunes.

setting sun

Allianz’s priority is to help Malaysians to start taking care of what matters to them most, with a special focus on your health. They’ve set up Allianz Pacer – which is a social running community. It’s really quite interesting.

swimming with kids

Go and Like the Allianz Malaysia Facebook and participate in the sharing now!

family trip morib

#matters2meMY

How to make a tea bag rocket

This is a perfectly safe and *fun* indoor science activity for kids (and the young at heart, like me). smirk The teabag rocket works due to the principles of thermodynamics – you can read up on the science behind how it works if you’re so inclined, but basically it’s a regular tea bag which achieves lift-off and flies off suddenly like a rocket when lit.

It’s a lot of fun and the kids really loved it! I wanted to show this to the little girls and their cousins were there during the weekend too, which makes it all the merrier. I can see that they enjoyed the show. I got them to catch the expired tea bag rocket too, which is surprisingly intact, like a discarded snake skin.

You just need tea bags, a pair of scissors and a lighter!

Instructions:

cut teabag

1. Cut the tea bag at the very top so that the tag/staples are removed

empty teabag

2. Pour out the tea leaves

lighting

3. Use your fingers to make the tea bag into a square tower and light the top

teabag rocket

4. The tea bag will burn down to the end and suddenly take off like a rocket

Pro tip: Make sure that you’re indoors, turn off your fan and close any open windows to prevent a draft from blowing the tea bag rocket over.

I’ve wanted to show this to the kids for a long time. It’s a lot of fun if you have young kids. I like to think of interesting things to do which will entertain them and make them laugh – it reminds me of the projects my late mom did with when I was their age, like growing sugar crystals.

It instils curiosity and makes for a fun interlude during the weekend – although my poor dear had to clean up after us coz the tea bag rockets produces a lot of ash! :)

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