8 photos from our road trip to Sarikei

1. Big Sarikei Pineapple

new sarikei pineapple statue

There’s a new twin statue of the iconic Sarikei pineapple in the older part of town! This is the “unripe” version, it’s green instead of yellow. smirk Technically, it’s not a statue since it’s not an effigy of a figure, person, or animal but a fruit – pineapples are the primary export of Sarikei and they’re famous for producing these prickly fruits.

2. The Journey from Sibu

sarikei 2014

My better half flew down with me from KL to visit my dad over the weekend. I decided to drive down to Sarikei since she’s never been there before so the three of us packed into a car and headed down to the small town. It’s roughly an hour’s drive from Sibu on a two lane road.

3. Entering Sarikei

red bridge

A beautiful red curving bridge is located at the border between Sibu and Sarikei. You can also reach there by a ferry service across the river but we took the route that takes us through Bintangor (another rural town).

4. Sarikei Clock Tower

sarikei clock tower

This is another famous landmark in town – erected in 1973, it’s been around for a while and recently the town seems to have found some funds to refurbish it. Yes, this is NOT the original clock tower – I have a photo of the earlier tower with a hollow center during my Sarikei trip in 2008.

5. Pasar Sungai Rejang

sungai rejang market

This roughly translates to “Rejang River Market”. Rajang River is the longest river in Malaysia and connects much of Sarawak. This building houses the old wet market in town and there’s lots of interesting stuff in there!

6. Scenes from Sarikei Wet Market

sarikei market

There is a stall here that sells authentic home made Sarawak laksa paste but unfortunately it was closed by the time we arrived.

7. Salted Fish

salted-fish

Salted fish is a much beloved food item here. There are many different kinds of fish being dried, salted and sometimes fermented – everything from whitebait to local species to imported cod.

8. The Original Sarikei Pineapple Statue
(accept no substitutes)

sarikei pineapple statue

This is the original (bigger and ripe) Sarikei pineapple! It’s located by the waterfront and it’s almost bleached white from the constant cleaning. Contrast the Sarikei pineapple statue with a post I wrote when I went on a trip with a couple of friends during my winter holidays back from university in Melbourne – this is Sarikei back in 2002 where it’s a much dirtier but vibrant shade.

10 things we did during our weekend staycation

staycation

I’ll like to think that I’ve been pioneering the concept of a staycation before the term even came into existence. It was more out of necessity (a friend of mine described my apartment at that time as “having it’s own ecosystem with new and constantly evolving species of fungi” smirk) and an excess of funds from legally questionable endeavors that prompted me to live primarily in hotels and serviced apartments like Somerset Gateway in Kuching during the weekends back then.

staycation room

However, I’ve gotten all those wild days of drugs, sex and rock and roll out of my system and prefer a quiet weekend spent with my loved one nowadays. My dad happened to have excess points from a vacation rewards system that he couldn’t use so he asked me if I wanted it coz it’ll go to waste otherwise.

the atrium

I jumped at the idea and booked a nice room at Pyramid Tower Hotel at Sunway Lagoon.

staycation hotel

The room cost RM 340/night but it was deducted from 11,551 points in Club Asia International so it didn’t really cost us anything. It’s next to Sunway Pyramid so that was pretty convenient. We checked in at 2 pm and dumped our bags before heading to the mall to get some lunch.

1. Had a fun lunch

coffee milk

We went to the food court and ate local food together. We acted like we were in a foreign country (Dubai was the place we decided on – inside joke) so it was a lot of fun and very different from the stress of finding an empty bay in the carpark, braving the thongs of people, and getting stuck in traffic.

2. Chilled out in the room

chill hotel

This is one of the most appealing things about a staycation! Since you’re at your very own hometown (it was just 15 minutes away) there’s not much to see, so you can really relax and enjoy the hotel amenities – the tub, the pool, the cable TV and plush bed!

3. Snacked on takoyaki

making takoyaki

The hotel is right next to the mall with a connected walkway that takes all of 3 minutes to traverse. We decided to eat regular baby octopus takoyaki (delicious) and also sampled some salmon takoyaki (not very nice). The place also serves okonomiyaki.

takoyaki

We ordered so much that we had to take some of it back to the hotel room to eat!

4. Posed for funny photos

funny pose

This is one of the things you do when you have too much time on your hands and have put the daily worries and work out of your mind for the entire staycation. :)

5. Went out for bubble tea

georgpeck

We were both craving for bubble tea and I noticed this new place called GeorgPeck. We shared a bubble milk tea with aloe vera jelly, which was really good.

bubble tea

It seems that everything tastes better when your mind think it’s on vacation!

6. Walked around the mall

ice skating

…and watched people falling down at the ice skating ring. Haha!

7. Took a long afternoon nap

sunway tower hotel

That’s the beauty of a staycation! You don’t feel the urge to get up early in the morning less you miss out on precious time which you can use to visit all the attractions in a foreign country. There’s a lot more time for real R&R during a staycation.

8. Nice dinner for two

poison dinner

We dressed up and went out for dinner at night again! It was at O’Viet by Du Viet and I had a funny incident that entails a close call with a near poisoning. Heh.

9. Ate Red Velvet Cake in bed

coffee bean

My dear bought this from the Coffee Bean outlet before we went back to the hotel room for the night. She opted for Red Velvet Cake and since we were still full from dinner, we had it to go so we can eat it later at night, since we had planned to stay up late and sleep in the next day.

red velvet cake

We ate this while watching movies in bed! Simple pleasures in life are the best…

10. Pigged out at the hotel buffet breakfast

buffet breakfast

I set the alarm just before the hotel buffet breakfast ended and totally pigged out with a full plate of food, and cereal, and yoghurt, and some croissants with maple syrup…

breakfast pigout

…before heading back to the room to hibernate.

cereal

We had asked for late check-out and left at 1:30 pm.

hotel

It was a fun staycation and it’s also an early celebration for our 1st anniversary together as a couple. We had our first vacation together in Melbourne, where I stayed for over 4 years and we’re looking to go abroad again soon!

staycation us

However, a staycation when you don’t have a lot of time and holiday leave to burn is an awesome option. :D

Durian white coffee, Musang King Tambun biscuits and other oddities

musang king tambun biscuit

This is probably one of the most interesting coffee I’ve ever had. It’s durian coffee and my dear got it for me on our trip to Penang last weekend. I’ve had kopi luwak (civet cat coffee) twice in Indonesia before but this 4-in-1 (the other being powdered durian) instant coffee appeals to me coz I love durians.

durian white coffee

It comes in gold foil packaging and has a wonderful nose. It’s like nothing I’ve ever had. The durian taste and flavor is so intense you can practically taste it. I guess that’s the point, eh? Haha! I can easily drink two cups of this, a wonderful find by my better half.

tau sar pneah

We also got lots of Tambun biscuits (heong pneah) and tau sar pneah for relatives and friends and one of the more interesting finds was one filled with Musang King durians.

musang king biscuits

It comes in a pack of 12 and retails for RM 7.20. This is supposed to be the first ever in Malaysia – Tambun biscuits double filled with Musang King durian pulp. It tastes really good, if you like durians.

white coffee biscuits

There’s also different flavored tau sar pneah (which I guess doesn’t make it tau sar pneah anymore, since “tau sar” translates to red bean). Coffee is one of my favorites. There’s a lot of manufacturers in Penang nowadays, the old school ones made with lard and the newer ones that’s halal to appeal to a broader market.

durian tambun biscuits

We made several trips to buy these and I pronounce them good! It’s been a while since we’ve had these! :)

5 things we ate at hawker stalls in Penang

1. Lorong Selamat Char Kueh Tiaw

lorong selamat

I had wanted my better half to try this, since she’s never had it before. It’s legendary for its 1 hour wait and when we were there the crowds were out in force!

crowd

There were no empty spots on tables and people had to stand in clumps beside diners to wait their turn.

plates queue

I was told that it’ll take longer than 1 hour based on the plates and there’s a rule about having to sit down before you can order. The price now has sky-rocketed to RM 10 per plate too! My dear didn’t want to wait and we went opposite the road to eat…

2. Curry Mee

curry mee

It’s RM 7 per plate and the guy told us he has run out of prawns so I think we paid RM 5. It’s still not too bad, loaded with pig’s coagulated blood and the broth is delicious! I wanted to go to the Lorong Seratus Tahun one but I couldn’t find it.

However, we did manage to find…

3. Sin Kim San banana pancake

banana pancake

I thought this was char kueh kak at first and ordered a plate (RM 6). It turned out that the stall sells banana pancakes.

chinese banana pancake

This was nothing special – just a Chinese interpretation of a pancake with lots of eggs and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. My dear makes *better* banana pancakes.

We did manage to eat CKT at the same place though.

4. Duck Egg Char Kueh Tiaw

I like the one near Pulau Tikus police station but since we’re here, we might as well satisfy the craving for Penang CKT. The duck egg version costs RM 4.50 – half the price of the overrated Lorong Selamat stalls.

duck egg

It was good, but slightly greasy. The prawns were fresh and succulent and there’s a huge helping of lap cheong (Chinese sausage) with it.

We were pretty much full at this point but managed to share a bowl of…

5. Ah Soon Kor Cham Lor

ah soon kor har mee

This is a distinctively Penang dish where you mix Lor Mee with Har Mee. The combination gravy is awesome! Ah Soon Kor is famous for their Har Mee (Prawn Mee) but my dear doesn’t really like it so we ordered the mixture instead.

cham lor

You can see the two different and distinct bases mixing together in the color of the gravy which makes it look like the yin yang symbol (if you squint hard enough ;)). It has lots of interesting goodies like deep fried shrimp and roasted pork belly and I thought it was good. We couldn’t finish it though coz we had so much food.

However, since we didn’t manage to eat the Lorong Selamat CKT I put as #1, here’s a bonus to fulfil the 5 dishes we ate in Penang.

Bonus: New World Ice Kacang Special

new world

I’ve eaten this a lot of times before. I like the tropical fruit mixture compared to the Penang Road cendol. It’s a very popular stall that serves drinks for the New World food court and their flagship costs RM 5.

ice kacang special

There’s atap chee, kidney beans, corn, papaya, bananas and lots of other fruits inside this shaved ice dessert, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

ling hb

It was a good weekend escape to Penang to relax and eat some food. We stayed at Traders Hotel, which cost us RM 800+ (more about that soon – there’s an interesting story behind it) and came back on Sunday rejuvenated.

Scratch that, we actually both caught the flu and fell sick but it’s a good vacation nonetheless! :)

My car ran out of petrol on the Penang Bridge!

out of gas

It happened just slightly after the toll. I felt the car slowly lose power…I had a sinking feeling that something has gone horribly wrong. I managed to cruise from the fast lane (on the right) across 3 lanes to the emergency lane. It felt like driving a car that was just running on momentum alone!

I realized that I had run completely out of gas. The car would not start at all. It just coughs. We had just passed the toll, maybe 500 meters or so and we’re stuck on the Penang Bridge!

stuck penang bridge

We had driven down from KL early in the morning and didn’t take any breaks except for toilet stops. I had stupidly thought that a tank of gas would be enough to get to Penang and I didn’t really look at the gauge so the massive traffic jam before the bridge was the final nail in the coffin.

I called the PLUS Highway emergency number and managed to get them to send a guy to meet us.

refill petrol

It took less than 5 minutes before a fellow on a motorcycle came up to me. He had a bottle of gasoline so he poured the minute amount (less than 500 ml is my guess) into my petrol tank and asked me to start.

I tried the ignition but the car won’t go – it seemed that there’s too little fuel for it to start.

low fuel

My better half intelligently told me to shut off the radio and air conditioning. I managed to start the car – just barely – after that. I know it wouldn’t last long and I’ll need to get to a gas station soon.

The PLUS representative charged me RM 40 for the petrol and after I willingly handed it over, asked for RM 10kang chi” (Hokkien for labor costs) making the total RM 50. What an opportunist!

8684

I didn’t really mind though coz it would have been worse to be stuck for hours on the Penang Bridge. We managed to use the GPS to find a nearby gas station and fill her up.

ron95

The PLUS dude said he’ll trail us. He never did. We were lucky to make it to the station on that little amount of gas. It was a bit of an adventure though, running out of gas. It’s something that we’ll be talking about down the years – “Hey remember the time we drove to Penang and we ran out of gas on the Penang Bridge?”.

It wasn’t the best start to our Penang trip but it sure was funny in hindsight and it’s a memorable start to our weekend holiday! :)

Our weekend trip to Gold Coast Morib Resort!

morib goldcoast us

I decided to take my better half and the kids on a trip last weekend. I was about to go to A-Farmosa in Melaka (gave the little ones a choice of that and Lost World of Tambun in Ipoh) before my dear told me about this place.

morib water park

Thus, we packed our bags and went to the water park that’s the flagship of Gold Coast Morib Resort!

kids

We got two adult tags for the water park which were valid for two (2) days as part of our check in package. I also got an additional bed (RM 60) which is a camping air bed that the big one slept on. It came with toiletries and +1 breakfast but no extra water park ticket.

waterpark tags

The water park tickets cost RM 20 for each child below the age of 12. I also rented a float for RM 10. There’s two really nice water slides (similar to each other) that me and my dear went on. It was a bit scary so the kids didn’t want to go on it. I got a big bruise from it though:

bruise

It’s coz I slid down by using the iron bar on top to speed myself up. Do not try to go down this head-first, you’ll likely be injured.

morib water slide

I did go on the other water rides head-first though. There’s a flat, wide water slide, three small and taller straight water slides side-by-side and a high and winding water slide with multiple twists which we all went on – sometimes in groups of *three* (me, my dear and the smallest one).

morib goldcoast

Dinner that night was at Golden Sea Restaurant – just a couple of minutes down the road. The food was good, we had steamed prawns (RM 25), Marmite chicken and lala fried rice vermicelli. I had a stomach bug though so I couldn’t finish dinner but we tapao-ed the rest back and everyone (including the kids) finished the leftovers!

steamed prawns

A word of warning – it’s almost impossible to get a table for the buffet breakfast at Gold Coast Morib Resort!

breakfast buffet

The water park doesn’t really check the tags so we didn’t have to buy another set for the kids the next day. That theoretically saved me RM 40 but unfortunately, I put a RM 50 note in my pocket as well as the hotel key card. It stayed right where it was the first day (which was a good thing since I had hundreds in there) but on the second day, I *lost* everything!

goldcoast morib resort

It wasn’t due to the slides, I went on them both days but the deep pool! I was pretending to be a dolphin while I dove up and down with the big one hanging on to me. I also tripped before entering the pool so that might have opened up the Velcro.

goldcoast morib beach

I couldn’t find both so I had to replace the key card and then we all went into the Jacuzzi and had ice cream while waiting for the check-out time.

jacuzzi

Pros:

  • No limitation to people in room (we didn’t need the extra bed but got it for comfort)
  • Breakfast is free for kids
  • Water park doesn’t check tags and encourages you to keep yours so you can use it the next day
  • Good food is available just a short drive away
  • You can get good paos from Tanjung Sepat on the way back

tanjung sepat pao

Cons:

  • The room isn’t clean – there’s even a discarded snack wrapper on the balcony
  • The resort can be noisy at night
  • Service is bad – no one answered the in-house phone and I had to call their external line to get toiletries
  • The resort isn’t well maintained – the hair-dryer in our room was broken and the maintenance guys had to fix it on the spot
  • There’s no swimming pool so you have to pay for the water park for that

family trip morib

Nevertheless, I had a lot of fun with my dear and the kids! It was a good weekend and we’re looking forward to the next one! :)

Highlights of our Langkawi trip: A foul madame, Underwater World and chocolates

ladies indoor pool

This is not the strangest thing we’ve seen on this trip. It’s also not related to the titled foul madames. The resort we stayed in actually has an indoor covered swimming pool just for the ladies!

jellyfish

If you’re wondering what’s going on inside and whether it requires an adult ID for entry…wonder no longer. The answer is nothing much and no. It’s just a feature to attract Arabic and other Middle Eastern families due to their Muslim religion. You can’t very well swim in a burka. It doesn’t exactly cut through the water like Ian Thorpe’s drag resistant and aerodynamic bodyskin swimming rig.

ritter sport

On to other matters, we also went chocolate shopping! We must have bought hundreds of dollars worth of imported, duty free confectionery.

ritter sport choc

I ate frozen Ritter SPORT for two weeks straight coz it’s 3 for RM 11.30.

ritter loacker limited edition

They also had this limited edition exclusive where they collaborated with Loacker (most famous for their wafer coated chocolates) for a Ritter-Loacker exclusive! It’s a Ritter SPORT that has a Loacker wafer inside and comes in two flavors – Strawberry & Vanilla-Wafer and Raspberry & Cranberry Yoghurt.

cognac chocolates

I thought it was okay, my better half loved it though and I must admit, it’s a pretty cool temporary partnership. It’s kinda like how Mars and Pods work but it’s for a limited time only.

liquer chocolates

On to other things, I saw the usual array of liquor chocolates and bought an Anthon Berg limited edition. This time they did a cocktail series! They usually do a standard array of liqueur chocolates with fillings made with Jack Daniels, Otard, Famous Grouse, Canadian Club etc and I don’t get overly excited with them.

chocolate cocktails

The Anthon Berg limited edition cocktails series doesn’t have branded liqueur inside but cocktails! It still uses the same hollow chocolate bottle with liquer inside though – I thought a cocktail glass would be cool. Flavors are Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Margarita, Strawberry Daiquiri. Not too bad but GOLDKENN Remy Martin cognac sticks are much better (although more expensive).

underwater world

We also went to Underwater World coz the kids wanted to go. There’s all sorts of underwater creatures kept in captivity from pink flamingos…

pink flamingos

…to penguins.

penguins

It reminded us of our first holiday together at Phillip Island in Melbourne. We went to the Penguin Parade and we tried to do a similar pose here. Haha!

us penguins

Langkawi’s Underwater World is getting a little run down and there’s not much for returning (or first time) visitors to see but it’s worth a trip if you have little kids.

huge fish

Hell, I even bought a ridiculously priced photo of us that we halfheartedly posed for (my better half told me not to get it coz it’s expensive) at the entrance coz I wanted a memento with my dear and the kids at the last minute. I did the same for our Sunway Lagoon trip. I guess I’m becoming one of those schmucks who goes for these things nowadays. smirk

foul madames

I bet you’re really wondering about that foul madame at this point now.

ful medames

It’s not a person, it’s a dish from Egypt that you can make yourself at the breakfast buffet. It’s the resorts policy to attract visitors from that region at work again. Ful medames is described as “cooked and mashed fava beans in olive oil”.

langkawi photo

That’s the last of Langkawi, till our next trip, here’s the aforementioned photo of us! :D

Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 in Phileo Resort, Malacca!

think blue philea

I was down in Malacca over the weekend for the Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013. This is the culmination of the push for sustainability and eco-awareness that had 30 finalists nationwide competing against each other to win the title of Malaysia’s most fuel efficient driver.

philea

Philea Resort is an ideal setting for the Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013. It’s an eco-resort located close to Malaccca. I’ve stayed here before earlier this year as a surprise my better half gave me. Its wooden chalets and sustainable living concepts are perfectly in sync with Volkswagen’s Think Blue. philosophy.

indoor stations

There are five tests in total for the first ever Think Blue. – National Challenge – three of the stations are indoors and and the remaining two of them outdoor driving challenge.

Station 1 was a quiz which had participants answering questions based on a booklet given during the journey here.

test 2

There is also a physical puzzle where finalists arrange cubes to the 9 tips for better fuel consumption described in the Think Blue. booklet. This is a time based challenge totaling to 10 points.

ipad test

The iOS Think Blue. Challenge app which I’ve been playing quite a bit is also one of the tests! The iPad game at Station 3 is where the finalists had to play the Think Blue. driving challenge online. The objective is to chalk up the most distance using the least fuel! Extra fuel was given for those who answer the bonus round correctly. The better you do; the more points you have! 10 points.

driving orange

Station 4, an orange was placed in a bowl on the Polo Sedan which humorously alludes to the tofu scene in Initial-D for driving fans. This is a physical driving test which contributes 20 points of the total score. As this was also a time based challenge, a penalty of 2 seconds was imposed if the driver knocks over any orange cones. And if the orange (the fruit, not the traffic cone) falls out of the bowl, the driver will need to stop the car, pick up the orange and continue driving – while the time is still ticking!

stations

The final challenge, Station 5, is a 20 kilometre drive at the track with the seventh generation of the Golf 1.4 TSI. This is a fuel efficiency test where every one of the finalists will need to apply the fuel saving tips they learnt throughout the Challenge. This better you score on the fuel consumption, the more points you’ll get. 50 points.

backseat

I hopped into one of the cars for the last challenge – it’s obvious that the participant has already read all the fuel saving tips in the booklet. He didn’t use air-conditioning, the windows were up (to improve aerodynamics), he switched up to the highest gear and tried to keep it there, coasting on gradients and keeping the speedometer stable.

fuel consumption

The best performer got an amazing 3.7 litres per 100 kilometres of fuel in real time driving!

ivan

Ivan from the Events team and Dara from PR were there to guide us around.

food philea

I was watching some do better than the others while sipping artisan coffee brought in to the lobby. I must say that Volkswagen always have the best treatment during its events! I was lucky enough to go to Germany with them last year.

think blue bag

Coincidentally, this is also where the winner of the Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 will be headed! It was a very close one as scores were tabulated and re-checked. The next morning, the winners were announced.

trophies

The prize-giving ceremony was held on three different level podiums – the 1st place is the lowest and the 3rd place highest, signifying the fuel consumption of the three winners. This is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the philosophy of Think Blue. – the holistic approach adopted by Volkswagen to foster environmentally compatible mobility and sustainable individual action.

winners

The “winner” is thus the person with the lowest fuel consumption. Ong Ling Kern narrowly defeated 29 other finalists (the runner up was 2 points behind – something he could have made up with one more correct question in the quiz) with Ong Wu Zhuan (no relation – who also got a Samsung S4 smartphone) and Chew Fun Sing (iPhone 5) bagging second and third place.

press con

Thus, as the first ever Malaysian Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 champion, Ong Ling Kern is off to represent Malaysia on an international driving competition held at the Think Blue. World Championship 2013 in Germany from 6th-10th September.

malaysian think blue

Winners from all around the world will take part in the world championship by competing against each other in a drive from Wolfsburg to Frankfurt in Germany.

slalom

The world champion will be determined based on the lowest amount of fuel used to complete the distance.

orange

Imagine doing that on the Autobahn! I’d love to see them try every possible fuel saving technique. There are some which are proven “hypermiling” (a relatively new buzzword for energy efficient driving) techniques built-in to newer Volkswagen cars like the start/stop system which automatically stops the car engine at red lights.

test 4

The Think Blue. initiative by Volkswagen is constantly striving to combine environmental protection with cutting-edge automotive technologies to give drivers low-emission vehicles.

finalists

However, drivers also need to play a part in adopting eco-concious behavior both on and off the road and that’s what events like the weekend’s Think Blue. – National Challenge 2013 is set to promote!

blu monkey

Interesting fact: Blu, the Think Blue. mascot is a monkey designed in Malaysia and adopted byVolkswagen AG in Germany! :)

Wonderland Food Store Seafood, Langkawi

wonderland langkawi

This is supposed to be one of the best seafood restaurants in town. I say this based solely on the fact that a lot of people like taxi drivers in Langkawi use it as a landmark/drop-off-point. Wonderland Food Store is just one of many seafood restaurants along the waterfront in town.

lobster

There are Thai style seafood restaurants, Malay seafood restaurants, and Chinese seafood restaurants, but many of the last don’t serve pork anyway. We decided on Wonderland Seafood coz we’re never eaten there before and a lot of people talks about it so we checked it out.

wonderland food store

It was a huge disappointment!

wonderland seafood

The mantis prawns were frozen instead of fresh, most of the dishes are unappealing with no plating considerations and even though it was packed, the clientèle seems to be mostly tourists – Japanese, Chinese, Korean etc.

wonderland coconut

To add to the list of sins, they hired an unlicensed taxi for us – which costs RM 1 more than the standardized fare – and is a highly unusual practice in Langkawi since the taxis are heavily regulated.

Kam Heong Mantis Prawn

mantis prawn

This is deep fried since they didn’t have any fresh ones. The proprietors said that the fishermen didn’t have any catches since it was the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays. The frozen mantis prawns tastes alright but I was looking forward to fresh steamed ones so it was slightly disappointing.

Fried Squid

squid

The squid was too chewy and just wasn’t fresh – it’s exactly the *opposite* of what I had hoped to eat in Langkawi, which is famous for their seafood since it’s a duty free island.

Soft Shell Crab

soft shell crab

This was fried the same way as the other two dishes so it’s quite jelak to eat so much deep fried battered seafood, even if all three are very different creatures. I thought it was mediocre.

Seafood Fried Rice

wonderland fried rice

RM 8 a plate and it comes with lots of squid! I suspect that the “seafood fried rice” contains whatever surplus seafood that you ordered. It’s oily and repetitive.

Steamed Sea Bass (Siakap)

sea bass siakap

This is the saving grace of our seafood dinner. I liked it so much I ate all of the fish – mostly by myself. Haha. The rest of the food we tapau and took it back to the hotel coz there were so much leftovers it was obscene.

wonderland bill

The bill costs RM 99 which was pretty reasonable. However, dinner wasn’t what we expected – we had been looking forward to a nice seafood meal in Langkawi. It could be the lack of fisherman’s produce due to the Hari Raya holidays as the restaurant didn’t have fresh seafood and had to resort to frozen ones. Or it could be just the wrong place to eat.

wonderland us

I can’t say I recommend Wonderland Seafood from our dining experience but I had a lot of fun with the kids and my better half! That’s all that matters. :)

Nyonya cuisine at The Mansion, Malacca

majestic hotel

I had a rather enjoyable Nyonya dinner at The Mansion at the Majestic Hotel in Malacca – a historical period building that has been turned into a rather nice inn. It’s not one of them budget lodging houses despite how the exterior looks.

mansion malacca

It’s right in the middle of town and the river that courses through Malacca (or Melaka as it’s spelled here) is just opposite the street, if you fancy a stroll by the waterfront.

pianist

The hotel even had a pianist playing soothing Bach (or was it Chopin?) scores while you’re eating your food. I’m being irreverent, I wouldn’t know one from the other although I had piano lessons till Grade 4.

peranakan food

Dinner was buffet style, with most of the dishes located in a central area – there are classic Peranakan food like udang masak nanas (prawns cooked in pineapple curry).

mansion toilet

The toilets are superbly maintained and clean – I was immediately soothed by the scent of vanilla instead of the usual odor of ammonia assaulting the nostrils. Oops…I probably shouldn’t have had this aside, kinda puts people off after talking about shrimp. smirk

bubur cha cha

Back to the food, I was quite full from lunch so I had several bowls of bubur cha cha – a sweet hot soup-like dessert made with gula Melaka (palm sugar) and yam, tapioca, sweet potatoes, all diced up into miniature cubes instead of the clumsy chunks that’s usually served up. It’s much more refined fare over here.

nyonya cuisine

There’s also classic Nyonya mainstays like pai tee (crispy pastry cups filled with an assortment of ingredients) and of course:

popiah
Popiah
Fresh spring roll made of sauteed sweet turnips wrapped in a wheat flour crepe

nyonya otak otak
Otak Otak with Kerabu Nanas
Spicy mackerel paste wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled, served with a tangy pineapple salad

lemongrass satay
Satay Lilit
Grilled chicken skewered on a lemongrass stalk

nyonya food

I didn’t know that otak otak is *only* made from mackerel! It’s information plagiarized gleaned from the leaflet that was on the table, which describes the unique Nyonya cuisine which is a product of inter-marriage between Chinese immigrants and the local Malays.

wine nyonya food

Fun (unresearched and vaguely remembered) fact: There’s a difference in salutation when a Chinese male marries a Malay female and the other way round. I believe the latter is called Nyonya and the former is Baba but I could be very mistaken since that was textbook stuff I recall from half a lifetime ago when I was studying Form 3 History.

kueh

I also found out Shiraz also goes well with Nyonya food but I’m blasé about Chardonnay. However, the best and arguably most well known product of this cuisine is the kueh (or pastries, but dismiss that mental image of pastries coz these are different) with the complex play of textures and flavors!

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