8 interesting things I bought for Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year is coming up in a few days! I’ve got all the things I need. I highlight some of the more interesting/quirky/unusual items I’ve purchased each year and here’s the list for 2016:

1. Famous Amos CNY Hamper

Famous Amos CNY Hamper

I bought this for my dear. I always get her a hamper during Chinese New Year and I heard her mentioning something about Famous Amos hampers. I know she likes the Famous Amos cookies so while at Curve one day, I went to look and decided to get her something that she enjoys eating. :)

2. Maxim Mini Egg Rolls

Maxim Mini Egg Rolls

I had gotten the same thing last year but it was the regular sized ones. They didn’t have the miniature size last year. This year, they imported in the smaller sized egg rolls and I bought it for my better half. Maxim is a well-known baked goods brand in Hong Kong (ironically there’s also a confectioners named Maxim in France, where I think they got their name from) and consistently has good egg rolls, although slightly more expensive since it’s imported for RM 68.

3. Sanbanto Bak Kwa

Sanbanto BBQ Pork Jerky

Sanbanto consistently comes up with the best bak kwa (BBQ pork jerky) in town. I always make it a point to grab some every CNY. It makes for a perfect gift as well. This time I bought 5 packs for friends and family while my better half got 2 packs for my dad. They’re a mixture of sliced pork jerky (which is more expensive at RM 69) and minced pork jerky (RM 63).

4. Brand’s CNY Essence of Chicken Hamper

Brands CNY Hamper

This one is for my better half’s parents. Her mom likes to drink Brand’s and I always get them a hamper for Chinese New Year too. Last year I got them a random hamper full of stuff that they might or might not like so this year I thought I’ll go the safer route and give them something I know they’ll consume. Funny story, I actually ordered this online from the Caring Pharmacy ecommerce site. However, I didn’t know it took so long for them to actually send it out and I made a special request to pick it up from Paradigm Mall since I was going to Sibu soon and they kindly accommodated me.

5. RM 20 instant noodles from Taiwan

Foos Kitchen Chili Beef Noodles

This is more like a purchase for Chinese New Year since you’re so busy entertaining guests to cook. I’ve never seen a RM 20.15 bowl of instant noodles before. This is Foo’s Kitchen Chili Flavored Beef Noodle Soup. It contains a 600 gram single serve microwavable bowl that has real beef slices and pork bone broth. I haven’t eaten it yet but it sounds good. There’s also the novelty of eating a RM 20+ dollar bowl of instant noodles! That’s the second most expensive instant noodles I’ve had. The most expensive is still the RM 62.50 bowl of Maggi instant noodles. smirk

6. Scotch Brite Chinese New Year Monkey Pad

God of Prosperity

I didn’t buy this per se. I just happened to be at the hypermarket beside me, stocking up on drinking water, when I saw this guy dressed up as the God of Prosperity walking around the cashier exits. One of the girls came up to me and asked if I wanted a free monkey shaped Scotch Brite pad.

Scotch Brite Monkey

It’s a limited edition sample meant for Chinese New Year so I thought it’ll go well here. It’s the Year of the Monkey, which is why there are so many monkey themed motifs. I gave it to my dear.

7. Starbucks Exclusive Coffee Wafer Rolls

Starbucks Exclusive Coffee Wafer Rolls

This is an interesting one – I didn’t plan for this purchase at all. I had gotten all I needed for CNY and was about to fly back to Sibu when I chanced across this at the airport. It was RM 42 and came with a free drink! I had time to kill before my flight at KLIA2 so I bought one. The barista was kind enough to let me choose *any* drink so I went with the latest Strawberry Red Velvet Mocha Frappuccino under the new Starbucks Espresso Confections.

Starbucks Ang Pow 2016

It came complete with whipped cream. This drink would normally cost around RM 20 for the largest size at the airport so that’s a significant discount from the “free large drink with purchase”. I also got two nice Starbucks ang pows from the barista.

8. Crab Stick Crackers

Crab Stick Crackers

This is the most amazing and wonderful thing I’ve ever seen. Yes, this is the first time I’ve seen it, although I’ve heard rumors of delicious morsels of surimi (crab sticks) that’s been deep fried as a Chinese New Year snack. It has the distinctive red color from the crab sticks, which are actually made from fish paste and crab flavoring. On the plus side, the color is very auspicious too. My dear’s mom got this for our family coz I was so intrigued by it. The crab stick crackers sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try it! Happy Chinese New Year, everyone.

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.

Centerpoint, PJ is the center of the world

blogger meet pj

I went to Starbucks Centerpoint after an event to meet up with people I haven’t met for a good three years – Kimberly, Suanie, and Paul Tan. Other bloggers in attendance were KY and Eiling, who were with me at the event (post tomorrow), ShaolinTiger, and KY’s roommate. We were there from about 10 pm till 2 am.

eiling cigars

I smoked one of Eiling’s cigars which probably costs more than what I’m paid in a week. ;)

outing aftermath

I paid a huge price for it though. My girlfriend pushed me around a little when I got home and kinda got one of my surface bar piercings to bleed.

Outing aftermath, sial.

See how much I love you guys and sacrifice so much for you all. :p

Starbucks Coffee merchandise

starbucks genting

Starbucks Coffee has been my main hangout with Rene in Genting Highlands. It has free Wi-Fi so I can update my blog from here.

starbucks city mug display

Starbucks Coffee makes City Mugs (RM 35), a huge ceramic collectable 20 oz mug from 20 different cities in the world.

starbucks city mug

This is the Kuala Lumpur one. I got one as a souvenir and another as a birthday present for Cherie.

starbucks after coffee gum

I noticed that Starbucks makes After Coffee Chewing Gum (RM 9.50) as well. The Starbucks chewing gum comes in peppermint flavor and has the Starbucks logo on it.

starbucks after coffee gum peppermint

Rene got one of those and it tastes great. It’s a great marketing strategy for “coffee breath”.

starbucks trick or treat

This is Trick or Treat (RM 17.50) which is a Halloween menu special.

starbucks trick or treat contents

Rene fed me while I was updating the blog so I can eat and update at the same time.

Thanks Rene!

Starbucks Halloween themed promotional drinks

pumpkin starbucks

Starbucks came out with three (3) different drinks to commemorate Halloween.
The drinks were launched last year in the US, which seems to be the
test market. Dubbed “The perfect union of sweetness and spice”, this
pumpkin infused coffee tastes great.

pumpkin spice coffee

Rene ordered the Pumpkin Spice Iced Coffee (RM 14)
which tastes great (but not after you have the Frappuccino, which makes
it seem bland).The spice (think it’s nutmeg) adds a lot to the drink
and you can actually taste the pumpkin if you close your eyes and think
of farms. ;)

pumpkin frappuccino

I had the Pumpkin Spice Iced Frappuccino Blended Coffee
(RM 15.50) which administers a dose of Zen to the user with each sip.
It is really that good, it should be put on the must try list. It’s a
little sweet though, but the nutmeg offsets that.

pumpkin latte

This is the Pumpkin Spice Latte (RM 14) which is
the third and final promotional drink. It’s a latte with generous
helpings of nutmeg and it’s a really good drink if you’re only wearing
a T-shit in Genting Highlands.

Starbucks Chinese New Year promotional drink – Caramel Macchiato

starbucks caramel macchiato promo

Starbucks is having another festive themed drink to commemorate the upcoming Lunar New Year with the Caramel Macchiato
(RM 13.50). The promotional poster has Chinese letters on it and other
festive decors like firecrackers and the tagline is an uninspiring
“Celebrating with Coffee”.

starbucks caramel macchiato

I passed by the Starbucks at MidValley Megamall after work just now
and decided to have a large Caramel Macchiato. It’s two shots of
espresso into foamed milk and it’s decorated with the signature
criss-cross caramel topping.

starbucks caramel macchiato froth

It tastes great but for the life of me, I cannot correlate the
relationship between a Caramel Macchiato and the upcoming Lunar New
Year.

It makes my brain hurt just thinking about it so I’m going out clubbing tonight since all the work is done. ;)

Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino Light Blended Coffee Christmas Special

starbucks christmas drinks

Starbucks has this sign proclaiming that The Christmas Drinks Are Here
in a nicely decorated chalkboard design full of holiday cheer (Joy to
All) at their Midvalley Megamall franchise just now, and we went in to
sample this year’s seasonal lineup while waiting out the heavy rain
earlier this evening.

starbucks christmas drinks 2005

There are two new offerings for the Christmas season in the
traditional two drink format (one hot drink and one cold one, usually a
frap). There is Crème Brulee Latte for the ones who
prefer hot coffee in sizes of Tall, Grande and Venti for RM 11, RM
12.50 and RM 13.50 respectively. The ice blended offering for this
Christmas is the Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino Light Blended Coffee that also comes in sizes of Tall, Grande and Venti for RM 12, RM 13 and RM 14.

starbucks christmas cheer

The Christmas decorations seems to have been put up too, despite
being still a good month (and then some) away from Christmas day, but
that’s pretty standard since consumerism reigns king for the most
profitable holiday season for most retailers. The airwaves were also
filled with Christmas carols, inspiring a yearning for material
oriented spending in this glorious holiday, which has pretty much lost
its significance a long time ago. ;)

starbucks peppermint frappe venti

Anyway, being one to contribute positively to the country’s economy
(er…patronizing Starbucks franchises in Malaysia counts as domestic
spending, right?) I ordered a large (Venti) Peppermint Mocha
Frappuccino Light Blended Coffee. It comes with whipped cream and red
sprinkles on top to add more color to the festive cheer.

starbucks peppermint frappe sprinkles

The Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino Light Blended Coffee
tastes surprisingly good, despite my initial impression that Starbucks
didn’t seem to be very innovative with this year’s Christmas lineup.
The mocha based Frappuccino retains a strong chocolate taste, and the
strong peppermint sneaks up on you with a strong minty aftertaste with
each drink.

I don’t know what peppermint has to do with Christmas though, but hey, it only happens once a year… ;)

Starbucks AFFOGATO Frappuccino

starbucks affogato

The AFFOGATO line of Frappuccino is Starbucks latest beverage that
features an interesting shot of espresso being poured into a
Frappuccino. It comes with the tagline “Strange name, wonderful drink” which was what attracted me to this latest version of the Frappuccino.

starbucks affogato promo

I just managed to check out the Affogato style Frappuccino last
night at the Starbucks at KL Sentral. The AFFOGATO style Frappuccino
comes into new flavors – Chocolate Cream Frappucino and Caramel Creme
Frappuccino. I got Venti sized ones for both variants to sample.

starbucks affogato duo

The AFFOGATO style Frappuccino is differentiated from the usual
offerings in the interesting textures that manifests when a shot of
espresso is dumped into an ice blended drink.

starbucks affogato choc

I like the Chocolate Cream Frappuccino – it tastes rich and
satisfying, though the caffeine content wasn’t as high as I would
expect from a double shot Frappuccino…

starbucks affogato caramel

However, it was the Caramel Creme Frappuccino that I fell in love
with. The Caramel AFFOGATO Frappuccino manages to retain just the right
amount of sweetness and texture to make the drink shine through.

AFFOGATO – Strange name, Wonderful drink. ;)

Starbucks Enticing Espresso Rhumba Frappuccino

starbucks curve

I’m at the Starbucks in The Curve right now; enjoying a Venti sized Espresso Rhumba Frappuccino.
I’ve been here since noon – I heard it’s the newest concept shopping
mall in KL and came here to check it out (photos and write-up later).

espresso rhumba frappuccino banner

The Starbucks “Enticing” Espresso Rhumba Frappuccino is billed as
“our signature Espresso blended with ice, coffee and rhumba chocolate
chips, topped with whipped cream and delicious chocolate drizzle”.

espresso rhumba frappuccino walls

It’s the latest promotion at Starbucks and the windows are adorned with the Espresso Rhumba Frappuccino stickers. The Tall sized ones goes for RM 11.50, the Grande ones for RM 12.50 and the Venti for RM 13.50.

espresso rhumba frappuccino

I went for the Venti size, which is what I usually get…there’s no
such thing as too much coffee. ;) It tastes good – the Espresso Rhumba
Frappuccino has bits of chocolate in it that melts in your mouth (as
long as you don’t choke on it first by sucking too hard).

starbucks curve bulls

I’m just chilling here with the Espresso Rhumba Frappuccino and a
bottle of Perrier before waiting for my flight back to Kuching. It’s a
business trip and I’ve finished the assignment here so I’ll just be
looking at the…bulls…

Hmm…

Oh, and the Starbucks staff just gave me a free sample of the Caramel Frappaccino.

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