Monday, May 16, 2016

Hiatus

Dear all,

I am taking a short break from blogging. Not sure how long I define short as, but it would be for at least 3 months because my submission date is exactly 3 months from today.

Three months without my stories isn't too long, I don't think. ;)

In the mean time, I will be updating my Instagram, so do drop by when I randomly wander through your thoughts.

Keep safe, y'all!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Tropical Fruit Farm

I have heard Dad talk about the Tropical Fruit Farm in Penang once and have made it a point to visit the orchard the next time I holidayed in Penang. Therefore, this trip, I dragged the bestie couple and Jennie along on my fruit exploration.



We paid RM40 each to join a guided farm tour, which included a fruit place and fruit juice. The tour lasted about half-an-hour.



The guide spoke in immaculate English and was very knowledgeable in the fruits grown at the orchard. He even introduced the medical benefits of each fruit and there were some trivia info, as well. 


The orchard is 25 acres wide and has more than 250 types of tropical and sub-tropical fruits. Some are familiar to us, some not quite. The orchard uses organic fertilisers, some even processed on site from their own fruit waste. Chemicals are used only when absolutely needed. 



I found the guided tour educational and could see how it contributes to the eco and agro-tourism of the state (and country). I am pretty sure that not only will foreigners learn a thing or two but also locals, especially when the current generation spend much time looking at an electronic version of plants and not the real version.



We were also introduced to their enzyme processing facility and I ended up buying a bottle of special enzyme to helped with my period pains. Apparently, they have an online facility that allowed for online shopping of their products but the selection is limited. Hm, seems that I may have to visit them again to buy a bigger bottle of that enzyme!

Tropical Fruit Farm
Batu 18, Jalan Teluk Bahang, Teluk Bahang, 11500 Penang, Malaysia.
Tel: +60 4 866 5168; Mob: +60 12 497 1931
E-mail: info@tropicalfruitfarm.com.my
Daily 9:00am to 5:00pm

Friday, May 13, 2016

Roomies Suites

I have had the experience staying with Roomies Penang and thought of them when I made my next trip to Penang. Coincidentally, they had a newly opened branch called Roomies Suites and so I made it a point to stay there. Also in Batu Feringghi, they are located in a complex directly opposite Golden Sands Resort called Eden Parade.

The complex building itself was not impressive. In fact, we were a little skeptical when taking the lift, as it felt a little dodgy. However, when we arrived on our specified level, we were welcomed by a wall of synthetic green grass and a brightly-lit corridor.


Their reception area was spacious and decorated with bright colours. The check-in process was rather speedy and we found out that the manager there was Indonesian.


The television was playing in the background and there were coffee and tea-making facilities. Only some rooms were on this side of the complex and we gave the bestie couple a room here due to M's back problem. Well, you see, if you have to climb a ladder to get to bed, it is not advisable to do so with a bad back.


The other family rooms with loft beds were on the other side to the reception area. See that colourful door? That's where the rooms were and we had to key in a security code to enter.


It was clear that they had children in mind with setting up the Loft Room. There were toys, a kiddy tent, beanbags and a colourful carpet under the loft.


We were able to enjoy movies lying in bed. It was really comfortable but found the soundproofing a little lacking, as we could hear people laughing and running outside.


The bathroom was clean, simple and we had a rain shower. Would have been more handy to have more hooks for clothes inside the bathroom, though.


Breakfast was included and the next morning, we had a packet of nasi lemak. I made myself a cup of tea to go with it. Simple but satisfying.


1-9B Eden Parade, 1 Jalan Sungai Emas, 11100 Batu Feringghi, Penang, Malaysia.
Tel: +60 4 881 1378; Mob: +60 12 474 1869, +60 16 477 5227

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi 邱公司

In my opinion, the Khoo Kongsi is a must-visit whenever in Penang. Open to members of the public every day of the year from 9:00am to 5:00pm, we paid RM10 to enter and were given postcards and a sticker each. Children under the age of 12 require only RM1 to enter while children under the age of five do not require a fee to enter.

Kongsi translates into clanhouse and in this case, this clanhouse belongs to the Khoo clan with an impressive lineage dating back 650 years. Located in the oldest part of Georgetown amidst other pre-War buildings, it is the grandest of all the clanhouses in Malaysia with elaborate and highly ornamented architecture. Together with the Cheah, Yeoh, Lim and Tan Kongsi, they were known as the Five Big Clans and formed the backbone of the Hokkien community in early Penang.

The clanhouse is made up of a cluster of buildings, including an association building, a traditional theatre (pictured below) and late 19th-century clan houses encircling a granite-paved square. The Khoo Kongsi is a clan association belonging to the Leong San Tong (Dragon Mountain Hall) clan, whose forefathers originate from Sin Kang District (now known as Xiangcheng District 芗城区) in the Chinese province of Fujian (福建省).


The Khoos were one of the wealthy groups Straits Chinese traders of 17th century Malacca and early Penang. The forefathers of the Khoo family who emigrated from South China built it as a clan house for members of the Khoo family in 1851. Then, the clan complex resembled a miniature clan village, with its own self-government, as well as educational, financial, welfare and social organisations. In 1894, it burnt down from allegedly lightweight and the Chinese believed that it was due to its resemblance to the Emperor's palace, which provoked the gods. In 1902, they begun building a scaled-down version, which was completed in 1906 with the addition of a clan temple. The clan temple is dedicated to the clan's patron deities and also houses a collection of ancestral tablets. I did not take a photograph of the deity altars and ancestral tablets as as sign of respect. I did, however, take a photograph of the entrance of the temple, where there are elaborate paper lanterns painted with the Khoo (邱) surname.


Even though scaled-down, the complex still boasts a magnificent hall embellished with intricate carvings and richly ornamented beams of the finest wood bearing the mark of master craftsmen from China.


Lifting my head, I was even amazed at how much thought was put into the roof patterns. Evidently, the architectural expression that received most attention was the timber work. Just look at how carefully calculated all the trusses and beams are held in place using a technique called "three cross beams, five queen posts".


The basement has been converted into a museum and if you are lucky like my friends and I were on one of our visits, you may bump into a local Khoo paying his respects to his ancestors who would volunteer to explain things to you. It was through one of the many Mr. Khoos and his son who happily shared information regarding how prolific Khoo descendants would have a plaque displayed at the Kongsi. Only the boys, though, as the girls would not carry on the family name. They have a genealogy chart, which they strictly abide by and today, they have followed up to their 27th generation.

The Kongsi is rather hidden from view and even the main entrance of the Kongsi is rather inauspiciously marked. Would help to ask the locals for directions but do keep an eye out or Google for Owl Shop, as the entrance is just next to this shop.

18 Cannon Square, 10200 Penang, Malaysia.
Tel: +60 4 261 4609, Fax: +60 4 262 2591
E-mail: info@khookongsi.com.my

Monday, May 09, 2016

Chew Jetty 姓周桥

One of the main attractions of Penang Island aka Pearl of the Orient are the clan jetties. Of eight clan jetties, only six remain. Over a century old, each jetty belongs to a clan and are part of the area recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage. 


Chew Jetty is the biggest of of the seven clan jetties with the most stilt-homes, longest walkway and is the most tourist-friendly.


Wall art of Grandpa and Grandson
Tourism was evident from how many homes had their front verandah converted into souvenir shops or cafes.


There were also traces of props left behind by several movies. Two movies that immediately spring to mind are Ice Kacang Puppy Love (初恋红豆冰) directed by Ah-Niu (阿牛) and The Journey (一路有你) directed by Chiu .


There were many sampans and fishing equipment in sight, reminding visitors of one of the initial uses of the jetties as loading docks and to moor sampans. 



The Chew, Lim, Yeoh and Tan jetties are the older jetties while the Lee and Mixed Surname jetties are the newer additions.


Although the jetties are tourist-friendly, we have to be mindful when walking around in groups so as not to disrupt the daily lives of the residents there. After all, these are real homes that make up the water settlements.


Visiting Chew Jetty was my second experience of water settlements and I have say that I was greatly impressed by how clean the place was compare to my first experience at Pulau Ketam. I understand that the latter has a much bigger population and relies heavily on its fishing industry but first impressions matter, especially when it comes to the cleanliness of the place.


There was a network of narrow boardwalks connecting the different houses and I imagined a rather interesting childhood for the children living here.


Like our homes, they also had all the amenities and technology. Many, of not all homes had an Astro dish fixed outside.

A friend of mine asked me if they get taxed, as they live on water and not land. Frankly, I have no idea. Anyone does?


The clan jetties are situated a stone's throw away from the ferry terminal and are accessible by public transport, which I would recommend over driving. Of course, walking is the next best option, to help burn off all the extra pounds gained from Penang's notoriously irresistible street food.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

My Worthy Book experience

Some of you may remember my first Worth Book experience at The Burger Factory in Kota Kemuning last year. As there are so many vouchers in the book, I had to share and therefore, the Worth Book experience for this post was my brother's and his girlfriend's.

They used a Buy 1 Free 1 Pasta voucher for Capricciosa. They went to the outlet in Sunway Putra Mall. They chose two pasta dishes of the same price. They were informed that should they have chosen dishes of differing prices, the free dish would be of equal value to the cheaper dish.


They chose a Salmone and a Granchio, which they felt were balanced in flavour and texture. The Salmone is the dish in the foreground, the plate of penne with smoked salmon, baby spinach and cherry tomatoes in tomato cream sauce topped with grilled salmon. The Granchio is the other dish in the background, the plate of spaghetti with crab meat and sautéed garlic in tomato cream sauce.


Check them out on their websiteFB pageInstaTwitterblog and YouTube channel. They are also available for purchase at all major bookstores, such as MPHKinokuniyaPopularTimes and Borders, as well as selected myNEWS.com and 7-Eleven outlets in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. Their latest edition is valid from October 1, 2015 until September 30, 2016.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Matsuda Japanese Restaurant

For Evon's birthday, I took her to enjoy her favourite Japanese cuisine at a place we normally do not visit - Kota Kemuning. Initially, I was thinking of taking her to Nihon Kai but ended up choosing Matsuda instead. Well, have to try new places, right?

I think you could tell what we ordered just by looking at the photos. We left the place feeling very satisfied with the service, the portion, the freshness of the seafood including the sashimi, and the flavours. 


Texture of the unagi was to my liking, the used quality ingredients in their miso and did not skimp on the size of sashimi cuttings.


I wouldn't mind visiting again, just to try more things on their menu. I also liked how they priced their food. And the best part would be, plenty of parking.


Matsuda Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Matsuda Japanese Restaurant
35-1, 8 Jalan Anggerik Vanilla BE31/BE, Kota Kemuning, 40460 Selangor, Malaysia
Tel: +60 3 5131 6028
Weekdays Noon to 3:00pm, 6:00pm to 10:30pm
Weekends Noon to 10:30pm

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Madame Waffle @ IOI City Mall

One fine arvo, Alicia and I had a waffle craving and decided to satisfy it by driving over to IOI City Mall for a quick bite. We swiftly paced ourselves to the top level where Madame Waffle is located. We wondered what franchise waffles would taste like.


I liked the design of their store. I thought it was smart to use  cubes to represent waffle. One look and it would make people think, oh, yea, them.

As we wanted to quick bite, we chose simple things off their menu. As they sell themselves as the first artisan Belgian waffle-makers using Japanese ingredients in Malaysia, we of course, had to order a Japanese-ish waffle, right?

And so, we ordered a Matcha Waffle, which I paired with a hot cup of Japanese Matcha Latte. Ah, I have to say, I was surprisingly impressed. Freshly-baked, indeed and the latte, not shortchanged in flavour at all.


We thought it would be good to try a plain waffle. We then chose our own toppings to go with it and the below is the end result of our selection, pretty right?


Wouldn't mind going again to try their other waffles. Am quite attracted to the cinnamon one. Alicia, we go again, ya?

Madame Waffle @ IOI City Mall
S-K3 Level F2, IOI City Mall, Lebuh IRC, IOI Resort City, 62502 Putrajaya, Malaysia.
Daily 10:00am to 10:00pm

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Let It Rain Cafe 下雨吧

There was a period of time when I was following people who were good with their hands - calligraphy, painting, sketching, printing, binding. One of these accounts belonged to the owner of this cafe and what really caught my attention was the name of the cafe. How unique is "Let It Rain"? Or in Mandarin, 下雨吧, which literally means just rain. Like, aiya, just rain la... how apt for the scorching hot weather in KL at the moment.


Visiting them on a weekday during lunch time is one of the most testing experiences because it is so darn difficult to find a legal parking spot close to the cafe. I say legal because Cyberjaya is not one of those places where you could double park or park on a yellow line or an unmarked spot without getting a fine. They carry out their duties responsibly, the officers from the Sepang Municipal Council. Most of my visits here had me walking from quite a distance.

The set up of the cafe is pretty simple and being creative people, there was evident use of recycled and inexpensive material. More importantly, they welcome visitors warmly.


There were also items from the past, to add a nostalgic feel to some corners.


In addition to food and drinks, there were also other things on sale. Upon closer inspection, I realised that there were mostly in support of local start-ups, local artistes and other local DIY people like the owner. Super like!


Their menu is constantly being modified and they try their hardest to offer home-cooked meals that are affordable, balanced and healthy. You can expect unique names to their food, too, like Porky Moonlight Hor Fun, Mama Mee Ah..., Crazy Office Porky Sandwich and Honey Bee Coffee.

One of my visits with Kelly saw her ordering a cold drink called Lemon Chrysanthemum. I thought it was an interesting drink because it was my first introduction to this combination. I mean, chrysanthemum ice cubes added to lemon juice, I would never have been able to come up with this refreshing mix.


They also serve hand-drip coffee here, with a limited selection of beans. Their friendly staff would explain when asked.

Food-wise, let's just say that I am so happy that they only use brown rice here. I have tried their Ojisan Porky Don, which I thought would have been more enjoyable if there was a little more moisture to it. Still, it was flavoursome.


Their Rice Wine Ginger Porky Rice really tasted like something I would have at home. It was thoughtful of them to separated the pork to the rice, as some people prefer not to have the sauce mixed in with the rice.


I feel that it is a plus point that they also practice the lunar calendar vegetarian observance (1st and 15th days of the lunar calendar). On occasions, they hold flea markets, exchange bazaars and also autograph/media sessions.

5 Block E, Jalan GC4, Glomac Cyberjaya, 63200 Cyberjaya, Malaysia.
Tel: +60 3 8322 5466; E-mail: letitraincafe@gmail.com
Weekdays 11:00am to 8:00pm
Saturday Noon to 6:00pm
Cash transactions only

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