Thursday, April 28, 2011

A to Z Fun Things to Do & Places to Visit with Kids in Kuala Lumpur

This was an e-book, to be precise, which I found while browsing through the blog of the very creative Emila Yusof, whom I have now added to my blogroll. She is a professional blogger painter, children's book writer and illustrator, as well as a freelance illustrator.

I like the clean layout of her blog and if you ask my close friends, they would say that it is a very 'me' blog. I think it is more me than my own blog!

This e-book is basically a children's guide to places of interest in KL. I would think that children would be attracted to the illustration and would be motivated to recognise the words used. Without realising, children are developing several skills, such as literacy, language, social and conceptual among other skills. I will go into more detail about these skills in a following post.

I am heartened with the fact that there is someone out there in Malaysia producing some good quality stuff for our kids. More importantly, stuff that is relevant to the lives of Malaysian children.

She has made it free for all to download for personal use. Please go to, scroll down to nearly the bottom and you would be able to see it on your right.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mother Chu's Taiwanese Gourmet

Despite having lived in Sydney for the past eight years, I have not dined in many of the eateries in Chinatown. One place some of my friends have frequented for quick feeds is Mother Chu's Taiwanese Gourmet.

I finally had a chance to eat here with an invitation from a friend who wanted to catch up with me and was concerned for my health. He had 'healthy' intentions but everything we ordered for tea that arvo was far from healthy. Just have a look at what we had:

The egg tart made me miss the Portuguese egg tarts sold at King's Confectionery. This egg tart had soft pastry and a centre which melted in the mouth.

The Hungry Bon Vivant left a comment on Street Food saying that the 油条 (yóu tiáo) with hot soy drink is a traditional Taiwanese breakfast and this establishment is filled with Taiwanese in the mornings. Literally, it means oil strip.

For Malaysians like me, I suppose we are more used to crispy golden you tiao sold at a roadside stall with a big black wok with oil only God (and the stall keepers) know how old. I do not know about other people but I use more of the Cantonese pronunciation of 'yao char guai' than the proper Mandarin 'you tiao'.

The next time I return to KL, I have to be sure to take photos of the other varieties of yao char guai, as well. Perhaps some photos on how we Malaysians have it with bubur cha cha, bak kut teh and porridge?

Mother Chu's Taiwanese Gourmet on Urbanspoon

Mother Chu's Taiwanese Gourmet
Shop 1-4, 86-88 Dixon St, Chinatown 2000
Tel: +61 2 9211 0288
Open 7 days 8:00am - 8:00pm
Unlicensed, BYO, Corkage $1 person
No Cards (Cash only)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

AJ's Indian Restaurant

AJ’s does not need any introduction to the local community. Their outstanding blend of food and services has earned them many prestigious awards and a wide array of delighted customers. Among the awards that they have garnered include the 2010 I Love Food Award (NSW State Winner) and the 2010 Best Restaurant Of The Year.

Due to its convenient location (less than five minutes by car from Aunty's house to be precise), we have dined there a few times. Every time we do, we never fail to order their mango lassi.

We have also tried their Sabzi Pattie, a delicious, purely vegetarian entrée, which reminded me of something I had in Adelaide with Yu Sheng, Jeng Yie and their Bruneian friend a few years back.

For mains, we have tried their Aloo Gobhi, potato and cauliflower lightly braised with tomatoes, onion and spices...

... their Daal Tarka, a thick soup-like red lentil dish with a flavoured oil dressing...

... and their Pista Murgh, chicken simmered in a combination of crushed pistachios, yoghurt, cream and cardamom, something we ordered out of curiosity.

Instead of having rice like we normally do, we often opt for the Mixed Basket of plain, garlic and cheese naan to go with the mains.

We, especially Aunty, also enjoy their accompaniments of Pappadums and to be eaten with the Pappadums, Raita, chilled yoghurt with shredded cucumber.

If you live nearby, do give them a try but be sure to make a booking beforehand, as they can get very packed in the evenings. For Muslims, fret not, they serve halal meals.

Aj's Indian on Urbanspoon

AJ's Indian Restaurant
58a Balaclava Road, Eastwood, NSW 2122
Tel: +61 2 9874 9090; Mobile: +61 421 363 697

Monday, April 11, 2011

Early learning matters

Early learning is one of the smartest investments that we can make. Children should not be playing catch-up when they enter kindergarten, and yet so many do. If we want greater success later and a better-skilled workforce, we need to ensure the proper development of our most at-risk children at these earliest ages.

This video is by Save the Children, the world's leading independent organization for children. Their vision is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Their mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Working in rural communities across the world, ensuring children living in poverty have a chance at a fair start, Save the Children is one of the many such organisations doing such work.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Chefs Gallery

There were mixed reviews from friends when I asked around for people to join me on a trial meal at Chefs Gallery.

Some tell me that they are not worth the price paid, which made me even more curious! And also thanks to a very food-savvy friend who showed me tempting photos of some of the food served there. I am glad I patronized, as the first visit had me going back there for more!

They sport a bright interior, with high ceilings and some Chinese pottery pieces, to add to the 'antique-ish' feel. The high ceiling also helps to make the place seem more spacious.

It seems that the open kitchen concept is catching on. Their kitchen is fully visible and they maximize it by showcasing their noodle-pulling techniques.

The noodles are not called hand-pulled noodles, or la mian for no reason. Literally, 拉 (lā) means to pull or stretch, while 麵 (miàn) means noodle. The hand-making process involves taking a lump of dough and repeatedly stretching it to produce many strands of thin, long noodle.

There are several styles of twisting the dough but they all employ the same concept: a piece of dough is repeatedly stretched and folded onto itself in order to align the glutens and warm up the dough for stretching. Then it is rolled out to a workable thickness and cut into workable portions. The end pieces of the starting dough are never used because the glutens are not as aligned as the middle pieces. This dough is then pulled to about an arm span's length. The puller then makes a loop with the dough, joining the two ends into one clump of dough, and inserts his fingers into the loop to keep the strand from sticking to itself. Doing this, the pull has doubled the length of the dough while fractioning its thickness. This process is repeated several times until the desired thickness and quantity is achieved.

Made and cooked to order, the chef in charge of your order would serve you, a concept I have not experienced before. I suppose, we get to 'meet' the person who made our food. They come all armored with occupational health and safety gear, like the mouth-guard they wear.

Chefs Gallery also provides patrons with a coat cover, which is like a pullover for your jackets and what-nots that you place over your chair. This helps prevent your clothes from smelling like food or from soiling.

Among the noodles that we tried were the thick handmade noodles wok fried with Chinese mushrooms and bean sprouts in premium soya sauce...

... and the diced chilli chicken tossed with handmade noodles.

This dish was the main attraction for me because the spicy-sour-sweet taste reminds me of my favourite dish of pig trotters in vinegar.

There are other things there, which were stellar, as well. For instance, the cucumber served cold with a hint of chilli oil was addictive with its cold and spicy crunch effect.

The handmade egg tofu lightly panfried topped with preserved vegetables was perfect for the egg and tofu sucker in me!

Their fluffy Chinese roti, or 手抓饼 (shǒu zhuā bǐng) resembled our roti canai very much. We reckon they make them better than Mamak - personal opinion only.

We also ordered the cute little piggy face buns.

No, they were not cha siew paus, they were sesame buns. Haha!

We also had a basket of what looked to be pumpkins, which had lotus paste inside.

And I totally recommend the dessert they have on their menu. The osmanthus and goji berry jelly had just the right sweetness and would be very refreshing on a hot day.

The mango ice cream served with mango puree and a lightly fried sweet potato ball was an interesting combination. It also came with almond shaving, which added another dimension to the taste palate. Loved it!

Price is reasonable, taking into account the service and ambience. But be prepared to queue so try to avoid peak meal times.

Chefs Gallery Restaurant
Shop 12 (facing Bathurst Street), Ground Floor Regent Place, 501 George Street, NSW 2000
Tel: +61 2 9267 8877, Fax: +61 2 8004 8143

Chefs Gallery on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Sunday at home

I will miss Sundays like this one, when we randomly felt like making our own 'chapati'. Being the ignorant missy I am, I did not know that it was just as simple as mixing water with flour and kneading it to your preferred texture. And then, of course, flattening it with a rolling pin.

It was an oil-free pan and thank goodness for housemate's non-stick Tefal!

We had it there until it turned slightly brown for that little crispiness.

She cooked up a bowl of lentils (sudden crave for lentils for some unknown reason) and a plate of potato stir-fried with tuna and sweet chilli sauce (which was super yum!).

Oh, and I will forever remember how I woke up to this lovely note stuck to my door from the other housemate:

Trust me, he will miss my perky voice and other housemate's loud house slipper's 'pik-piak' sounds.