Saturday, January 30, 2016

N2 Extreme Gelato

I have walked past this popular gelato shop countless of times but have not had the courage to find out what the fuss was all about until many years after their opening.

It looked a lot like my chemistry lab back in school - even the people working there had lab coats as part of their uniform. The use of beakers and cylinders added to that science lab feel.

What made it more Einstein-ish was the smoky effect from the evaporation of liquid nitrogen, the main ingredient in what first made them a hit in Sydney, as liquid nitrogen is what makes it achieve its ultra-smooth texture.

I decided to start my N2 experience with their signature flavour, the Ferrero Reveal. It was an overflowing cup of chocolate hazelnut gelato jam packed with chopped hazelnuts and rice bubbles wrapped in more rice bubbles dipped in chocolate and finished with a warm chocolate ganache syringe.

I loved the flavours and good balance of opposite textures. Although I appreciate the extra chocolate in the syringe, I could hardly get any of it out, as it was all frozen in the syringe!

N2 Extreme Gelato Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

N2 Extreme Gelato
43/1 Dixon Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
Daily 1:00pm to 11:00pm 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Burger Project

I am not much of a burger person but because this is by Neil Perry AM, I thought perhaps I should give it a go. And so, with a group of friends, I did. 

The place was rather easy to find, as it was next to Din Tai Fung in World Square. Nothing really fancy about it, either, just simple clean lines and fuss-free dining spaces.

Well, obviously, we would have to have burgers at a burger place. And so we tried several:

Chilli Cheese ($10.50) - grass-fed beef, cheese, jalapeño, onion, pickles, tomato, lettuce and secret sauce.

Spicy Fried Chicken ($10.50) - free range chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, cheese, jalapeño and rose mayonnaise.

Magic Mushroom ($10.50) - crumbed confit mushroom, cheese, onion, pickles, tomato, lettuce and secret sauce. 

We also tried their Crispy Hot Wing (1 for $3.90, 3 for $9.90). These whole chicken wings with Sichuan pepper and salt were finger licking good!

We also ordered chips (small for $2.90, large for $4.90) to share, and for little Jayxen, who loves chips.

Jen ordered a Strawberry Shake ($6.50), apt for the hot weather.

They recently opened in the food court of the MLC Centre.

Burger Project Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Burger Project
Shop 11.06 Level 1, World Squre, 644 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
Daily 11:00am to 9:00pm 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Kilim Karst Geoforest Park

Although I have visited Langkawi several times, this was my first boat ride through the mangrove forest. It started from the beach at Tanjung Rhu, a famous spot where a rock in the shape of a ship can be seen.

Located on the northern-most tip of the island, there were many speed boats lined up along the shore. Presumably, they belonged to various tour operators taking tourists into the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park for river and mangrove tours. 

Why not, if that would help create awareness and help preserve our fast-dwindling nature reserves? This area consists of century-old limestone formations, limestone caves and crags, waterways and mangroves, making it rich in flora and fauna diversity.  

Our first stop was at one of the so-called marine farms.

In different sections there would be different fish...

I was particularly intrigued by the rays...

Our 2nd stop was a complimentary photo stop in front of the huge signage of Kilim Geoforest Park emblazoned across a huge limestone wall. This limestone island, is one of the thousands of limestone pinnacles that are part of the oldest limestone formation in Malaysia, the Setul Formation.

After a lunch stop on one of the floating restaurants, our boatman took is into a limestone cave called the Crocodile Cave for our 3rd stop:

Nope, no crocodiles here. As we opted not to go into Bat Cave, he took us into the mangrove forest where a family of macaques could be seen at one point.

My favourite part of the boat ride had to be the eagle sighting part.

It was such a breath-taking experience watching these majestic birds of prey scooping their dinner from the ocean.

And there were so many of them! In the wild!

If anyone asks me for a recommendation of a to-do at Langkawi, I would most definitely recommend eagle sighting. Oh, only if you like nature and animals, that is. ;)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Unkaizan Japanese Restaurant

We found out about Unkaizan through TripAdvisor. It is situated slightly off the main road, on a very steep part of the hill, which made parking the car very interesting.

I quite liked how it is housed in a homely environment. Without the signage, it would not even cross my mind that there was a restaurant hiding behind that facade.

We noticed that some of their wait staff were actually Japanese and immediately we felt, okay, we may end up having a really authentic Japanese experience. Starting with warm towels and green tea with oomph, things were looking promising.

With rave reviews and an experienced chef (Chef Katsuji Takabayashi had 15 years of experience in 5-star international hotels around the world), we had high expectations. The Nabeyaki Udon came a hotpot atop a charcoal burner. The handmade udon noodles came with tempura, vegetables and an egg in simmering soup. Nothing beats warm food.

We tried a few sets, too. There was the Wakadori Teriyaki Set (chicken fillet with teriyaki sauce)...

... the Bento Set, which includes appetizer, assorted sashimi, tempura, unagi kabayaki (water eel), chawamushi, rice (in an adorable wooden tub), pickles, miso soup and ice-cream...

... and the Unagi Kabayaki Set, that came with the unagi sitting atop a charcoal grill...

For dessert, we chose to have their in-house handmade green tea ice-cream with red bean and...

... an ice-cream sandwich that looked like this:

Totally should have taken note of what it was called, as all we remembered was its taste because there was so much yum in that small thing! We liked it despite it being slightly pricey but I suppose, we have to remember to factor in authenticity, ambience and view (remember to ask for a window/balcony table).

Unkaizan Japanese Restaurant
Lot 395 Jalan Teluk Baru, Pantai Tengah, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
Tel: +60 4 955 4118
Daily 6:00pm to 11:00pm (Closed every 2nd Wednesday of the month)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Underwater World Langkawi

No trip to Langkawi is complete without a visit to Underwater World. Every of my trip to the island included a visit here, except for my first trip when I was 10 because it was not built yet. I remember being fascinated as a young child and could also remember the penguin enclosure. Here are some of the better photos of what we saw:

Unique to Underwater World Langkawi is a 15 metre-long underwater walkway.

In addition to the typical glass tube tunnels found in most aquariums, I like this part of the walkway that had timber beams. Adds quite a bit of character to the walkway, especially with the sun rays shining through.

And of course, there would be a section with low tanks for visitors to touch marine life such as the sea cucumber and starfish.

Do time your visit to coincide with feeding sessions. As we did not check beforehand, I thought that we were very lucky to watch the afternoon feeding sessions of the African Penguins (2:45pm) and the Rockhopper Penguins (3:00pm). There was also a feeding session in the Tunnel Tank at 3:30pm. Should we have checked, we would have timed ourselves to arrive earlier to also watch the Furseal feeding session at 2:30pm. 

Zon Pantai Cenang, Mukim Kedawang, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
Tel: +60 4 955 6100; Fax: +60 4 955 6103