Saturday, 29 June 2013

An Evening at The Apartment, The Curve, Damansara



My last dining at The Apartment restaurant was 3 years ago at KLCC. After watching Despicable 2 at Cathay Cineleisure Damansara, me and Christopher walked to The Curve for another dinner experience at this homey type of restaurant.

As we arrived, The Apartment was almost full with their guest. We decided to dine out at their bar, for better lighting (as the light in this restaurant was too dime for my cheap camera...hahaha).




We start with our drink, we think of having house wine, but when we think back, 2 glass will cost us around RM60. So, it is better for us to have a bottle of white wine which is very-very worth it. Nothing much to comment about our wine, Martyn 2012 is just okay to match with simple pasta.




No starter for today and we directly ordered 2 main course, Chicken Pasta & Duck Pasta. As for me, pasta dishes will always simple and easy. Our Chicken Pasta was okay and slightly spicy. But however, the sweetness of the white wine managed to natural up the spicy-ness of the pasta. The same with our duck pasta. A simple ducky pasta with purees. Nothing to praise up about the pasta, just like a home-made one, but still okay.




Last but not least, we ordered Pavlova & Chocolate Mousse for dessert. After waiting for awhile, our Pavlova been delivered to us, and wow... 3 big serving of Pavlova in front of us, we love it. Not too sweet, creamy on top... but too little fruits on top. The dinner tonight makes me decide that Chocolate Mousse is not for me. Too strong of chocolate taste and its killing me (fainted).




Thursday, 20 June 2013

Personal Tips of Visiting Siem Reap – City of Angkor Temples

The curve of Apsara dancer during Khmer era
First time visiting Cambodia or particularly Siem Reap is a very exciting experience. My last trip to Siem Reap was from Ho Chi Minh City by bus with a quick stop at Phnom Penh and the journey took 12 hours with fascinating views along the way. The good point of travelling by bus is, you will able see the different views of Vietnamese and Cambodian living in terms of architecture, economy activities, writings and the environment.


Thanks to my FB friend Quintin Louis Nguyen for sharing this recent photos of Angkor Wat


Where to stay and night activities in Siem Reap?

Mr. Borey, I Lodge owner and
a professional tour guid
e
There are numbers of backpacking hotels for you to choose and mostly located in the heart of Siem Reap’s town area.  As for me, I am recommending I Lodge Guesthouse which owned by Mr. Borey, a very hotel owner and also professional tour guide in Siem Reap. He speaks native Khmer language, besides fluency in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. The hotel has been in 5 years operation, very clean with wifi available at lobby area.

Address:#30,Tepvong Roads | SvayDangkum CommuneSiem ReapCambodia
Email: borey007@hotmail.com
Contact Person: Mr. Yin Sokphaekborey

Foods in Siem Reap are truly mouth-watery (maybe yes for me as I love fried dishes). There are varieties of fried noodles, fried rice and some noodle soup for you to choose from local stalls on the street. Besides, you also can take a walk to the famous Pub Street which you will find many western style fancy restaurants, evening bars and massage parlour.

Besides, you can go to the night market to buy souvenirs such as Cambodia printed T Shirt and woven scarf. My personal experience dealing with Cambodian seller, they are very polite and not as pushy as market seller in other South East Asia tourist’s market.

Photo at Pub Street, Siem Reap
Photo under one of the bridge at Ta Phrom

The Core: Visiting Temples of Angkor

When talking about Siem Reap, the first thing in our mind the image of Angkor Wat and the Angelina’s action in Lara Croft, Tom Rider movie many years back. The trip to visit Angkor temple can be booked from any hotel that you are staying. Most of hotel will provide such service including a a shuttle Tuk Tuk (Cambodian local transport) to the Temple’s pit stop. In short, there are 2 major temple to visit named as Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Ta Phrom.  I am not going to write any review about those tombs and temple yet. But here are some basic tips when visiting the parks area:
  • Bring an umbrella, caps or sun shades. My last visit was during summer, it was hot at mid noon and raining after 4.00pm
  • Keep your rubbish in plastic bag. Do not litter the temple area. Visiting Angkor Temple during hot and sunny days will make you feel thirsty. There are many drink vendors will tempt your thirst bud with juices and ice creams. You can have it and always be a responsible visitor by keep the area clean. Optionally, you may bring your own water bottle when visiting this place.
  • Mosquito repellent. You might walk to pass by some bushy areas. Spraying mosquito repellent might save you from mosquitoes bite or other insect’s irritation.
  • Short or trousers? As for me, short or Bermuda type is always my choice. Avoid from choosing any tight attire as you might be going to climb or make a big jump while reaching some point for photo snapping.
  • One day, two days or 1 week trip to Angkor Temple? As for me, one day trip is enough as it will cover three major parts of the ancient city; Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Ta Phrom. But if you are really interested with historical story and relic of this Khmer kingdom, 1 week package is just suit your desire.
  • Private tour or personal tour? Open group tour is very fun as you can share the experience with your travel buddy. However, taking a private tour will ensure that you will get full attention from your tour guide and better time organized.
Me and my travel mate in front of Angkow Wat's and the water reflection
Overall, visiting Siem Reap – Angkor Wat is a very interesting experience. Suitable with their tourism tagline, “The Kingdom of Wonder” and yes, the more you explore, the more you will love and every good bye will be followed with another promise to come again.


Saturday, 15 June 2013

An Evening at Cupcake Chic at The Curve, Damansara

I am not a cupcake person and not even know about how to appreciate this kind of mini size of cake. My weekend day out brought me and my mate to Cupcake Chic at The Curve, Damansara which converted me to be a brand new cupcake lover.

Cupcake Chic, just like its name, this cupcake store is very popular for girls. We seat here for nearly an hour, and we saw girls, women, mother and wives keep coming in and out and simply pick what is their cupcakes of choice for take away. Even more, small kids also love cupcakes and even know about the name of those cupcakes displayed. See, how the Generation Z grow and I am still in my own "shock"!



We choose Red Velvet and a Choco-Banana cupcake with Peanut Butter topping on top. Great when they have a promotion RM9.90 for 1 Cupcake and 1 tea/coffee of choice. So we choose hot latte for me and cappuccino for my mate. Well, I can't review about the cupcakes as I am not the expert for this beautiful pieces. But for sure I love it. The mini size of this cake is the same like a calories "cheat" and the sweetness of the cupcake blended with other flavour really can make me happy. 

Feel good to spend time at this little cupcake store. I love the ambiance, and the choosy feeling here. Will definitely come again for more sweet treats and hang out.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Is Halal Foods Really Halal in Ho Chi Minh City?

I believe many of our Muslim tourist are very concern about halal foods when travelling in Vietnam. Sometimes, the difficulties of getting halal foods can ruin the travelling plan to Vietnam and you can't enjoy to the fullest when visiting this beautiful country.


The Problem

Bánh Canh Cua
Crab Meat Noodle
When I said, is "Halal really Halal" in Ho Chi Minh City is base on my personal experiences here and I believe that I need to share about it. A short introduction about myself, I used to worked with some F&B businesses in Ho Chi Minh City and to be in their kitchen is one of my job area. So, when I saw such "non-halal" practise, I feel that our Muslim tourist were abused without they notice it.

Situation 1: Halal is just on the name
There are restaurants which is not owned by Muslim and declaring that they served Halal foods. All the foods in the menu are "pork free", yes it is! But the problem is the Vietnamese staff. Sometimes, they will bring their own lunch box which is contain of non-halal foods: pork and they will use customer's plate or bowl to eat it. Next, other staff will use the same plate which they ate with pork to serve to the customer. This kind of restaurants normally have Halal Certificate by HCMC Islamic Community Association, but for me, it is just on paper. Besides, during Chinese New Year (Vietnamese Tet Holiday), they will do Buddhist prayer (with Roasted Baby Pig) and other Buddhism stuff which is against to Muslim rules. 

Situation 2: Clearly Non Halal but Claimed as Halal
This situation happened in various Thai Restaurant in town. If you checked in their menu, normally its clearly stated names of some pork dishes in their menu. What happened is, they will say that they will cook the food separately and no pork. But still, check back in the kitchen, they still will cook the foods by using the same wok to cook pork dishes and its truly non-halal. Some can say that, they can order Pad Thai, Tom Yam Goong or other foods, but still, the wok is the same to cook pork dishes. As for beef and chicken, they didn't it from Halal supplier too.

You need to know that some "Halal Claimed" Restaurants do provide staff's meals and once in a week, "pork" will be one of their staff meal menu

So, where to eat in Ho Chi Minh City?

Halal@Saigon

This restaurant was owned by former President Malaysia Business Chamber (MBC) Vietnam, Dr.Shimi and partners. For us Malaysian who lived in Ho Chi Minh City, having lunch or dinner at Halal Saigon will bring us nearer to our hometown and to cure our homesick. Most of the foods in the menu are authentic Malaysian foods such as Mee Goreng Mamak, Nasi Lemak, Char Kuey Teow, Fish Curry and many more. On another side, they served some Vegetarian foods and Vietnamese foods as well. The Chef in this restaurant is a Malaysian Chef and the staffs are Vietnamese and Muslim Champa. Besides, the Muslim Champa staffs here can speak Malay which can make your ordering easier. Oh! they have tea tarik too. Price wise, its pricey in the range of VND80,000 - VND250,000 for one serving of food. 

31 Dong Du Street, District 1, HCMC 
(Few steps from Sheraton Saigon)
Operation Hour: 10.00am - 10.00pm daily
Tel: +84 8 3824 6823 (Vietnamese) +84 8 3827 4602 (English)
Email: info@halalsaigon.com Website: www.halalsaigon.com

VN Halal & Bon Mua (Four Seasons Restaurant)

This 2 restaurants own by the same owner, Mr. Riduwan. This restaurant serves various stunning Malay and Vietnamese foods. This restaurant was by Muslim Champa owner and most of the staffs are Muslim Champa too. Truly halal and 100% no doubt to eat here. Price wise, almost the same as Halal Saigon but worth it for a healty and delicious Halal foods after 1 full day on the street of Ho Chi Minh City.

VN Halal Restaurant
14 Pham Hong Thai Street, District 1, HCMC
(Few steps from the famous Ben Thanh Market)
Operation Hour: 7.00am - 11.00pm daily
Tel: +84 8 3822 0311 (Vietnamese, English & Malay)

Bon Mua Restaurant
Thi Sach Street, District 1, HCMC
(At the end of Dong Du Street. If you walk from Sheraton Saigon, you need to walk till the end of the street and the restaurant is located exactly at the T Junction)

Street Food, 189 Hai Ba Trung Street, District 1, HCMC

Vietnam is very popular with delicious street foods. Many of use really want to enjoy street foods in this country because the price is much cheaper and the taste is very different. But where to heading for? Where you can find Halal and authentic Hue Style Vietnamese Beef Noodle (Bun Bo Hue) or Vermicelli Beef Noodle (Pho Bo)? You should heading to address 189, Hai Ba Trung Street, HCMC. Its a stalls with table and small stools run by family of Muslim Champa. Very authentic and Halal. One of the man here can speak Malay (sound a bit like Indonesian Language) which can make your ordering easier. Oh ya! this stall is very popular among Petronas staffs and I always saw people from Indonesian Consulates having their breakfast here. Besides breakfast, this stall also served lunch (economy rice), in case u are looking for a cheaper deal.

The hem or alley of 189 Hai Ba Trung Street
(Next to N&M Fashion Store)
Open daily from 7.00am - 1.00pm

This 4 places are No Doubt Halal and I had seen everything in and out. There are many so called, Indian Muslim restaurants in town, but I am still unable to give clear idea about the Halal-ness of their servings.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Day Trip in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan - Part I

I have my own memory about Seremban town. During my study time, taking 3 hours bus from Segamat to Seremban for weekend outing or taking a transit to Kuala Lumpur via KTM Commuter. But then, I realized that I didn't explore much in Seremban town itself, and spending most of my time only in "Terminal One Shopping Centre". With that in mind, me and Christopher decided to have 1 day budget-trip to this capital city of Negeri Sembilan.

We departed from Kuala Lumpur as early as 7.15am from KL Sentral via KTM Commuter and arrived to Seremban around 8.00am (45minutes train journey).As we were freaking hungry, our first destination is Pasar Besar Seremban for breakfast. A taxi cost us RM5 for a 5 minutes journey. It was okay as we can't walk with empty stomach. 




Arrived to Pasar Besar Seremban, we directly go to the second floor of this market and search for the foods that we earlier planned to eat; Seremban Famous Beef Noodle & Famous Mee Hoon Sotong. A quick review about the market, it was truly a chaos place with hundreds of people, vegetables, fresh foods, fish, poultries, other sundries and flowers. 

Finished with breakfast, its start to rain dizzily when we were walking to Masjid Jamek Seremban. Got love us, once we arrived to this mosque, it was heavily rain and we were stucked here for nearly 2 hours.


This mosque was built on year 1900 and the land was a gift from Shiekh Abdul Kadir's family. This mosque can cater for 1000 people at one time and once was re-contructed on 1990 to replace the old mosque structure. But then, the old minaret which was built on 1924 still remained as its condition. During the 2 hours time, we just relax and chill at the mosque veranda while waiting for my ex-school mate, Shiera.

Around 12.00pm, Shiera and her housemate arrived and the rain stopped. We went to Haji Shariff Cendol at Jalan Yam Tuan for some catching up. And yes, this Cendol place is one of the must-go place and it was in our Seremban trip schedule. This Cendol place is located at one of the main street in Seremban and 100% in green colour. Besides Cendol, we ordered a serving of Rojak as well. Everything was fine here, just the immigrant workers here (I believe from India) were not so friendly. Tired i guess! Hahaha.



Done with the Cendol at Haji Shariff, I asked Zam, Shiera's friend to send us to Stadium Paroi for us to enjoy Popia Kuala Kangsar. This popiah recipe was originally from Kuala Kangsar and one of my favorite. Besides, you can order fried foods and the nasi ayam. As per recommendation from Shiera, we ordered Nasi Ayam. One of my best Nasi Ayam was in here. The portion is big, the chicken skin is crispy and the soup on the side was tasty.


Done with Popia Kuala Kangsar, we come back to Seremban town via CityLiner Bus.

How much we spend for the first half of our day in Seremban?

Transportation
RM6.00 for 2 person from KL Sentral to Seremban (after 50% discount with OKU Card)
RM5.00 for Taxi from KTM Commuter Station to Pasar Besar Seremban
RM4.00 for 2 person from Paroi Stadium to Seremban tow

Pasar Besar Seremban
1 Hot Coffee : RM1.10
1 Mee Hoon Sotong : RM3.50
1 Big Beef Noodle: RM7.00
1 Laksa: RM3.70
Total: RM15.00

Cendol Haji Shariff
2 Bowls of normal Cendol: RM2.60
1 Plate of Rojak : RM3.50
Total: RM6.10

Popia Kuala Kangsar
1 Rolled of Popia Basah RM1.00
1 Serving of Nasi Ayam RM4.50
Total: RM5.50

GRAND TOTAL: RM42.60

To be continued with my Seremban oh! Seremban - Part 2

Thanks to my mate, Christopher for the great trip in Seremban. Please LIKE his photography page at 祥發 Photography for more photos and sharing.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Easy Meal: Beef Potato and Egg

My mate reminds me that no more spicy for dinner as we ate a lot of spicy foods over the weekend. So, this recipe coming out to my mind and plus everything can be ready in about 30 minutes time. 

Here is my pictorial guide about how to cook this easy meal.

Boil 200gm potato with skin and don't let it too soft. 
Next, slice it!

Prepare your minced beef and chop 1 medium size of onion















Heat your frying pan and add 1 table spoon of cooking oil. 
Put the chopped onion and stir it for awhile




Add in the mince beef and stir for awhile until it cook. 
Then, add salt and pepper for taste

Add in the sliced potato and mix it with the ingredients. Next break one eggs and stir it again until it cook and dry. Add some dried oregano flakes for aroma.

Transfer the mixtures from frying pan to casserole. I love to put some butter or cheese on top of this

5 minutes earlier, pre-heat your microwave at 200 degree and then place your casserole into the microwave for about 5 to 10 minutes

Finally, a very beautiful smell of hot
Beef Potato & Egg is ready for your dinner

Masjid India Night Market, Kuala Lumpur

Pasar Malam, night market or night bazaar is a business which normally start from evening until night. This kind of market is very popular especially in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, and normally located nearby residential area. 


Varieties of foods in Pasar Malam, Jalan Masjid India
Going to Pasar Malam is one of the weekly-must-do activity for some peopleor family. As for me, going to Pasar Malam was such a very delightful activities with the excitement of seeing nice foods, fruits, clothing and the multi-race crowd.

One of my best Pasar Malam is the Saturday Night Market which is located along the Masjid India Street and Tuanku Abdul Rahman Street. This night market is very accessible via LRT (the nearest station is LRT Masjid Jamek) and its 5 minutes walking to this night market. Normally this market will start crowded as early as 6.00pm with peak time in between 8.00pm to 9.00pm. 


Murtabak Maggi, Pasar Malam Masjid India
Murtabak Maggi, Pasar Malam Masjid India
If you ask me about what is so special in this Pasar Malam? Nothing different compared to other Pasar Malam in Kuala Lumpur. The only different here is the size is bigger with more choices. It can be a good place to find varieties of Malaysian and western style foods or savouries such as Grilled Stew, Mee Bandung, Kebab, Popia (Spring roll), Laksa, Nasi Dagang, Grilled Corn, Chocolate Cake, Home-made Pizza, Otak-Otak, Nasi Kerabu, Pickle fruits and more. 



When you get thirsty, you can get various kind of drinks here such as herbal tea, cendol, longan drinks, soy drinks and more. Besids, you also can have other stuffs such as clothing; t-shirt, babies clothing, hand bags, Deuter & The North Face bags, not to say, the fake gadgets; smart phones which been said as Samsung and Apple products. 


Ice Blended, Pasar Malam Masjid India
More drinks, Pasar Malam Masjid India
If you want to go to this market, remember the below info:

Nearest LRT: Masjid Jamek Station
Day: Every Saturday, each week
Time: 6.00pm to 11.00pm


East to the west, north to the south. All foods from
different states of Malaysia you can get it here
Thanks again to Christopher for joining me during this Pasar Malam trip. please LIKE his photography page at 祥發 Photography for more photos and sharing.