Malaysia

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Adventure in Penang, Malaysia

Published November 1, 2010 by Mary Jane

Morning All, yes I’m awake at around 8am this morning. Got a day off today since it’s the Melbourne Cup day and I don’t work on Tuesdays. Still got the hayfever which is keeping me awake at night when I start rubbing my itchy eyes. Anyways, I’ve recently came back from Malaysia/Singapore trip it was only a short trip for a week so I’m going to quickly cover the things we did in Penang, Malaysia. I’ve never been to Penang before and this was my first time there. We were only there for two days. I went with Pandabear, my mum and my mate Shirlyn 🙂

We booked ourselves into the hotel “G hotel” a lovely place to stay, modern and the great thing about it is that there’s a huge multistory shopping centre called Gurney Plaza just right behind it. How convenient for a lazy shopper like me. heheheh…so we checked ourselves in and my mate Shirlyn’s daddy works in Penang so he was going to arrange all our dining outings. Yay! I love it when there’s a local person who can take us around, save us researching and testing out which restaurants served great food. Since we only have 2 days in Penang, Shirlyn asked me whether I wanted to visit the temples or do some scenery visits. I was like Nope! I’ll be happy to spend the two days shopping and eating 🙂

So day 1, I decided to get my hair done as the Aussie dollar was quite strong and it’s expensive to get my hair rebonded (straightening your hair chemically) so I checked out the salon within the shopping centre plaza. Came across a few of them and checked out their prices and decided to go for this salon which uses Shisheido products for straightening hair and treatments. I’m a Shisheido girl – I used their make up and skin care products most of the time, I was surprised they even have hair products too! I was amazed to see that all the hair stylist were male so I asked them how come there’s no female stylist? They replied “it’s too hard to employ female stylist, they end up finding a rich boyfriend and quit their job” hehehe, I see. So the hairdressing dude told me it should take approximately 3 hours for rebonding and if I want to colour my hair it will be additional 2 hours. I was like that’s 5 hours in total wasted on my hair. So I told them, I’ll just rebond my hair and maybe colour my hair the next day. That way I still have some time for shopping 🙂

The hairdressing dude was pretty clever, he was feeling my hair and said to me would you like to try our 7 process Shisheido hair treatment cos your hair is very dry and after rebonding probably would damage your hair slightly. It didn’t take too long for the dude to convince me so I went for the hair treatment. Anyways, it turned out that I had so much hair and because of the 7 process treatment plus a free trim, it too me around 5 hours in total to get my hair done! The end result was great, my hair is straight and nice and silky except I can’t wash my hair for two days due to the straightening chemicals!! Argh!!!

So onto the food part since I didn’t get time to shop for day 1. But here’s some of food we’ve ate. I’ll do a full post on the restaurants review separately. So Shirlyn’s dad is a CEO of an Electronic company in Malaysia and he gets his own private driver named Naga. Naga is a lovely Indian dude, he’s ever so cheerful and has a beautiful smile. It’s great as when ever we need a ride to places, Shirly’s daddy would call Naga and he’ll be waiting outside. It was upper class treatment for us to ride in a Mercedes every where we go 🙂 I call him the Ninja Naga, cos he seems to appear out of nowhere. Then I was told when we have our dinner he would wait outside till we finish and drive us home. But what does he do outside?? Doesn’t he get bored?? I was told he gets paid for doing nothing usually he takes a small smoke and sits in his car resting or chatting to some fellow drivers outside.

So Shirlyn’s daddy (aka Uncle Lee) took us to a Japanese restaurant – apparently there’s many Japanese restaurants in Penang, some are rubbish according to Uncle Lee this particular restaurant sells the most authentic Japanese food as the chef is Japanese and so is the owner. So I was so excited as I love Japanese food. Man, can I tell you it’s one of the best Japanese food I’ve ever had…so many varieties. Uncle Lee ordered so much cos my mate told him I was a big eater 😛 in the end we were struggling to finish some of the food. But here’s some snap shot of some of the food we’ve ordered…

So for brekkie the next day, Uncle Lee decided to take us for some Roti Canai and he was so thoughtful that he even freezed packed some durians for us. As at the time we were there durians aint in season, so he freezed the different varieties of durians for us so that we can enjoy the lovely durians. Well, for Pandabear anyways. Mummy and I both hates durians, it must be a Malaysian thing – cos we both don’t like the strong pungent taste of durians – to me it tasted like cross between garlic, rotten cheese and sweet custard. But, I was willing to try a few pieces as Uncle Lee promised once I’ve had durians 3 times, I’ll fall in love with it. This is my second time with Durians!! Surprisingly, they didn’t taste too bad, quite sweet 🙂 I didn’t fall in love with it but hey…maybe my third time with durians may just do the trick! Uncle Lee mentioned he would only take us to this Roti Canai shop cos it’s clean, I was like are there any dirty stories about Roti Canai? He replied “yes, there is but once I tell you. You would never have roti canai again!!” so after me hassling Uncle Lee to tell us the stories, he was quite stubborn and refuse to tell me the stories. Till this day, I still don’t know about dirty story of roti canai…

Roti Canai with curry

Roti Canai with curry

freshly freezed durians

freshly freezed durians

So after brekkie, Naga the Ninja dropped us off to shopping and Uncle Lee has to go back to his office as he’s a very busy man! So off we went it’s shopping for me. I think there was about 5 stories worth of shopping, so we started from the top floor and worked out way down. Btw, I didn’t get my hair colour done. Didn’t want to waste more time on my hair. I love shopping at this complex not only there’s so many shops to look around but lots of little stores in the middle of shopping centre selling knick knacks 🙂 Most of you would know I love my knick knacks and they were really cheap too. So I bought a large bag worth of knick knacks from different stores = a very happy Maryann. We decided it’s best to split up with Pandabear cos he wants to look at his ‘guys stuff’ and I’m sure he will nag me or talk me out of buying my knick knacks so it’s best he doesn’t tag along with us girls. We set a time to meet up back at the hotel at 6pm for dinner. So that gives us approximately 5 hours to shop.

Now I’m fast shopper, I give myself approximately 5 minutes for each shop so I can cover all the shops – when I spot a good shop I would stay there for up to 15-30 minutes trying out their clothes. I decided, I may as well spend most of my shopping money in Penang as it’s definitely going to be cheaper in Malaysia than Singapore due to the exchange rate! There was a money exchange place right in the shopping centre – how convenient they must get tourists here all the time. So I exchanged 1/2 of my shopping money and went off shopping. I ended up buying some cook books, some clothes and lots of knick knacks and when I looked into my wallet I only got some money left. I decided to head down to my last stop – Shisheido skin care products and found out their make up and skin care is actually quite cheap compared in Australia. So I ran out of money and borrowed my mate’s money and off I went buying my shisheido products and because I have bought a certain amount, they gave me a free nice pink bag 🙂 and a gift voucher of RM50 so I was happy to hunt around to spend my RM50 – so I ended up buying a work shirt for RM50 and a pair of socks.

So time flies when you’re having fun, it was dinner time. Uncle Lee has came to meet us for dinner and bought us some freshly squeezed sugar cane drinks and oh we also had some snacks while we were shopping too..here’s some photos of it…

Anyways, dinner is Chinese and it’s a huge Chinese restaurant – I would think this place hosts regular wedding functions. So we were escorted to our VIP room and all the staff knows Uncle Lee, he must be one of the regulars there and they know what he’s going to order! The food was delicious, fresh produce a variety of prawn curry, steamed fish (was caught live outside from the tanks, I couldn’t bear watching them catch our fish cos I won’t be able to eat it afterwards), abalone dish with lots of vegetarian items. The Chinese food here are really great 🙂 Uncle Lee really knows his food…some photos of the dishes we ate…

To end off our last dinner, Uncle Lee took us to Nonya House which specialise in traditional Nonya dishes 🙂 what a great idea…the whole restaurant is actually a house and when you walk inside it has a traditional Malaysian taste with it’s decorations. Apparently all the interior decorations were decorated by the owner himself. Ofcourse, the waitress greeted Uncle Lee, once again I believe he’s one of the regulars here. Uncle Lee suggests that we try this fruit drink which is kinda like a rare fruit we don’t have it in Australia. But sorry I can’t remember the exact name due to my fish memory. It tasted like a cross between guava and lime and they served it with a dried plum. The dishes there I’ve never tasted them before – it was awesome and tasty 🙂 Uncle Lee saw me digging in and started ordering more and more dishes until I told him I think my stomach is going to explode and that made him stop ordering….here’s some of the dishes we had…

Uncle Lee was really strict in where he brings us to dine, so we didn’t have any hawker style street food as he didn’t want us to get sick. Just as well as I had a minor food poisoning in Singapore later on 🙂 I must have gained like a few kgs eating all these exotic food. We had a wonderful time in Penang and would definitely pay another visit but next time we would explore the scenary routes such as the beautiful beach, temples and perhaps the night market (Uncle Lee told us he wouldn’t recommend us going cos there’s pick pockets there…)

Thanks to Uncle Lee & Auntie Lee for being so hospitable to us and showing us around during these 2 short days worth of trip.

till next time Penang…

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Food at KL, Malaysia

Published January 18, 2010 by Mary Jane

Well, after leaving Langkawi we decided to head towards KL, Malaysia for some serious local delicacies and shopping of course 🙂
We end up staying at Boulevard Hotel Kuala Lumpur which has direct entrance to the megamall – awesome shopping mall you can spend days roaming around as it had about 5 or 6 levels of small shops selling clothes, appliances, shoes, bags, anything you name it they’ve got kinda like a large version of harbour town… We were feeling hungry so decided to order
a bowl of yong tou fu – which is literally a bowl of soup with fish balls, vegies, tofu very nice and light.

Okies, comes to lunch time – we’ve decided to try the famous dumpling restaurant Din Tai Fung conveniently situated at the bottom level of megamall so we didn’t have to endure the heat and go outside. Anyways, I’ve heard lots of raves about the dumpling at this place. The original restaurant was funded in Taipei Taiwan so being a proud Taiwanese I must definitely try this place out. So we ordered some pork dumplings apparently every dumpling has 18 folds at least. I literally counted them, the taste was fantastic, the mince was tender but a warning you must becareful when you bite into them, the soup explodes – fortunately I ate the whole dumpling and the soup exploded inside my mouth so no dramas. The skin was so smooth that you didn’t have to chew much. We decided to order some plain ramen, it was very nice too the noodles are all freshly handmade (even better) 😛 and Pandabear decided to order some fried rice (common why would you ever order fried rice at a restaurant??) anyways, I tried it myself and I must admit it’s one of the best fried rice I’ve ever had. The prawns were fresh and the rice was flavoursome…so I’m glad Pandabear ordered this dish. Definitely thumbs up for this restaurant. Apparently they have a franchise restaurant around the world so if you ever travel around head down to Din Tai Fung

Anyways, dinner time we decided to have some sushi – and came across a sushi train – similiar to the ones at Jaws in Perth. I was really looking forward to this cos I love Japanese food and could eat sushi all day to survive. Anyways, the sushi were delicious as usual they were pretty fresh we ate few plates and ordered some yaki soba – fried Japanese noodles very well done and for the price we paid it was 1/2 as they charge us in RM where as if we were to dine at Jaws sushi train it would have easily cost us around AUD $50. The staff were really friendly constantly served us green tea. You don’t get that in Perth…so we were pretty satisfied with our choice of restaurant for dinner. 🙂

We met up with a friend of ours who was very kind and offered to drive us to exhotic places that sells their local delicacies. So our first stop was off to Bah Kut Teh – which is literally medicinal taste pork rib soup. That place was famous for Bah Kut Teh – the whole streets is selling Bah Kut Teh – I wonder how do people go and choose which restaurant they prefer. Anyways, our friend prefers this particular restuarant so we decided to order some Bah Kut Teh and it comes with You Za Guei (deep fried flour sticks) which you dip them into the soup and eat the Bah Kut Teh. They also serve you with the rice as well. It was delicious, I’ve cooked Bah Kut Teh before in Perth and basically I buy the herbal ingredients that comes in packet and you can get them from any Asian grocery stores and all you do is add some cloves of garlic and chuck the packet of Herb ingredients in the soup and add in pork ribs and there you have it some Bah Kut Teh but the taste of the soup in this restaurant was delicious and the meat is well cooked to the point it literally melts in your mouth. One of the best Bah Kut Teh I’ve tasted.

Okies, our next stop is all the way to Genting Malaysia | Resorts World Genting – City of Entertainment I really admire our friend who went into the effort of driving us to different places for many hours just to try the local delicacies 🙂 our next stop was at this fish place that apprently sells the freshest and tastiest fish. Upon our arrival there’s a stand where they charcoal fried the chest nuts – the aroma was fantastic it was starting to make me feel very hungry. The guy selling the chest nuts spotted us straight away and just came to our table and dropped off 3 chestnuts for us to try out. I gobbled it down and thought this is pretty tasty. Within minutes, this guy ran to me and offered me to buy a bag of chest nuts. Our friend shook his head and said no to this guy. I felt kinda bad, the chest nuts were pretty yummy and we did try one for free so I said I’ll buy the whole bag. Even though that guy may have ripped us off it was only a few dollars after conversion. So we ended up ordering some tofu stir fry along with steamed fish, it was really yummy it’s definitely fresh and tasty full of flavours. For drinks we had a coconut juice – freshly cut and you can even dig into the coconut flesh. Afterwards we rode the gondola all the way up to the highland area it was kinda scary cos me and Pandabear are both kinda afraid of heights and our friend was even more afraid so that makes the three of us sitting in one gondola hoping it doesn’t stop in the middle of the mountains. Thank god the ride wasn’t too long, we eventually arrived to the top

So I found the place that sells what Doremon eats Dorayaki – literally little round cakes that has red bean filling inside it and sometimes you can have custard as a filling. Followed by some durians. If you come to Malaysia you must try the durians, I really hate it cos it’s stinky and the taste really puts me off. But our friend and Pandabear really loved it ate a whole durian.. they call it liquid gold once you have a piece of it you will be hooked on and there’s no turning back. It didn’t do that for me, I tried one piece and couldn’t finished it cos I felt like throwing up and couldn’t stand the taste of it.

Pandabear found this place opposite to the megamall which sells roti canai so we decided to have that for brekkie. How strange is it for people to have curry and roti for brekkie anyways, I eat anything so we went and ordered some teh tarik – which is literally pulled mik tea and some roti canai – which is some thin pan fried pancake served with curry. Now it was facinating to see some guy pulling this milk tea out of a jerry can and transferring them into another can and they were 1 m apart – there’s some talent over there… anyways we came across some triangular brown paper wrapped with some banana leaves – I wonder whats in there, Pandabear said they were Nasi Lemak. I was too full after roti canai and teh tarik so didn’t try out the Nasi Lemak – perhaps next time… we only paid like few dollars for the brekkie – well worth it 🙂

Our friend decided to bring us to some hawker store for supper this was like around 11pm and the place was still packed with people eating supper – how do they sleep well with such full stomach..beats me but I can eat anytime so it wasn’t a problem for me. We ordered rojak – literally is a traditional fruit and vegetable salad dish commonly found in Malaysia with some sauce. It was tasty for entree and then some curry Laksa noodle soup and wanton mee & bbq pork. They were tasty and really cost us a few dollars, I could stay at that hawker place all day and try out each stores. But I think for supper this was enough…

Our next meeting was with Pandabear’s work collegue who is from Malaysia who suggested dining at this Taiwanese restaurant – I was a bit sceptical at first I wonder if they do proper Taiwanese food. So I went there ordering my favourites – ‘siang chan’ – Sausage wrapped outside glutonese rice – and it actually tasted pretty decent. I just whether the ower was Taiwanese and they said nope he’s a local but he’s been to Taiwan before and they have tried to replicate the flavour here. I’m impressed it acutually tasted like ones which I can buy in Taiwan. Then I had ‘sien su ji’ – literally deepfried with basil chicken pieces. It was a disappointment – cos it was so salty I only had a few pieces and had to gobble it down with my drink. Pandabear ordered steam boat – it was pretty ordinary – nothing spectacular… I think it’s not bad for a locally owned Taiwanese restaurant and it’s conveniently situated inside Megamall. 🙂 We finished it off with Haagen Dazs – we had green tea and strawberry flavoured ice cream. I was really excited cos we don’t have Haagen Dazs in Perth and the ice cream was well worth it full of actual fruits…

We met up with some of Pandabear’s relatives and they took us out to this nice chinese restaurant which we ordered around 10+ dishes and they were all pretty nice, we had some stir fried clams, deep fried prawns, deep fried chicken pieces and huge red crabs – they were delicious!!! I was gobbling them down so didn’t take every single dish…

Ok, it was time for our friend who would drive us around to places to try out local delicacies. Our next stop was Melaka a nice little town. On the road we see this nicely decorated with flowers tricycles – they were man powered and they offered to take us around different popular places within melaka for RM100 that’s pretty decent, so we hopped on to them and realised that the one who was riding the tricycle was a middle aged man and he was having difficulties riding us up the hills – poor thing I said to him sorry I’m abit heavy and he replied in broken english – ‘no problems, some western people lot more heavy than you…’ I’m not sure whether I should take that as a compliment anyways, I got off to help him over the hill so we continued our journey around Melaka. Melaka is famous for it’s chicken rice balls. So that’s exactly what we have a plate of chicken, a plate of rice balls and some chicken livers for the brave soul like me – I love livers, gibblets, hearts but definitely NO insects, brains, eyes and anything that sounds gross. It was nice except the thought of eating those round chicken balls which was hand rolled by the locals kinda puts me off. But still it was worth trying 🙂 So that’s our summary of the whole trip to KL, Malaysia we did alot of shopping but I’ll only mention food related post.