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Penang 2014 – Part 2 Georgetown, Penang Twa Pek Kong Festival

October 17, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Continues from here.

♥Sep 15th Monday♥

When we’re in Penang, we never failed to visit the market at Jalan Kuala Kangsar. One of my favourite shop Fook Weng Grocery has moved out from Jalan Kuala Kangsar, so we spent most of our time at my other favourite shop, Pots Kitchenware.

And when it got really hot, we went over to Toh Soon Cafe for a drink. The place was jam packed; so we packed the drinks and drank at the walk way. Their ice milk coffee (kopi ping) is sooooo awesome, especially on a hot day.

When it was lunch time, we were near Joo Hooi Cafe (located at 475, Jalan Penang, George Town, Penang), where the famous Penang Road Teow Chew Chendul stall was, and tried to get a table, but it was another crowded place. So we packed fried kuey teow from Joo Hooi (which was alright) and some muah chee outside of the cafe, and brought back to the hotel room to eat.

CROWDED!

Muah Chee is so yummy!

Back the hotel after our in room dining (of packed food), and a rest, we checked the weather outside to ensure it’s no longer so hot, before going out again.

We decided to cycle around Armenian Street area, so we went back to Chin Seng Leong Bike Shop (84, Armenian Street, 10200 Penang. Tel : 0125533553), which we used last year. Since it wasn’t a car free day that day, we thought it’s best the daredevil Zaria rode with hubs, instead of cycling on her own; we rented 3 bicycles, with one having a child seat, and off we went.

Armenian Street area has changed so much over the span of one year, it’s becoming a tourist trap now, more bicycle rental shops, along the streets lots of street vendors selling drinks, ice cream, muah chee etc; hope it won’t turn into another market street like Jonker’s street.

But Georgetown still have a lot of charm. We came across a youngster intricately decorating the wall at the entrance of Sekeping Victoria just with a permanent marker.

And we took a glimpse inside the quaint retreat, which was really nice.

We tried hunting down some of the street arts, but spent quite a fair bit of time hanging around at the Clan Jetties.

I like Tan Jetty the most.

The long walk bridge that stretches out to the sea is a nice place to sit and enjoy the sea breeze.

After sunset, we braved the traffic in our bicycles and headed towards Lorong Abu Siti Lane, planning to dine at Nonya Breeze, our favourite restaurant in Penang. The hubs was so stressed worrying about all our safety riding in the dark. We arrived safely, but alas, Nonya Breeze at Lorong Abu Sit Lane is closed permanently!

We rode all the way back to Armenian Street again, returned our bicycles, and then just picked DownTown Art Heritage Cafe for dinner, where food wasn’t that good and pretty expensive.

For the Twa Pek Kong Festival, some temples around Armenian Street were having night shows, and we managed to catch 2.

A Teochew Opera.

Which seemed to have only one really interested audience.

And a few streets away from the 1st opera, a Teowchew Puppet Opera.

The girls handling the puppets seemed to be having a good time.

By then the streets were rid of the hordes of tourists, the famous street arts by Zacka were all ours.

Penang 2014 – Part 1 Gopeng, St Anne’s, Penang Twa Pek Kong Festival

October 7, 2014 at 10:16 pm

We made our annual trip to Penang during the September holiday, a tradition which we’d maintained for the 11th year now.

♥Sep 14th Sunday♥
As usual, some unplanned stop has to occur even though we left the house very late. This is how holidays should be, according to the hubs. *roll eyes* Just before we hit Gopeng, he said we should turn in as there’s some interesting sights to see.

It was 2pm on Sunday, and Gopeng was almost dead. We wanted to have lunch at a coffee shop, but there was none opened. It seems, this is how it is on a Sundays. Not knowing what to expect, we just drove around town and chanced upon Gopeng Heritage House, a prewar shop house turned museum to show the way of life in the early 20th century.

The museum is free, and the girls have fun exploring the house, and they especially liked the peep hole on the 1st floor which was used to peep at arriving guests.

Before leaving, we picked up a Gopeng map and realised there’s a soy sauce maker near by, so we drove around to find it. Hup Teck Soy Sauce (合德酱油)is located opposite the Gopeng police station, it’s more like a house with a compound where the soy sauce urns are placed. We were told soy sauce urn has to be opened with its content sunned for a few months as part of the brewing process before it’s ready for bottling, and the day we were there, it was drizzling on off, so the urns were all covered up.

The owner opened up one of the urns for us to see. We caught a strong but nice sweetish fragrant from the soy bean fermentation.

I was given some soy sauce to try in the house (which is also the shop), and like the sweetish ‘sweet pickled lettuce’ (甜菜心)taste, so I bought 5 bottles of premium soy sauce from them. I actually think that Hup Teck Soy Sauce is nicer than Kwong Heng Loong Soy Sauce (廣興隆醬園醬油 from Pulau Tikus which we’d been consuming.

After this we left Gopeng and moved on to Bukit Mertajam, to visit St Anne’s Church for thanks giving, the main reason for the trip. This year, the girls visited the church as baptised Catholics, they have learned up their prayers from Sunday school, and Zara even asked us to recite the prayers together after we have each prayed in silence.

Before we headed to Penang island, we went to Yoong Kee Eating House, a very old restaurant near the Bukit Mertajam market for a simple dinner.

The girls couldn’t wait to get to Penang Island, so they could start enjoying the hotel. Alas, upon entering Georgetown, there as a massive traffic jam. Cars were barely moving. We saw lots of people walking on the street as well with big cameras, so we assumed some event must be going on. We parked our car and asked some people in the shops and found out that there’s actually a Twa Pek Kong Festival going on in Penang which would run for 3 days; the day we arrived was the first day, and a Twa Pek Kong Procession was going on, where around 50 floats from different temples would be passing through Georgetown.

The hubs of course wanted to take the opportunity to take photographs of the procession. Since we were stuck anyway, and couldn’t drive to the hotel, we obliged. We stood with crowd of spectators near Gat Jalan Magazine and caught the procession.

It was a long and hot day, and we probably saw about 30+ floats, and it was still going on and on. After a while, they no longer attracted us any more, the girls whined and wanted to check in to the hotel; so it was the hubs’ turn to oblige. By then, the traffic congestion has eased.

At the front desk of Traders Hotel Penang, we were so eager to get our keys to our room, only to find out there was a mix up in our booking. I requested for a room with an extra bed for us, but my reservation showed I was the only guest staying so we were given a small room without an extra bed. I wasn’t happy. After so many years of staying at Traders without any hic-up, one finally hit us. However, as the hotel was fully booked for that day, we were told they would bring us a mattress for the night without bed frame, but will rectify the mix up the following day. When we got into the room, we realised it was one smaller than what we used to get, it wasn’t going to be tough adding a mattress. But what could we do?

While the girls were showering, the manager on duty called us to apologise for the mix up, and offered a Junior Suite for their mistakes. What a way to recover! We were all so happy to move in to our new room, which is a Deluxe room attached to another room which has turned into a living room where the extra bed has been placed!

Make Believe Cafe

September 30, 2014 at 10:48 am

Zaria made nice cup of coffee for me at the hotel when we were holidaying in Kelantan, since then, we’d made her the barrista at home.

She’s responsible to make coffee or tea for me daily in the afternoon, and she took this job seriously, she sets up the timer and ensures the coffee or tea is brewed only for 2 mins. Sometimes she makes hot chocolate for Zara or tea for hubs as well.

She said we should open a cafe since she likes my cakes, biscuits and cooking and she imagines herself to be the barista at the cafe. And what would the role of her sister be? Popsicle maker since Zara has made a couple of flavourful popsicles like this Ribena passion fruit popsicle.

So this is her plan all drawn up and written down.

(The hubs’ role is to take photos of customers according to her).

Absolutely Delicious Almond Cookies

September 24, 2014 at 12:18 pm

I bought a pack of wholemeal almond flour from iHerb, and it was about to expire. Remember a recipe a friend shared with us a while back, I made some almond cookies with the flour.

A delicious, crumbly cookies, it’s tough to stop munching on them once started.

♥Recipe For Almond Cookies (from Melyssa)♥

Ingredients
120g almond meal
180 flour
45g castor sugar
45g icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
120ml peanut oil (I used rice bran oil)

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.
Combined all the dry ingredients, then add in the oil to form a dough.
Shape them into small balls and bake for 15mins.

Simple and easy recipe and you’ll get a lovely melt in the mouth cookies with nice almond taste.

DIY Chinese Traditional Lanterns 制作中秋节传统灯笼

September 7, 2014 at 11:11 pm

The girls’ school has a lantern making competition, and being the sporting parents that we are, we decided to join in by making traditional lanterns.

After googling, checking out a friend’s father’s DIY lanterns photos on FB, buying the materials (i.e. cellophane paper, craft wire), our dining area was turned into a work shop. The hubs and I did the wire shaping, the girls drew and cut out the designs they wanted to stick on the lanterns, and I glued on the cellophane paper. The whole of last weekend was spent on this.

Zara wanted a rabbit shaped lantern, while Zaria who didn’t really care had a cuboctahedron shaped lantern just because we had a frame from an old lantern to follow.

I wasn’t good at smoothing out the cellophane paper. Sunning it didn’t work, and I was told I should blow it with a hot hair dryer after gluing on to smoothen it. Maybe next year.

But at least it’s functional!

After all the gluing was done I hung it to dry, the evening sun actually casted a beautiful shadow of the lantern on the ground.

In the night we tried lighting them up, and the girls were pretty happy with the results.

Did we win? The results will be out coming Friday, but it’s unlikely that we will as I’d seen the ones submitted by the others, and they were way more creative, or beautifully done than ours. Oh well, at least we did try.

Happy Mid Autumn Festival Everyone!

East Coast Part 5 – Sungai Lembing

August 28, 2014 at 11:04 am

Continue from here.

♥Jun 8th Sunday♥

Although I was born in Kuantan, and lived there for the first 6 years of my live, I no longer go back for visits since my God parent’s passing. I don’t know which restaurant is good, which is a good place to visit. After lunch, instead of going to another beach, we decided to head to Sungai Lembing, an old mining town 40+km from Kuantan.

On our way to Sungai Lembing, we saw this monolith off the main road (something you won’t miss when driving from Kuantan to Sungai Lembing). Not sure where that was, we detoured and headed towards it, driving on small plantation roads.

We saw quite some cars parked at the foot of the hill, and found out this was Gua Cheras, which housed a statue of a reclining Buddha. Paying a small fee, we climbed some stairs to explore it.

Inside Gua Cheras, it was pretty mystical, as the whole place was shrouded by a thin layer of smoke from incense burning.

And then we saw the reclining Buddha.

It was very cooling inside, probably five degrees lower than the outside heat, the smell from the incense smoke was unpleasant though, so we didn’t stay there for long.

Reaching Sungai Lembing, we realised we’d missed all the morning crowd. It was quite quiet with only a few shops still opened. We stopped at Kedai Tea Lembing or 林明茶室 (No.6 jalan besar sg. lembing, Sungai Lembing, Pahang, Malaysia) which serves big bowl tea that was common for miners, and famous for their handmade duck egg noodle.

The rich soup for the noodle is charcoal boiled for many hours, but to us, it was too strong in pork taste. The Egg Noodle was very chewy and springy though.

The girls wanted some ‘adventure’ so we visited The Sungai Lembing Mines, an old underground tin mine, now a museum, preserved in it most natural and original settings.

It was quite eerie being under ground walking in these tunnels, the miners could not be claustrophobic to be in this profession.

I was quite glad to end the tour, and went back out to the surface. The girls have a great time navigating the handcar at the museum ground, experiencing what coordination was required to properly move the car front and back.

Back to the town in the evening, the place is almost dead.

But this is probably the best time for wedding shots as the tourists have almost all left.

After this, it was the long drive back to KL. Long because of the bumper to bumper jam on Karak Highway. What a stressful way to end a holiday.

Ohline Shopping Malaysia Fashion – Why Do People Prefer To Shop Online

August 22, 2014 at 3:32 pm

It is known with the existence of internet and modern technology, anything is possible including shopping. Nowadays, shopping online is seen to be getting a huge support especially for the individuals who are busy working. People will find it difficult to squeeze in time from their hectic schedule and tend to resort for the alternative way of online shopping Malaysia fashion. There are various online stores available in the market which sells gadgets, fashion items, car accessories and pre-loved items. If you are looking for a fashion online store in Malaysia, check out ZALORA as it offers a wide range of fashion products for both men and women. You could find your clothes easily from various local and international brands offered in ZALORA. There are many reasons people shop online compared to the traditional way of shopping. Among them are:

1. You do not have to move

The best thing about online shopping is that you do not have to move from the spot you are sitting. Just grab your laptop and start browsing through the website to get your clothes online. No longer have you to drive out through bad traffic on the weekends or stuck in crowds at the mall as you can do online shopping in the comfort of your home. You do not have to take your time to shower or dress up and shopping online is easy as a click of a button

Photo credit : Zalora

2. Much more choices

It is undeniable that there are a lot of brands and shop outlets you can find in malls selling the items you may want but also does online stores. Another extra advantage for online shopping is that you could easily scroll through the website and do a comparison of prices, designs and sizes without having to use your energy searching through racks in the shopping malls. There are much more choices and brands for you to choose from without having to walk in and out of multiple stores.

Photo credit : Zalora

3. Great prices and sales offered

Another luxury of shopping online is that customers can get affordable prices on fashion items online. Besides that, the sales offered online such as Eid Day sales, Christmas sales, New Year sales have a longer sales period compared to the sales in malls. Plus, the sales in online stores are opened 24/7 and you could participate in the sales anytime you want.

Photo credit : Zalora

NoQ Store For Book Lovers

August 14, 2014 at 11:52 pm

If you knew me personally, you’ld know that I love buying books. I was a book worm when I was younger and now still do a lot of reading, although I may not have enough time to read all that I’d bought.

I love going to book fest and book sales to find a good bargain, but sometimes I want a specific title which can be difficult to hunt down in our bookshop. For example, I like reading Qiu Xiaolong‘s crime thriller series and it’s not found in our bookshops; My best friend recommended me Half The Sky and I’d been searching for it but only found the Chinese translated version available.

And then I was introduced to NoQ Store, a subsidiary of Times Publishing, one of the most reputable names in book printing, publishing, distribution and retail in the Asia Pacific! It’s an online book shop with 14 million titles spanning across different genres and all of them at discounted price! What more? Shipping is free if your purchase is RM50 and above.

And of course, I found Qiu Xiaolong’s latest books and Half The Sky available there. I’d just ordered them and can’t wait to receive them.

If you are a book lover, this is a good place to shop for books. And here is something for you.
From 14 August – 31 December 2014, you will be entitled to an exclusive 15% discount on all purchases at NoQ Store. Just use code MYTWOGIRLS at check out.

Happy shopping! (Like I did)

Homemade Salted Vegetable / Hum Choy / Kiam Chai / 自腌咸菜

August 13, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Nothing beats homemade.

After seeing some videos/posts on how salted/preserved vegetables were made commercially, I’d actually try to limit purchasing of salted or preserved vegetables.

So I decided to make my own using a simple recipe I got from Best-ever Cooking Of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia & The Philippines. This is the 2nd time I’m making it, the end result is a crunchy salted vegetable with no chemical after taste like those you get from store bought ones.

♥Recipe for Homemade Salted Vegetable♥

Ingredients
1/2 cup of rice (actually this can be any amount, just make the amount you will be eating as porridge for that day)
5 cups of water (adjust the quantity according to how much rice you’ll be cooking, ‘rice water’ is what we’ll need to preserve the mustard green, and it has to be enough to submerge the vegetable)
500g mustard greens
35g salt

Method
1. Wash the rice, bring to boil in a large pan with the water. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes. Drain the rice, saving the liquid and letting it cool. The rice itself is not used in this recipe, so you can have the porridge like rice as a meal served with another dishes).

2. Wash the mustard green in lots of water and dry thoroughly. Using a kitchen towel to pat each leave and stalk. It’s important that they are fully dried.

3. Cut the mustard green into smaller stalks and mix with the salt in a non metallic bowl. Leave it for 30 minutes, then squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Salt will cling to the leaves.

4. Place mustard green into a jar, and pour over the completely cooled rice water, make sure the rice water submerge the leaves. Place the jar in a cool place for 4 to 7 days.

5. Drain the salted vegetable. Use immediately or store it in a container and refrigerate for later use. It can be stored up to a week in the fridge, but will taste better if used immediately. These homemade ones are not so salty, so you do not need to wash them before cooking or serving it straight as a dish.

Not too difficult right? The most tedious part of making this is the cleaning of the mustard green (they have lots of sand) and patting them completely dry.

Here are some photographs to document the steps.

Step 2 (Most tedious step) – Wash and pat them dry

Step 3 – Cut them, sprinkle with salt and let it sit for 30mins.

Cut the mustard greens

Mix with salt and leave for 30mins

After 30mins, the liquid in the mustard green will be drawn out

Step 4 – Place them in a jar with the rice water for 4 to 7 days.

Day 1

Day 7

Ready to eat

So how did we eat ours?

Cut a few stalks up and add into a bowl of noodle as condiment.

Stir friend them with chili, minced chicken with some salt and sugar, and drizzle a bit of soy sauce at the end.

(photos without watermark were taken from the phone, hence the bad quality)

East Coast Part 4 – Tumpat, Pantai Seri Tujoh, Kota Bharu

August 6, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Continues from here.

♥Jun 6th Friday♥

Early in the morning, the hubs drove to Kampung Kuala Besar, a fishing village near Kota Bharu.

The fishermen there seem to love to keep the Jambul or Red Whiskered Bulbul, a bird which they will use in bird singing competition.

Back at the hotel, we had another scrumptious buffet breakfast; after that the girls wanted to go back to Siti Khatijah Central Market to get more fake legos (yes, they sell them there at a very good price).

We stopped by at Loo Coffee for a drink and ended up chatting to the owner, Alice, for almost an hour about Kota Bharu and the Chinese community. Most of the Chinese there seem happy with the ruling party, PAS. When pork is sold at a little hidden corner with high walls in Klang Valley, they are sold openly in Kota Bharu. The market near by Loo Coffee had pork sold right at its entrance, a scene not available in Klang Valley. Unfortunately, when the hubs walked over there later, the market was already closed. Alice suggested that we go to the Thai border to see the impressive and huge temples built there.

We could have gone on chatting with Alice, but the girls were restless and nagging us to move on.

We drove out of Kota Bharu, and headed to Tumpat, which is a district at the Thai border (the other bigger Thai Border town Rantau Panjang is inland and further away from Kota Bharu); but to cross to Thailand (Tak Bai Checkpoint) from this side of the border, a ferry/boat ride across the Golok River is required.

The closer we got to Tumpat, the more Thais we saw. We actually broke for lunch at a small road side shed serving simple Thai food. Every one spoke Thai there, a guy had to take our orders in Bahasa Malaysia, and translate to Thai for the cook. Zaria was happy to have some pork to eat after so many days at the East Coast.

We stopped at the KTM station there, which is the eastern terminus of KTM’s East Coast Line.

As the station was pretty quiet, we went to the track and took some yoga shots. Eventually, the station master spotted us and shooed us away.

The girls, not toying with danger, stayed in a nearby shed, fooling around while waiting for us.

While driving to Pengkalan Kubor, the hubs decided to make a stop at Pantai Seri Tujuh. It seemed like a pretty popular beach for a picnic looking at how much rubbish had been littered and accumulated! I’d never seen a dirtier beach!

I’m disgusted at how we ‘take care’ of our beaches!

Luckily it wasn’t a wasted trip as besides being a popular picnic spot, it’s also a local favourite for kite flying. We saw some huge Wau Bulan or moon kites, being flown.

We even got to go on a horse carriage ride around the village nearby, as requested by the girls.

By the time we’re done at Pantai Seri Tujoh, and rushed to Pengkalan Kubur the Malaysian checkpoint at the Thai Border, the chekcpoint was already closed for the day (up till 6pm each day), so no crossing over to Thailand.

We drove back towards Kota Bharu, and searched for Restaurant Kampung Kulim (GPS coordinates) at Wakaf Baru as it’s a highly recommended restaurant.

It wasn’t an easy restaurant to find, as it’s hidden in some residential area. We has to ask around for direction before we managed to find it but only to know it’s closed for the week! (So that the workers can rest it seemed!) Anyway, if we were to be in Kelantan the next time, we’ll definitely want to try this place. We ended up eating at Cheng Mai Restoran, a Thai restaurant nearby Restaurant Kampung Kulim, but it wasn’t good that good.

♥Jun 7th Saturday♥

We checked out Hotel Perdana after our morning breakfast. It’s been a great stay there, love the clean gymn, the nice pool, and with super buffet spread we got every morning, and the service we got from the reception to the concierge was 5 star!

After another visit to Siti Khatijah Central Market for last round of shopping, we went hunting for Kopitiam Kita ( 4357-A, Jalan Pengkalan Chepa, Taman Desa Jaya, Kelantan, Kota Bharu), another place highly recommended.

Crowded kopitiam, the place is famous for packed rice from different district of Kelantan.

However, most of the rice were gone when we got there. Only managed to grab 2 packs of Nasi Ayam Goreng Kak Wok.

The girls have some kaya toasts, and then some customers next to our table recommended us roti titab, famous in this kopitiam. It’s just a pan fried butter toast, top with soft boiled egg, with 4 dollops of kaya dotting the corners of the toast.

Something different.

This was considered our early lunch, before we took the long drive down to Kuantan. Our next destination.

Somewhere on the journey, we stopped at the road side for some kueh baked using brass pan over a fire fueled by coconut husks.

The brass pan was placed on top of the fire, and top with more burning husks to bake the kueh.

It was a very fragrant and tasty kueh.

Driving inland between palm oil plantations, we spotted some wild hornbills flying about kind of like playing, the hubs decided to chase after them.
.

All these stops made us finally arriving at Kuantan past 10pm. We felt so happy/relief to get into our cozy room at Riverview Boutique Guesthouse
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