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 (located at a lane along Lebuh Campbell, Pulau Pinang) 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!

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)

Notice added October – NoQ Store has since been closed from October 2014 onward.

East Coast Part 2 – The Summerland Retreat, Pantai Telaga Papan, Pantai Rhu Sepuluh, Setiu Wetlands

July 3, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Continues from here.

♥Jan 3rd Tuesday♥

After googling for a place to visit around Setiu, which is the district The Summerland Retreat is located, we decided to visit Setiu Wetlands; not knowing the place is so illusive.

We only knew we were supposed to head North, and then try to locate signage. There was actually no signage, so we had to ask around, finally locating the narrow village road that led us to Setiu Wetlands. We knew we were there when we saw some boats docked with mangrove forests nearby.

We asked around if anyone would bring us around, but the folks there were more interested in their game of checkers. Only a Pak Din was willing to show us around in his boat for RM150.

Pak Din mentioned that the place is not well posted with signage because they were afraid that big tourist crowd may actually cause harm to the environment, how true that is, we don’t know. Usually only university students come to the wetlands for research purposes, and they normally hire him to bring them around so he’s quite familiar with the area.

In his small boat, he showed us around.

One of the main income in the wetland area is generated through oyster farming. We passed by many of them, with floating platforms.

Pak Din docked at a mangrove forest, and got us to explore a bit. He expertly watched over the shallow pool of water (for bubbles rising from sand), and dug out a couple of big clams. I’d never eaten clams this big, but they seem to be quite popular in the East Coast. He asked if we wanted to bring home to cook, and when we didn’t want, he happily pocketed them.

Pak Din pointed out some strange stack horn like parasitic plants which could only be found here, according to him. They look like a big sweet potatos attached to the tree, with a few thin stalks with leaves sticking out at the ends.

He took his boat out to the open sea as well, just to show us how the Peninsular looked like from the sea. He also docked at a sandy beach near the Laguna Agro Resort, pointed to us where Pulau Perhentian Besar, Pulau Perhentian Kecil and Pulau Lang Tengah are. His boat stalled when we wanted to leave, and took a while to restart. That got us worried, so we headed back soon after that as none of us wanted to get stranded in the middle of the sea.

If you are visiting Setiu Wetland, do contact Pak Din to show you around in his boat. His number 0139030119.

After our lunch at Pak Din’s little shop (run by his wife), it started raining. Nothing much we could do, so we headed back to our vacation home. On our drive back, we caught these. A heard of goats squeezing together to shelter themselves from the rain.

Another peck of animals sharing a shelter together.

While this duck was enjoying itself in the rain.

At Pantai Rhu Sepuluh, we decided to try the famous Ikan Goreng Tepung (fried fish with batter). Not only fish, they have prawns, squids, and keropok lekor (fish sticks) and some other processed stuff like crab sticks, sausages and nuggets. We picked a few items for tea, and they were good as long as you don’t see how they were fried! I guess you can’t go wrong with fresh seafood.

The long wide stretch of beach at Pantai Rhu Sepuluh was nice to explore after the rain. It was so difficult to get the girls to leave.

Back at The Summerland Retreat, we went for a swim at the sea. The water is clean and shallow, and the waves so gentle and calm, it was the first time the girls actually enjoying themselves swimming in the sea.

At night, we asked if Oya and Ena could cook us a simple dinner since we were too lazy to go out again, we didn’t mind anything, even just a plain omelette. Instead we got fried black pomfret, omelette, chicken rendang, and stir fried celery ♥♥.

While having dinner, Oya shared her story of how both of them started the place together. Their story of 2 city girls giving up the city and choosing to live a simple life running a small place like this is so inspiring. Have I mentioned that one of the dreams I have was to run a small B&B in the mountains or at a beach? They are living my dream.

♥Jan 4th Wednesday♥

When in East Coast, we should all try to catch the sunrise. Well, not me, the hubs did. This was at Pantai Telaga Papan.

For the last 3 days we stayed at The Summerland Retreat, we’d been having breakfast at this eatery recommended by Oya. Located just across the Merang Mosque, this small eatery, which is hard to miss because there’ll be lots of cars parked next to it, serves one of the best nasi kerabu we’d ever tasted. Owners were friendly, and besides nasi kerabu, they have nasi dagang, nasi lemak, and nasi minyak (translate to oil rice) as well.

The hubs who tried the nasi dagang claimed it was nice, so when he had nasi kerabu, he added the fish from nasi dagang as well; the girls had nasi lemak for 3 days with fried chicken and they like it too.

I love the nasi kerabu so much, I didn’t try any of the other rice, and had the same thing 3 days straight. The plate of nasi kerabu which is RM5 comes with rice, fish cracker, a slice of salted egg, 2 pieces of freshly barbecued chicken, ulam (Malay salad), serunding ikan (spiced fish floss) a pickled onion and the secret sauce. So yummy I tell you.

It was then time to leave The Summerland Retreat and move to our next destination, Kota Bharu.

We used the coastal road. Nice kampung houses were seen all along the coastal road, although most of them now have Astro Satelite dish attached to them.

This small quaint barber was empty when we passed it.

We had lunch at Kuala Besut, the main jetty to get to Pualau Perhentian, and also had some sata, a Terengganu fish satay grilled on a gentle fire fueled by coconut husks.

Then we reached Kelantan state. We drove passed Tok Bali, a small fishing port, before we headed inland towards Kota Bharu.

There were lots of clam stall at the road side selling the big clams we saw in Setiu Wetlands.

It was meant to be a 2hr journey from Merang to Kota Bharu, but it took us 4hrs using the coastal road and making numerous stops. When we finally arrived at Hotel Perdana, our hotel Kota Bharu, the girls were so glad; more so we got upgraded to a Deluxe Premier room, a big and modern room.

After many days of having Malay food, we were craving for Chinese, so we went to Four Seasons Restaurant, a halal Chinese restaurant; it was ok food.

East Coast Part 1 – Chukai, Kuala Terengganu, Summerland Retreat, Pantai Telaga Papan, Pantai Rhu Sepuluh, Kampung Mangkuk

June 24, 2014 at 7:52 pm

During the June holiday, we decided to take a road trip to the East Coast of Malaysia. It’s a long long drive, covering coastal area of Terengganu and then all the way to the Thai Border in Kelantan, but this part of Malaysia is beautiful, especially the beaches.

♥Jun 1st Sunday♥

We started the journey noon time, lunching on sandwiches in the car.

Back in 2009 when we visited Cherating, we had tea at the famous Hai Peng Kopitiam in Chukai, we recalled it was really good, so we drove into Chukai town thinking of taking a tea break there on our way to Terengganu.

Arriving at Hai Peng Kopitiam, we found that the shop has closed and relocated, and it has also been renamed, due to some ‘family ownership’ dispute. It’s now called Sukiyang Kopitiam (located at : PT11283 Jalan Belatuk, Taman Chukai Utama, Fasa 3, Terengganu).

We went searching for it, and arrived to find the Kopitiam almost full house.

What is the verdict? Service was lousy, had to wait so long for our toasts and drinks (coffee, tea and milo), and everything was just so-so. I bought a pack of ground coffee back, and it’s RM17.90 for a 200g pack, very expensive for local coffee. The worst is, this is not the same ‘kopi’ as what they served in the kopitiam, it was darker and not so aromatic. I . felt . being . conned.

Pressing on, we arrived at Kuala Terengganu at dusk. Not knowing where to eat, we used Tripadvisor to look for a restaurant and decided to try Adeq Sue Ikan Bakar (located at : Batu Buruk, 20400 Kuala Terengganu). We followed the Tripadvisor map, but it was WRONG! Googled more, and finally found the place using this map.

Worth it? YES YES YES!!

The 2 grilled fish with sambal petai was so spicy and so yummy; the girls loved their ayam goreng kunyit (fried chicken with turmeric) and fried kangkung; and the best dish was the Tomyam Poktek. A creamy tomyam filled to the brim with a variety of seafood (clams, crabs, fish, prawns), it was so full of flavour.

The place wasn’t easy to find, but it was worth the effort.

Another hour drive after dinner, and we arrived at our accommodation, Summerland Retreat which is located at Pantai Telaga Papan. So tired after all the driving, we went to bed after a shower.

♥Jun 2nd Monday♥

Summerland Retreat is just a 2 rooms vacation home set in a big piece of land. The friendly owners of the place, Oya and Ena, live about 50 meters away in another building.

We only took one room at the vacation home, the other one occupied by an Australian and Irish couple.

Room is clean and modern.

The charm of the place actually lies in the surrounding. The garden is beautiful, and there were the occasional Iguanas and birds that can be spotted.

A quiet beach, Pantai Telaga Papan, accessed/used mainly by the occasional locals, is only 100m away.

Sand is clean, soft and fine.

And the sea, clean, clear and calm.

We spent the morning there strolling at the quiet beach.

We then took a drive up a little North along the coastal road. Stopping at Pantai Rhu Sepuloh, a small fishing village with a beautiful beach.

Fishing boats used were pretty traditional, some were beautifully decorated.

We came across a Budu maker at Pantai Rhu Sepuloh.

Lots of anchovy like fish were being dried.

Budu is a kind of fermented fish sauce used as seasoning and eaten with rice or fish. The fermentation takes place in cement urns like these.
As it was not season to make Budu, according to the worker there, the urns were empty, but still leaving a strong fishy smell.

Driving further North, we wanted to have lunch at the famous Terrapuri at Kampung Mangkuk. Terrapuri is a resort with old Terengganu Malay Classic houses turned into villas.

Alas, they didn’t even allow us to enter the resort compound, claiming there were busy preparing for a big group of visitors arriving, and did not have enough staff to serve us.

We just explored the surrounding beach filled with tall coconut trees, with cows grazing peacefully among them.

As the hubs wanted to go back to Kuala Terengganu to photograph the Crystal Mosque at sunset, we took the 1hr drive back to the capital city.

We wanted to check out China town in Kuala Terengganu, as there were a couple of eateries listed on tripadvisor. Unknowingly we parked near the Turtle Alley (located at : Jalan Kampung China, Kuala Terengganu), and had a chance to check it out.

Just a small alleyway sandwiched between 2 prewar shop houses, it’s decorated turtle mosaics art, teaching the public about turtle conservation.

And at about 5pm, China town is almost dead. Most of the coffee shops are already closed, no opportunity for us to try out Madam Bee’s Kitchen.

We took one last stop near Crystal Mosque, just to view this beautiful mosque from afar, and then headed back to Merang area for dinner.

Continues here.

Taiping Dec 2013 – Glorious Food, Around Town and Sentosa Villa

May 4, 2014 at 8:53 pm

(What we saw and where we visited in Taiping during our year end visit is captured in the earlier post.)

Possessing local knowledge helps tremendously in a trip, with this Taiping trip, we just referred to our “Where to eat” list from Zaria’s teacher, not having to hunt around or experience any disappointment during meal times.

One of the places that should not be missed is Restoran Kakak 家家茶室 (111, Jalan Pasar, Taiping)

The kuey teow soup is supposed to be famous, with a choice of your own topping (fish cake, fish ball, stuffed tofu etc) tasted alright with a nice soup and smooth kuey teow. And we saw lots of people ordering the chicken feet, which we should have tried but didn’t. What we really like is the Kakak Ping 家家冰, which is a cold Nescafe mixed with barley drink; a unique combination, which made the Nescafe has a slight malty taste.

The place is opened early in the morning, and sold out quickly, especially the Kakak Ping. We went back the following day at noon, missing the Kakak Ping already only to find they have sold out.

No photos were taken at the coffee shop as it was a mad morning rush when we were there.

As the coffee shop is located in town, we had a stroll around town after our breakfast.

The girls were fascinated with a shop next door to Restaurant Kakak, which sells animal food, chicken feed and also chicks.
Taiping Town Centre - shop selling chicks

The road that attracted Zaria, Jalan Boo Bee (just because it sounded like boobies) is just nearby.
Taiping Town Centre Pre-war shop house

Nice pre-war shop houses around town.
Taiping Town Centre Pre-war shop house

And we like all these old style shops.
Taiping Town Centre

Here are some other places we’d been for something to eat..

♥Siang Malam♥ (Jalan Kota)

It’s a bustling hawker centre beside the KFC Restaurant in town.
Taiping Pasar Siang Malam

We went there for supper, and hence couldn’t order much, but the cup of tea made by one of the stall was really good. The ‘barista’ deftly made cups of coffee and tea from the tiny kitchen was interesting to watch.
Taiping Pasar Siang Malam Drink Stall

We tried the chee cheong fun (flat rice noodle) there which was drenched with a reddish sweet sauce with generous topping of friend shallots and toasted sesame seeds. Unlike the brown sweet sauce we get in KL, this red sweet sauce is nicer and more fragrant.
Taiping Pasar Siang Malam Chee Cheong Fun

♥Larut Matang Food Court♥ (Jalan Panggung Wayang)
Best place for lunch I believe, as we went three times, once late afternoon, where some of the stalls were finishing up and closing, another before noon, but the Nonya kuih stalls were just about to start their business, and another time slightly after lunch, and the stalls were all bustling with activities.

Famous stalls include, Fishball kuey teow (stall number 78); it’s actually like a dry soy sauce fish ball noodle getting fried before serving.
Larut Matang Food Court Fried Fish Ball Kuey Teow
Unlike the fried kuey teow that we are used to, this one is a little wet, and the noodles are thicker cuts; I think we prefer the usual fried kuey teow.

Red Bean Soup 红豆水 and Groundnut Soup 花生汤 (stall number 40); We can just keep going back to this stall. The red bean soup is so rich and thick (but not bitter); while the Groundnut Soup is so fragrant, with melt in your mouth groundnuts. Best of all, only RM1.40 per bowl!

Larut Matang Food Court Red Bean Soup

Larut Matang Food Court Groundnut Soup

All stalls in Larut Matang Food Court have sign boards which indicate their stall number.
Larut Matang Food Court Stall Number 40

There are also two traditional nyonya kuih stalls (in front of the fishball kuey teow stall) which sell a huge variety of nyonya kuih.

♥Restoran Mr BBQ♥ (Jalan Maharajalela)
This place was so good, we had dinner there two nights in a row.

The BBQ stingray is not to be missed, but the asam steamed fish is also fantastic.
Restoran Mr BBQ BBQ Stingray

Restoran Mr BBQ Nyonya Steam Fish

Restoran Mr BBQ Fried Squid

On the eve of Zaria’s birthday, she, who’s the only pork eater in the house, wanted sweet and sour pork for dinner, so we ordered this for her in Mr BBQ. She said it was really delicious as well.
Restoran Mr BBQ Sweet And Sour Pork Rice

Restoran Mr BBQ Taiping

♥Ipoh Bakery 怡保面包西饼屋♥ (144-146 Jalan Taming Sari)
We chanced upon this when we googled for a bakery to get Zaria’s birthday cake. This bakery has been operating for more than 90 over years, the bread and the chicken pies are famous. They have also progressed with time and now they make fondant cakes as well.

Ipoh Bakery Taiping

Besides getting a slice of cake for Zaria, we bought lots of buns and bread too, and they were all quite nice, some of the bread like the cream roll, sure brought back some childhood memory.

Zaria said the slice of cake we got her tasted very much like my cake, meaning it’s very home-styled.
Zaria's 7th birthday cake from Ipoh Bakery

♥Restaurant Tepi Sungai(十八丁海上食店)♥ (150 Tepi Sungai, Kuala Sepetang)
Kuala Sepetang has many seafood restaurants but this was recommended by our friend. The fried little crabs are not common, but I think the fried little shrimps are nicer. They are so tiny they could be eaten whole.
Kuala Sepetang Seafood Fried Little Crabs

We tried the Bismillah Cendol (Jalan Barrack) as well, but maybe because we are not cendol connoisseur, we didn’t find it that nice (Just like we didn’t find the famous Penang Road Teo Chew Cendol nice as well).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

♥Sentosa Villa♥

As for hotel, we stayed in Sentosa Villa which is at the fringe of the Lake Garden. We got a family room at the main hotel block. Room is huge and clean but without any character. I think staying in the family villa would have been better (but they are quickly snapped up).
Family Room at Sentosa Villa

The hotel surrounding is beautiful, we only realised this when we stayed back on the last day for breakfast.
Cafeteria at Villa Sentosa

There’s a natural stream and pool in the compound.
Duck swimming in the stream at Sentosa Villa

Stream at Sentosa Villa

And there are chickens, ducks, turkey running around in the garden, which the girls were fascinated with, trying to feed them with bread from the breakfast buffet.
Feeding chickens at Villa Sentosa

They also tried catching some fishes from the pond, and because there were so many, they could actually scoop them up with their bare hands.
Catching little fishes at Villa Sentosa

Exploring the gardens at Villa Sentosa

Taiping Dec 2013 – The Sights And Places We Visited

April 30, 2014 at 11:26 am

To end our year last year, we made a trip to Taiping and spent 3 days there.

My memory of Taiping was of a drive we took many years ago (before the children came) passing the big angsana trees at the Taiping Lake Garden, last year, after gathering some information from Zaria’s teacher from Taiping, on what to eat, and what not to miss, we decided to make a trip there instead of Ipoh (which we’d been going for the previous 2 years at year end).

These are the sights and the places we visited in Taiping. Refer to this other post on where to stay; where and what to eat.

Taiping Lake Garden

The first public garden established in then Malaya; huge and scenic, the garden has lots of huge gigantic rain trees or Angsana trees lining the lake with its branches stretching from the road to the waters. This place obviously is a popular place for various exercise.

Soldiers did their physical exercise and this few didn’t mind a photo taken after completing their sit ups.
Soldiers at Taiping Lake Garden

There was a coach (Volunteer? Assigned?) doing some stretching exercises on the stage, with those interested following.
Morning exercise at Taiping Lake Garden

Small exercise groups did their own routine. This group doing taichi.
Taichi at Taiping Lake Garden

And this group doing fan dancing.
Fan Dance at Taiping Lake Garden

The huge trees were so fascinating, the hubs just couldn’t stop taking photos.
Taiping Lake Garden

Such a big beautiful park, so picturesque.
Taiping Lake Garden

Taiping Lake Garden

Taiping Lake Garden

Taiping Lake Garden

Taiping Lake Garden

The lucky residents of Taiping, we envy you!
Taiping Lake Garden

Bukit Larut (Maxwell Hill)
The oldest hill resort in Malaysia, perched at 1250m above sea level, it is the wettest place in Malaysia, with temperature ranges from 10C to 25C. Access up the hill is available only by (government owned) Land Rovers although people are free to walk up the hill as many do for exercise.

The journey up the hill is about 13km, so we decided to take the Land Rover, and then walk down.

The Land Rover operational hour is from 8am to 5pm daily with a frequency of 1 hour. Fees is about RM5 for adult and RM3 for children.

We bought our ticket for a specific time slot, waited at the stop 15mins earlier, (but like all things badly operated by the government) but the land rover just zoomed passed us without even stopping for us (he claimed he didn’t see us later). We complained at the office (nobody was mending the ticketing office as it was 1:30pm on a Friday, prayers time), but was asked to wait for the next available Land Rover (coming down from the hill) to bring us up.

So we reached the top of the hill in the next available Land Rover late afternoon; it was a thrill ride all the way up, the roads were narrow with sharp bands, I chose the front seat, and tried not to get nauseous while the girls were screaming and shouting like they were on a roller coaster ride. The weather was nice and cooling at the peak, but we didn’t see anything operating, the cafeteria, tea garden were all closed, and I wasn’t sure if any of the bungalows were habitable. Whatever buildings we came across looked dilapidated.

We didn’t spend much time up at the top; took the next available Land Rover downhill but alighted midway and walked the rest of the journey to the foot of the hill. On foot, we were able to enjoy the fresh air (diesel smell on the Land Rover) and the flora and fauna available.
Spider at Bukit Larut

The last 3km we decided to take one of the jungle trek instead of walking on the tar road. This is the popular exercise trail lots of people take, but it’s not an easy trail especially with children. It was steep all the way, with lots of tree roots forming steps, and ropes provided to assist with the climb/descent at some part.

Climbing down Bukit Larut

Climbing down Bukit Larut
Zaria, the fearless, took the lead all the way.

Taiping Zoo Night Safari

The night before Zaria’s 7th birthday, we asked her what she would like to do in Taiping, and knowing there’s a night safari at the Taiping Zoo, she said she wanted to go just there.

Taiping zoo is located in a beautiful natural setting in Taiping Lake Gardens and pretty well maintained. Ticket was RM20 for adult and RM10 for children for night safari.
Night Safari Taiping Zoo

The animals were healthy looking, and some were very active in the night, like this clouded leopard which we could watch so closely through the glass cage.
Clouded leopard at Night Safari Taiping Zoo

Kuala Sepetang

Kuala Sepetang (formerly known as Port Weld) is a coastal town famous for its mangrove forest and also charcoal factories. The Port Weld railway station was located at the centre of the town, now dismantled, it was the last station up North on the first railway line in Peninsular Malaysia.

On the way there, this huge green piece of land was covered with cement buildings for housing swiftlets for their bird nests.
Swiftlets House at Kuala Sepetang

We had lunch at the fishing village at Kuala Sepetang, and bought some dried seafood.
Kuala Sepetang

Kuala Sepetang

A visit to the charcoal factories shouldn’t be missed when one is in Kuala Sepetang, in my opinion (here is the direction to get there).

We always go to Mr Chuah’s factory. There’s a smokey smell in the air upon arriving. The factory has many huge beehive like kilns to bake big wooden logs until the moisture is gone and turn them into charcoal.
Kuala Sepetang Charcoal Kiln

These logs, stacked outside of the factory, is ready to be baked.
Kuala Sepetang Charcoal Factory

This place has a nice charm, and it’s probably quite popular for wedding shots.
Kuala Sepetang Charcoal Factory Wedding Shoot

And of course, we took the opportunity to take some arti-farti shots too. Zaria doing a bridge.
Zaria doing a bridge at Kuala Sepetang Charcoal Factory“ title=

Me doing a Reverse Warrior pose.
Reverse Warrior at Kuala Sepetang Charcoal Factory“ title=

My current favourite bag from Ki Ichizawa gets an ‘advertisement-like’ shot too.
Ki Ichizawa bag at Kuala Sepetang Charcoal Factory“ title=

And Zaria trying to push a cart loaded with charcoal.
Kuala Sepetang Charcoal Factory“ title=

The charcoal produced here are mainly exported out to Japan (no wonder their yakitori there is so delicious), but visitors are able to purchase them too. We grabbed 3 big packs, freshly bagged.
Sorting out charcoal at Kuala Sepetang Charcoal Factory“ title=

Japan Part 11 – Day 12 – Osaka Doguyasuji 千日前道具屋筋商店街 and Shinsekai 新世界

April 10, 2014 at 10:08 pm

The posts and summary for the whole trip, can be found here

♥Dec 3rd Tuesday♥

Osaka Skyline

Last day in Japan, and I woke up with a massive migraine. I asked the hubs to bring the children out without me but they preferred to stay in with me. Good thing was after sleeping for 2hrs, the migraine went away, and we could still shop and explore for one last day before we left.

First stop was Doguyasuji 千日前道具屋筋商店街, a small shopping street which sells kitchen and baking wares/utensils. For a small street, we spent quite some time there, and I got myself a clay pot, a bread knife, a cast iron kettle, two thermometers and an aluminium pot; I made sure everything I got was Made In Japan to worth the effort for carrying them back.
Doguyasuji

There were other interesting shops around Doguyasuji, but we didn’t have time to check them out. O

Cycling seems to be very popular in Osaka and Kyoto; if it wasn’t for the busy traffic, we would have opted to use the bicycle too; maybe in future trips when the girls are older.
Around Doguyasuji

After that it was off to lunch. Our first western meal in Japan at Bene Pesce.
Bene Pesce Pesto Octopus Pasta

Bene Pesce Smoke Sardines

Bene Pesce Tomato Pasta
For about ¥800 for a set lunch, the food was not bad and of good quality, like all things Japanese.

We lugged all the things we’d purchased, and headed to Namba Station to store them in the locker.
Namba Station

Namba Station

Because the hubs has patiently waited for me to shop at Doguyasuji, I had to agree to go to Shinsekai 新世界; one of the poorest area in Japan, it has a unique character and tackiness that is not found in other parts of Japan. The moment we got out of the train, it’s as though we’d been transported back in time to a notorious and dangerous part of Japan.

Shinsekai Love Locks

People were sloppily dressed (Zara said every one looked like a gangster), some looked dirty and zombie like as though they had not taken a bath or rested for quite some time. Shinsekai is famous for cheap eats as well; we saw lots of small restaurants lining the streets, and they were mainly ‘standing bars’ or in Japanese 立吞, where the Kanji characters translated to ‘stand and swallow’ (I understand it’s now also a popular restaurant concept in Taiwan).

Shinsekai Standing Bar 立吞

Shinsekai Standing Bar 立吞

There were a couple of adult movie theatres that we came across with their bold posters, the girls squealed every time they came across one, “Eeeyer!!!! Humsup!!” “Eeeyer, she’s showing her boobs!” “Eeeeyer, they look like they are mating!” o.O”

I had to ask the hubs walk ahead of us to ensure the ‘coast’ was clear before we followed him.

There are a lot of Pachinko Parlour in Shinsekai too; hubs went into one of them to have a look.
Shinsekai Pachinko Parlour

If the restaurant signboards in Dotonburi is tacky (but acceptable), the ones in Shinsekai brought it to another level. Most of the restaurants have the Shinsekai Mascot Billiken that’s supposed to bring luck. Luck or not, it looked hideous.

Shinsekai Restaurant with Billiken

Shinsekai Restaurant with Billiken

Shinsekai Restaurant with Billiken

Shinsekai Restaurant

We didn’t have dinner there, because the girls were uncomfortable with the people they saw there. So if we were not after the cheap food, why were we there? This was all because the hubs wanted to photograph the vibrant colours of Shinsekai (no doubt it’s colourful) and the Shinshekai Tsūtenkaku 通天閣, which means “Tower Reaching Heaven”.

We were there late afternoon till night time, so the hubs could take the tower under natural light, and also when it’s litted.
Shinsekai Tsūtenkaku

Shinsekai Tsūtenkaku

So he took photos of the tower from different angles, of the tower itself, and also from the busy street.
Shinsekai Tsūtenkaku

Shinsekai Tsūtenkaku

Shinsekai Tsūtenkaku

He spent so much time there, the girls and I got really bored since there were no shops interesting enough for us to spend time in; and we had tackiness overdosed!

Finally when it was time to go, we were so happy! It was back to Dotonbori 道頓堀 and Shinsaibashi 心斎橋 for more shopping.

While we were walking around looking for restaurant to have a quick meal, a group of men were standing outside a small eatery chatting loudly. They started chatting with us too, i.e. where we were from, if we were enjoying ourselves etc. We asked what they were waiting for, and one of the guy mentioned onigiri. He told us the eatery sold really good onigiri, and we should try it. And so we did! It was one of the best onigiri we had tasted, they were made on the spot, it was so good we went for seconds. For the record, the name of the eatery is めはり屋文在ェ門 (pronounced as Mehari-ya Bun-zaemon).

After our light meal, we did all the girls’ shopping at GU, sister company of Uniqlo, where things were much cheaper. The girls bought 4 pairs of shoes from there, 3 were UGG like boots which were going for ¥500.

Then we came across Laduree at Daimaru, so we had to had some (moreover, a mochi costs the same amount as a Laduree macaron, i.e. ¥300, in Japan). We took 2 each, as we absolutely love (good) macarons. Choosing which piece of heaven we wanted to taste was tough though.
Choosing macaron flavours at Laduree Daimaru

Finally, a little more of Osaka by night, and it was time to go.
Osaka Taxi

Namba HIPS

Osaka At Night

The following day, after breakfast, it was time to leave for the airport. It’s been a good trip, and we can’t wait to return again.

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