Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wong Kok, Coffee Bean and Dr Chin...

This post is definitely LOOONG overdue ever since Christmas! My dear friend Mei Fong came back for a mere 1 week from the UK, and she sweetly took the effort to travel all the way up to Penang from Perak! She's my buddy in high school and we sat next to each other for a good few years. :) Seeing her after a lapse of, 2 years? has definitely made me realize how much we have lost touch! For starters, she's no more the nerdy, specky, strict, bookworm that you'd know back at school. Mind you, she's blossomed into a trendy, bubbly, spec-less Doctor! Yes, you heard me right... After 5 years of grueling, she's finally back with a prefix to her name. And am I proud of her!

We had a nice mini gathering and catch up on the day that she reached Penang, at Wong Kok restaurant. This is everyone (from left, clockwise) : Mei Fong, Bamboo, Hamdan, witch, Mavis and Chee Mun.

Here are some of the food I took from Wong Kok. The food there is not particularly amazing, except for one. I shall reveal to you what it is later... *wink*
Fried rice with prawns... hmm how come I don't see any prawns?

Rice with chicken?

Rice with no idea what...

szechuan noodles @ wong kok

crispy noodles
Crispy noodles

fish and chips with rice
Rice with fish and chips

And finally, may I introduce you to the pride of Wong Kok... it is no other than the incredibly delicious Char Siew Sou! *LOL* This is definitely the must-have in Wong Kok. The crispy exterior of this pastry with a generous feeling of char grilled meat inside, blended with a uniquely sweet sauce totally makes up a perfect combination. I can eat Char Siew Sou only and will not feel bored. :P
char siew sou @ wong kok
Char Siew Sou

Bamboo showing us of his ring. No, he's not married, but he's just very proud of this ring, I wonder why...
Bamboo with ring

After dinner, a few of us proceeded to have coffee at Coffee Bean. It was a weeknight, hence, the crowd was not so bad. We all ordered ice-blended drinks though we're stuffed from dinner!
Our drinks

Some camwhore sessions during the night...
witch with green tea ice blended

Mei Fong with her ice-blended coffee

Mei Fong and witch at Coffee Bean

Bamboo and witch - Bamboo can you smile more genuinely or not? :P

The cool Hamdan...

Bamboo again...

It was definitely great to have sessions like this once in a while. It definitely brought back old memories of school and the warmth of friends from school. You will never be able to get the same openness, warmth, honesty, closeness with friends you know elsewhere... And Mei Fong, distance is but a number. ;)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Slim iPod Nano

I have been meaning to post this blog entry for the longest time, believe me, but I always got distracted... Let me take this opportunity to introduce to you my latest baby, the incredibly slim and light iPod Nano by Apple, no less. For those who read my previous entry, they would know that I have wanted an iPod for the longest time. Finally, I got it as a present during my birthday last year! =))) I took the following pictures right after I bought them, hot off the rack.
iPod Nano in the box - The salesperson at Switch said that I was the first one in Queensbay mall to get the new iPod Nano model :)

The new outlook of this short and fat iPod nano clearly looks and feels better than the previous long and narrow version. First of all, it has a larger screen, which allows for a better view of your song lists, photos or even MTVs. Yes, it can even play videos, unlike the previous iPod nano.
Side view

Back view

When I bought the iPod, it was so new that there was no display unit available. I did not even get to TOUCH the gadget before purchasing it. Can you imagine paying more than 600 and not being able to test it beforehand? Well I did not regret it one bit!

Look at its profile. It is so thin, it makes one's fingers look huge! *LOL*
Thin profile

One tip I would like to share with iPod nano owners is, and may I stress, only those who are thrifty :P, is the screen protector (a.k.a. the transparent layer of film to protect the screen). If you purchase the original screen protector from Switch itself, it will cost at least RM30 or more. What I did was actually to go to a mobile phone shop, and ask for a mobile phone screen protector instead, with the size similar to my iPod screen size. So the kind salesperson actually looked through the sizes available and found one that pretty much matched the size of my screen. He even helped me to adhere the layer onto my screen. All for a mere cost of... RM8! Isn't that a great deal? :)
Front view

Overall it is indeed a great improvement in terms of the outlook. Sound quality should not differ much from the older generation, but the graphics certainly did improve! If you do not believe me, the Switch outlets already have display units available right now for you to play with.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Visiting Cat's new place

My very good friend Cat has just moved in to a new apartment after a whole month of painstakingly pushing the contractor, carpenter, mason, just ANYBODY who has anything to do with the apartment to do their job, and it is finally completed! And I had the honor to visit the apartment one fine day, to admire the newly scrubbed floors, the plush and comfortable sofa, the newly installed kitchen cabinets (which still smelled of wood!), the pretty bedroom set and the sturdy dining table.

The very comfortable couch which was handpicked by her :P

The place definitely spelled cozy if anything at all. It makes one feel just at home by sitting on the couch and watching Astro. *LOL*

The bedroom was nicely decorated with very straightforward furniture without being too elaborate. It is a good move to place just the basic requirement to avoid making the room too clustered. (I'm NOT saying your room is small OK :P )

Bedroom table
I can imagine a lot of good nights' sleep with this comfortable bed! =)
Bedroom bed

Dining area
Dining table
There was a time earlier when Cat was complaining about her kitchen cabinet being too dark and gloomy. She made me imagine that the whole kitchen was just dark and wooden looking. Fortunately, she made it sound worse than it was. :P In fact, I did not think it was such a bad design after all. I just like the horizontal woodgrain on the cabinet, coupled with the modern-looking handle. Somehow the combination makes the cabinet look very presentable, in my humble opinion. And oh, I just love the kitchen solid top! It's so smooth to the touch!
Kitchen cabinet
Now the last part of the apartment is what I'm most amazed with... Introducing the revolutionary, state-of-the-art, contemporary (I just couldn't resist overdoing the suspense) *drum rolls* ... AV room! Also known as the audio-visual room, in case you did not know.

Call me naive but I have never experienced a mini 'cineplex' within a house. The experience was just surreal. The whole room was windowless and fully padded and carpeted. There was a 7.1 sound system, and not to mention the 100" projector screen. Watching a movie in this room is definitely MUCH better than watching movie in the cinema, I would say. For starters, you won't have to put up with annoying ringing tones, or with people who talk too loud, or with people who just visit the washroom nonstop and keep blocking your view. PLUS, you have the liberty to stop and pause whenever you want to! Anything beats that?

AV room projector screen
AV room screen

Monday, January 14, 2008

Period pain remedy please

I am writing this post to call out for EVERYONE, anyone, please tell me any good period pain prevention method (no medication, please) that you know. Yesterday marked the most dreadful pain that I have ever experienced due to menstruation, in my entire life. No doubt it was the very first day of period but everything was fine, that was, until after lunch.

It started with a mild discomfort which was usual for me sometimes. But then it gradually became worse and I had to crunch my stomach, which did not improve my situation any bit, mind you. I tried to sleep it off, lied down on the bed and counted sheep (yes, I was THAT desperate). But I only ended up tossing and turning and sweating under all the pain. To top it off, I could not sleep at all. It got so bad that at one point, I actually vomited part of my lunch out (ok, gruesome).

Anyway, I read from somewhere that hot wattle bottle placed on the aching area would help ease period cramps. So, with fumbling hands and a subconscious mind, I dragged myself to boil water and poured it into some bottle. Due to the sad fact that I did not have a proper rubber water pouch, I had to make do with the only plastic bottle that I could get hold of. And then I placed the scorchingly hot bottle, layered with a piece of cloth, onto my stomach. It was burning, but it helped to distract my mind from the pain. But it did not really help me sleep... that was until Help arrived. By Help, I actually meant Panadol Menstrual pills. :P After popping two of those, only did I start feeling better and manage to doze off peacefully.

So people, if you have any good remedy to PREVENT period pains, please do share with me. I'm more than happy to try them out! :) Of course, no medication... and I think I'm under a lot of stress lately *sigh*

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Bakerzin experience

The Bakerzin restaurant in Queensbay Mall, Penang, is relatively new and probably does not receive as much attention as it is used to in KL or Singapore. The place is awfully quiet during weekdays and gets several patrons during the weekends, mostly for the cakes. It is probably due to this reason that they ran a promotional Buy 1 Free 1 period, valid ONLY for Queensbay Mall. Aren't Penangites lucky? ;)

I have never frequented Bakerzin prior to this promotion period, and that was largely due to its location just next to Paddington House of Pancakes. I mean, who could resist pancakes, right? If given a choice, it would always be pancakes, always. So, poor Bakerzin will pale in comparison. That is UNTIL there was this huge poster on display. :)

If my memory served me well, the promotion lasts until end of January 2008. It is valid for all items in the menu and the menu only, which means cakes on display are excluded. I ordered the Seafood Pasta which looked palatable from the menu picture, and I must say it did not disappoint. The serving portion was huge and there was a generous number of clams, prawns (fresh!) and a crayfish to top it off. Pasta sauce was tomato-based, just the way I like it. ;) I think this is probably the ONLY pasta dish that is worth trying in the menu, and I urge you to do so as well. :)

Bakerzin seafood pasta
Seafood pasta

Bakerzin seafood pasta
Seafood pasta (close up)

For dessert, who could miss out on the Warm Chocolate Cake? It is yet another version of chocolate molten or lava cake that is widely popular in most restaurants right now. Bakerzin's version is nothing less than what other restaurants can offer, in fact it is more superior, in my humblest opinion.
Bakerzin chocolate cake dessert
Warm Chocolate cake

The portion is just nice for one person, after having entree. This is a plus point considering most people are already rather full after eating the main course, and too large a size of dessert would just be overwhelming, to the stomach and to the waistline!

The best way to eat the dessert has to be eating the ice cream, cake and the warm chocolate, in one bite. The feeling is nothing less than heavenly, I kid you not.
Bakerzin chocolate cake dessert
Warm Chocolate cake

Most chocolate molten/lava desserts have the same effect but somehow the warm chocolate in this particular dessert is prepared just nice. It is neither too rich or too bland. I definitely do not feel guilty eating this. *LOL* Seriously, no amount of words would be able to do justice to the amazing pleasure that this dessert offers. Try it for yourself!
Bakerzin chocolate cake dessert
Warm Chocolate oozing out...

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happy New 2008!

This post is largely outdated, I know. But the sad fact is that I have never had time to complete the questions. Anyway, it's always the case of better late than never, right? :) Happy new year to everyone and may the new year bring along with more health, wealth, luck and everything good! :)

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?
Went for qigong classes that cost RM500... Didn't put into practice after 6 months *shakes head*

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I never made any resolutions before... We don't have to change only during the beginning of each year, right?

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, a colleague's wife, my ex-boss' wife

4. Did anyone close to you die?
A distant uncle

5. What countries did you visit?
Australia, Singapore

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
Time to exercise, sleep, a healthier diet on Friday nights, more novel time

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
15th of November *wink*

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
To be able to get through working and studying part time the whole full year!

9. What was your biggest failure?
I did not take care of my body well enough

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Lots of food poisoning and diarrhea, I don't even wanna mention :(

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A really nice Somerset Bay white skirt *LOL*

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Those who stood up for their rights

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Cowards and liars

14. Where did most of your money go?
Well this year, it has to be on my studies :P

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Going to Sydney with my parents :)

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
Way Back Into Love, Ever Ever After

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a) I'm definitely sadder now, literally, because I have to work during weekends for the past 2 weekends :(

b) Thinner

c) Richer in terms of feelings, of friends, i mean. :P

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Just chilling out stress-free, travelling, reading, watching movies

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Procrastinating, worrying

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my family in Kampar

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Heroes, Gilmore Girls

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate is a strong word, I wouldn't use that word on anyone

24. What was the best book you read?
PS I Love You

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Did not discover any *frown*

26. What did you want and get?
Ipod Nano

27. What did you want and not get?
Digital SLR

28. What was your favorite film this year?
Enchanted, Ratatouille

29. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
Lunch with my colleagues at Little Italy, had dinner at Victoria Station - I'm quarter of a century old.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Less stress, more travel

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?

32. What kept you sane?
Music, movies, friends, love

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Not much of a political person

35. Who did you miss?
My parents, my grandparents, my brothers

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Someone special *wink*

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007.
To believe in myself

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Some nice Singapore food

This is a final follow-up post on my Singapore trip in December 07. Lately, I have been so busy with work and studies that I had to procrastinate updating my blog. :( I just wish there were more days in a week, more hours in a day sometimes. Oh well, we don't always get what we wish for, do we?

Anyway, let us start with the first and only frog porridge that I have ever tasted! It's apparently a famous delicacy in Singapore Geylang road, Lorong 9. Well, Geylang is also famous for 'other' activities as well, if you know what I mean *wink*. I tried at the coffee shop which was located at the corner of the shop house, but I don't remember the name of the shop *frown*. But I did take a picture of the stall which was located inside this coffee shop. :) Erm, sorry, but I can't read Chinese, so please don't ask me what's the name of the stall... :P

Geylang claypot frog
Clay pot frog porridge

If you look at the banner, they have 3 main varieties of clay pot frog porridge available, and I chose the Dried Chilli version. It came served with a big pot of porridge as well.

Geylang claypot frog
Geylang claypot frog
Dried Chilli Clay pot frog

Geylang porridge
Clay pot porridge
Believe me, the porridge was amazing! It just did not look amazing in the picture, but when I tasted it, I could honestly say it's among the best porridge that I have tasted so far. And the portion was extremely big! Coupled with the dried chilli frog, the taste was just more than a perfect match. It was definitely worth a try. :)

Next place I wanted to share is the famous Din Tai Fung restaurant in Wisma Atria. The place has been a legend on its own for a long time but I have yet to taste it until last year. I have to say, I am not surprised why it is STILL a legend now. I ordered the unmistakable dumpling, also fondly known as 'Siew Long Pau' in Cantonese. It came in a plate of 5 pieces, and tasted wonderful. As usual, the soup just oozed out with the very first bite into the dumpling. Add that with the flavourful marinated meat and the thin dumpling skin, it was indeed gorgeous. :)

Din Tai Fung dumpling
Siew Long Pau

I also ordered the hand made noodles which was also a specialty in the Shanghai-themed restaurant. It was not exactly the greatest noodles that I have tasted, but I could say that it was definitely better than Dragon-I in Malaysia. *sorry!*

Din Tai Fung noodles
Mushroom noodles
Another one of those featured food in the menu was the Pork Chop, which I also ordered. It did look great on plate, but the taste was just OK. It wasn't too bad, but I suppose the meat was not really marinated. So it was just like eating normal pork which was fried?

Din Tai Fung pork chop
Pork Chop

Finally the one thing not to be missed was its glorious mango pudding dessert! I am a fan, always a fan of mango! Only the sweet mango, mind you. And it NEVER goes wrong with ANY dessert at all. Hence, came the last item in my list. :) I do not know what those small sago-like pieces were, but they did taste fine in the combination. The pudding was just marvellous. Or it was just the mango. Either way, I will never say NO to mango. Give it to me anytime and I'll take it! :)
Din Tai Fung mango pudding
Mango pudding dessert

Indeed, Singapore does have a lot of nice places for food, if we really go and explore and ask the locals around. I'm sure there are still loads to be discovered. :)