Monday, September 29, 2008

French manicure is difficult!

Now for the proper post on French manicure. I have never in my life visited a nail parlour before or had any form of manicure done professionally. I have always thought nails could always be taken care by myself, they just need cutting regularly! Well, that was until a few months ago, when I attended a friend's wedding, I saw ALL her cousin sisters had beautifully manicured nails! Even the youngest teenager's nails put mine to shame. *sigh* And I realised that no matter how hard I tried to polish my own nails, they always ended up to have chips and cracks before I could say 'what?'. I'm just a clumsy person I guess. Anyway, when I further saw beautiful french manicure on my friend's fingers once, I told myself I had to get it done some day, and in it went into my wish list! :)

Now, coincidentally, my birthday is coming really soon and sweet ol' Bamboo (long time friend) saw my wish list and offered to give me a french manicure treat for my birthday. Of course, I jumped to the offer immediately! *LOL* So we made an arrangement to meet at the nail parlour in Queensbay Mall the next day. The one we went to was called Nails Hansen. We were the only ones there so we didn't even have to make any prior appointment. I guess the nail industry in Penang is still far from blossoming. Anyway, good for us then, we had the whole place to ourselves. :P I was impressed by the myriad of nail colours available. Well, I never really take care of my nails, remember? So I am a complete noob when it comes to nails.

A sea of colours

Then I happily sat down before one of the ladies took control of my nails. I was really excited throughout the whole process and kept wondering how my nails would look like at the end.

witch at the nail parlour

Just to provide a comparison, these are my nails before I did the manicure: (I know dull, dull, dull)


Firstly, she filed the edges of my nails to shape them. Then, she soaked the first hand into a bowl of warm water while she worked on my second hand. After soaking, she sprayed some liquid on my nails, which I thought was cuticle remover. Using an orange stick, she pushed back my cuticles afterwards. I wonder why is that piece of equipment called an orange stick eh?

Pushing back cuticles

It was then followed by cuticle cutting. I was rather scared of this process because the cutter was really sharp and I kept wondering if it would hurt my cuticles. Turned out it was painless after all. *phew*

Cutting cuticles

Later on, she buffed my nails and made them shiny. She also applied some kind of oil and massaged my fingers and lower arms for a while.


After the buffing it was all pampering. I saw with glee as she applied first the base coat, then followed by a light pink nail polish twice, and later on the white french tip. I suppose the hardest part was the french tip because it required very very still hands and even pressure. In fact, I think the manicurist in Nails Hansen didn't really do a very good job because the thickness of the tip was irregular and in some areas, too thick. When it's too thick, it's very prone to chipping (already chipped 1 *sob*). Anyway, I think she did her best so I can't complain. Of course, the last part was the top coat, to keep everything in place.

As you can see from my previous post, the outcome is really pretty!


They made me look glamourous! *LOL* Though the hardest part about getting manicure is the immobility of my hands for a good few hours after that! In fact, right after the manicure, I took my phone out from my handbag and scraped off a bit of the white tip! *gasp* So fragile! Luckily, I was still in the shop and she kindly did some repair work. After that, I was SO afraid of getting my nails near to ANYTHING. Which basically meant I didn't even dare put back my phone into the bag. I had a HARD time getting money out from my purse too, for fear of touching my nails to the edges of the purse. Oh and don't even get me started when I was trying to look for my car keys in my handbag! I had to pry my handbag REALLY wide open to make sure my nails wouldn't touch any part of the bag or the zipper. It was not easy. Now I'm thinking of how to wash my hair without scraping the polish off...

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Of my nails! I'm just excited to share this picture. *LOL* Will write a proper post on this soon!

French manicured nails

One down from the list! :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The next big thing

Have you heard of Gladiator shoes/sandals? I have read about them in several magazines early this month and saw various reviews in the internet... and I LOVE THEM! I always have a thing with stripes and when I saw them first in Cleo magazine this month, I knew I absolutely had to get them. In fact, during my recent trips to KL, I was hunting for them high and low, but to no avail. *sigh* I saw one pair in Nichii boutique that was very close to what I wanted, but they were out of my size. *double sigh*

In my desperate attempt to own them, I searched from the internet and saw some fabulous designs!

1) This is the classic one, albeit a little low on the stripes. I think they will be comfortable and great for walking long distances (note: shopping). *LOL*


2) I love these! Bohemian fringe gladiator sandals. Wear these with hot pants or short skirt and you're ready to paint the town red. Please, anyone tell me where are these sold? The ones I found from the internet do not ship internationally to Malaysia. *triple sigh*


3) Another pair of gladiator sandals with stripes that go all the way to your calves. They look like boots, with a tinge of a twist. I think they're gorgeous, although I believe you would get quite an attention if you're wearing them in Malaysia. At least for now. *LOL*


4) Ahh... Vintage gold and white sandals, gladiator style. Very stylish and elegant.
I think they're definitely the next best thing in shoe fashion. It's just that Malaysia is still rather slow to be caught up with the trends, and those few that are catching up, don't have enough stock! I hope more shops will start selling these shoes soon, and I'll be their biggest customer. *evil laugh* If anyone ever sees gladiator sandals in Malaysia, please let me know! I'm their biggest fan! :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dim Sum at Tai Zi Heen, Prince Hotel

According to my aunt and also the Prince Hotel website, Tai Zi Heen is an award-winning restaurant famous for dim sum and other Chinese cuisine. Since the whole family was around that weekend, we decided to give this place a try. After eating at Zing, it would be difficult to match the standards, I'd think.

When we reached the hotel, I took some time to snap pictures of the surroundings. The place was very well-maintained with a classy style exuded by the decor. Of course, we could not expect anything less from a 5-star hotel.

Staircase to Tai Zi Heen

Even though it was a weekend, the restaurant was quiet, with just a couple of other tables occupied. This gave an indication of how expensive the restaurant was, I suppose. Meticulous service, great environment and no need for standing by to wait for vacant tables really come with a price eh?

Nice view

The menu was very informative, detailing exactly what you would expect for each type of dim sum. Sure, the prices were on the steep side too, with most dishes costing at least above RM10. *gasp*


Table settings

I was intrigued by this cute and heavy dragon ornament to hold the chopsticks.

Majestic dragon as chopstick holder

One of the distinctive features of Tai Zi Heen and of Prince hotel was the abundance of fresh flowers everywhere you go. I could spot at least 3 large vases from our table alone, not mentioning those hidden from my sight. The best part of it was, when you walked past the flowers, you could actually smell the very strong and pleasant scent of flowers. I never thought fresh flowers could be this pleasant-smelling. Now, I wouldn't mind to stop and smell the flowers whenever I'm here. :)

Fresh flowers

Now, moving on to serious stuff, Food. Started off with porridge and boy, was it good! I think porridge was one of the 'cheapest' at RM8 per bowl, but definitely it beat the one from Zing hands down. There was just something special with this porridge, extra smooth and delicious. Sufficient amount of century eggs and chicken meat, I couldn't have enough of it even after finishing a bowl. Carrot cakes looked appetizing, but I think I've tasted better.

Porridge and carrot cake

Now, one thing the people at Tai Zi Heen must take note. Being a restaurant in a 5-star hotel that charges exorbitantly for the food, they simply fail when it comes to siew long pau (meat dumplings)! The most important feature of a siew long pau is the firmness of the skin. It has to be such that it will never tear with gentle handling of these pieces using chopsticks. As most of you already know very well, the specialty of the siew long pau lies in the broth that is enclosed within the skin. The feeling is such that when you take a bite into the siew long pau, it will give you an explosion within your mouth, with the broth flowing out generously. Now, pray tell, how would you get that feeling if the skin is already torn before you put it in your mouth? It would end up like eating a normal dried meat dumpling (siew mai). Anyway, we gave Tai Zi Heen a few chances, we really did. First it was my brother, then it was me, and followed by my grandma. Whenever we picked up the siew long pau gingerly, the skin just stuck to the base of the carrier and would tear in front of our very eyes. *sigh* On the other hand, the shrimp dumplings were GOOD. Exceptionally fresh and succulent prawns with nicely wrapped skin. A tinge of transparency from the skin provided the growing anticipation of the wonderful fillings within.

Meat dumplings (siew long pau) and shrimp dumplings (har kow)

One of the Hong Kong specialty is the chee cheong fun. There are many variations to chee cheong fun, but the way HK people do it would be to have stuffings within each piece, either prawns or meat. If you look at the picture, each piece of the chee cheong fun is stuffed with something. Every single one! It is unlike the other chee cheong fun you would find, where only a selected few contains fillings inside, so as to maintain a low cost. Well, not here in Tai Zi Heen! Everyone gets a fair share!

HK Chee cheong fun

A special dish I managed to try was chicken siew mai with scallops on top. As expected, the scallops were fresh and the combination of chicken and seafood was perfect. The next dish has orange-coloured skin (apparently coloured from carrots) with a blend of shrimp and vegetables inside. Just so you know, Tai Zi Heen claimed that they never use any artificial flavouring or colouring at all in their food.

Scallop siew mai & some kind of shrimp + vege dumpling

Char siew pao (in this case made from chicken meat) was delicious and fluffy, albeit almost meatless. *LOL* Seriously, I think it is the most basic dish for a dim sum restaurant and it should never go wrong. The next dish was fried shrimp rolls, with the expected fresh shrimps again.

Char siew pao & shrimp rolls

Now the following dish must deserve special mention because I loved it to bits! It's also another form of fried shrimp rolls, only that this time, it's not in a roll, but in a flat cake form. The skin used here was also different from that of shrimp rolls, and it's thicker and crispier. Couple that with juicy shrimps, voila! Perfection.

Fried shrimp wrap

Spring rolls were nothing to shout about. Probably the taste became bland in comparison to above fried shrimp wrap. *LOL* The glutinous rice with chicken and mushroom definitely looks appealing to the eyes. It was very flavourful without the rice being too sticky.

Spring rolls & glutinous rice

We also ordered yam meat dumplings. Basically, the skin was made from yam paste, with the fillings of meat and gravy, and the whole combination fried to perfect crispiness before being served. For people who love yam, this would be the dish for you! Moving on the char siew sou, which is my all-time favourite. Here, they sprinkled generous amount of chicken floss above each piece, which made it all the more exquisite and tasty. Although the pastry skin was slightly on the thick side, the delicious meat filling and chicken floss more than made up for it, in my humble opinion. :)


Yam meat dumpling (
wu tao kou) & char siew sou

Dessert time! Never should one miss the egg tarts! In Tai Zi Heen, they only had the mini version of egg tarts, but they were good nonetheless! Especially when they're served right off the oven. Crispy soft skin which crumbled with your gentle bite, and the fragrant egg paste that almost melted in your mouth. Don't believe it if anyone ever tells you the egg tarts in Tai Zi Heen are not good. Try them for yourself before judging!

Mini egg tarts

Finally, there was this special dessert which was recommended by the waitress herself. I remember very well that it cost RM15. Anyway, it was a combination of mango, mango puree, sago, pomelo and a scoop of ice-cream. Overall, the combination was pretty well-balanced. For instance, the sweetness of mango and ice-cream was balanced out by the slight bitterness of the pomelo. Fabulous for people who are not into very sweet stuff.

Mango puree + ice-cream + mango + sago + pomelo

Prince Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur
Opposite Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
No.4 Jalan Conlay,
50450 Kuala Lumpur,
TEL: +603-2170 8888
FAX: +603-2170 8999

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Seafood at Bei Hai, Selayang

I apologize but this post is about food again! *gasp* I was simply a glutton when I was in KL during the Merdeka weekend, and I couldn't help but to take pictures of the lovely food I've tried. Anyway, this dinner was held with a meaning... it was my grandfather's birthday! If I'm not mistaken, he's 78 this year and still going strong! *applause* As usual, all members of our immediate family plus my aunt and uncle gathered to celebrate with him.

Following my uncle's suggestion, we went to this place in Selayang called Bei Hai restaurant. Just next door was a seafood place called Jinn Chwan, where they specialized in just selling raw seafood.

Bei Hai and Jinn Chwan at Selayang

This way, customers could take their pick from the fresh seafood in Jinn Chwan and pay for it, and the staff at Jinn Chwan would pass them over to Bei Hai for them to cook. Smart idea eh? Both are totally unrelated and yet, they co-exist to help each other out.

Large variety of live seafood for your pickings

Seafood from Jinn Chwan

Anyway, the ladies (meaning my aunt, mom and grandma) were left to do the tedious task of choosing the freshest seafood possible while the rest of us headed to wait in the restaurant. As we were quite early, the place was rather empty, which was good!

Interior of Bei Hai restaurant

My mom and I chose this watch for grandpa and I think he loved it because he wore it right away. ;)

A little something we got for grandpa

After waiting for 10 minutes and still no sign of the ladies, I knew it was going to be a looong wait before dinner was served. You know how ladies could just procrastinate and haggle. *LOL* So I suggested to my dad to order something to eat first while waiting. Fried rice and fried noodles Malay style were recommended by the restaurant staff. Sounded fine by me. The fried rice was fragrant from afar and it had mini anchovies inside, which was not a common ingredient for most chinese fried rice. But boy, did it taste good! Or maybe I was just hungry. *LOL* The noodles were more well-received, judging by how most of us wanted a second helping.

Fried rice

Fried noodles Malay style

Then, our first main dish arrived. It was a plate of gigantic, humongous, huge, monstrous *inserts any synonym of Large* fresh oysters! I had not eaten oysters as large as this before and the sight of it almost made me wince. Well, after looking at it for a few more minutes, I felt better and attempted what most other people at the table were already busy doing. Squeezing lemon juices onto the oysters. The fishy smell was rather pungent, thank God for the lemons!

Humongous fresh oysters

Look at how huge it was compared to my fingers. Somehow in this case, I have to say 'less is more', because I realized the larger the oyster was, the more smelly it became. I don't remember eating oysters with smell as pungent as these last time. Tell me what you think. Maybe it's just a personal opinion. I did not even chew on the oyster meat properly for fear of the 'explosion' of fishy smell within my mouth. *LOL*

Close up view of oyster

Next dish came and I was saying my blessings to know that it was a cooked dish. Steamed fresh and succulent prawns, right from the seawater. The prawns definitely deserved two thumbs up because of the juicy and sweet meat. The meat was really sweet in itself, I kid you not. No seasoning whatsoever needed. Just perfect on its own.

Steamed prawns

Then came the steamed grouper. I suppose you can't really go wrong with steamed dishes as long as the raw seafood itself is fresh. The grouper was indeed fresh, the meat was flaky and firm.

Steamed grouper

We ordered roasted chicken as well. The presentation was interesting, but the taste was just normal. Nothing special in this dish.

Roasted chicken

Oh, look at those crabs! Can you hear them beckoning you to eat them? Indeed the outlook was very impressive, but the meat within was not as fresh though, somewhat pasty, if you get what I mean. Displeased, my aunt went down to confront the Jinn Chwan seafood staff and got back her refund. Oh yes, my family is picky like that. -.-"

Steamed crabs

Enough about food! More pictures of human. Here is a cute picture of my dear grandpa with my brothers, trying to act cute. *shakes head*

Grandpa with brothers

Picture with beloved grannies.

witch with grannies

With mom and dad.

witch with mom and dad

Another picture of my brothers having fun.

Brothers acting cute again

Picture with drunk Saucer. It must have been an overdose of red wine that night. Look at how red his face was! *LOL*

Drunk Saucer and Witch

And finally, the pretty chocolate brithday cake! I told my grandma that there were chopsticks on the cake (in fact, I meant decorative chopsticks), and she thought they were real chopsticks and took them off the cake! So cute!

Chocolate cake

If you ask me, I wouldn't go back to Bei Hai restaurant again except for the fried rice and fried noodles. Oh and the prawns. Otherwise, the rest were all pretty normal. :) I don't know why so many people made a big fuss on how well-known and great this seafood place is. Maybe they haven't tried the good ones from Penang. :P Anyway, it's always the company that matters most, and I had a wonderful wonderful time in the company of my dearest family.

Bei Hai Restaurant
No.10, Jln Bidara 2/4,
Taman Bidara, 68100 Selayang
Tel: 03 - 6138 3688