Dec 27, 2015

28 Foodtruck : Beef Quesadilla at Gringo's Malaysia

Merry Christmas!

It's 3am. You must be wondering why I'm up at this ungodly hour. I'm also feeling pumped up to do 'something'. This, after taking in the magical scene of Christmas around town and several hearty meals earlier in the day. My spirits are high. There's an air of joyfulness that's hard to ignore. No alcohol involved in reaching this state. Grin.

Aah...that said, let me talk about my first trendy food truck experience! This is nothing like the lok-lok food trucks we're used to seeing. Although not a new concept in other parts of the world, it's a trend that's quickly catching on in Malaysia.

The story in short sentences.
Christmas eve. Late evening. What-to-eat-arh. Food truck? Vroom! Here we are at Gringo's Malaysia!

This food truck sells Mexican food.

Gringo's Malaysia

I ordered a beef quesadilla takeaway, but changed my mind about eating it at home when I saw how inviting it was to enjoy my food under the stars.

It was so good to tuck into these - hot, cheesy and easy to bite into beef. Certainly felt like I was in some sort of food paradise with a cosy ambiance to match.

Gringo's Malaysia - Beef Quesadilla RM13

Me, waiting for my Beef Quesadilla

There were two other food trucks stationed in this area (Taman Tun, KL), both selling local fare.

Food Trucks at TTDI, Kuala Lumpur

But back to my beef quesadillas which I have no regrets forking RM13 for. Just to show you how cheesy it is:

It began to drizzle shortly into our meal. Machoman and I packed up our beef quesadillas and hurried to the car for cover. So much for a moonlit meal.. !

Dec 21, 2015

12 Big Bad Wolf Book Sale 2015

Big Bad Wolf 2015

This is my fourth Big Bad Wolf Book Sale adventure. I went on a working day this time, reaching the place 10am-ish. It was still peaceful. Finding a parking spot was a breeze, not much different from my previous experiences.

There were trolleys available; not that I made any use of it. I have always preferred carrying everything in my large recycle sling bag. Easier to get around. When it gets too heavy, I leave the books at the storage counter.

Check out the rows and rows of cheap books!

This is where we leave our books until we're ready to pick it up again.

24-hour Book Storage Counter at BBW 2015

I went home with only five books because I'd already done my Christmas gift shopping earlier. This 'Chocolate' hardcover is my absolute favourite! I just fell in love with the beautiful pictures and the way it was presented.

Sharon and her Chocolate Book

Such a gorgeous layout!

A BBW Purchase

What else is new for me this time around? I finally signed up as member!

"..Why do you need the 'race' field?" I asked the young girl who waited for me to complete the form.

I skipped ticking whether I was Chinese, Indian or Others; forgot if I wrote 'Malaysian' instead, but it's what I would usually do.

She explained, slightly panicky, that it was for them to send us festive greetings. There was no way she could tell for sure what I celebrated from my name. Hehe.

I did my bit for charity by donating a book to Astro Kasih's book donation drive for underprivileged children. They blessed me with bookmarks and a sticky page marker. Wasn't expecting that!

BBW Goodies

Well, that's that on my day at the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale 2015. It was a fun experience that I'll treasure in years to come. I'm looking forward to the next one already!

Dec 15, 2015

20 Flavours Magazine ~ The Final Issue, It's An Issue!

The headline couldn't have been more heartbreaking : ‘Flavours’ magazine says goodbye after 21 years . 21 years! There are only a handful of local cooking magazines in print and upon counting, didn't reach as far as the number of fingers on my hand.

I have fond memories of Flavours as you can probably tell, with this whole blog post dedicated to it. It wasn't too long ago (or was it..), that friends and I rushed to get copies because there was a lovely Christmas tree cutout. We were ladies who adore a bit of craft.

Earlier in the year, the February issue to be exact, I saw my contest entry in one of the pages. It was a slogan I penned for their 20th anniversary giveaway. I didn't win that one, but they touched my heart when they included it into their printed copy.

Flavours - February Issue 2015

20th Anniversary Slogan

The magazine costs RM12 ; in no way affordable to the masses. So I'm picky about the issues I buy. It goes into my shopping cart only if there are stories relating to the history of a dish I'm interested in, or recipes I'd really like to try. I wondered many times if they could have used thinner paper, have fewer pages and priced it less. Many times. 

I browsed through this month's online issue excitedly, with reason. They had emailed me days before that I'd won a Tramontina Churrasco barbeque fork and knife set. This is the stuff of dreams considering my interest in all things kitchen-related.

I paid little attention to what was written on the cover of course but when I finally did 'see it', all feelings broke loose! I got off the computer and gave them a call to inform that I was dropping by to collect the prize. At the same time, I asked, " Eh, I understand that this is the final issuuue! Whyyyy arh?" in standard Malaysian slang.

"Yeah, we are all sad about it too. We're not sure where we'll be after this. Perhaps absorbed into other departments." - That's the gist of the conversation.

I wished the girl well as I left the building with the BBQ set, at the same time hating bosses that leave their employees wondering whether they still have a job tomorrow.

Flavours - December Issue 2015 (The Final One!)

Me, on the winners list!

The BBQ set

On another note, two local radio stations, Capital FM and Red FM are ceasing operations as well. Bummer!

Dec 12, 2015

12 The Big Breakfast at Vivo and A Blackout

Vivo is kind of our regular hangout, me and Jen that is. We'd be here to enjoy a meal and chat about life. This, usually after some hours of purposeful shopping.

On this weekend that is near Christmas however, we had an important list to complete. Important, because it involved giving to our closest friends and family. So before hitting the shops, we decided that a hearty breakfast was in order; we needed the energy.

We popped into Vivo (at The Curve shopping mall) after being enticed by a standing banner advertising a gorgeous dark layered chocolate cake ; Citrus Blackout was its name. It was the cake of fairy tales, at least that's how the picture was processed in my mind.

We sat down, ordered Big Breakfast sets and chose hot tea to complement our meal. It was yummy and satisfying.

Vivo's Yummy Big Breakfast RM15.90

Tea and a Cookie

You'd think the big breakfast would be enough to make us go, "I'm full!" but no such thing happened. We were only too happy to try out the Citrus Blackout next.

Jen used a fork to slice a piece out for us to appreciate before we started digging in. It was good stuff, good enough to lift the spirits.

Vivo's Citrus Blackout RM8.80

The Citrus Blackout

Jen and I split the bill and walked out with a smile on our faces. It is always wonderful to start the morning this way, on a full stomach and a positive air.

Dec 7, 2015

18 Jalan-Jalan Thean Hou Temple

We take the words "Let's go jalan-jalan."  to mean as an invitation to go for a jaunt nearby.

From Penang's Sleeping Buddha to Ipoh's cave temples and from Kajang to Kuala Lumpur, I see a pattern in my traveling habits that I've never really noticed before, interestingly leaning towards visiting places of worship, particularly ones with ornate architecture.

Not all were blogged about of course, but the main ones were. I'm particularly drawn to the calmness that washes over me when I take the whole place in with my ears and eyes. The low humming chants of monks is therapeutic.  

This post is about my recent visit to one of the largest Chinese temples in Kuala Lumpur -- Thean Hou Temple, an impressive six-tiered building in Robson Heights.

I was here with relatives. We parked our car in an open gravel parking lot, and hopped out in excitement at the view of the structure before us.

Thean Hou Temple, Kuala Lumpur

This is what it looks like a couple of floors up.

Thean Hou Temple

The entrance to the prayer hall is decorated with Chinese art.

Thean Hou Temple Prayer Hall

These are a few pics taken inside the hall. It was really beautiful to look at. I was as quiet as a mouse and stayed in corners where I wouldn't disturb any of the devotees.

Thean Hou Goddess

Thean Hou Temple Prayer Hall

The amount of detailing in the ceiling left me breathless in awe.

The Ceiling In Thean Hou Temple

The red door of the entrance is embossed with gold-painted figures. We walked round to the back of the temple and followed a flight of steps down to the herbs and tortoise garden.

The red door at the entrance and a Tortoise and Herbs Garden

Along the roadside of the temple is a pebbled path, decorated with statues of animals from the Chinese zodiac sign.

Chinese Astrology

 The dragon is the most impressive piece as it is also a fountain.

Dragon Water Fountain

This is the 'old man under the moon', God of marriage and love. There is an interesting story to this old man, which I will not elaborate here because it would be too long of a post.

God of Marriage and Love (Yue Lao)

The light from the candle symbolises enlightenment (the light of wisdom). My sister-in-law lit one.

Lighting A Candle
With that, ends our Sunday outing.

Nov 24, 2015

22 I Caved In - My R2-D2 Cereal Container and Koko Krunch

I'm a sucker for these things. I resisted the temptation to buy it the first time I saw it on the shelves of Tesco supermarket using priceyness a reason. How did I end up with one anyway?

Koko Krunch and R2-D2 Cereal Container

The hubster, of course! He cajoled his way into my heart, insisting that he was doing it for me. He knows that I love Koko Krunch. But, I know him for a huge Star Wars fan and that, made me really suspicious. Hmmm...I caved in, in the end because it was such a cute container for adults to have. ...You mean it's for kids? I'll have you know that I'm a kid at heart!

Here it is, the unboxing of my ..(or is it the hubs?) R2-D2 cereal and milk container.

R2-D2 Cereal and Milk Container

Is it not awesome? R2-D2's head is really a bowl.

R2-D2 Cereal and Milk Container - It's a nice size!

One half of the container is fitted with a bottle screw cap. This is where the milk goes. The other half has a flip lid. This is where the cereal goes.

R2-D2 Cereal and Milk Container

There you have it. My most interesting purchase this month. Did you buy anything 'exciting' recently?

Nov 17, 2015

18 Wat Chetawan - Kathina Ceremony

Hubs and I were self-appointed tour guides to visiting relatives last Sunday. One of the places we popped into for some sightseeing was Wat Chetawan, a Thai Buddhist Temple located in Petaling Jaya. 

Wat Chetawan

We were surprised to see many cars and a large crowd. "Why so many people geh?" we wondered. A banner on the wall revealed that a Kathina ceremony was in session. Lucky us to have come at the right time! Kathina is a robe offering ritual that happens annually. During the festival, Buddhist devotees show their gratitude to the monks by donating money or items to the temple - mainly new robes, on this day. I was informed that each monk is allowed to receive two pieces of robes each year, no more than that.

We parked by the roadside a distance away as the carpark was full.

Below is a picture of the majestic entrance to the temple grounds.

Wat Chetawan - The Entrance

This is an overview of the place, which houses several shrines, a shop, a columbarium, a bell tower and other religious buildings.

Wat Chetawan Temple Grounds

Wat Chetawan Main Shrine

In the main shrine is a row of golden Buddha statues, each holding a pot. This is where important ceremonies are held.

Golden Buddha Statues

Wat Chetawan Main Shrine

The Sleeping Buddha Shrine.

Sleeping Buddha

We stayed to watch the procession. It began with devotees in the first few rows singing and dancing. They led the rest who carried various offerings, the most interesting being the money tree which I gathered from the web is called Badaytha Bin. Rain began to fall about ten minutes in. I took shelter at the bell tower, still watching the procession.

After circling the grounds several times, the devotees finally walked up the steps into the main shrine, where the monks where. Then, the chanting began. We left the place at this point.  I understand from my sister-in-law who is a Buddhist, that offerings will be presented after the chants.

Kathina Procession

Buddhist devotees heading into the main shrine to make offerings

I took the opportunity to record a short video of the event when I waited for the rain to stop.

Finally, fancy authentic Thai food? There's a makan (eatery) corner near the Sleeping Buddha shrine. We would have stopped for a meal, but we were still full from breakfast. Another time, surely!

A Thai Eatery

Nov 2, 2015

26 A Stay At Prescott Hotel Kajang - Part 2

In April, I shared about my wonderful stay at Prescott Hotel Kajang. That was not the end of the story, however. It has a Part 2! Going ha-ha yet? I was so tied up with taking care of my relatives that I neglected my blog for several months.

Anyway, on to the continuation of this missing piece of the story. You see, the electricity tripped that night, not once but twice. The maintenance staff was extremely apologetic about it and offered to move us to another unit. I was surprised to walk into a spacious corner room - an upgrade! Here I stayed for two relaxing days.

Prescott Hotel Kajang

I love waking up with the sun on my face even if I scrunch it in protest at the early wake-up call. I'm not sure if I have ever mentioned in my blog that I have no curtains in my living room, just see-through rattan blinds which rays of sunlight can stream through. Bright and airy, that's how I love my home.

Prescott Hotel Kajang

Below are pictures of the rest of the room. At night, we relaxed at the TV corner and feasted on street food that we had packed back on our walkabout around town. The large shelves held only our half-full backpacks. We traveled light. The bathroom is equipped with all the basic necessities. And finally, that's me fooling around with the hair dryer which is attached to the drawer. I was just trying to show my friends back home how difficult it is to blow-dry my hair whilst standing up, with such a short cable.

The hotel provides a simple buffet breakfast for which I will offer no complaint. Lets just say that I am no Ms Eggs Benedict and am completely at peace to walk away grateful with a full stomach to start the day's adventure. I'm really not much of a fusspot.

Buffet Breakfast

There ends the tale of my very-pleasant stay at Prescott Hotel Kajang.

- Kajang : Things To See and Do

Oct 31, 2015

10 Haze, Haze, Stay Away!

Three days ago, my Facebook newsfeed was filled with pictures of beautiful skies over Kuala Lumpur. I was engrossed with work and my eyes were glued to the PC. I hadn't noticed that the haze had cleared until a ray of sunlight crept up to my face.

I looked away from my screen, disturbed by the warm light, only to be greeted with a clear view of apartment buildings nearby, blue skies and vibrant greenery . This was the moment I'd been waiting for and clearly, I wasn't the only one who'd grabbed her camera that day to treasure the miracle in pictures. We have been stuck with the haze for so long that fresh air seemed a rare thing to experience. I am now keeping my fingers crossed that this will last.

This is the very blue sky that I had snapped that very afternoon.

As opposed to this smog-filled picture that I had shared with my Facebook friends in mid September.

The rainy evening sky on the same day the haze left us. I could finally see the sunset.

And finally, a picture of a thunderstorm coming up, taken the evening before.

How nice it feels to breathe fresh air again!


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