Thursday, April 30, 2009

HaiLam Kopitiam @ Bandar Puteri, Puchong

Last Saturday, my friend and i went for a tea-break at HaiLam Kopitiam in Bandar Puteri, Puchong.

HaiLam Kopitiam started off as Foh Heong Kopitiam in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan which claimed to serve the original Hainanese tastes and flavours. I would certainly want to visit Kuala Pilah one day and try the real specialty dishes.

The shop interior is tastefully renovated to reflect a traditional kopitiam with modern table seating and neat decor creating a nice ambience.

I saw this horizontal inscribed board with a vintage feel in the shop. The font and decorative pattern simply reminds me of the colonial times.

Since we were in a Hainanese kopitiam, we ordered the Hainan Special White Coffee. I didn't really like it as it was too milky and watery. The milk overpowered the strong aroma of coffee. We ordered Toasted Bread and Toasted Bun as well.

Hainan Special White Coffee @ RM2.90.

Toasted Bread with Butter and Kaya @ RM1.90.

Toasted Bun with Butter and Kaya @ RM2.00.

Overall, the food were just average but they surely do offer more variety of food than any other modern (commercial) kopitiam.

Above all, the service was good. The shop owner kept walking around to serve his customer with satisfaction. I guess they realised that customer service is very important for a higher range kopitiam like HaiLam Kopitiam as this is the reason why people come here.

Add: No. 48, Jalan Puteri 1/4, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor.
Tel: 03-8063 8693

[Disclaimer: The opinion expressed here are based entirely on personal taste buds, view and preference and may vary from others.]

Wednesday, April 29, 2009







每個人都是這世界上獨一無二的存在 ,




Friday, April 24, 2009

Fab Friday : The @ Symbol

In 1971, the @ symbol was assigned an important international role, as the critical connector in e-mail addresses.

A 30-year-old computer programmer named Ray Tomlinson, looking for coding to send the first ever e-mail, surveyed the keyboard on his Model-33 Teletype and chose @ - which is apparently centuries old and has served various different functions - because it was unlikely to appear in a person's name.

The @ symbol has since became an instant emblem of the digital age.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Penang Trip - Day 4

Today is our last day in Penang. We didn't have our usual breakfast at the Hotel. Instead, we chose to dine outside as we want to try something different.

Zim Sum @ Anson Road

Zim Sum Restaurant is one of the famous Dim Sum spot (which looks like a market place to me) recommended by the locals in George Town. It is located slightly opposite KDU Penang in Anson Road.

Zim Sum Restaurant looks like those favourite shop of those grandpa where they will meet their breakfast kakis and they would chat over hot brewed Chinese tea and Dim Sum till the cows come home.

The serving is typical Dim Sum style where trolleys are pushed along the isles with all sorts of appetizing mixture. The selection offered here is really wide. No wonder it's also known as the house of Dim Sum.

However, they don't have a food note to record whatever customers have taken. Their practice is to bill based on how many plates of food on the customer's table. Obviously, they are still using the old system.

The Dim Sum didn't look good by its outlook. The overall food quality here is below average, same goes to the service. A decent Dim Sum restaurant in SS2 Petaling Jaya is better than this.

Ghee Hiang Biscuit @ Anson Road

I've always loved traditional Chinese biscuits. We went to the famous Ghee Hiang since we were just around the corner literally.

Ghee Hiang has a beautiful bungalow as their shop at the junction of Anson Road and Macalister Road. We did took some photos at their store front. Ghee Hiang also has another older shop located in Beach Street.

Ghee Hiang biscuits are still much sought after despite being around for the past 150 years using recipes that originated from Fujian Province, China. They still uses lard for their dough, something not very healthy but it lend an excellent texture and taste to the pastry.

They have also expanded their product line over the years to include white coffee and moon cakes. I do hope to try their moon cakes one day.

Ghee Hiang Oriental Almond Cookies, Him Heang Qing Tang Bing (which was bought the day before) & Ghee Hiang Beh Teh Saw.

Ghee Hiang Pure White Coffee.

I bought 2 boxes of Beh Teh Saw, 1 box of Oriental Almond Cookies and 1 box of Pure White Coffee.

The Beh Teh Saw is flavourful. The skin is crispy and thick. The interior is made of molasses (mak tong gou) combined with sesame seeds with its flaky skin achieved by kneading the dough in many layers. On the other hand, the Oriental Almond Cookies is made of crispy pastry with ground almonds. It's the crispiest almond cookies i've ever had. Tasty!

The Chocolate Boutique @ Leith Street

This mansion-turned-Chocolate Boutique offers a wide variety of chocolates. One will find the renovated rooms with interesting themes of Tiramisu, Fruits, Health, Sweetheart, Coffee, Panned Chocolate and Malaysian Collection.

We were shown around by a woman who explained all of the different chocolates and kept giving us samples whilst walking round. The service is top notch.

I just thought that the Malaysian Collection was interesting. This special range of chocolates are made of real fruits in Malaysia, such as mango, durian, potato chips and chilli. The range of chocolates promote our local fruit well.

Beside chocolates, the Boutique also sells coffee. It ranges from traditional white coffee to espresso coffee using roasted beans coated with chocolate that makes a great drink.

Milk Chocolate & Espresso Coffee Delight Chocolate.

Koon Kee White Coffee.

I bought Milk Chocolate, Espresso Coffee Delight Chocolate and Koon Kee White Coffee. The Espresso Coffee Delight is a panned chocolate. This coffee bean coated chocolate tasted sweet and bitter at the same time. I'm loving it.

Frankly, this Boutique sells generic mass production chocolates at a high price. The prices of the chocolates are way too expensive if you ask me.

Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi @ Cannon Street

Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi is a UNESCO World Heritage site. A "kongsi" is a clanhouse for Chinese of the same clan or surname.

With its long history and beautiful architecture, the Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi is an icon of Heritage Conservation. Known as the Heritage Jewel of Penang, the Khoo Kongsi comprises of the majestic clanhouse, opera stage, the courtyard and 24 heritage units.

A Penang's Hokkien clanhouse perpetuating Confucian practices, the craftsmanship and artisan work on this building is unparalleled anywhere in Malaysia. One must realised that time and money has been spent to restore this enormous Chinese clanhouse of over 100 years of history.

Reason why Khoo Kongsi is worth a mention:-

1) This historical place was a filming location for the Hollywood movie "Anna and the King", starring Chow Yun-Fatt and Jodie Foster.

2) We need to pay RM5.00 as admission fee to the temple square and clanhouse museum.

Goh Thew Chik Chicken Rice @ Chulia Street

We had our lunch at Goh Thew Chik Chicken Rice Restaurant in Chulia Street.

It was packed with lunch crowd when we were there but we managed to get a table. This time, the rice served is typical (oily) chicken rice. The portion is quite substantial. The rice is fragrant, the slices of chicken is smooth and the soup is flavourful.

Above all, it's cheap! Chicken Rice with Soup for 2 pax only costs us RM10.00 (inclusive of 2 glasses of lime juice). This shop is just a stone's throw away from Wai Kee Char Siew Restaurant, but the former is better in terms of price and environment.

We left Penang at 4pm. I had a wonderful trip, accompanied by wonderful friends. Traveling is the best way to recharge oneself. Hopefully there is more to come.

[Disclaimer: The opinion expressed here are based entirely on personal taste buds, view and preference and may vary from others.]

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Penang Trip - Day 3

We took our breakfast at the Hotel before we start our journey today. I thought the breakfast menu would be different but it's still the same option like the day before. Well... at least it's enough to provide us with all the energy necessary to roam around Penang far beyond noon.

We waited for nearly an hour for the bus to Bayan Lepas. Looks like Rapid Penang bus service is only efficient in some area of Penang but not all. It ended up that the waiting time was actually longer than the traveling time to Snake Temple.

Snake Temple @ Bayan Lepas

The Snake Temple in Sungai Kluang, Bayan Lepas is the only temple of its kind in Malaysia. It was originally named the "Temple of the Azure Cloud" in honor of the beauty of Penang's sky.

The temple is filled with the smoke of burning incense and a variety of pit vipers. The vipers are believed to be rendered harmless by the sacred smoke, but as a safety precaution, the snakes have also been de-venomed but still have their fangs intact. Local devotees believe that the temple's snake has come there on its own accord.

However, the snake population in the temple is declining because of rapid development that is disturbing the snake natural habitat. To overcome this, devotees start to donate snakes to the temple thrice yearly.

We were a bit disappointed when we arrived. There were only a few snakes in the Temple. The Temple might gradually become snake-less one day.

We finished exploring the whole Temple in 15 minutes. Knowing that we would need to wait very long for the bus, i called my brother to fetch us to a nearby shopping mall, in which we think it would be easier to get a bus to George Town.

Queensbay Mall @ Bayan Lepas

My brother had to drive 2 trips in order to send us all to Queensbay Mall as there were 5 of us.

Queensbay Mall is the largest and most modern shopping mall in Penang. The Mall is minutes away from the Penang Bridge and the heart of a prime waterfront development.

At last, we can take pictures with Penang Bridge as our background. However, the Penang Bridge seemed less visible from the photo.

I didn't join my friends at the Mall but followed my brother to have a look at his rented condominium instead.

Although my brother has been working in Penang for almost 2 years, this is the first time i went to his house. It's a nice condominium overlooking Queensbay Mall and Penang Bridge. A pleasantly cool and comfortable place.

I saw something very interesting from the condo's balcony...

Yes! The house is ON the road. So, the road with 2 lane will become 1 lane (as the house occupied 1 lane) and subsequently become 2 lane again... So absurd!

Sri Nibong Cafe @ Bayan Baru

Later my brother brought me to have some snack near his condominium. It's a Chinese restaurant called Sri Nibong Cafe at Taman Sri Nibong, Sungai Nibong which offers western breakfast toasted bread.

It was highly recommended by my brother (whom can be very picky when it comes to food). There are 17 types of toasted bread with different filling. The price varies as it depends on the type of filling chosen.

My brother and i ordered 1 original Toasted Bread with Egg (RM2.00) and 1 Toasted Bread with Egg and Taiwan Sausage. It was huge and plentiful. The taste? Super duper delicious! It was flavourful probably due to the large amount of the butter used. The bread was fluffy and flavourful!

Canton-i @ Queensbay Mall

Later we went to Queensbay Mall again. We decided to have our lunch at Canton-i Restaurant since both of us never dine in this restaurant before.

I ordered their signature dish - Hong Kong Wanton Noodles (kon lou version), which came with a bowl of soup (RM13.80).

The noodles were springy and comes in quite a big portion. I loved the BIG prawn wantons (dumplings stuffed with pork-prawn paste). You can taste the freshness of prawns in every bite. The Siew Yuk was perfect. The skin was crispy and the meat was tasteful.

As for drinks, i ordered the Flowering Red Amaranth (RM5.00). A beautiful tea with a mild flower taste. The flowers and herbs used to make this drink is so beautiful, more so when one view it via a see-through glass.

It's an expensive lunch but my brother paid for the bill. Both of us savour in satisfaction. Canton-i Restaurant has indeed done a great job in bringing Hong Kong cuisine heaven to Malaysia.

After the lunch, i bid farewell to my brother and headed back to George Town by bus. Waited for the bus for quite some time. I guess the bus service in Bayan Lepas is not that convenient.

Penang Road Famous TeoChew Chendul @ Keng Kwee Street

I reunited with my friends in front of the Penang Road Famous TeoChew Chendul.

I saw this living statue at Penang Road. I saw him at Gurney Drive the day before. Living statue is not commonly sighted in Malaysia. Hence, it managed to draw a lot of crowd.

Penang Road Famous TeoChew Chendul is said to be the best Chendul in Penang and it has operated for more than 50 years.

There are 2 Chendul stalls at the same place which are located opposite to each other. One can recognize the Penang Road Famous TeoChew Chendul stall by the Phua Chu Kang photo. Note of advice: Follow the crowd. One may need to queue, just like us.

However, i just found out that they actually had branches at Giant Food Court in USJ Subang Jaya, Selangor and Melawati, KL.

All of us ordered the normal Chendul (RM1.70). The shaved ice is fine, with palm sugar and green jelly-like rice flour strips. Personally, i don't think there's anything special. It's just normal Chendul to me. However, the Chendul surely refresh and cool us down after a hot day.

Koay Ciap @ Kimberley Street

This stall offers noodles with duck innards. It was already fullhouse when we were there. Luckily we managed to get a table at a neighbouring stall. I don't eat duck but the rest of my friends did. They said the Koay Ciap was superb! Amazingly, it didn't leave an unpleasant smell that most duck dishes would exhibit.

Koay Teow T'ng @ Kimberley Street

This stall offers noodles with herbal chicken. The Koay Teow T'ng was delicious! The well-cooked chicken were soft and flavourful. It was aromatic, with heavy herbal taste in every bite.

C Kua T'ng @ Kimberley Street

This stall offers great Penang desserts. Can't remember the name of the dessert that i ordered. It consists of 4 ingredients in a bowl. Goes very well with the smashed ice. Cooling!

We ordered a few dishes from all the stalls nearby. All of them taste delicious.

See... even fly was "attracted" to my Penang's dessert.

The smells and tastes of hawker food on the narrow streets of George Town sure is tempting. Gathering around and eating at the sidewalk reminds me of the fact that good food can also be cheap sometimes.

Local Snacks @ Penang Road

We came across this old market opposite the Police Headquarter while we were on our way back to the Hotel.

There are many stalls which sell similar things, so we can ask around and bargain before we buy. Most of the things here are nicely packed, so its easy to bring along. We can see Pepper Biscuits, Lau Hau (Dou Kou - the fruit or drink) and Tau Sar Pneah just to name a few.

The famous Him Heang claims that they don't distribute their products to any retailers' outlet and their products are only available at their business premises at Burmah Road. However, some hawkers are selling Him Heang products here.

I bought 1 box of Him Heang Qing Tang Bing. I heard that it's their version of Lou Poh Beng. Qing Tang Bing consists of a light pastry with pure white sugar filling inside. Personally, i think it taste mild. Not my cup of tea, i guess.

After buying some tasty Penang souvenirs, we continued our way back to the Hotel. All of us had a fruitful day today. Looking forward to Day 4 in Penang.

[Disclaimer: The opinion expressed here are based entirely on personal taste buds, view and preference and may vary from others.]

Earth Day

The world celebrates Earth Day every 22nd April of the year.

The event was first celebrated in the United States of America way back in 1970 and it is an event that since then, with rising awareness, Earth Day has been celebrated all over the world.

It is an effort to show our concern not just for the environment but also for the future of our generation.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Penang Trip - Day 2

We had our breakfast at the Hotel early in the morning. A hotel with budget room rate inclusive of breakfast, i can't really expect too much. It's a self-service breakfast, with only coffee, tea, bread, fresh fruits, cordial fruit juices, cornflakes, muesli, butter and jam to offer. I ended up eating lots of cornflakes. My favourite.

I was hoping for something like this...

But it turned out to be like this...

Early in the morning. Nearly stepped on dog shit. It was sitting at one end of the zebra crossing in Penang Road. Penang Road is one of THE main road in George Town. With dogs roaming on the streets, one really have to watchout for dog shit.

Penang Hill @ Air Itam

Our first stop was Penang Hill in Air Itam.

Penang Hill is a hill resort comprising a group of peaks, the major hill system of Penang. It is 6km from the city centre of George Town, and stands out prominently from the lowlands as a hilly and forested area. Penang Hill is also known as Bukit Bendera, which refers to Flagstaff Hill, the most developed peak.

We took the Penang Hill Railway ride. Heard much about the tram, we were really looking forward to the ride.

The Penang Hill Railway is a two section funicular railway which climbs Penang Hill from Air Itam. The total journey takes about half an hour, with passengers changing cars at the mid-point station.

I just thought that the ride was slow and boring. But enjoyed the windy cool air when we reached the peak. The view was breathtaking!

Before... It was cloudy & cool, not able to see much.

After a couple of minutes... It was sunny & warm, able to see the view clearly.

We had our lunch near the foot of Kek Lok Si Temple. It's a Chinese restaurant occupying a corner lot with a few hawker stalls.

I forgot to look at the name of the restaurant as we were very hot and exhausted, eagerly looking for a place to rest. Of course we do follow the crowd. The restaurant was "half-packed" by the way.

I shall never forget this lunch as it was the cheapest lunch i have ever had in Penang, some say KL too!

I ordered Hakka Mee and it was only RM2.50. The portion was so so so small. It is served in a mid-size bowl (i seldom see this size in KL, maybe it was meant to be a soup bowl). However, the taste was quite nice. The noodles were very tender.

Some of my friends ordered Char Hor Fun and Har Mee. The taste was not bad as well. They were RM2.50 and RM3.00 respectively. With that kind of (small) portion, of course it's cheap lah! I don't think the food here are cheap. It's cheap because the portion is so small!

Kek Lok Si Temple @ Air Itam

Our second stop was Kek Lok Si Temple in Air Itam as well.

The Kek Lok Si Temple ("Temple of Supreme Bliss" or "Temple of Sukhavati") is a Buddhist temple and is one of the best known temples on the island. It is the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia. Mahayana Buddhism and traditional Chinese rituals blend into a harmonious whole, both in the temple architecture and artwork as well as in the daily activities of worshippers.

We managed to explore the whole Kek Lok Si Temple, including the seven storey main pagoda, the 30.2m bronze statue of Kuan Yin and other various smaller temples. We noticed that Kek Lok Si Temple is still growing as there are additional buildings still under construction.

The new Kuan Yin Temple is still under construction.

Saw this picture hanging on the wall. Kek Lok Si Temple by night is simply incredible!

It was around 1pm when we arrived at the Temple. It was a bright sunny day and the weather was so hot! However, it seems worthwhile as we managed to snap a lot of nice picture.

Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram @ Burmah Lane

Our third stop was Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram in Burmah Lane.

Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram (better known as Sleeping Buddha Temple) is a Thai Buddhist temple, most notable for its Reclining Buddha statue. The temple was built in 1845. The statue is the 3rd largest of its kind, being 33m in length.

In the main shrine in front of the Reclining Buddha there are smaller shrines of different Buddhas and popular Thai deities. Also on the temple grounds many colored statues of Devas and other mythical creatures are on display.

I just thought that the Sleeping Buddha Temple was awesome. However, it's a very uncommon sight to see disco songs being played in the temple's yard, with blasting ear-piercing volume. It just seems odd to me.

Dhammikarama Burmese Temple @ Burmah Lane

Our fourth stop was Dhammikarama Burmese Temple, which is located directly opposite the Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram.

The Dhammikarama Burmese Temple is one of the oldest temples in Penang. It was founded in 1803 and is the largest Theravada Buddhist temple in Malaysia.

In Penang, the Burmese temple and some of the Thai temples had a significant effect on the Malaysians. The Burmese community of Penang built their imposing temples which portray architectural traditions of their home nations.

Personally, i never come across Burmese temple in KL. Therefore, it's indeed an eye-opener for me. The Temple's architecture was magnificent, with elaborate interiors and colourful statues and paintings.

Gurney Drive Hawker Centre @ Persiaran Gurney

Our last stop was Gurney Drive Hawker Centre, the ever-so-popular hawker centre in Persiaran Gurney, Penang.

This hawker centre offers the most amazing collection of food stalls, with earthy regional food served in open air. It was drizzling when we reached Gurney Drive and hawkers started putting up big umbrella to keep out the rain. So it's a bit hot and stuffy.

Anyway, we ordered a good variety of food. Check this out...

Fried Oyster - Very starchy and smell very nice. Lots of oyster. You should check out the queue in front of that stall. I've waited 20 minutes for this dish.

Roasted Chicken Gizzard - Very tender and smell very nice. I would not normally take this, but it was delicious.

Satay - Taste nice as well.

Char Koay Teow - Just average. Taste bland.

Hokkien Mee (known as Har Mee in KL) - Just average.

Roasted Sotong - Just average. Very hard to chew.

Penang Pancake - Just average. Nothing special.

Kon Lou Mee - Nothing to shout about. The Char Siew looks "fake", because it was so reddish.

All in all, you can get a variety of food in Gurney Drive Hawker Centre, but not good food. One really have to make one's way into roadside stand or unprepossessing storefront for good food.

We took a walk briskly along Persiaran Gurney waterfront and headed back to the Hotel afterwards.

Saw this at one end of Persiaran Gurney. It's something constructed to beautify the roundabout. However, you can see that instead of "Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang", only "Majlis Perbandaran Pul" is visible. What a joke!

We had been out for the whole day, from 8.30am until 10.00pm. Hop on and off buses to get to these tourist spot. Rapid Penang have done their job well. The bus service were quite frequent. Better than what we expected. It's a tiring day but very satisfied. Day 3 would be a hectic day as well since we need to cover more places of interest.

[Disclaimer: The opinion expressed here are based entirely on personal taste buds, view and preference and may vary from others.]