Archive for October, 2008

Selayang & Kepong Makanthon

October 30, 2008

Selayang Makanthon, 26th October 2008

Since we hung out at Sailor Boy and Frankie’s turf last weekend, they decided to come all the way to Selayang the following weekend for some good Selayang food.

This makanthon started on Saturday night, 25th October at Zhen Liew Siang, a branch of my favorite restaurant in Sentul Boulevard. The boys prefer this Lau Heong compared to the one I used to frequent in Sentul Raya. I heard there was some sibling’s rivalry that brought about one of the brothers opened another shop in Sentul Boulevard. Dunno how true is that lah.

After the scrumptious dinner, we watched Mama mia at JK’s place. Meryl Streep can really sing, dance and jump around! And she is 65!! She looks fabulously fantastic!

The night ended with a bowl of curry laksa and char kueh teow, and 20 sticks of satay along Jalan Ipoh. The satay is quite superb, really!

FRIM, pic courtesy from JK

The next morning, the boys came early to pick me up to FRIM. It was a lucky day for them. Since the Canopy Walk is closed for renovation, the walk is actually open for free to public. I guess when it’s ready again for visitors, we need to do prior booking and pay a small fee to go up the Canopy walk. The boys had a whale of time walking the canopy walk and not to mention doing some cam-whoring.

Curry claypot pan mein, pic courtesy from AJ

After the grueling exercise, I took the fellas to the claypot pan mein I raved about at the market area. The claypot pan mein comes in three varieties. You can order the dry one (kon lou), curry or soup. You have to mention “claypot” to them or else, they would stupidly give you a normal pan mein without claypot which tastes nothing near the claypot goodness! You also get to choose fine, coarse or “shredded” noodles. I personally prefer the fine noodles.

Claypot kon lou pan mein, pic courtesy from AJ

The claypot lou shu fan is fantastic too. That is why my dad always have this claypot lou shu fan at least once a week.

Claypot Lou Shu Fun

At the same time, I ta-paoed some nasi lemak for them to sample. I thought I couldn’t find replacement to the nasi lemak I once bought near Public Bank at Jalan Yap Kwan Seng when I was working around the area till I found this stall manned by a man in ketayap, selling nasi lemak just outside E One restaurant near the Shell petrol station in Selayang. His rendang kerang is to die for!

Kick ass nasi lemak

Next, we went to the Hot Spring, about 5 minutes away from my house. I couldn’t believe that I never been to this place despite being so near. I was not aware till JK asked me about the place! Bring your pails along though! I think nobody would want to bathe using the water if you dunk your smelly feet in!

Uncle boiling his “eggs” in a pail. LOL!

There is nothing to shout about this place but I heard stories of people coming here from all over Kuala Lumpur to fetch some of the water here to bring home to their sickly elderly parents. The water is believed to have healing properties and could cure some skin or aching feet ailments. And also, the hot water can remain hot for 6 hours even after they were brought back home.

The best times to go to Hotspring is probably late evening. If you go in the afternoon, it doesn’t make sense because it’s so damn freaking hot!! Haha! There were a few makan shops at the side of the area, so I guess it’s pretty safe to go at night.

There is a sign board which show quite funny instructions though.

Sign board, pic courtesy from AJ

Dilarang memakai seluar dalam ketika mandi? So, are we supposed to skinny dip here? LOL!

On how to get there, take a look here at this website. Here’s a map of Selayang too!

After the hot spring, we went to Batu Caves. I couldn’t believe after all the trekking in FRIM, I actually scaled the 272 steps to the temple on top! Wah.. what an achievement! There were not many people visiting Batu Caves on Sunday. I guess most people chose to go back to their hometowns for the long weekend.

The mischevious monkey, I think he’s actually smiling!

Beware of the monkeys! They would come for you if you bring anything in plastic bags!

Yummy fried rice

After the hiking, trekking and climbing, we went to have this fried rice and lala chien in Selayang. It was a good way to wrap up the day as some of the boys have other plans at night.

Lala chien

I went home, took my bath and laid flat on my back for 3 hours of nap, only to be awakened to go for another round of dinner at Lau Heong at Sentul Raya with other set of friends. We called it a night after watching a very bad movie, Bangkok Dangerous starring Nicholas Cage in KLCC.

Kepong Makanthon, 27th October 2008

The BKT in Desa Aman Puri I am talking about can be found at Bak Kut Teh Klang Yip Yong, the same row as Ho Yee Kei prawn mee shop. It’s hard to miss it because there is a huge roasted duck figurine just next to the shop, belonging to another shop lah.

The super yummy dry BKT!

I don’t know if they really are from Klang, but this is the dry BKT version – cooked with black soya sauce with a hint of burning charcoal smell. Don’t let this black stuff turn you off! It’s really THAT good! It comes with the wet version too. We had both dry and wet BKT to satiate our hunger pangs.

To cut the long story short, after brunch and shopping at the Curve for six hours marathon, we ended the day with an early dinner of Thai cuisine at Chiang Rai Style restaurant, also in Desa Aman Puri.

I think I seriously need to go on a strict diet!!

Klang Makanthon

October 29, 2008

For two weekends in a row, I had been on short road trips to Klang and around Selayang and Kepong for a makanthon. So, be prepared to salivate! I think I should segregate this into two posts or else it would be a little too long to read at one go!

Klang Makanthon, 19th October 2008

Sailor Boy is back from sailing after 6 months. That’s an awful long time! So, we decided to pay him a visit and at the same time, have a makan trip in Klang town.

Klang is about 30 minutes from KL town, if there is no jam. We reached Klang at 9 am to beat the early birds out for bak kut teh (BKT). Not really that early lah… but we arrived just in time before the crowd came barging. According to Sailor Boy, this is how you should get to Klang BKT central.

After klang toll you will see fly over, don’t take flyover*, go down and meet roundabout. then at roundabou take 9 o’clock. then immedietely left turn. then straight all the way to chinese school, after chinese school directly turn left and you will see BKT CENTRAL

* It’s quite accurate. Just that you need to go over the first flyover. You don’t go up the second fly over. Keep left, go down to the roundabout. Haha!

We had the BKT at this Teluk Pulai BKT shop. It’s a little overrated but nevertheless, it was quite good. But I don’t think it’s worth to travel that far for a good BKT. Hence, I would want to recommend a nice BKT shop in Kepong – Klang BKT Yip Yong in Desa Aman Puri. Stories later!

After the BKT breakfast, we went to walk about at the biggest Bukit Tinggi Jaya Jusco in Malaysia – which some Klangites are quite proud of (or maybe it’s only Sailor Boy lah!) to catch a movie – Max Payne. It’s quite a pain to watch. The movie is kinda draggy and the one and only cute girl in the movie has to die a horrible death.. so…

Before the movie, we had coffee and some toast bread at Old Town Kopitiam, and after movie, we had another round of kopi and teh tarik at the Nyonya Food shop and yakked for hours.

For early dinner, we decided to eat this Number One Claypot Chicken Rice at Berkeley. Unfortunately, the day I went, probably the chef didn’t have a good day hence, we ended having burnt claypot chicken rice. Bummer!

You may have the claypot chicken rice to go along with three types of soup. Black herbal chicken, pig intestines and spinach soup with dates. The spinach soup is too salty. Not good for people with high blood pressure. Like I said, the chef probably had a bad day hence, everything was a little over too salty or burnt. Perhaps, we should come another day to have this – to do justice for people in Klang lah. Haha!

The day ended with a plate of nasi lemak in Restoran Yee Ta. It was quite good though. Crunchy anchovies, perfectly done mata kerbau (egg sunny side up), fragrant rice, serve on banana leaf (earn extra points!) but the sambal is a little too sweet for me. I give it a 7.5 over 10. It’s a Chinese restaurant for breakfast and lunch. For tea time, dinner and supper, the restaurant is converted into a mamak shop. Don’t even think about using the toilets here. Omigod! I could smell the toilet from where we sit and it sure turn off appetite. Try sitting outside the shop to sample this nasi lemak. They serve teh tarik in steel tall mugs, which is really cool.

To be continued…

Blue Mountains, Sydney

October 27, 2008

1st October 2008, Wednesday

We started the second day early in Sydney. After light breakfast, our friend dropped us at the train station. We got ourselves tickets to Katoomba station where Blue Mountains is situated. Thinking it would be freezing cold at the Blue Mountains, we packed extra warm clothing.

It is convenient to get to Blue Mountains. You need to buy train ticket to Katoomba from any major train stations heading for Blacktown and also a bus pass. The bus pass itself is AUD32. You get to hop on and off the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus all around the Blue Mountains area. I spent a total AUD46.60 for two-way ticket from Parramatta to Katoomba inclusive of the bus pass.

The trip from Parramatta to Katoomba took about 1.5 hours. I dozed off in between the stations and woke up to see some views of trees, hills and residential area. One thing about the trains in Sydney, you can actually move your seat to face where you are going instead of sitting with your back forward. I didn’t know this till I saw people pushing their chairs to face where the train is going!

One incident happened while we were on our way to Katoomba. Apparently, there were a bunch of people did not pay full fare for traveling all the way from the city to Katoomba. Some officers came up to check for tickets and found these perpetrators did not pay a full fare. If caught, AUD200 penalty could be issued. I guess the officer must be in a real good mood to let those people go. So, don’t even think about cheating!

The moment you got off the train, you just need to go to look up the overhead for instructions. You change the bus pass you bought at a shop facing the entry to Katoomba town. You will never miss it as hoards of people would be there waiting to get their bus passes. The bus pass comes in a form of a booklet with useful information. What you need to do is to wave your bus pass whenever you see the Explorer Bus to get in.

I grabbed a quick lunch to go with me at the café next to the shop – a delicious panini turkey bacon sandwich with extra tomatoes!

There are a total 29 stops along the way around Blue Mountains. Some important stops which are worth to spend time at are the Katoomba Cascades, Scenic World (you have to pay AUD25 to ride the cable car), Echo Point – Three Sisters, Honeymoon lookout (where you set to descent along a bridge that leads to the Three Sisters! We missed this point! Damn!) and Leura Village (my favorite – no trekking and lotsa shops!).

For the life of me, I couldn’t believe that I actually trekked. Me? Trekking? You heard it right. I was telling ML that, FRIM is like 5 minutes away from my house and I hardly even go there. Probably once a year… and now, I paid so much money to come all the way to Blue Mountains to trek? Lol!

It was the drought season everywhere in Australia so I guess the Katoomba Cascades is not that spectacular. There were still some water but not as big as I thought it might be. We walked around to snap some photos of some plants instead.

At Leura Valley, if you happen to go during spring, you would be greeted with luscious cherry blossom decorating the pavement dividing the roads. The valley is peppered with little shop cottages where you could find just anything from scented candles to bras, antiques to little knick knacks. Not to mention, small little quaint coffee houses.

Why is it named Blue Mountains when it’s not even blue?? I found some explanations here.

The Blue Mountains are so named because, from Sydney, they look blue. They are clad in vast forests of eucalypts (commonly called gum trees), which in the hot sun discharge a fine mist of eucalyptus oil from their leaves. The mist refracts light, which makes the haze look blue at a distance.

It was an enjoyable one day trip. We bid good bye to Blue Mountains at 5.30 pm to catch a train to Parramatta. On the way home, we were sandwiched by four guys from India and a few girls from Germany ( I gathered from the phlegm inducing language they speak!) and a mother and son pack from other parts of Australia.

I suggest you go early so you could slowly take your time in taking pictures or enjoy your long walks in the luscious forest and waterfalls.

The explorer bus starts to operate at 9.45 am every day and the last train to depart from Katoomba to Central is at 11.16 pm.

Sydney, Here We Come!

October 23, 2008

30th September 2008, Tuesday

Since we were already there in Melbourne, we decided to visit Sydney as well. It helps when you have some friends scattered all over the world (very, very cost effective! Lol! So, Yin Mand if you are reading this, please let your sis know I will come one very fine day to Brisbane to see her!). So, ML took this opportunity to visit her good friend in Sydney.

We took a bus from Southern Cross to Avalon Airport. Sunbus will take passengers to Avalon for Jetstar domestic flights only. You can also take Skybus to Tullamarine, where other domestic and international flights take place. It costs AUD38 for two way journey to Avalon from the city and back. It takes 40 minutes to get to Avalon. They are pretty punctual. So, our Malaysian mind set of “It’s ok to be five minutes late” does not apply here!

We arrived at the airport on the dot. For domestic flight, it is okay to bring water bottle. You just need to take them out and place it in the basket provided to be scanned. LAG rules do not apply. Jetstar delayed a little but we reached Sydney slightly later than scheduled time.

The moment we got into the terminal, we were a little lost to get to the train station. So, to prevent you guys from getting lost, always remember, the train is always located at the basement of the airport. So, get your ass down the escalator to the train station and just follow signboard.

Sydney has useful pamphlet on how to purchase a train ticket. For those who are traveling by yourself for a few days in Sydney, you may opt for an unlimited boarding pass. Since I am going to stay with a friend, I didn’t get the unlimited pass. The ticket from the airport to Circular Quay costs AUD14.60.

We were greeted by this man playing didgeridoos upon reaching Circular Quay. This is the area where the famous world landmarks are – the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. We snapped like 500 pictures of the Opera House alone! Lol!

It was quite convenient to walk around the place. The weather in Sydney is a little warm compared to Melbourne but it was still a little cold. It was nice to walk under the sun and do not sweat at all! So, remember to put on generous amount of sun block and wear sunglasses and hat, or else, you would get sun burn even if the air is cold and crisp. We walked about and soaked ourselves in the charming atmosphere surrounding the Opera House. There were many people jogging in the middle of the day. Yes, at 1 pm.. and there are many families taking their children out for a walk and of course, many, many holiday makers.

As we strolled along the walkway towards the Opera House, we checked on the prices of food on the menus at the restaurants overlooking the Harbor Bridge. They are freaking expensive. Since we would have to pay AUD30 for meals, we might as well take a cruise with buffet lunch from Vagabond. It costs about AUD55. You may also opt for coffee and cakes at AUD25.

The buffet spread was quite generous. They have roast beef, roast chicken, pasta, potato salads, prawns, mussels, etc. They even serve kim chi! I think it wasn’t really a good idea to take this cruise because by the time you finished eating, you would have miss a lot of sightseeing. I ate lunch in a haste to snap some photos. Captain Cook’s Cruises seemed like a more popular choice and it stopped at many tourist spots. We took Vagabond because it was less crowded and we were in a hurry.

We got off the cruise at King’s Wharf and walked about Darling Harbor. It was quite warm then and the sun was too glaring to keep my eyes opened. I don on my sun glasses. I could feel the skin on my face started to get flaky. It was the cool, dry hair that caused my skin to shed. Please reapply skin lotion if you spend a lot of time outside. There is even a Garden of Friendship with Chinese motives nearby. We didn’t go in because have to pay AUD6. Imagine.. going to Australia and entering a place looking like a Chinese temple? LOL!

We walked around the harbor and even went to Chinatown and Paddy’s Market. Since we were already in a hurry to get to the train station to catch a train to Strathfield by 6 pm, where the friend lives, we quickly made our way to Café de Wheel at George Street to try the recommended hot dog. We opted for the chilli dog and only ordered one since it was quite huge. It was hot and yummy! We would like to try the signature Café de Wheel hot dog the next time we come.

As we were munching the hot dog, we sat opposite this Emperor’s restaurant where they sell the Emperor’s Puff. They are actually cream puffs. For AUD1, you can get four cream puffs. They were hot and delicious.

We made our way to Strathfield to meet up with a friend, after a whole day walking about Sydney with backpacks on our backs.

City of Love

October 22, 2008

29th September 2008, Monday

Melbourne Central

We started our beautiful day in Melbourne by walking about town. Curly said this would be a good time to explore the city. He took us around Melbourne City to familiarize ourselves with the tram and bus system. Things are pretty convenient in Melbourne. There are tourist buses and city trams we could ride for free to various tourist spots. Curly has been staying there for the past three years, so it was wonderful and very nice of him to take us around, so that we don’t get lost!

The city is very well planned and organized. However the street names can be a little confusing as if they had ran out of ideas. Like Victoria Street – there are many, MANY Victoria Streets in Melbourne alone. Curly stays in Brunswick East, and there is also another place called East Brunswick. Even though they are in the same area, they are NOT the same street!

The first day was a little confusing for me. Curly, in his lecturing mode went on with his teaching style of telling us the directions. “This is Lonsdale Street, there is Little Lonsdale… Burke Street, Little Burke Street.. etc etc.”

Flinder’s Station

For people like me who remember landmarks more than street names – I find some monuments are quite useful as landmarks for me to get off the tram – like a giant purse in front of the grand post office or where we could get a tram back to his place – three skinny men with suitcase in front of Politix shop. Lol!

It was a mixed feeling as I strolled along the streets of Melbourne. There are so many Asians that you would never feel out of place! As I strolled along Swanston Street, I could hear many languages being spoken from Korean to Japanese, Cantonese to Hokkien, Vietnamese to Thai. It’s not surprising that, Vietnamese is the second most spoken language in Melbourne.

First Blooms of Spring

Many people from all over the world come to Melbourne to pursue their studies. Since the University of Melbourne is situated in the heart of the city, it was easy for students to get around town to shop for their groceries, to meet their friends or simply hang about town to watch the day goes by.

Lovely Couple applauding

The weather was perfect. It was a little chilly if the wind blew but nevertheless it was quite okay for me. It’s like a colder version of Genting Highlands. So, be prepared to bring your sweaters and windbreakers if you plan to visit Melbourne in September/October. I love it as I don’t break into sweat!

Graffitti

One thing though, most of the walls in the back lane were decorated with graffiti. Some are really nice, some are merely scribbles of words. I heard that they might want to ban selling of the color spray to prevent unwanted graffiti.

Police Parade

We were caught by surprise that there was a police parade. Curly was also unaware of the event. A few roads were closed for the police to march around town. Retired policemen were also invited to participate. There was a sense of pride arising from the loud applause from the crowd as the retired policemen walked by. I thought of the police force back at home and felt sorry for their reputation.

Krispy Kreme

Since everyone was bragging about how yummy Krispy Kreme donuts taste like, I bought two dozen as breakfast for the boys and I. I was somewhat disappointed. I think the donuts were too sweet for my taste –it’s diabetic inducing merely by taking one mouthful! The glazed one was better as it was not too sweet. Overall, there is nothing to shout about this donut.

Lovers waiting to cross the road

Melbourne is a city of love. Everywhere you see many cute couples walking hand in hand. I am sure there are also a lot of couples in other cities but I guess, due to rush hour or working time, I simply did not notice any apart from holiday makers walking hand in hand. It’s a Monday, a working day in Melbourne and yet, there are many people taking leisurely stroll along the streets of Melbourne. Life indeed is good.


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