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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Married for half a year

I have been for the past six months, in my CEB's words, "Mrs CEB, Madam Mob"

And so we cross the half year mark of marriage - with laughter, affection and love. Gawd, I really love my CEB. He is the best gift from up above, and come what may in the future, I can't tell you how so blessed I feel to have been given these months with him. He isn't Mr Perfect and we do quarrel from time to time, but I believe that God must have a reason to give my CEB to me as a husband. And respect, treasure and love God's gift, I must.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cooking at home on Sundays

My FIL is absolutely right - with marriage, one does tend to acquire a few new skills. I can set a washing machine now, and I can cook edible dishes which occasionally elicits a "Good" from my CEB. To boost my self-esteem which my CEB seems hell bent on tearing down so he can eat more "outside" food (and lose more hair - pun intended), I have solicited my FIL's support and he comes every Sunday for dinner prepared by yours truly. The picture below shows what I cooked last Sunday for the 3 of us.

I was excited about trying out the miso soup paste that I'd bought from Cold Storage and I had a packet of chicken minced meat in the fridge waiting to be cooked. As well as toufu tubes meant for the miso soup. And guess what, as the fates would decree, I found a recipe on noobcook's website requiring the use of all these ingredients. Minced meat with toufu - steamed. This is such a simple dish to prepare and looks pleasing to the eye too. Unfortunately, my wolfberries were not fresh and I steamed the dish too long so the meat was hard. But I'll get better.

I also found a recipe for minced meat with egg and it was also easy enough to prepare except that my CEB said that there was too much minced meat in the dish. Which was a fair comment because I had originally wanted to use the minced meat to prepare the steamed meat with tomatoes and toufu that my suitor used to cook for me. And I steamed this dish too long as well so the meat was hard with the egg dried out. Ugh. The miso soup also lacked flavour because I had no idea of the correct proportions of water versus paste.

The week before was slightly better. I'd been craving my mum's salmon porridge for the longest time and what do you know, I had 2 packets of salmon I'd bought and stored in the freezer. Those were occupying space in the tiny freezer we had so I was determined to use up the salmon by hook or crook. And with my mum's recipe which she texted over to me, my CEB and I managed to whip up steaming bowls of porridge full of mushrooms, salmons and scallops. I even fried some eggs to go along with the porridge per my mum's instructions. Easy cooking, and we thought we did a decent enough job. My MIL whom we'd packed some back for, didn't like it though - she said it was too full of ingredients. Which it was, the way I like it :)

The last dish I cooked was steamed miso cod fish following this great recipe (click here) which turned out pretty good despite my adding too much sesame oil to the sauce. My CEB isn't a fan of fish, so I was a bit apprehensive when I cooked this dish on Tuesday evening. The fish cost about 14 bucks (Cod is the most expensive fish there is in the supermarkets) and I was prepared to eat all of the fish if he didn't want it but surprisingly, he ate at least half the fish. Maybe it was the miso which totally masked the fishy taste or maybe the cod was just good, or maybe my CEB has decided to eat healthily.

In any case, it has been fun being Mrs CEB. I remember that my CEB and I had crossed swords over eating at home and eating out, and I pointed out to him that out of 14 meals a week (lunch and dinner), he only eats home-cooked food 3 out of the 14 times (dinner on Sundays and once on a weekday with me, and every Thurs at home with his folks).

He looked at me sadly and said "I am a poor poor husband".

First night at home without my CEB

I am NOT a clingy person...am I? :D

But it is awfully quiet at home tonight because my CEB has to stay in (camp) for his reservist. And I am all alone at home. No Bleahs No Buahs, absolutely no sounds at all except for the aircon and my typing.

I still have the 2 fellas - F Tiger (do not ask me what the F stands for), and my nua nua buaya toy to accompany me on the bed but the bed still feels awfully large and empty without my CEB. And I should mention that as of yesterday, my CEB has claimed MY nua nua buaya toy as his. He said that the buaya toy had changed allegiance because my CEB is the one who cuddles him to bed every night. I beg to differ - what cuddle? More like suffocate and abuse! I've got the evidence of my CEB blissfully sleeping and MY nua nua buaya toy trapped helpless!

I used to dislike (silently and mildly) my CEB doing other stuff when in the bedroom instead of cuddling up with me but damn, what wouldn't I give to have my CEB at home tonight. Strange thing, we've been married almost half a year now and I love my CEB as much as ever, if not more.

Oh, and I was saying I wasn't clingy....right?

Thai Odyssey - the best massage in JB

I never used to like massages but my first boyfriend was a fan of massages. I would go shopping while he had a massage, especially when we crossed the causeway to City Square where Thai Odyssey is located. My second boyfriend went for massages every week or so too, and I went with him once but the experience was so painful that I swore never to go again.

Well, since last year, age has caught up with a vengeance and I experienced backaches (esp lower backaches) and other body-aches that made me downright uncomfortable. I wasn't incapacitated by any degree but the soreness and sometimes, pain would make grouchy me even more grouchy.

Today was 1 of those days where I awoke with a backache between my shoulder-blades that would not ease up. And remembering how a Traditional Thai massage at Thai Odyssey (the city square outlet) eased the aches I had once before, I made my way to the outlet at KSL city.

Thai Odyssey at KSL City is located at one corner of the 2nd floor near the bridal shops and appears to be dimly lit at the reception area and throughout the entire shop. But the staff were friendly and accommodating even though I walked in without an appointment. I had my feet washed before exchanging my flip flops for their bedroom like sandals. Unlike the outlet at City Square where there are individual rooms with thin walls, privacy for each person here is assured through the use of curtains. Despite the appearance, everything appears to be very clean (From what I can see at least in the dim light), and smells fresh and nice.

I had the 90mins Traditional Thai massage (RM108) because I had more time than usual, and the 60mins massage was just RM20 cheaper. I was at first apprehensive of the masseur's capabilities because this was my first time at Thai Odyssey at KSL City but at first touch, I knew I was in good hands. Somehow she knew exactly which areas hurt the most and needed the most stretching and man, it felt good. And of course, hearing the crack of my spinal cord being manipulated gave me a feeling that I was "fixed" good. I was served a cup of tea at the end and found my flip flops just outside the curtain when I was done.

Oh, and after the massage, I did not have any bruises whatsoever unlike the times when I tried other massages which were really torture sessions. There was this massage place my CEB brought me to at the recommendation of the wedding studio early this year, and at the end of the session, my back looked like this. The masseur said it was because I had too much heat, and that's utter crap - she was just rough and applied too much pressure. The bruises were so bad that I had trouble sleeping on my back the first night! And when I tried another massage place at KSL's ground level, I had bruises around my shoulders because the lady squeezed so hard there. She said I had too much heat too. What bull. And for those places, the masseurs aren't the shop's employees (unlike Thai Odyssey) but come to do a massage when called for by the shop owner. Ugh.

I'm not paid in any way to write about Thai Odyssey but I thought I'll share about this great place to those looking for a clean safe pleasant place for a cheap massage in JB / Johor. And unlike those "promotional" massages in Singapore, there is absolutely no selling or promotion by the staff of any massage packages.

You can check them out at this link (click here). They appear to be a well established branch with many outlets throughout Malaysia including KL.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blender for the house

To those of you who have wondered/asked about my CEB, yes, this big bag of nonsense is still very much around.

I can't remember what I said to him on the way back from our Port Dickson holiday, but he responded "sadly" that in this marriage there is no democracy. And when we got home, after his bath, my CEB headed straight for his wardrobe to put on this "Game Over" T-shirt he had bought in Bangkok before our wedding. I almost died of laughter when I spotted him wearing the T-shirt.

But other than providing me with hours of entertainment and laughter, my CEB recently bought something for our home on his own initiative *clap hands.

We'd been looking at blenders for some time and even bought and returned one at Giant (because he said it wasn't powerful enough). And I thought we would never get one but my CEB surprised me with the Philips blender which has a range of functions like Smoothie and, Ice (crushing). I really love my CEB when he does deliver on what he says he will, and delivers something awesome.

So anyway, the blender sat in the box for a few days because I'd been horribly busy at work. And my CEB wanted me to open the box. So one Sunday , I finally tore open the wrappings and my CEB happily blended the strawberries which we'd bought with some ice. And when I was about to drink it, he threw away the entire cup because it was the first time the motor was being used. Alas. But I had some fruits in the fridge and remembering how utterly difficult it is to get my CEB to eat something healthy like kiwi, I cut some kiwis and apples to blend.

Following the recipe in the manual that came with the blender, I added in some orange juice in the mix before pressing the smoothie button. And what came out was this, which wasn't very cold. So I added ice cubes and pressed the ice-crushing function.

And that is how we both ended up with a large cup of kiwi-apple icy smoothie. My CEB said it tasted very good, which made me feel happy, but he was able to pick out each of the ingredients that went into the blended drink.

Which means I can't trick my CEB into drinking some strange concoction that I might decide is good for him - like celery and broccoli blended together hah. But try I will :)

Krisflyer Elite Gold

Guess what came in the mail today?

And all it took was the time I spent in this new job - 9 months - to quality.

If I was in a business, sales or marketing role, that would be no surprise.

But I'm just a slog in the company's global law department, who happens to have traveled to Australia, USA, South Africa, Brazil, Philippines and Malaysia, all in less than a year. And I am off to Vietnam (both Saigon and Hanoi) in a matter of days

If you had asked me back in October 2010, whether I ever thought this travelling every month for a week to a different country, would have been my life, I would have laughed. After the extensive travelling to China and Hongkong for weeks in 2009, 2010 was a relatively quiet year for me work travel-wise. And if I had stayed where I was, that would have been the case for 2011.

Life is indeed unpredictable.

Lee Fun Nam Kee Chicken Rice at Toa Payoh

1 of the places that sells the most delicious and tender soya sauce chicken is Lee Fun Nam Kee Chicken Rice Stall at Toa Payoh, a traffic light or so down from the exit door of Risen Christ church. I've eaten at this place for years, and the staff and quality has not changed one bit.

The shop has undergone renovations of course, over the years and from the pic below, is evidently well-lit and clean with about10+ tables in the restaurant, and a counter for takeaways. Other than soya sauce chicken, the stall also sells other types of roast meat and veg dishes but believe it or not, I've never even bothered to try the other dishes because the soya sauce chicken is THAT good.

I believe I've brought all my boyfriends to this shop. And none of them have disagreed about the quality of the food. If there are 2 of us, I'll order half a chicken and a bowl of sui jiao soup. And if there are 4 of us, like there were last Sunday, 1 chicken (See the pic below) is just the right amount for all. And before I forget, the chili that the stall serves is mighty good too (a little sweet), but it is unlikely that one would eat much of it given how mouth-watering the dark sauce that the chicken comes in, is.

The price was pretty reasonable at SGD 30 for the entire chicken (not a very big one though, there were loads of cucumber slices under the chicken meat), and about SGD 10 for 1 big of sui kao (dumpling) soup which had about 10 sui kao. We asked for a couple of refills for the big bowl of soup and the service staff was friendly and prompt in bringing us bowls of steaming fragrant soup. Be warned though that one gets rather thirsty after drinking all the soup.

So, if one is in the mood for great soya sauce chicken, do go to
Lee Fun Nam Kee at Blk 94 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh.
Opening Hours: 11am to 3pm, and 5pm to 9pm
Tel No: 6255 0891

Immortals (2011) Movie

Despite the thrilling and promising trailer for this movie, and the exciting still picture below, I would say that this movie was a huge disappointment compared to the movie "300" (the same director for both movies).

The actors and actresses in "Immortals" were largely unknowns which should have given us a clue how the movie would turn out. And the lead actress was seriously...well, unattractive. If she was eye-candy, then that would have been at least 1 saving grace. The pace of the movie was contrived, the plot thin, and the graphics nothing like those in "300". I watched "300" at least 3 times.

But I would NOT watch this movie again...in fact, if I could go back in time, I would not have wasted the time and money (Even though it was in ringgit) to watch it the first time. To read a good summary of the plot, click here .

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What must be the best beef noodles in Singapore

I'd been wanting to write about this place for some time, and blogging about the beef noodles we had at Seremban reminded me that I had yet to.

So. I believe this place sells the best beef noodles in Singapore. The stall is located in the hawker centre opposite Parkway Parade Mall, along the same stretch of stalls as the famous and popular wet fried kway teoh stall.

We always order the dry version which comes with a small bowl of soup. The gravy is extraordinarily delicious and the beef, oh, the beef is so tender and sweet. The best bit is of course, the hawker is pretty generous with the amount of meat given for each bowl he dishes out. Looking at this picture brings back the memory of how absolutely delish this dish is...and easy on the pocket too.

Be warned though that the place does a pretty brisk business - we were disappointed a couple of times when we got there at almost 8pm for the stall was already closing for the day.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Yee Kee Beef Noodles at Seremban

Thanks to the friendly and helpful server at Pasar Besar where we bought more of the famous Empayar Seremban Siew Pau who gave us clear directions (go pass Jusco which will be on your left and at the end of the road where you see a Petronas, turn left), we managed to have some famous Seremban beef noodles while in Seremban.

When we got there about 6.20pm, there was only 1 other table occupied at this so-called famous beef noodles stall and I had my misgivings. But it was too late to do anything and so we sat down and looked through the menu which was pretty extensive with set meals (RM 13 for a bowl of noodles, beef ball soup and a drink) and stand alone beef noodle dishes.

The picture below shows the interior of the restaurant. I found it strange too that most of the servers were Malays and not Chinese, given that beef noodles are more of a Chinese dish than Malay dish.

And where we were seated had me facing a mural that covered the entire wall of peaceful grass-eating cows. However, even the cow staring straight out at me did not faze me or my CEB from tucking into the bowls of dry beef noodles, which were served within minutes.

Here is a close up picture of the beef noodles. I had the set that came with the soup while my CEB ordered a large bowl of dry beef noodles (there is the option of a regular bowl but my CEB being my CEB....).

I should mention here too that Yee Kee Beef noodle stall sells more than just beef noodles per the poster they had up below. If not for the fact that we had a complimentary buffet dinner waiting for us back at our hotel in Port Dickson, we would have tried the other dishes too.

Or maybe not. Now, if one has limited capacity, one should definitely just order a bowl of their ultra-delicious dry beef noodles. Despite my CEB's resolution not to eat everything (so he would have space in his tummy for the buffet), he finished the entire bowl of beef noodles and even eyed my below. The Slog Reviews: 9/10. We agreed that Seremban beef noodles are indeed the best. The gravy was not too thick or salty but was just the right texture and taste, and the noodles were cooked to soft perfection, sliding down our throats together with the sauce. The seasoning of nuts and sour veg made a perfect complement to the gravy and noodles. The only thing that could do with some improvement was the beef - not that it wasn't tasty or well cooked but this dish would have been perfect if the beef was sliced beef fillet.

I should also mention here that my CEB said that the beef balls were the best he ever had - they were so springy that when he bit down on them, he could feel the sponginess and the soup squirting out of 'em balls.

In any case, I would definitely recommend a visit to this beef noodles stall if one is in Seremban. I don't have the exact address but I took a picture of the road's signboard on our way out and I hope that helps, in addition to the directions at the start of this post.

In search of the famous Seremban Siew Pow

I feel like 1 of those sad characters in stories where there is a race to the finish line and one just makes it in the nick of time...only to find out that the prize one was racing for was given away.

We left Berjaya Times Square at 4.15pm and since Seremban was on the way back, we decided to buy the famous Seremban siew pau. Now, based on my research the night before, I'd read that the best siew pau was from Kee Mei Siew Pau in Seremban. Despite setting my GPS for the address, it was difficult finding the way to the shop as it was off the main road (a road behind the main road) and one had to really look out for the place. (Address: 1849 Jalan Tok Ungku. Contact No: 06-633 6219)

I knew the shop closed at 5pm and after my CEB asking at 2 restaurants for the exact location, we finally foundthe shop...at exactly 5pm. I pumped my fist in the air with glee when I saw the shop was still open, and with a mouth full of drool in anticipation of the hot siew pau that I would reward myself with, I rushed into the shop.

Only to find that all the siew paus were sold out. Every single epithet I'd learnt, English, Chinese and Hokkien, filled my mouth in place of the warm savory buns. Since I knew better than to spit them out, the lady boss seeing me wordlessly staring at the empty tray where those damn siew paus used to be, suggested that I return the next day at 7am when they opened. She was even prepared to reserve some of those pows for me. But alas, when I told her we were staying at Port Dickson, she agreed it was too far for us just to drive back for the paus.

Since there was nothing to be had but to move on without my pows, we went next to the alternative source: Warong Serembang Siew Pow shop which was located at 1607 Jalan Rasah (Phone number in case you get lost is 06 764 9360).

There were many W-plate cars (KL folks) there and the shop did a pretty brisk business of selling its paus, which thankfully it had in abundance per the pic below. Although I was thankful that we hadn't make a wasted trip to Seremban and we could at least try the paus, I felt a tinge of regret that I couldn't compare these paus to the ones from Kee Mei - the paus that got away.

Anyway, as it was almost dinner time and although we had a complimentary dinner waiting for us back at the hotel, my CEB wanted to go for the Seremban beef noodles and I keyed in the address Pasar Besar into my GPS because that was where the famous 747 beef noodle stall was supposed to be. To our surprise, we ended up instead at another famous Seremban Siew Pau shop. There was a restaurant in the premises but the attraction was the siew paus and being KS Singaporeans, we joined the queue just because we were there.

Well, it turned out that no one knew about the so-called famous Seremban beef noodles at this market and the restaurant most certainly did not sell beef noodles. I even asked if the beef noodle stall was on the second level of the market but the helpers around all replied in the negative. However, one of them did direct us to a beef noodle stall which I shall blog about next.

Oh, and guess what, the siew paus we bought from this famous Seremban Siew Pau shop was exactly the same as the ones we bought from Warong, right down to the packaging. We hadn't realized that at the time we bought the same and so we ended up with 12 Siew Paus.

I ate about 5 in the night and I thought that the crust was nice and flaky , and the meat juicy and tasty despite the pau's rather unappealing appearance. And if you are after the famous Seremban Siew Paus, do eat them when they are piping hot. The ones we got were right from the oven and even in their boxes, filled the car with a wonderful mouth-watering porky fragrance.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Weng Yin Seafood Village at Port Dickson

I figured that since we were so near the west coast of Malaysia, having at least one seafood meal was a must. "Google-ing" "best seafood restaurant in Port Dickson" threw up the name of this restaurant "Weng Yin Seafood Restaurant" more than once.

And hence, we decided to have our last meal in Port Dickson at Weng Yin before driving back to Singapore. The restaurant is located almost opposite Thistle Hotel, and next to PD polyclinic. You can't miss the place from the main road, given how close it is. The pic below shows how the interior looks like and it is evidently pretty crowded on a Sunday afternoon (about 12noon) for lunch. There were many cars with the local number plates, so we figured we were going to have a great lunch.

Well. Let me start by saying that the servers were very polite, helpful and friendly. They showed us to a table and gave us a menu which had no prices next to the dishes. We figured it couldn't be too expensive given the ambiance (or should I say lack of) so we ordered crabs. But we must have offended the God of Seafood that day because we were informed, rather regretfully, that the restaurant had no crabs.

So, we decided to order the other dishes we'd read about on the web. The first dish was the sambal kangkong. The Slog Reviews: 6.5/10. This dish was the really wet, loads of oily moist not spicy gravy kind. It was not definitely not outstanding in any way but was the 2nd best dish of the lot we ordered.

As there were no crabs, we decided to have the Kam Heong Lala (instead of Kam Heong crabs). Alas, alas, the slog reviews: 5/10. This dish was so ordinary tasting with overly salty sauce and shells which was smallish in size and tough in meat. Enough said.

And because we would not have a chance to stop by my favourite Muar restaurant for my beloved otah, I thought my craving for otah would be satisfied with a helping of hot plate otah but instead, I was most sorely disappointed. The Slog Reviews: 1/10. Yes, just 1 point for the dish being edible. The otah was so horribly tasteless except for the excessive sprinkling of pepper on the otah. I would absolutely not recommend this dish to anyone else.

The only saving grace in my opinion was the 3 flavored fish. This was a 750gm fish which was not only fresh but cooked very well so as to be very nicely crispy on the outside yet moist and not burnt at all on the inside. The thick sauce on the top of the fish was something we'd never had before and went very well (slightly sweetish it was) with the fish. I would say that if one had to go this restaurant, this fish dish is a must-order.

Anyway, the meal I had at Weng Yin was one of the shortest most unpleasant meals I've ever had. Not because of the food or the service...but because of the sheer number of flies. It was horrid, simply a horrid experience trying to eat with the flies landing boldly on the straws of our drinks and taking every opportunity to land on the dishes with their dirty "Gawd-knows-which-pile-of-dung-they-have-been" legs. We spent much time swiping away the flies until towards the end of the meal, a lady server brought over some lighted candles (flies-repellents) to the table. But guess what - the flies still buzzed around and when the flame of one candle went out, a few flies boldly landed on the candle too.

Oh, and there is no air-conditioned area at all. I would absolutely never go back to Weng Yin, even though it was amazingly cheap (the fish was only RM34 and the total meal was about RM50+).

Weng Yin Seafood Village
KM15.5, (Batu 10), Jalan Pantai, 71050 Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan. Phone: +60(6)6627559, +60(12)6281660 URL: www.portdickson.net/wengyinseaf ood

Lucky Seafood Restaurant at Lukut in Port Dickson

One of the "must eat" places in / near the Port Dickson Area is Lucky Seafood Restaurant which houses the infamous Lucky King Bun stall. When we were there, every single table at the restaurant (the entire place is non-conditioned, more like a coffee shop) had at least one curry chicken bun from the stall. And there were quite a few folks queuing to "take away" a bun.

Although the female server rattled off the restaurant's specialties (which was kind of touching given that she must know from experience that everyone goes there solely, if not primarily for the chicken curry bun), we decided to have just one curry chicken bun to share for brunch.

The cost of our curry chicken bun above was about RM 24 (I'm guessing this is the price cos we paid RM27 for the bun below and a can of coke). My CEB said the dish was like "Jin Zheng Tou" and nothing exceptional. However, his actions spoke louder than his words, and he ate at least 65% of the dish, ripping off the soft buttery fragrant bread slices and soaking them in the thick flavorful warm curry. *wipes drool.

As you can tell from the picture above, there was plenty of chicken meat and potatoes in the bun - quite sufficient for 2 hungry folks, and all of it, especially the curry gravy which was amazingly tasty despite not being spicy. Coupled with the prompt and friendly service, and the lack of flies, I would recommend this restaurant to all who go by P.D.

To make things easier for all, here is the exact address and telephone number of Lucky King Bun / Lucky Seafood Restaurant / Lukut Seafood Restaurant.

Lucky King Bun (Lucky Seafood Restaurant)
No.4366, Taman Aman, Lukut,
71010 Port Dickson
Negeri Sembilan.
Phone: +60 (6) 651 2392 (Mdm. Lew)

As the restaurant was in Lukut which was in the direction of Kuala Lumpur from Port Dickson, we decided to try driving up to KL. With the help of the trusty GPS, and after several tolls, we reached Berjaya Times Square in about one and a half hours (there wasn't a traffic jam because it was the eve of a public holiday)

Parking in Berjaya Times Square cost quite a bit - for 2 hours, we spent about RM 5! But my CEB would of course tell you that this was money well spent because he found himself a new toy at a great deal (compared to buying the same item in Singapore).

I'll write about the other not so great experience we had at another recommended eating place in Port Dickson in my next post!

Hard Rock Shop in Melaka is open! ( Nov 2011)

I had read on Hard Rock's website that the Hard Rock Cafe in Melaka would only be open 2012 but when we dropped by Melaka on the way up to Port Dickson this long weekend....guess what, the Rock Shop was open and doing a pretty brisk business.

And of course, I just had to buy the hard rock cafe guitar-shaped magnet, the second one from a different country in the span of one week (see post below on the magnet from Makati, Manila)

As for eating at the Hard Rock Cafe in Melaka, the restaurant at Hard Rock Melaka will only be open end of 2012 according to the guy manning the Rock Shop.