Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Food Culture, Low Yat Plaza

I was here with my colleagues for lunch so the review here was not of a thorough one. Food Culture in Low Yat Plaza provides a good selections of food on their menu, the usual suspects you can find in typical chinese restaurant such as Overseas Restaurant and Tai Thong Restaurant but of course, the ambience here were not as good as the other two. This shop is located at the end of the lower ground floor of Low Yat Plaza, if you happen to pass by the road behind Sungai Wang Plaza, there is a small shop besides the small entrance into Low Yat Plaza selling Hongkie snacks, follow the steps down, and you'll find yourself in Food Culture.

Here's the food we sample:

Duck Breast Rice - Personally, I loved the duck meat here. It was roasted just nice and the skin are slightly crispy while the meat still tender and juicy.

Ginger and Spring Onion Fish Fillet in Soy Sauce - My colleague said that it OK and there's nothing to shout about this.

Minced Beef Fried Rice with Shredded Egg - Typically fried rice, what else can I say.

Mango Sago Lolo - Loved this. Right now it's the best Mango Sago Lolo I've tasted mainly due to the amount of real mango in this dessert. The usual Mango Sago Lolo that you find gave you chipped ice topped with mango puree and mango pieces while this gave you a bowl of chilled mango puree topped with sago and chunky pieces of mango. They could have done better if more mango chunks throws in, nevertheless, still gets my vote.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Recipe : Mandarin Orange Baked Dory Fillet

served on bed of Honeycomb Cornflakes Caesar Salad and poached egg
2 serving

What you need:
  • 2 piece of Dory fillet
  • 4 large mandarin orange (Honey Lokan preferred)
  • 3 tablespoon of mayonise
  • 2 tablespoon of full cream fresh milk
  • 2 tablespoon of mandarin orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon of mandarin orange skin, sliced finely
  • 2 egg for poaching
  • 1 box of lettuce for your caesar salad, chopped coarsely
  • 1 handful of Honeycomb Cornflakes
  • Finely grated parmesan/paeseno cheese powder
  • Dill flakes
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Sugar
Here's the preparation:
  1. Mandarin Orange Caesar Salad
    • Get a peeler and peel the skin of 1 orange (only the orange colored part, avoid cutting deep into the inner white part that will cause bitter taste). Finely chopped the skin and put away 1 teaspoon
    • Get the juice of 1 orange, squeze with your hand and put away 2 tablespoon
    • Mix together 3 tablespoon of mayonise, 2 tablespoon of full cream fresh milk, 2 tablespoon of orange juice, 1 teaspoon of orange peel, 1/2 teaspoon of Dill flake into a cup or small bowl and stir until the mixture form a consistent texture
    • Get a huge salad bowl, mix together your coarsely chopped lettuce, handful of Honeycomb Cornflakes, Parmesan/Paeseno Cheese Powder and the Mayonize sauce. Store the salad in your fridge while you move on to prepare the fish.
  2. Mandarin Orange Baked Dory Fish Fillet
    • Lay your oven tray with aluminium foil
    • Peel off the remaining 3 orange, make sure the skin is of big chunk when peeling
    • Lay the peel off skin on your oven tray, orange colored side face up
    • Season the fish fillet with Dill flakes, pinch of salt, black pepper and finely chopped orange peel. Put the fillet on top of the orange skin bed
    • Squeze the juice of 1 orange onto the fillet
    • Cover your tray with another layer of aluminium foil
    • Put in your oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on your fillet thickness
  3. Poached egg
    • Simply put 2 eggs in a pan of water and boiled for 3 minutes
    • Take out and put them in a bowl of cold water and peel
To serve, put your salad on the plate to form a bed, taking about 3/4 part of your plate. Split your fillet vertically and lay them slightly on top of the salad bed. Poached egg on the side.

You're done!

This recipe is created by MiuMiu and tested/cooked before.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Bali - Day 4 : Heading Home

Sunday, 4th March 2007

3 days passed and time flies real fast when you're happy and enjoying what you're doing. Noel was complaining when the trip started as to whether or not we do have things to do in 4 days. I guess it turned out there are still a lot more to explore in Bali if we did have the time but it's our last day in Bali.

We don't exactly have a plan today but the idea was to just walk around town, starting from Kuta where we stay and check out places nearby we have not been. I've made it clear to both Ben and Noel that we will get our breakfast at 7am and hitting the street 45 minutes later so as to not waste the last few hours we have in Bali.

Poppy Lane - The backpacker street, we didn't really know it until today, lots of small shops including cyber cafe and 24 hours convenient store. It also lead us directly to the beach instead of walking a huge round using the main street.

Salon Babi - I don't think anyone in their sane mind will choose this name for their salon in KL .

The Beach Boys, couldn't get enough of the beach. It felt good to just walk the beach and do nothing but stares into the sea, enjoying every minutes of the seabreeze.

At the end of Kuta beach, there's this temple that we're not aware of and some sort of stage with 2 dragon guardian leading up the steps

Daily offerings are common sights throughout the day in Bali.

Artist at work.

It reads "Sekolah Dasar Nomor 4, Kuta" and my guess is, it's definitely a school.

Blue Bird's taxi are everywhere in Bali, make sure you do ask whether or not they run by meter before you hop in.

I'm intrigue with this tree that has sort of wheat straws in red color growing downwards. It might look eerie at night but well, it's still interesting for me.

Found this shop was rather cute and cheeky. Pinked colored prawn monuments greeting you into the restaurant.

A horse carriage in the city

Discovery Shopping Mall - a new shopping mall in Bali. The Lonely Planet guide book describes it perfectly, an ugly white blot overlooking Kuta.

The huge spiral monuments outside the mall.

Not sure what this is called, its the sort of thing that let you sits in and send you to the sky and send you have back on the ground in seconds and up again. Not for the faint hearted - like me.

Getting some rest in Bebek Angsa Cafe - cute name for a cafe.

Last minute shopping.

Checking out and ready to go home.

That's all about our Bali trip. It was a blast and we loved every minute of it, or rather not some of it. Hope you loved the pictures I posted up. Let's get back to work people!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Bali - Day 3 : Ubud & above

Saturday, 3rd March 2007

Ubud - Art Market
Our day started pretty early, by 7.30am, we're having breakfast in the hotel's cafe. Our 3rd day in Bali looked promisingly interesting with our destination today; Ubud Art Market, Kintamani - The Volcano, Tegalalang - Rice Fields Terrace and Gunung Kawi - one of Bali's oldest and mysterious monoliths.

We're informed by Dandy that the journey towards Kintamani will be long and it takes approximately 2 hours to reach from Kuta. We will be heading to Ubud - Art Market first as it is on the way up to the mountain. He also gave us options as to whether or not to stop at some locations along the way to check out locals carving workshops such as silver, stone and wood; each of which is very famous in Bali for their quality finishing and cheaper price compare it back in our country. We're not particularly interested but decided to give it a try to visit the silver carving workshop. I've got to say that I'm very much disappointed because the place was small and the products that the displayed are pretty much outdated and not as polished as it should be. I've been to better one in Thailand but we won't go into detail here. We spent about 20 minutes here, and bought nothing from the place.

We continue our journey heading to Ubud and Dandy asked if we're still interested to check out the stone and wood carving, collectively looking at each other, we told him to skip those two.

It took us another 45 minutes to reach Ubud from the last stop at the silver carving factory. The view of rice fields along the way was amazing. I had the momentary serenity feeling at peace and happy to see the green fields. It was great not having to think about my work or stressed myself out over applications that do not work the way they should but just enjoying the view of rice fields.

We start walking our way down from the main Ubud Market where Dandy drop us. These figurines was on display outside a shop along the Art Market Road in Ubud.

Ben suggested that we stopped by Ibu Rai Cafe, just spending some time having drinks and enjoying the scene in Ubud.

Interior of Ibu Rai's Cafe

Ubud street - Rows of rental vans awaiting tourists to buy their service. It was a common sight in Bali that everywhere you walked, there will be people offering you transportation service, be it motorcycles, vans, SUVs or taxi.

The Art Market in Ubud, colourful and assorted rattan weaved baskets. I'm tempted to buy one but gave it a second thought as I couldn't think of a reason to get one. Maybe they reminded me of my late god mom, she loved this kinda stuff to store eggs or maybe her sewing kits.

There are a lots of interesting art pieces in Ubud. I'm having the thought that perhaps the next time I need an art piece as part of my house interior, I'll revisit Bali again and come here to get one. Apart from that, they do sell other hand made items such as batik, silver accessories, wood carvings, scented oils, candles and coconut shell carvings.

We leave at around 12.15pm and continue hop on the van towards Kintamani.

Kintamani - Active Volcano
The road to Kintamani was still long and rain starts pouring by the time we reached the place. We're not actually at the foot of the volcano but rather on the other side of the mountain which have a restaurant for us to dine in while enjoying an absolutely clear view of the volcano and the lake beside.

It was a fun experience to dine on top of a mountain while overlooking the volcano, enjoying the cool wind over a spread of Balinese buffet lunch. The food served here was not especially interesting or out of this world. Perhaps the the sticky rice with mango/jack fruit served over brown sugar syrup and crated cococut was worth to mention.

The lake besides the volcano came into view once the rain stops for like 10 minutes, only to get heavier later.

The beautiful view of the volcano from where we were seated before the rain starts pouring again.

Enjoying the buffet at the hill top restaurant while eager tourist like us kept themself busy snapping photos to show their friends and family of how beautiful Kintamani was.

Tegalalang - Rice Fields Terrace
We get to stops by the famous rice fields terrace in Tegalalang on our way down from Kintamani. It was a small area with a cafe serving light snacks and drinks in their rattan hut seated on the hill terrace, allowing their patrons to enjoy the food served over the green fields.

The rice field terrace

Patron in rattan huts on the hill terrace, enjoying their time.

More rice fields along the hill terraces.

We stopped here for a brief 15 minutes, couldn't resists a personal snap.

Gunung Kawi
Ben initially resisted the idea of getting into Gunung Kawi. Yes, it was raining cats and dogs but it wasn't like a 10 minutes drive down Bukit Bintang everyday that you get to see an ancient mountain with hand carved monoliths. I insisted that we go ahead as we are already here with umbrella and it wouldn't take too long to walk a few steps more to see what's ahead.

I'm very interested to come here and check out what it looks like in real because the photos shown in the Lonely Planet guide I had was beautiful. I'm not a very outdoor person but sight seeing like this just have my votes.

The main entrance to Gunung Kawi. We put in our donations and dorn the sarong and waist band as required before ascending a flight of stairs into the monolith area and the main temple.

Looking absolutely funny (or ridiculous) in sarong. The colors remind me of high school girls pinafore dress while the green one looks identical to the those that Muslim's boy wears on Friday.

Towards the monolith area and main temple.

Keeping memory, one of the tower in the main temple.

Ben and Noel playing shy school girls in pinafore dress met paparazi MiuMiu! Oh, don't forget the amazing view behind, please do not let them both distract you too much of the real subject.

The beautiful view of the monolith in Gunung Kawi.

I'm very pleased to have come here although the way back up to where we came from literally took the life out of me, and reminder to those planning to come here; make sure you do get yourself mosquito repeller as there are plenty of hungry Balinese mosquitoes here.

Our trip of sight seeing today ends around 4.30pm when we begin heading back to town. We have in mind to visit massage parlour at first but upon reaching Seminyak, the price was rather steep and we made our way back to hotel instead.

We thanked Dandy for his help these past 2 days and hand him his fees besides additional tips that we collectively agreed he deserved. Another handful advice for you on your next trip to Bali, it is considered a normal gesture to give tips for whatever services you received here. Quite unusual for Malaysian, I know :)

With nothing much left to do for the day, we get some rest and shower before gather back in room and play some cards. I had initially suggested that we visit the clubs in Seminyak but after flipping through the event brochure we got from the convenient shop, we found out that the cover charge was rather steep - RP100,000 (around RM40) to get into the famous Double Six Club. It would cost us a total of RM120 to get in the club and it is not guranteed we will have a good time as we're not sure of the crowd and the kind of music plays there.

We scrathed the idea although occasionally Ben would play with the idea of hitting the club and scrathed it again and revisit the same idea which at times pissed me off. No we didn't hit the club but rather just get on the street in sandals and do some night shopping before arriving at Adi Dharma Restaurant for dinner.

Sort of "tuk-tuk" kinda bike, put on display in Rip Curl shop along Kuta Street. Bali have very good selections of surf wear and the Rip Curl here are definitely cheaper than KL.

Tomorrow > Heading Home

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bali - Day 2 : Jimbaran Bay

Friday, 2nd March 2007

Our day trip around Bali today was quite amazing with yet to have bad encounter. It was finally broken when we realized we have not enough Rupiah with us and needed to change the USD we had. Dandy drove us to one of the Money Changer along Legian Street and reminded us to count the money before leaving. Here's what happened:

1) We asked to exchanged our USD100 to Rupiah
2) Exchange rate was USD1 to RP9600, so total would be RP 960,000
3) That guy gave us 9 stack of RP20,000, each amounting to RP100,000 and another RP60,000
4) Count to us 3 times, and kinda pissed off with Ben when Ben started to felt agitated and getting the feeling something is wrong
5) Final count - the fourth time, we gave him back the stacks that we counted
6) He gave us back the stacks and ask for our USD100
7) Exchanged money

The next thing we know when we're in the van and starts to count while Dandy starts to move, we're short of RP300,000!! That's about RM120! Dandy was slightly furious and make a U-Turn at the small street heading back to the shop and repeatedly apologizes for not going down with us.

The second time around, the Money Changer's boy referred us to his "boss" and we told him that the amount we received was not right. He oblidge and counted the our exchanged money and gave us back our USD100 instead of giving us the short amount of RP300,000.

Dandy reiterate to us that no wonder the rate was so high, it was a fraud shop. The USD exchange rate to Rupiah was only around USD1 to RP9,000 this week.

So we got back on the van, head to another shop to exchange our money and Dandy came down with us. We were told then by this shop that our USD not was an old note, dated year 1996. Damn it! We got tricked again by the previous shop!! Our note should be of year 2003 as we've got 2 notes of USD100. We ended up getting RP880,000 instead of RP910,000. Total lost, RP30,000 - translated to around RM12.

Moral of the story, becareful when you do exchange money in Bali. Get a local to accompany you if you could.

We were a little frustrated in the van but do continue with our next destination, Jimbaran Bay; hoping dining by the sea side would cheers us up. It definitely does as we spend quite a long time enjoying our sea food dinner.

The row of seafood cafe along Jimbaran Bay, I'm told that your trip to Bali must be accompanied by a romantic seafood dinner by the sea in Jimbaran.

The sea breeze keep your cool while getting on with the hot and spicy seafoods served.

Our choice of seafoods - White Snapper, King Prawns, Squids and Clams. All were grilled with chili and spicies. The White Snapper was a little bit overcooked and Ben was complaining the prawn is not as fresh. Not particularly amazing dinner but the ambience by the sea can very well give plus point to the dining experience.

Ready to eat!

Err.. what's going on at the back there?

Next > Bali Day 3 : Ubud and above

Bali - Day 2 : The Floating Temple

Friday, 2nd March 2007

One of the most prominent landmark in Bali that you should not missed, The Floating Temple in Tanah Lot. It was an amazing view and you wouldn't believe the crowds here even during this low season. I can't imagine how packed it would be if we were to be here in July or August.

Along the road heading to Tanah Lot, paddy field that you can't see in Kuala Lumpur.

Welcome to Tanah Lot, the main entrance.

Overview of the main floating temple on the hill top.

Say cheese, we're here in Tanah Lot!

The main floating temple. The temple is said to be inaccessible when the sea water rise, thus the name Floating Temple.

One of the art gallery on the hill top.

The other side of Tanah Lot, further up the hill from the main temple. We're heading here to take pictures, as close to the sea as possible!

A little frighten standing on the edge, the wind is strong while the sea waves just won't stop splashing!

Absolutely loving the place and of course, the camera. Reminds me of how happy kids would be when given candy... do they still buy those tricks?

We're shooting the next Ayumi MV... starring... Noel Hector! Stop dreaming ok!

We're leaving already? Arrghhh... I wanna stay here!

Next destination > Jimbaran Bay