Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Saff @ Keong Saik Rd, Singapore

During the recent two-day holiday trip to Singapore, I've discovered a very nice and most importantly, affordable boutique hotel in the republic. A night's stay in any of the 5 star hotel chains will be enough to send my bank account in red (ok, that's exaggerating but still, it's so expensive!). It was quite a last minute decision to go to Singapore as Monday is a public holiday in Malaysia and thus I booked myself a return ticket with First Coach at just RM128 compared to taking a flight at RM400.

I discovered this hotel on Agoda, which offers one of the best rates for online hotel bookings. The last time I stayed at Hotel 1929, I passed by this hotel (which is just right opposite) and I told myself that I have to give this place a try as it looks very charming from the outside.

The Saff : A Boutique Hotel

The Saff, a name taken from the precious saffron is located on Keong Saik Road, the same row as Keong Saik hotel. This is very near to Chinatown and it's just 5-10 minutes walk to the Outram MRT Station. Down the road, there's a variety of food outlets, starting with one of my favourite restaurant - Nicholas Le Restaurant, an interesting outlet for pasta called Pasta Inc, a few wine bars and some coffeeshops for breakfast, lunch and supper till 3am.

I love the reception area. It's done with a multi-cultural decor with influences from countries suchas Morocco, Thailand, Persia, Turkey and Spain. I like the elaborate golden counter and the hanging couch. The use of brightly hued lime green, fushia and butter yellow which definitely perked up the whole place.

There are 2 floors for this hotel. The first thing I walked out of the lift on the 2nd floor, I'm already impressed with the doorway. The corridor is nicely painted, scented and brightly lit. The doors come in bright blues, greens or reds which is so cool!

I took a room without windows which costs me S$140 a night. I don't mind a room with no windows for a 1-night stay as I won't be spending much time in the room anyways and why waste so much money just because of a window (with no view)?

The room is quite nicely decorated and mine is a lime-green themed room with purple furniture. I was quite satisfied with the size of the room which has space for my luggage, a big mirror, a wardrobe complete with fridge, a safe, and a separate area for the toilet. Unlike Hotel 1929, this hotel offers a bigger space and better location of the toilet instead of just a transparent glass cubicle beside the bed as a toilet.

For the same price, though without a window, I'll definitely opt for Hotel Saff. And the receptionist wasn't as friendly as she doesn't smile but at least I got what I wanted and it's quite a good deal staying here. I will come back again!

A satisfied customer of the hotel.

I decide to blend in with a sexy pink top too! Hehe...

The Saff
55, Keong Saik Road,
Singapore 089158
Tel: +65 6221 8388

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Under the Xmas tree...

Oh! You better watch out,
You better not cry,
You better not pout,
I'm telling you why:

Santa Claus is coming to town!

He's making a list,
He's checking it twice,
He's gonna find out
who's naughty or nice.

Santa Claus is coming to town!

I'm going to tell Santa that I've been a really good girl this year and I deserve a very nice pressie! You know what I loved most about a Xmas tree? It's actually all the presents that are waiting to be opened under that tree! Too bad that my family don't really celebrate Xmas and we don't do gift exchanges but I managed to do it with some friends and colleagues during this time of the year.

The excitement lies in the opening of presents because you'll never know what's in there for you! Unless of course there's a budget set for the presents (which sometimes are set at RM10) which makes it so difficult to afford a nice present.

Then of course I remembered the times we exchanged presents at KY's xmas party where we played a game of opening presents. People are allowed to hijack the presents that have been opened and the laptop bag was one of the most sought after gift, going through 5 people at least! It was fun but of course there were lots of interesting presents such as the cocktail shaker, war craft and also a pack of pork bacon!

So for this year, you know what I've love to find under that Xmas tree?!!

Haha, this is by far the best choice for Xmas. Ever since its launch earlier this year, this smartphone has been a buzz from US to Malaysia. It's powered by Android 2.3 Gingerbread platform and has a 1.2GHz dual-core application processor which provides unrivalled merits of multi-tasking capabilities. This is a perfect gift for technology fans. (more info on the phone here)

I've recently been addicted to mobile gaming. Sometimes I get too bored in the plane, I'll just take out my phone and start playing the games. If you like gaming, this phone rocks simply because the Samsung GALAXY S II’s Game Hub lets you to download high quality games, with 12 social network games and 13 premium games. With an accelerometer, a magnetic sensor and gyroscope sensors dynamic hand and arm movement games stand out from the crowd. The slightest tilt and you’re dead – now that’s entertainment. Besides that, the loudspeakers are impressive and the sound quality is more than passable for me!

Check out the Video!

This phone is also slim & light which makes it easier to carry around. One of the best smartphones out there. The phone retails at RM1899. I told my sister about my Xmas wishlist and she said "siao ah?!! I won't buy this for you!" So it looks like I have to be a really nice girl and hopefully Santa would be nice enough to drop this present into my mailbox on Xmas eve!

Friday, November 25, 2011

This is the must try No.7 @ Air Hitam Penang

Seriously if you want to try the one and only listed as No.7 of the world's 50 most delicious food (according to the CNNGo survey), this is the place! It all starts with a bowl of fragrant, mouth-watering asam laksa from this particular stall here located at a T-junction at Jalan Pasar in Air Hitam.

It's a stop you must make before heading to the Kek Lok Si Temple which is just 5 mins walking distance to the foot of the hill where the temple is built.

Maybe the secret lies with the cast-iron pot they used?

I wasn't sure if there's a name for this stall because all you can see is a bold red signage with the word LAKSA printed in gold lettering on the wall behind the stall. I think there's at least 5-6 people manning this small stall here where you could catch all the action. But then, you might be disrupting their flow, just like what I did when I was trying to snap a close-up picture of them.

But this is not a place for everyone. You have to brace the traffic that passes through the narrow streets of Air Hitam, the hassle of looking for a parking (which is not impossible if you're willing to walk under the hot bracing sun), and slurp your asam laksa at the hot and sometimes smelly market under the prying eyes of customers trying to get your table.

Yes, it's going to be an uncomfortable ambiance to dine but who cares if you're having the best of the best asam laksa right? It's always worth going an extra mile for good food.

We called this an Asam Laksa masterpiece.
Don't expect a stellar dining experience but learn to appreciate this messy art.

This is certainly a different kind of asam laksa that I'm used to. The broth is thick and flavourful due to the mashed mackerel fish, lemongrass, drizzles of prawn paste, slices of onions and chilli which makes the soup spicy and tangy. The noodle is cooked "al-dente" without being too soggy and the mint leaves are refreshing. However, don't expect this to be the sour asam laksa that you're used to as this one here has more taste of the fish and the prawn paste which gives it a sweeter finish.

It's very appetising and sometimes you'll end up having 2 bowls like my colleague here. The asam laksa only come in 1 size and it costs RM3.30/bowl (which used to be RM3.00 last year). It's not surprising to be having 2 bowls of this as the portions are really small. I too, would have two bowls if it wasn't a food marathon trip!

I think it's very delicious but I'm somehow not convinced that this is the best asam laksa that is available in Penang. Maybe I've yet to discover the best but so far this is very good.

After that, you can cool down with a glass of refreshing and sweet sugar cane juice freshly squeezed before your eyes.

Pasar Air Itam,
Jalan Pasar,
11500 Air Itam,
Pulau Pinang

Business Hours: Opens daily from 11.15am - 7.30pm

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hawker Stalls at New Lane @ Penang

I was recently in Penang during the last weekend to take part in the Penang Bridge International Marathon 2011. No, I'm not running a full marathon but it's my 3rd 10km run for the year. I shall write more about my experience running in Penang soon. But the trip itself was also more like a food marathon - it was eating from daylight to twilight!

The ladies whom partook the run.

We stayed at the Traders Penang, which is situated along Jalan Magazine, where Komtar & 1st Avenue is just next to each other. It might look like an old hotel but I must say that the rooms are still well maintained and it's clean. A very comfortable and convenient hotel. Just down the road, within 5-10 minutes walking distance is the Macalister road which you can find a number of eateries. And along this street, you can spot a bustling line up of hawker stalls along New Lane Road (Jalan Baru) that you can feast your eyes and appetite on!

The first thing I ordered is the Chee Cheong Fun!

Cuttle Fish with Kangkung

Oyster Omelette (Hor Chien)

Pig Innards Porridge (Chu Chap Chuk)
This is one helluva porridge with crispy pork intestines. Must-try!

Fried Radish (Char Koay Kak)

Lor Bak
This is a Penang delicacy which is marinated minced pork, then roll in thin soybean sheets and then deep fried.

Char Koay Teow
This is forgettable. Definitely not the Penang quality one expects it to be.

Hokkien Mee
This is prawn noodle in Penang. Quite ok but certainly not the best.

Leng Chi Kang
Apart from Ice Kacang, this is another popular drink/dessert in Penang.

Overall, this hawker place here rates fairly well but the only disappointment here is the Char Koay Teow. It's really convenient as it's just near the hotel and for a budget dinner, this is the place! For all those food and for 8 people, the bill came up to about RM100.

Operating Hours: 7.30pm to 12am

Location: Lorong Baru, Penang

(off Macalister road, and nearby to Sunway Hotel)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Want to WIN a party cruise on a yacht?!!

She's a 53 footer, a nimble but gorgeous built. And with a hydrodynamic and sleek figure, it makes her perfect for the water. She's built for speed, capable of performing as one of the fastest on the water. When she's not spraying seawater on her competitors, she's actually quite gentle. Let her performance WOW you.

I'm talking about Baby Tonga - a luxury sailing ship, complete with white marble tops, varnished mahogany furniture and Alcantara upholstery. Baby Tonga has 3 fully airconditioned cabins, with 3 toilets and showers and a whole lot of ammenities equipped for an extended holiday!

After all, it is a Beneteau First 53f5 model, a collaboration between Bruce Farr & Pininfarina, the italian design company behind the sleek & beautiful luxury brands such as Ferarri and Maserati. So, what if I were to tell you that you will now stand a chance to WIN a cruise on Baby Tonga with your friends (a very luxurious experience!!) by taking part in mini game on Strongbow’s FB tab.

Guinness Anchor Berhad - one of the key regatta sponsors and the sponsor of Baby Tonga's impressive stockpile of Strongbow cider.

Did you know that Strongbow has become an addition to the crew? Baby Tonga is now powered by Strongbow, UK No.1 selling cider which helped the crew to cool down and takes away the intensity of the heat from the sailing! This clear, carbonated, golden appearance of Strongbow Cider might make it look like a regular beer - but one taste will prove it's anything but. It's made from the fermented apple juice of 50 different types of apples, which have been specially selected to guarantee its premium taste. It's then brewed to perfection before being bottled and shipped to Malaysia and the rest of the world.

My sister and I both love the cider. Not only it's refreshing, it helps to energize myself under the intense heat of the afternoon. When it comes to night, the crisp of Strongbow sets the mood for more drinking and good food! Ziling has been drinking this for the longest time before she introduce this great cider to me. She's now trying to convert me into a cider drinker... hehe... It's truly an enjoyable time drinking Strongbow together while catching our favourite TV show.

Want to know how great it feels?
Get one and try it for yourself!

Don't forget to take part in the Strongbow Sail & Win contest on FB and win yourself a party cruise aboard the yacht. All you need to do is to sail the yacht as fast as possible through the race course and answer 3 questions and you'll be in the running to win some cool prizes!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Daniel's Home Made Pan Mee @ Kota Kemuning

Thank God that now Kota Kemuning has some decent food for us people whom are staying in the neighbourhood to have something to nibble on. Those were the days when a meal in the neighbourhood is solely for survival purposes. Nowadays, many better eatery has been popping up, namely the famous Bidor Pun Chun Duck noodle, Pao Xiang BKT, Jalan Imbi pork noodles and now an addition to my choice of breakfast includes the pan mee from Daniel's.

Thanks to Yiling whom discovered this place that serves home made pan mee (Hokkien style flat flour noodle) which is usually served with minced meat and sweet potato leaves.

As you can see on the menu, they serve more than a dry & soup version of Pan Mee. There's a chilli pan mee, Seafood Pan Mee and also a Hakka style pan mee. This is a good strategy to ensure that the customers don't get sick of eating the same style of pan mee every time they come here.

This is the Hakka Style Pan Mee. It resembles the Hakka Noodles with a generous amount of minced meat, fried shallots and spring onions except that the noodle is substituted with the pan mee. A light noodle but packed in taste from the meat and fried shallots and not too dry.

Yiling has the soup version of pan mee which is served with sweet potato leaves, some minced meat and fried anchovies. I find the taste of the soup acceptable but somehow the noodles wasn't as smooth and slippery as I imagined it to be. For this type of noodle, I still prefer the ones at Berkeley garden.

I ordered a Chilli Pan Mee which looks very appetising. It has minced meat, fried anchovies, dry chilli paste, fried onions and topped with a poached egg. Wow, the chilli is indeed spicy. Just spoonful of it is enough to make me sob and went all teary-eyed. Yeah, I'm really a lousy spicy eater. Not as good as the Kin Kin Chilli Pan Mee but better than average for me.

Besides that we also ordered some meatballs to go with the noodles. These meatballs are RM2 for 5 pieces and they come in a size of 20 cents coins which goes right into my mouth in one bite. The pork balls are nice but not excellent. The milk tea that I ordered was a little too sweet. I wonder if sugar price has gone down?

Overall, this is not too bad a place if I have a pan mee craving and didn't want to venture too far out of the neighbourhood. This place is bright, tidy and clean which come as the plus points. I like their creativity portrayed in their pan mee art hung on the wall. It's refreshing!

Daniel's Home Made Pan Mee
38 Jalan Anggerik Vanilla M 31/M
Kota Kemuning, Selangor.
(right opposite Kota Kemuning Food Court, the row of shophouses behind Maybank)

Tue - Fri : 10am to 9pm
Sat - Sun : 7.30am to 3pm
Off on Mondays

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chyniis (Chinese Restaurant) @ SS2 Mall PJ

If you're looking for a nice modern chinese restaurant that serves pretty good dishes away from the fanciful chinese cuisine like abalones and sharks fins, you can always hop to Chyniis which is situated at SS2 Mall. This place gives me a cosy feeling with it's lighting and nice interior.

It has a simple menu with Chinese as well as English but without pictures which leaves you to your power of imagination. What awes me was the classification of its "Sang Har" noodle (King Prawn) under "Starters". Who the hell eats such humongous plate of noodle for starters?!!

Ok, now we do. Yiling wanted to order this dish and this dish is charged at RM15 per 100gm. For this plate here for 5 people, it came up to RM115 which consists of 3 monster prawns. This dish is very well executed here. I like the prawn flavours that sipped into the sauce and noodles. It's indeed a recommended dish here.

Next up, we had the Crispy Pork Belly with Chargrilled rolled cuttlefish (RM24 for small portion). This is truly a sinful dish. The pork belly is crispy and I like how this dish is complimented with mango kerabu and tangy sauce to take away the taste of the oil.

This is the Tea Smoked Village chicken (RM38). This is just half a chicken. Smoked chicken is always one of my favourites as it's not easy to do it at home. The chicken is tender and very aromatic due to the smoky flavours. Yummy!

My sisters have always like a simple tofu dish. They prefer the steamed homemade beancurd with fried onion sauce (RM20 for small portion) over the other types of beancurd that comes with more complicated ingredients. The tofu is very smooth and silky, almost like a steamed egg texture.

Lastly, we had the Spinach in Superior stock (RM18) which is cooked with garlic, dried shrimps and fried century eggs. This dish does not live up to the expectation as we find the stock to be quite tasteless.

Overall, we enjoyed a good meal at Chyniis and I'm looking forward to returning here to try out more dishes. One thing though - their corkage charge is quite pricey. A corkage for a bottle of wine will cost you RM50, sparkling wine at RM60 and spirits (with mixers) at RM150. For a restaurant like this, the price of corkage is over the top! This is a place if you don't mind forking out extra moolah for chinese food.

Another note - sometimes it's really frustrating to be talking to the staff and then to find out that they didn't understand a word you say. I know that most of the staff working at the restaurants now are either Nepalese or Burmese but the management could have at least given them a name tag that states the language that they can speak or understand. Or else, I should start learning a few words from their native language?!!

G 45, 46 & 47, SSTwo Mall,
40, Jalan SS2/72,
47400 Petaling Jaya.

Tel: +603-7956 7288

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