Sunday, February 27, 2011

One Solution for All of Asia's Whitening Needs...

I would be the last person on earth to be declaring that I need whitening skincare products. Everywhere I go, people often tell me that I am too fair or rather "do you even go out into the sun?" Well, yes I do and I am exposed to the sun quite a fair bit especially when I'm in Langkawi for my outlet visits. The problem is, or rather the advantage I had is that I can't get a tan even when I spend hours under the sun. My skin would turn into tomato red, then started peeling and later I would be fair again...

Yeah, so why do I need any whitening products?!! Honestly when I first receive the invitation for a beauty workshop by Estee Lauder in conjuction with the new launching of the CyberWhite Brilliant Cells, I was quite sceptical to attend as I thought "yeah, another boring session where they tell you to put hundred layers of cream and yada..yada..." but then again, it's going to be my first beauty talk and so why not?!!

I could be well sleeping past 10am on a Saturday but for sake of good skin and beauty, I forced myself to wake up for the workshop. It was just a few of us and we were treated to some light breakfast before we move on to the serious stuff! Obviously I am no beauty writer and I absolutely had no idea why they made me go through 2 hours of cleaning my face, applying the creams and then putting on the make up. It usually takes me no more than 15 minutes to get ready and by the time we finished washing the face, I would have been sleeping soundly!

But then I learnt some valuable lessons. I had been doing it wrongly for years and it's time I do it the right way. I never knew why we had to go through all the cleansing and creams application but now I know that it's not a waste of time. The reason why I had dark spots on my face or hands that causes dullness and skin discolouration was due to dehydration, uneven skin texture, disorganised collagen and microcirculation.

The Skincare Range

The very reason why the Estee Lauder New CyberWhite Brilliant Cells was created is to target these 4 factors by bringing back the translucent, luminous skin that will help reveal a fresher, fairer, brighter cells delivering full spectrum brightening results to illuminate the skin.

The trend now is to have a dewy look with radiance. According to the beauty experts at EL, the matte look is out! And the new CyberWhite Brilliant Cells skincare and makeup range will help you to achieve that look!

The Makeup Range

Apart from learning about the skincare and the daily regime, we were taught how to apply makeup the correct way. Gosh, I didn't know I was doing it wrong all these while as the art of applying makeup the right way is really not as easy as one thinks.

The makeup artist shows how to mix 1 part of the essence with 2 parts of GelCreme makeup with a Powder Foundation Brush

Apparently, the using of a powder foundation brush instead of the usual foundation brush 1 does wonders. I have never used any brushes to apply the liquid foundation and I had difficulties doing it right the first time but no worries, the beauty consultants at EL were really helpful. I seemed like a noob among the professionals!

One thing I was very happy about the whole experience is that I am finally realising that it's time to do things right. The reason I can slack in my beauty regime is due to the arrogance of youth but I know my time is running out. I better take good care of my skin now or never! Ever since that workshop, I have been religiously following the beauty regime for 2 weeks now and I had to wake up extra early to do it.

Very important tips:

  1. Remove makeup with the right remover for eyes, face and lips.
  2. Foam the cleanser on the fingers first before applying to the face.
  3. Apply the toner/moisture lotion.
  4. Gently apply eye cream/creme around the eyes area.
  5. The brightening essence is applied lightly like playing piano on the face.
  6. Layered it with a moisturiser/moisture creme/milky lotion
  7. If you're out in the sun, don't forget to apply the UV protector!

All these steps are to be done before one goes to bed or applying makeup. Now you see why I need to wake up an extra hour early to do this?!! But above all, I'm happy as I begin to see results for being so hardworking on my face. I find the new products from EL very easy to absorb into my skin and it didn't leave a greasy feeling. I guess afterall, I could be a very disciplined person and here's a big clap to myself!

Seriously if you're looking for a whitening solution to take care of your spots as well, give Estee Lauder New CyberWhite Brilliant Cells a try as their clinical testing showed that 43% increase in overall skin brightness after using the range for 8 weeks.

For more info, log on to the website, or join their Facebook and you can even play a game to win a full size of the new range!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Down the Rabbit Hole in the Rabbit Year

I'm not much of a planner when it comes to writing and I usually do not plan what to write about in my blog like a magazine. People always ask me how the hell did I come up with a few posts a week and all I gave them was a "smile". On some days, ideas just flowed like a smooth stream but some days like today, the tap was dry! I did have in mind a couple of posts but I kinda feel that today is not the day to write about food nor alcohol. Probably I had too much to drink for the past few days and now I am a little phobic looking at the bottles. I shall leave them for another day.

Life is a like a messy bookshelf...
you might never get to read the same book twice.


Life had been pretty much chaotic in so many ways. Workload was getting heavy - the usual increase in targets and expectation every year is no surprise. This also translates to more traveling to have a closer monitoring of outlets to avoid out of stock situations. The chaos is some of these travels has to jive with my boss's schedule and if he had not given me his itinerary, I'll still be running like a headless chicken. By the time he confirm his plans, I might have to travel 3-4 countries back to back! No complains though as I still love to fly.

Have not been making much progress on the love life. I think it pretty much doesn't exist now with my new job. How am I going to start a relationship if I don't have time to meet new friends, spend time with each other, or dislike having to go through the hassle to inform the bf that I have to fly here today and there the next day?!! And just as when you think you could fall in love again, hope is taken away and dreams are washed away. Arrghhh... too chaotic already! Friends are embarking on a "Find-Eiling-a-Bf Campaign" and hopefully they can find me some dates!

My other chaos also includes financial concerns where you're trying your best not to spend above your means but the major problem now is that one of the new spending is to serve that house loan. It's going to start very soon and you might just see me eating the free crackers and drinking the free beverages from the office for lunch! Ok lah, this is very sarcastic already but I guess I do need to cut down on some expenses.

Aiyah so young already got so many problems. I wonder whether would life get any better than this?!! Actually I'm not pessimistic because with the "wonderful" government that we have, I'm sure days won't get any brighter than yesterday.

Wow... The tap is dry but managed to churn out 5 paragraphs of crap and a cool quote - not bad huh?!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Gallery Cafe @ Colombo

Listed as one of the must-visit place in Colombo is the Paradise Road Galleries. Not to be mistaken as a road name, Paradise Road is actually an art gallery, house furnishing studio, and also cafe. There are actually many Paradise Road studios in Colombo but the one located on Alfred Road is the one with The Gallery Cafe.

This place is located behind white walls down a paved road lined with temple trees and large clay urns. Behind these white walls, one walks through some exhibits of art and paintings. Also present is the rectangular-shaped pond with pots of purple nil manel, Sri Lanka's national flower. The hall continues on the latticed floor to the Gallery Cafe and on the other side of the courtyard lies The Gallery Shop. This is the very 1st shop that I spent RM500 on a set of gold plated espresso cups. I don't even drink espresso for a start and I have no bloody idea how I got myself to buy them!

The Gallery Cafe is very inviting. Situated within the former office of Sri Lanka's renowned architect, Geoffrey Bawa, this restaurant has attracted some of the world's top designers, artists and many heads of state.

There is a choice of indoor dining and also alfresco. We prefer the latter. I like how they decorate the whole place. It makes me feel that I am enveloped in some secret garden with mossy walls and cast-ironed chairs. The indoor has nice, rustic tanned director chairs made from leather which I find them very rare and unique. I felt so tempted to sink my butt into one of those chairs.

There are some signature cakes served here - Double Chocolate Cheesecake, Lemon Meringue pie and the Paradise Road Chocolate Cake and also a menu which features fusion cuisine - Lemongrass and Ginger Chicken with spinach and potato mash, Mediterranean Prawns with saffron risotto, Black pork Curry with rice and accompaniments and Grilled Seer with coconut risotto.

I had a cup of Prince of Kandy tea which is a high grown Ceylon tea. This is a perfect afternoon tea paired with scones and pastries. When in Colombo, all I ever drank was tea, tea and more tea. Everyone seems to be in a tea mood here.

all... except my alcoholic sister

Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker... The Lion Lager is a pale lager brewed by Lion Brewery (Ceylon) in Nuwara Eliya & Biyagama, Sri Lanka. It's always interesting to try beers brewed locally when traveling and this Lion Lager seemed to be a very refreshing malty and light beer. And it goes very well with our thick French Fries!

Nice painting and the Purple Nil Manel

I think this is a very nice place to hang out for a meal or even a cup of tea. And just at the corner of this street, the Paradise Road Studio sells everything you'll need for your house from lamps to cushion covers and pottery. This place is a real gem and I just couldn't get enough of the knick knacks that you can get here.

Paradise Road & The Gallery Cafe
2, Alfred Road,
Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Things I did at Club Med Bali

A continuation from the previous post...

Club Med Bali never sleeps or rather I don't really sleep when I was there! There was just so much to do and honestly I felt the 4 days 3 nights stay were tad too short. It seemed that days were too few, hours were insufficient, minutes were flying pass and seconds meant nothing. It's true that they say time flies when one is having fun!

The amount of activities you could do in Club Med was enough to keep you busy throughout the day. My day started with Power Walk at 8am where you'll be taken on a 5km journey walking through the gardens in Nusa Dua and then passing by some of the 5 star hotels by the beach which took me about 50 minutes. After that, I farctate myself silly at the breakfast buffet due to low resistance towards temptations. Who could resist having freshly baked croissants, platter of cold ham and cheese, porridge with century eggs and maybe some korean steamed egg?

The highlight of this resort was the Trapeze where if you stay long enough, you might be good enough to audition for Cirque de Soleil. I caught Kenny Sia having a go at the Trapeze when I was having a dip at the pool. He did it twice! I didn't try it because I still horripilate at the sight of people hanging up there and swinging from side to side.

After breakfast, I went for some golf lessons at the driving range. There is a 9 hole golf course, driving range and a putting green for you to play with minus the exorbitant green fees you'll have to pay at a golf course. If golf wasn't enough, I moved on to tennis imagining myself playing for Wimbledon only to realise I can't even hit the ball properly! If these two aren't your cup of tea, don't worry, there's also yoga, gym, badminton, squash, basketball, archery, snorkeling, swimming and futsal.

And if you want sight seeing, outdoor activities or even water sports, all could be arranged but it comes with an additional fee. Information could be gathered at the Discovery center at the resort. I did a temple visit at Tanah Lot while the guys had a good time at water rafting at the Ayung River.

The theme for 1st night was BLACK

When night comes, you can dress up in accordance to the day's theme which would be displayed in the window of the shop. Don't think that you can go back to the room and retire after dinner because the theatre show at the resort is really a must-see!

I think Club Med has a midas touch. It is not your usual holiday getaway resort and certainly no other resorts you can experience such warmth, joy and happiness that fills the day. The heartbeat of this resort, was indeed its Gracious Organisers (G.O) whom played a vital role in ensuring that we, the Gracious Members (G.M) are happy! I enjoy the fact that they treated us like friends, ate with us and played with us!

Mayan, was my golf instructor when I was there. During the night, he turns into Michael Jackson and does his signature moonwalk for the theatre show. Since I got to know him through golf, when he sees me around, he would actually greet me by my name. And I told the group that Michael Jackson remembers my name! LOL ... The amount of talent shown by the G.Os were really amazing. I think all of them could have joined either American Idol or Britain Got Talent!

Some of them were really good with acrobatics, which awed me the most. I think I ooohed and aahhed throughout the whole circus performance on the 3rd night. Those are the very people you see mending the Trapeze during the day! Kenny, whom comes from Mauritius could teach you a thing or two about archery, spins on the rope for the circus show and then he could be your DJ for the night. Wow...

After the show, everyone will start dancing on the spot led by the G.Os and then we move on to the main bar where the party starts. Liquor is free flow and you can drink till you drop... I wasn't sure about the availability of wheel chairs to wheel you back to your room if you're pissed drunk but I certainly don't mind if there's a good-looking-6-pack-abs guy would want to carry me back!

You might also get to spot Justin Bieber lookalike (right) on the dancing floor. This 13-year-old boy was dancing every night while we were there. He does look like Justin Bieber right?!!

And if you're lucky enough like us, there were 300 over Japanese girls on an incentive trip to Club Med Bali during our stay. Sugoi!!

And among all the things that you can do at Club Med Bali,
DON'T ever do what I did!

You won't be this lucky like me! Muahahah...

P/S: For the first post, read here.
Some pics are courtesy of Kenny Sia & Official Photographer

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Maiden visit to Club Med Bali @ Indonesia

The year started on a good note with an awe-inspiring trip to Bali. Ending the year with a trip to Europe and then keeping this Bali trip a hush-hush until my manager gives me the green light to go on a 3-day-leave was all happening too quickly for me. There had been quite an extensive traveling for me for the past few months and Bali was timely as I needed a break from the subject called stress.

"Don't grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach."

~Michelle Held

Having nothing to expect for my maiden visit to Club Med, I arrived at the resort greeted with big smiles and welcoming faces. Men & women dressed in crisp orange Polo tee and white bermudas were lining up to greet us with fresh wet towels and a cup of aromatic tea.

The 20 ha resort located in Nusa Dua, a pristine location that hosts both 5 star international hotels and conference centre has a 0.8 km beautiful sandy beach lined with tall swaying coconut trees surrounding the sea, where gentle stirrings of the waves seemed to convey some hidden soul beneath beyond my capable vision. It was just the perfect view I'll need for my tired soul.

They are referred as G.O - "gracious organisers"
and we are G.M - "gracious members"

Arrangements were smooth with the Club Med driver picking us up at the airport right to the doorsteps of the resort. Luggages were tagged at the airport and the staff knew which room to sent them to without us having to lug our bags the moment we board the vehicle. After a welcoming greeting by Phillipe whom is the Chef de Village (GM) of Bali, we were ushered to our rooms by the G.Os.

The resort & my deluxe room with a balcony

Then it was time to explore the resort. It has a Balinese architecture with elegant roofing made with wooden tiles, quaint brick work, and also a pond where fishes and lotus plants cohabitat, all oozing with charm eventhough the village was built some 30 years ago. There were also 3 original Balinese temples within the resort. If you're lucky, you might get a sight of the resident monitor lizard which roams around the corners or islands in the pond. Noooooo...........

I know architecture certainly doesn't sound synonymous with my name nor my work but I have learnt to appreciate the wonderful work of architects and interior designers over the years when my cousin exposed me to works of the famous architects like Santiago Calatrava and Frank Gehry when we went to Bilbao.

The design and architecture of this place is not restricted to traditional Balinese concept but the recent extensive renovation reveals a much bigger and better upgrade for the resort. A breath of new life and modernity is given to all communal areas from reception, pools, bars and the restaurants. What attracted me most was the poolside and the main bar.

The main bar, located at the corner of the swimming pool and overlooked the beach was the focal point of the resort. It was spectacular in a way which its circular design brings out the convivial atmosphere and the impressive chandelier that hangs from the top of the ceiling cascading down the pillar is made of metal and resin teardrops inlaid with mother-of-pearl that flutters and dances in the wind creating a soothing sound just like a wind chime.

I was also impressed with the dining concept at Club Med. Food is very important, well, at least for me! There were 2 restaurants in the resort which serves buffet-style dining and the other a fine-dining ala carte style. When we were there, we had the opportunity to try both restaurants.

The Malaysians...
(clockwise from top left) Kenny Sia, Ian from Expatriate Lifestyle, Mayanne from West Coast Communications (PR), Edward Chin (Marketing & Sales Manager Club Med Malaysia), me, Kenn from Newman and Kiwi from Citta Bella.

I was spoilt for choice the first night I was there. Along the buffet lines, there were Balinese, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Italian and also Western cuisine. We all know that most of the buffet food doesn't taste good nor appetising but I was amazed that the quality of food here is indeed above average and the presentation of food is just as good. Ok, apart from the choice of wines, I have nothing much to complain about. They serve wines (a choice of red or white) but the wines are local Balinese wine labels so don't expect to drink your Bordeaux or burgundy here.

The day does not end after dinner. You'll be surprised that Club Med keeps you awake till the wee hours of the morning with the spectacular theatre shows, party at the bar and then the last dance at the Night Club. I was capernoited every night I was there because the booze is free flow and all inclusive! I used to think that Club Med is an exclusive club for members only but it was not what I thought. Anyone can have a holiday at Club Med if you're into exclusive holidays where everything is taken care of and all you want is to be happy and have a peace of mind. That's how I felt when I was there. No money to carry around and I don't even want to have my mobile with me.

With such great facilities and fun I had at the resort, I might have to quomodocunquize for my next holiday with Club Med!

The next part of my Club Med Bali experience

A little info about Club Med...

All is taken care of with Club Med premium all inclusive holiday when you book your holiday with them. This includes return flight transfers, twin share accomodation, all-day dining, open bar and snacking, sports and leisure activities, night live entertainment and supervised activities for children. They now feature a more inclusive innovations which includes Baby Welcome (0-23 months where child care equipment are provided in the package), Kid's Nature Concept, Bar & Snacking and Passworld for teens (14 to 17 years old) and more exclusive innovations such as upgrading their 4 ΨTrident resorts to 5 ΨTrident resorts. It is a very family oriented resort where children right through to teens have their own clubs and activities taken care of.

At Club Med Bali, the 4
ΨTrident resort has 3 swimming pools, 91 G.O from 18 nationalities, 9 suites, 87 deluxe rooms and 297 superior rooms that houses a maximum capacity of 800 guests at one time. With 80 resorts worldwide, you can now experience Club Med at every corner of the world.

P/S: This is a media trip and I was lucky to be invited to experience the 4D3N "all inclusive holiday package at Club Med Bali"

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Reunion + Birthday Dinner @ Tintagel Colombo

It was my first time having a CNY reunion dinner with family as well as celebrating my birthday in a foreign land. As the rumours have it that I am holidaying with my bf or rather newfound bf is totally bollocks. I wished I had either but the trip to Colombo was to visit my sister whom is on a short term overseas work posting and since the whole family hasn't been to Sri Lanka, we decided to pack our bags and go!

What's a better trip than leeching on the parents? Airfare - check! Accomodation - check! Money - check! And off we flew to Colombo on the 31st January midnight.

The dinner place selected by Yiling was a very beautiful boutique hotel called Tintagel. Tintagel (pronounced as tin-ta-jal) was completed in 1930 where it became the residence of a few influential politicians including Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga whom progressively became a Chief Minister, Prime Minister and then Sri Lanka’s first female President in 1994. Then, in 2005, Tintagel, the family home of the Bandaranaike’s was leased to Udayshanth Fernando by the family to become Paradise Road Tintagel Colombo, a unique private hotel.

The dinner was held at THE DINING ROOM where a chic indoor restaurant is offering the choice of international cuisine. It has a very dimmed setting with leather upholstered chairs paired with black lacquered tables, white linen napery and plum-coloured glassware. It is created for a fine-dining experience.

As starters, we had a Spicy Sri Lankan Crab Soup (Rs 645) where Sri Lankan mud crabs are cooked with curry flavoured broth infused with coconut milk and drumstick leaves. It was a very nice creamy soup that is unique and rarely found in our country. The Avocado, Lobster and Prawn salad (Rs 835) is dressed in a spicy sauce too. I guess everything is spicy in Sri Lanka even when it comes to continental cuisine!

We wanted to try as many dishes as possible. This includes the Crispy Duck with Apricot and Plum sauce, stir fried beans and roasted pistachios (Rs 2145), Fettucine with Lobster, prawns , crabs and spicy sauce (Rs 1485), Braised Pork Belly top with poached egg (Rs 1585) and the Rosemary Roasted Chicken with bacon and pumpkin (Rs 1285) were all commendable.

The Pan fried Red Snapper with rocket pesto risotto and roasted cashew nut (Rs 1795) was a very interesting dish with contrasting tastes and textures due to the tender fish paired with risotto and crunchy pistachio bits.

One thing about this place is that Tintagel doesn't have the alcohol license. Thus, we can't order any alcohol that night with our food. But their mocktails are quite good too as I sampled their Mojito and it's fine with me even without the infusion of alcohol.

We all had a good reunion dinner and it was fun exploring the hotel. It was funny having western food during this time of the year but at least it was something new. The last time the whole family went on a holiday together was more than 8 years ago! The dinner came up to about Rs 18000 which is about USD$180 where there is a 25% tax in Sri Lanka. Note that the prices displayed are all before taxes.

T (94) 4602121 / 4602060
F (94) 11 4602168

Friday, February 11, 2011

1st CNY dinner @ Imbi Palace

This is my first CNY dinner of chinese food because there were no CNY dinners in Colombo. It has been a hectic week for me as I got back Colombo and in less than 24 hours, I was scheduled to fly again to Langkawi for work. My friends said that I was even busier than the PM... nah don't think so. One funny thing was, I don't even need to keep my luggage and I just leave them lying in the bedroom!

When I got back from Langkawi, my friend organised a dinner to meet up and it was wonderful because I missed all the CNY dishes this year! Usually I'll be sick of the CNY menu by now but this time I found myself craving for chinese food. Also present was Ziling, whom likes to leech (according to herself) because she's always broke and I forced her to help me capture the above picture. We shall start the dinner with a bottle of Dom Perignon and some ang pows!

Obligatory "yee sang" dish

A must have dish for every Chinese New Year is of course the "yee sang" literally means raw fish which is believed to bring prosperity and everything good that you can think of. Actually it's just a tactic by the restaurateurs to make more money from you. So, instead of you getting wealthy, they prosper first, the minute you order their "yee sang"! Amazingly, I never get sick of this dish! That night, we had extra servings of thick salmon slices and "hoi jit" which is jellyfish.

The crackers are so crunchy and crispy, the shredded carrots and the water chestnut was fresh and juicy, the THICK salmon slices and jellyfish gave it a very good contrasting texture and the sauce just compliments the whole dish very well. Since everyone else is a boss at the table except my sister and I, so we had the privilege of wishing ourselves "bou bou ko seng" 步步高升 which means promotion at work.

Next came the roasted suckling pig which I loved very much. Usually we don't get the privilege to eat this except when it comes to CNY dinners and wedding dinners but I believed last year I had it quite often and thus I am a bit guilty for causing the death of so many underaged pigs. However, I wasn't the one ordering them so I am not feeling too bad lah! The roast was perfectly done. Lucky it didn't add on the guilt by having sharks fins soup which is such a CNY dinner must-have and instead we had a pork ribs with lotus and "fatt choy" (black moss) soup. I did lick the bowl clean as well.

Well, it was CNY and I can expect to gain a kg or two from this dinner. There was a big claypot of "long tan"龙旦 or King Grouper fish which was done deep fried and then stewed with soya & sesame sauce and toufu. Then, we also had the baby abalone stewed with radish and chicken, continued by white asparagus in superior stock and also a snake bean with cuttlefish dish. Overall, the dishes were good except for the white asparagus which is a bit too old and the stem had too much fiber.

The Dom couldn't last that long. Macallan 25 years old was the first whisky we had that night. It makes everyone feel like they are 25 again except for Ziling whom is really 25 this year. It was indeed smooth, and it has a citrus and woody smoke taste with a long finish. No wonder this spirit has such a cult following that the demand has outstripped its supply. When the 25yo ran out, we continued the night with the Macallan Inspiration 1851.

It wasn't the end till the fat lady sings but in this case, it wasn't the end till I get to eat my favourite CNY dish - "lap mei fan" which literally means rice with waxed meat. This is a very popular dish during the Chinese New Year where good waxed meat like waxed duck, waxed meat sausages and liver sausages are added into the rice which is cooked in a claypot. What makes this dish so special is that the liver sausages were hand-carried all the way from Hong Kong's famous shop called "Se Wong Yee" 蛇王二 which according to my restaurateur friends are better than Yung Kee 鏞記. He told me the queue to buy the waxed meat was so long!

It was really worth all the effort as the waxed liver sausages (usually a mixture of duck and goose) is so heavenly with robust flavours and a good firm texture. I think it's quite an acquired taste just like foie gras due to it's strong aroma and taste. Some restaurants had the waxed meat mixed into the rice but I liked it to be separated. Wow, I think this is one of the best-est "lap mei fan" I had so far!

It's been quite sometime since I last had such an oppulent dinner. I know I used to do it very often a couple of years back but this year I hope not to be too indulgent. Maybe once in a while or once in a month is good enough as mom has been complaining about my weight. She also gave me her CNY wish which is to get me to stop posting about cigars. How can?!!

Speaking of which, I had been rebellious and this is my 2nd cigar of the year! I am counting and I think I made a very good progress by being less indulgent. Who needs dessert when this pretty box of my favourite Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure 2 is sitting on the dinner table?!!

Thanks again for the delicious dinner, awesome companies and great spirits!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

In Colombo? How can?!!

When overseas, one tends to be more patriotic than usual. Surprisingly, but I indeed find it very true because we tend to compare the country we are visiting with the one we live in. For example, when I was in Colombo the 1st day, I had already experienced the way locals drive over there. I tell you ah, I almost had a heart attack when I sat in one of those tuk tuks. The way they weave through the traffic, I guarantee you that you can get the same thrill riding that roller coaster in Genting Highlands (which I have not rode before) except with the inclusion of the oncoming opposite traffic. haha...

Besides the weaving of traffic, creating a lane that is entirely non-existent, the drivers can't drive without a hand off the car horn. All the drivers in regardless of tuk tuks or sedan car drivers are driving with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the car horn. Oklah, we admit that in Malaysia also we drive with one hand and the other hand busy texting on the mobile or holding our partner's hand (in which I have been guilty of once upon a time). But then ah, do you know that I hardly see any accidents even when they drive like a mad man on a one-lane-trunk-road compared to our supposedly sofistikated (sophisticated) four-lane-expressways.

See, got proof one!

Like a true blue Malaysian, I am still trying to find fault with the country. I mean, how can? How can Colombo be better than KL right? Then I look on the streets, trying to spot for rubbish, tissues and plastic wrappers and then I can proudly claim that in KL we have less rubbish than you But then again, I was disappointed. Amazingly the Singhalese are quite clean and so far, I have not seen a single person throwing out their tissues from car windows or even the windowless tuk tuks. How can?!! Then, I think to myself - maybe they don't use tissues, they use their sleeves! Hmmph...

You can also see that even the public area, the beach near the Galle Face Hotel was spotless and clean. Try looking at our very own Batu Feringghi beach and you'll be surprise to find that Malaysians in general like to litter. This is one thing we all should learn from people in Colombo. Apart from dirty beaches, we are also quite famous about our filthy toilets. I mean, who would have not realise it by now? Even the ones at our KL International Airports still smell and some of the cubicles are out of order but I find the toilets in the Colombo Airport dry and clean. So embarrassing I tell you.. Doesn't this makes you wonder why?

People there are quite nice too. Most of them can speak English one ok?!!! Even the tuk tuk drivers can have conversations with us when he was busy honking and weaving traffic. Unlike some of our rude cabbies driving an air-conditioned-four-wheeler here, they don't even understand England!

So in the end, I give up lah. Don't want to compare already! How can? How can?!!! To make us Malaysians feel better, our food is indeed still the best lah! Even their String Hoppers a.k.a Putu Mayam cannot fight with ours lah! And they also don't have Bak Kut Teh and Char Koay Teow! I feel so much better already.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Rice & Curry at Green Cabin @ Colombo

Rice and Curry is the de facto food for any Sri Lankan. Ask what my sister eats everyday at the canteen at her company and you'll either squeal in delight because you enjoy curries or you'll squirm like her because she doesn't like spicy food. Yes, I am in Colombo to visit my youngest sister whom is on a short term overseas posting. You can follow her food trail in Colombo here.

Did you know that there are more than 15 rice varieties grown in Sri Lanka? During my week's stay here, I have already tried no lesser than 4 varieties of rice from the Basmati long grain white rice to the red Kakukuhaal (in short, I called it the kuku rice). Food here does evolve very much around rice as you get your surf & turf dish served with rice instead of chips. Today I had the chance of trying one of the very authentic Sri Lankan curry & rice at Green Cabin which is located on Galle Road in Colombo.

Ranked at No.2 out of the 143 things to do in Colombo by Lonely Planet, this restaurant should be on anyone's list if you're here. This place is known for its inexpensive food and also the baked section which serves pies and vegetarian dishes. The menu is really simple with a few types of fried rice, a few types of curries and some specialty dishes. It shouldn't take you more than 5 minutes to make up your mind.

There are some recommended dishes here. I especially liked the
Cuttlefish under the Devilled Dishes section which means dry curry. For curry with sauce, I like the Seer Fish Curry because the sauce makes a very good accompaniment to my white rice and it is not too spicy. The curries here are mostly cooked with coconut and if you hate the fruit or the fat, then Sri Lankan cuisine is not your cup of tea.

Vegetable Fried Rice, Omelette & White Rice

Seer Fish Curry, Curry Chicken & Cuttlefish

I find the Chicken Curry a bit too spicy for my liking. If I have to choose, I still prefer our Malaysian curry chicken with potatoes! These portions are meant for single person and the dishes are priced reasonably from Rs200-500 a dish. There is also buffet available but the varieties is very limited (4 dishes) and it's meat free for only Rs 270 per person.

One of the dishes that I see most of the patrons ordering was the Lamprice. It is actually rice and curry wrapped in a banana leaf - very much like our version of Malaysian "nasi lemak" except for the missing sambal and ikan bilis. It is wrapped up like a cylinder dumpling and it made me so curious but sadly I had only one stomach and I cannot eat everything on the menu.

To go down with all the curries, sis ordered a Ginger Beer (Rs 80) which is very popular here in Sri Lanka I guess. The Elephant House Ginger Beer (EGB) is made up of ginger and it is not a beer, it's just another soft drink. Most of the places here does not serve alcohol as a license is needed.

This is definitely a recommended affordable Sri Lankan "no frill" restaurant with acceptable ambiance and cleanliness. It feels very much like one of our "nasi kandar restaurants" in KL. The bill came up to about Rs 2000 + (USD 15) which is quite reasonable considering our meals have been exceeding Rs 10000 (USD100-150) every dinner.

Guess what, sis didn't touch the curries as she is already sick of it by now! haha...
Sorry this is no fine food in a fine blog but I have to at least try a true blue Sri Lankan meal for once!

Green Cabin
453, Galle Road,Colombo 3,
Sri Lanka
Phone: +942588811 or +942591841

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