Monday, August 21, 2017

All About Ambuyat

Ambuyat set, part of Sabah Ethnic food menu at @dplacekepayanperdana. A Maxis 4G hotspot location. A great place to know about traditional food of Sabah. #maxis4gmakanlocal.

According to Wikipedia, Brunei's national dish is ambuyat, a dish made from sago. Visually, its nothing much to look at. Basically, its a stretchy, starchy paste made from pouring hot water into sago. Traditionally, its eaten with a special bamboo utensil called the chandas (looks like a long chopstick for kids because its joined at one end).  Using the chandas, one rolls the ambuyat around the sticks. As you can imagine, its also tasteless, so its eaten with a wide variety of sauces (cacah) and side dishes to add flavour. Since its already so hard to pick up, imagine eating it. The secret is not to chew at all, just swallow it! Well I had the chance to try it at a sungkai buffet at Empire Hotel. For something that looks like the congealed leavings of a bukkake party which are best swallowed, it's a surprise that I didn't like it!

#picofday #pictureoftheday #picoftheday #southeastasia #southeastasiafood #brunei #bruneidarussalam #bruneian #bruneianfoods #bruneiancuisine #bandarseribegawan #ascafe #nationaldish #ambuyat

Photo credits:
Sabaheats
James Du

Friday, August 18, 2017

Coming to Klang

AEON

Out of the blue, KH arranged a day out to Klang. He picked me up at 8:00 AM, and we made our way to AEON Bukit Tinggi where Gratitude was waiting to join us for a hearty BKT breakfast. The first choice was Ah Soon BKT, but it was not opened. Perhaps the owner celebrated Nuzul Al-Quran? Haha. Gratitude presented us with a second choice-- Fei Kay (literally "aeroplane"). Fei Kay BKT specialises in the clay pot variant, not the typical small bowl style of Klang. We tried both varieties, soup and dry. Being purists, Gratitude and I prefer the soup variant, but KH wanted to try the dry variant. To me, the latter is also nice, but it definitely ain't BKT.

Claypot BKT

Yu Tiao

Dry BKT

For second breakfast (we sound like Hobbit), Anton asked us whether we would like apom or kopitiam fare. KH wanted the latter, so we visited a branch of Cheong Foh. The place has a very different feel because it's renovated to look like a food court, where every food stall has their own counter, and the whole place is air-conditioned. When we arrived, it was a full house, but he managed to get some seats via the old daap toi strategy. I liked the coffee, and it came in a big cup. Unlike some places where the cups are so thick that one day it may look like we are sipping kopi out of a mortar. To complete the experience, we ordered a few sets of kaya-butter toast.

Kaya Butter Toast

Next up, KH and I watched "Wonder Woman" at AEON Bukit Raja. I do agree that it's refreshing to see a female superhero on the big screen, but the movie didn't really impress me. Before leaving Klang, we stopped at Restoran New I Po to pack a roast duck back to KL. Gratitude satisfies his craving for duck there and I must say it's a good choice. And they don't just give you the duck, they reheat it slowly with a hot oil bath. Back at my place, we had a late lunch of roast duck, bakzhang, and some dishes that mum made (fried fish and aubergine tempura). KH is always amazed by the amount of food served at my home.

Bakzhang

The Tribe returned home in the evening, after 3 weeks roaming around London, Iceland, and Scotland! Little Monster got me this from the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition:

Nessie

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Who's Your Papa?

Japanese Fusion

Genebin and Zo in Kuchai Lama is no more. In place of that cafe is a Japanese fusion restaurant that goes by the name PapaSan Canteen. One Saturday afternoon, KH and I had our lunch paktor session there. The owners implemented a 'forced' daap3  toi4+2 concept with the use of long tables. Very much like school canteens. All this to encourage diners to talk to strangers sitting beside them. In my opinion, there are two possible scenarios:
  1. Hey, that looks good. What is that?
  2. Oh God, don't order this. It tastes like crap. 
The food's quite good really. Firstly, we had the signature Papasan Roll. Supposedly contains foie gras, but I couldn't detect it through all the garlic mayo. Served on log slice. Very Instagrammable. Next was something the waiter recommended-- G.M.C., short for Garlic Mayo Chicken. Big chuncks of chicken that are crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. And of course smothered with garlic mayo. See the pattern? Chef Jimmy loves garlic mayo. We were already full from that two, but we didn't stop there. We also ordered the Soft Shell Crab Salad that comes with black sesame dressing. Lunch ended on a 'sweet' note because they gave us free ice cream! Wasabi ice cream to be exact. Haha. Didn't heed the warning to take small bites. Felt that taking big bites gave a better kick. Papasan Canteen seems to support LGBT rights. At one corner, there's a consignment of zào handmade soap with a six-colour flag. You can check them out on Instagram here.

zào handmade soap

Wasabi Ice Cream

In the evening, I had to accompany mum to a HuaZong dinner at Wisma HuaZong. It's that white tower along the Sungai Besi Expressway. You can't miss it. HuaZong is the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia in case you're wondering. They spent MYR80,000,000 to build this new headquarters and according to an article in The Star, it looks a bit like the Great Hall of the People in Tian'anmen Square. Even the PRC government showed some support by gifting HuaZong with two stone lions that flank the entrance. During the dinner, prizes were given out for a Chinese short film competition on filial piety. Among the judges were Chong Keat Aun (ex-AIFM DJ who left due to missing SPM certificate) and Lim Chew Yin (ex-HVD actress and Yigaho boss). I was kind of surprised by the results as my favourite didn't win a single prize. Alamak!

Pillars

Patrons

Hall

Friday, August 11, 2017

Breakfast, Berlawak, Babi, Botanica

Barista Mural

With mum's special dietary requirements in force, there aren't many simple breakfast choices that I can choose from. For some reason, the trip to the morning market was shelved, so it was a leisurely breakfast that day. Went to SetiaWalk in search of a cafe that opened early. Only one choice was available-- TiPsy Brew O'Coffee. Looked quite promising actually. The interior was not the cincai type, they did have some work done with patterned raw brick walls, murals and such. I got the All Star Breakfast, while mum went for the Cheesy Baked Eggs. Both came with a choice of OJ or black coffee. Not bad at all. Got to love the jumbo sausage and scrambled eggs. When we left, some flea market stalls had begun operating, but truth be told, it wasn't comfortable to browse in such oppressive heat.

Cheesy Baked Eggs

All Star Breakfast

KH had bought tickets to MACC's "Now That's I Call Jokes Vol. 8". Well we all know that most of MACC's investigations are jokes, but I'm not talking about THAT MACC, it's the Malaysian Association of Chinese Comedians. Can't help but feel that Dr. Jason Leong looks more and more like Jho Low. Kuah Jenhan had a wonderful story about his trip to Czech Republic, Phoo Chi Ho basically talked about ass hair, and Douglas Lim seamlessly talked about life and politics.

MACC's "Now That's I Call Jokes Vol. 8"

After some Cina Babi comedy, it's apt to actually makan babi. Ticklish Ribs and 'Wiches was conveniently located near the access escalator of The Gardens Theater where we had just watched the show. Cute cartoon pig statues are located all over the place. Unapologetically babi. Ate two varieties of ribs, signature and salted egg yolk. The latter wasn't very obvious. In addition to that we had the steamed flower buns stuffed with braised pork. Mantou with Dong Po meat la, but it was really good! Had a couple of beers too. A great dinner.

Pigs

Pig Murder

Beer

Steamed flower buns stuffed with braised pork

Our night did not end there. Continued to roam to Bangsar South to check out Botanica+Co, an atas-looking place.Whole lot of glass and greenery. Must look amazing during the day. We sat down with some wine and a plate of truffle fries. A few tables away, a group of Dato' Seri Vida wannabes were celebrating someone's birthday. All the guidelines were fulfilled-- thick makeup, tiaras, sashes, and kerengga-stung lips. Closer to home, a couple was next to us, enjoying dinner, and each other's company, just like us.

Botanica+Co.

DSV Birthday Party

Truffle Fries

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Asspirations

Photo by 晏廷 張
While undressing for an afternoon skank, KH came up behind me and groped my buttocks. "That ass is getting firmer!", he commented. Guess all those squats, lunges, donkey kicks, and what nots are paying off!

Monday, August 07, 2017

Berbuka di Brunei

BOOM!

As a follow up to the Brunei trip in April, I'm back there to begin some detailed work. Turns out that the client was convinced with my MD's goreng-goreng. Oh, great. By default, Bandar Seri Begawan is already quite laid back, but to visit during the fasting month is to experience things at a few notches lower. Best of all, Brunei's hudud-ness and Syariah-compliance has increased drastically in recent years with very obvious effects. During the fasting month, nobody is allowed to eat or drink in public, by law. It applies to Bruneians and visitors, regardless of religion. If you're caught, you could be fined up to a few thousand dollars, but it's usually around BND300. Food and beverage outlets are allowed to operate, but you just can't eat on premises. Feel free to pack your food and eat in some hidden location. At the hotel, my complimentary breakfast was served in a meeting room instead of the usual cafe. Not only that, a partition was placed at the entrance, and all the blinds were pulled down. During lunch, we would pack our food and eat it at one our company apartments. Felt like visiting a secret club every afternoon.

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

However, the lack of food during the day time is replaced by an abundance after sunset. Every evening at about 6:30 PM, a cannon will go off between Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque and Taman Omar Ali Saifuddien, a reminder for sungkai (buka puasa to Malaysians) or chow time. All-you-can-eat buffets are very popular with Bruneians during the fasting month. My colleagues and I also ate our hearts out at I-Lotus Restaurant which is a great place for grilled seafood. Unlike Malaysian seafood BBQ buffets, they don't take ages to fulfill your order. Fish, clams, razor clams, squid, big cockles, chicken, beef, and lamb, all for just BND18. Burp!

Sungkai Buffet

Leftover food during fasting days ends up being reported as major news. Truth be told, its the bad business during the fasting month that should be reported. I would think that many restaurant operators struggle with all those restrictions. Sooner or later, Malaysia will start looking like this if we do not resist.

Leftover Food

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Birthday and Bakzhangs

Apollo's Birthday Cake

Apollo's mum invited us over to her place to celebrate the DuanWu festival. Among the guests were surprise guests, Mei and her cute daughter. Been a long time since I saw both of them. A huge lunch was prepared for all of us, including dessert. In addition to all that food, we also had two cakes for Apollo's birthday. When we were done with the food, we adjourned to the living room where we chatted and played with Mei's daughter. Played a game of Penguin Trap, where two players take turns using an ice pick to hack off hexagonal pieces of 'ice'. The loser is the who lets the plastic penguin fall off the ice shelf.



SK brought some Milo Cubes that she had ordered off 11Street. Basically, it's exactly what it sounds like, Milo powder compacted into cubes. If the Transformers ever consumed Milo, it would be in that form, similar to Energon cubes. Anyway, Mei's daughter loved that stuff. But I teased her by putting all of them on the Penguin Trap ice shelf. I told her that she will only get to keep whatever's left on the shelf. The poor girl looked so distraught. :P. At the end of the party, Apollo's mum gave each of us Halal bakzhang. Cool, yau tak sek, yau tak lik.

DuanWu Lunch

Mango