Friday, October 13, 2017

Who's Your Appa?

Rainy Market Day

The rain on Saturday morning was so heavy that I woke up before my alarm rang. Undeterred, mum and I headed to the wet market anyway. At least half of the stalls half of the stalls in the open air section weren't open for business. Some vendors set up their stalls, but kept all their merchandise wrapped up to prevent water damage. Although there was less of a crowd, it was still an umbrella war when getting around. My breakfast was Penang white curry noodles but I found it a little too sweet. On the other hand, mum got herself a plate of chicken feet salad and roasted pork.

White Curry Noodles

In the afternoon, mum suggested that we go eat at Appa's Charitable Restaurant. The places serves an array of Indian food with a unique concept-- eat as much as you need, pay as much as you like. When you exit, just put money into the donation box. Years ago, Annalakshmi at Midvalley Megamall had a similar concept, but they collected money at the cashier where they would guilt trip you to pay more. When we walked in, we were the only non-Indians there. The friendly staff kept asking us to eat more. Lol. Truth be told, food there is pretty delicious. There's idli in the morning and banana leaf rice on Sundays too. In case you're wondering, the restaurant is part of the All Persons Providence Association group founded by Dr. Solomon Rajandran. Don't know much about him, but I found an interesting piece of news about his organization-- early in the year, famous money game godfather Zhang Jian donated MYR 1.2 million to them.

Eat What You Need

Lunch at Appa's was quite light, so mum and I could still eat some more at home. She had bought some fresh clams from the market that morning, so she made dish of stir-fried clams with chili. Yummy!

Stir-fried Clams

Mum had dinner plans in the evening, so I had a dinner date with KH. As my throat was feeling a bit scratchy, I suggested we eat at Paradise Dynasty, Pearl Shopping Gallery. Drank plenty of hot tea and soothed my throat with soupy dishes. But seeing KH was the best sort of remedy. :).

Shanghai Fried Rice

Thursday, October 12, 2017

LZB

Black Ink, Black Threads

When EspressoLab was still in Avenue K, I used to train my eyes behind the counter every time I walked by, going to and from the KLCC LRT station. Why? Because a leng zai barista (nama manjanya LZB) used to work there. With his height and broad shoulders, he looked so good girded with the work apron. Ever since it closed down, I lost my cuci mata opportunity in the early mornings and late evenings.

Cafe

However, my disappointed is now at an end, because I found him again! And just down the road from where I work at Jalan Yap Kwan Seng. If you're curious about how he looks (no spy pics from me guys and girls!), go check him out at Black Ink No. 6. It's a perfectly quiet place for a poke bowl and a cup of coffee, while you check out LZB with his daily tasks. There's also a coffee called the Volcano, something that looks like a messy creampie. :P. I shall go back to try that.

Poke Bowl

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Swift Singapore

Eggs and Toast

Out of the blue, I was summoned to Singapore for a meeting with several of my colleagues. It was about some demo for my Brunei client. The partner's office was in Singapore, so we went down there. Arrived at KLIA2 bright and early. I didn't feel like McDonald's that day, so I went to ToastBox instead. I swung my teaspoon against the large soft-boiled egg and the whole thing just disintegrated in my hands. The table was a mess! Big eggs, VERY thin shell.

Looking Up

The flight was uneventful, which is of course desirable. The immigration counter was kinda swamped at Changi, and it was partly due to a whole bunch of Korean tourists who did not know how to fill in their arrival cards. Since the last time I came to Singapore for work, the office had moved to a different building. All glass and modern furniture, with a pantry that looks like something out of Google HQ. The meeting went well and by lunch time it was over. My CEO took us to lunch at .... wait for it .... wait for it .... Lau Pa Sat. Wow. I really miss the place. Meh. By late afternoon, we departed. Yes, just a day trip.

Four Fingers

Back at Changi, I was feeling a bit hungry, so I ordered some chicken wings with seaweed fries from Four Fingers (they replaced Texas Chicken). Didn't like it at all. So dry. Don't know what the hype is about. Hopefully I will have the opportunity to meet AlexanderTheGay, MoonlightPiggy, Nic, POD, Suzy, Kidz, and some other friends in future visits.

Gates

Monday, October 09, 2017

Pop Down to Petaling Street

Nasi Lemak

From church, mum and I traveled to Kuala Lumpur on a Sunday afternoon to attend a talk on women and politics at Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH). But before that, we met up KH for lunch at Ali, Muthu &Ah Hock at Jalan Balai Polis. It was my first time at that very touristy cafe. Following the trend, it's a retro cafe at a heritage shop lot. Their menu is full of typical Malaysian favourites like nasi lemak, roti kahwin and laksa lemak, all of which were pretty good. Their local coffee is also great. No wonder it's usually packed.

Muhibah

Roti Kahwin

At 2:30 PM, we headed to KLSCAH to listen to the talk. Two of the speakers were female lawmakers from the opposition. Mum started yawning halfway through the thing (and KH could hardly understand 20% of what was being said), so we quickly left the hall and went coffee hunting instead.

Rotunda

Talk

KH recommended that we go to Leaf & Co., right opposite the old Yan Keng Benevolent Dramatic Association building. A great chance to revisit the old part of town after the MRT construction was completed. The quaint little cafe is actually a part of Mingle Kuala Lumpur Hostel. As with old pre-war shop lots, the layout of the place was narrow, but very long. In the middle, they planted a tree with a feature wall of artfully stacked sand bricks. A very IG-friendly cafe indeed.

Mingle

Sand Bricks

Pour Over

The menu also had many appealing cold drinks that were very suitable for sweltering afternoons. I chose the passion fruit lemonade while KH had the lime lemon mojito. The latter was so refreshing with a large lime juice popsicle with mint leaves dunked into the ice-cold mojito. Perfect. After all those sour drinks, we were feeling a bit hungry, so we tucked into a slice of Blue Velvet cake, which was also excellent.

Lime Lemon Mojito

Blue Velvet Cake

Before going home, we walked around the area on foot, mainly around Pasar Karat. In just one afternoon, we spent nearly MYR20 on parking alone.

Yan Keng

Jalan Sultan

Petaling Street

Friday, October 06, 2017

KLFW 2017

XO Fish Head Noodles

After a long time, it suddenly occurred to me that I should have the famous XO fish head noodles at Kuchai Lama for breakfast. Mum and I headed there after our Saturday marketing, and as usual getting parking there was a bitch. We were a tad early, so Goon Wah wasn't open yet. No matter, we just ate at Kedai Makanan & Minuman Soon Lei instead. The menu is somewhat similar to Goon Wah, but of course they have their own specialties as well. But anyway, one portion of their XO fish head noodles was already enough to feed two, no more capacity for anything else. Fast-forward to lunch, mum whipped up a dish of petite clams that mum frequently prepared when I was a kid. Just chilies, ginger, and some bean paste. Lovely dish.

Mini Clams

In the evening, mum, SK and I went to Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. The place was infested with little statues of SEA Games 2017 mascot, Rimau. Those little tigers definitely topped the Smurfs in terms of count. It was also the fourth day of KL Fashion Week (no wonder so many fashionably dressed people around-- guys in stilettos, women in inverted coats, a lady described as just wearing an overcoat and lingerie), so we stopped to look at a couple of fashion shows. If I knew, I would have brought my camera! The show by Taakk from Japan was quite interesting. All his models wore black or white zentai suits, and moved to very atmospheric music. Very pelik indeed. In the VIP crowd, we also managed to catch Amber Chia, and ex-DJ Fiqrie (infamous for his swimwear photo shoot at the beach). The rest aku tak cam. The other show was from Eclipse whose owner recently passed away due to heart problems although he lived a very healthy lifestyle (suddenly Alanis Morisette's "Ironic" starts playing). Among the crowd of fashionable people, I spied Insequeerity who was busy covering the event for a local fashion magazine.

Rimau



Super Zoom

Taakk Fashion Show

Didn't know what to eat at Pavilion, so we made our way to Lot 10 instead. Both mum and SK had never dined at The Table before, so might as well eat there. Chose Touan Yakitori & Robata, a restaurant that I had not tried before. With no expectations, we just ordered several of the highlights in the menu-- unagi-don, a sushi bento, and tori karaage. The quality of the food was quite good, but I don't think that there was a 'Wow' factor for me.

Sushi

Unagi-don

What else better to do after dinner than to look around at Isetan the Japan Store. So many in-store discounts. Even at 80% off, we did not feel like buying any of the premium Japanese products. Truly expensive with our weak currency. For supper we ate an orange sherbet (from Setouchi), one of the many discounted expiring Japanese groceries from the supermarket, and paired that with a ham chim peng from I Love Yoo! Too bad I couldn't find some kopi o at the Hutong food court. Else it would have been perfect.

3D Model

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Colombo III: So Long Sri Lanka

Kiribath

On my last day at Colombo, I finally had the chance to have a leisurely breakfast at the hotel. My bosses were having a breakfast meeting with my client's senior management, so I was excused. Tried the Sri Lankan hoppers (apam), and milk rice (kiribath). Outside the restaurant was a nice pool with swans, ducks, and koi swimming around. Later in the morning, we met another two project counterparts for more fact-finding. Had a quick lunch at Taste of Asia-- local mixed rice. A very peculiar short grain variety of rice was used. The spices used were really alien to me.

Breakfast with a View

Sambar Lunch

Our afternoon was spent at the client office again. Tried to retrieve whatever documentation they promised to give us. We waited and waited and waited, but didn't get much. The main contractor met us up for dinner again. We had wine and finger foods at the Colombo Hilton executive lounge. My CEO gave him a summary of all that he had gathered. I sat at the next table, just enjoying the chicken skewers and fried calamari. From the looks of things, the main contractor is a very well-connected person in Sri Lanka-- a whole web of influence of money and politics.

City

Night View

At about 10:00 PM, we checked out and headed to the airport for our midnight flight. Before you even step foot into the airport, you are required to show your ticket. You and your luggage have to go through a metal detector after that. Then you join another line to get to the check-in counters. More scans. Chaotic as there's so much luggage being jostled here and there. And of course the usual security check at the departure gate. High security indeed. When I arrived back home, it was already 8:00 AM. Slept for three hours before heading to work. A bad idea. When I got home in the evening, I was all feverish. And the strange thing was, both of my bosses were sick too!

Buddha

Gates

Monday, October 02, 2017

Colombo II: Night Walk

View of the Sea

I slept like a baby throughout the night. Threw off the luxurious linens and freshened up. Breakfast was served at GRAZE Kitchen, their all-day dining restaurant. Lovely as the spread was, I didn't get to enjoy much of it on the first day. At the restaurant, we met the main contractor of the project and my client's CTO. They were there to socialize and get my CEO up to speed on the baseline of the project, and customer sentiments. That was just the pre-meeting. At 9:30 AM, our client drove us to their headquarters just ten minutes away from the hotel. Not that it was far, it was just the traffic. To formalize things, the CTO kicked things off by introducing us to his project team, who over the course of the day, aired their grievances. Our role was neutral, as we were supposed to listen to all sides of the story. During the lengthy meeting, they plied us with passion fruit juice, an interesting choice.

Colombo Morning II

Hopper

Our client treated us to a quick lunch at Goodies, Cinnamon Lakeside. They used a van to send us there although it was just a few steps away. By the end of the day, we had collected much information, but some of it was also quite alarming. We walked back to the hotel, taking in the pulse of the city. Our first major lesson was about crossing the busy the roads. Basically, they do not use traffic lights. There's just a pole with a flashing light at the crossing. Supposedly, the vehicles are supposed to stop when a pedestrian steps on the road. Being Malaysians, our faith was a bit shaky, but in the end, we just followed what the locals did. Passed by Secretariat Halt Railway Station which  was just beside a big stupa. In no time at all, we reached back at Hilton Colombo.



Rested a while before dinner. The main contractor brought us to Colombo Swimming Club, a colonial era club that has a 75 year history. From the name, you could guess that it should have a pool, but it's actually being dug up for the Port City project. The club has an excellent view of the Indian Ocean (best at sunset, but it was inky black when we got there), and that view is occasionally punctuated by a passing train. We dined under the night sky, boozing on Sri Lankan Lion Lager. Lotsa spicy stuff, mostly deviled this and that. LOL. Our host kept plying us with booze and food-- try the crab, try the fish and chips, how about whisky? The Colombo Swimming Club also offers lodging in the upper floor. A room with an ocean view would be amazing.

CSC at Night



My CEO was feeling the super sinful after all that food, so he suggested that we walk back to the hotel. We took a leisurely 3-KM stroll along Galle Face Green, an ocean-side urban park. Unfortunately, it was too dark to see anything. Just took in the sounds of the ocean. A great way to experience Colombo.