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When I first started penning this blog, I was a fairly recent graduate with just a few years of working experience. Living in KL, I constantly worried about reducing my credit card debt (stemming from furnishing the house I had just bought) while keeping up with the burden of mortgage payment at the same time.

That is when I got to know “my enemy who is also my friend” – compound interest.

See, if you owe the lender 10 bucks (RM10) and are charged an interest rate of 10% per annum, that 10 bucks will become 30 bucks by the end of 20 years for interest without compound + principal. But with a compound interest of just 10%, you would be looking at coughing up RM73! Incidentally, did you know that banks in Malaysia are permitted to charge daily compounding tiered interest when you miss your credit card payments?

http://www.bnm.gov.my/index.php?ch=en_press&pg=en_press&ac=696&lang=en

Compound interest though, is not always your enemy.

On the other side of the coin, let us look at how compound interest becomes our best friend for investing.

You see, the formula works exactly the same way.

Invest RM10 today with an interest of 10% (which some unit trusts may potentially fetch), by the end of 20 years that same RM10 will be RM72. Or less optimistically, at 7% it’ll be RM40. This is after considering the fact that you’re not adding anything extra to the initial investment.

For this reason, compound interest has often been touted as the eighth wonder of the world when applied to money and investing. Compound interest can help us achieve our financial goals, such as being able to retire comfortably, becoming financially independent, or even achieving millionaire status.

My investment portfolio is still in its infancy, with some unit trusts bought via my EPF Account 2 thus far. However, as I look forward to growing my savings and investments to be better prepared for the future, I’ve now got my eye on several other unit trusts and private retirement schemes. The good news is I am still young and have plenty of time left to invest and take advantage of my friend (compound interest)!

Have you started taking advantage of your friend?

To learn more about the magic of compounding interest and how it can produce the right results for your investments, check out InvestSmart, an investor empowerment initiative by the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC). In addition to providing you with knowledge, information and education, InvestSmart also organises stock market and unit trust seminars for retail investors. The seminars aim to encourage members of the public to take control of their finances so that they can be responsible for their own future and wealth, to equip investors with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to exercise good judgement and discretion in making investment decisions, and to encourage more informed retail participation in the capital market. To find out more, log on to:

www.investsmartsc.my

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Congratulations to Nico Rosberg, who was recently crowned as the 2016 Formula One champion, a title well earned after battling with teammates and closest rival Lewis Hamilton for so many years.

KY & Nico Rosberg, 2013
KY & Nico Rosberg, 2013

Nico also promptly announced his retirement, which came as a complete surprise to most everyone, but ultimately it was a decision that few can make, to go out on the top and to put his family first an foremost in his mind. The first father & son champion.

I was very lucky to be part of an event back in 2013 where Nico & Lewis raced in a small strip of road at Putrajaya on a couple Mercedes A250 cars. When a seat opened, I jumped in and had a time of my life with Nico as our driver racing with Hamilton. I’ll forever cherish that special moment being in a car driven by an eventual Formula One champion.

Nico in a Mercedes A250
Nico in a Mercedes A250

The photos and video were kept as a draft that was never published of this blog due to various reasons, but I thought it’s the perfect time to do so. After all, this is my place on the internet where I keep significant memories.

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I love myself a good afternoon snack, and when it comes to that, sometimes the options can be quite limited. There’s always the rojak, hipster cafe, and mamak, but if you want good old fashion Chinese snacks, well, they aren’t just as common. So it was quite refreshing to see that a such a place sprung up at Seapark recently by the name of Restoran Yuen Ting.

Restoran Yuen Ting, PJ Seapark
Restoran Yuen Ting, PJ Seapark

Yuen Ting is a bit of a throw back when it comes to a new restaurant, they offer old fashion deep fried Chinese pastry such as yutiao, ham chim peng, and a couple different soya bean products like soya bean drink and tofufar.

a selection of deep fried goodness & soya bean products
a selection of deep fried goodness & soya bean products

While the selection isn’t particularly extensive, the quality of product and value offered was more than decent. I liked that the soya bean drink has a bit of a gingery tint in the syrup supplied, which gives it a bit of extra complexity.

The taufoofar here is has a really smooth texture, a hallmark of any good taufoofar. Like the soya bean drinks, you can choose to have it with dark or normal sugar syrup, I almost always go for the dark version and did not make it an exception this time.

ham chim peng, soya drink, tofufar
ham chim peng, soya drink, tofufar

Overall, I’d not hesitant to return for a good & comfortable afternoon snack. While there’s no air conditioning, fancy decoration, or even IKEA sofa, this place hold its own among the newer establishments in PJ, and it is one that I believe will stand up to the test of time better than others.

map to Yuen Ting Seapark

Address:
Yuen Ting Restaurant
Jalan 21/17,
Seapark,
46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS3.109909, 101.621816 

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New Boston is arguably the most popular “tai chao” restaurants in Klang, and one with a reputation to boot. It is this reputation that took me more than a year after moving to Shah Alam to finally give it a try.

What’s the reputation you may ask? They are two, first – the lala is awesome, and second, the queue is super long. As we found out, both of these claims are true.

New Boston Restaurant at Klang, wait and you shall be rewarded
New Boston Restaurant at Klang, wait and you shall be rewarded

It was a planned dinner with a bunch of relatives, so to avoid disappointment Haze went there just before 6pm (opening hours at 7pm) to start queuing, and within minutes there were already a couple other people joining the line.

We got our seats by 6:55 pm and made our orders about 5 minutes past 7 pm. To be fair, it took less than 20 minutes for our first dish to be served, which wasn’t too bad considering it was already fully packed by then.

If you arrived after 7 pm, chances are you may have to wait quite a bit before getting a table, and it’ll certainly be an exercise of patience to get your food. However, New Boston operates till about 2 am so if you come here for supper, it’ll probably be a more pleasant experience.

order your lala in abundance
order your lala in abundance 

The claim of fame for this place is the lala in superior soup (RM 24), and if you’ve already invested all those time in waiting, I’d definitely recommend ordering enough to go around. For the 10 of us, we asked for 6 plates, and that turned out to be just right. Some even suggest to order one big portion per person.

The lala did meet the almost impossible expectations, it was really fresh, juicy, and had just the right kick & slight spiciness from ginger, garlic, and chili padi to make any lala fan yearn for more.

The lala used here is what Hokkien refered to as “kap par”, which has a thicker shell but also more substantial & juicer meat, which I really enjoyed. For the “normal” lala in prepared in kam heong method, I recommend the version at Alisan street hawker at PJ SS4, available at night..

lala, claypot seafood tofu & vegetable dishes
lala, claypot seafood tofu & vegetable dishes

We had a full dinner with rice at New Boston, and thankfully most of the dishes here were also right up there in terms of quality.

Claypot seafood tofu came packed with a generous portion of goodness, while the greens had good wok hei and generous amount of garlic, which I really liked.

Fried Hokkien mee is another one of the more popular dishes here. It is very rich, dark, and came with enough lard to satisfy any Hokkien mee fans. One word of caution though, this should be consumed piping hot, a cold version of super rich Hokkien mee is usually not entirely too appetizing.

hokkien mee, steamed red snapper, ginger chicken, mantis prawn with oat
hokkien mee, steamed red snapper, ginger chicken, mantis prawn with oat

Another stand-out dish we really enjoyed from New Boston was their soya fried ginger chicken, it was absolutely spot on and went really well with steamed rice. I think perhaps their secret is the ginger, both lala & chicken utilizes a lot of ginger, and they were some of the best redetions of these dishes I’ve tried.

Mantis prawn with oats & steamed fish were decent dishes as well, but not up to the expectations set up by the wait time at this place.

Anyway, if you’re a lala lover, you owe yourself to try this place at least once. I will probably head back to this place again one of these day,s but most likely not for the busy dinner session.

map to New Boston, Klang

Address:
New Boston Restaurant
1E, Jalan Kapar,
Kawasan 18, 41000 Klang

GPS: 3.050331, 101.448086
Tel: 012-905 3523
Hours: 7pm to 2pm, closed on Wednesdays

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A couple weeks ago we were invited to a food review session that promises a good dosage of “Dong Po” (東坡肉) pork belly, and since that is one of my favorite dishes of all time, it was an easy decision to not miss this one.

Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant, PJ
Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant, PJ

The restaurant is Secret Garden at Taman Megah nearby Wolf Modern Dining and almost a walking distance from our previous home in PJ, but alas, this time around it was a bit of a drive, which was fine for some a porking promise.

The restaurant is stunning, with vertical garden, beautiful wooden long table, and tastefully use of empty space. I’m going to go on a limb here to say that it is most likely attributed to the fact that the founders include an interior designer, a fine art illustrator, and a mural artist.

When the surrounding is awesome, appetite also increases, kan?

crispy fried prawn cracker
crispy fried prawn cracker

Anyway, let’s get on the food.

For the review session, we got to sample quite a few dishes from the menu, starting with the appetizer – crispy fried prawn crackers. This is not your typical prawn cracker, but rather thin layer of pastry stuffed with plenty of prawn meat in between, best enjoyed with a dip of Thai chili sauce. I had white wine to go with this, but beer would make for excellent liquid to wash this down.

home style Taiwanese chicken soup w pickled pineapple & bitter melon
home style Taiwanese chicken soup w pickled pineapple & bitter melon

Any Chinese restaurant worth it’s salt should serve up a decent bowl of hot soup.

At Secret Garden, the choice was a simple and comforting home style Taiwanese chicken soup with pickled pineapple and bitter melon. I love myself a good bowl of soup, and this version checked the box as well as any with simple everyday ingredients done right.

steamed free range duckweed fed chicken w homemade sauce
steamed free range duckweed fed chicken w homemade sauce

Up next was steamed free range duckweed fed chicken with homemade sauce. You can taste the difference in duckweed fed chicken meat compared to the normal wet market/hypermarket variety, the meat is firmer and the skin springier. With the condiments it makes for a good meal by itself with a bowl of rice.

signature Taiwanese style "dong po" pork belly
signature Taiwanese style “dong po” pork belly

Then came what I was here for – the signature Taiwanese “dong po” pork belly. I love this dish so much I actually remember where I had it the first two times – first at Chatterbox Bangsar Village, and then at Dengkil Seafood Restaurant.

If you love pork, you gotta try this dish named after the famous Chinese poet Su DongPo (蘇東坡) . The interpretation of this dish at Secret Garden is very, very good, and only made better when you have it with their super soft steamed bun. Can I get this combination for breakfast, please?

grouper fish head in yellow curry with fresh milk
grouper fish head in yellow curry with fresh milk

Perhaps to demonstrate the range of dishes this kitchen is able to come up with, we had grouper fish head in yellow curry with fresh milk next.

If really spicy and rich Indian or even Nyonya style curry is your cup of tea, this may disappoint, but if you enjoy milder curry with all the necessary ingredients with a much gentler assault on your taste buds, then this yellow curry may fit the bill. I’m a Penang boy who loves me some really spicy curry fish head, so it was just a tad underwhelming for me.

pan fried fresh king prawn with soya sauce
pan fried fresh king prawn with soya sauce

Pan fried fresh king prawn with soya sauce was my favorite seafood dish of the day. Instead of the usual tiger prawns or “meng har”, this version uses fresh water king prawns, which has big and juicy prawn head to suckle on (human cholestorel isn’t from what you eat, right?). I liked it, and wished I had some rice to go with this.

(btw I’ve published a recipe to my version here, if you care to cook your own)

homemade organic black soya bean tofu in pumpkin gravy
homemade organic black soya bean tofu in pumpkin gravy, & the hungry bunch

The last dish I got to try before we had to leave due to another appointment was the homemade organic black soya bean tofu in pumpkin gravy. I was told the tofu is made in-house, and it certainly tastes fresh as can be with the texture that’s almost like tofufar, it was nice, and pumpkin gravy certainly served as a good contrast to the salty and savory bits on top of the tofu.

our menu, and some live seafood for your picking too
our menu, and some live seafood for your picking too

Overall it was a more than satisfying dinner, and certainly an experience that is made unforgettable thanks to the beautiful dining area and excellent companions we had.

Secret Garden is current modelling the upper level and will be offering Private Dining. You give them a budget and number of pax, and the chef will come up with a menu from carefully chosen ingredients available. There’s currently no set price for Private Dining, I suppose the more you are willing to pay, the more exotic the dishes get.

Thank you Jessica for the invitation and for hosting us!

secret garden chinese restaurant, taman megah

Address:
Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant
家園私房菜 
7 & 9, Jalan SS 23/15,
Taman Sea,
47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS3.116306, 101.612408
Tel: 03-7887 6999
Site: secretgarden.my