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A few days before the Malaysia GP at Sepang International Circuit where Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 team finished one-two with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, there was another race at KLCC park with the two drivers, and we were among the few who was invited to the event.

Before that, I would like to congratulate the two drivers for the historic win. It was the first one-two by the Mercedes factory team since 1955!

Nico Rosberg and team, with Lewis giving advise?
Nico Rosberg and team, with Lewis giving advise?

This was an invitation where top scorers from the PETRONAS Primax Challenge facebook game got to claim their prize – teaming up with the F1 drivers for an up close and personal session playing the final round of the game.

team Lewis working hard
team Lewis working hard

After some intense driving (with the keyboard), Nico’s team, with his partner Kenny, won over Lewis’s team in the challenge. It was a fun and relaxing session, I can’t imagine what must go through the drivers’ mind as they are getting ready for the weekend’s race.

interview with Raja Mazhar Mohar Bin Raja Tun Mohar
interview with Raja Mazhar Mohar Bin Raja Tun Mohar

We also got the opportunity to have a chat with Raja Mazhar Mohar Bin Raja Tun Mohar, head of PETRONAS Customer Experience Department. He explained that the fuel used in the Formula 1 cars basically used the same base as those we find at every PETRONAS station, except with a higher RON rating of about 100 (we can get PRIMAX 95 and 97).

Through this partnership, PETRONAS also came up with higher quality lubricant that can penetrate the thinner crevices of the Formula 1 engine. The same fuel and lubricant (SYNTIUM) is used in every circuit on the calendar, and PETRONAS PRIMAX fuel powered every race for the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 team.

the PETRONAS Team with Lewis Hamilton & Nico Rosberg
the PETRONAS Team with Lewis Hamilton & Nico Rosberg

During the session, we also discussed about how PETRONAS view their fuelling stations as something more than a place where you only go when your tank runs empty, and this is achieve by adding other conveniences like the Mesra store, partnership with banks in hosting their ATMs.

He also mentioned how PETRONAS is committed to improving the customer experience by constantly finding ideas to enhance their service.

At the end of the session, we asked him about Sunday’s race. The man predicted a one-two with Lewis coming ahead, and boy he was right.

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Just less than 5 kilometres away from KLCC is a time capsule that is Ayer Panas, a suburb that seems to be trapped in time, oblivious to the rapid development of Kuala Lumpur. It is also a place where I stop by in the morning to enjoy traditional hawker fair from time to time.

Here are three of the most popular hawker stalls within the Ayer Panas wet market worth checking out.

home-made wantan mee at this stall
very delicious home-made wantan at this stall

The wantan mee stall here serves unpretentious wantan mee in either soup or dry version, all for only RM 4 per bowl. Seating area is rather premium, but thankfully most customers here order them to-go.

only RM 4 for this delicious plate of wantan mee
only RM 4 for this delicious plate of wantan mee

The home-made wantan here is one of my favorites, with soft, thin skin wrapping that flavourful minced pork. The dark sauce used here too does not overpower the noodle which is springy and delicious.

the pork noodle stall is one of the busiest around here
the pork noodle stall is one of the busiest around here

The pork noodle stall is one of the busiest hawker stalls in the whole wet market, offering pork noodle, yee mee, fish ball noodle, loh mee, and mee suah with quite a choice of porky ingredients. You can mix and match the type of soup & ingredients to your liking.

dry version with Vit's noodle and a side of soup
dry version with Vit’s noodle and a side of soup

For dry version, I like Vit’s noodle that is served with a side of soup packed with fish ball, meatball,  minced pork ball, liver, intestine, and even some fuchuk. The combination is a bit like dry instant indomie on steroid, for the lack of a better comparison.

soup version of pork noodle is plenty delicious as well
soup version of pork noodle is plenty delicious as well

Traditional soup-based pork noodle starts at RM 4.60 here are packed with the above mentioned ingredients as well. For the carb of choice, you can choose from kuih teow, yellow noodle, meehun, yee mee, Vit’s, or mee suah.

the yong tau foo stall has been in operation for some 30-40 years
the yong tau foo stall has been in operation for some 30-40 years

The third hawker offering worth checking out is the yong tau foo stall that has been operating for at least some 40 years. The man behind the stall is in his 70s, and still has a pair of quick hands offering his craft.

RM 0.70 per piece, simple yet tasty
RM 0.70 per piece, simple yet tasty

There aren’t a huge variety of yong tau foo here, just a couple type sof tofu, a few variations of fish balls, fuchuk, and chee cheong fun. The home-made fish ball here though was one of the bests I’ve tried, springy and flavorful, so be sure to grab a few extras if you’re here. Each piece costs RM 0.70.

map to pasar ayer panas

Address:
Pasar Ayer Panas
Jalan Ayer Keroh
Taman Ayer Panas,
43000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.189279,101.718704
Hours: breakfast and brunch

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After the successful launch of the new A-class, Mercedes-Benz now introduced the new CLA, a four-door premium coupé in the intermediate market segment during the Mercedes Petronas F1 party (which also coincide with the successful one-two finish in the Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix).

Mercedes-Benz CLA 200
Mercedes-Benz CLA 200

The new Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 is a thing of beauty, with a gentle sloping roof contour, a design element that provides the CLA with a coupé-style character from the rear. A four-door coupé that is.

First off, lets look at the skinny:

  • Engine displacement: 1595 cc, 4/in-line, 4 valves per cylinder
  • Mixture formation: Electronically controlled direct petrol injection with piezo injectors, exhaust gas turbocharger
  • Transmission: 7G-DCT automatic transmission (yes, that’s 7 speed)
  • Front axle: McPherson suspension with spring strut and wishbone, coil springs, gas pressure shock absorber, stabilizer bar
  • Rear axle: Four-link rear axle, coil springs, gas pressure shock absorber, stabilizer bar
  • Braking system: Internally ventilated disc brakes at front, solid disc brakes at rear, electric parking brake, ABS, Brake Assist, ESP®
  • Steering: Electromechanical rack-and-pinion power steering
  • Wheels & Tyres: 7.5 J x 18, 225/40 R 18
  • Output: 115kw, or 156 hp at 5300 rpm
  • Torque: 250 Nm at 1250-4000 rpm

LED daytime running light
LED daytime running light

The above information basically means that the car is able to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 8.5 seconds and has a top speed of 230 km/h while only having a combined fuel consumption figure of 5.2-5.5 L/100 km.

In another word, it consumes less gasoline than some bigger displacement motorcycles and be able to fit five adults with a week’s worth of luggage.

The exterior of the car is breathtakingly beautiful, with LED daylight running lights arranged in a way that create a “flare effect”. The front is classy yet aggressive, with a width-emphasizing rear that radiates power and athleticism.

the interior of Mercedes-Benz CLA 200
the interior of Mercedes-Benz CLA 200

The sporty appearance of the CLA continues inside the car, with round vents in high quality electroplated finish and every part that reveals meticulous attention to detail. For example, the free-standing display screen features a black piano-lacquer-look front panel and seats that feature coloured contrasting stitching.

The front seats are electrically adjustable with memory function, and the steering wheel comes with 12 function buttons. Then there’s also a high-resolution 11.4 cm colour display in the instrument cluster, things you expect from a Mercedes-Benz.

rear view of Mercedes-Benz CLA 200
rear view of Mercedes-Benz CLA 200

On the safety side, the Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 is certainly not lacking. There are four phases of safety approach built into the car.

Phase 1: safe driving
Adaptive Brake Lights (flashing), Attention Assist, Electronic Stability Program (ESP), headlamp assist, Collision Prevention Assist (issues warning when the system detects the danger of a rear-end collision, activates when traveling faster than 7km/h), and Adaptive Brake system all come standard.

Phase 2: in critical situation
Anti-lock braking system (ABS), Acceleration skid control (ASR), and Brake Assist System.

Phase 3: in an accident
Airbags for driver and front passenger, active engine bonnet, ISOFIX child seat attachment, kneebag for driver, sidebags for driver and front passenger, and windowbags

Phase 4: after an accident
To reduce consequential damage, the engine can be turned off automatically and the fuel supply can be cut off, hazard and emergency interior lights can activate automatically, door locking mechanism can be automatically released.

The performance, design, and the frugal gasoline consumption are awesome, but what really impressed me the most is the host of safety features in the CLA.

If you’re in the market for a new car in this segment, the CLA 200, priced at RM 235,888, is certainly worth taking a look at.

For more information, kindly log on to www.mercedes-benz.com.my or visit Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/MercedesBenzMalaysia

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F1 season is dawn upon us again, and last in conjunction with the Formula 1 race at Sepang International Circuit, PETRONAS Motorsport put up a show at KLCC area for the racing fans a weekend prior.

I was lucky enough to be invited as a member of media to this prestigious event and got to meet Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg up close and personal yet again!

PETRONAS F1 Demo Run, 2014
PETRONAS F1 Demo Run, 2014

The roads outside KLCC was cordoned off with hospitality tent and spectator stands set up just for this event. If you’re a petrol head, this was something that you would absolutely love.

For those who are familiar with F1′s new regulation going with the 1.6 turbo engine for the 2014 season, this event was also one of the last chances to witness and to hear the high revving engine of the F1 racing car’s engine from 2013. It was absolutely thrilling and ear-drum shattering experience.

the 2013 Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 race car being prep
the 2013 Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 race car being prep

The event started with track inspection by drivers and riders while the technical team gets busy preparing the racing cars and bikes. The F1 car in a beautiful machine if you ever get to see one up close and personal. Every piece of body work serves a purpose, giving the car more downforce, dispersing heat, and so forth.

Stunt show by Aaron Twite and Nick Brocher
Stunt show by Aaron Twite and Nick Brocher

The first show that came on was the stunt riding by Aaron Twite and Nick Brocher.

They could do things on bikes I wouldn’t even dare on bicycle. The two experts did plenty of wheelies, stoppies, making donuts, and even standing on top of their heavily modified Triumph Speed Triple’s fuel tanks.

It was an awesome show of talent. I was very impressed.

Safety Car demo run
Mercedes DTM safety car demo

Next up was the Mercedes DTM safety car heading out on the street. While technically not a racing car, this is still a mean machine capable of exhilarating speed with an impressive exhaust note. I love the livery of Syntium gold with PETRONAS green.

The DTM car was driven by Daniel Juncadella, and a few lucky participant got a taxi ride in it too. I can only imagine the G force that machine can pull.

PETRONAS AAM Malaysian Cub Prix bikes
PETRONAS AAM Malaysian Cub Prix bikes

On two wheels, we had PETRONAS AAM Malaysian Cub Prix Championship bikes doing their rounds. They include PETRONAS Yamaha riders such as Md Affendi Rosli, Shariffudin Shamsuddin, Ahmad Fazli Sham, Abdul Muhaimin Roslan, Md Izrul Huzaimie Amran, and Md Azam Omar.

These are the names that could rise up the rank to compete in bigger cc bike categories in the future.

Pillion Ride session with professional rider Shahrol Yuzy
Pillion Ride session with professional rider Shahrol Yuzy

They said lighting doesn’t strike the same place twice, but I was lucky enough to be chosen as a pillion rider again (I did  last year too!).

Shahrol Yuzy was yet again our rider. We donned full leather and complete safety gears, then hang on to dear life while Shahrol rode the 600cc Supersport Yamaha bike up to 210 km/h right in front of KLCC.

There were light rain last year and I think we went a bit slower, the condition this year was perfect so he went all out. I sweated a bucket load, but the experience was awesome!

Asia Cup series race car
Asia Cup series race car & F1 drivers taxi ride

Another racing vehicle that got on the road was the Asia Cup series race car. That “baby F1″ machine was not any less impressive.

A few lucky guys, including my buddy Willy, got to be passengers in taxi rides driven by Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in Mercedes A45 AND Mercedes A250 respectively as well. It was surely an experience of a life time.

Nico and Lewis also demonstrated the F1 routine in PETRONAS PRIMAX fuelling session, the only time we get to see this up close and personal with KLCC as the backdrop.

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, after demo run with F1 race car
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, after demo run with F1 race car

The two professional drivers then showcased their skills on the F1 race car as well, racing down Jalan Ampang in front of KLCC and burning tyres doing spins right at the intersection of Jalan Ampang and Jalan P. Ramlee. An impressive sight to say the least.

Lewis Hamilton introduced as PETRONAS Primax's Technical Performance Consultant
Lewis Hamilton introduced as PETRONAS Primax’s Technical Performance Consultant

At the event, Lewis Hamilton was also announced as PETRONAS Primax’s Technical Performance Consultant. In this role, Hamilton, together with his team of experts will provide input to the PETRONAS team to continue innovate PETRONAS PRIMAX to deliver greater efficiency and performance.

PETRONAS PRIMAX fuel is the result of the knowledge, technology and innovation obtained through the PETRONAS Fluid Technology SolutionsTM (FTS), a formula that maximises engine performance, available at over 1000 PETRONAS stations nationwide.

It was safe to say that the drivers had a great week in Malaysia, as they ended up finishing One-Two in  Malaysia Grand Prix!

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For those who loves classic Hokkien dishes, Hua Xing would be a  place you shouldn’t miss. For reasons unknown, I didn’t know the existence of this place until very recently, despite staying rather close to the area and actually visited the police station just across this restaurant for “official business“, furthermore, Sing Kee is also one of the restaurants we frequent.

Restaurant Hua Xing at Sungai Way, Petaling Jaya
Restaurant Hua Xing at Sungai Way, Petaling Jaya

Most of it though, has to do with the location of this place. Situated on the first floor of a fantastically planned shopping strip that is Plaza Seri Setia (conveniently situated behind a row of shop houses), it is but 50 meters from Federal Highway, but well hidden enough that you’d never find Carmen Sandiego if he take up residence in this building.

Anyway, the restaurant has a pretty clean, air conditioned interior, with photos of various dishes plastered on the wall, which was helpful. Food arrived in less than 10 minutes after we ordered, definitely a good thing.

Hokkien braised pork with "alkaline" kuih
Hokkien braised pork with “alkaline” kuih, or Hong Bak in Hokkien

I’m ashamed to be a Hokkien for not having heard about Hong Bak before, and how insanely awesome this dish is. Really fat cuts of pork braised in thick, sinful gravy accompanied with soft “alkaline” kuih. The kuih is like a softer version of char kuih kak’s kuih, and really goes well with the gravy. Of course, those fatty pork doesn’t hurt at all. I love it.

bitter gourd Hokkien mee, potato flour noodle, fried eggplant, rice wine chicken
bitter gourd Hokkien mee, potato flour noodle, fried eggplant, rice wine chicken

Another notable dish here is the fried eggplant. It reminds me of the version at Serai which I loved, both are deep fried, one with sugar (Serai), and another with plenty of garlic. Very delicious and positively addictive, I will order this every time I’m here.

The bitter gourd Hokkien mee is a nice change from the ordinary version which can be a tad “jelak” after having the 2nd bowl. The slight bitterness from the vege neutralize the dark sauce in a positive way, I like it.

Potato flour noodle was a bit of a disappointment for us, a bit too dry for my liking, and doesn’t offer any advantage in taste either.

The rice wine (or actually red yeast) chicken was another old school dish that we tried, it could do better with heavier dose of red wine/yeast thingy but the dish held its own nonetheless. It’d be better with rice, we had noodle, so a bit of mismatched there.

Yuki, Horng, Suan, and KY
Yuki, Horng, Suan, and KY at Hua Xiang, Sungei Way

Over all, the dinner at Hua Xing was a positive one. I believe we’ll definitely head back there again. I only wish that the parking situation is a bit more favourable though.

map to Hua Xing at Sungai Way

Address:
Hua Xiang Restaurant
Lot1-12, 1st Floor, 
Plaza Seri Setia, 
Jalan SS9/2, Seri Setia, 
Sungei Way,
47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS3.085874, 101.62023
Tel03-7876 3288
Hours: lunch and dinner, closed on alternate Wednesdays

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