Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / August 2009

The epitome of laziness in Malaysian citizens can be summed up by the availability of instant noodle at food outlets, usually mamak stores. Though I haven’t traveled to many countries in this world, in those I have been, I failed to spot a single restaurant offering instant noodle outside places such as 7-11 (where you have to boil it the noodle yourself anyway)

Alisan Mamak at SS4
mamak stall at SS4 (near Taman Bahagia LRT)

This phenomena seems rather recent, for the life of me, I can’t remember anyone ordering any maggie or indomie goreng from mamak stalls before the turn of millennium.

But some 10 years ago, after a particular mamak stall owner not named Samy Vellu decided that there would be a market for prepare indomie goreng, maggie soup, and so forth. It’ll be a dish that is as simple as boiled instant noodle with an egg, or like in this case, maggie goreng with a little bit of other ingredients normally found in Indian/mamak mee goreng.

maggie goreng at ss4 mamak
maggie goreng with extra chili padi, slurps

The rest, well, is history. Today you find instant noodle offered in virtually all mamak stalls and some restaurants all over the country. I’m sure pretty soon Singaporean might claim that they had started it all too.

One of my favorite places for a plate of maggie goreng is the mamak stall at Alisan (at SS4, the one on the road, closest to Chinese kopitiam). I sometimes have mine with extra chili padi for a more intense kick. There are also traces of tofu, cabbage, egg, bean sprouts, and maybe a little bit of shallots, all contributing to the unique taste of that spicy and wholesomeness.

This particular mamak stall opens from around 6pm till probably around 3am, they also serve roti canai, nasi goreng, mee goreng, and all your favorite diabetes inducing drinks. Kurang Manis is a must.

Jalan SS 2/4A,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS: 3.111388, 101.611133

Earlier this year, I had a tragic accident happened to me. Basically it was this extremely uncooperative lamp post that just wouldn’t stay still and decided to meet my car squarely face to face. You can read about it here.

The outcome wasn’t pretty, but thank goodness nothing major came out if it. I walked away basically unscathed, but the car, even with the  engine located at the back, suffered quite a hit, as you can witness from the photo below.

one should always take a photo for memory sake (suggested by the cop)

Well, since I bought insurance with full coverage for the car, I naturally did a claim and the car is fully fixed now. However, I did lose the NCB (no claim bonus). A decent discount that I had enjoy over the years being a very cautious and careful driver.

accidents happen, FOL

Just to show that accidents do happen and is something that we can’t avoid. This year alone Horng had a couple accidents, Kim’s car was hit once, Yee Hou had his car flipped avoiding a cat, and most recently, Joshua’s car was banged pretty badly by some another car. Even Tim too joined the club.

With car insurance, it works pretty straight forward. If you did not do a claim (not everyone above did), you get a discount for the following year. If you do, the NCB goes to zilch. That, to me, is pretty fair.

Which makes me wonder why no one had ever thought of this very same scheme for health insurance, until I heard about it during the Prudential Health Challenge I attended last weekend (will write about that soon).

PruHealth NCB

It is pretty straight forward, if you don’t claim in the first year, you get a bonus for the next. Which makes perfect sense to me, stay healthy, get rewarded.

Now that wasn’t rocket science. I think I’m going to get my agent to talk over about this plan when I see him again next. I do hold a Prudential health insurance policy. Check out PruHealth website for more.

When I told a few friends I’m heading to Melbourne on August, the common response was “you have to go to Mt. Buller!”.

Well, since my last ski trip was some 8 years ago back  in Minnesota, I managed to convince Mellissa that we should take this opportunity to ski as it is also the last winter for her in Melbourne. This was my 3rd ski trip.

Ski rental at Mount Buller
ski equipment rental place at the foot of the mountain

We booked our day trip at this very Chinese travel agent on Swanston street called Extragreen and signed up for their package for day trip to Mt. Buller.

My adult ticket for unlimited chair lift and ski equipment was $193 and Mellissa paid $172 for her pass which includes a 2 hour ski lesson and seven char lift pass (student rate). We also ended up paying extra $37 each to rent waterproof jackets and pants which proved to be a necessity.

car park and ski lift at Mt. Buller
this is where we got off the bus and took the chairlift

We had to wake up at 4+ in the morning, got ready and met in the city by 5:45am for the tour bus. By the time we got to the ski equipment rental shop at the foothill of Mt. Buller, it was already around 10am. We decided that it was a good idea to invest $20 for a pair of winter gloves at the shop (another wise idea).

After getting our equipments (ski, poles, boots, jackets and pants), we boarded the bus and finally reached the car park at around 11am. This was where we had to abandoned all our luggage in the bus, changed, and take a rather scary chairlift to the ski area.

KY and Mell skiing!
skiing is of course, loads of fun!

While Mell had her two hour lesson, I went to the green slope (easiest) for a few runs and came back to check her progress from time to time. I managed to fall quite a few times but luckily the snow was quite soft and it wasn’t too cold at around 1-2 Celsius.

After shaking off a bit of rust, I went to explore the other slopes and managed to fall a few more times on the tougher trails. Some of the downhill slopes were just too steep and too fast for me even though it’s supposed to be easy/medium. Oh well.
Lousy hot dog at Mount Buller
absolutely terrible hotdog at the Burnt Hut restaurant

After her lesson we stopped by the Burnt Hut restaurant by the main chairlift to stuff our stomach with some really terrible food, the hotdog and chips were tasteless and cost $8.50 each. Hot chocolate and latte too were horrific and extra expensive, but that’s what you get at places like this I suppose.

Tried to convince Mell to try the green slope but it proved to be a bit too much of a challenge for beginner so we went to the bunny hills for a bit more. I later went to the green slope for a bit more, which kinda upset the young lady cos I abandoned her at Burnt Hill. =/

On the way back, we saw a wombat grazing from 30 meter in the air, that thing was huge. The bus took the scenic route back to Melbourne city and we also spotted a couple kangaroos in the wild. My trip is complete!

It was already 8:30pm when we reached the city, went for a quick dinner at Mekong before heading back for a hot shower and crashed completely. Our bodies are still aching.

The most important reason I am now writing this post all the way from Melbourne is to attend Mellissa’s 21st birthday. She has one of the easiest to remember birthday of anyone I know, on 8.8.88, you can’t get any more auspicious than that.

Just a night after I arrived, on the eve of her birthday, we had dinner at Vialetto, a little restaurant at Hardware Lane serving Italian food. The food was very pedestrian and nothing to shout about, so despite taking a tonnes of photos from the restaurant, I shall refrain from writing about a place that I wouldn’t return.

Mellissa's 21st Birthday
Charlie’s bar is located at the quaint Hardware Lane

Right after dinner, we adjourned to Charlie’s bar a couple doors down the lane. The bar itself is located at the basement level with some tables outdoor (not exactly very awesome to be outdoor in winter, though heater is provided). The service was really good, our server made sure the reserved area is vacated as soon as we arrived and took orders in very efficient and professional manner.

The guys arrived soon enough and by 11pm the group grew to some 30 people, including all of Mellissa’s housemates, university friends, and other friends from KL including Zehan, Pinky and her bf Kah Kit too.

Mell's birthday at Charlie's bar
Zehan, KY, Mell, Kah Kit, Sam, Pinky, Mell,
JW, Harvey, Singz, Graeme, Mark, Ian, Mrina, and more!

At the end of the night Mellissa got quite tipsy, though luckily still quite manageable. The guys love the drinks at Charlie’s bar, the cocktails were made just right with enough amount of proper alcohol. The place was quaint and comfortable, even the music too was good. Everyone had a great time, and of course, the no indoor smoking policy in the city always help.

Minor set back of the whole evening was the lack of a cake but oh well, Mell did bake a chocolate cake 2 days later, heehee. Happy Birthday darling!

p/s: Going skiing at Mt. Buller in less than 12 hours, I’m very anxious for my first ski trip in 8 years, gonna be Mell’s first heehee.

Those who have been reading this blog for some time might realise that pho is one of my favorite foods of all time. My love for this simple Vietnamese noodle dish started from my year long stint in Northern Virginia, and later re-enforced from the 9 trips to Vietnam that I made in my previous job.

Pho Dzung at Richmond, VIC
pho Dzung is located in Richmond, VIC

During my previous visit to Melbourne, I visited the very popular Mekong Vietnamese Restaurant right on Swanston Street. While it was pretty good, at least a couple readers commented that the best pho is found in Richmond, the Vietnamese community that is located just a few kilometers away from Melbourne CBD.

So on this second trip to Melbourne, I looked up online and found this Pho Dzung place at Richmond that is said to be one of the bests in this part of the world.

coagulated cow's blood, Vietnamese spring roll
coagulated cow’s blood and Vietnamese spring roll

Mellissa and I took a train from Melbourne Central to North Richmond and walked a few hundred meter to the east on Victoria Street, passing quite a number of other Vietnamese and Asian restaurants, fresh seafood shops, and Asian grocers before reaching no. 208.

At 3pm, Pho Dzung was still packed with people to the point where we had to be seated upstairs. It was definitely the correct place to be.

beef pho at pho dzung
special beef combination pho with plenty of basil leaves and bean sprouts

The menu is rather simple, rice noodle soup with the usual suspects: rare beef, tripe, brisket, tendon, cartilage, meat ball, chicken, and even beef pizzle (yes, beef penis!).

Mell ordered a bowl of beef pho ($7 for small) and I went for the beef combination, we also asked for a plate of deep fried Vietnamese spring roll to share.

Right after I made my order, I spotted coagulated ox blood ($1) on the menu, so of course, I asked for that. The waiter asked if I actually wanted a bowl of ox blood in liquid form, but that would have been a bit too intense for my liking.

Mellissa and KY at Pho Dzung
we had a very satisfying lunch

The spring rolls were quite small in size but certainly not lacking in taste, crunchy on the outside and flavorful on the inside, a perfect way to open up the appetite. The coagulated blood though, was not as tasty as the pork or duck version I enjoy in Penang curry mee and kueh teow soup, but not bad nonetheless.

As for the beef noodle, the soup was simple excellent. The aromatic beef stock was sweet and to be frank, one of the bests I’ve had from anywhere. If you find yourself in Melbourne, you have to give this place a try, easily the best $20 lunch for two at this part of the world.

map to Pho Dzung at Richmond, Vic

Pho Dzung Tan Dinh
208 Victoria St
Richmond 3121 VIC

GPS: -37.81042,144.998181
Tel: 03-9427 0292