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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / July 2010

Way back in 2005, just a few months after starting this blog, I ran out of things to write. Ideas came in, and the first one that I considered was to actually specialized on all things bak kut teh.

That idea was of course, a little too limiting, but it was the seed that eventually spawn this humble food blog. So there you go, a little bit of background that you most likely don’t care on a Friday. :D

Friendship Bak Kut Teh at Taman Cheras
Friendship Bak Kut Teh, with pork tripe soup, braised pork knuckle

Anyway, bak kut teh remains one of my favorite Malaysian Chinese food. Today, I shall introduce this particular unassuming bak kut teh stall at Cheras that was one of Haze‘s regular dinner spots.

The bak kut teh stall is situated just a stone’s throw away from the biggest intersection in Cheras. Other than bak kut teh, the friendly female owner serves up really pork tripe soup that has a pretty good kick too.

Bak Kut Teh with enoki mushroom
clay pot bak kut teh with enoki mushroom

The bak kut teh comes with all the usual ingredients – pork, fatty pork, liver, intestine, stomach, and like a lot of the more modern outlets – enoki mushroom too. While I can’t say that the soup is the best I’ve had, it quite decent, and I do like the extra spicy chili padi they serve.

If you eat here, make sure you order yau char kwai though. The lady source this from her ex husband and it’s really one of the best yau char kwai I’ve had with bak kut teh. Like a lot of places, you get to choose from oily or normal steamed rice.

KY & Haze
KY and Haze, late night bak kut teh dinner

While strictly speaking, this isn’t the best tasting bak kut teh, I do love going there for it’s ambiance and the warm and fuzzy feeling the owner always exude. The pork tripe soup and of course, the yau char kwai give more than good enough reasons to visit there too. (have yet to try the braised pork knuckle yet).

Friendship bak kut teh is open from evening till about 1am.

Bak Kut Teh at Taman Cheras, map

Address:
Friendship Bak Kut Teh
45, jalan 3/101c
Cheras Business Centre,
56100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.099368, 101.738816

Friendship Bak Kut Teh

Earlier this month I got a call from Sashi of BMW asking if I was free the next Tuesday. I knew immediately that it was going to be something special, I agreed without thinking twice. As it turned out, together with Gareth, Kim, and a bunch of other more serious media representatives, Haze and I were invited to the first ever MINI Driver Training at Sepang International Circuit.

The reason it took me a while to blog this entry was that Haze went absolutely perfectionist and took quite a bit of time to edit the 4-minute video above. Please view the clip in its entirety, I guarantee that it is almost as awesome as the trailer of Inception.

The videos were mainly shot with 2 GoPro cameras mounted on various spots both in and outside the MINI we drove. Haze bought the cameras as a gift to us not long ago, and it couldn’t have been better timed. The (very few) lower quality segments were shot with the Canon S90.

Mini Driver Training
classroom training, and check out the row of MINI Cooper S

The day started super early, earlier than my usual work day. BMW had it all over planned yet again (just like my BMW Drive experience), as we were getting close to Sepang International Circuit, there were already signs ala Malay wedding style guiding us to the paddock area of the track.

We were then given our individual name tags, breakfast, and then followed by a brief but very informative session of theory in the classroom. We learnt about how to seat adjustments, proper way of using the steering wheels, reaction time, braking distance, and other things that we often thought we know but actually we might have been doing it in the wrong way all these while.

Mini Cooper S - oversteering training
Mini Cooper S – oversteering lesson

After a little refreshment (catered by Shangri-la no less), it was time for hands on lesson. We first started with the slalom course to get familiarized  with the car and the proper way of handling the steering wheel. Every car were equipped with a walkie talkie with the instructors constantly giving us feedbacks and words of encouragements (as well as warnings, of course.)

Mini Cooper S - driver training at Sepang
Mini Cooper S – with 184 hp under the hood

We then split into two groups of 6 cars and headed to different lessons.

Our first was emergency lane change. It is a technique of switching lane in a very fast manner by turning the wheel 180 degree to each side in one very rapid maneuver. We did it progressively faster and had to avoid killing Luigi and Mario (the cones).

Then it was straight line braking. Slamming the brake hard as we could and getting to know how that feel and how much distance the car would travel before it stops. For example, from 30 km/h it takes only 3 meter, but at 60 km/h it’s a whopping 12 meter. Doubling the speed takes 4 times as far to stop the car!

Haze, KY, Gareth, Kimberly
Haze & KY, Gareth & Kim

Next was understeering and how to counter it. This was done by spraying some water on the road to reduce traction.

After that we combined the earlier two techniques and did the brake and swerve maneuver. A technique that could very well save our lives in emergency situations. Knowing what to do during emergency is one thing, but without practiced it is that much harder to execute in real life situations.

The most fun lesson (and probably the most useless) was the Agent Turn. We were taught how to start the car in reverse and flip it around to continue in straight line in one super cool and stomach churning move. It was awesome, I seriously want to try it with my car one of these days.

Mini Cooper S at Sepang International Circuit
MINI at Sepang Track

After a whole day’s lesson, it was time to put everything to test. This came in the form of the MINI Challenge contest. We were given two practice and two timed run on the slalom course. I came up on top with the time of 20.38 (as recorded by the trainers) in our group. Gareth and Haze finished 2nd and 3rd in our group too.

We did pretty well, though the other group consists of mostly motoring journalists had better time, oh well…

KY and Haze winning Mini Challenge
Haze, Gareth, and I finished top 3 in our group!

After the certificate and prize giving ceremony, we were treated with a few rounds of driving on the Sepang International Circuit – the full track! This was the second time I had the chance to drive on the track, but the first time was only half the track and at night.

It was sheer joy driving the MINI on the track that’s as smooth as baby’s ass. I only wish we could have gone faster and push the car a little harder (but safety first I guess), it was awesome nonetheless.

GoPro wide shot
we were obviously happy max, thanks Sashi!

After the track, it was already time to go. I touched the MINI one last time before reluctantly got into my car and head back. The training costs something like RM 1.7k but I seriously think it was value for money.

The trainers are highly qualified and respected professionals like Ivan Khong (my fav sifu), Hammond Lai, Irwan, and Wong Kah Keen who weren’t only very good but injected joy and humor despite having to work under the hot sun while we hid in the comfort of air conditioned cars. The food was great, and you actually get to go all out in brand new MINIs too.

I highly recommend anyone who owns a MINI or who are going to have one to attend this course to know your car better. Others without a MINI could of course still benefit tremendously with this course.

When do we do this again, Sashi? :D

The urban dictionary definition for Bubu refers to “the hottest most beautiful women out there“. The relationship of the word Bubu and Eiling, however, isn’t one that’s defined on the site (though she might disagree).

Eiling, instead, invited us to a food review at Bubu Restaurant at the little quaint Hotel Rae. If the name sounds familiar, it is because the same boss also own Bubu Long Beach Resort at Perhentian island.

Bubu Restaurant at Tengkat Tong Shin
Bubu Restaurant at Tengkat Tong Shin

Bubu is a Spanish restaurant that has a heavy dose of specialization on grilled food. While Eiling emphasized that they also serve the best paella she’s ever tasted, our review concentrate mostly on their grilled stuff instead.

I find it better that way, Spanish food is dangerously falling into what Japanese food has suffered – be associated with only a very small subset of what the cuisine has to offer. With Japanese it was sashimi and sushi, with Spanish food, paella and tapas.

grilled calamari
the excellent grilled calamari

The grilled calamari was my favorite dish from the night. A very simple dish of squid grilled to perfection and served with green chili paste with unique blend of spiciness a slightly salty/sour lime taste, the whole concoction rests on a bed of salad. The dish was as visually appealing as it was tasty.

crab cake, wine, bruschetta mushroom with cheese
crab cake, wine, bruschetta mushroom with cheese

Our dinner actually got started with some crab cake and some red wine. While the crab cake’s decent, you should save your stomach and look into other dishes Bubu has to offer.

Bruschetta mushroom with cheese, however, did serve as a delicious stomach liner before heading to the grilled seafoods. Anything with cheese and mushroom can’t go wrong.

grilled tiger prawn, grilled marlin skewer, Chateaubriand steak
grilled tiger prawn, grilled marlin skewer, Chateaubriand steak

Other than the grilled calamari mentioned above, we had grilled tiger prawn and marlin skewer. The tiger prawns were huge, and we could smell it before the dish was served. Succulent and sweet, I would have it again in a heart beat.

The marlin skewer is a new dish to me. I found it to be quite meaty, and while still juicy thanks to the cubes of vegetable and garnish sitting between the fish, you’ll need to have it with some sauce to bring out the otherwise pretty bland taste.

Then we had the Chateaubriand steak, a thick cut of really juicy tenderloin prepared medium rare. This is a dish usually shared by a couple, and I would be happier if it was arranged that way, for it was so good I wish I had more to myself.

moist brownie with ice cream, Crepe Suzette
moist brownie with ice cream, Crepe Suzette

While almost all girls believe that they always deserve desserts, guys are usually less of a fan. That said, I do enjoy occasional sweet pastry or two after meal.

The moist brownie with ice cream was decent, though I personally would always prefer molten chocolate cake instead, and the Crepe Suzette too wasn’t bad. But really, I don’t think desserts are what Bubu is all about.

ciki, haze & KY, eiling, yiling & bf, Joe
ciki, haze & KY, eiling, yiling & bf, Joe

We did have a very good time at Bubu, except for desserts, food were excellent. The allure of Tengkat Tong Shin adds to the overall experience, and of course, we had great company.

So Eiling, when are we having the paella you promised? :P

map to Bubu Restaurant

Address:
Bubu Restaurant
Hotel Rae
No. 42 A, Tengkat Tong Shin,
50200, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.146515, 101.707950
Tel: 03- 2142 2988

Bubu Rooftop Restolounge

Slightly over a decade ago, I bought my very first car, a used 1987 Honda Accord for US $1,700. That was equivalent to about 3 months worth of working part time for 20 hours per week on campus.

honda accord, 1987
my faithful 1987 Honda Accord

I bought the car at  Wichita, Kansas while visiting a friend and drove it all the way to St. Cloud, Minnesota. A journey of about 1,100 km that took about 12 hours.

With the same car, I drove alone from Minnesota to Washington DC to celebrate the Millenium New Year with a couple of friends. This time it was over 2000 km and 2 days driving (including sleep, eat, pee, etc), each way.

It was the type of stunt crazy college students do, but also a testament of the endurance the car.

honda civic type-R FD2
Honda Civic Type-R FD2 for Merdeka Millenium Race

The picture above is the Honda Civic Type-R FD2, a bit of a far cry from my old 1987 Honda Accord but with the same engineering philosophy and a healthy dose of racing spirit behind it. This is the car Honda Malaysia Racing Team (HMRT) use to compete in the famed Merdeka Millenium Endurance Race (MME), one of the toughest racing event in Asia.

This year, the grueling 12-hour endurance race will be held on 5-8th August at Sepang International Circuit. This competition is about strategy, speed, stamina, team work, and of course, durability of the machine. Honda captures the experience from events like this to continuously improve on their offerings.

Honda MME results

HMRT came up with 2nd place in class A (production car with engine exceeding 2000 cc) last year.

So, you might ask. Yah, and what’s this gotta do with me, especially since most of us aren’t exactly race car drivers. Well, there is a challenge Honda Malaysia cooked up.

Honda Racing Ultimate Challenge

Again, with all contests, the most important thing is the prizes, so lets get that out of the way:

  • Grand Prize – 2 x Apple Macbook per team
  • 2nd Prize – 2x iPhone 3GS per team
  • 3rd Prize – 2x iPod Touch per team
  • Consolation Prize – 28 Alpinestar Racing merchandise

The mechanics of the contest is also actually very fun, especially if you’re into racing and  go-karting.

  1. To join, simply head to honda.com.my, register, answer 5 questions on the contest page and complete a slogan.
  2. Shortlisted participants get to choose a friend to form a team for Go-Kart Endurance Race on 7th August. 20 teams with most laps completed move to the final round
  3. Final race – 7th August 11pm to 8th August 12pm. The race will be revealed on MME Race Day, and winners announced on same day too.

It’s that simple, so are you up for the challenge? I think I’m gonna have to go do a few rounds of practice on the Go-Kart track.

A few weeks ago, my younger brother drop by my place when he was in KL for some convention/seminar/boring events some weeks ago to give me a 3 packets of happiness tightly sealed in plastic bags, and a big cylindrical can of this strange looking snack that looks like very tiny potato chips.

Romulo's garlic chips with chili
say hello to my younger brother!

The generic pack of pork rind tasted just as good as any that I’ve had, super crunchy, slightly salty, and absolutely addictive. Since I had 3 packs, I gave one away to Kim my fellow #porkgang member. It is also her birthday today so I guess that packet of pork is now considered her be-earliered birthday present. :P

For the uninformed, pork rind (or pork cracklings, scratchings, check wiki entry) is basically deep fried cured pork skin. It’s the best snack any Atkin diet followers could get, and contrary to popular misconception, pork rind actually contains more protein and less fat (since it’s deep fried to crunchy) than your usual chips!

Suan, Gareth, Kim, and Ringo
Suanie, Gareth, Kim, and Ringo noming away

While pork rind was already one of my favorite snacks of all time, I didn’t know a thing about this little chips – Romulo’s garlic chips with chili!

It’s basically very thinly sliced garlic that’s marinated with a good dosage of chili, deep fried, and sprinkled with more spices and chili powder when done (based on pure speculation).

The end product is spicy, extremely fragrant, and absolutely vampire proof. If you find this anywhere around here, let me know, or if you’re going to pinoyland anytime soon…. get some for me! (and suan too, read her post!)

Mine is running out, I’m gonna miss the garlic chips. Might even need to make some myself once the kitchen is done. Warghhhhh!