Kyspeaks.com

Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / September 2010

One of my regular dinner/supper places is at the mamak square of SS2. Unlike many other mamak places, this square offers Malay, Chinese, and Mamak food altogether, and as a matter of mutual respect, serves pork free food all around.

Nan An Ah Seng chicken rice at SS2 Mamak Square
Nan An Ah Seng 南安阿成 chicken rice at SS2 Mamak Square

Tucked at the corner of the square is one of my favorite chicken rice stalls around  town – Nan An Ah Seng chicken rice.

Unlike most other chicken rice stalls, this one only serves steamed chicken (with limited chicken gizzards and liver) and bean sprouts. You’re out of luck if you are looking for roast chicken, roast pork, or bbq pork here.

steamed chicken and bean sprouts
steamed chicken and bean sprouts

There isn’t much to describe about chicken rice I guess, the steamed chicken you find here is basically one of the smoothest you can get anywhere. The sauce is a bit thicker than the usual soya sauce + oil mixture, the version here has a hint of oyster sauce.

The chili also carries a good kick too.

Haze and KY at SS2 Mamak
Haze and KY at SS2 Mamak

A plate of chicken rice goes for about RM 4.50 and the stall operates from dinner to super late supper time (around 1 in the morning).

Other than chicken rice, the Ramli Burger and Ah Leong fried rice here are awesome too.

map to ss2 mamak chicken rice

Address:
Jalan SS 2/60
Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS: 3.117558, 101.622323

Sharks fins soup

September 27, 2010 63 Comments

One of the questions I often get is “is there anything you not eat?”

My answer would be “everything a normal person would eat, except for kiwi and endangered species”.

Kiwi cos I had allergic reactions to it a couple times in my life, and endangered species, well, it’s nice to have bio-diversity and save some for the future generations.

I’d eat a dog before I eat a pangolin, basically.

sharks fin survey results

A few days ago I put up this simple survey (utilizing Nuffnang’s poll function, poll now closed) in order to gauge some of your thoughts with regards to sharks fin. There were close to 100 of you who responded (thank you!), and I must say the results are a bit surprising.

  • close to a quarter of readers think sharks fin is a must in Chinese wedding dinners
  • 30% will order sharks fin if price wasn’t a factor
  • almost everyone knows the cruelty in shark finning, or do not care

reef shark
a graceful reef shark, photo taken on my trip to Sipadan

As a matter of principle, I have already stopped eating shark’s fin soup even when it’s served over wedding dinners.

I’ll let you read about the damage shark finning can do to the environment and how completely nutrition-less and potentially poisonous mercury laden these fins are on your own leisure. However, for the sake of environmental preservation, we as consumer should stop demanding for these soup.

After all, it’ll be crazy to demand for tiger meat for your wedding, right?

Stuffed crab is one of those dishes that is so good you wonder why they only have it in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. My best guess is that we don’t have enough very kind and toothless aunties here in KL to separate crab meat from the seafood, that or there was an agreement for that during the formation of Malaya to protect the eastern states’ interests..

After all, aren’t our government known for setting up special agreements and policies to protect interests of certain groups all the time?

Tong Juan restaurant, Kemaman
restaurant Tong Juan at Chukai, Kemaman

The first time I had stuffed crab was only earlier this year at a pretty busy Pak Su seafood restaurant near Kuantan. The experience was rather good and I have been thinking of a repeat for this dish since.

So when the opportunity to have it again arises while on the way back from our previous trip to Redang last weekend, we naturally took it. This time we went to Tong Juan at Kemaman, located at the ideal spot that is just about half way point between KL and Kuala Terengganu.

stuffed crab, this is what we're here for
stuffed crab, this is what we’re here for

14 of us went in and Terence did the ordering, and for the first (and probably the last) time, the dude did not over order.

We had stuffed crab for everyone, grilled tiger prawns, spicy squid, vegetable, fish ball soup, and fried rice. This was for lunch on a Sunday (a working day in Kemaman, feed your parking machine)

grilled prawns, spicy squid
grilled prawns, spicy squid

While those super health conscious might complain that the stuffed crab at Tong Juan is a little too oily, I had no problem with it.  The crabs were good! With plenty of crab meat plus finely chopped onion and who knows what else in it. This is definitely a must-order.

The huge grilled tiger prawns were another awesome dish. They were easily the size of my palm and grilled with a bit of stuffed garlic at the back, a nice variation, delicious.

stuffed crab, fish ball soup, vegetable, fried rice
stuffed crab, fish ball soup, vegetable, fried rice

Fried rice was pretty good as well, but I didn’t think the fish ball worth a repeat, they were pretty life less and uninspiring, if not a tad too salty too. Vegetable’s just to satisfy vitamin C quota and for color matching, nothing to report.

The bill came to about RM 27 or 28 per person including drinks, while not cheap, I think it is still reasonable and definitely worth going there again on my next east-coast trip.

location map to Tong Juan restaurant, Kemaman

Address:
Tong Juan restaurant
K-117 Jalan Sulaiman,
24000 Kemaman, Terengganu
GPS: 4.231314, 103.428383
Tel: 09-859 1346‎

I’ve always been a bit of a reader, from trivial wikipedia articles to ESPN sports analysis, and of course, books. This is how I spend my one hour or so LRT rides everyday.

Reading beats standing idle looking at strangers that slowly became nameless familiar faces over the months, reading also beats listening to music in the train unless a better way is found in to deal with my spontaneous dancing/karaoke sessions on public transport property.

Barnes and Noble Nook
my ebook reader – the Barnes and Noble Nook

I was one of the earliest adopters of ebook. In fact, back in 2003 I had a little Sony Clie PDA that I used to read on. The tiny screen displays pretty crisp colors, but suffers from the drawbacks of having relatively small memory, and rather miserable battery life. It was tough to find ebooks then too.

Then came the age of smart phones, I tried reading on my phones with mobipocket and so on but gave up eventually. The screens were too small, and LCD with back light was never kind to the eyes.

Many argues that physical book is best and that nothing beats the feel and smell and whatever, but I disagree. Book is good, but ebook readers with e-Ink technology are awesome. How about being able to store thousands of books in your hand, with built in dictionary, and weigh only as much as a typical book? Of course, there are more features too.

Barnes and Noble Nook, size comparison

Since most ebook readers use e-ink screens from the same company (and they are awesome, you can read under direct sun, battery life lasts over a week), choosing a reader for me became a slightly harder task.

After quite an extensive research, I narrowed down the choices to Kindle and Nook, and finally I got myself a Barnes and Noble Nook Wifi model, and this is why:

  • reads ePub (the most popular ebook format, lacking in Kindle), PDF, HTML, and graphics
  • has a webkit browser (like firefox/chrome) and wifi access
  • based on Android and has a community built firmware at Nookdev.com (with other open source apps too)
  • 2 screen design with color touch screen at the bottom for navigation
  • ability to add microSD card to extend the 2GB built in storage (Kindle doesn’t allow that)
  • plays MP3, comes with 3.5mm universal stereo phone jack
  • user replaceable battery
  • relatively light at 320 grams or so (less than half the weight of an iPad)
  • relatively low price at US $149

The only problem was well, Barnes and Noble doesn’t ship the Nook to Malaysia, and you can’t buy ebooks directly from B&N without some tricks. But fear not, there are many ways to skin this cat.

I got my nook from ipmart and paid some RM 800 including shipping and a nice leather sleeve. Alternatively, you can also get them via other shop/shipping sites like vshub or USunlocked. If you’re interested in buying ebooks from B&N directly, you can use a debit card with US billing address from services like the one from USunlocked (US $10 to get the card).

There are also free ebooks from the likes of Project Gutenberg as well as some other sources, use your imagination.

Believe it or not, the ebook readers sold at MPH are more expensive, and comes with quite a bit less features than the Nook, terrible.

I’ve had the Nook for about a month now, read half a dozen books on it and only had to charge it 3-4 times so far. The experience in fantastic, and I highly recommend anyone who love to read consider one of these e-ink readers seriously.

Just got back from Redang island for Project AWARE + diving trip. 2010 is now officially a diving year for me since this has turned out to be the 5th diving trip of the year after Sipadan/Mabul, 2 trips to Tenggol, and a previous trip to Redang in June.

Project AWARE at Redang
Haze, Joel, Wan Czin, Yuki, Horng, Ian, Irene, Vinn, Zess, Gabriel, Terence, KY

Project AWARE is also known by the less glamourous name of International Cleanup Day whereby beach enthusiasts all over the world come together and basically spend a morning clearing up a section of beach from things that shouldn’t be there.

Our group managed to picked up some 500+ cigarette buds from just one small stretch of beach in front of a resort, and there were 5 other teams that picked up similar amount of ciggy buds and other junks too. One other interesting thing we picked up, among ropes/bottle caps/slippers/etc was a piece of soiled underwear :S

Diving at Redang Island

Project AWARE is usually partly sponsored by the resort, and hence we also scored 3 dives at a reduced rate. However, the visibility weren’t great, and our instructor too were reluctant to take us to some of the more interesting/challenging sites due to the larger amount of divers on each trip. This was actually my 2nd participation of Project AWARE, with the previous one all the way back in 2004 at Redang, my 2nd dive trip.

After this trip, I now logged 45 dives in total, with 31 of them from this year and 14 from 2004.

3 Layer Tea and lor mai kai at Redang Beach resort

Since this is a space is sorta known as a food blog, I shall also introduce the best 3 layer tea from this side of Malaysia – the little kopitiam at Redang Beach Resort manned by an uncle. The blend of evaporated milk, tea, and palm sugar’s perfect! The lor mai kai (steamed glutinous chicken rice) is pretty awesome too!

As for accommodation, we stayed at Pelangi resort, which in my opinion is a bit better than Redang Beach resort. There’s attached toilet on each room instead of communal hostel style arrangement, for example. Food wise they’re both similarly sad though.

There’ll be a bit more on this trip in the coming post(s), but in the mean time, please help complete the survey on Shark’s fin on the side bar on your right. I need the information for an upcoming post, thanks!