Monthly Archives / August 2011
Just got back from Lang Tengah, plenty of underwater photos to process, some of them turned out quite well thanks to a loaner INON ultra wide angle dome unit.
Here a teaser picture:
a family of nemo at Lang Tengah (click pic for bigger version)
Clown fish (or better known as Nemo these days) is still one of my favorite subjects underwater, and Lang Tengah is home to many of them.
Proper travelog and more photos to be posted once I got them properly processed.
Remember a couple years ago, when suddenly out of nowhere there was this huge donut craze?
Big Apples and J.Co donuts (and later Krispy Kreme) were popping up everywhere, accompanying each new branch was always a long queue of customers eager to get a taste of fluffy pastry with a hole in the middle, it was quite a phenomena, well, at least until we got tired of it and the whole thing sort of tapered down.
The same thing is happening all over again, but this time around it is them Bubble Tea.
Chatime, only took a photo, wasn’t too impressed
Bubble tea is of course, nothing new in this country. The difference in these new establishments are not revolutionary, but they seemed to inject a breath of freshness in this old product.
Places like Chatime, Gongcha, and Ochado has one thing in common – they use updated ordering system and allows you to customize each drinks with different sugar and ice level as well as extra ingredients should you choose to add (pearl, grass jelly, etc). The tea are also brewed each day (or every few hours), no powdered form is used.
A fancy plastic seal is used to seal the drinks, only to be popped open by the oversize straw 2 seconds later.
Price wise, they are somewhere in between your average cup of Old Town drinks and Starbucks coffee, which means from around RM 5.90 to RM 7.90 or so, depending on the type of tea, additional pearl/jelly/milk froth, etc.
As of writing, Chatime has the most branches in Malaysia with a total of 15, you can find them as far as Melaka and Penang (check the listing here). I tried their milk tea with pearl and frankly, wasn’t too impressed. The tea tasted alright, it wasn’t too sweet, but at the same time didn’t give me any ummph I was hoping for. I wouldn’t line up for 20 mins to get a cup of Chatime bubble tea, but if I’m thirsty and there isn’t a line, I’ll probably still grab one.
G-K9, SSTwo Mall,
No. 40 Jalan SS2/72,
47400 Petaling Jaya
GPS: 3.12093, 101.62727
Website: Chatime at facebook
Gong Cha at SS 15, one of Haze’s favs
Then there’s Gong Cha at SS 15 and Mid Valley, just like Chatime, it is another Taiwanese chain that was started in the mid of last decade and recently arrived in Malaysia. Gong Cha is not nearly as prolific as Chatime, but I find their drinks quite a bit better in quality, especially those with perforated milk.
Their grass jelly and one particular winter melon tea were quite lovely. Lucky SS 15 is some distance from where I stay and they only open till 10 pm, otherwise I’d spend too much calorie quota at this place I think.
The white pearl (extra RM 1.50) at Gong Cha has a nice texture to it, but I couldn’t distinguised their standard black pearl (RM 1) with those from pasar malam, so no more black pearl for me.
No 3, Jalan SS15/7,
47500 Subang Jaya
GPS: 3.07629, 101.59040
Tel: 03-5638 3328
Ochado at Pavilion Tokyo Street is good, Suanie & Cheesie agrees!
My favorite of the lot though, is Ochado at Pavilion’s newest 6th floor section – Tokyo Street (that also house the popular ramen place – Hokkaido Santouka.
Ochado isn’t Taiwanese bubble tea, but Japanese instead (though this brand actually started from Singapore last year). To me the tea actually tasted a bit better, and so does their grass jelly. I’ve also tried their coffee with a type of “coffee pearl” that was simply marvelous.
When Cheesie tested it, she went “OMG IT HAS IKURA!“. The coffee pearl pops in your mouth and release concentrated flavors in small doses, I love it.
However, being in Pavilion also means that Ochado is slightly more expensive than the other two brands, but not more than extra RM 1 or 2 for similar drinks.
6.33.00 & 6.34.00, Level 6, Pavilion
Jln Bukit Bintang
GPS: 3.148872, 101.713368
Website: Ochado at Pavilion KL
For those who likes bubble tea, this is a good development. However, just like the donut craze, the Old Town & other modern kopitiam craze before, and the HK cha chan teng craze before that, eventually the bubble tea craze will come down and settle on a plateau. I’ll give it 1-2 years.
It is the time of the year again, it is now approaching the end of the 7th month in the lunar calendar, which means… jeng jeng jeng, Mid Autumn festival is just around the corner!
Now I’m not the most traditional chinaman out there, but one thing I love most about the Mid Autumn festival are the mooncakes. Yes, the Chinese bakery product that you can eat as breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even dessert (that is how I approach them anyway).
You are right, I love my mooncakes.
Tai Thong mooncakes, this stall is at Subang Jaya SS 14
I was invited to Tai Thong’s mooncake launch for 2011 (Kim attended) but unfortunately had to skip it due to work commitment, but of course, that does not stop me from getting them on my own. Last Friday I stopped by the Imperial Garden building at Subang
SS 14 SS 17 to grab myself a couple boxes of Tai Thong mooncakes.
mooncakes with more “traditional” skin, 12 varities to choose from
These mooncakes are the brain child of Tai Thong’s Group Executive Chef Yiu Wing Keung, and there is a total of some 20 types of flavors available, with 5 new flavors this year.
I bought a total of eight mooncakes, four from the four season collections – with the more traditional skin, and another four snow skin mooncakes. The mooncakes are divided into Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter collections.
lotus paste double yolks, and the interesting shrimp sambal mooncake
I still love my traditional lotus paste double yolks mooncake. As always, the combination of those salted egg yolks and lotus paste is a perfect blend of savory and sweetness. The only question I have is why haven’t someone come up with mooncake that has four egg yolks? (not enough interior space I guess… )
Then there’s the savory white lotus with shrimp sambal mooncake. You read it right, yes, shrimp sambal. I thought it was going to be super weird, but somehow the combination actually worked. It was refreshing and I gotta applaud the good chef’s creativity on this one. It was daring, and it was good!
The snowy white lotus & sesame with custard was a bit lighter, and the assorted fruit nuts with chicken bits mooncake perfect for someone who loves it chewy and full of nutty flavors.
there are 9 varieties of snow skin mooncakes
The snow skin mooncakes are a relatively recent phenomena (if you are generation-x or older that is), I love the minty and fresher taste the skin provides, but as a trade off, you have to keep them in the fridge.
The snow skin Japanese potato with custard has a sweetish taste in it’s smooth fillings, goes very well with some Chinese tea. Snow skin yam paste single yolk is one of my favorites too, salted egg yolk and yam are two of my favorite flavors, and they work well together.
assorted fruit nuts with chicken bits,
snow skin black sesame & green beans with cheese
Then there’s snow skin black sesame & green beans with cheese mooncake, I never knew mooncake could have cheese in them, but this one certainly does, and you gotta try it for yourself, it was slightly odd at first, but turned out to pretty good too.
The snow skin silky vanilla chestnut, on the other hand, is a more soothing experience that provides the taste that one would expect from the ingredients listed.
it looks like not only the two humans who enjoy Tai Thong mooncakes
Among the 8 flavors I tried, if I have to pick my favorites, they gotta be the traditional lotus paste with double yolks (call me a traditionalist), the savory white lotus shrimp sambal for Autum (really!), and the snow skin yam paste with single yolk. I guess I just really love the combination of savory + sweetness in mooncakes.
Tai Thong mooncake packaging
Tai Thong mooncakes come in four season aluminum boxes that are beautiful to look at, practical to use, and environmentally friendly to recycle.
From 11th July until 4th September, Tai Thong is running the Sweetest Snapshot Contest too.
- Weeks 1 -2 are Early Bird Weeks, where 1 Apple iPad 2 + RM100 Voucher are to be won each week
- Weeks 3-7 are Standard Weeks, where 1 Apple iPad 2 + RM100 voucher are to be won as 1st prize, 1 Apple iPhone 4 + RM100 Voucher are to be won as 2nd prize each week
- Week 8 is Grand Prize Week, where 1 Apple iPad 2 + Apple iPhone 4 + RM500 voucher are to be won
Do log into http://www.facebook.com/TaiThong, like the page, and win some stuff already!
note: this is a sponsored post
In today’s world of computing, devices are definitely embracing better and better mobility. A decade ago laptop was your best portable gadget, a few years ago it was netbook, but now, it is definitely the era of tablets.
Unlike pure content consumption with a limited screen space a smart phone provides, and the still limited portability a netbook offers, tablet strikes a very good middle ground that gives us the best of both worlds, and the newly launched Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a perfect specimen of this evolution.
here’s the white & black samsung galaxy tab 10.1
I was invited to a blogger’s only preview of the device that was organized with Celcom and Samsung a couple weeks before the launch, and the good people from Samsung even let us get a hold of the tab for a few days to play with it (check out the short video here).
The tab comes in either white or black (photo above has Cheesie holding the white, and myself holding the black tab… but you can’t tell can you?) colored black plate, for the benefit of the geeks, lets look at the specifications first, shall we?
specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
The graphic above illustrates the dimension of this beautiful gadget. There’s an On/Off button, a set of volume up/down buttons, front (2MP) & back cameras (3MP), a standard 3.5mm jack for headsets, and a SIM card slot. The whole thing is only 8.5mm thick, making the Galaxy Tab 10.1 the thinnest tablet yet, and at 565 grams, one of the lightest too.
The screen is also the brightest I’ve seen, with a 16:10 aspect ration (1280 x 800 pixels) spread across the 10.1″ LCD real estate when measured diagonally, yes, this is where the name comes from too. The screen is simply stunning, you gotta see it for yourself.
look at how thin this tablet is, only 8.6 mm
Under the hood there’s the 1 GHz dual-core NvidiaTegra 2 processor with 1 GB RAM and 16 GB ROM.
Of course, for a tablet, connectivity is very important:
- HSPA +21 850/900/1900/2100
- Wifi 802.11 a/b/g/n dual band support (2.4, 5Ghz)
- Bluetooh 3.0
Which basically means, almost every single wireless data technology except for the old infrared that you grandfather might still be using.
Samsung put in a 7000 mAh battery in the tab, and this is good for some 9 hours of movies or up to 72 hours of music. When I was reviewing it, 3-4 hours of playing and online activities uses close to half the juice, so the claim should be pretty accurate.
note: full specs here.
stunning youtube application, 3D google map, and … this blog on Galaxy Tab 10.1
This gadget of course, runs the latest Android honeycomb that is built specifically for tablets. This comes with, for example, the latest Google Map application that has 3D maps for certain locations (and hopefully Malaysia soon), Picasa web album synchronizations, and an updated YouTube application too.
The Picasa web album is pretty neat, after signing in with my Google account, the photos I took with my Android phone magically appears on the tab too. This would be very handy especially for blogging & digital manipulation on the tab before sharing to the public. I love this feature.
There are also now a host of new HD applications built specifically for Android Honeycomb too, and just like the phones, you can sign into Android Market place on PC or tab itself, click download on the chosen apps, and they will be downloaded to the tab wirelessly. I think I wasted over 10 hours on a HD tower defense game….
Then there’s the accessories. There are at least two types of keyboards for the tab (look at the photo above), the docked version make it act like a netbook, good for content creation, and there is also a bluetooth version that comes with a casing to hold the tab too.
Celcom broadband plan with Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
However, to me, the best accessories has got to be the SD & USB card adapters. With these you can copy photos from your camera’s SD card directly onto the tablet, by passing any computer usage altogether, and the USB adapter means that you can back up files, play movies, and basically extend the storage of the tab without limit.
Everyone has been asking for USB connectivity, and finally we have a device that can do exactly that.
Next question is fo course, how much does this cost?
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (3G + wifi & 16 GB) is currently only available via Celcom broadband, RRP at RM 1,899, but with a Celcom broadband contract, you can have it as low as RM 1,468. Check out Celcom Samsung Galaxy Tab page here.
and Lainey won a Galaxy Tab at the launching event for media, grr
I went for the media launching event last Friday too, and guess what? Lainey was one of the 2 lucky winners to walk away with a Galaxy Tab 10.1. You can see I wasn’t so thrilled on the photo above, I want one too!
Now let me budget budget abit. 😀
The picture below is something I have to deal at home – happily browsing the internet on my computer and the 3 kitteh had to come and demand my attention, which I usually duly give them.
When you already have to fight with such creatures to go online, it is just natural to want to have a good internet browsing experience when there isn’t anything between the keyboard and LCD monitor – which is where Celcom Broadband comes in handy.
The best network coverage also ensures that I get the same experience with good download speeds when I am on the go or happen to be with my laptop at other locations without interference of these animals.
The new broadband plans from Celcom, now faster and more data
Celcom is always rewarding their customer base, and now they are bringing together 2 of the most popular lifestyle activities – web surfing and music.
All Celcom broadband customers can now listen to FREE music. New subscribers can download free music from Musicube, Celcom’s very own new music player.
Get Musicube at celcom.com.my/broadband/plans_music.php
What’s so great about Musicube?
- Unlimited music download
- Unlimited access to international songs
- Listen to it anytime while you’re online or not
To subscribe to Musicube
- SMS “On Music” to 22990 from your Data SIM no.; or
- Click and download straight from your internet connection manager
- Enter the activation key into Musicube and start enjoying great music
From 22nd July onwards, new subscribers will also get the limited MTV World Stage USB modem while stock lasts.
Do check out www.celcom.com.my/broadband for more information.