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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / June 2012

Last week a few of us were invited to little gathering at KEN BANGSAR, a classy condominium situated atop Bukit Bandaraya at Bangsar. Other than being promised that dinner would be taken care of, most of us didn’t have any idea what this was really about.

As it turns out, we were introduced to something that is relatively new in Malaysia when it comes to buildings – being green.

KEN Bangsar
KEN BANGSAR sits right atop Bukit Bandaraya

From the outside, KEN BANGSAR looks just like any other modern, beautifully designed condominium in KL. The 15-storey building is mostly made of concrete and glass, with a tastefully crafted swimming pool and some trees surrounding the building.

After the helpful security personnel guided us to the visitor’s parking, we gathered at the lobby and greeted by the very friendly Mr. Tan, executive director from KEN.

the gym and public bathroom at KEN Bangsar
the gym and public bathroom at KEN BANGSAR

We were then taken a tour of the building with Tan explaining many of the minute details and plannings that went into making KEN BANGSAR a green building.

The location of KEN BANGSAR provided a natural advantage when it comes to ventilation. The building is then designed to take advantage of this by using windows louvre and sliding windows (instead of tilt and turn windows). Combining this with special glasses that reduce thermal heat from the sun, the temperature is lowered several degree Celsius, and thus minimizes air conditioning usage.

fancy this unit? you can buy it

fancy this unit? you can buy it

The same windows and building design also ensures that almost every part of the condominium is lit by sunlight, thus reducing the need of artificial lights during the day.

And speaking of air conditioning, every unit has a centralized compressor with cooling pipes going to different rooms that is individually controlled. This too is done to minimize electricity usage.

we visited the penthouse, now I can get used to living like this
we visited the penthouse, now I can get used to living like this

During the construction, raw materials such as loose ends of marble slabs and wooden linings were kept and then used at lobby and common areas. This resulted in less wastage and as a bonus, a unique non-repeating pattern of some walls, pretty neat.

The result of having all these well thought green design is that the common area (including a swimming pool, air conditioned gym) of the entire KEN BANGSAR utilizes less than RM 2,000 electricity every month, according to Tan.

That was impressive.

Green Awards won by KEN

As a result of their green development initiatives, KEN has won numerous awards.

KEN BANGSAR
2009 BCA Greenmark Goldplus Award
2010 GBI Gold Award, Edge-Pam Green Excellence Award
2011 Futurarc Green Leadership Citation Award, PAM Silver Award For Excellence In Architecture, Fiabci-Malaysia Property Award: Sustainable Development

KEN RIMBA Legian
2010 BCA Greenmark Gold Award: Provisional, GBI Certified Award

KEN RIMBA Commercial Centre
2010 BCA Greenmark Certified Award: Provisional

KEN Holdings Berhad
2010 New Straits Times Sc Cheah Choice Awards: Best Green Developer
2011 Carbon Neutral Status

KEN Rimba at Shah Alam section 16
KEN RIMBA at Shah Alam section 16

For those who are interested in landed properties, KEN RIMBA is a development by KEN at Shah Alam section 16 (near UiTM & iCity) that incorporate many of the same green technologies into the design. Houses are mostly North-South facing to maximize sunlight penetration, there’s rain water harvesting built in, and even an indoor garden for every unit. Do check that out.

KEN RIMBA’s Legian homes will be handed over to buyers in the next month, while the new phase – Jimbaran, is now open for registration and will be launched soon.

Stop by their website at kenholdings.com.my and facebook page for more. You can also keep up with their ramblings on twitter by following SamCS10

It’s been something like a year since I did a movie review on this blog, there’s no particular reason for this slack but here’s a movie that I thought deserve one – Prometheus (2012).

Prometheus 2012

The movie is sort of a prequel to the Alien series that many of us grew up watching, and in a way, an integral part of our childhood’s formation years. Prometheus is directed by the same Ridley Scott that made those classics the original Alien and Blade Runner.

I watched this movie in TGV’s IMAX screen at Sunway Pyramid, and it utterly blew my mind away – the IMAX theater that is. It was crisp, clear, and sounded superb. Not entirely unlike switching from a 21″ old tube TV to the latest 55″ high definition LCD panel with a beefed up sound system to boot.

So much so that I want to watch every movie that’s release on TGV IMAX from now on, and I am not getting paid to write this. 😀

TGV IMAX completely ruined my “normal” movie experience.

Prometheus screenshot

Anyway back to the movie that scored a (I think) very overrated 7.8/10 at IMDB.

The storyline:

A team of scientists travels through the universe on the spaceship “Prometheus” on a voyage to investigate Alien life forms. The team of scientists becomes stranded on an Alien world, and as they struggle to survive it becomes clear that the horrors they experience are not just a threat to themselves, but to all of mankind.

The movie has really excellent visuals with some scenes rival that of Avatar, pretty good pace, with rather decent acting (Michael Fassbender was excellent), and on top of that, you have Charlize Theron, that is always a bonus.

However, what I thought made it very disappointing are the things left unexplained and many that never make any sense. I know it’s essentially a sci-fi and you should be able to get away with many things, but consistency is key to any good story.

From here onwards it’s all spoilers, and read only if you have watched or are planning to watch.

Now here’s a list of problems I have with the movies:

  • How could biologists violate all the health code there is? Taking off the face mask = risking potential alien virus/bacterial infection
  • The same guy (Fifield) who deployed the navigational bots is the same guy who gets lost afterwards…
  • The same paranoid guy (Milburn) somehow wanted to play with alien snake
  • What are those black goo that kept flowing out of the vase?
  • What is David’s motive in “poisoning” Charlie?
  • A far superior civilization, the Engineers, didn’t even want to talk and just starts killing everyone in sight, that doesn’t seem very smart
  • Charlize Theron’s character was smart enough to lead a space expedition, but couldn’t figure out running side way will save her life
  • That almost Star Wars “father” line was utterly unnecessary
  • How did the face hugger grew to be the size of Kraken in the medical pot without food?
  • Why would the Engineer head to human’s escape pod when they have many other space ships of their own? If he wanted to kill all human on the planet first he’d have done it before the first attempt to fly off anyway.

OK I’ll stop here.

What if I tell you that when EURO 2012 kicks off, you’ll be able to watch it just about anywhere? It won’t be just in your living room or that friendly mamak place, but really anywhere – in your bedroom, in the car, your office toilet even. Welcome to Astro On-The-Go!

astro on the go
at the launch of Astro On-The-Go

Astro On-The-Go is a mobile platform that delivers the following  TV channels, Video on Demand (VOD), Catch Up TV, and Live Events.

TV channels:
To start with, Astro is bringing 11 TV channels comprising news, learning, and entertainment to the platform and you get to view them based on your subscription. They are Astro AEC, TVIQ, Ria, Xia Tai Yang, Awani, Shuang Xing, Disney Junior, Disney channel, CNN, Astro Warna, and One HD.

Video on Demand:
The VOD service draws from a library of both local and international titles from Astro First movies, Sundance movies, and others from the region. The VOD library must be first downloaded via broadband connected PVR-enabled decorders before viewing on mobile devices.

Catch Up TV:
A feature that allows you to “catch up” to the TV programs that you missed via the mobile platform. This includes drama series, reality shows, sports highlights, news, etc.

Live Events:
To me, perhaps the most exciting of the four features. There are up to 4 live events channels and Astro is rolling this out by broadcasting all 31 EURO 2012 matches LIVE on Astro-On-The-Go. (they will also be available on VOD & Catch Up TV). With this, the action is not gonna be missed just because you aren’t in front of the TV at the right moment. Brilliant.

If you are an Astro subscriber, Astro On-The-Go is now available on preview from 30th May till 31st August 2012 with no additional charges (yes, we get all the EURO 2012 matches if you already subscribed to sports package).

Head to http://www.astro.com.my/onthego/ and get it now. You simply need to register and link your Astro account, then get the application for iPad and iPhone (This is very timely for EURO 2012 for iPhone users, I’m envy! All 31 matches live anywhere!) via App Store or use Astro On-The-Go on the web at http://onthego.astro.com.my

Astro On-The-Go iPhone app screenshots
Astro On-The-Go iPhone app screenshots

I’m gonna do that and have it on my iPad soon as I get back to KL. Applications for iPhone and Android devices are coming up next.

I’ve had to travel to Pasir Gudang for work for a few weeks recently. Most of the days, we have our lunch at Tanjong Puteri Golf Cafe thanks to the expat friendly lunch menu. Not particularly exciting to me, however.

So when we found ourselves having a little more culinary freedom on one of the afternoons, my colleague who’s based on location drove me to the nearby Kampung Putih for some good old ayam penyet at Restoran Selera Sambal.

Restaurant Selera Sambal at Pasir Gudang
Restaurant Selera Sambal at Pasir Gudang

Kampung Pasir Putih is not exactly a tourist attraction, but it does have a few restaurants on the main stretch that caters to the locals and the ship yard workers alike, Restoran Selera Sambal is one of them.

The menu includes all sorts of penyet (smashed) dishes – starting with ayam penyet (chicken), leleh (cat fish), udang (prawns), sotong (squid) daging (beef), to burung punyuh (quail). Combinations of two ingredients are possible too, as with burger conventions – these are called “specials”.

ayam penyet set at RM 6.50, yum yum
ayam penyet set at RM 6.50, yum yums

I’ve only tried their classic ayam penyet so far. The chicken certainly very crispy and flavorful, with the meat tend to be slightly tougher, but in the kampung chicken type of way, I like it.

And as with the name suggest, their sambal is really top notch. It was spicy and addictive, I naturally asked for more. Other than tempeh, tofu, ulam, and soup, there’s also some fried potato as sides. It’s a full meal for sure, and all for RM 6.50.

If you find yourself at Pasir Gudang, remember that Tanjong Puteri Golf resort is not the only choice for lunch. Thank you Adnan for bringing me there. 😀

restoran Selera Sambal at Pasir Gudang - map

Address:
Restoran Selera Sambal
No. 25, Jalan Pengkalan 5,
Taman Pasir Mas
Kg. Pasir Putih
Pasir Gudang, Johor
GPS: 1.441042, 103.932096
Tel: 016-707 4788, 017-702 9297

My siblings and me share the same passion when it comes to food – we want to eat everything and anything that is delicious, and usually would travel to illogical distances just for this purpose.

Over the last CNY holidays, we paid a visit to my younger brother who works at Sungai Petani as a houseman and he brought us to this little hidden gem that is Mae Salong Thai Restaurant for dinner. Most of us are tomyam fanatics, so the destination suits us very well.

Mae Salong at Sungai Petani
Mae Salong at Sungai Petani, crazy decoration

Mae Salong resides in an unimpressive part of Sungai Petani, which is a pretty unimpressive town in a state that isn’t known to be impressive. The restaurant however, is anything but.

Nestle in the kampung is a structure that could easily confuse diners as a set for fantasy movie. There’s hanging bridge, a huge koi pond with a two level dining area that is half submerged, and even a massive water wheel and fountain and the center. Oh, it is also some sort of a mini zoo as well.

All these fancy decoration proved to be useful when we had to kill time waiting for table on the Saturday evening when we were there. (booking highly advisable)

the drinks come in a big bottle, red ruby's nice!
the drinks come in a big bottle, red ruby’s nice!

After securing a seat, we were given some Thai tidbits as some sort of appetizer, and they come in the form of dried anchovies with curry leaves, peanuts, and dried chili padi. That thing was quite awesome, and you could actually buy them at Thailand in packets, beats potato chips anytime. 😀

We made our orders with the friendly Thai lady, and asked for desserts to be served first since we knew it was gonna take a while before food is ready. The red ruby (RM 2.50) was delicious, with the right amount of santan, fresh nangka, and that chestnut in tapioca.  Yummy.

We ordered  honey dates with sugar cane drinks (RM 12 for all) to quench our thirst, and was happy that they come in big bottles instead of individual cups.

thai style lala, mantis prawn, otak otak
thai style lala, mantis prawn, otak otak

Our first dish that came was the the Thai style lala (RM 15), though the shellfish wasn’t exactly big in size, the taste more than make up for it. There’s chili, green onion and garlic all mixed up with the lala soaked in spicy sourish broth that’s kept warm with a small fire under. The soup itself was very very delicious.

Mantis prawn (RM 15) is deep fried with salted egg yolk, another dish that never disappoint. Again you find chili padi in the mix, spicy, savory, with the hint of saltiness, love it.

Thai otak-otak (RM 15) was perhaps the only thing that was a bit disappointed. It was packed with seafood, but somehow the otak otak paste wasn’t exactly up to the level of standard I was expecting. Not a bad dish per se, but nothing special.

steamed siakap, omelete, and of course, tomyam
steamed siakap, omelete, and of course, tomyam

Of course, no Thai meal is complete without an order of tomyam (RM 20). The seafood tomyam is hot, flavoful, and absolutely packed with ingredients – prawns, fish, squid, and more lala in addition to tomato, chili, and other ingredients that make up a proper bowl of tomyam soup. We enjoyed this a lot.

We also had a fish to go with all the other seafood dishes, the steamed siakap (RM RM 27) was the most expensive dish we ordered. It was fresh and does taste very good, the soup made me suspect that it is a cross between the lala and tomyam, and hence didn’t make a very good combination to the other dishes we oredered. It was however, a quality dish nonetheless.

Last but not least, there’s omelete (RM 8) that again, has a hint of seafood in it – very tiny baby prawns, the same size that you find in cincalok. It brought back some childhood memories when we’d catch them in the sea, good times. The omelete was pretty decent as well.

mom, sister, brother, haze, niece - happies!
mom, sister, brother, haze, niece – happies!

By the time we are done and headed back to Penang, it was already some 11pm, but that was after a very good dinner that only cost less than RM 140 for the 6 of us. If you find yourself anywhere within 50 or even 100 km from Sungai Petani, give this place a try, but do call and book your table if it’s on weekends.

direction map to Mae Salong

Address:
Mae Salong Restaurant
199-E, Kampung Bakar Bata,
08000 Sungai Petani, Kedah
GPS: 5.62594863, 100.46545
Tel: 016-424 6842