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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / July 2013

When I was very young my late dad told me about this place where they build model of cities with LEGO called LEGOLAND. I thought that must be the most awesome thing ever. I mean, the whole place full of real LEGO? I thought my imitation pasar malam Lego pieces were pretty sweet, but a LEGOLAND? That must be something!

we got our tickets, here we go, LEGOLAND!
we got our tickets, here we go, LEGOLAND!

Fast forward almost 30  years later, here we are, we have LEGOLAND Malaysia in our own backyard (sort of) at Johor.

I went there twice in the span of 4 weeks, first with a bunch of jokers averaging some 30 years of age, and the second time with my sister, brother, my niece, Haze, and my cousin’s son.

Fun fact: did you know that our first visit would not  be possible in some countries which denotes that adults must be accompanied by children? LEGOLAND at Toronto is one such place, read the news about a 63 year old man passed away without being able to realize his dream of visiting LEGOLAND.

He should have travelled to Johor!

you don't need to act your age when at LEGOLAND
you don’t need to act your age when at LEGOLAND (pics from Winnie)

Getting into the park isn’t exactly cheap. On our first visit we paid RM 300 for 2 pax with a free one night hotel stay at Grand Sentosa in JB from some group buying sites.

If you’re paying normal entrance price, it’ll come to RM 120 per MyKard holder, while Malaysian kids pay RM 90. You do get RM 10 worth of food voucher for every ticket.

Foreigners will have to fork out RM 140 & RM 110 for adults & kids respectively, no food voucher for them. I’m not complaining.

Miniland is the bomb! I think they were shooting Bollywood film
Miniland is the bomb! I think they were shooting Bollywood film

LEGOLAND Malaysia is separated into a few areas, all of which has direct access to the all important MINILAND in the middle. This was what my dad told me when I was a little boy, cities built with Lego bricks!

There were scenes of supposedly famous places from 17 Asian countries. I recognised KLCC and KL downtown area, the Merdeka Square, Taj Mahal (there was couple Bollywood shooting on our second visit!), Merlion statue, Angkor Wat, and more.

more Miniland buildings, I love the way they use bonsai as trees
more Miniland buildings, I love the way they use bonsai as trees

The MINILAND was indeed impressive, I particularly love the fact that they use bonsai as miniature trees too.

There were also train tracks with miniature LEGO train that’s supposed to go around the different cities, but they didn’t seem to be operating when we were there. I sure hope this is not the norm. Malaysia has a reputation of not having good upkeep on our theme parks, but this is supposedly an international brand.

On a sunny day, this area stupifyingly hot. We were lucky that it was a cloudy day on our second visit and hence was able to spend a lot more time there. My advice? Bring an umbrella or a large hat, and ample sun screen too.

Dino Island ride, prepared to get wet
Dino Island ride, prepared to get wet

What my dad didn’t tell me was that LEGOLAND is more than just MINILAND, there are rides!

While not overly thrilling like those you find at more extreme and adult oriented theme parks such as six flags or King’s Island, LEGOLAND strikes a pretty good balance on their offering with decent amount of rides just for kids and others for adults as well as children.

The Dino Island ride is perfect right after going to MINILAND, for this is where you will definitely get pretty wet. I also suggest that you bring a bottle of water and pour it on your friend’s head while going down the big drop for extra kick.

Dragon and Project X roller coasters, thrills!
Dragon and Project X roller coasters, thrills!

There are three roller coasters at LEGOLAND, Project X, one very mild The Dragon for kids, and another for children and adult.

Access to the main Dragon ride goes through the castle, and it was my favorite ride. Due to the children centric nature of the park, these rides are also some of the shortest in wait time, while other milder rides usually have much longer queue.

If you love to be thrilled, don’t miss out on these two rides. My very naughty and rather annoying cousin’s son was pale and all quiet after the rides, it was awesome.

Lego Train, Taasha on Royal Joust, and I scored 40000 on Lost Kingdom Adventure!
Lego Train, Taasha on Royal Joust, and I scored 40000 on Lost Kingdom Adventure!

Another one of my favorites is the Lost Kingdom Adventure, which is basically a laser tag type of ride where you sit and shoot at targets, similar to the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster in Disneyland Hong Kong.

If you want to get higher score, make sure you sit at the front row of the 4 seater cart, otherwise your big friends right in front might block some of your shots.

with my brother, sister, Haze, niece, and my cousin's son
with my brother, sister, Haze, niece, and my cousin’s son

Other attractions at the theme park includes many other rides that are quite mild, driving school for kids and toddlers, boating school thing (always a damn long line), observational tower, kids power tower (pull yourself up, very tiring), fire fighting game, Mindstorm classes (never had the time to do this), and more.

Joyce, Haze, Suan, Winnie, Gary, Shiang & friend
Joyce, Haze, Suan, Winnie, Gary, Shiang & friend

While it is not exactly on the same par with Disneyland (I’ve been to HK Disneyland & Tokyo’s DisneySea), LEGOLAND is still a pretty sweet place to visit and you can easily spend better part of a day there. I imagine the place would look pretty cool at night too, both our visits ended by late afternoon.

If I stay in Johor or Singapore, I’d probably get an annual pass.

websitelegoland.com.my

P/S: Don’t eat the burger there, it tasted like cardboard soaked in meat sauce, I threw more than half of it away despite the fact that I was starving.

Ahh, the joy of discovering a new place to eat by completely by chance, something that I haven’t had for a while.

See, I ride a bike to work and whenever possible, I like to explore new places for breakfast en-route to the office. While trying to get a smarter route to work via Duke to Jalan Tun Razak by the way of Jalan Semarak, I got off one turning too early and ended up at this time capsule of a village just a few KMs away from the most developed part of KL.

this place is like a time capsule, stuck in the 80s
this place is like a time capsule, stuck in the 80s

The place looked like it’s been stuck in the 90s – poorly paved road, half broken zinc roof, plenty of bikes by the road with helmets left on the seats. That’s when I thought I should stop to pull out my phone with my trusted Google Map app to figure out where I was, and since I was going to do that, I might as well grab breakfast.

That’s how I ended up at Wenl Senh kopitiam at Taman Ayer Panas and ordered by bowl of pork noodle with mee suah (you can have meehun, noodle, or kuih teow)

kidney, minced pork ball, intestine, and liver with meesuah
kidney, minced pork ball, intestine, and liver with meesuah

The pork noodle turned out to be rather good! It’s got 4 major ingredients – intestine, minced pork ball, liver, and my most beloved ingredient – kidney! I also particularly like the way they seasoned the minced pork with sesame oil that gives it a distinct taste.

The best part? This bowl was only RM 4. You’d be hard pressed to find pork noodle in other parts of Klang Valley that still goes for below RM 5.50 or RM 6, but here at this kopitiam next to Taman Ayer Panas wet market, someone hit the pause button 20 years ago.

I think I should check out the wet market in the morning next.

setapak market map

Address:
Wenl Senh Kopitiam
Jalan Ayer Keroh
Taman Ayer Panas, 53200 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.18909, 101.71917

Thanks to the good people at ROYCE, I got my hands on a few limited edition chocolates slated for their upcoming ROYCE Maccha Fair (available from 1st August, 2013 for limited time) a short while ago. Since Lance invited us for his almost-birthday BBQ party at Genting last week, I took the opportunity to bring those chocolates some 1000 meters above sea level for sharing.

ROYCE Maccha Fair chocolates and the bunch at Genting
ROYCE Maccha Fair chocolates and the bunch at Genting

I’ve previously wrote an entry on ROYCE chocolate and was impressed with the quality of this chocolate maker from Hokkaido, therefore I was quite keen to sample this latest offering.

While many choose to buy chocolates in duty free shops, ROYCE is one of the very few brands that have their outlets in various malls around Klang Valley (check location here), offering a wide range of chocolate products.

To me, the only downside is that they don’t serve coffee on location since these two goes so well together.

ROYCE Maccha Almond chocolate, Kerol as the model
ROYCE Maccha Almond chocolate, Kerol as the model

Anyway, lets talk about these Maccha Fair chocolates.

The Maccha Almond chocolate is pretty self explanatory. Roasted almond coated with green tea flavoured chocolate on the outside. There is something about nuts that always goes well with chocolates, and I think this goes extremely well with beer too.

Lance & Haze with ROYCE's Prafeuille Chocolat
Lance & Haze with ROYCE’s Prafeuille Chocolat

ROYCE’s Prafeuille Chocolat made by having fragrant green tea sauce sandwiched between light-textured chocolate and mixed with powdered green tea leaves. A box of this contains 30 pieces of chocolates, all individually wrapped.

The taste of green tea is very strong and suppresses the aroma of chocolate somewhat. Whisky did not go well with this, but I believe coffee would be lovely. Kinda reminds me of those minty chocolates you get for Christmas, except this one tastes a whole lot better. Perfect for those who loves green tea, but if you just want the taste of chocolates, this might not suit.

Michael enjoying some ROYCE Nama chocolate - Machha
Michael enjoying some ROYCE Nama chocolate – Machha

Then there’s the Nama chocolate, ROYCE’s most famed product. This is one of the smoothest and tastiest chocolate you can get. Laced with a hint of liquor with perfect balance between the aroma of green tea and fragrances of chocolate, this was pretty much everyone’s favorite of the night, including myself.

If calorie intake and money isn’t a problem, I want ROYCE Nama chocolate to be in my fridge at all time. So good!

You can find locations of Royce’ stores in Malaysia from http://www.e-royce.com/english/shop/shopintheworld/malaysia.html and their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ROYCEMalaysia

it was Lance's birthday BBQ celebration, did it like a rock star
it was Lance’s birthday BBQ celebration, did it like a rock star

Well, the chocolate was just desserts for this awesome BBQ party that we had. Lance made us plenty of awesome BBQ goodness, which includes lamb rack, steak, bacon, mushroom with cheese, chicken, salad, clam chowder, and more.

The birthday cake for the boy was a pavlova cake from Alexis at Bangsar, which is of course, one of the best pavlova cakes you can get (Serai serves pretty good pavlova too).

plenty of drinks, meat, and good times with friends
plenty of drinks, meat, and good times with friends

Mike’s job for the night was handling all the alcohol related drinks since Ahfa was unable to join us on to night. We had great fun as always, and as always, looking forward to the next session!

Steamed fish head is dish that is foreign to me growing up on Penang. Over on the island, we usually cook fish heads (Groupa preferred, red snapper is ok too) with a heavy dose of curry, and it involves really only the head.

Over at KL, Asian Carp is the preferred fish for a fish head dish, and by fish head it is actually pretty much half a fish. One of the most famous restaurants to serve up this classic dish within Klang Valley is Chong Yen steamed fish head at Chan Sow Lin. My badminton buddies took me there just a couple weeks ago for my first trial at this place.

Chong Yen steamed fish head at Chan Sow Lin
Chong Yen steamed fish head at Chan Sow Lin

The restaurant is located at the light industrial area at Chan Sow Lin. While the restaurant is usually packed during lunch time, parking isn’t usually a difficult affair.

We had to wait for some 5-10 minutes before securing an empty table, but once ordered, those steaming hot seafood (well, freshwater-food actually) came within 10 minutes. I was quite impressed by their speed.

steamed fish head - original style with garlic & ginger
steamed fish head – original style with garlic & ginger

For the four of us, we ordered three steamed fish head. The classic style with minced ginger and plenty of garlic is the one I like most. The fish was super fresh, with the meat soft, smooth, and absolutely delicious. The version with fermented soya bean were good too, but I think the stronger tasting ingredient somehow masks too much of the fish’s original taste.

There are only two preparation methods here, and each portion is good enough to share between two person. Three for four of us was a bit of an overkill, but I have friends with very healthy appetites, so..

yong tau foo, pork, vege, and steamed fish head with fermented soya bean
yong tau foo, pork, vege, and steamed fish head with fermented soya bean

Other than steamed fish head, they also serve pretty decent yong tau foo, rather good pork with muay choi, vegetable, roast chicken, and a few other dishes.

If you love steamed fish, this is definitely one place you should check out.

map to Chan Sow Lin steamed fish head

Address:
Chong Yen Steamed Fish Head
No. 22-24, Jalan 2/89C
Off Jalan Chan Sow Lin 4
55200 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.11811, 101.71358
Tel: 012-231 8129
Hours: Lunch

It’s been a while since the last recipe post, so for this 1,500th post on this blog, lets take a look at the lotus root soup recipe, one of the easiest, homey soup to prepare. This is the same lotus root soup you often get at steamed soup & clay pot chicken rice places.

pork (or chicken), lotus root, dried red dates
ingredients: pork (or chicken), lotus root, dried red dates

This recipe is for 2-3 bowls of soup, increase/decrease everything to suit your need.

Ingredients:

  • one section of lotus root, shave off the skin
  • 8-10 dried red dates
  • 150 gram of pork (or bones, or chicken carcass)
  • water, salt & pepper for seasoning

cut into slices and serve
cut into slices and serve

Instruction:

  • separately boil the pork for a minute or two to remove impurities
  • have enough water in the pot to cover all ingredients, boil in slow heat for 1-2 hours
  • retrieve lotus root, slice 1/2 cm thick
  • add salt & pepper to taste
  • ready to serve!