A couple weeks ago I was approached by the good people from PrimeWorks Studio (a company owned by Media Prima – ala TV3) to see if I’d be interested to participate as a judge in a cooking competition – Versus 1001 Rasa by Baba’s. I agreed pretty much immediately right after figuring out that I could fit it into the calendar, which also coincide with the 13th anniversary of this blog!
Also almost immediately regret the decision since the program is in Malay language, but alas, I was able to cope. 12 years of Malaysian education did not disappoint at the end. *phew*
with my fellow judges, and celebrity chef hosts
We shot 2 episodes of the program in the same day, both hosted by Chef Kamarul & Chef Adu. I was also joined by Aiman from EatDrinkKL & Norshalina from Baba’s QC & Halal department.
There are two contestants for each episode, challenging each other by cooking two dishes that are drawn from a recipe box by their respective mentors.
shooting in progress
The contestants are given ingredients, including Baba’s product, to come up with the dish to impress the judges while being guided by their mentors. All this is done within the stipulated cooking time, which is dependent on recipe. For the episodes that I was a part of, each dish was given an hour’s time to prepare.
When the time is up, we the judges then gets invited to taste them and gives point to the dish based on predetermined criteria of taste, ingredients used, uniqueness, presentation, and completeness.
dishes from the contestants for judges to sample
It was overall quite an interesting experience. Quite a bit different from my previous experience as judges at R.AGE Food Fight and Blogger MasterChef Challenge. The three judges have the final say without input from the hosts or mentors, and everything is audited. I thought that was very genuine.
I’m not going to announce any spoilers here, but if you have access to TV3, do try to catch the program when it comes out and see how I struggle with our national language.
VEQTA Translations is a translation company in Malaysia translating for most major industries hospitality, marketing, finance and IT.
Earlier this month I went to yet another island in the East Coast of Malaysia for a little bit of R&R as well as put a bit of time breathing compressed air underwater. For this trip, everything was arranged by my colleague, Rich, I sort of just tag along. A vacation where you don’t have to plan for anything? Sign me up!
Our destination – Pulau Kapas.
Kapas Turtle Valley resort, Pulau Kapas, Terengganu
Pulau Kapas is one of the lesser known islands of Terengganu. Located just 6 km or so from Marang Jetty, it is only some 10 minutes on the ferry (every 2 hours), which makes it really accessible even for those who may be prone to sea sickness. Furthermore, with East Coast Expressway in operation, getting there is easier than ever, around 400km on dual lane expressway with another 20 or so KM trunk road.
snorkeling, sand castle, and playing with hermit crab
Kapas Turtle Valley is run by a Dutch couple who called Malaysia home, there are a lot of pro & cons living in Malaysia as an expat. It is a fairly small resort with capacity of less than 20-30 guests at any one time. It is also located at semi-private sort of beach with other resorts accessible via a short walk across the small hill in 10 minutes, perfect for those who loves a bit of privacy and quiet time.
You’ll be expected to spend close to RM 100 per night per person to stay at KTV, with breakfast inclusive. The bungalows are comfortable, bathrooms are big and quite luxurious for island standard, and you do have electricity around the clock.
food at Kapas Turtle Valley was excellent
What I love most though, is the food prepared by Sylvia. Breakfast usually consists of very good pastry, dutch cheese, egg, and juice, while lunch & dinner is as per order (usually from 3 choices) and priced reasonably. Her dishes are at least on par with some of the better restaurants in town, and that is certainly quite a luxury on an island, with a budget.
kayaking looks a lot easier in photos
Holiday on island is about rest and relax, reading a book, listening to the waves and such, but if you’re restless, or you’re between 3-6, there are still quite a bit to do.
Making sand castle, catching hermit crab, snorkeling at the house reef, kayaking, throwing freebies, or even sailing on a catamaran is an option.
Aqua Sport Divers, the only dive center at Pulau Kapas
We spent 5 days and 4 nights at Turtle Kapas Valley, and only decided to put in some diving on 3rd and 4th day.
Aqua Sport Divers is the only dive center on the island, and some 25 minutes walk from where we stay. Fortunately, they are more than happy to ferry us on a small speed boat to & fro from KTV to dive center.
nemo with anemone, always one of my favorite shooting subjects
As for the dives, underwater visibility at Kapas isn’t exactly stellar, mostly due to the fact that the island is a mere 6 kilometers away from peninsular Malaysia, but they were more than decent.
Over the 3 dives, we spotted moray eel, barracuda, humphead wrasse, clown fish, jelly fish, big puffer, blue spotted stingray, and more. There were even a story about a group getting a glimpse of a whale shark a couple weeks prior.
UW pics taken with Olympus TG-5
I loaned a couple cameras from Olympus that are fit for underwater purposes. The Olympus TG-Tracker for video, and Olympus TG-5 mainly for stills. They were very convenient, pop the SD cards in and you’re good to go, no meticulous checking of seals or carrying my huge set up of my (now dated) Olympus E-PL3 with underwater housing. The picture quality isn’t as good as a micro 4/3 format for sure, but there were more than acceptable, and of course, carrying a small pouch with 2 cameras is much easier than a whole luggage full of gear for just one.
Overall it was an awesome trip, thanks to Rich & San San for organizing, will look forward to more R&R trips such as this one.
Remember the news article on Oriental Daily on the 21/5/2014 on Foodie Blogger programme? Well, it’s going to be aired this coming Thursday 10 pm on the 12/6/2014 on NTV7.
For those who aren’t familiar with the program, this is a food TV show hosted by Ernest Chong. In every episode, he’ll explore a city in Malaysia to find some of the best street foods with a help of a “local” blogger. On this episode that is about Klang Valley, yours truly was lucky enough to be chosen as the guest blogger. So yeap, it’s my time to shine. 😀
NTV 7 foodie blogger – KL 2014
In the program, I introduced three different street foods that I thought represent some of the best Street foods KL has to offer. They are:
Shooting took place some months back and it was a lot of fun. We got to sample too much food in a day but at the end it was all well worth it. I’ll also be watching this for the first time this Thursday, but here’s a promo video to hopefully pique your interest.
Also, do check out those three stalls, they are some of my favorites and I hope you like them too.
A few weeks ago I was approached by Patrick of Greenroom 136 to be in a video that features their new W?ldcard street messenger bag. I bought and have been using a W?ldcard for some two years now and really liked the bag, so I thought why not?
Patrick, founder of Greenroom 136
For those who have never heard about this brand before, Greenroom 136 design and manufacture urban city bags right here in Malaysia.
Their product range includes messenger bag, sling bag, backpacks, and some accessories. Since they’re made right here in Malaysia, you can even customize some bags with unique color combination of your choice. Quality is top notch and I think a lot of thoughts has been put into designing the bags.
If you think everything is made in China these days, look at this.
Check out greenroom136.com, you can purchase Greenroom 136 bags online or at several resellers in Selangor, Penang, and Sabah.
Thanks for the video Patrick.
p/s: This is not an advertorial, I just really like to see success home grown Malaysian businesses.