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Last weekend we met up with Haze’s relative who promised to take us to this place that serves “tilapia better than Lan Jie’s” at Seredah, and truth be told, we actually got more than what we bargained for, making the long drive definitely worth while.

Our destination was Restoran Yew Li, about 1 km north of the Serendah Police Station, not terribly difficult to locate.

Restoran Yew Li at Serendah
Restoran Yew Li at Serendah

The unassuming restaurant is located at an old shop lot and furnished with standard plastic table and chairs. Operating from brunch to about 5-6 pm, there’s usually quite a healthy crowd especially on weekends. Reservation is probably a good idea if you have a larger group.

steamed tilapia with plenty of garlic
steamed tilapia with plenty of garlic

There are two dishes we’re here for, but first, the steamed tilapia (RM 36 for the one we ordered).

The tilapia we got was huge, and skillfully steamed to perfection with a tonne of garlic on top and generous amount of cooking wine in the soup base, which compliments the fish surprisingly well. This was somehow better than using high grade soya sauce in steaming, I think I will try this at home one of these days. We definitely enjoyed this dish, a lot.

huge river prawn, this will cost you
huge river prawn, this will cost you

What most people come for here though, is their giant river prawn. (RM 50+ each)

And when I say big, they are HUGE. It is almost unrealistic to have one prawn per person, and they are also certainly much bigger than the ones we usually had at Pan Heong batu caves. The usual way to cook this here is with dark soya sauce, which really adds to the sweetness of the prawn really well. They are certainly pricey, but sucking the juices oozing out from the prawn heads will certainly help appreciate how awesome they are.

some greens and some pork to complete the meal
some greens and some pork to complete the meal

Additionally, we also had a claypot pork with salted fish and kangkung belacan. These dishes did not disappoint either and were delicious in their own rights, even though they aren’t as “special” as the two above.

Yew Li restaurant is definitely worthy of a visit, and I wished that they open for dinner.

map to Yew Li Serendah

Address:
Restoran Yew Li
19, Jalan Cempaka 1,
Taman Cempaka, 48200 Serendah,
Selangor, Malaysia
GPS3.371501, 101.612708
Tel: 03-6081 3226
Hours: lunch till 5-6 pm

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Have you ever dreamed of being able to travel the world? If yes, are you still dreaming or have you made it come true? Regardless, I’m sure we can all agree on one thing: Being able to travel comfortably usually requires you to make an “investment”, be it your time and effort in saving money for the trip, or actually investing your money, where you can then use the returns or dividends to finance your trip.

traveling to Bali, Anilao, Maldives, London

Some of the most common ways to achieve your long term financial goals include savings & fixed deposits, investing in property (a second home, perhaps?), and of course, unit trust funds & investing in the stock market.

However, fixed deposits tend to yield average returns, and while buying a second home is a simple enough investment option, the 2016 property market is expected to be a bit subdued, so your rental returns may not be enough to offset your monthly mortgage, leaving you in more debt.

And then there are stocks, unit trusts, bonds, derivatives, and other investment products. Well, they can get complicated, no?

Enter InvestSmart, an investor empowerment initiative by Securities Comission Malaysia (SC), organising seminars for retail investors (like you and me) so that we, the public can be better educated on investment methods, taking control of our finances and  being fully responsible for our own investment decisions and (hopefully) achieving future wealth.

The seminars will cover basic fundamental topics such as how to:

  • Understand the role of market sentiment, technical analysis and identify the trading risks involved;
  • Spot the right opportunities for trading or investing;
  • Conduct fundamental research on listed companies in Bursa Malaysia, and
  • Distinguish between stock trading and stock investing.

These seminars are held NATIONWIDE every SATURDAY and will equip investors with the necessary skills, knowledge, and tools needed to exercise good judgement and discretion in making sound investment decisions, very important not only to new and aspiring investors, but perhaps even the seasoned veterans as well. Guess what, you can even keep up with InvestSmart via Facebook! Find out where the next seminar is happening, or when InvestSmart’s Mobile Kiosk will be coming to a location near you at https://www.facebook.com/InvestSmartSC. Interestingly, InvestSmart has also roped in local celebrities Neelofa, Aaron Aziz, Scha Alyahya, Awal Ashaari, Shaheizy Sam and Elfira Loy to promote simple and witty investment messages on Instagram, so be sure to follow them!

Based on what I’ve read on the InvestSmart website so far (www.investsmsartsc.my), I’d say that articles such as 5 Investment Tips For Beginners would be really great if you are looking to kick-start your investment knowledge with the basics.

Do yourself a favor and check out www.investsmartsc.my and do plan to attend their events to learn more. The future is in your hand!

Disclaimeredited/written by InvestSmart, a Securities Commission Malaysia initiative

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While up at Sungai Petani a couple months ago, we took the opportunity to get my brother to introduce some of the more unique dishes the biggest city in Kedah has got to offer. Since we already had those awesome curry mee at Eupe food court, it was time for laksa fish at Restoran Piao Siang.

Restoran Piao Xiang at Sungai Petain, Haze & Win Sern
Restoran Piao Xiang at Sungai Petain, Haze & Win Sern

Restoran Piao Xiang, or Sin Piao Xiang, is located just a stone’s throw away from the Sungai Petani Utara toll plaza, and like most places in Sungai Petani, you won’t have too much of a problem trying to get a parking spot.

The restaurant opens for both lunch and dinner, and is considered one of the bigger eateries in the area, well, big enough to hosts wedding functions every now and then.

the famous asam fish, with fish, and some laksa noodle too
the famous laksa fish, with fish, and some laksa noodle too

For the three of us on a very hungry afternoon, we ordered four dishes to go with steamed rice.

The claim of fame here is the laksa fish (RM 26), a dish that is so simple in its ingredients you wonder why we don’t see it anywhere else. You make some awesome laksa broth, throw in steamed fish, mint leaves, and some laksa noodle for good measures.

I think having this dish as is as a whole meal is certainly viable, especially for laksa fans.

eggplant with sambal, stuffed chicken skin, seafood tofu
eggplant with sambal, stuffed chicken skin, seafood tofu

The eggplant with sambal (RM 7) is a musts order for those who like northern style sambal that comes with a kick. Seafood tofu (RM 9) is pretty decent as snacks, but the stuffed chicken skin (RM 17) actually surprised me, chicken skin stuffed with minced pork, reminds me of the first time I had something like that from Elegant Inn (stuffed with prawn meat tho).

Over all it was certainly a satisfying lunch, and one that is pretty reasonably priced too. If you’re up North, this is certainly not a bad place to check out.

map to Sin Piao Siang, Sungai Petani

Address:
Restaurant Piao Xiang
20 & 21 Jalan Melati 1,
08000 Sungai Petani, Kedah
GPS5.677679, 100.507461
Tel: 04-442 6219

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I’ve always had problems with parking and navigating within Publika. The place has the most confusing lettering/numbering system for floors. There are numerous different “ground levels”, and some parking lots aren’t connected to each other the way a logically sound person may expect.

That being said, the place is also packed with huge amount of restaurants offering various different dining concepts, and often in relatively affordable price range due to the immense competition. Today, we’re going to look at Tsubohachi Hokkaido Izakaya. One of the Japanese restaurants that is undoubtedly among one of my favorites in the area.

Tsubohachi Hokkaido Izakaya, Publika
Tsubohachi Hokkaido Izakaya, Publika

Izakaya is basically an informal Japanese gastropub, a place caters for after-work drinking and dining session not entirely unlike many of the Western pubs/bars, but one that obviously serves Japanese cuisine.

Tsubohachi is a renowned chain with over 300 outlets in Japan since its inception 40 years ago at Hokkaido, and currently is one of the two izakaya outlets in Publika, the other being Senya Izakaya owned by the Sushi Train group.

Our first time visiting Tsubohachi Hokkaido Izakaya was with Cheesie sampling their normal menu, but this time around we were invited to try their special Zuwaigani (snow crab) menu. How could I say no?

zuwaigani nabe (snow crab hotpot)
zuwaigani nabe (snow crab hotpot)

The snow crab menu is available till late July, but do call up to make sure its availability. Then again, the usual menu is quite extensive and certainly worthy of a visit or three.

Our session started with zuwagani nabe, or snow crab hot pot (RM 79.90). Basically half a raw snow crab (male, female would have too little meat) with fresh vegetable, tofu, and mushroom in a hot pot. Certainly a luxury comfort dish that is perfect especially on a rainy day, or any day for that matter.

The crab made the soup oh so sweet, it was as good as I had hoped.

aburi zuwaigani, kani chawanmushi
aburi zuwaigani, kani chawanmushi

For those who likes it grilled, aburi zuwaigani (RM 58) should satisfy your cravings. A no-nonsense and unadultered way of enjoying snow crab with maybe just a little squeeze of lemon. Snow crab has a much softer shell than our Malaysian mud crabs, so getting a “perfect” peel is an easier job.

Kani chawanmushi (RM 12.90) too is worth trying if you just want to lux up the ordinary Japanese steamed egg with some snow crab meat.

zuwaigani sarada, aburi zuwaigani hakozushi
zuwaigani sarada, aburi zuwaigani hakozushi

Want more greens? Try zuwaigani sarada, or snow crab salad (RM 22.90), though all those mayonnaise may discount the perceived healthiness of this salad dish, but those savory taste combined with sweetness of snow crab makes it worth the extra calories.

Aburi zuwaigani hakozushi (RM 35.00) is another dish we tried that incorporate liberal use of those savory Japanese mayo. The pressed sushi was certainly delicious, though I always find mayo & wasabi sort of clashes a bit with each other.

ankake kani chahan, kani zosui, zuwaigani masu-zushi
ankake kani chahan, kani zosui, zuwaigani masu-zushi

Rice or porridge? Take your pick in ankake kani chahan (RM 22.90), or kani zosui (RM 29.90). Neither should disappoint as they were both expertly prepared and show cases the sweetness of snow crab through the simplicity of the dishes. I can have either of these for lunch and be a happy man.

If you like things in small packages, try the zuwaigani masu-zushi (RM 21.90). A tiny box of sushi rice with generous amount of snow crab meat on top. Just enough to taste, but unless you have had stomach stapling surgery, this can’t be your only dish for the night.

a selection of yakitori, chicken, pork, mushroom
a selection of yakitori, chicken, pork, mushroom

All the trying pretty much all the snow crab dishes sans tempura & sushi, we got greedy and decided to sample some of their signature yakitori dishes.

We tried chicken skin, bishop’s nose, chicken soft bone, chicken neck, pork belly, and mushroom. They came in both salted or in teriyaki, and I wished I had enough stomach space left to order a beer to go with these. Yakitori dishes are priced mostly at RM 7.80 to 9.80 for two sticks, pretty decent deal if you asked me.

Johnny, KY, Kelvin, Haze, macha de roru
Johnny, KY, Kelvin, Haze, macha de roru

Our final dish of the night was macha de roru as dessert, a sweet ending to a satisfying review session. I certainly don’t mind coming back here again, good food, great value, and without fuss, there should be more izakaya around town!

map to Solaris Dutamas

Address:
Tsubohachi Hokkaido Izakaya
A2-UG1-9, Publika

Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.170961, 101.665721
Tel: 03-6206 5526
Website: www.tsubohachi.com.my

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The last time I went diving was October 2013 in Maldives, a full 2.5 years passed since I breathed underwater, until last week, when we revisited Tenggol Island. The very island I got my diving certificate more than ten years ago, and also the island I dived the most. How time flies.

Tenggol Coral Beach Resort
Tenggol Coral Beach Resort

The east coast highway is now completed, heading to Dungun took us only 4 hours (excluding the detour to Bentong for breakfast), we left KL at 6 in the morning and got there in time for the 11 am boat transfer to the island. It was also an easier drive than previously when you had to navigate through the old coastal road that can sometimes be congested with big & slow lorries.

As a consequence then, the island is now being visited more than ever, and perhaps lost a bit of its mystic of almost being a deserted island that we used to love.

KY, Haze, Rich, San San at Pulau Tenggol
KY, Haze, Rich, San San at Pulau Tenggol

Anyway, we paid about RM 1.5k each for a twin sharing room with all meals included, boat transfer from Dungun, and 7 boat dives. Slightly more expensive than earlier deals, but it was fair considering the upgrades of the facilities & meals. Will get to that later.

Anyway, I want to document my dive log here as per my usual practice.

Day 1
Dive 1
Site: Coral Garden
20/5/16 3:18 pm, 55 mins, 21.7 meter, 30 Celsius, 124 bar of air
Bumphead, 2 types of nudi, black shrimp on cushion starfish, coral fish

Dive 2
Site: Tanjung Gemuk, evening dive
20/5/16 5:58 pm, 57 mins, 19.4 meter, 31 Celsius, 117 bar of air
Nemo, huge morel eel, trumpet fish, rock hopper wrasse, huge nudi, lovely coral garden
Fish eagle with fish or sea snake captured. Nice slow drifting current

Day 2
Dive 1 – Tokong Laut
21/5/16 9:27 am, 48 mins, 26.6 meter, 29 Celsius, 118 bar of air
Lots of boulders, some swim through which is always one of my favorites.

Dive 2 – Tokong Timur
21/5/16 11:43 am, 60 mins, 20.8 meter, 29 Celsius, 134 bar of air
The other group saw whale shark at other dive site. We didn’t but was a reasonably nice dive too. Warm water of 29-30c too. Rainbow runner, school of fish.

Dive 3 – Turtle Point
21/5/16 3:38 pm, 61 mins, 16.3 meter, 31 Celsius, 113 bar of air
Trying to hunt for whale shark, didn’t find any
Lots of goby with shrimp pairing. Some pvc artificial habitat for the fishes.
Always love the black damsel among corals.

Day 3
Dive 1 – Thai Wreck
22/5/16 9:18 am, 49 mins, 30.2 meter, 28 Celsius, 130 bar of air
Lovely atmospheric dive, took a few pics around the wreck. Deepest dive so far.
Again plenty of goby with shrimp at Sandy bottom.

Dive 2 – Amazing Grace
22/5/16 11:37 am, 61 mins, 18.6 meter, 30 Celsius, 120 bar of air
Last dive of the trip. Also one of the loveliest.
Saw 2 turtles, maybe could have been the same one. Trigger fish. Also saw 3 blue spotted rays.
Big giant garupa. Played with Nemo, catch and release style. Saw jewel garupa too.

Thai Wreck, one of my favorite dives
Thai Wreck, one of my favorite dives

A thing to note for myself is that I have to start checking my equipment at least a couple weeks prior to the trip. I only did so a night prior to this trip and discovered 2 optical cables & my macro lens were missing. The lens lent to a friend but the cables .. well, I may need new cables.

Additionally, we discovered that Haze’s dive computer ran out of battery, with mine being quite low in power as well. We also should have tested the BCD in the swimming pool, cos that would have avoided me discovering that a plastic part had failed right before I was about to go into water for my first dive.

Lessons learned.

food at the resort in Tenggol has since tremendous improvement
food at the resort in Tenggol has since tremendous improvement

One of the best things that happened to having more visitors to Tenggol, at least at Tenggol Coral Beach resort that we went, is that now they serve proper food!

In previous years, you basically “eat to dive” and there were very little enjoyment to be had from those barely edible meals. Now they actually offer fairly decent buffet spread that wouldn’t be out of place in a 2-star hotel in the city.

there was even steamboat dinner on our last night
there was even steamboat dinner on our last night

In fact, on the last night they even prepared steamboat dinner with a hot pot on every table, complete with names of the group all assigned properly.

There’s also now a mini market of sort that you can purchase additional drinks (aka alcohol, soda etc) or snacks to be charged to the room. All in all it is now a much hospitable set up than before, and with 24 hour stable electricity supply & hot water as well. We were pleasantly surprised by this.

our dive guide - Jess
our dive guide – Jess

I have a feeling I would see Tenggol again in future trips, the diving was pretty decent, getting there is now easier than ever, makes for a perfect long weekend getaway.

 

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