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I usually love meat in pretty much every meal, but every now and then, it’s good to get in tune with our slightly more spiritual side and slow down this whole butchery of living beings for our gastronomic pleasure.

That… or you do it with colleagues/friends because of the company.

Vegetarian Food at Kun Yam Thong Temple
Vegetarian Food at Kun Yam Thong Temple

In either case, if you’re a fan of Chinese religious style vegetarian (no ginger & some other restrictions), the Kun Yam Thong Temple at Jalan Ampang is one of the best places to be when it comes to value and selection.

The temple is located between Citibank and KLCC, just a stone’s throw away from the MCA building. There’s no exterior clue as to it being anything other than a temple, but head in, and walk towards the rear of the building will reveal an entirely different identity the façade suggests.

very big selection of vegetarian food, including fruits & drinks
very big selection of vegetarian food, including fruits & drinks

Here you find a very good selection of vegetarian dishes. Head to the “chap fan” area and there are at least 3-4 dozen dishes to pick from to go along with steamed rice, “red rice”, or even meehun.

Other than that, there’s also vegetarian pan mee, wantan mee, curry mee, pumpkin spaghetti, tomyam meehun, and other noodle dishes according to day of week. On every 1st & 15th of Chinese lunar calendar, they also offer vegetarian bak kut teh.

this plate of meehun with quite a lot of vegetable was RM 5
this plate of meehun with quite a lot of vegetable was RM 5

The taste of food here is generally pretty good, and best of all, prices are more than decent. My plate of meehun with two pieces of vegetarian “roast goose”, radish with mushroom, and pumpkin only cost RM 5, and I don’t think there’s GST!

To keep the price low, everything here is self served, and do make sure that you bring your plates & empty glasses to the cleaning area when done.

Happy eating!

map to Kun Yam Thong temple at Jalan Ampang

Address:
Kun Yam Thong Temple
Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.159702, 101.715831
Hours: Lunch on weekdays

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3A couple years ago I was one of the earlier adopters in fitness tracker with the jawbone. Since that unit became faulty with a defunct vibration mode, I sort of stopped using it, until I was introduced to Mi Band by Yee Hou, Xiaomi’s answer to activity tracker than costs only RM 69 instead of the usual RM 300-400 from other brands.

This is my short review and why you may want to think of getting one.

mi band on my wrist and being charged
mi band on my wrist and being charged

WHAT IS AN ACTIVITY TRACKER AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?

Well, an activity tracker is basically something that you wear on you 24/7 and tracks what you do to a certain extend. In the case of Mi Band, it tracks your step counts as well as the number of hours you sleep. You can usually view these information on a connected mobile application or the tracker itself.

Additionally, some activity trackers also has reminder functions, calorie counts, alarms, or even connect to heart rate monitors.

In the case of Xiaomi’s Mi Band, it has the following functions worth mentioning, additionally, it is paired with the phone with Bluetooth 4.0.

  • step counting
  • sleep tracking
  • alarms
  • alerts
  • rope skipping & sit ups

mi band as a pedometer
mi band as a pedometer

STEP COUNT FUNCTION:

The one feature every activity tracker has is the step count. In essence, this is just a pedometer that counts pretty much every single step you take throughout the day.

Mi Band’s feature is pretty basic, it’ll try to “guess” when you are running versus walking, but I find it generally doing a pretty poor job of guessing, though the step count is quite spot on.

The default goal is 8,000 steps per day, once you reach 1/3 of that, the band blinks one of 3 LEDs when you bring the band up from your wrist in a “look at your watch” gesture. 2 LEDs when you reach 2/3, and all 3 plus vibration when you hit the 8000 mark.

However, the gesture doesn’t always work, and I prefer to use the application to view the step count anyway.

On the app, you can also view a breakdown of today’s steps, and view a history of previous days/weeks/monthly average. However, there is no way to view detailed breakdown of yesterday or any other day’s count. There is also no web-version of the app.

mi band sleep tracking
mi band sleep tracking

SLEEP TRACKING:

Unlike other fitness tracker that requires you to manually enter a sleep mode, Mi Band tracks you sleeping pattern at night automatically, and with that there’s pros & cons.

You will never forget to manually click a button before you go to sleep, but at the same time, the band has no ability to track afternoon naps. It’ll merely come up as inactivity period(s).

You also cannot edit sleep time on the application. I wish this could change in the future via updates.

However, it still does its job quite well 90% of the time, giving you a pretty good idea of how much sleep (or the lack of) you get throughout the week.

mi band alarm & charging
mi band alarm & charging

ALARM, BATTERY, & OTHER FUNCTIONS:

Another neat feature of Mi Band is the alarm function. You can set 3 recurring alarms and the band will vibrate and blink at those set time. It’s a great way to wake up without having to bother the person sleeping next to you (or at the same room).

The battery life on Mi Band is advertised at 1 month per charge, and from experience it is actually even better than advertised. I still have 27% left at day 36. I’ll trade not having a display for long battery life any day.

Mi Band also has other, less useful features like being able to share your target achieving streaks or daily step counts on social media platforms such as Facebook or WeChat, and you can also track sit ups and rope jumping, though I’ve never really bothered with those.

CONCLUSION:

Mi Band is a great little piece of gadget that is absolutely worth the price you pay for it. Sure, the functions are pretty basic, but it does it well and has excellent battery life to boot.

If you’re looking into having a basic tracker to be a healthier and more active person, Mi Band is not a bad way to start.

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Last weekends I went back up north for cheng beng (Hokkien for prayers to ancestors & grave cleaning), and this time around instead of heading back to Penang, we slept over at my brother’s new house at Sungai Petani instead.

More reason to try some of the local hawker fair my brother talked about.

Curry Mee is the busiest stall at Eupe food court, sungai petani
Curry Mee is the busiest stall at Eupe food court, sungai petani

We went to the (I think) the number one hawker attraction in Sungai Petani – the curry mee stall at Eupe food court.

The food court itself is converted by stripping off the walls and ceiling of 28 shop lots to create a giant dining area under one roof, there are dozens of stalls offering various types of food, with the curry mee stall being the one that’s easiest to spot – the one with a long queue.

slices of fresh mackerel is what made this awesome
slices of fresh mackerel is what made this awesome

The ingredients for this curry mee is very different from the ones in Penang or KL. Instead of pork blood, prawns, and cockles, what we have here is a couple slices of fresh mackerel, lady’s fingers, tomato, potato, and half an egg. Of course, there’s the curry broth and sambal. You can also ask for pork ribs as additional topping.

The mixture worked pretty good, felt unusual at first but it proved to be really worth the wait. The best part about this curry mee is the freshness of the fish. According to my brother, if the market doesn’t have fresh fish for the day, the stall isn’t opened.

me & my younger brother, who's a doctor at Hospital Sultan Abdul Halim
me & my younger brother, who’s a doctor at Hospital Sultan Abdul Halim

If you’re at SP, get on the queue and spend the RM 6 for this, you’ll not regret.

map to Eupe food court, Sungai Petani

Address:
Eupe Food Court
Jalan Gamelan 5,
Taman Ria Jaya,
08000 Sungai Petani, Kedah
GPS5.652733,100.517535
Hours: 9 am till around lunch time

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One of the lesser known dishes in Penang is “hokkein char“, or literally, Hokkien Fried noodle. It is a dish found on most hawker centers and probably most of the bigger kopitiam, but unlike the more glamorous Pennag dishes like char kuih teow, curry mee or prawn mee that is famous everywhere, I’ve yet to find a proper hokkien char stalls in Klang Valley.

Hokkien Char & Char Hor Fun, Anson Road wet market
Hokkien Char & Char Hor Fun, Anson Road wet market

This blog post is about a Hokkien Char stall located at Anson Road wet market in Penang. It is not a particularly well known stall, in fact, it is absolutely average. In fact, I ended up trying this only because I was waiting for the immensely popular kuih teow soup at the same place (a must-try for kuih teow soup fans)

It is presented as how Hokkien Char should be, and tasted how it should taste, just the way I like it.

Penang hokkein char, where can I get one in KL?
Penang hokkein char, where can I get one in KL?

The anatomy of Hokkien Char is simple. There’s yellow noodle and mee hun, prawns, vegetable (choi sam usually), and pork slices fried with some sort of brown sauce, then topped with char siu and fried shallot. Most importantly, it is served with Penang style sambal balacan that’s positively spicy and foul smelling. Sometimes you get an odd fish ball or fish cakes thrown in as well.

The combination just works, and to me, a far superior rendition of fried noodle than KL’s “Hokkien Mee” with it’s overloaded dark soya sauce.

If you’re in Penang, give it a try!

muar chee, this one right outside Ayer Itam wet market
muar chee, this one right outside Ayer Itam wet market

Oh, also, don’t forget to try some Muar Chee as well. They’re absolutely fantastic and usually don’t cost more than RM 2 or so. If you like Kampachi’s signature peanut mochi, you will absolutely enjoy this.

direction to Anson Road market

Address:
Hokkien Char Stall
Anson Road Market
Jalan Anson & Lebuh Melaka
Penang
GPS: 5.415880, 100.320892
Hours: daily breakfasts except Mondays

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For all these years staying within a kilometer or two within Seapark, I never knew the existence of this row of hawker stalls in the morning right beside the wet market until about half a year ago when introduced by my ex-colleague, Kelvin.

Seapark Morning Market curry mee
Seapark Morning Market curry mee

The reason that made me want to visit this hawker row was the picture of curry wantan mee shared by Kelvin that looks rather delicious. So a particular fair weathered morning not too long ago, I did just that.

dry "curry mee" with a side of tofu pok
dry “curry mee” with a side of tofu pok

The stall operates from around 4 am and usually sold out before 9. If you want to have super early breakfast, this is definitely the place to go.

The dry version is what most people go for, you have a choice of kuih teow, yellow noodle, or meehun as stomach filler, with the other ingredients being minced meat, sliced fish cake, fried fuchuk, and a side of curry broth with tofu pok & fish ball. Of course, there’s the all important fragrant chili paste as well.

this is available from around 4 am in the morning
this is available from around 4 am in the morning

So how does it taste?

Well, I’ve never had this exact same combination before, but I think it works pretty well. There’s sweetness from dark soya sauce, the spiciness and fragrance from sambal paste, and savoriness from meat and fish ball/fish cake.

For RM 5, this makes a pretty good breakfast. Now if they also offer coffee, that’ll be great.

map to seapark morning market hawker row

Address:
Curry wantan mee
Jalan 21/22, Sea Park,
46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.110397, 101.621757
Tel: 011-2628 4688 
Hours: from 4am to 8-9am