Kyspeaks.com

Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / johor

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.

There isn’t many seaside kampung style restaurants that have the honor having a Crown Prince to attend the opening ceremony, Kedai Makan Rahmat at Pasir Gudang is one of them (or perhaps the only).

Officially launched by Duli Yang Amat Mulia Tunku Mahkota Johor, Ibrahim Ismail Ibni Sultan Iskandar in 1986, Kedai Makan Rahmat remains a very popular lunch destination for those who works around Pasir Gudang.

Kedah Makan Rahmat at Kampung Pasir Putih, Pasir Gudang
Kedah Makan Rahmat at Kampung Pasir Putih, Pasir Gudang

It is usually a wise idea to call ahead and book for a table before visiting Kedai Makan Rahmat, we did not do that and ended up waiting for about 20 odd minutes before a table is vacant, and already considered ourselves pretty lucky.

The restaurant is located at Kampung Pasir Putih, between Tanjong Puteri Golf Resort and the MMHE Yard. Parking isn’t usually a big problem, the restaurant is always very busy, but manage to maintain a pretty high standard of cleanliness. I only wish that the beach where the restaurant is built upon is half as good.

and that's our lunch, dig in!
and that’s our lunch, dig in!

Almost everyone comes here for essentially the same dish – Siakap Goreng (deep fried barramundi fish). For the five of us, we ordered three pretty good size siakap goreng, a portion of udang goreng (deep fried shrimp), a couple plates of kacang with sambal, two plates of petai with ikan bilis, and  a serving of kacang panjang (french beans) to satisfy our vitamin C quota.

kacang panjang, petai, udang bakar, and siakap goreng
kacang panjang, petai, udang bakar, and siakap goreng

The good thing about Rahmat is that even when really busy, food doesn’t take very long to be served once you’ve ordered and seated.

The siakap was as good as advertised, steamy hot, super fresh, and with absolutely soft and delicious flesh. The skin is usually discarded as the scales aren’t removed (I hope they did..). Mixing the fish with sambal petai, kacang, or sambal belacan proved to be the solution to the mystery of why this place is so damn popular. It was yummeh!

While the kacang was a bit lackluster, I also really enjoyed the petai.

KY, Shamsul, Radzi, Azman, and Zahirah
KY, Shamsul, Radzi, Azman, and Zahirah

It’s also wise to order their pre-made lime juice that comes in jars. They are very refreshing and does a wonderful job of neutralizing the spicy sambal.

I was more than satisfied by the food at Rahmat, and the wait time was certainly well worth it. Food and drinks came to about RM 25 or so per person, and considering the three big and fresh siakap fish we got, it was of pretty decent value as well.

I definitely would love to go back there again.

we stopped by a kampung style cendol and keropok lekor
we stopped by a kampung style cendol and keropok lekor

After lunch, we stopped by a kampung style cendol and keropok lekor place a couple streets down for something cooling. The cendol with crushed ice (since they don’t have a the ice shaving machine) and pulut was pretty decent, and that keropok lekor you see in the picture was only for RM 1. Great value, but unfortunately not exactly super tasty.

By the way, another place worth checking out at Pasir Gudang is the Ayam Penyet at Restoran Selera Sambal.

map to Kedai Makan Rahmat at Pasir Gudang

Address:
Kedai Makan Rahmat
No 3. Jalan Pantai,
Kampung Pasir Putih,
81700 Pasir Gudang, Johor
GPS: 1.434596, 103.930997
Tel07-271 1770 / 019-740 8847
Hours10.30 am – 3.30 pm

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

Quietly tucked in a row of shop houses at SS18 is the JM Bariani House that serves traditional Johor nasi briyani. My colleague and I went there on a particularly warm afternoon for lunch as this place is actually air conditioned. It was a wise decision, not only did we not have to sweat in a kopitiam, the food was so good it reminded me of the awesome Indian nasi briyani I had at Myanmar.

JM Bariani House at Subang Jaya
illustrated menu and a comfortable interior

JM Bariani House serves all but one item (mee bandung) that isn’t nasi briyani as main dish. There’s lamb, beef, chicken, fried chicken, and even just pure nasi briyani without any meat. They also serve nasi briyani gam ayam (chicken) every Wednesday and nasi briyani gam kambing (lamb) every Saturday.

I ordered a lamb briyani and my colleague had the chicken briyani, we also ordered a tauhu bakar (fried bean curd skin stuffed with mengkuang, cucumber, and sauce) to share.

JM Bariani House at Subang Jaya
chicken and lamb briyani, tauhu bakar

The rice used is the finer and smaller grain than usual, very soft and fragrant. The meat was so tender you can cut it with your spoon, they must be cooked for many hours. The taste was just right, not overly spicy, salty, nor sweet, but just a perfect harmony that was very satisfying. My colleague was very satisfied with the chicken briyani as well.

As for the tauhu bakar, I could say that I’ve had better. You would probably want to skip this item when you’re there.

map to JM Bariani House at Subang Jaya

The lamb briyani was RM 10.50 and chicken at RM 9.50. Not exactly economical but wouldn’t break your bank either. Some might justify it with air conditioning provided, but I’d say the awesome nasi briyani more than make up for the slightly higher price.

Address:
21 & 21A Jalan SS18/6,
Subang Jaya, Selangor

GPS: 3.064812, 101.585866
Tel: 03-5634 4660

I received an invitation to my ex-uni friend Kim Heng’s wedding dinner over MSN and decided to take the opportunity to rekindle with some of the old pals I used to hang out back when we were in our early twenties studying at St. Cloud State. Though some of us still communicates with each other occasionally via the web, it was some 6 years since we last met.

Kim Heng's wedding
Congradulations

Kim Heng and Chiew Fei were together even before their university days, and only after 11 years did they move the relationship into the next step last Saturday night. Congratulations!

groom singing to the bride
Kim Heng serenading to the wife

Wai Hong, bride, Hui Mei
Wai Hong and Hui Mei with the bride

It was cool seeing those guys again, memories of yesteryears flooding back. All of a sudden it was like back in the days where we still had to worry assignments and exams, instead of bills and dodging older relatives asking their favorite question that Kim Heng now can answer with pride.

dinner
the dinner

After the dinner, some ten of us spent the night in a 3 bedroom hotel suite at JB to catch up some lost time. Hui Mei brought a drinking roulette game thing, and we were just trying to make each other drink the entire night, interrupted only with some toilet breaks.

drinking
roulette drinking game

fun and games
the happy bunch

How time flies. We had bak kut teh at JB the next morning and parted ways after that. We went back to KL, Melaka, Johor, and even a pair to Hong Kong. It was a weekend well spent. None of us would have expected how each other turned out to be when we were still in the same university, judging from the picture below, I’m sure Chek Ning agrees.

chek ning is happy!
chek ning doing her happy laugh

I hope we don’t need to wait another 6 years to meet again.

More pictures at flickr.com/kyspeaks