When in Hanoi, one has to of course, go to the many many cafes dotted around the city that embraces the coffee culture unlike any other South East Asian countries. While the traditional drip coffee is still king around here, there are increasingly more and more fancy modern cafes as the economic status of the country progresses.
Gardenista, French Quarter Hanoi
While walking around the Hoan Kiem Lake Park, a place anyone would surely visit while at Hanoi, we took a rest as this beautiful cafe that is Gardenista for a spot of coffee and a bit of rest after a long walk around the lake.
black coffee, extra milk coffee, coconut ice cream coffee
The cafe itself is almost half green house & half cafe, with plenty of plants both on the floor, the counter, and even hanging from the ceiling. The interior is separated into three distinct areas, with another outdoor section to boot. I think this place can easily house over a hundred caffeinated souls.
ambiance is as important as taste when it comes to cafe
We tried their standard long black, extra milk coffee that’s got a bit more milk than your usual latte, and my favorite – the coconut ice cream coffee. These were pretty good coffee, but I do think that the ambiance is what anyone is really here for. Would love to revisit and spend an afternoon with a good book (nay.. phone and data plan).
My brother works at Sungai Petani, and the passion towards food runs in the family, so whenever I’m up north at his place, he always make sure there’s something interesting to try.
On my last visit it, it was something I’ve never had before – Prawn mee with salted pork.
May Lin kopitiam’s hokkien mee stall
Salted pork is one ingredient that I’ve never really seen anywhere else. It is a delicacy among locals here that’s made from fatty bits of pork with some chunks of meat not entirely unlike pork cracklings – crunchy, full of flavor, and in this case,a bit salty too.
One place to have this is at May Lin kopitiam, one of the popular spots for late dinner and supper among the locals.
prawn mee with salt pork, the Sg. Petani way
The prawn mee stall offers both hokkien mee and loh mee, with a number of “extras” – including prawns, intestine, pork ribs, and of course – salt pork.
For anyone who loves pork crackles or lard, the salt pork is definitely the way to go. It really adds a great dimension to the entire dish, especially after the good bits soaks up some prawn mee soup, heaven!
grilled chicken wings as centreplate
May Lin also have stalls offering BBQ chicken wings, satey, loh bak, and so forth. We’ve tried wings & satey and these definitely make for good side dishes.
Address: May Lin Kopitiam 552, Jalan Kuala Ketil, Kampung Sungai Tongka, 08000 Sungai Petani, Kedah GPS: 5.638794, 100.493260 Hours: 7pm to midnight
In the last few years, coffee culture in Malaysia experience quite a significant growth.
As I recalled, even just five years ago when I had to go to Le Passione Cafe at Hartamas for a cup of decent (and non-starbucks, non-coffeebeans) coffee. But now, we have plenty, and it’s great!
Cosans Coffee at Subang Jaya SS15
One of the many home brewed cafe chains that sprung up in recent years is Cosans Coffee, and my brother’s friend happened to be one of the persons behind it, which is why you’re reading this today.
I met my brother and a few others at the branch of Cosans Coffee at Subang Jaya a few weeks ago. The cafe is situated at a corner lot with tasteful design that took cues from English architecture, and a chilly air conditioning fitting for hot drinks. I remember when I studied at this part of the world over 1.5 decades ago, the most glamorous shops weren’t a quarter as neat as this one.
love the latte, with my brother Win Sern who’s a medical doctor
Cosans apparently take pride in their process of making coffee (you can find out more details in their website), but what I do know is that their latte tastes as good as anywhere I’ve tried. The milk silky smooth, and the coffee positively strong and aromatic. That’s all I ask for in a cup of coffee, and I like their version here.
In addition to latte, they serve a full range of espresso based drinks, including macchiato, espresso, flat white, cappuccino, mocha, and so forth. Prices of these drinks RM 7 to RM 14. Oh, they have affogato too.
sandwiches at Cosans, they pack a punch
Additionally, what sets Cosans apart from many other cafes is the sandwiches and salad they serve. The sandwiches are priced at RM 18-20 but they are absolutely loaded. I tried the blackcurrant smoked duck and would not hesitate to order again, the New Zealand beef steak sandwich too is something to reckon with. Two sandwiches here is probably enough for 3 person with average appetite.
Salad starts from RM 10 to RM 15, and there’s a selection of cakes to go with your caffeine. I haven’t tried these so to be honest, I wouldn’t be able to comment.
So if you’re around Subang looking for a place to chill out and possibly have a meal with some good coffee, Cosans is worth stopping by.
with Transitions lens on a cloudy day, while walking back from LRT station after work
A note to those who may wonder why Transitions lenses, including this pair of Transitions® Signature™ lenses in this picture has a tint when it is cloudy, this is due to the fact that UV light penetrate clouds, and hence activating the lenses. This way I’m still protected against the harmful rays even on a cloudy day.
If there’s a week that Thai food should be in focus, this week might as well be it. There is no particular reason for this, as there isn’t a good reason that it usually rains just when you get ready to leave work for home.
Anyway, we moved up to Penang, and check out this small little Thai restaurant called Ghee Seng that is situated at Weld Quay, a place I am very familiar with having spent big part of my life growing up at my late grandma’s place right here.
Ghee Seng Thai restaurant, a modest shop lot at Pangkalan Weld
According to my sister, who also happens to be a lover of all things spicy and sour (ie: at the cross hair of that is tomyam), Ghee Seng restaurant serves one of the best white tomyam there is this side of Penang island. So after a karaoke session (more about this later) with my sister, brother, and Haze, we made our way to this familiar old neighborhood for dinner.
Parking at the area can be a little bit tricky, but isn’t anything that a determined mind can’t solve. The restaurant is situated at the ground level of a residential high rise, and can be best described as “old school”. That being said, the place is relatively clean and comfortable.
clear soup tomyam, kung pao mantis prawn
For the four of us, we ordered four dishes to share.
First was a big bowl of clear soup seafood tomyam, and over here the tomyam is made with fresh ingredients you can actually see (and chew if you like). There’s ample amount of chili padi, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, garlic, galangal roots, diced garlic, and lime juice making up the soup. It was spicy, original, and because it is the clear soup type – a lot less oily.
We counted over half a dozen decent size prawns, squid, and chunks of fish meat making up the edible ingredients. It was really a very good bowl of tomyam.
The kungpao style mantis prawn was probably the most expensive dish of the night, but it was also positively delicious. This is one dish that needs to be consumed in a hurry. Leave it a little too long and you lose the crunchiness from the deep fried mantis prawns. The kungpao sauce is top notch.
kailan ikan masin, “siam bak” or Thai pork belly, KY, Melisa, Win Sern, Haze
Another pretty rare dish here is what they called “Siam Bak“, literally Thai meat in Hokkien. It is actually deep fried sliced pork belly topped with chopped shallots, chili padi, and salad. This is a combination of flavor from pork belly, freshness of shallots, and the kick from chili padi. I like it.
Lastly, there’s the customary vegetable, and again we ordered kailan with ikan masin. It was a decent complimentary dish, nothing to shout about.
Other than being a commendable Thai restaurant, two other things stand out for me. Firstly, the first dish was served less than 5 minutes after we made our order, and within some 10 minutes, we have everything already. Lastly, the whole meal for four of us only came to be RM 60 even, and this includes a rather big bowl of tomyam seafood and a mantis prawn dish (known for being pricey). My sister mentioned that usual bill is about RM 30-50 for 4.
this karaoke room is a bit massive for 4 person right?
As mentioned earlier, we went to karaoke at 1st Avenue’s Red Box prior to this dinner. Because we could only get 2 hours in the normal room, the front desk officer at Red Box asked if we would like to occupy the VIP room for additional RM 80 so that we could enjoy 4-5 hours of singing.
We agreed, and was shocked at the room given. It was literally big enough to play badminton in (if only the ceiling is tall enough). The screen is massive, and there’s even Wii and another LCD TV on the side for kids.
We had a blast trying our best to have a sore throat from 3 – 9 pm.
Gong Xi Fa Cai and wish you have a happy and prosperous Rabbit year!
It’s been a tradition of sort for my family to come over to KL from Penang every year over CNY since 6-7 years ago. This is partly to avoid the crazy traffic in Penang (and the commute), plus I suspect, maybe giving mom a chance in having real Klang Bak Kut Teh at least once a year. 😀
Kedai Makanan Nan Sian, Klang
So on the third day of Chinese New Year we drove all the way to Klang in search for any bak kut teh restaurant that’s open for business.
After the Klang toll and turning back into Jalan Batu Tiga Lama, there was Kedai Makanan Nan Sian. Incidentally, we also came here some 6-7 years ago at about the same time for BKT, with my late dad then, as my mom recalled. It has been that long.
dry and soup bak kut teh, klang style
While we only had the soup BKT on the first visit, there’s dry bak kut teh to go along with the more traditional soup version this time around. For those who have been sleeping over the last 5 years or so, dry bak kut teh has since taken on major stride and available at many major BKT outlets these days.
two types of bak kut teh, with chinese tea, of course
The dry version over here is as good as any, with plenty of sliced okra, dried chili, and I suspect, a little bit of dried cuttle fish to add to the taste. It was flavorful and intense.
The soup version is proto typical Klang style, very herbal, thick, sticky, and with a big pork bone in the middle of the clay pot too. We had it with pork knuckle, 3-layer meat, pork tripe, intestine, a bit of mushroom, tofu, fu chok, and that slice of lettuce (mostly for decoration). If you like them old school Klang BKT, you can’t go wrong with this one.