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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / winnie

I remember the days when Korean cars is just an after thought for most when it comes to purchasing new cars, even as early only some 10 years ago, they weren’t viewed as something that is of equal to European and Japanese counterparts.

Fast forward to 2014, and things couldn’t be more different. I stopped by the KIA Roadshow at The Curve Mutiara Damansara to check out their latest models as well as a test drive last weekends and came away very impressed.

Kia roadshow at the Curve
KIA roadshow at the Curve

KIA took the whole centre court at the Curve and had it set up with the World Cup 2014 theme. There were five KIA vehicles being showcased around the green football field inspired carpet – Picanto, Sportage, Cerato, and Optima K5.

There were also official KIA merchandises, PS3 games, and even a KIA speed kicker game where you win a souvenir if you can kick a football over 100 km/h (I only managed 90 km/h)

official merchandise, KIA speed kicker game
official merchandise, KIA speed kicker game

At the centre of it all was the counter where you can register for a test drive.

For anyone who likes football, travel, or driving, this is a great news. If you register for a test drive, you are given 1 coupon which entitles you to enter into a lucky draw where winner gets to attend the 2014 World Cup semi-final game in Brazil! But if you booked a KIA for as low as RM200, you will be given 2 coupons to enter the lucky draw which gives you a higher chance of winning

Naturally I took a test drive, these kind of opportunity doesn’t come along often.

we test drove the Cerato 1.6
we test drove the Cerato 1.6

After filling up the paperwork (you have to have a valid driver’s license), I took the KIA Cerato to a spin around the block. I chose the Cerato 1.6 as it is priced below RM 100k, something that falls within my financial ability when it comes to a new car.

For vehicle of this class, I must say that the specification is rather impressive. There’s reverse camera, six airbags, brake assist, traction control, ABS, climate control (including vents for rear seat passengers), LED side repeater and puddle lamp (a light that illuminates the ground around the door before you step into the car), paddle shift, keyless entry, keyless ignition, and a healthy dose of controls available right at the driver’s finger tips.

the Kia Cerato is rather spacious and comes with a host of features
the KIA Cerato is rather spacious and comes with a host of features

The 1.6 litre petrol engine powering the Cerato is rated at a healthy 128 hp and mated with a 6 speed automatic transmission. Although we didn’t manage to take it to highway speed, the car showed good acceleration and handling around the block. Wind and outside noise is also minimal.

The car can host 5 adults comfortable, and also comes with a 421 litre boot space. As a comparison, my pretty good size fridge is about 380 litre.

The styling of the car too is also something that I find very attractive. Led by Peter Schreyer, the influential automobile designer at KIA certainly brought out fresh and original styling that appeals to this generation.

Kia Sportage comes in 5 colors
KIA Sportage comes in 5 colors

For active families, there’s KIA Sportage. (I had an old story with involving Sportage driven by Margie). The SUV starts just below RM 140k and comes with roof racks, sun roof, and can accommodate up to seven passengers.

the Picanto comes with 6 airbags
the Picanto comes with 6 airbags

The Picanto, on the other hand, might appeal to the first car owner and the younger generations.

While diminutive in size, the Picanto certainly doesn’t lack in features. It also comes with 6 airbags, LED daytime running light, electronic stability control, ABS, brake assist system, and rear parking assist system. The 4.9 meter turning radius should also make this car very easy to park and navigate around tight areas.

Optima K5 has a  4.3-inch TFT LCD and luxurious interior
Optima K5 has a  4.3-inch TFT LCD and luxurious interior

For ultimate in luxury and comfort, there’s the KIA Optima, a car with pretty much every important features found in all other models, and then some. This car is suited for executives and business owners who likes something classy, comfortable, while not lacking in driveability and safety.

For those who didn’t manage to visit the roadshow at the Curve, there’s upcoming KIA roadshow at KSL City on the 4th-6th April in Johor, and another KIA roadshow at KLCC on the 16th and 21st April, 2014. Don’t forget that you will also get the chance to participate in the lucky draw that might just put you in Brazil!

While most bak kut teh connoisseurs will tell you that the best bak kut teh dishes are from Klang, I believe that there exists many good quality stalls and restaurants offering the same dish outside of its place of origin. Not too long ago, we went to Kg. Chempaka in PJ to try out one of the newer places in town by the name of Hou Siang.

Hau Siang bak kut teh at Kg. Chempaka
Hau Siang bak kut teh at Kg. Chempaka

There is Klang and Teochew style bak kut teh, the former being stronger tasting, and the latter slightly sweeter and less herbal. Hou Siang bak kut teh advertised to be of 100% Klang.

The bak kut teh stall is located within the kopitiam that shares the same name. There’s no air conditioning or table cloth, and thankfully, the food was as unpretentious as the restaurant.

a no nonsense clay pot of bak kut teh
a no nonsense clay pot of bak kut teh

A big clay pot of bak kut teh here is good enough to share among 5-6 people. There’s the signature “big bone” with plenty of collagen & tendon, fatty meat, intestine, ribs, and pork knuckle too. It is really a no nonsense serving of bak kut teh,  other than pork, bone, and soup (essentially the definition of bak kut teh,) there’s no other ingredients.

While the soup isn’t the most fragrant of strongest I’ve tasted, it is actually still very good, probably one of the better versions outside Klang.

extra tofu and innards to complete the meal
extra tofu and innards to complete the meal

Tofu, yau char kuai, extra innards, and other ingredients can be ordered as sides, and I really like the way they serve extra soup on separate bowls for everyone and refills them constantly. I hate it when bak kut teh places are stingy with their soup, this place definitely do it right.

Shiang demonstrate exactly how big the clay pot is
Shiang demonstrate exactly how big the clay pot is

Our lunch came up to be around RM 20 per person, which includes Chinese tea and plenty of pork for the day. If you’re looking for a very decent bak kut teh place around PJ, this is one place to check out.

Address:
Hau Siang Bak Kut Teh
No 496, Jalan PJU 1/6,
Kampung Cempaka
47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.117291, 101.599030
Tel016-928 7691

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.

Thanks to the good people at ROYCE, I got my hands on a few limited edition chocolates slated for their upcoming ROYCE Maccha Fair (available from 1st August, 2013 for limited time) a short while ago. Since Lance invited us for his almost-birthday BBQ party at Genting last week, I took the opportunity to bring those chocolates some 1000 meters above sea level for sharing.

ROYCE Maccha Fair chocolates and the bunch at Genting
ROYCE Maccha Fair chocolates and the bunch at Genting

I’ve previously wrote an entry on ROYCE chocolate and was impressed with the quality of this chocolate maker from Hokkaido, therefore I was quite keen to sample this latest offering.

While many choose to buy chocolates in duty free shops, ROYCE is one of the very few brands that have their outlets in various malls around Klang Valley (check location here), offering a wide range of chocolate products.

To me, the only downside is that they don’t serve coffee on location since these two goes so well together.

ROYCE Maccha Almond chocolate, Kerol as the model
ROYCE Maccha Almond chocolate, Kerol as the model

Anyway, lets talk about these Maccha Fair chocolates.

The Maccha Almond chocolate is pretty self explanatory. Roasted almond coated with green tea flavoured chocolate on the outside. There is something about nuts that always goes well with chocolates, and I think this goes extremely well with beer too.

Lance & Haze with ROYCE's Prafeuille Chocolat
Lance & Haze with ROYCE’s Prafeuille Chocolat

ROYCE’s Prafeuille Chocolat made by having fragrant green tea sauce sandwiched between light-textured chocolate and mixed with powdered green tea leaves. A box of this contains 30 pieces of chocolates, all individually wrapped.

The taste of green tea is very strong and suppresses the aroma of chocolate somewhat. Whisky did not go well with this, but I believe coffee would be lovely. Kinda reminds me of those minty chocolates you get for Christmas, except this one tastes a whole lot better. Perfect for those who loves green tea, but if you just want the taste of chocolates, this might not suit.

Michael enjoying some ROYCE Nama chocolate - Machha
Michael enjoying some ROYCE Nama chocolate – Machha

Then there’s the Nama chocolate, ROYCE’s most famed product. This is one of the smoothest and tastiest chocolate you can get. Laced with a hint of liquor with perfect balance between the aroma of green tea and fragrances of chocolate, this was pretty much everyone’s favorite of the night, including myself.

If calorie intake and money isn’t a problem, I want ROYCE Nama chocolate to be in my fridge at all time. So good!

You can find locations of Royce’ stores in Malaysia from http://www.e-royce.com/english/shop/shopintheworld/malaysia.html and their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ROYCEMalaysia

it was Lance's birthday BBQ celebration, did it like a rock star
it was Lance’s birthday BBQ celebration, did it like a rock star

Well, the chocolate was just desserts for this awesome BBQ party that we had. Lance made us plenty of awesome BBQ goodness, which includes lamb rack, steak, bacon, mushroom with cheese, chicken, salad, clam chowder, and more.

The birthday cake for the boy was a pavlova cake from Alexis at Bangsar, which is of course, one of the best pavlova cakes you can get (Serai serves pretty good pavlova too).

plenty of drinks, meat, and good times with friends
plenty of drinks, meat, and good times with friends

Mike’s job for the night was handling all the alcohol related drinks since Ee Laine was unable to join us on to night. We had great fun as always, and as always, looking forward to the next session!

And it was another Xmas Eve Party at SS3, a yearly tradition that we’ve had since 2004 (except for 2010), if you’re counting, this was the 8th time on the same venue with the same concept – plenty of drinks, a bit of food, and a tricky gift exchange program by midnight.

The idea is for everyone to have some fun counting down to Christmas day, and at the same time an excuse to have a few drinks and mingle among like minded friends.

xmas eve party at SS3, 2012
xmas eve party at SS3, 2012

Carlsberg Malaysia was kind enough to sponsor us some beer for the night – we had 2 cases of Carlsberg, Asashi Super Dry, and Kronenbourg Blanc each. Thank you Pearl, Calvin, and Serin!

I made full use of the Jagermiester freezer and Carlsberg beer tower I won from the Jagermiester Halloween Party a couple months ago.

I made some bergedil, haze marinated pork for bbq, Fresh made santa berries
I made some bergedil, haze marinated pork for bbq, Fresh made santa berries

Other than the beer, we prepared some food for the night. Haze marinated more than 3 KGs of pork for BBQ and prepared a small slab of roast pork, I made some bergedil, and Fresh prepared her little cute Santaberries.

It wasn’t a dinner event, so these were just beer food.

Jeniffer & Jenine; Fooi, Sam, Kerol, Terence; Shany & Desmond, Eiling, Horng
Jeniffer & Janine; Fooi, Sam, Kerol, Terence; Shany & Desmond, Eiling, Horng

Guests started coming in just slightly before 9 pm. In fact, David and Michael actually went to my place while we were out having dinner, talk about being too punctual.

Fresh, Huss, Janine, Winnie & Terence, KY, Erin, Yuki, Martin
Fresh, Huss, Janine, Winnie & Terence, KY, Erin, Yuki, Martin

The returning party goers were:

KY, Haze, Horng, Yuki, Kim, Gareth, Terence, Kerol, Ruby, Michael, Li Ling, Lance, Eiling, Yee Hou, Firdy, Zess, Shiang.

Fiqa, Eiling, Ruby & Desmond, Terence, Vindy, Cherlyn, Desmond, Terence

Fiqa, Eiling, Ruby & Desmond, Terence, Vindy, Cherlyn, Desmond, Terence

New Faces were:

Fiqa, Huss, Fresh, Erin, Martin, Jennifer, Janine, Winnie, Fooi, Desmond, Sam, Geoffery, Shany, Cheryn, Vindy, David, Gary

So that was 17-17 with a total of 34 people, a pretty nice turn out despite a few notable absence due to work, travel, and family commitments. You know who you are, and we hope to see you next year.

David, Yee Hou, Desmond, Michael, Kerol, Horng, Firdy, Gary
David, Yee Hou, Desmond, Michael, Kerol, Horng, Firdy, Gary

We had another fun filled gift exchange program with the following rules this year

  • every participant contribute a gift worth over RM 49.90, and then draw a number from the box
  • smallest number start by picking and unwrapping a gift
  • next number can snatch the opened gift, whereby the person who lost it gets to choose another gift, or snatch another opened gift
  • maximum of 3 snatching sequence per round

The most snatched gift was a sweet Puma Ducati bag from Fooi that’s actually retailed at over RM 300, Lance went home with it. Other memorable gifts include portable air bed, Chinese liquor, ice cream, Thor’s Hammer bottle opener, a couple of salami from Australia.

Terence ended up with a pair of blue lingerie, who would have thought, right?

Gary, Geoffery, Horng; Yee Hou, Fresh, Yuki, Haze; and finally, the drunken man
Gary, Geoffery, Horng; Yee Hou, Fresh, Yuki, Haze; and finally, the drunken man

The men in blue visited us by around 2 am and that’s when the party was winding down. The ending of this party is almost exactly the same as the one in 2008 where we had a dude in Afro K-O-ed on the floor. It was a blast.

See you guys next year!

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