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After a little over five years of having the wooden deck by the pool & pond side (pic from 5 years ago here), it was time for a bit of a revamp. The biggest reason for this exercise was that while wood used for the deck was of adequate quality (merbau wood), the contractor had  used normal iron nails which started to rust in and damaged part of the deck, resulting in perhaps some 5-10% of wood rot via nail rust.

the finished product - 60 x 60 granite tiles by poolside
the finished product – 60 x 60 granite tiles by poolside

I was debating a plan replace the rotted out wooden pieces initially, but ultimately chose the path of replacing the deck in its entirety with solid granite tiles instead.

The biggest advantage of going with tiles is that it would be a permanent solution, and furthermore,  there was a sales at Nero Granite of 30% off regular price last December.

ripping out the damaged wooden deck
ripping out the damaged wooden deck, can be reused later

First course of action was to remove the wooden decks. This proved to be great cardio & strength workout that lasted for many weeks.

Merbau wood is rather heavy and dense. I bought a crowbar for this purpose and developed some calluses on my palm in the process. Some of the better looking wood pieces are kept for future projects (wooden bench, garden planter etc). Nails would have to be removed but I’ll sort that out at a later point.

granite tiles delivery, with bullnose pieces for edges
granite tiles delivery, with bull-nose pieces for edges

Then came the granite tiles. I made careful calculation with excel sheets and bought pretty much the precise number of tiles required.

At the end though it proved to be too much since there’s already a round of tiles around the pool and we decided to reuse them. This made ripping those out unnecessary, reducing the risk of damaging the fiber glass pool, and I sorta like the outline of pool having a different color anyway.

proof of concept - granite + sand, no cementing
proof of concept – granite + sand, no cementing

After procuring the granite, I procured construction aggregate and sand to be used as base. Started out with a scoop each (closer to 1 meter cube per bobcat scoop), and eventually guesstimate somewhat correctly that 2.5 scoop each was required.

The idea is to use aggregate as base to provide strength and sand as the top layer for laying the tiles. I avoid having to cement the tiles as this will allow for more margin of error, and flexibility in the future.

edges of pond to be glued in to prevent slippage
tiles at edge of pond glued in to prevent slippage

For the area surrounding the fish pond though, the tiles were glued on with “Vital Nails”. This prevents the tiles from slipping into the pond. I also used some of the off cuts to pave around the pond to lift it a little higher, matching the level of poolside. Original wooden filter cover & water outlet box for pond are re-used, breaking monotonous look of the granite, plus reducing some work scope.

cutting tiles with diamond cutters is hard work
cutting tiles with diamond cutters is hard work

Cutting tiles proved to be quite a challenging task. I bought a BOSCH cutter for this purpose, together with way too many diamond cutting discs. These discs don’t last very long thanks to the thick, tough granite and the dry cut method (the tool won’t allow wet cut).

Measure twice, cut once! I only ended up messing up maybe 2 different cuts thanks to blunt blades, but ultimately was able to salvage those tiles as well.

some of my prouder cuts to get around fencing poles
some of my prouder cuts to get around fencing poles

The trickier cuts were around the metal fencing poles, but with a bit of careful measurement and a lot of patience, they turned out looking pretty neat, and immensely satisfying.

Now, onto the next project!

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Last weekend after a morning hike at Taman Tugu (best jungle trail in the city), we decided to stop over in KL for breakfast prior to my afternoon futsal session. Initial plan was ICC Pudu but alas, the place was way too packed, and this is when I recalled I’ve always wanted to check out San Peng prawn mee, which coincidentally is just a few minutes away from Pudu.

San Peng Prawn Mee stall, KL
San Peng Prawn Mee stall, KL

San Peng Prawn Mee is located in a make-shift semi alfresco “shop” right in the middle of Jalan San Peng (hence the name), the old school stall has been around for a long time, and is among the rare one that is fully operated by locals (family probably?).

Over here prawn mee and lam mee are their two most popular dishes, but they also offer kai si hor fun, fish ball soup, and various other combination you can think of.

Since this was our first time here, we decided to try the two dishes on the trademark.

The old lady who took our order had a very convincing sales tactic, which led to us ordering both dishes with extra prawns (RM 25 each). And as it turns out, it’s not a bad idea if you have enough cash, the prawns were huge, fresh, and absolutely delicious.

Prawn Mee & Lam Mee
Prawn Mee & Lam Mee with extra prawns

The prawn mee is slightly different from the more famous Penang version. While both soup base involves prawn shells, chicken instead of pork is used in this interpretation. Apart from that, there’s also kangkung, fried shallots, smaller (normal size) prawns, mee + meehun, and chunks of perfectly poached chicken.

The soup was slightly lighter but packed with sweetness from prawn. I also like the fact that the big prawns have it’s head (the best part) attached, while the shell is otherwise removed from the body.

these prawns are fresh and super delicious
these prawns are fresh and super delicious

The lam mee is similarly delicious and came with similar ingredients except for the use of thick noodle that’s not entirely unlike udon and a thicker soup base. Personally I prefer how loh mee, but this version is pretty good too.

This is just the two most popular dishes here, I’m going to go back again and try some of their other dishes (and side dishes & extra ingredients). If you’re a fan of prawn mee, this version should be one to try out as well.

San Peng Prawn Mee map

Address:
San Peng Prawn Mee
46, Jalan San Peng,
55200 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.133835, 101.711698
Tel: +6012 290 7050

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Despite having lived in Klang Valley for some 2 decades now.. the lure of proper Penang hawker dishes is always something that I can’t escape from. Over the years I’ve found quite a good selection of decent Penang style hawker dishes this part of the country, but they’re not “even”, some dishes are harder to find than others.

One such trickier dish is Penang style Loh Mee, which is distinctly different from the KL version, and I’m happy to add one to the list, with this candidate from Restoran Weng Soon in Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam.

Weng Soon Kopitiam, Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam
Weng Soon Kopitiam, Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam

Before we start, the difference between KL loh mee & Penang loh mee, while can be difficult to spot with a single glance, is actually quite substantial.

The KL loh mee uses a much thicker version of noodle, often without option for meehun. Additionally, the KL version will spot a very different type of chili paste, if provided at all. Bean sprout & fried shallots are also only available in the dish from North.

Back to Weng Soon (or Weng Soon Tek) kopitiam in Taman Sri Muda. I was introduced to this spot by one of my Instagram connections who has been frequenting it for years.

The restaurant is a pretty unassuming kopitiam not unlike any other, perhaps only with the number of slseepy cats & dogs. The stall itself serves both prawn mee and loh mee, owned by a guy from Penang with a helper.

Penang style Prawn Mee & Loh Mee
Penang style Prawn Mee & Loh Mee

What you get here is a very “average” bowl of Penang style loh mee or prawn mee, if you’re in Penang. Translation – since we’re in Klang Valley, that makes it a very good find and one that satisfy my cravings properly. The important ingredients are all there – prawns, mee, meehun, pork slices, 1/4 hard boiled egg, fried shallots, bean sprouts. The loh mee also comes with vinegar + finely chopped raw garlic.

To be fair, the sambal could use a bit of improvement, but I’m nitpicking. I’m going back to have more.

map to weng soon kopitiam

Address:
Weng Soon Restuarant
40, Jalan Bersatu 25/9,
Taman Sri Muda,
40400 Shah Alam, Selangor
GPS: 3.0315469, 101.531027
Tel: 017-328 8636

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A few weeks ago, we decided to venture up north (still within the state of Selangor) for a hike to Bukit Batu Pahat. This was partly due to Suan not being able to go back to her home town Batu Pahat due to MCO so .. the bukit as replacement, or something like that. It was a fairly easy hike that ended with a great view, would recommend.

at the peak of bukit batu pahat
at the peak of bukit batu pahat

If you’re the hiking type, one of easier starting locations for this trail is from Taman Tasik Millenium, Kuala Kubu Baru. There’s also paragliding from the same bukit too!

Anyway, the more important thing about hiking is always the meal after, for this, we first headed to the sleepy town of Kuala Kubu Bharu. A short chat with the uncle at KKB bakery then led us to driving some 10 minutes to Ulu Yam for Teo Kee Restuarant.

Teo Kee at Ulu Yam, with the old chef
Teo Kee at Ulu Yam, with the old chef

The baker told us that Teo Kee was his favorite restaurant in town when we asked for a recommendation, and suggested that we should skip the offerings in KKB and make a (very slight) detour to Ulu Yam for Teo Kee, for they serve the best stewed pork with mui choy (preserved mustard green).

So we did.

Teo Kee is located within a housing area (thank you, GPS), with the restaurant itself located at the side of a single level corner house, semi-alfresco dining, with a purpose built small kitchen as well.

The menu is simple yet comprehensive (see below), it is in Chinese, however, there are also photos and helpful servers.

chef's signature dishes
chef’s signature dishes

To make it simple, we decided to go with all four of their recommended dishes, plus an additional bitter gourd with roast pork dish. You then either opt for rice or porridge to go with them.

Food took about 10 minutes to arrive, and they arrived all at once!

The stewed pork with mui choy (潮州卤肉) was indeed quite special, tender fatty pork with tofu, hard boiled eggs, and mustard green that gave it a very balanced taste, sour/salty + savory & sweet.

Braised tofu fish (豆腐焖鱼) is another one of our favorite dishes, it was soft, well flavored, and had just enough ginger without overpowering the seafood.

we added bitter gourd with roast pork
we added bitter gourd with roast pork

Steamed salted fish with minced pork (咸鱼蒸猪肉) here is as good as the version I’ve had from any restaurant, and I do like the addition of soft tofu to give it a softer texture.

Then there’s the pulpy mess of fried spicy brinjal (香辣茄子), a dish that won’t win any beauty contest, but the spiciness within those mushy sweetness was quite a good mix.

The last dish we had, bitter gourd with roast pork, was competent as well, even if it lacks the uniqueness of those signature dishes.

The five dishes, 2 rice, a porridge, and a big bottle of herbal tea cost us RM 67.60 (year 2021). A very good value and certainly an awesome meal, will be back again!

teo kee ulu yam menu (1) teo kee ulu yam menu (2) teo kee ulu yam menu (3)

teo kee ulu yam menu (4) teo kee ulu yam menu (5) teo kee ulu yam menu (6)

map to Teo Kee Ulu Yam

Address:
Teo Kee
7, Jalan Patin 4b,
Taman Desa Patin,
44300 Batang Kali, Selangor
GPS: 3.4475985, 101.645529
Tel: +6012 365 1448

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When it comes to Klang, almost everyone will talk about bak kut teh, but if you look beyond the whole “I MUST HAVE PORK” mentality while exploring this part of town, there are actually other options that can be very appealing.

Today, we’re going to look at one of the old establishments that is the antithesis of the image of Klang many of us perceive – Cathay Hailam Kopitiam, for this place is actually pork free.

Cathay Hailam Kopitiam, Port Klang
Cathay Hailam Kopitiam, Port Klang

Cathay Hailam kopitiam is located at the far end of Klang, if you are from PJ/Subang on Federal Highway, it is basically just one straight road until basically the end of the road, the very last junction. Take a left and the kopitiam is just a few shops on your left. You’re walking distance from the Pulau Ketam Jetty and Port Klang KTM.

The place is as old school as it gets, with vibe very similar to that of Chong Kok kopitiam, another one of my favorites. The menu is quite extensive and conveniently displayed on an LCD TV on the wall. If you’re like me and not sure what to order, the server can suggest as well.

For the 4 of us, we’ve decided to go for a chicken chop, some bread, 3 noodle dishes, and a tofu bakar. I also had their black iced coffee (it was too hot) but regrettably did not have their classic Hainanese hot coffee.

steamed/toast bread, Hainanese chicken chop
steamed/toast bread, Hainanese chicken chop

The steamed & toast bread came first, a bit into these revealed the reasons why these bread were stacked high by the side of the counter. They were superb, with generous amount of kaya & butter. If I have only one choice of breakfast for the rest of my life, this would be in the short list.

The Hainanese chicken chop had a visual only the chef could love… however, it hits all the right spots when it comes to taste. A blind person would score this 10/10, and he/she will be absolutely right, the sauce, the crispiness of the chicken, even those potato, they were all perfect.

yin yeong, Singapore meehun, Hailam mee, tofu bakar
yin yeong, Singapore meehun, Hailam mee, tofu bakar

The three noodle dishes – Yin Yeong, Singapore Meehun, and Hainanese mee were all very competent dish on their own. They were properly seasoned and executed properly, I thought the person was quite generous as well, tho perhaps I’d have wanted pork in them instead of chicken.. but those chicken thigh meat did a good job as substitute.

For those who loves a slight kick to the sense, the tofu bakar here is as good as any, not overly spicy but with a strong dose of sweet and sourness, it is a side dish that offers a good change up to the noodle dishes.

I’ll have to come back here again.

cathay hailam kopitiam map

Address:
Cathay Hailam Kopitiam
180, Kawasan 13,
42000 Port Klang, Selangor
GPS: 3.000878, 101.3987234
Tel: +603 3168 6478