Saturday, February 11, 2012

Favourite haunt

Hellooo there...

I'd like to reckon a few eating places that I enjoy going to...which are some of KL / PJ's (at least for my area of coverage hehe) best kept secrets

Iranian Taktaz restaurant, near South City Plaza

Thanks to Margie, she reckoned this restaurant to me. Having been to Iran once, I'd surely love to re-visit the lovely tastes of the joojeh / kubedeh kebab with berenj (rice), chelomok and deze (stew).

The ambient is inviting - with ornate Iranian decor and shishas. Too bad I didn't any pix, I've to nick pictures from here

Taktaz facade

Do also drop by the Iranian ice cream shop a few doors away and sample the home made pistachio or 'noodly' ice cream. And there's also an Iranian supermarket in between where I bought paneer (cheese)

No. B-G-3, Block B, Persiaran Serdang Perdana, Taman Serdang Perdana, Seri Kembangan Selangor, 43300
(Near South City Plaza)
Phone: 03-89413364

Min Fes Morroccan Restaurant, Mutiara Damansara

My mom recommended this to me - well actually her Syrian ustaz recommended the restaurant to his students. Again, I loved the restaurant ambience - very homely, in fact you have to take off your shoes before entering. It really is like entering someone's cosy home :)
The first time we came, there was a theme party going on, so we had to sit at the couch with a low table - but it was still cosy. I felt like just lying down on the couch.
As for the food - we loved the cous cous and lamb tagine. We also love the mint tea

Just next door the restaurant is its hammam or spa where you can perhaps relax after enjoying your food.

I loved the decor so much, I forgot to take the food pix. But no worries, food tastes marvellous!

Min Fes decor

mint tea

Min Fes Hammam and Cafe
19-1, Jalan PJU 7/7A
Mutiara Damansara
Petaling Jaya
(Near The Curve)

Phone: 03-77225049

Dong Yi Shun, Chinese Muslim Restaurant, Kelana Jaya

We found this restaurant by accident. Its previous premise was at Kota Damansara that we frequented about 2 years ago, then one day suddenly, it was gone! There was no notice where it could have been relocated, so we were disappointed that one of our fave restaurants is gone.

So we were really glad we found the new premise. The dishes still tasted the same. The food here is authentic Chinese as the owner is from mainland China. Our fave is the Zi Ran lamb and the hand made noodles. Warning - the portion of a bowl of noodle is really big - unless you're a big eater you can't finish it - so you can share it with another person.

C-G-06 Ground Floor, Dataran Glomac,
Jln SS6/5B,
Kelana Jaya

(Near Giant Kelana Jaya)

Phone: 02- 78034012

La Manilla fusion cafe

We really love the cakes - rich & yummy. Besides cakes, they also sell pastries (their shepherd's pie is yummy!) and Malaysian fave dishes such as curry mee, char kuey teow etc

The one that we frequented is the TTDI branch

shepherd's pie in mushroom sauce - yummy!

27 Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 3
Kuala Lumpur

Phone: 03 - 77264082

Note: The TTDI premise has already changed management and the cafe is re-named Love at First Bite. But the menu are still the same

Puti Bungsu,Masakan Padang, Jln Yap Kwan Seng

I was in an Air Asia flight back to KL when I flipped through a page of the airline's in flight magazine recommending the restaurant. Then I told Mas about it, and she recommended us to go (she's been there once)

The dishes are delicious, although some are a bit oily & salty, but overall they're good. See here evidence of the dish spread lol!

Note: Since this is a Masakan Padang concept, the restaurant will serve all of its dishes, but we can choose the dishes that we want & only pay for that.

Our dishes!

4 Lorong Yap Kwan Seng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
Phone: 03- 21711197

Serai, Fusion, Empire Subang

Found this restaurant by chance. The nasi kerabu is really delicious, although it's a bit expensive for about RM21, but the portion is generous. I've also tried their pavlova- quite expensive too, for about RM15 per slice (touted as best in town) at the recommendation of sis in law - it was OK. Cos my mom makes it better hehe..

Serai's pavlova

Mama's pavlova

LG37 Lower Ground, Empire Shopping Gallery Jalan SS16/1, 47500 Subang Jaya

03 - 56355898

D' Cengkih, Masakan Johor, TTDI

It serves favourite Johor dishes such as lontong & lodeh, mee rebus, laksa johor, nasi ambeng, soto etc. My mom simply loves the nasi ambeng - and the portion is huge! 2 persons can share it. The soto & laksa johor is delicious too!

There's also live Johorean folk music courtesy of Pak Wan's violin playing. And sometimes there are impromptu karaoke sessions

Mee rebus

Nasi ambeng

No.6, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad
Taman Tun Dr Ismail
60000 Kuala Lumpur.

Halifah Jaafar: 0124999908

Sambal Hijau, Masakan Melayu, Kg Sg Penchala

They serve a plethora of Malay dishes that you'll be spoilt for choice! We accidentally chanced upon this restaurant while otw back from trying to find another restaurant - Muhibbah Chinese Muslim (which we found too!) which has moved from TTDI to Sg Penchala.

Come early before the crowd starts to come in at 12 noon. They also serve ala carte menu, but their specialty is the dishes. So preferably come here for lunch.

2990 Kg. Sg. Penchala Jalan Damansara, 60000 Kuala Lumpur

03- 77253259

Charms, Fusion, 1 Utama

The cafe is indeed charming, there's even a swing there which you can seat on while tucking in. I love the nasi bakar (something like nasi timbel), green curry pasta & the grilled lamb. Simply marvellous!

Charms Cafe Lot 5206, Phase 2A, 2nd Floor, 1 Utama Shopping Centre

03 - 77222206


Monday, February 06, 2012

Red Baby

Thank you very much for your service dear WKV! You've served me dutifully for 8 years, since the days in Kerteh! You've travlled with me from Kerteh -KB, Kerteh -JB! You've been with me at UTP. You've been with me back in KL serving my daily route to office. Thank you, may you serve your new owner well, be nice OK :)

And helloo there to my gorgeous red baby Fiesta (I still haven't got a name for you) on Sat, 21/1/2012

See there Gigi already loves you :)


Saturday, February 04, 2012

There's more to KL than shopping malls!

One of the weekends we were wondering where to go (read: avoiding being part of the millions of Malaysians in malls every weekend), we decided to go to KL Bird Park, although it was already 2pm and it was scorching hot! (read: kerja gila)

After lunch of Ikea meatballs (OK I lied, we were part of the millions of Malaysians in malls every weekend- but we eased the number a bit by noon), we went straight to the bird park. It is located near to Lake Gardens (Taman Tasik Perdana). Ticket costs RM25 (adults with My Kad) and it opens from 9am - 6pm daily. It is touted as being the world's largest free flight (for the birds of course) walk in aviary. Watch out for bird droppings though.. (no need to wear umbrellas) Fortunately we survived intact ;)

There's also a bird show - we didn't realize this - an excited aunty approached us and recommended us to catch it - so we caught the one at 3.30pm. It was great fun, the birds were cute :) Other activities include bird feeding & photography with the birds. The schedule is here

Birds of a feather flock together

Another weekend, we decided to go to the Islamic arts museum KL which also located near to Lake Gardens (opposite Masjid Negara or National Mosque). We think the museum isn't being given due recognition as there is not much promotion going on (at least to the locals), but it is actually no. 1 on Trip Advisor's & no. 4 on Lonely Planet's Things to do in KL! So the visitors here are mostly tourists, only a handful are Malaysians.

The exhibits are outstanding - ranging from textiles, carpets, jewellery, calligraphy-inscribed pottery and an amazing reconstruction of an ornate Ottoman room, the building itself is a stunner, with beautifully decorated domes and glazed tilework. There’s a Lebanese restaurant offering a set lunch (RM43; closed Monday) and a well-stocked shop selling beautiful high-quality crafts products and art books. (Excerpted from Lonely Planet)

We spent the entire afternoon at the museum and we simply admired the exhibits on show. This place is not to be missed -plus admission is only RM12! I never knew it's already opened since Dec 1998. Go now! Opens Mondays-Sundays, 10am-6pm. Go here for more details.

Islamic Arts Museum KL near Lake Gardens

Image taken from here


Friday, February 03, 2012

Dam It!

It was an ad-hoc decision. We didn't have a plan yet for our outdoor trip, so we went for a drink first at my mom's favourite haunt D' Cengkih (a Johorean restaurant- I'll blog about my fave food haunts next time) to brainstorm a plan. We decided to head Northeast towards Fraser's Hill for a day trip.

We took the PLUS highway, exiting at Rawang and after that it's the trunk road already, passing through Kuala Kubu Baru town before proceeding to Fraser's Hill. It was almost noon already when we reached Kuala Kubu Bharu.

Since the road leading up to Fraser's is narrow, the road is one way only. This place is called "The Gap" and there are designated times for flow from each direction. See here for the schedule. We had to arrive at The Gap by 3pm in order to ascend between 3 -3.40 pm. Next schedule going up is between 5 - 5.40pm, which would be quite late already

But being the buaya, I was already hungry so I requested for us to stop for lunch. I wanted to go to a Malay restaurant with kampung style cooking that my aunt took us a few years back, but I couldn't remember where it was so we didn't find it. We asked around for a nice place to eat and was suggested KKB Seafood restaurant. We ordered nasi goreng cendawan & udang goreng tepung (sotong was not available) - which tasted good! We shall be back!

We then proceeded to Fraser's Hill, but it was already 3.15pm, so it was too late to reach before 3.40pm. So we decided to stop by the Selangor Dam. It was completed in 2002 by flooding a valley containing 5km of the old road to Fraser's Hill, several rivers and two aborigine (Orang Asli) villages. Excerpted from here . The dam capacity is 344,529 million liters of water.

Images taken from here

We plonked ourselves and just enjoyed the view of calming water and the clear blue sky. I wished I could swim in there or kayak. We chatted while enjoying the view until we were told to leave at 4pm as it's closing time already. We then returned back to KL which took about 1.5 hours, quite heavy traffic at Rawang before exiting into PLUS. We'll be back here next time! (and hopefully reach Fraser's Hill as well lol!)


Thursday, February 02, 2012

You've still got the Mangroove...

Aha I'm still talking about mangroves...and yup, the mis-spell is intentional - a reference to my good ol' mangrove campsite - Bakaugruv in Morib that I first visited in Standard 4 as my first ever 2 nights-away-from-home outdoor trip. I guess they wanted to tell that mangroves (bakau) are groovy - hence Bakau-gruv. Make sense? I'm only kidding there - "BAKA” which means seeds can be translated as “the gene – a gift”. BAKA started as a research project in the Faculty of Education University Malaya in 1980 to develop screening tests for children with special mental abilities. It has since progressed into a full-pledged programme to develop intellectual potentials.

The school trip was organized by our very wonderful and favourite teacher - Cikgu Nasa. He always wore the NASA logo bearing t-shirt. He was a very sporting teacher. He was the hockey coach, he also introduced us softball - which wasn't (and still isn't) a really popular sport.

Back then, us 10-year-old kids went kayaking (my first kayaking too!) and trekking at the mangrove forest leading to the Straits of Malacca. I remember taking the IQ test too (with no pressure of course)- I didn't pass it though, not smart enough lol! We stayed in the triangular huts (dangau) where there were only pillows & mattresses. The bathroom & toilets are at a separate area near the dining hall. It was sure tough for me as a (spoilt) kid. I remember the boys telling about snakes and the mangrove creatures - mud skipper particularly - cos I remember mishearing it - I heard something like "Mat Selipar" & I thought the friend was only kidding lol! We didn't dare to venture out after lights off and stayed put in our huts - not even for call of nature.

Fast forward to 21 years later (eeeek do not start counting)- Bakaugruv is still standing. The dangau huts are still there with the addition of dormitory accommodation with attached bathrooms. They also organize trainings, mangrove trekking (you have to pre-book a guide) & can kayak for free at the river surrounding the camp, but you have to set up & clean up /return the kayak yourself. We didn't do any of the activities, as it was already noon, plus we didn't bring any spare clothes with us. So we had lunch instead - kampung style. Yes, you can enjoy kampung style cooking here. We ordered asam pedas - it was cheap, but the taste was so-so only. They also have ramadhan buffet during fasting month, if you're interested.

After Bakaugruv, we stopped by at the nearby Morib beach for drinks. It was really hot, so don't forget to bring your shades & cap. Nothing much here, just food and souvenir stalls and a kids' playground. Don't think the sea is swimmable here.

Read more about Bakaugruv here.

Enjoy the pix!

You can kayak here

the dangau

the nearby morib sea

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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

My love affair...

...with Kuala Selangor

I have such an affinity with Kuala Selangor (and its surrounding areas) that I visited it 4 times in a short space of time!

Here goes my love affair:

Kuala Selangor Nature Park

Its entrance is just before Bukit Malawati. It is a sanctuary to many species of flora and fauna such as the endangered Silvered Leaf Monkey (Presbytis cristata). It is a haven for birdwatchers too. It is also part of a mangrove forest - I love mangroves, my first outdoor trip was to a campsite in Morib - Bakaugruv, it is still vivid in my mind. I was only 10 then. That was when I knew about mud skippers, until today I love to see them, the species that live within the mud and the mangrove's unique roots. I have visited this park in Form 2 for our school trip- and we stayed here for 2 nights. I remember walking through the trail with my friend, and I loved it. So this was sort of a re-visit for me.

There's a walking trail that you can take which is about 40 minutes - not tiring. You can go on your own- no need for a guide. But wear shades and cap because it can get really hot. Stop by the river at the otter's crossing. If you're lucky, you can get to see the otter. We didn't though. Better luck next time. But I loved looking at the mangroves and mud skipper and crabs, and just sink into the serenity of the river. So calming..

Unfortunately though, there is a track that is no longer accessible. I did take this trail back then during my school trip, and remember being surrounded by peat and mangrove forest.

To know more about the park, go here

View from the tower

Calming river

Can you spot the mud skipper?

Mangrove education

At the entrance

Sigh...broken signage

The boardwalk leading to the sea

Can you spot the blue crab?

It's a bird sanctuary too!

Sekinchan padi fields

Great for photograhpy! It's about 1.5 hrs from KL, using the Sg Buloh - Kuala Selangor trunk road. For a great view of the padi field, enter from Site A. If you're coming from Kuala Lumpur, Site A would be on your right. We found this blog to be very helpful as a guideline.

The entrance: Image taken from here

Enjoy the pix:

Bukit Malawati, Kuala Selangor

Nothing much here (at least for me). There's a tram ride going up the hill, from there you can see the view of the straits of Malacca. There's also a historical museum at the hill where you can learn about the history of Kuala Selangor and Bukit Malawati, which used to be a fort. There's also a lighthouse, but it is not accessible to the public. After visting the museum, wait for the tram to go down. Ticket cost only RM4 which also comprise of a visit to the fish pond, but we skipped this as it could get quite long to wait for the tram.

The main attraction here would be the Silvered Leaf Monkey (Presbytis cristata) which could also be found at the Kuala Selangor nature park. The baby of the monkey is orange in colour.

Pix taken from here.

To find more about Bukit Malawati, go here.

I read from the newspapers about an art exhibition at Rimbun Dahan, a private residence of a local architect-Hijjas Kasturi in Kuang. It is open to the public for limited hours only during exhibitions. The residence features 3 traditional Malay houses, a vast garden, swimming pool, and a reflective pool, besides the main building which houses the exhibition.

Rimbun Dahan main building and fish pond

Malay traditional house at Rimbun Dahan

Main building and reflective pool

Rimbun Dahan images taken from here

The exhibition is sponsored by WWF - Art For Nature- a unique showcase of artistic works created by Malaysian and international artists in support of nature conservation. Proceeds from sales of the artworks in this exhibition go towards WWF-Malaysia's nature conservation and wildlife protection programmes. 2011's showcase was themed "Here Today Gone Tomorrow"

We were greeted by a friendly WWF co-ordinator who explained briefly to us on the showcase and walked us through the works of art. We were also introduced to the curator - Noor Mahnun Mohamed, to which she asked us where we were from and from what background. Erk, nothing to do with art, just trying to understand. And boy, was it hard for us to get the grips on the artworks. Some were quite direct, some we couldn't fathom lol! Erm, not sure if I'm quite up to the standards of viewing art exhibitions lol! I did go to the Tate Modern in London with Mas, we couldn't really appreciate it, so we just browsed through quickly and out we go!

Maybe I should try with a simpler one. ZM, care to accompany me to Galeri Petronas for the photo exhibition of “Capturing Malaysia Through the Years”? (I think this one would be easier for me)

You can view the artworks here

Oh, we were also greeted by the friendly dogs -but we had to tread carefully though, as these jolly creatures like to lick their visitors! One, I think his name is Kicap, chewed on a plastic spoon lol!

The residence also organizes guided tours of its garden, but it was not on the day of our visit. Do check out Rimbun Dahan for more details.