Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Otak-Otak Place

If you don't already know, otak-otak is a Malaysian dish, a kind of fish mousse, made from fish meat and can be eaten on its own or with rice as an accompaniment. 

In Penang, the otak-otak is wrapped in pandan (screw pine  or pandanus) leaf and served steamed. In Muar and KL, it is wrapped in banana leaf and barbecued over a fire, like how satay is prepared.

That said, I've never come across an air-conditioned eatery that makes otak-otak its specialty. That is, until Otak-otak Place. I'm not sure how long they've been around, but they already have 5 outlets, and this is the first time I'm trying their food, at their first outlet in 1-Utama. It seems they are opened for franchise opportunities.

Their menu is extensive, with items like Fried Rice with Otak-otak, Fried Koay Teow with Otak-otak, Nasi Lemak Otak-otak, Otak-otak Burger....the list goes on. But when we took a closer look at the pictures and description on the menu, the fried rice, koay teow and nasi lemak had only a few slices of otak-otak on the side. They're not fried in otak-otak. At least, that's not the impression they gave.

Anyway, the reason I insisted that we tried Otak-otak Place was its Roti Jala Curry Chicken. The photo on the menu made me drool. Hubby said Roti Jala Curry Chicken is ordinary, something which we can eat everywhere. Well, I haven't been able to eat it everywhere since I haven't seen it everywhere, and I can't remember when was the last time I ate one. Years or decades ago? So good hubby acquiesced.

The 'ordinary' roti jala curry chicken that tastes.....well, ordinary. The curry is not that great, but I liked the roti jala. This dish was pre-prepared, and was served warmed. Price: RM7.90

The otak-otak roll. It's wrapped in popiah skin, and the otak-otak paste is mixed with shredded turnips, carrots and green pepper. It tastes wonderful dipped in the accompanying chilli sauce. I loved it! Price: 5.50

The Mee Rojak Mamak that hubby ordered for himself. He enjoyed it, giving two thumbs up for the dish. He said the ingredients were fresh, unlike some mee rojak mamak in Cyberjaya. Price: RM5.90

I had the Red Bean with Tong Yuen (rice flour balls). The tong yuen had ground peanuts and sesame seed paste fillings, one each. Nothing out of the ordinary. I like the tong yuen at Hong Kong Dessert better. Price: RM4.90 

Hubby ordered teh tarik, which came with a crunchy biscuit. I forgot to take a photo before it disappeared into hubby's belly, or is it bladder? Where do liquid go to? Sorry, I never paid much attention in biology class!  :D  The teh tarik was RM2.70.

Overall, I'd say it was not a bad experience for RM28.25. Would we go again? I'm not sure. Perhaps for the Otak-otak Roll......

P/s: Otak-otak is not plural for otak, even though that's how Malay grammar works (double the words for plural). Otak means brain in Malay. I'm not sure what brain and the fish mousse has in common....perhaps its soft and squishy texture? If anyone knows where the word is derived from, feel free to enlighten us.

Lot LG-311B
One Utama Shopping Mall
Tel: (03) 7727 4181

Thursday, 20 January 2011

A Boston Cat Called For Jury Duty

The judiciary in US is different from the one in Malaysia. In Malaysia, one man (the judge) listens to a case and then passes his judgement. In the US, the court has a panel of jury, members of whom are selected from the public, and comprised of people from all walks of life.

Now, what do you do when you run out of people to call for the jury? A cat, of course! The article below is taken from NYDaily News.

Cat is summoned for jury duty in Boston; court rejects owners' appeal to disqualify him

Boston resident Sal Esposito has been called to jury duty, but there's one thing standing in the way of his ability to serve: He's a cat.
Massachusetts couple Anna and Guy Esposito received a jury duty summons for their feline friend this month, who they had listed as a household resident on the 2010 Census.
"Sal is a member of the family so I listed him on the last Census form under pets but there has clearly been a mix-up," Anna told local TV station WHDH. "I read the whole thing and I said, 'Oh my God, how could he go, he's a cat?'"
"I was shocked," added Anna's husband Guy, though he said Sal - a fan of crime shows - "knows right and wrong."

Anna filed to have her pet disqualified from the service requirement on the grounds he is "unable to speak and understand English." She even included a letter from her vet explaining that Sal is not a human being but a "domestic short-haired neutered feline," WHDH reported.
The court rejected the request, and as things stand, Sal will have to report for duty to Suffolk Superior Crown Court in Boston on March 23.
And what if Sal the cat is asked to weigh in on a case?
"He'll probably do a meow for the answer," Anna said.

Video embedded from KGW

Well, I hope Sal gets presented in court on March 23.   :)

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Blackmail Bride by Normanda Whyte

-----This post is specially for Ellen Whyte -----

My friend, Ellen Whyte, who recently published a novel titled Blackmail Bride under her pen name Normanda Whyte, enquired as to how I find the story and if it works fine on the Kindle. 

I have not been able to read it yet, due to my having started on three books simultaneously. That is another reason why the Kindle comes in extremely handy, I could read any book according to the mood I'm in, anytime, anywhere, and I don't have to restrict myself to just one book at a time. Now, while I've finished one of it, "Never Let Me Go", I still have three quarters to go on the other two.

But I digress. Back to the purpose of this post. Blackmail Bride looks great on the Kindle, and gauging from the first chapter, it promises to be a great read. Take a look at the photos below. 

For those who would like to purchase the book, it comes in various formats: PDF (for PC and Mac), Amazon Kindle, iPad and iPhone, Barnes and Noble Nook and Sony eReader. The price is only GBP1.49 = RM7.15. Where could you buy a book as cheap as this? And best of all, 10% of the proceeds (if I remember) goes to Furry Friends Farm, a shelter for homeless animals. 
To purchase the book, just hop over to http://www.ink-slinger.com/Products/151-blackmail-bride.aspx.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Book Review: Never Let Me Go

Usually, I prefer to watch a movie first, then read the book if I like the movie. But in the case of Never Let Me Go, I read from the comments in IMDB that it is better to read the book first before watching the movie. One movie-goer even went so far as to say that if you haven't read the book you won't understand what the movie is about as a lot of the details were left out.

Well, I've read the book but haven't got around to watching the movie yet. It's still sitting there in my computer. Never Let Me Go is told from the perspective of Kathy, one of the three protagonists. They were clones though they were not sure if they were modeled from a real person. Their purpose for existing is to be organ donors, though Kathy and her two friends, Ruth and Tommy, yearned for a normal life.

Sounds familiar? Yes, it is along the same lines as the movie "The Island". But unlike "The Island", the clones did not escape.

They didn't have their freedom curbed like the clones in "The Island", but they never made any effort to escape. It made me think and wonder why. I guess perhaps they were afraid to leave the world they know and venture out into the unknown? So many opportunities were lost, and in the end, Kathy was left with questions like what if they had done something before it was too late.

It also makes me think deeply of how sometimes science chooses to ignore the obvious. A clone is also a human being, not a "creature" to be reviled like a spider. He or she has emotions, just like a real human. What right then, do we have for creating a sentient being only to ask him to serve his purpose for existence by donating his organs and when the critical organs were donated, the clone shuts down (the term is referred to as 'complete' in the book) and is only kept alive with the aid of machines until the very last organ has been donated? It sounds pretty inhumane to me. I hope in the real world, science won't get that far.

Amazon Kindle 3: A Review

For the past one year, I've only been reading ebooks and have not bought a single copy of the print book. I read my ebooks on my computer, and there were some issues I had to bear with. For example, the glare of the screen. Reducing the brightness doesn't help as that means the text becomes less readable. My eyes got tired from the hours of reading, and the whites started to develop red 'lines'. 

Then there's the non-portability of the ebooks. I no longer had a book with me to read when I'm waiting for someone or for my turn at some place. And not to mention the computer getting hot from being left on for more than 12 hours a day.

Those became issues of the past when I got my Kindle. The Kindle uses the E-Ink technology which makes reading easy on the eyes. It is very light, and now I carry 300 ebooks (the storage capacity is 3500 ebooks) everywhere with me in my handbag so that I'll have a different book to read for different moods. I would not have been able to do that with print copies.

The Kindle lets you look up the definition of a word without leaving the page you're reading, and if you're feeling lazy and just want to close your eyes and let someone read to you, just activate the text-to-speech and let the Kindle read to you.

And if you like to listen to music while you read, all from the same device, just copy the MP3 files into the music folder in the Kindle. The Kindle is wifi enabled, and comes with a browser. I find the browsing experience extremely primitive though. 

The Kindle does best what it was designed for --- reading ebooks. It really delivers! 

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Most Expensive Bak Chang in Malaysia

Cheras is a place hubby and I hardly ever step foot in. For some reason, we usually jalan-jalan cari makan at Petaling Jaya and Subang/USJ. Last Sunday, we figured it couldn't hurt to just take a drive to Cheras and see where we end up. Let the car takes us where it wants. In other words, another aimless driving with no destination in mind. Have wheels will travel, is our motto. The king might want to confer us the Panglima Jasa Ekonomi Motor award for contributing so diligently to the petrol, tyres and brake pads economy. 

Ok, enough of the ramblings. Our wheels took us to......Pandan Jaya. I think some people might say Pandan Jaya is not Cheras, but I'll leave that to the experts to debate. 

Circling around the area, we saw this shop that caught our eye. 

We took a closer look at the menu on display outside, and was intrigued at the price of a bak chang. It was a whopping RM238! 
I think they should just name it Eat and Become An Emperor Bak Chang.

Another unique bak chang - made with brown rice, it claims to be good for uric acid and diabetes. 

The interior of the shop looks like a quaint little Chinese tea shop. On our table, there was a set of tea pot and cups. I wonder if the silver metal thing is a spittoon? If anyone knows what it is, please let me know! I admit my ignorance where the custom of drinking Chinese tea is concerned.

Hubby was interested with the Golden Chang, which the waiter claimed is sufficient for two. It turned out to be insufficient. The waiter must eat like a bird, if he thinks it's enough for two. We had to order other things when the bak chang was served.
The insufficient for two Golden Bak Chang, at RM9, is somewhat overpriced in my opinion. The filling was just a small quarter slice of mushroom, a small half piece of salted egg, and some chicken and pork pieces. And the taste was rather bland. Not recommended, and I certainly won't order this if I were to return to the shop. If there is a TV program called Bo Ho Chiak, this should be in it.

The Fuchow Fish Ball Soup is a little better. No, that is an understatement. I love the soup, with the seaweed and kei chi. Really flavourful, and I was 'fighting' with hubby to have the last drop. The fish balls weren't that great, however. The filling inside the fish ball was rather dry and not juicy. I could get better ones from the wet market in Kepong. But I can't replicate the soup, unfortunately. Price - RM6.50

The Mango Salad is just right. Not too sour, and the brown strips you see on the top, they were simply yummy. I'm not sure what they are, but they tasted like some kind of skin, perhaps bean curd skin? Price - RM6

Chilli Handmade Noodle, or Pan Mee. The noodles came in a combination of two flavours - regular and spinach. The noodles were springy and not soggy. But I still prefer Kin Kin's Pan Mee. Price - RM7.80

Instead of ordering tea, I tried a rather peculiar concoction --- Coke with sour plum. It was a disappointment. The sour plum was hard and dry, and its flavour did not seep into the Coke. A rather high price to pay for one can of coke at RM5.50.

My overall verdict is, it's not worth the trouble to intentionally seek out this eatery. But if you're at Pandan Jaya, and do not know what to eat, you could try it. But I do feel that this establishment is not value for money.

8G, Jalan Pandan Jaya 3/9,
Pandan Jaya, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 - 9284-5325
Business hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 11pm 
                            Sun & Public Holiday: 10am - 7pm

Sunday, 9 January 2011

New York New York & A Car To Kill For

New York New York (no, it's not a typo error, that is the name), owned by a Singaporean, is an establishment that tries to emulate the look of a cafe in New York. The giveaway that it's not in New York is the 6 feet Statue of Liberty cardboard cut-out at the entrance. For the life of me, I can't imagine a cafe in New York displaying a cardboard cut-out Statue of Liberty at the cafe entrance. I could be wrong, of course, since I've never been to New York.

We've passed by this cafe in 1-Utama before, but have never tried it. Yesterday, while waiting for the movie Tron Legacy to start, we thought it might be as good a time as any to try their Brats sausage, which was listed as a 'Gotta Have It' item on the menu.

There was a large crowd, and the cafe was under-staffed. Service was extremely slow, and by the time we were served, we had only ten minutes to wolf down the food before the movie began.

I know, we could have watched Tron Legacy at home, but we wanted to watch the 3D version, and we aren't one of those lucky ones with a RM15,000 3D TV screen at home. So there we were at 1-Utama.

Anyway, back to the food. Here's the Brats sausage wrapped in turkey ham and cheese, serve grilled.
To me, a sausage is a sausage, and not being a connoisseur of sausages, all I could say is, it was good. I would have preferred the cheese to be more melted, though. I think it would have tasted a lot better. I love the orange mustard sauce drippings, and the balsamic vinegar they sprinkled on the greens. At least, I think it's balsamic vinegar, it tasted like one, at any rate. Price: RM16.90

Knowing how American cafes like American Chilli's, T.G.I.F. tend to serve larger than average portions, we ordered only a soup to share, the Hot Tomato Salsa soup. It was a good thing we did that, as I couldn't finish my food and hubby had to help me.
Sorry, I forgot to take a picture before I dug in. Personally, I think the soup is the highlight of the meal. But this is a biased feedback from someone who loves anything with tomatoes or salsa, and the combination is just irresistible. It has nice little tomato chunks, too. Really yummy. Price: RM6.90

While we were at 1-Utama, we saw an iX-Metro prototype by Hyundai. The interior is futuristic, the seat and the dashboard are something that you might find in a space car.

By the way, a Korean friend once told me that the correct pronunciation for Hyundai is "hoon-day", and not "hai-yoon-die" or "hoon-die".

Look at those wheels. You might not be able to replace the tyres should you get a puncture! And the seats, I could just picture this car zooming around the grid in Tron.

Very cool dashboard

Can you tell I'm crazy about this car yet?  :D

The doors of the iX-Metro are automatic, like the Lamborghini and Ferrari, but it opens and closes horizontally, not vertically. Hubby and I pictured scenarios where the parts jammed and the passengers have to hold onto the car door for dear life as it whizzed along and getting all drenched as the torrential rain splashed in. And perhaps zapped by lightning, too.

The driver's seat is on the 'wrong' side, for people who drive on the 'wrong' side in their country. 

I won't be surprised if all you need to do is enter the destination, kick back and relax while the car drives you there by itself. And talks to you, "Ma'am, is the air con temperature comfortable for you?" or "Would you like to go faster?"

The iX-Metro is a car to kill for. Now, where is my machete?  :)~~~

P/s: New York New York is located on the ground floor at 1-Utama, opposite the Cold Storage.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

The Pros and Cons of Married Life

Disclaimer: This post is nothing but the ramblings of someone who has nothing better to do than to self-indulge in some mindless drivel. It does not contain any useful information. Reading it will not make you better-informed. Rather, the contents might contain harmful elements to your sanity. If you still wish to go ahead and read it, do so at your own risk. You have been forewarned......

Humans are like cows. The grass on the other side of the fence is always greener. It's not unusual to hear someone who is married complained that they wished they were not married, while those who are single wished to join themselves to someone for better or worse.

As a married woman of eight years, I feel I am qualified to list the pros and cons of married life as well as include some tips on how to overcome them, where applicable.

First, the disadvantages of married life:

1) You'll always have a dinner companion. No tips. Still mulling it over.

2) You'll always find that you are squeezed to the edge of your King-sized bed as the elephant of the house occupies the centre while in deep sleep. Have a sharp pin on the ready beside your pillow and when that happens, prick the elephant in the arm with it. Don't worry about hurting the elephant even if he yowls, the skin is too thick to suffer any serious damage.

3) You're forever on your knees helping your spouse look for his missing socks. There are three options here. One, you could paint his feet, from toes to ankles, to look like they're wearing socks so no socks will be required anymore. Two, you could string all his socks together and put them around his neck so he knows where they are at all times, even when he's at work in the office. Or, as a last resort, you could chop off his feet and save him from having to wear socks. 

The advantages of married life:

1) You'll always have someone to tell you you're fat (even if you don't think you are) and proudly call you his cow.

2) You'll know the Apocalypse hasn't come in the dead of the night when you hear the snores from the other side of the bed.

3) You'll always have a guinea pig to experiment your recipes on.

4) You'll always have a free plumber. You only need to holler when the sink clogs up. But do get a pail and mop ready in case the plumber decides the quickest way to unclog the sink is to simply open the bottom cover.

5) You'll always have someone looking over your shoulder as you go about your life to make sure you haven't dropped dead standing up or sitting down with your eyes opened.

The advantages are not limited to the above, but I think you would have got the idea now --- it's far more advantageous to be married than not. 

P/s: This is a tongue-in-cheek post and in no way does it reflect my relationship with my husband. I love my Mr. Potato lots! He's a GREAT hubby!   :)

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Hing Ket Grill House

Perhaps it's a throwback to my caveman ancestors, but I find that certain food like crabs taste better grilled au naturel. I could picture my ancestors sitting around a fire and cooking a crab skewed on a hunting spear. Once the crab is cooked, they would probably sink their teeth into the crab, shell and all. The crunch is good for sharpening the teeth or removing the plague.....no?

Anyway, society has since progressed, and in modern day KL, crabs are served in various styles, such as creamy butter and cheese sauce, Marmite sauce, fried in salted egg, sweet and spicy sauce, steamed with rice wine, and so on. However, there aren't many places that serve grilled crabs, not even the very famous Fatty Cat Crab Restaurants. 

There's one miserable restaurant in Kepong that offers grilled crabs, but the crabs are so small that the hassle of picking apart the shells is just not worth it. You can get grilled or baked crabs au naturel in Langkawi and Seremban, but that's another story.

My point is, for anyone who appreciates the natural sweetness of grilled crab meat, Hing Ket Grill House is THE place. Located at Kampung Jawa, Klang (directions and address at the bottom of the post), it serves the best grilled crab, sotong (squid), lamb chop and lala (clam) meehoon I've ever had. Take a look at what we had to start off 2011.

The crab meat was very sweet and juicy. And the claws are huge! Priced at RM52/kg, it's worth every single ringgit.

The squid was tender and succulent, cooked just right. It's great with or without the accompanying plum sauce. RM10.

We asked for the lamb chop to be served cut as opening the crab shells were enough involvement in our food, lazy people that we were. It was tender and fragrant. RM17.

The lala meehoon was perfect, neither dry nor oily. RM10

The total bill came to RM91.80 for two, inclusive of a pot of Chinese tea and two wet towels. Hing Ket Grill House is also famous for its salt baked prawns and fried tong fun, which we'll probably try at our next visit.

Lot 3569, Batu 3-1/4, Kampung Jaway, Klang.
Tel: (03) 3371-3913 / 3371-0861
Business hours: 11:30am - 2:30pm  and  5:30pm - 10:30pm

Take the Kesas highway to Klang. After the toll, keep left. Take the first exit to Kampung Jawa / Jalan Kebun. At the traffic lights at the top of the exit ramp, turn right to Kampung Jawa. Follow the course of the road. After some distance, you will come to a roundabout junction (a.k.a. circus, in London), continue to keep straight (or, twelve o'clock). A word of caution - be extra careful there because motorists on all four legs of the circus could travel straight ahead without going around the roundabout. Continue to follow the course of the road. The restaurant, a converted house, is located on the left, just before the road curves around a bend. Kitty corner to it is a big mosque. 

We parked at the premises, though parking space is rather limited (for about 10 cars). For those not so lucky, further down the road, on the right, is an open air car park. 

On the right is where the food is being grilled.

Noticed any changes in my blog? No? Well, get a pair of glasses!! And if that still doesn't help, you're blind and beyond help!  Zzzzz....