Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Istana Kenangan Kuala Kangsar

We stopped by briefly at Istana Kenangan, Kuala Kangsar during our short  visit to Kuala Kangsar last week. Istana Kenangan is located not far behind Istana Iskandariah, Bukit Chandan and currently used as the Royal Museum. Too bad, it was closed for renovation that day, otherwise I would love to enter the palace and see how it is like. The palace is quite unique, and I like the way the roof was designed.

This palace was built in 1926, and used as a temporary palace for Sultan Iskandar between 1931 to 1933 while waiting for the Istana Iskandariah to be completed. Seriously, I want to visit this palace again one day to see how the Sultan lives once upon a time. Does it look like what is normally portray in the Malay film?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lemak Cili Padi Udang Galah

I found my favourite udang galah (fresh water prawn) at SS15 market the other day, which cost RM35 per kg. Not bad, it is of medium size.

So back from the market, I was thinking of what to do with the prawn. Since my brother is coming that night, so I thought of cooking masak lemak cili padi, since to me, udang galah is best cooked that way. 

Being a true blue N9ian, my life has never been far from masak lemak cili padi. Not all masak lemak cili padi is nice, but to me, masak lemak cili padi udang galah is just perfect. And it is easy to cook as well.

 I learned various way to cook masak lemak cili padi. My mom's version will add sliced shallots with garlic. But the elder generation of Negeri Sembilan cook it without any shallot or garlic. And I later learn that less is more... masak lemak cili padi is nicer without shallots and garlic. So I cook this prawn without any garlic or shallot.. easy peasy.


600gm of udang galah / other types of prawn
10-15 bird eyes chillies (to blend)
2 inches fresh tumeric root (to blend)
3 stalks lemongrass (pounded)
2 tumeric leaves
fresh coconut milk from 1 medium size coconut
salt & seasoning to taste


Mix birds eyes chillies, fresh tumeric, lemongrass, coconut milk and tumeric leaves in a pot and bring it to boil. The coconut milk is very sensitive, so make sure we stir it well while it is on the stove to preserve the texture and taste of the gravy. My mom's tip is to put in the salt and seasoning at the early stage of cooking to control the gravy. Once the gravy is almost cooked, put in the prawn and bring it to boil once again. The prawn is added later to avoid from it being overcooked. Slow the fire and let it simmer for a while until it is fully cooked. 

** To maintain the sweetness of the prawn, do not go overboard with the chillies. Prawn will lost its sweetness if we put too much chillies in it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Whittakers @ The Zon Bukit Kayu Hitam

I don't normally have things in mind to shop at the duty free zone, except, the fact that I am crazy about Whittakers chocolate. So duty free zone to me is associated with Whittakers. It is not easy to find Whittakers in Subang Jaya, though I do sometimes find it in Cold Storage / Empire in Subang Jaya. But the price in Subang Jaya is crazily expensive. The packet of 3 Peanuts Slab can cost you RM16!

 So I took the opportunity to drop by at The Zon duty free on our way back from Songkhla to Malaysia. If we are coming from Malaysia, the duty free zone is located right after Malaysian immigration checkpoint at Bukit Kayu Hitam, before we reach Thailand immigration checkpoint. The other day I was searching for the dark chocolate Peanuts Slab, but didn't manage to find it. So I satisfied myself with the normal Peanuts Slab. The price was not as cheap as what I found in Langkawi the other day, but it is cheap enough compared to what we can find in Subang Jaya. It costs RM9.90 per pack of 3 Peanuts Slab, and was sold at special price of RM7.90 per pack of 3 the day I was there. 

I bought 12 packs - ready to be distributed to my subordinates in office and kept some to be consumed in the fridge. Heaven!

Monday, October 22, 2012

De Hotel, Ipoh

We dropped by at Ipoh on the way back from Songkhla to Subang Jaya. Mr D wanted to just visit his old school, Malay College Kuala Kangsar. So we stayed in Ipoh for the night. 

As it will only be a short stay, so we didn't want to spend too much on hotel. Mr D booked a simple room from De Hotel at the price of RM118. This hotel is located near Fatimah Hospital, and close to other amenities like banks and places to eat. A rather convenient choice.

 De Hotel is located at a shop lot, sharing a building with Courts. It has a small reception at the ground floor and all its rooms are located at 2nd floor. It has more than 40 rooms, and I understand it has many types of rooms available. 

 We didn't expect much initially.. I mean with RM118 you sure won't expect much. Mr D chose to book this hotel due to the good review it has in tripadvisor. We will only be spending the night so it doesn't matter that much. But we were surprised when we enter the room... it was so nice and cosy. The room size was very small, but it is comfortable enough for two people sharing a room. 

 The interior decoration of the room is modern and stylish. It has all you need. Kettle to boil the water, coffee, complete toiletries, hot shower, telephone and TV. I can see that the iron board is located outside the room so people can share it. It has Wi-Fi service but it was very-very slow to the point of useless so we didn't use it.

The staffs are also very friendly. They made effort to talk to us and recognise who comes in and comes out.

The minus point will be its parking. Considering it is a small hotel, the car park is located at the side of the hotel facing the residential area. I kind of worry of its safety, but alhamdulillah, nothing happened.

Do I recommend this hotel? Yes, very much. If size does not matter, and you want a simple basic hotel, this hotel is it.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

BP Samila Beach Resort

This time around we didn't book any accommodation for our stay in Songkhla province. Mr D thought it would be easy to find one in either Hat Yai, Danok, or by Samila beach. As he deferred his visit to Malaysian Consulate to our second day in Songkhla, therefore it was just logical to find an accommodation near Samila beach, which is where the Malaysian Consulate is located.

We then just stopped by at BP Samila Beach Resort, located within walking distance from the Malaysian Consulate. The best part of this hotel is its location, it is just stone throw away from the beach, very suitable if relaxing is what you are up to.

We were there on Thursday, so the crowd is lesser. We booked a deluxe room facing the beach at 30% discount, paying 1,750 baht instead of the original price of 2,500 baht. 

The above picture is how our room looks like on the second day. In a mess huh? We were about to leave for breakfast then and I was so lazy to at least make the bed presentable. The room was OK, though, like most hotels around Songkhla, a bit run down. You can smell something 'old' even in the lift. It is clean enough though. The space is also spacious for 2 people occupancy.

But there are a number of things I think this hotel should improve to make it more comfortable for people to stay :
  1.  The TV is ancient. Really. And for a foreigner, I seriously do not know which channel I should watch. I don't understand a single thing. More English channels please!
  2. There's no kettle or coffee provided in the room. What kind of hotel is that? This is the first time I come across a hotel of that standard which do not provide that facility. And being a loyal coffee drinker Mr D is, this have a huge impact on him. Not being able to boil water in the room to drink coffee? BP Samila Beach certainly lost points there.
  3. There's no wifi in the room. The internet connection is available at the lobby for the price of 90baht per hour. Are you kidding me? 90 baht per hour? 
  4. I was misled by the bell boy. He told me that 2 bottles of mineral water from the fridge is complimentary. But upon check out, I was charged for 40 baht for those two. Should I call you a liar? Or should I assume the bell boy was misinformed?
  5.  The breakfast spread is just OK. Not bad, it is edible. I don't know whether the spread is halal. I was told it is. But just to be on the safe side, I just consumed the safe items like bread and such. 
But I think the best part of this hotel is if you opt for a sea view unit, the scenery from the balcony is actually pretty breathtaking. Mr D spent quite some time at the balcony enjoying the view. Simply relaxing!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pinky's Experience Crossing Over Malaysia - Thailand

Okay, this is one experience I have to write in this blog.It is about how I brought my little dear cute car, "Pinky" to cross over the Malaysia - Thailand boarder the other day - Pinky's longest journey ever. I hope to share this experience in case there are others who wish to also bring their car to cross over, but found the lack of information at the boarder on what to do and how to do it.

I have been to Thailand quite a number of times, but never with our own car. We normally either fly to Hat Yai or Mr D's Thai business partner will wait for us at the boarder. This is the first time we thought of driving ourselves to Southern Thailand because Mr D wanted to have a little freedom going around as he has a number of things to settle for his business. Pinky was chosen because of its small size, with the hope to make it easier for us to park in the crowded Hat Yai.

We drove from Subang Jaya, but stopped by at Penang for the night before crossing over from Bukit Kayu Hitam to Sadao the next day. We started our journey from Penang at about 8am, but managed to cross over to Sadao only at about 12pm, though the journey from Penang to Bukit Kayu Hitam took less than 2 hours. The delay was due to the difficulty we faced with regards to Pinky. 

For those thinking of crossing over, below are what you need to do in order to be allowed to cross over with your car :
  1.  Don't forget to bring your car's ownership paper. It will be needed at the boarder. Without the car ownership paper, you won't be able to cross over with the car. And the car should be either under your name, or with some evidence that you are authorised to drive the car by the legal owner.
  2.  Make sure the road tax renewal are updated at the back of the ownership paper. My ownership paper wasn't updated because I renewed the road tax via internet. Luckily the custom officer released it after I explained that to her and showed the road tax pasted on Pinky.
  3. Settle our passport / boarder pass at the passport control and then move to the custom with the car ownership paper. The letter as per below will be issued. This will have to be kept and returned back to the custom at the boarder before crossing back to Malaysia later. The next custom officer will check the information before releasing it.
  4. We didn't know that we have to buy Thai insurance for the car so we thought it was done. Halfway through the town of Danok, Mr D's business partner called him and ask him how things are. It was then that we know we have to buy the insurance.. so Mr D turned back, and ask around on where to buy the insurance. The insurance can be purchased in Changlun, before we cross over. Or it can be purchased at the premises selling insurance in Danok, right after the boarder. So Mr D purchased a 9 day insurance which was sold at 150 baht (RM15).
  5. Upon returning back to Malaysia, the above paper will have to be returned to the Custom after we are done with our passport. The Custom will ask to sign in a book,the signature similar to the one we signed in the above paper. This will be the prove that we already bring our car back to Malaysia.
 The situation was a bit kelam-kabut for us, simply because we didn't know what to do next and didn't know what to expect. There was no instructions displayed (or perhaps there are, but we didn't understand as it was written in Thai) . So if you think of bringing your car in, remember the above ya!