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N.E.S.W. - South (Johor Bahru, Day 1)

>> Monday, November 30, 2009

Date: 7 - 8 November 2009, Saturday & Sunday
Venue: Johor Bahru, Johor
Occasion: Visitation to the youths in JB Wesley

It was a rather short trip to JB. Only CQ, James, Samantha, & myself made it for the visitation this time around. We haven't had the chance to visit the youths there, so it was one of the last opportunities we have as a committee to visit the youths. After this year, the committee will be dissolved & a new committee will be elected :) *fresh blood!*

We stayed at Uncle Victor's house & had a lovely time there. Though just a night, the hospitality that we received from the family was tremendous! I give it full star ratings for the 1-night stay! *applause* Oh, how I wish Mabel was there... it was be even more fun to have her around in her own house! *lol*

Uncle Victor & Jeremy took us to one of the best ikan bakar places in JB on the evening that we arrived. Yums! I had my share of chocolate-sauce ice kacang, piping hot barbecued stingray, deep fried baby crabs, & nasi briyani with beef & chicken rendang...oolala...we had SO much to eat! Very blessed.... :)

Make sure you try this place out when you're in JB! I don't have much to share in my JB blog posts, but I'm sure it will be of good information to you ;)

Gerai Yong Yong
This is the drink stall where we ordered our drinks. Friendly service & nice drinks too!

My Favourite Chocolate-Sauce Ice Kacang (around RM2.50-RM3.50/bowl)
One of the best things that you'll find in JB is this dessert. You'll rarely come across it elsewhere in Malaysia ;)

Chi Kung (around RM1.50 - RM2.00/bowl)
It's somewhat like the "lin chi kang", but with added "yellow beans", which are soft & sweet. Nice :)

The Ikan Bakar Stall
Recommended by Uncle Victor who frequents this place :) Their ikan bakar tastes somewhat different. I prefer this to the one we had in Penang!!

Delicious Barbecued Stingray (around RM18.00 depending on fish size)
The sauce is oh, so important. It enhances the taste of the grilled fish much, much more! Spicy, tangy, & slightly 'peanutish'... altogether delicious!

Deep Fried Baby Crabs
You rarely find this anywhere else. More often than not, you'll come across soft shell crabs. This dish is quite different from soft shell crabs. You have to try it at least once :) Me like! Crispy!

Fresh Variety of Fish & Seafood ready to be barbecued

The Baby Crabs - Sample

Sotong Kangkung/Cuttlefish with "Kangkung"
This one's okay. It's not the best, but it's certainly tasty :)

Taufu Bakar/Grilled Beancurd
Quite nice. It's just beancurd grilled 'til it's dry & crispy, then it's smothered with rojak sauce & crushed peanuts. Fragrant :)

Char Kuey Rojak
This one's interesting. They used the normal "Yau Char Kuai", grill it 'til dry & crispy, then cover it with the same rojak sauce & crushed peanuts. It's a nice snack.

Nothing beats Otak-Otak Muar, but this one is good nonetheless. I actually enjoyed it very much. It's just a 'lil bit small in size...hahaha... A guy will come by each table with a basket of warm otak-otak & you can order from him directly. It's from a nearby stall & this is their way of selling their otak-otak efficiently :)

Nasi Briyani (around RM6.50/plate with meat dish)
The rice was normal, but the beef & chicken rendang were good!

Acar that comes with the nasi briyani

Beef Rendang

Map to the Ikan Bakar place in Jalan Mohd Amin, JB

View PerutBesi in a larger map

Don't know where to head next? Try heading to JB for some food hunting lah ;)


Presentation: * * *
Price: * * *
Environment: * * *
Taste: * * * 1/2
Service: * * * 1/2


- Ruth


N.E.S.W. - East (Kuching, Day 3)

>> Friday, November 27, 2009

Date: 30 October - 1 November 2009, Friday - Sunday
Venue: Kuching, Sarawak
Occasion: Weekend get-away with 2 high school friends

This is the final post for my Kuching trip. Much delayed 'til the memories are slowly fading away *sigh* I haven't had enough time to "kau tim" this blog alone. Work eats up more than 8 hours of the day & with the YLDP2009 camp coming up in 2 weeks, there's just so much to be done! Sometimes I wish that I have all the time in the world to blog, take photos, travel, & still get paid...*dreams*

Kuching Day 3
Day 3 was our final day in Kuching. We checked out of the hotel early in the morning & started our ambitious walkaton to the Jalan Satok's morning market. The only reason for going all the way there (it was more than half an hour of walking) was just to get a glimpse of the local's life in Kuching & to find out on the unusual/unique food items that can't be seen in the Peninsular.

On the way to Satok, we made an attempt to hunt for the 'much shouted' "siu mai", at the open market opposite the Electra House. Seriously, we had no idea how the stall/shop looks like & where it actually is situated. Thanks to forums where people just comment, here we were! I sure hope this was the correct stall...hahaha...

"Siu Mai" a.k.a. "Sio Bee" as it's known in Kuching (RM0.50/piece)
I thought it was quite expensive, but after thinking back on the price we usually pay for a plate of "siu mai" in PJ/KL, hmm...the price is ok la :P

Open Market "Siu Mai"
Tastes alright. It wasn't "WAH, I MUST have more of it!!". Each of us had 2 pieces just to try out what's so great about the "siu mai" here. It's a 'lil too sweet for our liking (we noticed that food here is sweeter than what we have back in PJ!)

Contact number for the "siu mai" stall...

Map to the Open Air Market opposite Electra House, Kuching

View PerutBesi in a larger map

After the "siu mai" tasting near Electra House, we continued our walkathon to the Satok morning market. All we had was a map of Kuching & we also had the printed version of Google maps to guide us. From time to time, we'll stop by to ask for directions, but people kept telling us to take the public transport instead of walking all the way there...hahaha...

Frankly speaking, it was actually quite far to walk. Took us probably 45minutes - 1hour just to get there by foot (with stops in between & we were walking at a comfortable pace...no rush)!

Petrol station - can't be seen in the Peninsular
I've never seen this brand of petrol station before :P

The Satok morning market is well-known for its variety of goods. You'll be able to find your fresh vegetables, fish, meat, fruits & even your dried goods as well. There are numerous stalls selling food as well as household items. The best part about this market is that it's VERY LARGE....we kinda got lost after a while cos almost all the stalls looked the same! *lol*

Fish stall

Local fruits stall
I've no idea what are those orangy-yellow fruits called :P It resembles the persimmons, but I doubt they're persimmons.

This is actually a local fruit, only found in East Malaysia. Even if it's found in the Peninsular, I doubt many will know how to make use of this! I've no idea how it tastes like as I didn't buy any to try, but I may try it out the next time I go to East Malaysia again :)

Vegetable stall
There were many stalls selling chili at the Satok morning market.

Barbecued Fish
It was interesting. One of the many stalls at the market sells babecued whole fish on a bamboo stick!

I was just fascinated at the way they lay out their load of melons...hahaha...

Nicely arranged...

Map to Satok Morning Market

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After walking around utterly too much, we were really hungry & decided to do some food-hunting. We've no idea what's good around this area, so we just asked the egg seller uncle :P He couldn't really tell us anything cos to him, everything around the area tastes good =.="

We ended up at a coffeeshop at the other end of the Singapore Chicken Rice shop (on the same row). I forgot to take a snapshot of the coffeeshop as I was just too hungry & distracted by the variety of food & the crowd at the stuffy coffeeshop.

We tried the "kueh chap" & chicken rice (from 2 different stalls) as we were a 'lil bored with Sarawak laksa & Kolo mee.

"Kueh Chap" (around RM4.50/bowl)
Similar to the "bah kut teh", the "kueh chap" soup is also a herbal soup. You'll come across an assortment of pork & its intestines, as well as hard boiled egg & beancurd/taufu alongside the flat sheets of "kuey teow". This one was not too bad in taste.

Steamed Chicken Rice (around RM4.00/plate)
Nothing beats Ipoh chicken rice la...

Roast pork & Roasted Honey Chicken (around RM5.00/plate)
Looks really appetizing & appealing, but when we bit into the pork, neh, "tak pass" (doesn't pass). There's no "umph" in the pork :(

Breakfast was filling, but not exactly satisfying (to great disappointment). Thus, we walked into the market again & stumbled upon the fragrance of keropok lekor. A must try!

Keropok Lekor Sarawak (RM1.00/7 pieces)

The keropok lekor (soft fish crackers) were freshly fried, so it tasted delicious :)

Different from Peninsular's
Somehow, the texture & taste is different from the keropok lekor in the East Coast states i.e. Pahang, Terengganu, & Kelantan. Nevertheless, the "crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, & warm on the whole" made this keropok lekor worth munching on :)

Sarawak Layer Cakes
I can't bring myself to purchase cakes that are overly colourful. I can't understand how people can buy boxes of layer cakes when there's so much colouring on the cake :S Is it really THAT good?

The next thing to do was to walk back to the Kuching city centre. No, we didn't do that...hahaha...we were way too tired walking around for more than 3 hours. The only time we actually sat down to rest our poor feet was when we had breakfast. We decided to take a taxi back to Jalan Bazaar & walk to the hotel instead.

There are many shops along Jalan Bazaar selling all sorts of local Sarawak items. This state is famous for its cultural & traditional bangles, chains, earrings, carvings, & the usual souvenirs like key-chains, t-shirts, & local Sarawak pepper (famous!).

Bracelets & earrings in a shop

Wooden cat carvings as display ornaments
Not cheap...I can't bring myself to buy even one for a friend who loves cats!

Colourful cat ornaments

One of the many shops along Jalan Bazaar

It was food, food, & food. Since we had a 'lil more time before we depart to the airport, we made a pit-stop at the James Brooke Cafe along the Kuching Waterfront.

James Brooke Bistro & Cafe
It's a nice, cosy cafe, located in the middle of the Kuching city, facing the waterfront.

Menu at James Brooke Bistro & Cafe

I was still very full & wasn't interested in cakes & drinks, so I just sat there & stoned, while the 2 girls had a cake & a glass of lime juice each. Prices at this place is slightly high, but I can't remember the prices of the juice & cake to state it on this blog.

Lime Juice

Strawberry Chocolate Moist Cake
Theng said the cake tastes quite good.

Map to James Brooke Bistro & Cafe

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Three days of food & fun for three crazee friends :) Awesome. I'm over-eating... perhaps the PerutBesi needs a break ;)

- Ruth


N.E.S.W. - East (Kuching, Day 2, Part 4)

>> Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Date: 30 October - 1 November 2009, Friday - Sunday
Venue: Kuching, Sarawak
Occasion: Weekend get-away with 2 high school friends

Alas! Here's the last part of the Kuching trip (Day 2). I know, I know, this post has been delayed for half a month *sigh* Time really flies....

Here's to share what you could do & see in Kuching city. All you need is your "bus #11" a.k.a. feet to walk around the whole of Kuching city :)

Carpenter's Street a.k.a. Kuching's Chinatown
Basically, all you can find here are old shophouses, mostly in the carpentry or furniture line (as its name speaks). One of the best Mee Kolo in Kuching city is also found here!

General Post Office, Jalan Haji Abang Openg
One of the older buildings in the city, this building, built in 1931, stands magnificent in the heart of Kuching city. It still functions as a post office 'til today :)

Kuching's Textile Museum, Jalan Haji Abang Openg
Formally known as "The Pavillion", the museum's architecture is a mixture of the English Renaissance and English Colonial. Constructed in 1907 as a medical centre, it later became the headquarters of the Education Department before it was converted into the Textile Museum. It houses and displays authentic local textiles and costumes made by the ethnic community of Sarawak. Admission is free.

Inside the Textile Museum

Kain Songket displayed

Traditional costumes & materials used for making traditional costumes

St Thomas Cathedral, McDougall Road
This Anglican church was founded on 25th August 1849 by Revd. Francis Thomas McDougall, priest and doctor (who later became the first Bishop of the Diocese). More of the church's history can be found here.

Large "Kekabu Tree" in Padang Merdeka, McDougall Road
I was just fascinated with such a tall tree right in the middle of town :P This tree could be easily more than 100 years old! Mighty tree....me like! Read more about it here.
Natural History Museum
We didn't visit this place, but it was around the area of Sarawak's museums. There were at least 4 museums in this area! Admission is free.

Art Museum
Yet another museum that we didn't enter. I reckon it would be interesting to visit this place. Admission is free.

Ethnology Museum
You'll find all sorts of ethnic-related items in this museum; from animals, to buildings, natural resources of Sarawak, & even Sarawak's culture. Admission is free.

Seashell display
Some of the seashells can only be found in the deep sea area of Sarawak. You'll come across some really unique seashells that'll make you go "oooh" & "aahh".

Happy Theng beside a seashell-adorned pillar

Ling beside some whale's skeleton

Another whale's skeleton

Outside Kuching's New Museum
I found this very interesting....just some soil & broken plates/ceramic!

Tun Abdul Razak Hall/New Museum
Nothing much in there....at least not that I did notice :) Admission is free.

Sarawak's Chinese Museum, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman
Right in the middle of town is this small museum (Kuching surely has SO many museums!) that displays items & information of the Chinese community in Sarawak. It's quite interesting to know which dialect of the Chinese descent arrived in Kuching first ;) Admission is free.

In Santubong
We were supposed to go for the Irrawaddy Dolphin Cruise, but it was raining cats & dogs :( Too bad, really. In the end, we were sent back to our hotel *sigh* We really wanted to see the dolphins!

End of Day 2
Here's how I look at the end of the day...the top hand is Ling's, the middle foot is mine, while the bottom left hand is also mine...check out the contrast! I was SOOOOOO burnt :S Beyond recognition! *lol*

It was a really activity-packed day for us...I was tired, burnt, & exhausted (after all the walking!!). Our final day, Day 3, was yet another walk-a-lot day..."nasiblah tak sewa keta" (too bad since we didn't rent a car)...hahahaha...

- Ruth

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