Nov 29, 2007

Glorious Food!

3 days 2 nights = extra 2.5 kg.
Yea…that was the time I used to gain 2.5 kg more. All thanks to Penang. The whole Shah Alam gang except Ms Leong made it to Penang after 6 hours bus ride from Shah Alam. The bus ride itself was somewhat a torture because the air cond was super cold. I had to wear gloves and socks, jackets and even extra blankets. Even the kids sat next to me only wore a jacket.

We reach Penang at around 5 in the morning and Sook May’s brother in law, Ching Siang picked us up to his house. The first day on the itinerary was that we explore the island on our own, by public bus of course. And because it was a Friday, Ching Siang couldn’t bring us around the island as he had to work.

Day 1
And so, we started our first day by having breakfast in one of the food stalls nearby our place. Two things I discovered during breakfast were that you cannot survive in Penang if you don’t know hokkien and even if you know, it’s different from Klang Hokkien.

Then we took public busses to Bukit Bendera and Kek Lok Si and I thought I would die. It was such a torture, we had to wait for at least half an hour for each bus and we were given the wrong
instruction by the bus drivers one after another. So we ended up taking 2 hours plus just to get there.

Both May and Mak were busy looking for bus while smart-ass Kok was drinking Slurpee and me, what was i doing? I forgot...

Lo and behold. The majestic Kek Lok Si.

But it was all worth it.
Kek Lok Si was huge! But it was so unfortunate for me. After reaching there for half an hour, my stomach was making funny noises. I ended up going to the toilet twice. But I still managed to take a few pictures here and there.

A pretty shot by Kok. The pagoda that i didnt get to go all thanks to my stomach!

All of us. From left: Mak, May, Me, Sui Jing and Kok.

Bet you couldn’t see that I was grimacing under the big grin!

The view from Bukit Bendera was just alright. It could be better if not for the haze.
But nonetheless, there were still a lot of tourists, probably due to school holiday.

The hazy Penang.

At night, we went to Gurney Drive for some lip-smacking food!
For the first time in my life, I couldn’t be bothered about the super oily fried chicken skin or the pig’s skin. I just chow it down! Heck, when I think back now, I can literally see the oil dripping from the food. It’s as if oil in Penang is free…

Food vocab of the day
Hokkien Mee in Penang = Prawn Mee in KL
Hokkien Char in Penang = Hokkien Mee in KL

Gurney Drive at night.

Day 2
Day 2 was so much better, largely because we didn’t have take public bus! For breakfast, we had Tim Sum in one of the coffee shop where you can see Ah Peks gathering around a table and talking about old times. Everywhere we looked, there were sights of old Ah Peks and Ah Chims. I reckon there were lots of Ah Peks not because of the food but probably because of the waitresses. No, they’re not wearing skimpy, sexy wear. They were Ah Chims, for god sake!

The food was alright. Not too bad but not the best I’ve had.

Then we headed down to Him Heang to buy Tambun biscuits. Him Heang is actually the name of a shop, famous for its Tambun biscuits. Their biscuits were in such high demands that we even had to place our orders earlier and come back to collect later.

Waiting for our turn to place orders...

And so, we went to the sleeping Buddha Temple before going back to Him Heang to collect our biscuits. The temple was big but not as huge as Kek Lok Si. But what I liked about this place was the drawings on the walls, about the story of Buddha. How he got enlightenment etc. We also tried our hands at the “kau chim” area and this is what I got:

Sigh…Guess that I won’t be rich anytime soon...

At the Sleeping Buddha Temple, behind us was the drawing of Buddha leaving his rich prince's life.

Next up, we spent some time shopping in Gurney Plaza but none of us bought anything, perhaps because the things there were too expensive (Versace, Guess etc) for us poor students.

Our stomachs were grumbling after the long walks at the temples. So, we went to eat cendol and it was really really good! The cendol stall was a small stall manned by an uncle, his son and another Indonesian lady. People don’t seem to mind standing at the roadside eating cendol. All kinds of people were there, from those in office suit to little boys back from school. While having our Cendols, our nose quickly picked up a familiar smell, Char Koay Tiaw! Just beside the cendol stall, there was a small cornet lot restaurant. The Char Koay Tiaw was the best I’ve ever had! Fresh, juicy prawns and just the right taste.

Yummy...delicious cendol!

We then went to Batu Ferringi to enjoy the beaches there. But sadly, it was not up to my expectations. Pangkor was so much nicer. We strolled along the beaches, feasting our eyes with pretty Kwai Lohs and Kwai Muis.

The beach at Batu Ferringi. We tried hard to take a picture of Kwai mui in bikini but instead, this is what we got. A little girl playing with sand.

Then, we explored the other side of the island, Balik Pulau. It was a completely different scene. This area was under-developed with many kampong houses and beautiful mountains.
We stopped at the huge dam and one can just sit there and be in peace with Mother Nature. You can even hear the wind blowing. It was so quiet and serene.

Beside from us, there was only another family there. Very Peaceful...

Then, came the main itinerary of the trip, seafood!!!
We went to a very hidden and secluded restaurant in Balik Pulau, and it took us around 1 hour plus to reach there. But the view was superb. The restaurant was located at the seaside and we reached just in time to watch the sunset with fresh seafood in our mouths!
And the best of all, it’s not very expensive. With such a beautiful view and fresh seafood, they could charge me as much as they want.

On the table were prawns, crabs, chicken, fish, cuttlefish, and vege.

Look at this view near the restaurant! Simply marvellous...

After our delectable dinner, we went home and stayed up till late, watching Mr Bean, and chit chatting.

Food vocab of the day
Seng Kak Chui = Teng Lang Teh (Chinese Tea)
Tau Sar Peah = Tambun Peah

Day 3
Our final day in the island. All of us woke up late, all thanks to the late night chats. We had tapau chee cheong fun for breakfast and stayed at home, watching more Mr Bean before going out for lunch. We had Hokkien Mee for lunch and it was the only food I didn’t enjoy in Penang. It was too oily for my liking.

Pig's skin. Just look at the oil!

To burn off the super-oily Hokkien mee we had for lunch, we went shopping at Quensbay mall. Surprisingly, the mall has more varieties of clothing compared to the ones in KL. But I only bought a working shoe.
After a few hours of shopping comes more food! Yea, we were eating non-stop. It’d be a miracle if I don’t put on weight. We had Nasi Kandar for dinner and it was just ok.

Then, we went to explore the industrial area in Bayan Lepas. Ching Siang was our tireless tour guide. He brought us to a snake temple but sadly, it was half closing when we reached there. All the snakes were kept inside and we couldnt see them.

So, we went back home to pack up and wind down after the tiring shopping trip. Then, it was our final feast in the island. We had Tong Sui, Char Koay Tiaw and Hokkien Mee, and that’s just for supper!

For our final trip, Ching Siang took us to Fort Cornwallis, a historical fort used to defend the island during the British invasion. Aside from the historical monuments, there was nothing much there. But it was nice to enjoy the cool breeze of air and watch the locals fished at the seaside.

Fort Cornwallis.

And so, that was the end of our trip.

At last, we headed home to Shah Alam. The ride back home was so much better and I fell asleep as soon as I got in the bus.

The verdict.
Best Char Koay Tiaw: The corner lot restaurant beside the Cendol stall, near Komtar.
Best Hokkien Mee: The stall near Tong Sui shop. I could give you the name of the place if only I remember…
Best Laksa: The one in Gurney Drive, although Chin Siang said that there is another one in Air Itam, just below Kek Lok Si.
Best Cendol: Definitely the one near Komtar. Delicious!!!!

Now, i just wish i have more money to go to the next trip....

*Pictures courtesy of Sui Jing and May

Nov 8, 2007

Three’s a company.

I’ve started working this week in a company in Shah Alam. And it has only 3 staffs…including me.

There’s a country manager a.k.a boss and there’s another technical guy, and there’s me. My position is called sales coordinator but I was wondering since I’m the only one in the sales department, doesn’t that make me the head of sales? Sales Manager sounds good…I wish…

But the job’s quite fun so far…My daily routine would be recording the sales and coordinating sales between customer and the head office in Singapore. So far so good. My boss and the other colleague are great! My boss is very supportive, taught me everything from A-Z as I’m pretty new to all these sales thingy. The other guy is very friendly and caring, always making sure that I feel comfortable in the office, offering me snacks etc..

Not to mention, the office is like less than 5 minutes away from my house and I can practically go back home for lunch! And the best part? The salary! Quite good pay but not the best I’ve had but still, I get to learn tons of stuff..

The company I’m working in is called ISP Chemical, which deals which chemical stuff. They produce tons of chemicals from the basic one like polymers to really “deep” stuff like Gafquat. And they have offices worldwide.

Anyway, I have the weekends off so I still have time to hang out.

Right now, I’m listening to Matt Wertz and Jeff Buckley (the latter thanks to uncle), and I strongly recommend these two great singers.