Monday, December 27, 2010

Hungry Today

"Hmmm. Something smells good," my eldest son was saying as he was descending the stairs of our house, from his room towards the kitchen. The kids are home today so I decided to bake brownies for them, even if I am feeling a little tired. I love it when they appreciate my cooking, or say anything good about me.

This is why I have this cake-mood as I work on my blog right now.
I just can't resist posting these rows and rows of cakes I took pictures of in a big grocery store in Malaysia. Big and small round cakes and there are big square and heart-shaped ones too.

I went to the grocery to look for Malaysian spices, especially those used for Nasi Lemak, a delicious coconut-milk rice dish.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Malaysian Food

I love Malaysian food, thus even back here in the Philippines, I do eat Malaysian cuisine every now and then. I remember eating great breakfasts at the hotel during my trip. Nasi Lemak is always available. Yummy!

Nasi Lemak Recipe
. . . in case you want to know what is in it.

Rice tends to be a staple food in Malaysia as in most countries in the region. The rice eaten in Malaysia tends to be the local variety of rice or fragrant rice from Thailand, its northern neighbour. Quality Indian basmati is used in biryani dishes due to its long grained shape, fragrance and delicate flavour. Japanese short grain rice and others are slowly entering the Malaysian diet as Malaysians expand their culinary tastes to new areas.

Noodles are another popular food. Noodles such as "Bi Hoon"(rice vermicelli), "Kuay Teow"(soft fluffy flat rice noodles made of rice and translucent white in colour), "Mee"(yellow noodles), "Mee Suah" (very fine wheat vermicelli), "Yee Meen" (pre-fried noodles), "Langka"(transparent noodles made from green beans), and others provide a source of carbohydrate besides the ubiquitous serving of rice that accompanies every meal.

About Malaysia

Indian style bread such as naan, puri, roti canai, thosai and idli are commonly eaten by most Malaysians as part of breakfast. Western style bread is a relatively new addition to the Malaysian diet, having gained acceptance in the last generation.

Chicken is generally available from local farms and is a cheap source of meat.

A special type of chicken recipe in Malaysian cooking is called the "ayam kampung" (literally village chicken). These are free-range chickens which are allowed to roam instead of being caged. These chickens are generally considered to have higher nutritional value. They are scrawnier than their farmed counterparts, meaning they have less body fat. Cooking of kampung chicken is usually by way of steaming or preparation in a soup.

Duck and goose also form part of the Malaysian diet.

Satay chicken, grilled chicken with a peanut and coconut milk sauce, is the national dish of Malaysia.

Beef is common in the Malaysian diet though it is notable that followers of certain religions such as Hinduism and some forms of Buddhism forbid the consumption of beef. Beef can be commonly found cooked in curries, stews,roasted, or with noodles. Malays generally eat beef that is halal.

Pork is largely consumed by the Malaysian Chinese community in Malaysia. Malaysian Malays are by definition Muslim and therefore do not consume pork since Islam forbids it. Canned pork can usually be found in the non-halal sections of local supermarkets and hypermarkets, and fresh pork can be bought in some wet markets and some supermarkets and hypermarkets.

Mutton is also a part of the Malaysian cuisine. It generally refers to goat meat rather than sheep. The meat is used in dishes such as goat soup, curries, or stews. It is a popular ingredient in Malaysian Indian food.

Many types of seafood are consumed in Malaysia, including shrimp or prawn, crabs, squid, cuttlefish, clams, cockles, snails, and octopus. In general, members of all ethnic communities enjoy seafood, which is considered halal by Malaysian Muslims (and indeed most other Muslims) though some species of crabs are not considered halal as they can live on both land and sea. But most people do not take this as a staple or daily meal since it is expensive.

Fish features in the Malaysian diet and most local fish is purchased the day after it is caught. Frozen fish is generally imported. Such fish, namely salmon and cod, are well received on the Malaysian table but are not caught by local fishermen. Imported fish are frozen and flown in as pieces or as whole fish and usually sold by weight.

Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cowboys and Indians

There were various entertaining shows (at A' Famosa at Malacca) to choose from. You can pick what you want to see and skip the rest. Schedules are announced, so you can roam around or sit down to watch any of the shows. Your call.

I escaped the cowboys but was caught by an Indian.

Surprisingly, I did enjoy the best, the Cowboys-and-Indians show. It was hilarious. There was suspense, action and a lot of shooting.

The cast performed well.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fruits and Vegetables

There I was taking photos of the various fruits on the banquet table of our hotel, before I finally ate my meal.

Vegetables are usually available year round as Malaysia does not have four seasons. During the rainy season, sometimes vegetable yield decreases but does not stop altogether. Therefore, vegetables can be purchased throughout the year but are slightly more expensive at certain times of the year.

Malaysia's climate allows for fruits to be grown all year round. Most tropical fruits are either grown in Malaysia or imported from neighboring countries. The demand for fruits is generally quite high. Some notable fruits include durian, rambutan, mangosten, lychee, mango and longan.

Source: Wikipedia

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Trip to Jerusalem

"What a great day it is." This is what I said today when I woke up. It's good to be saying this to myself. I remember not wanting to even wake up in the morning just last month because of a seemingly super heavy burden.

Anyway, I just got back from my trip to Israel and started noting my travel adventures in a new blog . . .

My Holy Land Pilgrimage

I previous pilgrimage was a Marian pilgrimage was a "Marian Pilgrimage" in Europe. I had the time of my life there for we went in Autumn and I just love the colorful sight of Autumn leaves. Do visit this site, thanks . . .

Europe Travel Blog

Have a happy day!!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A New Hot Blog

Created a new blog. Was so blessed to have visited another beautiful Asian tourist hot spot . . .

. . . Singapore.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Look, A Golden Statue

I love the Batu Caves with the towering golden statue.

The place is the focal point of the Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia. In 2007, the festival attracted more than 1.5 million pilgrims, making it one of the largest gatherings in history.

The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, dedicated to Lord Murugan. The entrance, with the Murugan golden statue towering at 42.7 m high, was built in 1891 at Gombak district, Selangor.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Holiday in September

Malaysia Day is only celebrated in the state of Sabah on 16 September to commemorate the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

This photo was taken by me at the Batu caves which is actually a pilgrimage site.

The Batu Caves site serves as the focus of the Hindu community's yearly Thaipusam (Tamil festival). It has become a pilgrimage site for Malaysian Hindus and even Hindus from other countries like India, Australia and Singapore.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Holiday in August

There are a number of holidays and festivities observed in Malaysia.

The most celebrated holiday is the "Hari Kebangsaan" (Independence Day), otherwise known as "Merdeka" (Freedom), on 31 August commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya in 1957.

Muslims in Malaysia celebrate Muslim holidays. The most celebrated festival, Hari Raya Puasa (also called Hari Raya Aidilfitri) is the Malay translation of Eid al-Fitr. It is generally a festival honoured by the Muslims worldwide marking the end of Ramadan, the fasting month. The sight of the new moon determines the end of Ramadan. This determines the new month, therefore the end of the fasting month. In addition to Hari Raya Puasa, they also celebrate Hari Raya Haji (also called Hari Raya Aidiladha, the translation of Eid ul-Adha), Awal Muharram (Islamic New Year) and Maulidur Rasul (Birthday of the Prophet).

Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Trip Plans to Singapore

"Selamat Hari Raya."

The term "Hari Raya" literally means "Day of Celebration" — it is also occasionally used to refer to Eid ul-Adha in the form of "Hari Raya Aidiladha".

"Selamat Hari Raya" which means "Happy Eid" in Malay is the main greeting used by Muslims in Malaysia and Singapore.

Soon, I will be writing more about Singapore as I steadily make plans for my trip there this year, and that will be soon.

Singapore is a city-state in Southeast Asia. Founded as a British trading colony in 1819, since independence it has become one of the world's most prosperous countries and sports the world's busiest port. Combining the skyscrapers and subways of a modern, affluent city with a medley of Chinese, Malay and Indian influences and a tropical climate, with tasty food, good shopping and a vibrant nightlife scene, this Garden City makes a great stopover or springboard into the region.

Singapore is a small country on a small island, but with just over five million people it is a fairly crowded city and in fact second only to Monaco as the world's most densely populated country. The center of the city — consisting roughly of Orchard Road, the Riverside and a chunk of Chinatown — is known in acronym-loving Singapore as the CBD (Central Business District).

o Riverside (Civic District) — Singapore's colonial core, with museums, statues and theaters, not to mention restaurants, bars and clubs.
o Orchard Road — Miles and miles of shopping malls.
o Marina Bay — The newest bit of Singapore, dominated by the enormous Marina Bay Sands casino complex.
o Bugis and Kampong Glam — Bugis and Kampong Glam are Singapore's old Malay district, now largely taken over by shopping
o Chinatown — The area originally designated for Chinese settlement by Raffles, now a Chinese heritage area popular with tourists.
o Little India — A piece of India to the north of the city core.
o Balestier, Newton, Novena and Toa Payoh — Budget accommodations and Burmese temples within striking distance of the center.
o North and West — The northern and western parts of the island, also known as Woodlands and Jurong respectively, form Singapore's residential and industrial hinterlands.
o East Coast — The largely residential eastern part of the island contains Changi Airport, miles and miles of beach and many famous eateries. Also covers Geylang Serai, the true home of Singapore's Malays.
o Sentosa — A separate island once a military fort developed into a resort, Sentosa is the closest that Singapore gets to Disneyland, now with a dash of gambling and Universal Studios thrown in.

Source: Wikitravel

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Holiday in Malaysia

Hari Raya Aidilfitri

It is the Malay term for the Muslim festival of Eid ul-Fitr (also seen as Hari Raya Idul Fitri and Hari Raya Puasa, literally "Celebration Day of Fasting"). Hari Raya is also known as Lebaran. Muslims in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines celebrate Eid like other Muslims throughout the world. The term "Hari Raya" literally means "Day of Celebration" — it is also occasionally used to refer to Eid ul-Adha in the form of "Hari Raya Aidiladha". The main greeting used by Muslims in Malaysia and Singapore is "Selamat Hari Raya" which means "Happy Eid" in Malay. Another greeting is "maaf zahir dan batin" which translates loosely to "I seek forgiveness (from you) physically and spiritually", for Hari Raya is a time to reconcile and renew relationships with others.

Promotions and Decorations
In big cities and towns, shopping malls and commercial centers may hold big promotions and price discounts for festive shoppers as people purchase clothes and supplies. Decorations are hung in public areas and Hari Raya songs will be played in shopping complexes. The media, such as the television may host various programs in conjunction with the celebrations.

Returning to One's Hometown
Many people also traditionally return to their hometown generally from big metropolitan cities to rural areas. This is known as balik kampung — literally going back to one's home town to celebrate Hari Raya with family and friends.

During the Muslim month of Ramadan leading up to Hari Raya, it is mandatory for Muslims to fast from dawn to dusk. All Muslims except the young, old or infirm must fast.

Breaking the Fast
Widely, markets, or 'Ramadan bazaars' are held in many areas around the country, where all sorts of food and kuih — traditional Malay delicacies — are sold for breaking fast or buka puasa.

Preparation during the Eve
On the eve of Hari Raya, Muslims will recite the takbir, which is held in mosques and surau (smaller place of worship). In some communities, there will be congregations reciting the takbir from house to house.

Usually on the eve of the celebrations, family members, especially mothers and housewives, become busy preparing food, cakes, sweets, biscuits and various delicacies to be served on the day of Hari Raya. Delicacies such as ketupat or rice cake and a meat cuisine called rendang are among the most famous cuisines that are served during this day. Other family members may help in other chores such as decorating and cleaning up the house.

Days before Hari Raya, house compounds, particularly those in the countryside may be lit up with oil lamps known as pelita or panjut. This display of oil lamps will reach its height on the 27th night of Ramadan, called the Tujuh Likur night. 'Likur' literally meaning a figure between 20 and 30, hence 'tujuh likur' means twenty seven. Originally during the early days of the arrival of Islam among the Malays, the purpose of lighting the oil lamps was to attract spirit of passed relatives and angels to descend to people's homes during the night of Lailatulqadar. Nowadays, the oil lamps are lit solely for decorative purposes.

It is customary for Malays to wear traditional Malay costumes. The dress for men is called baju Melayu while the women's are known as baju kurung and baju kebaya. Traditional textiles such as songket and batik are worn favorably during this day.

Day Activities
Muslims will attend Eid prayer in the morning and consecrate together harmoniously while taking the chance to meet and greet each other. Once the prayer is done, it is also common for Muslims in Malaysia to visit the grave of their loved ones. During this visit, they will clean the grave, perform the recital of the Yasin — a chapter (surah) from the Qur'an and also the tahlil or prayers for the deceased. All these are done in hope that their loved ones are blessed by God and they are spared from the punishment in the grave.

The rest of the day is spent visiting relatives or serving visitors. Hari Raya is a very joyous day for children for this is the day where adults are extra generous. Children may be given token sums of money, also known as duit raya from their parents and elders.

Night Activities
During the night, there are often celebrations with sparklers and firecrackers. Some Malay children turn to home-made firecrackers such as meriam buluh (bamboo cannon) as alternatives to commercial fireworks. Usually, the lighting of firecrackers begins a few days before the end of Ramadan, and continues for about a week afterwards.

Source: Wikipedia

Monday, July 5, 2010

Getting the Stress Out

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.
Henry Miller

I loved being alone in the island. It's called "Monkey Island", at A' Famosa in Melacca.

Actually, I can't find the monkeys. Do you think there is a possibility that they were referring to the visitors as the monkeys, that's why the name Monkey Island? Okay, just fooling around a bit.

I was there standing in front of the water, feeling serene. I found a bench where I sat down. I also found a lady staff. Your guess is right, she took my photo, of course, for souvenir.

I spent some more exhilarating moments at this place, watching peacocks' tails go wishy-washy to the left then to the right, nice rhythm.

I strolled around, deeply inhaling the cool fresh air. What a way to de-stress. This is great! I'm blessed.

A little later I saw the raft approaching the island, ready to pick up a relaxed, refreshed, grateful "me".

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Lao Tzu

Saturday, June 5, 2010

May and June Holidays

Hari Merdeka, as well as Labour Day (1 May), the King's birthday (first Saturday of June) and some other festivals are federal gazetted public holidays celebrated in Malaysia.

Public Holidays in Malaysia

Friday, May 7, 2010

Good Food Subscription, Malaysian

Tropical fruits : Pineapple, Honey Dew, Melon, Watermelon

My memories of Malaysia? A lot, but never to forget . . . food . . . good eats . . . coconut rice. Well, can't go without these. Malaysian food truly made my visit there a treat. I love the rice, the sambal concoction, fried fish dishes, the fresh tropical fruits. I could go on and on. The viands there were spicy because the native food goes with sambal or with curry sauce.

I ate Nasi Lemak for dinner and even for breakfast. It's practically available anytime and anywhere. However, if you wanna have a break from the native taste, you can eat pasta or burger or even pizza. There are lots of restaurants to choose from. I ate at Friday's for one of my dinner nights.

I love breakfast, but come to think of it, I don't remember any fascinating lunch. I was busy sight-seeing at that time of the day that I am suppose to have lunch. So, my tummy rests at noon. I take light meals and do my exercise, walking and climbing stairs. Still, I gained weight. Again, no worry, just savor the moment and the food, I told myself. (My sight-seeing adventures)

Dragon Fruit (but it's pink?)

Fruits in Season : Pineapple, Macopa, Papaya

Nasi Lemak (coconut rice) with Sambal Ikan Bilis anytime of the day
Nasi Lemak Recipe . . . in case you're interested like me.

Nasi Goreng Jawa

Achilles' Heels : Cakes - Fruity ones and Chocolaty goodies

I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. Jason Love

(Tourist attractions visited:
Safari, Genting, Malacca City, Batu Caves, A' Famosa, Melaka)

About Malaysia

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Roaming Around Malaysia

I wanted to make the most of my trip by observing, absorbing and photo-taking, heheh. Most of the pictures I took myself, while some by the tourists I encountered and the rest by Jack. Remember Jack?

I was able to move around Malaysia alone by way of taxi. Well, I was not really alone 'coz I made a new friend. Jack is the Malaysian taxi driver I met on my second day in Malaysia. He is my tourist guide, my photographer, my driver, my story-teller and friend.

Hope you're doing great Jack! See you again someday.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sight Seeing Tours at Kuala Selangor

There is one significant place I skipped going, when I went to Malaysia. That is Kuala Selangor where I am suppose to have dinner and see lots and lots of fireflies. It was raining the night I was scheduled to go and I got a little tired from my day tour. I planned to go the next day but unfortunately I was already set to go to another spot.

But if ever I return to Malaysia, I would definitely visit Kuala Selangor plus the wonderful resorts.

Here's something to read from the homepage of Viator:

Don't miss the chance to see the unique phenomenon of trees lit by fireflies on this late-afternoon tour to Kuala Selangor. You'll drive through the lovely Malaysian countryside, enjoy dinner at a local riverfront restaurant and take an evening boat ride upstream in a traditional sampan to see thousands of fireflies sparkling in the trees lining the river. What a magical way to spend an evening in Malaysia!

The countryside of Kuala Selangor seems miles away from the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur. The small rustic town is known for its historic past and natural mangrove forest. You'll have the opportunity to walk around the jungle trails, learn about the mangrove trees and spot local and migratory birds in the bird sanctuary.

After dinner at a local riverside restaurant you'll boat upstream to see the fireflies sparkling in the thick mangrove along both sides of the river. It’s a unique natural phenomenon, resembling rows of brightly lit Christmas trees.

Kuala Selangor is one of only two places in the world – the other being along the Amazon River in Brazil – where millions of fireflies can be seen to “flash their lights”. The location along the Selangor River in Kampung Kuantan is easily accessible, and according to locals the best time to see the fireflies is during the new moon, around one to four hours after sunset.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Good Tidings for the New Year, 2010

Let's all claim it will be a great 2010.

Believe that you’ll have a super blessed year! This is the advise of Bo Sanchez, a motivational speaker and a preacher in blue jeans.

It is good to travel if given the opportunity. My trip to Malaysia went well and it was a wonderful trip. I do hope I can come back.

Asia has its own beauty, both the place and the people. The food has its own tempting taste, the music as well.

Malaysia, truly Asia, my memories of the place will be like a deposit in my heart and mind's bank that will be earning interest as time goes by and as I travel to other places in the world.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Windows Shopping? Local Shopping

The holidays are over, and I suddenly remembered my shopping experience (more on window shopping, I think, and roaming around out of curiosity) at Malaysia. One of the interesting shopping spots I got to visit was Jalan Petaling. It's the Chinatown of Malaysia.

Petaling Street (Malay: Jalan Petaling) is a Chinatown located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is infamous for pirated clothes and accessories along with bootleg DVDs and CDs. Petaling Street however does not exclusively offer pirated products. Haggling is a common sight here and the place is usually crowded with locals as well as tourists.

The area has dozens of restaurants and food stalls, serving local favorites such as Hokkien mee, Ikan bakar (barbecued fish), asam laksa and curry noodles. Traders here are mainly Chinese but there are also Indian, Malay, and Bangladeshi traders.

The original Chinatown centered on Market Square. High Street, now known as Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, became increasingly popular as it was higher than the rest of the town and therefore less prone to floods. The wealthier and more ornate shop houses were built north of Jalan Cheng Lock, closer to the business center.

Kuala Lumpur was a typical pioneer town at the turn of the century, filled with a rough and tough population that was largely male.

They were largely Cantonese and Hakkas who came to the city because of the tin trade, working as coolies in the mines. They were governed by Chinese Kapitan or headmen. The most famous Chinese Kapitan is Yap Ah Loy, a Hakka.

In 1870, civil war erupted with the Chinese community being split along partisan lines into the Cantonese Ghee Hin and the Hakka Hai San secret societies. The British were called in to help end the strife but many of the buildings in the settlement were burnt down or severely damaged.

During the Selangor Civil War, the tin mines were abandoned and when the miners returned after the war, they found that the mines were flooded and therefore could not work. Yap Ah Loy persuaded the miners and coolies to remain in KL and the Malays in surrounding districts to grow rice and other garden products. He opened a Tapioca Mill in Petaling Street where the tubers from his farms were brought here to be ground into flour. Petaling Street is still fondly called ‘Chee Cheong Kai’ in Cantonese which means starch factory street.

There is a McDonalds on the first shop lot of Petaling Street. Located inside Petaling street is a three-star business-class and hostel-like: Hotel Malaya and Swiss Inn Hotel, and no frills hotel, Stayorange Hotel. Also near there is a Chinese bookshop and a few stalls selling Hainanese chicken rice and noodles. A small longan stall is also located there.

Nearby is Masjid Jamek, an old mosque of Moorish architecture while a tourist spot known as Central Market is within walking distance. Also nearby are the Pasar Seni LRT station of the Kelana Jaya Line and the Maharajalela Monorail station.

One of the most famous landmarks, the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur, is located along Jalan Tun H.S. Lee is KL's chinatown. It is one of KL's oldest and richest Hindu temples. It receives many devotees and tourists daily.

In 2003, the road underwent a major RM11.3mil face lift with two large Chinese arches placed at both ends of the street to welcome visitors. It still pulls in many tourists, who go there to shop and will be regarded as a heritage site.

However, Petaling Street is still the best place to shop for counterfeit branded products and has large selection of local Chinese cuisine. For buyers, it is often possible to negotiate the price tag of an item such as watches, clothing and all counterfeit items.

Today the iconic "Green Dragon" covers Petaling Street.

Source: Wikipedia
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