Saturday, 30 June 2007

Lumut Part 2

What's a blog without food? So here you go...some stuff I ate!


Upon recommendation by the staff at Swiss-Garden, we gave this restaurant, Hailam Seafood Restaurant, a try. Exit the resort at the main road, drive past Lumut Port and head for Sitiawan. At the traffic light after Lumut Port which shows a left for Sitiawan and straight for Lumut, take a sharp left into the restaurant which is just off the main road.

I recalled a yummy dish I once ate in Kampong Koh some time back. It was bittergourd nicely cooked with salted egg with a delicious creamy gravy. With this in mind, I ordered it again and imagine my horror when the server plonked this down and proclaimed it to be the same dish! Taking a bite, it wasn't all that bad. It was slices of bittergourd coated in a salted egg batter which gave it an interesting combination of sweet, bitter and salty tastes. A bit jelak though towards the end and I can't say that it is the healthiest way to eat your veggies!

What's seafood without crabs and this were 2 medium sized ones cooked in their "speciality" of salted egg which were cooked in exactly the same style as the bittergourd (surprise, surprise)! The crabs were quite meaty and the salted egg combination was really not too bad - very dry and crispy. Can someone say cholestrol :p

Finally a little steamed grouper to round it off. This was quite a small fella and I found that it tasted a bit hard, maybe due to over-steaming. I found that it had a touch of fishiness too. I should have gone with my instincts and ordered a sweet & sour instead of their steamed style.

The bill was about RM67 for two with a plate of fried mee sua (vermicelli). Their mee sua wasn't the thin, fragile type I'm used to here instead was thick, a little like thick beehoon. I think it's a local home-made speciality for I saw shops selling the uncooked form everywhere in Lumut and Pangkor.

Photo borrowed from Eat First Think Later

I found that the seafood wasn't as cheap as what everyone raved about but maybe I ate in the wrong place. Their prices of RM35/kg for the crabs were in fact more expensive than some seafood places in KL which charge only RM20/kg or RM28/kg. I found this rather surprising considering that they are a seaside town. Maybe it was the out-of-towner look as well that added a premium to the prices!

Satay Fish Galore!

What's a post on Pangkor without this icon?

A ride through the picturesque one-main-street Pangkor town will turn up dried seafood shops everywhere. Almost every shop there deals in dried seafood products, easily identifiable by the tubs of dried anchovies and oysters at their entrance to entice you in.

Go on in and have a wander. There's a lot more lurking on the shelves of the shops ranging from satay fish to my favourite keropok. Prices don't differ much from shop to shop due to the high competition. There are a few factories dotted around the island where you can buy these seafood products in the air-conditioned comfort of their shops but from what I found, the prices in some of these shops can actually work out cheaper than buying from their factories.

I came away clutching bags of keropok and had to stifle a laugh when we rode the evening ferry back to Lumut. Everyone leaving Pangkor had an ensemble of plastic bags stuffed with all varieties of dried seafood to eat or to be given away as souvenirs. Was it cheap? Well, personally, I didn't think it was that much cheaper than buying it in KL or on the mainland but when on holiday, do as the tourists do!

Friday, 29 June 2007

Lumut Part 1

I recently went on a weekend break to Lumut/Pangkor Islands. "Is there anything else there besides satay fish?!" were some of the questions I got. So, I'm sharing some tips on what you can do for your next Cuti-cuti Malaysia holiday!

Getting There:

  1. The trunk road from KL to Lumut is actually a pretty nice and wide road and some say, faster than using the toll roads. I got fantastic directions from Alan (thanks!) and I got there with no problems at all.
  2. From KL, get onto the Federal Highway to Klang and turn off at Jalan Kapar heading for Teluk Intan. It's a straight road all the way from there, passing quaint little fishing towns like Kuala Selangor, Sekinchan and others where you can stop for a delicious seafood brunch or lunch!
  3. Do be careful of the Bagan Datoh junction (where you have to turn right towards Teluk Intan) as there are no clear signs to Teluk Intan and we went on a scenic drive to Bagan Datoh! After Bagan Datoh, you'll start seeing signs to Lumut and Pangkor.


  1. We stayed at Swiss Garden Damai Laut. You'll see lots of signs leading to the resort from Lumut. Basically you'll have to head for Kg. Acheh towards Lumut Port and over 3 bridges before coming to the main turnoff into the resort. Be careful, the road is rather winding going into the resort.
  2. Swiss Garden is a pretty little place with lots of activities, some paid and some free. You'll need to check with the front desk what activities are on for that day. It doesn't have much of a beach but there's a lovely tiny strip of shady beach just a flight of stairs down from the pool.
  3. The road to and from the resort to the main road is rather narrow and winding and there are hardly any streetlights (sneaky!) so you'll probably end up having to eat within their resort if you don't fancy a drive out at night.


  1. Lumut's a small town which most people use as a hop-off point to Pangkor. However, a short drive away from the town will take you to a nice little cove called Teluk Batik which was filled with locals when we were there. It has lots of stalls selling ice-cream, all kinds of snacks and beach stuff. The best part for me were the free deckchairs scattered all over the beach. Nothing like the ones in Phuket which you have to pay for!
  2. A short drive in the other direction will take you Sitiawan, another small town. What I loved here were the mango stalls lining the roads in an area aptly named as 'Mango Paradise'. Perak is famous for their mangoes and you'll find all kinds here for a pretty decent price.
  3. Nearby is the predominantly Chinese Kampong Koh area, famous for none other than the lip-smacking, garlicky Kampong Koh chilli sauce which goes so well with dim sum!

Off to Pangkor:

  1. Swiss Garden runs it's own ferry service (RM28) for a return to Pangkor which is about 15 minutes away. Otherwise you can head into Lumut Jetty to have a choice of 3 ferry companies (Mesra Ferry, Duta Pangkor and Pan Silver) for RM10 for a return trip. Mesra Ferry is one of the best ferry services and I found it very comfortable and stable during the 25 minute ride.
  2. The ferry will make a stop at Sg. Pinang Kecil, a little fishing village on Pangkor before stopping at the main Pangkor jetty.
  3. There are heaps of motorcycles for rent and pink Barbie taxi vans lining up to take you around. The vans were offering RM40 per pax for 2 hours while we managed to get a motorcycle for RM15 for approximately 5 hours. It was an experience indeed as the last time I'd been on a motorcycle was when I was a wee tot!
  4. If you opt for a motorcycle, RM2-3 will be more than sufficient to take you around the island! The good part about having a motorcycle is having the flexibility to stop off at any beach you come across. The roads can be a little winding and the northern part of the island has a little hill which can be a bit of a steep incline.

Pangkor Beaches:

  1. We stopped off at 3 main beaches - Pasir Bogak Beach, Teluk Ketapang and Nipah Bay Beach.
  2. Pasir Bogak is the nearest beach to Pangkor town. I believe it's usually crowded during peak periods but while we were there, we had the entire beach to ourselves! It's the closest beach to Pangkor Laut Resort - the 6 star award winning resort by YTL and allows us minions a great view of the very expensive resort! It being off-season, there weren't any stalls open. There are some big trees on the beach which provide a nice shade for those not so keen on burning themselves! If you're bored, there are some boat rides and snorkelling trips available.

  3. Teluk Ketapang is my favourite beach! Nestled in between Bogak and Nipah Bay, it's set away from the main road by a grassy field. It's very quiet and isolated but beware of monkeys who might steal stuff from your motorcycle if you're not careful! There are some nice rocks around and a small little pool where you can dip your feet. And some kindly people have strung up hammocks between the trees so have a lie-on while watching the day go by.
  4. Nipah Bay Beach is touted to be one of the most beautiful of all beaches. Boat trips, kayak and snorkelling are available and quite a number of stalls line the street. If you're lucky, you'll see the famous Pangkor hornbill. Otherwise, relax on the shady beach in a hammock or on one of the few swings made by the local. It's a lovely playground and a nice way to re-live your childhood while swinging!

Stay tuned for Part 2 - food and more :)

Useful links: - Official website of Swiss Garden Damai Laut - Fantastic reference point for Pangkor and more! - Official site for Pulau Pangkor

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Fishball Noodles in Bangkok

When in Bangkok, Dad loves staying in Chinatown (Yaowaraj Road) cos of the fabulous food in that area. It's mainly authentic Teochew style food and long-forgotten cakes and delicacies which are no longer sold here can be found in the little stalls there.

One of our favourite haunts is a simple little stall at the front of an alley which opens up to a market specializing in fish balls and fried fish cake. I love the way the Thai hawkers always have that ubiquitous little glasses of chilli and fish sauce at every table. For a chilli-lover, it's wonderful having as much chilli as you can eat right at your disposal without having to constantly call for more.

Clockwise from bottom left: Crushed chilli flakes (oh-so spicy!), Fish sauce, salt and my favourite pickled chillis (sour and spicy - what a lovely combination!)

We ordered a combination of their egg noodle and kuey tiaw. Their kuey tiaw is deliciously smooth and served dry. However, their dry version doesn't involve any dark or soy sauce. It's served with just a dash of fish sauce and sesame oil. The cook then throws on a handful of freshly blanched beansprouts, spring onions and finally - what I loves best...fishballs and slices of their homemade fishcake.

Their homemade fishballs are very soft and not springy like some commercial ones. Hopefully, that means less boric acid used! The fishcake is actually fish meat seasoned with fried onions and prepared in long rolls which are fried before it's sliced into pieces for serving. It's really delicious, I haven't been able to find an equivalent here yet.

Because the fishballs are so good, we always end up ordering an extra bowl of fishbowls! Sigh, I want to go back to Bangkok again! It's cheaper than our noodles here too. A bowl of noodles costs less than RM3 which makes it good for second helpings! :)

Note: I've seen the Thais eating these type of noodles in a fascinating pink soup as well! Thanks to RealThai for enlightening me! I have to give it a try next time now that I know what it's called!

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Phuket Street Food

I was in Phuket during the Raya break for a short diving trip and just wanted to share some of my favourites from there! Just like Malaysians, they eat 24 hours too from all kinds of small stalls dotted all around the place! Due to security reasons, I didn't carry a camera so had to source the Net for some pictures to show you what we had!

There are fruit stalls like this all over Patong Beach. And the minute we arrived, I headed straight for my favourite...

Ice-cold fresh pineapple! Their pineapple is really sweet, a little like the Sarawak pineapple found here and is heavenly with a dash of their chilli sugar sprinkles! And only THB10 (RM1) for 1/4 of a pineapple!

Lots of stalls sell grilled skewered stuff all over the place too. We tried the grilled chicken thigh for THB30 (RM3) which was delicious! It's pre-grilled and they'll grill it again to heat it up, then sprinkle some seasoning over it before wrapping it up in a plastic bag. It tastes a little like our grilled chicken wings here but lots better! We also tried a sausage for THB10 (RM1). It's nice and fat and tastes just like bratwurst! Could it be their local version of bratwurst?! It's very cheap compared to sausages here!

And this was our all-time favourite, grilled squid on a stick! J loved it so much we had to source for it at 2am on our last night there just to eat it one last time before coming home! The squid (left, closest to you) will be barbequed on a tiny portable grill (be warned, it emits lots of smoke so don't stand too near or you'll be smelling of grilled squid till your next bath!), bathed with this wonderfully delicious, super-spicy and sour chilli sauce and accompanied by several leafs of fresh lettuce. It's always perfectly cooked and so juicy and tender that each bite yields easily. Ah, I still have fond memories of it! It's cheap too at only THB10 (RM1)!

And wash it all down with bottled Reverse-Osmosis water! Easily available from any of their convenience stores for a mere THB5 (RM0.50) a bottle!

I'll be off to Bangkok late December so hope to be back with more Thai street pictures!

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

West African Adventure

This started off as a blog on local Malaysian food (and my dodgy cooking!) but in recent times, I travelled a bit and I found the blog starting to take a life of its own as food from my various travels started to make its debut.

One of my trips took me to one of the countries in West Africa. As West Africa's mainly French-speaking, the food we ate was mostly Western in the hotels and didn't seem too different from the Western food here. It being a landlocked country, they only got their fish from the Niger River which ran just in front of our hotel.

Every morning, the stillness of the morning would be broken by the boats of the fisherman on the Niger. It was a primitive style of fishing. All they had were nets and their long poles to guide and push their boats. They caught mainly Nile Perch or capitaine (in French) which was the fish that was always featured on our menu.

Capitaine was usually served grilled or stewed. It's a thick, white, firm-fleshed fish. It seemed a bit on the oily side but soaked up the flavours well. Sometimes, I thought I detected a hint of muddiness that's prevalent in our river fish but it wasn't overwhelming.

This was one of the local dishes I tried. It was chunks of lightly browned capitaine stewed in a chunky tomato stew with a sprinkling of herbs. It arrived at the table piping hot and I burnt my mouth in my eagerness to try it. It was delicious! The tomatoes made the stew slightly sour but it was thick, chunky and full of large pieces of fish to savour. I do miss it...maybe I should try my hand at cooking it!

Monday, 25 June 2007

Airline Breakfast

Before my very first trip on an airline, I was repeatedly warned of how disgusting airplane food was. However, on that inaugural flight, the little hot tray of food that appeared on my fold-up table was something that smelled and tasted absolutely delicious!

Now, many flights and airlines later, I begin to understand why some people complain about the food! And the food quality on some good airlines have dropped drastically. However, a recent long and tiring flight reminded me again how welcoming that little tray can be.

We were served poached eggs for breakfast. What a surprise! I had never had poached eggs on a flight before! It came with a nice sauce (I think it was supposed to be hollandaise), spinach, tomatoes and a really tasty little hash brown.

Of course, the downside was that we were served exactly the same thing on our return flight out and it didn't seem that nice anymore! I now sometimes order special meals on flights. It's a bit of a mystery as to what you're going to get but the extra dish of fruit instead of cake is always a welcome!

If you're interested on checking out more airline meals from all over the world, hop over to AirlineMeals!

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Chips From Down Under!

I came home from Sydney with a huge boxful of nothing but....junk food! Yes, it was a very expensive grocery shopping trip! But unfortunately, the only thing my foodie siblings requested for was crisps! And crisps there were!

Red Rock Deli has a fantastic range of crisps with very interesting flavours. I tried the Red Wine & Tuscan Herbs flavour there but there wasn't any stock to bring home. So my sibs had to settle for Crispy Bacon & Sour Cream. The bag burst in transit and bro set upon it with great glee. By the time I remembered to take a picture, it was almost finished! He said they tasted rather cheesy although there was no cheese element anywhere. Perhaps it was the sour cream. The crisps are nice, rough-cut and well-flavoured crisps. Just nice to munch on when feeling peckish or when the munchies set in!

I also brought back a huge 18-bag of assorted crisps by Arnotts. I had grabbed it, thinking it was Lays which is more famous for crisps. But for a first, Arnotts wasn't too bad. There wer 4 flavours in the bag - Light & Tangy, Original, Chicken and Salt & Vinegar. Sis liked the Salt & Vinegar one best. These crisps were thinner-cut and packed into small bags, handy for the snack on the go!

I wish I could have brought home more. The choices in their supermarkets are mind-boggling! Unfortunately, since they're highly delicate, huge and bulky; and I only have 2 arms to carry hand luggage with, I guess the siblings would have to make this lot last till our next overseas trip!

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Off to Sydney!

Erm...just to see Oz actually! :p Yes, I'll be off to sunny Sydney! Be back on September 11 with yummy Aussie food pictures! :)

I'll be handing over the blog baton to my dear Sis and Eternity - don't leave it empty! Hehe..

Thanks for dropping by!



Friday, 22 June 2007

Weekend in Muar

Last weekend we took another trip back to Muar. Our first stop was our usual coffeeshop for breakfast and coffee. With a limited time in Muar only, Char Kueh was high on the list!

Unlike the Penang Char Kueh Kak, the southern version is white (the pieces in the man's wok). He cuts it up as he fries it with oil, adding chilli, eggs, pickled radish and a handful of spring onions and parsley befor serving. And voila! That's the finished product!

We also had some "Ham Chin Peng", Chinese fried doughnuts filled with a sweet red bean paste. This is one of my Mom's favourite and the nice hawker always puts in extra red bean paste for her! There's also a savoury version with 5-spice powder instead of red bean. One of the great benefits of knowing hawkers personally! You always get extra stuff! :) All these food was washed down with Muar's famous 434 coffee, brewed in a sock strainer in an old coffeeshop! Small pleasures!

After all that breakfast, we still managed to find some space in our tummies for yummy asam fish from Parit Jawa (a small fishing village approximately half an hour away from town). There are generally two styles of asam fish (fish cooked in spicy tamarind gravy). We prefer the Malay one which has a thicker gravy with some additional spices like "daun kesom" while the Chinese version is somewhat spicier and clearer. Anyway, we had a wonderful feast with lots of fish, vege and onion ommelette! Somehow, asam gravy goes fantastically with ommelettes or fried eggs!

Clockwise from bottom: Onion ommelette, taugeh, Chinese cabbage, Asam "Kembung" fish and stingray and a large-ish "Jenahak" or red snapper! And right in the middle was the scrapings of sambal kangkung from the seller! It was lip-smacking good! :)

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Penang Gastronomic Adventure

As promised, here's proof of my camera's excursion to the Pearl of the Orient - Penang Island! My sister was up in Penang recently and very kindly snapped some pictures for me. The pictures had me I hope you enjoy them too!

She had dinner at the famous Gurney Drive hawkers. I think Auntie Lilian has blogged about it in her ever-popular 5xmom blog!

There's a little old man under a tree who sells fantastic Char Kuey Teow. Have to go early as there are always people queuing for his charcoal fried kuey teow. And he has no qualms in scolding you if you try to cut queue or harrass him about when your order is due!

Wah...see the big prawns? He normally gives 3 prawns but that night he was feeling generous and she got double the amount for RM3!

She ate this in my honour! This is a BIG favourite of mine in Gurney Drive. It's actually Kuey Teow Thng (Kuey Teow Soup) but I normally opt to have the condiments without the noodles. There's a wide array of fishballs, meat, liver, innards, vege, etc to pick from. And over it, the hawker will ladle fragrant meat broth and top it with a generous spoon of minced garlic oil. The funny thing about this stall is that you never know what the price is going to be as the items are not individually priced! This bowl costed RM5. My personal record was RM13 and the soup had to come in TWO bowls! Then again, it was shared by 4 people so not that greedy-lah!

She went to Lorong Selamat the next day for lunch. Lorong Selamat is well-known for its Char Kuey Teow fried by a lady in a red Smurf hat. Many still make a bee-line for her stall but her high prices and miniscule portions stopped us from frequenting it some time back. Be prepared, though, should you wish to eat the Char Kuey Teow. It's self-service and while you wait for your order to be fried, they'll hand you a plate (if you're eating in) or a pair of chopsticks (if it's takeaway)!!

Nevertheless, the area still has lots of good eats. As they say, the proof is in the pudding...or in this case, in the photos!
On the left is Char Kuey Kak - rice cake pieces fried with eggs and beansprouts. Further south, we call it Char Kuey but I believe the Penangites add the "Kak" because it's wrapped into a triangular shape for take-away. But please do correct me if I'm wrong! On the right is another version of Pork Kuey Teow. This coffeeshop in Lorong Selamat serves really good Kuey Teow soup. We stumbled upon it by chance and it's remained high on our Penang Must-Eat list! It has the usual liver and pork slices and fishballs but the difference lies in the soup which is a nice wholesome and flavourful broth. Delicious!

Finally, what's a trip to Penang without the famous Penang Lobak? Every Lobak stall has a wide variety of pick-and-mix ranging from century eggs, fish balls, fish, etc and of course, the Lobak itself! Lobak is a meat springroll where slices of marinated meat are wrapped up in caul fat or beancurd sheets and deep-fried. Anything selected will be deep-fried, sliced and served with chilli sauce and a sweetish, starchy sauce. The brown shape is the Lobak while the yellow are fried fish slices.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the virtual Penang trip as much as I did! I hope to make a trip up there again soon!

Wednesday, 20 June 2007


Welcome, Selamat Datang, Huan Ying...*rolls out red carpet and lights firecrackers*

Welcome to my little new blog! Why Dandelion & Thistle? Well, life is transient like a dandelion flower, ready to be blown away at the slightest gust of wind. And we always need a little tough thistles to help us smell the flowers better!

That was just the drivel...actually, having raised on a healthy diet of Enid Blyton as a kid, I've always liked the thought of fairies travelling on little fluffy dandelions whenever a gust of wind blew! So, blow this way, all you little fairies and dandy lions! I look forward to welcoming you!