Pulp by Papa Palhelta

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PUTRA LRT at 6am in the morning

Hello, people. Sorry for the lack of postings. I’ve been slacking off recently. Well, not really slacking off. I just can’t make myself to write. I guess my mood can be erratic at times, especially when it comes to writing.

As you can tell from my previous two to three posts, the writing style was really bad. I couldn’t get myself into the mood but I still want to generate at least 1 post every week. The result of that is sub-par work.

So, from now on, I’m only going to write whenever the mood strikes me. Pretty irresponsible, but with my full-time job right now, I just can’t find the time to sit down and think properly. about how to write. But I promise, I’d try to post whenever I can and only if the write up is good.

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To start with, my current job requires me to work half-day on Saturday. Given that I am always tired on Sunday, I make it a point to meet up with my friends on Saturday afternoon immediately after work. Once I reached home, there is no way I’d go anywhere.

During one of such afternoon, I went out with Leon for a lunch at PULP. I like the environment at PULP. It’s spacious and their coffee is not that bad. Given that I am slightly claustrophobic, I usually prefer to eat at somewhere spacious. If someone suggested a place which is tight and small, obviously I won’t say no. But I’d have to sit at certain area, otherwise I can’t breath properly.

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So, PULP. A while back, I was tasked with searching for a place for our company meeting. I decided to look at PULP’s menu to see if it is worth it. I’ve been thinking about eating there since then.

Since Leon wasn’t particular about what he wanted, I decided to order the Breakfast For Two which consists of baked chickpea, green peas in tomato based with beef sausage topped with eggs and serve along with hash brown and toast. That was certainly a mouthful! Anyway, what was supposed to be for two mostly ended up in my stomach. It was THAT good! Also, Leon is really bad when it comes to eating. He has the stomach of a 6 year old me.  The hashbrown was alright. Nothing special, so I gave it to Leon (hehehe). The rest was good. I don’t know how else to say that. It was just the right amount of saltiness and awesomeness. The aesthetics was pleasing enough to stir up my appetite. Although…I don’t know what the heck is with that slightly charred lemon. I ended up playing around with the lemon with my fork at the end of the meal.

All in all, I’d definitely go back again for their food.

Soong Kee : Beef Ball Noodle

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Last week, out of the blue, Calvin asked me out for lunch since he has an earlier lunch hour that day. So we went to Soong Kee. Calvin said this is a famous beef ball noodles shop. Previously, I would go to Shin Kee if I were craving for beef noodles. It was easier and closer to my office. However, once I get to know the way around Pasar Seni, I don’t mind going further and further away from the office, and in this case, Soong Kee was just one straight road from my office.

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RM15 for a large bowl of beef noodles with tendons (i think) and a small bowl of beef ball noodles.

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I don’t know if Soong Kee is owned by the same owner as Shin Kee – since they both have ‘Kee’, but I do prefer Soong Kee more. First, it is air-conditioned, something i look for whenever I’m in formal wear. Second, it is more than a hole in the wall which means that I don’t get nervous. (read : fear of being scalded) . Third, the beef balls that I had was large and had a slight chewy consistency, something I like in edible balls.

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However, there is something that Soong Kee should improve on : Cleanliness of the Vegetables. The veggies that accompanied the noodles were disappointing. I know that people don’t come here for the veggie, but it would be great if they would do something about it. Every freaking piece is bitter to the bite. Calvin said that this type of veggie is usually bitter, but I don’t think so. Despite the fact that I don’t know what is the name of the veggie, I do eat a lot of it and a properly cleaned version would not have the bitter taste.

Despite that, I’d still visit Soong Kee. It’s not easy to a good, air-conditioned, and reasonably priced restaurant.

Weekend 3 : Shin Kee Beef Noodles at Pasar Seni

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I stumbled upon this little restaurant a while back, before I even knew that it was famous. I was on my way to McD, and I thought, ‘Hey, might as well try it.” Let’s just say that I wasn’t too pleased with it. The first time was ‘Ok, a bit expensive but its beef’. The second time, I was like, “This is too average.”

Call me bias, but I still think that the best beef noodle is  Tangkak Beef Noodle from Kluang.

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Omg! Children destroying the school bus!!!

I went to work too early and I found this cute little known mural. Well, maybe not so little.

Weekend 2 : YUZU at Gardens

I went to Mid Valley with LGB and Daniel last weekend and as usual, we are plagued with the dilemma of ‘What to eat’. We went to the Pokemon Cafe at Jusco to buy some Pokemon merchandise. Then we just walked around for 30 minutes, starving yet indecisive. In the end, Daniel told us about this Japanese place that I have never been to. It’s called Yuzu and its located in Gardens. The price tag there is pretty hefty but there was no line and the set selections are pretty interesting.

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LGB and his Sake Oyako Don.
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I had the Sashimi and Beef Yakiniku set. RM52

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If you want to enjoy your meal slowly, you might want to pace yourself with the butter. I didn’t know and I just use all the butter at one shot. As a result, I have to cook the beef all at one go.

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The sashimi was good. It wasn’t spectacular or anything, but it beats Sushi King and Zanmai type.

 

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Daniel had an Ishiyaki Chicken and Tempura set – RM 38

To paraphrase Daniel’s words, the food taste like what it is worth. Nothing more and nothing less. I guess that’s good?

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Ebi Gyoza – RM33
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The decoration?

img20170204183537.jpgJust a side note : Did you know that there is a new Kit Kat custom shop in Mid Valley? It’s like Magnum, but with Kit Kat. I’m not really a fan of these DIY snacks. They are ridiculously expensive and they don’t taste as good as the original.

If you want to check out YUZU’s menu, here it is.

Chinese New Year Week

Hi guys! Sorry for the lack of update. As you may or may not know, last week was Chinese New Year. And yes, we do get our own New Year.. Not only that, we also get a Chinese birthday and a Western birthday.

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New Year Eve’s dinner (Chinese)

For other type of cultural festivals, I can usually control my weight efficiently. However, during Chinese New Year, there is no way I can do that. With all the yummy CNY snacks lying in every room of the house, it is impossible for me not to gain anything.

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Lou Sang

On the eve of Chinese New Year, most Chinese people would go back to their hometown and have the reunion dinner with their family. During the reunion dinner, there would be a ‘lou sang’ where everyone would yell stuff using Chinese proverbs which would have the meaning of prosperity, abundance of wealth, longetivity or having more children. It is believed that the higher you toss, the higher likelihood for your wish of being granted.

For the next few days, we would visit the rest of the family to get Ang Pows / Red Packet (only the married adults need to give red packets). Don’t worry about not having enough time to collect your ang pows. You have 1 month to visit each and everyone of your relatives.

We would also have lunch and dinner with various friends and family, and these aren’t your usual fare. I have had at least 5 ‘lou sang’ sessions, and I have been eating a feast from the Eve until Chor 9 (the 9th day of Chinese New Year). 

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On Chor 8, at exactly 12am, there would be fireworks blasting all over as the Hokkiens ‘Pai Tien Kong’ – pray to the Jade Emperor.

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Lining up the firecrackers
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More firecrackers 
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Making an offering 

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Apparently, the tradition started on the day when the war (not sure which) ended. The day they came out from hiding was the 8th / 9th of the Lunar New Year which coincides with the Jade Emperor’s birthday. Prior to that, the Hokkiens were hiding in the sugar cane plantations. Thus, during the praying ceremony, you’d see houses with sugar cane leaning against the door or at the altar. These sugar canes would have folded pieces of gold paper on it and it forms part of the offering to the Jade Emperor.

Chor 9 officially marks the end of my holiday, and my eating spree. I should watch what I eat for now. Took me one year to lose 2kg and 1 month to gain 5kg. What a life. #notcomplaining 

Weekend 1: Pasar Seni and Feeka

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Last weekend, I had to go to Pasar Seni to get something done. Once I was done with my stuff, I went for a little walk at Chinatown. I thought of buying a new makeup bag but I couldn’t find anything that I fancy. So, I ended up having lunch instead. There are plenty of food for me to choose from, but I ended up in one of the “lorong” (alleyways) to find something to eat. I got a Hakka Minced Meat Noodles with a cup of iced Herbal Tea to cool me down. I can’t say that I like the noodles very much. It was much too salty for my taste. I think it was the minced pork. It is mostly my problem and not the cook. I just doesn’t like salty or sweet minced pork.

You might want to downgrade your expectation when you are eating in alleyways. Not about the quality of the food, but the environment and the surrounding. We are talking about people who talk and laugh out loud like nobody business, and huge rats that dashed around scarying girls (and guys).

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Once I was done with lunch, I started to feel a little peckish. After walking around for a few minutes, I noticed that a lot of people are lining up at a Tau Fu Fah shop. So, I bought some fresh Tau Fu Fah (tofu pudding) to be eaten on the spot. They have three different types of sugar – White, Brown and one that I have never tried before, Ginger Brown sugar. Honestly, I don’t understand why people don’t sell Tau Fu Fah in Europe. It would be such a great hit. It’s healthy but sweet enough that kids would like them. It can be eaten cold and hot. I can only imagine eating Tau Fu Fah with Ginger syrup during winter.  

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By 2pm, I started to feel sleepy so I met up with Leon and we went to Feeka together. The first time I heard of Feeka, I thought of how similar it was to the Swedish ‘fika’ which is a concept in Swedish culture that means “to have coffee and cake/pastries”. Turns out, the cafe was opened with the same concept.

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Feeka is one of the more popular cafe in KL area, so it is always jammed packed with customers. However, the coffee was pretty average for me. I find that the beans used in Malaysia cafe tends to be a bit on the bitter side. I can drink it but I prefer smoother coffees like the one I had in Kavarna Misto. Their Japanese cheesecake was great though. It was so soft that it’s like eating cloud.

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If we were in a colder/drier country, I’d have sat outside. Too bad I’m a Chinese born and bred in Malaysia. That means that I was raised on the motto, “Stay out of the sun”.

Kluang, my hometown

2017-01-14-11.55.27-1.jpg.jpegI love my hometown and it has nothing to do with the fact that it is MY hometown. I love it because of how different it is compare to Kuala Lumpur. People in Kluang are more chill-lax, living expenses there does not make you want to kill yourself, and the food there is awesome. Sure, it’s a tad boring compare to the capital city, but after living in KL for the past 12 years, Kluang has become the place for me to escape from the city.

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Just because the town itself has nothing much, doesn’t mean that you can’t go anywhere else. Kluang is a town situated in Johor and thus, going to Johor Bahru/Singapore for a day trip is the common thing to do. If you are crazy enough, you can just drive down for a cup of good coffee. I think it is quicker to drive down to Singapore from Kluang, then to drive up to Kuala Lumpur.

 

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One of my favorite haunt is the original Kluang Rail Coffee. It is one of the place I’d remember from my childhood, and the place still look the same even though it has been 13-14 years since I last visit. For your information, I hate the idea of going to their franchise in KL. The feel just aren’t the same, nor does the taste of the buns. The original store used charcoal to toast their buns. I doubt the franchise store in One U can do that.

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2017-01-14-11.59.17-1.jpg.jpegOf course, you can’t just eat their soft buns slathered generously with kaya and REAL butter. You must eat their famous nasi lemak, which they still served in small portion wrapped in banana leaves. Definitely a good idea if you are trying to control your food portion. However, I doubt you can stop with just one packet. This is what I’d consider a good breakfast in Kluang Railway Station : 1 pack of Nasi Lemak, 2 Eggs, 1 Roti Bakar (the buns), and 1 Kopi (Coffee).

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When I was staying in campus, my British housemates freaked out when they saw me eating half boiled eggs as shown above. In their defense, I was a little annoyed when I was in Liverpool and they served me a half-boiled egg in an egg cup and it was about 3/4 boiled. I had to send the waiter back with instructions on how to make it Asian style.

So, the question is : For travelers that dropped by Malaysia, have you ever tried half-boiled eggs here?  What are your thoughts on eating them with a few drops of soy sauce and a dash of white pepper?

 

Obuda + Pest = Budapest

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I was in Budapest for a long time due to it being Christmas. You may or may not know this but Christmas is a huge event in Europe. Majority of the shops are closed on the 25th and usually on the 26th as well, and some shops may be closed until the 27th. In addition, majority of the shops close early on Christmas Eve as well. Thus, I don’t feel like moving from one city to another city when I know that the attractions would be mostly closed. I chose Budapest to stay at for Christmas because of their famous baths. According to various websites, the baths would be open on Christmas day itself. Unfortunately, my period decided to be a little B and come earlier than I anticipated and it totally put a damper on my mood. I couldn’t go to the bath, not with my blood flowing like a waterfall. The worst part was, I did not even have a single sanitary pad on me. I had to borrow one from Gooka, and then run around the city looking for a shop that would actually be open on Christmas day. It took me hours, but I eventually found a small convenience store that opens at a later hour.

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At Budapest, I went to the various Christmas markets, from the one near St.Stephen Basilica to the one near the Fisherman’s Bastion. I absolutely love Christmas markets. They are filled with stalls selling various types of merchandise and food. It is also the best place to try out various traditional food. Even though at this point I had went to at least 10 different Christmas markets, I still like exploring a new market. You never know what you could find. Maybe a soldier nutcracker, a king nutcracker, or a cute leprechaun nutcracker (I bought all three), or some affordable unique tree ornaments, chocolates in the form of shoes, or weird food that you haven’t seen before. 

The picture above was a stuffed cabbage known as Töltött Káposzta. It was filled with mince pork meat with pickled cabbage on the side. It tasted great in the cold weather. The steaming hot air escaping from the cabbage as you cut into it, that first bite of a new dish? Heavenly! Gooka had a potato pancake but we didn’t like it very much. It was hard to cut into and it was much too salty (for me at the very least).

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Obviously, we cannot go to Budapest and not try the chimney cake aka Kürtőskalács. I made the mistake before because I thought the chimney cake would be too sweet. It wasn’t, at least not the one from the stall we bought from. The sweetness was just right and Gooka and I were both crazy about it. There was something fun about eating chimney cake in the winter and looking at the various Christmas decorations.

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If you are someone who likes to stand at a high place, then you must visit Fisherman’s Bastion. I refused to pay for the funicular ride that is less than 5 minutes, and chose to walk/hike instead. Given that I kept eating and trying new stuff, I figured it would be good for my figure to get as much exercise in as possible. It took me a long time, but given that there was nothing else to do on that day, time was a friend and not an enemy. The walk up the hill could be a little off-putting for someone who is not used to walking at an incline, but i think it is still manageable. The views at the top of the Fisherman’s Bastion was great especially when it was a sunny day and I can clearly see the whole city. I’d say that the overall design of Fisherman’s Bastion was quite unique as I don’t recall ever seeing anything like it in my trip.

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While you are at it, you might as well visit the royal abode. The Salzburg Palace is in close proximity to the Fisherman’s Bastion and is worth a visit when you are on this side of Budapest. 

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If you have some time, then maybe take a walk down the Danube River and be reminded of the atrocity that used to happened to Jewish people living in Budapest. There is a monument there simply known as “Shoes on the Danube River”. Like the Lion of Lucerne, this is one of the monuments that tugs at the string of my heart, especially when I know about the history behind the shoes.

If you have trouble locating the shoes, just walk in the direction of the Parliamentary building which by the way, looks amazing at night. As usual, my phone is incapable of taking good photos without the proper lighting. Hence, the lack of photos. Oppo, did you get that?

My Budapest trip ended with me and Gooka separating and going out own way. But we believe that we would meet again, by chance or by fate. 

A pedestrian life

So, wassssup?!

I am back in Kuala Lumpur. Life, as they say, moves on. What if I don’t want to move on? I still want to travel and since I came back, I have been looking at Kayak.com, trying to figure out where to go next. Should I go back to Melbourne where I don’t have to worry about the cost for accommodation? Or should I go to South Korea for some K-Pop Stars, kimchi and spicy rice cakes? Maybe Thailand for that snake meat I have been thinking about for years?

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I wish I can just hop on a train and leave again

It is tough. In between looking for a job that pays well enough and preparing for another round of CLP, I’m not sure I’d be able to travel far for the next few months. I would have to set my sight shorter and maybe just explore what Malaysia has to offer.
I’m feeling rather jetlagged, I think. I’m not too sure about it. No, I’m not stuck in Europe time zone. I don’t know what time zone I’m in now. I just couldn’t get a full night sleep. I’d wake up after 5 hours of sleep and just wander about the house like an ever so noisy ghost. Lucky the rest of my family wakes up early or I’m bound for a scolding. Nowadays, I would wait for my mum to get up, give her the, “Can’t sleep” look, hear her grunt about me being an idiot, and then lie on the floor like a dead body while she gets ready for the day.

Since I got nothing to do, I had taken to joining my mum for her morning exercise at the local park.

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Can you spot her?

Once she was done, we would go to the morning market and I’d point to everything knowing full well that she’d either ignore me or say no. That is the only word she knows when it comes to me. Have you been to a non-touristy morning market? You should. The smell and sight of raw chicken and pork, the bustling life as the aunties gossip about their in-laws, and the food vendors that constantly attempts to get you to buy from their stalls could be fun from time to time.

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Personally, I prefer my chicken from the morning market, especially the black chicken. I also prefer “kampung” eggs over store bought ones. They taste so much better, I’m telling you. Don’t worry about the market smelling bad. Open air market does not smell THAT bad. The uncle walking next to you might smell worst.

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I remember when I was a kid, I’d follow my grandma to the morning market. The highlight of my trip was watching the fish vendor gut the fish. I’d be standing at the same stall for a long time and watch as they expertly clean and discard the gills and innards. For someone who has no access to video games, that was all I got to do for entertainment.

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After making one round, we would either “tapao” (takeaway) some kueh or fried noodles, or we would sit down at one the stalls and order something hot to eat for breakfast. I was a bit upset that there was no blood cockles (known here as siham/seeham) in my bowl of curry noodles, but oh well. Life moves on.

Oh ya. Since I can’t leave Southeast Asia for a while, I’m thinking of blogging about the SEA, mainly about Malaysia. Just the food and scenery, nothing about politics.

Regret in Zagreb

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The Christmas Market in Zagreb was voted the best Christmas Market in 2015. So, I was really curious and I was pretty excited. I guess I had too high of an expectation for it. After going to the Christmas market in Colmar, London and Innsbruck, the one in Zagreb seems to pale in comparison.

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However, I do like the skating rink at Ledeni Park. It was the largest ice skating rink in Croatia and it has a beautiful fountain in the middle of it. It was pretty cheap as well. The price for one session varies. It depends on the time you enter and whether you have any special discount. I was able to use my student card, and thus, the price I paid was 25kn (including ice skate rental). That is RM15.63 at the time of writing. I’d say that it is totally worth it. The views are beautiful, couples are holding hands as they skate, siblings chasing after each other and laughing freely, and parents teaching their young children/toddlers how to skate. img20161222203747.jpg

I might have started the journey by myself, but I met numerous people along the way. The first was Guldana (Gooka), a female traveller from Kazakhstan who is travelling on her own as well. We met while waiting for the bus at Bled and we ended up going to Zagreb on the same day. I was glad we exchanged numbers. Zagreb wouldn’t be as fun without her.

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Before I left Croatia, I thought of trying one of their traditional food : Strukli. I had them at La Struk, a small restaurant that specialized in making strukli. Now, for those of you who does not know what strukli was, it is a traditional croatian dish made out of dough and various types of filling (usually cottage cheese) which can be either cooked or baked. I had the baked one and I can’t say I like it very much. It tasted a little weird to my Asian palate, but don’t let my opinion put you off. There are a lot of travellers who had tried and is now addicted to strukli. So, give it a go when you are in Zagreb.

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Right before I left, I visited the Museum of Broken Relationships. It was an interesting museum and with every relationship, it comes with an item that the owner used to have strong feelings about. At first, I thought it would be mostly stories of a man and a woman who no longer loves each other. However, I was wrong. The museum focused on all sort of broken relationships. There were stories about broken family, losing a dear family member, lost love, lost opportunity, betrayals. It was really interesting and sad at the same time. The entrance fee for an adult was 30kn and with student discount, it would be 20kn.

There you go, my 18 hours in Zagreb. Zagreb wasn’t a big city and there wasn’t much to do, but if I could, I’d have stayed another day just so that I can make a day trip to Plitvice Lake. So, that was my regret, that I did not give myself more time in Zagreb.