elb's hovel of thoughts

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Penang Food - Still Worth The Journey?

As mentioned previously, I made a trip to the Pearl of The Orient a few days ago with the primary intention of sampling the food for which it is well known. After three days there, I left with mixed feelings.

Char kway teow: Argubly Penang's most well-known food export. Sampled this twice: at the hawker stalls along Gurney Drive, and at the acclaimed Sister's CKT along Jalan Burmah (if I remembered that correctly!). Dish made out of frying flat rice noodles along with: garlic, oil, chilli paste, cockles, shrimp, bean sprouts, spring onions, soy sauce. The sister's version came with an interesting twist: it came topped with some crab meat.

Gurney Drive: Typical CKT. Noodles were slightly burnt (gives some flavour), and reminded me of what I could get in hawker stalls around KL. 6/10
Sister's : Disappointment. For some reason they did not add any cockles, an essential flavour-imparting ingredient. Not much flavour at all, only saving grace were the fresh prawns, and not-so-fresh crab meat (which I've never seen before elsewhere). 4/10

Ma Zhi (also called mua che, et cetera depending on Chinese dialect and hanyi pinyin)
Sampled two: at Gurney Drive and near Kek Lok Si (some Chinese temple). Consists of some sticky flour thingy (correct me if I'm wrong) that is chopped into small bite sized pieces and rolled around in a crushed peanut-sesame mix.

Verdict: Both were excellent. The ma zhi was super smooth and was really melt-in-your-mouth. Addition of fried shallots is an ingenious Penang twist. Gurney Drive 9/10, Kek Lok Si 8/10

Penang Laksa: One of the many variants of Laksa. Had it nearby the Kek Lok Si. Cheap at RM2 for a bowl.

Verdict: Disappointment. The laksa was watered down; otherwise it would have been good. 4/10 (Sidenote: the sugar cane juice that they sell here is disappointing too)

Ice kacang: Consists of ice shavings that are flavoured by a combination of rose syrup and palm sugar, as well as various condiments such as red beans, cendol (some green flour thingajigs), sweetcorn, jelly et cetera. Had the one at Swatow Lane. Initially got confused because there were two stalls selling ice kacang there: along the roadside with makeshift tables, and in a proper side store. Went with instincts which pointed to the road, and talking with some locals confirmed that my instincts were right :)

Verdict: Wrong order. Had actually ordered the normal ice kacang with some banana, but the fella gave to us a fruit one. Nothing much, just the ice with rose syrup, some banana and a couple of other fruits. In no position to rate this simply because I think that was the first time I had ice kacang with fruits only.

Seafood: Had both dinners at Fisherman Village (also called End of the World[why, dunno]). Sampled 5 dishes, including dried chilli fried mantis prawns, garlic baked oysters, lobster thermidor, crabs with beehoon and oat fried soft shell crabs.

Verdict: mantis prawns were okay, they are chewier (i.e. not deep fried as long) as compared with those I'm accustomed to at Klang. Still not as good as Klang. 5/10.
The oysters were a bit small and were difficult to remove from their shell. The garlic was not well cooked. 6/10.
The lobster was fantastic, the cheese was fantastic, unfortunately too much cheese makes you sick. 8/10.
The crabs came with plenty of roe, unfortunately the eggs were overcooked. I didn't feel like tackling the noodles after a couple of spoonfuls. Noodles 3/10, Crabs 6/10.
The soft shell crabs were oily and when you bit into them, you could just feel the oil oozing out. Bad bad. 4/10

Nasi Kandar: Ate this twice, at Kayu Nasi Kandar along Penang Road and at Kamil Mustafa (took away on the way back), along Chulia Way.

Verdict: The nasi kunyit (6/10) and nasi biriyani (8/10) were not too bad.
The mutton curry is cooked differently from KL, the curry is more of that what one would expect of a light chicken curry 5/10.
Ayam negro (3/10 Kayu, 9/10 Kamil Mustafa) was something I had never come across before. Fried(?) chicken which is then mixed with a thick black sauce (hence negro). Kayu's version was rather bland, it tasted more like really thick dark soya sauce than anything else. KM's version was on the other hand, more flavourful and exciting.

Loh bak: Consists of a variety of deep fried food which is cut up and served in a sauce. Only had the one with the char-siew inside. Had two; one at Gurney Drive and at the store with the Sister's CKT.

Verdict: The one at Gurney Drive was disappointing. It looked bad and had the consistency one would expect more of fishballs. 2/10. The other one was superb on the other hand. 9/10

Other ratings:
Leng Chee Kang 3/10 (only came with gingko nuts and the longan fruit).
Chicken feet with mushroom 5/10
Otak-otak (steamed fish with spicy paste): 5/10
Longan drink 7/10

Conclusion: Food in KL is just as good, or if not, better than Penang. Perhaps the migration of good Penangite cooks to KL has a major role in that. And I need to diet.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Plate hunting

How do people pass time on a long tiring journey with their mum in between talking about God, family, life, relationships and the like? One such way would to be car registration plate hunting. I know some of you think that its wacky, but Penang (a small tiny island) offers some of the best car plates ever. Amongst those spotted were: PEW, PAW, PAM, PEE, PGA, PEA.

But somehow I never spotted the best plate of them all: PAT. Some day, I'm going to hunt that plate down, and get the number 777 to boot. PAT 777 as my car number plate. Awesome. Or maybe PEE 777 (those of you know who know me well enough should know what that is really referring to :P [no, NOT urine, but I don't mind. Whatever you think :p ])

Thursday, August 26, 2004


Somehow I could not sleep yesterday night. Something inside me was pulling at me, and I booted Aurium (my laptop) to read a letter of support that was written to me sometime last week by a person whom inspires me spiritually. What I read in there is a very timely reminder for me.

God has always been there for me. I owe Him so much, that He can offer an insignifant speck of dust such as me His love. Its truly mind blowing. After all, he doesn't have to. He's God. Yet he did, helping me countless times throughout my life despite the fact that I sin so much everyday. It were troubles that drew me to Him a few years ago when I gave my life to Him; yet ironically, troubles also drew me away as I fooled myself with discontentment. One should never expect a trouble-free walk with God; the devil will try its best to upset everything. It is when our lives are free of problems that we should worry. It means that you're so far out from God's path that the devil doesn't see you as a threat anymore. What I need is to get closer to God instead of pushing Him away.

He's always been there for me; it was me who backed away, blaming God when I shouldn't, treating Him more as a punching bag and yet still having the guts to ask Him for help at the same time. I know deep down that I cannot live without God, but shamefully my thoughts have gone astray. Jesus can do the same for you too and help change your life for the better, if you let Him.

Its time to change. Time to stop slacking. So at around 2am yesterday, I made the decision to recommit myself to Him. May this be the start of the journey of a life time!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


As I peered into the mirror the other day, I noticed that my hair has thinned. At first I was quite taken aback, but a second or two later the shock had turned to the expected. Just last month, my hairstylist had commented that I was losing my hair. Ouch. (She hadn't seen me for almost nine months) She correctly concluded that I was feeling stressed and worrying too much and that was making my hair fall out.

Not only that, all that worrying has made me look a few years older than I actually am. I know of cases whereby people have thought that I was around 6 years older than in reality. Sigh. I need to stop thinking too much, but questions and thoughts like 'Why?' 'If only...' 'What if?' 'Would it have better if?''How could it happen?' et cetera permeate through my mind all day. Its been like that for over a year and a half. And its making me lose plenty of sleep, making me lethargic throughout the day, and turns off the urge in me to want to socialize because I'd get a headache and am more likely to get annoyed and snap at people due to my tiredness.

I need to stop worrying too much. Its hurting and annoying those close to me. I'm feeling so insecure :S I know that God has planned wonderful things for me ahead, yet somehow I don't feel exactly convinced. *slaps self* I need to overhaul my life.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

KL's pedestrians

Walking across Jalan Imbi in KL yesterday via the monorail station from Berjaya Times Square, I couldn't help but notice two things: firstly, the traffic policeman on his huge bike which ironically, was stuck in between the cars because he could not manoeuvre his way between them. Mainly because motorists had conviniently added an extra lane or two to the road.

The other thing that I've been noticing for quite a while already and find most annoying are the pedestrians. They simply love to jaywalk themselves across the road. Extremely dangerous when you have to cross 4 lanes, then somehow acrobatically squeeze yourself through the small gap between the fencing and the monorail pillars, then dodging cars. Some of them even climb across the metal fencing, which is a very stupid thing to do, should they lose their balance and fall down onto the road to get their heads squished by an approaching car. Then they would stroll casually across the road, lifting an open hands with palm facing towards you (a gesture of thanks or 'ehhhh! stop your car lah, can't you see that I'm crossing', I don't bloody know. Perhaps both). Some of them even stand in the middle of the busy road!

This is bloody very dangerous. Drivers already have their heads full managing with cars surrounding them and swapping lanes at the busy junction at the beginning of Jalan Sultan Ismail, and now we have endless pedestrians stupidly thinking that just cause they feel like jaywalking, they can because the cars won't hit them. Don't be surprised if one day, you'll see the headlines 'Eight people killed and seven others critical' after a frustrated or an unable to cope driver ploughs through a bunch of these idiots in the middle of the road. Walk down a bit and use the monorail station to cross over!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Nitro Design @ Rush

Did anyone attend the opening of the Rush Naughty Ladies Night at the Eastin Hotel yesterday? I did, after some cajoling by one of my friends who was helping out with the airbrushed car display that was held in conjunction with the event.

It was an okay event I suppose, but not exactly what I was expecting. I was thinking an open air car display with lots of space in between the cars, but the cars that were there were crammed quite close together. Amongst other cars that were included are the Evo Lancer, GTO, Wira, Satria, Civic and Perdana. There was supposed to be a Skyline as well but it was lowered too much that it couldn't come down the ramp.

The SPCA was there as well, asking people to sign a petition asking for heavier punishment for owners who abuse their pets. In short, animal rights. We signed it and gave a small donation to aid them. Then it was onto the club.

Nothing much to speak about the club, it was divided into two areas. One had the ladies bar and a few sets of tables and comfortable chairs. The other had the main bar and most of the standing up tables, as well as a live band, whose singer had a raspy voice that made it difficult to hear what he was singing. Two plasma TVs provided live views of the band for those in the outside part of the bar who wanted to see the action as well.

After finding a table, we ordered ourselves some drinks and chit-chatted while I took in the atmosphere (nothing much to shout about, just dimness, headache-pounding bass, and some older people in the mix of young people). After a while there we walked out and met the other friend (the one who invited me), and I noticed some of the cars were missing, to be replaced with a Maserati and a Mercedes. He explained that there was almost a fight after one of the cars on display had ejected fire out of the exhaust which got the management and bouncers into a not-so-nice mood. Pity I wasn't there to see that. Couldn't even hear the shouting eventhough we were near the door because of the loud speakers. Ah well. I had to drive home very carefully as I was a bit drunk (apparently I was walking in a not-so-straight line, whoops.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


I predict many nights ahead whereby I'm going to have difficulty sleeping. Joy.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Olympic rain

I have discovered to my utmost disappointment that the adage about horrible singing making the sky rain is true. How have I come to this opinion? Read on...

I happened to catch the opening ceremony live on tv, eventhough I had a tiring day and had another tiring day in front of me. It was all awesome, how they managed to flood the centre of the stadium, and how they managed to get that statue out from there O_o. The centaur was convincingly life-like, and the people taking part in the parade played their parts so well that it was difficult to tell whether they were live or robots.

After the show, the parade began. It was so confusing when the countries started appearing in the order of the Greek alphabet. Luckily Malaysia was right where it should have been. Parts of it were immensely boring though, and it was interesting to see it being done to the tune of DJ Tiesto's techno tracks. After that, it was time for a performance by Bjork. Don't know why, but I found it... horrible. The best (worst rather) part was that at the beginning of her performance I heard the rumbling of thunder, which was confirmed by the pitter-patter of rain and halfway through, the connection got cut off. Argh!!! I didn't get to see the rest of it :((((( At least I managed to catch the rest of it at Steph's place later on; overall it was okay I guess.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Shangri- La lalala

  • Tom
  • Jerry

    On the night of the 8th of August 2004, Tom and Jerry went to celebrate a special occasion. It was decided earlier that the mysterious event would be held at the Shangri-La hotel. (Whee~ So excited!) Thus after much negotiation of traffic along Jalan Pudu and Jalan Sultan Ismail, we pulled up in front of the lobby.

    I was told (excuse me, asked) to dress nicely. So I used this white dress which I bought from SgWang and matched it with a white handbag from Morgan . (And she looked so sweet.) As we walked into the lobby, we’re starving caz we didn’t had much food the whole day so that we could eat as much as possible during the dinner. As usual, I was thinking about the desserts all the time. Yum.. yum..

    We looked around and walked around a little bit confused at first. Then we found it: the signboard ‘Lemon Garden’. Just outside it, we glanced at a newspaper article that was talking about a ‘chocolate fountain’ or something. Hmmm…. We went in and got our reserved table, and Jerry ordered herself a glass of orange juice.

    The orange juice cost RM22… -_- Hmm… I saw the dessert section but we went to the Chinese food section first. Chinese food like: dim sum, Chinese dishes( about 5 of them) and some Chinese desserts (egg tart, popia and some other things). Heh.. and there’s also Tom’s favourite: marinated baby octopus. (It wasn’t that good though…) Followed by the Indian food section, Malay food, French food, Japanese food, Seafood and lastly my favorite: Dessert section. I saw the chocolate fountain!!!!!!!! And there are strawberries!!! So after glancing thought all the food, we started at the Chinese food section and eat like pigs. (LMAO.)

    We ended up sampling a little bit of everything. The beef and mutton and garlic bread turned up especially good; the cod was a little bit disappointing. We tried raw oysters, and only cause it was all paid for. It tasted weird, and I remembered why I don’t really dig oysters to begin with, raw or otherwise. Jerry found it nice and disgusting at the same time. (Huh? haha… It was nice yet not nice)

    Finally, we reach the heavenly section: dessert. I was craving for the chocolate dip strawberries and those little cute cups of various flavored puddings. It was AWESOME. I wish that I could take that chocolate fountain back home. Oh, not to forget about the cute and yummy sushi. But they only serve 4 kinds of sushi there.. Ahh.. good thing is that, there’s lots of sashimi like salmon, tuna and much more. Take all you want, eat all you can! Ngam Ngam Ngam!!~~ (Hmmm? You also hardly ate any of it to begin with :P ) ( I ate!! a lot.. just not the sashimi :P)

    We spent a few hours in total, just enjoying ourselves eating and in the company of each other. Ahh.. J There’s few things better than to spend such a wonderful evening with your loved one. Muaks~ I eat till I almost puke -_- but it was a wonderful dinner :D

  • **Posted by Tom and Jerry with affection**

    Saturday, August 07, 2004

    Unseen behemoth

    For some weird unknown reason, motorists just somehow fail to see one of the roundabouts at SS15, Subang. When passing by early in the morning (like 1am), it is not very surprising to see a car smack in the middle of the roundabout, or half dangling out into the road; either freshly embedded or in the process of getting towed out. During the day, it is not uncommon to see accident marks around the roundabout, usually dented or missing fences and rubble where a protective layer of concrete used to guard the greenery of the roundabout.

    How is this possible? Well, I'm dumbfounded. Granted, all four roads leading to the roundabout happen to be long straight roads, perfect for people who like to speed. Then again, warning lines are painted onto the road, and there are reflective signs and poles. Could it be because the cars are too fast? Nonsense, I've seen miserly Proton Sagas and Kancils end up in the middle of the roundabout. Could it be because the cars fail to brake in time? Possibly. Some of the cars (i.e. Hondas) land fully inside the roundabout, managing to crush through the 15 inches or so of concrete surrounding it (and a metal fence, if I remember).

    In this case, I think the source of the problem is simple: drunk/ sleepy drivers who speed along the road leading to the roundabout, and not realising the huge-ass roundabout is actually there until its too late.

    The roundabout in question happens to be the one at the Darus Salam side of SS15; which connects SS18 and SS15 and SS14 together.


    I come in peace.

    Thursday, August 05, 2004

    Coconut shake?

    I was at an eatery somewhere in PJ a couple of days ago, having my late night supper with another friend of mine. The guy passed to us the menus, and I felt like having something fancy, instead of the usual ice lemon tea/ 'teh tarik' (literally, 'pulled tea'). I looked at the drinks list, which listed a few shakes. Amongst them were chocolate, cappucino, vanilla, soursop... bla bla bla

    My eyes then rested itself on the words 'coconut shake'. I immediately found myself drooling, thinking of the delicious pandan (screwpine) coconut that I had the previous evening. Hence I ordered for myself one coconut shake.

    Minutes later, the ice blended coconut arrived. I stirred it around a little with the straw and began to sip. Instead of the cool sweet fragrant taste I was expecting, my tongue was hit by the thick, creamy taste of coconut milk. My mind struggled for a second to this unexpected taste. I was deceived! Instead of using real proper coconut juice to make the shake, they had taken the cheater way out and used some santan (coconut milk) to make the shake. Bahhh!! Horrible and fattening. They should rename the stupid thing 'coconut milk shake'.

    Wednesday, August 04, 2004

    Low Yat sucks

    Over the weekend my mum made for me a request: to help to upgrade my brother's computer. It was 2 months old, and had came out surviving an electricity surge (silly fella should have switched the damn thing off during lightning) and overheating (of course some parts had to be changed). My brother had complained about it, and upon closer inspection, I could see why: it was using a pathetic ATi Radeon 9200 and the casing was quite frankly, bullcrap.

    I had planned the day as follows: pick up Stephanie, drop by at Low Yat for an hour or so, then go back to my place and enjoy a quiet evening with her and send her home after dinner.

    After reaching Starhill we had some sushi at Sushi King. There's an unagi (eel) promotion going on at the moment. After that she left to get something while I went upstairs to get the items. After discussing with the worker at one of the shops for around 10 minutes, I decided to change three parts: the processor (from P4 3.0C to P4 2.8E), the graphic card (to 9600Pro) and the casing (to a well ventilated, screw-free one). I requested them to set up the system for me. The guy had promised me it would take 30 minutes tops. Horrible horrible mistake.

    We ended up waiting for over 2 hours while the guy kept spewing excuses. Bah. Both of us were extremely annoyed cause what was supposed to be a nice quiet day with each other had turned into a nightmare -_-". On top of that my mother kept annoying me by calling and repeated asking me how long the stupid computer would take. We finally reached my place almost 5 hours after I had picked her up, and cooked dinner. Joy oh joy, the DVD '50 First Dates' we had bought was not working. So we ended watching a bit of 'I, Robot'. However we were not really in the mood to watch a 'serious' movie and decided to call it a day.

    Tuesday, August 03, 2004


    I got asked to post something, but my mind is a complete blank. So I guess I'll just post this anyway :P

    Sunday, August 01, 2004

    Moving on

    How many of us have found it difficult to let go and move on in life? It can be from anything, as long as it has some value emotionally. It can range from moving on from a former job to changing careers to letting go of that latest gadget because you realised you couldn't afford more basic human needs to moving from old relationships.

    It is human nature to want to stick with the familiar, knowing that we are on 'secure ground', no matter how hurtful that past was; all because it was something you went through and because we had invested financially/ physically/ emotionally/ mentally. Whereas the future can be so uncertain, we're walking on unfamiliar territory. Hence why people run back to the past.

    But the past is the past. It no longer guarantees anything. It probably never ever did anyway. The future, on the other hand, has so much to offer. God cannot bless us with something better until we have let go of the old.

    Don't shackle yourself to the chains of the past. The past is over; it is the present and the future which matters. Take the leap of faith. And believe.