Selangor Homestay Festival 2015

Motherhood was quite a trial and terror for me, especially when my son was younger. No, not because he is a special need child and have different milestone in comparison to his peers. I realize that rather late but because I fell prey to the society’s expectation on his milestones, especially the uneducated and terribly uninformed friends and relatives. My son and I, we both thrive when I finally stopped doing what people expects me to do as a parent and goes against the norm. Life gets less stressful and less depressing when I stopped listening to the advises of ‘parenting experts’ all around me. That said, we started to get out of our comfort zone and started exploring our country to widen our horizon and experience things first hand. Couldn’t be more glad that I decided to take that step and if I could turn back time, I would do it again. Only sooner.

Traveling with a young child can be quite a hassle when it comes to transportation, planning a memorable itinerary for each trips and not to mention sleeping arrangements and accommodation. But I have a few tricks up my sleeves when it comes to making the most out of a trip without burning a huge hole in the pocket; which is sign up for an all in planned vacation.

Plenty of travel agencies in Malaysia is offering planned vacation packages for the whole family, but I’m much more inclined to sign up for packages offered by local homestays instead of travel agencies. Stayed and visited plenty of homestays during my FAM trips with Tourism Malaysia and I vouch for their hospitality and planned iterinery. My two favourite homestays got to be Homestay Bukit Gantang, Perak (stayed there for a couple of days during Railway Tourism trip in 2014) and Banghuris Homestay in Sepang. Activities in both of these two places beats a luxury vacation flat, I kid you not. There is a certain charm where you stay with a host and their family, I must say and both my son and husband enjoyed our stays a lot.

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I’m constantly on a lookout for what local homestays have to offer and so, when Homestay Festival was held back in May, I couldn’t resist but check it out. I thought perhaps I could sign up for some planned vacations in some of the homestays in Malaysia.

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Tourism folks who made the event possible

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Here’s checking out booths featuring participating homestays from all over Malaysia.

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Spotted some interesting ones. ;)

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One of the common planned activities that is usually included in most of these homestays’ itinery; batik painting.

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Cooking demo

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And craft-making session. Here’s a craft making session activity hosted by Homestay Haji Dorani during the Selangor Homestay Festival 2015.We arrived just in time to join in and weave our own masterpiece.

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I failed terribly because I’m very bad with my hands but here’s my son, AlienGoTravel’s masterpiece. Weaved grasshopper. Not too shabby, eh?

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Speaking of arts and crafts, some homestays also produce high quality handmade souvenirs.

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Pretty keychains, don’t you think? These are handcrafted.

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It is interesting to note that each of the participating homestays supports small businesses and entrepreneurs and I directly help to increase their revenue. Local products can be seen being sold at each of the booths and I was told that some homestays is also offering factory visit to tourists who are interested in learning the trade or those who are interested go experience first hand on what happen behind the scene when stuff are made. So yes, you can expect visits to keropok lekor factory or visits to palm oil or coffee factory in some homestays. Play your card right and you’d probably have it included in your homestay vacation packages.

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Some homestays even have spa facilities and offers traditional training for those who are interested to learn the trade.

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Cultural dance performance to entertain visitors who visited the festival can be seen at intervals. And yes. You can also learn folk dance in some homestays too. I recalled one from Terengganu offering ‘Ulek Mayang’ dance class to their guests. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of that particularly homestay, so if you are interested, you’re going to have to Google that.

Malaysia is a very interesting country and have quite a lot to offer when it comes to tourism. Apart from interesting places to visit, we are also rich with cultural diversity.Why not give our own backyard some exploration before we globetrot and take on the world? ;) I certainly want to do that, and hopefully I could write my first hand experience on what homestays in Malaysia have go offer in the nearest future. :)

Selangor Islamic Festival 2015

This is way overdue, but in my defense, I have to say that my hands are tied and I’ve been terribly busy with traveling and food reviewing.

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I nearly forgotten that I’ve been to the Selangor Islamic Festival back in the end of May 2015 until I’ve seen plenty of unpleasant things in my Facebook newsfeed: issues being stirred to provoke racial and religious tension between Muslim and non Muslims and not to mention some Halal issues being thrown in.

Being greeted almost daily with pictures with captions like “Malaysia is no longer multiracial country “, “What dress code? They are just taking away our rights to dress up! We should put a stop to this nonsense!” doesn’t sit well with me as fingers are actually pointing to Islam and Muslims in general for being oppressive and restrictive.

A few years back, I would have nodded in agreement but after spending some time widening my horizon through some traveling, I’d say the issues that has been brought up is terribly ridiculous and to agree with such statement is terribly shallow, as I come to learn that the real Islamic teaching is not exactly oppressive but liberating instead. Islam is easy, but the extremists makes it complicated causing the religion to be constantly misunderstood. I would refrain ffom divulging about those ongoing issuds but suffice to say, I see things differently now.

Anyway, enough ramblings. Here’s sharing with you my experience at the Selangor Islamic Festival 2015.

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There were plenty of things to see and do at the Selangor Islamic Fest. There’s cat show, archery competition, food village and of course, booths selling Muslim clothing and hijab, but one that caught my eyes is the ‘Teh Tarik’ session. Entry to the session is free, and so I head over to the registration counter and registered for the talk.

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Having attended the ‘Teh Tarik Bersama Asatizah’ during the Selangor Islamic Fest with my husband and son was quite an eye opening experience. It was a two hour talk about Halal issue, traveling in Islam and establishing syariah compliance business. You think such talk is only for Muslims and the Non Muslims should avoid the ‘brainwashing’ talk like a plague? Don’t be so shallow. Think again. Knowledge is power and definitely empowering. Those who are involved in F&B and travel agency business would have benefited greatly from the ‘Teh Tarik’ session where talks on halal certification issues and increasing revenue via Halal food/ Muslim travel packages are given. Q&A session also focused on the mushrooming Islamic tourism and how travelers, both Muslims and non-Muslims alike could make the most out of the specified industry.

People tend to condemn and shy away from the things that they couldn’t understand, but I prefer to try to learn and study about it instead. I think both Muslims and non Muslims in Malaysia could benefit greatly from attending such talks. There is so much to learn and so much misunderstandings and misconception to be cleared.

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Here’s Puan Saimah, Deputy Director of Tourism Malaysia Selangor, handing over goodies and certificate of appreciation to speakers and participants of the Teh Tarik Session when the session ends. I think the session ended too soon as I have more questions to ask, especially regarding Islamic tourism and establishing syariah compliance business and making huge revenue out of it, but I guess there will always be next time.

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We had some refreshing Teh Tarik to quench our thirst before heading over to the cat exhibition.

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Being a cat lover, to say that I enjoyed the exhibition and the cat show is an understatement.

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Was feeling rather famished after the catshow, so after grabbing some canned cat food for my fur kids at home we head out to the Food Village to hunt for something to munch on before dinner.

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Bought this Coneydog with sliced potato crisps to have on the go before spotting the archery village. Needless to say, such things never fail to intrigue me.

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Archers were spotted resting in the makeshift camp.

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Professional archers dressed in traditional Malay clothing in action. The guys spotted me and my son snapping photos and invited us to give archery a try, and I have to say, it was quite an experience.

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And apparently, I have a hidden talent for archery. ;) Hit the bullseye and managed quite a score and brought this back home as a compliment and a token to remember the day by.

I would have to say that going to this festival is by far one of the most enlightening and empowering event that I’ve ever been to. And while people thinks that this is only for the Muslims, I definitely think differently and one could benefit greatly from such festival. I surely hope that there will be more events like this in the nearest future and hope this won’t be the last one for me.

Experience Malaysia in July 2015

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After almost one month of Ramadhan, now comes July in which falls Syawal for Muslims to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Aside from the Hari Raya celebration, many exciting events will be taking place around Malaysia as well.

George Town and Melaka will hold celebrations to mark their 7th year anniversary as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Those who are into Japanese culture and traditions must not miss the Bon Odori Festival; while Putrajaya will host a werewolf-themed urban obstacle night race – the BloodRunner. If you happen to be in Sarawak at the end of the month, you should check out the Bario Food Festival for some exotic food.

This month, we are also highlighting some interesting and unique museums and galleries around Malaysia – some are pure fun while others give a greater insight into Malaysia’s rich history.

7TH ANNIVERSARY UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE CELEBRATION 

Celebrate the 7th anniversary of the inscription of the historic cities of George Town and Melaka as a UNESCO World Heritage Site packed with memorable events for everyone. The twin-city celebrations will bring visitors on the ground to historic sites to enjoy cultural performances, heritage appreciation and have an overall good time.

PENANG:
Date: 4 to 7 July
Venue: Streets of Inner George Town
Organiser: Georgetown World Heritage Incorporated
Contact: +604 261 6606
Website: www.heritagecelebrations.info

MELAKA:
Date: 7 July
Venue: Dataran MBMB, Melaka
Organiser: Melaka City Council
Contact: +606 333 3333 / 1-800-88-8411
Website: www.mbmb.gov.my

 

NEW MUSEUM IN IPOH:
HAN CHIN PET SOO – A TIN MINER’S CLUB

Ipoh has a brand new privately-run museum which traces the history of Malaya’s grand foray into tin mining in the old days. Han Chin Pet Soo, the Hakka tin miner’s club, was established in 1893 as a recreation club for tin miners to relax after a hard day’s work at the mines. Opium smoking and gambling were among the benefits of membership. Today, this historic building has been restored to its former glory with many original exhibits dating back to more than 100 years ago. Spend an afternoon here to learn about Malaya’s glorious tin mining past, and life during those times, as you view the many fascinating artefacts from a bygone era.

Website : www.ipohworld.org/reservation
Tel : +605 249 5936 / 241 4541
Address : No. 3, Jalan Bijeh Timah (Treacher Street), 30100 Ipoh, Perak

 

PENANG BON ODORI FESTIVAL

For centuries, Penang has been home to communities from all over the world. This year, why not celebrate the Japanese culture and traditions on this heritage island? The Bon Odori Festival is a traditional summer festival in which the people of Japan honour their ancestors who have passed on, and celebrate their on-going presence in the lives they enjoy today. Also known as Obon, the main event is traditional music and dancing in the streets. Many festival-goers dress in Japanese Kimono, Yukata or Happi coats. Happening in the heart of George Town, this year’s event features Japanese food and refreshments, Taiko and martial arts performances, craft exhibits as well as demonstrations.

Date : 25 July 2015
Venue : Esplanade, Penang
Organiser: Bon Odori Organising Commitee
Contact : +604 650 5136 / 261 9012
Website : www.visitpenang.gov.my

PENANG MITM TRAVEL FAIR

The Penang MITM Travel Fair is back with great travel bargains for all. Attractive domestic travel packages are available to suit your needs and interests for adventure, romantic getaway, affordable family holidays, or luxury retreats!
Date : 4 to 5 July
Venue : Penang International Exhibition Centre
Organiser : Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association
Contact : +604 262 2333
Email : [email protected]

IFTAR@KL TO HONOUR RAMADHAN

The month of Ramadan is a holy month observed by Muslims all over the world. Muslims refrain from eating and drinking, but come evening, they prepare to break their fast with special meals, prayers and spiritual gatherings. Celebrated in honor of the Muslim fasting month, Iftar@KL features a variety of religious programmes such as Terawih Perdana at Dataran Merdeka (Terawih prayers); nasyid; Tilawah & Khatam Al-Quran (Quran Recital) events; food bazaars; special religious forums; talks by international Imams and many more. This peaceful mass gathering in the city is a great way to reflect on unity, spirituality and the beauty of a diverse population. All are welcome!

Date : 18 June to 17 July
Venue : Merdeka Square
Organiser : Ministry of Tourism and Culture
Contact : +603 8891 7521
Website : www.motac.gov.my

BLOODRUNNER 2015

BloodRunner is Asia’s first, werewolf-themed urban obstacle night race ready to take Putrajaya by storm. Set over a 10km urban obstacle course specially created to challenge the everyday runner, BloodRunner brings an added element of thrill and excitement. Expect obstacles that will cater to runners of all levels – be it a seasoned athlete, a first-time runner or a weekend gym warrior. Food trucks are parked at the race festival site, and a post-race party features up-and-coming local bands too!
Date : 31 July 2015
Venue : Putrajaya
Organiser : Switch Strategies Sdn Bhd
Contact : +603 2029 3194
Website : www.bloodrunner.com

 
BARIO FOOD FESTIVAL 

The 10th Anniversary Bario Food & Cultural Festival a.k.a Pesta Nukenan & Kebudayaan Kelabit Bario will be held from 30 July until 1 August this year. The 3-day festival celebrates the unique food, farming, forest and cultural heritage of the Bario Highlands – one of the last surviving traditionally farmed and forested highland watersheds in Sarawak and East Malaysia. Enjoy the delicious organic food cooked by the various longhouse communities of the Kelabit Highlands. There will be traditional games and dances by young and old. There are plenty of trekking trails to keep your adventure spirit high and cap off a great day by catching the awesomeness of the Milky Way if the timing is right.

Date : 30 July to 1 August
Venue : Kelabit Highlands
Organiser : Rurum Kelabit Sarawak, Kaum Ibu, and the Belia Bario
Contact : +6019 8060 710
Website : www.facebook.com/pages/bariofoodfestival 

 

TUANKU JA`AFAR ROYAL GALLERY, SEREMBAN, NEGERI SEMBILAN

The Tuanku Ja’afar Royal Gallery is a special museum that celebrates the life and times of one of Malaysia’s prominent and well-loved royals, His Royal Highness (HRH) Tuanku Ja’afar ibni Tuanku Abdul Rahman. Visitors will have an intimate look at His Royal Highness’ personal and public life, from childhood to his years as a ruler, through well-curated exhibits. His ruling vision was to provide benefits to society through community work and the preservation of culture and arts. The gallery, situated near the serene Lake Gardens of Seremban, is less than 1 km from the city of Seremban.

Website: http://www.gdtjns.com/
Tel: +606 761 9102
Address: Galeri Diraja Tuanku Ja’afar, Jalan Taman Bunga, 70100 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan. 

 
TRICK ART MUSEUM

Alive 3D Art Gallery in Port Dickson’s Dataran Segar features 50 drawings and paintings that will trick the eye! These 3D optical illusions, including several glow-in-the-dark paintings, are a perfect backdrop for “selfies” and “wefies.” Strike a pose to blend perfectly into the paintings and create a special visual effect that will boggle the mind and trick the eye!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/alive3dartgallery
Tel: +606 651 5400
Fax : +606 651 0141
Address: No. 38-40, Jalan Ds 2/1 Bandar Dataran Segar, 71010 Lukut,Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan

 
UPSIDE DOWN HOUSE 

Come and visit the unique Upside Down Gallery, situated in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan. This fun gallery exhibits a few amusing upside down scenes in show rooms, where guests can come and take memorable pictures. Everything inside, from furniture to household appliances, hover above your head, as the ceiling is actually the floor. Come for a taste of this architectural wonder that will perplex your mind. This architectural marvel is definitely a must see as there hasn’t been many of its kind. Come and make your way to the Upside Down Art Gallery now.

Website : [email protected]
Tel : +60 16 336 8751
Address : No. 13 A & 15 Jalan Coral Walk, Batu 9, Jalan Pantai Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan (Near Ostrich Farm and Politeknik Port Dickson)

All information is correct at time of publication.
Visitors are advised to contact the event organiser for the latest updates.

Dining With Roses from Corelle

I wish I can tell you how magnificent my life is, but I’m sorry that I’ll have to disappoint you. I’m just a regular woman, struggling to be great but more often than not, I just ended up being ordinary. Professionally, I’m a writer, novelist, blogger and a family friendly tourism activist. But beneath all of those, I’m a wife, lover, mother, daughter, sister and a friend, albeit a not a very good one. I’m somewhat a people pleaser and I always try my best to make them feel happy whenever they are around me, but unfortunately for me, that does not always work. It upset me sometimes that people don’t appreciate what I do, but then again, I have come to learn to let things be, and stop pleasing people around me. I come to realize that you can’t please everyone and what matters most is how you see yourself and not how people around you see you.

I got married and had my son at a pretty young age. I was only about 19 years old then. For a moment, I decided to be a stay at home mother to take care of my son, but after a couple of years when my son started schooling, I decided that I’ve stayed at home enough and it’s time to take on the world, like I’ve always wanted to since I was a child.

As a result of my decision, my life is no longer like a few years back where I can relax daily. I used to have nothing to do at all every day, but life is so different now. My calender is always so full with social events and work. Yes it is hectic, but I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world. Not when my days are usually not exactly routine and my work consists of enjoying good food and going places.

Yes. My life is always busy, but I do get domesticated at times, though not as often as before. Balancing professional life and personal life can be quite a pain, but whenever I’m not too tired, I’ll try to give my all to my family, especially to my husband and son, whom I know missed the ‘stay at home mum’ me quite a lot. I used to just stay home and cook daily for my family. But these days, I only cook on occasions or upon request. Sounds awful? Don’t be so quick to judge. All of us have very tight schedule, and it suits us better to just eat out and enjoy the meal without having to cook or clean up afterwards.

A couple of weeks ago, I received a collection of kitchenware from Kitchen World, Corelle’s latest dinnerware collection, Rosabelle Dinnerware, but as I was busy traveling and going on media trips with my husband and son, I haven’t got the opportunity to actually use it to serve food.

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Lovely isn’t it? These are part of the Rosabelle Dinnerware collection by Corelle. its name is inspired by French word, Rosa meaning Rose and Belle meaning beautiful. Corelle is a household name in the kitchenware industry worldwide and is definitely popular among Malaysian households. For those of you who are not in the scene, Corelle and Corningware are under the World Kitchen umbrella, an American kitchenware products maker and distributor. Corelle is their leading dishware while Corningware is their cookware line. Today, more than 140 different Corelle patterns are available in Malaysia, many specifically designed to meet the growing Asian taste and demands. As part of their 45th anniversary this year, Corelle celebrates its long lasting beauty and durability.

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The rose patterns looks very lifelike due to its reflective pinkish petal.

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If you look closely there is an orange coloured rose, based on the real-life flower, Apricot rose. Rosabelle prides itself on being break and chip resistant but I think what is surprising about Corelle’s dinner plates is that although it weighs so light, it is strong and durable. The secret to this I learnt is Vitrelle®, a remarkable three-layer sandwich of thermally laminated glass. This is how Corelle’s plates are made and what makes its plates long lasting and durable without it being heavy. Also, a result of this process, Corelle has the versatility of being suitable for reheating or even used in conventional, convection or microwave ovens. You can also check out that video here to understand more about the brand.

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The design is really pretty and gives a feel of Victorian times. Among the pieces in the Rosabelle collection, I loved the teacup the most. It makes me feel like a princess from Victorian era whenever I use it.

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I thought of cooking up a storm for my husband and son, but we haven’t been home much and we have been eating out and feasting on lavish food during our food reviews sessions that all we wanted was very basic and homey dish for dinner the very moment we got home last weekend. And so, to cut the long story short, I ended up cooking up only these, upon request by the boys.

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Fried eggs drizzled with soya sauce.

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Fried chicken ham slices

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And last but not least, some longbeans cooked in spicy sambal belacan. All of the dishes were served with piping hot steamed white rice.

These dishes may seems ordinary and boring to you, and it only looks good and presentable only because I used the Rosabelle collection to serve it, but I should like to think that the food I cooked tasted fabulous as my boys polished everything off and by the time we finished our meals, not even a grain of rice was left on the plate.

Having witnessed how my boys devoured the humble homecook dishes with much more enthusiasm in comparison to when we are eating out makes me me feel a tad guilty. I used to cook a lot for them and somehow makes me miss such gratification of seeing them enjoy my cooking. I guess it’s time to start cooking at a more frequent rate, no? I may not be able to cook as often as I used to for them, but I guess I can start doing that again. I’m not much of a cook but at least now, with Rosabelle, they would at least look presentable and inviting upon serving. :p

I guess you can look forward to more homecook stuff from me from this moment onward, so keep reading and stay tune for more. I’ll be sharing some of my homecook recipes with all of you soon. You may follow me on instagram too if you wanna have a quick updates on my culinary adventure with Rosabelle by Corelle. ;)

If you are planning to get Rosabelle as a gift for yourselves of your loved ones, you can visit leading departmental stores like AEON to get one. It is available nationwide. For more information on this lovely dinnerware, LIKE this Facebook page here:
https://www.facebook.com/worldkitchenAP?fref=ts

Or alternatively, look up on the hashtag
 #CorelleMalaysia #Rosabelle on social media to scout on infos on the products. ;)

Unique Seafood Ramadan Offering, Citta Mall

Loves seafood? Wants load of em? Well, here’s one place you can go for after if you’re into seafood; Unique Seafood, located in Citta Mall. They are offering a seafood buffet spread that is good enough for a full scale wedding banquet. Oriental style, though. Don’t go over expecting fancy stuff as theirs is mostly Chinese and local cuisine.

Here’s sharing with you what they have to offer this Ramadan 2015.

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Muruku as appetizers

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Assorted preserved fruits

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Good old prawn fritters

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Stuffed deep fried tofu

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Fresh ulams to go with your white rice

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2 soups of the day. You can opt for either the crabmeat and corn soup or the soto ayam.

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Sweetcorn and crabmeat soup.

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Soto Ayam. If you spotted this in the buffet, be sure to try it. It’s to die for.

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Wide array of Chinese style homecook dishes. There’s a lot of em, but below is what I personally would recommend:

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Chilli Crab

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Absolutely wonderful to pair with fried mantao.

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Salted Eggs Prawns

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Butter Prawns

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Kamheong Mussels

Homey dishes like seafood fried rice, fried koay teow and fried vercimille is also available for your indulgence.

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Fried koay teow

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Fried vercimille

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Seafood fried rice

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The grill section features assorted grilled seafood wrapped up in banana leaf. I did not manage to try these, but I’m sure they are worth your calories.

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There is satay here too, of course. That goes without saying ;)
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Homey Chicken Rice is also available here at their buffet spread.

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A modest selection of dimsum and mantao.

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If you are not into dimsum and mantao, no worries. Unique Seafood is also offering assorted traditional Malay kuih and sweet desserts for your buka puasa session.

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Mango puddings

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Ice Kacang Station. This is probably where you would want to go to if you are looking for something refreshing to quench your thirst with.

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Fruit Rojak Station

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I’ve always been a fruit rojak fan, so I found these very pleasing on the palate.

Priced at RM 79.90 nett for Adult and RM 49.90 nett (Children Below 12)/ Children below 3 years old eat for free. The Buffet is simply worth for diners who are seafood lovers. Buffet available from 23rd June till 12th July from 6pm till 10pm.

For booking and reservation:

Unique Seafood Subang Outlet

F37 & F38, First Floor, Citta Mall, No.1, Jalan PJU1A/48, PJU 1A, Ara Damansara, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

For more information, log on to www.unique-seafood.com.my or call +603-7733030 / 7734 3006.

Celebrating Ramadan and Eid in Quill City Mall

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Quill City Mall – the latest shopping, dining and entertainment sensation located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur along Jalan Sultan Ismail is transformed into a time machine of sorts, taking patrons back in time to the Kuala Lumpur of yore, in line with the mall’s “Our Raya Story of Kuala Lumpur” theme.

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Our Raya Story of Kuala Lumpur being performed.

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Visitors to the mall can literally walk down memory lane, reminiscing their childhood with sights and sounds to capture the essence of Kuala Lumpur of yesteryear.

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Throughout the fasting month, Quill City Mall’s Main Court and East Court will be lined with booths and push-carts, which will also contribute towards reliving the experience of Kuala Lumpur in the 1980’s, complete with cookies, hampers and fashionwear.

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As part of the mall’s launch of its Ramadhan and Hari Raya offerings, and in keeping with the spirit of giving back, Quill City Mall hosted 40 children from Rumah Anak Yatim Baitul Ehsan for shopping excursion yesterday.

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Handing over of goodies by Datuk Micheal Ong

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One of the youngest charge from Rumah Anak Yatim Baitul Ehsan.

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Blogger friends mingling with one of the kids.

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And to further evoke a spirit of togetherness and nostalgia during their experience at Quill City Mall, the children were also treated to break their fast in Sakura Kristal Restaurant.

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My friend Andy is spotted chatting with the children just before iftar.

It was indeed an experience for me and my son the other day when we were given the opportunity to break fast with the underprivileged children. It makes me feel how blessed we are to still have each other. :)

That said, Ramadan Mubarak to all Muslims out there.

Lazada Riang Ria Raya 2015

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Lazada, Southeast Asia’s leading online shopping and selling destination, kicked off its ‘Riang Ria Raya’ campaign nationwide from 11th June – 15 July. The exclusive sale is intended for shoppers who want to get a jump on their festive buys ahead of the busy festive season.  

According to Hans-Peter Ressel, CEO of Lazada Malaysia, ‘Riang Ria Raya’ is aimed to provide shoppers with the convenience of shopping without having to waste energy and time in this Holy month. “Ramadan is a season of spirituality and togetherness – moments that should be spent with family and friends instead of being stuck in traffic or fighting crowds in shopping malls. We hope to offer our customers an option to perform all their shopping needs online and free of hassle. Our overall aim is to provide our customers with effortless shopping experiences as they prepare for the upcoming Raya festivity,” he added.

A period to highlight in Lazada’s ‘Riang Ria Raya’ campaign is the ‘Jualan Mega Raya’ that will take place from the 24th – 26th of June. With discounts of up to 90% across all 14 categories, special flash sales of 6 favourable items per day will also be happening within the three-day period. Additionally, Maybank card holders will enjoy an additional 10% discount on their purchases on the 24th of June, with a maximum rebate of RM200.

Juadah Iftar Buffet at The Living Room, The Westin Kuala Lumpur

Guest Photographer: AlienGoTravel

It’s been quite a long day for me. Feeling quite under the weather, I nearly dropped dead by the time the clock strikes 6pm. I intended to just stay at home for dinner but remembering that I’m supposed to head over to The Living Room at The Westin KL for their Ramadan 2015 buffet, I dragged myself out of the house reluctantly with my son and husband in tow.

Feeling rather weak, I wasn’t really in the mood to play photographer when I arrived at The Living Room, so I just handed my son his Nikon Coolpix S33 and told him to help me snap some photos, so ladies and gentleman, go easy on us this time if you feel that the photos is not like the usual quality. All the photos in this blog post is taken by my little boy with his Nikon Coolpix S 33 camera, sponsored by Nikon Malaysia. :P

Neway, enough wasting time with preamble. Let’s talk about what The Living Room at The Westin KL have to offer for Ramadan 2015.

Shrewdly surveying the restaurant when I arrived, I have to admit that I’m quite impressed with their mouth- watering ‘Juadah Iftar’ spread. Rather promising as they are offering to indulge diners with a full Malaysian fare, showcasing and serving up traditional Malaysian dishes with over 15 live cooking stations.

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Roasted Whole Lamb with Westin Briyani Rice

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Roasted Beef

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All time Malaysian favourite, especially during Ramadan; Ayam Percik. These are sensational. The chicken was roasted to perfection while the gravy was rather creamy and rich.

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Moving further in The Living Room, there’s their Chef’s recommendations, the all time Malaysian favourite mixed rice dish, the mamak’s Nasi Kandar. Yes. You are reading that right. They are offering Nasi Kandar, traditional curries and all. One would scorn why would one wants to have Nasi Kandar in a place like this when they can get the authentic ones at the regular mamak restaurant, but I assure you that this is a must try and not to be missed. They are as good at any mamak restaurants. I had two huge helpings of their Nasi Kandar myself, and that alone speaks volumes.

Here’s what their Nasi Kandar section showcased:

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Assorted ‘gulai kandar’.

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Gulai Kandar Ayam

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Gulai Kandar Daging

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Gulai Kandar Kambing

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Sambal Telur

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Assorted fried ‘lauk’ as your Nasi Kandar side dishes.

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Telur Ikan Goreng

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Tenggiri Goreng

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Ayam Goreng

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Sotong Goreng

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Kobis Goreng

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Acar Nanas

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And what’s Mamak fare without the favourite rotis? The Living Room is also indulging the diners with roti canai, roti telur and roti bom.

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Roti Bom

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Roti Telur

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Roti Canai. Again, you might wonder why would we want to go for these when we could just get it from our neighbourhood mamak stall, but trust me, these rotis are different. Instead of the regular cheap cooking oil being used to make the rotis, these are kneaded and cooked with premium butter and fresh cooking oil instead of the recycled ones in those regular mamak restaurants, resulting in buttery and flaky pastries. The rotis paired perfectly with dhal curry, but the assorted kandar curries goes well with them too.

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Apart from the Mamak fare, there’s a bit of Middle Eastern goodies here too. This live action stall offers Chicken Shawerma.

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Roti John stall

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Roti John

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Hotdog Bun

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Chicken Rice Stall offering delicious chicken rice and condiments is also available here.

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A modest selection of fried dimsum

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And wonderful news for the fans of Melaccan Satay celup. The Living Room is also offering Satay Celup here in their Ramadan buffet spread.

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These mouthwatering skewered items goes very well with peanut sauce, but this time around I went with the sweet sauce ala Lok Lok instead.

Moving on to the ‘Daily Treat’ Room, we discovered quite a treasure in the form of fruits, desserts and even popcorn booth.

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Ais Kacang stall

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Assorted freshly cut fruits

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Seasonal tropical fruits

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Assorted cakes

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The cakes will surely satisfy those who have sweet tooth.

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Nyonya kuih can also be found at the dessert section.

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Chocolate fountain and assorted items for dipping.

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Chocolate sticks

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Sweets and gummies

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Ice cream section featured an interesting ice cream based dish, which is deep fried ice cream.

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Deep Fried Ice Cream. Definitely not something that you would want to miss if you are a fan of sweet stuff. I’m not quite a fan of sweet stuff unless I’m all stressed up or under pressure, so I passed this to my son and he adored this to bits and to say that he polished this off within minutes is an understatement.

Overall, The Living Room is offering quite a wonderful indulgence for Ramadan and guess what? You could bring the experience back home by getting their raya cookies as gifts.

A selection of 6 deliciously wholesome homemade hari raya cookies is sold at the lobby. Check out the flavours offered:

* Chocolate Chips Cashew Nut Cookies
* Cinnamon and Black Pepper Cookies
* Hawaiian Coconut Cornflake Cookies
* Classic Almond Florentine Cookies
* Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
* Gluten-free Shortbread Cookies

‘Juadah Iftar’ is available from 18th June to 15th July 2015.

Price
RM118nett per adult from 18th June to 26th June 2015

RM148nett per adults and RM74nett per child from 27th June to 15th July 2015.

15% discount is available for group booking with a minimum of 20 diners while SPG members enjoy 20% discount on total food bill.

For further information please visit www.thewestinkualalumpur.com.

Reservation is highly recommended by calling Westin Dining on 03-27738338 or via email: [email protected]

Ramadan Special Indulgence at Me’nate Steakhub

Want to reward yourselves after a whole day fasting? Not in the mood to hunt down for food in the crowded Ramadan Bazaar? A proper sit down meal is probably a much more favourable option but not sure what to eat and where to go? Well, why not go for some delicious steaks at Me’Nate Steakhub? It is owned by once a meat carver in Buckingham Palace, serving for the Queen Elizabeth II. Impressive, right? You can read his experience, written in the Harian Metro (click HERE)

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There’s 3 Me’nate Steakhub’s outlet so far and I managed to drop by their Setapak branch with my husband and son just a few days before Ramadan for their media preview.

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Entering the steakhouse, we were greeted with a lineup of refrigerators that stores raw meat. To retain the meat quality and texture, their meat are all chilled, and not frozen. Assorted steaks can be found here for your choosing, ranging from as low as RM35++ to RM1k++, depending on the steak’s grade and quality.

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The most expensive I’ve spotted in the refrigerator that day is this Matsusaka Wagyu steak, costing RM1008 per 200gram or RM4800 per kg. Expensive? Yes. Definitely. But I personally vouch for these. The steak will practically melt in the mouth as you eat it.

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The restaurant is a no-nonsense kind. No fancy deco whosoever to greet you or to tempt you to go on a photography or a selfie escapade, but it is spacious, functional and definitely comfortable. You may opt to dine in at the ground floor or at the air conditioned area at the first floor. Here’s a picture taken on the first floor.

Anyway, here’s sharing with you what they will be offering especially Ramadan. They have this group dining options especially for Ramadan 2015. No. There is no buffet at Me’nate but there is 4 type of group steaks with a minimum of 2 person per order.

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All sets comes with pasta Olio Aglio, mix salad and complimentary dates, fruit(mix fruits), soup of the day, rice of the day(briyani rice/dhal rice/ tomato rice) and free flow drinks.

Here’s what we managed to try. Heavenly Beef set.

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Heavenly Beef Set

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This Heavenly Beef set is priced at RM350 for 4-6pax.

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It is a meal set that comes with Crackling Beef served on a bed of 3 types of fragrant rice with a side of salad, soup of the day, fruits, dates and free flow of drinks. There is 3 different flavoured rice served with the meal, Nasi Briyani, Nasi Dhal and Nasi Tomato.

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Chef Mustaffa, the once Royal Meat Carver himself taking care of the carving for us. He is the one who served Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II of England. I never once imagined that I would have such an opportunity, but the man is not only generous and kind, but humble too. This is non food related but the chef got all teary eyed when he spotted my son. He probably recognized the fact that my son is autistic I suppose, and told me that I’m a privileged mother as there is only one child like mine in the world, and one day he would make me proud. I nearly cried on the spot at his kind words, and even more so when he specifically requested to have his photo taken with my son. Now, that is completely a new experience. The child is different and always will be. I have made peace with that and when it comes to socializing, he have been rejected countless way, even among some family members and relative. To have someone who is a complete stranger say such heartwarming things and treat him like he is someone important and special truly touches me. Anyway, enough of the sob story and let’s proceed with the foodie experience, shall we?

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A closer look at the Crackling Beef after the carving is done.

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The beef was slowly roasted for 8 hours and was done medium rare. There was no additional flavourings added to it and it was a gastronomic perfection. No steak lover would be able to peel themselves away from this culinary masterpiece. It was flavourful, juicy, moist and positively divine on the palate. The 3 types of rice on the other hand, complement the beef perfectly. I’d suggest you to go easy on the rice, though. That way you’d be able to fully savor the splendid beef.

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Apart from the Heavenly Beef set meal, we had the opportunity to try 3 of the other sets featured this Ramadan.

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Set A at RM75/person. The set consists of Angus, Beef ribs and Lamb ribs/Ranghost.

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Just like the Heavenly Beef meal, the Angus, Beef ribs and Lamb ribs/Ranghost was magnificently done.

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Set B at RM75/person consist of lamb shank, lamb ribs, lamb rack/loin and lamb syabu.

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These are not just a meal, but a culinary masterpiece.

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Set D the Wagyu Lover at RM150/person consist of wagyu beef and wagyu beef ribs.

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No words can actually describe my feelings when I took a bite of these. The meat practically melts in the mouth and it actually brings me to heaven and back. I still could imagine the taste as of writing. The Wagyu beef was magnificent, and I definitely would not mind a repeated experience in the nearest future.

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Here’s the chefs who were responsible for our gastronomic pleasure that night. And should you patronize the outlet, they will probably take care of your palate the exact same way and you will probably would want a repeated experience the moment you stepped out of their restaurant. They truly lived up to their claims of serving the best steak in Malaysia.

There is 3 Me’Nate Steakhub in Kuala Lumpur. Below is the information should you want to give their Ramadan offerings a try, either that or go with their ala carte menu. The choice is yours.

Me’Nate Ramadan Special

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Set A at RM75/person consist of angus, beef ribs and lamb ribs/ranghost.

Set B at RM75/person consist of lamb shank, lamb ribs, lamb rack/loin and lamb syabu.

Set C at RM100/person consist of Salmon, Mussel, King prawn and Scallop/Crab Meat.

Set D the Wagyu Lover at RM150/person consist of wagyu beef and wagyu beef ribs.

Advance booking is recommended should you want to dine in groups, but they also welcomes walk in diners.

Me’nate Steak Hub 
Ampang Jaya Branch
No 16 Jalan Kerja Air Lama Satu,
Taman Shuet Liang,
68000 Ampang Jaya,
Kuala Lumpur
Telefon/Faks: +6 03 4251 3460

Wangsa Maju Branch
25 Jalan Delima 12,
Wangsa Link,
Wangsa Maju,
53300 Kuala Lumpur
Telefon: +6 03 4251 3460

Setapak Branch
C-01 & C-01-03, Starparc Point,
Jalan Taman Ibukota,
Off Jalan Genting Klang,
53300 Kuala Lumpur
Telefon : +6 03 4131 8121
Faks : +6 03 4131 1611

 

Bazaar Desa Ramadan Buffet at The Square Restaurant, Novotel KL City Centre

It was a very hectic Friday and I wasn’t particularly impressed having to stuck in the traffic while I was on the way to Novotel KL City Centre for their media preview, but it was worth all the hassle. My family and I were greeted with such a sumptuous Ramadan buffet spread by The Square Restaurant, Novotel KL City Centre Kitchen Crew.

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Themed ‘Bazaar Desa’, The Square restaurant offers plenty of delicacies that you can’t get elsewhere in most buffets in KL. They have plenty of dishes that won my heart, but as this is a buffet and I can’t possibly list everything in their spread, I’ll just highlight what’s worth the calories.

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Oven Roasted Lamb. This one is not to be missed. It was slow roasted to perfection in the oven. Juicy and naturally flavoured.

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Deep fried keropok

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Assorted Acar

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Taufu Sumbat

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Assorted traditional curries to pair with plain or flavoured rice like Nasi Briyani. I’ll just be honest with all of you here. I wasn’t particularly in the mood for anything heavy like rice that day, as I was still quite full from my late lunch, but my husband assured me that the curries and the fresh ulams are pretty much to die for. His recommendation; the Sambal Tumis Sotong. He told me that it was addictively sensational.

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Apart from the wide array of curries, you ought to keep a lookout for their live action counter where grilled seafood and satay are prepared ala minute for your gastronomic pleasure.

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Grilled Stingray. These are quite a good catch. Very flavourful and still have the taste of the ocean.

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Chicken and Beef Satay. Now, I don’t usually fancy satays prepared in hotels as they are not as comparable to those sold by the street as they are usually prepared over hot pan instead of with charcoal over the open fire, but these are as good as those prepared over the open fire. Their preparation method includes caramelizing butter before frying up the skewered meat, resulting to the almost authentic fragrantly ‘burnt’ taste and texture.

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Three of Chef’s signature that I think is a must have at this Ramadan buffet; Mee Rebus Tulang Lembu, Soto Goreng and Kacang Pool.

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Mee Rebus Tulang Lembu was sensational. Despite of not particularly being tempted for heavy dishes, I had two bowls of this. The meat was fall off the bone tender while the gravy was harmoniously sweet and at the same time, naturally savoury, complementing the bland noodles perfectly.

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Soto Goreng was flavourful and delicious. Infused with a myriad of spices, the soto was rather chewy and rather fun to eat too.

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Kacang Pool was derived from the Middle Eastern dish known as foul medammas, which was made from fava beans. It was served with a sunny side egg and a side of sandwich bread. All of that was great to sop up the runny egg and sauce of this dish. It was my first time eating it, I thought it reminded me very much of American chilli but with some slightly different spices perhaps. This dish is uniquely Malaysian.

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Assorted traditional Malays kuih like tepung talam and kuih ketayap can be found at the dessert section.

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Refreshing puddings

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Local fruits to cleanse your palate.

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Ice cream

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Ice Cendol, one of my favourite sweet beverage here at the buffet.

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Refreshing Lai Chee Kang is also not to be missed if you want something refreshing after a whole day fasting. This one will surely power you up in a jiffy.

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And while you are at the buffet, don’t forget to raid the fridge for these childhood ice cream. :p When I was a little girl these could easily be obtain from the ice cream man for a mere 20 cent but these are pretty much rare these days.

“Bazaar Desa ” dinner buffet is priced at RM95 nett per adult, RM45 nett for children aged 8-12 years old. Early bird voucher is available for sale from now until 19 June 2015 at only RM80 nett per adult and RM40 nett. Accor Plus members enjoy further 10% discount.

For more information and reservations, please call (6 03) 2147 0888 extension 7668 or email [email protected]