Thursday, June 28, 2007

Redang Day 2: I miss the hammock

Meri told me that the sun will be up about 6.45am but I woke up at 6am just to make sure I catch it on time. Too bad the clouds were all over the sky.


I decided not to go back to the room, but slept in the hammock instead. I felt so relaxed with the morning breeze, the sound of waves crushing down to the sand, some birds chirping. As the sun begun to shine through the clouds, I felt the light and the morning heat. ... so nice la.


Anyway, I had to be dragged out for breakfast because I refused to get my butt off the hammock. Had a very nice, warm and fragrant nasi lemak for breakfast.


And shared a little bit of butter honey jam toast.

Had a short break and we are off on the boat to Marine Park. RM5 fee. All was worth it. Meri, Eddie and Ali our resort divers brought us around the snorkeling area. The waves were more fierce and the under current strong that day. Saw a huge fat groper (bass groper I think.. not sure which kind), tons of sea cucumber, this black and white fish (like fish in tux... don't know the name), parrot fish and so many other fishes. (I bet they are all sweet and delicious! HAHAHA) Meri took me a little bit out of the snorkel area and round the ship wreck. Yup... ship wreck. There were much more fishes and corals there.

And there in Marine Park, I found the Christmas Tree worms. I remembered Nigel said something about this? So pretty and cute! And the colors...so nice!!! Once you touch it...POP! it hides itself. So cute so cute! I saw this other thing... not too sure if it was a coral or a sea crawler. It's like a huge caterpillar with frills. Ultra marine in color. Looks so handsome when the light shines on it.

But... didn't get to see the Morey eel. No turtles except of the baby turtles kept captive in the Marine park building. No sharks. BooHoo :~(


Back to the resort for lunch. The kampung malay style lauk-pauk servings. Rested then off we go to Teluk Paku.

The snorkeling session in Teluk Paku was a short trip. Meri told me they have to cut it short because he felt the under current pulling many of us out. *sign*


Luckly the really fresh donuts were waiting for us when we return to the resort. No need for Dunkins or Big Apple because Kampung Style is just as nice.


We had fresh cucur taugeh too.


This is really good especially when we were given home made chili sauce to dip in.


Even the squirrel knows it's stuff and pop by for food.

We have not gotten enough of snorkeling yet so we asked Meri to take us out to the sea again. He was so nice to take us out during his break. 1 to 4... (some more 1 of us cannot swim) not an easy task. I was drained and disappointed when I got back because there were no sharks at shark point.


The sky was still bright so I decided to drag the rest for kayaking. But... luck was just not on our side. It was past the rental time and the owners don't encourage us to kayak. We ended up on the beach building a sand castle.


Dinner was rice again. I didn't really dig in because I was kind of filled with all the eating. Not a rice person too.

A few rounds of Chor Dai Di again, hung around with new people I met there, almost went for a night snorkel. But my first snorkeling trip.. better not la. Played more cards and dose off.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Redang Day 1: Dark sky

My first day at Redang wasn't as nice as planned. 7 hours of being frozen meat in the bus (that's what you get for being a cheapo and not taking a flight). A lot of waiting around in the bus station, the jetty and in the boat (propeller got stuck). Ans then it was raining cows and donkeys. Reached Redang at 1pm. *sign* ... sky was dark ... water wasn't very clear because the sand rose.

We stayed at Redang Lagoon. One of the cheapest place I think, but location was really nice. It's the hammock and the beach just out of my room door. You can't even get that at the higher priced resorts. All the meals provided are first come first serve buffet style. RM280 for a 3 days 2 night, all meals provided and 3 snorkeling trips. If you are not fussy about the little worn down room (but powerful aircon) and cool water (no heater... but makes no difference one la) all is good.

Checked into our rooms and freshen up and head for lunch.


Vege with prawns, curry fish, fried burry chicken and baked beans egg omelet.


Chinese style vege soup.

Waited until 3pm and boat out. I was kind of nervous when jumping in the water. I have not been swimming for over 10 years and have not snorkel before. But not too bad. Took me a few minutes to get the breathing right (I'm still wondering why the divers didn't brief us on how to breath using the snorkel) and I was off. Meri, one of our resort diver dove and caught a clown fish for us. Little Nemo is so so cute!

We didn't get enough of the snorkeling yet so we went out to snorkel ourselves before dinner. It was kind of though because one of us could not swim. Had to swim for 2.. ended up kicking one of the rocks.. hurt my leg. But all was quite worth it because I saw a lot of fish. One large long sword fish swim past me. So blue greenish and transparent.

But no turtle, no shark :(


Dinner was a BBQ.


All we needed to do is BBQ. The fire was already up and the heat just right. Time for action!


Squid with yellow ginger sauce marinade.


Fresh prawns.


Kampung fish with home style chili marinade.


Marinated chicken with curry mixture.


Fried rice.


And wet fried mamak mee.


Must be on time for dinner. Those who were late have no BBQ pit space. Must be me hogging all the space ;p


BBQed food. The chicken was delicious! The squid was over cooked.


There's also dipping sauces for the BBQ goodies. This is a groundnut chili quah. Something similar to the satay quah but much spicier.


And of course, the sambal belacan.

We took a little bit lot of pictures before the sky got dark.


Played a little bit of cards with the resort divers. They play big 2! (Chor Dai Di) And call it an early night. Need to save up energy for the next day.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

My first meal in Terrenganu

I'm back! It's good to be back home on my own bed, but I miss the beach already. I'm going to leave you with a prelude of my trip, got to go sort out my weekend chores that I skipped first.

Took the 10pm bus to Kuala Terengganu. Then the 7am local bus to Merang, and walked 600 meters to the jetty.

Almost reaching to the jetty, I saw these 3 stooges guarding the rubbish bin. I went nearer to take a picture but decided not when one of them become defensive. *phew* Ganasnya.


First stall on the left of the road before all the jetty. All the local Terengannians were eating at this shop so I figured that's the place for the real authentic local food. One of the local staff there later confirm that. So I head over to the first shop on the left of the road. The shop is located before all of the jetty. You can't miss it.


The Tom Yam fried bee hoon was hotter that any Tom Yam bee hoon I have tried before. Very nice. The balance of spicyness and the sourness was just right.


The nasi lemak was ok. I found the sambal too sweet to my liking, but was told local sambal was like that, a little sweeter.


I finished my nasi minyak, and found myself craving for more. This is the best nasi minyak I have ever tasted. The fragrant... damn good!!!!


I didn't want to eat the same thing twice so I got myself a local quih. This is like a combo of Dorayaki cake and Chinese "Ham Chim Peng". Was just so so.


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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lemongrass cooling drink

Lyrical Lemongrass! hehehe actually, nothing to do with LL ;P

I was served the lemongrass drink as a welcome drink when I was at Basil Leaf Restaurant. The weather was so hot when I arrived and the drink really really cooled me down.

Very smooth and minty cool down the throat, tasteless but very lemongrassy fragrant. I fell in love with it... but have no idea how to make it. But after some trial and error. I think I manage to make the drink.

Ingredients;
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 6 to 7 stalk of lemongrass.
- 5 liter of water


Method;
1# Clean lemongrass and chop them into pieces/chunks.
2# Add them into a pot and boil with the water.
3# Add in sugar when water is boiling and turn off after 1 minute.
4# Let the water to cool and strain.
5# Refrigerate or serve it with ice and a few pieces of mint leaves.


I kept mine in a cooler and drank it when I felt hot and thirsty. Works wonders I tell you.

I wished I could take this drink over to the beach, under the hot sun, and enjoy a glass of cool iced lemongrass drink.

p/s I’ll be at Redang and won’t be back until Monday. Don’t miss me ;P

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

New Giant Bowl

Whole post edited [20 June 2007]

Aiyah ...paiseh paiseh. I uploaded the pictures in the morning before I left for work. But I guess I was too blur. I clicked Publish instead of Draft. So, no surprise lo. And lucky me, this draft version is not messy like my other drafts. Hehehe.

I so happen to be around SS2 because I was actually heading back to my office from a customer site in WestPort. Me and my colleague finished late and didn't feel like being stuck in the jam back to KL. No point going back to KL just to finish work and then head back. Make no sense.


I was hungry, and my colleague too. I made a deture to Big Bowl to fill up our empty stomach before dropping her off. I picked the place because she is eating vegetarian for the day. (And also I get to eat something healthy also? ...hahaha)

Big Bowl is located in the same row as Mc'Ds. Very clean place with good vegetarian food.

Both of us ordered the hot honey milk. I never fail to order this when I eat here. Warm to the lips, sweet smooth fresh milk down the throat. Just perfect.


I ordered nasi lemak. White rice with some beef rendang and sambal on the side. (Vegetarian of course ;p) Taste wise of course is lacking compared to the real thing. But for something vegetarian, nice!


My colleagues herbal soup pan mee was not bad too. The soup tasted herby, not very salty. But that's good because the taste will get saltier and saltier the more you drink it.

Two of my other favorite dish there is the curry mee and the soya bean porridge.

Didn't order them so I'm using Xiu Long Bao's technique of taking pictures of the menu. hehehe


They recently have red rice soya bean porridge too. More fiber... but the taste would be slightly different.

So there, review is done. Nice place la.. go try it out.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Homemade fish paste

Since my granddad suffered from the stroke, the only meat he is allowed to eat is fish. But... steam fish, fried fish, baked fish, grilled fish.... gosh it's boring. So mom bought fish to make "Yiu Wat" aka fish paste. Still fish, but at least the texture will be different.


One of the recommended fish to use for making "Yiu Wat" or fish balls is "Kau Yiu" (Cantonese). Not sure what this fish is called in other language, but this is what "Kau Yiu" look like.


And the tail.

Method;
1# Fillet the fish and remove the bones. Be careful as there might be bones stuck in the middle of the flesh.


2# Use a spoon to scrape the flesh off the bones and skin.

3# Add salt and pepper. Mix and chop up the flesh.


4# You can use this technique to make sure the fish is smashed up enough. Press the fish and smashing against the knife.

5# For every 500g of fish paste, add one table spoon of corn starch (any starch will do). Mix.

6# Add cold water 1/4 cup by 1/4 cup and mix until you get the moistness that you want.


7# Remember to smack the fish paste around. Not sure what this technique is for actually... but my granddad does this when he makes his fish paste for this yong tofu.
Maybe to make the fish meat more springy when cooked?

Add more starch if you like a harder "yiu wat", and more water to make it softer. My recipe makes a softer "yiu wat", so my advice is to add more starch or cut down on the water.


You can then transfer the paste into containers. Use a wet knife to cut them into squares; easier to remove and thaw when you want to cook them. Make sure you keep them in the freezer and finish them soon because there's no preservative in it.


You can use "yiu wat" for many dishes. Nice when added in soup noodles, or boiled in vegetables soups, or with porridge. Or boiled "yiu wat" then fried with other ingredients or vegetables. Cook them with thick sweet sauce, with sweet and sour sauce, with black pepper sauce... just a lot you can do with it. Even make them into fish fingers! (Soak the fingers in egg and breadcrumbs and deep fry)

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Glutinous rice dumplings

I bought 3 types of Chung (Chinese glutinous rice dumplings) from the pasar malam near my place on Wednesday because that there will be no Chung making this year.


Chung from the pasar malam.


Kan Sui (alkaline) chung with red bean filling. The size of Kan Sui chung is usually much smaller.


This is Ham Yoke (salted meat) chung... but where's the meat? RM3 for a lousy chung.


After eating the Nyonya chung, I so so wished for home made big fat stuffed with goodies chung.

Lucky me, my aunt's family from Singapore who loves chung came up and bought over very nice glutinous rice. Mom bought back the other ingredients and so the Chung making begins.

Here is one tip on making the Ham Yoke chung. Boil your first strings of chung first. After when this is done, you can unwrap and taste. If it is too salty, use more water for your remaining batch of chungs. If too bland, add salt when boiling the chungs. Also see my Chung post from last year for the Ham Yoke Chung recipe.

Since my grandma is staying with us now, she taught me how to make Kan Sui chung. Very very simple actually.

Ingredients;
- 1kg glutinous rice, washed and soaked for 5 hours
- 3 to 4 tbls of alkaline water

Other recipe also uses boric asid to keep make sure the chung leaves do not stick to the leaves. Add a few drops if you have some.

Method;
1. Drain the water from the soaked glutinous rice and mix in alkaline water. You can see the color change on the rice.



2. The wrap the rice with the bamboo leaves. You can also add your own fillings in the center. Red beans, green beans.... I think I will be stuffing beef rendang in them next year. Yum yum!


In the video, my grandma suggested to practice wrapping the chung using soil. If the shape is ugly, you can just try again.

Try using the narrow bamboo leaves to wrap the Kan Sui chung. Leave the broader leaves for the bigger chungs. Tie the chung with the string loosely, just enough to keep the leaves together. This is to make sure the Kan Sui rice will have space to grow/bloat. Remember to trim the edges off as they might poke into the other chungs when you boil them.

3. Boil the chungs for 2 hours.
4. Drain off the water and let it cool to room temperature. Serve with warm kaya or syrup. Delicious!


To make the syrup, all you have to do is melt sugar in water and boil until it turns brown and thick. I used palm sugar for my syrup to give it better fragrance. You can also add Pandan leaves when boiling. Strain the syrup before you server. I didn't strain mine because I was too lazy... just wanted to eat already. LOL!


I didn't manage to make the pillow chung again this year. The method that I had learn doesn't seem to be the right method. My grandma mentioned that I will have to use banana leaf if I wanted pillow chung. However, I found this video on banh chung, Vietnamese square rice cakes. Not sure if this is workable for the Chinese style chungs.


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