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HEALTHY HAWTHORN JUICE FOR THE BODY

Posted by Criz Lai On February - 2 - 2009

I’m sure most of you would be complaining about indigestion or bodily heat after all the nonstop feasting during the recent Chinese New Year celebration as I know quite many who were still down with acute throat related problem. There’s actually a beverage that you should take note of, if you were to be wildly feasting away anytime throughout the year. I did hint about the beverage I served to my guests every year which consisted of chrysanthemums, honeysuckles and licorice roots brewed with certain amount of water and sweetened with some sugar/honey but I guessed no one took it seriously. Well, here’s the living proof… I’m still free from all the throat related sickness. Haha!

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Anyway, another related feasting problem, especially for those image conscious people, would be the amount of fatty food they had consumed during this festive season. There’s also a remedy to that but you have to be aware that you have to regulate the amount taken per week as the fruits by the name of Chinese hawthorn berries, Crataegus pinnatifida (Shan Zha – 山楂) are believed to be regularly used in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) for digestion of meat and fatty food, strengthening heart function, lowering blood lipids, and dilating blood vessels to promote blood circulation and anti skin tumor activities. They do come in tablet forms too.

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KY did mention that he found a coffee shop in Penang selling this beverage. In fact, I had taken this beverage at another place – Claypot Restaurant at Hillside, Tanjung Bungah, Penang. Unfortunately, we could not get hold of fresh hawthorn berries in Malaysia. The best alternative would be the dried Chinese hawthorn slices. China is one of the largest producers of dried hawthorn berry slices, thus you can see the country producing candies out from the fruits. One main candy that you would see very common in Malaysia would be the hawthorn flakes (Shan Cha Bing -山楂片) which would come in many shapes (round, square and rectangular). Some adventurous bakery would even use these soaked flakes in their baking such as in the making of the Indonesian Layer Cake. Without more crapping, let me just share with you the simple recipe for the HEALTHY HAWTHORN JUICE.

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INGREDIENTS:
150gms dried Chinese hawthorn slices (wash clean)
3 medium size Granny Smith green apples (cut into 4 pieces each)
250gms rock sugar
4 liters water

OPTIONAL:
4-5 pieces dried orange peel (one orange makes 8 pieces)
Raw Honey
Grounded Ginger
Grounded Cinnamon

PREPARATION:
1. Bring 4L of water to boil.
2. Put in the washed Chinese hawthorn and green apple slices. Lower heat to medium and boil for 15 minutes.
3. Set the fire to low and add in the dried orange peel (I had added this in for the extra tangy flavor) and rock sugar. Let it brew for another 45 minutes. Stir a few times in the process while mashing the green apples.
4. Sieve the juice and leave to cool. You would get about 3L left.
5. Serve chilled, iced or hot.
6. You can stir in some honey if you like it sweeter or sprinkle some grounded ginger or cinnamon to suit your taste as the juice could still be a bit sour.
Note: Since there is no preservative in this brew, you can keep it fresh if well refrigerated for 3-4 days.

(Serves: 8-10)

YOU CAN CHECK HERE FOR MORE RECIPES.

 

RELAXING MYSELF AT JJ CAFE

Posted by Criz Lai On January - 9 - 2009

Note: This restaurant has ceased operation. In its place is a seafood restaurant. Will review them soon.

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I had just realized that I have been in quite an adventurous trend for the past few weeks visiting restaurants by the beach or on an island within the Penang areas. This time it was a combination of both. I was by the beach watching the scenic view of the Penang Bridge while being opposite an island – Pulau Jerejak. LOL! Although this cool “more than a year in business” restaurant named JJ Café is within the premise of the Penang island jetty to Pulau Jerejak and near to the Queensbay Shopping Mall, not many people knew about its existence. Most would just assume this Malay restaurant as part of the jetty. The restaurant’s patrons were still guests and visitors to the nearby Pulau Jerejak Resort & Spa and some workers within the surrounding areas. I would just show you some clips of how relaxing this place could be after a hard day’s work.

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Don’t expect to get all the traditional Malay cooking in this restaurant as it merely served some light meals and finger food. Who’s to complain when the most expensive dish in the menu would cost you only RM6 and it is tax-free. I was there to find some inspirations and to relax mentally and physically on a few occasions and managed to collect some shots to share with my readers. The drinks served there were big and cheap. The thick Iced Milo was only RM2.10. Iced Black Tea was at RM1.70, whereas Can Drinks would be at RM2 each (with ice cubes).

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There would light meals such as the Nasi Lemak (steamed coconut milk rice – RM4) served with chicken curry, potato slices, half an egg, peanuts, fried anchovies and some cucumber slices. The rice was cooked in a different way and did not have the strong taste of coconut milk (santan). The chicken curry did not contain any santan as well. Overall, it was cheap but tasted just average.

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The Curry Noodles (RM4) tasted better as the soup base had all the natural ingredients in it but it could be real tongue burning for some. The dish came with some yellow noodles, lots of baby cockles, some cubes of fish cakes & balls, chicken slices, vegetables and half an egg. It had the spiciness that I love. Argh! Bring me more water please! 😛

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As I had mentioned earlier, the most expensive item would be the Chicken Lasagna (RM6). It had some layers of lasagna pasta with some tomato puree based minced chicken meat in between. Somehow the dish lacked the taste of mixed crushed herbs such as oregano, thyme, garlic, etc. On top of that, the serving was small with only a slice of tomato and some lettuce as garnishes.

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As tea time prior to my dinner appointment, I ordered some Roti Bakar Double (toasted bread slices with coconut jam and butter – RM2) as snacks. Although it was nice and cheap to have as tea, I still prefer my kaya (coconut jam) to have more eggy taste in it.

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I also ordered some Chicken Samosa (RM3) to try out. The popiah (spring roll) skin was crunchy but somehow there were more spicy potatoes inside then chicken meat. I guessed they would have over minced their chicken to have that meaty mouthful bite.

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Overall, JJ Café would be a great place to hang out with friends for a drink but the food quality has to be improvised and improved further. I found that not all the dishes had the required herbs and spices as I would have expected from a Malay establishment.

It would be easier to reach the restaurant if use the Jelutong/Bayan Lepas Expressway. Just follow the direction towards Queensbay Mall. Drive on until you see an overhead pass when nearing the mall. Watch out for a signboard (as shown below) to Pulau Jererak Resort & Spa. Turn left into the road and drive until the T-junction. Turn right and drive on a bit more and you will see the jetty on your left. JJ Café is within its premise.

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JJACAFEMAP

Name: JJ CAFE
Address: 1 MK13 Daerah Timur Laut, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 012-401 2779 (Azhar), 017-553 2105 (Zamani)
Opening Hours: 3.00pm-11.00pm (Closed Monday)
GPS: 5.342083, 100.311763

RATING:
Ambience: 9/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 7/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 6/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 9/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

SUNSET BISTRO FERRINGHI

Posted by Criz Lai On December - 10 - 2008

Note: Every since this beautiful place vanished overnight through ashes, a lot of people has been missing them. Now they are reincarnated as Bora Bora By Sunset. 🙂

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I guessed I might just have to disclose that there was actually a private function during the launching of my food blog on the 4 December 2008. Attendees – two! Some might get the hint from my statement on “Anniversary of Anniversaries” but some may still be in the dark. I could be a real secretive person at times you know. LOL! Anyway, there is no better place for some private moments than at the beach. The luxurious, warm and soft white sandy coastline of the Batu Ferringhi Beach could well be the perfect environment with beautiful panoramic views and privacy to rekindle the sparks or light a new one for years to come.

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Having some soft evening breeze blowing onto your face, while settling down by the sun deck watching over the sunset and listening to the waves lap on the shore, would be an added bonus for romantic trysts. There’s no budgeting for such a memorable moment, although some would prefer a dining table by the beach under a dim candlelight with soft background music that won’t cost too much. Where would be the best place for such event than at Sunset Bistro Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi, Penang.

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As you know this is a bistro with music and liquors (RM10 – RM40) all through the night, there’s actually some fruit juice and non-fizzy beverages available too such as the gigantic jug of Fruit Punch (RM9.90) or the Ice Lemon Tea (RM4.90).

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There are also many appetizers, main meals, rice dishes, noodles, finger food, sandwiches, pizza, pastas and desserts to choose from, ranging from as low as RM6.90 (Fried Koay Teow) to RM31.90 (Mixed Grill). The good news is all items are priced nett with no additional taxes. Since we had a late and heavy lunch, we shared out some of the food.

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The Spaghetti Carbonara with Turkey Ham (RM14.90) tasted great. It had this thick yet herb filled taste in it with some shredded parmesan cheese garnished on the pasta. The portion was large enough for both of us to share out.

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Next was the Club Sandwich (RM10.90). The dish came with four slices of fresh white bread, stuffed with a layer of lettuce, a layer of cheddar cheese, a layer of mixed tuna salad, accompanied by some greens and salad, served with some French fries. The sandwich was nothing really special at all as I was expecting the bread to be slightly toasted.

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The last dish to come was the 6” Mauii Pizza (RM9.90). The pizza base was crispy and the topping was beautiful. It had large chunks of chicken meat, mushrooms and pineapple spread over a freshly prepared tomato puree and baked to perfection with lots of mozzarella cheese. The pizza was so tasty that we regretted not ordering a larger 8” one (RM12.90).

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Overall, the simple meal was quite pleasant. Here’s the signboard of some of the food available in this bistro by the beach.

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We ended up strolling along the mile long night market looking for some bargains for items such as shoes, clothing, DVD’s, hand bags, jewelries, wallets, cushion covers, sarongs, luggage, sunglasses, souvenirs, paintings and many more.

Drive all the way up to Batu Ferringhi until you reach Parkroyal Hotel Penang on your right. Turn right into the first junction after the hotel and you will reach the Bayu Senja beach front. When you are at the T junction, turn left. Find a parking space. The bistro is just somewhere further on you right by the beach in front of many beach hostels.

SUNSETBISTROMAP

Name: SUNSET BISTRO FERRINGHI
Address: 56A, Bayu Senja, Batu Ferringhi, 11100 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 012-553 1313 (Ms. Melynda Soon)
Opening Hours:
12.00pm-1.00am Sunday – Thursday)
12.00pm-3.00am (Friday, Saturday and Eve of Public Holiday)
GPS: 5.471436, 100.244333

RATING:
Ambience: 9/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 9/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 7.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7.5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 7.5/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

SEGAFREDO UPPER PENANG ROAD

Posted by Criz Lai On June - 30 - 2008

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Recently, a client of mine invited me for a dinner. We circled a few rounds within Georgetown to seek a place for dinner and ended up at Segafredo, Upper Penang Road. The ambience of the bistro & pub was great. There were the outside area and inside area with soft house music. This is quite a cool place for a small meeting as well as for casual chit chats.

We order our drinks Wildfruit Granita (RM13) and Iced Lemon Tea (RM7.50) followed by Cheesy Garlic Bread (RM5.50) while waiting for our main dishes to be served.

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My client ordered the Chicken Arrosto (RM13.50) which looked very impressive in the menu. He ended up with a chicken drumstick which was too small a portion for his big size although the taste was not bad at all.

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On the other hand, I ordered the Fish & Chips (RM14) which was also too small a portion for my appetite. There was nothing special at all in this dish except for the two big prawns served in the salad.

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Overall, I would think the bistro is rather pricey in their food and beverages items. We paid RM61.53 for the meal, inclusive of 10% service charge and 5% Government Tax which came up to RM8.03. I guessed the bistro served more party goers than diners well here as it is situated within the night entertainment spots of Upper Penang Road. Just refer to the map below if you would like to pay a visit to this place.

SEGAFREDOMAP

Name: SEGAFREDO (UPPER PENANG ROAD)
Address: 3J, Upper Penang Road, 10000 Penang, Malaysia.
Tel: 604-262 2611
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 1.00am
GPS: 5.422310, 100.334820

RATING:
Ambience: 8/10
(1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 6/10
(1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 7/10
(1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 9/10
(1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10
(1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)


ANYTHING AND WHATEVER

Posted by Criz Lai On June - 22 - 2008

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There is something new in the market that will take over the beverage industry by storm in no time. ANYTHING and WHATEVER was launched on 3 June 2008 at Armada Hotel, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. The idea and creative came from Out Of The Box Pte. Ltd. from Singapore and the beverages are being distributed by Tongee (KL) Sdn. Bhd. in Malaysia.

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What makes these products so unique is that you will never know what drink you will be having until you open up the can and test it out. There won’t be any more problems in deciding what beverage to have again next time. That’s the thrill of getting surprises and I’m sure lots of people would like to try them out.

ANYTHING which is carbonated has six flavors such as Cola, Cola with Lemon, Apple, Fizz Up, Cloudy Lemon and Root Beer.

ANYTHING

On the other hand, WHATEVER which is non-carbonated has also six flavors such as Ice Lemon Tea, Peach Tea, Jasmine Green Tea, White Grape Tea, Apple Tea and Chrysanthemum Tea.

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I immediately got hold of half a dozen of each when I was at 7-Eleven recently. I just love surprises. It’s selling at RM1.80 per can. So far I had the Apple, Root Beer, Jasmine Green Tea and Peach Tea and the tastes met up with my expectations. They were great! What an ideal beverage for parties, picnics, BBQ, etc! I am sure your guest will love all the surprises you are giving them. Presently, you will see the ANYTHING and WHATEVER posters at all the 7-Eleven outlets all across Peninsular Malaysia. You can even get them in Jusco. Within the next few months, I am certain that most cafés, bistros, kopitiams, mamaks and convenient shops will have them available for the public.

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I saw their TVCs and was laughing all the way. Here are the two TV Commercials directed by the acclaimed Mr. Thononchai Sornsriwichai who was a highly awarded director in the world in 2006.

ANYTHING COMMERCIAL:

WHATEVER COMMERCIAL:

Name: TONGEE (KL) SDN. BHD.
Address:
No. 3 & 5, Jalan Segambut Pusat, Segamut Industrial Area,
Segamut, 51200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: 603-6253 1111
Fax: 603-6253 0000
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.anything.com.my/

RATING:
Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 8/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)

THE SOYA SHOP

Posted by Criz Lai On June - 3 - 2008

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While I was down in Kuala Lumpur, I stumbled upon a stall in Low Yat Plaza selling soy milk and douhua (soy pudding). What caught my attention was the Tang Yuan served with soy milk. For your information, I love Tang Yuan and have been seen frequently patronizing the stall along Jalan Magazine in Penang.

The Soya Shop served great Tang Yuan with soy milk. It is a great dessert for the young as well as the old. Not only was the soy milk fresh and hot, you could freely choose either plain syrup or brown syrup of your choice, easily available on the table. This is a great idea for those, especially diabetics, who like it plain or not too sweet. The Tang Yuan comes in four flavors, namely Coconut, Chocolate, Red Beans and Pandan Lotus Paste. All of them were juicy soft and tasted great. Each bowl only cost RM2.80. The products served are completely halal.

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I was too full from my lunch before this to try another bowl of douhua. I heard from Masak Masak that they do serve douhua with red kidney beans too but I did not see any publicity from this stall. Maybe they have it in another branch.

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Photo Courtesy of Masak Masak

The Soya Shop has many branches in Hartamas Shoppig Complex (2nd Floor), Summit USJ (Ground Floor), Endah Parade (1st Floor), Low Yat Plaza (4th Floor), City Square Food Court (Lower Ground), 1 Utama Shopping Centre (Lower Ground) and Pasarakyat (Ground Floor), Giant Hypermarket, Bandar Kinara (Lower Ground) and many more to be set up soon. I managed to try out the one in Low Yat Plaza, so here is the map for the Bukit Bintang area branch.

SOYASHOPMAP

Name: THE SOYA SHOP @ LOW YAT PLAZA

Address:
Level 4, Low Yat Plaza, Off Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: 603-6275 8803
(Pasarakyat)
Website:
http://www.thesoyashop.com/
Opening Hours: 10.00am – 10.00pm
GPS: 3.143933, 101.709784

RATING:
Ambience: 6/10
(1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 7/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 8/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 7/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

MANGO MILKSHAKE RECIPE

Posted by Criz Lai On May - 19 - 2008

You can do up your own fruit drink within minutes and stop your worries over those preservatives that are available in a packet drink. I love mango as few fruits can rival its succulent and aromatic delights in it. An average size fruit contains about 90% vitamin C and 75% of vitamin A and E. These vitamins are powerful immune system boosters. Let me share with you all a simple yet nutritious recipe.

MANGO MILKSHAKE

MANGO MILKSHAKE (serves: 1-2)

225 grams (8 oz) medium ripe mango
250 ml soy milk (vanilla flavored will be ideal)
2 teaspoon honey
1 cup ice cubes
1 stalk mint leaves
Some whipped cream

1. Cut the mango on both side length wise and scoop the flesh into the blender. Try to cut around the pit to get any remaining flesh.

2. Add in soy milk, honey and ice cubes and blend until it becomes puree like.

3. Pour into a tall glass. Spray some whipped cream on it. Drip some honey. Garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately.

YOU CAN CHECK HERE FOR MORE RECIPES.

CUT FRUITS AND JUICES

Posted by Criz Lai On April - 26 - 2008

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What could be better than having a stroll by the beach after eating hefty meals? One great place I would always like to be is along the beach stretch of Esplanade. That is the place where I always get my Vitamin C from the Cut Fruit stall in the food court there. The stall is located right at the recently renovated food court right at the end of Esplanade. One look at the fruits displayed, you would be amazed by how many types there are. You can even see the Vietnamese Purplish Pink fruit which is quite rare. Most of the time you will get only the whitish flesh ones. You can order by the slices or by the plate. A plate of reasonable combination of different fruits can roughly cost between RM10 – RM20.

One thing that I will not miss when I am feeling the feverish sensation or lack of vitamins, I will order the fruit punch there. For just a minimal sum of RM3, you will a cup of mixed juice. Just leave it to the owner there and he will mix and match for you. So far I have yet to taste one cup that has the same taste. As for the one I ordered, I did ask the boss what he put inside. To my surprise, it has 7 types of fruits in it, namely oranges, pineapple, pear, honey dew, carrot, apple and water chestnut. Amazing right? You will even have smoother bowel movement the next day to cleanse your intestine well.

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There is only one food court down at Esplanade. You won’t miss it. There are ample of parking spaces available too.

ESPLANADEMAP

Name: GOH SENG EWE CUT FRUITS (STALL 47)
Address: Esplanade Food Court
Opening Hours: 6.00pm -1.00am
GPS: 5.422822, 100.340688

RATING:
Ambience: 6/10
(1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 8/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 7/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

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