U Bistro, Kuching

My endless gratitude goes to Sarawak Bloggers for introducing me to yet another wonderful eatery here in Kuching.

Talking about food establishments in Kuching, once in a while, a gem pops up among the many mushrooms you see around you.

U Bistro is one of the few gems. Located at Jalan Song Thian Cheok (Next to Lyn’s Tandoori), U Bistro offers delicious food made from the freshest and natural ingredients available.

They serve fresh food only!

U Bistro dishes are grilled, not fried. I absolutely adore such belief as food tastes much better grilled than fried. Frying does not retain the flavor and oh, the bad cholesterol you get from eating fried food is not worth it! Plus, grilling not only retain the flavors, it also helps to enhance it! Nothing like promoting good food and eating healthy! Way to go, U Bistro!

I shall waste no more time, here are the highlights from my food tasting session at U Bistro today:

Situated in one of Kuching’s many hot spots, it is busy in the day but quiet at night. Still, parking is not an issue and the area is generally safe. The ambiance at U Bistro is casual but relaxing. U Bistro can cater up to 40 guests at one time. They do private function(s) upon request. Opening hours is 930am-10pm from Monday to Saturday.

Cosy corner to chillax and enjoy the food.

Outside seatings (Where you can ‘wash your eyes’ and breathe in Kuching)

U Bistro deco and layout is simple but clean. The staff are friendly and professional. The chefs are surprisingly young but I must say, they really do know what they are doing though! Hence, never judge a book by its cover.

The kitchen as seen from the entrance

The drink station

U-Bistro Free Wi-Fi, something quite necessary in this day and age! :P

Now, on to the food!

U Bistro drink menu is simple and consisting of the usual soft drinks, juices, tea, coffee etc but I find the Mint and Sprite drink interesting.

Refreshingly interesting! A non-alcoholic mojito, perhaps?

U Bistro has quite a few selections of starter. We had the Garden Green Salad, Coral Salad with Pesto, Bruschetta Conpomodoro and something especially for your recently turned vegan Borneo Girl, Wild Mushroom Soup.

Garden Green Salad in caesar dressing: Simple but satisfying, you can opt to add chicken or lamb or beef to it at an extra cost

Coral Salad with Pesto: If you want a healthier option, this is the one for you. U Bistro homemade pesto sauce is rich but delicious!

Lovely onion, tomato and herbs bruschetta. Crispy and light, a joy to share with friends and family.

This wild mushroom soup can give the 5 stars international hotels in Kuching a run for its money! Absolutely divine! A perfect matrimony of garlic bread and mushroom soup.

U Bistro will leave you torn between oh so many good food to choose from as a main course. However, I will show you the showstoppers!

Introducing U Bistro Tropical Grill! What makes this dish special is the side dishes consisting of grilled potatoes, eggplants, pineapple and midin rather than the usual mashed potatoes, broccoli and carrot. This lamb shoulders tropical grill is only RM22.80!

I don’t take meat but from my observation earlier on, the grilled selections are a must try! All the bloggers were eating quietly and on their faces, pure joy was very obvious.

The meat is well marinated and perfectly grilled, dry on the outside but moist and tender inside. You can always inform the preference of how well you want your meat to be, wether well done, medium raw etc to the waiter.

Scrumptious: Close up of the side dishes

U Bistro unique homemade green chill sauce, excellent pairing to the grilled meats. Don’t worry if you are not a fan of chili, you can always request for the normal sauce such as black pepper etc.

Suppose you are not such a big fan of lamb shoulders, you can choose from chicken, to beef sirloin, lamb cutlets, fish, or combo of everything for the tropical grill!

Beef sirloin grilled with love!

These lamb cutlets will please your taste buds!

U Bistro also have other selections of grilled dishes in their menu. They sure take pride in their grilled chicken.

U Bistro Grilled Chicken does not only looks good, tastes even better!

Want some tender chicken loving? Go on and give U Bistro a try!

Cyril is a big fan of U Bistro pizza, so, things would not be complete without some! We had Cheese and Herbs Pizza and Pepperoni Pizza.

Cheese & Herbs Pizza: Simple but precise in taste. The dough is just right, not to crispy nor too thick. Perfect.

Can never go wrong with a Pepperoni Pizza

If you are not such a big fan of grilled food, U Bistro has other dishes in their menu that might take your fancy. From pastas, sandwiches to local favorites like fried rice, char kway tiaw to name a few, there is always something for someone at U Bistro.

In a nutshell, U Bistro offers simple but delicious food made from the freshest and natural ingredients available. They don’t fry nor add any MSG into their dishes. They believe that food should be simple but wholesome. They want you to enjoy eating food and feel good afterwards. Breakfast is available in the morning and their lunch set is irresistible!

U Bistro does not serve pork or use any byproduct of pork. They do serve alcoholic drinks but do not infuse alcohols in their dishes.

Thank you so much to U Bistro for the invite, I truly enjoyed myself and you might be seeing me again, soon!

Love,
E.

21Bistro, Kuching

Replacing SoHo at Jalan Padungan, 21Bistro is a bar and restaurant established just two months ago. Curious to check out the place, Rapik, Aslan and I went there for dinner.

Turning vegan is probably one of the hardest thing to do in Kuching. I can’t blame the restaurants in Kuching for serving only 10% vegetarian menu since the population of hardcore vegan like myself is probably less than 10%. Hence, the only vegan meal suitable for me is the Thai Mango Salad. They have Wild Mushroom soup on their menu but unfortunately it was not available.

(Pardon me for the blur photos, I forgot to bring Cammy with me, iPhone was my only option)

Thai Mango Salad: A healthy option for a starter

I enjoyed the Thai Mango Salad. It was tangy, sweet and spicy (Nothing too hot) at the same time. The combination of ripe and young mangoes, cucumber and shallot is lovely. It is a fusion of the east and west as there were also some green leaves in the dish.

Aslan and Rapik shared a starter of deep fried calamaris. 21Bistro’s take on this super popular finger food is truly unique.

Deep Fried Calamaris with a twist

Instead of unhealthy mayo dip, the dish comes with a cencaluk dip! It is a bit unusual considering the fact that battered calamaris walk hand in hand with tartar sauce or mayo but because of the alternative dip, which is the cencaluk dip, makes this dish truly unique. Somehow it reminded me a lot of eating suntong ketuk (Literally hammered grilled squid or flattened with some sort of machine, usually available during the fasting month after the tarawikh prayers). Give it a try and I am sure you will love it!

Rapik had a tough time deciding his main course. He was torn between the selections of local dishes. He just arrived from a work trip in KL where he had a bit too much of Italian food and in desperate fix of something local. In the end, he chose the house speciality, 21Bistro Bee Hoon.

21Bistro Bee Hoon: Heaven for seafood lovers

Rapik absolutely enjoyed his meal. An avid fan of all things seafood, he thought the dish was perfect. One can either have this dish dry or wet style. The fish gravy simply tied together all the seafood goodness. Come on, nothing can go wrong when it comes to bee hoon, it is rice but in noodle form. Hahaha.

Aslan also had difficulties choosing. After a while, he settled for the NZ Rib Eye Steak.

NZ Rib Eye Steak

Aslan loved this dish. The meat was well cooked, not too dry nor bloody, tender and tasted wonderful. (Having a hard time typing this as a vegan, luckily, not a fan of beef since 2010 so, I am alright)

Overall, we had a pleasant dining experience here at 21Bistro. I can conclude that if you are a seafood enthusiast, this is the place to go because most of their dishes have seafood in it. Still, they have quite a selection of grilled meats like beef, chicken and lamb. They also have Penang Char Kway Tiaw (Perhaps I should request the chef to make a vegan version the next time I am there!). If you plan just to have something light, they have an extensive selection of drinks from the bar and yes, lovely finger food to compliment your drink.

Pricewise, I’d say it is sensibly priced. Of course don’t expect kopitiam price lah, it is a classy establishment.

Nevertheless, 21Bistro is definitely worth a try. Good place to refresh your taste palette from all the generic food you’ve had in Kuching.

Love,
E.

The Long Road to Athens

After a few short days in Manchester and Liverpool, it was time to say farewell to the United Kingdom and hello to Greece. I have been dreaming of visiting Athens for a very long time. Since a wee lass, the tales of Greek Gods and heroes never fail to fascinate me. From there, my longing to experience Greece came about.

Even with the unstable economy, Athens is worth the visit. The city is beautiful. The people are so wonderful. The food is lovely (And not as overpriced as Paris).

Manchester International Airport is boring but nothing beats KIA though…

I had high expectations for Air France, the airline we used to Athens from Manchester. Probably due to the small size of the aircraft, Business class on Air France on that particular route was rather disappointing.

Aslan looking very tired. 

Yours truly

The seat was slightly firm, the legroom was more or less like Economy on Air Asia.

It was quite an old aircraft. Nonetheless, the interior was clean but plain when it comes to decoration. Then again, who cares about flipping decoration.

Still, cabin crew was very friendly and didn’t mind when we spoke in broken French. I must praise their food quality though.

Light lunch but absolutely delicious!

Hello, France!

My first time at Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris. I used the Eurostar train for my last trip to Paris. Unfortunately, it was a short transit at the airport. We were chasing after time, hence, no photos of the airport. I love the design of CDG, very chic and youthful although can be a little bit confusing, especially for flight transfers from one terminal to the other.

CDG Airport, Paris

By the time we reached the departure gate, it was already time to board the plane. I thought I could check out the Hermes store but nah, screw that. If it is meant to be, it will meant to be…

The connecting plane was almost as similar as the last one. Dinner was roasted chicken with seasonal vegetables which I truly enjoyed. Dinner also came with a generous serving of blue cheese which I enjoyed (I am surprised myself because not really a fan of the infamous blue cheese before this flight).

Blue cheese, France’s national pride.

French version of tiramisu for dessert

 

Lovely chocolates courtesy of Air France

It was already dark when we landed at Athens International Airport or Elefthérios Venizélos. Duh, 1030pm, of course it would be dark. Silly me.

Athens International Airport from the tarmac

I was slightly puzzled when I realized there was no need to go through immigration after we got our luggages. It turned out that, when we got into Paris, customs already checked and stamped our passports. EU zone, so Paris to Athens is considered domestic flight.

We had three transportations to bring us to our hotel from the airport. Specifically, two cabs and Jo’s friend’s car. Once out from the air-conditioned airport, heat came over to greet us. Such a shocker after a nice cool summer in the UK. Meh. It was not so bad in the evening lah.

The journey to the airport took about forty minutes. Our taxi driver is friendly and quite philosophical. Typical Greek, eh? He made us feel very welcomed. The view of the city from the hilly highway is breathtakingly beautiful (from what I can tell from Aslan’s expression). Pity I lost my glasses somewhere in Glasgow, so, all I saw was blurred city lights. Meh.

 

As usual, uncle handed me the task of looking for the right hotel. After hours of researching and comparing, I recommended AVA Hotel & Suites situated in Plaka. It was the best decision ever.

Yes, Plaka is touristy but it was such a convenient and safe area to stay in Athens. I must admit, food is obviously more expensive compare to other areas in Athens but if you count in transport costs, it does not make much difference. Besides, nightly rate for AVA Hotel & Suites is affordable and decently priced compared with crazy expensive Hilton which is quite far from central Athens.

Every room at AVA is a suite, so, it is a steal when luxury is affordable. Does that make sense?

My bedroom; the duvet is a bit thin but it was alright lah.

The tv just next to the bed

The dressing table

The wardrobe and next to it is the lounge sofa, directly opposite the tv

The kitchenette

The wee but good bathroom

The cute shower stall

Uncle and auntie got the nicer suite, the Executive with the view of the Acropolis from their balcony. Apart from that, the bedroom is separated from the living room and kitchenette.

Just a sneak preview of uncle and auntie executive suite

Once we were all settled down, it was almost 1230 in the morning! Tomorrow will be an exciting day, so, stay tune for the next entry!

Love,
E.

A Little Bit of Glasgow

First day in Glasgow. Honestly, we did not do much. After check in and settling down in our rooms, we went to Buchanan Street to buy some groceries and that was it. Believe it or not, due to jet lag, I went to bed at 630pm. Damn.

My room at the Holiday Inn, City Center, Glasgow

The wee bathroom

Glasgow in summer is such a beautiful city, especially on a glorious sunny day. Such a welcoming homecoming.

Fasting here is a challenge. Sahur at 2am and sungkey at 913pm. AGH.

Okay, I will blog more soon, so sorry for the lack of photos, will do my best to take more photos.

Love,
E.

Summer Break 2012

After relaxing and resting for six days in Singapore, it was time to board the metal bird for the actual holiday.

Posing at the lobby with Mimi before making our way to the airport.

This was our first odd hour flight. Leaving Singapore at 230am! I spent the whole night trying to keep myself awake. I couldn’t count how many times I actually dozed off.

At the check in counter. First long flight with Emirates.

It is a treat indeed to be able to fly Business class. One of the perks being a member, one can use points for upgrade! The Emirates lounge at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 is okay but I still think Singapore Airlines lounge is nicer.

Chillaxing before the long flight.

Just a mug of hot chocolate for me…

While Aslan tried almost everything at the buffet spread.

It was  already 1am when it was time to board the plane.

Aslan putting away all our hand luggages.

Our seats, 7A and 7B

I love Emirates business class. Okay, that is an understatement. I love traveling business class, no matter what airline it is. It is a lovely experience indeed. Business class may be more expensive than economy but I think the extra fee for comfort is worth every penny.

Still, business class in Emirates Boeing 777-300R is a bit crowded with the 2-3-2 seat arrangement.

Ample space for my extra long legs.

Inspired by Kim Kardashian’s travel style, I decided to wear a loose leopard print top with a pair of tights. Comfortable but still is stylish.

All announcement in Arabic first, then English.

Socks, eye shades and noise canceling headphones my best friends to ensure a good sleep.

I love how Emirates does not switch off the a/c mid-flight like SQ. The cool temperature is important for a good night sleep. No photos of food onboard as I slept throughout the journey. I only woke up half an hour to landing time. Crazy, but true.

Before bed

After a good rest but I was not happy because my sleep was interrupted.

After 6 hours and 45 minutes, we reached the transit airport, Dubai International Airport Terminal 3.

Dubai Airport is probably the most packed airport I have ever been to, so far! It is narrow but ridiculously long in size!

Since we were only transiting, we didn’t have to go through immigration. But before we made our way to the lounge, we went through security check. When they opened up another line for me, I felt like a Queen. Hahaha.

My stay at Dubai airport was short but sweet. Perhaps I will go to Dubai for a holiday in the near future. Maybe during winter when it is cooler.

Before the arrival of bazillions people…

Emirates Business class lounge.

We spent less than an hour at the lounge. Even with the huge lounge, it was barely enough to cater for the large amount of travelers. Aslan and I then went on a hunt for Patchi chocolates.

After 20 minutes of searching and wandering around the never-ending long terminal, we finally found it!

Hard decision but this would be enough, for now!

The next flight was at 750am, taxing delayed things for almost an hour. The traffic at Dubai airport was just like the amount of travelers in the terminal, crazy!

Aslan and I

Goodbye Dubai airport, see you in a couple of weeks time!

Before the plane took off…

Some sceneries of Dubai from air…

Have lots of money to spend? Buy land and build a house here. :p

I think I slept for a good 4 hours and spent the remaining time listening to music, audiobook (Superfreakonomics) and watching movies.

Current favorite of mine!

Somewhere over Amsterdam…

Where am I heading to this time?

Glasgow, Scotland, UK!

This route is more laid-back compared to SIN-LHR-GLA. Going through Heathrow, London is a bit of a hassle with all the security checks and what not. Aslan and I have no problem with that but Aslan’s parents are getting tired of it. SIN-DBX-GLA route is definitely more relaxing but it takes slightly longer.

We will be in Glasgow for nine days and this is my first actual UK summer holiday experience. Excited!

 

I will blog more, I am so tired now. Must sleep!

 

 

35 Years Together

After I covered the SEDC event at Grand Magherita, I rushed to Rock Road Seafood Restaurant to join Aslan’s parents 35th anniversary dinner. By the time I got there, the starter dish was being served. I am quite disappointed they ran out of the preserved cabbage and the cold beancurd. So sad.

Throughout the years, Rock Road Seafood Restaurant food quality is unpredictable. Sometimes, delicious, sometimes not. A gamble, I daresay. Luckily for us, the food tonight was good and high quality.

Middle: Prawn salad Clockwise from top left: Crab meat dim sum, jelly fish in sweet chili sauce, turkey ham and baby octopus.

The common mistake when going to a seafood establishment is… Going overboard with the dishes. Fortunately, there was quite a number of hungry people, so, we didn’t waste a lot of food.

Oyster Pancake.

Fried bean curd with vegetarian sauce. I still prefer the cold dish version with century eggs, fried garlic and soy sauce topping.

Lovely fish, really juicy. I don’t know what it’s called. :s

Two dozens fresh oysters!

Peking duck, in which I don’t take but apparently, it is nice.

I taught Rapik how to prepare a Peking duck pancake thingy-bob.

Squid in satay sauce, excellent when taken with the steamed rolls!

Simplest joy in life!

Vegetables only came in later when everyone was already full. Wrong move. Should be served first.

Midin Garlic

Long beans with fried anchovies (pusuk)

Desserts consisting of fresh fruits, my favorite!

Papayas with limes

Pamelos and mangoes.

And of course, the night was made merrier when auntie and uncle sliced their anniversary cake!

35 years together and still deeply, madly, truly in love.

Happy 35th anniversary, auntie and uncle, many more years to come and hope God will always bless the both of you!

Love,
E.

Kembara Media 1Malaysia Mukah 2012 Day Two: Pretend-you-are-an-Engineer-Day!

Uncle Awang, Aliey and Hilda did a very good job on summing up day two of the trip. I am very impressed with how detailed their entries are, I, as a budding journalist, feel so ashamed of myself. Therefore, my entry will focus on our trips to RECODA, Sarawak Energy Coal Mine Power and Press Metal Sarawak. It was during the latter two visits that I couldn’t help feeling like an engineer. Teehee…

After breakfast, we were brought to RECODA HQ just behind Menara Pehin Setia Raja. It is an impressive building but a bit empty (You will find out why soon). With the rapid development brought on by SCORE, undeniably, the building will be bustling with activities sooner or later.

RECODA HQ as seen from the top level of Menara Pehin Setia Raja

RECODA. I am sure this name is pretty much alien to most of us. Overshadowed by the super huge SCORE projects, the 11-people-powered (Big success always begins with a small step!) RECODA or acronym for Regional Corridor Development Authority, is responsible in making SCORE a reality. It is the force that drives the development, implementations and achievements of SCORE.

Centre: Datuk Wilson Baya Dandot, CEO of RECODA
Right: Kamil Daniel Yap, Chief Investment Officer of RECODA

To be honest, before the very informative and insightful briefing by the CEO of RECODA, Datuk Wilson Baya Dandot and Chief Investment Officer Kamil Daniel Yap, I was quite an ignorant girl. I always thought that these projects are all about the money. Of course money is important but there are more than just money when it comes to SCORE. (I should have focused more in Economics class but frankly, not my cup of tea, luckily the presentation by RECODA managed to capture my attention.

It is about utilizing our vast natural resources for socio-economic growth. I will explain the concept in the following super simple flow chart:

Increased job opportunities from SCORE = More schools, colleges, universities, Human Resource Developtment Institution, R&D centres etc = More people moving to Mukah to look for job opportunities = More infrastructures to accomodate the growing population = Opportunities for other industries to grow

Bear in mind that SCORE is not just about dams and more dams. In fact, they are 8 key components of SCORE that RECODA aims to cultivate:

  1. ENERGY
  2. PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE 
  3. TARGETED INDUSTRIES 
  4. WORKFORCE 
  5. NEW GROWTH NODES
  6. INSTITUTIONS
  7. HALAL HUB/INDUSTRIES
  8. TOURISM
  9. PULP/PAPER INDUSTRIES

Thank you RECODA for the well-prepared briefing. For more information on RECODA or SCORE, click here.

Next stop is Sarawak Energy Bhd Mukah Power Generation just half an hour drive away from RECODA HQ. I’ve heard so many things about a coal generated power plant and well, honestly, the picture painted in mind was not a pretty one.

Surprisingly, the moment we arrived, the place does not look that scary after all. The perfect word to describe it is industrial. For a coal powered energy plant, it sure does look clean.

Look ma, no dirty smoke coming from power plant!

Closer view of the power plant

Sarawak Energy Bhd Mukah HQ

Before the site visit, we were briefed by one of Sarawak Energy Bhd engineer under Performance and Condition Monitoring, Norul Jimat.

Today was a day full of lecturers, reminded me a lot of the uni days…

Interesting fact 1: Did you know that they are only two coal powered plants in Sarawak? One in Sejingkat, Kuching and the other, here in Mukah.  There is a proposal of having a third coal powered plant in Balingian in the near future.

Interesting fact 2: Due to the advancement of technology, the latest coal powered plant is more environmentally friendly. If you refer to the above photo, coal is used to fire up the steamer. The polluted smoke will then be cleaned and filtered before released into the environment.

Interesting fact 3: Sarawak Energy Berhad saves a lot of money by having a coal reserve in Balingian (No need to import) and the coal ash from the power plant is sold to developers to use in producing cement.

Interesting fact 4: As for specialized workers, they are currently three foreign engineers while the rest are locals whom before starting their career here, were sent for training in China. Therefore, this power plant does not only is beneficial to the state’s economy but helps to improve the livelihood of the locals.

Interesting fact 5: The Mukah coal powered plant helps to jumpstart some of the industries in the area, for example, Press Metal Sarawak Sdn Bhd in which we will visit later.

After the safety briefing and retrieval of safety gears, the site visit began. I was nervous because I thought we would go into the power plant itself but luckily, nothing that extreme.

Yu Ji and I

Journalists at work

Industrial giant

To cool the super hot water from the boiler… Sure is complex!

I thought to myself, why did they give us the mask. My question was answered when I saw this sight. I respect the engineers working here, working environment is tough! I thought being a journalist is tough. Spoiled brat.

“You guys can’t pass as engineers. Inappropriate attires!” Said my engineer friend when he saw this photos of us pretending to be engineers… Hahaha. (Photo credits: Hilda)

Before proceeding to Press Metal Sarawak Bhd, we were served lunch by the lovely staff of Sarawak Energy Bhd Mukah HQ.

So sorry for the simple photo, was tooooo hungry to do a detailed shoot. Hahaha.

All I can say is… I had midin belacan overdose when I was in Mukah. Hehehe. Next visit, Press Metal Sarawak.

What is Press Metal Sarawak? I’ve heard of Heavy Metal but not Press Metal Sarawak or in short, PMS. I couldn’t help giggling every time someone mentions PMS. It has a totally different meaning to me. Hehehe. In layman’s term: They press the metal alumina to aluminum. Hehehe.

Press Metal Sarawak Sdn Bhd 1.2km long smelting plant

A little background story: Press Metal Sarawak  is owned by Selangor-based Press Metal Bhd, (80%) and Sumitomo Corp (20%), a company based in Japan. PMS is the FIRST primary aluminium smelting plant in Malaysia, located in Mukah, Sarawak. It is a plant that coverts Raw Material Alumina into Al Metal. PMS commenced production in Aug 2009 with an annual aluminium smelting capacity of 120,000 tons per annum. They produce primary alumimium ingots and billets for domestic and international markets.

Some of the end products at PMS

Aluminium fixtures that you often see around you are also produced here.

After the excellent briefing by Technical and Development Manager, Dr Siew Eng Fui, it was time for the site visit. (If you want more info on Press Metal Bhd, do click here). Again, we had to wear safety helmet and advised not to bring analogue watch and any liquid.

Interesting fact 1: The smelting area is super hot (Over 900 degrees Celsius, especially at the oven), any form of liquid could turn into steam quickly. And if the water is in a bottle, it could explode.

Interesting fact 2: The smelting area has a very strong magnetic wave, it could tamper with the analogue watch and disrupt any electronic devices. Pregnant ladies are advised not to go here (Not that they are any pregnant ladies in our group)

Enjoy the photo tours!

Control Room

The smelting pot/ovens. Looks like something from a Sci-Fi flick!

The Amazing Dr Siew at work, answering all the questions from the media, even if it’s 900 degrees behind him.

I am not entirely sure what this is (Was so awed by the alien like smelting plant, couldn’t focus on what Dr Siew said), but I think it is raw alumina. MAYBE. Someone please confirm this.

Leftover aluminium for sale if anyone is interested.

At the end of the day, just after showering, I realized how red my body became. Life is tough as an engineer, even if it is only for a day. Hehehe. Thank you Jabatan Penerangan Sarawak, Sarawak Bloggers, RECODA, Sarawak Energy and Press Metal Sarawak for giving me the opportunity to be a pretend engineer. I gained so much knowledge on this trip and I think Mukah will be the new destination where industry meets education. The site visits are so educational and inspiring.

That’s the end of today’s entry, stay tune for the next installment where we will focus on Mukah’s tourism!

Love,
E.

Kembara Media 1Malaysia Mukah Day One

My journey began with a flight to Sibu via Malaysia Airlines. It is now official, I have been to Sibu by all means of transport. The quick flight, about half an hour was like a dream. I was allocated seat 27C but since I always love sitting by the window, I moved to 27A. As I made my way to the seat, I met a very good friend of mine, Elaine! It was pure luck I got to meet her despite her hectic schedule as a stewardess. I wished we could have spent more time together, we haven’t seen each other for such a long time. Perhaps, that could be arranged someday.

Before any journey starts, here’s a compulsory jeans shot from me.

Goodbye KIA, see you again in a couple of days.

Kuching looked a bit hazy this morning…

My number 1 favorite airplane kacang.

Elaine at work

I waited for quite a while before I could steal Elaine away from her duties. Hehehe.

The moment the plane landed at the new Sibu airport, I had to rush to the baggage carousel and catch up with everybody else.

A friend of mine, Ms Azreen, was on the same flight! Lol. Funny how I only saw her in Sibu airport!

The new Sibu airport is not 100% ready but by the looks of it, sure is bigger and better compared with the old one.

We wasted no time in Sibu, after we retrieved our baggages, straight onto the chartered bus we went.

Our ride for the whole trip.

Sitting at the most front seat was a bad idea. The drivers here are ‘cowboys and daredevils’. Luckily the bus driver is very experienced.

First stop was lunch at the district office in Selangau. About an hour and twenty minutes drive from Sibu airport, Selangau is a very quiet town surrounded by lush greenery. We were greeted by the district officers and then was served really good lunch prepared by the local ladies.

It was from this lunch, everyone could guess I was on diet. I was probably known as the girl who ate little.

My lunch.

After lunch, we had a quick visit of the main area of Selangau. It is a very compact town, the general layout reminds me a lot of cowboy town.

Welcome to Selangau

The market area just by the river

The people of Selangau are very friendly, this cheerful mak cik sells a variety of local kuehs, among them penaram or the ufo kueh I call it, a favorite of mine.

Peaceful area to clear the mind before the journey continued…

A peaceful mind plus full tummy made the journey to Mukah a rather comfortable one. Mukah looks completely different from my memories. The first and last time I was in Mukah was in the mid 90′s.

Back then, Mukah was just about to wake up to development. Now, there is the iconic Menara Pehin Setia Raja in the center of the new Mukah town and all sorts of industry around it. Mukah is no longer a sleepy town. To be honest, I am quite impressed by the rapid development brought on by our government, specifically under SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy).

Undeniably, it seemed obvious that Mukah, on whole, is still lacking in terms of man power, especially skilled workers. To resolve this, the state government has a few plans of developing the minds of the local by building more schools in the area and soon, HR Training centre, UiTM campus as well as UNIMAS R&D Centre. (I will discuss this matter in the next entry, stay tune). Hence, Mukah aims to be Sarawak’s Smart City by 2030.

Mukah is a division rich with cultural background. Despite all the hoo-has with the rapid growth of industrial sectors such as SCORE, Tanjung Manis Halal Hub, Press Metal just to name a few, the more traditional industries from tourism (Pesta Kaul, homestay etc) to manufacturing local goodies like kuih sepit, sago and tebaloi still going on strong.

Mukah’s tallest building… For now lah…

During the media briefing by the representatives from Mukah Resident Office.

Mukah as seen from the highest floor of Menara Pehin Seta Raja

Hilda with Aliey

With Hilda of the Jelly Beans Collector, photo credits: Aliey Eyezie

Our ride, Lanang Bus.

After such a long journey, I was very pleased to find out where our home would be for the next few days… Kingwood Hotel Mukah! It is the best hotel in Mukah and the location is very strategic, right in the middle of town!

My roommate for this trip is Aliey of NTGravityZone.

Candid of yours truly waiting to be checked in taken cheekily by Aliey, an expert in taking candid. (You will find out why soon…)

Again, another one. I look posh, Angelina Jolie-ish. (Perasan much)

Our room was located on the second floor and oh, it may not be as luxurious as the room I stayed in Marina Bays Sands Singapore but it attended to all my basic needs AND, the A/C is top-notch. Artic condition in less than five minutes, my kind of A/C.

My side of the room. Lol, hope I didn’t snore… Sorry Aliey if I did. Hehehe.

The bathroom, I absolutely love the hot shower. AWESOME POWER SHOWER, y’all!

While Aliey decided to shower power, I had a power nap. Oh God, the bed, perfect. Thank you Jabatan Penerangan Malaysia Sarawak for placing us at such nice hotel. I feel so pampered and loved. Hehehe. Thank you Sarawak Bloggers for choosing me! Thank you Kingwood Hotel Mukah for the lovely hospitality. Definitely will try the resort the next time I am in Mukah.

Dinner was interesting. We were brought to Selera Hujung Kampung at Kampung Kuala Hilir Oya, about half an hour drive from Mukah where we had a welcome dinner with the 1Malaysia Komuniti Kuala Oya and Pekan Dalat. Also present was  YB. Dato’ Seri Muhammad Leo Toyad, MP of Mukah P. 213.

Dato’ Muhammad Leo Toyad is a very friendly MP. Humble and knows Mukah like the back of his hand. His best advice: Try the super fresh seafood. Thank you, Dato’!

Another candid taken by Aliey

Table buddies: Farhana from Utusan Malaysia, Caroline from Bernama and Hilda.

Yu Ji from the Star and Max from New Sarawak Tribune (Also a friend from my uni days at Unimas)

The food served at Selera Hujung Kampong is amazingly delicious. I enjoyed the midin belacan most, so freaking good.

Fresh umai! Even if I am partially Melanau, I don’t eat umai. *Gasp* I know, embarassing.

Ikan Asam Pedas: I am hopeless if you were to ask me to name the fish. It was fresh and good fish. End of story. Hehehe. Sorry y’all.

Chicken satay

Fried crabs

Grilled fish, smoky but juicy.

Midin Belacan!

There was also karaoke sessions (Thank goodness they didn’t ask Sarawak Bloggers to send a representative, phew, if I were to sing, a storm would be nearby) and lucky draws! Thank you Rozalinda of RTM Sarawak for being the karaoke savior for the media delegates. Lol.

Her performance was entertaining and divalicious. (Photo credits: Aliey)

Unfortunately, my name was not lucky enough, so I didn’t win anything but…

They presented us with a souvenir bag filled with the local traditional kuehs! Oh, love, love, love!

Thank you, Aliey, for this photo!

Group photo taken by Wee Hui Zheng

The night could have gone longer if it was not for our tight schedule tomorrow. We left for Mukah around 1030pm and oh my, it was such a good feeling when my body felt the bed. Stay tune for the next entry, it will surely blow your mind!

Love,
E.

Kafe Ayam Tulang Lunak

When I first saw their cafe signboard a few days ago, I was excited. The first time I tried this dish was in Bali. As usual, I have made it a habit not to get overexcited just in case reality spoils it for me.

Recently opened, I brought my roommate back in the university days, Amira, to try out this place with me.

 

Amira haven’t changed a single bit!

 

We decided to share their one and only signature dish, the Nasi Ayam Tulang Lunak RM 9.90. In Bali, they would pressure cook the chicken till its tender to the bones. Here, I am not sure how they do it. Perhaps the same method? Hmm.

I was a bit disappointed when I found out there was only one variety for the ayam tulang lunak dish, I was expecting a menu similar to the one in Bali. Told you reality would ruin everything for me. Meh. Apart from that, they have other usual dishes you can find in almost every cafe in Kuching. Whether they are nice, I am not entirely sure.

We waited for about 10 minutes before the dish was served. Drinks-wise, nothing too special.

 

Nasi Ayam Tulang Lunak

 

Serving size was quite generous. The chicken was undeniably tender, flavor was alright, a lot of local herbs and spices. The sambal was a bit bland, perhaps they decided to tone down the spiciness.

Overall, if you want to break the usual food routine, this can be a good place to start. Although I must warn they are going through the dreaded teething period. Waiting staff can be a little bit forgetful. The food presentation is not consistent. Cafe environment is quiet but mediocre.

To be honest, I am not really a fan of this cafe but if they improve more, maybe I will come back again.

Love,
E.

 

 

Damai for the Weekend

There is always something magical about going to Damai Beach Resort. When I was younger, whenever I found out from my parents we would be staying at Damai for the weekend, my face would lit up! So happy!

At the last minute, I made plans with Teh Kah, Mr Chin and my family for a one night stay at Damai Beach Resort. Teh Kah and her father never really been to the hilltop area, so we booked a Barok Suite while my family stayed at the Poolside Room.

Check-in was alright, I think they were understaffed that day, so, it was a bit slow. The unexpected crowd was quite a turn off. Besides from the crazy amount of tourists, there was also a beach wedding. So much for privacy.

Talking about privacy, since Damai Central was opened, the beach at Damai Beach Resort can get quite crowded coz they are sharing it. Meh.

The room at the Poolside is getting worn out and the carpet smells funny. I think it is time for them to do some renovation. If I had the money, I would invest in Damai Beach Resort. The main swimming pool area definitely needs upgrading. It has been over 25 years and nothing’s changed!

The beach is getting eroded badly, quite a change from 25 years ago.

I will let the photos do the talking.

 

At least the tv is a flat screen.

The bathroom

The 25++ years old pool area

Zhafri’s first swim!

The toddlers Sera and Darren

Zhafri’s not afraid of the water

Sera and I

The view from the balcony of the Barok suite on the hill top.

Aslan couldn’t really stay as he was busy with class. Nevertheless, he managed to spend some time with us

Teh Kah and I

Gotta love the view from the hill top swimming pool.

The highlight of the Barok Suite: Jacuzzi in the bathroom!

 

The Barok Suite is spacious but unfortunately, the room itself is getting worn out. So sad because it is beautifully designed. Pity that one paid so much money and yet, the facilities are not well maintained. Damai Beach Resort Management, please do something about this. Your resort always have the potential but if you don’t do anything about it, you will be screwed.

The interior of the Barok Suite, sorry for the upside down state. Hehehe.

The living room. A bit disappointed their tv unit is still a ‘vintage’. :p

Mum, Moi and Teh Kah

Teh Kah enjoying the mini waterfall…

The beach

I love this photo of us

Random shot taken by Teh Kah.

Imagining we are in Maldives… Hahaha.

 

The getaway was short but I came home with a new tan. Oh well, see you next time Damai. I hope you will be more magical the next time I stay there.

Love,
E.