Sunday, August 13, 2017

What to Eat in New Imbi Market (ICC Pudu) @ Kuala Lumpur

If you want to know the definition of 'variety' in Malaysia, check out the new Imbi Market (ICC Pudu). There is almost nothing you cannot find here and something for every appetite in terms of Chinese hawker food. If you are in the mood for some Chinese breakfast and too indecisive that morning, just hop on the STAR LRT. Walk 15 minutes or so and let the fated stall pick you by the nose. Unless you have a never ending gut, one trip is definitely not enough to say you have tried the best food here.
The sea of people enjoying breakfast at ICC
The huge grey complex is indeed home to so many hawker stalls that the sight of them can be paralyzing. All my senses were pricked when I entered. My eyes grew larger as they bounce from one hawker stall to another. My ears picked up all the sizzling and clanking of woks. Despite my excitement, I felt that the ventilation definitely needed some work. As I went inner into the food court, the air was stuffy and could pass as a sauna! I ended up seating closer to the entrance.
The old Imbi market has shifted to the Integrated Commercial Complex (ICC) 
Kaya Butter Toast, Soft Boiled Eggs and Local Coffee
This is one of my favourite Malaysian breakfast. The old village taste of the simple kaya and butter toast followed by the slurp of the soft boiled eggs is unwarrented. After that, finish off with sweet sips of the aromatic local coffee. There is one stall at the corner particularly busy with the toaster. He even had newspaper clippings of what I believe to be review of his food on the wall of his stall. When compared with other stalls, indeed, his toasts were crispier. Another talk of the town is Ah Weng Koh's toasts and Hainanese coffee. I will have to try them the next round.
This toast stall seems like the popular one
The classic Malaysian breakfast. Perfect!
Put Zai Gou (Earthen Bowl Cake) and other Chinese Sweet Cakes
This one is a delight to see! The traditional Chinese sweet and sticky cakes are still made in these tea cups here. I recommend the pandan flavour as it is more fragrant than the brown sugar ones. Usually eaten on a stick, these cakes reminds me of the way Hong Kong people like their tea time. This place won't miss out other Chinese kuihs (cakes) like ang ku kuih (red cake with bean filling), jin dui (rice balls) and layered cake.
The traditional put zai gou (earthen bowl cake)
Chinese cakes and sweets
Imbi Road Pork Noodle
This pork noodle stall became famous when the market was still in Jalan Imbi. For pork noodle lovers like myself, this stall is on my must-eat list. The broth is clear yet sweet with essence of pork. An additional egg simply made my whole weeekend. 
The famous Imbi Ming Kee pork noodle store
Enjoying my bowl of pork noodles
Ah Fook Chee Cheong Fun
One of the most prominent things of the food court is the beeline in front of Ah Fook Chee Cheong Fun. Their curry gravy is said to be worth the wait. Not knowing that earlier, I chose their sweet sauce and found it to be nothing out of the ordinary. Their fish filling is quite meaty with fish flesh though. Another item on my list the next visit!
The queue at Ah Fook chee cheong fun stall
The long awaited plate of chee cheong fun
Bunn Choon Egg Tart Stall
Another stall worth mentioning is Bunn Choon's egg tart stall. Even without my mention here, you will surely be tempted to try when, again, you see their queue. The egg filling is silky and smooth. However, it was not as fragrant as I thought it would be. They did quite a good job with their pastry though. 
The crowd at Bunn Choon egg tart stall
Original egg tart and charcoal egg tart
On the first floor, are fruit and vegetable stalls and also stores that sell household items. Perambulating the floor after a heavy breakfast is enjoyable. The market was just 11 months old when I visited it. It still smelled of fresh cement and paint while accommodating occupants that have been long trading in Jalan Imbi.
Fruit stalls at ground floor
Who needs glasses when you have magnifying glass. Look out for quirks at the market!

Intergrated Commercial Complex (ICC)

Jalan Kijang, Pudu, 
55100 Kuala Lumpur

03-2111 1111

Opens everyday 9am-6.30pm
Closed on Mondays

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Top 5 Iconic Mosques in Selangor

Eid Al Adha (Haj celebration day), is a festival that is celebrated across the world in Islamic communities. It is the second most important festival in the Islamic calendar which marks the end of Haj, which falls on 31st August this year.

Appreciation of awe-inspiring Islamic architecture is not limited to only Muslims. Beautiful domes, artistic arches and the whole majestic facade have plenty to say about Malaysian history. My first trip to the mosque caught me by surprise as I did not expect myself to be immersed in its designs. 

Here are the top 5 most iconic mosques in Selangor recognized by Tourism Selangor

When visiting the holy buildings, do remember to dress decently (covering arms and legs). Remember to bring a shawl or scarf too. 

Selamat Hari Raya Haji!

Appreciation of the mosques is not limited to only Muslims. Masjid Kristal is the first mosque I entered and I still remember the beautiful impression it gave me. 

Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque

Also known as the ‘Blue Mosque’, it is the largest in Malaysia and also in Southeast Asia. It is situated beside the Raja Lumu Lake in Shah Alam.
For details: T +603 5519 9988 / 7966 7977 I I GPS 3.078940, 101.519824
Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque
KLIA Mosque

The Sultan Abdul Samad Mosque or better known as KLIA Mosque is situated close to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
For details: T +603 8319 0200 / 603 8319 0300 I I GPS 2.78782, 101.67645

Sultan Abdul Samad Mosque a.k.a. KLIA Mosque

Sultan Suleiman Royal Mosque

The mosque’s architecture is of Western Art Deco and Neoclassical styles. Attractions are the Tangga Diraja (royal stairs) from Istana Alam Shah and a royal mausoleum, mesmerizing stood in Klang.
For details: T +603 3371 6044 I I GPS 3.03477, 101.45052
Sultan Suleiman Royal Mosque

  Alaeddin Mosque (City Mosque)

Built in Kampung Bandar, Kuala Langat in 1924 by Almarhum Sultan Suleiman Shah, this mosque was inspired and inaugurated by HRH in 1926. Once the Selangor State Mosque, HRH often read the Friday sermon here.
For details: T +603 5519 0050 I I GPS 2.85791, 101.44299
Alaeddin Mosque a.k.a. City Mosque

Sultan Ibrahim Mosque

It is the district mosque of Kuala Selangor. Located at the city centre, the mosque was completed in 1985 and opened by the late Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah. It was named after the 18th century ruler of Selangor, Sultan Ibrahim Shah, who reigned from 1778 to 1826.
For details: T +603 3289 1439 / 6331 I I GPS 3.32833,
 Sultan Ibrahim Mosque

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Time I Went Overseas AGAIN Just For My Michelin-Starred Pork Noodle Lunch

I do not know if it is the kiasu-ism or what! Singapore has not only 1 but 2 Michelin-starred hawker stalls! The moment I found out about the other Michelin stall, I was resolute to cross the border again. I die die must try!
This time, Michelin Starred Pork Noodles!
The pork noodle store is a little out of the tourist limelight, unlike the chicken rice stall in Chinatown. So I brought along a friend with me (but I also really wanted to share the joy of eating with you LY if you are reading this =)) Apparently, there are two ways to get to Tai Hwa Eating House. Stop at the Lavender MRT station or Bugis MRT station and from there, ask your way there. In my case, I followed a Singaporean friend.
Crossing the causeway for lunch!
Tai Hwa Pork Noodle at Tai Hwa Eating House. Can you see the queue from here?
Happiness was short-lived after I spotted Tai Hwa Eating House. Happy because we finally found it and short-lived because it was the queue that made us saw it...from across the street! My goodness! Before our next wave of happiness of stuffing the noodles in our faces, we must first be tested by the incredibly long line of customers, all with the exact same motive as ours. What on earth is in that bowl of noodles that is worthy of this madness!
If you are at the end of the line, it would take 1.5 hours.
If you are already at the corner, you would need roughly 45 minutes till its your turn
Such excitement getting close to my turn!
This closed-up picture of the stall is a result of our applause-deserving patience. 90 minutes of persistence and motivation just to get our lips on the Tai Hwa Pork Noodle. Of course, I rewarded myself with the larger bowl. My legs will protest if I want to get in line again, just in case what I ordered was not sufficient.
Staff who work like robots without break
Dry Pork Noodle SGD 6 (regular) SGD 8 (large)
A bowl of noodles comes with pork slices, pork balls, minced pork, fried fish and liver slices. Now I understand why it has caught the attention of the Michelin referees. The noodle is indeed toothsomely springy. Roll the bowl of noodles in their savoury sauce which is packed with a punch of vinegary flavour. The piquancy of the seasoning makes the eater quite obsessive (me at least!). The liver is skillfully cooked just to the border where the rawness disappears, making it al dente while preserving the gaminess of the liver.

Hor Fun Pork Noodle in soup
Their hor fun is one of the silkiest I have tried. Just when I thought I couldn't find any kuey teow that matches the one the chicken rice shop in TTDI uses, I found this one! Smooth and good-textured, order a bowl of this when you get the chance to queue 1.5 hours in Singapore.
Their pork balls in soup are pretty ordinary but it was worth another bowl on its own anyway
Good food is worth the wait! I am all for crossing borders, taking flights and queuing for hours for a good meal or hyped-up food but lets wait till I regrow my patience for the next round of pork noodles.
What better things to do while waiting than selfie with my favourite twins!
Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodles 
466 Crawford Lane, Tai Hwa Eating House #01-12 Singapore 190465 (Lavender or Bugis MRT)
(Behind Immigration and Checkpoint Authority Building)
Tel: +65 6292 7477
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 9:00pm (Closed on 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Zap Those Pigmentation Away with Q-Switch Laser at Clinic MF

My battle with pigmentation continues and I arrived at Clinic MF. The Q-Swith Laser, one of the most technologically advanced lasers that is FDA approved, is fast gaining popularity in Malaysia and being at the forefront of aesthetic treatments Clinic MF offers the treatment at all its branches at an interesting fee.
With Aesthetic Physician Dr Daniel Yap
The Q-Switch laser is known for cleansing out embedded dead cells which includes both superficial and deep hyper-pigmented conditions. With this technology, it can:
  • treat age spots
  • treat melasma
  • treat vascular lesions
  • remove tatoo
Patients do not need to have problems with their skin to benefit from the laser treatment. It also:
  • speeds up skin renewal process
  • minimize pores
  • refine lines
  • brightens skin tone
The reception area of Clinic MF
Accreditation of doctors
The consultation session with aesthetic physician, I must say, is a commendable one. Dr. Yap thoroughly explained the reasons of my pigmentation, the options that I had and how to prevent acne scars from recurring. I sensed sincerity in his consultation and it upped my trust towards his recommendation.
Consultation with Dr Daniel Yap
This treatment can be done not only the face but also other parts of the body that is pigmented. For me, I chose to give my back priority in treatment because I have been battling acne scars on my back for years.
The comfortable and clean treatment room
The Fontona Laser Machine
Clinic MF's treatment room is comfortable and, most importantly, clean. Their nurses and doctors will ensure your needs are attended to. Having to bare my back, the nurse helped me feel easy during the whole treatment. 

The Q-Switch Laser procedure:
15-20 minutes for pre-cleansing
15-20 minutes for Q-Switch laser
20-25 minutes for Hydrogel Mask, mosturiser and sunscreen
Zap those pigmentation away!
I went straight back to work after the treatment and there is no down time (rest time) needed. 
There was no peeling, swelling and burning sensation although the marks are a little darker immediately after the procedure. Dr Yap explained it is because the blood flow is increased under the skin at treatment area, boosting renewal of skin cells and collagen. 

After just 3 days, I started to see my scars fade.

After the procedure, remember that:
  • Consistent application of sunscreen for protection even at home is important
  • Hydrating mask or moisturizer 3 ties a day for the first 5 days should be applied
  • Normal facial is allowed
  • Normal facial wash is allowed
  • Products like foundation, make up, face powders and concealers are allowed
Do note:
  • Not to sun tan or undergo artificial tanning
  • Do not scrub or exfoliate for the next 2 weeks
  • Do not apply toner for first 3 days
Clinic MF at Midvalley
1st floor at Midvalley Boulevard
Clinic MF (Mid Valley branch)
51-1, The Boulevard,
Mid Valley City,
Lingkaran Syed Putra,
59200 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-22888328/ 011-35373307

Clinic hours: 10am-7pm (Mon-Fri) 10am-5pm (Sat) Closed on Sundays and public holidays

Clinic MF (Atria branch)
Atria Shopping Gallery
Atria Damansara
SS22/23 Damansara Jaya,
47400 Petaling Jaya

Tel: 03-77326422

Hock Kee's Fook Chow Red Wine Mee Suah @ Lot 10 Hutong

Before leaving Fook Chow, China, Madam Gong's mother recieved a jar of her mother's Fook Chow red rice wine as a goodbye gift. Forever separated from her family ever since, cooking the Fook Chow red wine mee suah was how she relived her memories of her origin. The love for her home translated into mastering not only the art of making red wine mee suah (rice noodle) but also other Fook Chow dishes.
Cooked with chicken, its broth is certainly appetizing

Madam Gong who inherited the recipe of Fook Chow dishes from her late mother
Getting good Fook Chow red wine mee suah usually involves travelling to Setiawan Perak. It is a must have dish when you visit that part of Malaysia. Travellers to Pangkor and Lumut would also be recommended to make a lunch or dinner stopover at Setiawan because the dish is rare anywhere outside that town. Now, it is here in Lot 10 Hutong!
The mother-daughter team, Madam Gong and Jeassy
Hock Chew Claypot Red Vinasse Chicken Mee Suah RM15.00
Although unabashedly in bright crimson, the aroma of the Hock Chew Claypot Red Vinasse Chicken Mee Suah is the harbinger of its arrival. Simmering in a claypot, I could not stop taking whiffs of its smell, redolent of red vinase a.k.a. red wine. I cannot help but keep stuffing spoonfuls of the scrumptious soup into my mouth during intervals of slurping up my mee suah. The fermentation of the wine naturally balances sweetness and sourness. When cooked with chicken, the broth is appetizing in a special way. Ginger tactfully boosts the fragrance of the pot of soup. Parents can be rest assured that the dish is safe for children as there is no alcohol content in it. In fact, it has its own nutritional values too.

Guess what, this Red Wine Mee Suah sells out during lunch time! 

The dried thick and thin mee suah can be bought here too
Deliciously red, but it won't wait for you whole day. It sells out fast.
Hock Chew Dried Mee Suah RM10.50
As a wholesaler of mee suah, Hock Kee has lots of opportunity to vary their mee suah menu. While usually mee suah is immersed in soup, they have theirs seasoned in dark sauce too. Observe the al dente texture of the Hock Chew Dried Mee Suah. Accompanying the strands of noodles are home made tau fu pok with filling.

Hock Chew Red Vinasse Pork Rice RM11.00
I surrender to the Hock Chew Red Vinnase Pork! This dish sent me to cloud nine. Pork cutlets glisten with a coat of thick red wine sauce. Pop one in the mouth and close your eyes to savour the smokey hints of red wine flavour embedded in the meat.
Their red wine pork is divine!
Home-cooked Braised Pork Rice RM13.00
The dark sauce gravy of the Hock Chew Braised Pork  is too good to not be eaten with rice. The savoury seasoning of the tender meat is perfected with generous amounts of garlic. Definitely makes a satisfying lunch for me.

Hock Chew Peanut Soup RM5.00
Now the Fook Chow Peanut Soup is a rarity that is usually only made for home consumption. To make it even more uncommon, only in kitchens of Fook Chow families. For RM5.00, we can now enjoy the nutritious dessert boiled with peanuts, longan and red dates. This bowl of traditional Chinese dessert is soothing and calming with chunks of peanuts to munch on. 
Madam Gong's pot of peanut soup is limited everyday
Hock Chew Fish Ball Soup (4 pcs) RM9.00
You most probably have eaten fishballs with meat filling and thought it is a luxurious version of fishball. Little did we know, it is a Fook Chow clan heritage! Each fishball is springy and envelopes a bit of minced pork with tasty broth inside. So be careful not to spill the soup when you bite!
If you see fishball with meat filling, it is the Fook Chow style
Lot 10 Hutong
Lot 10 Shopping Centre,
Food Court Lower Ground Floor,
Jalan Bukit Bintang,
50250 Kuala Lumpur.

Opens 10am-10pm