Travel: Our Macau/Hong Kong Getaway (6D/6N)!

Follow our 6 day, 6 night adventure in these lands of amazing food, awesome culture and astounding sights. See how we ate, shopped and laughed our way through Macau and Hong Kong! :)

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Food: Sin Chua Kee Seafood Restaurant 新蔡记海鲜饭店 @ Kuchai Lama

For those who don't know, we're usually quite stuck when it comes to Chinese restaurants. We don't have the habit of trying many new places, and we tend to stick to the same restaurants once we find a good one. These days we visit Sin Chua Kee quite often to fix our Chinese food cravings. Take note the food in this post is compiled over multiple visits, which is why there are so many pictures in this one!

How to get here: Turn off Old Klang Road at the Pearl Point traffic light, go straight up the hill all the way till there's a row of shops on the left. Turn into the road, and at the corner will be Sin Chua Kee. Parking isn't a breeze but we don't usually have a problem with it. 

As a seafood restaurant, obviously they do a lot of crab and fish dishes, but their normal food is pretty good too! On a particular visit there, they had a promotion for individual bowls of Sharks Fin Soup. A few combs of actual sharks fin could be seen in each bowl of soup, which is rare for sharks fin soup served in cheaper establishments. The soup was a tad on the salty side, but it still was good value for money. 

When we have a crab meal, we also have a few noodle dishes to go with it. The Cantonese Fried Yin Yong Noodles is well done, as the fried noodles are crispy while the mee has enough 'wok hei'. I'll admit it was a bit on the salty side as well, and I usually have a higher tolerance to salt already. The portion is big enough to feed 4 with no problems. 

The saltiness continued with our order of a small plate of Hokkien Fried Noodles to share. The noodles were thick and toothsome, but unfortunately this was a again too salty for our liking. We suppose the chef was a little too heavy-handed with the salt on that visit. 

Having a go at their Stir Fried Kai Lan proved to be a wise choice, since the leaves are freshly sweet and tasty even though it's just a simple stir-fry. A distinct ginger flavour accompanies the vegetable as quite a lot is fried in too. 

The Steamed Fish we had that night was also excellent. The lady boss promised to pick us a nice fresh fish and she certainly didn't disappoint (though it was wasn't easy on the pocket, either). The flesh was soft and flaky but not crumbly, with the right springiness to indicate it's a fresh fish. Steamed with soya sauce, and it's a perfect combo to go with rice. =D

The Asam Squid at Sin Chua Kee was good, especially lathered over steaming white rice. The sauce was delightfully piquant and just sour enough to whet your appetite. The squid rings were fresh and bouncy with a good bite and the accompanying ladies' finger chunks were cooked well, through and through. The plentiful gravy was all lapped up. :p

On a separate visit we also tried a Butter Chicken, the nai yau variety done with curry leaves for that extra fragrance. This was acceptably tasty, but it was disappointing that the serving was smaller than we had expected and that the pieces of meat used were exceptionally bony.

We also tried their Stir Fried Tau Miu & Bean Sprouts. Tau miu, whom some also call sweet pea sprouts, is quite oft-unseen in the Klang Valley but always a welcome addition to the dinner table. Its plump green sprouts are firm and juicy and mixed with taugeh, or bean sprouts, made for a crunchy affair. This was simply fried with minimal salt and garlic so that you can still enjoy the fresh sweetness of the sprouts.

Sin Chua Kee also does a Mixed Vegetables with Lotus Root very well. The vegetables all remained crisp, sweet and crunchy, something Wendy wouldn't mind having on its own as a snack.

After all that, you're probably wondering what seafood we have apart from fish! Well usually every meal is accompanied by 2 kilos of crab, each kilo cooked in a different style. I have a penchant for butter and cream, so I will normally ask for Butter Crab, or Nai You Hai. Don't care whether it's the dry version or the version with creamy gravy, as long as there's butter! The buttermilk bits were excellent, stringy and fragrant. Greasy, but you will not be able to turn it down.

And because parents always say eating things steamed is the best way to enjoy the flavour, we will usually have a steamed crab too. In my family, it's not in our genes to eat small crabs; the time spent cracking tiny claws and shells open is not worth it for little bits of flesh, so we usually make sure the restaurant has big crabs before we order. Sin Chua Kee is one of the few places we can get satisfyingly big crabs (I think it's usually the Indonesian variety) at average prices (about RM40 a kg?). This variety of Steamed Crab with Egg was surprisingly comforting, with the natural sweetness of the crab flesh well preserved.

Other times when Mum gets her way, then I won't get my butter crab and Mum will get something spicier, like this Sweet & Sour Spicy Crab. Whatever style it is, the crabs here are always well cooked, and we have a jolly good time going through the lot! The sauce was great, tangy and appetizing at the same time.

Having the Sweet & Sour Spicy Crab will also yield some mantou for dipping! These small fried buns are a must-have during crabs to dip in the thick gravy. While we can't say these are the best mantou we've ever had, it's still done very well and we try to fit in as many as we can on top of everything else we eat at the same time. 

So next time a group of friends want to have a gathering, or a family dinner rolls around with no specific venue, think of Sin Chua Kee! Do come especially for the crabs and other seafood, as prices are reasonable and the food is far above average. =D

Sin Chua Kee Seafood Restaurant
No 47, Jalan Kuchai Satu,
Taman Lian Hoe, Kuchai Lama, 
58200 Kuala Lumpur
Te: +6 03 7981 6023

Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy 25th Birthday, Adam! :)

So, if you’re still reading this, you’ve probably realised we haven’t posted in awhile. That’s because we’re currently away on a week-long holiday in Hanoi, Vietnam and this is a scheduled post.

Why scheduled specially for today? Well, today is the day Adam turns 25! And since I haven’t gotten anything for him just yet, I figured a blog post dedicated to him would be a pretty good distraction for him while I hunt for the perfect gift. *crosses fingers

We’re not really one for online public displays of affection. No “I love you, beautiful” on my Facebook wall, or “my handsome boyfriend” captions on photos. In fact, I just commented on a picture he posted up recently on Facebook, and he questioned me on why I did that because it was “so weird”. -__-

(So yes, this post is probably going to make him feel all grossed out; hopefully in a good way. Heh.)

Super young photo from 2008!

Back in 2008, we were in final year, doing the dance of are-we-are-we-not throughout the second half of the year. In between lots of late nights on MSN, he asked for a Nutella cheesecake for his birthday that year; I gladly complied. Our friends also made us do a really embarassing dance together (I hope I have destroyed all photos of that), and soon after the birthday boy crashed out after downing a whole bottle of bubbly. Quite a night to remember.

After our final results, we started going out seriously, and I suppose you could say the rest is history, bringing us to today. :)

In 2009, we went up to the Skybridge at Petronas Twin Towers. I camped out for tickets at 6am in KLCC and surprised him with the tickets. The view wasn’t impressive, but hopefully I scored points for effort?

The 21st birthday up in the air.

The gifts that year, his & hers flip flops (HAHAHA, so I got something for myself too) and a leather belt for work.

That was also the year I planned him a surprise birthday party with close friends, and baked yet another cake for him, this time a Mars Bar cheesecake.

Yes, Adam used to wear braces!

In 2010, I got tired of baking birthday cakes and instead, decided to gather people to chip in for a PS3! (when a boy has a toy, they somehow forget about cakes. Phew! :p). I also brought him to a nice dinner at Hajime, which has now sadly closed. :(

Cake which I didn't bake. HAHA.

See? Works like a charm.

2011 was a tad quieter; we went for a quiet dinner at Bora Asmara. The ambiance was lovely, with a four piece band that walk from table to table to serenade you. The food was poor though.

Gorgeous setting.

That year, was a tough one because I had to top the PS3. I knew he'd been wanting a watch for awhile, so I decided to get this one we saw once while we were shopping, but engraved it to be a little more special. Adam is also the kind of guy who likes cards, because it was more personal, he told me. Thus began my career as amateur birthday and anniversary card maker! That year's card was modelled after our blog header, because it was also the year we started blogging our thoughts more frequently.

Back to baking this year - Oreo Inception cookies! Cookie in a cookie.

There was also a bigger celebration with friends, at GTower where everyone got the chance to dress up, except the birthday boy (notice how he's in polo tees every. single. year?)

Us with some of my friends.

That brings me to the 5th birthday that we are celebrating together this year, and yes, the 4th as the girlfriend. Each birthday has been memorable, trying to put a smile on his face with little surprises and I hope I will be doing it for many more birthdays to come. #yesIknowyourbuluromaisstanding

So dear, I hope you're having a great holiday so far in Hanoi! Happy birthday, and here's to a year filled with fun adventures and fulfilling moments for you. Love, Wendy.
p/s: This blog post shall be your present for now okay? :D

*Ahem, please distract Adam with a birthday wish in the comment section below so that he doesn't realise I have no present for him just yet. Thank you very much.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Food: I'm Spicy @ Section 17, Petaling Jaya

SS2 and it's surrounding areas have never really been known for Thai food when we were younger, with Sri Siam being amongst the only few we remember. That's been changing in recent years though with places like myElephant in Section 17 (which is an upcoming post!) and Seeri Authentic Thai in Chow Yang. Now we have even more choice for Thai food with I'm Spicy occupying a quiet little corner lot just on the outskirts of SS2!

The easiest way to describe where I'm Spicy is; after going straight at the traffic lights heading to SStwo Mall from the ex-Rothman's roundabout, turn right and right again into the row of shops up the slope. At the corner will be I'm Spicy, the only brightly lit shop among other closed or darker spots. If you're familiar with eating around that area, a better landmark would be Kanna Curry House, where I'm Spicy is just down the row from.

Although it's a corner lot, there isn't space for a lot of customers. We advise booking in advance if coming in a big group to avoid disappointment. For small groups of 2-4 though, walking in shouldn't be a problem. 

Presentation is lovely at I'm Spicy; our rice (only Jasmine rice is served) came in cute heart shapes. The portion above cost us RM2.80 but you can also opt for a portion that serves approxminately 4 for RM 11. Don't know if you'll still get a heart on your plate though!

The menu at I'm Spicy isn't very wide, but what they do have represents what all Malaysians have come to expect at Thai restaurants, together with a few surprise additions! We started off dinner with Deep Fried Chicken Skins (RM12); an entirely unhealthy snack you can find at the night markets in Phuket or Krabi, yet oh-so-heavenly for the chicken skin lover. If you're the type that doesn't waste your (and your friend's) chicken skin at KFC, then you must try this! Our other experience with fried skin include the Keropork at Hungry Hog, but this is much leaner without as much fat or oil, so we'd prefer this instead. 

A tip: it goes great with the accompanying chilli dip! Give it a try if you don't believe me. :D

What's a Thai meal without tom yam soup? Not a very good one, we're afraid! At I'm Spicy, diners have a novel way of deciding how spicy you'd like your food - it's either 1 chilli (just enough kick), 2 chillies (don't be silly, give me the chilli), 3 chillies (I brush my teeth with chilli), or even 4 chillies (mama put chilli in my milk). Laughing out loud at the descriptions of each level, we decided to hedge our risk and go for 2 chillies, because let's face it, I don't have a stomach of steel when it comes to hot food.

While I found the taste alright, I did think it was a bit of a small portion even for 2 people. We counted only 3 little shrimps in this supposedly Tom Yam Seafood (RM 18). We were spot-on with the 2 chillies level though - I think 3 chillies would have been our absolute limit. 4 chillies would have just tasted like chilli water to us. Wendy found this tom yam slightly lacking on the sourness, however. 

Another staple we usually try is the Green Curry with Chicken (RM18 for small). This was a bit unique, in that instead of the eggplants that are usually found in green curries, this one substituted it with mushrooms instead. Not sure why, because eggplants tend to absorb the aromatic spices and coconut milk a lot better. This curry gravy was more on the thick side, but not too spicy for us. Sadly, we both felt again that the portion sizes were a bit lacking. 

For something different, we decided to try their Grilled Pork Skewers / Mu Bhing (RM18). Pork is a rarity in Thai restaurants in Malaysia, but this is exactly what invoke memories of the roadside stalls in Thailand selling all kinds of meat on a stick. Just like the chicken skin, this has to be eaten together with the sweet dip provided for the best possible flavour. The meat was extremely flavourful and charred to give it a nice smoky flavour. It also goes very well with rice, even though it's a pretty dry dish. Each of our skewers also had a little bit of fat at the top, which I thought was a testament to the consistency here at I'm Spicy so far!

With a relatively good Thai dinner, there was no other way to end it except with an order of Mango with Sticky Rice (RM 10). The presentation was near-perfect, with the rice shaped in a perfect replica of the logo at I'm Spicy! Alas, the same couldn't be said of the taste, as the mango wasn't sweet enough, maybe a case of not being ripe enough or perhaps just the wrong type of mango, and the rice grains tough, instead of fluffy and sticky. There also wasn't enough coconut milk with the rice that we had to ask for more, and even then it couldn't save our disappointment. If you're coming to I'm Spicy, we advise you to try your luck with other desserts.

For drinks, we were recommended the I'm Spicy House Drink - a lovely ice-blended concoction comprising lime, lemongrass, mint and pandan. I had my doubts and reservations when I saw the mint and lemongrass words, but it turned out to be for naught! This was one of the most refreshing drinks we've had for a long time, and it paired perfectly with all the spicy food we had. Wendy loved the lingering aftertaste of fragrant pandan, while I just loved how it took away the burning sensation from the chilli! At RM15 a jug, we felt this was money well spent. =D

I'm Spicy is a place we wouldn't mind returning to. There's pork meat for you swine-lovers, and parking is very easy at night. The only thing hampering us from giving it a higher recommendation is the price vs. portion issue, as we felt the portion of soup and curry was inadequate for the price they charge. Prices like this compete with myElephant just a few roads away, and while this is good, it's hard not to recommend myElephant first for their better ambiance and more extensive menu. =)

*For the full set of photos, visit our I'm Spicy album here.

I'm Spicy | Site
(same row as Kanna Curry House)
No. 1, Ground Floor, Jalan 17/45,
46400 Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Tel: +6 03 7954 2281
Opening Hours: Mon, Wed - Sun; 12pm-3pm & 6pm-10pm
GPS Coordinates: N3 07.122 E101 37.782

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