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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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Food: Restoran Eight Treasure @ Taman Connaught, Cheras

For Sunday night dinners with Adam's parents, Bangsar, Cheras, Old Klang Road and sometimes downtown KL are our common choices because of where he stays. These are new (though slowly becoming familiar, after 4 years) and uncharted territories to me before we started dating, because I am PJ through and through. 

Damansara? Kelana Jaya? SS3? Sure.
Kuchai Lama? Gimme a GPS, please. :p (vice versa for Adam, I'm sure)

One night, Cheras was the choice, and we ventured in further than we usually do, finding this place: Restoran Eight Treasure in Taman Connaught. Business was still bustling at 9pm, which we took to be a good sign.

Not knowing what to order, we took the lady boss' recommendations while salivating at the food that was arriving at our neighbouring tables. The food looked good!

The first dish that arrived was this Steamed Minced Meat with Tung Choy, a cheery looking dish thanks to the smattering of reds and greens on top. The minced pork was silkily tender and the flavoursome gravy emitted, a testament to their superb marination of the meat. What we weren't expecting, however, was the fire those little red bits held! The chopped chili was extremely spicy, good for a kick, but we found ourselves omitting them to enjoy the flavour of the steamed pork. Eat with rice, or it will be too salty.

The Hairy Cucumber with Vermicelli in Claypot was great eaten with rice because its soupy nature. The julienned cucumber was stewed to softness, with a natural sweetness. We also liked the handful of salty dried crunchy shrimps, thrown in for some extra crunch and taste.

The Grillied Prawns with Chilli looked and tasted highly appetizing. The luminous, starchy sauce was a mix of salty and spicy, thanks to more fiery chilli bits and the use of fermented black beans. Prawns used were also fresh, witnessed by the bounce of the flesh and just how easy it was to peel the skin off.

The Poached Homebred Farm Chicken with stock and goji berries was the weakest link of the night. Though the flesh was quite juicy, the stock it was presented in was far too salty to enjoy properly. Someone in the kitchen must have been quite heavy handed with the salt that night - I sure hope it's a one-off thing.

The Homemade Yong Tau Foo (with their Stuffed Thai Green Chilli in the forefront) was also quite tasty, served Hakka style with a black bean gravy. The stuffing was adequately prepared with mackerel fish, giving it that pleasant bouncy bite that children love. They pride it as one of their specialties, though I'm inclined to think that you probably will be able to get better elsewhere. 

Though some dishes were too salty, the food at Restoran Eight Treasure gave us a very homely feel. May return if ever in the yong tao foo  area again and seeking out some tasty Chinese fare. Don't be tempted to try out the yong tao foo here though, since our experience was hardly satisfying. Better can be found at other yong tao foo shops around town. =)

Restoran Eight Treasure
No. 20, Jalan Waras 1,
Taman Connaught,
56000 Cheras, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 03 9130 1066
Opening Hours: Thu-Tue, 11:30am-3pm, 6pm-10pm, closed on Wed

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Food: Jim's Burgers and Breakfast @ Shah Alam

Update 14/03/13: Jim's Burgers and Breakfast has very graciously offered 25% discount for all readers of Drops of Contentment! Just simply mention our blog name and be entitled to this discount on your food (not applicable on drinks). Only for dine-ins. Thanks, Jim's! :)


We do like to travel far and wide to hunt for food when the time permits. While we do travel around Klang Valley quite a bit, we have precious few reviews about restaurants outside the KL/PJ area. 

Which is why when we got an invitation from Wawa to try out Jim's Burgers and Breakfast in Shah Alam, an area we're largely unfamiliar with, we had to think long and hard! But ultimately, we thought the quest for good food shouldn't be limited by a little problem like distance, so we agreed. =D

Jim's is actually located not too deep inside Shah Alam, just about two or three minutes away from the Management & Science University (MSU) campus, so it's not too hard to find. It is however located at a quieter (still a pretty new development for now) part of town, along a row of neighbourhood shops that also house offices, so the place is very quiet during weekends and non-working days. 

Jim's is operated by a young husband and wife team. Having newly opened, they haven't put in Astro services for the restaurant yet. But not to worry, instead of boring MTV, guests can have a go at playing FIFA on the PlayStation 3, projected on the big wall behind the counter! There are even competitions every now and then for those looking for a bit of friendly rivalry. We think it's a great way to promote healthy socializing. =D

Food-wise, the menu is very much Western-oriented in nature. Though the owners are Malay, don't expect to see any nasi gorengs or mee mamaks here! Having spent 4 years in Philadelphia in the U.S., Wawa's husband is no stranger to the American lifestyle, especially when it comes to food! Hence his endeavor to recreate as closely as possible the staples that make up a simple, but great Western diner. =D

And since Philadelphia is his main influence, obviously there must be Philly Cheese Steaks on the menu! Customers can opt for the regular Cheese Steak, or one that has additional pizza sauce on top. We decided to try the version with pizza sauce, Pizza Steak (RM 13.50), which looks like the pic above.

Don't expect fancy presentation of food here, but do expect a hearty meal! The Pizza Steak was really packed full with beef in the middle, with lots of melted cheese in between. The bread, though fresh and surprisingly soft, was a bit too thick for our liking, but of course no one is forced to finish it. Just stick with the beef and cheese and you can't go wrong! The pizza sauce on top adds a slightly sour flavour, though not a compulsory add-on in our opinion. Have it without to taste the pureness of a Philly Cheese Steak! =D

If you're looking for some lamb variety, how about the Grilled Lamb Roll (RM 7.50)? The size of this is much smaller than the Philly Cheese Steak, perhaps the equivalent of half. But even so, this is the size of at least a hotdog.

The bread roll is generously filled with meaty lamb mince and sauteed onions. Though we liked having the oft-unused lamb, I thought it tasted just a tad dry because of a lack of any sauce (mint sauce would have been interesting!) inside the bread, but that can be easily remedied with a squirt of tomato ketchup or mayo. This Grilled Lamb Roll is good for small eaters.

Philly Cheese Steaks and Lamb Rolls aside, Jim's does strives to serve up a mean burger as what their name suggests, and while we admit we didn't have high expectations, we were pleasantly surprised at what a tasty whopper they churned out!

With all the latest fancy burger joints popping up around the town, it's easy to forget what a traditional burger actually looks like. Jim's has forgotten none of it though, and they will remind you what you have been missing with their The Big Jim (RM 10.50) burger! (we added on Grilled Beef Bacon for an additional RM 2) The patty is a substantial amount of pure beef, with more onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and an ample amount of melted cheese as accompaniment. Do I pique your interest? =D

We were amazed at how juicy and succulent the patty was, and it was also just right in terms of denseness and texture. We especially liked that the beef patty wasn't over-processed, still having a good meaty bite to it. Both sides of the bun are lightly toasted and still fluffy which Wendy really liked (I say a soft bun makes it easier to compress the burger to fit in one big mouthful!) I dare say we made it a point to finish this one, even with all the other food on the table. =P

So while the Big Jim Burger appeals to the purist, the good people at Jim's have also been working in their own laboratory, trying to cook up personalized recipes of their own! In the last 3 weeks they have started a new promotion, called the Crying Jim's

Why Crying Jim? Because although it looks exactly like a Big Jim Burger, the patty inside the Crying Jim has been spiked with a cocktail of ground chilli padi, red chilli and green chili! Read that sentence again and see if the meaning begins to sink in. =P

This Crying Jim really is no joke. It's so hot, customers must sign a waiver form before attempting this burger, just to ensure the owners aren't liable for any problems that may occur after eating it (like acute stomach aches)! 

Can you count the chilli flakes?

When we first saw this, it immediately reminded us of the chicken wings challenge at Chilli Rush, albeit with a more local flavour! Just take a look at all that red in the burger - intimidating much?

As for the taste, well, at first bite it doesn't quite sink in immediately. Do note the presence of chilli is everywhere, there's just no way to avoid a mouthful of it no matter where you bite! Ah but after a second bite and then a third, the familiar burn of chilli padi starts to creep in, and before you know it you're gasping for another round of cold water. =P

So after a lot of gagging and sputtering, the pain begins to subside. And then you're left with this feeling of.......... DAMN SHIOK! Let's Have Another Bite! =D

Alas, no matter how gung-ho you may be, it'll be a major feat if even 2 people can finish one whole Crying Jim burger (we couldn't do it between the both of us, though Wawa tells us this new burger is a favourite amongst their loyal customeres). Don't bother trying this alone if you're not a chilli fanatic. Instead bring a few friends, or just try half the burger and tapau the rest. Trust us - there's definitely going to be leftover. Lol.

All the burgers come with a serving of crispy chips and a pickle. The chips are so crazily addictive, that even though we had so much food on the table, we couldn't help ourselves from snacking on them. Wendy was trying to guess the seasoning because the hot crunchy chips tasted special, but Wawa confirmed that it was just salt. 

And to wash down those Crying Jims, try one of the milkshakes on the menu! We had the Hershey Chocolate Milk Shake and the Strawberry Milkshake (RM 9 for the above, a regular size available at RM 6). We hear milk is actually better than water at alleviating the pain of a burning tongue, so we say this is a good combo..heh. Their milkshakes were creamy, but not too thick, while not too icy either. I wouldn't mind having another.

Ah, I nearly forgot about one more dish we tried, this time off their breakfast menu - French Toast or "Le Toast" as they call it. For RM 6, this is really a steal. 3 halved slices of thick toast coated in icing and maple syrup. Where to find in KL?! I actually would have preferred this to be slightly sweeter, perhaps with some more sugar. But then again I have a serious sweet tooth, so I think most would find this sufficiently sweet like Wendy did. This is a perfect breakfast snack, best shared with 2-3. =)

Speaking of breakfast, if you happen to be near Jim's in the morning, you can stop over here for all-you-can-eat cereal breakfast! Only catch is each person only gets one glass of milk. Each glass after that will be charged. But heck we thinks it's still a good deal. =D

You can even try doing the 14 day Kellogg's Special K Challenge at Jim's. (Best to steer away from the Cheerios and Honey Stars if you are :p)

As the Management and Science University (MSU) campus is just a few minutes walk away from Jim's, it goes without saying there are a lot of promotions for students, and a lot of emphasis on social media. There are plenty of special deals and discounts for those that show them some love on any of the major social media sites, so take note when you're paying a visit to Jim's.

So while we're not sure when we'll be in Shah Alam again, we're glad to say at least now we have one place to recommend here to you Shah Alam-ians! The owners here have put a lot of thought into sourcing good quality ingredients and it shows, especially in the burger buns/loaves. Pricing too is very reasonable for the portion you're getting. Who knows, maybe one day I'll be over here picking up the trophy after winning the mini Fifa tournaments. =D

Jim's Burgers & Breakfast | Facebook
No 1-07-01, Block 1 Presint Alami,
Pusat Perdagangan Worldwide,
Persiaran Akuatik Seksyen 13,
40150 Shah Alam, Selangor
Tel: +603 5523 6728
Email: [email protected]

Monday, January 21, 2013

Food: Restoran Chef Low 羊城海鲜饭店 @ Bangsar Lucky Garden

Like I often say, my parents (or more so my Dad) have a yen for trying new places to eat. There are hits and there are misses. Restoran Chef Low, established since the 1980s, is one of the hits that we're very glad to have found, right on the edge of Bangsar! With Chinese New Year just around the corner, perhaps those looking for a new place to take family and friends can consider this recommendation of Chef Low. =D

It's not that easy to spot this seafood restaurant; it's located behind TMC Supermarket, sandwiched between some car workshops. It's also the row behind where the Sanbanto branch in Bangsar used to be before it closed down.

The venue may look small, but it has a large wide space upstairs that can seat big families comfortably. They also continue taking orders well into the night, with last order at 11pm since Bangsar residents seem to like to eat late

To be clear, this post is a combination of 2 dinners at Chef Low; once with my parents, and once with Wendy's family to celebrate her Dad's birthday, hence the overload of food pictures in this post! There's a lot more still to be tried at here though, with a whopping 200 over items on their menu and counting. =)

Soups to start; admittedly soups aren't going to be the most memorable thing at the dinner table, but Chef Low still does a good variety. With my parents, we went for something simple, but close to home; ABC Soup. The bowl came to our table brimming with ingredients! Their rendition of this age-old favourite was good, a pleasant vegetable sweetness though nothing can ever beat our mums' versions. 

With Wendy's family, we tried the Szechuan Soup. As with Szechuan Soup that we're used to, we expected a tongue-numbing sour brew, but this turned out surprisingly bland in flavour despite its promising colour. It contained lots of edibles inside, like mushrooms, tofu, and seafood, but it just wasn't to be. 

Ah, what could be better at a Chinese dinner than a plate of Crispy Roast Chicken (RM 32)! I liked the how the skin was very crispy, and the chicken wasn't very oily. A portion of this is more than enough for 4 or more people to share. A larger portion for big families is available at RM 64.

For something more adventurous and artery-clogging, how about the Chinese Style Fried Bacon (RM 16)? Bacon hardly gets much love at the Chinese dinner table, but it should have more chance if this dish is anything to go by! Not a very large portion, but it's enough for everyone to whet their appetites on this porky dish. We loved how crispy and flavourful the bacon was, having been stir-fried with marmite and some chilli and lime for balance. 

Another traditional Chinese creation is the Yam Basket with Dried Chillies, Cashew Nuts & Boneless Chicken (RM 40). This is a nice dish to order at big dinners to share because the yam can get too filling. None of that here though, because this is a perpetual favourite of Wendy's family. Though it is on the pricy side for a standard yam basket, everyone agreed it was one of the best we've tasted. The chunks of chicken were large and tender, and the yam had a crispy exterior but had a great inner consistency, fluffy and moist.

Chicken and pork aren't the only meats on the menu, as Chef Low also has a few duck dishes. We tried the Smoked Duck, which was a cold dish suitable as a starter or appetizer. It was nice, but at a table of 10, each person only gets about one slice each, so don't expect many second or third helpings of the lean smoked duck. =P

For a change, we chose to have steamed pork ribs instead of the usual deep fried ones. Sweet Plum Steamed Pork Ribs was something we spotted off the specials board and isn't on their menu yet. The combination didn't really work for us. It ended up tasting a little Thai to us, thanks to the use of tomatoes and the herbs, only that it was sweet. Maybe they should consider a tom yum spare ribs instead - I think that would be awesome =D

For vegetables, we highly recommend the Combination Kailan with Dried Scallop (RM 30 for small). It's called a combination because the Kailan is done yin yang style, where the leaves are separated from the stalks and julienned before being deep fried. I really enjoyed the fine texture of the shredded leaves while Wendy liked the crunchy stalks. Add in the fragrant dried scallops, and we're well on our way to vegetable cloud 9. Remember: do order this when at Chef Low! =D

Do your vegetables always need to be green? Are fried vegetables still considered healthy vegetables? You'll have to decide on those difficult questions when ordering the next must-order dish, Pumpkin with Salted Egg Yolk (RM 12). Whether you consider this part of your vegetable dishes or not, one thing's for sure - everyone will love it! The sliced sweet pumpkin, with each strip coated generously with salted egg yolk was to die for, a marriage that melts in your mouth when hot. This was gone in two minutes. Not something that goes well with rice, but a great snack. =D

While meat and vegetable are good at Chef Low, what really makes the place stand out is the variety and quality of the seafood! At dinner with Wendy's family we tried a few types, like this Butter Mantis Prawn (RM 30 for medium-sized serving). Everyone usually talks about going to Klang to have mantis prawns, but these are just as good! The butter bits are fragrant and crumbly with the mantis prawns being crunchily addictive. 

Squid anyone? Chef Low's version of salt-pepper squid, their Crispy Squid with Chilli Spices & Herbs (RM 16 for small) didn't take our breath away. Though, the squid was fresh and springy, it arrived slightly cold to our table.

Of course,what seafood meal would be complete without crabs? We're happy to say that Chef Low does stock some pretty big crabs that can weigh from 800gm - 1kg each. Prices vary according to their market rate, so you can call up and enquire before you dine. We wanted the large crabs, so we called to get a quote and to reserve these.

There's many styles of crabs available for the more adventurous souls, while those looking for regular fare would have traditional cooking styles like the Stir-fried Crab with Salted Egg Yolk. Like the salted egg yolk pumpkin, the crab was also top notch. Each piece was finger licking good, with the grainy salted egg yolk complementing the sweetness of the fleshy crabs well.

For a version with lots of gravy, try the Chef Low's Special Stir-fried Crabs with Chilli Sauce. The redness of the sauce makes the whole dish look quite ominous, but rest assured it's all yummy in the tummy. =D The chilli sauce here was more sweet & sour than it was spicy, so this was a version that even the children enjoyed. Honestly, it was hard to pick a favourite between the two types of crabs we had.

A mention must be given to the Deep Fried Mantou we ordered to dip in the crab gravy. Chef Low gets these from a Taiwanese lady who makes them fresh daily. The crispy shell contains soft and greasy tendrils of mantou, perfect for mopping up all that chilli gravy.

It only seems fitting to end this long post with our perennial favourite, another item that's off their specials board. It's difficult to choose the best dish, but the Indonesian Claypot Prawns (the prawns go by weight, about RM 10-12 per 100 grams depending on the type of prawns you choose) certainly comes close for a lot of us.

The prawns were excellent on both visits, very fresh and fleshy, but what made them all the more enjoyable was Chef Low's special sauce. The Indonesian-inspired gravy was deliciously rich with coconut milk and curry paste, laced with fragrant curry leaves and spices. This was perfect paired steaming white rice. 

To wash it all down, we tried this dessert. Sea Coconut with Longan (RM 4 per pax) was very light and refreshing, thanks to the lemon slices. 

Though prices here are steeper than your usual Chinese go-to spot, but that is almost expected for the Bangsar area. This is some place we don't mind paying a little more for because we know that the food is good and the seafood, fresh.

With CNY coming in just three weeks, hotel set dinners and yee sang menus have already began making their rounds online. Unfortunately, not all of us can afford to be paying RM 1000++ or more to toss yee sang at the latest, fanciest joint for every single night right up to Chap Goh Mei... which is why we recommend Restoran Chef Low (as a gauge, dinner for Wendy's family - 13 adults and 3 kids cost RM 700 after tax with three big dishes of crab and even dessert) as a handy, yet tasty alternative. You might probably bump into us hosting a CNY dinner of our own here. =D

Restoran Chef Low
No 4, Lorong Ara Kiri 3,
Lucky Garden, Bangsar,
59100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: +6 03 2095 2766, +6 03 2201 2766
Opening Hours: Daily; 11:45am-2:30pm, 5:45pm-11:30pm (last order 11pm)
GPS: N3 07.705 E101 40.139

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Travel: Ao Nang Phu Petra Resort @ Krabi, Thailand

I've always wanted to stay in lovely, scenic holiday resorts where you get your own villa amidst sprawling greenery - no elevators, no boisterous children running up and down the hallway, etc. And I finally got the chance to during our short trip to Krabi last year in June!

Though we'd been to Krabi before in 2010, we decided to stay someplace different this time, and after loads of research (and a very glowing recommendation from our friend Joanne), decided on the lovely Aonang Phu Petra Resort.

Aonang Phu Petra Resort is about a 40 minute drive from the airport, and is nestled after a small, hilly, narrow path off the main Ao Nang street.

Adam handling the check in process.

The staff are very friendly and polite, and eager to please as well. Registration was relatively quick, and we even got a welcome drink and a cool tower to freshen up while waiting for our room key.

Once done, we got led to our room. Almost immediately, we were taken aback by how scenic and well-kept this little boutique resort was. 

Lots of tropical plants dot either side of the walking paths at Aonang Phu Petra, and large palm trees provide some welcome shade. I particularly loved the pink hibiscus plants that seemed to be in bloom when we were there. :)

Cute wooden garden lamps and labels. :D

Our Gloriyo Hillside Villa (poolview villas also available) was impressively large, all 44 sqm of it. We especially liked the high ceilings that made our room seem even more spacious. Unfortunately, we do have one gripe about the bed, that it was too hard, but all points against the room just about stop here.

I also loved the large sliding door entrance to our villa that allowed lots of daylight into our room. In between the bed and the sliding doors is a small three seater and coffee table.

Because it rained nearly throughout our entire trip, we were absolutely thankful for the DVD player & movie rental that Aonang Phu Petra provided! The movie choices and player are available at the reception. Thanks to the heavy downpour every night, we stayed in for most of our nights after dinner watching old movies, curled up with some Lays potato chips. :D

I think the bathroom might have been my favourite of the whole room though! I fell in love with the whole setting of the island basin with its stone finish, and the rest of the wooden walls (though likely the laminated wood type, but still created a nice ambiance nonetheless). 

The rain shower with glass doors was also lovely with its strong water pressure. There was also a nice big bathtub, next to that. On the toilet front, Aonang Phu Petra has an environmental policy which requests for you not to use too much toilet paper, and even if you do, dispose of it in their dustbins instead of flushing it down the toilet... which we found a little strange. The staff that helped us check in told us it was because of plumbing issues, but we found it a tad difficult to follow the instructions :S 

Other room amenities are pretty basic - a kettle, two bottles of water daily, and complimentary coffee & tea. All other tidbits are chargeable. 

There's also foam bath and shampoo provided in the washroom, besides the usual toothbrush and shower caps. The umbrella available in the closet was again handy, no thanks to the constant drizzle plaguing our trip.  It will also prove extremely useful because there is no covered walkway from the individual bungalows to the main building where the cafe is. 

As with all hotels, housekeeping will make their rounds every morning. Of course, if you're still in your room then they won't enter. But how to signal whether anyone is home or not? With the handy green slider on the wall as seen above, there won't be any awkward intrusions from the housekeepers. :D

When ready to go out, there's always the option of taking a dip at the pool! I assure you the view from the pool is exactly like the picture above, lovely aqua pool with grand surrounding limestone hills. #bliss

What's even better was the absence of guests during the times we used the pool, so we had lots of privacy! We presume most guests staying here like to spend their time exploring Krabi more than staying at the hotel, so the pool rarely gets its fair share of use. :)

After a morning dip, get ready to stock up for the long day ahead with a hearty breakfast spread! There were plenty of options, ranging from the ever-present Western food like sausages, bacon, eggs, toast, and lots of juice and cereal. Of course Thai delights like Pad Thai are available too upon request.

On our first couple days there the breakfast was laid out buffet style, but after that it was only cooked after ordering. We suppose it's better this way, since there would be less wastage.

So after a morning swim and a breakfast that doubles as lunch, there's nothing left to do but to start exploring  the charms of Krabi island! Since Phu Petra is a good 15 minute walk away from the main road along a small bumpy track, the hotel provides a shuttle service to the McDonalds in Ao Nang, which is closer to the beach and along the main road. 

A timetable is very useful, make sure you pick one up at the reception. But make sure the driver knows he has to pick passengers up, or else he may not be there later. Don't lose this handy "cheat sheet" for the wi-fi password to the resort's wireless is also there :p

If you have the luxury of time, Phu Petra also has a small selection on books, a games room and a small modest spa by the poolside where you can get massages. No doubt more expensive that those on the streets, but within the comfort of the hotel.

Found the thai letters on the keyboard so fascinating!

If you're like us, you'll find the PCs available in the lobby most useful - there's Adam replying your comments on the blog :p

So would we recommend Phu Petra for potential visitors? Yes we would! Though it's further away from the beach and main road compared to other hotels, the benefits in the serene and tranquil environment more than make up for it. (We've even had friends get engaged at this resort.)

Motorbikes are also available for hire all throughout Krabi and via the hotel with additional charges, so that eliminates the distance problem even further. (We tried renting one ourselves, but with no riding experience between us, it was a doomed endeavour).

The pool we miss dearly till this day.

So don't doubt the pictures - the landscape really is as good as it gets when staying at Phu Petra. :)

Our Krabi trip can be summed up as a great holiday, in a great place like the above, with the perfect company... absolute bliss!


Note: We booked our villa directly with the hotel for THB 2,030 per night for our trip in May 2012, inclusive of taxes, service charge & breakfast daily.

To read other Krabi-related posts:
Our Top 10 things to do in Krabi

Aonang Phu Petra Resort Site
521 Soi 11, Moo 2 Tumbol Aonang Ampur Muang
Krabi 81000, Thailand
Tel: +66 75 626 666
Fax: +66 75 626 667

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