Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sky Mirror Sasaran Beach 沙沙兰天空之镜 @ Kuala Selangor, Selangor

Henry Tan | 3:11 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!
On our way back to Penang during our 4D3N KL Trip, baby and I went to the famous Sky Mirror Sasaran Beach (沙沙兰天空之镜) located at Kuala Selangor. This is not a spontaneous one as we need to do the booking in advance to secure our spot. From my finding, most of the travel agency are almost similar, in term of price and itinerary. Read on to know more about my trip!

Sky Mirror Sasaran Beach (沙沙兰天空之镜)!

The agencies are actually interconnected, we actually booked our trip with 天空之境 Sky Mirror-蓝天号 Sky Blue but we ended up with another one - Manta Ray 曼达雷 - Tour to sky mirror 天空之境. So I believe they will pass you to other agency if theirs is full and probably earn a little commission from there. 😂

Our trip costs RM70 per person and deposit of RM40 per person is needed in advance to book our seat. The fee paid inclusive of the return boat trip to Sasaran beach and Swan Island, insurance, a packet of Nasi Lemak and a bottle of mineral water. 

We were required to gather at a temple (仙法师公古庙) at 7 in the morning. The agent we hired was kind enough to send us all the details and even remind us a day before to arrive on time. Do take note that being punctual is crucial as the sky mirror effect only appears for a certain period due to low tide. 

Baby and I reached the temple quite early and witnessed the crowds getting bigger, some came by cars and some even came by tour bus! So you can tell how popular is Sky Mirror Sasaran Beach. We parked our car behind the temple and paid RM5 for the parking fee. Be sure to go to the toilet first as there's none on the Sasaran Beach itself. 

We were being assigned according to the boat number, some will be given a wrist band for easy-identification. This was the time when we were being passed to another agency - Manta Ray. So together with us on the boat, there were another 6 pax tourists all the way from Taiwan. 

As usual, the tour guide shared with us about our journey, the place we were going as well as the living creatures that we seen along the way. However, the weather was not good enough, our small boat was being bullied by the strong waves, so most of us were being splashed with seawater. 

It took us about 45 minutes to arrive at Sasaran Beach. It was quite amazing to see a big piece of flat sandy beach appears just like that after the low tide. By the time we reached, there were already full of people with bright colorful clothing. 

The scene that caught our attention the most was that the guides will just lay flat on the beach just to capture a great photo for you. In order for the sky mirror effect to work best, bright sunlight and flat surface of seawater (without wind) are needed. 

Unfortunately, during our visit, the sun was scorching hot but the wind was too strong that it causes ripple on the water surface. And of course, the tide was way too low that you cannot see a perfect reflection.  Hence, all the blurry reflection! 😕😕😕

Nevertheless, we still took quite a lot of photos and have fun ourselves. Just like when life gives you lemons and you make lemonade out of it! Surprisingly, after the Sky Mirror Sasaran Beach, we were heading back to jetty. Where's our Swan Island as per itinerary?! Well, since we were being passed to another agency, the trip itinerary is different too. Who can I blame? 😞😞😞

The only good thing about Manta Ray is that they are new in the business and they offer video shooting service for free until end of 2017. So here's our video taken and edited by Manta Ray: 

Overall, I think Sky Mirror Sasaran Beach maybe a good place to try. But you will need a lot of luck to get perfect condition for the sky mirror effect, otherwise, it would just be another beach outing. 😐
Oh ya, due to the seawater splashing, my DSLR is officially dead after so many years with me. 😭

Here are some of the reminders:
1. Breakfast is not provided, so take yours before arrive
2. Arrive earlier as you will still need to find your group and get yourself ready
3. Get yourself a waterproof bag to keep all your gadgets as waves can be too strong
4. Prepare another set of clothes as well to change
5. Wear bright colorful clothes for better contrast in photo
6. Put on a lot of sunblock and bring along hat/cap and also sunglasses
7. Pray hard that everything goes right

Check out the video I made my own! :D

Till then!
Have a great adventure! :D

Monday, September 18, 2017

Yoshiya Japanese Restaurant @ Sungai Petani, Kedah

Henry Tan | 10:26 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
During our trip to Sungai Petani, we went to Yoshiya Japanese Restaurant, one of the few Japanese restaurants available in Kedah. The restaurant actually quite near to Central Square, the place I used to passby frequently when I was a kid, but I have never set foot into it.

Yoshiya Japanese Restaurant, Sungai Petani

Yoshiya Japanese Restaurant located at Taman Petani Jaya, near to the highway exit of Sungai Petani (Selatan/South). It is a bit secluded as it is hidden at one of the shop houses inside a housing area. Yoshiya Japanese Restaurant has been opened for a long time, so no worry, you can easily find it on Waze!

Upon entering the restaurant, there are two types of seating, the tatami style and the normal seating, similar to Miraku Japanese Restaurant at G Hotel Penang. Since the tatami style seating are quite unique, most of the time are full, so reservation is needed and remember to specify the desired seating.

The first one we had was Chasu set (RM17.80), which consists of Chasu Ramen, mini Unagi Don, fruit and Cawan Mushi. The Chasu Ramen was quite okay but would be better if they are using the onsen egg instead of hard boiled egg. Unagi was way smaller than the photo illustrated in menu, but taste wise, still acceptable.

Baby ordered Salmon Cheese set (RM19.80), which comes with fried salmon, udon, rice, fruit, Cawan Mushi and Miso Soup. According to the friendly waitress, this is one of the most popular dish. We find it unique as the cheese was hidden inside the fried salmon, just like Cordon Bleu, wrapped around cheese, breaded and deep-fried. Crispy breaded skin on the outside, melting cheese from the inside. Certainly a good try especially for cheese lover!

We added on another ala carte dish - Dragon Maki (RM10.80). The Dragon Maki was quite good too given the excessive fish roe as the topping. The price was okay too but given the location in Sungai Petani, I believe this is their acceptable price range.

During our visit, Yoshiya Japanese Restaurant was full house, I supposed people find it a good place for friends and family gathering during the weekend, after all there are not many options in Sungai Petani too. If comparing to the other limited neighboring Japanese restaurant in Sungai Petani, Yoshiya Japanese Restaurant is consider as the best.

Go try and let me know how you think!

Yoshiya Japanese Restaurant
Lorong 24, Taman Petani Jaya, 
08000 Sungai Petani, Kedah

Opens daily from 10.30am - 11.30pm except Tuesday
Call 60 4-421 9228 for reservation!

Till then. ;)
Happy Food Hunting!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Healthy Delicious Dishes with US Potatoes

Henry Tan | 3:32 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
Thanks to the invitation from US Potatoes, we attended the exclusive cooking demonstration of "Healthy Delicious Dishes with US Potatoes" which was held in Wembley Hotel Penang last weekend.  

Healthy Delicious Dishes with US Potatoes

US Potatoes is the US national potato research and marketing organization which based in Denver, Colorado. It represents more than 2,500 potato growers and handlers across the country and to promote the benefits of eating potatoes. As the largest vegetable commodity board, US Potatoes is proud to be recognized as an innovator in the produce industry. 

The event started off with the introduction to US Potatoes by Mr. Richard Liew, the Trade Promotions Director of US Potatoes. Thanks to Richard, we learned to differentiate all the various type of potatoes such as russet potatoes, yellow potatoes, red potatoes, white potatoes, purple blue potatoes, fingerling potatoes and even the petite potatoes. 

After that, the dietitian, Ms Khoo An Jo, shared with us on "Good Carbs - Fact of a Healthy Plate". She started off by debunking all the myths of carbs and then taught us on the new concept of healthy plate proportion - #sukusukuseparuh or #quarterquarterhalf. Which means, whatever we learnt about the food pyramid back in the days is no longer appropriate! 

Credit to Lam Wah Ee Hospital FB

Lastly, the cooking demonstration by Chef Audee Cheah, the President of Penang Chef Association. All of us were waiting eagerly to try out the international award winning chef's dishes namely, US Potatoes and Prawn Kerabu, Curry Chicken Stuffed US Potatoes,  Kimchi Seaweed US Lattice Cut Fries and Chili Flavored US Potato Wedges in Lettuce Cups. 

Each of us were given the souvenir book with 4 recipes attached. 2 of them were using fresh US potatoes while the other 2 were using frozen US Potatoes. A few fresh US Potatoes were given to us as well to try out on the recipe our own. Since we got russet potatoes, so I made mashed potatoes as a side dish instead of following the recipe given. (p/s: I didn't follow the #sukusukuseparuh too! 😂)

These white to pale yellow flesh of russet potatoes makes heavenly mashed potatoes due to their light and fluffy texture after baked to perfection. Since it is a bit pale, I added finely chopped parsley and black pepper to give some color contrast. To make it even better, I mixed in diced Eryngi mushroom to give the soft meaty texture to the mashed potatoes. Yummmsss! 😋😋😋   

Overall, I think it was a great event for us to understand more about US Potatoes and most importantly, we will start using more US potatoes in our cooking! Afterall, a healthy plate of food is all about the right proportion - #sukusukuseparuh! 

Till then! ;)
Happy food cooking! 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Pho Street, Vietnamese Street Delight @ Sunway Velocity Mall, Kuala Lumpur

Henry Tan | 8:24 PM | | Be the first to comment!
During our 4D3N KL Trip, we had our Vietnamese street delight dinner at Pho Street which located in Sunway Velocity Mall. We wanted to try something new, something not available in Penang, so ended up here enjoying the taste of Vietnam. 

Pho Street - Authentic Vietnamese Delights

FYI, Pho is a famous Vietnamese flat rice noodle which goes particularly well with beef. It is originated from Northern Vietnam which the history dates back to the late 1880s. Each piping bowl of Pho in a light yet flavorful broth hits the spot every time. 

We had the recommended Pho Beef Combination which consists of beef balls, beef slices, beef shank, beef tendons and beef tripe, costs at RM18.90. We were slightly disappointed with the food presentation since it looks different from the illustration in the menu, probably too much of soup covering all up the ingredients. (Refer to the end of the post for the menu.)

Nevertheless, we were satisfied with the Pho Beef Combination, given that reasonable price since it is located in a new mall. Taste wise, it was great as I had been craving for beef for a while even before our trip. Besides the tender slices of beef, the comforting beef broth makes it perfect. 

We also ordered Dry Bun (rice vermicelli) with grilled beef and spring roll which costs RM17.80. This was something new for us as we never try it elsewhere. The Bun served with a crunchy mix of vegetables, pickled carrots and radish with an appetizing sweet sour sauce. Again it varies a lot from the menu's illustration. But if you want appetizing food, this is it!

Since we were having Vietnamese food, for sure we would not missed out on Che Trang Mieng (Vietnamese Desserts). We had Cream of Mung Bean (green bean soup 綠豆汤) with Coconut Sauce (Santan/Coconut Milk) & Crushed Peanuts which costs RM7.90. I am not a big fan of coconut milk, but the crushed peanuts really complements well with the sweetness and crunchiness

 Click to enlarge.

Overall, I think it is worth a try. Will we go back again if we happen to be in Sunway Velocity Mall? Probably not, unless I am craving for Pho Beef. But you should know that normally I don't take flat rice noodle (Kuay Teow Th'ng) at all if is not for Pho Beef. So maybe you may like Pho Street if you are a Pho person. Try it out and let me know how you think about it too!

Sunway Velocity Mall
Opens daily 10am - 10pm


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

White SoHo @ The Scott Garden, Kuala Lumpur

Henry Tan | 9:23 PM | | Be the first to comment!
During our 4D3N KL Trip, we stayed at White SoHo, The Scott Garden which located at Jalan Klang Lama, Kuala Lumpur. I have chosen this place since it is the most affordable one yet near to Bangsar South where I attended FA Advisory Mid Year Conference. This was the second time we booked through Airbnb since our last trip exactly a year ago at Regalia Residence

In case you do not have a Airbnb account, 
(You and I will get RM65 travel credit each!)

It was our first time to stay or even visit to a SoHo Duplex since duplex is quite rare in Penang. Baby and I are quite fond of such duplex style, perhaps next time we should get ourselves one before having kids. The duplex SoHo with 20ft ceiling height is suitable for our own stay/office/home-office. It is big enough for two person but small enough to clean the whole house by ourselves. 😂

We booked our White SoHo from Suki, unfortunately she was not free to entertain us. Thankfully her helper, May, was friendly enough to guide us. May guided us to the carpark and handed us the key. Security of the building is good as you can only access the lobby door as well as the lift to your floor by using the designated access card.

Overall, I think the White SoHo of Suki was quite nice and cozy. All the necessities are available such as TV, fridge, cooking utensils, washing machine and even water dispenser! I have to compliment the availability of water dispenser as it saves our time to cook or even money to buy. Suki subscribed to HyppTV as well whereby there are plenty of TV channels for us to watch.

The bedroom upstairs is simple and nice. Baby likes the wallpaper as it gives a comfy feeling instead of just the normal blank wall. All is good but I would hope that there is electric wall socket next to the bed, even better if it comes with USB port for ease of charging phone! The bathroom with semi-transparent glass is quite kinky, but we love it! 😂

Looking out the nice big picture window to a great view of KL city was rather enjoyable especially when you just relaxing at home. It allows more of the natural sunlight and makes the living room more lively. Reading a book next to it would be a great thing to do! 

During my stay, both of the day I was out for meeting and conference, so I didn't get to enjoy the facilities such as the swimming pool and gym. In the evening, baby and I just went to walk around to explore. It was unfortunate that Tesco no longer there, but you can get still get from mini-market or 7-11 (There's also Starbucks!) at the shop lot right below the SoHo. There are quite a lot of pubs at Scott Garden too, so I supposed staying high floors can only avoid those noises. 

Anyhow, if you happened to visit KL and looking for a place to stay, head over to Airbnb and book White SoHo from Suki! Around RM100 a night is quite affordable in my opinion given that the SoHo is fully furnished! 

Go try it out and let me know! 

Till then!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Kellie's Castle @ Batu Gajah, Perak

Henry Tan | 11:32 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
During our 4D3N KL Trip, we drop-by Kellie's Castle at Batu Gajah after having our breakfast at Ming Court Hong Kong Dim Sum in Ipoh. Museum/historical place is not really our thing but since it was our first time and we just wanted to go somewhere we both have never been before. 

Kellie's Castle - Not for the Faint-Hearted!

Since I used to be a licensed tour guide, I did learned a thing or two about Kellie's Castle. It was believed that William Kellie Smith actually built the castle out of love for his wife - Agnes, just like Taj Mahal where King Mughal Shah Jahan built it for the wife. So Kellie's Castle was supposed to be a romantic place. So why ended up it is haunted? Read on!

When you are visiting to Kellie's Castle, there is a bridge linking it from the entrance to the castle. Entrance fee is RM5 per adult, RM3 for children below 12 years old and RM4 for senior citizen above 60 years old. Meanwhile, for foreigners, the entrance fee would be RM10 per adult and RM8 per children below 12 years old. If you are interested to do pre-wedding photoshoot, you will be charged for RM50 per still camera.

Many would not know that the building that is seen from the roadside or entrance is actually not the main front-facing building. As you would noticed, there is not any front door or main entrance welcoming you to enter but rather a small path leading to a enter thru a side door. 

Kellie's Castle consists of Scottish, Moorish, and Tamilvanan Indian architecture, which was believe to model the secretariat building of Kuala Lumpur. It was built with thick walls to insulate from the tropical heat and multiple passageway to aid the ventilation, which were crucial for his beloved wife and newborn son to get used to the weather after moving from Scotland. 

Unfortunately, the construction of Kellie's Castle came to an abrupt halt with few incidents such as the broke out of epidemic "Spanish Flu" as well as his sudden death due to pneumonia when he was in Lisbon, Portugal to collect his "lift/elevator" for his Kellie's Castle. Agnes and the family was too heartbroken that they decided not to come back and sold it off.

The new owner, a British company called Harrisons and Crosfield, was never interested in the castle and so it was left half-completed until today. Over the time, rumors has it that it was haunted with the soul of the owner, William Kellie Smith, overlooking his estate. Some said that even at night, one would hear some noises or even see shadow of a human walking at the passageway. 

Kellie's Castle deteriorated further during World War II where it was believed that the bombing of Japanese destroyed part of the castle. Only in the recent years, efforts have been made by the Perak state government to rescue such a priceless architecture.  

Personally, I feel that the castle is similar to those western country where there is a river surrounding the castle to protect it from the intruders. It was claimed that there used to be crocodiles in the river back in the days too. 

So do you think it is haunted?

 Or a romantic place for Pre-Wedding Photoshoot?

Let me know in the comment below! Share with me if you have heard stories of it or even personally experience. Overall, we had a great time there, mainly taking photos. For me, I would prefer to believe in the romantic part, like how I wish I could be rich enough to build a castle for my family and the legacy to live on! 

Kellie's Castle
31000 Batu Gajah, Perak, Malaysia
+60 5-365 3381

Opens daily from 9am - 6pm
Last entry at 5.30pm

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