Sunday, September 28, 2008

Groupbase/Thaibase Restaurant - Bandar Sri Damansara

The Oasis in Bandar Sri Damansara

Bandar Sri Damansara is not well known for its cuisine. Developed by Land and General this township esp. (SD6-15) has several decentralised small commercial areas rather than congregating it all together at one location. This did not encouraged big players and investments in restaurants. However, it made the township quiet and peaceful.

Hidden at one corner of the Tanjung area is this gem of a place called ThaiBase. It has foliage growing upwards right in front of the shop that gives the impressions that it is an oasis amidst the concrete and asphalt.
The Oasis - The first floor has 'al fresco' dining for smokers and this area has a nice balcony feel
It occupies a double lot and has a very useful first floor for customers overflow. It is a more like our latest KopiTiam in concept and ambience. They have a big menu for food, beverage and even desserts like cakes. Having tried a few of its items on different occassions I have settled for their curry laksa, assam laksa and Johor laksa. Cendol will be my dessert. Besides I also called for a plate of vege which is at RM6 for a big plate. It would have cost me RM10+ in a 'tai chow' place.

Latest Post on Groupbase 3rd July 2013.

Bill: RM21 - Food and drinks
Location: Jalan Tanjung SD 13/2 (Behind Maybank and RHB)
Camera: Nokia E90
Tel: 03-62721184

Johor Laksa - I have dug in before I decided to blog so pardon the slight mess. Thick tenggiri fish pulp, tasty soup base (very little MSG) but not enough cucumber and large onions slices.
Nasi Pattaya - My son's carbo fixLady's Fingers with Garlic - Mind you it has a fistful of garlic thrown inCendol - Lots of Gula Melaka and Carnation Milk

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ipoh Chicken Rice, Jalan Gasing

This shop has been around for ages in Jalan Gasing, Petaling Jaya. I never fail to drop in for a bite each time I can manage the time when I am nearby for business. It is air-conditioned and the food prices are 20-40% over and above what we get from the coffee shop stalls .

The varieties have been expanded since the early years where they have the standard 'white chicken' with bean sprouts. Side dishes were pork and fish balls. Now they have roast chicken, roast pork, char siew and some spicy dishes as well as some Asian-styled salad.

In the 80's I used to noticed that a huge plastic bag of bean sprout will be left outside the shop doors in the morning. It seems that it was transported from Ipoh. Now I am not too sure cause there seems to be bought over by new owners.

Good white chicken though its meat has a bit chicken smell - RM11 for 2 pax
Bean Sprout fresh and crunchy - RM3 for 2 paxPork Balls - my favourite anytime RM0.70 eachMui Choy Kuw Yoke (portions just nice for 2 to share RM7
The bean sprouts from Ipoh is can be easily distinguished by the short and stubby stem, small head and a very short root/tail. It should be crunchy and leaves a distinctive raw vege smell when crushed in the mouth.

The quality of the beansprout is attributed to the waters of Ipoh that flows through the limestones hills of the Kledang Range. I used to go there from Buntong and swim in the waterfalls where the waters are irresistable and invigorating.

The waters there weighs more than waters from elsewhere due to the absorption of minerals. Having said that 'water' tofu and all tofu related products are the best due to the usage of these waters. The same goes to 'hor fun'.

I hope someone can one day do a scientific test for these' claims'.

Talking about waters I must relate this 'claim' from Nicole Kidman the Australian actress and ex-Tom Cruise and now married to country singer Keith Urban. Her 2 children with Tom were adopted. At 41 she gave birth to a baby girl in July.

She attributed her pregnancy to guess what? Some waters from a waterfall in a small town called Kununurra in northern Australia. She was filming there and swam in the waters. Another 6 women who swam in the same waters were pregnant too. Seven babies were conceived out of that film. She called the waters there "fertility waters".

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fannie, Freddie, Merrill, Lehman, WaMu and AIG

Get a Nashville songwriter and a sad R & B can be composed out the these names.
I bought my first house in a rather circuitous but careful manner. I chose three wise men and asked for their counsel. They were prudent and were owning a few houses already. No, they were not in business. Just professional. One was a senior editor in a local daily, another was senior manager in a manufacturing concern and the last was a helicopter pilot.

The common denominator of their advice to me was, “If you have the 10% for down payment you can afford it.” However, this advice is for the first house and assuming one is presently renting.
Armed with that confidence of good counsel, I went for it. The buying part was fast. We bought a 2 years old house off an outstation owner who has never rented or occupied it. We were the second mover. We paid a premium of 15% on the developer’s price which was a good buy. Within 3 months the house shot up another 30% from the S & P price.

However, a caveat emptor here. Do not follow this advice for investment purposes. For those who intend to invest think of the advice from late Loh Boon Siew. I remember him saying in an article that he will always pay at least 40% of any property he purchased for investment. Off course some thinks that is not the best way to leverage one’s cash. To some a Ringgit can be stretched more than 10X its face value. Which end of the spectrum one want to be will depend on motivation and inclination to risks. However, not many understand risks and the exposure to it when the motivation is greed.

The sub-prime crisis seems to have precipitated into a bailout of upwards to USD700billion. According to CNN, “The plan calls for the government to buy from firms up to $700 billion in troubled assets -- mainly mortgage-backed securities -- whose values declined as the housing market imploded. The goal is to stabilize the companies and prompt them to lend again.

U.S.A is now facing one of its worse crisis. Just hours earlier President George Bush warned his people in his televised address that “our economy is in serious danger” and “Without immediate action by Congress, America can slip into a major panic.
Universal Studios - Will the lines thin out?
Las Vegas - Will the lights go out?
Even my son who has just studied American history came and asked me whether this current financial crisis will be worse than the 1929 Depression. Kids nowadays know the value of money and are concern if their present lifestyle will be crimped by a crisis in a far-away country as well as how they can do their bit to help. Since he heard about the crisis a few weeks ago, he is helping out by not eating out and also reminding us not to eat out often in posh eateries.

It is frightening to hear that American can afford to eat out only at McDonald and only when they have the 49cent hamburgers special offers. Worse some my have to spent cold winter nights in 24 hours McDonald restaurants as they can’t afford the heating.
As a consumer I have been taught not to have my mortgage exceeding 30% of my take home pay. Indeed it is a risk to do that. In the U.S.A.15% of Americans homeowners now spend more than 50% of their income on housing costs. Another 23% spend more than 30%. It come up to a whopping 38%. Many are struggling to keep their homes. The margin for error is narrow. Any more increase in the oil or even changes in their work places may contribute to this end. It's a frightening thought.

There is 2 side of the story here. The consumers and the big business. One jumped in without checking the fine print and taken in by easy credit and special offers. The other forgot and did not foresee that bubble/dam could burst and they were left with properties whose owners could not afford to pay anymore and property prices well below previous values.

In an eight years of Presidency that is dominated by foreign policies and the lack of focus at home the chickens are coming home to roost. It is ruining George Bush legacy as well as spoiling John McCain chances for another 4 years of Republican rule.

No wonder in the tail-end of his 2nd term of as President, George Bush is fighting to solve this financial crisis so as not be remember in the negative light. But as a lame duck President and leaving by end of the year he will not be riding into the sunset but rather a gathering storm.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

John King Egg Tart

This week everything goes round. From donuts to tarts, siew pao and pie.

First let's look at the ubiquitous egg tart. It is a must at any bakery.
Since 1965
To many John King has made it uncommon. Being brought up in Ipoh my father used to bring me to the corner dim sum shop (now opposite to McDonald) adjacent to Central Market. It was delicious and I can still remember crumbling pastry that did not suck the saliva dry. It was moist yet not oily. The tart at John King was not smooth and feels a tad (no pun intended) starchy. This is perhaps John King pastries are lard free.

Among the health conscious lard is a no no. I remember an American friend was waxing lyrical about the 'Soong Ko' from a certain dim sum shop. He commented on the texture and the just nice porosity etc. I politely asked him whether he knew why he had the 'soong' (porous, melt in the mouth) kind of feeling. "It's the lard!" I blurted out.

His eyes rolled in disgust as he goes pork and lard free. That's the end of the conversation.

When Chris Patten was still Governor (the last) of Hong Kong he had a stomach for egg tarts! He literally eat himself into the heart of the Chinese, which is in the stomach. His tarts was from Tai Cheong Bakery. And it only costs the equivalent of RM1.50!

However, when he visited in August 2006 to promote his latest book the owner of Tai Cheong came to the Book Fair with a box of his favorite. Guess what, he turned it down. He said his present lifestyle doesn't permit him to eat that. It's the lard! (italics mine).

Egg Tart (RM1.80)
Curry Chicken Pie - not too impressive skin, dry and too much mustard oil (RM3.10)Siew Pao - Seremban's taste better (RM1.60)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Big Apple Donut and Coffee - Desa Parkcity, Kepong

I thought it is good for me to pay a visit Big Apple after the opened their 23rd outlet in Alpha Angle, Wangsa Maju.

There was a brouhaha when Big Apple first appeared in the blogs a year plus ago. Yes it seems that Big Apple was almost similar to another Donut and Coffee concept outlet in Indonesia. It is named JCO Donut and Coffee. Even Malaysians who have sampled JCO's donuts were raving about it and thought JCO has extended its operations into Malaysia. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. However, it is not followed by a royalty or licensing payment.

This kind of issue is nothing new as the oldest Donuts and Coffee franchise was started in 1955 when two brothers-in-law broke off their partnership to start Dunkin Donuts and Mister Donut.

I have quite a bit of Mister Donut in Thailand esp. when the sweet tooth kicks in, as it is the leading donut chain there. Here I go for Dunkin Donut anytime. In Indonesia I go for their 'martabak' from the hawkers. It is like our martabak but this version has added in, tons of cheese, ghee, chocolate, condense milk and sugar. It is almost sinful to eat it.

Well so far a legal fight has not panned in Malaysia possibly due to an oversight of an international registrations of its trademarks and logo by JCO. However JCO has started operating in Pavilion. As for me a latecomer in the donut scene but it did stop me from wading into the Big Apple in Desa Parkcity for a bite of controversy.

After having these donuts I still prefer my Dunkin Donuts anytime. I feel funny eating/tasting flavours but not the real thing. Dunkin has the real feel with chunky and sticky strawberry and other jams. The other bonus is the generous amount of dough.

Mango TangoPink PantherSay CheeseDuren DurenAlien

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rakuzen Japanese Restaurant - Waterfront, Desa Parkcity

It was quite a while since we have Japanese food. My son and I went to check out Rakuzen.

Waterfront was soft launched beginning of 2008. Desa Parkcity is mainly made up of upmarket houses and condos. The first movers who bought double-storey terraced houses would be able to turn a profit of RM200+K on completion.

Waterfront is located next to a nice pond (too small to be a lake) with an adjacent landscaped garden, walkways, trails and playground. It has a lot of life-style outlets. Kluang, Coffee Bean, Secret Recipe, Chinese Restaurant, NZN ice-cream, local western cafe and restaurant, D'Hati (small version of Jusco), petshop, DIY, Music, personal car, pharmacy....

Rakuzen here is not exactly like the one in Sunway (the only one I have been to). Not that spacious. The food is so so. It lacks the zing. Sushi King has better food in comparison in the categories that I was eating here.

I have my favorite Seasoned Baby Octopus (RM8) and Grilled Squid (RM18). I tried out Skewered Set (RM33) while my son had the Eel Set (RM38). Total bill with drinks: RM125. Not value for money. May not go back to try the sushi and sashimi.
Camera: Nokia E90.
This is good, chewy but not tough, well seasoned and strong taste.
Skewered Set. The mushroom, green pepper and scallop were good. The minced chicken, chicken, fish, and salmon were average.Grilled squid. I can get better ones from the roving hawkers in the beaches of Pattaya and Chaam. A bit overdone and no longer juicy. Eel Set. Tasted the eel and very normal. Expected better. Comes with Miso soup, Chawanmushi and fruits.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Big Mac Attack

Imagine consuming 23,000 Big Macs in 36 years. This is truly inspiring for young minds to catch and then to emulate. If the Mac is 10cm in diameter and it is lined up side by side it will be 2.3km long.
The Malaysian Version
Don Gorske from USA, will have two everyday. His habit was fueled by a obsessive-compulsive disorder.

At 6ft 2in (1.88m) and weighing 185lbs (84kg) he is not too far from the recommended height weight ratio of 175lbs (80kg). Though this does not mean good health nevertheless it is good vibe and promotion for McDonald.

My son will be happy with this article as he is a double cheeseburger lover though he keeps his desire under wraps most of the time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

O'Briens Gourmet Coffee and Sandwiches - Wisma UOA Damansara II, Damansara Heights

The rainbow is out after the rain. My wife and son is up and running and my injured finger is healing nicely. No photo though as it not appropriate with food commentary running below. On second thought no photos will be taken and published.

I managed to grab a quick bite at O'Briens, an Irish joint to catch up with my principal.
Location: Wisma UOA Damansara II, Jalan Changkat Semantan, Damansara Heights. Camera: Nokia E90
It caters for the office denizens and opens daily from 7am – 8pm except Sunday.

The place is bright and situated right next to the Lobby entrance with alfresco dining for the smokers. With long glass for frontage (it is long), hard tiles for flooring it portrays a clean cut and a razor sharp image (have not forgotten the damage done to my finger by the razor sharp cutter). Designed for the executives for a quick lunch or meeting or even a brief respite from office matters.

Main backbone of the menu is sandwiches. It is something like Subway though price and position are more upmarket with gourmet coffee, juices and smoothies. They pride themselves at their eco-friendly and organic products bundled with sound ethical and fair practices. What a mouthful but it is the 'in' thing now. Eat well, eat right, eat ethical.

I have a hot wrappo spicy chicken sandwich set (a kind of pita wrap, but not spicy lah, continental style) that comes with chicken cream soup and a soft drink. About RM20.00. As with western sandwiches it can be rather dull and bland but nevertheless a good bite for lunch. The soup is just right, not too thick, rich, with chicken pieces and I think dissolved potato. Next time I will try the gourmet coffee, smoothies ...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

When It Rain It Pours!

My wife and son checked into the hospital for 3 and 2 nights respectively due to upper respiratory tract infection.

I managed to slice a small piece of flesh off the tip of my left index finger with a cutter. After stamping the blood flow by pressing against the wound with my thumb. I replaced it with a piece of cotton gauze and wound plaster over to hold the gauze thus maintaining the pressure. Then I pour yellow liniment over the exposed part of the gauze soaking it to get the solution right into the wound. I poured again every few hours.

My finger was throbbing till I hit the sack. I woke the next morning and removed the gauze to check the wound. Blood started oozing out again. By removing the gauze I could have torn off the layer of coagulated blood that stemmed flow.

So the smartest move was to pay a visit to the Emergency. The good doctor thought I am a factory supervisor and have to use the cutter to cut boards and cards.

Is was an education for me of the new developments as well as a refresher of the old. The last I visited was for piercing my feet on a rusty nail possibly 20 years ago .

What remained but came in as a ‘sterilized’ kit?
1) Liquid in plastic squeezable bottle to wash the wound.
2. Three pairs of plastic tweezers to check and probe the wound to remove whatever foreign objects still remained. It hurts.
3) The antibiotic gauze for the wound.
4) The cotton gauze to hold the antibiotic gauze.
5) The tetanus jab.
6) The oral antibiotics.

What’s new?
1) I have a choice of having 2 stitches or a chemical glue (Histoacryl) that will bind the wound to stop the bleeding. I took the second option but the 2 drops of ‘glue’ pack a mean wallop for 2 seconds. They bite hard.
2) The skin coloured Coban plaster was non adhesive (no pulling out skin and hair) but still sticks better, holds better and could wrap it snugly over the finger tip without unsightly kinks and creases. Its did its intended job well and is aesthetically pleasing.
Coban by 3M
This is index and not the middle finger!
Total bill: About RM200.00 (incl. oral antibiotics).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Silky, Sulking Berbatov and Samba, Sucking Robinho

Dimitar Berbatov sulked himself out of Spurs into the arms of Man United. He did not come cheap - GBP30.75million or RM188million. Concluded at the eleventh hour he gets to display his silky footballing skills which is not disputed by football connoisseurs. Only 27 he has 4-5 years to score exquisite goals and contribute to Man U merchanising sales.

The biggest deal also concluded on the 1st Sept. was Robinho, a Brazilian national player, is only 24 and has a much longer shelf life then Berbatov. He was off-loaded by Real Madrid to Man City for a British record of GBP32.5 or RM199million. The funds come through the new owner from Abu Dhabi who bought out former owner Thaksin who is ex-Premier of Thailand as well as fugitive. Also a striker his samba skills will take him far. His signature celebration ritual after scoring a goal includes sucking his thumb.

Football has gone sucking, sulking nuts.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Liu Xiang Melt Down

He was in a situation where he must win. He can’t lose the race. Then he cried out of it citing injury.
What happened?
Was It Injury?
OK, how serious? Tendonitis, hamstring?
He faked it, or it's a government cover-up?
Or is this an honorable out ? A face-saving act?
Fear of Failure?
Was he afraid to face the Cuban who is the new world record holder?

Expectation of the Nation too Heavy?
90,000 in the Birdnest was waiting for him to perform. Anoth
er 1.3 billion was waiting for their favorite son, boyfriend and brother to perform.

Advertisers Expectations Him to Win for Big Payday?
Advertisers money was also riding on him. Nike, Coca-Cola, Visa, and McDonald's, not to mention more than a dozen Chinese brands. A win will their goods leverage better. He earns at least USD$23 mil last year according to Forbes.

Country's Political and Sports Leadership?
The nation's political and sports leadership was waiting for him to win gold again on behalf of the Chinese. In 2004 he was hailed as the hero of China. With a charming face with an easy smile the 6ft 2in hurdler exudes charisma.
With so much at stake even a cherubic face does not make him into an angel. He is still flesh and blood, with emotions and feelings. Motivations to win, temptations that distracts and fears of the unknowns.

To err is human and to forgive is divine. Most of the 1.3bil have forgiven him. The said he has done a lot for his motherland and he has given his best. The advertisers have Plan B and hedges. Money can still be made without the gold medal. Hope that he can learn from his mistakes and fears. Hope the injury will heal quickly for another shot in London 2012.

Hope that the country's sports and political leaders will forgive and forget. With 51 golds, 21 silvers and 28 bronzes (100 medalists in all) it may be easier than 4 years ago.