Monday, June 29, 2009

How I went bust in KL and ate more KL Hawker food

*Yeah! Exceeded my goal of 30 entries this month*

I had changed RM726 and brought along some extra cash left spare from an earlier trip to JB. Feeling overconfident that I would not exceed my budget, I left without bringing spare SGD.

Big mistake. First of all, I spent most of my dough on books (yes, I don't know why either. Esp since they were CHINESE books, which I usually rather suck on a grenade and implode before I would read any from the library), a pair of shoes, several shirts for my jolly men (you guys can choose the ones you want on Friday, so remember to show up!!!), local goodies, several souvenirs for my office harem, seriously, where did the money go???

Anyway the thing is that I was down to my last RM150 on my third day (of a four day trip), therefore was starting to sweat, so to ease the pressure on my wallet, we had dinner at A&W, WHERE A FUCKING TRAINEE CHEATED ME OF RM50. I was very sure, I gave her RM100 and 2.10 in coins. The bitch gave me back only RM40.05. Since the meal was RM12.05, I was convinced she took my additional change of RM50.

She was adamant that I gave her RM50 (stupid me had handed her the note, before I started looking for the coins), and she refused to open the till to check. She just glanced at the bill and said "you gave me RM50". Of course, she would say that, any idiot can read a bill. I was furious, and doubly furious because she reminded me of a bloody fucking vendor who came from the same country and gave me the same attitude only three days earlier. Why that little *^$#?!

So anyway, long story short, I was broke. So I ended up consuming soya bean milk and fried kuay tiao from Petaling Street. (What is with the fascination with sweet black soya sauce??). Btw it tasted horrible. Certainly not helped by our getting lost while looking for the bus. After 2 hours, sweating in a plastic sheet and newspaper, everything will taste nasty. My fellow tripper said that her hokkien noodles (the sweet black soya sauce kind *again*) tasted much better. Great source of empathy, that one.

Petaling Street thereabouts

The stall selling both Hokkien noodles and kway tiao

My greasy kuay tiao

Crabs at a KL hawker center

We went to Alor Street since it was near our hotel, but we wound up eating at my favorite unhygenic hawker centre, which I came across with B1 and another friend, nearly seven years ago. When I visited the place four years ago with my mother (but without buying anything), the particular hawker, an old man dressed in a singlet and cooks the most mouthwatering lala clams in sweet and spicy sauce (which I have yet to recreate), whose stall we had patronised every day of our visit three years earlier was still there.

He was not there now.

Initially I was not sure if we had gone there too early, but since we ate until 10pm and he still hadn't shown up, I guess he must have retired or gone to where all good hawkers go.

So we ended up eating at two new stalls at the end of the hawker centre. One selling primarily seafood, the other selling the complementary noodles and veggies.

Directions: Coming out of Coronade Hotel, you turn right into a smaller lane. It is along the smaller lane. The stalls are at the other end of the hawker centre.

Tales of Stupid 2 - How a Man can Live longer

Disclaimer: Great Wall of Text. Suck it up. It's funny.

Daily Mail Article "Why marrying a younger woman can save your life (even if it sends HER to an early grave)", 30 June 2009, by Victoria Lambert.

The statistics make for alarming reading; although the average man will live for 77 years, for around seven of those he'll be seriously or chronically ill. And as a major report published earlier this month revealed, men are 70 per cent more likely than women to suffer from cancers that affect both sexes (for instance, bowel cancer).

So what can a chap do to safeguard his health? Here, VICTORIA LAMBERT looks at the rules that could make a difference to men's prospects...

AVOIDING CERTAIN FOODS CAN PREVENT PROSTATE CANCER, according to a new review published in the Journal Of Human Nutrition And Dietetics. In particular, men should avoid meat that is highly processed or cooked on the barbecue. Cooking meat at high temperatures causes proteins in the meat to form carcinogens called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) - this is the burnt bit you see on barbecued meat.

Meanwhile, grilling exposes meat to cancer-causing chemicals contained in the smoke that rises from the burning coals and any drips of fat.

Physiotherapists have coined the term 'wallet-neuropathy' for the lower back pain caused by men sitting down (such as when driving or in the office) on wallets always carried in their back trouser pocket. The condition is triggered by the wallet pressing on sciatic nerves in the back and can lead to pain or numbness in the lower leg, ankle or foot. Walking, sitting and lying down can become very painful and some people find relief only when they stand still.

Taking painkillers can dramatically increase the risk of high blood pressure - half of men over 65 will have hypertension to some degree and this also increases their chance of a heart attack or stroke. Taking just one daily non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, was found to raise the risk by 38 per cent, while a daily aspirin upped the risk by 26 per cent, according to an authoritative study by Harvard Medical School involving 16,000 male health professionals.

Those who took about 15 tablets or more a week had a 48 per cent increased risk. It is thought this was caused by the analgesics inhibiting the effects of chemicals that relax the blood vessels (and lower blood pressure).

Nearly half of all couples undergoing fertility treatment need it because the quality or quantity of the man's sperm is poor. Now Australian researchers have recommended that one of the best ways to maintain the quality is simply to have more sex. Abstaining might increase the quantity of sperm, but this doesn't mean much if the sperm is faulty in the first place, explains Australian gynaecologist Dr David Greening.

It seems that sperm that's been stored in the body is more exposed to DNA damage from free radicals. 'Ejaculating more frequently, i.e. daily, reduces sperm DNA damage in most men by a decent amount,' he says. In a pilot trial, this damage was reduced by 12 per cent. MEN who drink two or more sugar-rich drinks a day are at a much higher risk of gout, a study at British Columbia University in Vancouver and Harvard Medical School found.

Diet soft drinks were not a problem, but fruit juice and fructose-rich fruits (such as oranges) were. Rheumatologists believe fructose inhibits the excretion of uric acid which, when it builds up, crystalises in the joints, causing the painful symptoms of gout.

Men suffering from patchy hair loss - known as alopecia areata - should go to the dentist, not the barber. Scientists at the University of Granada, Spain, have found a link between gum disease and baldness. Experts already knew that alopecia areata, which affects up to 70,000 British men each year, is linked to genetics and stress. Now it's also been shown to be triggered as the result of an immune system response to a mouth infection.

By choosing a bride 15-17 years younger, a man can cut his risk of premature death by 20 per cent. Even choosing a wife seven to nine years younger will reduce his risk of dying early by 11 per cent. So found a study by Germany's Max Planck Institute, which looked at deaths between 1990 and 2005 for the population of Denmark.

A spokesman for the institute said the results might be caused by younger women caring for their men better than older ones. Alternatively, it could be a result of natural selection - only the healthiest, most successful older men are able to attract younger mates.

For their younger wives, the news isn't so good. Women with husbands older or younger by between seven and nine years increased their chances of dying early by 20 per cent, and 30 per cent if the age difference is between 15 and 17 years. *Horrifying*

Yes, men have these muscles, too - and now experts think that working them could prevent the impotence and incontinence that comes with ageing by increasing the support these muscles give to the bladder and the penis.

A study by Professor Grace Dorey, of the University of the West of England, found that pelvic-floor exercises could be as effective as Viagra in restoring erectile function. And two-thirds of men who suffered from incontinence improved dramatically after a programme of pelvic-floor exercises.

In order to locate these muscles, try to stop your flow of urine mid-stream, before restarting it. (This technique should be done only once a week to check your progress - any more and it could affect your ability to pass urine.) If your muscles are weak, the following exercise will help strengthen them.

Sit on a chair with your knees apart and your feet flat on the floor. Lean forward and then rest your forearms on your thighs. Tighten and squeeze the muscles in your back passage, as you would if you tried to stop yourself passing wind.

Holding this, do the same with the muscles around the urethra as if you are trying to stop yourself passing urine. Try holding for two seconds, rising to ten as your muscles become stronger. Relax the pelvic floor. Repeat for five sets, four times a day.

The mortality rate of men in the lowest grade civil service jobs is three times higher than those in the highest grade, according to a Whitehall study which tracked male civil servants aged between 20 and 64 from 1967 to 1977.

Lack of control at work is one possible explanation, says Professor Michael Marmot, of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London, who directed the study.

Eat five apples a day

Bowel cancer affects 20,000 men a year, with men aged 50 and older more likely to suffer than women because of their diet. Eating lots of fibre - the indigestible plant material found in fruit, vegetables, grains and beans - is one of the best ways to prevent bowel cancer.

Not only does it help the passage of food through the gut, it feeds the 'friendly' gut bacteria which aid digestion and nourish the cells of the large intestine. This is thought to stimulate healing and reduce the development of cancer.

According to the charity Beating Bowel Cancer, everyone should be eating 18g of fibre each day. A banana contains 1.8g, as does 1 slice of wholemeal bread. Apples (including the skin) contain 4g, so they are an easier choice.

Not just because it cuts the risk of cancer and heart disease, but because it protects virility.

Research from Penn State University in America suggests that eating a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet can lower testosterone levels, which fall with age in all men anyway - causing symptoms ranging from fatigue to hair loss and erectile dysfunction.

Dietician Thomas Incledon explains: 'Your protein intake should be about 16 per cent of your daily calories. So, if you're an average 12st man who eats 2,900 calories a day, you should eat about 140 grams of protein daily (equivalent to a 400g fillet steak).'

Middle-aged men whose partners worked part-time or who were at home caring for the family were less depressed than those whose partners worked full-time, according to a report published by the Queen Mary's School of Medicine, London.

The study also showed that men whose partners moved from caring for the family to full-time work were more depressed. The researchers suggested that stay-at-home partners were particularly beneficial to men's mental health because they took on family responsibilities and organised a happy social life.

Practise 'neurobics' - activities that keep the brain building new memory cells and pathways help to stave off dementia.

While women are more likely to get dementia in the form of Alzheimer's disease, men are more likely to get vascular dementia - which is connected to heart disease and stroke. In both cases, though, scientists agree brain-building exercises can help stave off the illness.

The term 'neurobics' was coined by American neurobiologist Lawrence Katz and involves doing things that challenge your brain - such as ' morning roulette', when you do all your routine tasks (brushing your teeth or holding your coffee mug, for example) with the opposite hand to normal. Other neurobic activities include changing your route to work or learning a short poem every day.

It could improve your love life, says Jack Mydlo, a urologist at University of Temple Medical School, Philadelphia - in fact, many men experiencing erectile dysfunction can improve their performance without resorting to drugs.

Mydlo suggests they stop smoking, lose weight and lower their cholesterol. Cutting cholesterol is particularly important because high levels lead to plaque build-up in tubes in the penis and arteries, which can greatly reduce blood flow.

Men with high cholesterol have almost twice the incidence of erectile dysfunction compared to those with lower cholesterol numbers. To reduce cholesterol, the advice is to switch to a low-fat diet and take regular exercise. Statins might also be prescribed.
Spend 10 minutes in the sunshine every day to avoid a lack of vitamin D - the source of many male woes

A lack of vitamin D is responsible for many male woes - from hair loss to low libido and poor muscle strength, even post-exercise aches and pains in the joints.

Our main source of vitamin D is sunshine - and just 10-15 minutes a day is enough.

Good Chinese Food @ Seng Kee Siew Yoke Meen and Claypot Lou Shu Fan

I was frantically reading KL food blogs up to one day before leaving.

I read that the Lou Shu Fan noodles at this establishment, Seng Kee Siew Yoke Meen and Claypot Lou Shu Fan (Mouse or Rat Tail Noodles) is particularly excellent.

FYI, It's located at Jalan Sultan, Petaling Street. To get there just take a left immediately after Nando’s when you are heading towards Petaling Street (Jalan Sultan) – just keep heading straight and Seng Kee will be near the end on your right. Reference: Nibblezware does KL.

But I digress.

We had a fun time looking for it despite the directions given as above. First of all, we could not find Nando's. Second of all, we could not remember the name, as I had not brought along the namelist that accompanies the map. So we spent more than half an hour wandering around the roads circumferencing Petaling Street.

And we finally found it. Diners, please check your OCD and all ideals of cleaniness, health-consciousness and hygiene at the door together with the two young chefs frying meats at high fire and speed. Sorry to all Muslim friends out there, but seriously, by the second day, we were both craving for piggie meat. And Seng Kee did not disappoint.

We ordered Marmite chicken (not very special), Stir Fried Small Intestines (clockwise from left to right). The pièce de résistance, Lou Shu Fan is not in this photo.

The small intestines were cut in precise patterns so that they would not curl up again, before fried in lard, lots of garlic slices, dried shrimp, fresh green and red chilies. Condiment-wise, I think I tasted a hint of fish sauce, sugar, soya sauce. Definitely contained MSG. Pretty excellent.

Stir-fried mixed veggies. Nothing special. Nothing I'd ordered, but I felt bad for making most of the choices, so I asked my friend to choose the veggie.

Finally, the pièce de résistance, served in a claypot, with a raw egg on top. It was stir-fried with sweet black soya sauce, some soya sauce, MSG, minced meat, liver, shitake, and prawns at high heat.

Everything came out to be RM54. Rather expensive for such a simple meal.

Nando's @ KL

On our first day, we found Nandos in KL.

The quarter chicken was tough and dry, staff were friendly and prices were high. Generally,not worth the RM40 something paid.

B2 is back with a free souvenir from the local friendly

Red ant at Sunway Lagoon.

This was my left foot, three hours after the bite I received while waiting in line for the ATV ride. I was like sitting down, talking to my friend, when I felt a nasty sharp prick on my left calf. Looked down, found a red ant giving me the "up yours".

This is my calf four days later. Swelled up like nobody's business.

I now have to consume antibiotics due to my allergic reaction. Fantastic.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Dog Named Christmas by Greg Kincaid

It's a simple, Chicken-soupy book about a stray called Jake, which preferred roaming over sleeping over an open fire, and ostensibly about the young, developmentally challenged man who begged his Viet war veteran dad to allow him to pick a stray from the local pound to stay over Christmas week, as advertised over the radio.

The father wanted to teach his son a lesson, making sure his son, Todd, learn responsibility and return the dog at the end of the week as agreed. Instead Todd picked out Jake (renamed as Christmas) and taught everyone, neighbors and relatives, around him a lesson on giving.

Meanwhile the story becomes less about the son, and more about the father. He revisited his painful memories about the loyal dogs he once had, Tucker who accompanied his fatherless days and died waiting for him to come back from Vietnam, Good Charlie who ran ahead of him and saved his life by dying from a landmine. Like all war veterans, he came back damaged from the war. His physical wounds healed to a stiff leg and throbbing pain, but he could not allow anyone be good to him, despite remaining a good and giving father, husband and member of the community.

As part of the deal, the son agreed to return the dog after Christmas, and it became the father who was reluctant to let Christmas go. When he finally made up his mind to bring back the dog, the dog disappeared again. Full of regrets, he sat in the barn and moped, when a yellow ball rolled to his feet. He looked up and it was Christmas.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Icy Obsession

Sorry for the obsession with the heat.

You have air-con, I only have my ice lollies, and so continues my sweaty desperation (which I do not see ending anytime soon)...

I bought Ribena yesterday but forgot to bring it home (fortunately it did not get humped by the office rat, but that's another story). So late at night while my annoying pc was undergoing patching, I pulsed some H2Omelon for a new flavored ice.

My real orange ice pop (first try)

H2Omelon ice pop

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sending a snowflake to girlfriend in Singapore

Perhaps the heat has totally gotten to me, but I was impressed by this how-to display of geek love, from a forum I read.

Stuff you need:
Microscope slides (slide backing and top sheet)
Liquid Super Glue

1. Levave all the above mentioned materials in the freezer for a few days. Everything has to be freezing cold so that the snowflake will not melt on contact.

2. Catch required snowflakes on the glass slide (works best with fat fluffy snow flakes as they have the largest crystals) .

3. Immediately dab a blob of superglue onto the snowflake. Cover with the slide top sheet. The superglue will be pressed flat. At this point, the snowflake should still be intact and encased within the wet superglue.

4. Leave slide in freezer for about 2 weeks till the superglue is fully dried.

It works because superglue hardens on contact with moisture. The cold superglue traps the snowflake without melting it (same idea as prehistoric mosquitoes trapped in amber ala Jurassic Park). The moisture of the snowflake will cause the superglue to slowly harden around it, capturing every last intricate detail of the snowflake. Once completely hardened, the snowflake is effectively captured for eternity, refrigeration not required.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hooray for Ah Gong

Ah Gong just extended Wireless@sg until March 2013.

The F, Me and our Andys are forever grateful.

Smart Design? Supid Design? You decide

As usual I was sweating in front of my pc yesterday, thanks to the bloody weather we have been suffering. Do not backpack in Singapore without the aid of an aircon. You have been warned. I have been thinking evil thoughts towards various friends and colleagues who have been chilling in Oz, while I die a little inside from this heat.

But I digress.

As I continued to melt... a thought crossed my mind. Why don't I make some ice lollies? Instead of dumping ineffectual ice cubes in my water, which disappear in less than 3 minutes, I could have a lovely artificially sweetened ice pop... just like the ones I used to buy in the old mama shop downstairs at S$0.10 a pop.

So today I fantasized all day about my ice lolly, and bought me a set of three adorable popsicle containers from Daiso (I had seen them a month ago, during my previous Daiso trip, remember? And stupidly didn't buy. Now I could only find one set. Everyone has the same idea *winks*). Rushed home, but was defeated by the heat from going out to return my books and buy some orange cordial or Ribena, and so ended up making real orange juice pops.

Can someone guess the reason for the unique design?

Smart little bunnies will know that the even smarter Japanese bunnies designed the containers so that the pop will melt into the holder, and you can alternate between sucking the juice out from the bottom of the container with the little straw-like sprout and licking the lolly. Yet such simple brilliance from the people of the one red dot. I am easily impressed.

Yum. =d

What does Microsoft's BING stand for?

Bill/ Ballmer Is Neutralising Google.

Sergey may think so. I was wondering what was up ole Micro$oft's sleeve after they dropped Yahoo like a hot potato (Talks of partnership, my foot) even after Yahoo started soliciting for their attention after kicking poor Jerry to the kerb.

According to New York Post's "Fear grips Google", Sergey who with his co-founder Page, has minimal hands-on with the day-to-day operations of Google, "according to sources inside the tech behemoth, is himself leading the team of search-engine specialists in an effort to determine how Bing's crucial search algorithm differs from that used by the company he founded in 1998 with Stanford University classmate Larry Page".
[source: NYPost]

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dempsey again??? Food Review of White Rabbit

We were greeted by a young nubile hostess who led us to our table. Next to the service counter. Despite my placing a reservation beforehand.

I was rather annoyed, especially since any private conversation was interrupted by the staff busing around us. They were friendly yet professional, and handled us with a suitable amount of deference without seeming patronising.

"Would Madam prefer Sparkling or Still water?" Doesn't matter. Just give me a lot of it. I needed massive amounts of H2O. Why?

The Shallot Tartin starter? Terribly sweet, it became overwhelming with every bite. The goat cheese was a bad companion for it. Couldn't smell more strongly of goat than if ole Billy came and pissed on my plate. Why put two strong tasting products together on the same plate? No contrast in texture. I finished the dish with much difficulty, casting aside the cheese.

[original pic source: The White Rabbit is fortunate I did not have my camera with me today.]

After my dining misadventure at PS Cafe last Sunday, I decided to play safe and chose the braised seabass with Matsutake broth over the other fish dish which had "apple gelee". No more dessert on the main for me.

First taste. Salt.

Too much. Perhaps because I prefer delicate flavors and freshness over flavored foods, (esp at the obstensibly atas-looking establishments) but the broth tasted as if they siphoned the Dead Sea. The portion? I thought the PS cafe portion was reasonable. This one was unreasonable.

A few pretty carrot slices, some sticks of radish, two miserable slices of sea bass (which was SALTED before fried lightly. Why??), and two even thinner slices of matsutake mushrooms soaking up the Dead Sea that was in my bowl.

The F's dishes were lesser disasters. His main, a medium steak was dressed with lightly fried foie gras (which melted decadently in our mouths), and some shreds of black truffle.

I was extremely grateful to the waitress who took pity on my distress and poured me two massive glasses of water (FOC, hahah), which I hastily gulped down, like a man trapped in a desert hoovering that single refreshing sip of water. At the end of the meal, the hostess came over and asked us politely what we thought of the meal. I refused to say a thing, since our indelicate inhaling of the food (so that we can get over the misery) should speak volumes enough already.

Even now, my tongue is stinging.

Total Bill
Panna 75 -------------- S$10 (branded "still" water from S. Pellegrino)
Shallot Tartin --------- S$17
Escargot Ravioli ------ S$19
Braised SeaBass ------ S$29
Tournedos Rossini --- S$45
Dark Rum ------------- S$12

Plus tax, coming to S$155.35.

Would I go back there? Maybe for the excellent service from attentive staff (perhaps an advantage of practically sitting at the service counter) and ambience, which women are suckers for (I looked around, the clientele are mostly women). But the food doesn't justify the prices.

Also read NeverTrustAScrawnyFoodie's White Rabbit review.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What is this? 干煸茧蛹

Hahha. Good stuff. I was delighted when I came across this while reading a Chinese recipe site 美食吧.

This is the fun filled yum yum in a package. You know the story of how my domineering aunt scolded me like mad because I refused to eat the fried "dates" at dinner during our China trip in 2004? When the tour guide came in and asked us how the food tasted. My aunt exuberantly declared the "dates" as the best dish at the table (not without pointing out that I did not know how to appreciate fine food). And how her face turned deathly pale (literally, I realised then this is how the expression came about), when the tour guide pointed out gently that they were not dates, they were some sort of insect. Turns out I got away with it because I don't like dates.

Just in case why you wonder my aunt was daft enough to think this was a date, the nasty restaurant served the "date" as slices, which looked like the cross section of a date (see top image). What we hapless tourists didn't know what that....
Well now I finally know exactly what sort of insect/"dates". It is deepfried silkworm cocoons (complete with the dead carcass of the silkworm inside, aka where the "seed" is).

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sights @ Dempsey 4 - PS Cafe

At the end of the Dempsey Hill expedition, we ended up eating at PS Cafe on the strength of She Bakes & She Cooks's effusive entry on the place. She didn't do so badly on her Jones the Grocer recommendation (we went last Christmas eve breakfast) but damn, she really screwed up on this one, though I realise that she went there for sunday brunch on both occasions.

We all gapped when we saw the menus, and when we literally, saw the writing (S$47 for some steak, I think) on the wall *lol*. Our mains ranged conservatively from S$22 to S$28. We looked around the place and noted the relative affluent looks of the other diners. Speaking of which, we were thinking that the combined income of all of our five families would not even reach that of the very rich-looking family sitting across from us. How do we know they are rich, you ask? Well, normally the aunties and ah Mas we are familiar with speak mandarin or dialect. These speak bloody Queen's English.

We were put off by the high prices, so we chose to share only one Truffle fries (unlike our usual greedy won). Turned out luckily we did so, because a mountain of crisp fries drenched in Truffle oil and Parmesan bits came to the table. Still, we finished it with no trouble, as well as...

Moussaka (eh....forgot to taste)

Potage (3.5 stars out of 5, hearty)

Fish Foil Basket (4 star out of 5, I would have ordered this, but for the prawns)

Unimaginative but filling Penne (3 stars out of 5, looks like stir-fry)

My Imaginative, but non-filling and terrible Coconut crusted fish (2.8 stars out of 5, couldn't find the coconut, unless they meant that deepfried oily splatter on top of the stack. And the Sweet Potato Vanilla Mash... should dessert be on the same plate?)

Sights @ Dempsey 3 - Red Dot

Sights @ Dempsey 2 - White Rabbit

Sights @ Dempsey 1 - Hacienda

Twiddle dee dee, how many birdie do you see?


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