Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Alexis Bistro, Gardens KL

This was my first time here even though we usually walked past this restaurant when window-shopping. I was pleasantly surprised with their food but the price was a little steep for the portion.

I love the char-grilled baby squid and the spicy tangy "sambal" over it complements the charred, tender squid perfectly. At first glance the pale squids didn't look very impressive but upon taking a bite, it proved me wrong. The salad was a good accompaniment with the spicy rockets and zesty dressing.

The lasagna was alright in my opinion but Hubby seemed to love it and wolfed the whole plate down in record time. Haha! The garlic bread was nice and reminded me of the ones Dad used to make at home with lots of dried oregano.

My duck magret on the other hand was really small (as informed by the waiter) and reminded me of duck breast dressed in Char Siew sauce. The orange glaze slash sauce with it did not shine actually as it was overpowered by the sweet Char-Siew-reminiscent sauce. The duck was also slightly hard but I was hungry so I wiped the plate clean.

Probably a place for some special times with loved ones! 😋

Alexis Bistro

L209, First floor,
Gardens, Mid Valley Megamall,

Kenny's, Miri

This is one hard cafe to find. We saw the banner hanging between the path of Centrepoint facing the main road. However, after going around the area twice, we still couldn't find the shop. We only realised it could be at the same row as Puma Sera and decided to go down to find it. We parked in front of Banana Leaf and walked through the pathway separating it and the Ipoh Town Coffee Shop. Kenny's is located on the right.

The shop looks simple and as we were still quite early, it is still empty. We decided to try it anyway and over the time waiting for our order to arrive, people started arriving.

The coffee milk shake is quite delicious and is not as watered down as I expected initially. You might wonder why order if I had such low expectation. It's hard to explain but I usually want to try it once at least before refraining from ordering. I have had a few disappointments before when I ordered milk shake where some weird concept of milk shake nowadays involves lots of ice blended with milk instead of plain milk and ice cream like they used to do. *faces palm*

Not-so-French Onion Soup was really like it's name. Not-so. The taste is pleasant enough but I did not enjoy the watery texture. I guess onion soup just is not meant to be made without the cream. As it was watery, the decision to dump the garlic cheese toast in the soup in my opinion is a waste of good toast. The toast was wet and not too palatable when I wanted to eat it. It was a shame as from what I could taste of it, the cheese and garlic would have been wonderful if
dry. It could probably fare better if put on the side.

The buffalo wings. I think this should have some danger sign on the menu. I ordered the mild version. They have three: mild, normal and nuclear. The mild is mind-numbingly spicy. I cannot imagine the rest. To be fair, I actually took back the rest and had a few other more spice-and-heat tolerant people try them and they all found it to be very spicy. Nevertheless, the taste is there and I quite like the hint of lemon in the wings. A little more restraint on the tobasco will probably be better in my opinion.

The rib-eye is tender and delicious. I like the pink in the middle and the marinate reminds me a little of those used in The Ship. I am slightly put off by the amount of the veins in the meat, and I could not be sure if this is the correct cut. As I am quite used to the not-as-advertised condition for steaks in Miri, I have learned to lower my expectations. A bit sad but overall, I would probably be back.

UPDATE: I went back for a revisit and this trip was even better! I especially commend the Tuna Salad which comprises of lightly seared slab of tuna over a garden salad drizzled with a tangy vinaigrette. Lovely to start a me and quite filling for the small-appetite.

The pork ribs are quite delicious even though I was expecting baby back ribs as advertised in the menu and a full sized half ribs greeted me when the order came. Nevertheless the sweet BBQ sauce generously covering the ribs is quite delicious albeit a little cloying after the first few ribs and the buttery mound of mashed purple sweet potato is quite tasty on its own.

The prawn Aglio Oglio is slightly under seasoned but with the addition of salt, the whole dish is quite acceptable. I like it once we added a generous dash of salt and the prawns are quite big.

Fong Ip, Kota Kinabalu

Located on Gaya Street, this is one of the many coffee shops lining this popular stretch of tourist attraction. It's a random visit on our part as we just wanted to pass time before our flight in the evening.

What is special here would probably be their durian toast. For durian lovers, it is a must-try. Personally I felt the durian flesh used was a little bland but that could probably be due to the butter added. We ordered plain durian toast but they added butter anyway. An average eatery but could be a visit-worthy one if only to try their durian toast.

Look out for them along Gaya street Kota Kinabalu!

Ugly Duck, Miri

Ok, the first impression I have of this cafe is that their doors are so very hard to pry open. OMG, the first time I tried one of them I actually thought it was locked and proceeded to the other one. I like their rustic decorations-the half-done logs arranged in wire-mesh boxes and the partially done bricks. Even the colourful lanterns are quite endearing.

Overall, the menu is like a Vietnamese-fusion one with a smattering of local food. We went for lunch yesterday and ordered half portion of the western breakfast plus a grilled chicken sandwich.

The half portion came with a fried egg, a strip of bacon and a short sausage with hash brown and baked beans on the side. The price is quite alright I guess as Piato now charges nearly RM20+ for a plate. For RM12, this is probably enough for a small water. For something more substantial, a full portion will be at RM20.

My grilled chicken sandwich was quite filling and I like the warm, buttery grilled sandwich very much although it was a tad too salty. The tomato pesto on the side didn't do much for the dish in my opinion but overall, it is a nice enough option for a lighter lunch.

I was hoping for a sandwich place like O'Briens in Miri for a while and maybe Ugly Duck could be a place for Banh Mi and other sandwiches if anyone feels like a lighter option during lunch. Be warned though, the place is packed during lunch hour but maybe the crowd will die out soon once the hype of trying a new place died down. Haha!

Oh and their coffee is a let down so maybe that can be given a miss if you visit. Please try their "Three Sour" (a blend of lemon/lime, pickled Asam and dried ones). It is quite good!

UPDATE: I went for another visit and ordered a few other things. I like their Banh Mi but aside from the rather small portion, the baguette is nothing like the real thing from Vietnam. Somehow it's more like a bun rather than a baguette. The floss is a nice touch and I enjoyed it despite being a little hungry even after gobbling down the whole thing. I enjoyed the pickled chillies on top too!

The beef pho is also on the small side but is not really the best you can find, even in Miri. It is slightly bland with a strong peppery taste; nothing like how a real pho broth should be. Probably should give this a miss too!

I have mixed feelings over this cafe on the whole. A try or miss depending on what one decide to have.

Look out for them at:
Ugly Duck
2067, Marina Bay Phase 1,

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Shared Dream@Miri

This is not a new shop in Miri but rather, a recent addition. According to my sis, they used to have really value-for-money lunch sets, but sadly they have already discontinued them.

Coffee is quite acceptable. I have tried one very watery one in the new Ugly Duck which I will blog about later.

Anyway they have mostly roasts here with either rice or wanton noodles. I find their roasts pretty good especially their roasted duck and pork but the noodles are quite average. The wantons are huge though and the tasty morsels of minced meat are very enjoyable.

The double-boiled soup is quite delicious and we ordered the old cucumber soup. It is quite fragrant~

Look out for this wantan place at:

Shared Dream Cafe

Lot 1359, Marina Bay Phase 1,, 98000 Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Information on Arrival in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam


Cheapest one available for 1.2G with a few minutes for calls at VTD90K-100K is not available anymore. The best rate available upon my arrival on 29September2016 was VTD150K for 3G internet with unlimited usage but no calls.  


Taxi ranges from VTD220K onwards for vouchers from the airport to District1. Research previously showed that it's supposed to cost only VTD100K. I believe this price might be possible if one walks across the airport to the main road and hail down a cab. Definitely not in the mood with our luggages so have to swallow the heftier price tag for cabs.

Visa on Arrival

Unless you from ASEAN countries, then queue on the left upon arrival at the visa counter. USD20 have to be prepared for the individual visa if I am not mistaken.

Trung Nguyen Coffee, Ho Chi Minh

This is one of the best coffee brands in Vietnam IMHO. They have branches all over the city so going to a specific one does not really matter. Its No.8 gold-coloured packing coffee powder is worth buying! They are amazing! They have a mild chocolate taste to its aftertaste and really robust flavours. Anyway, I tried most of their packed instant coffee and believe me, they do not taste anything like the ones they serve in the cafe so don't bother buying those.

The ambience was great and even cosier than most generic cafes.

Plenty of space on the second floor too!

Anyway, we ordered the No.4 and No.5 with the former being slightly stronger and the latter supposedly is a more delicate flavoured one. I supposed both are equally delicious but nothing beats the No.8.

The coffee dripping usually takes about 5-10minutes to completely strain so patience is needed! Hehe!

This is a must-go cafe stop when in Vietnam. Although slightly on the higher side in terms of price for Vietnamese coffee, I think it is worth trying at least once. And get that golden pack of coffee powder to replicate at home. Yes, the coffee powder produces the same flavours more or less especially when made with condensed milk at home! 

Little Saigon Boutique Hotel, Ho Chi Minh

My husband and I stayed at this hotel for about 5 nights during our trip to Ho Chi Minh this month and I guess it was an alright stay for MYR130/night. I felt it was slightly overpriced from all the "positive" comments it received from TripAdvisor.

The quaint hotel looked rather unique from the outside. They have strands of vines decorating the entrance and the lobby is actually a flight of stairs above this front entryway. Located behind a small alleyway, please expect to walk a little from the main road as cars could not access this hotel.

For the price, especially for a small-scale hotel, I was expecting something a little bigger. It was a really tight room for two of us. Not much room is available to move around and my small hand carry luggage could not be opened properly too. 

Lol. Check out Hubby's happy pose!

On a positive note, the room was relatively clean and it was not an uncomfortable stay. I would prefer it to be cheaper so if you can get the promotion on Agoda for anything less than MYR, I felt it would be a good choice as it was quite convenient to get to most attractions in District 1.

PS: There is a shopping centre for cheap clothes where locals go to: Taka Plaza right next to the hotel. Cheap clothings could be bought with a little bargaining. 

Little Saigon Boutique Hotel
36 Bis/2, Le Loi Boulevard, Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

Saigon Skydeck - Bitexco Tower

Instead of paying VTD200,000/pax, it would definitely be more worth your while to walk around the Skydeck Entrance and go up to the Eon51 bar for drinks instead. For slightly half the price or even a little above, depending on what you ordered, it will be more value for money. Granted, Skydeck officially offers a bottle of mineral water but you can probably get a soft drink or tiger beer (glass) for VTD 99,000++ (10%+6%).

You can walk around the bar area for photographs and they give a free bar snack. Heh! We went in the afternoon so it was quite nice with a medium crowd. The wait staffs are very friendly and accommodating, giving us a window table once one becomes available. There were comments on TripAdvisor about the loud music from the live band, but in the afternoon this does not appear to be a problem. If anything, I quite enjoyed the music they played. Crowd eased up after 3pm so maybe it would be a great time to visit.

Cocktails were not much to rave about according to TripAdvisor but we actually ordered beer and apple cider, so it's alright albeit a little overpriced. Both are about VTD140,000++ each and we also had one of the promotional shots, Glenkinchie.

FYI, Citibank card holders get an extra 10% off and they have promotional shots too!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Pollo Bun (Pineapple Bun) (Shida Night Market's Branch)@President Department Store (Wufu Store), Kaohsiung

After the delectable Angel Chicken Chop (天使雞排), a short walk away to the President Department Store would be just nice for a light snack of Pineapple Bun (菠蘿包). This piping hot bun smells amazing even from afar and the queue waiting patiently for the fragrant morsels attest to their quality. It boasts that it comes from the famous stall in Shida Night Market but regardless, I would have queued just because of the smell alone. Haha!

They rarely have anything on their shelves because the crowd clear everything before they even have the chance to line up the buns there. As everything is made fresh, patience is definitely a virtue here.

I did not understand the menu but from what I gathered, the cold butter one is the most popular although you can opt for the cheese or even add a ham or two.

I was so excited when mine finally arrived but I regretted choosing the cheese version. I think the thick cold butter between the hot bun would be a better choice. The top is crusty like what a good 菠蘿包 should be and the inside is warm and soft. Delicious!

For a better gauge on the location, please refer to the Google Map below. I added the Angel Chicken Chop location too!

Angel Chicken Chop (天使雞排), Kaohsiung

Located in SinSing district in Kaohsiung, it is at the start of the Shinkuchan (New Juejiang Shopping District). It might be a much smaller scale night market as compared to the other famous ones in Kaohsiung, but this street is already open during early afternoon, so I guess it's an option for "early dinner" or even afternoon snack. A little distance away is the Central Park (中央公園) and the President Mall where they have amazing Pineapple Bun (菠蘿包).

This is one of the best chicken chop in Kaohsiung in my honest opinion. The queue is always long and they even have people directing the queue. If you like their page in Facebook, you get a NTD5 off your chicken chop.

The batter is thin and crisp, with a little sweet undertone. The chicken breast is completely devoid of fat but still tender and succulent. Despite the rather large chicken chop, I managed to wolf down more than 3/4 of it.

Check out the fat-free chicken!

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Quan Zhou Kopitiam, Penang

This was supposed to be just a random coffee shop where my FIL was going to meet his old-time friend but it was quite a find for us! Located at Jalan Sungai Pinang, it was quite obscure with all the hawkers and trees hiding it from view.

Apparently famed for their oyster-based fried products (which we ordered and more on that later), we were not disappointed with this fried noodles hokkien style. The fat noodles are also known as "moon noodles" and I love the fact that the ingredients were quite generous. Granted, the wait for the food was a little long but I guess that's expected when there's a heavy crowd. The "fragrance" from the wok or else known as the "wok hei" was obvious and very enjoyable. Succulent prawns and tender pork slices made this one of my new personal favourite!

The oyster fried beehoon was a good dish but did not make it anywhere near the first one. The oysters were aplenty and ranged from huge ones to medium sized ones so no complaints there. The flavours were a tad bland especially after the amazing first plate of noodles so I can't be sure if it was my not-too-hungry-self being too harsh or if it was actually so.

The oyster omelette came highly recommended. Again, the oysters were more than generous and a plate with less than a quarter the posters in KL would probably set you back about RM10-15, depending on the location (maybe even more in restaurants). I felt that it was a little under seasoned but with the chilli sauce, that could be swept under the carpet. The omelette was light and crispy with goey centres from the corn starch used. The pickled vegetables could use a little longer of a soak in the vinegar but all in all, this was a good dish.

The tofu with prawns and leeks is probably one of the best I have ever had and that in itself is saying something. I never knew plain tofu (beancurd) could taste this good and this dish definitely proved me wrong! The tofu was fragrant and soft with a little crispy edges, the leeks were fried well with just a little crisp left to them and the sauce was simply out of this world. Add the succulent prawns to the mix and you have an award-winning dish! I couldn't get enough of this and practically had most of it. Lol.

Give this lesser known shop a try if you are in the area and I am pretty sure you wouldn't regret it. 

Kedai Makanan Tai Chien, Taiping

A popular spot amongst locals, this coffee shop is almost always bustling with activities during the breakfast period.  In Taiping's early hours, the tables were already mostly full.

I am quite pleased with the popiah I ordered, definitely worth every single penny. Each morsel was full of minced tofu, crunchy "sengkuang" and fresh lettuce wrapped up in paper thin rice wraps. I asked for less chilli and was more than happy with the result.

Hubby had the Wantan Mee and was delighted. I found their charsiew a little on the dry side but their noodles and wantans were quite delish;).

They had a very popular fried kueh tiaw stall as well but as I wasn't feeling very hungry, I didn't try any. It was (as I was told) quite nice too.

Chee Cheong Fun @Pasar Siang Malam, Taiping

Pasar Siang Malam is probably one of the best known night spot for Taiping locals. A "mamak" of sorts but with Chinese-style dishes or food. One of my must-have here would be the Chee Cheong Fun. Unlike its kin in Penang where prawn paste is used, this one only uses sweet sauce which is a little like tomato sauce to me and has lots of sesame seeds and crunchy stuff on top. 

The queue is almost always long but I felt that with the fast service, the wait is usually not very long. The silky smooth dough drenched in sweet tangy sauce makes it the perfect snack to end your night in Taiping.

Food here is available from evening to early morning so it's definitely a good choice for supper. Although I might be recommending the Chee Cheong Fun here, the Nasi lemak (coconut rice) and the Wantan noodles are worth trying too.


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