malaysia chronicles: nasi lemak

visiting malaysia would not be complete if one will never taste their traditional food, nasi lemak.  when i was in penang, docgelo, together with his wife tina and my godson gabby had our own food trip (see beyond toxicity’s hunger pangs inducer post, food porn: penang).  it included docgelo eating nasi lemak and me finding out that it is served with chicken that i avoid to eat (i have poultry meat allergy). 

when i went to kuala lumpur after my stay in penang, me and my malaysian friend went to suria klcc mall and he invited me for lunch at nasi lemak adik located at the food court.

i thought nasi lemak was only served with chicken but i was wrong.  one can have it also with red meat or seafood.  i ordered nasi lemak sotong (squid).

my plate of nasi lemak sotong was an all thumbs up!  my friend said he eats nasi lemak anytime of the day.

i also had this malaysian dessert they call ABC (acronym for air, batu, campur or simply, mixed ice).  i enjoyed eating this local dessert.

we went to another mall in kuala lumpur, midvalley megamall.  it was about dinner time when we passed by this restaurant serving authentic malaysian cuisine, madam kwan’s. 

i ordered fried king prawns cooked with a special sauce of chili and garlic. 

i also had some stir-fried kangkong with sambal belacan (chili sauce with toasted shrimp paste).

to finish my satisfying dinner at madam kwan’s i had cendol, another local dessert. 

cendol consists of shaved ice, coconut milk, red beans, sugar, and a worm-like jelly made from rice flour with green food coloring (usually derived from the pandan leaf).

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malaysia chronicles: kuala lumpur

it took me a less than an hour flight from penang going to kuala lumpur.  i did not meet any difficulties in the immigration counter in lcct (low cost carrier terminal) and saw an air asia booth inside the airport and asked for directions where the skybus is located outside.  i easily found the parked bus and was the last passenger to board.  the bus took about an hour to reach kl sentral.  from kl sentral, my plan was to take a taxi to my booked hotel in chowkit, i saw a signage that says “taxi” and just walked by till i saw a taxi coupon booth and there was a note posted on the window glass saying that waiting for a taxi can take about an hour – wtf?  i observed a swarm of people walking in one direction and assumed that following them can get me somewhere else outside.  i did followed them and found myself in the streets of kl.

i was carrying with me my laptop backpack and my decade-old, leatherette duffel bag.  i did packed light when i left manila but the stuff that i have bought from kota kinabalu and penang has added weight in my bags.  i was having a hard time walking around with such weight.  one mistake i did during my trip to malaysia was i did not have a map, not even a print-out of directions how to get to the hotel.  in kuala lumpur, all i know is my hotel name and where it is located – citrus hotel, in chowkit.  how to get there, i didn’t have a clue for the original plan was to take a taxi and let the driver take me there.

the first person whom i asked for directions does not even speak full english but was able to let me understand that the best way to get to chowkit is not by the bus but through the monorail.  i did followed his suggestion and he was correct, the kl monorail is very efficient and cheap.  i made it to chowkit and by asking around again (like for 30 sweat wrenching minutes), made it to citrus hotel.

a few days before my trip, i pre-booked at citrus hotel through their website.  they have a promo of a 40% off for a 3-night stay and i took that offer.

my room had a great view of the petronas towers.  it included a 32″ lcd flat screeen tv with cable and satellite channels and a good wifi connection.  room is clean and they even changed the linens and used towels everyday during my stay.

breakfast buffet at citrus café is included in the room package and it was okay.  i also had access in their club lounge at the 10th floor where whole day free snacks like sandwiches and dim sum with free flow soft drinks and fruit juices were available.

malaysia chronicles: menara petronas

gin (to connery) : i give you the world’s tallest building ..

mac (to zeta-jones) : .. and we’re going to steal it?

in the notable, blockbuster film “entrapment“, gin and mac (as played by actors sean connery and catherine zeta-jones), was in petronas twin towers for their final heist.  it was one of the best caper movies i have seen.

menara petronas may no longer be the tallest building in the world, but still it holds the title of being the tallest “twin” building.

 

started in 1992, i have read that it took 7 years and about 7,000 designers, engineers and planners to complete the design of the building and an additional 7,000 construction workers and a cost of 1.6 billion u.s. dollars to build this famous malaysian landmark in the city of kuala lumpur.

 

a quote by the building’s main architect, césar pelli:

“according to lao tse, the reality of a hollow object is in the void and not in the walls that define it. he was speaking, of course, of spiritual realities. these are the realities also of the petronas towers. the power of the void is increased and made more explicit by the pedestrian bridge that … with its supporting structure creates a portal to the sky … a door to the infinite.”

 

malaysia chronicles: vistana hotel

i stayed for another night in penang after i bade goodbye to docgelo, tina and gabby as they went back home to their rented condominium in butterworth. my flight to kuala lumpur is scheduled at mid afternoon the next day so i had the chance to check the nightlife at georgetown. from tune hotel, i decided to transfer to another accommodation for a one night stay in vistana hotel.

this hotel was suggested by an indian cab driver after asking him which was the nearest hotel at the airport. he drove me to the hotel and i checked in as a walk-in guest, i was given a deluxe room number 1602.

the room is clean and has complete amenities that one needs for an overnight stay.

i slept comfortably on their king size bed that i almost missed breakfast the next day, likely that i was tired from my temple visits with docgelo or had to blame the local beer i chugged at a nightclub in georgetown. 😉

satellite television with entertainment channels and high-speed internet was available in the room. the buffet breakfast was average and pescetarian friendly.

the gym was fully equipped and they also have a swimming pool which are all well maintained.

the staff at vistana are all courteous and helpful. the limousine service to the airport was quite expensive for RM29 but i did not want to sacrifice myself being drenched in the rain that suddenly poured when i was about to check out – i noticed the rain had always followed me during my trip!

malaysia chronicles: three temples

malaysia has its share of beautiful temples and penang is one of the places to go to see these structures.  docgelo, tina, gabby and i started our day early to visit the temples.  we headed off to air itam by taxi, where the largest buddhist temple in southeast asia, the kek lok si is located.

 the “temple of supreme bliss” was started during the late 1800’s and visitors have to ascend a flight of stairs to reach the top.  there were souvenir stores along the pathway leading to the temple but most of them were still closed when we got there.  the temple itself was also still closed  (we were quite early being there) so we were just able to take pictures of the outside.

 

the temple has a main seven-storied pagoda known as the pagoda of 10,000 buddhas which we were not able to view. docgelo told me he will go back to the place next time so he can take pictures of the interior.

 

we boarded the efficient rapid penang bus to reach another temple built during the early 1800’s, the dhammikarama burmese temple that houses a tall marble-made golden buddha.

 

the design of the interior around the buddha is so intricate and very detailed. i took a shot of the ceiling which is beautifully designed.

 

behind the statue are images of buddha with different hand gestures called as mudras (read docgelo’s interesting post, mudras: inspiring gestures).

 

just opposite dhammikarama is wat chaiyamangalaram, a thai temple with a reclining buddha which is said to be third of the largest in the world.

 

docgelo took a picture of me with his wife and son. it was a memorable time for me visiting penang with him and his family.

 

thanks doc for the tour! a day in penang is not enough but i enjoyed it a lot. if everything goes well back here at work i might visit you again sometime next year.. show me more of penang then! 🙂

malaysia chronicles: penang

after spending two rainy days at kota kinabalu, my next stop for my trip was penang, northern part of malaysia.  the main reason that i wanted to visit penang is to meet my friend docgelo (of beyond toxicity), who’s based there together with his wife and my godson, gabby.  i have known angelo since our pre-med years when we were both taking up biology to become future doctors (he became one and i did not for lack of determination – lol!).

i took a two and a half hour air asia flight from kota kinabalu, found myself at penang airport and met up with docgelo and his family.  we went straight to georgetown by taxi to check-in at tune hotels, downtown penang.  tune hotels is an excellent budget accommodation operating around malaysia.

tune hotels offers low-priced rooms with comfortable spring mattress beds and bathrooms equipped with high pressure, heated “power showers”.

being a limited service hotel, optional add-ons include a 12 or 24 hour airconditioning but still there is a ceiling fan in the room.  i paid an additonal amount for the wi-fi with a good connection.

after checking in at tunes, docgelo invited me for dinner with his wife, tina and gabby at santorini (see docgelo’s post, food porn: penang) and had some coffee at starbucks, new world park which is only beside the hotel.  we returned to the hotel for a good night’s sleep to start the next day to visit the temples at penang.

read docgelo’s related blog post, reunion in penang.

malaysia chronicles: puh toh tze temple

my first stop at my kk city tour was the puh to tze temple.  i read that this buddhist temple was built in 1980, with its traditional chinese architecture. 

the goddess of mercy, kwan yin

statues of deities, right side

statues of deities, left side

a ceremonial golden incense burner

temple interior

seats in the altar

adorned ceiling