Eating in KL

Normally when we head out to KL, we tend to stick to the malls. So we eat in the mall, especially the outlets that we cannot get in KL. Chilis was a usual spot till they have one here in Penang. But in KL, there are constantly new eating outlets opening up that Penang cannot catch up.

This time around, we could not make it to the mall in time. Well, we prefer to hit the mall before 11.00 am when the crowd is still bearable. So we decided to stay away from the malls, for once.

Wife found out about Betty’s Midwest Kitchen from some blog and she said there are ribs and juicy lucy. We had just watched man vs food at that time and the thought of a juicy lucy is just salivating.

This place is strictly non halal and it is so rare to find a non halal western food these days. Go to the malls and it is always halal. I have nothing against halal food, just that I want to know how pork ribs taste like when they are cooked the right way.

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My baby back rib sauce was good, the ribs were so fall-off-the bone tender that I think my grandma can eat it. Just that it has a lot of the soft bone parts that may not be appetizing. But I sucked t he bones clean.

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Wife’s juicy lucy was good as advertised. Stingy on the cheese but the meat was really thick. If you hate cilantro, like the wife… well you may want to eat something else. The cilantro was a bit overpowering the meat.

We had something called “dog food”, fries baked with cheese and gravy. It was good by itself but it killed the appetite.

We were expecting the place to be full and we were worried not to get a place to sit or having to wait hours outside. We were surprised for a weekend, it was just nice. We got a table and while the restaurant was full, no one had to wait. The customers came in and out quickly.

Finding the place was a challenge as it was a new unexplored area for us and the map on the internet was good till the turning from LDP. We just followed our guts and kept driving. The shop is actually facing the ELITE highway.

As with out luck, we found the place in the first try. Will get the wife to update the location of the place and link to some blogs here.

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We also went for kolok mee. The sarawak favourite. People keep telling us there is this kolok mee place in Puchong that taste JUST LIKE Kuching. Then I have to go.

As with out luck, we found it the first try. Wife to update the location 😀

As for the noodles, the taste is JUST LIKE Kuching. But somehow the texture of the noodles was a bit off. It is a but crunchy, I might say. Maybe overcooked or under cooked or maybe the noodles were stored too long. Wife says she read somewhere that the noodles were imported from Sarawak.

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Think yong tau foo and you think Ampang. I wanted to meet up with some old classmates and they recommended me to Puchong Yong tai foo which they swear is better than the Ampang one. That is a tall order but I thought it was a good place to start, since it is near where we were staying. Less time traveling, more time chatting.

My friend was trying to tell me how to get there and his directions made no sense to me so wife decided to google the place and found it. Apparently the place is so famous, it is on the top of the google list. Try it. It is in Batu 14.

Again, found it in the first try. Wife can really read maps.

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Wife loves this place and so do I. They put pucuk manis in the soup. What you call the vege in pan mee. Wife loves those stuff. The fried yong tau foo, very crispy and light. Not hard like the ones we normally get. Fluffy is another word I would use. The place is PACKED. Six of us wallop 80 bucks worth of yong tau foo, sat there and chat from 7 till almost 10.. when they are closing.

When you arrive there, take a seat and know the table number. Head down to the counter and pick the vege or things you want stuff. They will stuff the vege / tofu AFTER you pick them. Also, knowing cantonese would be good as I have no idea what they were asking. Apparently they were asking how many tou foo or how many wan tans I want. Not sure what I ratted but who cares. Food came and we stayed on.

Grandma’s passdown

After successfully recreated grandma’s roti babi for the folks in Kuching and also getting the seal of approval from my mum, we want to learn how to make the dipping for the roti babi. It is called the white man’s vinegar, in hokkien.. ang mo chor. The commercial equivalent is the Worcestershire sauce by lea and perins.

We start the dish with a variety of spices and herbs… the quantities which are “up to taste”.

Then the ingredients are pounded the old fashioned way.

Grandma said it is not advisable to use iron or steel pot. She uses an old rice cooker pot which is made up of aluminum. The reason is that later, vinegar will be added which will react with the metal in the pot. Glass or aluminum pots do not react to the vinegar.

Pounded ingredients are then boiled to release the flavour. This is where sugar, salt and mustard is added in the mix.


A whole bottle of rice vinegar is added, boiled for a little longer.

And everything is strained with a coarse strainer.

Sewing Machine Part 2

The sewing machine that I got from grandma was still working as is. The only thing missing is the table. Some of the establishments are also rusty so I headed down to the sewing machine spare part shop in town to get replacements. There is a shop called Swee Hoe Pomar at the start of Carnavon street, nearest to Komtar. Well, if you can call it a shop because you really cannot “shop” around. You ask the man what you want and he finds it for you. They have spare parts for old sewing machines. So we bought a wooden table. It has to be either Singer brand or some locally made ones. The locally made table tops are bad quality. We can see that the workmanship is bad, some of the parts are not even aligned. The show owner said that Singer don’t actually make the table tops. They come in a set with the sewing machine but he has customers who wants the machine but not the table. That is how he gets the table.

So we went home with a table top and some parts.

Once we reached home, we put singer oil (also bought in that shop) in all the moving parts of the machine. WD40 whatever that we cannot reach with the oil. The machine now runs like new. We then proceed to replace some of the parts and find that they don’t fit!

Worse, the table is too small for the legs… I can still use the table but the legs are protruding out.

The leather drive belt is also too short.

And even if I can get the drive belt to be longer, it won’t come up nicely to drive the machine. It will always scratch the side of the table where the hole is.

Serious engineering reconsideration needed.

We went back to the shop immediately. Lucky they are open late. I think they stay in the shop so they can open late. I told the lady boss that the legs were too big but we will use it. The belt is too short and some of the parts didn’t fit. There was an old lady who was watching TV in the shop. The shop owner’s mother I come to understand. She quickly stood up said that if the legs don’t fit, then it has to be a very very old machine. I told her it was bought in 1955. Both of them started to smile and became very excited. They say there are very few of those machines left. They do a lot of service and rarely see machines like that coming into the shop.

WOW! Wife says if there is anyone to trust on the value of the machine, they are the ones because they can appreciate the machine more.

We decided the way to fix the issue that we have is by using an electric motor. She was showing me how to install the electric motor. She said there has to be a hole beside the machine for the hole and explained how to take out the “wheel” to install the drive belt.

We did it.. motor installed.. Tested and working.. the machine and up and running..

now I need a place to put it in the house :D/

At the end of the day, we wondered if buying a new machine would be cheaper. We went to Singer shop in Bayan Baru. A new machine (old fashioned one) is RM700 over. A new electric one is close to RM1K.

So yes, it may be troublesome. I have an oversized legs for the sewing machine table. But it is a working antique and still cheaper than getting a new one

New parts are Singer, old parts are Pfaff… a mismatched pair but they work

Antique Sewing Machine.

Last week, I was at grandma’s place after prayers and saw her sewing machine placed in the car porch. My mum and aunt saw it too and asked grandma why is it out side. She said she does not want it anymore as the table has been chewed to pieces by termites. Aunt said the sewing machine legs are still good as table legs, just buy a tabletop and put it on the legs as a way to salvage the remains of the sewing machine.

I gave a better suggesting. I will take the machine and restore it for my own use. The wife has been asking to buy a sewing machine for some time. Since this is free, why not! It is technically still working other than the chewed up table. So we stripped off the table, with the a whole colony of termites wiggling inside it. We literally chopped off the table from the legs and machine with a machete and burn the remains.

What I have is the legs, the machine… and the receipt. The machine was bought for $272 at staff price in… 1955. Wife says, she likes to use the term pre-merdeka. The sewing machine is older than the nation. 55 years old.

And it still works! Grandma said when grandad was around, he took good care of the machine. I guess now that it is in my possession, I need to take greater care of it.

Pfaff is a german made machine.





The embellishments are all rusty but the mechanical parts are still good. The sewing machine was working when I took it out from the table but decided to give it a good coat of WD40 and singer oil anyway.

A little bit more about the masters class

The MSC program that I am attending is called MSC in Reliable Embedded Systems. It is offered by university of leicester. It is a 2 year part time program covering 6 modules. Each module is done in 5 days, Saturday till Wednesday. That means I need to take leave on 3 working day. Every year, there will be 3 such classes and the lecturers will come all the way down form UK to deliver the class.

The course, is paid in Pounds sterling and compared to other masters class offered locally, they are one of the more expensive classes.

All assignments and exercises that you would expect to finish in one semester, is done in that 5 days. So normally lab work that usually takes one week in school, we have 20 hours to finish it. So you can say it is an intense 5 day class.

The stress is only for 5 days, 3 times a year but the schedule fits all of us. Short and stressful.

Some people tell me that is not a good way to learn as I am not given much time to digest and absorb. Yup, I agree. That is we are given notes and books to read up AFTER the class is over. There are exams.. yup.. I am rushing for a final assignment now which is due in a few more days for a draft review.

One thing I admired, even after paying them so much.. you would expect them to let you off easy.. but they are very strict when it comes to exercises and assignments. Need to hand in on time and no cheating, no copying.. no peeking. The lecturers are there to help if you don’t understand but most of the ground work is done by the students.

It is a tough 5 days and we did ask the lecturer why is it so.

He said that at the end of this class, we should have a sense of achievement. a sense that we have worked our ass off, sacrificed a lot of effort and time and then get the masters. You need to feel that you have worked for it. Otherwise, getting the masters after 2 years, is not something that you feel you have achieved.

I think so too.

Update:

Since the classes are in compressed modules, I asked to take couple of the classes in UK. One of the reason is that I wanted to see the university (to make it look more legit that I am studying in a UK university) and secondly because I signed up late for the course so the subject that I missed will be available in UK. I had to pay for my own stay and travel, which has the feel that I am legitimately a foreign student, especially during the border control questions. Few of the the classmates also went along, it was a good trip

Photos of our 2011 trip to Leicester. 

 

5 more to go

Wife saved up this phrase for me for one week “one down, 5 more to go”

she is referring to the module that I have to complete for my masters.

Yes, I am taking masters. For those who knows me, you are probably saying.. geeze finally.

I have been talking about it for about 5 years now and if i had taken the class when I talked about it, i would have finished it by now..

Though I am really doing this masters for myself, a lot of people are sharing the joy. My parents are spreading the word that I am taking masters even before the university has accepted my application! Well a lot of my cousins are masters holders themselves. So it is nature that dad was happy.

I had my apprehension on the first day of class. It feels like the first day of school. New faces, new people. Not sure how they will react, not sure how I will react. The teacher.

All scary shit man.

First day was hard, i kid you not. I am considered the newbies and it seem that most of the people there already know each other. They have been in class for the past 2 modules (i joined late).

But at the end, it turned out well. I think I was happy at the end of the module. I still have one more assignment to hand out in 2 weeks for early comments and then hand it up in 6 weeks. I got a project to think about.

tell you guys more about the class. Lets say it is a compressed class.

first time in 7 years

I am going back to school. After 7 years away from school, I am going back to school.

Part time masters class. Masters in science. If I am doing masters, going to spend all the effort, the time, the tears, it has to be something more difficult and more challenging then an MBA.

People looked surprised that I am taking masters, when I tell them so. The raised eyebrows and the “huh?”

What, see me no up? (haven’t used that phrase in a long time).

I have been telling people that I want to take up masters since joining this company. A lot of people around me took their masters during their first few years in the company. Also a lot of people who joined the company has masters. I feel, inadequate.

My friends tell me if I took up masters when I said I wanted to, I would have gotten in by now! So shut up and sign up.

I did, maybe 5 years too late but I did.

Feels like first day in school all over again.

Student Number

I got an email today from the university that I have been accepted for the course and I got a student number. WOW. The last time I had anything similar to a student number was 7 years ago. After that, I had an employee number in this company, the 3rd company in my working life. And now, I did a full circle and have a student number. Makes me feel younger all over again.

Yup, I am going back to school, part time that is. The course is a masters in science with University of Leicester. It is a distance learning course and they university lecturers will come to Penang to deliver the course.

there is a little bit anxiety whether I can still pass the exams or not.

One lesson

One of the method to deal with anger (as opposed to controlling anger) is apparently the way I talk. The counselor, after asking me a few case study question, said that I use a lot of the word “you”. Example.. when I get mad and want to screw someone, I would start blasting that poor bugger with all the nasty.. “you should not have done this”.. “you should have informed me first”.. “why did you do this and getting us all screwed”..

Apparently, that is not the best method to deal with the anger. The advise she gave me was to start the conversation with the word “I”. I should say, “I feel that you have betrayed me, you should have….”… or “I feel angry now because you did …. “.

I read through some website for easy understanding on this technique. At that time, I was hungry and I could not pay attention to what the counselor was saying about using the word “I”. She was being a bit abstract. I was in no attention span for something abstract. I found this website that explains it quite clearly. (http://www.stressgroup.com/abcscrashcourse.html)

By using the word “I”, starting the statement with “I am angry..” puts the anger as my responsibility. Saying.. “you should have done this”.. makes the other person responsible for my anger. This is not the case, as I was told. Anger is mine and they did not cause it. they may have triggered it but it was my irrational belief that cause the anger burst. So by using the word “I”, I put the responsibility for that anger to be mine.

interesting concept.

Just that the implementation was not that easy. Lets just say I had almost had a fuse this afternoon after some inconsiderate leach proposed a very outrageous suggestion. I kept saying.. you should.. you must.. you you you.. it was after he left, that I realised that I should have used what I had been taught.

I still have a long way to go.

I went to the shrink

For my anger management problem. Well technically she was just a counselor and not a shrink. And the session was paid for the by the company, so what the heck, I thought. Anger was something that I did not think I had. I think I am a happy person, positive and never had a care. Apparently, the wife noticed that do I snap once in a while. It gets more frequent these days. And then I started to notice too.  I can be driving on a slow Saturday, someone overtakes me and I turn into godzilla. I can trail that fellow no matter how fast he driver. Wife can see the rage in my face, I can feel the rage all over the body. I so want to make someone hurt bad.

You know how this always ends, everyone gets hurt and nothing is gained from it. So I decided to make use of company benefits and see the shrink.

Her advise started with the usual, breathing technique and then how to clench your fist. Apparently, there are ways to calm down, decide what to do and then act on it.

I mean.. it sounds easy right. Try pissing me off these days and we shall see blood!

She did teach something interesting though. The ABC of anger management.You can read more here but I think the article is too complicated. Basically

A – Stands for Action. Someone’s action, which I cannot control.

B – is for the irrational belief that I held. This is in the mind. Example, I think people should not overtake from the left.

C – for the consequences. I get angry, slam the accelerator and make a fool of myself.

In this technique, I am supposed to challenge the Belief. Idiots exist on the roads. The end up killing people. As long as I am not the one getting Killed, live with it.

Does not sound right.. hhmm..

Anyway, it is the B that takes the A to C. Without the belief, someone’s action will not translate to my consequences. I should first calm down, then challenge my irrational belief, then subsequently take control of the situation.

I am supposed to start a journal about how I overcome my anger. Take the ABC and note down. I don’t think I want to do it here in the blog. But perhaps I should share some once in a while.

You heard of the song ” I want my money back”?

I want my old life back. Whatever happened to the happy go lucky fellow.