Quirky Sculptures @ The Pt Leo Estate Sculpture Park, Mornington Peninsula

Enjoy good food, wine, art and the outdoors all in one at the Pt Leo Estate on the Mornington Peninsula, home to not one but two award-winning restaurants, a winery and cellar door, as well as 60 sculptures spread across 135 hectares of land. The sculpture park was one of our last stops to the area, and being located close to the edge of the peninsula, afforded beautiful views of the coast.

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The design of its restaurant is modern and contemporary, with lots of wood accentuated by touches of sleek black. Unfortunately we weren’t able to stay for a meal, but we did manage to explore parts of the massive sculpture park.

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The Pt Leo Estate is fairly new, having opened in 2017. Owned by the Gandels, who made their fortunes in retail, the ambitious project had a cost of over AUD 50 mil. The park, dotted with sculptures from international as well as Australian artists, can be enjoyed on well-paved walkways that wind through the hilly green. There are two circuits, one which takes 30 minutes to complete, the other 60.

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One of the most striking sculptures in the park is a nine-metre ‘sleeping’ head by Catalan artist Plensa. The sculpture is such that the three-dimensional sculpture projected a 2D ‘flat’ effect when seen from different angles, which was, to me, quite a trippy viewing experience.

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You can get up close to most of the sculptures and touch them; except the ones taht are fenced off.

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Surrounded by vineyards and flanked by the coast, the sculpture park and its quirky, oft times beautiful structures made for the perfect outdoor art gallery. If you’re dining at the restaurant, entrance is free. Otherwise, its AUD10 per pax.

Opening hours: 11AM – 5PM (Sculpture park and cellar door); Restaurant opening hours: 12 – 5PM Sun – Wed, 9.30PM Thurs and 10.30 PM Fri-Sat.

PT LEO ESTATE 

3649 Frankston-Flinders Rd, Merricks, Vic

ptleoestate.com.au

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Museum Of Illusions @ Ansa Hotel Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

At the Museum of Illusions, what you see is not always what you get.

Tucked within Ansa Hotel at the bustling Bukit Bintang area in Kuala Lumpur, this small but interesting family-friendly attraction is dedicated to all things illusion, priding itself in deceiving your senses.

I had tix from a media event so while the Boy and I were in town recently, we paid it a quick visit.

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The space itself is not very large, but there are dozens of tricks, puzzles and exhibits to keep visitors entertained for an hour or two. It’s a super educational place for both adults and children, and is sure to get the brain cogs turning!

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A Penrose triangle aka ‘impossible’ triangle – an optical illusion where the object appears to have no beginning or end point.

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Various optical illusions. People always say “You have to see to believe”, but a visit to the museum proves just how easy it is to trick our eyes and the brain.

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Believe it or not, the lines are all straight!

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There were several wooden block puzzles which visitors can try their hand at putting together. I didn’t manage even one but the Boy proved to have a higher IQ, successfully completing the above puzzle. Kudos! 

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A fun part of the museum were the ‘rooms’ which play with angles and perspectives to create optical illusions when photographed from a certain point. Using distance, we were able to capture a pic that looked as if the other person was many times bigger.

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Another room which was slanted. It was extremely difficult to keep my balance when walking inside – it was as if my brain was refusing to listen to my commands!

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Kaleidoscope mirror tunnel. No need for Insta filter here lol

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An ‘upside down’ house.

On second thought, should have directed the Boy to make a pose on the stairs that would make him seem like he’s coming down them backwards like Linda Blair in the Exorcist lolol

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We had fun solving puzzles on site, like the Tower of Hanoi, and stacking dices while making sure each side totaled up to 10.

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The museum also has a second floor, although it’s much smaller. Check out this colourful rotating tunnel! The Boy went through it like 5 – 6 times lol such an excited kid

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Had a great hour or so exploring the museum. It’s a bit pricey imo if you’re bringing the whole fam but if you have the budget, I think it’s a great family-friend place to visit. Definitely beats just walking around at a mall.

Entry is RM35 (adults – MYKAD) and RM25 (children). Foreigners pay RM10 extra for each category.

MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS KL

Ansa Hotel 1st&2nd floor
101 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Phone: 603-21102654

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Bonus pic: Taking a shot of our “Lego” selves at the Petronas Twin Towers !

 

Teddyville Museum @ DoubleTree By Hilton Penang, Malaysia

**Note: Photo heavy post! Video at bottom.

Here’s some good news for teddy bear fans: you don’t have to fly all the way to South Korea to visit their Teddy Bear Museum. We have one right here in Malaysia, and it’s pretty awesome!

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Tucked within DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang at Batu Feringghi is Teddyville Museum, a fun and interactive space that features the iconic, well loved toys that have been (and still are) a comforting companion to generations of children and adults for over a century. Covering 9,000 square feet, the museum is a good place to learn not only about teddy bear history, but also the story of Penang island.

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Don’t forget to pose with this giant teddy at the entrance! It stands (or sits) at a height twice as much as an average human, namely me. lol.

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The first section of the museum is dedicated to classic bears, some of which date back to the 1900s! The teddy bears of today have a pretty standard look, but classic teddies varied in material and appearance, and came in all shapes and sizes – like the one above which had very long strands of ‘fur’, next to two carved wooden ones.

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TEDDY TRIVIA

Have you ever wondered why they call it a ‘Teddy’ bear? The toys were named after US President Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt. The story goes that the president was on a bear hunting trip in Mississippi in 1902. Roosevelt’s assistants cornered and tied a black bear to a willow tree, and suggested he shoot it, but viewing this as unsportsmanlike, Roosevelt refused. News spread about the ‘big game hunter’ who refused to shoot a bear – and it was immortalised in a caricature published in the Washington Post.

By Clifford K.Berryman.

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It is perhaps for this reason that early bears were depicted with ‘sad’ expressions, having been spared of a grizzly fate (grizzly/grisly geddit? i amuse myself sometimes ha.)

It wasn’t until the 1920s that bears started having happier expressions.

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World War I soldiers often brought teddies along as companions. Sadly, not all (both teddy and human) returned to their loved ones.

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Some of the most expensive pieces in the house include this 1925 ‘Peter Bear’ by Gebruder Sussenguth, valued at RM21,000 (5000USD!). It had a hollow head with movable eyes and tongue, and was made from a moulded type of plaster called composition.

It may be 21k but to me this looks like the Annabelle of Teddies. I wouldn’t want to have it in the room, let alone sleep with it!

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The original Winnie the Pooh bear!

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In the 1940s, World War II came and due to a shortage of materials, teddies were made with shorter snouts and limbs. This is much closer to the version we see today.

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Rolling into the Rock N’Roll era, we have an Elvis-inspired teddy, complete with the singer’s signature white studded jumpsuit with flared collar.

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The Teddy Ruxpin series, which were fitted with casette tapes and could ‘read’ stories, became best selling toys in the 1980s.

The next few sections of the museum tell the story of Penang from its inception. I loved this section and spent well over an hour exploring the displays and noting small details. It really showed how much heart and effort was put into the making of these teddies and sets! 🙂

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(Above) Arrival of the British, as told through miniature teddies. Was super impressed with the level of detail !

For those not familiar with Malaysian history, Penang island was ‘founded’ in the 1700s by Captain Sir Francis Light, an Englishman for the British East India company. Foreign powers were expanding quickly in the Malayan Straits and Southeast Asia, and everyone wanted a piece of the pie. Penang’s strategic location allowed it to become a bustling centre of trade and commerce – so kudos to Light for having the foresight to ‘book’ the island under British influence.

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A large teddy version of Light.

Stories go that he was a bit of an ass though, as he leased the island from the Sultanate of Kedah with the promise that British forces would help if Siam attacked the kingdom, but then bailed on his promise. He died from malaria at the age of 54, and visitors to the Protestant Cemetery in Penang will find his tomb there.

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The next section highlighted the three main races in Peninsula Malaysia, namely Malay, Chinese and Indian.

The miniature Indian teddy set was done like a Hindu temple, complete with an intricate silver chariot pulled by bulls, kavadi-bearing teddies, temple priests, tiny coconut shells to represent the real ones used during religious festivals, and of course, teddies dressed in traditional Indian cultural garb.

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The large kavadi-bearing teddy in saffron robes and a metal rod skewered through its cheeks.

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A traditional ‘kampung’ (village) setting was used to highlight Malay culture. The ‘female’ teddies even wore tudungs, lol. In a corner (not pictured) were teddies cooking food in a kawah (cauldron) – a scene familiar to festivals and events in the kampung, where everyone pitches in to help with the preparations.

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Immensely amused that the ‘Chinese’ teddies had slits for eyes lol.

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Scene based on Penang’s famous Taoist/Buddhist temple, Kek Lok Si.

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Moving on to landmarks in Penang, we have a recreation of Siam Road’s famous char koay teow stall. They even have the owner’s grumpy expression down pat! (PS: The owner of the stall is always grumpy looking coz he has a lot of customers to serve.)

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Mini set of Gurney Drive’s hawker stalls. Again, super impressed with the level of detail. The teddies aren’t just in the same poses – we have teddies taking pictures of the food, teddies ordering, etc.

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Penang is an island after all, so of course the museum has to have a set featuring its beaches.

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Another famous attraction – Penang Hill – featuring the funicular train.

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Lol school trip with cikgu and students in uniforms.

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I could spend hours looking at the tiny details: teddy kids holding lollipops, a group of (presumably) teenage teddies with a miniature iPhone taking selfies, teddies looking through the observation binoculars.

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Typical scene at a Chinese kopitiam in Penang.

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We also have a teddy dedicated to Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic, who popularised Penang through his beautiful street murals.

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The process of making traditional batik.

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Teddy decked out in the Penang International Marathon runner’s tee. I have one of these 😀

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The dragon boat festival is one of the highlights of the island’s annual calendar.

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The museum also gives a nod to Penang’s industrial side, with these factory workers assembling electronics.

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Paying tribute to our national sporting heroes. Can you guess who they are? 😀

Here’s a short video I put together:

I really enjoyed my visit to the Teddyville Museum and it exceeded my expectations with its beautiful sets, meticulous attention to detail and wonderful showcase of Malaysian heritage. I think it’ll be a great place to take the kids to and teach them in a fun and educational way about Penang’s history and culture.

TEDDYVILLE MUSEUM

56, Jalan Low Yat, Puncak Ria, 11100 Batu Ferringhi, Pulau Pinang

*Located within DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang

Entry: RM36 (adults/MYKAD), RM25 (children/MYKAD)

Open daily: 9AM – 6PM

5 Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley This Halloween

Halloween. The ‘spookiest’ time of the year.

It’s when cable TV starts showing re-runs of classics like Halloween (duh!), A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and costume parties abound. Or, if you worked at my (now ex) company, they have a small prize for colleagues who come to work dressed up. Usually this means slathering some face paint on and dressing up in all black, but still.

While Halloween is not as big in Malaysia as it is in countries like the States (where people go trick or treating door-to-door and Starbucks insists on pumpkin spice everything), there are still loads of things you can do to participate in the festivities.

1 ) Get your heart pumping at the Halloween Night Run 

  • Where: MAEPS Serdang
  • When: Saturday, Oct 28 2017, 7PM

Credit: Halloween Night Run’s Facebook page 

 

Talk about ‘running scared’, lol. Raise your heart levels and get some cardio in at the Halloween Night Run, returning to MAEPS Serdang for its second year. Coz when it comes to running and having a good time, all ghost, ghouls, demons and witches are equal.

Bonus: Come dressed in your best costumes and stand a chance to win prizes!

Tickets and registration: HERE 

 

2 ) Meet the monstrous residents of Sunway Lagoon theme park at Nights of Fright 5 

  • Where: Sunway Lagoon Theme Park
  • When: Fridays-Saturdays til 31 Oct 2017, 7.30PM til late

Nothing screams ‘celebrating Halloween’ like a trip to the spook house. Or maybe 8 spook houses, 5 scare zones, 11 thrill rides and 4 show stages. At Nights of Fright 5 by Sunway Lagoon, every corner is filled with otherworldly denizens, be it zombies, cursed dolls, corpses or vampires. Enter… if you dare.

Tickets: HERE 

3) Have a Zombie Party at Jump Street Asia

  • Where: Jumpstreet Asia, Seksyen 13 PJ
  • When: Saturday, Oct 28 2017, 5PM – 10PM

Credit: JumpstreetAsia sorry couldn’t find Halloween one lol. 

Impersonate a pocong (coz it jumps, geddit? lol) at Malaysia’s largest indoor trampoline park, Jump Street Asia. Dress up and bounce your way to a good time, with fun activities such as a haunted house, zombie dances and best costume contests. For only one entry price, you get five hours of great fun as opposed to the usual hourly rates, so book early!

4) Give some blood… for a good cause @ My Bloody Halloween 2.0 

  • Where: The School, Jaya One Petaling Jaya
  • When: Saturday/Sunday Oct 28 – 29 2017 , 11AM -6PM

Don’t waste that blood! Donate some to help save lives at My Bloody Halloween 2.0. The initiative is put together by a group of youths from the Leo Club. There will also be cool vendors, pop up stalls and activities at the event !

More info on FB: HERE 

5) Pub/bar crawl your way through Changkat Bukit Bintang 

  • Where: KL
  • When: Various dates beginning Oct 28 – first week of November

Bars, pubs and clubs in various spots around the Klang Valley/KL have a long tradition of having costume parties and Halloween promotions – and one of the best spots to experience the nightlife is at Changkat Bukit Bintang. Spots like Havana have annual dress-up events with free entry for those in costume, and other places also have their own themes. And having a tipple as a vampire beats boring ol’ normal clothes any day (or night).

 

 

Happy Halloween! 

PS: If you could dress up as a character, who’d you pick? Lemme know in the comments below! 🙂

School Holiday Fun @ Sunway Lagoon’s Wildlife Adventure

Back when I was a kid, school holidays = I get to mess around the house or go on a trip with the fam. Hooray!

Now that I’m a working adult, school holidays = less traffic on the roads in the morning. So Hooray to that too!

For those with kids, even better news: Sunway Lagoon, Malaysia’s premiere theme park, is having an exciting and educational programme for the school holidays! Suitable for both kids (and the young at heart!), the Wildlife Adventure gives visitors the chance to get outdoors and spend time together, while enjoying fun and interactive activities revolving around the theme park’s mini zoo. The lineup includes a Wildlife EduHunt, Wildlife Multi-Animal Show, mystery box, animal feeding and identifying the smallest monkey in the world. 🙂

I’ve been to the mini zoo in Sunway Lagoon several times, and was always impressed by how well maintained it is as well as the number of animals they have – over 150 species from around the world ! I especially like the aviary where you can get upclose and personal to the feathered friends who roam around freely.

One of the birds with beautiful plummage you’ll find at Sunway Lagoon’s aviary.

So what’s in store for guests? Take part in the Wildlife Eduhunt Challenge, where you’ll have to complete 10 challenges ranging from Peek-A-Print, Mix & Match, Mystery Box and more, as well as collect stamps at designated spots. The best thing is, while you’re having fun, you’ll also stand a chance to win fantastic prizes, including a 2D1N stay at Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa, and a Xperia C5 Ultra Dual smartphone. The EduHunt Card can be purchased at the Main Entrance or Wildlife Park (Rimba).

 

Malaysian supermodel Amber Chia posing with an albino python and guests during the event launch! 🙂

Besides the Wildlife EduHunt, parent and child in teams of two will be able to showcase their creative and artistic side in the ‘Get Wild, Paint, Snap & Post’ contest, with 30 minutes to face paint their team partner, snap a photo and upload it to their Facebook with the hashtag #SunwayLagoonMY and #SLWildlife Adventure. The prize? A cool Fujiflim Instax Mini 8 Camera, complete with a Twin Pack Film of 20 sheet prints! 🙂

Even if you’re not into joining any challenges or contests, it’s still going to be a fun day out at the theme park exploring the mini zoo, especially since they have star attractions like lions and a white tiger. There will also be feeding sessions for swans, macaws and squirrels – a good chance for the little ones to interact with wildlife! Be entertained while watching educational Wildlife Multi-Animal Shows.

Sunway Lagoon’s Wildlife Adventure is available from now until 11 June 2017.More info: sunwaylagoon.com/wildlife-adventure/

Photos courtesy of GoCommunications PR

Chinese New Year @ Sunway Pyramid – Spring Flower Market

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It feels like a never ending string of festivities – with Christmas and New Year’s just over, we’re already gearing up for Chinese New Year (which falls on Jan 28 this year!). Ushering in the Year of the Rooster at Sunway Pyramid is a Spring Flower Market, featuring dozens of beautiful flowers and plants for sale.

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Auspicious plants to have in your home for the New Year – neat little bamboos arranged in a cluster. Bamboos are considered lucky and represent strength. Some are twisted to form auspicious shapes like the number 8 (8 in Chinese sounds like ‘prosperity’ – making it a favourite number for special occasions)

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Fake decorative peonies. No less pretty though!

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Colourful orchids in a variety of hues and patterns.

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One of my favourites: look at that vivid colour!

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Also on display: terrariums.

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Aside from orchids, there were also other flowers. Sorry, my knowledge of flora is limited so I have no idea what these are.

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Over at the other concourse, the mall had set up a Hong Kong style ‘avenue’, with posters of old HK movies and prop-filled shopfronts. To mark the year of the rooster, a giant chicken sat atop the structure.

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Bel, Jo and I took our customary CNY reunion photo at the photo booth, with a backdrop of a traditional herbalist’s store.

Happy CNY!

Seafood @ Sinsuran Night Market, Kota Kinabalu Sabah

Located on the west coast of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu is a seaside town famed for its beautiful islands. It would be blasphemy, then, to come here and not tuck into its delicious seafood. One of the best places to get some is at the Sinsuran Night Market. Featuring dozens of stalls, each displaying gigantic lobsters, huge shrimps, colourful fishes of all shapes and sizes, giant oysters and juicy clams, this is Mecca for all seafood loving-pilgrims.

There are actually two sections – one where they serve cooked items, and another where you get to choose fresh seafood and have them cooked to order in a variety of styles.

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Don’t expect air conditioning here – the place, like its name, is a ‘market’ through and through, so expect to dine in heat, noise and smell under tarps. Since it rained before our visit, the asphalt was covered in puddles of muddy water.

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Cooked seafood laid out on the grill. I’ve never seen such gigantic tiger prawns – definitely not something you see often in KL! The smell and smoke opens the drool floodgates… 😀

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Cooked on the spot in woks or steamers over huge fires, giving your seafood definite ‘wok hei’.

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Squid, blood cockles, clams on trays. Visitors can pick the ones they want into smaller baskets and hand them to the staff, who will then prepare it in a variety of different styles: goreng tepung (flour battered and fried), sweet and sour, chilli, soy-sauce, assam, ginger, etc.

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Flower crabs. These are halal. Muslims can’t eat mud crabs because they can survive both on land and in the sea, and it is forbidden for Muslims to eat anything that is a ‘haiwan dua alam’, or creatures that can live in two different environments.

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There was even a blue parrot fish! Yes, I guess they can be eaten, but I’ve never tasted one..

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Lobster.

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Our table ordered seaweed. They’re not like the dried ones I see at the Japanese grocer – these have small round vestibules filled with liquid, attached to a stem. They are also called sea grapes (no points for guessing why!). The locals here eat it with a side of belacan (fermented shrimp paste) for a spicy kick. The ‘grapes’ popped in my mouth, leaving a salty, slimy texture in the mouth. Not my favourite, but it wasn’t unpleasant.

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Must try – Avocado juice! It’s not really a ‘juice’, seeing as how avocado has very little water content, but the drink is ice-blended so it has a creamy consistency. It was sweet, refreshing and tasted like honeydew mixed with vanilla ice-cream.

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Giant shrimps, cooked in a sweet and sour sauce. They were humongous but fresh and juicy, with loads of creamy roe in the head.

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My favourite dish of the night was the deceptively simple but delicious fried squid. The batter was savoury and crunchy, coating the springy squid perfectly. I could eat an entire plate all by myself.

So if you’re looking for affordable seafood, head to Sinsuran! Make sure you bargain with the staff to get the best prices. 🙂

SINSURAN NIGHT MARKET 

Lorong Guamantong, Sinsuran Kompleks, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Open daily: 3–11PM
Landmarks: It’s just behind the Filipino Market, across the road from Le Meridien KK.

Music Museum, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Hey guys ! So Evelyn and I were in downtown KL for Mud The Musical: The Story of Kuala Lumpur recently. The theatre is very close to a few other attractions, such as the Sultan Abdul Samad building, Merdeka Square and a few museums. After the show, we still had about two hours before closing time, so we walked over to the Music Museum nearby.

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The road in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building was closed on Sundays for Car-Free Morning, so tourists could walk around and take their time snapping pix.

This late 19th century building, done in the style of Moorish-Revival architecture, originally housed the offices of the British colonial administration. After independence, it was the home to Malaysia’s Supreme Courts – namely the Federal Court, Court of Appeals and the High Court of Malaya (they’ve since shifted to Putrajaya). Currently, it houses the offices of the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture  of Malaysia, and is a prominent feature in KL’s landscape.

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And here’s our destination! Built in 1919, this elegant colonial-era building used to be home to the KL branch of Chartered Bank, before it was converted into the National History Museum. The latter has since been moved elsewhere. Last year, the building was reopened as KL’s Music Museum, where guests can learn more about the country’s musical instruments and history.

Despite being close to a decade old, the building is still very well kept so kudos to our national heritage body. 🙂

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Only the first floor was open during our visit. It had a wide collection of musical instruments used by the different ethnic groups in Malaysia, such as Malay, Chinese, Indian, Orang Asli, Iban, Kadazan, as well as Western instruments.

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The displays are separated according to ethnic group and region, with helpful LCD displays. Visitors can also press on the icons to hear the sounds produced by the different instruments.

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Forgot the name of this, but it’s a traditional Malay string instrument. Look at the ornate carvings and detailing on the stem! 🙂

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An old gramophone.

Our tour took less than half an hour, but the stuff was pretty informative. Good to pop in for a visit if you’re ever around the vicinity. 🙂

Admission is free.

MUSIC MUSEUM KUALA LUMPUR 

 

29, Jalan Raja, 50050 Kuala Lumpur,

Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Phone:+60 3-2604 0176

Opening hours: 9AM – 5PM