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DIY Scented Candles Even A Noob Can Make

Like most of my ‘projects’, my first time making DIY scented candles started with a whim: I had a long Christmas break and thought it would be fun to make my own candles at home. Lazada sells convenient candle making kits, most of which are from China. I ordered them in early December, and they came just in time for Christmas!

Although I like artsy stuff, I am not someone who is skillful with my hands – I’m clumsy af, so I suck at things like sewing, weaving, painting, crocheting, embroidery, etc. Fortunately, making candles is relatively easy, or at least easy enough that even I couldn’t mess it up too badly.

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The kit cost me RM65, and came with everything I needed to make eight medium-sized candles, including metal containers (they sported bright, colourful designs), cotton wicks, four packets of soy wax (200g each), a stainless steel jug for melting, sticky tape to fasten the wick to the bottom, wick holders to keep them in place, a stirring spoon, dye blocks as well as four bottles of 10ml fragrances. I think it’s a reasonable price, as after making the candles I still had a lot of wicks left over, and I since I can reuse the equipment, I’d only need to buy wax and fragrances the next time I want to make candles.

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I didn’t want the kitchen smelling like fragrances, so I used the portable butane stove we usually reserve for hotpots. Didn’t have a big stainless steel pot either, so I used a clay pot (necessity is the mother of invention) to double as my boiler. The jug should not be heated directly over the flame as the heat would be too intense for the wax, which would cause it to scorch. Using another pot filled with water helps to ensure a low and steady temperature.

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While waiting for the water to boil, I trimmed the cotton wick and fixed it to the bottom of the container using the included sticky tape. The wick holder can be placed across the top to hold the wick in position when you pour.

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Using the spoon, I stirred the wax until it was completely melted.

Professionals who make candles to sell usually use a thermometer while making their candles, since different types of wax (beeswax, soy wax, paraffin) have different melting points. As I didn’t have one, I just winged it (ie making sure the pot wasn’t bubbling too much).

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Once everything had melted, I added my desired dye and stirred it until the colour was even. Once it had cooled down a little (but not to the point of solidifying, I poured the mix into the containers.

I made a couple of mistakes here.

  1. I added the fragrance right after the dye had melted. The temperature must have been too hot, which caused the fragrance to evaporate (?), so the result was that the throw (how far the scent carries across the room) was pretty weak.
  2. I poured everything in one go, which caused the candles to ‘sink’ in the middle once the wax had cooled. Apparently this is because the wax cools down faster at the sides, since the container is cooler. To avoid this, you’ll either have to keep the containers at a warmer temperature, or use the double pour method, where you first pour 3/4 of your mixture, allow it to cool, then top up with more wax to make the surface more even. I think this is quite a hassle though, as it means you’ll have to keep some of the wax. In my case, I couldn’t do that as I had a bunch of different colours and scents to work on, and only one jug.
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Despite the flaws, I was pretty happy with the end results!

I had four scents: lavender, vanilla, rose and lemon. The scents were actually quite pleasing when I held the candle up to my nose, but as I mentioned, I think I put them in too early so when I lit the candles I couldn’t smell much of the fragrances.

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Gifted a few to a friend as a Christmas present!
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Making my own candles was surprisingly fun (although it did take me three hours and my back felt extremely sore from having to sit on a low stool – sorry lah I’m old lol) , and I did feel a sense of accomplishment even if they didn’t turn out perfect. Maybe once I’ve had a couple more practice runs, I can start making more luxurious candles – like those pretty ones with flowers and stuff.

My candle making kit from Lazada : link

Have you tried making your own candles? Share your tips with me below!

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Mid-October Update

Hey guys!

It’s 12/10 and the gov just announced that we’re having another CMCO (for the benefit of my foreign readers, that’s a Conditional Movement Control Order – kinda like a ‘loose’ quarantine but not a total lockdown) in my area: which means no interstate travel allowed, plus restrictions on the operating hours of some businesses, for two weeks. Schools will be closed, as well as parks and entertainment centres. Only two people from each household are allowed out for essentials, and if you have to work across the border (in my case, Puchong – KL) you’ll need a letter from your employer – similar to how it was back in March/April when the whole nation was under lockdown.

I’m not gonna go into deets (because it’ll become a rant lol) on why we’re having a third wave when we were doing pretty okay. let’s just say politicians are shit and they only care about power – as they always do anywhere else in the world. Funny how we ‘learn’ about history and yet take no lessons from them.

Since this blog is mostly about food and travel experiences, I guess I’ll just have to write about other things again for awhile – that is, if I can find the time. As much as I’d like to post and write more often, there’s a crazy amount of work to do on a daily basis. What with pay cuts and staff layoffs left and right, many people who still have a job are forced to take on additional work loads, myself included. It hasn’t been good for my mental health, but I’m trying to power through because I understand that times are hard and no company is a charity case. I might whine about my problems online because it’s the only outlet I have – but at the end of the day, I guess it’s still about getting things done.

I hope everyone is doing safe and well, wherever you are!

Too bad we don’t have autumn in Malaysia lol

**PS: If you’re not already subscribed, I have a Patreon! You can subscribe here. You can also follow me on other social media channels on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Your support would mean the world to me! 🙂

A New Normal: Dining In Again After The Quarantine

It has been three weeks since the Malaysian government implemented the CMCO (Conditional Movement Control Order), which slightly eased restrictions and allowed for most businesses to reopen in the Klang Valley. Even so, many are still wary about going out, and even though malls are running again, some shops are still shuttered, and obviously business is not as brisk as it was before. I think it will be a long while before things go back to how they were before – if they ever will.

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As for myself, I haven’t been to a mall at all since the quarantine first came into place on March 18. I currently go to work on a rotational basis, so I went to Starling Mall in Damansara Uptown, to look for lunch + ask about computer repairs (laptop’s keyboard has been giving me grief). It felt a little surreal to be walking in the mall again and to see how some shops are still closed, the aisles empty.

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Walked past Sushi Zanmai and they were pretty empty (usually unheard of pre-coronavirus – the lines were always long). I’ve missed eating Japanese food, so I decided to dine in. The restaurant followed SOPs well: you have to register yourself via the Selangkah app, get your temperature checked and sanitise before entering. The seating capacity was obviously reduced; no more single seating at the sushi bar where they put you next to each other. I had a whole booth for four to myself.

No physical menus; you scan a QR code and make your orders through an app of sorts.

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Do you tend to order the same thing when frequenting a favourite restaurant? Whenever I visit Sushi Zanmai, I always have the same thing. Not because I don’t want to try other things, but because it’s become a habit lol. (above) Chuka Iidako (marinated baby octopus) 

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Fried shimeji mushrooms, served with a dollop of mayonnaise. Crispy with a nice savoury batter on the outside, moist on the inside, sizable portion. Great with a bowl of rice.

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Last but not least, salmon sashimi (3 pieces – Rm10.80). Not sure if these weren’t fresh but they were kinda tasteless and had that ‘thawed’/re-frozen quality.

Pre-covid, I would linger and enjoy the food while reading a book – but moving forward I guess we have to learn to just pop in, eat and leave so that we don’t take up space for other people + minimize the risk of contracting something.

SUSHI ZANMAI (STARLING MALL) 

F 132 & 133, 1st Floor, Starling Mall 85, Jalan SS 21/37, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 10PM

Phone: 03-7625 1160

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A friend of mine works in the neighbourhood so we had a drink and a quick catch up session at The Good Batch, which is just outside the mall. Ordered a Mochatella, which came with coffee cubes and milk. They also serve sandwiches and typical cafe fare like pastas, sandwiches, cakes and coffee.

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Can’t believe it has been 14 years since we first met!

If you’re around the neighbourhood, consider dropping by The Good Batch to support a local business – they need our patronage right now.

THE GOOD BATCH 

No. 53, Jalan SS 21/1a, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 10AM – 10PM (daily)

Phone: 03-7733 2303

 

How are lockdown measures easing in your area? Do you feel safe to dine out again? 

 

Vegetarian Food in Puchong: Pure Heart Vegetarian Restaurant, Bandar Puteri

A couple of years ago, hipsters in the West sang praises about the “Impossible Burger” – a burger with meat patties made from plant-based ingredients. They supposedly tasted ‘just like the real thing’.

While I’ve never tasted this impossible burger, I didn’t quite understand what the hullabaloo was all about. We’ve had mock meat in Chinese cuisine for ages (tofu-based/mushroom-based items made into ‘chicken’, ‘fish’, etc.) – because many Chinese are Buddhists or Taoists, and observe a vegetarian diet on certain days or as a lifestyle altogether.

Famous chefs like Gordon Ramsay and the late Anthony Bourdain (as well as food critic/host Andrew Zimmern’s) have all been pretty critical of vegetarian/vegan food in the past. I am of course no world-famous chef, but I think that vegetarian food, when prepared right, can be pretty tasty (This coming from someone who dislikes veggies, lol).

Bandar Puteri Puchong has a couple of vegetarian restaurants. Most of them are still taking precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so they’re only offering takeaway. One of these places is Pure Heart Vegetarian, which we tried last Sunday (coincidentally the 15th of the month according to the lunar calendar, which is when most Buddhists/ Taoists observe a vegetarian diet).

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You can call them up to place an order, or order online and arrange for a pickup. It is recommended to call two hours prior, as they can get pretty busy. We were lucky as our order was ready within 30 minutes. They’re very stringent on hygiene; all meals are kept sealed in boxes and only taken out when you’re ready to pick up your items. They have several contactless modes of payment such as Maybank E-Wallet, Touch N Go and Boost. While you can still pay in cash, this is discouraged.

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Pure Heart offers a variety of rice and noodle dishes, as well as ala carte items. Portions are very generous. (Above) Moo’s ‘Chicken Rice’ – consisting of fried ‘mock’ chicken and fragrant turmeric rice.

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Bro’s salted ‘fish’ fried rice, packed with peas, carrots and beansprouts.

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Portuguese-style fried mushroom with rice, essentially fried oyster mushrooms on a bed of salad, served with a creamy, spicy sauce. I’m not sure why it’s called Portuguese style, but I’m guessing it’s from Macanese cuisine ie from Macau near Hong Kong, which has Portuguese influence. The sauce has birds eye chilli and tastes like spicy buttermilk. Oyster mushrooms are crispy and nicely battered, but moist on the inside without being greasy.

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Pops had braised vegetable rice, a warm and hearty gravy of veggies, tofu and egg poured over white rice.

Overall, I felt that the food from Pure Heart Vegetarian was pretty tasty – so it’s definitely an option for vegetarian and vegans in Puchong. View the full menu and order at https://puchong-pure-heart-vegetarian.business.site/ or call 03-5879 9871. 

PURE HEART VEGETARIAN 

G-40, Jalan Puteri 4/8, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 3PM, 5PM – 7PM (9PM On Saturdays) – daily

 

Are Shops Actually Observing SOPs? – An Ordinary Malaysian’s Observations

On May 4, after close to two months under a strict movement control order, the Malaysian government started lifting restrictions, allowing for most businesses to resume their operations –provided they follow strict ‘SOPs’ (standard operating procedures). They’ve also called for people to observe social distancing and practice good hygiene.

Some parties (and medical experts) have decried the move as premature, since the number of daily cases are still at the time of this writing in the double digits. With the upcoming Hari Raya celebrations, there is fear of a second wave of infections, which might be worse than the last.

This has not been helped by the indecisive policies and often rushed announcements that are clearly not thought through, as well as conflicting statements from different ministries – which has caused even more confusion among businesses and the public.

For example, our health DG has asked everyone to wear face masks to reduce the probability of transmitting/contracting the disease. On the other hand, our Senior Minister has said that businesses are not allowed to turn customers away if they choose not to wear face masks . Also, interstate travel isn’t allowed to avoid people travelling back to their hometowns during the festive season, BUT up to 20 people are allowed to visit relatives on the first day of Hari Raya (provided they don’t travel between states). Idk about you, but 20 people still sounds like a mass gathering to me – and a comment on FB sums it up best:  “Apparently the virus needs to take a holiday too so they’ll be like ‘oh it’s the first day of Raya, let’s take a break from infecting people'”.

The constant call from the gov is to ‘adhere to SOPs’, but nothing much has been put into place to ensure this is enforced. To put it more accurately, it is IMPOSSIBLE to enforce due to the lack of manpower. People are inherently undisciplined (just look at the United States) and without strict enforcement, you cannot rely on them to police themselves. Already, over 1,000 vehicles tried their luck at travelling interstate to ‘go back to their hometowns’ despite knowing it was a clear violation and were turned back at the border. And these are just the ones the police managed to stop. How many more slipped through the cracks, we’ll never know.

But hey, I’m just an ordinary person going about my daily life – so let’s see how many places are actually adhering to the ‘SOPs’.

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Task: Buy lunch

Venue: Soon Lok, Bandar Puteri Puchong

To avoid going out and to minimise the risk of outside contact, the fam and I have been cooking most of our meals at home – but in the last two weeks we’ve gone out once or twice for takeaway. Went to Soon Lok, which has always been my preferred place for roasties (roast duck, chicken and pork). They’ve expanded some of their offerings to include convenient ready-packed meals, kuih and drinks. The resto is not yet open for dine-in, and there weren’t many customers during my visit.

  • Red strips of tape outside the shop indicated where customers are supposed to queue.
  • Most customers followed the rules and waited for their turn.
  • Staff followed good hygienic practices and wore face masks and gloves.
  • After placing an order, the staff gave me a number placard and I collected the order when the number was called.
  • The display area can be a bit problematic, as some customers move to the front to see what’s on display and ignore the line. When calling out an uncle for not lining up, he said “I’m just looking” but he was clearly too close for comfort.

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Task: Buy vegetables and groceries

Venue: 3 Onions, Bandar Puteri Puchong

3 Onions is a fresh grocer / convenience store that sells vegetables and daily goods. I took the mom out for our weekly grocery run, and she popped in while I waited in the car. While I didn’t go in, I could clearly see from the outside that NO SOPs were followed.

  • ‘Desk’ at front where customers are supposed to leave their names and phone numbers for tracking purposes was completely ignored by everyone who went in because it was hard to see. Even the Mom went in straight. I asked her later if she saw the table and she said she didn’t. Most other shops have an attendant to ensure that you fill in the details, this shop didn’t.
  • No crowd control. Customers waltzed in and out freely.
  • No temperatures were taken.
  • Mom reported that the shop was packed, and there was no social distancing whatsoever.

We were supposed to go to another store to buy groceries, but the line stretched almost the whole block so we went to 3 Onions instead. In retrospect, if you aren’t rushed for time, then go to a shop with better crowd control, even if you have to wait in line.

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Task: Buy bread for breakfast

Venue: Berry’s Cake House, Puchong Batu 14

This is the closest decent bakery near my place, so we usually come here for bread and pastries.

  • Excellent crowd control. Staff is stationed at the entrance to ensure that only five customers are allowed into the shop at any time.
  • Temperature is taken at the front door and the staff ensures you sanitise your hands.
  • Clear demarcation where you’re supposed to line up. Good flow despite the small space.
  • Customers write down their name and phone number at the counter during check out. Although they don’t seem to have the SeLANGKAH QR Code so everything has to be written down manually.

So out of the three places I visited, one adhered strictly to SOPs, one could do with improvement, and one did not follow the SOPs at all.

I understand that it’s going to be difficult for the authorities to investigate all complaints and enforce the rules – which is why it’s imperative for us to be smart consumers and protect ourselves. Here are some things my fam and I adopt that I think can be helpful:

A) Shop on Weekdays

If you’re working from home or don’t have to go to the office every day, try to do your grocery runs on weekdays. Since many companies are now up and running again, people have gone back to doing their marketing on weekends, resulting in massive traffic (and human) congestion. I currently go to work on a rotational basis (2 days in the office, 3 working from home), so this has given me the flexibility to go out grocery shopping on weekdays. But for those who don’t have that option:

B) Shop Online 

With many people opting for delivery services, getting a delivery slot might prove difficult – so self pickup may be an option. Some major supermarkets such as AEON Big offer ‘drive-through’ services whereby you place an order and they’ll have your things ready at a specific time; all you need to do is pick it up.

C) Go to Supermarkets 

Some people prefer going to wet markets because produce is apparently fresher and cheaper – but many wet markets have poor control and poor hygiene (case in point: The PJ Old Town Wet Market and the Selayang Market were both fenced off after they were identify as coronavirus infection hubs). Major supermarkets have better crowd control and also better hygiene, so if you’re really concerned about safety and health then you might have to consider sacrificing ‘freshness and variety’. Personal opinion: I also think that the crowd is less rowdy in supermarkets – have you tried jostling with loud-mouthed aunties trying to snatch up the best shrimp (pre-coronavirus)? Well, these same aunties have NOT adapted to a new normal, lol.

D) If they won’t distance themselves, distance YOURSELF 

People cutting queues is a pet peeve of mine. Unfortunately, we have a lot of uncouth peasants running around who don’t know what queueing up is, and they will attempt to jostle to the front in a bid to get what they want faster than everyone else. Depending on the situation, I will usually tell them (politely first, of course!) queue up, or advise them that even if they’re ‘just looking’, they need to observe social distancing.

BUT I’ve also met people who get really defensive and rude when you tell them nicely, so if you don’t want to cause a scene, then distance yourself and let them rejoice in their hollow victory.

How are social distancing measures being adopted in your area? Are people following SOPs? Let me know in the comments section below. Til then, stay safe !

Quarantine Diaries – May 2020

Hey guys. It’s currently Day 55 of the Movement Control Order here in Malaysia. Coincidentally, it’s also a public holiday, so I’d like to wish Selamat Menyambut Nuzul Al-Quran to all my Muslim friends! (Nuzul Al-Quran is a day to commemorate Prophet Muhammad’s first revelation of the Quran from the angel Gabriel).

Coming back to quarantine measures in Malaysia, most sectors of the economy were reopened on May 4, although the MCO (now it’s called CMCO – Conditional Movement Control Order) has been extended to June 9. Not sure how that’ll work out since everyone is already out and about. Before, there were roadblocks where they were pretty strict and would turn you back if you couldn’t give a valid reason as to why you’re on the road – now there are literally no roadblocks, and if you’re stopped, people would just be like ‘Meh I’m going to work’.

There *are* a few restrictions, eg no interstate travel, no barbershops, no hair salons – but things are confusing and the situation isn’t helped by incompetent politicians giving conflicting statements. Our Health DG tells people to wear masks, but then a clown comes out to say that businesses aren’t allowed to stop people from going into their establishment, even if they don’t wear masks. Stop undermining the good work that our Health DG, front liners and the Health Ministry is doing, dumbasses!

Hari Raya Aidilfitri is coming up and visiting is apparently still allowed – with the condition that any gathering is no more than 20 people. First of all, how are you going to enforce this rule? Second, a group of 20 people is still pretty large if you’re in a terraced house or condo – so how are you going to implement social distancing?  In an ideal world, everyone would be disciplined and follow all the rules – but you can’t trust people to do their own social distancing, as I have experienced countless times while out doing grocery shopping. It takes all my patience to not start yelling at these idiots to observe. social. distancing. Sometimes they even yell back at you even though they’re in the wrong oh Lord Buddha give me patience lol.

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BUT. I do give it up to some restaurants and businesses for implementing their own social distancing measures. Keep up the good work! The Unique Taste kopitiam at Bandar Puteri Puchong, for example, has a guy at the entrance checking temperatures and ensuring customers sanitise their hands. He controls the number of customers entering the resto. The resto has also cleared out all of its dining tables, so there’s ample space for people to line up for their orders. The ordering system is a tad confusing ie you have to place your order with the respective stalls, then line up at a designated area – but there are no instructions on this so you just have to ask if you’re in the right spot.

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Bought shrimp wontons for takeaway (RM8 – 10 pieces). The stall was really slow at making them; had to wait for close to 30 minutes. The wontons were sizable, and the soup, which they also use as a base for their Ipoh Shredded Chicken Noodles (Gai See Hor Fun) was very tasty.

**You can also get other items such as roast chicken/roast pork rice, popiah and Taiwanese-style braised pork rice from other stalls under the same roof.

Restoran The Unique Taste

59, Jalan Puteri 5/16, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Open for breakfast and lunch

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Another takeaway meal.

Noodles are Sarawak-style kampua meepok ( a type of flat and wide noodles with an al-dente texture) from SRK Noodle House, and the fried chicken thigh is from Brilliant Nasi Lemak House. Both establishments are in Bandar Puteri Puchong, just a few doors next to each other. If you’re a small eater, I recommend you share the noodles between two people as the portion is massive. As for the side, customers usually get a complete Nasi Lemak meal from the resto, but I was craving noodles so I just ordered an ala-carte fried chicken thigh to pair it with the meepok. It was very juicy and moist on the inside, and the skin remained crispy even after an hour.

SRK Noodle House (Puchong Branch) 

59, Jalan Puteri 5/16, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Brilliant Nasi Lemak House 

2, Jalan Puteri 1/2, Bandar Puteri Puchong, 47100 Puchong, Selangor. PS: Service is better if you order from the foreign workers, rather than the middle-aged Chinese auntie lol. 

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Last Sunday was Mother’s Day! Usually around this time of the year, restos and cafes will be packed with families taking mum out for a fancy lunch / dinner. Not so this year. Bakeries, however, had long queues. I managed to snag a simple half kg pandan cake (RM36)  from Coco Patisserie – it was one of the last ones on the shelf. It wasn’t really planned because I was at the bakery buying bread, and thought it would be a nice gesture to also get a cake lol.

 

Is the quarantine easing where you currently are? What are some of the measures being implemented as part of the new normal? 

Day 1 Of A New Normal – Returning to Work Post-MCO in Malaysia

If you wanted to sweat the deets, then we’re technically still under a movement control order until May 12. But I’m calling it Post-MCO because all businesses (except close contact ones like spas and hair salons) have already been allowed to reopen on May 4.

At my workplace, we’re currently doing rotational shifts where we go into the office twice a week on different days. I’ve gotten used to working from home, so it feels a little weird to be driving to work again after so long. Granted, the traffic was pretty smooth, so I guess not all businesses are running yet. Schools definitely aren’t.

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At the lift, signs of the new normal are already in place. The building management also posted guards at the lobby, where they took temperatures, jotted down names and check-in times, and prepped hand sanitisers. Almost everyone I see is wearing a face mask.

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I worked on an article for a bit, then got too distracted because my colleagues were busy cleaning out their desks (we’re moving to a new office soon). So I decided to clean out my own desk. I’ve been putting it off because there’s just too much shit to be sorted, but I finally managed to get it all done. Hooray!

I also found this note from when my company organised a DiSC training to determine our working styles and discuss how best to work with each other. The DiSC test is often used by employers to assess workers and potential employees. Mine is a high C (conscientiousness). People who fall into C types are analytical, systematic, detailed, independent and make decisions based on objective reasoning. We are also afraid of being wrong, which is why I like to have as much detail as possible before embarking on a project. I find it difficult to work with I types (these are the ones that are usually lively and have that ‘lets do it and figure things out later!’ attitude), as well as D types (domineering and forceful). Whatever the case, most workplaces have different types of people – the reason why I’ve lasted so long here is that most of my colleagues are C and S (supportive) types. I had an ex-colleague who was a D, and we did not get along one iota.

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For lunch, I drove to a cafe nearby called Bookmark Coffee PJ. Ever since I came here with my editor, I’ve been a big fan of their smoked duck pandan rice, which is superb and comes in generous portions – and I’ve really missed it after nearly two months in quarantine.

Since the MCO is still technically in place, most eateries that are open cater to delivery and takeaway only. I waited for about 20 minutes for my orders (got the smoked duck pesto for my boss).

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Back at the office. Ah, how much I’ve missed this! Imagine juicy pieces of smoked duck with no trace of gaminess whatsoever. The meat is tender and succulent, while the skin and its layer of fattiness underneath just melts in your mouth. The fragrant pandan rice boasts a light blue tinge from natural blue pea flowers, and it is topped with a fried egg for good measure, garnished with vegetables and thin slices of cucumber. Bellissimo! 

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For a spicy kick, have your meal with some homemade sambal and orange glaze sauce. The sauce is slightly sweet and tart, which goes really well with the duck meat.

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One of my colleagues asked for help taking some photos for product placement on his Instagram (he’s an influencer), so we ended up messing around the lobby at our workplace. It was deserted, so we were definitely observing social distancing lol.


The rest of the day was uneventful. Traffic was a bit busier going home, but travel time was still shorter than usual.

I’m foreseeing things to get much busier next week, what with Hari Raya coming up, but hopefully people will still remember to adhere to social distancing and avoid public gatherings. Until we get a vaccine, we’re not out of the woods.

How is your country dealing with COVID 19? Are measures being relaxed, or are they extending the quarantine? 

 

 

Quarantine Meals ! – Of Dimsum, Nasi Lemak and Char Kuey Teow

Hey guys! It’s technically Day 51 of the Movement Control Order here in Malaysia. I will be resuming work at the office tomorrow. After nearly 2 months, it’s time to say hello again to traffic jams. :/

Originally, the MCO was supposed to be lifted on May 12 – but the government has already allowed businesses to reopen from May 4. It’s all very confusing: on one hand, the MCO is still in place, but everyone is already allowed out to work anyway so what’s the point of having the MCO? Personally, I feel that the move is too sudden (it was announced on May 1, giving businesses just 2 days to prepare). There’s also been a lot of political bullshit going on. Imho, I think the government is pressured to reopen businesses because the coffers are running out of money and they can’t afford to have the economy collapse. We’re also seeing lots of U-turns in terms of promised aid. Can’t help but think it’s every person for themselves now.

But enough doom and gloom: here’s a #foodpost! Being at home for close to two months has been great for my eating habits because I’m eating out less and having more homecooked food. I am an okay (?) cook, but if it were up to me, we’d be eating pasta, fried chicken, steaks and wraps every day – so it’s my mom that does most of the cooking. Most days it’s simple stuff like boiled vegetables and something like chicken and potatoes, or dishes that are steamed, stewed or stir-fried (deep fried is almost a taboo in my household because it’s ‘unhealthy’). Some days, though, we get better than average ones:

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Roasted chicken wings glazed with honey. 

We have a tiny, portable oven which does the job for roasting and baking. It’s adequate, but not very convenient. Prepping the chicken is easy – you just have to turn it over halfway through to make sure that it’s cooked thoroughly, and keep applying the glaze so that it’s nice and glistening.

I miss the oven I had back in Sheffield when I was a student. My housemates and I had a large oven in our flat, and it was so easy to pop everything in there – fish and chips, sausages, chipolatas, bacon. Much easier to clean up as well.

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Baked chicken and mushroom pies. They didn’t look perfect (the tops were sunken) but they tasted great. The mini ones were adorable, although they were not created intentionally lol (Mom ran out of containers).

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Pork chops with white sauce. I fried the chops while Mom made the sauce with evaporated milk and a bit of flour. It turned out a bit too gooey, but the chops were moist, juicy and succulent so it wasn’t too bad.

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We don’t cook all the time – sometimes we also order takeout.

I am a big fan of dim sum, and I usually have it at least once a month pre-coronavirus days – but none of my usual dim sum haunts was open in the initial days of the quarantine. After 45 days, I finally broke my dim sum ‘fast’ with takeout from Jin Xuan Restaurant in Bandar Puteri Puchong. I don’t usually come here because it’s out of the way and their items are pricier than some other establishments, but at the time, I was just super glad to be able to get my dim sum fix lol. (Above, clockwise from bottom left – fried shrimp dumplings, shrimp rolls, siew mai (pork and shrimp dumplings), and har gaw (shrimp dumplings)).

JIN XUAN HONG KONG DIM SUM: 27, Jalan Puteri 1/6, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor (open for take-away only during the MCO) 

 

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Another time for lunch, we bought Nasi Lemak from Brilliant Nasi Lemak House, just a block away from Jin Xuan. The resto specialises in nasi lemak ie rice cooked in coconut milk and served with dishes such as fried chicken, rendang, curry and sambal sotong. Against my better judgment, I had the sambal sotong. It was good but the portions were rather small. If you like spicy food, the sambal here delivers a strong kick.

BRILLIANT NASI LEMAK HOUSE : 2, Jalan Puteri 1/2, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Kuala Lumpur, Selangor (open for takeaway only during the MCO) 

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Last but not least, the all-time Malaysian favourite, char kuey teow or wok-fried flat noodles. This one’s from a famous franchise called Goreng Kuey Teow Tong Shin. You can opt to get kuey teow mee (mix of flat noodles and yellow noodles, as pictured above), and add on items such as cockles, Chinese sausages and other ingredients. The basic char kuey teow will usually have shrimp, egg, kuchai, cockles and chilli sauce. What makes char kuey teow so divine is the smokiness that you can only get from wok frying it over a huge flame. Control of the fire is essential. The one from Tong Shin is pretty good !

GORENG KUEY TEOW TONG SHIN: G, 27, Jalan Puteri 2/6, Bandar Puteri Puchong, 47100 Puchong, Selangor (Open for takeaway only during the MCO). 

 

 

What are some of your quarantine meals? Are you cooking at home or ordering more takeout? Share them with me in the comments below; I’d love to hear about any delicious dishes you’ve had!