Chinese New Year Promotion @ Chin Swee Vegetarian Cuisine Restaurant, Genting Highlands

Celebrations almost never stop in multicultural Malaysia, where you have some sort of festival every other month. Now that the (Western) New Year has passed, it’s time to gear up for the next – Chinese New Year, which falls on January 25.

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Celebrate the reunion dinner differently this year with a vegan or vegetarian meal at the Chin Swee Vegetarian Cuisine Restaurant in Genting Highlands. Located within the Chin Swee Temple, mid-hill to Resorts World Genting, the restaurant offers scrumptious Chinese dishes, with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lush virgin tropical rainforest.

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For CNY, the restaurant has rolled out their Prosperous Golden Rat Year set menus, catered for two or more people. The couple set consists of herbal steamed soup, Chinese yam, brinjal and organic ladies’ fingers in ‘san bei’ sauce, prawn with crispy oatmeal, special pumpkin rice and luxurious Tieguanyin Chinese tea.

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Larger set meals begin with vegetarian yee sang and include the special pumpkin rice. The set for three to four persons (RM368 nett) features vegetarian sharks’ fin soup, stewed tofu, claypot lotus root with dried tofu, mixed vegetable curry, and homemade dessert, while the RM568 nett menu for five to six diners will have stir-fried black fungus with Chinese yam, stir-fried lily bulbs, broccoli and lotus root, sea cucumber and scallops with ‘san bei’ sauce, and fried knuckle with house sauce.

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The seven to nine-person menu, priced at RM738 nett, will serve up claypot chicken with herbs, steamed organic ladies’ fingers with pumpkin, sea cucumber and scallops, deep-fried wawa yu with XO sauce, mixed vegetable curry and Wuyi narcissus tea.

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The most exquisite of the set meals is the RM798 nett menu for ten to 12, featuring yam basket with kung poh hericium, stir-fried lily bulbs, broccoli and lotus roots, Chinese yam, brinjal, and organic ladies fingers with ‘san bei’ sauce, ‘cod fish’ with creamy sauce, ‘fried knuckle’ with house sauce, ‘claypot chicken’ with herbs, green tea pudding and Wuyi narcissus tea.

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Other items to look out for are the little dim sum and dessert sets, clay pot and hotplate selections, herbal soups, rice and noodles.

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Exuding Chinese tradition and elegance, the restaurant is situated on level 12 – the same floor as the Goh Tong Hall residence or the main lobby of the temple. Diners can opt for a tour around the temple followed by a meal, or vice versa.

Make it a weekend getaway with the extended family with a trip up to Resorts World Genting, as the temple is easily accessible by cable car and hourly shuttle bus. Alternatively, accommodation is available on the Chin Swee Temple grounds.

Full menu here: 

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Reservations: website or call +603-61011613.

Opening hours: 8.30AM – 8.30PM

*Photos courtesy of Resorts World Genting

Food Review: “Vibe Dining” and Contemporary Chinese at FUHU @ Resorts World Genting

Partygoers in Malaysia (and Singapore) will be familiar with Zouk – one of the biggest names in the Asian clubbing scene. In recent years, the brand has been moving towards more lifestyle-oriented offerings – which is why at Zouk Genting, they have a number of other outlets (besides the main club), such as the games lounge Redtail by Zouk, hiphop club Empire, and Redtail Karaoke.

1. FUHU Restaurant & Bar entrance

The latest to join the Zouk Genting family is FUHU. Meaning “Lucky Tiger” in Mandarin, the new ‘vibe dining’ experience entails contemporary Chinese cuisine created by Hong Kong “Demon Chef” Alvin Leung, whose unique yet nostalgic creations fuses East and West; reimagining Asian flavours with a modern spin on classic fare. Its also the perfect place for pre-drinks and after-party drinks with friends, all in a fun and lively atmosphere.

THE DECOR / INTERIOR

2. FUHU Restaurant & Bar walkway

Entering through the apothecary-themed entrance, diners venture in through an Instagrammable passageway, complete with mirrors on one side of the wall that reflect lights on the other. The effect is rather ethereal, as you make your way into a mysterious ‘garden’ of sensory delights.

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3. FUHU Restaurant & Bar Interior

Emerging, be awed by the cool and trendy chinoiserie interiors, which play on elements found in traditional Chinese apothecaries juxtaposed against a garden of wonder brought to life by artful lighting and pop art graffiti. The restaurant covers 750 square metres of space, and seats up to 150 diners.

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Celebrated graffiti artist, Kenji Chai brings to life the tale of Lady Meng and the Tiger in a floor-to-ceiling mural, while elements of traditional Chinese culture such as rosewood chairs and Ming-dynasty blue and white porcelain motifs transport guests into the story. The centerpiece is the bar area, which features a life-sized sakura ‘tree’ glowing in the dark.

THE FOOD

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If you’ve always wanted to try food by a Michelin-starred chef, here’s your chance. The menu at FUHU was created in collaboration with Chef Alvin Leung. One of the biggest names in the Asian culinary arts scene, Leung is an unconventional figure known for his ‘X-Treme Chinese Cuisine’ and molecular gastronomy, and has three Michelin stars for his restaurant, Bo Innovation, in Hong Kong. The menu at Fuhu, however, will be a departure from his usual style of cooking, and instead pays homage to the unique Chinese dishes from where Leung was born and raised, namely London and Toronto. As such, diners can enjoy smaller plates for sharing, or full-blown Chinese meals complete with rice and dishes.

4. Sticky Lamb Shank

Signature items include the FUHU Roasted Duck, Aromatic Crispy Duck, Boston Lobster Noodles, Szechuan-style Hot & Sour Lobster Soup, The General’s Fried Chicken & Waffle, and Quark Quark Rice Soup. For our media tasting session, a notable highlight was the Sticky Lamb Shank, which was fall-off-the-bone tender with a sweet glaze and accompanied by a creamy, curry sauce.

5. Aromatic Crispy Duck

Aromatic Crispy Duck. The way you eat this is by shredding the meat and placing it into the soft mantou with some of the sweet sauce and vegetables, making for comforting bite-sized morsels.

6. Boston Lobster Noodle

A must-have is the Boston Lobster Noodle, bursting with seafoody goodness and generous chunks of fresh, sweet lobster meat. Noodles were silky, each strand coated in the savoury broth.

11. The Generals Fried Chicken

Another crowd favourite was the General’s Fried Chicken – essentially boneless fried chicken karaage coated in a sweet and spicy sauce. These were insanely addictive, with the crispy skin and tender, juicy meat.

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Duck is a major ingredient at Fuhu. The duck essence porridge distills the meat’s goodness into a clear, lip smacking congee that warms the belly. Great for hangovers!

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For dessert, the humongous Double Sundae combo, featuring a tall piece of French toast topped with various goodies such as durian ice cream, marshmallows and an ice cream cone.

THE DRINKS 

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Alcohol lovers will not be disappointed as FUHU serves some amazingly creative cocktails by resident mixologist Saam Pranill. Taking into account Fuhu’s Chinese origins, Saam also incorporates local ingredients and flavours, and drinks are served in unique vessels picked out from his travels, be it antique teapots or mini wooden buckets.

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A signature drink here is Drunken Tiger, a mix of gin, campari and martini rosso, and get this – Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa (yes, as in the herbal drink used to treat coughs) garnished with orange zest.

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Other must tries include the Tiffined Gin Tonic, featuring artisanal tonic from Greece paired with grapefruit soda and Beefeater, as well as The Reunion, which is served in a  Chinese tea set and consists of bourbon, honey, calamansi lime juice, cinnamon, orange slices, hot water and red dates.

All in all, I loved my experience at Fuhu – the food, the drinks and of course, the cool vibe. Definitely a unique experience you won’t get elsewhere, and that you’d want to visit with friends both before and after the party!

FUHU GENTING

Zouk Genting, Level G, Resorts World Genting, 69000 Genting Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia

Business hours: 6PM – 1AM (daily)

fuhudining.com

Taste Your Way Through Asia @ Resorts World Genting

Home to over 1.6 billion people, East Asia is a vast region with a very long history and rich culture. One of the most region’s most distinctive features is its cuisine – with recipes that date back centuries, made from a treasure trove of ingredients. Resorts World Genting pays tribute to this grand culinary history by featuring highlights of the region through three unique restaurants.

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Representing the Hallyu Korean Wave is YG Republique in SkyAvenue. Just as K-Pop has taken over the music world, Korean cuisine has spread around the globe, bringing kimchi and bulgogi into the common food lexicon. Housing premium Korean BBQ restaurant Samgeori Butchers, the sweet and smokey smell of grilled meats wafts around a space designed to look like a traditional and nostalgic Korean butchery.

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The food, however, is anything but dated –  featuring premium cuts of pork cured in Cypress Pine and high-quality aged beef that hits the table grill with a satisfying sizzle. Traditional condiments – including the ubiquitous pickled kimchi, oiji (cucumber) and danmuji (radish) – accompany the hearty proteins, providing a spicy and sweet-salty kick to the tender, umami flavour of the meat.

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South of the Korean Peninsula is the archipelago of Japan, an economic and cultural powerhouse, home to some of the world’s best-loved cuisines – from delicate sushi to fusion recipes like karaage. One of the most popular dishes is ramen – a basic but versatile noodle-and-broth dish. Taiko Ramen in First World Plaza is where guests can sample the distinctive flavours of ramen from Japan’s different regions. Savour the milky pork bone Kyushu broth, the thin yet flavourful Tokyo-style broth,  the spicy and creamy Hokkaido broth, or the newer no-broth mazeman style. Don’t be afraid to slurp; in Japan, this is expected and is a sign of the quality of the noodles and broth.

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Chinese cuisine has a history that dates back millennia, covering refined dishes previously served only to royalty, to street fare meant for families and villages to enjoy. While it is difficult to cover the full scope of Chinese cooking, Steam Era in First World Plaza provides a great representation, with its interpretation of the classic Chinese hot pot – utilising the power of steaming to retain an ingredient’s natural essence. Featuring only the freshest seafood, a meal at Steam Era is a joyous celebration of food. Beyond the hot pot, Steam Era’s menu also covers  dishes from all four corners of the country including Sichuan Spicy Chicken, Teochew Claypot Porridge, Hong Kong Style Beef Brisket Pot, and Lanzhou Beef Noodles.

For more information visit rwgenting.com or call +603-2718 1118.

Photo 6 - Steam Era

*Photos courtesy of Resorts World Genting. 

Malaysia’s First Ever Pokemon Festival ! @ Resorts World Genting

Want to see a bunch of bouncing Pikachus?

Then plan a trip to Resorts World Genting – as the Pokemon Festival descends onto the resort for Christmas and Chinese New Year!

From 1 December 2018 until 28 February 2019, join Pikachu and his friends as they frolic, play and captivate visitors with their amazing powers and adorable nature. Taking after the traditional of live Pokemon events worldwide, including the annual Pikachu Outbreak in Yokohama, the Festival will see a series of events big and small happening at the resort.

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90s kids will recognise iconic first-gen icons such as Pikachu, Eevee, Bulbasaur, Squirtle and Charmander on display in the malls, alongside dozens of other Pokemon species.

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Was at the media launch recently, where the crowd was entertained by a bunch of cute dancing Pikachus! You can catch them at various times daily as they meander through Level 1 of SkyAvenue. For Christmas, the parade will be accompanied by Santarina, Giant XmasBalls, and elves on two mini floats.

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Visitors will also find the world’s tallest Pokemon tree at Skytropolis Funland, Resort World’s Genting newly revamped indoor theme park. The tree  is decorated with hundreds of Pokemon figures, baubles and lights. Fans can also get up close and personal with a giant, inflatable 6-metre high Pikachu, surrounded by 50 smaller Pikachu plushies.

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Pokemon are scattered throughout the mall, so make sure to track down all 32 of them! Although, not all the characters have been unveiled, so you’ll have to wait for them to be ‘released’ over four stages – at Level 2 and 3 of Sky Avenue, First World Plaza, as well as Symphony Stage on Level 1 of SkyAvenue.

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There will also be a Pokemon Pop-Up Store on Level 3 of SkyAvenue, offering a huge array of premium merchandise and memorabilia imported directly from the Pokemon Centre in Tokyo, Japan.

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While you’re here, check out Wintry Santorini Above the Clouds, happening from 28 November to 1 January 2019, also at SkyAvenue Mall. Drawing inspiration from the island of Santorini in Greece, the ‘village’ emulates the brilliant whitewashed houses, deep blue-dommed roofs and graceful windmills, mingled with twinkling Christmas trees, golden bells and festive garlands. Indulge in Christmas treats and hunt for presents at the various vendors, as artificial snowfall gets you into the mood for a beautiful white Christmas.

More info on rwgenting.com/event-calendar/. 

Have a Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hotel Review: Crockfords @ Resorts World Genting, Malaysia

Opened in 2014, Crockfords Hotel is Resorts World Genting’s poshest accommodation, catering mainly to the casino’s high rollers. I was fortunate enough to be extended an invitation to stay back in August, for work – and since they allowed a guest, I brought the Moomikins along.

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Crockfords is tucked away in a quiet corner, away from the hustle and bustle of the main shopping area. It’s quite a distance to walk, but fret not, as they provide buggy service right up to the hotel’s doorstep.

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Oozing class and elegant charm, the lobby has a cool, black and gold colour scheme, with marble floors polished to a perfect shine. Upon walking in, guests will be greeted by four large flower displays encased in glass – a specially commissioned installation by British artist Rebecca Louise Law. Dubbed “The Four Seasons”, each piece consists of thousands of dried flowers, representing Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

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Part of the winter exhibit.

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More flowers.

Crockfords features 111 Superior Rooms and 8 Junior Suites, each fitted with luxurious Greek Calacatta marble restroom fixtures made exclusively for Crockfords and in-room private steam bath. The one-touch technology also allows guests to control the blinds, room temperature and lighting all from one device.

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Our room was a Superior Twin, and it did not disappoint. It boasted a pastel + grey colour scheme, with soft carpets and marble tabletops, a ‘living’ area complete with couch and coffee table, as well as a large TV and work desk. The beds, separated by a partition, were extremely comfortable, with soft and fluffy duvets, facing a view of the surrounding hills via the floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

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You can tell everything is designed with the guest’s convenience in mind, including ports close to the bed for charging electronic devices, as well as the central control unit between the beds.

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It was still early evening, so we ventured out for a spot of shopping at Sky Avenue to enjoy the cool mountain air, and to see the Symphony in the Skies light show.

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Returned to a pleasant surprise from the hotel – they had delivered champagne on ice and macaroons as part of the turndown service! It felt pampering to be shown such hospitality and care; really makes you feel like a welcome guest. 🙂

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There were also plenty of lotions,creams and bespoke toiletries to take home as gifts.

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Nothing like a restful night’s sleep and waking up to this view!

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Our stay included breakfast at the Executive Lounge, which boasts beautiful sky-high views of the mountains. Guests can choose from the buffet selection of cold cuts, bread and Western fare, in addition to their main breakfast dish.

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Moo had truffle scrambled eggs and bacon. The eggs were egg-celent, and the aromatic, earthy flavours of truffle were prominent in each bite.

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I had the lobster nasi lemak. It was a solid dish, and the star was, of course, the succulent lobster meat cooked in spicy sambal. It retained its fresh sweetness despite the level of heat.

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Best thing – not having to crack open the shell. :’D

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Was taken on a tour of the rest of the rooms. There are only eight Junior Suites within the hotel, so it’s pretty exclusive. Choose from three themes – Gym, Tatami and Mahjong.

The Gym Suite features a high-end Italian gym system so you can work out in comfort within the room, while the Tatami Suite integrates a Zen tea ceremony space. The Mahjong Suite (above) includes a built-in mahjong table that shuffles the tiles on its own at the press of a button!

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The suites come with a living and dining area, a master bedroom and smaller, adjacent room for the maid/security, complete with sliding door for privacy.

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Cosy but luxurious – I’d love to have an apartment like this. 🙂

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Also within the suites is a large and comfortable massage chair to soothe your backaches after a long game of mahjong.

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For the ultimate in luxury, there are three luxury Executive Suites – the Mayfair, Hampstead and Belgravia – each spanning 2,900 sq ft and named after swanky neighbourhoods in London. The suite comes with the whole package – spacious living area with a view of the mountains, large bedrooms, a huge dining room, a small private gym and a spa room.

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The Spa room – you can call the reception for a masseuse.

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Gym area with aerobic exercise balls, towels and treadmill.

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The master bedroom toilet is larger than the master bedroom in my house lol.

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A girl can dream that one day she will be able to afford this. :’D

You also get 24 hour butler service.

Although I wasn’t in the suites, my stay in Crockfords was no less pleasant. Perhaps the most memorable thing is the top notch service and attention to a guest’s needs.  Definitely a place I’d consider splurging on if I wanted to pamper myself or the significant other on an expensive staycation.

Rooms start from RM1,700 per night.

For reservations, call +603 2718 1118.

 

 

 

Review: World’s Highest Grade Miyazaki Wagyu Beef @ The Olive, Resorts World Genting

A Continental fine dining restaurant seems like an unlikely place to find the world’s highest grade Miyazaki Wagyu Beef – but that’s exactly what diners will get at The Olive at Resorts World Genting. The award-winning establishment is the first in Malaysia to offer Miyazaki Wagyu – from the Miyazaki region in Japan – and only among a handful of restaurants around the world with such an accolade. Widely considered the gold standard in its native Japan, the beef has been crowned champion at Japan’s Wagyu Olympics for three consecutive tournaments since 2007.

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I had the privilege of trying out this exquisite meat at a recent food review for work cries tears of happiness. Under the hands of The Olive veteran Chef Mohd Radzuan,  we were served a wondrous meal – a 150g cut of top grade Miyazaki beef, with a side of grilled vegetables. Arriving at our table, the beef sat on top of a heated stone slab, sizzling in its own fat and juices. No seasoning is added, but it comes served with three types of salt, which is all it takes to enhance the meat’s flavour.

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Wagyu is the general term for beef from four traditional Japanese cattle breeds, genetically predisposed to contain a higher percentage of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Because of its intense marbling, it yields a delicious, tender yet healthy meat that is famous all around the world. The value of wagyu depends on the combination of environment, weather, feed and cattle strain – which leads it to be identified by their production region, in the same way connoisseurs would refer to French wine from certain regions.

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The Olive sources its wagyu from the Nishinoharu Farm, surrounded by fresh mountain spring water from the Kirishima Mountains. The cattle are fed on a diet of wheat, corn and grass for at least 900 days. They are butchered between 28-32 months – 8 times longer than commercial beef – and only four cattle are harvested at a time to ensure the best care of each animal.

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Tasting is believing – and the Wagyu did not disappoint.

Sliced into beautiful cuts and lightly torched, each bite was the perfect epitome of melt in the mouth texture, the beef’s juices spreading out over the tongue. Its buttery smooth disposition meant there was little chewing involved, and despite the high fat content, was not cloying. Even without seasoning, the beef had a savoury, pure meaty flavour that was excellent on its own. Pair it with a shot of Chivas Regal whisky for the ultimate indulgence.

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The highlight was definitely the beef, but the chef turned it into a satisfying three-course meal with an appetiser of salad, finishing off with dessert. The Quinoa and kale salad with pomegranate, feta, and maple dressing was a fruity, sweet-savoury mix and made for a refreshing palate-pleaser. One of the rare times I actually finished my greens!

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The meal ended off on a sweet note with the house special, Chocolate Lava Cake, which oozed warm, chocolate-y goodness as we split open its center. What made this unique was the accompanying cigar-flavoured ice cream – created by infusing the smoke from cigars into the ingredients. The slight bitterness of tobacco complemented the sweetness of the chocolate and vanilla-based ice cream really well.

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Miyazaki wagyu will be served at The Olive as part of the a la carte menu, priced at RM450 nett per 150 grams. The Nakanishi grade of Miyazaki wagyu is certified halal by JAKIM, with butchering process that is separate from farm’s process for the Japanese market.

The Olive is located on the Lobby Level of Genting Grand Hotel, featuring a European-inspired fine dining menu with an extensive selection of wines. Miyazaki wagyu served at The Olive differs in pricing depending on the grade of meat selected, with the Nakanishi grade being the highest. Dining hours are 6pm-11pm daily, while The Olive Bar & Lounge operates from 6pm-1am (Sundays to Thursdays) and 6pm-2am (Fridays and Saturdays).

For reservations, call +603 2718 1118.

The Olive Restaurant @ Resorts World Genting

Hey guys! Here is the second part of my MIGF food tasting session at Resorts World Genting earlier this month. Was supposed to put this up earlier but couldn’t find the time to since these past few weeks have been crazzzzy. If you’d like to read the writeup I did for work, click here

For those reading this for the first time, MIGF, short for the Malaysian International Gastronomy Festival, is a month-long fest where some of the country’s top chefs from restaurants all over the country whip up some delectable ‘festival menus’ which diners can enjoy throughout October. RSW’s two restos, LTITUDE and The Olive are both part of this event.

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So after digging in to our scrumptious 10-course lunch at LTITUDE, we sauntered over to the The Olive, which won last year’s Golden Cauldron Award. This time around, expect similarly excellent fare as Chef Mohamad Radzuan returns to spearhead the kitchen with fusion and Western Continental-style cuisine.

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Amuse Bouche: sea urchin mousse, infused with pineapple, cucumber basil and bottarga

First time having sea urchin! It tasted delicate and salty on the tongue, which was great when paired with the tangy sweetness of pineapple and the freshness of the cucuber basil. Super light on the palette.

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Appetizer: Lobster Carpaccio with Hot Salt, Lemon Zest, Orange, Basil and Cilantro Cress.

The dish came with a white cloth pouch, so I initially thought the food was inside the pouch and we had to unwrap it in order to eat. Turns out the cloth had hot sea salt in it, and when lifted, lo and behold! Lobster carpaccio underneath. The flesh was meaty and sweet, while the lemon zest, orange and cilantro cress gave it a sour tang which was super appetizing and opened up our appetites for the next course. 🙂

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The heavies started rolling in, first with the Pan-fried risotto with creamy wild mushroom and sundried tomato, garnished with Italian parsley and truffle. After our truffle feast at LTITUDE, I was aware that I was eating a lot of shrooms that day…but nobody ever said no to more mushrooms.

Rich, earthy and creamy flavours were jam packed into the sauce, but what I liked best was the risotto. Instead of the usual, we get a breaded block, which, when cut open, revealed fluffy bits of chewy rice on the inside.

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Soup: smoked tomato essence, cucumber, roasted onion, caviar and cod.

This dish’s presentation was interesting, to say the least – the soup was served in a jar lid, which had been inverted on a bed of lavender salt. The lavender smelled like the type you’d use for aromatherapy sessions. The soup was good on its own, but the cod fish had sunk into the top knob of the jar lid and a lot of my media friends missed that chunk of meat. Also, the lavender salt was quite overpowering and it felt rather odd to be drinking soup when the smell reminds you of a spa ie smell + taste didn’t go well together lol.

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Main: Noisette of lamb on polenta, lentil, eggplant puree,carrot, cauliflower and artichoke 

Lamb usually comes with mint sauce, so I was surprised to see it served with mint ice-cream. That might sound weird initially, but trust me, it’s good – kinda like meatballs and Lingonberry jam. The meat, which came in a generous chunk, was perfectly pink on the inside, juicy and tender, while the ice-cream was cool and refreshing. Presentation was top notch as well; looked like a piece of art more than a food dish! 🙂

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Dessert: An exquisite fleur de sel caramel apple, lavender marshmallow, panna cotta, chocolate bar, creme brulee and pomegranate glee.

This was, according to the chef, one of the hardest dishes to prepare coz there are so many elements on it. You get different degrees of sweetness and flavours – creamy and rich slightly melted milk chocolate bar, fluffy creme brulee, sweetish-sour and citrusy pomegranate, sugary sweet marshmallow and naturally sweet caramel apple.

The Olive’s festival menu is priced at RM298 nett, and RM488 nett (with wine pairing).

MIGF is running until Oct 31 so go check out more details on migf.com, or rwgenting.com ! 🙂

Dusk to Dawn: Chin Swee Cave Temples, Genting

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Hi guys! We’re at Genting Highlands, a mountain retreat that houses the only casino in Malaysia, at 6,000 ft above sea level. While most people would opt for resort hotels and apartments at the top of the hill, the fam and I went for a tranquil, less crowded option, away from all the entertainment. Just a 10min drive downhill, the Chin Swee Cave Temple is a Taoist temple that also doubles as a hotel, with very basic accommodation. When I say basic, I mean really basic – they don’t even have WiFi or TV!

The beautiful views more than make up for that, however. Perched on a slope, the temple commands a wide view of the valley below, and the high elevation often makes the buildings seem like they are floating on clouds.

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The temple sits just next to the cable car line. In the distance, deep blue mountains stretch as far as the eye can see. This is the Titiwangsa range, also known as the ‘backbone’ of West Malaysia which has mountains running all the way from the tip right down to the bottom of our sweet potato-shaped peninsula.

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The pagoda structure glows with a fiery red light at night, like an ember.

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The temple grounds are pretty and peaceful in the daytime.

The place was built thanks to Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong, the same businessman who founded Resorts World Genting, who rallied friends and relatives from his native province in Fujian, China in order to establish the temple. The name, Chin Swee, actually refers to a Fujianese deity.

It was tricky to build on such a steep hillslope, but the spot had the best fengshui and Tan Sri Lim was determined to make it work. Being the project’s chief architect, planner, designer, contractor and supervisor, he employed workers who set to work using manual labour in order to dig the foundation for the temple, since modern machinery was useless in the rocky terrain.

Construction took a long and arduous 18 years. It was finally opened to the public in 1994.

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The hard work has definitely paid off! The temples are a popular tourist attraction as well as a place of pilgrimage for many devotees, who come to marvel at the views and beautiful structures. There is a multi-tiered pagoda at the bottom, and a large open courtyard which houses several shrines.

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One of the shrines, featuring ornate decorations and detailing. Golden lotus flower carvings on a backdrop of blue seem to represent the blossoms floating on a lake. These are accompanied by dancing dragons, as well as paintings of deities, flowers and animals on the shrine’s wooden doors.

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Deities.

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Buddhism/Taoism in Malaysia is an odd mix of culture, religion and philosophy. Many Chinese people,my relatives included, follow a blend of Buddhism/Taoism and Confucianism. The latter two has roots in China, and place strong emphasis on rituals. The Hungry Ghost Festival, for example, is a Chinese belief, but over time, these rituals have has blended into ‘Buddhist’ culture as well. Tibetan or Sri Lankan Buddhism is markedly different, and sometimes might even have different beliefs. I don’t really know how to explain it, but the best comparison I can give is probably how Christians have different sects, like Catholics and Protestants, etc.?

Correct me if I’m wrong. We’re all here to learn.

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GuanYin, or the Goddess of Mercy, is often depicted seated on a lotus flower with a bottle of holy water in her hand that has magical healing powers. She is the embodiment of compassion and kindness, hence the name. Often referred to as an ‘East Asian Bodhisattva’ (Bodhisattva being one who has achieved Buddhahood), she is revered in East Asian Buddhist cultures, including Chinese, Japanese, Burmese, Thai, Vietnamese and Korean cultures. She also appears as a male deity in Tibetan Buddhism.

When I was very young, my parents ‘baptized'(?) me to Guanyin for protection and blessings. I am supposed to be under this protection until a day comes when I choose to sever it, or if I don’t, for life. I use the word baptized in English, but in Chinese we call it ‘siong kai‘ or ‘to be adopted’ – so it’s like she becomes my godmother (literally).

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A large stone statue of Guan Yin looks down on the valley from above.

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Parents were tired, so bro and I continued exploring the temple grounds. Here are some scenes from a popular Chinese legend, Journey to the West. Can you recognize the characters?

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The story goes that the monk, XuanZuang, was decreed to travel to the West (hence Journey to the West) to collect sacred texts (sutras) on order of the Buddha. To aid him on his journey were three protectors: Sun Wukong the monkey, Zhu Bajie the pig and Sha Jing the sand demon, as well as a dragon prince who was to be the monk’s white steed.

Journey to the West was published in the 16th century and is considered one of the 4 Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. While the story is fictional, it’s actually based on a real person, Tong XuanZuang. Born in China’s Tang Dynasty in the 600s, he was a monk and scholar who traveled all around China gathering sutras. He wanted to expand his knowledge to other places – and so began Xuan Zuang’s 17 year journey to Central Asia and India.

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Statues of deities line the courtyard. Each represents a different virtue.

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The centerpiece is a three-storey tall stone Buddha statue, which sits amidst a backdrop of forest and greenery. Behind the statue is a giant rock which holds it in place, and a natural stream that supposedly provides water with healing properties.

Everything seems really beautiful in this part of the temple, but there is a less pleasant ‘Path of Enlightenment’ section, which chronicles one’s journey through Taoist hell. I’ll cover that in another post though.

If you’re ever in Genting, pay a visit to these beautiful temple grounds and just soak in the fresh mountain air and peaceful environment. A word of warning though – Idk if this is pure superstitious belief, but this is what my mum told me – don’t go betting at the casino after visiting this temple. Apparently you’re bound to lose money lol.