A couple of months ago, I wrote about Ramen Seirock-Ya, an up-and-coming halal ramen chain that specialises in toripaitan (chicken ramen) – and how it might just be the best halal ramen that I’ve tasted. Well, my opinion hasn’t changed – but this time, I’ve made a vlog about it. And in Malay, no less!
The video clips have been in my folder for some time now, but I just couldn’t find the time/energy to edit them. But better late than never, right? PS: This was filmed before the Movement Control Order 3.0 came into effect, when dine-in was still allowed. Fret not, though – you can order from them online here.
BTW, this is the first time that I’ve vlogged in Malay. Language gets rusty if you don’t use it often, which is the case with my Malay, and that’s why I wanted to at least practice it a bit in my vlog.
“But aren’t you Malaysian?” my non-Malaysian readers might ask. “You should be fluent in Malay, since you live there.”
Well, technically, I am fluent. I learned it for 10 years in school. I even got a “Best in BM” award in high school, which is a pretty good achievement if I say so myself, seeing that I’m Malaysian Chinese.
Here’s the thing though. It’s complicated. Malaysia is a pretty odd country. You have all these different races living together in relative harmony, but racial (and religious) polarisation has been on the rise in recent years, and it’s no longer surprising to find people who aren’t that fluent in Malay, even though they are citizens. My parents, for example, can speak in Malay relatively well. But they tend to mix English words into their conversations, and if you asked them to speak purely in Malay, they would find it difficult. Would that be considered ‘fluent’?
As for myself, well, being stuck at home means I only speak Cantonese and English (my first language) most of the time. And to be honest, my Malay has been on a downward spiral ever since I graduated from high school, because I don’t have that many Malay friends (or friends in general *cough cough*) who speak to me in Malay. The only occasions where I have to dig up my long-lost BM vocab are when I have to visit a government office.
Anyway, I hope to make more vlogs in Malay. I’m already an outcast when it comes to Chinese (I can’t read Chinese characters and I’m not fluent in Mandarin. Third culture kid problems), so I don’t want mastery of my second best language to go down the drain.
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Virtual walking tours have been around for some time on Youtube, but I think they really took off during the pandemic, since everyone is stuck wherever we are with no place to go. It’s times like these that make one appreciate the Internet and the amazing connectivity that we have today – you can basically ‘travel’ the world without having to put one foot out the door.
I was recently at Main Place Mall USJ, a mid-sized neighbourhood mall in Subang, Selangor that’s part of a mixed development with residential towers. The project was delayed for 15 years before it was finally opened in 2014.
While it isn’t very big, the mall has a convenient, well-stocked grocery, shops selling clothing, home and living items, electronics, plenty of food options, and even spas, a salon and a bookstore. It’s a good option for those living nearby, as it’s quite empty on weekdays, so you don’t have to worry about crowds.
Check out my vid above to see what the place looks like! 🙂
Would you line up for THREE hours just to eat hotpot?
Well, that’s what a lot of people do on a regular basis at Hai Di Lao, the popular Chinese hotpot chain famed for its spicy malatang soup. Founded in 1994, the restaurant has over 935 outlets all across the world, including in Malaysia.
When the chain opened its first shop in Sunway Pyramid back in 2019, the hype was insane. Reservations were fully booked for months, and if you wanted to try the queue, you had to go early to get a number. People recounted how they had to queue in the morning just to get a slot for the afternoon, or if that wasn’t possible, for the evening session. If they ran out of numbers for the day… well, tough luck.
While you don’t have to remain in queue the entire time (they give you a sheet with a QR code where you can check your status), it’s still pretty mind-boggling that you have to wait that long just for a seat. That’s why they have things like a popcorn machine and snacks at the waiting area to keep you entertained while you wait. Yep, you read that right – they give you food to eat while you’re waiting to eat food lol.
Now, I like good food as much as the next person – but the longest I’ve ever waited for a table was 40 minutes. No way I was going to waste three hours of my life for a bite, which is why I’ve never tried it no matter how many glowing reviews I read about it on the internet.
Recently, however, foot traffic has fallen in a lot of malls due to the pandemic – and I was finally able to try the Hai Di Lao at Sunway Velocity Kuala Lumpur. There wasn’t even a line, so we breezed in and were served within 10 minutes! If you’re like me and hate queueing, but have always been curious about what makes this hotpot chain so popular, now is a good time to try it.
The restaurant is massive, airy and well ventilated. I think it can easily seat 200 people or more, but only half of the floor space was open for diners during our visit. It was pretty quiet too for a Saturday, and there were loads of empty tables.
Hai Di Lao is famed for its impeccable service, which starts from the moment you step through the door. Some places even offer complimentary manicures and massages!
We were led to our table, where H was given a hair band to tie up her long hair, and I was given lens wipes for my glasses. Each section has a few dedicated wait staff. Our server was friendly and helpful; she first asked if this was our first time, then proceeded to explain how to order food from the tablet menu.
Before anything else, you have to choose a soup base. Unlike conventional hotpot places which offer a maximum of two flavours, Hai Di Lao has a unique four-compartment pot which allows you to pick up to four different soups. You can, of course, go for the traditional one or two compartments, but take note that the larger the compartment, the pricier the soup is.
H and I were discussing on how best to save on the soup when the server recommended we get the four-compartment one, but pick two soups. “I can fill the other two with plain water.” she said. That way, each soup base would only cost us RM10. If you change your mind later, they can fill in the ’empty’ slots with a soup of your choice for RM8.
HDL’s signature is the malatang (a spicy, numbing chilli-based soup popular in the Szechuan region), but since I’m not a big fan, we opted for tomyum as well as the local exclusive, pepper with pork stomach.
Sauces are not complimentary; you’ll have to pay RM8 if you want them. There’s a good variety, though. Aside from the usual vinegar and soy sauce, they also offer unique sauces like mushroom, seafood, sesame, shacha (peanut and spices), oyster and more.
All items on the menu are available in half or full portions. Half portions are recommended for 2 people. We ordered pork belly, cheese tofu, bursting pork balls, octopus, cabbage and radish.
The main highlight at HDL is the soup, and the ones we ordered delivered. I especially liked the pepper pork stomach soup: it was chock full of ingredients, had just the right amount of peppery kick, and was creamy and flavourful. All of the items we ordered were fresh, although I think the pork belly could have been slightly thicker. The bursting pork balls were springy and juicy as well. We also ordered a plate of pork neck (not pictured), which I recommend if you like fatty cuts.
HDL has a wide variety of ingredients to choose from: aside from pork, you can also go for lamb, chicken, beef, seafood and vegetables. You will also find some unusual items like sea urchin, duck feet and liver, which are not conventional hotpot ingredients.
HDL offers complimentary fruits as dessert, but we decided to get another one from the menu: deep fried sesame cakes with melted brown sugar. They’re crispy on the outside, while the inside has a chewy texture similar to mochi.
Washed everything down with a refreshing bowl of aiyubing (jelly)!
Our total bill came up to RM157, or about RM78.50 per pax. It is rather pricey by hotpot standards, since you can get a buffet for around RM60 – but I enjoyed the food and the experience, and wouldn’t mind splurging on it once in awhile. Provided there’s no queue, that is.
HAI DI LAO (Sunway Velocity)
F3-16,Lingkaran SV, Jln Cheras, Maluri, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
Open daily: 11AM – 9PM
Reservations: 03-9770 0070
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Note: This is not a sponsored post! I showed this to N and he was like ‘did they pay you to make this’ lol. No, I just think this is a nice place to get shoes. 😛
I’m not sure if it’s the way I walk, but I go through shoes really quickly. Being on the heavier side, it’s also difficult for me to get affordable shoes with a thick sole that can support my weight. I usually go to BATA, but the quality has gone down of late, despite the prices getting higher. My current pair, which I’ve worn for a good year or so, is starting to wear down, so the Moomikins recommended I check out a place near our house called FUFA.
Usually when shoe shopping, one goes to a department store or the mall – so it was surprising to find this little shop which is located in a commercial area within a housing estate, far from shopping / business hubs. FUFA is a Taiwanese brand, and the shoes are fully made in Taiwan, then shipped to Malaysia. The brand prides itself in quality and style, and offers casual footwear for men, women and children.
Pro No.1: Perhaps it’s due to the location, but the shop is pretty empty on most days. You can shop in peace without jostling with other customers, which is great especially in the current pandemic.
Pro No.2: The staff are extremely friendly and helpful; on one occasion while looking for shoes, the Moomikins tried on almost a dozen pairs before she found the right fit. Staff were still polite and obliging. The service was equally warm during my visit, so two thumbs up for great customer service!
Pro No.3: The shoes feature beautiful, minimalist designs. Easy to pair with work clothing or for a casual day out. Most importantly, they’re comfy! Most of the shoes have thick soles that offer good support, and the material seems to be high quality. The PVC shoes are soft and feel great on the feet.
The physical store in Puchong has more women’s shoes, and they’re mostly slip-ons/ ballet flats/mocassins. Did not see any heels, but there’s a greater selection if you go to their website at fufashoesmalaysia.com.
The shoes are pretty affordable and usually go for below RM100.
Bought a pair of blue moccasins for RM89! The material is soft, pillowy and just wraps comfortably around the feet. I love the colour as well; been awhile since I had shoes that aren’t black lol.
FUFA SHOES (PUCHONG)
58, Jalan Putra Impiana, Taman Putra Impiana, 47100 Puchong, Selangor
A kampung seems like an unlikely place to find an Instagrammable cafe – but venture into Batu 14 Puchong and you’ll come across Haus 7, a hidden gem that occupies what looks like a refurbished single-storey kampung house, complete with its own garden and backyard.
The space is small but cosy, with an open-air concept: think open spaces and plenty of natural sunlight, paired with minimalist wooden furniture.
The outdoor terrace is surrounded by lush greenery, so diners can feel closer to nature.
The menu is typical cafe fare. Set lunches are available, as are all-day sandwiches and salads as well as rice and pasta dishes. For a cool thirst quencher in the sweltering weather, opt for a cold and refreshing mocktail (RM12)of Mint Calamansi (mint leaves, calamansi, lemongrass, asam boi & ice cream soda) or Yuzu Spicy (yuzu puree, lemon juice, shichimi togarashi spice, sugar syrup, sparkling soda). Alternatively, order an ice blended caramel coffee (above – RM11), or choose from flavours such as mint chocolate, strawberry and vanilla hazelnut.
The kitchen is small and has a limited capacity, so be prepared for a wait.
Moo’s order of 1/4 Percik Chicken, served with jasmine rice and a side of salad (RM18.80 – set lunch with drink) was the quickest to the table, as it was pre-cooked. The serving portions were generous, and the chicken was well cooked and tender. I liked the percik sauce as it was not too spicy and had a strong flavour of lemongrass, albeit a little too sweet.
The Hainanese Chicken Chop (RM16.80 – set) was sizable and came with fried potato wedges and coleslaw, drenched in a sweet and sour sauce of tomatoes and peas. The chicken was cooked to golden brown perfection; crispy on the outside, moist and juicy on the inside – and the sauce tied everything together well.
“Uncle Paul”‘s Fish and Chips(RM16.80) features crispy soda battered fish fillets with fries, sauteed peas and tartare sauce. The fish fillets were crisp and nicely seasoned, and the batter was not too thick. The fries were average though, as were the peas which were a little under-cooked.
Service is warm and friendly, albeit a little slow. If you’re not in a hurry and just want to enjoy your time with friends / fam over a cuppa, then this is the perfect spot! The space is open for micro events and workshops as well.
No 7446-H Jalan Kampung, Jalan Puchong Batu 14, Batu 14, 47100 Puchong, Selangor
I mentioned earlier this year that I’d like to do more video logs – so here’s the second one! We had the interiors of our house painted, which we’ve never done since moving in (back in 2006). It had a pink and beige colour scheme before, with much warmer overtones – but we’ve changed them to pastel, cooler colours.
Welcome to my cosy abode!
The living area. Funny how the TV was showing 2020 at the exact moment I took a picture 😀
Dining area. Yes that’s a printer sitting on the chair; because the guys were still painting the back room where we usually keep it lol
Mint green for the dry/wet kitchen area.
Overall it was a nice makeover – I’m not particularly fussy about how the house looks like as long as it’s cosy and safe – but I guess it was important for the Moo to spruce up the home. She likes the house to be pretty. We once moved out of our old house because the renovators did a shitty job extending the kitchen. There was no way of undoing the renovation, and she lost the mood to stay there because ‘they ruined everything’. We moved into a rented home for two years before moving into this current house, all because of that. I shit you not.
Let me just start this off by saying, videographers / video editors – I admire your skills. Having worked with people in video, I know how much effort goes on behind the scenes to make that nice little vid that most people would watch for like, a minute or two.
That being said, I had some free time over the weekend and decided to put together a simple ‘video’ for this blog post – it took me like three hours of editing for a 1.40 min vid lol.
I stumbled across a ‘dollar’ store (okay more like 2 dollars) when I was at Hero Hypermarket in Puchong to get my new frames – where everything was going for just RM2 (USD 0.50). That’s insanely cheap! They carry everything from toys and cutlery to snacks, accessories such as sunglasses, gift boxes and wrappers, and other household items.
Watch the video:
**You know how you listen to your own voice on recordings and just go like ew is that me? Haha!
I enjoyed exploring the food section which had brands I’ve never heard of. The instant noodle corner products were roughly half the size of regular instant noodles, and there were all these cheap biscuits and cookies you don’t normally see in groceries and hypermarkets like Giant, Tesco or Aeon Big. The plastic mugs, containers and jugs were all RM2, although like I mentioned in the video, I don’t think they’d be good for the environment because people are more likely to break them / throw them away without a thought owing to the low price. Also, they had these ‘stainless steel’ knives (also RM2) which had me questioning their authenticity and safety.
On the pro side, I guess having these shops would be extremely helpful for lower income communities as they’d be able to get all these household items for cheap.
**Video made with Windows Movie Maker. Opening template made with Canva.