Monday, January 30, 2012

Mackenzie Rex

When the 'Ombak Rindu' fever hit Singapore, my cousins and I jumped onto the bandwagon and planned to watch it at the only location - Rex Theatre.

Since we were only a few days shy of my cousin's birthday, I suggest that we have an advanced birthday celebration for her (will post on that later).

Prior to the movie, we planned to meet up at Mackenzie Rex Restaurant for dinner. Besides, it's pretty close. What irony, huh? The restaurant is located like some 10 mins walk way from their original location; at Mackenzie Road, opposite Rex Theatre - our destination for that night.


Chicken rice chili (in container with spoon), pickled green chili (metal container), light soy sauce (yellow container), white pepper (green cover), dark soy sauce (red cover) & salt.

1/2 of a roasted chicken

This restaurant known to be an institution for Halal chicken rice, so it's only apt that we order the famous roasted chicken to share.


Kailan (Chinese broccoli) stir-fried in oyster sauce, alongside other little bits of veggie pieces.


Full-name: Foo Yung omelette. But then again a Foo Yung omelette will have lots of savoury ingredients, like mushroom, chicken or meat slices, onions etc. within.

I think this is just a plain omelette.

Baby squid

Popular dish. Crispy, deep-fried baby squid in sweet soy sauce. Such an addictive dish, this one.

Movie theatre

Prior to coming here, I've been reading poor reviews about the cinema itself. Supposedly issues with the sanitation and hygiene. There are some who complained of itch & rashes after their movie experience here.

There are some who willingly traveled all the way to J.B. because they aren't too fond of this place. Hmm... How can I not be apprehensive?

However, my worries were unfounded. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the huge theater appear to be pretty new. And clean.

Silly me. I forgot that a couple or so years back, my boss almost got a job to manage the submissions for some proposal at this very site. In fact, yours truly had the honour to recce and check on the interiors. Erm… I think I did an entry about it…

Yeap, I sure did. Read it HERE!

As for the movie, well I personally think it's overrated. Ok, maybe I'm disappointed because I've read the book many times over and had my own expectations. Guess it wasn't as what I've envisioned.

This story was special to me because the novel was my FIRST & ONLY Malay novel. So the sentimental value is there. After that, I never bothered to purchase anymore because I only read them once so I'm better off borrowing from my cousins or the library instead.

But all those raving reviews? Well, either they don't read the book or they enjoy the breath-taking sets. Good acting, too.

Here's a very hilarious commentary on the movie as it was being watched (on YouTube). Enjoy!

Mackenzie Rex Restaurant
66 Prinsep Street
Singapore 188668

Friday, January 27, 2012

Kundang, Rawang ~ Food

The hosts had a tough task of feeding not only these 18 mouths from Singapore, but also that of his 6 siblings and family, as they always have a gathering at his place on every month-end.

The next morning after we arrived, he actually slaughtered 8 chickens from his own coop. I have the pictures taken of the slaughtering process but I guess some of you might not appreciate the sight of it.

Anyway, here are the foods we had during this getaway.

Rice vermicelli / bee hoon

For beef soup noodles. Really refreshing to be had on a warm evening (when we arrived).


(clockwise from top) Finely-sliced white cabbage, fried shallots, chopped scallions & cilantro. In the centre was sweet soy sauce spiked with grounded 'chili padi' (bird's eye chillies).

Beef soup

Here, my uncle had the hearty beef soup with his fried rice instead of the noodles.

Fried Rice

Nothing special. Onions, garlic & chili. Oh, plus some bits of salted fish .Sure filled us up nicely.

Tea-time snacks

At the foreground, it's fried yam fritters. In the background were jack-fruit (cempedak) fritters. They were dipped into rice+wheat flour batter and then deep-fried.

What's not to like about deep-fried snacks, tell me? Especially, when dipped in spicy soy sauce. Both items came from their own backyard, btw.

BBQ Nite

For the family gathering, they had a BBQ. We came back late from our shopping adventures in KL so we missed out on the food from the initial part of the BBQ.

BBQ pit

'Otah' (or 'otak-otak'), 'sata' (both are seasoned fish paste; the former - spicy & red, wrapped in coconut leaves. The latter - triangular and white, wrapped in banana leaves) and marinated chicken, on the grill.

Eager kids...

...Waiting for the last few batches of grilled chicken.

Grilled chicken

These were wiped clean before I even get to have a taste. :(

Raw fish

Ikan Cencaru (Torpedo Scad fish), Ikan Kembung (Indian Mackarel fish) & Ikan Siakap (Seabass); marinated in spices like chili and tumeric - waiting to be grilled.

In that small plastic container were fish roe.


Poured over the grilled till' they open, I guess. But someone told me that usually, by the time the shells open, the meat's overcooked. Or you can randomly pick at the half-cooked bits.

Take your pick. Some tend to be paranoid about Hepatitis C and stuff.. :P

Grilled otah & Fish

I don't know about you, but I like my food to be charred at parts. Having it once in a while, I really don't worry much about carcinogens... :P

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kundang, Rawang ~ fruit-bearing season!

Yes, all ye Arachnophobiacs. That is indeed a spider on its web.

Wait, don't run! Look at it… ain't it such a pretty little thing…?

Anyway, to get the story started...

My parents got to stay at this house when they attended a wedding in Puchong last year. They love it so much and kept on raving about it to everyone.

My cousins and I, we kept in contact with our Malaysian relatives through, well, what else? Facebook, of course. And were informed of the fruit-bearing season at this relative's fruit grove.

Anyway, Kundang, Rawang is located in Selangor, Malaysia. This is very near to the popular Tasik Biru (Blue Lake). I was disappointed to see that the water in the lake wasn't blue at all. Then again, the lake used to be a quarry. I guess, after it was abandoned, the water eventually collected to form a lake. And quarry lakes tend to be bluish/greenish at first, due to the excess mineral deposit from the quarry. I guess that's how it got its name.

My parents got delirious and was adamant on going. They casually put word to my dad's siblings and what do we know…? ALL of them wanted to go!

So there were a grand total of 18 of us, planning to travel during the long X-mas weekend on such short notice. We scrambled around to get coach tickets. And my relative over there scrambled to get us coach/train tickets - whichever was available.

We ended up travelling on a luxurious double-decker coach and made our return on the KTM night train. We had to settle for the cattle class.

They were the only seats available. Even then, I had to take a day's leave because the train arrive on the next working day... :P

The House

My parents were right. The house is indeed big. It not only house the 18 of us, there's also the host with their 6 kids and some of their other relatives + family who stayed over, as they always did on the last weekend of the month, when there's a family gathering.

The verandah where we had our meals

To maximise our 'kampung' (village) experience, we chose to be as close as we can to the outdoors, that's why the verandah became our favourite spot to hang out.

That's how desperate, us city-folks were.

The fruit trees right behind

There were fruits trees flanking 3 sides of the house.

The rear

The lawn

There's even a well-manicured carpet-grass lawn, which was a hit with the kids. My kiddo enjoyed the chance to run freely around, as he kick ball with his cousins.

There's also a metal swing, which met a sad end when 4-6 grown fully-grown adults fit themselves on it. It was funny to hear them scream as one side of the swing dropped down and all of them scrambled away.

What's even funnier was the sight of my son running gleefully towards it and sat down, feeling glad to (finally) have the swing to himself.

Little did he know…

Kids cycling on the gravel driveway

The driveway was huge, mainly because all their relative drive their own car and when all of them gather, the driveway becomes a huge parking lot.


A hit with my cousins' girls. They sat on these rugged, homemade swings every chance they get. And no, they aren't for adults. Tried & tested… Really!

The Fruit Grove

Fruit picking 1

Fruit picking 2

All of us trooping into the fruit grove

Jackfruit tree

A variation of the jackfruit, which the Malays call, 'Cempedak'. Another variation will be the, 'Nangka'.

As you can see, the fruits on this tree are still small. Still a few months away from ripening.

Giant jackfruit

That's my dad and a huge jackfruit. Huge- because most ripe jackfruit comes to about only 3/4 of this size. And guess what…?

That beast is not even ripe yet! I can imagine it getting even bigger as it ripens!

Rambutan tree

In Malay, the word, 'rambut' means, 'hair.

With a name like 'rambutan', you can just imagine how the fruit looks like…

Rambutan & chiku tree (background)

Up close

Can you see how 'hairy' the fruit appears to be?

Chiku tree, up close

Chiku is also known as 'sapota' to some. It looks a lot like kiwi fruit from the outside, except that it isn't hairy. Something like a potato, actually.

Rambutan tree next door

We were enthralled by the sight of this tree, located to one side of the grounds. There were so much fruit that they appeared like flowers, from far! My dad later told me that the tree actually belong to their neighbour.

Upon closer inspection, well, true enough. The trunk was actually across the fence yet almost 1/2 the tree is spread into the neighbour's land!

Close up

I asked why no one bothered to pluck that fruit? Their neighbour had in fact, allowed them access to the fruits that hovered above their land but they're still apprehensive.

And that neighbour of theirs must have been totally jaded with all these fruits. While we were trying to clean out the fruits down here!

My relative told us that not many fancy those rambutans. The taste was not comparable to the ones we got. Well… lucky us, then!

Small guava

This guava appears to be more on the smallish side. Apparently, it's already ripe. My uncle actually picked it up from the ground (only ripe fruits will drop off).

Pink guava - inside.

As soon as my aunties saw it, they were like, "Apek atau nyonya..?!"

Us younger folks were dumbfounded and gave them the quizzical look. "Huh?"

They went on to explain that there are 2 types of guavas. One with white flesh and one that's pink inside. They use the term, 'Apek' (Chinese uncle) for the white one and 'Nyonya' (Chinese Auntie) for the pink.

If they use gender to associate the 2 colours, why do they chose the term, 'Apek & Nyonya' instead of 'Pakcik & Makcik' (Malay Uncle & Auntie)…? Beats me.

Well, as you can see… the one that we bite into, was a 'Nyonya'. That got us pretty ecstatic because most of us younger folks, have never in our whole life, eaten a real pink guava! We've only drank the flavoured cordial/syrup instead.

A couple of geese

... Or you can also call them 'geese couple'.

So there, my entry of the house and the fruit grove.

My next entry will be on… the FOOD, of course! How can I miss that?!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

My Son's 2nd Birthday Party

It seemed like an innocent suggestion from my mum, "Let's get a chalet for Hadi's birthday. It falls on a Saturday, right?"

The initial plan was utilise the voucher that my brother got from SAF; which entitles him to rent their lodging at either Changi, Downtown East, Sentosa, Bintan or even far-away Australia, at discounted rates.

My mum was very much enthralled by the huge bungalows at Aloha Changi resort and was very keen to hold the party there. Too bad, we have no civil servants as direct family members. She was even enthused when she discovered that the SAF Seaview Resort is actually next door.

However, any decisions will have to come through my hubby- the father of the birthday boy. My hubby wasn't too enthusiastic about the location being in Changi, since most of his family members don't have their own vehicles and may have trouble getting there. And it's quite a distance to the nearest shops & amenities. Ho-hum.

So it's back to Pasir Ris. We were keen on the large premises at Aranda Country Club but they already ran out of rooms. I checked on Costa Sands and saw their school holiday package, which was quite a steal. They also ran out of the pretty spacious family rooms (pool-facing) so we settled for their duplex unit.

That very weekend, we drove down to the office, booked a unit + placed the down payment. Settled!

We want it to be a small family affair. Then again, the word, 'small' is seriously underrated here. 'Family affair' means inviting my mum's remaining 3 siblings & family. My dad's 8 siblings and 2 of them, with their extended family. Then there's my MiL's 6 siblings & family. Can you see where I'm getting, here??

... I need to prepare a feast! That's why I dare not invite my friends.


Pardon all those obvious masking tape pieces. I had wanted to put up the decorations myself but there wasn't anyone looking after my precocious birthday boy, that time.

Believe me, I tried. Only managed to paste the banner halfway before I hear his cry from behind me. He took a tumble while sweeping the floor (he loves to play with the broom) when my back was facing him. Gah!

As I nursed my crying boy, my helper finally arrive and I let her handle the decorations. So there. Heh.


My niggling OCD was pretty much perturbed by the asymmetrical balloon numbers on each side, or the off-centre position for those 3 balloons but I force myself to let it be. There are other more important things to look into, like FOOD, for example.

Oh, in case you're wondering why the 'Happy Birthday' wordings at the top were upside-down, well, that sheet was actually a plastic table cloth… :P

Beverage-Desserts-Snacks Table


Inside the blue container at top-right, is 'Bubor Pengat Durian' (Sweet dessert soup made with coconut milk & durian), much to my Hubby's chagrin (he absolutely detest durians). Beside it was a large kettle of hot tea.

Drinks dispenser

Huge cold-drinks dispenser provided by my uncle. He also provide the 100-plus paper cups.

Tid-bits platter

When my hubby went on a night shopping trip with my brother and cousin, I got him to buy the snacks meant for the goodie bags (I prepared 30 packets!).

I think the sight of all those cheap snacks (sold wholesale) made him delirious and he bought so many that there were excess, hence this platter.

Mini Curry potato/Sardine epok2x

Ordered this from my colleague, Sri. I ordered the regular-sized ones, initially. But I was reminded of the smaller-sized type which might be suitable for a party; with kids especially.

Each of these were only 3inches across. Gone in 2 bites, at most.

Durian/Custard Puffs & Neon-coloured Coconut Blossom cakes

My elder SiL sent over boxes of these cute, neon-coloured cakes, which I was told, were actually Coconut Blossom.

'Coconut Blossom' are actually steamed cupcakes with caramelised grated-coconut fillings. The ones I'm used to are usually tinted light-green with pandan (screwpine leaf) essence. These - were too adorable!

As if the 'pengat durian' wasn't enough, the same aunt also contributed durian & custard puffs. And the best thing was, the only way to tell the durian and the regular custard puffs apart was to either sniff or taste. My hubby didn't come near the dessert table, even.

He had others to get him drinks etc. This man of mine ain't coming near no durians. Nayy...!!!

Ice Fruit Cocktail

A popular beverage that works as a palate cleanser. I love drinking just the water. Much refreshing on a hot night!

Cooked Food Items

Fried beehoon

Asked my MiL to prepare this. Usually it's just plain, white 'beehoon' (rice vermicelli). This is popularly referred to as, 'Mi Party' or 'Mi Birthday' as it's pretty ubiquitous at most events. It's simple to prepare and is a hit with the kids.

Talk about kids; one VERY big kid (ie. my brother) doesn't fancy the white version, which he referred to as 'bland' and so he insist that some soy sauce be added (hence the brownish tint). Hmmph!

Laksa Johor

My mum actually bought some ready-made paste for the gravy and prepared a portion of it for breakfast and lunch (she brought along a portable gas cooker... shhh!).

However, there's still quite a substantial amount of the noodles and condiments left so she used up the remaining paste and end up with another pot of gravy. The gravy carried a strong hint of 'ikan kurau kering' (dried threadfin fish). Very flavourful!

The accompanying condiments were some sliced tom yam fish cake, bean sprouts, julienned cucumber, sambal ikan bilis and of course, the laksa leaves (chopped Vietnamese mint). There were also fishballs floating around in the gravy.

Accompaniments for the satay

We planned to order some raw satay from the popular stall at Haig Road food centre but they were closed on the day that my mum came by so she simply ordered from the Alhambra stall at Geyang Serai market.

I wonder if they are the same people behind Alhambra Satay Padang at Glutton's Bay (Esplanande)?

Anyway, they provided us with the peanut gravy and 4 cucumbers. The 'lontong' (rice cakes) can also be ordered but my mum chose to boil her own.

Fire Up the BBQ!

1st batch on the grill

As soon as the first guests arrive when it's almost 6pm, the men (esp. my hubby), got down to starting the fire for the bbq.

I bought my favourite otah (the one wrapped in banana leaf) from Nam San Mackarel Otah. They don't come cheap but they were so good and became an instant hit among my guests.

Since I bought too much of those, we packed some for the guests to bring back and enjoy at home.

At the same time, my youngest maternal uncle, who had promised to prepare the 'sambal pari' (skate/stingray in chili paste) also arrived. They're the ones packed in foil.

Sweet corns & hotdogs

We soaked some bamboo skewers and my bro ambitiously pierced 2 long hotdogs per stick.

He also insist on having sweet corns and he personally cut them up, skewer & slather them with some margarine with a sprinkle of salt, to his liking.

Chicken wings & more 'sambal pari'

We aren't really fond of bloodied BBQ chicken (as what usually occurred when cooked by amateurs at the grill). You know when the chicken is practically charred outside, yet inside it's still slightly raw and bloody....?

So I requested for my MiL to marinate the chicken wings and 'steam' them for a bit. The Javanese call the procedure, 'ungkep'. Just place them in a covered pot on low heat for a few minutes. This process will cook the chicken meat from the inside.

Satay on the grill!

The satay didn't make their appearance until midway through the party. The 1st batch disappeared as soon as they were cooked (I assumed they're eaten by the grillers themselves).

After that, the sticks hardly stay on the foil for long before they disappear. Ordered 200 sticks each of chicken & beef satay. Total: 400 sticks of satay, all sold out at the end of the event. Wow!

Sambal Pari

The sambal (chili paste) taste a lot like the spices used to prepare 'Asam Pedas'. Superb!

And my uncle + family refused to accept any payments for the foodstuff and effort. He told me to take it like that 'sambal pari' is sponsored by him.

Can never thank him enough. Maybe he's proud of the fact that the birthday boy shared the same name as him…?

The Birthday Cake!

My hubby casually asked his cousin, Sri if she can make my son's birthday cake for us. He only meant to take a jibe at her, since she recently graduated from Shatec, with a diploma is Pastry & Baking. She's currently working in Hilton Hotel.

Little did he expect her to readily agree and get all excited about it. Lucky us! At that time, I was having a headache, trying to figure out where to purchase his birthday cake from.

Upon arrival

Seeing that it's a mousse cake, it need to be placed in the fridge. Given the small fridge provided at the chalet, it need to be kept, sans (the Hilton) box.

I was hoping that it won't absorb any fishy or durian or whatever scent that's in there.

Or that nothing fell onto that gorgeous cake. :P

Prior to the cake-cutting

Placed the cake on a stool (to match my son's level) and propped one end with a small bowl. Honestly, I was worried about the cake sliding down (guess I watched too much cartoons).

Anyway, the cake is just too cute, isn't it? She told me that she went back to her workplace to decorate it (hence the Hilton box). So hardworking, lah you!

The cake-cutting

The lady behind us, the one carrying the chubby little girl (my niece), is Sri, my hubby's dear cousin - who made the cake. The baker, the patissier and kind soul who did it on her own tab.

Thank you, dear Sri!

And yes, everyone at the party gave it their thumbs up! Tastes sooo decadent!

Happy 2nd Birthday, my son.

I will only speak of the near future for now ~ Here's to us surviving the Terrible Twos!!!

May I gain enough patience and strength to tolerate whatever nonsense you will eventually come up with. Bring it on!!!

It's nice to see your learning & growth progress. May all development head in the positive direction, Insya-Allah.

And never, ever forget: ALL of us LOVE you. ♥♥♥