Sunday, 7 December 2014

Langkawi Chronicles: A Few Of My Favourite Things - Mee Sup Utara

I was introduced to this by my colleague during one of our resort supply runs. As is usual for me, eating rice a-la Nasi Campur is not my Lunch thing so when she suggested some soupy noodles I was quick to say yes.

This lovely bowl of super Mangkuk Special Besar Mee Sup is obtainable from No7 Sup Utara in Jalan Penarak, Langkawi.

Their version offers a very clean tasting clear soup with a mildly fragrant aroma of star anise and cloves with a light yet long finishing beefy taste.

One has the option of having yellow mee, turmeric stained bee-hoon or silky koay teow topped with choice of beef slices, shredded chicken, tripe, tendons, and all those other glorious offals (or a combination of all like the way I take mine), sliced fried tofu, shredded pickled white radish and sliced spring onions before being sloshed with the beefy soup.

This place opens for Lunch only, also offers Nasi Campur and beverages (try their ABC).

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Langkawi Chronicles: A Few Of My Favourite Things - Seafood Hor Muk

This is a Thai specialty called Hor-Muk which is essentially chopped chunks of fish, shrimp, squid and whatever other types of seafood, mixed with spices (mainly Thai red curry paste), herbs and eggs and steamed to a glorious fragrant dish.

It is sometimes steamed in a whole coconut (they add the juice n coconut flesh also occasionally) and this mehod results in a far more juicy n moist concoction.

Come to Langkawi and try this at Wan Thai Restaurant in the Arked Pokok Asam/Padang Pasir area.

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, 5 December 2014

Langkawi Chronicles: DITLO A Resort Manager.

Q: Errr, boss, nak mintak balik la boleh tak?

A: Kenapa? Apa hal yang penting sangat?

Q: Lembu saya nak beranak tapi anaknya sangkut!

A: (Errrrrrr!)

     Ok. Isi borang 'Out-Going', nanti aku tandatangan. Masa
     hilang perlu diganti ya.

Teeheehee heeee!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

A Few Of My Favourite Things: MyBurgerlab

I stole some time off from work recently and ferreted for a food hunt with makan-buddy Yan. He brought me to a burger joint in Paramount Gardens, PJ to MyBurgerlab (they have several outlets, with newest in Sunway, look it up).

Simple enough place, with stools and benches, clearly designed for speed eating (and not malingering, like too many Malaysians love to do), with an open kitchen and no-nonsense approach to service (there isn't any table service).

You come in, wait in line to order your food (and you can count on there being a line), approach the cashier where the menu board is, order your food and pay, grab at ticket number and pick up you food when they ring up your number.

Drinks are essentially bottomless so drink up an ocean from the soda fountain or Iced Lemon Tea barrel.

Then you eat and leave.

They focus their entire efforts on making good burgers - beef, chicken and a few vegetarian options. They offer 7 types of menu items in chicken or beef variants, and another 3 of Vege meals. As sides they have potato fries, sweet potato fries and mushroom fries.

And the food is AMAZING!

Friday, 7 November 2014

Out & About: Mahal Meals in Dubai!

I was fortunate enough to be invited to join the Hotel Manager's Conference in Dubai last week and was relishing the trip. Work aside, it was fun to be able to see how much Dubai has changed since I was last there in 2007 (was it that long ago?).

Sure enough, the vista was totally different, with skyscrapers reaching for the stars everywhere and 12 lane highways cutting across the former desert. Amazing.

The Syeikh Zayed Road was the most surprising. Stretching all the way to Abu Dhabi, this monster of a road was the most prominent change.

Food remained to be a somewhat pricey affair, when compared against Malaysian equivalents. The portions are a tad larger, so one could argue that value for money can still be had.

Tucking in. That large platter, supposedly for 4 persons, was shared by 8.
Even then we could not finish it. Gahh!
Dates and dried fruits were cheaper here though.
But my teeth were screaming due to the cloying sweetness of them all
(I was offered free tasting samples).
Cekik darah Charley's Combo. Steak Grilled Sub with Soda and Spicy Cheese Fries. Good though, so okay la kan, walaupun about 30 Dirhams.
Costa Coffee meal. Tomato Basil Penne (25 Dirhams), 2 Soft Cookie (24 Dirhams)
and a huge tempayan of 4-Shot Long Black (18 Dirhams). This ahem, snack, cost a bomb.
This humble munch and drink costed me 35 Dirhams. Ahahaha!
Crisp nacho chips, with spicy salsa and guacamole dip. The drink was nice,
non-alcoholic soda that had the bouquet of a real Sangria.
Maka, jika di Dubai, jangan tamak mencekik! Hahahahah!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Out & About: KL-Dubai-KL

Took an MH flight to Dubai recently and was very pleasantly surprised that the food quality was very much laudable.

Economy class meals are often maligned for many things - poor taste and appearance, tiny portions, boring dishes and more. But MH has surely demonstrated its un-erring effort for quality and value.

Chicken Biryani, Bread Roll & Crackers with butter, a Coleslaw, Pandan cake pudding and of course choice of cold Soda/Wine and Hot beverages. Even the light meal was a sizeable Egg Mayo Croissant Sandwich.

Good ballast i tell you.

On the way home, a few days later, it was another round of good food.

The pasta was coated in the sweet and sour tomato Sofrito-like sauce and topped with really moist chicken tenders. Succulent was the name of the game here. The Cuke & Tomato salad i suspect had a dash of sharp Sumac powder. Dessert also had a complementary flavour, gently rounding off the sour notes of the main dish with sweeter hints of syrup macerated sour cherries.

The pre-landing Sarnie was Chicken Mayo and that was good too, though i personally prefered the softer, smooshier Egg Mayo on the coming flight.

A win for airline food quality all round.
posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, 26 September 2014

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

End of the line brotha!

You may recall that a few months back I was that close to letting a new staff go for being absent from work. Gave the kid a chance, let him rejoin us after a short 'cooling off' period.

All was fine for a few weeks, then he started not showing up for work. Not long stretches of course, just a day of being missing. When contacted, he would not respond either the SMS or the calls we do.

Counselling sessions, Show cause letters an even Warning letters were issued in trying manage this problem of truancy. But alas to no real lasting effect. The kid will be apologetic and be on the straight and narrow. And about a month later it will repeat.

Thus I am certain that a career with us is not what he is after. A  few weeks ago he was absent again and it was his final strike. We were to raise a motion to let him go, but his team mates appealed on his behalf asking to give him a last chance. When he is around he certainly can work sufficiently well. So I relented.

Sat him down with the team to go over the final ground rules and he was told in no uncertain terms that this is the last chance.

A few days back, he did it again. He has already used up his chances and get-out-of-jail tickets. That is that then.


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Kittehs, a year and a bit later.

Here they are now, my two terrors. Absolutely naughty little cats Boy and Girl about 1.2 years after they came to live with me. Now they just rule the household.

Sure, looking cute and meek. Give them 5 minutes and they are up to another mischief. My furniture is scratched to high heaven and they scatter fur EVERYWHERE.

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Langkawi Chronicles: Team Breaking Of Fast @ City Bayview Hotel, Langkawi

Ramadhan is normally a slow time for us, mainly due to lower bookings from muslim guests. 

Surprisingly, this year, we had a small group utilising the resort for a training session. This allowed us to be creative with food offerings and our staff scheduling. This went well too (as it should, with the solid hardworking team we have).

After all the hard-work, the company then allowed us a get together and we chose City Bayview Hotel for their value for money Ramadhan Buffet spread at RM 68 per person. 

And of course, culinary chaos ensued. We must have eaten a boatload of food!

Yan, Salim and Fariz laying waste to the offerings! These guys are fast!
Starting out small. Heheh! (My first of many dishes)
Buka puasa must always feature kuih melayu. I guess it is a Malaysian thing.
We Love our kuihs.
There is always time for selfies when it comes to these ladies. 
That my dear friends is a whole lotta stuff to stuff one's maw with!
Ladies taking a shot before going for the kill!
Collectively - Ms. Nat, An, Sal, Pari, Pah and Yat!
The men, apparently are just as excited. Happy smiles!
Messieurs Badang, Mamoo S, Mat Boom & wifey and Wan Kecik!
Our resident selfie queen! A.K.A Azizah A.K.A Living Langkawi Google Map!
Two of our newest family members Pon & Rizal. Little in stature, big in appetite! Awesome!
Stuff at the grill counter outdoor!
A parting shot post dinner. Big guy flanked by Mum and Boss Lady, Puan Rohanna!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Langkawi Chronicles: Buah Setui

My colleague brought some of these for me to try.

Buah Setui!
These peculiar looking fruits are about the size of Tennis balls with a heavy and rather dense feel. Grows in cluster on the branches of the 'Setul' tree.

Taste? Doesn't taste like much really. Imagine wet cotton with hints of sourish sweet duku/dokong. Yeah. Like I said, not much.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Feather in my cap?

So, it is a wee bit over 18months since I landed a job in Langkawi. Much I have seen and will continue to learn. Growing along with the small but dedicated team of crazies here.

Milestones? Not much really, other than always trying to take up new challenges and ways of doing things. Introduced freshly made Vegan food for Vegan guests, new menu offerings - Private American Burger Barbie party, Chinese Steamboat, Malay Nasi Kukus Ayam Dara, Snack Packs, a more open and customer oriented approach to service and oh yeah, gaining the highest service rating in the history of the resort.

I guess, one can be happy about the little things, taking stock of the price one has to pay, and the sacrifices needed.

Just also realised that in my duration here, 7 people left our employment, due to various reasons. Another will soon follow. Dont know if these cases can be considered as feathers in my cap though.

Still, what should be done, must be done.

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, 25 May 2014

RANT ALERT! GPS Tracker Implant.

Gawd, why do you have the need to call like every single time, asking where I am at.

I have already told you that I am at work! Where else do you think I would be at? If I told you I am at work, I will be at work. Why would I need to lie?

My work requires me to be the 'face' of the resort, therefore I will be there until my guests are satisfied and end their day in bed (even then my guests might still need me).

I am only a cog in a well oiled machinery. Should I not move like how I am supposed to, the whole machine will not run smoothly.

So, if you dont believe me, should I implant a gps tracker so you can find me wherever you need?


posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Tough Times

Been having a rough few weeks now. One heavy occupancy, followed by an inspection, added with regulatory recertifications of machinery, topped with VIP stay.

Ugh! The hardest challenge yet, having them all come in succession with no real breathing space in between to unwind.

What I learned is that keeping moving forward is the best way to knock down these challenges and come out tops.

I need to:

1) Take charge. Make plans, and decide on course of action. Convince higher-ups that my way is the best way.

2) Shore up your team. Give them the support & tools they need. Supplement manpower levels to desired level to achieve targets. Then we fight on.

3) Establish tracking mechanisms. Reward & Penalty systems must come into play.

4) Maintain energy for self and team. Conduct regular storm-the-brain sessions to seek ideas and new ways of doing things. And to see if current way is ideal or needing quick fixes.

5) Document everything! Communication, Approvals, Delays, Successes. These can be one's bullets in future gunfight (if it comes to that, at all!).

6) Enjoy the fruits!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Langkawi Chronicles: Buah Janggus

This my dear friends is the fruit of the Cashew plant. What we normally eat is the seed, either fried or baked to a crisp and salted. Many, like me, are painfully unaware to the joy the fruit itself bestow.

Cashew fruit, or locally called Buah Janggus or Gajus.
The fruit is a fascinating little anomaly. When unripe it is firm with a waxy sheen and has an astringency that makes it rather unpalatable. As it ripens, it develops a sweet sourish aroma and the formerly firm crisp fruit develops a spongy and ridiculously juicy texture. And lets not forget about that weird comma shaped seed pod (and its poisonous, caustic sap!)

What did it taste like? 

Imagine a eating a slightly rubbery skinned fruit. At the bite, the flesh has a texture akin to sopping wet rubberised cotton-balls that immediately release lashings of fragrant juice with a light yet lasting finish (but not stickily so). A few moments later an interesting dry-mouthed feel pervades, thanks to the residual effect of the astringent compounds.

The aroma is the one most difficult to place, the slightly sourish aroma is reminiscent of rotting apples (that wonderful yeasty sour-sweet tang). I would say cider-y is the best closest memory I can pin it on. Locals often eat the fruit sectioned and sprinkled with salt & sugar. 

Sprinkled with salt & sugar and them babies leach the fragrant juice!
The seed is encased in a hard, pistachio nut like outer shell. This would need to be roasted until blackened to burn away the caustic sap. The seed can then be eaten accordingly as a nut.

The shoots & young leaves can be eaten as a herb or ulam, with sambal belacan or any spicy condiment. The leaves too carry the characteristic astringent quality. Locals, sometimes finely shred the leaves and add it as a leafy component in Laksa Langkawi. When just enough shredded leaves are added, the slight sour hit of the herb cuts across the rich 'fishiness' of the gravy. 

Give it a try if you find yourself in Langkawi and looking for interesting things to eat.

Langkawi Chronicles: Lamb Chop Late Lunch

Did some grocery shopping for an upcoming event in the resort and came upon some lamb chops. The bunch of us have not had this in weeks so we bought a few slices to be marinated and cooked for lunch.

As it were, the lunch only happened at almost 6 pm, after all the preparatory work for the group was done.

Here it is.

The recipe this time shall be a secret (well, it is that good!). We paired it with smooth garlic potato mash and grilled steak tomatoes! Yums!

Monday, 31 March 2014

Langkawi Chronicles: Spaghetti Meatball Day!

The desire to cook a meal for the team came up again, thanks to the suggestion of my colleague. Following the theme on using Spaghetti like in our last cookout (and wanting to use that last packet of dry noodles!), we decided that Spaghetti Meatball would be a lovely refreshing lunch in sunny Langkawi. 

So this is how we did it. 

Spaghetti Meatball A-la Razee.

Ingredients, for 15 pax easy,

The Meatballs
  • Ground Beef, 1 kgs
  • Onion, fine diced and sauteed in oil to soften
  • Garlic, 2 pips, diced and sauteed in oil with onions
  • Jacob's Plain Cream Crackers, 10 pcs, crushed to be used as 'breadcrumbs'
  • Eggs, 1 or 2 depending on how 'wet' the ground beef is
  • Dried Chilli Flakes, 1 tbsp
  • Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, 3 tbsp
  • Salt & White Pepper, to taste.

Mix the raw ground beef with everything except the eggs. Test the consistency of the raw mix when shaped into balls. Add 1 or 2 eggs only if the mixture seems too firm. Remember that meat will firm up further upon cooking. We wish to have meatballs with a bit of bite to it, not rubber ball hard and certainly not gloopy squishy meatballs too. Taste a bit of the raw mix to test for saltiness. It should be perfectly seasoned. 

Once happy with the flavour, shape up the mix into small balls about the size of a large Kalamata Olive or Cherry Tomato. You can go larger if you so wish, but it will larger sizes take longer to cook through.

Heat up some normal cooking oil (corn or palm oil is fine), enough to coat bottom of pan. Cook meatballs on medium high heat to caramelised. Set aside. 

Pour the frying oil into the Tomato Sauce pot. All that oil has been infused with the powerful flavour and aroma of beef. Waste this not!

The Sauce

  • Onions, about 400gm, roughly chopped into 1 cm cubes (i like em chunky!)
  • Fresh tomatoes, about 1 Kgs, chopped into cubes, skin, seeds and all.
  • Garlic, 2 whole cloves, chopped
  • Prego Italian style Tomato Sauce, 4 small cans
  • Tomato Paste, 4 tbsp (the thick, sour kind)
  • Bird's Eye Chillies, 10 units, sliced or chopped (remove seed for less Fiyah!)
  • Whole Black peppercorn, 1 tbsp, cracked
  • Dried Chili Flakes, 1 tbsp, crumbled into sauce
  • Dried Oregano, 1 tbsp
  • Chili Sauce, 2 tbsp
  • Salt & White Pepper, to taste.
Saute chopped onions in a large pot until soft, add in the whole lot of chopped tomatoes and sweat until nice and cooked through. This will take a good 5 minutes at least. Do not rush this by cranking up the heat. We want the onions and tomatoes to sweat not catch.

Add in garlic and give the pot a stir or two. Add all of the canned pasta sauce as well as the tomato paste. Leave to simmer. Stirring once or twice to prevent scorching (the high sugar content of the sauces can burn). Simmer for about 5 minutes for the flavours to amalgamate.

Stir in the chopped chillies, dried chili flakes, and chili sauce. What I am after here is the layering effect of spiciness on top of the sharp sour tang of the sauce. Simmer for another 5 minutes or so. If sauce appears to thick, add in a half or 1 cup of pasta cooking water (or more, to your liking). Throw in the dried oregano (or whatever pasta herb you happen to have, this recipe is sufficiently robust to take on even strong herb-y additions).

Adjust the seasoning to taste. Ideally, this Pasta sauce should be sharply sourish (this is a Tomato based pasta sauce tip I learnt from the Palladinos, a wonderful Italian couple in Australia during my flying days), merged with a Malaysian desire for a smouldering heat of chillies in the background. When ready to serve, tip in the shallow fried meatballs into the sauce and reheat once over. Do not over stir. 

The long slow cooking coaxes the multiple flavours into a cohesive yet layered one.
The addition of the pasta cooking liquid apart from thinning it down also adds a wonderful shine.

The Pasta
  • San Remo Spaghetti, 2 packs, cooked to al-dente, drain, 
  • Garlic, 3 pips, sauteed in 3 tbsp oil

Cook pasta according to manufacturer's instruction and drain. Set aside in a large bowl/plate. Reserve some of the starchy cooking liquid to thin Tomato sauce. While pasta is still hot, speedily saute the chopped garlic in the oil. Add in salt & pepper into the oil and while still hot, pour it all onto the drained hot cooked spaghetti. Stir the garlicky oil through the pasta. Ready to serve.

This is a cheat method to sauteing the whole pot of cooked pasta. It will prevent stray noodles all over your stove top. You know what a bitch it is like to clean grungy pasta off a hot stove hob right?

  • French Loaf, sliced and spread with garlic butter and toasted till crisp (easy enough right?).
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, to taste.

Crisp & crunchy!

To enjoy, simply scoop up a portion of garlic 'sauteed' pasta onto a plate. Ladle on the thick Tomato Meatball sauce on top. Slap on a piece of Garlic Toast and sprinkle on some grated cheese. 

Have it your way!
Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Our Growth Story

The video is finally out! Or rather, I finally get to see my performance on that recent video shoot I did as the newest member of the Rhr Hospitality Sdn Bhd family (back then of course, when I was still new, haha!) .

I must say it turned out quite well - real people, real passion and real sincere love for doing what we do!

Here it is for viewing. What do you think? For more info and what we do as a company, please click here for details.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Perlis Day Trip: Suri & Min's Wedding Do!

Bunga Manggar.
Got the invite to an old friend/colleague Suri's wedding last month. One of the crazy like minded lil' fuckers from my former work place. 

I am not necessarily a person who loves going to these kinds of fetes (mainly due to busy body relatives, going 'Awak bila lagi?'), but I simply couldn't say no to her invitation. 

Booked a ticket on a morning passenger ferry out of Langkawi to Kuala Perlis and the journey commenced. 
This here is a boatload of people! Rm18 per ride too, cheap!
Once back on the mainland in KP, I opted to wait out the morning at Putra Brasmana Hotel close to the Jetty. I was suitably impressed by the size and perfect location. The staff at the reception were pretty nice too. They let me crash there while I wait for my other friends. 

Le lobby shoppe!
Not too shabby huh? 
Putra Brasmana Hotel
A bit later, I took a cab to the wedding venue and was surprised by a group of the nicest people from my PSID days. Camwhoring ensued!

Malu konon!
Akak dah kahwin!
Good friends! 
At about 1.30, the Groom and his entourage arrived. A fairly sizeable group too. 

Seeing wifey in the distance!
Last minute preparation & amanat adat.
My fave picture of the day. She looks so delighted!
Then I lunched. It was SO good it was ridiculous (and so caught up I was in the enjoyment I totally forgot to snap food pics!).

As was customary of kampung style kenduri, plain white rice and lauk pauk was on offer. Gulai Kambing with Batang Pisang, Kurma Daging dan Hati Lembu, Kerabu Taugeh dan Kerang berkerisik, Sambal belacan dan ulam terung bulat, what I think was Rendang Serai (Sambal Serai) and Acar. For dessert it was homely Bubur Chacha with wheat grains, corn nibs and sweet potato. All washed down with cool, cool Sirap Ros. Oof!

Pemanis/Buah tangan for guests being prepared.
Haha! Caught in the act!
Main Table for the Bride, Groom & family.


Happy chubbies!