Sunday, October 12, 2014

Nyonya Lunch at Little Nyonya Cuisine @ Gurney

I've always wanted to eat Nyonya food whenever I go back to Penang. I ate Nyonya food twice in a row within 2 days. Mom recommended to go Gurney Plaza since it's all air-conditioned and prices are reasonable. We headed to Little Nyonya Cuisine (partly recomended by Jason @ Ah Xian) Jason is a local food presenter for the Astro network in Malaysia.

Since we are at Nyonya cuisine, the first order of the day was Otak-otak however the staff came back saying it's out of stock. Aww man...what a day! So we decided to the beancurd otak-otak, Spicy Nyonya Chicken, Four Angle Beans stir fry with sambal, Stir fried fish with fermented beans and Cucur Udang (Prawn fritters with scallions).

The Spicy Nyonya chicken had a nice bunga kantan fragrance- tangy flavour. It tastes quite similar to a Thai chilli sauce with bunga kantan. Birds eye chilli and green chilli were garnished on the top. The deep fried tofu otak-otak (Otak-otak is a steamed fish cake made of ground fish meat mixed with tapioca starch and spices) were crispy and yet soft in the inside. The 4 angle beans stir fry with sambal was fantastic- lots of dried shrimp and spiciness with the crisp of the vege brings out the flavour. The Cucur Udang is coated with a spicy blend of batter, prawns and scallions. It's crispy and hot served with chilli sauce. Yum!!!

The restaurant also serves other Nyonya food such as Masak Titik, Ayam Ponteh, Pandan Chicken, Nasi Lemak, Jiu Hoo Char (Stir fry yam bean with julienne carrots, dried cuttlefish, strips of pork belly and mushrooms), desserts such as Ice Kacang, Chendol and other local drinks.

Personally I'd give the restaurant 3.5/5 stars. The customer service was okay, food service was quite fast and prices were reasonable. The restaurant gets packed easily during lunch hour. So best to go there early to get yourself a seat.

3D Art Coffee in Penang

Today I've decided to try the 3D Art Coffee at the The Dine Mansion-55 Cafe at Beach Street. The cafe is sandwiched near to Little India and Heritage area not too far from the Weld Quay. It's a small cafe but famous for its unique and ever popular 3D Coffee.

Of course the 3D coffee comes with a hefty price...a cup costs RM15.00. The menu consists of various types of coffee- latte, capucinno, hot chocolate, tea, fusion food, tapas, entrees, mains and desserts. We decided to order 1 hazelnut chocolate (normal)- RM12.00, 1 Hazelnut latte, 1 Caramel Latte, 1 Capucinno and lastly a Creme Brulee.

We were served ice water laced with sprinkle of lemon. The restaurant is filled with old gramophones, old British telephone and French paintings. It took a while for the coffee specialist to create and sculpt the 3D coffees. Soon there were a couple of customers entering the cafe ordering the 3D coffees.

The Capucinno coffee had a sculpture of a dog looking adorably, Caramel latte had a piggy-like sculputured from a milk foam and chocolate while the Hazelnut latte had a floppy bugs bunny. We also observed the other customers' at the next table- theirs consists of 2 cups of coffee- milk foam sculpture of a dog stretching from one end to the other. The milk foam is condensed, thick enough to hold itself even we have sipped all the coffee to the last bit.

Last but not least, i'd give the restaurant a 3.5/5 stars. However the location of this restaurant is not convenient at all. Unfortunately we came on the wrong day where it's 1 week only before the Diwali celebration and the Goddess of Mercy's birthday celebration. The whole street was packed with people and cars- choc-o-block! Madness!

If you are into 3D art coffee- do not hesitate to come and try at this cafe.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Encounter with Korean's famous pianist- Yiruma

Since I was a kid, my father would force us to learn piano and other musical instruments. I remembered the first thing I ever read was from a piano sheet- music notes, what is a treble and bass clef, quarter note, half note, rest...etc. was darn boring especially for a kid like me who can't sit still in front of a piano. Everytime when i head for music lesson, I was super lazy and I don't practise my piano scales. But then I managed to pull through music lessons in primary school and even joined the band in high school. I've learned the piano and saxophone :) 

In early May 2013, I was told by a Korean friend that the famous pianist, Yiruma came to town, I was so excited! I've seen him in videos online, variety programs and concerts. I even have all his music he composed for the hit dramas - Winter Sonata, Spring Waltz and Secret Garden. Told myself I must see this pianist in person! His music has reached all over the world especially for those who learned music or even those who listened online or view his videos through YouTube.

I'd describe his music composed personally by himself as peaceful, serene and calm. His music scores are literally not too difficult to play. A Grade 5 piano person can easily pick up his music scores and play it on the piano. His famous hits include Kiss the Rain (played by himself and 2PM's Nickhun in Star King), River Flows in You (played by various Korean idols- such as Seo Kang Jun in Sly & Single drama, SHInee's Taemin in some variety show), EXO's member Chan Yeol even played one of his masterpiece in Room Mate variety program. 

I managed to get myself a spot at Eastland Shopping Centre at Ringwood to catch the pianist himself. He is quite small sized man and dressed comfortably in black shirt and a jacket on. The first piece he played was Maybe. This is a very comfortable yet playful tune. Yiruma also played Australia's favorite folk tune- Waltzing Matilda. Some locals and Aussies wandering around the complex were somehow drawn into the main podium from his beautiful playing of music. Some elderly folks were busy purchasing CDs released by JB Hi-Fi store so they can get him to sign it personally for them. I got myself his greatest hits album so I waited patiently to get it signed by the man himself and we even got a chance to snap a photo with him. Yay!!! Yiruma has brought along his celloist friend who collaborated with him when he plays River Flows In You. It was fantastic! Love it!
I wished I could play half as well as he does.

And after a long queue, ...voila! I got his assistant who was so busy helping out to take photos for each and everyone of us. I've got my CD signed by him too! He speaks pretty good English since he was educated in US since he was 11. I'd say...음악 천재 genius!

And for those who don't realize, he is the brother in law to the famous actor Kwon Sang Woo. Sohn Tae Young who is Kwon Sang Woo's wife is also an actress and her sister married Yiruma. Anyway enough of gossip... for those who would love music or playing piano, please visit YouTube or any other sites that features Yiruma's live performance or playing of his music scores by other celebrities. 

If you are lucky, he might pop into one of your countries and perform live or hold a concert, make sure you get yourself a good spot to hear him play live! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

2014 Gangnam Festival

This year's Gangnam Festival is a bit unique compared to the past years'. The event is held annually in October at Gangnam district to promote the tourism and the place. 2014 will have different events- Fashion Festival, Food Festival and K-Pop event too. The fashion festival features designers, competition, fashion market. Meanwhile the Food Festival will display various types of food all over the world for tasting. As if that is not enough, there will be a free concert performed by JYJ! In the past years, groups such as SHINee and Girls Generation used to perform for the Gangnam Festival for year 2014 is solely for JYJ. Well done!  Yippeee! Put your hands up! Fans of JYJ will have their chance to see their idols performing across the road from COEX Mall and lots of souvenirs to be purchased. 

A friend of mine happened to be there at Gangnam mentioned the place is fully 
packed with fans and people because publicity that JYJ will be performing free for everyone. Who doesn't want to go to such free event? Fans were crowding the area as early at 4.00pm even though the concert starts at 7.00pm. So happens this year JYJ were appointed to promote the tourism in Gangnam where the 3 guys were boarding the tourist bus and explained the district's major tourist attractions. Check out the promotion the guys have done via YouTube or through the Gangnam official website.

The exclusive street concert is held conjunction to their Asia Tour: Return of the King so fans of JYJ can view them up close and personal (well not really if you are standing way behind). My friend has mentioned she saw them during rehersal and fans were already queueing up to see them. When the idols appear on stage, it was total chaos where she witnessed the fans rushed to the stage (like those scenes you see on TV- the stampede of bulls) to catch a closer glimpse at the guys. They even left their bags, food, drinks on the ground/chair without bothering if anyone will be stealing it. This is overwhelming but the power of JYJ ... Somehow the free gig attracted nearly 50,000 fans and people at Gangnam to see the 3 guys perform. Well done! 

So have you recently visited Seoul and participated in the 2014 Gangnam Festival? Have your say.... cheers! 

The banner at Gangnam-gu with Korean flag (courtesy from Sabrina Chan)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Korean Drama Awards 2014 and the winners are....

The recent Korean Drama Awards (코리아 드라마 어워즈)  was held on 01/October 2014 and the event is to honour actors and actresses who have done well in dramas broadcasted in South Korea. This year's award nominees and winners are a A+ for me...well personally. I think the winners were well deserved and they did well in their career.

The Grand Prize (Dae-sang) goes to actor Kim Soo Hyun who made headlines for his drama My Love from Another Star. He plays as an alien living on Earth since Joseon dynasty till 2014 and met his love of his life- a famous actress Cheon Song Yi played by Jeon Ji Hyun. This drama won the Best Drama 2014 as well. 

The Top Excellence Actor Award was awarded to Kim Jae Joong (JYJ) for his recent drama Triangle as Heo Young Dal/Jang Dong Chul whose live is around the casinos and finding his long lost brothers. Yay! Thumbs up! JJ has mentioned he was hardly given the chance to be on broadcast and he felt so nervous. Fans screamed and cheered for him. He thanked his C-Jes CEO, staffs, family and his 2 dear members Yoochun and Junsu. Awww...wished they were there to see him accept the award. Oh Yeon Seo who plays Jang Bori in Jang Bori is Here! bagged the Top Excellence Actress Award. Excellence Award (Actress) and (Actor) goes to Kang So Ra for Doctor Stranger and Lee Kwang Soo for It's Okay, That's Love.

 And for our new rookies- the Best New Actor award was bagged by 2 new stars- Ahn Jae Hyun (My Love from Another Star) and Seo Kang Jun (Sly & Single Again) . Aww..these 2 new actors are my favorite when they do appear on screen. Fresh, good looking and yet they deliver their roles so well...especially for Kang Jun. Singer Ailee took the award for Best Original Soundtrack for Fated to Love You drama. 

Best Couple Award was given to Kim Sung Kyun and Min Do Hee for Reply 1994 drama. Personally I prefer Reply 1997 drama over the 1994 version. The actors were better in acting and the songs were more familiar to me especially when it comes to H.O.T and Sech Kies (I was during that era along with Shinhwa when they were idols of the 90s!) 

To wrap up the awards ceremony, 3 actors were presented the Hallyu, Global Star Awards. They were Kim Soo Hyun & Shin Sung Rok  for My Love from Another Star and Ryohei Otani for Joseon Gunman. Oh...where's Lee Junki? I was expecting him to receive an award but he wasn't given any for this year. Bleh... 

Ah...not to mention our 2 beautiful emcees for the night. They are actress Kang So Ra and SBS announcer/actor Oh Sang Jin. For those who remember theYoo In Na's brother- the handsome Prosecutor...he is Oh Sang Jin. Kang So Ra is pretty in her maroon lacey dress as the MC for the night. 

Congratulations to all the winners for the Korean Drama Awards 2014! 

Oh Sang Jin and Kang So Ra (emcees)