Thursday, August 28, 2008

HK: Day 2

What a terrible day. Hub's 6th Auntie (his mom's younger sis) and her husband took us out for dim sum in a new building ("Li Ka Shing's youngest son's office is here") near Tai Koo Mansions where they live and while walking out of the building, she missed a step (the steps were all grey granite, same color as the floor) and fell. A whole bunch of blue-uniformed men with the words "Swire Properties" on their shirt pockets swarmed around us, and within 10 minutes an ambulance came. A lady complained to the Swire people (management or owner of the building I guess) that the same thing happened to her a few months ago. As I rushed down the escalators with some ice I took from a restaurant, another lady came to tell the people in the building what happened and could they please do something aout the situation and the steps. One thing about HK, the people are very informed, literate and civic-conscious.

Story short, 6th Auntie' right ankle is broken (I saw the sharp protrusion of her ankle bone; if her skin had opened, the bone would've stuck out) and she's in hospital waiting for the swelling to go down before they operate on her. Hub and I are nearly in tears thinking of her. We feel so bad that this happened because we came to visit. We both lost our appetite.

But I still managed to shop tonight, in Causeway Bay, the shopping heart of HK island (we are staying on the island, not mainland); it's theraputic. And if you read my posts on my visit last year to HK, I mentioned that each time I come I seem to run into a celebrity, didn't I?

We were at Festival Walk (not the building, the area behind it) when we saw some commotion. It was a catwalk party thrown by one of my favorite brands, Max & Co, for their fall collection. You'd think people will crowd around this star whom I think is Joey Yung:


Is this her? I've always loved her eyes but today she looked tired. Bad hair day too. Hub whispered "Face too big".



Who is this??

Most people however were crowding around this angelic being:



Who is she I asked a Max & Co girl? "Angela Baby" Oh no, a go-go girl, a lap-dancer? I mean, the name sounds..."She's a Hong Kong model!"


When she passed by, she was only my height (5' 5" + 1" flats but she was wearing 4 " heels). I thought you have to be tall to be a model. I said so to Hub, and a man nearby said"She's tall!" to his gf. I looked at his gf, she's up to my ears only. I guess height is relative. Plus in HK, short people abound.

Why do models have to be so thin? Angela has no hips, no boobs, spindly arms and legs. Yet why did I suddenly think "Right, nothing will go into my stomach for the next 2 days, not even a carrot stick". The green-eyed monster lurks, even in someone old enough to be Angela Baby's grandma.

Lovely. Breathtaking beauty. I couldn't take my eyes off her. I wanted to take her home too. Not in that way ok, just to put her on a shelf I suppose. Now I know why rich men have trophy wives.The Chinese saying "One mountain higher than the other" comes to mind.

p.s. I told you Panasonic Lumix's FZ 50 has powerful zoom lenses. We are shopping for Nikon cameras, one for me and one for Yi. I was thinking D300 for Yi and D80 for myslef (martyr mom) until James told me D300 is real heavy. And tonight I got a message from CK that Nikon as announced the Nikon D90, a well-kept secret that nobody except CK seems to know because he told me this a week or so ago. So far the reviews are great, but the camera will only be available end of Sept.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Marylou's Buco Salad


This is a Filipino dessert that's bound to be a hit with everybody. If it isn't, you can stop reading my website. Truly, it's that popular. And I like to serve it at barbies because 1) it can be done the night before so you don't worry about dessert 2) it is refreshing after all that grilled meat. My Filipino friend Marylou makes the best buco salad. I have tried others but only Marylou's buco is excellent. That is because she uses a lot of coconut, nata de coco and whipping cream as versus using a lot of fruit cocktail and condensed milk only. I'm not sure if you can get hold of a coconut scraper like this one which my Filipino friend Fely friend got for me from Manila:


Ingenious and pretty isn't it, the coconut scraper.


Make sure you get a medium-old coconut. Too young and the salad will be soggy and there's no bite. Too old and it's hard to scrape. Make sure also not to scrape too deep or you get the brown skin which tastes woody.


Marylou's Buco Salad

3 large coconuts
1 x 850g large can mixed fruit cocktail*
3 cans nata de coco
1 cup thick dairy cream or whipping cream
2-3 T condensed milk, or to taste
1/8 t rose essence

*Don't use tropical fruit cocktail--too much soft papaya

1. Scrape the coconut flesh. Drain the fruits cocktail; squeeze lightly to remove some juice. Drain and lightly squeeze out some of the liquid from the nata de coco. Put everything into a large bowl and mix well.

2. Buco salad is best made the night before and frozen in your freezer. Two hours before serving, put it in the chiller section of your fridge. If it's too frozen, leave it at room temperature earlier. If you don't want to freeze it overnight, make it a couple of hours ahead and freeze it until the salad around the sides of the bowl are frozen but the center is still soft.

What A Month!

I arrived in Hong Kong yesterday afternoon with Hub. HK is wonderful! It is vibrant, congested, trendy, exciting, and most of all, there is food, food, food everywhere! My grandparents were from here, my parents lived here a couple of years and my older siblings were born here. I've visited my grandparents often when they were alive so Hk is almost like my second hime. Btw, we are so fortunate because a Level 9 (10 being highest) typhoon just passed through, hitting HK last Saturday. Ivy-Pea, I keep thinking of you whenever I'm eating!! Will post when I have time!
We have some business to attend to tomorrow so I can't stay online too long but hey, I just found out that Anwar won! Yippee! I don't know whether he'll be a good PM (if he gets to be one), but I think I speak for most Malaysians when I say we'll take Anwar over whatever we now have.

This month we've had the Beijing Olympics. In the 2 weeks that the Games were held, 2 big conmen of the Christian world were 'outed': Todd Bentley, homosexual-rapist of a 7-year-old boy (let's not mince words), drug addict, alchoholic (all the while apparently), adulterer, fake healer and class one liar. Mike Guglielmucci, liar and actor-preacher-Christian song-writer who pretended to be sick with (bone?) cancer so his songs about miracle healing will sell. Together they have wrought tremendous destruction in the Christian community, causing many now to be confused, angry and cynical. While I am not gloating, I am happy that these people are exposed, and I strongly believe God was so griefed that He said "I've given them grace enough!" Before you say why judge them, I'll tell you that preachers should be examples of what God wants a person to be and not the other way around. It's one thing to sin or fall into temptation, but to live a double life purposefully to deceive peole in God's name is another thing. It is painful, but we can grow stronger in faith without these con artists around, diverting us from the real focus--God. I have written a longer post on this but will need time to edit. I have not spoken out publicly (see my short comment last May) before this because the Christian community here and everywhere is very defensive. But not as defensive as the extremist religion where death threats are common ways to stifle and control everybody. This is why Christianity even at a time like this, is still strong.

God is great!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Japanese Potato Salad


You know that little bowl of potato salad they always serve with your set meals in Japanese restaurants? Pleasant and refreshing, and different from the regular potato salads? Tina just told me the secret recipe for Japanese potato salad which I haven't seen in any Japanese cookbooks: you mash the potatoes and you must use Japanese mayo, you know, that yellow squeezable tube with the drawing of a Casper-lookalike.

I don't have the exact proportions but I just made the salad and it turned out very good. I suggest that you adjust the proportion of the potatoes and other ingredients to your liking. Kids will love this because of the mash and the raisins (though Wey didn't like the apple bits).

Tomorrow I'll be posting about a special dessert. You just have to fire up that grill, throw a slab of rib eye and some portobellos on and serve them with this potato salad, some crispy greens and the dessert which I'll be revealing to you tomorrow. You are welcome.

Japanese Potato Salad
1 kg potatoes
1 large apple or 2 medium-sized ones
1 handful of raisins
1 Lebanese/Japanese cucumber
1 carrot
Japanese mayo
salt and pepper

1. Peel the potatoes and cut into smaller pieces. Boil a pot of water, add 1 t salt and boil the potatoes until soft. Drain and mash with a potato ricer. Let cool.

2. Peel and dice apple into small cubes.

3. Wash the raisins (because they can be gritty) and pat dry on tea towels.

4. Use a mandoline to slice the cuke thinly.

5. Cut carrot into thin slices, cook in boiling water until soft-firm. Drain and let it cool.

6. Mix everything together with enough mayo, salt and pepper. Chill well before serving.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Penang Day 3: Breakfast

Our flight home was 10:15 am so there was time to eat before we go to the airport. I wanted to eat Two Sisters' char kuey teow (CKT) at Macalister Rd but it wasn't open when we got there. What a bummer! The last time I was in Penang, 7 years ago, Two Sisters were Three Sisters at Lorong Selamat and the queue for their CKT snaked around the block. After a long wait, Hub came with a plate of CKT. I ate a mouthful and the sky didn't fall down. I looked around at the Singaporean tourists and noticed that their CKT looked different, and they looked contented. I turned to Hub and he guiltily said, "Okay, I bought this plate of CKT from another stall. The line was too long! How can you even notice the difference when you haven't tasted their CKT before?!" You think you can deceive my tongue I replied. Since then, I've longed to try Two Sisters' CKT, but it seems like that is an elusive dish for me.

A reader had recommended Hokkien prawn mee at Sungai Tiram, only 2 minutes from the airport. Off we went, but the place too was closed. It was a Saturday. Bummer again. The only place open was this coffeeshop with a big sign that said "Salted Chicken". But there was no salted chicken which makes sense because it was 8 am. Bummer No. 3. What they served was this:

Coddled egg with soy sauce and pepper. I liked it.

Toasted bread with margarine and a sprinkle of sugar.

I didn't like this because I have never liked margarine, not even when it was touted as a better alternative to butter. It's just too perfumed.

Nasi lemak.

The nasi lemak was not good so I ordered this:

Mifun kosong.

I guess it's due to regional differences but this mifun was sugar-sweet and I didn't like it either. Ultimate Food Bummer Day. On the plane I felt happier when I realised that I'd be home in 2 1/2 hours and I can go straight to Apiwon for a bowl of my favorite ngew chap. I smiled as I reclined my seat on the plane and closed my eyes.

p.s. The best coffeeshop bread in KK, hands down, is Full Yuen's (formerly Fook Yuen) in Damai, opposite shoplot from Consfood. Full Yuen's bread has been on Hong Kong TV and Astro food programs, and Precious Pea searched for it when she visited last year. I've sorta known the baker/owner since he first started. So yesterday I was very disappointed and upset when I ate his roti kahwin (soft white bread with butter and kaya, a Malaysian jam-custard made of coconut milk and eggs and good enough to die for) and tasted margarine in it. He was shocked with my discovery and promised to go back to butter once he gets a good butter at a reasonable price, now that the butter he used to use has gone up nearly 300% according to him. I suggested cutting the butter slices thinner because they really are too thick but he said he'd tried and at very thin slices, they melt too fast for them to even pick them up with their tongs. I feel kinda bad highlighting this, but I think if we don't complain, there won't be improvement. But he was very nice about it. Thumbs up. His roti kahwin is still the yummiest, but for perfection, let's have the better (and better-tasting) evil, butter. Please tell him you prefer butter too when you eat there.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Penang Day 2: Dinner

I've still got some pictures from my Penang trip so hang in there. You'd have noticed that I'm posting everyday this week. That's because I have a large backlog of posts that I want to put up before I go to Hong Kong next Tuesday. Blogger is great isn't it--I can schedule my posts for publishing.

So, there we were in Queensbay Mall, Penang's newest and biggest mall. The Mall is 1/2 hour by taxi from the city, and situated by the sea. Very beautiful surroundings. While Ming disappeared into the mall, Mom rested (poor girl had been out with us since lunchtime) while I spent an hour at Borders. Have you ever seen a magazine called Cooks Illustrated? I love it! I didn't want to go back to the town for dinner so we opted for whatever was available in the Mall. Ming found his favorite Nando's (which we don't get in KK) and had his dinner while mom and I watched and sometimes picked some of it.

Nando's grilled chicken was really quite good.

Better than greasy soggy KFC anytime. And to think I wrote home and raved about KFC's meal when I first ate it in Toronto.

Steamboat at Johnny's.

I thought mom would like something familiar so we had steamboat. Johnny's is a Thai steamboat restaurant but surprisingly, only the dip is Thai. For RM29.90/US$9.30, you can have upto 10 types of meat, veg, noodles and eggs. The soup was very savory sweet so I think Johnny must've been heavy-handed with his msg. But it was a satisfying meal and the service was marvellous. The waiters (all Indians or Thai) were very friendly, quick to serve and extremely courteous. We were very impressed. Johnny must be treating his staff well.

As it was our last night in Penang, Ming and I didn't want to miss the last chance to eat as much as we could, even though we weren't hungry. After sending mom back to the hotel, Ming and I walked along Gurney Drive and found Bali Hai, a seafood restaurant a reader had recommended. We decided that since we were still full, we'd just try some clams and shells.


Have you ever seen such weird-looking crustaceans? Are they some kind of Moreton Bugs?There's no meat on them so their shells are used for baking.


I thought those spiny spiky shells (middle of pic) are only useful for my bathroom decor. Wonder how they taste.

Balitong whelks in a yummy but salty sauce, RM12/US$3.80.

These whelks called balitong are Penang's signature shells and all tourists should try them, according to the waitress.


I tried and tried and tried but couldn't suck the fella out of its shell. After 8 whelks, this finally came out. Teeny weeny bit of chewy meat that by itself was quite tasteless but eaten with the yummy sauce they were quite addictive and fun yet frustrating to eat because most times I couldn't get them out of their homes. What I didn't like was that the sauce was super salty and also these little guys had some kind of thin 'covering' at their mouths which when you suck them out, they sometimes fly to the roof of your mouth and stick there. I had to use my finger to dislodge them a couple of times. Many times I was afraid that the meat will fly into my throat and choke me. Half an hour after the meal, Ming felt one 'covering' still on the roof of his mouth. Tricky things to eat.

Clams with ginger and spring onions. RM12/US$3.80. Yum sauce but the clams were kinda flat. I think they were starved.

Sweet and sour crab, one for RM34/US$10.60, served with dry factory-bakery-made man taos.

Ming loves crabs and there are lots of crabs in KK but he wants crabs in Penang. I gave in to him and ordered ONE med-sized female crab. "Nobody complained so far about lack of roe!" said the waitress. At RM65/US$20/kg, this one crab was RM38/US$12. Not only was there hardly any roe, the meat was not thick and plump and the sweet sour sauce was not tasty. I made a mistake asking that it be cooked sweet & sour because the tomato ketchup masked the color and taste of any roe. When I insisted that they not charge me for a female crab that had no roe, the waitress offered to reduce the price to RM34 for that one crab. In KK, female crabs are only about RM28/US$9/kg. Grrr.

Flat & meatless claw.

This meal convinced me that the best place for seafood is still Sabah.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Making Maki Sushi


Maki sushi is simply rolled sushi, whereas temaki sushi is hand-rolled (cone-shaped) sushi, nigiri sushi is hand-shaped sushi (with the filling as topping) and onigiri is moulded sushi.

I am wary of the raw salmon and tuna that we get here. Not many people know that just because salmon is fresh doesn't mean that you can eat it raw. In Japan, raw fish for sashimi not only has to be extremely fresh but also parasite-free. Because of the lack of control over the grade of sashimi here, I often use cooked meat such as prawns, surimi (imitation crab sticks) or teriyakied chicken for making sushi. I think my California makis are pretty tasty but they tend to be either loosely rolled or the filling would be off-centered. To get me on the right track, my friend Tina had a few of us over for a sushi-making class. I'll share with you what I've learnt:

The Rice

5 cups short-grain rice*
4 & 3/4 cups water**
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2-3 T castor sugar (up to you)
1 1/2 t fine salt

*Tina uses local 'pearl' rice--not cheaper but fresher and just as good.
** I prefer the texture of the rice cooked with 4 & 3/4 cups of water if using liquid vinegar. If you use sushi seasoning powder, then use equal amounts of rice to water.

1. Wash rice well. Put rice and water in electric rice cooker and cook as usual. When done, let rice stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the vinegar, sugar and salt in a bowl until sugar is dissolved.

2. Remove cooked rice to a wooden sushi tub or a shallow glass bowl, but not a plastic or metallic container because of the vinegar. Fluff the rice with a wooden spoon or paddle.

3. Drizzle the vinegar mixture over the rice, and using a rice paddle, cut and fold the rice to mix well. Fan or use an electric fan to help cooling. Fanning is supposed to make the rice shiny and fluffy.

4. Make sure the rice is well mixed with the vinegar mixture. Leave rice to cool, cover with a dry cloth.


--lightly blanched carrots, cut into small strips 1/2 cm thick
--avocado, cut into 1/2 cm thick strips
--dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and boiled with some light soy sauce, dashi and sugar & cut into thin strips
--cucumber, cut into 1/2 cm strips
--teriyaki chicken breasts, cut into 1 cm strips
--prawns, de-veined, skewered (so they remain straight), boiled & shelled & halved
--eggs omelette strips (add sugar and salt & fry)
--other ingredients such as ebiko, salmon roe, meat floss, kampyo, blanched spinach, surimi, raw fish, pea sprouts etc etc.

Rolling the Sushi

1. Put a piece of nori (toasted seaweed sheets; you must use good Japanese nori, not Taiwanese), shiny-side on the sushi mat (ie rough side facing up). Put a scoop of rice onto the nori. You can use your hands (have a bowl of water nearby to dip in so rice won't stick to hands) or a spoon to spread the rice all over the nori.

Note: Make sure the rice fills the sides of the nori or your rolls will have loose, empty sides. Leave the upper edge of the nori ie the edge furthest away from you clear of rice by 1 cm so it can act as a seam or seal. Do not press the rice down too hard or it'll be squashed. Do not make the rice layer too thick or you'll get big mouthfuls of rice in each piece of sushi.


2. If using mayo (use Japanese mayo in the squeezable bottle for best taste), squeeze a thick line of it horizontally across the rice first and then top with the filling so that you won't have messy mayo fingers when you roll.

3. Put strips of your favorite combination of fillings along across the rice. For California rolls, use mayo, avocado, surimi, cuke and ebiko. Tina says you must have the basic three colors: red/yellow (carrot/egg), green (cuke) and black (mushrooms) .

4. Tina's way of rolling up the sushi ensures that the rice roll will be compact, with no filling dropping out after it's cut. The secret is lifting the nori edge closest to you and folding it over to meet the rice on the other side of the filling, then tuck in snugly with your fingers without using the mat. After that, use the mat to help roll the whole thing up. My method was to use the mat all through and that way I couldn't tuck in the rice firmly. Also I usually make makis with the filling in the centre and rice all around, without any nori inside and it's hard to get the filling to stay in the center this way. Tina's maki has a spiral of nori in it (1st pic); it's prettier.


Tuck the inner edge onto the rice as you roll, then...


...complete the rolling using the mat. Hold and gently squeeze the roll to make it even.


5. After all the sushi rolls are done, you can cut the sushi. Your knife must be super sharp. Tina has a wet cloth nearby to wipe off the rice that sticks to the knife after each slicing. I prefer to have a bowl of water to dip the tip of the knife into, then tap the handle, knife upright, so that the water runs down and wet the knife making it easier to cut. Saw that trick on TV. However, as Tina cautioned, that would make the sushi wet so be light-handed.

6. Unless you are like Tina who is very accurate and careful plus skillful with her knife, cut the sushi my way: cut the roll into half equally, then cut each half equally then again. This allows you to adjust the thickness and cut even slices.

7. Wasabi is smeared onto the roll only if there's raw fish. Otherwise, serve sushi with Kikkoman soy sauce and wasabi as a dip.

Thanks Tina, we enjoyed the lesson, the lunch and the company!

A Japanese Home-Cooked Lunch

(Let's take a break from Penang. Come have lunch with me, and learn how to make sushi.)

Tina is the typical Japanese lady--graceful, polite, punctual, proper, well-mannered and hospitable. Only Tina really isn't Japanese by blood but by marriage. I had a request from a friend, Yong, to teach her make sushi so I turned to Tina for proper methods of sushi-making. I do make sushi but can never make the rice rolls compact and the fillings smack in the center.

Tina not only taught us how to make sushi, but also prepared a most exquisite and scrumptious Japanese lunch for us. The meal was delicious to our eyes and tongues and I picked up many tips on Japanese cooking. For example, Tina's miso soup was made with both black and brown miso. I neber knew black miso existed. Thought there are only white and the regular brown miso. The two misos combined made the best miso soup we have ever tasted. We all agreed that Tina's meal can beat those in all the Japanese restaurants in KK. Handsdown. Take a look at what she served us:

Teriyaki Saba mackeral, miso soup, maki sushi, daikon with bonito flakes, cuke & wakame salad, potato salad, okra salad and carrot & daikon pickles.

Everything was delicious, and Tina has elevated our standard and expectation of Japanese food.


I love Tina's chopsticks rest.

Maki sushi.

Cucumber and wakame (a seaweed) salad.

Boiled daikon topped with bonito shavings and served with a miso sauce.

Okra, konbu and wakame tossed with a konbu sauce. This was delicate yet flavorful.

Coffee jelly with cream/milk.

Japanese rice crackers with black beans. So yum.

Japanese marshmallows.

Firmer and less sweet than regular marshmallows with a nice nectarine-like jam inside. These were finished mostly by Eric, Wendy's 10-year old boy who'll make a great husband one day--he loves to cook.

What a memorable meal!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Penang Day 2: Still More Food

Walking in Penang in the day time, or anywhere in Malaysia, is not pleasant. The sun burns your skin and the humidity makes you sweat and shine and sticky. On top of that, lousy town planning and architecture force you to walk out in the open, and a puteri lilin (candle princess; melts under the sun) like me just can't hack it in the heat. I found myself sticking my tongue out like a dog. To make things hotter, my son grumbled more than my mom ("So hot!" "Why are we walking?" "Why can't we go to a mall with air-con?" "Why aren't we going back to KK today?").

We had missed the almond milk tea and yew tiao the night before so now that we were in the area (Chinatown, Old Japan St area), I wanted to make sure I get a sip of the almond tea. However, not many people in that area know about the shop and we were directed round and round until the heat (and Ming's complaints) finally made me stop a taxi. We ended up in Penang's largest and newest mall, Queensbay Mall, because it was the only place to get away from the heat. Pics from the streets of Penang:


Seems like tourists are expected to like all kinds of pickled fruits.


I chewed on a small piece of preserved nutmeg flesh and Ming said I was crazy to do that because there were flies milling all around. I had no choice but to swallow because I don't practice spitting. But the vendor informed us that those were bees, and indeed, they were. Are bees dirty?


Nutmeg is one of the agricultural produce of Penang. The nutmeg is made up of the outer fleshy layer which is usually preserved in sugar and eaten as a snack, the red lacy layer that covers the seed called mace used as a spice and the seed which is made into nutmeg powder for your Christmas fruit cakes and potato dauphinois. Nutmeg oil is also extracted for making ointment, for what ailment I'm not sure.

(Wey tried a piece of preserved nutmeg and pronounced it the 2nd grossest thing he ever ate "Tastes like cockroach!", the 1st being an accidental duck's butt. But I like it, in small amount.)


We bought a bag of freshly fried chestnuts (very good) and when the vendor walked away to get some water, mom voluntarily took over his job "just in case the chestnuts burn". He returned and said she'll bring him luck and the bystanders applauded.


Fried chestnuts remind me of West Malaysia in the old days. Do you know that the smaller chestnuts are sweeter?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Penang Day 2: More Food

After all that food, we hired a cab to take us to the new houses at Sri Pinang. Told you I love checking out bookstores, supermarkets and houses when I travel. It was super hot even though the housing project was by the sea. We spent a few hours there and then it was time to eat again. Not that we were hungry, but it was tea time. All three of us (Mom, me and Ming--representing 3 generations) are gluttons. I was especially surprised by my mom. She went along with everything and ate as much as we did, sometimes more.

I still had a long list of places and things I wanted to eat, and it was our last day in Penang. However, instead of running all over the place, I decided to just go to the corner shop at Penang Rd because I remembered that the last time we were there, everything was good. Now this was a very crucial decision because we didn't have that many meal opportunities left. Unfortunately, it was a wrong decision.


Look at that crowd at the famous cendol roadside stall. Yes, the stall with a picture of Phua Chu Kang eating its cendol.

Cendol, RM1.60/US$0.50.

Very good, full of gula melaka (palm sugar) and santan (coconut milk) flavor and I like that they used pandan-colored cendol (strips of cooked green bean dough soaked in shaved ice, coconut milk and palm sugar syrup) and not artificial bright green coloring. However, cendol is cendol, easy to make as long as you use quality, fresh ingredients and I don't see what is so special about this place that it's been getting the crowds all these years. Sure, the prices didn't seem to have gone up, and they have quite a variety of drinks but surely others can come up with the same thing? Yet the stalls right across it had no customers.

Air batu campur (ABC, 'mixed ice'), the best dessert of Malaysia in my opinion. That, and sago gula melaka of course.

ABC is the best thing to eat in our scorching hot weather. There's shaved ice, jelly, red beans, atap seeds, cream corn, cendol, rose syrup, palm sugar syrup, evaporated milk...awesome.

Assam laksa.

This is from the shop next to the cendol stall. This is the worst assam laksa I have eaten on this trip. The fish is totally mashed and tasted like canned sardines. Even the soup tasted of canned sardines, with a reddish color and slight tomato ketchup flavor. Most of the shop's customers were eating char kuey toew (CKT) and a guy at the next table was busy taking pictures of the CKT with a camera as big as a canon (now you know why Canon is called Canon). I must've ordered the wrong dish. But we were too full, and CKT was not our favorite. Btw, I've noticed that food portions are smaller in Penang than any place I've been to. Now that's what they should start doing in Oz, reduce the portion size before everybody looks like a truck.

Popiah (can't remember how much it cost).

Popiah is a mixture of veg and sauce wrapped in a thin (in this case, too thin) rice-flour pancake. This was totally unpalatable. Most of the filling was tasteless chinese radish shreds and mashed tofu.

Whatever happened to this shop? Later, when checking through my notes, I found that I am supposed to go to Kek Seng Coffeeshop on Penang road but this shop had no sign except a small one near the second floor that said "Joo Hooi Cafe". Is this in fact Kek Seng?
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