Saturday, December 12, 2015

Malaysia - Sekinchan 适耕庄 & Kuala Lumpur 吉隆坡 (To do/see, to stay, to eat) 3 Days 2 nights

Summary:

We continue the use HERE app. The app can lead us to a general destination (i.e main roads) but as Malaysia road has alot of sub road names that branch out from the main road you still don't get to your desired destination. Hence, from main road onwards we are on our own and dependent on our wits to get us to our destination.

There are quite a bit of pot holes both in Kuala Lumpur (KL) city and Sekinchan itself so do keep a lookout for them if you wish for a less bumpy ride. Highways are generally in good condition and speed limit is 110 km/hr. I will not opt to drive around the paddy fields using the car as the roads are definitely not well maintained.

In general, i like the food in the home styled restaurants in Sekinchan. Its is laid back with no frills. Seafood and vegetables are very fresh as they are produced/caught locally. Food well cooked but the level of cleanliness leaves much to be desired. I am just glad that i didn't get any tummy upset as i am prone to it when food is under-cooked or contaminated. Nevertheless, the food is nice but don't really leave a deep impression. Surprisingly, the best meal i had was at Yellow Brick cafe in KL.


The scenery at the beach and paddy field in Sekinchan is worth a visit. Though i will recommend just a day trip and move on to other destinations from here. There is a mango orchard called La Familia which we tried to visit. The orchard place was closed so i recommend to simply purchase the giant mangos at the makeshift stall beside the Paddy gallery or you end us like not not able to try the mango as we spend too much time trying to locate the orchard.

En-route to KL, you can visit Batu caves with free entry. This place is under re-construction but still beautiful on its own. I strongly recommend taking the dark cave tour though there is a fee involved. Its pretty interesting. The walk can be a little slippery particularly on rainy days.

Travel dates: 22 - 24 November 2015

Itinerary:

Day 1:

Visit: Pantai Rendang
Food: Breakfast: Johor Bahru, Tea break: Ayer Hitam, Lunch cum Dinner: Sekinchan - 集美花园啦啦煎 Fried La La Jian and 喜记(炒虾姑/火炭炒面)Xi Ji
Stay: Sekinchan - A plus Boutique Hotel

The travelling time from Singapore to Sekinchan took longer than expected. We started from our home at 9.30 am and arrived at 4 pm. Mid-way we stopped at Ayer Hitam for some tea and off we head to Sekinchan.

Sekinchan in Chinese mean "village suitable for plantation' and the place was divided to 3 sites, A, B and C during the colonial times. Site A is mainly for farming, B for agriculture business and C for commercial and activity centre. There is also a small fishing village within riding distance from our hotel

To visit:

Pantai Rendang 热浪沙滩
25, Jalan Jpt, 45400 Sekinchan, Selangor, Malaysia

Our first stop at Sekinchan to the fishing village and Pantai Rendang. We rented a small electric bicycle and head there from our hotel. I understand that this beach was part of the scene from TVB drama "单恋双城"

There is a few highlights at this place:
(a) view of the fishing village and the fisherman when they offload their catch of the day
Photo credits of alwaystravelicious

We rode pass this area but didn't see any fisherman at 6 pm. We deem it dangerous to stop for photos along this stretch of road as there is quite a bit of traffic. But i like the rustic feel of the place and the colourful blue boats.

(b) the wishing tree 许愿树 decorated with red cloth strips near the beach



You can pray the temple, make a wish and tie the red cloth strip in the area of your wishes.

(c) beach activities like blowing giant bubbles and kite flying and lounging on the tree house


The beach and the sea view is great but marred by litter along the stretch of the fine sand beach. There are alot of beach side food stores which i wasn't keen to try.


We climb up the tree house but note that its not very well maintained and has some loose planks. I went up for a quick photo and scamper away as this treehouse may not be structurally sound.

To eat:

集美花园啦啦煎 Fried La la - 4.3stars, budget
No 124 Jalan Melur Taman Seri Sekinchan, 45400 Malaysia
 

This is the first time i tried La la omelette  as oyster omelette is more common in Singapore (SG). It is a flat dry omelette and fried the right texture. While i like this dish, i felt this is not as robust as the oyster omelette in SG.
 


We also ordered a pan fried fish called 爱情鱼 directly translated its call love fish. It is cooked in a spicy soy sauce with leek and ginger. This is a great to complement with rice. It has the right level of spiciness and saltiness.



喜记(炒虾姑/火炭炒面)- 4.0 stars, budget
Jalan Bagan, Bagan Sekinchan


The signage of this place is not very obvious, making this place a little difficult to locate if you don't know the place. The trees outfront at the entrance isn't helping either.
For our dinner as well, we went to another place for their Hokkien Mee malaysian style where the noodles stir-fried with black sauce.


I like the hokkien mee served here as its not as charred (锅气) and gluey. It is also lighter on the palate. This is a distinct opposite to what SO love. He prefers it a little burnt, stronger flavours and a tad more dry.

We also ordered butter prawns and you mai cai (chinese lettuce). The butter prawn is totally different from what i expect. Its a little like cereal prawn where you need to remove the shell on your own and fried in butter which enhance the flavour of usual deep fried prawns.


The vegetable dish was a last minute order and i was blown away. This is the freshest and cruchiest vegetable i ever eaten and i think i can eat the entire dish on its own.

To stay:

A+ Boutique Hotel
No 6 Jalan Sekinchan Perdana 2, Taman Sekinchan Perdana, 45400 Sekinchan, Selangor,Malaysia






I like this place as its new and clean. There's also wall murals to entertain yourself at the roof top in case of inclement weather.





Bed is firm and the pillow is rather flat. There are no additional pillows for use here. Sound insulation is also pretty bad as i can hear people opening doors, chatting and walking along the corridor.



Room services is non-existence. Towels are not placed in the bath and when i called to enquire the reception, we are requested to collect on our own at the lift landing area. The reception called a few minutes later to say they will deliver the towels to our room but never came at all.

Vanities in the room are tooth brush and bath gel only. If you are picky with shampoo and conditioner, remember to bring your own. Complimentary water bottle is provided in the room.

Day 2:

Visit: Paddy Gallery (PLS Marketing), House of Ah Ma, Batu caves
Breakfast: Paddy gallery Cafe, Lunch - Ka Lok Restaurant , Dinner: Hawker at SS2
Stay: Pullman @ KL

To visit:
Paddy gallery (PLS Marketing/Kilang Beras Rakyat Sekinchan Sdn Bhd)

Lot No. 9990, Jalan Tali Air 5, Ban 2, Selangor, 45400 Sekinchan, Malaysia
 
Paddy gallery has a reasonable entrance fee which includes a video broadcast of the growing and production process of the rice from the beginning to the end. We are also shown to a viewing platform where we can view the manufacturing process of the bran to rice and packing.


Sales of local rice produce is available. However, note that japanese rice sold here are not produced locally but imported from Taiwan.

During our visit, the paddy field is relatively green on one side of the field while the other side is golden. There are 2 harvest during the a year. March and August where they plant the seedlings and you can see a green luscious field. For the golden hue colours, the best time to go will be November/December and May.


House of Ah Ma
Near Paddy gallery

This is a place where they make charcoal burnt love letters. You can see how its done if my video highlights here



There is some display of life decorations in the early 1960s- 70s. That's all to it really as its essentially a shop selling tingkats, biscuits and malaysian food stuffs.

Batu caves and the dark cave tour 
Batu Caves, Sri Subramaniam Temple, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Its a long flight of stairs up.


The many monkeys roaming the temple. 


Batu Caves is a limestone hill comprising three major caves and a number of smaller ones. Considered one of Kuala Lumpur’s most frequented tourist attractions, this 100-year-old temple features idols and statues erected inside the main caves and around it. Incorporated with interior limestone formations said to be around 400 million years old, the temple is considered an important religious landmark by Hindus. Take note of are monkeys roaming near the temple, pay attention to your belongings i.e caps and food.

I wish to share more on the guided tour of the dark cave. The tour itself is about 45 minutes. Its a very informative tour with a very expressive guide.



The tour bring us to 3 caverns with cave formations like the stalagmites and stalactites. You can to see a lot of insects slike the spiny earth worm, multi-legged centipede. We did not have the opportunity to see the trapdoor spider as it belongs to the inner edges of the cavern which is not included in the tour. You will be shown a picture of it towards the end of the tour.

Pace of the tour is great with time for photo taking from the flashlight of the tour guide

There is another adventure tour that last for 3-4 hours and you will get really dirty on this tour. According to the tour guide is suitable for all ages (must be at least 12 yrs old) and easy with no minimal fitness level required.

The 3 caverns that we explored on the tour.

To eat:

Paddy gallery cafe

Lot No. 9990, Jalan Tali Air 5, Ban 2, Selangor, 45400 Sekinchan, Malaysia

Breakfast is at the cafe at the paddy field. All the dishes served here is rice related. We tried the corn dessert, chicken porridge and wanton dumpling. Must try the corn dessert and wanton dumpling. The corn dessert is cruchy sweet corn in sweet soup. The wanton dumpling is glutinious rice wrapped in wanton skin and fried to crisp.

Ka Lok Restaurant 嘉乐茶餐室
No. 372-B, Lorong 6, 45400 Sekinchan Selangor
 


We randomly ordered some dishes - steam gorupa fish with soy sauce and ginger, spicy prawns and stir-fry local caixin.


All the dishes are quite well done. The fish though is a thick slice, its steam just right with the meat still being tender. The steam fish is cooked in local style with the taste is quite close to Teochew steam fish.


Spicy prawns is good but the prawns are a little too tiny like those hay bi hiam size prawns.


As usual, the local caixin is super yummy. Its clean, fresh and cooked to tender yet still crunchy.

A visit to the toilet here is challenging with the floor being wet, grimy and slippery. There is also no flush.

SS2 - budget, 2 stars
Jalan SS2/62, Petaling Jaya (North), 47300 

This is quite a dissappointing meal. I saw the clay pot bee tai bak/lao shu fen and decide to try it. This dish is really tasty in KL chinatown but this dish is a far cry from it. The bee tai bak is still a little hard and tasteless.

The penang fried noodle is also pretty sub-standard despite its fragrant aroma. I will skip this place as the food is not really fantastic and the parking is horrible at the dinner peak hour.



To stay:

Hotel Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre Hotel and Residences
No 4 Jalan Conlay, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

There is a construction site next to the hotel and construction will start in the morning at 9 am making it difficult to sleep in any longer. :(



The rooms here are huge with comfy beds and down feather pillows. I dislike down feather pillows as they always flatten drastically when laid on and hence losing the support to the head. Furnishing here has seen better times but still acceptable.


The views of the city is fantastic. I can see the twin towers in a distance.



The bath room is also very big and spacious with both a tub and a shower.


Love that there is full set of amenties and free water. The best is its prime location near the shopping belts. And there is also a secured car park for guests. Super thumbs up!



Shopping is within walking distance and you can feel the christmas cheer!!!

Day 3:
Breakfast: Yellow brick road, Lunch: Lot 10 food court 十号胡同,  Tea: Fu-rong bao city, Dinner: Random Bak kut teh

To eat: 

Yellow Brick Road
7 Jalan Batai, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


After 2 days of local food, i requested to try something different in KL or else it will be the usual bak kut teh place we usually eat at KL. We googled and this place call Yellow Brick Road is highly recommended but not within walking distance.

This is quite a quaint little cafe. The food here is great and the price is decent (after conversion to SGD).

We had the norwegian salmon egg benedict. The base of the egg benedict here is not the usual muffin but pan fried rosti. The creamy holladaise sauce is a great match to the potato rosti but the smoked salmon could have been better.

The other main we had is the chocloate pancake. This is pretty interesting as it is a flat pancake coated with a generous slab of Nutella and chocolate ice cream. I kinda of regretted not choosing the guiness stout sauce instead as it will have been a more flavourful dish.

Coffee here is great and up to expectations. This cafe has won awards for its coffee.


Lot 10 food court 十号胡同
Lot 10 Shopping Centre, Food Court, Lower Fround Floor, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Wilayah Persekutuan, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The food here is great for the dishes we tried like the roast duck with char siew. Hokkien mee is the authentic type that SO loves. It has one of the better char siews and its is a must try!



Empayar Seremban Siew Pow 芙蓉烧包城 - 2.0 stars, budget
LG1-57, Tingkat Bawah Tanah, Pasar Besar Negeri Sembilan, Jalan Besar TBK 4, Taman Bukit Kepayang, 70200

Not so impressed with this char siew bun. We can easily get a good one in Singapore.

Random Bak Kut Teh - forget this place! not worth going!

The food that we wanted to eat was not open when we reach the shop and so we had to eat at another location.

I always thought that its really difficult to make a bad Bak Kut Teh especially when i am especially good at cooking it but apparently its not that easy to cook fantastic bak kut teh. I can truly attest to this when i had dinner here.