Thursday, May 21, 2009

Malaysia ~ Truly Asia

This is my first road trip from Singapore to Malaysia. We rented a MPV in Johor Bahru and en-route to Cameron Highlands, we decided to stay the night at Malacca.

Considering the numerous business trips to Malacca, I thought I had seen it all and actually winced when I heard about the stopover plan.

It was already late afternoon when we arrived in Malacca and after checking into a motel, we made our way to Jonker Walk. Dinner was a simple affair of Nasi Lemak as our eventual goal was to prowl the pasar malam (Malay for night market) for munchies!

Once again, Malaysia proved it's worth as a food paradise and a shopping heaven!

Early next morning - and I do mean early! - we made our upward, winding mountainous ascend for Cameron Highlands. For one, it was a relief to get away from the hot and humid weather to the cool 20s.

And naturally after close to 6 straight hours on the road, we headed for lunch immediately after checking into our nice hotel rooms. The "Zhi Char" (煮炒) was fantastic and served well to comfort our stomach, thus compensating for our sore bums!
While we were having our sumptuous meal, we also caught glimpses of a Thaipusam procession which was taking place along the road just outside the restaurant.
Next stop, we visited one of the numerous "pluck-it-yourself" strawberry farms in the vicinity. Besides the strawberries, there were also nurseries for flowers and vegetables. Nevertheless, the highlight was still the strawberries and as soon as I got hold of a basket and a pair of scissors, I was running amok searching for the fat and juicy strawberries!
After much hardwork of bending over and snipping away at strawberries, we rewarded ourselves with tea and cakes at a cafe overlooking the green expanse of tea plantation.
A must-buy (more so than the strawberries) would have to be their maize! This is the first time I tasted such sweet corns and they are best eaten raw!
The cherry tomatoes also tasted sweet and fresh! However, do remember to keep them chilled otherwise, it is better to consume them as snacks in Cameron itself. The same applies to the strawberries. I would recommend to consume them while you are still in Cameron. Just head to any restaurants serving chocolate fondue and just dip the whole lot in and stuff yourself silly. :)
The rest of the day were spent strolling along roads lined with stalls.
Dinner was included as part of the hotel package and we were rather excited to learn that it's steamboat buffet! When we entered the dining hall, we almost bend over laughing as we were confronted with plates upon plates of green leafy vegetables! This is truly a steamboat buffet paradise for the vegetarians! Another first for me - vegetable steamboat - never been healthier!
Needless to say, we headed straight for the pasar malam immediately after dinner to pack in some artery-choking calories and cholesterols! In Cameron Highlands, even the durians were freshly plucked!
And I do strongly recommend the peanut pancakes. Here, they'll added a teaspoon of sweet corn to the pancakes and each mouthful was delightfully thin and crispy!
The next day, prior to departing for Singapore, we visited yet more farms and made one last effort to stuff ourselves silly with all sorts of strawberry desserts!
which are the real grapes?

Banana Pancake - prata style

This is banana pancake, honestly, cross my heart, banana pancake - by recipe.

After trying the ones from One Rochester, I figured it should not be too difficult to duplicate a few in the kitchen.

That said, results as shown - I have failed. :(

Anyone who knows how to make fluffy banana pancakes, PLEASE let me know the recipe and as Master Yoda would have said "skills, impart me you must!"

One Rochester

Through a friend, I got to know a new restaurant - One Rochester - to add to my list.

The restaurant provides bistro dining in a stylish colonial bungalow located 15 minutes by foot from Buona Vista MRT.

Couches and low coffee tables made up the ground floor of the bungalow while the majority of dining takes place outside - either under a pavilion or a tentage.

We ordered prawn pasta and banana pancake with vanilla ice cream. The pasta portion was just nice and they were not at all stingy with the fresh prawns. The banana pancake with the fresh fruit sauce was a good sweet and sour combination! Two thumbs up!

Food was served quite promptly but the waiters and waitresses could be better trained not to mix up orders and to be more attentive to the needs of the customers.

As a result, we got to taste one french toast (free of charge) from an order that was sent to the wrong table! To satisfy the insatiable dessert monster, we ordered a healthier dessert - yoghurt with roasted pistachios and honey. It was finger lickin' good!

The pricing is slightly on the high-end but I'll definitely be back if I ever feel like giving myself a treat away from the hustle and bustle of town!

Faces of Nepal

The lovely and innocent faces....

Nepalese Best Friend

Man's best friends...

This being my favourite: