Monday, December 31, 2007

Kaya Toast at quiet Kampung Cina, Kuala Terengganu - Mingstar Hotel

Came to Kuala Terengganu when the whole of East Coast was submerge in water as if!! The rain never seemed to stop at all for the whole two days.

George the engineer was suppose to fix a machine in Universiti Darul Iman in Terengganu, so I had to wait for him. Since his wife happens to be in Terengganu, George promised me a very nice breakfast the next day. Heh.

As for the night, his wife recommended this nice cozy little hotel call Mingstar. I was almost going to stay at the run down Permai Inn that charge RM160++ a night but felt luckly to check into this one instead.

Mingstar is very new but does not lack of the routine facilities. I paid RM138 nett a night for a Deluxe Room that actually fit a family of 4! It has got lift service too although just a mere 5-story shoplot.

Card Access Door


Wooden floor finishing

Ultra spacious, sparkling clean toilet with hot shower

Apart from there, there's free broadband internet in the room. Just ask for the ethernet cable from the front desk for free. Later on I also found 4 tin cans of drinks and two small bags of peanuts complimentary. What a treat really!

Mingstar Hotel can be rearched here:

Next morning, George and wife came pick me up for breakfast. We drove to Kampung Cina and stopped at the wife's father coffee shop.


They ordered me a standard Kaya Toast with Half Boiled Eggs and Coffee.


Apparently their Small Buns with Kaya is very famous in Kuala Terengganu! The Malay macik toasted 4 small bun at a go on the charcoal stove, and then laid on the plate with loads of kaya and margerine spread. The customer help themselves with however much of Kaya and margerine they like.

George says that even the half boiled eggs were requested as takeaway! How hard issit to make half boiled eggs really?


After that I ordered myself a bowl of meehoon with shredded chicken in black looking herbal soup. It is quite tasty, not too much salt. The herbal tasting isn't bitter at all, somewhat reminded me the mild version of Bah Kut Teh. Go figure yourself!

How to get there: I also dunno how to direct you there, but... Go into the main entrance of the Kampung Cina (One way street I think), pass by the Golden Dragon restaurant on your right and the T-junction. Then you will see this small little looking coffee shop right next to another small little junction on your right.

It opens only till about 11am everyday. Lunch time then followed by this auntie that fried fairly good noodle, as blogged by this other guy I found on the net.

Trip to Gunung Keriang, Sg. Petani

After a week back from Taiwan, I got tagged by mom to her friend's bus trip up north. Something like a 2 day 1 night thing, with overnight in a salesman banglow somewhere deep inside Bukit Mertajam.

The highlight of the whole trip was this 20 people water color painting in the Gunung Geriang Museum. It is said to be located in Alor Setar, but some said Sg. Petani. You go figure out yourself on Google I guess.




Hmm... the building itself look pretty new... but strange is that they have the toilet located outside way behind (must brave to hot sun to it, beware : only 3 stalls available. No guaranteed all stalls working!!!). It is surrounded by vast laid out of paddy fields, with a large stone hill right next to the building. Later we found out that's the Gunung Geriang that the museum painting based upon!

The ground floor has some pathetic looking exhibition, mostly about paddy farmers' life in Northern Region.

The main first floor lobby looks really empty for the space it command. Mostly people came here to que, so that they can climb up to the middle Dome to see the painting.

No camera here cause tourist must pay RM1 for bringing camera inside.

The whole situation gets really ugly when we discovered the same spiral staircase is being used to go up and down from the Dome. Surplus is that the tunnel up there gets very dark for god knows what reason. DUH!


So, here's are some of the 'secretly captured' pics of the painting. The painting rumoured to be based upon a circular view captured on a helicopter. Wonder how true is that.



While we all shouted about Malaysia boleh, funny thing is that this painting was painted by Koreans instead of the people from bolehland. Besides that, the circulating platform was announce malfunction for the past 3 weeks at time we were there. I wonder if it is already fixed now...

Anyways, after that we headed on to the other side of the Gunung Geriang.


Here there are some small stalls selling very 'young' crystals quarried within the Gunung Geriang itself.


This is the first time I am hearing that Malaysia has crystals too, albeit they look too amber like.


Erm... hardly a semi precious stone as their density still way too low. Apart from that, the color of it just look so miserably yellowish. Hardly high class at all.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Back to Taipei : Taipei 101 and extras!

By the time we were back to Taipei, my Panasonic Lumix FZ-7 has run out of battery. Silly me but I kept the spare charged one deep in the luggage under the bus compartment.

So for now, I just got to rely on my Nokia N73 for a while until it run out of , battery as well.

First thing first, comes the most important attraction of Taipei which is the Taipei 101. HAI!!!

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Anyways, we paid like RM30 to get up to the 87 floor or so since our tour did not include that. Fortunately my colleage that recently came here told me that I should go up and say hi to the little wind damper.

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It took us like less than a minute and we were already up there. Hmmm... not so dizzy luckily.

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After a cuppa coupled with the Movenpick Ice cream, we hurried to say Hi to the wind damper

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According to Wikipedia:

A tuned mass damper, or harmonic absorber, is a device mounted in structures to prevent discomfort, damage or outright structural failure by vibration. Typically, the dampers are huge concrete blocks mounted in skyscrapers or other structures, and moved in opposition to the resonance frequency oscillations of the structure by means of springs, fluid or pendulums. High-tension lines often have small barbell-shaped Stockbridge dampers hanging from the wires.

More of the wind damper can be found here:

And the Taipei 101 here:

After that, we started visiting those must go places around Taipei, namely the National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine

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, and the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall (Now known as Taiwan Cultural something something, no thanks to the current idiotic Primer Minister)

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As for dinner, we finally went to 西门町 (Xi Men Ding?) where the famous Ah Chung Noodle 阿宗面线 located.

A long que here even though it was merely 6pm when we arrived.

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The noodle is already too soggy, so making the whole deal like a cheap shark fin since the broth is thick. They sort of put a lot of the Japanese fish bonito flakes in it for extra flavouring. Yum!

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Most of the eatery here does not offer seating. Not uncommon to find customers standing all over the walkway eating. Besides, there won't be enough place to accommodate this many people as well.

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A must try I would say.

Location of Ah Chung Flour Noodle Place

So that concludes my trip to Taiwan. I hope you all have enjoyed it. Next will be me trumping all over Korea (erm, at least Seoul and Sorak San) hehe... do tune in soon!

Gosh, it is getting to be back logged too much and I really have got to work harder blogging.

Wu Jiao Chuan Ban (Five Dime ) 五角船板

I cannot help but let this restaurant to have its own post.

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That's my dad with his usual bright yellow raincoat, that he use it as his warm jacket (???)

In fact, I have passed by this restaurant on the 2nd day when we were in Taipei. I just simply brush off the fact that this could be a restaurant, when its outrageous outlook feature a dingy night club more than anything else.

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But here, we came to have a our lunch and enjoy the weirdest interior design of all.

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I don't know for sure if it is true, but the lady owner that started this place originally like to collect junk from all over and turn them into useful stuffs. One day, she stumbled on a plank of wood washed ashore. On the piece of log, she found a 50 cent. From that moment on, she dreamt that is she ever open a restaurant of herself, she will name it the 5 dime restaurant or in Chinese 五角船板.

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At here, from the table to the chair, to the walls, to the food containers, everything is unusual. It is hard to describe, so you see it yourself.

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The food weren't bad either. We were arranged with some common dish, e.g. the Kung Pao Chicken, stir fried four angle beans.

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Yum yum, rice with sweet potato

But if you are ever here, please do not forget to try their specialty - The homemade milk mochi. A form of soft milky glutinous rice cake. A classic itself.

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I would definitely come back here if I am ever in Taipei again, but I heard the reservations is long while the price of the food is not cheap if you ask for a la carte.

Here's the website to their restaurant (only in Chinese)

Apparently they have got 4 other branches now all over Taiwan. Wonder if the other places are just as strange looking

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hua Lian 花莲, Taroko National Park 太鲁阁and all about the aborigins

Waking up the next day, it is more bus ride for us! By this time, we are on way back to Taipei up north.

The surrounding of Hua Lian consist a lot of gorge, rivine, high banks, rivers. Apparently during rainy seasons, where typhoon strike especially, the amount of water that washes towards the sea is so huge that bridges gets destroys along with roads and railways!

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Our first stop of the day, surprisingly was the toilet stop. :P

The boastful tour guide was saying he was very thoughtful to let us stop at this place as it was a R&R operated by the Taiwan Sugar Ltd. The specialty here are ice cream made by them.

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The ice cream ain't bad for the price we paid. Pic shown here is peanut butter flavoured

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But one thing i like about the public toilet in Taiwan is that the flusher always uses the foot to step. The makes the whole weewee experience so much more hygienic without using your hand on the flusher.

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After that we continue with the journey to Hua Lian, eventually stopped at the Taroko National Park.

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While many of our Malaysian friends relate Taiwan to their small snacks and local entertainment scene, many of us actually did not know Taiwan has beautiful sceneries as well. Most of us would only think that of China when comes to getting such fantastic nature sights, but at Hua Lian here, the stony mountains seem just as hard to tame!

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Our biggest disappoinment of the whole trip came when we were told that this is the only place of the whole of Taroko National Park that we were going to visit. There were other beautiful sights e.g. the Cihmu Bridge, Jiucyudong (Tunnel of Nine Turns) Trail, etc that laid along the Central Cross-Island Hwy.

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What makes the highway special, was that it was constructed by Kuomingtang army with simple tools at the post war era. General Chiang Kai Shek was worry that the army troupes would do silly stuffs when there aren't any war for them to fought. The whole area of the route are by the high hills looking deep down into the dangerous valley.

But too bad, we didn't get to see any of that. Instead, we were first wisked to the Lingzhi shop then to the marble stone (cum semi precious stone) factory later on.

For you guys that is curious how beautiful the Taroko National Park can be, here's a link towards some of most scenic spot at there.

After dinner, we went to the Amei Cultural Dance Night. The supposing natives danced their traditional steps, playing their simple tunes. Can't say it is very exciting really.

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One thing make me thought for a long time was that their dancers, this is especially for the boys as they seemed a little too young. Apart from that, hardly any of them look beautiful or handsome, very much unlike what sung in old folk song 高山青. I guess finding dancers with peanut pay ain't easy these days!

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Happily, my dad finally found his CD comprising of the Amei aborigine folk song 山地歌.

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If you are ever there, don't forget to visit the toilet, as the men's toilet has got this little surprise for you. It showcase a rather simplistic art form of human anatomy.

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