Sunday, 24 February 2013

Wedding weekend

We were in the Klang Valley this weekend since late Thursday night, primarily to send our eldest son who's flying back to Jordan on Friday morning after spending a few weeks of his term break back home in Malaysia. He is now completing his final semester at university and God willing, should graduate in the middle of this year.

How time flies... it seems just like a few years ago that we sent him to the airport for his first flight overseas.

Anyway, it was an opportune occasion that blogger-friend, Puteri Kamaliah invited me for her daughter's wedding at Taman Tun Dr Ismail yesterday 23 February 2013. Kak Kama had previously invited me for the wedding of her elder daughter two years ago but I missed going to that one because something cropped up at the last minute. This time around, the timing was just nice and so I made the effort to be there.

Until yesterday, I have never met Kak Kama in person before. We have been friends in cyberspace via the blogger network and Facebook for a number of years. I can't quite remember when she first commented in this blog but she wrote that she came by Just Observations by way of Kak Teh's blog. From that first comment, I directed her to read an old post of mine about Dungun town in Trengganu (because that's her hometown). From then on I guess, our online friendship developed.

I have previously written about my wish to be connected to my blogger-friends and regular readers in real life, and how in 2011, I have met six. Kak Kama was the first commenter in that post, mentioning that she and I have yet to meet. Alhamdulillah yesterday our wishes were fulfilled.

The wedding reception of Najiah Najib and her husband, Izhar Shazly was held by the poolside of the Sri TTDI Condo. It was a joyous occasion and the weather just held out nicely until the event was over.

Kak Kama has now successfully gone through the marriage ceremonies of her daughters. She now has to weave the same magic to get her two sons to follow the same steps...

Best wishes to the groom and bride for a happy life ahead

Sunday, 17 February 2013

A matter of opinion

It's really not that hard to write a review of something... a book, a movie, music, restaurants or anything else. Just put down a few lines of your thoughts on the book you've just read or the restaurant you had dined in and walla... you are a reviewer.

It's writing an objective, balanced and informative review that is hard, unless of course, you don't particularly care what your readers think of your opinion... but then that defeats the purpose of writing in the first place.

Regular readers would know that I have done quite a number of reviews in this blog, mostly on food and food outlets, some reviews on books and one or two on movies. Food reviews are my favourite because I can combine my interests in photography and eating out in one go. I have a very simple grading system when it comes to decide if a particular restaurant or food stall is worth writing about. I just base it on the answer to a question I'd ask myself : Would I come back again to eat at this place? A `yes' would mean that it was a good place (and worth writing about). A `maybe' would mean an average score but possibly still worth writing about. A `no' is something I need not explain.

However, in the more than 20 food outlets I have written about over the past 4 years, none of them fall in the `no' category. This is simply because I have made a rule of not to write on something that does not meet my taste or preference. One man's meat is another man's veggie... and when it comes to food, the variety of opinions is as many as there are colours in a rainbow. I do not eat petai, so I shall not pass judgement if someone says that sambal petai is the best thing there is. I may say that mutton briyani is the best rice dish ever but I should also accept if someone else gives his vote to sushi. Sometimes I cannot understand how certain restaurants come highly recommended but I find the taste of their food to be only so-so. But that's just the way it is with food.

I am writing on this subject of food review because in the past week or so, there was an active discussion about a particular food outlet in my current favourite Facebook page called Johor Sedap. This foodstall sells seafood dinners and had been getting rave reviews from members since a few months back. Some time in December last year I went to the place to check it out. I left with mixed feelings... the food was just okay but it was not as cheap as what some members wrote. To put it simply, I do not concur with the very high ratings that previous reviews had given but I kept my views to myself.

In the weeks that followed, I spotted the first negative review. This was followed by a few more, mostly to do with very slow service. The discussion became quite heated when those who previously recommended the place said that the negative reviewer was simply unlucky to come at a busy time. This prompted other members who had similar experience of poor service to give their views.

Apparently, the stall is a victim of its own success. With the initial good recommendations, people start to come and this resulted in good business and more recommendations. But the increase in customers was not matched by an increase in staff, hence the drop in service quality. And once you have dissatisfied customers, it becomes quite difficult to win them back. Publicity in social network pages can be a double-edged sword.

Anyway, the owner of that particular foodstall is also a member of the group and has taken note of the criticisms. He has promised to improve things and I wish him success. It is good to see the discussions have resulted in a positive response.

I'll end this post with a recommendation of my own. For a few years now, the only place in JB to get a taste of decent kacang pool is at Haji Kacang Pool in Larkin. I have recently found another restaurant that sells tasty kacang pool that can rival HKP's version. The place is called Rose Kopitiam and is located at the Larkin Idaman area near the football stadium.

Kacang pool at Rose Kopitiam in JB. RM4.50 per serving.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

A taste of Nasi Lemuni in Pulau Pinang

We are in the bright sunny island of Penang this weekend to attend to some family matters, details of which would be revealed soon in this blog, God willing.

I have always loved coming to Penang... the prime reason being that there is no shortage of good makan places. My last trip here was in early 2010. This time we made the compulsory stop at Din Ikan Bakar in Kepala Batas. In addition to that, I got to locate and finally taste nasi lemuni, a rice dish similar to nasi lemak but cooked with leaves from the lemuni tree to give it a green tint and a hint of herbal taste.

I was first told of this dish by a friend who had stayed in Penang for some years. Knowing my interest in exploring new tastes, she told of a particular stall located within a foodcourt in Bukit Jambul. Finally had the chance to try it out...

Our selection at Din's - Ikan siakap, ikan keli and daging bakar
You can be spoilt for choice
Look at the size of those prawns
Nasi lemuni breakfast... only found in Penang