Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What's Cooking, Chef Wan?

If you grew up in the late 80s or 90s like me, chances are, you grew up watching Chef Wan. Who else remembers plonking themselves before the television at 1pm on weekdays (or was it just me?) to watch him whip up delicious-looking local cuisines peppered with his unique and bubbly personality. As cooking shows come and go, Datuk Chef Wan is our very own chef personality that made a name for himself that actually stuck through the years. Even until now, he is still very much in demand. Recently, he was in town at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel as part of his cooking tour to promote the best of his versions of the Malaysian cuisine and I jumped at the chance to attend! It was actually my colleague Kathleen's assignment to cover him and though I was on leave to complete my university papers, I did some turbo typing to complete the 2,500-word essays just to go out that evening. Talk about determination. And boy, was it worth it!

I was kinda starstrucked seeing him before my eyes (imagine what it would be like seeing Jamie Oliver). How he is on the telly, how he is in person! Every the bubbly and funny guy, it was a nice surprise to see that he made sure to say hello and shook hands with everybody in the room. Even after he started his cooking demonstrations and some of the audience came in late, he made it a point to say hi and even snapped photos of the guests haha! He cooked 3 dishes: Kari Laksa Bibik Neo, Nasi Ulam Diraja and Ayam Panggang Madura.

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Here we were all complaining of hunger and he cheekily grabbed a cloth and fanned more of the smoke our way. "Ha, lapar? Nahhh bagi you all!"

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Ayam Panggang Madura. Tastes like yam perk but 26x better.

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Nasi Ulam Diraja

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All I can say is, the moment the mixture of spices hit the wok, the room was instantly filled with wafts of hunger-inducing fragrance. He shared nostalgic snippets of his childhood, growing up with baba-nyonya heritage and his journey as a chef in Malaysia and abroad over the years. After a good few hours, the food was ready and my, oh my the smell was just crazy. After the demonstration, while all the excited (and I mean super excited) makciks and kakaks rushed to snap photos with the chef, Kathleen and I headed straight to the food for a sample. BOY WAS IT DELICIOUS. Probably because we were all starving by then but I mean, I knew it was going to be delicious, but whoa it was so delicious. Totally didn't take photos of the laksa because it was gobbled up before I even had the chance to do so!

In the end we managed to sneak a photo with him, even got a selfie out of it! The hotel instantly printed out the photos for us, which we got him to sign! Now it's attached to my fridge whee!

I feel that he is such an accommodating person, honestly. Because one of the many kakaks AKA Super Fan, took group photos with him, single-person shots and then whipped out a friggin monopod for selfies. A smiling and joking Chef Wan was a good sport throughout and just layan je. I guess he is used to all the attention after countless shows and interaction with these women over the years right? Later, he even uploaded a photo with me and Kathleen in it on his Instagram (ma, I made it lol)!

He was very chatty throughout the whole event as he is on his shows and watching his antics while he cooked was a joy. He had the room in stitches the moment he came in, right until the end, and more. Despite his obligations, he sat down for some Q & As with us reporters and he gave us all the answers that we didn't even need to ask questions for. :D Definitely an event to remember.

And just because I am missing his nasi ulam so badly today, here's a photo of him tasting the food before serving.. as he should.

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Signed,
Your Super Fan.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Reset

Not even a month into 2016 and I'm already requesting for a reset. Seems like it was just yesterday that I tried to set my priorities straight but now I am feeling a slight loss in direction. Where to next? I am not only talking about the next lunch spot but where I should head to as a person.

When you're no longer sure, it is difficult to look beyond the smokescreen that is your comfort zone and take a leap of faith. What if it's not worth it? What if the jump leads to worse things? How do I do it? These questions plague my mind.

I wonder how it used to be so easy for me to take a step back and just.. reset. Now I am left wondering how and where to start.

We'll see.

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016

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KL | wrapped up 2015 wrapped in his arms

Hands down the most memorable thing about 2015 has got to be the surgery I underwent and the 1-month medical leave I had to take to recuperate after that. Especially when it happened on my birthday and the celebration was very much muted. That not only gave me time to think and reflect but it also reminded me to be thankful for everything surrounding me. The people, the things I have, the people and things I still have. For 3 years in a row, I have been bogged by health problems and I have to do something about it rather than just talking about it.

Still on the topic of appreciating what I have and what I don’t, 2015 was also the year we lost our beloved friend and pet Roxy. For more than 10 years, she has been more than a friend to us, always being there for us. Her departure was really difficult for us to accept but I pray that she’s in doggy heaven filled with treats and without a trace of worry in the world.

On to more positive things, l would think I didn’t do shabbily last year. High on the list was finally visiting Bangkok (after talking about it so much). Definitely need to go for another trip there again this year heh heh. Also visited Medan and then Jogjakarta, in Indonesia, which the latter was for work recently. Spontaneously went to Cameron Highlands on a broken radiator, which was also a first (the place, not the radiator situation).

For school, I'm glad I got my dissertation out of the way. I still have several subjects I have yet to take so the goal of completing everything in 2015 has to be brought forward to this year. Let's just get it over and done with once and for all, shall we?

As for work, I feel that I poured in enough to feel the toll on my body. However, nothing shopping sessions a shopping session on my year-end bonus can’t fix hahaha, much to my bf’s dismay (read: countless trips to Sephora even though my make up skills suck balls).

I have always believed in setting realistic and achievable goals for myself to accomplish so for 2016, I hope:

+ to be more productive and write in my new daily planner everyday and accomplish the to-do lists listed.

+ to be more committed and disciplined in everything I do. This applies to work, studies, taking care of my health or even on something as simple as filling in my 2016 planner.

+ ya’ll know travelling will always be a part of my goals: Taiwan or Mount Bromo, Indonesia maybe and probably back to Ho Chi Minh and/or Bangkok.

+ to save more money because dude I want to buy a new car. Oh, and save for the biggest commitment in my life.

+ spiritually, to constantly remind myself to be more appreciative, grounded, and that nothing is permanent. And to live in the moment.

+ ultimately, to love myself more and not be so hard on myself. Go out and live, enjoy and let things go. I deserve every bit of it. And take short vacuums as usual from time-to-time.

Totally sound like I'm cheerleading for myself but don't we all just need to be our own biggest fan? May 2016 be a better and safer year for everyone. Don't let it kick our asses, alright?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mossy Cameron

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green terrains of tea | more tea plantations | first Boh stop | always behind you, never far :) | Sungai Palas glass teahouse | brunch | smart boy is smart | tea and scones for every meal | making our way up | mossy trail | towering trees | must we leave? | with our new Canadian friend Jenna

If you've never driven up to Cameron Highlands on a broken car radiator, your argument is invalid.

Back then, my car tends to overheat because of what we assumed was a leaking radiator. So I was used to refilling the radiator every morning before heading out. Despite that, we decided to wing it and drive from JB to Cameron Highlands for a getaway. Guess what? The car overheated three or four times on the way up. Major claps to ourselves. Thank god it didn't overheat until we were almost at the top where the weather was already cool and it wasn't too frustrating. We made it up there and returned to lower ground with a few stops to refill the car before going to Ipoh to finally fix the damn radiator (that's a story for another day).

Our initial plan for Cameron was to head up to Mossy Forest but with a heavy heart we had to let it go cos no way are we gonna make it up there with a damaged radiator right? The day before we left Cameron, we had brunch at the Sungai Palas tea house because I wanted to see the glass teahouse. As we left, we passed by a signboard that says "Mossy Forest --->>>>" and we turned and gave each other the "are you crazy or not? smile" and without saying anything, he made a u-turn. Two stops and refills later, we were there! No one else was around as we made our way into the forest because it was about to rain. Grey skies hovering above, threading the damp and mossy trail, the air was crisp.. what's not to love? Alas, we had to quickly leave the forest as it began to rain and met a backpacker (legit backpacker from Canada not the twt_backpacker type lul) who was somewhat lost so we gave her a lift down. But not before stopping for some fresh strawberries with cream!

Spontaneous with snippets of memorable moments, as usual. He had work to do when we were up there but we still made the best out of it. More soon? :)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Homesick Alien

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Hotel Fort Canning, Singapore

"The breath of the morning
I keep forgetting
The smell of the warm summer air

I live in a town
Where you can't smell a thing
You watch your feet
For cracks in the pavement..."

, sings Thom Yorke.

Currently homebound for a month. Right now I can only reminisce the days of frolicking in the sunset, going places, eating whatever I like, holding his hand.