Saturday, July 25, 2015

Han Sang Korean Well-Being Food at Penang

Han Sang Korean Well-Being Food, a little Korean cafe, has the friendliest and most hospitable proprietor. Even before you decide on your set, he ushers you to choose your drinks: iced sweetened Korean tea or freshly brewed coffee with Starbucks coffee beans - no less. He also has a mart next door so if you feel inspired to cooking up some Korean dishes after sampling the food, you can just pop over to gather ingredients.


All sets are served at RM16 (promotional price, it's usually RM19) and comes with free, refillable drinks, a small bowl of salad, seaweed soup and kimchi (which is also for sale at the Korean mart).

I am a huge fan of topokki, a soft, chewy rice cake and their version of it served on a sizzling hot plate with a spicy gravy topped with gooey, melted cheese was delectable. There was a also a hard boiled egg and slices of fishcakes.

Hubs opted for the sashimi bimbibap (RM20) and couldn't stop raving about how yummy and healthy it was. There were generous tuna and salmon chunks served on a bed of rice dressed with sliced greens, fresh chillies and fish roe. The owner also served a bottle of Korean hot sauce and told us to splash on more if we liked it to be more spicy/sour - which we did.

Given that Bubs didn't really like spicy food and we're hesitant to let him try raw fish yet, he had a fried prawn sushi roll. He liked how cute the plate was decorated ;) Hubs and I thought it was nice but nothing to shout about - the rice wasn't as well seasoned as Japanese restaurants - though on hindsight, that might actually be a good selling point as a kids dish.

Meet Toto, the owner's pet and the most adorable lil fella ever. When Bubs and I first saw Toto, we were confused and thought that it was a cat - it was that tiny. Hubs laughed at us and pointed out the dog's muzzle. Bubs solved the confusion by calling it Cat Dog.

Address updated as they have just shifted locations: 
Han Sang Korean Well-Being Food
B-1-1, Vantage, Desire,
Jalan Tanjung Tokong, 10470
Tel: 011-16487907

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Wishing Tree

Bub's school celebrated tanabata a couple of weeks ago and as part of the festivities, each child made their own "wishing tree" from huge sprigs of bamboo. The children coloured strips of paper and the teacher helped them write down the wishes.

Bubs was bursting with pride when he got home that day and asked me to read all of his wishes.

So, in no particular order :)

Awww, kids are so easy to satisfy. This one's a cinch.

KL Godma will be delighted to see this wish.

I literally choked when I saw the last one.

What the .....................

*drum roll please*

Bubs!!! There is no way you're going to get 4 baby brothers!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

What We're Reading: Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska & Daniel Mizielinski

I first stumbled upon Maps by Warsaw-based children illustrators Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinska on a home schooling blog and I was immediately intrigued. Geography was my most loathed subject in school and I never expected to lose my heart to an atlas of all things!

It was close to impossible to find this book here so Mum got one from Kinokuniya Singapore for me Bubs and we immediately flicked through the pages, oooh-ing and aah-ing over the sumptuous drawings.

This is not your conventional world atlas and again, not all countries are included in this book. Instead, this will pique your curiosity and interest in the meticulously drawn historical and cultural facts. Who'd ever expected Godzilla to be featured on a map of Japan?

Travel the world through the pages of this book: a bit of wanderlust for everyone :) Now excuse me while I go explore penguins in Antarctica.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Heritage Celebrations

Last week, Penang hosted an Eat Rite Heritage Celebration right in the heart of Georgetown. Some of the small roads were closed to vehicles so people could walk freely, participating in the various cooking and handicraft workshops that dotted the streets. My uni bestie Jess tagged along with us and we had so much fun together exploring the colourful celebrations of our multi-cultural community.

We started along Little India where there were multiple hands on cooking stations set up. The volunteers were very passionate and fluent in multiple languages. Tourists and locals had a chance to try their hand at making some of the local delights - which I admit, some of them were so unique, we'd never seen them before.

This was the vellai paniyaram, a puffy, pillow shaped fried dough that's in between a pancake and a doughnut. I was too gung ho when placing the ground rice and dhall batter into the wok filled with hot oil and everyone around me took a step back when the oil splashed out a little. Oppps ;)

The volunteers were generous in dishing out both food samples and printed leaflets of recipes and fact sheets. It drizzled for a bit then so we sought shelter under the awnings of some shops while the volunteers temporarily shut down operations until the weather cleared.

People thronged the streets and at every corner, there was something interesting to see or do ... or snap a picture. 

There was a traditional bullock cart ride where you could pop a turban on and sit at the front.

We sampled ponggal made from claypots over a burning fire cooked right in the middle of the road. I found these sustainable and disposable bowls made from leaves really fascinating.

Bubs was as happy as a clam when he got the chance to make some hooi lye ee (a traditional Teochew square shaped rice dumplings). The volunteer explained that a square shaped ee represented the four corners of land. Hubs, who's proud of his Teochew heritage, had never seen this before and was immensely fascinated. I can foresee this is something both of them would be keen to try out during this year's winter solstice ;)

I blame Bubs for abandoning poor Jess. He was adamant that he wanted a ketupat and I eagerly said Jess would sit with him and learn how to. It turned out that ketupat making is a whole lot more complicated than it looked and you need to loop and weave the coconut fronds with a high level of dexterity ... in the end, Hubs wandered out for a sneaky cup of teh tarik, Bubs and I wandered down the streets while Jess was still sitting cross legged trying to figure it out.

Jess was hooked onto the whole handicraft thing. She found an Indian flower garland making stations where she was taught to knot jasmine buds into a simple garland. The volunteers were incredibly patient and repeated the demonstration until the participants got it.

By that time, night was descending and we were all weary from the amount of walking we'd done. Can't wait for the coming Georgetown Celebrations!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fika Cafe, Penang

Fika Cafe, a beautifully restored prewar heritage house located in Lorong Toh Aka, offers traditional Swedish treats and a chic environment to just relax and watch the world go by from its tiny windows. Be warned that it's hard to find parking around this literally tiny lane so you might want to consider parking at Beach Street or better yet, rent a bicycle and explore this charming part of Penang.

It's easy to spot Fika Cafe with its Swedish flag displayed outside and gold painted moose at the top. Pots of fresh mint adorn the curb and are used as garnishes for the cafe's drinks and desserts.

Be still my beating heart. I loved everything about the cafe, from its raw concrete side benches skirting along the entire wall to the hand painted sky blue dresser that functions as a handy cutlery and fresh water holder. You've got to love a place that doesn't charge for plain water!

Bubs was more than enamored with the tiny play area. There were chalkboards, Swedish picture books, crayons and paper to keep little ones occupied while you enjoy your cuppa or outfit of the day post ;)

There's also a cute outdoor area where you can sit and chill.

The menu is entirely in Swedish so the owner was kind enough to recommend some cakes for us. This is a chocolate ball - which she assured us that is popular with children - and a tall glass of chocolate banana milkshake. Both Hubs and Bubs loved these.

I fell in love with the utterly decadent caramel pie heaped with sinful, thick cream and studded with fresh strawberries and slices of banana. It does get a bit rich after a while so I'd strongly recommend sharing this with a friend that has a sweet tooth.

While Bubs had fun sketching to his little heart's content and Hubs was quietly enjoying his drink, I took a quick walk down Lorong Toh Aka which has to be 1 of Penang's tiniest one way street. It was choc a bloc full of restored Nonya houses.

This is hands down my favourite with its sleek coat of black paint.

I wish I'd time to explore this tiny art gallery.


There were new street art pieces around Lorong Toh Aka and Beach Street.

Fika Cafe
20, Lorong Toh Aka, 10100, Georgetown, Penang.
Business Hours: Thursday to Sunday 12pm - 4pm
Telephone: 6014- 940 4825

Friday, July 3, 2015

Audi Dream Farm

Buoyed by Bub's interest in feeding and interacting with goats, we headed off to the Audi Dream Farm which is also located in Balik Pulau. There's an entrance fee of RM7 per adult and RM3 for children but this farm is a lot bigger with more livestock ranging from pigeons to fish. Visitors can opt to buy food to feed the animals: rabbits, fish and chickens. It was relatively empty on a weekday and the owner mentioned that on weekends, they have pesticide-free veggies for sale.

We were greeted by the cheery sight of sunflowers taller than Bubs.

No idea what kind of pigeons these winged creatures are but they were rocking some cool plumage ;) We found that the pigeons weren't all that impressed with the bird food so after a few more curious stares, we hot footed over to some more receptive birds.

Ta-daaa, a real life chicken coop! The owner mentioned that they currently sell their eggs on weekends for 60 cents a piece but as demand is greater than supply, they're constantly sold out. Bubs had fun flinging the bird food across and watching the hens scratch for it.

Bubs then tried replicating it at the fish pond but he ended up scaring most of them away in the murky pond. Hubs showed him how to lure the fishes to the edge by gently throwing a few fish pellets at a time and pretty soon, we could spot some orange-y ones peering out curiously for more.

For some reason or possibly a blessing in disguise, Bubs doesn't attract bugs as much as me so he's fine in shorts but I need long pants each time I meet Mother Nature.

The farm is filled with many picturesque spots with many veggies patches in neat rows. Every inch of space is fully utilised, such as this walkway draped with gourds growing down. This does mean that there are heaps of insects (I got bitten by red ants, ouch!) so mossie repellent is a must here.

This was a scene common in Penang during the 80s: a farmer hard at work tending to his tall, leafy stalks of corn with coconut fronds in the background.

Ok, I feel incredibly dumb. I didn't know which were ducks and which were geese. I thought ducks were supposed to be way smaller and more sedate looking, kind of like yellow rubby duckie but these were the same size as the geese and LOUD. I couldn't tell if they were quacking or honking.

More goats in a shed at which Bubs was now a pro at feeding them. There was a massive supply of fresh grass for visitors to feed them with though be very careful, the bottom of the stalks have needle fine thorns on them which got embedded in both Bub's and my fingers. Boy, did that hurt! "Pricklessss!" Bubs cried out.

There was a lone goat kid wandering around that was very tame.

Bub's favourite part of the day: feeding the bunnies which was ironic because his school has rabbits and I'd never seen him that interested in them before. A case of the rabbits are always fluffier on the other side? ;)

Best to go early in the mornings when it's not too hot and the next time we're back, we'll definitely pick weekends so we can get some fresh veggies. They don't have too many at this farm for harvesting as it's geared towards being more of an education centre.

Audi Dream Farm
Opens daily, 8am -7.00pm
Entrance fees: Adults RM.00, Children RM3.00
Contact : 012 4999099 (Sam Lim)
I can't find the actual address for this place but it's available on Waze, landmarks are the SMK Sungai Rusa and Masjid Sungai Rusa.
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