Sunday, June 19, 2011

Peninsula Malaysia East Coast Road Trip and the Underwater World of Redang Island

Food, sea, sun, sand and underwater vacation
Our 2 years of oversea life in Auckland, made us miss the warm sea and beach in Malaysia even more. There were many nice beaches in New Zealand too but the water was too cold for us.  Even during summer months, there was only 1 month (between February and March) when the water was warm enough for us to swim in but it was still pretty chilly as compared to the warm sea temperature in the tropical region.
After settling down, the very first plan we made was to go for warm island beach vacation during the upcoming school holidays which Ming Ray had been longing. We teamed up with my ex-colleague Jenny and her family to the East Coast of Peninsula Malaysia on a road trip covering Cherating and Redang Island trip from 6th to 11th  June .
A bunch of 4 adults and 3 kids had a blast.  Not only the children got to enjoy the awesome snorkeling experience of seeing colourful underwater world, we also got the chance to taste the delectable Terengganu local delights, especially the seafood.    
After 3 hours of driving from Kuala Lumpur, we put up at Cherating and checked in Holiday Villa for our first night. We had our first sumptuous seafood dinner at a renowned restaurant in a nearby town, Kemaman.
Early next morning we departed for Kuala Terengganu jetty to catch our boat to Redang Island. It took us just over 3 hours to reach there. We spent 4 days 3 nights at Laguna Redang Resort. The package offered by this resort was pricier than most other resorts but we found it quite a good value for money especially when we were travelling with children, comfortable lodging and well equipped facilities were our main priorities. In addition, the varieties of the buffet meals had made us come back with extra kilos J
After the return boat trip from Redang Island we took off around noon and we made an impromptu lunch stop over at Pantai Penarik when JS spotted a restaurant full of patrons.
We were surprised by another mouth watering meals at the restaurant specialty the batter-fried seafood and Terengganu local delicacies of keropok lekor (fish sausage) and Sata (grilled fish in banana leaves).  Only when I got back home to search the Internet did I realize that this shop was one of the must tries seafood restaurant at Pantai Penarik. 
The most tiring part of our journey was our return trip from East Coast to Penang Island via Gerik Highway. We traveled in 2 cars; it was a long hilly and dreadful 7 hours long distance drive. Gratitude should be extended to both drivers –our beloved husbands.  Halfway thru the journey, the weather turned bad and visibility was down to less than 50 meters in foggy and rainy conditions in some parts. Along the way, we spotted more than 4 car accidents with the victims’ cars skidded into the side drain, really terrifying.
With the rainy weather we didn’t manage to get a good look at Tasik Temenggor which is another beauty along this highway. Due to the road condition with no lighting at night, our drivers decided to make best use of the daylight by driving non-stop till night fell so we skipped dinner and went straight to Penang. Finally at 9.30pm, we reached Penang and got to enjoy Penang hawker dinner delights albeit a tad late.
Food adventures

Kemaman specialty – Stuffed Crabs @ Tong Juan Restaurant
Eat all you can buffet meals @ Laguna Redang Resort

Lunch @ Pantai Penarik, Terengganu
During our stay in Penang, we put up a night at Jenny's house and the following day, she brought us to her brother in law's Hakka Mee Restaurant for lunch. Thanked to her that we got the chance to enjoy famous Kampar Hakka Mee, homemade fish balls and Yong Tau Fu.  

Kampar Hakka Mee, fish balls, deep fried fu chok (bean curb sheets) and steamed herbal chicken
White sandy Pasir Panjang beach
Laguna Redang Resort beach front

Underwater world highlights

Yin the mermaid?
Close encounter with X'mas worms
Surrounded by a school of hungry fish
Ray: Let me hold the bread, I want to feed the fish!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Instant Oat Soya Milk Bread 豆浆麦片土司

Healthy Vegetarian bread

Ever since I successfully made my 1st loaf of Tangzhong (Water Roux Starter) bread, I was addicted to its super soft and fluffy texture. Whenever I think of baking bread I would try out as many variations of Tangzhong bread recipes as possible. With ingredients such as instant oat and sugar-free soya milk, this one was a healthy and nutritious bread and especially great for vegetarians.

The original recipe also suggested adding raisins which I excluded as both Ming Ray and I do not like raisins in bread.

Instant Oat Soya Milk Bread 豆浆麦片土司

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Homemade Lo See Fun 自制老鼠粉/米台目

Home-made authentic Hakka Cuisine- Part two

Writing the Hakka Lo See Fun (Rice Pin noodles) with Minced Pork post reminded me this great noodle making experience I had in 2009 when I first moved to Auckland.

When we first shifted to Auckland, we were blessed to have a group of Auckland based Malaysian friends' support to ease our settling down. Many of them were JS University mates who migrated years before us. With their help, our transition was painless and swift. I was especially thankful to build up good friendships with their wives. The wives gang had helped ease my anxiety. I was able to connect to a new social network in New Zealand in no time.

Among of them, Yenny was one of the warmest and most generous friends we made in Auckland. With her hospitality, we put up at her house as our initial accommodation until we moved to our rented house 2 weeks later. She was also the one who always came up with great ideas in celebrating big occasions and generously offered her house to host families gathering. I regarded her as wives' club Chairlady. :-P

This recipe was shared by her when she initiated a cooking gathering at our Auckland house in welcoming me to join the wives club. I had enjoyed so much in this noodle making process, not only we had great bonding time,

Yenny the Chef (in Pink) and her 3 kitchen helpers - Yin, WC and PY
I got to taste the homemade Lo See Fun which was not available in Auckland. Some other types of rice noodle like Hor Fun (Koey Teoh) 粿条, Lai Fun (濑粉 )are easily available in Asian grocery shops in Auckland but not Lo See Fun (老鼠粉/米台目).

After some sweating out, it was time to sit down and enjoyed the noodles with my Penang Assam Laksa soup.


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