GrabHitch Beta

These days, Malaysians can opt for civilian driver service thanks to apps like Uber and GrabCar. The service is basically a relatively cheaper taxi service with civilian drivers behind the wheel, made convenient by the app provided. Simply key in your pickup and drop-off location, and the app will provide a driver + fare. I've used GrabCar (not Uber) and so far I'm satisfied with the service. Some friends have opted to drive for both/either apps as a part time occupation or in between jobs (considering the current economic slump); I find iMoney's article comparing the two apps in terms of commission a good read. 

I've signed up as a GrabHitch driver -- what is GrabHitch? As per GrabHitch's site, it's a carpooling service. Drivers key in their route (either once-off or a routine one) and the app will match riders within the distance and time frame of your route. The calculated fare should assist your petrol costs. Currently in beta phase, Grab does not make a dime from your rides. However depending on the market feedback, Grab should eventually make a cut from your fare. 

Here are my few tips for GrabHitch drivers:
1) Check the time and the proposed pickup/drop-off locations
- it is not worth RM10 to be stuck in a traffic jam for 40 min
- sometimes the detour may be further from your route's start and end point, so do some homework before accepting the ride (see point 3)

2) For ladies, please test the route with a friend
- this will help you familiarize yourself with the app and provide some security before picking up strangers
- you may select same gender passengers while keying in your route

3) Ensure you are familiar with the detour route
- this is especially important to ensure you meet your schedule as well as your rider's
- it will also boost your confidence and improve the quality of your ride

My biggest issuewith the app is that I have to accept the ride to contact the rider to get information like the exact pickup/drop-off location and rider's contact to negotiate the time/venue. However as the app is within beta stage, hopefully GrabMY will resolve to make the app work more efficiently. 

Summary: While there is much room for improvement of the app, I fully support the concept of paid carpooling and I would encourage all to support it as well, either as a driver or a rider. Happy Hitching! :)


Steamboat at Caprilicious

My 1st steamboat (or hot pot) experience was lunch at a university mate's house. I liked the idea that you can custom design the meal to your liking, be it the soup stock, the fresh ingredients, the sauces and of course the shared company that is a must with steamboat meals. Since then I've always been open to eating steamboat meals with family and friends, so it was no surprise that I bought the Groupon for steamboat dinner at Caprilicious, in Capri by Fraser, Bangsar. 

The deal entitles you (and guests) to buffet steamboat dinner. There was a wide array of fresh meats, seafood, vegetables, processed food (all the bola bola), assorted yong tau foo and desserts. Coffee and tea is free flow, and you may request for free flow wine RM40 per pax. Choice of soup is tom yam and chicken. Service was good and attentive, plus they promptly replenished the buffet spread. 

There are just 2 main steps: 
1) Pick the soup and start cooking: I personally preferred the chicken soup; the tom yam soup didn't have enough kick. It is IMPORTANT for the soup to be boiling before you put any ingredients in! Also don't fill the pot to the brim, refilling the soup is a normal practice ;)

2) Pick and dump the ingredients: get your meats, vegetables etc. The order of cooking is important to ensure safe consumption: 
- again, wait until the soup is bubbling! 
- don't put everything in at once: not everything cooks at the same speed, eg prawns quick faster than red meat
- start with the meats > seafood > vegetables
- wait until they are cooked then remove EVERYTHING before inserting a fresh batch
- typically eggs and noodles are inserted last - especially if you have guests who may not want egg in their soup :p

My verdict? It was a nice experience: good quick service, great company and relaxing background music makes a fuss-free steamboat dinner :)

Other information:
1) Parking is RM3 per entry (however we came after 7pm so do check the rates)
2) U Bar on level 33 has a nice view of the KL skyline - require security access
3) Caprilicious offers buy 1 free 1 for international lunch buffet and steamboat buffet dinner on Mondays. 

Have you dined at Caprilicious before? Share your experience in the comment box below :)


Music from Movies & Musicals

The Choir of the Philharmonic Society of Selangor (PSS) will present Music from Movies and Musicals on 29 to 31 July 2016 at Pentas 1, klpac. The show will feature memorable showtunes and popular music from movies, like Frozen and the Lion King. 

PSS is a community-based performing arts society and this show aims to make musical shows accessible for all music lovers. Tickets are available at Ticketpro but I would like you to consider the Fri show (29 July) where proceeds will be donated to Hospis Malaysia. Hospis Malaysia is a charitable organization that offers professional palliative care to patients who suffer from terminal illness within the Klang Valley. Proceeds will fund medicine and medical equipment, training and education and other operating expenses. 

Click here for more details on how you can donate to Hospis Malaysia and enjoy a fun-filled night :)

Restoran Bubur Goreng

Yes, I kid you not: the restaurant's name IS Restoran Bubur Goreng. Their specialty is fried porridge, which is porridge "fried" with garlic, pork lard, yam and other yummy bits. The fried porridge comes in 1 size only, which can feed 4-6 people.
The famed fried porridge

However I am a bigger fan of their other offerings, like salted egg crabs, steamed lala and deep fried meat balls! The best time to come is before 7pm; after that it gets pretty crowded. The service is brisk and the price is decent. Let the pictures convince you it is worth the drive to Klang: 
Steamed lala
Cantonese style mee sua
Hokkien style bihun-mee
Malabar spinach (帝皇苗)
My favorite - salted egg crabs!
Kam heong crabs!
Glorious stir-fried Romaine lettuce
Another favorite - Meat balls! 

You may also order crab bihun - super flavorful, and the crayfish in assorted styles (fried, in steamed egg etc). They don't serve rice but their noodles are good and packed with wok hei! For those who can tahan spicy stuff, their sambal is really delicious! 

Below is the receipt in Jul 2016 which translated to 8 happy tummies:

Location map below (credits to the Star):
32 & 34 Lorong Lang, Taman Berkeley,
41150 Klang, Selangor.
Tel: +6016-6868579

Have you tried other dishes at this establishment? Share your thoughts! :)


Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is a common injury especially among runners; it's the medical term of inflammation of the plantar fascia muscle, a long band of muscle that stretches from the heel to the toes due to impact trauma.

The typical symptom is a sharp stabbing pain in the heel that is more pronounced upon waking. I am currently suffering from this pain for about 6 months now and I only recently discovered the cause for it after a session with a physiotherapist.

Personally the best remedy is rest; ultrasound treatment, splints and heel cups do not work as effectively as giving your muscle the time to recover. I find marked reduction in pain in just after a week of not playing badminton and jogging. Also stretching in the morning before stepping to the floor helps to loosen the muscle and reduce the pain. Proper footwear is critical for full recovery. In addition, please DO NOT massage the area that hurts: you're inflicting more trauma on the injured muscle and this will delay your recovery. 

I'm looking forward to the day when I no longer feel pain from merely walking. Have you experienced plantar fasciitis and are you undergoing treatment for it? Share your thoughts in the comment box below :)

Game of Thrones

The wildly successful HBO series is based on George R. R. Martin's popular fantasy book series A Song of Fire & Ice. 6 seasons have been devoured by forever-hungry fans, each with 10 x 1 hr episode and producers have confirmed the final 2 seasons will have less than 10 episodes each.

I've not read the books as they are complex,  featuring different POVs, each narration building the power struggle for the Iron Throne and the threat of the undead White Walkers. The dialogue is incredibly engaging & so well-delivered, thus it's no surprise that the series have won many awards. There's no lack of violence, nudity and shock surprises that will leave you yearning for more. 

There is no hesitation in killing off characters for the progression of the story; hence it is common to become attached to a character, be it a protagonist or the villain, only to be shattered when he/she is cut down. People aside, the scenery is amazing as it is shot in various of Ireland. Cinematography is stunning and special effects is heavily utilized to bring dragons & magic to life.

The opening credit will always bring goosebumps, thanks to Ramin Djawadi's haunting theme song. Rich with strings and undertones of battles past & impending, whether waged with swords or lips, the theme is used in different variations to enhance the mood of every scene.

If you haven't watched the TV series, you're missing out on the jokes and fan theories (some predictions turned out to be correct). In any case, you have enough time to catch up before season 7 is expected to air in May 2017.

Yes they delayed the usual screening month from April to May because as the Starks say it, "Winter is Coming" :p

Bangsar Eats

I was born & bred in Bangsar, hence it is natural to recommend this bustling watering hole to friends; luckily there are endless choices to please almost everyone! Here are my favorite eats in Bangsar (in no particular order):

1)  Killer Gourmet Burger (KGB)
I seldom eat beef but I've no qualms diving into the delicious beef patties, be it the Shack or the sinfully names Animal. The owners decided to absorb the sister Eat Me dessert place and expand the capacity of KGB, which made good business sense. The fries are equally delicious; my favorite sauce would be the Cajun. If Telawi is too crowded for you, try the outlet in Midvalley.

2) Maria's Steakcafe
A homey outlet dedicated to serving top quality steak at affordable prices, expect the rustic, Italian red-cloth ambiance with warm & friendly service. If steak is not your meat, the lamb & chicken would do very well. Service is warm and affable, and this outlet is a nice addition to the Telawi commercial area.

3) Rocky Coffeeshop
One of the pioneer businesses in Bangsar, all the stalls are operated by the same owner, except for the char kuay teow. The char kuay teow stall is manned by a lady from Bukit Mertajam so the dish has that authentic Penang wok hei and flavoring. The chap fan array is very home-styled and the prawn mee is a long time favorite. They also serve yong tau foo with pork filling and it is pretty good.

4) Chun Heong Coffeeshop
Commonly referred to as the "center coffeeshop", this place is always bustling during peak hours. Popular hits include the pan mee, porridge (the couple also serves fish noodles), chicken rice and unique duck noodles.

5) Mikey's Pizza
Here is where I was exposed to the idea of trying different pizza flavors without having to buy the entire pie. The American owner sells NY-style pizza with typical downtown decor and quick friendly service. Here is also the home to the notorious 9-1-1 challenge: one friend tried to finish the 18" pie loaded with chili and ghost peppers within 40 min for a chance to win cash and assorted prizes but it was too hot to handle!

6) Inside Scoop
"I Scream for Ice-cream" - this is one of my personal favorites. The ice cream is freshly made and the flavors range from the classic to more Malaysian-oriented, like cempedak, Gula melaka & teh tarik. They also make fluffy waffles to go with the ice cream, plus the ambiance is sunny and bright.

7) Jaslyn Cakes
This little cakeshop has many decadent cake delights; however with relatively short opening hours, you have to squeeze some time in your schedule to enjoy the rich dense cakes. There's always something new on display; my favorite cakes are the Earl Grey tea chiffon cake and the carrot walnut cake. The price may seem relatively high but it is worth the quality ingredients used. 

8) Yusof Tom Yam
Here is the best Malay restaurant in my opinion. The dishes are affordable and the tom yam is delicious. Their fried rice options are equally as good. This stall opens for dinner and it gets packed by 6pm. 

I'll add more options to the list; in the meantime, have fun exploring Bangsar and the wonderful eats abound :)