Saturday, March 28, 2015

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Cinderella's teaser trailer a year ago. "Has Disney completely gone out of their mind?" I thought to myself. Why on earth would they turn a predictable story into a life-action movie? Another one of Disney's money-making strategy?

I had to see it for myself how Disney did justice for one of my childhood cartoons. Truth to be told, I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed the movie albeit its predictable plot. The screenwriters stayed loyal to the original cartoon plot but added in some subplot in a sensible manner. My only irk was that some characters seem to be killed instantaneously due to a similar cause - disease. Forgive my ignorance. Perhaps having a plague or an incurable illness is common in those days when medical treatment is nowhere advanced.

Plus point for skipping songs & not turning the movie into a Broadway-ish song & dance film ala High School Musical. I can live without those cheesiness. At least the plot made more sense & thankfully did not emphasise on the idea of love at first sight.

The blue dress was gorgeous but somehow didn't struck me as "this is the dress I want to wear on my wedding day" kind of dress. And the most pivotal moment when the fairy godmother made Cinderella a pair of glass slippers, I was left slightly deflated at the sight of it. For some reason, the shape didn't look quite right. The arch was made at a steep angle which probably didn't provide good comfort when worn. Nevertheless, the glass slippers seemed to have an upgrade - with butterfly embellishment so it still didn't look too bad.

Original glass slipper from the cartoon

Upgraded glass slipper from the movie

Somehow I felt amused to see most of the familiar faces among the casts who also appeared in popular TV series such as Game of Thrones & Downton Abbey. Richard Madden as the prince looks exceptionally charming as he did as Robb Stark. But I don't remember seeing him having eyes so blue that it looked rather artificial in this Cinderella movie. And a little creepy too.

Nevertheless, it was still an enjoyable watch to feed you hungry movie fans during a non-blockbuster period. The ballroom dance scene is definitely a sight not to be missed. If you want to relive your childhood memories of Cinderella but in a more matured approach, this is the movie for you.

Movie poster courtesy of

Barn Thai Restaurant & Bar, Plaza 33 PJ

Saturday, March 21, 2015

It was girl's night out yesterday even though only 3 of us among my gang of friends since high school managed to make time for dinner. We preferred somewhere nearer since we were all tired out after work & for some of us, traffic jam on a Friday night. Off we went to Barn Thai Restaurant & Bar at Plaza 33, PJ.

At first impression, Barn Thai gave the vibe of a upper class Thai restaurant with a nice ambient serving a wide variety of Thai cuisine. Indeed, flipping open the menu said it all - the price point is definitely higher. Without further ado, my friend ordered the familiar dishes she tried & asking the waiter to serve the food soonest because we were starving & it was already 9pm. Furthermore, there wasn't much crowd in the restaurant to begin with.

Chicken green curry was served first & we started digging in. The gravy was rich in flavour & appetizing but somehow something struck me as less...Thai? Shoot me if you disagree but I couldn't understand why the curry didn't taste that authentic to me. Or maybe I didn't get to taste real Thai food during my previous trips there.

I made sure we ordered something less spicy because I didn't want to aggravate my occasional skin problems. I've got everyone a seafood fried egg noodle for sharing. Flavourful & fragrant, that's who I would describe this dish when I popped a forkful in my mouth. And no short of seafood too. Yum!

The rest of our dishes were as follows - (from top) crab cake, minced chicken clear soup with glass noodle & egg tofu and clear seafood tom yum.

Crab cake was nice but I seriously loathed the crab shells that got stuck in the meat cake. And it's unfortunate that I'm not really a crab person so no matter how good it tasted, I just didn't know how to appreciate crab meat. To be fair, the crab cake was done well. The chicken clear soup with glass noodle was an enjoyable dish; more like a warm, comfort food for the stomach. It's probably the kind of soupy bowl of noodles you would slurp up on a cold, rainy day. However, the clear seafood tom yum, albeit a less spicy one, was still too hot for me. In fact, it tasted peppery & burning hot due to the cili padi in the broth. Again, NOT a fan of overly spicy food that makes me sweat & tear.

In summary, there were some hits & misses among the dishes we ordered. And it wouldn't do justice to Barn Thai if I stated my verdict is a less favourable experience just because I couldn't tolerate spicyness. From the perspective of price, I think the meal was pricey & the overall taste didn't really surprise me. I think my friends would've thought otherwise but this is just purely my two cents. Rating 3.8 out of 5.

Ground Floor, Plaza 33
1, Jalan Kemajuan
Section 13
46100 Petaling Jaya

03-7932 2233

Opening Hours:
Mondays to Saturdays 11:45am - 1:00am
(Closed for breaks in between dining hour)

My birthday @ Palsaik Korean BBQ, Solaris Mont Kiara

Thursday, March 19, 2015

It was my birthday & I got to be a queen for a day. Sort of. I wanted to spice things up a little bit & had expressed my wish to have Korean BBQ on my birthday. Not wanting to disappoint, WL did some research & booked a place at Palsaik Korean BBQ, Solaris Mont Kiara. In recent years, Korean restaurants have proliferated in this area that used to be mainly populated by Japanese expats due to influx of Korean expats living in nearby residences.

WL took did ordering & as usual, he ordered a big feast. It was a recommended BBQ set which comes in 8 different types of seasoning for the pork belly. The variety of pork belly seasoning was an eye-opener & no lack of interesting palate. It consist of ginseng, wine, pine leaves, garlic, herb, curry, miso paste & hot.

And it comes with abundance of veggies & a big pot of seafood broth.

The proper way to indulge in each type of pork belly seasoning is to have the waiter to cook one flavour first, removed from the grill pan, then only follow by the next flavour. Otherwise, you will not be able to distinguish each type from the rest.

To be honest, my tongue was not able to tell the difference by the 3rd meat. Unless I cleared my palate with tea & drank a bowlful of soup each round, the result still remained the same. It was kind of a bummer because the whole idea of this meal was to really savour each flavour & have it registered in my brain. Nevertheless, I was able to identify a favourite out of 8 types & that's garlic for me. Still an interesting concept & I wouldn't mind going back in a bigger group of friends for the fun factor.

A little pricey but come on, just look at the portion. You get loads of meat & seafood, and these food doesn't come cheap nowadays. I'd have to forewarn - it's not the typical Korean BBQ restaurant whereby there's a suction on the ceiling that sucks all the heat & odour. Palsaik doesn't have that & the restaurant felt warm & icky, kind of like in a sauna if you ask me. Be sure to not shower before going there or else your body & clothing will smell of BBQ. Rating 4 out of 5.

J-01-09, SohoKL
Solaris Mont Kiara
No. 2, Jalan Solaris
50480 Kuala Lumpur.

03-6211 0383

Opening Hours:
Mondays to Sundays 11:30am - 11:30pm

Hashtag CoffeeHouse, The Strand Garden Office

Sunday, March 15, 2015

After-dinner coffee is always a great way to wind down, whether it is getting some "me time" or chilling out with friends & family. Hashtag CoffeeHouse wasn't our top of mind initially but we happened to be around The Strand area & needed a peaceful place to cosy up. This cafe is a quaint little place tucked at a small corner on the ground floor at The Strand Garden Office.

I'm glad that WL's friend recommended this cafe because it wasn't crowded. Just exactly the kind of cafe that I could sit for hours either chatting up with friends or plain staring into space, pondering the meaning of life. The decor resembles a homey lounge area, furnished with sofas of assorted shapes & sizes. Meanwhile, bookshelves with fiction & non-fiction titles lined at one side of the wall.

One thing which caught my eye is the bowlful of candies as the centrepiece on each table. The candies are on the house & sure enough, the staffs would expect you to spend on something in the cafe. I called for my usual coffee fix - mocha.

Although on a slightly sweeter tone, the mocha was quite alright. Coffee was well brewed & fragrant. Cocoa powder was not dusted on the surface, instead it was part of the stimulating beverage. I can taste the slight bitter taste of coffee & cocoa, then enveloped with creamy milk & sugar sweetness. The after taste was leaning towards a sweet tone, not exactly my kind of thing. Nevertheless, it was still an enjoyable cuppa.

I would definitely recommend Hashtag to anyone looking for a quiet place to chill out with your friends. Coffee is quite alright, the ambience is fantastic...what more can I ask for? Rating 4 out of 5.

Block C-LG-3, Garden Office Encorp Dstrand
Jalan PJU 5/1, Kota Damansara
47810 Petaling Jaya

017-627 6950

Opening Hours:
Monday, Wednesday to Thursday 1:00pm - 11:00pm
Friday 3:00pm - 1:00am
Saturday 11:00am - 1:00am
Sunday 11:00am - 11:00pm

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Saturday, March 14, 2015

When I saw the trailer of Kingsman: The Secret Service on TV, it gave me the impression of a really cool spy agent movie. It made me ACTUALLY wanting to watch it even though it's not a summer blockbuster release. Kingsman has been a long wait since the last spy thriller movie was shown in cinemas, as the silver screen was mostly dominated by superhero themes in the last 5 years.

To be honest, I'm starting to feel the superhero fatigue because not just Marvel but 2 studios, DC & Fox have jumped into the bandwagon of turning more comics plots to movie trilogies after Marvel's successful cinematic universe. With Kingsman, it was a breath of fresh air.

In summary, the film follows a young man named Gary "Eggsy" Unwin (Taron Egerton) who was recruited by a super-secret spy organization to train & become a spy agent. I loved the fact that the creators used an unknown actor as the lead because I was in for a surprise. Moreover, it made the transformation from an unrefined street guy to a highly skilled gentleman very convincing. Surely you can expect Matthew Vaughn who directed X-Men: First Class to make Kingsman a wonder.

I won't be revealing more of the plot because you've got to watch it. All I'm going to rave about is how incredibly stylish the movie was because spy agents were always dressed in bespoke suits. Vaughn collaborated with luxury retailer to create a range of bespoke suits while the accessories seen in the movie were designed by heritage brands. This collaboration marks the first film which customers can purchase all the outfits they see in the movie. Such brilliant marketing!

This movie is rated 18 in Malaysia & I'd say the censorship board meant it. It's not the kind of movie you'd want your child to watch. Kingsman is full of profanities & mild graphic violence, though I personally thought it was rather hilarious how the scenes were delivered. Go watch the movie & remember, strictly for adults only. =P

Pic courtesy of

Accidental adventure at Zhongshan

Sunday, March 08, 2015

My first trip to Zhongshan, China was no less adventurous, at least better than what I envisioned earlier. Due to the long journey, my co-worker & I had to catch a flight a day before the workshop. Part of me dreaded the trip because the thought of seeing some of my less pleasant regional colleagues puts me off. The other half of me felt exhilarating about stepping foot on Hong Kong soil again after 18 years. How time flies...

Travelling to KLIA & boarding the plane was a breeze as there was no delay. I looked through the window & finally caught a glimpse of the A380 parked at a nearby skybridge. I just had to snap a photo of it to prove I was there saw it. Amazing, isn't it?

Our plane took off soon after, then arrived at the destination approximately 4 hours later.We were supposed to get on the ferry at the airport pier which will take us directly to Zhongshan. However, we weren't sure where to purchase the tickets & decided to ask for help from an airport staff. He directed us to pass through immigration & collect our luggage first then only proceed to the counter which sell the tickets. Boy, he was so wrong. The minute we left the terminal building, we were no longer allowed to re-enter the terminal building. To our dismay, the counters outside don't sell ferry tickets as it is only available within the terminal. Another way to get to the pier would be to take a bus downtown & walk approximately 15 mins in order to reach the pier.

We took a chance & opted to travel by road; bought coach tickets which will take us directly to our hotel, with our limited spoken Mandarin. The ticket lady rushed us over to an MPV & told us to get into the vehicle, together with other Chinese strangers. We were dumbfounded because we expected it to be a coach, or so we were told. Feeling desperate, we climbed into the MPV& the driver left the airport minutes later.

I couldn't stop myself from asking the driver where all of us are heading, just to be sure we weren't cheated & ended up getting lost. I panicked when the driver reluctantly replied that our journey stops at Shenzhen, not Zhongshan. So I gathered up courage to chat up with one of the Chinese lady sitting behind. Thankfully, she was kind enough to explain that the MPV will stop at Shenzhen bus terminal, whereby passengers will board different buses to go their separate ways. You wouldn't have imagine how relieved we were after hearing such comforting words with much assurance. God bless her!

The MPV journey took about 40 minutes to reach the Shenzhen border. Another 15-20 mins or so, we finally arrived at the bus terminal & we all parted ways from our fellow travellers. We made sure to board the right bus. This road trip took about 1 hour 30 mins & was no short of "interesting" views. While my colleague dozed off next to me, I stared out to the window & basked in horizon that whizzed by. Not that it was very scenic - the sky looked dreary with no sun & full of haze! At one point, I was freaking out silently when our bus was crossing a bridge built over a wide river at high altitude. If it wasn't the mist blurring the view, I could've peed in my pants. Imagine the bus crashing down the river from few hundred feet above...

The coach finally arrived at the 2nd last stop of another hotel before our destination. Other passengers alighted the coach & left the 2 of us. I mean, why would we leave when driver should be dropping us at the last stop. Again, we were cheated because the driver shooed us out, rudely telling Sheraton Zhongshan ain't the last stop. Flabbergasted, we wheeled our luggage to the hotel lobby & asked for help from the concierge. Sheraton is only a stone's throw & only takes less than 5 mins walk. What?! Walking in this chilly winter?! Okay, we still did since the hotel staff refused to call a taxi for us. At least she was right about the Sheraton being nearby because it is merely 2 blocks from where we came.

On a separate note, we were glad that we missed the ferry because taking the coach allowed us to arrive at Sheraton 3 hours earlier than expected. Why? We didn't have to wait for the ferry's scheduled timing which would require waiting time of 2 hours. Phew! The 2-day workshop was less eventful so I won't be elaborating on that.

On my last evening at Zhongshan, we went for some sight-seeing at downtown shopping malls. So far, the few shopping malls we went were not posh, more like neighbourhood mall equivalent in Malaysia. But oh boy, their stuff carries a hefty price tag. I don't mean luxury brands; they're brands like Levi's, Adidas & Nike. You get what I mean. Their food is not exactly cheap unless you know where to find them. Nevertheless, my first time strolling out in the street near end winter seems pretty fun. All wet & gloomy, but won't break a sweat.

Our China colleagues recommended a restaurant which serves popular seafood steamboat cum porridge. We found our way there & it was a less hygiene premise. But then again, why feel surprised when those good food haunts around Malaysia are not any better? Now here's the interesting bit, we need to pick our preferred raw seafood & veggies by weight, then the waiter will bring it to the table. Meanwhile, the waiter will pour uncooked rice with pork ribs into the wok to be steamed.

We put fish over the steamer & let it cooked based on pre-set timing by the restaurant. Once ready, we ate it & put the next seafood on the steamer without removing the still-cooking rice at the bottom. The steps are to be repeated until all the seafood or veggies you ordered are fully consumed. This cooking style is to allow the natural juices from sea produce & veggies to drip to the bottom & season the porridge well.

Trust me, we didn't need any sauce or salt to add on. As soon as the seafood & veggies were gone, we lifted the steamer & voila, the rice had became well-cooked porridge ready for a feast. One spoonful sent chills down the spine; just so exhilarating. It tasted so damn good. All the natural goodness in one big wok.

You have to go in a big group in order to enjoy this fantastic meal. Honestly, I'm not too fond of most Chinese food in this part of China but I'd have to admit this is by far the best Zhongshan dish I've ever tasted. If I'm ever returning, this restaurant is definitely the top of my must-visit places.

I thought the entire 4D3N trip will turn out to be exhausting & dull. No doubt there were less pleasant moments but I prefer to not mention here. At least, my colleague & I won a Xiaomi power bank from a group work. Not to forget the misadventures adding a slice of fun to the trip that I initially dreaded. Now let's see if the upcoming trip in June will be as exciting.