Sunday, November 30, 2008

See Shrimp Running on a Treadmill !!!

See video below - Anything is possible in the name of science! A Scientist wanted to know how shrimp would behave when they are infected with disease, thus invented and built a treadmill to measure activity of an exercising shrimp! For full explaination on the Science experiment, click here.

It is amazing to see a treadmill so small. Also, it is funny to see shrimp "running" in order to keep up with the treadmill. By the way, the video has started a cult followers in YouTube, dubbing it with various background music. If it was me, I would probably dubbed it with Madonna's "Don't Tell Me". Hee Hee. What about you?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Other sights of Kuala Lumpur

More photos on KL street sights.
This photo was taken opposite Petaling Street. This old looking shopping centre called Kota Raya. There used to be a plus sized clothing store inside, but I could not find it when I was there the last time...

An old fashion coffee shop near our Hotel. Singapore used to have a lot of such coffee shops, but many of them have since sold their business or renovated. A pity they wasn't preserved for younger generation to see where people used to eat in the past. Mosaic floorings, wooden staircase, wood chairs with special cravings and marble tables are all unique features of old coffee shops.

As written in Petaling Street entry, local people has no qualms of eating along the streets even when the stall looked dirty. Those local people which I referred to do not exactly looked like poor people but common looking people like office workers and students. Some of us are so pampered that we refused to eat at places without air-con let alone mention street side stalls with poor hygene. It is at such places and instances that you start to appreciate Singapore more.

I noticed a huge number of tourists in KL came from the Middle-East. In fact, their number was so influencial that KL hotels charges peak rates during Middle-East month long summer hoildays in July. In case you are wondering what these people are hawking at, they are in fact watching ...

Yes, the huge crowd was actually looking at this middle-east man singing middle east tune. I failed to understand what was so interesting about this performence then. Is he a great star? I mean he really just stand there and sing only ...

Night Scene of Bukit Bintang - Brightly lited and lined with advertisement billboards.

Night scene from another angle.

I hope the government officials are doing something to ease the Bukit Bintang's traffic. It is probably the first place in the world that has traffic jams at 12 am still. Hmm...perhaps ERP would help?

Ok, Bukit Bintang not only jammed at 12 mid-night. It also remained jam at noon time on a weekday. *Shake head... So, be reminded that during these time, walking might be the faster than taking a cab.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Recipe - Japanese Rice Salad 海洋の饭 (Rice of the Sea)

Another recipe to share with all of you.

I am rice-lover. I never hesitated to answer people that I like rice when asked what is my favourite food. I like how a small bowl of rice can satisfy your hunger and fill you up almost instantly. I like how the simple rice can be accompanied with so many dishes, but still retained its delicate favour. I also like the slight sweetness of rice which can be eaten alone or with a spoonful condiments such as samba chili.

Weeks ago, my colleague whom we affectionately addressed as Aunty (clarify: we called her Aunty out of respect, not because she is an aunty...) had this very interesting looking lunch. It was a simple almost salad like scallop steamed rice dressed with wakame (marinated seaweed).

She caught me hawking over her lunch thus gave me a mouthful of her homecooked meal to try it out. Goodness, that mouthful of rice was so delicious! She had steamed high-grade dried scallop from Japan together with the rice which gives it a unique aroma and taste. The rice captured the essense of the sea which exploded in your mouth . Though I descibed that way, the taste wasn't that empowering that it would put you off. It has a very nice balance.

I like it so much that I asked her for the recipe. Over last weekend, I altered the recipe slightly and cooked my own version of the steamed scallop rice. I named it aptly - 海洋の饭 (Read as Umi no Gohan) - Translated as Rice of the Sea.

To cook Rice of the Sea, you will need:

There is no hard and fast rule that you have to follow the quantity exactly. The measurement are all by estimation. Also, instead of steaming which is not easy, I cooked the rice using rice cooker.

  • Dried Scallops - Depending on the size, 5 to 6 pieces (can use more if you like) These has to be soak overnight.
  • Ginger - About 2 to 3 cm knob, sliced thinly.
  • Rice - I used 3 cups to feed my big family, please adjust it to your usual size.
  • Optional - one Chinese Sausage cut into small cubes.

Preparation Work:

First, soaked the scallop overnight so that it will be easier to cook in rice cooker. However, in Aunty's version, she actually steamed the scallop thus there is no need to soak overnight. She also said that the scallop will taste better as their essense are not diffused in soaking water. I overcomed that by using the soaked scallop liquid to cook rice as well.

Please note: In any case, you are not supposed to throw away the scallop liquid. They are all essense.

For use, shred them slightly. Just for laughs, you know scallop aren't cheap. I actually got a scolding from my mum for using too much scallop. I mean Aunty uses more than me for that small bowl of rice which I am trying to imitate ... Forgot she is a tai-tai...

Erm... how do I explain this? Lup Chiong (Chinese Sausage) is not exactly made from sea creature, but I think it will added another layer of flavour, complexity to the taste of the rice.

Very simply, wash the rice as you normally would. Drained dry. Pour in the scallop with liquid, ginger, Chinese Sausage. Topped up the rest of the liquid needed to cook rice with water. In rice cooker, cook rice as you normally would. Not sure how fluffy you like the rice to be, for this dish, the rice should be cooked firmer.

Cooked Rice. I like the colour of the rice. Because of the scallops, the rice is not exactly white. It is in pale gold colour and the scallop shreds seems to be gittling under the light. The smell is just extrodinary, gingery and seafoody.
How to we eat it?

With marinated seaweed. I did not buy the seaweed myself. My mum bought this packed preserved seaweed (See below). I dressed it with vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame seed oil etc. (Will provide exact recipe next time round).

Here's how the packet seaweed looked like. It is not easy to prepare the seaweed though. Don't know why, there are actually grind-like salt crystal and sand in the seaweed. You have to rinse it before use. Then when rinsing, it cannot be soaked for too long which otherwise resulted in slimy seaweed. It should have a crunchy and chewy texture.

Scoop the seaweed salad over the hot rice. Topped it up with some small ikan billis. Yosh, you got yourself a healthy warm rice salad - 海洋の饭 (Rice of the Sea).

いたたきます!(Itatakimatsu: Let's eat!)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yakiniku - Daidomon @ Great Eastern Mall KL

I always had this facination about Yakiniku (Japanese term for Grilled Meat). My first impression of the Yakiniku probably came from Japan hour where they show diners grilling top grade wagyu beef over charcoal stove. The juicy meat looked so tempting with the nice char marks on them that I have decided that I must try it one of these days too.

I first know that Daidomon opened its first outlet at Keypoint, Beach Rd opp The Concourse. I think it is one of the first restaurant specialising in Yakiniku to open in Singapore. Nevertheless, I have never got to try it till my recent trip to KL where I learnt they had a branch at Great Eastern Mall near Jalan Ampang. It was quite an experience.

To prevent disappointment, I actually called to made a reservation. I was pretty surprise that the person who took my call was very polite and helpful. I later learnt that he was actually the manager of the restaurant.

KL's Daidomon restaurant was located off the usual tourist track which we are not very familar with, thus I asked him for directions. Upon learning that we were tourists, he cautioned us that there will be a jam around the area from 6 pm onwards, thus advised us to set out early. Great Eastern Mall is the office building of Great Eastern Insurance Company. It is near the Russian Embassy and Gleneagles Medical Centre.

Indeed, upon reaching there, you get a different feeling about the area. It was quite an developed area with some condos and private propertises. I reckoned that Great Eastern Mall is situated in the business district, thus after office hours, the mall was pretty quiet and appeared desserted. As it was stated that the restaurant was located at level 3, we took the escalator up the mall trying to locate the restaurant.

It was quite an easy task as it turned out the restaurant was pretty near the escalator.

Daidomon had a very pretty grand entrance.They allocated a spacious waiting area at the entrance which I guessed was for customers waiting in the queue. There was a stylish sofa and plasma TV to ensure that you have a comfortable wait.

Upon entering the main dinning hall, we had a shock. The restaurant was very big, but there is no diners around. We happened to be their first customers. My friends jokingly asked whether I had booked the whole restaurant for ourselves. I think it was a Monday night, thus it wasn't as packed as it should be. Luckily, few more people came in after some time. We were feeling a bit uncomfortable eating in a such "vacant" restaurant.

Because we made a reservation earlier, our table was already set up with sauces waiting for us. A plus point for their services.

They have changed their buffet menu. Earlier, I have read that they allowed buffet customer to ordered everything on their menu, now it is limited to the above selection. The KL outlet does not serve pork, thus being a non-beef eater, I only have chicken, seafood and vegetables to chose from, but that does not put me down. I still think that the price of the buffet converted to Sing dollars is considered quite worthwhile.

The first thing that we noticed on the table was that they prepared two sauces for each of us. The one on the left was a savoury vingery sauce supposedly countered off the oiliness of the meat. The other one was normal Japanese soy sauce. However, I find that the meat can be too salty if soaked with too much of the vingery sauce.

We had initially thought that the buffet only include BBQ meat and nothing else, thus we ordered quite a number of food items for the first round. It was only after we ordered that we were informed the buffet includes prepared food.
As seen above, this was their cold appetizer section with potato salad, cold marinated clam, marinated seaweed, baby octopus, leafy salad bar etc cold food selections.

On another side of the table was rolled maki sushi rolls, half-cooked salmon sushi, cold udon station etc Japanese delights. That all? Nope, there is even more. There is even a cooked food section that I forgot to take photo, that offered prawns and vegetables tempura, Chicken Teriyaki, Chawamushi and fried rice ! It was quite a spread already if I had not know that they offered more selection earlier. All of the above are self-service, but the BBQ meats are to be ordered from service crew.

Take a look at their grill. I read somewhere that it is their patent design. The vaccum vents are located around the side at the grill. Any grease smoke will be immediately sucked away to prevent them from choking the diners. Another unique feature of the KL's Daidomon is that they uses bamboo charcoal instead of gas which gives the grilled meat additional flavour.

First came their chicken meat and gizzard which was drenched in a little of marinating soy-based sauce.

Next as their vegetables which consisted of corn, green pepper, onions, pumkin and leaks. Among them, grilled leaks and onions tested the best.

Up next was the seafood. I quite like how the fish were thickly sliced and they were quite fresh. Yes, they were also drenched in the marinated sauce as well.

There were prawns, salmon, cod fish, mackerel and sting rays.

My friend ordered thinly sliced beef tongues. They had a chewy texture and were quite fresh.

The beef slices had nice marbling which signifies that they will be nice and tender after grilling.

A bit disappoint with their sausages. They were quite salty and were hot-dog like. Nothing special, thus we did not order again.

Actually, each plate of meat was the serving portion for 3 people. I have read in some reviews that people thought they were pretty stingy about portion. To be fair, I also thought so initially that they like rationed the meat and as a restaurant serving buffet, you should not be afraid of letting people eat. Then after the first round, I actually felt quite full which make think that we do not really need to eat that much to fill ourselves up.

Perhaps the culture for Asian when comes to eating buffet is to get the most out of the cost which we paid. To cover cost, many of those buffet restaurants serves sub-standard meats which may not be fresh. I would rather chose a buffet that served better meats than stuffed myself with sub-standard meats. However, having to say that, I would feel very uncomfortable too if the buffet restaurant purposely served meats in a rationing manner. KL Daidomon have not get on my nerves yet on this area.

Here is a tip for first timer, as the grill heat up, the temperature was too hot to grill meats and would have burnt them immediately. Once you see the charcoals turn red, ask the waiter to turn off the gas, so that you can cook solely on charcoal's heat. I would suggest that you start off grilling vegetable first which can take stronger heat, then followed by your meats when the heat has mellowed down further. A telling sign that the heat is good for grilling meat will be when the charcoal had 70% of its body turned white.

Another close up of the grill meat.

Turning sides, see how they chared nicely on the grill. Actually, I find the meat is tasty enough to eat it on its own and is a tad too salty for me if dipped into the sauce. Like eating any BBQ food, I really appreciate the variety of vegetables and salad the restaurant provided. I find the veggies can help to cleanse your palatte or to counter off the saltiness of the meat. I enjoyed the grilled meat more when accompanied with vegetables or the salad.

The leaks were pretty delicious after grilled. The pungent taste disappeared if grilled properly and one can only taste the sweetness of it.

I ordered a second serving of the salmon and mackerel. They were freshest and very suitable for grilling since they were quite firm meat.

Grilled garlic was my friend's favourite. We had three serving of it. They were so savoury fragnant after grilling. Guess all KL's vampires steered clear of us that day.

Another unique feature of Daidomon is that they offered more than 100 choices of sake and rice wine for customers to chose from. In fact, sake and wine bottles were used as part of the decor in the restaurant.

Some other sake brands which they have.

Verdict: After taxes, each of us paid RM$67 dollars for the buffet dinner which converts to about $28.50 Sing dollars. It was quite worthwhile in my opinion. I must also command the good service provided by their staff. They were pretty attentive and were eager to serve customers. In fact, we saw one of the waiter grilling meats for the customer sitting at the table next to us. (and I thought the fun of eating there was to grill the meats ourselves...) The meats they provided was quite fresh (maybe except the string ray) and according to my friend, the beef is very good.

We were a bit disappointed with the cooked food section especially the garlic rice which tasted like very badly cooked fried rice. It should be better. I also find the special formulated sauce a tad too salty which will make the meat with the marinate sauce saltier. Perhaps the restaurant would come up with a sweeter version sauce to serve along with BBQ meats.

For those who have been wanting to try out Yakiniku, do try Daidomon if you happened to be in KL.

For more details of Daidomon, check out the website at

Monday, November 24, 2008

Do Not Place Pot Lid Over Boiling Water...

Do not place pot lid over boiling water in attempt to contain the heat. Pressure will build up and content will get boiled over. It is harder to clean up the mess then...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

An Auspicious Sign - Two Rainbows in the Sky

It must be a sign, an auspicious sign somemore. I saw two rainbows in the sky yesterday. There was a shower in the early afternoon and the rainbow appeared after the rain stopped.

It started out with one rainbow in the sky. The rainbow was quite obvious and had a beautiful arch.

Then suddenly, slightly above the first rainbow, a second rainbow start appearing...

The rainbow appear more and more obvious as time passes by.

However, it is still not as obvious as the first rainbow.

Two beautiful rainbows appeared together in the sky.

Then, the second rainbow started to fade away...

Finally, the first rainbow also faded away.

I definately believed that it is an auspicious sign. I felt so surreal having to see two rainbows in the sky at the same time. They are so beautiful like nothing in this world...

Then, my mum watching alongside with me told me a myth. She said that old people believed that one's hair will become white after being exposed to the rainbow light. Err... In comparison, I would prefer to believe the western saying that there will be pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. Well, if there wasn't any gold, I rather believe that the positive rainbow light would shine and chase any negative aura surrounding me.

Yeah! I hope it is a sign telling me that my luck is changing to good thereafter!