Friday, 28 May 2010

Halal restaurants in Hong Kong & Shenzen

Salam all,

I just got back from Hong Kong & Shenzen last Sunday. I was there for 5D/4N with my family and we were there with other tour group members (we joined Reliance tour group http://www.tourworld.com.my/pdf/hong_kong/riang_ria/MHS_MHD_28122009.pdf )

Cost/adult: RM2,629.00 (return flight, accommodation, food, disney pass, transport (tram, train, bus) including airport tax 340.00; visa 90.00; tipping 80.00)

We rented a van to/fro KLIA/Jln U-Thant, cost us RM380 (RM190 per trip).

Day 1
We arrived at the HK airport as scheduled, after passing the immigration counters, the group waited for everyone to gather but 8 were missing! They were detained by the immigration department! All those with Muhammad or Ahmad in their names (including my nephew). We waited for almost an hour! While waiting we went to buy water, prepaid card at the airport. Guess what a piece of sweets which sells for RM0.20 for 3pcs in KL cost? HKD1...the IDD prepaid card? HKD60..http://www.2cardphone.com/prod_detail.asp?fid=201&id=819&sjcard_id=

Finally all those Muhammads & Ahmads were released and we proceeded to Prudential Hotel. On the way to the hotel we were amazed at Hong Kong's busy port and tall tiny apartments...(We stayed at Prudential Hotel located at Nathan Road http://www.prudentialhotel.com/
Excellent location with MTR station close by but the hotel is located above a shopping complex (looks like Sungai Wang to me)..)

No meals were provided by the programme on day 1; so my sis & sis-in-law cooked dishes (beef with soy sauce (daging masak kicap), rendang, sambal ikan bilis and rice. They also brought with them plenty other food - cucumber (timun), chinese turnip (sengkuang) n pecal sauce; instant noodles, snacks etc. They packed them carefully and our dinner on day 1 was excellent :-)

After dinner, we freshened up and started checking out the area around the hotel. I went to a shop and asked a girl to help me translating the chinese characters on my phone but before I can say anything more than 'can you help me...' she abruptly cut me off by saying NO! How rude!!

Anyway, we walked around Nathan Road, Jordan Road then it started pouring..my sis bought a windbreaker so that we could go back to the hotel without her 3-yr old son getting wet (he was whining that he wanted to go back to hotel)..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathan_Road
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jordan_Road,_Hong_Kong
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_Street,_Hong_Kong

We got back to the hotel, showered again and zzzzzz

Day 1 Solat: hotel

Day 1 Purchase:
water (HKD11); prepaid card (HKD60); kitkat; coke (regular n lemon)

Day 2
We had halal dim sum for breakfast at Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre
http://www.cnngo.com/hong-kong/none/halal-dim-sum-212805

After b'fast? DISNEYLAND!!

We were told there's no halal food inside Disneyland, so my sis packed dim sum from the canteen as our lunch, the operator said with his halal sticker, Disney will allow us to bring the food in, we asked the guard (they checked your bag before letting you in) and he told us to leave the food with customers' service office and collect them later when we want to have our lunch.

Disneyland - small compared to the one in Orlando http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/attractions/?resultSet=165page=2 (of course) but the system is much improved, they have fast lane access where you you book your entrance (using your entry ticket and machine), so you book your entry for popular rides, walk around and come back without the need to queue for long period of time. When I was in Florida we wasted time on queuing...

Parks - a fraction of what is on offer in Orlando - Hong Kong offers Main Street, U.S.A. , Adventureland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.

n of course it is a bit weird that many Disney characters are mostly asians..ha ha..

Anyway, since it is very small one can try all the rides n watch all shows in 1 day..

Food wise - nothing interesting - typical American fast food...

Apart from the rides n shows of course one can shop for souvenirs base on Disney characters - I bought plenty of key chains and mugs...

Before we left we watched fireworks - interesting!! When I was in Florida, everyone watched the show by standing up but here most people just sat on the ground...:-) very Asian and very considerate for the shorties..

http://park.hongkongdisneyland.com/hkdl/en_US/home/home?name=HomePage

ohh if you wish to perform your solat, Disney is very considerate, just go to emergency aid centre, tell the staffs you want to pray and they'll allocate a room for you. Just remember to bring your own praying gear (praying mat, telekung, compass)

Back at the hotel we were all very tired, everyone decided to stay in and had dinner in the room (Brahim http://www.brahimsfood.com/products.html ,maggi http://www.maggi.com.my/); But my nephew & I decided to venture out to Temple Street n try out local street food. We went to Ah Long Pakistani Halal Food (95B G/F, Woosung Street, Jordan Road;T: 23677489); recommended by our tour guide. We had rice n curry (he had chicken n I had beef) n coke. A bit weird as in M'sia we will have more than 1 dish for such meal (vegetable, n at least 2 dishes)...anyway, hot food tasted really good as we were hungry n tired..Price? RM32++..including 2 packs of plain rice for my nephew n brother. Then we went next door to Delhi restaurant to buy kebab for my sis. Price - RM30-RM40. Plenty of halal restaurants in this area.

http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/dining/images/gp_pdf_hala.pdf

After dinner? zzzzzzzz

Day 2 solat: emergency aid room Disneyland

Day 2 Purchase:
Mugs x 3; photos; keychain x 3; cookies x 1; ice cream x 2; juice x 2; watches x 2; crayons x 1;

Day 3
We had breakfast halal dim sum at Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre again..on first day we finished almost everything. Today? We got a bit jelak (tired) of the food and plenty was left wasted.

After breakfast we were taken to a jewelery factory (more like herd of cattle were led to be slaughtered) http://valdezfamilyinbangkok.blogspot.com/2009/05/hong-kong-macau-jewelry-factory.html I can't remember the shop name and my receipt is in chinese...

next off to Repulse bay (30min) to post with Jacky Chan's house on the background...; before that we were taken to Aberdeen harbour - basically we were shoved into a sampan, once in, the operator asked us for money! money! She took us around the harbour - passing through jumbo floating restaurant, boat houses, yatchs n back to the jetty.

http://www.jumbo.com.hk/eng/main.php

Then back to Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre for lunch (http://www.islam.org.hk/eng/E-HKmosque.asp); good food but were still full from our breakfast n again lots of wasted food.

Next off to The Peak by tram, lots of people at the station it seems it was Hong Kong's public holiday (Buddha’s Birthday and Cheung Chau Bun Festival). Atop the peak? a shopping mall! also one can visit Madame Tussaud, again smaller than the one in London http://www.madametussauds.com/

After The Peak, the guide told us that we'll stop at Ginseng shop next before proceeding to train station for our Shenzen trip. We asked him what time are we supposed to reach Shenzen n he mentioned abt 6.30pm or so; we told him that we need to pray (zohor/asar) first as it will be too late by the time we reach Shenzen. He looked puzzle (he's not a muslim) as it is not in his programme (of course ginseng shop must be in his itinerary for his commission), we suggested we can pray at the ginseng shop or at the train station but he said both places are not suitable. He suggested that we pray in the bus! I guess we can, if we are desperate but surely there's other option? Finally he discussed with the bus driver and he suggested Kowloon Mosque! Wow! genius....see if you speak out, people will surprise you...

Since he needs his commission, of course he led us to another slaughter house - ginseng shop, same modus operandi, we were given short brief on ginseng and sales talk began n they kept on harassing us to buy their stuffs..all cost more than RM100....sigh

After the shop, we were taken to Kowloon Mosque as promised for our zohor n asar prayer before going to train station for our journey to Shenzen. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kowloon_Masjid_and_Islamic_Centre

The train journey is ok, typical...but the crossing over is another story...

After the train stops, we had to walk to an immigration control point (to depart from Hong Kong) then walk further to China side 9to enter China), then walk further (with heavy luggage), up the escalators, pass through shopping mall, up/down the stairs before reaching our bus! By the time we got to the bus everyone was panting..Not advisable for kids, sickly n elderly..

The China guide welcomed us, he speak fluent indonesian (speaks no english unlike our Hong Kong guide who is fluent in both English n Indonesian). He took us to a restaurant for dinner at Shenzhen Muslim Hotel Restaurant http://www.muslim-hotel.com/ Add:1023, Wenjin South Road, Luohu district, Shenzhen Phone:+86-755-82228207

Food? pretty good xinjiang food. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuisine_of_Xinjiang

After dinner we were taken to Century Plaza Hotel http://www.centuryplazahotel-shenzhen.com/ - good location, near shopping area n train station. After freshen up zzzzzzz

Day 3 solat: Kowloon Mosque

Day 3 Purchase:
jade pendants x 2; jade Pixiu x 2; preserve strawberry (HKD320); Aberdeen sampan fare; photo; coke; Madamme Tussaud ticket (HKD135)

credit card: HKD3,300 (jade pendant)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixiu

Day 4
We had breakfast at the hotel, very small buffet selection - bread, buns, cakes, fried rice, boiled eggs, baked beans n sausages. Hmm the restaurant menu includes pork in its offer, so it is interesting to see these malaysian families wearing head scarves feeding sausages to their kids! They assumed the meat is halal since we are in muslim tour group!

Anyway, after breakfast again another slaughter house - jade shop, and then silk shop. Lunch was at another muslim restaurant (plenty in Shenzen) refer here
http://www.islamichina.com/halalfood/halalfoodbydistrict.asp?did=45

but same dishes.....

After lunch we were taken to The China Folk Culture Village http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Folk_Culture_Village but it rained heavily.. so after touring the area with monorail http://www.travel-hongkong-attractions.com/shenzhen-attractions.html we decided to skip the park and headed to Luohu Mall http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luohu_Commercial_City

monorail note - nothing much to see due to trees hampering views of whatever we were supposed to see..

After Luohu Mall - we were back at the hotel, freshen up n then off to dinner at another another muslim restaurant- again same dishes.....

after dinner, off to Dong Man market for more shopping; http://www.shopinshenzhen.com/tips.htm

Day 4 Solat: hotel

Day 4 Purchase:
prepaid card (Y150);gold bracelet x 1; uygur bread x 2 (Y6 x 2); snacks x 3; tea x 2; tram ticket x 1; t-shirt x 2 (Y69.50 x 2); handbag x 1; socks x 3 (Y10 x 3); Massage x 1 (Y79); bao fu ling x 2 (Y250 x 2); mini slow cooker (Y30); adaptor (Y65).

http://en.baofuling.com/

Day 5
B'fast at hotel n off to HK airport. Again 2 immigration posts to pass through, first China side (to depart), we had to remove all bags from the bus, carried through China immigration, then reloaded into a bus then 1 minute bus ride away we reached Hong Kong immigration side, same thing, removed bags, carried through immigration post and reloaded bags into the bus....sigh

Ohhh...again the 8 Muhammad and Ahmad were detained by Hong Kong immigration, after more than 30minutes, they were let go...

We missed breakfast at the hotel so we had our brunch at Hk airport at Popeye http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/dining/images/gp_pdf_hala.pdf

Day 5 Solat: Hong Kong Airport (wudhu at the toilet; solat at secluded corner of boarding area).

Day 5 Purchase:
Jade bracelets x 5 (HKD100); fridge magnets x 10; crystal bracelet x 1; popeye meal x 1 (coke x HKD2; fries x HKD4; 6pc wings x HKD54); loacker x HKD26.90; choc cookies x HKD23.90; paco rabanne perfume x RM230.00

Total cash expenses in Shenzen = Yuan 3,058.00
Total cash expenses in Hong Kong = HKD2,266.00
TOTAL SPENT: RM3,900 + RM2,629 = RM6,520.00

Comment:
It is easy to find halal food in both Hong Kong and Shenzen, it is more enjoyable if you opt for free and easy trip. With a group, you waste a lot of time waiting for everyone to gather and you are forced to go to places which you don't fancy and you have to hurry at the places that you enjoy and prefer to linger..

Tiring trip; still very tired on Monday. I was at work but others took leave..

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Halal Restaurant in Port Dickson

My sis had a seminar (organized by her office) at Thistle PD. She wanted to bring her son along but as she'll be busy all day, she asked us (me, my 2 nephews n niece) if we want to come along. Hmm..short weekend break? Why not..

My sis was a designated driver, so she left early Saturday morning with her colleagues. I left later (after office hour) with the troop. When we reached PD, my nephew played with my car window (back window) and it was stuck. We stopped by at a workshop and the mechanic help to close it but he told me that it will stay close as it will take him some time to fix it. He advised me to take it to a workshop in KL later for proper repair.

We reached Thistle about 4pm and it was really hot. My nephew wanted to swim but we have to wait till later in the evening.

Thistle is a nice hotel (formerly Guoman Resort), everything is new except bathroom fittings (I guess they burst their renovation budget).....I like the hotel as it family oriented n very comfortable with plenty of facilities - pool, children playing area, library etc...

But, since it was quite new when we visited the place, they were not ready for huge crowd, it was chaotic during breakfast. They ran out of clean coffee cups (we had to use bowls for our coffee), the trainees waitresses/waiters were very inefficient (caused many guests to lose tempers)....a part from that, I enjoyed my stay here.

Dinner? before the trip I surfed the net on where to eat good seafood, found 2 places, one is Weng Yin Seafood Restaurant and the other is Restoran Chardin Seaview; we decided to go to Weng Yin as it is near Thistle while my sister joined her colleagues at Chardin Seaview.

We enjoyed our seafood dinner - we had soy sauce fish (forgotten what fish we ordered), butter prawn, Kam heong bamboo clams and vegetable...Definitely will visit this place again if we go to PD again.

What others said about Weng Yin (pork free):
http://j-travel.blogspot.com/2010/01/weng-yin-seafood-restaurant-at-port.html
http://www.portdickson.net/pages/wengyinseafood
http://stevenhavingfun.blogspot.com/2008/09/restaurant-in-port-dickson-weng-yin.html
http://www.usj.com.my/bulletin/upload/archive/index.php/t-10408.html
http://www.malaysianbabes.net/forum/index.php?/topic/6990-any-food-to-recomend-in-port-dickson/
http://www.friedchillies.com/index.php/forums/viewthread/3179/

What other said about Chardin (pork free)
http://joshuaongys.com/2009/11/restaurant-chardin-sea-view-seafood-village-port-dickson/
http://lifeofcontinues.blogspot.com/2009/02/restaurant-chardin-sea-view-port.html
http://kadusmama.com/2008/06/lobster-crab-geoduck-any-for-you.html

Read what others said about Thistle Hotel here:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g303991-d1473370-Reviews-Thistle_Port_Dickson-Port_Dickson_Negeri_Sembilan.html
http://www.thistle.com/hotels/malaysia/port_dickson/thistle_port_dickson/index.html

Other nice hotels in PD:
http://babytaz38.blogspot.com/2007/01/destination-port-dickson-malaysia.html
http://khongfamily.com/blog/?p=318
http://www.cuti.com.my/hotel/info.php?id=2782&hotel=Avillion+Admiral+Cove
http://www.kuali.com/news/story.asp?file=/2009/11/4/eatingout/5013840&sec=eatingout

Laksa oh Laksa

I just had S'pore laksa as lunch. Bought it from Secret Recipe. Tasted ok but I'll not go for second helping as it is a bit too rich for me..

I was thinking why not blog something about laksa, after all we've so many variations of laksa here in Malaysia..

I was in Sibu airport few days back, went there for a site visit - basically visiting the airport itself as Ministry of Transport (MOT) is planning to expand the airport. One of the worst airport that I ever visited. Doors are rotten, floors are stained..about time they do major renovation work.

Anyway, we had no time to go to town, so we had our breakfast and lunch at the airport restaurant (only one restaurant there), it looks like typical malay nasi campur restaurant. For breakfast I had laksa (Sarawak) and for lunch we had nasi campur. The laksa was actually quite tasty, better than what I had tried at Tesco's (Mutiara Damansara) food court and Alexis (Great Eastern Mall http://alexis.com.my/html/ampang.html ).Nasi campur? The dishes were too sweet to my liking..

Anyway, back to laksa. Basically, laksa has 2 major variations - sour and without coconut milk (penang laksa, assam laksa, kedah laksa etc), and lemak (rich) laksa (nyonya laksa, mi kari, curry laksa etc).

What's the difference? Well, read here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laksa and here http://www.squidoo.com/ultimate_laksa_guide and here http://www.pickles-and-spices.com/types-of-laksa.html

Anyway, my article here is base on personal experience, taste and preference.

Kedah Laksa
I love this version. For obvious reason since I was born and raised in Kedah. I love home made version, but making it, is quite a tedious process. In Kedah, Laksa Teluk Kechai is very popular. Tried it before and I love it.

http://www.friedchillies.com/index.php/site/detail/laksa_teluk_kechai/

recipe sample - http://www.scribd.com/doc/24064747/Laksa-Kuala-Kedah

Kedah Laksam
Not many people knew that there is a Kedah version of laksam as it is not popular outside Kedah. Even in Kedah, laksam is only popular in Kuala Kedah and nearby area like Alor Star. Anyway, my parents' neighbour originated from Kuala Kedah. The late Mak Mah made a mean laksam. Before she passed away, my sister managed to get a recipe from her. And now we can always enjoy laksam whenever my sis invited us over for makan makan at her place..

sample recipe http://kuaci-corner.blogspot.com/2009/09/laksam-chek-nani.html

Penang Laksa

Very close resemblance to Kedah Laksa...

recipe sample - http://resepi.mesra.net/Detailed/1058.shtml

Perlis Laksa
Close resemblance to Kedah Laksa. But they add sugar in their gravy...
i tried Perlis Laksa before, tasted like Kedah Laksa to me...anyway, I heard people said (urban myth?) that authentic Perlis Laksa use eels as its main ingredient..

recipe sample - http://www.docstoc.com/docs/8290699/My-Resipi-Laksa-Kuala-Perlis/

Penang Assam Laksa
I prefer Kedah Laksa, assam laksa is an acquired taste for me, my bf is chinese so sometimes when we eat at chinese stalls, there's nothing much that I can eat except assam laksa, rojak, grilled fish or grilled tauhu. After a few bowls of assam laksa over a number of years, I now love this version...

recipe sample - http://www.penangchefs.com/recipe.aspx?recipeid=22

Curry Laksa
Spicier version of nyonya laksa

Sample recipe - http://kuali.com/recipes/viewrecipe.asp?r=830 (for halal version, opt out pig's blood)

Nyonya Laksa

Quite similar to Singapore laksa but spicier...
Sometimes when I have craving for this laksa, I'll have it at either Secret Recipe or Nyonya Colors http://food.malaysiamostwanted.com/venues/nyonya-colors-nyonya-foods-one-utama

Nyonya Colors also offers Thai Curry Laksa & Dry Curry Mee (close relatives to Nyonya Laksa)

recipe sample - http://www.malaysianfood.net/recipes/recipelaksalemak.htm and http://resepi.mesra.net/Detailed/758.shtml

Pot Laksa
Another variation of nyonya laksa. My sis's specialty. She found a recipe in a recipe book, modified it and made it her own. Another dish that we'll always enjoy whenever she has makan makan do at her place.

recipe sample http://www.101cookingrecipes.com/nyonya-recipes/pot-laksa.php

Mi Kari
Malay version of Nyonya Laksa, less creamy, spicier. Taste like you are eating your noodles with thin curry...

Recipe sample - http://www.resepirrrecipe.com/recipe_details.php?rec_id=172

Sarawak Laksa
Will never eat this version in Peninsular Malaysia. Tasted horrible. But In Sarawak it actually taste quite nice.

recipe sample - http://www.1easyasianrecipes.com/borneo-recipes/sarawak-laksa-recipe.php

Singapore laksa
- not my favourite kind of laksa. Secret Recipe offer this dish in its menu

recipe sample - http://www.hpb.gov.sg/hpb/default.asp?pg_id=1488

Johore Laksa
- not my favourite, a bit too rich for me..

recipe sample - http://resepi.mesra.net/Detailed/3321.shtml

Kelantan laksa & laksam
My favourite during fasting month..

recipe sample http://qutreen.fotopages.com/?entry=1668638 and http://kuali.com/recipes/viewrecipe.asp?r=85

And many more variations that I've yet to try...