Friday, 27 June 2014

The Gate Cafe, Taiping

Are you in Taiping and looking for somewhere to eat? Check out The Gate Cafe Taiping branch.

I've actually been here years ago and recognised the place my partner chose for our *very late* lunch. It is right opposite the Taiping Hawker Centre, very easy to spot.

The Gate Cafe

Taste - #iLike 
Price - Affordable. All listed below for only RM37.40
Ambiance - Comfortable cafe with option to dine alfresco ala mamak restaurants

The Gate Cafe - Menu
The menu

The Gate Cafe - decor
World Cup mood here ;)

The Gate Cafe
The have upper floor but not sure if open to customers

The Gate Cafe - Cakes Display
Eh seriously try the cakes!

The Gate Cafe
Lemon + orange juice and iced white coffee

The Gate Cafe
Red velvet <3

The Gate Cafe - kuetiau ladna
Kuetiau (I hate this spelling, unfortunately it's the right one) ladna

Garlic Bread The Gate Cafe
Garlic bread

The Gate Cafe cocktail sausages
Cocktail sausages

The Gate Cafe - black pepper chicken
Black pepper chicken, tasted Hainanese to me :/

View from The Gate Cafe
View :)

Hope you'll enjoy their friendly service and tasty dishes and delicious red velvet!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Easy Baked Pasta

Easy Baked Pasta by Shea
Half portion cuz I'm too lazy to exercise

Ingredients for 2-3 portions

2 cups your fav pasta (I recommend spiral or shells)
4 sausages
Some salted butter to stir-fry the sausages
1 cup fresh tomato puree
1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Maggi Cukup Rasa (optional)
Pepper to taste
1 pcs cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tsp oyster sauce
2-3 tbsp frying oil


1) Boil pasta in water according to instruction (add some salt, yadayadayada). Took me less than 5 mins, I like my pasta chewy, not soggy.

2) Strain the pasta, put aside. You may choose to keep some of the water for the 1/4 cup we'll need later.

3) Now melt the butter in a sauce pan & stir-fry the sausages until almost crispy. Add tomato puree, salt, pepper, oregano, and Maggi Cukup Rasa (optional).

4) Add warm water to get desired thickness. I like mine closer to thick than thin. Once the sauce starts to bubble, turn off the heat.

5) Mix sauce & pasta well. Pour half into oven-safe dish, add a layer of cheddar cheese, then pour the rest. Top with grated mozzarella cheese.

6) Bake at 180°C for 20 mins.

7) Meanwhile, heat frying oil in a wok or pan; which ever you're comfortable with.

8) Ensure frying oil is hot enough before adding in beaten egg. Keep stirring & let egg fry for a bit before adding oyster sauce. Make it crispy!

9) Take out dish (careful HOT!) from oven, top with the crispy egg & grated parmesan and bake for another 5 mins.

Done! Share with me pics if you try this recipe :)

Kota Ngah Ibrahim, Matang, Perak

Ready to get to know Kota Ngah Ibrahim (Facebook page by Leisure & Incentive Tours Sdn Bhd) better?

Free Admission
Operating Hours: 9 am to 5 pm daily. Closed for Friday prayer between 12.15 pm to 2.45 pm.

Kota Ngah Ibrahim

Left home an hour later than planned, we went straight to Kota Ngah Ibrahim in Matang. The first to arrive, we had the place to ourselves for over half an hour before a family arrived followed by a group of school kids. The latter being my museum pet peeve, I was glad that I was almost done touring the place anyway. Spent longer than I planned in Kota Ngah Ibrahim as I saw more than I expected to see.

Kota Ngah Ibrahim Complex

Kota Ngah Ibrahim ground
What's left of the wall

Kota Ngah Ibrahim
Huge, sprawling ground

First we roamed the outdoor area of the complex. You might want to come early in the morning (the place opens at 9 am daily) so you can explore the ground comfortably and not sweat bullet. There are 2 guard towers (more like a platform, really) and 2 wells in the complex. See if you can spot them.

Lookout Tower
Rather well-preserved compared to the one in front

Old well
Old well. Don't go throwing coins for luck in there!

Kota Ngah Ibrahim Lookout Tower
The other tower and well. Nope, not a wishing well either

Kota Ngah Ibrahim well
The 'new' well built by Brits (kut, cannot recall)

There's also a monument & Ngah Ibrahim's own grave in the complex. Go say a little prayer or recite the whole Yassin if you wish. They've built a cozy space with wudhu' area for visitors' convenient.

Makam Ngah Ibrahim
Pathway to the grave

Makam Ngah Ibrahim

The caretaker was very friendly. He gave me a leaflet on the complex and another brochure of museums in Malaysia. Now I can tick off all the museums I've visited! =D 

Malaysia Museums Map
Malaysia Museums Map

He also answered my questions about the place and told us about the famous Mee Udang Kuala Sepetang. I heard him suggesting a few other places of interest to the big family that arrived while I was looking at the exhibitions in the gallery. Such dedication!

The building housed exhibitions on the history of Taiping, in particular the stories about mining on the ground floor. Stories about old kings and lords are on the upper level. And since the building was used as prison, school, office and even court, certain areas displayed diorama of its various functions throughout the year.

Kota Ngah Ibrahim

Kota Ngah Ibrahim - Prison

Kota Ngah Ibrahim - office
Shea & Museum Mirrors Series

Ngah Ibrahim's Bedroom
Ngah Ibrahim's bedroom. Not sure if purple was actually his fav colour

Kota Ngah Ibrahim
Suddenly je got class kan :p

Kota Ngah Ibrahim- A shield
Yang dikasihi. Pahlawan Melayu. Mempertahankan, Tanah Air. I cannot read the fancy khat in the middle :(

Kota Ngah Ibrahim
View from the tower/platform. Capt. Speedy's house on the right- museum's office now. No, that's not him in neon green.

It was interesting standing on the sentry tower imagining how the place used to look like. See it for yourself!

Kota Ngah Ibrahim once upon a time
The fort ground looked smaller once upon a time

P.s. LinaHilmin on Twitter shared that there's a tree where the hanging of Dato Maharaja Lela and Dato Sagor took place, in front of the complex. There's also Dato Sagor's mausoleum near the Matang mosque.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

To Taiping: Weekend Before Ramadhan

Date: 21 - 22 June 2014 (Saturday & Sunday)

It was the weekend before Ramadhan and the initial plan was to eat to our hearts' content before fasting next week. Of course, fate had other plan on agenda and we got a relaxing weekend instead.

Kota Ngah Ibrahim entrance
Kota Ngah Ibrahim Complex

Left home an hour later than planned, we went straight to Kota Ngah Ibrahim in Matang. The first to arrive, we had the place to ourselves for over half an hour before a family arrived followed by a group of school kids. The latter being my museum pet peeve, I was glad that I almost finished touring the place when they arrived. Spent longer than I planned in Kota Ngah Ibrahim as I saw more than I expected to see.

Kota Ngah Ibrahim

Kota Ngah Ibrahim
Ngah Ibrahim's home

Running away from the boisterous school kids, we headed to First Galleria in Taiping town. You can use Waze to find the place. It is right opposite an abandoned building which we later learned was the railway office, near a school.

First Galleria Taiping

First Galleria Taiping
Welcome to Jalan Stesen!

First Galleria offered a guided tour. Although visitors are not allowed to take photos IN the gallery, there are certain rooms in which they allow you to do so- the friendly tour guide will let you know. If you're not sure, just ask.

Tour will end in the souvenir shop and you can grab something you fancy from here. They also sell cold drinks in case you want to re-hydrate.

From First Galleria, we drove to the Taiping Museum. It was already noon and there were a few cars and a couple of buses. Oh great! I thought. The school kids are here already. Took my time in the car to slather myself with sunblock. Wettest place in Malaysia they said? Pfftttt~ More like as warm as anywhere in Malaysia!

Taiping Museum

After taking photos of the outdoor exhibition, we went to see the indoor exhibition. Entry fee was RM2 per adults. The first gallery was dedicated to the museum itself. Well, it is after all one of the oldest museum in Malaysia :) School kids sat in groups under the airconds, seeking refuge from the afternoon heat. Oh well. As long as they aren't noisy.

I spoke too soon. The Nature Gallery were filled with primary kids chattering loudly, taking pics of themselves in various poses or talking on their phone to concerned parents. OK, to be fair some of them did look at the stuffed animals in awe. It isn't often you can see a bull bigger than me!

I could hear the very loud footsteps of the kids on the upper level from the Galeri Kebudayaan (Culture Gallery) in the ground floor. Once they were gathered and ushered away by the teachers, I climbed up the stairs to see the exhibition in Galeri Orang Asli and Tembikar (Aborigines and Pottery Gallery) but didn't stay long as a few families joined us and their kids decided that it was fun to yell and stomp around and the parents just didn't care.

Notice that I haven't mention any food yet?

I wasn't in my best temper and it was almost time to check-in anyway. Skipped lunch and went straight to the Regency Seri Warisan Hotel. Good service and spacious, comfortable room. You should check it out if you're visiting Taiping.

Hotel Seri Warisan Regency
New hotel apparently. I dunno how new.
Hotel Seri Warisan Regency Taiping
Comfy bed :)

Woke up after a short nap and I couldn't tahan my hunger already. So we went to The Gate Cafe for breakfast + brunch + lunch + tea, a short drive away from the hotel. OK, not very short but still in town. Turned out I've been to the cafe before. I just didn't recognize the name.

Red Velvet at The Gate Cafe
Yummy red velvet <3

A worthy place to dine in. I love their red velvet cake! There is also a satay restaurant next door and a BBQ place opposite the road if you're interested. Next door is the hawker centre so yeah, plenty of choices in the area.

Back to hotel, we rested and showered before heading out again to Taiping Zoo & Night Safari after maghrib. I wanted to arrive at 8 pm sharp to avoid a long wait at the tram but it turned out that there were not many visitors and I only had to wait for about 10 minutes before a tram arrived. I was the first in line!

Taiping Zoo & Night Safari
Wearing comfortable shoes didn't help much when you're just lazy

Chose a seat behind the driver (bad decision, should have pick the one after) and off we went on a drive around the zoo! Some spots were not well-lighted so visitors might want to walk in group and bring torchlight. I remembered the animals to be much more active during my last visit. Maybe they were still tired from the recent school holiday.

The night zoo is opened until 1 am on Saturday but we didn't stay that long. I got tired of walking after completing the east loop. The plan was to go to Restoran Selera Malam in town.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find the restaurant even after finding the correct address via Waze. So instead, we drove around the Taiping Lake Garden a few rounds before I decided that we should go to the Taiping Sentral.

Most of the outlets were closed by the time we arrived. Cinema still operating but I've watched most of the shows so we went to the 7 Eleven to get something for breakfast and dropped by Starbucks for coffee to go. There is a mamak restaurant and McDonalds in the mall if anyone wants dinner. Papa Rich is opposite the road.

Stayed in the room till check-out time the next day. Like I said earlier, a relaxing weekend this one turned out to be :)

Friday, 20 June 2014

Amansari Residence Resort, Masai, Johor

Why Masai? What to do in Masai?

Well, if you are not 'balik kampung' for raya/CNY or have siblings studying in UiTM/Excelsior/UniKL or planning to eat/play golf nearby, there's not much reason to need a hotel in Masai. But when you do need to stay, you might want to consider Amansari Residence Resort.

Booking - Very easy, multiple ways
Rate - No idea. Mom paid :p Affordable, I'd say.
Location - Average. Easily found.
Dining - Average
Service - Good

Overall: 3 <3<3<3 of 5

Check-in and check-out were quick. Room was not very spacious but comfortable and equipped with mini bar, iron, ironing board, basic toiletries, hair dryer, etc. There's a safety box as well but it was already locked. Room was clean even if the balcony was quite dusty.

Bathroom. Toilet is behind the door

Shower and the basic toiletries

Comfy bed
Comfy bed and pretty painting


Mini bar. Hairdryer in the drawer, iron & ironing board in the wardrobe

A bit dusty :(

View from the room
View from the room

I ordered room service for dinner. Asked for no veggie fried rice but what arrived about half an hour later was veggie fried rice. When I told room service the problem, they sent the correct plate and let us keep the wrong plate FOC. Commendable in crisis management, I'd say!


Veggie fried rice
This is supposed to be the fried rice no veggie. Not a piece of chicken in sight

Fried rice no veggie
The one they sent after I complained. At least there's a prawn there! Yay!

Breakfast was okay. Plenty of tables available and they served variety of food (mainly local) at the buffet line. Taste wise- average. There are swimming pools and dipping pool (or was it jacuzzi?) but I didn't take a closer look. It's shaded (in the building) so, meh for me. Gym looked clean and well-equipped. They also have spa in the complex.


Breakfast area

Breakfast area
From the lobby, walk down the stairs

View of breakfast area
Breakfast area from outside

Breakfast area

Plenty of parking available. Once you get your room card, you can touch that to enter instead of taking the ticket.

In short, this hotel is a good choice if you need to stay in Masai :)