The biggest Sarawak Laksa, the backfire and the positive publicity via negative publicity

November 4, 2016 by  
Filed under Sarawak

Unlike any other laksa from West Malaysia where the noodle are thick, rice vercemili or beehoon is used for Sarawak Laksa. The paste for Sarawak Laksa can be bought at most shops. It usually contains shallots, garlic, chillies, galangal, peanuts, candlenuts, lemon grass and a mix of spices. This paste will be cooked with coconut milk to make the gravy. This laksa will be served in a bowl topped with omelette strips, chicken strips, peeled boiled prawns, freshly chopped coriander leaves and optionally lime and sambal belacan.

Sarawak Laksa had been given so many positive reviews; that even world-renowned chef Anthony Bourdain had listed this dish in his Top 10 wish list of his food market in New York.

Just recently, an attempt for a record in Malaysia Book of Records for the biggest bowl of Sarawak Laksa was held at Plaza Merdeka shopping mall. A total of 15 cooks, a giant bowl with chopsticks, over 500 kg of ingredients and 18 hours of hard work had produced a giant bowl of Laksa Sarawak.

Giant Sarawak Laksa at Plaza Merdeka

Giant Sarawak Laksa at Plaza Merdeka

Image credit to The Borneo Post

 

The main purpose of this event was actually to promote Kuching as a tourism destination not only for international tourists but also for locals and other Malaysians. It was also an effort to promote the local delicacy.

Nobody had expected this event to not go as planned when about 100kg of Sarawak Laksa paste, 225kg of beehoon, 90kg of prawns, 1,008 eggs, 90kg of bean sprouts, and 80kg of chicken were wasted.

The dish was cooked on Friday morning. It was actually inevitable to throw away this huge amount of laksa because of the use of coconut milk in the gravy. It needs constant heating for it to maintain its quality but to heat up a giant bowl of laksa of 3.1 metre wide would require several stoves. Furthermore, the bowl was not made in a way for it to absorb heat.

In their Facebook account, the shopping mall management had apologised for the oversight and misjudgement. The original plan was to serve this giant bowl to the public. However, after collective reconsideration, they decided against it as the bowl was not covered in the middle of the atrium where it was prone to catch some undesirable elements during the event that made it unhygienic. Instead, they served a fresh batch of an equivalent 1500 bowls of laksa the following day.

Even though this event had some negative feedbacks, the shopping mall management agreed that food wastage is a huge concern in Malaysia. As part of their effort to minimise wastage, they will provide containers at their food court ‘Food Plaza’ until the end of the year so that the customers can bring home the food that they purchased from the food court that they could not finish. The containers can be collected at the redemption counter at Level 3.

A negative publicity is always a good publicity as well.

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Nasi Lemak oh Nasi Lemak! Teh Tarik satu lagi

November 18, 2015 by  
Filed under Best Kuching Eateries

I have always loved Nasi Lemak ever since I went to College to study in West Malaysia. It has always been most Malaysians staple morning breakfasts. Not only was it cheap back then but it was also very filling, with its sambal ( prawn paste), egg, anchovies, peanuts , cucumber and coconut rice of course all wrapped up in coconut leaves. Of course there are those pick and pay where you can have the choice of adding on curry chicken, or even fried chicken. We would eat our Nasi Lemak with a glass of Teh Tarik.

Teh Tarik

Teh Tarik

Sometimes, when nasi lemak sellers tried to cut corners then you know as then the taste is not original anymore.

Someone recommended a new food stall right here in Kuching at Top 10 Café, Jalan Song, Kuching, as being the best in town, and so I did not hesitate to go check it out, and here below is my review of their Nasi Lemak.

Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak

The Nasi Lemak was RM6.50 . It comes with prawn paste, coconut rice of course, peanuts, split and cleaned anchovies, cucumber, hard boiled egg and some curry chicken pieces.

Anchovies: Initially I was of course impressed with the anchovies, and I thought, Hey! No stalls or restaurants have ever used this smaller size anchovies and it is even split and cleaned. This smaller size anchovies actually cost more compared to the larger size anchovies. On top of that, it was also split and cleaned.

Egg: They only have hard boiled egg and not the fried eggs which may be to the preference of some people.

Prawn Paste: At first glance of the prawn paste ( sambal) , I instantly knew that the chillies had been blended using a machine instead of the traditional method of pounding the chillies which would take more time to prepare. As they used a blender to grind it, so the chillies became more refined, which means that you actually needed more chillies to make the same amount of prawn paste.  This is of course not to their advantage, as chillies are rather costly these days, but if time is of essence, then they could consider preparing the chillies ahead of time. Pounding it is still the best.

The taste of the prawn paste needs to be a bit sweet, spicy and salty. I am pleased to say that they fulfilled this criteria. Some nasi lemak seller put too much belacan ( dried prawn paste) into the mix causing it to be a bit salty. They must put some Tamarind juice and sugar into the prawn paste to give it that soury kick In your tongue and also an added sweetness for that oomph!

Curry Chicken: They gave a few pieces of cut chicken. It was all right, not too spicy, or else it would be fighting with the sambal prawn paste for your attention.

Verdict:

Portion: 7/10

Taste: 7/10

Value: 8.5 / 10

In conclusion, kudos to the owner for selling all Malaysians beloved Nasi Lemak, and I do hope they take notice of my review above. Keep going and let folks in Kuching have more variety of food for breakfasts.

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Rainforest World Music Festival 2014

June 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Sarawak

Rainforest World Music Festival 2014 promises to be another exciting event this year. With local and international performers giving their best on this stage, this is the one event that you cannot miss.

One of Sarawak’s representatives is Nading Rhapsody, the famous Iban band, which performance mainly shows the Iban ethnic’s mythical story of Nading, the legendary god of a place called “Panggau Libau”. Nading Rhapsody is an Avant-Garde Borneo Ethnic Music band with young musicians. The members of this band are Boy Keevin (Composer / Bass Guitar), RaWa (Ruding / Acoustic Guitar/ Sape’), Yen (Tribal Percussion), Roy (Lyrics / Vocal / Chants), Christ (Lyrics / Vocal / Dance) and Opah (Vocal / Chants).

Nading Rhapsody from Sarawak

Nading Rhapsody, an awesome local group from Sarawak

Image credit to Rainforest World Music Festival Official Website

Another Sarawak’s groups are Sape & Warrior, a sape and warrior dance performance; Bisayah Gong Orchestra, which group members come from a village called Kampung Pengkala Madang in Limbang, Sarawak, performing their infamous unique and soulful music; Lan E Tuyang, leads by Mathew Ngau Jau, who has been playing the sape (boat shaped lute of Sarawak) since he was little; and Bedok Ensemble, which performance consist of playing bedok drums.

Geng Wak Long, the Kelantanese expertise in traditional art genres such as Wayang Kulit (Shadow Play), Dikir Barat, Kelantanese Silat, Makyung, Tari Inai and other north-east Malaysia arts is one of two representatives from Peninsula Malaysia. Geng Wak Long is made up mostly of family members, trained by the late Pak Awang Hamzah. Another group is Yayasan Warisan Johor Zapin Group that will perform the zapin dance, a traditional dance from Johor.

Geng Wak Long, the Kelantan representative

Geng Wak Long, the Kelantan representative

Image credit to Rainforest World Music Festival Official Website

Representative from our neighbouring country of Singapore is Ding Yi Music Company, which was formerly known as Arts Sphere Chamber Ensemble. Their captivating performance will charm the audiences with their vast repertoire that ranges from traditional Chinese music to contemporary avant-garde interpretations and cross-genre works.

Ding Yi

Representing Singapore is Ding Yi Music Company

Image credit to Rainforest World Music Festival Official Website

Talago Buni from Indonesia is a group that portrays the Minangkabau traditional music. There are three types of Minangkabau music which is the melancholic and mystical music from the highlands, music from the west-coast and music connected to the religious culture of Islam. These three types of music make Talago Buni special.

Then, enjoy the Japanese folk music performance from three splendid musicians from Japan who called themselves Ryuz. The members are Shigeri Kitsu, who performs folk singing while playing the folk drum; Nobuto Yamanaka, a superb tsugaru-shamisen (traditional string instrument) player; and Kazuki Kunihiro who compose the unique music for the group besides playing the drum.

Ryuz, the three talented musicians from Japan

Ryuz, the three talented musicians from Japan

Image credit to Rainforest World Music Festival Official Website

Look forward to an exciting performance from Canada by Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys. Their performance will surely give you an unforgettable experience. Watch Gordie MacKeeman’s thrilling dance style mixed with his great bluegrass vocals, Peter Cann’s powerful guitar solos, and the energetic multi-instrumental talents of Thomas Webb and Mark Geddes.

Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys

Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys

Image credit to Rainforest World Music Festival Official Website

Furthermore, dance along with Blackbeard’s Tea Party from England as they dazzled you with their unforgettable folk-rock extravaganza. The sound created from the combination of fiddles and squeezeboxes, guitar noise and synth bass, and a feast of international percussion will mesmerize you.

Blackbeards Tea Party from England

Blackbeards Tea Party from England

Image credit to Rainforest World Music Festival Official Website

Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino is an Italy’s representative, consists of a group of young performers re-inventing Southern Italy’s Pizzica musical and dance traditions for today’s global audience. Dakha Brakha is world-music quartet from Kyiv, Ukraine create a world of unexpected new music with their sound and soul element.

Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, a group of young performers from Italy

Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, a group of young performers from Italy

Image credit to Rainforest World Music Festival Official Website

Debademba is a duo formed by Abdoulaye Traore´ and Mohamed Diaby. The former is an exceptional acoustic and electric guitar performer that has mastered a wide range of African musical genres, while the latter has an extraordinary vocal capacity. Horomona Horo is a solo act from New Zealand. He has fused the traditional instruments of the Maori, taongapuoro (singing treasures) to create musical forms depicting their culture.

A group of street musicians from Tanzania who called themselves Jagwa Music surely captivate you with their music from the traditional and makeshift percussion and a battered vintage Casio. The two breathtakingly remarkable dancers and a lead vocalist are the front persons in the group. Their songs are mainly about survival in the urban maze, unfaithful lovers and voodoo.

Jagwa Music, a group of remarkable street musicians from Tanzania

Jagwa Music, a group of remarkable street musicians from Tanzania

Image credit to Rainforest World Music Festival Official Website

Other performers that you should look forward to are Jamie Smith’s Mabon from Wales, Kalakan from Spain, Karinthalakoottam from South India, Lo Còr de la plana from France, Stephan Micus from Germany and Son Yambu from Cuba.

Below is the showtimes taken from Rainforest World Music Festival website.

FRIDAY   20th June

TIME

THEATRE STAGE

JUNGLE STAGE

TREE STAGE

2.00 – 2.45 pm

TALAGO BUNI
(Indonesia)

3.30 – 4.15 pm

HOROMONA HORO
(New Zealand)

7.30 – 7.40 pm

SAPE & WARRIOR
(Sarawak)

7.40 – 8.15 pm

BISAYAH GONG ORCHESTRA
(Sarawak)

8.15 – 9.15 pm

KALAKAN
(Basque Country)

9.15 – 10.15 pm

SON YAMBU
(Cuba / UK)

10.15 – 11.15 pm

KARINTHALAKOOTTAM
(India)

11.15 pm  – 00.20 am

BLACKBEARD’S TEA PARTY
(England)

SATURDAY 21st June

TIME

THEATRE STAGE

JUNGLE STAGE

TREE STAGE

2.00 – 2.45 pm

DING YI MUSIC COMPANY
(Singapore)

3.30 – 4.15 pm

STEPHAN MICUS
(Germany)

7.30 – 8.30 pm

DAKHA BRAKHA
(Ukraine)

8.30 – 9.00  pm

YAYASAN WARISAN JOHOR ZAPIN GROUP
(Malaysia)

9.00 – 10.00 pm

JAMIE SMITH’S MABON
(Wales)

10.00 – 11. 00 pm

CANZONIERE GRECANICO SALENTINO
(Italy)

11.00 – 11.30 pm

NADING RHAPSODY (Sarawak)

11. 30 pm – 00.30 am

DEBADEMBA
(Burkina Faso/Ivory Coast/ France)

SUNDAY 22nd June

TIME

THEATRE STAGE

JUNGLE STAGE

TREE STAGE

2.00 – 2.45 pm

LAN E TUYANG
(Sarawak)

3.30 – 4.15 pm

RYUZ
(Japan)

7.30 – 8.15 pm

GENG WAK LONG
(Malaysia)

8.15 – 9.15 pm

LO COR DE LA PLANA
(France)

9.15 – 9.45 pm

BEDOK ENSEMBLE
(Sarawak)

9.45 – 10.45 pm

GORDIE MACKEEMAN & HIS RHYTHM BOYS
(Canada)

10.45 – 11.45 pm

JAGWA MUSIC
(Tanzania)

11.45 – 00.15 pm

FINALE
(The World)

Rainforest World Music Festival will be held at Sarawak Cultural Village on 20th to 22nd June 2014. Reserve a seat and we will see you there!

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Grand Margherita Hotel Kuching

March 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Hotel Reviews, Sarawak

Grand Margherita Hotel, formerly known as Holiday Inn is the only riverfront hotel in Kuching with a view of the Sarawak River and the colourful villages across the river. It is situated at Golden Triangle of Kuching, with Tun Jugah Shopping Center, Sarawak Plaza, Hills Shopping Mall and Parkson Riverside Complex that are within walking distance. Walking down the external hotel steps, you can see the Cat Family Statue, the symbol of Kuching, across the road and the first McDonald restaurant in Kuching is also a plus.

Grand Margherita Hotel Map

Grand Margherita Hotel Map

Along the Waterfront, 2-minutes walk from the hotel, you get to see sampans in the river for people to get across the river to the other side. However, you can see the Astana and Fort Margherita from Waterfront without the need to hop on the boats. You can also walk to the Main Bazaar, where you can find most souvenirs sold with cheap prices. A five minutes’ walk south from the hotel, you can find Topspot Food Court located on the top level of a multi-level car park, a famous local seafood eatery and many restaurants can be found there.

Poolside at Grand Margherita Hotel overlooking the Sarawak River (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita Hotel)

Poolside at Grand Margherita Hotel overlooking the Sarawak River (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita Hotel)

The hotel has an outdoor pool, a health club and a children’s pool. The hotel also provides 24 hour room service, meeting rooms and playground. The hotel has a tour desk and if you want to visit the local beach and Sarawak Cultural Village, shuttle services to Damai and Santubong are available. Airport transfer service is also available, and for your information, the distance from the airport to the hotel takes about 20 to 30 minutes car ride.

Health room, one of the facilies available at Grand Margherita Hotel Kuching (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita Hotel)

Health room, one of the facilies available at Grand Margherita Hotel Kuching (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita Hotel)

The hotel also features valet laundry, wedding service, banquet room, first aid assistance, safe deposit box, wakeup call service, currency exchange, dry cleaning service, security and walking area.

The Grand Margherita Hotel has several restaurants. Mei San Restaurant serves chinese cuisine for lunch and dinner, while Orchid Garden Coffee House, the hotel’s main restaurant for all-day dining, serves continental and local delicacies. All the food served at both restaurants are halal.


Delicious food served at one of Grand Margherita Hotel restaurant (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita facebook page)

Delicious food served at one of Grand Margherita Hotel restaurant (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita facebook page)

There are 288 guestrooms at Grand Margherita Hotel to offer you a comfortable stay. The features include complimentary high speed internet access, television with satellite channels, coffee/tea maker, complimentary bottle drinking water, mini bar, IDD telephone, private bathroom, in-room safe, iron and ironing board and many others. This hotel also offers special facilities for disabled person too.

Scenery of Sarawak River from the Riverview rooms (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita Hotel)

Scenery of Sarawak River from the Riverview rooms (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita Hotel)

For The Executive Club guestrooms, which is ideal for business traveller, the hotel provides complimentary high speed internet access, dedicated Club Services Assistant, executive lounge, conference room, computer with high speed internet access, complimentary buffet breakfast at Executive Club Lounge, complimentary coffee/tea and complimentary evening hors d’oeuvres and cocktails from 5pm to 7pm.

One of the Superior Deluxe rooms (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita Hotel)

One of the Superior Deluxe rooms (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita Hotel)

With a choice of twin double beds or a King sized bed, guests can choose to have Deluxe, Superior, Executive or Junior Suite, of course with different prices.

If you are looking for a hotel to stay in Kuching, do not hesitate to book a room from this 4 star hotel and you will not be disappointed.

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Kuching, The Cat City – It is not just about cats

February 7, 2014 by  
Filed under General

Kuching is the capital of Sarawak. While it is a famous tourists destination, it also has a unique name. When Malaysians hear the name, the first thing that pops to their mind is cat. “Kucing” means cat and “Kuching” is the old spelling for it. Cat statues can be seen in the city mostly in the Golden Triangle of Kuching. Contrary to the belief that the city got its name from felines straying around the city, it is not how it got its name.

The Great White Cat Statue in Kuching dressed for Chinese New Year

The Great White Cat Statue in Kuching dressed for Chinese New Year

The city was called Kuching since James Brooke arrived and nobody knew when it started to be called that name. Some said that it was supposed to be “CoChin”, which means “harbor” in India. Merchants from India used to stay in Kuching on the way to China or on their way back home.

Other theory states that it was named after a tree, “pokok mata kucing” or “dragon’s eye fruit” (Euphoria longan) that could be seen on the riverside of Sungai Kuching. Another source said that the name Kuching was taken from the name of the river, Sungai Kuching, that used to exist between Chinese Museum and Tua Pek Kong. However, the river is no longer there as they have built the roads.

Sarawak was ruled by the Brookes or widely known as the Rajahs from 1841 to 1941. Throughout the years, lots of colonial building had been established.

Astana viewed from the Kuching Waterfront

Astana viewed from the Kuching Waterfront

Kuching has many interesting heritage for people to see. Historical buildings, built mostly along Sarawak River, have been revived by the Sarawak Heritage and Tourism Ministry. As most of them are popular tourists’ destinations, the buildings are well maintained. The Astana, once home for the White Rajahs of Sarawak is situated across from Kuching Waterfront. It can be viewed from Waterfront or you can hop on the sampan to take a close up view of Astana. Fort Margherita is also across the river and to go there from The Astana, you can walk there by passing the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building.

Brooke Memorial, situated in front of Old Kuching Courthouse

Brooke Memorial, situated in front of Old Kuching Courthouse

At the Waterfront, you can see the Square Tower, near the grand stand. Water fountains are situated in front of the tower and colourful lights illuminate the fountains at night emphasizing the features of the tower. From the tower, Brooke Memorial that is in front of the Old Kuching Courthouse can be seen across the road. It displays the silhouette of Charles Brooke, the second White Rajah of Sarawak. The Old Courthouse is now known as Sarawak Tourism Complex. It also houses Magenta Restaurant, the winner of The Most Innovative Fusion Restaurant by Tourism Malaysia in 2010. You can reach The Round Tower after a short walk north of the courthouse. Near the tower is the General Post Office building and The Pavilion which houses the Textile Museum.

General Post Office Building that was built in Kuching in 1931

General Post Office Building that was built in Kuching in 1931

Nowadays, Kuching is a popular tourists destination in Malaysia. People from Peninsula Malaysia often visit this city for holiday. Apart from shopping, places like Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Sarawak Cultural Village and Jong’s Crocodile Farm may be another few favourite stop for these tourists.

Having said that, after the city tour of Kuching, if you are into nature and adventure, your main stop would be Bako National Park. If you are into culture, your favourite stop would be Sarawak Cultural Village.

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Santubong Homestay Hari Raya Gathering, an upcoming signature product for Sarawak

September 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Sarawak

Perfomers

Perfomers

The State and Federal Ministry of Tourism together with Santubong Homestay, had organized a Hari Raya Gathering to bring together homestay operators and tourism agencies on the 24 August 2013.  The gathering was also organized to allow homestay operators to promote their products and also to forge a network together with tourism companies and agencies that were present together in that time.
The organization of Sarawak Homestay Operators was officially launched on 25 August 2012 and the objective of the founding was to guide the homestay operators to increase their quality, quantity and also their exposure. Up to now, there are more than 30 villages and longhouses in Sarawak that are registered with the Ministry of Tourism.
time schedule

event time schedule

During the Hari Raya Gathering, other than the handicrafts which were displayed at the entrance, there are also various performances such as a comedy skit, a skit on the Malay wedding ceremony, a ceremony on the cutting of Hari Raya pulut, and other performance art such as dances, singing and Sarawakian Malay Gendang. The main objective of the gathering was to promote the organization and the event will be broadcast on the internet ie YouTube, Facebook and various other social media platform, and also in different languages. The product will be made a signature product for the homestay organization.
Malay wedding gown red

Malay wedding gown red

wedding gown Malay

white Malay wedding gown

Malay wedding gown black

Malay wedding gown black

Malay wedding gown red top

Malay wedding gown red

This year, the operators of Homestay in Sarawak are expected to have an increase in income. This is following the federal government allocation of RM5.6 million into the upgrading of homestay facilities in the state.
One of the emphases made during the event was the security and hygiene of each homestay to prevent unwanted incidents. Besides that, homestay operators are also encouraged to keep records of their guest to make things easier for the homestay operator and the guest. This is to allow tourists who plan to stay at the homestay to feel safe and secure thus allowing the homestay to be rated and gain more customers in the future. Tourists of various nationalities attended the event. They are from Africa, Korean, Australian, UK, Canada, Philippines, Bangladesh etc.
Homestay operators in Sarawak are expected to do better this year. With an income amounting to 1 million by 28 homestays last year, the income generated this year would hopefully be bigger with the help of the federal government in funding the upgrading of their facilities.
Malay wedding ceremony

Malay wedding ceremony

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Let’s Tee Off With MASwings Special Promo Fare

April 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Offer

Let’s Tee Off With MASwings Special Promo Fare

Have you picked your travel dates yet or are you still planning your destination? Are you looking for that affordable flight tickets? Well folks here it is! It is time to Tee Off with MASwings promo fare!

.

Let’s Tee Off With MASwings promo fare price are from Kuching to Balikpapan at RM 99, Kuching to Pontianak at RM 160, and Kuching to Bandar Seri Begawan at RM 145!

.

You may start your booking now as seats are limited and travel any time before the end of July 2013!

.

maswings-let-us-tee-off-1

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U Garden Steamboat and Crystal Grill

October 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Best Kuching Eateries

The U Garden Steamboat and Crystal Grill in Song Plaza, Jalan Song Kuching is the latest happening eatery in town. This restaurant offers a good selection of fresh seafood such as crabs, fish and prawns, a wide variety of vegetables and meat for customers to steam or as they like. These delightful varieties of food are lined up at the counter where you would make your selection before proceeding to cook them in the steamer and grill provided at each table.

dscn0580

Apart from the fresh food on offer, U Garden Steamboat and Crystal Grill also offers a selection of fried food such as fried rice and noodles for you to choose from. If you are a bit hungry while waiting for your food to be cooked, you can have a little portion of rice or noodle beforehand!

One notable feature of U Garden Steamboat and Crystal Grill is that it uses special heat-tolerant crystal barbecue plate made from natural quartz mineral to grill the food. You would grill your food on the heat-tolerant crystal barbeque plate. Instead of using oil to heat up the plate, you will pour water over the plate. The plate will then turns orangey red and be ready to grill any food. That method in itself is very interesting which definitely makes your grilling experience an unforgettable one.

dscn0572

You don’t even have to use butter or oil to cook the food on the grill. The radiation that the heated crystal plate generates is able to kill harmful bacteria and remove any unsightly odours. This makes for a much healthier dining environment without the smoke usually associated with restaurants of this type.

dscn0557

If you are steaming your selection of food, you can either cook your food with either tomyam or chicken soup. This gives you a wider choice on how to prepare your food.

You also can choose from several types of dip to accompany your food ranging from soya sauce with chilli to the fiery sambal sauce.

U Garden Steamboat and Crystal Grill offer a free flow of soft drinks, hot drinks, ice-creams and desserts. This restaurant serves desserts such as the cool and refreshing ais kacang and ais jagung. There is also a good selection of fresh fruits such as watermelons and papayas.

You have an option of dining indoor in an air-conditioned room or outdoor while enjoying the fresh air. As U Garden Steamboat and Crystal Grill is located on the second floor, you can have a good view of the people passing by if you opt for outdoor dining.

The undoubtedly unique U Garden Steamboat and Crystal Grill opens from 5.30pm till 11pm on weekdays. On weekends it opens from 11.30am till 2pm and 5.30pm till 11pm. You would only need to pay around RM29.90 per adult and RM16 for a child between 2 to 9 years old. The good news is that if you’re 60 years old and above you’ll get 25% discount. This is indeed a real value for money after considering what is on offer here. If you go there on your birthday, you’ll only have to pay half-price.

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Fairy Cave in Bau, Sarawak

June 20, 2012 by  
Filed under General

Fairy Caves and the Wind Caves near Bau Town in Sarawak are one of the must see places in Kuching, Sarawak. If you are into nature, these limestone cave would really interest you.

The Fairy Cave Kuching Sarawak is about 45km from the Kuching city centre and a 45minutes drive will get you there if you know the way. Folks here are friendly enough to show you the directions.
The Fairy Cave is roughly 8km away from the nearest town called Bau is a former gold mining town in the 1850s. There are hardly any road signs leading to this place, so just drive all to way to Bau town, from there you will see a sign that says Gua Kapor, which is the cave’s name in Malay. If you see a sign that says Tasik Biru or Blue Lake, you’re at the right direction. The Fairy Cave is located in the Bukit Kapor area. It was formed some 100-150 million years ago. There will be a mini mart just before the turning into Fairy Cave; you may want to stop here to get bottled water as there are no other stops after this. There are comfortable toilets made available at the base of Fairy Cave.
You will know when you reach Fairy Cave because there will be roughly 4-5 flights of stairs leading to the mouth of the cave. There used to be an old stairway that is no longer in use on the right hand side of the entrance. There are no entrance fee leading  to Fairy Cave Bau. The only “price” you’ll be paying is the steep walk up stairways. Do wear comfortable walking shoes and proper hiking attire as the floor and stairway area can be wet and very slipery.
Do bring torchlights along too as there will be area where you will be climbing up stairs in total darkness. Just after the mouth of the Fairy Cave, you’ll be going through a narrow tunnel that has a stair upwards. If you’re claustrophobic, you will be afraid at this point. Once you pass this tunnel, you’ll start seeing bright light that shines through the Fairy Cave’s roof.
Fairy statue at Fairy Cave, Bau

Fairy statue at Fairy Cave, Bau

You must be wondering why they called this the Fairy Cave. At the peak of the stairs, You will get the answer. There is this Fairy Statue in the cave that droplets of water from the cave ceilings on it’s head and it is believed to be holy water. Eventually the point where the water drops is no longer directly on the Fairy Statue’s head, but a few feet away. You will also see figure of Guan Yin, which is a Chinese Goddess of Mercy that is mystically formed on the rocks. Other figures are also visible and do not be surprised to see burnt incense stick and prayer materials all around the cave.
In the Fairy Cave, you will be able to hear the loud noise by bats. At the peak of the Fairy Cave, you’ll feel a cool breeze.
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Gawai Special Package 18 February 2012

May 23, 2012 by  
Filed under General

Ministry of Tourism Sarawak, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) have been working closely together to create a ‘Gawai Special Package’ for locals and foreign visitors alike to come to Sarawak and experience the unique ethnic festival of Gawai Dayak which is celebrated on 1 and 2 June annually.
This new tourism product was launched by Sarawak Tourism and Housing Development Minister, Datuk Amar Abang Haji Johari Tun Openg at SCV located some 40km from the city centre on February 9, 2012.
Johari said the uniqueness of the Gawai Dayak celebration which he said was a rich resource of the state and it should be shared with the rest of the world. He added that the Gawai Special Package was crafted to make Gawai celebration as one of the main visitors’ attractions in Sarawak to promote the unique traditions and cultures of the Iban, Bidayuh and other ethnic groups of the Dayak community that have connections with each other.
“The important element of this package is the culture exchange between locals and visitors as they experience our way of mingling with the various races in the state that conforms to the 1Malaysia concept,” he said.
The Minister applauded the effort made by Ministry of Tourism Sarawak, STB and SCV in coming up with this Gawai package which would help to showcase to the masses about the state’s various ethnic groups, its different cultures, traditions and beliefs.
He also urged travel agents to be creative in their holiday packages to entice more foreign and domestic tourists into the state.
Also speaking at the ceremony was Assistant Minister of Tourism Datuk Haji Talib Zulpilip who stressed that visitors of this Gawai Special Package are assured of an enjoyable, enriching and comfortable experience during their stay at Sarawak Cultural Village.
He said there were three types of the Gawai package which incorporated the different ethnic races in Sarawak and how they celebrate Gawai through activities such as Pun Ranyai, Miring, Lemambang, Ai Pengayu.The package also includes sumptuous breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared in a traditional style.
Apart from that, guests will have the opportunity to go on a jungle trekking at the foothills of Mount Santubong as well as enjoy the nature of Sarawak’s biodiversity in flora and fauna.
The Gawai Special Package are priced at RM399 per person for 2days 1night stay; RM499 per person for 2 Days 2Nights and RM599 per person for 4Days 3Nights respectively.
Bookings for the packages are open now and can be made online by logging on to www.SarawakBorneoTour.com or
click here to make bookings.

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Abell Boutique Hotel Kuching

December 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Hotel Reviews

Abell Hotel Kuching
Looking for an affordable hotel located at the heart of town? Abell Boutique Hotel would be one of the choices, with just 11 km from the Kuching International Airport or a short 15 minutes’ drive, the central locality provides an ideal check point to explore nearby places of interest.

You will be able to tour the historical city of Kuching on foot as the hotel is placed smack in the middle of Kuching, everything within walking distance. A walking tour is the best way to really appreciate the city, soaking up the sights, the sounds and the atmosphere.

A newly renovated place, the hotel is a 5-minutes’ walk from Waterfront Promenade where you can board the “water taxis” across the Sarawak River to the Malay villages and sample local delicacies at the food stalls.

Most of the main attractions are close to the Waterfront. Opposite the waterfront is the Main Bazaar Road, bustling with “old” Chinese shop-houses where you can shop for local food, arts, crafts, antiques including jewelries.
abell2
Further down the road, you can find historic colonial buildings such as the General Post Office and the Old Court House, which now houses the Tourist Information Centre and restaurants.
Round the corner, you will find the Spice and Textile Streets of Kuching aptly named Gambier and India Street. Spice and fabric lovers will be in for a surprise to the myriad of colours and choices available at an affordable price.

Modern shopping malls are just a stone’s throw away, whilst numerous pubs, trendy cafes and local eateries are aplenty surrounding the hotel.

There are 80 well-appointed guest rooms, but the rooms offered may be too small for some but it comes fully equipped. A flat-screen TV is featured in each of Abell’s non-smoking rooms. In addition, a tea/coffee maker and minibar are included. Attached bathrooms come with shower facilities and a hairdryer.

A business centre and tour desk is available to assist guests with their communication needs and sightseeing arrangements. A laundry service is offered.
Premium meats and a seafood selection can be enjoyed at Carvery Restaurant and Bar, which also serves a variety of drinks.

Go here to make your booking: bestkuchinghotels@gmail.com

All we need is your check in/check out dates and no of pax staying & of course type of room required.If you are looking for a 3 days 2 nights kuching tour, come check out Cuti-cuti Kuching Tour with us. Just

Email us: bestkuchinghotels@gmail.com

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Abell Hotel with the addition of Carvery Restaurant & Bar.

August 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Best Kuching Eateries

IT’s hard to miss Abell Hotel when you’re in Kuching.

Besides occupying a prime spot in the city centre, the hotel has a warm, earthy exterior that exudes a residential feel, giving would-be guests a small preview of what to expect inside – an inviting and conducive environment amidst a sleek, fresh, chic and contemporary interior.

The floors of this boutique hotel, which opened its doors last month, are boldly assigned with bright, lively colours while the 80 well-appointed guest rooms are conceptualised with simplicity and functionality in mind for comfort and convenience.

“The vibrant colours, depicting Malaysia’s vibrant culture and culinary heritage, are fused into our cosy guest rooms, funky lobby, multi-purpose function room as well as the Carvery Restaurant & Bar,” said general manager Christopher Tan.

He pointed out that all rooms were well sized with modern amenities such as flat screen televisions, plush 350-thread count bedding, invigorating rain showers in the bathrooms and complimentary wireless Internet with views of either the shopping district of the city or miniature rock garden on all its floors.

“We are also proud to be an entirely non-smoking hotel as we strive to provide our guests with a comfortable stay in a clean, smoke-free environment.”

The hotel’s attraction is none other than the Carvery Restaurant which has relocated from its old premise in Pending.

The restaurant, one of the top dining spots in town for the past decade, continues to live up to its name with its signature Brazilian churrascaria buffet dining concept.

Dining here typically begins with the restaurant’s signature creamy mushroom or vegetable soup, and the self-served hot and cold salad bar which offers wonderfully fresh greens that go beyond the staple iceberg and romaine lettuce.

Expect to find imported crisp arugula leaves, oak leaves, juicy cherry tomatoes among the range of salad mixes available as well as ready-made salads such as potato salad, green pea and corn salad, and coleslaw, to name a few.

Then it’s time for the meat course to commence much like a typical churrascaria, meaning Brazilian steakhouse. Guests are treated like royalty as passadors or meat waiters come out to serve from table to table with knives and skewers of various cuts of specially seasoned and slow-roasted meats, prepared specifically in the Brazilian barbecue churrasco style.

A selection of 14 air-flown premium quality meats and seafood all grilled to perfection will be served one at a time, including roasted lamb leg, lamb chop, rump steak, mussels, smoked beef, beef ribs, fish fillet, turkey ham rolls and an array of plump, juicy sausages.

The best among these delightful selections are the roasted lamb leg bursting with smokey and peppery flavour, beef ribs where the texture remains sufficiently tender and the rump steak, served perfectly at medium rare to create a flavoursome cushion-like bite.

To go with the meats and seafood, a variety of sauces such as black pepper, mushroom and mint are available but even without these condiments, the meats are perfect eaten on their own.

A quirky little feature at Carvery is a chip bearing the words ‘serve me’ on the green side and ‘thank you’ on the red side, given to diners at the start of their meal.

“The carvers will continue to serve guests unless the latter show the red ‘thank you’ side of the chip, signalling to the carvers to stop once the guests are done,” Tan explained.

Every meal is given the five-star treatment in the restaurant’s quest to provide a top-notch dining experience, and given the food and impeccable service, it’s no wonder the restaurant continues to be packed since its opening last month.

Pioneering yet another concept for its diners, Carvery has added a Butcher Counter offering wide choice of premium meats such as chilled USA beef, baby lamb rack, Wagyu beef, foie gras and New Zealand salmon steak, all at reasonable prices.

“Guests can make their choice of meat or seafood from our Butcher Counter and prices will be based on the weight of the meat or seafood they have selected,” Tan said, adding that guests could opt to have their selection grilled to perfection, accompanied by trimmings and salad or as  takeaway to be grilled at home.

“The Carvery dinner buffet, priced at RM56 per person, is also available for lunch with nine selections of delectable meat and seafood at RM38 per person.”

For those who aren’t meat lovers, the Carvery’s Salad Buffet is available at RM28 per person. There is also an ala carte menu with a good range of favourite appetisers and main courses.

The presence of Carvery Restaurant is a big plus for Abell Hotel which itself is fast becoming the choice of business and leisure travellers with its affordable rooms, high quality service and  prime location that allows easy access to shopping malls and sightseeing, tours and activities.

Make reservations to dine at Carvery by calling 082-239449.

Source: The Borneo Post 8 May 2011

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