Chinese New Year

Chinese new year (CNY) is always a great time of reunion.

CNY 2015 Reunion Dinner
CNY 2015 Reunion Dinner

Many of us may be working far away from home town, busy schedule prevents us to visit our parents and relatives often. CNY is one of those beautiful moments you can share with them.

2nd Day of CNY at Concorde Hotel

2nd Day of CNY at Concorde Hotel

I heard young people telling me that CNY is such a waste of time. Big groups of family friends gather together doing “aimless” activities like gambling, chatting (or gossiping), cooking and washing. CNY is no longer treasured by our younger generations. Why? I can think of a few reasons for this phenomenon.

  1. Nuclear family structure becoming a norm – How do we define a family now? The first thing comes into our mind is “husband, wife and children”, right? This is our society’s “normal” family structure. We do not encourage living with our parents because they tend to interfere our family affairs. There are many good points to live as a nuclear family – the couple can learn to cope with life independently and therefore develop maturity in their characters. The downside of this is that these children grow up without interacting with grandparents very much. Grandpa and gandma are guests who come to visit them once in a blue moon – and their visits often create arguments between their parents. The antidote is to increase the opportunities for the children to interact with extended family members like going outings, travelling, shopping or having meals together. Do not make CNY is the only time the children meeting their uncles, aunties, cousins and nephews.
  2. Parents’ hypocrisy – When we are not with the extended family, our children hear complaints and gossips about grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins and nephews. The words are filled with anger, jealousy and sarcasm. During CNY, they see parents’ facial expressions change and sweetest words come out “naturally”  from the lips – they are seeing the hypocrisy and they hate it. What the parents ignore or despise, the children reject. The antidote is to be REAL. We live a life which always give honest credit and praise to our extended family members, stop all the striving and jealousy among siblings but be thankful for each one of them.
  3. The influence of Western individualistic culture – The Western education and culture is mostly based on a self-centred operational mode. When parents are not placing importance to the value of community (which is one of the core value of Chinese or oriental culture), mutual love and generosity of blessing others, we should not be surprised by our children’s inclination of living a life looking at their own interest only. They will abhor any inconvenience arising from interacting with extended family which does not bring “benefits” to them. The small amount of money inside the red packets does not worth their effort to endure the inconveniences. The antidote is to teach community and oriental value by living examples. We practice generosity by giving to family and friends’ needs, encourage to live inconveniently for the sake of others, constantly remind our children of the positive value and root of the oriental culture and not idolising the Western culture and value (though they do have many good parts for us to learn from)

Of course there are many more reasons and ways of helping our children to appreciate CNY and the cultural value therein. You are welcome to give your suggestions via the comment in this post.

Our CNY tradition - Dim Sum brunch

Our CNY tradition – Dim Sum brunch

Above all, LOVE is the main reason for us to celebrate CNY. We want to share our love with our extended family members. We want to full heartedly wish them goodwill and blessings.

A Christian friend share this CNY song with me via his FB. It was composed by his church friends. I love it – CNY is a time we recount God’s grace and blessings and be thankful in our hearts. CNY is also a time we want to share with our extended family members, relatives and friends the love of Jesus as we experience it daily.

I hope you enjoy this new CNY song – 蒙福

Amazing Langkawi Beach

It was an amazing and relaxing holiday!

Most of the other vacations I had were joining a travel tour, trying to capture as many beautiful shots of the places and absorbing as much “information” about the places (which I forget 90% of it after a few months or even weeks).

This holiday is different. It was a self-drive holiday to Langkawi and Penang from 21st – 28th July, 2014.

Of course we did not miss the classical tourist attractions, but we spent much time just to enjoy a swim in the sea or in the hotel’s pool, find some interesting eating places where we could devour the food plus chat about anything and everything.

The following shot was taken by Wynne. I love it because of the relax atmosphere depicted here.

Lankkawi

I also managed to capture a beautiful sunset shot. A clean and pure shot of the sun and the waves. Continue reading

Yummy Dim Sum Places – It can be where memory resides

Hi, friends,

If you like Dim Sum, this post will be a great one for you.

Eating Dim Sum used to be a weekly activity in our family. From my childhood, we have been eating Dim Sum once a week. In those years, we went to Mandarin Palace in the then Hotel Merlin (now Hotel Concode). Until all of us grown up, this weekly activity also ceased with time.

Jin Xuan at Damansara Jaya used to be a “must visit” breakfast outlet every Sunday before we went to church. We did not order many, but the “must have’ items were century egg and pork porridge, char siew bao, chicken feet and deep fried sesame date. I was always puzzled why they insisted eating the same items every week. Now I know, elderly people usually resist changes, they like routines. They feel able to control them better.

Time has changed. I cannot have Dim Sum breakfast with my parents on Sundays anymore. Since Dad suffered from stroke, they have stopped coming to church with me on Sundays. Every time when I drove by Jin Xuan, I feel some ache in my heart – because those Dim Sum breakfast time is becoming our common memory. Of course, we can still bring them for Dim Sum. However, things are no longer the same, it is not a weekly event and Dad can no longer eat freely as before, sometimes we have to cut the meat into smaller portion for him.

I am thankful. Although Dad is not as healthy and able to walk freely as before, we could still have meal times with him in his near 90’s. I believe when one day when he is back to the Lord’s bosom, we are seeing one person less on the dinner table, all these common and insignificant activities are the only ones we have to remember him.

Here are the 15 great Dim Sum places, you can view the original post here.

* Some of the establishments below are not halal.

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Nothing quite beats good old dim sum when it comes to weekend brunch with family and friends. The variety of bite-size morsels allows us to savor a gamut of flavor and texture slowly while relaxing and spending quality time with loved ones.

However, with the huge number of dim sum joints across the region, it’s become somewhat challenging to find a good one. Here are 15 that you should visit on your next dim sum excursion. (Click on the restaurant names for addresses and OpenRice members’ reviews.)

1. The Ming Room @ Bangsar Shopping Centre

Thanks to its elegant and cozy environment as well as a diverse menu, this decade-old restaurant has been a favorite weekend hangout. The dim sum here is classic Cantonese cuisine with “Western” twists. Every morsel is well executed and presented. Must have its Chicken Pie with Mango Cubes, Pumpkin Wontons, and Chilled Durian Pudding(!). Its traditional staples, like the meaty and juicy shumai as well as golden-brown, crispy, flavorful taro “puff,” won’t disappoint your palate, either.

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2. Lai Ching Yuen @ K.L. Grand Millennium, Bukit Bintang

The name is synonymous with exquisite, contemporary Cantonese cuisine. The restaurant’s dim sum, comprising 50 unique dishes prepared live in an open kitchen, is out of this world. Everything is from scratch and made to order. Its durian pancake alone is enough to justify a splurge there. Also, fret not, vegans and vegetarians — they’ve got meat-free dim sum! The glutinous rice and deep-fried taro ring “basket” with fruit salad and toasted almond flakes (vegetarian) is mind-blowingly delicious.

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3. Grand Harbour @ Fahrenheit 88, Bukit Bintang

Opened just last year, the restaurant serves delicacies with distinct influences from Shanghai and Hong Kong. Its creative presentations of food — such as shrimp dumplings adorned with quails’ eggs to resemble sparrows; custard-filled sweet glutinous-rice balls that look like white mice; and durian “puffs” that remind you of swans — appeal especially to younger diners. Want to impress your guests even more? Order the “teapot,” which is golden custard bun in disguise! Gently tear it apart and watch how its warm, oozy, flowing sweet-salty custard makes the table swoon!

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4. Maju Palace @ Maju Junction Mall, Jalan Sultan Ismail

Hiding in a corner on the fifth floor of the lesser-known mall is this gem, which serves pork-free dim sum. Don’t be fooled by the description, however! The dim sum — from har kow and shumai to cha siu bao — is as tasty as “conventional” ones. Also don’t miss out on its more “exotic” offerings, like deep-fried mango roll, deep-fried squid cheese ball, and deep-fried soft-shell crab in steamed bun. Come on weekends, and you will get 30% off the bill!

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5. Jin Xuan Hong Kong @ Damansara Jaya, P.J.

This is one of P.J. folk’s favorite dim sum joints. It offers Hong Kong-style dim sum with contemporary touches that will impress your palate. Aside from the classics, including taro puff (“woo kok”) and shumai, you must try its infamous golden, custard-filled steamed bun. When torn open, its warm, sweet-salty, yolky custard comes oozing out, calling out for indulgence. Enjoy all these in the restaurant’s neat, family-friendly, air-conditioned setting. Since it runs from morning through evening, you can now have dim sum for dinner too!

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6. Restoran Ful Lai @ Bandar Manjalara, Kepong

Popular among the residents nearby. The variety here is interesting with choices of steamed and fried delicacies. Besides egg tart, cha siu bao, Hong Kong chee cheong fun, and other dim sum classics, the restaurant also whips up fusion dishes like bacon-wrapped steamed fish cake and baked cheese escargot. Both are must-tries! They are also famous for yong tau foo, which are stuffed ridiculously with fish paste, and jin dui (sesame-coated, deep-fried glutinous rice ball), which is chewy, sweet-salty, and nutty.

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7. Restoran Yuen Garden Dim Sum @ Bandar Puchong Jaya

This two-storey restaurant gets hectic on weekends. Besides its excellent har kow and shumai, its other dim sum offerings are impressive, such as the big, fat lor mai kai, taro puff, fried daikon cake, cha siu bao, and deep-fried prawn dumplings with mayonnaise. Meanwhile, its famous steamed Shanghainese dumpling bursts with flavorful broth inside and tastes even better when served with a ginger-vinegar dip. One caveat of dining here, however: the place isn’t air-conditioned!

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8. Yan Yan A One @ Old Klang Road

Dim sum cravings at midnight? No problem. This place runs 24/7, serving some of the most affordable, yet tasty dim sum! Its array of offerings is amazing; it includes “salad” shrimp rolls, spicy dumplings, XO sauce and Chinese chive dumpling, steamed pork ribs, cha siu chee cheong fun, and lor mai kai (steamed glutinous rice with chicken). Enjoy these and more in its air-conditioned restaurant with great service!

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9. Celestial Court @ Sheraton Imperial Hotel, Jalan Sultan Ismail

The acclaimed restaurant is running an all-you-can-eat-dim-sum special from now till Dec. 31 this year, between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sundays and public holidays! Be mesmerized by its impressive variety of 70-plus innovative dim sum delicacies, including mini minced seafood bun in homemade tom yum broth, bean curd skin rolls with sea cucumber, taro puff with miso meat and mushrooms filling, and pan-seared stuffed scallops with shrimp mousse and pumpkin puree. Its delicate Chinese desserts — like steamed custard-filled bao and chilled mango cream — aren’t shy on flavor and texture, too!

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10. Tai Zi Heen @ Prince Hotel & Residences, Bukit Bintang

Another popular spot for all-you-can-eat dim sum among KL-ites. It’s halal, and available on only weekends and public holidays. The variety here — from the steamed and baked to the pan- and deep-fried — will make your palate dance with joy. Some of the unique dishes are its shrimp dumpling with crabmeat and conpoy, bean curd wrap, and steamed purple spinach dumpling with Mexican clam. Of course, its other more classic dishes and desserts are not shabby at all!

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11. Xin Cuisine @ Concorde Hotel, Jalan Sultan Ismail

The dim sum here are still being served from carts (trolleys). On top of the classics like cha siu bao, fish balls, shumai, har kow, golden custard bao, and egg tart, try the restaurant’s signature stir-fried savory daikon cake and unique smoked duck dumpling. Finally, end with dainty desserts like its aloe vera sweet soup and modernized mango “pudding,” which comprises a creamy and silken mango puree smoothened with coconut milk, a scoop of mango ice cream, and a pool of pearls of sago.

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12. Key Hiong @ Taman Megah, P.J.

A favorite dim sum joint among the locals here. Some of its signatures are savory pan-fried daikon cake, lor mai kai, dai bao (i.e., giant steamed bun, literally), and shumai. It seems perpetually brisk, especially on weekends. Thankfully, its service is fast, plus food is reasonably priced by local standards. Still, it’s best to plan ahead for the best time, to avoid the crowd, when you want a visit here!

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13. Hong Kee @ various locations across the Klang Valley

Another success story like Jin Xuan, it has opened seven outlets across the region as of now! Savor its fresh, lip-smacking (nonhalal) dim sum in its cozy, family-friendly, air-conditioned interior. Adding to the atmosphere, as well, is its dim-sum-filled carts. If you are keen on learning about the art of making dim sum and recreating the foods at home to share with loved ones, perhaps enroll in their dim sum-centric culinary school!

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14. Mee Bon @ Jalan Ipoh

A go-to dim sum spot among the locals. It opens daily, and is always full in the morning. This 40-plus-year-old institution has been steaming up tray after tray of piping-hot nibbles to satisfy people’s cravings. Must-orders include its lor mai kai and various steamed buns, such as red (azuki) bean paste bao, cha siu bao and dai bao. One thing about their menu, though, is there are no fried items. (Not necessarily a bad thing!)

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15. Marco Polo @ Wisma Lim Foo Yong, Jalan Raja Chulan

Last but not least, the round-up wouldn’t be complete without a mention of this restaurant — one of the oldest in K.L. that have survived the fierce competition. Located in the heart of K.L., it serves halal, yet authentic dim sum. Its legendary har kow (shrimp dumpling) and shumai are hard to beat, alongside classic lor mai kai (steamed glutinous rice with chicken) and other moreish nibbles. Since it’s also famous for Peking duck, remember to save room in your belly for that!

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Best Cha Siew in town

I came across this blog. It is informative and will satisfy all cha siew (Cantonese BBQ pork) lovers in Klang valley.

The post was blogged by Open Rice and its website is http://my.openrice.com/info/landing/index.html

You will find different cuisines from diverse cultures.It’s handy when you want to find something to eat and yet run out of ideas.

Enjoy!

*The restaurants/stalls mentioned here are not halal

OpenRice Malaysia, Char Siew, Char Siu, Best, Klang Valley, Meng Kee, Siu Siu, Overseas, Tian Hong, Soo Kee, Char Siew Yoong, Peel Road, Choon Yien, Spring Golden, Famous Seremban Favourites, Toast & Roast

Char Siew or Cantonese Style BBQ Pork is so delicious that it, in my personal opinion, represents the peak of Cantonese Cuisine. The best Char Siew is normally prepared using pork loin with a good ratio of fat and lean meat. The pork loin is cut in strips, marinated with sauce, and roasted with an oven until the meat is juicy and slightly burnt at the edges. Some restaurants, such as Meng Kee and Soo Kee, are still using charcoal fire to roast the meat, producing Char Siew that is even more fragrant and finger-licking good!

Here is a useful guide to the 10 best Char Siew in the Klang Valley (click the restaurant name for info and OpenRice members’ reviews):

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Good news for Japanese food lovers in Kuala Lumpur

12 Japanese Restaurants in Kuala Lumpur that are insanely delicious

My daughter knows that her parents and brother are Japanese food lovers, so she shared the following blog post with us.

I also know that many of my friends love Japanese food too, so here it goes……check them out and see whether you can find good ones without the “exotic” price tag. 🙂 Continue reading

Life is like coffee

What do you value the most in life?

I received this inspirational video from Pastor Inky – and I like it!

It spells of wisdom from the professor and it highlights the main issues facing us today:

We chase after the unimportant things and forget about what is the most valuable.

What is valuable can be very different to different people. To me a simple test is this:

What money can buy cannot be most valuable;

I am looking for things which matter most in life – relationships.

Continue reading

How does the Chinese celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival?

abundantToday is 19th September, 2013 Thursday. I am rushing to post this before the midnight clock strikes.

What is so special about this day? It may not mean much to most people but it is an important day for the Chinese and Vietnamese. Today is the 15th day of the eighth month in the Lunar calendar,  a day of a full moon, which we commonly call it the Mid-Autumn Festival. (中秋节). Originally the Festival was to celebrate plentiful harvests and family reunion. Most families, especially children, love to light up lanterns and walk in the streets or gardens.

Moon in Chinese literature and songs

The Chinese has many poems (诗词)and songs associate with the moon. We have a special kind of love for the moon. During our secondary school time, we are to memorize many nice poems written by the ancient scholars. One of the popular ones is LiBai (李白)’s “Quiet Night Thought” (静夜思) written in the Tang Dynasty:

床前明月光, 疑是地上霜,举头望明月,低头思故乡。

 Moonlight shines on my bed side, it looks like snow on the ground. Raising my head I see the moon, bowing my head I think of my homeland.

An attempt to put music into this poem can be viewed below:

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The Bible encourages us to get drunk to combat with depression and poverty?

The Bible encourages us to get drunk to combat with depression and poverty?

Drink

A Joke

JokeBefore we look at this “serious” topic, I just would like to share with you a joke, you might have heard it before but anyway just enjoy it.

Lady Interviewer: Do you drink every day?

Man: Yes.

Lady Interviewer: 
How much a day?

Man: Around 3 six-packs starting at noon.

Lady Interviewer: How much does a 6-pack cost?

Man: Roughly $10.00 at a deli. Continue reading

Want versus Need – How to Save Money as a Family

buy or not buyTo buy or not to buy? That’s the question.

First of all, let’s not get confused with definitions. I am writing this to laymen and not economists. The latter has very different definitions on “need” and “want”. Here I define a “need” as a product or service that we require to live. A “want”, on the other hand, is something you desire to have but is not really essential to your life. Of course, our experiences tell us that it is not easy to differentiate between the two. When our income or earning power grows, some of the “wants” become “needs”.

When I was a student in overseas, I weighed my potential purchases very carefully and divided them into “needs” and “wants” before making the decision to buy orstudent not to buy. The relatively weak Malaysian ringgit really did not give me much choice but to be thrifty in all things.

When I started my family, I decided not to Continue reading

Weekend Refelection: Personal Time is Important

Bible and PrayMy personal time with God is a priority.

No matter how hectic my life becomes, I ensure that I have quality time for myself with God each day. I will read the bible and spend time to pray. It is my daily source of grace and strength to give my very best in life.

I have a career to maintain, children to take care of, a spouse to keep happy, and a church ministry to engage in. Yet I choose to make my personal time with God a priority, so that I have energy to give my best.

I take some time to spend with my God in reading the bible and praying. These are important moments for me to draw grace and strength from Him. At the samehobbies time, I also spend a few hours each week away from the hustle and bustle of my world. I take that time to pamper myself and wind down. I engage in activities such as badminton and reading that bring me peace.

These activities are key components in maintaining my sanity. In addition, Continue reading

Can High Cholesterol Food Good For You?

cholesterolOh! What shall I do? I have high cholesterol!

If you were like me few years back, “cholesterol” was a word that brought chills down the spine. Yes, I hated cholesterol, I heard so much negative information about it that I wanted to keep it away from me at all costs.

Just about 10 years ago when I start turned 40’s, I went for a blood test. My family doctor introduced the buzz about good and bad cholesterol, and the negative effect that bad cholesterol can have on heart health. With some high cholesterol foods now being considered good while others are bad, trying to determine which high cholesterol foods are actually beneficial for my heart’s health can be confusing!

Therefore, I decided to do a little research about”cholesterol”. It was not difficult to find information. I just googled “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol”…….wow, tons of information just appeared. It took me a bit of time to read through and digested the information so that it became useful to me. I just would like to share this with you, hopefully it is not too technical to understand. I can assure you it is not rocket science, all of us can understand and benefit from it.

Difference Between Good and Bad CholesterolGood & bad cholesterol

Scientifically, let’s look at the difference Continue reading

How to prevent heart diseases and stroke?

How to prevent more than 100,000 deaths an­nually

I related to my daughter the other day that I occasionally have chest pain. She asked me how I felt when I had the pain. I recalled it was something like someone twisting my heart and it was sharp pain. It lasted only about fifteen seconds or the most half a minute, then the pain was gone.

My daughter looked straight into my eyes, saying in a firm and “cold” voice, “Papa, you need to go and have a cardiologist to check on your heart condition. I cannot be sure but it doesn’t sound good.”­­

saltI am a Chinese belonging to the Hakka dialect group. My dialect group is famous in taking salty food. I understand from my father, who is now 88 years old, that this habit is deeply rooted because our ancestors used to be very poor and had no money to buy food. Therefore they added much salt to the tasteless food to make it more delicious. This habit passed down generations. If you patronize a traditional Hakka restaurant today, you would inevitably notice that the food is salty.

Salt brings out the flavor in foods. A dish without salt can taste very bare and it may not satisfy your palette. However, too much salt intake can also put you in an undesirable health hazard. Studies have shown that most Americans may be endangering our health by eating an excessive amount of salt. This eating habit is spreading fast in the other continents across the globe.

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How to avoid chronic diseases

Healthy LifestyleGo away! Diabetics, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases!

Recently my wife Julia told me of a friend who suffers from high cholesterol and she is required to take medication at an age of 25. I am just thinking what has gone wrong in this generation. Chronic diseases like diabetics, high cholesterol and high blood pressure used to befriend with older people. It is not true anymore. Young men and women started having these diseases as early as their teenager stage.

No one can deny that people in this modern society are forming bad eating habits that could become a time bomb in our body. The daily television programs and newscasts are talking about American’s bad eating habits. The unfortunate fact is not many people are doing anything about it. There seems to be a gap between our knowledge and action, awareness does not translate into motivation to do something. Sad, isn’t it?

What are some of the bad eating habits we have these days? I find the following 5 habits are commonly found in modern men and women, especially urban dwellers. Let us take special note and try avoiding them.

1) Eating junk food in large quantities

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How to Stay Fit Without Exercise Equipment

Health is Wealth? Yes, almost. Health is wealth

Everyone wants to enjoy good health and stay fit all the time. We know that our health is of utmost importance in our life. Without it, life can be miserable and depressing.  As what people commonly said, “No amount of money can buy health”. Daily exercise can surely reduce the risk of illnesses while significantly increase your energy level.

No Excuse For Not ExercisingExercise Equipment

“But I am so busy. I have no time to really go for good workout on a regular basis.” Yes. I hear you. It is a common challenge for people today living in fast track to really fit a workout into the busy schedule. I can imagine how exhausted and tired you are after a full day of hard work. The last thing comes into your mind is to head towards a gym room and workout. Probably you would rather rush home and sink yourself into the comfortable bed and call it a day. Continue reading