The first ever “Armour @ the Park” in Kuching.

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

If you’ve been following me on my Facebook and Instagram, you’ve probably figured out I’m a fitness enthusiast.  So when Under Armour Malaysia (under the UA Sports Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.) decided to organise their “Armour @ the Park” on Saturday, 21st May 2016 at the Old Courthouse, Kuching, it was an easy decision for me to join!

The hard decision was actually what to wear for this special occasion. I may be visiting the gym on an almost daily basis, and yes I am fitter than where I was 8 years ago…but my body is still more of “skinny fat” than “model on Men’s Health magazine”. I blame genetics.

So wearing my only UA gear, a 6-year-old, almost completely peeled off UA logo, white semi-transparent compression shirt that does show my areola to the public…with no six-pack abs to make it up, the idea of hot chicks looking at my nipples first really made me feeling self-conscious. “Man up la and don’t be a pussy!” you’ll scream. “First impressions count!” I retort. And it’s not like I want to clearly wear a rival sports apparel brand to a UA event…at least on the first session of this bi-weekly activity.

I found a solution nonetheless. A black no-logo tank top to cover my moobs, and black shorts with a not-so-obvious logo of a competitor brand and a pair of knee support sleeves to complete 70% of my workout attire. I can’t do any covering on the non-UA logos for the socks and shoes though. “Big deal”, I hear you whisper!

(WTF…Three paragraphs just on my outfit of the day?)

Anyway, I got there 20 minutes before the event starts, thinking that’s more than enough time for me to register and enjoy the view. I totally forgot Kuching people can be quite “kiasu” (grasping).

This is where I start queuing up:

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Honestly I wasn’t expecting that many people. Like more than 160 participants!

So while waiting I managed to meet my gym buddies from Level Up Fitness. Fitness junkies la we all. But I am disappointed with some other gym buddies that never showed up despite saying “Yes, I’ll see you there!” Why give me such promises then?

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Who has the muscles?…and who are the hardgainers?

In addition, the event did not start at 7.30am as per schedule due to the registration. And there’s no area to keep your bag safe and secure. I wasn’t pleased with the idea of waiting and having to bring my fanny pack full of life’s important items (car keys, smartphone and wallet) during a workout.

But when it began at around 8am-ish, all negative thoughts were off and I set my mind to follow whatever the instructors from Gym Box told us to do.

The Warm Up:

Running almost a full length of the Kuching waterfont, while doing push-ups, mountain climbers and squat and twist exercises every quarter of the way.

That took about 10-20 minutes. It took a bit of my energy, but I knew I was doing better than some 10% of the participants. Bring on the next challenge!

 

The Workout #1: Functional Training

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Spot me! (Photo Credit: UA Sports Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.)

10 types of exercises, one minute for each type, and only 5 seconds rest in between. I can’t recall the specific exercises in order, but there were jumping jacks, squats, lunges, planks, push-ups, planks/push-ups with a partner, and of course the burpees. You can hear some groans while instructor Faiz (who I knew from school days…he was an obese back then!) called for the most challenging and popular body weight exercise. But I expected it. And I scored a pathetic 14 burpees per minute.

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Spot me #2! (Photo Credit: UA Sports Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.)

5 minutes rest before the next workout. I was drenched with sweat by then, breathing like I was having a buffet on eating air. No thoughts on giving up though. And my old UA compression shirt could still do its magic of wicking sweat away from my body. Unlike my newer compression shirt from a brand that once sponsored the Bolton Wanderers’ stadium.

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The future trend of the bro handshake. (Photo Credit: UA Sports Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.)

 

The Workout #2: Martial Arts Fitness.

Lots of side movements, quick 1-2 punches to a push-up, kicks, knees…whatever one can expect from a Muay Thai session (except grappling). In fact, the instructor for this round, Stephen, was my classmate in one of the special weekend Muay Thai sessions 4 years ago. He was smaller then haha.

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Let’s play imaginary musical chairs! (Photo Credit: UA Sports Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.)

Half way through the workout my left knee started to give in to the stress, as well as the lactic acid in my legs. Not a nice feeling, and I’ve slowed down a lot as such. But still I wasn’t tempted to quit like some of the participants. I was in fact angry at myself for slowing down. I was passionate to go on. I was determined to live up to Under Armour’s slogan, “I Will.”

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To the left, to the left… (Photo Credit: UA Sports Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.)

Imagine my euphoria when this session was over! But the event hasn’t ended yet…

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A visual source of motivation. (Photo Credit: UA Sports Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.)

 

The Workout #3: Core and Abs Workout.

Sit-ups, planks, side planks…these are some of the exercises to bring the pain for the abs! I do not know instructor Yanti in this final round of workout, but she’s good. It’s safe to say Gym Box has some fantastic group of instructors. Challenging workout as expected, but at least my legs are fine! Cool down at the end of this session.

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I wasn’t slacking off. Honest! (Photo Credit: UA Sports Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.)

Like most events nowadays, one must have a group photo!

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Spot me #3! (Photo Credit: UA Sports Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.)

 

In The End

I like what Under Armour Malaysia is doing for the community here in Kuching. While its rivals were always doing their own events only in West Malaysia, Under Armour Malaysia didn’t forget about Sarawak.  I like that they got Sarawak to be the first state outside of KL and Selangor to have UA’s presence, and I like them even more since they’re giving out free workout sessions like “Armour @ the Park” in Kuching. 7 more sessions by Gym Box before Phoenix Gym takes over for the remaining 8 sessions. In other words, say goodbye to Friday nightlife every bi-weekly, wake up early on a Saturday morning and let’s be fit together!

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#ootd

The next one is on 4th June 2016 at the same venue, so see you there!

Everise: Making me love Hogs more ‘Wild’ than ever!

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

In the previous post I intentionally left out something that’s even better than Rusty Bean & Batter cafe inside Everise supermarket.

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Before I go on, imagine this scenario (nothing sexist here, just an example OK!):

You’re a bored husband, waiting for the wife to finish her shopping in the “Market Place” by Everise. You initially waited at the mini playground, but you can’t stand the noisy toddlers so you moved to the cafe. But then you get annoyed by the sight of youngsters, wasting their time away on their smartphones and leaving their good cup of coffee cold.  Unforgivable!

Where do you go next?

You go to that “something”. Which is a restaurant called “Hog & Wild”. That’s inside the supermarket.

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Go home pig, you drunk!

NO WAY! There’s a restaurant inside the supermarket!?

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Customers not amused by the presence of the media. Chill out folks, we’re not writing about you guys!

Yeap. You should see the smile on my face :)

Now “Hog & Wild” is a wholesome wine-dine-deli restaurant to experience gourmet fine foods of the highest quality that are enjoyed with the finest wines, to give you an experience you can never forget. The wide selection of gourmet delicatessen offerings, coupled with an extensive of the finest wines from all over the world and icy cold draught beer with bring your dining experience to new levels you can only imagine.

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There’s wine sampling too!

In other words, you can eat lots and lots of juicy pork and get drunk inside a supermarket! What a perfect combination!

Oh, and the menu’s unique too. Just look at one of the pages:

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How do you pronounce “Marques de Caceres Crianza”?

And when in doubt on what to order, the manager is there to help you out. He knows what kind of wine goes well with the food :)

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More wine please🙂

Speaking about food, well, I’ll let the pictures do the talking! Can’t figure out what are the dishes? Now that’s when you need to go to “Hog & Wild” and find out yourself!

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Yum

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Yum!

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YUM!

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yum

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YUMMM!!!!!!!

And of course, a selfie of me enjoying the good life lol

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No, I wasn’t drunk. Yet.

CONCLUSION

With an outlet like “Hog & Wild”, the Rusty Bean & Batter cafe, and all the imported food, Everise really made itself relevant to the ever-changing consumer market. They wanted elements that relate to lifestyle, and they got it right with their “Market Place” concept.

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Blogger Joachim Then, in a post-food comatose.

I can’t to WhatsApp my friends lines such as “Kia, let’s go lepak at Everise!”

 

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Sarawak Bloggers team with Everise’s Advertising & Promotions Manager, Shereen.

Many thanks to Shereen, the Advertising and Promotions Manager for the lovely tour and chat!

Everise: Making “Market Place” the New Hipster Haven

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Back when I was a kid, I dread going to the market. It’s often smelly, and the wet floors of the seafood/meat section consistently get me feeling “geli” (ticklish).  Also, the market place is always on an outdoor setting, so I never fancied the hot weather. Oh it’s raining outside? I’ll stay at home, mum!

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Your typical market in Malaysia.

Thankfully, I’ve changed. I fancied cooking since my university days, so I enjoyed the sights and sounds of fresh ingredients and loud but friendly sellers (OK, maybe not so much on the latter.) However, I am still a little concern of the overall hygiene and cleanliness in a typical market. Like it or not, the raw food is exposed to the polluted air and what-not since it’s out in the open. Sure, there’s indoor market now but it’s not going to fully protect your food source from the air pollution.

Which is why, I like supermarkets. Sure, they’re generally more expensive, but they’re safer to consume. There’s quality control. ISO certified. Serious procedures to make sure you don’t die OK?

But supermarkets tend to be boring beyond what it’s supposed to be. You don’t see hipsters going to Everise supermarket, uploading photos on social media and putting in text like “Oh, just chilling in Everise. Love this place!” do you?

What if I told you a supermarket could be the next hipster place in Kuching?

That’s right folks. Let me introduce to you, Everise “Market Place” at Vivacity Megamall.

Taking up the basement floor, occupying an area of 30,000 square feet, this latest retail concept and flagship supermarket offers an experience unlike your standard grocery shopping! What’s their trick? By incorporating lifestyle and social elements into the store of course!

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Import-product-loving hipster? Everise “Market Place” will be your little heaven; the outlet offers an exciting range from imported fresh fruits (OMG they have blueberries!) and vegetables, premium yogurt, gourmet chocolates, fine pasta, imported drinks, gourmet wine and more.

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🙂

And to be sure the Weeaboo/Kimchi Wannabe/Banana self in you is taken care of, Everise has a dedicated section for Japanese, Korean and Western specialty food. There’s a bakery corner which offers on-site baked pastries, made-to-order sandwiches and a sushi bar featuring delicious sushi sets and other Japanese delicacies freshly made on the spot. Nicely done Everise!

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Subarashiiii!!!

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Bread lovers’ delight.

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Ever tried this by the way? I was told you can only find this in Everise “Market Place”.

Brought your kids to the supermarket? No problem, Everise has a free-play mini playground for the young ones to enjoy. You can dump your bored husband and anti-social teens there too hahahaahahah

And the ultimate selling point of this “Market Place” for hipsters? There is a cafe in the supermarket. THERE IS A CAFE IN THE SUPERMARKET! Now the youth can tell their mums “I’m busy buying the groceries” while they were actually sipping freshly brewed coffee while indulging in choices of pancakes, cookies and donuts at the new Rusty Bean & Batter cafe with their friends!

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You can expect to see Dato’ James Chan chilling out here often, I guess.

OK, so the concept isn’t exactly new; the idea has been established in KL for some time and I believe it’s already common in the 1st world countries. But it’s new here in Kuching, so I’m pleased Everise took the evolutionary step and perhaps the competition would follow suit.

As per the press release, “The thematically zoned atmosphere sets the tone for gourmet food exploration and discovery”.

Sort of…wait. I did left out something that’s even better than the presence of a cafe in there.

In fact, I intentionally left this out because this “something” deserves a post on its own.

Regular readers of mine and a fair bit of Kuchingites would’ve figured it out by now. But I’m saving the best for the next post!

Clue: “Hog & Wild”.

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(Part 2 tomorrow, hopefully!)

 

RAW (Kitchen) IS WAR (on Bad Health)!

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

Branding is such a powerful thing. It is a marketing strategy that involves creating a differentiated name and image — often using a logo and/or tag line — in order to establish a presence in the consumer’s mind (Thanks Google!). Take Apple for example; for some people, they think of the fruit, but for many others, it is the American multinational technology company that pops out of their mind.

If someone were to mention to me the word “Raw” back in the late 90’s and early 2000s, this is commonly the first impression I had:

The fact I still thought of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) TV programme says a lot about the impact the brand had on me during my teenage years. Thankfully, my interests changed dramatically since 2001; I now enjoy exercising at the gym and I stopped watching WWE religiously.

Also, I hated the thought of “detox” and whatever that is related to “cleansing your body” back then; now I welcome them with open arms (and tummy). So when a local company called “The Raw Kitchen Malaysia” had an official opening at Vivacity Megamall, Kuching last week, naturally that replaced my perception on the word “Raw”!

THE ORIGINS OF RAW KITCHEN MALAYSIA

Established in December 2014 by a young and enthusiastic couple, they started the small, juicing company at Green Heights Mall to serve the neighbourhood with their cold pressed juice (using a hydraulic press to extract juice from fruit and vegetables. Do Google for the more technical aspect of cold pressing process). It is their belief and vision to enable the people of Kuching to change their lifestyle for the better, by incorporating juices into their diet. Not only do they make it easy to drink, but it’s tasty too, and affordable too (RM12 for 330ml).

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Spot Minnie Mouse.

I had their juices of course, and it is as advertised: it tastes great! Initially I was worried it would taste like a traditional home-made detox drink: nasty, bitter and foul tasting “poison”… but Raw Kitchen truly impressed me here with the mixture of ingredients used. And as an added bonus, Raw Kitchen doesn’t add dairy, added sugar, water and preservatives. Move aside Tropicana juice!

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No, this isn’t Tuak. But you could add that rice wine…

There’s a ton of variety of flavours from Raw Juicery: the mainstays among them being To the Beet, Orang Utan, Raw Very Veggie, Tropical Lust and Green On. Very creative names!

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Ladies, this is my little secret to my youthfulness ;) 

THE DOCTOR IN A BOTTLE: RAW KITCHEN’S DETOX PROGRAMME

What’s interesting to know is that Raw Kitchen doesn’t just make the juice and sell it to you; in line with their beliefs, they offer a Detox Programme to help you become, well, a healthier you.

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Look how healthy these ladies are! All smiles thanks to RAW Juices!

As you would figured it out by now, these juices could do wonders to your body. Ideally, you’ll want to recognise the following experience below before you begin:

  • Feeling tired, sluggish and lethargic?
  • Trouble concentrating?
  • Difficulty losing weight?
  • Digestive issues?
  • Skin problems and bad breath?

If you could relate to any of the questions above, then you’ll need the Raw Kitchen’s Cleansing /Detox Programme. Here’s how it works:

  1. Choose your Level: Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced
  2. Choose your Length: 1-Day, 2-Day, 3-Day, 4-Day, 5-Day, 6-Day
  3. Choose your Start Date: Raw Kitchen will deliver the juices to you, every day of every week.

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Sarawak Bloggers, together with the founders of The Raw Kitchen Malaysia.

Historically, I had problems with my digestive system, so I am considering starting the programme after Chinese New Year. What better time to cleanse myself from of all that Bak Kwa (Dried Meat) and CNY cookies!

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The bottle is cuter…or me? *hehe* (Photo Credit: Eve Dutchez)

CONCLUSION

Kuching has certainly changed much over the years; we got a running event at least once a month, you see a lot more cyclists on the road now, and there are many gyms and aerobic centres to choose from. The fact that Kuching is the first to get the Under Armour brand outside of Klang Valley speaks volume about the Cat City’s obsession with health.

Health food cafes and restaurants with a menu for the health conscious are also blossoming here, so it’s just appropriate for The Raw Kitchen to come in and be part of the market. You can be certain I will have a dose of their juices;  you also can obtain their potions at Everise supermarket and Level Up Fitness (and more if I missed out on other locations).

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So if you recalled having slimmer body as your “New Year’s Resolution”, then it’s time to keep up with that resolution of yours and take up The Raw Kitchen’s Detox Programme already!

THE RAW KITCHEN MALAYSIA 

LG 004
VivaCity Megamall
Jalan Wan Alwi
93350 Kuching Sarawak

The Pan Tree
Green Heights Mall
Lorong Lapangan Terbang 2
93250 Kuching Sarawak

Facebook: www.facebook.com/therawkitchenmalaysia

Instagram: @rawkitchenmalaysia

Three Cool Things You Should Know About Batik Boutique Hotel

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

In the previous post, I was invited to a food tasting at Nagoya Restaurant, which was located at Batik Boutique Hotel. The owner, Jackie was generous enough to let the bloggers (including yours truly) to stay for a night at the hotel.

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The lobby area of Batik Boutique. No reception area needed; make yourself at home!

There are four types of room settings at Batik: City Facing Suites, Deluxe Suites, Courtyard Facing Suites – Twin and Courtyard Facing Suites – King. Now, to encourage you to visit their website (batikboutiquehotel.com), guess which room I ended up with?

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Kinky-minded individuals would like this room much. 

I had a good night of course, with my Queen sized bed being comfortable and NINE pillows all for myself. But it was three cool things from this small, chic hotel (only 15 rooms) that I go “No wonder this hotel is #6 in the Tripadvisor rankings B&Bs/Inns in Kuching

1) The local welcome meal, served by the very welcoming staff

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Tuak

Upon arrival, I was greeted by the staff, and I was given a shot of tuak and several slices of Batik cake by Mok (apologies for the wrong spelling!), who took care of reception and housekeeping. She’s fun to talk to, and that’s great; most frontline staff I know in the hospitality industry is professional but sometimes reserved in their conversation with the guests. So she gave me a good impression on the hotel. Oh, and I like that shot of Tuak. In fact, I should like all forms of alcohol served to me. But if you can’t drink alcohol for either religious or medical or by choice, don’t worry the do have the mocktails for you.

 

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Batik Cake

ut really, this welcoming moment is just scratching the surface of their hospitality service. Go read their reviews on TripAdvisor and count how many of them love their friendliness. Well done, Batik Boutique!

2) The satellite channels in the room

This was originally not cool, in the sense of the channel setup when I first turned it on; I thought I only had THREE channels to watch! Not only that, one channel could not receive the signal, and the other two was some interview show in China. No subtitles. Urgh!

But this satellite channel isn’t Astro. It’s the one where you could get channels at least twice or thrice the amount of Astro’s full package. I set to work on “unlocking” the channels, and I discovered I could actually watch 40 channels in my room. Normal hotels only offer like what, 12?

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What’s all these channels about?

I ended up watching NHK English, about a Japanese chef visiting the country of Bhutan to learn more about their culinary. I is the happy :)

 

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Japanese TV show. Cause I had Japanese dinner. And I feel all Japanese after that.

You can ask the staff to get the channels working for you of course. But I enjoyed the little reward of “Netflix and Chill” (almost!) from fixing up the channels.

3) The Tanamera all-natural amenities

I CANNOT STOP BRAGGING ABOUT THIS ONE! In all the years I stayed in hotels of various stars, no amenities of theirs have matched the level of awesomeness from this made-in-Malaysia product! The beautiful, natural scent fit for a spa treatment. I never thought my shower could be so…relaxing. You can purchase this at the hotel itself, so this makes a great gift for the ladies (and the metrosexual men!).

 

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Love it!

CONCLUSION

If you plan to visit Kuching and you’ll like a really nice room to compliment your adventure in Sarawak, Batik Boutique Hotel’s for you. It sounds like a cliché sales pitch, I know, but really, with an average rate of RM250 a room (check online for actual rates, and it depends on season), it’s really worth it. Better than some 5-star hotels here in fact!

 

Batik Boutique Hotel

38, Jalan Padungan,

93100, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Tel: +6082-422-845

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebatik

Not Your Usual Japanese Dinner at Nagoya Restaurant, Batik Boutique Hotel

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

Whenever I go to a Japanese restaurant, I’ll always order the dishes that I am familiar with. Like sushi, sashimis, Japanese curry rice, ramen, cold soba noodles, and meals in a bento box.

So when I got the invite to go for a food tasting as Nagoya Restaurant, one of Kuching’s newest Japanese restaurants, I simply could not resist. Replacing the previous eatery (The Bites), this 2-month-old restaurant at the understated beauty that is Batik Boutique Hotel, certainly adds on the growing popularity of Japanese cuisine in Cat City.

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The Interior of Nagoya Restaurant

Together with fellow bloggers Garner Wyne, Aliey and Veronica, plus Veronica’s boyfriend and a man named Marvin, we were greeted by Mr. Max, who runs the Nagoya restaurant.

As we began the food tasting, I assumed it was going to be the dishes I was accustomed to. I had expected the night to be a familiar one, welcoming recognisable taste buds, and to channel the inner food critic in me in hopes this restaurant would rank similar to the likes of the more popular Japanese fine-dining outlets here.

Instead, the taste goblet in me went through what can be described as…”foreign”.

We were first introduced to “Tatami Iwashi”, known as dried sardine sheet. Served with cabbage, salmon roe and mayonnaise-like sauce, this salad certainly exposed my lack of adventure in Japanese recipes, and hence this was quite an interesting dish. Imagine the taste of your local dried fish fillet with a standard Western salad.

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“Tatami Iwashi”

Next, Crispy Fried Salmon Skin. While I am familiar with this dish, I rarely ordered this in a Japanese restaurant. Its reintroduction to me was positive; I silently kept having seconds of this incredibly addictive snack/appetizer.

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Crispy Fried Salmon Skin

Now the following dish was the one most curious to me; Nagoya’s mix appetizer. The mix consisted of two types of pickled vegetables (“Tsukemono”): the purple one is chopped cucumbers and eggplant, salted and brined with red shiso (“Shibazuke”) while the green one is cucumber pickles made with rice bran (“Kyurizuke”).  Together with picked jellyfish, pickled garlic and the star of the plate, the “Fugu Mirin Boshi”, known as dried pufferfish (yes that fish that can KILL you)… this appetizer was a truly amazing experience for my palate. The cold, crunchy vegetables, the garlic that wasn’t pungent, and the dried pufferfish that tasted like mix of dried fish fillet and “bak kwa” (dried barbeque pork). Such a pleasure to go through so many different flavours on a single plate!

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Mix Appetizer: Pickled Dishes with “Fugu Mirin Boshi”

Oh about that pufferfish. Don’t worry, it was safe for consumption. I didn’t die. Or was Mr. Max pulling our legs and making us think it was indeed pufferfish?

Anyway, it was back to familiarity from the following dish onwards. Teriyaki Chicken? Yeap, I had that many times before. The chicken was nicely cooked, and the teriyaki sauce has the nice consistency; wish I had a bowl of white rice to fully appreciate it.

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Enter a caption

A short while later, comes the Scallops with Japanese Mayonnaise. This should have been great, but the overdose of mayo killed the taste. Plus point if you love mayonnaise that much though.

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Scallops with Japanese Mayonnaise

To me, no visit to a Japanese fine-dining eatery is complete without a plate of sushi. Bless Mr. Max for providing the national dish of Japan to us! Naturally I had some high expectations over one of my favourite kinds of Japanese food.

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Sushi Platter

As you can see, we were served with your classic Salmon Sushi, California Sushi Roll and Mango Tempura Roll. It was alright. And that’s not good news because alright means there are better places to have sushi than Nagoya. The rice served for the sushi was a little more coarse/”off”, so it distracted the whole flavour of a sushi. That said, I am certain this was a one-off matter and perhaps you, the reader, would have a better dining experience with their sushi after this review.

The last hot meal we got to try was the Japanese Fried Rice, served with a generous chunk of grilled fish fillet. On its own, the fried rice was unspectacular, but with together with the flavourful fillet, it became that would finally curb my hunger for the rest of the evening.

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Japanese Fried Rice with Grilled Fish Fillet

Oh, and there’s fruits too. But I didn’t touch them. Too busy finishing the fried rice!

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Fruit Platter

Plot twist: the food tasting didn’t end with the conservative fruit platter. And it didn’t end with a dessert from Nagoya, Japan either. Instead, we completed the evening with a type of ice-cream that originated from Sicily, Italy.

You guessed it. GELATO!

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Gelato

And in six different flavours too (Sesame seed (Yum! Yum!), Teh Tarik (Yum to that too!), Green Tea, Oreos, Mint Chip and Chocolate Chip)!

 

CONCLUSION:

Nagoya has impressed me with the unfamiliar; the experience in trying out new flavours I otherwise wouldn’t have tried gave me much appreciation to the roots of Japanese cuisine. I knew the Crispy Fried Salmon Skin was addictive, and the Teriyaki Chicken was pleasantly more delicious that what I had expected.

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“I must say, the night did not end perfectly for the lady in the Liverpool kit. What was the final score between Liverpool and Manchester United on 17 January 2016?” Heh.

No doubt, I was disappointed with the turnout of both the scallop dish and especially the Sushi platter. That was the chink in the armour for me to an otherwise excellent night. I must stress though; they’ve only been around for 2 months. I am sure Mr. Max will take the criticism to good heart, and will improve on the dishes to the benefit of all of us in Kuching.

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From left: Garner, Aliey, Veronica, Max, Jackie (owner of Batik Boutique Hotel), Marvin and yours truly.

Trust me, I will be back again for round 2. No, I wasn’t paid to write that. But the fact Mr. Max showed his passion for his food is what got me to support him.

Nagoya is not halal certified, but it serves no pork.  And you can request for off-menu items (for example the mix appetizer) with Nagoya restaurant. Just let them know 24 hours in advance and see if they can cater to your request.

 

Nagoya Restaurant

Batik Boutique Hotel

38, Jalan Padungan,

93600 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Opening Hours: 12pm-3pm/6pm-11pm

Contact: 016-713-2991

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Nagoya-名古屋-527433017423043

 

UP NEXT: Three Cool Things You Should Know About Batik Boutique Hotel

Kuching is now Under Armour

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

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If the Cat Status is freakishly alive to my imagination!

I’m not sure if you knew the brand years ago, but I first found out about Under Armour (UA) through an American celebrity. That celebrity was none other than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson:

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But it was when Tottenham Hotspurs football club announced a kit deal with UA that I became a curious customer. That was in 2011, and the only place I could order a UA gear was online.

 

spursUA

So through kitbag.com I got myself my first UA Compression T-Shirt. Since then, I’ve been wearing it for my 10KM runs / half marathons…although I was wearing it together with a Nike compression shorts as part of the #ootd. Trust me when I say the compression t-shirt helps me a lot in keeping cool, dry and light during my runs!

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Back in 2011.

So imagine my excitement when UA finally came to my hometown Kuching!

I attended the UA press conference on 15 December 2015, and I was pleased to meet the people responsible for bringing the performance apparel to Cat City.

Mr. Michael Binger, Chief Executive Officer, Triple Pte. Ltd. (the distributor for UA in South East Asia) said Kuching has a great outdoor sports culture and that the health and fitness market in Kuching is growing as fast as in big cities. He was spot on I’ll say; just look at the amount of gyms and running / cycling events we have here in the last 6 – 7 years! Mr. Binger also mention UA is going to make about USD 4 billion by this year, and their target by 2020 is USD 10 billion. Well with the way UA markets itself, I’m sure the target is achievable.

 

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Mr. Michael Binger, CEO, Triple Pte. Ltd.

Now, UA doesn’t have its own Brand House here unlike the ones in Kuala Lumpur; instead UA does it by opening up a Shop in Shop in LEA Sports Centre, Sarawak Plaza. Mr. Raymond Sim, Managing Director, LEA Group of Companies said it took the leading sports company in Sarawak more than a year to finalize the deal with UA. He followed up his comments with the UA brand to come to Miri, Sarawak and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah soon.

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Mr. Raymond Sim, Managing Director, LEA Group of Companies

A signing ceremony was done on that day as well.

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Oh by the way, UA has also sponsored their attire to two local gyms in Kuching: Gym Box and Phoenix Gym.  Nice! I’m not from either one of the gyms though… (Hey Level Up Fitness! How come you’re not sponsored? I thought the trainers were wearing UA gear??)

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Mr. Stephen Onn represented Gym Box while Mr. Dan Ling was the boss of Phoenix Gym. For Stephen, it is an honour to be wearing the same gear as “The Rock”, while for Dan, he first wore the brand during his time in the military and that he’s enthusiastic that with UA’s presence in Kuching. He continued by saying the gyms are now more approachable for the general public.

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Meanwhile, here’s me and the Sarawak Bloggers team:

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Photo Credit: Precious Mad Photo

Here are a couple of photos of the UA shop in LEA Centre:

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And I got some cool goodie bags too🙂

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So, obviously I am thrilled to have UA in Kuching. And if I can afford it, I’m sure to buy any of their Alter Ego series like their Avengers series or the Star Wars series.

Here’s the Cat Statue at the Store. Just to end this post. underarmourkuching-02.jpg

 

Why I will never eat Nando’s…

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

…whenever I travel to Kuala Lumpur, or to most locations that require a flight ticket. Heck, I wouldn’t even bother to visit Nando’s beyond 100 kilometres from where I live.

This isn’t my first time avoiding a food & beverage franchise whenever I’m out with a luggage and/or travel bag. McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Kenny Rogers, Burger King, Sushi King, Famous Amos, Baskin Robbins and Starbucks are just some of the brands I swore not to step into their outlets…whenever I’m outside of my hometown.

And the reason for the ‘boycott’? Well, if you haven’t figured it out yet, Nando’s has finally arrived in Kuching.

MYSTERY OF GIANT EGG REVEALED

And that means I get to enjoy their awesome PERi-PERi sauces as well as their juicy, flame-grilled chicken whenever I want to now! Heck if money’s not an issue, I could visit their brand new outlet every weekend at the all-new Vivacity Megamall, the latest and largest mall in Cat City!

What took you so long, Nando's?

What took you so long, Nando’s?

So when there was an offer to attend their grand opening on 12 December 2015, I simply had to say ‘YES!’. Oh, to brace the massive traffic, equivalent of half the city’s population (OK I am exaggerating here but you get my drift),  just for free food! I’m a sucker for free food.

3 Amigos

Perks of this event: I can bring along my ladies. lol. Anyway, a wefie while we wait for the grand opening to start. PHOTO CREDIT: Eve Dutches

While waiting to get in, we (the media/bloggers) got to hear the background of Nando’s from Mr. Daniel Kong, Chief Executive Officer of Nando’s Malaysia.

Nando’s Malaysia chief executive officer, Daniel Kong

Nando’s Malaysia chief operating officer, Daniel Kong

Followed by Nando’s “traditional dance”, the Chicken Dance…

…the appearance of Barci, Nando’s mascot…

Nando’s mascot Barci

Nando’s mascot Barci

…and finally, the egg (that’s been getting a lot of attention lately) hatched!

(Balloons are made of egg yolks?)

Anyway, we got to go into the restaurant. The interior’s quite welcoming I must say.

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But enough of that. It’s the food you want to know right?

We start with the appetizer. In my years of visiting Nando’s, I always go straight for the main course, so this was delightfully different for me.

Hummus with PERi-RERi Drizzle, with warm pita and olives

Hummus with PERi-RERi Drizzle, with warm pita and olives

Then the staff teased us by sending out the sides first:

PERi-Chips, PERi-Wedges, Grilled Veg, Coleslaw, Mediterranean rice and Corn-on-the-cob as the sides. I think it's almost all of their sides on offer!

PERi-Wedges, PERi-Chips, Grilled Veg, Coleslaw, Mediterranean rice and Corn-on-the-cob as the sides. I think it’s almost all of their sides on offer!

And then, the main star of the show. The magical taste of Nando’s PERi-PERi Flame-Grilled Chicken:

The 4 levels of heat

The 4 levels of heat

Just like the MC said, the chicken’s cooked to perfection!

Ah, it’s all delicious, even the sides were more than ordinary! Just like how I remembered it during my days in KL.

I love my chicken to be Extra Hot. That additive ‘kick’ if you know what I mean.

That's how much I love my Extra Hot PERi-PERi

That’s how much I love my Extra Hot PERi-PERi (PHOTO CREDIT: Eve Dutches)

I know all but one person on my table loves the Extra Hot too. However I am surprised by the survey from the ‘makan’ session: majority of the diners love the Lemon & Herb PERi-PERi Chicken the most!

Kuchingites in general don’t really like spicy food? Guess that’s the truth huh?

Oh, there’s a dessert too:

Chocolate cake, I think?

Chocolate cake, I think?

Didn’t try it. I finished half a chicken plus a fair bit of the sides. Too full to try. But I heard from my friends it wasn’t great. No matter, you don’t come to Nando’s for dessert!

With the usual suspects

With the usual suspects (PHOTO CREDIT: Eve Dutches)

I left Nando’s happy of course. Even more happy when the PR agency gave me a goodie bag like this one:

Best. Goodie Bag. I. Ever. Had!

What an awesome goodie bag!

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Information on Nandos

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Cool fridge magnets!

I’m really delighted Nando’s has made it’s mark in Kuching. Though I still wouldn’t dine at the eatery whenever I travel abroad. No offence, Nando’s! It’s just that I want to taste all the other restaurants/franchise that is not in my hometown yet (like Subway, Domino’s, Dave’s Deli, etc).

I can assure you however, that I’ll be a regular customer. And that’s something, ’cause I haven’t been a regular customers to all the other brands I mentioned earlier on!

So like a stereotypical advertisement, visit Nando’s today and enjoy some tasty flame-grilled chicken!

By the way, do sign up for Nando’s PERi-Village Loyalty app on the App Store and Google Play. You can get free chicken* if you visit them a lot.

Welcome back, Clouded Pawn.

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

23 months has passed since I last logged into my blog.

When I read my last post, I could only chuckle. My 2013 self assumed he knew what was best for him. If only I could have the powers of time travel to tell him he was…misguided on a lot of things.

All I can say for now is, some time in Autumn 2015 I suddenly became…un-busy. And after much thought (and time), I have decided to come back to blogging.

But I had said that before, right? Will this interest to write again last as long as the glorious years of 2005 to 2011 on my Blogspot era? Or just another short-lived excitement like before? Do I just start anew, on a new blog name, from scratch, even a new persona?

To be honest, I am only writing this because it’s the new, final month of 2015. December always seem to trigger a resolution in me.

I am writing crap. That’s expected of me. This blog is empty, so I might as well write whatever I want.

But hey, I am back. I came out of retirement they say.

 

 

 

2013 in review.

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

A year of weddings, a year of farewells. New friends were made, some friends became strangers. Many days of laughter, just as many the opposite. A time of ambition, caught sidetracked by doubt. Behind the smiles, questions filled the voice within.

This was exactly the same paragraph I used in last year’s review. Yet it’s the best paragraph to describe this year for me. 

(play my song for 2013 – “Daft Punk – Get Lucky” before you read on)

The good:

  • Done 3 marathons this year, including The Spring 10KM run. Proud to finish my longest run to date.
  • Visited Australia after 7 years. Truly a walk down memory lane. 
  • Did my part and vote during the election. 
  • Actually celebrated Gawai at a longhouse, with a couple of friends from KL.
  • Became a witness to my close friend’s marriage proposal. 
  • Watched Metallica live in Singapore. A lifelong dream came true!! 
  • Finally got myself a new job after 5 years plus in BCCK.
  • Enjoyed great company with friends on my birthday week. 
  • Had the privilege to be a Heng Tai (brother) for a friend’s wedding in KL, the honor to toast for two friends’ weddings in Kuching, and even represented my brother in his wedding to, er, drink for him. Four weddings conservatively on a weekend from 29 November to 22 December 2013. 

The bad: 

  • I left a job that I loved because of severe office politics I got caught in.
  • I still struggled to enjoy my new job. I know I’m new, but I don’t feel like I’m a part of the team fairly often.  
  • I became more temperamental than before. I get more annoyed now when an individual doesn’t reply Whatsapp personal messages quickly, especially he/she is online for a fair bit of time. 
  • I haven’t stop smoking. 
  • I still get sick on an average once every 6 weeks.
  • I lost some control of my diet since I changed my job.
  • I am still in debt.
  • I am still luckless in romance.
  • And my brother has cancer. The family hasn’t been quite the same since it was discovered. Or maybe I just felt that way. 

The ugly:

  • For once since I came back from Kuching, I genuinely thought I would be in a relationship with a woman I met earlier this year. Instead, I had to see her flirting with another man. Am I not good enough for you? 
  • More unrequited love followed after that.
  • All seven deadly sins were committed.
  • The experts of fortune reading has warned me of a poor year ahead. I usually ignore this zodiac stuff, but the negative readings I’ve seen so far has been consistent. 
  • That lonely feeling.

I am in a quarter life crisis. 

Thanks, 2013. Some parts were great, but it’s a year I want to forget.