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Tourism Malaysia

20 Must-Have Souvenirs from Malaysia

If you are anything like me,
you will look for the MOST interesting, out-of-the-ordinary souvenir from
places you’ve been.

It used to be very
conventional, like postcards, keychains, decorative plates and the like but
these stuff take up space and require some kind of maintenance as years go by.

The novelty of a souvenir has
changed, and it is no longer something that you show off as a statement of
“I’ve been there!” It has evolved into something else, where we want to share
with our loved ones back home a little piece of the adventure, so to speak.

So, here’s my take on some of
the things that you just HAVE to take back with you:

#1 – If
you travel to the state of Melaka,
then look out for the dainty Nyonya beaded
slippers
. They may not be the most practical footwear, but then again, they
ARE unique, and quite fancy!

Nyonya Beaded Slippers and Embroidered Kebaya Top

#2 – If
you got yourself that beaded slipper, then you just HAVE to bring back a
traditional kebaya top! The intricately-embroidered tops are a must-have in
any wardrobe.

#3
#4
– If you have a passion for cooking, and are always on
the hunt for that ‘umami’ flavor, bring back some shrimp paste, or belacan,
and if you’re brave enough, cencalok. Cencalok is a condiment made
of fermented small shrimps or krill, and is usually served together with sliced
chillies, finely sliced shallots and lime juice.

Bottom – A stall selling belacan and cencalok

#5
–  Look out also for the sticky coconut
‘cakes’, or dodol, available in a variety of flavours including pandan and durian.

#6
Moving further South to Johor, you can visit the herb farm along the way and
get yourself some stingless bee honey
or madu kelulut. Stingless bee honey is  twice as nutritious as ordinary honey,
according to the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI).

#7 – A
trip to Johor would be meaningless without bringing back the mandatory 434 Coffee. Malaysian Coffee a.k.a
Kopi-O is special in color, flavor and taste, thanks to its special roasting
technique and recipe that commonly includes margarine and sugar as ingredients.
It has been long enjoyed by the locals and also is popular among coffee lovers
in South East Asia. While the sweet, hot beverage may take some getting used to
for those who are used to taking it black, you will definitely fall in love
with it by the time you sip the last drop.

#8 – If
you travel to the north of the Peninsula, then Penang will be one of the places for the best souvenirs. The
Chowrasta Market will be a good place to start, where you can get nutmeg-based products. More than just a
spice, you can get massage oils, ointments and even candy made from nutmeg.

Nutmeg-based products

#9
Another product of Penang that is worth bringing home is Tambun biscuits, or Tau
Sar Pneah
. This delicacy is a mixture of sweet and savoury, and is flaky
and soft at the same time. Traditionally, it is made from wheat flour, sugar,
green bean paste, fried onions, lard and salt. However, there are many
available in the market which are lard-free to cater for the Muslim market.

#10
Pickled fruits are also a must-buy
when one visits Penang. It is a popular souvenir especially among Malaysians. Among
the most well-known is from Pak Ali’s,
best known for its distinct aroma and taste. They claim to use apple cider
vinegar and honey in the pickling process, which sets them apart from the rest.

#11
– Also known as the Food Paradise of Malaysia, especially Indian food, you can always
bring back a mix of your favourite spices
so that you can replicate the dish back home. Head to Little India in George Town, and you’ll be
spilt for choice!

Packed dry spices or ready-cooked pastes to bring home

#12
– If you are into White Coffee, then
by all means, buy a pack or two to bring home. For those who don’t know, the
coffee beans used to produce white coffee are not white. Instead, coffee beans
are roasted with palm oil margarine, ground, brewed and served with
sweetened condensed milk. The drink gets its color from the milk that is
used. 

There’s even Durian Coffee!

If
you are in Kuala Lumpur, or any other major city in Malaysia, the following
suggestions are for you.

#13
– Malaysia batik or songket are also great souvenirs to take home. These
hand-crafted textiles are versatile and can be made into clothing, soft
furnishings and even wall decorations. Malaysian batik differs from others in
the region in terms of design and motif, as well as technique.

Batik and songket

#14
– A fan of durian? You may not be
able to bring back the fruit, but there are a whole multitude of products made
from the King of Fruits available in most supermarkets, and packed safe for
your journey home. There’s durian chocolates, cakes and even coffee!

#15
– Believe it or not, instant noodles!
Seriously. The flavours available out there is UNBELIEVABLE! Even if you might
not buy them, it’ll still be nice to walk into a supermarket and browse the
aisle. You will be amazed at the array of choices you have! Locals enjoy curry
flavor, but there’s also a whole array of flavor combinations that might peak
your curiosity.

#16
BOH tea is one of Cameron
Highland’s product that is worth bringing home, too. BOH Plantations Sdn Bhd is
the largest black tea manufacturer in Malaysia, with both domestic and
international distribution owned by BOH Plantations Sdn Bhd.

#17
Asian drinks. I kid you not! There
are fizzy and non-fizzy versions, in all imaginable flavours and combinations.
From winter melon to passionfruit, pear and ginseng to watermelon and lychee,
feel free to indulge!

#18
– Another one of the things that will sound weird, but go try (and buy!) 100 Plus. 100 Plus is the first thirst-quenching, isotonic beverage to be
launched in Malaysia in 1983. It is caffeine-free, specially formulated to help
restore what the body has lost during physical exertion and rehydrate the body
to its optimal hydration balance. Its unique formula combines fluids,
carbohydrates and electrolytes for quick and efficient absorption of fluids
into the body.

#19 – Pewter goods are also a favourite among tourists. The best
place to get your pewter items are of course from Royal Selangor Pewter,
located in Kuala Lumpur. Royal Selangor International Sdn Bhd is a Malaysian pewter
manufacturer and retailer, the largest of its type in the world.

#20
Adopt and animal! While you cannot
bring the animal home with you, you have at least left a piece of yourself
here, and helped conserve a little bit of Malaysia for our future generations.
A lot of programs are available, and offered, online where you can adopt a
tiger, elephant, turtle, even an orangutan, and receive a certificate and
regular updates on your ‘child’.

Categories
Malaysia Travel Guide

First Cruise Ship Of The Year Arrives In Kuching

First Cruise Ship Of The Year Arrives In Kuching

KUCHING, Friday: The Cruise Ship ‘Star Legend’ of Windstar Cruise docked at Sim Kheng Hong Port on January 8 at 8.45am, making it the first cruise ship to berth in Kuching this year.

194 passengers, mostly from Europe and the United States, were greeted with a traditional garlanding as they disembarked to visit Bako National Park, Sarawak Cultural Village and experience a tour around the Cat City.

This was the maiden voyage by Windstar Cruises and is the first of nine cruises scheduled to berth at Sarawak’s harbours.

Kuching is expected to receive three additional ships this year as compared to the six cruise ships from last year.

Last year 1,964 passengers arrived in Sarawak, with the Silver Shadow, Insignia, L’Austral and Silver Shadow docking in Kuching and the Silver Shadow docking twice in Bintulu.

In 2016, nine ships carrying 3,782 passengers with the Nautica, Astor, Hamburg, Silver Shadow, Seven Seas Voyager, Seabourn Sojourn and Insignia docking in Kuching and Silver Shadow docking twice in Bintulu.

Ten ships with 3,646 passengers arrived in 2015 with the Seabourne docking in Kuching once, Insignia twice and Nat Geo Orion thrice in Kuching while the Silver Wind, Statendam, Silver Shadow and Europa 2 docked in Bintulu.

Arriving cruise ships positively affect local industries such as attraction caretakers, food, and beverage and service providers, receiving an injection of a few hundred additional customers in one day.

“The gradual increase in cruise ships arriving to Sarawak is encouraging, as passengers from these cruise ships are a boon to the Sarawak economy in the port cities, creating a spinoff in the service industry from their patronage,” stated Director of Events and Corporate Relations, Angelina Bateman.

Cruise Ship Garlanding

Passengers disembarking and being garlanded by cultural troupe.

Cruise Ship memento

STB Director of Events and Corporate Relations, Angelina Bateman presenting memento to Captain Neil Broomhall, with General Manager of Kuching Port Authority Robert Lau on the left.

 

Issued by:

Communications Unit
SARAWAK TOURISM BOARD
T: +6 082-423600  F: +6 082-416700
E: [email protected]

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Tourism Malaysia

Food Haven Ipoh: Simply The Best

By Vishnu Krishnan

The homely town of Ipoh is on the verge of major development and expansion, but the fragments of its rustic charm still remain, namely within the old school buildings and authentic local cuisines which many argue are simply the best.

The dish most synonymous with Ipoh is their nga choy kai or beansprout chicken. This mouthwatering dish consists of chicken meat and innards, blanched crunchy beansprouts drenched in soy sauce and sesame oil. The blend of textures is divine. Follow the throngs of locals for the best serving at Onn Kee Restaurant.

Onn Kee Tauge Ayam Kue Tiaun is bliss.

(Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/94223817174270490/

It is sinful to skip assam laksa in Ipoh. The best version of it is served with yong tau foo (fried or boiled processed fishcakes and vegetables) stewing in a steamy bowl of the famous sweet and spicy sardine broth. Head to Dai Shu Geok Assam Laksa restaurant for this scrumptious delight.

picture1

Dai Shu Geok Assam Laksa is the flavor of the heaven!

(Source: http://www.misstamchiak.com/the-ipoh-food-guide-2014/)

Ipoh Hor Fun is a signature kuey teow (flat noodle) soup with shredded chicken and prawns that burst with flavours. The Tricycle Chicken Prawn kuey teow at Thean Chun Coffee Shop is one of the best places to sample this little piece of heaven.

picture1

Tricycle Chicken Prawn Kuey Teow is the way to the heart

(Source: http://www.imgrum.net/user/sonia.leong/1946618593/1253554644445572068_1946618593)

Wat tan hor, also known as hor fun, is an amazing dish of flat noodles smothered in a thick egg gravy littered with chicken pieces and prawns. The slimy texture is surprisingly smooth and delectable. The best serving can be found at the Tuck Kee Restaurant which is known for slipping-in an egg at the very last minute to further enhance the smoothness of the gravy!

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Tuck Kee Wat Tan Hor redefines your concept of texture!
(Source: http://www.j2kfm.com/tuck-kee-fried-noodles-wat-tan-hor-ipoh/)

Ipoh is not just limited to full meals and entrées. Their desserts and snacks are pretty good as well. Muah chee is a glutinous rice ball coated in a lovely sweet chopped peanut powder. To experience the best, try the stall right outside the Nam Heong Coffee Shop.

Ipoh white coffee is a blessing to coffee lovers across Malaysia. This beverage is traditionally made from butter roasted coffee beans that is known for an intense, unrivalled aroma.

This particular blend was created by the Wong brothers who set up the famous Sin Yoon Long Coffee Shop in 1937. The white coffee is best served with their famous Hainanese toast bread with kaya, a sweet coconut and egg spread.

picture1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sin Yoon Long Coffee Shop’s white coffee and toast with eggs may not look like much, but trust us, this is the real deal!

(Source: https://en.yelp.my/biz/sin-yoon-loong-ipoh)

And a trip to Ipoh is not complete without a visit to Buntong for Ipoh’s famed kacang putih (Indian snacks). This area is famous for the manufacturing and retail of kacang putih and makes millions each year selling these savoury treats to England, New Zealand and Australia.

picture2

Now this is what you call snacks!

(Source: http://www.j2kfm.com/kacang-putih-stall-ipoh-garden-post-office/)

For a full list of things to do while you’re enjoying best food in town go to http://www.ipoh-city.com/attraction/

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

Malaysia: Visiting tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands

Malaysia: Visiting tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands

The Cameron Highlands is to Malaysia what Darjeeling is to India, or Nuwira Eliya is to Sri Lanka – a hilly, lush, green region in the country’s interior that grows premium quality tea, with cooler weather offering welcome relief from the otherwise steamy climate.

tea

With the towns of Tanah Rata and Brinchang at its core, the Cameron Highlands is one of Malaysia’s most fertile areas. Here, steamy tropical rainforest gives way to a temperate climate, with rolling hills and glossy green tea plantations at every turn. Tea aside, the area is dotted with butterfly gardens, waterfalls, vegetable farms and strawberry plantations, offering many places to visit and sample fresh produce. The former British hill station has a decidedly cooler climate than the rest of the country, and remains a popular holiday spot for Malaysians escaping the city, as well as visitors seeking an alternative or additional destination to Malaysia’s much-loved coastal and heritage towns.

A trip to Malaysia’s interior

After a fun-filled introduction to Malaysia via the bright lights and delicious eats of Kuala Lumpur, I was looking forward to seeing more of what the country had to offer. The beautiful turquoise beaches of Langkawi and the Perhentian Islands I was aware of, and the historic buildings and delicious cuisine in Penang was also on my radar, yet the Cameron Highlands was a part of Malaysia I previously knew little about. All was about to be revealed after an easy bus ride from the country’s capital to its agricultural heartland.

My first impressions were that it was lush, green, fertile and beautiful. I found the Cameron Highlands charming, with its occasional architectural nod to its colonial heyday adding character, and enjoyed the proliferation of places to stop, eat at and explore. As a tea lover, I was particularly enamoured with the first tea plantations I’d ever seen.

Where to go and what to expect

One of the biggest plantations is BOH Plantations, a company established in the 1920s that has several large plantations in the area. BOH Sungai Palas Tea Estate is one of the most popular and accessible to visit, located a short drive from the town of Brinchang. The stunning views of the rolling plantations alone are worth the visit, but for tea aficionados the estate offers a solid introduction to how tea is grown and processed, with an educational tour of the factory and lots of information to peruse. Afterwards you can sample some of the freshest tea on the planet in the onsite café.

boh coffee

An alternative to BOH is a plantation run by Bharat, who produce the Cameron Valley brand of tea. They have several plantations with teahouses along the main road just outside Tanah Rata that can easily be visited, though at peak times they can get crowded. The Cameron Valley tea house is perched over the vibrant green plantations, and if you’ve had your fill of plain black tea, it offers some more exciting takes on the world’s second most popular beverage. The masala chai and cardamom tea is fragrant and flavoursome, while the teas infused with fresh lemongrass or mint are highly recommended. There’s a café with lots of sweet offerings here too (think brownies, cheesecake and ice cream).

From crop to cup

A tea plantation visit offers interesting insights into the tea growing, sorting and fermenting process, though for some people, the amazing views over the plantations and the tea sampling itself end up being the highlights of their visit. Particularly if the tea is consumed in a spectacular tea house extending up and over the plantation grounds, where you can easily end up sitting for an hour or two.

plantations

By visiting some of the plantations in the highlands, I discovered a new appreciation for the hard work that goes into producing tea. Labourers picking tea leaves by hand out in the sun is something you don’t often think of while indulging in your daily caffeine boost. A trip to your tea’s source makes you realise the hard work that goes into not only growing and cultivating tea, but transforming the leaves into something palatable and ready for consumption. The plantations offer many wonderful photographic opportunities too, for a quintessential shot of the Cameron Highlands’ endless, rich green hills.

Jungle treks and food forays aside, a tea plantation visit is definitely something well worth doing in the beautiful Cameron Highlands.

Categories
Wonderful Malaysia

Yeng Keng Hotel Georgetown Penang

yeng keng hotel georgetown penang 1

Yeng Keng Hotel is located along Chulia Street, one of the best and most popular areas to stay in Georgetown, Penang. Yeng Keng caters to the more wealthy travelers, instead of to back packers. It is a beautiful boutique hotel. Yeng Keng has two floors with only 20 rooms in total. There are 7 different room types, ranging in size and price. The cheapest room, Mansion Double, costs RM300 per night. The most expensive Yeng Keng Suite costs over RM500 per night. All rooms include breakfast and wifi broadband.

The hotel has a small pool in the back which is very nice if you want to relax and cool off for a bit after walking around in Georgetown. During the day but especially in the evenings you can enjoy a beverage at the Yeng Keng Café Bar. We loved their cocktails and desserts.

Breakfast is always included in the room price. The breakfast was very nice. The local treats were delicious, the bread was fresh and the coffee was of very good quality. Non-guests can also have breakfast here for RM20 per person (which is a steal).

Rooms are all very tastefully furnished. They are spacious and cozy at the same time. The same goes for the area outside the rooms, where you have multiple seats, chairs and sofas where you can sit and relax. Overall the hotel has a wonderful atmosphere. If you are looking for a nice boutique hotel within the historic center of Georgetown, be sure to visit Yeng Keng.

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