Tourism Malaysia

Grammy-themed cruise

Grammy-themed cruisesare set to launch next year.Grammy-themed cruises
are set to launch next year.

MUSIC lovers are being wooed to sail the seas with Norwegian Cruise Line, which announced plans to launch a Grammy-themed ship next year.

The Grammy Experience will be located on Deck 8 of the latest addition to their fleet, the Norwegian Getaway. In addition to housing artifacts curated from the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, the ship will also feature live performances by past Grammy winners and nominees.

Construction on the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Getaway is
currently underway in Germany. It will be the largest ship to homeport year-round in Miami when it sets sail in February next year.

Highlights of the ship’s features include an open-air boardwalk, three decks to optimise oceanside viewing, and a seafood restaurant developed by US Food Network celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian.

Are you a fan of the music-themed cruise idea?

Here’s a sampling while you wait for the Grammy-themed one to set sail.

American rock band, Matchbox Twenty, will be taking to the seas on the Carnival Imagination in December, sailing between Miami and Nassau, offering their fans nightly concerts, QA and photo sessions.

Norwegian Pearl is also offering a KISS-themed cruise trip for Halloween this year, inviting fans to don their best KISS paraphernalia and sail the Caribbean. – AFP RelaxNews

Tourism Malaysia

Beachside escapade

Paradise indeed: Aview of Boracay fromthe island’s highestpoint in Mt Luho.Paradise indeed: A
view of Boracay from
the island’s highest
point in Mt Luho.

With its great beaches, Boracay
in the Philippines
is hard to beat, and the Ambassador
In Paradise is the resort of choice.

BORACAY in the Philippines seems perpetually to be in one list or another of the best beaches in the world. Well, the accolades are certainly well-deserved, for its white sandy beaches are exceptional.

Boracay also has the reputation for being “party central� – everyone here seems to be partying from 6pm to noon. It’s the Ibiza of Asia, so to speak.

I was there during the tail-end
of the crazy summer holidays so there was a swarm of college- and university-going Filipinos about. You could say this vacation was something I had been looking forward to for a long time, it being my first time there.

Unfortunately, the airline I had booked for the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Clark Terminal, and then onwards to Boracay almost soured the experience. To cut a long story short, I ended up spending eight hours at the airport in Clark, one of the worst airports to be stuck in.

If I was lucky enough to get a boat to Boracay from Caticlan after my connecting flight, I might be able to check into my resort hotel, the Ambassador In Paradise, past midnight after my 10am flight from KL!

Thank goodness, the resort (recommended by the trusty managed to make pickup arrangements for me. From Kalibo airport, the resort driver got me to Caticlan within ONE hour instead of the customary two – all while being a safe driver as he braved terrible road conditions and the dark of night. Impressive!

I managed to catch the last “official� scheduled boat and arrived at the resort at 10.30pm, where I promptly crashed for the night, having been up for close to 21 hours. But before that I was floored by my Premier Ocean View room. It was huge, and had a king-sized bed and two divans.

But it was the bathroom that had me gawping – it was big enough to accomodate a beach party. Later on, I found out that the extra space was utilised in higher-grade rooms for an en-suite Jacuzzi!

Guests at Ambassador In Paradise are greeted by a palm-fringed beach view.Guests at Ambassador In Paradise are greeted by a palm-fringed beach view.

They have four other types of rooms and a presidential suite. Their two-floor family suites can cater to seven.

Next morning, I found the view from my bed to be astonishing. From the balcony windows (I was on the ground floor), I could see the five-star resort’s only restaurant. On the right was the amazing beach with the requisite swaying palm trees and the blue ocean beyond. And on my left was the resort swimming pool.

Paradise indeed!

Breakfast was the first thing on my to-do list. They keep it simple here with a choice of five – American, Continental, Filipino, plus Spanish Omelette and Dutch Omelette.

Paraw boating is one of the water activities available in Boracay.Paraw boating is one of the water activities available in Boracay.

I opted for the last, which was fried eggs with smoked ham, sliced cheese and crispy bacon bits. Nice. If you’re wondering about this option, the owner is Dutch and has two other hotel properties in Haarlem, the Netherlands.

I had the Filipino set the next day, which was basically garlic rice, beef tapa (diced), pickled papaya, pork sausages and superb crunchy anchovies. It’s like the Filipino version of nasi lemak. It was so good that I had it again the next day.

For lunch, I had their set meal, which commenced with a cream of roasted prawn saffron – flavourful but a tad heavy on the saffron. The appetiser of salmon gravlax bruschetta was very good, while the mains of oven-baked tanguigue fish in lemon garlic sauce was not too bad. And to wash it all down was the delicious dalandan (sweet orange drink).

Dinner at the resort did not disappoint either. The cream of pumpkin was divine, the pork adobo was out of this world as the chef had tweaked it to be spicy and even thrown in some eggplant; desserts were limited but tasty (including the local leche flan – creme caramel basically); and the cocktails hit the spot.

The food is good, but the service needs to be improved. Surely one doesn’t need to remind staff about cutlery, condiments and such? But it helps that despite the shortcomings, they do their jobs with a smile.

Now what’s a beach vacation without a massage?

You can opt to have it in your room or by the beachside. I had mine in the room, and it was pure bliss. A combination of shiatsu and Swedish techniques kneaded away my aches and stress.

The resort is at Station 1 of the famous White Beach, with Stations 2 and 3 to the left of the resort. Despite a bum foot and doctor’s orders to rest it and not get the wound wet, I couldn’t resist taking a walk on the beach.

Station 1 is not as crowded as Station 2 where most of the night life is concentrated. AXN was having a party that evening (open to anyone above 21), and it started at 6pm. And there was yet another party the next evening organised by some other group.

All kinds of water activities were on offer (the resort can arrange them for you, too). These included banana boating, paraw boating and parasailing. What I found unique here was the way the locals use surfing boards for paddling on – with an oar in hand while standing on the board!

Besides White Beach, there are other beaches like the relatively uncrowded Puka Beach. For a scenic view of the island, you’ll want to head on up to Mt Luho, the island’s highest point.

Off the beach, one can opt for ATV rides, buggy rides and bicycling.

The best way to get around Bora (as the locals call the place) is via the many electric tricycles that run till late. Hop on and off one for 20 to 60 pesos (RM1.50 to RM4.50).

If you’re into shopping, then the place to go is DMall – it’s a one-stop centre for souvenirs, fresh produce and restaurants. There are loads of boutiques and shops to browse to your heart’s content. And while Filipino food is no great shakes, there are many other options on offer.

If there’s one thing I couldn’t understand about the resort, it was the imposition of corkage on guests. If guests wanted to bring outside food, liquor or soft drinks into the hotel, a fee was imposed. They made an exception for water and snacks.

Never in all my years of staying in hotels and resorts have I seen corkage being imposed. Perhaps they should reconsider this, as it’s not very endearing to guests.

But one thing’s for sure, I will go back to beautiful Bora.


Station 1, Sitio Pinaongon,

Barangay Balabag,

Boracay Island Malay Aklan


Tel: +63 36 288-1541


Tourism Malaysia

Buffet Dinner at The Newly Open Harbour Cafe in Traders Hotel at Puteri Harbour, Johor.

The newly open Harbour Cafe in Traders Hotel (N1.41784 E103.65638) has offering a nice buffet dinner to their guests and public. It’s about a month or so, the Traders Hotel at Nusajaya had started operation and so do the restaurants, we were invited by the Communication Manager – Ms Aidah for the buffet dinner on one of the evening.
The Traders Hotel is located next to the popular Hello Kitty Theme Park and Puteri Harbour of Johor, the signages on the Highway will clearly navigate the visitor to the destination easily.

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The Cafe is offering the International and local delicacies, where you can taste full of varieties in one stop. During the Ramadan month, they prepared more local cuisine compare with normal serving to cater the guests for ‘Buka Puasa’.
Once we stepped into the cafe, we were greeted by the nicely display fruits and vegetables pickles on the decoration cabinets…it was so tempted to grab some of it…:)
The Executive Chef from the hotel – Mr Alan Wong introduced the foods to us systematically…our pleasure and thanks to Mr Alan.
The first session was the appetizers…

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There were many fruits and salads available, among all I like the baby tomotoes very much!

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The Harbour cafe provided 7 types of ‘Kerabu’ for appetizers…they were : Yurap Kacang Panjang, Kerabu Ayam, Kerabu Udang, Kerabu Daging, Acar Jelatah, Kerabu Perut and Tauhu Sumbat.
The ‘Rojak’ was loacted at the end of it, where you can mixed your own fruits ‘Rojak’ the way you like.

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On the next session – the Japanese and the local soup corner…honestly, this was my favorite corner. 🙂

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We were stepped in the perfect timing where one of the staff was pereparing the Sashimi…

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Next to the Japanese corner, nicely presented the local soup area. It provided mainly 3 types of soup : chicken, beef and mutton.

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Follow by the Roti Pratha (or canai) session…they do serve ‘Roti Naan’ in request…

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Before we jump to the seafood area, there were something caught my eyes…
The “Ayam Percik Utara, Nasi Hujan Panas, Rusa Rendang Johor and Puyuh Goreng Berlada.”

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The lamb chops were sitted beside…

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The seafoods from the same session…guests will have a choice to take the cooked or request the fresh uncook seafoods.

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Coming up next was the ‘Claypot’ session where most of the curry and assam soup were serve, this was the session I miss! Because of not enough space for me to fill in…

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Every buffet you visit during the Ramadan month, you will definitely see this ‘Whole Baby Lamb’, it might be the must during the Buka Puasa.

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The Chinese corner was situated next, where you can get most of the noodle soup within the session included a Nice Johor Laksa.

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When talk about Chinese corner, it won’t be complete with the ‘Dim Sum’. The tasty Dim Sum served without pork and lard, that means our Muslim friends also have a chance to enjoy the Chinese Dim Sum.

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The Local Delights of ‘Kambing Kari Pudina, nasi Goreng Ikan Masin, Bawal Semur Betawi, Udang Paprik and Pucuk Manis Masak Lemak’ were at the last food corner…

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The last session of the buffet was the interesting island…The Dessert Island.

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They were the first hotel in Johor to brought in the Fondue machine from England, where you can have dark and white chocolate in One machine.

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I believe the children and some of the adults will excited and love it very much!

It was our honor to had Chef Bing to prepared the ‘Apom Balik’ for us, Yummy!

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Now, let’s have a glance on the dining area of Harbour Cafe…

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All the dining area are designed next to the food session, you can easily enjoy your dinner with just a few steps.

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I can’t taste all the foods here because of my very limited stomach, I wish I have 2-3 tummy to fill all the foods here, am I greedy?! 🙂
I tasted the baby lamb, nice and succulent with the kuzi sauce. The fragrance Satay sauce was unique and special which I never try before! Nice! We were indulged in the Sashimi that evening…the Salmon and Tuna Sashimis were fresh with the perfect texture.

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The dessert time was the time we can’t stop enjoying it! Thanks for Chef Bing specially served us the unique dessert from him, that was my First time having the fried pineapple that dipped with dark chocolate! Delicious!

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We had a wonderful evening having the buffet dinner at Harbour Cafe! I’ll definitely back for more…

A common question from friends : “How’s the food?” Well, I cannot taste all the foods in the Cafe, and understand that everyone has a different taste bud. You have to try it yourself to find your own taste. What I can say is…some were average and most were Yummylicious! Especially dine at the nice environment, I would say…I love it!

The price for the buffet dinner at Harbour Cafe from 10th July until 9th August 2013 is RM108++ per pax, 6.30pm – 10.30pm. If you visiting the cafe in the big group, you may contact the Hotel for better price.

Last, I would like to thanks to Ms Aidah – Communicaton Manager, Mr Alan Wong – Executive Chef, Mr Bing – Chef and Mr Avraam – F B Manager for their warm hospitality and the Delicious foods.

*  No pork, no lard, no Halal cert.

Tourism Malaysia

Yashiki Yakitori Bar @ Viva Home Shopping Mall

March 8, 2013 at 2:00 pm

After a surprisingly ‘refreshing’ Yee Sang with the gang, we started on our second dish for the day – the Soft Shell Crab Salad. Served with a Japanese dressing made from mayonnaise and sesame seed, it is this condiment that brings out the best of the salad and the soft shell crab. In fact, it was so delicious that this was the first time I’ve seen a plate of salad totally cleaned out! Parents may want to consider investing in a bottle to make vegetables more appealing to their children. I know for sure that Emily Tang enjoyed every single bite of her vegetables that day.

Soft Shell Crab Salad – healthy AND delicious!

Next dish up for tasting was the Tuna Tataki. Each delectable piece of tuna is covered in tangy citrus sauce and is garnished with a row of chilli spiced radish, spring onions and raw garlic. Though it may appear to be quite strong in taste, everything comes together perfectly at the end. We also tried the chef’s selection of 8 different types of Nigiri Sushi, which included raw items like salmon, tuna, sea urchin, fish roe and octopus sashimi.

Tuna Tataki

Sushi Deluxe comprises of the Chef’s selection of 8 different kinds of sushi, including squid, salmon and fish roe

Any trip to a Japanese restaurant is never complete without giving its Sashimi dishes a try. And so we sampled Yashiki’s Sashimi set. This set comes with four kinds of chef’s selection of raw fish together with a bowl of rice, 3 pieces of fried gyoza, a bowl of miso soup, slices of fruits and pickled Japanese radish. Its fresh sashimi pieces coupled with hot bowl of miso soup and rice is guaranteed to fill any growling stomach to the brim. Another must try when you are dining at Yashiki Yakitori Bar is the Shake Atama, which is salmon head that has been grilled to perfection. Its sweet tasting meat and the other succulent parts of the fish head is sure to bring fish head lovers to paradise. I know Evelyn Ang enjoyed every piece of her fish head.

The sashimi is fresh and comes with a bowl of rice, miso soup, fruits, Japanese pickles and 3 pieces of fried gyoza

Fish head lovers should definitely try out Yashiki Yakitori Bar’s Shake Atama

But my most favourite dish of all (other than the Yee Sang) was the Salmon Cheese Oshizushi. The lightly charred and melted cheese spread atop the fresh salmon gives each individual portion a smoky taste. Absolutely mouth-watering! We also tried the restaurant’s yakitori offerings (kind of impossible to give it a miss, since the outlet is quite well-known for their yakitori dishes) and chose about 8 different types. In my humble opinion, the yakitori sticks tasted quite normal. There were some sticks where the meat tasted a little bit dry.

Salmon Cheese Oshizushi

The assorted yakitori sticks (L – R) – Bacon with White Prawn, Negima, Beef with Enoki, Bacon with Asparagus, Pork Belly, Lamb with Asparagus, Bacon Enoki and Salmon Belly

The drinks bar of Yashiki Yakitori Bar

All in all, it was a truly enjoyable meal, made even more so with the company that was there. It is easy to just lose track of time when dining at Yashiki Yakitori Bar. The outlet has a cosy environment that makes it a wonderful venue for a long lunch or an intimate dinner session for two. Great place to head to the next time you want to enjoy great Japanese food with your friends or your loved ones.

This Dining With Moola experience is courtesy of Moola, the first-ever Cash-Back Lifestyle Programme specially designed for shoppers to enjoy free shopping, great savings and best deals in town. Moola is a mobile application that utilises QR code technology for all interactions; from member registration, Moola accumulation and redemption, to the actual shopping.

Moola Frenz who dine at Yashiki Yakitori Bar are entitled to a 10% cash back everytime! What’s more, you can also grab FreeMakan vouchers for even MORE savings here!

Moola is completely hassle-free; no administrative effort; no joining fee; no cards; and comes with even greater flexibility for shoppers to enjoy the variety of rewards for redemption. Visit for more information and download the Moola app today! Apple, Android and Blackberry phones supported.

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Tourism Malaysia

A taste of Szechuan with Moola

January 29, 2013 at 5:00 pm

How many times have we walked past a shop or a restaurant without realising what is offered in there? I know I do. In our haste to reach our destination on time, these shops have been reduced to blurry images that recede into the background. One such restaurant was Zhi Wei Yuan, located along Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur.

Zhi Wei Yuan specialises in Szechuan cuisine, and as Chinese cuisines are a big mystery to me, I did not have any preconceived expectations prior to dining at this outlet. I was there with a couple of friends, including Emily Tang of Sunrise Emily blog and Evelyn Ang of, courtesy of Moola, the first ever homegrown Cash-Back Lifestyle programme by ICT Utopia. The girls had a lot to say about their experience here, so please remember to see how it went for both of them!

Read: Emily’s first encounter of the Szechuan kind
Read: Evelyn loves it SPICY… for food of course

It turns out that Szechuan food is famous for its spicy dishes and the generous use of its Szechuan peppercorns in cooking. These peppercorns are known to possess a unique aroma and flavour that is very much unlike its more well-known counterparts, the black and white pepper. Regulars patrons who know exactly what they want can have their dishes customised according to their requests. Freshness is their main emphasis when it comes to choosing their ingredients to ensure quality dishes. Most of their basic ingredients used in preparation of their meals are brought in from China.

Our dishes for the evening looked pretty common, but let me tell you, this lot packs a punch taste wise! The manager offered us a very useful tip to fight off the heat from the peppercorns – that is to drink Wong Lo Kat (a type of Chinese sweet herbal drink) instead of the usual cold water to complement our meal. Our dinner started off with prawns fried in spicy sauce. The prawns were fresh, and it the first of many great tasting dishes that made the dinner great.

Surprisingly, Wong Lo Kat really does help cool down the spiciness of the Szechuan pepper!

To me, food is like songs and movies; you may encounter a great many of them throughout your life, but only a few will actually leave a lasting impression. For me, the Sichuan Style Braised Fish Fillet with Beancurd was one such dish. I never knew that a combination of simple ingredients like fish fillet, soft beancurd and salted preserved vegetable could become something so delicious. The taste of the soup is strong enough that it gives the whole dish its flavour, but not so strong that it overpowers the beancurd and fish fillet.

Sichuan Style Fried Prawn with Spicy Sauce – delicious down to the very last bite!

Sichuan Style Braised Fish Fillet with Beancurd – Though it may look simple, one taste of this dish and you will fall in love with it

We were also treated to a serving of Fried Spareribs in Sweet Sour Sauce and Chongqing Stir Fried Chicken with Dried Chilli. Unlike some restaurants where the colour of the sauce LOOKS delicious but in fact lacks in taste, this dish is just perfect – not too sweet, just enough hint of sourness to make it tender and yummy with every bite! Definitely a must try for lovers of pork spare ribs. For frog lovers, look out for the Dry Braised Spicy Edible Frog. Though it was slightly salty to the taste, the frog meat was fresh and tender, making this dish a great accompaniment with rice.

Fried Spareribs in Sweet Sour Sauce – a must try for spareribs lovers

Chongqing Stir Fried Chicken with Dried Chilli – spicy to the last morsel!

Dry Braised Spicy Edible Frog

The chef also made us a few other non-spicy dishes like the Sauteed Hand Ripped Cabbage, Xinjiang Boiled Lamb Cutlets, Sauteed Shredded Potato with Salted Egg Yolk. Again, do not be fooled by these simple looking dishes. The cabbage tastes absolutely scrumptious! The vegetable is crisp and tasty with a slight sweetness and a hint of vinegar added to it, yet there isn’t any of the raw vegetable taste that is present as a result of undercooking. If you were to ask the manager as to how the lamb is prepared, you’d be surprised with the answer. There isn’t any gamey taste and it doesn’t feel like you are chewing rubber with every bite.

Sauteed Hand Ripped Cabbage – the cabbage tastes crisp with a slight sweetness to it. One of the many favourites for the night

Xinjiang Boiled Lamb Cutlets – who knew that lamb could taste this wonderful cooked this way

Sauteed Shredded Potato with Salted Egg Yolk – looks like noodles right? It’s actually shredded potato coated with salted egg yolk. Another favourite for the night

By now, anyone would already be so full that it would seem impossible to take another bite. Maybe it was the rainy weather, or it could be the company that we had, we were definitely up for one more dish – the famous Sichuan Hot Pot. We chose the Spicy Fish Hot Pot. This item comes with 3 side dishes of your choice, 6 condiments and lots of fish meat underneath that bubbling soup. The condiments, which are raw garlic, spring onions, sesame seed oil, peppercorn oil, chopped red and cilantro, play a part in enhancing your eating experience.

Sichuan Hot Pot – Spicy Fish

The side dishes and condiments that comes together with the order of hot pot

Glutinous Rice Balls in Sweet Rice Wine Soup – a nice dessert to round up the night

Unlike the conventional hot pot where you drink large quantities of the soup, the soup for this hot pot can be a tad too spicy and oily for anyone. That is why one of the condiments given with every dish is sesame seed oil. When mixed with the other condiments of your choice, it will prevent the person from suffering from heartburn. A very useful tip indeed!

It was close to 11pm by the time our dinner ended. Everyone went back with a big smile on their faces and a slightly bigger waistline! Though eating at Zhi Wei Yuan can be slightly expensive, it was worth every dollar. It may seem that we have managed to taste quite a number of dishes today, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. I will definitely make Zhi Wei Yuan a stop in my continuing journey of exploring Szechuan cuisine.

This Dining With Moola experience is courtesy of Moola, the first-ever Cash-Back Lifestyle Programme specially designed for shoppers to enjoy free shopping, great savings and best deals in town. Moola is a mobile application that utilises QR code technology for all interactions; from member registration, Moola accumulation and redemption, to the actual shopping.

Moola Frenz who dine at Zhi Wei Yuan are entitled to a 10% cash back everytime! What’s more, you can also grab FreeMakan vouchers for even MORE savings here!

Moola is completely hassle-free; no administrative effort; no joining fee; no cards; and comes with even greater flexibility for shoppers to enjoy the variety of rewards for redemption. Visit for more information and download the Moola app today! Apple, Android and Blackberry phones supported.

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