Tourism Malaysia

Kalamazoo Restaurant & Cafe

December 5, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Recently, a close friend of mine went back to the States for a family vacation. As we were talking about her trip, she mentioned that she took the opportunity to visit all her favourite restaurants that she frequented when she stayed there previously. Though some of the types of food can be found here in Malaysia, there is just something different about it when it is prepared there. I bet she would be one happy woman if they ever decide to open an outlet here in Kuala Lumpur.

One of the items that you should try is their delicious brownies!

I recalled that conversation as I was sitting in Kalamazoo Restaurant Café not too long ago. For those of you who have not heard of Kalamazoo, it is located at Aman Suria, Damansara. The restaurant was born out of the fond memories that the 4 partners had of the food they tasted when they were studying in Kalamazoo, Michigan. What’s even amazing is that none of them were Hospitality major graduates.

It is a quiet and cosy atmosphere as you step into the restaurant

The food served at Kalamazoo Restaurant Café is simple, hearty and delicious. Most of it is similar to those that the owners themselves favoured when they were there, especially the milkshakes. There is the Classic Vanilla or Chocolate shake and other equally delicious flavours up for offer. My friends and I tried their Peanut Butter with Chocolate and Oreo Vanilla. Both were yummy right down to the last drop, but somehow the Peanut Butter and Chocolate shake called out to me more. The outlet also serves a knockout Rootbeer Float and refreshing Lemonade to wash your palate. Don’t worry if you are not a fan of sour stuff because the lemonade was made just right – not too sour and not too sweet.

Root Beer Float

The delicious and sinful Peanut Butter Chocolate Milkshake

Another favourite – Oreo Vanilla Milkshake

The food… ah… how can I ever forget the food that we had there. We tried Kalamazoo’s Alabama BBQ Ribs and their Signature Pork Burger. Suffice to say that I will definitely be headed back there for seconds! The pork patty was well marinated, so much so that you could taste the flavours in every bite. The one thing that got my attention was the bun. The bun was still soft and delicious even after we subjected the burger to an extended round of photo shoot. The entire burger was well put together, its individual ingredients coming together to form a well-rounded and memorable delight.

Signature Pork Burger

The BBQ ribs were still tender even though it was already at room temperature when we tucked into it. The meat practically came off the bones without much prodding and every bite was heavenly even though I tasted it without the special sauce that is served with it. This is one dish that I would definitely recommend to my pork-loving friends. The Aglio Olio Pork Bacon packs a punch in taste although it looks simple. I have tasted some Aglio Olio dishes where it is either bland or oily, but the one done by the restaurant is just nice. I can still taste the bacon in the oil and the bits are not fried till they are too crispy.

Aglio Olio Pork Bacon

The juicy Alabama BBQ Ribs

Another thing that I really like about this restaurant is that it is one of the few places in Klang Valley that is furkid friendly. Certain areas of the restaurant are designated as furkid area so that the owners can have their dogs seated in case the other customers become wary of the dogs. They also provide knee height chairs for customers to sit their dogs. Though I may not own any dogs for now, I do know where to head to for my meal with my pet in the future!

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All Malaysia Info

Thaipusam: a celebration of faith and gratitude

While many of us associate Thaipusam with crowds at temples and the awe-inspiring sight of kavadi bearers, how many of us actually understand the significance of the occasion?

A devotee bearing a kavadi – the symbol of humility and devotion

Thaipusam comes from an amalgam of the words “Thai” – referring to the Tamil month of Thai (January – February) – and Pusam – the brightest star during this period. Falling between 15 January and 15 February every year, Thaipusam is a celebration of Lord Murugan’s victory over Soorapadman’s tyranny.

Soorapadman believed himself invincible since he cannot be killed by anything other than a being that was a manifestation of Lord Shiva, one of the most important Hindu deities. Unluckily for him, Lord Murugan was one such being and he used his spear or vel, which was given to him by Lord Shiva’s consort, Parvati, to defeat Soorapadman.

So it is that during Thaipusam, the people thank Lord Murugan for granting their wishes and defeating the “daily demons” that plague their lives, be it illnesses, career blocks or infertility. Believers not only thank him, they also ask forgiveness for trangressions made, as well as pray for blessings.

The rituals of Thaipusam usually begin much earlier before the big day itself. Some devotees fast for more than a month before the occasion while others shave their heads as an act of gratitude, repentance or as a poignant plea to have prayers answered.

On the eve of Thaipusam, the image of Lord Murugan is transported from one temple to another, accompanied and waited on by devotees bearing offerings to the deity. Milk, a symbol of purity and virtue, as well as flowers and fruits are common Thaipusam offerings. Kavadis, literally “sacrifice at every step”, can be seen attached to devotees via hooks and thin spears that pierce their backs, cheeks and mouths.

This can be quite a sight for onlookers who no doubt wonder how these kavadi bearers withstand the pain, but devotees will tell you that their fervent faith in their Lord Murugan’s protection spares them from pain and prevents them from shedding blood. Bearing a kavadi is an act of devotion and humility.

Additionally, coconuts are smashed to signify the breaking of the ego and the emergence of a purer self.

In Batu Caves – one of the focal points of Thaipusam celebration in Malaysia – the procession accompanying the silver chariot bearing Lord Murugan’s idol, starts from Sri Mahamariamman, in the centre of Kuala Lumpur, to the temples of Batu Caves. The procession usually starts before midnight on the eve of Thaipusam and is a 15 kilometre journey that can easily take 8 hours.

Devotees wait for hours just to catch a glimpse of Lord Murugan on his chariot and extend their offerings while hundreds of thousands more join the procession to the temples. The number of people at Batu Caves during Thaipusam can range from 700,000 right up to 1.5 million. At Batu Caves, devotees faithfully carry their offerings and kavadi bearers staunchly shoulder their burdens up 272 steps to the temple.

Celebrations also take place in other parts of the country. Other principal places of celebration include the Waterfall Temple in Penang and Kallumalai Temple in Ipoh, Perak.

A procession accompanying the chariot bearing the Hindu deity as it makes its way to the temple during Thaipusam

Thaipusam, to any who are lucky to witness the festivities, is both a vivid celebration of colours and a fascinating display of faith. Yet, this is not the only Hindu festival that is worth bearing witness to. Other holy days, important to Hindu belief and culture, are just as interesting and engrossing.

Deepavali, literally meaning “rows of lamps”, for example, is a celebration of light triumphing over dark. On this day in the Tamil month of Aippasi (October – November), one legend has it that the Lord Krishna defeated the demon king Naraka. Hindus celebrate the occasion by anointing themselves in oil and partaking in a ritual bath early in the morning on Deepavali day. Then new clothes are worn and prayers are performed. Deepavali is quite possibly the best known Hindu festival in Malaysia. Other festivals besides Thaipusam and Deepavali are:


Celebrated for four days, beginning from the first day of the Tamil month of Thai, Ponggal means the “boiling over” of rice and is a thanksgiving to the elements that have contributed to a good harvest – mainly the sun and the cattle. On this day, the cattle gets a well-deserved day of rest, a good wash and their sheds similarly get a thorough cleaning. They are also decorated with garlands and fed with ponggal – sweet rice. The Sun God is thanked as well with both prayers and sweet rice. But the gratitude isn’t only limited to the Sun God and the cattle; on the third day of celebration, visits are made to family and friends, employers customarily present gifts to their employees and single women present offerings to their home deities, praying for a worthy husband.


Taking place on the 13th night of the Tamil month of Masi (February – March), this is a festival of fasting and prayers. It is also known as Shiva’s Night.

Panguni Utthiram

This festival falls on the same day as that of Lord Shiva’s union with Parvathi and the birth of Lord Murugan from sparks emanating from Lord Shiva’s eyes. Falling on the day of the full moon in the Tamil month of Panguni (March – April), the festival is celebrated much like Thaipusam in Murugan temples.

Tamil New Year

Here new year refers to the first day of the Tamil month of Chittirai (April – May). It is on this day that the sun enters the first sign of the Hindu zodiac – Aries. During the Tamil New Year (also known as the Hindu New Year), the house is thoroughly cleaned and decorated. This includes the prayer room which will be adorned with gold jewellery, rice, silk cloths and other favourable objects. Those who take part in the celebrations wear new clothes, eat a vegetarian meal and go to the temple to perform prayers.


Literally meaning “Nine Nights”, this festival is celebrated in the Tamil month of Puraddasi (September – October). The celebrations are in honour of the goddess Shakti, who is the “Great Divine Mother” in Hindu belief. On this day, a kolu – a dais with nine steps – is filled with the images of Hindu deities and saints while the “Great Divine Mother” is invited to take her place on a kumpam – a beautifully decorated, water-filled pot that is covered with husked coconut as well as mango leaves and placed on banana leaf that also has rice on it. Offerings in the form of nine types of grains are placed at the kumpan as well.


Map: Batu Caves

Mini Thaipusam

Mini Thaipusam in living colour

Miss World Malaysia 2009 Thanuja Ananthan

Colours of Deepavali [PIC]

Oil Lamp or Vilakku

Deepavali – The Festival of Lights

Malaysian Children

Festivals and celebrations in Malaysia

Arulmugu Sri Ruthra Veeramuthu Maha Mariamman Temple

A temple stands proud

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Tourism Malaysia

Race the Best at the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix

Race the Best at the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix

The Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix race is the highlight of the international car racing circuit. Thousands of loyal fans are attracted annually to the race which has been held at the Sepang International Circuit since 1999, owing to the continuing popularity of the 56 lap 192.878 mile race.

The predecessor to the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix was the Formula 2 which was held from 1962 – 65, but it was held in Singapore who later gained independence from the Malaysian Federation, so during the break-up of the Federation Malaysia held four lower impact races at the Shah Alam circuit from 1968 until 1995 when the current race track was opened in Sepang. These were the Tasman Series, Formula Pacific, Formula Atlantic, and the Formula Holden.

Formula 1 action at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia. Pic: Craig, WikiMedia Commons.

Formula 1 action at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia. Pic: Craig, WikiMedia Commons.

The Sepang International Circuit, where the Formula 1 race is held, is located just 60 kilometres from the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, and is situated only 10 minutes from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Selangor State. The circuit was designed by a German named Hermann Tilke in 1995, who also designed the Shanghai, Turkish, Bahrain, India, Korea, Valencia, and Singapore circuits which are also in the Formula 1 race calendar. The Sepang circuit is famous for its short and tight hairpin and unusually long back straight.

Crowds arrive at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia, on race day. Pic: Craig, WikiMedia Commons.

Crowds arrive at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia, on race day. Pic: Craig, WikiMedia Commons.

Petronas (Malaysian: Petroliam Nasional Berhad), the Malaysian national oil and gas company, has sponsored the Malaysian Grand Prix since its inauguration into the racing calendar since 1999. The energy company finances the upkeep of the track and the spectator stands, they supply the oil and petroleum for the racing cars, and they are responsible for the security of the race.

The most famous racer at the Malaysian Grand Prix of all time was John MacDonald who won races in the years of 1970, 1971, 1973, and 1975. John was English born but moved to live in Hong Kong during his national service, where he continued to live and set up a garage business which made him successful and allowed him to become a successful racer also.

The most successful racing team to compete in the Malaysian Grand Prix is Ferrari thanks to the successes of Michael Schumacher in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2008, and 2012.

Michael Schumacher pictured at the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. Pic: Whiz Kris, Flickr.

Michael Schumacher pictured at the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. Pic: Whiz Kris, Flickr.

The annual race, held every year towards the end of March, attracts approximately 50,000 spectators from all around the world, some just to see their favourite racing star, but others to feel the excitement and exhilaration of the head to head race between man and man, country and country, sponsor and sponsor.

Most Formula 1 racers unanimously agree that the Malaysian Grand Prix is by far the most stress inducing and physically demanding race in the whole Formula 1 calendar. Temperatures are torturous and regularly reach 30 degrees Celsius and when combined with the humidity, which is rarely lower than 75%, the climate alone drains all drivers of energy even before putting in any effort to race. Malaysia, but Kuala Lumpur in particular, is famous for its unexpected heavy rain downpours which often disrupt the car racing, causing crashes and severe car damage.

The actual race track has been called “the most environmentally friendly race track in the world” by various commentators because of its abundance of palm trees. The track was built on a former 260 hectare palm oil plantation, so to compensate for the loss of plants the owners planted hundreds of palm trees around the race track, spectator’s stands, and spectator’s recreation areas.

In the latest Malaysian Grand Prix, the 2012 season, which was held on 25th March, the leader of the driver’s championship, Fernando Alonso with his Ferrari team, came first after a breathtaking and sometimes risky race. Just 2.2 seconds behind Alonso was the less well known Sergio Perez with his Sauber team, and then came the former world champion Lewis Hamilton and the McLaren-Mercedes not long after. It made for an unforgettable race in the beautiful country of Malaysia.

Many people, especially those coming from Europe and the Americas combine watching the Malaysia Formula 1 Grand Prix with a relaxing holiday elsewhere in the country. The Malaysian Government praises this as it brings in much needed tourism income in the form of taxes, shop purchases, transport income, and accommodation income. Kuala Lumpur International Airport as the country’s main airport is also kept busy during the races. The Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix could be an unforgettable experience, so why not give it a try and book your tickets in time for the next race?

Tourism Malaysia

Malaysia Export Exhibition Centre

Malaysia Export Exhibition Centre

Did you know that there is a permanent display promoting local products and services from over 500 Malaysian companies?

The Malaysia Export Exhibition Centre (MEEC) at Menara MATRADE in Kuala Lumpur is the place for trade visitors to obtain more information on Malaysian local products for export.

Located on the second floor of MEEC, it has 4,500 sq meters of display space showcasing and promoting the various Malaysian products and services.

Built as a one –stop exhibition centre, MEEC helps provide sourcing solutions with assistance in addressing trade queries as well as setting up business meetings with exhibitors of the various products. MEEC also has personnel to address on trade enquiries.

Serving as an international venue for Malaysian suppliers to meet with prospective buyers, trade visitors can choose from 30 industries such as Green Technology, Electrical and Electronics, Chemical, Automotive, Rubber, Plastic, Pharmaceutical and Timber/Wood.

There is also promotion of the services sector with industries like Oil and Gas, Construction, Business Services, Healthcare and Education.

The showcased display area is divided into three sections:

a)      Home Display Area – a quirky display of furniture, household products and its usage in real life

b)      Booth Area –  Divided by industries this area showcases Malaysian products and services

c)       Open Concept – segmented by industry cluster, products are displayed creatively

Interested in learning more?

Check out the visiting hours:

Monday – Thursday         : 9.00 am – 5.00 pm

Friday    : 9.00 am – 12.15 pm

: 2.45 pm – 5.00 pm

Closed on Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays

For further information on MEEC, kindly visit or call 03-6207 7183/ 7184/ e-mail:


Level 2, East Wing


Jalan Khidmat Usaha, Off Jalan Duta

50480 Kuala Lumpur

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