Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived, at the end.
It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant
Even your gender and skin colour will be irrelevant.
So what will matter?
How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not a matter of circumstance, but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.

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I had a hankering for some macaroni cheese bake and also had a crazy idea that adding some craberries to my macaroni cheese bake might enhance its taste. So the best way is to experiement it. It did work, the cheese bake became sweet, sourish, savoury and cheesy, nice!

Cranberries Macaroni Cheese Bake

Cranberries Macaroni Cheese Bake

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Being a beautiful island with good weather and great food, Penang has been voted as one of the most liveable cities in Asia and the state with the most foreigners in Malaysia.

Whether you are a local needing to get your visas done or foreigner who needs to get your Schengen visa to visit Europe or to meet an embassy or consulate of a country, you do not necessarily need to go to Kuala Lumpur. You can met them in Penang.  Many foreigners who live in Thailand also come to Penang for their visa runs. However, please do call them to confirm the nature of the services provided.

The countries with their embassies or consulates in Penang are Germany, Australia, Britain (United Kingdom), Japan, Indonesia, Denmark, Thailand, Austria, Canada and Finland.
Below is the list of their contacts. Do let me know if you know of any embassy or consulate in Penang that is not listed here so I can add it to the list. Thanks.

German Consulate in Penang, Malaysia
P.K.T., Managing Director, OE Design Sdn. Bhd.
Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone 3
11900 Penang
Malaysia
Tel: (+60) 4 647 1288
Fax: (+60) 4 647 2120
Honorary Consul Herbert Anton Weiler, P.K.T

Australian Consulate in Penang
1-C Lorong Hutton, 10050 Penang
Tel: +60 4 263 3320
Fax: +60 4 263 3320
Email: Public-Affairs-KLPR@dfat.gov.au
Web site: http://www.malaysia.embassy.gov.au

British Honorary Consulate in Penang
Tel: (60) (4) 227 5336 (Rob Hawkins)
Fax: (60) (4) 227 2336
Email: robh@tm.net.my
Web site http://ukinmalaysia.fco.gov.uk/en/

Consulate General of Japan
Level 28, Menara BHL,
No. 51 Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, 10050 Penang
Tel: (604) 226-3030
Fax: (604) 226-1030

Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia Penang,
467, Burma Road
Penang 10350
Tel. 04-2274686; 04-2267412; 04-2274955
email: admportal.penang@deplu.go.id
web sites: http://www.deplu.go.id/penang/Pages/default.aspx?l=en
The consulate is located next to Penang Adventist Hospital
Working hours:
09.30-16.30 (Monday-Friday)
Saturday, Sunday and Official Holidays Closed
It is closed on Indonesia Public Holiday, Malaysia Public Holiday and Penang Public Holidays. Please check it on the website.

Royal Danish Consulate in Penang
2nd Floor, Standard Chartered Bank Chambers
2 Lebuh Pantai, 10300 Penang
Tel: +604-262 4886
Fax: +604-261 4963

Thai Consulate General in Penang
1 Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman
10350 Penang
Tel. (60-4) 2268029, 2269484
Fax:(60-4) 2263121
E-mail : thaipg@tm.net.my
web site: http://www.mfa.go.th/web/2792.php?depid=222
Office Hours: Monday- Friday 9.00-12.00 hrs | 14.00-16.30 hrs
From 1st of June 2008, The Royal Thai Consulate will accept Visa Application from 9.00 – 11.00 am. It is closed on Thai Public Holiday, Malaysia Public Holiday and Penang Public Holidays. Please check it on the website.

Austria Honorary Consulate
19, Halaman Bukit Gambir 2
11700 Gelugor, Penang
Malaysia
Tel: +60.4.656.8525
Fax: +60.4.659.8525
Email austrianconsulate@carmelita.com.my
Hours Monday: 09.00-13.00, 14.00-17.00, Tuesday: 09.00-13.00, 14.00-17.00, Wednesday: 09.00-13.00, 14.00-17.00, Thursday: 09.00-13.00, 14.00-17.00, Friday: 09.00-12.00, 14.30-17.00

Canadian Honorary Consulate
Honorary Consul Tan Yew Thong
Address 3007 Tingkat Perusahaan 5
Prai Industrial Park
13600 Prai, Penang
Malaysia
Tel: (04) 389.3300
Fax: +60.4.389.2300

Finnish Honorary Consulate
Honorary Consul Mr. Kim Seng Poh
Address c/o MS Elevators Engineering Sdn. Bnd.
8th floor, Wisma Penang Garden
42 Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah
10050 Penang
Malaysia
Tel: +60.4.229.4300
Fax: +60.4.227.4533

We had long year end holidays but we didn’t book any trips this time. Oversea tours booked at the last minute would be extremely expensive during this time, so on a whim we decided to drive around our own country, i.e. Malaysia. We didn’t have any any itinerary on where to go exactly, all I did was to do a very minimal research on Malaysia map at night, brought a Garmin GPS, booked first night of accommodation online and off we went! We didn’t know how many days we were going to go off and decided to just let things happen. We were really in full control of the trip rather than the trip controlled us if we had booked all the hotels in advance. We just lived in the moments and booked our next-day-accommodation only at the last minute before the next day. 

We started our journey from Penang the next morning, had breakfast and set to explore Malaysia. After traveling for so many years, this was the first time I was exploring 7 states in my own country by road. The drive from West to the East coast via East-West highway was very pleasant, it had the most breathtaking scenic views compared to all other highways in Malaysia. Best of all, there is no toll!!! We were so pleasantly surprised. We saw so much green, palm oil plantations and even came across Mount Fuji of Malaysia along the way from Baling to Gerik :-) 

Mount Fuji of Malaysia

Mount Fuji of Malaysia

Here is how we traveled to 7 states and the summary of our stops in 4 days. 

Day 1 

Penang – via Baling (Kedah) to Gerik Highway – Tasik Temenggor/Banding Island in Gerik, Lunch at Belum Forest Resort (formerly known as Banding Island Resort in Perak), overnight at Kota Bahru (Kelantan). 

After breakfast in Penang, we departed and went through Baling to go to Tasik Temenggor which took us about 3 hours to get there. We originally wanted to go to Belum Forest Reserve to check out the largest flower in the world, Rafflesia but found out that we needed permit to go there which one needs to apply 2 weeks in advance, so we couldn’t go in the last minute. Maybe next trip then. So we just stopped by to have lunch at Belum Forest Resort and continued our journey to Kota Bahru. On the way, we passed by Banding Island Bridge at Tasik Temenggor and saw the breathtaking view at Titiwangsa Lookout Point. 

Belum Rainforest Resort in Gerik, Perak (formerly known as Banding Island Resort)

Belum Rainforest Resort in Gerik, Perak (formerly known as Banding Island Resort)

Banding Island Bridge on Tasik Temenggor (Temenggor Lake)

Banding Island Bridge on Tasik Temenggor (Temenggor Lake)

Breathtaking view at Titiwangsa Lookout Point

Breathtaking view at Titiwangsa Lookout Point

After another 3 hours drive, we finally arrived in Kota Bahru and checked in our hotel. We’ve heard so much about Kelantanese food being the best Malay food, so we decided to have a feast in Kelantan. We went to Yati Ayam Percik for dinner, it was excellent, we tried different local delicacies like Laksam, Smoke Fish in banana leaves and some local desserts. It was yummy. Pasar malam (night market) at Pintu Pong and Wakaf Che Yeh were a bit of disappointment. From our observations, there seemed to be more sellers than buyers in all the markets in Kota Bahru. The markets were unusually quiet and not much going on. We weren’t sure why? 

One of the best Yati Ayam Percik in Kota Bahru

One of the best Yati Ayam Percik in Kota Bahru

Local Kelantanese Food and Delicacies at Yati Ayam Percik in Kota Bahru

Local Kelantanese Food and Delicacies at Yati Ayam Percik in Kota Bahru

Day 2 

Breakfast at our hotel – Pasar Siti Khadijah (Kota Bharu Central Market) – Pantai Cahaya Bulan (Moonlight Beach) – Kuala Trengganu (Trengganu)-  Famous Lekor as snack at Kak Yah Keropok Losong – Taman Tamadun Islam – Pantai Batu Buruk – Lunch at Uncle Chua – overnight at Tasik Kenyir (Kenyir Lake) 

On the second day, after breakfast at the hotel, we checked out Pasar Siti Khadijah (Kota Bharu Central Market) , again there were more sellers than buyers and unusually quiet, inside the market was pretty smelly so we only dropped by the market for a short while and left almost immediately and headed to Pantai Cahaya Bulan. 

Fruit sellers outside of Kota Bahru Central Market (Pasar Siti Khadijah)

Fruit sellers outside of Kota Bahru Central Market (Pasar Siti Khadijah)

Fresh produce at Kota Bahru Central Market (Pasar Siti Khadijah)

Fresh produce at Kota Bahru Central Market (Pasar Siti Khadijah)

The waves were pretty rough at PCB and there were traces of flooding at the beach as well. While we were there, there was a car stuck in the sand and couldn’t get out, so the men in our car did a good deed to help push the car out of the sand. 

Pantai Cahaya Bulan (PCB, a.k.a. Moonlight Beach) in Kota Bahru, Kelantan

Pantai Cahaya Bulan (PCB, a.k.a. Moonlight Beach) in Kota Bahru, Kelantan

Traces of flooding at Pantai Cahaya Bulan (PCB, a.k.a. Moonlight Beach) in Kota Bahru due to the monsoon season.

Traces of flooding at Pantai Cahaya Bulan (PCB, a.k.a. Moonlight Beach) in Kota Bahru due to the monsoon season.

After the car got out of the sand, we decided to stop by Kuala Trengganu before going to Tasik Kenyir (Kenyir Lake) in Trengganu. About another 3 hours from Kota Bahru, we arrived in Kuala Trengganu as a result of a bad traffic jam due to some accident that day. We first stopped by at the famous Kak Yah Keropok Lesong to try out their steam and fried Lekor which our friend recommended. Lekor is made from fresh fish meat, sago and some salt, rolled into sausage shaped. This is a must-try snack when you are in Trengganu. We can find lekor in Penang but the ones in Trengganu taste much better, I think because it has more fish meat than other ingredients. 

Freshly fried keropok lekor at Kak Yah Keropok Lesong in Kuala Trengganu

Freshly fried keropok lekor at Kak Yah Keropok Lesong in Kuala Trengganu

Steamed lekor that's soft compared to the fried lekor that's crispy.

Steamed lekor that's soft compared to the fried lekor that's crispy.

We oder 5 plates of fried and steamed lekor, quite yummy with the chilly sauce.

We odered 5 plates of fried and steamed lekor, taste yummy with the chilly sauce.

After the lekor feast, we decided to check out the Crystal Mosque at Taman Tamadun Islam (Islamic Civilization Park) before we ate a proper lunch. There are many mosques in the park but only the Crystal Mosque is the most outstanding one. 

Crystal mosque at Taman Tamadun Islam (Islamic Civilization Park) in Kuala Trengganu

Beautiful Crystal mosque at Taman Tamadun Islam (Islamic Civilization Park) in Kuala Trengganu

Monument at Taman Tamadun Islam (Islamic Civilization Park) in Kuala Trengganu

Monument at Taman Tamadun Islam (Islamic Civilization Park) in Kuala Trengganu

We felt not so hungry yet after the lekor and decided to check out the local beach called Pantai Batu Buruk in Kuala Trengganu. The beach is not special like PCB in Kota Bahru with strong waves. The only difference was that there were some kite sellers on the beach, my friend went down to buy her teenaged son an eagle kite made of canvas of which flies more easily compared to regular kites according to her. 

Pantai Batu Buruk in Kuala Trengganu

Pantai Batu Buruk in Kuala Trengganu

Subsequently, we headed to Uncle Chua for our lunch. Food is pretty good there if you are not used to the local food in Trengganu. We ordered their nasi lemak and chicken rice, both were very yummy. Hokkien prawn mee cannot be compared with the one in Penang but quite decent. Then, we made our way to Lake Kenyir which was another few hours drive. 

Popular Uncle Chua Restaurant in Kuala Trengganu

Popular Uncle Chua Restaurant in Kuala Trengganu

Delicious Nasi Lemak at Uncle Chua Restaurant in Kuala Trengganu

Delicious Nasi Lemak at Uncle Chua Restaurant in Kuala Trengganu

Their chicken rice was quite good also.

Their chicken rice was quite good also.

When we arrived at Lake Kenyir Resort, there were some deers eating grass near the slope at the car park. We had to call the hotel lobby to send a buggy to pick us up from the car park to head to the lobby for check-in. 

A deer eating grass near Lake Kenyir Resort & Spa car park upon our arrival.

A deer eating grass near Lake Kenyir Resort & Spa car park upon our arrival.

Buggy to pick guests from carpark to Lake Kenyir Resort & Spa reception for check-in.

Buggy to pick guests from carpark to Lake Kenyir Resort & Spa reception for check-in.

We got the lakeview rooms, so the views were awesome but the hotel was pretty poorly maintained overall despite its award winning status in 2007 being the Best Lake View Resort in Malaysia. I have written to the hotel to express our dissatisfaction but yet to hear back. 

Breathtaking view from our chalet balcony at Lake Kenyir Resort Trengganu

Breathtaking view from our chalet balcony at Lake Kenyir Resort Trengganu

Beautiful Kenyir lake view from our room at dawn.

Beautiful Kenyir lake view from our room at dawn.

After checking-in, there is not much really going out, it’s more of a rest and relax kind of place. So we just stayed in and had our dinner at the hotel. Food was quite OK though not fantastic, no complaints. 

Awesome Kenyir lake view from the hotel lobby.

Awesome Kenyir lake view from the hotel lobby.

Initially we wanted to take a boat ride the following day around the lake but it was raining, so we decided to leave and head for our next stops on Day 3 and 4. This will be featured in my next post, part 2. So stay tuned, I’ll see you all soon 😉

Recently we went on a food trip down south and had a chance to eat one of the best Hock Chew cuisine in Sitiawan. With the recommendation from the lady boss, we ordered 7 signature Hock Chew dishes below.

We absolutely love the taste of this Hock Chew Red Wine Mee Suah, so far this is the best one I’ve tasted which is so full of flavor.

Red Wine Mee Suah

The sweet and sour pork is quite nice as well, love especially the potatoes cut into french fries shapes. 

Sweet and Sour Pork

If you have a chance to go there, make sure you order the fish maw sweet and sour soup and it’s a little spicy, the taste is commendable. Fish maw is also rich in collagen, good to iron your fine lines and wrinkles away, hehe! 

Fish Maw Sweet and Sour Soup

 The following mixed vegetables dish is nice but not fantastic.

Hock Chew Style Mixed Vegetables

I like this Hock Chew fried oyster, goes very well with their in-house yummy chilly sauce. You can buy their chilly sauce in bottles from this restaurant as well. Our only complaint was the oysters were too small for this dish.

Crispy Fried Oyster Omellette ("Oh Chien")

 This preserved pickles pork ribs are a tad sweet but quite nice overall.

Ribs with Preserved Pickles

 Their homemade Hock Chew fish malls were very soft and nice. We enjoyed it.

Hock Chew Fish and Meat Balls Soup

Overall, we were satisfied with the meal especially the Red Wine Mee Suah as we can’t find a good place in Penang that serves this dish. Total bill for 7 dishes came up to RM140 for 5 of us. Below is the address of the restaurant and the map of the location.

Bei King Restaurant

No. 1, Jalan Raja Omar,
Taman Lekir Baru,
32000 Sitiawan, Perak.

Update: This stall has been closed for many years. Food business in Penang is always competitive, restaurants open and close all the time. Even celebrity chefs cannot guarantee their survivals in this “fussy” island. Cheap, good and recession-proof hawker food reigns  in the end. :-)

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If you are a big fan of barbecue pork ribs at Chicago Grill Rib House at Gurney Plaza, be sure to try this Barbecue Pork ribs stall at Times Square Food Gallery. I’ve recommended it to my friends who love Chicago Grill Rib House and all agree that the barbecue pork ribs here taste better than Chicago Grill. The best of all, it is half the price of Chicago Grill Rib House. They now swear by it and stop going to Chicago Rib House and go to this stall instead.

The stall is at the last stall near Nasi Padang on the right as you enter the Food Gallery at Times Square. Time Square food gallery is becoming very popular and fully packed on weekends. Their pork ribs are so juicy, succulent, tender and the barbecue sauce is just perfect to go with them. We also love the charred smoke smell of their barbecue pork ribs. They provide additional barbecue sauce at self service if you need more barbeque sauce at the counter.

The serving comes with 3 pork ribs, 2 small bowls of coleslaw and corn, also mashed potatoes. This would cost RM30.90 in Chicago Grill, but it only cost RM15.90 at Times Square Food Gallery. Don’t you just love the taste and the cost, why pay more at Chicago Grill Rib House?

Here is the map location Penang Times Square.

Hope you enjoy the ribs and share with me your experience! 😉

Best Value Barbeque Pork Ribs in Penang

Best value Barbecue Pork Ribs at Times Square Food Gallery at only RM15.90

*****Updates on 4 Nov 2011*****

Our last 2 trips to Ah Keat Seafood Restaurant have disappointed us tremendously. Firstly, we felt cheated on the bill for crabs and secondly, the food quality has deteriorated, I am not sure what happened. The salted egg crabs were too wet and lemon kappa taste was off. Only the fried porridge and Thai Style Mantis prawn with cashew nuts retain their previous standards. We won’t be going back to Ah Keat for seafood anymore given its distance from Penang island. We will go back to our usual place, Hai Boay in Teluk Kumbar instead.

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Penang is an island and has an abundance of seafood. I’ve tried almost all the seafood restaurants in Penang, the one that offers the best value is Ah Keat Seafood restaurant on Raja Uda in the mainland. It’s my family’s favourite seafood restaurant. It’s out of the way since it’s in the mainland but we live on the island, we still don’t mind the travel to go there either by ferry or Penang bridge for its great food.

The best salted egg crabs! Major reason why we travel all the way to Ah Keat

Recently we went there again, it was full house as usual on weekend, so we had to wait for 80 minutes just for our food to be served. But I tell you, the wait was worth it, the food was so delicious and awesome! Everyone was deliriously enjoying their share of the great seafood.

Crispy pork trotters, first time we ordered it. Tasted great with the sweet sour chilli sauce!

There are of course cheaper seafood alternatives in Penang but the taste pales in comparison with Ah Keat. By best value, I mean you get quality seafood at a great price! The main chef cum owner is Mr Ooi who has been cooking for 25 years. I’d like to share a video on how he cooks, you’ll be so impressed with his frenetic speed and execution of dishes.

Fried Calamari.

We ordered 8 dishes for 7 pax, i.e. 6 big salted egg crabs, fried salted egg mee hoon, Lemon Lala,  fried porridge, Thai style mantis prawn with cashew and macadamia nuts, crispy pork trotters, fried calamari, fried sambal kangkung. With drinks, the total bill came up to only RM256 which I think it’s very good value for 7 of us.

Lemon Lala. We usually order Lemon Kappa which is our favourite but they ran out, so we ordered Lala. I'd still prefer kappa compared to lala in terms of taste.

Thai style mantis prawns with cashew and macadamic nuts, lovely dish!

Sambal kangkung, very yummy!

Fried salted fish mee hoon, we always order this dish! :-)

If you have a chance to go there, please do not miss their salted egg crabs which we think it’s the best crabs and lemon kappa that we have tasted! They are our main motivation of travel all the way there! 😉

Fried porridge, so flavorful even though this is not their signature dish! We love it!

Ah Keat Seafood Restaurant
6881, Lorong Merbau 1 Off Jalan Raja Uda,
13000 Butterworth
Tel : +604-3233319

If you love sauna, you shouldn’t miss the traditional herbal sauna near Tanjung Bungah wet market. It is Tanjung Bungah’s best kept secret, opens daily from 10am-7pm and 8am-8pm on Sunday.

Traditional herbs steamer that funnels the steam into the sauna rooms.

Traditional herbs steamer that funnels the steam into the sauna rooms.

For just RM8 you can enjoy the aroma of the steam sauna with fresh ginger, pandan, lemon grass and you get access to unlimited supply of hot ginger tea. It’s a simple no-frills operation by an elderly man, named Ah Hoe. He’s been doing this for many years. His business used to be near Concord Garden but moved to near Tanjung Bungah wet market 2 years ago.

Simple no-frills sauna rooms.

Simple no-frills sauna rooms.

The place is frequented by Japanese and Koreans as well. It’s an experience of its own kind, a nice place to relax and to detox and sweat out all the toxins in your body. Sauna is known for centuries to build one’s immune system and make you stronger.

Before you do sauna, it’s recommended to wet your body in the bathrooms. After the steam sauna, you can drink water to rehydrate and drinking hot ginger tea can help you detox.

Enjoy your traditional herbal sauna! :-)

If you know me personally, I am known to be a travel bug who goes around everywhere. To get some information and some advices on places that I have visited, you can welcome to visit my travel blog here. I promise to update it more often now. See you at my travel blog and feel free to leave comments.

Looking glamorous like celebrities does not have to burn a hole in your wallet. Valentine’s day is just around the corner, are you waiting for that special day to up the chance and pop the question asking her to marry you? 😉 If you are thinking of what to get your beloved girlfriend or wife for the upcoming Valentine’s day, what’s better than beautiful jewelry that makes a gal feel so special? FJB will not only put a smile on her face yet won’t burn a hole in your pocket! They too have stylish jewelry for men as well. Or you want to buy her a royal ring, blue sapphire ring for only USD40 that Kate Middleton’s has? You can get it there and make your dream come true. That’s the benefit of online shopping.

Kate Middleton Inspired Sapphire Blue Engagement Ring

Kate Middleton Inspired Sapphire Blue Engagement Ring

Kate Middleton Inspired Sapphire Blue Engagement Ring

Kate Middleton Inspired Sapphire Blue Engagement Ring

Some of you might wonder, how do I get it shipped to me if I am not from the US? I wrote a post before to solve this problem, anyway, I’ll share with you again just in case. Many of you may come across products that you love to buy online from the US due to better pricing or discounts, better styles, to save money or whatever reasons but there is problem. The sellers do not ship outside of the USA or their international shipping costs a bomb! What can you do if you like shopping in the US? Don’t despair, even you don’t have a friend in the US , you can still buy and get it shipped to you!

Well, you can sign up an account with this mail forwarding company and start using their excellent service to save money. It is a US mail forwarding and worldwide shipping service. They will provide you a US street address and redirect shipping to your home country at a very reasonable charge. I’ve tried a few and this still offers the best rates. Start shopping now and sign up today at shipito!  Have a great Valentine’s day everyone! :-)

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