Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve in Seremban

I stopped by the local Nursery near my house and found these great plants with fruit on them. The person working there said that these are popular for Chinese New Year because the fruits turn orange and it is considered good luck. They just received their shipment in and he said they sell out fast. He said you don't eat the fruit. I was thinking about getting two of these and putting them in front of the two columns under the car park. But decided against them for now because the fruit will go away and we will be left with green only and they were 88 RM each!!! I might change my mind though as they do look so nice.

I have been thinking about planters for the house and how many I will need. I really want black or dark grey but there aren't any in Seremban that have enough sizes. So I will have to go to Selangor where it appears there are many many nurseries selling pots and beautiful plants. Or we should go with the brownish-beige color planters (the bottom pots in the photo above) because there are many sizes in Seremban and they are reasonably priced.

I found a great blog yesterday that features various nurseries in Malaysia (mainly Selangor). The site is called My Green Finder. There is tons of info on nurseries and plants on there.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sea Coconuts

Whenever I am at the grocery store and see something and I don't know what it is, I try and ask a person... sometimes I don't get any help but most of the time the person will try to explain what the item is and how it is cooked. The other day I was at Family Store and saw a package of "Sea Coconut" in the cooler section between the vegetables and fruits for 5.50 RM for the package. So I asked the Chinese woman next to me how to cook them or eat them. She told me I had to boil them in a pot of water and that they were sweet. So I took the Sea Coconuts with me to give them a try hoping I would find a recipe online.

Later the woman who told me about the sea coconuts found me in the store and handed me this package of Lo Han Kuo and told me to dump the package in the pot with the sea coconuts while I cooked them. So I bought the Lo Han Kuo too.

At home I found a few recipes for Sea Coconuts online all with the same basic recipe... put the items in the pot and boil for 45 minutes (example here). Since I didnt have any dates I added a few raisins hoping that would work.

When it was cooked I realized that R and I had already tried this dessert before when we were at our favorite Chinese restaurant Restoran Oversea in Kuala Lumpur. After our meal one time, the owner brought over this special dish as a gift to us... when we asked what it was he wasn't able to give us the English name. Well, we didn't really like it at Oversea and even though mine tasted nearly the same, we didn't care for it at home either. Far more interesting than the taste of the dessert is the history of Sea Coconuts or Coco de Mer here and the little known Lo Han Kuo sugar substitute (Siraitia grosvenorii) which really is sweet and a nice taste (more info here).

Broccoli in Malaysia

Head of Broccoli from Family Store at 1.86 RM (about 60 cents in US dollars).

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas in Malaysia

It’s hard to find a turkey to cook around here and a Christmas ham didn’t appeal, so R and I decided to go out for Christmas. So we looked at our Seremban list and decided Seremban Seafood Village for Crab was just what we were craving.

We went for lunch pretty early so it wasn’t busy. We ordered 1 KG of the Crab, rice and vegetable and some beer. I must say the Crab was excellent, not too salty at all and the sauce.... I’ve never tasted a sauce like that it was tangy but also sweet too, really good. I usually like Alaskan King Crabs better than this kind of crab, but here they were fantastic. I am so glad that this place is in Seremban. Maybe we can make eating crab a new Christmas tradition...

The total bill including one large bottle of Tiger was 74 Rm.

Seremban Seafood Village 3720-3724, Jln Tuanku Munawir, Seremban phone: 06 7641260 / 012 6287661 Seremban Seafood Village is right at the end of Jalan Tuanku Munawir, in between Jalan Lobak and Jalan Veloo.

Strangely the place was predominately Red and Green so it felt vaguely Christmasy.

The crabs are kept in these containers at the back of the restaurant.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tangerines in Malaysia

The Family Store in Seremban had this big box of small size Tangerines (I think that is what they are?). I've seen boxes like this around Chinese New Year. Inside the box each piece of fruit is wrapped in orange plastic and the fruits are given out in local stores to customers and other places. The box cost 10.90 RM about $3.50 US Dollars.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Home Office Bathroom

Now that the mirror in the mainfloor bathroom is up, I have to start looking for a mirror for the Home Office Bathroom. At first, I wanted a large plain mirror to cover the area, but I am having a hard time finding a company to get it from. I saw a mirror at Ikea in natural wood frame that might work. For now, I keep looking.

This is the light fixture that is above the bathroom vanity. It is pretty ugly and doesn't match the other fixture near the jacuzzi. I should look for another one that would look better, or figure out how to change the yellow color of the glass to beige. I dont really want to have to install another fixture because it means more holes in the wall, and we just don't know where the pipes run in the walls.

Green Peppers in Malaysia

Green Peppers from Family Store. Cost 3.20 RM (just over one US Dollar).

Places to Visit and Eat in Seremban and Negeri Sembilan

Before our guests arrived in October I searched what are considered the best places in Seremban to visit while they were here, well, we didn’t get to many of the sites so my new year’s resolution is going to be for R and I to try and visit at least one of the places or restaurants we haven’t been to on this list each week. The places we have already been are BOLDED. For the other UNBOLDED listings, I have cut and pasted various reviews of the sites/restaurants from other blogs, websites, etc. (they are not my reviews or suggestions but come from others and are to be used as a working list for me of what to see in Seremban and Negeri Sembilan). When we do visit a place, I’ll try to post a bit about it on The Malaysia Project. I didn’t plan to post this list, so I’ve lost some of the original links, but at the bottom of this post, I’ve listed a couple places I remember that were helpful in collating this information. The information in the UNBOLDED listings is not verified yet, so if you plan to visit, I suggest you contact the location before going. Hope this information is helpful!

Seremban Sights:

Teratak Perpatih The State Museum

The State Museum is stunning showcase of Minangkabau architecture. Inside the wooden building are artifacts, old photographs and ceramics. A highlight of the exhibits is a human skeleton dating back to the 14th Century. In the grounds of the building are replicas of megaliths named the Rudder, Sword and Spoon. These megalith stones are commonly found further south in Kempas and are believed to have supernatural powers. Location: Teratak Perpatih is housed in the Cultural Complex at Jalan Sungei Ujung. Just off E2 exit 218 on the main road towards Seremban Town and next to the Specialist Hospital.

Pasar Besar Seremban - Seremban Wet Market

A big market selling fresh vegetables, fresh meats, fresh fish and some fruits (upstairs) by local vendors. The upstairs has food stalls. Fun to visit even if you aren’t buying anything. Location: Seremban town. Jalan Pasar 70200 Seremban. Open morning and night.

Arulmigu Maha Sapthakannika Devi Kovil (this may also be referred to as the Virgin’s Temple?)

This temple is situated on Victoria Hill in Seremban, built over 100 years ago and is one of the few Kaniamman temples in Malaysia. The scenic view of this temple is breathtaking, which is surrounded by flora and fauna. Although the temple does not have an easy access route, it is definitely worth the journey. The seven kanni devi’s are Biramme, Mageswary, Gaumaree, Varaagi, Vyshnavi, Magenthari and Chamundee. Before the temple was built, Victoria hill was a primary source of silica stones and was mined by a Chinese contractor. The contractor primarily used explosives to mine the hill. On one occasion, he repeatedly tried to blast explosives but it failed. Immediately he saw a snake slithering past him. The stunned contractor took a gun and shot the snake. Soon after, the contractor and his workers fell ill. After consulting a spiritual medium, the contractor was informed that he had done injustice by mining on the hill. The sacred hill was the dwelling of Nagamma, who frequented the hill in the form of young snakes and maiden ladies. To repent this injustice, the contractor was instructed by the medium to carry out prayers for Nagamma at Victoria hill. During the prayer, a man got into a trance and started moving like a snake. He slithered across the ground to a particular location. He then advised the contractor to build a temple for Nagamma at that location. Under that mystical command, the Nagamma temple was built. The most important date in this temple is May 1st, when a special pooja is conducted annually. Devotees of Nagamma, fast for three days and carry pots filled with milk from the foothill to the hill top. When the devotees arrive at the temple, the milk is poured onto the seven Kanni Devi’s. Nagamma gives her blessing during this festive occasion, and this has been witnessed by several devotees. Once during this annual festival, the priest of this temple witnessed a beautiful cobra resting beneath a tree near the temple. Astonishingly, the cobra was in seven different colours. As he was stunned by this miraculous incident, the priest called other devotees to witness this mystical event. After receiving the blessings of Nagamma, the priest returned to the temple. He was shocked to see that the seven shades of the cobra was the exact colour of each sari on the seven Kanni Devi’s. Location: Take Seremban exit. Take overpass to Pusat Kualiti Alam until tunnel. After tunnel, u-turn. Take exit to seremban 2, and short distance away, turn left into mud road. Tel: 0196209259 Or other instructions to find this elusive place...take Seremban exit, traffic light turn right into Seremban 2. Traffic light turn right and go another 2km. Temple entrance on left via construction site.

Rumah Minagkabau

This century old Minangkabau house used to be the home to the Datuk Kelana of Sungai Ujong, Tengku Saiyed Ismail Tengku Sayed Abdul Rahman and his wife Kundur Wan Jaebah, in the late 19th century. A unique feature of this house is it was built without a single nail which enabled it to be dismantled and re-assembled again and again. In fact, the house was once dismantled and sent to London where it was later meticulously re-assembled for an exhibition in 1924. A couple of years after the exhibition, it was brought back and reassembled at the official residence of the Mentri Besar before it was moved to the Taman Seni Budaya where it is currently being exhibited. Location: Taman Seni Budaya, Seremban.

Masjid Jamek Mosque Seremban

Built in 1924, this mosque features a two-tiered main roof with upturned roof ridges. Its minaret is pagoda-shaped with the year "1924" inscribed on it. There are five levels symbolising the Five Principles of Islam. The red-tiled roof of the prayer hall is complemented by the same color on its outer walls. Ogee-shaped verandah archways and pillars are white, symbolising purity. The mosque can accommodate up to 1,000 worshippers. Location: Jalan Tun Dr Ismail, Seremban.

Church of the Visitation

This Catholic church sports Gothic architecture and was founded in 1848 by French missionaries who had come to Seremban from Malacca. The present structure was built in 1899 by Antonin Catesson and was expansed in 1935. The church has had a colourful history, having survived bombings during the Japanese occupation. Its lancet entrances are topped with stained glass rosettes and the four corners of the main structure end in pinnacles. There are four other pinnacles at the side tower which is capped by a wind wane. Location: Right in Seremban Town on Jalan Yam Tuan, Seremban.

Then Sze Koon Temple

Commonly referred to as Centipede Temple, it is perched atop a hillock at Ulu Temiang, just outside Seremban. A bell with the inscriptions "1863" which was presented by a devotee attests to its age. Spread over three levels, the temple grounds contain statues of the Goddess of Mercy and other Taoist deities. According to legend, white centipedes were frequently spotted at the hillock before the establishment of the temple. Location: Travel out of town along Jalan Temiang until you see the temples Chinese signboard then turn right.

Sri Balathandayuthapani Temple

Founded in 1895 by Nachappan Chettiar, the Hindu temple is devoted to Lord Thandayuthapani, the infant deity of Hinduism. Featuring granite flooring, its tower gate was sculpted by artisans from Tamil Nadu. Wall niches also house sculptures of deities and figures from Hindu mythology. Inside the temple is the Thangaratham Mandapam Golden Chariot that is used on festive occasions. Location: Jalan Yam Tuan, Seremban, near Parkson Parade Mall. The easiest parking is at the A&W Drive-in Restaurant across the road.

Wisma Negeri

Wisma Negeri is Negeri Sembilan´s state secretariat building. Built in 1987, it houses the machineries of the State government, including the Menteri Besar´s office. Its architecture showcases buffalo-horned roof inspired by a famous legend. The story goes that a group of settlers in Sumatra were about to be attacked by the Javanese. To avoid bloodshed and to decide on the subsequent control of the land, a contest was held between two animals representing each faction. While the Javanese chose a tiger, the Sumatran settlers chose a buffalo. Surprisingly, the buffalo gored the tiger to death. To honor the buffalo, the Sumatrans shaped the roofs of their houses and hats to look like horns. Location: Jalan Datuk Hamzah, Seremban.

Seremban Shopping:

Kompleks Kraf Negeri Sembilan - Seremban Craft Complex

Housed in an eye-catching colonial building with pillars, this is the perfect spot for handicrafts. Take your pick from pandanus-leaf woven products (such as mats, food covers, hats), bamboo crafts, shawls, ceramics pieces like pots, vases and more. The building itself is special as its architectural style depicts Corinthian elements, with dentils on the underside of its tympanum. Location: A branch of Kraftangan Malaysia it is at Jalan Abdul Kadir, Seremban. Open daily from 9am to 6pm.

Chinese Herb Stores

Scattered throughout Seremban. A famous herb store is on the corner in Seremban town (same road as the main CIMB, not far from it) and has burgundy signage. Will try to get the name of the place. I think they also have a second store in the S2 Jusco Mall. This store is expensive, many smaller stores selling more obscure stuff sprinkled through the streets of Seremban and near the Chinese section Temiang.

Seremban 2 Jusco Shopping Mall

Location: S2, Follow signs to S2 and see it on the left after going over the hill.

Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 Shopping Malls

Location: Both in Seremban Town, driving on the main road to Seremban Terminal 1 will come up on your left (look for the buses coming in and out and lots of taxis). Terminal 2 is harder to get you, nearby Terminal 1 there is a road that goes up a steep winding road that takes you up to Terminal 2 which is perched up on a hill.

Parkson Parade Mall

A rather lame mall, Starbucks recently closed here and the McDonalds has the worst service of any McDonalds I think I have ever been in throughout the world, waited over 10 minutes on different occasions for the food. I swear I’ll never go back. But this mall is worth mentioning because the Parskon store has a good houseware section for Seremban and also for the Rejects store located on the third floor of the mall. Rejects sells western brand ‘rejects’ and here you can get towels with slight defects that are being made for the American market at low prices. The quality is better than what you can find at say Jusco. They also have good rugs. Location: Seremban Town across from the Seremban Train Station and near the A&W.

Tesco Seremban 2

A brand new Tesco Extra opened in November 2010 replacing the other Tesco. Location: Right off of E2 Exit 218 follow signs to Seremban 2 and you will see signs for Tesco to turn left. You can almost see the Tesco from E2.

Night Markets

There are a few night markets in town on different nights ask around for locations and nights.

A Drive Away from Seremban:

Sri Menanti Royal Museum

Sri Menanti is the royal state capital located 40 km east of Seremban. The charming town of Sri Menanti houses the Sri Menanti Royal Museum which was built at the turn of the century with only wood – no nails or screws. Incorporating 99 pillars soaring at 65 feet each, the museum is an architectural marvel. Inside, the regalia of the Negeri Sembilan Royal family are stored along with costumes, weapons, bed chambers and documents on the Royal lineage. The current building was constructed between 1902 and 1908 for Tuanku Muhammad Shah, the 7th State Ruler or Yang Di-Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan. The Istana served as the official residence of the royal family until 1931, before it was converted to a Royal Museum in 1992. The nearby area is also charming with a small mosque, a Muslim cemetery and the impressive modern blue roof palace, all surrounded by mountains. Location: Drive along the road that leads to Sri Menanti through the forest, past villages of some traditional Negeri Sembilan homes and the Sri Menanti Golf and Country Resort. The palace is located next to the Sri Menanti Resort. Hours Weekdays: Daily: 9.30am - 6pm; Fridays: noon - 2.50pm Weekends & Public Holidays: 9.30am - 6pm Thursdays (From 1pm onwards): Closed.

House of Pendita Za'ba.

This is a Malay house that chronicles the times of Tan Sri Zainal Abidin bin Ahmad, an icon in Malay literature. Za'ba was a man of great intellect and has contributed tremendously in the economic, social and political areas of Malaysian development in his lifetime. Location: Kampung Bukit Kerdas, Batu Kikir, 72120 Jempol, Negeri Sembilan phone: 06-4985193.

Sim Hong Temple

Situated in Jalan Bahau, the temple is an excellent example of traditional Chinese Temple architecture circa 1900. Its dragons of porcelain and beautiful wood carvings on the interiors were imported from China, as was the practice during the time. Location: Jalan Bahau, 72100 Bahau, Negeri Sembilan phone: 06-4811006.

Adat Museum (Rembau Museum of Customs and Traditions)

Learn all about the Minangkabaus who founded the state in this museum in Rembau. The Adat Museum has a collection of cultural artifacts from heirlooms to headgear and charts to musical instruments pertaining to Minangkabau culture. The museum is housed in a two storey museum building, which was previously occupied by the Undang (Chieftain) of Rembau. Today, the museum houses a significant collection of the regalia of the Kings and Undangs, old agreements of the states, genealogical records of the local dignitaries as well as clothes, souvenirs, illustrations and photos. Location: Located at Jalan Kampung Rendah. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 4pm.

Jeram Toi

Recreational Park is a 40 minute drive away from Seremban. Jeram Toi is a small waterfall which is visited by more locals rather than tourists. It seems to have been overshadowed by the famed Ulu Bendul waterfalls located on the way to Kuala Pilah. This waterfall has 7 flights of falls and was founded by the British during the colonial times. For Picnics, Swimming, Trekking, Camping. Location: On the way to Kuala Klawang. Accessible via the main road to Kuala Klawang. 71600 Kuala Klawang, Negeri Sembilan phone: 06-7659911.

Lata Kijang Waterfalls

Lata Kijang is nestled within the Kenaboi Forest Reserve in Jelebu and is one of the highest single drop waterfalls in Malaysia. To reach Lata Kijang, visitors will not have it easy - they need to traverse a rugged terrain with Orang Asli (aboriginal) settlements, a plethora of wild plants, and finally, visitors will be rewarded with the breathtaking scenery of the waterfall. Adrenaline junkies can also find their thrills atop Gunung Antu Besar, the highest peak in Negeri Sembilan that is situated within this forest reserve. The forest reserve also comes equipped with arrangements for overnight trips, camping or homestays. Location: No. 33, Kg Chennah, Titi Jelebu, 71650 Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan phone: 06-7635388.

Ulu Bendul

Recreational Park located around 16km from Seremban at the foot of Bukit Angsi. The park is one of the six recreational parks in Negeri Sembilan developed for ecotourism purposes. The base of the area is rather developed (cabins, watch towers, hanging bridge, ponds, bathing pool, etc.) but nature remains the definite attraction. The walk along the river is easy while the climb up Bukit Angsi at 825m (4 hour hike up) should prove slightly more challenging. Location: on the Kuala Pilah Sri Menanti route, Take a bus to Kuala Pilah and get off 20km before the town (R1.2, 30mn). The last bus back should leave Kuala Pilah at 18:30. Admission: free.

Gading Rapids (Jeram Gading)

Situated 23km from Kuala Klawang, Jeram Gading is in the Kenaboi district. Driving here, you will pass roads lined with shrubs, most of them fruit trees and orchards belonging to villagers. It is believed that the name originated from the existence of the many elephants in the area – ‘gading’ meaning tusk. The main attraction of Jeram Gading is the waterfall, cascading sheets of water flowing through trees and boulders sending before disappearing into calmer waters. Although the area is not suitable for kayaking, it is an ideal spot for family picnics. Location: For more information, contact the Negeri Sembilan Tourist Information Centre phone: 606 672 2726.

Rembau Crystal

The Negeri Sembilan Institute has set up a special site in Rembau District, the largest crystal village complex in Malaysia. The Rembau Crystal Village is also a training complex, manufacturer and exhibition site. The structure of the Rembau Crystal gallery is also a unique insight into the Malay Minangkabau architectural heritage. The crystal village is also a venue for local youths to learn the craft of crystal making, as well as the opportunity to sell their handicrafts. Location: Rembau Crystal Sdn. Bhd. Lot 1432, Kompleks Perkampungan Kristal, Jalan Kampung Mulia, 71300 Rembau, Negeri Sembilan. phone: 06-6853100 / 6855100. From Seremban, drivers can use the road from Rahang to Senawang, and proceeding to Rembau. The distance is estimated at 27 km. Rembau Crystal operates from 9 am to 5 pm (Monday - Friday) and 9 am to 4 pm (Saturday - Sunday).

Seremban Food:

Kedai Makanan dan Minuman Kawan

Famous for Pak Cham Kai (steamed chicken) and Chicken Porridge and Chee Cap (pig's offal) Porridge / Pork Porridge. Location: From Temiang's KFC go straight and turn right at the first junction. Then at a second junction, turn right again. You should see a Chinese temple on your right and this restaurant is located on your left just 10 meters away from the Chinese temple. It is a corner lot shop. Opens at 6.30pm on weekdays and 6.00pm on weekends and is packed right away.

Restoran Chai Hong

Known for their Chicken and Rice dish. Location: G 50 Jln Kapitan Tam Yeong 70000 Seremban, phone: 606-7624357.

Yee Kee Seremban Beef Noodles

Famous shop selling their signature dish Seremban Beef Noodles. Yee Kee is the originator of this dish that started way back before the Japanese occupation. This is the same company selling beef noodles on the second floor of the Seremban Wet Market, but here it is a sit down restaurant in one of the old pre-war shop houses in Seremban. Location: Across the street from the main Public Bank Branch in Seremban town. The restaurant is open 8am till 8pm everyday except Monday.

Top Curry House

Considered the best Southern Indian restaurant in Seremban known for its Banana Leaf Rice.Location: No 152, Jalan Dato Bandar Tunggal, 70000, Seremban, phone: 06-76722294. Same road with Hotel Milo, turn right after you pass by Seng Heng Electrical shop. Open everyday serving both lunch and dinner best selection early as things sell out.

Curry Leave Restaurant

Indian cuisine restaurant selling the banana leaf rice. After one visit to Top Curry and Curry Leave each, I would say Top Curry is better. Location: on Jalan Rasah near the shell gas station.

Restaurant May Sik

This restaurant serves fresh seafood and local Chinese cuisine. There are some aquariums with live fish and crabs. For those who love buffalo wings, a different version are served here - the ‘Guiness’ wings. Wings are marinated in ‘Guiness’. Location: Rasah Jaya, Seremban.

Thai Restaurant (Tom Yam Sign)

Known for Tom Yam and steamed fish, the orange juice drinks are nice too. Location: Rasah Jaya near Rasah Jaya Food Court.

Thai Restaurant Seremban

Location: near the Blossom Food Court on Jalan Tok Ungku.

Restoran S & K Anjung Corner

For Malay fare having been in business for over 40 years, it is one of the most famous caterers in Seremban. This outlet serves up a wide array of Minangkabau dishes, sufficient to fulfil your cravings for good old Negeri Sembilan food. Expect to find the delectable Masak Lemak Cili Api, Gulai Kuning, Sambal Tempoyak and many more. Location: No. 14, Jalan Dr. Krishnan, 70000 Seremban.

Restoran Yin Huat

Affordable and delicious Chinese fare. For starters, the fried oysters with eggs come with much bigger oysters than those found in other eating establishments. The yam basket is also deliciously filled with diced chicken and mushrooms, while the tofu egg is a favorite among patrons due to the meat and fried prawns sauce topping. Location: No 23, Jalan Bidara 16, Taman Bidara, 70100 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan phone: 06-7678955.

Seremban Village Seafood

Seremban Seafood Village’s signature dish the baked crabs Siew Hai. People come from all over the country for this. Though quite pricey (RM45.00 or more for 1 kg of crabs), Seremban siew hai is undoubtedly very delicious! It is baked with sweet, salty sauce that sticks like syrup on the crabs' shell. However, the natural sweetness is not overpowered by it. Depending on the season, crabs served may be big/small, fat/thin. The crabs are served with a homemade chili dipping sauce. Location: 3720-3724, Jln Tuanku Munawir, Seremban phone: 06 7641260 / 012 6287661 Seremban Seafood Village is right at the end of Jalan Tuanku Munawir, in between Jalan Lobak and Jalan Veloo.

Restoran Min Kok

Known for their Dim Sum. Location: Near the end of Terminal 2 by the free parking, Restoran Min Kok Sdn. Bhd. Min Kok Dim Sum Sdn. Bhd. No 7645, Lot 5990, Jalan Labu Lama, (Terminal 2), 70200 Seremban, phone: 06-7618458, 06-7619717. Watch out Sundays are packed. Opening hours 7 days a week: Dim Sum 7.30 am - 2.30 pm Restaurant12.00 pm - 2.30 pm 5.30 pm - 10.30 pm.

Restoran Yi Poh

The restaurant is famous in Seremban for its lou shi fun. It is crowded at breakfast and lunch, particularly during weekends and public holidays. The shop takes up 2 shop lots and is rather airy but no air conditioning. The restaurant is noted for its lou shi fun, a kind of Chinese noodles... It also serves keow teow and bee hoon... The dish comes with minced pork and some barbeque pork... There are also various kinds of fish balls, pork balls, chicken balls, shui kow and more. Location: 26 Jalan Seng Meng Lee, Seremban, the restaurant is located in the Temiang area in the southern part of Seremban town... Turn in at the KFC restaurant along the Seremban-Kajang road and follow the road to the end where you will see the red signboard of the restaurant.


Hakka Mee (a bowl of noodles with minced meat) is not easy to cook. The taste is original and not easy to mimic. There are two particularly good stalls run by brothers in Seremban. Locations: The first outlet located on the 2nd floor of the food court in Pasar Besar Seremban (Seremban Wet Market). The 2nd outlet is just opposite Seremban's Yellow Bus Stand.

Restoran Wing Heong

Chinese Restaurant. Location: 2018, Taman Bukit Blossom, Jalan Tok Ungku, Seremban, phone: 06-6325852.

Restoran Asia

Many people rate the Laksa the best in Seremban. The specialty is its laksa you can have the laksa with curry chicken, cockles or barbeque meat. Its curry gravy is thick with not too much satan... Besides laksa, it serves noodle in clear soup as well, which is equally good. Location: The shop is located along Taman Loop Road... If you enter Seremban from E2 Expressway (exit 219 Port Dickson Interchange) turn right at the traffic light after the toll plaza.... and left immediately after the traffic light... Go straight for about 2km... just past the POS Station (left side of road) on the right side of the road you will see the restaurant just before you come to the end of Taman Loop (where you are forced to turn right or left).

Restoran Laska Seremban

This air-conditioned restaurant serves Curry Laksa. The ingredients of the standard dish (RM12 per bowl) are clams, fishball, chicken slices, cockles, tau pock (fried hollow beancurd) and prawns. A unique sprinkle of grounded roasted nuts completes it. Specialized dishes include clam laksa, prawn laksa, clam and prawn laksa, seafood laksa, sotong sambal laksa and prawn sambal laksa. Location: The restaurant is at No 97, Jalan Toman 5, Kemayan Square, Seremban. After exiting the North-South Expressway (E2) at the Seremban toll plaza, turn left to "Pusat Bandar". Keep to the right lane. After 200 meters, turn right to Kemayan Square as indicated by a signboard.

Haji Shariff’s Cendol

For the best cendol in Seremban, check out this corner restaurant on Jalan Yam Tuan. Varieties include cendol with jagung manis, kacang merah, kacang tanah, tapai, cincau, pulut, jagung or ABC. Served in aluminum bowls, they are excellent thirst-quenchers. Both pasembor and mee rebus are also available. Location: No 44, Jalan Yam Tuan, Seremban.

Seremban Siew Pau

Seremban Siew Pau (baked dumplings) is famous throughout the country. A baked version of the steamed bun, it has a crispy exterior but fluffy fillings and is golden brown. Of course, there are countless imitations of the original fare but none has excelled in terms of taste. Locations: You can get them at Empayar Seremban Siew Pow, LG 1-57, Tingkat Bawah, Tanah Pasar Besar Negeri Sembilan, Jalan Besar TBK 4 Taman Bukit Kepayang, Asian Confectionary, No 368, Jalan Seng Meng Lee and at Kee Mei Siew Pau, 1849, Jalan Tok Ungku. Personally the best I’ve had are closest to my house the Kee Mei Siew Pau on Jalan Tok Ungku it is this company’s ‘head office’ and it is where the goods are baked so you get them freshest right there. They also have cakes, rolls, egg tarts/green tea tarts and other bakery goods. They make a Curry Siew Pau which I haven’t seen anywhere else and it is fantastic!


For Western Fare. A favorite of local Expats when they crave a good and reasonably priced steak. Locations: There are two Oakland area (near Tesco in S2) strip mall by the Getha Shop or a newer restaurant at Terminal 2/or Era Square(?).

I will leave the areas of Port Dickson and Nilai for separate posts.

Some of the content above came from a helpful article written by Elizabeth Leong for the New Straits Times (July, 2010) viewable here. Also William Choo from Seremban’s blog Spot lights(zzz) on me! was very helpful for the restaurant section.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mowing Cow Grass

It was time to mow the grass again. During most of the year, the Malaysia Cow Grass supposedly only needs to be mowed once a month. But we are in the rainy season now, and it needed to be mowed after 3 weeks. I've seen that the majority of the time weedwackers are used to cut cow grass instead of push mowers. I'm not sure if it works better, or that many of the gardeners just use the weedwackers because they are easier. We have also seen that the upkeep of goverment land (like along the road sides) is done with numerous workers using weedwackers. So our garderner V uses a weedwacker and he cuts the grass for 30 RM which is about $10 US dollars.

Main Floor Bathroom

Main Floor Bathroom snapshot from when we first moved into the house

I've mentioned that the mainfloor bathroom has the least attractive fixtures (light blue sink and toilet) and we sure wouldn't have picked Blue tiles for the walls and floors. But we have decided not to gut the bathroom for a couple reasons, first it costs too much, but second and more importantly, we have learned in Malaysia if something is working in the house it's best to leave it alone! If we have to deal with hooking up new plumbing and hacking the walls, we could run in to more problems. So for now we have decided to leave the bathroom as is. Well, it looks passable now as we have done a few things to downplay the ugliness and the blue of the room. The bathroom (which is somehow close to the kitchen) brings out the blue plate colors on the kitchen shelves to make the first floor have somewhat of a china-blue accent color scheme.

We couldn't find a mirror pre-made in the correct size that went with the Ikea cabinet we added in the room, so we had B our kitchen contractor make a solid wood framed mirror in the correct size and stained as close as possible to the dark brown-black wood of the Ikea cabinet. The mirror looks good enough for 70 RM, you can't complain at that price. But there is always something and when it was delivered it had two screw brackets at the top of the frame. B said he couldn't hide the screws behind the mirror. So I painted the screws white to hide them a bit, and I think they are passable. What a difference a mirror makes in the room!

There was no glass door for the shower area, so we used a shower curtain I had sent from the US. It was something I used in my house there. We couldn't find any good shower curtains here, I couldn't even find a white plastic shower liner for the back of the fabric curtain. I had to use a light beige one. Also the curtain had to be cut shorter, because the height of the wall was smaller than a standard shower curtain size.

Interesting to note that all of the shower heads that were installed on the bathroom walls were much to low, we had to adjust them higher by adding a new holder above the existing ones. We also bought new shower heads as the ones in the house were crappy. But shower heads here are really inexpensive as well as many of the bathroom fixtures in general. Chrome and stainless steel rust so quickly, so we have been holding off on the bathroom accessories until we find some that are good quality.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cost of Beans in Malaysia

Here are some fresh beans purchased at the Seremban Family Store. The Yard Long Beans
(Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis) above at 1.79 RM (currently about 57 cents in US Dollars) for the bunch. R prefers these in his stir-fry while I like the smaller 'French' Beans below as I think the Yard Long Beans taste a bit rubbery when cooked. Nevertheless, I like to use them because I cut them about 6 inches long so they have a nice long shape which adds a nice dimension to the dishes.

The 'French' Beans cost 2.31 RM
(currently about 74 cents in US Dollars) per bag.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bat Outside

I snapped a photo of a small Bat hanging outside of the home office in the big leaf mango tree.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Dining Room

After searching for the perfect rectangular wood table and chairs to seat 8 and not finding any viable options, we found this round table with brown glass top and chrome legs that seats 6. We decided on the smaller table because we didn't mind it, it was less expensive and given the shape of the room (kind of a weird octagon-ish shape when you factor in the bay windows on one side) we thought that this table fit in the room better. So we bought it.

We had looked at a lot of chandeliers and light fixtures in general for the house and recently happened upon this fixture which is made of mirror and chrome (I think). It has two rows of reflective squares forming a circular shape, but also looking a bit octagonal. We thought the shape of the chandelier went nicely with the shape of the bay windows and the cut out design pattern on the chandelier compliments the grill and window square shapes. So yesterday they came and installed the chandelier! The hook for the fan had to be cut off which took the installers over an hour. I really didnt want to cut it, because I thought we or someone might want to use the hook for a fan there in the future, but the fixture we bought has a small cover at the top and the hook was too big. So we said goodbye forever to putting a ceiling fan in the dining room (this is very common practice in Malaysia, to keep the room cool but we have the AC already there and I guess I am one of those people who thinks a dining room without some kind of hanging light as its focus is not really a dining room).

Turning off those strong downlights during dinner last night was fantastic, finally some ambiance in the room! Actually when just the chandelier is on, light reflects on the ceiling and the walls... R wasn't too into it, he thinks it looks like a children's bedroom. But I don't mind it because it takes some of the starkness away. At least until we can properly finish off the Dining Room with a big piece of artwork on the wall and a buffet table under it or in front of the bay window which will give the room some more character.

The Maid's Room

We've been using the 'Maid's Room' on the first floor located off the Kitchen as a storage room for all of our renovation supplies. Yesterday I was in there cleaning out the room and the bathroom attached to it. The room is currently painted yellow (with green on the door frames). I'm starting to think about what to do with this room. Maids are very common in Malaysia, nearly everyone has a maid in this neighborhood. The room as we bought it had no hook up for air conditioning and the bathroom, while it has a shower, has no hot water installed. I guess maids around here only get fans and cold water (sad really). Since we don't plan on having a live-in maid, we are thinking about making this room a second Guest Room. It will be small as it only fits one single bed and enough room for a dresser on the other side of the room. We will have to hack the wall and get an AC line and air conditioner installed before we would ask anyone to sleep in there. The walls are a bit rougher too, like they didn't bother to do a good job on the finish of the room (not that they did a good job on the construction of the other walls in the house either but these are particularly bad).

So I am thinking we could give it a rough wall look and paint the walls a very dark dark grey or even this nearly black color. It would make the room already small have a cozy feeling. Maybe get a day bed or at least a single bed with pillows. Change the ugly light fixture on the ceiling by moving the electricity to the side of the room and have a hanging lamp to give the room some atmosphere. I'm not sure if we paint this room next or work on the other remaining rooms in the house - the Entry Hall, the Staircase area, and the upstairs Family Room which all need to be sanded, skim coated and painted.

Flowerizing the Landscaping

I did get the three spiked plants at the front of the house, but we thought just the three bushes alone seemed a bit too stark.
So I had been seeing a lot of bird of paradise flowers (Strelitzia) in orange and since our color scheme for the garden is orange, I asked Nilai Landscaping for some bird of paradise plants behind the spike plants. I showed them the photo below that I took at a Seremban nursery of what I wanted...

What were planted are a bird of paradise plant (shown above), but in more of a red and yellow coloration. At first I wasn't sure if they would look ok, but R liked them and then we thought we could have the color scheme as predominantly orange with some red flowering plants.

I thought we might get some of the larger orange bird of paradise variety for the side of the house by the construction pebbles later, but am now re-thinking bird of paradise all together. We recently had an addition to our family.... a wonderful young cat named T who loves to go out on the patio and every time he goes straight for the bird of paradise leaves and starts to bite them. I looked up the plant online and found the flowers are poisonous so I don't think we will add any more on the property!

Above and below are shots of the orange variegated bougainvillea that was planted in the planters along the side of the house. At first they were all doing well, and it is now rain season, so we thought they would continue to grow. But two of the planters plants are failing. So I dug up some of the bad plants and mixed them in the good planters and took some of the good plants and put in the bad planters after digging around in the dirt because I think these planters weren't draining well out of the side drains. I hope that they will now start to do better as well. I'm watering them everyday.

I found this great orange plant at the Seremban nursery, they were all in bloom and looked great. I'm thinking about putting them in the front or back built in planters along the long planter wall. These remain empty for now.

I have lot's of ideas on what to add around the garden, some more trees, a couple palms in the very front of the property next the the road, and lots of other ideas and then there are those nagging thoughts of what to put in the flower boxes on the second story (yet to be built or bought) that won't require much work (i.e. water and care) and I really want to get some big planters for around the patio and front. I just can't find the planters I am looking for. But for now, the basics are in place for the garden.

Tomatoes in Malaysia

People outside of the country often ask how expensive is it to live in Malaysia. So for anyone considering living here, I’ll try to show the cost of items on this blog from time to time.

Tomatoes... when we first moved here we couldn’t find nice red tomatoes at the Seremban Wet Market and when we did, they were expensive. But early last year we started to see nice tomatoes at a low price. I was concerned they were going out of season when I couldn’t find any in my local ‘Family Store’ (a local run supermarket in Malaysia that often has the best prices). But, I found some in Jusco yesterday. All of these tomatoes (plus one we ate for lunch) were only 3.06myr that’s about 97 cents in US Dollars.

It’s best to use a vegetable cleaner on all produce here. One bad thing about Malaysia is that the water isn’t good to drink. So you have to dry fruits and vegetables before eating. Drying lettuce is the most time consuming job.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Guest Bedroom

For the main floor Guest Bedroom, once again we went with Nippon Paint in custom color: S3502-B a medium grey color. We bought Ikea furniture, Engan Bed and Engan Wardrobe and a couple white side tables. The Shades which are blackout to eliminate lights at night from the neighbor's house are Tupplur in grey (we used the Tupplur shades in the office and have been happy with the way they function). Bedding is Ikea too, although I forget the duvet cover name. The bed is a King Koil mattress which is as soft as we could find, nearly a pillow top but slightly harder. We wanted something good for our guests and most mattresses in malaysia are too hard. We would have liked to get Getha for our guest room, but it was over our budget.

The photo shows the main floor bathroom which connects to the guest room. Of all the 4 bathrooms in the house, this one has the least attractive tiles. They are white and navy/royal blue. and the sink and toilet are light blue! So without gutting the bathroom, we tried to downplay the blue and add this Ikea dark brown cabinet and dark shower curtain. B is working on a dark wooden frame for a mirror above sink (photos after it is installed). The planter on top of the cabinet holds a giant orchid plant (you can find beautiful orchids here in Seremban), well the flowers fell off the new plant one week after the guests arrived because the room might be too dark for orchids. I should buy new plants whenever guests arrive, or try a bamboo plant which is what the nursery suggested for the bathroom.

Living Room Progress

We were able to get the basics in place for our guests. We purchased the grey sectional sofa from a furniture store here in Seremban after looking all over KL and Selangor, we decided this was the best couch we could find (designs are often overly complex or come in gross fabrics/colors). The sofa took two weeks to make because we chose a custom fabric, but two weeks isn't long for ordering a sofa in Malaysia.

While looking for the sofa, we were also searching for a tv cabinet. Wow is it hard to find a simple design anywhere in Malaysia. Finally we decided to have our kitchen contractor B make us a custom cabinet which is suspended from the wall. We like it, but it cost more than we wanted to spend! For the large screen tv we went with Philips LCD attached to a media player for playing films. The image is great, but the sound isn't so good. Next up will be an audio soundsystem for it.

We are still looking for a coffee table and side tables. If we don't find anything I guess we will have B make them.