Thursday, January 31, 2013

Malay Food Restaurant : Serai @ Paradigm Mall

malaysian food restaurant kuala lumpur
"Serai"  A Midscale Malay Cuisine Restaurant  at Paradigm Mall

Last Sunday, we wanted to go to a mall that isn't too crowded and has an indoor playground. Usually, we will head to Tropicana Shopping Mall but we decided to go to Paradigm Mall instead to see if the Jkids indoor playground there is bigger and better (the place is bigger but it has the same set up as Tropicana's Jkids, the only thing bigger is the ball pit. The extra space is utilised for bigger kids party area and a small "cafe". Bummer..)

best food kuala lumpur
The set up @ Serai - A Malaysian Food Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur

We chanced upon a malay restaurant called Serai at Paradigm Mall and decided to give it a try. Serai is a midscale malay cuisine restaurant with a clean modern setting that reminds me of a cross between Ikea and Scanteak. I like the simple interior of the restaurant, seems like a nice place for a business lunch or for bringing tourist friends to experience Malay Food without sweating in hot "warungs" or noisy food courts. Service is prompt and friendly. Food selection was quite ok. 

We ordered:

malay restaurant kuala lumpur
Malay Food Restaurant @ Serai : Serai Platter

Hubby ordered Serai Platter which is lemongrass infused rice with fried chicken, beef rendang, squids in sweet sauce and acar (cucumber and carrots salad). Hubby said the taste is just average.

fine dining restaurant in kuala lumpur
Malay Food Restaurant @ Serai : Nasi Kerabu

I ordered Nasi Kerabu, a traditional Kelantanese dish, plain rice that gets its blue color from the leaves of the Noni fruit. It is served with Ayam Percik (grilled chicken), salted egg, fish crackers,serunding (grated coconut) sambal chili, ulam (traditional salad) and a spicy and creamy gravy. The flavour of the Nasi Kerabu comes from the mixture of serunding, gravy, sambal and ulam.. yummy! Word of caution, the sambal chili here is super hot!

malay food restaurant
Malay Cuisine Restaurant in KL:@ Serai: Satay Platter

The satay @ Serai restaurant are big chunks of meat with no fat. Very nice to eat, the marinade may not be as sinfully strong as other satays (maybe because of the super chunky meat) but goes well with the satay gravy and the cucumber cuts are also generous and crunchy while the nasi himpit (the cubed rice in the pic) is firm and not soggy.

malay restaurant kuala lumpur
Malay Restaurant Kuala Lumpur @ Serai : Crispy fried brinjals

We first tasted cripy fried brinjals @ Khatijah's Kitchen and though we really liked it, we haven't found any other restaurants that served it. Serai offers this dish but it is different from Khatijah's Kitchen's version. It is quite nice but a bit sweet, I think they coat the brinjals with sugar. This dish tasted crunchy, spicy and sweet. I would prefer it not to be sweet though.

Our Dessert (ok hari tu mood makan besar) :

malaysian food restaurant
Malay Traditional Dessert With a Modern Twist @ Serai

Hubby ordered banana fritters with pandan infused syrup and vanilla ice cream. Bananas were crispy on the outside, tender on the inside (I personally think the bananas are slightly under ripe) the bananas by itself are a bit lacking in flavour but tasted pretty good with the syrup and especially nice with the ice cream. 

serai restaurant
Pavlova @ Serai 

I decided to try a Pavlova (the first time in my sweet-toothed life) having seen pictures of it many times but never really seen one right in front of my eyes haha.. Didn't know that it is actually a meringue (something like macaroon) and stuffed with nothing but cream and fruits on top. Argh.. super fattening, I immediately regretted ordering it. Not my style! Give me a chocolate fudge anytime, that's worth the calories to me. 

Our drinks @ Serai : Iced chocolate & Iced Lemon Tea

Our drinks, iced tea for the kids (normal) iced chocolate (supposedly for me but hubby finished it up) the warm water requested by hubby came in a small glass and also finished up by my kiddo. Sigh.. walked out of the restaurant super full but thirsty especially after the Pavlova.. 

Serai Restaurant.. nice food.. nice ambience.. definitely the halal restaurant to go to if you are around Paradigm Mall area. Next time, I won't be such a glutton :)

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Marriott Putrajaya Review - What A Disappointment!

When we opted for a staycation at Putrajaya instead of going for a holiday during the peak Christmas + year end period last December, all we had in our mind was a relaxing stay in a hotel where the kids will be entertained and we don't have to step out of the hotel. We chose Marriott Putrajaya over Pullman mainly because of the pool and Kiddies' World pictures on their website. 

We should have known better and go with Tripadvisors' ratings sigh.. while the pool was true to the pics, the Kiddies World is quite sad. The toys are very limited and the slide is small suitable for maybe 2-3 years old only. There is nothing much there that can even entertain the kids past 20 minutes. The library have some musty smell and even the book are not interesting. There are some PS3's but I am not sure what games are available. Even worse, the place closes at 7pm daily. Heh? How am I going to entertain the kids in a dead pace like Putrajaya in the evenings then? Total disappointment!

The room that we got was at the executive level so we had access to the executive lounge for drinks and hors d'oeuvre in the evenings and continental breakfast in the mornings.  The selection was limited and uninspiring. For breakfast, you are better off eating at the buffet breakfast downstairs.

Our room faced the golf course and this was our balcony and view:

putrajaya marriott review
Marriott Putrajaya dismal room balcony at the Executive Level

hotel marriot putrajaya
The "beautiful' scenery of the hotel grounds from our room.

resort ioi marriot review
The  "Golf Course" scenery from our room @ Marriott Putrajaya

The hotel room's furniture was dated, the couch was rock hard and has a sunken spot and the indoor plants that was supposed to decorate the room did not enhance the room's aesthetics. The only consolation was the toilet which while not awesome , at least was acceptably pleasing to the eyes. 

putrajaya mariott hotel review
Marriott Putrajaya's room

ioi marriott hotel review
Dated furniture at Putrajaya Marriott Hotel

putrajaya marriott hotel review
The cluttered snack bar @ Marriott Putrajaya

putrajaya marriott
The only consolation - an acceptable bathroom
Marriott Putraaya Bathroom

It was a waste of money staying there. We were better off staying at home but the kids enjoyed the holiday and as parents that was most important. Will we return again? A resounding "no".

Monday, January 28, 2013

Dinner @ Putrajaya Seafood Restaurant

putrajaya lakeside restaurant
Putrajaya Seafood Restaurant @ Putrajaya Botanical Gardens

While on holiday in Putrajaya last December, we mostly ate at Alamanda Shopping Centre since it is convenient with loads of familiar restaurant such as TGIF, Bumbu Desa, Pizza Hut and also a food court among others. 

But, we did want to try a restaurant that is special to Putrajaya and after a few searches, it seems like Putrajaya Seafood Restaurant at the Botanical Gardens is the most popular over there. We popped in the restaurant for lunch at just after 2.30pm and was told that their lunch hour ends at 2.30pm while dinner starts at 6.30pm. So, we decided to come back later for dinner.

We came back for dinner at 7.00pm the same day, the road leading to the restaurant is dark, if you have never been there before before sunset, I think it will be very difficult for you to find it on your own after sunset. There is no area for you to perform your prayer, so hubby had to go back to the Putrajaya Botanical Gardens Visitor Information Centre to pray at the deserted surau there. 

We ordered black pepper udon (for my noodle crazy first born), crispy fried soft shell crabs, butter prawns and kang kung belacan. We also ordered tom yam but I think the waiter forgot about it and it wasn't served. 

Food was nice and palatable. I like the black pepper udon, the serving is huge, black pepper is not too overpowering and there were some seafood such as squids and prawns thrown it. 

Putrajaya Seafood Restaurant : Black Pepper Udon

Butter prawn was also nice though they weren't tiger prawns but at the very least they certainly weren't farm bred tasteless prawns.

restaurant in putrajaya
Putrajaya Seafood Restaurant: Butter Prawn

The most memorable dish for that night was the crispy fried soft shell crabs. Super delicious! Spicy, crunchy and sweet! Yummy.. hubby had to grudgingly set side some for me. (Thank goodness I ordered more prawns for him to compensate)

restaurant at putrajaya
Putrajaya Seafood Restaurant : Crispy Fried Soft Shell Crabs

Kangkung belacan also has a huge serving and while I don't recall anything negative about it, it wasn''t outstanding either. 

putrajaya restaurant
Putrajaya Seafood Restaurant: Kangkung Belacan

Drinks and dessert selection is quite limited. Actually, so does the food menu, but they did a good job with what they offer anyway. 

Ambience is nice but I don't think I would choose to sit alfresco at night unless I have slabbed my entire body with mosquito repellent. 

All in all, a nice place with nice food though on the pricey side.  

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Halal Food at Changi Airport Terminal 1 Singapore

halal food terminal 1 changi airport

On one of our previous trip back to Singapore, we took an AirAsia flight that operates out of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1. We were feeling quite hungry after going around for half an hour stopping here and there accommodating the kids request to take pictures since it was Christmas time and Changi Airport was brightly decorated for the season. We had passed Burger King and didn't really want to detour, so we asked the information desk and was told that there is another halal fast food chain called "Texas Chicken" @ T1 Departure Transit Lounge.  

Texas Chicken is at Level 3, D5, take the lift between Hermes and Bally and you will find the halal fast food restaurant. Texac Chicken serves average burgers and fries but hey, it's fresh and it satisfied our hunger :) 

halal food singapore airport t1

There is also a 24Hr Food Gallery besides Texas Chicken but I didn't check whether there are any halal-certified stalls there. 

We were also trying to find an indoor playground for the kids at T1 transit hall but it was still under construction at that point in time. The indoor playground at T1 is just beside the outdoor garden. The outdoor garden though sounds nice still is not a "garden" yet, I seriously hope the people behind it puts more effort in making it a blooming garden that serves as a breathe of fresh air from the aircon surrounding. At this moment it is very bare.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Putrajaya Playgrounds

putrajaya mosque
Playground @ Putra Mosque

On our previous visit to Putrajaya last December, we were quite upset with Marriott Putrajaya Kiddies' World. We had initially picked Marriott Putrajaya over Pullman because Marriott's Kiddies' World looked much nicer in their website. Imagine our disappointment when we got to know that the Kiddies' World closes at 7pm everyday and there are no activities (for kids) available at the hotel ground after 8pm (pool closes at 8pm). Total bummer especially in a place like Putrajaya where kids-focused attractions are very lacking. So, we went back to the basics and took the kids to the public playground available at Putrajaya. 

putrajaya playground
Temporary kids area for VIKids member while their shoplot is being renovated @ Alamanda

At Alamanda  Shopping Centre itself there is a medium sized playground next to the Parkson entrance at the top-most level (I thought I had snapped a picture of it but can't seem to find it). There is also an indoor playground in progress called VIkids and they have set up a temporary and very small area for kids next to Carrefour entrance. 

During the weekends, it got a tad too crowded at Alamanda Shopping Centre itself, so we headed to the park besides Alamanda Shopping Centre, nearest to Carrefour exit for the outdoor playground. It was quite basic but enough for the kids to spend 10 minutes or so.

putrajaya kids
The Outdoor Playgyround @ Park next to Alamanda Shopping Ctr

Then on the day that we took the Cruise Tasik Putrajaya, we swing by the outdoor playground next to The Souq @ Putra Mosque. The kids enjoyed this playground very much as it has 5 slides and is shaped like a ship. It also has some shade over it so that it is still not too hot even when the sun is scorching. Toilet facilities are not too clean though and there is no dedicated baby changing station so, you have been warned!

putrajaya for kids
Playground @ Putra Mosque next to The Souq

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Pre-School English - Sight Words To Teach Your 4 Year Old

Ok, so now that my kid is coming to 5 years old, I am seriously freaking out at my tardiness in teaching him reading. Though his teacher at school says that he is reading the "Pam and Sam" book quite well, I still worry as the only thing that I have been doing is teaching him the three letter words and even then I am not very consistent with it. 

Our very small apartment is already overflowing with (more) toys (than), I scrapped the flash card idea and decided to go digital. Hmm.. took me some time to actually tie up everything together what with buying a decent recorder, trying to find a quiet time to record the voice over and learning to edit the recording with a software. But, I kind of like the end result, though it is still a bit amateur-ish. Regardless, I think the videos helped my kiddo and I hope you will benefit from it too.. 

These are 40 sight words to teach your 4 year olds (ok, so I am a bit behind track, but I hope to catch up soon)  and they are divided into 4 easily digested lists (that's 10 words per list since the kids attention span are very short). Each video has two parts, the first part where I read the words and the second part is where only the words flash and your child has to read them himself. The flash card video is set against an upbeat music background so that the kids (hopefully) won't dread learning the sight words too much :) 

Pre-School English - Sight Words List 1/4:

Pre-School English - Sight Words List 2/4: 

Pre-School English - Sight Words List 3/4: 

Pre-School English - Sight Words List 4/4: 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Kids Playground @ Marina Square Shopping Centre

children play ground
Free Kids Playground @ Marina Square Shopping Centre

I have heard that there is a free kids playground at Marina Square Shopping Centre and I decided to check it out. Someone mentioned that during weekdays afternoons the kids playground is deserted. Well, I went there on a Saturday evening (on two different occasions) and it was brimming with kids. I doubt my kids can jostle in the crowd as they are the pushover types. 

Nonetheless, I think it is a good playground, very convenient as it is indoors and just in front of all the kids shops like Mothercare, Poney and what nots. There are also some kiddy rides at the side of the playground which is not in the picture. 

mall playgrounds
Kids Playground @ Level 3 Marina Square Shopping Centre

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Day Out @ Cruise Putrajaya & Botanical Gardens

putrajaya morocco
The Moroccan Pavilion @ Putrajaya Botanical Gardens

On our second day in Putrajaya, we decided to check out Putrajaya Botanical Gardens and Cruise Tasik since hubby was reluctant to check out The Agriculture Heritage Park (my no1 and me would have really liked it). It was good enough that he agreed to go to the Botanical Gardens, so I didn't insist on the Agriculture Heritage Park. 

The kids spent the bigger part of the morning swimming at the hotel, so we arrived at Putrajaya Botanical Gardens at about 1.30pm (after 3 missed turns at the roundabout - hubby is so used to driving fast at the left lane and the people at Putrajaya kind of drive leisurely so best to switch to the right lane early to avoid repeated frustration at changing lanes in time) we thought that we wouldn't have to walk around that much as there is a tram service at the Botanical Gardens BUT since we arrived on the last day of the year after 1230pm the people at the ticketing counter informed us that tram tickets sale and bicycle rental service has been stopped for year end closing of accounts. (hhmm.. oookkaaayy.. aren't there ways to record this internally other than to physically stop the sale of tickets at year end?)

The Canopy Bridge @ Putrajaya Botanical Gardens

So, we walked through the canopy bridge and then was going down the fern area when hubby said enough is enough, and asked to head straight to the Moroccan Pavillion. No more looking at plants! Err.. sigh.. okay.. the camera's battery is dying on me anyways.. so.. not many pictures of Putrajaya Botanical Gardens then.. 

botanical gardens
The Moroccan Pavilion @ Putrajaya Botanical Gardens

@ The Morroccan Pavillion, same story, tickets are not on sale after 1230pm, so yes there is someone manning the entrance but no one is allowed in. Tickets are required to enter and feast your eyes on Morroccan artifacts on display inside the Pavillion. I guess that should have been interesting.. 

Disappointed and tired from the walk around Putrajaya Botanical Gardens, we headed to the famous Putrajaya Seafood for lunch, arrived there at 2.45pm and was told that lunch orders closed at 2.30pm and we can only order drinks.. aaarrggghh... keep calm and move on..

moroccan designs

With our stomach growling, we decided to proceed to the Souq @ Putra Mosque to eat something before taking the Putrajaya Cruise. Nothing much at the food court, Hameed's Nasi Kandar, Secret Recipe, local noodle stall, Nandos and one middle eastern stall. We ate at Nandos since the middle eastern stall said they have run out of food.

putrajaya cruise
Our boat "Belimbing" for the Cruise Tasik Putrajaya

Walked a short distance to Cruise Tasik Putrajaya and was just in time for a departing boat. The boat was spacious, with glass window for maximum viewing pleasure and it was air-conditioned. The first half of the ride, the guide gives a very brief information regarding on the sights on your right / left in malay and english (some grammatical mistakes here and there). The last half of the cruise you are allowed to go out to the front or back of the boat and snap some pictures.  

Between the Botanical Gardens visit and the Tasik Putrajaya Cruise, I would say that Tasik Putrajaya Cruise is enjoyed more by my kids. It also lets you soak in the various sights of Putrajaya and let you decide which sights you think are worth visiting individually. 

Among the more memorable sights encountered during the Tasik Putrajaya Cruise are:

putrajaya sights
Putra Mosque - First sight coming out from the pier..

sri saujana bridge
Sri Saujana Bridge @ Putrajaya

Sri Gemilang Bridge @ Putrajaya - a bit off with the modern building at the background in my opinion

putrajaya attractions
Millennium Monument @ Putrajaya

putrajaya mosque
Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque @ Putrajaya

All in all, it was a nice cruise to soak in the beautiful sights of Putrajaya. Afterwards, the kids headed to the playground near the Souq to expend some energy before heading back to the hotel.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Farm In The City - 15 Mins from Putrajaya

putrajaya attractions
Farm In The City @ Sri Kembangan

farm city
Farm In The City - Admission prices 

During the long year end / new year break 2012/2103, we decided to just do a staycation at Putrajaya with the kids. (Turns out to be not so brainy an idea due to a lot of reasons but the kids enjoyed themselves while the parents pretty much suffocated from boredom). One of the highlights of our Putrajaya trip is a visit to Farm in The City @ Sri Kembangan. It is not in Putrajaya, but very close at about 15 minutes drive. I first got to know about this place through Groupon Malaysia but I saw that they also put up a not-so-noticeable banner at one of the shops at Alamanda Shopping Centre @ Putrajaya.

Farm In The City - The Aviary

kuala lumpur kids activities
Farm In The City - Watching the ducks swimming as my kids are scared of the peacock

farm in the city
Feeding the smaller birds at The Aviary cos the larger birds were being fed by other people.

petting zoo kuala lumpur
World's rarest white crow.. as per the sign at Farm In The City

We chose to go to Farm In The City as our kids are really fond of animals but I don't think Putrajaya Wetlands would suit our needs so we headed out to Sri Kembangan. We weren't really expecting anything world-class since it is not in KL City nor Putrajaya itself, so we assumed that the target audience are the locals spending time with their kids during the weekends or even field trips from nearby schools. But be warned that the price is on the high side for tourists, not sure if you would think that it's worth it. For ourselves though they gave us a family package price of RM99 for 2 adults and 2 kids ( one 4 year old and another 2 year old) not sure if we actually had to pay for the younger kid as it was my hubby who purchased the tickets.

kuala lumpur farm
My nearly 3 yo boy with a giant tortoise which he refused to feed.. hmph..

farm in the city sri kembangan
My 4 year old was trying to feed the brown deer when the more spirited goat came into the picture and scared my son away.. haha..

We were pleasantly surprised with the variety of animals at the petting zoo and the fact that you can feed most of the animals there. There are different types of turtles and tortoise, a bird aviary, snakes, goats, deers, kancil, a world's smallest kangaroo (not sure what kind), a buffalo, lots of chicken, fishes, ducks and swans, marmoset, ponies among others. Enough to keep the kids entertained for an hour or two! They also have a fruits and vegetable farm where you can see Rambutan trees, Banana trees, Mangosteen Trees, Tapioca trees,  kacang botol, kacang panjang and others but the fruit and vegetable farm still needs some time to mature cos most of them weren't fruiting when we were there. It will be nice once everything has matured and blooming :)

Farm city
My nearly 3 yo boy feeding the buffalo @ Farm in The City

kuala lumpur for kids
My 4 yo petting a small horse :) This is like a major achievement for a scaredy boy like him..

kids fishing
Farm In The City's Rabbits feeding area and longkang fishing

petting zoo
Err.. I think those are rabbits right?

Be warned that it is super hot though there.. we were sweating like mad and the car park is not sheltered too.. its just an open space with no shade what so ever. After the trip to Farm In The City, we headed to the nearby Giant Supermarket for air con relief and let the kids play the playground for a bit. Then it's time to head back to the hotel for rest.

farm in the city serdang
Farm In The City - Kancil, you can feed her if you want to..

city farm
Supposedly the world's smallest kangaroo@ Farm In The City

farm in the city
Other animals @ Farm In The City

farm in the city
Look a Dragon! I am not sure if you can feed it though..

Farm in The City Opening Hours Are:

Mon: 10.00am - 6.00pm
Tue: Closed
Wed - Fri : 10.00am - 6.00pm
Sat & Sun: 9.30am - 6.00pm

Map of Farm In The City:

View Larger Map

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