Lunch at the Westin KL

5 Dec 2006 In: Location: Golden Triangle, LOCATION: KUALA LUMPUR

When my boss asked me if I was interested in attending a commemorative luncheon organised by the Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA) at the Westin Hotel, I said yes for two reasons: the speaker, the eloquent Dato’ Shahrir Abdul Samad, and the location. I never pass up an opportunity to visit the Westin.

As expected, the Grand Ballroom at the Westin was delightfully decorated and brought out the oohs and aahs from all of us. I couldn’t resist the urge to take out my mobilephone (on the pretext of answering an SMS) and snap some photos.

I love the refreshing and tastefully arranged bouquet on our table. I couldn’t resist photographing it at all angles:

And best of all, my cameraphone didn’t misbehave the way it did in all the previous photos. 😉 My ego has received a substantial amount of bashing due to the substandard photographs that I have been posting on this blog, but in my Nokia’s defense, one can only do so much with a cameraphone, you know. 🙂

I like the way Westin works with colours in the table presentation:

I don’t usually enjoy food that is mass-produced, but this time, I was pleasantly surprised.

I enjoyed the crispy cod fish with a lemongrass sauce that was not too overpowering. The starter included a miso-picked cream cheese served in a tart shell, and I thought it was absolutely heavenly.

As I looked heaven-wards (up), instead of the usual ornate chandeliers, I saw glass sculptures illuminated by light. I am quite sure they were designed by the famous Dale Chihuly (see I first chanced upon his works at the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens in London, and I have been a fan ever since. See if you can see the similarities:

At the Westin

At Kew Gardens

Hmmm. The more I look at it, the more it reminds me of my hair.

It was a really hot Monday, and I had a meeting scheduled for 3.00pm, so when Pretty Pui suggested walking to Petaling Street because she was craving for hor fun (flat white noodles), I hesitated. But her pitiful looks brought out the compassionate side of me, and I gave in.The coffeeshop we were headed to was not the more popular hor fun place in Jalan Tun H.S.Lee. This place is located in the heart of Petaling Street opposite Tang City and Kiew Brothers and is known for dishing out a decent bowl of hor fun noodles, with the specialty being the prawn wantan.

I like the look of the coffeeshop. It was clean – you could almost see your reflection on the table, and there was a large mirror facing the entrance of the shop if you are into some preening, although I’m sure the greater purpose would be for some sort of feng shui.

The noodles came fast enough. I had ordered the hor fun in soup with shredded chicken, while the two girls got the dry and soupy version of hor fun with prawn wantan. Ecstatic Eeyore preferred the dry version of the hor fun with shredded chicken.

After seeing the girls’ glistening prawn wantan, I couldn’t resist the urge to order a bowl of wantans. Eight pieces cost about RM6.50. And the verdict? Ditch the hor fun, and get the wantan. The hor fun is not as smooth as the Ipoh version, and I must say that the KLCC foodcourt Ipoh kiosk has a better version. The prawn filling in the wantan had a nice crunch to it, although it was a little salty.

I went for my meeting that day, RM13 poorer, and with clothes drenched in sweat.

Coming out of the closet

4 Dec 2006 In: Bits and Pieces: Life

“Don’t come into the kitchen. I’m cooking!”

“Stay away from the hot stove!”

“Don’t touch the oven! You’ll burn yourself.”

Familiar words in my childhood. I was familiar with good food, but not with the preparation.

When I was in Form 1, I was initially not given a choice but to enter the Sains Rumahtangga (Home Science) stream. I cried for days. My biggest fear was lighting the gas stove. I didn’t know how to. When the school subsequently announced that the Perdagangan (Commerce) stream was available as an alternative choice, I grabbed it and never looked back. That choice eventually shaped my future as an accountant.

Mum sometimes allowed me to enter the kitchen. When she wanted someone to prepare the ingredients for the rasam (an Indian hot and sour soup), I was the girl for that job. I would pound the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek and garlic in the stone mortar and inhale the smell of the concoction I had just pulverised.

But when it came to the big jobs, like chopping up a chicken, it was a job for a grown-up to do.

I experienced the joys of cooking after I got married. Because my husband wasn’t too fussy about food, I would bravely throw in different types of ingredients to come up with my own recipes. When the food turned out delicious, I knew that it must have been a blessing, for what other explanation could there be for someone who had no knowledge of ingredients and how they worked together?

So there is the odd day when I would put too much salt into the food, or burn my chicken perattal because I was too busy reading the newspapers. But seeing my husband gulping it up anyway and saying “thank you for the lovely meal, dear” motivates me further.

About this blog

Food, for me, is a means to an end and not an end in itself.

Food, for me, represents the love of family, the fellowship of friends, and the community and communality it brings.


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