Just Float

Malaysia’s first and only float centre – Float for Health – has opened its doors in Penang. The luxury float centre is the brainchild of Arthur Wilkinson, who during a visit to his brother in Southern California two years ago, had heard the hype being made about float centres. When the Wilkinson brothers located a float centre nearest to them, they found out there was a two month waiting list to get an appointment! Arthur finally secured a slot to float at another centre which was equally busy, and had what Oprah Winfrey would refer to as an Aha-moment when he stepped into a float tank, and figured that Malaysia may be ready to host similar float centres.

At his float centre located at Tanjung Tokong on Penang island (pre-booking is required normally between 8 and 10 hours before an appointment), one steps into a space where luxurious float rooms have been designed to maximise comfort and provide guests with a light-as-feather experience.

Guests are advised to bring nothing but an open mind, since all floating necessities such as towels, ear plugs, hair dryers, etc are provided. Tea and refreshments are also served after each float in a special lounge.

Each of the four float rooms found at Float for Health contains an extra-large tub with 500 kilograms of Epsom Salt dissolved in 250 gallons of water and heated to 34 degrees.

Free from gravity and external stimulation, one is left with no choice but meditate or sleep, as all sensation from the outside world melt away. Either in total darkness or with customised lighting on to fit the mood, the private spa-like room offered me a cocoon from the non-stop “chatter” of the mind and phone!

The sensation after the float session is akin to that of a relaxing massage, where all tension knots have dissolved and given way to a sense of zen and lightness.

Small wonder then that float centres in many cities around the world are turning into mini retreat and spa spaces for marathon runners, stressed out executives and fitness buffs.

More details are available at http://www.floatforhealth.com

Photos courtesy of Float for Health

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George Town

She has been a safe harbour to travellers for centuries, many of whom ended up calling her home and enjoying their days in the sun and being surrounded by water. Today she is a cosmopolitan city where travellers still fly, sail or drive in droves. While her silhouette has been altered greatly by man-made developments, she still has plenty to offer by way of experiences, panoramas and exquisite flavours. This is my George Town!img_6621

Christmas Countdown

As Christmas nears,  the reality of rising costs is likely to be felt when baking festive treats calls for high-quality staples. I have been reminded by many good bakers that one should never compromise on butter especially when making Sugee (or semolina) Cake and Jam Tarts. The brand of choice among the discerning is either Golden Churn or SCS Butter which in recent years, have both escalated in price. It would be interesting to see in the coming weeks if there will be substitutions or lower quality butter or margarine applied to time-tested recipes. I can safely say that Miss Cate my sugee cake sifu (teacher) will likely maintain her impeccable baking standards and continue showering us with her moist and buttery semolina delights this year.

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Time-out in Tambun

Bukit Tambun on mainland Penang is only a 45-minute ride from George Town on a traffic-clear day. The drive to this fishing village is one which is akin to taking a chill pill. Swaying coconut trees, cool breezes and a laid-back way of life greet any stressed out person driving into the village. Defences are let down as one takes in the slip-slap of the waves while fishermen take off or return on their boats. The healthy and green mangroves also lend a sense of calm to the senses as one delves into fresh seafood offerings at the various eateries built on stilts.

The star dish of the day was the Crab Fried Rice recommended by Ed for my crustacean-loving friends.
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Handcrafted Hainanese Happiness

Penang’s oldest restaurant Loke Thye Kee (which means House of Happiness in Hainanese) continues to spread the joy of Hainanese eats, thanks to its new operator.

This particular cuisine pays homage to the migrants from Hainan in China, who were employed by the British in their homes in the then-occupied Malaya.

The Traditional Hainanese Chicken Pie (touted as a handcrafted signature item on the menu since 1919) lives up to its name at Loke Thye Kee today. Fresh-off-the-oven goodness is detected as the buttery flakes off the puff pastry melt in your mouth along with the creamy chicken filling.

Ms MaryEd was not wrong in selecting this venue (located at the intersection of Burma Road and Penang Road) for a recent birthday celebration, by acknowledging the ship-inspired restaurant’s heritage as a choice spot for birthday and wedding parties.
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