Category Archives: Sea

By-the-Beach

The view from the parking lot at sunset is a warm enough welcome to Penang’s latest accommodation-by-the-sea, Hompton By The Beach.

Dottie and Steph are very blessed to be taking in such beauty when they step into work each day was my first impression when taking in this sunset.

The hotel and its staff are unpretentious , judging from the warm hospitality, genuine smiles and good food served earlier.

The fresh salmon and tuna won me over and were such a welcome from the usual frozen variety found in other establishments.

The festive-themed buffet dinner was all about freshness and good taste and it did not have the taste of the usually mass-produced food found in hotel buffet lines.

Even the Christmas desserts – like the fruit cake and panna cotta – had a home-made touch and taste to it.

The Seafood Galore Buffet Dinner on Saturdays and Sundays from 7pm-10pm is priced at RM108 nett for adults with free flow of beer and red and white wines (senior citizens are charged RM88 nett). The buffet only option costs RM78 nett per person (senior citizens aged 55 and above pay RM58 nett) Kids aged 12 and below dine for free. And the best part is that it is served in the hotel’s sea-fronting Spice Garden outlet on Level 11.

A special promotion currently has buy 3, pay for 2, buy 5 pay for 3 and buy 7 pay for 4 deals respectively.

Call 04-3733233 to book your tasty dinner with an awesome view!

Sunset by the Sea

Sunsets on Penang beaches have always been magical and today was no different.

Especially heart-warming was the sight of Malaysians relishing the Instagramable Sunday moments and appreciating what is on their doorstep.

While the crimson and pink skies continue to be Mother Nature’s gifts each evening, the gentle reminder to have an attitude of gratitude couldn’t be more timely.

May our beaches always remain pristine and accessible … hope the welcome back to our shores was a memorable one, Fauziah!

E&O Iftar

As the holy month of Ramadan descends on us again, our Muslim friends will be preparing to fast (puasa) from dawn to dusk, while they also engage in more prayer and works of charity.

We in Malaysia are blessed to not only enjoy the public holidays for religious and cultural celebrations of our rich and diverse communities, but to also indulge in the food which are associated with each of the festivals.

One of the high points for me during Ramadan since I was a child was to look forward to the wide array of Malay `kuih` (cakes and desserts) sold at the Ramadan bazaars.

In more recent times, Ramadan has also spelt a time for me to catch up with my Muslim friends over the `Buka Puasa’ (iftar) meal.

Here in Malaysia we are spoilt for choice and because most people are working and are unable to get home in time to prepare the evening meal to break fast, they either pack food to take home or sometimes indulge in buffet spreads found in restaurants and hotels.

The heritage Eastern and Oriental Hotel (E&O Hotel) in Penang hasn’t failed to deliver yet again on a sumptuous `buka pausa’ feast this year.

The hotel’s Sarkies Restaurant is featuring the usual suspects of popular traditional Malay fare for its `Jamuan Barbuka Puasa’ buffet, in addition to its intercontinental offerings of Japanese and Italian favourites.

“The perennial Malay salad or `ulam’ to be complemented with an array of `sambal’ and sauces, is the perfect starter to the sumptuous meal for breaking fast,” says the hotel’s communication and public relations manager Eileen Chong.

“Our traditional must-haves like `biryani rice’, `rendang daging’, `ayam masak madu’ and `gulai ketam kampong’ are prepared by our seasoned chefs who have tapped into their familiar family recipes, handed down through generations.”

For the hotel’s international guests, the Ramadan buffet serves as a great introduction to Malaysia and her lip-smacking cuisines. For those who are fasting, what better way to break fast than to enjoy local staples like satay, ikan bakar (grilled fish), `roti canal` and `murtabak’ and to round up the meal with the assortment of Malay `kuih’ and the heart-warming `bubur kacang’ (mung bean porridge with coconut milk). For the rest of us, the meal is one we can share with our Muslim friends as a sign of solidarity and a good opportunity to catch up and bond.

The buffet is available daily from 17 May to 14 June, 2018 from 7.30pm to 10.30pm and priced at RM166 (adults) and RM83 (children).

Early birds take note: bookings made and paid before 23 May 2018 are entitled to a five full paying adults allows one person to dine for free deal (+604-222-2000 extn 3151/3139 or email fbcentral.resv@eohotels.com)

For those wishing to try their hand in cooking at home, below are two recipes courtesy of the E&O Hotel’s chefs …

Chicken Biryani

5 to 6 Persons

Ingredients

• 1 onion, thinly sliced

150ml vegetable oil

2½ tbsp sweet Pepper

1 tbsp each black peppercorns, cumin seeds and coriander seeds

2½ tsp each ground turmeric and ground chilli

¼ tsp finely grated nutmeg

3 cardamom pods

2 cloves

2 star anise

1 cinnamon stick, broken into rough pieces

2 long dried chillies, broken
into rough pieces

1 fresh bay leaf

500g thick natural yogurt

½ cup each finely chopped mint and coriander, plus extra coriander
sprigs to serve

1½ tbsp finely grated ginger

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

6 chicken leg portions, halved
through the joint into thigh and drumstick

400g basmati rice

50g butter, diced

70ml milk

¼ tsp saffron threads

To serve: Fried shallots and fresh coriander

Method

• Fry onion in 120ml oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 6-8 mins.

Transfer to a bowl and cool. Dry-roast spices, chilli and bay leaf over medium heat, then pound with a mortar and pestle to a fine powder.

Add to onion along with yogurt, herbs, ginger, garlic and 2 tsp sea salt and mix well.

Add chicken, stir to coat, cover and refrigerate overnight to marinate.

Spread chicken mixture in the base of a heavy-based casserole with a tight-fitting lid.

Bring rice, 20g butter, remaining oil and enough well-salted water to cover by 2cm to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.

Drain and spread over chicken.

Bring milk, saffron and remaining butter to the simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat, then pour over rice, cover with foil, then the lid.

Cook over low heat until rice is fluffy and chicken is cooked through (50 minutes-1 hour).

Stand for 15 mins without removing the lid, then serve hot, scattered with fried shallots and coriander sprigs.

Rendang Daging
Preparation time: 1 hour

5 to 6 Persones

Ingredients
1 kg beef Striploin, cut into 3cm chunks

For the beef Marination

2 tbsp coriander seeds (ketumbar)
2 tsp cumin seeds (jintan putih)
2 tsp fennel seeds (jintan manis)
1 tsp black peppercorns (lada hitam)
1 1/2 tsp salt (garam)

For the spice paste
200gr shallots (bawang kecil), peeled
10 garlic cloves (bawang putih), peeled
5 stalks lemongrass (batang serai), cut into segments
1” galangal root (lengkuas/galangal), peeled
1” old ginger (halia),peeled
½” turmeric root ( kunyit hidup), peeled

Other ingredients
1 tbsp red chili powder (serbuk chili)
10 pcs kaffir lime leaves (daun limau purut), snipped with scissors
2 tbsp palm sugar (gula Melaka)
8 pcs cardamom (buah pelaga)
5 pcs cloves ( bunga cengkih)
10cm cinnamon stick (kulit kayu manis)

For the coconut milk

1 coconut freshly grated – to yield 250ml thick coconut milk and 250ml thin coconut milk

For the kerisik

100g fresh grated coconut Squized

Salt, to taste

Method

1. Toast the dry spices (cumin, fennel, coriander seeds) in a wok over low heat until fragrant. Using a mortar (or grinder), grind the spices and peppercorn into powder. Marinade the beef with the spices and salt for 2 hours.

2. To make the kerisik, place the freshly grated coconut into a wok over medium heat and toast until it turns to a dark brown. Stir often, this will take about 10 minutes. Once browned, place the toasted Kerisik into a mortar pound oil released from the kerisik.

3. Place the spice paste ingredients into an electric blender with 3 tbsp of water and blend until you get a paste. (Note: The paste is a bright yellow colour)

4. Place all ingredients (marinated beef, coconut milk, kerisik, spice paste + other ingredients) into a large pot. Bring to the boil over medium high heat, and once boiling, reduce to low heat and simmer for 3 hours or until the rendang is dry and meat is tender and dry (Tock )

5. Season with more salt, as necessary, Remove and serve with rice or lemang.

Rooms with a view

She used to be a most gracious hostess when showing us around the high-end properties that her former employer built to sell on the island.

Nothing much has changed today, except that the still-gracious Christina is now her own boss at TZ Suites Sdn Bhd, and “sells” a different category of properties.

She is just as busy these days on her feet as she goes about curating enjoyable and comfortable stays away from home for Penang residents and visitors.

The single and double-roomed suites at The Straits Quay Apartments in Tanjung Tokong on the island, are one lot of her offerings to those who want to drop off the hotel circuit for a change.

Standing above the (still picturesque) Straits Quay Retail Marina (where a good number of eateries are located together with a supermarket and convenience store) are several apartments which are being managed by TZ Suites as holiday rentals.

The view alone from the generous balconies of the units overlooking the Andaman Sea are enough to scream “holiday” and “tropical isle.” I don’t think I was alone in just wanting to sink into a chair on the balcony and chill with a good book (or think of this vantage spot to enjoy the fireworks display on New Year’s Eve)!

Swimming pools nestled among frangipani trees, a gym, clubhouse, sauna and barbeque area are among the facilities within the apartment complex, if you think you want to tear yourself away from the seaview!

Clean sheets and fresh towels greet guests who are checking in and while you may need to pack s toothbrush along, shower gels and shampoos have been thoughtfully supplied in the well-appointed bathrooms.

WiFi is available for your convenience (and to perhaps update your social media platforms or send multiple photos to family and friends of the gorgeous view!) and you can do your laundry in your rented unit as well.

The kitchen is equipped with all basic amenities (fridge, hot plate cooker and other utensils) but in Penang and seriously, would you be wanting to cook your own meals?!! Nearby food attractions range from hawker fare, seafood options and Nasi Melayu and its accompanying curries and condiments.

The two bedroom units can accommodate up to 12 people while the one bedroom, up to 6 guests.

(From April 16 to May 31, 2018, TZ Suites is offering a 15% discount for its 2 bedroom unit which is priced at RM580 per night and RM450 a night for its 1 bedroom unit. The discount does not apply to weekends, the eve of public holidays and public holidays)

More details are available by calling:

Christina Lau (+60103682498) or Bee Hong (+60146042498) or simply drop an email to :tzsuites77@gmail.com

(Images courtesy of TZ Suites Sdn Bhd)

Slices of Heaven (on earth)

When we celebrated Su’s birthday last week, we made a detour to the beach before dinner to enjoy the sunset and take in what’s left of the sea (which is yet to be reclaimed).

We are constantly reminded of the reason people make a beeline for our beautiful island and why grace and gratitude is so important for being blessed to wake up each day to either paintings in the sky or endless beauty at sea.

We counted our blessings to be able to enjoy this little slice of heaven on an isle where development and reclamation are fast altering the turtle-shaped silhouette of the coastline.

Several days later, Lin and I took in the calming and peaceful sight of the sea during our morning stroll on the drive.

The simple act of driving along the coast and the many sights of nature-in-blue are treats not enjoyed by those surrounded by plastic, steel and chrome in other cities.

Some of us like Betsy, Thamby, Cuteness and my sistas-and-dudes-in-the-tower, continue to stay blessed waking up to views like these and we pray that our little slices of heaven on earth are not sacrificed in the name of further greed and so-called progress.