I Forgot to Blog About My Birthday

Food. One of my favourite topics. The last birthday was all about food and food and friends and families. The birthday was last month’s the 20th April. I was 18 again. Three cakes within the 48 hours! And, of course, more food, friends, families. (The 3 Fs)

Birthday Eve Dinner

The birthday kicked off with a pre birthday dinner at our regular favourite, Muhibbah Restaurant, Sg Penchala.

Simple yet satisfying meals together – sweet and sour chicken, garlic asparagus and I wanted the fried spicy loh shee fun.

The Day

Right on the day, our company together with an associate consulting firm had organized a forum in one of the hotels in the city. We had about 30 odd CHROs who attended our event and I felt blessed to have such wonderful network.

Being a breakfast forum, we obviously had, what else, but a lovely breakfast spread. Now, this being the Ritz-Carlton, no simple food can look simple in their hands.

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Did I tell you that their nasi lemak was SEDAP?

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Finally as we wrapped up the event, suddenly the front entrance to the hall opened up and I saw several hotel staff pushing a food cart with two cakes and candles. People started to sing birthday song, and I wondered, “Whose birthday?”

Duh.

IMG_20170420_113357Check out the birthday cakes! Aren’t they just awesome!

18447585_10154632537206169_7253276834594800577_nYou can see how surprised I was….

The event ended on a high note with more lunch treat from friend, CJ at the Sentidos, Starhill Gallery. (by now no turning back on the calorie counting).

You want good service? Checked.

You want good food? Checked..

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(above) The juicy shrimps…IMG_20170420_135733

…and the grilled juicy lamb…

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…and tacos…

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and finished off with churros…by this time, I am telling you, I could go on for days without food.

More cake and makan the next day…

The next day we attended tahlil and doa selamat at our friend’s place, Eda. Tahlil for her late hubby, and our good friend, Allahyarham Megat. What I didnt know was that she had also prepared a beautiful cake for me!

(I love you Eda….thank you!)

IMG_20170421_223147Yeah, another one of that surprised look…hahaha…

 

Happy Holidays

holiday_wishes

Christmas Eve Dinner

G and I decided to host a simple dinner on the Christmas eve. Simple because it was a pot luck dinner instead of a full cooking session which we had done in the previous years. No turkey and fresh oysters this year as well. Prices have gone up and wallet is thinner. So, roast chicken it was, among other things.

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Garlic roast chicken. Gone in minutes.

nasi-lemak

The neighbour, Shux, brought his delicious nasi lemak. I must tell you that for a single dude, he can really cook. The last he was at our home, he arrived with a couple of ramekins of creme caramel. Seen tucked in between the rice and the sambal was my garlic and herbs steamed fresh clams which another neighbour bought for me earlier at the Kuala Selangor fish jetty.

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My funky rooster plates…hehehe…and the rest of the dishes. I cooked Korean noodles as a filler, lots of garden salad with Italian dressing and green apples salad as another side. Pandan syrup drinks to wash down all these food.

No leftovers unlike the year when we had the turkey. I tell you, we didn’t want anything to do with turkey anymore for a good few months afterwards.

 

Subway Malaysia

I was pondering what kind of title should I put for this blog? So many came to mind. But, I can tell you this. I was one disappointed customer of Subway Bandar Seri Damansara today. And, they just lost a customer.

subway

George and I were in Bandar Seri Damansara today and decided to pop in at the Subway Ativo Plaza. We have been there several times before. Whenever we stop at Subway, I dont usually deviate from my usual order – either tuna, tuna or tuna sandwich.

Ok, some deviation might be tuna wrap. Or, Italian meat balls. Sometimes the steak and cheese. Sometimes…but often goes back to tuna as I love my fish. I LOVE the Macadamia white chocolate cookies too.

My Story Today

I wanted the steak and cheese wrap. The guy behind the counter did the usual stuff – heated up the wrap, steak and cheese. I wanted my favourite onion sauce and some vegetable.

The minute I sunk my teeth into my wrap, I was so surprised it did not taste anything that resembles any kind of meat. Tasteless and rubbery. Did I say TASTELESS? I give some of the meat to George. And I told the counter staff that I did not like the wrap and that the meat was tasteless. I could not bring myself to eat it.

This was a personal insult!

If this were a conversation about a rubber and cheese wrap with my husband, the conversation will be like this, “Dear, have some of my rubber and cheese wrap. Guess what? It does indeed tastes like rubber and cheese! Totally tasteless! It is how it should be!” Well done boys and girls.

But noooo…we are not talking about rubber and cheese wrap here. It should be steak and cheese wrap!!

The Service Recovery That Wasn’t

Instead of doing what a proud establishment should do, the staff behind the counter tried to explain to me that they have nothing to do with the meat. That it came from wherever twilight zone they came from. They didnt touch the meat. Nope! Nope! Not their fault!

One of staff, donned a foodservice glove and had a taste of the meat. Then, she looked at me. She said, “Akak (sister), you are right! It is tasteless!” So instead of doing a service recovery, she smiled at me…and so was the rest of the crew.

I was errr….too speechless…I asked for the Manager. At the same time, a young gentleman who looked like a senior came out to the floor and asked me what was wrong.

Wow! I thought…a silver lining of hope! I thought! They actually wanted to do service recovery! I thought…

He asked me whether I wanted to change to another wrap. By that time, my mood to eat was totally hopeless. I was crushed and insulted to no end. To those who knew me, food is a serious business to me. George was trying to coax me to eat something (since no real heavy food since breakfast). Ok, I said, I will have the tuna wrap instead.

Guess what young dude said to me? “Ok, we will give you a tuna wrap but you have the pay some additional Ringgit”. What a half-assed service recovery was that? For the trauma I had to go through eating tasteless food, I was expecting they would:

  • reimburse my wrap, or
  • offer a replacement at no cost

By that time, my heart was totally shattered, mood was as heavy as a 5-tonne concrete and..I wanted to cry. I was hungry, angry and frustrated at the lack of empathy by the crew.

I walked out.

How could someone bungled at their own food? How could you be working at a place and not know how it should taste? How could an establishment not empowered the crew enough to serve the customers properly? How could you not train your crew for service recovery? How could you not train your crew the meaning of taking pride in their work? How could you not take pride in your work? How could you only listen to customer’s complaint but with the intention of only to respond and not to understand?

How could you?

How could you?

How could you?

So, to those in Subway Malaysia who is responsible for training the crew, you may want to look at this aspect. Haul up the entire crew before they do more damage to your reputation by having a blogger like me writing about it

Get That Food

Yes, let’s talk about culture shock.

The reason being is that, during umrah course, all they mentioned was – do not get into argument with the locals, be patience, respect the local law, respect other people’s spaces.

We Malaysians are really good bunch of people.

What we were not prepared was in essence, was a lot of things. Food, attire, the officials, weather, toilets, language, ways of doing things…

You can take out a kampung girl from the kampung, but you can’t take the kampung out from her.

By the third day, I was dying for something familiar – my fried fish, sambal and ulam. Ok, second option? Noodles. Try looking for anything that resembles noodles in this part of the holy city? I could not find it. I dreamed of eating fried tuna fish, hot steaming rice accompanied with spicy sambal belacan and ulam. I salivated over the thought of tomyam noodle, laksa curry, mee mamak basah, hokkien mee.

Damn.

Good thing I brought my emergency ration from home (dont laugh!) – noodle in cup, a jar of sambal, soup in sachet and my favourite drinks such as Milo and Aik Cheong coffee. Somewhere in between the days when the caterer served the three-times daily meals at the hotel, that I saw fried fish, sambal and ulam. (grins)

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There were some nights when we just wanted something to nibble on. So, G would go out to buy some Arabic bread and cheese. We had our little picnic in the room by spreading a plastic sheet on the bed and we had our bread, cheese, fruits and mint tea. It was so basic that it felt so romantic and awesome.

IMG_20151229_033253On some days, George just wanted his comfort food. That means having to go to the ginormous malls that surround the Masjidil Al Haram and….visit these places…

KFC in Mecca
KFC in Mecca
Burger King in Mecca
Burger King in Mecca

His regular Americano and muffin cost from Starbucks twice as much than in Kuala Lumpur. Sigh.

Starbucks in Mecca
Starbucks in Mecca
Expensive coffee in Starbucks Mecca
Expensive coffee in Starbucks Mecca

Would have been interesting to try out the Mc Donald’s but the nearest outlet was a tad too far for walking.

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On most days, we ended up at the food court where I tried out strange food to my palate such as liver sandwich which was surprisingly, yummy! (sorry no pix). Otherwise, be prepared to spend about between SAR10 to SAR30 for food. Portions are big though. You can share with at least another football team.

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