Saturday, April 26, 2014

Welcome Mr President

Malaysia plays host to US President Barack Obama today, April 26 to Monday, April 28. More..

Image source: The Star

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Visa application to India - more centres set up

According to The Star:

Following many complaints over the Indian High Commission’s new ruling that required visa applicants to be present, seven more processing centres are set to be opened soon throughout Malaysia.

They are located in Ipoh, Kuala Terengganu, Kuantan, Malacca and Klang as well as Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.

These outsourcing centres will complement the three existing ones in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Baru, set up to capture biometric data for Malaysians travelling to India.

A spokesperson of the Indian High Commission to Malaysia said this was done to save people’s time and costs in submitting their visa applications.

The system, which took effect on April 1, is applicable to all heading to India, be it for holidays or business.

Travel agents or other representatives, according to the Indian Visa Application Centre (Ivac), are not allowed to submit applications on behalf of interested travellers.

Submission hours are Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 2pm. For more information, visit

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

An Italian's Adventurous Food Trip to Malaysia

Cinzia Greco, who loves travelling made a trip to Kuala Lumpur recently and enjoyed it so much that she wants to share her wonderful experience.

Food, good food at that, elevates a travel experience. Here. Cinzia (Cynthia) shares the food she eat at her friend's new outlet. And if you are in Kuala Lumpur, you may want to give the Gastro Project in Section 17, Petaling Jaya a try and be blown away by their food, the decor, well, the whole experience!

Cinzia also shares some travel booking sites that she uses for her travel needs.  Images are also courtesy of Cinzia.

Thank you, Cinzia, for sharing your experience. I hope you enjoyed yourself here in Malaysia and will be back soon.

Read Cinzia's travel story:

One visit to Malaysia is enough to make you fall in love with it and to inspire in you the desire to travel there again.

However, if you are expecting a post describing the countless natural beauties of this country, you should not be reading this as I would rather focus on a specific aspect of my most recent experience in Malaysia. So, keep on reading if you like to find it out.

What is so great about Malaysia is the extraordinary melting pot of races and cultures, the balanced mash-up of traditions and religions where diversity is seen as something positive, an enrichment rather than a limitation.

Perfect evidence for this is the local cuisine, an explosive combination of gastronomic ingredients that, if combined together in the right way, can create exquisite recipes and dishes.

During my last trip to Malaysia, I got the chance to have an excellent guide: a good old friend of mine I met in UK several years ago.

I was really excited to see him after so long (unfortunately, in my previous visit to Malaysia we could not meet up as he was abroad for work).

Plus, I was particularly excited as I knew he and his family had open a new fusion restaurant and bar in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, near the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, just for the sake of their shared passion: food.

I could not wait any longer to go there and try what they describe as a sublime culinary experience and not only.

This time, I did not have to bother with accommodation search as my friend was putting me up in his apartment. But just to provide readers with useful information, during my very first visit to Malaysia I checked the various accommodation options listed in the main hotel booking portals, such as and Expedia. Eventually I ended up choosing a nice hotel through the HotelsClick website simply because they were offering the best price. Before booking my room, I gathered some information about this site that was previously unknown to me and, although opinions were different and not all positive, I just clicked the book now button… And I have to admit that everything went great!

For my next trip in general, I’d like to use this site that put travellers in contact with local host families: I think it could be a different way of travelling.

But let’s go back to my latest trip. My friend couldn't pick me up at the airport and, to tell you the truth, that was better for me as, when I travel on long distances, I tend to suffer from jet-lag quite a lot. So I was happy to have some time to recover and to meet my friend at the top of my shape.

We had arranged to meet the day after my arrival at The Gastro Project, their restaurant. He didn't tell me much about the place so it was a great surprise to find out that, apart from food, they had conceived it almost as a movie sanctuary with plenty of photos and posters from the film-making industry (loved the Godfather series!). That was a goal for me considering my passion for movies: the combination between food and cinema is a winning one! (They also have a wall screen projecting movies on a daily schedule).

Cocktailing at the bar
So, on my friend’s tip, I started my experience at The Gastro Project at the bar with a cocktail, of course. I had Hmmmm which is made of fresh strawberries, almonds, brown sugar, dark rum and midori liqueur. Sublime!

They also serve beers and different types of wines. To make sure you have something to taste along with your cocktail, finger foods and canap├ęs are always handy.
Chatting with my friend made me hungry: time had come for dinner!

Dining at the restaurant
So we moved to the restaurant area where, you know what… I could not make my mind up while I was reading the menu. So I had to trust my friend once again. According to him, one of most popular dishes, something The Gastro Project has become famous for, is the Japanese salad. And after tasting it, I understood why!

I don’t think there is a better dish to begin your dinner with: your belly will be grateful to enjoy this delicate salad made of greens, avocado, pomegranate, pine nuts and edamame with a delicious topping of sesame dressing.

After the salad, I opted for a selection of two pasta dishes: spaghetti aglio e olio with crabmeat andorecchiette with lamb and cumino sauce.

My friend had pumpkin ravioli: of course I tasted them and I must say they were excellent.
Being a lover of lamb meat and couscous, my second course choice was obvious: lamb stewed with carrot and apricot and served with aromatic couscous. The meat literally melt in my mouth as though it was butter.

I was ready for dessert, but first I need to refresh my palate with a mint sorbet.  I have to say that I am not passionate about dessert, but still I had to taste their offer. So I went for a trio of dessert including:

• an English strawberry trifle with layers of fresh cream, custard and strawberries
• some chocolate cake balls with rum cocoa sauce (a must for chocolate lovers)
• a truly original cardamon pannacotta with a caramel sauce

I don’t need to say that every dish was paired with the most appropriate selection of wines.
I am Italian and the passion for good food is ingrained in my DNA. Also when I am travelling, I’d love to enjoy the most typical local recipes or, as in this case, the combination of different influences merging into the same dish.

So, it was a pleasure for me to discover that we Italians have this passion in common with the Malaysian people.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Karpal Singh - 1940 to 2014

This morning, Thousands of people lined the streets of Penang to send off the hearse carrying Karpal Singh on his last journey.

The casket, bearing the body of the “Tiger of Jelutong”, was draped with a carpet bearing an image of a Tiger before it was carried out from the Dewan Sri Pinang on Sunday.

Guan Eng, who is also the DAP secretary-general, said the state government mourned the untimely and unexpected passing of Karpal.

The procession will make stops at places dear to Karpal - the Penang High Court, his office in Green Hall, the Penang state assembly building, his alma mater St Xavier’s Institution and state DAP party headquarters in Rangoon Road - before proceeding to the Batu Gantong Crematorium.

Karpal Singh, a prominent lawyer, an MP and a fearless and defatigeable fighter for justice was killed in an auto accident on his way from Kuala Lumpur to Penang where he was to attend a court case. The accident happened around 1:10am of April 17, Thursday. His personal assistant Michael Cornelius Selvam Vellu also died. His driver and his son were injured while his Indonesia maid is in ICU.

Rest In Peace

Image source: The Star

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