Posts Tagged ‘Johor Bahru’

JB Book Festival

Danga Bay – the scenic setting of the JB Writers and Readers Festival.

I had an enjoyable time at the JB Writers and Readers Festival held recently in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

The setting was the beautiful Danga Bay, where the water and its fluidity seemed to throw its reflection on the event. In addition, as many of the festival’s participating writers, musicians and publishers were indie folks, the vibe was friendly and casual.

The audience had interesting questions at my session where I discussed my book “Kampung Memories”, which revolves around the Malay kampungs (villages) that are now gone from Singapore’s high-rise landscape. An audience member pointed out that several kampungs have had to make way for development in Johor, and we discussed the need for documenting the social history of these places.

After that, a duo came on stage, and they rendered a Singapore Malay folk song “DiTanjong Katong”. I was very touched by this gesture.

On the whole, the organizer Tok Rimau, his team and the volunteers did a great job, and I look forward to see what they have in store next year.

Sharifah Hamzah

The host Widda (right) and members of the audience had several insightful questions for me to discuss.

JB Writers and Readers Festival

Nam Ron, one of Malaysia’s most interesting playwrights and film makers, with his books at the festival.

JB Writers and Readers Festival 2013

The duo performed a lovely rendition of a Singapore Malay folk song.

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Asia book festival
The JB Writers & Readers Festival 2013 celebrates literature and the community of writers and bloggers in Johor Bahru,  the main city in the southern part of Malaysia.
There will be sessions and talks by publishers and writers, music and book sales. One of the objectives of the festival is to focus on new and self published authors in Malaysia and in the Archipelago.
It will be held on 14 and 15 September (Saturday and Sunday) at Danga Bay Marina Club.
I’m happy to be included in the festival. I will appearing on 15 September, Sunday, at 11 am. And I will be discussing my book “Kampung Memories – A Life’s Journey Revisited”.
If you are in Singapore or Malaysia, I hope you can come down and support the community of writers.
Links: program schedule
Festival Facebook Page

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Chinese cuisine

This venison dish is a family favorite.

A favored restaurant: tasty dishes. That should describe Kai Xuan, a halal Chinese restaurant at the Puteri Pacific Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

One of the dishes that we inevitably order is the venison cooked with green onions and ginger. The meat, as usual, was tender and the flavors subtle enough to enhance, but not overpower, the taste of the meat.

Chatting with the staff, I picked up a tip about its preparation. Coating the meat with a little cornflour gives it an attractive sheen and texture. Both thin and thick soy sauces are used, plus a pinch of sugar. It’s interesting to learn this, though I don’t think I’ll venture to cook venison any time soon.

Another dish we tried was the prawn noodles. It was tasty, and the secret was in the carefully-prepared stock.

As usual, the service was quite impeccable, and the restaurant continues to remained a favored choice.

Chinese cuisine

The prawn noodles was also very satisfying.

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chinese patternPeking Duck is a dish that signifies a special treat or a special occasion. It is one of my favorites, and on my recent trip to Asia, I had the opportunity to enjoy it in Johor Bahru.

We ordered Peking Dish at the Lotus Garden Restaurant, a fine dining, halal, Chinese restaurant at the Zon Regency Hotel. The restaurant also offers great service and some seating have lovely views of the sea. We were there to celebrate the birthdays of two family members and  to spend time together, so it was both a culinary treat and a special occasion.

It is said that the Peking Duck dates back to China’s imperial era. One of the essential aspects of Peking Duck is the skin. The skin must be thin, crispy, and glistening deep brown in color. An important step in the preparation process is to pump air into the duck to separate the skin from the fat. This enables the skin to take on its thin, crispy texture during roasting.

Ordering Peking Duck is like ordering crepe suzette at a restaurant. The drama of the preparation is part of the pleasure and ritual of the dish. The duck is presented to the diners at a side table or cart.  This was done at the Lotus Garden. A member of the staff expertly carved the bird, while we looked on in anticipation.

The individual servings were also assembled at the cart. Each thin, white pancake was filled with slices of the skin and meat, stalks of spring onion and a sauce, which was like hoisin sauce. They were served with a small dish of extra dipping sauce. The combination of flavors and textures was quite exquisite.

I find it interesting that Peking Duck is served with the thin, white pancakes in Singapore and Malaysia, while in the United States, it is usually served with buns which, I’m told by a friend, is the way this dish is served in China. For me, it’s hands down for the thin pancakes.

As is the usual custom when one orders Peking Duck, the diner would be asked how would he or she like the rest of the bird to be served. One of the popular ways is to stir-fry the meat with noodles. But my uncle was keen to have the meat cooked in spicy black pepper sauce. We agreed to his adventurous suggestion, and we were not disappointed.

We also had several other dishes such as Sizzling Tofu and Vegetables and Braised Venison Ribs which we really enjoyed. We ended the meal  with a perfectly done classic dessert of Chinese pancake with red bean filling.

Peking Duck combines flavors and textures.

Peking Duck combines flavors and textures.

Part of the pleasure is the carving of the duck at the table.

Part of the pleasure is the carving of the duck at the table.

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