Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I am a Singer Family Karaoke (我是歌手) @ KSL City Shopping Centre [Johor Bahru, Malaysia]

It's been a while since my last karaoke session and when no movie actually caught my attention at KSL City shopping mall, we decided unanimously on I am a Singer Family Karaoke even though i am hardly a singer! 

The excessive 'rules and regulations' with a prominent sign reserved for "no outside snack, drinks and liquor allowed". Strangely, it had the logo of Kbox Plus, which was the name of the previous karaoke company managing the premises. 

Rates from Mondays to Thursdays - as we didn't have the membership and there were only two of us' we opted for 2 hours of Package A at RM 60! It worked out to be close to S$20; technically it means i would have a better deal at Singapore's Manekineko Karaoke since it provides free flow drinks and snacks!

Knowing that most Singaporeans would travel to Johor Bahru (JB) over the weekends, i think some of you would benefit from the weekend rates as published above.

Whatever the case, the singing virus was activated and i had to fix it! On the way to our designated room, we walked past a convenience store; yes, there's one housed within the karaoke where you can buy your snacks and drinks; as an example for comparison, a pack of Super Ring biscuits is about RM 3.20. 

Room assigned to me; the space was good enough for about 3 persons and for the 2 of us, it translated into ample space for us to roll around. 

Furniture was relatively dated and one of the 3 microphones wasn't working too well; oh well, we worked with the limitations given to us. I suspected the furnishings and furniture were adopted from Kbox Plus. 

We were the first customers and the system for the standalone control panel had to be started. Please be assured that you would not be billed for the timing spent waiting for the software to load. 

Visually pleasing and easy to use interface on a big screen! 

It didn't take me long to navigate the menu and thanks to the training i received for hanyu pinyin when i was in school, i found it quite easy to find the singers and even the songs. Want to guess what's LRH? Hint - a singer.

Lee Rong Hao! By the way, this guy would be having a concert (An Ideal World Tour Concert) on 13 May 2017 at the Max Pavilion at Singapore Expo! 

I don't chase any singers / groups and would listen to songs played from the radio station like UFM 100.3. If i like the songs, i would take note and check them out on youtube. From the above, i can roughly sing like 3 of them. 

Screen saver - there's another outlet at Sutera Mall (closer to 2nd Link). Now, let me draw your attention to the lower portion of the screen. 

It's a permanent bar and aside from stopping / pausing the song and allowing the original singer to guide you in your singing, the most important feature is the time. 01:39:44 means i have an hour 39 minutes and 44 seconds left. It's darn useful as you can slot in another song when it's counting down to less than a minute! 

We had a great time belting out the songs and the system was actually not too bad despite the slightly rundown condition of the karaoke lounges. 

I also took this opportunity to belt out many Hokkien songs even though i am limited to old classics like 有影無 by 陳雷! Oh, the above photo just reminded me that WiFi was available! 

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Location
Lot L2-089, Level 2, KSL City,
Jalan Dato Sulaiman, Taman Abad
80250 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Pricing
2 Hours - RM 60
(do refer to the rates i have appended in the beginning of the post)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Jang Won Korean BBQ Charcoal Restaurant - Incredibly Priced Korean BBQ @ Johor Bahru [Malaysia]

I would never have thought of travelling to this part of Johor Bahru (JB) without a car but with GRAB, anywhere is possible and especially Jang Won Korean BBQ restaurant came strongly recommended by my sister's friend!

Do note that the restaurant is on the second floor and if it happens to be raining, as it did when we dropped by last Tuesday, be prepared to have raindrops falling on you as the staircase isn't sheltered.

Non-air-conditioned section of the restaurant - there's an air-conditioned area further in but the weather was rather cool and we figured outdoor seating would do just fine; at the very least, we wouldn't stink like hell after the meal

Another advantage of outdoor seating; you could look across the promenade where Singapore is! The three red-white pillars belong to the largest power station in the little red dot; Senoko Power Station.

A kid's playroom for those with hyperactive kids; however, the scale is much smaller than the one at Singapore's Ju Shin Jung and i doubt kids can self entertain for very long in the room. Oh well, better than nothing right?!

We deliberated a long while on what to have as everything looked so good and the pricing was way more economical compared to Singapore; to put it in perspective, a Korean seafood pancake (priced at RM 25) would have cost a ridiculous S$20 back home.

A plastic container of barley tea; hot was available for those who dislike cold drinks. Anyway, we decided on having a set known as Course B instead as it offered three types of meat and a kimchi hot pot!

The allure of charcoal-based grill; deemed to be the best way to grill meat, please be assured that there's minimal smoke emitted throughout our meal.

Complementary side dishes - 15 in total, i took a pick at every single one and my verdict would be that i am generally satisfied although the kimchi might be a tad too sweet for some. Even the cut seaweed had sugar sprinklers on them.

Steamed egg in a bowl which came with the course; this reminded me of Jeju's Hwaro Hyang restaurant where we had the island's signature black pork and the steamed egg was free too!

Lettuce for the grilled meat - as my stomach already had something before Jang Won, i knew i wouldn't be taking any vegetables; let the juicy meat fill my tummy instead.

Samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly) - the first course!

The other two types of meat were dwaeji galbi (pork spareribs) and dak bulgogi (marinated Korean chicken). I thought the portions were relatively decent.

Kimchi hotpot - our last course! It was placed at the side and you may start the fire to warm up and cook the ingredients within when you are done with your charcoal grilled meat.

Pork belly was finally done and despite saying all this while that non-marinated meat doesn't elicit much of a favourable opinion; i believe i am eating my words today as it really depends on who grilled them as these were grilled perfectly!

I was as impressed with the pork spareribs and chicken bulgogi and it's obvious i couldn't stop my silver chopsticks from continuously sticking into the grill. p.s. the restaurant staff would automatically change the grill to a new one once they note the charred layer.

Starting on the kimchi hot pot with ingredients like tofu, sausages, luncheon meat, glass noodles, tteokbokki, enoki mushrooms and, kimchi.

Maybe it's my fault for assuming it was army stew as i didn't find it fantastic and thought the broth was a bit too thin for my liking. Nevertheless, i wouldn't have liked it as a kimchi hot pot too for the aforementioned reasons and having had really good tteokbokki at Dookki, i found the tteokbokki a bit too sticky for my liking.

Free scoop of ice cream in a cone for every customer! Notwithstanding the kimchi hot pot, i would be back for the incredibly priced Korean BBQ! I had the intention to go again today but Alex had stomachache. :(

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Location
K3-211, Block C, 2nd Floor, Perniagaan Stulang Laut, 
Jalan Ibrahim Sultan, Taman Stulang Laut, 
80300 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
(Near Berjaya Waterfront)

Map
As above.

Operating Hours
11.00 am to 11.00 pm

Reservation
07-2266820

Pricing
Course B - RM 135
(Subject to GST)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hua Mui (華美茶餐室) - Traditional Kaya Toast, Coffee and Hainanese Pork Chop @ Johor Bahru [Malaysia]

With a history that stretches over seventy long years, Hua Mui was well regarded by many Singaporeans who would travel across the causeway and make it their first pit-stop in the morning! 

For someone who has been a regular visitor of Johor Bahru (JB) for many years, i am embarrassed to declare that it's my first visit to Hua Mui and had to rely on my elder sister to bring me there. p.s. Joyce is a regular patron of JB.

Even though it was a weekday (tuesday) and already past breakfast time, the first floor remained packed with people and i am so glad that it had a second floor with available seating for the four of us! 

While waiting for our food (to be shared later in this post), my sister excitedly pointed to the back where there was a pulley system in place. 

It's a manual elevator (also known as dumbwaiter) for our food that's cooked at the ground floor! It's definitely interesting; however my follow-up question would be "what happens if it starts to rain?" since the area appeared exposed. 

Kopi - a much needed beverage every morning, this was smooth, not overly sweet and pretty aromatic. It was bit too light for my liking although the fault was mine; i should have requested for kopi gao (thick).

Butter and Kaya Toast - Alex recalled (yes, he had been at Hua Mui before) that the kaya and butter toast was just normal and i honestly wasn't expecting much given his disclosure. 

The toast was lukewarm and other than that, i thought it was comparable with good kaya butter toasts in Singapore! The butter was really good and complemented perfectly with the irresistible sweetness of kaya (coconut jam).

French Toast - given the good experience with the butter and kaya toast, we thought this would not disappoint, especially when it featured such a beautiful crisp! 

It was normal with a crispy exterior and didn't elicit any "mmmmmm...." expression from any of us; naive me assumed there would be peanut butter in between but that's pushing the limit when the french toast cost only RM 2.50 (less than S$0.80).

Hainanese Chicken Chop - touted as the must-try in any travel and / or food blogs, it would be sacrilegious should we decide to ignore the wise advice dispensed by many.

After trying it (thanks to Joyce for helping to cut up the chop), my verdict would be that i don't really have to try it. For a chicken chop (more of a cutlet if you ask me), i had tried plenty to confirm this isn't the kind i enjoy and guess many people like it mainly because it is authentically and traditionally Hainanese style. 

Fried Mee (Dried) - lusciously oily, i was very taken by this nostalgic plate of black noodles that's a carbohydrate option at Chinese nasi lemak stalls; there's a desirable flavour coupled with the strong wok-hei essence and it was so delicious despite the fact i would usually resist yellow noodles!   

=====

Location
No. 131, Jalan Trus, 
80000, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Map
As above (red star)

Operating Hours
8.30am to 5.30pm

Facebook Page

Menu
As above

Pricing
Kopi - RM 2.00
Butter Kaya Toast - RM 2.00
French Toast - RM 2.50
Hainanese Chicken Chop - RM 15.90
Fried Mee (Dried) - RM 8.90
(Inclusive of GST)

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