Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Haroo Haroo Korean Restaurant - Ranked 3rd on TripAdvisor @ Langkawi [Malaysia]

I rely rather heavily on online reviews whenever i travel overseas although i would also take time to evaluate across a few platforms to ensure that what i plan to do and / or eat would be acceptable.

Therefore, i was initially hesitant to visit Haroo Haroo Korean Restaurant as it just didn't feel quite right to travel all the way to the northern end of Malaysia for Korean food. However, it was ranked second on TripAdvisor in the list for the best restaurants in Langkawi, with a high review of 4.6 on google!

Since it's only a few minutes' drive from where we stayed at Cenang Plaza Beach hotel and all of us love Korean food, we thought it would be worth checking out.

Note: there's no air-conditioning! No big deal actually as Singaporeans are usually decked out in sleeveless t-shirts and bermudas and the restaurant was pretty airy with tall ceiling and overhead fans.

Jug of Plain Water - water wasn't served free and you have a choice of either getting a glass at RM 1.00 or a jug at RM 5.00. I am a water guzzler and believe the jug of ice cold, filtered water would serve me well.

Kimchi - actually, i didn't realize until now that there was a charge of RM 10.00 for kimchi as i always assumed it would be complimentary like many Korean restaurants in Singapore. My bad even though i found the kimchi to be a tad too spicy for my liking.

Spring Roll - simple, hot and crispy; exactly what i would need as a comfortable snack for my hungry tummy before the main dishes arrive!

Bibimbap (beef) - the Korean mixed rice kick-started my love for Korean food and despite my aversion to rice; it's hard to resist the temptation whenever i see it on the menu!

The flavour of healthy goodness when everything was mixed up! Taste was decent although it still lacked the oomph factor and was a bit bland. To address the second issue, just squeeze in more gochujang sauce!

Jap Chae - i have always liked the sweet potato glass noodles and believed no other noodles can beat its deliciousness! Like bibimbap, it's a play on my discipline but when you have both bibimbap and jap chae; it's a tough fight to call when i only have one stomach!

Not to worry; i had two companions with me and sharing was strongly encouraged! Pity, this was a letdown as there was too much of the sauce and this resulted in a taste that was too heavy and salty for our liking.

Haemul Pancake - seafood vegetable pancake!

Generous with the vegetables, prawns and squids; this was not bad with its light and crisp exterior and a seafood-infused bite whenever my teeth sank into the pancake! Yum yum.

Ribeye Beef Grilled Platter - at RM 60.00, we have a high expectation for this and assume it would be a better, juicier, tastier version of the Korean marinated beef!

Sadly, it wasn't to be; to put it simply, this was just pieces of ribeye with light seasoning. Nothing amazing, even after i wrapped it up with rice and lettuce; Korean style, apparently.

Free ice cream which was nice to have in the hot weather even though i was expecting somewhere along the line of authentic Korean desserts like the sweet tea from Ju Shin Jung.

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Anyway, my verdict on Haroo Haroo was quite evident from the review; prices were comparable to some of the mid-range Korean restaurants in Singapore but i get food more suited for my palate in Singapore. Service was good though.

Address
Lot 31, Jalan Teluk Baru, Jalan Pantai Tengah,
Mukim kedawang, 07000 Langkawi,
Kedah, Malaysia

Location Map

As above.

Pricing
Jug of Plain Water - RM 5.00
Kimchi - RM 10.00
Spring Roll - RM 20.00
Bibimbap (beef) - RM 35.00
Jap Chae - RM 35.00
Haemul Pancake - RM 45.00
Ribeye Beef Grilled Platter - RM 60.00
(Subject to Service Charge)

Additional Information
Only accept cash! 


Sunday, January 27, 2019

Chinatown Festive Street Bazaar for the Lunar Year of the Pig 2019 #yearofthepig #lunarnewyear #chinatownfestivalssingapore

Visiting the street bazaar in Chinatown before the lunar new year is an annual activity as aside from taking photos; i was also tasked by my mom to buy festive goodies like king kong peanuts which are only imported during this period of time!

While the festive street bazaar encompasses Pagoda Street, Smith Street, Sago Street, Temple Street and Trengganu Street, i think it's best to start with Temple Street as the entire stretch is converted from an existing road to accommodate the temporary stalls.

Temple Street
As a regular patron to the street bazaar, i can identify the 'regular' stalls. One of them is located at the start of Temple Street which sells the eye-catching pinwheels from the famous Wong Tai Sin Temple in Hong Kong.

My dad happily joined me this time after his work even though i had already gone through one round! Nevertheless, his later arrival means i can see the decorations when they are all lighted up. Click here for the post on festive decorations in Chinatown for the year of oink oink

CNY goodies; in Singapore, we always say Chinese New Year (CNY) instead of the now more 'socially acceptable' Lunar New Year (LNY). For goodness sake, it's just a festival and if the Vietnamese wants to call it Vietnam New Year or the Japanese prefers to term it as Japan New Year, all by means go ahead with it. 

The allure of sampling! Don't be shy; you wouldn't lose a hand or leg over it and it's good to taste before buying. For 'veterans' like me, we are aware of the pitfalls of overbuying and as i would be going to the bazaar again on eve of CNY; i know for a fact that prices would fall, drastically.

Nyonya shoes; for a few years after the "the little nyonya" drama, sales of traditional Peranakan attire spiked during CNY but i feel that their popularity have waned in the past few years. 

Another usual stall; make to order wooden clog and sandals! 

Nut stalls; selling a variety of melon / sunflower seeds and peanuts, do have a great time sampling them as some can be extremely addictive! Do be careful about the shells though; i noted that many provide bins / plastic bags for you to dispose them as the authorities are clamping down on littering.

Korean dried persimmons; something new for this year's festive street bazaar! I have seen them in a few episodes of running man and purchased a small box when it was available in the supermarkets. 

Didn't find them particularly sweet even though that would be healthier for many health-conscious Singaporeans. Shape wise, they are different from the flattened version imported from China

Taiwan basil seeds concentrate - in the past, i would indulge in 'health' drinks like this but i have the tendency to over-indulge and that's not good for health as the sugar level for such drinks is not exactly low! Plain water is the best.

I used to avoid braised / stewed black mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms and even though i find them palatable now; i find it a chore to cook them as too much time is used to wash, soak and then stew / braise them. Easier to wait for my mom to cook them or sample them in the bazaar! 

Be careful of the vehicles driving in! 

Durians for sale by four seasons durians! I noticed about two physical durian stalls in Chinatown; hope their reputation is better than those in Geylang. 

More on the stalls; i was thankful there's no sampling for the freeze-dried fruit crisps as i would likely purchase a few packs if i like them. No good because the prices are higher than fresh fruits and boy are they addictive. 

Although touted as "Chinese New Year's cake" or nian gao (年糕), i thought it tasted more like a big cake of mochi; not exactly my kind of tea. 

The stall that i would always buy from for phoenix eye melon seed (凤眼瓜子) and king kong peanuts (金刚花生). You wouldn't miss the seller as his booming voice resonates down the street! 

Pricing wise, it's also the cheapest with phoenix eye melon seeds selling for $10 a kilogram and the king kong peanuts for S$20 a kilogram. Ignore the apparent 50% discount as it's just a marketing gimmick; in real context, the discount compared to other stalls ranged from 10-20%.  

Dried candies stall next door; my mom would sometimes ask me to buy as she needs the dried (and heavily sweetened) fruits and candies for prayers. 

Long row of highly stacked biscuits - another mainstay for the street bazaar and a popular spot for photo-taking as the display would just wow you. 

Taiwanese jellies - not exactly traditional CNY festive goodies, this came in more than 10 years ago and have remained popular i guess as i see them every year! 

Iconic people's park complex! I heard that it's going to be en-bloc soon and might disappear in a few years' time. A pity as it has been an icon in Chinatown and appears in many of my Chinatown postings.

Dad again! 

Lucky bamboo plants; do they die easily? I am tempted to get one or two for the toilets even though i am well known to be a plant-killer. Even the super easy money plants don't thrive under my care. 

Bundles of pussy willows; don't think the vibrantly coloured ones are natural. Anyway, my dad bought them once and i think the house got quite messy after they blossomed; to the extent my dad stopped buying them. Let me clarify with him.

Little trinkets for decorations! Dad loves to do that in order to create a festive, celebratory atmosphere whereas lazy me finds it a chore (and a challenge) to decorate the whole house.

Prefer to buy piggy banks to add on to my collection instead; prices were beyond my threshold and i am praying for a heavy discount on the eve! 

As a man with few words and limited vocabulary in his dictionary, i would have the random 'collection' of photos with no accompanied captions. Oh, the korean dried persimmons are not cheap woah...

King and queen of fruits; namely the durians and mangosteens! I mentioned the four seasons durian earlier; this stall is managed by Wonderful Durian (旺得福).

Sacks and sacks of melon seeds and peanuts! 

Pomelos for sale - i have no idea on its significance for CNY but you may refer to the post here which has an elaborate explanation on the 'lucky food' to have in this festival. Quite drastic price difference between the pomelos from Ipoh, Malaysia (3 for S$10) and Shatian, China (1 for S$8).

The 'in' animal plushie this CNY - pigs as it's the year of the oink oink! This would also explain the wider availability of piggy banks; good news for my collection actually.

Street stall selling household products; you can consider the chokeless floor traps which i have purchased before and it works pretty well for my kitchen sink. Another product worth buying is the straw-like bag sealers!

I love a huge fan of chawanmushi and found this store selling easy-to-make chawanmushi; just dispense a pack of "soup pack" into a bowl with two cups of water and three eggs, mix them and then steam it! Instructions as above and it cost S$12 for a bag of three soup packs.

Aren't convinced? Sample it as i did (and eventually bought two bags)! The stall was drawing quite a good crowd when i returned with my dad around two hours later.

Another batch of collective photos; in the past, i would buy coffee hock as they are not as readily available in supermarkets. Having said that, there are discounts at this pop-up store and if you are lucky, they might provide coffee (or any of their products) for free!

Empty stall - rest assured that it would be filled up eventually towards the start of the new lunar year. Maybe for ease of reference, all the pictures in this post were taken on 18 January 2019.

Piggy banks of various shapes and sizes! Oh my gosh, should i buy the pigs with eyes looking to the right? Five colours to choose from and if i were to decide, it would likely be the pink one.

More photos taking along Temple Street. Another annual feature is the stall manned by an African lady that sells African-made products with 40% of its sales going to charity. Anyone fancies a pair of shoes made of camel skin?

Shot of People's Park complex at the end of Temple street.

Decorations along South Bridge Road; disappointing in my opinion as i remember the one from the snake year featuring a long snake lantern slithering down the street and the hundreds of horse lanterns galloping in the sky during the horse year.

Sago Street
Television crew doing a shoot - as that day happened to be the beginning of the bazaar, it's inevitable to find the media on site to interview the public and stall owners.

My version further down the road; compared to the other streets, many visitors appeared to give Sago Street a miss even though there are a number of traditional stores along the stretch.

Dad again; he is easier to manage as a model, in comparison to the independently-minded Alex who would throw 'spanner' at the most crucial moment!

In the past, the stalls across the shophouses were much smaller and without a shelter. The aforementioned restricted the amount of items that could be displayed and even then, the unpredictable weather we have in Singapore means a heavy shower would literally translate into a poor / zero sale day.

Beautiful hair pieces for those with long hair; a colleague ever showed me before on its usage and i was impressed! However, i am glad i am a man; the amount of accessories available for the fairer sex is startling!

Sparklers, popper and confetti guns for sale! I wouldn't be surprised if the list would be reduced even further under the reason of mess and pollution. It's already sad that we can't play fireworks like other countries....

More piggie soft toys!

Detour to the area of the Buddha Tooth temple which is just next to Sago Street. The rows of almost infinite number of red lanterns made a great backdrop for photo-taking!

Temporary archway to Sago Street in celebration of the upcoming pig year; the Chinese characters indicate safe and peaceful in the family. 

Usually, the whole family would take a picture given its auspicious meaning but as there's only my Dad and i; he shall represent our entire family then.

Back at Sago Street and at this particular store that had many different types of red packets at its shopfront; if i recall correctly, it's one of the first few to come out with surname-based red packets. Some of you might wonder; why is there a need for so many styles? Parents would understand as that's the easiest way for them to segregate the packets in terms of how much money to put inside.

From far, the decoration next to the door might not seem out of the norm. Step closer and you would realize that the pig 'skin' was made up of a soft fabric; pretty!

Red packets with pigs! I mentioned before that it's a risk for store owners to hoard them as once the year passes; it would be another long twelve years before they can be used again!

Tai Chong Kok confectionery; it's well known for its mooncakes although during the Chinese New Year period, i would visit specifically for its New Year's cake or nian gao (年糕) which is not the same as the one i shared near the beginning of this post.

Made in Singapore, Tai Chong Kok's 年糕 has no artificial colouring, no preservatives and are made using "100% pure glutinous rice and go through a 12-hour steaming process"! Mom would ask me to buy two for prayers but aside from its primary role as offering, you can also deep-fry them with flour and if the nian gao is of good quality (like the ones from Tai Chong Kok), they are darn delicious!

Loving this photo of the dancing lion puppets and those who have been following my postings on street bazaar at Chinatown would have noted it had been featured numerous times.

Trengganu Street
Sago Street is actually on the same pedestrian-only road as Trengganu Street and i don't even know how to separate them distinctly as the bend between both streets is curved.

Many pig soft toys and some were super heroes characters like superman, batman, spiderman and captain america! Being the typical Chinese, i like the gold ones.  Hahaha.

Another store with dried candied fruits and if you look closely; each ingredient has an auspicious meaning to its pronunciation. For example, lotus seed means many kids, water chestnuts refer to quick success and sweet potato is whole house full of gold.

Smith Street
Pomelos again at the corner of Smith and Trengganu Streets! The Shatian pomelos were cheaper at this store as it's only S$5 each. Noted the peculiar looking fruits hung up there; one is the gourd like fruit whereas the other one has an interesting name called Buddha's hand.

Another shop where i will buy my CNY goodies; the naturally dried persimmons! It's addictive and to knowing my family will over-indulge; i purchased only 500 grams at S$5.00.

Waxed meat! As my family is from the Hokkien ethnic group, we don't eat much waxed products except for maybe sausages which my mom would use in the fried rice. However, my understanding is that Chinatown has a large percentage of Cantonese-ethnic Chinese and this particular group uses waxed meat in their cuisine.

Literally a leg of ham!

Festive decorations; unlike many stores during this period, this particular shop draws attention for its decorative festival products even when it's not CNY. 

This shop along the Chinatown food street (which technically still falls under Smith Street) is renowned for its air-filled dolls on its roof but due to the renovation that converted the shopfront into a sheltered space; the characters were moved to the side where they are less noticeable.

Wall and door decorations! 

Trengganu Street
Yes, we are back in Trengganu Street again as it cuts across Smith Street and Temple Street with links to Sago Street and Pagoda Street! Gosh, so many streets! 

The authorities ought to do something about the fading lanterns above the street; even my dad commented that they were a bit too old and should be replaced. Given the amount of money pumped in to market the festivities at Chinatown, i do agree it might be good to refresh them. 

Shopfront of a tea shop has been converted into a nut stall! There are pros and cons to having a permanent structure; it's easier to manage the space although temporary structures do give rise to the expectation that something is 'new' there.

Store offerings; maybe i should get two pairs of learning chopsticks for the kids!  Clothes wise i don't bother as kids grow up so fast!!! Jovyn is already wearing my sister's clothes and Jerald is now taller than my mom.

Cutting across Temple Street with People's Park Complex ahead again. 

More pictures; as many were an extension of the shophouses, things sold were not exactly festivity related and nothing much particularly motivated me to bring up my camera.

Interesting fashion from Asia although i can't put my finger to its origin.

Almost purchased for the kids but i think their parents would disapproved. They are not soft toys; similar to the irritating crowing chicken toy, these oink rather cutely! 

These portrait paper cutouts are so expensive although they would make a fantastic gift! I initially had the intention to get one for my sister's new home... 

Reaching the end of Trengganu Street; don't you just love the building with flowers painted on its facade?! To think they about 20 years ago, i used to club along this stretch. 

Pagoda Street
Again, the media team on my right! There didn't seem to be anything much along this stretch going towards South Bridge Road and i decided to cut short my journey by walking towards the left.

It's a busy stretch as the entrance and exit of the Chinatown MRT station are located there. In the eve, the whole place is really people mountain people sea (translated from a Chinese idiom for very crowded).

Coolie statues outside the Chinatown Heritage Centre which i have yet to visit after its renovation. Maybe it's time to bring my dad to check it out next time.

There were about three stores selling CNY decorations and the variety is very wide with some even needing electricity to run the lights and mechanism. Happy shopping there but don't expect to come on eve thinking the prices would be slashed. I dropped by once and almost everything was swept up by the customers as the slashing had taken place earlier!  

Oops, no photo allowed.... Long time ago, my mom would keep red packets with unique designs but with printing cost dropping and a ton of designs that come out every year; she simply gave up. 

Dad with the big paper cutouts! When i was in secondary school, there were a few lessons on paper cutouts and they were rather fun with the ability to train your focus. However, mine was maybe an A4-sized paper and the design was rather easy; unlike the ones here! 

Chinatown station of the purple line. The large banner across is sponsored by the Singapore Police Force with a much needed message; be careful of pickpockets! Singapore is low crime and not crime-free! 

Pop-up store for Chinese calligraphy; if you prefer traditional handwritten Chinese couplets, this would be the place for you. Note, there are other stores offering the same service in Chinatown.

Others
This section means the photos taken were not from any of the streets that's part the festive bazaar although there could still be items related to the lunar new year; for example the above shop with plastic pineapples, biggest of which was about half my height! 

Lim Chee Guan bak kwa - renowned for its hours-long queue nearing CNY; my sister endured an 8-hour wait before a few years ago! I thought i was in luck as there's no queue (back on 18 January 2019).

Turned out it was because their signature slice pork bak kwa had already sold out. From the news a few days ago, i noted that the queue continued to form even though their signature product was often unavailable by about noon. I shall buy when it's off peak; no queue and cheaper too. 

Another place worth visiting would be Chinatown Complex at Smith Street. In addition to the numerous stalls on the first level selling CNY goodies and decorations;  the second level is a hawker centre with many delicious food! Example, the michelin-star soya sauce chicken rice, cheng tng and teriyaki chicken from kazan japanese cuisine

Mission accomplished! 

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Festive Street Bazaar
From 18 January to 4 February 2019

Website 

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