Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Selangor St. Andrew's Society Annual Celebration

The Selangor St. Andrew's Society held their Annual Celebration on 28th November, 2009 at The Royal Lake Club, Kuala Lumpur. Attendance was approximately 150 and the evening comprised of pre-dinner cocktails, toasts to the Agong and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, entry of the haggis, country dancing performed by pupils of Alice Smith school, buffet main course, display by St. Johns Institution Pipe Band, toasts to St. Andrew and guests, speech by guest speaker Mahbob Abdullah, dancing to The Gary Innes Band, dance instruction by Charlie Chong, cheese and biscuits, more dancing and of course plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

The Gary Innes Band Live at Finnegan's

The Gary Innes Band from Scotland played a one night only concert at Finnegan's pub in Desa Sri Hartamas on 27th November 2009 as a pre-cursor to their participation at The Selangor St. Andrew's Society Annual Celebration on 28th November at The Royal Lake Club, Kuala Lumpur. The evening was enjoyed by all and Gary, Ewan and Hugh kept the audience entertained by their music and their on-stage banter. There was much dancing and frivolity enhanced no doubt by the copious quantities of liquid lubrication on tap at Finnegans.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Shophouses of Ipoh

Ipoh lies around 200km north of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and straddles the Kinta River which splits Ipoh into what's known as the Old Town and the New Town. The Old Town of Ipoh has some wonderful examples of pre-World War II heritage buildings, Government buildings, colonial buildings and shophouses displaying classic and significant architecture.

A shophouse is a 2 or 3-story building with a kaki-lima or "five-foot-way" on the street front providing an open arcade and walkway. Traditionally the shop is on the ground floor with the residence above, the top floor of the shophouse extending out over the five-foor-way. The shophouses are attached therefore a continuous arcade is created along the street providing an ideal venue for trading or serving food.

The shophouse architecture results from the ingenious design of the builders to cope with the tropical climate. The verandah shaded the front rooms, thick brick walls helped to insulate the rooms from the heat, strategically placed light wells brought light and air into the house and the roof with a raised mini-gable at the peak increased air flow. Shutters and grills on the windows and doors also allowed free circulation of air as well as privacy.

Shophouses in Penang have been built for two hundred years and their unique structures clearly show the influence of the Chinese, Malay and Indian and European styles merged to the local environment. The pillars at the entrance to the shophouses advertise the shop owner with large embossed Chinese characters. One can also see some highly decorated shophouses with stucco figures, ceramic and glass decorations as well as other decorative plasterwork.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pure Indulgence in Ipoh

Think of food in Ipoh and you think of Ipoh chicken rice, char kway teo, Ipoh hor fun, salt baked chicken and all those great hawker food favourites ..... Think again!

Julie Song opened Indulgence Living & Restaurant which is by far the best western restaurant and boutique hotel in Ipoh, and the food can certainly challenge many of the top restaurants in KL.

Indulgence Living & Restaurant is located in a wonderful old bungalow house designed and personally fitted out by Julie. She is also at the helm in the kitchen producing one of the most interesting and unique menus I have seen for a long time with an extremely interesting blend of Western-Asian dishes.


Accommodation in the hotel comprises 7 themed rooms all nicely appointed and modernized. We stayed in the "Italian" theme room called Giulianna, others include Moroccan, English Country, Thai, Contemporary and Chinoisserie.

Room rates are premium but certainly worth the money for the level of quality and comfort. Service at Indulgence Living is excellent, no doubt led by Julie's attention to detail and flair for understanding what the sophisticated traveller desires.

A highly recommended venue and one I will return to soon and worth the 200km drive from KL.

Indulgence Living main restaurant

A stunning starter with Taiwanese mushrooms and avocado

Starter of scallops with mango and cucumber salad

Lamb On The Run - lamb done 4 ways

T-bone steak

Breakfast is just as much a gourmet adventure as dinner was with some unique combinations and tastes.

Codddled eggs for breakfast