Penang Heritage Trail – Khoo Kongsi (Clan Association House)

Khoo or written as 邱 in Mandarin is one of the prominent surname of Han Chinese family in Malaysia originated from Sin Kang clan village in Fujian, China. If you happen to reach a house of Khoo family in Penang, usually there is a plaque hung above the main entrance that reads ‘Sin Kang‘ indicating their ancestral village.
Khoo Kongsi main entrance at Cannon Street
Khoo Kongsi or Khoo clan house is the finest Chinese clan association house in Penang and Malaysia. In early 17th century, many Chinese emigrated from South China to Penang for greener pasture and Khoo clan house was founded in 1851 by the their forefathers to take care of Khoo family members. Located at Cannon Square, Khoo Kongsi entails three entrances connecting to Beach Street(rear entrance), Armenian Street (side entrance) and Cannon Street (main entrance). One can easily miss the main entrance at Cannon Street as it does not look attractive at all except bearing gold wordings read ‘Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi’ which literally means ‘Dragon Mountain Hall Khoo Clan House’.
Facade of Leong San Tong

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My Floral Arrangement Part 11 – My Sweetheart My Valentine

Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand ~ Mother Theresa

Saint Valentine’s day is celebrated worldwide on 14 February as the day of expressing love to our sweetheart. Giving flowers to our dearest is one of the most common traditions. Rose is usually picked as it is considered as the universal symbol of beauty and love. Various colors may convey different meanings and it is best to understand than being perceived otherwise.

In this arrangement, I am sharing a basket arrangement for St Valentine’s Day. Look simple but indeed this arrangement demands detail from various angles as it is made for good viewing at any sight. Pale pink rose is selected as the primary flower as it connotes grace, joy, gentleness and gratitude. Found someone special is grace, hugging your loved one is joy and sharing your life with gentleness as gratitude of loving someone. The power of special someone in life makes us walk on roses, win in every game and always stay on top of the world!

Design concept
A simple triangular shape when viewing from side and almost of a tilted diamond shape from front/back view, the design with a rattan basket of Valentine theme displays a doggie with 2 pieces of Ferrora Roche chocolate. Dog is a noble animal with the great attribute of faithfulness, love and guardianship are simply perfect for precious someone. Chocolate offers a sweet life of togetherness brings out the perfect combination in this floral arrangement. Two red ‘torch’ are called ginger torch flower or Guzmania equip the loving couple with bright path in life. It is therefore called My Sweetheart My Valentine made to be shared with your special someone.

Floral Material
Pale pink roses, ginger torch flower (Guzmania), curly tea leaves and rose leaves as green. Yellow aster can be added if you wish. Other partners includes a cute doggie with huge ears and two pieces of Ferrero Rocher chocolate dedicated for the focal point.
A cute doggie and lovely chocolates

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Chinese New Year or Spring Festival Celebration – History, Myth and Tradition

Chinese New Year Banner
Chinese New Year or Chinese Spring Festival is one of the most important cultural celebration among the Chinese in China or Oversea Chinese especially folks of Han origin. It is also called Lunar New Year owing to its origin whereby this festival begins on the first day of the first lunar year.

Unlike Gregorian calendar which is a cumulative number as time passed, in Chinese lunar calendar or sometimes interchange as Chinese Zodiac, twelve animals are used as symbols in their counting system and they are repeated after a cycle of 60 years. To make up for a complete 60-year rotation, the twelve animals years are also influenced by five elements of metal, wood, water, earth, fire and the concept of yin and yang.

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How to go (map) to Eye On Malaysia in Melaka?

Since 7 November 2008, Eye On Malaysia has found its new permanent home at Kota Laksamana near the mouth of Melaka River. Inspired by London Eye, Eye On Malaysia is a 60 meter tall portable observation wheel or ferris wheel comprises of 42 gondolas.
Eye On Malaysia in Malacca
Gondolas on the ferris wheel
Eye on Malaysia in Melaka
It was initiated in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2007 and officiated by Malaysian 5th Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on January 6, 2007. At the beginning, the grand ferris wheel was placed at Lake Titiwangsa which offered breathtaking bird’s eye view of lovely Kuala Lumpur city – The Malaysia’s capital.

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Instant Cook Sai Tou Koay Teow Thng at Sri Nibong Cafe in Penang

‘Koay Teow Th’ng’ is a clear broth with flat noodles that made of rice flour (looks like Fettuccine) usually topped with fish balls, shredded chicken, minced pork and garnished with spring onion. It is one of the Penangite’s staple food as it is commonly found at most Chinese coffee shops but it can be hard to get a good one though. 
The facade of Sri Nibong Cafe (opposite Sg Nibong Police Station)
If you are heading to work in Bayan Lepas and thinking of having a nice bowl of Koay Teow Th’ng (Flat Noodle Soup) for breakfast, then look for Sri Nibong Cafe. Starting as early as 6:30 am to accommodate for early shift workers, Instant Cooke Sai Tou Fish Ball Koay Teow Th’ng is one of the most popular stalls operating at this cafe or Chinese style coffee shop.

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Green Pea Cookies Recipe – Popular Biscuits for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is just around the corner. This year, it falls on 25 January 2009. If you pass by most houses, there is always a smell of freshly baked cookies in the air. Over the years, I was never into the baking mood, but somehow this year I did try a couple of cookies at home. Perhaps it is time to pick up a new skill!

This week, I tried to bake Green Pea Biscuits or Cookies. Green Pea cookies seem like the top new comer in the list of popular biscuits in town for the coming Chinese New Year or Spring Festival celebrated in Malaysia. In Penang, you may see Green Pea Biscuit sits on the same shelves together with other must-have biscuits like ‘Kuih Kapit (Love Letter Biscuits)’, ‘Kuih Bangkit’ (Peranakan’s signature cookies), Almond Cookies, Peanut Cookies, Pineapple Tarts and Mini Spring Rolls.
The popular cookies - Green Pea Biscuits

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Stadthuys Complex in Malacca – History, Ethnography Museum and Admiral Cheng Ho Gallery

The best place to see ancient Melaka is visiting the museum. After exploring Dutch Square and had a fun gastronomical treat of Hainanese Chicken Rice Balls, we decided to top up our knowledge of old Melaka by visiting History & Ethnography Museum located in Stadthuys Complex.
Welcome to Stadthuys
There are two levels in this building. After paying for the entrance fee at the counter, there is a glass-covered spot along our corridor. The display is the ancient drainage system of this Dutch architecture. 
Ground level at the china display gallery
On our right, there are a stretch of rooms, occupying some ancient weapons like swords, kris and some of china wares. Kris is asymmetrical dagger indigenous to Malays. If you are interested to learn how to polish or take care of kris, it is explained in elaborately step by step.
How to take care of kris or asymmetrical dagger?

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St Paul Church (Our Lady of the Hill) – Historic Chapel in Melaka

After completing with Dutch Square, take a slow hike uphill to visit another historical landmark – St Paul’s Church situated on top of St Paul’s Hill. It is just a gentle slope and there are three ways to go up this hill. One of them is using the staircase, right beside Cheng Ho Admiral’s Gallery. This stair will elevate you by about 10 meters, then take right turn circulating the hill until this passage meets another staircase path. At this point, a white statue is visible with the background of white tower and some part of ruined walls. If you take the staircase on your right and descend down, it will lead you to the second passage entrance to get up to St Paul’s Hill. At the foothill, it is a small red door way in-between Architecture Museum and Islamic Museum.  However, if you are coming with children and elderly folks, it will be advisable to use the third passage, situated just behind the gateway of Porta De Santiago. Along this staircase passage, it was fixed with hand-held railing to facilitate your hike. 

From any of the passages uphill, reach out for the church once you arrive at the summit. There are some spots that you shall take a good look at. It will even be better if you have prior knowledge of their history so that your visit will be more meaningful in chronological order.
Statue, Light house and Church
The facade of St Paul Church in Melaka

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Bake Caramel Almond Flakes (Cookies Recipe) for Festive/Chinese New Year

Ever thought of baking some cookies for Chinese New Year and excluding the butter version? Come and try this caramel almond flakes or cookies. I am usually not a big fan of cookies as most of them are made of butter and plenty of carbohydrate in the flour. After munching a few pieces, I’d develop a glut for butter cookies. So when I found out about this caramel almond flakes (cookies), I got so excited to try baking since it is one of its kind that does not require butter or margarine in its ingredient.

Almond which is errorneously classified as nut, belongs to the fruits family. Sweet almond has practically no carbohyrate. Providing a rich source of Vitamin E and monounsaturated fat which one of the two good fats responsible to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, almond was found to improve complexion, improve colon movement and prevent cancer. With so many plus points of almond, there are more reasons to make this caramel almond flakes or cookies.

To get started, I bought the raw material of almond slices and caramel mixed from a shop in Penang.

Ingredients:
Almond Slices (Code: ASL2 11/12) – 400 gram (RM13.60)
Golden Arrow (It is a trade secret but I suspect it is a caramel mixed with some other stuff) (Code: GA 15/18) – 200 gram (RM12.00)
The ratio of almond slices is 2 parts to 1 part of caramel mixed.
Ingredients of Caramel Almond Flakes or Cookies

Tools/Utensils:
Bread Toaster
(Brand: KHinD 600W) – Selector: top and bottom convection (Tray size: 24 cm X 14 cm)
Bread Toaster
Or Convection oven
Measuring cup of 1/2 Cup volume
Measuring cup of 1/4 Cup volume
Or Kitchen Scale (with 5 g precision if possible)
Kitchen Scale

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Porta De Santiago (A Famosa) – Surviving Portuguese architecture in Melaka

From the top of St Paul’s Hill, if you take the path behind the church and descend down, you will come across an old gate at foot hill. Judging from the structure and concrete carving, it was obviously built by a European hand.
The descending path from St Paul Church
From behind - Red iron is used to sustain the structure
Facade of Porta De Santiago

When I was younger, I remembered this memorable Portuguese ruin was called A’Famosa which means ‘The Famous’ in Portuguese. According history, A’Famosa was a squarish fortress built by Portuguese in 1512 to defend the attack of the armies from Melaka Sultanate and Acheh. And Porta De Santiago was one of the four main gateway into the fortress. Portuguese capitalized on slave labor to construct the fort’s walls of 3 m thick surrounding St Paul’s Hill using parts from demolished palaces, royal mausoleums, mosques and tombstones. A watchtower of 40 m high was once stood at Northeast corner of this fortress. Inside the fortress, there were churches, Governor’s residence, administration complex, hospitals and other amenities exactly like a well-guarded small village.
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