Friday, January 29, 2016

YummY! - Beggar's Chicken @ Jugra (丐帮名菜叫化餐厅)

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Beggar's Chicken @ Jugra (丐帮名菜叫化餐厅)
Jugra, Selangor, Malaysia - January 2016
There are three well known Beggar's Chicken in the Selangor; I have had tried two of them - the one at Restoran New Heong Kee in Ulu Klang and the other one, the New Beggar's Delicious Restaurant in Ijok. I found both to be very nice.
Word has it that the original Beggar's Chicken is the one in Ulu Klang; which I would think is true as back in the early 1970's we had had heard about it already. Two apprentices from this original one "graduated" and started their own restaurants, with the second restaurant being the one at Ijok. The "youngest' of this trio is the one at Jugra. I had always wanted to try the Jugra Beggar Chicken, but somehow had not managed to do so, probably because it's the furthest away.
Now, during a cycling trip to Jugra, I finally completed the trio of Beggar's Chicken! Let's see you the youngest member fare.

Jugra Beggar Chicken is located on Jalan Bukit Jugra on the way up to Jugra Hills (Bukit Jugra) where there is a great view of Carey Island on the other side of the Sungai Langat. From these hills a company runs a para-gliding adventure course, an adrenaline pumping affair just perfect to build up the appetite for these chicken.
The place is not too hard to miss, it's opposite on conspicuously red Chinese temple and just before another smaller one.

The restaurant here is not very big, it sits on opened wall sheds next to a small stream; sitting capacity is probably about seventy maximum.

Normally, one would have to order the Beggar's Chicken a day in advance as it takes time to prepare. We did not do that but were lucky that they had a spare chicken to serve the five of us. Unfortunately, there was no spare of the other dishes like the glutinous rice, pig trotters and beggar duck.
As usual, curious me had to go to their "kitchen" to see how they prepared the chicken. They had two kilns made of red bricks, seems like they used saw dust here to fire the kilns (see those packs stacked at the top left). The herbally seasoned chicken are wrap in thin waxed tracing paper and then further wrapped with layers of thicker wax paper before being put into the slow burning fire.

A close up view of the wrapped chicken in the kiln.

We kicked off with a plate of fried oysters omelet which was fairly good but could have been better if there were more oysters and the egg crispy fluffier.

Close up view of the omelet, showing a couple of the oysters.

The Beggar's Chicken came. Here they don't seem to have wrapped it in mud for the baking process, so they was no ceremonial breaking of the baked mud with a hammer.

View of the unwrapped and half opened.
I was a bit disappointed with this dish. There was a lack in gravy and the meat relatively dry. The flavour of the herbs and seasoning did not seem to have soaked into the meat so it did not had the great flavour compared to the ones sold by the other two places.

 A close up view showing some of the herbs; I did not ask what their recipe was and even if I did, they would probably keep it a trade secret.

We had a couple of vegetables to go with the main dish, first this stir-fried "Emperor Vegetable"...

... and this stir-fried Chinese lettuce.

To go with the food we had their home-made herbal tea which was very nice. After our hot day's cycling each of us whacked two bottles.

At one corner, a lady sells very nice keropok, pickled peach juice, sambal udang and other tit-bits.

Bukit Jugra (Permatang Pasir), 42700 Banting, Selangor, Malaysia.
Tel: 03 3120 2525 / 03 3120 2515
Hours: 1:00pm to 8:00pm

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Europe 2015 Day 7 - Hello Vienna!

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Europe 2015 Day 7 - Hello Vienna!
Vienna, Austria - 30th September 2015
Goodbye Salzburg; goodbye to this romantic and "Sound of Music" city as we head out by the Westbahn inter-city train to metropolitan Vienna; with it's legacy of music it's regarded as the City of Music. So did we manage to attend one of it's famed operas at their renown Vienna Opera House? We shall see...

This is page 7 of a 12-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.

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The places we went to on Day 7 in Vienna.
It was half a day, but we managed to squeeze in a walk along busy Kärntner Straße, view lots of painting at a museum and ended the day at a very charming and warm restaurant.

In the early morning, we left our hotel in Salzburg for the train station. By 8:00am we were at the station; we were greeted by pneumatic Red Cross tents set up to receive unwell or injured refugees in the ongoing refugee crisis - it was a reminder to us on how lucky we were to be able to visit Europe as tourists even-though we had to stretch our Ringgit.

Our melancholic mood was made up by a couple of light moments. A young handsome, blonde Austrian followed Sally for a short while, snapping photos of her. A ever young-looking and happy Sally was most happy to oblige.
Later I had a candid shot with a few local policemen, who playfully acted as if they were apprehending me (see top-most photo). Gosh..... do I look like a vagrant... and those policemen, they were so huge, making me look like a hobbit!

Another thing that caught my eye. Being an avid cyclist myself (... see AhPek Biker blogs), I noticed these two ladies wheeling their full-sized bikes out from a lift. They are very bicycle-friendly here; there are even dedicated carriages in the trains for those with full-sized bicycles.

On board this 8:52 am train, we sat back and relaxed for the 2-1/2 hour trip. The Westbahn coachies were very spacious, with ample racks for luggage. There was a dining car with a respectable menu and with one section for smoking.  At each seating for two persons there were even power points for each passenger. There's even Wi-fi on board!

We got off at the Westbanhof Station; it's the last stop of the inter-city train AND also one of the central railway nodes of Vienna. Above is a Vienna City Public Transportation plan that shows how convenient this station is as it is a hub for intercity-trains, the various metroplitan rail lines, trams, etc.
Conveniently, we stayed at Motel One which is just outside the ground floor of the Westbanhof Station.

It was too early to check in, so we dropped off our luggage at the hotel reception and were ready to go for a quick exploration of Vienna.
But first thing first.... our tummies. Lunch was at Mr. Lee located at the first floor of the railway station. We went for one of their "Quick Lee" lunches.

Vienna like most capital cities is a busy place, full of people rushing around. We did notice that the locals here are very disciplined. For example, when on an escalator most passengers will keep to the right, leaving the left side for those in a hurry to rush down.
Compared to laid-back Salzburg, they are also very concise and precise as we found out when getting help at the Information Centre. Listen carefully when they explain things to you as they hate having to repeat themselves.
To assist us getting around, we opted for a two-day Vienna Pass at €1890 instead of the Vienna Card (click here for link to help decide). Okay we are ready to tour the city!

Taking a quick subway train, we went over to Stephen Place (Stephanplatz). This is where most of the touristy action takes place. Just to get into the mood we took a stroll down  Kärntner Straße, watch life here go by...

Like these two cute twins in panda caps...

... and colourful flowers.

... and then we were brought down to earth on seeing these refugee with simple message "I am HUNGRY". We gave him some money and hoped he will have a better future.

Our brisk walk took us on a loop back to St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom). Might as well pop in for a visit before it gets late. Here's a look from the front, just after we came up from the Stephanplatz subway station.

The girls here lending some colour to the picture.
Built almost a millennium ago, it is of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Still a functioning church, the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna. The girls here lending some colour to the picture.

Inside, we were awed by the many statues that line each and every column of the cathedral, almost from the bottom to the top.

At the base of some of these columns were elaborate shrines dedicated to different saint.

The one that caught our eyes was this shrine in honour of Mother Teresa.

Colourful girls with colourful posters.
I am no art expert but I love art; whenever time permits I will try to visit a gallery or a museum while travelling (.... see my art blogs). So we took a short walk over to the Albertina, a museum that houses over a million pieces of artwork with some of them on display.
The rest not so keen on art, continued on to tour other parts of Vienna for the next couple of hours. Lynn decided to follow me, probably to ensure that I won't linger on and forget about about time!

But two hours? Two hours to view such so many pieces? Except for the paintings by the masters. I really did not have much time to view most of the pieces properly other than to quickly snap their photos and the accompanying captions. Here's some:

Mediterranean Landscape - Pablo Picaso (1952)

The Water Lily Pond - Claude Monet (c. 1917-1919)

Portrait Of A Young Girl (Elisabeth Maitre) - Auguste Renoir (1879).

On very interesting section of the museum are the state rooms. Don't miss this section when visiting the Albertina.
The Albertina Staterooms has one of the most interesting and varied collection of European art work. They consist of twenty palace state rooms spread over two floors of the original Albertina Palace and were restored in year 2000. The rooms were originally decorated French style the line of Louis XVI décor by Duke Albert of Saxe-Teschen. In 1822, Archduke Carl had them redecorated along Habsburg style, and what we see today is as closely restored to the way they would have looked back then.
The rooms contain many pieces of  paintings, statues, pottery, furniture collected over a period of time. I only had time to visit the rooms on the ground floor, still I marvelled at the display of fine paintings, statues, pottery, etc. displayed.
(.... to see more art pieces and state rooms, click here to view the Albertina blogs)

After that short but rewarding museum visit, we met up with the others.
The girls have done a good research on where to eat, and we made our way through narrow lanes to Zum Basilisken for some Austrian food. The food was good but what captured our hearts was the restaurant's interior; set up in a traditional way it was charming. Together with its paintings and statues, a friendly waitress/host made us feel very at home. The host was a picture of Austrian efficiency; smartly and neatly dressed and all by herself she made recommendations, took our orders, served us and still had some time to chit-chat with us while maintaining her elegance and bright charm.

Some of the food we had:
Traditionanl Austrian Schnitzel; nice, tasty and crisply done.

Beef Goulash - tasty, good. The Austrian version was somewhat thinner and not so spicy.

And the never to be missed Apple Strudel. This one was really very good!

While the ground floor was warmly decorated in a traditional manner, their first floor section had a very stately look.

(That's cheers in Austrian, good night)

(For more photos of the day Click Here)

This is page 7 of a 12-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.

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