Monday, August 21, 2017

YummY! - Kuala Selangor Restoran Makanan Laut Ah Poh (阿宝海鲜餐馆)

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Kuala Selangor Restoran Makanan Laut Ah Poh (阿宝海鲜餐馆)

Kuala Selangor, Selangor, Malaysia - August 2017
We were on a cycling tour from Sungai Buloh to Penang and our first stop for eats was at Kuala Selangor. Where can we find good food in Kuala Selangor? Fortunately our buddy Sin (of the hApPy HaPpY blogs) knows of this place, Ah Poh Seafood Restaurant that serves home-style cooked food (the way our grandmother or "Ah Poh" would have cooked it).

We started off with a simple dish, omelet fried with bitter gourd and onion rings. Adequately fluffy, it was light in taste, the slight bitterness balance off by the sweetness of the onions; just nice to warm up our palate.

In contrast the next dish was a strongly flavoured dish - Sting Ray Curry!
The curry was very good, well spiced and not too spicy hot. And most important of all the fish was super fresh. Where ray fish is concerened, if the fish is less than superfresh there is an odd smell and the flesh becomes too soft. This dish was soooooo good that I had more rice to go.

Another dish that had me asking for more rice; the Mushroom Chicken Stew. A simple blend of soy sauce with the flavours of black and button mushroms, and fresh cuts of chicken came out with a very good sauce that's simple but with a good underlying taste.

Some stir fried Emperor vegetables, a classic.

The dish I like most of all the dishes I liked - Mantis Prawns dryly stir fried in spicy sauce. The prawns had been deshelled and spicy latched onto them. Again I must say, the food here is so fresh that the prawn meat still had a slight bouncy bite. This is one dish that can be eaten by itself, going very well with a glass of beer.

Although Ah Poh is a Chinese restaurant, it does not serve pork... AND at the counter were bottles of Indian murugus up for sale!

Restoran Makanan Laut Ah Poh
34, Jalan Batu Buruk, Kuala Selangor, 45000 Kuala Selangor, Selangor, Malaysia.
Hours: 11:30am to 9:00pm (Closed on Tuesdays)
Phone: +603-32897173

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Art Gallery - Vietnamese Art @ Hoi An

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Vietnamese Art @ Hội An
Hội An, Quảng Nam Province, Vietnam - February 2017
We were on a short holiday visiting Hội An in Vietnam, on the second last day we went on a short cycling tour of the Hoi An Ancient Town. Riding by the well maintianed colonial buildings that lined the streets of the town and I admired how these buildings and street culture brought back the feel of a French colonial aura. Our ride took us across the Japanese Bridge onto Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai Street and I was pleasantly surprised to find many art shops/gallery displaying Vietnamese art, art that portrayed the local culture and done in a colourful, contemporary style. Further along down the road were old temples and clan houses; in these too were some art work, painted along Chinese styles, and dragon sculptures with scales made from clam shells!

Below are some photos of these artwork that I took. Do note that the due to photography angle, I had to crop and edit the photos and thus some of the photos shows part of the paintings truncated and colours brightened. So it's is best to go to Hội An and see the artwork for yourselves, as the human eye is better than any camera.
Should you want to take photos of the artwork, please note that many of the galleries (for fear of other artists copying their work) do not allow photos! Here are some of the photos that I risked taking so that you can get a sample of what the Vietnamese art in this part of Vietnam is like. Enjoy!

A hand crafted ventilation stone grille from a temple. The craftmanship is not one of their best, but I was taken in by the voilet colours used.

Phòng Tranh (art gallery) Trung
The gallery is located at 29, Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai Street.

Many of the paintings are fo Vietnamese ladies wearing the easily recognisable conical rice hat (Asian conical hat). The above shows a procession of ladies wearing the Vietnamese national costume, the áo dài.
Planting padi stalks in the paddies.
The ladies and men here are wearing a more casual works clothes.

Lady hawkers at a wet market, some shown with shoulder carry poles. Most of these bowls are made from from bamboo.

Sampans congregrating on the river. Many of these sampans have a covered section; these are often the permanent residence of the local water folks.

Phòng Tranh (art gallery) Nắng Vàng
This gallery is located at 27, Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai Street.

Street scene at Hoi An Ancient Town.

Vietnames ladies with shoulder pole baskets of goods crossing a bright green field.

Vietnamese ladies carrying harvested rice stalks along a path through golden paddies.

Lady street hawkers at the market.
Like many South-east Asian countries, most of the market vendors are the local womenfolk.

Phòng Tranh (art gallery) at No. 31
This gallery is located at 31, Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai Street.
Apologies no close-up photos of the artwork from this shop; the owner was very adamant of the NO PHOTO policy.

Phòng Tranh (art gallery) at No. 39
A peep into this shop shows paintings of Buddha.
But on the outside, this gallery displayed artwork of more contemporary scenes or art forms.

A Vietnamese lady on a sampan, casting pink lotus petals onto the river.

A colourful psychedelic piece of three Vietnamese ladies wearing Asian conical hats.

A girl in tratidional Vietnamese áo dài costume, peacefully taking a nap on a hammock. 

Phòng Tranh (art gallery) Nên Độ
This gallery is located at 47, Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai Street. A vase hanging from the entrance ceiling sets the mood for this shop; one with stylised artwork and still forms.

Still form of a steel tea pot, a table fan and other ancillaries on red scarf.

Still form of white daisies in a vase, the strokes have been done such that the flowers seem to spring out from the painting.

Blue stylised painting of three Vietnamese ladies wearing traditional Vietnamese áo dài costume and Asian conical hats.

Stylised painting of the Vũ phiến (Vietnamese fan dancers).

Phòng Tranh (art gallery) Đèn Trang
The gallery is located at 51, Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai Street.
The artist here is a sweet yoyng Vietnamese girl who specialise in painting on rice paper. Her paintings are along the style of simplistic Chinese calligraphy style but were very well done and depicted the local daily life.

A trishaw mans cycle pass floating toy boats. This seem to show a flooded Hoi An. After heavy monsoon rains, the old down sometimes get flooded.

Vietnames girls wearing Vietnamese áo dài costume cycling to school.
A street vendor selling fish, taking a short nap.
A Vietnamese lady street vendor, stopping to sell her goods.

Three sleepy men.

Phòng Tranh (art gallery) CO.
Short of time I did not go into this gallery, so just took some photos of the couple of clay statues outside.

Clay statue of a squatting man.
This are rough statues made from clay, as a preparation for to get the form and scale of the sculpture right.

Rough clay model of a lady.

In the temples and clan-houses of Hoi An are more traditional wall panel paintings done along Chinese style with bold colours.
Soldiers or Chinese deities making offering at an altar.

Ladies riding a chariot escorted by a warrior.

A warrior going of to battle.

Other than paintings, there are also sculptures which are uniquely done:
"Dragons At The Sea" fountain at one of the clan house, at the back is a unpainted/unfinished one of goats. Do these represent animals of the Chinese Zociac?

A fish fountain, surrounded by egrets.
The scales of the fish were casted using clam shells.

Other than the galleries, temples and clan houses; souvenir shops lining the streets also sell interesting artwork:
A shop selling foldable lanterns.

A long shawl with printed batik pattern.

Puppet-like dolls.

Colourful kites in the shape of birds.

Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai Street
Hội An, Quảng Nam Province, Vietnam
GPS: 52.35999, 4.88521
(Click here for Google Street View)

Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai Art Street at Hội An Ancient Town.

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Vietnam : St. Joseph Cathedral, Hanoi

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and then visits to an art shop, an ancient observatory, a grand city palace,
a Gothic-style Indian temple; and ending with us "gate-crashing" a real-Indian wedding.

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