Abon Ikan Cikalang Joomukbap {cooking for one #8}

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Last week my friend gave me Abon ikan cikalang (literally translated as Skip Jack Tuna floss). Ikan Cikalang is one type of fish and normally cook in Manado style that I really like to eat. I haven't found them in Malaysia before, but now that I know the English name is Skip Jack Tuna, may be it is sold in the local market.

Abon (meat floss) is my childhood dish. If my mother was lazy to cook, she will feed us Abon and warm rice, sometime when we were lucky, she added prawn crackers into it. Abon is rich in flavours and easy to keep, that is why our mother like to use it as last source when she did not have anything to serve :p. I enjoyed that simple dish, in fact when she offered me the dish, I never complain about it.
I think my childhood friend from Indonesia will be able to relate this situation. Everyone would have that experience, eating Abon with warm rice, right friends?

Today, I improvised a bit by making them into Joomukbap (literally means fist rice in Korean) or similarly like Onigiri in Japanese dish. In this case, I called them Joomukbap because I served with Kimchi and Gamjajorim (potato banchan).

Furthermore, Joomukbap is also very practical dishes. It does not require long time to prepare and neat dishes for lunch box. It also allow us to be creative, because we could mix with any filling or flavour as desired.

I made Gamjajorim (potato side dish/banchan), it is easy to make. I will share my version of recipe in the next post :).

Abon Cikalang Joomukbap (주먹밥) recipe


1C Short grain rice ( Korean or Japanese rice)

Rice Seasoning:
1-2 Tbsp Sesame oil (Korean brand preferably)
2 pinch of good quality of Sea salt
Black sesame seed

Rice filling:
Abon ikan cikalang or substitute with chicken or pork floss


1. Rice
Short grain rice is the best for anything to do with Korean or Japanese rice dishes. Cooks 1 cup of rice for making 3-4 small triangle mould joomukbap (as picture) in rice cooker. The composition of water vs rice is varied, depending on your rice cooker, but don't over cooked them. Rice shall be firmer than usual.

2. Season the rice
Once the rice are cooked, spread them into flat plate, wait for 1 minutes until rice a little bit cool down or warm, season the rice with sesame oil and pinch of salt. Mix using spatula. Taste them and adjust accordingly.

3. Making the joomukbap
As seen in the picture, I made two type of jookmukbap.

  • I mix the seasoned rice with sesame seed and I put abon ikan cikalang as a filling inside the     rice triangle.
  • I mix the seasoned rice with abon ikan cikalang before putting them into a triangle mould. 

You can decorate or wrap with kim - 김 (seaweed) as you wish.

Dania Faith turns 6

Friday, April 22, 2016

My eldest daughter turned 6 years old last month. Last night she told me that she is always be my little girl forever even though she grows older, brought a warm tears in my eyes.

She is sensible and warm person. She is bubbly and enjoys talking, too much sometime, but it is alright, as long as she talks, I will listen. I can spend the whole day just to listen to her talking. She talks like an adult, she know who she will marry, though still confuse in between Jang Keun Suk or her classmate. It is tough choice for her :).

If I have to describe about her, it will takes forever. But I am forever blessed to have such daughter like her, I want her to know and been telling her everyday, how much I love her.
Daughter is the best present from God, I truly believe that.

Happy belated birthday, Dania. May you grow up to be a happy girl, loves God and serves him wholeheartedly....

Photo taken by Samantha Young Photography.

5 things to do in Macau with two young kids

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Last December 2015, we had family holiday in Macau. My sister asked me what fun will you have to travel to Macau with children at young ages? I turned out to be relaxing and fun family holiday.

Macau is a gambling city that most of the people said it is replication of  Las Vegas (I never been to LV so I do not know the exact scene) and also normally a day visitation place to detour when people holidaying to Hong Kong. So I have least to expect when we wanted to stay in Macau for 4 days, we were taking easy this time as we have 2 small children and 1 senior citizen (my mother in law) travelled with us. In my personal opinion, few places that I feel very relaxing and good to visit with family are these places:

1. Broadway walk
My friend who worked in Macau helped me to design the itinerary and put in consideration that I travelled with young children, she suggested this newly open place called Broadway walk - the first hawker style street where we also could witness some random performance while enjoying sitting in the cafe. Children are entertained very much by the magic show or 'tall' people walking around. As it is outdoor, so it is good to visit during Winter. Macau in Dec has a mild Winter, so it is still comfortable walking outdoor.

2. The Taipa Houses- museum 
The museum consist of five typical Macanese architectural house built in 1921. The entrance ticket is very affordable Mop2 per adult and we can have access to enter all of the houses. My elder daughther enjoyed to detour the houses and the good thing; there were huge Christmas garden with beautiful Christmas decoration and flowers conjuncted with the museum. It seem they held the garden Christmas festival every December.

3. Taipa Village
We skipped other attraction places such A-ma temple and other churches and instead we were heading to Taipa village after the museum visitation. Taipa village is an charming enclave which offers a unique Chinese/Portuguese old houses, shops and cafes. It is only take one or a little bit more hours to explore the main street, so my children doesn't feel restless. Taipa village is a suitable place to have a little shopping for local delicacies without making your children complaining (Most kids dislike shopping spots, I supposed).

 4. The hotel lobby shows
It sound ridiculous, but my children were so fascinated with those shows. Some hotels really put a lot of effort to make the show very massive and spectacular to 'wow' the audiences. In fact, before the show started, the front row were always full with people. The picture below doesn't' do any justice :o.
The hotel lobby show that we visited:
  • Wynn Hotel (They also has a light dancing fountain attraction at night) 
  • Galaxy Hotel 
  • The Venetian Macau (outdoor projector light show at night), where if we stand in the bridge, we also could enjoy the changing LED light of City of dream hotels. 
We wanted to visit MGM hotel as our friend is working at the hotel, she recommend that my kids would love the Grand aquatic in the hotel lobby. I am sure they are, when I saw the video I feel so intrigued with the massive set up.

5. The House of the dancing water 
It is a splurge but it is also a must :). The cheapest ticket is not entirely cheap for our Ringgit and my ten month old baby (back then on December 2015) also requires to pay full amount of children price. Again, thank you to our friend that she helps me to purchase with staff discounts, we safe a bit :).

The show is about a love story plot that involve 270 degree view theatre and probably million gallon of water, impressive effects and lighting. The show last for 90 minutes and both of my children enjoyed the performance very much. My baby was very fascinating and observant, she knows mommy paid full ticket to not to be wasted :p
Unfortunately we are not allowed to take picture inside the venue, but you could browse the site to find out more.

We also visited St Paul ruins and Senado square, but there are many people in the both places, it is not so convenience to explore with small children and senior citizen.

We stayed in Sheraton Sands Cotai in Cotai strip, our hotel is in strategic location and within walking distance to The Venetian, City of Dream and and the newest attraction- Studio City. From our hotel, patronage with children could enjoy The DreamWorks parade and breakfast with Sherk package. Our kids love to stay in Sheraton too, the room is spacious, breakfast was alright. Check in and out is fast regardless you are a Starwood member and the best way to commute for a day tour around Macau is by hiring a car. We hire a van similar like Toyota Alphard for HKD250/hour.

I hope my post is helpful for those who plan a short holiday with family to Macau. This blog is also a good read for Macau guide with kids.

Till the next post...:)

{Special thanks to Casey Cheah}

Dalia Joy 1st birthday party

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Hello friends. It has been four months since my last post, happy new year!  and just like that, Dalia turned ONE last month on January, 15th 2016. How time really flies!

We celebrated Dalia's first birthday in a small and cozy atmosphere at our condominium jacuzzi deck. Since it was an outdoor party, I was bit worried with the unpredicted January weather. I kept observing the weather forecast when we decorated the outdoor space, at 3 pm the 50% possibility of rain turned to 90%, the sky turned darker. The party starts at 4pm, within half an hour before 4 pm, we dismantled everything and moved the event at the covered corridor near the deck. Moral of the story, don't ever try to against the weather forecast +_+

For decoration. I kept it simple without specific theme. I really love the colorful honeycomb paper decorations, so I bought few sizes of honeycomb balls to decorate the venue and petite honeycomb diamond for the goodie bags. I ordered letter/ number gold ballon too, I wasn't aware I placed  the no.1 ballon in the opposite direction until I sorted out the pictures and saw it, lol.

For the goodie bag, I DIY-ed them and filled in with healthy snacks such as assorted fruits (apple, kiwi, strawberry), mini box of breakfast cereal, raisin and chocolate milk. I figured children shall consume a healthy snacks rather than sweet or junk food :).

For the birthday cake, I  custom ordered the 9 inch round chocolate cake and requested for pink ombre butter icing with edible rose flowers and meringue kisses on top of the cake. I really like how the cake turned up, the vendor done a great job fulfilling my request.

For the catering, I was contemplating of doing a high tea party since the party starts at 4 pm, but in the end I decided to order Indonesian Rijstafel and also assorted tea time snacks and I knew I ordered too much @_@.
Our guests are mix of Indonesian living in Malaysia and also local Malaysian. So I wanted them to enjoy Indonesian cuisine. It is something that my Indonesian friends will love and my Malaysian friends will surely enjoy the flavorful tastes of Rijstafel.

Rijstafel is actually a Dutch words that literally translated in English as a rice table. It consists of rice with many side dishes. I think it is similar like Banchan in Korean food :). Rijstasfel was originally a Colonial Indonesian cuisine, the Dutch had them for celebration, it can be a massive dishes as many as 40 types, but nowadays there are many presentation styles of Rijstafel depending on which island/province you belong to. In my hometown we usually have the yellow rice or nasi tumpeng for any celebration. My catering lady made the nasi tumpeng into a barbie doll dress (the common nasi tumpeng is in cone shape), I thought it is cute, right?. She cooked 5 side dishes along with the yellow rice. I actually ordered more portion without decorating it in barbie style for our guests, in the end the barbie Rijstafel was just for display. Lol!

For activities, I hired the bubble art master for two hours. The kids were facsinating with the super giant bubbles and it was also the best decision to hire one, the adults could sit n eat while the kids were entertaining themselves by playing bubbles. It was fun right before it started a heavy rain, the kids still had chances to play bubbles outdoor. This activity can't be having it indoor as floor become slippery and dangerous for the kids

For educational purpose, we requested our guests to not bring present for Dalia instead donate staple goods for Children Shelter Home. We hope with this practice, our children will be able to share and care for others.

Here is the BTS.
My sister decorated the jazucci deck before the sky turned dark, at that time I still imagine how nice having it in the deck, very cosy! While adults sitting and enjoying food, kids could roam around in the pool or play bubbles. But occasionally, life is not always as it nice as it seem to be , we just have to be ready with plan B -_- .

Thank you for reading, hope to talk to you again soon.

Seoul in 5 days - {girl friend's trip}

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

This is Ehwa woman's university main gate and interection

I finally made a point I shall at least start to update my blog for every few months as I am not able to do it for every few days or few weeks (laughing pathetically). That is a terrible excuse, I feel sorry for my blog :). I was planing to write about my last family travel post after we came back from Japan, and it was happened like.... last November 2014. It was long overdue until I have no more desire to journal it. So recently when I came back from Seoul for girl friend's trip (or to be exact fansgirl trip..), I decided to blog about it before my desire die off again.

For the past three years, I have been traveling  with the same group of girl friends for attending our idol concert. We have the same interest, obviously! and our traveling style are rhymes. We are slow traveler, we do everything in slow tempo. Meaning, we do not rush in doing things, we love to hang out in coffee shop for few hours and we love to visit one or two places only  in a day. Our Seoul trip has the same style of tempo, but unfortunately due to individual commitment, we could not stay longer than a week. This is my first time visiting Seoul, I would love to return to Seoul for a longer trip. Our short itinerary was focusing on shopping and exploring local foods!  So the next time I visited again, I shall at least go to some mainstream tourist attraction (even I do not really fancy them, but at least I would like to visit the palace or Jeju island :p).  

During the short stay, I conclude my 5 fave spot that fun for a short girl trip holiday (not in the particular order).

1. EHWA Woman's University - for affordable clothing, cosmetic and street snacks  

This egg bun seem to be famous in Ehwa street, recommended by my friend

My friend from Singapore advise us to visit Ehwa Woman's University. The university is the first university for women, founded by an American missionary in 1886. I read about it and as an Educator my self, I feel so inspired to have a university that dedicated for woman and encourage gender equality. And obviously, when there is a woman, there must be a shopping places.. haha!

In surrounding of the university, there are so many small shops (not to mentioned shops in small lanes too) selling more affordable yet fashionable clothing (mainly for ladies) compare to other shopping area. The cosmetic's pricing somehow is cheaper too. And there are few stalls that selling cheaper Americano compares to other area, what a steal for a coffee drinker like me :). I guess the prices are adjusted accordingly toward the university students affordability. Nice!

Verdict: A must for those who love to buy Korean brand cosmetic (mask, lipstick, etc) and seasonal fashion (more toward youngster style).

2. Garosugil {the neighborhood of Sinsadong and Gangnam Gu} - for upscale eatery and Indie boutique 

We had lunch at Cola Mercato in Sinsa dong and then we explored the rest of the day in Garosugil before heading for a dinner appointment. I really like Sinsadong and Garosugil area (they are side by side road) . There are so many hips eatery and cafes that worth to explore. Because it is an upscale are, there are more diversity in food choices. We spent 3 hours for our lunch in Cola Mercato, our lunch cost could be spent equally for our breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Gwangjang market area for 2 days :p. I heard during Autumn the Gingo tree around Garosugil street is beautiful. When we were there, the Autumn had not really kick off.

The Indie boutique in Garosugil area are along the main roads where the Gingo tree are. The fashion suits me better than shops in Ehwa street, The styles are more for working adult, but comes with the more expensive price tags :p. I skipped mainstream brand store and explore those smaller boutique that has character of  Korean fashion identity, such as simple stripe, basic colors and smaller in sizes :).

Verdict: For those who enjoy life style and diversity of dining options and sense of simple fashion style. I would like to go back with my husband for dinner date in this area :)

3. Bukchon hanok village - Home for 900 hanok  (Korean traditional house) 

Pic 1,2,3 are shop in between the Bukchon village

pic 4,5,6 are shops and area in Samcheongdong

If I would like to choose my most fave places among these five areas that I listed, it would be Bukchon Hanouk village. I am falling in love with the traditional charms and the juxtaposition of old and new Korea in one location. Bukchon means north village, it hosts the largest hanouk village (around 900 plus) in the city. There are few other smaller village in the area, but due to the limited time, we only visited Bukchon area. We spent about half day at there because we had to meet with another friends for dinner. To explore Bukchon and Samcheongdong shopping area (a walking steps from Bukchon. I said steps because we really has to go to stiffs steps to the area :p), we definitely need a full day itinerary.

In Bukchon, the hanouks are actually people residents, so we have to talk quietly when exploring the area. To explore the village, please wears the walking shoes as the roads are stiffs and ups and downs. My traveling buddy was wearing 3 inch of wedges shoes, I could imagine the suffering :).

There are art galleries, souvenir shops and Hanbok studio in between the hanouk village, very enjoyable to explore those small traditional shops. Then we can go down to the stiffs steps toward Samcheongdong to shop clothing and grab a meal or coffee in more modern set up.

For an easy reference, please visit the Bukchon Tourist information center before heading to the area. It is huge area so the chances of getting lost is very high :0.

Verdict: For those who loves arts, traditional culture and hips fashion and cafe equally, Bukchon is the place. 

4. Hongdae (Near Hongik university) - for urban arts and Indie music culture

Hongdae is one station away from Ehwa Woman's university, where the Hongik university resides. Unlike Ehwa where the essence of femininity is dominant, in Hongdae I feel the freedom of expression is prominent. There are many Indie music/art performance along the street and there are many urban art display along the roads. Hongdae reminds me of Harajuku in Japan. Or I guess Hongdae is the Korean's Harajuku :).

Personally I can't find any clothes to shop in Hongdae haha... I guess I am too old for Hongdae fashion style. But I enjoy the street performance very much. Viewing Hongdae from my perspective, I feel that the youngster nowadays are much more energetic and creative in many ways.

Verdict: I may skip this place for shopping but I will have a cup of coffee and enjoy the street performance . There is Tricky 3D eye museum that fun to visit ( according to my friend, as I skipped the museum). 

5. Narrow lane of Myeong Dong

We stayed in Myeong Dong, therefore we visited Myeong Dong shopping area many times. I personally feel the area is the most touristy shopping area, the shop seller are very aggressive to pursue visitor to enter their shop. I guess businesses are very competitive in that area. Myeong Dong area is my least fave as I dislike too much crowds. But the narrow lanes are worth to explore, it is often forgotten and businesses are quieter in this area, indeed, that is the better part , so we could walk freely and more enjoyable to view things. There are many small eatery places in the narrow lane that  I feel more locals.It reminds me pretty much like Yokoco in Japan.

Verdict: Stay in Myeong Dong area is advantages for location wise, especially when you commute a lot using subway. Myeong Dong cathedral is nice to visit too.

The next time I visited Seoul again, I would love to explore Insadong and Itaewon :). And I seriously does not favor Dongdaemun :). This is merely my personal opinion and hope it gives you a decent guidance when you plan to visit Seoul just for shopping and exploring Seoul city.

{Images credit : some images are courtesy of my sister}