November 5, 2019

JJCM : De.Wan 1958 by Chef Wan

Some time in April I got to know that the Malaysian award-winning celebrity chef, Chef Wan, has opened a restaurant of his own. Many of us grew up watching his cooking show with our moms so not surprisingly, the restaurant is an instant hit.

After six months, I finally managed to visit and dine at the restaurant. And I had a 'wow' moment the minute I stepped inside. This is definitely one Instagram-worthy restaurant hahaha. Sorry no photos around the restaurant though cos there's a lot of customers and I didn't wanna look so jakun snapping here and there.

Batik Room

Visited with the whole fam so the staff gave us a private room. Ok actually you need to spend a minimum of RM1500++ to be able to get a private room, but if you come in big group and order the set menu and drinks, it easily exceeds the amount. But anyway, eating at the main dining area is nice too as you're surrounded with colorful, gorgeous interior decorations.

The food served are authentic Malaysian cuisine, curated by Chef Wan himself and based on his original recipes. 

Starter - Kerabu pucuk paku with kerang, chicken/beef satay

Siakap bakar, with three choices of sambal

Daging rendang Selangor

Sambal petai tiger prawns

Stir fried broccoli and cauliflower

Ayam bakar

Jumbo sotong bakar with sambal hijau

Ikan jenahak masak asam pedas

I forgot to take photos of the dessert and the rice. To go with the mains, we can choose from three types of rice - Nasi telur Terengganu, Nasi minyak bunga telang or the usual Nasi putih. It's free flow so you can have all three since the dishes also come in generous portions.

For dessert, the set menu that we chose came with fresh fruits and Bubur Som Som. The bubur was soo good I love it!

The menu.

But it will be changed every 3-4 months to keep the excitement going.

The price is rather steep but it's nice to go there for special occasions since the restaurant has a nice ambiance and of course, good food. We went on a Sunday and Chef Wan was there too, going around the dining hall greeting guests from table to table, asking how the food is, whether everything is OK etc. Good effort from him to make sure the customers are satisfied.

De.Wan 1958 by Chef Wan
Address: Lot 2-2, Level 2, The Linc KL, No 360 Jalan Tun Razak, Taman U Thant, 50400 KL
Operating hours: 11am - 4pm, 6pm - 10pm (Mon - Fri),  11am - 10pm (Sat, Sun, Public holiday)
** Reservations via TableApp **

October 2, 2019

Kuala Lumpur Standard Chartered Marathon 2019

My 11th KL Marathon, since 2009. 

And I clocked my personal best (PB) time, ran 42.195km in 5 hours 9 minutes 30 seconds.
Shaved 1 hour 25 seconds off my previous best time at Tokyo Marathon 2016
And 1 hour 19 minutes off last year's edition.

This timing is nothing to shout about for elite or fast runners. But it is a huge personal accomplishment for me. Still stoked till today. Can't believe I can actually run with this timing. Cos if you know me and my running history, I was never a fast runner. I run just for fun. To lose weight. No proper training. 

I ran a PB for Half Marathon (HM) at 2 hours 22 minutes 53 seconds just 2 weeks before, at Sultan Mahmud Bridge International Run. The PB definitely gave me a motivation boost. I was confident to finally do a sub 6 and perhaps pushed to 5.30 this time around based on the timing. 

I don't run regularly but I guess my time in the gym pays off. All those cardio, strength training and stretching yoga poses definitely helps me getting stronger and fitter and slimmer ;p 

Still, I was really nervous prior to the marathon. Obviously Maybe because I didn't have enough mileage. Maybe because of the haze. Maybe because I was recovering from flu, fever, cough, diarrhea. And then the red flag decided to come, just a day before the marathon. Period pain. Fine. At least I don't have to stop for Subuh prayer during the run.

Come race day. Flag off was at 3.45am. It was drizzling at the beginning of the run. I kinda liked it because I hoped the weather would be cooler, although my feet would suffer with the wet socks and shoes. Lost my sister in the sea of runners just before KM1. Damnn it because I was planning to pace her. 

But I did okay running alone. Well I ran alone all these while. All the time, I watched my pace with my trusted Garmin Fenix 5S (this is like the best investment I ever did for sports). At KM15, I was reunited with my sister but she wanted to stop at Petronas station to go to the toilet. 

Hundred meters in front, I saw the 5 hours pacers so I caught up with them and continued running along Jalan Ampang, to MRR2 and then powered on to DUKE highway. Passed the 21km checkpoint and collected the wristband. Glanced at my watch. My time was 2:24. Okay not bad. A thought came to my mind, maybe if I pushed myself harder and didn't lose sight of the 5 hours pacers I could do a sub 5.

Alhamdulillah so far no major cramps, no nature calls. I remember last year, I suffered cramps on the highway and walked most of the remaining course. But deep down, I knew I wasn't ready for the unplanned sub 5 mission. My pace started to slow down as I started to run-walk on the highway. Mentally torturing, this one. And also because we merged with HM runners halfway through. It was very crowded especially at the water station. I could still see the 5 hours pacers' balloons far ahead but later missed them completely when I crossed the second checkpoint, just before exiting DUKE.

Ran through busy Jalan Kuching before we entered the dreaded Bukit Tunku. Parted ways with the HM runners here. Passed by a few stalls set up by fellow runners and supporters but I was shy so I never stopped. Run-walk strategy continued here. Walked uphill, ran downhill. Repeat a few times hahaha.

When we merged again with the HM runners after Bukit Tunku, I was really lazy to run due to the bottleneck. Just after KM40, I met my friend, Nana. Looking at my current timing, she encouraged me to do a sub 5.15. Sub 5 was out of reach but sub 5.15 is also good. Challenge accepted!

And so I mustered all the energy I had left and sprinted towards the finishing line. The time displayed on the timing board was 5 hours 14 minutes. Yasssss!!! I knew I did better than that because I started the run 5 minutes late.   

Marathon number 13 done and dusted. And my best ever.

August 27, 2019

JJCM : Wagyu Kokoro Halal Yakiniku @ Kota Damansara

Guysss!!! If you miss Japan and feels like eating Japanese BBQ, there's a place to satisfy your cravings in Kota Damansara.

Wagyu Kokoro Halal Yakiniku is Muslim-owned and Halal-certified so Muslim customers need not worry. 

The restaurant serves premium quality Japanese wagyu beef grade A4 to A5. No idea which one to choose? The Japanese beef grading system gives wagyu beef a grade from 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest and 5, the highest. This is all based on factors like its fat color, meat color, ribeye shape, size of ribeye area, and its marbling. 

A5 is highly recommended but of course it comes with a steep price. But once in a while, try it! 

What I had. 

 Economist Set

Single Wagyu Set

The staff helped me with the first few cuts, showing how to grill the perfect wagyu steak.

Even though the sets come with A4 beef, it's still sooo good!! Succulent and yummy!

But next visit, I'll definitely go with their A5. I've tasted A5 in Japan and it was the best meal I've ever had in the country.

Chicken Yakitori

Wagyu Kokoro Spicy Ramen

The chicken yakitori and ramen (comes with the Single Wagyu Set) was delish as well.


If you're planning to come for dinner, it's best to reserve seats in advance as the two-floor restaurant can be full. 

Wagyu Kokoro Halal Yakiniku
Address: B1-1-7, Jalan Teknologi 2/1C, 47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor 
(5 minutes walk from MRT Kota Damansara)
Contact: +603 6150 8814 or +6010 2653690 (WhatsApp)
Opening hours: Lunch 12pm - 3pm, Dinner 6pm - 11pm (closed on Monday)
Facebook: Wagyu Kokoro
Instagram: @wagyu_kokoro

July 25, 2019

Everest Base Camp : Day 11 - Monjo to Lukla

Last day of hiking!

On my first day in the Himalayas, I said it was the easiest cos the trail was mostly downhill. No prize for guessing, we're hiking uphill all the way to Lukla today. So yeah... my last day became one of the hardest day on the trek.

Despite having adequate rest and oxygen, my body has exhausted all the energy and my muscles were sore from the last ten days of hiking. I was really tired, dragging one foot forward with frequent rest stops. Or maybe I was dragging myself cos deep down, I don't want to leave this beautiful place.

We trekked through the beautiful forest. Nature was more diverse than a few days ago.

Then, it's lunch time at Thado Koshi, with a view of Mount Kusum Kanguru (6,367 metres) at the back.

Mount Kusum Kanguru peak

my staple food on the trek - potatoes and vege for lunch

The trail was rather steep at the end, this last bit of elevation is killing me. But the best thing on the trek is that everybody is so supportive of each other. Other groups that leapfrogged me keep on saying, "Let's go! Just a little bit more."

When we finally reached Lukla, I couldn't contain my excitement. Debbie and I hugged each other. We've successfully completed the 130km trek! I've completed the Everest Base Camp trek! Alhamdulillah. Thank you Allah for the experience. This trip is definitely a life-changing adventure. 

candle lit dinner

After walking around Lukla for a little bit, we checked in at Paradise Lodge and had dinner. While enjoying our meals and happily reflecting our journey, the electricity for the whole town went off. Candle lit dinner then! Paid Dinesh and thanked him for his help, we bid goodbye.

I'm flying back to Kathmandu early in the morning tomorrow. Mission accomplished.

Elevation at Monjo:  2,855 m
Elevation at Lukla:  2,860 m
Elevation change: -50 m
Distance: 7 km
Duration:  7 hours

Amount spent:
Breakfast - Rs 380
Lunch - Rs 480
Dinner - Rs 480
Night stay at Paradise Lodge, double room - Rs 500
Porter fee - Rs 13000
Total = Rs 14840

Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11

July 23, 2019

Everest Base Camp : Day 10 - Pangboche to Monjo

I had a chat with the lodge owner over breakfast. She first asked me where I came from. Upon hearing Malaysia, she was so excited cos she's been to the country before. She went on telling me that during low season, she would go travel and also visit her son who's studying in Melbourne. Wow.. this teahouse business is really good.

leaving Pangboche

We left Pangboche at 8am. Gotta start early today as we're gonna descend further down to Namche Bazaar, and if we're early, we'll press on to Monjo. 

We descended and crossed the river, and then walked uphill again. I thought it would be easy at this point, cos we're going down the mountain, but my muscles were still tired. Took a quick rest at Tengboche to recharge before the steep descend to the bottom of the valley.

I'm so gonna miss this view

Passing by hikers on their way up, I understood their miserable tired face. I had been in the exact same situation, stopping at every turn on my way up before. Later on, I met Ali. What a surprise! I haven't seen him and his clients since Phakding. He was surprised to learn that I have a porter now. Told him my situation and he said I made the right decision. Don't risk your life on the mountain.

 sherpas bringing up construction material

 descending to Phunke Tenga

Ama Dablam is loveeee

Then it's time to go up again to Namche Bazaar. We stopped for lunch at Kyangjuma (3,600 metres), and reached Namche at 3pm.

hashed brown with fried eggs for lunch

reaching Namche

yaks ready to work

We are now 1,725 metres lower than the day before, and my lungs were happily filled with oxygen again. Namche is the same like a week ago. The streets were busy and there were a lot of trekkers, and all the shops were open. And it was warm. I bought souvenirs and changed my emergency USD cash to pay Dinesh when we arrive in Lukla and finish this trek.

Half an hour later, we continued trekking. Another steep descend coming. When we were on the high suspension bridge, I had another nostalgic moments. This adventure is really coming to an end. I'm gonna miss all these suspension bridges. As much as I wanted to finish this trek, I love it here. And I love all these bridges however scary they are.

 looking down from the high suspension bridge

i look horrible but who cares

We finally returned to the lowlands after the last steep descend back to the valley. The remaining trail was very relaxing along the Dudh Kosi river. 

Dudh Kosi river

Passed the last check point for the day at the Sagarmatha National Park entrance and reached Mount Kailash Lodge at almost sunset. Yay!!

hashbrown with fried egg again for dinner

Elevation at Pangboche:  3,985 m
Elevation at Monjo:  2,855 m
Elevation change:  -1,130 m
Distance: 23 km
Duration:  9 hours

Amount spent:
Breakfast - Rs 480
Lunch - Rs 750
Dinner - Rs 670
Night stay at Mount Kailash Lodge, double room - Rs 500
Souvenirs - Rs 300
Total = Rs 2700

Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 9 | 10 | 11