‘Superhero Mode’ @Strato, Troika KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit:  May 17 2015

Tired of eating around the Pavilion and Suria KLCC vicinity, my brother and I decided to done our capes to venture further afield – i.e. to cut across the KLCC Park over to Troika, a residential building complex designed by Norman Forster.  *superhero mode*🙌

In the heat of a tropical showdown, getting to the restaurant on foot is a mission in itself.  First, we have to contend with the heat, find our way through the park,  dodge speeding cars  then upon arriving at the destination to find out where among the 2 buildings that ‘famed’ Troika Sky Dining is located.

After enquiring with the guards on duty, we were escorted to the elevator and transported to level 23A…slightly dishevelled and sweaty!

Since we were early – the restaurant only opens at 12pm – we were seated at Claret (the bar), downstairs and given the drinks and food menu to peruse… Interestingly, being an Italian resto, there were pages and pages listing pasta and pizzas… with only 1 page of mains…hmmm…😏


I quite like ‘kiddy’ graphics for the menu

The downstairs bar area is called ‘Claret’

Circular stairs to ‘Strato’ restaurant

View down to ‘Claret’ bar


Strato, the Italian restaurant on the upper deck

Bench-style seating for the lone diners. Let the KLCC park views do the talkin’

No kidding – check out our obstacles in getting to our lunch here!


Part of KLCC park under construction/renovation – but see what I meant when I said getting to the resto was a mission! ☺️

We were entertained by a group of aunties reliving their high-school days, let loose in the marvel of the apps on their smartphones.  They were happily WhatsApp-ing and FaceBook-ing each other (whilst in the presence of each other nonetheless?!🙊…) and with their friends in virtual space.

Cute reminder, but why bother?? 😳

I ordered the No.3 Rickey (steep at RM36++) – gin, fresh lime, soda and no sugar – it was an OK drink.  I didn’t get any ‘kick’ out of it! 😛


My gin – and a disconnected but ‘wired’ lunch companion

While waiting for my lunch, my tummy started to rumble.  I guess it must be a sign of heatstroke… So off I went to the Ladies’… Sometimes, I wonder why in Malaysia or in other developing Asian countries, things are always half-done.  Here, we have a beautiful restaurant which was very thoughtfully conceived, but when it comes to the servicing part – e.g. the toilets, guests are made to run up/ down the dusty fire-stairs to a toilet that doesn’t even flush properly!

Complimentary Foccacia

Much to our delight, there’s set lunch where we only need to pick a choice for each course! RM50++ for 2 courses and RM65++ for 3 courses.  Naturally, we opted for the later, dessert was bonus for braving the ‘elements’.

The octopus salad was good. The deep-fried transparent leaves added a touch of colour to a  well composed plate of yellow, green, orange…and a squeeze of lemon imparted tanginess to the salted and smoked bean puree.

Grilled baby Octopus with smashed borlotti beans and lobster oil

I had a little ‘surprise’ when the beef tenderloin arrived as I find it very small.  The tenderloin might have weighed less 100g, but for the price of the set lunch, I should not be surprised. Nonetheless, it was well executed and I enjoyed it.


Pan seared grass fed Tenderloin, roasted root vegetables and porcini jus (there were typos in the menu, but I won’t harp on it! 😜)

Beef done medium-rare, accompanied by roasted turnips, shallots, baby carrot and spinach

Budino is a sweet traditional Italian dessert, rich and creamy like a custard pudding. Here, it is served with plumped-up sweetened cranberries and biscuit crumbs.  It wasn’t too sweet, so I was happy with my choice and it was a good end to our lunch!

Vanilla Budino & Mixed Berries Compote

We lingered a bit with our coffees after the meal…


Complimentary Coffee

Typically in tropical climes, after a really hot morning, dark clouds will roll in to bring in a storm for a cool-down.  Seeing the dark skies, we decided to hurry home…


The Twin Towers of Malaysia

Chocolate World Heritage

While sorting out my old memory cards, I found this series of chocolate sculptures that I took during my pre-blogging days.  Rather than putting them into storage, I thought I might share them in a post for everyone to see…





Great Wall of China


Great Wall of China


The Dolomites




Parthenon in Athens


Egyptian Tomb


Egyptian Tomb


Roman Amphitheatre


Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa


Arc de Triomphe in Paris


Japan’s Himeji Castle


New York’s Statue of Liberty


Saint Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square, Moscow


Saint Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square, Moscow


Sydney Opera House


India’s Taj Mahal

The chocolate sculpture is a pastry chef called Mirco Della Vecchia who has a series of accolades besides being a Guinness World Record Holder.


Armchair Traveller: Myanmar 

A friend of mine had just returned from his 2 weeks in Myanmar.  Whist overseas, I’ve been kept abreast on his adventure through pictures of places he’d visited and food he ate via WhatsApp.

Due to tight schedule, he had taken local Burmese in-bound flights e.g. Air Mandalay and Air Bagan.  Here is an article on air safety on Burmese airlines.

The pictures he sent had struck a wanderlust in me to visit Myanmar.  So here’s a sampler of Myanmar!  Hope you enjoy the pics and get as wanderlust as me!🐵

Cultural Sites: Yangoon, Lake Inle, Rangoon, Mandalay











And of course the Monks…

IMG_1848If anything, he wasn’t Temple nor Buddha-fatigued, only Food-fatigued…


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Saviour came on form of Burmese beers and Burmese Wines:



Dunhuang: Untold Tales, Untold Riches @Hong Kong Heritage Museum

Exhibition period:  26/11/2014 to 16/3/2015

Dunhuang is an oasis town on the edge of the Gobi Desert in western China along the Great Silk Road.  It was a famous center of Buddhist worship in the middle-ages, with pilgrims travelling from faraway to visit its cave shrines, comprising of hundreds of lavishly decorated caverns carved into a cliff on the city’s outskirts.

It was rediscovered by accident by a monk in the late last century.

The Dunhuang Library is hailed as one of the great archaeological discoveries of the twentieth century, on par with Tutankhamun’s tomb and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Here are some pictures of a fantastic exhibition put together by the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and no doubt Dunhuang is in my bucket list!

However, I better hurry because it ecosystem is very fragile.  Buildup of humidity and carbon dioxide—from visitors’ breath—are  flaking and discoloring the delicate pigment-on-plaster wall paintings, making it very vulnerable to mass tourism.  With Dunhuang entering the digital age, who knows, it might be closed to mass tourism in the future and the only way I get to see it will be via digital media!


The 15.6 meter recumbent Buddha, serene in death with anguished disciples and mourners, is an iconic image of Mogaoku. 


Artefacts from Silk Road times as well as replicas from the Mogao Caves.





Scrolls and Manuscripts:  The Diamond Sutra, a copy of a Chinese translation of one of the Buddha’s sermons, generally recognized as the oldest known example of a dated printed book.




Education Booklet

Some additional resources:

A really good article from The New Yorker here

The International Dunhuang Project: The Silk Road Online is a massive international collaboration to make information and images of all manuscripts, paintings, textiles and artefacts from Dunhuang and archaeological sites of the Eastern Silk Road freely available on the Internet and to encourage their use through educational and research programmes.

Friends of Dunhuang

Sunset @ La Perouse & Bare Island, Sydney

Date:  April 2015

La Perouse is a suburb in the south Eastern suburbs of Sydney with one of the most magical sunset and sunrise views in Sydney.  I was there to practice my photography and here are some pictures I took… enjoy!

While standing on shore at the car park, I watched the cargo boats pulling in…

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…to the oil refinery at Port Botany

IMG_2801La Perouse is also a popular spot for bridal photos because it provides a unique and dramatic backdrop,  I spotted 7 bridal parties photographing around the cliffs.  Can you spot the ladies in white?


Trying my hand at candid wedding photography.


Bare Island is the only island in Botany Bay and it’s also home to a historically significant fort that was built in 1885 to protect the area from an expected Russian invasion.  A guided tour ($10) is available on Sundays.  If you think that it looks familiar, you are right! Bare Island had been in Mission Impossible 2 with Tom Cruise.😜


Bare Island

On Bare Island, I took a walk around the cliff. There were many people taking pictures. The grounds are slippery in part, but some people seem to be able to walk and jump off the ledges in flip-flops!  The landscape is pretty –  the weathering of the rock has created a sort of alcove with striking strata of colours.

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More dramatic sunset on its way – cotton pink clouds and golden orange cliffs…



…and the ‘blue hour’ is not to be missed.


The oil refinery at Botany Bay


Dramatic sunset

La Perouse is also a great spot to watch the planes come in to land at Kingsford Smith Airport.


Planes descending towards Sydney Kingsford-Smith Airport

Task accomplished… then off to dinner at The Grounds, Alexandria.


Lamb cutlets


Ping Pong Chicken served in a pot

Earthworks @Galeri Petronas, Kuala Lumpar

Date of Visit: February 21 2015

iCloud is the best thing ever!  Wherever I go, I’ll take a photo with my iPhone to  share with my artistic friends abroad.  Today, I found some pictures of an exhibition that I had visited in Galeri Petronas a while back… since I had taken photos of the artist’s statement together with their works (apologies if I got the name of artist switched with another artist’s works, or forgot the name of the artist entirely), I shall share these incredible works with you.

Exhibition dates: 30/12/2014 to 22/03/2015

Earthworks is an exhibition by 6 Malaysian foremost ceramists. Dr Shamso Mohamad, Dr Salwa Ayob, Roslan Ahmad, Mohamad Radzi Ismail, Tan Vooi Yam and Awangko’ Hamdan Pgn that challenges the creation of beauty and the arts using the concept of mimesis to critique out eveyday lives.  They also put into question whether the value of contemporary ceramic works are at par with other objects from various museum collections. They offer a radical way of overcoming the stigma by examining the taxonomy of contemporary ceramic works of at, whether as merely works of art as museum objects.  Depending on their choice of references or subject matters and technique processes, these artists have nearly opened up endless options to aid the stigma in creating varied and lasting pieces of ceramic art.” – copied from brochure 😜

Tan Vooi Yam is a 3rd generation potter who has established himself as a ceramic designer with expertise in ceramic installations.


Artist: Tan Vooi Yam


Artist: Tan Vooi Yam


Artist: Tan Vooi Yam


Artist: Tan Vooi Yam

COCONUT SCRAPE by Dr Salwa Ayo teaches at the ceramic Department, faculty of ARt and design UiTM (Perak)b,

Similar to coconut, clay called ‘napal’ in Malay is very versatile raw material in the making of ceramic products.  Scrape or ‘kutai’ means old, but it does not denote weakness, age but is filled with knowledge and wisdom.  It befits the nature of coconut because when it ages, the coconut flesh becomes thicker with the essence of coconut milk to be used and which can also be cooked to become oil.


Artist: Dr Salwa Ayob

Artist: Dr Salwa Ayob

I LOVE SEAFOODS by M. Radzi Ismail, who has been exhibition ho works since 2002.

“Here and there, everyone eats seafood, Besides grilled fish, boiled or grilled cockles and mussel also among seafood menu that is delicious to eat.  Do you like to eat seafood?… me? hurmmm… I LOVE SEAFOODS!”


Artist: M. Radzi Ismail

OREN KAMPONG BOTTLE.  I liked this artist’s statement of intent and arrange of his works (demonstrating the types of firing finishes available) but unfortunately forgot to take down his name.

‘Oren Kampong Bottle’ is a cabornated orange drink that was very popular among the youths in lower-income families in the mid-60s.  Here, the bottle brought back memories of childhood nostalgia of the artist – where as a child, he will go looking for empty bottles to sell,  With the money earned, he would buy himself a bottle of ‘Oren Kampong’ which was the cheap soft drink in his days.  The artist explored various firing methods including Raku, Smoke, Fired Wood and Tomoku Galze in his works.  Each of these finishing methods was intended to deliver different sensation and experiences while also providing special characteristics to the works – “this artwork projects an emotional value with its ‘raw and rustic’ outlook for both Raku and Smoke finishes.  While the Tomoku glaze reflected the hope to bring back the old moments of glory, eventually both had its ‘sweet and sour’ moments, yet it was bubbly to us”.


‘Oren Kampong Bottle’

JOURNEY – School shoes are metaphors of ‘schooling’, children undergo formalistic learning process in schools from an early age.  School shoes are worn everyday as a ‘driving’ force (pun?)  for students to explore knowledge to equip their lives…



REMEMBRANCE by Awangko’ Hamdan Awang Arshad who teaches at  the Faculty of Applied and Creative Arts in Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.

“Remembrance or ‘Zikr’, explores the potential of memory, narrative and process as an approach in negotiating a sense of place and belonging.  Ordinary leather objects are explored and analysed, and is given individual expression.  This body of artwork is a mean to imbue and immortalise past memory ion tangible forms.”


Artist: Awangko’ Hamdan Awang Arshad


Artist: Awangko’ Hamdan Awang Arshad


Artist: Awangko’ Hamdan Awang Arshad

Thumbs Up For Ramen @Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, Pavilion KL

Date of Visit:  May 3 2015

I (or rather, my mom) had finally found the best ramen in Pavilion! 😄

The joint is on Level 6, in the Tokyo Street Precinct. I would say it is pricey (price for a regular sized bowl starts at RM32, add an extra RM4 to upgrade to large) but the quality is well worth it.  First, the broth did not leave an after taste – proving that no MSG was added.  The bone broth was cooked  and simmered away for ages to a milky creamy consistency as shown in Exhibit A below.

Note:  Eat the preserved plum first to get your saliva glands working.  The puckering sourness will heighten the sweetness of the bone broth! 

Exhibit A: Creamy Miso Ramen

Exhibit B: Spicy Miso Ramen

Exhibit B was spicy but not too spicy for me. I did find the broth on the salty side, but that is because I am that person who never season food with salt (thus a low sodium reading in my blood test). I should concur then, the saltiness is within reasonable standard for the normal mortals!
There are set meals available including cold ramen, sushi and rice sets.  No doubt a revisit is in order with a longer post forthcoming!

Name of the joint is: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, find it on FB here