Memories · Personal

A beneficial Friday

As Deepavali is approaching soon, I decided to join Lighting Hearts Lighting Homes last Friday as a volunteer to pack beneficiary goodies for the ones who are in need. I brought my sister to gain an experience.

As it was our first time doing this kindness charity together, we made and met quite a few (new) friends from different range of age from teachers, students from Edgefield and Temasek, SINDA and neighbors that stay around Yishun Ring Rd.

There were two different bags that we had to pack. The orange one fills with detergent, shower cream, tooth paste/brush, sardines, condensed milk, milo, cracker, muruku, cookies and vegetable oil. While the blue bag fills with spices, laddus, dosa mix, salt, sugar, onions, potoates & some other vegetables.

Took about 4 hours to pack more than 2000 bags and it was a fun work-out for me.

I have always wanted to do something good, to give back to my fellow people but work has been killing me. Some other day I have to be on set, production meeting and then go for my night shift job.

In that 4 hours, I met many great people. Little children helped around, students came down with their teachers, people from different background regardless race and religion, we all became one. This is what I call true racial harmony.

I came down not for me. I came down for God.

Right after we were done packing for the first 2 hours, Santhi (i believe so his name) surprised us with a box of ice-cream to cool ourselves down. My sister and I were like happy kids. Told her “this is our sisters bonding day“.

And I guess when you are tired, you don’t even want to eat.

Wrapped up everything at 4-4.30pm, my sister and I went back straight ahead to Yishun to grab our early dinner. It had been a beneficial Friday for both of us and we would love to do this more often in the future. Probably going to bring my mom and brother too the next time.

** We are featured on Seithi Mediacorp last Saturday night!

Blogging · Vacation

Halal trip(s) to Bangkok

After three times going back and forth to Bangkok, I now have the gut to actually blog about my trip. First time is an experience, second & third trip is more to casual and food.

our two single beds room at i residence

My first trip to Bangkok was in the mid of August, 2016 with my colleague, Insyirah. It was our first time traveling together and I couldn’t recall how many days we stayed up there. We stayed at so called CBD area, i Residence Hotel in Silom. Quite convenient for us since our hotel is opposite Chong Nonsi BTS station.

Didn’t do much since it was our first time and also we couldn’t go anywhere that much due to bad weather. I remember clearly our second last day, we went to Chatuchak Market in the morning at two hours later, we were greeted by a stormy weather.

chicken sticky rice for 50 baht (if i’m not mistaken)

We managed to get a few items like food and clothes and had our brunch at this halal chicken rice shop somewhere in Chatuchak Market.

Second trip was in March 2018, with my fellow friends; Ain, Syai, Khai and Hazwan.

khai, me, ain, syai & hazwan

Many things have changed in just two years and we stayed at Citin Pratunam, a-three-star hotel with great hospitality and people. Because this is my second time to Bangkok and few times for them, they did all the plannings from food to whereabouts (even hotel too!)

Our first pit stop was Talad Neon, a walking distance from Palladium IT Pratunam. Oh before that, I’ll tell you about our hotel area.

Citin has two separated buildings, so the old one is located in front of a massage spa shop and the newest one located in front of 7-11, nearby to train track station (don’t worry, both buildings are a walking distance like… less than 15 seconds).

We took cab from Suvarnabhumi Airport since everyone had very bag luggages with them (except for mine!). But you can spend less than 350 baht (SG$16.00) and take Airport Rail Link (Suvarnabhumi to Ratchaprarop Station). By the way, 100 baht is SGD$1.55 (now, back then was SG$1.00).

For Muslim travellers, you don’t have to worry as Pratunam has so many halal food and restaurants! You can even find halal street food around the corner.

First stop was Talad Neon. Basically Talad Neon is like Chatuchak, except hipster version. But here is something you might want and need to know – their seafood stalls ARE NOT HALAL (even though they have the HALAL sign). They might just go ahead and say “yes halal halal” but look through their menu carefully (found out about this on my third trip, this year).

twisted potato stall at talad neon
i had bandung.

There are a few halal stalls, but more to finger food like cheesy fries, quails and some potato.

Next day, we had our brunch at Maedah Restaurant. This is one of the best halal restaurants that could be found around Pratunam area.

Ain was sick and so she didn’t join us for our second day trip. Syai stayed back in the room to take care of his wife (so sweet).

That night we had our dinner at Yana Restaurant. A bit distance from Siam Paragon and Khai, me and Hazwan tuktuk to get there.

I’m not really a big fan of eating many stuffs in a restaurant so I gotten myself a plate of pad thai. The food was nice and delicious and affordable.

This year, a week after Eid Mubarak, I went to Bangkok again but with Tasha.

Stayed at Citin Pratunam again (because why not! and affordable!) and this time around I went there with a limited budget, I did not bring my ATM card, paid everything in cash including make-ups.

Took SA City to our hotel and right after a few hours resting, we had our late lunch/early dinner at Al-Sana Restaurant. They serve Pakistani, Arabic and Thai food.

We then headed to Palladium Mall to do some shopping but to our surprise, the building closes early, at 8pm. So we walked around and took photos at their famous bridge.

not sure what’s the name of this bridge but it’s connected from palladium mall

Walked to Talad Neon and here’s the best part – this is where I found out about the fake halal food. I started to feel hungry and thought of getting some tom yam soup but when I looked around, I saw a few photos of pork. Asked one of the owners and she kept saying halal.

Then I decided to settle down with Thai milk tea first. The fellow man that sells drink is a Muslim man (i believe he’s a mixed of kelantanese & siam because he spoke to me in Malay). Asked him about food around Talad and he told me those seafood stalls are not halal. It is just to attract customers.

And what I meant by fake halal food is they serve and cook pork too. To play safe, better not have your seafood there. I will list down a few places where you can get halal food okay!

cheesy fries from one of the halal stalls.
halal lok lok nearby pratunam market

Next day, we went to Siam to shop some make-up. Eveandboy is haven for make-up lovers.

my favorite local brand, srichand

Also, we had our dinner at Zaabver Restaurant and I can say the price is a little bit pricey. Note: not complaining, but I was expecting more things on the menu. Had tom yam fried rice but not to my liking. Still prefer the street food nearby my hotel area (50 baht and have many prawns!).

My this trip is all about budget. We took tuktuk to everywhere we go. Even to Chatuchak! Worth the price for 200 baht and the driver even stopped us at this one place to let us try honey for free! But tragically, many shops closed due to fire breakdown.

We went there around afternoon and had a very light brunch in our room. We roamed quite long to find food in Chatuchak but again and we both became hangry. Then we found halal street food inside the market itself! I had pad thai for only 40 baht and ice coconut for 50 baht! My tummy smiled.

Had to have a dessert right after a delicious meal. This ice cream costs only 5 baht. I had mine in sarsi flavor (wanted thai tea but aunty heard wrongly).

Tasha didn’t believe me when I said Bangkok is a place for you to spend your money like a crazy person. She bought a lot of things especially snacks because Thailand has the bestest chips in 7-11!

So here are a few tips that I can give you (from my own experience):
ALWAYS ALWAYS smile because Thai people are rich with smiles and courtesy.

Never ever bargain too much and walk away. They don’t like to entertain people who keep on bargaining. Make sure know what you wanna get. Buy more than 2, you will get at least 50-100 baht off. For snacks, buy 5 free 1 (if you are lucky enough).

Speak their language – learn to speak Thai and they will enjoy more talking/give you discount. It works on me.

Be humble (ALWAYS)

Tips their hotel employees (they deserve because they are really helpful and patient with silly tourists).

For halal food:
Maedah Restaurant
Al-Sana Restaurant
Zabveer Restaurant
Halal street food, Palladium IT Mall
Yana Restaurant
Royal India (Siam Paragon)
Sinthorn Steakhouse
Yusup Pochana
Busaba Restaurant
Usman Thai food
AYA Japanese food

With that, I end my Bangkok trip blog here. For highlights, visit my Instagram to find out more!

Asian Food · Cooking · Simple dish

Simple rendang ayam

Hey semua. Yika nak share dengan readers menu simple masakan rendang ayam, recipe given by my mom. Bila tengok senarai bahan punyalah banyak tapi bila dah asingkan bahan-bahan untuk dikisar, ditumis, actually senang je. Yika akan pecahkan blog post ni dalam two languages – Malay and English so that my fellow readers who don’t understand Malay can actually learn and try to make this too.

Resepi dalam Melayu

Bahan-bahan:
1/2 ekor ayam dicuci bersih. Gaul dengan kunyit dan sedikit garam (tak nak letak pun tak apa) dan goreng setengah masak.
disangai: 3 sudu kecil ketumbar biji, 2 sudu kecil jintan halus, 2 sudu kecil jintan kasar, 1 sudu kecil lada hitam
1 helai daun kunyit (siat)
5 helai daun limau purut (siat)
1 keping asam keping
1/2 peket kerisik
Gula Melaka mengikut citarasa sendiri
Garam
1 kotak santan
2 batang serai (diketuk)

Bahan-bahan dikisar halus:
10 tangkai lada kering
10 biji bawang kecil atau 2 biji bawang besar (make sure betul2 besar)
4 ulas bawang putih
1 inci halia
1 inci lengkuas
1 batang serai
1 inci kunyit hidup ataupun 1 sudu kecil kunyit serbuk
Bahan-bahan yang telah disangai terlebih dahulu

Cara-cara memasak:

1. Panaskan 2 senduk masak minyak di dalam kuali. Masukkan serai yang telah diketuk dan tumis sehingga naik bau. Kemudian, masukkan rempah kisar dan tumis sehingga naik bau juga. Setelah rempah garing dan pecah minyak, barulah masuk ayam yang telah digoreng setengah tadi. Gaul rata sehingga sebati.

2. Masukkan santan kotak dan tambah air lagi 1 kotak. Kacau sebati. Kemudian, masukkan daun limau dan daun kunyit. Make sure api sedang. Kacau perlahan agar tidak hangit.

3. Sesudah kuah menjadi pekat, masukkan kerisik, garam dan asam keping, gula melaka dan kacau sebati supaya tidak menjadi hangit.

4. Jika ada rasa, matikan api dan hidangkan rendangnya!

Recipe in English

Ingredients:
1/2 chicken (clean & wash with lemon & salt) . Mix it up with turmeric powder and some salt (optional) and half cook it.
** fry without oil: 3 tablespoons coriander seeds, 2 tablespoons fennel seeds, 2 tablespoons cumin, 1 teaspoon black pepper
1 sheet of turmeric leaf (sift)
5 pieces of lime leaf (sift)
1 slice of tamarind peel
1/2 packet of fried coconut paste
Palm sugar according to taste
Salt
1 box of coconut milk (200ml)
2 lemongrass (knocked down)

Finely blend:
10 sticks of dried pepper
10 small onions or 2 large onions (make sure they are big)
4 cloves of garlic
1 inch ginger
1 inch galangal
1 lemongrass
1 inch turmeric or 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
The ingredients that were already fried without oil**

Method

1. Heat oil in a pan. Add the beaten lemongrass and stir-fry until you can smell the fragrant. Then, add in the blended mixture and stir until it fragrant too. Once the mixture is cooked and oil turns up, put in the half-fried chicken. Mix well.

2. Add coconut milk and add 200ml of water. Simmer well. Add in lemon and turmeric leaves. Make sure the fire is warm. Stir gently to keep it warm.

3. After the sauce has thickened, add fried coconut paste, salt and tamarind peel, palm sugar and stir well to keep it warm.

4. Once done, turn the fire off and you may now serve the rendang. Best eat with either lemang, ketupat or rice.






#wheretoeat · Dessert · Food

Sweet darkness at The Dark Gallery

I am not a sweet tooth kind of girl. I indulge bitter & sour more. But K on the other hand is hantu (ghost) chocolate. To be fair for both of us, I will always do some research that serves both sweet and not-really-sweet desserts in town, or at least nearby us.

Last two weeks, I discovered The Dark Gallery. You can find their stores at Takashimaya (B2-29), Millenia Walk (#01-K5) and Funan (#01-14).

To avoid many people, we decided to hang around at Millenia Walk and as a first timer, I’d always ask “What is your signature flavor/specialty?” Great service I gotta say (their employees are full with love and smile).

After quite some time, I decided to try thier 88% dark chocolate Sur del Lago along with waffle in a cup. And K had a slice of signature dark chocolate cake (66% dark chocolate mousse layered with fluffy sponge.) Not sure what drink K bought but I remember the name has white in it. Probably white coffee. Or white latte. I forgot.

I can actually taste that not-sweet-bitter in my ice-cream. I went “Ughh I WANT MORE!” and I even tried K’s 66% cake – it was delicious for me. But I’m not a big fan of mousse so I that’s why I skipped their cake part (I’m a simple person. No fancy cream).

As much as I wanted their waffle ice-cream, I had to skip that part because I had quite a heavy breakfast before going out.

Last week, I brought one of my Twitter friends, Nysa to The Dark Gallery (again). Gotta say… once I like one particular thing, I will definitely come over again to try their other menu.

And this time around I had 80% Signature dark chocolate and Nysa had Sea Salt Butterscotch with 64% Madagascar dark chocolate along with almond topping.

With this, I told her “This may not be special but as promised before I’ll bring you for an ice-cream date and since your birthday is around the corner, lemme treat you for some great dessert.”

Price starts from $5 and gotta say, this is one of a kind and affordable dessert place to hang out with your buddies and if you love dark chocolate as much as I do, you gotta try it out.

Memories · Personal

July 11th

A year ago, I met someone who changed my whole entire life without me knowing. Despite of the trust issues I had/have, I took the risk to get to know him.

My first impressions:
annoying, failed to be funny.

But he was adorable. And is still adorable.

He came into my life when I was at the peak of chasing my dream. He held my hand for the first time when he wanted to send me off to work.

We met three days straight in a row; 9th July, 10th July and 11th July.
I don’t know but I thought I felt quite safe to be around him.

Fast forward a year later, I am still with the same man who stole and caught my attention. And up to this day, he still treats me with affection and love like how he first saw me.

I have never felt so happier in my life. Truth to be told, my skin is getting glower and better because of the hype and happiness that I am surrounded with. In fact, the time when I went to Mecca and prayed for a miracle, it came true. He indeed is my answered prayers.

He entertains my childish behavior, lets me eat whatever I want and never say no to where I wanna go. But he doesn’t really like to see me in white shirts.

Our love life is like Brown and Cony. He is expressionless and I on the other side, hyper active.

I am so glad Allah brought him into my life. He reminds me more of my dad… like they both have the same characteristics.

To my dear K,
Thank you for never stop loving me. Thank you for always making yourself available whenever I need you. In our first year, you have seen quite a number of my emotional breakdowns moment and never once, you leave my side.

You make sure that I have everything, attention and space. You’d call me in the middle of your working timing to make sure I am okay.

I was having fun at Mayday Parade concert and you waited for me, though you felt tired and sleepy. You were there when grandpop was hospitalized. You smell extra good when you are mad at me.

I am a lucky girl. I am so lucky to have met you. My parents adore you too. And the best part is, your love for me never change. It remains the same from the first day we met.

Happy anniversary my love. May God bless us and ease our journey to be one.

Blogging · Personal · Vacation

Hijrah and reborn.

I am rewriting my Umrah trip. Not because I missed a few points. Nope.
Because, I feel much more contented and better now.

My life changed ever since my Umrah journey started on December 2, 2017. I felt petrified and overwhelmed at the same time. I had so many things on my mind; like… what did I do to deserve this?

Months before the day of my departure, I gave lame excuses to my parents. It took them at least 8 months to plan ahead for everything. Or maybe more, I don’t know.

Like others, I told myself “I don’t deserve this. I am a sinner.” But Lord is Merciful, He loves his أمة‎ (ummah). According to my ustaz, “He chooses you. He chose you for a reason. You may think someone else deserves this, but He wants you to be there for a reason.” That’s where I realized – I should be thankful.

I was surrounded with mixed feelings and emotions. I asked and told my closest friends, “What if I can’t do it? I’ve never prayed, will God forgive me? Will God give me a second chance?” & etc.

Two months beforehand, I self-studied how to pray. Started from the bottom.

I was lost in my own religion. I wanted to give up. I did not know what to do. I wandered about life a lot.

The day arrived. Friends and relatives all came down to send my mom, dad and me. We were supposed to take off at 4.35 pm but things happened. Our flight got delayed. 7 hours later, we flew off.

We reached Jeddah safely and I had butt sore from sitting in the plane and bus for more than 16 hours. We chose Afandi Travel to make this worship journey happen.

We had our stay at Leader Al-Muna Kareem Hotel in Madinah. It is 5 minutes walking distance away to Masjid Nabawi. My heart pounded real fast.

Is this really happening? Is Nabawi really in front of me? Am I dreaming?

When I first stepped my right foot at gate 26 Nabawi, I had tears of joy rolling out from my eyes. I was surrounded with peace, birds chirping here and there, beautiful voices from people reading the Koran and of course, beautiful windy weather.

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That night, I got to visit Ar-Rawdah with my dad’s wife and her relatives. Such a wonderful place to be. They say أخضر‎ is green, and so is Rawdah.

My days in Madinah was amazing. We got to visit Green Dome, Jabal Uhud, Masjid Quba’, Masjid Qiblatain, Shuhada’ Uhud and a few other places. But due to the cold weather, I fell sick and caught fever on my second day of ibadah.

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6th December; the day where I was feeling extra nervous and excited at the same time. I was so nervous that I actually slept the whole entire journey to Mecca.

We reached Mecca almost 11 pm. Quickly had my dinner and then, my journey of hijrah began.

Unbelievable. Astonished. Indescribable.
Those were the words that I had in my mind when I saw Kaabah.

My heart pounded real fast that I thought I was gonna get asthma attack. I cried while tawaf. I couldn’t believe the big black box in front of me is Kaabah.

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Tears of joy, tears of forgiveness.

I hugged my mom so tight. I couldn’t express or tell how sinful I was back then. I wondered why was I been given a second chance?

26 years (2017) of living, I finally found myself. God is real and so is everything on this earth. I felt so peaceful and my mind was as clear as the ocean.

For all this time, I have always asked God to lead me to the right path, show some guidance though I didn’t sujud at Him before my Umrah journey.

And He did.

I was so excited to perform my prayers at Al-Haram Mosque. Mom and I did our prayers at Tower 2 (if I’m not mistaken). And usually after Isyak, we would hang out at Zam Zam to either eat supper or just walk around.

Indeed, God is real and He is Merciful. I was prepared for new changes but I did not expect it to happen real quick.
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When I was at Tower 2, I kinda challenged God. Within minutes, I gotten my answers. Like I said, I was prepared but did not expect it to happen real quick.

I accepted my fate.
But at least I got my parents back. We’re back as one.

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My journey in Mecca didn’t end there. We visited Jabal Rahmah and Mount Arafat too!

I actually prayed for my love life at Jabal Rahmah hehehe.
When I was there, I knew I had to leave my past behind and start a fresh. Slowly but surely.

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our last subuh at mecca

Before we end our journey, we went back for tawaf wada’ and this time around, I wish don’t have to go back home. A part of me just wanna live in Mecca because it is so peaceful there.

And you know what’s more incredible besides this whole journey? Right after I landed back in Singapore, I wasn’t feeling sick anymore. My cough and fever disappeared.

POOF!

And my life has changed ever since then. My appearance may have changed but my personality remains the same.

I am like a reborn child; that my new journey starts at the age of 27.

As I slowly crawling searching for answers, I too, never stop looking for Him.
And as days go by, minutes turn to hours; many things have been happening to me lately; which I will break them all soon enough. (I just need to find more time to blog!)

I can never thank God for giving me a second chance to breathe. And also for making a few of the things I prayed before, came true.

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The power of prayers is real.