Friday, March 16, 2012

Food in Borneo: Elephant Cafe and Bistro

There's this place that I always frequent that serves good western food, Elephant Cafe and Bistro somewhere in Petanak (not far from Hock Lee Centre). The cafe looks nondescript on the outside, you'll recognize it from the tiny blue signage outside of the cafe; it's right next to this Chinese restaurant that has dragon's encircling its columns. 

The menu

Caesar Salad. It's served with tuna-like cream, parmesan cheese and croutons and hard boiled egg. Salads start at RM8 if I'm not mistaken.

Sunday Lunch. 

Caesar Salad and Mushroom Soup (that's my usual staple food at Elephant though I've been told that the Mixed Grill is equally yummy).

Met my aunt and her uni-mates while we were here. 

If you're opting for dessert, I'd recommend you this, Chocolate Delight (if I'm not mistaken). It's actually heated chocolate brownies served with ice-cream.

Mushroom Soup

Cajun Fish

Bread Butter Pudding

Seriously, Elephant is that yummy. Prices are very reasonable, though it's not as cheap as your usual pop-and-mom shop but just a wee bit pricier. Why don't try it out someday?

To food and even more glorious food.

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Friday, March 9, 2012

Entrusted Gifts

As tweeted by @IslamicThinking on Twitter.

There was once a very pious and knowledgeable scholar whose son passed away at the tender age of 6. The scholar was deeply affected by his loss. He would go to the Masjid for salah and return home immediately afterwards.

He stopped giving lectures or evening dars, as he would usually do before. Outside of his home he had stopped talking to people who lived in his neighbourhood. Upon seeing this routine for several weeks, the people of the town were severely concerned. They wished to help the Alim but did not know how to approach him.

A woman who was witnessing all of this came up with a plan, using her wisdom which Allah had blessed her with. She decided to take matters into her own hands and pay the scholar a visit. Upon reaching his house, she asked permission to enter. The Alim's wife told the woman to wait and went to her husband. Hearing this, the Alim was very disturbed. He told his wife to go back and tell the woman he wished not to speak to her. He told her to ask someone else. The woman was very reluctant in leaving. She continuously pleaded with the Alim that there was no one else who had studies Ilm and that she needed a specific question answering.

The Alim gave in and told the woman to go ahead and ask the question. The woman began speaking, "The question I wanted to ask has to be answered in accordance to Islamic law." The Alim nodded and gestured her to carry on.

"A friend of mine was given an Amanat (a possession which needed to be kept sage). She had the Amanat for a few years and grown fond of it. On the return to the owner, she became upset and didn't want to give the Amanat back. Should she keep it or return it?"

The Alim answered with ease and told her that the answer was to simply return the item as it did not belong to her friend in the first place. The woman asked again to make sure she had the right answer. "So even though my friend looked after the possession for so long, she still has to return it?"

The Alim repeated the answer again and added...
"Your friend should be grateful to the owner that the Amanat had been taken back so its not in her care anymore."

Then the woman spoke, "In the same way Allah had blessed you with a son. But he returned to Allah who was ultimately the owner." With saying that the woman left.

The Alim thanked Allah for opening his eyes. He raised his hands in Dua. The scholar then returned to his normal self much to the happiness of all the townspeople.

"From the (earth) did we create you, and into it shall we truen you, for from it shall we bring you out once again..." (Quran 20:55).


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Death by Chocolate

Went popcorn hunting for Garrett at Candylicious, One Utama and made two new best friends =).

Death by Chocolate =P.

A Chef Chocolate Sandwich! Haha!

Happy weekend y'all!

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Friday, March 2, 2012

Halal Food in Phuket

In the footsteps of my previous post for Halal Food in Bangkok, I decided that since I travel so much, why not I'd share with people on the places to go to when their tummies start rumbling. At least, I get to share the best of food (as per my experience) and also be able to warn you not to visit certain premises that are not so yummy. 

Looking for halal food in Phuket is not that difficult, I was told by the immigration staff at the airport (who coincidentally is also a Muslim) that 45% of the population in Phuket are Muslims. Halal food can be distinguished by the halal logo as per the drink above, so should you be hungry or looking for food, you can look for the nearby food joints or just drop by any 7-eleven stores. 
First stop: Phuket Town

Phuket Town is about 20 minutes drive to Patong, when people say it's quiet, it really is. There is absolutely no nightlife (not that I know of anyway) and once the sun has set, there's almost practically nothing to do. Since we were staying at Samkong Place (located in Phuket Town, not far from Bangkok Hospital) we decided to look around for any Muslim food nearby. 

This stall is just around the corner from Samkong Place. Upon realizing that the stall operator wears a hijab, we deducted, this must be a Muslim stall selling halal food, I'm sorry if you might find this to be stereotyping, i.e. hijab = muslim, and there's always a possibility that the stall operator is not a Muslim right? So, we decided on a second test to determine if the stall operator is a Muslim, we gave her Salaam and she answered the salaam in the Muslim way *syukur alhamdulillah*.

Here is the stall operator. However, a word of caution, she only speaks Thai. So if you have your Thai phrasebook or one of those apps SpeakThai apps in your phone, well, you can kinda communicate what you want. 

What does she serve? We don't know what's it called, but it looks and tastes like soupy beehoon (rice vermicelli) with marinated chicken. 

So what we have here is noodles, onion leaves, and chicken soup (with the huge portion of chicken of course!)

You can actually choose between beehoon or kuetiaw like noodles. 

Recommended! You can see that the stall is clean and well maintained and none of us had any bouts of diarrhea the next morning. Total cost for two soupy beehoon and drinks was around THB100 or in Malaysian Ringgit that should be around RM10. 
We discovered another Muslim cafe just before Bangkok Hospital, also deducted from the same method, distinguishing that the operators and patrons are hijab-wearers. For this cafe, it's easier for us to communicate with the owner as she also speaks Malay. I was informed that a majority of Thais who are from Narathiwat bordering on one of Malaysia's state, Kelantan can speak Malay.

There's a stall selling roti canai right next to the cafe. This was around 10 or 11 pm at night. We landed in Phuket at around 8.30 pm. Took us about 30 - 40 minutes to reach Samkong Place from the airport. After checking into the hotel, we discovered that we're starving for food. This place operates from 5 pm onwards so, this place is applicable to those who are looking for dinner and supper. 

We actually ordered Nasi Lemak but what arrived was Nasi Briyani.

This is their version of Roti Canai. If you like Roti Canai, we don't recommend ordering one at this cafe. Nothing similar (in taste) to our Roti Canai in Malaysia. 

Roti Canai with Egg. Tasted more like omelette to us. In Malaysia usually the roti canai is served with curry or dhal, but over here, it's served with sweetened milk. 

Not recommended. Although total cost of our food was also somewhere around THB150 (MYR15) but they did not serve what we want, the food is passable at best.
Second stop: Patong

You have not been to Phuket if you've not been to Patong. Seriously, the most popular beach in Phuket is Patong or Karon (about 10 minutes away from Patong) so you can expect the place to be buzzing with tourists and commercial activity. 

Tandoor is actually an Indian restaurant (we were informed that they have about three outlets in Patong). This one is the one near Patong Top. How to get there? Patong Top is located opposite of Hard Rock Cafe. Just walk straight down the street (behind me) then once you've reached a T junction, turn left. Tandoor is about 20 meters away. 

What we ordered:

Plain rice. 


Stir-fried mixed vegetables. 

Steamed fish.

Tom Yum Goong (Tom Yum with prawns).

Tom Yam Khai (Tom Yam with Chicken).

Recommended! All was yummy except for our Tom Yam Goong which we deduced to be missing one or two more herbs and spices. Amount spent was around THB800 (MYR80).

Another restaurant that we went to was the Rajbut Baba, located opposite the Patong beach. However, bear in mind that the beach stretches to about a few kilometers so if you're walking, it's quite a distance. The cafe is somewhat quite secluded from the main road (Thawiwong Road), there's a slight turning to the right before you see the restaurant. 

They claim to serve Malaysian and Indian food, however, when asked, the owner revealed that he has never stepped foot in Malaysia. He claims that there are Indians in Malaysia therefore Indian food must be Malaysian food as well. 

We ordered Chicken Briyani and Lamb Briyani. 

The owner later claims that he makes the food to order so if you want to ask for extras, there are no extras, you will just have to order the dish and he prepares them from scratch. 

Not recommended. The food was so-so and the price is slightly expensive. Total cost: THB1300 (equivalent to MYR130). 

Driving (or walking) around Patong you'll discover a lot of Arabic joints selling halal Arabic food. This time we decided to try a Lebanese Restaurant located at Rat-U-Thit Songroi Pi.

Pickles. Unfortunately for us, we decided to order Thai food instead of Lebanese cuisine. 

Green Curry Chicken. 

Plain rice. 

Tom Yam Goong. 

The worst Thai food ever! The meal costs us around THB1300 (MYR130). You might have better luck with Lebanese food though but we are not stepping into this restaurant ever again. 

Other restaurants/ cafes around Patong (however, we didn't manage to sample the food here, so the jury is still out on these restaurants/ cafes): 

Cairo. Right across the Lebanese restaurant. 

There's various halal kebabs scattered all over Patong. 

And also various Indian restaurants. 

So, the one thing that irked me was, where are all the delicious Thai food? There's Indian, Arabic, and Lebanese food everywhere but no Thai food? Lucky for us, on our third day (right after the Lebanese Restaurant fiasco) we accidentally stumbled upon this restaurant while leaving Patong for Phuket town.

Best Restaurant in Patong, Phuket: Tem-Eim Restaurant.

The restaurant is located right next a traffic light intersection (at Phra Barami Road) not far from Nurul Islamiyah Mosque.

The name of the restaurant, Tem-Eim Restaurant.

The menu, in Thai. 

The decor. Definitely Muslim, right?

They serve pre-cooked food. 

Longan drink. Absolute yum! 

Scrambled eggs. 

Bitter grout with salted eggs. 

Plain rice. 

Tom Yam Goong. 

Stir-fried fish. 

Papaya salad (i.e. kerabu betik)

They also serve salmon steak. This would cost you about THB200 (i.e. MYR20). 

And a very juicy beef steak. Also costing around THB200 or maybe less. 

Definitely recommended. I'd go again to this restaurant again if I have the chance to revisit Phuket. Our meal costs us about THB800 (i.e. MYR80) for food and drinks. Super cheap if you compare the fact that we ordered both local Thai cuisine and western food. 
Hope this helps those who are planning to travel to Phuket in the future.

For easy reference, you may want to check out my Facebook page [here], the halal guides are included in my photo albums complete with the restaurant's address (or the very least, directions on how to get there).

To wanderlust and food expeditions.

xoxo Mrs Fashionista