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Gēn Penang – Tasting Menu Penang

Gēn 根 Penang after a year has settled very nicely like a genial neighbor to the century-old street food scene outside.

Just like her founder Chef Johnson Wong, Gēn 根 is winsome, delightful, and ever charming. This kitchen has stood the test of time in an unassuming, unpresumptuous way.

Ever since I’ve known Chef Johnson, he has held on to his vision of creating a purist cuisine – using only the freshest local ingredients.  He has over the years remained steadfast and takes great pride in his calling to provide a magical mouthfeel dining experience.

There aren’t many fine dining restaurants in Penang serving a clean delicate palate.

When everyone else battled for sensational cooking to assail the tongue and senses, Gēn 根 has kept to the pure essence of ingredients.

There are no heavy sauces, triple cheese or Blinding Chili Grenades in your mouth.

What you get to enjoy is a light touch and savor the bounty of Penang’s seafood and local produce and herbs.

If you are a regular, you will know what I mean.

Chef Johnson has taken the new tasting menu up another notch.

What is Gēn ?

The concept is simple. Gēn 根 is a “New Malaysian” Cuisine restaurant that serves creative cuisine made with local and seasonal ingredients.

Gēn uses the best Malaysian produce to deliver an articulation of the finer flavors and nuances of the culture with core values that embrace sustainability.

How does Gēn prep the dishes?

Chef Johnson believes in using local Malaysian ingredients. The restaurant makes everything from scratch in house using the best available ingredients found in Penang.

The cooking method is what transforms each dish into a tantalizing morsel with an intense burst of flavors interspace with a delicate touch.

Chef Johnson uses pickling, slow cooking and even fermenting.

The menu features the abundance of seafood found in the surrounding seas with a few dishes served raw. 

Let’s take a look at Gēn 根 New Tasting Menu

I have been going on a regional run and eating magical dishes from so many places.

From homes to seating low on stools that I need my companion to pull me from, to dining at an organic farm and eating freshly plucked greens and herbs.

In my travels, I’ve had pure capsaicin with the heat searing like an inferno in my mouth which I tried to neutralize with milk.

So returning to Penang and Gēn 根 Tasting Menu with a promised medley of local flavors was something I looked forward to.

The 7-course tasting menu has many surprises in between. In the end, I counted 13 excellent and memorable serves with a dessert that I enjoyed before, amped up.

The Appetizer 1. Charcoal Manitou Cubes, Sweetcorn Cream

Charcoal Manitou Cubes with Sweetcorn Cream topped with chili powder.

I’m just not a huge fan of the charcoal food trend. I know that activated charcoal has certain health benefits and I agree that visually the black coloring gives the food a fashionable appearance.

It’s just a personal preference; I love regular Manitou Cubes and Creamed Corn to death.

Gēn 根 version of the Sweetcorn Cream is one that I adore for its hint of smoky richness and sweet creamy texture with a tiny hint of spiciness. I can easily have seconds for this alone!

Charcoal Manitou Cubes, Sweetcorn Cream. Credit: Doris LimThe 3 Starters 2. Dough Stick, Shrimp, Jicama

A section of deep-fried Dough Stick (Youtiao) smeared with Shrimp Paste (a fermented condiment called “Hare Koh” locally) and garnished with Jicama (“Seng Kuang” or “Yam Bean)

Dough Stick, Shrimp, Jicama. Credit: Doris Lim3. Chicken Wing, Curry, Romaine Lettuce

A one bite cocktail serve, I love the intense curry flavor of Deep Fried Chicken Wing.

Chicken Wing, Curry, Romaine Lettuce. Credit: Doris Lim4. Papaya, White Prawn, Fermented Chili

The Papaya pickle is fine but I’m not a fan of raw mushy chopped Prawn and fermented chili. Again, this is a personal preference.

The Mains 5.Tuna, Kaffir Lime, Longan

This is the prettiest presentation that I rather enjoyed visually. The dish has raw local tuna, pickled Longan, local herbs and kaffir lime leaves.

Tuna, Kaffir Lime, Longan. Credit: Doris Lim6. Leek, Minced Pork, Dried Shrimp

Large leeks are generally more fibrous in texture. This dish is too overly fibrous and tough for me. The Minced Pork, Dried Shrimp, Black Moss, and Egg Yolk Sauce are rich and creamy which I enjoyed without the leeks.

Leek, Minced Pork, Dried Shrimp. Credit: Doris Lim7. Squid, Salted Duck Egg, Bitter Gourd

Normally I don’t particularly like cooked squid. I only like the Penang style “Sotong Bakar” which is grilled over hot coals and served with a dipping chili sauce.

I was very intrigued with this dish which is made entirely of Squid, Salted Duck Egg, Bitter Gourd and <yes> Squid Ink which is blended entirely. It is steamed into black spongy ribbons.

Yes, you’ve won me over Chef Johnson with this dish, knowing my aversion for black squid ink “everything”.

Squid, Salted Duck Egg, Bitter Gourd. Credit: Doris LimThe Palate Cleanser Bilimbing, Pomelo, Lemongrass

This palate cleanser is a neutral-flavored coconut pannacotta served with the citrusy sweet juice sacs of the Pomelo intact. The combination has the acidic flavors of belimbing (baby star fruit), lemongrass oil, and kaffir leaves without the bitterness that is associated with grapefruits.

Bilimbing, Pomelo, Lemongrass. Credit: Doris Lim8. Flower Crab, Beansprout, Peanut

This delicious flower crab wanton is visually deceiving but a delight to savor. Again, I carved for half a dozen plump wantons in that delicious gravy.

Flower Crab, Beansprout, Peanut. Credit: Doris Lim9. String Ray, Ginger Flower, Stinky Bean

This dish has such strong elements in a combination of flavors. Sting Ray, combined with the strong pervasive and lingering smell of the Stinky Bean (Petai) is not a Chef can pull off successfully.

Chef Johnson’s use of the marvelous Torch Ginger Flower and Curry Leaves imparts an intoxicating, hypnotizing special fragrance to this dish that is beautiful.

String Ray, Ginger Flower, Stinky Bean. Credit: Doris Lim10. Duck, Old Cucumber, Herbal

Old cucumber soup is a nourishing flavorful classic slow-cooked Cantonese soup that is heartwarming and simply delicious. Chef Johnson’s modern twist on the recipe has grilled Duck Breast, dried Enoki Mushroom, slices of Old Cucumber and Black Garlic Powder.

This anti-aging Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup is both satisfying and soul-warming.

Duck, Old Cucumber, Herbal. Credit: Doris LimThe Desserts 11. “My Childhood Memory Part 1”

This is a brilliant interpretation of his favorite childhood dessert. I have had pineapple..

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10 Signs That You’re Now a Full Fledge Tai Tai 太太

Tai Tai 太太 is a Chinese colloquial term for a wealthy married woman who does not work. She can be the wife of an elected leader-wife or even a head-wife of a multi-wife (polygynous / sister-wife) family. Tai Tai has the same euphemistic value as “lady” in English; sometimes flattery, sometimes subtle insult.

The term may come to imply a wife who was “dependent on her newly rising bourgeois husband” for her consumerist lifestyle.

In the context of lifestyle, one author describes it as equivalent to the English term “ladies who lunch”.

I like the “ladies who lunch” context very much. In particularly, lunch.

In Asia, a Tai Tai is the wives of affluent men who are often seen shopping at luxury boutiques and while away hours at expensive cafes and restaurants. Mind you, it is not all café and restaurants but certain premises that are popular for the ladies to hang out. 

Is there a Cultural significance?

For those of us who grew up reading American writer and novelist, Pearl S. Buck, in her novel Three Daughters of Madame Liang, Tai Tai 太太 is used to imply a wife who was “dependent on her newly rising bourgeois husband” for her consumerist lifestyle. Pearl Buck uses the well-known term Tai Tai 太太 to describe Madame Liang. 

How do you know that you are a full fledge Tai Tai?

The full definition is of course, “A lady of privileged means, with lots of leisure time and money to spend”.



Booking.com

Lots of Leisure Time

Tai Tai is ever youthful. Period. They have pale, luminously flawless smooth skin, soft hands without any signs of any wrinkles or blemish.

#1 Leisure time is spent primarily to pamper herself with long spa, massage sessions, and facial treatments.

#2 Time to exercise and pamper takes top priority to maintain a youthful lean body, Tai Tai join the top gyms and country club for private one on one personal training session.

#3 Most Tai Tai is well toned and eats healthily. No, they don’t eat a diet of fried foods and cheeses. A glass of good wine and some cheese to nibble are fine. Carbs make you bloat so take heart.

#4 For a full fledge Tai Tai of manicured and pedicured fingers and toes, you will need good shoes. Think glass slippers and you get the idea. It is not easy to step into their shoes. And in random order are the coveted brands Alexander McQueen, Brian Atwood, Manolo Blahnik, Gucci, Christian Louboutin, Miu Miu, Jimmy Choo, Walter Steiger and the MICAM (which I adore).

Shh…

#5 Gossip. Only the best are lucky enough to be a member of this exclusive circle of women and worthy to be gossiped about. The ladies are often seen at upscale cafes having high tea and the juiciest gossip. Of course, they wear the latest fashion trends.

#6 A sophisticated sense of style is the pre-requisite. Tai Tai follows the latest fashion trends gleaned from reading fashion magazines. The expensive glossy kind, okay.

#7 Of course, Tai Tai has an arsenal of classy jewelry, and eyewear from famous brands such as Chanel or Gucci and minimum shoes from Salvatore Ferragamo, Jimmy Choo and please, at least an Oran sandal with the with iconic “H” cut-out, Hermes style.

#8 Travel is the top favorite activity where Tai Tai often head off to the fashion capitals several times of the year. Think “Crazy Rich Asians”. Places to visit include Paris, Milan, or London for luxury buys.

#9 Top choice for a handbag is Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Fendi’s Iconic Peekaboo Bag is a must-have for fun and of course, Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu bags are another must have.

#10 Latest Tech gear is, of course, an iPhone Xs Max no less.

Now that you know the 10 Signs That You’re Now a Full Fledge Tai Tai 太太 it’s time to make travel plans.



Booking.com

The post 10 Signs That You’re Now a Full Fledge Tai Tai 太太 appeared first on Smart Dory.

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How To Start Your Own Homestay Business and Make a Recurring Passive Income for Your Travels

Sometimes when I travel with a group, we will stay in an apartment homestay rather than a hotel. This is great as we work together online. Plus we get to chill out late at night to watch a game or Netflix.

Sometimes, we get an hour or two of work in as well.

For most guests, high-speed internet is a must and this is one of the requirements that I look for when I book.

If you’re thinking of hosting an apartment, holiday home, guest house or even a homestay, I’ll like to share some ideas that will make you a great host and repeat business.

What you will want as a host are good quiet tenants who don’t cook up a storm, flood the bathroom and party at the pool area.

Business people and entrepreneurs are good guests to have. We don’t touch your “stuff” and it’s easier to run a rental this way.

Some of my friends, who run an Apartment for over three years, tell me that it is a good investment. You will reap the rewards if you do it right.

Here are the tips on how to be not just a good homestay host, but a great one.

Be Honest With Guests.

While your apartment homestay may not be brimming with ideas nor be the nicest apartment ever, you will do well manage your guests’ expectations.

People are happiest when you price it accordingly.

If there are stairs, show these. Using poetic license (Photoshop) to patch up that hole in the wall or clean up pipes etc. just doesn’t work in your favor.

Be upfront about the condition of your rental. If it has the world’s smallest bathroom and a shower that doesn’t drain properly; please fix the shower. Please don’t magically make the bathroom bigger or worst still use another photo from “elsewhere”.

Be open about the condition of your apartment. The photos must show the room just like what is described.

If you price it low, you will attract budget travelers and backpackers who just wanted a cheap, clean room to rest in.

Ideas: Remember it is the reviews that make or break your listing.

Familiarize Yourself with the Local Laws

If you are renting an apartment, the Management Cooperation has are rules and conditions that you need to adhere to.

Even though many others are hosting their rooms and apartments are doing it without letting their landlords know, the tenants are actually going against their leases.  This counts as subletting and if your landlord or neighbors find out about it, there may be consequences.

Find out about the local laws so you can have a plan, or even buying your own space to list.

You can also try finding a landlord who doesn’t mind. This might prove to be a challenge as noisy occupants will cause the neighbors to complain.

Be flexible with check-in and check-out time

Sometimes the best vacation plans fall short due to a flight or car delay your guests might encounter. So be contactable both ways.

Find out their flight schedule and sending a text to enquire works in your favor. Your guests will know that they can count on you to have a smooth vacation no matter.



join.booking.com

Adopt a Business Mindset by doing a bit more than what you promised in the listing.

If you plan to make business through Apartment hosting, you will need to consider how you can make your listing more attractive.

A friend of mine offers some 3 in one Coffee and Milo and a nice box of famous Local Biscuits to guests. He also throws in a few Instant Cup Noodles for good measure in case of very late check-in.

This is appreciated by his guest as sometimes they are too tired to go out to eat.

Maybe it’s providing breakfast and coffee. A loaf of bread with some jam is always good.

You could provide a free guided walk through your neighborhood.

Encourage them to stay longer by giving a discount on the 4th night for instance.

If you are able to offer fresh coffee every morning or even go the extra mile to get them an iron and ironing board, think about how happy you would have made your guest.

The reward is in gaining both their friendship and trust and hopefully more recommendations and good reviews.

Plus getting some electrical items are a deductible business expense which your other guests can use.

In your hosting profile, you can turn on Smart Pricing feature, which lets you set your prices to automatically go up or down. This is based on the demand for listings like yours which you can control by settings that you can adjust at any time.

Send guests an email a week prior to their arrival.

If you are able to personalize your email written to your guests, you can send them some information about the house as well as the neighborhood. This will include places to eat, cafes, gyms, and activities.

An email is great as some international visitors may not have access to data on their phones.

Another helpful tip is to find out if they are driving to your home. If they are, tell them of the parking restrictions, if any.

Tips: If your guests are driving, tell them where to park.

Think of how pampered your guests will feel if you include breakfast during their stay. Why not provide this option when they book? Credit: Booking.com Ask about their food preferences a restriction if any when they book.

When you email your guest and ask how they take their coffee, or if they have any dietary restrictions, it shows that you care. If you decide to leave some fruit for my guests, give them some options. Perhaps there is some fruit that they like to try.

If it’s a Durian or Mangosteen, you can put in a restriction to allowing certain items in the home, say No Pork or Beef.

Tips: Be sensitive, your guests may have religious restrictions on the consumption of pork or beef. Some could have a nut or shellfish allergy. 

On Arrival – Have soft music playing when your guests arrive.

Choose elevator music or soft classical piano or instrumental rather than other genres.

It’s a nice way to set a relaxing atmosphere.

Tips: Stick to classical instrumental music rather than what is current. 

Whenever possible, greet guests when they arrive at the door

Offer to carry their belongings. Guest appreciate some help with bags and a friendly face to greet them upon arrival. A Warm Welcome puts people at ease.

Sometimes guests are stressed out or may not be feeling well on arrival. Be sensitive and ask them if there’s anything they need.

Offer them a drink, even if it is cold water that you fill up in a glass bottle in the fridge.  Offer a hot drink, coffee, tea or even a Milo if they want.

Sometimes they may need something for a migraine or just need to have some water and sleep off jetlag.

Idea: Create a simple DIY a welcome basket, filled with 3 in one beverage, biscuits or some snacks.

Use a key-less lock if you’re not able to greet them.

I have stayed at apartments where the owners send me a preset code that allows me to open their letterbox to pick up the house keys. This offer the guests complete security to know that no one else has a copy of the keys.

For the owner, the guest is able to check in (very late) and leave (very early) without any worries about lost keys!

Idea: Add the apartment keys to a Badge Holder Card which includes your contact phone number or email on the tag. You can add some basic information such as handy phone numbers for emergencies.

Guests appreciate a suitcase stand where they can plop their luggage. Give them a quick tour.

If you are there, offer a quick tour where you turn all the switches and appliance to show that everything is in good working condition.

If you’re not at home, leave them notes that explain where all the essential items are kept.

You can always drop by later with any extras that they require.

Idea: Have an affordable, sturdy suitcase stand where guests can plop their luggage.

Invest in good ambient lighting to set the right mood

Good ambient lighting makes your home feel warm and welcoming even if you are not there. General lighting should be bright enough without being harsh or cause shadows. Make sure there is sufficient light and there are no dark unlit spots in the house.

Idea: Your guest will love the warm ambient lighting from interesting lamps and wall lights!

Leave small explainer notes on switches and around all of the electrical appliance.

This will help guests navigate the home so they know which light switches to use. You can ask them to leave one or turn off the timer if necessary.

Tips: Your guest will appreciate your effort to label the switches!

Think Positive: Most of Your Guests Will Be Amazing

With repeat customers that come through recommendations of former Apartment guests, you will receive bookings from people who are amazing and well behaved.

They won’t expect you to do the dishes. However, you can provide daily cleaning service at an additional cost.

Idea: A good host tends to attract a good house guest which adds a fun cultural component to the experience for all.



join.booking.com

The Odd Guests – Stick up for yourself

Sometimes you may not get all good guests and you may need to get some to leave. This is not meant to scare you but sometimes you may get one or two odd guests.

You can fill out the House Rules section on your host profile so guests know what’s okay — and what’s not — while they’re staying there. Just be prepared to enforce if these are broken.

A friend of mine who runs a homestay once asked one guest to leave for smoking in the house.

Some could behave badly by bringing random girls back to the apartment or make disrespectful comments to other people living there as well.

Idea: If someone does something that makes you or your other guests feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to stand your ground.

When you make the bedroom look so comfortable, guests will book multiple nights stay. Credit: Booking.com Make Minimum-Night Stay Requirements

This is to make you rental and maintenance cost makes sense. If you let people book just one night without a minimum night stay, it is not worth it. A one-night stay over the weekend will make you miss out on a longer and more lucrative booking for long weekends!

You will be doing a lot of laundry and clean-up more every day!

Idea: List your place with minimum-night stay requirements. It will definitely work out better for you.

Keep All Payments and Messaging Within Listing

If you’re just starting out and testing the market, you can list your place and pay no commission on your first five bookings on booking.com

Using a booking engine has the added security benefit since the company vets and knows who is coming into your home.

The booking engine takes a small cut of your profit. It is safer to let the booking engine handle the payment instead of getting paid in cash.  Handling your booking one-on-one without the middleman will leave your vulnerable as there is no record of who actually stays with you.

When you host your place through the service you are always assured of peace of mind and feel confident about welcoming guests.

You get to set your rules, your prices, policies and regulations for guests. Booking.com helps you – Access 24/7 support and guest misconduct reports.

So if something unexpected happens, the misbehavior can be reported to the team Booking.com

You will want to visit and stay in a beautiful city, so would your guests. Credit: Booking.com Use Referral Links to Grow Your Travel Fund

Many tourists start with search engines and some travelers start off by looking for maps. Either way, if you want to make some extra cash whether you are a traveler or a host, you get a unique referral link that earns you cash whenever they get someone to sign up.

Think Twice About Turning on Automatic Booking

One word of advice, it is smarter to host the entire apartment out than just a room in your home as you will be living there at the same time.

You may get more bookings if you activate the auto-booking feature BUT getting a guest with the same lifestyle as yours may be a problem.

So it is always good to find out the nature of their visit, so you can decline the reservation.

Clean! Cleaner! Cleanest!

A meticulously cleaned accommodation means the shower, toilet, sink, floors behind every door is swept and cleaned after every guest checks out.

There is no better way to make a good impression other than a spotlessly clean home free from smudges and fingerprints.

Idea: Clean means everything is CLEAN!

Create a Fridge “Concierge Station” and leave plenty of information on to do in the area

You can offer free brochures of sightseeing spots, travel books, and menus of local attractions and restaurants. Leave them a sheet of information about buses and transportation, museum information, and short local day trips to take.

One of the things I like the most when I am hosted is finding out fun things to see and do in the neighborhood.

So if you have coupons, maps or helpful brochures you could hang these by refrigerator magnet on your fridge. Your guest could use the references and you need not repeat yourself every time someone stays at your place.

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21 Great Apartment Homestay Ideas That You Can Share With Your Friends

Sometimes when I travel with a group, we will stay in an apartment homestay rather than a hotel. This is great as we work together online. Plus we get to chill out late at night to watch a game or Netflix.

Sometimes, we get an hour or two of work in as well.

For most guests, high-speed internet is a must and this is one of the requirements that I look for when I book.

If you’re thinking of hosting an apartment, holiday home, guest house or even a homestay, I’ll like to share some ideas that will make you a great host and repeat business.

What you will want as a host are good quiet tenants who don’t cook up a storm, flood the bathroom and party at the pool area.

Business people and entrepreneurs are good guests to have. We don’t touch your “stuff” and it’s easier to run a rental this way.

Some of my friends, who run an Apartment for over three years, tell me that it is a good investment. You will reap the rewards if you do it right.

Here are the tips on how to be not just a good Apartment host, but a great one.

Be Honest With Guests.

While your apartment homestay may not be brimming with ideas nor be the nicest apartment ever, you will do well manage your guests’ expectations.

People are happiest when you price it accordingly.

If there are stairs, show these. Using poetic license (Photoshop) to patch up that hole in the wall or clean up pipes etc. just doesn’t work in your favor.

Be upfront about the condition of your rental. If it has the world’s smallest bathroom and a shower that doesn’t drain properly; please fix the shower. Please don’t magically make the bathroom bigger or worst still use another photo from “elsewhere”.

Be open about the condition of your apartment. The photos must show the room just like what is described.

If you price it low, you will attract budget travelers and backpackers who just wanted a cheap, clean room to rest in.

Ideas: Remember it is the reviews that make or break your listing.

Familiarize Yourself with the Local Laws

If you are renting an apartment, the Management Cooperation has are rules and conditions that you need to adhere to.

Even though many others are hosting their rooms and apartments are doing it without letting their landlords know, the tenants are actually going against their leases.  This counts as subletting and if your landlord or neighbors find out about it, there may be consequences.

Find out about the local laws so you can have a plan, or even buying your own space to list.

You can also try finding a landlord who doesn’t mind. This might prove to be a challenge as noisy occupants will cause the neighbors to complain.

Be flexible with check-in and check-out time

Sometimes the best vacation plans fall short due to a flight or car delay your guests might encounter. So be contactable both ways.

Find out their flight schedule and sending a text to enquire works in your favor. Your guests will know that they can count on you to have a smooth vacation no matter.



join.booking.com

Adopt a Business Mindset by doing a bit more than what you promised in the listing.

If you plan to make business through Apartment hosting, you will need to consider how you can make your listing more attractive.

A friend of mine offers some 3 in one Coffee and Milo and a nice box of famous Local Biscuits to guests. He also throws in a few Instant Cup Noodles for good measure in case of very late check-in.

This is appreciated by his guest as sometimes they are too tired to go out to eat.

Maybe it’s providing breakfast and coffee. A loaf of bread with some jam is always good.

You could provide a free guided walk through your neighborhood.

Encourage them to stay longer by giving a discount on the 4th night for instance.

If you are able to offer fresh coffee every morning or even go the extra mile to get them an iron and ironing board, think about how happy you would have made your guest.

The reward is in gaining both their friendship and trust and hopefully more recommendations and good reviews.

Plus getting some electrical items are a deductible business expense which your other guests can use.

In your hosting profile, you can turn on Smart Pricing feature, which lets you set your prices to automatically go up or down. This is based on the demand for listings like yours which you can control by settings that you can adjust at any time.

Send guests an email a week prior to their arrival.

If you are able to personalize your email written to your guests, you can send them some information about the house as well as the neighborhood. This will include places to eat, cafes, gyms, and activities.

An email is great as some international visitors may not have access to data on their phones.

Another helpful tip is to find out if they are driving to your home. If they are, tell them of the parking restrictions, if any.

Tips: If your guests are driving, tell them where to park.

Think of how pampered your guests will feel if you include breakfast during their stay. Why not provide this option when they book? Ask about their food preferences a restriction if any when they book.

When you email your guest and ask how they take their coffee, or if they have any dietary restrictions, it shows that you care. If you decide to leave some fruit for my guests, give them some options. Perhaps there is some fruit that they like to try.

If it’s a Durian or Mangosteen, you can put in a restriction to allowing certain items in the home, say No Pork or Beef.

Tips: Be sensitive, your guests may have religious restrictions on the consumption of pork or beef. Some could have a nut or shellfish allergy. 

On Arrival – Have soft music playing when your guests arrive.

Choose elevator music or soft classical piano or instrumental rather than other genres.

It’s a nice way to set a relaxing atmosphere.

Tips: Stick to classical instrumental music rather than what is current. 

Whenever possible, greet guests when they arrive at the door

Offer to carry their belongings. Guest appreciate some help with bags and a friendly face to greet them upon arrival. A Warm welcomes put people at ease.

Sometimes guests are stressed out or may not be feeling well on arrival. Be sensitive and ask them if there’s anything they need.

Offer them a drink, even if it is cold water that you fill up in a glass bottle in the fridge.  Offer a hot drink, coffee, tea or even a Milo if they want.

Sometimes they may need something for a migraine or just need to have some water and sleep off jetlag.

Idea: Create a simple DIY a welcome basket, filled with 3 in one beverage, biscuits or some snacks.

Use a key-less lock if you’re not able to greet them.

I have stayed at apartments where the owners send me a preset code that allows me to open their letterbox to pick up the house keys. This offer the guests complete security to know that no one else has a copy of the keys.

For the owner, the guest is able to check in (very late) and leave (very early) without any worries about lost keys!

Idea: Add the apartment keys to a Badge Holder Card which includes your contact phone number or email on the tag. You can add some basic information such as handy phone numbers for emergencies.

Guests appreciate a suitcase stand where they can plop their luggage. Give them a quick tour.

If you are there, offer a quick tour where you turn all the switches and appliance to show that everything is in good working condition.

If you’re not at home, leave them notes that explain where all the essential items are kept.

You can always drop by later with any extras that they require.

Idea: Have an affordable, sturdy suitcase stand where guests can plop their luggage.

Invest in good ambient lighting to set the right mood

Good ambient lighting makes your home feel warm and welcoming even if you are not there. General lighting should be bright enough without being harsh or cause shadows. Make sure there is sufficient light and there are no dark unlit spots in the house.

Idea: Your guest will love the warm ambient lighting from interesting lamps and wall lights!

Leave small explainer notes on switches and around all of the electrical appliance.

This will help guests navigate the home so they know which light switches to use. You can ask them to leave one or turn off the timer if necessary.

Tips: Your guest will appreciate your effort to label the switches!

Think Positive: Most of Your Guests Will Be Amazing

With repeat customers that come through recommendations of former Apartment guests, you will receive bookings from people who are amazing and well behaved.

They won’t expect you to do the dishes. However, you can provide daily cleaning service at an additional cost.

Idea: A good host tends to attract a good house guest which adds a fun cultural component to the experience for all.



join.booking.com

The Odd Guests – Stick up for yourself

Sometimes you may not get all good guests and you may need to get some to leave. This is not meant to scare you but sometimes you may get one or two odd guests.

You can fill out the House Rules section on your host profile so guests know what’s okay — and what’s not — while they’re staying there. Just be prepared to enforce if these are broken.

A friend of mine asked one guest to leave for smoking in the house.

Some could behave badly by bringing random girls back to the apartment or make disrespectful comments to other people living there as well.

Idea: If someone does something that makes you or your other guests feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to stand your ground.

When you make the bedroom look so comfortable, guests will book multiple nights stay. Make Minimum-Night Stay Requirements

This is to make you rental and maintenance cost makes sense. If you let people book just one night without a minimum night stay, it is not worth it. A one-night stay over the weekend will make you miss out on a longer and more lucrative booking for long weekends!

You will be doing a lot of laundry and clean-up more every day!

Idea: List your place with minimum-night stay requirements. It will definitely work out better for you.

Keep All Payments and Messaging Within Listing

If you’re just starting out and testing the market, you can list your place and pay no commission on your first five bookings on booking.com

Using a booking engine has the added security benefit since the company vets and knows who is coming into your home.

The booking engine takes a small cut of your profit. It is safer to let the booking engine handle the payment instead of getting paid in cash.  Handling your booking one-on-one without the middleman will leave your vulnerable as there is no record of who actually stays with you.

When you host your place through the service you are always assured of peace of mind and feel confident about welcoming guests.

You get to set your rules, your prices, policies and regulations for guests. Booking.com helps you – Access 24/7 support and guest misconduct reports.

So if something unexpected happens, the misbehavior can be reported to the team Booking.com

You will want to visit and stay in a beautiful city, so would your guests. Use Referral Links to Grow Your Travel Fund

Many tourists start with search engines and some travelers start off by looking for maps. Either way, if you want to make some extra cash whether you are a traveler or a host, you get a unique referral link that earns you cash whenever they get someone to sign up.

Think Twice About Turning on Automatic Booking

One word of advice, it is smarter to host the entire apartment out than just a room in your home as you will be living there at the same time.

You may get more bookings if you activate the auto-booking feature BUT getting a guest with the same lifestyle as yours may be a problem.

So it is always good to find out the nature of their visit, so you can decline the reservation.

Clean! Cleaner! Cleanest!

A meticulously cleaned accommodation means the shower, toilet, sink, floors behind every door is swept and cleaned after every guest checks out.

There is no better way to make a good impression other than a spotlessly clean home free from smudges and fingerprints.

Idea: Clean means everything is CLEAN!

Create a Fridge “Concierge Station” and leave plenty of information on to do in the area

You can offer free brochures of sightseeing spots, travel books, and menus of local attractions and restaurants. Leave them a sheet of information about buses and transportation, museum information, and short local day trips to take.

One of the things I like the most when I am hosted is finding out fun things to see and do in the neighborhood.

So if you have coupons, maps or helpful brochures you could hang these by refrigerator magnet on your fridge. Your guest could use the references and you need not repeat yourself every time someone stays at your place.

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Gēn Penang – Tasting Menu Penang

Gēn 根 Penang after a year has settled very nicely like a genial neighbor to the century-old street food scene outside.

Just like her founder Chef Johnson Wong, Gēn 根 is winsome, delightful, and ever charming. This kitchen has stood the test of time in an unassuming, unpresumptuous way.

Ever since I’ve known Chef Johnson, he has held on to his vision of creating a purist cuisine – using only the freshest local ingredients.  He has over the years remained steadfast and takes great pride in his calling to provide a magical mouthfeel dining experience.

There aren’t many fine dining restaurants in Penang serving a clean delicate palate.

When everyone else battled for sensational cooking to assail the tongue and senses, Gēn 根 has kept to the pure essence of ingredients.

There are no heavy sauces, triple cheese or Blinding Chili Grenades in your mouth.

What you get to enjoy is a light touch and savor the bounty of Penang’s seafood and local produce and herbs.

If you are a regular, you will know what I mean.

Chef Johnson has taken the new tasting menu up another notch.

What is Gēn ?

The concept is simple. Gēn 根 is a “New Malaysian” Cuisine restaurant that serves creative cuisine made with local and seasonal ingredients.

Gēn uses the best Malaysian produce to deliver an articulation of the finer flavors and nuances of the culture with core values that embrace sustainability.

How does Gēn prep the dishes?

Chef Johnson believes in using local Malaysian ingredients. The restaurant makes everything from scratch in house using the best available ingredients found in Penang.

The cooking method is what transforms each dish into a tantalizing morsel with an intense burst of flavors interspace with a delicate touch.

Chef Johnson uses pickling, slow cooking and even fermenting.

The menu features the abundance of seafood found in the surrounding seas with a few dishes served raw. 

Let’s take a look at Gēn 根 New Tasting Menu

I have been going on a regional run and eating magical dishes from so many places.

From homes to seating low on stools that I need my companion to pull me from, to dining at an organic farm and eating freshly plucked greens and herbs.

In my travels, I’ve had pure capsaicin with the heat searing like an inferno in my mouth which I tried to neutralize with milk.

So returning to Penang and Gēn 根 Tasting Menu with a promised medley of local flavors was something I looked forward to.

The 7-course tasting menu has many surprises in between. In the end, I counted 13 excellent and memorable serves with a dessert that I enjoyed before, amped up.

The Appetizer 1. Charcoal Manitou Cubes, Sweetcorn Cream

Charcoal Manitou Cubes with Sweetcorn Cream topped with chili powder.

I’m just not a huge fan of the charcoal food trend. I know that activated charcoal has certain health benefits and I agree that visually the black coloring gives the food a fashionable appearance.

It’s just a personal preference; I love regular Manitou Cubes and Creamed Corn to death.

Gēn 根 version of the Sweetcorn Cream is one that I adore for its hint of smoky richness and sweet creamy texture with a tiny hint of spiciness. I can easily have seconds for this alone!

Charcoal Manitou Cubes, Sweetcorn Cream. Credit: Doris Lim The 3 Starters 2. Dough Stick, Shrimp, Jicama

A section of deep-fried Dough Stick (Youtiao) smeared with Shrimp Paste (a fermented condiment called “Hare Koh” locally) and garnished with Jicama (“Seng Kuang” or “Yam Bean)

Dough Stick, Shrimp, Jicama. Credit: Doris Lim 3. Chicken Wing, Curry, Romaine Lettuce

A one bite cocktail serve, I love the intense curry flavor of Deep Fried Chicken Wing.

Chicken Wing, Curry, Romaine Lettuce. Credit: Doris Lim 4. Papaya, White Prawn, Fermented Chili

The Papaya pickle is fine but I’m not a fan of raw mushy chopped Prawn and fermented chili. Again, this is a personal preference.

The Mains 5.Tuna, Kaffir Lime, Longan

This is the prettiest presentation that I rather enjoyed visually. The dish has raw local tuna, pickled Longan, local herbs and kaffir lime leaves.

Tuna, Kaffir Lime, Longan. Credit: Doris Lim 6. Leek, Minced Pork, Dried Shrimp

Large leeks are generally more fibrous in texture. This dish is too overly fibrous and tough for me. The Minced Pork, Dried Shrimp, Black Moss, and Egg Yolk Sauce are rich and creamy which I enjoyed without the leeks.

Leek, Minced Pork, Dried Shrimp. Credit: Doris Lim 7. Squid, Salted Duck Egg, Bitter Gourd

Normally I don’t particularly like cooked squid. I only like the Penang style “Sotong Bakar” which is grilled over hot coals and served with a dipping chili sauce.

I was very intrigued with this dish which is made entirely of Squid, Salted Duck Egg, Bitter Gourd and <yes> Squid Ink which is blended entirely. It is steamed into black spongy ribbons.

Yes, you’ve won me over Chef Johnson with this dish, knowing my aversion for black squid ink “everything”.

Squid, Salted Duck Egg, Bitter Gourd. Credit: Doris Lim The Palate Cleanser Bilimbing, Pomelo, Lemongrass

This palate cleanser is a neutral-flavored coconut pannacotta served with the citrusy sweet juice sacs of the Pomelo intact. The combination has the acidic flavors of belimbing (baby star fruit), lemongrass oil, and kaffir leaves without the bitterness that is associated with grapefruits.

Bilimbing, Pomelo, Lemongrass. Credit: Doris Lim 8. Flower Crab, Beansprout, Peanut

This delicious flower crab wanton is visually deceiving but a delight to savor. Again, I carved for half a dozen plump wantons in that delicious gravy.

Flower Crab, Beansprout, Peanut. Credit: Doris Lim 9. String Ray, Ginger Flower, Stinky Bean

This dish has such strong elements in a combination of flavors. Sting Ray, combined with the strong pervasive and lingering smell of the Stinky Bean (Petai) is not a Chef can pull off successfully.

Chef Johnson’s use of the marvelous Torch Ginger Flower and Curry Leaves imparts an intoxicating, hypnotizing special fragrance to this dish that is beautiful.

String Ray, Ginger Flower, Stinky Bean. Credit: Doris Lim 10. Duck, Old Cucumber, Herbal

Old cucumber soup is a nourishing flavorful classic slow-cooked Cantonese soup that is heartwarming and simply delicious. Chef Johnson’s modern twist on the recipe has grilled Duck Breast, dried Enoki Mushroom, slices of Old Cucumber and Black Garlic Powder.

This anti-aging Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup is both satisfying and soul-warming.

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MÙ Hotel Ipoh – Relaxing Weekend Gateway

This is the first time I stayed the night in MÙ Hotel Ipoh after years of countless eating day trips. We used to drive into Ipoh, eat at our favorite shops and head home after dinner with our prized shopping.
An Ipoh trip is never complete without eating, and packing home a Pomelo Combo (Honey + Red Flesh + Yellow Flesh) some Salt Baked Chicken, and traditional biscuits.
So for this solo trip, I decided to not drive but to take the train. Getting to another route and going solo means I get to try new places to eat.
For my stay, I want a comfortable room, a simple breakfast and friendly hotel staff who could point me the way to where the locals eat.

Why did I choose MÙ Hotel Ipoh for a relaxing weekend getaway?

MÙ Hotel is in Ipoh city.
Opened In 2013, the hotel has a very good location – close to the business, entertainment districts.
It’s close to shops, cafes, the eating streets and within walking distance to the cultural and historical sites.

MÙ Hotel Ipoh

Overall the MÙ Hotel is a modern hotel and a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of Ipoh city life. The 113 guest rooms are spread over 8 floors. There is a 24 hours reception.

MÙ Hotel Design Accolades

In 2015, Perth based SCHIN Architects were presented with the ‘International Architecture Commendation for Interior Architecture’ award for the design of MÙ Hotel by the Australian Institute of Architects.
The annual awards are presented to highly commendable works bold and innovative designs in interior architecture undertaken by Australian architecture firms abroad.
MÙ Hotel is a testament to this prestigious award.

MÙ rooms

The guest rooms and suites are a generous size, airy and bright with spots of color.
There’s an extra pillow, lots of hangers, iron with ironing board and 2 pairs of complimentary bedroom slippers in the wardrobe.
The small round table is good for working on my laptop.
In-room facilities include FREE Wi-Fi, in-room mini bar with coffee and tea making facilities.
Comes with a large functional bathroom with separate shower and WC cubicles. The only snag is if you’re in the shower, your roommate may not be able to use the WC as there is only one sliding door.
A few hotels have this design. Lone Pine in Penang for instance.
MÙ rooms are equipped with wireless internet, television, and hi-fi.

Bright and airy MÙ Room. Credit: MÙ Hotel Ipoh MÙ Room Bathroom. Credit: Doris Lim MÙnch Restaurant

I can’t help but think that the functional layout is a bit like a cafeteria which is great to seat groups. The breakfast is simple and adequate with local and western style breakfast.
With so many varieties of great tasty local food in Ipoh’s kopitiams, warungs, cafes, and restaurants, MÙ Hotel did the right thing by not over providing a huge breakfast spread.
For me, toast with good salted butter and a hot cuppa from the coffee machine are enough to start my day.
Most of the hotel guests probably think like me, we save your calories for the good authentic Ipoh food outside the hotel.

Credit: MÙ Hotel Ipoh Credit: MÙ Hotel Ipoh MÙ Rooftop Bar

In the evenings, enjoy panoramic views and verdant hills of the city and take in the sunset at the swanky rooftop MÙ bar.
The MÙ signature cocktail packs a punch with pomelo juice and cinnamon.

MÙ Hotel Ipoh- Roof Top Bar for Ipoh’s Skyline. Credit: MÙ Hotel Ipoh Other Amenities

Non-smoking rooms
Rooms/ Facilities for disabled
Child-minding services
A currency exchange
24 hours reception
FREE shuttle van service
Meeting rooms with a movie projector and a projection screen
Laundry
Housekeeping service
Play Area
Cots are available for children (upon requests)
Good to know
Check-in: from 15:00-23:59 hours
Check-out: until 11:00 hours
Extra beds
There is no capacity for extra beds in a room. No charge is applied for one child under 12 if using existing beds.

Nearby Attractions

Attractions near the hotel include Parkson Ipoh Parade Mall and Ipoh World at Han Chin Pet Soo.
Euro House and Ong Kee Restaurant are situated around 350 meters from the hotel.
How to get to Ipoh?
There are 7 ways to get from Penang to Ipoh by car, ferry, train (KTM), bus, taxi, and car or by flight.

Can I take a slow drive to MÙ Hotel Ipoh?

For driving the distance isn’t that far.
Penang to Ipoh – 2 h 8 min (161.3 km) via Lebuhraya Utara – Selatan/AH2/E1
Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh – 2 h 14 min (205.2 km) via Lebuhraya Utara – Selatan/E1
Johor Bahru to Ipoh – 5 h 28 min (538.7 km) via Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan/AH2/E2 and AH2/E1
Singapore to Ipoh – 6 h 24 min (562.2 km) via AH2 and AH2/E1
You can take also take an express bus, hire a private taxi or fly!
If you’re flying in, < YES, you can!> the top route from Ipoh is Singapore and Johor Baru.
Singapore has 22 flights/week and Johor Bahru 16 flights/week
Your flight will land at the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport (IPH), which is only 2.64 km away.

I took the train!

If you are traveling overland from Penang to Ipoh, you will probably use the Penang Ferry (Feri Pulau Pinang) which runs between Butterworth on the mainland.
Penang Ferry Operating Hours (Schedule) 2019
The first ferry from Butterworth to George Town is at 05:20 am with the ferry to Penang is at 00:10 am.
The first ferry from Penang Island to Butterworth is at 05:40 am with the last ferry to Butterworth is at 00:40 am.
The Penang ferry runs approximately every 20 to 30 minutes and takes about 15 to 20 minutes to cover the 3 km distance.
After 10 pm, there is one departure every 60 minutes.

To save me from walking!

You can take a Grab or a book a regular taxi to the KTM Train in Butterworth. Just take note that you will need to pay for the bridge toll RM7.00 (cash) and RM5.60 (Touch ‘n Go)
For more information on KTM Train Schedules
Tickets and information
KTMB – +60 3-2267 1200

Getting the train tickets are super easy, you can book online here
The tickets are sent to your email and you can print out a copy or when you reach the KTM station, you simply show your device at the counter. The KTM staff will print it for you.

Review of MÙ Hotel Ipoh

It is a relaxing weekend gateway with a very comfortable room, friendly staff, and good breakfast. If you enjoy a drink, check out the Roof Top Bar to take in the city skyline and lights.



Booking.com

Smart Dory met Big Fish. Credit: Doris Lim

The post MÙ Hotel Ipoh – Relaxing Weekend Gateway appeared first on Smart Dory.

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Euphrasia – The Musical

Euphrasia – The Musical tells the true life story of Mother Mary Euphrasia – from a mischievous girl growing up in the aftermath of the French Revolution to her founding of Sisters of the Good Shepherd.

The musical is about one woman’s triumph over insurmountable obstacles through pure grit and tenacity.

Many may have heard about the Sisters of the Good Shepherd (The Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd) a Catholic religious order and the nuns’ work with the marginalized communities around the world.

Not all knew about the life of the founder, Saint Mary Euphrasia Pelletier who aspired to restore the dignity of women and children began in 1835 in Angers, France!

Euphrasia was above all was fully committed to helping better the lives of the marginalized women of her time.

Mother Euphrasia was a forward-thinking woman with audacious ideas in patriarchal societies who bravely thought out of the box to network and connect the nuns to help the poor.

As a young girl, Euphrasia’s encounter with “slavery” gave her a real insight into the issues people face and fuelled her desire to help. Source: Euphrasia – The Musical FB Who do you look up to for inspiration?

I watched Euphrasia – The Musical and thought to myself, the youth performers were probably Mother Euphrasia’s age when she took it upon herself to change the world she lived in.

More than 150 years ago.

Young men and women today want to be empowered and need support. They are studious, articulate, driven, and ambitious and fight hard for a place in society once they finish school to enter the real world.

Many young people today look for mentors and gurus to grow their online world and businesses. They work hard to grow their Instagram accounts. They learn to make money online, to do business, with dreams of being financially rich.

So they can live the life they want.

Two Good Shepard Sisters rescuing MEGAN CHNG as Josephine. Source: Euphrasia – The Musical FB What is the life you really want?

Maybe it is time to stop looking at Superheroes in comic books and movies and take a look at how a young French girl became someone to inspire other girls to be the best that they can be.

Mary Euphrasia did what she loved and strived to positively impact as many people as possible.

During her time, there were no gurus or mentors. There were no webinars, tutorials or YouTube videos to download.

There was no roadmap.

So what is Mary Euphrasia’s Legacy?

I’m sure it did not cross Mary Euphrasia’s mind to think of creating an enterprise or be a founder of a billion dollar company so that she could channel the funds to help others when she MAKES it.

Euphrasia started by believing she could do something to help the community around her.

She went to where the needy lived and found ways to help. She volunteered and made friends with the nuns who were weary, short-handed and needed help.

There weren’t any motivational speaker to inspire her. Her inspiration came from her love for God.

In Mary Euphrasia’s post-French Revolution world, there were countless displaced and homeless women who were widowed with small children.

She was moved to help women and children, especially those who were trafficked, forced to migrate and oppressed by abject poverty.

Her passion and vision to empower young women and girls became a full-time job she loved as she continued to look for a way to impact other nuns to help.

Mary Euphrasia fought hard for what she believed in, despite facing huge adversities from her bishop.

Euphrasia – The Musical_MEGAN CHNG as Josephine is also Choreographer for the musical. Source: Euphrasia – The Musical FB The Story of St Mary Euphrasia Pelletier

Mary Euphrasia Pelletier’s story is relatively unknown.

Born in 1796 as Rose Virginie Pelletier, Mary Euphrasia founded the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd when she was 39.

She was a French Catholic who fought the patriarchy of her time and helped countless women and children in her hometown in Angers during the post-French Revolution days.

At her boarding school at Tours, Rose found out about the Convent of the Refuge which belonged to a religious congregation founded in 1641 by St. John Eudes. The convent was a refuge for the rescue of “fallen” women and the protection of those in danger.

ALIA KEARNEY as Ashura who is empowered to help the nun and became bold to report to the port authorities to rescue other women who were exploited and trafficked as slaves. Source: Euphrasia – The Musical FB Order of Our Lady of Charity

When she was 18, Rose joined the Order of Our Lady of Charity who provided shelter, food, cared for girls and women in dire circumstances.

Some of the girls were orphaned or abandoned and, some had turned to prostitution in order to survive.

The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity provided vocational training and an opportunity for these girls to turn their lives around.

The nuns shared the harsh conditions of the rescued women, surviving on bland food, hard work, confinement and the long periods of silence.

Euphrasia was elected as superior of the Convent of the Refuge at 29 but was compelled to leave Angers and return to her own community at Tours.

In later years, Mother St. Euphrasia became convinced that a centralized organization was necessary as each house as it stood alone would hamper their work to reach out to the needy.

What was needed was a common noviceship and a superior general who could transfer the nuns from one house to another as the need arises.

In all her manifold trials and difficulties, St. Mary Euphrasia displayed heroic fortitude, cheerfulness, and trust in God.

Declared a saint in 1868, her legacy lives on 151 years since her passing in 1868, in 73 countries where the Good Shepherd Sisters welfare organization can be found.

Mother Mary Euphrasia and Monica who grew up to be her life long friend and confidante. Source: Euphrasia – The Musical FB St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier (1796 – 1868)

Born: July 31, 1796, Noirmoutier-en-l’Île, France
1814 (18 years old) joined the Order of Our Lady of Charity
1835 (39 years old) founded Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
Died (71 years old): April 24, 1868, Angers, France
Venerated in: Catholic Church
Beatified: 30 April 1933, Vatican by Pope Pius XII
Canonized: 2 May 1940, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican by Pope Pius XII
Major shrine: Abbaye Saint-Nicolas d’Angers (Convent and Mother-House of the Good Shepherd Congregation)
Feast Day: 24 April
Influenced by: John Eudes
Influenced: Mary of the Divine Heart
Books: Conferences and Instructions
Organization founded: Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
Patronage: Good Shepherd Sisters

Source: Euphrasia – The Musical FB How would a modern woman relate to Mary Euphrasia’s story?

Euphrasia – The Musical’s producers Datuk Faridah Merican and Sister Joan Lopez of the Good Shepherd Sisters believe that the story of St Mary Euphrasia Pelletier is one of great inspiration.

Mary Euphrasia’s life is a testament to her strong belief in doing good and she did everything she could to help the marginalized women and children in the 1800s.

The story of a French Catholic nun, who devoted her life to provide shelter to women and girls in difficulty, is an inspiration that will be a catalyst for women today.

If there is a word to describe this incredible life’s journey of dedication, Mary Euphrasia was a woman ahead of her time. Today, she would probably be called Female Trailblazer who made history by taking over prominent new roles for the first time and pushing boundaries.

What she did in the 1800s was unheard off has redefined society’s oppression of women.

Over the next thirty-three years, she labored tirelessly as she responded to request to open houses in France, Europe, United States, Latin America, Asia, Oceania, and Africa. 

“Most of the time, stories are about male heroes, if you tell a story about a woman, she’s always under sufferance and being tortured. This is not that case, this is a good story to tell women,” said Faridah in an interview with Malay Mail.

Sister Joan Lopez, the Province Leader of the Good Shepherd Sisters (Singapore and Malaysia) in her interview with the Star, said that it is important for young people to find a good role model.

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12 High Tea Places for the Best Scones in Penang

When some friends found out that I work online, they were intrigued and thought I while away all my afternoons having high tea whenever I’m home.

It must have been that one time that I had a Chocolate Soufflé instead of a Scone in Penang.

Many thought I lead Tai Tai lifestyle with wonderful teatime treats.

Yes, it’s true that I am often in the midst of great treats and surrounded by food.

One wanted to apply for a job with me.

Pepe: Omg you get up at 11 am and then prep just for lunch, teas, and dinners. Do you eat suppers?

Me: Of course. NOT.

Pepe: This is not fair. Sounds so Tai Tai <makes whinny puppy sounds>

I can imagine his eyes welling up with “EYE MO” tears and his lips in a “why not me?” quiver.

Me: I bring you along.

Pepe: Let’s plan <claps gleefully>.

So where would you go for a Classic English High Tea?

Afternoon tea <I take coffee actually> on a lovely afternoon is one of those moments I rather spend with a good friend chatting and catching up.

Seriously, they make the best tea time companion.

Yes, you smirking as you read this.

We shall go again, Pepe!

For ladies who think of dolling up, go in a dress wearing the brightest pink lipstick, I’ll say, “Whatever rocks your boat Sista!”

What the boys and I like is a place to chill from the afternoon heat and chat in cool air-cond. Comfort away from the rest of the world and talk shop.

We like service, and the waiters who come by every so often to top up our teapots are just lovely!

So you like tiny morsels, I just like Scones!

The men like to have tea with me because I will order one entire cake if I could.

<Just think of cutting that cake into 8 wedges that you eat holding in your hand and you get the idea of my popularity> 

But we also like to behave nicely in a nice restaurant so; we wait patiently and fawn over tiny “Teddy Bear’s Picnic” play mini pastry, finger sandwiches, cupcakes, and scones.

That’s after we spend 20 minutes arguing over what tea to choose from a list of 20!

Pepe: Aiyo, ridiculous la you. 1 minute putting forward questions and debating for each tea. Some of which I also cannot even pronounce and much less annunciate!

Me:  <to waiter> May I have a coffee? Hot Americano, cold milk by the side? And just Scones for me. Pepe will eat everything else you serve.

Pepe: <faints>

The science of a perfect Scone

Before we even start eating, Pepe and I had a lively discussion on what makes the best scone, well just simply PERFECT.

I told him flatly, I tasted some very good scones and some really bad ones that fail the visual and taste test by a whole mile.

The scones that failed miserably were the six English Scones I baked during high school when I was 13. It was as my Domestic Science teacher said flatly, “A Rock Cake.”

She held it up, this raisin dotted monstrosity disk that looked like huge bugs shivered up and died in a pool of hard crust.

She tapped it hard on the kitchen counter.

It crumbled.

I whined.

The worst thing I ever did was to sneak in raisins, used my hot sweaty hands, and no baking powder.

I was 13.

It was somewhat a hybrid of a rock cake and a muffin. I wouldn’t want anyone to break their gnashers on one of these.

If you’re a Pastry Chefs reading this, the worst you could do (in my books) is to put raisins, cranberries and whatever other fruit into the scones!

If you can’t get the scones right in the first place adding anything else, which includes dusting the tops with icing sugar as well… a KISS?

KISS is an acronym for “Keep it simple, stupid”.

What is a scone?

The simple ingredients of an English scone are wheat or oatmeal with baking powder as a leavening agent and baked on sheet pans.

The scone is a basic component of the cream tea or Devonshire tea. And it differs from pastries, teacakes and other types of sweets that are made with yeast.

English scones are less buttery and less sweet than American scones, although both go by the same name.

How to make a legendary delicious luscious scone?

I often like simple recipes made with good quality ingredients. Freshly baked scones are one of life little pleasures. English Scones (shall I say British?) are the ultimate comfort food snack.

A good scone has a burnished golden top, a good even color beautiful and golden brown all over and even on the bottom.

I was looking for scones made right.

Airy on the inside, golden on the outside, with sufficient height – the perfect scone is a science all of its own. A good scone is not tall like a muffin.

It has the lovely layers from rubbing in the butter, that crack line which splits the scone as you twist it open into two halves of “biscuits” which are incredibly “fluffy” and delicious.

I can’t wait to spread good salted butter and “strobes” (strawberry conserve with a jammy thick consistency to it but its never store-bought jam, ok?) on my scones and wolf these down.

Pepe, no need the clotted cream or whipped cream.

Pepe: But, I must.

No body contact!

To make the perfect English Scones, there must be absolutely no body contact with the mix. Remember the butter has to be icy cold!

Pepe: Sounds almost virtuous!

English Scones – Incredibly Fluffy and Delicious Scone Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour (10 ounces by weight)

4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp. unsalted butter icy cold butter
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 large egg

Bake it in a 425F oven for about 13-15 min until golden brown puff up in oven about triple in size.

The scone should rise to almost double its height with a little tear or cracks in the middle. Take it and split it just like a biscuit.

A dream to bit into.

Whether you decide to call it at home, little can top a perfect scone fresh hot out of the oven.

With its burnished golden top and light, and fluffy interior. This ultimate comfort food snack needs a dollop of cream and a smear of jam then we’re ready to go.

As far as home baking goes, perfecting the scone has been shrouded in mystery.

Retaining moisture on the inside while achieving that coveted golden edge – and enough height; is a science all of its own.

You can hide imperfection with butter icing or use chocolate ganache to enhance it.

It’s all in the way you handle the humble ingredients.

A Scone is unforgiving; there is no margin for error.

Cold hands 3cm egg wash

Inside is soft and fluffy, but not like a sponge cake. It should be rich and crumbly yet moist as you twist it to break it.

So began the long search for the elusive scones that took more than 3 months. As I edit this post, 5 long months had passed me by.

I ate and sulk.

I put feelers out on social media. Friends ate, made recommendations.

One even arranged for his hotel’s pastry chef to make me some over Chinese New Year. Thank you, I am touched as many friends continue to pamper and amuse me.

One friend took me to arguably the best. Alas, we waited for the café to open and for the owner to fire up the oven.

No spoilers just read on.

Penang’s Beautiful Mansion #1 Macalister Mansion

Macalister Mansion is ranked as one of the best when it comes to a lavish teatime experience.

The Atas venue is an incredible experience with well-prepared scrumptious treats.

If you enjoy dining in a manor with a gorgeous interior, drop by for delicious bites of fluffy croissants, tomato buns, strawberry tarts, scones and cakes and enjoy a good cuppa TWG tea and a little tête-à-tête with a giggle or two.

I had coffee as usual. There were no Tai Tai in the house when I had tea with my companion. Needless to say, he said the nicest things and we exchanged the best stories and gossips.

As for the scones, these had raisins and were dusted over with icing sugar, served with unsalted butter and strawberry conserve. No clotted cream.

Credit: amandaakohar

Macalister Mansion | 228, Jalan Macalister, George Town, 11400 George Town, Penang | Opening hours: 8 am – 11 pm.

#2 Suffolk House

Ordinarily, afternoon tea at the Suffolk House may not be right at the top of your head. But if dining in a historical building built by Sir Francis Light himself is your cup of tea, then be prepared to linger and take some photos. The ambiance is delightful and the scones are well dotted with raisins and served with butter, clotted cream, and 4 types of fruit conserve.

Credit: John Teoh

SUFFOLK HOUSE | 250, Jalan Air Itam, George Town, 10460 George Town, Penang | Tea for Two for RM90nett | Daily | 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm

#3 Farquhar Mansion

Posh, snotty and pricy, Farquhar Mansion’s afternoon tea is all about dining lavishly with sumptuous bites, along with a quality selection of teas.

No, I haven’t been here.

FARQUHAR MANSION | 33, Lebuh Farquhar, George Town, 10200 George Town, Penang | High Tea: 03.00 PM – 05.00 PM (Tue-Sun)

Penang’s Hotel #4 1885 at E&O Hotel

I like the swankiest option in George Town and 1885 at E&O Hotel had the finest traditions of colonial style dining.

I rather fancy enjoying a tea with starched linens and impeccable service.

There are two types of scones; Classic English raisin and plain scones served with clotted cream and 2 types of fruit conserve. The scones are dense, and crumbly makes a heavenly mouthful.

Credit: ckeat

1885 | 10, Lebuh Farquhar, George Town, Penang | English Afternoon Tea | RM67.95 net per person | Daily | 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

#5 2 PM Lounge

This affordable Afternoon Tea, from 2 pm till 5 pm, seven days a week with a pot of tea of your choice makes this high tea in a hotel a place you could revisit often. G Kelawei did not serve scones for tea the last time I visited.

G Kelawei, do let me know if this practice has recently been changed.

Credit: Doris Lim

2 PM LOUNGE | G Hotel Kelawai | 2, Persiaran Maktab, 10250 George Town, Penang | Afternoon Tea RM 50 (Serves Two) | Daily | 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

In George Town #6 Auction Rooms Café

If you like a Refillable Afternoon Tea with a blend of Western and Malaysian delights, Auction Rooms Café offers a set with savories such as open-face smoked duck and nasi lemak sandwiches and mini scones presented within a vintage, birdcage-like tray. There are raisins scones.

Credit: Auction Room FB Page

AUCTION ROOMS CAFÉ | 38a, Jalan Sungai Ujong, 10100 George Town, Penang | Refillable Afternoon Tea for RM 76 (Serves Two) Daily | 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Up Penang Hill #7 David Brown High Tea, Strawberry Hill

Tuck in exquisite teas and the fine eats as you enjoy a breathtaking view at David Brown’s Restaurant & Tea Terraces with an elevation of about 833 m (2723 ft.)

Enjoy the funicular train ride to the top for the best view of George Town.

The plain English scones come in a set of two served with butter, clotted cream and strawberry conserve has been described as best scones money can buy, but pricey with slow service.

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Patisserie BoutiQue Ipoh – Mouth Watering European Cakes

One of the little cafes we like in Ipoh is the lovely Patisserie BoutiQue Ipoh located right next to Burps & Giggles. You can’t miss the few cafes in the vicinity of the famous Sekeping Kong Heng hotel.

This cafe is in the old town section of IPOH and parking is a bit of a challenge. During peak hours, we had to circle a number of times to get a spot. So go early and walk around first. Patisserie BoutiQue Ipoh is a small patisserie and a bit cramped.  When we arrived after a heavy lunch, the café was packed.
The popular cafe is small and on weekends extremely crowded.




Booking.com

Parisian Ambiance

The decor inside made use of the old exposed bricks. The crumbling lime plastered walls are whitewashed and painted with murals in black. The décor is very chic with the tables well laid out. For ambiance, check out the black and white Parisian theme with Eiffel tower murals and other decorations.  The café boom is good for Ipoh Old Town. Most visitors would look for a nice air-cond. cafe to chill after they fill up from the usual Ipoh’s famous Dim Sum, Taugeh Chicken, Curry Noodles, Tau Fu Fa, and Nasi Ganja!

Su, our Ipohite friend tells us that Patisserie BoutiQue serves seasonal cakes and other equally lovely pastries and desserts. She rattled off a list of must try if we could find it on at the counter.

We read the menu dutifully. There was a good selection, coupled with excellent service from the young crew.

Don’t just take my word for it, Patisserie BoutiQue Ipoh is listed as one of the must-visit cafes in Ipoh by TripAdvisor.

Oh, the cakes…

The Chocolate Chestnut Cake, Sea Salt Chocolate Cheesecake, Matcha Lychee Chantilly, and Hazelnut Matcha Cake sounds divine. Generally, their signature cakes are all pretty good. We wanted to try the Great Baileys Tiramisu (served in a jam bottle) which was sold out!

We fell in love with the cakes. Coffee is spot on and we also wished we headed there earlier for a meal. Patisserie BoutiQue was packed on the Sunday afternoon we went.

Su tells us that she has brunch with her family quite often as there are a number of good tasty options.

“I loved the truffle scrambled eggs toast!”

My only wish? Is it possible to wish for more stomach space as I walked around counting calories mentally? I wanted to eat everything. Shhh… don’t tell.

Sea Salt Chocolate Cheesecake Photo: Doris Lim Coffee, please…

I believe this café is made just for its divine desserts and coffee. This is just the perfect little place to spend the whole afternoon reading while sipping coffee. But this cozy café is always packed due to limited seating available.

A cup of double shot espresso is great if you’re a caffeine lover. Is this the place is best when it comes to desserts? My friends all answered with a resounding YES! Overall The price is affordable. Highly recommended for those seeking out great cakes in Ipoh.

Got Pancakes?

The Dutch Baby Pancake, a combination of warm soft pancake, ice cream and fruits served on a hot skillet is a great crowd pleaser!

The Dutch Baby Pancake, a combination of warm soft pancake, ice cream and fruits served on a hot skillet is a great crowd pleaser! Photo: Doris Lim



Booking.com

Special Cakes…

Patisserie BoutiQue‘s team create special cakes available only on certain days, such as this charming and delicious Coconut Yam Cake. Of course, this is my favorite too.

I’m part Hakka, I love Yam.

Yum Yum!!!

Guess Vivien’s favorite cake? It’s the same as mine. Coconut Yam Cake Photo: Doris Lim Matcha anyone?

The Matcha Souffle has a heaping tablespoon of the slightly bitter Matcha spilling over the sides of the little skillet. Do I like Matcha, personally, not really. However, my friends love this!

Creme Brulee goodness, I’m addicted to sugar!

The Creme Brulee is one of Patisserie BoutiQue’s signature dessert. Need I say more? Other than I just love my Tai Tai lifestyle when I get to hang out with the girls.

Creme Brulee vs. Matcha Souffle vs. frothy delicious drinks (I forgot the name) It’s called a sugar rush for me! Photo: Doris Lim Amazing desserts!

Since we didn’t get to try the Great Baileys Tiramisu this is the perfect excuse an excuse for us to re-visit this place to try out the food and other European dessert and cakes again!

The only downside is the tables were a bit too near to each other, and we spoke too loudly! Oops!!

*Thanks to our Su for taking us to the best spots in Ipoh. Su is an amazing baker, check our her FB Page here.

Patisserie BoutiQue
103, Jalan Sultan Yusof, 30000 Ipoh, Perak
Phone: 05-241 1385
Hours: 11am-6pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

 Thank you for visiting SmartDory and reading my stories. I truly appreciate you!



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The post Patisserie BoutiQue Ipoh – Mouth Watering European Cakes appeared first on Smart Dory.

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Penangites can expect great travel deals and exclusive promotions at Matta Fair 2018 with many travel companies offering incredible deals for grabs.

Matta Fair 2018 Great Travel Deals Exclusive Promotions

Travel agencies offer competitively priced airfares to encourage Malaysians to travel during the MATTA fair. Holidaymakers are in for a treat with the choice of special packages offered. Many of these attractive value-for-money tours are dream vacations both locally and abroad.

Why visit the Matta Fair?

Visit the Matta Fair 2018 for a great bargain for that memorable trip to your dream destination.

Shopping and beach vacation combo?

Perhaps you prefer the great outdoors, adventure parks and theme parks?

Whatever your dream holiday is, there’s a tour for you! Check out the many domestic and international packages offered by a broader lineup of exhibitors with over 186 booths featuring some 63 travel companies and tourism organizations.

There are numerous conveniences at the fair for the shoppers. This includes instant top-up, worldwide ATM cash withdrawals, special shopping, and travel deals and MORE! There are even flexible hotel booking services and discounted airline tickets.

Photo: MATTA Fair Penang Facebook Daily Lucky Draws!

Visitors who book their holidays stand to win sponsored prizes from a daily lucky draw. The lucky winners can win flight (ex-Penang) and hotel stay.

Look out for your perfect travel companion, the Prepaid Travel Card which will be available for sale at the fair. Check out its launch price exclusively for MATTA Fair Penang.

Where to Park?

Don’t worry about parking. Best way to get to the fair on time is to Grab your way to the venue with our promo code: MATTAPG18 to enjoy RM5 OFF x 2 rides to/from Setia SPICE Arena, Penang – with #GrabPayCredits.

The event is organized by the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA)

Plan NOW. HEAD to the fair.

MATTA Fair 2018 | Setia SPICE Arena | Sept 28 to 30, 2018 | 10:00 am to 9:00 pm

Skip the queues, check out the 24/7 online access for great savings to JAPAN!



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The post Matta Fair 2018 Great Travel Deals Exclusive Promotions appeared first on Smart Dory.

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