Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sumo : Japanese Food @ Town Center Jumeirah

our favorite japanese restaurant in dubai is ‘sumo’. the food is delicious, the portion is huge, the service never disappoints, and the price is affordable – considering that japanese food in dubai is generally pretty expensive with small portion. we’ve been here so many times that our order is always the same :


chicken katsu for me. it’s basically chicken strips fried japanese style, served with japanese rice, and steamed veggie. it also includes a teriyaki sauce dipping which i don’t really like because it’s too sweet. i will always just ‘steal’ the dip from mr. khairul’s set!

i love the japanese fried chicken strip – crispy, crunchy and such juicy tender chicken meat inside. yum.


mr. khairul’s choice is always ‘tempura bento’. (bento means ‘meal served in a box’) there are shrimp tempura, veggie tempura and chicken teriyaki as well. the portion is, as always – huge and satisfying. the shrimp tempura is always fresh and the sweet teriyaki chicken juicy and delicious.


this is the sweet teriyaki chicken served in mr. khairul’s ‘tempura bento’. delicious, marinated to perfection.


wash down the delicious japanese dishes with japanese tea. mr. khairul likes this but me – no thanks! too bland for my taste! gimme teh o gula anytime!


this humble plate is ‘shrimp gyoza’ – a shrimp dumpling fried slightly on hot pan. you can also order a chicken one. i don’t really like dumpling because i don’t like the too-gooey-soft texture but this fried one is delicious.

because this one is a little fried, it has that slight brownish crispiness that adds flavor and texture to the dumpling. dip it in a japanese soy sauce – yummy!


* * *


usually we go to the ‘sumo’ branch in dubai media city as it’s nearer to our home. however, for a change of scenery, we decided to go further down to jumeirah beach road, and tried the branch in town center jumeirah. town center jumeirah is a small mall right next to mercato mall.

if you came from dubai marina, as you pass, you can clearly see the big blue neon signage that says ‘sumo’ on the side of the building. if you came from the other side, watch out for mercato mall, and sumo is right next door.



‘sumo’ in town center jumeirah is right smack in the middle of the ground floor. from the 1st floor, the restaurant looks amazing with the lights looking like little opened-up paper umbrellas.


the light above our head – like opened paper umbrella – nice!


unlike dubai media city branch, here there are more choices as how you want to be seated. there are normal square tables and chairs, there are booth seats, and then there are also the japanese-style seating area where there’s a hollow space under the table where you can sit cross-legged, or else put your feet under the table like you would when you normally sit at a table.


most comfy – spacious, and our boys can run around while we just sit cross-legged if we want to – one plus point for this branch


dubai media city don’t do this, but here in ‘sumo’ town center jumeirah, the boys are given activity paper mat and crayons just like when you’re in chillis or tgif – another plus point for this branch


why does this japanese boy look like my 2nd son kahfi? huhu


kazim took a sip of japanese tea


if you love simple straightforward japanese food (not fusion, not posh, not exotic) that offers big portion under reasonable price – head on to ‘sumo’. and if you want the japanese decor and ambiance, try the one at town center jumeirah.

otherwise, the one in dubai media city offers equally delicious food and warm friendly service. it’s just that it’s a smaller branch, and tables are close together which can be quite uncomfortable when it’s a full house. tapi makanan sama je sedap!

well, i don’t fancy japanese food, yet i love eating at ‘sumo’. go figure. itadakimasu! *selamat menjamu selera* ~bon appetit!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Puss in Boots : Where is the Shrek-Humor?

i was disappointed. tak lawak sangat pun.

puss in boots is and forever will be so very, very adorable, but where is the charm and laugh-out-loud humor that we all love so much from the four shrek movies? it has none of the lawak gile one-liners. well, there are a few moments here and there, but here and there ONLY is NOT good for a movie that supposedly a prequel to all the shrek movies!

the movie is entertaining – super cute characters, entertaining fight-scenes and a few great scenes like at the giant’s castle, but no LOL moments…



just for the record, we take the boys out for movies only ONCE a year in dubai. the cinema ticket is SO not cheap to begin with (55dhs a piece! and if you watch the movies at posh malls like in dubai marina mall, it’d be more expensive) and throw in a couple more dirham for the popcorn-soda set – the whole cinematic experience in dubai is pretty expensive.

  1. 2008 – we watched madagascar
  2. 2009 – we watched cloudy with a chance of meatball
  3. 2010 – we watched megamind
  4. and 2011 – its puss in boots

so, that being said, that’s why we go all out when we finally picked a ‘good’ movie to watch on imax 3D that will be worth it for us and the boys. this year it’s ‘puss in boots’.



like other times, we watched at grand megaplex ibn battuta mall – smaller mall, less crowd, and much closer to home. senang. also grand megaplex has better popcorns than cinestar. haha. more caramels, and it’s served hot and fresh! yums!



* * *


back to puss in boots.

ok i’m not saying that the movie is bad. it’s just that i had high expectations. yes, that’s it. i anticipated too much. my boys and i love shrek so much, that i’m just waiting for puss in boots to come out, knowing that it will be as funny and memorable as all the shrek movies.

i love you puss, but the movie is simply NOT as funny as it should. as if a totally different set of writers wrote the script, with none of the same type of jokes. the movie is SO cute, and that’s it. the only thing i find funny is the fact that it’s so difficult (and dangerous!) to have an adventure when you’re an egg. haha.

what i love :

  • only antonio banderas and salma hayek can build sexual tension with their cat characters!
  • the final scene with puss in boots was to me a reminiscent of a scene from the movie ‘zorro’ – which starred antonio banderas too! cute!
  • puss in boots is SO CUTE! SO SO CUTE!
  • as usual, the 3D effect is amazing

what i don’t :

  • incorporating fairy tales and nursery rhymes like beanstalk, and the old jack is all good but could’ve been better if there were more reference
  • it’s not as funny as it could be – shrek, donkey and puss team was so funny that you would expect puss to still be funny on his own, considering that it’s produced by the same company
  • i personally feel that if it wasn’t for puss being famous from the shrek movies, this movie would have been just another regular animation
  • when we’re watching kungfu panda, khaleef laughed like crazy at so many scenes. watching ‘puss in boots’ he only laughed at the part where they all fall down from the beanstalk screaming


my eldest boy khaleef


oh well…

at the end of the day, we all have loved the adorable puss in boots so much in shrek, that we will forgive him in this mediocre animation. i actually welcome a sequel to this ‘puss in boots’, in which i hoped there would be improvement on the humor department – ala shrek!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sand, Wind & Desert Motocross @ Nazwa Dunes

one of the fun things to do when you’re in a desert is riding a bike across sand dunes according to mr. khairul. but if you ask my sons, the best thing is to just roll down the sand. hoho. yesterday we did just that.

we went to nazwa – which is a lovely vast desert area along the main highway of hatta, dubai. here the locals and expats try dune bashing in their 4wds, quad biking and desert motocross.



* * *


the main reason we’re out here in the desert was mr. khairul’s plan to do some desert motocross with his friend john, who is pretty much a pro already. this is a good thing because desert motocross is no easy feat, and you need a good guide who knows his way around the desert, and is really experienced handling a bike on uneven desert sand.



desert motocross is pretty much like motocross, only you’re riding across the desert; with steep sand dunes and unpredictable corners and slopes. and this sand is desert sand, which means extremely soft and smooth grains – one wrong step, and you might find yourself stuck, deep in sand.

motocross is a form of motorcycle sport or all-terrain vehicle racing held on enclosed off road circuits. it was called scrambles, and later motocross, combining the french moto with cross-country. ~wikipedia


mr. khairul getting ready with full suit, boots and bike



mr. khairul with his back against the camera, and john – ready to conquer the dunes! (picture credit : michaella el-daghma’s fb album – thanks!)


i don’t know much about bikes – wait, i don’t know ANYTHING about bikes – but i was told this is a KTM bike, the one that mr. khairul and john used during the desert motocross. it’s a cool, lean machine and mr. khairul looks GOOD on it. rowr. haha.


mr. khairul all geared up! (picture credit : michaella el-daghma’s fb album – thanks!)


john rode off with mr. khairul in tow while john’s wife lai shan drove us to the desert spot where we’ll be camping while waiting for the boys.

being in a 4X4 across the desert is an adventure by itself! how miss spunky lai shan did it i might never want to know! haha. i couldn’t do it – driving a huge car up and down uneven sand, she was a trooper!

the boys enjoyed the extremely bumpy ride so much, like being on rollercoasters!


* * *


it was extremely beautiful, and extremely fun, with awesomely fine weather to top it off. the desert was a vast beauty of nature, sand and more sand as far as the eyes can see. i can only utter subhanallah, in awe of Allah’s creation.

the boys?


..they climb up the slopes, pretending to be survivors of some crash, and now are lost in the desert haha. stepping on sand while climbing is NOT as easy as it sounds! letih weh!



..they enjoyed the vast view through binoculars,


..they lay down on the sand. rolling around, and making sand angels! rambut penuh pasir!

other activities also include burying themselves in sand, running up and down the sand, picking up a handful of sand and see the soft grains fall from between their fingers and termakan pasir!


* * *


setting up camp for the night (picture credit : lai shan – thanks!)


apart from john and wife lai shan, we actually joined ‘the chapter dubai’, for this desert camping trip. they set up camp for the night, but john, lai shan, mr. khairul and i left the place after the boys were done with their desert motocross.

‘the chapter dubai’ is a group of motorcycle enthusiast (all the guys own harley davidsons), headed by the charming mr. marwan who warmly welcomed us into their circle. as someone who is new to riding harley davidson, mr. khairul welcomed their friendship to share experiences and gain knowledge, especially the tricks and turns of a harley!



(picture credit : lai shan - thanks!)


mr. khairul would’ve been fine about camping overnight at a desert, with nothing but sand and wind (since he’s a certified king’s scout) but i’m not much of an outdoor person! especially with such young kids, thanks but no thanks! huhu.

takpe honey, when they’re older you pegi camping dengan diorang je lah!


* * *


one of the cars got stuck in sand


* * *

..i found friendship in the middle of the desert!


with aussie nadine, and our feisty 4x4 ‘driver’ lai shan



ever so glad to hear manglish in the middle of dubai ~ with these lovely amoi; paige and lai shan


* * *


when there’s a campsite, there’s camp fire! the boys were so engrossed as they stared at the fire after an extremely tiring rolling around the desert.


the other guys brought vegetarian dishes which include a delicious veggie briyani while i brought nasi lemak! anyone for a little taste of malaysian food? i was more than glad to assemble the cucumber, anchovies, sambal and the works for the arab gentleman mr. marwan.

glad the malaysian girls enjoyed my nasi lemak – that’s more than i need! appreciate the love! hihi.


* * *

mr. khairul with sifu john


to john and wife lai shan, thanks for including us in this little adventure. mr. khairul thoroughly enjoyed the extreme desert motocross, though he complained of aches and bruises! it was indeed a rough tough sport, and NOT for those lacking in stamina and upper body strength!

the boys had a fantabulous time rolling around the desert, and we would definitely want to do this again. as long as no overnight camping ok! haha.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Islamic ABC Poem

A is for Allah
Lord of the Universe, who is One,
He made the earth, stars, and sun
He made angels to worship and pray,
He made man from a dab of clay

B is for Bilal
Bilal is that tall, brave African man,
Islam freed him and gave him iman
Calling the Muslims to come and pray,
Was his duty each night and day

C is for Children
Black, white, red, yellow, and brown,
Better than the jewels in a crown
Laughing or crying, short or tall,
Allah loves children, one and all

D is for Du'a
Remembering Allah all nights and days,
By giving Him our thanks and praise
Thank Allah with "Al Hamdulillah"
And praise Him with "Subhanallah

E is for Earth
With its mountains, rivers, and seas,
Animals, birds, fruits, and trees
They all declare Allah's Might,
Following His laws, wills, and light

F is for Faith
That which the Muslims call Iman,
Is in the heart of the believing man
Will come from his lip and hand,
Love for Allah pouring out like sand

G is for Gabriel
An angel created by Allah from light,
His duty is to serve Allah all day and night
To Prophet Muhammad (S) he did appear,
To bring mankind the Holy Qur'an so dear

H is for Heaven
God's garden of joy, peace, and love,
The home for Muslim's souls above
The path to this heavenly place
Is faith in Allah's guidance and grace

I is for Islam
A way of life for all of who,
Give to Allah the praise that is due
We worship and pray five times a day,
Because we know it is the best way

J is for Jesus
Peace be upon him, 'Isa, the son of Maryam,
To his people Allah's word did he carry
By Allah's help he made the sick well,
So people would believe what he had to tell

K is for Ka'bah
First house of Allah in Makkah was made,
By Ibrahim and Isma'il the stones were laid
Millions of believers from every race,
Come for Hajj tot his extra special place

L is for Life
A precious gift from Allah to you,
Don't waste it, he knows what you do
Don't chase pleasure or forget Allah,
No matter how little, say "Al-Hamdulillah

M is for Muhammad
Peace be upon him, Abdullah's son,
From Allah's enemies he did not run
Of all the Prophets he was the last,
Islam his message which we hold fast

N is for Nuh
Peace be upon him, a Prophet who was very good,
Allah told him to build an ark, fast as he could
Take pairs of animals and the believers-all,
The flood was coming and the waves would be tall!

O is for Obedience
It is the duty of each Muslim to obey,
The Qur'an and the Sunnah all the way
Go for Hajj, give Zakah, fast, and pray,
And to your parents do not say, "Nay!"

P is for Prayer
It is the cornerstone of Muslim life,
And the devil it cuts like a knife
Prayer five times a day is a must,
In Allah you should put your trust

Q is for Qur'an
A blessing and guide for all of mankind,
In it Allah's message you will find
Of all His messages it is the last,
Perfect for present, future, and past

R is for Ramadan
For Muslims this blessed month of fasting,
Is to celebrate Allah's love everlasting
All day, no food, nor drink, nor evil deeds,
Pray and read Qur'an, to heaven this leads

S is for Surah
One hundred and fourteen in the Qur'an,
Read them and trust in Al-Rahman,
Do you know ten of them that you can say?
Knowing them will help you pray

T is for Tawheed
La ilaaha illallah, Allah is the only one,
There is no partner with Him, nor son
Alla is the answer to all that we need,
Watch your heart and tongue, He knows every deed

U is for Ummah
The Muslim community which Muhammad (S) found,
The brotherhood of Islam made it sound
Allah's laws in the Qur'an and Sunnah,
Are to help everyone in the Ummah

V is for Victory
It is the help from Allah to you,
His guidance in everything you do
Work and prayer a Muslim does need,
To celebrate Allah's victory, indeed!

W is for Wudu'
We must keep our minds and bodies clean,
Because by Allah we are always seen
Whenever you hear the call of athan,
Prepare and come pray as soon as you can

X is for "Seen" *
X is not easy for us to rhyme,
So we'll not waste much of your time
In higher math X is hard to find,
But Allah's path is clear even to the blind
(* the Arabic letter "seen" stands for the unknown)

Y is for Yunus
Peace be upon him, a good man in a wicked town,
He ran to the sea and a whale gobbled him down
By the mercy of Allah he was saved to tell,
His people to become good and obey Allah well

Z is for Zero-sin
It is the way we each begin,
Free from wordly sin
So, don't let yourself forget,
Keep out of the devil's threat!


i took this wonderful poem from a site called islamicpoem. many talented poets contributed their poems there, and such beautiful words weaved about the glorious Quran, our beloved prophet Muhammad SAW, and many more poems with islamic theme. check it out!

salam jumuah, everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rockin’ Bday : 1st Day Opening Hard Rock Cafe Dubai

for khaleef’s 6th birthday, we rocked and rolled at hard rock cafe dubai on its first day opening! yeargh!

this is probably the most anticipated opening in dubai – the hard rock cafe dubai at sheikh zayed road had been closed in 2009, only to be transferred to the festival city dubai recently. the opening had been delayed for more than a year but it finally had a soft opening on the 16th, and officially opened to the public today after friday prayers – and we’re one of the first few customers!



this newly opened hard rock cafe dubai branch is the 2nd biggest in the world after the one in orlando, and it has the biggest merchandise store too. if i’m not mistaken, they would soon put a replica of a guitar at the entrance, and it would be the biggest in the world.

well, korang tau la dubai kan. semua nak biggest, tallest, first bla bla.. haha.


the entrance is beautiful, but will be complete with the biggest guitar in the world


* * *


spacious and high celing – comfy!


since the hard rock cafe dubai is one of the biggest there is, the interior says it all. spacious, long lines of tables, high ceiling, and a huge stage dominates the inside.

we took a seat right in front of the stage, and enjoyed ourselves with all the rockin’ video clips shown on a huge white screen on stage. we were told there would be a live band playing that night.

it was pretty loud, but i welcomed the noise as it drowned the noise from my own kiddos! we can pretty much let loose and just lepak!



* * *


nothing much to shout about regarding its menu – if you’re used to TGIF and chilli’s, hard rock cafe serves pretty much the same kinda food with some variations here and there. don’t get me wrong, i LOVE these kind of food hihi. some entrees, sandwiches, steaks and chops – the works.


we tried the entree first – named ‘jumbo combo’ of ‘hickory-smoked’ chicken wings, crispy deep-fried onion rings, juicy ‘tupelo’ chicken fingers and soft baked potato skin. there’s also ‘santa fe’ spring rolls (yang macam popiah tu) served in a tall bowl of salad. yummy.

this plate of savoury delights also include four types of dipping – i think they’re marinara sauce, sour cream, mustard and another delicious dip. what’s not to like? you can come to hard rock cafe dubai for this alone, and be full and entertained the entire time there.


a classic plate of fish and chips for me this time. teringin pulak! i’ve always preferred fish and chips fried in batter instead of bread crumbs, and hard rock cafe delivers it. i LOVE the batter – crunchy, thick enough to cover the fish and not oily. the fish was soft and deliciously tender. tartar sauce is a must, and theirs was thick and yummy.

this is a good plate of fish and chips, and would be perfect if the fries were fatter!


mr. khairul opted for a plate of lamb chops, served oddly enough with baked beans, coleslaw and fries. this is probably my first time seeing a plate of lamb chops served with baked beans, and coleslaw instead of mashed potato or steamed veggie. hmm. anyway, my take on it – there’s good and there’s bad.

the good is that the portion is HUGE. you can really share this plate as there are about 5-6 pieces of lamb chops. the texture is perfect. however, the bad is that the marinade is a little bit on the sweet side for me. i mean, sweet and succulent is all good, but shouldn’t be THAT sweet. but this is a personal thing, you guys might like the sweet taste.

it’s served with coleslaw, which is fine by me because i love coleslaw, but mr. khairul passed the coleslaw to me, as he preferred steamed veggie. again, this is all personal.


also, as usual there’d be a kid’s menu with selection from burgers to pizza and pasta. we chose the macaroni and cheese served with garlic bread. unfortunately, this is NOT a good dish. the dish was DRY. mac and cheese should be ooey and gooey with lots of cheese. this is just dry, and the cheese does NOT taste good. i don’t know what type of cheese sauce they used – it’s slightly bitter, really.

since khaleef is a huge pasta-fan, he wasn’t as choosy, and happily finished the mac and cheese. the only good thing about this dish was the garlic bread. soft.


* * *



since it’s the first day of its official grand opening, hard rock cafe has lined up few activities for the kids – a clown, face-painting and lotsa shaped balloons to give away.

first khaleef got a sword balloon, but when told that he’s the birthday boy, he got another hat balloon which looked so very cute! i love the balloon hat! kahfi and kazim got a snail and a poodle balloon each.


birthday boy looking snappy!


in the middle of it all, the staff of hard rock cafe dubai took the stage dancing and snapping away to upbeat songs that include the classic YMCA. it was an entertaining bit from the sporting staff, and a fun break for the kids as khaleef, kahfi and even kazim joined in to boogie!

i’m not sure whether this would be a daily thing, a weekend thing or just because it’s the first day of opening.


* * *


what’s hard rock cafe without all the rockin’ memorabilia? drums, guitars, jackets, dresses and even boots from celebrities donned the wall in glass cases. pictures of rock stars also graced the wall, in true hard rock cafe tradition.

biase la ni. korang pi hard rock cafe KL ngan penang pun bole nampak benda-benda ni. ntah ye ntah idak ye haha. kot-kot just duplicates of the real thing!


* * *


the best part of the day for birthday boy most definitely was when the hard rock cafe dubai staff surprised khaleef with a tall glass of 3-scooped ice-cream as a birthday thing. they sang ‘happy birthday’, and brought a  plate of whipped cream with cherry on top. when khaleef bend down to bite the cherry, they stamped the plate of whip cream on his face! all in good fun!

the complimentary birthday ice-cream was absolutely yummy! THANKS hard rock cafe dubai!


the 2nd biggest hard rock store in the world after orlando



we had a great time – the staff were friendly, helpful and eager to please. the food were fairly delicious, and it was a fun, entertaining time at the hard rock cafe on its first opening day. hope this commendable service continues!

the store opens from 10am to 1am, while the restaurant opens after 1pm. enjoy!

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