Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dubai Street Festival 2012 @ Dubai Marina Mall

today is the LAST day of dubai marina street festival, after 10 days of excitement! this awesome event ran from 22nd march to the 31st, held at dubai marina mall. it features LIVE street performances from international acts of UK, US, australia, spain and many more – some juggle, some play weird musical instruments, some do dangerously daring acrobatics, some sing, and most are really funny – but all mesmerized the crowds with their talents.




we live pretty close by so we went so often to catch ALL the performers – which differs each day. there are probably 6-8 acts per day starting from 4 to 10, and we just watch anything we can.

these are street performances so, naturally, all shows are done outdoors in this fine weather that dubai is having (though changing from cool winter to warm summer). they’re all FREE for all so the crowd gathers around the foyer that looks out to the marina at the dubai marina mall to catch the shows.


the kids sits on the floor to enjoy the show!


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…and these are some of the many acts that we managed to go see :


this is sam wills from new zealand. he did some juggling and lots of silly tricks. his show is never boring because he's funny and always try to get the *passive* dubai crowd to cheer louder! seriously you can see his effort to get the crowd to participate, with his jokes and wide grin. kasi support lah sikit weh!


this is dennis dove from new york. he plays drums using pails, pots and pans and he's REALLY good. but so kesian his show is always the last one of the night, on a week day, so he plays to a small crowd since most have gone back. however, he was still so very enthusiastic, and a positive entertainer. i guess being a STREET performer, he should get use to being rejected on the streets, and having passive crowds. so he knows how to get the crowd going, even a small one.

really, he plays one mean drum. pails and all!


this dude calls his act 'hang in balance' - he plays the 'new' musical instrument called the 'hang' shaped like a UFO, with nothing but air inside the instrument. "only 100 of these are made.. bla bla" making it sound like it’s so special, but the sound is exactly like our traditional malay musical instrument 'gamelan' - and they call this NEW. sheesh.


however, dude did sound good. but i’m just saying that this instrument HAD been around for very long now…haha. well, my boys (in matching blues) had fun – just kicked back and relax enjoying the street show with one blonde chick and a cute brunette haha.


this is 'reuben dot dot' from melbourne - half chinese, half polish. he's fun to watch! heart-stopping acrobatics on a pole! and he’s funny too – spewing clever one-liners to ease the tension, especially when some kids go running around while he’s about to do a dangerous stunt.

he straight away said, “i’m really going to kill you kids, if you let them run around like that” – meaning, they might really be killed should his stunt go wrong while they’re let loose. so be safe, and keep your kids safe while enjoying the show!


'reuben dot dot' from melbourne - half chinese, half polish. comel!


this is my favorite act, the one that i’ve been wanting to see ever since i saw the list and description of each performer – lili la scala from UK! she sings vintage songs with funny lyrics. her voice is incredible, reaching new heights! love her, especially her gorgeous retro style too! i mean, look at her cute dress!


the beautiful lili la scala with my awe-struck son hihi. love her outfit! and she’s so comel!


this is mr. khairul's favorite! haha. nigel blackstorm from the states. magic + heavy metal = HEAVY MAGIC! silly, funny, n mental! he tries to be all ganas and heavy-metal-y but he sounds so funny! "ladies, control yourselves!" he picks random strangers from the audience n claims you to be his long-lost band-members! his magic tricks are not THAT impressive, but his quirky personality made him very fun to watch.


these life-size 'soft people' knitted puppets are all over dubai marina mall! it was so funny when khaleef had fun spotting them as we were walking around the mall! they are also part of the ‘street performers’!


where are they from?



the ‘soft people’ puppets from UK are these soft sculptures from the highly acclaimed exhibition ’off the hook’ by rita mcgurn. whether in the glasgow subway, the paris metro, or an open air market, the work begins with people who catch the artist’s attention and are then transposed in colour and texture to ‘soft people’. wow.

creepy, actually! life-sized dolls that look eeriely weird – no thanks of having that in my living room!


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we’ve had so much fun these past week watching the street performances at dubai marina mall.

one thing we noticed is that eventhough there are many expats in dubai, which means the crowd is INTERNATIONAL, watching INTERNATIONAL acts – the crowd is not SO lively, unless they’re encouraged by the performer – “clap louder!” or “you guys better cheer when i do this!” or “you can do better than that!”

because we’re in the middle east? but i thought dubai is more liberal…seriously, most of the time, it’s mr. khairul who kept cheering and shouting and clapping loudly in support of the performers!

oh well, we’re hoping to catch more shows next year when they come back for another run. till then!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Do I Like the Japanese Dish @ Wagamama?

the signature dishes of ‘wagamama’ seemed to be japanese noodle dishes of ramen and soba. however, since i’m not into noodle dishes, i personally did not like the food-choice at ‘wagamama’. but that’s just me.

‘wagamama’ is a brit-originated food-chain serving japanese food. we’ve heard the famous name, and now it’s time to try it out.



we went to the one in JBR the walk. ‘wagamama’ JBR is at al-fattan towers, on the first floor of the al fattan shopping mall. walk in, take the escalator to the first floor and just follow the signs.


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spacious, with open kitchen and long benches with red cushions. pretty nice place with minimum decor.


the coloring and writing activity for the kiddos on the kids’ menu. kept them occupied while waiting for our orders to come.


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like i mentioned previously, ‘wagamama’ is probably more known for its noodle dishes – with ramen or soba noodles. i don’t really fancy soupy noodle dishes, that’s why it’s difficult for me to spot anything i really like from the menu. i finally settled on ‘teriyaki steak soba’ – and even THAT is a noodle dish, but i requested them to change it to rice.


the japanese white rice was steaming hot and soft, but the steak was a slight disappointment. i was hoping the steak to be piping hot, but it’s lukewarm. the marinade was pretty tasty, but the texture of the steak was less juicy than i expected. a bit dry. however, the teriyaki sauce with the taugeh (beansprouts) was delicious, and i don’t even like beansprouts!

overall, a so-so dish.


mr. khairul tried the ‘teriyaki salmon soba’, also changed to rice. he liked the salmon; the taste and the texture, but complained about the ‘hanyir’ feel. they should squeezed in a little lime juice to take away the uncomfortable taste. overall, also a so-so meal.


for the boys, we ordered the ‘mini chicken ramen’ from the kids’ menu. it’s noodles in vegetable soup with grilled chicken, carrots and sweetcorn. they DO do a good noodle dish, because THIS is quite a yummy one. kazim enjoyed it the most – the soup was hot and tasty, the grilled chicken were tender. good for the boys.


this is ‘chilli squid’. it’s deep-fried squid, seasoned with sea salt and shichimi (japanese chilli pepper). it’s served with a chilli, garlic and coriander dipping sauce. it doesn’t look THAT crispy, but it really is! a delicious dish that is simple, yet addictive!


a must-order miso soup. khaleef’s favorite.


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ok, so do i like ‘wagamama’?

to start with, i don’t even really like japanese food. and secondly, i ONLY prefer to eat chicken katsu (deep-fried breaded chicken) whenever i do go to japanese restaurant, and here they serve it with some sort of japanese curry, which i don’t feel like experimenting on (since i’m not adventurous with food).

so – in conclusion, ‘wagamama’ will not be in my favorites list, but for those of you who love japanese noodles, i guess this is the place to get lots of choices.

for me, i’ll stick with ‘sumo’ – the best chicken katsu dish i’ve tried so far! click here to read more.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hunting Abaya & Shawls @ Blue Souq, Sharjah

dubai has ‘naif’, sharjah has ‘blue souq’. also called the central souk or central market, the ‘blue souq’ is THE place in sharjah to get endless choices of abaya, shawls, carpets, rugs, antiques, jewellery – the list goes on. it’s a beautiful building with blue tiles – hence the name ‘blue souq’.

(sharjah is one of the 7 emirates in UAE. it’s right next to dubai)

there are two long buildings actually, connected by a pedestrian bridge. from outside, it looks like a beautiful 1950s train station with an islamic architecture-touch, complete with wind towers on top – a trademark of middle-east houses. a combo between traditional souk and modern shopping mall.



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over 600 shops selling all things middle east and all over.


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i was there looking for shawls.

you know what, mr. khairul is truly the luckiest husband. haha. i’m the kind of person who does not like to go from shop A, B, C, D, E, F and then goes back to C and then changed her mind, and goes back to the first shop, and ends up to last shop back again, and then decides to go to shop D again. or F again. or maybe just look for shop G, H, I and J…

so mr. khairul can just kick back and relax while i shop at one shop and then we can head home. and not drag him to hundreds of shops. hihi.



i went to shop A, found a good bargain, and just shopped there! yes, there we like hundreds of shops selling abayas and shawls, and i stayed in ONE shop and bought all i wanted from there, because i already found what i needed!

next time can come again and go to other shops lah! hihi.

i know sometimes it’s good to go to many, many shops before you settle on what you want to buy – you can compare prices, and when you look at other shops maybe they’ve got different designs from the previous shops, and maybe you can get the best deals of the best stuff after going round the whole place.

but i just don’t wanna go through all the hassle! haha. malas kan. lagipun dah jumpa apa yang dicari!


the inner syria cotton that i’ve been looking for! thanks to lin for the info *smile* – i bought like SO MANY colors, and still felt i didn’t get enough!



blue souq is the place to shop for abaya and shawls, AND the place where bargaining and tawar-menawar is to be expected, so sharpen your bargaining skills here! kadang-kadang belum tawar harga lagi, orang kedai tu dah siap-siap turunkan harga. haha.

the sharjah blue souk (central souk) opens from 9 am to 1 pm, closed for noon prayers, and opens again at 4 pm to 11 pm daily, except on friday. location sila google ye haha. malas jugak nak tulis. let’s just say it’s on the way to sharjah aquarium.

happy hunting!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Homemade Satay in Abu Dhabi

last few weekends we were invited to bro ezam’s house to share this delightful malaysian dish – SATAY! i absolutely love satay. satay is the first thing i want to eat as soon as i touch down in malaysia.

bro ezam had been hosting a couple of ‘satay parties’ at his home in abu dhabi, because his brother came for a visit, and he sells satay for a living or on the side, i’m not so sure. but my point is, this is not just an experimental satay grilled at home by an expat – this is really a professionally-made satay – right here in UAE! hihi.

macam baru beli satay bungkus kat kajang!



satay is chicken or beef meat on a skewer, marinated and grilled. the best satay should taste spicy sweet and oh, so juicy. it’s served with spicy peanut sauce. i LOVE satay! i’ve never eaten rabbit satay (gross isn’t it!) but i have tasted camel satay once. didn’t really like it!



the herb and spices used for the marinade is really rich, you can taste the concoction. the ingredients for the marinade was brought all the way from malaysia, so that the satay will retain the authentic taste! the peanut sauce is thick and spicy enough to be so enjoyable.

i was really grateful for the thought of including us in this satay merriment, so i thank our generous host, bro ezam and wife. APPRECIATE it! please do think of us again when your brother comes back for a visit ya... *wink wink*


Friday, March 23, 2012

Ingatan Yang Buat Aku Sebak

cikgu ibrahim ni jiran sebelah rumah lama abah aku kat ipoh. anak dia kak linda ialah senior aku kat MGS (methodist girls school, ipoh). kitorang dulu ngaji sama-sama, main sama-sama, dan masa raya pun semestinya lah rumah cikgu ibrahim ni antara yang terawal mendapat kunjungan budak kecik yg nak kumpul duit raya ni. hihi. aku lah tu.

dah lama sangat aku tak jumpa kak linda, dan cikgu ibrahim. ade la dalam lebih 10 tahun kot. tambah-tambah lepas abah aku pindah dari kawasan perumahan tu ke rumah yang sekarang ni.

baru-baru ni, nampak gamba pakcik ngan makcik kat facebook kak linda. terus teringat kenangan-kenangan masa kecik dulu. jadi aku pun komen la kat situ, kot-kot ingat lagi ke kat aku ni…

jawapan pakcik betul-betul buat aku sebak. ntah kenapa aku terus nak nangis. mungkin sebab aku terharu pakcik masih ingat begitu skali, dan cakap aku ‘cute’ haha. dan juga sebak kot sebab dia tulis ‘atuk (abah aku) mesti happy ramai cucu’. (rindu kat abah!) yang paling aku sebak ntah kenapa aku terus teringat kat mak. sekarang pun aku macam nak nangis lagi.

mungkin sebab kehidupan aku dekat kawasan perumahan lama berjiran dengan cikgu ibrahim masa tu ialah kehidupan best aku masa mak masih ada. kenangan rumah lama di mana mak besarkan aku. tu yang sebak sangat tu. automatik teringat…

dulu bila mak aku jemput mak kak linda datang rumah, mak akan buat lawak kat tetamu lain, “ha, ni nak kenalkan tetamu palingggg jauh ni.” haha. lawak la tu. padehal makcik duduk selang satu rumah je.

harap pakcik tak kisah saya letak komen pakcik di blog saya ye.




“inda, papa & mama still remember syigim. she was a very cute little girl. very friendly & most talkative among her sisters. we liked to citcat with her. i’ve gone through her FB wall and she doesn’t change much. wow she has many children and the grandfather must be very happy. i used to travel & tours with tok oddin. syigim tak teringin ke nak dtg melawat? dtglah ziarah kami yang masih ada lagi & alhamdulillah masih sihat. all the best to u & family in dubai. oh how we wish to visit dubai one day. may Allah SWT blessed you all always.”


lagi satu yang buat aku sebak ialah ayat, “..dtg lah ziarah kami yang masih ada lagi..” sebab teringat jiran aku sblah lagi pulak, cikgu mokhtar baru meninggal awal tahun ni, dan yang aku dah lama tak jumpa jugak arwah padehal aku ngan anak dia si ani tu memang bestfriend masa kecik-kecik tocang dua dulu. mak dia cikgu zaharah pulak tengah sakit.

aku mesti ingatkan diri aku pegi melawat jiran-jiran lama ni.

dari Ali r.a katanya: aku mendengar Rasulullah s.a.w bersabda: "apabila seseorang telah menziarahi saudara seislamya, sebenarnya dia telah berjalan-jalan memetik buahan syurga sehinggalah dia duduk. apabila dia duduk maka rahmat menaunginya. jika di di waktu pagi maka 70,000 malaikat berselawat ( berdoa memohon ampun ) untuknya sehingga waktu petang. jika di waktu petang, maka 70,000 berselawat ( berdoa memohon ampun ) untuknya sehingga waktu pagi ". (HR Ibnu Majah, Abu Dawud)

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april ni adik saya nak kawen, pakcik kena datang ok! (eh, macam la pakcik baca blog aku ni!) insyaAllah saya datang menziarah pakcik bila balik ipoh nanti. terima kasih atas ingatan pakcik. sangat terharu saya. moga Allah sentiasa melimpahkan keberkatan, kesihatan dan rezeki pada pakcik sekeluarga. amin.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Uno Chicago Grill : Another ‘TGIF’?

we tried ‘uno chicago grill’ yesterday, the one at deira city center. my first impression of the place : another one of those ‘tgif’-kinda-place – burgers, pasta, steaks and salad. but we’ve never been here before, so might as well try it out.



i know it’s a weekday and a school night – so why did we eat out? my old colleague kak marliza was in dubai for her usual business visits here, so we treated her to dinner at this american diner. she’s covering middle east, and has been to dubai many, many times. however, this is the first time that we managed to meet up!




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uno chicago grill creates ‘an american warehouse’ feel in its interior decor that i just love, especially the brick walls. black and white photographs depicting the 50’s hang on the wall, and other decor are also very american like the street signs, and vintage posters of american advertisements.

the lighting is so dim at our table – the dimmest i’ve seen in a diner, but perfect for a romantic casual date. hihi. might be uncomfortable for some who wants a clear vision of what they’re eating, but i think it was alright.

sekali sekala makan dalam gelap-malap. hihi.



like i said, my first impression (especially after looking through the menu) this place is just another TGIF. there are burgers, salads, pasta, steaks and grilled seafood. just like TGIF, forget the fact that it’s been around since 1943! the menu is what you’d expect when you go to TGIF, chillis or fuddruckers – give and take a few signature dishes here and there.

the place is also called ‘pizzeria uno’ so they offer a few yummy-looking pizzas too.


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i went for the ‘cheddar and sautéed mushroom’ burger. i was really hungry so it tasted FAIRLY good, also because i am a big fan of cheese burger no matter what. however, i must say that this is a really mediocre plate of burger. i’ve seen juicier and more tantalizing looking mushroom on chilli’s burgers. the beef patty was not smoking hot and they’re so kedekut on the lettuce!

like i said, it’s FAIRLY good, but comparatively, i’ve eaten better burgers elsewhere. i won’t be ordering this again.


this is mr. khairul’s – the ‘chi-town tasting plate’, comprising of buffalo wings, crispy cheese dippers, chicken thumbs (like small chicken chop) and onion rings, with fries.

to be fair, the items on this plate is quite delicious. HOWEVER, i took this picture as soon as it arrived on our table. noone has touched the food yet. so my opinion is : totally FAIL on presentation! it doesn’t look inviting at all! put lah some salad on the side. or dips in the middle (the dish does come with 3 types of dips which are put separately on another small plate.)

you wanna see *presentation*, see the one at hard rock cafe. lawa.


kak marliza went italian, ordering this ‘blazing pasta’ – fettuccine cooked in spicy marinara sauce. the portion is HUGE and she can barely finish half of this dish! i think 3 people can share this dish. for die-hard pasta fan!


for our italian boys, we ordered pepperoni pizza on thin crust for them. when i tasted their pizza, i knew why they’re called ‘pizzeria uno & chicago grill. their pizza is delicious! it’s piping hot fresh from the oven. the dough is dense yet soft. the pepperoni is crispy, and the CHEESE – the cheese is just fantastic. yummy. i would try the 4-cheese pizza next, for sure!



i’ve concluded – and this is just a personal opinion – that uno chicago grill is essentially american, but it’s got better italian dishes in its menu. try their pizza if you ever think of eating here.


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to kak marliza, it was nice seeing you after all these years. i think it’s almost 6-7 years already, right? you look exactly the same! thank you so much for the legos. it was very thoughtful, but you’re spoiling the boys! hihi. next visit, be sure to hang out at my place. i’ll cook!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kick, Run, Jump @ Al Safa Park

sandstorm occurs almost everyday now, but alhamdulillah last saturday was an exception. weather was nice. cool breeze in the air. sky is blue. the sun is peeking out. not so hazy. grab the moment and go do something outdoorsy!

so we went to al safa park. al safa park is one of the many beautiful parks in dubai. it covers a HUGE area with 3 lakes, huge games area, sports area (courts and fields), picnic and barbeque area and even a small forestry area – in the middle of the desert! good effort by the dubai goverment!


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entrance to the park is dhs3 per adult, while the kids go in for free



as usual, local culture dictates that there should be a day put aside, or a special section JUST for the women and children – and here in al-safa park there is a ‘ladies garden’ too with fences and special entrances where ladies can have their own privacy jogging or watching their kids play without the interference of male strangers.


khaleef played football with coach bapak non-stop


al safa park is REALLY HUGE, but we’re there only to play football – and let the boys run WILD! there are no green grassy fields nearby our place, so this is the time to let them blow off steam – and let loose!

..and they really did go WILD and run run run!



my eldest khaleef has always been interested in football since he’s old enough to run and kick. really. once he started walking and running, he’s already kicking footballs. now kazim is displaying the same interest at 23months old. that little dude can really kick and run!

but kahfi? interestingly, we noticed that kahfi did not have the same drive to run and kick! here we are, in the presence of THREE boys, and you can see them developing as individuals already.  only khaleef and kazim were busy kicking the ball to each other, while kahfi stood on the side admiring the play area.

“mak, playground, mak? please, please, please!”



we shall explore other sports that you might be interested in kahfi, and if you don’t like ANY sports, that’s okay too. there are so many ways to stay healthy and have fun!


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the park is so big that there is a train going round and round the whole area so that you can reach the far end of the park without the hassle of walking.


kazim wanted to climb this tree! hihi


beautiful. if you can squint, you can see the world’s tallest building burj khalifa in the background right in the middle. awesome sight. siap ade burung-burung berterbangan di langit biru lagi. and that’s my little kazim on the right side. hihi.


al safa park is a really awesome place for family get-together, friends reuniting, or a romantic stroll within the lush greeneries. definitely was a great day for us and the boys.

click here for more awesome shots of the beautiful al safa park.

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