Friday, January 18, 2013

Wok It : New Fancy Place for Asian Food

eating in dubai is so kacang for malaysians. if you missed food from home, you’ve got ‘singapore deli’ or ‘noodle bowl’ that sells spore-msian food from nasi lemak to laksa. you can also get lauk-pauk from indo restaurants ‘sari nusa’, ‘betawi’ or ‘dapoer kita’.

add to that list is ‘wok it’ – a new asian-food place offering delicious dishes from indonesia, malaysia, singapore and thailand. there’s the familiar pandan chicken, char kuey teow, nasi goreng kampung and the most popular dish here – murtabak

for links on my reviews of the places i mentioned, click here : singapore deli, noodle bowl, sari nusa and betawi.


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‘wok it’ is very near burjuman mall in bur dubai. it’s directly opposite centerpoint. look out for that cute giant ‘bee’ statue, and you’ll see the entrance to ‘wok it’. you can park right in front of the restaurants, but parking can be tough on a busy day. wait on the side, and if you’re lucky, just swoop in when a car leave its space!


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with its stylish interior, wooden flooring, classy minimalist park bench-like seats and open kitchen – ‘wok it’ sets itself apart from other asian restaurants. personally i feel that this is the most fancy restaurant that i’ve been to, that offers malaysian dishes.

but hold it – this doesn’t necessarily makes ‘wok it’ better than the others – i still like betawi’s small, cosy place and singapore deli’s simple setting that is so lepak, as well as sari nusa with its batik table spread.

‘wok it’ is a pretty place, but at the same time, i immediately feel that we’re gonna be spending a lot more moolah here than any other asian place!


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there are two sections : one is with the park-bench seats. and you go a few steps up to a smaller area with soft white chairs. it’s really nice, comfy. simple but classy. and it’s a classy place that is still kids-friendly. i like it.


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a few of our malaysian and indonesian friends who have been here suggested we try the ‘murtabak’. murtabak is a delicious malaysian dish which is basically minced meat (chicken, or lamb) cooked with a lot of diced onions and egg, wrapped inside a thin parotha-like skin. and it’s grilled over hot pan.

there is also a choice of ‘sweet murtabak’ which i think looks more like our ‘apam balik’ but with cheese and chocolate inside.


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murtabak kambing or lamb murtabha


it’s no wonder why this is one of the most popular dishes in ‘wok it’. it’s delicious! granted that it’s got less inti that what we could get for cheaper in malaysia, and its got a crunchy exterior more similar to ‘samosa’ than our usual malaysian murtabak, but it’s still worth the dirham. it’s served piping hot so the outer skin is crispy crunchy.

for hardcore fans of murtabak, this might be a slight disappointment because the inti is agak sikit but personally I LIKE IT very much simply because i am not usually a fan of murtabak – i like my food to have balance and murtabak is just the sort off food that has very thin skin and A LOT of inti – faham tak? bila makan tu kadang-kadang rasa inti je berlambak. it just doesn’t go together for me!

tu sebab aku suka murtabak ‘wok it’ sebab inti dengan kulit dia seiring dan sejalan haha.


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we also tried this spicy beef szechuan something-something with bell peppers and mushroom. tasty but tasty yang biase-biase je, especially for the price we’re paying. if you like these kind of dishes, i suggest you’re better off going to lan zhou chinese restaurant near dragon mart. cheap, super delicious lauk! click here for my review.

if i have to say one nice thing about this dish, the beef is tender. senang gigit. well-cooked.


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for veggies, we opted for kangkong belacan. again, sedap but sedap biase. it’s fairly tasty but mr. khairul said singapore deli has the best kangkong belacan in town.


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i think i’ll try the char kuey teow next, just to see whether it’s similar with my favorite ipoh or penang char kuey teow. considering how *often* i get to eat authentic char kuey teow here in dubai, i doubt it will taste as good – but you never know until you try!

depan centerpoint kat burjuman mall tu tau. try lah!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Wafa & Her 3 Dubai Cousin Brothers

can’t help but share these adorable shots with you fine people out there. these were taken by my sis-in-law tina when they were sending us off at KLIA.

my boys khaleef, kahfi and kazim with their only girl-cousin on bapak’s side. the adorable wafa.


from left : kazim, wafa, khaleef and kahfi. their eyes are proof that they’re close cousins! those pretty cat-like sepet-eyes that stretches forever – that even the strongest genes cannot push aside!


thank you my sis-in-law tina for these shots. it’s fair to say that among her siblings, she’s the one keeping everyone together for any photo shoot. syabas!


wafa refers to her cousins as ‘my friends’. cute. she cried so hard when the boys left to go into the international boarding area. sob sob. hope you come by to dubai soon kiddo!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Movies : Upside Down, Flight, Premium Rush & Hope Springs

movies again!

the second movie-round for 2013 starts of with a fantastic romantic sci-fi ‘upside down’, the emotion-high drama ‘flight’, action-packed ‘premium rush’, and the romantic comedy ‘hope springs’.


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how does LOVE overcome challenges in the romantic stories we know of? romeo and juliet defies their feuding family just to be together. ghazali and engku zaleha are separated by darjat. peter parker and mary jane couldn’t be together in the beginning for fear that spiderman’s enemies might hurt her.

in this romantic sci-fi ‘upside down’, the LOVE in this fantastic movie is separated – by GRAVITY. 

the premise of this sci-fi romance is that the two lovers live in two separate worlds – one on top of the other but are close enough that they can build ONE really tall building that connects the two worlds for business purposes, but citizens of both worlds can never socialize, and are bound by the gravity of their home planet.

(don’t worry, in the opening scene of this movie, this concept is explained very clearly by the hero. it’s all extremely fascinating, really!)

the two sweethearts adam and eden met for the first time when they were just kids, on the tallest point of their world, and from then on fell in love. how could this relationship be possible, when gravity pulls each on their own ground, that they can never live on the other’s world? their love seemed impossible, and yet, one would risk everything to be with their one true love.

jim sturgess as adam is just so adorable in his pursuit to find eden (kirsten dunst), and she is just the same sweet and charming young lady we know in her movies, despite all the new young hot names popping up in hollywood like amy adams, amanda seyfried, rachel mcadams and many more. the two have fantastic chemistry, and a joy to watch.

the cinematography is amazing – well, green screen yes – but still! it reminds me of that cool scene from ‘inception’ where the city landscape sort off rolled up 90 degrees. awesome. in ‘upside down’, the whole city with skyscrapers and millions of lights are always right above their heads. what a sight. creative genius!

if you were a science-freak watching ‘upside down’, please don’t be a party-pooper by pointing out all the illogical points regarding gravity, planet movements or whatever intellectual crap you have. just chill out and enjoy the sweet romance from the adorable leads; kirsten dunst and james sturgess as they defy gravity – literally – to be together.

highly recommended. you will cry, you will laugh, you will cheer with the hero, and feel his frustration. you will say YES way to go and oh NO at the suspense! but above all, you will sigh. oh, how sweet!



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i would say that ‘flight’ is an OK movie, and the only thing that made it interesting is denzel washington. no wonder he is the only thing smack right on the movie poster.

as always, denzel washington delivers a powerful performance full of emotions and the usual swagger. if it weren’t for him, ‘flight’ to me would just be another movie about an alcoholic pilot accused of causing death when the plane he flies went down.

denzel’s character piloted a flight that went wrong – 6 people ended up dead from the crash. some said noone could’ve landed the plane the way he did or more people might end up dead. he saved them! on the other hand, he also had been drinking. drugs were involved. he is forced to face his own demons – admit his problem, seek help, falling from grace, or cover-up everything, play the blame game and walk as a hero? what will he do?

i guess i’m not interested in movies about people battling alcoholism or drugs. boring.

i would recommend watching this movie once, just to know what it’s about, and of course if you’re a denzel washington fan. or if you’re a pilot. or have once been on a plane.



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a surprisingly good movie that i enjoyed watching very very much. ‘premium rush’ is a non-stop action-packed movie without a boring moment. the whole movie just speeds up just like the characters who are all mostly moving fast on super-speed bicycle in the middle of a busy manhattan city streets.

the title ‘premium rush’ refers to the name they give any package or letter that is important, super-urgent, and must arrive 5 minutes ago.

wilee is sort of a courier guy – on bicycle. yup, instead of sending packages and letters using large trucks or cars, he cycles. one day, he picked up an envelope to be delivered fast – little did he know he was about to get involved in one serious cat-and-mouse chase with a dirty cop who wants that envelope as badly as he’s willing to kill the cyclist.

from the get-go the cyclist dictates the pace of the movie – fast, smooth and slick. no room for mistake. joseph gordon-levitt as wilee makes bicycle looks freaking cool and sexy! he must’ve developed some seriously *sick* thigh muscles just for this role. now i wanna take up cycling!

a unique subject matter – a cyclist-courier guy in a fast-paced chase through a busy city with a mystery to solve – what’s with that envelope? a must-watch!



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this endearing movie ‘hope springs’ reminds me of another ‘elderly love’ movie ‘last chance harvey’ starring dustin hoffman and emma thompson. both movies are charming and no less passionate than the ones with young lovers!

and before you turn away from this movie like, ‘eww old-wrinkly-people-makin-out’ – let me just tell you that this is one of the sweetest, most honest romantic movies i’ve seen in years. if you’re married for a fairly number of years – be it 5 or 15 years, you would totally get this movie, especially if you’ve experienced rough patches here and there in your marriage. i mean, sedangkan lidah lagi tergigit kan?

kay and arnold are no longer sleeping in the same bedroom. after a broken back, arnold slept in the guest room, and the routine sort off just became habit. their lives have become perfunctory – just going through the motion – wake up, make breakfast, leave for work, have dinner with the kids, yada yada yada. arnold sees nothing wrong, but kay thinks something is missing in their 30-years marriage.

they met a relationship therapist, and so begin an amusing journey of discovering each other once more, learning to listen, finding words to express and of course, falling in love all over again.

as a married couple, our problems might be different then theirs, but there’s always something to learn when it comes to understanding, give and take, and making an effort in a relationship, and ‘hope springs’ might give you a little of that.

it’s about putting the romance back in your marriage. about rekindling the fiery passion that is lost. it’s about going back to the times when you just have to touch each other while driving, watching tv or simply toes-touching as you sit at the dinner table. it’s about looking at the person you’re spending the rest of your life with, and remembering why you badly want to do it in the first place.

and with tommy lee jones and the lovely meryl streep, you can never go wrong. a sweet, sweet story for married couples everywhere.



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any more movies to recommend? i’m out!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Journey to Kalba : Padang Pasir Musim Sejuk!

it’s winter in dubai. and winter in dubai can be really, really cold. especially on a windy day! one great way to spend winter in dubai is to hang out at the nearest desert spot!

our pick? the sandy stretch along the road to a place called kalba. kalba is one city in the UAE (united arab emirates) in the state of sharjah, very close to fujairah, another state of UAE.


my boys gone nuts. they’re like 3 hooligans in the biggest sand box ever!


why kalba?


kalba has a special place in mr. khairul’s heart (and bike) as this is one of the many routes he takes on his usual weekend bike-ride. he has burned the rubber many, many times along this familiar roads, but this was the first time for me and the boys.

though the slopes and sharp corners made me nervous thinking of mr khairul speeding on his harley, but the landscape is beautiful in its simplicity, that it was just so serene for me.


oh kazim, i just LOVE the feel of soft desert sand slipping through my fingers. i could do it again and again.


that SKY!


my boys hitch-hiking a ride home. haha.


no cars. as far as the eyes can see. so mr khairul took this shot.



we took TONS of pictures, but i’ll save it for another day. this – right before the tunnel – is one of the many memorable spots for mr. khairul and his riding buddies. here they would stop on the side of the road for a brief rest, before continuing their journey into the open road.



the superbike riders in kalba. mine is the one in white. hihi. speed smart if you must, and be safe, love! ingat orang tersayang!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Kahfi’s 4th Birthday in Ipoh

i was back in ipoh last december for my youngest sister’s wedding, coinciding with my kahfi’s 4th birthday on 23rd. it was just a simple yet wonderful moment to be able to celebrate kahfi’s birthday in ipoh, surrounded by my sisters, nephews and nieces.


cousins : from left cuya, haiqal, birthday boy kahfi, ica, anong khaleef and haqeem


aunty da (my sis syida) bought this rich moist choc cake for kahfi – with an angry bird perching right on top, an absolute hit with the birthday boy!


my boy kahfi has always enjoyed birthdays very much – cakes, balloons, presents and singing birthday songs – no matter whose it it. so having the chance to finally celebrate his own birthday with his aunts and cousins was truly an exciting thing.


thank you aunty da for this priceless moment. you have no idea how happy you made kahfi. he still talks about it everytime he sees the pictures. thank you!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Movies : Pitch Perfect, The Words, Cloud Atlas & Possession

syigim is BACK with her first movie review for the new year 2013! will start off with a musical comedy ‘pitch perfect’, a stirring drama ‘the words’, a thought-provoking sci-fi ‘cloud atlas’, and a terribly creepy movie ‘the possession’.



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been awhile since i’ve seen a really good fun movie about college-goin youngsters. this is could be the best yet. ‘pitch perfect’ is not exactly a musical like the legendary ‘grease’ with actors suddenly breaking into songs in the middle of a scene, but it IS about music. and people do sing in this movie. oh, i LOVE every single singing scenes in ‘pitch perfect’!

the genre is : a capella. singing without the help of any musical instruments; and the sounds, the beats and singing are all from the mouth. the trebelmakers and the barden bellas are two rivalry teams competing to be the best in singing a capella, while spouting insults towards each other.

and in the middle of it all, the new girl beca gets thrown into the mix. i love how her relationship with ‘the enemy’ jesse, another newbie in the college, develops through the movie – not too fast, not too lovey-dovey, and not too obvious. just nice and sweet, just a couple of friends hanging out, and later finding themselves enjoying each other’s company to finally falling in love at the end.

aussie funny gal rebel wilson as ‘fat amy’ is absolutely hillarious in this movie. sometimes it’s as if she’s without a script and just goin on and on being herself. it’s fun to watch!

so if you love college movies that are NOT just centered on sicky puppy love, if you love singing, if you enjoy a good comedy with a dash of romance – this movie is a must-see. i absolutely LOVE it, especially the scene with the riff-off.

what the heck is a riff-off? go find out, and enjoy!



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‘the words’ is my new favorite movie. i just LOVE it. i can watch it again and again. it’s a suspense-drama about a writer, talking about his book about a writer, who met a writer talking about how he starts writing. write? rite? right on!

now when i say ‘suspense’, don’t expect action-packed, or complicated mystery – suspense here means i find myself always eager to find out what happens next, and of course, how will the story end.

and it stars the awesome jeremy irons with that signature deep, mellow voice (he voiced ‘scar’ of disney’s lion king), dennis quaid who is still hot for an old dude; and of course the dashing bradley cooper. all 3 gave great, passionate performances. what’s NOT to like?

now i won’t spoil you with the storyline, because you really need to just sit back and enjoy the story of ‘the words’ as it unfolds, without bothering to find out about the plot. just know that it starts off with a narration from the author of a book during a book-reading, and you can just follow his voice.

it would be quite a trip. a highly-recommended movie.



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there’s no right word to describe this amazing movie ‘cloud atlas’.

i would say that this movie has a few different storylines set in different timeline, different culture and race, different environment.

…a dying lawyer on a ship rescuing a black slave in the 17th century; love-letters from a classical song composer to his ‘friend’; a feisty journalist racing to uncover conspiracy within a nuclear power plant; an elderly man wrongly-put in a nursing home plotting to escape; a pretty clone rescued by a dashing army officer in futuristic Korea; and an african-like tribe with occasional visits from humans living on another planet in the future.

the only thing that’s constant in ‘cloud atlas’ is the message – that our lives are connected somehow; past, present and future – that our actions affect others, perhaps even in a thousand years ahead. it sounds like a lot of adventures to take in one sitting, but you still try to be in the moment because the stories that were told are so engaging – you want to know how each story ends.

..and THAT’s not the amazing part.

the amazing thing is, the main actors in ‘cloud atlas’ play many parts (most up to 8 roles!). tom hanks, for example, play many different characters in each of the story – be it the hero, or the villain, or just a 2-minute-scene hotel manager. it’s a joy watching such an incredibly talented actor showcase his versatility in the many diverse roles he played in this movie.

some actors even played a different race, or even gender! halle berry played a white jewish woman in one plotline, hugh grant was at one time an evil tribal warrior, and ‘the matrix’ bad guy hugo weaving even played a female nurse in one of the plots.

caution : the movie moves from plot to plot set in different timeline and different characters so you either get lost in the movement of the storyline, or get even more engrossed. i was definitely engrossed. if you’re a tom hanks fan, this is a must-see.



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this is one scary movie.

what makes the movie ‘the possession’ even more scary to me is how closely i can relate to it – having a lot of ‘dirasuk’ stories exposed in our malay society.

the plot is very simple – a girl found a mysterious box that can’t be opened. and of course, she managed to open it. she hears voices. she begins to eat a lot. too much. always hungry. her voice sometimes changes. she acts weird. and people beginning to die around her.

classic case of being possessed. dirasuk.

it’s no ‘exorcist’, but not bad for scaring people. go see it if you enjoy a nice horror movie with an ending that will leave you with a vision of that rustic box, whispering your name – one syllable at a time.



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more movies coming up!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Huge Yemeni Bread Dip in Lamb Stew

had a most satisfying mandi rice lunch at mahareb restaurant at nad al hammar, deira earlier today. oh, i’m a mandi-rice addict – and i don’t want to be cured, thank you very much!

so far, ‘mahareb restaurant’ is the mandi restaurant with the MOST choice in food and types of meat cooking-style in its menu. it also has a lot of other appetizers in the form of soups, salads and breads – unlike some other mandi restaurant which only has 1 or 2 type of salad available and just one soup or no choice of juice in the menu.

mahareb restaurant even has a good selection of fresh fruit juices – i would recommend the avocado juice! slurp!

also a plus point – i LOVE the family room. it’s not just compartmentalized space, or cubicles – it really IS an actual room. personally to me it’s the best i’ve seen. it’s spacious, so classy and beautiful with framed accessory and gorgeous turkish lamp on plaster ceiling. it has a thick door for privacy, and translucent glass on the wall. LOVE it!

check out my review of mahareb mandi and madfoon restaurant when we first went there. click here to read.


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my addiction!


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saltah fahsah’ or lamb stew


mr. khairul wanted to try this dish called ‘saltah fahsah’ which is basically lamb stew. saltah is said to be the national dish of yemen and is a staple food especially during lunch. it can be made with meat or vegetarian.

the one that we had was with soft, juicy lamb. i love the presentation. it was still boiling when we got it, served on a hot plate (or bowl, actually) and this thick bowl was amusingly funny – pitch black, with uneven top and really rough edges. macam buruk je mangkuk tu tapi very raw and classic at the same time!

the stew itself tasted tomato-ish, which i really love. however mr. khairul would like it more if it were spicy-er!


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the mulauwah or malawach bread of yemen


the saltah fahsah is served alongside this yemeni bread – mulauwah.

the mulauwah bread really looks and tastes like our roti canai, similar to parotha. however, as you can see, the size is 3-4 times larger! you can see how big the bread it when put against my eldest khaleef! yum!

we didn’t know that the bread would be this big when we ordered, so we were reasonably full from eating this bread with the lamb stew before the mandi rice arrived.


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what’s our main dish? mandi rice of course!

i had chicken mandi rice as usual – no contest there. it’s my most favorite dish in dubai ever! delicious well-marinated easily-torn-flesh chicken! next, is to decide on which lamb mandi to order. there are a few different choices :

  1. mandi meat – most famous yemeni dish originated from the hadramawt region
  2. madfon meat – a dish famous in western yemen
  3. borma meat – a dish famous in northern yemen cooked in broth
  4. moqalqal meat – small pieces of meat marinated in spices and fried with oil
  5. madghoot meat – pressure-cooked rice with meat
  6. oqda meat – small pieces of meat with broth and veggies
  7. zorbian meat – a yummy dish consists of rice, meat and potatoes


i love learning new words, especially when it involves FOOD! never knew there’s so many different types of meat (cooked in different ways) eaten with mandi rice. i guess it’s like when we have nasi lemak that can be eaten with ayam rempah, or chicken rendang and even curry chicken.

we finally settled on hanith meat which is a choice between ribs or shoulder. it’s one of the most (if not THE most) delicious lamb dish served with rice i’ve ever tasted. if ever i want to suggest a really good mandi meat dish, this would be it.

tender, juicy, succulent – it’s simply delicious!


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jom makan!

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