Friday, November 29, 2013

Bite Hopping with 1Utama & the Butterfly Project Part 2

In this part of Bite Hopping through 1Utama with the Butterfly Project, let me introduce you to the eateries found in High Street. After covering most of Food Street (which you can read about in Part 1 here), the next part of my foodie mission took me to High Street lower ground (LG). 

[Non-halal] But before that, on my way to the former new wing of 1Utama, I dropped by this hidden little hideaway for my Bak Kut Teh fix, Pao Xiang Bak Kut Teh. How do you find it? Just look out for a giant bowl next to the escalator on the lower ground floor and it is right next to the Chinese medicine store, way inside. 

Pao Xiang Bak Kut Teh is famously known for their string-tied meat that ensure the meat remains firm and succulent when it is boiled in the herbal soup. It comes served on a ceramic burner to make sure it is constantly hot as you slurp on it. And it just so happened that when I was here, it started pouring cats and dogs outside. Talk about the perfect weather for piping hot soup and pork!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bite Hopping with 1Utama & the Butterfly Project Part 1

Today's installment of Bite Hopping was brought to you by 1Utama Shopping Centre in collaboration with the Butterfly Project. Being the 4th largest shopping mall in the world, you can be really spoiled for choice in terms of food in 1Utama. Spoiled rotten like a kid in Candyland.

Thanks to the Butterfly Project, I got to try out some of 1Utama's hidden food treasures last weekend as part of their Blogger Wonderfood Adventure. My mission, should I chose to accept or not (I did, that's why I am doing this anyway) was to explore, eat, taste and photography 15 selected outlets of the lower ground (LG) floor. All within a 5 hours time limit from 11am to 4pm.

As soon as I collected my food passport to collect stamps from the outlets and my goodie bag from the registration counter, I started mapping out my foodie route for the next five hours. (cue Mission Impossible music)

Let me start by introducing you to Food Street, located in the LG Promenade area directly beneath Isetan if you need a landmark to find it. There is a good number of eateries here that can satisfy any sort of craving be it local or international, sweet or savoury.

Monday, November 25, 2013

[Guest Post] The Food Here Tastes Different by Marta

Hey, readers!

Today I have something or rather someone special in the house. May I present you to Happy Days' first ever guest writer, Marta Velez! Yay!
Marta is a girl from Lisbon working in Kuala Lumpur. She has been living here for some months now and she loves it. Marta loves to travel, play guitar, meet new people and cultures and most of all food. She loves knowing other cultures and her love for the local gastronomy, lifestyle and culture was what led her to Happy Days Ahead.

More than that, Marta also has a passion for writing and in her own words, wants to share her experience with our Malaysian food since her arrival here. So without further ado, here's what Marta has to say.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Australia: Tough Mudder Perth 2013

As you know, I took part in the Viper Challenge held in August this year with my awesome team HUH?! which made me realize my addiction to obstacle challenges. By October, I was itching for another round of monkey bars, mud, ice and water and so, it was off to Perth, Australia for Tough Mudder Perth!

Tough Mudder has been hailed as "possibly the toughest event on the planet" and is organised throughout the year in different countries like the United States, New Zealand and of course, Australia. Perth was the latest edition to reach Australia, adding to a list consisting of Sydney, Melbourne, the Sunshine Coast and so on.

Since Perth was the closest Tough Mudder venue to Malaysia, we boarded a flight the day before the event and flew off to sunny Perth. (actually quite a far bit of logistics planning went into this trip as there were 13 of us, all with different itineraries)

Tough Mudder Perth was held in the middle of nowhere (WPC Copley Farm to be exact) and with our luck (good or bad, depends on you) it was freezing when we got there at 7am. We got ourselves sorted out at registration, got our bibs, got our numbers drawn our foreheads and dropped off our bags at the baggage counters, all rather quickly thanks to the efficiency of the organizers and volunteers.

Of course, to commemorate the event, we took a lot of pictures.My team was Mudder-in-Law, after a friend's favourite curse phrase and we were the most mismatched, psychotic team to fly out of Malaysia for this. Our wackiness started on the five hour flight over and quite frankly, we were surprised we were not thrown out from the plane for all the noisy and obstruction we made on the plane.

Anyway, Tough Mudder had the coolest starting Emcee who drilled the essence of the event in our heads and got us all pumped up for the flag off. Did I mention that we had to scale a mini wall just to get to the start line. That was Tough Mudder alright.

We were to expected 20 obstacles over a 20 km (12mile) trail and we got our money's worth in the crazy but fun obstacles that lined the course.

1. Kiss of Mud
Kiss of Mud was fairly straight-forward. We crawled through the mud, almost kissing it but the only catch was that there are barb-wires above our heads. My hair got caught a few times on that and a lot of people also lost their bibs in the mud.

2. Just the Tip
I must say this obstacle was one of my favourites despite taking a long time to calm my nerves to tackle it. Basically we had to inch our way along a wall with minimal hand hold and foothold across a pit of water. At one point, I was literally hanging by my fingertips as the footholds disappeared, relying only my arm strength and body momentum to swing me across.

3. Cage Crawl
A lot of people had concerns over this obstacle as it can get claustrophobic but water babies aka swimmers would love floating along the shallow tunnels filled with water and with only 6 inches of breathing space. I found it a rather....tranquil experience.

Our photographers were spotted running alongside the team on an assigned route for spectators.

4. Mud Mile
Now this was where we got really dirty all over. We had to sludge our way through a mile of mud and water that were up to our waist. It wasn't too bad other than the fact the water was cold and the hills of mud were collapsing under our hands even as we tried to boost ourselves up. That was what my team was for though and we got over this rather smoothly. I heard it wasn't that bad since our trenches were filled with water rather than actual heavy mud.

5. Electric Eel
Mentally and physically, this was one of the more daunting challenges as there was absolutely no way we could have trained for this, short of actually electrocuting ourselves....We had to crawl on our bellies through live wires that were dangling all around us and there was almost no way you can avoid them. I say, almost because somehow I managed to get through this obstacle without a jolt or a sizzle of electricity. Friends who got zapped ended up hopping around, screaming about their crown jewels.

Of course, the real skeleton at the front of the challenge didn't help. 

6. Glory Blades
Glory Blades was one of the easier walls to tackle. To get over it, we had to support each other by forming a stepping stone for our friends at the wall. Once they were over and down, there was another one on the other side.

7. Arctic Enema
Ah, the infamous Artic Enema of Tough Mudder.

I did a similar one for Viper which was actually modeled after this and this was certainly no walk in the park. Again, we had no way of training for this other than sitting in a tub filled with ice but somehow we went ahead with the Just Do It mentality and did it anyway.

Not a pretty experience as the water was freezing cold and filled to the brim with ice. We had to dunk our heads completely underwater to get under a board and come out the other side. It was just my bad luck that the guy in front of me got stuck trying to get out and I had to wait a torturous minute for someone to pull him out. In less than zero Celsius ice and water. By the time I had climbed out, I lost all feelings in my body and it was a miracle that I could still move without cramping up.

8. Water Logged
This was easy and we all had to do was climb over several fences of logs and duck under several barb wires in between. Of course, nothing was ever easy with my team and one of us...had a wardrobe malfunction when her pants caught a splinter and ripped. We spent a good ten minutes trying to patch her up with duct tape only for it to fall off as soon as she started running. And as if that wasn't obvious enough, she kept turning around and asking us, "IS IT OBVIOUS?!"

No, Caryn. It wasn't obvious UNTIL you did that. 

9. Warrior Carry
Next part was the Warrior Carry and in pairs or trios, we had to carry each other for 100 meter, then switch roles and go for another 100 meter. Ironically, this was where my left calf decided to cramp up. Not because I was carrying my teammate but because I was hopping on to his back. Luckily for me, he carried me the whole 200 meters with me yelling 'MUSH!' at the top of my lungs.

Thanks, Raj! 

Junken in the picture below got royalty treatment and was carried by Alex and Lenny.

10. Spider's Web 
Due to my cramp, I walked around this challenge. It was similar to the one we did at Viper Challenge where we had to climb a loose net and to create tension, people had to anchor it. It was a nice change to see other teams helping each other to hold the net down while people scaled over it. Got to love the team spirit that Tough Mudder fostered.

11. King of the Mountain
This was the only challenge we encountered a line and waited about five minutes before it was our turn. By then, the top of the hay had disintegrated due to people constantly grabbing at it. So the organizers pulled up and closed off this challenge to allow them to fix it up. It was a good call for safety reasons and since we had done the same thing in the Viper Challenge, my team had no problem giving it a miss.

Of course, in every team there just had to be that one person who did it anyway despite us yelling at him to get down.

I found out much later that there were several more culprits in team who couldn't resist the challenge and scaled it after the team ran ahead. Sneaky buggers. They ended up getting stuck up there to help other people.

12.  Berlin Walls
I loathed the 12 feet walls but because this was Tough Mudder, I wasn't allowed to whine or complain. Aloud. My plan was to just scramble over them by any means necessary and not look like an idiot doing so. Mission accomplished.

The same can't be said for my friend who tried helping other people and ended up looking like a pervert looking to grab ass. 

Nevertheless, we all did it!

Only to find another wall waiting for us.

13. Underwater Tunnels
I can't believe I forgot to bring my goggles for Tough Mudder and really had to squeeze my eyes shut for this challenge less my contact lenses got swept away. People had to basically go under the barrels and come out on the end. Easy enough if you are accustomed to water. Although the marshal at the start yelling "DON'T DRINK THE WATER. IT HAS TADPOLE PEE IN IT!" didn't help.

14. Hold Your Wood
What a cheeky challenge name but it was by no means a joke.While it may seem easy to carry a small log or share out a long one amongst your teammates, what most people don't realized is that the dirt road we carried the log around went uphill and down. Smart people went for the low numbered logs while those driven by adrenaline and egoism...went for the heaviest log. Like my two teammates in the photo below, sharing a long and heavy log.

Really, genius....

15. Walk the Plank
Officially my favourite. A few of my friends were hesitant to tackle this challenge, not because of the height of 15 feet but because they couldn't swim. I just went for it and as soon as the space beneath me was empty of people, I leapt in and paddle to the top. I realised only then there were scuba divers on standby to fish for any one who didn't come up. There was also a lifeguard on a surf board, ready to assist anyone struggling to get to the land.

16. Twinkle Toes
Twinkle Toes really depended on our sense of balance and speed because right in the middle was when you really need to sprint for the other side. The plank would wobble and there goes your balance and into the water you go!

17. Funky Monkey
Unlike the monkey bars I have encountered, this one curved at the top and went down again. I gave it a shot and just couldn't find my grip. I lost it at the fourth rung and into the water (again) I went.

18. Everest
One of the most iconic obstacle of Tough Mudder. We had to sprint up a quarter-pipe and with the help of our friends and other Mudders, scale over this summit. Timing and coordination was key for this obstacle. And most of all, a never-give-up mentality. I will let the photos and videos do the talking.

19. Electroshock Therapy
And finally to bring an end to our misery, erm, challenge, this was the last obstacle that stood between us and the finish line. We recuperated before this challenge, steeled our nerves, held hands and ran like shit into a field of dangling live wires. Some carried a voltage of 10,000 volts and I definitely felt it all the way to my right feet each time it jerked under me. I got hit four time I think but that wasn't as bad as a friend who took 10 wires that sent him to his knees.

And finally the end. The sweet sensation of walking pass the finish line and getting our hard-earn orange headband, t-shirts and beer. Team Mudder-in-Law had completed the entire course in about 4 hours and a half. HOORAH!

I know I cursed and swore the whole way but I wouldn't have been able to do this without my teammates. The memories of Tough Mudder is just something that only fellow Mudders can understand and appreciate and I am glad that I got to do it with the most supportive and whacky group of friends.

Would I do it again? Hell, yeah.

*Sunglasses sponsored by Glassesonline.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fight Arm-in-Arm Against Cancer

All my life, I have been quite fortunate to have never experienced losing a loved one to cancer and for that, I thank God. But I have seen (often from a distance) how drained mentally and physically the person becomes once inflicted with news of cancer. And that alone saddens me as I can only imagine how scary it must be to be face with such an obstacle.

A colleague at my previous work place had beaten cancer twice now and the second time she received news that her cancer had returned, she broke it to the team in a very sober moment in the office. She had debated over telling us and it wasn't an easy thing letting people in on your moment of weakness. But this lady was one of the strongest individuals I have ever met. She comforted us upon telling us the news that she won't be coming in for work for several months because of treatment and recovery. She assured us that she has done this dance before and she was confident that she could beat it again.

She did. Because she's amazingly tough.

I lost contact with this former colleague when she moved to the United States but she still comes to mind whenever I am in need of motivation or am in my mental pits. Because nothing else motivates you better than remembering the strength of someone who has faced all odds and survived.

Facing cancer can be scary but if you have a strong support network and positive surroundings then the struggle becomes less lonely. That's what AXA Affin hopes to achieve for cancer patients.

In collaboration with National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM), AXA Affin is working to help cancer patients that are currently undergoing chemotherapy. For every blogger that blogs about their 110CancerCare website and their efforts to help care for cancer patients, one cancer patient gets funding from AXA Affin for their chemotherapy daycare usage. Basically, this blog post just helped one cancer patient get one-day funding for their daycare usage at NCSM Treatment Center! It's not much but if imagine if 10 bloggers were to take part in this campaign and from there 10 more bloggers were to do the same and so on, now that will make a difference!

For more information, log on to

If you are a blogger and would like to do your part in this campaign, please contact Danial at for more details on how you can make a difference to someone's life. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

LCCT Premium Plaza Lounge

I usually dread flying on AirAsia because that would mean braving the hoards of holiday-goers at LCCT, Sepang. LCCT is perhaps the best representation of Malaysia all in one spot. Loud, chaotic, budget and colourful. It's virtually impossible to find somewhere with peace and quiet just so you can have a nice stress-free waiting period before flying off.

Fortunately, there is a little oasis amidst all the chaos and it is called the LCCT Premium Plaza Lounge. Well, there are two actually. One near the international check-in and baggage counter and another inside the waiting lounge after you have passed immigration.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My Stylish Sunnies from Glassesonline

When you are off to sunny (and sometimes freezing) Australia, a stylish pair of sunnies is a definite must pack in your luggage. Courtesy of Glassesonline, I arrived in Perth during my trip last month rocking a pair of chic white Dandelion sunglasses. As soon as I was passed immigration and the declaration section, it was sunnies on!

Because we had to wait for several friends on different flights, I passed the time camwhoring a lot in the waiting lounge of the airport. The Aussies who saw me must have thought I was super vain...