Sunday, 27 September 2020

Donald & Lily Nyonya Food, Melaka

Whenever I visit Melaka, I have a few "standard" eateries I'd visit without fail. One of them is Donald & Lily, a Nyonya food restaurant serving simple yet delectable Nyonya delights! 
Donald & Lily has been around since around 1980, operating just as a small stall back then, but has since evolved and now occupies an entire shop lot at Taman Kota Syah Bandar! It is just about 5-10 minutes' drive from Melaka old town area. Parking there is a breeze - lots of parking lots, and no parking touts nonsense...yet. (please remain this way).

Who are Donald and Lily, you might wonder? They are the husband and wife team that owns this shop. You will see their portraits around the interior of this shop. Donald & Lily is only open for breakfast/brunch/lunch from 9:30am to 3:30pm. Do come early to avoid disappointment, as I've read many reviews claiming that some of the popular food items get sold out post-1/2pm!
Because of the restrictions imposed during MCO, the seating capacity of Donald & Lily has been reduced. It has always been a popular place and now with the limited seating capacity, expect to wait if you arrive at peak hour (after 12pm!). 

It used to be a self-service restaurant where you order and pay at the counter, but I noticed that the waiters are now taking orders from the table instead, from my two visits during RMCO (Once in July, and once in September).

The Food
There are only a few items on the menu of Donald & Lily. Expect the usual Nyonya Food suspects such as Nyonya Laksa, Mee Siam and Popiah. One food item that really caught my eyes (& taste buds and my heart) is Nasi Ketuk Ayam Rendang, which literally translates to "Knocked Rice with Chicken Rendang".
Nasi Ketuk Ayam Rendang RM12
My theory on why it's called Nasi Ketuk - the chicken was cooked till so tender it slides off the bones easily, as though it has been "ketuk"-ed many times :p Do yourself a favour and order this dish, please! This is definitely my favourite dish there - the rendang and sambal were fragrant and not too spicy (for me, I recognise my spiciness tolerance as "mild"). ON TOP OF THAT they used the blue rice (rice infused with blue pea/butterfly flower!). Always thought that rice tastes better when it's cooked this way :) 

Nyonya Laksa RM9
Rich. Creamy. Fragrant. Not toooo spicy. I love this. Nuff said.
There's also the extreme/premium version of Nyonya Laksa with seafood that is seemingly rather popular too, served only on weekends here at Donald & Lily. Never tried it before and probably won't be trying it out anytime soon, as I'm not too much of a fan of seafood.
Cendol RM5.40
This is by far my favourite cendol in Melaka, simply because it's not too sweet and the gula melaka used isn't too thick unlike some very famous place along Jonker Street ahem. But taste is subjective :) What I like might not be the same as what you like! And do share with me what's your favourite place for cendol too! 

I've been to Donald & Lily countless time, and they've never failed to disappoint me so far :) But again, taste is subjective. Try at your own risk!

Donald & Lily
No. 16, Jln KSB 1, 
Taman Kota Shah Bandar, 
75200, Melaka

Opening Hours:
Wednesday - Sunday, 9:30am - 3:30pm (Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

Saturday, 26 September 2020

The Secret Garden, 1 Utama

Is this a nursery? Is this a botanical garden...?

It is actually a rooftop garden located in a shopping mall. 1 Utama shopping mall in Bandar Utama! Apparently, there are about 500 different species of plants here in this 30,000 sq ft rooftop garden!

How to Get to Secret Garden

The first thing to take note is that the Secret Garden is only opened on weekends and public holidays, 10am-10pm. Admission is free!
The Secret Garden is accessible from only a particular set of elevators and stairs located at the New Wing of 1 Utama. Take note of this signage above - you'll see this around O' Briens on LG floor. 
You'll see instructions to get to Secret Garden on the elevator. the Secret Garden is located on Upper Roof (UR) floor.
You'll have to register yourself at the guard booth before entering and enjoy the green oasis. I'll let the photos do the talking!

Can't help but to be drawn towards this large school of whale fin!
Cactus corner
I call this the "Walk of Calathea" (Note: not official name - but there were so many different types of calatheas!)

Giant water lily pad - I've read that a small kid could actually sit on those without sinking!

There were also fruit trees/edibles corner

The Secret Garden is honestly a lovely place to stroll around, to take a break from the throngs of the crowd in 1 Utama :) I wish more places would have a secret garden like this! There were a couple of photographers taking photos of the beautiful flowers and plants there during my visit. My recommendation is to go early to avoid the heat, as some areas are uncovered.

The Secret Garden
UR, Upper Rooftop Bandar Utama City Centre,
Lebuh Bandar Utama, Bandar Utama,
47800 Petaling Jaya, SELANGOR, Malaysia

Opening Hours:  10am-10pm, Saturday, Sunday, and Public Holidays

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Monthly Goal Review: August

1. Be comfortable on my own
As I've started a new job this month, the first few weekends were a little packed, and hence I was well comfortable being alone. In fact, alone time was rather precious. The last weekend of August though was a long weekend and I deliberately planned nothing, to compensate for the packed first few weekends. It was odd as I felt empty on that long weekend. Striking a balance feels tricky. Something which I really want to explore is to find out the root cause of these feelings. 

This article about boredom on New Yorker really intrigues me. 

boredom is, as Tolstoy defined it, “a desire for desires.” 

Boredom is a distinctly uncharismatic state of being. It “lacks the charm of melancholy—a charm that is connected to melancholy’s traditional link to wisdom, sensitivity and beauty,”  

“Boredom is a function of life which is lived under the compulsion to work, and under the strict division of labor.” So-called free time—obligatory hobbies and holidays that reconcile us to the capitalist economy’s coldly regimented workday—is really a sign of our unfreedom. 

This resonates with me so much - especially on that last long weekend of August. I had the desire to have desire - to be out there doing something, but I'm not sure what. To feel like I am making good use of the weekend. Of the holidays. 

At the same time, having time alone, or boredom time is important for us to recharge. 

2. Buy only clothes that are listed on my long-term planning wishlist
This month I've been thrift shopping weekly - and bought things that are not on my wishlist. I've started a new job this month, which gives me more flexibility in the way I dress. And obviously, Jia Qi wants to...spice up her closet. And hence...

But okay, to my defense, I waited a few days before purchasing them, to really ensure that I wanted the clothes :p

(Yes, this defeats 

3. Initiate at least one event per month
I initiated a hiking trip with my high school friends at Bukit Sri Bintang, Kepong!

And another one to Bukit Ketumbar, Cheras :) 

4. Read at least two books per month
Books I've read this month:

The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
How to Talk to Kids so the will listen by Adele Faber

5. Doing a monthly review of my goals
On it :)

6. Do a monthly/weekly review of my spendings
This month's spending is heavy on the drinking and eating outside. Whoops 

Drinking expenses
Drinking out: RM50 (Heli Lounge) + RM32 (Farmer's Bar) + RM32 (Mrs Jones) = RM112
Drinking in: RM47 + RM60 (Two bottles of wine)  = RM107

Total alcohol spending = RM219
Clothing Spending
Dress from thrift store (Second Street Subang) RM10 + Uniqlo beige t-shirt RM19.90 + Dress from OKGO thrift store RM24 

Total clothing spending = RM53.90

Baking Expenses = RM50

While my baking expenses reduced significantly this month, drinking expenses...went significantly higher.

7. Carry a notebook and pen wherever I go and jot down notes systematically

8. Try out something new each week

Week 1: Pistachio Shortbread

Also volunteered for What a Waste to pack food :)

Week 2: Lemon Muffins/Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Week 3: Guinness Brownies

Week 4/5: Blondies with dark chocolate

Goal 10 onwards will be things that I'd like to push myself to do - but will not beat myself up too much if I cant achieve it because it largely depends on my free time available. 

10. Write more at least 100 words per day (not including what I write at work)

11. Log down news article I've read and jot down my thoughts about it, ie reading with purpose.

12. Curate at least two content on @pot_tosynthesis every week (Stories/Post)

13. Set at least two little goals every day

Unfortunately, after the second half of the month of August, I felt kinda overwhelmed and swamped with work and hence was unable to complete these goals.

What would September entail? 
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