Haze In Penang – July 2009

The stench of ash and thick veil of haze shrouded our entire journey from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh and then to Penang last Saturday. It has never been this bad since we started travelling the E1 of the North-South Expressway (NSE) three years ago.

From our observations, the haze not only came from Sumatra. It is also a locally-induced problem as people are still practicing open burning even in this hazy condition. The following two images were taken on Sunday from my apartment at Taman Pekaka in Penang four hours apart. What a world of difference the view was after a downpour.

Haze in Penang as viewed from Taman Pekaka
Haze in Penang as viewed from Taman Pekaka at 8.04am, July 19, 2009.

No more haze after rain in Penang as viewed from Taman Pekaka
No more haze after rain. Taken at 12.03pm, July 19, 2009.

Expensive Char Siu Pau At The Gardens Mall

Char siu pau, char siu bao
This is how expensive char siu pau look like.

Would you pay RM6 for these two char siu pau? These steamed buns usually cost about RM1.20 each at roadside stalls and slightly more at dim sum restaurants. Wuan and I had these two buns together with several other dishes for dinner at one of the restaurants at The Gardens Mall in Mid Valley City last weekend.

The bun was fluffy. In fact it was fluffier than most of the steamed buns that I have ever savoured. The filling was another story altogether. The barbecue pork filling was rather tasteless. It also did not exude the aroma one would expect from a good char siu pau.

For the premium that we paid, the location aside, I would have expected something that tasted as good, if not better, as those that I normally buy from the uncles selling them by the road side. On the contrary, we paid more than twice the price for two char siu pau that did not even taste than half as good as the cheaper ones.

The next time I have a craving for char siu pau I will satiate it with one from those roadside stalls. Thank you. There are two places where I usually buy char siu pau from around Kuala Lumpur. One is outside Guardian Pharmacy at Pandan Perdana. The other is Restoran Hock Leong Hin at Jalan Sungai Besi opposite Shell petrol station. The char siu pau from both places are the better tasting ones in Kuala Lumpur.