Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dr Cafe Publika

My personal choice of coffee when in Publika usually ends with Plan B at the grocery area (Ben's) due to their strong, tasty lattes. We decided to be different and tried something new today.

The Dr Cafe which is located outside Publika was a good choice for our coffee adventure on a Sunday after lunch. Lots of space and comfy chairs...and not too crowded. Perfect for a cup of coffee with hubby and daughter toddler.

The Capuccino did not disappoint. Definitely far better than the usual Starbucks or other popular chains out there.

Would try again when I am around Publika.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chinesepinkaddict Stats and Experience

After reviewing my statistics (for my blog) I am pleasantly surprised with the amount of traffic I have received over the years. When I started this way back, I did not imagine having 100,000+ page views. All I had in mind was to post something useful so that other expatriates who may be looking for information can at least find it here ... as I document my life here in Malaysia.

Glad that I was able to help some people from different walks of life. And honestly, I made some new friends over the years! There were some people who contacted me (thanking, asking for more info) and there were others who wanted to meet up. A chosen few became good friends and our families did some get-togethers which were memorable. Some of those friends have left already -- being expats-- after 2-3 years had to go back to their home country. I am amazed at what this blog brought me -- new friends and helping people who are searching for certain information.

Just wanted to share the stats I saw today on my blogger profile... Thanks again and do keep on reading!

Internet In Malaysia & How We Don't Need Cable TV

This December marks our 6th year anniversary in Malaysia. For 5 years, we subscribed to Astro (the one and only cable provider for TV). We did that mostly because we wanted to watch CNN and BBC to stay in touch with what is going on with the world.

We were cheap -- as we took the most basic plan they have. It was around RM 50 to RM 65 per month (price increase during the whole duration). The only time I remember being glued to the TV was when I was pregnant. I watched AFC (Asian Food Channel) religiously every evening. But even that was bad because I watched every night, that meant I knew every show and I noticed a lot of reruns! After delivering the baby, my TV-watching evenings came to a halt.

For 5 years we paid our dues to Astro -- without really watching much TV. Earlier this year, hubby decided to put a stop to it -- and a wise move. Since we cut our cable TV I did not even miss it at all! There was even a funny incident where the Astro bill and customer service (who replies via email) insist that we should still pay RM50 after the service was halted -- because we need to return the electronic card. Good thing when I mailed (Snail Mail - registered mail via POS Malaysia) the card, I took a photo of the registration sticker. I emailed back to them stating that they should check with their own office as I have mailed it way back. In the end they retracted and put the balance due to zero. Another funny incident was right after we terminated the account, a salesperson called me on the phone to offer the Astro Beyond cable service... which I turned down of course. Then I received in the mail a flyer from Astro stating that perhaps I would consider to upgrade my account. Sigh, all this advertising will not bring me back to Astro anymore.

How do we survive then? What do we watch? Well, hubby installed the APPLE TV since 2-3 years ago and have been watching stuff from there since then. We upgraded to the latest Apple TV (which is a smaller box) and we often access things from there -- photos, videos, YouTube, Movies and Songs. Don't ask me about the technicalities behind it because I just consume the stuff there while hubby is the genius behind all the technological set-up. What is important to note though is that the experience is significantly enjoyable since we took a different internet provider -- TIME.COM. When we had the old TM (Telekom Malaysia) we were at a snail's pace. The Time.Com service is definitely worth every ringgit in terms of speed and quality.

This no-cable-TV life is so different with what I am used to back in the Philippines. We used to "have to" subscribe to SkyCable back then, in order to enjoy more tv shows. With the world changing and the internet creeping into our lives, the whole media experience have dramatically changed.

I am happy with our savings every month. Goodbye to Astro!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunrise Free Shuttle Bus for Residents going to Publika

Wanted to share the most recent schedule timing of the free shuttle bus that Sunrise residents can take for their trips to Publika.

This is useful for expat families who have one car or if the wife does not drive and need to buy groceries. Or perhaps bringing kids to play or eat out in Publika sans the parking nightmares.

I see many people utilizing the Sunrise free shuttle, even for visits to Plaza Mont Kiara and One mont Kiara shopping mall.

And if course one of the services I have tried was their Free Shuttle Service to Gardens Mall ... Very practical!!!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Chinese Embassy Visa Application in KL

Having a Chinese passport always meant that I needed a lot of visa almost everywhere I went. I kind of get used to the fact that I need to gather all my documents before I can go anywhere, except places that have granted me few years visa like Shengen and Singapore. Even going back to Manila means getting a visa (for my situation)!

Now we are currently at the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia (OSK building in KL). It was easy to park this morning, arriving at 9am. The line to enter the visa section was already long (all the way to the canteen) but it moved fast.

We are here to apply visa -- this time for hubby! We will be off to China by end of the month to see the sights in Beijing.

There were so many people applying for visa! They had 19 counters, mixed to address non-Malaysian and Malaysian visa applications. I highly suggest coming at 9am.

You get grab the visa application at the entrance or do like what hubby did, he asked the Travel agent for some forms in advance. Not sure if the online forms are updated. Hubby was handed an additional supplementary form to fill up so please take note of that.

So far things seem to move quickly. I guess they better do things fast looking at the amount of people applying for visas!


Latest update: when I went back to get the visa, it was a breeze. I parked inside the office building and exited less than 30 minutes (I know for sure because I paid RM 4.00 for the parking which is the half-hourly rate). I took a number and waited about 10 minutes max. The payment was quick and then I had to line up in another counter and claim the passport.

Impressed with Chinese efficiency.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

JKids Play Area for Toddlers at Publika

Was happy to see a new kids play place at nearby Publika. Their pricing is reasonable and even the socks they were selling were sold at reasonable prices. This is unlike the kids play place Kids eWorld at Gardens which is priced quite high (thought facilities are great).

I'm glad to have such a place at our neighborhood for little Alexandra's quick play time on weekends. We came early (10am) which means less crowded so I don't have to worry about big, aggressive kids.

The place is clean and pinky! Smaller than Kids eWorld though.

Enough to have a short playtime to release all that energy.

Located near the Marmalade restaurant outside of Publika.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Cost of Living update: Cold Storage Grocery prices

I often get emails and some comments from foreigners who are wondering about cost of living in KL. They wanted to get an updated view or usually ask about specific stuff like organic veggies, access to cheese, milk and other products.

Well after I received this Cold Storage Catalog dated Sept-Oct 2012, I decided to snap some photos and post here in the blog. You will find prices of certain goods that might interest you. And all pricing in Ringgit Malaysia.

Hope this helps give people out there a better idea of food prices in KL.

Plus I added a recent grocery receipt I have when I went grocery shopping at Village Grocer at One Mont Kiara. Averagely I would spend between rm200-400 depending on the length of time from my last visit.

The Coffee Situation in Kuala Lumpur

I am still amazed whenever I hear of a friend (through Facebook) or meet someone who tells me that he   or she does NOT drink coffee. No offense, but it is hard for me to imagine starting my morning sans my caffeine dose. It's like telling a little girl she can't have pink stuff... what I mean is it is hard for me to digest that fact.

This December 2012 will be our 6th year anniversary living in Kuala Lumpur. Six years. It did pass by rather quickly, mostly because of the pleasant experiences. (knock on wood) That also means close to 6 years of searching for good coffee around KL -- whether it was looking for a cafe, down to surveying the coffee machines available (for home use) and the search for good quality coffee beans/ground coffee.

For coffee connoisseurs and simple coffee lovers alike, I am sure they have their own formula or favorite places all planned out. So this post is really more for people who may still be on the hunt for that perfect place to get a consistent (this is sooo important!) cup of good coffee.

The sharing below is fully my experience and own opinion with no influence from any brand or owner whatsoever. And do pardon me if I am a bit blunt on some of my opinion.

Coffee Machines
Since we arrived in Kuala Lumpur 6 years ago, we debated on where to buy and what to buy. This is because the morning coffee before running off to work was important for us, and it was "chatting" time as well for me and hubby. We have experimented so many ways of enjoying it, and this is how we have fared: 

Coffee press (both Starbucks and Ikea models) were okay -- it was fast and easy to prepare. However, hubby always got ticked off by the "sandy" stuff that stays at the bottom and sometimes it finds it way into the coffee. So at the bottom of the coffee cups, you may find some residue. So in the end, we shelved our little "coffee machine". 

Espresso Machine Krups: which we bought from Isetan a few years back served its purpose. We had superb coffee for a number of years. The only caveat was finding good coffee roasts. We also sometimes got a bit lazy to get up and do the milk frothing (which is attached to the machine). I always take my coffee with milk, and somehow the thought of having to froth just turns me off (too much work). For hubby it was easier because he takes black coffee... hence we just needed to fill the little espresso thing and attach to the machine then let the water flow. After years of use it needed to be descaled (fully cleaned using some chemical). Been bugging hubby to do it but he was often busy or we would forget about it... until the point I sort of stopped using the machine... It stood there at the kitchen counter top, ignored and sometimes used... but to my mind it served its good years already. I was dead set on buying a new equipment which is easier and faster.

Instant coffee machine: we bought a Philips coffee machine drip after I convinced hubby that it might be useful at home especially when we are in a hurry. It was a cheap purchase from Harvey Norman and true enough, we used it often ... however I must warn you that the coffee taste is satisfactory no matter what beans I use. It was fast to prepare... but not satisfying. As of today while I am writing this blog, the coffee machine is currently in our cabinet gathering dust.

Nespresso Machine: Krups Citiz which we brought back from France. This is the most clever invention ever! Superb taste. Fast and efficient. Easy to clean and maintain. Easy to operate. However, we opted not to buy the machine that came with some instant milk froth contraption because of the online reviews we saw. Many mentioned having some problems with frothing machine after months of usage. We didn't want to be bothered by that (especially as we will bring back to KL and perhaps no warranty here). To top it off, my recent superb experience with the Nespresso capsules delivery is like icing on the cake! Would you believe that yesterday, I actually got a phone call (a Singapore phone number)... and it happened to be the Nespresso customer service giving me a ring to check my satisfaction! And informing me that I can order Nespresso capsules via phone or fax or online 24x7 someone will always be there to answer my caffeine needs. Wow. Nespresso really knows how to do their packaging, marketing and customer service. What more can I say... been satisfied since the day we brought back this baby from France. Wish they would open a Nespresso shop here in Kuala Lumpur!


There were days when I just had few minutes to spare (and was lazy to use the Espresso machine nor the coffee drip or even the Philips machine) and would resort to instant coffee powder. YES, guilty. Instant coffee. In the past 6 years, we have been a loyal buyer of UCC coffee and I find that only one blend suits my taste... The Blend 117. Strong and good aroma. I bought the same stuff when I was back in Manila and was glad to see it available here.

The other options for "instant" or fast coffee was to buy some ground coffee for my coffee machine (Philips). And after trying all sorts of brand that I cannot even remember (and they were quite pricey at Village Grocer or other groceries), I just resorted to Bon Cafe (which is super affordable and tasted as good as the others). Plus it is made in Malaysia. Then a few months ago I discovered how affordable and tasty the ground coffee of Antipodean is (and they were selling it). So I brought it back home and have enjoyed their ground coffee since. You can choose beans or ask them to grind it. 

Yes, I have also tried those Starbucks and Coffee Bean beans and ground coffee. Didn't really make a big difference. Like I said, the Philips machine was so-so, and whatever you put in there will never compare to using a really good machine.


After working inside KLCC Twin Towers for 4 years, those barista at Starbucks and Coffee Bean (and even San Francisco Coffee) knew who I was already. I have paid my dues and they have earned a lot of my money those past years. However, one thing I must note --- when you get inconsistent coffee it can really ruin your day. And once you have walked away with that take-away cup and discover it does not taste superb -- well, my next meeting is waiting for me and I could not be bothered to go back and complain and wait for them to do something. I have experienced numerous times of inconsistency from these 3 places... and same goes for their other branches elsewhere. I don't blame them as they are a chain of cafes and their barista turnover is probably high. The only thing is at that price, I would expect a bit more consistency. My favorites were Vanilla Latte from Coffee Bean (really love that one!) and the Xmas blends from Starbucks (toffee nut latte).  

Since I stopped working in KLCC, and since our Nespresso machine, I have stopped going to Coffee Bean nor Starbucks. You see, the bad thing of being spoiled with superb coffee is I found their coffee pretty MILKY or bland. After a recent coffee meet up (twice) at Alexis in The Gardens, it was a similar effect: I ordered a latte twice in 2 separate occasions -- both times extremely milky that I swear I will never drink their latte again.

Starbucks seem to come short on their lattes no matter what size I order. Often I had to ask them to make it double shot (which they give for free by the way, when you ask for a second shot of espresso saying that it is a bit too milky). Hubby often complained of the inconsistency from one branch to the other. He also had a lot of stomachache experience after his coffee back when his office was in Tropicana Mall. Weird. We suspected it was their milk or the way they stored their milk? We brought this fact up with some Starbucks people just to let them know about it. Anyway, we don't go there anymore.

The only coffee place that lives up to a really GOOD cup -- always good and can make your day is the coffee from Antipodean (in Bangsar). I have tried other places like The Red Bean Bag (recently in September went to meet a friend there) as well as the newly opened Artisan Coffee Bar in Bangsar Village 2 (again this September) -- I would say their coffee is OKAY -- not extremely over-the-top good yet not also bad. Decent cuppa in my own latte judgement.

The other place that impressed me recently was the Espresso Lab at Gardens Mall. They have a humble area (small), but their coffee was good. Will most likely visit again one of these days.

Overall, I wish Nespresso to open a shop here in KL. So that all the inhabitants of this wonderful place can enjoy a good cup of coffee in their own home. It is definitely more economical! The pricing of Nespresso is very reasonable!!! Ranging from RM 1.80 to RM2.20 per capsule ... and with speedy delivery!

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