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Category: Malaysia

Local Delights In Malacca

Take advantage of long weekends and head to the famous UNESCO World Heritage city of Melaka. Famed for its rich Portuguese and Dutch heritage from years gone by, this city…

Take advantage of long weekends and head to the famous UNESCO World Heritage city of Melaka. Famed for its rich Portuguese and Dutch heritage from years gone by, this city is flocked by hundreds of tourists on a daily basis. But if you look hard enough, you’d find great local gems away from the tourists’ hotspots.

Cultural-walls

Being in a town where food literally dominates the scene, I dived into a controlled gastronomic fare. My mantra: Eat only to satisfy the palate and never enough to satisfy the tummy. And that was how I kept to moderation! A must try is the durian cendol on Jonker Street, a creamy dessert of shaved ice, green stringy jelly, beans, corn, dollops of the durian flesh and a hearty drizzle of thick palm sugar. Look for Jonker 88, you won’t miss it as there is a perpetual line of customers waiting to be seated.

For mains, try the Nyonya Laksa and Popiah at Poh Piah Lwee located at the intersection between Jonker Street and Tun Cheng Lock. The small shop often goes unnoticed as tourists bypass it to get to the buzz at Jonker. The laksa soup is velvety with a mild piquant taste stirring my appetite for another bowl – but I resisted. The popiah, a local veggie spring roll oozed with flavour. Unlike other boring veggie rolls, this kept me hungering for more. At the end of the meal, I finally found the secret ingredient tucked among the healthy greens, tiny pieces of fried lard! (Not so healthy anymore…)

 

Laksa-Popiah-365x550

The next day I discovered another hidden gem called Baba Charlie, a haven for homemade Nyonya kuih. Located at No.72, Lorong Pantai Tengkera 2C (about 2 minutes’ drive from Jonker along Jalan Tun Cheng Lock), the house exterior actually looked like a mega-sized kitchen with trays, pots, woks and kitchen utensils decked all over. I started to doubt if I got the right place, but as soon as I stepped into the house, my doubts melted away. A colourful patchwork of delectable kuih’s filled the table. A fickle mind and a growling stomach did not help with the selection. Everything looked good and the kuih’s came in different sizes, colours and filling. A tip, ask if you are unsure. Other customers are more than willing to help you choose the best buys.

Kuih

For lunch, I fortuitously stumbled on the Hajjah Mona Assam Pedas Restaurant located at No. 6, Taman Kota Laksamana (just a few streets away from Jonker). It was actually the smell that wooed me in. If you are up to a hot and spicy meal, don’t miss out on this. This Malay restaurant serves up the best assam pedas; fish bathed in red hot assam pedas gravy served with hot steamy white rice.

Finally to seal the night with something sweet, try Putu Piring, light fluffy cake dough filled with palm sugar bits that melt in your mouth. There is a warning that if you start, you cannot stop! Find the tiny stall located along Jalan Tenkera at No.252 (next to the Sports Toto shop). It only opens in the evening from about 7pm till late.

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Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa

Self-learning and discovery is what Frangipani Resort and Spa promotes. Dispersed all over the resort are little notes, reminders and thought prodders informing guests of their green practices and encouraging…

Self-learning and discovery is what Frangipani Resort and Spa promotes. Dispersed all over the resort are little notes, reminders and thought prodders informing guests of their green practices and encouraging them to participate in this noble effort. The green team at the resort are well trained environmental wizards with a flair for communication. Throughout our stay there, new features, ideas and innovations were revealed to us – from the way the new eco-friendly building was constructed to incorporate a garden rooftop to reduce heat transference to the guests’ rooms to the traditional sophisticated method of waste water channelling.

This modest resort tucked away on the quiet stretch of Pantai Tengah, Langkawi, Malaysia boasts of its seclusion and family friendly features. A generous expanse of rugged beach spans the resort overlooking several bold and luscious islands across the horizons. Families enjoy day activities offered by the resort and settle in at night with music at dance at the Mentari Restaurant serving local delights that suit the international palate.

Frangipani is seriously committed in putting the 3R concept (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) into practice by monitoring, managing and innovating new ways to minimize waste generated in the resort. With the water shortage concern on the island, the resort is mindful of the impending scarcity and has built 85 water tanks to harvest rainwater. The rainwater is treated and channelled to various pipes for washing and gardening. The resort even has its own wetlands where grey and black water enter from septic tanks. This waste water is naturally treated by a precise selection of plants such as water hyacinth, convolvulus, mimosa and water lilies coupled with a mechanically induced aeration pump. The treated waste water is then pumped out of the wetlands for gardening and sustaining the veggie patch and animals on its little farm.

Blessed with 10 to 12 hours of sunlight a day, the resort has taken advantage of the natural light and heat by installing solar panels on each building. Hot water offered to the guests’ is heated by solar panels as a result eliminating the need for electric-generated heaters.

Generous and passionate about educating guests’, travellers and local communities, Frangipani frequently hosts environmental education workshops for student groups from universities and local schools at the resort. On top of that, Frangipani is committed to support local communities through a mesh up of environmental education and economic support. One such example is a social project with the single mothers at Tuba Island to produce and sell handicraft made from recyclable and natural materials such as newspapers, sea-shells washed ashore and pandanus leaves.

Frangipani Langkawi has come a long way and its success story lies in the owner’s vision to see the resort as one of the greenest properties in Malaysia.

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Shangri-La Tanjung Aru

Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, may be a large sized resort renowned for its impeccable service and beautiful surroundings; however it is what happens behind the…

Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, may be a large sized resort renowned for its impeccable service and beautiful surroundings; however it is what happens behind the scenes that makes this hotel outstanding. The resort has been recognized by Wild Asia as one of the finalists for the 2009 Responsible Tourism Awards because of an array of best practices that have been adopted and applied.

One of the best practices of responsible tourism is “Their participation and Support of the Local Community through a range of philanthropic activities”. They sponsor many schools in the area, including La Salle secondary school, Sabah College, and Seri Mengasih, a school for mentally challenged students. They have adopted 4 students this year and have helped to provide an education for these children. They have raised funds for and donated various items to the schools, such as books, magazines, play grounds, recycle bins and others. The resort has also involved students in environmental activities, such as beach clean ups and recycle buy back centers within the school.

Another responsible tourism best practice worthy of noting is “their strong commitment to local employment and worker’s welfare”. Shangri La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa guarantees excellent staff conditions, as well as extensive training in environmental management for all employees. Over 90 percent of staff is from Sabah, and many of them have worked at the resort for over 20 years. It is not uncommon to find two generations of a family working at the hotel.

Finally, Shangri La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa is involved in a range of “innovative environmental activities that promote conservation”. They have adopted Zero beach, a public beach located adjacent to their resort property. They have accomplished a dramatic cleaning of the beach area, and try to promote local environmental awareness through education in surrounding schools. The resort has an organized and efficient recycling separation process, as well as composting all organic waste with Bokashi, a microbe enzyme that speeds up the composting process. Recently, the hotel has taken the initiative to involve both local schools and hotel guests in making EM mud balls containing this microbe in order to release into polluted streams. The mud balls slowly dissolve and release microbes into the water stream to help improve water quality. The resort has also taken on the immense uphill battle of helping to clean up the neighboring water village, wrought with layers of rubbish.

Shangri La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa understand the importance of being a leading role model in local environmental conservation and social empowerment. They have a long uphill battle presented before them, but are committed to improving the surrounding natural and cultural heritage.

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