Sunday, September 30, 2012

burps&giggles ... the loveliest cafe in the country

Was back in Ipoh for a memorable weekend for my alma mater's Centennial Reunion Dinner, what a blast. Julie Song from Indulgence "instructed" me to visit her new place called "burps&giggles" (its exactly behind the famous Kong Heng, house of mirrors, in old town).

I will just let the pictures tell you the story, its easily the loveliest, most rustic, romantic cafe  I have ever come across. So, for your next trip, besides Ipoh taugeh chicken, Hakka mee, beef noodle, dry chicken curry nasi kandar @ Yong Suan, Funny Mountain taufoofar ... you should add burps&giggles to your Must Go To list.

the entrance

nostalgic knick knacks all over the place 

my lunch, bam-bam burger with chunky fries (with melted cheese and truffle oil) 

go through the backdoor and you have a quirky yet sublime place called the "lazy lane", great atmosphere to unwind and enjoy an environment just like the 40s and 50s "concubine lane"

every corner, every angle is a photographer's dream .....

Food include a long list of premium burgers, pastries and sweets plus great coffee.

clever usage of lights and lamps to enhance the very cosy feeling

the foyer with high ceiling as they have removed part of the first floor

(behind Kong Heng)
93 & 95 jalan sultan yussuf

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sometimes We Take People For Granted

My Blackberry Is Not Working!

Many of you would have seen this already. Trust the English to put a skit up thats relevant and makes fun of the evolving English language. Smart and sassy, 15m viewers cannot be wrong. Please note that Orange is a telco service provider in the UK.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Gentle Soul Departs

Many people pass on everyday, some famous some ordinary folks ... everyone will leave their own legacy and their influence to people around them. No one is more important or less so than the next one. Andy Williams was way popular way before I was even born. I think his passing deserves a mention cause I have rarely read a bad article about him, and he performed very well for a very long time. A gifted crooner, at a time when crooners were highly respected. A gentle soul whose voice brought us memories of wonderful melodies and lyrics for decades past and decades to come.

Andy Williams, whose soothing baritone and relaxed performing style made him one of America's top pop vocalists and a popular TV variety-show host in the 1960s when he recorded hits such as "Moon River" and "Days of Wine and Roses," has died. He was 84.
Williams, who announced in late 2011 that he had been diagnosed with bladder cancer, died Tuesday at his home in Branson, Mo., his family announced.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cooking With Dali - Pig Trotters Vinegar Ginger

Yes, it seems like I am cooking all dishes for pregnant women, but somehow I love these dishes. I have tried and tested and refined this so many times till I got it right. Somehow, many seems to be fearful to try to cook this, I hope this will demystify the dish.

Ingredients are relatively few:
Old ginger or Muntong ginger (about the size of a hand)
Good sesame oil
One pig trotter (get the front legs not the hind legs as the latter is way too fatty)
One packet of black beans
One small bottle of sweetened vinegar
One large bottle of black vinegar
Gula melaka
4 eggs

Get your pig trotters from Sanbanto if you can, they have very good quality pork there. Start with 3 pots. One to boil the trotters (a must) to rid of the impurities or else you will get a stinky smell. Dry roast the black beans for 10 minutes till all are crackling and split. Boil to make hard boil eggs.

Once you see sufficient impurities on the trotters pot (after 10 minutes or so), remove and wash clean, set aside. Now boil the black beans in water for 15 minutes on high, a must to soften the beans sufficiently - the water will be so dark. Drain and set aside.

The coarsely sliced ginger, dump into a wok with 6 table spoons of sesame oil. Fry for 5 minutes. 

Then add the drained trotters, aim is to brown them with sesame oil and ginger coating and to precook them as later you do not need to stew them for too long with vinegar (as your vinegar will evaporate if you do so for too long a period). The browning process should take another 5 minutes.

 Add the bottle of sweetened vinegar and one bottle of black vinegar, the other bottle of black vinegar you need to keep in case to fine tune the final result, and it should look something like below. The secret here is do not use caster sugar as that would make it sickly sweet (even weakens your teeth). Throw in the black beans as well. Chop one roll of gula melaka and add to the stew. Gula melaka has a more rounded sweetness and better caramelisation without being too sickly sweet. Go on low fire for simmering for 45 minutes. Stir with soft hands every two minutes to make sure all pieces gets proper cooking.
 Add the egg after 10 minutes of simmering when you don't have to stir so much as the eggs might break easily. After 30 minutes of simmering, taste to see if you need more gula melaka or the black vinegar to balance the taste.

End result. You can let it cool down and separate into 5 plastic containers, so it can last a few meals or you can give some away.

So Proud Of You Shila!!!

Shila Amzah, who knew .... against top singers from other Asian countries, and winning comfortably at each round. She won over the 9 esteemed judges made up of well known producers and major top singers. OMG, her rendition of the two famous Mandarin songs, Forever Love and Zheng Fu, were delivered in immaculate intonation and the emphasis on the words were appropriate and meaningful.

To win over the mostly China audience and judges must say a lot as there were other Chinese artistes as well. Loved the costumes as well. Well done! ND Lala must be so proud!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cooking With Dali - Drunken Chicken Ginger Broth

OK it seems I have nothing much to say about the markets over the last couple of weeks. Share with you all another minor passion of mine, cooking - freestyle. I hate recipes. If I like something, I will try and decipher and breakdown the dish and put them together my way. For more traditional ones, I will get my mum to give the basic ingredients and away I go to come up with something I really like.

Today I felt a stirring and yearning for Drunken Chicken Ginger Broth. Its easy yet so satisfying, and heaty. Try it, you will love this version:

Unless you brew your own rice wine, any Hua Tiew wines will do, all supermarts have them, about RM10-14 per bottle, try to get two different brands for "depth". Use only drumsticks and thighs, chop into pieces.

Here is where it gets tricky, USE only Buntong Ginger (Muntong Keong), it costs a huge premium to normal ginger and is only available at morning markets. The ginger is so refreshing, you can even bite into it like a fruit to enjoy and yet gives the most soothing ginger taste, not overpowering.

Marinade the chicken with soy sauce, lots of white pepper and a table spoon of good sesame oil. Put aside for at least 30 minutes or longer.

Dice the ginger 3 ways, julienne, thicker julienne and rough pieces... texture baby, texture. Heat your wok with 6-8 tablespoons of sesame oil (its OK to be generous), throw in the ginger on medium heat for 5 minutes. Then throw in the chicken, making sure to brown all sides for another 6 -7 minutes.

This is important as you want the chicken to be coated, pre-cooked, so that it does not need that much boiling time with the wine.

I always have ready some useless whiskey or brandy as top ups, just in case. Put in the Hua Tiew, slow fire with the chicken and ginger the whole shebang, cover with lid. It needs to simmer for 10 minutes, really simmer, not any hotter as the chicken would be rough and not smooth in texture - always with lid on as you do not want too much alcohol to escape.

Taste, add salt and sugar to get the right mix. In this case it needed two teaspoon of salt and 4 tablespoon of sugar to balance out the alcohol. The versions you have outside are so diluted and pathetic, thats why these things usually cost RM10-14 per serving and still tastes diluted.

 Boil some Wan Yee (again available at all supermarts) in water for 10 minutes, drain then slice, throw the bugger in for the last 5 minutes of simmering.

This broth can serve 6 but the bill comes to nearly RM50 but its got the real kick in the guts feeling.

 End result, all in less than one hour, rice with kick ass drunken wine ginger .... sweat like mad but heavenly so. Till my next recipe..... cheers.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Financial Jargon & Terminologies For The Current Times

This is largely a repost of some smart-ass definition for financial jargon. Had to do it for the benefit of newer readers of the blog. Some of them were copied

Earnings Before I Tricked the Dumb Auditor

Earnings Before Irregularities and Tempering

Same as blame-storming, trying to attribute blame for mistakes

Management Consultant
Someone who tells you how to improve your business, something he/she cannot do or has never been able to do themselves

Top-Down Investing
People with a bit of economics knowledge but scared shitless about accounting

Bottom-Up Investing
People who knows a bit about accounting but hates fiction

Unusual Market Activity
Something the management and directors always know NOTHING about

Averaging Down Investing
When you totally ignore the fact that you were wrong in the first instance

Doubling Up Investing
Making doubly sure that you are more than fully-invested when the stock eventually tanks

Doing more than one useless activity at the same time, better known as multi-slacking

Chief Embezzlement Officer

Chief Fraud Officer

An investment bank hiring/firing policy

Second Board
What Second Board???

The art of pushing optimism and white lies to the max

Margin Account
Shorter rope, tighter noose

Paradigm Shift
Your job in the financial markets is in jeopardy

Hedge Funds
"Institutionalised" margin accounts

Drill-down / Granularity
Words managers learn to use to enslave their subordinates

Normal Andersen Valuation

Never Pay Any Tax

Eventual Prison Sentence

Don't Reinvent The Wheel
A person who does not know how the wheel was invented in the first place

Net Net
When you have a manager doing a presentation trying to bastardise the English language

Federal Reserve Board
Bank of Japan on Prozac

Thinking Outside The Box
You just want to leave the meeting room and chill because no one has been able to offer any constructive ideas

Equity Research
As useful as a used condom

Equity Analysts
Hopes no one discovers how average they are

Fund Managers
Sponges off the brains of analysts and strategists and call it their own

Chartists & Rocket Scientists With Trading Programs
People who have given up trying to understand the stock markets

Short Term Investor
Someone who is in-and-out within 3 days or less

Long Term Investor
A short term investor who cannot get out profitably after 3 days

Bull Market
A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius

Bear Market
A 6 to 18 month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewellery, and the husband gets no sex

Off Balance Sheet Items
More important than items in the balance sheet, and represent things that really should be in the balance sheet

Service Level Agreement
It means there will be no service follow up, we are just covering our ass here

Unemployment Office
A placement office for humanities graduates

Momentum Investing
The fine art of buying high and selling low with the crowd

Value Investing
The fine art of buying low and selling lower

Core Competencies
Phrase you use when you have no idea what a company's or a person's strengths and weaknesses are

P/E ratio
The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the Market keeps crashing

Big Picture
You are just imagining the same meeting with the same people on a movie screen

Stock Broker
Poorer than you were last year

Someone who should have kept their previous job

Investor Protection
Padded walls in broking halls

Market Correction
The day after you buy stocks

Cash Flow
The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet

Institutional Investor
Past year investor who is now locked up in a nuthouse

Two Week Holidays
Taken by employees who are oblivious to whether their jobs will still be there by the time they return

Someone who tells you why their predictions went wrong after every quarter, and proceeds to give a confident prediction for the next 3 quarters

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Overheard Inside Goldman Sachs' Elevators

Men with too much money and feelings of self-importance .... its never pretty when you get too much money undeserved for what you do, and you try to over compensate your small dicks by pretending you have a bigger brain ...,11184336  

Overheard on the Goldman Sachs Elevator
An anonymous career banker inside Goldman Sachs opened a twitter account (@GSElevator) with the intention of revealing the hilarious banter that takes place in the privacy of the GS elevators. Since then, the account has evolved to include things overheard on trading floors, bullpens, lobbies and bars.

Some of the conversations involve more than one person, and the participants are distinguishable by their number (#1, #2, #3).

#1: She’s only about 3 weeks of anorexia away from looking hot. 
#2: Maybe 4.

#1: Hey fat fuck, I already know what your resolution is.

#1: Can we please stop calling them ‘hipsters’ and go back to calling them ‘pussies?’

#1: Groupon… Food stamps for the middle class.

#1: A guy came up to me at the gym and asked me what event I was training so hard for. Life, motherfucker.

#1: If you can only be good at one thing, be good at lying… because if you’re good at lying, you’re good at everything.

#1: Blacking out is just your brain clearing its browser history.

#1: My garbage disposal eats better than 98% of the world.

#1: Walking around the protesters outside makes me feel like how a black guy must feel in the gym shower.

#1: Age is just a number. The more important number is how hot she is out of 10.

#1: Hermes ties are like Jordans for white people.

#1: I don’t care how into the environment she says she is. No chick wants to be picked up in a Chevy Volt.

#1: You’re going to Hell in just about any religion. 
#2: First class, baby…

#1: Living my life is like playing Call of Duty on Easy. I just go around and fuck shit up.
#1: Sober girls are the worst. So are really drunk ones… The sweet spot is 4 white wines and a Zanny (Zanax).

#1: I heard the Euro was spotted at Disney World wearing a Make-A-Wish t-shirt.

#1: Bareback is the new 3rd base.

#1: I never give money to homeless people. I can’t reward failure in good conscience.

#1: Fuck that. When I was an analyst, I had to eat an entire ‘wasabi roll’. What we called team building, you faggots call bullying.

#1: Handshakes and tie knots. I don’t have time for someone that can’t master those basic skills.

#1: Two weeks of family time. I’m ready for a FBT to let some bad out. 
#2: FBT? 
#1: Fake Business Trip.

#1: When it doesn’t matter how much the drinks cost, it’s always happy hour.

#1: Money might not buy happiness, but I’ll take my fucking chances.

#1: Obama’s gone golfing 90 times in less than 3 years as president. That’s about three months of golf.

#1: Almost time for children to learn a valuable life lesson. Santa loves rich kids more.

#1: By now, protesters just look like pigeons to me.

#1: Fact. Nearly 50% of all American workers have less than $10k saved for retirement. 
#2: Fuck. That wouldn’t cover a ski weekend.

#1: Anyone that puts CFA and MBA on their business card is a cunt.

#1: Don’t bitch about your apartment. If you want a gated house on a golf course, go be some dogshit CFO in Cleveland.

#1: I asked him what his life goal is, and he said “To make the obituary in The Economist.” 
 #2: Great answer. Hired.

#1: From my experience, most people really should have lower self-esteem.

#1: My charity work begins & ends with black tie galas. And if drunk me is the highest bidder on a signed Springsteen guitar, so be it.

#1: Let’s get one thing straight. Mark Zuckerberg is a fucking loser.

#1: Black Friday is the Special Olympics of capitalism.

#1: The only reason I have a home phone is so I can find my cell phone. 
#2: Our maid does that.

#1: Getting laid off from Goldman is like being traded by the Yankees. You’ll probably still make millions, but it’s just not the same.

Saturday, September 08, 2012