Thursday, August 12, 2010

Brunei’s AyamKu opens in Sarawak, but known as “My Chicken Restaurant”

Here's an update (June 2011): I recently visited the restaurant at Padawan (10th Mile, Jln Penrissen) again and I have to agree with what some of my readers said (see comments) about the how dry the chicken is. The fried chicken meat we had was really very dry!! I don't remember it being this bad when I visited the first time.
Personally, I think they should have stuck to the original Malay name. “My Chicken Restaurant” sounds so original and way too complicated. :P I suppose people will be calling it MCR now (like SCR, Singapore Chicken Rice). What’s wrong with AyamKu?

The place is brand spanking new, opened just a week ago.

Located at the M10 commercial area in Kota Padawan, Mile 10 Jalan Penrissen, I believe it’s the first one to open in Kuching.

Mostly just chicken on the menu. I’d like to try the nasi lemak some other time.

“Hello… hello… hello… (echo)”. The place was totally empty when I was there. Maybe because it was a weekday during Ramadhan (fasting month for Muslims).

Nice and clean with the AC running fulltime and lights on even with no customers. At least they’re not cheap.

This is what I ordered. The “My Spring Chicken” set which comes with a drink, fries, sweet bun, coleslaw and a half chicken. Yes, a half chicken! The extra wing was for an additional RM1 (current promo).

I only ate the extra wing which I found to be nice and succulent. The bun was soft and sweet but the coleslaw too watery, the dressing was all over the plate and caused the fries (which were pretty tasteless) to go soggy.

I couldn’t finish that half chicken. In fact, I didn’t even touch it so I had the friendly staff pack it up in a box and they topped up some more fries for me to take away. Nice gesture indeed but the fries really were bad!

And the grand total? RM12.90! Unlike KFC, taxes are included in the advertised price so you won’t get any surprises in your final bill.

I’d imagine this place to fill up quickly during buka puasa (fast breaking) time. It’s still new so not many know of it. I only found out about this place when I got bored and went through every page in my local paper and read about it last week.

Their use of biodegradable plastic bags is commendable.

Verdict? IMO, you get more chicken for the same price over here than at KFC, MCD or SB. The chicken was also cooked just right, nice and juicy and not dripping with grease like KFC’s. Price is just right for a whole set but they need to do something about the fries and watery coleslaw. Atmosphere is nice too and if they had wifi, the place would surely be packed especially in the evenings.

Update: Well I just did a bit of googling and apparently there is already a place called Ayamku Restaurant in Jln Matang, Kuching. According to a comment left in their facebook company page, they’re a legal franchise from Brunei (same as AyamKu Brunei). The comment was left by the page owner. However, with the opening of the new MCR branch, it’s obvious now that the present “ayamku” is not what it seems. Their logo and menus are also different.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Garden birdwatch II

Oh no, I feel this is developing into a new expensive hobby - shooting birds with my camera! I was out in the garden yesterday and again this evening, spotting birds with Nikon + 70-300 in hand.


While in the house, I had heard a loud bird calling non-stop just outside so I grabbed the camera and went looking for it. It was a small and dark-colored bird, looked like a parrot of some sort. Alas, it flew off beyond the reach of my lens.


So I walked around the house and waited patiently till I spotted a pair of black-winged flycatcher-shrikes (Hemipus hirundinaceus) that flew down to a small tree near me. They made no movement and no sound as I walked about photographing them from below. One was perched close to the tip of a small branch and the other a bit higher up but then flew down to join its friend.



It was getting dark and luckily for me, they had chosen this tree to roost for the night.


Because of the fading light, I had to up the sensitivity to ISO1600 to get some decent pics. The photos were then cropped to center on the subject.


Having shot a few photos of birds, I now feel the Nikon 70-300VR to be severely limited in range. I sure hope I don’t develop another expensive hobby and end up buying a whole bunch of lenses and converters!! Already I feel like the D700 or its replacement should be my next camera. Oh no oh no oh no! Maybe a few more bird shots and I’ll get bored and move on. lol


Meanwhile, here are more photos. As usual, click each for larger size:











Watercolor skies

Sunsets in Kuching. All shot with a Canon S45. I had to crop out some ugly electric pylons but some power lines remain in view in the first photo. They are all old photos from my photo archive. Have lots more sunset photos, will post them when I feel like it. Although it looks as if they were taken a few minutes apart, the first photo was actually taken about a month after the last two. Click for larger size. :)


matang 001-1

Picture 077 Picture 002

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Garden birdwatch I

Recently, I’ve started taking photos of birds I see around the house. Here are some birds photographed in my backyard and garden in recent days (click on the photos for the larger version). Because the birds are often far away or high up in trees, each photo was cropped to center on the subject and sharpened where necessary.



A pair of oriental magpie robins (Copsychus saularis; Malay name: burung murai). The one on the right has a grub or grasshopper in its beak which it fed to the bird on the left. 1/500s f/5.6 ISO 400 450mm equiv.



I guess they are a nesting pair? Which is the male and which is the female? Or is this a parent and a juvenile? 1/500s f/5.6 ISO 400 450mm equiv.



Asian glossy starlings (Aplonis panayensis) are one of the most common birds to visit my garden and trees. When my Engkala (Litsea garciae) trees are fruiting, a big flock of them will often be seen feeding on the fruits even before they ripen. They also like to feed on ripe papayas still on the tree.



A lone sunbird chirping away and preening in between songs.



Yellow-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) feeding on the fruits of a small tree-shrub.



Yellow vented bulbuls often fly into my orchid shade house and visit each mount or pot looking for grub. Sometimes a bird will even fight with its own image in my tinted windows thinking there’s another bird in there! This was taken with my Olympus e510 but I absentmindedly left the ISO setting at 1600 resulting in a noisy picture.



Common mynas (Acridotheres tristis).

Monday, August 2, 2010

A visit from La Nina


Normally, the orchids would be going through a dry period around this time of the year, but not this year!


Kuching’s been getting a lot of rain lately, courtesy of a visitor named La Nina. She is expected to be around till the end of the month. Actually, the amount of rainfall isn’t out of the ordinary if this was the first quarter of the year. But it’s now August, traditionally the peak of the dry season in Sarawak.


Our neighbor to the north has got it worse. Sabah’s been put on flood alert and low lying areas are expected to be inundated by flash floods caused by heavy downpours.


Last year Kuching temps soared so high the thermometer hit 37 degrees Centigrade. Some days it gets quite warm with lots of sunshine but a couple weeks ago, we had two days of continuous rain. Very unusual for this time of the year. While it’s nice to have cooler than normal weather, it’s not too nice to get caught in the rain while hiking or just running some errands in town.


In fact, I was caught in the rain today and had to drive home soaking wet head to toe. Got back home and immediately hit the shower. When I started typing this entry, it was still raining outside, but now the rain has stopped.



Blc White Spark, taken around noon, cloudy but no rain.



Two hours later it was drizzling…


The weather forecast has been quite useless too. The weather is just too unpredictable now! For example, when we were exploring western Sarawak two weeks ago, it was expected to rain the two days we were there. However, not a drop of rain fell and the ground along the trails were very dry.


Related links:

Borneo Post: Heavy Rainfalls due to La Nina


Wikipedia: La Nina

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Road trip to Maludam – Day 2

This trip took place in June 2010



Sunrise over Sri Aman, Sarawak


Day 2 – an early start

We started day 2 early by checking out of our hotel around 6AM. I nearly lost my GPS for the second time by leaving it sitting on a window sill to try and get a satellite lock. Only when we reached the car and I felt for it did I realize my carelessness. The first time I nearly lost it was when it slipped out of my pocket while trekking in Bako NP!


It was still dark when we got on the road. About 20km later, we pulled over to walk up a small hill along a dirt track to take pictures of the sunrise.



Sun rising over the horizon.


To get to Maludam, we had to drive about 170 kilometers from Sri Aman, bypassing the small town of Pusa and then crossing the Batang Saribas on a ferry before continuing on to Kampung Maludam. The coastal road ends in Triso, a small kampung (village) by the sea.


We arrived at the ferry point after about 2.5 hours on the road. We were all looking forward to visiting the little known Maludam National Park, home of the highly endangered red banded langur (Presbytis chrysomelas cruciger). Here’s a simple map of Maludam (click).



Kuching-Sibu road. Still quiet with only a few cars and long distance busses passing by.



We reached the ferry point at about 8:30AM and took the Primrose III across the river. In the morning, there were storm clouds over the eastern horizon but later became quite sunny and hot when we reached our destination.



That’s the Primrose VII, carrying a full load of vehicles and passengers across the Batang Saribas. From the other side, it was another half hour before we reached Maludam. Along the way, we were quite shocked to see large areas along the road cleared for oil palm. The palm trees were still small and more peat swamp areas were being cleared. We had expected the area to be well protected since there is a national park here, home to one of the rarest primates in the world, the red banded langur as well as proboscis monkeys. Alas, this was clearly not the case as we found more land being cleared along the Maludam River.



Selamat Datang ke Maludam – Welcome to Maludam. From the ferry point, we drove for about 30 more minutes before reaching Maludam Bazaar.



Incidentally, the monthly farmer’s market (pasar tani Maludam) was being held the day we arrived. We therefore had to park by the roadside just like the other cars in the above pic and then made our way to the wharf on foot. Besides farm produce, clothing such as t-shirts, jeans and dresses were also sold here.


As we walked through the street market, an event emcee suddenly announced our arrival over the PA system, happily welcoming us to their little village. It was quite a surprise when we heard her saying “…dan pagi ini kita ada tiga orang pelancong yang sedang melintas sekarang. Selamat datang ke Maludam, terima kasih atas sokongan anda!” (“…and this morning we have three tourists who are passing through right now. Welcome to Maludam and thank you for your support!"). She waved at us as loud music blared in the background and we were suddenly made very self conscious! haha


I guess we were pretty conspicuous, with our dSLRs slung around our necks and snapping photos of people every now and then. haha  We did feel very much welcomed and people were also friendly and obliging when we asked for help with directions. The event MC in particular, went out of her way to find us a guide and boatman to take us to the national park. So to you, Puan MC, terima kasih seribu kali!



We walked around the village for a bit and visited the small bazaar which is really just a row of old, wooden shops by the river. Then we went to the wharf to take in the river scenery.



Lots of fishing boats were moored along the river side. This particular fishing vessel anchored next to the wharf is quite big. The Maludam river may appear small and narrow but our guide said it’s actually very deep, about 30 feet in some places. Perhaps deeper.






Ayam kampung – free range kampung chicken feeding on corn grits laid out on a piece of cardboard.


Maludam_Sarawak_17 \

Fruits and local veges for sale. Very cheap too! The two gourds on the left can be bought for RM1.50 (for both). The spiky fruits in the middle are sour sops or durian belanda. Right most, lemon grass at RM1.00 per bundle and just behind that, a young coconut “heart” which is the crown of a coconut tree. It is usually cooked in a vegetable curry. The Bougainvillea flowers in the bottom of the picture are for sale also.



While we waited for our boatman and guide to be ready, we ordered teh tarik which is a foamy milk tea (poured from one cup to another and repeated till the tea foams). While waiting, I also took the opportunity to take some candid shots of passers-by.



We were introduced to these two men, village chiefs, one from Maludam and the other from Triso. They were having their makan (meal) just next to us so we talked to them briefly. The man from Triso told us to visit his village, just 15 minutes away so we did when we got back from visiting Maludam National Park. We were told that Triso was a much nicer place with more to see but when we got there, I didn’t find a single thing worth photographing The only hill there, Bukit Triso (which shows up prominently in my GPS and topo map) was in the process of being flattened, soil taken out by the truckloads. No wonder we kept seeing huge soil trucks along the way!



A grandfather and his adorable granddaughter getting on his bicycle. Her granddad is a huge karaoke fan apparently, singing a few songs at the lone karaoke booth not far from us before leaving the market. :)



More vege stalls.



A vendor selling noodles, Sarawak Kolo Mee amongst other local delicacies.



This black goat came out of nowhere and started sniffing around. Some food sellers chased it away, and it went running down the street.



Passers-by staring at the disoriented goat.



Local karaoke fans at the karaoke booth singing their hearts out. It got real loud and jarring because music was also being played at the end of the street.


About a half hour later, our guide returned on a motorbike with a big tank of diesel for his boat. We followed him to where his boat was moored not too far away. It was at that moment I felt I had to take a leak but the only place to go was into the bushes, so off I went. Unluckily for me, I picked the wrong spot as big red ants started crawling out of the bush and onto my body, biting me all over. I was lucky none got into my shorts! Moments later, I was frantically brushing them off, getting them out of my hair, off my neck, arms, back, torso… I had to take off my shirt to rid myself of every single angry red ant!



After that funny (funny now, not then!) incident with the ants, my friends joined me at the boat and we took some quick snaps before donning our lifejackets, boarding the speedboat and making our way up the Maludam River. Maludam National Park, here we come…


Next entry in this series will be about Maludam National Park.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...