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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Frisky Goat @ TTDI

With the hipster cafe movement sweeping Klang Valley (and beyond), this new little cafe with a unique standout name, Frisky Goat @ TTDI is fast gaining popularity amongst the TTDI neighbourhood (and the community beyond).

It's a pretty laid back cafe (small but cosy) and a good hangout place (though you can't hangout or linger too long in this cafe) as there're (always) hoards of people waiting for a table.

We waited for about half an hour on a Saturday afternoon and we were lucky as a 'big' table opened up although there were more people before us on the waiting list.  I don't know what it is about big breakfast fry ups and coffee...it's such a crowd pleaser these days.

The eye-catching bright blue framed door beckons you to come in (sorry, couldn't get a pic as there were just too many people waiting outside the door) and, as soon as you walk through the doors, you'll be confronted with a selection of cakes, pastries and bread as Frisky Goat is also a bakery cafe.

As soon as we've made our orders, some cute and colourful plates and cutleries made its appearance for the little ones in our eating party!

Our first breakfast order for the day was the Monsieur Ben Wafels @ RM17 which is Frisky's version of eggs benedict served with beef bacon and wilted spinach over Belgian waffles but there was only a trickle of Hollandaise sauce (I guess this is what happens when you rush things)!  The light and crispy waffles were the best thing on the plate (and it should be since it features prominently in many of their Almost All Day Brunch Menu).  The poached eggs (however) reminded me of the ones I had in Antipodean (made with a mould) and were not as oozy as I would've liked but still acceptable nonetheless.

Next came the Egg Salmon Royale @ RM21 which was a piece of seared salmon with a poached egg over a piece of waffle (again) served with sautéed mushrooms, wilted spinach, a tomato-tinged hollandaise sauce and own-baked crusty toast.  This was another winning dish (even though the presentation was not) as all the components were nicely done (though the ingredients in itself may seem like an unusual combo).

The Decadent French Toast @ RM19.90 rounded up our orders from the breakfast menu although it was more like a sinful dessert than a breakfast item.  It came with 3 slices of French toast served with apple chutney and spiced roasted walnuts, drizzled with honey and topped with vanilla ice cream and Chantilly cream.

The apple chutney tasted like a mixture of sweetened dried fruits to me and even the crunchy spiced walnuts seemed to be glazed in honey.  Overall, the dish was on the sweet side though the vanilla ice cream and Chantilly cream provided some freshness to the otherwise sweet concoction.  [#Tip: Chantilly cream is just whipped cream flavoured with vanilla.]  This dish would appeal to those with a 'sweet tooth' more (my friends seemed to enjoy it).  Presentation wise, the dish was a bit of a mess, but it tasted better than it looked (although it looked better presented in other blogs, I might add) as the French toast was darker in colour (for some reason) that day.

If you're one of those who enjoys a big breakfast fry-up, you can go for "The Works" @ RM24.  But, if you adore cheese, you've gotta try their baked eggs (Eggs en Cocotte @ RM21.50), a dish that Frisky Goat is famous for.  [#Tip: Cocotte (a French word) simply means a small heatproof dish for individual portions of food.]  We didn't order this because I'm not really a fan of cheese (firstly) and (secondly), I was attracted by a dish from their lunch and dinner menu (available from 12 noon).

The Pan Seared Barramundi @ RM39 was served with sautéed vegetables and a creamy mash and dressed in reduced balsamic creamy sauce.  Special mention must be made to the extremely smooth and creamy mash along with the very finely diced vegetables (detected carrots, cucumber, mushrooms)....I loved the mash!

It was an incredible harmony of flavours...everything worked in unison and did not overpower the distinctive but delicate flavour of the perfectly cooked barramundi.

Their menu for lunch and dinner is pretty straightforward with just 5 dishes (2 chicken, 2 fish & 1 steak option) to choose from plus a selection of pastas which you can build on your own by selecting the pasta (spaghetti, linguini or angel hair), the sauce you like (olive oil+garlic+dried chillies, pesto, carbonara or tomato) and add a protein of your choice (chicken, duck, beef bacon or soft-shell crab).

As soon as we've finished with our 'mains', it was time to indulge in some decadent desserts...happy days for both adults and kids!

We couldn't decide between the Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake (a 'to die for' cake as some described it) but settled for the Dark Chocolate Mousse @ RM9 (that looked just as inviting) instead.  It was good, just that I preferred the one I had at Bonjour Garden a bit more.

Our next choice was the Espresso Creme Brûlée @ RM10 which turned out sublime.  I have tasted many creme brûlées in my life but never an espresso crème brûlée.  It was silky smooth, with a good coffee flavour, and an utter delight to eat (though rather sweet) but would fulfill anyone's 'sweet' dreams, I'm sure.  If you love coffees and brûlées, you're definitely gonna love this espresso creme brûlée.  [#Tip: Don't be discouraged by the dark coloured crust, and the fact that it's an expresso brûlée, as it was not bitter at all (I was pleasantly surprised too).]

Our final dessert selection was the Red Opera @ RM12 which was superb (a bit pricey though).  The strawberry-raspberry flavoured infused sponge cake layered with an immensely refreshing strawberry cream and raspberry jam (I think) that had just the right tangy, fruity taste.  It was topped with a pinkish-reddish coloured crunchy, sticky, sweetish bits of a nutty-like texture (I was told it's walnuts by the service staff).  This has to go on record as my all-time favourite piece of cake...mmm, a slice of heaven indeed!

And here were our coffee orders:
 
Iced Cappuccino @ RM10 (Top Left)
Iced Latte @ RM10 (Bottom Left)
Italian Iced Coffee @ RM14 (Top Right)
Iced Mocha @ RM12 (Bottom Right)
 
The Italian Iced Coffee is just iced coffee with ice cream (very much like affogato) but their coffees are not as robust in flavour as some others.  I must say the food takes priority over the coffees here but their cuppa, though not the most impressive, is still decent enough to entice their customers to come back for more (judging by the full house on weekends).
 
If coffee is not your 'cup of tea'...and tea is, fret not as they serve TWG tea here.
 
Apart from its quirky name, everything's quirky here...from our bill (which was presented to us in a miniature metallic pail)...down to the tips bucket (at the cashier's counter).
 
My Personal Opinion

This relatively new joint (opened in February 2014) is fast becoming the go-to place for its 'frisky' patrons (both from TTDI and beyond) as they're serving up some pretty desirable looking brunch options with a combination of quirky décor and lovely ambience.

It started off promisingly with the Monsieur Ben Wafels and came to a rousing end with the incredibly appealing Red Opera.

This place (with above 'middle-of-the-park' prices) is definitely worth a few revisits.  The food is creative, it's soulful, it's youthful!  It's going to be a regular haunt for many café hoppers as it's trendy and fashionable.....so, let's get frisky!!...(ok, not quite that kind of 'frisky' you have in mind).

What I absolutely loved:  The Red Opera (because of its zesty flavour).
 
What I really liked:  The barramundi, the waffles, the Espresso Crème Brûlée....and the bright blue door!

What they need to improve on:  The presentation!  Take a little bit more time (and care) with how it looks...little things matter, don't rush it.
 
What I didn't like as much:  The café is too small to cater to the crowds resulting in really cramped tables and seats which are just inches apart.  The meal felt like it was 'rushed' and they don't serve you drinking water unless you ask.  That aside, don't let parking problems and long queues deter you from trying out this café....good food needs patience!

Frisky Goat Bakery Cafe
72 Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi
Taman Tun Dr Ismail
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-7731 2965
 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

#ewew tries MyKuali Penang White Curry Noodles

After hearing so much about MyKuali's Penang White Curry Noodle, I was eager to see what the ruckus was about this noodle, especially after tasting Maggi's Penang Seafood Curry.

MyKuali Penang White Curry Noodle is the first instant noodle in its MyKuali line and shot to global fame when it made its way into a popular American noodle reviewer's blog (Ramen Rater's "Top 10 spiciest instant noodles of all time 2013").

It took the local market by storm and created a frenzy amongst consumers who wanted to try this 'phenomenon'.  Its manufacturer was reported to have sold almost 10 million packets in its first 6 months even with limited distribution in selected supermarkets.  Based on the information provided on their Facebook, it is now (supposedly) available locally in Giant Hypermarkets, Cold Storage, Mercato and Jason's Food Hall (but I still couldn't find it in some of these stores) and selected supermarkets and mini-markets nationwide.  [#Note: The manufacturers are also planning to repackage the product in cup form by early 2015.]

Not only did MyKuali take the local market by storm, it also gained fame worldwide with orders being shipped to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, Europe and the United States.

The Ramen Rater, who has reviewed more than 1,000 instant noodles, with Malaysia being on his top 10 list for the first time, described it as "a curry lover's dream" and one of the best curry instant noodles he has ever had.

I finally got my hands on MyKuali's Penang White Curry Noodle (actually my husband managed to find one for me at a Cold Storage supermarket in PJ).

It comes in a packet of 4 and retails at RM6.89 which is cheaper than Maggi's Penang Seafood Curry by about RM1.

Just like Maggi's Penang Seafood Laksa, it comes with 3 packets of seasoning.

This is how the seasonings looked like....there's a non-dairy creamer, a packet of cooked chilli paste and a seasoning powder.  The first thing that hit me, when I opened the sachets, was that I could not smell the seasoning and curry paste (like in Maggi's) as it was not as fragrant or aromatic.

This is my bowl of MyKuali Penang White Curry Noodle...ready for consumption.  Taste wise, the noodles are a little thicker than your typical instant noodle and tends to stick together a bit.  You'll find that the chilli paste has a harder consistency and slightly more difficult to dissolve.  The deep curry flavour in the broth was not as good as Maggi's as the savoury flavour was not as pronounced.  The curry paste is definitely spicier than Maggi's but not so hot and fiery as described by the Ramen Rater (coz we locals obviously can take spicier food).

I don't understand what the "hoo-hah" is about MyKuali's Penang White Curry Noodle after tasting it...coz (taste wise), I found both the noodles and the curry broth lagging behind Maggi's.  It was not a 'curry lover's dream'...at least not my 'dream'! 

After tasting both, I definitely preferred Maggi's Penang Seafood Curry (read my review here) to MyKuali's Penang White Curry.....hands down!!  My guess is that the worldwide hysteria is not so much from the 'taste' but from the word 'Penang'...after all, Penang has long been known as the food capital of Malaysia.  If you want your product to sell like 'hot cakes' to foreigners, just make sure the word 'Penang' is in your product...somewhere :)

MyKuali has launched its 2nd instant noodle range, the MyKuali Penang Hokkien Prawn Noodle about 2 weeks back...ooo..I love prawn mee....that's next on my list to try!
 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Loaf Bakery & Bistro @ Pavilion

The Loaf Bakery & Bistro @ Pavilion is a Japanese concept bakery (co-owned by our former Prime Minister) which is renowned for freshly baked handmade artisan Bakery and Pastry, made daily using traditional Japanese techniques, with no chemicals, preservatives or artificial colouring.

Since the opening of its first outlet in Langkawi Island in 2006, The Loaf has steadily gained popularity and have now expanded to more than 10 outlets in Malaysia.

Having patronised their outlets in Pavilion and Great Eastern Mall, I found the one in Great Eastern Mall pretty small and more kiosk-like (with some seats outside) and offers only a limited menu plus less choices of their bakery items.

You'll definitely be more comfortable in the outlet at Pavilion.  The Loaf is located on the 3rd and 4th floor (with an alfresco dining area on the 3rd floor) serving a full range of 'a la carte' breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.  I just love the small but welcoming cosy dining ambience here. 

Walking past the aroma of freshly baked breads wafting through the air was indeed intoxicating.  I finally succumbed to my temptation and decided to walk in (and wondered why I had not done so sooner).

Whether it's breakfast or tea or anything in-between, the main attraction here is (unquestionably) their bakery items.  I ordered a couple of baked goods because you just can't come to The Loaf and not try their impressive Japanese-inspired freshly baked breads and pastries....and, to be honest, that's the only thing I'm after when I visit The Loaf.

The Tuna Mayo Bun @ RM3 was made up of creamy tuna on a superbly soft bun, one of the best I've had.  If you love tuna (like me), you're sure gonna love this!

The Mango Pan Cream @ RM3 comprised a generous amount of luscious mango cream in a delicious soft bun with a nice crunch from the chopped peanuts on top.  The mango cream was tangy and had a fruity mango flavour and (let me tell you) they were not stingy on the mango cream.  It was good.

The Mini Vanilla Silk Chiffon Cupcake @ RM2.90 had an extremely soft and fluffy texture.  It was so light you can eat many without the feeling of fullness.  It was delicious (as advertised on the cupcake container)....in fact, it was excellent.

Some other bakery items I tried during another visit to Great Eastern Mall.

The Fish Tartar Bun @ RM3.60 had some fish chunks in a soft bun topped with a bit of melted cheese.  This was no where near as good as the Tuna Mayo Bun though.

The Egg Roll Bun @ RM3.70 is quite similar to an egg mayo sandwich except this one is in an unbelievably soft bun topped with some melted cheese.  It was creamy, it was savoury, it was yum!

Of course, I just had to try their Croissant @ RM2.80.  This was just a plain croissant but it was buttery, flaky and light.  It was good but not the best I've eaten.  I saw croissants with chocolate filling and others with different fillings as well.

I did not get to try their Creamy Ampan (Japanese Red Bean Bun) in different flavours...perhaps, next time.  For those who love cheese (not me though), you might want to try their Uhuhu cream cheesecakes.

For drinks, I ordered The Loaf Cube -60C @ RM12 which was their signature drink comprising of a glass of frozen Espresso cubes served with warm fresh milk and a sugar syrup.  This drink is rather unique as it comes with coffee cubes frozen at -60C.

Pour the milk over the frozen coffee cubes and slowly let it melt in the warm milk and add your preferred amount of sugar.  Stir it if you want the coffee cubes to melt more quickly and your iced coffee is ready to drink....enjoy!

It was a pretty decent glass of coffee....just wished there were a few more cubes of frozen coffee (than just 3 cubes).  A check on the menu revealed that there're 3 choices for The Loaf Cube, Doppio Bliss for RM10, Triple Smack Down for RM12 and Quadshot Heaven for RM17 (which I didn't notice on the menu).  Looking at my bill, it looked like I got the Cube 60 Triple Smack Down (probably that's why I got 3 frozen cubes).  I guess I should order the Quadshot Heaven (4 cubes maybe?) the next time for a stronger coffee flavour that I need.

This was my cup of Hot Latte @ RM8.50 (from Great Eastern Mall) which was alright.

I also bought 3 of their famed Oyaki to try at home.  Traditionally, Oyaki is a Japanese dumpling made from a fermented buckwheat dough wrapped around a stuffing of meat, fruit, vegetables or paste and roasted on an iron pan.  However, The Loaf has modified the traditional Oyaki by using butter roll dough stuffed with sweet or savoury fillings and baked in an oven instead of using a frying pan.

The first was the Green Tea Oyaki @ RM1.90 which had an overly generous amount of green tea paste filling.  I'm not one to complain about an insane amount of filling (in anything) but this one was just too much till it became slightly bitter.  I guess you've got to be a real fan of green tea (and its bitterness) to really like this one, so I wasn't too thrilled about this one.

The second one was the Red Bean Walnut Oyaki @ RM1.90.  This was a red bean paste with crunchy chopped walnuts filling and a fragrant sesame seed crust.  I definitely preferred this one to the green tea oyaki.

The final one was the Tuna Mayo Oyaki @ RM3.20.  The thin pillowy texture of the bread, with a generous amount of creamy tuna mayo, was just perfect....and (mind you) they don't stinge on the tuna.  The creamy mayo didn't feel 'heavy' at all and I could eat a few more of these without problem.  This was my favourite among the three.

My Personal Opinion

It's a wonderful place to just sit and relax over a good cup of coffee with some premium breads and pastries...ahh, it will make your morning sunshiny bright!  It's also perfect for some afternoon 'pick-me-ups' when you need to rest your tired legs after a bout of shopping!

Their recently introduced new Asian dishes looks tempting as well but, more than anything else, I can't wait to return to try more of their bakery items coz I'm just loving their incredibly soft, fluffy, airy, light texture of their buns and oyaki.

Prices here are pretty reasonable with many of the bakery items under RM3.  I absolutely loved their savoury (and some sweet) bakery items, especially the (OMG) Tuna Mayo Bun & Oyaki as well as their Vanilla Chiffon...so light, so soft, so good!

I have to come back for more (of their savoury breads and pastries)....and soon!

The Loaf Bakery & Bistro
Lot 3.13.00 & 14.12.02
Levels 3 & 4 Pavilion KL
168 Jalan Bukit Bintwng
55100 Kuala Lumpur

Monday, 21 July 2014

#ewew cooks Pan-Fried Crispy Skin Salmon

One of the easiest things to cook is a piece of super fresh fish with a side of potatoes and vegetables.  That's why my Pan-Fried Crispy Skin Salmon is an all-time favourite of mine to cook and eat.

The dish starts off with a really fresh piece of salmon, so make sure you get a super fresh one like this salmon fillet @ RM23.76 (RM90/kg) I got from Jaya Grocer.

Ingredients:
 
1 pc salmon fillet (about 250g)
4-5 spears of asparagus
4-5 white button mushrooms
1 medium potato
Salt & black pepper
A drizzle of olive oil
Corn oil for frying

Preparation:

Season the salmon fillet with salt and black pepper (on both sides).

Cut off the fibrous bottom part (about 2-3 inches) of the asparagus.
Clean the fresh button mushrooms with a damp cloth (do not wash) and cut into slices.
Peel and cut a medium potato to about 1/4 inch slices.

Method:

Heat corn oil in a small saucepan on medium heat.  Once the oil is hot enough, drop the slices of potato into the oil.  Flip the potato slices once they start to colour.  Fry till soft and golden brown. 

Dish up and season with salt (while the potatoes are still hot).  That way, the salt will melt and stick to the potatoes.

Drizzle some olive oil in a non-stick pan (on medium heat).  Once it's hot, place your salmon fillet (skin side down), asparagus and button mushrooms into the pan.  It's an 'all-in-one-pan' kind of dish.  Sprinkle some salt over the asparagus.  At the same time, season your mushrooms with a dash of salt, black pepper and chopped fresh parsley, if you have (otherwise, just use dried parsley flakes).  Move your mushrooms and asparagus around (to get a nice char).  

Fry till your salmon skin is nice and crispy (it should take about 3-4 mins). 

By now, your asparagus and mushrooms would have developed a bit of colour and are ready to be taken out.

Once you get a nice colour on your salmon skin, flip it over and fry the other side (for another 3-4 mins).  If you're not happy with the colour of the skin, flip it again and fry for a bit longer (cooking is not an exact science, you know).  [#Note: The cooking time depends on how rare you like your salmon. Do not be overly concerned with the timing of the cooking of your salmon (just 'eyeball' it).  If you happen to undercook it, it'll just be more on the rare side and, if it's a piece of fresh salmon, you've got nothing to worry about.]

Plate up your salmon fillet with your charred asparagus, fried potatoes and mushrooms...it's not quite 'restaurant' quality presentation but (hey) at least it tastes good.  Now, who wouldn't like a freshly cooked Pan-Fried Crispy Skin Salmon (with Asparagus, Potatoes and Mushrooms)!

It's fresh....it's delicious......it's perfect.  Bon Appetit!!
 
Serves 1 (salmon lover).  Can be eaten with a dollop of tartar sauce (if you like).
 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Ben's @ Suria KLCC

Part of the BIG Group by Benjamin Yong (Founder and Group Chief Eating Officer), Ben's @ Suria KLCC believes in building relationships through food via their tagline "To Eat is to Love".  

Ben's unique decor is modelled after a dream-like home (with a breathtaking view of the KLCC park and fountain) to depict a cosy and welcoming environment.
 
Ben's menu concentrates on international cuisine, ranging from delicious nibbles and refreshing salads to modern interpretation of east-meets-west mains and luscious desserts.  Whatever it is that tickles your fancy, there's plenty of choices for everyone to enjoy.

While waiting for your food to arrive, they have a stack of cards that you can use as conversational pieces (if you need them...like when you're on your awkward first date!).  These 2 cards caught my attention:

1) If you had to spend the rest of your life eating the food of one country, which one would it be?  It's obvious, home is where the heart (oops, I mean stomach) is!

2)  Would you rather lose your sense of taste and smell or lose all of your hair?  I guess you know what my answer to that would be!
 
We started our meal with an order from the Nibbles Section of Crispy Onion Rings (with aioli) @ RM13.
 
The battered onion rings were fried till crunchy but a tad greasy.  It was ok though I've had better fried onion rings than this before.
 
Another starter for sharing was the Belgian Fries (with andalouse sauce) @ RM12.  I ordered this out of curiosity wondering what fries from Belgium (instead of from France) would look like but it turned out to be just criss cross fries.  The fries were soft in the middle and crisp on the outside.  It was decent.
 
As for the sauce, what the heck is andalouse sauce?  Well, it seems it's a Belgian sauce consisting of mayonnaise, tomato paste, bell peppers and lemon juice (and sometimes mustard).  It's vaguely similar to Thousand Island dressing.  I didn't care much for the sauce as it has this pungent taste (which I've been describing as some kind of weird metallic taste...read my previous post on Fougasse).  [#Note: I think I've finally found what this pungent taste that I despise so much...it's probably mustard (which is used in the preparation of a lot of sauces, though not all, as an emulsifier).]
 
Our main dish order was the Golden Soft Shell Crab Spaghettini (with curry leaves and bird's eye chilli) @ RM28.  The soft shell crab was fresh and a pretty good sized crab I might add.  But what won me over was the spaghettini that was cooked just right in a creamy sauce enhanced with the flavour of curry leaves and the heat provided by the bird's eye chillies.  The fragrance of the fried curry leaves and the spiciness of the bird's eye chilies infused with the creamy sauce to delicious effect.
 
I had wanted to order the Asian-style duck confit salad with pomelo, lychee, cucumber and pineapple but it was not available that night.  So, I went with the Crispy Soft Shell Crab Salad (with green papaya in a spicy lime dressing) @ RM28 instead as my main dish (yup, it was a 'soft shell crab overload' night).  The soft shell crab was dipped in egg batter and deep fried till slightly (but not overly) crispy.  The resulting frizzy delight sat on top a bunch of shredded green papaya, sliced onions, long beans and dried shrimps.  It was dressed in a sourish lime sauce but I didn't detect any spiciness in the dressing.  The shredded green papaya (unfortunately) was not crunchy to the bite (but a bit limp) probably because it was drowning in lime juice or dressed too early (and left sitting for a while) in my opinion.

You'll find the drinks in 2 separate menus, one is called Ben's Nice and the other, Ben's Naughty (how cute...and I'm sure you know which is the non-alcoholic one and which is the alcoholic one, right?).
 
We thought we'd deviate from our usual fresh fruit juices (for once) but it would be a choice we'd soon regret.  This is the Lemon Lime Bitters @ RM10 which contained a bit of alcohol (as told to us by the server) and probably the reason why it had a slight bitterness to it (should have known better coz it was part of the drink's name...duh!).
 
The Lychee Lime @ RM11, which looked pretty (by the way), I thought would be a lychee and lime combo but when I took a sip, I detected a hint of mint in it (and you know how much I dislike mint)...luckily there wasn't much mint (unlike the Delicious Iced Tea).  My son didn't like the taste of mint either, so I had to finish his drink too.  [#Note: I wished that the drinks would come with a more detailed description of what it's made up of so that we know exactly what we're ordering.]
 
My Personal Opinion
 
First and foremost, I hate m & m's (not the chocolate candies) but mint and mustard!!  But, I can't fault the restaurant for my own personal dislikes.
 
Overall, the food was decent enough although it didn't leave a profound first impression on me (maybe because I didn't order the 'right' dishes).  After all, Ben's was voted Best New Restaurant in 2011 by Time Out KL.  Having tried one pasta which turned out well, I believe their other pastas will be equally pleasant.  I'm also intrigued by their salad menu which is quite different from the norm (or at least they're not a bunch of lettuce thrown together to call a salad).

You can't help but make comparisons of Ben's menu to Delicious, and rightly so, coz it was (after all) Benjamin's former 'baby' (but sold and now 100% owned by E & O Group).  Their western mains are a bit pricey but all other stuff, you can get for under RM30 (which is affordably priced for an establishment like this).
 
Would I come back?  Probably......to try the other salads and pastas (and stick to the drinks I know)!

Ben's @ Suria KLCC
Lot 140 1st Floor Suria KLCC
Jalan Ampang
50088 Kuala Lumpur

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