Saturday, October 30, 2021

Reopened: Club Med Cherating + Upcoming Kota Kinabalu resort

Club Med, the pioneer of premium all-inclusive holidays, is gearing up for an aggressive travel rebound in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, with the announcement of Club Med Cherating’s reopening on 15 October 2021, as well as the brand’s upcoming greenfield beach resort in Kota Kinabalu set to open in 2023. Beyond strengthening its roots in Malaysia, Club Med is also readying itself with an aggressive expansion pipeline and continues to look for opportunities in the Southeast Asian (SEA) region, specifically in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Club Med Cherating is ready to welcome guests back from 15 Oct 

With Malaysians feeling travel-starved for the past year, Club Med believes it is not only important to venture on once-in-a-lifetime experiences, but to also rediscover our best selves through embarking on journeys of exploration. In conjunction with the reopening of Club Med Cherating, the resort is offering a special promotion with holiday packages priced at RM930++ per adult for a 3-Day 2-Night stay—the perfect reason to head to Cherating Beach for a quick getaway. 

Just a three-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, holiday-goers can enjoy a plethora of activities at Club Med Cherating: from adventure sports such as hiking, rock climbing and sailing, to culturally immersive programmes and family-focused offerings—all safely ensconced within the 85-hectare compound. Resort facilities blend seamlessly into the surroundings of Cherating’s tropical rainforest, bringing guests closer to nature and offering reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city-living. The unique Club Med experience is complemented by the resort’s smooth flow between social, F&B and entertainment venues, with various tranquil zones as well as the kids’ club (with free childcare for children and teenagers between the ages of four to seventeen) and spaces for families to converge. The holiday experience is further secured by the resort’s enhanced ‘Safe Together’ protocol, which implements a series of heightened hygiene and safety measures supported by Ecolab (a global leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions and services) where guests are given peace of mind to be able to reconnect, have fun, and just relax. 

Despite the pandemic putting the brakes on every holiday plan, domestic travel to Club Med Cherating is already on track to surpass pre-pandemic demand, which saw an increase in business volume of over 8 times compared to last year and are running at full occupancy on our reopening weekend. 

“We entered the pandemic with a strong economic position and are well-placed for a swift, decisive and impactful rebound. We are excited to welcome guests back to Club Med Cherating and to our resorts across the globe. Club Med has a demonstrated track record spanning more than 70 years as the pioneer of new destinations and allinclusive offerings—which is evident from the success of Club Med Cherating, our first resort in Asia —as well as the upcoming greenfield project in Club Med Borneo Kota Kinabalu,” said Mr. Vincent Ong, General Manager of Club Med SEA. 

Club Med is continuing its expansion in Malaysia with Club Med Borneo in 2023

Come end 2023, Club Med will be opening its first SEA greenfield beach resort in Borneo, Kota Kinabalu, in close collaboration with owners Golden Sands Beach Resort City Sdn Bhd (GSBRC). The 41-acre Club Med Borneo Kota Kinabalu resort will reveal a brand new destination, encapsulating the beauty and potential of Sabah. Club Med is confident in its mission to showcase the untapped potential of this stunning location, strategically located a mere six hours from key Asian markets. As one of their most upscale resorts in South East Asia, it is expected to attract tourists from all over the world and is destined to deliver consistently high occupancy rates. 

Aggressive expansion pipeline with over 16 new Club Med resorts in the next 2 years 

Club Med is also readying itself with an aggressive expansion pipeline. Despite the pandemic, the brand continued its global expansion across four continents including Club Med La Rosière, France unveiled in December 2020, Club Med Seychelles in March 2021, Club Med Lijiang, China in September 2021 and Club Med Québec Charlevoix in December 2021. Closer to home, Club Med is looking to expand their portfolio in untouched destinations within SEA. 

“We are targeting Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia as destinations that are wellpositioned to leverage this rebound and we are on the lookout for investors and partners to tap into the potential of these destinations. The pandemic also presented an opportunity for us to refine operations and enhance safety measures in preparation for a stronger rebound for our resorts within the region”, adds Mr. Ong. 

Given the rapidly changing travel restrictions imposed by governments, Club Med also understands the need for increased flexibility and security with travel planning and has introduced the Peace of Mind policy at the start of the pandemic, giving travellers the freedom of a complementary change of travel date, a book-now-pay-later option, and free cancellation of up to 30 days before the travel date. Those looking to travel internationally once borders are open can also travel with ease, as Club Med is offering complimentary COVID-19 coverage into its all-inclusive holiday package, which covers medical expenses in the case of hospitalization, general practitioner appointments, COVID-19 testing and transportation costs to testing facilities. 

Those yearning for a vacation at Club Med can visit to book your holiday today or contact Club Med’s Travel Advisor at +60 2053 1888.

Click here to read our FULL review of our visit to Club Med Cherating.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Hard Rock Hotel Penang wins CNT's Readers' Choice Awards 2021

Hard Rock Hotel Penang is thrilled to announce its latest and first recognition in Condé Nast Traveler as one of the Top 30 Hotels in Asia for the 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards. The 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards by Condé Nast Traveler is one of the most significant awards in the travel industry, celebrating the best hotels, resorts and destinations in the world. Ranking #21 out of a total of 30 recognized hotels in Asia, winners were determined on the votes from Condé Nast Traveler readers worldwide. A total of four hotels in Malaysia were featured in the list of winners under the Top 30 Hotels in Asia category and Hard Rock Hotel Penang is one of the two hotels in Penang to receive the award. A full list of the winners is featured on the Condé Nast Traveler official website and can be found here.

“It is an honour for us to receive this significant award considering the challenges and adversities that the hospitality industry has faced on a global scale throughout the year. This is a testament to the dedication of our team that has worked to provide remarkable service, value, and quality to all our guests,” said John Primmer, the General Manager of Hard Rock Hotel Penang. “Thank you to everyone who has voted, supported and contributed towards this achievement.”

Located along the popular Batu Ferringhi beach in Penang, Hard Rock Hotel Penang is well-known for its unique and upbeat concept that combines the beauty of legendary music with contemporary hospitality services. The family-oriented hotel focuses on providing guests with amplified service and impressive hospitality experiences for all ages.

All of its 250 guestrooms are well-designed with guests in mind and equipped with free Wi-Fi connection, a BOSE Sound System and free HD blockbuster movies on demand for guests to stay connected with their loved ones and be entertained all day long. The hotel also houses the largest free-form pool with underwater music in Northern Malaysia that includes a water playground and fun pool activities that attract guests from all parts of the world.

To find out more about Hard Rock Hotel Penang, please visit

To read our review of Hard Rock Hotel Penang, click here.

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Friday, October 22, 2021

The Back Ground launches JALAN JALAN CARI MAKAN

With our city opening up again and the surrounding streets at Downtown Kuala Lumpur feeling busier than they did a year ago, the inner workings of packed cafes and restaurants remain anything but. Even as life inches back closer to "normal" for most of us, Covid-19 has shifted consumer demands, supply chains have faltered, and the industry is still struggling to get back on its feet.

The Back Ground's mission has always been to bring profitability and opportunities for its communities through enterprise and collaboration. The launch of Jalan Jalan Cari Makan is dedicated to accelerating Kuala Lumpur's most promising food businesses by working alongside vendors to reset business challenges. The Back Ground will be providing support within our grounds, such as digitalization of businesses, marketing, media exposure and operations.

The curation of Jalan Jalan Cari Makan lineup is to encourage new ideas and collaboration with surrounding communities. With over 15 food vendors ranging from cloud kitchen brands, upcoming home cooks, new foodpreneurs to hawkers, Jalan Jalan Cari Makan hopes to bring back the excitement of exploring new flavours and revitalize the appeal of Downtown Kuala Lumpur.

"The food and beverage industry is one of the few industries deeply affected throughout the pandemic. As the economy is opening up, we at The Back Ground feel that it is only natural to come together and reach out to newly launched businesses to get back up to their feet. The Back Ground is all about community, and Jalan Jalan Cari Makan will be one of the many initiatives in the pipeline. Our main purpose of this program is to give hope and a sense of normalcy." said Angel Ng, General Manager of REXKL.

Jalan Jalan Cari Makan will be happening on 23rd & 24th October, 6th & 7th November, 20th & 21st November, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am onwards.

Operating on a fortnightly basis, there will also be music performances. Entry is free from 10 am to 4 pm. During the four weekends, people can choose to dine-in, takeaways or deliveries. All delivery orders will be on BEEP, our exclusive delivery partner for Jalan Jalan Cari Makan.

Following the first Jalan Jalan Cari Makan launch, The Back Ground plans to launch various versions of Jalan Jalan Cari Makan, such as an Ice Cream and Dessert edition in December 2021. Watch this space!


Jalan Jalan Cari Makan will be featuring the below vendors, alongside our existing food vendors at The Back Ground.

Zenboocha & Friends (Sunshine Moonshine, Pour Decision KL)
Beloved by everyone from tattoo freaks and skate geeks to fashion cliques, Zenboocha is a small-scale business touting healthy kombucha that knows how to have fun. No stranger to the bar scene with guest star stints at the ridiculously popular Locker & Loft and Dissolved Solids, Zenboocha believes that being a little naughty sometimes can be good for you too.

Sunshine Moonshine (9th & 10th October, 20th & 21st November)
Born at home amid a global pandemic, Sunshine Moonshine is an indie Tuak brand. Sunshine Moonshine dreams of the good old times of sunny days, cool drinks and company that makes you laugh until your tummy hurts.

Pour Decisions KL (23rd & 24th October, 6th & 7th November)
We are a fun, affordable, and unpretentious way to discover hidden gems from boutique vineyards worldwide. Pour Decisions KL helps you to celebrate every day with a glass of wine, without the special occasion price tag - we genuinely are the Pandora's Box of wine!

Junk Jars
Junk Jars creates artisanal condiments inspired by top restaurants around the world. Our goal is to make every meal taste better by bringing the unique flavours of restaurants to your typical home-cooked meals.

Palette 2 Gourmet
Palette 2 Gourmet Asam Laksa is a family recipe. It is a Northern-style version of gritty broth texture; we took the Kembong fish, ground it into a paste, and used it to cook the broth. Imagine its umami-ness, richness and thickness coated around the slurpable Lai Fun noodles in every mouthful! Each order comes with a limited-edition hand painted Laksa inspired drawing by the Chef herself. Now, who says Laksa can't be art?

King Kong Kitchen
We are a team of passionate chefs curating unique and tasty plant-based sauces and dips. We strongly believe that everyone should be incorporating more vegetables into their diet, so together with our mascot 'Ernie', King Kong Kitchen has created a selection of sauces to help bring the taste of your vegetables to the next level!

We started Grillsmith when we saw a need for healthier eating without sacrificing flavour and decided to put our expertise in the industry to good use. Grillsmith is a collaboration between Tex-Mex and Asian cuisine, as we follow age-old techniques of smoking our meat to maximize flavours whilst keeping true to our local palate. All our sauces, meats and marination is made in house as it allows us to stay consistent when dealing with fresh produce.

Spectatula Bakery
Spectatula is a home-based micro bakery that provides freshly baked cakes, cookies, and happiness! Each item is carefully curated (and has to pass mom's QC) to give the experience of warmth and joy from that very first bite. We believe that the love of good food should be shared, and this is where the magic happens.

Hey Peach
100% Vegan, plant-based, dairy-free FUN FOOD. Yes, Hey Peach plays with fruits! First Fruit-Based Concept in Malaysia. We are spicing things up by featuring fruits as the main star of our menu. This sister brand of Parklife in Bangsar South gives an exciting twist to plant-based offerings by making fruits the main star of its menu. Get ready for some sassy sweetness.

Made from scratch with the utmost intent and care, Beaming dishes out house-made chicken sausage on fresh English muffins. Equipped with almost a decade of experience in the food and beverage industry, we aim to serve quality products made from the heart that everyone can enjoy.

Derived from the Malaysian word for "grow", Tumboh is a social enterprise that sprouted from the foundation that helping the underprivileged is a responsibility, not a choice. A portion of the proceeds from Tumboh's products is donated to Need to Feed the Need Malaysia (NFN). More importantly, Tumboh aims to provide lifestyle and food products that are good for the body, good for the soul and good for society. This includes no sugar added granola recipes, which are sweetened with monk fruit sweetener. And soon, other plant-based products like cookies and "bee-less" honey.

Tian Fu Yuan (Non-halal)
Tian Fu Yuan started in 2020 as a small family business. With the positive response from the customers, Tian Fu Yuan has started to set up the first physical stall selling bakkwa in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. With the perseverance in upholding the spirit of craftsmanship, Tian Fu Yuan insists on retaining the traditional method by being entirely hand-made and hand-roasted. The memorable taste comes from a strict selection of suppliers and the secret family recipe for more than four decades.

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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Recipe: Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew) 부대찌개

Budae jjigae 부대찌개, also known as Korean Army Stew is an easy and quick stew made with instant noodles, ham, sausages, spam, and baked beans, first created shortly after the armistice that ended the Korean War, using surplus foods from US military bases. These days, budae jjigae is a popular anju to accompany alcoholic drinks during a drinking session as well as being a comfort food for many Koreans, cooked on the table in a big pot in front of diners. 

Budae jjigae recipe (Korean Army Stew)

I had plenty of instant noodles and frozen sausages stocked up during the early days of the pandemic so it became one of the things I made in the kitchen occasionally. While it is not one of the healthiest things to cook, it is immensely satisfying and delicious. For our version, we would often include Shin Ramyun noodles, soft tofu, chicken frankfurters, rice cakes (tteok), eggs, spring onions and kimchi. 

So, before catching up on the next episode of Squid Game on Netflix, why not cook up a pot of budae jjigae to enjoy? ;)

Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew) 부대찌개
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
Serves 4

1.2l water
2 packs Shin Ramyun noodle
1/2 tube soft tofu, sliced
4 chicken frankfurters, sliced at an angle
16 rice cakes, stick type (tteok), rinsed
A large handful spring onions, cut into 2” length
1 cup kimchi
4T kimchi juice

1. Bring water to the boil. Add kimchi juice and noodle seasoning.

2. Add frankfurters and ramen noodles, and cook for 2 minutes. Add tteok, tofu and kimchi and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

3. Break eggs on top and cook until set, about 1-2 mins. Add spring onions and serve.

Budae jjigae recipe (Korean Army Stew)

Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew) 부대찌개 Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew) 부대찌개 Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew) 부대찌개 Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew) 부대찌개 
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Monday, October 11, 2021

Recipe: Bara Chirashi Don ばらちらし

One of my favourite things to order and eat at the Japanese restaurant is bara chirashi don. It is an affordable yet delicious way to enjoy Japanese food. Bara chirashi don, is a Japanese rice bowl with chopped raw fish (usually a variety of fish - salmon, tuna, octopus, tobiko), vegetables (cucumber, pickles or avocado) and tamago (eggs). The raw fish is usually cubed and marinated with soy sauce and mirin.

At home, we make our own bara chirashi don using salmon only since this is the most accessible raw fish for us. Bara chirashi, for us, is best enjoyed with a hot bowl of miso soup and EXTRA sashimi. 

Bara chirashi don recipe

Bara chirashi don recipe

Bara chirashi ばらちらし
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time:15 minutes
Serves 4

300g sashimi grade salmon fillet, cubed
1 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
1/8 tsp wasabi
1 avocado, peeled and cubed
3 cups cooked Japanese short grain rice
1/2 Japanese cucumber, small cubes (optional)
50g tobiko or ikura (optional)

For the sushi rice vinegar
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt

For the thin omelette
2 eggs
1/2 tsp sugar
A pinch of salt
Cooking oil

1. Combine the rice vinegar, caster sugar and salt in a small bowl, until sugar and salt has dissolved. Pour the vinegar mixture over the rice and using a spatula, mix the rice and vinegar mixture. Cool the rice to room temperature. 

2. Next, cook the thin omelette. Beat the eggs with sugar and salt. Coat a frying pan with a thin layer of oil and heat over medium heat. Pour half the egg into the pan and swirl so eggs spread evenly to coat the base of the pan. Cook until eggs have set. Set aside to cool. Once cool, roll the omelette and thinly slice.

3. Mix soy sauce and wasabi in a bowl and then toss the sashimi cubes.

4. Divide rice into four bowls. Top with omelette, sashimi and avocado. Enjoy with hot miso soup and more sashimi!

Tip: You can also top the bara chirashi with toasted nori (seaweed). My son also enjoys making his own sushi / maki so it's good to have some nori seaweed on hand. 

Bara chirashi don recipe

Bara chirashi don recipe

Bara chirashi don recipe
Bara chirashi don recipe Bara chirashi don recipe Bara chirashi don recipe Bara chirashi don recipe Bara chirashi don recipe Bara chirashi don recipe Bara chirashi don recipe Bara chirashi don recipe
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Thursday, October 7, 2021

Love Spicy Snacks? 8 Spicy Potato Chips from 7-Eleven Sure to Make You Sweat

Can you handle the heat? Those who “tahan pedas” will definitely enjoy the spicy potato chips range offered by 7-Eleven Malaysia, the largest stand-alone convenience store-chain nationwide.

Let’s not get too ambitious. First, we’ll start-off with Level 1. If you enjoy a little spice, you will love the exclusive Wise Cottage Fries New York Spicy Burger. With a mild spicy taste, you get to enjoy the full flavour this classic smoky grilled snack has to offer.

If Level 1 is a walk in the park for you, at level 2, we recommend the exclusive 7-Eleven Hot & Spicy Potato Chips! This limited-edition snack tastes slightly sweet and tangy with a spicy kick that does not overwhelm its other exquisite flavours.

At Level 3, we have a tie between two close contestants – the 7-Eleven Corn Snack (Hot & Spicy) and the 7-Eleven Wasabi Potato Chips. Both must-try chips deliver a perfect amount of crunch and will definitely work up a sweat. You’re guaranteed to be addicted to this exclusive power pair!

Up for something even spicier? Drumroll, please! The exclusive Herr’s Reaper is a strong crowd-pleaser rated at Level 4. This bag of tear-jerking flavours is sure to keep your brave tastebuds entertained with each crunch.

As far as we know, not many can take on the next terrifying trio. We don’t think you’ll ever make it to this stage, but if you insist, go ahead and burn your tongue with the Corntoz Spicy Buldak, Lay’s Max Ghost Pepper, and Samyang Extreme Buldak Zzaldduk Snack. Rated at Level 5, this freshly-introduced trio is sure to make you chug a chilled cup of Slurpee before you finish any one bag of chips. Once you begin to cry, don’t say we didn’t warn you!

While you’re checking out the spicy snacks at 7-Eleven, make sure you also keep an eye out on the spicy Fresh Food range that includes the 7-Eleven Flamin Mac & Cheese, 7-Eleven Sushi Spicy Salmon Mentai Inari, and 7-Eleven Sushi Wasabi Abalone Inari.

You can now grab these exclusive and new spicy delights at 7-Eleven stores in Peninsular Malaysia! Don’t wait, challenge a few friends to a fiery explosion with the 7-Eleven’s spicy offerings.

For more information on the spicy potato chips range, visit 7-Eleven Malaysia’s official social media pages at 7ElevenMalaysia.

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Monday, October 4, 2021

Recipe: Char Kway Teow 炒粿條

Char kway teow (CKT) 炒粿條 is one of my all-time favourite noodle dishes. It literally translates to fried flat rice noodles. This is one of my favourite places to get a delicious plate of CKT in Cheras but since the pandemic started, we have only been a couple of times in the past two years. Instead, I have been honing my CKT skills at home. Obviously, not as great as Aunty CKT's (cos no flame cooking at home to get the wok hei) but not too shabby for a homecooked version.

Our homecooked char kway teow comes with copious amounts of fishcake, beansprouts, chives and large prawns as well as egg, crispy pork lard and cili giling for spice. Here is my recipe if you'd like to try cooking it at home too!

Char Koay Teow recipe
Char kway teow recipe Char kway teow recipe Char kway teow recipe Char kway teow recipe Char kway teow recipe Char kway teow recipe Char kway teow recipe Char kway teow recipe 
Char Kway Teow 
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 17-20 minutes
Serves 4

450g koay teow noodles
1T pork lard
2T cooking oil
8 large peeled prawns
2T kicap manis
Light soy sauce
2 eggs
250g beansprouts
3 fish cake, sliced
2T cili giling
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
A handful of chives (kuchai), cut into 1” lengths

1. Fry pork lard in oil until golden brown. Remove and set aside.

2. Add 1T of pork lard oil to wok and fry prawns until cooked. Set aside.

3. Lightly beat eggs and season with some soy sauce and white pepper.

4. Add 5T pork lard oil to wok. Sauté garlic for 2 mins, then add egg and lightly scramble. Then add the kicap manis, cili giling, fish cake and Koay Teow. Fry until noodles are well coated with sauce and soft. Season with light soy sauce. Add beansprouts and chives, and cook for further minute. Stir prawns in. Top with some crispy pork lard and serve.

Char Koay Teow recipe

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Char Koay Teow recipe

Char Koay Teow recipe
Char Koay Teow recipe Char Koay Teow recipe Char Koay Teow recipe Char Koay Teow recipe Char Koay Teow recipe Char Koay Teow recipe Char Koay Teow recipe Char Koay Teow recipe
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