American Chamber of Commerce pres. Meet The US Ambassador - James R. Keith

I was invited to a dinner hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang recently.

The dinner was an opportunity for members of the business community to 1)  meet the U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia, Mr. James R. Keith and 2) do a bit of socializing and networking.

American Chamber of Commerce pres. Meet The US Ambassador - James R. Keith

The E & O Hotel is Penang’s oldest hotel, and since their revamp/relaunch a few years ago they have making quite a name for themselves. I’d been there on a number of occasions before and the food/service was nothing to shout about but I had high expectations for this dinner as the U.S. Ambassador was coming to town (woooOooo)

The dinner was buffet style, and the food was so plain I could not believe I was eating at the E & O. I mean there were fried crabsticks and other crappy fingerfood that I would expect at someone’s open house but NOT at the E & O.

The soup on the menu was cream of pumpkin, but look at the bowl we had to drink out of! Come on, is it too much to expect a proper soup bowl during a dinner function at the E & O?

American Chamber of Commerce pres. Meet The US Ambassador - James R. Keith

Virtually nothing was done to dress up the drab ballroom and it reminded me of my high school’s assembly hall in Hong Kong.

In the right corner of the picture above is Nasir Abbasi, who was sitting at my table and works for the U.S. Embassy as the Counselor for Commercial Affairs. Nasir is a very friendly and amicable man but even he couldn’t take the bad service of the hotel’s staff who steadfastly refused to bring him a Coke even though he asked repeatedly for one.

I was ashamed that one of Penang’s leading hotels did such a rubbish job of catering for this function and I hate to think what impression the entire U.S. Embassy’s staff will have of Penang’s hotels after this trip. Sure, people might say, “Oh the budget was tight, blah blah blah” – but was the budget so tight that you couldn’t afford proper service and china?

Eastern & Oriental HotelFAIL!


DC Shoes Community for Snowboarders

DC Shoes has just launched the DC Community – which is a cozy place on the ‘net where fans of DC Shoes can interact with each other as well as pros from the DC snow team like Devun Walsh, Iikka Backstrom, Lauri Heiskari and many more.

Currently there’s great footage from the DC “Ride Along Tour” to check out and members can also upload their own footage and photos for everyone to see.

DC Shoes Community for Snowboarders

Initially this community is aimed at the snowboarding community where DC has a very strong presence but I hope as time goes by they will expand this amazing initiative to cover other extreme sports enthusiasts!

DC Shoes Community for Snowboarders

The DC


Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant, Gurney Drive, Penang

Bali Hai on Gurney Drive in Penang has become somewhat of a local seafood institution over the past few years. It’s packed almost every day of the week and has a good mix of locals and tourists all clamouring for fresh fish.

It’s a restaurant where I always take out-of-town visitors to if they’re in the mood for seafood.

A couple of weeks ago I went with a good mate of mine, George, from Canada, who is currently living it up (expat style) in Penang.

Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant, Gurney Drive, Penang

One of my favorite dishes at Bali Hai is crab fried with salted egg. An unusual but super tasty combination, Bali Hai’s version is less oily than the ones I have sampled at other places which is why I prefer it.

Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant, Gurney Drive, Penang

The salted egg gives the crab a nice kick without having to resort to the normal chilli route.

Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant, Gurney Drive, Penang

Another seafood item at Bali Hai which I love is the “big head” prawn. I don’t know the proper term for it (it’s not a yabbie or slipper lobster) but whenever I order it in Cantonese the literal translation is “big head prawn”

Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant, Gurney Drive, Penang

I always have the prawns done their “signature” way – which is cooked with Marmite.

I don’t know why, but Marmite is a BIG ingredient in Malaysian-Chinese cooking. Many Chinese restaurants I have been to offer some sort of  Marmite dish – and it tastes so good! I would never eat Marmite normally, but slip in a crab or a prawn or even some chicken and I will drink that shit!

Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant, Gurney Drive, Penang

Ok here’s a Cantonese seafood staple … squid deep-fried with salt and pepper seasoning. I can’t say that this dish was done very well as it wasn’t as crunchy as I would have liked.

Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant, Gurney Drive, Penang

I’ve had some really amazing versions of this in many Chinese restaurants around the world, so I was kinda disappointed in Bali Hai’s version. Not recommended.

Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant, Gurney Drive, Penang

I don’t know what this vegetable is called in English but its some kind of bean shoot and if fresh they are crunchy as hell and delicious.

Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant, Gurney Drive, Penang

Bali Hai’s version is fried with little silverfish (like tiny anchovies) so they give the shoots  a good salty flavor that is not too overpowering. Highly recommended!

Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant, Gurney Drive, Penang

You can’t have seafood in Penang without having at least one type of clam. I’ve seen restaurants which serve more than 10 types of clams and before I moved back here, I wasn’t even aware that there were so many different types of clams.

Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant, Gurney Drive, Penang

This one is fried with ginger and spring onion and is a classic Cantonese recipe.

Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant, Gurney Drive, Penang

Ok … for this last one, I have no idea what these are called but they are a fun thing to eat.

Kinda like escargots or “balitong”, you’ve got to carefully coax them out of their shell with a toothpick.

Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant, Gurney Drive, Penang

They are usually just blanched or dry roasted and served with chilli sauce for dipping. Fun fun fun!

If you happen to be in Penang and are in the mood for a little seafood, do drop by Bali Hai on Gurney Drive and give it a shot.

And remember to tell them I sent you!


Marina Orlova has the presentation skills of a slice of salmon sashimi and I don’t really understand how someone with such a heavy Russian accent is teaching people English but these two videos give you more insight into Ken Block’s awesome Gymkhana Practice video so you should watch them!


DC X Mike Shinoda X Suru LA

2 massive events in the US this week … Eric’s new exhibition in New York and also a brand new sneaker remix from DC and Mike Shinoda releasing this Friday!

This is the fourth “remix” that Mike Shinoda has designed for DC, and this time it has been done in conjunction with seminal Los Angeles streetwear store SURU – which is owned by Mike’s Linkin Park bandmate Joe Hahn.

This is the sickest colorway of the Xanders so far and if you turn up to SURU on November 20th, 2009 and cop a pair you can get both Mike and Joe to sign them for you!



Eric Haze - New Abstracts & Icons

Art lovers rejoice (especially if you’re in NYC) – Eric has an exhibition of new works which is going to run for 3 weeks in New York starting from the 19th of November, 2009.

If you are in the area, you don’t want to miss this for sure.

(Please note that 6.00pm-8.00pm on the 19th is strictly Press and VIP only!)

Good luck Eric and I can’t wait to see photos of the exhibition.