Tuesday, 29 September 2015

KindMeal Review: Greenlicious @ 10 Boulevard Petaling Jaya

I live but a short bike ride away from Greenlicious Restaurant, 10 Boulevard, and dine and shop there so regularly that when requested to review the restaurant and meal deal for KindMeal.my, I agreed with the smug satisfaction of a preschooler who has just been asked to introduce his mother to his classroom.

Greenlicious is a lifestyle restaurant and cafe that not only serves food but also sells organic, vegan and health products. It is here that I get to purchase personal care products from certified vegan brands such as Florame and Living Nature NZ.

I downloaded the 30% Discount KindMeal voucher and invited two of my best friends, Nicole and Aravind, to join me for dinner on a Saturday evening after helping out at the SPCA shelter.
While Greenlicious is not an exclusively vegetarian restaurant, it does have a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan products and food. I believe its animal-based dishes are prepared with organic and free-range meat, but since I am a herbivore, I usually skip those parts of the menu. The menu is an incredibly helpful one, with clear coloured symbols indicating if a particular dish is vegan, vegetarian, ovo, lacto, ovo-lacto or onion-and-garlic-free vegetarian (for Mahayana Buddhists, Brahmins and Hare Krishna adherents).
The mysterious thing about the menu is that it also has symbols indicating the percentage of the dish that is organic. How does one come to the evaluation that my Lei Cha King is 90% organic, I wonder? Does it mean that out of 20 ingredients, 18 are organic, and 2 are conventionally-grown? I love their transparency and accountability to their customers by posting such information, but I ended up doing a lot of arithmetic in my head each time I dine there.

For drinks, Nicole ordered the wolfberry chrysanthemum tea (RM6.90), Aravind ordered the iced honey lemon vinegar drink (RM7.90) and I ordered the barleygrass lemon drink (RM7.90). Nic's wolfberry chrysanthemum tea is a comforting warm beverage with strong floral and herbal notes. Aravind surprised me with his choice of lemon and vinegar because he isn't usually a fan of anything sour or vinegary, but the drink was a lot milder-tasting than it sounds and was sweet and palatable. I've always loved food and drinks with strong notes of chlorophyll (e.g. wheatgrass, barleygrass, alfalfa) and the barleygrass lemon drink hit the spot with its grassy sweet flavour and citrus accent.
Nicole ordered the House Vegetarian Unagi Don (RM17.90). Aravind had wanted the individual steamboat but it was sold out, and so he opted for the Mixed Vege Beehoon Soup (RM18.90) instead, surprising me yet again with the uncharacteristic healthfulness of his choice. I asked him if he was alright, and his cryptic answer was that he was tired. This was for once justified -- we had spent most of the morning clearing weeds and rubble at the Malaysian Nature Society Urban Nature Centre in order to convert the place into a seed bank and community garden, and Aravind was probably too overcome with fatigue to eat something complicated that would take a long time to consume and digest.

I usually order Nasi Lemak Tower when on my own. I was hooked from the day my friends Sheela, Liza and Illani invited me here for my birthday in 2012. But I decided to order Lei Cha King (RM18.90) for a change, since it looked like a veritable rainbow in the menu.

Aravind's Mixed Vege Beehoon Soup would win a nutritionist's award, with its variety of organic vegetables. The soup is very clear and mild-tasting, with plump wolfberries swimming around in it. The mushrooms added texture and were perfect as a meat alternative. If ever any dish exemplified clean eating, this would be it. Aravind, true to his nature, requested chili padi in soy sauce, without which he could never eat anything.
Look at him, eating all those healthsome vegetables. I want to email this photo to his father. Uncle, look! Aravind is actually eating his vegetables! The sky is falling!

Nic was quite pumped up about her unagi don, and it is easy to see why.
The presentation is terrific and you have a good balance of complex carbs, proteins and lots of vitamins all in the same dish. The dome of steaming fragrant rice came surrounded by neat battered pieces of vegan unagi, tempura enoki mushrooms, salad and vegetables. Nic assumed, like most omnivores do, that it will be quite a piece of cake to finish everything on her plate, since it is all plant-based, but she underestimated how filling this dish could be flagged towards the end and I quite cheerfully finished her last chunk of unagi for her. (That's what best friends do -- stop each other from wasting food!)

I have had vegan unagi at Raku-Raku before, and the one at Greenlicious tasted quite different. The Raku-Raku one is made of soy and nori sheets, grilled with sweet soy sauce, and has a soft and slightly chewy texture. The vegan unagi chunks at Greenlicious are a combination of soy, vegetables and nori sheets and has the texture of vegetable cutlets in that it crumbles under one's fork. The nori sheets gave it the desired chewy texture similar to real unagi, as well as the complex umami flavour that makes this dish so satisfying and memorable.
My Lei Cha King was the perfect choice as it is a veritable rainbow of colours, scents, flavours, textures and nutrients. Lightly-cooked greens, firm cubes of tofu, cucumber, tofu, chickpeas, beans, carrots, roast shelled peanuts and preserved vegetables formed a pretty ring around a bowl of organic multigrain rice, accompanied by a bowl of thick, hot green tea soup which is so full of ground up vegetables that it had the consistency of porridge.

Eating this is like a spa for the stomach. The peanuts and preserved vegetables gave the dish a savoury crunch, while the natural sweetness of the pumpkin and carrot cubes really sparkled in this healthy dish. The green tea soup tasted sweet and minty, with its combination of green tea, vegetables and basil. This is comfort food that one can eat every day without ever feeling guilty.

The total bill for the 3 of us came up to only RM68.50 after using the KindMeal.my discount voucher, and one would be hard-pressed to find another eatery that would serve you high-quality, delicious organic food for such a reasonable price. Our all-star meal left us feeling very satisfied without feeling guilty for having indulged.

I returned another evening after work to use my KindMeal.my coupon for the Nasi Lemak Tower and organic soy milk. This is a huge combination set (RM12.80) consisting of a 'tower' of fragrant organic pandanus rice, fried nori seaweed crisps, batter-coated fried enoki mushrooms, sambal petai, creamy pumpkin paste, roasted peanuts and slices of tomato and cucumber, and a glass of warm or iced organic soy milk. I remember eating this as a birthday treat back in 2012, and it still feels like a huge treat today despite having eaten this at least a dozen times (Thank you, KindMeal.my! You make eating like a king so very affordable!) Aravind once mentioned that he found this meal a little dry. However, I don't have a tendency to drown my rice in sambal the way he does, and so I don't share the same view, although I do think it would be wonderful if the restaurant could offer a top-up of the sambal petai to customers who prefer their nasi lemak a little moister. So far, I have not attempted to ask for a refill of sambal, but I might try my luck next time.

For hygiene, ambience, price, taste, variety and nutrition, I'd rate Greenlicious 4.8 out of 5 stars.

And now, if you would excuse me, I am off to download yet another coupon for the Nasi Lemak Tower combo set and eat this, all over again. Because not all good things need to come to an end.
Unit A-G-12, Block Allamanda, 10 Boulevard, PJU 6A, Lebuhraya Sprint, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Opens: Mon - Tue, Thu - Sun: 10.30am - 10:00pm; Wed: Closed
Tel: 03-77241109

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Monthly Bucket List August 2015

The last two months have been so very hard, with the loss of two of my beloved feline children. I want to continue doing my Monthly Bucket List for August to remember the good as well as the bad, but all I can think of is how much I miss my Chloe and what a big part of my life and my schedule caring for her had become. Each day is filled both with my hopes for a better life for myself and my remaining cats in the Wee Green Flat, and at the same time the grief and sorrow that comes with the realisation that both Shadow and Chloe got to spend so little time in the Wee Green Flat, and that they are no more with us. I took care of them to the best of my means and ability, and I miss them very much. I have set up a fund to help with the vet bills of other animals in need in loving memory of Shadow and Chloe, but at the moment finances are tight, and I cannot afford to give more than RM100-200 a month to other rescuers in need of funds and assistance.
1. Make a new friend

During the course of doing the 30-Day Minimalism Challenge on Facebook with Nick and his friends, I found that I share many values and interests in common with his friends in Leicester -- Linda, Divita, Anna and Viv. We added each other on Facebook and have had a great time communicating with each other ever since. These women continue to inspire me online each day.

During our Green Living Turtle Volunteer Programme 2015, I got to know several new volunteers, including two from Klebang, Melaka -- Charmaine and Karen. We remained in touch after the Programme and they had sought my assistance in planning future volunteering trips to the Turtle Conservation and Information Centre, as they live minutes away. I gladly assisted and I know the Turtle Centre would be happy to have volunteers as giving and dedicated as them.

2. Help a stranger.

For some time now, I have engaged the children I tutor at Beacon of Hope to write postcards to children in rural hospitals. A few months ago, I learned about Love for the Elderly, a non-profit organisation set up by a teenager in the USA, Jacob Cramer, to send snailmail to senior citizens in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. I found it to be a brilliant idea and shared the cause on the Postcrossing page. I don't know if any other Postcrossers sent them cards, but I started sending 5 cards to Love for the Elderly with every 5 cards that I send for Postcrossing. I hope my cards bring the elderly some cheer.

One of the things I started to do regularly to ensure that I am able and ready to do a Random Act of Kindness each time the opportunity arises is keep a pocketful of small change ready to help someone out with. Usually I hand coins to people who do not have the right amount or denomination of coins for parking meters. In August, I gave out coins to those who needed it for parking machines and shopping trolleys. My favourite 'give' of the month was a little girl at the SPCA who had gone there with her family to adopt a puppy. She kept asking her mother for change for the SPCA coin box, but her mother didn't have any coins to spare and was busy filling up the adoption papers. I gave the generous child a handful of coins, which she happily fed into the slot. She seemed overjoyed that she managed to 'feed the doggie and kitty', and I felt glad I got to do a good turn for this kind family who had come to adopt one of our shelter dogs.

Wikipedia made one of its periodic requests for donations to keep the site running, and I didn't hesitate in making a donation by PayPal. Helping one another is what keeps our society strong and smart.

One of my friends, Sherrina, is the founder of an animal rescue organisation called the Independent Pet Rescuers. Sherrina and I had our differences in the past, but this does not stop us from working together for a common cause. When she appealed for funds to pay the vet bills of a rescued kitten called Joy, I pledged RM100 but was not able to bank it in to her until a later date due to many other financial commitments. I didn't forget, however, and Joy remained at the back of my mind like a nagging worry, so I was glad when I finally got paid for some work I did and banked the pledged sum in to Sherrina. The donation is from The Shadow and Chloe Fund for Animals In Need. I hope Joy will grow up strong and healthy and find a good family.

I have been teaching at Beacon since January and have become very invested in my students' well-being. When I found out that some of them would be sitting for their UPSR exams without appropriate pencils and school supplies, I bought boxes of exam-grade 2B pencils and erasers to give out to them.

As mentioned previously, Green Living conducted its annual Turtle Volunteer Programme in late August, and two of our volunteers, Charmaine and Karen, were very keen to bring their friends to the centre/hatchery to volunteer as well, but were not familiar with the volunteer application procedure. I was happy to help them out and draft them a set of bilingual letters, and offer to be their translator as they are unable to speak Malay and the turtle centre staff are unable to speak any English. This should be fun!

3. Eat something/at someplace new to me.

On the occasion of CovertDad's 72nd birthday, I took both parents out to afternoon tea at the Majestic Hotel's Orchid Conservatory. It was a memorable and beautiful tea party, and my parents loved being surrounded by beautiful flowers. I think this outing might warrant its own post, depending on my time and inclination. It's going to be difficult for me to top this next year.

A Kapiti Ice Cream bar opened for business next door to pub and had a 10-day buy-one-scoop-and-get-another-free promotion. I had a grand time trying out new ice cream flavours. I sampled Lemongrass and Ginger on the first day and gave the second cone to Michelle, our barmaid. I had initially planned to visit more often during the 10-day promo, however, after Chloe fell ill, my priority was to stay with her and care for her.

Earlier in the month, I visited RGB and The Bean Hive with Aravind and utilised a KindMeal voucher in order to write a review for KindMeal.
In mid-August, I had to go to Penang for work and ate at Gemini Cafe, Penang International Airport...

... As well as Purrfect Cat Cafe in George Town, which I wrote a review for.

4. Go someplace I've never been.

As listed above, in August 2015, I visited at least 3 places new to me:

Hotel Majestic's Orchid Conservatory;

RGB and The Bean Hive at Jalan Damai;
and Purrfect Cat Cafe in George Town.

Apart from that, I attended a meeting at Menara KWSP in Penang, and ended up exploring other parts of George Town and Penang Island on foot. I got to spend time at the Lighthouse Thrift Store near Cititel in George Town,
... and spotted this awesome Mondrian-inspired building on my way to the Bayan Lepas International Airport.
I've been exploring a lot of Kota Damansara on my bike as well, but it took place in the final few days of August after Chloe's passing. I needed to ride my bike to clear my mind and assure myself that I have done the best I could for my beloved Chloe, and nothing more could have prolonged her life without compromising her quality of life.

5. Learn something new.

In August 2015:

(i) I learned a new route to work that bypasses the traffic jam; (It took me almost 2 months to discover it, since I don't use Waze or a GPS, so I guess I am not that smart after all)

(ii) I attended talk by Dr Lee Grismer on herpetofauna of Malaysian karst formations on 13th August and learned about critically endangered reptile and amphibian populations; and

(iii) I attended talk on marine plastics and learned about nurdles, and anti-litter organisations such as Litterati and International Pellet Watch.

6. Declutter and cull 100 items.

I decluttered my desks both at home and at work and removed a whole stack of diaries, journals, folders and notebooks to be handed out to my students at Beacon of Hope to be used as exercise books.

Spring cleaning my desk at parental home resulted in large amounts of paper being decluttered for recycling. Three stacks of papers, magazines, newsletters and folders were removed -- one stack for recycling, one stack of magazines and books for donation, and one stack to keep.

7. Give up something for a month.

In August, I gave up trying to live with the cracked plaster skim in the kitchen, despite promising myself that I would take a break from DIY and home improvement. I cleaned it up and repainted it in just one night.
Remarkably, in August 2015, I also managed to almost completely give up drinking Red Bull. I drank only one can the entire month. I'm not sure if my health improved after giving up all that sugar and caffeine, but I certainly slept earlier and better.

8. Letter to the Editor

Upon receiving the report that the Selangor State Government would proceed with the construction of the EKVE highway through the Ampang Forest Reserve and Selangor State Park, I drafted a letter in the capacity of the Coordinator of Green Living, and it was published in The Malaysian Insider and The Star.


It's been a very difficult two months for me. I hope I never have to say goodbye to another cherished feline or canine child ever again. It really is the heart that feels the pain.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

KindMeal Food Review: Purrfect Cat Café, George Town, Penang.

This is an impromptu review resulting from an impromptu trip to Purrfect Cat Café , Lebuh Muntri, George Town, Penang. I made the spontaneous decision to download the KindMeal voucher only upon touching down at the Bayan Lepas International Airport for a business day trip. I shall henceforth stifle the temptation to write a review that reads entirely like this: "Meow meow meow, meow meow meow meow. Meow meow."

I had only a couple of hours to spare before my flight back to KL, but I knew Lebuh Muntri to be within walking distance from where I had just attended a meeting. There is always so much to see in George Town, and every street is filled with delightful gems like these to be spotted by the observant:

In retrospect, it would seem odd that I would pay to visit a cat café. Every mealtime in my home is a veritable cat café experience -- laps occupied and kneaded while you wait, small whiskered faces investigating the contents of every plate and mug. But I am a Crazy Cat Lady, and I do Crazy Cat Lady-ish things.
It didn't take me long to find the café, housed in a heritage shophouse painted white. It was, I read, officially opened for business in January 2014 and has even received a visit from the Honourable Chief Minister of Penang, who I admire greatly and had not realised was a cat person. But then again, all great people are cat-and-dog persons. Dictators like only dogs because they hope to be worshipped and obeyed unconditionally. Introverts, recluses and existential poets like only cats because the gregarious nature of puppies and dogs scares them. But truly great people love cats, dogs and all animals and embrace the diversity of appearance and personality of all animals (* This is a tongue-in-cheek assessment, mind, so please don't start accusing me of sweeping generalisations and bullshit pop psychology. On the other hand, you can start offering me vast sums of money to write absolute rubbish for Popsugar and Elite Daily).
Cakes and other goodies gleamed invitingly from illuminated glass dessert display cabinets. Bold hipsterish typography announced "Purrfect" and "Meow". Cat-themed artwork and vignettes adorned shelves and walls. I purred and squinted my eyes in appreciation.

As you can see, this place is an Instagrammer’s dream. Guests also get to leave their mark – not by way of rubbing their cheek pheromones all over the furniture, fortunately – but by leaving messages on neon post-it notes on a cat-shaped cutout on the wall. I declined to do this in the interest of conserving resources and trees. A blogpost would suffice.
I informed the affable, bright-eyed young staff that I would like to redeem my KindMeal voucher and they offered me a selection of sweets and savouries to choose from. The cakes look delectable, but as I am making my best effort to go fully vegan, I had to forgo the cakes and opt for air-fried fries and a fruit soda instead.
A variety of cakes, most of them bearing an edible Hello Kitty cutout on each slice, were available as part of the KindMeal deal. I don't know if it is just me, but I find it hard to reconcile a love for Hello Kitty with a love of real cats. People love Hello Kitty because she is cute, feminine, subservient and anthropomorphised. She is like an inoffensive puff of marshmallow with cat ears and a ribbon, and therefore presents no threat to human dominance. Heck, she doesn't even have a mouth to argue  out of. Real-life cats, on the other hand, have strong, clever personalities and will let you know very clearly and audibly if they are displeased about something. Real-life cats would shred ribbons and aprons and pretty clothes to confetti. Real-life cats make badassery an art form. And that is why I love them. But I digress. As I am wont to do.


The original price of the drink+snack set is in the range of RM19.00, and with the Kindmeal 10% discount voucher, the price is discounted to RM17.70. I was informed of the very reasonable House Rules ("No picking up cats, no feeding human food to cats, no food and drink in the cat area, no taking cats out of the cat area, no flash photography, no harassment of cats, no unkind behaviour") and then guided upstairs to the dining and cat area.

My food arrived soon after. There isn't much I have to say about it. Fries are fries. I usually call them 'chips' but this confuses many people who call 'crisps' chips, so fries they will have to be for this review. These fries were air-fried and therefore crispy and not greasy. There was a lot of it, heaped into an attractive bowl. Ketchup was served to me in a fish-shaped ramekin, which amused and delighted me. It was a nice touch. My passionfruit soda consisted of a flavoured syrup topped up with soda water. Italian soda, yum! Very refreshing and not overly sweet.
However, everyone knows that you don't go to a cat café for the food, or to talk about whether it was value-for-money to pay RM17.70 for fries and a soda. You are paying not merely for the food or the experience, but also for the cost of maintaining the hygiene, health, safety and comfort standards required of operating a cat café. You are essentially chipping in for the cats' food, vet and grooming bills, and paying for someone to clean the cat litter regularly and keep an air ioniser and purifier running so that you won’t end up eating Pommes Frites à la Cat Poo.

To complain about paying more for a cat café experience would be like going to Carcosa Seri Negara or Majestic Hotel for afternoon tea and then moaning that you could get better kuih at Mak Jah Corner for RM3.
I munched persistently through my heap of fries, while staring wistfully at the dozing cats in the cat area, like a child who had been told that she couldn’t go out to play until she has cleared her plate. Still, even the dining area is very tastefully decorated, with low coffee tables and floor-level seating, and cat face-themed cushions in an orderly row. The cat-shaped placard holders and other cat-themed artwork added to the charm and whimsy of this café.

Once I had finished my tea and washed my hands, it was time to enter the cat area and play with the ten resident cats. They seemed very relaxed and contented, and habituated to human handling. The cat area is what my dream cattery would look like – with lots of places for the cats to climb, play, sit, hide and retire from human contact once they have had enough.
These shelves are pure genius, although they would probably need daily dusting or wiping down.

The cats are cuddly and healthy and did not mind taking a ‘wefie’ with me.
This lovely Bengal-tabby kitty commandeered the Director's Chair for himself.
A scratchy wee couch for this little beauty.
Asleep in the sun -- every cat's favourite pastime.
Everything was so clean and comfortable that you couldn’t help but realise that the cats are receiving excellent care. I wonder if the cat café would have room for a rescue cat or two?

I stayed for almost an hour before cabbing it back to the airport for my flight home. From the number of walk-in customers, I foresee that this endearing little place will remain in business for a long, long time. The wide variety of cat-themed merchandise in the lower floor is enough to make any Crazy Cat Lady swoon. I must confess that my minimalist tendencies were temporarily abandoned as I picked up cat-themed merchandise for myself and 3 friends.

Would I recommend a visit to the Purrfect Cat Café in Penang?
If you are an animal/cat lover, by all means, yes. It is a good place to cool down with a well-made Italian soda after exploring George Town in the midday heat, and the cutesiness of the cakes and snacks will offset the fact that the café does not have a very extensive menu. The cats will help you relax and decompress, and leave the heat and bustle of the outside world behind.


☆☆☆ 3 stars out of 5 for food.

☆☆☆☆ 4.5 stars out of 5 for ambience and service.


Purrfect Cat Café,
53 Lebuh Muntri, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia.
Tel: 604-261 1197
Business Hours: 11.00 a.m. - 9.30 p.m.
GPS: 5.419947, 100.335707