Tuesday, March 31, 2015

[TRAVEL & FOOD] The Best Food in Taiwan - Time to eat! And appreciate

These days, thin is in. ''Food'' is a four-letter word. Almost everyone is on a diet. Me too, on my way achieving my desired body shape. I mean, look at the fats on my belly and thighs. *crying at a corner*  But wait, did you just say food in Taiwan?

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.
-George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950)

One of the best things about Taiwan is undeniably the food. It is simply irresistible! Mention Taiwan and anyone would immediately think of night markets and street food. In Taipei alone, there are many night markets that offer an amazing array of mouth-watering street food. Here I have compiled a list of must-try food in Taiwan, and hey, each of them has a secret message behind it! TIME TO EAT! And appreciate :)

#1 Braised pork rice (滷肉飯)


"Where there's a wisp of smoke from the kitchen chimney, there will be braised pork rice," goes the Taiwanese saying. In days gone by when meat products were unaffordable for most regular families, this humble dish of minced pork braised in soy sauce, rice wine, and five-spice over a bed of rice became a cost-effective but mouth-watering meal for the whole family. This explains why it holds a special place in the hearts of the Taiwanese. A little sweet, a little salty, simple but addictive.

Appreciate the simple things in life

#2 Fried Stinky Tofu (炸臭豆腐)


Just as the name suggests, this tofu is extra stinky - the odour can be smelled from 20 meters away! The smell of it comes from it being preserved and fermented from beancurd. People who love it say that the stronger the smell, the better the taste. Just like durian, you either love it or hate it. Silky soft inside and crunchy on the outside. Well you've got to try it to know! 

Never judge a book by its cover

#3 Oyster Vermicelli (蚵仔麵線)


Another must try Taiwanese dish - a bowl of hearty oyster vermicelli that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. A bowl of good oyster vermicelli should have a thick, flavorful soup base while the thin rice noodles and oysters retain their distinct texture. Some people add chopped intestines for a funky dimension to the soup. Gooey and slurpable.

Warm and Homey, Rich and Hearty

#4 Fried Chicken Cutlet (炸雞排)


Many street food dishes have relatively petite portions, but it is definitely not the case with Taiwan's fried chicken cutlet - they want it big - and the bigger, the better. Just look at the massive size of this meat! It is moist yet tender. Fried to perfection. Don't miss the one from Hot Star (豪大大雞排) at Shilin Night Market in Taipei. Always a long line in front of the stall, but definitely worth the wait.

In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different

#5 Oyster Omelette (蚵仔煎)


If you like oysters or seafood, this is a great choice for you. If you like omelettes too, then you've hit the jackpot! More commonly known amongst Taiwanese as 蚵仔煎 pronounced ''oh-ah-tzen'', it is an amazing yet perfect combination of yummy oysters embedded in a chewy omelette. What makes it even better is the sweet and sour sauce smeared on top. Yummm.

A perfect combination can do wonder

#6 Small Sausage in Big Sausage 大腸包小腸


Directly translating to ''Small Sausage in Big Sausage'', this was a creation of Taiwanese street stall vendors. It's like a hot dog, but instead of a bun, sticky rice is stuffed inside sausage casing to make an oversized rice sausage. That's then slit open to stuff in a pork sausage. As easy as that, but good enough to make my mouth waters.

Simplicity at its best

# 7 Crushed ice dessert (剉冰)

The best dessert of all time. Especially when the weather is so hot and humid in Taiwan, try mango shaved ice! The incredibly fresh cuts of mango is not even the best part. The shaved ice texture is mind-blowing! It is like creamy, sweet, and a cotton-candy like texture. Imagine sharing this bowl of shaved ice with your friends in a hot afternoon. Pure heaven.

The best things in life are meant to be shared

#8 Pearl Milk Tea (珍珠奶茶)

A trip to Taiwan wouldn't be complete without a sip of its most iconic drink. Pearl milk tea (or 'bubble tea' as some call it) is a refreshing mixture of black tea, milk, and chewy tapioca balls. Especially refreshing on a hot summer day. You would argue that Malaysia has Chatime and Gong Cha too, but to taste the authentic flavour of pearl milk tea, Taiwan it is.

Happiness is a cup of bubble tea under scorching hot sun

Pictures courtesy of the following websites:

I believe writing this post doesn't do justice for how delicious the food are - I really wish to try them all!  I have heard so much about Taiwan from my friends but I've never been there. So when I know that The Butterfly Project & Taiwan Tourism Bureau Kuala Lumpur are going to send a lucky butterfly and her friend to Taiwan, I thought I would just try my luck! :) The trip includes a 5D4N stay, return air flights, accommodation and tour worth RM8,000. If you are a blogger too, come and join by telling them why you want to go Taiwan and how you will enjoy your trip inspired by 1 of the 3 themes available: Time to Eat (for foodies) / Time to Shop (shopaholics!) / Time for 2 Wheels (LOHAS lifestyle). I can't wait for summer, I am expecting a scrumptious food tour in Taiwan already :D

To know more about the contest, kindly log on to:

The Butterfly Project's Facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/ButterflyProjectMalaysia
Time for Taiwan TTBKL's Official Website: http://timefortaiwan.tw/en/index.jsp
Time for Taiwan TTBKL's Facebook Pagehttps://www.facebook.com/tbrockl?fref=ts

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Life as a medical student #6 Just a touch of a hand

Dear Mrs E,

We didn't know each other well. You might recognize my face from ward rounds, I was the girl in the corner holding my books, looking at the ground or out the window. I occasionally asked you how you were, and you always told me the same thing - pain, so much pain. I didn't know what to do. I wanted to hold your hand and tell you you will be okay, but something held me back. Because there is nothing I can do to cure you. I am just a medical student, and even if I was a doctor, there is no medicine to make you better. We can give you pills and injections and fluids. But they can only prolong your life. All they gave you was just more and more pain.

I was there when your family was told the news. I saw how they reacted to your prognosis, did you see it? Did you see the pain they were in? Did you realize just how loved you have been. I looked at them, unsure of what to say, knowing that no words could take away their sadness and their grief.

As your condition deteriorated, you couldn't even tell me that you were in pain. I still went to your bed every morning and asked you how you were. But you could only stare at me, mouth wide open, no words coming out from your mouth. You started to lose appetite, you didn't even have a look at the food they served. Your son, who is a great chef who owns a restaurant brought you your favourite food. But yet, you turned your head away.

My heart aches for you.

Finally it was my last day in Ward 23. I came to your bed and said good morning to you. And as usual I asked you how you were. You looked at me, as if you knew that I won't be there with you anymore starting from tomorrow. You reached out your hand to me. I thought you wanted to tell me something so I bent down. Your fingertips found my skin, then you touched my face, gently.

Until today I don't know what it means. But I wish for a miracle - that this illness which haunts you will be gone one day. Stay strong.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

[ANNOUNCEMENT] Eat Shop Go On 2 Wheels In Taiwan!

Eat, shop & go on two wheels in Taiwan!
Before that grab the best travel deals at Taiwan Travel Fair

Hello lovelies! Any plans for Summer 2015? There’s never a better time to visit Taiwan than in 2015! Taiwan is not the first destination that most people hit when they visit Asia for the first time. But this small, modest island is a perfect place for a newbie visitor. Do you know that Taiwan Tourism Bureau Kuala Lumpur (TTBKL) is organising its first-ever Taiwan Travel Fair in Malaysia? With the theme of “Time to Enjoy Life”, it will be held at 1 Utama Shopping Centre from 25 to 29 March 2015. Guess what, you will be able get the best deals for Taiwan travel at this one-stop event! Read on to know more!

With the first Taiwan Travel Fair, TTBKL hopes to present great value travel deals to Malaysian families. They have tied up with top Taiwanese and Malaysian travel agencies to offer a variety of exciting packages and the most attractive travel deals for all destinations in Taiwan. This also includes customised packages or tours specially-catered for Muslim visitors. 

For visitors of the fair who purchase any tour package from participating agents, they stand a chance to participate in a lucky draw for every RM500 spent. Prizes include Taipei return flight tickets sponsored by China Airlines and Eva Airways; and East Asia cruise on Star Aquarius, Star Virgo and Aquarius liners sponsored by Star Cruises. So do mark you calendar and visit the Taiwan Tourism Fair to bring back these fabulous prizes! :D

The Taiwan Travel Fair will be held at the Oval concourse in 1 Utama Shopping Centre from 25 to 29 March 2015. Opens 10 am daily. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/tbrockl !

Based on a survey conducted by Taiwan Tourism in 2012, the top attractions for inbound tourists are sights and sceneries, food and shopping. As such, the Taiwan Travel Fair will also highlight three major experiences under the theme of “Time to Enjoy Life”:

Time to Eat

When it comes to food, Taiwan has it all. Dine like royalty without paying a king’s ransom for it. From juicy seasonal fruits, sumptuous traditional Chinese dishes, healthy vegetarian dishes, icy desserts to creative tea drinks, Taiwanese cuisine makes full use of local ingredients and age-old techniques to surprise and satisfy your palate. Don't forget the world-famous night markets, filled with the enticing aromas of delicious street food and snacks!

Time to Shop

Taiwan is a shopaholic’s dream come true, with many large shopping centres and chain department stores in all four corners of the island. Shop for anything you want, from high-quality made-in-Taiwan 3C products, to famous highland tea and handmade weavings. For the fashion lover, all kinds of affordable clothing, leather goods and branded products are at your fingertips. In Taiwan, you are sure to find just about everything you want.

Time to go on Two Wheels

These days, the LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) trend is gaining popularity as people begin to be more health and eco-conscious. Taiwan is well-known for its LOHAS practices, and there is no better way to experience it than to travel along the breath-taking coastal highways by bicycle! Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and appreciate the simple yet wonderful things in life with your loved ones. 

Sounds like a perfect idea don't you think?
Time to enjoy life!
Remember to drop by at the Taiwan Travel Fair to find out more! :)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Life as a medical student #5 What I learnt from Ward 23

Two weeks in Ward 23, Hospital Kuala Lumpur.

I wish I could tell you stories about an impressive tracheostomy, or how I performed chest compression on a patient and brought her back to life. Nahhh. But I can't. All I can tell you is the little things that happened - what Ward 23 has taught me.

In Ward 23 we have our General Medicine rotation. Patients are from diverse cultural backgrounds and have different life circumstances. Some have been relatively healthy and it was their first hospital admission. Others were chronic disease patients who probably have twenty years of long standing hypertension and diabetes. This is my first opportunity to meet real patients in a hospital setting - it is a much less structured learning environment than I have experienced up until now. A lot of self-directed in my learning is needed, which is a challenge for me as I am used to be spoon-fed -  we all are. On the first few days, I entered the ward and not knowing what to do or who to speak to. All I did was standing there watching the specialists and doctors discussing cases which I don't understand. The busy environment was intimidating, I almost started doubting my decision of becoming a doctor again.

But as I started to talk to some of the patients, things changed. I remember one woman in particular. I was walking from one bed to another, reading their charts. Then she started to make sounds. I knew she was trying to gain my attention. So I closed my files and walked towards her.

''Kenapa mak cik? Mak cik okey?''

She started to complain to me about her calf pain and how it affected her sleep. She frowned talking about the pain like a little kid. She told me how she hated staying in the hospital and her children never came to visit her. I looked at her lunch plate and realised she only ate the fruits. I asked why didn't she eat the porridge, the vegetables and the chicken. She said she had no appetite. And that she only likes fruits, especially the watermelon selling at the cafeteria downstairs. But she is wheel-chair bound and it is difficult for her to go down to the cafeteria. So I offered to buy her the watermelon. 

She was all happy when she saw me coming back with the watermelon. She had one bite and told me the watermelon was sweet. The juice of the watermelon was dripping everywhere on her neck and shirt. I helped her to wipe them away.

I made a promise to myself to always remember the sparks that she had in her eyes and the smile on her face when someone in the ward finally willing to listen to her and satisfy her wish.

Ward 23 taught me something -  that patients are always our best teachers. I am grateful for patients who are happy to let me talk to and examine them. Thank you for seeing me as a member of the medical profession - although I am just a medical student. It reminds me to behave in a professional manner at all times. I know that my rotations will have even more to offer me in terms of interactive, hands-on learning. Finding real life connections between the diseases I learned and the presentations I saw in my patients is interesting. But it is going beyond the disease presentations of my patients and getting a glimpse into their lives that really are the heart of medicine. Thank you, Ward 23.

"Medicine is learned at the bedside and not in the classroom”
Sir William Osler (1849 - 1919)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Life as a medical student #4 Sweet Revenge

From left: Abby, Chern Meng and I

Have you ever met someone that just weren't very nice to you? It wasn't because of anything you did - or maybe it was - but they just weren't very kind or friendly. I remember writing about how I embarrassed myself in front of my supervisor and how it made me think and reflect on my own performance. (You can read about it here) After some time, I realized there were only two possibilities - either I really performed badly or he was trying to pick on me. I wish it was the first one. Worst comes to worst, I have to be the type of incompetent people who know that I am not good, instead of those who are clueless about their incompetence. It is never too late to learn. 

Last Friday, we ended our Student Selected Component (SSC) by having oral presentation in university in front of the examiners, and most importantly - in front of my supervisor. It was a day I have long anticipated, I probably secretly hoping to prove him wrong or something. So of course I made sufficient preparation. We rehearsed the presentation for countless times, we even colour coded our outfits. But most importantly, I was all ready to present to everyone what we have done in the past six weeks. Because from the very beginning, I am proud of what my SSC is all about and am really glad that I was given the opportunity to be a part of the team. (Will be posting here about my 6 weeks attachment at Yayasan Chow Kit soon)

The presentation turned out pretty good, the response from the floor was out of my expectation. People were impressed by the findings and how it would benefit the street children. One of the lecturers from Dublin asked if we would like to publish our papers. I mean, what an honour! Publishing papers is the dream of every researcher. To receive such feedback is the best one could ever get.

I wish it was from my supervisor though. He didn't make any comment after our presentation. No dramas like patting on my shoulder saying ''Well done'' or ''Keep up the good work''. But nah it's okay. Maybe my supervisor is just cool like that.

I dip my fist in sugar before I punch my enemies in the face. Sweet, Sweet Revenge.

[ANNOUNCEMENT] Happy International Women's Day by Uber

Hello lovelies! Did you know that this Sunday, 8th March is International Women's Day? 

In conjunction with International Women's Day, Uber - Everyone's Private Driver - would like to highlight the contribution of women towards the growth of Uber.

Click HERE to watch the video of how a single mother, Liza’s life has been changed by the unique opportunity that Uber has offered her.

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 1.56.24 PM

I took an Uber in JB few weeks back and was impressed to know that it was a female driver. Not saying that all men are bad but from a female's point of view, it gives me a sense of security. So thank you Uber! Here's a few reasons that Uber is the safest and most efficient way to get around in JB.

1. Driver Application Process
Drivers require a vehicle inspection, criminal background checks, a city knowledge interview and training on the application in order to qualify.

2. Nobody's a Stranger
Riders can see the driver's photo, name, rating, vehicle type and registration number when requesting a trip.

3. No Hailing
The Uber app automatically pinpoints your location to provide true door-to-door service!

4. Share Your ETA
Once you are on a trip you can share your Estimated Time of Arrival with a friend or family member.

5. Always on the Map
Uber uses a live GPS enabled map and can provide information about your trips if there is an issue.

6. Risk Free Transactions
Fares are charged automatically to the rider's credit or debit card so no cash has to exchange hands.

7. Anonymous Feedback
After every trip, you can rate your driver (anonymously), so that Uber can manage the standard and quality of the service.

8. Insurance
All trips are covered by insurance.

Interested to join as a partner driver? You can click HERE for more details.
P/S: Take a ride with my code UBERJBEUNICE to get 3 Free rides up to RM30!
Only for new users :)

To all women, here's wishing you a Happy International Women's Day! xoxo

For more information:

Friday, March 6, 2015

[BEAUTY REVIEW] ‎Thayers‬ Alcohol-free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Toner ft. Natta Cosme

''I am to be as soft as petals 
open with vulnerability 
without losing my thorns

To be a rose - both tender and dangerous''

Women love roses, because they are always associated with romance and love. Aside from the beautiful fragrance and vibrant colour, roses are also delicate and beautiful in every way. But do you know that rose water is one of the well known remedy for skin care? It can be used as natural facial toner because rose water helps to absorb excess oil from the skin without leaving a drying effect. Perfect to combat acne! Hence it was a pleasant surprise for me to receive Thayers‬ Alcohol-free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Toner at my doorstep few weeks back, along with a handwritten New Year card and cute angpao packets. Thank you Natta Cosme! That is so lovely of you. :)

American beauty care veteran, century old brand - Thayers is well known for their wide range of toner. With more than 120 years of history, their longstanding commitment to making effective, natural remedies with high-quality ingredients has ensured Thayers' longevity. Look at the variety of toners that they have. No wonder they are known as the Toner Specialists!

The one that I am going to review is the first one - Rose Petal Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Formula. Over 120 years ago, Rose Thayer discovered an all natural recipe for extra soft, youthful looking skin. As she aged, many would comment on how she looks 10 years younger than she was. Her secret formula of Rose Petal water was then shared with the world and made available. 

When it comes to Witch Hazel (a very popular herb plant used to cure sores, bruises and swelling) a lot of the toners must have alcohol in it. This is what makes Thayers special. Guess what, it is alcohol free!

The flower power will make your skin bloom! With rose petal water, Vitamin E and Witch Hazel extract, it not only tightens the pores, soothes and softens the skin but moisturises and cleanses any impurities as well. The toner is alcohol-free, paraben-free, phtalate-free, fragrance-free and is hypoallergenic.

Love how the packaging is so simple and vintage-looking.

All the product details are listed clearly on the sticker. The sticker is interesting as we are actually reading from the back of the transparent bottle. I have never seen any product like this! The transparent plastic bottle is also good and easy for me to know the exact amount of my skin care product left in the bottle.

The bottle is huge and not travel-friendly, so if you wish to take it for travelling, it is recommended to transfer it into small bottles. But I love how a huge bottle of 355ml could last me a very long time! There is an easy access cap, but I would prefer spray bottles because I don't like using cotton pads heh.

However, the main reason that I love this product is definitely the light rosy scent. Love is literally in the air. The scent is not too overwhelming though. 

I use the toner everyday after cleansing my face and before I apply my makeup. You can use it anytime throughout the day as a softening refresher, too. It feels very gentle on the skin as it is very watery and absorbed easily by the skin. My skin feels fresh and rejuvenate instantly!

If you wish to purchase, why not getting it from Natta Cosme? You can get it HERE at only RM45 (355ml) instead of the normal price of RM58 :D

Another good news to share with my lovely readers! To celebrate this coming International Women's Day, Natta Cosme is having an exclusive promotion where you can enjoy RM10 discount with any purchase of RM80. Simply key in the code above to enjoy the promotion anytime before 15th March 2015!

Happy Shopping at Natta Cosme & Happy International Women's Day!

For more information, log on to:

Natta Cosme's Website: http://www.nattacosme.com
Natta Cosme's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NattaCosme  
Natta Cosme's Twitter: https://twitter.com/nattacosme
Natta Cosme's Instagram: @nattacosme

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

[BEAUTY REVIEW] Ludeya V Line Chin Mask & Yufit Bodyboom

For too many women, being "model thin" is a very real aspiration. It's no wonder. Bombarded with countless media images of thin female models and actresses who look beautiful and appear happy, many women are unhappy about their own bodies. If you are one of them, iQueen has a solution for you with the two products selling on their website!

P/S: Read my previous review on iQueen herehere and here!

Ludeya V Line Chin Mask

I fell in love with Ludeya masks ever since my last review about it. (You can read about it HERE!) So when I received another Ludeya mask from iQueen, I was really excited.

This time, Ludeya wants you to say goodbye to your double chin, chubby cheeks and baby fat! For women, the ideal and most sought after face type is the ever-so-popular V-Line shape. While many celebrities go under the knife for the V line, Ludeya V Line Chin Mask is certainly an alternative for you! It has pulling, firming and polarizing function to make you look photogenic in just 15 minutes.

There are 4 V Line Chin Masks in a box.

How to use?

To use, hang the up lift hook of the chin mask on the ears as shown in the picture below. Press gently with fingers to ensure it fits to skin. Let the mask sit for 20-30 minutes.

Let's see the results!

I have very chubby face to begin with, so the mask was made just for me. I could feel a slight lifting effect after just one use, more obvious on the right side of my face. The mask has a very pleasant smell just like the other Ludeya masks. It is elastic, and it doesn't cause any discomfort. Another reason for me to love Ludeya products more. :D

Goodbye double chin!

If you are interested to purchase, you can get it from iQueen HERE at only RM14.45 (15% discount), grab it while stock lasts!

Yufit Body Boom Anti-Cellulite Slimming Mousse

The second product that I am going to introduce is Yufit Body Boom Anti-Cellulite Slimming Mousse, the great body fat killer! It is a clinically tested foam originated from Korea that is formulated using the most revolutionary cosmetic technology that helps to reduce the appearance of cellulite in the buttocks, arms, thighs, calves and abdomen areas. It also helps to improve elasticity of the skin.

There are two types of Body Boom - the hot and the cold type. Basically, they function the same. 

In this review, I will just try the hot one! The 200ml package has an average duration of 20 days.

How to use?

Shake the bottle, turn it upside down and dispense a small amount of fisioline on the area concerned. Smooth the product in using soft circular movements from from the peripheral areas to the centre for complete absorption. Repeat this procedure twice a day as an initial treatment. Do take note that the product absorbed quickly, so it is not recommended to apply the product more than once on the same area. And also do not use before going to bed.

When it was first applied, it was fresh and smooth just like mousse. However, what happened after that amazed me! The product seems to ''crackle'', I could feel a sort of tingling, light bubbling, followed by a burning sensation on the skin which lasted for around 5 minutes. For a moment I thought my skin was on fire!

After a while, the crackling stopped. Massage it well over the area to get maximum benefits. As you can notice from the picture below, there was immediately a slight reddening on my skin, proving that the microcirculation has been reactivated. The crackle technology has the capacity to effectively enhance the activity of the active ingredients in the epidermis within the very first minutes of application.

I used the product mainly on my thigh and stomach, twice a day for one week. Surprisingly, my skin appears to be more tonic and compact, which I couldn't even achieve when I work out at the gym! You should try it too! You can get it from iQueen HERE (heating) and HERE (cooling) for only RM69.00.

For more information:

iQueen's Official Website: www.iqueen.my
iQueen's Facebook: www.facebook.com/iqueen.my
iQueen's Instagram: #iqueenmy

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