Tuesday, July 31, 2012

World Halal Restaurant Guide

I know as a Muslim it is not easy to scout for Halal or Muslim restaurant when you travel in foreign land hence we normally would bring our own food and stick to fruit or bread.

Since I travel heavily (or used to) either on personal or company, food would be my biggest challenge. Thus, I always rely on this website I found on my trip to Vietnam - Zabihah.com . It have helped me tremendously on my subsequent Europe trips and I thought I would like to share this with fellow friends, family & followers.

Hope it will help you as much as it helped me.

From Wikipedia :

Halal (Arabic: حلالḥalāl, "permissible") is a term designating any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law.

*Note 1 : If you have other Halal sites you would like to share, please feel free to furnish the link in the comment box
*Note 2 : If you have/found a good article on Kosher food for Muslim, do share.

Am forever humbled and greatful for those info that you have shared or will be sharing. Thanks.

Split by region/continent

They have apps for mobile user as well.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Best Experience As Musafir Ramadhan (Ramadhan Traveler)

I am compelled to write this... the ideas lingered for the past few days. And I thought, why not...

I did a trip during Ramadhan month (fasting month for the Muslim) sometime in year 2007. Honestly I can't remember why we opted for Ramadhan month to travel, perhaps Wahidah can jog my memory abit. And I know we did (or at least I did!) contemplate on whether should I proceed. To make it worst, my late dad passed away few months earlier and obviously I was emotionally unstable.

Being the strong headed person at times (at times? Yeah right Lily!), I decided to go ahead with the plan; since I have paid the flight and all plus I needed a break from the whole '.......' (you know what I mean...). Making this decision knowingly people will talk behind your back wasn't easy.... but then again, people will always talk right? Esok-esok lupa ler tuh kan.... Whatever....

I guess there was a reason for everything that HE decided for us, blessing in disguise so they say (ada hikmat di sebalik dugaan); what else better to do but to submit to HIM (redha).

Enough with the intro... tau tau 3-4 para dah tulis, gilerrr... ish!

The only thing I know about this trip is that I will be going to Morocco & Spain. And that Morocco is Maghribi (clap clap clap! Sungguh pandai anda Lily!) and that the trip falls during Ramadhan. Ok ok ok!!! That's pure lie, I know I will be landing in Casablanca and there's a popular song of the same name (see! I know something [at least. Proud moment]). Oh!!!! And that there's this famous Jemaa El Fna. Yup! My knowledge stops right about here. Hahhahhaha....

So, months before the trip Wahidah & I did all the necessary research and the plan is to space out our activities (foreseeing we will be more tired than usual). Due to my minimal knowledge in Islamic history (hey!!! I studied in Chinese school all my life, gimme a break ok!); we split in such a way that Wahidah handles Morocco sightseeing and booking and almost everything and I Spain. This way, we will be able to off-load each other and there should not be any 'argument' on "I did most of the work" or "Why did she chose this place" etc. Of course, once either party have identify and crafted the daily route, we will have a discussion to ensure both party are happy and satisfied on selected attractions or activities (and cost). Haaaa.... demokrasi terpimpin bak kata P.Ramlee, fair idak?

For those who plan to do travel during Ramadhan, do consider visiting country during cooler weather. Don't choose those scorching hot countries as you'll get dehydrated and tired easily. And kindly spread out your activities. 

Oh! My trip was in autumn so you know (smart huh!). And I fasted the whole trip, tak penat pun kot, but to those who can't take it (fasting); berbuka ler (break your fast), kang pengsan lak masa jalan. Jangan blame orang if so lah iya. Else jangan jalan masa puasa.

Biggest attraction in Casablanca (well, aside from the song) is the Hassan II Mosque.

The Hassan II Mosque (Arabic: مسجد الحسن الثاني‎) is a mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. It is the largest mosque in the country and the 7th largest mosque in the world. Its minaret is the world's tallest at 210 m (689 ft).

It stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean. A total of 105,000 worshippers can gather for prayer at the mosque simultaneously, 25,000 inside the mosque and another 80,000 on the mosque's ground outside.

Walking to this mosque from where we stayed was challenging as we initially thought it was near and that the road condition was 'strollable".. err.. not! Tak pa, jalan ke masjid dapat pahala (hemmm... patut buat solat sunat masjid kan... tak ingat lak masa tuh).

Inside the Hassan II Mosque, huge huh!

Ablution area.

If I am not mistaken, this is a spa? No? Do share for those who know.

Got a slight culture shocked here, then we made a deduction that this caters for the non-Muslim and foreigner.

Best Musafir Ramadhan Experience Ever

**This is strictly base on my true experience and personal opinion.

Upon arriving to Marrakesh from Casablanca via train, we were greeted by taxi drivers. We were hesitating on which one to take, then appraoch an old decent man who speaks perfect English offering his service & help. Hemmm.... he looks honest, those type of people you have a good hunch about. So we quickly agree and furnishes him with our riad's address.

This is the interesting part. The suspense starts right about here....

While driving us to the riad, he asked whether we are Muslim (guessing as he noticed Wahidah was wearing a headscarf). We said yes (looking at each other worriedly - apahal lak pakcik nih kan!?) then the next question caught us (well, me at least) by surprise. 
"Ah!!!! Musafir?" He said. 
We said yes.... (well obviously right?). Guess what?

After asking whether are we were fasting, he later asked us to break fast at his home with his family. We were like errr...... talking to each other in Malay wondering can this man be trusted, will he kidnap us etc etc..yah yah... I watched way too much movie. I KNOW! 

We said, why not we accept and tawakal, he looks decent and nice. Insyaallah

We got to know he used to work in British Council thus his fluent English and that he have 2 kids, a boy and a girl. Just about then, we reached the riad and he said that he will pick us up at 6pm.

In the riad...

We still wondered whether we have made a right decision. Since we agreed to tawakal and think positively, we quickly look for souvenirs to bring over, can't be going empty handed right?? Where's Malaysia hospitality???

I realised I have a box of chocolate biscuit and a pario that we can bring over. OK! All set!

Journey to a stranger's house...

Still worried hence we start memorizing all the corner and turn of the journey ie from our riad to his 'house' just incase we need to hail a cab. He stop and bought some bread and drove us outskirt. Giler panic ok! We arrived at what in Malaysia look like shophouses but with slightly wider in width. He parked and ushered us upstairs.... Dap dup dap gak lah masa nih.. tuhan jek yang tahu.

Then we arrive and the door opens... GOODNESS!

His house is big and super clean, his wife barely said a word (language barrier kot), then he called his kids to greet us. His daughter is so beautiful and his youngest son was cheeky.

We saw the food spread... macam mana nak habis nih. Banyak nye.

We took some pics and handed him our token of new friendship. His wife was delighted as the orange pario/scarf matched her Idul Fitr new dress. YES!!!

The kids were happy with the chocolate biscuit. Yeay!

The meal...

After finished eating, he asked us whether we wanted to stay for dinner? 
I was like.... DINNER? What is that... that food we just ate?
He said, oh! That food is for breaking fast.
So I enquired, when is their normal dinner time?
Later at 9-10ish... then - sleep. Biar benor.

This transpired later...
  • He offered to take us around with minimal charged, which was great cause we got a driver cum 'tour guide'. And he took us to some places which was not in our list. Reason being we thought of settling with the standard HoHo (Hop-In Hop-Off Bus) but this is a better deal. Especially for a talkative person like me (semua bende nak tanya....ehhehehehe)
  • We exchanged contact detail with his beautiful daughter and we still keep in touch with her till NOW. Best kan kan kan. Lain kali senang ler nak gi Morocco. Hehheheh....
He took us to more places but here I will only be sharing a few... else penat you all baca I cite. If nak jugak, I buat entry lain.

2nd hand market, outskirt of the city.

One section of the inside.

The friendly driver, lupa lak nama. Wahidah help!

The famous Jemaa El Fna.

The fasting (puasa) and sahur story...

Banyak lak story mory kali nih, hehehheheee.....

As I have mentioned earlier, we stayed at a riad which was walking distance from the famous Jemaa El Fna. The package comes with free breakfast HOWEVER as we were here during the month of Ramadhan hence we were given 2 choice, sahur OR break fast (ie buka puasa). Take a guess which of this 2 we've chosen. Yup sahur!! Bila masa lah pulak nak masak pepagi. Riad nih kira cam umah orang 5-8 bilik, bukan nye hotel ye.

The boy guy told us that sahur call will be at 4:30am. So, slightly before 4:30am we woke up and waited and wondering... (ye lah, kat negara orang and bukan negara Asia lak tuh [benua Africa nih, ish!], di bulan Ramadhan, ada tak sahur kang we all thought). At 4:30am he knocked on our door and said sahur is ready downstairs.

View from our room of our dining area.

Berhidang ok.... segan dak? I have to admit, we were pretty awestruck of the splendid service.

The 3 'pots' are butter & jams. 

During iftar...

We will just walk to souk and Jemaa El Fna to grab some bread there but most of the time we will have maggi mee (kemut duit tau!). Even that, the guy will ask us whether we want tea and provide us with hot water for our maggi, in fact he offered us local delicacies that few days we were there.  Best kan! Kira kene gi lagi skali lah.

If anyone ask me how and what do you feel about Morroco?
My answer?
Courtesy and hospitality at its best.

PS : Doa musafir teraniaya makbul, so; doa banyak-banyak. Banyak bawak bersabar sebab bulan Ramadhan.
PPS : My cat on hyper active mode. Yeah lar; kucing tak yah puasa. Cis!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 3 | Pasar Payang, Kuala Terengganu

Mendung Berarak Kelabu...

It was a gloomy weather with slight drizzle when we headed back to the mainland, as what the rest of the #travelholicawesome said earlier, it felt as if Redang Island wept over our parting. After days of chaotic laughter, Redang Kalong will surely miss the noise polution I bet (despite that they probably were annoyed at times, sorry guys!).

We have a few hours to kill in Kuala Terengganu town and the only 'great' plan we had so far was to visit Pasar Payang (Payang Market) and ICT ie Ikan Celup Tepung (NO!!! Not the one in Shah Alam, no!). So.. Pasar Payang we went and Ikan Celup Tepung we ate.

Being a "tourist" to this east coast town, I knew it is a must to visit the market... saja lar... to see the meriahness kan, highlight of Kuala Terengganu so they say.

Before that, I heard Byya did not manage to print her bording pass and needed to print 2 hours before we board and since I plan to visit Kuala Terengganu this end August, I decided to accompany her looking for cybercafe. Little did we know, the search for cybercafe took us walking half the town. AND lucky for us, we saw some unique places (nak sedap kan hati...hehehehhe).

What is visiting Terengganu if you don't bring back bags and bags of lekor right? Well, the Uncle Van took us to this 'popular-rich-humble-non-chalant makcik' shop for us to 'wholesale' her goods back to Kuala Lumpur. You wouldn't believe the quantity our group purchased. Me? 5x lekor for Wahidah + 1x sauce. That's it!

We walked for 30MINS or so in search of cybercafe , and guess what? We finally found one near the bus stop that we got down 2 days earlier.

Its kinda interesting you see...
We saw cybercafes but they don't have PRINTER. So,
we look for photo shop knowing they have printer and PC but unfortunately no INTERNET. Thus,
we look for budget hotel nearby, they have PC, printer & network but it is DOWN.

Apa laaa...

So, we thought we should share with everyone the whereabout of this cybercafe that have everything in WORKING condition. This cybercafe located next to an arcade.

The cybercafe located on this street which we don't know the name (malas nak google). Bus station is the one on the right and it's facing a KFC. Kinda easy really, except that we were walking from Pasar Payang which was kinda far.
While walking back to Pasar Payang, we were kinda.... lost (negara lain ok aje, sini leh sesat lak... ish! Bikin malu je).... anyway, we saw this beautiful mosque - Masjid Abidin.

From Wikipedia :

Masjid Abidin is Terengganu's old state royal mosque built by Sultan Zainal Abidin II between 1793 and 1808. The mosque, which is also known as the White Mosque or the Big Mosque, is located in Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia. The old Royal Mausoleum is situated near the mosque.
During the reign of Sultan Umar, the mosque was replaced with one made out of bricks. Tengku Panglima Besar later extended it with three round pillars and three minarets. The mosque underwent renovation recently, in order to accommodate about 2,500 people in a single prayer session.
Carved on the mosque’s entrance doors and grills are several calligraphic carvings of verses from the Quran, prayers and arabesques.

As we walk further down, we saw Istana Maziah which located near Pasar Payang and the jetty.

From Wikipedia :

There are differing accounts about the exact date construction started on Istana Maziah. According to one record by Engku Pengiran Anum, the foundation stone of Istana Maziah was laid on Friday, May 31, 1895 (7 Zulhijjah 1312) at 10am during the reign of Sultan Zainal Abidin III (1881-1918). While according to the records by Dato Seri Amar Diraja Haji Ngah Muhammad bin Yusof, the palace was built in 1897.

Next stop is the famous Pasar Payang.

Yummeh right? Unfortunately I am not much of a munchy....

Sagon? Betul ke nih?

Am so clueless some of the kueh name. Should visit with empty stomach so that I will be able to try each one of them.

Kayu keramat!!! Kan?! Kan?! Kan?!

Salak fruit. I think....

Ops! I forgot what delicacy is this.... :-( Tapai maybe?

I am so gonna ride this bus in my next trip here. Comel giler ok.

The End.
(Nampak sangat tak larat nak blog sebab puasa [excuse!!!])

Waktu Solat & Imsak - Kuala Lumpur (KL) & Putrajaya

I thought I would like to share the July and August timetable for solat & imsak to assist those in need. I have been searching since the last few days and finally got a version that suits me, however do take note that this is specifically for Wilayah Persekutuan  & Putrajaya.

For whole 2012 solat timetable, please click on this link HERE to download.

For travelers out there, please click Islamic Finder World Prayer Times or IslamiCity World Wide Prayer Times. Feel free to share if you have any link other than this that can be useful.

** Sumber Almanak Falak Syarie JAKIM 
* Dikeluarkan Oleh : Pejabat Mufti Wilayah Persekutuan 
* www.muftiwp.gov.my

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Acupuncture Cupping Therapy (KL)

I have been whining on my pain for the last 1 month plus, normally to my colleague Felicia and my sis. At times to Wahidah & Kim. How bad? I was rushed to hospital before as I went all pale (almost fainted) and Felicia got panicked and rushed me to DSH and they performed few test and x-rayed etc.

After couldn't bare with the pain anymore (should have gone a month ago, but as usual lar - STUBBORN!), hence I decided to visit the acupuncturist that I frequented. Obviously they asked me to revisit for on Wednesday as one session wasn't sufficient (Hah! Padan muka, degil lagi!).

Oh yah! Dah googled, acupuncture tak membatalkan puasa. Kot ler ada orang wondered. But if ada different school of thoughts, do share yah.

Well, it worked well for me so far (dengan izin Allah, insyaallah)... as this is very subjective, my suggestion is to check it out yourself. As I said, with god's help...

By the way, what I did was acupuncture cupping. Slightly different from the normal acupuncture you've seen.

I did a fire therapy last year, check it out here.
Like normal clinic, you need to register etc... and they keep your record and all.
The beds... it's clean, no worries. Insyaallah.

Why the mat/tikar? Reason being... blood. Scroll down and you will understand.

They'll acupuncture (Yup! Poke the needle) at the identified area. Nope, not painful.

Then they put the suction cup at the identified area and 'suck' the blood/gas/wind out. Similar concept to those using fire/heat cupping. (So, darah kotor/toxin tuh keluar ler kan).

Nih kira sikit jek darah dia, you should see those pictures I snap on their wall.

Once completed, they will wipe and clean the blood then they'll spray tea tree antiseptic.

Normally we tend to have angin or wind/gas on our shoulder thus this is how it will look like (Yea lah, asyik duduk mengadap computer jek kan). If banyak angin  lagi merah/purple... lepas tuh rasa ringan sikit. However, shoulder wasn't my problem though.

This is the machine.
Cam yucky kan? The cup will be washed & clean properly, I asked the same question.

Acupuncture point.
The 'white/clear' liquid is apparently fat. I know, abit geli kan.

Told you that my blood was considered as nothing as compared to the above.
Their contact and sickness that they can help.

Good Luck.

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