Choy Kee egg tarts

Date August 28, 2015

Having tasted egg tarts from all around Ipoh like Nam Heong (old town), Hong Kee (along the road to UTC or Super Kinta) etc, think I much prefer the egg tarts from Choy Kee located in Kampung Simee.
Choy Kee bakery
You can also buy the egg tarts in Kampung Simee wet market in the morning, before the bakery shop opens at 11pm. Or at other shops as listed above I guess. The pastry is fluffy but crisp, and the egg is just about firm enough like eating soft boiled egg, easily “melt” in your mouth. Best enjoy when it is still warm, just freshly baked. Yummy.
Choy Kee egg tart

A cheap Hoegaarden

Date August 26, 2015

Having touched on beer drinking in one of my earlier posts, I’m now curious how much a bottle of Hoegaarden actually costs in a supermarket. Here you go, 5 bottles of Hoegaarden, with a free glass, retailing at RM69.95 at Tesco.

Hoegaarden
Works out that it’s just under RM14 a bottle. Whereas at Marianis, during happy hour, it’s just RM12.80++. So it’s about the same price drinking at home or at Marianis! All the more reason to drink there before they move to Greentown!;)

Nadia Sugar & Spice is closing end of August

Date August 26, 2015

Nadia Sugar Spice De Garden
Went to Cheeky Tots indoor playground due to the haze today. Passed by Nadia Sugar & Spice. It wasn’t opened. Tables and chairs outside weren’t there anymore. Asked the security guard at De Garden. Its last day is end of this month. So another shop closing down. We have dined there a couple of times. Hardly a fan, but the family who runs the business are very nice people. It’s a shame. But they do lack a good crowd the few times we were there, weekends or not, so it’s always going to be a problem, for any business. Especially when the economy is not doing so well.

Marianis is closing on the 15th October

Date August 24, 2015

Marianis De Gardening
Marianis, an Italian restaurant located in De Garden Ipoh, is closing sooner than I thought it would. Well actually they are moving to Greentown, a bungalow house, not quite packing up shop. Previously I heard that they are closing end of this year. So mid October is sooner than I expected. Location wise De Garden is not bad, and Marianis is located facing the main road. But business is just not up to expectation I guess. I think more to do with the food being rather pricy for Ipoh standard. I rather like to have beer there during happy hours, as they give 25% discount on beers. A bottle of Hoegaarden costs just over RM10 (you still need to pay 10% service charge and 6% GST on top of that though mind you). I think it will be a struggle for me to find another bar in Ipoh Garden where I can pay this kind of price.

So looks like it might be afterall better for Marianis to be closer to the office workers in Greentown. But according to its staff the new place is rather hidden away so we will see how it gets on there. For a start the owner bought the bungalow, so Marianis can “do away” with the expensive rental which apparently is RM9k a month in De Garden. They will however need to do more marketing, and it takes time to build its name there, being rather hidden away. I’m no fan of their food so won’t travel there just for a beer. All the best nevertheless.

Personal credit ratings in Malaysia

Date August 22, 2015

Attended a seminar on Credit Risk Management for SMEs yesterday. Chiefly trying to find out more about business loan application in Malaysia, and the criteria they look at when they assess applications. Turned out that there were not much more information presented that I don’t already know. On the other hand, on the personal side, I found out that:
i) CTOS is one of three credit ratings agencies in Malaysia, apparently the largest;
ii) I can access my own credit report free of charge by registering with CTOS (unlike in the UK you will need to pay £5 to say Equifax to get a copy of it).

CTOS report

Above is a copy of my credit report from CTOS. I don’t know how others’ look like, but mine looks pretty blank, and with a damning entry for being a director of our new company. As you can see, our company is making quite a big loss in 2013, the year we started the company. The figure is one we submitted to SSM from our audited account for the year. It is most likely not very surprising to see losses in new companies in their first year of business. But from a personal credit history’s point of view, it is just bad. You see I have only been back in Malaysia for just over 2 years. I have no credit history. And setting up a new company seems to have plunged me into a deeper hole, as it now appears that I am a director of a company that loses lots of money. I think I now know why I failed in my recent application for a credit card. Can’t blame the financial institution for rejecting me when I have such a huge red flag waving at them can I? Considering that decision making is computerised on whether to approve a credit card application nowadays. But this just means that it is extra hard for entrepreneurs to borrow money, even if they just want to borrow money in their personal capacity for non-business related expenditure?

Great, looks like it is probably prudent for me to wait a couple of months, to allow my credit report to be updated with our latest audited account submitted to SSM which shows a non-negative number, before I apply for a credit card again.

AEON Klebang opening on 21st October 2015

Date August 21, 2015

AEON is hiring, with a booth infront of AEON Kinta City supermarket, for AEON Big in Klebang, Ipoh.
Aeon walk in interview
When asked when AEON Klebang is opening, the girl told me 21st October 2015 is the opening date. Escalators in the shopping mall have all been installed too, as I know. I’m just a little surprised that it is so soon, considering that the market is rather soft at the moment. Very interested to know if they manage to fill up the retail spaces there on their opening day.

A new place to buy wild salmon

Date August 19, 2015

Rainbow Trout Frozen Told
You can now buy Norwegian wild salmon in Ipoh Garden East. A new shop called Rainbow Trout Frozen Food has just opened three weeks ago located in Medan Ipoh. Here is their address:

Rainbow Trout Frozen Food

They may not always stock the wild salmon in the shop, but you can place order with them. They will call you when it’s arrived.

Frozen smoked salmon is available too, at RM80 a kg. Frozen New Zealand green mussels, with shell, is sold at RM21 a box. As far as I know this is the cheapest price I can find in Ipoh. Other shops sell at closer to RM30 a box.

Importantly Mr Low above seems to know where the fish are sourced from. Their salmon fish that are not wild are farmed in Norway. Often when I asked some sellers they have no knowledge of where their fish are from. A whole farmed frozen salmon fish is sold at RM26/kg which I think is good price.

Lastly we are certainly very pleased, as it is located close to where we live. Excellent.

Restaurants and cafes where kids can play

Date August 5, 2015

Recently came across this blog post that recommends restaurants and cafes where kids can play in Klang Valley region. These are fairly decent recommendations. As I have posted before, parents with children do yearn for places where they can sit down and relax while their children can keep themselves busy. However I couldn’t help but to find that these restaurants/cafes, when compared to Cheeky Tots in Ipoh, where I now live, rather underwhelming. By and large they source their toys from IKEA. Some hardly much spaceor toys for the kids to keep themselves occupied for long.

This baby/toddler play area in itself is already bigger than those you can find in any of the cafes above.

Baby toddler play area

And you have these playhouses,

Play houses

castle,

Castle

reading corner, with some toys too,

Reading area

and of course this elephant in the room (taken from their website).

Main play frame

The Ipoh folks should count themselves lucky to have such a family and kids friendly facility around, as I think it is hard pressed to find something equivalent in KL. In fact anywhere in Malaysia. Sure it is not free to enter, like other cafes or restaurants. But with deals like this, it is as affordable as you can get.

After school deal

Public Bank is rubbish, Maybank not much better either

Date July 28, 2015

Went to Public Bank to pay company GST for the first time. Was told that I can’t pay over the counter at Public Bank. Can only pay on-line. BUT with their business account, I can only view transactions and all on-line. I can’t do nothing with on-line payment. Pay SOCSO, NO, Pay EPF contributions, NO. Bank transfers, NO. Now GST return, can’t even do it over the counter. Bloody hopeless. If you want to be able to do the above on-line, you need to pay extra. Over RM20 a month to use their on-line service. How bloody thick of them, when they should really be encouraging customers to move on-line. Especially now that they charge RM0.50 to process each cheque, and that hasn’t even included GST! Public Bank is like a dinosaur in the modern world, slow moving, clumsy, outdated, but blood sucking at the same time.

Customer service rep however “kindly” told me that I can pay at Maybank or CIMB nearby. I hope she is ashamed of the bank she’s working for. So I have to drive to Maybank. Maybank, as I have been told before, is the most Internet friendly, even for business customers. I have a Maybank personal account, but which I have not been using for such long time that it has gone inactive, I know their on-line services are pretty good. But at the counter service is so very frustrating. They just take a long time service a customer. Compared to Public Bank they are just so much slower. I really don’t understand how they can be so slow. I waited over half an hour for my turn. During that time only 8 were served, with 6 active counters. And when I wanted to reactivate my account, which I needed to queue separately for customer service, there was only one counter that could deal with my problem. But there just seemed to be so many staff around, and so many counters. I filled up my form already, but there is just only one active customer service counter. Appalling. I gave up. I need to think again whether I want to switch our business account over to Maybank.

McDonald’s at AEON Kinta City has closed shop

Date July 25, 2015

Find it difficult to believe that even McDonald’s packs up in a busy shopping mall.
McDonald
The customer service in AEON Kinta City confirmed this. I heard that McDonald’s want to do 24 hours drive through service which they can’t do at the shopping mall that is why they decided not to renew their contract. There is however already one next to MH Hotel. So this can’t be the sole reason they want out. It is likely they want to relocate somewhere else. But from what I can see it’s good business in AEON Kinta City. It’s a loss they chose to relocate in my view. But I obviously I don’t know how much Kinta City was asking for rental which could make it less profitable than a 24 hours drive through business model. I heard that Black Canyon is paying RM33,000 a month so McDonald’s was probably paying that kind of money previously. It would be difficult for Kinta City to find a new tenant to occupy that space for sure with considering that it is a premium ground floor lot. With the upcoming AEON Big in Klebang, I can foresee rental to remain suppressed for years to come in Ipoh, especially when the economy is looking dire at the moment. You see even McDonald’s don’t want to do business in a busy shopping mall anymore!