Monday, December 19, 2011

Cool Mini Cooper

I came across these 2 Mini Coopers for display and sale at Giant Hypermarket - Kelana Jaya 2 weeks ago. Cool right? These are the classic models of Mini Cooper and not the latest, upgraded model. Love the look of these 2 red cars. The price tag is not very expensive too. They're in the range of RM20-30k. Considering these are collectibles, I think they're definitely worth it if you have the spare dough :-)

Photo 1 : Taken by my 3 years old daughter, using my Samsung Galaxy S2
Photo 2 : Taken by yours truly

Monday, November 14, 2011

11.11.11 - Is It A Special Day For ?


Is this a special day for a special date for you?

This day only come once every 100 years. I must be lucky to be born in the period where I get to experience 10.10.10 and 11.11.11. 12.12.12 perhaps? “The Star” newspaper ran a few articles on the significance of this date according to a few different religions/races. Here’s the excerpt of them:-

According to the Muslim calendar, the date 11 Nov 2011 falls on 15 Zulhijjah 1432. This is the time when Muslims all over the world who performed the Haj in Mecca supposed to have finished their pilgrimage. Other than that, 11.11.11 has no significance or meaning in the Muslim calendar. According to Muslim, a date only has significance if it is based on certain events that is related to early Islamic history. Hence, an event is more important than the date itself. In conclusion, 11.11.11 is not an important day in the eyes of the Muslims.

 For the Chinese, date selection is something that was practised in ancient China, from selecting a date deemed auspicious for wedding or renovating one’s house to a day to have a haircut! In modern times, the majority of the Chinese population still practises this and still seek advice on good days to hold a major event such as a wedding, a date to deliver a baby via Caesarean section or even starting a business.

The Chinese tends to favour or reject certain numbers for how they sound. “8” is considered a good or prosperous number while “4” is unlucky or signifies destruction. “4” sounds like death for those who speak Mandarin or Cantonese dialect. Traditionally, the Chinese follows 2 types of calendars which are based on solar and lunar cycle. When the Chinese chooses a date, they also look at the stars that appear in the constellation of that date. So, six 1’s look special when they are in a row, but when they look at the stars, it doesn’t help specifically in any way.

Over to the Indian astrologist, the date 11.11.11 however holds special significance because it is a life path number, and it is one of the most powerful shifts in human awareness that people will experience in their lifetime. 11 Nov 2011 is believed to be auspicious for those getting married because this favourable day promises strong and everlasting unity, astrologically. Dwellers can also choose the date to start construction of a house, purchase a new property or vehicle and they will be blessed with success easily. People are also urged to purchase or invest in gold or silver and their wealth will multiply. Although 11 symbolises gain and divinity, when the date, month and year is added up, it totals up to 8, which is less favourable in numerology as it indicates that people will incur high expenditure and spend more money than normal days. Hmmmm..… I wonder this co-relates or contradicts the earlier statement : you’re advised to make investment on the day and your wealth will multiply but on the other hand, you’re told that you will spend more money compare to normal days. 

So, what does 11.11.11 holds for you? Was there any thing special happened to you on that day? A school mate of mine got registered to commemorate this special date. As for me, nothing much special happened to me. It just flows like any other day. However, at night, I went to watch the movie “Immortals” and guess what? When the show ended and I took out my handphone, the time shows 11:11pm. So, it was 11:11pm @ 11.11.11 when I finished watching the movie!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Arisan Taiwanese Fried Chicken – Yummy !!


This is another blog entry about food. Any Malaysian can swear by that food is everywhere and you can get food at any time of the day (or night). During my uni days in overseas, I really miss the the easy availability of food at any hour in my home country.

OK, back to the blog entry. This place was actually featured in “Everyday” – another site which offers daily discount coupons. The pictures in the featured article already set my tongue salivating with all the wonderful pictures of nice Taiwanese desserts and fried chicken. The deal itself is very attractive with a Arisan Taiwanese Fried Chicken + Desserts of Your Choice at only RM5.90!! It is said that this promo is 57% off is normal price of RM5.90. Since I have been studying at Subang Jaya area for nearly 3 years during my college and uni days, the location of this shop is not hard to find. Furthermore, having GPS and Google Map nowadays, is certainly making travelling and locating a certain spot much more easier. Without thinking any further, I bought myself the deal and waited patiently for a few days for the vouchers to be available for use.

IMG_0078 The very Oriental furniture in Arisan

 IMG_0076 Round marble stools along the 4-legged chairs

Reaching the shop around lunch time on a Saturday, there wasn’t a big crowd at the restaurant. I presume this is because Saturday is not a studying day at nearby colleges, hence, business slows down. The shop is well decorated and clean. The furnishing is done up in a very oriental manner whereby once you’re in, it will automatically gives you an impression that this shop serves Chinese food. The pictures hanged on the wall in the shop highlights the food that it serves.

IMG_0077 Service is fast here. The Owner I presume (left)

 IMG_0080 Walls decorated with printing of Arisan’s specialty

It didn’t take us very long to decide what we want as the menu is kept simple at Arisan. For our discount coupon, the chicken chop is already a fixed item. You only have to choose the type of ingredient you want for the dessert. The dessert is actually a bowl of either soya ice/ grass jelly or caramel ice topped with either green bean + lotus seed / sweet potato + barley / red bean + peanut / yam + red bean / kidney bean + pearl. So, all you have to do is choose a base and a topping to go with it.

The dessert arrived at our table in no time. I ordered the grass jelly + peanut while my wife ordered the green bean + lotus seed. This is the first time I tried this type of dessert though I understand there are a few shops in town offering the same thing. The serving is of decent proportion, just the right size for my appetite. The ingredients are cooked just nice. I’m not sure the what’s the actual name for the flour dough. It has a nice chewy texture.

IMG_0085 Green Bean + Lotus Seed

As for my bowl of red bean + peanut, personally, I would much prefer the salted uncooked peanut like those being served in ais kacang. Arisan’s peanut for this dessert is a bit soft for my liking.

IMG_0086 Red Bean + Peanut

Our plate of fried chicken took some time to be served. I guess they fried the chicken instantly as it’s still hot when served to our table. It reminds me of the chicken cutlet you get from Shilin, also another Taiwan eatery. The outer layer is fried to golden brown with a nice crispy texture. The cutlet is made using chicken breast, hence, you won’t be biting into bones. I do like the taste of Arisan’s Taiwanese fried chicken. However, one small complain I have is that they should have given more of the chilli / mayonnaise dipping. With the number of chicken pieces you get, the dipping is considered very little. Perhaps they should have provide a bottle of the dipping sauce on each table rather than giving out a small plate of dipping.

IMG_0087 Arisan Fried Chicken – thumbs up!!

Overall, the food served at Arisan is worth coming back for more in my opinion. There are some other offerings on the menu which I would definitely come back another round for a try.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Maiden Visit to National Science Center, Kuala Lumpur

The very next day after our visit to the National Zoo, we went on to visit the National Science Centre (NSC). This is my first visit to NSC. Even though NSC is located at Bukit Kiara, which is about 10 minutes drive from my house, I have not been to this place. Until recently where I changed job and my current office is at Mont’ Kiara (adjacent to Bukit Kiara) that I have decided to visit NSC since I drive by this building on my way to work every day. You won’t be able to miss the building as it has a dome shape rooftop.

Upon entering NSC, you will be welcomed by  some small fish tanks where kids (and adults too) can put their hands into the water and let the fishes nimble on your fingers. Kids will definitely enjoy the close encounter with the fishes. Moving on further, you will come across a tunnel-like aquarium where you can see fishes swimming around you. It’s like the Aquaria KLCC, where you will be surrounded by various types of fishes, big and small, well, mostly BIG. As I have mentioned in my previous blog, I am hopeless when it comes to naming of fishes. Hence, I will skip the part of telling you what type of fishes you can find here :-)

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 I guess I can only name sting rays.. One of the only type of fish I can name ;-)

Though the tunnel is not very long ( I think less than 50 feet or so), it has many varieties of fishes for the visitors to awe at. After the marine exhibition, you will come across instruments run by air and water. The exhibits in NSC are very engaging in the sense that visitors get to experience themselves the items or instruments on display. One gets to play with the items being exhibit and learnt about the process which creates the phenomenon explained on the exhibits. I like the air harp. By running your fingers through the invisible “strings” on the harp, it generates musical cords like a real harp.

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The Air Harp with its “invisible” strings – nice ! 

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After playing with harp, I went to the next display behind the harp which is a orb which emits static charges when you place your palm on it. It’s like watching some sci-fi movie where you see flashes of colour lights

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 It’s like watching a sci-fi movie here

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Next, we entered an AV room which attracted lots of attention with its different music blaring around us. It’s a dark room with some colour light bulbs shining onto the floor. As you stand on any of the spots shined by the light bulbs onto the floor, the music will stop. The light is like some motion censor where it will cut off the music if it detects any thing blocking it’s light path. Clarisse took the opportunity to show off another of her “Bond girl” pose in the dark room !

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 The “Bond” pose

Apart from the scientific exhibits, there is also a play area for kids. Sort of like a mini playground at the concourse area of NSC.

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Row, row, row your boat..

The current main attraction at NSC is the Dinosaurs. I have a hard time explaining to Clarisse what a dinosaur is since she’s only 2.5 years old. *Phew! Sweating!* Seeing a gigantic T-Rex swinging its head left and right is definitely overwhelming for a kid like her. She’s curious to know what this creature is.

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 See me ROAR !!

As it was about mid-day when we finished with all the exhibits at the ground floor, we quickly moved to the upper floor to look at the other remaining exhibits. The 1st floor houses the remaining dinosaur exhibits. Inside a dimly-litted area, there are around 10 dinosaurs on display in various pose and positions. The ferocious T-Rex is seen eating its prey, Tricerotop guarding its eggs, Stegosaurus doing dunno what ~.~. The information of each dinosaur makes it an interesting stop at each of these extinct giant being. There are also some facts and figures pasted on the wall to further highlight the superiority of each dinosaur.

2011-09-18 12.31.40 2011-09-18 12.30.25

2011-09-18 12.30.46  2011-09-18 12.33.44

2011-09-18 12.32.32 2011-09-18 12.33.11

 2011-09-18 12.35.42 2011-09-18 12.34.41

The mean machines of the past !

Overall, I think the displays in NSC can be further improved as some of the exhibits are not functioning properly or if they have a guide to explain the science behind the displays would be great. Given it being a big exhibition area, the floor space can be better utilised too with better segmentation of various exhibits. I find that floor space is not properly divided into pathways where visitors can follow a route to the exhibits. Currently, there are many pathways and at times, one may miss out certain part of the centre. At least this visit to NSC has satisfied my curiosity of this building which I pass by everyday to work :-)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

National Zoo

I have planned this trip for quite some time. Have always wanted to bring Clarisse to look at animals in the zoo. Hence, last week, coinciding with the Malaysia Day national holidays, I took the opportunity to bring my family to Zoo Negara (Malaysia’s National Zoo). From my house, it’s less than 30 kilometres away to the Zoo Negara. The driving journey, including some traffic jam, takes around 30 minutes to the zoo. Personally, I have not been to the zoo since my schooling days. So, the last time I have stepped foot into Zoo Negara was more than 20 years.

Ticket price for Zoo Negara is RM25 for Malaysian and RM35 for Non-Malaysian. Kids are charged RM9 with Malaysian ID and RM18 for non-Malaysian. I would not think the price is hefty considering the amount of food which is needed to feed the animals daily and zoo does not get visitors by the hundreds or thousands daily. 

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 Entrance to Zoo Negara

The entrance to the zoo is well managed from what I see, perhaps because it’s not school holidays season and visitors’ number is still manageable. The facade looks well maintained as well with the coat of paints on the walls still look new.

Our first visit was to the primate areas where different varieties of monkeys and apes. Clarisse was amazed by the gibbons with different colours all in 1 cage. Now, come to think of it, I don’t recall seeing chimpanzees. Do they have chimpanzees in Zoo Negara? Have anyone seen them in our zoo?

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 3 gibbons playing together

 Neighbouring the primates are the our national bird, the hornbill. There are also a few varieties of hornbills showcased by Zoo Negara. Besides the usual ones that we see in Sarawak, there is also a white-crowned hornbill which I find kinda interesting and majestic.

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 2011-09-17 11.50.28

 Hornbill – Malaysia’s national bird & the White-Crowned Hornbill

Moving on from the hornbill, we went to see the domestic animals. The miniature horse caught our attention with its nice brown and white fur. To add on it, we’re used to see tall, muscular horses, not miniature ones. This miniature horse certainly attracted lots of attention as we can see scores of people petting its head. It’s definitely basking on all the attention it’s getting.

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The miniature horse

The rabbits with its different fur colours also attracted lots of attention but unfortunately, these are rabbits which you can usually find in local shops and not those long-ear rabbits which are much bigger in size.

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 Rabbits, lots of them but mostly are camera shy

The aquarium section is also a main draw for the zoo as it has penguins on display. I am amazed by the speed a penguin can swim. Looking through the glass aquarium, you can see for yourself how fast and agile a penguin is underwater. It’s almost like the penguin is gliding underwater as to how a bird glides in the sky.

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Penguin on the lookout for Batman

When it comes to fishes, it’s really a challenge for me. I hardly know the names of fishes and I do not find fishes any interesting at all except for how big they can grow up to in the water. The sizes that some fishes can grow up to are certainly many, many more times bigger than what you are being served in a restaurant.

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 Name of Fish 1 : Dunno, Fish 2 : Also dunno

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With so many fishes around, surely I wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity for photo taking with Clarisse and the fishes even though I won’t be able to name them :-)

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 Once a United, always a United and PEACE !!

 After visiting the aquarium area, we took a quick lunch break and then proceeded to the dry land where we came across the giant tortoise and hippopotamus. I am fascinated to see such huge tortoises carrying such a big load on their back. Am sure the shell must weigh a lot more than its body. The hippos are true to their nature than they hardly move, like the alligators. All staying still in the water like statues.

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 Help, I’m having backache !!

 Of all the beasts in the animal kingdom, I like tigers the most. Perhaps it’s due to its combination of black and orange which I find making the beast very outstanding. Hence whenever I’m at a zoo, I would definitely look for tigers. When I reached the tigers’ area in Zoo Negara, I was lucky to see some active tigers. None of them were napping. In fact, 2 tigers were playing with each other while we were there. It’s nice to see them enjoying each other’s company.

2011-09-17 13.47.01         Yipee, have reached the tiger’s section in the zoo…..

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 The 2 tigers playing with each other

After the tigers, we saw some many storks at a nearby lake. All of them enjoying the cloudy afternoon. We took the opportunity to walk close by the storks and took some close shots of them. I am not sure though whether these storks are permanent birds of the zoo or they are migrating birds who are currently in Malaysia. Hmm.. should have asked them for their passports for verification..

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 2 “stalkers” by the side of the lake

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 More “stalkers” on the trees

After saying goodbyes to the “stalkers” storks, we reached to the homes of my daughter’s favourite animal – the elephants! There’s someone who sells sugarcane by the side for RM3. A few visitors bought the sugar cane and feed these giant mammals. One of the elephants is so smart that after taking 1 sugar cane, it leaves the sugar cane by the side and asked for more. Only when there’s no more handouts from the visitors that the elephant went back to eat the sugar canes which it has gathered earlier. The elephant was the only animal which Clarisse mentioned over and over again after we have left the zoo. She also took a picture with the elephant.

 2011-09-17 14.21.10

This is the smart elephant which asked and gathered sugar canes

The giraffes are the neighbours for the elephants. I like giraffes too for their spots on their bodies, similar to those of a leopard. We also took some photographs with this tall animal. Wonder if I would have the chance to go to the Savannah are one day to see theses animals in the wild and in their natural habitat.

2011-09-17 14.25.52    The tallest residents of Zoo Negara

After spending close to 3 hours in the zoo, it’s time to say “bye bye”. I must say that we all enjoyed our zoo outing as the weather has been kind to us. It only started to rain after we left the zoo. It has been raining the last few days and I wouldn’t want the rain to spoil this trip, planned specially for Clarisse to see the animals in real life rather than in “reel life.


Saying goodbye to Zoo Negara

I wouldn’t be able to say when will be the next time I will visit Zoo Negara. Probably the next time I step foot into Zoo Negara, Clarisse will be bringing her kids with her, who knows?? The following day, we all went to the National Science Centre but that will be told in another blog.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Malaysian International Franchise Fair

Last week, a Malaysian International Franchise Fair was held at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC). At the same day and same venue, there were also a PC Expo and 2 other exhibitions. So, there was quite a fair bit of crowd at PWTC over the weekend.

I played tag along with an ex-colleague who is keen to venture into her own business after being tired of working for others. Basically, it was a visit to the fair with an intention to source for something interesting and worthwhile exploring further. Franchising a business can be said to be a safer bet to start off a business since the brand and the business has already being established. There is already a market for the business and potentially ready clients.

Upon arriving at PWTC, we followed the directional sign and headed to third floor where the fair is supposed to be. When we wanted to enter the fair, we were stopped by the security personnel for not having a visitor's pass (doh!). We were intucted to head to ground floor and register ourselves in order to get a entry pass. While filling up the form, I realised that I ran out of my own business card. Luckily I have 2 of my suppliers' cards. I passed on my supplier's card as mine and gained myself an entry pass (hehe!!). "Hello Mr Hong!", my partner to the fair teased me.

Once we have stepped into the fair, we were quickly disappointed. We were expecting a big show but the number of participants for the fair were really pathetic. There were so few exhibitors to be really calling this an international franchise fair! What happened to a few notable franchisors? I did not see Old Town Cafe, 1901 Hotdog or even Nelson Corn-in-a-Cup! All I see were some lesser known or second tier franchisors' booths.

Consumer Tribunal staff ready to advise those who wants to know more

Anyway, since we have arrived at the fair, we took a tour round the exhibition hall and visited the booths there. We stopped at a frozen yogurt franchisor's booth since healthy food stuff like yogurt is an "in-thing" now. A few frozen yogurt operators have been operating in town lately. Tutti Frutti is one of the bigger frozen yogurt chain in town. I was surprised to know that the Malaysian franchise for this American yogurt brand was secured by NAZA Group. I have tried a few yogurt outlets in Klang Valley, namely Froyo, Snogurt & Tutti Frutti. I must say that I simply love this healthy dessert but the price in rather on the high side in Malaysia.

Marry Brown's booth

DSC01886 Daily Fresh's van is doing brisk business while looking for potential franchisee

Daily Fresh set up a van selling its food & beverages while inviting potential visitors to enquire about their franchise scheme.

Moving around the hall was not an issue since it was not drawing huge crowd. I bet the PC Expo a floor below attracted more visitors that this fair. Overall, I estimated that there were less than 100 exhibitors in the fair, probably closer to 70. What also surprised me was that except for 1 banker, no other banks took part in this fair. I would have thought that banks would be interested in extending loans and financial services to those who are keen to take up a franchise. Also missing were agencies who could provide foreign workers' services to the franchisee. Would it not make sense to have an agency who can provide manpower solution to the franchisee to be at this fair? I am STUMPED! Were the exhibitor or the relevant ministry not putting enough effort in getting quality exhibitors?

Anyway, visiting the fair was a good experience for me since I managed to get some information pertaining to franchise as well as brochures on information for intellectual property. Will definitely take some time out to read those leaflets before they start to collect dust ;-)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dinner at Home’s Kitchen

My GPS was misdirecting me when I was in Puchong. It took me quite a while to get to the exact location of Home’s Kitchen….

After an afternoon of house-keeping workout in my wife’s apartment at Villa Pavillion, we decided to give it a try of the food in Home’s Kitchen which I bought a few weeks ago from Groupon. The deal was

3-Course Chinese Meal for 2 at Home’s Kitchen for RM20 instead of RM46

The food looks great and since I hardly dine at Puchong area, this deal is a reason for me to explore the nice food that Puchong area offers. There was a pang of sceptical though on the price of the deal. Surely, by looking at the 3 dishes being served, I don’t think the meal going to cost RM46 if you ordered them ala carte. For a plate of stir-fry vege, a tofu and a fish curry, I would think RM35-40 would be a decent price to pay (including rice and tax).

Putting my doubts aside, I bought 3 coupons for this meal. But, for this round, I wanna try out the food here first before getting the rest of my family members to Home’s Kitchen and try out their food.

Again, this forgetful chap has left his camera at home and not able to take personal photos of this restaurant. I resolved to taking the pictures from Groupon to blog about the food here…


We arrived at Home’s Kitchen around 6:10pm, rather early for dinner but this place was already serving 4 tables of hungry diners. I didn’t count exactly how many tables the restaurant sits but I roughly estimated around 10 tables (round and rectangle included) inside the restaurant while those who prefer to dine alfresco, one can opt to sit outside the restaurant (3 tables available). As I was sitting down and showing my coupon to the waitress, my eyes were scouting around the place and looking at the deco. Home’s Kitchen has simple deco, not lavishly furnished. The wall behind the cashier counters hanged 2 photos of the owner, taken with some hosts of local food programme. The furniture are very oriental feel with marble top tables matched with Chinese wooden chair. The place does evoke some Oriental feel with these furnishings.

Service was fast though! In less than 10 minutes, the food, drinks and rice arrived. First to come were the tofu and stir-fry vege.


Tofu with minced meat, shallots, dried prawns

The tofu looked very appetising. It was deep-fried on the outside and very soft on the inside. The tofu was specially made with egg to give it an even smoother texture and you will find some small bits of century egg in it too. The tofu came with a gravy of light soya sauce and oil as a base. It was topped with spring onions. and garnished with lettuce.


Stir-fry vege

The stir fry vege (kangkung) was a said to be cooked in home made sauce (tasted more like oyster sauce to me though). The vege was a bit overcooked. I like my kangkung with some ‘springy’ feel. It would have tasted better if there was cooked with less gravy and with some belacan to give it more ‘kick’.


Last dish to arrive was the fish curry. The fish head curry came in a a claypot which is how normally fish curry is being served in restaurants. The fish came in small, bite size pieces. Besides the fish slices, there were also bean curds (tau fu pok), lady’s fingers and tomato. The fish curry was a disappointment though as it lacked spiciness. The curry also looked watery. The colour of the curry certainly was far away from the photo here.

Here’s my overall rating of Home’s Kitchen :-

Location 3/5 (If you’re not familiar with Puchong area, a GPS would come in handy since Home’s Kitchen is not facing main road)
Ambient 4/5 (Despite the minimal decoration, the tables and chairs certainly give you an Oriental, homely feel)
Food Price N/A (Since all my dishes were from the discounted coupon, I didn’t order anything from the menu except drinks)
Food Quality 3/5

While waiting for my wife to finish her food, I realised that the pictures on the glass entrance door were actually decorated with photos of the food which were featured in the discount coupon which I bought. The only other dish featured which was not in my coupon is the spare ribs. The next time I come over, I will certainly order this dish to try out. It certainly looks very tasty from the photo. Yummy!