Friday, August 26, 2016

[Bali, Indonesia 2014] Kuta Beach

Photo By: Elin Chow

I was told that a trip to Bali is not complete without visiting the famed Kuta Beach. Located just a 15 minutes drive away from Ngurah Rai International Airport. the five-miles long stretch of Kuta Beach is the tourist mecca of Bali, particularly popular among the young and adventurous Australians due to its proximity to Perth in Australia.

Kuta Beach is located in the heart of Kuta, a prosperous resort town dominated by a wide range of restaurants, open-air pubs and bars, shops, massage centers, convenience stores, hotels providing different accommodation options and other amenities specifically targeted to tourists.

Once a simple and quiet fishing village, Kuta has transformed to a thriving tourist town where all the shopping, eating and partying take place. It has become a place of expensive restaurants, luxurious hotels and wild nightlife - great for people who enjoy endless parties and drinking.

For our trip, we have decided to use Kuta as a base to travel around Bali. Its central location allowed us to access to many of the attractions in Bali easily. Furthermore, Kuta also offers a wide range of accommodation options that suit different needs and budgets.From modest home stay costing only a few dollars a night to luxurious five-star international hotels costing a few hundreds to a few thousand dollars a night. So it was not difficult for us to find a decent hotel in a convenient location that was within our budget.

Kuta is not the real Bali. In fact, Kuta might spoil your Bali experience greatly and leave you utterly disappointed. Traffic in Kuta is crazy and chaotic. The road is constantly busy with motor scooters, metered taxis and private cars. Due to slow moving traffic and traffic congestion, it took us 45 minutes to get from Ngurah Rai International Airport to Kuta area.  Instead of signals, most drivers tend to honk their vehicles when they are overtaking or driving around blind spots or intersections. As a result, the roads are usually very noisy from all the honking vehicles.

Bali, or in particular, the Kuta area, has become too overly commercialized in the recent years due to its popularity. Arriving at Kuta, most people would be surprised that this is not the beautiful paradise that they were somehow expecting. It is constantly overrun with tourists, motor vehicles and shops. Venturing out of Kuta, you will be able to experience the authentic and peaceful side of Bali. The holiday paradise that you will want to return again and again. 

The streets around Kuta area are lined with shops and market stalls selling everything from beachwear, handicrafts, jewelries, surfing accessories, sunglasses and typical tourists souvenirs.

Once a holiday paradise, Kuta is now ruined by over-development and mass tourism. Kuta has lost much of its authenticity, character and uniqueness. It is apparent that Balinese are "forced" to change and adapt to the western culture. We were surprised that there was even McDonalds, KFC, Starbucks and Pizza available on the island.

Kuta beach is located just a mere walk across the road, facing rows of dining outlets and open-air bars and pubs which blast loud music all day and night. The entire street is well known for being a center of nightlife action where excessive drinking and dancing take place.This was definitely not the place for non party-goers like us.

A two-meter tall, Balinese-style white sandstone wall was built along the road to block the sand from blowing to the cafes and restaurants. While the beach-goers think that the wall has helped to dampen the noises from the congested traffic, the non beach-goers actually dislike it because it blocks the beach view completely.

Kuta beach is certainly not the most beautiful beach in Bali, but it is the biggest. busiest and most touristy beach that you will probably find on the island. It is the center of tourist activities in Kuta where both locals and tourists visit everyday for swimming, surfing and other recreation activities. The sand was soft and fine, but unfortunately not powdery white, and the waters was not crystal clear.

You might be surprised and wonder why such a massive group of tourists still swarm to the beach every single day. Well, its popularity is largely due to its strategic location, which makes it easily accessible to the crowds. In fact, we have noticed that most people who visited Kuta beach were mainly either party travelers, first-timer travelers or budget travelers.

There were plentiful of beach chairs, sun loungers and umbrella available for rent for you to stay cool at the beach.

Being the center of tourism, Kuta Beach is always crowded with tourists and local people. The beach is huge, so the crowds are usually widely spread out. Some parts of the beach were quite empty while others were constantly packed. It was not difficult for us to find a spot at the beach to sit and relax. But this is certainly not a place where you can relax in peace and quiet.

All along the beach, there were vendors offering either massages or hair braiding services and touts trying to sell you their wares. But luckily, they were generally not aggressive or rude. Most of them usually would not pester you once you said you are not interested.

It is without a doubt that mass tourism has a negative impact on the environment. The beach is suffering from beach erosion and coastal pollution. There were trashes all along the coast, especially during the rainy season. But tourists were not entirely to blame for the piles of garbage found along the coast.

Locals are known to dump their trashes into the river, which flows out to the sea and get washed up to the shores during the rainy season, transforming the tropical paradise into a trash centre. Although locals are putting in the effort to clean up the beach, unfortunately they are unable to keep up with the volume of waste. It is so much that bulldozers have to be used to collect the trashes.

The beach can be clean or an absolute dump, depending whether you are lucky or not. I guess we were really lucky because the trash problem was not as bad when we visited the beach in September. It is important to educate the locals not to dump their trashes into the rivers because it does not only pollute the environment but also affect the tourism industry.

But that does not mean that you have to avoid visiting Kuta Beach completely. Kuta Beach is still great holiday beach for relaxing or simply take a walk.Vendors are prohibited to sell food at the beach in order to keep it clean. But they are allowed to sell beverages and souvenirs.

Kuta beach is alive and full of action at any time of the day. You can either enjoy relaxing on a sun lounger under the shade of an umbrella or put your towels or beach mat down on the sand, lie down and soak up some sun while time drifts away.

Other than that, you can also spend your day at the beach swimming, surfing, playing beach volleyball or simply take a romantic stroll along the long sandy beach with your loved ones at sunset. Children will also enjoy building sandcastles on the beach under adult supervision and care.

Offering consistent magnificent surf waves throughout the year, the beach is a surfer's paradise. The waves are high and currents are strong - great for both beginners and intermediate surfers.Numerous international surfing competitions are also held at the beach every year.

Although the beach is a great spot for surfing, it is unfortunately, not suitable for swimming. The beach has strong rips, even close to the shore that often catch people off the guards.

There were yellow and red flags placed all along the beach to warn tourists of big and powerful waves. Make sure you swim in between the yellow and red flags only. Do not swim too far off the shores as the undercurrents are strong and inconsistent. Even though the waters might look deceptively tame, dangerous rip currents can still sweep you out to the sea before anyone can rescue you. Even shallow waters can still drown you when the sand suddenly fall away, when knee-deep waters instantly become head high.

Kuta Beach is famous for its spectacular sunset. The beach is also known as the Sunset Beach simply because you can see sunset every evening. 

Every evening, hundreds and thousands of people flock and gather at the beach to watch the sun disappear over the horizon. That was also when the beach is the most crowded with people carrying cameras and tripods, eager to capture that beautiful moment.

We spent our every of our evening at the beach, waiting for the sun to disappear beyond the horizon. Amazingly, the Sunset Beach really lives up to its name because we get to enjoy a wonderful sunset every evening.

It was fascinating to watch the crimson sun gradually descend behind the clouds, into the sea. 

Kuta is probably a great place to start and end your Bali trip due to its proximity of the airport. True, mass tourism and over-commecialization have given Kuta a bad reputation over the recent years. But that does not make Kuta not worth visiting at all.

Kuta has an energetic and chaotic vibe. Some people will love it while some will hate it. Kuta is not just about partying, drinking and dancing. There are certainly much more to do in Kuta. Although hectic, Kuta has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. We did not encounter any aggressive or annoying touts during our entire stay in Kuta.  In fact, its convenient location offers easy access to all modes of transportation, cheap food, shopping and entertainment.

Kuta Beach is great - long, wide and sandy, but not rocky. Although far from stunning, it was still decent. Of course, there are much more beautiful and quieter beaches in Bali. As I said earlier, Kuta is not the real Bali. To experience the real Bali, I would recommend anyone to venture out of Kuta. Once you get out of the main tourist drag of Kuta, I can ensure you that you will find the beautiful holiday paradise that you will fall in love with.

If you are interested to know more about our trip, you may want to check out our 6D5N Bali Trip Itinerary + Overview for the list of attractions that we had visited during our 6 days in Bali. Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for the latest updates on my 6 days adventures in Bali! You might also want to check My Wanderlust page for some of my other travel adventures.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

[Bali, Indonesia 2014] Dolphins Watching @ Lovina Beach

Photo By: Elin Chow

We set off early in the morning at 2.30 am from our hotel in Kuta to Lovina beach, a famous beach located in the northern part of Bali. The entire drive from Kuta to Lovina took about 3 hours, where we drove across the mountainous regions of central Bali. It was a tough drive and ride. The road that leads to Lovina is extremely narrow and winding, allowing only a vehicle to pass at a time. Throughout the drive, the road journey was very bumpy and uncomfortable. I was already feeling terrible due to insufficient sleep. But the tedious car ride has made me felt even more terrible. I felt horribly dizzy and nauseous.

Away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds, Lovina Beach is a laid back town made famous by its wild dolphins sightings. The little town is less developed and less crowded than other areas in Bali. Unlike modern Kuta, no traffic jam exists in Lovina. It is a popular destination for budget travelers because it is cheaper and more relaxed. However, the dolphins watching tours remain one of the top reason why tourists visit Lovina.

Having said so, the wild dolphin tour was apparently, the main reason why we were willing to endure the tedious long drive from Kuta to Lovina. Dolphins in Lovina usually appear early in the morning, right at the moment when the first light of the sun rise over the horizon. The opportunity to see dolphins in their natural habitat is absolutely compelling.

We arrived at Lovina beach before 6 am and everywhere was cold and dark. The beach features black volcanic sands and calm sea water. Upon arrival, we were introduced to a boatman, who greeted us with a big smile.

The waters at Lovina Beach is very calm with coconut trees planted throughout the beach, which makes it a great place to watch the dolphins in its natural habitat. In order to see the dolphins, you will need to hire a motorized outrigger boat and head out to the middle of the sea before dawn. There are plenty of operators or boatmen offering their boats for dolphins watching tours in Lovina.

However, there is no guarantee that you will be able to see the dolphins in the wild. It is a matter of chance, and is hugely dependent on the weather conditions and seasons. Apparently, the better the weather is, the better the chance you will get see the dolphins.

Even so, dolphins sighting is usually a daily occurrence year-round in Lovina. The large shrimp population along the coast attracts the dolphins, thus the chances of seeing them is actually quite high.

As soon as the sky turned bright red orange, we boarded the motorized outrigger boat and left the beach well before dawn. Once we were aboard, we were asked to put on the life jackets for safety in case we fell out during the ride.

We managed to catch a beautiful sunrise while we sailed across the crystal clear waters to the middle of the sea. This was also my first time seeing a sunrise. It was breathtakingly beautiful.

To be able to catch the beautiful sunrise is itself a very rewarding experience. It was fascinating to watch the color of the sky change gradually as the sun slowly rise behind the mountains. The summits of the surrounding mountains appear softly and vaguely against the orange-red glowing sky.

Somewhere in the middle of the sea, we were surprised to see hundreds of other boats, all waiting to see dolphins. Slowing down, our boatmen carefully navigate the boat around while scanning the horizon for dorsal fins.

We encountered the dolphins right at the first light. "Look, dolphins", our boatmen pointed us to the splashing direction not far ahead. A dorsal fins appeared above the water's surface followed by a whip of a tail. But it disappeared quickly before I could capture it with my camera. Seconds later, it resurfaced again, but this time, it is joined by another one.

As the sun gradually rises over the mountains, the dolphins began to surface one after another, only to disappear quickly again under the waters right before I could press the shutter button on my camera.

As the morning progressed, the boatmen kept a close watch on the behavior of other groups of boats, waiting for more dolphins to surface. Once spotted, almost all the boats around us will start to accelerate towards the group of dolphins, trying to get a better view of them.

Suddenly, we were surrounded by hundreds of dolphins that seemed to appear from out of nowhere to play. I could not describe my excitement as I watched silently in fascination while the dolphins dive in and out the waters in sync, jumping and leaping gracefully high up in the air as though trying to seek for our attention. But it is apparent that the number of boats have outnumbered the number of dolphins. I roughly counted and noticed that there were probably as much as 20 boats surrounding the same group of dolphins at the same time, chasing the poor mammals around the area.

The dolphins are fast and are constantly moving around, so it can be very difficult and challenging to capture a perfect shot. I have to hold onto the side of the boat with one hand and try capture photos of the dolphins with another.

Make sure you bring a good camera with a fast shutter. You might want to set your camera on continuous shooting mode to get a sequence of the dolphins performing somersaults or leaping high up in the air. If you have a zoom lens, you might want to bring it along too. Most of the boatmen will take you close enough to see the dolphins, but not close enough to touch. Having a zoom lens will ensure that you will get the clearest shot possible.

Most of the boats generally keep a safe distance from the dolphins, allowing space for them to swim freely. But some unethical ones would approach the dolphins directly, often blocking their paths or got too close to them.

I am glad that our boatman did not get too close to the dolphins or chase them too much. Once we got nearer to the dolphins, he turned off the engine and used the oar to paddle closer so as not to scare them off.  The noise from the engine may cause stress and harm to dolphins, which affects their feeding, breeding and resting habits.

Expertly maneuvered away from the crowds, our boatmen got us closer to the dolphins. Jumping and playing on the waves, a dolphin came and swam alongside our boat.

There three common species of dolphins inhabiting this area - Spinner dolphins, Spotted dolphins and Bottlenose dolphins. The Spinner dolphins are the most common species seen in this area.

I have seen plenty of dolphins in the aquarium before, but there is always something magical about seeing them in the wild.

Dolphin watching tourism can have a negative or even destructive impact on the mammals. I actually felt bad whenever I see dolphins being chased and harassed by motorized boats packed with tourists. It is apparent that dolphin watching activities have created a disturbance to their routine. The high number of dolphins watching boats may not only disrupt their natural behaviors, but harm the environment by discharging pollution and emitting noise. Due to the presence of dolphins watching boats, the dolphins would spent more time traveling and less time resting, socializing and feeding.

Even so, I would not want to discourage anyone from participating in the dolphins watching tour in Bali. It was an incredible experience that everyone should get to enjoy at least once in their lifetime.

After probably an hour and a half, we started to make our way back to the shore. As we sailed back to the shore, we enjoyed a great view of the entire stretch of Lovina Beach. The waters were also so clear that you can see the ocean floor.

All in all, the dolphin watching excursion is a great way to start our day in Bali. It was definitely worth to sacrifice our precious sleep time just to catch a glimpse of these heavenly wild creatures. This was certainly one of my most amazing and unforgettable experience in Bali.

If you are interested to know more about our trip, you may want to check out our 6D5N Bali Trip Itinerary + Overview for the list of attractions that we had visited during our 6 days in Bali. Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for the latest updates on my 6 days adventures in Bali! You might also want to check My Wanderlust page for some of my other travel adventures.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

An Unpleasant Dining Experience At Makan Kitchen @ Double Tree By Hilton Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Photo By: Elin Chow
Official Website: Makan Kitchen

My recent dining experience at Makan Kitchen, Double Tree By Hilton Hotel Kuala Lumpur was bad. This was perhaps, my worst dining experience at a 5-star establishment.

I seldom write reviews for my bad experiences at restaurants because I feel that it was not worth my time to, unless the bad experience have occurred repeatedly or the experience was just so bad that I felt a need to write and share about it.

Even so, I never like writing bad reviews, but was not afraid do so when warranted. Some people might think that I am just being too picky, but trust me, I am really not. I always believe that negative reviews can serve a positive purpose. They are honest feedback with constructive criticism, meant to help the company improve.

Our First Bad Experience

My company hosted our annual company dinner at Double Tree By Hilton Hotel Kuala Lumpur earlier this year and has experienced very poor service. Generally, we found the waiters serving us that night were not very well-trained and have very weak knowledge of service. For some reason, the waiters were always in a rush to clear our plates, even when we have not finished our food. Furthermore, they do not have the basic courtesy to ask before they remove the plates.

For every dish, there were lots of leftovers, which we did not have the chance to enjoy. The waiters will clear the entire plate of it away while we were still eating. When we asked them not to clear the leftovers on our tables, they showed their unhappiness to us.

We had a really unpleasant dining experience that night. The attitude of waiters were not friendly. They were in fact, unpleasantly rude. I understand that being a waiter is a difficult job, and it is impossible for them to control every element of the dining experience.

Even though the quality of service always play an important role in my dining experience, I do not usually complain about the poor service I have received unless it was really terrible. Unfortunately, this was. The level of service was utterly disappointing and definitely not up par for a 4/5 star hotel, especially if you consider the Hilton brand name.

So, after gathering opinions from colleagues, I wrote a feedback letter to the hotel expressing our disappointment in the service we received. The main purpose of the letter was not to ask for compensation, but rather, to bring this issue to their attention.

However, our experience was not entirely bad, considering the quality of food was actually good. The ballroom and tables were nicely decorated and the ambiance was excellent. We also expressed our appreciation to them for their tremendous effort in making our annual event a successful one and look forward to seeing an improvement in their services.

Our Second Bad Experience

My company received 10 complimentary Makan Kitchen dining vouchers from Double Tree By Hilton Hotel Kuala Lumpur to compensate for our unpleasant experience. Each voucher entitled to two persons to a buffet dinner at Makan Kitchen, which is the signature restaurant of Double Tree By Hilton Hotel. But unfortunately, it was not a very sincere apology.

The vouchers we received did not specify any terms and conditions, so we were not sure whether we can use them during the Ramadan period. We only knew that the vouchers will expire on 31st July 2016.

So we called Makan Kitchen to check whether we can use the dining vouchers during the Ramadan period, but as expected, we were not allowed to. After much discussion, we called Makan Kitchen again around Mid of May to make a dining reservation for 20 persons on a Friday night after the Ramadan period.

But we were told that we were not allowed to make our reservation under a company's name. The restaurant has requested us to provide 10 different names in order to make the reservation for 20 persons. Since they requested, we have no choice but to provide the 10 different names to them. Right before the call ended, we double confirmed our reservation details again before hanging up.

A week before the dinner, we called Makan Kitchen again to check on our reservation, and surprisingly, we were told that there were no reservation made under our names! In addition to that, we were also told that we were not allowed to use the vouchers on a Friday night. The vouchers can only be used on weekdays, from Monday to Thursday only. Now, we were feeling extremely angry because this was not previously mentioned to us when we called to make the reservation two months ago! We took the trouble to provide the 10 different names to them, only to be told that our reservation was not made.

Sometimes I really wonder whether the restaurant was just trying to make things difficult for us. I believe the purpose of complimentary vouchers is to compensate for our previous bad experience, and yet, they have made our experience gone from bad to worst.

Eventually, we managed to finalize our original reservation with them, visiting on a Friday night. But that was only after so much troubles we have went through.

Located at the 11th floor of Double Tree by Hilton hotel, Makan Kitchen offer buffet dinner from 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm daily and cost RM 125 per person (inclusive of 10% service and 6% GST).

I would say that this was by far, the worst dining experience I have ever had at a fairy well-established hotel brand. I was utterly disappointed with the quality of the food offered at the dinner buffet. Most of the food were cold and stale, and it seems like they have been left out for a while. Again, this was absolutely unacceptable for a Hilton establishment.

Well, as I have mentioned, I usually would not write about a bad dining experience. Having said that, I did not initially intended to write about my bad experience at Makan Kitchen too. But I believe that I have already given the hotel an opportunity to make things right, only to be disappointed once again.

I can accept that not every food offered at the buffet is tasty and delicious because I understand that not everyone is a great cook or chef. But I cannot accept food that were served cold and stale, especially when you are spending so much money to dine at a higher end restaurant.

Putting aside the quality of food, the overall layout of the restaurant is great. The restaurant is nice and spacious with plenty of seating to accommodate up to 350 diners.

The restaurant itself was rather empty, with one or two other tables occupied when we arrived. Every table was perfectly spaced out and divided by wooden screens to offer more privacy and comfort. The ambiance of the restaurant was very comfortable and relaxing with warm cozy lighting. Perfect for business dining, private get-together and family gathering.

The service was excellent and serving staffs were generally very polite and attentive. Water is topped up regularly and empty plates are cleared promptly. But as much as company, ambiance and service make a dining experience, so does food. It was sad that the quality of the food was low, definitely not up to 5 star hotel standards.

Ais Kacang

Makan Kitchen is specially dedicated to serving traditional local Malaysian cuisines. The restaurant buffet dinner generally consists of three open interactive live kitchens offering not only a sprawling spread of Chinese, Malay and Indian cuisines, but also authentic Perankan, Kristang and Iban specialties from other parts of Malaysia.

Offering more than 80 local dishes, this is certainly great place to sample a variety of authentic Malaysian food and experience the real taste of Malaysia.

Stepping in, we were excited to find a colorful pushcart standing at the right near the entrance of the restaurant, offering freshly made Ais Kacang (or Ice Kacang) - a shaved ice dessert topped with a variety of toppings like sweet corn, red beans, grass jelly, palm sugar syrup and evaporated milk.

A variety of toppings or an ice shaving machine is available to churn out the shaved ice so that we can make and customized our own bowl of Ais Kacang to our liking.

Fruits Station

Fruits Station offers a variety of freshly cut fruits like Dragon fruits, oranges, apples, papayas and pineapples.

Each plates of fruits were placed atop dry ice to keep it fresh for the night.

Quench your thirst with truly Malaysian drink "Teh Tarik". The drink is part of the buffet and is available without an additional charge. Drinking water is also provided free of charge to all diners.

Desserts Staion

Desserts Station offers both local and western-style desserts to satisfy every cravings.

We get to enjoy an assortment of sinfully sweet items - ranging from cakes to mousse, fruit tarts to marshmallows with chocolates dips.

Besides that, there were also traditional Malay and Nyonya desserts like Ang Koo Kueh, Chwee Kueh, Kuih Gulung, Onde Onde and many others. I always love traditional Malay and Nyonya desserts very much. However, these were very disappointing. In fact, all the desserts offered at the Desserts Station were terrible. Most of them were cold and hard - certainly does not taste fresh at all. They were definitely not a delight to eat.

Other than pastries, the Dessert Station also offer a handful of flavored ice cream.  We were free to pick and mix the flavors we would like to have at the Station.

We can add delight and a creative touch to our ice cream with a variety of toppings.

Salad Station

The Salad Station includes various selection of raw greens, sliced cucumbers, capsicum and salad dressings.

In addition to that. the Salad Station also offers a variety of Ulam, or traditional Malay style salads - tossed with seafood like mussels and shrimps. But unfortunately, I am not a fan of Malay Ulam.

Cold Seafood Station

Comparing to many other hotel buffets that I have been to, Makan Kitchen offers very limited selections of cold seafood, There was also a mini sushi bar offering one or two choices of sushi, which unfortunately. does not look too appealing at all.

Malay Kitchen

The Malay kitchen dominates the main dining area. We were seated at a corner in the main dining area, but were allowed to move freely among the other areas. All the kitchens feature live cooking stations where food are freshly prepared. As we walked pass, it is not hard to see a team of chefs busily preparing the food in the respective kitchens, which really made me wonder why most of dishes are still served cold.

The Malay Kitchen does not offer too not much selections to choose from. I could find much to eat in this section. Most of the chicken and seafood dishes served offered at Malay Kitchen were cold, dry and hard to eat.

Noodles Station

The Malay Kitchen includes a noodle station where we get order our choice of noodles and soups.

We also get to choose the various ingredients (fishcake, fish balls, bean sprouts) to be added to the noodle soup.

Satay Station

Makan Kitchen has a Satay Station offering both chicken and beef satay, freshly grilled at a live cooking station. The Satay Station is very popular and all the satay are being snatched up fast once grilled. We immediately took several sticks to try the very moment that it was served.

The meat were very well-marinated and delightfully fragrant. Grilled to perfection, the meat were not over-burnt and too dry or greasy to eat. Satay is usually served with a creamy peanut sauce, onions, cucumbers and Ketupat (Malay rice cakes). The peanut sauce was wonderfully thick and aromatic, though quite oily.

The Indian Kitchen was undoubtedly my favorite because almost every food items we ate was tasty and hot.

Basically, you will get a choice of a few (or more) curries, crunchy papadum crackers, tandoori chicken,  roti canai and naan bread.

Although the variety was not not huge, most of the food items were delicious. I especially love the curry chicken and naan bread. Very well-cooked and nicely flavored. All in all, the Indian Kitchen offered fairly good quality food and a good variety.

Bread Station

There was a small Bread Station offering a very limited selections of breads and salads. Apparently, the breads were the only western fare offered at Makan Kitchen.

Chinese Kitchen 

The Chinese Kitchen is separated off from the main dining area, and initially we thought that it was a separate restaurant because it features its own seating areas.

I actually expected that the Chinese Kitchen will offer better quality food than the other kitchens, but disappointingly, it was not.

Just like the other kitchens, the Chinese Kitchen also offers very limited selections of food items for us to choose from, and most of it were pretty bland in taste.

But the separate seating area is just perfect for those who prefer extra privacy.

The Chinese Kitchen offers some of the famous Cantonese roasted meat dishes like roasted chicken, duck and chicken Char Siu. If you are wondering why the restaurant serve chicken Char Siu instead of pork, it is purely because Makan Kitchen is a Halal certified restaurant, and thus, do not serve any pork.  Of course, I prefer pork Char Siu more than the chicken ones. The chicken Char Siu is just taste weird to me.

The chicken, duck and Char Sius have been sliced to smaller pieces to be enjoyed, while several others were hang in the display windows until it is time for refiling. Under the incandescent lighting, the meat look really nice and delicious but unfortunately they were not. The taste of the meat were particularly bland and uninteresting.

For desserts, the Chinese Kitchen offers deep-fried sesame balls with Lotus paste filling, seafood rolls, crab meat and scallop soup and carrot soup. There was also a small selection of dim sums, but
nothing was particularly exceptional.

The Chinese Kitchen also offers local home-cooked wok-fried dishes, but none of it was super amazing. Yes, I can be  quite picky when it comes to Chinese food.

I always try to "Eat my money worth at an all-you-can-eat" buffet. But unfortunately that was not the case at Makan Kitchen. I did not eat much that night. It was not because that I felt full, but rather because I did not have the appetite to eat. The food were generally not appealing or tasty. I tried to sample a little of each dish, but nothing impressed me. Well, at least the satay and Indian food were good.

I actually like the concept of the buffet, but sadly, the quality of the food was not up to standard. Hopefully, Makan Kitchen can improve on that. It is lucky that we had the dinner buffet for free because it is really not worth the price. I will certainly not pay RM 125 to enjoy cold and stale food. There are much better food available down the streets for a third of the price.

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