Chinese New Year 2018 in KL

It’s been 2 years in a row that we’ve been spending Chinese New Year in KL. It has now become a family tradition that I look forward to yearly, where the yummy cookies and pastries in red-topped jars abound and Chinese aunties stuff you silly with all their cooking (not complaining!).

Aside from the usual Chinese New Year tradition of seeing the cousins, tossing the Yee Sang, eating, drinking…and more eating and drinking, Arshad and I also celebrated our 4th year anniversary.

The weekend was well-spent revisiting the old and discovering something new. 

We went back to Villa Danieli, the resident Italian restaurant at Sheraton Imperial, where he proposed 5 years ago. We haven’t been back since, so we figured, 5 years is long enough and revisiting it was in order.

Us at Villa Danieli.jpeg

Bella and ze Hubs at Villa Danieli, Sheraton Imperial

Villa Danieli’s location is quite strategic, as the KL Tower is overlooking its outside patio.

I also loved the entrance’s styling and the restaurant’s glass-blown murano vases, lamp shades and the murals painted on the walls and ceilings. The ambience makes it very conducive for romantic dates.

Villa Danieli3

prossecoThe place reminded me of our nights in Florence and Venice when Arshad and I hopped from one restaurant to another, literally downing a bottle of prosecco each to chill ourselves during the hot and humid summer nights in Italy.

It was good that Villa Danieli had prosecco on the menu, as it was just appropriate to celebrate the occasion with something light and sparkling.

I had a better appreciation of this underrated bubbly during our trip to Italy and because of Nicky Pellegrino’s One Summer in Venice.

The food was also noteworthy. We shared the insalata di rucola (tossed arugula salad served with green apple slices, cherry tomatoes and gorgonzola dressing) and fungo portobello (oven baked mushroom with goat cheese served with cherry tomato confit and mixed salad).

Since the antipasti were already big plates, we decided to just share our main course of quattro formaggi, Villa Danieli’s take on the four-cheese pizza, delectably smoldered with mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmesan and taleggio cheese.


If you want a romantic dinner in the heart of the city with a good selection of wine, cheese and Italian food, Villa Danieli is highly recommended.

Villa Danieli details:

Address: Jalan Sultan Ismail, Chow Kit, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Hours: Opens 12PM

 Phone: +60 3-2717 9922

Mr & Ms pancakesFor the new find, I was specifically craving for pancakes. For months now, I’ve been craving for my Grandma’s pancakes and although I know nothing will ever come close, I still wanted to get my fix. Alas, I got it courtesy of Mr. and Ms. Cafe’.

The 3-layer pancake that I ordered came with banana and strawberry slices on top and blueberries on the side. I had the sweet butterscotch on the side, instead of drizzled on the pancake stack, so that I could control the sugar that I put.

Mr & Miss Spicy Baked Eggs and Sausages

Arshad, on the other hand, ordered the spicy baked eggs with chicken sausages. The baked eggs were topped with herbed chicken sausages, with sun-dried tomatoes, chilli padi (his favorite), potato hash and yogurt with bread on the side. Not bad for a hearty breakfast!

The ambience was also nice and inviting. The area of the cafe’ wasn’t that big but it’s definitely conducive for breakfast or if you just want to have coffee while reading or working on your Macbook.

Mr & Miss Cafe

Mr. and Ms. Cafe in Damansara

Their menu was also quite exhaustive: they have a lot of salads, quite a selection of pasta, risottos, sandwiches and burgers. I will definitely come again to try more food on the menu!

Mr & Ms

The Arshads enjoying their breakfast at Mr. and Ms. Cafe’

Mr. and Ms. Cafe details:

Address: Oasis Square, B-G-3A Block B, Jalan PJU 1A/7A, Ara Damansara, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Hours:  Opens 10AM

Phone: +60 3-7859 6665

Overall, Chinese New Year 2018 in KL was a blast! It’s a time to spend with family and friends, a time to revisit the old and a time to try something new.

Belated Gong Xi Fa Cai to everyone! May the Year of the Dog bring you good tidings and fortune.

Lemon Garden KL: Reopened and Revisited

Lemon Garden family brunch_wm

with my in-laws at Lemon Garden

Two words: buffet brunch. Our family loves buffet brunches and whenever Arshad and I would spend the weekend back in KL, this is definitely a must-do. Mum and Dad have countless membership cards for buffet brunches in hotels and even for credit card activation, this is one major consideration. Of course, Arshad and I are more than happy to ride on and use the memberships to our hearts’ (and tummies) content.

Last weekend, we went back to KL for a quick weekend break to celebrate Mum’s birthday. Since it’s her birthday, she had dibs on where we will celebrate and so Mum recommended we all go to Lemon Garden Cafe’ at the Shangri-La in KL. Lemon Garden closed for months late last year for renovation and was just newly reopened so we were all excited to go.

The ambiance was very warm and welcoming with hues of yellow, faithful to its brand
name. We arrived around lunch time and the place was packed! I guess it wasn’t just us who were excited to go back and try it.

The Intercontinental buffet spread was exhaustive: Malaysian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Italian-European. Being a pesco-vegetarian, a buffet spread wins if it has my awesome three:

  1. Seafood station with oysters 
  2. Cheese table 
  3. Fresh sashimi with every sashimi-able fish or seafood you can imagine

I’m glad to report that Lemon Garden has all so I’m one happy pesco-vego Bella!

The seafood station was excellent and the oysters were HUGE. The oysters didn’t have anything grainy-sandy when you eat them so they were carefully, professionally pried open and shucked.

Lemon Garden_my oyster plate_wm

Don’t even ask how many plates of oysters I wiped out!

Aside from the oysters, the rest of the seafood offering were also notably fresh: scallops, mussels, clams and king prawns.

Lemon Garden_seafood_wm

Lemon Garden’s seafood station

My next favorite in buffet brunches is the cheese spread. Although the cheese selection was quite limited, it had emmental (my favorite) and camembert by default. The rest of the cheese (I don’t remember all of their names) were exquisite-tasting, ranging from light and soft, to hard and flavorful-strong. My cheese and seafood platter were perfectly paired with Cloudy Bay, my default go-to Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

Unfortunately, the buffet brunch did not have an option for unlimited wine and champagne. Drinks were charged extra, but the restaurant had the usual decent wine and sparkling offerings on their menu.

The rest of the buffet spread was interesting. There was an area for roast chicken and duck. Although the duck ran out, Mum talked to the chef if it’s remotely possible to get another duck from the Chinese restaurant and they actually obliged! Yep, Mum has the gift of persuasion and Arshad was one happy camper!

Other dishes included dimsum, noodles, fish, roti and dahl, curries of all kinds, pasta, soup, salads, cold cuts and a lot more.

Another notable highlight is the dessert spread. The desserts were very good, from the cakes and ice cream to the local sweet fare: ice cendol and what do you know? They have durian cake! Durian is not for the faint of heart and since I’m one of those who actually enjoy it, I tried a slice of it which Dad actually reserved for me before it ran out. It was delicious with just a hint of durian flavor so it wasn’t overwhelming. It was perfect!

One tiny hiccup they had was the waiting time spent to get our bill. I don’t understand why, but we had to ask several waiters (not one, not two, but three!) to get our bill and it took them 45 minutes to send it over. Most of the customers were gone already by the time our bill was sent!

Sans the bill fiasco, it was a pleasant experience overall. Food was fresh, delicious and spot on. It was pesco-vegetarian friendly and with what we paid for, it was definitely worth it.

The buffet can be had at RM 140 per person, but our credit cards had a 50% off promo so it was just RM 70 per person for us. Even without the discount, it’s just P1,580++ or USD 32 roughly and for a buffet with an exhaustive spread, shut up and take mah money (or my husband’s)!

Will we ever go back? The question is: Why the hell not???

For more information on Lemon Garden Cafe:

Phone:   (60 3) 2074 3900



Lobby Level

Operating Hours

Operating Hours
6am – 11.30pm (daily)

Buffet Breakfast
6am – 10.30am (daily)

Buffet Lunch
12noon – 2.30pm (Monday – Friday)
12noon – 3pm (Saturday, Sunday and public holidays)

Buffet Dinner
6.30pm – 10.30pm (daily)

Dress Code


Smoking Policy

Smoking is not permitted in Lemon Garden.


Chinese New Year Celebration in KL: of family values and friendships


Rose’ at Hyde Bar

This year, I celebrated Chinese New Year with my husband and in-laws in KL, Malaysia.

It’s the first time I celebrated Chinese New Year in KL and this year, I really had to budge since my husband is up in arms already that I haven’t met his cousins on Mum’s side.

To manage my own expectations, I asked him what we were going to do during the 3-day weekend. The brief summary blithely given to me: eat, drink, gamble. Repeat. I’m not a fan of gambling so I pretty much stuck with eat, drink, eat, drink. Repeat.

Everything about the Chinese New Year revolved around family and friends.  New Year’s Eve is traditionally the reunion dinner where the extended family gather together to share a meal and catch up.  The married relatives distribute ang paos (Chinese red envelopes with money inside) to the remaining single cousins and the children of the family.

To open the reunion dinner, we all did the Prosperity Toss with Yee Sang, a Teochew-style raw fish salad (usually salmon) mixed with shredded vegetables and assorted sauces and condiments. Yee sang is the symbol of abundance, prosperity and good health. It is a ceremony wherein all the family members are given a pair of chopsticks and everyone surrounds the yee sang. We all started tossing and mixing the yee sang while we were all shouting our wishes and prayers for the year: good health, prosperity, promotion, boyfriend, girlfriend, wealthy husband for cousin Kristina, more trips abroad for the family, etc.


our yee sang during CNY eve reunion dinner

Admittedly, I enjoyed the yee sang experience because I never did that with my Chinese cousins and friends in Manila.

After the yee sang was tossed and after all the mess (the messier, the better, apparently, because you have to toss it very high up in the air), the entire family sits down for dinner where the yee sang is shared and the rest of the food is served.

CNY assorted cookies

CNY assorted cookies

Apart from all kinds of meat that you can think of, I noticed that there were A LOT of biscuits and cookies. And I mean A LOT. There were almond cookies, pineapple tarts,  butter cookies and other kinds of biscuits that I can’t even pronounced. I got particularly hooked with the pineapple tarts, I think I walloped half the jar!

Other observations about Chinese New Year specific to KL:

  • Chinese and Chinese-owned shops were closed for the entire weekend. Yes, even in the malls, they close down.  Unfortunately for me, even my favorite BMS Organics was closed. It was a good thing that we already had lunch there before the festivities.
  • There was NO traffic in KL and PJ. The streets were pretty quiet, there were less cars and people since most of them went back home to their respective towns and villages.
  • Fireworks were regulated in Malaysia. Apparently, it is prohibited for individuals to light their own firecrackers and the government is the one doing this in central locations.
  • Most of the restaurants in the shop lots are closed on New Year’s day but some bars are open, but only with bar food being served.
  • Friends are normally invited to lunches and dinners to eat, drink and gamble. It’s open house season!

At the end of the day, the universal thing about Chinese New Year is welcoming it together with family and friends, fully armed with optimism and well-wishes that the New Year will bring good fortune, good health and good tidings.

I hope everyone had a blast celebrating Chinese New Year. I sure hell did!

For more useful information and tips about celebrating Chinese New Year in Malaysia, here are some links:

Chinese New Year in Malaysia

Happy Chinese new year 2017 with golden rooster , animal symbol of new year 2017

Happy Chinese new year 2017 with golden rooster , animal symbol of new year 2017

Late last night, I flew in to KL, Malaysia to celebrate Chinese New Year here with family and friends.  It will be 3 days of food and drinks… and more food and drinks (Good luck to me losing the additional pounds from last Christmas!).

Tonight, we will be having the family reunion dinner at an Uncle’s home. It will be my first time to meet some of the cousins, too. The rest of the weekend will be spent with friends who I haven’t seen since November and a Sunday brunch with Mum and Dad (in-laws).

Malaysia is my 3rd most frequently visited country every year, as we come back to visit family and friends in Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Petaling Jaya (PJ). Our family and friends are mostly in PJ, so much of the activities this weekend will be here.

Aside from the CNY celebration and catching up, my one and only shopping mission for this trip is to visit BMS Organics, a restaurant cum grocery where I buy my organic supplements and organic make-up. Yes, they have organic make-up, since BMS is one of the official distributors of Benecos.

One thing I love about KL and PJ is that both cities are a haven for organic stores, produce and cosmetics! I will write about this later on, but for now, time to hit the road for a BMS lunch and splurge on my lipsticks!

Happy Year of the Rooster, everyone! Love and light this coming year!