Ramblings

[Review] 13 Stages Malaysia

Photo of 13 Stages' versions of coffee from Johor and Terengganu

So, in the forever quest for dinner places, the Bear and I hit Paradigm Mall last night. We ended up at a place called 13 Stages, which turned out to be a Singaporean-based brand.

What pulled us into 13 Stages were their claims of serving coffee from all 13 Malaysian states. However, when we went there for dinner, not everything on the menu was available – there were quite a few items that were listed as coming soon (including mini buttered mantou).

Tasting the food

image of a steamed chicken thigh with drumstick covered in a layer of ginger
I had the Imperial Chicken Rice (I think, forgot to take the name down properly). The rice is well-cooked and fragrant. It goes well with the sauce from the chicken. The chicken thigh was very soft and tender – I could tear it apart easily with my fork and spoon.

Despite its looks though, it was a little bland for my taste. I was actually expecting the smell and taste of the ginger to be stronger. However, this turned out to be a plus for me – for the first time I was actively mixing ginger into the chicken and rice and the flavours were very filling. It’s not as spicy as Bentong-style ginger chicken but it’s good enough.

Grilled tomyam chicken rice

This was an interestingly-flavoured dish. The chicken was crispy and served warm but the rice was a little cold. Despite its name though, the tomyam flavour was… missing. It was a bit spicy yes, but it lacked the tang and kick you would expect out of tomyam. The Bear found it so-so only.

Coffee verdict – Terengganu vs Johor

This was a very interesting matchup. The Terengganu coffee ended up being stronger in taste without the smoothness of milk that the Johor coffee had. Johor coffee, despite looking extremely milky, was actually very smooth and easy to drink, like a far better quality of the canned Nescafe coffee I usually have. Maybe the next time I’ll try the Perak coffee.

With that said, I ended up falling asleep easier than I expected so I’m not sure if the caffeine was too mild or is it my body acting weird… (I tend to stay awake far too late if I take coffee anywhere remotely near bedtime).

The menu in Malaysia and Singapore are named slightly differently. I noticed when researching that the Malaysian kitchen offers fried chicken, which isn’t talked about in Singapore, so I assume they don’t have it. 13 Stages Malaysia is also a full-service restaurant (somewhat) compared to the self-service places in Singapore. You sit down, write your orders on a piece of paper and then give it to a server (basically the same as every other HK-styled restaurant).

For the price and location, it’s actually pretty decent. Would I go again? Sure, it’s near me and it’ll fulfil the chicken rice craving when I don’t want to slog through the traffic to get to the Jalan Gasing chicken rice shops.

Would I recommend you coming out of your way to try this? Not right now. While the coffee is great, it’s not something you’d battle crazy traffic for. If you’ve got a few hours to kill or if you just wanna hang out with friends it’s a pretty good option though.

One great thing about the bill though: No service charge or tax (for now!).

As 13 Stages has only been open for a few days since I wrote this, I will probably check back again to see if they’ve improved. They have a lot of potential, but will definitely need to tweak the flavours to appeal to the Malaysian market, especially in a competitive foodie mall like Paradigm (can’t believe I just wrote that).

Gaming

A thought on GBF’s latest event

The world is on fire.

Let’s not kid ourselves. If you are an English speaker and spend any amount of time online, it’s hard not to miss the dumpster fire that is our world right now. A lot of rights are under threat or being co-opted by fascists, trolls and general pieces of shit that delight in making the world that much more miserable for the rest of us, sucking out any possible joy from the day.

Tear my heart out why don't you cygames

It’s hard not to just hunker down and hide yourself from the world, from showing any form of vulnerability to anyone just to protect yourself. If your work involves empathising with other human beings, any form of creative expression and in general just trying to make the world a better place, it’s hard not to wonder what’s the point of it all when you see the pedophiles running the place and the loonies stripping you of whatever dignity you had left.

Singing won't turn back time

In times of disaster, art cannot fill the belly. It is powerless in the physical world. It cannot adequately protect from the loss of a home.

Singing won't fill the belly

But to expect that of art is unfair. Art admits it cannot fill the belly. Art admits it is powerless in the face of physical upheaval and the force of nature.

But that is not art’s purpose. It never was.

One of the most amazing things about Granblue Fantasy’s (GBF) writing is that it never quite answers what art is supposed to mean. Everyone has a different (literally) view of art. In fact, in its current mini event, Thought in Song, GBF sends out a timely reminder to all those who pursue any form of creative endeavours, that they need to take care of themselves.

The entire storyline is an expression of love from the writers and designers to the community. It is a comforting message, and in days where people are being hounded because they dared to try to make others feel better, it steels you.

You are needed and wanted.

“We hear you.”

“We know it hurts.”

“We feel the pain, anger, hurt and confusion.”

“We are here for you.”

“We got you.”

Hey, we're here for you.

“We believe in you.”

Thank you, Granblue Fantasy writers, translators and whoever directed this. I needed to hear that.

Now excuse me while I go and sob ugligy. WHY DID YOU DO THAT TO PRECIOUS CARO WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY???? ;_;

Edited: Another reason why I love this storyline is because they make it an IMPORTANT POINT to show that art is not something you get by on sheer talent. No, you need to master the basics and practise over and over again until you get it right.

One of the key scenes involves a main character reminiscing about the time he first learnt to paint. There’s also numerous other scenes in Thought in Song where characters either practise or demonstrate the importance of practising.

In this case, literally, practise does make perfect!

Ramblings

Adventures with Junior

Blur Junior (1)

So.

Several weeks ago, I wrote about rescuing my dog Junior, from the drain. As it turns out, his latest adventure may have something to do with it.

Yesterday, when mom and I came back from dinner, Junior, as usual, woke up from his nap to greet us. He got to his feet, his head listing to one side as though to listen, took a few drunken steps… and then he slowly toppled over. We rushed in but he’d got to his feet, and though he was still listing a bit, he seemed fine.

Several minutes later and with lots of affectionate pettings later, he seemed to have recovered. Mom took him for a walk so he could do his business and at that point he seemed fine, though understandably he didn’t really want to spend time on his feet much after he came back and spent most of the time sitting or lying on his belly. I moved his water bowl closer to him and we left it at that for the night.

The next morning, he was still listing to one side and seemed a bit groggy. Google said last night Junior might be having vestibular syndrome, which seemed to match up with most of his symptoms, and so I decided to take him to the vet.

That was an adventure this morning. I knew he was not feeling too well when I left the gate open to prep for having him in the car – he didn’t run out and just chose to watch me. So once I’d put the papers in the front seat, I took him out for a quick walk – he went around in circles, stopped by here and there to do his business, but he was also making stops every so often which was unusual for him.

After that, I put him in the car and we drove to the vet’s. This was the first time I became aware of “floating” sensations when driving over bumps and the like, because he would whine and move in a somewhat panicked manner. Me talking to him and patting him whenever possible helped calm him down, I think?

So we got to the vet and because of where I parked, it was kind of a long walk. During that walk, he’d take frequent breaks, I think, to readjust and reorient himself. It was a case of 5 steps, stop, bask in attention (because he IS cute even though he’s geriatric in doggo years) and when we got to the vet he just didn’t want to go in.

The helper got him muzzled and carried him in. We gave him a bit of water but he didn’t want to drink. Doc examined him, giving him some meds to help with his digestion, vitamins (cause of age) and then two anti-inflammatory shots. He was surprisingly docile except for that moment when the doc lifted up his tail and Junior kind of panicked (he doesn’t like that).

The doc said that the fall he had a few weeks ago might have impaired his inner ear. Rest and vitamins were what he suggested. Besides missing a tooth, Junior was also in pretty good health… for a senior. :P

When we were done, I decided to walk him home instead of taking the car because he seemed traumatised by the car. Spoke a bit with the doc, said I’d be back to settle the bill, and then began walking him home.

Which turned out to be a bad decision. Let’s just say I had to pull him hard with the leash in some places because crossing the road was horrible and I felt bad. We made a bit more progress until at one point he decided to just stop moving. Pulling him with the leash was an effort because he simply wouldn’t budge.

Doggo halt (1)

In the end, I had to call mom for help (she was attending a church thing) and we loaded him into her car. Mom had no qualms picking him up and putting him in, but Junior struggled mightily because he had no sense of balance. By the time we got home, I think he was in tears.

When we took him out of the car and placed him back on the ground, he still refused to move or walk, so mom carried him into the house. When she placed him near the porch close to the gate, he literally kept going around in circles, so she carried him further in. By that time I think he was more comfortable at her manhandling him, so Junior didn’t struggle as much.

We gave him water and then went back to get my car. I paid the doctor, got further advice to either feed him wet food or moisten his dry food (he’s been taking pellets) and then came home to a doggo who wagged his tail at me while lying on the floor. I petted him some more, moved his water bowl closer to him and then went inside, stopping at the gate to observe him.

He finally began drinking more water, like deciding to douse his thirst.

Get well soon you rascal.