Tag Archives: Malaysia

The real Couples Retreat: Malaysia’s beach mends rocky marriages

I wonder if this is where they got the idea for the newly-released movie, Couples Retreat.  In hopes of slowing the state’s soaring divorce rates, Terengganu, in north-east Malaysia, is offering troubled couples a three-day “second honeymoon” free of charge at one of its gorgeous beaches.  The offer is worth about US$440, and interested couples must apply, interview and agree to marital counseling.  So far, the Muslim-majority state has already done a pilot program with 25 couples, attempting to mend relationships on the brink of divorce.


“I want to strengthen family ties. If a marriage breaks down, it will hurt the children and it will have serious implications on society,” Ashaari Idris, a government official in Terengganu, said.

Growing up in Singapore–just an hour away from Malaysia–I can personally attest to the soothing power of Malaysia’s amazing beaches.  But I wonder if it’s really possible to fix a rocky marriage in just three days??




Malaysian McCurry wins battle with McDonald’s

mccurry McDonald’s, home of the American Big Mac, just lost its 8-year legal dispute with family-run curry shop McCurry on Tuesday.  According to McDonald’s, the Indian restaurant based in Kuala Lumpur had infringed on its trademark by using the “Mc” prefix.  “But the Federal Court in Kuala Lumpur ruled that there was no evidence to show McCurry was trying to pass itself off as part of the McDonald’s empire,” the Wall Street Journal writes.  This verdict means that McDonald’s officially no longer has an monopoly on the “Mc” prefix, so it looks like other “Mc” shops may start popping up.  In fact, the owner of McCurry is now planning to launch a chain of restaurants now that the legal fiasco is over.

Go McCurry!  Also, I personally think it would be awesome if McDonald’s served McCurry’s Malaysian favorite, fish-head curry!



Bourdain hails Singapore hawker centers foodie’s heaven

“If you love food, this might be the best place on earth,” celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain says of Singapore.  Bourdain, who has traveled to Singapore seven times, is a huge fan of hawker centers, or open-air food courts, which were the training ground for my foodie palate.


The hardest part about eating at hawker centers?  The abundance of choice.  Still, my favorite dish has to be Hokkien Mee, a delicious stir-fry of noodles, prawns, squid and pork.  And, as with everything I eat, I need a good helping of hot sauce.  Other favorites include the famous Hainanese Chicken Rice, Malaysian Nasi Lemak, spicy BBQ sambal stingray (my inquiries on where to buy stingray here in the US didn’t go over so well) and carrot cake (the Chinese pan-fried version made of white radish).  So good!

Strangely, Singaporean cuisine hasn’t generated the popularity and hype in the US that other Asian cuisines–like Japanese, Vietnamese, and even Burmese–have.  Looks to me like there’s a huge opportunity for the next hot food trend: America’s first Singaporean hawker center!

Check out this awesome clip from Bourdain’s Travel Channel show, “No Reservations,” featuring my hometown’s foodie hotspot.