Sharing Christmas joy at Makan Kitchen

The Makan Kitchen, well renowned for their popular Seafood Buffet Dinner served on Fridays, will celebrate Christmas joy with a sumptuous Christmas Seafood Dinner Buffet as Christmas Day falls on a Friday this year.

Welcome to the Makan Kitchen this Christmas!

Diners familiar with the Makan Kitchen can look forward to enjoying festive fare along with a wide selection of appetizers, soup, salads, main course items and desserts in the sections that serve Malay, Chinese, Indian and International cuisines.

Among the menu highlights in the Carvery Station are Roasted Whole Turkey with bread stuffing and complementary sauces, Beef Tenderloin Wellington, Cream Spinach, Sauteed Brussel Sprouts and Roasted Vegetables.

In addition to Tiger Prawns, Asahi Clams, Black Mussels and half-shell Scallops, seafood lovers will not be able to resist the seasonal specialty of shucked Oysters.

Traditional Roast Turkey with all the trimmings, 
Yorkshire Pudding, Brussel Sprouts and Roasted
Vegetables too!

Fans of Sashimi can satisfy their longings for the freshest catch of the week in servings of Norwegian Salmon, Yellow Fin Tuna, Butter Fish and Squid.

From Appetizers, Tapas, Mezze and Anti Pasti, Japanese favourites, and meats freshly grilled from the barbecue, to Tandoori, Curry Clay-pots, Noodles, Chinese dumplings and specialties like Roasted Duck Mantao and double-boiled Chicken Herbal Soup, there will be something that will meet every diner’s taste.

Then indulge in irresistible Christmas sweet treats like traditional Christmas fruit cake, dried summer fruit stollen, cute strawberry elves, Christmas panforte and assorted Christmas cookies and pralines.

Tender, juicy meats prepared
by a sous vide process
The Christmas Seafood Buffet Dinner will be served at Makan Kitchen from 6.30pm to 10.00pm from Dec 24 to 26. Priced at RM138 nett per adult and RM69 nett per child.

From Christmas Day, Dec 25, daily till Dec 27, the Makan Kitchen will also host a Christmas High Tea Buffet served from 12.30pm to 3pm. Priced at RM88 nett per adult and RM44 nett per child.

This generous spread includes sage marinated young turkey, rendang marinated beef tenderloin, a range of sandwiches, specialties from the Malay, Indian and Chinese sections as well as delightful desserts like Christmas log cakes, lemon meringue, and warm poached pear.

Meanwhile from now till Dec 31, diners can savour a festive Christmas High Tea Set from 12pm to 6pm daily, designed to serve two at only RM68 nett.

A serving of Christmas High Tea Set
This charming Christmas themed tea set that comes with a choice of brewed tea, is presented with ginger scones served with cream, butter and strawberry jam, savoury sandwiches and desserts like Christmas mince pies, Chocolate Christmas Tree, Petit Candy Kane, Rudolf Raspberry, Snowman Marshmallow, Santa Belt Panforte and Mini Choc Yule Log.

The festive joy in DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Baru is also available in Take Home Christmas Goodies and Turkey sets, specially designed for two to savour at home.

Christmas is a time for sharing love and joy so choose from the Turkey Escapade for Two at RM98 nett, Lamb Lovers for Two at RM108 nett, or the Oompa Loompa Christmas Box of sweet treats.

Serving suggestions of the Turkey Escapade for Two set and the Lamb Lovers for Two set 
in the Take Home Christmas set meals.

DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Baru is located at No. 12 Jalan Ngee Heng, 80000 Johor Baru, Johor.

For reservations, visit or call Tel: +607 268 6868 or email:

Promptly served Express Lunches at Amaya

The Amari, established as a Thai brand in Johor Baru, has earned an enviable reputation for the tasty Thai cuisine served at Amaya Food Gallery.

Choices from the Express Lunch menu

This is because I know of regular diners who would make a beeline for the Thai section of the buffet first before savouring the other items in the sumptuous spread.

When the Express Lunch menu was launched, I was delighted to discover that at least three of their popular Thai dishes are among the items listed in the menu, each served with steamed rice.

Fans of Thai flavours who cannot get enough of the Amari Signature Chicken Green Curry, Thai Three-Flavoured Fish Fillet and Thai Spicy Basil Minced Chicken, are now able to enjoy these dishes served for both lunch and dinner.

Three-Flavoured Fish Fillet with steamed rice
Besides the pleasure of enjoying their favourite flavours with a hearty rice meal, diners will appreciate the express service where these meals are promptly served to the table.

The many tables occupied by diners in the Amaya Food Gallery at lunch time is proof that the prompt service here is bringing them back again and again to enjoy a quick and tasty lunch with sufficient travel time to get back to their desks within the lunch hour.

Ayam Penyet with Fried Tempeh and Beancurd,
served with Sambal Chilli dip and steamed rice
In addition to these tasty Thai temptations, another Asian flavour to savour is the Indonesian favourite of Ayam Penyet (deep-fried chicken) with Fried Tempeh and Beancurd, served with a fiery Sambal Chilli dip sauce and steamed rice.

Another popular choice is the Malaysian staple of Beef Rendang with a side of Acar Jelatah served with steamed rice.

If you prefer a non-spicy choice, my recommendation is the Deep-Fried Boneless Chicken Cutlet coated in Tangy Lemon Plum Sauce, also served with steamed rice.

Spaghetti with Grilled Chicken Chop in
Mushroom Sauce
If pasta is your preference, then you should taste the Amaya’s creation of Spaghetti pasta prepared with slow-cooked Pulled Beef.

Another delicious pasta choice is Spaghetti with tender pieces of Grilled Chicken Chop in Mushroom Sauce.

This menu of express meals is available for both lunch and dinner at only RM15 per set with free flow of the soft drink of the day.

Deep-Fried Boneless Chicken Cutlet coated in
tangy Lemon Plum Sauce with steamed rice

These express meals are also popular with small group gatherings and private events hosted in private alcoves within the Amaya Food Gallery.


Amaya Food Gallery is located on Level Six, the lobby level of Amari Johor Baru, No. 82-C Jalan Trus, 80000 Johor Baru. 

For reservations and to arrange your private dining event at Amaya Food Gallery, Tel: 607 – 266 8888 or email: To book, go to:

For more info on Amari Johor Baru, visit website:

More of My Johor Stories at Rotary Club JB

At an event held on 1 January 2020, I met with Rotarian Cheong Nai Cheong, a member of the Rotary Club of Johor Baru, who invited me to be a guest speaker at their regular club meeting.

Guest Speaker at Rotary Club of Johor Baru
that was also streamed online via Zoom
When I received the official invitation, we agreed on a date and it was set for me to speak at their club meeting on April 7.

However, in an email dated March 26, I was told that the club had decided to cancel all meetings due to the global pandemic and the subsequent Movement Control Order. My appointed date to speak at their meeting was then deferred indefinitely.

Through email correspondence in August, a new date was agreed for me to speak at their meeting on October 6. But a sudden spike in the cases in Johor Baru compelled the club to cancel their meetings in October and a new date was proposed.

With Club President Freddie Lee at the meeting
In late November, the new date for me was confirmed for December 1.

This speaking engagement that was initiated on January 1, finally became reality on December 1.

As I anticipated going to this meeting at the DoubleTree by Hilton where the club holds their weekly meetings, there was a sense of déjà vu because the launch event for my 2017 bestseller book was also held here.

It was significant that my book launch event was at the hotel located opposite the site of our grandfather’s old house, No. 154 Jalan Ngee Heng, a familiar place which holds many fond memories of my growing-up years.

Precious photographs projected on the large
screen [Right] to share more My Johor Stories
Now our double-storey bungalow with an adjacent badminton court, is no longer there as the land was reclaimed by the Government and is now mostly part of Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, a dual-carriageway that leads to the CIQ complex of buildings.

Over the years, I had covered numerous stories about the community work initiated by the Rotary Club of JB, so the club members are familiar with me and my work.

In August 2017, I had the privilege to speak at their club meeting to share about my book-writing journey for My Johor Stories.

It was encouraging that club members could
relate to what I shared in My Johor Stories
It was meaningful because I had featured the work of several NGOs that included the Rotary Club of JB, in an exclusive story, A tribute to our unsung heroes in this 2017 bestseller, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage.

With the success of this book, its sequel, My Johor Stories 2: Interesting Places and Inspirational People, was launched on 1 December 2018.

The bulk of 2020 had already whizzed pass and as we continue in the New Normal, I was told that the club’s physical meetings were usually attended by some 20 to 25 members while about 10 to 15 members may join the meeting virtually via Zoom.

It was a pleasure to speak to a responsive audience

So it was timely that on 1 December 2020, I would share with club members, interesting details of how My Johor Stories was connecting people back to Johor Baru in a topic I dubbed, Building Bridges with My Johor Stories.

On my arrival, Club President Freddie Lee and club members gave me a warm welcome and invited me to take my seat in the meeting room and to arrange my books on the table.

In recent years, this all-male bastion of the oldest Rotary Club in Johor had inducted in new members including their first female member. So for the benefit of new members, I was given a glowing introduction before being invited to speak.

Some members joined the meeting via Zoom!
Using the large screen to project precious photographs that were used with My Johor Stories, I had the pleasure to share in more detail about how my stories were building bridges with individuals as well as the community, that ranged from locals, foreigners with a link to Johor and even to our Royalty.

At the close of my presentation, I had fun in the Question & Answer segment, responding to the questions the club members asked.

It was encouraging to know that the members could relate to what I had shared and were intrigued to ask for further clarification on some of the points that I had presented.

Signing my book for club members

Among the interesting points that I had the privilege to clarify was on the role of Major Cina in Johor and more details about the Dewan Cina located in the Istana Besar or Grand Palace complex of buildings in the Istana Gardens.

The club meeting continued in its formal fashion where a club member was invited to thank the guest speaker (me!) and the event concluded on a high note, not only with much clapping and cheering but also with a standing ovation.

This pleasure was further heightened when the club members bought my books and patiently waited to get their books autographed.

It was my pleasure to autograph my books
for members at the close of the meeting

As I addressed my autograph to their names or the names of the people they wanted to present my book to, two of the club members also introduced themselves as former classmates of my Aunty Sylvia and Uncle Victor.

After leaving the meeting, I continued to receive on my phone, warm messages of appreciation from club members, one of whom had joined the meeting via Zoom.

One member even extended an invitation for me to speak at their meeting again, this time on an exciting topic that (I had told them!) would be featured exclusively in Book Three of My Johor Stories, a work currently in progress.

Thank you, Rotary Club of Johor Baru, for the pleasure and the privilege to share more My Johor Stories with you.

Note: The nearest MPH bookstore to Johor Baru is located at Aero Mall, linked to Senai International Airport. My Johor Stories series of books are available from MPH bookstores nationwide and online from