List of dining options at Bangsar Village. Nekochan has visited the ones in bold

1) Basil Thai Nudle Bar (Thai)
2) Caffe 1920 (Italian)
3) Chatterbox (HK Cuisine) - yup, here's where you get peanut butter toast, cheese baked rice and boiled Coke with ginger. Their cheese baked rice lacked the cheese and the serving portion was quite small. The rice they give is fried rice though. The peanut butter toast was basically thick toast with some peanut butter on the top, nothing in comparison to the one at 'de Kowloon Cafe (another HK cuisine place in Desa Sri Hartamas), where they serve excellent peanut butter french toast (take 2 slices of bread, slap some peanut butter in between, dip the while sandwich in egg batter, pan fry it, add some condensed milk to the top before serving!!)
4) Hiestand (Bakery Cafe)
5) Du Viet (Vietnamese)
6) Fish & Co (Seafood)
7) Laksa Shack (Malaysian) - serving a variety of laksa, including Penang laksa, Johor laksa, Thai laksa, etc. Not bad for something quick. They also have a variety of salads.
8) Mizu (Japanese)
9) Nando's (Afro-Portugese) - part of the Nando's chicken franchise, nothing special from the others ...
10) Outback Steakhouse (Western)

Worth a mention is also the Baclava shop selling numerous types of baclava*. They all look absolutely delicious!! (* A rich cake of Middle-Eastern origin made of layers of filo pastry, with a filling of honey, nuts and spices.)

Can't wait for Baker's Inn to open as well. Looks like it will be located opposite Starbuck's. If the one in Plaza Indonesia, Jakarta is anything to go by, looks like Baker's Inn will be the next place-t0-be-seen and dine. Have eaten at the original ones in Singapore ... their desserts are to die for!! While waiting, we can salivate over their website.

More information about Baker's Inn ...(or rather, Bakerzin, it's new name)
Influenced very much by the French culinary culture, Singapore's self-styled Salon de The (teahouse in French) has outlets at convenient town locations and has also spread its wings to Jakarta, Indonesia.

Primarily a dessert café, however, a savoury menu is also available to give customers added variety and make the café a more complete all-day dining concept; specially created by award-winning chef-cum-founder, Mr Daniel Tay - World Gourmet Summit Awards of Excellence 2001, Inniskillin Pastry Chef of the Year. (Info from Getforme)

Bangsar Village
1, Jalan Telawi 1
Bangsar Baru
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 22821808
Can't decide where to 'buka puasa' (break fast) this year? Below is a listing of the more popular places in KL. Thanks to SA for the listing ...

Note: Any rating of the places have not been done by me. Eat at your own risk.
Also, I have been informed that some of the prices stated my be incorrect. You are advised to call up and check first.

Suria KLCC City Centre
Reservations: 603 - 382 0395
Price: RM29.75++ per person
A Selection of choice that may include Kerabu Paru Paru, Gado GadoRojak Buah, Ulam Ulam, Daging Masak Hitam, Ayam Sambal, Talang Masin Gulai Lemak Nenas, Kacang Panjang Goreng & Hati to name a few. This buffet Menu changes daily.

1st Floor, Suria KLCC City Centre
Reservations: 603 - 2380 5700
Price: RM29.00++ per person
A mixed of traditional Malay & Western cuisines.

Jalan Bukit BintangReservations: 603 - 2142 4009
Price: RM28.00nett per adult and RM16.00nett per child
Experience a different style of Berbuka puasa at Bintang Shack.

CENTURY KUALA LUMPUR HOTEL [ Sunflowers Brasserie ] 4*
Reservations: 603 - 2143 9898
Price: RM40.00++ per adult and RM25.00++ per child
Tempting dishes from the action stall include Chicken and Beef Satay, Lamb Sharwarna, Roti Canai, Murtabak, Penang Prawn Mee, Ikan Bakar and succulent seafood.

Reservations: 603 - 9074 9662
Price: RM35.00nett per adult and RM20.00nett per child
Seafood & Thai food buffet.

Ground Floor, Suria KLCC
Reservations: 603 - 2166 8277
Price: RM38.00nett per person
Lavish buka puasa buffet.

Reservations: 603 - 2296 1188
Price: RM38.00nett per adult and 50% off per child.
Favourites such as "Kambing Tandoori", "Kari Kepala Ikan", "Sambal Terung", "Ketam Goreng Rempah", "Ekor Lembu Asam Pedas", "Udang Sambal" and "Rendang Daging Lembu" to go with "Lemang", "Ulam-Ulam", "Rojak" and a dazzling array of refreshing appetisers and desserts.

Reservations: 603 - 2144 2200
Price: RM48.00++ per person.
Feast yourself to the main course such as ketam masala, ikan patin tempoyak, ikan tenggiri asam pedas, nangka lemak cili padi or opt for the action dishes such as the mee bandung, Johor laksa or ikan bakar. A meal is never complete without the dessert; spoil yourself with the honey dew pudding, warm chocolate pudding, bubur gandum and bubur kacang merah.

CORUS HOTEL KUALA LUMPUR [ Dondang Sayang ] 4*
Jalan Ampang
Reservations: 603 - 2161 8888
Price: RM39.00++ per person.
Feast on an unbelievable spread of over 80 dishes during the month of ramadhan. Break yours fast with a splendid array opf authentic Malay dishes and a magnitude of sumptuous cuisine from the Middle East to an International fair lined in the hawker style buffet. Not forgetting the delicious selection of traditional dessert, Cakes & Ice Kacang guranteed to fulfill any cravings after a long day of fasting.

Reservations: 603 - 2162 5522
Price: RM55.20nett per adult and 50%off per child and senior citizen.
Buffet spread of traditional Malaysia dishes which include appetizers, salads, ulam-ulam, condiments and sauces, soups, carvings, shawarma, main courses and desserts, The harmonious sounds of Malay traditional music and Ghazal will accompany diners from 7.00pm onwards except Sundays.

DE PALMA INN [ Rumia ] 3*
Reservations: 603 - 4270 7070
Price: RM40.00nett per adult and RM22.50nett per child .
Buffet spread of traditional Malaysian dishes

Jalan Maktab, off Jalan Semarak
Reservations: 603 - 2698 8302 Price: RM35.00nett per adult and RM20.00nett per child .
Break your fast everyday with different menu at price so right.

DORSETT REGENCY [ Checker's ] 4*
Reservations: 603 - 2715 1000
Price: RM38.00++ per adult and RM19.00++ per child
Malay cuisine including Tandoori Kambing, Lemang, Serunding, Daging Kalio, Ikan Bakar Asam Jawa, Rendang Tok, Paru-Paru Goreng, Sambal Tumis Udang Petai and Ayam Golek.

Reservations: 603 - 4043 7777 ext. 3301
Price: RM42.00nett per adult and RM21.00nett per child
Special Price for Bankers: RM38.00nett per person
Special Price for Government Servants: RM35.00nett per person
Feast yourself with splendid seven rotating buffet menus, each comprising of favourite local specialties.

Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur
Reservations: 603 - 2161 7777
Price: RM58.00++ per adult and RM30.00++ per child (4-10 years old)
Dishes include local salads, soups, hot main courses, hawker-style favourites and desserts. Popular specialities include Roast Lamb, Fish Head Curry, Bubur Lumbuk, Laksa, Udang Goreng Bermadu, Ayam Masak Serai, Danging Paprik, Ketam Goreng Kunyit, Rebung Masak Lemak Perut, Cili Lala, Soto Ayam and Nasi Bukhari. Desserts include Dodol, Wajik, Layer Cake, Tapai, Kuih Ketayap, Red Bean Dumplings and fresh fruit.

Suria KLCC; Emporium Beach Club; Plaza Mont Kiara; Gleneagles Intan Medical Centre; Odeon Club; Sunway Pyramid; Caesars Club; Plaza Alam Sentral; Waterfront City; Kompleks Zon Bebas Cukai JB; The Garage Penang Road; Gurney Plaza;
Price: RM14.90++ per set meal
Set A : Tomato Rice with Chicken Rendang & Bandung Chiller.
Set B: Tomato Rice with Chicken Char Siew & Bandung Chiller.

Jalan Tun Ismail
Reservations: 603 - 4042 2177
Price: RM29.00nett per adult and RM14.50nett per child
Malay Ramadhan buffet.

GRAND SEASONS HOTEL [ Seasons Cafe ]4*
No 72 Jalan Pahang
Reservations: 603 - 2695 5225
Price: RM45.00nett per person
Offerings include Rendang Pedas Udang, Sambal Sotong Petai, Ayam Perchik, Nasi Briyani, Lemang and Serunding amongst others.

IMPIANA HOTEL KUALA LUMPUR [ Saffron Brasserie ]3*
Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock
Reservations: 603 - 2026 6060 Ext. 7801
Price: RM38.00nett per person
Local dishes in style.

HOTEL CAPITOL KUALA LUMPUR [ Be Be's Kitchen & Bar ]4*
Reservations: 603 - 2143 7000
Price: RM30.00++ per adult and RM15.00++ per child & senior citizen
Traditional Malay cuisine.

HOTEL FAIRLANE [ Makan Makan ]4*
Jalan Walter Grenier
Reservations: 603 - 2148 6888
Price: RM32.00++ per person
Wide selection of Malay authentic favourites Break fast with a symphony traditional Malay music presented by "Kumpulan Seri Mewah".

HOTEL FLAMINGO [ Cascades ]4*
Tasik Ampang, Jalan Hulu Kelang
Reservations: 603 - 4256 3288
Price: RM46.00nett per person
Serving local, Chinese, Continental, and hard-to-find dishes, you'll have a feast that you'll not want to forget.

HOTEL ISTANA [ Taman Sri Brasserie ]5*
Reservations: 603 - 2141 9988 ext 3667
Price: From RM70.00nett per adult
Dishes include Panggang Rusa (grilled deer), Udang Harimau Masak Lengkuas (spicy prawns with galangal), Daging Masak Hijau Berduan Selasih (green beef curry with sweet basil) and Ayam Panggang Madu (marinated baked chicken with chilli and honey). Ghazal music will be playing buffet.

HOTEL MIDAH [ Attapia ] 3*
Jalan Kampung Attap
Reservations: 603 - 2273 9999
Price: RM25.00nett per adult and RM20.00nett per child
Traditional Malay favourites include Ulam Raja, Kerabu Mangga, Sup Ekor, Sup Tulang, Ayam Goreng Pedas, Daging Masak Lada Hitam, Udang Masak Lada Hitam and Udang Masak Tomato.

Reservations: 603 - 2715 9000
Price: RM38.00++ per adult and RM16.00++ per child [ Sang Bayu Poolside ]
Traditional buffet style with sixty over types of dishes ranging from local, Chinese and International. Complete with tents and food stalls ? it is designed to be carnival-like, putting camaraderie and fellowship back into our hectic daily lives.

Price: RM28.00++ per adult and RM16.00++ per child [ Marriott Café ]
A special 6 traditional dishes ranging from appitisers, main course, soup and dessert on your mini table..

Jalan Tasik Permaisuri1, Bandar Sri Permaisuri
Reservations: 603 - 7803 8118
Price: RM29.00++ per adult and RM12.00++ per child
Sri Permaisuri Buffet

Level 1, Suria KLCC
Reservations: 603 - 2163 4166
Price: RM29.90++ per adult and 50% off for children & senior citizen
Buka Puasa with Kelantan Delights cooking secrets.

Ground Floor, City Square, Jalan Tun Razak
Reservations: 603 - 2161 5094
Price: RM15.90nett per person (3 course meal)

Jalan Permaisuri Taman Maluri
Reservations: 603 - 9287 8833
Price: RM28.00nett per person

Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Kuala LumpurReservations: 603 - 2380 8888 Price: RM63.00++ per person Malay & International cuisine.

MUSEUM RESTAURANT, The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
Reservations: 603 - 2274 2020
Price: RM39.00nett per adult and RM19.00nett per child
Over 50 variaties of Middle Eastern & Local cuisine.

Jalan Imbi
Reservations: 603 - 2143 8333
Price: RM40.00++ per adult and 50% per child
More than 60 Raya dishes served in Kampung style.

Reservations: 603 - 2161 8833
Price: RM46.00nett per adult and RM23.00nett per child
Tempting treats include Grilled Meats and Seafood, Assam Laksa, Talapia Lemak Cili Padi, Daging Minangkabau, Bubur Pingat Pisang and Kuih Muih. Three different menus will be rotated during the promotion.

Reservations: 603 - 4022 8400
Price: RM27.00nett per adult and RM21.00nett per child
Buffet + Steamboat + BBQ

NIKKO HOTEL [ Café Serena ] 5*
Jalan Ampang
Reservations: 603 - 2161 1111
Price: RM55.00++ per adult and 50% per child
Feast on an elaborate daily-changing buffet prepared by Hotel Nikko's Master Chefs during the month of Ramadhan.

Jalan Ampang
Reservations: 603 - 2711 8866 ext. 3511 [ Pelita Brasserie and Straits Restaurant ] 4*
Price: RM49.00nett per person
A delightful potpourri of evergreen Malaysian favourites such as Ikan Bakar Percik, Ketam Bunga Masak Rempah, Ayam Panggang, Kambing Marsala, Rendang Daging and Udang Kandar.What's more, the sumptuous spread will be expanded into Straits Restaurant. Look out for the specialty stalls serving Satay, Lemang with Serunding, Otak-otak and many more.

51-A Changkat Bukit Bintang
Reservations: 603 - 2715 3888
Price: RM30.00nett per person
Local International food (including Pastas).

Batu 5, Jalan Klang Lama,
Reservations: 603 - 7983 1111 ext 8356
Price: RM30.00nett per adult and RM15.00nett per child
Local & Western Food

Reservations: 603 - 2144 6602
Price: RM28.00++ per person
Be with the stars and break your fast and Planet Hollywood with its Ramadhan Buffet.

PRINCE HOTEL & RESIDENCE [Eccucino Brasserie]4*
Jalan ConlayReservations: 603 - 2170 8888 ext. 8119Price: RM52.00++ per person
Chef Wan joins us this Ramadhan and will prepare special Buka Puasa dishes at Eccucino Brasserie. A tempting spread awaits with traditional Malay specialities offered.

Reservations: 603 - 2693 9233 [ Benteng ]
Price: RM39.50++ per adult and RM15.00++ per child
Malaysian traditional fare and North Indian cuisine.

Reservations: 603 - 2693 9233 [ Meisan Szechuan ]
Price: From RM38.50++ per person
Halal chinese cuisine this Ramadhan.

Reservations: 603 - 2693 9233 [ Vogue Café ]
Price: RM62.00++ per adult and RM32.00++ per child
Includes Udang Galah Sambal Petai, Jelawat Masak Lemak Tempoyak, Ulam-Ulam Melayu, Gulai Nangka Ikan Kering and Kari Sembilang. You can also indulge in Pacific Rim favourites such as Sushi & Sashimi, Oyster Rockefeller, Salmon in Puff Pastry, Steamed Garoupa with Lemon Grass & Coriander and Turkey Roulade with Roasted Cumin Seed & Papaya Salsa and more

Jalan Ampang
Reservations: 603 - 2161 0122
Price: RM59.00++ per person (cultural Show performance);RM39.50++ per person (Ghazal performance)
Live performance at Saloma's with good buffet.

Jalan Conlay
Reservations: 603 - 2145 1833
Price: RM55.00++ per adult and RM 30.00++ per child
Menu such as Nasi Ayam, Lemang, Rendang Ayam & Randang Tok, Kuah Lodeh and house specialities pengat Durian. We serves five types of sambal dishes - Sambal Tempoyak, Sambal Cencaluk, Sambal Budu, Sambal Belacan & Sambal Nenas. Our Noodle section features daily specials such as Laksa Utara, Mee Soup & Hilited Italian Spaghetti. The harmonies sounds of Nasyid & cultural show performance will accompany diners. Prayers room are also available for MUSLIM patrons plus we provide an ample free parking to our customer.

SHANGRI LA HOTEL 5* [ Lemon Garden Cafe ]
Jalan Sultan Ismail
Reservations: 603 - 2032 2388
Price: RM80.00++ per adult and RM40.00++ per child (6 -12 yrs old)
Not only should you look forward to breaking your fast with the enormous spread of authentic local cuisine, but you should also save some room for the wide selection of kuih-muih to end your meal on a sweet note.

Jalan Sultan IsmailReservations: 603 - 2717 9900
Price: RM66.00nett per adult and 50% off per child ( below 12 yrs old)
For those who appreciate a little culture with their meal, you can opt for Botanica Brasserie's buka puasa delights under the cover of designer palm trees. You will also be entertained by a live ghazal performance.

117, Jalan PuduReservations: 603 - 2141 3333
Price: RM39.00++ per person and 30% off per child Available:11th Now onwards
International and local delights.

Jalan Bukit Bintang Reservations: 603 - 2148 9166Price: RM38.00++ per adult and RM19.00++ per child
Week One - Every 3 full paying adults, the 4th eats free
Week Two - Every 5 full paying adults, the 6th eats free.

THE LEGEND HOTEL [ Di-Atas Brasserie ] 5*
Putra Place, 100 Jalan Putra
Reservations: 603 - 4042 9888
Price: RM69.00nett per person
Di-Atas presents lip-smacking Ramadhan Delights, authentic local offerings such as Itik Solok, Ikan Keli Masak Tempoyak, Sambal Udang Galah Dengan Petai and many more.

Jalan Putra
Reservations: 603 - 4042 5555
Price: RM50.00++ per person
Selera offer a myriad of both Asian and international delicacies

Jalan Bukit Bintang Reservations: 603 - 2141 8000
Price: RM50.00++ per person

168, Jalan Imbi Reservations: 603 - 2142 8000
Price: RM38.00++ per set
Savour typical Malay delights. Changed daily.

No. 123, Jalan Thamboosamy (Off Jalan Putra),
Reservations: 603 - 4042 3333
Price: RM15.50nett per person [ Set Meal ]
This Set Ramadhan savours delectable Asian and continental cuisine, grills and snacks in the friendly and informal atmosphere of The Coffee Shop.

Jalan Tengku Ampuan Zabedah C9/C, Shah Alam
Reservations: 603 -5512 2200 ext. 2304
Price:RM47.00++ per person and 50% off per children Ramadhan buffet.

Reservations: 603 -8312 7000
Price:RM45.00nett per person and RM22.50nett per child
Nestled in Cyberjaya is the Cyberview Lodge, a resort that is usually more overrun by execs looking to indulge for lunch. Relax and tuck into the Malay buffet before moving onto the Western favorites and keep an eye out for the soothing Koi ponds around you.

EASTIN HOTEL [ Swezbrasserie Brasserie ] 4*
Reservations: 603 - 7665 1111
Price: RM78.20++ per adult and RM31.00++ per child. (Price checked on 25 Oct 04)

Persiaran Perbandaran, Seksyen 14, Shah Alam
Reservations: 603 - 5031 3388 ext.2612 [ Semarak Cafe ]
Price: RM48.00++ per adult and RM24.00++ per child ( 7 - 12 years)
Berbuka Puasa with traditional delights from the northen states of the Peninsula such as Laksa Kedah, Kedah's Nasi Ulam, Penang's Char Koay Teow, Nasi Kandar, Curry Capitan or Kedah's dishes with Thai influences.

Reservations: 603 - 5031 3388 ext. 2616 [ Tung Yuen ]
Price: RM48.00++ per adult and RM24.00++ per child ( 7 - 12 years)
Whet your appetite with hot & fiery Southern Thai dishes with a refreshing choice of beverage & sweet desserts for your breaking of fast this Ramadhan.

Reservations: 603 - 7955 9122 ext.4060
Price: RM52.00++ per adult and RM35.00++ per child
Vast choices of freshly prepared acar, kerabu, sambal and hand-picked ulam served together with 6 types of local keropok. From the buffet line are main dishes of poultry, meat and seafood like ayam panggang bercili, gulai daging, kari ikan tonkol, ikan bakar, pais kerang, ketam masak chili, just to name a few. Otherwise opt for freshly grilled items such as ayam goreng, burung puyuh goreng, ketam goreng, otak-otak bakar and satay.

HOLIDAY VILLA SUBANG [ Palm Terrace ] 5*
Reservations: 603 - 5633 8788 ext.160 / 220
Price: RM49.90++ per adult and RM39.90++ per child
International and local delights.

Reservations: 603 -7954 6888
Price:RM49.45nett per person
Ramadhan buffet.

Reservations: 603 - 7846 1234
Price: RM58.00nett per person
This scrumptious resort hotel provides amazing and relaxing views as you eat. Indulge in your kampung favorites such as those laksas and buburs.

Jalan Perbandaran, Kelana Jaya
Reservations: 603 - 7803 8118
Price: RM38.00++ per adult and RM15.00++ per child
Ramadhan BBQ Buffet

Petaling Jaya
Reservations: 603 - 7956 2100
Price: RM39.90nett per adult and RM25.00nett per child
Ramadhan Buffet

Jalan Merah Kesumba U9/18, Seksyen U9, Shah Alam
Reservations: 603 - 7846 5989Price: RM25.00nett per adult and RM15.00nett per child
Buffet spread at Bukit Cahaya Shah Alam.

Taipan USJ
Reservations: 603 - 5638 4900Price: RM25.00++ per adult and RM18.00++ per child

Jalan Perbandaran, Kelana Jaya
Reservations: 603 - 7803 8118
Price: RM33.00++ per adult and RM13.00++ per child
Selangor Steamboat Buffet

Reservations: 603 - 8944 3781
Price: RM60.00 nett per adult and RM35.00 nett per child (below 12 years old)
Buka Puasa is definitely an uplifting affair at Carousel Restaurant. With a melting pot of over 60 favourites, savour the famous Anika Panggang (Marinated Grilled Meats & Seafood), Dendeng Daging (Deepfried Marinated Beef with Chilli & Spices) and Ketam Goreng Mamak (Fried Crab in Mamak style), are just the few on our buffet tables.

Reservations: 603 - 5510 3696
Price: From RM38.00++ per adult and RM15.00++ per child
'Aneka Rasa Ramadhan' is the theme at Quality Hotel Ramadhan.

SHAH VILLAGE [Gazebo] 3*
Lorong Sultan, Petaling Jaya
Reservations: 603 - 7956 9322
Price: RM29.00nett per person
Variety dishes with many local specialties.

Jalan SS15/15A, Subang Jaya
Reservations: 603 - 5621 3671
Price: RM25.00nett per adult and RM13.00nett per child
Pakistani& Nothern Indian fine cuisine.

Reservations: 603 - 7492 8000
Price: RM58.00++ per adult RM38.00++ per child (below 12 years) [ Sun & Surf Cafe ]
'LAUK PAUK KAMPUNG' and savour the unique delicacies of 'The 3 Mak Cik', specially flown in to prepare over 100 dishes of rich Ramadan delights including such favourites as Ulam-ulam Melayu, Kerabu Udang dengan Mangga, Rojak Buah and many more renowned culinary dishes from Terengganu , Penang and Johor.

Price: RM78.00++ per person [ Avanti ]
After a hard day or even a long week, come discover a sumptuous spread of Western Buffet at Avanti. Let great food and laughter alleviate the stress and humdrum of city living.

Jalan Usahawan U1/8, Seksyen U, Shah Alam
Reservations: 603 - 7803 1000
Price: RM55.00++ per adult and 50% off for children (price checked on 25 Oct 04)
Offering local and western flavours,, and includes mouth-watering items from its buffet counter and an enticing dessert menu offering a range of tempting sweets and local desserts

Jalan CTA 4B KLIA Sepang
Reservations: 603 - 8787 3333
Price: RM55.00+ per adult and 50% off for children (government service charge only)
Special price for MAS or MAB staffs :RM40.00+ per person government service charge only) Specialities of the house are classic Italian pastas and local noodles

THE SUMMIT HOTEL [ Oceania ]4*
Subang USJ
Reservations: 603 - 8023 3000
Price: RM45.00nett per adult and RM27.00nett per child (4- 12 years)
Kampung Style buffet with tongkat ali beverage.
Cure Breast Cancer By avoiding All Milk Products
By Prof. Jane Plant, PhD, CBE

Why I believe that giving up milk is the key to beating breast cancer...Professor Jane Plant is a wife, a mother, and widely respected scientist,who was made a CBE for her work in geochemistry. When she was struck bybreast cancer in 1987 at the age of 42, her happy and productive existenceseemed destined to fall apart. But despite the disease recurring a furtherfour times, Jane refused to give in. As she describes in an inspiring new book, Your Life In Your Hands serialised by the Mail this week, she devised a revolutionary diet and lifestyle programme that she believes saved her life and can cut the chancesof other women falling prey to the disease. Her theory remains a controversial one - but every woman should read it andmake up her own mind. Today, she explains her personal breakthrough...

I had no alternative but to die or to try to find a cure for myself. I am ascientist - surely there was a rational explanation for this cruel illnessthat affects 1 in 12 women in the UK? I had suffered the loss of one breast, and undergone radiotherapy. I was now receiving painful chemotherapy, and had been seen by some of the country's most eminent specialists. But, deep down, I felt certain I was facing death. I had a loving husband, a beautiful home and 2 young children to care for. I desperately wanted to live. Fortunately, this desire drove me to unearth the facts, some of which were known only to a handful of scientists at the time.

Anyone who has come into contact with breast cancer will know that certain risk factors - such as increasing age, early onset of womanhood, late onset of menopause & a family history of breast cancer - are completely out of our control. But there are many risk factors, which we can control easily. These 'controllable' risk factors readily translate into simple changes that we can all make in our day-to-day lives to help prevent or treat breast cancer. My message is that even advanced breast cancer can be overcome because I have done it.

The first clue to understanding what was promoting my breast cancer came when my husband Peter, who was also a scientist, arrived back from working in China while I was being plugged in for a chemotherapy session. He had brought with him cards and letters, as well as some amazing herbal suppositories, sent by my friends and science colleagues in China. The suppositories were sent to me as a cure for breast cancer. Despite the awfulness of the situation, we both had a good belly laugh & I remember saying that this was the treatment for breast cancer in China, then it was little wonder that Chinese women avoided getting the disease. Those words echoed in my mind.

Why didn't Chinese women get breast cancer? I had collaborated once with Chinese colleagues on a study of links between soilchemistry and disease, and I remembered some of the statistics. The disease was virtually non-existent throughout the whole country. Only 1in 10,000 women in China will die from it, compared to that terrible figureof 1 in 12 in Britain and the even grimmer average of one in 10 across most Western countries. It is not just a matter of China being a more rural country, with less urban pollution. In highly urbanised Hong Kong, the rate rises to 34 women in every 10,000 but still puts the West to shame.The Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have similar rates. And remember, both cities were attacked with nuclear weapons, so in addition tothe usual pollution related cancers, one would also expect to find some radiation-related cases, too.

The conclusion we can draw from these statistics strikes you with some force. If a Western woman were to move to industrialized, irradiatedHiroshima, she would stash her risk of contracting breast cancer by half. Obviously this is absurd. It seemed obvious to me that some lifestyle factor not related to pollution, urbanization or the environment is seriously increasing the Western woman's chance of contracting breast cancer. I then discovered that whatever causes the huge differences in breast cancerrates between oriental and Western countries, it isn't genetic. Scientific research showed that when Chinese or Japanese people move to the West, within 1 or 2 generations, their rates of breast cancer approach those oftheir host community.The same thing happens when oriental people adopt a completely Western lifestyle in Hong Kong. In fact, the slang name for breast cancer in China translates as 'Rich Woman's Disease'. This is because, in China, only the better off can afford to eat what is termed 'Hong Kong food'. The Chinese describe all Western food, including everything from ice cream & chocolatebars to spaghetti and feta cheese, as 'Hong Kong food', because of its availability in the former British colony and its scarcity, in the past, in mainland China.

So it made perfect sense to me that whatever was causing my breast cancer & the shockingly high incidence in this country generally, it was almost certainly something to do with our better-off, middle-class, Western lifestyle. There is an important point for men here, too. I have observed in my research that much of the the data about prostate cancer leads to similar conclusions. According to figures from the World Health Organization, the number of men contracting prostate cancer in rural China is negligible, only 0.5 men inevery 100,000. In England, Scotland and Wales, however, this figure is 70 times higher. Like breast cancer, it is a middle-class disease that primarily attacks the wealthier & higher socio-economic groups - those that can afford to eat rich foods.

I remember saying to my husband-- 'Come on Peter, you have just come backfrom China. What is it about the Chinese way of life that is so different. Why don't they get breast cancer? 'We decided to utilize our joint scientific backgrounds and approach itlogically. We examined scientific data that pointed us in the general direction of fats in diets. Researchers had discovered in the 1980s that only l4 % of calories in the average Chinese diet were from fat, compared to almost 36% in the West. But the diet I had been living on for years before I contracted breast cancer was very low in fat and high in fibre. Besides, I knew as a scientist that fat intake in adults has not been shown to increase risk for breast cancer in most investigations that have followed large groups of women for up to a dozen years.

Then one day something rather special happened. Peter and I have worked together so closely over the years that I am not sure which one of us first said: 'The Chinese don't eat dairy produce! 'It is hard to explain to a non-scientist the sudden mental and emotional 'buzz' you get when you know you have had an important insight. It's as if you have had a lot of pieces of a jigsaw in your mind, and suddenly, in a few seconds, they all fall into place and the whole picture is clear. suddenly I recalled how many Chinese people were physically unable to tolerate milk, how the Chinese people I had worked with had always said that, milk was only for babies, and how one of my close friends, who is ofChinese origin, always politely turned down the cheese course at dinner parties. I knew of no Chinese people who lived a traditional Chinese life who ever used cow or other dairy food to feed their babies. The tradition was to use a wet nurse but never, ever, dairy products. Culturally, the Chinese find our Western preoccupation with milk and milk products very strange. I remember entertaining a large delegation of Chinese scientists shortly after the ending of the Cultural Revolution in the 1980s. On advice from the Foreign Office, we had asked the caterer to provide apudding that contained a lot of ice cream. After inquiring what the pudding consisted of, all of the Chinese, including their interpreter, politely but firmly refused to eat it, and they could not be persuaded to change their minds. At the time we were all delighted and ate extra portions!

Milk, I discovered, is one of the most common causes of food allergies. Over 70% of the world's population are unable to digest the milk sugar, lactose,for adults, not some sort of deficiency. Perhaps nature is trying to tell usthat we are eating the wrong food. Before I had breast cancer for the first time, I had eaten a lot of dairy produce such as skimmed milk, low-fat cheese and yoghurt. I had used it as my main source of protein. I also ate cheap but lean minced beef, which I now realized was probably often ground-up dairy cow. In order to cope withthe chemotherapy I received for my 5th case of cancer, I had been eating organic yoghurts as a way of helping my digestive tract to recover and repopulate my gut with 'good' bacteria. Recently, I discovered that way back in 1989 yoghurt had been implicated inovarian cancer. Dr Daniel Cramer of Harvard University studied hundreds ofwomen with ovarian cancer, and had them record in detail what they normally ate. Wish I'd been made aware of his findings when he had first discovered them.

Following Peter's and my insight into the Chinese diet, I decided to give up not just yoghurt but all dairy produce immediately. Cheese, butter, milk and yoghurt and anything else that contained dairy produce - it went down the sink or in the rubbish. It is surprising how many products, including commercial soups, biscuits and cakes, contain some form of dairy produce. Even many proprietary brands of margarine marketed as soya, sunflower or olive oil spreads can contain dairy produce. I therefore became an avid reader of the small print on food labels. Up to this point, I had been steadfastly measuring the progress of my fifth cancerous lump with callipers and plotting the results. Despite all the encouraging comments & positive feedback from my doctors and nurses, my own precise observations told me the bitter truth. My first chemotherapy session had produced no effect - the lump was still the same size. Then I eliminated dairy products. Within days, the lump started to shrink. About 2 weeks after my second chemotherapy session and one week after giving up dairy produce, the lump in my neck started to itch. Then it beganto soften and to reduce in size. The line on the graph, which had shown no change, was now pointing downwards as the tumour got smaller and smaller. And, very significantly, I noted that instead of declining exponentially (a graceful curve) as cancer is meant todo, the tumour's decrease in size was plotted on a straight line heading off the bottom of the graph, indicating a cure, not suppression (or remission) of the tumour.

One Saturday afternoon after about six weeks of excluding all dairy producefrom my diet, I practised an hour of meditation then felt for what was leftof the lump. I couldn't find it. Yet I was very experienced at detecting cancerous lumps - I had discovered all 5 cancers on my own. I went asked myhusband to feel my neck. He could not find any trace of the lump either. On the following Thursday I was due to be seen by my cancer specialist at Charing Cross Hospital in London. He examined me thoroughly, especially my neck where the tumour had been. He was initially bemused and then delighted, as he said, "I cannot find it.' None of my doctors, it appeared, had expected someone with my type and stage of cancer (which had clearly spread to the lymph system) to survive, let alone be so hale & hearty. My specialist was as overjoyed as I was. When I first discussed my ideaswith him, he was understandably skeptical. But I understand that he now uses maps showing cancer mortality in China in his lectures, and recommends anon-dairy diet to his cancer patients.

I now believe that the link between dairy produce and breast cancer is similar to the link between smoking and lung cancer. I believe that identifying the link between breast cancer and dairy produce, and then developing a diet specifically targeted at maintaining the health of my breast and hormone system, cured me.It was difficult for me, as it may be for you, to accept that a substance as'natural' as milk might have such ominous health implications. But I am aliving proof that it works and, starting from tomorrow, I shall reveal the secrets of my revolutionary action plan.

Extracted from Your Life in Your Hands, by Professor Jane Plant.
Malaysian Tourists in China (MTC): So, what food is special in Xian that we should try?
Chinese Tour Guide about to migrate to New Zealand (CTG): Well, perhaps you would like to try a Dumpling Banquet
MTC: Dumpling Banquet?? (visions of numerous types of pau came floating to head)
CTG: We have many types of dumpling here, steamed, fried .. maybe over 80 varieties.
MTC: And what happens in a Dumpling Banquet
CTG: Maybe you will get served a variety of dumpling, perhaps over 20 or 30 types. They will serve normally one dumpling of each type for you to try.

After concurring with the family, we thought "What the heck! We have nothing to lose, food in Beijing was bad anyway!"

So, after spending the day viewing the Terracotta Warriors, we took the very bumpy ride back towards Xian City. We made a stop at the Orient Hotel and proceeded to their Chinese restaurant.

After the cold dishes of various type of pickles we started on our Dumpling Banquet. I can' t remember exact details of how many (though I will upload some of the photos soon!) but I do remember that the first one we had was fried plain flower dumpling served with condensed milk. After that there were ones that looked like walnut and tasted like baked walnuts but was actually a dumpling. We also had steamed ones, of course, that came in various shapes - chinese cabbage shaped for the vegetarian one, animal shapes like ducks and chickens, monkey faces, flowers, etc - the list is just endless and everytime the waitress would bring another basket or plate out we would ooh and aah and between CL and I, we would keep telling everyone, " don't take it yet, let us get some photos!"

Apart from the special dumplings, we were also given plates of normal dumplings - the gyoza looking ones which was all quite yummy. We were very stuffed when the waitress came out with a big pot of soup and lighted the fire underneath. She attempted to explain what it was all about but her English was really difficult to understand but here goes:

The last dish was called the "chrysanthemum chafing dish", where the waitress boiled pearl-sized dumplings in the pot of "soup". It seems it was prepared for the Dowager Cixi when she visited Xian and she wanted something very simple. Her request and visit were also very last minute so the best they could do was prepare this dish.

There's a story behind this dish (courtesy of Xian Travel website)
When guest taste the pearl dumpling (more or less), they will get blessing related with number of dumpling they get:

When you eat one dumpling, the blessing is to plain sailing
two dumplings -- a double blessing has descended upon the house
three dumplings -- to go up three grades in a row
four dumplings -- to get rich in four seasons
five dumplings -- an abundant harvest of all food crops
six dumplings -- everything goes well
seven dumplings -- seven stars shine upon you(good luck)
eight dumplings -- the Eight Immortals crossing the sea (each one showing his or her special prowess)
nine dumplings--the highest above all
ten dumplings--be perfect in every way.

If you are the one do not have one to eat, don't be disappointed, you will get the blessing that "worry nothing and have good health and a long life".

All in all, it was one of the better culinary moments in my trip to China. It was also something very different to experience.

The Banquet cost us around RM80 per person (including some local chinese wine) and advance booking is required.

Dumpling Banquets can be experienced in some of the hotels around Xian and Shaanxi province.

Orient Hotel
Address: 393 Zhuque Road, Xi'an
Phone: 86-29-5262211, 5262242

...or ...seeing this is still in China .. for an Emperor .. or MY case ... EMPRESS!

Anyway ... after my visit to the Forbidden City, which ended at the concubines area near the entrance of Beihei Park around lunch time we headed for Imperial Court Food.

What is Imperial Court Food?
Imperial Court Food is a style of Chinese food that has its origins in the Imperial Palace. It is based on the foods that were served to the Emperor and his court.

There are a few restaurants in Beijing that serve Imperial Court Food and one of them is the Fangshan Restaurant, located in a lovely building inside Beihei Park, overlooking the water.

We were led to one of the private courtyard rooms, nice and ornate enough with lots of intricate carvings on the wall and ceiling and lovely crockery.

The food
Well, we weren't served 36 dishes to look at but we had 1 (one) 'looking' dish - some cranes made out of radish and cold dishes. We then were served various types of meat and vege dishes. The only outstanding one was the chrysanthemum fish. Basically, it was a whole fish but the flesh was cut in a special way and battered lightly with flour so that when it was deep fried, the middle bits would look like the chrysanthemum flower (or like a whole bunch of McD's french fries sticking out of it!). The fish was served with a sweet and sour sauce which was rather bland. We also got dish tongue soup which was very peppery and starchy.

The desserts looked really nice in little bite sizes but was all pretty tasteless as well. I really pity the emperor, all this bland food .. no wonder he needed 36 to look at and 36 to smell first!!

Would I go back again?
Definitely not for the food, but more for the ambience. Then again, perhaps what we were served was just a particular selection from their set menu and not the best one.

The banquet, only available to groups cost us RM75 each.
(Note: RM75 may not seem like very much for Imperial Cuisine but in a country where our average cost was less than RM10 for 10-12 dishes at every mealtime ...)
We were told that the emperor was normally served a total of 108 dishes for each meal: 36 to look at, 36 to smell and 36 to actually eat.

Fangshan Restaurant
(inside Beihai Park)
1 Wenjin Street
Hours: 11:00-13:30 17:00-19:30
Tel: 86-10-6401 1879
Recently I visited the home of the Peking duck, Beijing. I mean, where else should one eat the oh-so-famous-duck?

When you don't have much time to try out every Peking Duck restaurant in town, you make an attempt to try it at one that is recommended as "the best in town".

In Beijing, the Quan Ju De Restaurant comes highly recommended. Established 130 years ago and, if you count from the time the founder, Yang Renquan actually began his duck business, then it is 160 years old.

What's so special about the duck? Well, after being immersed in unique condiments, the ducks are roasted over flames stoked by fruit-tree wood which is supposed to impart a special flavour to the meat.

Quan Ju De Restaurant has a few branches all over Beijing but the one we tried was at Wanfujing (it's also where the shopping is!). Famous people have graced the restaurants (we can tell by their photos on the wall, including Henry Kissenger and numerous heads of state, etc)

We (5 of us) ordered the Peking Duck (of course!) and also a few other dishes like black pepper beef, tofu and vegetables. Looking through the menu, they also offer "Hump" meat (which after I got someone to translate from the Chinese characters) was actually camel hump meat. There were camel paws as well (the Chinese have a thing about eating feet and paws, I must say ....) ...

The duck didn't make me go WOW! The chef came and carved it in front of us, firstly just the thin slices of the skin only. The duck was very fat and it was really greasy. The skin was also not very crisp.

Second part was the skin with meat, which we would have wrapepd up in the pancakes. The pancakes were really thick and doughy, unlike the translucent thin ones I have normally had when having Peking Duck. The sauce also wasn't like the normal hoisin type sauce we're used to. After our first bites, we all looked at each other and it was like "is this it?" "Is this the BEST Peking Duck Beijing has to offer??? "

Part Three was supposed to be duck soup, using the bones of "our" duck. The soup wasn't like anything we had seen before. It looked like almond soup, as it was white and watery and empty i.e. nothing inside, no veges, no duck bones, etc. After eyeing the waitress suspiciously, we each diligently took sips of our soup. It was tasteless!! No duck taste, not salty nor peppery nor anything except maybe a little oily, if anything.

The other dishes we ordered isn't really worth a mention, similar to other Beijing food. All rather bland and starchy and that would be about right.

One duck costs 187 yuan, which was about RM90.

Would I go again?
Well .. maybe this will be start of Peking Duck quest to hunt for the "best" not the most "famous" Peking Duck in Beijing!!

Beijing Wangfujing Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant
13, Shuaifuyuan Hutong, Dongcheng District
Hours: 10:30-13:30 16:30-21:00
Tel: 86-10-6525 3310

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