Venue: Onde Onde, Citta Mall

This review is based on two consecutive lunches I had here early this week. First of all, Citta Mall is relatively new to me. I've only been there once before to raid cupcakes and it was then that I realised this place was more of a food mall than anything else because they had not only a nice variety of flavour choices but also coincidentally a ton of my most favourite food on Earth. But lets not delve into that cuz I'm writing this specifically to talk about Onde Onde. 

The Onde Onde menu revolves almost wholly around our simple local flavours incorporating items such as assam laksa, meehoon goreng, nasi goreng belacan, kuey teow, hor fun, local kuihs, and of course the pride of our nation, the nasi lemak, along with about a ton of other things. But you kinda get the picture, right? Reflecting its menu, the setting of the place was also made to resemble the classic Malaysian lifestyle with a touch of class. The alfresco seating area overlooks the open car park and while you might think this would make the dining experience unsettling, I must note that this isn't a problem at all thanks to the amount of greenery parting in between. The general decor of the place was really pleasing - very modern, classy and fun all tied together. 

The first time I came was with Hafiz alone and the day was absolutely beautiful for a meal under a tree shade. He ordered the Nasi Lemak with Chicken Berempah and while I was contemplating between the Duck Egg Kuey Teow Goreng and the Kerabu Meehoon, over Hafiz's shoulder I spotted the Pasembur and Ais Kacang stand in the back. And anybody who knows me knows I'm crazy about Pasembur. It is my number 1 favourite food, like ever. So, you know what I ordered of course. 

When I came again the following day with Abah, Akah and again, Hafiz, it was later in the afternoon and like every other day this season, it was pouring. Still, we managed to get a seat and my only regret was that Abah couldn't see how beautiful the place would've been if it was dry. Just like the previous day, the waiters and waitresses were incredibly friendly and helpful, and not the kind of forced friendliness you get at some places. Abah had the Mee Goreng Mamak (highly expected), Akah the Butter Cream Fish with Rice, Hafiz the Lemon and Orange Chicken with Rice, and I the Duck Egg Kuey Teow Goreng this time. Abah also ordered the Pai Tee Top Hat set, Tauhu Bakar and a plate of Pasembur for everyone, I bet it was the empty stomach talking. 

So all in all, Hafiz and I have so far tasted a total of eight items off the menu here. 

I learned on my first visit, after quite a long and anticipating wait, the Pasembur was more pleasing to the eyes than the taste buds. The kuah kacang leans just a little on the bland side and while its spiciness is quite right, it lacked the sweetness of the gula melaka that should've been there. I was also not too crazy about the cucur which was, again, bland, but might've been passable if it wasn't too packed and heavy. I'm usually quite forgiving when it comes to cucur because I can safely say I haven't tasted cucur anywhere that's even remotely as good as the ones I make myself; but cucur are never meant to be so packed and heavy. Not that I didn't enjoy my meal, I was happy for getting Pasembur at all because I wasn't expecting it when I stepped into the restaurant. Also, all the other condiments of the dish was really nice. Nevertheless, I still believe it could've been made a lot better especially when customers are ready to pay more than double the street price. 

As for Hafiz's Nasi Lemak with Chicken Berempah, we weren't too delighted with the chicken but perhaps this was just us. We didn't enjoy the aftertaste the rempah left in the mouth and it was pretty severe considering Hafiz didn't finish the chicken in the end. Which usually never happens. But, on the plus side, I loved everything else about the nasi lemak. The sambal was really good, just wished they gave more of it. Though I doubt we couldn't just ask for more. The rice was a light shade of green and really fragrant. I guess we probably would've loved the dish better without the chicken. 

Abah's Mee Goreng Mamak and Akah's Butter Cream Fish were the best among all eight, I personally think. They were both generously portioned and made really well. I mean, the butter cream was butter dream done right, the fish was nicely fried, soft on the inside yet remained sufficiently crunchy on the outside. The mee goreng was also a mee goreng done right. I only wished they had some sotong rolling around in there with the shrimps. 

The Pai Tee was good, I just didn't really like the chili that accompanied it. It could've been a tad bit sweet to balance the taste. The Tauhu Bakar was lovely though. Everyone loved it and they were gone in a sec.

There's just one last thing I must note down. Remember I mentioned that the Pasembur station was outside? Well, I don't know if they don't have anybody specifically assigned to take care of the orders there or something but the service was really slow there, and just there. The first day, I had to ask for my Pasembur twice because I had waited too long and since I could see the station and I could see that they obviously weren't even working on my order my mood was kinda spoiled already. The second day, Abah had ordered the Pasembur and this time, it never came at all. We finally just had it cancelled off our bill because there's no point having it to go since everyone was already full already. On the whole, their service was really wonderful, super friendly and helpful waiters and waitresses. The Pasembur station was the only thing that really needs to be buckled up in terms of service.

I wouldn't say I rule this place out because there are still tons of food on their menu I've yet to try, but it really sucked that the Pasembur had to be the problematic dish. Sigh.

Nothing quite completes a home or room like home photos can, wouldn't you agree? As part of my room refurbishing project, I decided that I wanted a nice, large photo frame to complete the wall of my desk. So, I paid a visit to Kaison (I am incredibly in love with this place) in Paradigm Mall and got myself a 12 unit photo frame in white. I preferred the black but they were out of stock. *cries*

Now, just like how it's a big no no to upload all your holiday photos onto Facebook, you should also always be just as selective if not more when framing them up. Thanks to digital photography, we no longer have to stress over developing bad photos and wasting money. True enough, but it doesn't always mean you'd have to select only the photos that worked or only the ones that everyone looks good in as well. 

So, here's some heads up on how to select the right photos!

1. Select a mixture of photos from various events/occasions.

When framing photos, chances are you'd have a very limited amount of frames to fill. So, being selective is really important. And unless you actually mean to compile photos from a specific one-time event, say a wedding for example, you'd want the photos chosen to reflect either a timeline or just a random collection of various memories spent with your loved ones. Therefore, if you happen to have a large collection to go through, why not make a diverse selection. Below are some of the photos I chose for myself. They include photos from the family trip to Cameron, Kuching, my trip with Akah to Singapore, lunches I had with Hafiz and others with Abah, my trip with Haks and Ain to Penang, meals with friends and the sort.

This way, not only will the photos look more diverse, they would remind me of more than just a few awesome times I've had.

2. Look for both beautiful as well as meaningful photos.

The whole point of compiling home photos should always be about the people involved. Not simply how pretty everybody looked in those posed groupies. For example, the fact that the photo of me behind the wheel there turned out rather pretty was a total accident. I do think it looks nice, but the bigger picture behind it was the good laugh I had with Hafiz about how he 'magically' made me look pretty despite the fact that I hadn't yet bathed that day and was only out of the house to fetch him from school and get McDonalds, a scene that would look a hundred times uglier on most other days. Of course, it was just another day, not exactly a vacation photo or whatever, but every moment can be meaningful if you allow it to be, that I believe. 

3. Include a few photos of non-human things.

Never underestimate the value of photos of random, everyday objects. Balancing the selfies or group photos with these would help make your collection appear more natural and pleasing to the eyes because when everything tries to stand out, nothing usually does in the end. I only realised how important it was to point this out when I showed the developed photos to my sister, Akah, and she pointed to the photo of the red, miniature post box and screamed "why does this deserve a place?". It was actually a photo taken during my trip to Penang and it had its own value to me. So, you see, it could be a photo of your bicycle, your favourite cupcake, a balloon, a cat you saved or anything at all. The fact that it doesn't carry a human head in the photo is important to make sure your laid out selections don't look overcrowded with people.

Here's a little extra personal insight on this - what most people often don't realise is that including these photos of the random things you saw through your lenses would actually remind you of the event in which the photo was taken far better than any posed selfie because the photos actually reflect what you actually saw. Think about it, between that photo of my back pack on the hotel bed taken during my trip to Singapore last year with Akah and a photo of myself posing in front of the Merlion statue, I'd rather the back pack because it reminded me of what I was doing and what I saw with my own eyes and what was happening around me (Akah was taking forever to wear her tudung). Everytime I see that photo, I'd smile remembering what we joked about and the sudden call coming from Abah that costed him a fortune. All the Merlion statue pose photo reminded me of was being fried out under the scorching sun and annoying kids that appeared out of nowhere. It might seem old fashioned and cheesy, but in the end, not only would your photos be beautifully balanced, but they might also be of more emotional value.

4. Avoid using different coloured filters.

Personally, I try to keep the photos as filter-free as possible to achieve uniformity in the colouring and hue of each photo. Despite the fact that most of my photos barely need touch ups thanks to the beloved Canon, I would still go through each photo to adjust their basic, brightness and contrast, level and saturation controls to make sure I don't end up with those few awkwardly dark or eye-poppingly bright photos. And that's exactly why you shouldn't also use multiple coloured filters because they more often than not wouldn't work together with each other and you'd end up with an awkward selection.

However, inserting one or two monochrome or black and white photos, on the other hand, could assist in harmonizing the selection instead. I had selected our Cameron trip photo to be featured without colour and I love how it worked. 

5. Map out the placement of each photo carefully to avoid cluttering.

Finally, now that you've decided on the photos you wanna use, it's time to put them together! Remember, the variety of photos selected can be categorized into various groups depending on how you picked them. For example, you have the groupies, the single selfies, the non-human photos, the monochrome filtered and of course, the portraits and landscapes. So, it's really simple, just avoid placing photos of the same category next to each other! Allow me to guide you through my photo placement below.

I had only one black and white photo to work with, so I decided that it had to be somewhere in the middle. As for the object photos, I had 3 pieces whereby 2 were portrait oriented. I didn't want the 2 to be on the same side of the frame, so I picked the green, landscape oriented back pack photo to pair with the red post box to be on the left and the photo of Ain's Lumix camera to be on the right; and note how they're all placed on different rows to help spread them out across the frame units. Everything else just fell into place after swiping and testing their arrangements here and there several times. 

So there you have it! 5 simple tips on selecting the right home photos to fill up your multiple unit frame! I hope this has been helpful and I'd love to see what you guys come up with next! Do drop a comment yea, thanks for reading, guys!

Taken with my Canon 600D.
Tools: Adobe Photoshop + Wacom Intuos

Just an old digital sketch I made.

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