the neverending quest – for crisps

I like a nice packet of crisps occasionally.  Judging from the huge amount of shelf space they occupy in Malaysian supermarkets and convenience stores, I am not the only one.

However, whenever I find a nice brand at a reasonable price it soon disappears.  Or the price inflates enormously, then it disappears.  The cheap, local brands all seem to be full of nasty chemicals.  The more expensive imported and / or foreign brands are often way too expensive, and still have chemicals I avoid.  Anything that comes from the US is suspect and they do terrible things to what they call food – and you don’t know what they’ve done.  Have they irradiated it?  Does it have genetically modified ingredients?  For example, I think most canola oil from the US is GM – and many packets say that it may contain this.  And the labelling is often misleading. “Natural flavour” may not mean that the flavour is natural and not chemical, but rather that might be their (registered) name for some chemical concoction.  Artificial MSG may be hidden in another ingredient on the label, so you don’t know whether it is included.  And so on. It’s complicated.  Plain crisps are the least likely to have chemically enhanced flavours, so they are the ones I always check first.

So yesterday I found some crisps from Germany.  Looking at the label they seemed OK.  And Germans tend to reject GM substances.  And they love their potatoes.  And the price in Cold Storage is only RM5.99.  I bought a packet.  There is a strong MSG flavour, but it is quite possibly natural MSG, which is perfectly OK.  I enjoyed the packet.


Berlin Buddy Bears

Today I went to the Esplanade in Penang to see the Berlin Buddy Bears.  For more information see here:

They are here in Penang until October 30th.

It has rained so much for the past few days that the ground is sodden in many places, so either rain boots or flip flops and shorts are preferable.  Parking, is, of course, not easy.





There are seven groups of 21 bears each in a circle , plus the odd bear elsewhere, making around 150 bears.  Almost every bear represents a country, and there is only one bear per country.



















All the bears are good, so here are a few photos of my favourites.


Australia – by Ken Done




Cuba, of course















Berlin – one of the few that don’t represent a country



Berlin – behind



Berlin – close up






And then a few bears I photographed in Berlin, October three years ago





It’s so much fun seeing the bears I want to go back again.







meine Hausaufgabe für diese Woche – Eine der wichtigsten Sportarten

Eine der wichtigsten Sportarten in England


die Freiwilligen – volunteers


Eine der wichtigsten Sportarten in England ist natürlich Käse Rollen.

Käse Rollen

  • Es ist ein Rennen
  • Eine jährliche Veranstaltung
  • Es findet am Frühlings Bank Holiday Wochenende statt – der letzte Samstag im Mai
  • Es findet bei Coopers Hill in der Nähe von Gloucester statt


  • Es erfolgt ohne Management – aber es gibt freiwillige Hilfer bei der Vorbereitung
  • Es gibt keine Anmeldegebühren oder Formulare um teilzunehmen
  • Wenn Sie teilnehmen möchten, kommen Sie einfach vorbei
  • Es gibt vier Rennen – drei Männer-Rennen und ein Rennen der Damen
  • Es gibt auch ein viel sichereres Kinderbergrennen – den Berg hinauf


  • Es gibt wenige Regeln
  • Von der Spitze des Hügels ist einen 9 lb (4KG) Runde doppelter Gloucester Käse geworfen
  • Teilnehmer starten das Rennen auf dem Berg und sie rennen nach unten und versuchen den Käse zu fangen
  • In der Theorie streben Konkurrenten um den Käse zu fangen
  • Der Käse hat etwa eine Sekunde Vorsprung und kann Geschwindigkeiten von bis zu 112 km / h erreichen
  • Dann kann niemand ihn fangen
  • Die erste Person, die  über die Ziellinie geht,  gewinnt den Käse



  • Es heißt “The Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake”
  • Etwa 20 bis 40 Personen konkurrieren in jedem Rennen
  • Es gibt bis zu 15.000 Zuschauer
  • Normalerweise verletzen sich mehrere Personen
  • Im Jahr 1997 wurden 33 Konkurrenten verletzt, aber normalerweise sind es nur wenige
  • Das Spiel gibt es seit mehr als 200 Jahren.  Es wurde in den frühen 1800er Jahren erfunden


Wie ist ein Durian-Rennen in Penang von Penang Hill?


unfinished blogs – no. 1 – The German invasion of Penang

I’ve been writing this blog for three years this month, and have accumulated many partially written blogs that remain unpublished. I may as well just publish them as is, and if I ever feel inspired to finish any, do so later.


From February 15, 2012


I think it’s great. The German restaurant invasion of Penang – there are suddenly so many German restaurants here. For years there was only Ingolf’s in Hillside, Tanjung Bunguh. And it’s still there. But there are so many others. Here are the ones I am aware of:

Tanjung Bungah:

Ingolf’s Kneipe German Restaurant and Bar

Weissbrau – Weissbräu German Bistro & Bar at Straits Quay

BERLIN‘S BIER HOUZ 3E-G-3B Straits Quay Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang Tanjung Tokong 10470 Pulau Pinang I at Straits Quay. (NOW CLOSED – but a branch near Queensbay Mall.)

Cheers – Cheers Restaurant & Bierhaus

Gurney Drive

Brussels Beer Cafe – Brussels Beer Cafe OK, it’s not German – but not too far off.

Queensbay Mall
one near queensbay

However, they are fairly pricey.  At Tesco you can buy a variety of German sausages for a reasonable price, some potatoes, pick up some beer somewhere, but probably have to make your own sauerkraut. (My recipe to follow sometime.)

Berlin’s Bier Houz

you can park outside

you can park outside

Berlin’s Bier Houz has its origin in Ipoh, but then it  opened in Straits Quays, where  I was sometimes a customer.  Later they opened another branch near Queensbay Mall.  Still later they closed the Straits Quays outlet.  So I had not been for a while. But mid-December we went to the (near) Queensbay branch, as lunch and a beer seemed like a good idea at the time.

from front

from front

Their website tells most of the story, although doesn’t note the prices, so here are a few pages from the menus.

lunch menu

lunch menu







I thought the a la carte menu was more interesting than the lunch menu.




our drinks – the one on the left came with the lunch set

Mrs Tropical Expat had the lunch set

lunch set

lunch set

I had pork ribs.

my a la carte choice

my a la carte choice

my a la carte choice

my a la carte choice

It was a late lunch for us, and the restaurant was not crowded. Service was fast and friendly.  Our meals were good. In fact, mine looked enormous, but was actually on a bed of mashed potato, so not as big as it appears.  However, a greater volume would have been too much.

All in all, a pleasant meal.


Bay Avenue. G-1-1 lorong bayan indah 1, 11900 bayan lepas. Penang.
Telephone / Fax : 604 644 8887


Penang Oktoberfest 2014 is this weekend

The biggest Oktoberfest in Penang is the one held by the Malaysian German Society.  This year it is being held this coming Friday and Saturday nights, October 17th and 18th.  I just picked up my ticket for Saturday night.

MGS magazine, ticket and voucher

MGS magazine, ticket and voucher

Beforehand tickets cost RM10 for members and RM25 for non-members. At the door they are RM30 for all. Tickets come with a voucher for one can of Carlsberg or soft drink.

Oktoberfest information

Oktoberfest information

Oktoberfest information

Oktoberfest information

Last Saturday they were setting up the venue:

setup Saturday 11th

setup Saturday 11th

setup Saturday 11th

setup Saturday 11th

setup Saturday 11th

setup Saturday 11th

And by today they had made some progress:

Thursday 15th

Thursday 15th