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Domino’s vs Pizza Hut: Which Outlet Serves the Better Pizza?

By Alexander Kuek

Image credits go to the official websites of Domino’s and Pizza Hut

Pizza – this classic food item that we all know and love goes all the way back to 18th century Naples, Italy. Having travelled far from home, the recipe reached the United States through Italian immigrants who celebrated their culture and traditions in both little and big ways. Today, pizza is enjoyed by people from all around the world and has become a staple for parties and social gatherings.

What also makes it a favourite among communities is its simple recipe and the ability to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters with its various options for toppings. While the ultimate debate on what should and should not make its way on to a pizza is a never-ending quarrel, the existing recipes have not failed in pleasing a wide range of individual taste. Big names such as Domino’s Pizza and Pizza Hut capitalized on the popularity of pizza and turned themselves into multi-billion-dollar franchises, with both chains now having thousands of locations globally.

These two chains are quite possibly the first ones we look for when we think of ordering pizza, so in this month’s article, Domino’s and Pizza Hut go head-to-head in a comparison review of a selection of shared pizza flavours (some similar, some identical).

Note: All pizzas compared here are of regular size and the crusts were also regular. Pictures may vary slightly from the actual pizzas.

Round 1: Aloha Chicken (Pizza Hut) vs Aloha Chicken (Domino’s Pizza)

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Pictured above is Pizza Hut’s version of Aloha Chicken, containing chicken rolls, chicken salami, pineapple slices, and mozzarella cheese.

Verdict: This pick costs a dine-in price of RM 32.30, which is reasonable enough for a pizza of this size. The combination of chicken rolls and salami works really well with the pineapple slices and tangy mozzarella cheese. The texture of the crust was simply on-point and the flavours came together in a delicious blend.

Price: 4/5

Taste: 4/5

Overall: 8/10

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Next is Domino’s interpretation, with pineapple slices, chicken shreds, and mozzarella cheese.

Verdict: Dominos’ Aloha Chicken Pizza was RM 25.90 (dine-in), giving it an edge over its competitor in terms of price. However, due to it containing only roasted chicken, it doesn’t have the flavour packed punch that the Pizza Hut counterpart does. Still, everything else about it is simply yum!

Price: 4.2/5

Taste: 3.8/5

Overall: 8/10

Both pizzas were equally matched at the end, but I would declare Pizza Hut as the winner of this round as their version, despite its higher price, offered more satisfaction in terms of taste.

Round 1 results: Pizza Hut 1, Domino’s 0

Round 2: Meat Mania (Pizza Hut) vs Meat Mania (Domino’s Pizza)

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Pictured above from the dine-in menu is the Pizza Hut version. Hailing from the aptly-named Supreme Series, it contains beef pepperoni, ground beef, chicken rolls and shredded chicken on tomato pizza sauce in addition to mozzarella cheese.

Verdict: This one comes with a dine-in price of RM 34.90. The tasty combination of chicken and beef mixes well with the sauce and becomes a juicy and flavourful bite.

Price: 3.8/5

Taste: 4.4/5

Overall: 8.2/10

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Next is Domino’s version of the same name, containing beef pepperoni and sausages, ground beef, chicken potpourri sausages, and ripe olives. It was under the Classics series.

Verdict: It comes with a price of RM 29.90 (from the official website) and unlike its Pizza Hut counterpart, contained olives for that smooth boost of antioxidants – served as a splendid addition to the meat bits.

Price: 4/5

Taste: 4.5/5

Overall: 8.5/10

So the Domino’s version takes this round, with the edge over its competitor in both price, taste and even health benefits.

Round 2 results: Pizza Hut 1, Domino’s 1

Round 3: Super Supreme (Pizza Hut) vs Extravaganza (Domino’s Pizza)

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Pictured above is the Super Supreme, also from Pizza Hut’s Supreme Series.

Verdict: Unlike other Supreme Series pizzas, this comes in a slightly cheaper price, at RM 34.20. It contains ground beef, beef pepperoni, beef cabanossi, chicken roll strips, capsicum, onions, mushrooms, pineapples, olives, mozzarella cheese and tomato pizza sauce. With all that goodness thrown in, it really did live up to its name. The explosion of flavours is a real kick for the taste buds!

Price: 3.8/5

Taste: 4.5/5

Overall: 8.3/10

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Next is the Extravaganza, also boasting a large collection of flavours.

Verdict: On the official website, this can be purchased for RM 29.90 and it contains beef pepperoni and sausages, ground beef, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and olives. The result was another delightful sensation, to the pallets this time mainly from the beef bits as it was rich and juicy.

Price: 4/5

Taste: 4.2/5

Overall: 8.2/10

Pizza Hut’s Super Supreme takes it for the third and final round.

Round 3 results: Pizza Hut 2, Domino’s 1

Overall Verdict:

If you’re looking for the better taste and don’t mind the higher prices, then Pizza Hut would be the place to go to. On the other hand, if prices are of your concern then it would be Domino’s. Despite the former winning this comparison test, I’d recommend trying out both outlets as that would be a reason for you to try out each of their pizzas, which all stand out in their own right and light.

7 Factors to Consider When Getting a Pet

Written by Yumitra Kannan

 

I’m a 90’s kid who grew up reading Famous Five and watching Clifford the Big Red Dog. It’s hardly a surprise when I tell you that I’ve always wanted a pet dog. The idea of having a furry friend who loves you unconditionally, who will guard you from danger and run around with you ⎼ matching that explosive energy of youth ⎼ all seemed like a pretty good package to a younger me. Yet, my parents could not be convinced to add a member to our family of five. We’ve had a pet dog on two different occasions and both are no longer with us – one got kidnapped while the other was sent away after getting too temperamental to handle in a house full of children. Almost a decade has passed since but the yearning and desire to be a dog owner has hardly died off. If anything, it has only gotten deeper as life passed by, showing me that everything is so fleetingly temporary and that having a pet would be a nice constant. So, I got a German Shepard Pup.

Having a pet is no easy task. In fact, until exactly a month ago, my idea of owning a pet was based on novel stories and perfectly trained pets we see on screen. It was neither realistic nor in depth and all. The unexpected truths of having an animal companion hit me hard this past few weeks, and I feel obligated to relay all these new information to as many pet pursuers as possible. Pet owners have to accept change like the very air they breathe and take all necessary measures to be thoroughly prepared for the biggest responsibility in life – a kid who will never grow up! The following applies for all kinds of pets as these are general factors that one must consider before ‘D-Day’.

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1. Time

Getting a pet is equivalent to having a child – your whole life changes, most importantly, the way you spend your time, your routine, schedules and priorities. You have to incorporate your pet’s routine into your own daily commitments; tasks like feeding your pet, giving them physical exercise, love and attention all become factors to consider on a daily basis. This new change of looking after your pet, especially having to keep a close eye on them during their younger years can get really exhausting ⎼ keep in mind that for your pet you are their whole world, unlike your own life which is a mesh of other elements. You are committing to bringing up another soul, it’s only right to consider carefully and adjust accordingly.

2. Space

We do not realise how accustomed we are to having things run our way at home until a stranger walks in and changes things up. For a person who could not handle having guests over for too long without getting frustrated. Think about having all things not being in place or how rooms are no longer as clean as they used to be, having a pet is like having someone claim your space as their own, and you have to deal with it. Your pet’s living space, boundaries and the cage should all be pre-decided before the little one moves in. Whether you’re going to keep it inside the house or outside, its limits for exploration and how you’re going to handle the sticky floors and thin blankets of fur are all decisions you should have a clear idea about.

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3. Allergies

As hard as it is to accept, some people have allergies that can flare up dramatically within the vicinity of a furry friend. Allergies to fur are quite common among people. Hence, it is responsible to get the necessary tests done for all family members before committing to a pet. Some may just sneeze occasionally and have itchy eyes while others can suffer more seriously. Better to be safe than sorry.

4. Freedom

The first few months of having a pet and even up to a year is similar to a confinement period where you have to be home for as long as possible in a day to look after your pet until a more stable and less dependent routine is established. The simple luxuries of life like catching up with a friend over coffee for long hours or a spontaneous outing has to be strategized to fit the new addition in the family. You could also be required to put a pin on bigger plans like travelling for a few months, depending on the pet you get and their needs. This change in lifestyle may bring you down emotionally and we encourage you to prepare for it by thoroughly researching the specialised lifestyle changes that take place when you get the pet of your choice. Note that grown pets are different from babies who need you more.

5. Training

Essential, essential, essential! Some pets need to be trained and housebroken in the first few months of ownership and this requires both significant time and money so brace yourself! Professional training, lots of reading up and addressing every little issue with your pet requires a lot of effort, observance, patience and perseverance from your side.

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6. Food

Thoroughly research, read up and ask experienced pet owners and vets on the diet you should put your pet on as this crucial part of owning a pet can either make or break its life. Some pets tend to have sensitive digestive systems or hereditary diseases which can be prevented by meticulously monitoring their consumption and altering it to fit your pet’s requirements and nature. A lot of freehand advice will be offered but always clear it with professionals or in some scenarios, follow your instincts.

7. Vet

This is a no-brainer when getting a pet, so make sure that you have a few vets who are close to home who can take home calls and are experienced and certified. Be ready to spend and listen to professional advice while balancing it with the vibes and unspoken information your pets give you. Know that your pet is mortal and can fall sick. You have to be emotionally ready for such situations and must be able to deal with it with a clear head.

image2While there are lots of factors that need to be carefully considered before this big decision is made, don’t let all the technicalities intimidate you. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. Things won’t be easy or even the same but when your furry friend loves you unconditionally, protects you and feels safe with you in return and gets excited merely at the sight of you… it’ll all be worth it.

Top 5 Non-Fiction Reads to Carry You Through Life

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Written by Yumitra Kannan

 

The challenges of life, especially at the brink of adulthood, often tend to be tough and depressing. There’s so much to do and so little time. Doors that once seemed as open as a mother’s arms have suddenly sealed shut, and the ones that remain open beckon towards a path with fewer helping hands. It does seem like a lonely trek, doesn’t it?

Eventually, it becomes a necessity to administer your own antidotes to make life a little better. We’ve all got our happy pills – music, food, movies, sports, etc. For most of us, it’s a mixture of a few elements, and occasionally, we’re lucky enough to find just one simple solution to alleviating all our woes. I, for one, find my sanctuary within the pages of well-written non-fiction and if I’ve got human nature figured out to some extent,  I reckon you can too. There’s nothing quite like sharing in another’s pain and triumph to give you more perspective and compassion. So, here’s my list of Top 5 Biographies and Memoirs that will may help you in your journey towards cherishing life with all of its perfect imperfections:

1. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

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First and foremost, it would serve us all to take a quick look at the synopsis of this 228-paged memoir:

“When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a medical student in search of what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity – the brain – and finally into a patient and a new father”

This has to be one of my all time favourite books and one of the few that I’ve managed to read in 4 hours straight. Paul Kalanithi is a fantastic writer who managed to capture the entirety of his life in a concise manner within the limited time inoperable lung cancer had left him with. His narration is nothing short of a work of art. The way he captured his intricate life is almost like poetry, it’s a tone you can’t possibly get tired of. Rich with emotions, meaning, substance and the aspiration to be more, the story takes you on a journey of one man’s battle with the identity of life and how his deepest curiosities about living are only quenched by his own encounter with looming death. The story reminds you to cherish time and the beauty of living.

There will come a point when questions have to end and living has to begin, even if it is only when you’re near your deathbed.

“There is a moment, a cusp, when the sum of gathered experience is worn down by the details of living. We are never so wise as when we live in this moment.”

– Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air

2. Educated by Tara Westover

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Raw. That is the first word that comes to my mind when I think of Educated. The story is narrated by the protagonist – Tara, whose journey in the book begins from her younger days all the way up to the point where she breaks the shackles of her origin and blossoms into who she truly wants to be. This rich, dense and naked memoir, written in a story telling manner that is so easy to consume, makes the reader lose touch with reality as they try to keep up with hers. It’s scary, dramatic, extreme, empowering, frustrating, beautiful and everything in between. A life like that deserves to be written like this and how Tara Westover has given her own journey such a powerful voice is the definition of excellence. It’s a must read universal pick. Among the few memoirs that I’ve read, all of them gripping realities of lives so distant and different from mine, this particular one really made me reflect on my own life, identity, journey and existence. It has triggered my anger, made my jaw drop at the silent sufferings of injustice, sexism and cruelty under the name of God that these characters had to go through. It has made me question : if I am not the person sculpted by all those around me, what am I? What’s left of me if not parts and pieces influenced by the powerful entities in my life? It is a brilliant account of the battle between family and self.

“You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them,” she says now. “You can miss a person every day, and still be glad that they are no longer in your life.”

Tara Westover, Educated

 

3. Becoming by Michelle Obama

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Michelle Obama’s autobiography is one of those dense, rich and full of substance kind of books that does not belong in the light reading category. In fact, the story requires you to sit after every few chapters to mull over the thought-provoking content before moving on to the next round – much like the sophisticated art of drinking wine.

Michelle Obama’s life is opulent with hard-hitting experiences and a beautiful narration of all the little pieces of the puzzle of life that makes her the brilliant woman that she is. The book gives readers an insight into how she has continuously pulled through the roughest patches in life and still emerge gracefully. There’s so much more to the face we often saw next to the previous President of The United States of America. Michelle was a girl, then a woman and a mother and a fiery spirit and she has always fought for what she deserves. In the book, she also demystifies the life and struggles of her successful family, almost giving a step-by-step breakdown of all the elements that built the  life she has today. To summarise, Michelle takes the readers on a journey of honesty and passion.

“Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. It’s vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear.”

Michelle Obama, Becoming

 

4. The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind by Barbara K.Lipska

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This medical memoir about a neuroscientist whose melanoma  (the most dangerous form of skin cancer) spread to her brain, sheds light into what happens to the mind when the brain is attacked.  Scary, mind-blowing, inspiring and surreal, this ironical yet miraculous journey whereby a woman whose job is to work with brains loses her own, is a story worth absorbing.

It is truly an insightful read. Though quite factual, the beautiful thing about this story was how the author went through so much and survived it all! From surviving breast cancer and having the cancer spread to her brains, to pulling through with unmatchable strength ⎼⎼ you will be left in awe. A tale of madness and recovery, as she calls it, was captured in a way that enables the ones on the sidelines to understand a bit of what it is like to lose your mind. To hear it from an expert in the field is just another bonus!

The grit and will of this woman in her later years will make you question your own perseverance and sometimes, that questioning is exactly what you need to redefine life.

“We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in.”

Barbara K. Lipska, The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Recovery

 

5. How To Be A Bawse by Lilly Singh

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My last pick for the Top 5 memoirs and biographies is an autobiography by the famous Canadian-Indian YouTuber: Lilly Singh. How To Be A Bawse is quite a masterpiece for the its design and structure. Well rounded, humorous and well written, this book is more of a read-one-chapter-a-day kind of pick that very subtly weaves life lessons and experiences into something that can be easily consumed, digested and practiced.  Bringing the unfiltered truth about hustling for dreams to the table, Lilly paints a realistic picture for the youngsters of today ⎼⎼ who, for the most part, share similar dreams ⎼⎼ about the struggles and beauty of life in today’s world. I’d say that if people were to not stop themselves from picking up the book just because they aren’t a fan, they’d get the opportunity to read a piece of work which has evidently been produced with a lot of effort. It is full to the brim with insightful, meaningful and passionate conversations that Lilly Singh has with herself and her audience. Being a bawse requires you to earn it and what it costs is what Lilly has captured in a perfectly curated manner for us readers.  

“Working hard feels good. Of course it’s exhausting and stressful and causes you to miss a party or two, but at the end of the day it is so rewarding. One of the best feelings in the world is when you know that luck didn’t play a role in your success. Doing work eliminates the need for luck. I’m not lucky, I just took the stairs. And you should too.”

― Lilly Singh, How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life


It’s a known fact that biographies and memoirs aren’t popular among young people. In fact, I would equate this genre to extremely bitter coffee, something that requires time to get used to, let alone enjoy. But I assure you that when you venture into this underrated genre with a book that best suits your expectations and needs, there’s no coming back! Because real stories give you hope and inspiration like no other and there’s always a story out there just like yours. But on the off chance that there aren’t any, I suppose you’ll just have to write one yourself.

Get to Know: Wanted Symphony

By Supriya Sivabalan and Fajar binti Benjamin

 

The ever-thriving local music scene that’s full of talented artists of all ages has been growing over the recent years as we watch the rise of many musical talents. Among them include Daniel, 29 and Ruben, 24 also known as Wanted Symphony.

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Daniel (left) and Ruben (right) are the current members of Wanted Symphony

Echo Media’s event team had the pleasure of interviewing this singer-songwriter duo who are about to release their new album this year on all digital platforms.

Having started the band roughly 8 years ago, the reputable name “Wanted Symphony”, was inspired by Daniel’s roots of being a classically trained pianist and his desire to create music you’d want to listen to. Originally a 5-piece rock band, once the other members decided to embark on different paths in life, Daniel (basically the Brendon Urie of Wanted Symphony) discovered Ruben while he was hosting his show Soundstruck. This was 2 years ago and the meeting almost seemed like destiny. Daniel heard Ruben performing and thought “damn, this Indian boy can sing!”. The rest is history. Here’s the scoop:

1. Tell us a bit about yourselves.

“Fun fact about me, I’m actually a qualified lawyer,” is not what you’d expect to hear from a band member’s mouth. A man of many talents, Daniel is classically trained in piano and self-taught in two other instruments, namely the drums and guitar. Smiling fondly, he recounts, “I had the typical tiger mom, I got forced into piano lessons from the age of 4.”

Ruben on the other hand, turned down the classical training his parents put him into for guitar. “At that age I was 7, I wasn’t really interested in it. So, I stopped classes after a year”. Luckily for us, at age 14 he became interested again but by then, his parents didn’t want to send him for classes anymore so he taught himself, only really starting to sing a couple of years after that. His first open mic was at the age of 19 and he slowly worked his way from there.  

2. Who are your biggest inspirations?

“I’m happy because I can go back to my roots”, says Daniel. This artist is proud to say that he is now able to reflect his influences in his music today. As a songwriter, Daniel takes inspiration from songwriters who produce soulful music with meaning like Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars. In terms of style, he looks toward artists like Alicia Keys, Brian McKnight, John Mayer and Labrinth. Ruben, on the other hand, leans towards pop-punk music with a tinge of rock where All Time Low, Simple Plan and 3 doors down are among his largest inspirations.

3. What is the name of your album and how many tracks are on it?

(Mischievously) “We’re not going to tell you that, but there are 11 tracks on the album. Maybe some bonus ones too. Who knows?”

4. What is the main message you wish to convey through the release of this album?

“Hey we’re here, we’ve been around. This is the showcase of our work over the years, a reflection of the journey with the band.” The duo wishes to spread love and positivity through the genuineness of their music, full of songs about life, love and the girls who broke their hearts.

Although we try prying deeper into the sound and genre of this album, or even the instruments played, the duo remains very secretive. “We’re keeping it a surprise but trust me when I say this” Daniel confidently states, “It’s not going to sound like everything else that’s out there.”

They also mention an upcoming collaboration with local artist Nadhirah. They will be working together on a couple of tunes – something that everyone can look forward to dropping soon.

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Wanted Symphony performing at Artbox last year

5. What are some of the biggest challenges in producing this album?

The two were very quick to say “timing”. This is actually the third time Daniel has tried to produce this album. “There’s a reason why in 8 years we have not produced a full-length album”, he clarifies. “Besides the obvious initial hiccups we had with the band lineup, we decided to take our time to hone our craft so that we can now proudly say that this is who we are, and this is our identity in music.” Wanted Symphony really took the time and effort to understand the type of music they wish to put out and are now eagerly waiting to release this well-crafted masterpiece.

6. Is it a challenge specifically to have only two members in your band?

Daniel jokes about how it’s fewer mouths to feed before addressing again, the timing issue. “There are some bands who have 4, 5 even 8 members and I honestly don’t know how they do it. Even to get 5 guys in the same room is a challenge”. He explained that between him and Ruben, there is a lot more freedom to get creative as there are only two musical tastes to cater to.

7. Wanted Symphony mentioned that there is currently a transition from their old music genre and that they “want to slowly start feeding our (their) new genre to people.” Why this transition of music genre?

“Daniel gets bored playing 4 chords”, mentions bandmate Ruben. The band wanted to revert to writing more meaningful and technical songs that are true to their roots. “Songs that can show off what I can do as a vocalist and, now that Ruben is involved, show off what he can do with the guitar and his voice.”

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If you’re talented and you know it clap your hands!

They currently do a lot of harmonies when it comes to their songs. However, anyone interested can look up their old music on SoundCloud and YouTube while the newer songs will be streamed on Spotify and other online platforms once they drop.

8. What are your biggest aspirations for the band?

Daniel is pretty content with the extent of Wanted Symphony. “You know,” he says wistfully, “we’ve done pretty much everything, except the album.” If anything, Daniel intends to bring Ruben to experience what he did back in the day since the 24-year-old relative newbie to the scene is looking to perform for bigger audiences and larger shows and maybe even perform internationally which is something he never really had a chance to do during his solo career.

9. In Malaysia, where is your favourite place to play your music?

“KL!” (Kuala Lumpur), Daniel answers with no hesitation. They also enjoy playing in Penang due to the responsive crowd. However, a combination of the best crowd, stage and sound system is all in KL according to the duo.

10. How do your families feel about your music?

Both their parents are not opposed to the dreams of the duo. Ruben even mentions that his family is pretty supportive of his journey in the music industry but does want him to have a degree to fall back on. (“So if receiving an award, would you go on stage thanking your family for being your biggest supporters?” we ask. Daniel immediately laughs his no but Ruben considers that he would).

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Eyes closed and soul bared

11. What do you have to say about your current following?

With a consistent following over the past few years, Wanted Symphony says that “the fun part about being in a band for such a long time is you can see your fans grow with you”. Daniel started the band in college and is currently a working adult now. According to him, the fans who have stuck by them since the beginning have all grown too thus they receive a variety of gigs these days including many corporate shows.

12. Is there anything you wish to say to our readers?

“Support our local artists. We’re all humans and we all want to make a name for ourselves. Check out local artists, there’s an abundance of talent out there – bands who have been around for a long time and bands who have come out.” He also mentions many potential employers expect they won’t have to pay artists to perform. There is a challenge for local English artists in terms of international competition and aiming to be different. The music industry is tough to break into as the music produced must be on par with other music in rotation. “Nowadays, local artists have stepped up their game”, says Daniel and encourages everyone to have a listen.

13. Do you have a message for your fans?

The gratitude they have goes without saying. “I know people who have followed the band for 8 years and for that, I’m really grateful.” As for those who have not heard of Wanted Symphony, the two do not expect you to become a fan overnight. All these guys want is to be given the benefit of the doubt, for people to listen to their music and come to their shows.


Wanted Symphony has dropped an EP in 2014 and also released a few singles which took off well and were played on the radio, used in short films and even in clubs!

The duo is an extremely fun pair who have learnt a lot from each other considering the gap in experience and age. Ruben mentions that he has developed his vocal skills through many tips and tricks he picked up from Daniel and Daniel has expanded his music library through Ruben’s different influences in music.

Their album will be available for streaming in Spotify, iTunes and every other digital platform sometime in May. If you are interested in catching them live, then follow them @wantedsymphony on Instagram or Wanted Symphony on Facebook for updates.

Echo Eats: 5 Healthy RM5 Meals in Under 5 Minutes

Written by Samantha Chang

 

Echo Eats started with the intention of helping you, our dear reader, answer the impossible question of “…So where do we eat?”, in a way that saves your time, money and energy. But what if eating out simply doesn’t cut it anymore?

As students, we seek optimisation. We want good grades and extracurriculars, we want to be in tip-top shape, we want vibrant social lives and hobbies – but never at the expense of our wallets, and god forbid it creeps into our Netflix time.

The centrepiece of all that may just be something as simple as making your own food. First of all, you know and decide all the ingredients going into it – so no more mysterious black flakes of… something coating your mee goreng. You also save money by skipping the preparation costs and taxes, as well as the option of cheap ingredients. Also, there are healthy recipes that take less time to put together than a Samyang. Above all, healthy food gives you an invaluable boost of energy to do all the hustling you need to do.

Optimisation aside, health is precious and ephemeral, and you deserve all the best things in your body anyway. Lastly, for those out there who struggle with mental illness, for whom daily tasks can seem insurmountable – I feel you, and I hope that these recipes might help you as much as they helped me.

Disclaimer: Portion sizes vary based on your individual needs – double or triple up as needed.

#1 Oatmeal

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Okay, I know – please don’t click away just yet!

Every time I mention that oatmeal is my favorite food, I end up having to endure jibes along the lines of “you a grandma?” with a self-deprecating chuckle. Well, not today – today I’m defending my thesis: “Oatmeal isn’t Lame – You Just Lack Imagination.”

I wouldn’t make such a bold claim without evidence. We’re going to evaluate it through 4 objective measures: Cost, Time, Health and Versatility. But before that, here’s a general template of an oatmeal recipe. Note that this is like, the baby Johnson’s of shampoos, the Myvi of cars, the margherita of pizzas – okay, point is, oatmeal has far evolved beyond this; but more on that later.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup oats
  • ½ cup plant or dairy milk
  • Tiniest pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp yogurt*
  • Any fruit

*omit if vegan, but highly recommended for the protein, which keeps you satiated longer. Use greek yogurt for more protein.

Directions:

  1. Watch this:

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  2. Top with fruit and yogurt.
  3. Alternatively, assemble all the ingredients into a jar, refrigerate overnight and enjoy what is known as overnight oats (which would be a pegasus if regular, cooked oatmeal was a horse).
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Cost: 5/5

To calculate the cost of a single serving size, I divided the price of a whole ingredient by the weight or amount needed in a single portion. You can click on the links provided to check the price of the overall product, and you can find out how I calculated recipe costs here.

¼ cup (20g) oatmeal 25 cents
½ cup dairy milk* 60 cents
1 banana ~20 cents
1 tbsp yogurt 20 cents
1 tsp sugar Steal from McDs
Total RM 1.25

*If you’re in a real pinch, use soy milk for 30 cents.

Time: 5/5

It takes three steps; one if you’re soaking them overnight. Your cat could do it in less than 5 minutes. Next!

Health: 5/5

Oatmeal is incredibly nutrient dense. They’re rich in important micronutrients, antioxidants and vitamins, such as manganese, avenanthramides, B5, etc. One of the best things about oatmeal is that they contain a fibre known as beta-glucan, which lowers cholesterol, reduces blood sugar, and keeps you feeling full. This, coupled with the nutritional benefits of fruit and yogurt, makes for a very wholesome meal.

Versatility: 5/5

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This is the part I’ve been waiting for. Oatmeal is like the future, brimming with endless possibilities. Add a tablespoon of cocoa powder into your overnight oats – the final product will be as gooey and rich as chocolate cake. Boost its flavour and nutritional profile by adding healthy fats in the form of peanut butter, roasted nuts, or chia seeds. Cook it in tea or coffee for your caffeine fix.

Want to pretend you know what autumn feels like? Make carrot cake or pumpkin pie oats. Craving more local flavours? Make banana or mango lassi overnight oats with virtually the same ingredients as the basic oatmeal. Sick of the sweet? Try savory oatmeal. Experiment, improvise, try gourmet flavours – the world is your oatmeal, man.

#2 Abridged Hummus

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Remember to serve in a rustic brown bowl for extra hipster points. source

I know hummus on its own is not exactly a meal, but it’s definitely useful to have in your fridge at any given moment, especially when you’re hungry but too exhausted to move an inch. Plus, with this recipe in your arsenal, you’ll be everyone’s favorite person to have at a potluck.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp(s) lime juice*
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter**
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Generous sprinkling of spices (e.g. cumin, turmeric, paprika, chilli powder etc OR garam masala)***
  • Water as needed
  • Salt and pepper

* Traditionally lemon juice, but lime is cheaper and works well.

** Traditionally tahini (sesame paste), but peanut butter is cheaper, more accessible, and endorsed by Nigella Lawson. Bite me, purists. (Alternatively, omit altogether – still tastes good).

*** While I recommend the use of these listed spices, I realize not everyone wants to have a spice rack – feel free to experiment with any spices you have on hand, or just buy garam masala, which is a mix of many Indian spices.

Directions:

    1. Watch this:
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  1. Top with spices. 
  2. (Optional) Serve with carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers or bread.

Cost: 4/5

1 can of chickpeas RM 4
2 garlic cloves ~10 cents
2 small limes ~20 cents
1 tbsp peanut butter 40 cents
1 tbsp olive oil 60 cents
2 tsp garam masala 10 cents
Total RM 5.40

Okay, this is slightly over RM5, but this makes 1.5 cups of hummus, which means several servings over several days. Also, I chose a cheaper olive oil for this cost breakdown, but if you love your mother please invest in a higher-end olive oil.

Time: 4/5

Slight prep work in the draining of chickpeas, deskinning of garlic and squeezing of limes, but other than that you pretty much just chuck all the ingredients in the food processor.

Health: 5/5

Chickpeas, cute and tiny as they are, are actually chock full of fiber and protein which will satisfy you, aid your digestion, and regulate your blood sugar levels. They’re also packed with micronutrients such as manganese and potassium, which promotes heart health.

If you’re Asian, your relatives have probably already preached to you about garlic’s medicinal properties. Furthermore, lime juice will keep you scurvy-free, olive oil has omega-3s which lowers bad cholesterol, peanut butter and tahini are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, and even spices have health benefits!

Versatility: 5/5

Hummus and oatmeal have something in common: first impressions will mislead you into thinking they’re boring, beige slop, when they’re actually canvases for creativity. Look, they don’t even have to be beige: check out roasted red pepper or beetroot hummus for a vibrant red dip with a sweet, smoky flavour. Or heck, show up to a party with this fantastic spread:

kids in 2019 vs kids in 2001

Hummus doesn’t even have to stop at chickpeas: use lentils (dhal) or beans to shake things up. If you ever get bored of one version, just google ‘hummus variations’ and let the smart people of the Internet tell you what’s next on the menu.

#3 Quesadillas

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Also known as the floppy triangular sandwich, quesadillas are more of a concept than a recipe. There’s no set recipe to follow; it just has to fulfill one requirement, i.e. you fold a filled tortilla in half over a stovetop – that’s it. A very useful tip from Serious Eats on how to choose fillings: keep them “bright, fresh, hot, or crunchy” to contrast with the soft cheese. My staple is their Spinach and Black Bean – with several adaptations, of course.

Ingredients

  • 1 flour tortilla
  • 1/2 cup (15g) spinach*
  • 25g cheddar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 85g black beans
  • Salt

* look for ‘bayam’ – don’t buy the bagged stuff from Australia if you’re on a budget.

Directions

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Cost: 5/5

1 flour tortilla RM 1
15g spinach 8 cents
25g cheddar RM 1.40
1 tbsp olive oil 60 cents
45g black beans 70 cents
Total (makes 1) RM 3.80

Fun fact: This cost breakdown is why I almost had a nervous breakdown when I saw quesadillas being sold for RM30 at Chilli’s.

Time: 4/5

Once again, slight prep work with the spinach and beans, but it can be done in under 5 minutes.

Health: 4/5

Assuming you’re in college, I don’t think I need to tell you how healthy spinach is. Just check out Popeye. Plus, the vitamins and minerals in black beans can help build healthy bones, manage blood pressure and blood sugar and even ward off cancer.

As for the cheese . . . well, calcium! And it’s good for mental health.

Versatility: 5/5

Like I said before, quesadillas are a concept. This page alone lists 60+ different fillings you can try. Lots of people add chicken or beef; you can even spread on some of that sweet, sweet hummus you made. You can have it with salsa or guacamole. You can play with dessert fillings, such as peanut butter and banana. Basically – move over, boulevard Hot & Roll.

#4 Scrambled Eggs with Spinach

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Or . . . eggs any way, really – they’re like a meal in a capsule. Kopitiam culture has obviously figured this out a long time ago with soft-boiled eggs and toast, but I like this spin on eggs better because a) you get to quickly chuck in some vegetables for a more balanced meal and b) you can’t mess up scrambling because messing it up is the technique.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup spinach
  • Sprinkle of parmesan
  • Red pepper flakes, turmeric, thyme or any spices you fancy
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional (splash of milk in eggs)

Directions:

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Cost: 5/5

2 eggs* RM 1.16
1 cup (30g) spinach 16 cents
5g parmesan** 45 cents
1 tsp olive oil 20 cents
Total RM 1.96

* If you can afford it, consider buying cage-free.

** Or simply use the cheddar from the previous recipe.

Time: 5/5

If you have time to eat, you have time to make this.

Health: 5/5

All of us already know about the high protein content in eggs, but they also contain important nutrients such as choline, and antioxidants such as Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Also, grab the omega-3 fortified ones for your heart and brain health. The addition of spinach makes this recipe a nutritional roundhouse kick.

Versatility: 4/5

Eggs by themselves are cosmic in their innumerable possibilities, but scrambled eggs are pretty straightforward. Still, you can definitely tweak small things here and there to make large leaps in flavour.

Imagine: the sizzling aroma of garlic butter instead of olive oil, the bittersweet char of browned garlic and onion, the umami smokiness of sauteed mushrooms served on the side, a refreshing sprinkle of chives or dill… I really need to stop writing these articles at 12am.

#5 Energy balls

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Didn’t think I’d leave you without desert, did you?

These playful looking orbs go by a few other names (e.g., bliss balls, energy bites, protein balls) but I like calling them energy balls because they conjure up a cool little mental image:

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Can you tell how exciting my life is? source

Anyway, I was mindblown by these because they tasted uncannily similar to brownies, without the effort or the 999 sticks of butter. These are really fun to eat, to roll, and to throw at people. Convenient for when you’re on-the-go too, you busy adult you.

Recipe adapted from Deliciously Ella.

Ingredients

  • 115g dates (6-7 pieces)
  • 1.5 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp (~20g)  almonds
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut
  • Salt

Directions

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  1. Freeze for a few minutes for extra yum.

Cost: 4/5

115g (6-7 pieces) dates RM 2.70
1.5 tbsp peanut butter 70 cents
1 tbsp cocoa powder 20 cents
2 tbsp (~20g) almonds RM 1.00
1 tbsp shredded coconut 10 cents
Total (makes 6) RM 4.70

Although it fares under RM5, dates and almonds can be considered somewhat pricey, so this doesn’t get a full score.

Time: 3/5

While the processing of the ingredients is pretty straightforward, rolling them into balls and freezing them does take a bit of time – although, you won’t even mind doing the former because it’s squishy and fun, like playdough.

Health: 5/5

For something that tastes like treacle or candy, dates are great for health: they’re full of antioxidants such as flavonoids that can prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and even Alzheimer’s. Speaking of flavonoids, cocoa powder is also jam-packed with them. Almonds are also high in antioxidants, and are among the best sources of vitamin E.

Versatility: 5/5

From light and fruity lemon to M&M-coated indulgences, there are many different toppings and ingredients you can swap in. Exhibit A:

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We love balls of all shapes and sizes. source

If ever in doubt, this guide is a pretty good rule of thumb to stick to:

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Finally, even after you’ve tried all possible flavours, why stop there? Life is your playground.

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Thanks for reading this collection of incredibly millennial recipes – now go forth and adult. Good luck in the kitchen.

 

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