23 June 2014

Seremban Focus - The different facets of Seremban 2

  23 June 2014


AS many residents in Seremban 2 work in the Klang Valley, most of the town’s commercial area, save for Biz Avenue where the banks are located, is fairly quiet. However, come night time, when the residents return, a lot of them will spend their hard-earned cash in the township’s growing food and beverage hub.

“Seremban 2 is more lively at night while the Seremban town centre is more active in the daytime. I guess you can say they complement each other,” says Henry Butcher Malaysia (NS) Sdn Bhd director Siew Weng Hong.

While life in Seremban 2 is fairly sedate compared with Kuala Lumpur and its suburbs, the recreational and other facilities it offers have led locals to brand the township as a “fun” and “happening” part of Negeri Sembilan. The local landmarks include City Lake Park, Hill Park, the Tan Sri Dr Mohd Said sports complex, the government complex and two malls — AEON and Mydin wholesale hypermarket — which opened in 2011.

City & Country explored the township and neighbouring S2 Heights to see what life in the township is like.

Parks and recreation

Many people in Seremban wake up early to catch the early buses and trains to get to their jobs out of town. Some early risers, however, head for the parks in Seremban 2 and S2 Heights before they leave for work, including at the government precinct nearby.

“It’s another reason why people move to Seremban 2, because they can have a healthier lifestyle,” opines IJM Land Bhd CEO and managing director Datuk Soam Heng Choon. IJM Land is the developer of Seremban 2 and S2 Heights.

Seremban 2 boasts a 15-acre City Lake Park that was opened in 2005. It is not uncommon to see an aerobics class underway or joggers pounding the tracks in the morning and the evening. In the evening, colourful kites take to the skies. Visitors are allowed to feed the fish in the lake at certain times. The park is a popular hang-out during festivities, such as New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year when firework displays are a yearly tradition.

Facilities at the park include running tracks, exercise machines and courts for badminton, basketball and futsal. Security guards are on patrol round the clock, and near closing time at 11pm, they go around to alert visitors that it’s time to leave.

Those who seek a more challenging workout can head to the 30-acre Hill Park at nearby S2 Heights. Visitors must park their cars at the foothills near SJK(C) Tung Hua S2 Heights, except for the disabled or senior citizens. From there, they can walk or bike up a slope to the park entrance and will be greeted by sweeping views of the township and nearby districts.

Children can play with the dinosaur sculptures, swings, slides, mini rock-climbing boulders and even a flying fox for those aged 12 years and above. Their parents, meanwhile, can relax at the numerous decks and seats dotting the area. The park is undulating, following the hill’s natural topography, and exploration requires a bit of legwork.

“This is the highest point of S2 Heights. Instead of building homes here and allowing only a few people to enjoy the view, we decided to turn it into a park for the benefit of all,” says Soam.

Those looking for recreational sport other than hiking and running can head to the Tan Sri Dr Mohd Said sports complex in Seremban 2, named after the late former chief minister of Negeri Sembilan, who was known to be quite the sportsman, according to Soam.

The sports complex houses a hockey field, a hockey stadium, a lawn bowling field, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a badminton hall and a mini racing track. There is also a hostel for athletes in training for state or regional games.

“It does not cost a lot to use the facilities. For instance, it costs RM3 per entry to use the swimming pool and you can stay there all day if you want,” says Soam.

Apart from roads and public spaces in the township, all the sports facilities are maintained by IJM Land. “I’ve spoken to the chief minister about handing [the facilities] over to them, but he said there are no guarantees the state will be able to maintain it at our standard,” he explains.

IJM Land funds the maintenance of the township through the sales of its properties, and Soam expects the developer to look after the township for another six to eight years.

Not your grandfather’s kopitiam

An increasing number of Seremban folks work in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and earn higher wages. As the cost of living in Seremban is lower than that in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, their discretionary spending has risen substantially.

So, where do they spend their hard-earned money when they want to relax?

Besides shopping at the six malls in Seremban and Seremban 2, food is a favourite pastime, especially after they have been exposed to the more cosmopolitan lifestyle in the city. While good and cheap hawker fare is readily available at the Seremban wet market, those seeking international cuisine can head to Seremban 2.

A number of coffee shops, cafés and restaurants have sprung up over the past two to three years. Over at Uptown Avenue, which is Seremban 2’s newest commercial area, restaurant chains such as Daorae, Azuma, Gong Cha and Sweethut have opened their doors.

Meanwhile, local entrepreneurs who have seen the Klang Valley coffee scene take off have started their own outlets. These are nothing like the kopitiam of old. Instead of kopi-O and toasted bread with half-boiled eggs, they serve decent flat whites, a twist on the old Americano, indulgent chocolate cakes and the popular mille crepe. The coffee café trend started last year with the launch of Coffee & Dreams and Coffeeholic. Last but not least are the local watering holes, which include Otheroom wine and beer lounge and Brugge café.

City & Country paid a visit to Coffee & Dreams and Azuma one evening and was surprised at the crowd in both establishments. Strolling along Uptown Avenue, we first stopped at Coffee & Dreams, which offers an array of coffee drinks besides the regular lattes, mochas and cappuccinos.

We ordered its signature Biscotto Cube Coffee, cappuccino and latte macchiato, and a slice of its mango mille crepe cake. The latte was creamy yet robust. The highlight, however, was the Biscotto Cube Coffee. Instead of a regular iced coffee, iced coffee is frozen into cubes, with cold milk poured over it. But there is more to the drink — a mixture of Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread and crushed biscuits coats the bottom of the glass, resulting in a serving of cold coffee with sweet crunchy goodness!

The mango mille crepe had just the right amount of cream and mango pulp. It’s definitely one of the better ones we’ve had in the Klang Valley. According to Coffee & Dreams, the mille crepe cakes are sourced from Seremban and served daily. Besides cheese cake and chocolate cake, the menu includes spaghetti, chicken chops, salads and sandwiches.

As the evening turned into night, we headed to Azuma, a Japanese restaurant in a corner lot at the opposite row from Coffee & Dreams. Peering into the restaurant from the outside, we could only see a few groups of diners, but once inside, we found that it was practically a full house.

For dinner, we sampled the maguro (tuna belly) sashimi, Dragon Roll, Azuma roll and Sanma Shioyaki (Pacific saury grilled with salt). What made the dishes remarkable were their freshness and melt-in-your-mouth quality.

The Dragon Roll was made from tempura prawn, cucumber and salmon rolled between layers of sticky rice and seaweed. The prawn was fresh and the tempura batter gave the dish a savoury crunch.

Meanwhile, the Sanma Shioyaki — one of Japan’s most popular autumnal dishes — was perfectly salted and very soft.

Azuma’s menu goes beyond traditional sushi and sashimi. Western-influenced dishes include soft shell crab salad with sesame sauce. The combination of crunchy savoury flavours, fresh greens and hearty sesame sauce resulted in a very satisfying starter. A number of other dishes caught our eye, such as the sushi pizza, but we could not eat any more. We will definitely revisit Azuma to try the rest of its menu.

After dinner, we basked in the night-time ambience of Uptown Avenue. Many of the restaurants, cafés, dessert shops and pubs were remarkably busy for a weeknight. Korean barbecue restaurant Daorae was doing a roaring trade on its first night in business.

Uptown Avenue in Seremban 2 has definitely raised the bar with its more contemporary food and entertainment offerings, a welcome contrast with Seremban town’s older and more traditional cuisine. While parts of the commercial area are busy in the daytime, it is when the residents come home at night that the township truly comes alive. The Edge Malaysia Weekly
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1 comment:

  1. Seremban is growing at a tremendous speed in recent year. Many new developments and happening places.

    Ckeck out the upcoming N.S Home & Property Fair at Palm Mall, Seremban from 17-19 Oct 2014 (Concourse UG) to see your dream property. Any new good location to recommend in Seremban?

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