Sunday, October 28, 2007

Rakuzen @ Hartamas

I finally try out the much blogged about Rakuzen Japanese restaurant...

After hearing so much about this increasingly popular Japanese restaurant, I decided to take my parents out for a long overdue dinner treat.

The Dinner

Located at one corner of the Hartamas shopping center (on the far left of the Ground floor - if you are coming in from the main entrance with the Starbucks), Rakuzen has a lovely feature wall made of bamboo:
The exterior of Rakuzen.....

The understated style on the exterior of Rakuzen extended to the interior's design too - with a couple of different sections (main island around the chefs and some more private booth style tables):
The Interior of Rakuzen.....

Somehow, it felt a little bit cramped in there but otherwise, I liked the interior.... It was comfortable and stylish without being "too much".

After scanning through the really extensive menu, we chose to start off our meal with the Soft Shell Crabs (RM22++), Small Sushiya Salad (RM16++), Grilled Duck (RM15++) and Agedashi Tofu (RM10++):

Clockwise from top left: The Tempura Soft Shell Crab, Agedashi Tofu, Salad and Grilled Duck.....

Overall, most of our appetizers tasted good:
- the Soft Shell Crab was uber crispy and light without having any "fishy" smell,
- the Tofu had a silky texture with a light sauce (albeit a little bland for my tastebuds), and
- the salad was wonderfully fresh, with generous helpings of seafood and interesting creamy yet sour dressing.

The duck as a bit of a let down though - only marginally tender and with a slight "ducky" flavour.... even obvious to a person like me who usually likes duck.....
(It tastes better when eaten with the mustard but I ended up finishing up the dish all by myself because people sensitive to "ducky-ness" like P avoided this dish after the first piece)

The Sashimi Unagi Bento set (RM48++), Dragon Maki (RM28++) and Curry Rice (RM18++):
The Sashimi Unagi Bento set.....

The Dragon Maki.....

The Japanese Curry Rice (Chicken).....

1) The Sashimi Unagi Bento:
- Yum yum, delicious! Although I felt this was a little pricey (oooh, RM48++ is quite a fair bit) but the Grilled Eel was wonderfully tender and tasty with the sweet Kabayaki sauce, without even the slightest hint of "fishy" taste and the Sashimi was fresh and juicy,
2) The Dragon Maki:
- Deep fried King Prawn rolled with rice, avocado and topped with generous amounts of Ebiko and (possibly a bit too much) mayonnaise, this Maki was nice but again P grumbled that it is "not as nice as Umaiya" because it was missing the Unagi component.
3) The Japanese Curry Rice (choice between chicken and beef):
- P initially looked at me funny for ordering what he considers very non-Japanese dish at a Japanese restaurant, but I was craving for the savoury, non-spicy and slightly sweet flavour of this simple dish with its fragrant curry powder taste and this didn't let me down. Mmmmmm.....

Lastly, we had the Black Sesame Ice Cream (RM6++) to end the night:
The Black Sesame Ice Cream.....

Yum yum.
Fragrant, smooth and not too sweet - the perfect black sesame ice cream...

One thing's for sure: the food at Rakuzen is definately not cheap. However, it's also not expensive considering the quality/ taste of the food.....
(With such an extensive menu though, you are bound to come across one or two dishes which are not so nice. Eg. the duck we tried)

The service that night did let me down a little though - the wait staff were friendly but maybe because of the layout of the place (especially if you are seated in a booth and not the main open area), it was difficult to get their attention...

There were several times that night where trying to get green tea refills or ordering more food became a pain because we kept waving our hands and calling out but somehow nobody saw/ attended to us.....

So, it's: Extensive menu of Japanese food, nice ambience, yummy food for OK prices BUT service staff (although friendly) can be a little blur and a few "misses" on the menu (honestly, it can't all be perfect when you have so many dishes - it happens lah....)

Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:

Rakuzen @ Hartamas Shopping Center, KL

Taste: 7
Ambience : 7
Service : 5
Price** : RM 45/++ per person
Parking: OK

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-6201 2060
(03-5880 4717 for their SS15, Subang Jaya outlet and 03-2145 6200 for their Chulan Square, KL outlet)
Opening Hours: 12 noon to late


- Jules Eating Guide To Malaysia
- Masak-Masak
- KY Speaks
- 3 Meals Of Goodness

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

More Singapore Hokkien Mee

Another convenient yet delicious place to try out Singapore Hokkien Mee....

(This will be a super quick food update)

Looking for a decent plate of Singapore Hokkien Mee whilst you are shopping in the Orchard Road area in Singapore?

Well, look no further!
There is an extremely decent one served up in Food Republic, the food court on the top floor of Wisma Atria (that's the blue coloured shopping centre right next to Takashimaya):
The Hokkien Mee!

Overall, the texture and taste of this dish was good:
- Noodles were not starchy,
- Decent amount of seafood (squid and prawns) for the price,
- Right amount/ balance of tasty sauce, not too wet yet not too dry, and
- Thick sambal that was fragrant and not too spicy.
(My only complaint is that they didn't deshell the prawns for lazy buggers like me)

Another specialty at that Hokkien Mee stall is the "Orr Chien" (oyster ommelette?):
The "Orr chien" there...

It was just a tad too oily for my tastebuds but tasty nonetheless, especially with a dab of the yummy chili sauce that had a nice sour zing to it.

If there's one thing I have to warn you about venturing here though is that you must be prepared to possibly wait a long time for the noodles (there's usually a looooong line at this stall). When you finally get your hands on that yummy plate of Hokkien Mee though, the battle's only half over because you will then have to concentrate your efforts on finding a free table in this popular (i.e. super packed) food court:
A peek at the busy food court area...

So, the thicker your skin the better!
And best to put a strategy in place : Like, one person in the group lines up for food whilst the rest hunt for a table.

So, it's: Convenient, delicious and affordable Singaporean Hokkien Mee (and ok tasting "Orr Chien") in a clean and modern food court in the Orchard Road area BUT Singapore Dollars to Malaysian Ringgit forex tends to hurt the wallets of poor Malaysians like myself and be prepared to fight for a table/ line up and wait for your food!

Summary Information:
Hokkien Mee @ Food Republic Food Court, Wisma Atria, Singapore

Opening Hours: 11am till late.
Phone: -
Address: Top Level, Food Republic Food Court, Wisma Atria Shopping Centre, Orchard Road, Singapore.

(Well, to be specific: I didn't see any pork dishes at the Hokkien Mee stall but there were other stalls in this food court which did serve pork. Still, better to be safe than sorry so please make sure you double check on Halal-ness when you order - I don't know whether there are any "secret ingredients" in the dish)

- Various @ Hungry Go Where
- I Eat, I Shoot, I Post
- Eat Like A Cow

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Prayer Against Road Rage

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.....

What is with the horrible traffic these few days??

I don't know whether it is that:
1) I am too used to the easy flowing holiday traffic over the first week of the Raya holidays, OR
2) All the people who went back to their home towns last week convinced all their relatives to drive back with them and celebrate Raya in PJ/ KL this week.

It's crazy:
Usually, I take about 10 to 15 minutes for me to drive back from work on a good day/ 30 to 40 minutes on a normal day/ an hour on a really bad day but this time it took me almost 2 hours to inch my way through my usual route home.
(Ok, so it was really THAT bad on Monday, and slightly better today, but still!)

And the way everyone was driving - Aiyaiyai....
(Message to the IDIOTS out there: You'd better hope your God doesn't put too much weight into the way you drive on your judgement day or that means that you are in BIG TROUBLE)

It took so much strength to NOT blare my horn or curse vehemently at the various cars/ motorcycles/ misc vehicles who were:
1) creatively creating fourth and fifth lanes on a three lane road,
2) being idiots and choosing to ignore the long line of cars at a traffic light and forcing their way into the start of the line, OR
3) driving like maniacs in general.

I suppose I could start taking the LRT again soon.
(But with the erratic rains of late, that could turn out very badly for me as well)

Wouldn't it be nice if I could afford a driver?


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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Decoding The Chocoholic

FYI, if ever you wondered what I meant....

A while back (almost a year maybe), I started putting in the Restaurant Review Summary Sheet in my restaurant reviews. It basically sums up the key info like the restaurant name, contact details (telephone number and rough location), approximate price range and my rating on the food, ambience and service.

I put everything on a scale of 1 to 10 and here's what I generally mean:
10 = Perfect
9 = Almost perfect
8 = Very good
7 = Good
6 = Above average
5 = Ok/ Average
4 = Below average
3 = Bad
2 = Really bad
1 = Terrible

I think so far nothing has earned a rating of either 1 to 3 (haven't experienced anywhere THAT bad) or 9 to 10 (haven't experienced anywhere THAT good - or maybe I just can't afford to).

But there are still so many restaurants out there to try so we'll see what happens.
I do hope that one day soon I will be able to eat at a "9" or "10" restaurant......

Am definately not looking forward to coming across any restaurant below a "5" though!

Eat and be merry,
J the Chocoholic

PS/ Of course, everything I say (in my reviews and other posts) should always be taken with a pinch of salt. I don't claim to be professional reviewer (I'm totally not) but it's just my honest opinion based on my taste buds... You may end up totally disagreeing with me but hey, your tongue and my tongue are definately not built exactly the same lah.... :P

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Your Place Or Mine?

New restaurant in the Curve that's been getting mixed reviews....

Nestled in ground floor of "the Walk" section of the Curve shopping center (in between Italiannies and TGIF), the Apartment is one of the newer restaurants - taking over the demised Slippery Senoritas.

The Dinner

Being a mushroom lover, I had to order the Grilled Portabello Mushrooms (about RM14++) as an appetizer:
Grilled Mushrooms

The mushrooms were really tasty - lightly grilled, topped with a simple herb sauce (basil maybe?) and some crunchy pine nuts that went very well with the earthy taste of the mushrooms.

Moving on to the mains, we took the waiter's recommendations and went with 3 of the house specialties, the Grilled Fish with Cheese and Tomatoes, Baked Chicken with Cream Sauce and Pesto Spaghetti.
(Truthfully, there were some sort of funkier names for these 3 dishes (which I forgot - sorry - but essentially, this is what it is lah).

First up, the Grilled Fish:
The Grilled Fish

The Grilled Fish was ok overall - nice but nothing fantastic.
Fish was moderately tender and was paired fairly well with the layer of melted cheese and tangy tomatoes.

Next up, the Baked Chicken (about RM17++)
The Baked Chicken

This was supposed to be one of the specialties here but I didn't think it was all that great. Again, ok but nothing fantastic.
(I thought the fish was nicer as compared to this).
The chunky chicken pieces weren't very tender and the cream sauce was not very thick (good, not so jelak) but not very flavourful.

The last main for the night was the Spaghetti with Pesto, Seafood and Asparagus (about RM18++):
The Spaghetti

Overall, this was ok.
Serving was just a little bit small but not bad considering the taste. There was a nice flavour from the pesto and olive oil sauce but it was just a tad too salty for my taste buds.

To cap off the night, we had the Strawberry Mint Cream Parfait (I'm not sure of the price... the restaurant manager/ owner guy was so sweet - when he heard it was my friend's birthday, he gave it to us for free... ):
Strawberry and mint cream parfait

Yummy yummy.
This simple dessert is essentially just layers of crispy bread cubes, chunky fresh strawberries and smooth luxurious cream with bits of mint in a tall glass.... The combination though is delicious!
(I would have liked it better if it were served a little colder but overall, no complaints)

So overall the food is only ok (except the mushrooms and the parfait - they were delicious!)

So what makes The Apartment special?
Well, I think the cute concept interior has something to do with it.

It's adorable how they have different sections with themes emulating areas in a regular apartment. For example, the "Patio" area (outside) and (inside) the "Bedroom", "Bathroom", "Dining Room" and "Living Room" areas,... all with funky chill music wafting through to create a comfortable, casual yet unique ambience:

(Sorry, didn't manage to take photos of all the areas - you gotta go there to see it properly lah)

Note: The Apartment has been getting very mixed reviews from Bloggers, in general about the service level of the wait staff. It was atually pretty good on the night I was there but apparently it can deteriorate on some "bad" days.

So, it's: Unique casual ambience, fairly wide range on the menu, nice appetizers and dessert BUT the main food only tastes ok and apparently the service level is erratic.

Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:

The Apartment @ The Curve, Damansara

Taste: 6
Ambience : 7
Service : 7
Price** : RM50/++ per person
Parking: OK

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-7727 8330
Opening Hours: 11am - late


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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Weighing Scales Are Evil


How can it be?
I've been eating less and going to the gym regularly (well, more regularly than ever before anyway) and when I stepped on the weighing scale today, it went further to the right!

Even as I am sitting here typing, I can feel the soreness in pretty much all my muscles so I refuse to believe that I have gained weight or specifically, any fat on my body. It can only be that:
1) I have gained loads of muscles (which everyone knows is much heavier than fat), OR (most probably)
2) the weighing scale is spoilt/ evil/ lieing to me.

And that's that.


PS/ Don't worry, will update on food soon. Between work and the gym, I have to put aside some time for things like sleep so I've been a little short on time.... Oh, also, I think I am getting addicted to playing Scrabble (or Scrabulous, as they call it) on FaceBook.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Mee Jawa

New-ish restaurant serving local favourites at the base of Casa Tropicana condominium (Tropicana golf club area)....

P and I were passing by the new Casa Tropicana condo (in the Tropicana golf club area) when we noticed that there were a few new restaurants opened at the shophouses in the base of the condo.

"Mee jawa!", P exclaimed excitedly, "Let's go try it!"
(Totally ignoring the Secret Recipe outlet and a restaurant/cafe called MJ Cafe)
(He confessed later on that Mee Jawa is one of his favourite foods)

The Lunch

The exterior of Mee Jawa is very inviting, with a cute kampung style setting:
The Exterior of Mee Jawa

Going inside, the interior is similarly decorated - cosy and simple but you can tell the owners put a lot of care into it:
The Interior

That day we were pretty hungry so we sampled 3 of the restaurant's specialties. First up, the Assam Laksa (about RM7++):
The Assam Laksa

If you like assam laksas with a thick soup that's not too spicy and has a sweet taste, then you will probably like this.
(I don't like sweet assam laksas though so I didn't enjoy it too much...)

Next up, we tried the Curry Chicken Nasi Lemak (about RM8++):
The Nasi Lemak Kari Ayam

Overall, it was ok.
Not fantastic but not bad either.
The curry chicken was tasty but only moderately tender, the rice was fairly fragrant and the sambal was thick but a bit sweet.

Lastly, of course we sampled the trademark of the restaurant, the Mee Jawa (about RM7++):
Mee Jawa

I found the serving size a bit small (not enough for big eaters like me - haha) but liked it.
The sauce was savoury and thick (but not too thick). The crispy crackers,tofu, egg and small serving of sambal and sotong also complemented the noodles very well and it tasted especially good with the lime squeezed on.
(All in all a nice light meal)

So, the place wasn't exactly perfect (some of the food was only ok) but I wouldn't mind going back again to try the Mee Jawa again in this nice neighbourhood restaurant.

So it's: Ok tasting local favourites, nice cosy "kampung style" ambience BUT prices (although fairly reasonable) are not that cheap.

Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:

Mee Jawa @ Casa Tropicana, PJ

Taste: 6
Ambience : 7
Service : 6
Price** : RM12/++ per person
Parking: OK

** Approximation - a main meal and side dish, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-
Opening Hours: 12noon - 10pm


- Jule's Eating Guide To Malaysia
- Glutton Queen
- Cumi & Ciki
- Simple Life

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Maaf Zahir Dan Batin.....

Selamat Hari Raya....!

It's that time of year again : The time of forgiveness, love and celebration with family and friends. Also the time of delicious lemang, ketupat and rendang and kuih raya.
(MMmmmmmmmmm, hungry)


I hope that you are all having fun whether you are back in your kampungs or just lazing around in KL/ PJ like me....

Waiting for her Duit Raya although she's probably too old already,

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Not Tonight, Honey


No food updates.

I've been busy...
... and also feeling a little under the weather.

The combination of the above factors have caused me to totally lose my appetite so I haven't really been eating much lately.
(Still not losing weight yet though, darn!)


So, I can't comment very much on anything to eat except maybe on the excitingly effective properties of Clarinase (and how it strangely makes me feel a little light headed, although not drowsy).

Tired and high on flu meds,

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Talk Is Cheap

Beware - very wordy and very rant-y post ahead....

Question of the day:
Who do you go to if you are feeling very frustrated with your pay/ job/ rank/ etc at work?

Possible answers:
1) Direct Boss?:
Tried that. Didn't work.
Anyway, apparently "there is nothing he can do because his hands are tied by the HR people".
He hasn't even returned my half year assessment because he's just too busy/ wants to discuss with my other boss first but couldn't manage to catch him/ etc etc etc.
I believed him the first time he told me that. And I still belived him (to a certain extent) when he repeated pretty much the same thing for the second and third time... but after waiting for more than 2 months, I think I am only human if I have begun to doubt the sincerity and truth in his words.

2) Indirect Boss?:
He's also very busy.
Although he seems to care a wee bit more... because he actually asked me where my long overdue half year assessment is (but of course, he wouldn't go and rush Mr Direct Boss for it because that would be inappropriate).

3) HR People?:
No way!
I know how much they care.
I refuse to talk to them anymore - I only get depressed when I hear any of their propaganda.
On one hand they say: "Oh,.. we are moving towards a network organisation. No more hierachy so you will find you don't get promoted much. Instead, you will have wonderful job diversification across many different functions, which will enrich your life and add value to yourself."
BUT on the other hand, they say: "We will only ever pay you however much your job function is worth in the market... Not happy? There's the door."
What does that mean?
More or less: You will be moving sideways in the organisation a lot because that's how we're structuring it now so you will learn lots but your pay will never increase much because you will not be promoted much (or at all). If you don't like it then you can leave. Bye bye.

I feel so lost.

Is it my fault because I am too much of a pushover? Maybe I just don't know how to negotiate properly to get what I'm worth.

Or maybe I am just so bad at my job that this is the way my bosses are trying to tell me to leave? (Even though they have only said good things to me when they make comments about my work).

Do I stop trying to work hard/ improve and just clock in my 9 to 5 everyday, clock out and don't care?

Do I go look for a new job?

Is it that maybe I'm just too impatient? Maybe my bosses are just waiting for me to learn more before I get a promotion/ pay adjustment?

Do I stay patient and trust that my bosses have some sort of a career path planned for me?

Do I just smile and keep telling myself "Oh, I love my job so much that I don't care if I earn pretty much the same amount forever and cannot afford to buy a nice house for myself even if I work hard/ long hours... It's ok! Trying to secure a comfortable retirement plan is like, SO overrated anyway."

Always no answers.
Only more and more questions in my head.

Stressed out and feeling like crap,

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007


A new Japanese restaurant and bar in Singapore with a uniquely lush and exotic outdoor ambience ....

Arriving at Dempsey Road, we walked up to Oosh (the first restaurant on the right side of the road) and it looked normal enough - big white bungalow with a modern yet warm design with lots of natural textures like wood and bamboo.

"Pffft...", I thought to myself, "P was telling some tall tales when he said this place has a really nice ambience. Is he really so easily impressed?"

As the restaurant hostess led us past all the main sections of the restaurant to an available table in "The Roof" section though, I was slowly and very pleasantly surprised by the:
1) conventional but sophisticated restaurant setting in "Yen Dining" (indoors),
2) laidback but classy looking bar/ lounge area in "The Bar" and "The Terrace" (indoors),
3) cute little bamboo huts with comfy looking sofas in "The Trellis",
4) romantic, cosy tables in the open air amidst lush greenery and a man made waterfall in "The Garden"
5) cool looking bar/ lounge setting concentrated around a big bar area in "The Lookout", and
6) relaxed and airy setting at "The Roof" with big soft sofas (where our table was situated).
(WAH - the total area of Oosh is so big!)

The few photos I took however, are fuzzy and dark and do Oosh absolutely no justice:
Yen Dining and The Roof....

(For a map and some much better photos, please refer to the Oosh website)

I do wonder though, with what looks like more than half of their tables placed in the open air (not covered in any way at all), what will happen when it rains?
(Let that be a warning to only go there when you are pretty sure it will not rain - either that or book a table inside)

Moving on to the food, we were scanning the menu (with the help of a handy flashlight from the waiter) when we were told that there is a limited menu (light foods only - Japanese and some Western) for most of the outdoor sections.
(Apparently the Yen Dining section has the full range of the normal Jap food)

Anyway, we chose to start with the Veal Bratwurst (about SGD$9++) and Grilled Salmon with Bacon (about SGD$12++):
The Veal Bratwurst and Grilled Salmon with Bacon....

Overall, they were OK.....
The servings seemed a bit small but tastewise it was not bad (simple lah).
(I initially thought that the strange combination of fish and bacon would taste weird but it turned out to be ok... Fish was just a wee bit overcooked though)

For the mains, we tried out the Grilled Beef with Miso Sauce (around SGD$23++) and the California Maki (about SGD$15++):
The Grilled Beef and California Maki....

The beef was moderately tender and had a slightly sweet but savoury taste to it (went well with the mustard). Not much to say about the Maki - it was very normal....

Of course, we couldn't skip dessert while we were sitting there counting the stars in the night sky, so we ordered the Black Sesame ice cream (about SGD$5++):
The Black Sesame Ice Cream....

This was also just ok - smooth texture and nice flavour of the black sesame but just a little too sweet for me.

Overall, I enjoyed my dinner at Oosh - LOVED the ambience (apparently the owners spent a LOT of money decorating this place) but the food's really nothing to shout about.
(Apparently the cocktails there are nice though - P said that his friends really like the Lychee Martinis there)

Word of caution: This place is fairly new and popular so booking is a must (to avoid disappointment) on Fridays and Saturdays. Also, service tends to suffer a little during peak hours as they may have just a few too little wait staff running around the large areas.

So, it's: Uniquely lush exotic outdoor ambience and romantic setting BUT food only tastes ok, service can deteriorate during peak hours and beware if it looks like it's going to rain!

Summary Information:
Oosh Bar and Restaurant @ Dempsey Road, Singapore

Opening Hours: (Lunch and dinner) 12noon to 2.30pm, 6pm till late.
Phone: +65 6475 0002
Address: 22 Dempsey Road, Singapore 249679.

(For a map and some much better photos, please refer to the Oosh website)


- Various @
- John's Eats & Trips

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Back To Reality


Am home.
Just arrived back in KL via Nice bus.
Slept the whole way back but still feel tired......

It's terrible though - the food on the Nice bus has deteriorated so much.
Last time, they used to serve a small but ok tasting serving of fried rice/ meehoon/ nasi lemak once in a while but nowadays it always seems to be sandwiches.
(And sometimes the sandwiches are shockingly empty - practically two slices of cold bread with mayonnaise, butter, a slice of tomato and some random leafy vegetable)

Oh well, it's just a bus ride and not a gourmet experience lah, I suppose.
Still, I wish I could have an option to not to be served food and get a 5 buck discount or something like that - it's such a waste anyway since I hardly ever eat the food they serve (unless I'm really THAT hungry - usually I just tahan until I reach Singapore/ KL).

Off to bed now.
(Arrrgh. Morning meeting tomorrow....)


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