Celebrating Food! Celebrating Life!

Big Bad Wolf Book Sale 2012 Kuala Lumpur

For any book lover and bibliophile, this event is all too tempting! Touted as “The Biggest Book Sale in the World”, Big Bad Wolf Book Sale 2012 promised to be more exciting than the previous ones! Deals at “75-95% off RRP” also set many eyes gleaming and hearts palpitating with adrenaline and anticipation! I gruelled over the fact that it was set in Kuala Lumpur and not here at home. Thoughts and second thoughts… finally could not hold it any longer and decided to book (pun intended!!!) a coach ticket to KL to see the deals for myself. But of course, its not without all the “come lah! come lah! cheap cheap!” encouragement from all my beloved friends from across the Causeway. Bless ’em!

The strategy is simple, i.e. take the earliest coach there and come back with the latest. A “turnaround” they call it, just that me ain’t flyin’. No overnight stays as that would “dilute the worthiness’ of the books. I was lucky to have Shenny, a new friend introduced by Wendy coming to the rescue. She kindly offered to fetch me from the bus station to the book sale and back. A really bubbly and cheery lady! Malaysians boleh! LOL

The event started off with a pre-sale where some privileged friends like Swee San, Elin and Shenny got a chance to preview the books which were to be on sale. An instant uproar over facebook it created when some of them came back to show us their loots! From a “wanna go”, it became a “Must Go!” and finally escalating to become a “NEED TO GO!!!”

Below are some photos from Big Bad Wolf’s FB page on the first few days of the sale which started with “MISSION 63”,  a 63 hours non-stop shopping spree for booklovers. Yes, it’s pure book mania and madness!
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Entrance of the event hall at Malaysia International Exhibition and Convention Centre (MIECC) located at Seri Kembangan, Kuala Lumpur.
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The sheer scale and space of the event was quite unimaginable!!!
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The crowd waiting to burst through those gates! Many of them, veteran shoppers from the previous sale I’m sure, came with trolley luggages!
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All hell breaks loose!
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And let the shopping begin!
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Everyone making a dash to their favorite sections!
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Ah yes… Julia’s here too…. no cookbooks though…
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Cookery section! Home run!
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Nigella and Jamie everywhere!
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You know you are in the romance novels section when you see this 🙂
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Nigella Express!
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The Eiffel Tower of books!
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A cookie making kit that came with moulds as well!
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More cookbooks!
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Mountains and mounatins of books for many titles!
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Very clever don’t you think so?!
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This was my “warship” for the day! All thanks to Shenny for her baby stroller which was meant to be for her young daughter! Made in Japan and of aluminium alloy, it was light as a feather but strong as steel! Imagine all 45 books in those two white plastic bags as well as the grocery stroller being stacked and piled on top of the warship! What a sight to behold! And yes, it made many a heads turn with amazement as it was been pushed around the hall, not without difficulty!

So what titles did I lug back? Look on!
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The cookery section is a mini celebration of Nigella’s recipebooks! Almost her entire printed collection was available at this sale. Only short of her oldest, i.e. “How to Eat?”, and her latest, i.e. “Nigellissima!”.
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I bought 7 of the 8 Nigella titles available at the sale, including “Nigella Bites” which was not shown in this photo. “Nigella Christmas” at the bottom of the stash was not from this BBW Sale but from Borders Singapore’s Closing Sale last year. But a reprint version of it is available at this sale, so be sure to check it out! Starting with just one Nigella cookbook last year, I’d suddenly have 8 now! I am officially “nigellafied”!
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And the other warhorse of British celebrity cooks, Jamie Oliver is also very well represented in this sale. 7 titles all in all, only one short of Nigella’s stash. And yes, I don’t have a single Jamie Oliver title in my collection. So the BBW sale is the best time to get them!
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And of course, what’s a book sale without seeing Gordon Ramsay, “shortly” but surely with 3 titles available, two of which I’d bought. The last one available was “Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food”. A quick browse and it didn’t appeal to me as much as “Maze”. “Gordon’s Great Escape – Southeast Asia” was purchased more out of amusement than to really want to learn something serious out of it. I’m curious to “learn” what he could conjure. It most certainly takes a lot of bollocks to write recipes on dishes on cuisines, using ingredients which he is probably lesser familiar with. And if anyone was to do it, it has to be Ramsay.
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Two encyclopedias of culinary disciplines which could not be more different from each other. “Starting with Ingredients: Baking” by Aliza Green and “Mastering the Art of Indian Cooking” by Sanjeev Kapoor. The former is a phenomenal piece of work on how various ingredients should be dealt with in baking, from choosing apricots to storage of figs and caramelisation of almonds, this book has it all. Or at least it aims to do so.
Anyone who’s watched MasterChef India would be very very familiar with Sanjeev Kapoor. He is worshipped by the masses almost like a culinary god in India, yielding the longest running cooking show ever in Indian broadcast history.
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This is a surprising find. Heston’s “Fastastical Feasts”. I have some of his other books already. But was reluctant to get this because of the lack in reproducibility of many of the stuff introduced in this book, often requiring equipment which are lesser found, if not at all in our common kitchens. The only time I’d used a rotavap was in my university days when I was pursuing a degree in Chemistry. We’d used it extensively to prepare salt crystals of various compounds in our laboratories via slow evaporation. Never would I think of using it at home! But yes, I got it because it is so cheap. 🙂
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Some titles from folks closer to home. Chef Sam Leong’s “Sensations” with really lovely photography for a book which was only going for Rm 5. A cardinal sin not to buy.
“Bite” by Chef Jimmy Chok, a book on tarts both sweet and savory. I got it mainly because of an intriguing puff pastry recipe inside which he wrote to be for the “serious folks”. Wanna see how it would work. I bought extras to give away 🙂

“Crave” is a lovely dessert book written by Mac Woo and June Lee from Obolo Patisserie. This would join their other book on cheesecakes already in my collection. 🙂

“Bite” and “Crave” is part of mini series which also includes “Lust” – by Audrey Tan who helms “Freshly Baked by Les Bijoux” at Killiney which I already have in my collection, and Betty Saw’s “Tempt” on cupcakes as well as “Slurp” on soups by Christopher Tan. I didn’t see “Lust” and “Tempt” at the booksale but there were lots of copies of “Slurp” which didn’t interest me at all unfortunately.

The last of this stash is “The Foodie Handbook” written by Pim Techamuanvivi, better known as Chez Pim in the food blogging scene. I’d read her recipe over and over again during my search for a workable recipe for caneles. Got this as they were really affordable (RM 8)… or so I thought until I saw brand new ones selling on Amazon at USD 0.01! O_o
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Yes, Sandy Lam the chinese pop singer wrote a recipe book 《上海回味》 on Shanghainese cuisine as well, due to her mother’s culinary heritage. Really easy to follow and best of all, its only RM 3! Costs almost next to nothing! Can’t even get a decent plate of Nasi Dagang at that price in KL anymore…

One of the other few chinese books available at the sale was 梁子庚’s 《新上海佳肴》. It showcases a selection of recipes of this Singaporean chef who’d successfully ventured in Shanghai. Will try his 小笼包 recipe when I have the time. I didn’t get my copy from this sale actually, but one held in Singapore. “Rugi” a bit as I bought it for SGD 5.90 compared to RM 8 it is going for at BBW Sale. Still very cheap nonetheless!
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And here’s a mishmash of some other culinary titles I’d gotten, some on baking and some on cooking 🙂
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Shopping at the sale was quite a breeze on a quiet Wednesday afternoon. A sharp contrast to the mayhem on the previous day, I’d heard as it was a public holiday in Selangor. I’d managed to get some knitting books for my good friend, Eelin as well. I know nuts about knitting of course. Thankfully she gave her thumbs up on the quality of these books after I’d gotten them. *phew*
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And since I was at the “Art and Craft” section, I saw this really fascinating book on moulding clay flowers.
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Step by step guide to making sakura blossoms amidst other flowers! Me ain’t into clay modelling of course but I was thinking on its applicability on gum paste 🙂
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Another surprising find for me, not on culinary arts but on textiles. Butterflies and Phoenixes are the heart and soul of Peranakan culture. So this was a really wonderful find. 🙂
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Very good pictures of antique kebayas with very intricate motifs.
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And how did I lug all these books back? Like this!!! As advised by my fellow Malaysian friends, I brought along a check in luggage to carry all these books back. And they are so right!!! The books barely fitted the luggage! Shenny and I looked in amazement after the books were stashed away! I think I’d outdone myself this time!

Due to the ostentiously heavy luggage with the curious looking goods they carried, I did had a little “fun” when I was crossing the Singapore customs at the Second Link. Firstly, I had some trouble jostling the suitcase onto the conveyor belt of the scanner, and when I finally got around to it, the box landed with a loud thud due to its sheer bulk. I could see the eyebrows of the custom officers raise literally as they looked intently at their teeny monitor, in much disbelief I’m sure! Then came the questions, if I am a chef and why am I buying so many cookbooks. And finally they asked for the receipt to impose taxation on the books. They couldn’t believe their eyes. I couldn’t either when I first saw the bill over at the cashiers. RM799.90. All 45 books worked out to be only slightly over SGD 320! That’s less than SGD 10 per book. But most importantly, it was way below SGD 400, the minimum amount for any import tax to be impounded. An auntie-ish customs officer finally ask, “so cheap ah?” and I sheepishly replied, “Yah! very cheap!” before pulling the trolley away. Triumphant!

Here’s my little take of the event.

(1) Its phenomenal… yes really. You’d got to be there to see it for yourself. PHENOMENAL!!!

(2) Go on weekday afternoons if you can afford to. I went on a Wednesday afternoon and we had no problems with parking, no traffic jams when we were there and no problems manuvoeuring that “warship” around the exhibition hall. Can’t vouch for the same over weekends and evenings.

(3) Fuel and hydrate yourself before going. No eating and drinking is allowed inside the hall. So do keep that in mind. I’m pleasantly surprised that no one did any of that. All engrossed in browsing and shopping for books it seems.

(4) Bring something with/on wheels to carry your merchandise. Trolleys, luggages, suitcases, baby strollers, whatever that works! BBW provides carton boxes for one to carry around and hold their books in. But if you have intentions to splurge and spree like I did, go prepared with something proper with wheels. I saw a lot of grocery strollers, and some brought modest check-in sized suitcases. I’m so glad Shenny has that baby stroller prepared!

(5) If you are travelling from Singapore to KL like me, go with the earliest coach available and arrange to come back with the latest. That’s if you have intentions to do a turnaround like I did. Otherwise, MINES Resort Hotel is just nearby, though I’m not really sure if that would be counter-intuitive as the intention was really to go there for bargains! I took a 7.30 am coach there and reached KL at 1.00 pm. Picked up by Shenny at 1.30 pm and reached MIECC at 2 pm. Shopped and shopped until 5+ pm. Shenny dropped me back at Bangsar at 6.15 pm, just in time for me to make a swop at the ticket office for an earlier coach ride back at 6.30 pm instead of the designated 8.30 pm. Got back Singapore passed midnight. Yes, the trip was really intense!!!

(6) Pay by OCBC credit card and you’ll get 5% discount of the total off your purchases. A little perk which I’d enjoyed, compliments of Shenny.

(7) If you think you wanna buy a book but are “iffy” about it, just put it in your shopping basket first. Yes, some books are by the mountains full and easily to locate another copy. But some are as rare as hen’s teeth, so once you let go of it, you may not be able to locate another copy.

(8) Last but most importantly, enjoy yourself. I most certainly did! Be generous because the books are damn cheap but yet be selective! Sounds much like an oxymoron I know but its very difficult to not let kiasuism get the better of you… very very difficult, trust me!

So here are the details of the event!

Big Bad Wolf Book Sale 2012 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia International Exhibition and Convention Centre (MIECC)
7-23 December 2012
Website: http://bigbadwolfbooks.com/ (with details on getting there and selection of book available)
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bbwbooks

And yes, likening the opening, they are having another round of 63 MISSION non-stop book sale this weekend. It’s already started this morning!

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A big thank you to Big Bad Wolf for these really unbeatable book deals. You have now a fan from Singapore!

And a big thank you to Shenny Fong for your generosity and hospitality!

Photo credits

All “in-situ” photos of the event hall from Big Bad Wolf’s Facebook page unless stated and marked otherwise.

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14 responses

  1. you really sound like a little boy here who just got a big bag of candy!
    LOL.
    So happy you enjoyed the trip.

    December 14, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      haha yes! I will be back next year! Hopefully you will be in KL then as well! LOL

      December 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm

  2. Dez

    A great review of the whole sale with quite sound advice. I’m hoping to go there this weekend and will take heed of your wisdom! I’m not sure where we’re going to get some wheels from though…!

    I just want to ask one question – did you see any football / soccer books around?

    December 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Sorry Dez, me ain’t too sure because as you can see, I went for the cookbooks and almost exclusively for the cookbooks. But I did see a “sports” section if i recall correctly! Go nonetheless because the books are really very very affordable!

      December 14, 2012 at 10:34 pm

  3. I am so JEALOUS Alan!!! I wish I can get some of the books there. What a fantastic prices for the cookbooks. I wish there is someone back home that can go and get some titles for me. My family all in HK 😦

    December 14, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Wah, everyone’s in HK now?!

      December 14, 2012 at 11:18 pm

  4. ALAN I am going to get the preview passes for next year … so if u want u have to book now now now! hahaha Anyway, how come u ddint get Nigella’s How to Eat ?? Not in bbw? It’s one of my fav book..

    December 15, 2012 at 3:17 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Don’t have wor… didn’t see How to Eat at BBW lor…

      December 15, 2012 at 8:53 am

  5. Btw, where did u find the clay flowers book ??? aiyah nvm la, don’t tell me where u found it.. i just lugged back another 20 books. i’m so dead.

    December 15, 2012 at 3:19 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      You went again!? OMG…. the book is at the Art and Craft section… LOL

      December 15, 2012 at 8:53 am

  6. Shenny

    Alan, ask swee San get u preview for after math sale…everything not more than rm5. I heard it is soon after BBW sale.

    December 18, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      hahaha don’t want la… nothing much to buy already.

      December 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm

  7. nel

    BIG thanks for the knitting books, Alan. Absolutely LOVE them!

    December 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm

  8. Pingback: Canelé Pâtisserie Chocolaterie Dec 2012 « travellingfoodies

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