Saturday, April 27, 2013

Volks Burger @ Ampang, Kuala Lumpur


It's strange but life seems a little empty without blogging. Like bicycling, I guess one must get back into the saddle and start it conquer all those fears. While I'm too sure if I can keep it up, let's just take it one baby step at a time. No promises.

It is always good to discover something new. Drum roll we present to you the one month old Volks Burger, somewhere in the depths of the city. While the city really does not need another burger joint since there seems to be one sprouting every week, this one is a wee different since it is housed in a converted Volkswagen Combi van, hence its moniker.


The pull factor is definitely the cool retro van outfitted to look like a cousin of Bob Blumer's toaster van. Since it is located on the main thoroughfare of Ampang, you'll definitely give it a second glance and return to check it out. The food truck is run by two friendly dudes. Once you place your order, they'll start cooking at the back of the van. Unlike those unidentifiable burger patties from Ramly, these ones are just chunks of meat (beef or chicken) thrown on the hot griddle and smashed. Hmmm, I can see some similarities with myBurgerlab but in this case, it's a rather flatter patty.


The menu is a relatively small one and yes, like one potential customer complained, there's no egg banjo nor hotdogs here. Their specialties are the volcano bacon burgers - beef patty layered with mozzarella cheese, then cheddar cheese and beef bacon slices. The patty is about 150grams, while their double special or legendary burger consists of double patties weighting 160grams each, with loaded cheese and bacon. They also serve a chicken patty about 120 grams with chicken ham and cheese. The buns get steamed first and subsequently grilled on the hot plate, for a softer bite. Prices range from RM11.90 to RM23.90 for the legendary version. 

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What you get at the end of the wait is a super messy burger that can give Om Burger a fight for the monies. Eat at your clothes peril! The whole ensemble has a less greasy taste, but I didn't fancy the chilli sauce used to drown the taste of the beef. The next time I'll lose the chilli sauce. Honestly I'll say the burger is decent but it won't move the earth for you, since our tastebuds are now spoiled by superb burgers from myBurgerlab. Nevertheless, the novelty of the place will make up for it, and it is still a rather satisfying meal.

We chatted to the owner and he told us he used to trade from Putrajaya but the rental was too high hence he moved here. There's also a soft scoop ice cream machine, pending repair. Hopefully that gets going hence it'll be a match made in heaven - messy burgers with soft ice cream on cones, just like Mr Softee in England. 

Volks Burger
Van in front of the car wash
Between Suzy's Corner and Restoran Ruz Aladdin
Ampang (underneath the flyover of MRR2, next to intersection)
Kuala Lumpur

Open: 5.30pm to 12.00am (Tuesdays to Fridays), 4.30pm to 12.00am (Saturday and Sunday). Closed on Mondays.

For more pictures, see Flickr set.

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

J.Pop or Japanese Popsicles @Tokyo Street, Level 6, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

miso popsicle
miso popsicle

Popsicles never go out in style in our tropical weather and we reckon J.Pop that peddles Japanese themed popsicles will do just brilliantly.

The small shop opened next to Arthur's Mille Crepe along the busy Tokyo Street at Pavilion is the brainchild of the people behind G-Sticks in Ben's Independent Grocers. Hordes of eager first time customers were crowding the place that it was virtually impossible to get a good shot of their display case.

There's two kinds of sizes, the regular one for RM8.90 and a mini one for RM4.90. I didn't dare eat much of it since I've got a stinker of a cold but I did manage half of the miso mini popsicle. The mini ones have interesting flavours such as wasabi and lavender. The owners of J.Pop have been in the business of churning out gelato for the restaurant industry for some time. I often get my supply of black sesame (goma)  and pistachio gelato from them. For the larger sizes, they come in cute shapes too, a heart shape one and even a bear's paw.

Visit them soon as these cool sticks are definitely the next best thing in town. Currently they have this promotion where you keep your receipt and bring it back the next day for a 10% discount. It's valid for 1 month. Brilliant way to get you licking through their whole collection.

J. Pop (Japanese Popsicles)
Tokyo Street
Level 6, Pavilion KL
Jalan Bukit Bintang
Kuala Lumpur

For more pictures of the small stall, see Flickr set. You can also check out the latest information with their Facebook page.

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Revisiting Sumi-Ka Yakitori Bar @ SS15, Subang Jaya

liver yaki sticks

I'm slowly easing back into blogging and rather than await for the next best thing, I guess I should take a more practical approach and just document what I've been eating. This means I guess revisits to places, like this yakitori bar I visited in 2010.

intestines with yuzu kusho
braised intestines in vinegar served with yuzu kusho on the side

The funny thing is even though these places are considered off the radar, being opened for so long, I realised not everyone has been. Hence one night, we decided to make a visit here for some smoky charcoal grilled sticks.

yaki onigiri
yaki onigiri

I've been eating at yakitori bars these past few weeks and throughout the years, I did not realise, lots of places have sprouted around the Klang Valley. It's slowly growing albeit not as fast as ramen shops. The latest one to join the grill club is Kushiyaki Kuni at Plaza Damas that is run by a former Rakuzen chef.

pork with oba leaf

Since there was four of us, we ordered a fair bit of sticks that kept coming until we realised, we had over ordered in a fit of hunger. Top on our can order again list was definitely the perfectly cooked chicken liver, the poor man's foie gras. Strangely enough, the pork liver was a tad too overcooked hence we prefered the chook's liver instead.

mentai riceball inside
mentai riceball

The beef ribs (RM9) came highly recommended. Even though they were juicy, there was a slight chewy taste to the beef. Instead, we focused on the chook, in its glory - crispy chicken skin, juicy chicken thighs and the crispy chicken wings. While the wings were juicy and rather nice, I still prefer Ri-Yakitori's super crispy chicken wings, always sold out before you know it.

beef ribs

Supplementing all that meat, was the carbohydrates in the form of rice balls. We ordered the mentai stuffed rice ball or onigiri (RM6) that was yummy since it came slightly warm, with a slightly spicy cod roe filling. another favourite was the yaki onigiri (RM5), the grilled rice ball with its crusty grains. There was also mashed potato and baked sweet potatoes (RM8) with butter to fill our tummies.

grilled sweet potatoes with butter
grilled sweet potatoes

Other good eats was the grilled pork with aromatic oba leaves,  large juicy scallops (RM15 per stick) and the shiitake mushrooms (RM4 per stick) . If you prefer, order from the specials and you will strike lucky, like we did with crunchy intestines in vinegar. 

The place is perpetually packed with people, so book ahead to avoid being turned away. You are also given "free-flow" cabbage doused in soy sauce and vegetable pickles. 

No. 19, Jalan SS15/4
Subang Jaya
Petaling Jaya


(Non Halal. Open from 6.30pm to midnight. read about my previous experience in March 2010 by clicking on this link. You can also see the Flickr set for the yakitori-bar.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Le Creuset Party

Pomegranate Salad
celebrate with colour - pomegranate, avocado, mango and spinach salad

Malaysians are a darn lucky lot with the numerous holidays peppered all throughout the year. And the best thing about holidays is the parties! This Deepavali, we decided to get together to cook up a feast with all our Le Creuset tableware, all in different colours - orange, blue and even purple!

Whacking the pomegranate
whack that pomegranate

Like all get togethers, it is more fun when everyone works together. Take for instance, this glorious burst of colour in a salad. It's a simple one but darn tasty just tossed together - spinach leaves topped with freshly cut mangoes, avocados and the ruby red jewel-like pomegranates. The best way to extract those glistening red jewels is to cut them into half and whack the back hard with a wooden spoon. Expect a satisfying clunk, as each pomegranate hits the salad bowl.

smoked salmon

As we all worked, we nibbled on smoked salmon on toast bread. There's all kind of dips - wasabi, chives and a capers and dill one that keeps our tummies happy as we work on lunch.

smoked salmon appetizer
keeping our tummies happy

Soon lunch is ready to serve as delicious things pop out from the oven. First, there's roasted duck confit legs with mushrooms made by K, and a delicious roast thyme and garlic chicken from WP. Both in Le Creuset pots of course. I covet the light blue Le Creuset casserole!

the spread

Joining the table was the rainbow-like salad, red cabbage with lemon and puy lentils. We also had roast potatoes, all golden brown and fluffy in an orange Le Creuset casserole.

rhubarb crumble
rhubarb apple ginger crumble

As our tummies are satisfied, there's always room for desserts. We start off with these dreamy creamy pannacottas topped with a berry compote made by M. They're made in Le Creuset ramekins. The slightly tart berries go so well with the milky puddings to undercut any richness.

pannacotta with berry compote

Next is my contribution to the party, the rhubarb apple and ginger crumble. I must admit I've gotten rather attached to rhubarb. It's always been my favourite since university days, when I had to endure horrible meals in my halls of residences. Things always seem to perk up when the crazy kitchen served rhubarb crumble. I love this particular one with a hint of ginger eaten with lashings of creamy custard.

assorted cupcakes

Last but not least, there were these divine cupcakes from Plain Vanilla Bakery. Specially brought back from Singapore by K, these tiny cakes were excellent. The flavours were all spot on and the crumb of each cake was moist even though we had kept it for three days. Our favourite was the salted caramel, cocoa nibs and the passionfruit mint cupcakes. Next time you visit the red dot, make sure you drop by this small bakery as the cupcakes are so worth the queue.

With our tummies sated, we plan the next party and hope it'll be a great success like this one. So how did you spend your holidays? Hope it was as fun as our celebrations! For more pictures, see my Flickr set.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dining Out @ Gu Yue Tien, Chulan Square, Kuala Lumpur

Iberico Ribs
Iberico Ribs

Sigh, it's been so long since I blogged that I reckon I have forgotten how to already. Here's my attempt in getting back into the groove and clearing that mountain of blog posts.

It is not like I don't eat out almost every day but honestly, it's getting harder and harder to find really good places to eat.

Instead, we gravitate towards old places we are familiar with such as Gu Yue Tien where dishes are always tip-top. It is heartening to see Places & Foods chose this place for his choice for this year's Time Out KL's awards (vote for it with this link). Hopefully it picks an award as the food here is always innovative and darn good, every visit I've been.

Foie Gras
foie gras mousse on toast

My friend CS had rounded us up for a dinner here. She had sampled the set dinner they had introduced to celebrate their eighth anniversary that is priced at RM880++ for 8-10 persons. Her raves got our tongues drooling hence we gathered here one rainy Saturday night.

We didn't meet the quota for eight persons, hence there was an extra portion, but that was easily eaten up.

salted egg yolk whitebait
wok-fried whitebait with salted egg yolk

The meal kicks off with an assortment of appetizers, ranging from the exciting to the ho-hum ones like deep-fried prawn dumpling and century eggs topped with a slice of pickled ginger.

All of us had our own favourites. I immensely enjoyed the crispy whitebait. Each fish was deep-fried to a golden crunchy texture that was coated with the immensely umami-tasting salted egg yolk. Curry leaves and chopped chillies gave it a slight fiery hit. I reckon if I could have eaten it all up by myself.

cucumber cups with chicken floss
cucumber topped with chicken floss

The cucumber cups with chicken floss was simple but tasty. I especially liked the crunchy texture of the Japanese cucumbers combined creamy mayonnaise with the savoury taste of the chicken floss. Kinda reminds me of those addictive floss buns I must always eat at Bread Talk.

The foie gras mousse on the deep-fried toasts were yummy too and topped with a piquant diced mango pickle to balance out its richness.

jellyfish and chicken
jellyfish with cold chicken on cucumber

The jellyfish appetizer with the cold chicken topped with the tangy chilli sauce was an excellent way to kick up our appetites for the main meal.

pork neck
sliced pork neck with cucumber

A crowd favourite was the pork neck slices wrapped around crunchy cucumber slivers. What made it yummy was the hot bean sauce that topped it.

crab balls
crabmeat balls

An old school appetizer was the crabmeat balls with a crunchy beancurd skin exterior. In the olden days, it would have been made from the pig's caul (fine net-like) but nowadays, it has been abandoned for the healthier beancurd skin. These delectable morsels are stuffed with fresh crabmeat, crunchy water chestnuts, celery and carrot with a light touch of five-spice powder.

braised seafood soup with crab roe

Since it was a rather cold rainy night, the slightly thick but aromatic soup hit the right spot. There were chopped up seafood and tofu cubes as we dug into our bowls.

Freshwater prawns
wok fried freshwater prawn with spicy sauce

I really enjoyed the next dish, the prawn that came with this slurpworthy sauce. It was piquant and slightly spicy, with  a thick texture. One could imagine a crab being cooked in this sauce that would have us licking all our fingers. This came with toast for us to dip and sweep up the sauce as daintily as possible.

The meat item was a choice between, the wok charred lamb rack or iberico pork ribs. I've always loved those ribs and it was delicious and so good that one did not mind messing up our fingers as we ate each long rib with our fingers.

hunan fish
hunan fish

Then came the steamed fish topped with a generous sprinkle of chopped chillies and garlic, cooked Hunan style. This was yummy as the smooth fish flesh goes well with the tangy (but strangely enough not spicy) chilli and garlic mix. It is served with blanched beehoon noodles, that soaks up the soy sauce, garlic and chilli topping so well.

Last but not least, we end with a refreshing dessert of chilled sea coconut with longan and snow fungus. There's a slice of lime underneath the glass that adds a tangy taste to the not overly sweet dessert. Thumbs up to my friend CS for the great recommendation and Frankie Woo of Gu Yue Tien for not dissapointing our fussy palates.

Gu Yue Tien
Lot 5A, Chulan Square
Jalan Raja Chulan
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-2148 0808

(Non Halal. The set is available until end of this September. More pictures in the Flickr set.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ramadan Bazaar Taman Melawati 2012


Sorry but I've been so busy that blogging was abandoned for a while. It's a huge backlog of posts that I must now wade through, starting with the Ramadan Bazaar posts. I was at the Taman Melawati bazaar on the first day to sniff out what was new and discovered these ayam tempayan.


Unlike the atypical rotisserie chicken, this version used large clay jars. Halved chickens were hung from metal hooks on the side of the jar as a charcoal fire burnt from the base. This cooking way seemed to be rather similar to tandoori chicken. The method yields a juicy chicken with less oil. Definitely a new way to cook chicken.

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Each bazaar always has a certain specialty and in this particular part of the town, roti bom seems to rule the stalls. I counted at least three stalls selling roti bom. Prepped on the spot, you get to catch lots of lovely action shots as the men twist and spin the roti canai dough to stretch it out. At the end it gets stretched into a thin piece that is folded into a circle and cooked on the hot grill. This yields a fluffy inside and a crispy exterior helped with lashings of Planta margarine.


Another must eat for me in this bazaar is the wobbly creme caramel. You can generally pick out which stall is good. The top must be brown enough with the sweet caramel with a smooth like a baby's bottom texture.


Another good way to break fast is the cooling jellies, topped with fruits, sweets and even chocolate. These make great pictures but also taste good.

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Last year Botak Ikan Bakar made headlines with his lobster. It was definitely a first for many to see that prized crustacean gracing the Ramadan bazaar.  This year, you can get a lobster sized meal. Just dig deep and deep into your pockets for that pricey meal.

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These bazaars are the best place to acquaint yourself with all kinds of Malay kuihs. A traditional favourite to break fast is kuih lopes that is engulfed with freshly grated coconut and drizzled with gula Melaka syrup.

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There's all kind of traditional favourites like ayam percik and eggy akok from Kelantan. And don't forget the popiah basah here. Be patient as the queues are often long since they're prepared on the spot.


Even daily favourites like nasi lemak all packed in banana leaf can be found here. All kinds are sold to whet your appetite.

Make a trip to the bazaar and catch all the local favourites. You can also get dates, kebabs (the in thing this year), sotong bakar, putu bambu and the list goes on.

Ramadan Bazaar Taman Melawati
Off MRR2
Taman Melawati turn off.
Kuala Lumpur

For more pictures, see the Flickr set.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Ichiro Sushi Bar @ Isetan Eat Paradise, 1 Utama, Petaling Jaya

kaisenchirashi sushi
kaisenchirashi sushi 

Menya Musashi's ramen may have grabbed all the headlines but for me, the true gem at Isetan's Eat Paradise is this tiny sushi bar tucked at the back. In fact, I'm rather ashamed to admit that I've yet to even wander to the ramen place. Maybe it's the crowds jostling for a bowl of ramen that has put me off.

Walk past the crowds and look for this small spartan space. If you close your eyes and just listen to the voices behind the sushi bar, it sounds like you have been transported to Japan. This is because of the four Japanese young sushi chefs that helm the narrow space. Every time an order is placed, they chatter a dozen away in Japanese to settle the order. Only the waitresses, cashier and one kitchen helper are non Japanese.

Tuna Tataki1
tuna tataki (RM28)

The sushi bar is the best spot for the ultimate dining experience. Here you sit down and see the action behind each order. I love how you place your order vide an iPad on a stand. For a truly Japanese experience, you can even view the menu items in kanji, the Japanese language. You can even keep tabs on how much you spend, so you don't blow a hole in your pocket. There is also a nice balance between the modern style as they still stick the paper menu all around the bar. Got to love how they translated the gunkan sushi to "ship" though, which is kinda correct since it resembles a battleship with its seaweed wrap around the rice.

The menu is compact and focuses on the fresh fish. Expect various sashimi items including carpaccio and tataki, nigiri sushi, makis (including the hand ones), gunkan sushi (battleship version with the seaweed), and rice dishes that are topped with sashimi. The cooked food items is limited to tempura, chawan mushi and edamame. They also offer sets with sushi, sashimi, makis from RM28 to RM60.

beef tataki nigiri (RM5)

For those sitting on the sushi bar, once you place your order for nigiri sushi, they place a wooden plate in front of you with a piece of leaf. Each time, your order is completed the sushi chef reaches from the bar to place a piece of sushi on the leaf for you to savour. We enjoy the beef tataki nigiri (RM5) and even a chuka wakame one (RM3) that are both good. However, those who were standouts for me, was the sea urchin sushi (RM16) in their soft orange hues and the ikura sushi (RM12), with huge pop in your mouth eggs. My only complain would be the seaweed that encases the rice tends to be quite soft. Not sure if it was already soft or it is because I did wait sometime to snap the pictures.

An unexpected find was the sea eel nigiri (RM9) with its sweet flavours and delicate flesh. We also enjoy the tuna tataki (RM28), soft tuna pieces with a sweet thick sauce on the side. On another occasion, we also try the chutoro, that is fresh and silky soft. There's really no need to reach out for extra wasabi to dip as each piece is beautifully crafted with just the right amount of wasabi in the rice. Just dip the fish side in your soy sauce, place in your mouth and savour the flavours.

prawn tempura maki
prawn tempura roll (RM15)

I'm always partial to chirashi sushi and their Kaisenchirashi (RM38 with a bowl of red miso soup) is exceptional since they give you uni (sea urchin) and ikura (salmon roe) in the same bowl, something other Japanese restaurants don't usually do. I also liked the generous portion of kanpyo pickles on the side that goes well with each glistening rice grain. And, I'm so glad they did not add sakura denbu, the bubblegum pink sweet fish powder. In addition, the vinegared rice is topped with salmon, scallop, tamago, tuna, octopus, amaebi (sweet shrimp), sanma and mirugai.

Unlike the atypical Japanese restaurants, they serve red miso soup here versus the pale brown version. This means, the soup has more depth with the rich dark soybean paste. Sometimes this means it can be saltier too but this visit seems to have indicated they have adjusted it to our local tastebuds as it was not very salty.

sea urchin gunkan sushi (RM16)

I've read about the slightly firm chawan mushi (RM6) but for me, I felt the texture was fine. It was a nice balance between smooth and those with too much liquid.

You will also notice a difference in the green tea served here. Instead of the brew sitting in the teapot for a long time, it is brewed per cup hence you get a strong tasting version. You get a choice of hot or cold (RM2, with free refill).

salmon roe gunkan maki (RM12)

The makis, may look a little untidy or haphazard to some but I like it's soft shape as it means the rice can unfurl in my tongue better. Some sushi chefs tend to compress the rice too hard that it ruins the texture for me since it becomes a lump. Here, even though the rice looks like it's going to fall apart on my chopsticks, it doesn't and makes it safely into my mouth without an incident. So far, we have only tried two types here: the prawn tempura (RM15) and teriyaki chicken with avocado (RM12). I prefer the stronger tasting teriyaki chicken versus the prawn tempura version that seems a bit mild.

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scenes from the sushi bar

In our second visit here, we bump into an old friend. He is a novice to the place but he can't stop singing the praises of how fresh the fish is. It's heartening to know that there'll be an army of people willing to return here again and again.

For us, we will definitely return since this place feels like little Japan to me. In the crazy rat race life we lead, I would prefer to chill out here and savour every piece of sushi prepared by the white hatted sushi chef and say Itadakimasu.

Ichiro Sushi Bar
Eat Paradise
2nd Floor, Isetan
1 Utama Shopping Centre (Old Wing)
Bandar Utama
Petaling Jaya

Tel: 03-7726 5899

(Pork Free. Isetan members get points when dining here. For the full set of pictures, see my Flickr set.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.
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