Friday, January 30, 2009

Dim sum, snacks and lai mian @ Dragon One, SS2, Petaling Jaya

a little weird to start off with dessert but this is the best ever steamed layer cake aka ma lai koh (RM4.20)

I get excited when I find good food to share with all of you, hence I thought I'll spend my whole afternoon editing and uploading pictures to Flickr and Photobucket. It is also a promise to poor Precious Pea (who is down with very bad tonsilitis) since she is craving for the steamed layer cake a.k.a. ma lai koh, I discovered today.

unusual but superb - steamed duck rice flour roll with a crab roe sauce (RM6.80)

It was pure coincidence we stumbled on this place, as our original intention was to dine at One Noodle but my mother decided to give it a try. She actually thought it was part of the Dragon-I group since she spotted the Chinese characters instead. When we approached the place, I noticed that it said Chef Loong outside and inside, I even recognised one of the waitress to be from JW Marriott Hotel's Shanghai restaurant.

resembling lor mee, enjoy this with black vinegar - Shanghai style lai mian with crab roe (RM8.80)

For those who love xiao loong bao (those steamed Shanghainese buns fillled with stock and melt in the mouth meat), you will be familiar with Chef Loong's name. Originally, he started out at JW Marriott Hotel's Shanghai restaurant, learning from the Hong Kong chef how to made dim sum. Then later he struck out on his own and opened Chef Loong in SS2 (nearer to the police station). Later he got wooed away by another food and beverage group who opened Shanghai 10 in Bangsar, Sungai Wang Plaza and Avenue K. Last year, they abruptly closed the Bangsar place. Am not sure if the Sungai Wang Plaza place is still there but I did hear Avenue K is doing business still. Seems he opened this place about 6 months ago.

Interestingly enough, his signature dish of steamed xiao loong bao (3 for RM6) don't make the mark here. While you can't fault them for its melt in the mouth texture, I felt the soup was a little bland and the folds just a wee bit thicker than I remember it. Maybe the apprentice in the kitchen hasn't mastered the intricate folding techniques so well here. However, what stands out is the fantastically light and delicate steamed layer cake (RM4.20). With a spongy texture, this was perfect since it wasn't too cloyingly sweet. Really good stuff, which I wanted to continue eating again and again.

On their menu, they have some new items besides Chef Loong's signature dishes such as deep fried spring roll with unagi and yoghurt, pretty lady buns, baked prawn dumpling with cheese and the one I picked - steamed rice flour roll with duck meat in crab meat sauce (RM6.80). No regrets ordering that dish. Smooth thin rice flour sheets wrap a crispy roll stuffed with roast duck meat - delish stuff and slathered with a sauce with bits of crab roe. Only dissapointment was the crab roe was a little hard but I forgave them since I absolutely loved the duck rolls. They are a little thin too but I reckon that is why it tastes nicer.

Using a similar crab sauce, it is also served with lai mian (RM8.80 for the noodles). Resembling lor meen or shark fin's soup with bits of crab meat and crab roe, the noodles were nice especially eaten with a dash of black vinegar. However, not everything is fantastic here, so choose carefully or you get duds here. I didn't quite like the wor tip (pan fried meat dumplings for RM4.60), as it was not pan fried enough and it was filled with shredded carrots. Would have prefered it with chives instead. However, it was very good value for money since the dumplings were stuffed to the brim. The prawn wantans served with the lai mian (RM7.20) were also good value - filled with one big prawn but lacked the crunchy taste I prefer.

What I also really liked were the prices - very reasonable for the amount of food we ate. I expected a bill of more than RM50 but was surprised, my total bill with 2 glasses of hot chinese tea came up to RM39.60. Since they just started out, no service tax levied here for our items too. I reckon I will return again to try the other stuff but parking around here will definitely be a big problem especially since they have Murni's nearby. For those who have a sweet tooth, they also serve durian pancake (I remember my friend loves this) and that avocado kataifi pastry, Chef Loong and Shanghai 10 was also famous for. For more pictures on what else we ate, see my Flickr set. Sorry for the yellowness in the pictures, just realised all 3 pictures I selected are already yellow in colour.

Dragon One
59, Ground Floor
Jalan SS2/75
Petaling Jaya

Tel: 012 - 398 9803

(Non Halal. Located between Murni's and Public Bank Berhad. Closed on Mondays. Open from 12 noon to 10.30pm. On Sundays and public holidays, they open at 10am )

*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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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen @ Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur

scrummy stuff aka fluffy biscuit, eat this first when hot

Happy Niu Year everyone! Hope the time off was a good rest for everyone. During the long break, we had an opportunity to check out the latest fast food joint in town a.k.a. Popeyes. I vaguely remember a Popeyes in Kuala Lumpur long ago but I guess it didn't survive against KFC. (watch out for the audio on their KFC song to the tune of Petula Clark's Downtown!) Seems ironic that their first outlet faces off KFC again (KFC is across them). I reckon, this is bold face challenge to KFC to rev up the battle of fried chicken brands again.

the not so oily but does not knock your socks off fried chicken

In terms of offerings, Popeyes has a slightly varied menu - fried chicken (2 kinds - mild & spicy), fried fish and fried shrimp (KFC only has fish and chicken). They also offer different sides like biscuits, mashed potatoes (differentiated with KFC, as it is covered with a slightly spicy sauce with minced meat), coleslaw and fries. For those who can't do without their daily intake of rice, don't despair as Popeyes also does rice bowls topped with fried chicken, shrimp or fish slathered with a brown sauce. Last but not least, they have sandwiches (with fried chicken, shrimp and fish) and desserts in the form of cheesecakes and cakes.

fresh prawn anyone?

If we had to do a head to head comparison with KFC - the best is to compare the 2 fried chicken set from Popeyes with KFC's snack plate. First, the fried chicken. In terms of size, it is comparable with KFC. If you had to compare it with the KFC Original Recipe (OR), KFC definitely loses out since the OR seems to be a little soggy (from all that oil under its skin) and I suspect from the pressure cooker method. It can go head to head with the KFC Hot & Spicy version but I feel Popeyes has marginally less oil. In terms of spiciness, Popeyes loses its ground here, something they should address quickly since Malaysians can take on more heat compared to the Americans. For the taste of the meat, I would say it is nothing fantastic since it is definitely not free range chicken.

desserts for the sweet tooth (about RM3)

The upper hand Popeyes against KFC are their sides especially their secret weapon - the fluffy and scrumptious biscuit. While it is typical in America, we don't get much of this here. Similar to scones, they are the reason I'll definitely return to Popeyes again and again. I also like their smooth mash potatoes with the slightly spicy brown sauce with flecks of green chillies and minced meat. Even the coleslaw tastes like coleslaw versus the pale green gunk they throw at you in KFC. While KFC does not give you biscuit, instead it is a butter bun. To be honest, I never liked that bun and would usually leave it at the side.

Pricewise, since Popeyes just started they don't charge 5% service tax unlike KFC. Considering KFC has economies of scale with more than 390 restaurants nationwide, the snack plate is about 20 sens cheaper even with tax. [RM9.90 net in Popeyes versus (RM7.55 snack plate +RM1.70 drink) x 5% service tax in KFC]

What about your health since we know eating too much fried chicken is bad for us? Based on Popeyes nutrition charts - the fat content in piece of mild chicken thigh is 20g while the KFC Original Recipe is 22g. For the spicy Popeye chicken thigh, the fat content is 24g vs KFC's Hot & Spicy of 27g. (data is from the KFC Malaysia's website under nutritional values) Hmmm, Popeyes is a marginally healthier choice, it seems.

While all these bodes well for Popeyes, I won't say it is smooth sailing for them as they still need to improve on service and delivery of the food. We noticed the food is kinda lukewarm when it gets to us. Even though the fish and shrimp was fresh, it didn't taste fantastic as the batter was a little soggy probably because it was out there for quite some time. It also could be because these items are not so popular as the fried chicken didn't suffer the same fate. One thing they got it right is the biscuit - damn good stuff, so eat it straight away before it gets cold. We also got to try a bit of dessert - a little misleading since cheesecake is actually cheese covered sponge and tiramisu resembles more like a chocolate sponge cake with cream.

Sorry for the analytical post but I thought I should take a different way to analyse the two brands. Heck, what do I know as at the end of the day, it boils down to one thing - taste. So just go and try it yourself. You may love it or hate it, but at least now, we have a place to get fluffy biscuits. For more pictures, see my Flickr set.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 1
Taman Tun Dr. Ismail
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03 - 7710 1198

(Halal. Outlet is at the old Shakeys and the same row as Yong Len Restaurant, Sri Paandi and Jaipur. There are 2 levels; choose to sit at the air-conditioned part or the terrace where you can smoke and spy on KFC.)

*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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Thursday, January 22, 2009

The 1st Annual Foodsters' Awards by friedchillies

borrowed from the friedchillies site

Calling all food bloggers, foodies and whoever who loves food or just want to express an opinion about food, now you have an avenue to shout out loud what are your preferences. The friedchillies team just launched (for the first time ever), the annual foodsters awards that consists of 20 categories. Out of these categories, 5 are based on nominations from all of you. These 5 categories are:

1. Best Nasi Lemak
2. Best Char Kuey Teow
3. Best Banana Leaf Rice
4. Best Street Burger Stall
5. Best Kopitiam

Kinda hard to limit yourself to one, but I guess the one that you believe should get the award must have really out of the world food. Submit your nominations to by 10 February, 2009. Once the list is compiled, the fried chillies team will put up the nominations for voting. For further details and updates, check fried chillies' site. There's no monetary rewards for all this but imagine the utmost satisfaction you will get when your nominee gets picked for the award.

should this be my choice - Nasi Lemak R.A with its fluffy coconut aroma rice

For me, I reckon I have a dilemma trying to narrow down my choices. For nasi lemak, should it be my top three favourite stalls:
Nasi Lemak Tanglin, Nasi Lemak R.A. or Nasi Lemak Mak Wanjor??? I love the variety of stuff I get from Nasi Lemak Tanglin especially the sambal sotong, but the aromatic and fluffy rice at Nasi Lemak R.A wins me over all the time, plus they also serve this wickedly good and chewy paru aka cow's lungs. Then there is Nasi Lemak Mak Wanjor, which has equally good rice. Then there is the packet nasi lemak with loads of stuff to choose from Nasi Lemak CT Garden. Even though the rice can get a little soggy, I call it the perfect place to take out of town friends as you get a view to die for - the lit up Petronas Twin Towers. That is just the Malay nasi lemak stalls, what about the Chinese ones with special dishes like wild boar rendang. Now the category does not say street food, so it could even be the premium pandan green tinged basmati rice version served at House & Co, Bangsar. Gosh the list is endless......

Lorong Selamat Char Kuey Teow - okay the portion is super teeny weeny but the taste is definitely there but somehow it can't beat that one I ate for years at Damansara Heights

Luckily char kuey teow is an easier choice, totally based on personal biasness as I have eaten at that stall for almost 10 plus years; my regular lunch stop long ago at Seng Lee, Damansara Heights. Close favourites include the man at PJ Old Town, the Lorong Selamat one in USJ and the aromatic one at Wisma FAM, Kelana Jaya. They may not be up to standard to the ones at Penang but since this award is limited to Klang Valley, it will have to do.

Banana leaf rice is next and this is also a tough one. Zooming in on the Petaling Jaya area, it is a toss between
Kanna at Section 17 (the original one okay!), Acha's at Section 5 where I am partial to the fried bittergourd and onion curry or should it be Vishal's at Brickfields - land of great Indian food.

excuse the picture okay, taken way before the DSLR days but believe this is a damn tasty burger

I reckon the easiest is the street food burger stall as it goes to Rasta's! Not sure if it qualifies for street food since it is housed in a food court but it ain't restaurant food so it should be able to make it. Note that Rasta has shifted from this premises ever since I blogged about it. They are now nearer to the Sg Penchala exit from Penchala Link.

tender chicken chop from Sin Seng Nam gets my vote

And the last category is also an easy one (I think) - a toss between Yut Kee and Sin Seng Nam, 2 of my favourite Hainanese kopitiams. I love Yut Kee for its roti babi and Sin Seng Nam for its chicken chop.

I am curious also on what you all think is the best of the best, so do leave word on what I may have missed out. To be honest there is so much good food out there, it is so hard to remember. In the meanwhile, let me drool over my old posts and start planning revisits to these places as soon as possible to savour all that yummy food.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Let us lou sang to celebrate - Salmon Yee Sang @ Extra Super Tanker, Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya

ready to roll...

Sorry this is a little late - was up witnessing a historic moment i.e. Barack Obama taking oath as President of the United States. I reckon today is the best day to post this, since we have a cause to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year and the dawn of a new era in America. All eyes are on Obama with the hope he can turn around the nation in its economic crisis. I'm hoping he can, since despite how much we deny it, we are inevitably linked to America.

up up and away, hope I get my wish...

I am sure by now, you would have tossed yee sang with friends, colleagues and family. If you haven't, go do it now as it is a fantastic ritual originating from Malaysia and Singapore!! It is a wonderful feeling of anticipation, witnessing the wait staff preparing the dish - opening all the packets especially the crunchy pok chui. Believe me, the more of those crackers seem to elevate yee sang to greater heights.

Next will be the sticky plum sauce - essential to get everything to stick together and a little oil. We usually cut down the amount of oil used for healthy reasons. Then, it is time to get your chopsticks ready. Ready, get set....go! Chopsticks fly with green and red shreds falling everywhere. Higher and higher, as it seems the higher it is, prosperity is likely to come our way. Cast your wishes in the air...."wishing everyone good health and wealth, hope businesses get better, hope you get a better job and the list go on". Doesn't matter it is not in Chinese, heck it could also be in Malay but as long as you wish and take part...who knows what will happen. If you want more pixs, check my flickr set on yee sang.

unique peking duck version with crunchy and melt in the mouth textures all in one mouthful

I was lucky to share this salmon yee sang with good friends I have met through this blog aka.
Lyrical Lemongrass, Paprika and Precious Pea. Paprika had arranged for dinner at this corner restaurant tucked in the quiet side of Damansara. Don't be fooled by its innocent appearance outside as it was packed inside (seems if you don't book a table, there is no hope in doing a walk in here). Food was very good but took a snail's pace to reach the table. Dishes were pre-ordered and very unique - imagine a twist to the peking duck with a crunchy pancake filled with shredded spring onions, mushrooms, dried prawns and preserved radish (RM78). Sublime but very rich stuff, when paired with pieces of duck skin. Seems this is the restaurant's own concoction to give the traditional peking duck of pancake, hoisin sauce, raw spring onion and duck skin, a difference. Even the usual floury pancakes are replaced with a flat, fluffy and soft mantou.

stewed pork ribs with a creamy soup

Then there was an innocent looking creamy stew with soft pork bones (RM30). At one glance, you attribute its milky look to soy milk or even cream but it seems the culprit is preserved beancurd aka nam yue. Usually pungent in smell and taste, you don't find any traces of it as it is paired with the fork tender pork ribs. I especially love how they mix in vegetables with this soup hence you get the sinfully good pork with healthy green vegetables. You are given a pungent creamy sauce with bits of chopped chillies with this soup, that seems to alleviate the rich taste of the soup just a little. According to the restaurant's captain, this soup is done in a large batch as they need to make more to get the right flavours. Again, this is a pre-order item.

I reckon I will definitely return here for their other dishes. Not sure when since booking a table here seems almost impossible with the festive season. And, by the way, don't you love their name - extra super tanker. Definitely stands out just like their unique dishes. Do share with me your CNY celebration meals, as I am dying to hear how where everyone is tossing their yee sang and celebrating the occasion at. Here's to lots of hope, wealth and health for the New Year! Make all that moooooolah come my way, please.

Extra Super Tanker Restaurant
48 SS 20/10
Damansara Kim
Petaling Jaya

Tel: 03-77267768 / 03-77267769

(Non halal. For more on this place including the menu and its location map, see their website in
this link.)

*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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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bak Kut Teh @ Restoran Chuan Chiew, Subang Jaya

claypot goodness in a pot...a little sinful though

Let us counteract all that healthy food with a claypot full of sin a.k.a bak kut teh. I was craving for something soupy and filling since I had a very early dinner the night before. Original plan was Chao Zhao at SS18 but since it was closed, this was the next best thing.

You are spoiled for choice around this whole row of shophouses; there is Chuan Chiew, Yu Kee and further away Chao Zhao. All serve bak kut teh but Yu Kee and Chao Zhao has additional stuff. I seem to be fated to eat here as I got a carpark space next to the shop. Even though it may not be full when early, it starts to fill up as the clock strikes 1pm.

The taste of the bak kut teh is still not as superior as my all-time favourite
Teluk Pulai at Taman Rashna but quite decent. It probably does not make the mark for me, as I prefer my soup to be a little herbal. I went a little overboard with the "additions", asking for enoki mushrooms and intestines. Each normal claypot comes with your choice of meat, canned button mushrooms slices, Chinese mushrooms slices, tofu puffs, beancurd skin and iceberg lettuce. Another plus point about eating here - the shophouses open both sides hence you can walk in from either the front or the back, making it much easier.

Chuan Chiew Restoran
18, Jln SS14/2
Subang Jaya

Tel No: 03-56330629

(Non halal. Open 7.30am-11pm. Closed every Tuesday.)

*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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Monday, January 19, 2009

Hakka Looi Cha @ Restoran Gembira, Taman Megah, Petaling Jaya

green comfort - nine types of vegetables, nuts and bean curd in one bowl

Let's kick start the week with something healthy.....a bowl of Hakka looi cha or thunder tea rice. I was around the Taman Megah vicinity last week for a very quick bout of shopping at the bake shops that pepper the area there. Since the
Mee Kolo/Sarawak Laksa stall at Restoran Gembira was closed, it was the next best thing - the one bowl meal of mixed vegetables, fried beancurd, peanuts and sesame seeds; drizzled with a bright green soup made from pounded herbs.

add the green herb soup for a complete meal

There is something so comforting about eating your meal with just a spoon especially since I tend to drown my rice with all the "green soup". Even though this place lacks variety in terms of vegetables given, it is still a very satisfying bowl of 9 kinds of items. My favourite bits are the crunchy peanuts and sesame seeds, that add texture to the dish. Yummy till the last spoonful.

While I may have found heaven with my meal, it is literally hell trying to find parking around here. It has gotten horrendous especially since they closed up the old marketplace area to build a proper building. Now the stalls are housed under temporary shelters that line the road facing Bake with Yen, La Manila and Fatty Crab.

Looi Cha Stall
Restoran Gembira
39, Jln SS24/8
Taman Megah
Petaling Jaya

(Pork free and vegetarian. Stall is opened for breakfast and lunch, closed on Sundays.)

*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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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tenji Updates...

Went to Tenji, last night to scout around since we dined at Providore (fingerlicking hickory smoked pork ribs) round the corner. The place was quite enormous and surprisingly even packed at night. They have started a new promotion per the pictures below, so do book ahead. Saw a few walk-ins doing their booking and from what I gather, spaces are already filling up fast. Weekends seem to be very popular (this weekend it is fully booked for lunch and dinner).

Loads of controversy about Tenji started yesterday as an article emerged in the
NST Streets Section that used Precious Pea's pictures i.e. the sushi and crab without her permission. Tsk! Tsk!

Rumour has it, the people behind it used to run Jogoya. Sounds very possible especially since the person interviewed in the article is quoted as saying he, "received training in running buffet restaurants in Taiwan" (Jogoya is based in Taiwan).

During the tour, I did ask the person taking us around, are there any special days they bring in their fresh seafood. Seems they cart in all the seafood by specially ordered container as they import the items themselves. I guess that is how they keep the prices down by ordering by bulk. However, for salmon they still get them on Tuesday and Fridays like the other Japanese restaurants in town. Plans are also on the way to add Japanese hawker stalls at the terrace area in the near future.

Updated 19 January, 2009: Seems they now employ SMS to do bookings as they can't handle the volume of the calls. I got this from the solaris montkiara website, you can SMS these numbers:
016-9209007 & 016-9209008. Don't call them as it seems they won't reply. Hope that helps you all as I did see one reader desperately trying to call them. Suggest you ask them in the SMS to confirm receipt of the message before you proceed to go, if those dates are unavailable.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Prawn Mee (Hokkien Mee) @ Restaurant New Apollos, USJ 4 Subang Jaya

prawn mee - top view

Work has been positively slow these few days. It is probably because I have been getting back into the groove after such a long break. It does not help as Chinese New Year (CNY) seems to be looming ahead just round the corner. Is it just me or there seems to be a lack of CNY spirit all around? We did a walkabout last weekend around Petaling Street. There was not much atmosphere all over the place. Instead you get overwhelmed by the foreign workers manning the stalls and the fake handbags (Coach seems to be popular). Only if you walk into those shops selling CNY items, you start feeling a little tinge of the spirit. This year, paper cuts and ox-shaped decorations seem to be the "in" thing. At selected stalls, you can get waxed meats, pussy willows, peonies, cookies, candied fruits and vegetables.

from the side...

Back to food rather than my rants.....this time, prawn mee recommended by Sam Cheong in the Star Metro. This corner coffeeshop just off the main road in USJ is more famous for its claypot chicken rice (great value for money, huge portions and cooked over a charcoal fire). This place also has weird seats - the plastic types all fixed with chairs, which is more common at food courts or fast food joints. I was a little surprised that this coffeeshop, was also famous for its prawn mee, hence I made a lunch stop here. I went for the "works" since that was highly recommended.

At RM6.50 with extras like intestines and pork ribs, I expected fantastic food. While the prawn mee broth was above average, it still didn't come close to my favourite stall in Taman Tun Dr Ismail. Moreover, the uncle manning the stall was a little stingy with the broth, that seemed to dissapear as quickly as I ate it down. However, I did like the extra bit of sinful intestine but thought my order of pork ribs was an utter waste of monies since it was mainly bones versus meat. However, when beggars like me work in Shah Alam, they can't be choosy, hence this may be the best prawn mee around for me to indulge in whenever I feel the need. Don't rush over for this prawn mee but if you are around this area, it is worth a try.

Penang Prawn Mee & Loh Mee Stall
Restaurant New Apollos
2, Jln USJ4/6B
Subang Jaya

(Non halal. Stall closes alternate Tuesdays and is available for breakfast and lunch. This coffeeshop seems to be also popular among its patrons for the fried Hokkien and Cantonese noodles. A small bowl of prawn mee is RM3.80 and a large one, RM4.50.)

*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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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sarawak Home Cooking @ Pucuk Ubi, TTDI Plaza

toasted sago pearls to go with the umai, to give it a crunchy texture

Dining at TTDI Plaza during the weekends for lunch is definitely a very quiet affair. Am really not sure how the dining places here survive as the place is literally empty. The only place that seems to be occupied by people is
Frames (which serves pretty good Nasi Dagang). We spied this Sarawak home cooked food place when we dined at Frames hence we returned back to give it a try.

Sarawak-style ceviche - umai melanau (they also do a prawn version here)

To be honest, I was a little hesistant of eating the food here since I have no benchmark on the authenticity of the items served here. Weirdly enough, Sarawak is the only state I have not visited hence I am a dunce when it comes to Sarawak cuisine. However, since we were curious and needed a place to eat during the weekend, we ended up here.

pounded pucuk ubi topped with fried onions

Even though they served familiar Sarawak stuff we see everywhere like Mee Kolok and Sarawak Laksa, I was curious to try the other stuff I have only seen or read in cookbooks before - umai and kacangma chicken. They also serve Terung Dayak, a different kind of aubergine here, which looks interesting.

steamed chicken kacangma with a little too much onions

We enjoyed the pucuk ubi Bidayuh - sweet potato shoots pounded until tender and topped with fried onions. Reminds me a little of spinach since there is not much fibre in these vegetables. Not too spicy, this made a good start to the meal. If you rather have something spicy, the umai melanau is just right. Thinly sliced fish is tossed in pounded red chillies and lime juice. Similar to the Latin American ceviche, the citrus juices "cook" the fish slices when left out for the while. Toasted sago pearls are served with this dish, adding a nice crunch to the refreshing fish slices.

Last but not least, we had the steamed chicken kacangma, a kind of herb found in Sarawak. While the dish was quite tasty resembling something from mum's kitchen, I did think the use of the herbs was quite subtle. From what I read in another review of this place, this is definitely different from the versions found in Sarawak, as they usually add rice wine and ginger to this dish. Even the pucuk ubi Bidayuh is a little different here, as they use the wrong type of onions.

Even though, this may not be the most genuine of all Sarawak food, I felt it was good to try something new and different. However, be warned this place is not cheap. Even though food may look ordinary, I felt they overcharge for the food here especially since the plate of steamed chicken was filled with quite a lot of chopped onions versus meat. Does anyone else know where I can get to try all these Sarawak specialties in the Klang Valley? Would be great to try genuine versions over at this side of the ocean.

Restaurant Pucuk Ubi
A-1-13, TTDI Plaza
Jalan Wan Kadir 3
Taman Tun Dr Ismail
Kuala Lumpur

Tel No: 016-6046355

(Pork free.)

*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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Monday, January 12, 2009

Pepper Pig Stomach Soup, Lai Mian and Dumplings @ Restaurant Hong Seng, Section 17, Petaling Jaya

delicious tasting lai mian with plump shui jiao (all for RM4)

To kick off this week, I thought it would be nice to highlight this great value-for-money stall at one of my favourite coffeeshops in Petaling Jaya. Located at the corner opposite CIMB Bank Berhad, Restaurant Hong Seng is a favourite stop over for my mother and I. We both absolutely love the
roast pork and the teochew duck porridge here. Even the curry laksa and yong tau foo is pretty good but I never seem to get round to blogging about it.

great value - 8 pieces of pan fried juicy dumplings for RM4.80

My mother was recently introduced to this stall by her friends, hence I decided to give it a try. Manned by a Mainland China woman, she sells lai mian, pepper pig stomach soup and dumplings (the boiled and pan fried versions). Communicating to her may be a little problem especially if you don't speak Mandarin like me, but I got by since she seems to understand my Cantonese. She also has photos of her dishes on her stall, so I reckon if there is a communication breakdown, just point to what you want.

not too impressive pepper pig stomach soup for RM4

For the pepper pig stomach soup (RM4), you can opt to have it plain or with noodles (a choice of her own made lai mian or kuey teow). While the soup does not qualify for greatness since it lacks the fire I like from loads of white pepper, it was still pretty decent tasting. The lady mixes the strips of pig's stomach with tofu puffs and chopped vegetables; giving a little variety to the soup.

What I really liked and totally enjoyed were her dumplings. She sells the boiled version (shui jiao), which you can order with the handpulled noodles. I got a bowl of noodles with 4 juicy and plump filled shui jiao for just RM4!! Definitely a steal, I reckon. For the pan fried version (wor tip), she sells 8 pieces for RM4.80 - another fantastic deal. Stuffed with minced pork and chopped chives, each dumpling is so juicy, you have to be extremely careful while eating them. Even though the noodles are nothing fantastic, the bowl of dumplings with the clear soup and chopped vegetables feel extremely healthy. Do give it a try, as I reckon this stall offers very good value-for-money food. While it lacks the detailed refineness of the restaurants, it still tastes pretty good since it has a homecooked feel to it (and lack of MSG!).

On another note, I've also noticed a couple more changes to the food and beverage scene. Silom, the Thai restaurant at Plaza Damansara seems to have closed down and there is a new cafe called Moxie (owned by the same people from Cava and Opus) at where Sandias used to be. Yo! Sushi at Pavilion KL, has closed for renovations. Not sure if the Midvalley outlet is also going through the same renovations. And, I noticed Marche now does not sport the Movenpick logo anymore plus they stopped serving Movenpick ice cream at their dessert counter replacing it with Nestle ice cream! Does this mean, they are no longer part of the Movenpick group? The website seems to mention Movenpick still but I wonder why they changed the ice cream brand used. Anymore changes you have noticed recently?

Pepper Pig Stomach Soup & Dumplings Stall
Restaurant Hong Seng
Along Jalan 17/29
Section 17
Petaling Jaya

(Non Halal. Stall seems to be opened from breakfast to lunchtime.)

*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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Friday, January 09, 2009

Godiva Chocolatier Cafe @ Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

chocolate decadence here....

Sugar High Friday!! I reckon this is the best post to kick off the weekend - a little chocolate indulgence for the soul. Last week, when we visited Pavilion to meet up with my friend to collect my Michelin Guides, we saw this from the top - the cafe nestled in between the luxury boutiques. Owned by the Valiram group, the same people who bring in all those luxe brands that surround this cafe, the cafe seems to have sprouted overnight at this space.

pour your heart dark chocolate drink

Prices are definitely cheaper than a Gucci or JP Tods' handbag BUT it will still burn a hole in your wallet especially since we should be tightening our belts now (prices for the drinks range from RM16++ onwards). Most of the people hanging around are tourists or even the Valiram management (spied them indulging in the desserts) during the weekends. On weekdays, the place is ghostly empty just like the whole of Pavilion after the festive season.

white chocolate cake, for those who love creamy richness

At the cafe, you get to relax with hot and cold chocolate drinks including their famous Godiva Chocolixir. Weirdly enough, it is cheaper to drink it here (RM16) versus the takeaway in Suria KLCC (RM22). Not sure if the size of the glass or taxes are included, hence the price difference. There are also cakes you can choose from the counter or a selection of truffles and chocolates, you can order. If you don't fancy chocolate items - there are teas, coffees and other non-chocolate cakes like carrot cake, pistachio macaroons and etc.

chocolate overload, baked dark chocolate ganache tart

Sadly, I wouldn't say everything is super nice here. For instance, while the baked dark chocolate ganache tart (RM17) is great value for money considering the amount of dark chocolate you get (ganache, a large dark chocolate disc, slivers of white chocolate), the slightly hard pastry didn't impress at all.

For me, the winners was the white chocolate cake topped with a Godiva truffle and the white chocolate creme brulee. Although the cake is very simple with its thick white chocolate ganache topping with a sponge base and a mousse like filling - it tasted really delicious the day we ate it. However, I wonder if it will suffer the same fate cakes have in our country - being kept too long in the fridge (half cut) until it hardens and dries up into something quite inedible. We both also liked the creme brulee, which was a tiny portion but just nice since it was very rich tasting. I also tried the carrot cake - not as fantastic as Alexis' version but pretty decent tasting.

The drinks are pretty good too - we really like the Dark Chocolate Raspberry Chocolixir. The combination of tangy raspberries complement the sinful dark chocolate well. If you want it sweeter, add whipped cream but it tastes nicer without it. The other drinks we tried - the dark chocolate and chili chocolate were pretty good too. You get the subtle taste of chili more after you leave the drink to sit for a while though.

While I wouldn't mind dropping by for the drinks, I reckon the cafe does need some improvement more on the cakes especially the tart. Maybe a shorter biscuit crust instead and leaving the tart to thaw out a bit so the ganache is not super hard but silkier? For more pictures, see my Flickr set on the cafe. Sorry about the prices though, only have one receipt only since the other one was in my lost wallet.

Godiva Chocolatier Cafe
Level 2
Jln Bukit Bintang
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03 - 2142 5252

(Pork free. Chocolates are also on sale here. The cafe is located where the designer labels are located, in front of Gucci, Ferragamo and Sincere Watch. You can also buy Godiva chocolates at Suria KLCC and KLIA. The Suria KLCC also serves Chocolixir drinks for take-away.)

*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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Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Elusive Tenji

Never underestimate the power of "the word of mouth" or blogs. Ever since Tenji opened late last year, they had not spent any monies promoting the Japanese buffet restaurant, but everyone in Klang Valley and beyond seems to know about it.

I reckon it has something to do with people telling friends & family and an email circulating around the offices, which includes the write-up and pictures by Precious Pea. She mentioned in passing to me about the email but I didn't know how far reaching it was, until yesterday my colleague beckoned me over and asked for directions to Tenji. He then showed me the email....from his friend asking him to go for this value for money Japanese buffet. His aim - eat as much of his favourite sashimi for 1 hour (without talking!) at the price of RM29.90++ per person.

Coincidentally, friends of mine asked me to visit Tenji today. They told me it was impossible to get through the telephone number provided as it kept going to the voicemail. Hence, I told them I'll go ahead to the restaurant and see if I can get a booking for all of us. When I got to the place, there was a small queue ahead. Hmmmm, don't tell me it was full on a weekday! I joined the queue and after a few minutes, a couple walked by and said, "I can't believe it is full." Aiks! Being very curious and since I was already there, I waited a little while longer as I wanted to check if other dates were available.

Can you believe it? According to the guy at the counter, the place is booked solid until January 15th (the day the promotion ends)!!!!! I guessed everyone and anyone has heard about it and made it a point to check the whole deal out. BUT from I gather from Precious Pea just now, she has heard claims that some managed to walk in without any not sure if those could be odd hours or did they take the VIP packages??? Oh well, I guess I have no karma with Tenji. I'll just salivate over the pictures Precious Pea took of the buffet instead.....sigh!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I hate change...

wtf! happened to Weng Hing - that institution off Jalan Imbi???

I know it is the new year and we should be ringing in the changes but I personally hate it all. Call me old fashioned, but I wish in terms of food quality and restaurants, things remain status quo.

Maybe it is just because I have not been having a good start to the year - I accidentally dropped my purse on Monday afternoon, which meant I had to do a lot to get back all my documents. On hindsight now, I reckon it could have been a blessing in disguise, as when I went to the police station to do my report, this girl was also there reporting a snatch theft from the same bank I had planned to take out monies from!! Crime is pretty bad in town - for the past 2 days I have been hearing how people get snatched when they leave the bank (thieves target them as they were withdrawing large sums of monies) and how this woman from China pushes her victims at the SS2 morning market, to pick their bag....sigh! what is the world becoming.

Enough about me griping about all the hassles I have been going through and back to what is happening to food quality. Don't you hate places you like changing in terms of their quality? We ended up at Yellow Cab Pizza yesterday for lunch (since there was no parking at Kampung Baru) and it was a very dissapointing lunch. When they first opened, the crusts were thin and crisp. Now, the pizza crust has an uneven thickness - one side crisp and another side thick and filled with stodgy uncooked pizza crust. Definitely shows someone within the kitchen is not doing a proper job. Maybe the original person the master franchise people taught has left especially since I saw the manager frantically interviewing people outside. Anyway, they should really look into that before they lose more customers. Even Jasmine had this problem recently.

Then, on the way back I spied this from the car - Weng Hing, the red coloured institution off Jalan Imbi has changed its name to Win Heng Seng! I didn't stop by but I saw some renovations and repainting within, as the other stalls were closed. Yikes, I hope the pork noodles (sam kang cheong), char kuey teow and mini egg tarts, goreng pisang stalls will still be there. I still remember how the corner SS2 Lim Mee Yoke closed a while back due to gambling debts and all those stalls dissapeared. Will try and investigate this matter during the weekend, when I am free. If anyone knows what happens, pray tell.

All this got me thinking about how fast things change, hence I have added a time sensitive clause in my disclaimer. This was also triggered off by another comment by a person, who visited a place recently in Section 17. Food was horrible versus what it was almost a year ago. Nowadays, I reckon when places open in the beginning, food is always good and so is service. After a few months, they start slacking in terms of quality (you see them downgrading the brands they use and etc) especially since costs go up but they can't raise prices. I'll try and revisit places to see how it is. However, as it can take some time, if you do know quality has dropped or changed in a certain place, do alert me. Thanks and sorry for griping! It just has been 2 days of amazing coincidences....

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Steamed Fish @ Lan Je, Rawang, Selangor

eat me pleaseeeee!!!

Holidays always seem to be great times to catch up with family and friends. For lunch on New Year's day, it was all about family. My mother wanted something different from the usual places we eat at, hence she requested we visit Pan Heong at Batu Caves, especially since my uncle and aunt has yet to savour their fantastic sang har (water prawns) noodles. Once we got there, we realised it would be an incredibly long wait since we had 10 tables ahead of us.

Thus, we decided to give up and head further down the road to Rawang. A quick google search on 3G, got me Lan Je's telephone number and subsequently, I managed to confirm they were opened plus book a steamed fish for each person.

crackly crunchy super fresh prawns

The drive was pretty smooth especially since the road to Rawang from Selayang has been widened. Right before we hit the town, I had to get my bearings right before I recognised the small low stalls on the side of the road, where Lan Je is located at. Couldn't miss the crowd of people hanging there. Luckily we got a seat quickly but the waitress took a long time to clean up the place since it was laden with bones and fish remnants all over the place.

Long long ago, Lan Je used to sell economy rice to the workers from the nearby cement factory. She started selling steamed tilapia fish, which got a good response from her customers and ever since then she has been famous for that dish. Nowadays, Lan Je does not get involved with the day to day running of the stall. Instead it is manned by her sons and daughter-in-laws, who have also perfected the art of steaming the fish.

At the stall, small black tilapia fish vs the more common red tilapia fish is used (around 300grams) hence you order one fish per person. This means you don't have to fight for your fish and you can take your time eating it. Topped with a slightly spicy topping of garlic, ginger and chillies (you can adjust how spicy you want when you place your order), the fish is steamed just right, yielding flesh that is silky smooth. My favourite bit is when you turn the fish over and you get the not so dry fish flesh underneath. Even Splashie Boy and my aunt who both hate eating fish with bones ate their own portions with relish. My mother, uncle and I were in heaven since we love eating fish and sucking the bones until everything is clean.

The menu here is pretty standard and pork free. It seems even Malays patronise this stall as they love the steamed fish. Aside from the steamed fish, they also do a salted dry fried prawns very well. The very fresh prawns are fried till the skin is all crunchy and edible. The fried vegetables (yau mak), which we had was also very good and crunchy. The only let down was their chicken with dried chillies. We all felt it was a little hard. Total damage for 5 of us was RM118, which we all thought was worth it especially since it was such a satisfying meal. You'll definitely see us returning for the steamed fish here, and to be honest now with the highways interlinking everything together, it is not that far away. For more pictures, see my Flickr set.

Lan Je Steamed Fish
27-28, Block C, Jalan Rawang
Gerai MPS, Batu 16

Tel No: 012-227 0037

(Pork free. To get here, drive down from Selayang towards Rawang, you will pass by Templer's Park on the way there. Just before you hit the town area, you will see these low stalls on both sides of the road. After the BHP Petrol Station, make a U turn and you will see Lan Je on your left hand side. Open from 11.30am to 3pm, 6-10pm. Closed on Tuesdays. It is advisable you call ahead and book your fish especially during peak times, as they tend to run out of food if you are late.)

*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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Monday, January 05, 2009

Mamma Mia New Year Party @ Maukitten's, Kuala Lumpur

party time just started....

Happy New Year! Am sure everyone had a roaring time partying to usher the new year, especially from all the photos I saw in Facebook. We celebrated at our friend Maukitten's house. Her food is always amazing, hence we were looking forward to it.

delish nasi kerabu tinged blue

Every year, it is a different theme; Japanese, Italian pasta and pizza and this year, it was all kinds of rice with satay. I liked the nasi kerabu tinged blue and mixed with tiny eggplants you usually find in Thai green curries.

the satayman provided yummy chicken and lamb satay for all of us

Next was Japanese inspired rice with hijiki seaweed and edamame beans. We also had edamame beans for snacks before the rice dishes were ready.

Japanese inspired rice with edamame beans

My favourite was the mushroom black rice. Maukitten got the black rice from Thailand itself, doubt it was coloured like the hoo-hah over locally bought Thai black rice, which they found is coloured (see
NST report here). We added fried bacon bits for extra flavour - really yummy stuff.

mushroom black rice, you could add bacon bits to this for extra flavour

Of course we had salad - loads of leafs tossed in olive oil and juicy satay - chicken and lamb. Really good stuff of course, especially eaten hot off the grill. To cool off, we had Dennis' wicked fruit daiquiris - hidden by the blended fruit but laden with vodka. For entertainment, we had the Mamma Mia movie on big screen projector with speakers even. I had fun with the movie since it was my first time watching it. We even had fireworks from nearby, when the countdown began. Overall, a great party and thanks very much to Maukitten for inviting us. For more pictures of the food and party, click on my
flickr set.

So how did all of you spend your New Year? Do share with me the wonderful parties, get togethers and celebrations you all had. Would be fun to compare notes.

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