Thursday, November 29, 2007

Penang Food Adventure (Part 2)

My gastronomic adventure continues in Penang, the Island of Gluttonous Delights.....

While we were visiting Penang, my aunt listed Kedai Kopi Kwai Lock as one of the "must visit" food places - partly because the food here is nice and also partly for nostlagia.
:)

Anyway, this established coffeeshop is located on Jln Burmah, in the vicinity of the Pulau Tikus market:
The Exterior of Kedai Kopi Kwai Lock....

The interior of Kwai Lock is comfortable enough (by coffeeshop standards):
The Interior of the coffeeshop......

There is a wide variety of hawker food available at Kwai Lock (ranging from Chee Cheong Fun to Char Kuew Teow to some lighter snacks like Apoms). That day, we chose to try 4 of the more popular stalls... I arrange them here in order of how much I liked them:
1) Wan Tan Mee (Soup):
The Wantan Noodles.....

Verdict: Normal.

(Nothing much to say... It wasn't bad but wasn't good either - very normal)

2) Fried Hor Fun:
The Fried Hor Fun.....

Verdict: Not bad.

(Nice "wok fried" taste, supple yet smooth/ tender noodles with fairly generous amounts of char siew (barbeque pork), meat and prawns)

3) Duck Mee Sua:
The Duck Mee Sua.........

Verdict: Nice.

(The duck was tender, the soup was savoury and herbal but not overpowering complemented by the tender texture of the mee sua)

4) Curry Laksa:
The Curry Laksa..........

Verdict: Delicious - Don't miss this!

(Creamy yet smooth soup with beautiful fragrance of curry powder without any powdery texture served with bouncey noodles - perfect!)

According to the waitress, this fine establishment is open from about 8am till 1pm (Caters more for the morning market crowd).

PS:
I can't give you directions on how to get to this area, but once you find the general vicinity of the Pulau Tikus market, this coffeeshop is situated on the right side (corner lot) if you are facing the police station. Here's a photo to illustrate:



So, it's: Simple coffeeshop setting, variety of Penang hawker food at decent prices BUT nothing much to complain about - just make sure you don't miss out on the Curry Mee.


Summary Information:
Various Stalls @ Kedai Kopi Kwai Lock, Jalan Burmah, Penang

Opening Hours: 8am till 1pm
Phone: -
Address: 295B, Jln Burmah, Penang (opposite Pulau Tikus police station)

NOT HALAL



OTHER REVIEWS:
- Makantrip.com
- Pillow Talk With Bangsar Babe
- Table For Three Please


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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Penang Food Adventure (Part 1)

A trip to the delicious island of Penang to visit relatives and eat the yummy food.....

On my recent trip to Penang, I ventured (with my parents and aunt) to the popular Gurney Drive area where we were looking to takeaway some supper (to eat at a relative's home while catching up/ gossiping).

There are many places to eat all along Gurney Drive at night, ranging from "tai chow" to seafood to hawker fare but we decided to stop by the Song River Cafe to get our sinful snacks for the night.

Of course, there were numerous choices at the coffeeshop (dunno why they call it a "Cafe") but after some deliberation we chose:
1) "Roti babi (Pork bread)":

The Roti Babi and Dipping Sauce....

Not bad - this traditional Hainanese dish of (something like) deep fried french toast stuffed with minced pork was savoury, not starchy and went well with the spiced Wosterschire sauce.

2) "Siu Kai Yik (BBQ Chicken Wings)":
Yummy Barbequed Chicken Wings and also Chicken Butts!

Mmmmm...
These were perfectly barbequed, smokey and slightly crisp on the outside while still tender and juicy on the inside...
(They were a tad too oily though... but not that bad)

3) Otak-otak:
The Otak-Otak........

Not bad.
Tender texture with moderate flavour - mild aroma of spices and no "fishy" smell.
(Didn't rock my world though, unfortunately)

Overall, all the food was pretty good.... but I couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed because I was expecting so much.
(Lesson learnt!)

So, it's: Simple coffeeshop setting, variety of Penang hawker food at decent prices BUT nothing much, it tastes ok - just don't expect too much or you will definately be disappointed.


Summary Information:
Various Stalls @ Song River Cafe, Gurney Drive, Penang

Opening Hours: 5pm till late
Phone: -
Address: -

NOT HALAL



OTHER REVIEWS:
- Tummy Thoughts
- Jules Eating Guide to Malaysia
- Penang Street Foods
- Fantasy World


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Monday, November 26, 2007

Cova @ The Gardens

(Finally! A food update!) Here's a really short post on a quick bite at a cafe/ restaurant in the newly opened Gardens Shopping Center at Midvalley....

[ BEGIN EDIT ]
(March 2010)

Another one bites the dust!

I loved this place for its yummy salads, but didn't go there for a couple of months...

Then, the next thing I know, I go to meet some friends for dinner at TGIF Gardens and I suddenly realise: "Hey, isn't this located exactly where Cova used to be??"

Boo hoo. It's gone!!

:(

J

[ END EDIT ]

The Lunch:

As I was wandering around the new Gardens shopping centre at Midvalley (feeling a bit bored and pondering about how poor I really am), I chanced upon a cute little cafe/ bistro called Cova.

It will probably be considered a good location soon (after they finish building the sky bridge) but for the meanwhile, Cova is sorta stuck in a little corner in the middle of nowhere (1st floor, opposite La Senza). Anyway, I really like the interior there:
The Interior of Cova....

It had simple but sophisticated tones of white and cream with a really nice airy and modern feel to it.

I was actually supposed to meet P for a late lunch but couldn't resist trying out this new place (I was hungry! I hadn't had any breakfast that day).

Scanning the menu, the options seemed to be rather limited.... However, the super friendly restaurant manager told me that this was only the interim menu (mostly Western food) and it would be extended to the full menu soon.

Since I only wanted a light bite, I chose the Portabello Mushroom Salad (approx RM18++):
The Portobello Mushroom Salad....

YES.
I know, I know. I'm boring and predictable.
(If you have read my blog often enough, you'd probably have noticed that I have a soft spot for mushrooms... especially Portobello and Button Mushrooms)

But thank goodness for that because this salad was really really nice! - the mushrooms were tender and meaty, perfectly grilled and so juicy, complemented by the wonderfully fresh butter lettuce, crispy potato slices and simple vinaigrette dressing. Mmmmm.....
(Word of caution: I was the ONLY customer in the restaurant at the time so maybe it wouldn't be so well prepared if it was packed - I will go back in a while to re-test it and update if there's any difference)

Sorry - there's only one item reviewed!
>_<
Still, it was really nice (albeit a little expensive) so I'm just highlighting Cova as somewhere worth checking out if you're in the area.

:)
Cool?
(I promise the next review will be more extensive)

So it's: Sleek, airy modern setting with friendly staff, fair range of yummy Western food BUT servings are a bit small for the price.


Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:


Cova @ The Gardens, Mid Valley (opposite La Senza)

Taste: 7
Ambience : 7
Service : 7
Price** : RM 52/++ per person
Parking: Difficult on weekends

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-2287 6260
Opening Hours: 12noon till late

NO PORK SERVED



OTHER REVIEWS:
- You Get What You Give
- Pillow Talk With Bangsar Babe
- Food 4 Thot
- Miss Mynx
- A PK's Life
- The Yat (One) And Only Journey


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Friday, November 23, 2007

Funky Friday

The countdown begins.....

It's Friday!
FRIIIIIIIIIIIIIDAY!
(aka. the "24 hours till freedom" day)
:)

Anyway, sorry for the total lack of updates (on food) - I've been:
- a bit sick,
- quite depressed,
- very tired, and
- psycho busy....

I can't even pinpoint what is it exactly that's causing me so much grief.
Just life in general, I guess.
(Scary)
Or maybe I'm just getting into my usual year end funk - when I start freaking out about where I wanted/ dreamed my life to be at this point VS reality and realising how far apart the 2 are......
:(

But hey, it's almost the weekend!
No time for doom and gloom!
*J turns her frown upside down*
:)


Yay,
J

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Relativity

The woes of J the middle class citizen.....

I have finally checked out the new Gardens (@ Midvalley) and Pavillion (@ KL Bukit Bintang area) shopping centres.

What is my take-away from my 2 visits?:
NOW I FINALLY REALISE HOW POOR I REALLY AM.

Haha....
It's crazy how relative everything is though. For example, I suppose to someone who earns millions every year, the same RM1,500 white shirt that I saw may be considered cheap.

Gosh, my heart almost jumped right out of my chest when I read the price tag! I then made a very quick exit from that shop area, trying my best to look nonchalant.... but I don't think I was cool enough to fool the sales assistant....
(Probably she was thinking: "Pffft... Cannot afford then don't look lah!")

Still, it was nice just wandering around, enjoying the airy and sophisticated interiors of the 2 new malls....
(I did get kinda bored after about half an hour though - it's no fun if you know you can't really afford anything)

Oh well... at least there are lots of new food places to check out!
:)


Signing off,
J

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Andy Grace Restaurant

A decently priced restaurant with delicious Chinese food in the Bandar Menjalara area.....

One day, me and P were feeling a little adventurous and decided to look around the shophouses in the nearby but painfully far away Bandar Menjalara....
(Painful in terms of the RM 1.60 x2 at the toll that we PJ folks have to pay to get there and back)

The Lunch:

As we were rounding the main shophouses in the Medan Putra Business Center area, we decided to take a chance on the Andy Grace Cafe and Restaurant:
The exterior of Andy Grace restaurant...

The interior looks ok I suppose:
The interior of Andy Grace restaurant...

It has a casual setting with some interesting but oddly placed decorations (eg. The big grandfather clock near the counter, the cigar canisters pasted on the wall, etc...).

Unfortunately, I still couldn't help but to feel a little uncomfortable in there.
(It was so noisy! Not to say that there were many people in there with us but the acoustics are just terrible....)

Scanning the menu, we were a bit intimidated by the extensive range of dishes - everything from individual Chinese rice/ noodle dishes to sharing style a la carte dishes and a small selection of Western food. There were even various styles of frog dishes to choose from, for those who are into that kinda thing.....

Eventually, we decided on the Sour and Spicy Meehoon Soup (RM 6.80++), Fried "Tung Fun (Glass Noodles)" (RM 6.80++) and Fried "Tau Meuw" (RM 9++):


Top to bottom:
Sour and Spicy Meehoon Soup, Fried "Tung Fun" and Fried "Tau Meuw"...

One good thing to note about this restaurant is that the serving time is faster than normal.... We were pretty surprised to see our food served within 10 minutes after we ordered!
:)

Anyway, moving on to the taste of the food: I loved the Sour and Spicy Meehoon Soup - robust, savoury but not too sour/ salty (just nice) with a slight hint of what tasted like Chinese wine....
The alcoholic in me who loves salty and sour food says MMMMmmmmmm....
(The only flaw was that the prawns didn't taste very fresh...)

As for the Fried "Tung Fun", it was also pretty good - lovely "wok fried" taste with just nice texture in the noodles (not too wet or too dry with no starchy aftertaste).

The Fried "Tau Meuw" was also not bad - fresh but the sauce was just a little too salty for my taste.

All in all, it's not a bad place to pop in for an affordable lunch/ dinner....
:)


So it's: Casual ambience with friendly staff, wide variety of Chinese food (and a few Western dishes) at a decent price, SUPER fast serving time BUT not much to complain except for the bloody RM1.60 (x2!!) toll I have to pay coming from PJ.


Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:


Andy Grace Restaurant @ Bandar Menjalara, KL

Taste: 6
Ambience : 5
Service : 7
Price** :
RM 18/++ per person (Chinese food)
RM 30++ per person (Western food)
Parking: OK

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-6275 9971
Opening Hours: 11am till late

NOT HALAL



OTHER REVIEWS:
- World Windows


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Monday, November 12, 2007

Back To Earth

The shackles are back on.....

After a relaxing one week holiday, I should feel recharged and ready to take on the world again when I get back to the office...

.... but what I really feel is a growing heaviness:
"Back to my minion duties already??", I thought as I was driving to the office, "NOooooo......."

GREAT.
I thought I was better than this but it turns out that I'm only human afterall.
Haha...


Wish me luck! (Hopefully I'll survive the week),
J

PS/
In slightly unrelated news:
So weird! - A strange brown bug jumped up and bit me on the back of my knee just as I arrived at my office this morning.

I didn't know what it was at first when I suddenly felt a sharp persisting pain as I walked through the main doors, towards the lift. When I touched my skin (as I waited for the lift), the bug grudgingly stuck on to my hand instead

Of course, I then went all girly and almost screamed while waving my hand around in a panic until the bug jumped off.
(Ooh, I hope no one saw me.....*blush*)
(Hmmmmm, and I do hope it's not a sign that the rest of the week at work is going to be surprisingly painful!)

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Pitstop in Kampar

A pitstop in the Kampar town area for some Chinese food while on the way to Penang.....

While on our long journey Northwards to Penang, my aunt recommended we stop at a little restaurant that she liked in Kampar town for lunch....

I admit, we had our reservations at first (because my parents and I had never heard of this restaurant before) but my aunt convinced us that it was a good place to try out some fresh seafood (prawns and fish specifically) and well, we trust her taste so we thought: "Why not?".
:)

Soon we arrived at our destination.
At first glance, the coffeeshop (Kow Kee Makanan) is really nothing fancy at all - quite nondescript actually:
The exterior of Kow Kee....

As we entered the coffeeshop, I couldn't help but to feel nostalgic seeing its simple interior and rustic textures of a "typical coffeeshop restaurant" (the dusty old fans and bright red plastic chairs were a nice touch):

Interior of Kow Kee Makanan

We went on to order the specialties of Fried Sea Prawns (RM 70 per KG), Steamed "Soon Hock (Garoupa?)" (RM 90 per KG), Steamed Tofu with "Hae Bee (Dried Shrimp)" (RM 6) and Pork with "Choi Konn (Dried Vegetables)" Soup (RM 6).

First up, the Tofu and the Soup:
Left to right: The Tofu and the Soup

Mmmmm...
I LOVED the tofu and the soup.
The tofu: Silky, delicate, balanced well with the taste of the sauce and texture of the dried shrimp.
The soup: Tasty, robust and the meat tender from the time consuming stewing.

Next, the Fish and the Prawns:


Top to bottom: The Fish and the Prawns

I quite liked the fish and the prawns - overall, they were nice: tasty, big, meaty and very fresh (you can see them swimming around beforehand in tanks and big plastic "tongs" in the kitchen area) but unfortunately, they were also ever so slightly overcooked.
(So close to perfection but you miss by an inch, you might as well miss by a mile).

Our meal that day came up to RM114 (including the additional charges for tea and rice)... which may seem like a lot for a simple lunch for 4 people but it was actually great value for money by KL standards - if you went to any restaurant in KL/ PJ you would probably have to pay that much just for the fish...
("Soon Hock" is generally quite pricey)

Overall, not bad.
Wouldn't mind coming back to enjoy the gigantic prawns again if I'm in the area....


Signing off,
J

PS:
Rough directions (Sorry, I'm not too familiar with Kampar myself):
There are roughly 2 big roads in Kampar town - the unofficial "main road" and the other road parallel to it.

Once you get on the parallel road, look for the KFC on your right hand side (if you are coming from the Tapah toll exit). Turn into the little road on the left which is roughly opposite the KFC... The coffeeshop/ restaurant will be in the middle of the shop lots on your right.
(Please remember to put one of the parking tickets! If you don't have one handy, ask the shop keeper and they will point you in the right direction)

So, it's: Simple coffeeshop setting, fresh seafood for decent prices BUT limited selection of dishes.


Summary Information:
Restoren Kow Kee Makanan @ Jalan Mesjid Lama, Kampar

Opening Hours: 11am to 8pm daily
Phone: 05-465 1838
Address: 14, Jalan Mesjid Lama, 31900 Kampar, Perak

NOT HALAL



OTHER REVIEWS:
- Have Your Cake And Eat It Too


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Friday, November 09, 2007

Season's Greetings

Meant to post this up much earlier but couldn't get bloody computer to work till just now.....

HAPPY DEEPAVALI!!!!
(Sorry - better late than never though, right?)
:)

Hugs,
J

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Glutton Am I

Just back from a trip to the island of delicious food.....

I followed my parents (and aunt) back to visit relatives in Penang, and in the (slightly less than) 48 hours we spent there, I ate:
- lobak,
- curry mee,
- char kuey teow,
- duck mee,
- yong tau foo,
- popiah,
- assam laksa,
- apoms,
- kuey teow theng,
- roti babi, and
- wantan mee.....

Woah.
That's a lot, isn't it?
:D

Well, I didn't finish all of that by myself lah but managed to taste a bit of everything through a carefully orchestrated process of sharing between my mum, dad, aunt and myself.
(We made sure we never ordered the same dish so that we could exchange with each other later)

My aunt who came on the trip with us was our food guide, bringing us to all her favourite spots....
(Some of which has been open since she was a schoolgirl!)
I will try to post up most the food places soon...
:)


Afraid to weigh herself,
J

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Las Carretas

New outlet of popular Mexican restaurant in the Damansara Heights area (opposite CIMB)....

This new outlet of Las Carretas is one of the 2 new restaurants at the base of the new Peninsula apartments on Jalan Semantan (across the road from the CIMB building).

The Dinner

The exterior of Las Carretas...

The interior of Las Carretas is simple but comfortable, embellished with some cute Mexican touches like giant sombreros and various cacti:

The interior of Las Carretas...

The only thing I found a little "off" were the continous loop of about 5 Speedy Gonzales and Road Runner/ Wiley E. Coyote cartoons on the TVs there.
(You know how it is when restaurants choose to put in TVs: No matter how hard you try not to watch, your eyes keep getting "caught" by the moving pictures.... which I hate because it usually kills all conversation)

Anyway, a nice touch here is the Free Starters (Chips with Dip) which went very well with the Magaritas (RM14++ each) we ordered:
Left to right: Free chips with dip and the margaritas we ordered...

They allow a free flow of the chips (according to the really friendly waiter) but be careful not to stuff yourself too full of these so that you still have some space in your tummies for your food!
:)
The Magaritas were ok - Much cheaper than (let's say) Chili's or TGIF but of course, much smaller in size too.

Moving on, we tried the Chili soup (RM 9++):
Chili beef soup...

Mmmm....
I liked this soup.
It was thick and chunky with fragrant taste of herbs...

As for the mains, we tried out the Chili Con Carne (RM 21++) and the Beef Fajitas (RM 31++):

Top: Chili Con Carne, Bottom: Beef Fajitas...

This was the first time I had ever tried Chili Con Carne, a traditional Mexican dish where minced beef is stewed with kidney beans and then served with rice. I found the savoury taste and chunky texture interesting. It also went very well with the rice (nice balance) and I thought that this was a perfect type of comfort food on a cold day....
(The serving size was maybe a bit too big though and you may get "jelak" about 3 quarters' way through)

As for the Fajitas (which are supposed to be one of the specialties here), it was ok.... but not great. There was a generous amount of beef strips (no complaints there) but they were only moderately tender. I do like playing with my food though, so I had fun constructing my fajitas by mixing varying amounts of beef, cheese, guacamole, salsa, sour cream and onions before taking a big bite.
:D

Overall, the food there was ok.
Didn't knock my socks off but it's a nice place to try out some decently priced Mexican food (some of the prices look expensive but the servings are pretty big). There were a few interesting sounding traditional Mexican dishes (like Burritos, Chimichangas, Enchiladas, etc) that I wouldn't mind going back to try.
:)

So it's: Wide range of Mexican food in casual comfy environment, ok taste for the price, friendly staff BUT not many complaints except the strange looping of cartoons on the TV....

Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:


Las Carretas @ Damansara Heights, KL
(Ground Floor of new condos opposite CIMB)

Taste: 6
Ambience : 6
Service : 6
Price** : RM 45/++ per person
Parking: OK (I think you have to pay in the morning/ afternoon but we parked for free that night)

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-2093 0380
(Subang outlet: 03-5637 3058, Ampang outlet: 03-4257 1668)

Opening Hours:
11.30am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm


Website: www.lascarretas.com

NO PORK SERVED



OTHER REVIEWS:
- Da Wheel Of Life And Happiness
- PlacesAndFoods.com
- KL People KL Food


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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Freedom

I'm freeeeeeee.....

No work for me tomorrow....
:)
... and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday!
*yay*

In other words: I'M ON LEAVE FOR A WEEK!!!

I will have to try my best not to lose control, pig out and gain too much weight during my one week leave but well, I'm a greedy girl who loves food so I suspect it'll be more a case of damage control than anything....
Haha...


Trying her best to enjoy her fleeting escape,
J

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Yawn

How long more.....?

Wah lau....
Seems like so long more till the weekend.....
:(

Anyway, due to:
1) budgetary constraints, and
2) a bout of food poisoning...

... there will probably be no updates on food till next week...
(Sorry!)
(*sigh*... It's such a strange situation to be in though - feeling so hungry but afraid to eat because am so sick of going to the loo)


Finally (and very painfully) aware that her stomach is not as strong as she thought,
J

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