Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Restoran Chu Cha @ Jalan Alor, KL

Streetside food in the famous Jalan Alor area ...

Wow.
I know Jalan Alor is popular, but I was still surprised with how packed it was on a normal weekday night.

There was so much energy in the atmosphere with lots of locals and tourists walking around looking for food, while anxious restaurant workers called out to them - trying to entice them to choose their restaurant over the many other eateries available.

(I remember there was a time when Jalan Alor was only be famous for a much seedier kind of business that served to OTHER kinds of human appetites... Am so glad that it has cleaned up its image!)

I meant to go to Meng Kee but forgot that it is closed on Tuesdays.... So, we ended up going to the brightly lit and super packed Restoren Chu Cha instead, situated a little further up the road (almost at the start of the street):
Outside Chu Cha....

As with most of the other restaurants in this area, you can sit inside but most people choose to dine "al fresco" - seated at plastic tables spread across the sidewalk and part of the road... with the night sky as your canopy:
Everyone enjoying their food....

The rather fidgety waiter handed us a menu (A surprisingly well laid out menu! - decent photos, clear pricing stated and with descriptions in English)... and we scanned the wide range of fried noodles/ rice, tai chow styled dishes and many other Malaysian favourites they had to offer.

We ordered quite a few dishes - the Fried Kai Lan with Garlic (RM 6?) arrived at our table first:
Vegetables are your friend!....

Overall, it was ok - fresh stalks of kai lan coated in a fragrant mix of oil and garlic.

Next up was the Hokkien style fried mixed Meehoon and Mee (RM 7 per person - this is a serving for one person):
A non-Halal Malaysian favourite....

While I was kinda disappointed that there was no chuee yau charr (deep fried pork lard)**, I enjoyed this noodle dish as it had enough flavour and some wok hei (wok fried fragrance?).
(The accompanying sambal was also tasty)
(** Strangely, I went back there another night and there was chuee yau charr in the noodles.... Why the ingredients so inconsistent wan? Weird!)

Lastly, we had the Grilled fish (RM 11 for this/ RM5 per kg):
Yummy stingray....

Hmmm. OK lah - unfortunately it was kinda overcooked and oily. Not terrible, just not good either.

Strangely one of my highlights that night was the Ice Blended Soursop Drink (RM 5?):
My drink....

YUM.
This refreshing sweet but slightly sour drink was perfect for that humid Tuesday night. :)

I guess the only downside of Chu Cha is that from what I can tell, this "restaurant" is more like a hawker centre where all the stalls have decided to work together (sharing a menu and wait staff)... While this gives you plenty of food options prepared by "specialists" (each stall owner), there is:
- the slight inconvenience of paying for each dish as it arrives, and
- the chance of erratic arrivals of your food.
(Just a small inconvenience, if you think about it, but just so you know...)

As mentioned before, there's a lot of other variety from all the different stalls at this "restaurant" (not complete list, but it's my best effort from what I scoped out that night):
- Fried rice/ noodles (eg. Hokkien mee, wat tarn horr, etc)
- Pan Mee/ Curry Mee/ Penang Prawn Mee,
- Char Kuey Teow,
- Misc. Chinese tai chow style chicken/ pork/ beef/ seafood/ vege dishes,
- Grilled fish/ shellfish,
- Fried oyster omelette (orr chien),
- Satay,
- Drinks and simple desserts (like Ais Kacang).

So, it's: Variety of Malaysian favourites under one roof, convenient location in the Bukit Bintang area, fairly reasonable prices considering its a tourist location BUT surrounding area can be jammed (it's where everyone wants to be!) and beggars and peddlers are quite prolific here - they are not aggressive but will generally approach all tables to beg/ sell stuff.....


Summary Information:
Restoran Chu Cha @ Jalan Alor, KL

Opening Hours: 6pm till late (Closed on Thursday).
Phone: -
Address: Jalan Alor, KL

(PARTLY) NOT HALAL


MAP:
(This is not the exact address, but hard to miss - brightly lit and within the first few shoplots of the Jalan Alor stretch... I hope this helps...)

View Larger Map

OTHER REVIEWS:
-


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Monday, June 28, 2010

Identity Crisis

One person's delusion is another's amusement :)....

Some questions/ thoughts came to mind as I was walked past this car the other day:
EH? ...

What kind of questions?
Well, for example:
- Is it possible that a Proton knocked up a Mitsubishi, and it gave birth to a Proton Mitsubishi Saga?
- It cannot be that I am only one who noticed that 1 is completely not in line with 2 and 3, right? ........So, how is it that the owner of the car doesn't realise this??

Haha...
Anyway, HAPPY MONDAY! :)


Baffled (but amused),
J

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Portugal 2008 (Part 3)

Desktop holiday for you... European Edition - Portugal (Part 3)....

Yes.
No doubt about it - The grand church in Lisbon is beautiful.....
Outside the church on a sunny day ...

... but I have to admit: The highlight for me was visiting the almost legendary Café Pastéis de Belém.
Lots of people lining up ...

Go to Portugal and not eat Portugese egg tarts? How can, right? ;)

Anyway, that day it was super packed in the front area, with lots of people lining up for takeaway as well as dining in....
(According to some websites, it's packed almost everyday!)
Just inside ...

Thankfully, we found an empty area as we walked further and further into this surprisingly cavernous cafe:
(It looks so small from the outside....)
Much further inside...

The recipe for this (reputedly divine) pastry is said to have originated from monks in the nearby monastery, remaining unchanged till today.... and has been sold in this cafe since 1837 (WOW).

Even with being such a famous (and kinda touristy) place, the prices were very reasonable - only Euro 0.85 per egg tart. At first, I thought "Eeyer. Doesn't look so great wat. Malaysia also got - some more the one here looks a bit burnt!"
Our egg tarts ...

But after biting into it, I was sold.
:D

Sweet yet savoury, rich and creamy without being sickening, encased in a fluffy, crumbly, fragrant pastry.
(I still remember it very fondly, even after 2 years)

Anyway, here's a closer look:
It disappeared quickly soon after ...

We also had some coffees, which tasted pretty good (Euro 0.60 to 1.90 - depending on type):
Long black, Cappuccino and expresso...

If you want, wander over to the mini egg tart factory side of the cafe - there, you can view the team of bakers busy whipping out batch after batch of these yummy pastries for the hungry hordes:
Bake, bake, bake...

While I'm not sure if it's worth travelling to the other side of the world just to eat this, it is definitely a "must eat" if you are in the area.
(Mind you, it may be a bit more expensive now since I went there about 2 years ago!)

Don't just take my word for it, here's what other people think:
- Lots of good feedback on Tripadvisor.com
- World Foodie Guide gave it 8.5 out of 10

Well, that's it for this round - hope you'll have a beautiful, yummy Friday and weekend.
:)


HUGS,
J

(Also, here's an approximate map, just in case):

View Larger Map



Summary Information:
Café Pastéis de Belém @ Lisbon, Portugal

Opening Hours: 8am till 11pm (approx. - slightly different during winter/ summer)
Phone: +351 21 363 74 23
Address: Rua de Belem No 83 - 92, 1300 - 085 Lisboa, Portugal
Website: Café Pastéis de Belém

NOT SURE IF HALAL




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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rockin' Char Siew @ Hutong, Lot 10, KL

YUMS....

We took our darling (Singaporean!) friends Arlene and Kelvin to the increasingly popular Hutong food court in Lot 10, so that they could sample a variety of our yummy Malaysian food in one place*. :)
(* Without being harassed by friendly cockroaches or the odors of stuffed up drains.. LOL)

Spotting a tempting display of char siew (honey roasted pork), Kelvin ordered up a dish of it from the Ho Weng Kee Wantan Noodles stall:
(The man loves pork...)
Pork ...

Thanks to his sharp eyes, and great (pork-)intuition, I had one of the best char siews in my life. :D

Although the slices served were just a tad too fatty for my taste, it was SO GOOD!:
- Firm (but not tough) meat,
- some crispy, yummily charred bits,
- melt in your mouth fatty parts, and
- slightly sweet (yay! not too sugary) and smokey flavour:
Closer look ...

I still dream about this char siew, which is now firmly in my list of faves.
:D
(Next time I'll ask for a leaner cut though - felt like such a big sinner after that meal! Haha...)

My original review of some other stalls at Hutong: http://chocoholicmemoirs.blogspot.com/2010/03/hutong-lot-10-bukit-bintang-kl.html

*waves to Arlene & Kelvin (& Danny)*
COME VISIT AGAIN SOON PLEASE. MISS YOU!!! *HUGS*

(And thank you for the t-shirt... It's perfect for me!)


(Once again)
So, it's: Delicious array of famous Malaysian food stalls under one roof! :) BUT prices are higher than original stalls (although still affordable by KL standards), can be very hard to find a table during peak hours and surrounding area can get quite jammed during week day peak hours.....


Summary Information:
Hutong Gourmet Heritage Village @ Lot 10, KL

Opening Hours: (approx.) 11am till 10pm
Phone: -
Address: Basement, Lot 10 Shopping Centre, Bukit Bintang, KL

NOT ENTIRELY HALAL*
(*A few stalls do not serve pork)




OTHER REVIEWS:
- Masak-Masak
- Lots of Cravings
- the nomad Gourmand
- Eat Drink KL
- A lil' fat monkey


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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Food Bloggers = Guerillas?

What do you think? Am I dangerous? Are we all dangerous?....

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mini language lesson (English):
GUERILLA

A person who engages in irregular warfare especially as a member of an independent unit carrying out harassment and sabotage.

(Source: Merriam Webster Online Dictionary.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Recent comments got me thinking:
Like many Malaysians, I love food, and I want to share my experiences with everyone.... but is it fair for me (and other food bloggers) to launch (kinda) guerilla styled* reviews on restaurants?
(*Where I/we do not inform the restaurant ppl of our presence)
*PIEW-PIEW*
Food Bloggers = Snipers? (Hidden in the surroundings and shooting restauranteers from afar)...

I really value my anonymity, because (I think) it means that I get the normal everyday dining experience, like everyone else - no special treatment**....
(**Besides, it's not like I am a superstar, right?)

Also, yes. Most of my reviews are based on my untrained taste buds, and one dining experience... so maybe restauranteers will say, "Hey, not fair - You're not professionally trained... And we were just having one bad day..!"

Here is an extreme example though:
People at factories work hard, right? (The whole team, whether production line or QA team)... but if I get into a car accident because they put together the brakes/ engine/ etc wrongly, can they just say "*shrug* It happens lah. You have to be understanding because we were having a bad day..."
Are my words like random bullets?....

*sigh*

Like I said, it's an extreme example.
(Most of the time, the worst that can happen after a really bad meal is food poisoning....)

The reality is:
I, as do most of the population, work hard for my money,... so while that doesn't give me the right to talk badly about restaurants (without responsible self censorship), it also doesn't mean that I won't feel cheated to some extent if the food or service is not up to my personal taste.

Anyway, how many people would go back to a restaurant to keep experimenting whether it was just one bad day or not? It isn't completely fair but when it comes to the F&B world especially, consistency*** is the key to success - every day is unique, every day is a new test.
(***Look at McDonalds - a big part of their success is based on convenience and the fact that everyone knows exactly what to expect from them....)
Maybe I should be a silent monkey? Say no evil? ....

Hmmmm...
I don't rant very often on my blog so I hope you don't mind this episode.
:)

And actually, what do you think? Am curious what your opinions are on this.....


Pensive,
J

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Restoran Siew Yok! @ SS23 (Tmn Megah?), PJ

New simple but yummy porky restaurant in SS23 (near Taman Megah) area....

New restaurant in PJ?
Specialises in pork? (specifically, crispy roast pork - siew yoke)

YAY! :D

A friend (Mr MC) highlighted this restaurant to us pork lovers and we happily made a bee line to go try it out.

So cute lah... :)
The name of the restaurant is Siew Yok! - seemingly, a passionate babitarian exclamation of joy to the general public:

Just a few doors down from the Fu Kwa restaurant ...

Mr MC mentioned that he knows the owner, who after years of experimentation and dreaming, finally decided to pursue his passion and open his own restaurant...
(Awwwww........)

While it is definitely not a fine dining restaurant, it is airy and much more comfortable than your average coffee shop. Please don't be fooled by how empty it looks in the photo though - it filled up amazingly fast during lunch hour:
Inside Siew Yok! ...


Of course, the highlight of this eatery is the Siew Yoke (RM 13.50), available in 3 variations - Yellow Gold, Black Gold and Melting Gold:
Yellow Gold Siew Yoke ...


I think we were told that they alternate the Siew Yoke but generally, it is a difference on the crispiness of the pork?

Anyway, that day we had the Yellow Gold Siew Yoke (Crispy Roasted Pork) and it was nice!
- really skin crispy
- tender, well marinated layer of meat,
- balanced with a adequate later of melt in mouth fat.

There are also a small selection of other porky dishes available at the restaurant:
- Loh Chee Yok (RM 27 13.50)
(Sorry. What a terrible typo. But to be fair the hand written receipt they gave us was confusing. They lumped several items together):

Hearty soupy pork ...

Yummy!
Well, was a biiiiit too salty, but the hearty soup and tender chunks of stewed pork, egg and tofu went well with the rice.
:)

- Char siew (RM 13.50):
Honey roasted pork ...

Unlike the usual Char siew which has a sweet taste, the one here was more savoury, with a slight Thai twist with a dash of fish sauce and garlic.
(Interesting, but overall just ok. I prefer the Loh Chee Yok and Siew Yoke...)

Note: Beware the chili - nice but spicy:
Fiery...

Worth a mention is the Rice (RM 2.50) and Veggies (RM 8.50):
Carbs...

Yummy greens ...

While the serving was a little bit small, the rice was fragrant and had that nice dry-ish "one piece, one piece" type of texture to it.... As for the veggies, they were fresh and lightly flavoured with the simple oyster sauce and fried garlic combination.
(2 essential accompanying parts of the meal which a lot of restaurants mess up!)

I guess their concept is delicious porky coffee shop favourites (siew yoke!) in a comfortable environment? No doubt there's a slight premium in the food price but I think it's fair considering that it's not your run of the mill noisy, dirty, hot kopitiam and the pork is good quality stuff :D.
:)

So, it's: Crispy, yummy roasted pork in a simple and clean setting BUT not much bad to say except that the menu is very focused (aka. limited) and service could be a tad faster.....



Summary Information:
Siew Yoke @ Restoran Siew Yok!, SS23, PJ

Opening Hours: 11am till 3pm
Phone: 019-2125 866
Address: 25, Jalan SS23/15, Taman SEA, 47400 Petaling Jaya (Just off LDP, after Tmn Megah)

COMPLETELY NOT HALAL



OTHER REVIEWS:
-

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Nostlagia

The power of curiousity, assisted by Google....

For no particular reason, the spring cleaning bug bit again, and I found myself sorting through a load of old photo albums unearthed from a rarely opened closet.

I took a breather to flip through and look at all the old photos, when suddenly an envelope dropped out from the middle of the pages.

>.> "Eh? What's this?", I wondered....

Of course I started reading the letter it contained. From that, I remembered a long lost pen pal/ friend from many years ago - a certain Mr Chan Keng Yew from the Subang(?) area....

Being the curious kitten that I am, the next thing I did was to go and Google him... leading me to this blog...
:) <---- J the detective wannabe...

I wonder if its really your blog, Mr Chan....

... or maybe it's just a coincidence?
Another guy with the exact same name from Malaysia, who also happens to like Marilyn Manson? Nah... it's most probably you.... :)

Sadly, it does look like the blog hasn't been updated for pretty long though... so I guess I'm not sure if I'll ever find out.... I do wonder how're you doing after all these years though....

So, if you ever stumble across this post:
*WAVES* Hi, Mr Chan! :) How are you?


Overly optimistic?,
J

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Portugal 2008 (Part 2)

Desktop holiday for you... European Edition - Portugal (Part 2)....

One of the memorable parts of my Portugal holiday was a visit to the idyllic town of Sintra.

The history of Sintra goes (roughly) as far back as the 11th century, and it has been appointed a UNESCO World Heritage Site for it's romantic style:
Houses amongst the trees...

Another look at Sintra...

It has a wonderfully picturesque setting - narrow paths flanked by old buildings and shaded by tall, majestic trees:
Wah, quite steep! - it's a good workout...

Some of the more open parts of the city...

A famous building here, at the heart of the city, is the Sintra National Palace (Palácio Nacional de Sintra):
The palace ...

The buildings in the surrounding area can seem unassuming, but there are beautiful little touches everywhere - do keep an eye out:
Religious? Maybe. Beautiful? Definitely ...

Wouldn't it be nice to live in a villa with such a great view?:
Breathtaking ...

Of course, there are some tourist-y gift shops around selling everything from artwork to little trinkets like the famous Portugese Chicken (the Barcelos Cockeral):
The lucky chicken, now also Mascot for Nando's...


Here's the legend of the cockeral, if you are curious:
(Source: A random travel website)
A 13th century legend tells the story of a pilgrim who on his way to Santiago de Compostela stopped in the small town of Barcelos, in Portugal.
There, he was wrongly accused of theft, for which the penalty was death by hanging (!!).

The pilgrim only had his faith to call upon and he appealed to Our Lady and St James, the patron Saint for Protection, that justice be done. Later, he found the Judge (that was to decide his fate) just as the Judge was about to start eating a roast cockerel for this dinner, and the pilgrim pleaded, “If I am innocent, may that cockerel get up and crow!”.

The cockerel rose up immediately and crowed loudly. So, from that moment on the cockerel became a symbol of faith, justice and good luck and also, a symbol of Portugal....



Ok. That's all for this round. :)

*hugs*,
J

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

B4 Buffet @ Qba, Westin Hotel, KL

Buffet time - Free flow booze and yummy food......

What a night!

Beer (Slightly fizzy alcoholic beverage made from barley)
+
Barbeque (aka. BBQ, charcoal grilled meat)
+
Banda (Type of Mexican music)
+
Bandido (Outlaws!*)
=
A deliciously fun night out at Qba.
:)

(* No outlaws spotted that night though, as far as I know...)

Ok. So, first up, let's put it out in the open that I did not pay for this meal - it was a kind invitation extended by the lovely Ming of Westin to PureGlutton, Zen and I.
(THANKS for the invite, MING! *waves*)
(Also, THANKS to PureGlutton and Zen for being such good company that night! *waaaaavvvesssss*)

Still, if I had to pay RM 148++ for 4 hours of free flow booze (beer, cocktails, wine) and such yummy food at the Westin KL, I don't think I would mind at all.
(Price is RM 78++ for kids)
Qba sign.....

Anyway, when I received the invite, I suddenly realised that I had never eaten at Qba after all this time,... despite having heard nothing but good things about it from friends who have dined there.
(My bad)

So, needless to say, I was really looking forward to the meal there. :)

Entering the restaurant/ bar through the main lobby area of the hotel, I found its dim lighting and luxe yet cosy furnishing nice, but definitely on the formal side:
Inside Qba.....

The buffet was held in the open air area downstairs though, which was an interesting contrast - (quite) brightly lit and more casual:
The open air section outside.....

The buffet format is only partly traditional (aka. Pre-prepared), with different "stations" ready with a variety of dishes such as Saffron seafood paella and BBQ lamb:

- Chefs ready to help serve you:
Take your pick.....

- Poor (delicious) lamb!
Baaaaa.....

- Lots of sides and sauces to complement your meal:
Choices a-plenty.....

There are also a few stations where the chefs will prepare dishes fresh, and send them over to your table:
*Crack* .....

*sizzle*.....

While we waited for some of our "orders" to arrive, they served us the Seafood Ice Stand (Irish oysters, prawns, mussels) with a few sauces/ dips at the side:
Ice-y platter of fresh seafood.....

Overall, the seafood was good (fresh) and tasted lovely with the dips...

It was (unfortunately) ever so slightly warm outside due to the terribly humid weather we've been suffering lately so we happily sipped on the really refreshing cocktails:
Bright green cocktails.....

There was also wine, draught beer and bottled beer if that's more your cup of tea:
Booze.....

Anyway, the food we ordered from the buffet stations came pretty quickly, here's what we had:

- Arepas (corn cakes):
Yummy.....

I guess it was sort of like a South American burger? :)
Anyway, there were yummy - fluffy "buns" with a generous amount of tasty meaty fillings.

- Tacos (chicken, fish or beef):
Typical Mexican food.....

Also yummy. :)
The fillings were tender and deliciously matched with the various sauces wrapped in the soft taco "skin".

- Seafood cocktails (in the glasses) and Ceviche (on the white plate):
South American sashimi?.....

The seafood cocktails (prawn and scallop) were good but the prawn and coconut ceviche ROCKED - fresh slices of prawn, bouncey yet firm, coated in a creamy coconut-ty but slightly sour sauce.
(Usually I dislike raw/ uncooked seafood but I really liked this..)

- Salmon pancakes:
Wah - so BIG!.....

At first I thought that it looked so normal but mmmmmm, after a bite I was won over by the combination of the fragrant and moist piece of grilled salmon atop the fluffy little pancake.

- Saffron Seafood Paella:
CARBS.....

I am such a sucker for delicious carbs. :D
The rice was moist and fluffy, bursting with the flavours of herbs and the ample seafood.

- Array of BBQ Meats:
BBQ beef, lamb, etc.....

Of course, there was the other** main highlight of this buffet - the BBQ meats.
(** Other than the alcohol)

Expertly grilled by the chefs, all the meats were tender and tasty, ESPECIALLY the lamb.
(How do you do it Westin?? Time after time, you are awesome when it comes to lamb....)

- Chocolate Mousse with Churro:
Sweetness in little cups.....

I won't lie.
My tummy was threatening to revolt by that point - full to the seams, bulging and complaining, "THINK OF HOW MANY HOURS OF GYM THIS ALL ADDS UP TO, YOU FOOL!"... but how could I say no to dessert?
(A chocolate dessert some more. Impossible for me to say no! Haha...)

Although the accompanying churro was a little too sweet, I really enjoyed the smooth and rich chocolate mousse. A perfect ending to a perfect dinner. :D

Man...
We (PureGlutton, Zen and I) tried to make sure we sampled a bit of everything, but there were still some food that we just couldn't fit in anymore.
(Was kinda sad that I had to skip a few of the desserts - was really, truly and entirely too full by then)

So, it's: Wonderful combination of delicious South American food and free flow of yummy cocktails, beers, etc BUT it can be a bit warm sitting in the outside area.....(PS/ You can stay on after dinner to dance off the calories - Qba is like, THE hottest salsa club in town after all)


Summary Information:
B4 Buffet @ Qba Latin Grill, Wine Bar & Cigar, Westin Hotel, KL

Buffet time: Saturdays, 6pm - 10pm
(Restaurant
Price: RM 148++ per person (RM 78++ for kids)
Phone: 03-2773 8338
Address: 1st Floor, Qba, Westin Hotel, Jalan Bukit Bintang, KL, Malaysia.

NO PORK SERVED


OTHER REVIEWS:
- kampungboycitygal
- ~Brought up 2 SharE~
- PureGlutton
- My Story~


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