The best pork leg rice in Hat Yai

pork leg rice hat yai

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this place. My better half wanted to come here for lunch – she’s been here before and thought it was delicious. We had just arrived in Hat Yai and checked into the hotel before taking a short walk to this place.

khao kha moo hatyai

Braised pork leg with rice is called khao kha moo in Thai. Obviously, my Thai is limited so I don’t actually know the name of the stall but it’s located on Prachatipat Road. It’s very close to Lee Garden Plaza Hotel – turn left after you walk out and it’s two blocks down, at a very conspicuous corner lot that’s always *packed* with customers.

pig in bikini

There’s a really funny life sized cast of a pig dressed in a bikini sitting on her own chair beside the stall. You won’t miss it, it has a way of catching your eye. smirk The meat served here is braised pig’s trotters, one of the best parts of the pig! They only have one cut of meat but that’s a good thing coz they do it so well.

sugarcane juice

It was a hot day and we ordered a big bottle of nam oi (fresh sugarcane juice) to share. It comes in a recycled 640 ml beer bottle and costs 100 baht (RM 10). It’s worth it though, the chilled raw sugarcane juice here is undiluted and comes complete with sediments. I asked for ice cubes so it made it all the more refreshing (and it boosts energy from the sugar too).

thai condiments

You have the choice of a plate of pork leg rice with egg for 60 baht (about RM 6) or platters for two starting from 140 baht, excluding rice. There’s also the option of having the pig trotter meat on top of your rice or served separately – we went for the former.

It didn’t look like much when it came – there were a few slices of choice pork from the trotters, braised pig’s skin, egg, pickled vegetables on top of a plate of rice with the gravy poured over it. However, when I ate the first bite, I was instantly converted. It’s crazy good!

khao kha moo

The Thai style salted vegetables are slightly sweet (unlike our local salty pickled vegetable) and goes very well as an acidic component on the plate. The smattering of fresh coriander (whole stalks, not just the leaves) adds a great dimension of flavor and the star of the show, the braised pork leg is absolutely fabulous – fork tender, melt-in-your-mouth porcine goodness.

I told my dear that I wasn’t very hungry then but I polished off my plate faster than she did! Even the humble braised egg adds a lot to the dish. The khao kha moo here is delicious and everything on the plate belongs there, including the Thai style chilli sauce. I like how they’re generous with the gravy too.

pork leg rice stall

I could eat here everyday and not get sick but since we’re on holiday, I had to limit myself to just that once so we could eat other things. The bill came up to THB 222 for two. I’m thinking fondly of this pig trotter rice now, I would certainly go back again next time we’re in Hat Yai! :)

Sabah Kampung Beef Noodles (Kah Hiong Ngiu Chap)

beef brisket noodles

I remember eating the absolutely fabulous and rightfully famous Inanam ngiu chap in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah when I was based there a few years back. Ngiu chap is the local Hakka dialect for beef noodles, prepared in a distinctive way. The traditional Inanam style consists of a semi-clear broth but there’s another preparation which has a darker soy sauce tinged soup. This is the latter.

sabah kampung beef noodles

I was pleased to see an outlet for Kah Hiong Ngiu Chap open up near my place in Kota Damansara. It’s just been open for a couple of months and we wondered what shop will pop up there. I’ve been to Kota Kinabalu several times – sampling the local delights, climbing Mount Kinabalu and even stayed there for 1 ½ years so I’m quite familiar with their food.

sabah beef noodles

Their signature Ngiu Chap Soup Noodles (RM 13.90) is a hearty bowl of beef tripe, beef stew, beef slice, and beef balls in a rich broth. There’s HUGE chunks of brisket inside and the meat portions are *very* generous. There’s three types of noodles to choose from – yellow oily noodles, rice vermicelli and ho fun and I personally think the first choice is the best way to enjoy it.

ngiu chap kota damansara

You can also add on a portion of the following to your bowl of noodles starting from RM 2 onwards:

  • Beef tendon
  • Beef intestine
  • Beef heart
  • Beef liver
  • Beef tongue
  • Beef omasun
  • Beef tripe
  • Beef stew
  • Beef slices
  • Beef ball
  • Beef spleen

ngiu chap kolo mee

The Ngiu Chap Kolo Mee (RM 14.90) is similar to the above but separates the noodles from the soup. The waiter got our orders wrong and thought this is what my better half ordered so it took a while for me to realize that and send it back (she doesn’t like beef).

chicken kolo noodles

My dear ordered the Chicken Kolo Noodle (RM 9.90) which comes with pieces of chicken cooked with soy sauce. It’s an afterthought in a beef joint and it tastes just like that – dismal. The chicken offerings are for people who don’t like or eat beef and they’re not good at it. It tasted pretty awful.

ngiu chap soup

However, I loved my order of their flagship Ngiu Chap Soup Noodles. Sabah Kampung Beef Noodles are good at what they do best – which is beef. I strongly suggest you eat beef noodles when you go or not go at all. This is strictly a place for people who love our bovine friends…in their stomach! smirk

ngiu chap us

Kah Hiong Ngiu Chap is actually a true Sabah chain that came over to Peninsula Malaysia. It takes up a large corner shoplot and you won’t miss the bright signage. It’s always pretty empty though, it seems like it didn’t really take off here but their beef noodles are really good. I’ll recommend it if you like bowls of hearty beef noodles with lots and lots of beef!

kah hiong ngiu chap

Sabah Kampung Beef Noodles (Kah Hiong Ngiu Chap)
No 2-1, Jalan PJU 5/7
Dataran Sunway
Kota Damansara

3 cooks from 3 stalls serving 3 types of food

This is my Top 3 favorite food from just one single coffee shop – D.U. Cafe in Kota Damansara…and it’s all done by locals, no foreigners. smirk

1. Penang Popiah

popiah

Popiah can best be described as a Chinese burrito. Instead of tortilla wraps, a thin wheat paper is used. Finely grated turnips is the main filling, this one has shredded omelet, small pieces of diced chicken with jicama (bengkuang) and chopped peanuts for a bit of crunch.

If he’s in a generous mood, he’ll add 2 cups of pai tee (which they call Singapore popiah – technically, it’s Nyonya cuisine) to your order free of charge. It’s quite filling and the secret home made chilli sauce is numbingly superb.

2. Nasi Lemak Panas

fried chicken

This stall can fry up a new batch of chickens in just 10 minutes. When there’s no cuts of chicken that I like, I’m prepared to wait that long for a new batch. Plus, you can’t beat the taste of fried chicken just out of bubbling hot oil.

RM 5 is a total steal for this – there’s also a fried sunny side up egg included in your order, in addition to the usual accoutrements of nasi lemak. The sambal is awesome too, and if you’re hungry just add RM 0.50 for an extra serving of rice.

3. Pork Rind CKT

pork crackling CKT

Not many places serves char kueh tiaw with pork crackling e.g. the crispy skin of a deep fried pig. This one does. They also load your CKT with heaps of finely diced garlic and chilli, making it taste so *intense* that it’s the most seasoned CKT I’ve ever had.

They’re generous with their clams and lap cheong (Chinese sausage) too. Too bad they don’t have prawns but the pleasant surprise of crunching into the melt-in-you-mouth pork rind more than makes up for it!

The Joy of Sharing, Kota Damansara

pulau ketam set

I wanted to bring my better half out to a new fish head place last night that I’ve been meaning to try for a while but it was raining heavily so there were no tables outside. It was also the Deepavali public holidays so a lot of people were out eating that night.

the joy of sharing

Unable to get a table, we went for a steamboat dinner instead at The Joy of Sharing. This is a very popular hotpot place that’s constantly packed but we managed to get seated. I always say that I’m not particularly fond of soup dishes or tofu (and steamboat has both in spades) but truth to be told, my palate has changed a lot as I’ve grown up.

joy of sharing

I’ll eat anything and enjoy it nowadays. We decided to go for a mixed Seafood Superior Soup and Tomyam Soup combination in our hotpot. The Seafood Superior Soup is the flagship of The Joy of Sharing and it’s actually quite nice. I also upgraded our order from the Pulau Ketam Set (RM 33.60 for 2 pax) to the Special Mix Set (RM 37.60 / 2 pax).

joy of sharing hotpot

The latter has everything the former seafood heavy option has, plus some pork offerings which you can cook shabu-shabu style in the hotpot:

  • Thick cut bacon
  • Pork balls
  • Pork slices
  • Scallops
  • Prawns
  • Fish balls
  • Fish noodles
  • Tofu
  • Eggs (quail and chicken)
  • Enoki mushrooms
  • Vegetables
  • Homemade dumplings
  • Rice vermicelli
  • Noodles

…and that’s just the ones I can remember. smirk

homemade dumplings

It’s actually a pretty good deal and I can see why the place is packed all the time. The service is good and refills for soup comes pretty fast too.

thick cut bacon

I found that I actually rather enjoy eating hotpot/steamboat during a rainy night and having to build up the flavors of the soup in the pot by gradually adding in ingredients is fun! The Joy of Sharing also has a new “soup” called Silky Porridge which is an innovative congee based soup for steamboat!

hotpot noodles

Parking can be a bit of a pain in that area, especially if it’s raining but as per custom with steamboat places over here, the staff actually helps you with parking. You can double park and block someone else’s car and if they finish before you, one of the waiters will come and get you to shift your car.

joy of sharing us

Our car was also blocked when we were done but the diner came out in less than a minute so I thought the system works really well. It’s a good dinner and we enjoyed the 2 hour respite from the rain, eating hearty and warm hotpot – the Seafood Superior Soup is really good.

scallops prawns

We’ll be back to try the new Silky Porridge “soup” when we feel like eating something more substantial. The bill came up to RM 48.40 for two, inclusive of drinks, which is quite cheap considering the items bundled into the set.

The Joy of Sharing
(also known as Ba Sheng Zai Huo Guo)
15, Jalan PJU 5/3
Dataran Sunway
Kota Damansara

Sunday Brunch @ Maison Francaise

sunday brunch

Disclaimer: I have received numerous invites from a friend to Maison Francaise for a long time now but never did accept until recently (or since). It’s not that the food is bad, coz it’s actually quite decent. The service by regular staff was very nice too (at least for the girl who served us). It was just the front-of-house manager (?) who seemed brusque and actually dropped a cup full of desserts on our table, *shattering* the cup and sending dangerously small shards flying before giving a curt and insincere sounding one word apology which totally put us off.

shattered cup

However, I have been informed that the front-of-house manager is new to the job. I’ll just chalk that up to ignorance and inexperience and leave it at that. I do hope that he has improved coz we weren’t impressed at all. We had just gone for a very nice French dinner the previous night by visiting One Michelin Star Chef Alexy Fuchs and gladly paid RM 700++ for it, so going to such a different experience the very next afternoon was extra jarring.

I must add that the service by regular wait staff was excellent and attentive, and to be fair, the food was quite good so take that as you will.

Bread basket

bread basket

This is a very nice selection of bread to start the brunch. They’re all warm and we particularly liked the brioche like slices and the chocolate filled roll. There’s also honey, compote and butter on the side.

First serving

Smoked duck breast salad and balsamic dressing
La salade de magret decanard fume vinaigrette au balsamique

smoked duck salad

We both thought this was very nice – the smoked duck breast was flavorful and all the fat has been rendered down so there’s none of the chewy unrendered fat you find sometimes. I also liked the interplay of textures between the fresh greens, crunchy potatoes discs and duck.

Potato and leek soup
La soupe de poireaux et pomme de terre

potato leek soup

I had this one – the combination of potato and leek works well together.

Second serving

Grilled rib eye steak with green pepper corn sauce
L’entrecote grillee sauce poivre vert

grilled rib eye steak

The steak was cooked, seasoned and rested to perfection! Even my better half, who doesn’t really eat beef, liked it. I wished they trimmed some of the inedible gristle off it first though.

Le filet de merou poche au vin blanc
Poached grouper in white wine

poached grouper white wine

This is another impeccable dish – it’s delicious and plated beautifully, with just the right portion to get you wanting more. My better half had this and she loved it.

Cheese course

Cheese platter
L’assiette de fromage

This is a very French thing – having a cheese course before or in lieu of dessert. It’s not something my better half likes since she doesn’t generally like cheese (all the better for me coz I ate all her cheese in France) but I loved it!

cheese platter

It’s done wonderfully at Maison Francaise – the cheeses are selected well, and there’s a scattering of nuts and a quenelle of chutney to pair with the cheese.

The platter is also frozen before serving so the cheese doesn’t wilt, a nice touch that’s appreciated.

Desserts

Fresh fruit salad
La ssalade de fruits frais

Chocolate volcano
Le moelleux au chocolate

chocolate volcano

We actually got a selection of desserts, including two slices of cake and it was decent enough. Unfortunately, the name “chocolate volcano” evokes similes to molten lava cake or a self-saucing pudding so we were a bit disappointed when we cut into the cake and there’s nothing inside.

I wasn’t sure if it was overcooked or it’s meant to be like that and when we asked the front-of-house manager he didn’t seem to get what the question was and I was annoyed at his cavalier attitude towards such a dangerous incident which could have resulted in injury (dropping the cup from serving height and shattering it on our table) so we just left it at that.

Maison Francaise

Sunday brunches at Maison Francaise is priced at RM 188++ with wine and RM 148++ without alcohol. There will be soft drinks and chilled juices available for the latter. The prices listed are per pax and you can choose one item from each course listed. The menu is changed regularly.

Maison Francaise
5, Jalan Changkat Kia Peng,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 21441474

Yuzu Ramen @ Yamagoya Ramen, Publika Solaris Dutamas

yamagoya ramen kl

We’ve been hankering for some good ramen so my better half and I decided to drive down to Publika over the weekend so we can do some grocery shopping and satisfy our ramen craving at the same time. I actually don’t think about ramen much, it’s my dear who loves to eat it, so I try to accommodate her. <3

yamagoya ramen

Yamagoya Ramen has been open for a few years and it’s claim for fame is Hakata style ramen with their tonkotsu (pork bone broth) made with pork bones flown all the way here from Japan! Their black garlic ramen is pretty well known too and I wanted to order the flagship Mukashi Special Ramen (RM 24) before I was tempted by a Japanese flyer advertising some ramen made with citrus.

yamagoya ramen menu

I asked one of the waiters and he explained that it was their new yuzu ramen, made with that citrus fruit which is a hybrid of sour mandarin and Ichang papeda oranges. It has a pork broth that looks appealingly lime green in the picture and I was quite intrigued by it. They also have a lemon ramen if you’re so inclined.

Yuzu Ramen (RM 26)

yuzu ramen

I was expecting an intensely overpowering yuzu flavored broth. I was wrong. It was perfectly balanced. The tonkotsu was seasoned with a reasonable amount of yuzu citrus fruits and it actually tasted really good!

I ordered it as a lark but it turned out better than I expected. The char siu (pork belly slices) I got with my ramen had a nice and distinguished layer of fat together with the lean meat and it was a wonderful bowl of ramen that I’ll go back for.

Roasted Char Siu Ramen (RM 24)

roasted char siu ramen

My better half got this and the broth was a lot more hearty and robust compared to mine. The thickness of the roasted char siu is commendable too – one slice is easily more than ½ inch which makes one piece of her char siu equivalent to 3-4 of mine.

It has a nice char (smirk) on it too – the roasted flavors comes through forcefully and considering there are 3 slices of the roasted char siu inside this bowl of ramen, it has a rather generous amount of protein for a ramen dish. It’s worth the RM 62.65 bill for two.

yamagoya ramen us

There was a Japanese family next to us who used the sesame seed dispenser *liberally* and I tried that too. It turns out that it works very well with the flavors of ramen. You can also order a bowl of rice to eat with your leftover broth if you want. The correct way to eat it is to take a small scoop of rice from the bowl before submersing it into your leftover broth and finally putting it into your mouth.

sesame seed ramen

I read that while researching for our Japan trip. Haha. It’s actually a good way to finish up the leftover broth instead of ordering the usual additional portion of ramen noodles.

Yamagoya Ramen
A2-G2-8, Solaris Dutamas
1, Jalan Dutamas 1,
50480 Kuala Lumpur

Flaming Melt @ Kota Damansara

flaming melt

I’ve watched this grilled cheese café with great interest. I live around the corner and usually eat here at night so I’ve seen it grown from an empty lot being painted and renovated to the opening day. However, I had to go back to Sibu to finalize some stuff for my late mom so we didn’t visit until a couple of days ago.

flaming melt kota damansara

The Flaming Melt is a self-service restaurant (kinda, sorta). You order at the fast food style counter with a very familiar ordering experience for quick service restaurants aficionados and the food gets delivered to your table. The service was really good for a QSR – the Japanese-style Welcomes and Goodbyes are in full effect here (and it is a Japanese custom, you just don’t holler like that in the States, diner or deli).

flaming melt menu

The friendly lady behind the counter asked us what we wanted and we asked for recommendations. We finally went with the two best-sellers:

BBQ Pulled Chicken Melt (RM 11.90)
Homemade BBQ Pulled Chicken, Mac ‘N’ Cheese, Cheddar

BBQ Pulled Chicken Melt

My better half had this (actually we each had half of each other’s order since the sandwiches are conveniently sliced in half for sharing) and I quite liked it. You can add RM 2.90 for a soda (the usual suspects) but we opted to order a la carte and get a milkshake instead. The chicken was slightly dry but I love the addition of macaroni and cheese to the sandwich!

That’s exactly how I like mine! The creamy addition of mac and cheese really made this sandwich, although I would have preferred a more generous helping. It’s still good comfort food.

Tomato Sriracha Chicken Melt (RM 11.90)
Chicken, Chopped Tomatoes, Sriracha, Cheddar

Tomato Sriracha Chicken Melt

This is as Americana as it gets. A grilled cheese sandwich with Sriracha sauce! Sriracha sauce is a hot sauce that is popular in the US. This is the green capped rooster sauce made by Huy Fong Foods, not the generic ones you actually get in Thailand (which tastes different). You can add RM 3 for your bread to be changed to wholemeal.

I was lamenting the fact that the sandwiches don’t come with some type of side starch like French fries but you can get that as a side order and the red cabbage coleslaw is delicious!

S’mores Melt (RM 10.90)
Homemade Strawberry Compote, Marshmallows, Nutella

Smores Melt

I got this one to share since I wanted a dessert sandwich to finish our lunch. They can actually serve it after you’re done with your “mains” upon request! I asked them to prepare it only when we’re done and that’s what they did, which I thought was nice in a QSR. The marshmallows goes very well with the homemade strawberry compote and it’s all dusted with sugar. I couldn’t taste the Nutella though.

Best eaten while hot, the melted marshmallows are heavenly. I just wish there were (s)more. smirk

oreo milkshake

We also ordered an Oreo Milkshake (RM 7.90) to share. Flaming Melt has a variety of shakes and sodas and this one came with a full Oreo cookie on top. It was suitably rich, while not the best milkshake I had, it did hit the spot nicely. Our lunch came up to RM 42.60 and we also got a RM 2 coupon off our next order.

flaming melt bill

Flaming Melt has a RM 8.90 breakfast special for their set of The Classic (mozzarella, cheddar) with tea or coffee on weekday mornings. It’s too bad this outlet doesn’t serve pork coz I felt that it limited the choices of their grilled cheese sandwiches. Flaming Melt is billing itself as Everything Grilled Cheese and I think they’re trying very hard to get there.

flaming melt grilled cheese

It’s the Malaysian version of Spencer Rubin’s Melt Shop – at least, the signage and color scheme reminded me of that Manhattan grilled cheese restaurant which put sinful comfort food back on the trendy food map.

Flaming Melt
17-1, Jalan PJU 5/10
Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara
03-6150 4248

Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams mailed all the way from Australia!

a.k.a. The incredible Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams Australian adventure!

adriano zumbo red velvet tim tams

I had the first trio of Adriano Zumbo’s limited edition Tim Tams when I was in Sydney a couple of months back, and when I heard that he just did *another* collaboration with Arnott’s Tim Tams, I knew I had to get it mailed to me (at considerable expense).

red velvet cream cheese

The latest collaboration between pâtissier extraordinare Adriano Zumbo with Arnott’s is Red Velvet and it’s so delicious that words does not do it justice. It’s magnificent!

adraino zumbo red velvet

But first, I also want to tell you the story behind this rather interesting experiment. I have mailed various snacks back when I was studying in Australia and I know it can be done (without a cold bag) but I half expected the new Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams to be fully melted when I got it.

adriano zumbo new red velvet tim tams

I rallied my old friend Karen who’s living in Melbourne to mail these treasures to me, since I’ve left Australia and could not hand carry them on my return flight. I just had to have the latest Adriano Zumbo Tim Tams – I not only had the first set of three, I bought a whole lot of his Zumbarons back and we used his macaron baking kit too (post about that soon).

adraino zumbo red velvet australia

Karen is someone I’ve known for practically my entire life – we went to school together and we ever had a class play called Okana featuring her as the lead when we were 14. That was just before I left for New Zealand and we met up again when I was doing my college and uni in Melbourne. I remember celebrating her birthday in Dion (a nice Greek restaurant on Lonsdale St) before going to Moomba in 2003. I spent 5 years there – she never left!

Thus, I knew I could count on her and sent her some simple instructions on how to get the Tim Tams to me:

huai bin

smirk

Okay, maybe not that simple. Here’s her reply:

karen lau

Haha! In my defence, my better half is a huge fan of Adriano Zumbo too and I wanted it to arrive in mint condition so we can open it together. I was more than pleased – the way Karen packed the Tim Tams made them so structurally sound (due to the inner plastic tray stacking and resisting external pressures) that it not only arrived without breaking, the chocolate did not melt at all.

australia post

Thanks to Karen and David who took the trouble to get them and send it over with my simple complicated and excessively verbose instructions. :D

limited edition red velvet tim tams

I knew the Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams weighs 165 grams each from the Coles site. I thought I could get 5 of them (165 g x 5 = 825 g) into a box and still stay below 1 kg but it’s a good thing I didn’t push it and settled for 4 coz the weight came up to 0.912 kg!

There was no huge temperature fluctuations and I kept them in my permanently air-conditioned bedroom for several days before me and my dear opened the box.

limited edition red velvet

It was a very happy unboxing! The fact that I could eat the newest and latest Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams was more than awesome, we had looked forward to this package for a long time. I honestly didn’t expect it to taste great despite all the (good humored) baiting I got on Facebook since I expressed my interest from Cyd (another one of my ex-classmates).

How do the new Adriano Zumbo limited edition Red Velvet Tim Tams taste like?

My verdict on the taste:

red velvet tim tams

I didn’t think the Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams would taste this awesome. It’s honestly the best Tim Tams I have ever had! I’ve only really liked Salted Caramel out of his first collaboration trio and my favorite Tim Tam flavor was Turkish Delight (until now).

red velvet us

My better half says it tastes *exactly* like eating red velvet cake. I thought it was a cross between eating red velvet cake and a Tim Tam. Adriano Zumbo did well in this second collaboration – it surpasses the original triplet of limited edition Tim Tams. It’s rich, decadent and balanced well. The buttery red velvet Tim Tams pairs up with the cream cheese (!!!) center to produce an irresistible biscuit.

The new Red Velvet Tim Tams by Adriano Zumbo comes in the standard 9-biscuit pack, unlike the “Treat Pack only” (5-biscuit) format of his previous collaboration with Tim Tam.

adriano zumbo red velvet cream cheese

It’s really delicious and well worth the postage to get them here. I spent AUD 32.50 on postage and each pack of Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tam retailed for AUD 3.49. That comes up to AUD 49.49 in total (or about RM 144). Thus, each pack cost me RM 36. That’s RM 4 per Tim Tam biscuit (!) but I’ll happily get a second batch over in a heartbeat. Don’t miss out if you ever see them around, the latest Arnott’s Tim Tams x Adriano Zumbo collaboration will blow you away with the velvety red velvet cake inspired Tim Tam with the buttery cream cheese center!

Mid-Autumn 2014 Mooncake Roundup: Dragon Fruit with Coconut Single Yolk, beetroot infused Crimson Opera, and traditional Foochow lard mooncakes!

crimson opera

We bought a lot of mooncakes this year – so much so that there’s a lot of leftovers still sitting in the pantry! The Mid-Autumn Festival festival is based on a rather interesting legend:

There was an noble archer called Hou Yi who shoots down 9 of the 10 suns scorching the Earth and was hailed as a hero and pronounced King by the people. However, he eventually he grew corrupted during his reign and became obsessed with finding the Elixir of Life (for immortality) and coveted it for himself. His wife, knowing that he has become an evil ruler, decided not to give it to him and swallowed it herself to save the world from her tyrannical husband.

donutes mooncakes

That was the version I was familiar with – it was told by my grandparents. It’s also listed under Mid-Autumn mythology in Wikipedia. My great-grandmother was a great believer in legends and *swore* I would get my ear cut if I dared looked at the full moon during Mid-Autumn Festival. Apparently the magnificence of Yi’s wife would somehow reach down from the celestial heavens and slice off the ear of an innocent 7 year old boy just coz he wondered what the bright light was.

mooncake 2014

Okay, I was actually quite naughty and stared stubbornly at the moon in spite of her admonitions and my great-grandma (God bless her soul) actually took out a great big pair of tailoring scissors and seriously wanted to cut my ear lobe off (!!!) to make her point. Fortunately, my uncles saw the severity of the situation and took the scissors away from her. I still remember her story though. Yeah, I was raised with lots of TLC. smirk

mooncakes 2014

It’s like how the original Grimm Brothers stories were all very twisted and realistic (with a veritable cast of regular people with all their flaws) but children’s storybooks and eventually Disney changed them all to become easy-to-digest nice stories without any of the nastiness.

I digress, here’s this year’s mooncake roundup! :)

1. Donutes Taiwanese Mung Bean Mooncakes

taiwanese mooncakes

These come in a box of 9 pieces for RM 49.50. There are two flavors – Mung Bean Original and Mung Bean Crisp Garlic. The latter is quite interesting and it’s the first box of mooncakes I got for my better half’s parents.

2. Dragon Fruit with Coconut Single Yolk

dragon fruit coconut

I found this to be the most interesting from Tai Thong’s offerings this year. It’s a dragon fruit flavored mooncake with a single yolk inside – what makes it intriguing is the coconut jam (kaya) surrounding the preserved egg yolk. I was quite pleased to find the flavor combination works very well.

3. Shanghai Egg Yolk Mooncakes

yong sheng shanghai mooncakes

This one I bought in Sibu from the import speciality grocer Ta Kiong for RM 49. There are 8 mini Shanghai mooncakes inside and they’re individually wrapped in twin packs.

egg yolk pies

It’s made by Yong Sheng and they’ve been around since 1952 – before Malaysia’s Independence Day! Each of the miniature pies have a full sized egg yolk inside and I gave them to my dear and she quite liked it. The black sesame topping goes very well with the flaky pastry.

homemade shanghai mooncakes

I also have a home-made version from Fairy Flower Cake Shop which comes in a box of 6. Surprisingly, the home made ones are quite expensive since they’re small batch.

4. Starbucks Mid-Autumn Mooncakes 2014

starbucks mooncake

I wrote about the Starbucks Mid-Autumn Mooncakes in a previous post. These are miniature 90 gram mooncakes – slightly less than ½ the size of regular mooncakes.

5. D24 and Musang King Mooncakes

durian mooncakes 2014

My dear kindly bought me two durian flavored mooncakes coz I really like durians and I really like mooncakes. We’ve had them last year and we found them tasty – it’s in the 2013 Mid-Autumn Mooncake Roundup.

6. Traditional Foochow Lard Mooncakes

jing su gao

These are called jing su gao and they’re traditional Foochow lard mooncakes. They don’t have no fancy snowskin, chocolate or ice cream mooncakes back in the days. This was all they had. You’ll notice that all three (3) packs are different despite looking the same. It’s made by 3 distinct bakers – Sin Hing Leong Cake Store, Kinsen Trading Co and Fairy Flower (Ko Kee) Cake Store.

foochow mooncakes

The middle one looks pleasingly brownish-yellow like freshly baked cookies while the outer two are a pale white. It’s due to the lard vs butter content. My favorite would be from Fairy Flower (Ko Kee) Cake Store – it has the right combination of lard and butter to my taste buds. These Foochow mooncakes are more like biscuits (or cookies) with a crumbly texture and a distinctive taste of lard.

7. Taste of Crimson Opera

taste of crimson opera

This is Casahana’s flagship mooncake of 2014! It costs RM 19.50 per mooncake and we bought it the day before Mid-Autumn Festival. They also have a charcoal black sesame brown sugar omochi mooncake called Dark Knight but I decided to go for their signature one – expansively named “Taste of Crimson Opera”.

beetroot cheese chocolate

There’s a burst of beetroot and cocoa followed by the tartness of cheese and creamy white chocolate. There’s nothing traditional about this mooncake – all of the 4 ingredients (beetroot, white chocolate, cocoa, cheese) are not something you’ll usually find in a mooncake.

beetroot mooncake

The intricate floral pattern on the top of the mooncake is beautiful too! I was pleased to find that the beetroot is also baked into the skin (so the color isn’t artificial) and it’s not too thick. I would have thought the flowers would make the skin thicker but it’s actually part of the skin. This gets Best of 2014 from us! :)

Starbucks Mid-Autumn Mooncakes 2014

Starbucks Mid-Autumn Mooncake Collection 2014

We saw this while walking around the mall one day. I didn’t realize Starbucks sells mooncakes and the barista told me they’ve been doing so for three (3) years – just not during Mid-Autumn Festival. I laughed at that and asked when they actually sold it, and it turned out to be the Lunar New Year (!!!). This is the first time they’ve sold mooncakes at the *right time* during Mid-Autumn Festival.

Starbucks Exclusive D24 Durian Mooncake

The mooncakes are RM 48++ per box or RM 288++ for 2 boxes in a gift set with a pair of Starbucks mugs. The gift set also has the Starbucks Exclusive D24 Durian Mooncake. My better half bought a box for my dad, which I brought back home to Sibu and I bought a box for my dear so she could try them.

Starbucks Signature Banana Chocolate Mooncake

These are not full-sized mooncakes – it’s mini mooncakes!

Here’s the Starbucks Mid-Autumn Mooncake Collection 2014:

Apricot Hazelnut Latte Mooncake

Starbucks Mooncakes 2014

This is a very interesting mooncake – the skin is made of aromatic Starbucks VIA coffee! That’s their brand of ready to brew coffee which retails for RM 28 for 5 packs. I’ve had them before, you just need to add water and it’s an ingeniously stable way to add real coffee into the baked mooncake skin.

Apricot Hazelnut Latte Mooncake

There’s also hazelnut lotus paste inside with bits of chunky apricot and the faux “egg yolk center” is made of cream cheese soft filling. I love the strong taste of coffee and was wondering where it came from before realizing it’s in the skin! It’s an exciting treat that adds indulgence in every bite – a real winner!

Chewy Nutty Cranberry Mooncake

Starbucks Chewy Nutty Cranberry Mooncake

This tastes eerily like the fruits with nuts and ham traditional mooncakes! It has a similar texture and if there was a blind taste taste, I might be hard pressed to differentiate the two, if not for the slight tang of cranberry and the absence of lard.

Chewy Nutty Cranberry Mooncake

I think it’s meant to be this way – the mooncake is jammed with cranberries, orange peels/zest, a variety of nuts and melon kernel seeds with the savory twist of a salted egg center. It’s rich in taste and texture – a halal version of a classic.

Signature Banana Chocolate Mooncake

Starbucks Mooncake Collection 2014

This is their signature mooncake of 2014 and it contains banana in lieu of the traditional salted egg center. It’s quite an interesting flagship offering – the pastry skin is made of chocolate and there’s bits of actual banana in the center.

Signature Banana Chocolate Mooncake

It sounds very simple but the taste and texture works very well together – the creamy chocolate lotus filling, the baked chocolate pastry skin and the addition of real bananas are a treat!

Green Tea Azuki Mooncake

Starbucks Green Tea Azuki Mooncake

This tastes suspiciously (or refreshingly) like the Green Tea Latte drink in their outlets. That’s probably coz they used the same premium green tea in the lotus filling. There’s also the classic combination of red bean paste and white kernels in the filling, making it a perfect combination of Japanese inspired flair.

I really liked how the matcha is baked into the pastry skin. I’ve been quite annoyed at mooncakes that promises the moon (haha) but doesn’t deliver – mediocre tasteless baked skins with only the fillings as innovation. I’m glad Starbucks went the harder route – actually baking flavors into the mooncake pastry.

Starbucks Mooncakes

I thought the Starbucks Mid-Autumn Collection 2014 was quite interesting. It’s also very competitively priced (at least at first glance) but they’re actually miniature mooncakes instead of full-sized ones. We also got a couple of vouchers for Starbucks drinks included and each box came up to slightly over RM 50 after taxes and all.

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