Father’s Day dinner with my dad @ Ming Mei Shi

Ming Mei Shi

I asked my dad where he wanted to go for dinner on Father’s Day – Payung Café, Ruby Restaurant or some other place that he liked (perhaps one of the new cafes out there). He said he’s more used to eating Chinese food and opted for Ming Mei Shi.

Cinnamon Lamb Shank (RM 29.68)

Lamb Shank Rendang

This is cooked rendang style (which originated from Minangkabau in Indonesia). It was recommended as one of their flagship dishes when we asked for something different. I don’t eat lamb much when I’m with my better half since she doesn’t like it but my dad does. Granted, it’s been made to suit local Chinese palates but it tasted magnificent! The strong cinnamon and aniseed gravy goes perfectly with the rice and the lamb is fork-tender.

Butter Fried Prawns (RM 16.96)

Butter Prawns

We usually go for butterscotch prawns but wanted something different so we switched to the drier butter fried prawns. Ming Mei Shi also has big head prawns for RM 50 per prawn which I was personally interested but my dad vetoed the idea since he doesn’t really like that type of prawn (don’t know if it’s coz of the price but I know he doesn’t eat crustaceans much). This doesn’t have the nice gravy but we have 3 other wet dishes so we thought it’ll make for an agreeable change. It was delightful!

Four Heavenly Kings Vegetable (RM 16.96)

Four Heavenly Kings Vegetable

This is a classic Chinese restaurant dish that consists of 4 different types of “beans”. The quotation marks are there coz brinjal (eggplant) is not actually a type of bean. They usually use the purple type but there’s also a green variety. The four vegetables are ladyfingers (okra), squash, brinjal and long beans. It’s topped with pork mince and taucu (fermented soya beans) and it’s very good.

Dongpo Pork (RM 19.08)

Dongpo Pork

This is another one of their signature dishes. Dongpo pork is braised before being slowly stewed with Chinese wine. It comes in a huge square chunk tied with cooking twine, which is then snipped off by the waitress before the meat is cut into manageable bite-sized portions with a pair of kitchen scissors.

Dongpo Meat

Interesting fact: I was using Pleco (the Chinese-English app) to research why this dish is called such. My dad thought it was dong as in east but it turns out that it’s named after the poet Su Shi a.k.a. Su Dongpo who perfected the recipe. It’s usually very good but the execution was a little off this time since the ratio of fat to lean meat was really low despite being from the belly of the pig. I had to chew very hard to swallow the tough bottom meat.

Fathers Day 2015

My dad enjoyed the meal immensely though and so did I. We usually just order 3 dishes for the two of us but I thought we should order 4 since it’s a special occasion. The waitress warned us against the large portions but I managed to polish off everything after my dad was full. The unusual decimal prices is due to the recent implementation of 6% GST and the bill came up to RM 90.95 although I only paid RM 90 coz the owner gave me a discount.

Fathers Day Dinner

Me: Dad, you’re not smiling in the photo.
Dad: What do you mean? I am!
Me: Hmm…I don’t see it. *show my dad the digicam*
Dad: That’s me smiling.
Me:

LOL

Happy Father’s Day, dad! :)

Dinner with my cousin, her fiancé, his mom and 9 from our extended family

Hong Fu Sibu

I know, the title sounds a little unwieldy but it’s actually very accurate. smirk We had dinner at Hong Fu Seafood Restaurant last night. There were 12 of us and we took the largest table available and could barely fit everyone in.

Hong Fu Seafood

This dinner is supposed to be a “meet the parents” kind of thing for my cousin’s fiancé (and his mom) before their wedding at the end of the year. It morphed into a “meet the extended family” coz that’s just how we roll. Two of the uncles I’m closest with were there, as well as my dad, my grandma and several of my cousins and aunties to round things up.

Hong Fu Seafood Restaurant in Sibu is actually known for their crabs. It used to be RM 13 / kg which is an amazing price for Sibu (we’re a landlocked town). Here’s what we had:

Philippines Pork Leg (Crispy Pata)

Crispy Pata

I’ve always found it amusing that people from Sibu refer to this iconic Filipino dish as “Philippines pork leg” when so many other places have a similar implementation e.g. Germany. The proper term for this dish is crispy pata.

Philippines Pork Leg

It’s deep fried pork leg (with trotters) that’s been simmered in water along with spices beforehand. There’s usually a dipping sauce made with some combination of acidic, sweet and sour elements e.g. vinegar, sugar, soy sauce. Hong Fu makes one of the best implementations of this in Sibu. It came in two huge platters to accommodate our late party.

Midin (Local Fiddlehead Fern)

Sibu Fiddlehead Fern

This is a Sibu classic, fiddlehead ferns called midin that’s cooked with a bit of chilli. I quite like it, it’s one of my favorite dishes.

Signature House Tofu

Tofu Pork Mince

The large slabs (about the size of a CD case) of tofu is made in-house and lightly fried before a thick pork mince gravy is poured over it. I have been eating more tofu lately (get your mind out of the gutter) and I’m starting to enjoy it.

Stir Fried Vegetables

Hong Fu Vegetable

This the obligatory green dish. I’ve also been eating more vegetables lately and I’ve been developing a fondness for it too, thanks to my better half. I did not grow up eating veggies – in fact I hardly ever ate vegetables until I was in my late 20’s.

Mongolian Chicken

Mongolian Chicken

This is really yummy. I like sweet & sour pork and this tastes a little like that, but better! Everyone does this slightly differently, and it’s been bastardized in so many Chinese restaurants abroad. The chicken is fried so there’s a bit of crunch and the sauce is sweet, sour and spicy. Lovely stuff – I can just eat this dish alone with rice.

Braised Sea Cucumber

Sea Cucumber

I don’t know why restaurants in Sibu always pair sea cucumber with broccoli but I ain’t complaining about Hong Fu’s implementation. The sea cucumber is wonderfully tender and flavorful from the sauce. There’s just something very visceral about slurping the slippery things into your gob.

Steamed Red Snapper

Red Snapper

My uncle brought this fish to the restaurant. You can actually do that here if you have a better or fresher specimen that you want to eat. You’ll be charged for the cooking but not the fish – it’s a similar concept to a corkage charge for wine in BYOB restaurants.

Yih Wen

I actually came back to Sibu for several reasons – I needed to meet with my first client for Pulse Consulting, open up my company bank account, discuss a new project that’s in the pipeline (potential new client, yay), celebrate Father’s Day with my dad, and hang out with my bro Eddy whose mom just passed last week and I’m glad I managed to catch my cousin Yih Wen and her fiancé too.

It’s very rare that we all get together like this in one big family. :)

Bar IPPUDO Ramen @ Bangsar Shopping Centre

Bar IPPUDO

I have been to IPPUDO a couple of times in the past and found their Hakata tonkotsu pork bone soup to be better than most. IPPUDO is famous for their Kyushu style ramen and pork buns. The latter is actually really yummy! The one in Bangsar Shopping Centre (BSC) is actually a new Bar IPPUDO – one of their IPPUDO x sake outlets.

Bar IPPUDO Malaysia

This doesn’t mean that Bar IPPUDO don’t still serve good ramen though. I was there for lunch with Ang Khian and the place was packed! I originally wanted to meet at MidValley but due to the school holidays, there was no parking to be found. I circled two parking lots (C and H) for almost an hour before giving up and going to BSC instead.

Ippudo Ramen

There was a waiting list to get a table and I finally managed to get seated. I was tempted to order the Samurai Rock (around RM 40) cocktail which is made with Nikka From The Barrel but since it was a lunch meeting, I abstained and just stuck to their lunch sets.

Perfect Ramen Set Combo

Perfect Ramen Set Combo A (RM 29.90)

Shiromaru Motoaji

This is what I had. You can choose from Shiromaru Motoaji or Akamaru Shinaji and I opted for the former. It’s a half bowl ramen instead of a full serving since it came with other stuff. In addition to the half bowl Shiromaru Motoaji, there was:

  • Pork Bun
  • Tamagoyaki
  • Nappa Cabbage
  • Dessert
  • Green Tea (hot/cold)

Ippudo Pork Bun

I made this choice for the Ippudo pork bun, which sounds mundane but is surprisingly good. My first bite left me wanting more – the pork belly in the soft and warm enveloping clamshell dough was simply divine!

Nappa Cabbage

I really liked the sweet tamagoyaki too but the nappa cabbage was left half-eaten. The dessert of watermelon with a wedge of orange was pure genius though – the orange slice was cut in a way that each cube of watermelon *absorbed* the orange juice and it tasted wonderful.

Bar IPPUDO Set

Perfect Ramen Set Combo B (RM 31.90)

Akamaru Shinaji

This set had two different items – sashimi replaced the pork bun and beef enoki the tamagoyaki but it’s otherwise the same. You also get the same ramen options and Ang Khian went for the Akamaru Shinaji half bowl ramen.

Ippudo Sashimi

She asked me if I wanted to have a slice of her salmon sashimi and I said it’s fine. I was just being polite coz it’s only the second time I met her and we were discussing some business over lunch. Haha. I really wanted to eat it but I haven’t seen her since Chinese New Year in Ipoh in 2009 so I decided to be gracious.

Beef Enoki

I was quite tempted to eat her beef enoki too. smirk

Ippudo BSC

The service was really rushed and you can see the waitresses visibly harried – the lunch crowd at Bar IPPUDO, BSC is surprising considering the amount of F&B outlets there. People came, they ate, and they left – the turnover was so fast that we couldn’t talk shop and finished our lunch before heading over to CBTL for coffee (forgot there was a Dome there).

I’ll be back for that Nikka Japanese single malt and grain whisky cocktail with a perfectly round and spherical ball of ice though. :)

Epic Fit Meals @ Damansara Perdana

Epic Fit Meals

Epic Fit Meals sounds a lot like Epic Meal Time – the legendary YouTube sensation which later jumped into the silver screen. However, the concept between the two couldn’t be further from each other – it’s like the difference between night and day.

Epic Fit Meals Delivery

The latter celebrates excess – lots of bacon, whiskey and ridiculously large portions while the former is part of a new delivery-centric food revolution that focuses on healthy food. Epic Fit Meals is actually quite close to where I live and they also deliver to my area but I decided to drop by to meet Wick Kee, the guy behind Epic Fit Meals, when he invited me over.

Epic As Usual

Wick Kee is also from Melbourne. We actually studied in the same university, same campus – Clayton. We’ve also both stayed at the UniLodge – a popular university frat house lodging place in the middle of Melbourne CBD (although I hear it’s not so wild now). I was very intrigued when he said he’ll be bringing Melbourne style cuisine to Malaysia.

Japanese Sweet Mashed Potato

That means everything that the Australians value – low food miles, fresh produce, in-season ingredients. Even better, Epic Fit Meals is bringing Aussie style Greek food to Malaysia! I love Greek food and the suburb where I stayed (Clayton) has a high population of Greeks. I had a phase where I was eating dolmas (rice and meat wrapped in grape leaves) and sprats from a can. smirk

Cauliflower Rice

I got to know quite a few Greek friends when I was studying there and ate often at a popular Greek restaurant called Dion in Melbourne. I love Greek culture and food and I was glad that Epic Fit Meals would be bringing souvlaki and the likes to KL. I tried a cross-section of their menu, including their Epic Pesta Raya specials:

Epic Fried Chicken Schnitzel

Epic Grilled Chicken (RM 12.80 / 249 kcal)
Epic Fit Meals only use chicken breasts here and everything has the calorific count clearly stated on the menu. They have two types of chicken – grilled and “fried”. This is the former and you can opt for their (various and plentiful) sides to go with it. Prices start from RM 15.80 for the sets/combos, depending on how many sides you want.

You can choose the sauce for the chicken too! They have 7 sauces – (from mild to hot) Eziki, OZ’s Barbie-Q, Bonza Peppa, Apple Salsa, Country Gravy, Curry Grande and FIRE S.O.S. I went for Eziki (70 kcal), the sauce based on Greek tzatziki made from blending yoghurt, cucumbers, vinegar, dill and garlic.

I chose Irish Colcannon (122 kcal) and Epic’s Cauli-Rice (134 kcal) for the sides. The former is their version of the Irish dish of mashed potatoes with cabbage and leek and the latter is Epic Fit Meals’ secret low calorie and Paleo alternative to rice, made from fresh cauliflower. It’s really crunchy and yummy.

Epic Grilled Chicken

Epic “Fried” Chicken Schnitzel (RM 13.80 / 381 kcal for Classic, 403 kcal for Fire)
They don’t actually fry their chicken schnitzel – it’s all oven-baked for healthy reasons, but has the crunchy consistency and flavor you expect from classic fried chicken. Again, only chicken breasts are used. I opted for the FIRE S.O.S sauce as recommended by Wick Kee, which went very well with the “fried” chicken schnitzel.

The sides I paired with these are meant to complement the fiery sauce – Cilantro Lime Rice (217 kcal) and Mashed Sweet Potatoes (271 kcal). I thought the lime rice would be acidic but at least put out the fire but it turned out to be perfectly balanced. I love the use of Japanese sweet potatoes for the mash too, they have a lot of Paleo options.

Good Ol Breakkie Wrap

Good Ol’ Breakkie (RM 12.80 / 415 kcal)
This is Epic Fit Meals’ implementation of a breakfast wrap. It was actually the first thing I ate and I almost finished half before deciding to give more space to the other food spread out on offer. I was surprised by how fresh the ingredients tasted – it’s important to note that Epic Fit Meals only starts prep and cooking when you order. I saw this for myself, all the vegetables are chopped and everything is cooked to order.

Ayam Apple Api Pizza

3A: Apple, Ayam & Api Pizza (RM 19.80 / 545 kcal)
This is one spicy pie! It’s meant to celebrate the diversity of Malay cuisine and mashing it up with some unusual elements which goes well with the ingredients e.g. apple. I thought the result was surprisingly good. I liked the heat and the balance of the apple sauce. They also serve a Nasi Lemak Pizza (RM 19.80).

Fruit Yoghurt Cup

FRUGERTii (RM 5.80 / 98 kcal)
You can also order sides a la carte. They’re RM 4.90 for regular sides and RM 5.80 for Epic sides. I asked if they have any desserts on the menu and being a health-conscious establishment, this is the only one that they had. It’s sliced local fruits (grapes, oranges, apples etc) topped with their own low-calorie yoghurt.

Cold Pressed Juices

Cold Pressed Juices (RM 7.80 – RM 8.80 / 41 kcal – 79 kcal)
I thought this was one of the best juices I’ve had in a long time. They’re cold pressed and made each morning – all remainders are thrown away at the end of the day, ensuring you have a fresh bottle of juice. I loved the carrot, apple and pear combo in Classic Trifecta (RM 7.80 / 78 kcal). I gave the Coolie Beauty (RM 7.80 / 41 kcal) which had cucumber, apple, ginger, celery, lemon to my better half to try. She liked it and the kids loved the Red Apple Honey Smoothie (RM 8.80 / 79 kcal) – a smooth concoction of apple, fresh yoghurt and wild honey.

Epic Fit Meals Malaysia

It’s a very novel concept to deliver great-tasting healthy food (which doesn’t usually go together in a sentence) at ultra-competitive prices (you can get a complete meal with sides for RM 20 or less). Delivery is free and they’ll get the food to you within 45 minutes max which means it’ll still be hot, so check out Epic Fit Meals by calling 03-77333375 if you’re looking for something different to eat. I’ll definitely order their food again when we’re not cooking or eating out. :)

Ramen Bari-Uma @ Jaya Shopping Centre

Nori-Uma

I asked my better half what she felt like eating over the weekend and she said pan mee. I’m not a huge fan of pan mee (and I had a feeling she just wanted me to save some money) so I asked if she would prefer Korean food or Japanese food. She opted for the latter and that’s how we turned up at Ramen Bari-Uma.

Bari-Uma Ramen

Ramen is kinda like the Japanese version of pan mee anyway and it’s something she likes to eat too. smirk

Ramen Bari-Uma

Ramen Bari-Uma is one of the more recent authentic Japanese places in town. This is not one of those “pork free” outlets, this is unabashedly pro-oink and features real chashu and even tonkotsu (pork bone broth) as the base.

Charcoal Grilled Chashu

Lovely, that’s just how we like it. I ordered a bottle of Kirin Ichiban 100% Malt Beer (RM 20) and my dear had green tea while we browsed through the menu.

Kirin Ichiban Beer

Ramen Bari-Uma really just serves one type of ramen – its namesake Ramen Bari-Uma (RM 26). This type of specialization is a really good sign in an authentic Japanese ramen establishment. You can have it with or without ajitama (soy marinated soft boiled egg), the latter making it Ajitama-Uma. (RM 28 – RM 2 for the egg). You can also have it with seaweed – Nori-Uma (RM 27) and if you want an egg with that it’s concatenated into Noritama-Uma (RM 29). There’s also a spicy version called Kara-Uma (RM 26) and a double portion chashu version appropriately dubbed Chashu-Uma for RM 32.

Homemade Ramen Noodles

…and that is the streamlined menu of Ramen Bari-Uma. The ramen here is all freshly made in-house and you can have it firm, original or soft. It’s served original if you didn’t specify.

Ramen Bari Uma Dinner Set

My dear went for the Dinner Set (RM 35.90). It’s really good value if you can eat a lot. You can choose from any of the regular (non-ajitama) priced ramen. She went for the Bari-Uma – their flagship offering. The settu also comes with a starter of Japanese salad and two pieces of tamagoyaki, which is quite sweet, an apt dessert. Of course, the drink is also included in the price – although it’s limited to green tea (either hot or cold)

Pork Rice Ramen

There’s also a bowl of rice topped with pulled pork in the dinner set. It’s meant to be dumped into the leftover ramen broth. You can literally ask for a “little bit of rice” in some ramen-ya in Japan to finish your ramen broth! When you’ve eaten all your ramen noodles and there’s still some soup in the bowl (and you’re still a little hungry, of course) you can ask for some rice to finish the ramen broth.

Yakitori Set

We also ordered some yakitori to share. There are five types of yakitori – butanegima (pork thigh and leeks), butabara (pork belly), negima (chicken thigh and leeks), sasami (chicken breast), toriniku (white chicken meat). It’s RM 5.90 for 2 pieces each or you can get one of each type in the Yakitori Combo (RM 13.90) which we went for. I didn’t think much of it, I’ll pass on this one, this is a ramen-ya, yakitori isn’t their strong suite.

Noritama-Uma

I had the Noritama-Uma (RM 29) coz I though the presentation in the menu looks absolutely fabulous. :D There are three (3) pieces of large dried seaweed flanking one side of the bowl, partially submerged, so you can slip them individually into the ramen broth to eat together with the noodles – it provides a welcome savory crunch. I had the firm version which can be a little too hard for some people’s tastes – the consistency is like al dente pasta.

Ajitama

However, the best thing about Bari-Uma is their chashu – it’s thickly cut and flamed! Most ramen-ya in Malaysia serves braised chashu and while that’s good, grilled chashu is even better. The Maillard reaction gives the caramelized surface a nice charcoal sweetness and the chashu is nice and thick. I love the ajitama egg too, although I had to slice it myself, the presentation was a little bit off that day.

Black Sesame Ice Cream

We also ordered their entire dessert menu! action Haha! It wasn’t very hard since the dessert menu at Ramen Bari-Uma consists of two (2) items in total. There’s Green Tea Ice Cream (RM 7.90) and Black Sesame Ice Cream (RM 7.90). We had one of each and while my dear didn’t like the black sesame, I though it tasted pretty good. Fans of black sesame mochi would love it! The matcha ice cream was pretty spot on too.

Ramen Bari-Uma Us

The shoyu based tonkotsu broth at Ramen Bari-Uma is really good, you can see how much collagen is in the soup just by scooping it up. The viscosity and thickness is palpable! It’s made with chicken feet and pork bones. The broth makes or breaks a ramen place and the one here is excellent. The bill came up to RM 135.95 for the two of us. Bari-Uma literally means delicious and it’s an accurate description of the ramen here.

MiniMelts tiny ice cream spheres @ Jaya Shopping Centre

MiniMelts Ice Cream

We were at a mall over the weekend when we passed by this stall. The banner doesn’t exactly inspire confidence – it has a glaring typo of Seoul, Korea. I tried searching for Mini Melts on my phone but it didn’t have any ties to South Korea at all! This seems to be an obvious ploy to buy into the Korea-mania sweeping certain demographics in Malaysia right now.

MiniMelts Malaysia

As far as I can tell, MiniMelts is a US company, much like Dippin’ Dots. They make cryogenically frozen ice cream, which is a fancy way to say liquid nitrogen ice cream. However, this is a slightly different implementation than most LN2 places you’ve grown accustomed to (with custom mixes and all that). Mini Melts offers a classic range of ice cream flavors, served the regular way, except they’re in tiny spheres.

MiniMelts

There are actually two options – MiniMelts and MiniMelts BIG. The latter is about eight times the size of the former – think of it as a marble. The regular MiniMelts are more like the tiny spheres you see in desiccant packets.

MiniMelts Menu

I asked my better half what she wanted and we decided to get a Banana Split (RM 7.90) to share. This is supposed to taste like a banana split and has different spheres of banana flavored ice cream, strawberry flavored ice cream, chocolate flavored ice cream etc.

Mini Melts

My dear didn’t like the taste at all while I was pretty ambivalent about it. It has a rather interesting texture (all those small balls rolling inside your mouth) but there’s something inherently unsatisfying about the format. Despite claiming “100% butterfat” and “no added air”, you really can’t tell in the tiny spheres.

MiniMelts Banana Split

You don’t get the satisfaction of eating a creamy mouthful of ice cream here, no matter how many MiniMelts spheres you scoop into your mouth. It’s definitely worth a try but I won’t be coming back for seconds.

Fa-Ying Thai Restaurant by Rama V @ Paradigm Mall

Fa-Ying by Rama V

Fa-Ying is billed as a “modern Thai” restaurant and bar and it’s the casual offshoot of Rama V (which calls itself fine dining). Thus, the official name is Fa-Ying by Rama V. Fa-Ying is located in Paradigm Mall and since we haven’t had Thai food in a long time, we popped over for a meal.

Fa-Ying

Fa-Ying has a compelling set menu for 2 pax for RM 69.90 but we decided to order a la carte so we could choose what we wanted to eat. The place actually looks more like a pub than a restaurant – the large al fresco and bar seating area is too hot for us so we popped inside, which can only seat about 20 or so people.

Fa-Ying Drinks

It’s quite a small place inside, but surprisingly cozy. My dear had their Lemongrass Soda (RM 12) while I opted for the Iced Thai Milk Tea (12).

Deep Fried Squid

Deep-fried Squid Topped with Crispy Garlic (RM 20)
My better half ordered this one and it totally blew us away when it was served. I thought I was eating a very well cooked piece of fish, that’s how flaky and tender the entire thing was. I actually mistook it for another softer seafood! It’s not how I imagined deep fried squid would taste like – this was just dipped into the hot oil for a short while so everything is still soft (but not chewy) and the crispy garlic topping it adds a nice texture to the dish. It tasted clean and inoffensive, very moreish.

Crispy Thai Omelet

Crispy Thai Omelet (RM 14)
There are options for plain (RM 10) and prawn (RM 14) and we went for the latter. The shrimp that comes with this omelet are on the small side (think of the ones you get with char kueh tiaw / pad thai but smaller) but for RM 4, I guess you can’t complain. I like how the high heat of the wok makes the omelet crisp / bubble up in a distinctively Asian way. It’s pretty oily but that’s part of the appeal.

Massaman Chicken Curry

Massaman Curry (RM 19)
There is an option for chicken (RM 19) or beef (RM 22) and since my dear doesn’t eat the latter, we went for the chicken instead. Massaman curry is an extremely delicious curry which I first had during one of my visits to Thailand. It’s made with pineapple juice (!!!) and the massaman curry paste comes from spices that aren’t frequently used in other Thai curries.

Massaman Curry

One interpretation says that it originates from Southern Thailand (where it’s derived from the Malay word for sour – masam) but regardless of how it came by, this was one of the best dishes I’ve had in a long time. The massaman curry was perfect – very flavorful without being overly spicy, and you can taste the slightly acidic elements together with the spot on chicken. Yummy! I love how they serve it on a heat source with flames licking up into the bowl too.

Fa-Ying Us

It was a very good meal and both of us enjoyed the food very much. The lunch at Fa-Ying by Rama V cost us RM 96.28 which is a fraction of what we’ll pay in Rama V. The service at Fa-Ying is passable but not as good as their flagship Rama V. Nevertheless, it’s was a great meal in a more casual setting, which is what Fa-Ying is out to achieve. We’ll definitely be back here again. :)

Mr. Dakgalbi @ Citta Mall

MrDakgalbi Korea

It was just after work and we were at Citta Mall to grab a quick bite to eat. My better half actually wanted to eat something else but I saw an advertisement for this outlet at the escalators and we decided to check it out.

Mr Dakgalbi Citta Mall

Mr. Dakgalbi is a franchise from Korea with a pretty descriptive name – it tells you what’s on the menu, dak galbi. Dak galbi is a Korean dish from Chuncheon, Korea (just like how okonomiyaki is associated with Osaka, Japan) that involves a hot plate and chicken.

MrDakgalbi

The process of ordering at Mr. Dakgalbi is pretty simple:

  1. Wear your assigned aprons to avoid splash damage
  2. Choose one of chicken, octopus, or seafood dak galbi
  3. Choose combination of rice, ramen, cheese add-on

Mr Dakgalbi

I went for chicken since dak galbi is traditionally made with chicken. The Mr.Dakgalbi (RM 19) option is their flagship – chicken marinated in traditional Korean chilli paste, potatoes, onions, spring onions and tteok (rice cake). It’s a very common Korean ingredient, I’ve had tteokbokki while in Pusan.

MrDakgalbi Chicken

The chicken marinated in gochujang is then sliced into small pieces and fried together with the accoutrements. You don’t have to do it yourself – the staff will cook everything for you, much like Palsaik. It seems like full service Korean restaurants is very big here.

Mr Dakgalbi Rice

Next up, is choosing the carbs. I asked for rice (RM 6) and cheese (RM 6). You can also ask for ramen (RM 6) if you like. This is fried together with your chicken and then the entire thing is ready to eat!

MrDakgalbi Frying Rice

The staff will also portion your chicken into two portions just in case you want to add on, and if you don’t, your leftover rice will be made into a sort of pizza. It eats like the bottom of claypot chicken rice – the caramelized and crispy bottom is nice.

Pizza Rice

It’s pretty decent but if you don’t like gochujang or have small kids, you might want to order something else since the signature fermented Korean chilli paste can be quite spicy for sensitive palates.

Seafood Jeon

We also ordered Seafood Jeon (RM 19) – a crispy Korean style pancake. It looks nothing like what the menu promised (the picture in the menu had large octopus tentacles practically burying the jeon) and it tasted about as appealing as it looked. Dismal. action

Dak Galbi

I guess we should have stuck to ordering the namesake from Mr. Dakgalbi. Their dak galbi is alright and it can feed two people easily. You can also add rice, cheese or ramen as much as you want at a price of RM 6 per portion/plate. Thus, our dak galbi is actually RM 30 (RM 19 chicken + RM 6 rice + RM 6 cheese).

Mr Dakgalbi Us

It’s not good enough to make me want to make another trip back soon and their menu is pretty one dimensional. However, I’ll drop by if I have a dak galbi craving (or have an urge to dress up in aprons) since it’s quite close to us. The Mr. Dakgalbi restaurant in Citta Mall is very empty though – it was just the two of us inside before another couple walked in.

Franco Malaysia – Japanese French cuisine @ 1 Utama

Franco Malaysia

French-Japanese cuisine? I must admit, it piqued my curiosity. My better half told me about Franco and we decided to pop over to 1 Utama and have dinner there. I’ve heard stories about long queues so I’ve largely given this place a pass since it changed its name from Miam Miam.

Franco

Franco sounds a lot more appealing than Miam Miam. They have a short, but sweet menu. It’s the total opposite of some F&B outlets who list around 100 items and do all of them badly. Franco only has a few pages in their menu and a LTO (Limited Time Offer) specials menu to go with it. Very French.

Matcha Smoothie

I ordered the Matcha Smoothie (RM 14.80) which was a really interesting drink. It’s topped with their homemade cream, tastes like proper matcha instead of cut-rate powder, blended with honey and there are red beans as a treat at the bottom. My dear went for their Oreo Banana Milkshake (RM 14.80) which is a variant of their Peanut Butter & Banana Milkshake.

Squid Ink Rice

Squid Ink Rice with Assorted Seafood & Omu Egg (RM 30.80)
This is my main! I thought it sounded like a nice concept on the menu so I ordered it. It turns out to be an even better dish! There were prawns, squid and even a mussel to go with the well-cooked rice (you can see individual grains). The squid ink rice was very flavorful – slightly salty and infinitely savory. The sweet omelet topping this dish is the proverbial icing to the cake. Delicious!

Lobster Bisque Pasta

Lobster Bisque Pasta (RM 31.80)
My dear had this one for her main. It comes with just one (1) tiger prawn but that’s not too bad considering my hometown charges even more for a similar dish (but with a very different species of prawn). The lobster bisque that the spaghetti was tossed with is perfect, and we both enjoyed this dish. The menu states that this contains traces of alcohol so I’m guessing this place isn’t halal.

Souffle

Vanilla Soufflé (RM 17.80)
This is what my dear ordered. Franco is known for their desserts, it used to be a bakery cum café before its current incarnation as a restaurant. The soufflé was light and airy, pretty textbook but good. They also have chocolate and matcha versions but we decided to stick to the original for our first visit.

Berries Cheesecake Parfait

Berries Cheesecake Parfait (RM 15.80)
Our server complimented me on this order and I wasn’t disappointed. It really tastes like cheesecake! It’s not very overwhelming either since the acidic elements cut through the richness. There’s the roughly crumbled base (graham crackers) as the bottom of the parfait, layered with smooth Philadelphia cream cheese and topped with frozen yoghurt. There are also fresh berries scattered on top and I joked that if they were Driscoll’s the blackberries alone would cost RM 1. smirk

Franco Us

Overall, we had a great dinner at Franco – the service was excellent, helmed by Angel, our server/greeter. The food was surprisingly good, my expectations were very much exceeded. The meal cost RM 138.40 for two pax and that’s about the average price for dinner at a similar establishment. We’ll definitely be back!

Franco
Lot 146, Ground Floor
One Utama Shopping Center
Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya

Milkcow Malaysia, straight from Korea!

Milky Pop

Milkcow is another Korean craze that seems to be taking the nation by storm. It’s like K-pop, everything Korean is in nowadays, and that includes Korean food. Milkcow is a Korean soft serve ice cream chain. The milk is supposed to be 100% from Italy and they only have 1 flavor – which is milk soft serve ice cream. They’re famous for topping it with 100% organic honeycomb from Australia, giving it a healthy twist.

I must say, I do love raw honeycomb.

Milkcow

To be honest, I didn’t know anything about Milkcow until my better half suggested we try it after having lunch at Sunway Pyramid. Milkcow is the undisputed king of soft serve in Korea, the McDonald’s of ice cream. Random fact, I have been to McDonald’s in Korea.

Milkcow Honeycomb

We tried the Milky Pop (RM 11.50) which contains salted caramel syrup and a topping of gourmet popcorn. I asked to see what brand of popcorn they’re using (thinking it was Garrett’s or something). I didn’t recognize the brand but it came in a small tin, about quarter the size of a pint. They import all their ingredients from South Korea.

Milky Cube

We also got the signature Milky Cube (RM 13.50) which is a hybrid of sorts since it has BOTH organic honey and organic honeycomb. I had accidentally ordered Milky Honey which only has liquid honey and wanted the honeycomb. Thus, instead of changing my order, the nice servers just popped a chunk of organic honeycomb on. It was a nice big chunk too, very delicious. I loved it! There was a contest where they were giving out tickets to Avengers and we actually won. Haha.

Milkcow Malaysia

The cotton candy machine was broken that day, or I’ll have loved to try the (decidedly less healthy) Snow Drop (RM 11.50) which has Jelly Beans, salt, and organic cotton candy.

Milkcow Us

Milkcow has seen a lot of copycats like Honey Creme after its success and it’s good to have the authentic one here. I rather enjoyed their signature ice cream with raw honeycomb. It has quality ingredients and I guess its Korean origin helps in marketing, but if you take away all the branding, it’s still an amazing soft serve ice cream with no added sugar and premium organic honeycomb.

I recommend you try it at least once. It’s good.

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