Yee Sang @ Xia Mian Guan, Sunway Pyramid

Toss Yee Sang

Xia Mian Guan is a Chinese restaurant located outside Sunway Pyramid. I went with my better half for lunch (and our first yee sang together). The food here is surprisingly good, and we’ve never even heard of Xia Mian Guan before – this is our first time eating here! :)

Prosperity Salmon Yee Sang
Made with 7 colorful prosperity ingredients and fresh salmon, topped with special plum sauce

Salmon Yee Sang

I’ve had my first yee sang of the year last month but this is my first with my dear. I like how they’re very generous with the salmon – there’s none of that “thin slivers of salmon” thing going on here. You have thick slabs of salmon with the yee sang and that’s always a good thing.

However, I felt the yee sang at Celestial Court is much better, but these are two very different places – one is a high-end hotel restaurant and the other is a more affordable mall dining experience. It’s still decent but the best dishes are yet to come!

Tea Leaf Smoked Village Farmed Chicken
Healthy fresh village farmed chicken smoked with Pu Er tea leaves

Pu Er Tea Smoked Duck

I thought someone had lit a cigarette or at least popped out for a quick smoke before coming back into the room. That’s how strong and intense the smoke was! Of course, on second whiff, it doesn’t smell like tobacco at all, but your mind just automatically makes that connection. I have to stress that the plate was very far from me when it was brought it, which makes it all the more amazing!

My better half really liked this. The smoky flavor of Pu Er tea leaves can be smelled on the whole organic free range chicken and it’s really something different.

Pork Ribs infused with Red Wine
Succulent pork ribs cooked with Xia Mian Guan’s signature red wine sauce

Signature Red Braised Pork

Mmm…there are lean pieces, fatty bits and pork ribs mixed into this dish. I quite liked the house signature red wine sauce. This is Chinese style red wine meant for cooking, not the red wine you see in French cuisine. The common name for this dish is “Red Braised Pork” or 红烧肉.

Prawns in Curry Sauce
Made with chilli sauce, milk and fresh prawns. Best served with fried Man Tou for dipping.

Prawn Curry

My favorite dish! I was raving about this for days! This is easily the best thing that has come out of the Xia Mian Guan kitchen by a long shot. The prawn curry is so intensely infused with prawn flavor (perhaps they blended up the prawn heads) that it’s pleasantly shocking! The prawns are big and juicy and the fried bread is crispy on the outside and warm on the inside.

Man Tou

I can dip the fried bread into the delightful sweet and spicy curry sauce all day long!

Hong Kong Kai Lan
Specially selected Hong Kong Kai Lan, made with a pinch of salt to enhance its flavor

Hong Kong Kai Lan

The interesting thing about this dish is the contrasting texture – the stalks of the kai lan is steamed while the leaves are shredded and deep fried! There’s not a lot of oil so I suspect it might have been done in an air fryer. We’ve had a different twist on this dish before in banquets and dinners before – it’s also part of the “4 Heavenly Kings” way of preparing vegetables – this makes for crunchy, crispy vegetables combined with the soft juicy stalks.

Red Bean Kuih
Freshly prepared daily, the red bean kuih is soft, tasty and complements the sweetness of red bean

Red Bean Kuih

My dear was waiting for the final course to come out coz it sounded quite promising. The dish is portioned individually, with each person having one Chinese soup spoon. The red bean kueh is very nice – it’s not sweet at all, in fact there’s barely a hint of sweetness, all there is comes from the red beans so it’s a nice finish for people who don’t like overtly sweet desserts. I love the mochi-like texture of the chewy kueh too!

Xia Mien Guan

Xia Mian Guan (no English name) is a gem of a restaurant that we’ll be sure to go back too. Conventional wisdom suggests that hotels and malls don’t have really good restaurants but there are of course exceptions to this (there’s a couple of Michelin-starred establishments attached to hotels). This is one of them – a very nice restaurant that’s located at a very popular mall – Sunway Pyramid!

Xia Mian Guan
Outside Oasis Boulevard
Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall
Jalan PJS 11/15 Sunway
Tel: 03 5611 7949

Ah Po Estuary Grouper, Ma Yau and White Pomfret Fish Noodles @ Kota Damansara

Ma Yau Fish

This is my favorite place to eat fish noodles! It’s really fresh as they source the fish directly from fishermen and slice it on-site. That’s a whole Ma Yau (Threadfin fish) above. You have to go really early in the morning before they run out of fish so the long weekend was a great time for me to eat all the types of fish noodles they have. Haha!

Estuary Grouper Loong Tan

Ah Po Fish Noodles carries a lot of different types of fish with prices ranging from RM 14 – RM 22. You can ask to have a peek inside their cooler to see what they have. Yes, one of those plates equals one portion of fish! This stall is actually at the *same* coffee shop as Min Yee Estuary Grouper. However, you get more options here and (arguably) better quality fish.

Estuary Garoupa Fish Noodles

Their flagship dish would be the Estuary Garoupa Fish Noodles (RM 22). This is RM 4 more expensive than Min Yee but the cuts of fish are better. Ah Po uses the prime cuts with lots of fatty collagen and it’s really good while Min Kee seem to use offcuts. I prefer the fish from this stall but the cleaner broth from Min Kee.

White Pomfret Fish Noodle

The cheapest fish noodle you can get here is the White Pomfret Fish Noodles (RM 14). This is a whole fish and since it’s a white pomfret, it can be really bony so watch out for bones! If you love eating fish noodles though, that wouldn’t be a problem.

Ma Yau Fish Noodles

The mid-range offering is Threadfin Fish Noodles (RM 18). This is better known as Ma Yau (馬鮫) or Senangin locally. This is pretty decent and the fish is pretty fresh but for that price, I’ll rather eat the Estuary Grouper Fish Noodles at Min Yee or fork out an additional RM 4 for Ah Po’s top of the line Estuary Garoupa.

Estuary Grouper Collagen

They also have Red Grouper Fish Noodles at RM 18 but it seems to be permanently sold out and the owner and owner’s daughter has confirmed this on numerous occasions (something to do with Chinese New Year and demand for the fish). I would personally suggest coming here for their awesome RM 22 Estuary Grouper (Malabar Grouper/Greasy Grouper/龙趸) as they have the best cuts in town!

Just look at the sheer amount of collagen in the picture! :)

Ah Po Estuary Grouper

Ah Po Fish Noodles
Restaurant Big Family
Lorong TSB 10A, Taman Industri Sungai Buloh
GPS: 3.166326, 101.569765

Lemongrass Chicken Vietnamese sandwich (banh mi) @ quick bites, Publika

Lemongrass Chicken Banh Mi

We were out really early this morning to do some Chinese New Year shopping in Publika and decided to have a quick breakfast before we hit the aisles. My better half wanted to try this shop on the same level as Ben’s Independent Grocer, right beside the food court – it serves bánh mì!

Quick Bites Publika

I was quite intrigued by the different sandwiches they have, especially the unusual combinations. I have been to Vietnam before and eaten a lot of interesting things in Hanoi, the most popular notorious being dog meat. This is far from that though, the Asian themed Vietnamese sandwiches (banh mi) sounds really good.

Banh Mi

We decided to share a Lemongrass Chicken Egg Combo on a regular baguette. I found out during my travels that Vietnam was once colonized by France, which leads to the introduction of the baguette into their diet. I went for the set, which comes with gỏi cuốn (Vietnamese spring rolls).

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

You get an option of shrimp or chicken Vietnamese spring rolls and we went for the former. It’s pretty good, the dipping sauce has crushed toasted peanuts inside and a fiery hot sauce that will sear your tongue, but it’s wonderful. It’s better than the Vietnamese spring rolls I made anyway. The set of a sandwich with a starter of spring rolls and a drink will set you back RM 16.50.

Banh Mi Sandwich

We both loved the Lemongrass Chicken Egg Banh Mi! The chicken pieces are nicely seasoned and you can taste the lemongrass in the sauce. There’s also an egg and lots of vegetables in the baguette, and there’s just something very satisfying about biting into a baguette stuffed with ingredients and tasting fish sauce as an end note.

Vietnamese Sandwich

The baguettes are baked daily and it’s crunchy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. It’s really delicious! quick bites claim to be from San Francisco and I couldn’t verify that but they certainly make the best and most authentic banh mi I’ve had in Malaysia!

Rabbit, Deer, Lamb and Ostrich Burgers @ Burger Boy Corner

Burger Boy Corner Truck

I was driving around Kota Damansara at 12:30 am just now looking for a bite to eat. The usual Ramly burger stand that I go to wasn’t open so I just cruised around the Encorp Strand area to find another and bumped into this one. Burger Boy Corner is a slightly more up-scale version of a Ramly burger stand – it offers a variety of different burgers in addition to the usual suspects.

Ostrich Rabbit Deer Lamb

I was particularly intrigued by their sign that advertised Rabbit Burgers, Deer Burgers, Lamb Burgers and Ostrich Burgers!

Rabbit Burger Patties

I’ve had lamb and venison burgers plenty of times before so I opted for the rabbit and ostrich burgers. I was curious as to whether they had their own supplier for the meat so I asked to see what the patties looked like and the guy (presumably Burger Boy himself) kindly showed me the cooler.

Ostrich Rabbit Patties

The ostrich burger seems to be the most popular since it’s already open and 3 patties are missing, but the others are all new, including the rabbit burger. I’ve actually had ostrich burgers in Sibu before – this was just before my mom passed. There’s actually an ostrich farm and I went with my mom to buy an ostrich egg (which the owner reluctantly parted with for RM 50 – this was before they were selling them).

Burger Boy Truck

We took it home and I planned to fry it in a HUGE omelet but despite both our efforts with a chopping knife, we couldn’t even crack it! I was sooo careful bringing it home coz I was afraid it’ll smash too. Haha. In the end, we just boiled it and had such a hard time opening it that I ended up using a screwdriver and a hammer.

Ostrich Rabbit Burgers

I digress. Anyway, I got both of the orders as Special, which means it comes with an egg and the choice of either black pepper or mushroom sauce (went for the former). I quite liked the ostrich burger (RM 7.50) – the meat is red coz it’s from the leg, it’s dark meat, just like chicken legs are. I’ve always seen people puzzled by the fact that ostrich meat is red due the fact that it’s a bird.

Interesting fact: The meat from an ostrich is red coz it’s from the legs! That’s the *only* part of an ostrich you eat, there’s no meat in the breast so there’s no white meat from an ostrich.

Ostrich Burger

The rabbit burger (RM 7.50) is on the lean side, so I was glad to see he took it off the grill faster than the ostrich burger patty. It was cooked just nice, right before it went dry and although it’s pretty lean for my tastes, it’s not too bad if you like lean meat. I still prefer the ostrich burger though.

Rabbit Burger

Burger Boy Corner also has jumbo hot dogs for around the same price as the new food truck Amaze K near Encorp Strand Mall. I was surprised to be told that the jumbo sausages are quite expensive so that’s why they need to retail it at those prices. They also sell cold drinks from the fridge and seating is available on one side of the Burger Boy Corner food truck.

Burger Boy Corner

Burger Boy Corner is open till 1 am and usually parked in front of the 7-Eleven beside The Joy of Sharing.

I lost (and found) my groceries at Ben’s Independent Grocer!

Missing Groceries

I’ve been shopping at Ben’s Independent Grocer (BIG) in Publika for a few years. It carries a lot of imported fruits, vegetables and dry goods like candy which appeals to me. I remember a lot of my wacky cooking adventures are based on products bought here, like Gordon Ramsay’s duck breast with Madeira jus, tomatillo apple cranberry chutney and parsnip purée, How to Make Stuffed Artichokes and Buttered King Grouper with White Wine Reduction in Bouchees Poissons. I also got our turkey from them two years running – for both our 2013 Christmas dinner and 2014 Christmas dinner.

No, this is not a sponsored post or an “invited review”. I’ve never met the people from BIG – I’m just a customer, like everyone else. I just wanted to highlight a rather interesting experience that happened over the weekend.

BIG Lost Found Maxim

It’s very easy for people (including myself) to slam a brand/store/restaurant when something goes wrong. However, I don’t think enough thanks go to them when something goes right – it’s like the toast falling buttered side down theory, it seems like we’re less inclined to remember the good but never fail to recall the bad.

Maxim Egg Rolls

Anyway, I was at BIG in Publika to check out their Chinese New Year stuff and bought some items made by Maxim (the famous Hong Kong bakery). I love their stuff and the Mahjong pineapple tarts I got last year was a huge hit. I got a metal tin of Mei-Xin Egg Rolls (Classic) and Mei-Xin Almond Mille-feuille to try out with my better half.

I thought if they were good, I can buy more to bring back to Sibu and stock up over here. The point is that, we wanted to try them first.

CNY Goodies

However, I noticed that the Mei-Xin Almond Mille-feuille was *missing* when I got home 3 hours later. I think the cashier might have packed it in two different bags and I only brought one back.

I called the number on the receipt and spoke to a guy who identified himself as Fikri, and he said my Mei-Xin Almond Mille-feuille is there and I could pick it up anytime. I’ve done this before at other hypermarkets (having atrocious short term memory) but never had any success getting it back before – either someone else took it, or worse, apparently the cashier did (at a memorable instance in a local hypermarket chain which I won’t name).

It goes to show how good BIG is and the clientèle they attract that none of these things happened.

BIG Receipt

My missing Mei-Xin Almond Mille-feuille (RM 49.90) was logged in their log book and they were waiting for me to call. I was unable to pick it up the next day so I sent a photo of the receipt to my better half for her to get it on my behalf.

She didn’t need it at all – the lady at the counter just picked up another Mei-Xin Almond Mille-feuille from the large display they have there and she signed off the log book and I got it back at night.

BIG at Publika is my favorite place to shop, not just coz of good incidents like these but due to the overall customer experience. It’s the reason why I only shop at Coles when I was studying in Australia – they have a great policy where if the cashier scanned a wrong item, the entire bill will be free (not advertised anymore) and you can open a drink in there for a long shop and just scan the empty can at the end.

BIG used to have the same policy about drinking in their store too, but there are signs prohibiting that now. I think the trust system doesn’t work very well when it’s open to everyone so that’s understandable in Malaysia.

Found Groceries

Still, it’s a great place to get groceries and small positive experiences like this makes it all the better. :)

Blog giveaway: Get a weBoost Drive 3G-S (worth RM 389) just by commenting!

Check out the animation video above!

sand animation

I took this video during the weBoost launch at Connexion@Nexus Bangsar South on 29th October 2014. It’s a very apt visual description on what weBoost is all about and how it works. weBoost is made by Wilson Electronics, the Utah based global leader in cellular signal boosters and they’re bringing two of their award-winning lines to Malaysia.

weBoost launch

The weBoost line of products works by boosting both voice and data signals for 2G and 3G and best of all, it works with *all* cellular carriers. It’s carrier-independent so it doesn’t matter which telco you signed up with. It also works seamlessly when you’re moving from outside to inside the enhanced area so there’s no need to end your call and reconnect when you’re walking outside into your office or your car.

weBoost me

The signal is automatically boosted when you’re within the weBoost coverage area.

weBoost Connect3G

The Connect 3G is meant for homes and offices for those who depend on reliable connectivity indoors. It captures the outside, usable signal and amplifies it before redistributing the boosted and usable signal throughout the entire home/office and will be launched soon, so stay tuned!

weBoost Drive3G

The Drive 3G-S is an all-in-one phone cradle and signal booster and the best thing about this in-car device is that it can extend your phone battery life by as much as 3 hours of talktime (average 20% better battery life) when you’re using it. It also boosts both voice and data.

weBoost

I got a unit of the Drive 3G-S to test out and I must say that I’m very impressed. I can already think of the variety of uses for this unit – as someone who uses Google Maps/Waze a lot, I need a cradle for my car anyway. This does away with 3rd party car cradles and also extends the range where a call can be made, virtually eliminating areas of poor coverage.

weBoost 3GS install

It’s very easy to install too!

weBoost 3GS review

Step 1: Clean the area you want to install the cradle with the provided alcohol wipe

weBoost 3GS mount

Step 2: Peel back the adhesive from the backing of the mount (allow 24 hours to cure before attaching Drive 3G-S)

weBoost 3GS unboxing

Step 3: Hook up the antenna into the Drive 3G-S

weBoost antenna

Step 4: Put the magnetic antenna on top of your car

weBoost test

Step 5: Plug in the power source and hook up the mini-USB to the port on the Drive 3G-S

weBoost LED

That’s all there is to it! You can see the Drive 3G-S light up via a small LED light to the side to show that it’s powered up.

weBoost 3GS adhesive

You’ll also realize that there’s no need for DIY skills on your part – the cable that leads to the antenna can be just strung directly out and your door closed over it. It won’t damage the cable – it’s very strong – as you can see there’s a soft polymer at the car door seam which allows the cable to securely go outside and to the antenna at the roof of your car.

weBoost antenna placement

I experimented with antenna placement and found that it works best when it’s directly upright and at the center of the vehicle roof at least 16 cm away from windows. It’s a very strong magnet – you won’t have to worry about it flying off even if you’re quite the speed demon.

weBoost 3GS arms

The cradle can fit any sized phone too – there are attachments called “arms” provided that can be secured to existing latches on the cradle. You can just slip them in and out until you find a snug fit for your phone.

weBoost 3GS cradle

My smartphone has a very unusual on/off button – it’s to the side instead of to the top but that doesn’t present a problem. There are different shapes and sized arms which allows you to fit the slimmest basic phone to the largest smartphone.

weBoost signal

My experience driving around with the Drive 3G-S was very positive. I know certain areas are prone to weak (but not non-existent) signals e.g. tunnels and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I can now make calls from previously blocked areas.

weBoost 3G data

There is also a notorious stretch of poor coverage area when you drive to Ipoh where the signal is weak from the surrounding hills and I’m here to report that you can use the Drive 3G-S to even watch YouTube videos at the usually denied area. Not that I recommend you do that, this was just a test, you see. *cough*

weBoost 3G data test

The Drive 3G-S also provided me with strong signal strength even at my in-laws place, which is notorious for having a weak signal. Did you know that your phone actually uses up battery life when you’re in a weak reception area coz it’s constantly jumping between cell towers and trying to get a better signal?

weBoost 3G voice

The weBoost Drive 3G-S resolves that problem by providing you with longer battery life and better voice and data signal with the all-in-one cradle so it’s really useful to people like me. If you drive around a lot in the city where there are weak coverage areas or want to have constant connectivity during road trips, the Drive 3G-S will be a useful investment indeed.

weBoost data test

I have had my car break down once on the KL-Ipoh route and it was at a weak coverage zone and I actually had to walk to find a usable signal and that’s an emergency where I wish I had the Drive 3G-S. I drove through that area again and managed to get both voice and data signal from the weak coverage area due to the hilly terrain.

weBoost 3G

This product will soon hit the shelves in Malaysia and if you want to be one of the first few Malaysians to own it, good news:

I have one (1) brand new weBoost Drive 3G-S Cellular Signal Booster (worth RM 389) to giveaway on sixthseal.com! You just need to answer the following two questions in the comments section:

1. Name the two weBoost products that were recently launched in Malaysia
2. Why do you need a mobile booster in your daily life?

Participants must be based in Malaysia and the contest will end on 30th January 2015. Just comment with the answers and your email address and I’ll choose one lucky winner from the comments.

Yee Sang Dinner @ Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial

Sheep Yee Sang

I just had my first yee sang dinner of the year last night. This salmon yee sang is made with shredded vegetables made to look like the Chinese character for “sheep” (羊) coz the Year of the Sheep is coming up.

Celestial Court Imperial Sheraton

It’s just less than a month till Chinese New Year so the annual “lou sang”/“sau kong” (traditional end-of-work before CNY company dinners) sessions are starting to kick in gear. This one was held by Tourism Australia at Celestial Court at Sheraton Imperial KL.

Prosperity Salmon Yee Sang

Prosperity Salmon Yee Sang

I love how they made the raw fish salad to look like the Chinese character for sheep – 羊. I didn’t actually notice it until someone pointed it out. The waitresses poured in all the ingredients and each one signifies something e.g. fish for 年年有余 (Abundance throughout the year), oil for 一本万利 and 财源广进 (May you have 10,000 returns with your capital/Numerous sources of wealth), carrots for 鸿运当头 (Good luck coming) and even the crushed peanuts for 金银满屋 (Household filled with gold and silver).

Tossing Yee Sang

It’s a highly ritualized service and a lot of places actually states the auspicious Chinese phrases out loud as they pour in the ingredients. We tossed the salad while wishing for various things, mine was for family and more vacations and travel for 2015. smirk

Double-boiled Baby Abalone Soup with Sea Cucumber and Fish Maw

Double boiled Baby Abalone Soup with Sea Cucumber and Fish Maw

I really liked this clear soup – the baby abalone is super tender compared to the wedding dinner I went to last weekend. The broth tastes amazing too, the seasoning is just right and the sea cucumber and fish maw just slides down my throat.

Roasted Crispy Chicken with Golden Garlic Sands

Roasted Crispy Chicken with Golden Garlic Sands

This is my least favorite dish in every Chinese banquet and I don’t usually partake much but the golden garlic “sand” that goes with the roasted chicken is very nice.

Homemade Stuffed Scallop with Dry Scallop and Spring Onion Sauce

Homemade Stuffed Scallop with Dry Scallop and Spring Onion Sauce

Delicious! I liked the thick, reduced spring onion sauce which was heavily seasoned with dry scallops – it coated the stuffed scallops and added a lot of flavor and a slippery texture prized in traditional Cantonese cuisine. The stuffed scallops were very flavorful and I couldn’t help popping more than a few of these babies into my mouth.

Pan Seared Red Garoupa with Flower Fungus, Bird Eye Chillies on Lotus Leaf

Pan Seared Red Garoupa with Flower Fungus, Bird Eye Chillies on Lotus Leaf

The fish dish is my favorite dish in banquets! I like how this one was presented on a lotus leaf and it’s pan-seared instead of steamed, giving it the Maillard reaction and caramelization that adds a note of sweetness to the fish.

Red Grouper

It was slightly overcooked though and I felt it should have come before the saltier stuffed scallops dish but it’s still great paired with my white wine.

Braised Beancurd with Fish Paste

Braised Beancurd with Fish Paste

I was quite surprised to find out that I actually rather enjoyed this dish. I eat everything but there are certain things that I don’t like (but will still try) – beancurd/tofu being one of the examples. This doesn’t taste like tofu at all, it’s stuffed with fish paste and the tender texture of the beancurd contrasted nicely with the slightly resistant fish paste made in-house.

Fragrant Wok-fried Flat Rice Noodles with Black Bean and Seafood

sss

The staff at Celestial Court at Sheraton Imperial offered to portion every dish (including the fish) which I thought was great. It’s a service that’s expected in higher end Chinese restaurants nowadays, although you can refuse, of course, it’s up to each table’s preference. I don’t know what that says about the evolution of community dining but even our family opts for that when we eat out in Singapore.

The kueh tiaw was actually pretty good, if slightly oily, and each bowl had a large prawn, slice of fish and scallop.

Screw Pine and Coconut Milk Crème Brulee, with Raspberry Jam, Grilled Jackfruit, Crispy Rambutan and Lotus Root Dessert presented by Chef Sherson Lian

Screw Pine and Coconut Milk Crème Brulee, with Raspberry Jam, Grilled Jackfruit, Crispy Rambutan and Lotus Root Dessert presented by Chef Sherson Lian

This dessert was conceptualized by Chef Sherson Lian (have seen him on AFC before) who coincidentally sat on the same table as I did. It’s supposed to be a local crème brulee made with local ingredients, which begs the question about the glaring foreign ingredient in the dish – raspberry. It turns out that the component was supposed to be roselle jam but the roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) came too late for it to be incorporated into the dish.

I loved the crispy battered rambutans, pieces of jackfruit and lotus root and I can see the direction it’s going – excellent stuff.

It was a great finish to the first yee sang dinner of the year and I polished off my (rather large) portion. :)

Chee Keong & Mei Sze’s wedding @ Summer Palace

Chee Keong Mei Sze Wedding Banquet

This is the first wedding we attended this year! I had missed a friend (and co-worker) wedding in December 2014 due to prior commitments, so this is the first wedding of 2015. It’s a bit unusual as the traditional Chinese wedding banquet dinner was held on a Sunday night and the restaurant was quite far in Putrajaya Marriott Hotel so we got home quite late yesterday.

Summer Palace Putrajaya Marriott

The bride and groom had a ceremony earlier in the day which culminated in this wedding dinner. I knew the couple from a previous trip to Bangkok and the 9-course banquet was held at Summer Palace – the Chinese restaurant at Marriott in Putrajaya.

HB Ling Wedding

It’s a very nice place for a wedding – I’ve eaten here before at a company dinner and the food wasn’t too bad but the scenery and service is the main selling points. The servers are very conscientious about changing your plates after every course and I had a glass of The Macallan 12 year old for my drink.

Deluxe Five Happiness Combination Platter

Deluxe Five Happiness Combination Platter

This is the first course and instead of the traditional “Four Seasons” plate with four food items this has five different hot and cold elements. There’s also the increasingly common theatre that goes with the first course, with the servers getting in line and doing a performance before grandly putting the first plate on your table.

Deep Fried Salted Egg

I first saw this at my sister’s wedding in Sibu but it wasn’t present at her wedding in KL. We thought the cold pork belly/duck breast slices were the best part of the dish – it was lying on a bed of pickled jellyfish which provided a wonderful acidic element. We also loved the boiled and deep fried salted egg.

Double-boiled Chicken Soup with Baby Abalone, Top Shell & Chinese Herbs

Double boiled Chicken Soup with Baby Abalone

Shark’s Fin Soup has gone out of vogue since the environmentalist types and the wannabes/sheep started a crusade against it. I’m personally ambivalent about the issue, as most people who really understand the issue, with the entire hypocrisy (and racism) of Sea Shepard and other militant environmental organizations on one side and the heritage of Icelandic culture (hákarl – fermented Greenland shark), Canadian legal seal meat and Japanese/French proudly unapologetic cuisine on the other.

However, I think the substitution of shark’s fin soup with a clear soup with premium ingredients like abalone, fish maw, top shell (magpie shell) and such is a good thing too and it tastes better and there was been a spate of fake shark’s fin going around in the few years before it became the “S-word”.

This is a good example of a nice clear soup which highlights the abalone, top shell, chicken and fish maw and it’s individually portioned beforehand.

Roasted Sesame Chicken & Roasted Chicken

Roasted Sesame Chicken

The chicken done two ways is a nice twist on the traditional roasted chicken. However, I’m not a huge fan of chicken done this way – there’s no sea salt or plum sauce for the slightly overcooked and dry roasted chicken and the roasted sesame chicken wasn’t much better.

Steamed Mandarin Fish “Unicorn” Style

Steamed Unicorn Fish

This seems to be the latest trend in serving fish at Chinese banquets! The fish is totally de-boned and filleted. The fillets of fish is then wrapped around a long, tubular “fish ball” and presented on the carcass of the fish so it looks like rolled up fish flesh.

Unicorn Fish

I’m a purist so I still prefer steamed fish served whole but I have to admit, this “unicorn style” platters of fish is very easy to eat, and the fish ball inside makes it taste artificially good with lots of MSG!

Chilled ‘Ming’ Prawns with Mayo & Stir-fried Prawn Balls with Butter Cream

Chilled Ming Prawns with Butter Cream

This is the best dish that we had the entire night! There’s huge prawns done two ways, and they’re all de-shelled and de-veined. One is cooked in a sweet and wet butter/mayo sauce and the other is deep fried in butter. It’s very creamy and I love the huge, juicy prawns – I had three and my better half had two.

Braised Assorted Dried Seafood with Broccoli

Braised Assorted Dried Seafood with Broccoli

I love the texture of sea cucumber! I’ll actually order this if I see it around. There was a RM 60 PNG (Papua New Guinea) sea cucumber promotion at Glory Cafe in Sarikei when we went but I was too full to order it. The sea cucumber here is done well, thickly sliced and full of slippery and chewy collagen. I also liked the mushrooms – very flavorful, especially with the bits of dried and rehydrated scallops in the reduced sauce.

Special Three Layered Fried Rice

Special Three Layered Fried Rice

There’s nothing special about this dish – it’s just rice done three ways. There’s plain fried rice on top, rice fried with light soy sauce in the middle and cooking caramel (dark soy sauce) fried rice at the bottom. That’s what causes the layered coloration and it was very oily – this is a dish for people who’re still hungry to fill up before dessert is served.

I know people who eat this way – main dishes only (fish, chicken, pork etc) with no accompanying rice in a multiple course banquet where they fill up on fried noodles or rice as the last course, it’s a different style of eating but we were too full at this point to eat more than a spoonful of the rice to taste it.

Special Dessert Combination

Special Dessert Combination

This is actually pretty decent! They made the crushed peanut covered mochi to be flavorless (except for the smoky and nutty accents from the peanuts) so the sweet component comes from the mung bean shaped and moulded into a cartoonish ear of corn.

It’s meant to be eaten together and it’s a good pairing.

The Chinese characters makes a lot more sense than the English translation though. Haha.

Chilled Mixed Fruits with Avocado Cream

Chilled Mixed Fruits with Avocado Cream

This is the highlight of the dish and it was what we had saved up space for. We both thought an avocado based dessert sounded delicious and we’re glad we waited for this even though a lot of people were leaving at this point to beat the traffic and try to get home before a work day. It has a wonderfully rich mouthfeel and a nutty flavor that’s very morish. Delectable!

Chee Keong Mei Sze Wedding Photo

Congrats and all the best to the newly-weds! :)

The latest food truck in KL – Amaze K

Amaze K Food Truck

I was on my way to a haircut the day before when I passed by this food truck. It was close to dinner and my better half was cooking so I didn’t want to spoil my appetite, but I was a little hungry and needed something to tide me over for a couple of hours, so I pulled over.

Halal Food Truck KL

Amaze K Cafe is actually a food truck that sells all kinds of hotdogs. It was their very first day of operations when I visited on Friday evening! I talked to the two guys running it for a while and they said they might not be located here all the time but they decided to situate themselves in front of Encorp Strand Mall for their première.

Amaze K Cafe

I asked for a recommendation and got their flagship Mushroom & Chicken Hotdog (RM 10). It’s the one that they’re most proud of and for good reason – the juicy chicken frank was large and has that “snap” to the bite that good sausages have. I was told the halal chicken hotdogs are specially made for them.

Amaze K Hotdog

They also recommended the Burritos (RM 11) for next time, which is just their chicken sausages wrapped in a commercially available tortilla wrap – no rice or beans, so it isn’t so much a burrito as a wrap. The menu items all revolves around their ½ foot chicken sausage and is either priced at RM 10 or RM 11.

Amaze K Food Truck Menu

This is their entire menu.

Hotdog Food Truck

I thought the pricing is a bit on the high side for a food truck that is basically selling hotdogs. There are Ramly burger stands around (though they only operate at night) and the shops near them includes a Korean BBQ set lunch with drinks for RM 9.90 and a RM 1.90 Chinese small bowl mixed rice shop.

Food Truck Me

There’s also Encorp Strand Mall’s own Sam’s Deli – which hits the exact target market as these guys are aiming for – halal deli items and the latter has a lot more choices. Amaze K Cafe Food Truck does a very good hotdog though – the one I had was loaded with fresh sautéed mushrooms, chicken mince sauce, and mayo and I particularly liked how the juicy mushrooms goes with the snap of the hotdog.

Mushroom Chicken Hotdog

I think they might struggle if they don’t revise their pricing, but if they do, it’ll be a welcome addition to the local food truck scene.

Amaze K Cafe Food Truck can be found in front of Encorp Strand Mall.

5 popular street food we ate in KL over the weekend

Lot 10 Hutong

Hutong Lot 10 has some of the most established and famous stalls from all around Klang Valley located in one convenient place. If I recall correctly, the criteria for getting a stall here is very high – your street food stall needs to be a household name and it has to be in operation for at least 2-3 generations.

Famous Street Food KL

This is the best of the best street food KL has to offer, and we ate here *every meal* during our staycation (our hotel was right beside Lot 10). Here’s five of our favorites:

1. Cheras Woo Pin Famous Fish Head Noodles

Cheras Woo Pin Famous Fish Head Noodles Stall

This is the distinctive fish noodles cooked with fresh milk that’s famous over here. The broth of the fish head noodles is almost white in color, due to the addition of either fresh milk or evaporated milk. It offsets any “fishy” taste and to top it off, the fish is fried, making this a very friendly dish for people who don’t like fish.

Cheras Woo Pin Famous Fish Head Noodles

Woo Pin Cheras Fried Fish Noodles (RM 10.85) comes with a few pieces of fish head and part of the fun is digging out the flesh from it. There’s also an option where you can add more fried fish slices for RM 21.30. My better half ordered this, I actually prefer a clean broth and blanched fish to fried fish – the latter destroys the taste but I know a lot of people like it and I’m trying to get over my discriminatory thinking. smirk

2. Pin Qian Klang Bak Kut Teh

Pin Qian Klang Bak Kut Teh Stall

This is one of the best BKT or “pork rib tea” I’ve had. There are a lot of Klang Bak Kut Teh outlets around nowadays but not all of them do the dish justice. Pin Qian has been operating since 1986 and they also have an outlet in Hutong Lot 10 (at ridiculously high prices).

Pin Qian Klang Bak Kut Teh

I had a small mixed bowl of fat and lean pork belly with a side of rice for RM 18.20 (over RM 20 after tax and the mandatory tissue packet). There’s always a long queue to get this though coz it’s absolutely fantastic – the meat is fork-tender and the herbal soup is so thick, it’s divine!

3. China Town Seng Kee Claypot Chicken Rice

China Town Seng Kee Claypot Chicken Rice Stall

This is the sister outlet of the famous place in Petaling Street. It was actually the first place I ever tasted “KL style” Claypot Chicken Rice as a kid. We were living in Sibu and came to KL for a family vacation and my dad brought us here since he missed eating this from when he was himself a university student.

China Town Seng Kee Claypot Chicken Rice

I love the crispy caramelized rice at the bottom of the sizzling hot claypot which you have to dig out! I ordered it with an extra egg cracked on top for RM 14.25. It’s delicious but China Town See Keng in Petaling Street is more famous for their Claypot Loh Shu Fan, which they also serve here in their Hutong Lot 10 branch.

4. Imbi Road Original Pork Noodle

Imbi Road Original Pork Noodle Stall

This is an awesome place to eat if you love pork although I still think the original outlet in Jalan Imbi is better. The RM 9.90 bowl of pork noodles here is made by foreign cooks and although the same process and recipes are used, as you can see in this video:

It somehow tastes better at the founding outlet.

Imbi Road Original Pork Noodle

This isn’t my taste buds playing tricks with me or ambiance issues, there is also another famous noodle stall at Hutong Lot 10 – this time dedicated to our bovine instead of porcine friends – Soong Kee Beef Noodles, and it tastes the same as the first outlet.

5. Tai Lei Loi Kei Macau

Tai Lei Loi Kei Macau Pork Chop Bun Stall

Yup, the wildly famous Macau establishment which everyone goes to for the esteemed Macau Pork Bun has an outlet at Hutong Lot 10 too! They had a loop of Anthony Bourdain visiting their original Macau outlet in Tai Lei Loi Kei Taipa playing on a TV in an episode of No Reservations.

Tai Lei Loi Kei Macau Pork Chop Bun

The RM 13.90 Choapa Bao (Pork Chop Bun) here is decent, but not as good as the one I had in Macau. We ordered one to share and found the pork chop itself to be slightly overcooked and overseasoned. I did find one inch of juicy meat though but unfortunately the rest of the (rather large) pork chop was dry.

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