Ladurée Champs Élysées box

Ladurée is widely credited as inventing the macaron as we know it today! The double decker macaron with a ganache filling was first made by Louis-Ernest Ladurée (which the shop is named after). We actually tracked down their biggest tea room and bakery in Champs-Élysées and took the Metro right to the place before even visiting the Arc de Triomphe. :)

Ladurée Champs Élysées

Champs-Élysées is a very prestigious address in Paris, the equivalent of Fifth Avenue in New York (although it was Parisian culture which started the latter). It’s very expensive to maintain a presence here coz the real estate is incredibly desirable. Ladurée actually calls their branches as “houses” or “boutiques” even though they’re technically a tea room – that’s how seriously they take their heritage!

Ladurée Bakery Paris

Their restaurant, tea room and bakery at 75, Avenue des Champs-Élysées flies their famous green-and-gold Ladurée, Paris sign and is a huge old and stately building that has al-fresco seating during spring. This is the place that we’ve been looking for and we made a bee-line right into their bakery…

Ladurée queue

…to run into a long, slow-moving line of people.

Ladurée Paris

It was more than a queue, it was like watching the human equivalent of rabbits breeding! There are tourists, locals glaring at the camera toting tourists, and bemused passer-bys who got dragged in by the sheer force of the crowd swarming for Ladurée macarons. It was chaos, but organized chaos.

Ladurée menu

We were each passed a brochure listing their macarons, including the seasonal specials. My better half wanted to get ½ a dozen so I asked the patient and professional Ladurée wait staff for their recommendations. I only changed one and here’s our list:

Laduree macarons

  • Vanille (Vanilla)
  • Reglisse (Liquorice)
  • Fruits Rouges (Red Fruits)
  • Pistache (Pistachio)
  • Marie-Antoinette
  • Caramel Fleur de Sel (Salted Caramel)

Ladurée France

The blue Marie-Antoinette and the Red Fruits macarons are seasonal specials for Spring 2014!

fruit rouges macaron

The six (6) macarons are all awesome and there’s one thing I noticed about vanilla in France – no one uses vanilla flavoring, it’s like it’s a culinary sin! Every place we’ve been, from Michelin star restaurants to cafes uses real dried vanilla fruits (which is the second most expensive spice after saffron!) and it makes a lot of difference!

Ladurée macaron box

I quite liked some of the Ladurée macarons – the Marie-Antoinette, Salted Caramel and Vanilla are awesome but the best one is the one I switched to – Liquorice (swapped this for the recommended Lemon). The Liquorice macaron is black and when you bite into it, you get a mouthful of dry ash and acrid bitterness…and then the mild sweetness of the licorice filling hits you, for just a short while before it disappears and leaves a pleasant aniseed aftertaste in your mouth.

marie antoinette

It’s ephemeral and epitomizes the macaron perfectly. I’m not just trying to alliterate my words, but that’s how I felt about the Liquorice macaron. However, as for the others, I felt that Pierre Hermé macarons tastes better.

Champs Élysées

I’ll do a review of Pierre Hermé macarons soon – we tried both of the great French maracons and both were good! I know that both has branches here or close to us but they taste totally different. Macarons are supposed to be temperature controlled and eaten within 3 days and it doesn’t take well to importation or local ingredient substitution.

ladurée seasonal macarons

You can never get macarons here that’s as good as the ones in France and I’m glad we managed to eat these delicate French creations during our Europe trip! Oh yeah, our 2 Michelin star meal at Relais Louis XIII is coming up next! :)

applewine murals

There’s one thing that Frankfurt is *really* famous for. No, it’s not the wurst (sausages) that derives from its name, it’s apple wine! Called Apfelwein (or Ebbelwoi) in German, the brewing of apple wine has been a source of pride for many Frankfurters.

schweizer strasse

It’s the (un?)official drink of the city!

sachsenhausen nord

There’s even an entire street in Sachsenhausen-Nord near the city of Frankfurt am Main that dedicates itself to apple wine! It’s informally called the Applewine Quarter and the street name is Schweizer Strasse. There are several establishments serving apple wine in Frankfurt (you can get it in most restaurants) but for the authentic experience, I highly recommend you go to a specialty shop!

zum gemalten haus

I was recommended two such apple wine houses by a knowledgeable local (our concierge haha) – both are located at Sachsenhausen-Nord. The first is called Zum Gemalten Haus and unfortunately, it’s closed on Mondays. The second is called Adolf Wagner (also known as Apfelwein Wagner) and I remember hearing about this place before – that’s how famous the apple wine bar is!

adolf wagner

Adolf Wagner has been around since 1931 – that means they’ve been brewing Frankfurt’s most famous drink for several centuries. There are actual long tables and chairs located both in front and inside the establishment. I recommend doing inside coz there’s a huge apple wine jug where they pour your drink from at the bar.

applewine quarter

The apple wine is brewed on the premises of Adolf Wagner itself! You can see it if you’re seated inside. There are also colorful murals depicting the good ol’ days of apple wine imbibing and scenes of general cheer.

apfelwein

You’ll expect a place like this to be expensive but it’s surprisingly affordable and all the locals come here. One glass of apple wine costs 1.90 Euro. That’s less than RM 10! It’s cheap even *when* you convert the currency. I had a 300 ml glass of their famous apple wine while my better half ordered the non-alcoholic apple wine.

apfelwein wagner prices

Surprisingly, the non-alcoholic apple wine costs slightly more than the regular apple wine. I’m not sure if that’s coz like decaf coffee, it goes through an extra step, but I very much doubt it. The non-alcoholic apple wine that my dear ordered (2 Euro for 300 ml glass) is clear and tastes like apple juice, albeit slightly rotten apple juice.

nonalcoholic ebbelwoi
A 300 ml glass of non-alcoholic apple wine

My apple wine is slightly cloudy from the unfiltered sediments and tastes like nothing I’ve ever come across. Apple wine doesn’t taste like apple cider – it doesn’t have that acidic bite to it. It’s smooth and delicious – but be careful, the alcohol content of these things can hit the two digit mark.

ebbelwoi
A 300 ml glass of regular apple wine

I’ve seen it quoted as 10.4% alcohol although every batch differs. Adolf Wagner also sells 1 litre bottles of their apple wine to go for just 2 Euros while the 5 litre souvenir jugs are just 13 Euros. Or you can just get their matchbooks (free) if you’re a cheapskate. ;)

matchbook

Protip: If you want to get apple wine from Frankfurt to bring home, avoid buying them at the touristy Romel square where every other shop (including the official tourist information center) offers nicely bottled and packaged apple wine for sale at a price premium. It’s not as authentic as grabbing a bottle (or jug) from Adolf Wagner, where the locals drink, so get it from a reputable apple wine bar instead of a souvenir shop!

wagner applewine

I highly recommend walking to Apfelwein Wagner and sitting down for a glass of apple wine when you’re in Frankfurt. It’s one of the few things which is unique to the city itself and even if you don’t consume alcohol, there’s a non-alcoholic apple wine to conform to your dietary/religious beliefs. It’s way better than grabbing a Frankfurter (and you can do the latter after some nice local apple wine in your tummy).

applewine prices

Apple wine is called the official drink of Frankfurt for a reason! :D

apfelwein wagner

Posted: 9:39 am Frankfurt time (GMT +2) – we just took the overnight Paris-Frankfurt am Main bus! :D

Updates on our 10 day vacation through Germany and France:
http://instagram.com/sixthseal
https://twitter.com/sixthseal
https://www.facebook.com/SixthSealcom

raw pork noodles

I first heard my uncle singing praises about this new place in Sibu. It was the coffee shop that we wanted to go to after my mom’s 3rd day funeral services but it was closed. My dad and I went hunting for it with my aunts the day before I was supposed to fly back to KL.

sheng rou mee

The place serves sheng rou mee which is roughly translated as “raw pork noodles”. The meat is not raw per se but it’s very rare. The meat is pounded into small, thin slices and then served in a broth and it cooks with ambient heat much like shabu shabu.

oily noodles

There are four (4) types of noodles on offer – the most popular is kampua mee, followed by oily noodles e.g. “you mien”. The latter is different from the ones in KL – the Sibu version is much thinner and absorbs the lard well. The noodles are tossed in lard oil, much like kampua mee.

wan li sheng rou mee

There you have it – Wan Li Sheng Rou Mee is basically kampua mee with a side dish of clear broth with rare pork slices inside…

raw pork soup

…and it’s delicious!

wan li pork noodles

The place was *packed* when we were there and new customers streamed in as soon as the others left. It’s RM 5 per dish, irrespective of the noodle type you choose but I’ll opt for the kampua as it goes with it well.

pork slices

It’s the latest fad to hit the town and I have to say that my uncle was spot on, it’s a nice place. Considering that a plate of kampua with radioactive red char siew goes for RM 2.50 in most stalls, paying a little extra for a nice bowl of clear broth with generous amounts of pork slices inside is apparently, a very solid business model!

crispy floss sandwich

My late mom is Foochow while my dad is Henghua and they both have different cultural traditions for food after a death in the family. We’ve just done the 3rd day ceremony where we sweep the cemetery grounds and bring her photo back. It’s customary to eat together after this and the two different cultures have different dishes that you’re supposed to eat.

1. Chicken mee sua with red wine and boiled-fried egg

henghua noodles

This is a Henghua tradition. You’re supposed to eat longevity noodles cooked with chicken stock (real, not from a cube or bottle) and served with pieces of chicken and an egg that’s been boiled before battered and then deep fried.

There’s also locally fermented red rice wine used for cooking in this dish. The dish above replaces the mee sua with hung ang noodles (see below).

2. Fried thick beehoon with boiled-fried egg

foochow noodles

This is a Foochow tradition and we originally wanted to follow this custom since my mom is Foochow. The fried thick beehoon is known as “hung ang” over here – it’s best described as a cross between mee hoon and lou shi fan.

Unfortunately, we drove to three (3) different places and all of them were *closed* so we settled on eating just whatever we wanted, since my dad is Christian and doesn’t follow all these pantang (superstitious beliefs) anyway.

The picture above is a type of Foochow style fried noodles – the next best thing, which most people had.

3. Pork leg longevity noodles

pork leg noodles

I had this with one of my uncles. It’s stewed pork leg cooked with a specific combination of herbs and spices called pek ting yok (usually translated as 8 treasures herb). It’s RM 7 and I found it to be quite good and it fulfils the Henghua tradition of eating longevity noodles after a death and the subsequent visit to the family.

pork mee sua

My grandma was so worried that we didn’t eat this (she’s of the older generation) and cooked dry longevity noodles tossed in lard for us at night!

rojak tambi

As for us, since we don’t really follow tradition, you can even eat rojak tambi if you want. I just thought it was interesting, all the cultural believes surrounding death and I never got a proper explanation on why we eat a certain dish and not another. However, as in all cultures, the consumption of food after a funeral is the norm.

tambi rojak

I did a quick search and found out that the reason we eat after a funeral is to celebrate the life of the deceased…

death dishes

…and we’ve been doing it as far back as 12,000 years (!!!) since the Natufian people in the Stone Age!

duviet oviet

“She saved me from embarrassment and potentially poisoning myself to death!” smirk

oviet duviet

We had dinner at O’Viet by Du Viet last night as part of our weekend staycation, which we just came back from. It’s a restaurant that markets itself as having food influenced by the ancient royal capital of Hue in Vietnam.

duviet booth

As we perused the menu before going in, I remember a lot of the dishes from my trip to Hanoi. The place just shouted out to us while we were walking around the mall beside the hotel and my dear decided to have dinner here.

duviet bill

The ambiance is great and they have a secluded back booth with period decorations which I thought was really nice. The service is great too but the prices are a little on the high side. The bill for the both of us came up to RM 104.39.

fish soup price

I wanted to eat the Sour Fish Soup Noodles (RM 33) and noticed that it had a *sticker* with a revised (!!!) price on it. Curious, I peeled it back to see what the original price was.

price revealed

It was RM 19.90. I understand that black cod is seasonal though, so since it’s out of season (and thus probably not that fresh – low food miles, eating in-season ingredients and all that) I chose their flagship dish.

vietnam spring roll

My dear ordered Nem Saigon (Fresh Summer Rolls) for appetizers. This is what people normally associate with Vietnamese steamed wrapped rolls and costs RM 9.90. We had made Vietnamese rolls at home before and while mine wasn’t successful, she managed to perfect it. There’s options of chicken, prawn, beef and vegetarian. We went for the prawn.

prawn spring roll

It’s served with a peanut sauce that I found rather intriguing. It has a bit of heat in it but just right to balance the sweetness. The perfect dipping sauce! The downside is that there was just a tiny shrimp in each roll.

pho

She also ordered the Pho Hai San (Special Seafood Soup Noodles) coz she wanted to eat pho. It came in a huge bowl with fresh prawns, fish fillet, fried shrimp balls, squid and cuttlefish in a mildly spicy soup. It was priced at RM 15.90 and I loved the soup base – it’s seafood-y goodness! :D

vietnamese hot pot

I ordered the Du Viet’s signature dish – Beef in Vinegar Hot Pot (RM 49.90).

hue winter hotpot

It’s marketed as a classic Vietnamese winter dish from Hue.

hue hotpot beef

It’s basically a communal soup hot pot with thin slices of beef topped with a raw egg yolk on the side.

duviet condiments

You’re supposed to swish the beef in the soup and then make your own roll with the large plate of condiments (rice vermicelli, various traditional vegetables etc) and there’s a salty fish sauce dipping sauce too.

winter hot pot

This dish came with four (4) separate plates, each with it’s own translucent wrap. There’s four wraps in total and it’s meant to be a shared dish, which I didn’t know.

hue roll

However, the beef tasted really nice when dunked into the hot pot – the soup is a medley of ingredients that makes it slightly sweet and it’s a real pleasure to drink from.

vietnam roll

However, the fuel source burned out before we could finish eating, and we didn’t even notice it until after a while. This prompted us to chuck the remaining pieces of beef into the hot pot to cook in the ambient heat. It worked. :)

fresh egg soda

I also noticed that they have a drink I’ve been craving for since I came back from Vietnam – Fresh Egg Soda & Cream (RM 8.90). It’s basically raw egg mixed with ice cream soda (that’s vanilla flavored soda for those of you unfamiliar with the nomenclature) and cream – you can find it in various street vendors in Hanoi and it’s delicious.

vietnamese coffee

I also ordered Vietnamese Drip Coffee (RM 8.50). It came in the same nifty ground coffee drip system I’ve seen in a Vietnamese restaurant in Sibu way back in 2004 and also while I was at an authentic coffee shop in Hanoi.

duviet us

I had asked for condensed milk and ice on the side and I thought that the bowl on the left is a nicely decorated wooden ice bucket that’s supposed to fit into the drip system. I thought:

deadly ice cubes

“How interesting! They made ice cubes in a similarly sized metal container that *connects with* the Vietnamese drip coffee. I’ll put it under the drip so it’ll cool down my coffee”

flame

…and that was what I was about to do when the waitress re-appeared and *lit* what I thought was ice cubes at first glance in the dark back booth. She just saved me from potential embarrassment and the likelihood of a deadly poisoning. Haha!

hue hot pot

The “ice cubes” turned out to be the fuel for the Hue Winter Hot Pot that I had ordered.

aloha us

48 hours. 3 meals. We went to my grandma’s house for dinner on the 15th day of Chinese New Year so these are the selected places we ate at last weekend in Sibu when my dear came over.

1. Sarawak Laksa @ Aloha Cafe

laksa stall

My better half had wanted to eat Sarawak Laksa for ages so this was the first place we went to. It was early in the morning, I had just dropped off my dad at the airport and we were heading back to town for breakfast when my dad commented that Aloha Cafe has the best Sarawak Laksa in town.

sarawak laksa
Regular (RM 5) Sarawak Laksa

Everyone has a favorite place but I personally don’t like the dish that much. However, I haven’t eaten it for years so I ordered a Sarawak Laksa Supreme (RM 10). My dear wanted to go for the regular one (RM 5) but I convinced her to have the special (RM 7). The difference in prices is from the prawns, not the amount of noodles.

sibu laksa

The RM 10 dish has the largest prawns while the RM 5 has tiny shrimp meant for regular cooking. The RM 7 option lies somewhere in between – the prawns are large, but nowhere near the jumbo shrimp of the RM 10 dish.

big prawn laksa
L-R: RM 7 and RM 10 Sarawak Laksa with jumbo shrimp

Just look at the size of the monsters!

big prawns

Aloha Cafe is right behind my alma mater so I used to eat here when I was in high school. There’s a rather interesting signage that says that they won’t be serving 170 ml cup-and-saucer drinks anymore. These are the old school glass receptacles that hot drinks used to be served in, my late granddad loves pouring the coffee into the saucer to cool it down before sipping it. The regular glasses was considered “large” back then.

aloha drinks

I thought it was a rather interesting passing-of-an-age.

2. Cafe Cafe

cafe cafe sibu

Back in the early 90′s, there was one “cool” restaurant in town to hang out at. It was called Country Cafe and all of us high school kids went there during weekends. The place serves all sorts of food, including some wonderful fusion dishes that other places in Sibu didn’t have back then. One of the guys that I hung out with was called Peter, a classmate of mine who dreamt of opening his own cafe.

noodle house

15 years later, he opened Cafe Cafe and it was a resounding success and led to many other restaurants and last I heard, he was starting a new one in Kuching. My dear hasn’t been here before so I brought her here for our (belated) Valentine’s Day dinner.

mee mamak

The Mee Mamak (RM 11) is a localized version of the nationwide favorite, with lots of tomato and chilli sauce. It’s probably the dish that gets ordered the most coz the portion is HUGE and it’s relatively cheap. I had fond memories of this and I ordered one to share with my dear and it’s still as good as I remembered it, although a more refined palate tells me it’s really not that great, nostalgia wins out for this one. smirk

salmon lemon butter

My dear went for the Norwegian Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce (RM 28). We were rather interested in seeing if they took the time to pluck out all the bones from the fish and it turns out that they did! The sauce was good but it’s ultimately frozen salmon and you can taste that in the plated dish, which isn’t generally a good sign.

chicken maltaise sauce

I went for the Breaded Chicken with Spicy Prawn Sauce (RM 19). Unfortunately, they had run out of the sauce, so I switched it to Maltaise Sauce – an orange and Hollandaise blend. I really liked the chicken – the portion was good and it was from a cut that I enjoy, but what takes the cake is the Maltaise sauce. It’s delicious!

molten lava cake

However, there was barely a *spoonful* of the lovely sauce on my dish, so I think they were running low on it as well. It would have been perfect if I had more sauce to go with the chicken. It was a nice dinner though, loved the chill ambiance at the back instead of the noisy booths in front.

3. Noodle House

honey wings kampua

This is where we went for our kampua fix before flying back to KL. I had the Sizzling Honey Chicken Wings Kampua (RM 13.50) while my dear went for the Sizzling Spicy Seafood Kampua (RM 13.50). I wanted to try the new Sizzling Beef Rendang Kampua though but my better half doesn’t eat beef so I went chicken instead.

sibu kampua

Noodle House has good Sibu local fare in a cafe format and I like the concept. We also ordered some kompia stuffed with pork meat.

kompia sibu

My dear wanted to try their Crème Brulee but I convinced her to go for the Molten Lava Chocolate Cake instead. It’s absolutely fabulous – easily the best dessert I’ve eaten in Sibu. The hot molten chocolate oozes out from the mud cake when you break it open with a spoon.

molten lava choc

There’s also a scoop of ice cream and a dusting of cocoa powder to top things off. Lovely stuff.

sibu forever

We had chosen the places we wanted to eat at wisely and managed to go to all, except another visit to Payung Cafe, which was closed for Sunday lunch. It’s a good weekend trip back home! :D

poon choi top layer

I’ve always wanted to eat poon choi. It’s a a traditional Chinese New Year feast in a bowl that requires at least 8-10 people to finish. There’s an interesting article in Wikipedia that has the origins of poon choi – it’s apparently prepared in layers and meant to be eaten layer-by-layer instead of stirring everything up.

poon choi tapau

I decided to book a table at Restaurant Lee Hong Kee (previously known as Restorant LYJ) since their flagship dish is poon choi. However, the restaurant is fully booked for all the dates even *remotely* close to CNY. Thus, I decided to take away and have it at home instead.

full house

Restaurant Lee Hong Kee really is packed to the brim – there’s a sign saying “Full House” and all the tables are reserved. We sat down and waited about 20 minutes for our take-away poon choi to come. It’s served in a big, deep bowl and wrapped with aluminium foil and wrap to retain the heat.

restaurant lee hong kee

The people there will also help you to move the poon choi to your car!

poon choi to go

I also ordered some of their popular dishes like their signature roast chicken a.k.a. “Dong Tok” chicken. It’s literally a chicken that’s made to *stand up* with head and throat served intact. Since we had it to go, I couldn’t make it stand up without assistance, despite all my best efforts. smirk

standing chicken

There were 11 of us that day – some are kids, but all of them are my dear’s brothers and parents. The poon choi is priced at an auspicious RM 338 and contains a lot of goodies – the top layer (dry) has ½ Hainanese steamed chicken, ½ roasted duck, abalone slices, fishball cake, a dozen large prawns (unpeeled) and a token amount of vegetables.

poon choi

I found out that poon choi doesn’t have a lot of vegetables coz of the history behind the dish. There are a lot of premium ingredients though!

poon choi bottom layer

The bottom layer contains the “wet stuff” and other goodies which can absorb the sauces which drips down from the top layer – fish maw, roasted chestnuts, pig skin, bean curd, Shittake mushrooms, braised chicken feet and stewed pork, just to name a few.

big bowl feast

It really was a wonderful experience eating the poon choi! I had it with my dear’s family and the 11 of us couldn’t even finish the bowl! It’s not called the Big Bowl Feast for nothing. The sauce is really delicious and we all ate till we’re about to burst! I highly recommend their poon choi, it really is something special due to the chef’s familiarity with preparing the dish.

classic pun choi

The bill came up to RM 421 and it’s definitely worth it. I’ll happily eat the poon choi from Restaurant Lee Hong Kee again – according to my dear, it’s the best she has eaten to date.

Happy Chap Goh Meh everyone! :)

Interesting taboo: Females celebrate their birthdays by the decade e.g. 70th, 80th while males do it one year beforehand since the numbers “sounds” better. 9 in Chinese has various positive associations, since it also sounds like “long”.

79 birthday

He’s probably older than that – they didn’t have documentation like birth certificates back then and birthdays are largely chosen and might be off by years. The birthday banquet was held at Sheraton. This was a very popular place back in the days – there were only a few “opulent” restaurants at the time, and Sheraton was one of them.

steamed peanuts

Deep Fried Boiled Eggs with Longevity Noodles

deep fried egg

This is a classic birthday dish in my hometown. It’s of Foochow origin, I believe. The boiled eggs are slightly coated with batter and then deep fried before being served with fried longevity noodles. It’s supposed to bring good luck, but this dish that’s becoming a little old-fashioned and I only see it during banquets thrown by the older generation now.

It’s good when done well and I ate 4 eggs myself since a lot of people at the table passed up on it.

4 Seasons Hot Platter

four seasons platter

This is supposed to be the first dish in every banquet but since it’s a birthday, the longevity noodles come out first. There’s fish maw, shrimp, mushrooms, chicken, sliced abalone and other goodies piled into sectors on the platter.

fish maw shrimp

There’s something for everybody and that’s why it’s a very popular dish in restaurants. It’s a little like poon choy in some ways, except this is the appetizer portion. smirk

Shark’s Fin Soup

You have to see this from the perspective of someone born in the old country (that’s China) and went through WWII with Japan and the resulting famine, uprooting and all that comes with war. They had little and food was important to them. “Luxury items” like shark’s fin isn’t something immoral (only first world countries and the newer generation of people now have that mentality – you can only afford to think about environmental issues when you are living in relative comfort).

sharks fin

It’s just another must-have (to them) on the menu coz old habits die hard and they don’t see the plight of the sharks and probably won’t care even if they did. This is the generation that was born into war, and any food is good food and “status items” like shark’s fin is just another dish to them.

I just wanted to stave off the debate about this coz it seems that everyone needs to have a disclaimer and a stance nowadays. Honestly, as a traveler, I am of course for conversation but then again I don’t believe it’s an issue about education, at least not with the older generation so naturally consumption will die off as the new environmentally conscious generation comes of age.

Deep Fried Breaded Cod

breaded cod

Sheraton is well known for it’s fish – you can get your empurau fish steamed here and they do a mean curry fish head as well. I thought this would be mediocre since I prefer my fish any other way except fried (which ruins most of the taste, IMHO).

fried cod

However, my cousin politely served me some so I had to politely eat some and I was amazed and went back for second helpings…except there was none left! This is easily the best dish I had in the banquet – the fish is battered and dropped into the deep fryer for only a few seconds, leaving a crisp exterior but and extremely moist interior with the cod flaking off with the natural juices still inside.

I’m getting hungry just thinking of this surprisingly well executed deep fried cod with the spicy dip. The plating is not much to look at, but trust me, it tastes spot on!

Paper Wrapped Chicken with Deep Fried Buns

paper wrapped chicken

This is one of my favorite dishes in Sheraton coz they do it so well. Paper wrapped chicken is a cooking technique that has the chicken and herbs wrapped in foil (and sometimes another layer of paper) so the entire bird’s juices is sealed inside, making it extremely tender and tasty.

fried bread

However, the coup de grace is the deep fried bun. It’s a large, round piece of bread that’s the size of an Arab bread but this is baked in-house with chicken flavors infused into the loaf, which is then deep fried and served warm. It’s the contrasting textures that makes this work so well – the crunchy exterior with the soft, warm flavored bread that goes well with the herbal chicken.

Sea Cucumber with Sliced Abalone on top of Enoki Mushrooms

abalone sea cucumber

This is another classic Chinese dish – the sliced abalone comes out of a can, and the sea cucumbers are re-hydrated so the starchy sauce has to carry everything. It’s often said that Chinese cuisine is more about contrasting textures vs the balanced flavors (base and acidity pairing) and plating of “classic cuisine” e.g. French cuisine and I have to agree.

The soft and juicy Enoki mushrooms contrasts well with the chewy abalone slices and the slightly crunchy sea cucumber.

Asian Surf and Turf

asian surf turf

I just made that up. Haha! There’s no seafood here, the two ingredients are pork and chicken done two ways. This is a very Taoist concept symbolizing yin and yang – the pork is good but the chicken is bad.

Geddit? ;)

ang pow wet tissue

The banquet finished up with the classic fruit platter and I even got an RM 10 ang pow since I wasn’t married and it’s still Chinese New Year (and will be until the 14th of February). I think it’s a great idea that people do their birthdays on CNY since everyone is back in town and it was good to sit down with my uncles and cousins and for a relatives birthday banquet.

birthday banquet

P/S – No, it’s not his actual birthday, I don’t think he even remembers the exact date – this wasn’t uncommon, my mom doesn’t either since my grandma didn’t register her birth until she was a few years old so we celebrate it on a fixed date every year that’s easy to remember.

masterchef australia dinner

A MasterChef dinner? I was puzzled when my dear gave me this as a very special and memorable Christmas present. I was curious about how you can have a MasterChef dinner in Malaysia and we arrived at the apartment @ the Curve after making reservations.

masterchef dinner malaysia

It turns out that there is a special, limited edition degustation menu from the judges and contestants of MasterChef Australia Season 5. This is totally legit, the recipes were licensed to the apartment and my better half had won RM 200 worth of vouchers so she treated me to this delicious dinner.

masterchef degustation menu

There are three (3) main courses to choose from – Stuffed Turkey with Pumpkin Puree (RM 128++) based on Samira El Khaffir’s Stuffed Chicken with Pumpkin Puree recipe, Seared Steak with Hollandaise Sauce, Roasted Pumpkin, Cauliflower & Pine Nut (RM 148++) by Michael Todd and Confit Salmon (RM 98++) by Samira – the contestant we both dislike immensely. Haha!

Amuse-bouche

amuse-bouche

This was a duo of grilled cherry tomatoes with herbs on nachos. There’s only two on the plate (which is the standard plate the apartment uses for appetizers and thus a bit worn looking) which was a little bit weird, plating wise, coz you always put three (3) servings or another odd number. I only realized this when my better half told me about it. It’s a wonderful start though – this is a delicious complimentary starter from the chef.

Appetizer
Braised Lamb Shoulder Tostada (Andy Allen)

lamb shoulder tostada

We both loved this as well. My dear said the lamb didn’t have too much of a gamey taste so it suits her. I thought it was executed well and the lamb shoulder gave a nice texture to put on the tostada. It’s just a little too similar, texture-wise, to the amuse-bouche. I loved the juicy pomegranate seeds strewn throughout though – it was nice!

Soup
Carrot Liquid with a Hint of Blood Orange

carrot soup blood orange

The plating is well thought out – the blood orange comes in a shot glass so you can pour as much (or as little) as you want into the carrot soup. The soup has a very spicy end note though so my dear didn’t manage to finish hers. I loved mine though, I thought the acidity of the blood orange balances out the creaminess of the carrot soup.

Sorbet
Summer Peach Granita

summer peach granita

A wonderful interlude before the main course! The sorbet is in nicely large granulated form so it’s great as a palate cleanser before our mains arrived. There’s no attribution to this and the soup but I think I saw it in one of the MasterClass episodes from one of the judges – think it was Gary.

Main Course
Confit Salmon (Samira El Khaffir)

salmon confit

This is what my better half ordered. It’s the only one that she could have gone for considering she doesn’t like beef. I don’t like cooked salmon in general coz restaurants tend to overcook it but this one was done very nicely. It was cooked to perfection!

confit salmon

The entire salmon was nicely seasoned and pink and there’s none of the dryness that comes from overcooking this piece. I tend to prefer raw salmon sashimi but this changed my mind – it was juicy and tender, with all the natural taste of the salmon brought out.

Main Course
Stuffed Turkey with Pumpkin Puree (Samira El Khaffir)

samira turkey

I was torn between Michael Todd’s Seared Steak with Hollandaise Sauce, Roasted Pumpkin, Cauliflower & Pine Nut and this one and decided to go for the turkey since it’s Christmas. This recipe is based off of Samira’s Stuffed Chicken with Pumpkin Puree. It was quite an interesting dish as the Middle Eastern influence was *really* apparent in the dish.

rice stuffed turkey

The turkey is stuffed with a basmati rice and spice mix! That’s the most fusion stuffing I’ve ever come across and it kinda, sorta works. I can’t say I’ll give this 10/10, more like 7/10 – I enjoyed it but it wasn’t mind-blowing. There’s something to be said about eating a Middle Eastern inspired turkey and not all of it is good. smirk

Notes on service: The waiter took away her plate while I was still eating. She had finished her confit salmon but I was still halfway through my turkey. I thought that was quite rude – you never start clearing plates until everyone is done in the service industry. It’s a major service no-no.

feedback form

Also, he didn’t always serve the woman first, which is another service faux pas. However, the waiter was always polite and kept refilling our cold water so I mentioned this to the supervisor, Julito, who apologized profusely and gave me a feedback form to file my grievances.

masterchef vouchers

It seemed that they didn’t know this basic rule of etiquette about clearing dishes but the supervisor was professional throughout and the waiter was just plain ignorant so no harm done. The bill came up to RM 280++ so it was about RM 90 after the RM 200 vouchers was used.

Dessert
Modern Baklava (Samira El Khaffir)

modern baklava

This is an absolutely wonderful end to the dinner! The baklava was *cloyingly sweet* but I mean that in the most complimentary way. There’s two sauces that comes with the dish – one is sweetened condensed milk based and the other something akin to caramelized sugar. It was decadent and delicious! We both polished our plates! Haha!

masterchef dinner us

Thanks for the thoughtful gift dear! We both enjoyed our MasterChef Australia Season 5 dinner with recipes from the judges and contestants and would go again, except that was the last week of the promotion. It’s a wonderful Christmas present coz we both went to Australia at the beginning of the year as our first trip overseas and we both watched MasterChef Australia Season 5 together. <3

bettys kitchen

I remember going to this pork friendly (or rather unfriendly, if you’re a pig, it really depends on where you stand smirk) establishment way back when it opened. I stayed at Dataran Prima Condominium when I came to KL again in 2008 and this was just around the corner. It generated a lot of buzz when it came out – and I thought it closed down and haven’t been there in years, until last night.

bettys midwest kitchen

It was a rainy night and also a Chinese festival (Winter Solstice) and we decided to go back to see if it’s still open. It was…and business is booming!

bettys aman suria

I mean that literally, we arrived early so we were seated within 5 minutes but there were others waiting on stools while it rained for an hour! It’s the only shoplot that has a security guard to direct and seat people too. Haha!

(He did also help us get into the car by escorting with dual umbrellas)

Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale (RM 18)

dead guy ale

This is a “craft brewed” beer that’s brewed in Oregon, following the Midwest theme. They have a couple of beers from that region (mostly from Rogue Ales) at a reasonable price so I had this maibock with dinner. It’s an import, robust (it’s a bock, not an ale as the name suggests) with all the sediments you’ll expect to find, I liked it.

pigs

Betty’s Midwest Kitchen is known for their porcine menu offerings – I remember their “Dog Food” best, which is fries and pork and cheese all churned together into a melted and delicious mess. This time, we ordered three mains:

Pulled Pork Burger (RM 12)

pulled pork burger

This is another popular offering – a filling main with fried burger buns and pulled pork at a reasonable price. I like the way they fried the buns and the slow-roasted and shredded pork tastes good with their “secret” BBQ sauce.

Baby Back Ribs (RM 32.50)

baby back ribs

This is probably the most expensive item on their menu. It’s grilled pork ribs marinated in their special rub and sauce and grilled to succulent tenderness. That’s the menu description, the reality is a bit of a let down. I remember them having way better ribs than this. The dish we had last night was rather disappointing.

I recommend Racks Bar and Baby Backs in Changkat Bukit Bintang if you’re looking for awesome ribs (wonder if it’s still open?).

Pork Chop with Apples (RM 23)

pork chop apples

Hot off the pan, their pork chops are pan-fried to juicy tenderness and served with their delicious house mash potatoes (love their sauce). There’s two huge chops and the apples naturally goes well with pork – you know the cartoon pig with a *shiny red apple* in its mouth ready to be roasted? :)

I liked this dish, it’s one of their better ones. The entire meal cost RM 94.05 for the both of us. Betty’s Midwest Kitchen charges RM 0.30 for iced water according to their menu but they waived it for us in the bill.

betty us

Overall, the service was decent and the food was good. However, it wasn’t as good as when I ate here years ago. It’s still intensely popular and they enforce a lot of rules (like no seating until entire party is there) so I guess they must still be doing something right. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but it’s just not the awesomeness that I remember it to be.

tong yuen

My dear made me some tong yuen for the Winter Solstice and that’s a wonderful dessert to end the night! <3

Betty’s Midwest Kitchen
Jalan PJU 1/43, Aman Suria,
47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
© 2002 - 2010 Poh Huai Bin Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha