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.

PUTIEN Fujian Heng Hua Restaurant

PUTIEN Prawn

I’ve been meaning to check out this Singaporean restaurant ever since they opened up an outlet in Sunway Pyramid. It serves food from the Fujian Province, specifically Heng Hwa cuisine, and I am a proud member of said clan. I’ve even been to China, although not to that part.

PUTIEN Sunway Pyramid

I thought it’ll be something like what my grandma would serve up when I was a kid.

Pickled Papaya

I was slightly mistaken in that regard. PUTIEN is a higher end restaurant that serves up quite artistic plates. Obviously, emphasis has been placed on presentation, something which is lacking in a lot of Chinese restaurants. Even better, the food is actually really good!

Iced Whole Abalone

Iced Abalone (RM 37 per pax)
Whole abalone for RM 30 per piece? Count me in! I haven’t seen that kind of prices since I went to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (which has a lot of cheap seafood). This is one of the appetizers we ordered, it’s an entire piece of abalone served on top of ice. You have to slice it yourself and it looks a little like a certain bit of female anatomy but it’s delicious!

The latter, I mean. smirk

Iced Abalone

It’s surprisingly flavorful, with notes of chilli and other spices with the tender abalone.

Bamboo Herbal Prawn

Bamboo Herbal Prawn (RM 12.50)
This is the other appetizer we ordered. This is a hot dish with a large prawn sticking out of a bamboo tube. The broth is awesome – deliciously prawn-y, with lots of Chinese wine.

PUTIEN Loh Mee

PUTIEN Loh Mee (RM 21.50)
This is their flagship dish and my better half ordered it. I can’t say I was very happy with the results. It didn’t taste really good, it was a bit of a disappointment to be honest. The noodles were rather bland and I just felt the entire dish was very blah, especially when compared to the other house specialty.

Heng Hua Bee Hoon

Fried Heng Hwa Bee Hoon (RM 21.50)
This is one of the dishes which they are famous for. The signature dish of PUTIEN is made with the only sundried vermicelli milled by hand in Putien. This artisanal product is cooked in a broth of pork bones and old hens. You can really taste the difference in the rice vermicelli, the texture is so different from others – it plays tricks on your palate with its curly, twisty and firm springiness and it absorbs the pork bones and old hens broth so well that I don’t have any other superlative to describe it except maybe legendary!

Hot Yam Gingko Paste

Hot Yam Paste with Gingko Nuts (RM 6.50)
We first ordered Pumpkin Cream with Ice Cream (RM 11.50) but the waitress told us that they couldn’t serve it coz their pumpkins were not up to standard. I thought that was really good quality control so we switched to another dessert which didn’t have pumpkin as one of the ingredients which turned out to be this. It was smaller than I expected and probably not as good as a cold dessert but it was all they had.

PUTIEN Us

We both had quite an enjoyable meal at PUTIEN. There are actually set meals with their flagship dishes for RM 104.50 for 2 pax but we could only choose one main. I ordered a la carte coz I wanted to try more than one main and I’m glad I did that coz the Fried Heng Hwa Bee Hoon was so spectacular while the PUTIEN Loh Mee was so disappointing. The bill for the two of us came up to RM 144.84 inclusive of drinks and the wonderful pickled papaya they serve as an amuse-bouche.

PUTIEN

PUTIEN
LG1.45 Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall
No. 3, Jalan PJS 11/15, Bandar Sunway
46150 Petaling Jaya

Palsaik 8 color pork belly Korean BBQ, Mont Kiara

Palsaik

We’ve been meaning to go to Palsaik for a very long time. The concept is quite intriguing – there are 8 pieces of different flavoured pork belly (samgyupsal) in lieu of the standard “beef bulgogi” in a Korean BBQ setting. It’s a South Korea franchise, so it was really authentic too – everything from the beer to the foliage that comes with your meat just feels right. I’ve been to Korea twice and decided to bring my better half here on Sunday for lunch.

Palsaik 8 Color Set

There are only 3 items on the menu and it all revolves around pork so if The Divine Pig is not your thing, this probably isn’t somewhere you want to come. However, for the rest of us who loves oink oink, this is exactly the place to be. The 3 items on the menu are basically portion sizes – there’s a 3Color Set (meaning you can choose 3 different pieces of flavoured 150 gram pork belly) meant for 2 pax, an 8Color Set with the full range of 8 flavors for 3-4 pax, and a Premium Set with everything in the 8Color Set plus grilled deodeok (a root of a plant) for 3-4 pax.

Palsaik 8Color

We chose the complete 8Color Set since we wanted to try every single flavor they have. It’s called Palsaik after all – which I assume means “eight colors”. The pork belly comes in neatly sliced 150 gram pieces in separate bowls on a wooden board with an arrow from left to right indicating where you should start eating – from the mildest to the strongest/most intense flavors.

Palsaik 8 Flavor Pork Belly

The 8 flavors of pork belly are:

Palsaik Ginseng Wine Pine Leaves

Palsaik Garlic Herb Curry

Palsaik Miso Paste Hot

  • Ginseng
  • Wine
  • Pine leaves
  • Garlic
  • Herb
  • Curry
  • Miso paste
  • Hot

Makgeolli Korean Rice Wine

I also ordered a bottle of makgeolli – a milky, off-white Korean rice wine that weighs in at a surprising 14.45% alcohol. It comes in a plastic 750 ml bottle for RM 20, which is quite cheap – that’s the same abv and content of a regular wine bottle. I’ve had this in Korea during my two trips there and an interesting attempt by Seoul to export their culture and food has resulted in this being apparently dubbed “drunken rice”.

Palsaik Premium Set

The 8Color Set also comes with a bowl of seafood soup. This is quite authentic jjigae type dish that comes with *tons* of seafood like crab, prawns, squid, clams, mussels and octopus. We both loved the hearty spicy soup.

Palsaik Seafood Soup

There are servers who will help you grill the garlic and meat and you really just need to sit back and fold the pieces of meat together with the condiments in various types of leaves – from butter lettuce to herbs.

Palsaik Mont Kiara

I quite liked the ginseng one, it started very well. Surprisingly, the wine one was a miss for me, the marinade didn’t work through the meat well and all I got was an overwhelming taste of slightly-off pork. The pine leaves was mild and unique, the garlic superbly done with tons of flavor – they must have soaked that in for a very long time. The herb one was very interesting too. The curry pork belly slice didn’t do much for me, and we were too full by the time the miso paste one was done. The treacherous sounding hot flavor was in fact quite good, with lots of thick hot sauce still sticking to the meat.

Palsaik Us

Palsaik is a nice change if you want a porcine instead of a bovine Korean BBQ experience. We went to the outlet in SohoKL, Mont Kiara but they have another one in Scott Garden. It’s an authentic Korean BBQ chain that has taken Melbourne by storm too. Try the makgeolli when you’re there – it goes very well with the 8 flavored pork. They also serve Korean beer and soju. The bill came up to RM 153.90 for the both of us, inclusive of drinks. Needless to say, this outlet is not halal.

Palsaik Korean BBQ

Palsaik
J-01-09 SohoKL
Solaris Mont Kiara
No. 2 Jalan Solaris
Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Birthday Dinner @ Payung Cafe Sibu

Payung Cafe Sibu

Don’t you want to go to some other place?” I asked my better half. She’s been eating at the exact same two places last time she was here – Aloha Cafe for lunch and Payung Cafe for dinner, so I suggested Baba & Siam but she really liked the durian ice cream we had last time at Payung Cafe so we ended up here for dinner, three days after we had another huge dinner with my sister and her family (who also loves Payung). smirk

This is my birthday dinner – my dear had flown down from KL to celebrate slightly less than 24 hours with me and we had:

Guava Salad (RM 8)

Guava Salad

This is our starter. Payung Cafe has a range of salads and most of them are great. I especially recommend the Herbs Salad (RM 8) but since it was a hot day, we went for the Guava Salad. It’s a lovely dish of guava with calamansi lime, crushed nuts and other herbs. It’s extremely refreshing!

Mushroom Roll (RM 8)

Mushroom Roll

This is a dish that has gone through many, many recipe tweaks since it was first introduced 8 years ago. I was among the first people in Sibu who first came when Payung Cafe opened in 2008 and spread the word that it was a great al fresco dining place offering the best of South East Asian (and a couple of Western) dishes.

Starfruit Prawns (RM 16)

Starfruit Prawns

I love this stuff – it’s starfruit (carambola) cooked with large prawns. There are three inside and the rest is cut up starfruits and other vegetables. It makes for a good combination. My dad ordered this one.

Thai Green Curry Chicken (RM 19)

Thai Green Curry

My better half’s order – she didn’t even have to think twice. Thai green curry is usually very spicy (at least if you eat the original from Thailand) but this is a much more muted interpretation meant for sensitive local palates.

Otak-Otak Fish (RM 12)

Otak Otak Ikan

This is a Payung Cafe staple that we all ordered to share. It’s homemade and all of their dishes comes with rice (RM 2) and we also wanted to have otak otak so the owners were kind enough to deduct RM 1 from our fourth dish – we ordered four in total for a party of 3 so we didn’t need the extra. It’s usually RM 13.

Sour Chicken (RM 18)

Sour Chicken

This is one of their daily specials. I’ve had the duck version and I like how they use Cambodian spices and herbs to make this dish – it’s quite nice. Payung Cafe also uses chicken legs only in their dishes so you’ll get cuts of drums and thighs.

Mulu Ice Cream (RM 10)

Mulu Ice Cream

We ordered one dessert for each person – this is mine, the ever-changing Mulu Ice Cream. This too has gone through several revisions, it used to be round, then a square slice, then a rectangular slice. It’s not cake – this is a sandwich of two chocolate ice cream layers with muesli in between, which is then topped with vanilla ice cream. I really like this coz of the textural aspects, there’s muesli sprinkled on top too.

Durian Ice Cream (RM 8)

Durian Ice Cream

This is a delicious concoction of homemade vanilla ice cream with durian paste. It’s delicious when they’ve just made it and it tastes like real durians instead of dodol (a local confection made with durians). It’s the reason my better half loves this place.

Jelly Pisang (RM 8)

Jelly Pisang

This is a classic Sibu dessert – it used to be served with shaved ice and bananas and Jello. Nowadays, it’s almost extinct. To the best of my knowledge, there’s only two places who still serves this – Peppers Cafe @ Tanahmas Hotel and here. This is the higher end version with homemade ice cream. It’s pictured next to Roselle Juice (RM 6) – a refreshing drink made from the roselle plant. It’s misspelled as Roxelle Juice in the menu.

Payung Cafe Birthday

It’s a wonderful dinner, made even better with the awesome company – my dad and my better half. My dad insisted of picking up the bill and treating us to the meal since it’s my birthday. The total for the three of us came up to RM 132 which is very reasonable for the amount we ordered and true to this word, the owner took RM 1 off the bill. :)

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