curry

Well, most of you know that I love my meat. I don’t really like vegetarian food…or so I thought. I went to Kechara Oasis New Age Vegetarian Cuisine in Jaya One recently to meet up with Jamie (more on that later) and check out their vegetarian offerings.

kechara oasis

Kechara Oasis is one of the high end vegetarian eating establishments in town – they take great pride in serving fresh and different styles of the usual vegetarian fare.

kechara oasis jaya one

It was pretty packed when I arrived there for lunch. I was pleasantly surprised to see their menu – they offer vegetarian fare from all around the world.

tibeten butter tea

I started with Tibetan Butter Tea. This comes in a flask and is slightly salty. However, I really loved the creamy mouth-feel and strong brewed tea that this concoction presents – the salty accent just highlights and complements the buttery goodness.

tingmo

Tingmo is the Tibetan version of the Chinese man tau (steamed bun). It comes with a side of curry that goes very well with the neutral taste of the man tau. The Tingmos are also good for mopping up the gravies of the main dishes.

momos

The deep fried Momos is a must-order item when you go to Kechara Oasis – it’s a unique Tibetan twist of the Japanese Gyoza dumplings and comes filled with potatoes, vegetables, herbs and cheese. It tastes lovely when dipped into chilli oil. I didn’t even realize there wasn’t any meat inside.

vegetarian

We also had two different types of curries. I particularly enjoyed the Vietnamese Curry Chicken – it has Seitan drumsticks with a cornucopia of vegetables and potatoes. The Seitan drumsticks tastes remarkably similar to meat – the texture is spot on.

kung po

The Kung Po Hedgehog Mushroom comes with a smattering of cashew nuts on top and comes highly recommended from me. It’s a very spicy dish of mushrooms, green peppers and carrots stir fried in Kung Po sauce. I’m a big fan of spicy dishes and this one did not disappoint – it finished my bowl of brown rice with the sauce alone.

mushrooms

If you prefer something less spicy, the Thai Butter Hedgehog Mushroom is one of Kechara Oasis’s more popular offerings. The way they cook the hedgehog mushrooms makes it taste like battered pieces of meat. The sprinkling of sesame seeds adds to the flavor and I loved the buttery taste of the dish.

pasta

However, the most remarkable dish is a fusion vegetarian pasta dish that tastes like nothing I’ve ever had. It’s made with spaghetti with thick green curry gravy and it’s the subtle touches like the sunflower seeds on top that adds a lot of texture and dimension to the pasta. I’ll definitely come back to this again. Delicious and creamy, it’s one of the best fusion dishes I’ve ever had – and it’s vegetarian to boot!

jamie

Anyway, I was at Kechara Oasis to meet Jamie, who is rather active in Kechara. She has published a book about her life as a rather spoiled kid and I’ve always been curious about how someone like her would end up as one of Rinpoche’s liaisons in Malaysia.

david

I met her though David (who has also written an autobiography) and what drew me to these people is that they’re people like me who somehow managed to give up their previous life of hedonism and become who they are today. It all comes down to Rinpoche’s teachings and although I haven’t had a chance to meet him, he’s this cool dude from the US who’s spreading the word of Buddhism through good deeds.

Rimpoche

I’m sure you’ve heard of Kechara, especially their efforts in Kechara Soup Kitchen (KSK). I’m going to volunteer and help out – it’s a good cause to spend a few Saturdays on. However, it’s David and Jamie that got me reading Rinpoche’s blog – especially the bits about Animals & Vegetarianism.

kechara jamie

I’m sure a lot of you know how badly animals are treated, but since you get your chicken from the supermarket, it’s not a very visceral reminder of the industry. It’s not easy being a vegetarian – I’ve heard personal anecdotes from David and Jamie on how they each achieved it.

call me paris

I think Jamie puts it best when she said that it’s a struggle at the beginning but after a while you just get used to it when you think about the mistreatment of animals that happens in the industry. I’m not sure I can do it but it does give you food for thought (pun intended).

rice

Rinpoche’s blog explains it very well in Animals & Vegetarianism. He’s the only blogger I know who’s been ordained by the Dalai Lama and writes about a lot of different things that you wouldn’t expect – everything from Food & Recipes to Current Affairs & News.

jaya one start

Jaya One is synonymous for great food outlets. It’s what people do when they’re heading down – eat, drink and be merry. I’m not very familiar with the other side of Jaya One (the part where Cold Storage is) until Imm Ai brought us on a tour of the lesser known section of the place.

sri kulai me

I went there with no expectations whatsoever but I was mighty pleased coz I managed to get a lot of stuff done!

jaya one seafood

First off, there is a money changer at the place. I grabbed the Korean Won from my old place and wanted to head to CIMB to change it to RM coz I was running short of cash. However, a massive traffic jam gave me a premonition I would probably have to do it another day (and miss cooking since my credit card is maxed out) so I just drove straight to Jaya One.

jaya one currency

Well, guess what? They have a licensed money changer there! Hot damn!

This was TOTALLY UNPLANNED. It’s real one, not cheat one, and I even have the receipts to prove it. Heh! I got a little less than RM 1,000 for my Korean Won which was enough for me to shop for groceries for my Turkey stew with quail eggs, Portobello mushrooms and apples.

jaya one me

This, my friends, is killing two birds with one stone.

a slice of heaven

Anyway, we were made to feel like VIPs thanks to Imm Ai, Lorraine and Vivian who arranged the entire thing. Iza was there as well.

a slice of heaven offerings

A Slice of Heaven gave us cupcakes and was very hospitable to us.

sri kulai offerings

The shop opposite it – Sri Kulai, specializes in microwavable Malaysian halal food and we had a complete tasting of their menu.

sri kulai

My only regret is stuffing myself before I went there. I was surprised that microwave food tastes so good. It’s very convenient for people like me who works an average of 12 hours a day.

sri kulai microwave

It’s not like you can cook every single day (that is my hobby, I do it weekends) so this affords a level of convenience for reasonably tasty food.

sri kulai izza

I particularly enjoyed the sambal prawns and the chicken rice.

montage

Heading up, there are cosmetic outlets, pewter jewelers, florists, gift shops, tech stores and more!

stress

Daily Books gave me a tome called Less Stress. I needed that. T_T

a chic store

There is also a boutique called A Chic Store which kindly furnished me with a new piece of garment to wear. I have a notoriously limited wardrobe so that was nice.

a chic store us

=D

carpet

However, the best schwag of the day goes to Crown Furniture and Carpets.

Check out the carpet they gave us! It’s damn awesome okay. It’s as long as I am tall (which makes it around 171 cm or so) and it’s just perfect for my studio.

crown carpet me

It’s currently nesting at the lounge of my studio apartment.

cold storage

The anchor tenant is Cold Storage. As previously mentioned I wanted to go there anyway since I had to get supplies for my stew project. I like Cold Storage coz of the variety of stuff you can get there. Deli meat, fresh and frozen seafood, pasta, it’s heaven for someone who loves cooking. That’s why I prefer Cold Storage and other import specialty hypermarkets.

cold storage montage

I am not ashamed to admit that I’m one of the people who DON’T buy Malaysia. I’ll buy Malaysian goods when it’s up to international standards coz once you’ve seen the best, you won’t go back. :)

jaya one contest

Oh, and they have this Christmas contest until 13th December where you can stand a chance to win a RM 1,000 gift voucher if you spend RM 50 and above on a single receipt. I can only do two submissions though coz I ran up a RM 156.20 bill on food and a RM 135.00 slip for non-halal food and alcohol. I should have separated it. T_T

jaya one specialty

Nevertheless, it was a good outing. I got my foreign currency changed, visited a lot of specialty stores and managed to get my grocery shopping done.

jaya one cart

Jaya One – it’s not just for food. You’ll be surprised at the variety of enterprises operating there. You get free parking too if you go to Cold Storage to get your weekly stipend of groceries.

jaya one end

I <3 coz it’s convenient and I managed to get all my stuff done in a single day at a single place.

cubes jaya one

Cubes is billed as a Chinese cuisine / wine bar. Mr. Ang had us over for dinner courtesy of Eiling and it was good to have some Chinese food and single malt for a change. 

cubes pork

I’m not going to go into the dish names or prices since most of the stuff we had was off the menu so here’s a description of the dinner: 

cubes duck

This is probably the best duck I’ve ever eaten. It’s served Peking Duck style. 

cubes soft shell crab

Soft shelled crab! 

cubes soft shell crab bun

Best wrapped in a warm man tou (Chinese soft bun) and served with a bed of lettuce and sweet pineapple. I like the sesame seed hints on the crab. 

cubes pork knuckle

The next dish is roasted pork knuckle. You just can’t argue with the porcine goodness. It’s tender and melt-in-your-mouth. 

cubes pork belly

Just when you thought you’ve fulfilled your pig quota for the month, here’s the three layered pork belly with special sauce. This is the best dish of the night – tender, juicy and flavorful. The texture is exquisite with crunchy nuts on top contrasted with soft pork belly. 

cubes prawn

It just can’t get any better than this right? Wrong! Here come the huge prawns! 

cubes chicken

The chicken is almost an anti-climax after all that good food. 

cubes bbq pork

…but wait, pork awaits! There’s no such thing as too much pork! BBQ pork, done really well so it’s all juicy. Mmm… 

cubes veggies

It was a veritable pig out but there was an obligatory vegetable dish just to fulfill the FDA requirements. I like Cubes, but most of the stuff served that night isn’t available on the menu. You can always ask the owner though, I’m sure he can whip something up. :)

ducking

I went to DucKing at Jaya One for our monthsary dinner on Friday night. DucKing (“The Different One”) seems to be wordplay on the story The Ugly Duckling (which turned out to be a swan if you forgot your Hans Christian Andersen).

ducking montage

DucKing is packed pretty much all the time – we waited 15 minutes for our turn to be seated, but the waitress was gracious enough to let us in when she couldn’t contact the previous two ahead of us on the queue list. There seem to be some problems with communication though – I got four calls during dinner saying that my seat is ready and I told them each time that I was already inside.

ducking menu

Price for this menu: RM 1,500 ++. I have been trying to spot this when I saw it on Cheesie’s blog and true enough; it’s in there. Haha!

ducking wine

I ordered INTIS (RM 78) an Argentinean Merlot meaning Sun God. It’s the cheapest wine on the menu – I haven’t started working yet, tomorrow is my first day at work so we figured we needed to conserve our funds. My girlfriend went for the Chinese tea, although she had a small amount (slightly more than thimble sized) of red wine as well.

ducking duck tongue

You can’t go to an establishment named DucKing and not order duck so for the appetizer, we had the Marinated Duck Tongue with X.O Sauce (RM 16.80). It tasted surprisingly good, I can’t remember ever having duck tongue before. This one is served with the tendon (bone?) under the tongue intact, and the slight crunchiness adds to the appeal.

ducking peking duck

Next on the menu was the Beijing Duck Two Varieties. I ordered 1/2 a duck. It’s RM 38.80 for 1/2 a duck and RM 62.80 for a whole duck. I love Peking Duck, especially the process that goes with it. Unfortunately, DucKing does not have the chef carve the skin off the duck in front of you.

ducking beijing duck

Peking Duck comes in four (4) dishes – the crispy roasted duck skin, the paper-thin flour wrap, spring onions and other vegetables for garnish and flavor, and the sauce itself.

ducking duck montage

Basically, you take one flour wrap and place a piece (or two) of crispy roasted duck skin on top before adding some spring onions and dousing it with sauce. It is then wrapped like a tortilla. There is some debate about whether the sauce goes on first, but I prefer it just before I wrap up the entire thing.

ducking duck wrap

The Peking Duck at DucKing is great! I love the soft, fragile flour wrap. I’m amazed at how tissue paper-thin it is. Excellent.

ducking bun

Beijing Duck is usually served in two or three courses – the skin in wrap, the meat cooked with vegetables and the bones in soup. Most establishments nowadays do away with the third installment though. DucKing gives you the choice of a wide range of preparations for the second course – we opted for the Deep Fried Bun with Roasted Duck Meat & Black Pepper Sauce (RM Included in the price of Beijing Duck).

ducking vegetable

The vegetable component of the food pyramid is completed with Braised Baby Kailan with Crab Meat (RM 28.80). DucKing cooks this dish with egg and starch and they’re very generous with the crab meat – it’s definitely proportionate with the price. There are huge chunks of whole crab meat inside the dish. Very nice indeed.

ducking abalone

For the last dish, we indulged in the Braised Abalone with Shimeji Mushroom and Broccoli (RM 72.80). The abalone is indeed cooked to perfection and matches the sauce well. The mushroom is paired perfectly with the abalone and came out juicy and tender. I used the broccoli to mop up the sauce, that’s how good it was.

DucKing does a very brisk business and the food is good, although it comes out very fast, suggesting mass production (or a chef with really deft fingers). The bill came up to a total of RM 280.85 but the bulk of that is from the wine and the abalone.

ducking us

Happy monthsary, dear! Love always.

Yes, that is our couple t-shirt and also the distinctive look of a bulge in my abdomen from eating excessively these few weeks. ;)

leaving on a jet plane

I caught a haunting acoustic version of Leaving on a Jet Plane sung by an unknown female singer at Jaya One over the weekend. She has great vocals and a melodic voice that instantly grabs at your auditory senses.

Any idea who she is?

frontera

Frontera Bar & Grill is located at Jaya One and serves authentic Tex-Mex fare. I was invited by Larry to sample his repertoire of culinary delights and went there for lunch with my girlfriend in tow. Frontera Bar & Grill is open from 12 pm till late and serves premium tequila with Patron being the flagship brand of the place.

interior

The interior of Frontera Bar & Grill has a distinct Mexican theme with agave plants, pictures of person(s) of Latin American descent, and sarapes hanging from the ceiling. The colorful pieces of fabric adds a lot of ambiance to the place, as does the Mexican gangsta rap music emanating from the speakers as we walked into the eating establishment. ;)

chips salsa

The friendly waiter informed us that Larry was on his way and served us some Chips & Salsa while we were waiting. The salsa is homemade with fresh Jalapenos and serves as a great dip for the chips. I love scooping up the salsa with the nachos, it makes for a fun snack and we were famished from not eating the entire day (due to waking up a scant hour before, nursing a hangover).

horny margarita

It is said that the best cure for a hangover is more alcohol and thus, we had the Horny Margarita. It’s made with Sauza tequila (100% agave tequila) and derives its name from the Hornitos label. Larry arrived soon after that and settled down once the introductions have been made. It was great to meet up with him again. I’ve known him for ages and I’m glad that he’s finally made it to the big leagues.

taquitos

This is the Taquitos de Pollo. It’s an appetizer made with Frontera chicken wrapped in corn tortillas and served with salsa verde (green sauce) and sour cream. The Frontera chicken is submersed in their special chili marinade before baking and it came out juicy and creamy. The contrast between the tender chicken and the crispy tortilla skin creates an interesting texture in the mouth. The salsa verde and sour cream sauce also serves as a good antidote for the Habanero chili challenge I took on. ;)

enchiladas

I had the Beef Enchiladas, which Larry recommended. It’s made with New Mexico Red chili sauce and topped with cheese. The beef is specially ordered with just the right amount of lean meat vs fat ratio and it’s so tender it almost melts in the mouth. The chili used in the dish had to be imported in as well. I love this dish. I rate this the best of the Frontera menu.

chimichanga

Doris had the Chicken Chimichanga which is a huge wrap of chicken served with a side of frijoles refritos (Refried beans) and Mexican rice. The Chicken Chimichanga is topped with melted cheese and the refried beans and Mexican rice on the side makes it a very filling dish. Frontera doesn’t skimp on the chicken too, the wrap is chock full of chicken pieces.

cheeseburger

We also got a chance to sample the new menu, affectionately dubbed “Gringo Fare” by Larry. This is the Frontera Cheese Burger which is served with fries sprinkled with Frontera’s chili peppers. The cheese burger is huge and comes with a lot of cheese – a perfect cheeseburger. It still maintains the Tex-Mex influence from the flavored fries and the beef patty is juicy and delicious.

chicken sandwich

The next item in the yet-to-be-released new “Gringo Fare” menu is the Frontera Chicken Sandwich with Jalapeno Coleslaw. I reckon it shouldn’t be called a chicken sandwich – the lean chicken cut inside the bun is so enormous, it should be a main dish in its own right! My girlfriend really liked this one, the chicken is tender and juicy and the Jalapeno coleslaw stays true to Frontera’s Tex-Mex roots.

agave margarita

The huge meal was washed down with Frontera’s Agave Margarita, which is made with agave syrup instead of sugar syrup. The difference between a pure agave margarita made with agave syrup is surprisingly distinctive from one made with sugar syrup. It doesn’t really hit you until after a while too, and Frontera serves their margaritas with a full US shot (as in 45 ml) instead of the UK definition of a “shot” (25 ml) which most pubs use.

Behind the Scenes

dried chilis

Dried Chili
Ancho
New Mexico Red
Guajillo
Chili de Arbol
Pasilla
Chipotle Morita

fresh chilis

Fresh Chili
Habanero
Jalapeno

Interesting fact: Frontera means border or frontier in Spanish.

jaya one

Frontera Bar & Grill
No. 18-8-2 Block L,
Palm Square, Jaya One
Jalan University, Petaling Jaya.
T +603 7958 8515
F +603 7958 8125

martini man

Frontera Bar & Grill serves a wide range of premium and super premium 100% blue agave tequila. This here is the official Frontera Margarita Man, who has served thousands of margaritas during his tenure at the bar.

speedy gonzalez

The Speedy Gonzalez is a cocktail with Red Bull, watermelon liquor and Sauza 100% pure blue agave tequila. It’s under the Hornitos label and packs a real punch. The Red Bull (caffeine and Taurine) gives a slightly stimulating aspect to offset the CNS depressant qualities of the Sauza Hornitos tequila.

Watch the Speedy Gonzolez being made live! You can’t taste the alcohol inside, and the stimulants make you feel like you’re not feeling the alcohol too, but you are – a drink to watch out for. :)

patron xo cafe

The Patron Spirits Company also makes coffee liqueur, which I didn’t know until I went to Frontera. Dubbed the Patron XO Cafe, it’s like Kahlua, except this coffee liqueur weighs in at a whopping 40% alcohol! It can be sipped neat and taste a hell of a lot better than Kahlua.

stealth bomber

Frontera Bar & Grill also makes a mean B-52 with Patron XO Cafe instead of Kahlua. This doubles the alcohol content so I think it should be dubbed the B2 Spirit “Stealth Bomber” instead. It’s a shooter with B-52 “Stratofortress” ingredients with the Kahlua substituted with the premium Patron XO Cafe.

gran patron

The tequila based drinks at Frontera is sweetened with agave syrup instead of sugar syrup so the taste of agave is preserved. It’s really a good concept, and a great place for tequila based cocktails. The unopened Gran Patron Platinum at the front costs RM 1,400 per bottle. Larry didn’t let me taste it though. ;) It’s understandable – he hasn’t had the chance to sample it himself.

generations tequila

Tequila is underrated in Malaysia due to the non-premium brands flooding the market but tasting the premium and super premium brands has given me much respect for this drink from Mexico.

frontera me doris

Check it out at Frontera Bar & Grill @ Jaya One.

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