Sungkai Choy Kee Restaurant

Sungkai Pork Trotters

This is probably the most famous restaurant in Sungkai, Perak. It has a whole range of freshwater fish and prawns but they’re also well known for their righteous braised pig trotters. It’s about 1 1/2 hours from Kuala Lumpur itself and we popped in for a meal while coming back from Penang just now. My better half wanted to eat durians so I drove to Balik Pulau so she can feast on the King of Fruits to her heart’s content.

Sungkai Choy Kee

I haven’t even heard of Sungkai before today. I thought my dear had misremebered the name of sungai (river in Malay) when she told me about Choy Kee. I was surprised to find out that she’s been here before, with her parents, and they loved the pig’s trotters here. I had an idea in my mind of what pig trotters are – they’re basically the feet, right? Well, not here. The portion of pig trotters they serve include the hock so it’s basically a pork knuckle with trotters attached.

Choy Kee

The waitress also came out with a dish of ikan terubok. Apparently, the owner mistakenly thought I had ordered it, as did my dear. I basically nodded and said “Okay” (as in, I understand) when he explained how they prepare their terubok fish – how it was fried and then braised for a very long time so all the bones are soft. I was very full so I sent it back. I would normally have eaten it out of curiosity. I do like toli shad. But no means no and silence does not mean consent. smirk

Braised Pork Trotters

My better half had rice with the Braised Pork Trotters (RM 38) and she said it was very good. She finished her rice anyway. I also had a few pieces but I was not impressed. There’s nothing wrong with the pig trotters. I guess they’re quite good if you like this style of preparation. However, the thinness of the gravy put me off. It’s similar to bak kut teh in terms of taste and viscosity. The skin is wrinkled too, like it’s been fried before braising.

Restaurant Choy Kee

Don’t get me wrong, this is purely personal preference. I suspect being stuffed from our gastronomic adventures in Penang had a thing or two to do with it too. Maybe I would like it more if I had been hungrier. I don’t know. I usually like pig trotters. I got a portion to go for my dear’s parents too, since they like the braised pork trotters here. Choy Kee will even provide you with a frozen one upon request, ready for takeaway.

Sungkai

The bill came up to RM 80.30 but the bulk of that is from the two portions of braised pork trotters (RM 38 each). Naturally, we couldn’t finish our dish. Each portion is good for 2 pax. We passed the frozen pork trotters to my dear’s parents as well as some souvenirs we got from Penang and took our half-eaten one home. I’ll probably eat it for dinner again tomorrow. I won’t drive down to Restaurant Sungkai Choy Kee just to eat pork trotters but I’ll not hesitate to come back to check out their seafood offerings next time we go to Ipoh or Penang.

Bak Kut Teh Klang Yip Yong @ Kota Damansara

Bak Kut Teh Klang Yip Yong

Yip Yong is the nearest bak kut teh to my condo and I’ve eaten here quite often. The parking in this particular area of Sunway Giza can be a bit of a nightmare but there’s a multi-storey carpark for around RM 1/hour behind this. You can exit from the lifts right to the back of this BKT restaurant so it’s very convenient. I hear they’re originally from Klang.

Yip Yong

There aren’t a lot of people who come here for lunch, mostly due to the fact that it’s flanked by two chap fan places, both of which are cheaper options. Interestingly, the chap fan places are *packed* from 12 pm – 1 pm. However, if you’re in the mood for a little more protein in your diet, you’ll do no wrong in popping in here for some nourishing herbal pork soup.

Bak Kut Teh

This is the regular bak kut teh. It’s RM 12 for a single portion and you can opt for a variety of meats of a single type. I choose a bit of everything, including innards. There is usually a large pork bone, a few slices of prime pork belly and miscellaneous organ meat like intestines and stomach.

BKT

There is also generous amounts of different soy byproducts like fu chuk, tofu etc. You can also add yau char kueh/youtiao (Chinese crullers) for RM 2. It comes in a bowl and you’ll be charged according to whether you eat it or not. I usually do if I’m hungry. The soup here is quite nice and refills are free.

Dry Bak Kut Teh

The dry bak kut teh here is actually A LOT better than the regular one. The caramelized sauce is fortified with dried sotong and okra and other delicious bits. It’s RM 13 for one portion, slightly more expensive than the soup version. You also get a tiny bowl of BKT soup on the side for you to wash down the meal with. I’m not sure if you can refill this normally but since I’m a regular they don’t charge me.

Yip Yong Sunway Giza

A meal here usually sets me back RM 18.50 inclusive of drinks. They only have different kinds of herbal tea , there are no brewed drinks. I like the dry bak kut teh more than the soup bak kut teh. The dry BKT here is phenomenal while the soup version is kinda meh compared to Klang. Restaurant Yip Yong Klang Bak Kut Teh is the best BKT in Sunway Giza, but only coz there’s not much competition. :)

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) 2016 Dinner in Sibu, Sarawak

PKR Dinner Sibu 2016

I was invited to come along for dinner last night at Good Happiness Restaurant in Sibu and listen to the PKR politicians speak. This is (as I understand it) a fundraising dinner of sorts – each table has paid a minimum of RM 400 for campaign contributions. Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is one of the opposition parties in Malaysia.

PKR Dinner Sibu

I’ve always been very transparent in my political leanings – I voted for DAP (Democratic Action Party) in the last general election and make it a point to go for Bersih gatherings. I thought it would be interesting to hear the speakers and see the 2016 Sarawak State Election lineup.

PKR Dinner 2016

Good Happiness Restaurant was very packed, they had the entire second floor with over 100 tables. There were provisions for halal diners as well with outside catering.

Foochow Fried Noodles

Foochow Fried Noodles
This was the first dish that came out. Good Happiness Restaurant does decent Foochow style fried noodles, I quite like it. I think almost everyone was hungry at this point so it was smart of them to start with a carb heavy dish.

Pork Belly Soup

Sup Babi (Pork Belly Soup)
I have honestly never had anything like this before! It’s pork belly and leg that’s been boiled with pickled vegetables and served as a clear broth. It’s a nice soup but the sheer amount of adipose tissue is staggering…the abundance of unrendered pork fat makes you feel a bit jelak after a few bites.

Sup Babi

Interesting execution though. This is a very Iban style of cooking – simple and wholesome (in the sense that it’s filling and slightly oily).

Curry Fish Head

Curry Fish Head with Steamed Rice
This was the third dish that came out. The menu for the night seems quite starch intensive, which I guess is appropriate for massive events like these. It’s nowhere near as good as places like Sheraton but it’s done decently enough.

Abalone with Mushrooms

Abalone with Mushrooms
This is a classic Chinese banquet dish with abalone slices and enoki mushrooms stir fried and stewed, surrounded by heads of broccoli. It’s not very tasty but food is beside the point here – people come for the politics, the food just serves as a backdrop and a vehicle to raise funds. It’s purely secondary and I don’t think anyone minded.

PKR Candidates 2016

This is the Central lineup for 2016! These candidates would be the ones contesting in the upcoming Sarawak State Election 2016 to be held in four (4) months or so.

Anwar Ibrahim Badge

I got an Anwar Ibrahim (leader of PKR) button for contributing to the campaign. There were people going around with donation boxes – these will go towards campaign funds so I was happy to give to the opposition coalition.

PKR Dinner Me

It was an interesting dinner. I felt that some things could have been done differently to make things more conducive e.g. less ceramah (political speeches) would be nice since everyone in attendance is in agreement with you, it’s a little like preaching to the choir. I also think more mileage could be had from getting the upcoming political candidates to speak to and connect with people at each table – perhaps next time eh? Good luck! :)

Boodle Feast – A Boodle Fight Meal!

Boodle Feast

This is the Boodle Feast that we had earlier this week. I had no idea what a “Boodle Fight” was until I saw photos of a previous one. It’s a tradition from the Philippines where you eat with your hands from a communal mound of rice surrounded with meat and seafood on a bed of banana leaves.

Boodle Fight

This seems to originate from the Philippine Military Academy, where they call it a Boodle Fight.

Boodle Sibu

My bro Eddy took the time to make this happen. It’s a good thing his wife is Pinoy (and cooks really well) and the 9 of us sat down to this unique dining experience at his home.

Grilled Meat

The meat is primarily grilled using the BBQ. Jona has been working the grill the entire day to prepare this dinner.

Toli Shad

There was the delicious ikan terubok (toli shad) – a popular local fish which is currently only available from several spots in Sarawak.

Ikan Terubok

This is what the fish looks like before cooking. It has been salted although it’s not salted fish per se. It’s a strange hybrid I’ve grown to love.

Banana Leaves

The banana leaves were laid down to cover two tables – first a bed of smaller leaves and then the full green luscious ones were put on top as the eating surface.

Making Boodle Fight

There are no plates or spoons – you use your hands for the Boodle Feast.

Layering Boodle Feast

It was a lot of food!

Boodle Preparation

There are three kinds of eggs – salted duck eggs were mixed into the rice together with boiled quail eggs and halved chicken eggs on the side.

Rice Mound Boodle

Pork chops, barbequed beef, mutton, chicken, fish and sausages represented the protein while cucumbers, okra and tomatoes provides a palate cleanser of sorts.

Boodle

I thought the tomatoes were brilliant as it gives a burst of citrus like tang, which prevents an overload from the massive amounts of meat.

Boodle Feast Us

You basically take a portion of rice from the middle to your own eating spot on the banana leaf and start eating.

Boodle Table

Hands are utilized for everything and it made for a really unique and interesting no-cutlery-allowed eating experience. I ate so much from the boodle feast I felt like bursting!

Mid-Autumn 2015 Mooncake Roundup (Taiwan Special): Pork Floss Mooncakes, Walnut & Medjool Dates Mooncakes, Haagen-Dazs Handcrafted Ice Cream Mooncakes

Walnut Date Mooncake

The majority of mooncakes here are from Taiwan. I was there before the Mid-Autumn Festival and bought all my mooncakes from I-Mei’s flagship shop in the middle of Taipei.

Mooncakes 2015

They’re mostly Taiwanese style mooncakes with flaky pastry shell but there are some of the classic mooncakes too, however all of them are made in Taiwan unless stated otherwise.

I Mei Taiwan

I had actually planned to get all the mooncakes from Taiwan. I thought it’ll be nice to give out mooncakes from Taiwan – it seemed like the ultimate souvenir, although I did buy other gifts too. It was a very busy trip and I couldn’t find time to get out, until my very last day, when Diana took me out at 10 am in the morning to a shop that sells mooncakes.

Diana

You can get mooncakes at 7-Eleven and the airport but for the former, you have to order in advance and the latter are commercialized stuff and I’ll rather go for a local producer and this place fit the bill perfectly!

Packing Mooncakes

The friendly people there even helped me pack everything and explained what each mooncake was (granted, I spent quite a lot) so that was good, considering I don’t read Chinese.

Pork Floss with Mung Bean Taiwanese Mooncakes (NTD 630)

Taiwanese Savory Mooncake

This is really good! I would give this Best of 2015 due to its unusual savory-sweet mix. I love how the pork floss interacts with the sweet mung bean paste and I really enjoyed eating this gem. I had specifically gone looking for a savory mooncake after hearing about it from Diana (our Taiwanese liaison).

Pork Floss Taiwanese Mooncakes

I was slightly taken aback when she asked me if I was looking for sweet or savory mooncakes. “Savory mooncakes? Whatever do you mean?” I asked. It turns out that pork floss mooncakes have been around for a while and the award winning combination with mung bean and the Taiwanese pastry skin is quite common here.

Pork Floss Mooncakes

This box cost NTD 630 (about RM 85).

I-Mei Specialty Mooncake Selection 2015 with Premium Gift Box (NTD 750)

Taipei Mooncakes

I got this one for my better half. It has a nice painting on the front of the box showing the exact street where I bought this mooncake from in the early days. I-Mei has been around since 1934 and they came out with a commemoration box where they commissioned someone to paint the street scene of their flagship store in Taipei where I went to.

Imei Mooncakes

This has a mixture of Taiwanese style mooncakes, Hong Kong style mooncakes and a selection of Taiwanese pastries (pineapple cake etc). It also has a wonderful Taiwanese mooncake flavor – dates and walnuts! It also appears in the previous box above (I think) as well as the one below (in the Hong Kong skin) and it’s a wonderful flavor!

I Mei Hong Kong Style Mooncakes (NTD 900)

Hong Kong Mooncakes

This is the most expensive selection in their shop and I got in for my dear’s parents. It’s all Hong Kong style baked skin mooncakes but they’re all made in Taiwan. There’s a HUGE mooncake (200 grams) in the middle which has a pineapple filling as a tribute to its Taiwanese heritage but the others come in a variety of flavors including chocolate, walnut and Medjool dates.

Pineapple Mooncakes

I got to taste the pineapple filling and it was really good.

Pineapple Mooncake

I thought the walnut and date filling is really awesome too (but no one else did). In fact, I’ll say the single yolk date filling Taiwanese mooncake is my second favorite this year.

Medjool Dates Mooncake

I also choose a very interesting pack which had dried scallops and XO in a mooncake but for some reason it wasn’t packed and I wasn’t charged for it. I suspect this happened when we switched from a longer box to a flatter one and before it was tabulated and sealed so I didn’t realize it. Oh well.

Teochew Pure Green Bean Mooncake (RM 9.50)

Teochew Mooncake

This lard filled mooncake is from Setapak Teochew Restaurant. It’s been around since 1912 and they’re using their time-tested recipe. It’s a lot of lard (can smell it as soon as you open it) and decidedly (and proudly?) non-halal and there’s a certain charm to old school mooncakes like this, much like the Foochow mooncakes.

Teochew Lard Mooncake

It’s quite good, although the lard smell/taste is a bit overwhelming and the filling is a little too sweet for today’s standards.

Haagen-Dazs Handcrafted Ice Cream Mooncakes (RM 95)

Haagen-Dazs Mooncakes 2015

My better half got this for me. She knows I love mooncakes (especially unusual ones) and thus brought this home one day. It’s the Petite Collection which contains 5 hand-crafted ice cream mooncakes. Each set has:

  • White Chocolate Mooncake with Mango Ice Cream
  • Strawberry Chocolate Mooncake with Summer Berries & Cream Ice Cream
  • Milk Chocolate Mooncake with Chocolate Ice Cream

Handcrafted Ice Cream Mooncakes

The first one is the best and the “rarest” e.g. each mooncake configuration will have 1:2:2 ratio with the White Chocolate with Mango Ice Cream being the smallest number. Their Deluxe Collection also has the same kind of ice cream mooncakes, but with 2:3:3 respectively.

Haagen-Dazs Mooncakes

The Strawberry Chocolate Mooncake with Summer Berries & Cream Ice Cream is very refreshing too but my dear liked the Milk Chocolate Mooncake with Chocolate Ice Cream, which tasted like the Mother’s Day ice cream cake from Haagen-Dazs I got earlier this year. This is also the same mooncake we featured in TumblingMinis. :D

Taiwan Mooncakes

Like I said, most of the mooncakes this year were purchased during my trip to Taiwan and are made in Taiwan. We both thought that the Taiwanese style pastry mooncakes were much better than their attempts to make a baked skin mooncake. I loved the pork floss with mung bean mooncake and the walnut and date mooncakes came in a close second.

Ikan Terubok (toli shad/Chinese herring), bitter gourd fritters, otak-otak sausage and other delights @ Eddy’s dinner

Dinner Spread

Eddy is my brother, not by something as accidental as blood, but something much stronger – by choice. He’s always been a solid friend ever since I met him in 2008. He’s usually the one picking me up when I fly back to Sibu and this time was no exception. His wife Jona is a great cook and I went over for dinner the other day.

Fried salted ikan terubok (toli shad)

Terubok Fish

This is ikan terubok (also known as toli shad or Chinese herring). It’s a very popular fish in Sarawak. Toli shad is only available here and there are two varieties – the fresh ones and the dried + salted version. You can see the distinctive pattern here coz the scales are not removed (!!!).

Ikan Terubok

You actually deep fry the entire fish and it comes out very crunchy so you can eat the scales and bones. I thought that was very intriguing – I’ve never had it this way before and wanted to get some for my better half to try. It’s sooooo delicious. You can only get this fish in Kuching though.

Meatball soup

Meatball Soup

I didn’t eat this until after I finished all my rice coz I didn’t grow up with soup so it’s not essential to my diet. I know some cultures like Foochow and Cantonese which accords soup a very important (even essential) place on the dinner table. I found the soup to be very flavorful from the meatballs and the texture of the soft vegetables (from boiling) to be quite heartening.

Stewed pig stomach

Stewed Pig Stomach

This is not for the picky eater but I love it. The hog maw is from Golden Happiness Restaurant. I’ve eaten the same dish before during Chinese New Year and they do it really well. It’s a mixture of organs – pig tail, pig ears, and duck.

Steamed vegetables

Steamed Vegetables

This is the healthiest item for the night. Eddy has two Indonesian maids and he treats them really well. We all eat together during buka puasa (the breaking of fast during the month of Ramadan for them, who are Muslims).

Otak-otak sausage

Otak-Otak Sausage

This is something new for me as well. I was quite hungry when I woke up (fell asleep at his place coz I’ve been working late nights during this trip) and had one of the otak-otak sausages before dinner. It’s very spicy and really tastes like otak-otak, although it’s not made of fish. I’m not sure what kind of protein is inside, let’s just say it’s a lip-smacking package of mystery meat in tube form. smirk

Onion omelet

Onion Omelet

A comfort food that most people has grown up with. It’s large Bombay onions chopped and fried with eggs. The sweetness from the onions make this a very familiar and welcome addition to the meal.

Pan-fried lamb chops

Pan-Fried Lamb Chops

I love lamb chops. My mom used to cook them for us when we she was still alive and all of our family like the taste of lamb. I’m particularly fond of unrendered lamb fat – it’s strong tasting and gamey to a lot of people but these very characteristics are the same reason I love the fatty parts.

Bitter gourd fritters

Bitter Gourd Fritters

Bitter gourd chips! This is thinly sliced bitter gourd that’s been battered and fried. It’s crunchy and slightly bitter – pure awesome! I’ve also never had it this way, that’s why I always like eating at Eddy’s house. Jona always comes out with food that I don’t eat often (or at all) so it’s a pleasure to sample these new dishes.

Group Photo

It was a delightful dinner. I’ve always enjoyed eating at Eddy’s place due to the splendid cooking. I tend to overeat and stuff myself but it’s worth it, coz I hardly ever eat here unless I’m back home. There’s always something interesting on the table and the fare is better than most restaurants out there.

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

Ming Mei Shi

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

Cinnamon Lamb Shank (RM 29.68)

Lamb Shank Rendang

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

Butter Fried Prawns (RM 16.96)

Butter Prawns

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

Four Heavenly Kings Vegetable (RM 16.96)

Four Heavenly Kings Vegetable

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

Dongpo Pork (RM 19.08)

Dongpo Pork

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

Dongpo Meat

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

Fathers Day 2015

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

Fathers Day Dinner

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

LOL

Happy Father’s Day, dad! :)

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

Hong Fu Sibu

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

Hong Fu Seafood

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

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

Philippines Pork Leg (Crispy Pata)

Crispy Pata

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

Philippines Pork Leg

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

Midin (Local Fiddlehead Fern)

Sibu Fiddlehead Fern

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

Signature House Tofu

Tofu Pork Mince

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

Stir Fried Vegetables

Hong Fu Vegetable

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

Mongolian Chicken

Mongolian Chicken

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

Braised Sea Cucumber

Sea Cucumber

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

Steamed Red Snapper

Red Snapper

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

Yih Wen

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

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

Bar IPPUDO Ramen @ Bangsar Shopping Centre

Bar IPPUDO

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

Bar IPPUDO Malaysia

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

Ippudo Ramen

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

Perfect Ramen Set Combo

Perfect Ramen Set Combo A (RM 29.90)

Shiromaru Motoaji

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

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

Ippudo Pork Bun

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

Nappa Cabbage

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

Bar IPPUDO Set

Perfect Ramen Set Combo B (RM 31.90)

Akamaru Shinaji

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

Ippudo Sashimi

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

Beef Enoki

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

Ippudo BSC

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

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

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.

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