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. :)

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

Kung pow fish roe, squid and eel with pig tail omelet

kung pow seafood start

I hardly ever cook Chinese meals although I love eating tai chow as much as the next Oriental dude. The main reason for this is coz I don’t have a huge wok and a good ol’ fashioned flame for that elusive “wok hei” (literally wok heat – a reference to the caramelized texture of superheated food). 

kung pow style

I like kung pow (insert meat) so I decided to go back to my China roots and start cooking some Chinese food.

You will need: 

ingredients

Pig’s tail
Dried chillis
Fish roe
Squid
Eel
Kikkoman soy sauce
Lee Kum Kee Oyster sauce
Sunflower and canola oil
Eggs
Onions and garlic
Calamansi lime 

pig tail

Kung pow dishes are made with dried chillis, which obviously makes this an essential ingredient. Here’s a detailed (geddit? de-tailed) photo of the pig’s tail. 

fish roe squid eel

We started off by preparing all the seafood items. 

chopped seafood

Eel, those snake like creatures dwelling in the depths of the ocean (talking crap here) should be cut into bite-sized pieces. The squid has to be disemboweled and sliced into rings. You don’t really need to have a ring shaped apparatus – squid is hollow after preparation so just slice it and it’ll produce rings. Calamansi limes were squeezed over it to get rid of the distinct aquatic smell.

Fish roe. Mmm…full of cholestrol, but yet so delicious.

fry onions

My friend decided that this won’t taste very good with normal steamed rice – a point I vehemently disagree – so she added in some cooking oil and chopped garlic into the rice cooker. 

add rice

This is fried INSIDE the rice cooker BEFORE the rice was added in. 

fry rice

She then measured out the rice and started frying it with all the above before adding water and cooking it with several sauces lying around in my fridge. 

add sauce

Now, for the difficult part. Babe’s (not Babe Ruth, Babe the pig) pretty little pink tail has to be chopped up. 

pigs tail

This is more difficult than it sounds. I never knew those damn swine would have tendons/cartilage/whatever you call it as tough as this.

I attempted to do it with a serrated knife. Let me advice you that this is a Bad Idea (TM) and could lead to unfortunate incidents like Slicing Your Damn Finger Off (TM) as almost happened to this narrator. 

chop pig tail

I have a chopper which I forgot I had. Use a chopper instead. You’ll thank me.

Fucking pig’s tail. You almost cost me my index finger. *glares* 

frying pig tail

Anyway, add in the sliced onions and start frying Babe’s tail in extra virgin olive oil since he’s like a nice pig and all and even his tail deserves reverence.

It requires a Great Deal (TM) of frying which translates into 3212999 days in the standard measurements of time. I’m not kidding, it takes ages for the damn thing to cook. 

add eggs

After the piggy’s tail is all nice and cooked, crack six (6) eggs into the frying pan. Oh, before I forget, cooking posts are always meant for two. As in it should have a Serves: 2 on top if this were a proper cooking blog, which obviously it’s not. I just like to cook. 

cooking pig tail omelet

Put it on low heat until the pig’s tail omelet cooks to perfection. 

pig tail omelet

Now, let us concentrate on the seafood. Fry finely chopped garlic (a point I neglected to mention at the beginning – you should have chopped garlic. Heh!) and add in the dried chillis. 

cooking kung pow

You’re going to need a lot of oil for the kung pow fish roe, squid and eel so we got a Sunflower Canola bottle for this (Tesco store brand).

Cook on the highest heat your stove/heating element/whatever can manage (which isn’t very much for my ceramic one). Keep this going for a good 3 minutes or so and start adding in the seafood. Start with the squid (cooks slowest), quickly followed by the eel, and the egg roe at the very end (coz I like it kinda raw).

kung pow fish roe squid eel

Add in some oyster sauce and soy sauce and fry it as vigorously as you can for 10 minutes and then serve. 

flavored rice

The fluffy rice was nicely flavored and the pig’s tail omelet went well with the kung pow fish roe, squid and eel to subdue the spiciness of the dish. 

kung pow seafood end

Verdict: It was a good effort, but it wouldn’t beat even the crappiest tai chow’s kung pow offerings, due to the lack of wok hei (read beginning for definition).

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