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With the on-going house renovation work, I’ve been rejected (or accidentally ignoring) quite a lot of food review invitation, but when Sarah from Kimpachi messaged and invited me to Kampachi Sake Dinner Series, I just couldn’t say no.

When Kampachi comes calling, you just don’t reject, and I’ve never regretted the decisions.

kampachi sake dinner series featuring Izumibashi Sake
kampachi sake dinner series featuring Izumibashi Sake

In conjunction with Izumibashi brewery’s first visit to Malaysia, Kampachi hosted a dinner series that took place at their Troika outlet on the 16th June, 2015, and the day after in Kampachi Equatorial, Penang.

The dinner features a 9 course Kaiseki menu by Kampachi’s Executive Chef, Koji Tamaru, using produce and seasonal seafood directly sourced from Japan. The meal was paired with four types of Izumibashi sakes.

Izumibashi Tonbo Sparkling with edamame
“welcome drink”, edamame, and brewery founder/owner Yuichi Hashiba

We were joined by the 6th generation founder/owner of Izumibashi brewery, Yuichi Hashiba, and sake sommelier, Shigeyuki Masaki. Together they shared the history of the brand, how they produce the sake, and what made them special.

Izumibashi Tonbo Sparkling with Amera Tomato Mizu Nasu
Izumibashi Tonbo Sparkling with Amera Tomato Mizu Nasu

The first three courses were paired with Tonbo Sparkling, this is an unfiltered sake with a cloudy appearance, only very lightly gassy and quite wholesome in taste. Apparently filtered sake is a bit of an imitation to sparkling wine of the West, and Izumibashi purposely left it unfiltered to show it’s true Japanese origin.

We started the dinner with something that is utterly simple yet surprisingly delicious – Amera tomato and slices of Raw Japanese Eggplant. These raw vegetables were just lightly seasoned with salt and pepper.

I’ve had tomato of similar calibre a couple times and these were equally as crunchy and refreshing, the eggplant though, was a total revelation.I never thought eggplants could be consumed raw, and I’m glad I was wrong, it was most excellent.

Niawabi Shake Toba Morokyu Kinsanji Miso, Hamo Kuzuuchi Junsai Janome Kyuri Bainiku
Niawabi Shake Toba Morokyu Kinsanji Miso,
Hamo Kuzuuchi Junsai Janome Kyuri Bainiku

Next came Simmered Abalone, Dried Salmon & Cucumber with Miso. A beautifully arranged dish with very contrasting texture offered by the soft and slightly chewy abalone, the very crispy dried salmon, and those crunchy cucumber. I particularly loved the dried salmon which is almost like the best salted fish I’ve ever had, and you can eat it straight.

The Clear Soup with Pike Conger Eel, Water Shield, Ring Shaped Cucumber & Plum came next. While the eel, cucumber, and plum were not stranger to most diners, I found the water shield provided quite a new experience to me. It tasted a bit like some sort seaweed encased in a slimy exterior. A good change of pace but I’m not quite sure I really enjoyed it.

Maguru & Kanpachi sashimi with Izumibashi Junmai Ginjo Megumi Blue Label
Maguro & Kanpachi sashimi with Izumibashi Junmai Ginjo Megumi Blue Label

The next three dishes were paired with Izumibashi Junmai Ginjo Megumi Blue Label, made with Yamada Nishiki rice grown in house by Izumibashi. This particular type of rice produces good sake as it absorbs water and dissolves easily.

Sashimi came in the form of Maguro & Kanpachi – Tuna and Amberjack. These fish were flown fresh from Tsukiji market and of course, did not disappoint. The sake complimented the seafood perfectly well.

Gindara Shio Kouji Yaki, Awafu Ageni Harinegi Kinome
Gindara Shio Kouji Yaki, Awafu Ageni Harinegi Kinome

The fifth course was the simple Grilled Cod Fish Marinated with Salt Crust, with superb execution by the chef. I absolutely loved the texture of cod skin and the way the fish is cooked, it was spot on.

Awafu Ageni Harinegi Kinome translates to Simmered Yellow Wheat Gluten served with Fine Julienned Leek & Leaf Bud. Quite a fancy name and description, and tasted a little bit like a more sophisticated version of tofu with a richer texture.

Tatake Ebi Kesho Age with Shishito, Yaki Onigiri Chazuke Shio Konbu
Tatake Ebi Kesho Age with Shishito, Yaki Onigiri Chazuke Shio Konbu

The last three dishes were paired with Izumibashi Yamahai Junmai Shinriki. Shinriki translate to “power of god”, and in this case this sake is made with the most tedious and labour intensive method that helped produce the most “umami” flavour.

Deep Fried Chopped Prawns with Japanese Green Pepper was the first dish we sampled with this sake. The greenish “powder” you see next to the chili was actually salt, together with the fried ingredients, it was simple yet very delicious.

Grilled Rice Ball in Broth with Salted Kelp came next, it was almost like the Chinese dinner where you always have a rice dish at the penultimate dish (sort of, but not really). You appreciate the rice and wasabi in broth with a bit of a grilling treatment to bring out the flavour, subtle but quite delightful.

Yuzu Sorbet, Yuzu Mousse, Yuzu Kaki with Yamada Jyuro Plum
Yuzu Sorbet, Yuzu Mousse, Yuzu Kaki with Yamada Jyuro Plum

We concluded the dinner with Homemade Japanese Citrus Sorbet, Mousse and Dehydrated Persimmon. If you haven’t had yuzu before, go get some yourself, it is the best citrus there is (to me anyway).

We each also had a glass of Yamada Jyuro Plum, it was a fantastic dinner with some really fine sake. Made for an excellent night. Thank you again Sarah and Kampachi for the lovely dinner.

Check out Angeltini’s post for write up from the sake angle.

map to Kampachi at Troika

Address:
Kampachi
The Troika Jalan Binjai
Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.158052, 101.718122
Tel: 03-2181 2282

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Those of you who have followed this blog or my Instagram/FB channels for a while know that I’m quite a big fan of Penang Curry Mee, whenever I see any place that claims to offer them, I’ll give it a try.

Curry Mee at Tong Fong restaurant, PJ Seapark
Curry Mee at Tong Fong restaurant, PJ Seapark

So when Haze pointed out to me that there’s this stall offering Penang Curry Mee at Tong Fong kopitiam at Seapark while we were buying battery for the car, it became the de facto lunch choice for that day.

Tong Fong kopitiam is situated right behind KFC at Seapark, other than the rather popular beef noodle, there weren’t many hawker stalls worth mentioning, until this one.

coagulated pork blood and raw cockles, the most important ingredients
coagulated pork blood and raw cockles, the most important ingredients

To be perfectly honest, this stall does not offer 100% pure Penang Curry Mee. While having coagulated pork blood, cockles (two of the most important ingredients), cuttlefish, tofupok, and mint leaves, it lacks prawns, and comes with a few pieces of shredded chicken as well as some green beans. So in terms of ingredients, it was about 80% Penang, 20% KL, a bit of a mixed marriage.

there's no prawns in this curry mee, but I'm not complaining
there’s no prawns in this curry mee, but I’m not complaining

The good thing though is that it works, the broth was rather fragrant, and the sambal, while a tad on the oilier side, provided a pretty good kick. I can excuse the lack of prawn in this case.

If you can wake up before 9 am, Restaurant Okay’s version may still be a bit better, but this place serves till lunch, and I sure hope the stall stays.

map to restaurant Tong Fong, Seapark

Address:
Tong Fong restaurant
Jalan 21/17,
Seapark,
46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS3.110142, 101.621673
Hoursbreakfast and lunch

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After writing about the beef noodle at the corner kopitiam at Taman Berkeley, I had a few readers who mentioned that they prefer “the other beef noodle place”, so here it is – I gave Cheong Kee Beef Noodle Restaurant a try.

Cheong Kee beef noodle Taman Berkeley
Cheong Kee beef noodle Taman Berkeley

Cheong Kee is located at the same row with Fatty Meehun kuih & Mo Sang Kor bak kut teh, with basic table & chair and zero decoration. The most important item in the menu would be the beef noodle, but they do offer a few other popular hawker dishes such as char kuih teow, pan mee, and so on.

dry version with mixed beef soup on the side
dry version with mixed beef soup on the side

Traditionally the beef noodle is soupy, but I opted for the dry version on my first visit. The minced meat on top of the noodle (or kuih teow/meehun etc) came with a bit of salted vegetable which gave it a distinct taste (Tangkak style). The beef balls, tripes, and other ingredients in the soup were pretty good too.

I enjoyed the normal chili paste, but if you’re a fan of chili paste, you can also ask for a special spicy version as well.

Cheong Kee is definitely worth visiting, and I’ll probably head there again soon.

map to Cheong Kee beef noodle, Taman Berkeley

Address:
Cheong Kee Beef Noodle
45, Leboh Bangau,
Taman Berkeley, 41150 Klang, Selangor
GPS: 3.058252, 101.463231
Tel: 016-246 6690

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I did say I’m going to try many bak kut teh places in Klang, right? Well, here’s another one that we went to one fine afternoon after another round of painting work at the new house.

Lao Heong Bak Kut Teh, at the heart of Klang
Lao Heong Bak Kut Teh, at the heart of Klang

Lao Heong Bak Kut Teh is located at the heart of Klang town by one of the busiest roads on Jalan Gelugor. If you’re turning from Federal Highway to Jalan Meru, you’ll pass by the area. The restaurant itself is converted from a residential unit with a large “garden area”, like many restaurants in this part of the country, with the typical BKT set up of boiling water on top of LPG tanks for tea making purposes.

fatty meat is my favorite when it comes to bak kut teh (especially kah wan)
fatty meat is my favorite when it comes to bak kut teh (especially kah wan)

Lao Heong servers clay pot style bak kut teh, and as with many places, you can specify the choice of meat (lean, trotter, big bone, small bone, kahwan, etc). The pot also comes with fuchuk (tofu skin), tofu pok, a bit of mushroom, and some lettuce.

As with most Klang bak kut teh, the pork was pretty tender and the soup packs quite a heavy dose of herbal taste, I can sense a strong hint of “tong guai” which I find quite enjoyable. Adding soup is a reasonable request here as well.

A pretty decent BKT and I would not hesitate to revisit, especially at after lunch hours whereby most other places are closed.

map to Lao Heong bak kut teh, Klang

Address:
Lao Heong Bak Kut Teh
Jalan Gelugor & Jalan Kandis
Klang, Selangor
GPS: 3.050409, 101.451371
Hours: Mornings and Afternoons

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While driving around Taman Eng Ann in Klang looking for some sort of afternoon snack away from the famous “under the tree” hawker center (that offers awesome pohpia), we chanced upon this curious little stall that’s about as old school as it gets – Nijia Fried Chicken.

Nijia Fried Chicken (with Yoyo Ice too)
Nijia Fried Chicken (with Yoyo Ice too)

This place is as no frill as it gets, offering only a very limited menu of fried chicken, nasi lemak, and yoyo ice.

Chicken goes for RM 2.20 (wings) to RM 3 (thigh), a set of nasi lemak cost RM 2, as with a cup of “Yoyo ice”. It is also self served.

fried chicken and nasi lemak does go well together
fried chicken and nasi lemak does go well together

While there’s no claim of 11 herbs and spices, the chicken was crispy and rather tasty in an uncomplicated way. I ended u p going for second servings. The nasi lemak too was fragrant and rather delicious, Haze had no trouble finishing everything in the plate.

As for yoyo ice, it’s more like sourish flavored shaved ice, which was just perfect when it’s really hot out.

All in, it was a few bucks per person for a good afternoon snack, why can’t we have more places like this?

nijia fried chicken at Taman Eng Ann map

Address:
46, Jalan Serindit 4,
Taman Eng Ann, 41150 Klang, Selangor
GPS3.057621, 101.458970