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A couple weeks ago we were invited to a special Japanese food event held at Yakitori Fukuda Dining at Evolve Mall, and since I had very good impression with their ten don (deep fried seafood with rice) dishes at Shitamichi Tendon Akitmitsu, it was a no brainer to participate. After all, these two restaurants share the same kitchen that is smacked right in between them.

Yakitori Dining Fukuda at Evolve Concept Mall, Ara Damansara
Yakitori Dining Fukuda at Evolve Concept Mall, Ara Damansara

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Evolved Concept Mall, it is one of the newest malls in town and located right next to the Ara Damansara LRT station. You can walk to the mall from the station in 5 minutes. Occupancy at the new mall isn’t quite close to full yet but there’s Jaya Grocer as the anchor tenant, so I assume it’ll do fine.

somen with chicken, eel, shrimp & vege, somen with chicken and lime
somen with chicken, eel, shrimp & vege, somen with chicken and lime

We started the day with a demonstration of somen, these are wheat flour noodle that’s pretty fine, almost “mee suah” fine and usually served cold. That proved to be very appropriate on a hot day. It was a good blend of savoury taste with sourish freshness especially for the version with lime. I think I may actually like this more than cha soba, and I do like cha soba on a hot afternoon.

You can also buy these pre-packaged somen and the associated sauce to be cooked at home.

pressed sushi with grilled conger eel
pressed sushi with grilled conger eel

Then there’s pressed sushi with grilled conger eel. Conger eel a different marine species of eel. The texture is a little more firm from unagi, though taste wise they do not differ very far. To be honest, I do like unagi just a little bit more, but anything with a dash of ikura never disappoint, as in this case.

deep fried Japanese yam with seaweed, chicken meatball with grated yam
deep fried Japanese yam with seaweed, chicken meatball with grated yam

Finally, we also sampled some of the dishes prepared using the imported Japanese yam. The deep fried Japanese yam with seaweed was my favorite, it was very light and packs a punch in flavors, which I suspect contributed by the seaweed. The deep fried yam in strips was much more muted in comparison.

The other yam related dish we tried was the bowl of rice topped with homemade chicken meatball and grated Japanese yam, which is served with a raw quail’s egg yolk, super creamy and perhaps a bit gooey if you’re not used to those type of taste.

and there's me with cheesiepetite!
and there’s me with cheesiepetite!

The food at this event was pretty decent, but I would certainly suggest that you try their ten dons first, especially if you’re those in favor for stronger taste. I’d want to go back to Fukuda to try their yakitori.

Evolve Concept Mall map

Address:
Yakitori Fukuda Dining

EV-G-09, Ground floor
Evolve Concept Mall
Pacific Place @ Ara Damansara
Petaling Jaya Selangor
GPS: 3.110532, 101.586864
Tel: 03-7831 9929
Hours: Monday to Friday, 11am to 3pm and 6pm to 9pm; Weekends and public holiday, 11am-9pm

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Several months ago, I wrote about how putting in the time and effort to invest your money can sometimes make your smaller (or bigger) dreams or life goals become true.

Have you started investing since then? If yes, great, otherwise, well, don’t feel too bad. Perhaps you’re like one of the many of us who’ve been busy catching Pokémon at the shopping mall (KLCC park’s got some great rare ones!). But either way, wouldn’t it be great if you could chill at the mall catching Pokémon and still have the time to learn and do some ACTUAL investing?

Well, InvestSmart, an investor empowerment initiative by Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) is making this happen at INVESTSMART FEST 2016 @ Mid Valley Exhibition Centre (MVEC), Kuala Lumpur from Friday to Sunday, 23 to 25 September 2016! And for you Pokémon trainers out there, there are also actually loads of Pokéstops within MVEC!

INVESTSMART FEST 2016 is the third edition of InvestSmart’s biggest ever retail investor event, gathering capital market institutions, associations, industry players and relevant government agencies under one roof. So, head on over to INVESTSMART FEST 2016 to experience a fun investment carnival atmosphere for the entire family, with an emphasis on digital elements and technology.

There’s plenty to do at the event, there’s traditional carnival games such as duck hunt and basketball shoot, to fun photo opportunities with a replica ferris wheel and carousel, there’s something for everyone. Most importantly, there are many acclaimed SME (Subject Matter Experts) who will be there to teach you how to make your money work harder by investing in capital market products such as shares, unit trusts, warrants, bonds, derivatives, private retirement schemes (PRS) and equity crowdfunding. If some of those words sound like new vocabulary to you, this is the place to go and learn more.

With more than 40 booths featuring brokers, fund managers, PRS providers, and equity crowdfunding operators, INVESTSMART FEST 2016 is the perfect platform for you to learn about, discover and invest in a variety of products to expand your portfolio. Best of all, this event is open to the public and entry is FREE!

To make it sweeter, INVESTSMART FEST 2016 will also feature a digital arena, mystery celebrity appearance, lucky and “Mega” lucky draws, a dedicated Play Area for Kids, free popcorn, ice-cream, cotton candy, FREE goodie bags and so much more. I believe this is definitely one of the more interesting, fun and inclusive approaches to investor education, it isn’t one of those old fashioned or boring sort of engagements.

So, instead of just hunting for Pokémon at Mid Valley this month, do yourself a favor by starting to plan for the long term future and learning to invest by checking out INVESTSMART FEST from 23-25 September 2016. Log on to www.investsmartsc.my/isf2016.html and REGISTER NOW to receive easier and faster PRIORITY ACCESS. Alternatively, you can register on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/InvestSmartSC/

The future is in your hands!

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Vietnam is the country I traveled to the most times thanks to my previous job, and while I don’t miss that role too much, one thing that I’ve always missed was some awesome Vietnamese cuisine, which seems to be living in Thai food’s shadow when it comes to offerings from South East Asia.

Over the last few years though, it has starting to make headrooms, perhaps in parallel of the country’s economic expansion, definitely a good thing for those of us who loves variety.

Pho Vietz at Atria Shopping Gallery, almost always packed
Pho Vietz at Atria Shopping Gallery, almost always packed

One of the latest Vietnamese restaurant that is fast gaining popularity is Pho Vietz at Atria (and now also at Empire Mall Subang). The place is almost perpetually packed, and it’s not difficult to see why, they serve pretty good food in a modern and comfortable setting while being reasonable in price.

Most importantly, it is also one of the very few proper Vietnamese restaurant that offers pork.

traditional spring role, baguette, banh mi
traditional spring role, baguette, banh mi

The menu is pretty extensive, there’s snacks such as spring roles, banh mi (baguette), several types of pho, vermicelli, ho fun, and different rice plates with curry, pork/beef stew, and clay pot dishes.

We’ve been to the place twice and tried several of their dishes. The prawn role (RM 8.50) was decent but I found the skin a bit too tough for my liking.

Banh Mi, or baguette (RM 9.90 or 10.90) with pork was an absolute treat with really crispy exterior and soft, airy bread within. It is like Subway but twice as good, especially if you love the mixture of yummy pork and those slightly sweetish sauce with plenty of vegetable. You can also have the baguette separately to go with beef stew (RM 17.90).

pho, stew beef with baguette, spring role with vermicelli
pho, stew beef with baguette, spring role with vermicelli

The standard pho (RM 17.90) here had a good soup base and pretty fresh, delicious slices of beef. We asked for more basil and bean sprouts and the restaurant gladly supplied a full plate of greens. That being said, I wished they had beef tendon though.

For those who wants even more greens, the Vietnamese Spring Role Vermicelli (RM 14.90) will not disappoint. There’s basil, mint, cucumber, carrot, bean sprout, and all sorts of healthy bits in the bowl.

caramel sliced pork belly with rice, KY, Haze, Johnson
caramel sliced pork belly with rice, KY, Haze, Johnson

On my second visit, I had the Caramel Sliced Pork Belly with Rice (RM 19.90) which quickly turned out to be one of my favorites. The “3 layer” belly was properly marinated and perfectly cooked, it was rather strong tasting so finishing the whole bowl of rice is a definite plus. If you’re a pork lover, you’ll definitely enjoy this.

If you’re a fan of Vietnamese food, this is definitely a decent hang-out, just don’t go there during peak lunch/dinner hours and expect to have your food served quickly (or get a table immediately for that matter).

atria shopping gallery map

Address:
Pho Vietz
T08 & T09,
Atria Shopping Gallery
Damansara Jaya,

Jalan SS 22/23,
47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS3.127261, 101.616595
Tel03-7731 3020

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A little while ago we decided to hunt for some different offerings within Klang for dinner, I mean, while bak kut teh is the best invention ever, you can’t have it on every single meal. A bit of a change from time to time is healthy, and furthermore, I had wanted to try some of the more popular halal joints at the area.

This is how we came to Restoran TSY with the headline “Claypot Kari Mee Klang”

late night dinner at restoran TSY
late night dinner at restoran TSY

The restaurant is manned by a rather old Chinese chef/owner who married a Muslim wife (source), and the place was still pretty packed at with customers of mixed ethnic groups at about 10:30 pm when we got there. Usually a good sign.

claypot curry mee is what we're here for
claypot curry mee is what we’re here for

We ordered claypot curry mee for two and a plate of fried lala as a side dish (total RM 33 with drinks).

The curry mee was pretty special, thick boiling curry broth, prawns, sting ray, long beans, tofu pok, fresh bean sprout, and of course, yellow noodle in them. I enjoyed the crunchiness of fresh bean sprout in contrast to the spicy soup, and have string ray in curry mee was a first for me, I liked it.

their lala was spicy and had a good kick
their lala was spicy and had a good kick

The fried lala did not disappoint either, it was prepared with plenty of ginger and chili padi, with a sprinkle of fried garlic on top that gives it that additional complexity which was pretty lovely.

If you’re looking for something spicy at night here in Klang, this is a worthy option.

Address:
Restoran TSY
No. 16, Jalan Goh Hock Huat,
41400 Klang, Selangor
GPS3.051349, 101.446909
Hours: 6:30 pm till 1 am

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After getting down from the Mt. Kinabalu climb, we decided that the best course of rehab from all that physical exertion was spending a few nights at Kundasang. The area is close to 2000 meters above sea level with temperature that’s about 10-20 celsius, and a scenery worthy of postcards, so why not?

The only thing left to do then is, where do we go for dinner?

best non-halal meal to have near Kinabalu Park or Kundasang
best non-halal meal to have near Kinabalu Park or Kundasang

So we consulted our mountain guide and they came up with the suggestion for 89 Station, which is conveniently located only about a kilometer from Kinabalu Park entrance, and coincidentally, also pretty close to our hotel – Nik Gold (which was an “ok” place to stay.)

89 Station is one of the few places that offers “tai chao” style dishes that features quite a variety of dishes, including wild boar, deer, ostrich, and more.

black pepper ostrich, clay pot beancurd, fish maw soup
black pepper ostrich, clay pot beancurd, fish maw soup

The menu came in the form of a giant blackboard on the wall, and the server is pretty well-versed in Mandarin, Cantonese, English, and probably several other languages.

We went there twice for dinner, tried 5 dishes in total, including black pepper ostrich, clay pot beancurd, fish maw soup, wild boar with salted egg yolk, and yau mak vegetable. Prices are pretty reasonable at RM 10-15 per dish and portion is rather big as well (which is why we ordered only two dishes 2nd time around)

wild boar with salted egg, yau mak
wild boar with salted egg, yau mak

Most importantly though, the quality of food is well above average. One thing though, if you haven’t had vegetables from Kundasang, you absolutely have to, they are crunchy, sweet, and really come close to those fancy imported Japanese produce you’d find in up class restaurants in KL.

The restaurant opens from about 9 or 10 am till 8pm (it gets dark much earlier in Sabah), so give it a try if you’re around the area.

map to 89 station, Kundasang

Address:
89 Station Restaurant
AH 150 Highway
(1 km from Kinabalu Park Entrance)
Kundasang, 89308 Sabah
GPS5.999966, 116.546559
Tel08-888 1300