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In my previous job, I had the opportunity to travel to East Malaysia on quite a few occasions, and one thing that stuck in my memory is that there are whole different sets of restaurants and popular dining areas in Borneo than what I’m used to in Peninsular Malaysia, and one of the more prominent one that I remember till today was the ubiquitous SugarBun.

SugarBun Borneo Asian Food at Menara Hup Seng
SugarBun Borneo Asian Food at Menara Hup Seng

Well, now you can find SugarBun right here in KL at Menara Hup Seng (opposite Shangri-La KL & behind Mercedes) to get a taste of what Borneo’s most successful franchise restaurant has got to offer. They are also opening their second outlet in Klang Valley at Ara Damansara on 15/10/2016. So if you’re into some no-nonsense Borneo cuisine, keep reading.

Sabah Giant Garoupa Mee Hoon Soup
Sabah Giant Garoupa Mee Hoon Soup

While started out as an ice-cream parlour back in 1979, over the years SugarBun has expanded its offering to include many dishes sought after by Sarawakians & Sabahans alike. On the outside it looks a little bit like fast food joint or even a food court, but what they offer is rather different from what you may expect.

I had the opportunity to try some of their dishes a couple weeks ago, and I gotta start with my favorite – Sabah Giant Garoupa Mee Hoon Soup (RM 28). Cooked with generous portion of Sabah giant garoupa slices, the deceptively simple dish carries a broth thick with seafood sweetness that will satisfy anyone who loves seafood. The fish slices too were perfectly cut and came with chunks of those springy garoupa skin that I really enjoy. At RM 28 it is certainly not a “fast food” friendly price, but this is not fast food and you definitely get a more than decent value from the quality of seafood offered.

You can also order this as a soup to go with rice.

Sabah Giant Garoupa Fried Rice
Sabah Giant Garoupa Fried Rice

Another rendition that utilise the same awesome seafood is the Sabah Giant Garoupa Fried Rice (RM 20). Deep fried giant garoupa meat is served on top of pretty fragrant fried rice, very simple and satisfying. I think a few chili padi with soya sauce should come with this, but they do offer sambal, which compliments the dish quite well.

authentic Sarawak Laksa
authentic Sarawak Laksa

Laksa Sarawak (RM 12) is arguable the most famous streetfood from Borneo, and at SugarBun Borneo Asian Food, they have a version that is authentic and true to its origin. You get the shredded chicken, prawns, strips of omelette, bean sprout, and of course, those thick meehun. Haze loves it, and she’s like the no. 1 fan of any type of laksa.

If you’re looking for a certified halal version of authentic laksa Sarawak, this will definitely fit the bill.

Fish Burger
Fish Burger

For those who wants something on the go, SugarBun’s fish burger (RM 9.50) should fit the bill. The patty is made from pollock and together with their blend of sauce and slices of fresh cucumber, made for a pretty satisfying meal you can enjoy while being vertical. I also thought their bun was pretty soft and airy too, which is a plus.

the classic - Borneo Eco Fish Meal (tilapia)
the classic – Borneo Eco Fish Meal (tilapia)

Another notable fish related dish is the classic Borneo Eco Fish Meal (RM 20). Here you get a portion of rice, some acar, and a properly deep fried tilapia fish with some sambal and dark soya sauce on the side. This felt like something  you get from a mom & pop restaurant than an air conditioned chain restaurant, in a good way, of course.

This was actually the first dish I had at SugarBun many years ago when they came to West Malaysia (at PJ SS2 if not mistaken), and I’ve always enjoyed it.

Chicken Mushroom Claypot Meal & Broasted Chicken meal
Chicken Mushroom Claypot Meal & Broasted Chicken meal

If comfort food is what you crave for, the Chicken Mushroom Claypot Meal (RM 14) should be on your short list. You get a side of rice with a clay pot full of chunks of chicken and black fungus in herbal soup, not entirely different from grandma’s kitchen.

To complete their almost-fast-food image, SugarBun offers broasted chicken (RM 12) with or without saucy kano (RM 15). I had to google a bit, but broasting is a cooking process that combines broiling and roasting, which is distinctly different from deep fried. The result is a lighter crust and less oily product. I thought they taste pretty good.

If you want to get a taste of what Borneo has got to offer right here in KL, this is definitely the place to go.

P/S: this post is brought to you by SugarBun

map to Menara Hap Seng

Address:
SugarBun Borneo Asian Food
Level 1, Menara Hap Seng,
Jalan P. Ramlee,
Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.152761, 101.707296
Tel: 03-2022 0003
HoursMon – Fri 7.30 am – 8 pm, Sat 10 am – 2 pm

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Last weekend I had a mission to go get some feeder shrimps from an aquarium shop to serve as some sort of living filter cleaner for the newly christened water planter/pond filter for our garden. After that mission was completed, it was of course, time for breakfast.

I went around Klang town a bit and ended up at the food court right across the road from Sei Ngan Chai BKT and the “Hilton” wantan mee place looking for something to eat, and this is when I realised I should give this char kuih teow stall a try, mainly just by looking at how many trays of eggs they have right next to the wok.

char kuih teow stall at the food court opposite Sei Ngan Chai BKT, Klang
char kuih teow stall at the food court opposite Sei Ngan Chai BKT, Klang

I took a seat next to the stall and ordered a plate without any specific instructions. About 20 odd minutes later, the plate of char kuih teow arrived, and it looked pretty legit I must say. There’s chives, bean sprouts, cockles, prawns, egg, and properly fried kuih teow that’s ever so slightly charred on certain pieces, indicative of good wok-hei.

certainly a respectable plate of char kuih teow
certainly a respectable plate of char kuih teow

And yep, this is one char kuih teow worth eating if you’re tired of bak kut teh at Klang. The banner outside says “Jalan Batai” char kuih teow, which would suggest that perhaps it was from Seng Lee kopitiam which has since closed down after the revamp of the whole area. I did not ask the proprietor, but this version certainly tastes as good.

jalan-gelugor-klang-map

Address:
Food Court
Jalan Gelugor
Meru, Klang
GPS3.050413, 101.451221

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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