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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / June 2009

Seoul Garden at Sunrise Tower is probably one of the very first Korean restaurants in Penang. I remember the restaurant being there as far back as my memory could remember.

In the back of my mind, I had always thought that dining at this type of place would be rather expensive, and at the time, something that my RM 2.20/hr McDonald’s job would never allow me to afford. I was just look at people going in and out while I was flipping burger in the same building.

Seoul Garden, banchan
plenty of banchan (side dishes) as usual

I made it a point that I would visit this place eventually, but little did I know that it actually took over one and a half decade before that happened. Together with Mellissa and my family last weekend, we had dinner at Seoul Garden.

As it turned out, Seoul Garden is just like most of the Korean restaurants I’ve visited in KL. A stove in the middle for grilling meat, a menu that includes all the usual suspects like beef bulgogi, kalbi, sam gye tang (ginseng chicken soup), kimchi soup, pork belly, and so on.

ox tongue, pork belly, and pork bulgogi
ox tongue, pork belly, and pork bulgogi

My brother and sister are both pretty adventurous when it comes to food, but tragically, my mom is a bit too conservative in the same department. Since this is the first time mom stepped into a Korean restaurant, I ordered something that would be a bit more familiar for her, sam giap sal (pork belly, RM 22), pork bulgogi (RM 25), and sam gye tang (ginseng chicken soup). I also ordered so hyeo gui (ox tongue RM 35) for good measure.

sam gye tang korean ginseng chicken soup
Korean ginseng chicken soup

There were about 6-7 types of banchan (side dishes) served with the main dishes we ordered. There was the customary kimchi which was rather potent and tasted pretty good, bean sprouts, vegetable, jelly thingy, green chili, and radish. I thought the banchan tasted just alright, nothing spectacular, but not bad either.

Our first grilled item was the ox tongue. Thinly sliced (about a dozen slices) without any marinate, the grilled ox tasted wonderful. The slight springy texture and the unaltered taste goes very well with just a touch of oil and salt. The pork belly was not overly fatty and came in 5 big slices, I think we had slightly overcooked it as it was a bit too dry by the time we hauled the pieces out of the grilled. Could have been tastier otherwise.

mom, brother, sister, niece, mellissa, and KY
mom, brother, KY, Mell, sister, niece (Ryan, you have a challenger)

Pork bulgogi was pretty good, flavorful though a little salty. However, it does go very well with steamed rice. I always love Korean rice with it’s stickier texture and stronger aroma. The ginseng chicken soup too was a very good dish, the soup had a very strong ginseng taste and the chicken meat cooked to a very soft and tender texture. Mom liked the soup quite a bit.

map to seoul garden at gurney drive

Total bill came to about RM 160. Pretty good deal for 5 adults and a little girl (whom is cute enough to steal some lime light from suan‘s nephew – Ryan), say hello to Taasha! The same meal in KL would easily cost twice as much, though the portion might be 30-40% bigger.

Address:
Seoul Garden
1st Floor, Sunrise Tower,
Gurney Drive
Penang, Malaysia

GPS: 5.439805,100.30815
Tel: 04-229 8705

The most common complains among the new arrivals working at the twin towers and the surrounding area seems to be the price of food. From fast foods such as McDonald’s, KFC, and Burger King, to the food courts and restaurants within KLCC and Avenue K malls, you often need to spend at least around RM10 to get a decent meal.

ikan bakar at Warong Kak Fauziah
Warong Kak Fauziah is located behind Lembaga Getah Malaysia

However, if you are willing to walk just a bit, there are hidden gems littered all around the KLCC vicinity. Warong Kak Fauziah with its excellent ikan bakar (grilled fish) is one of them.

Hidden behind Lembaga Getah Malaysia (opposite main entrance of the twin towers), the little zinc roofed shack is tricky to get to. The safest bet is to walk from the back road of Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, and just follow what your nose tells you. There is usually a healthy crowd during lunch time on weekdays.

grilled fish near KLCC
freshly grilled fish with rice comes to less than RM 6

There are three types of ikan bakar available here, ikan kembung (hardtail), ikan keli (catfish), and ikan pari (stingray). My favorite is always the ikan pari due to mainly the fact that there is no bone to deal with. For lunch, in addition to the fish, I also grabbed an omelet and some ulam (raw vegetable) to go with rice.

As with many ikan bakar places, you can find at least 3-4 different types of condiments to go with the fish, sambal belacan, chili with soya sauce and lime, cencaluk, and so forth. I usually like to mix them up.

KY and Chew at Warong Kak Fauziah
KY and Chew (who wants a gf)

The ikan pari here was simply delicious. Rich, oily, and generous portion of very tasty stingray meat mixed with the spicy sambal with that bits of burnt fish skin, there isn’t many thing that is so down to earth, no nonsense, halal and unhealthy. I love it. Best of all, the plate of fish, egg, vegetable, and rice was less than RM 6 in total.

warong_fauziah_map
Warong Kak Fauziah is located behind Lembaga Getah Malaysia

Good food, great price, there isn’t nothing not to like about this place. Well, except maybe the lack of air conditioning, but that is pushing it, no?

Address:
Warong Kak Fauziah,
behind Lembaga Getah Malaysia
Jalan Ampang, KL

GPS: 3.160088,101.711941

Ahhh, durian, the king of fruits. The one thing that people usually really hate or really love, just like Hillary Clinton. Fortunately enough, Mell and I are both into this whole durian eating business, though she is quite a bit more hardcore when it comes to this. (remember durian flavored gelato at Freddo?)

Durian at PJ SS2
aptly named DurianSS2.com

So last Monday we decided to head to SS2 for some durian love at the stalls behind BHP petrol station (intersection of SS2/75 and SS2/24).

I remembered a couple years ago there were two durian stalls side by side enjoying equally brisk business. Then in a moment of epiphany, one of the stalls created a website and put up a big banner saying DURIANSS2.COM. Their business immediately shot up and they’ve been by far the busiest stall ever since. This was also the place we went on Monday.

King of Fruits - Durian
hand doesn’t smell if you wash it with water from the husk?

The place is a semi permanent set up with plenty of tables and chairs, a basin, and free filtered water to wash down those glorious fruit. There’s quite a big selection of durians, from Raja Kunyit, to the more common D2, D24, and Udang Merah, you can pick you choose. Of course, they are priced differently, as high as RM 22 (for Raja Kunyit), or RM9/RM10 all-you-can-eat buffet style.

Not knowing what we should go for, we told the operator to get us something that is half bitter and half sweet and ended up with XO durian. The relatively thick meat was soft and very flavorful, part bitter, and part sweet. There were about 8-10 pieces of flesh in each of the two durian we had (1.4 and 1.5kg). It was absolutely delicious!

KY and Mell eating durian
KY and Mell enjoying some durian goodness

Total damage was RM 37, which worked out to be about RM 13 per kilogram for the durian we ordered.

Mell insists that washing the hand with water off the husk of the durian will make sure that you don’t end up with leftover durian smell. I’ve heard about that many times and still find zero scientific basis to the whole exercise, besides, what’s wrong with how your hand smell if your breath is going to be the biggest concern anyway? :D

map to Durian at SS2
the durian stalls are located behind the petrol station

Address:
DurianSS2
intersection of Jalan SS2/24 and Jalan SS2/75
Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS: 3.117794,101.623943
Tel: 012-234 5619 (Ah Wai)

I first heard about the Otak-Otak Place from suanie who said “the food is good loh”.

It would not be so significant if the statement was from anyone else, but suanie is from Batu Pahat, which is very close to Muar where they sells the best otak-otak. So when Mell and I found ourselves in Tropicana City Mall a couple days ago, I decided to pay a visit to this restaurant.

otak-otak place
otak-otak place, quirky but old school design

Otak-otak place is decorated in a very quirky but old school way, there are old black bicycles, furniture designs from a couple generations ago, and even Ding Dang and Tora snacks for sale.

The selection on their menu is actually quite wide. There are half a dozen types of otak-otak to choose from (steamed, bbq, “cucur”, dumpling, roll, etc), with fish, squid, or prawn fillings. Local favorites like nasi lemak, ayam perchik, pulut, roti jala, mee rebus, asam laksa, curry laksa, soto, fish head noodles, bakso, and more are available too.

otak-otak, roti jala, mee bandung muar
steamed otak-otak, roti jala, mee bandung muar, bbq otak-otak

We ordered steamed otak-otak (squid), 5 sticks of BBQ otak-otak (fish), mee bandung Muar, and roti jala for dinner. While waiting for food to be served, we amused ourselves with the Happy Families card game on the table, anyone still remembers the rules?

We managed a few games before the steamed otak-otak (RM 3) arrived, and it was actually very delicious, I’d rate it better than the one at Kopitiam, 1-Utama. The BBQ stick otak-otak too tasted very close to those suanie brought from Muar, though at RM 5.50 for 5 sticks they are quite a bit more pricey than the Southern counterparts, but someone has to pay for air conditioning and mall rental.

otak-otak place, KY and Mellissa
KY and Mell

Mee bandung Muar (RM 7.90) comes in a clay pot with prawns, meat, egg, vegetable, and half a lime. I asked for mee with meehun. While I don’t really know how the “authentic” mee bandung Muar tastes like, this one cuts the cake for me. The soup was flavorful and ingredients aplenty, but those who can’t handle spicy food should take caution though.

Mell liked the roti jala (RM 5.90) she ordered too. I took a bite, and while the roti jala was good, I thought the chicken curry could be a bit thicker.


Tropicana City Mall is located between LDP & Sprint

The meal came to around RM 25 for two of us, including drinks. There is a 5% service charge but no government tax imposed. You can find Otak-otak place at lower ground floor, new wing of 1-Utama shopping complex.

As a bonus, there’s yogurt ice cream at Tropicana City Mall too, and now that GSC is opening there, it has become my all time favorite hang-out place especially when the weather is too hot.

Address:
Otak-Otak Place
Lot L1-58, 1st Floor
Tropicana City Mall
3, Jalan SS20/27
47400 Petaling Jaya

GPS: 3.130757,101.626421
Tel:03-7728 0403

If you have been following this blog for a while you realise that I do follow the mobile phone technology quite closely. The proud owner of one of the best camera phone N82, and the first Symbian S60 touch screen phone, the 5800. (I do use both of them with separate phone lines)

blackberry_logo

However, ever since Mellissa started to use a Blackberry, I’ve been thinking of getting one for myself too. Blackberries are pretty unique and offer two biggest distinctions from other phones:

  • real push mail services – unlike most other “pull” services that drains the battery faster
  • blackberry messaging services – with blackberry services and unlimited data plan, you can message your friend essentially for free. It works somewhat like between SMS and Instant Messaging

There are only two service providers in this country currently offering Blackberry plans for general consumers and not only for business customers alone.

Of these two, Celcom seems to have the better deal out there. The package for Blackberry Storm are:

  • RM 1699 with Celcom Exec 50 – RM 148 monthly commitment
  • RM 1399 with Celcom Exec 250 – RM 250 monthly commitment

Both packages comes with unlimited internet and Blackberry email usage for a contract period of 12 months. More information here.

Telco M, on the other hand, has the same phone priced at RM 2199 with their Value 150 plan with a 24 months commitment. While they are some differences in call rates and minor details, it seems that in this case, Celcom is providing a better deal when you put two of them together.

About the phone:

As for the phone, well, Blackberry Storm is the first phone from the company that comes with a touch screen rather than a QWERTY keyboard. There is always a debate on whether the lack of physical keys is a good thing on mobile phones in general, and even more so with a messaging centric device like Blackberry. At the end of the day, it boils down to personal preference.

blackberry storm 9500

The reviews are somewhat mixed, my friend Terence who has been using the Storm for a while really loved it. I’ve played with it for a few minutes and found that the touch screen tactile  feedback is pretty different and needs a bit of getting used to. The display itself though, is gorgeous. 3.25″ with 360×480 pixel makes viewing webpages and email a breeze.

Comparing it to the iPhone (which is the most common comparison out there), the Blackberry does offer quite a few functionalities not found in the competitor. The messaging functions alone, with the two mentioned features above and full sms/mms functions, is clearly superior. The ability to carry and change battery too is always welcomed.

With the unlimited data plan (the only way to go with a device like this anyway), you can also use the phone as a tethered modem to a netbook or laptop like how I used to do with the Nokia. Very useful especially when streamyx isn’t the most reliable thing lately.

I’m seriously thinking of making the switch, what do you think?

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