Kyspeaks.com

Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / July 2009

From my trusted and very handy Webweb dictionary (anyone with a PC should download a copy from wordweb.info):

Naked: Having no protecting or concealing cover

Coconut: Large hard-shelled oval nut with a fibrous husk containing thick white meat surrounding a central cavity filled (when fresh) with fluid or milk

naked coconut at carrefour
highly skilled professional at work

While walking at Carrefour in Tropicana City Mall with Mellissa, Suanie, Horng, and Kerol, we came up to this dude who was manning a stall with a stash of coconut at the back and rows of plastic container with shelled coconuts in front of him. Yes, shelled also mean removed from shell, English is funny like that, go figure.

mellissa, horng and suanie having a naked coconut
suanie gave her seal of approval

We were curious on how that is done and stood there to find out. Apparently the procedure is not overly complex:

  1. pick a coconut
  2. use a machete with power and precision to cut the coconut till a ring of flesh shows
  3. use a sharp plastic blade to separate the meat from the shell
  4. make sure there’s a crowd watching
  5. flip the naked coconut high up and catch it with a plastic container
  6. profit!

The first time I saw this was over 10 years ago back in Penang, but it seems that they are gaining popularity only recently. Very cool to see the way it is done though.

action shot of naked coconut flying into the container
action shot of naked coconut to container sequence

After the performance which I took a video of (and somehow a crowd had built up), suanie felt that we couldn’t just leave without buying a couple coconuts from the fella. So she did, RM4 for one, and supposedly RM 7.60 for two but we didn’t get the discount somehow at the cash register. Oh well.


so you know this isn’t from the factory!

After having the coconut chilled in the freezer for about an hour, it was just the most awesome thing in the hot afternoon. Pure coconut juice without anything else, and that glorious firm and delicious coconut meat all for the taking. *slurps*

Good news everyone!

Today we’re going to give away free tickets, oh yes, movie tickets to one of the most anticipated animated movie this year – Up.

I don’t know about you, but I love pretty much every single pixar movie there is, from the first Toy Story, A Bug’s Life to Ratatouille and WALL-E. I’ve enjoyed every single one of them, same can’t be said with any other movie studio or director (Christopher Nolan not withstanding)

Disney Pixar Up poster
Up up & away!

I expect Up, the 10th movie from Pixar, will again be one of the better movies of the year. My most trusted movie critic Eyeris already watched it and confirmed that Up is awesome, read his review here.

To get your hands on the premier movie tickets, all you have to do is to comment on this post and end it with “up up and away!”, the first 20 person gets a pair of tickets. Be creative or risk being ridiculed 😀

Details of this Nuffnang movie premier:

  • When: 9:30pm 11th August, 2009
  • Where: Cathay Cineplex Damansara
  • Collection Time: 8:30 to 9:15pm, screening day

The movie’s going to be awesome! Please thank Robb for making the tickets available.

Cafe Italia must be one of the most uncreative names for an Italian restaurant to assume, especially one that is tucked in a small lane connected to the little Italy of Melbourne, Lygon Street. Fortunately, it is also one that serves up very good authentic Italian cuisine in for pretty reasonable prices.

Cafe Italia at University St, off Lygon, Melbourne
alfresco dining at Cafe Italia when weather permits

Incidentally, this is also one of Mell‘s housemates, Jun Wei’s favorite Italian restaurant in Melbourne. The eatery is located on a rather small 1-way University Street (between Melbourne University and Carlton Garden) and only has a small 3’x3’ sign on the outside. Pretty easy to miss especially since the place sorta look like a green house from the outside during cooler months.

Together with Zehan (who also needs a bf, a good Muslim boy perhaps?), the four of us went there in the middle of April during my last trip to Melbourne.

spaghetti fruitti di mare and fish special
spaghetti frutti di mare (seafood), fish special (barramundi)

The restaurant has three different area, conventional dining, private rooms, and court yard (which, as mentioned, converts to green house like area when it’s colder). Interior is tastefully decorated with a bar, wine racks, and plenty of plants. Very comfortable and yet not overly done.

The menu is not any different from most Italian restaurants, offering pasta, beef, lamb, fish, pizza, and of course, a variety of appetizers, desserts, and wine.

lamb chop and rigatoni ragu
lamb chop, rigatoni ragu (pasta with eggplant)

I ordered the lamb special ($27.90)- a generous piece of char grilled lamb chop marinated with lemon and wine served on pea mash. The meat was tender, juicy, and the taste of the lemon and red wine marinate was just right. I was so glad I ordered it. The pea mash was interesting and I actually liked it better than mashed potato by quite a bit.

Mell had the pesce del giorno (fish special $28.90)) – a piece of barramundi (I think) fillet served with fire roasted peppers, brocolini, and lime saffron sauce. The seafood was fresh and sauce went well with the whole combination, no complains at all there.

jun wei, KY, mellissa, and zehan at cafe italia
Jun Wei, KY, Mell, Zehan

Zehan and Jun Wei had the rigatoni ragu (spaghetti with eggplant, $17.90) and spaghetti frutti di mar (seafood spaghetti $22.90) with both of them expressing approval for their dishes in terms of taste as well as presentation.

Comparing to the more student friendly (budget wise) places such as Cafe Notturno, Cafe Italia is 30-50% pricier, but if you look into the place, service, as well as food quality and taste factor, then it is a very worth while place to visit.

map to cafe italia at lygon street, Melbourne

At the end, our bill came to just a bit less than $100 for the four of us (we only ordered water). Dollar to dollar, an excellent value don’t you think? Now I think I might need to go back there again for the next Melbourne trip.

Address:
Cafe Italia
56/66 University St,

Carlton
Victoria 3053,
Australia

GPS: -37.799366,144.967926
Tel: +613 9347 0638
Website: cafeitalia.com.au

Other than nasi lemak and bak kut teh, one of my favorite local food of all time must be banana leaf rice. My usual fix for this Southern Indian dish is at Kanna Curry House, since it is rather good and pretty close to where I stay. Mell, however, insist that the best banana leaf rice is this particular Restaurant Nirwana Maju at Bangsar.

Nirwana Maju Banana Leaf Rice
Restaurant Nirwana Maju Banan Leaf Rice

Nirwana, as the restaurant is commonly referred to, is located at the heart of the most happening area at Bangsar, just right across Bangsar Village on Jalan Telawi 3. Street parking can be a bit challenging most of the time, but parking at Bangsar Village shouldn’t cost more than a couple ringgit for a meal.

banana leaf rice with curry and chicken
fried brinjal, potato, cucumber, with 2 curries and dal

For those who are not familiar with banana leaf rice:

  • a clean and preferably fresh sheet of banana leaf
  • rice with usually 3 types of vegetables
  • choices of curry and/or dal
  • condiments such as deep fried salted chili
  • usually also serve with papadum

As you can guessed, the standard banana leaf rice is basically a vegetarian dish. However, you can always add fish, mutton, chicken, fried fish roe and squid, and a host of other side dishes for a meal worthy of any glutton.

Mellissa and KY at Sri Nirwana Maju
Mell and KY, deep fried brinjal & papadem at Nirwana

The rice and curry at Nirwana is as good as any that I’ve had, but the really special item here is one of their standard vegetable served that I haven’t come across anywhere else – deep fried eggplant (the green and white type). The crispy yet savory batter and the sweetness of eggplant is a combination that proved to be very addictive, I love it!

Map to Sri Nirwana Maju at Bangsar
Sri Nirwana Maju banana leaf rice is located next to Bangsar Village

Two sets of banana leaf rice with an order of fish or fried chicken and drinks usually come to some RM 15 for two person. Still pretty reasonably priced despite being located at Bangsar. If you love banana leaf rice, give this one a try!

Address:
Sri Nirwana Maju 43 Jalan Telawi Tiga,
Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.131014,101.670892
Tel:
03-2287 8445

Last night I had one of the most impressive home dinner over at Singz’s, one of Mell‘s friends. When Mell told me that Singz’s mom cooks the most amazing prawn mee, I sorta took it with a pinch of salt since you know, I’m from Penang and all that. But after the dinner, I have to give it to Mama Wong, it was most awesome indeed!

Mama Wong’s kitchen has a automated shopping mall style glass sliding door separating the cooking are and the dining room, so very cool! The only disadvantage I can think of is when you have a power outage. They better have an emergency generator at home.

penang prawn mee and laksa
Mama Wong’s Penang prawn mee and laksa

Anyway, there were altogether about 10 of us at the dinner, and each of us chose between Penang prawn mee or asam laksa. The host obviously had everything very well planned, all the cutlery and condiments were in place, for the prawn mee we have

  • extra prawns
  • sambal
  • fried shallots
  • hard boiled eggs

And for Asam Laksa we have

  • har kou (prawn paste)
  • mint leaves
  • pineapple strips
  • cucumber strips
  • red chili
  • diced ginger flower (bunga kantan)
  • sliced onion

And those are just the condiments, the prawn mee was easily the best I had since Lian Gaik at Butterworth, Penang. The perfect soup with prawn, kangkung, mee hun + mee, and most importantly, PORK RIBS! I’m getting so hungry just writing this omg.

Asam laksa was pretty good too, plenty of fish chunks and all that garnishing, it was a shame that my stomach just couldn’t let me take more. I had requested half a bowl after the huge prawn mee serving but it seems that Mama Wong didn’t believe half a bowl. Oh well.

tropical fruits & grapes, mua chee, and barley tong sui
tropical fruits & grapes, mua chee, and barley tong sui

Mua chee, together with a plate of mangosteen, nangka, grapes, and pink guava were served next. The mua chee was as good as any I’ve had too. And as our collective stomachs were getting full to the brim, bowls of hot barley tong sui appeared.. *slurps…burp*

Singz; Jun Wei; Ian, Ching, Mrina
Singz; Jun Wei; Ian, Ching, Mrina

It was a very enjoyable dinner experience, aided by a lot of bimbo talks that us 3.5 guys had to endure. Oh, by the way, Mama Wong’s daughter, Singz (on the top left picture who looks a bit psycho, she doesn’t normally look like this (or so they say)) is single and available, please leave a comment with links to your facebook or something for a chance of eternal awesome prawn mee supply.

Oh, she likes bad boys with piercings and tattoos.

p/s: I’ll make a huge announcement should Mama Wong decide to open a restaurant.