Kyspeaks.com

Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / August 2010

Many eons ago (actually just a few decades), Hong Kong wasn’t exactly as developed as it is now. Among the settlers, traders, and foreign administrations, there were a group of people whom took home on boats. They were the boat people, and whenever the weather does not agree, they would seek shelter at Causeway Bay.

The boat people had a subculture all to themselves, living by the sea, when it comes to food, their speciality were undoubtedly seafood.

Causeway Bay Spicy Crab at Hartamas
Causeway Bay Spicy Crab, now at Hartamas

Fast forward to 21st century, Causeway Bay is now a heavily developed area, but the subculture continues. A local businessman went over to Hong Kong, partnering with the original boat people and started the Causeway Bay Spicy Crab restaurant at Jaffe Road in Causeway Bay.

Building on the success of the restaurant in HK, the local owner now brought the restaurant back home. So now we have our very own Causeway Bay Spicy Crab right here at Hartamas, KL.

Causeway Bay Spicy Crab at Hartamas
signature dish – Garlic and Chili Crab

A couple weeks ago I was invited by one of the partners to have dinner at this very restaurant. Together with Haze, Gareth, Kim, Suanie, and Horng, we headed over to Hartamas with, I must say, quite a high expectation.

We left the task of ordering to the restaurant manager, and some 20 minutes later, our first dish came – Garlic and Chili Crab (RM 68/80), their signature dish. The gigantic crab’s covered with almost one whole pound of garlic with a bit of chili for that spicy kick. The crab was delicious, and the fried garlic positively addictive!

crab porridge, chicken gristle, garlic and chili crab
crab porridge, chicken gristle, garlic and chili crab

The rest of the dish came within a couple minutes of the first one, I’ve always hate it when restaurants take their sweet time serving between dishes, no such problem here.

The crab porridge (RM 68/80) was another winner. The huge crab and porridge were cooked to order so you really get the sweetness of the seafood well seeped into the congee. I think it’s big enough to feed at least 2-3 people.

Then there’s the chicken gristle, a definite must-order non-seafood item here. The texture of the chicken cartilage and the little chunk of meat/skin was perfect, this dish reminds me of the chicken gristle I had at Sumi-ka in the form of yakitori.

duck tongue, steamed tofu, squid with salted egg, frogs in XO sauce
duck tongue, steamed tofu, squid with salted egg, frogs in XO sauce

The “exotic” dish we had came in the form of a plate of duck tongue. The dish must have caused a whole classroom of dumb ducks. Tho I’m usually a huge fan of the strange and exotic dishes, this one did not impress me. It was my first time having duck tongue too, and while I didn’t find it gross or anything like that, it was just a little too soft and blunt in taste.

I did like the steamed tofu, stuffed with chunks of scallops, prawns, and other seafood, it provided balance to the other stronger tasting dishes.

condiments, Horng & Suanie, Kimberly and Gareth, KY and Haze
condiments, Horng & Suanie, Kimberly and Gareth, KY and Haze

Just like the garlic in their signature dish, Causeway Bay Crab does not spare the usage of salted egg in their salted egg squid. The excess salted egg covered every square inch of the squid and then some. It was another dish that we love.

Then there’s the frogs in XO sauce, Kim’s favorite. Really fresh tasting frog with generous amount of garlic, XO sauce, and peas to give it a bit of a crunchy texture, it was easily one of the better frog dishes I’ve had. I prefer it over the usual kam heong method of preparation.

Causeway Bay Spicy Crab
Causeway Bay Spicy Crab

Towards the end of the night, we were mixing garlic, salted egg, and the condiments from XO frogs and consuming them as is. These wasn’t exactly the healthiest way of eating but we just couldn’t help it.

While Causeway Bay Spicy Crab isn’t the cheapest places to dine at, but if you are looking for quality seafood and some huge Sabah crabs, you can’t go wrong at this place. The dishes were mostly excellent (with the questionable duck tongue, but it might be just me), a great ambiance, and on top of that, a slightly overly cold air conditioning too.

map to Causeway Bay Spicy Crab at Hartamas

Address:
Causeway Bay Spicy Crab
銅鑼灣辣蟹莊
26 & 26-1 Jalan 30/70A
Desa Sri Hartamas
50480 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.16347, 101.64898
Tel: 03-6205 2280

Causeway Bay Spicy Crab

For the few of you who have been following this blog for a while, it is not something new that I’ve been a fan of Guinness. For those who are also a fan, there’s good news, the annual Arthur’s Day is coming again! installment number 251!

Guinness and friends
what’s better than enjoying a pint with your best buddies?

The world’s most popular black beer probably doesn’t need much introduction. A perfectly poured Guinness with it’s inch thick creamy foam on top of that pure black beauty is a sight that turns any bad day good, and good day even better!

Over the years, the black beer has also found a place in the kitchen. From the classic Guinness pork ribs from your typical Chinese restaurants, Guinness lamb shank, and to international celebrity chefs like Chef in Black’s creations, what other beer is more versatile?

Guinness Arthur's Day 250 with black eye pea
Arthur’s Day 2009, Black Eyed Peas

Last year’s Arthur’s Day was a blast, Black Eyed Peas was brought in for the 250th anniversary of the famed black beer. We had an awesome time at Sunway Lagoon partying, the photo collage above is worth about 8,000 word’s description, so do exercise your imagination.

There’s no slowing down for Guinness, this year’s Arthur’s Day, we have the following line up of international and local artists performing at Surf Beach @ Sunway Lagoon on the 24th of September 2010:

  • Timbaland
  • DJ Fuzz
  • Mizz Nina
  • Pop Shuvit
  • Thaitanium
  • Sean Kingston
  • Melissa Indot

Arthur's Day 2010 artist line up
Arthur’s Day 2010 artist line up

Tickets go for White, Black, and Gold zones (mosh pit) go for RM 98, RM 198, and RM 350 at Axcess.com.my or Arthursday.com.my. But of course, there’s always a chance to get in for free, by joining The Man of Action contest:

  • Be creative, create a video involving your favorite song/artist. It can be an MTV, spoof, slideshow, anything
  • Upload it on youtube and post the link on facebook.com/guinnessmalaysia with name and email
  • Every qualified and relevant entry wins passes to Arthur’s Day event (white zone tickets, consolation prize)
  • 4 x Runner up – a pair of mosh pit tickets (gold zone)

Simple isn’t it? On top of that, there’s a grand prize winner that’ll be announced on Arthur’s Day itself, and the lucky fella will walk away with a trip to Dublin to visit the St James Gate Brewery & Guinness Storehouse!! What are you waiting for? Lets do this!

Here’s my submission, a collaboration effort with the fehmes Cheesie, what do you think? (don’t laugh :/)

Oh, for those who are slightly less creative, there’s also The Man of  Vision Contest where you decipher how many Guinness elements can be found in a given image. Go to arthursday.com.my to get illustration, and follow @GuinnessMY on Twitter to get more clues!

Grand Prize is another Dublin Trip + mosh pit tickets, and there’s weekly mosh pit tickets to be won too.

See you guys on Arthur’s Day!

A pair of eyes with dilated pupils piercing through the darkness, raw of predatory instinct, unmistaken authority.

Be prepared, for when it hits, you will want to have your eyes as ready and as prepared.

This September 2, something big is going to happen right here in Malaysia. Depth and Realism like never before.

Watch this space, as with TV, newspaper, magazines, website and more. Yes, this is a teaser.

Get pumped!

For many who read this blog, it is pretty evident that I do not pay for all the food reviewed on this blog. As someone who writes reviews on online, or indeed on prints, we sometimes get invited to food tasting/review sessions. I make it a point to put those posts in “By Invitation” category, there are already over 50 posts in there as of this writing.

Some insists that all reviews done via this matter shouldn’t be trusted as the writer did not pay for their food and got preferential treatments, hence they must be biased. There’s some sense of truth to it, but it isn’t the topic we’re discussing today.

Sometimes, the owner or a friend of the restaurants owner contacts myself for these reviews. Other times, it is the in house PR personnel who does the invitations. However, there’s also an increasing trend of restaurants hiring PR agencies to engage bloggers (and other media outlets) for food reviews.

In the last case, there’s money involved. Now I might be over simplifying things, but they usually goes:

Restaurant pays PR – PR gets bloggers to eat – Bloggers write reviews

The PR agencies might also have more detailed arrangements with the clients (restaurants), including numbers of free meals the restaurant is responsible for vs how many reviews (positive or otherwise) should turn up on blogs, number of unique hits, etc.

While it might sound like an awesome deal, free food and all, the reality is quite a bit different. Most serious food bloggers will haul along  their SLR & other photography equipments; trying to enjoy dinner interrupted with many photo taking sessions and talking with the PR/restaurant owner; and of course, spend hours editing photos and writing the blog post after the meal.

All these can amount to quite a bit of work, and you could probably agree that the least a writer can ask for is to have decent dining partners to go with. In my case, it is Haze, and sometimes part of #porkgang.

So a yesterday there was this article from Fit to Post (Yahoo! Singapore) titled “S’poreans outraged over ‘free meal’ blogger“, basically stating that a food blogger – ladyironchef, and I quote – “demanded that he and his three companions be given free meals at an upscale restaurant”. The article also quoted several other food bloggers condemning ladyironchef of being a “freeloader” and “bringing down the good name” of them.

Conversations on Twitter and forums this one was full of people throwing in their punches while the said blogger’s site was down.

This morning ladyironchef posted his version of the story, which came out to be something I’ve sorta suspected. While his record was not entirely spotless in this debacle ( throwing credit card on table), I think that the PR consultant did a lot worse in this case.

  1. The blogger did communicated the fact that he’s bringing 3 guests both on email and SMS.
  2. PR consultant was not there during the meal
  3. PR consultant did not advice the restaurant manager on the interview with Yahoo! SG

This is assuming the said PR consultant wasn’t the one who get the story out in the first place. Now that the blogger’s version is out, the PR/restaurant just made an ass of themselves, same goes with those who condemn the blogger without knowing the full story too (at least hungryepicurean put up an apology, bravo!)

Lesson from this story?

  • know both sides before condemning anyone
  • if an article cited blogs including those idled since 2008, read with a soup spoon of salt
  • food review isn’t all pleasure and no work
  • many PR consultants are awesome people, but just like bloggers, some of them are asses

p/s: for the invited reviews I find not worthy of recommendations, I usually skip the write up completely instead of writing a review on lousy food as I believe people visit this blog to look for good food and not having to sift through a lot of bad ones at the same time.

Last Friday I was invited to a buka puasa dinner at KL Convention Centre. Interestingly, even though this is my 6th Ramadan spent working at the towers, I’ve never had a buka puasa event there.

In fact, I didn’t even know that there’s an in house caterer at KL convention centre with full kitchen staff, chefs and all that jazz. Well now I do!

Buka Puasa at KLCC convention centre
so this is supposed to be an exhibition hall, now a dining area!

The buka puasa event is located at Hall 5 (think PC Fair) of the convention centre, a massive hall that was transformed into a giant restaurant with plenty of tables, 5 buffet stations, a dozen food stalls, and even plants and other decorations. It was quite impressive to say the least.

sup campur, roast lamb kuzi
sup campur, roast lamb kuzi

The one thing I always remember about every buka puasa dinner I went to was the queue. When you have everyone expected to eat at the same time, there’s always a long queue and LRT-type traffic going on. This isn’t so at this place, since the convention hall is massive and the buffet area spared to 17 different stations, human traffic is much more manageable.

buffet spread for buka puasa
goreng gorengan, ulam, jeruk, nasi ayam, sup asam pedas and more

Since the information is available (on every table), let me list down the dishes available

  • stall 1 – gulai kawah traditional
  • stall 2 – ayam dara percik gula kabung, madras chicken tikka with naan
  • stall 3 – wanton mee, Penang char kueh teow
  • stall 4 – whole roasted lamb kuzi, chicken briyani and condiments
  • stall 5 – goreng-gorengan
  • stall 6 – roti-bom, roti jala & murtabak served with curry and dhal
  • stall 7 – hainanese chicken rice
  • stall 8 – ABC with ice cream, crepe and waffle
  • stall 9 – chicken and beef satay
  • stall 10 – seafood asam pedas
  • stall 11 – sup campur utara
  • stall 12 – turkish chicken shawarma, italian pasta corner

soup, roast lamb, murtabak, desserts and more!
soup, roast lamb, murtabak, desserts and more!

On top of these you still have 5 buffet stations serving all sorts of lauk from daging dendeng to udang goreng kunyit, ulam to bubur, ketupat, lemang, and serunding too. It is impossible to sample everything even if I go there half a dozen times.

To be honest, I didn’t really expect too much from “catered food” but this buffet spread proved me wrong. Except for the slightly lack luster lemang (I love Lemang from Kijal) and ordinary pasta, everything we’ve tasted were actually very good.

Haze and KY at KLCC Convention Centre buka puasa dinner
now why can’t I pose as well as Haze -__-

My favorite of the night was the lamb, that whole roast lamb was so tender I think I’ve never tasted lamb quite as good as this. It was literally a revelation. Several others on the same table went on for second serving of the same thing too. The tiny desserts we sampled were delicious too!

KL Convention Centre

Buffet is priced at RM 90++ per person and runs till end of Ramadan, not a bad deal at all if you ask me.

Selamat berbuka puasa!

Address:
Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre,
Kuala Lumpur City Centre,
50088 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

GPS: 3.154443,101.712649
Tel: 03-2333-2888