In many ways, Korean food is like a bastard child of East Asian cuisine. With THE big brother Japanese food enjoying tremendous success around the world with a million types of Japanese restaurants from conveyor belt restaurants to ramen stalls to supermarket takeaway, Korean cuisine is still largely represented by Korean BBQ places.
Most Korean restaurants look the same, a hold in the middle of the table, with an exhaust vent extended from the ceiling. With such specifications and most foods involving BBQ meat with full service, Korean restaurants are also typically out of many young adult’s budget. It became a bit of a one-in-a-while cuisine, like Japanese food 20-30 years, or French food today (and most likely, forever.)
KimichiHaru at Jaya One, PJ
Then there’s KimchiHaru, a quaint little restaurant located at the slightly less glamourous corners of Jaya One. I actually discovered this little restaurant while making my rounds in the parking lot looking for a spot. The photos and menu on the outside looks enticing and reasonably priced, hence we went in for a quick lunch.
Sam Gye Tang and Beef Bulgogi set
A quick look at the menu revealed the usual Korean BBQ dishes – the chicken, pork, and beef bulgolgi, kimchi soup, fish/pork cutlet, and spring rolls too. We ordered Sam Gye Tang (chicken soup with ginseng, RM 23) and Beef Bulgogi (RM 23).
Instead of the unlimited supply of banchan (side dishes) found at full service Korean restaurants, we were served with 4 small portions of them with kimchi and salad too.
While the kimchi was a bit lackluster and the banchans we had were nothing to shout about, the sam gye tang turned out to be pretty decent, it was a quarter of a pretty good size chicken with the typical ingredients you find in such dish. I finished the soup too. Haze’s beef bulgogi was commendable too.
Haze and KY at KimchiHaru
To me, KimchiHaru represents a step in the right direction for Korean food in this country, with it’s affordable menu (weekday bibimbap at RM 9.80, lunch set at RM 17.80), clean and modern set up, it is sure to attract younger crowd that will graduate to appreciate Korean food.
Address: KimchiHaru No. 13-LG1 Block D, Jaya One, No 72A, Jalan University, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor GPS: 3.118298,101.635294 Tel:03-7629 8020
A week or so ago when I was downstairs getting ready to go for lunch, a huge Land Rover Discovery suddenly stopped right in front of me, the driver side window rolled down and the driver who turned to be my colleague yelled:
“Hey KY jump in, join us for lunch”
Restaurant Rose 911, authentic Negeri Sembilan food
So I joined 3 of them who were already in the car, and we were on the way to Restaurant Rose 911, an old school restaurant in the older part of the city that specialize in Negeri Sembilan food.
Before that day, I didn’t even know there’s a different version of Malay food from Negeri Sembilan, one of Minangkabau influence, my colleague mentioned.
fish, santan laden vegetable (rendang pegaga), and sambal
While the restaurant doesn’t look much from the outside, it actually has an air conditioned area, a semi alfresco main dining area, and curiously, another smaller dining area that appears to be empty.
According to my colleague, that area’s usually seated with drivers & such when their “bosses” dine at Rose 911. Interesting, and sure enough the clientile consists of kampung folks and high ranking business execs alike.
ikan kembung bakar, dessert (badak berendam)
As for the food, more than half of the dishes to choose from were milky yellowish in color – meaning highly laden with kuah lemak (coconut milk base), turmeric, chili and such good stuff.
I particularly love the rendang pegaga, a type of leave cooked with chicken feet, gizzard, liver, and of course, plenty of santan. The ikan kembung bakar with chili and two other small portions of vegetable were all very old-fashion-good too.
For dessert, we shared a plate of badak berendam (soaking hippo), a traditional Negeri Sembilan kuih made of glutinous rice flour, grated coconut, palm sugar, and of course, more santan. It was delicious as it was sinful.
My rice with drinks came up to RM 8, pretty reasonable. Give it a try, this is definitely different from your usual nasi kandar. Opens for lunch till about 4pm everyday except Sundays.
Address: Restoran Kak Rose 911 No. 25, Jalan Satu Kampung Pandan 55100 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.143901, 101.737293 Tel: 03-9281 2996
Ma Yau, or threadfin fish, is one of the commonly available sea fish this part of the world, coupled with it’s reasonable price, it is one of the more popular fish in the kitchen and tai chau places alike.
The most common way of handling Ma Yau is usually oil-soaked Ma Yau 油浸马友鱼, which can be a bit dull, so when I had one to work with a couple weeks ago, I decided to come up with something slightly different.
Ma Yau Fish with dark soya sauce and onion
I call this the Mau Yau fish with dark soya sauce and onion, though there’s a little bit more than onion that goes into this dish.
Ma Yau fish – obviously
one onion, cut into half, and slices
a few slices of ginger, cut into sticks
4-5 cloves of garlic, cut into slices
one lemongrass, chopped
a few chili padi (optional)
1 table spoon of oyster sauce
2 table spoons of dark soya sauce
ingredients for friedd ma yau fish
This dish requires a two part preparations. First, the fish, which is fairly simple.
clean the fish and rub both sides with some salt
heat up enough oil to cover half the fish with medium fire
fry both sides of fish for 7-8 minutes for each side
remove fish and place on serving plate
Then the sauce:
heat up 2 table spoon of oil
add garlic, ginger, onion, chili, and lemon grass prepared earlier
fry till fragrant (about 2 minutes with fairly high heat)
add dark soya sauce and oyster sauce
continue stirring for a minute or so
pour on fish to serve
The result is a Ma Yau fish with some kick. The lemon grass gives it a bit of Southern Thailand taste while chili padi added some kick to the sauce. Give it a try, I hope you like it.
p/s: a bit of coriander or basil on top would provide a nicer presentation, but I ran out of those herbs.
Ben’s is one of the latest restaurants to open on the 6th floor of Pavilion KL, replacing the ill fated Carat Club, as I suppose, the owner probably discovered that diamonds and food doesn’t necessarily go well together.
If you’ve just spent 2 month’s salary on a piece of carbon, chances are your appetite might not be very good.
Ben’s at Pavilion, 6th floor
Ben’s is another restaurant under the BIG group, which also owns T Forty Two, Plan B, and such. Their website is at thebiggroup.co, yes a URL with .co and not .com.
Ben’s interior has it’s design cue from Delicious, there’s sofa and tea table both indoor and outdoor, smallish dining tables and comfortable chairs. The outdoor area overlooks Jalan Bukit Bintang, giving it a nice city ambiance but without the exhaust fumes from cars on street level.
Spaghetti Pomodoro with chunks of Pecorino Romano cheese
The menu at Ben’s is almost too extensive, you’ll most likely find yourself spending at least 5-10 minutes going through the listing of dishes on your first visit. I did the same, and finally settled on Spaghetti Pomodoro. A pretty simple pasta dish that turned out to be a delight, I love the chunks of Pecorino Romano cheese on it, and everything was just in the right balance – sauce, pasta, everything.
On the very next day, I went to Ben’s again, this time with Winnie & Horng.
Our orders took some 20 minutes to prepare, a pretty long wait for weekday lunch, but luckily it was worth it. The beef lasagna ordered by Horng was superb, packed with ample amount of cheese, beef, and cooked to perfection. You could cut it with just your spoon. The pickest eater gave his approval.
Winnie had spaghetti carbonara that did not disappoint. I’m not a big fan of cream based spaghetti but this one was pretty good when I had a bite. Of course, the chunks of romano cheese helps. 😀
wagyu beef pie
I opted for the portobello mushroom burger. I first had this type of burger back in the States, and so far only very few places has this on the menu.
Instead of one huge mushroom, the burger had 2 slightly smaller one instead, sandwiched by 2 pieces of sourdough, cheese, and some greens. It was pretty good, but would be better with one giant mushroom and probably less healthy choices of bread instead, then again I’m nitpicking.
On another separate visit (this time on Saturday), Haze ordered the Wagyu beef pie for lunch. She love the beef, but thought the pastry was slightly too thick.
KY, Haze, Horng, Winnie
Main dishes at Ben’s are priced from just below RM 20 to RM 30 and up, with majority in the RM 20+ range.
Customer service is exemplary, case in point: Winnie found a single strand of eyelash on her pasta after eating 70% of the dish and informed the captain. The captain was very apologetic and offered her a dessert (we had the velvet cake, was good!), and on top of that, took the dish off the bill. We postulate that the eyelash probably belong to Winnie herself to begin with.
Now if only they can shorten the time it takes to serve those delicious dishes, this would be a perfect mid-range lunch option.
Ben’s (Another Bright Idea by BIG),
Level 6, Pavilion KL 168, Jalan Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur
I remember when MIX FM was launched, I was still in college (yes, I’m not exactly a young boy), and immediately it became one of my favorite stations until now. The music is just perfect for generation-x listeners, with a good mixture of latest hits and those tunes we’re familiar with while growing up.
Best of both worlds, keeping in touch with our roots and at the same time, ensuring we don’t get caught off guard while trying to blend into the younger crowds. hehe
MIX FM also makes a good companion during the morning rush hour whenever I drive to work. Poor JD & Dilly of MIX’s Breakfast Show are probably the only two person I know who had to start work at 6am. I thought waking up before 6:30 am is already such a drag, poor guys.
Despite starting off so early in the morning, these guys do bring a dose of energy to the radio, and usually manage to come up with something funny to kill of the Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Friday blues.
One of my favorite segment’s gotta be “Battle of the Sexes”, male vs female, JD vs Dilly, on equal ground. Exciting stuff 😀
And if you’re a music buff (or a lucky bugger), from now till 1st of April the Breakfast Show will shell out RM 1000 if you are able to identify all 4 songs played in a snippet with title and artist.
If you don’t get them all correct, it is RM 100 per correct title. The total pay out is RM 50,000, so are you gonna be able to take 1K out of it?
Tune to MIX weekdays from 6am to 10am then, good luck!