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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / April 2012

A couple weeks ago a bunch of us were invited to Al-Amar Express at Fahrenheit 88 for the Happy Hour promotion and a bit of food. The event turned out to be a definition of excess, and a textbook reference of good times.

Al Amar Express at Fahrenheit 88
Al Amar Express at Fahrenheit 88

Like most people, I had the unfortunate generalization that Al-Amar Express is a middle eastern food joint (which was correct), and hence must not serve alcohol (which wasn’t).

cocktails at Al Amar Express
cocktails at Al Amar Express

In fact, the Al Amar “lets meet up…” wines and cocktails menu has several selections of Lebanese wines, popular beers, whisky, spirits, and some 10 different types of cocktails.

From 4pm to 8pm, buy 2 cocktails and get 1 free. The same thing applies to beer as well.

wine, strawberry margarita, beer
Lebanese wine, strawberry margarita, Corona beer

Before food was being served, we already got the night started with some mojito, Corona beer, wine, and margarita. Perfect start to the evening if you ask me.

hummus, Lebanese chickpea and eggplant dip, pita bread, haloumi salad
hummus, Lebanese chickpea and eggplant dip, pita bread, haloumi salad

After a bit of chit chat and making sure everyone had something to drink, the food arrived.

We started out with some warm pita bread. Dipping them into hummus (RM 12.90) or those very interesting chickpea and eggplant (moutabal RM 12.90) as you would with chips and salsa, except the experience is quite a bit richer, and definitely more refined (for something that is eaten with hand)

The haloumi salad (RM 20) is another exquisite dish that I’ve never tasted – with fried haloumi cheese, herb crust crouton, cherry tomato, and vinaigrette dressing on top of a bed of rocket. The fried cheese was a revelation, slightly crispy on the outside, and definitely cheesy within. It was very good!

tabbouleh, warak enab, grilled chicken salad
tabbouleh, warak enab, grilled chicken salad

Tabbouleh is a uniquely Arabic salad with finely chopped tomato, Italian parsley, and mint. The taste was very… refreshing.

Another salad we tried was the grilled chicken salad (RM 20), and this came with a generous portion of grilled chicken breast topped with aioli dressing. The marinate definitely leave a Lebanese signature in this dish.

Warak enab is these spring roll look-alike with ground lamb, rice, and spices all chopped up and wrapped in grape leaves. I find it a little too sour and salty, perhaps it is an acquired taste, or just a case of Al Amar sticking to the traditional recipe too closely.

spinach fatayer, cheese roll, lamb sambousik,
spinach fatayer, cheese roll, lamb sambousik,

Spinach fatayer, cheese roll, and lamb sambousik  (RM 8.50 each) were definitely the type of finger food best with some beer or cocktail. I don’t think further explanation is needed. Deep fried food always go well with alcohol.

Lebanese pizzas, shawarma and flame grilled chicken
Lebanese pizzas, shawarma and flame grilled chicken

And as we thought our collective stomaches were starting to get a bit full, the main dishes came.

First to be served were spicy chicken cheese (RM 17.90) and kafta with cheese manakeesh (RM 17.90) were both very delicious. They looked exactly like pizzas, but the taste was definitely different, a tad of saltiness, a kick of spiciness, and that savory taste from the meat. If I could only get these delivered…

The other main dishes were grilled whole chicken (RM 38) that comes in spicy and non spicy versions. The portion was enough to be shared between 2-3 adults. They too, carry the distinctive Lebanese taste.

Finally, we also tried the chicken and beef shawarma (RM 24.90 each). They were a bit like the kebab meat, but served loosely on a plate with pita bread.

a bunch of guys and gals who are completely full and half drunk
a bunch of guys and gals who are completely full and half drunk

The session at Al Amar was rather enjoyable, there were good food, drinks, and excellent company. Ultimately, I thought the food at Al Amar was a little bit too one dimensional if you will. Everything stays very close to a distinctive taste that is undoubtedly Lebanese.

For a food review session, it gets a little bit monotonous, but to have a change of pace from other cuisines, a dinner at Al Amar surely wouldn’t disappoint, just don’t order the warak enab.

map to Fahrenheit 88, KL

Address:
Al Amar Express
Fahrenheit 88
Lot G44, Ground Floor,
Buking Bintang, KL
GPS3.14748, 101.71283
Tel03-2141 3814

Remember the previous post about Axiata Cup? Well, there’re both good and bad news on this follow up post.

The bad news is, Team Malaysia did not make it to the finals.

The good news is, you can still get a piece of the action on your mobile. Get on The Cube and subscribe to Who Will Win for exclusive Axiata Cup downloads and there’s a chance to win some awesome prizes, including a brand new Nissan Livina X-Gear.

Writing this actually makes me miss badminton, I should be able to play again in 1.5 month’s time if the MCL injury I suffered recovers according to schedule. 😀

i took the Nissan X-Gear for a test drive too
this is the same car to be won (maybe different color lah)

Here are the many ways you can participate to potentially get your hands on the prizes:

Who Will Win Trivia

  • put your badminton trivia and general knowledge to the test, you’ll receive badminton related SMS too
  • type <ON NICKNAME> and send to 23355

Who Will Win MMS Puzzle

  • this is a spot the shuttlecock contest, you have sharp vision?
  • type <ON GAME> and send to 22229

Who Will Win Call Me Tones

  • Music lovers can win by downloading any Singles vs Singles Call Me Tones or Duet vs Duet Call Me Tones
  • Selamanya – *888*140413# vs Untukmu – *888*139353#
  • Insyaallah – *888*101091# vs Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – *888*138245#

Get Axiata Cup Anthem for free

  • Axiata Cup Tigers Anthem – *888*152309#
  • Axiata Cup Leopards Anthem – *888*152310#

The are a tonne of cool stuff and exclusive contents on the Cube so make sure you check it out. Other than the Nissan Livina X-Gear, there are 12 weekly prizes of Samsung Galaxy Note and 100 daily prizes of Special Edition Jersey & Water Tumbler too.

Check out axiatacup.com for more!

While on the way to Penang for Cheng Meng last week, we stopped by Ipoh for a quick dinner. The choice of noms for the night was the famous Menglembu Honey Chicken.

famous Menglembu honey chicken stall (shop now)
famous Menglembu honey chicken stall (shop now)

While I’ve had the honey chicken wings many times (usually tapao by Horng) The last time I visited this place was at some 10 years ago, and instead of that little small hawker stand, it is now a whole shop by itself, with ample workers to cater for their booming business.

The mainstay is their honey chicken wings (RM 2), but you can also order chicken skin (RM 2), honey bbq pork (RM 3), fried mushroom (RM 2), drumstick (RM 3), chicken breast/ribs (RM 3), and whole quarter chicken leg (RM 6).

the best honey chicken wings there is
the best honey chicken wings there is

We ordered a 2 pairs of honey chicken wings, 2 fried drumsticks, and a plate of deep fried chicken skin to share.

The honey chicken was as good as remembered. Sweet, succulent, and sticky in a good way. The meat gets torn off the bones so easily you can feed this to someone toothless. Chicken skin too would make very good beer food.

As for the deep fried drumsticks though, they were very ordinary, and play second fiddle to my favorite KFC.

If you’re willing to detour a little on a late evening drive between Penang and KL, do stop by this place and get some honey chicken. I assure you the extra 10km drive is worth it.

Address:
Menglembu Wai Sek Kai (Glutton Street)
Tranchell Street, 31450 Menglembu, Perak
GPS: 4.56333, 101.04480
Tel:  012-5161411, 012-5070005 
Operating Hours: 5.30 pm – 11.00 pm

Koay Chiap, or braised duck noodle/porridge (鸭粥粿汁), is one of the lesser known Penang hawker dishes that is almost impossible to find outside Penang. (if anyone found one in KL, do let me know).

In fact, even in Penang itself, there are probably less than 10 stalls offering this unique dish, and it is not getting any more popular these days either. This is mostly due to the ingredients making up koay chiap, but incidentally, is also the very reason I love it so much.

lebuh kimberley koay chiap
lebuh kimberley koay chiap

As the name suggests, instead of normal noodle, koay chiap uses “koay”, the same substance with koay teow, but in a thicker, almost pan-mee style form. The “chiap” refers to juice, or a mixture of ingredients mainly made up from duck.

koay chiap goes well with the sweet peanut soup
koay chiap goes well with the sweet peanut soup

In a bowl of proper koay chiap there’s duck meat, skin, intestine, blood, and braised duck egg. All immersed in a light herbal soup used to braised the duck. The dish is often served with a special chili sauce, but sometimes with chili padi too (like the koay chap at ayer itam)

this makes me a happy camper
this makes me a happy camper

The koay chiap at Lebuh Kimberley is as good as they come. It has everything that’s supposed to be in a bowl of koay chiap for RM 6, and unlike most hawker dishes in Penang, this one really fills you up. The meat are properly braised and soup isn’t bitter or overly flavored either. Best of all, the coagulated duck blood was simply superb.

I love it with a serving of sweet peanut soup (RM 1.30) to counter the meaty taste.

If you are in Penang and already had your fair share of laksa, curry mee, and char kuih teow, it is time to try something slightly out of the comfort zone, no?

Oh, while you’re at Lebuh Kimberley, check out this braised chicken feet place too.

map to Lebuh Kimberley koay chap stall

Address:
Lebuh Kimberley (just before the food court)
Georgetown, Penang
GPS: 5.416537, 100.322473
Operating Hours: 6:30pm – 11:30pm, close on Thursdays

Following last year’s positive experience at Lang Tengah, we made a returning visit to the same island again. After Similan Islands live aboard and the trip to Pulau Sembilan (had good seafood, not so great diving), this is my third diving trip for the year, and that’s 24 dives logged this year. Can’t say I’m complaining. 😀

arriving at Redang Lang Island Resort's Jetty
arriving at Redang Lang Island Resort’s Jetty

We charted a bus and left KL at around 10pm on Thursday night. After spending a night largely freezing our asses off in the bus and had breakfast at Kampung Cina’s kopitiam, we hopped on the transfer boat, and 45 minutes or so later, we arrived at Paradise.

The fine white sand and crystal clear water always has a way of making the journey worth it.

and here's a slice of paradise here in Malaysia
and here’s a slice of paradise here in Malaysia

After lunch, we started diving. There were 5 dives in two days, and they are:

  • Day 1, first dive: Karang Nibong, 60 mins, 18m max
  • Day 1, second dive: Tanjung Terunjuk, 52 mins, 23m max
  • Day 2, morning dive: Terumbuk Kuning, 46 mins, 26m max
  • Day 2, second dive: Karang Nibong, 63 mins, 21m max
  • Day 2, afternoon dive: Karang Baha, 54 mins, 22m max

finally, a photo of us underwater
finally, a photo of us underwater

We were pretty fortunate on our dives and managed to spot leopard shark on two separate occasions. First at Tanjung Terunjuk on day one and again at Karang Baha on our last dives. However, the sharks were pretty shy, and on both occasions swam away before we could approach close enough for a Kodak moment.

By rough estimates, the sharks were at least 8-9 feet in length, and absolutely stunning.

a shy green turtle hiding beneath a boulder
a shy green turtle hiding beneath a boulder

This was also Haze’s first real diving trip, the two leisure dives at Pulau Sembilan she did (and I participated) had visibilities so poor that there isn’t actually any hint of leisure in them.

On these dives, we were blessed with visibilities in excess of 20 meters on all dives except the two occasions when we veered off to the slightly more challenging areas to spot leopard sharks.

those elusive razorfish
those elusive razorfish

At Redang Lang, like most other resorts, food is included, they are edible and very average. Breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner served at the “canteen” area everyday, and dives are usually scheduled in between meals.

a relative of bad joke eel is found here too
a relative of bad joke eel is found here too

Luckily for Haze and a few others, Redang Lang’s rental gears are all new this year. Often times at budget dive trips the rental gears can be quite… disappointing. This was one of the reasons I bought everything I need sans weight belt and scuba tank.

Lydia making friends with Nemo and family
Lydia making friends with Nemo and family

It was a good couple days of divings. We boarded the bus again on Sunday and left Paradise reluctantly. It was another 10 hours or so before we reached KL (traffic was a bitch, and we made too many stops).

Guess it’s time to plan another trip. 😀

nemo, sea fan, plenty of fish, and this interestingly shaped dead coral.. ermm
nemo, sea fan, plenty of fish, and this interestingly shaped dead coral.. ermm

James helping out divers taking off their fins before boarding

James helping out divers taking off their fins before boarding

KY, Haze, Terence, Celine, James, baby and mom, Lydia & the rest
KY, Haze, Terence, Celine, James, baby and mom, Lydia & the rest

p/s: all photos taken with Olympus E-PL3 with this set of gears.

 Olympus E-PL3