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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / August 2012

I can categorize my friends into 3 groups when it comes to spicy food. Those who can eat spicy food, those who can’t, and lastly, the one who can’t eat spicy food but will embrace it like a Winnie the Pooh to honey pot if it’s tomyam, no matter how hot the soup is. Case in point, Yuki.

So when she enthusiastically suggest that Haze (another tomyam fanatic) needs to try the tomyam meehun at Restaurant Gou Lou at Jalan Alor, I was certain that it won’t be a disappointment.

Restaurant Gou Lou at Jalan Alor
Restaurant Gou Lou at Jalan Alor

Jalan Alor is usually filled with tourists at night, but in the afternoon, more than half the restaurants are closed, and those that are in operation usually caters to locals instead – both price and taste wise. As a bonus, parking too is a lot less troublesome in the morning/afternoon.

The restaurant has air conditioned indoor, as well as the more “traditional” kopitiam set up with a retractable roof/umbrella at the semi open air alfresco area. They start early, and ends pretty early. 7 am to 4 pm.

tomyam seafood noodle, and curry soup version too
tomyam seafood meehun, and curry soup version too

Though labeled more clearly as a fish head noodle shop, my first experience here was their tomyam seafood meehun (RM 7.50). The dish is loaded with plenty of squid, cuttle fish, lala, and one pretty decent size prawn. The seafood were good, and the prawn especially sweet and juicy (you can order extra prawns for extra $).

As for the tomyam broth, Yuki was right and Haze concurred. It was spicy, flavorful, and perhaps one of the best out there from a Chinese hawker stall. I like they didn’t spare the usage of Chinese parsley.

Kerol chose the curry soup and had hers with extra foo-chok, and the picky girl was satisfied too.

absolutely love this dry curry chicken noodle
absolutely love this dry curry chicken noodle

My favorite from restaurant Gou Lou though, is this dry curry chicken noodle (RM 5.50) that I had on a separate visit (they ran out before 2pm on our first visit). The dish consists of  thick chicken curry poured over your choice of noodle with dark soya sauce base at the bottom. The noodle comes with chicken, potato, bean sprout, and topped with spring onion and fried shallots, it was fantastic.

Highly recommended for anyone who loves curry chicken, this was fantastic and I stopped over for breakfast this morning just to have this again.

dry curry mee with pork ball, curry mee, and fish swim bladder soup
dry curry mee with pork ball, curry mee, and fish swim bladder soup

The menu is actually pretty big here, and they are pretty flexible and allows mix-matching different ingredients of your choice. Horng tried dry curry with pork balls in soup before, and my colleague and I also shared a bowl of tasty fish swim bladder soup that tasted very fishy, but in a good way, if you know what I mean.

The curry mee (not Penang style) too was reported to be very palatable by another colleague of mine, Lee, who almost always order curry mee at every kopitiam we go.

Haze, Horng, Yuki, and Kerol
Horng, Yuki, Kerol, and Haze

While a lot of locals sees Jalan Alor as a tourist trap with pricey but sup-bar food destination, the place really did not rise to fame purely by travel magazines or junior feature journalists. There are really some hidden gems nested within this busy little street at Bukit Bintang. Give it a try some day!

Charn Kee tasty corner and Sister drunken chicken noodle are another two places worth visiting if you find yourself around the area.

direction to restaurant Gou Lou, jalan alor

Address:
Restaurant Gou Lou
37, Jalan Alor,
50200 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.145755, 101.708947
Tel: 012-665 4095
Hours: 7 am to 4 pm, closed on Wednesday Branch:
73, Jalan SS 21/60 Damansara Utama
47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS3.133296, 101.621527
Tel: 03-7725 3420
Hours: Mon-Fri 9:30 am to 10 pm. 8 am to 4 pm otherwise

Choy Kee at Shui Kee Restaurant

Little did I expect that after having my cherry popped on the appearance on Bernama radio, I was invited to be one of the guests at NTV 7’s Breakfast Show earlier this month.

The video is available at tonton.com.my [direct link to the episod 135], we appear starting at about 19th minute.

at the set of NTV 7's breakfast show with hosts Naz and Satira Diana
at the set of NTV 7’s breakfast show with hosts Naz and Satira Diana

There were four of us in this session that lasted not more than 15 minutes. I was joined with boo from masak-masak, Pamela from MalaysianFoodie, and Ivy from FOOD. Our hosts were Naz and Satira Diana.

Interestingly, Naz was the emcee of my company’s annual dinner a year ago. I wish I remembered during the interview.

here's silly me on NTV 7's Breakfast Show
Ivy was talking about something important while I tried to look awake

We arrived at NTV’s Shah Alam studio pretty early in the morning and had 45 minutes or so to kill before our segment was due, 5 minute of those time was spent putting on foundation and microphone. Naz too came and gave us some tips on what to be expected as everything was recorded and aired live, very friendly chap.

yep, they put on a bit of make up for me. =/
yep, they put on a bit of make up for me. =/

On the show we talked about food blogging in Malaysia, a bit about our blogs, and other stuff about food. Take a look at the video on tonton if you’re interested, registration is required but it’s free though.

The only downside is that they don’t serve breakfast at the show tho.. hee-hee.

Thank you Shikin for the invitation, and the two photos above were from Vincent Chong.

Several weeks ago we headed to Singapore for a little one night escapade to catch a concert (thanks Michelle for hosting for the night!), and that was right after a short weekend diving trip at Tioman (will write later). It was our first “proper” concert – Snow Patrol.

Le Bistrot du Sommelier, Singapore
Le Bistrot du Sommelier, Singapore

We arrived at the venue of concert, Fort Canning, a couple hours ahead of time, and hungry. Since we somehow managed to secure a free parking space right outside the entrance (this is Singapore, it was like striking lottery), we were content to just walk around and find something that resembles dinner.

That’s how we ended up outside Le Bistrot du Sommelier, a pretty classy looking restaurant with loads of wine glasses on the  tables by the side, alfresco style.

red wine braised beef cheeks with carrots and mushrooms, parley potatos
red wine braised beef cheeks with carrots and mushrooms, parley potatos

At this point we can’t be arsed to walk anymore, we asked for a table and got one outdoor since it’s fully booked indoor. Guess it’s a pretty popular place.

A look in the menu convinced us that prices are good if you’re earning Singapore dollars, but a bit of a stretch of us Malaysians. We ended up ordering two specials on the chalk board, after our very informative and super helpful waiter with a French accent did his best in explaining what they are. Our server’s name was not Jacques, it was Faizal.

Very impressive, Faizal.

beef tenderloin tartare served with french fries
beef tenderloin tartare served with french fries

I ordered red wine braised beef cheeks with carrots and mushrooms, parley potatos (SGD $30). It came in a little clay pot with the potato on the side. The beef was properly braised you could cut it with a dull spoon, the stock had a strong aroma of red wine and carrot so soft old toothless lady could eat it without any denture. It was marvelous.

I also particularly like how they prepare the potato, with small chunks of sea salt sprinkled atop, so instead of a uniform taste, you get a tiny burst of saltiness now and then, worked well.

the dishes were delightful

the dishes were delightful

Haze too was very happy with her beef tenderloin tartare and french fries (SGD $32). The beef was beautifully prepared, and tasted equally awesome. It was juicy, raw, and came in a very generous portion as well. French fries tasted just like any French fries, this being a French restaurant didn’t make it any different.

KY & Haze at Singapore, just before Snow Patrol concert
KY & Haze at Sg., just before Snow Patrol concert. I already looked stoned from all the driving

We were well satisfied with the food at Le Bistrot du Sommelier, the only thing better was the service from our waiter, a splendid experience, and certainly will return to try out some of their other stuff (this time will bring a bigger wallet I guess).

Later I found out this place is one of Michelle’s favorite restaurants as well, no surprises there. :D

map to Le Bistrot du Sommelier

Address:
Le Bistrot du Sommelier
53, Armenian Street,
Singapore 179940
GPS: 1.294807, 103.849445
Tel: +65-6333 1982
Web: lebistrotdusommelier.com 

and it was an awesome concert, Snow Patrol rocked hard
it was an awesome concert, Snow Patrol rocked hard, again I looked a bit stoned

Snow Patrol’s concert was way awesome as well. Gary Lightbody really knows how to connect to the crowd, I wished the show was a little longer than the 18 song set list. Fort Canning is an excellent venue for concerts as well, the stage was set up at the bottom of a slope so you get an unblocked view to the stage as long as the person ahead of you isn’t a head taller.

Most everyone have a preferred angle when it comes to taking photos. For example, if you are to pose with Amber Chia for a picture, she will always stand on the right side (check this old post from Cheesie), therefore showing the left side of her face to the camera. This is mostly because we are not exactly symmetrical.

hidden smiles
many props were used to cover the lower half of my face, hehe

As for me, the left/right side thing doesn’t affect me. I have a very different approach instead, over the years, I have perfected the skill of  having my mouth inconspicuously covered. Variety of props were used, my hands, coffee, beer, fish ball, pizzas, etc.

The reason is simple, I don’t have a great set of teeth, or jaw line for that matter.

the overbite and not-so-aligned teeth
the overbite and not-so-aligned teeth

My teeth has several “problems”:

  • they are not aligned, lower set of teeth’s completely skewed to a side too
  • i have a pretty severe overbite, to the point where I have to cut noodles using my upper teeth and tongue (something I did without realizing)
  • I have old fillings and metal crown that’s not terribly sweet looking
  • one wisdom tooth at the bottom jaw (I don’t have any in upper jaw) is pointing side way, and the other is surfacing (yes I just reached the ripe age of 21 :P)
  • my front bunny teeth chipped (notice the “n” shaped curve?) during a fall when I was young

the model of my teeth and jaw
the model of my teeth and jaw

Haze has started putting on braces a few months ago to correct her teeth as well, and has been encouraging me to do the same.

After a pretty long research, studying, and procrastination, I am finally doing something about it. I will be getting Invisalign and some other treatments to fix these teeth once and for  all.

I wouldn’t say that Invisalign is the answer to everyone’s crooked teeth problems. You have to be a right candidate for it as it is for you. The benefit is obvious, it is pretty much impossible for others to tell when you’re wearing it, and it usually take less time to correct the teeth than traditional braces.

putting in the Invisalign starter kit
putting in the Invisalign starter kit, both trays already on in pic 4.

The disadvantages?

The biggest of them all – you can take them off.

Well, you need to take them off in order to eat. As with any method of adjusting the position of your teeth, it can get very uncomfortable/pain. With traditional braces you have no choice but to bear with it, but with Invisalign, you can take them off and throw them away. Invisalign therefore, is terrible if you aren’t disciplined enough to keep it in 22 hours a day.

Oh, and the constant cleaning. The clear trays can get dirty very quickly, and you’d have to brush it at least 3 times a day, and preferably after every meal. This is a pretty huge commitment, but something not something that is terribly difficult. After about a week of forcing myself to do that, it became sort of a habit anyway, and this is from someone who used to only brush teeth once a day.

Then of course, there’s the price. Invisalign is quite a fair bit more expensive than traditional braces in Malaysia (actual cost depends on your condition). However, since payment is pretty flexible (one shot, half-half, monthly, every visit etc), you can always spread it out. I think of it as a one year project and more than worth delaying having a new car for the same period of time.

mydentist.com.my
mydentist.com.my at Jalan Ipoh, I’ll be visiting this place pretty often

I am now on my starter kit with one set of trays just to let myself get used to having them in my mouth, the first set of Invisalign  trays that will actually align my teeth will be coming in a few weeks’ time. Will be documenting my journey to better teeth here.

Can’t wait!

Several weeks ago we were invited to Private Kitchen at Damansara Uptown. From the outside, this looks to be a very modest little restaurant not unlike many other eateries at the area – air conditioned, clean, and with a contemporary furnishing that seems to focus on function than pure aesthetics.

Private Kitchen at PJ Uptown
Private Kitchen at PJ Uptown

This is, however, not just another local restaurant. The kitchen is led by Chef Lam Fai, an experienced Hong Kong chef who was trained both in Western and traditional Hong Kong cuisine, and it is this unique background of Chef Lam that results in some rather creative dishes we sampled during this food review session.

While waiting for food to be served, we snacked off long spring roll with shrimp paste (RM 10). The taste of shrimp paste is not unlike shrimp balls, and the deep fried spring roll skin gives it some crunchiness. A different interpretation of spring roll, easy to eat off your fingers, and I believe, would make excellent beer food.

beef with strawberry sauce, shredded chicken and cucumber, soup of the day
beef with strawberry sauce, shredded chicken and cucumber, soup of the day

Our first dish then, was shredded chicken with Private Kitchen “ma la” sauce (RM 12). The shredded chicken sits atop cucumber that’s seasoned with vinegar, a decent cold dish to prepare the stomach, but not one that I’m overly impressed with though.

Like any Chinese/HK restaurant, soup is a must in any meal. The soup of the day was carrot & radish with lean meat soup (RM 6). Very homey, flavorful, and certainly excellent value for money for this type of setting.

Then came one of my favorite dishes of the night – stir-fried prime beef fillet in strawberry & black pepper sauce (RM 28). According to the chef, the beef is prepared and tenderized using Western cuisine techniques, and he chose strawberry to add a different dimension to this black pepper beef dish after some experiments (Chef Lam jokingly said that banana wasn’t a good idea). The result was excellent, if you are “elite” and like to dismiss fusion food, this dish may very well change your stance.

HK style ginger chicken, panfried pork chop with lemongrass
HK style ginger chicken, panfried pork chop with lemongrass

Hong Kong style sand ginger chicken (RM 25 for half bird) went through some half a day’s work of preparation (boiling in broth, preparing the skin with a bit of turmeric for that color, etc) and was delicious and smooth. I especially enjoy the ginger + spring onion sauce that came with this dish.

The next dish looks almost like mantis prawns, but was actually strips of pan-fried pork chop with lemongrass (RM 25). The pork carries pretty strong lemongrass and ginger taste, and tasted pretty decent with chili sauce, but I thought is one of the weaker dishes in this session.

typhoon shelter tiger prawn, sauteed Chinese chives with pork belly in XO sauce
typhoon shelter tiger prawn, sauteed Chinese chives with pork belly in XO sauce

No HK cuisine is complete without typhoon shelter dishes, and at Private Kitchen, we were served typhoon shelter tiger prawn (RM 38). The preparation method was as I remembered the last time I had typhoon shelter crab at Causeway Bay Spicy Crab at Hartamas – plenty of garlic and chili, the aroma was superb, and the prawns did not disappoint. Now I wonder if this would be a good way to prepare squid, hmm.

Sauteed Chinese chives with pork belly in XO sauce (RM18) was our token vegetable dish, even though there’s pork belly in it. I thought it was slightly sinful, but pretty tasty though.

amaranth with minced chicken in superior soup, Portuguese style fried rice
amaranth with minced chicken in superior soup, Portuguese style fried rice

Another soupy vegetable dish that we had was amaranth with minced chicken in superior soup (RM 16). Most of us would recognize it by the common name Chinese spinach. This is another very homey type of dish, a comfort food.

The Portuguese style fried rice with braised pork belly & seafood (RM 16) wasn’t a dish that looked very good in its presentation, it was sorta brownish overall with little color contrast, but don’t let the apparence fools you. The fried rice was very flavorful, and with prawns, squid, and pork belly, they didn’t skimp on ingredients at all. I had a bowl even though I was already stuffed by then, highly recommended.

deep-fried pork ribs with special salad sauce, typhoon shelter noodles with pork chop
deep-fried pork ribs with special salad sauce, typhoon shelter noodles with pork chop

The deep-fried pork ribs with special salad sauce (RM32) is another unique fusion food by Chef Lam that works well. The ribs were tender and juicy, and the slightly sourish and fruity salad sauce, while a bit unorthodox, worked well in this instance. I really enjoyed it too.

Our last “extra” dish of the night was a bowl of typhoon shelter noodles with pork chop in chili & garlic soup (RM15). This is a dish fit for single person consumption and comes with a generous portion of pork chop and the noodle in a soup that has some kick. I tried a spoonful (was stuffed already), and from what I could tell it was pretty decent.

Cheesie, chef Lam Fai, Suanie, Joyce, Dennis & Evelyn, Haze
Cheesie, chef Lam Fai, Suanie, Joyce, KY, Dennis & Evelyn, Haze

Most of the dishes we had at Private Kitchen were pretty consistent and for the lack of a better description – tasty. The prices are reasonable as well. The only downside of the place is, well, the location and challenging parking situation at times. Saying that this place is sort of a poor-man’s Elegant Inn would not be incorrect. Worth visiting though, for sure.

map to Private Kitchen restaurant at PJ Uptown

Address:
Private Kitchen Hong Kong Cuisine
103 Jalan SS21/37
Damansara Utama (Uptown) 
47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.13451, 101.62378
Tel: 03-7728 8399
Hours: 11:30 am – 3 pm, 6 pm – 10 pm, closed on Mondays

Private Kitchen