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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / October 2012

Senja, which means dusk in Malay, is an Italian restaurant at The Saujana that oversees the lush green golf course and enjoys a spectacular sunset view with its alfresco dining deck by the side of the pond. I was invited to sample the MIGF menu created by their new head chef from Sicily – chef Filippo Giunta.

Senja at The Saujana, classy dining hall
Senja at The Saujana, classy dining hall

The Saujana is a little different from most hotels in Klang Valley. Instead of everything in one giant building, it is spread out amongst the greenery. There are shaded walk ways from the main building to the different restaurants located by various ponds and gardens, giving the place a very relaxing, holiday ambiance.

The resort is fast becoming one of my favorites, stepping into the resort and immediately you’re in a completely different world of the hustle and bustle of KL even though you’re just half an hour away from the city.

bread with olive oil & such, and the amuse-bouche of the day
bread with olive oil & such, and the amuse-bouche of the day

Anyway, lets get back to food. The MIGF menu is priced at RM 110/140/180 for 2/3/4 course dinner, or RM 220/280/360 with wine pairing. The menu is available the whole of October 2012.

We started out the dinner with some freshly baked Italian bread and a pretty tasty amuse-bouche (pre first course bite size food) of the day in the form of a deep fried risotto ball. Crunchy skin with the flavorful filling that carries a hint of mushroom, I liked it.

sparkling water, and Prosecco Cascine 7 NV
sparkling water, and Prosecco Cascine 7 NV

The first course is a choice of Sicilian Brood Bean Soup with Dil and Sun-dried Tomato or Sardine Beccafico Style, Rocket Salad, Fennel and Orange Reduction. The wine with these dishes is a glass of Prosecco Coscine 7 N/V.

first course - sardine beccafico style, or Sicilian brood bean soup
first course – sardine beccafico style, or Sicilian brood bean soup

The sardine is apparently a Sicilian signature dish, the cleaned sardine is rolled up with breadcrumbs, pinoli (pine nuts), passolina, sugar, and lemon juice. It was one of the more interesting dishes I’ve tried lately. The rocket salad gives it a good balance, but the orange reduction did need a bit of getting used to.

This, or the savory brood bean soup, were both quite a big serving for fine dining dishes, I’m not complaining tho.

second dish - risotto with cream of pumpkin, or seabass tortelli with seafood ragout
second dish – risotto with cream of pumpkin, or seabass tortelli with seafood ragout

The second course is a choice between Risotto with Cream of Pumpkin, Burratina Cheese and Fresh Sage, or Seabass Tortelli with Seafood Ragout and Porcini Foam.

The risotto was prepared al dente, which is well, the proper and only way to have risotto that’s sometimes misunderstood as being undercooked by less familiar diners. It was excellent and  just appropriate to have some pumpkin this Halloween season.

The seabass tortelli lets us check off the skills of Chef Filippo in handling pasta, it was another dish we enjoyed throughly and definitely went well with the second glass of wine – Banfi Le Rime IGT 2010, a Pinot Grigio with a nice balance and clean finish.

3rd course - wrapped silver cod with aubergine, veal ossobuco Milanese style (or stuffed chicken breast)
3rd course – wrapped silver cod with aubergine, veal ossobuco Milanese style,
Banfi Le Rime IGT 2010

Moving on to the third course, you get to choose from a choice of the following dishes:

  • Veal Ossobuco Milanese Style, Saffron Risotto and Sicilian Gremolata
  • Wrapped Silver Cod Fish with Aubergine, Onion, Tomato ‘Cipollata’ and Basil Oil
  • Stuffed Chicken Breast with Pistachio and Mint, Sicilian Caponata, Rosemary Roast Baby Potato and Red Wine Reduction
There’s a choice of Vigne Regali Principesse Gavia di Gavi DOCG 2010 or Banfi Chianti DOCG 2010. In another word, white, or red wine.

the huge chunk of bone marrow from the veal was irresistible
the huge chunk of bone marrow from the veal was irresistible 

The fish was prepared impeccably and a work of art. The very thin aubergine gives the cod an extra dimension, and the onion and tomato base sauce offered a perfect compliment.

The veal though, is more of a straight forward meat dish that is bold and flavorful. The explosion of savory taste was a welcoming change of pace, and that chunk of bone marrow? Heaven, which is why it deserves a full size picture by itself. 😀

desserts - chef Filippo's Sicilian cassata and orange granita, or Szechuan pepper panna cotta, Barone Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Vin Santo DOCG 2004
desserts – chef Filippo’s Sicilian cassata and orange granita, or Szechuan pepper panna cotta,
Barone Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Vin Santo DOCG 2004

Dessert proved to be another platform for Chef Filippo to showcase his skills. Both choices were beautiful.

Szechuan Pepper Panna Cotta, Chocolate Sauce and Raspberry Sorbet is perhaps one of the most interesting desserts I’ve had all year. The panna cotta carries an undeniable hint of peppery taste that’s not something you’d expect in a dessert, but it does work very well in a, well, very unfamiliar way.

Chef Filippo’s Sicilian Cassata and Orange Granita is more “traditional” sort of dessert but one that’s not shabby either.  The taste is close to ice cream cake, and the icy citrus in the shot glass provided an good cleansing to the palette.

We were served Barone Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Vin Santo DOCG 2004 to end the dinner, a very good dessert wine that is perfect for a sweet ending.

Ee Laine, Azimy from The Saujana, and Chef Filippo Giunta
Ahfa, Azimy from The Saujana, and Chef Filippo Giunta

If you’re up to some Italian food that’s true to the origin, do give chef Filippo at Senja a try. I’m quite sure this capable chef from Sicily is here to stay.

map to Saujana Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Senja
Saujana Resort, Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,
40150 Selangor
GPS3.108849, 101.578474
Tel03-7843 1234
emailinfo@thesaujana.com

If you’ve noticed, Tesco Extra at Mutiara Damansara has got a brand new look lately. Since it’s opening years ago, it’s been one of my favorite hypermarkets. We paid a visit to grab some groceries last weekends.

Tesco Extra Mutiara Damansara - with new look
Tesco Extra Mutiara Damansara – with new look

The wall of Tesco Extra is now draped with tall glasses that not only gives it a modern look, but allows natural sun light to brighten up part of the interior. The side of the building now has alfresco dining areas set up on the re-tiled side walk, and with plenty of greeneries surrounding the area, it makes a great spot for winding down or to catch a relaxing meal after (or before) shopping.

some of the eateries at Tesco Extra - including Gong Cha, Chicken Rice Shop & more
some of the eateries – including Gong Cha, Chicken Rice Shop, KFC & more

Stepping into the mall from the parking lot, you’ll find quite a lot of restaurants. The familiar faces would be KFC, Chicken Rice Shop, King’s Confectionery, and Jom Bali; but there are also some new comers such as Gong Cha (one of my favorite bubble tea, try their winter melon tea!), T-Break Cafe, Kebab Turki, and more.

store map, price checker, ATM - some of the convenient facilities
store map, price checker, ATM – some of the convenient facilities

Making it convenient for shoppers, you’ll find the store map at various locations, and there are also price checkers and ATMs for when you need to withdraw some cash. In fact, there’s an RHB counter on location as well if ATM isn’t enough to service your needs.

sports, power tools, electrical items, and special promotion items too
sports, power tools, electrical items, and special promotion items too

When you get into Tesco hypermarket, the first thing you’d notice is the promotion aisle filled with products that are on big discounts at the moment. If you’ve been to Tesco you’d know they have a huge variety of everything.

Bicycle? yep, badminton and other sporting equipments? Check. Huge electrical department? That’s covered. If you’re into DIY, there’s a big power tools section as well.

you can't find these products anywhere else but Tesco
you can’t find these products anywhere else but Tesco

Another thing to look for while at Tesco would be the Tesco brand products. These are products that often offers the best value for money you can get anywhere, and from my experience, offers quality as good as other brands.

We grabbed some frozen mochi, eggs, and fried chicken, all Tesco brand. Other than food, you’ll also find household products and many other Tesco brand items as well.

fresh produce, seafood, and a good fresh meat selections
fresh produce, seafood, and a good fresh meat selections

Moving to fresh produce section, you’ll find a very good selection of frozen and fresh seafood (including some life seafood). Love greens? Plenty of vegetables, herbs, and most everything you could find in a wet market.

When it comes to meat, you’ll also find both frozen and fresh beef, lamb, chicken, and more.

express check out counters with 10 items of less
express check out counters with 10 items of less

The other thing I like about Tesco is that they have plenty of check out counters. Even on a Sunday evening we didn’t need to wait in line. If you grab less than 10 items, use one of the many express check out counters.

uncle Bob's chicken, and friendly guys with good selection of dishes at food court
uncle Bob’s chicken, and friendly guys with good selection of dishes at food court

And if you haven’t grabbed lunch from one of the many restaurants on the ground floor, there’s a food court right upstairs as well. Here you find local delights and hawker foods with friendly operators to boot.

That concludes a brief tour of Tesco Extra at Mutiara Damansara. Food, grocery, household products, and more, now with a fresh new look. Time for restocking your fridge yet?

What if I show you there’s a way to lower your ice cream budget by a whopping 31%?

Imagine for a moment the leftover money that you could make use with the huge saving! There are a gazillion things you could do with it, you could buy an extra pair of socks, or perhaps even help reduce the deficit.

The above chart gives you a good visual representation of how much money you could save with 31% off ice cream budget.

  • Purple = normal price
  • Orange = if my campaign for election is successful

Alright, here’s another visual representation of the gravity of this campaign.

  • Yellow = normal days you could get 31% off ice cream.
  • Red = Everyday 31% off if this campaign is successful

OK here’s the deal, I’m representing Very Berry Strawberry in Baskin Robbins Flavor Election that is running from 17th Oct to 23rd Nov 2012.

My campaign promise is that if we win, you get 31% off Waffle Berry Sundaes EVERY WEEKDAY FROM 10am to 3pm for the year 2013, how awesome is that?

This promise will be available in store at Baskin Robbins from 17th Oct to 23rd Nov 2012, I urge you to give it a try for the taste of what’s possible. If we win, Very Berry Strawberry will be the focus of the victory party on 23rd Nov at Publika. Lets make it happen!

Do download the campaign support kit from facebook.com/MYBaskinRobbins and VOTE NOW!

Now a little bit of history on Very Berry Strawberry, shall we?

As the name suggests, Very Berry Strawberry is a super delicious strawberry ice cream loaded with chunks of real strawberries. It was originally introduced in 1945 as strawberry flavor, then improved to the modern day Very Berry Strawberry in 1984 with strawberry puree and chunks of strawberry in it, setting it apart from the other mere ordinary strawberry ice cream.

Just look at it, how could anyone resist having this uber delicious Waffle Berry Sundaes on 31% off for the whole year?

Imagine those freshly baked waffle with fresh banana pieces, 2 generous scoops of ice cream, strawberry toppings with chunks of real strawberries and everything topped with whipped cream and cherry, 31% off!

Remember to vote, indulgence is not a sin! We wanna have the deal every day, and this is what we want! The more the berrier 😀

So vote for me and together we’ll have the best deal ever for 2013, now that’s something to look forward to isn’t it?

P/S: follow this blog on facebook and twitter as I’ll let you know when you can get a free Very Berry Strawberry from me at a Baskin Robbins outlet, and remember to vote vote vote!

Located at Kelana Sentral service apartment just opposite of New Yew Sang restaurant sits a pretty new Thai restaurant by the name of Baan Ruen Thai. Other than a pretty fancy “stall” with Thai influence, the shop is pretty clean and bare, suggesting that interior decoration isn’t on the top of the operator’s priority list.

Update 11/6/2014: This place has since closed

Baan Ruen Thai, no fuss cheap Thai food
Baan Ruen Thai, no fuss cheap Thai food

I first read about this place on ciki’s blog, and have since been there on a few occasions for dinner. The menu isn’t big, but covers the essential Thai dishes that you’ll often find offered by the road side if you travel to our neighboring land up North.

The biggest difference that sets this place apart from most other Thai establishment? Price.

Most dishes are priced at RM 6, price range that rivals some of the cheaper food courts at Klang Valley. The shop operated by Thai and we’ve spotted quite a few Thai workers (mostly laborers) dining there.

long bean with seafood, tomyam soup, pad see yew, pineapple fried rice, green curry
long bean with seafood, tomyam soup, pad see yew, pineapple fried rice, green curry

At this price range, we didn’t expect fancy ingredients or huge portions. Fried basil leaves with seafood with rice could use a bit more seafood, but if you have a bowl of tomyam soup to share as well then it’ll be more than sufficient.

Pad see yew and pineapple fried rice were quite delicious with some of those Thai chili added in, while the green curry is a lighter version that tasted quite different from what we’re used to, but not in a bad way in my opinion.

Yep, all these dishes are priced at RM 6, so are Thai fried rice, belacan fried rice, long bean with chicken/seafood, and garlic chicken and kailan that we haven’t tried yet.

The tastes aren’t super top notch, but they are authentic and offer great value while still pretty good on the tongue.

som tam (green papaya salad), and tub tim krob (red ruby dessert)
som tam (green papaya salad), tub tim krob (red ruby dessert), and mango with sticky rice

My favorite from this place though, is their tub tim krob, or red ruby dessert. At RM 3 per bowl it was sweet, crunchy, fresh, and absolutely delicious. Mango with sticky rice proved to be quite awesome as well but would be something that is best shared (portion is quite big).

So if you’re up for some Thai food that’s easy on the wallet, this would be a place to check out.

map to Kelana Sentral service apartment

Address:
Baan Ruen Thai
Kelana Sentral Service Apartment (opposite New Yew Sang)
Jalan SS 6/8
Kelana Jaya, PJ Selangor
GPS: 3.106513, 101.598445
Hours: 9 am to 9 pm daily 

The first time I learned about Peru was a bit of a strange and unrelated coincident.

The Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition is known as LIMA. While looking up that up on the internet I was brought to a different Lima – the capital of Peru, and that was how I first know about this South American country.

Peruvian Gastronomic Week at Ritz Carlton - Joyce & Jamie
Peruvian Gastronomic Week at Ritz Carlton – Joyce & Jamie

Fast forward many years later, I found myself sitting across a Peruvian colleague at my work place, and now a chance to get a taste of Peruvian cuisine for the first time in my life. (I ran the photos through my colleagues and he gave a thumbs up on their authenticity)

The Peruvian Gastronomic Dinner starts from 10th to 16th October 2012 and is priced at RM180++ per person (with two pisco sours). It is a collaboration between Ritz Carlton KL and the Peru Embassy.

Ceviche - salmon, mussels, tuna & octopus
Ceviche – tuna, mussels, salmon & octopus

Anyway, lets get on with the food.

Peruvian cuisine has a strong influence from African, Arab, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese cooking. This is particularly evident with the raw fish dish that is Ceviche.

mix this up and you get a good plate of Ceviche - seafood goodness
mix this up and you get a good plate of Ceviche – seafood goodness

Ceviche is in fact declared a part of Peru’s “national heritage”. The dish is a mixture of chunks of fish/prawns/octopus with key lime, sliced onions, chili peppers, salt and pepper.

In this regard, it is actually closer to umai, a traditional Sarawakian dish I had thanks to Irene on our trip to Sipadan many moons ago.

The ceviche was delicious and we had second servings. If you like sashimi, you’ll love this.

octopus with black olive alioli and various types of potato dishes
octopus with black olive alioli and various types of potato dishes

Another interesting dish that stands out here was the octopus with black olive alioli. The octopus prepared not unlike those in Japanese cuisine, but what’s distinctive here is the black olive alioli, a sauce made from garlic, olive, lemon juice, and egg yolk with the taste that reminds me of fu yee (fermented bean curd). This needs a little getting used to, but I find it quite interesting.

Executive Chef Rafael Lopez-Aliaga mentioned that there are over 4000 types of potato found in Peru, and there’s a few samples of dishes made from potato at the festival. I enjoyed the potato with huancaina sauce (yellow chili sauce), and the mash with yellow chili and crab was excellent too.

potato, chicken & peanut stew; sea bass with seafood & spicy sauce; tenderloin beef with onion & potato; beef and cilantro stew
potato, chicken & peanut stew; sea bass with seafood & spicy sauce;
tenderloin beef with onion & potato; beef and cilantro stew

The main dishes from Peruvian Gastronomic festival certainly gives a hint of their origin while retaining a unique. There are 9 different dishes presented here.

Peruvian heritage. Potato, chicken and peanut stew is something that I’ve never tasted before, with a hint of peanut butter and the savory taste of chicken, it is quite special.

Sea bass with seafood & spice sauce (they don’t call it Chilean sea bass here though they are the same thing) goes well with rice, tenderloin with onion and potato savory and delicious, and beef with cilantro stew provided a little kick to the taste buds too.

desserts! - pecan with dried fruits, rice pudding, milk pudding, and more
desserts! – pecan with dried fruits, rice pudding, milk pudding, and more

And then there’s the desserts. The usual suspects were rice pudding, sweet milk pudding, apricot and coconut cake, but of course, there’re those Peruvian influenced sweet dishes such as pisco chocolate cakes, chirimoya, orange and meringue. and lucama crunch.

Always good to have a sweet ending isn’t it?

pisco sour is a definite must try drinks to complete the Peruvian experience
pisco sour is a definite must try drinks to complete the Peruvian experience

By the way, each guest is also served two glasses of Pisco sours to complete the Peruvian experience. The drinks is a mixture of Peruvian Pisco with the addition of lime (or lemon) juice, syrup, ice, egg white, and Angostura bitters.

It was certainly an excellent dinner and a great introduction to Peruvian cuisine. Now where do I find more Peruvian food?

Ritz Carlton, KL

Address:
Peruvian Gastronomic Week @ Ritz-Carlton Hotel
168 Jalan Imbi,
55100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.146960, 101.715406
Tel03-2141 8000

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In an unrelated news, our election is here starting tomorrow (17th Oct 2012). Watch this space for more information very soon!

It’s gonna be exciting. 😀