Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / January 2013

One of the biggest advantage of riding to work is the flexibility in breakfast choices. No longer am I confined to the route of LRT or just the food stalls within walking distance of the office. All I need to do is to leave home half an hour earlier, and so that’s what I often do these days, exploring breakfast places around KL in the wee hours.

old uncle's been preparing wantan mee for a while now
old uncle’s been preparing wantan mee for a while now

The area behind Berjaya Times Square is one of my favorite places to explore. Being one older part of town, it’s littered with many old school eateries.

And it was by random choice that I ended up at this nameless kopitiam at Jalan Brunei just behind the Caltex gas station. Business always seems pretty brisk in the morning, so I thought I should give it a try.

bbq pork, minced meat, lard, pickled chili, wantan
bbq pork, minced meat, lard, pickled chili, wantan

There is only a stall operating in the morning, offering wantan mee and sui kao mee.

The wantan mee (a tad under RM 5) comes with everything you’d expect in a plate of wantan mee and some. There’s wantan, minced meat, spring onion, charsiu, pickled chili, and even lard. It can take 10-15 minutes before your plate of wantan mee is served, the noodle is springy, the combination of various pork ingredients work their wonders, and is everything you’d want in a wholesome hearty old school breakfast.

the sui-kao is very yummy as well
the sui-kao (dumplings) are very yummy as well

Their sui kao too are of top quality, packed with black fungus, minced carrot, pork, and prawns.

If you are a fan of wan tan mee or sui kao mee, this is a place to check out. I’ve been back several times since.

map to Pudu

Ban Lee Hin Kee kopitiam
Jalan Brunei (behind Caltex)
Pudu, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.137286, 101.711544

A couple weekends ago we were invited to the opening of Royal Flush Chinese Restaurant, the latest venture from the group behind Tom Dick and Harry, Hoofed, and Ali, Muthu, and Ah Hock.

Located at the relatively new Oasis Square at Ara Damansara, Royal Flush sits within a  grand three story building that could easily be mistaken as a shrine or palace. The interior lived up to the positive first impression of the building from the outside, it is beautifully furnished with what you’d expect from a classy Chinese eatery.

Update: This place is permanently closed

Royal Flush Chinese Restaurant at Oasis, Ara Damansara
Royal Flush Chinese Restaurant at Oasis, Ara Damansara

Five private rooms sits above the common dining hall on the ground floor, and there’s an outdoor rooftop moonlit garden as well. I was well impressed of the ambiance the place.

crispy spring rolls
crispy spring rolls

We were first treated with some tidbits before dinner officially kicks off. The crispy spring rolls tastefully presented on a bed of sprouts, it was crunchy on the outside and moist within, we made quick work of them with ice cold beer.

cucumber with pork floss and chestnut, "twin cold combination"
cucumber with pork floss and chestnut, “twin cold combination”

Cucumber with chestnut and pork floss probably took a hint from Japanese cuisine with it’s sushi-like presentation, but tasted distinctively Chinese. Combination of meat with the freshness of cucumber and the crunchy chestnuts worked well.

After these two dishes, our dinner from the 9-course Chinese New Year menu officially starts.

First to be served was “twin cold combination“. The oyster shot was delicious – fresh juicy oyster in a special light sauce that has Japanese soya sauce, lemon, and other touches in it’s list of ingredients. The shellfish, on the other hand, is served with kiwi fruits and tomato. I liked the seafood but am allergic to kiwi, so perhaps missing from the total experience.

dimsum combination, grilled scallop bacon
dimsum combination, grilled cod fish, grilled scallop bacon

The second dish was dimsum combination, with xiao long bao, fish ball, and siu mai. These measures up to some of the better dimsum dishes I tried.

Cod fish is one of my favorite seafood, and the execution from the chef in this grilled cod fish dish did not disappoint. The exterior lightly charred with a taste of honey, it was exquisite and delicious.

Grilled bacon scallop had it’s origin from pigs in blanket, with the scallops successfully elevate the status and sophistication of this otherwise simple dish. A couple grilled ginko nuts were served on the side to provide some balance.

grilled pork ribs
grilled pork ribs

The third grilled (and final) grilled dish was the grilled pork ribs. It was sweet, succulent, and would certainly please any pork loving diner. While the dishes might not look heavy, we were starting to get a little bit full by this dish.

asparagus, abalone fried rice
asparagus, abalone fried rice

A simple dish of asparagus with bonito flakes provides the comfort to your mom that something green is consumed, and the main dishes is capped off with abalone fried rice that’s served with a beautiful whole scallop in the middle. Of course, there was no way I was going to waste this, it was soft, succulent, and how abalone should taste like.

doubled boiled bird's nest, KY & Haze
doubled boiled bird’s nest, KY & Haze

The two desserts served together in this RM 1,200 CNY set menu (for 10 pax) were double boiled bird’s nest and crystal peanut dumpling. Dinner was well satisfying with very good food and excellent company, if I had to nitpick, the only criticism I can think of would be the lack of traditional soup in the CNY menu. Then again, you can always order that separately

Royal Flush promises a wide variety of other dishes – including geoduck, suckling pigs, yee sang, and more, many of these would be bold and modern interpretation of traditional dishes, while others, closer to the origin. If the quality is consistent to what we experienced over this review session, Royal Flush would be a force to reckon with in the higher end Chinese cuisine market.

map to Oasis, Ara Damansara

The Royal Flush
Central Piazza, Oasis Square Ara Damansara,
2, Jalan PJU 1A/7A, Petaling Jaya
GPS: 3.11352, 101.574612
Tel012-211 7810, 016-2912 737, 012-299- 7598

Fa Ying at Paradigm Mall is the new foray into modern Thai cuisine by the same people who run Rama V at Jalan U Thant.

If you aren’t exactly a Thai historian, the name Fa Ying (means Princess) might sound a bit bizarre for a Thai restaurant. According to the owner, Fa Ying was the name of the playful sister of Rama V, the revered Thai King who was credited to the modernization of Siam. Since this outlet serves a “playful” interpretation of Thai cuisine to the sister restaurant Rama V, hence the name Fa Ying.

Pretty neat, I thought, but maybe adding “Thai restaurant” at the back of that big sign board bight help a little. 😀

Fa Ying Thai Restaurant at Paradigm Mall
Fa Ying Thai Restaurant at Paradigm Mall

The restaurant is located at The Boulevard at Paradigm Mall, the semi-outdoor area under the office block with a set up that’s not entirely unlike the “covered alfresco” area at Pavilion. It’s pretty much open air while still sheltered from the harshest of elements.

Fa Ying also spot a full bar, serving liquor, cocktails, and beer
Fa Ying also spot a full bar, serving liquor, cocktails, and beer

For those likes some proper drinks to go with Thai food, Fa Ying is definitely a place to go. Spotting a full bar, the restaurant serves a variety of cocktails, beer, and other drinks.

Some of the drinks we tried were:

  • Mango Thai Pandan RM 21
  • Thai Tom Yam RM 21 (funny name..)
  • Mojito Selection RM 24
  • Lemongrass Basil and Mango Sparkler RM 13

They also serve a fishbowl drink called Marquessa (RM 100) that comes with dragon fruit, cucumber, Absolut blue, burnt orange peel, white wine, and soda. It’s like a potent Thai version of Sangria.

While not an expert in cocktails by any means, I did enjoy their drinks.

lamb, fish, and seafood sate
lamb, fish, and seafood sate

Lets move on to the food.

We sampled three types of Thai satay here. The lamb satay (RM 20) was flavorful but without the overly strong “lamb” taste that some people dislike.

Fish satay a tender and soft, while the seafood satay with prawns & mussels were refreshing and went very well with their sourish sauce.

minced beef in cucumber, watermelon salad, pomelo salad
minced beef in cucumber, watermelon salad, pomelo salad

Minced meat in cucumber (RM 12) looked a bit like sushi but carries the distinctive Thai taste. The cucumber provided nice contrast to the meat, without the requirement of steamed rice to complement the meat. I’ll wouldn’t mind this as beer food.

For those who loves to go green, watermelon salad (RM 12) and pomelo salad (RM 16) will do the job just fine.

grilled scallops served with spinach and manow sauce
grilled scallops served with spinach and manow sauce

Our favorite appetizer of the day goes to this beautifully presented grilled scallops with spinach and manow sauce (RM 19). The scallops were perfectly seared, and the sourish manow sauce provided just the kick to complete this seafood experience.

I also think that this dish offers excellent value.

spaghetti with river prawn, Thai green curry pesto
cod fish with manow, spaghetti with river prawn, Thai green curry pesto

Codfish with Manow (RM 42) provides a choice for those who loves this buttery fish, I find no fault in the execution of this dish, except that it’ll probably leave some room for dessert.

Spaghetti with Thai green curry pesto (RM 22) and spaghetti with river prawn (RM 32) are among the two pasta dishes offered here, both were a bit spicy and definitely not masking their Thai origin. I find the experience a little strange, but perhaps it’s something you get used to.

roast duck sandwich, grilled tenderloin with green curry
roast duck sandwich, grilled tenderloin with green curry

My favorite main dish goes to the roast duck sandwich (RM 20). It was simple yet brilliant, and I wonder why it took so long for anyone to come up with this. It was utterly delicious and I would go back to Fa Ying just to have this. (btw my colleague Sheng had this and gave his approval as well)

Lastly, we also sampled their grilled tenderloin with green curry mushroom (RM 42). Perhaps I’m spoiled by those high grade beef at Prime, but for less than RM 50, the meat was decent.

Thai desserts at Fa Ying
Thai desserts at Fa Ying

Like most Thai restaurants, Fa Ying serves a variety of traditional desserts. I liked the fried banana fritters with vanilla ice cream, and their mango with sticky rice was pretty good as well. Each of these dish comes with half a strawberry, leaving the trace of the “playful” nature of Fa Ying.

Pearl, Reiko, Evelyn, Suan, Haze, KY, Audrey, Owner
Pearl, Reiko, Evelyn, Suan, Haze, KY, Audrey, Owner

We had a pretty good session at Fa Ying, and it is definitely a place I’ll revisit (if not just for the roast duck sandwich!). Mention ‘PRINCESS’ as password and get 10% off food bill before 1st of February 2013.

If you are looking for Thai food with a bit of a twist at a place with nice ambiance to bring a date, this would be a sweet choice.

map to Paradigm Mall, Petaling Jaya

Fa Ying Thai Restaurant
The Boulevard, Paradigm Mall
Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya
GPS: 3.108806, 101.59564
Tel: 03-7451 2933

My colleague Sheng and I were at Pertama Complex yesterday to check out some riding gears, so we thought KFC would be the best option for lunch there. I was telling him about Zinger Double Down that I was fond with (low carb diet?) and prepared to order that for my meal.

That’s where I found out that it’s already off the menu, to be replaced by probably the first non-fried chicken dish from KFC – the paper wrapped chicken that they called Golden Wrapped Chicken.

probably the first non-fried KFC chicken dish?
probably the first non-batter fried KFC chicken dish?

There are two sets to choose from, one with a side of bun and mash, the other with butter rice. I picked the latter, who eats ‘ji bao kai’ (纸包鸡) with mash potato anyway?

The set goes for RM 12.50 including tax, and gets you a quarter chicken, the above mentioned sides, and a large soft drink. I asked for drumstick piece (aka dark meat).

tasted better than I expected, I liked it
tasted better than I expected, I liked it

To be honest, I liked it! The chicken was well marinated and carries a strong hint of black pepper and a trace of mushroom flavor, the bed of corn gives it a note of subtle sweetness as well. The butter rice was very similar to chicken rice, but softer in texture.

I don’t know how long this dish is going to be at KFC but I hope they are going to keep it for the long haul, it provides alternative to their usual batter fried chicken that can be quite ‘heaty’.

For your info, the most famous paper wrapped chicken in Klang Valley is at Restaurant Leong Ya, Balakong.

I’m by no means a philanthropist or a super passionate volunteer, but I do believe that every one of us should try to give back a little bit when there are chances to do so.

So when Dr. Melissa from MyDentist (where I get my Invisalign braces and my ongoing dental treatment) told me about Operation Smile missions in the Philippines, I jumped on the opportunity to go on my first volunteer trip.

Operation Smiles Manila
Sta Ana Hospital, with Dr. Foo, Dr. Melissa, and our most friendly driver

First off, what is Operation Smile?

“Operation Smile is an international children’s medical charity that heals children’s smiles, forever changing their lives.”

Founded by Dr. William Magee and Kathy Magee in 1982, Operation Smile provides free surgeries for children and young adults born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities through the help of dedicated medical volunteers.

Dr. Melissa showing the device they use for cleft palate patient
Dr. Melissa showing the device they use for cleft palate patient

The volunteers consists of plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, operating room nurses, dentists, pediatricians, speech therapists, medical equipment specialists, photographers, and more.

There were four missions in Philippines from running from the 22nd November to 1st December 2012 happening at Manila, General Santos City, Cavite, and Cebu City. We went to Manila on the 26th November to participate in the mission as first week is usually the screening process and thus have less use for dentists.

every morning starts with a briefing
every morning starts with a briefing

The mission at Manila was held at the Sta Ana Hospital, one of the government hospitals located at greater Manila. It was about a 20-30 minutes van ride from the hotel at Makati.

Morning briefing starts at around 7 am everyday, so we had to get up by 6 am to have breakfast and catch the shuttle service to the hospital. The last operation usually doesn’t end before sunset. These are marathon sessions in surgery, but no one complain.

mission at De La Salle hospital, Cavite
mission at De La Salle hospital, Cavite

I asked a local nurse where she resides, and her answer was “6 rides away”.

“Huh?” was my reaction. Then she explained that in order to get to Sta Ana hospital, she had to catch a jeepney, a bus, tricycle, then 2 more jeepney trips, and another tricycle. The journey takes something like 2 hours and she had to travel back and forth everyday to volunteer for the operation.

This is just an example of the dedication shown by the volunteers.

these kids will have a much improved life after operation
these kids will have a much improved life after operation

As for the international volunteers, Operation Smile provides hotel (decent 2-3 star accommodation, twin sharing most of the time), breakfast, and some food at the hospital pantry throughout the day. The volunteers paid for their own flights and other expenses.

This is very far from a “free leisure trip with some volunteer work”. A huge chunk of money collected by Operation Smile is used directly to pay for the surgeries of the kids who need them.

2 OR nurses and a dentist
2 OR nurses and a dentist

On the third day of our stay, we moved to Cavite City to join another mission as the need of dentists were more pressing at that location.

The group at Cavite operates at De La Salle Health Sciences Institute, Dasmariñas. The private hospital donates the usage of two operating rooms for Operation Smile and there were five plastic surgeons paired with anesthesiologists and operating nurses.

The mood in the operating rooms were usually quite relaxed and carries almost a celebratory mood. Everyone worked tirelessly but were always in a good mood.

then we had a gala dinner to end the mission
then we had a gala dinner to end the mission

At the second to last day of mission, the Vice President of De La Salle University hosted a dinner at his residence to show appreciation to the volunteers, and there was a gala dinner a night after the missions concluded where volunteers from all four sites gathered at Manila to celebrate the success of the missions. Over 500 children benefited from Operation Smile across the four sites.

gala dinner at Manila
gala dinner at Manila

This trip opened my eyes and showed the better side of humanity that we seldom see. I felt embarrassed by the lack of help I could give to the mission other than spreading awareness through this space and other social media platforms. Perhaps I could be a imaging specialist or something next time.

Check out for more information. If you are think you can help (especially medical professionals), contact Dr. Melissa from My Dentist and make a difference.