Kyspeaks.com

Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / February 2013

First of all, if you’re planning a visit to Australia, head to australia.com right now! It is the single most comprehensive site for travelers heading Down Under, in there you can find heaps of information on pretty much everywhere and everything Australia.

Here are some of the things you can find on the site:

  • travel by destination – cities
  • accommodation – with links to hotels, ratings, etc
  • transportation
  • restaurants and where to eat
  • shopping
  • adventures

The information is laid out well, with photos, guides, videos, tips, and even special offers. It is the single most amazing tourism site I’ve seen.

australia.com website, everything you need to plan a trip
australia.com website, everything you need to plan a trip

Personally, I’ve been to Australia twice, both times to Melbourne and I really enjoyed my visits. There’s plenty to do, I went skiing at Mt. Buller, visited Chinatown, ate at little Italy, traveled to St. Kilda by tram, walked around Melbourne University, and shopped at Queen Victoria Village.

And since this blog is primarily known for food, lets explore a little bit on what you can expect to find while in Australia. These are just some of the places I went to in Melbourne, but you can find many a variety of dining choices in pretty much every city in Australia.

Food lovers will never be disappointed.

MART 130, excellent breakfast place
MART 130, excellent breakfast place

There are many awesome breakfast places in Australia, and MART 130 would be one of the excellent examples if you’re traveling to Melbourne. The place used to be a TRAM stop, but it is now serving one of the best breakfasts you’d find anywhere. Yes, you can get there on Melbourne’s well known tram system.

MART 130
07A Canterbury Road,
Middle Park 3206,
Melbourne, Australia

brother-baba-budan
coffee at Brother Baba Budan

For those who love coffee, the caffeinated culture is mature and sophisticated. Coffee houses are among the hot spots where people hang out, and one of the places you should check out would be Brother Baba Budan, the coffee here is one of the best you could get anywhere and consistently praised by critics. I certainly loved it.

Alternatively, chocolate lovers should check out Max Brenners chocolate bar at QV, they serve pretty awesome chocolate drinks, and rather decent coffee too.

Brother Baba Budan
359 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne 3000

real hearty burgers at Grille
real hearty burgers at Grill’d

There are fast food joints all over Australia, but if you’re into hearty, thick-pattied burgers, Grill’d would be one of those places you want to stop by. Australia produces premium quality beef, which you can enjoy in their burgers.

Grill’d is available at more than 30 locations.

Grill’d (opposite Max Brenners)
Level 2
210 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

authentic as you can get Vietnamese pho, even has coagulated blood
authentic as you can get Vietnamese pho, even has coagulated blood

Since Australia is a melting pot with various cultures and immigrants from different parts of the world, you get many authentic ethnic cuisines.

One of my favorite Asian dishes is Vietnamese pho (soup noodle), so we went all the way to Richmond, the “little Vietnam” near Melbourne for a meal. Pho Dzung did not disappoint, they even have coagulated blood on the menu, something I haven’t seen from anywhere else outside Vietnam!

Pho Dzung Tan Dinh
208 Victoria St
Richmond 3121 VIC

Korean food? you're covered at Oriental Spoon
Korean food? you’re covered at Oriental Spoon

If Korean food is your choice, there are plenty to choose from as well. We went to Oriental Spoon while I was in Melbourne, the bulgogi was huge and yummy, the only small problem over there is that you might end up waiting for a bit to get a vacant table.

Oriental Spoon
254 La Trobe St,
Melbourne VIC 3000,
Australia

Japanese food? No problem, Shoya is more than satisfactory
Japanese food? No problem, Shoya is more than satisfactory

Shoya is an established high end Japanese restaurant that calls Melbourne home. If you’re on a bit of a budget,a great way to try high end restaurants would be to go for their set lunches. The photos above are some of the dishes we had for the two sets ordered. The meals ended up with two satisfied customers.

Shoya
25 Market Lane, Melbourne.

Victoria, Australia, 3000

Ying Thai 2 offers one of the best Thai foods around
Ying Thai 2 offers one of the best Thai foods around

Fancy some spicy food that’ll leave a burning sensation in your very own down under? Ying Thai 2 is one of the many Thai restaurants in every major Australian city. Tomyam, green curry, minced meat with basil, and even chicken in pandan leaves, they have it all. Prices are very reasonable as well, a very popular place among students and working adults alike.

Ying Thai 2
110 Lygon St,
Carlton VIC 3053,
Australia

Italian cuisine? Plenty of those at Lygon street
Italian cuisine? Plenty of those at Lygon street, pics above from Tiamo 2

There are plenty of Italian restaurants in Australia, and the popular place to go if you find yourself at Melbourne would be Lygon Street. We’ve been to Cafe Italia for authentic Italian food, Il Dolce Freddo for some of the best gelati, and Tiamo 2 Cucina E Pizzeria for hearty pizzas.

Tiamo 2
305 Lygon St
Carlton 3053, Victoria

seafood at Claypots, St. Kilda
seafood at Claypots, St. Kilda

For seafood lovers, most of the major cities in Australia are along the vast coastline of the country. When I was in Melbourne we traveled to St. Kilda for this purpose. Here you find quite a few restaurants that serve fresh seafood, and we had a great dinner at Claypots. The fish was fresh, and prawns were scrumptious. It was indeed very yummy. I remembered ordering a fish that I’ve never tasted before, though the name of said fish escapes my mind right now.

Claypots
213 Barkly St,
St Kilda
Victoria 3182

These are some of the places I personally visited from the two trips in Melbourne. There are plenty of great food experiences to enjoy in Australia, and you don’t even need to limit yourself to restaurants as there are also fresh produce markets, fruit picking, cheese farms, and many other delicious places to visit for a complete gastronomic journey Down Under.

Hailed from Hakata, the supposed ramen capital of Japan is Ippudo, the latest international Japanese ramen chain to arrive on our shore. The founder Shigemi Kawahara started selling ramen at a ten-seater stall in Fukuoka some 28 years ago, and has since expanded to some 10 cities around the world, serving up piping hot tonkotsu (pork bone) based ramen to eager diners.

We were invited for a tasting session last week ago to find out what the fuss is all about.

Hakata Ippudo Ramen at KL Paviliion
Hakata Ippudo Ramen at KL Paviliion

Ippudo Ramen is located just a floor up from the semi-alfresco dining area and a floor below the GSC cinemas. The ramen shop itself is pretty compact in size and could probably cater to around 40 pax or so.

The interior decoration is modern, and they even include “handbag drawers” under some seats, something I’m sure most ladies and dudes with man bags approve.

curry cheese haru maki, pork bun, spicy shrimp mayo
curry cheese haru maki, pork bun, spicy shrimp mayo

If you’re a fan of rather unique Japanese appetizers, you’re in luck. Ippudo carries quite a few dishes that goes well with hot green tea (or beer) before the main meal.

Curry Cheese Haru Maki (spring roll, RM 10) is indeed cheesy inside with a crispy skin as its exterior, delicious while hot, but you gotta find a balance and not let the melted cheese burn your taste buds.

Pork Bun (RM 7) is another one that I really enjoyed, reminds me of those “tong por” pork I had at Dengkil Seafood Restaurant.

Spicy Shrimp Mayo (RM 15) is beautifully presented and reminds me of those fried shrimp and mayo dimsum dishes that you could have for half the price.

goma Q, crispy corn, hakata style soup gyoza
Goma Q, Crispy Corn, Hakata Style Soup Gyoza

If you prefer something cold to start with, Goma Q (Japanese cucumber, RM 9) will fit the bill. This is very similar to those cold cucumber dishes served in some Chinese restaurants such as Private Kitchen at Uptown, or Hong La Qiao at Pudu.

Crispy Corn (RM 8) is something that I haven’t seen before and find myself liking it. The sweet corn seemed to be seared with a healthy dosage of paprika and other seasoning on top, giving the kernels a pretty unique taste. A serving is only 4 slices of corn though.

Hakata Style Soup Gyoza (RM 15) is an alternative to the usual pan fried version. It is served in the same tonkotsu soup with a bit of ginger in it. The gyoza was decent, but not something I’d get excited about, the soup is nice though.

akamara shinaji, shiromaru motoaji, and karaka-men ramen
akamara shinaji, shiromaru motoaji, and karaka-men ramen

Then came the ramen.

Ippudo serves three basic variety of ramen with noodle much thinner than most other places. Much like Italian food, you can also choose to have it al dente (cooked to be firm, but not hard).

Most basic is Shiromaru Motoaji with original tonkotsu broth, belly chasiu, bean sprouts, kikurage (black fungus), and spring onion. Akamara Shinaji has the same core ingredients but enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragant garlic oil. For those who like their ramen spicy, there’s the Karaka-men version, which incorporate special spicy miso and ground pork.

KY & Haze at Hakata Ippudo Ramen, KL Pavilion
KY & Haze at Hakata Ippudo Ramen, KL Pavilion

I find myself enjoying the original broth most, and have a bit of a mixed feeling for the other two miso infused soup as I think it somehow dilutes the essence of the pork bone taste (which takes 15 hours to cook, as I was told). I’m also not a fan of making ramen spicy, for that I’ll have my kimchi soup instead.

The chasiu at Ippudo is easily one of the best I’ve yet. Premium cut and prepared to perfection, this is the part I like most.

Over all though, I find Ippudo pretty decent and will certainly face strong competition from nearby ramen places within walking distance (Marutama at Fahrenheit 88, Hokkiado Santouka at Pavilion, Ton Chan at Cosway). While having the best ambiance among the competitions, Ippudo is also the priciest, expect to pay RM 26 for a basic bowl to RM 36 with everything in it.

map to Pavilion KL

Address:
Ippudo Ramen
Lot C4.07.00,
Connection Level 4, Pavilion
Jln Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.148872, 101.713368
Tel03-2110 6233
Website: www.ippudo.com.my
Hours: 11 am to 11 pm

Ippudo Ramen

Proteins are building blocks of life and from the previous post, we do know that it is essential for everyone as well as how you can get them as dietary supplements. Today we’re going to learn that while it is a supplement, you don’t have to necessarily make it a chore consuming protein and other Nutrilite products.

Amway head quater at Petaling Jaya
Amway headquarters at Petaling Jaya

This is essentially what we learned while visiting Amway’s Malaysian headquarters at Petaling Jaya a few weeks ago where the representatives showed us some of the flavor mixes possible with Nutrilite protein powders, as well as a chance to taste them.

Amway Nutrilite products come complete with nutrition information
Amway Nutrilite products come complete with nutrition information

First of all, I really love the packaging of these products. The all plant protein powder plastic container is easy to handle, and if you peel the label open (resealable), reveals a detailed description, instructions for consumption, and complete nutrition information.

Similarly, the POSITRIM meal replacement packets too have all the information properly labeled on the box.

we sampled a couple different recipes
we sampled a couple different recipes

To consume the protein powder, all you need to do is add a scoop (approximately 10 grams) of the content to 225 ml glass of milk, fruit juice, vegetable juice, or any cold/room temperature drinks. Stir, and drink. It’s that simple. There’s no need to prepare hot water for it.

To make it even healthier, add a packet of Nutrilite ACTIVE 8 Lime/Lemon or Tangerine/Orange flavor powder to the mix. This will not only give you the benefit of the protein, but also extra 8 essential vitamins. You can actually also consume ACTIVE 8 beverages on its own in replacement of other sweetened beverages that only gives you empty calories (such as sodas or syrup).

I actually like the protein drinks on its own even though it’s unsweetened, and those who love their drinks to carry more flavors would love the addition of ACTIVE 8.

If you really want to get funky, the protein powder can actually be mixed pretty much anything – rice, salad, vegetable, cereal, porridge, soup. The key is that you can go creative and don’t need to treat it like consuming supplements.

I actually quite like how it tastes
I actually quite like how it tastes

Another product that we tried is the POSITRIM meal replacement packets that comes in three flavours – Vanilla, Dutch Cocoa, Cafe Au Lait.

Again, the preparation as simple as mixing it with 250 ml of cold water or skim milk. Both tasted pretty good as well, and carries essential nutrients of a complete meal with 12 essential vitamins, 12 minerals, 7g protein, and 3g of dietary fibre per packet.

This way you cut calories without jeopardizing your health, best of both worlds. To get even more out of it, you can mix this with the protein powder and Active 8 as well.

Here are some recipes for your convenience:

  • 1 pack Positrim Vanilla + 1 scoop All Plant Protein + 1 tablespoon Active 8 Tangerine/Orange + 1 cup ice water
  • 1 pack Positrim Ducth Cocoa + 1 scoop All Plant Protein + half cup Low fat milk + 1 cup iced water
  • 1 pack Positrim Vanilla + 1 scoop Protein Mixed Berries + 1 cup iced water
  • 2 tablespoon Active 8 Lemon/Lime + 2 tablespoon Manuka Honey + 2 cups ice water

we did a tour and a quick health screening too
we did a tour and a quick health screening too

After enjoying the drinks, we took a tour of the facility and got ourselves a quick health test as well. The Inbody 720 Body Composition Analaysis showed that I am pretty much in normal range when it comes to BMI, muscle/fat analysis, and strength, with only my waist to hip ratio needing a little bit of improvement. I guess exercising 3-4 times a week does pay off.

Oh, by the way, there’s also a “supermaket” at Amway’s headquarters (28, Jalan 223, 46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor) where you can purchase all these and other Amway products.

I’ve heard about Checkers for a while and always wanted to try their famous pork ribs, years after I was first recommended by a friend about this place, we finally went there for dinner over Pearl’s (belated) birthday.

Checkers at Damasara Heights, there isn't a sign board
Checkers at Damasara Heights, there isn’t a sign board

Located at a pretty quiet part of Damansara Heights with ample parking space, Checkers is very small family run restaurant that gives you the homey ambiance with the stern looking proprietor and his friendly wife. Most everyone that shared the other 5-6 tables in the dining hall seemed to know the owners on first name basis.

Equipped with plastic chairs and basic white table cloths on square dining tables, interior decoration at Checkers were probably done in 5 minutes. In fact, the restaurant doesn’t even have a sign board. But we’re here for food, right?

village bread, served with a side of sliced tomato & salami
village bread, served with a side of sliced tomato & salami

Menu is a simple one page A4 sheet with choices of pasta, appetizers, grilled meat, and a few types of desserts. There are also usually some off-menu dishes you could order, all you need to do is ask.

We started the night with an order of village bread (off menu) and it turned out to be surprisingly good. The bread was steaming hot and served with a side of sliced tomato and salami as well as olive oil and vinegar. Perfect to munch on while waiting for the main attraction. The bread might look deceptively small in portion, but it’s good enough to serve a table of four.

Lord of the Ribs, the main attraction
Lord of the Ribs, the main attraction

The aptly named Lord of the Ribs (RM 120) is what we came here for. A giant slab of pork ribs expertly seasoned and grilled with perfection. While the exterior looks a bit dry, it was prepared so to seal in the juices within. Home made bbq sauce (I think), and an olive oil based sauce comes with it. While some have complained about the ribs being a little dry, I thought it was lovely and not over powered by too much sauce (then all you taste is sauce instead of meat).

The dish also came with generous portion of salad and mash, if there’s only two of you, this slab of ribs should be the only thing you order.

some chicken pasta, grilled pork tenderloin and sausage
some chicken pasta, grilled pork tenderloin and sausage

We also shared a chicken pasta dish (off menu, can’t remember the exact name) which could have been lovely if we didn’t wait till it was cold to consume. I did like the way the poultry tasted though.

The grilled pork tenderloin and sausage (RM 39) is something I wouldn’t mind having if dining alone at Checkers. The thin sliced pork  were tender and lovely, and I particularly love the way they served the potato, in thin slices with onions mixed in. This dish is as porky as it ias tasty.

Pearl, David, KY, Haze at Pearl's birthday dinner
Pearl, David, KY, Haze at Pearl’s birthday dinner

If you’re to pay Checkers a visit, do call for bookings to avoid disappointment as they have less than 10 tables even if you count the two non-weatherproof tables on the balcony. Prices aren’t cheap, but quality of food is good, and that homey feeling and very personal service is something you don’t get in most restaurants these days.

Checkers at Damansara Height

Address:
Checkers
19 Lorong Setiabistari 2,
50490 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.143856, 101.65728
Tel03-2095 3304
Hours: 6-10 pm

Checkers

I first discovered Fukuya Japanese restaurant while having lunch at the cheaper alternative that is Levain right next door (decent “Italian” food, great for lunch), and subsequently paid a visit all by myself a couple months ago when I was overcame by the craving for some good Japanese food.

I’ve been there a few more times since, this review is from 3 separate visits to Fukuya, twice for lunch and once over dinner.

Fukuya Japanese restaurant at Jalan Delima, KL
Fukuya Japanese restaurant at Jalan Delima, KL

Located at Jalan Delima, Fukuya is situated in a building that was most likely a posh single story bungalow in its previous life.

The restaurant is classy with minimalistic but tasteful decoration, and there’s also free valet service on premise.

Siero set with scallops
Siero set with scallops, RM 43++, lunch

The menu for set lunch includes some half a dozen sets ranging from RM 40 to 80, with a choice of main ingredients in many of them. (check out their website for menu)

My first trial was the Siero set with scallops in favor of grilled eel or salmon. It came with tempura, sashimi, salad, miso soup, chawanmushi, pickles, and small dessert. While RM 43++ isn’t exactly a cheap lunch option, what you get is certainly value for money. Ingredients were fresh, and those four huge scallops? They were fat, juicy, and absolutely delightful.

The tempura, chawanmushi, sashimi, and even miso soup were all of quality and did not disappoint in my taste buds.

Wa-Sushi bento
Wa-Sushi bento, RM 58++, lunch

The next visit was also over lunch, this time with Horng and I ordered the Wa-Sushi bento (RM 58++). This had tofu, chawanmushi, salad, a selection of sushi, some grilled seafood, vege, miso, tamago, and more.

For those who kept complaining that we don’t get proper sushi here in Malaysia, this is the place to come. You get the raw fish touching the plate on both ends while sitting on the sushi rice. The ratio of fish vs rice was right, and everything else was again, top notch.

I have to go there again to try their other set lunches, for science!

sashimi set, RM 110++, dinner
Sashimi set, RM 110++, dinner

My most recent visit to Fukuya was with Haze over dinner. We ended up there due to my memory playing tricks on me thinking I had a food review at Renoma Cafe, which was actually happening only a week after.

I went for the plainly named Sashimi set (RM 110++). The set includes chawanmushi, miso soup, appetizer, pickles, desserts, and of course – those glorious raw fish. I’m usually not a huge fan of tako sashimi (octopus), but the version served here was so good I actually miss it now. Of course, like all proper Japanese restaurant, freshly grated wasabi is served.

Agedeshi tofu, Tempura, Karaage, Unagi rice
Agedeshi tofu, Tempura, Karaage, Unagi rice

Haze chose to order ala-carte instead of set and went for agedeshi tofu, tempura, karaage (fried chicken), and unagi don (grilled eel rice).

She gave nothing but glowing reviews of the dishes ordered. I particularly like the fried chicken, it was something simple but yet they just seemed to hit the right spot on its taste and texture. It might sound crazy, but I think this is a dish worth trying if you’re there.

Haze and KY, well satisfied at Fukuya
Haze and KY, well satisfied at Fukuya

Dinner ended up costing us over RM 200, but we left happy and I’m sure to return. Fukuya also serves wine, sake, and choices of desserts. One day when I hit the lottery or something, I shall try their chef’s recommendation seasonal kaiseki course *keeping my fingers crossed*

map to Fukuya Japanese restaurant, KL

Address:
Fukuya
No 9 Jalan Delima,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.14629, 101.72064
Web: fukuya.com.my
Tel03-2144 1022

Fukuya

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Now check this video with the latest update of the mysterious light captured in Hengstacker Tunnel, this is the latest update to the strange highway incident in Germany. It’ll be interesting to see the cargo and that chasing car actually are.