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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / September 2013

I’m pretty happy that there are more and more decent coffee places that sprung up in Klang Valley lately. Gone were the days when Starbucks and Coffeebeans being the only go-to chains when caffein addiction hits.

Coffea Coffee is the latest coffee chain I had the pleasure of visiting recently.

Coffea Coffee at Subang Jaya SS 15
Coffea Coffee at Subang Jaya SS 15

Originally from Korea, the chain now boosts four outlets in Klang Valley, we visited the branch at SS 15 Subang Jaya, a place where I spent my college years over a decade ago when Starbucks wasn’t even in Malaysia. (no prize for calculating my age)

Interior decoration of the shop is tastefully done and seemingly sparing no expenses – textured walls, quaint furnitures, beautifully crafted furnitures and so forth. There’s even a smallish alfresco area upstairs for those who indulge in satisfying their nicotine addiction with some coffee.

red velvet cake, cheese cake, scones, latte
red velvet cake, cheese cake, scones, latte

Coffea Coffee offers a wide variety of espresso based beverages – the latte I tried was silky smooth and rather strong, just the way I like it.

There are two different beans to choose from. “Maestro” for those who like strong full-bodied blend, or “Madonna” for those who prefer it aromatic with slight acidity. I had the former.

You can also find a selection of cakes, scones, bagel, sandwich, and other light foods. The cakes were decent, and scones were reported to be rather delicious.

iced chocolate, smoothie, iced latte
iced chocolate, smoothie (kiwi I believe), iced latte

For those who wants their drinks cold, there’s smoothies, iced espresso based drinks, and iced chocolate. The selection is rather big, even those who doesn’t indulge in caffein should have no problem finding a beverage they like.

Horng, Yuki, KY, Joyce, Suan, and the coffee guy
Horng, Yuki, KY, Joyce, Suan, and the coffee guy

Price wise they are comparable with the other bigger chains. Drinks are priced at below RM 10 to RM 13, and cakes at around RM 10-12.

This is definitely an outlet that I would go again, and hopefully they open a branch closer to where I stay or work, that’ll be perfect.

map to coffea coffee at Subang Jaya SS 15

Address:
Coffea Coffee
A-10, SS 15/4D
47500 Subang Jaya
Selangor
GPS3.074564, 101.586408
Tel03-2201 3338 (main branch at Bangsar)

Sentul is one of those places in KL that I probably go less than once per year, and both times in the last two years, I went there for dinner at Zhen Liew Siang, courtesy of Haze’s aunt, one of those old school ladies who  loves her good, strong tasting Malaysian Chinese food.

Zhen Liew Siang at Sentul, always packed at weekends
Zhen Liew Siang at Sentul, always packed at weekends

The restaurant is located at Sentul Raya, the part of Sentul that has seen quite a bit of rebuilt over the years, you’d easily mistaken the area with some of the more glamorous parts of KL.

The restaurant occupies two floors of a shop lot, and a big chunk of parking space as make shift alfresco dining area. On weekends, parking is terrible and you almost always have to wait for a table, telephone booking is recommended.

fried mantis prawn with egg yolk, deep fried choi sam, belacan fried chicken wings
fried mantis prawn with egg yolk, deep fried choi sam, belacan fried chicken wings

For this session, we ordered five dishes for the six of us, and had to wait for some 20-25 minutes before the food is served on a Saturday night.

Fried mantis prawn is battered and coated with salted egg yolk, and curry leaves to spice it up a bit. Anyone who likes squid with salted egg would love this.

For greens, we had fried “choi sam”, a cooking method that’s been gaining popularity recently, especially with kailan. The choi sam version is just as good, and I especially  like it that they sprinkle some deep fried imitation crab meat on top for that extra texture and complexity.

The belacan fried chicken is a dish taken from classic Penang Hookien/Nyonya cooking style, and according to Haze’s aunt, the head chef is apparently a Hokkien, which explains the chicken wings and the next dish – curry fish head.

nyonya style curry fish head
nyonya style curry fish head

The curry fish head here is excellent, and pretty much the same as the way my mom cooks it. There’s brinjal, long beans, lady’s fingers, tofu pok, curry leaves, and of course, the fish head itself (I believe it was red snapper). Gravy positively thick and flavorful, with just enough hotness to go with steamed rice. If you want a full flavor Penang Nyonya style curry fish head, this is the place to go.

steamed stingray, irresistibly spicy
steamed stingray, irresistibly spicy 

The last dish we had was the steamed sting ray. Smaller sized string ray is used here as they often have a much smoother texture. The fish is covered with a thick layer of really spicy sambal that is slightly sweet and positively addictive. I struggled a bit to cope with the hotness but find myself unable to stop scooping up more of those spicy sauce. It was really good.

Zhen Liew Siang also offered other signature dishes like their steamed lala, banana leaf prawns/sotong, and even “shark mouth”. Do yourself a favor, make a trip to Sentul and give it a try!

map to Zhen Liew Siang, Sentul

Address:
Restoran Makanan Laut Zhen Liew Siang
No.30, Jalan 14/48A,
Sentul Raya, Off Jalan Sentul,
51000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.18472, 101.69212
Tel: 03-4041 3781

While roast duck and chicken are fairly common, roast goose is a dish that is pretty hard to come by. However, within stones throw to each other, you can find three different places offering this dish at around Jalan Pasar in KL.

Not long ago, I checked out one of the stalls at the area by the name of Chen Chen Hong Kong Roast Goose.

Chen Chen roast goose stall off Jalan Pasar
Chen Chen roast goose stall off Jalan Pasar

Chen Chen Roast Goose isn’t exactly a restaurant, the stall is located by the side of shops at the intersection of Jalan Seladang and Lorong Yap Hin. There’s tin roof and semi-permanent table and chair set up, but no luxury amenities such as wifi, fan, toilet, or wash basin.

The chef himself though, dressed up as if he’s working in a high class 5-star hotel, which is as professional as hawker operator goes.

roast goose for a single portion
roast goose for a single portion

Chen Chen actually offers more than just roast goose, there’s also roast chicken, roast duck, roast turky, roast piglet, roast pork, char siu, vinegar pork leg, and sour + spicy soup. Quite an offering for a road side stall, really.

bottom 1/4 roast goose, with "sour and spicy" vegetable soup
bottom 1/4 roast goose, with “sour and spicy” vegetable soup

A single serving of roast goose with rice goes for RM 9 and the portion is more than sufficient. The meat tender and the taste is not entirely different from roast duck, but there is a slightly more gamey taste, and overall there’s also more meat and slightly fatter. I like it.

Half a goose would cost RM 65, as compared to RM 50 for whole roast duck, so you can imagine that roast goose is quite a fair bit more expensive (and larger) than duck.

KY & Sheng, over two different visits
KY & Sheng, over two different visits

I find the sour and spicy soup here is rather average, but that’s perhaps I’m spoiled from the excellent version served up at Peng Heong Hakka Paikut at Klang.

While most other places serve steamed rice to go with roast duck/goose, Chen Chen offers a version of their yellow rice that carries a unique faint flavor that I can only describe as a cross between briyani and chicken rice, but much subtler. I  believe it is made with turmeric and butter.

If you’re up for some roast goose, this would be a decent place to try.

map to Chen Chen roast goose at Jalan Pasar

Address:
Chen Chen Roast Goose
Jalan Seladang,
Off Lorong Yap Hin, Pudu
55100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.13612, 101.71560
Tel: 012-233 3083
Hours: 10 am to 6 pm daily

One of the activities we participated in while at The Datai Langkawi (see blog post) was a fun session on cooking conducted by the two chefs who are specialized in Thai cuisine at the beautiful hotel.

The session took place at the Thai Pavilion, a semi-open air restaurant that’s built on stilts and situated by the main swimming pool.

learning some tricks from the chef
learning some tricks from the chef

Here are the two recipes you might fine useful to add to your cooking repertoire.

Our first dish was goong phad keemao, or fried drunken prawn. While the name might suggest that this dish involves alcohol, it actually wasn’t the case. Here goes:

Ingredients:

  • prawn (250 gram)
  • fresh cili padi (8 gram)
  • onion (20 gram)
  • tomatoes (20 gram)
  • galangal (20 gram)
  • lemongrass (10 gram)
  • cooking oil (30 ml)
  • garlic (10 gram)
  • kaffir lime leaf (2 gram)
  • thai basil leaf (5 gram)
  • oyster sauce (30ml)
  • fish sauce (15ml)
  • pepper powder to taste

the drunken prawn doesn't use any alcohol, halal version
the drunken prawn doesn’t use any alcohol, halal version

Cooking instructions:

  • heat oil in wok, then add garlic, chili, onion, and stir together
  • add prawn, galangal, lemongrass, pepper, stir till prawn is half cooked
  • add oyster sauce, kaffir lime leaf
  • add chicken stock (or plain water if you don’t have chicken stock) and Thai sweet basil
  • adjust saltiness with fish sauce
  • serve while hot

you can cook the tomyam in either clear or "red" version
you can cook the tomyam in either clear or “red” version

Next is arguably the most famous Thai dish of all time – tomyam gai. We made the chicken version here, but you can substitute with prawn, squid, or other seafood as well.

Ingredients:

  • chicken breast sliced (60 gram)
  • galangal (10 gram)
  • lemongrass (10 gram)
  • kafir lime leaf (5 gram)
  • abalone mushroom (20 gram)
  • tomyam paste (10 gram)
  • fish sauce (10 ml)
  • lime juice (10 ml)
  • chicken stock (150 gram)
  • coriander leaf (5 gram)

Haze, KY, and WeiZhi showcasing our dishes
Haze, KY, and WeiZhi showcasing our dishes at The Datai Langkawi

Cooking Instruction:

  • boil chicken stock with galangal, lemongrass and tomyam paste in small pot (leave out tomyam paste if you want clear version)
  • let the ingredients reduce a little, then add chicken, abalone mushroom, and kaffir lime leaf
  • let cook for another 3-4 minutes
  • season with fish sauce and lime juice
  • add coriander leaf before serving

After the cooking session, we sat down and had our dishes with some steamed rice. There was also some Thai dessert and white wine to complete the course. It was pretty fun and now I do think I should slot in cooking classes whenever I travel to other places. These recipes are pretty easy to follow, I’m pretty sure I’ll make them at home.

Datai was such an awesome experience, I miss it already.

It’s two more weeks to Mid Autumn festival, a time where Chinese everywhere light up lantern, look at the fullest moon of the year, and gives each other mooncakes while attending those parties for the sake of their kids. Well, at least this is what traditional families in small towns do, in KL, maybe slightly less so.

Anyway, a week or so ago we went to Prince Hotel to sample their mooncakes for 2013 as well as some of their pork free dimsum. The mooncakes will be available now till 19th September, 2013.

Tai Zi Heen at Prince Hotel KL
Tai Zi Heen at Prince Hotel KL

Behind the Chinese restaurant at Prince Hotel KL, Tai Zi Heen is a chef who was trained both in traditional Chinese cuisine as well as Western cooking method. Thus, many of the dishes, including dimsum and mooncakes, are created with a bit of influence from the west.

While some might readily dismiss them as gimmicky or not “pure”, I always applaud chefs who dare to push the limit and create something out of the ordinary. After all, how would any cuisine improves if you only stick to what’s taught?

four types of steamed dimsum
four types of steamed dimsum 

We sampled four types of steamed dimsum.

My favorite being the purple spinach dumplings topped with Mexican clam, the taste of seafood and texture of those clam (something like in between lala & scallops) were really fantastic.

The prawn dumpling with crab meat and dried scallop as well as crystal yam dumpling with chicken and mushroom were both pretty good as well, with the latter come in a beautiful flowery shape.

The meatless choice of crystal vegetable and mushroom dumpling though, was a bit too bland for me, but perhaps those who are vegetarian would enjoy it more.

crispy bean curd with prawn & cheese, yum puffs with beef bacon & chives, crispy salmon & cheese roulade
crispy bean curd with prawn & cheese, yum puffs with beef bacon & chives,
crispy salmon & cheese roulade

I enjoyed the fried dimsum here more than their steamed counterparts. Crispy bean curd with prawn & cheese, yum puffs with beef bacon & chives, as well as the crispy salmon & cheese roulade were all pretty creative and carry a taste that isn’t very typical of traditional fried dimsum, but in a good way.

I felt that ingredients such as cheese and salmon gave the dishes an extra edge and really went will the those soft crispy pastry.

shanghai dumpling with crab meat & broth, beef patties with leeks
shanghai dumpling with crab meat & broth, beef patties with leeks

The “xiao long bao” alternative here comes in a small bowl, and is definitely not “xiao” (small). Stuffed with crab meat and those sweet, savory broth, it was quite a treat.

The beef patties with leeks, mayo and teriyaki sauce seems like something out of a Japanese restaurant, and tasted as such as well. I was happy to have a bit of beef after the mostly fish and chicken dishes sampled above.

2013 mooncakes from Tai Zi Heen
2013 Tai Zi Heen mooncake collection

Then there’s the mooncakes, Tai Zi Heen’s mooncakes were all handmade in house, we sampled eight different varieties and just about the only problem I have is that they don’t have a version with double salted egg yolk! gahh.

Here are the flavors:

  • baked five variety of nuts, rum & raisin (with alcohol)
  • mini snow skin chocolate and whisky (with alcohol)
  • baked white lotus paste and single egg yolk
  • baked low-sugar white lotus paste with sunflower seeds
  • baked pandan paste with melon seeds
  • baked with red bean paste
  • mini snow skinw ith red bean paste
  • mini snow skin with pandan lotus paste and mung bean paste
  • baked premium durian lotus paste
  • mini snow skin with passion fruit cheese cake

Of all these flavors, I find the passion fruit cheese cake version to be most interesting and out of the ordinary. It tasted like a mix between really good sorbet and snowskin mooncake, in a good way. This is a must try if you’re adventurous. The traditional lotus paste with egg yolk version holds up with some of the bests I’ve tried as well.

KY, Kelly, Eunice, Dennis, Evelyn, Sarah
KY, Kelly, Eunice, Dennis, Evelyn, Sarah

A word of caution for Muslim friends, while the food is pork free, some of the mooncakes do come with small amount of alcohol; and as far as pork free dimsum goes, the dishes we sampled here were of pretty high standard and for sure, worthy of the dishes. I like the creativity and the different ingredients used as well.

For weekends and public holidays, they also run an ala carte buffet dimsum for RM 45++ which features 45 types of their best selling dimsum dishes.

map to Prince Hotel KL

Address:
Tai Zi Heen
Prince Hotel
No.4 Jalan Conlay,
50450 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia
GPS: 3.15041, 101.71467
Tel 03-2170 8888
Hours: Lunch & Dinner daily