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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / November 2013

Ampang Park is said to be the oldest shopping mall of such set up in the country. First opened its door in 1973, this place has been in existence since our current Prime Minister’s father was in office as the Prime Minster.

Recently, my office moved to Intermark, which is located just right across the road from Ampang Park, so naturally I went to check out some of the lunch options at this place since the two buildings are connected by a skybridge.

food court at Ampang Park, the oldest shopping mall in Malaysia
food court at Ampang Park, the oldest shopping mall in Malaysia

As it turns out, the oldest mall also has one of the oldest food courts at the top floor. There are a variety of hawker stalls at the area, but two that caught my eyes were the Korean and the Vietnamese food outlets.

Both of these places are pork free, and offers exceptional value.

Vietnamese beef, chicken or fish noodle at RM 5.00 to RM 6
Vietnamese beef, chicken or fish noodle at RM 5.00 to RM 6.00

The Vietnamese dishes are typically made from the same soup base, you can get beef noodle, beef stew noodle, beef ball noodle, chicken noodle, and like the example above, fish noodle for the price of RM 4.50 to RM 6.00.

There’s mint leaves, fish sauce, and a soup base that’s undoubtedly Vietnamese, but don’t expect great cut of beef or beef tendons in them. A pair of spring rolls here goes for RM 2.50 and they are rather decent too.

The Vietnamese lady who operate this place doesn’t speak much English, but can converse in Malay, and of course in Vietnamese.

kimchi soup ramen for RM 7.00
kimchi soup ramen for RM 7.00

If you fancy some cheap Korean food, just look at the busiest stall in this food court.

The menu here includes Korean glass noodle with soup (RM 6.50), seafood noodle soup (RM 6.50), mixed vegetable rice (RM 6.50), kimchi rice roll (RM 6.50), bibimbap (RM 7), kimchi pancake (RM 6.50), kimchi soup rice (RM 7), kimchi fried rice (RM 6.50), and more.

Most of these dishes come with side dishes that includes kimchi, vegetable, bean sprout, and an omelette lookalike thingy.

the ramen noodle comes with a side dish of 4 too
the ramen noodle comes with a side dish of 4 too

My favourite dishes from the Korean food stall is the kimchi ramen noodle that also comes with side dishes that goes for RM 7. The soup isn’t very intense, but for the price you can’t really ask for more. There’s plenty of kimchi and overall taste is rather decent.

The only complain I have is that the portion is perhaps overly huge though.

If you work or happen to around the area and want something cheap and decent for lunch, here’s a food court to check out.

map to Ampang Park

Address:
Ampang Park Food Court
Level 2
Ampang Park Shopping Centre
Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.16054, 101.71947
Hours: weekday lunch

This is a follow up post to the 2013 Maldives trip, while the previous post detailed the liveaboard trip in its entirety, I want to share the dive log and some underwater photos in this post.

Photos are taken with Olympus E-PL3 & PT-EP05L underwater housing, I use an Inon UWL 100 & dome port for wide angle shots, and the Inon UCL 165 close up lens for the few macro photos.

Lighting is supplemented with a couple Sea & Sea YS-D1 from my buddy Terence, control wasn’t the best since I’m still getting used to the set up. I gotta be more patient in trying out different settings, but alas, when the underwater world is so beautiful, sometimes you just want to enjoy the moment.

the Choo family & Cherish, posing with a turtle at Fish Head
Joshua, Aileen & Cherish, posing with a turtle at Fish Head

We logged 17 dives over 6 days of diving, and got to see basically everything except manta rays at cleaning stations, but the sharks, tuna, whale shark, marble rays, beautiful seascape, and wonderful company more than made up for it.

Here’s hoping we will visit this paradise of a country again in not so distant future.

guitar shark found at 38 meters at "Fish Head"
guitar shark found at 38 meters at “Fish Head”

Day 1
Dive 1:
Check out dive.
28.1m
One diver shot up from 20m with mask and regulator off, luckily proper CESA observed
Saw two black tip around 5-6′
Titan trigger non aggressive
School red tooth trigger fish
A very big morey eel
Parrot fish

Dive 2:
Night dive 9pm+
Site: fesdu lagoon
Manta
Set up lights on boat and dhony to attract mantas.
Went down and visibility was not too great due to sand kick up
Manta came close few times, magical
65 mins
During safety stop Manta feeding under lights. Shot a short video
The same diver cut the dive short, still recovering from first dive’s emergency ascent

school of fish at Lily's Manta Point
school of fish at Lily’s Manta Point

a customary picture of nemo
a customary picture of nemo

played with the cleaner wrasses a little at Broken Rock, day 4
played with the cleaner wrasses a little at Broken Rock, day 4

Day 2
Dive 3:
Site: fish head
Guitar shark at 38.5 meter.
Saw some 6 footer gray sharks
Giant morey eel swimming out of hiding place too
Plenty of fish, coral
Medium current, maybe a tad too deep at guitar shark area, luckily monitored and did not go into deco
Alan and Nicole came up late due to deco
The diver who had problem on the first day had a good dive, that’s great

Dive 4:
Before lunch
Second dive at Lily’s Manta point
Didn’t manage to spot any Manta this time
Close to 20m and we found a spot on Sandy bottom waiting for Manta, did not happen
Ended up playing a bit and taking pics at the nearby reefs

Dive 5:
Afternoon dive
Same site at Lily’s Manta point
No Manta this dive either, nice leisure dive
Puffer fish, coral fish, played with the sand and fishes taking advantage pecking the debris

day 3 - swimming with whale shark
day 3 – swimming with whale shark

Kudimaa wreck, I always love the ambiance of a wreck dive
Kudimaa wreck, I always love the ambiance of a wreck dive

Day 3
Dive 6:
Kuradah Thila
Plenty of reef fish, huge garupa too
Nice seascape, Nemo too
Saw a Manta while on Dhoni

Dive 7:
Second dive
South of ali atoll
Site: manigili
Trying to spot whale shark
We Snorkeled with the baby wheel shark first, was fun at first then it got too crowded
Some other group didn’t play nice and cut through front, blah
Still the whale shark was majestic!
Diving later was non eventful except the whale shark for the first minute.
Too much current swaying us left and right so we went up after about 40m

Dive 8:
Third dive of the day
Kudimaa wreck
Beautiful wreck, we went inside a little bit too
Didn’t put my flash trigger securely so no flash available
Big school of bat fish, very bold and curious

Night time Manta! Two came to the boat and we snorkel with them, took some pics. Very graceful and magical, better than whale shark I think

manta visited us again on the 3rd night, majestic creature
manta visited us again on the 3rd night, majestic creature

a moray eel scheming something against Caely, at Broken Rock
a moray eel scheming something against Caely, at Broken Rock

caught Nicole framing these pair of butterfly fish
caught Nicole framing these pair of butterfly fish

Day 4
Dive 9:
Site: broken rock
Nice leisure dive, Joshua having a bit of problem descending, tried helping but didn’t manage cos I didn’t carry weight
Saw a pair of yellow batfish, nice pic opportunity
Morey swimming outside too

Dive 10:
Site: vashu giri kandu
Deep and with quite a bit of current
Saw napoleon wrasse, sharks, and eagle ray
Hanging on the side wall to fight off current
Almost deco at 3-4 mins for a while
One of the more challenging dive sites

Dive 11:
Night dive
Alimatha jetty
One of the more exciting dives
We had some sardin in a milo tin and lots of nurse sharks came
Got very close to them too
A few knocked me and the camera pretty solid
Giant trivoli were huge, almost 2 feet in length and very bold
Huge marble Rays too
Haze was petrified underwater, didn’t know nurse sharks don’t bite
Awesome dive even tho it was very shallow at about 5-8 meters only

diving with nurse sharks at Alimatha Jetty, thrilling experience
diving with nurse sharks at Alimatha Jetty, thrilling experience

huge marble ray among the sharks
huge marble ray among the sharks

Day 5
Dive 12:
Site: miyaru kandu (means channel)
Black tip, napoleon wrasse and a honeycomb eel.
Others saw a school of black tip at deeper end too
Quite deep, less exciting dive especially after last night

Dive 13:
Site: kandoona
Pretty deep dive, hit deco for about a minute strong current and we just hang on the rocks, looking at quite a few gray reef sharks just chilling at the channel, kinda like f1 car in wind tunnel
A few Napoleon wrasse too
35 meter

Dive 14:
Site: vilivaru giri
Lots of reef fish, a few types of trigger
Trying to take a photo of a pair of pipe fish but an unsuspecting morey bit attacked the strobe
Saw a turtle too
Quite a lot of clown fish too
Beautiful corals, including table coral
Brown ribbon eel
Others saw octopus too

spotted this beautiful jellyfish at "Sunlight" dive site
spotted this beautiful jellyfish at “Sunlight” dive site, day 5

beautiful seascape at "Sunlight"
beautiful seascape at “Sunlight”

plenty of these small critters at Miyaru Kandu, day 4
plenty of these small critters at Miyaru Kandu, day 4

say cheese, Mr. Turtle of Miyaru Kandu dive site
say cheese, Mr. Turtle of Miyaru Kandu dive site

Day 6Dive 15:
Site: sunlight
No Manta
Played with sand again
Saw a tiny little flounder which was very cute
The two coral blocks had some jewel garupa, Nemo etc
Saw a pretty good size jelly fish on the way up too

Dive 16:
Dive site: Lankan reef
Saw a tuna for the first time. A bit far away so can’t get any pics.
It was some 10-20m from a shark that everyone was checking out
No Manta sightings tho
Reef fish aplenty, pipe fish too
Dive 17:
Dive site: Lankan reef
Another try for Manta but yet again no luck
Saw a shark, turtle, yellow pipe fish and other reef fish
A more relaxing end as the last dive of our trip
It was well worth it, we got to see eventing we could hope for. Not seeing Manta at cleaning station is alright.

Haze & yours truly, signing off
Haze & yours truly, signing off 

At workplace, I am a bit of a freelancer when it comes to lunches. Most people have a group of colleagues or friends they always lunch with, but I sort of wander around a little bit, hanging out with different groups of colleagues and friends. Partly to socialize with more, and mainly to appease my appetite of having wide variety of different lunch options since most groups usually to go to the same places repeatedly.

Restoran Salero Negori, at Jalan Gurney, KL
Restoran Salero Negori, at Jalan Gurney, KL

A couple weeks ago I joined a group of Malay colleagues on a bit of a lunch excursion to this place suggested by our friendly Indonesian expat by the name of Pak Alwi to this restaurant located at Dato’ Keramat by the name of Restoran Salero Negori.

The name is pretty self explanatory – a restaurant that serves Negeri Sembilan delights. My only previous such experience was to Restoran Rose 911 at Kampung Pandan.

plenty of different dishes to choose from
plenty of different dishes to choose from

Restoran Salero Negori is located in a converted bungalow house along Jalan Gurney (not to be confused with Persiaran Gurney which is in Penang).

As with many Malay restaurants, the set up is pretty similar to “chap fan” or nasi kandar style. Most food are already prepared, and you just point and pick what you want. The benefit is that you don’t ever need to wait more than 5 minutes before food is served.

duck egg, fried brinjal, smoked beef curry, vegetable, chicken, squid
duck egg, fried brinjal, smoked beef curry, vegetable, chicken, squid

For lunch, we ordered up qiute a big feast for the six of us. There’s boiled duck egg, smoked beef curry, paku pakis, deep fried chicken with rempah, curry squid, curry chicken, and more.

I find the beef pretty interesting, a bit of a smokey taste that goes well with the spicy curry. The rempah from fried chicken was addictive, but my favorite turned out to be the brinjal, covered with sambal and fried to almost crispy texture while still retaining the sweetness.

Over all, it was a very good lunch, plenty of kick, and maybe a bit too much lemak, but that’s what Negeri Sembilan food is all about.

it was a great afternoon lunch session
it was a great afternoon lunch session

We spent about RM 24-25 per person for this meal including drinks. Cheap? No. Satisfying? Oh Yes! Will go there again.

map to Restoran Salero Negori

Address:
Restoran Salero Negori
Jalan Gurney
Dato’ Keramat
Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.167662, 101.720818

Late last month, Haze and I were invited to one of the most prestigious gastronomy event we’ve ever attended – the sixth Martell Pure Gourmet event, held at JW Marriott KL.

Martell Pure Gourmet 2013, at Marriott KL
Martell Pure Gourmet 2013, at Marriott KL, some limited edition bottles & glasses

Martell Pure Gourmet features ingredient led cuisine paired with Martell cognacs.

With cutting edge culinary techniques and using only the finest quality produce that enhance the overall flavor as well as texture of a dish, the dinner series embodies the method of cooking inspired by Martell’s creation of its cognac.

Martell infused cocktails and some interesting pre-dinner bits
Martell infused cocktails and some interesting pre-dinner bits

Chef Ryan Clift from the world acclaimed Tippling Club in Singapore showcased his cutting edge culinary techniques in the bespoke menu specially prepared for this event.

the beautifully decorated dining hall at Marriott KL for Martell Pure Gourmet
the beautifully decorated dining hall at Marriott KL for Martell Pure Gourmet

Before the start of the main event, we were treated with a variety of pre-dinner nibbles such as white truffle foam, soup in test tubes, and other tiny one-spoon full dishes involving tofu, foie gras, truffle, and more.

There was also a bar serving four different variations of Martell cocktails to set the mood.

Ocean Trout, Apple Puree & Sorbet, Horseradish, Bronze Fennel and Dill Flowers
Ocean Trout, Apple Puree & Sorbet, Horseradish, with Martell Cordon Bleu

First dish of the night was ocean trout, apple puree & sorbet, horseradish, bronze fennel and dill flowers. According to the chef, only 4 person (at least one of which is his friend) are awarded the permit to fish these trouts from certain part of New Zealand.

The preparation fish was exquisite, and while combination of apple puree & sorbet with seafood takes a little getting used to, it was quite a marvellous combination. The rich aromas of Martell Cordon Bleu accompanied the dish.

The technique used here was salt curing and enzyme separation in preparation of the fish.

Carrot Gnocchi, Ginger Flower and Carrot Broth; Martell Cordon Bleu
Carrot Gnocchi, Ginger Flower and Carrot Broth; Martell Cordon Bleu

Second course was pure vegetarian – carrot gnocchi, ginger flower and carrot broth with pistachio and wild stems of fragrant herbs. Vacuum distillation technique is employed, resulting in a very soft and tender texture of carrot that has about the same consistency of very well boiled potato boiled.

The end result is an adventure in the different texture the dish provides. We continued with Martell Cordon Bleu as the cognac of choice for this dish.

Foie Gras Coulant with Spiced Wine, Cherry, Cocoa & Spices; Martell XO
Foie Gras Coulant with Spiced Wine, Cherry, Cocoa & Spices; Martell XO

The third course called for Martell XO to be paired with foie gras coulant with wine, cherry, cocoa & spices.

The technique used here is one that I’ve never heard of – sound homogenization. It is a process to reduce small particles in a liquid so that they become uniformly small and evenly distributed, which resulted in a foie gras dish that has almost the consistency closer to that of desserts, but at the same time carrying a taste that is unmistakably foie gras.

A very interesting experience, the XO with its dominant characteristic of Grande and Petite Champagne worked well with this stronger tasting dish.

Venison with Black Turtle Beans, Dashi Emulsion and Black Radish; Martell Creation Grand Extra
Venison with Black Turtle Beans; Martell Creation Grand Extra

Forth course called for red meat that came in the form of venison with black turtle beans, dashi emulsion and black radish. Low temperature cooking technique is employed here to achieve a very tender texture of the meat while not having to scorch any part of it.

Martell Creation Grand Extra was chosen as the cognac to pair with this dish. The roasted aroma with a hint of bitterness goes well with the red meat.

By the way, the venison is sourced from deer that’s hunted in the wild using helicopter. As chef explained that there’s a believe that if the animal didn’t see it coming, it tastes better than those that has to go through the slaughterhouse.

Textures of Milk; Martell Chanteloup Perspective
Textures of Milk; Martell Chanteloup Perspective

The 5th course – texture of milk, was perhaps the most simplistic looking dish, but one that is hardest to prepare. Using the technique of dehydration & nitrogen, Chef Ryan Clift manage to prepare a meringue that comprises of nothing but milk alone. It was very interesting and absolutely wonderful.

Martell Chantelop Perspective, classed in the Extra category, with eaux-de-vie that may be aged for up to 50 years, provided the perfect ending to this most excellent meal.

The good chef also created “tiramisu capsules” as an additional dessert to go with coffee and cognac as an additional final item for us. Most interesting, I want to have this on my computer desk!

Haze, KY, Lex & Weizhi from kampungboycitygal
Haze, KY, Lex & Weizhi from kampungboycitygal.com

Martell Pure Gourmet dinner proved to be a gastronomical experience unlike any I’ve experienced before, I want to thank the good people from Martell for the invitation, and hopefully my name is on the list again for next year. 😀

Popiah, or commonly known as fresh spring rolls in most other parts of the world, has always been one of my favorite breakfast dishes. It’s easy to eat, contains an assortment of vegetables, usually pretty economical, and doesn’t take a long time to chew down.

It is a dish that is pretty common in Penang, but unfortunately, good ones are hard to come by in Klang Valley, so I was pretty happy when I finally sampled from this one from Imbi market.

the pohpiah stall at Imbi market
the poppiah stall at Imbi market

Sister’s Crispy Popiah is situated some 10 meters away from the famous Ah Weng Koh Haianese Tea. It has been operating at the same spot for years, and business in the morning is rather good. There’s almost always a small queue right in front of the stall, behind the operator that always move in a super brisk pace.

two pieces of pohpiah at RM 4.40

two pieces of pohpiah at RM 4.40

A single serving goes for RM 2.20, one is never enough as the only dish, but suffice as a side dish if you have something else to go along with, like a plate of wantan mee or some breakfast toasts for example.

Other than the popiah skin, chili paste (optional), and sweet sauce, there are at least five other ingredients packed into this spring roll, including sengkuang (yambean), cucumber, carrot, and some absolutely fantastic crispy bits (I have no idea what they are).

goes well with toast and Hainanese tea too
goes well with toast and Hainanese tea too

The normal serving is a little on the drier side, but if you prefer to just ask, you can have it with a bit of those sengkuang soup to wet them as well (which is closer to Penang style). The popiah skin holds up well while not being too thick, the mixture of crispy ingredients and really soft, well cooked sengkuang makes for a well balanced contrasting texture that I really like.

A pair of popiah for breakfast? I can do it this any day.

map to Imbi Market (Pasar Baru Bukit Bintang)

Address:
Sisters Crispy Popiah
Imbi Market (Pasar Baru Bukit Bintang)
Jalan Melati, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.14340, 101.71664
Hours: breakfast and brunch