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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / March 2014

On normal days, the walkway in front of Lembaga Tabung Haji building on Jalan Tun Razak might see a few office workers walking about, but on every Friday afternoon, the place transforms into a unique food bazaar thanks to the crowd drawn by the Friday prayers conducted within the mosque of Tabung Haji building.

the stalls operate on Friday afternoon only
the stalls operate on Friday afternoon only

There are stalls selling burger, kebab, and of course, nasi kandar & nasi briyani. My first experience with the food here started after one of my swimming sessions at G-Tower’s Element Gym on the long Friday lunch break.

This stall is one that is stationed closest to the right side if you’re facing the building, and one that is usually the busiest as well.

great selection of dishes, including beef, chicken, lamb, veges, fish, etc
great selection of dishes, including beef, chicken, lamb, veges, fish, etc

There are usually at least some two dozen dishes to choose from, with most of them spicy (just the way I like it!). There’s lamb, beef curry, rendang, brinjal, honey chicken, fried chicken, curry chicken, fried kembung fish, fried egg, hard boiled egg, various types of sambal, bitter gourd, and even bergedil.

The food is very delicious, and best of all, prices are rather reasonable as well.

egg, chicken drumstick, bitter gourd, and eggplant with nasi briyani
egg, chicken drumstick, bitter gourd, and eggplant with nasi briyani

For example, this packet of nasi briyani with a hard boiled egg, fried chicken drum stick, bitter gourd, and a huge chunk of egg plant with sambal costs RM 9, with a papadem thrown in as well. I particularly love the egg plant, very juicy, spicy, and full of flavor.

long bean, fish eggs, beef tripe, with nasi briyani
long bean, fish eggs, beef tripe, with nasi briyani

I also suspect that if you get there really late, like say around 3pm, sometimes the owner will throw in really great deal as well. This example above includes some beef tripe, fried fish egg, and long beans with nasi briyani, and I was charged less than RM 5.

If your’e up for some delicious no frill nasi briyani on a Friday afternoon, this is definitely a place to check out. They offer “dine in” options as well, though there won’t be any chairs or tables by the stall. You’ll merely just be served with a plate instead of the container.

map to Lembaga Tabung Haji

Address:
In front of Lembaga Tabung Haji
Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.158465, 101.720338
Hours: every Friday afternoon 

After passing Jalan Semarak en route to work for the past 6 months or so, I finally decided to check out the wet market/medan selera look alike building at the intersection of Jalan Semarak and Jalan Padang Tembak in the morning.

It turned out to be another good food find.

Nasi Kerabu at Medan Selera Semarak
Nasi Kerabu at Medan Selera Semarak

Selera Semarak is one of the older type of food court serving mostly Malay and Mamak food. After scouting the place for a little bit, I decided to order nasi kerabu from the second stall on the right of the entrance.

the blue colored rice is the result of butterfly-pea flower (kembang telang)
the blue colored rice is the result of butterfly-pea flower (kembang telang)

For those who aren’t familiar with nasi kerabu, it is a traditional Kelantanese dish with the signature blue rice. The color is obtained from the buds of butterfly-pea flower (kembang telang), which also gives it a distinct aroma.

Chopped long bean, cabbage, coconut sambal, and keropok (prawn crackers) makes up the rest of the dish. I added a fried chicken drumstick for good measure.

a cacophony of flavors, perfect for breakfast
a cacophony of flavors, perfect for breakfast 

I really liked the coconut sambal though it proved to be quite spicy, the aroma of blue rice and freshness of those vegetable made this a pretty awesome dish. For about RM 5 including the chicken, this was definitely one of the better breakfasts I’ve had in recent time.

map to Selera Semarak

Address:
Selera Semarak
Jalan Semarak
Kementah, Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.175878,101.720737
Hours: Breakfast and Lunch

Japanese restaurants are a dime a dozen in KL. Arguably one of the most mature foreign cuisine of all, you can find them in all price range and specializing in every sub-category. Today we’re going to look into Takumi Japanese fine dining, a pretty high end Japanese restaurant that emphasizes shabu-shabu and sukiyaki, among other dishes.

Update 16/4/2015 – This space is now replaced with Hanaya Japanese Restaurant

Takumi Japanese Fine Dining at Grand Millennium Hotel
Takumi Japanese Fine Dining at Grand Millennium Hotel

Takumi is one of the restaurants located within Grand Millennium Hotel, which itself is directly next to Pavilion and opposite Fahrenheit 88. The interior is classy, and for lunch, you can find some pretty decent deals too (I’ve been a few times for Chirashi sushi etc).

Our food review session was arranged by HungryGoWhere Malaysia (where I am a contributor), so thank you Shing for inviting, and Ahfa for being my sit-in plan B partner of the day.

edamame and Kani Salad
edamame and Kani Salad

We started the day with some greens in the form of edamame and Kani Salad (RM 18/28). The salad was refreshing, and I enjoyed the sesame dressing that’s been spiked up a little bit with wasabi.

The chef at Takumi likes to combine the traditional Osaka cuisine with a hint of boldness famous in restaurants at Tokyo, as we were told.

Sashimi platter
Sashimi platter

Sashimi platter (RM 180) was a work of art, with 18 pieces of fresh seafood served on a bed of ice with shiso leaves and even a bit of dried ice for mood. There were sawara (Spanish mackerel), maguro (tuna), kanpachi (amberjack), hotate (scallop), sake (salmon), and I believe, ohyuu (halibut).

Spanish Mackerel, grated Wasabi
Spanish Mackerel, grated Wasabi

The fish were fresh, delightful, and goes very well with grated wasabi. As always, remember that almost everything on a sashimi platter is designed to be consumed. For example, you can have mackerel with shiso leaf and a bit of daikon.

The shiso leaf is there to refresh your palate or to counter the “fishy” smell, getting your tongue ready for the next piece. Don’t waste them!

Lobster Mentaiyaki
Lobster Mentaiyaki

Next up was lobster mentaiyaki (RM 78 half), two of my favorite ingredients in the same dish – lobster and mentaiko.

The combination was perfect, the savouriness of mentaiko blends well with lobster meat, and if you’re one who can momentarily suspend the notion that cholesterol is bad for you, the lobster head is something you’ll absolutely enjoy.

Kawahagi, Chicken Curry Cutlet Maki
Kawahagi, Chicken Curry Cutlet Maki

We also had steamed Kawahagi (seasonal pricing) or commonly known as threadsail filefish. It was prepared not unlike a Chinese dish, with mushroom, some leek, and a hint of soya sauce. To be honest, I find the taste a bit bland and texture to be average. This isn’t up to par with the likes of steamed pomphret in my opinion.

I view Chicken curry cutlet maki (RM 30) as an interesting experiment, combining ingredients that otherwise would not appear together. The result is a bit of a mix, those who are allergic to soft shell crab can use this as a substitute, but the rest of us should probably avoid.

I do applaud the chef for being brave in experimenting with new recipes such as this, without such moves culinary art would never advance. So don’t take this as a negative criticism.

A5 Wagyu Sirloin and Angus Beef Shabu Shabu
A5 Wagyu Sirloin and Angus Beef Shabu Shabu

Then came the star of the night – A5 Wagyu Sirloin and Angus Beef shabu shabu.

Wagyu comes in many grades, with the alphabet denoting yield (A, B, C), and a number (1-5) indicating marbling score. Hence A5 is among the highest quality you can get, with fat contents equivalent to 8-12 BMS (Beef Marbling Standard).

The pricing at Takumi is as follow:

  • Shabu – shabu (Angus beef) : RM88.00
  • A5 Wagyu Roso : RM158.00
  • A3 Wagyu Sirloin : RM180.00
  • A5 Wagyu Sirloin : RM280.00
  • Matsuza Beef : RM490.00

Certainly not cheap, but of decent value, and the quality is certainly there.

just dip it for a few seconds, melt in your mouth
just dip it for a few seconds, melt in your mouth

For the wagyu, a dip in the boiling soup for just a few seconds is more than enough. We were supplied with a sort of ponzu mix but I love having the beef as is, the mixture of fat and beef melt in your mouth (pardon for the lack of a better description). It was so good!

The Angus beef was there just so we can make a comparison on the difference between a super high grade beef and a decent beef. To be fair, they were more than decent and would be of top quality beef on any menu without wagyu.

Ee Laine, KY, Shing, Weizhi
Ahfa, KY, Shing, Weizhi

We ended the night with some complimentary fruits, and coincidentally it was Weizhi’s (of KampungBoyCityGal) birthday too, so we had some cupcakes and sang a birthday song. It was a great night with awesome company. I can certainly do more of this.

map to Grand Millennium Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Takumi
Grand Millenium Kuala Lumpur
160, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.148006, 101.712225

Last weekend Kerol decided that chicken and pork should be on the menu for brunch, and hence the lady took us to Hong Seng kopitiam at Seksyen 17 to visit the chicken rice stall with the longest queue.

In Penang, you have nasi kandar beratur, in PJ, we have nasi ayam beratur. The former is halal, this one isn’t.

chicken rice at Hong Seng Seksyen 17, Kerol in queue
chicken rice at Hong Seng Seksyen 17, Kerol in queue

Anyway, the chicken rice stall in Hong Seng is probably the most popular hawker stalls in the whole of Seksyen 17. Business starts at just before 10 am, and by around brunch time, there’s always a long queue right in front. Average queuing time is about 10-20 minutes, and yes, this is a self-served only stall.

roast chicken, roast pork, bbq pork, spicy and sour vege
roast chicken, roast pork, bbq pork, spicy and sour vege, soup

For the three of us, we had a big plate of roast chicken, roast pork, bbq pork, and a side of spicy and sour vegetable.

The chicken was tender and flavorful, the bbq pork (charsiu) was top notch, but the real star of the show was the roast pork (siu yoke). The skin of that siu yoke is a work of art, crispy yet doesn’t break your teeth, with the pork quite subtle in taste (not having overpowering 5 spice flavor) but pairs well with their home-made chilli sauce.

the roast pork is a must order here
the roast pork is a must order here

The hot and sour soup though, was mere average, we thought that there’s way too much leafy vege compared to the actual soup, and the spicy taste wasn’t nearly as intense. My favorite version is still the one at Peng Heong Hakka paikut, Klang.

Overall it was a very satisfying lunch, and at RM 10 or so per pax, it is of pretty good value as well.

map to Hong Seng kopitiam at Seksyen 17, Petaling Jaya

Address:
Chicken Rice stall
Hong Seng Restaurant
No. 1, Jalan 17/29,
Seksyen 17,
46400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.128289, 101.635371
Tel016-939 3118
Hours9.30am to 1pm

Le Midi is a name that I’ve came across for quite sometime, and it was a privilege to finally be invited for a food tasting session in conjunction with the arrival of Chef Andrea Alimenti, who has some 30 years of culinary experience since graduating from Aurelio Saffi Florence Hotel School in 1983.

Chef Andrea Alimenti is a multiple Michelin star chef, with his first coming at the tender age of 20, then at age 30 he left Florence to open his own restaurant with some partners (the renowned Aquamatta in Capolona) for 15 years… which also received a Michelin star. It is not common that we have the opportunity to sample creations from a chef with such pedigree, we felt very honored.

Le Midi at Bangsar Shopping Center, with live nautilus
Le Midi at Bangsar Shopping Center, with live nautilus

The restaurant is located on 3rd floor in the East wing of Bangsar Shopping Centre, the interior oozes a sense of mystic and class, with a couple nautilus in a round aquarium at the centre of the dining hall. This was actually the first time I witness these pelagic marine mollusks outside Aquaria, way cool.

Anyway, we’re here for the food, and you can’t order the nautilus.

eggplant nest with truffle egg yolk and parmesan cheese
eggplant nest with truffle egg yolk and parmesan cheese

Out first dish was eggplant nest with truffle egg yolk and parmesan cheese. A dish with deceptively simple base ingredient – poached egg and eggplant, manage wow us with it’s wonderful combination of texture and taste. The eggplant fried to a texture not unlike bacon, the egg poached perfectly, and shaved parmesan with truffle gives it that touch of complexity. I was impressed.

mozzarella ravioli in tomato consommé
mozzarella ravioli in tomato consommé

Next up was mozzarella ravioli in tomato consommé, a classic Italian dish with a well balanced taste of acidity from tomato consommé countering the stronger mozzarella cheese within the ravioli.

A glass of Secret de Berticot Sauvignon Blanc proved to be a worthy companion for the above two dishes.

homemade Tagliolini in saffron butter whiskey salmon cream and crunchy almonds
homemade Tagliolini in saffron butter whiskey salmon cream and crunchy almonds

Next we had homemade Tagliolini in saffron butter whiskey salmon cream and crunchy almonds. A type of pasta popular in Emilia-Romagna, a region in Italy.

While we love the soft smooth texture of the pasta, I thought the salmon cream was a little too mild, but nothing a dash of sea salt won’t help. We also had Secret Berticot Rosé to go along with the pasta. Though the Rosé was a decent pairing with pasta, we felt that the Savignon Blanc was actually suited for this occasion.

seabass with fine herb crust on spinach bed
seabass with fine herb crust on spinach bed

Next up – seabass with fine herb crust on spinach bed. Seabass, or barramundi, is quite a popular fish in local cuisine, but I’ve never had it prepare this way before. The crust gives it a crispy herbal taste while leaving the texture of the fish still tender and moist. The spinach did a fine job as a side kick, and we had more white wine to go with this.

It was already a rather good night at this point.

tenderloin in old Madeira sauce with foie gras and fig
tenderloin in old Madeira sauce with foie gras and fig

Then came my favorite dish of the night, tenderloin in old Madeira sauce with foie gras and fig.

When it comes to beef, I’m usually one who likes to have it as is. Be it ribeye, NY strip, tenderloin, of Black Angus, Wagyu, you name it. I like to have it medium rare with nothing on it.

On this occasion though, I was proven wrong. The Madeira sauce and fig really enhanced the taste of the already excellent beef. The foie gras, of course, managed to kick it up a notch. Give me this any day and I’ll be the happiest man.

Red meat deserves some red wine to go with, so we had a glass of Château Pouroutou red to go with (I believe it was merlot). Perfect.

dessert galore!
dessert galore!

As usual, by the time we were well full, dessert is served. Not one, but five creations from the good chef. I took a bite from all of them and wished that I had a bigger stomach to properly devour them. They are:

  • Millefoglie with Chantilly cream and caramel
  • Vanilla panacotta and strawberry coulis
  • Chocolate fondente and mini chocolate cup
  • Chocolate tender heart with Amarena cherry parfait
  • Orange cheesecake and chocolate drawing

KY, Haze, Mei & Josen, Melissa, Kelly, Chengyi, Chef Andrea Alimenti
KY, Haze, Mei & Josen, Melissa, Kelly, Chengyi, Chef Andrea Alimenti

It was a great dinner with even better company, thank you Melissa for being a generous and wonderful host. We will be back to Le Midi.

map to Bangsar Shopping Center

Address:
Le Midi Restaurant
3rd Floor, East Wing,
Bangsar Shopping Centre,

285 Jalan Maarof,
Bukit Bandaraya, 59000 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.142808,101.667448
Tel:  03-2094 1318