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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / November 2015

While having visited Intercontinental’s buffet spread a couple times and came away impressed, we had never been to their new Japanese outfit – Tatsu. Hence, when I received the invitation from Lisa to participate in the Vina Maipo wine dinner late last month, I said yes without hesitation.

Vina Maipo wine dinner Tatsu Intercontinental KL
Vina Maipo wine dinner Tatsu Intercontinental KL

Vina Maipo was founded in 1948 in the Maipo Valley, renowned as the most famous wine growing region in Chile. The brand underwent an aggressive development since the year 2000 and is now the 4th biggest Chilean winery.

the selection Vina Maipo wines for the night
the selection Vina Maipo wines for the night

For the wine dinner, five different Vina Maipo wines were paired with various Japanese dishes thought up by the more than capable chef at Tatsu. It was priced at RM 280 nett per pax, a more than fair price considering the dishes and drinks offered, I thought.

sushi, sashimi, & chawamushi with Hokkaido uni
sushi, sashimi, & chawamushi with Hokkaido uni

As with most Japanese course dinner, we started out with a selection of sushi, sashimi, and cucumber spider roll. The seafood was top notch, and the freshness of cucumber combined with the savoury deep fried soft shell crab worked out rather well. We had this with Vina Maipo Varietal Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay, Casablanca Valley. The well-bodied wine was sharp and balanced, went well with the seafood.

Next dish was steamed egg custard with Hokkaido sea urchin paired with Vina Maipo Vitral Chardonnay, Casablanca Valley. The wine carries a creamy butter texture with crispy acidity.

Himalayan salt and Sansho roast duck breast
Himalayan salt and Sansho roast duck breast

Then came the first of our three “main dishes” in the form of Himalayan salt and Sansho roast duck breast with grilled Japanese eggplant, baby bok choy, and Haccho honey sauce. The duck breast was juicy and I thought the Haccho honey sauce gave it quite a distinct taste.

For this dish, we went up a notch on the range and had the Vina Maipo Gran Devocion Carmenere Syrah, Maule Valley. It has a good body, soft tannins and complex finish that went well with the meat.

oven baked teriyaki salmon, Vina Maipo Gran Devocion Carbernet Sauvignon Syrah
oven baked teriyaki salmon,
Vina Maipo Gran Devocion Carbernet Sauvignon Syrah

We continued with our second “main dish” in the form of oven baked Yuzu teriyaki salmon, kani cream croquette, char kyuri cucumber, and crispy puff rice. Yuzu is all the rage these days, and the treatment of salmon with this fruit in this instance was interesting, though ultimately I found perhaps slightly forced. I enjoyed it, but it could have been slightly better.

The wine paired with the salmon was Vina Maipo Gran Devocion Carbernet Sauvignon Syrah, which has a fresh acidity that carries a long nice finish.

grilled Australian Black Angus beef, shimeji mushroom
grilled Australian Black Angus beef, shimeji mushroom

The third main dish was the cha-grilled Australian Black Angus beef with king brown, shimeji mushroom, sweet peas, truffle oil topped with spicy mayo. An interesting dish to say the least, the beef was prepared perfectly in this instance, and those spicy mayo did go surprisingly well with the greens & mushrooms.

We had the Vina Maipo limited edition Syrah, Maipo Valley with this penultimate dish in the wine dinner course. The official tasting note says – “This Syrah rests on a sophisticated structure. In mouth tannins are ripe, elegant and the finish is smooth and persistent”. Well, I’m not one to come up with a different description, but I liked the wine!

Japanese green tea Panna Cotta, Haze, BabySumo & her big boy
Japanese green tea Panna Cotta, Haze, BabySumo & her big boy

Dinner was concluded with Japanese green tea panna cotta, chocolate soil, red beans, lychee jelly and vanilla bean ice cream.  Quite fancy and rather beautifully decorated. The mixture of different ingredients and texture in this dessert somehow came together quite well to provide a sweet ending to this more than decent dinner.

I’d want to return to Tatsu again to perhaps try some of their more traditional fare, and if I’m looking for a good bottle of wine for a party of four, Vina Maipo is now on my radar.

map to Intercontinental Hotel, KL

Address:
Tatsu
Intercontinental Hotel

165 Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.159767, 101.718045
Tel03-2161 1111
Webwww.intercontinental.com

At work, I am lucky enough to be working with a pretty tight knit group who also happens to enjoy good food. Every now and then, we have little lunch trips to various places that offers something out of the ordinary office lunches, which we really enjoy.

Several weeks ago, when it was our “Datuk K’s” turn to belanja, he introduced Nasi Beriani Asif to us, which has since fast becoming one of our favorite venues.

Nasi Briyani Asif is located behind Fahrenheit 88 in Bukit Bintang
Nasi Briyani Asif is located behind Fahrenheit 88 in Bukit Bintang

Nasi Beriani Asif is located at the ground floor the less than glamorous 5-storey residential flat behind Fahrenheit 88 shopping mall in Bukit Bintang, facing the DBKL medan selera. Parking can be a bit challenging at the area, but not a huge issue if you are capable of side-parking your car in tight areas.

The restaurant is rather well set up and nicely decorated for where it is, it is also air conditioned and rather clean.

the lamb shank masala is a must-eat
the lamb shank masala is a must-eat

Asif serves traditional Pakistani cuisine, and while nasi briyani is their main offering, the menu is actually quite extensive.

Lamb shank masala (RM 22) is a definite must order when you’re here. You get a whole big shank perfectly prepared and so tender the meat falls off when you scrap it with a spoon. It goes absolutely awesome with their long grained nasi briyani or naan.

chicken masala, garlic cheese naan, palak paneer, and grill lamb chops
chicken masala, garlic cheese naan, palak paneer, and grill lamb chops

Chicken masala (RM 10) here is pretty good as well, and as with their naan (RM 3-10) that tastes almost like a superior version of middle eastern style pizza of sort. Traditional North indian dishes is found here too, we tried their palak paneer (RM 15) and really liked it, cottage cheese in mashed spinach, I can have that all day!

Then there’s their grilled lamb chops (RM 20), slightly charred on the outside yet juicy within, perfectly executed.

you're looking at a bunch of happy customers who'd be having food coma back at office later
a bunch of happy customers who’d be having food coma back at office after

While Nasi Beriani Asif may be priced a little bit on the higher side for the location, food quality is top notch and service is more than decent. We liked it, and have gone back there again several times since. If you’re into these sort of food, you’ll enjoy this place.

map to nasi beriani asif, imbi

Address:
Nasi Beriani Asif
Jalan Padang Walter Grenier,
Off Jalan Imbi, 55100, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.145463, 101.713254
Tel012-249 8764
URL: berianiasif.com

Padlocks, an essentials in our day to day life, has been around for a long time. In fact, padlocks were used in Roman Era as well as Han Dynasty close to 2000 years ago. To many of us, it symbolizes protection and safety.

Pont des Arts at Paris, and Penang Hill love locks
Pont des Arts at Paris, and Penang Hill love locks

Since 2008, padlocks engraved with names of love ones were attached on Pont des Arts bridge in Paris with the keys thrown as a symbol of love and commitment. Up north here in Malaysia, we have the same practice found on the top of Penang Hill as well.

Zurich Love Lock Sculpture outside Fahrenheit 88
Zurich Love Lock Structure outside Fahrenheit 88

For those of us who are in Klang Valley, Zurich installed a love structure right in the heart of KL for us to do the same. The structure is located right in front of Uniqlo at Fahrenheit 88, you can’t miss it.

put your love lock on the sculpture
put your love lock on the structure

Now instead of showing care and love between partners, the #ProtectTrueLove structure, as it is called, represents everything you truly love, this can be everything and everyone you love, be it your newborn, your parents, siblings, a car, your pet, anything.

I got cendawan’s name on the padlock up there, try to find it if you are there putting on your own locks!

the virtual love lock at http://protecttruelove.com
the virtual love lock at http://protecttruelove.com

In conjunction with the installation of the structure, Zurich also came up with a digital platform for you to share your stories about love ones on protecttruelove.com . Even better, this is actually a contest with prizes to be won.

The mechanic is simple:

  • Visit protecttruelove.com
  • Customise virtual locks by inserting two names and a date.
  • Upload up to 3 photos of their loved ones & write a short description (not more than 1,000 characters) on what #ProtectTrueLove means.
  • Fill in personal information & submit contest entry.

Check out the example below shared by one of the participants on her relationship with mom, heart warming.

what does ProtectTrueLove means to you?
what does ProtectTrueLove means to you?

Best of all, there are following prizes to be won:

  • Grand Prize: Travel Voucher Worth RM5,000.00
  • Second Prize: iPhone 6s X 2 (RM3,200.00 each)
  • Third Prize: RM500 Cash X 10
  • Consolation Prize: Zurich Merchandises X 100

So head to protecttruelove.com now to share your stories, and don’t forget to check out the structure as well!

We recently moved to our new house in Shah Alam, a place we put in a lot of effort into making it the way we want – with a bigger kitchen & living area, a loft for Haze to do her painting, and even a small pool and koi pond with wooden decking by the small strip of land on the side.

zen moment
zen moment with rubber ducky

The move actually contributes to a bit of a change to our lifestyle. From eating out almost every meal, we now find ourselves cooking and preparing food at home quite a fair bit more. This is due to both the location being slightly further away from our usual food hunting ground, the availability of better cooking space, and most importantly, a much nicer place to chill and enjoy eating in.

pour in hot water, stir, and you've got a cup of classic
pour in hot water, stir, and you’ve got a cup of classic

Which brings us to one of the essentials in every home – coffee, and particularly instant coffee that I can literally just prepare in a minute. And when it comes to instant coffee, OLDTOWN White Coffee is a name most everyone in the country recognizes.

Originated from the historic town of Ipoh, OLDTOWN is one of the earliest brands of white coffee I came across. The coffee is roasted with a careful blend of Arabica, Robusta and Liberica beans to ensure every cup is full-bodied, smooth, and creamy, getting as close as possible to those you will get from the good old fashion coffee shops in the olden day Ipoh.

In fact, the OLDTOWN white coffee you get to a is a still being crafted with the same tried and true recipe since it was first introduced. After all, why stray away from what is already proven?

five flavors of OLDTOWN white coffee, what's your flavor?
five flavors of OLDTOWN white coffee, what’s your flavor?

The OLDTOWN White Coffee product available in Malaysia includes:

  • OLDTOWN White Coffee 3 In 1 Classic
  • OLDTOWN White Coffee 3 In 1 Hazelnut
  • OLDTOWN White Coffee 3 In 1 Natural Cane Sugar
  • OLDTOWN White Coffee 3 In 1 Less Sugar
  • OLDTOWN White Coffee 2 In 1 Coffee & Creamer

The classic is the best seller, and it is easy to see why. The classic is smooth, flavorful, and tastes pretty much like those you have at the outlet, relaxing on the deck with a cup of steaming classic is a bliss. For those who likes it with less sugar or only creamer, as well as cane sugar, there’re such options too, and if you like your coffee a bit more “modern”, the hazelnut variant should not disappoint.

I am happy that OLDTOWN is able to bring the local heritage and packaged it with such convenience, would have been nice if we had this when I was studying overseas over a decade ago. The mat salleh type of brewed coffee that is sometimes sourish was never really my type of taste, having these available then would have made home felt closer, the impact would have been even more if you consider how less connected the world was back then.

Growing up, I have always have a keen interest in watching cooking shows and cooking competitions, and among the personalities I was familiar with on TV, Chef Wan has always stood out as the one true Malaysian hero who tirelessly promote Malaysian cuisine. I mean, there are plenty chefs out there who are good at various types of international food, but how many of them can truly represent Malaysia on the international level?

Well, on the 31st of October, 2015, I got the honor of working with the one and only Chef Wan on the same panel of judges in The Star R.AGE’s first ever Food Fight. It was a bit of a dream came true moment for me, a tick off the bucket list that I never even dared pen in.

Rage Food Fight, published on 17/11/2015
R.AGE Food Fight finale, published on 17/11/2015

The article of the finale came out on the newspaper on the 17/11/2015, if you have a copy at hand, do read, otherwise head to http://rage.com.my/foodfight for the articles online.

Over here I just want to jot down the experience I had on the event, just so that I can re-read this space in years to come.

the dishes prepared by the contestants
the dishes prepared by the contestants

The competition was fairly straight forward, each contestants had some 15 minutes to present their food and show it to the judges. After that we were served the very same dishes and comment on them.

Judging was based on a mixture of “personality”, taste, and presentation.

The dishes created by the contestants were actually pretty interesting:

  • Nurilkarim Razha – Baked fish with prawn otak-otak mousseline served with ulam pesto and paku salad
  • Ahong Yeang – Roasted chicken with coconut gravy, served with a side of ulam rice and long beans and offals
  • Li-Anne Kuek – Pumpkin & walnut loaf with white chocolate & pumpkin ganache, honeycomb, yogurt sorbet & milk crumb
  • Kelly Siew – Garlic prawn tart with pineapple and tomato chutney
  • Ashley Pan – Tuna and watermelon tartare served with basil ice cream

The presentations were very good, and the taste department too mostly quite interesting. My favorite was the blend of local ingredients with modern touch in Nuril’s dish, with Ahong’s chicken in close second. As for the delivery, Ahong was the most entertaining, with Li-Anne sounding most professional, and Nuril being most balanced.

Nuril was crowned as the winner
Nuril was crowned as the winner

At the end, after tallying up the score sheet with a bit of final discussions among the judges, Nuril emerged as the first Food Fighter by unanimous decision.

He was basically the “complete package” and the one who did the best on the day overall. I was also happy that a fellow Penangite took the crown as well, and it was well deserved.

what an honor to work alongside my hero in Malaysian cuisine - Chef Wan
what an honor to work alongside my hero in Malaysian cuisine – Chef Wan

It was an interesting experience for me being on a panel with fellow judges whom all have much higher qualifications in doing this than me. Le Cordon Bleu Malaysia master chef Rodolphe Onno was very professional and direct, Chef Tan Chung Liang, a new comer in the scene had proper professional training, Darren Chin, owner of the highly-rated DC Restaurant definitely had a taste for fine foods, and of course, Chef Wan needs no introduction.

Thank you, The Star, for the opportunity.