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Monthly Archives / December 2020

I recently got to sample a series of instant noodles from Red Chef featuring flavors I’m very familiar with as a person hailed from Penang, and all I can say is.. how I wished these were available back when I was studying in KL and abroad missing the taste of home. But alas, for those of you who are in the position I was in, this is great news!

Red Chef's home-cooked Penang style hawker noodle series
home cooked Penang style hawker noodle series from Red Chef

The products I tried were these four:

  • Spicy sakura prawn soup rice vermicelli and noodles
  • Pandan white curry noodles
  • Green tom yum soup noodles
  • Spicy sakura prawn soup noodles

These instant goodness shares something in common – they’re all made with fresh, natural ingredients without artificial coloring, and all can be prepared in your kitchen within minutes just by having a pot. Do check out the video below as I “cooked” all four of them.

To me, prawn mee (or we call Hokkien mee in Penang) should come with mee + meehun, and before trying this product from Red Chef, is something that I never imagine we could get in an instant noodle format, talk about innovation!

The spicy sakura prawn soup rice vermicelli & noodles (a long name… I know) requires a 2-step cooking method, by first boiling the mee + meehun for 2-3 minutes, then transfer it to another pot of fresh boiling water before adding condiments. The result tastes pretty much like those prepared at the hawker stalls, especially if you add some prawns, eggs, kangkung, and maybe even bean sprouts to the mix.

spicy sakura prawn soup rice vermicelli and noodles
spicy sakura prawn soup rice vermicelli and noodles

The paste contains key ingredients made from 3 different types of prawns, and together with the chili paste and crunchy fried shallots, you do really get the authentic taste of Penang style prawn mee, fantastic package.

If mee + meehun isn’t your thing, there’s a version with instant noodle that comes with the same paste & seasoning as well as fried shallots that is simply called spicy sakura prawn soup noodles.

Pandan white curry noodles
Pandan white curry noodles

Another one of my favorite Penang hawker offering is undoubtedly the curry mee, and here Red Chef delivers as well. The pandan white curry noodles come with a paste that’s formulated with 15 types of spices, together with other fresh ingredients such as garlic, onion, and shrimp paste. Pandan leaves is used here to give it an elevated aroma as well.

The result is a very competent bowl of curry mee that’s at about medium spiciness. I added tofupok, prawns, cockles, and some mint leaves from the garden to complete the dish.

I am thinking this would be even better with mee+meehun like the prawn mee, hmmm..

green tom yum soup noodles
green tom yum soup noodles

Last but not least, for the tomyam lovers, do check out their green tom yum soup noodles.

As with the other products, natural ingredients is used here with the paste cooked by converting “mortar & pestle” method into machinaries that doesn’t completely break the natural fibers, and thus maintaining aroma & taste, resulting in noodles that is similar to version that is cooked from scratch.

I like the balance between sourness and spiciness of the tomyam noodle, with tomato, prawns, chili padi, and kaffir lime leaves (I have this plant at the garden), makes for a good bowl of goodness that made my stomach happy.

These instant noodles will now find a permanent place in my kitchen pantry for when the craving strikes. Thanks Red Chef!

Following the blog post on Abanico at Kota Kemuning, I was reminded that actually there was another iberico experience a few months ago back when we were in this “Recovery MCO” period when case number of Covid-19 was in the teens daily.. remember that feeling of hope before it all came crashing down again? Seemed like a long time ago isn’t it?

Anyway, the restaurant I want to talk about is Habanna Charbroiled Steakhouse at Taman Paramount, PJ.

Habanna at Taman Paramount, PJ
Habanna at Taman Paramount, PJ

The unassuming restaurant is just a stone’s throw away from Loong Foong (great roast duck) and Shokudo Japanese curry. It’s been around for a while and for whatever reason, took me this long to finally paid a visit, and I’m glad I did finally give it a try.

The minimally decorated restaurant has an ambiance that matches its asking price. The menu has a healthy selection of burger, pork, chicken, beef, lamb, pasta, and even a few seafood entrees priced from just below RM 20 to around RM 30-50 range (see menu below).

Since porky “steakhouse” are hard to come by, we decided to check out their pork belly, and there’re two to choose from at Habanna if you’re into this fatty cut of pork. Unsurprisingly, we chose both.

Iberico Black Mama "IBM"
Iberico Black Mama “IBM”

The two different pork belly entrees are Iberico Black Mama “IBM” (RM 33.90), and the cheaper Charbroiled Apple Belly “CAB” (RM 20.90). Both are essentially the same dish with a side of salad, some potato wedges, and apple dipping sauce, however, IBM uses the famed Iberico pork, while CAB is made from local pork belly.

As it turned out, both dishes were rather good to eat, the meat were grilled perfectly and had very good texture, they were also seasoned just right. Also as expected, the Iberico pork does carry a better texture due to it’s superior marbling (fat layers between meat) as compared to local pork.

Charbroiled Apple Balley "CAB"
Charbroiled Apple Belly “CAB”

The verdict is predictable, but when factor in prices, makes for slightly tougher decision. Iberico is some 60% more expensive but arguably maybe 30-40% tastier? A bit of a diminishing returns. That being said, the value offers at Habanna is an excellent one, and I should be back to try their other offerings.

map to Habanna charbroiled grill, PJ

Address:
Habanna Charbroil Steakhouse
No.23, Jalan 20/13,
Paramount Garden,
46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.106153, 101.624798
Tel018 227 7369

Over the last decade or so, Kota Kemuning has slowly transformed from sort of a backwater township to one that is rather mature, and with that, comes a slew of pretty interesting dining options we often associated the more “hip” places like Bangsar, Subang, or PJ area.

Today, we look at one of the more interesting offering at Abanico Your Deli Restaurant.

Abanico at Kota Kemuning
Abanico at Kota Kemuning

For those who love to indulge in some porky goodness, it may be quite a common knowledge that Iberico pork are some of the most sought after type of pork there is. Iberico, as the name suggests, is the meat from Black Iberian pigs that are originated from Portugal and native to the Iberian Peninsula.

Much like Wagyu for beef, this type of pork has a higher percentage of intramuscular fats, making it more tender and have higher marbling. Additionally, the pigs are often fed on acorns, giving it a distinct taste that is quite unique and often said to be superior than normal pigs we get.

Anyway, what I really wanted to get to is that Abanico is actually the spare ribs of Iberico pigs, so by the name of the restaurant they really do tell you what is the specialty here.

abanico, pinchos, claims in white wine pasta
abanico, pinchos, clams in white wine pasta

Abanico operates like a deli, pick your choice of meat from the glass chiller, and the kitchen will prepare and serve you there after. Additionally, there are also a selection of dishes not displayed on the chiller, but clearly stated on the blackboards just above the cashier.

We ordered a piece of abanico (pork ribs, RM 52.90 per piece), a stick of pinchos iberico (RM 26), pasta with clams in white wine sauce (RM 35.90), and Portuguese seafood stew (RM 38.00).

Portuguese seafood stew
Portuguese seafood stew

The ribs were served in a very straight forward, simple manner, grilled just right to retain the natural flavor and came with their homemade (who’s home?) black pepper sauce and mustard sauce. To be honest I actually liked to savor the meat as is, without any sauce, but there’s no wrong way to enjoy it your way.

The pinchos iberico were our favorites of the day,  the skewer was properly marinated and carry a hint of sweetness coupled with the savory taste from iberico pork that were so delicious I wished we had ordered more.

menu on the wall at Abanico, Kota Kemuning
menu on the wall at Abanico, Kota Kemuning

The other two non-meat dishes we ordered held up the standard as well. The pasta were filled with plenty of clams (lala actually, although I’d much preferred the bigger clams) infused properly with enough white wine to compliment the seafood sweetness.

Portuguese seafood stew too is a dish worth ordering, packed with enough seafood in the dish to satisfy anyone. I also liked that they gave a generous slab of garlic bread for you to go with the stew.

I thought the food were as good as anywhere, they could perhaps improve a little by having served the meat with a bit of sides instead of a few green leaf. Additionally, the prices are perhaps on the higher side for the service quality rendered, but it is something that usually happens in smaller townships. The services wasn’t bad, it just could have been better.

Overall, the experience was a positive one, Abanico is certainly worthy of a visit, especially if you’re closer to this part of Klang Valley.

abanico map

Address:
Abanico
39-G, Jln Anggerik Vanilla BF 31/BF,
Kota Kemuning, 40460 Shah Alam, Selangor
GPS: 3.00455615, 101.535562
Tel: 011-6565 3533

When it comes to Ipoh food, kai si hor fun & chicken rice usually comes to mind, and if you along down the list, eventually you may.. or most likely, not going to end up with mee goreng.. I mean, it’s Ipoh, right?

However, since we like to be a bit off the mainstream, mee goreng (and mee rebus) in Ipoh is what we’re going to talk about today.

legit mee goreng
legit mee goreng

The particular hawker spot is called Cathay Mee Stall, manned by an Indian couple at the ground floor of “New Beauty Hotel” in Ipoh town. Searching by the name “Cathay Mee Stall” will also get you to the same place.

The set up is simple, and they offer 3 choices to choose from – mee goreng, mee rebus, and rojak (which is similar to mee rebus without the mee, essentially).

For our after-hike refueling exercise, we ordered a plate of mee goreng with a plate of mee rebus.

mee rebus (would have been jawa mee if you're Chinese?)
mee rebus (would have been jawa mee if you’re Chinese?)

The mee rebus came within minutes as it requires a lot simpler assembly, while mee goreng took 30 minutes as the stall does get quite busy even during MCO with a lot of takeaways & delivery orders.

Both versions came with generous amount of ingredients – including egg (boiled in rebus, fried in mee goreng), prawn fritter, potato, tofu, and such. The noodle used here is also a little thinner than usual, giving it more surface area to soak up those yummy sauce.

Cathay Mee Stall, Ipoh
Cathay Mee Stall, Ipoh

The mee goreng is said to be the best in Ipoh, and I must say that it is indeed very well fried & a rather delicious rendition of the dish. However, I do feel that their mee rebus is perhaps even more superior, if you’re a fan of mee rebus or jawa mee, don’t miss this version as their sauce & ingredient paring hits the right spots for me (and perhaps you!).

Ipoh isn’t all about Chinese food, kan?

cathay mee stall, Ipoh

Address:
Cathay Mee Stall
30250, 97, Jalan Yang Kalsom,
Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Perak
GPS: 4.5894547, 101.0838518
Tel: +6010 466 6345

You know, when it comes to Penang food, most of what people recognize will be from the island – char kuih teow, laksa, prawn mee, curry mee, and such. However, the bigger, less glamorous landmass  Penang government “rent” from Kedah does in fact offers a few gems of its own when it comes to hawker food – one of which is the topic for today – yam rice with pork offal soup.

Yam Rice stall at Tien Tien Lai, Ara Damansara
Yam Rice stall at Tien Tien Lai, Ara Damansara

While my favorite version in Penang is from Chip Heng kopitiam at Chai Leng Park, Butterworth, I was recently introduced to a stall offering something pretty much equally as good right here at Klang Valley, at Ara Damansara’s Tien Tien Lai kopitiam.

This particular yam rice stall is in fact introduced to me by my mom’s friend (who is also from Penang). A bowl of soup goes for RM 8 and comes with plenty of ingredients you’d expect in this dish – including pork ball, pork slices, tongue, intestine, coagulated blood, tofu, salted vege, and parsley. You’ll then get to choose to have it with yam rice (RM 2), or white rice (RM 1), and if you ask me, there’s no question the former is the version to go for.

yam rice plus pork offal soup with salted vege and tofu
yam rice plus pork offal soup with salted vege and tofu

The yam rice itself is properly flavored with good aroma from yam, and the soup is packed with porky goodness properly balanced with the saltiness & slight acidity offered by salted vegetable. Grab a piece and dip in the homemade chili sauce with dark soya sauce, then mix it up with a spoon full of yam rice, put it in your mouth, and follow up with a spoon full of soup… yums!

If you want some proper yam rice with pork soup without having to travel up to Penang, this is one to check out.

map to Tien Tien Lai, Ara Damansara

Address:
Tien Tien Lai kopitiam
Ara Permata, 33,
Jalan PJU 1a/42,
Ara Damansara,
47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS3.117288, 101.587120
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