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Category / Eats

If you type Omakase in google, this is what you get:

o·ma·ka·se
ˌōməˈkäsā,ōˈmäkəsā/
noun
  1. (in a Japanese restaurant) a meal consisting of dishes selected by the chef.

So then, SOU Omakase is exactly what the name of the restaurant suggests – a Japanese outfit at Mid Valley Gardens that prides itself on their Omakase menu.

sou omakase mid valley gardens
sou omakase mid valley gardens

Lunch starts at RM 98++ per person, and dinner comes with a choice of 4 different course –

  • SOU dinner course – RM 220
    • starter, chawanmushi, Japanese garnish food, sashimi, grilled dish, mouth wash, main course, rice course with miso soup, dessert with Japanese tea
  • Special dinner course – RM 320
    • starter, special fresh oyster, Japanese garnish food, special sashimi, grilled dish, mouth wash, main course, rice course with miso soup, dessert with Japanese tea
  • Special abalone course – RM 370
    • starter, Japanese soup, Japanese garnish food, special sashimi moriawase, special grilled abalone, mouth wash, main course, sushi 3 kinds with miso soup, home made dessert with Japanese tea
  • Tasting menu – RM 450
    • degustation menu offered by chef FUKUCHI, 10 courses.

foie gras salad
foie gras salad

For the purpose of our review, we went for the tasting menu.

But first, if you’re heading to SOU Omakase, do note that it is located near the entrance of the Gardens Hotel, accessible via the Mall but through a tricky back door, with the restaurant facing Bangsar area of the building. It is much easier if you choose to valet park at the Gardens.

I won’t with fancy Japanese lingo for these dishes, since I assume many of you are like me who are heaps better in your command of English language than Japanese, we’ll stick with simple descriptions.

The dinner started with a beautiful dish of foie gras salad, a small chunk of perfectly seared goose liver with some greens and caviar. The ingredients itself speaks business.

 Netherlands oyster with homemade tabasco
 Netherlands oyster with homemade tabasco

Second course was Netherlands oyster with homemade tabasco, one of the best ways to get more zinc to your system. I do like the taste of their homemade tabasco sauce, slightly milder yet more complex in texture.

Snow crab with Spanish mackerel and Japanese winter melon soup
snow crab with Spanish mackerel and Japanese winter melon soup

Then there’s snow crab with Spanish mackerel in Japanese winter melon soup, our first warm dish of the night. The dish reminds me of some high end Chinese soup dishes, but one with unmistakenly Japanese ingredients. Warm and comforting.

mini sushi with chopped tuna belly and sea urchin
mini sushi with chopped tuna belly and sea urchin

Then it was a mini sushi to get our palette going for more raw seafood. Chopped tuna belly with sea urchin, two of the more premium sushi ingredients that packs a punch in savory index, perfectly balanced with freshly grated wasabi, a few slices of seaweed, and expertly prepared sushi rice.

butter fish with eel in yam paste
butter fish with eel in yam paste

Butter fish with eel in yam paste was next. This is a dish that I think some may have trouble getting used to the texture, it was soft and slightly slimy in texture from the eel and yam, but does provide an interesting experience especially when feeling it in the mouth.

We then had an aperitif, simple yuzu with soda to get our taste buds afresh for the next course – sashimi.

Sashimi part 1, served with wasabi moose and hand grated wasabi - octopus, yellow tail, mackerel
Sashimi part 1, served with shoyu moose and hand grated wasabi
– octopus, yellow tail, mackerel

This was undoubtedly the highlight of the omakase course to me. The sashimi came in two parts, and served with shoyu moose (soya sauce in moose form) and freshly grated wasabi.

Part one was octopus, yellowtail, and mackerel. Merely saying they are “fresh” would be doing these dishes a disservice. The sashimi were paired with different combination of seaweed to compliment its natural tastes, and those shoyu moose provides an interesting, if not very convenient way of handling the amount of soya sauce you want in the sashimi. A new experience to me.

Sashimi part 2 - the fat stuff, Otoro and salmon belly
Sashimi part 2 – the fat stuff, Otoro and salmon belly

Part 2 of the sashi were the fatter stuff – otoro (tuna belly), and salmon belly. Both premium cuts were beautifully presented, and tastes even better than they look. The otoro with its special condiment was especially delicious, I can definitely do this again, and again, and again.

cod with miso stew
cod with miso stew

Then it was time for a table top hot pot experience that came in the form of cod with miso stew. Cod never disappoints, and with high quality miso, certainly makes for a bullet proof dish. I can have this with a bowl of rice and call it a meal and be perfectly content.

beef, braised tuna collar, or lamb as choices of main
beef, braised tuna collar, or lamb as choices of main

Main course came in the form of either braised tuna collar, sliced wagyu beef, or lamb cutlets. Each were pretty rich in taste but not entirely too different from each other in terms of theme. The braised tuna collar was a first for me, and turned out to be probably too heavy to be part of a ten course meal. I was stuffed by the end of this, in a good way.

Inaniwa udon and salmon sushi
Inaniwa udon and salmon sushi

Penultimate dishes were a simple salmon sushi, and inaniwa udon. I had thought I’d never finish the udon due to how stuffed I was, but somehow there were no trace of udon left a few minutes later. When the food is good, you tend to negotiate extra space in the stomach somehow.

jelly, mochi, and coffee ice cream
jelly, mochi, and coffee ice cream

Dessert came in the form of jelly, mochi, and coffee ice cream. They were beautifully presented, and while did not disappoint, I did not think that they stand out among the other dishes in the course. It was an adequate ending to the 10 course menu, an certainly an omakase experience that is worthy of the restaurant’s name.

Horng, Yuki, & Haze at SOU Omakase
Horng, Yuki, & Haze at SOU Omakase

I’m really intrigued to try their lunch menu and see how they stack up to the likes of TEN & Oribe at similar price point.

Address:
SOU Omakase
Lot G247, Ground Floor
The Gardens, Mid Valley City
Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.118658, 101.675286
Tel03-2202 1133
Hours11:30 am – 3 pm, 6 pm – 10 pm

In my previous-previous job many years ago, I used to travel quite a bit to Ho Chi Minh City for work, and aside from the hospitality of the people there, the one thing I always looked forward to was some good old fashion Vietnamese street food.

Their dishes take advantage of ingredients not entirely unlike Chinese or Thai cuisine, but with the result that is completely different. Unlike Thai or Malay food which often rely on chili, Vietnamese creations often feature plenty of fresh vegetable, and instead of soya sauce in Chinese food, fish sauce seems to be their go-to choice as seasoning.

Quan An Viet, near Klang Parade
Quan An Viet, near Klang Parade

While Vietnamese food has some presence here in Malaysia, they are mostly chain restaurants offering pho, a few rice dishes, and nothing else, so imagine the surprise when we saw this little kopitiam manned with Vietnamese with thick accents offering proper Vietnamese street food right at Klang.

In fact, the little area between Klang Parade and Taman Eng Ann seems to have a small Vietnamese community living around the area, complete with shops carrying Vietnamese groceries.

bún bò, bún riêu, gỏi xoài
bún bò, bún riêu, gỏi xoài

Quan An Viet offers some 20 different simple dishes, from beef noodle to duck noodle, spring roles to rice dishes, and they’re all priced at less than RM 10.

We first had the bun bo, or rice vermicelli and beef, a dish that’s similar to pho but with slightly different soup base and vegetable reflecting it’s origin in Hue instead of Saigon. It was pretty delicious, though I’d love to see tripes, brisket, or tendon in it instead of just beef slices.

Bun rieu is something new to me, a sort of tomato broth with crab/shrimp paste filled with pork leg, coagulated blood, and vermicelli noodle. Quite an interesting taste but it is something that takes a bit of getting used to.

Goi xoai is their version of green mango salad with some sort of rice sheets. To be honest I didn’t like it, the Thai version is still much superior. Perhaps those in Vietnam is better executed than here.

bánh mì, cơm sườn
bánh mì, cơm sườn

Bánh mì is a Vietnamese term for bread, a dish that is introduced by French during its colonial period. While the filling tastes pretty good, the quality of bread here isn’t really up to par.

The other dish I tried was the Vietnamese Broken Rice with Grilled Pork Chop, and sadly it was kinda disappointing. The pork chop was too dry and generally lack any umph.

KY & Haze at one of our favorite Vietnamese kopitiam
KY & Haze at one of our favorite Vietnamese kopitiam

I would say the spring roles & noodle dishes here are definitely up to par, and for the price you pay, this place definitely offer great value for money. Will definitely head back again for other dishes.

map to Quan An Viet restaurant, Klang

Address:
Quan An Viet (Restoran Kui Rong)
Jalan Pekan Baru 35
Kawasan 17, 41150 Klang, Selangor
GPS: 3.064075, 101.455354

Bak Kut Teh at Klang is not merely a popular dish, it is pretty much a way of life. There are hundreds of bak kut teh sellers in the municipal, each offering their unique interpretation of the Malaysian-invented dish, and best of all, with varying operating hours so you can actually have a good bowl of bak kut teh goodness anytime around the clock.

yeap, bak kut teh from 5pm to 5am
yeap, bak kut teh from 5pm to 5am

After picking up my sister my sister from the airport late at night over CNY holidays, it was just natural that we cross an item off her “back to home” bucket list – good old fashion Klang BKT.

For that, we went to Kedai Kopi Taman Eng Ann for some porky goodness. While the shop offers breakfast and other dishes in the morning/afternoon session, BKT reign supreme from 5 pm to 5 am daily.

glorious clay pot style bak kut teh at Taman Eng Ann
glorious clay pot style bak kut teh at Taman Eng Ann

The bak kut teh here comes in a clay pot, and in addition to your choice of pork (kah wan, big bone, small bone, 3-layer belly, ribs, etc), there’s also a few leafs of vegetable, tofu pok, and some mushroom.

The pork lives up to the reputation of Klang bkt – soft, tender, and flavorful. The soup is quite strong on herbal taste as well, and they’re not stingy with refills, which is nice.

However, there are no deep fried shallots here, tho generous amount of chopped garlic and chili padi accompany the clay pot dish, which is fine by me.

nothing beats having good old fashion BKT with family
nothing beats having good old fashion BKT with family

Surprisingly, the yu tiao (yau char kuai) here is crunchy and quite delicious, a departure from the usual soggy business of other places.

Prices here is fair and on par with other BKT sellers in the area, I think I prefer this over Kin Kong (which is somehow more “famous”) located a stone’s throw away and operate at similar hours.

map to taman eng ann bak kut teh

Address:
Kedai Kopi Taman Eng Ann
Kalan Kasawari 5,
Taman Eng Ann, Klang, Selangor
GPS: 3.056416, 101.460329
Hours: 5 pm to 5 am daily

Earlier this year I blogged about our white water rafting experience at Gopeng with Nomad Adventure, now I shall share what to eat after you’ve had a morning of fun getting wet at the river.

Mi Kari Ami Gopeng
Mi Kari Ami Gopeng

To be fair, Nomad Adventure does offer food after the whole ordeal, but if you want something slightly more exciting, the closest option would be Mee Kari Ami, just minutes of drive away.

Mee Kari, with home-made sauce
Mee Kari, with home-made sauce

Mee Kari Ami is probably the most happening place in this otherwise sleepy kampung. The old fashion restaurant offers mee kicap, mee sup, and laksa in addition to mee kari. Each bowl costs RM 4, but if you go for “special”, it’ll be RM 5.50, and “besar” is RM 6.50.

with crackers and fish cake
with crackers and fish cake

We went for their ordinary version of Mee Kari which comes with crackers, fish cakes, and some sort of homemade chili sauce which gives it a bit of a kick, but not overly so. To be fair, it wasn’t the absolute best curry mee I’ve ever had, but it was one hell of a satisfying meal after a day at the river.

If you had a chance at Gopeng for some white water rafting or other activities, give this place a try.

 

map to mee kari ami, Gopeng

Address:
Mee Kari Ami
Kg Gunung Mesah Hilir
Gopeng
GPS4.455381, 101.188503

Earlier this week we were invited to Hanaya Japanese Dining to sample their 2016 Mother’s Day Menu, which the restaurant is offering only from 6th to 8th May 2016 (RM 180+ per pax). My last visit to Hanaya was almost exactly a year ago, operated by Sushi Train (which also has Ten, Senya Solaris, Sushi Ichiro, Menya, and more under their umbrella), their quality of food has always impressed me, hence the repeated visit.

Hanaya Japanese Dining with 2016 Mother's Day Menu
Hanaya Japanese Dining with 2016 Mother’s Day Menu

The philosophy of the Mother’s Day Menu at Hanaya is one that put health in emphasis. The major ingredients chosen for the 6 course set each has properties that especially beneficial to the female body, which I find pretty interesting. These benefits are from a mixture of traditional believes and modern nutritional knowledge.

To me thought, I just know that they tastes good, which is my number one criteria 😀

Pumpkin Chawamushi
Pumpkin Chawamushi

Our Amuse was Pumpkin Chawamushi. Pumpkin having B Carotin supports beautiful skin and hair, while galvanized iron in egg enhanced the female hormone secretion. All I know is that it was complex and delicious.

sashimi on crushed ice
sashimi on crushed ice

Second of the six course was sashimi. Tuna with DHA to lower cholesterol, Travoli with EPA that helps in hardening of arteries, Astaxathin in salmon with anti aging care and recovery from exhaustion properties, plus golden cuttlefish that contains lysine, which helps in hair restoration.

The seafood was certainly fresh, while we had yellow tail in this tasting session instead of Travoli, I was still more than satisfied. The presentation for this sashimi dish was rather exquisite too.

grilled Canadian lobster and Hokkaido scallop
grilled Canadian lobster and Hokkaido scallop

Main course – grilled Canadian lobster and Hokkaido scallop garlic butter with dry tomato & herb sauce.
Lobster for cancer suppression, scallop with taurine that helps improvement of fatty liver, and dry tomato is rich in vitamin c. Two different seafood from each side of the Pacific ocean make up this wholesome dish that utilizes Western style preparation method, a perfect marriage.

hijiki seaweed rice and Asuka milk miso soup
hijiki seaweed rice and Asuka milk miso soup

4th and 5th course – shokuji, or hijiki seaweed rice, with dietary fiber for detox effect, & Asuka milk miso soup, with miso having isoflavon that helps suppress menopausal disorders.

The seaweed rice was subtle in taste, and I thought the Asuka milk miso soup tasted much richer but in a good way, especially for those who loves the milkier texture.

"dearest mother" dessert
“dearest mother” dessert

To end Hanaya Japanese Dining’s mother’s day 2016 menu – “dearest mother” dessert, with avocado ice cream (lowers blood pressure), rose hip (vitamin c & e – antioxidants), and misc cereals (minerals to fix menstrual irregularities).

I thought the six course menu was rather exquisite but not over the top, it is available only for 3 days (6-8/5/2016) so if you want to treat mom for a meal with thoughts behind the menu, this is certainly worth checking out.

map to Grand Millennium Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Hanaya
Grand Millenium Kuala Lumpur
160, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.148006, 101.712225
Tel: 03-2110 5499