Earlier this year, mom, brother, and I decided to head to Thailand for Chinese New Year. Our first stop was Hat Yai, the Southern town that has been a pretty popular spot for Penangites since way back when Penang Bridge wasn’t even a thing.
Tanatip Restaurant, Hat Yai, Thailand
Our overall plan was to take KTM Komuter from Sungai Petani, switch over to Thai railway at Padang Besar station, spend a night at Hat Yai, and then fly to Bangkok the next day.
The primary reason was that flight from Hat Yai to Bangkok was 3 times cheaper than Penang to Bangkok at the same time period. Plus you get an extra meal or three in Hat Yai, win-win the way I see it!
fried roasted pork with basil
We arrived at late morning, the stalls at the market has already mostly stopped selling at the time, while walking around we chanced upon this restaurant with some beautiful roast pork displayed outside, which was a sign that we as a family couldn’t ignore. That’s how we ended up at Tanatip Restaurant (sign board only in Thai..)
shrimp tomyam, fried century egg with ginger
We ordered three dishes to go with steamed rice for lunch, and naturally the first dish was to fried roasted pork with basil (80 baht), and it was as you would imagine, roast pork, fried with Thai basil, fish sauce, and the all important chili padi. It was spicy, fragrant, and so delicious I wonder why nobody serves this in Malaysia, simply love this dish.
Naturally, our first Thai meal must include tomyam, the shrimp tomyam (120 baht), it was of course freshly made from scratch, spicy, sour, and tastes as strong as you’d expect. The prawns was quite fresh too.
sumptuous lunch for the three of us at Tanatip Restaurant
Our third dish was something I’ve never tried before – fried century egg with ginger (70 baht). Yeap, if you love century egg, they are actually even better deep fried (what isn’t?). There’s generous amount of cashew nuts with this dish to probably make it a whole meal by itself if you’re on keto diet.
The random chanced upon restaurant Tanatip turned out to be more than satisfying, while the restaurant itself can perhaps be cleaner and more organized, we have nothing to complain when it comes the food itself.
KL has seen a bit of a boom in premium Omakase style Japanese restaurants of late, I’m no historian, but it probably started out with Kame Sushi at Hartamas, then came Oribe at KL, Sou at Mid Valley, Sushi Azabu, and more.
Sushi Ryu, Platinum Park KLCC
With the increase in popularity of these restaurants, and perhaps a bit of a dip in our currency, prices for a meal of omakase course has been increasing as well. I remember paying RM 88++ for an unforgettable lunch at Oribe when they first opened, but now you’ll be hard pressed to find anything below RM 200 per pax for such treatment. Which begs the question, is it worth it to spend RM 500 or more for a dinner for two? And will these restaurant sustain?
Anyway, the topic in this article is my experience at Sushi Ryu with their omakase course priced at RM 279++ per person, their other option on the menu is priced at RM 579++ per person, additionally, there’s a limited time menu with Michelin star teppanyaki from Tokyo at RM 1588++ per person.
In my experience, the cheapest option usually gets you the best value per dollar spent. I enjoyed myself almost as much when I spent 88++ at Oribe compared to RM 230++ course at the same place at a different time.
seabream sashimi with ebiko and truffle oil as starter
Our dinner started out fantastically.
Tai sashimi with copious amount of ebiko and truffle oil. It was fresh, delicious, and really opened up my appetite for more, I really enjoyed it.
Next was otoro as their seasonal sashimi dish. It was two slices of tuna belly served on a piece of rock with grated wasabi. The accompanying shoyu tasted pretty premium, but I thought the sashimi was average for this cut. It wasn’t better than the ones we had at J’s Gate opening event…
chawanmushi as our hot dish
Seasonal hot dish came in the form of chawanmushi. It was quite a busy dish, with more ebiko and crab meat. Execution was really good and this was my second favorite dish after the appetizer.
seven pieces of nigri sushi
Seven pieces of nigri sushi made up of our main and served in three separate dishes. The server did describe to us what they were but I can’t really remember their names.
They were also supposed to have already been properly “seasoned” with the right amount of soya sauce and wasabi. To be honest, I found these sushi to be average-to-good, but did not have the wow factor I expect for something at this price point. More than once I was hoping for soya sauce and wasabi, and the squid was actually too chewy.
miso soup, dessert
Soup in the menu was miso soup, it was an average bowl of miso soup.
Most disappointing for me though, was perhaps the dessert. It was the Japanese version of ice cream sandwich topped with chocolate. Yes the chocolate was fine, but the ice cream could probably be had from Family Mart.
Happy Mansion is perhaps the first area in PJ to be “hipsterized”, with Food Foundry, My Elephant, and other eateries having established at these three old blocks of low cost flats nested within Seksyen 17.
Pizza Mansion, Seksyen 17, Petaling Jaya
One of the latest addition is Pizza Mansion, brought to you in fact by the same people that were involved in other eateries around the area. The pizza house promises an ambiance that’s a mixture of old and new, with dark green and yellow color scheme that reminds me of green hornet era. I love it.
The menu had ten different pizzas to choose from at the time (first week of opening) with four side dishes, coffee, soda, and some craft beers.
The pizzas are priced from RM 20 to RM 35 each, all with the same size that serves two average adult with moderate hunger just fine, or one really hungry big fella, I assume.
zucchini eggplant chickpea pizza, truffle mac & cheese
We ended up with Zucchini, Eggplant, and Chick Pea pizza (RM 28) to go with Truffle Mac & Cheese (RM 20) for a totally meatless afternoon meal.
truffle mac & cheese
We got the mac & cheese first, and it came bubbly hot. It was creamy, torched just nice, and had a generous dosage of truffle paste that made this classic dish that much better. We really enjoyed this.
freshly baked, absolutely sumptuous
The pizza too was rather good, the crust isn’t overly thin (think Dominos), or overly thick (think Pizza Hut), but soft, fresh, and of course, freshly prepped and baked. The toppings did not disappoint either, thinly sliced zucchini and egg plant, with some sun dried tomato and copious amount of cheese and tomato paste, yums.
This is now my favorite pizza place, for now at least. 😀
Address: Pizza Mansion Block B, Happy Mansion, Jalan 17/13, Section 17, Petaling Jaya, Selangor GPS: 3.123148, 101.634671 Hours: 10 am to 5 pm
Banh mi, or bread in Vietnamese, was developed in the 1950s as Vietnam’s own interpretation of baguette. It is a classic marriage between ingredients from both East and West – baguette, pate, and mayo from their French colonial times, and local ingredients such as pork, grilled chicken, or even cilantro.
If you find yourself at Hanoi like we did earlier this year, a freshly made banh mi makes for a great option as breakfast on-the-go.
Banh Mi by street vendor in Hanoi
This vendor selling scrambled egg banh mi set up her “stall” at the market just right outside the Ancient Lane hotel we stayed at Hanoi. We just had to give it a try after walking by and smelling the freshly made dish for the second day in a row.
The scrambled egg was prepared on the spot using her tiny frying pan with ingredients that undoubtedly involved fish sauce and pepper. The whole thing is then stuffed into this lovely baguette that was soft and yet crunchy on the outside, some thinly sliced cucumber, a bit of cilantro, a squeeze of chili sauce, and there you have it – one of the simplest form of banh mi.
Baguette with freshly cooked omelette
It turned out to be a lovely simple breakfast, and one that would go well with some local coffee for sure. Banh mi stalls can be found pretty much everywhere in Hanoi, give it a try, this version cost 15,000 VND if not mistaken.
My style of travel usually involves minimal planning with a few points of interests we’d visit, and pretty much winging it rest of the way. After all, it’s always more exciting to have a bit of surprises and a sense of adventure while at a foreign land, isn’t it?
Mien Luon Dong Thinh, fancy some eel?
This method of traveling was precisely how we ended up at Mien Luon Dong Thinh, we were basically walking around Hanoi looking for a lunch spot and thought whatever that they have right at the stall in this restaurant looked peculiar enough to warrant further investigation.
As it turned out, we landed on a rather notable eel restaurant! Yessss!
There are several options to choose from at this place, and luckily the menu on the wall did have English subtitle for all the half a dozen choices – vermicelli blend, fried eel, clear vermicelli soup, fried vermicelli, eel soup, and eel porridge. Each will cost between 25,000 to 60,000 vnd.
crunchy deep fried eel with porridge turned out to be rather good
We ended up trying the fried eel with vermicelli and the eel porridge. The eels were crispy and quite tasty, a very different taste from the boiled eel soup I had in Ho Chi Minh City, much easier to eat and not entirely too different from Japanese shishamo, but with sweetness of eel.
Of course, the vermicelli salad comes with fresh greens, nuts, and a healthy dose of fish sauce, as you would expect. The porridge also would make a very good comfort food on a cold day.
I’d recommend anyone with at least a mild sense of adventure to try this while at Hanoi.