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Category / Halal Food

Ramadan 2015 on KYspeaks is just around the corner, so it’s about time to review another traditional buffet offering that is fast becoming a popular seasonal event in our country. Together with my colleagues Nik, Razi, & William, we went to JW Marriott last Tuesday to sample what they have to offer.

JW Marriott's "Kampung Dining Experience" by the poolside
JW Marriott’s “Kampung Dining Experience” by the poolside

Lets get the most important details out of the way – the prices:

Poolside (June 17, 2015 onwards)  – RM 95.00 nett per adult and MYR 48.00 nett per child.

4th Floor (June 17, 2015 onwards) – RM 85.00 nett per adult and MYR 43.00 nett per child.

on the menu - roast lamb, ulam ulam, chicken rice
on the menu – roast lamb, ulam ulam, chicken rice

Both locations essentially serves the same 130 (mostly) Malay delicacies from around the country, though you get to save RM10 dining on the 4th floor by sacrificing the pool view and not being able to see the chef expertly carving that beautiful roast lamb.

ulam, salted fish, sayur kubis goreng, satey, kari kambing, ayam goreng berempah
ulam, salted fish, sayur kubis goreng, satey, kari kambing, ayam goreng berempah

The menu didn’t seem to vary much from my last visit a couple years ago, which is a good thing. You don’t really need to change something that’s already good.

The food can be separated in a few categories, and to start with I usually head straight to the ulam station that comes equipped with some half a dozen sambals, including sambal belacan, tempoyak, sambal mangga, sambal nenas, cencaluk, and budu. A spicy and pungent start to a traditional Malay fair is never disappointing.

ayam lemak cili padi, rendang ayam, black pepper beef, ikan masin talang masak lemak, panjeri nanas, paru goreng, nasi briyani, Chinese mix vege
ayam lemak cili padi, rendang ayam, black pepper beef, ikan masin talang masak lemak,
panjeri nanas, paru goreng, nasi briyani, Chinese mix vege

Appertizer consists of jeruk, kacang botol, kerabu mangga & udang, acar buah, ikan masin, telur masin, as well as several types of keropok (including the all important papadom). For those who wants something a little more global, there’s green lettuce with dressing, Thai chicken & glass noodle salad, potato salad, seafood cocktail, potato salad, waldorf salad, and even coleslaw.

After you get your stomach warmed up, there are a few “gerai”, or live cooking stations to check out. Here you find satey, rojak buah, ikan bakar (including pari, keli, kembung), nasi ayam (chicken rice), tandoori, mee (laksa, mee kari, char kuih teow), BBQ (the all important roast lamb!), bubur, and soup (including sup ekor, kambing, and more).

desserts, fresh fruits, and kuih muih
desserts, fresh fruits, and kuih muih

Then of course there’s the all important main dishes such as ayam masak kicap, ayam masak merah, ayam percik kelantan, kari kambing, sambal udang petai, fried chicken with dried chili, daging masak halia, sweet and sour fish, kurma ayam, labu masak lemak pucuk manis, sayur campur, rendang ayam, redang daging, daging kunyit, paru goreng berlada, sotong goreng kunyit and more.

Dessert is offered in the form of quite a few variety of traditional kuih, pudding, sago gula Melaka, some pastries, and the really awesome bread and butter pudding.

William, KY, Razi, Nik, & our host, Natasya
William, KY, Razi, Nik, & our host, Natasya

My two Malay colleagues gave these a thumb up, while William was busy eating to register a response. I personally really like the fact that we are keeping our traditional Malaysian cooking alive via these type of buffets. No longer were the days when hotels only serve fancy Japanese or Western cuisines, we are once again proud of real Malaysian dishes.

Thank you Natasya for the invite.

map to JW Marriot KL

Address:
JW Marriot
183 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.14765, 101.71372
Tel03-2715 9000

A couple weeks ago we continue our journey in the exploration of Minang food within the KLCC vicinity, and this time around it’s Restoran Grand Garuda Baru at Kampung Baru.

Grand Garuda Baru, Kampung Baru
Grand Garuda Baru, Kampung Baru

The restaurant is rather big but with pretty simple decoration. It seemingly sits between the old school type of shack like Masakan Padang at Jalan Raja Muda Musa and the higher class establishment like Puti Bongsu. One good thing though is that it is air conditioned, and plays some pretty funny sounding MTV if you’re not familiar with Minang language (sounds like a cross between Malay & Japanese)

masakan Padang in all its glory
masakan Padang in all its glory

As of the food, it’s typical Padang dishes. We had the famous ayam pop, the beef tendon that must not be missed, and the daging salai (smoked beef) that’s so crunchy I wish they come in a plastic bag so I can bring them to cinema.

The tempe, sambal chili, terung (eggplant), and nangka were pretty delicious as well. it was pretty satisfying overall.

don't forget to have this little dessert
don’t forget to have this little dessert

The bill came to be about RM 30 ish per pax, which is pretty decent for the type of food we get.

If you have a big group, Restoran Grand Garuda should definitely be in your short list for Padang food.

map to Grand Garuda Baru

Address:
Restoran Grand Garuda Baru
176, Jalan Raja Abdullah,
Kampung Baru, 50300 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.167473, 101.702800
Tel03-2202 7170

Last weekend I decided that since we’re moving to Seksyen 16 in Shah Alam, it might be a good idea to scout around for some good Malay/Indonesian food around the area and see what we can find.

We drove straight into Padang Jawa without any plan or expectation, and just as we passed the flyover, a sign appears that says “Pecel Lele”, we scouted a bit some more before decided to check it out, and was pleasantly surprised that within this almost-jungle/kampung area exists a rather busy shack/restaurant/stall that’s packed with people.

Kedai Makan Pecel Lele, Padang Jawa
Kedai Makan Pecel Lele, Padang Jawa

We then immediately got our car parked at the dedicated carpark for the restaurant just behind the building, and proceed to check out what the all fuss is about.

As it turned out, Pecel Lele is an ayam penyet stall/restaurant that operates around the clock, and a local favorite among Padang Jawa folks as well as UiTM students. Haze and I were the only two Chinese at the time, and I was absolutely delighted.

que to order, then get your unlimited rice and soup
que to order, then get your unlimited rice and soup

The SOP at Pecel Lele is simple.

  • jot down your table number
  • line up, order, and pay for your food
  • get your own rice & soup (unlimited)
  • wait for your food and drinks to be served (usually within 5-10 mins)

berbola, pecal lele, ayam penyet, and those sambal!
berbola, pecal lele, ayam penyet, bergedil, and those sambal!

The prices at Pecel Lele is really one of the cheapest I’ve seen anywhere, especially in Klang Valley. Ayam penyet with rice at RM 4.50, with catfish (pecel lele) is RM 5.50, pecal berbola RM 5, pecal daging RM 5. Other extras offers great value as well – RM 0.50 bergedil, nangka, or pucuk ubi, two bebola for RM 1, and tempe for RM 1.50.

If you’re not into rice dishes, mie ayam, soto, bakso, or gado-gado are priced at RM 3.50. Drinks are RM 1.50.

we definitely enjoyed the meal, all for only RM 15.50 too
we definitely enjoyed the meal, all for only RM 15.50 too

As for the taste? We absolutely loved it!

The chicken was properly seasoned, and the cat fish deep fried to a crunchy state that goes really well with those tomato salsa/sambal concoction. Berbola tasted very similar to keropok lekor with body image problem, and even the bergedil was pretty decent (could be warmer though).

The drinks? Though they’re supposed to be “mango juice” or “grape juice”, they tasted more like melted Sugus candies, which my taste bud loved, but I reckon may not be perfectly good for your health. Then again, you don’t eat there everyday kan?

I’m definitely going to make this place one of my weekly pilgrimage soon.

map to Pecal Lele Padang Jawa

Address:
Pecal Lele Padang Jawa
Lot 617, Jalan Berangan 
Kampung Padang Jawa, Shah Alam
Selangor
GPS: 3.050029, 101.489769
Tel019-206 8920
Hours: 24 hours, closes for Friday prayers

Well, it’s that time again. The holy month of Ramadan starts on the 18th June, 2015, our Muslim friends fast during the daylight as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

As a nation of people who loves our food, many restaurants and hotels also offer Ramadan buffet in this period to allow Muslims and also non-Muslims to enjoy a meal together.

Ramadhan at GTower
Ramadhan at GTower, Anura certainly enjoye

This year, G Tower started early and invited the media to have a sample of their buffet spread more than a month prior. I was happy to be part of the group.

First, the most important bit: the buffet will be held at GTower from 20th June till 14th July 2015 and priced at RM 95 NETT for adults.

traditional kuih muih on the spread
traditional kuih muih on the spread

Like many such buffet offerings, GTower will be serving traditional Malaysian cuisine with quite a few live cooking stations  under the direction of Chef Sherry, who has more than 20 years of experience in the kitchen.

ulam, salted egg, and salted fish
ulam, salted egg, and salted fish

Starting appetizer, there’s assortment of salad, kerabu pucuk paku, sambal, keropok, papadum, telur masin, ikan masin, jeruk, and a pretty good selection of ulam-ulam as well. I was slightly disappointed by the lack of tempoyak, but I’m hopeful they will have it on the actual spread.

traditional dishes that goes well with steamed or briyani rice
traditional dishes that goes well with steamed or briyani rice

Many main dishes are served in clay-pot to keep retain the freshness, and they comprise of rice selections such as nasi briyani, fragrant rice, nasi ulam, and so forth. Ayam panggang berempah, daging masak hitam, and dagang salai masak lemak cili api, sambal udang petai (i love this!), ikan pari, tenggiri masak asam, and more can be found.

The best dish of the night for me was their ayam percik istimewa, and for the fans of roast lamb, kambing bakar enak is available (seemingly every Ramadan buffet places now has roast lamb).

pastry, roast lamb, popiah, and other goodies
pastry, roast lamb, popiah, and other goodies

Not all the live cooking stations were available for this tasting session, but there will be mee rebus, mihun sup, rojak singapura, and popiah basah upon request. The rojak wasn’t something I enjoyed though, as I prefer the Penang version.

Overall, the spread should satisfy anyone who loves Malaysian cuisine, and the pricing seems to be in-line with the location and dishes offered. So if you’re planning a buka puasa event, GTower should be in your consideration.

map to G-Tower, KL

Address:
GTower
199 Jalan Tun Razak,
50400 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.1590, 101.7200
Tel: 03-2168 1919

If you were to tell me 10 years ago that salad can make a healthy, hearty, and really delicious meal, I’d only believe you 1/3. After all, salad are for girls who wants to look demure and polite having meal in public, right?

Well, Chai Bar proved me wrong.

Chai Bar at Oasis Square, Ara Damansara
Chai Bar at Oasis Square, Ara Damansara

One of the Chai Bar’s co-owner, Dennis, is a close friend of Haze. So to be honest, we’ve heard of the concept and already been to the pre-tasting events before the restaurant was even opened.

It was a concept that isn’t completely new, salad bars such as these are already quite popular in Singapore and other countries.

salad isn't just lettuce with thousand island sauce
salad isn’t just lettuce with thousand island sauce

The concept is simple, choose from some 70 different ingredients such as freshly washed and cut vegetables to beans, cheeses, nuts, pickles, and roasted vegetables. Plus, you also get to add smoked salmon, shrimp, poached chicken or grilled beef (just in case you think salad is only all about greens). To complete the meal, pick from some 15 different dressings.

Voila, you have yourself an awesome healthy meal.

chicken rice, superfood, steakhouse, sombrero
chicken rice, superfood, steakhouse, sombrero

For the review session we tried 7 different salads with some from their “fab 10″ selections, basically ten different mixes of salad for those who doesn’t want to scratch their heads choosing your own combination from 70 different ingredients. These salads are priced from RM 16-20, a very good value for what you get in my opinion.

Chicken rice came with spinach, red rice, onions, cucumber, bean sprouts & poached chicken and dressed with Sesame Soy. Here the chicken is cooked sous vide so even though it’s breast meat (my least favorite but healthiest option), it was still very juicy and rather delicious.

Superfood had mixed leaves with sweet potatoes, beets, avocado, dried cranberries, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds & quinoa dressed in peanut sauce. A mixture of all the healthy ingredients you can think of. Very nice texture to munch on.

Steakhouse is a salad for the men, I mean, steak, kan? Baby spinach with baby potatoes, tomato, caramelised onions & grilled beef. I like the dressing in this one – blue cheese! If you’re not a fan of blue cheese, you can always opt for another dressing.

If you like a little bit of Mexican, try Sombrero. Mixed lettuce with 3-bean mix, corn, tomatoes, onions, mixed peppers, cheddar cheese, tortilla chips & grilled beef. This salad is dressed with avocado and topped with salsa.

bibimbap, caesar, california girls
bibimbap, caesar, california girls

Fancy Korean style salad? Baby spinach with red rice, cucumber, carrot, mushrooms, bean sprouts, hard boiled egg and grilled beef. Sweet Gochujang. Sprinkles of kimchi makes for a bowl of Bibimbap.

Caesar, the most common of all salad, turned out to be our favorite. The sous vide chicken that’s lightly grilled was superb, and the Green Goddess dressing compliments romaine lettuce, croutons, onions, hard boiled egg, beef bacon, Parmesan cheese and grilled chicken really well.

According to Dennis, California Girls is one of the most popular salads with the ladies. A bowl that’s inspired by Japanese cuisine, with mixed lettuce, red rice, avocado, carrot, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, hard boiled egg, pickled seaweed & kaori-hako. Wasabi Mayo. Dusted with roasted seaweed and ebiko. I thought the ebiko was a really nice touch.

refreshing drinks at Chai Bar
refreshing drinks at Chai Bar

Juices goes for RM 7.50 and smoothies RM 8.50. We had kaffir lemonade, watermelon & mint, and of course I went for avocado. They complements the food well, and I think make for good afternoon “snacks” on their own too.

KY, Haze, Dennis (co-owner), Cheesie & Junya
KY, Haze, Dennis (co-owner), Cheesie & Junya

Chai Bar is really a trailblazer for salad in this side of Klang Valley, I really hope they thrive and open up more restaurants, and hopefully one near my workplace. Good job Dennis!

map to Oasis, Ara Damansara

Address:
Chai Bar
G31, Oasis Village
Oasis Square Ara Damansara, 

2, Jalan PJU 1A/7A, Petaling Jaya
GPS: 3.114834, 101.574750
Webchaibar.my
Tel03-7832 3138