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Category / Halal Food

A couple weeks ago I was invited to PJ Hilton’s Genji Japanese restaurant for a session of food tasting. Genji is in fact one of the older Japanese restaurants in PJ dining scene, having been in operation for some 30 years now.

Genji Japanese Restaurant at PJ Hilton
Genji Japanese Restaurant at PJ Hilton

Thankfully, the interior and furnishing was not the same one since the opening days. The decoration is quite typical of classic Japanese restaurant, simple, classy, and not over the top. For this session, we occupied one of the private rooms with floor seating and sliding doors for that extra feel.

The restaurant is headed by Chef Richard Teoh, a man with vast experience in Japanese cuisine who does not shy away from adding his personal touch to traditional recipe.

Maki Tamago,Chuka Kurage, with Yamamomo and Morokyu
Maki Tamago,Chuka Kurage, with Yamamomo and Morokyu

We started the meal with an appetiser dish specially prepared by the good chef, something that’s usually featured in Omakase Kaizeki meals (RM 300 for 7 course, RM 220 for 5 course menu). We had maki tamago (egg roll with unagi filling), chuka kurage (marinated jellyfish) with yamamomo (mountain berry), and morokyu (fresh cucumber with fermented miso bean).

I love the mountain berry and thought  that the pairing of natto with fresh cucumber somehow worked for me even though I really thought natto is usually quite nasty.

Tokyo salad
Tokyo salad

Tokyo salad (RM 30) came next, a combination of lightly boiled fresh seafood with fresh greens and seaweed. All these is then topped with a home-made sesame sauce that is infused by wasabi, one of Chef Richard’s recipes. I like the mild kick from the sauce that injects extra excitement in this salad dish.

Sashimi/ Sushi Combi
Sashimi/ Sushi Combi

Japanese food isn’t complete without some raw stuff, for this purpose we had the pretty unpretentiously named sashimi/ Sushi combi (RM 240). The selection of seafood in this dish varies, but you’ll usually get salmon, tuna, otoro (tuna belly), sacallop, sea bream, and more. The otoro was absolutely spot on, the sashimi fresh and delicious, with my only comment being that the sushi tends to carry a bit more rice than I like them to have.

The combination is big enough to be shared among 4-5 pax.

Kaizen Mushi - subtle and refreshing
Kaizen Mushi – subtle and refreshing 

Kaizen Mushi (RM 30) represented something from Japanese cuisine which I seldom had – a combination of prawns, salmon, scallop, and mussel steamed with assorted vegetable then served in a light sweet broth. The dish was served with a mixture of ponzu sauce with grated radish, yuzu skin, and a dash of tabasco.

While the sauce itself was quite interesting, it was ultimately unnecessary. The seafood soup was actually plenty good enough to be had by itself, I really enjoyed this dish and thought that it is of pretty good value as well.

Duo Combi - Kaki Chilli Mayo, Gindara Teriyaki
Duo Combi – Kaki Chilli Mayo, Gindara Teriyaki 

Our main dish of the night was duo combi  - kaki chilli mayo and gindarai teriyaki, a dish that’s part of the Omakase Kaizeki menu. The oyster chilli with mayo was an interesting interpretation with a local twist (chilli padi), while the cod fish represented the more traditional Japanese fair. I like them both, but wished that I can have another two servings of those sweet delicious cod.

Chef Teoh, Kelly, KY, Jean, and Azuki Banana Dorayaki
Chef Teoh, Kelly, KY, Jean, and Azuki Banana Dorayaki

We ended the session with azuki banana dorayaki (RM 30), or Doraemon’s favorite dessert with red bean and banana in the middle. A scoop of black sesame ice cream and a couple slices of melon (local) made up the rest of the dessert.

Overall it was a pretty decent dinner, one that sits in the middle-to-high tier of Japanese cuisine in Malaysia, something that is a step above your usual restaurant chains but a tad below some finer Japanese restaurants in Klang Valley.

Thank you Sabrina for the invite.

map to Petaling Jaya Hilton Hotel

Address:
Genji Japanese Restaurant
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS3.10235, 101.64087
Tel03-7955 9122

A few weekends ago a few of us were invited to the recently refurbished Kim Ma Chinese Restaurant at Palace of Golden Horses for a food review session. The restaurant seats 120 pax with 5 private rooms.

Decoration oozes the concept of elegance and strength, with poise and beauty that is fitting of their symbol and name of the restaurant, Kim Ma translates to Golden Horse in Mandarin.

Kim Ma Chinese Restaurant, with Chef Roy Wong
Kim Ma Chinese Restaurant, with Chef Roy Wong

The restaurant is led by Chef Roy Wong, the chef de cuisine who does not shun off from experimenting traditional Chinese cuisine with contemporary twist. Chef Roy started his career in 1991 at Frankfriut’s Dynasty China Restaurant at Arabella Sheraton Grand Hotel, and has won multiple awards in the past 23 years or so.

amuse bouche, Chinese style, egg and baked oyster
amuse bouche, Chinese style, egg and baked oyster

We started the session with a couple “amuse-bouche” in the form of slow boiled egg and baked oyster. The egg was topped with a shimeji mushroom and a dash of truffle flavour, I love it.

The baked fresh oyster topped with mayonnaise and other ingredients,  a rich and fresh treat.

signature dimsum, including steamed prawn dumplings with trufflesignature dimsum, including steamed prawn dumplings with truffle

We then proceeded to try their dimsum

The two Signature dimsum were prawn meat and black mushroom topped with trufflesteamed chicken roll with morel mushrooms.

The prawn dimsum garnished with shrimp roe and spring onion, I really liked the extra character provided by the truffle. Classy and delicious. The combination of fried yam stick and beancurd with chicken also proved to be a good formula, it was good enough I didn’t miss the lack of pork in this particular dimsum.

The third dimsum we had was from their Healthy dimsum section - steamed angled luffa dumplings with superior broth. The texture of this dimsum was quite unique, and reminded me of fish maw to be honest, quite delicious.

deep fried abalone with grouper fish paste
deep fried abalone with grouper fish paste

Next up was a pretty fancy dish created by Chef Roy for the first time, deep fried abalone with grouper fish paste, caviar and served with homemade beancurd.

While visually I thought it looked like those fried ice cream, the taste couldn’t have been more different. The combination of grouper fish paste with braised abalone was superb, and I also really liked the home-made beancurd that was super soft. The caviar on top gave it that extra oomph as well.

However, the sauce used in this dish turned out to be too strong. It was fitting for the tofu, but overpowering the fish paste and abalone. Chef took our comments and promised that he will revise the dish.

more dimsum, village chicken broth with fish maw
more dimsum, village chicken broth with fish maw

No Chinese course meal is complete without soup, so for this purpose we were served the village chicken broth with fish maw. The broth is thick and has a slight creamy taste to it that can only achieve from steaming the whole chicken for hours.

The scallop and prawn dumpling in the soup was not bad either, but what I really love was that piece of high quality fish maw, with the consistency of foie gras, tofu, and beef tendon all mixed together. I can have this everyday.

congee with cod fish and century egg
congee with cod fish and century egg

Congee with cod fish and century egg is your usual dimsum style porridge, but this time with the higher quality cod fish instead of the usual unidentifiable “white fish fillet”.

Chinese style ravioli
Chinese style ravioli

Chef Wong then served us this perfectly East-meets-West dish – a Chinese style ravioli stuffed with minced chicken and topped with deep fried vege treated with charcoal powder. It was quite an interesting twist but ultimately I think a type of meat with more fat (ie: pork) would make this dish better.

double boiled whole coconut with almond and snow jelly
double boiled whole coconut with almond and snow jelly

Our dessert was double boiled whole coconut with almond and snow jelly.

The chef combined three types of almond to create this dish – the “bei” (North) almond, “nan” (South) almond, and American almond. With the aroma of coconut and the sweetness of almond, this hot dessert proved to be a perfect ending to our meal.

A note for potential Muslim diners, this dessert comes with snow jelly, or hasma, which is a product from frog.

mentalist Zlwin Chew. performing every Thursday to Sunday
mentalist Zlwin Chew. performing every Thursday to Sunday

On every Thursday to Sunday, renowned mentalist Zlwin Chew performs at the Kim Ma and other restaurants at Palace of Golden Horses. I won’t spoil it for you, but the guy’s got quite an impressive array of tricks.

map to Palace of Golden Horses

mentalist Zlwin Chew. performing thurs-sun

Address:
Jalan Kuda Emas,
Mines Wellness City,
43300 Seri Kembangan
Selangor
Tel: 03-8943 2666
Hours: weekdays 12-2:30pm, 6:30-10:30pm (reservation only). Weekends 10am-4pm

While most people have a set group of lunch buddies at workplace, I tend to join different groups of colleagues and friends for lunch escapades, maximising the opportunity to try something different.

Today’s adventure brought us to the R&R Bukit Awan, somewhere near OUG & Bukit Jalil on the Shah Alam Highway. Our target was Restoran A. Hassan for some Ayam Kampung.

Hassan Ayam Kampung at R&R Awan Besar, Lebuhraya Shah Alam
Hassan Ayam Kampung at R&R Awan Besar, Lebuhraya Shah Alam

Our “tour guide” of the day was Lukman, who previously introduced us to another equally excellent Restoran Salero Negori at Dato’ Keramat.

I was a little bit skeptical on a place at a highway stopover, but when we were greeted with the huge lunch crowd at the place, any doubt I had instantly went away.

they have more than ayam goreng kampung
they have more than ayam goreng kampung

While the restaurant pride itself on Ayam Goreng Kampung (deep fried village chicken), there are plenty of other dishes to choose from. Much like most nasi kandar places, there’s a wide variety of curry with fish, chicken, beef, lamb, and vegetables. One thing for sure though, there isn’t many dishes that aren’t spicy.

we had chicken, beef curry, ulam, and plenty of sambal
we had chicken, beef curry, anchovies, ulam, and plenty of sambal

For the four of us, we took 6 pieces of ayam goreng kampung, a plate of beef curry, sambal anchovies, and a healthy serving of ulam (raw vegetable to be consumed with sambal).

The chicken, being their signature dish, was not a let down at all. The meat was firm yet tender and full of flavor, adding a bit of sambal and you’ve got yourself a winner. The beef and anchovies proved to be worthy companion dishes as well.

such a lovely lunch, thank you Lukman for bringing me there
such a lovely lunch, thank you Lukman for bringing me there

The meal totalled up to be slightly over RM 10 per person including drinks. I’ve never had a highway stopover meal nearly as good, this is a place I’ll definitely go again.

map to R&R Awan Besar

Other than Awan Besar R&R, Restoran A. Hassan also has branches at Kampung Baru, Shah Alam, USJ Taipan, and Puchong.

Address:
Restoran A. Hassan Ayam Kampung
R &R Awan Besar (West Bound)
Lebuhraya Shah Alam
47100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.065503,101.662125
Hours: Lunch and Dinner

On normal days, the walkway in front of Lembaga Tabung Haji building on Jalan Tun Razak might see a few office workers walking about, but on every Friday afternoon, the place transforms into a unique food bazaar thanks to the crowd drawn by the Friday prayers conducted within the mosque of Tabung Haji building.

the stalls operate on Friday afternoon only
the stalls operate on Friday afternoon only

There are stalls selling burger, kebab, and of course, nasi kandar & nasi briyani. My first experience with the food here started after one of my swimming sessions at G-Tower’s Element Gym on the long Friday lunch break.

This stall is one that is stationed closest to the right side if you’re facing the building, and one that is usually the busiest as well.

great selection of dishes, including beef, chicken, lamb, veges, fish, etc
great selection of dishes, including beef, chicken, lamb, veges, fish, etc

There are usually at least some two dozen dishes to choose from, with most of them spicy (just the way I like it!). There’s lamb, beef curry, rendang, brinjal, honey chicken, fried chicken, curry chicken, fried kembung fish, fried egg, hard boiled egg, various types of sambal, bitter gourd, and even bergedil.

The food is very delicious, and best of all, prices are rather reasonable as well.

egg, chicken drumstick, bitter gourd, and eggplant with nasi briyani
egg, chicken drumstick, bitter gourd, and eggplant with nasi briyani

For example, this packet of nasi briyani with a hard boiled egg, fried chicken drum stick, bitter gourd, and a huge chunk of egg plant with sambal costs RM 9, with a papadem thrown in as well. I particularly love the egg plant, very juicy, spicy, and full of flavor.

long bean, fish eggs, beef tripe, with nasi briyani
long bean, fish eggs, beef tripe, with nasi briyani

I also suspect that if you get there really late, like say around 3pm, sometimes the owner will throw in really great deal as well. This example above includes some beef tripe, fried fish egg, and long beans with nasi briyani, and I was charged less than RM 5.

If your’e up for some delicious no frill nasi briyani on a Friday afternoon, this is definitely a place to check out. They offer “dine in” options as well, though there won’t be any chairs or tables by the stall. You’ll merely just be served with a plate instead of the container.

map to Lembaga Tabung Haji

Address:
In front of Lembaga Tabung Haji
Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.158465, 101.720338
Hours: every Friday afternoon 

After passing Jalan Semarak en route to work for the past 6 months or so, I finally decided to check out the wet market/medan selera look alike building at the intersection of Jalan Semarak and Jalan Padang Tembak in the morning.

It turned out to be another good food find.

Nasi Kerabu at Medan Selera Semarak
Nasi Kerabu at Medan Selera Semarak

Selera Semarak is one of the older type of food court serving mostly Malay and Mamak food. After scouting the place for a little bit, I decided to order nasi kerabu from the second stall on the right of the entrance.

the blue colored rice is the result of butterfly-pea flower (kembang telang)
the blue colored rice is the result of butterfly-pea flower (kembang telang)

For those who aren’t familiar with nasi kerabu, it is a traditional Kelantanese dish with the signature blue rice. The color is obtained from the buds of butterfly-pea flower (kembang telang), which also gives it a distinct aroma.

Chopped long bean, cabbage, coconut sambal, and keropok (prawn crackers) makes up the rest of the dish. I added a fried chicken drumstick for good measure.

a cacophony of flavors, perfect for breakfast
a cacophony of flavors, perfect for breakfast 

I really liked the coconut sambal though it proved to be quite spicy, the aroma of blue rice and freshness of those vegetable made this a pretty awesome dish. For about RM 5 including the chicken, this was definitely one of the better breakfasts I’ve had in recent time.

map to Selera Semarak

Address:
Selera Semarak
Jalan Semarak
Kementah, Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.175878,101.720737
Hours: Breakfast and Lunch

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