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Category / Ampang

Ampang Park is said to be the oldest shopping mall of such set up in the country. First opened its door in 1973, this place has been in existence since our current Prime Minister’s father was in office as the Prime Minster.

Recently, my office moved to Intermark, which is located just right across the road from Ampang Park, so naturally I went to check out some of the lunch options at this place since the two buildings are connected by a skybridge.

food court at Ampang Park, the oldest shopping mall in Malaysia
food court at Ampang Park, the oldest shopping mall in Malaysia

As it turns out, the oldest mall also has one of the oldest food courts at the top floor. There are a variety of hawker stalls at the area, but two that caught my eyes were the Korean and the Vietnamese food outlets.

Both of these places are pork free, and offers exceptional value.

Vietnamese beef, chicken or fish noodle at RM 5.00 to RM 6
Vietnamese beef, chicken or fish noodle at RM 5.00 to RM 6.00

The Vietnamese dishes are typically made from the same soup base, you can get beef noodle, beef stew noodle, beef ball noodle, chicken noodle, and like the example above, fish noodle for the price of RM 4.50 to RM 6.00.

There’s mint leaves, fish sauce, and a soup base that’s undoubtedly Vietnamese, but don’t expect great cut of beef or beef tendons in them. A pair of spring rolls here goes for RM 2.50 and they are rather decent too.

The Vietnamese lady who operate this place doesn’t speak much English, but can converse in Malay, and of course in Vietnamese.

kimchi soup ramen for RM 7.00
kimchi soup ramen for RM 7.00

If you fancy some cheap Korean food, just look at the busiest stall in this food court.

The menu here includes Korean glass noodle with soup (RM 6.50), seafood noodle soup (RM 6.50), mixed vegetable rice (RM 6.50), kimchi rice roll (RM 6.50), bibimbap (RM 7), kimchi pancake (RM 6.50), kimchi soup rice (RM 7), kimchi fried rice (RM 6.50), and more.

Most of these dishes come with side dishes that includes kimchi, vegetable, bean sprout, and an omelette lookalike thingy.

the ramen noodle comes with a side dish of 4 too
the ramen noodle comes with a side dish of 4 too

My favourite dishes from the Korean food stall is the kimchi ramen noodle that also comes with side dishes that goes for RM 7. The soup isn’t very intense, but for the price you can’t really ask for more. There’s plenty of kimchi and overall taste is rather decent.

The only complain I have is that the portion is perhaps overly huge though.

If you work or happen to around the area and want something cheap and decent for lunch, here’s a food court to check out.

map to Ampang Park

Address:
Ampang Park Food Court
Level 2
Ampang Park Shopping Centre
Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.16054, 101.71947
Hours: weekday lunch

Malaysia is such an awesome country when it comes to celebrating festivals, Hari Raya Adilfitri is basically still on going, but we are already preparing for the next – the mooncake festival that falls on the 15th of the 8th month in the Chinese lunar calendar.

A little over a week ago, we went to InterContinental Hotel to check out their mooncake offerings and I even got my hands on trying out how to make them.

ingredients and method of making mooncake
ingredients and method of making mooncake

Here’s a recipe that’s shared by InterContinental Hotel’s Executive Chinese Chef Wong Lian You. The recipe isn’t exactly too complicated, but you might have a problem if you don’t have the cool wooden mould.

Here’s a recipe that makes 15 pieces of Mini Green Tea Paste with Single Egg Yolk mooncake.

Ingredients (for skin):

  • icing sugar – 600 gram
  • cooked glutinous rice flour – 300 gram
  • shortening- 100 gram
  • green tea powder – 10 gram
  • water – 450 ml

Fillings:

  • green tea paste with sunflower seed – 700 gram
  • salted egg yolk (cooked) – 8 nos

old school wooden mould is used to shape the mooncake
old school wooden mould is used to shape the mooncake

Method:

  • put all ingredients for the skin in the mixing bowl and mix well manually. Let rest for 10 minutes
  • divide green tea paste into 15 portions and roll into a ball, make a depression in the centre and wrap an egg yolk, set aside
  • spread some glutinous rice flour on a table
  • roll out into a strip and cut into 15 poritons, roll and wrap the fillings
  • spread some glutinous rice flour in mooncake mould, put the ingredients and press firmly
  • KNOCK HARD until mooncake falls out!

and I got my hands dirty to mould this mooncake, it was a success!
and I got my hands dirty to mould this mooncake, it was a success!

I’m not so sure if the instructions is any useful, but that’s exactly how they make mooncakes in this hotel, all by hand and all in house. After trying it out for myself making the XL sized mooncake, I now really appreciate the effort it takes into making proper mooncakes. If you don’t get it just right, the skin will be uneven, or worse still, the ingredients spill out.

looks like handbag, but does not smell like one
looks like handbag, but does not smell like one, yes they are mooncake boxes

The mooncakes at InterContinental are priced from about RM 17 to RM 25 each, with the mini almond milk cream with bird’s nest mooncake at RM 33. The best thing here is their super ridiculously cute mooncake box that resembles high fashion handbags, I was equally impressed and amused. Too awesome!

The 7 star premium collection is priced at RM 288, which includes 6 smaller and one giant mooncake.

The full list of flavors (traditional baked):

  • white lotus paste with single egg yolk
  • white lotus paste with double egg yolk (I love double egg yolk and actually want 4 egg yolks!)
  • pure white lotus paste with nuts
  • pandan paste with egg custard and walnuts
  • bamboo charcoal paste with pumpkin seeds
  • assorted nuts paste with chicken ham

Snow skin:

  • mini white chocolate snow skin with dark chocolate paste and rice crunch
  • mini duo roseberry snow skin with spirulina paste and gummy candy
  • mini peanut butter snow skin with dark chocolate paste and mixed nuts
  • mini tiramisu paste with dried mix fruits and raisins
  • mini green tea paste with single egg yolk
  • mini durian meat with oats
  • mini almon milk cream with bird’s nest

mooncake tray, and pick your own tea at Intercontinental KL
mooncake tray, and pick your own tea at Intercontinental KL

After messing about at the demonstration, we proceeded to OneSixFive to sample the exclusive afternoon tea showcasing their mooncakes.

The mooncake comes in a unique stand (RM128++ per stand for 2 persons) while you pick the tea (by TEALEAVES) from the box by first sampling them by smell. It’s quite a high life and there’s certainly more than enough mooncakes to go around for two person.

mooncakes from InterContinental KL
mooncakes from InterContinental KL

As for the mooncakes, I find myself still gravitate towards the traditional white lotus paste with double egg yolk. The durian mooncake here was positively potent and should satisfy any durian lovers. I was a bit impartial to the gummy bear version though some really liked it. Other flavors were all pretty much spot on.

Oh, as for the bird’s nest mooncake, while interesting and certainly luxurious, it was tough to actually taste the bird’s nest itself due to the stronger tasting paste/skin necessary for a mooncake. Credit must be given to Chef Wong & Chef Lo for pushing the envelop though.

we had fun at the event, thanks to Chef Wong and Chef Lo
we had fun at the event, thanks to Chef Wong and Chef Lo

Mooncake festival lasts through 19th September, 2013. If you’re looking for some gift ideas, I gotta say that so far the handbag packaging here is the most impressive of all

map to Intercontinental Hotel, KL

Address:
Intercontinental Hotel
165 Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.159767, 101.718045
Tel: 03-2161 1111
Web: www.intercontinental.com

As someone who loves coffee, I quite happy to see that we are slowly developing a coffee culture in Klang Valley. While it used to be just a few big chains to consider when you want a good cup of espresso based caffeinated drinks, we now have many independent coffee outlets to choose from.

Today we are going to check out That Latte Place, a very small all-day breakfast and coffee outlet at Ampang Hilir.

beautiful latte, served at a place that looks like a vacation spot
beautiful latte, served at a place that looks like a vacation spot

The restaurant is hidden within Yayasan Seni Berdaftar. There is a small semi-alfresco dining area with a few tables and an even smaller kitchen.The man behind this place is Mark, an ex white collar executive who decided to pursue his passion in F&B instead of being a rat in the race.

I love the place, it gives me a very zen and relaxing ambiance not unlike one you get from being on a vacation in a tropical island a few hours’ flight away.

one of my favorite egg benedicts
one of my favorite egg benedicts

The coffee at That Latte Place is smooth, strong, and just the way I like my coffee to be. Americano is RM 5, latte and cappucino at RM 8, and I believe they probably serve the cheapest affogato at RM 6.

Non caffeinated drinks include hot hazelnut milk (RM 7), hot chocolate (RM 9), and some bottled fruit tea drinks.

hearty breakfast, fajita 'TLP' style, house egg ben
hearty breakfast, fajita ‘TLP’ style, house egg ben

Food wise, the menu only consists of half a dozen different entries, and so far we’ve tried half of them.

Hearty Breakfast (RM 17.90) comes with chicken sausage, scrambled egg with mushroom, tomato, baked beans, and served with homemade toast. It might not be as big as those big breakfasts from places like Antipodean, the dish is more than enough to satisfy.

House Egg Ben (RM 17.90 double, RM 12.90 single) proved to be one of my favorite dishes here. The dish is deceptively simple, but execution is key here, perfect poached eggs aren’t easy to prepare and I love it when they’re done right. The Hollandaise sauce is brilliant as well.

My lunch partners were happy with their Fajita ‘TLP’ Style (RM 8.90) and gave positive feedbacks. The dish consists of chicken in Mexican herbs sauce, classic pesto, and with capsicum and lettuce wrapped in pita bread.

Sheng, KY, Joyce, Kelly
Sheng, KY, Joyce, Kelly

Ever since my first visit, I’ve been there pretty much every other week. Parking is easy, ambiance is great, and the coffee is superb at That Latte Place, now if they only serve bacon… (it is pork free)

Unlike donuts, bubble tea, and gourmet burgers, the emergence of coffee culture in Malaysia seems to be a slow and steady process. Which means it’s going to stay and not taper off as soon as it gets started.

That Latte Plate is located at Ampang Hilir

Address:
That Latte Place
333 Persiaran Ritchie,
Off Jalan Ritchie,
55000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.159108, 101.74026
Tel: 016-850 3546

Mexican cuisine isn’t one of the most popular foreign foods in Malaysia, but if you want Western style food with a dose of hotness, this is where you go. Las Carretas is probably one of the earlier establishments serving Mexican cuisine in the country, and with three branches in town, the brand is proved to be pretty popular among locals and expats as well.

Las Carretas at Ampang
Las Carretas at Ampang

This is the second post on Las Carretas on the blog, the first being a 2006 version when (I believe) they only had one branch at USJ. The chain has grown since and I thought it’ll be appropriate to pen another review since we went to the Ampang branch just a while back.

fresh oysters in different flavors
fresh oysters in different flavors

There are quite a selection of starters in the menu, but for oyster lovers, one must not miss their offerings. Have it fresh, with cheese and herbs, or salsa on top (RM 29.90 for half dozen). The shellfish were big, fresh, juicy, and absolutely mouth watering. Very decent value for what you get.

chips and salsa, squid rings, oxtail soup
chips and salsa, squid rings, oxtail soup

Chips and salsa is always served while you wait for food to arrived. While they’re very tasty, try not to over indulge in them to avoid stuffing your stomach too early before your main arrives.

Calamares a la Romana is the Mexican way of saying deep fried squid rings (RM 21.90), and they are served with garlic mayo dip and tartar sauce. Tastes pretty good but not exactly something you can’t get from just about anywhere.

I tried Sopa De Rabo (boneless oxtail soup, RM 11.90) and well, if there’s anything better than oxtail soup, it is making it boneless. Easy to consume, delicious and with zero hassle. I love it.

rib-eye steak with foie gras, boneless chicken chop, NZ lamb loin
rib-eye steak with foie gras, boneless chicken chop, NZ lamb loin

For my main dish I chose Bife Ancho, or rib-eye steak with an addition of seared foie gras (RM 92, or RM 68 without). The 45-day aged Australian grain fed beef were excellent, but the preparation of foie gras was lacking, I felt that they overcooked it a bit.

Other friends who had Pollo Loco (boneless chicken chop with black peppercorn sauce, RM 19.90) and Crusted N.Z. Lamb Rack (RM 64.90) were very happy with their choices. The lamb, served with freshly made rosemary sauce and cooked to perfection, was especially praised.

prawn spaghetti, grain fed t-bone steak, beef fajitas
prawn spaghetti, grain fed t-bone steak, beef fajitas

Prawn Spaghetti (RM 38.90) was served with pretty good size prawns and drenched in garlic, chili, and fajita sauce. Positively Mexican and yet something that’s easy to adapt to if you’re not used to the taste.

If you have a big appetite, Chuleton De Bistek (T-bone steak, RM 65.90) and all it’s 450 gram glory can be yours, complete with salad, ranch dressing, and steak fries. One of our team members’ go-to meal here.

Interestingly, we only really ordered one “classic” Mexican dish among the 10 of us. The beef Fajitas (RM 33.90) was served in a sizzling hot plate with plenty of warm tortilla to go around. I love their Guacamole sauce that comes with this dish.

awesome lunch with the team
awesome lunch with the team

It seems to me that after some 6-7 years between the last visit and this one, Las Carretas hasn’t missed a beat. Food is still generally very good (except for the foie gras), prices are reasonable for what you get, and service isn’t anything to complain about either. I should go there again, this time maybe sooner.

map to Las Carretas, Ampang

Address:
Las Carretas Mexican Restaurant
22 Persian Ampang
55000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.159156, 101.746702
Tel: 03-4257 1668
Weblascarretas.com

Las Carretas

A couple weeks ago we were invited to Goong Korean BBQ Restaurant at Ampang with the promise of a hearty traditional Korean meal.

The restaurant is located at the appropriately named “Little Korea” right across the road from Ampang Point, an area littered with many restaurants, with more than half of them serving Korean food.

Gong Korean restaurant at Little Korea in Ampang
Goong Korean restaurant at Little Korea in Ampang

The restaurant itself is located on the first floor, right on top of another restaurant that serves, you guessed it, Korean food.

The interior decoration is best described as minimalistic, or if you’re a little more direct, supremely bare. However, one does not eat tables, chairs, nor the pretty paintings on the wall, so if you’re looking for food instead of an ambiance worthy of that fine date you’re bringing, this arrangement would  suffice. It was clean and comfortable.

wide selection of banchan to go around
wide selection of banchan to go around

Our foods were pre-ordered by the lady boss, Laura (despite the name, she is Korean), who also doubled as the chef.

First to come were the multitude of banchan, or small dishes that always accompany pretty much any Korean meals. This includes kimchi, seaweed, broccoli, and various other types of vegetable with chili pepper seasoning. They were generally pretty good, I like the fact that the kimchi served was quite strong and well prepared.

grilled meat, the main stay of any Korean BBQ restaurant
grilled meat, the main stay of any Korean BBQ restaurant

Since the name of  the place includes the word “BBQ”, they do have classic Korean BBQ dishes in the menu.

We tried Dwaeji Galbi (grilled pork ribs, RM30) and Gochujang Samgyeopsal (Grilled Pork Loin with red hot pepper paste, RM22). The meat were well marinated and tasted pretty decent, but BBQ pork can only go so far, my favorite is still Galbi (marinated beef short ribs), but unfortunately we did not try the version from here.

The point to note is that so far as Korean BBQ pork dishes is concerned, these were more than reasonable.

hot & spicy pork and Mandu (dumpling)
hot & spicy pork and Mandu (dumpling)

The dish that intrigued us the most was the hot & spicy pork (RM 22) that, according to Laura, required tremendous patient and multitude of steps in preperation, and she also promised that it is a dish you can’t find anywhere within Klang Valley. This is as “traditional” as it gets.

True to her words, it was delicious, and doubly so if you love meat with strong flavor and good dosage of spiciness. I loved it and would not hesitate to order the same thing when I’m there again.

Mandu (dumpling, RM 20) is another home-made affair by the lady boss/chef. While homey and warm, I find the skin a tad too thick for my liking. As far as dumpling goes, I still prefer my siao long bao and sui kao.

Bulgogi jeongol (beef) and Bulgogi jeongol (ginseng chicken)
Bulgogi jeongol (beef) and Samgyetang (ginseng chicken)

Bulgogi jeongol (beef hot pot,RM 50) is just as what you’d expect from some of the better Korean restaurants. Sweet and flavorful, goes well with a bit of Korean steamed rice and some tea.

The Samgyetang (chicken ginseng soup, RM 30) is a good comfort food perfect for those rainy nights, and one that would probably help my runny nose right now as I’m writing this article. You can also ask for the version with rice stuffed in the chicken’s cavity. This dish was actually my first Korean experience, and I still like it as much after all these years.

bibimbap, Kimchi Jeon (pancake), Kimchi Jigae
bibimbap, Kimchi Jeon (pancake), Kimchi Jigae

If you come alone and prefer something ultra healthy, Goong does serve bibimbap. I was never a fan of one, but this version does taste okay to me.

the Kimchi Jeon (kimchi pancake, RM 25) is, if you would, Korean pizza that tastes like a cross between pancake and pizza but with a strong flavor of kimchi. I find it easy to eat, and would love to have one delivered to my house while watching those late night NFL games.

Last but not least, Haze gave her seal of approval to the most important dish of any Korean restaurant – Kimchi Jiggae (kimchi soup, RM 17). The version here is the first one that she actually liked after we started making our own kimchi soup at home.

This one is strong, spicy, sour, and everything that you’d expect in a top quality kimchi stew. If you like it strong and don’t want to have to cook it yourself, come here, it’s cheaper than the ingredients you’d need to make an equivalent tasting pot too.

owner, daughter, and an enthusiastic Korean customer
owner, daughter, and an enthusiastic Korean customer

We were also fortunate enough to be joined by one of Laura’s friend, a Korean lady who decided to teach us a Korean custom when it comes to drinking – when you empty your glass, place it over your head to indicate that you actually finished the glass.

We had a good time over the session, and Goong Korean BBQ restaurant, while not perfect, did deliver what it promised – a wholesome, hearty, traditional Korean meal. I think it is a place worth checking out for yourself.

map to Goong Korean Restaurant, Ampang

Address:
Goong Korean BBQ Restaurant
B 3-2, Jalan Ampang Utama 2/2,
Ampang 68000
Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.15553, 101.75202
Tel016-309 1160

Goong Korean BBQ Restaurant