Category / Bukit Bintang
Popiah, or commonly known as fresh spring rolls in most other parts of the world, has always been one of my favorite breakfast dishes. It’s easy to eat, contains an assortment of vegetables, usually pretty economical, and doesn’t take a long time to chew down.
It is a dish that is pretty common in Penang, but unfortunately, good ones are hard to come by in Klang Valley, so I was pretty happy when I finally sampled from this one from Imbi market.
the poppiah stall at Imbi market
Sister’s Crispy Popiah is situated some 10 meters away from the famous Ah Weng Koh Haianese Tea. It has been operating at the same spot for years, and business in the morning is rather good. There’s almost always a small queue right in front of the stall, behind the operator that always move in a super brisk pace.
two pieces of pohpiah at RM 4.40
A single serving goes for RM 2.20, one is never enough as the only dish, but suffice as a side dish if you have something else to go along with, like a plate of wantan mee or some breakfast toasts for example.
Other than the popiah skin, chili paste (optional), and sweet sauce, there are at least five other ingredients packed into this spring roll, including sengkuang (yambean), cucumber, carrot, and some absolutely fantastic crispy bits (I have no idea what they are).
goes well with toast and Hainanese tea too
The normal serving is a little on the drier side, but if you prefer to just ask, you can have it with a bit of those sengkuang soup to wet them as well (which is closer to Penang style). The popiah skin holds up well while not being too thick, the mixture of crispy ingredients and really soft, well cooked sengkuang makes for a well balanced contrasting texture that I really like.
A pair of popiah for breakfast? I can do it this any day.
Sisters Crispy Popiah
Imbi Market (Pasar Baru Bukit Bintang)
Jalan Melati, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.14340, 101.71664
Hours: breakfast and brunch
From this blog, I sometimes get invitation to events hosts by or for certain celebrity chefs and TV personalities, these are usually official or semi official events that are very structured and .. distant, something that I don’t usually enjoy that much.
Well, there’s those, and there’s the session with the Fabulous Baker Brothers who has a show starting October 16, 7:30p m on TLC (Astro Channel 707). Encores every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. and Saturday at 10:30 p.m.
Restaurant Limablas at Jalan Mesui Off Jalan Nagasari
Our initial destination of choice was Jalan Alor, but due to the uncooperative weather condition we moved the session to Limablas, and what a great adjustment that was.
Limablas, located right next to “No Black Tie” at Jalan Mesui, is a quaint little Peranakan Restaurant (Baba & Nyonya) run by Uncle John. The ambiance is that of an old Peranakan settlement, from the row of glass bottles filled with ingredients, to furniture, to the antique cash register.
Tom and Henry Herbert of the Fabulous Baker Brothers
While parking at Jalan Mesui usually isn’t most ideal, you can always leave your car at the paid parking at One Residence just a stone’s throw away.
Together with Tom & Henry Herbert, the baker and the butcher & chef who make up the Fabulous Baker Brothers, the group was about 20 strong, including PR, important people from Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, and writers/bloggers.
Our session was scheduled at 7 pm, and by 7:05 pm, everyone arrived. I cannot over stressed how happy I was in everyone’s commitment in respecting each other’s time. Being timeliness is often a lost art in many Malaysian.
nyonya tauhu telur, paitee, rojak
Our dishes on the day were recommended by Uncle John, and it was (I guess) basically almost everything on the menu.
We started out with a few appetizers in Nyonya tauhu telur, rojak, and paitee. These dishes were a little bit sweet, slightly spicy, and positively full flavored. I particularly like the paitee with its crunchy pastry and juicy stuffings, that piece of small prawns on top is a nice touch as well.
ayam pongteh, nyonya curry chicken, kangkung goreng sambal belacan, ayam sioh
Since this is a pork free establishment, there were plenty of chicken dishes.
Ayam pongteh, Nyonya curry chicken, and ayam sioh were the three we tried. They were all distinctively different in taste.
Ayam pongteh is the Peranakan’s version of stewed chicken, a comfort food. Nyonya curry chicken has the same familiar taste I’m familiar with, and I so desperately want some nasi kunyit to go with this. Ayam sioh, or chicken in coriander and bean paste, is a stronger flavored counterpart that goes really well with steamed rice.
The kangkung goreng sambal belacan at Limablas is another well executed dish, carries a kick that this classic dish should.
cincaluk omelette, sambal udang petai, sambal terung, sambal ikan
Cincaluk omelette is a classic Nyonya dish that anyone should try, the cincaluk (fermented krill) gives it a slightly salty seafood taste that is a little similar to fuyu (fermented tofu). I find it very exquisite.
Sambal udang petai was awesome, but my favorite dish of the night had to go to the sambal terung – it was a perfect blend of sweet and spicy.
Our last main dish of the night was the sambal ikan (with tilapia). Another spicy dish that turned out to be rather decent, but in my opinion, doesn’t live up to the other dishes at Limablas. After all, it is just tilapia.
ais kacang & sago gula melaka, we had a feast
Desserts came in the forms of ais kacang, cendul, and sago gula melaka. They proved to be as good as those I’ve tried by the side of Melaccan roads, and it was a shame we had to share them.
Before the end of the meal, Cheng Yi of fatboybakes fed the two brothers some home made durian cheesecake while the rest of us (Nigel, Umei, Josen, Meena etc) watched on, they didn’t manage to finish the slices, but I give them credit for trying tho.
we had loads of fun, the two guys are really friendly and down to earth
The two brothers were ultra friendly and very down to earth, we had an awesome session sharing lots of stories over some really impressive food at Limablas. A few glasses of wine certainly helped too, I wish we’ll have more of these kinda meet ups.
15 Jalan Mesui,
Off Jalan Nagasari,
50200 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.148872, 101.708399
Tel: 03-2110 1289
Hours: break from 3pm to 530 pm Mon – Sat
It’s two more weeks to Mid Autumn festival, a time where Chinese everywhere light up lantern, look at the fullest moon of the year, and gives each other mooncakes while attending those parties for the sake of their kids. Well, at least this is what traditional families in small towns do, in KL, maybe slightly less so.
Anyway, a week or so ago we went to Prince Hotel to sample their mooncakes for 2013 as well as some of their pork free dimsum. The mooncakes will be available now till 19th September, 2013.
Tai Zi Heen at Prince Hotel KL
Behind the Chinese restaurant at Prince Hotel KL, Tai Zi Heen is a chef who was trained both in traditional Chinese cuisine as well as Western cooking method. Thus, many of the dishes, including dimsum and mooncakes, are created with a bit of influence from the west.
While some might readily dismiss them as gimmicky or not “pure”, I always applaud chefs who dare to push the limit and create something out of the ordinary. After all, how would any cuisine improves if you only stick to what’s taught?
four types of steamed dimsum
We sampled four types of steamed dimsum.
My favorite being the purple spinach dumplings topped with Mexican clam, the taste of seafood and texture of those clam (something like in between lala & scallops) were really fantastic.
The prawn dumpling with crab meat and dried scallop as well as crystal yam dumpling with chicken and mushroom were both pretty good as well, with the latter come in a beautiful flowery shape.
The meatless choice of crystal vegetable and mushroom dumpling though, was a bit too bland for me, but perhaps those who are vegetarian would enjoy it more.
crispy bean curd with prawn & cheese, yum puffs with beef bacon & chives,
crispy salmon & cheese roulade
I enjoyed the fried dimsum here more than their steamed counterparts. Crispy bean curd with prawn & cheese, yum puffs with beef bacon & chives, as well as the crispy salmon & cheese roulade were all pretty creative and carry a taste that isn’t very typical of traditional fried dimsum, but in a good way.
I felt that ingredients such as cheese and salmon gave the dishes an extra edge and really went will the those soft crispy pastry.
shanghai dumpling with crab meat & broth, beef patties with leeks
The “xiao long bao” alternative here comes in a small bowl, and is definitely not “xiao” (small). Stuffed with crab meat and those sweet, savory broth, it was quite a treat.
The beef patties with leeks, mayo and teriyaki sauce seems like something out of a Japanese restaurant, and tasted as such as well. I was happy to have a bit of beef after the mostly fish and chicken dishes sampled above.
2013 Tai Zi Heen mooncake collection
Then there’s the mooncakes, Tai Zi Heen’s mooncakes were all handmade in house, we sampled eight different varieties and just about the only problem I have is that they don’t have a version with double salted egg yolk! gahh.
Here are the flavors:
- baked five variety of nuts, rum & raisin (with alcohol)
- mini snow skin chocolate and whisky (with alcohol)
- baked white lotus paste and single egg yolk
- baked low-sugar white lotus paste with sunflower seeds
- baked pandan paste with melon seeds
- baked with red bean paste
- mini snow skinw ith red bean paste
- mini snow skin with pandan lotus paste and mung bean paste
- baked premium durian lotus paste
- mini snow skin with passion fruit cheese cake
Of all these flavors, I find the passion fruit cheese cake version to be most interesting and out of the ordinary. It tasted like a mix between really good sorbet and snowskin mooncake, in a good way. This is a must try if you’re adventurous. The traditional lotus paste with egg yolk version holds up with some of the bests I’ve tried as well.
KY, Kelly, Eunice, Dennis, Evelyn, Sarah
A word of caution for Muslim friends, while the food is pork free, some of the mooncakes do come with small amount of alcohol; and as far as pork free dimsum goes, the dishes we sampled here were of pretty high standard and for sure, worthy of the dishes. I like the creativity and the different ingredients used as well.
For weekends and public holidays, they also run an ala carte buffet dimsum for RM 45++ which features 45 types of their best selling dimsum dishes.
Tai Zi Heen
No.4 Jalan Conlay,
50450 Kuala Lumpur,
GPS: 3.15041, 101.71467
Tel 03-2170 8888
Hours: Lunch & Dinner daily
The first time I tried to go to Coco Tei, the Japanese restaurant formerly known as Hajime, was an exercise in patience. I took over 15 minutes driving around its previous location at Jalan Damai looking for the restaurant to no avail, there were no sightings of Hajime nor Coco Tei because well, it hasn’t been at Jalan Damai for over 2 years now even though Google map and some outdated blog posts tried to convince me otherwise.
Coco-Tei’s set lunch menu
As it turns out, the new location is at Jalan Delima, sandwiched between the more glamorous Fukuya and the quirky Renoma Cafe.
Anyway, lets get back to Coco.Tei.
The restaurant is attached to a paid parking lot, but diners get complimentary parking, a feature that is always very useful especially if you’re going for weekday lunches. Who wants to spend 5 mins looking for a spot and walk another 5 under the hot sun?
every set comes with rice, miso, pickles, and chawanmushi
The lunch combinations at Coco Tei is pretty special, you choose two dishes from three different categories and pay RM 30++ for category A+A, RM 33++ for A+B or B+B, and RM 36++ for A+C, B+C, or C+C. Adding an extra dish from category A is another RM 12++, or RM 15++ from category B/C.
Now here are what you can choose from (correct in time of writing)
- Category A – salmon sashimi, tuna sashimi, salmon & tuna sashimi, raw salmon salad, crab stick with mayo roll, grilled mackerel, grilled giant mushroom, california, spicy tuna, or raw salmon roll, agedeshi tofu, lady finger & mushroom kimchi, mixed vegetable tempura
- Category B – spider maki, soft shell crab salad, salmon with truffle oil dressing, salmon skin salad, raw salmon with garlic sauce, fried chicken cutlet with omelet, deep fried chicken, mixed/prawn tempura, california + salmon hand roll, mixed sushi (3 pieces), salmon cheese hand roll, salmon corquette, deep fried chicken teriyaki, deep fried oyster, deep fried squid, grilled scallop with butter
- Category C – sashimi morawase, white tuna sashimi, mixed maki (3 pieces), salmon boxed sushi (3 pieces), salmon hana sushi (3 pieces), fried seafood with butter, unagi kabayaki, grilled cod fish, grilled salmon with teriyaki sauce, fried shrimp with garlic, shrimp tempura with mango roll, beef with ginger sauce, unagi with omelet
All lunch set also come with rice, miso, pickle, and chawanmushi.
If you’re fancy with math, a simple calculation shows that there are 1681 combinations from the 41 dishes you can choose. How many combinations fall onto each price group is left as your homework.
example of sashimi morawase + hotate butteryaki (category B+C)
Anyway, during our visit, I had sashimi morawase and hotate butteryaki (B+C = RM 36++). The sashimi was pretty fresh and rather decent tasting, the cuttings were appropriately thick. The three pieces of scallops was of decent size as well. The serving was a bit small I thought, but with chawamushi, rice, and miso soup, it was actually sufficient.
Haze and KY enjoying a quiet lunch at Coco-Tei
Haze‘s set consisted two hand rolls and a serving of unagi kabayaki. The hand rolls were decent, and the river eel went well with rice.
While the food didn’t exactly wowed me, the ambiance was nice and service at Coco Tei commendable. It is a decent place to suppress your Japanese cravings, but for another RM 10-20, you could have quite a lot more at Fukuya just down the road, though at the expense of getting to choose from different categories.
The dinner menu looks to be quite impressive, so we might have to come back again one of these days.
No.5, GF-B, Jalan Delima, 55100
Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia
GPS: 3.146322, 101.720585
Hours: 10:30am – 2:30pm, 6pm – 10:30pm
Many of us are willing to travel far in search of good food, but if we just look more closely at places surrounding us, there are gems we often missed, and there’s probably a Chinese proverb that explains this.
The nasi lemak at Wisma Genting Food Court (between Wisma Genting & Wisma Cosway) is one such places for me. It is often regarded as one of the best nasi lemak in KL, but for some reasons it took me almost two years to finally try it despite working just a stone’s throw away.
food court between Wisma Genting and Wisma Cosway
Wisma Genting food court is situated right between Wisma Genting and Wisma Cosway, and sometimes mistakenly referred to as the Wisma Cosway food court. It is a semi open area that was probably first designed as a walkway in the architect’s drawing.
The nasi lemak seller is situated at the stall closest to the entrance, and you really can’t miss it. There’s almost always a line of office workers queueing up at the stall.
piping hot and very fragrant rice, reasonably priced as well
The nasi lemak here is comes steamy hot, and there are plenty of different side dishes you can choose from to go along with the basic – rice, hard boiled egg, cucumber, anchovies, peanuts, and sambal. For my breakfast, I chose cuttle fish, alternatives include fried chicken, fried egg, fish ball look-alike-thingy, curry chicken, and more.
The nasi lemak is a bit wetter than usual, and definitely much warmer than the “usual” ones. It was delicious and all those ingredients compliment each other perfectly. For those who appreciate breakfast to be warm and full flavor, this is a place to be. I think it is also right up there with other popular nasi lemak places such as Village Park at Uptown, Nasi Lemak Tanglin near the National Mosque, and Nasi Lemak CT Garden at Kampung Baru.
nasi lemak, kuih, curry puff, and meehun too
Other than nasi lemak, the same stall also offers quite a good choices of traditional Malay breakfast dishes such as currypuff, meehun goreng, begedil, and more.
If you work around the area, check this out, if you don’t, find an excuse to go there before 10-11 am to give it a try.
Wisma Genting Food Court
Wisma Genting, Jalan Sultan Ismail
Bukit Bintang, 50540 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.150407, 101.711326