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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Category / KLCC and vicinity

In my previous job, I had the opportunity to travel to East Malaysia on quite a few occasions, and one thing that stuck in my memory is that there are whole different sets of restaurants and popular dining areas in Borneo than what I’m used to in Peninsular Malaysia, and one of the more prominent one that I remember till today was the ubiquitous SugarBun.

SugarBun Borneo Asian Food at Menara Hup Seng
SugarBun Borneo Asian Food at Menara Hup Seng

Well, now you can find SugarBun right here in KL at Menara Hup Seng (opposite Shangri-La KL & behind Mercedes) to get a taste of what Borneo’s most successful franchise restaurant has got to offer. They are also opening their second outlet in Klang Valley at Ara Damansara on 15/10/2016. So if you’re into some no-nonsense Borneo cuisine, keep reading.

Sabah Giant Garoupa Mee Hoon Soup
Sabah Giant Garoupa Mee Hoon Soup

While started out as an ice-cream parlour back in 1979, over the years SugarBun has expanded its offering to include many dishes sought after by Sarawakians & Sabahans alike. On the outside it looks a little bit like fast food joint or even a food court, but what they offer is rather different from what you may expect.

I had the opportunity to try some of their dishes a couple weeks ago, and I gotta start with my favorite – Sabah Giant Garoupa Mee Hoon Soup (RM 28). Cooked with generous portion of Sabah giant garoupa slices, the deceptively simple dish carries a broth thick with seafood sweetness that will satisfy anyone who loves seafood. The fish slices too were perfectly cut and came with chunks of those springy garoupa skin that I really enjoy. At RM 28 it is certainly not a “fast food” friendly price, but this is not fast food and you definitely get a more than decent value from the quality of seafood offered.

You can also order this as a soup to go with rice.

Sabah Giant Garoupa Fried Rice
Sabah Giant Garoupa Fried Rice

Another rendition that utilise the same awesome seafood is the Sabah Giant Garoupa Fried Rice (RM 20). Deep fried giant garoupa meat is served on top of pretty fragrant fried rice, very simple and satisfying. I think a few chili padi with soya sauce should come with this, but they do offer sambal, which compliments the dish quite well.

authentic Sarawak Laksa
authentic Sarawak Laksa

Laksa Sarawak (RM 12) is arguable the most famous streetfood from Borneo, and at SugarBun Borneo Asian Food, they have a version that is authentic and true to its origin. You get the shredded chicken, prawns, strips of omelette, bean sprout, and of course, those thick meehun. Haze loves it, and she’s like the no. 1 fan of any type of laksa.

If you’re looking for a certified halal version of authentic laksa Sarawak, this will definitely fit the bill.

Fish Burger
Fish Burger

For those who wants something on the go, SugarBun’s fish burger (RM 9.50) should fit the bill. The patty is made from pollock and together with their blend of sauce and slices of fresh cucumber, made for a pretty satisfying meal you can enjoy while being vertical. I also thought their bun was pretty soft and airy too, which is a plus.

the classic - Borneo Eco Fish Meal (tilapia)
the classic – Borneo Eco Fish Meal (tilapia)

Another notable fish related dish is the classic Borneo Eco Fish Meal (RM 20). Here you get a portion of rice, some acar, and a properly deep fried tilapia fish with some sambal and dark soya sauce on the side. This felt like something  you get from a mom & pop restaurant than an air conditioned chain restaurant, in a good way, of course.

This was actually the first dish I had at SugarBun many years ago when they came to West Malaysia (at PJ SS2 if not mistaken), and I’ve always enjoyed it.

Chicken Mushroom Claypot Meal & Broasted Chicken meal
Chicken Mushroom Claypot Meal & Broasted Chicken meal

If comfort food is what you crave for, the Chicken Mushroom Claypot Meal (RM 14) should be on your short list. You get a side of rice with a clay pot full of chunks of chicken and black fungus in herbal soup, not entirely different from grandma’s kitchen.

To complete their almost-fast-food image, SugarBun offers broasted chicken (RM 12) with or without saucy kano (RM 15). I had to google a bit, but broasting is a cooking process that combines broiling and roasting, which is distinctly different from deep fried. The result is a lighter crust and less oily product. I thought they taste pretty good.

If you want to get a taste of what Borneo has got to offer right here in KL, this is definitely the place to go.

P/S: this post is brought to you by SugarBun

map to Menara Hap Seng

Address:
SugarBun Borneo Asian Food
Level 1, Menara Hap Seng,
Jalan P. Ramlee,
Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.152761, 101.707296
Tel: 03-2022 0003
HoursMon – Fri 7.30 am – 8 pm, Sat 10 am – 2 pm

We Malaysians love buffets, but more often than not, most buffets around Klang Valley offers a variety of many different cuisines, much like the cultural make up of the country, which allows us to sample many varying dishes at the same time. Now that’s not a bad thing, but sometimes, you just want to concentrate on (mostly) one single cuisine, and you want it buffet style.

If that’s your calling and your choice of cuisine happens to be Japanese food, then Tatsu’s Saturday dinner buffet may just be something you want to check out.

Authentic Japanese Buffet at Tatsu
Authentic Japanese Buffet at Tatsu

The Saturday dinner buffet featuring authentic Japanese cuisine started at on the 6th of August and will run through 26 November 2016. We were among the few fortunate invitees to be sampling the spread on the first day of its offering at Intercontinental Hotel.

The all-you-can-eat deal is priced at RM 118 nett per adult and RM 69 nett for children between age 5-11 years.

Sushi or Sashimi anyone?
Sushi or Sashimi anyone?

The spread is concocted by Assistant Chef Tommy Kuan and comprises of some 75 items, and obviously, we got the night started at the raw bar with some sushi & sashimi.

Here you find a selection of salmon, tuna, and butter fish sashimi in pretty generous cuts. There’s ebi, tamago, inari, sake, and maguro sushi as well as some sushi rolls to pick from. Quality are more than decent, though lacking some of the more premium ingredients like amaebi or otoro, this is to be expected at this price point I suppose.

onsen egg, baby octopus, and other small dishes
onsen egg, baby octopus, and other small dishes

Other dishes from the “appetizer” bar includes those perfectly prepared Onsen eggs, salad, baby octopus, and a selection of small Japanese vegetable dishes which I really enjoy.

some pre-cooked Japanese dishes too
some pre-cooked Japanese dishes too

For those who likes pre-cooked items, there are a few selections too. Udon, soup, chawamushi, edamame, spicy tofu, miso soup, and even Japanese curry. To be honest, these aren’t my usual dishes to go for in a buffet such as this, because what I really enjoy more is up next…

made to order teppanyaki dishes
made to order teppanyaki dishes

The live teppanyaki cooking!

Here you pick the ingredients (salmon, prawns, squid, butter fish, chicken, beef, mushroom, vege etc) and have the chef cook on the spot. They’re usually ready in 5-10 minutes and then you can enjoy the piping hot teppanyaki dishes. I thought their chicken teppanyaki was particularly delicious.

"ala minute" dishes - ebi tempura, saba, kaki furai, sawara teriyaki
“ala minute” dishes – ebi tempura, saba, kaki furai, sawara teriyaki

In addition to teppanyaki, there are also a selection of “ala minute” dishes you can order to be served to your table. These includes ebi tempura hand roll, California hand roll, salmon teriyaki, saba shioyaki, sanma shioyaki, chicken teriyaki, sawara teriyaki, tempura moraiwase, and kaki furai.

Some of these dishes tend to get tepid & tired looking on a buffet spread if they’ve been left there for a while, so having them freshly made to order is a great idea.

beautifully crafted desserts
beautifully crafted desserts

Then of course, there’s Japanese desserts such as shiratama zenzai (red bean soup with mochi), manju (traditional Japanese confection), and assortments of ice cream, including one of my favorites – black sesame flavor.

fruits, black sesame ice cream, onsen eggs, Haze & KY
fresh fruits, black sesame ice cream, onsen eggs, Haze & KY

I really enjoyed the buffet spread, and though it offers pretty decent value for the price at a up class hotel restaurant in the heart of KL. If you’re up to some authentic Japanese buffet, do not that the last day to enjoy this at Tatsu is at the end of November 2016, don’t miss out.

map to Intercontinental Hotel, KL

Address:
Tatsu Japanese Cuisine
Intercontinental Hotel

165 Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.159767, 101.718045
Tel03-2161 1111
Webwww.intercontinental.com

It was my supreme ignorance that one of my favorite no frill Chinese restaurant chain now has a branch in KLCC – Kiki Taiwanese Cuisine, by the same people that brought us Fong Lye at Gardens.

Kiki Taiwanese Restaurant, 4th floor KLCC
Kiki Taiwanese Restaurant, 4th floor KLCC

Like the other 4th floor restaurants on Suria Mall, Kiki has a modern interior decoration with table arrangement centered towards packing as many people as possible without it being a fire hazard. That’s fine and dandy for quick afternoon lunches for the most part, but not exactly a place you’d want to bring your Valentine’s date for a quiet & private dating session over lunch.

3 cup chicken set (RM 23.80)
3 cup chicken set (RM 23.80)

Most dishes come in the form of set menus with rice/noodle, soup, vegetable, and some tidbits in addition to the main ingredient. They are generally priced at around RM 20+ to RM 30+ and served quickly, which is great for office lunch crowds.

mixed seafood & bitter gourd set (RM 35.80)
mixed seafood & bitter gourd set (RM 35.80)

The three dishes we had – 3 cup chicken set (RM 23.80), mixed seafood & bitter gourd set (RM 35.80), and steamed fish with pineapples & Taiwan marinated sweet bean (RM 23.80) were pretty much within expectations when it comes with taste, and definitely a little over the top in terms of portion. While you don’t get any premium ingredients (example: fish would be tilapia), the quality is more than justifiable for the price stated on the menu.

steamed fish with pineapples & Taiwan marinated sweet bean (RM 23.80)
steamed fish with pineapples & Taiwan marinated sweet bean (RM 23.80)

Overall, despite the crowd, Kiki delivers pretty much as well as their sister branches at Gardens and other locations. Would definitely not mind going again.

my lunch partners at Kiki Taiwanese Restaurant, KLCC
my lunch partners at Kiki Taiwanese Restaurant, KLCC

map of KLCC

Address:
Fourth Level, Suria KLCC
Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.158126, 101.711833
Tel03-2166 9699

It’s a bit of a tradition that our group of colleagues at work takes turn to buy lunch for everyone, usually at the frequency of about once a year or so (when got bonus lah). Several weeks ago, it was Iman’s time, and she managed to get another colleague to recommend a “new to us” place – Fatimah at Kampung Baru.

Fatimah Selera Kampung, at Kampung Baru
Fatimah Selera Kampung, at Kampung Baru

In a way, many of the Malay restaurants in Kampung Baru offers similar dishes at first glance, and it usually takes someone with experience in the area to know which are the must-order dishes in certain restaurants. For Fatimah Selera Kampung, what I enjoyed most was their daging salai, prawn gulai, and most definitely, the tempe. If you’re a fan of tempe, don’t miss it.

However, the true star at this restaurant, to me, has got to be their killer jangung drink. It’s basically shaved iced with corn, and it’s really, really awesome. If you’re a fan of ais kacang, this is a little bit like that, but better.

plenty of local dishes to choose from, including daging salai
plenty of local dishes to choose from, including daging salai

Additionally, they also serve ikan bakar, asam pedas, ikan masak lada, ikan goreng asam, rendang, ulam, and more. For the lone rangers, there are also nasi/mee/meehun/koay teow goreng.

jagung ais is not to be missed!
jagung ais is not to be missed!

Prices at Fatimah Selera Kampung is in tune with other such places in Kampung Baru. You may also want to check out Makanan Padang Asli (if you’re a tunjang/beef tendon fan) and Grand Garuda (for another nasi padang alternative) if you’re around the area.

map to Fatimah Selera Kampung

Address:
Fatimah Selera Kampung
5, Jalan Haji Yahya Sheikh Ahmad,
Kampung Baru, 50300 KL
GPS3.167255, 101.704149
Tel03-2692 1073

Chinese New Year is around the corner, so I guess it is appropriate to participate in at least one CNY dinner review session, and since Intercontinental Hotel is nearby my workplace as well as having a sterling reputation in their culinary department, I decided that paying a visit to their Tao Chinese Cuisine for this very purpose should be a rewarding experience, and indeed it was.

Tao Chinese Cuisine at Intercontinental KL, with Chef Wong Lian You
Tao Chinese Cuisine at Intercontinental KL, with Chef Wong Lian You

Tao is headed by Chef Wong Lian You, who joined Intercontinental since 2012 to develop the concept behind this restaurant. The good chef has a long list of awards won in competitions, but above all, he is also humble character who does not shy away from being bold with his culinary inventions.

The CNY menu starts from 11 January to 22 February, 2016 and priced from RM 1,888. There’s also a 20% discount with payments made before 18 January 2016, but I guess this article is a little too late for that.

For our session, we tasted the Opulence set menu 3, priced at RM 2988 for a full table. A bottle of wine comes compliment with the dinner.

Bird’s nest with passion fruit sauce yee sang
Bird’s nest with passion fruit sauce yee sang

We started out with a rather special yee sang dish invented by Chef Wong – bird’s nest with passion fruit sauce yee sang. Other than traditional yee sang ingredients, there’s deep-fried salmon skin and bird’s nest in the mix, the use of fresh passion fruit as the base instead of palm sauce also made the experience rather unique.

I find myself enjoying it a bit too much actually.

Double-boiled fish maw with sea treasure soup
Double-boiled fish maw with sea treasure soup

Next up was double-boiled fish maw with sea treasure soup. The soup is served in individual bowl and packed with flavors  – there’s scallop, abalone, mushroom, chicken, and of course, fish maw. Certainly very satisfying, and beat the radish soup from my own kitchen by about 26.2 miles.

Braised eight treasureS duck
Braised eight treasures duck

Braised either treasure duck show cases the chef’s skill in combining different traditional ingredients in a duck braised to perfection. I don’t want to attempt to pretend that I remember the different individual ingredients, and was too busy chomping down the dish while other more serious journalists were taking notes.

Steamed Soloman star garoupa, stewed abalone with sea cucumber
Steamed Soloman star garoupa, stewed abalone with sea cucumber

CNY dinner menu is never complete without fish, and for this we have steamed Soloman star garoupa with braised tangerine skin, ginger, garlic and mushroom sauce. The fish was good and certainly packed with flavor, the tangerin skin gave it a bit of sophistication not usually associated with Chinese style fish. Part of me still want to have the good old old fashion steamed variety with soya sauce though.

Another classic dish served was the stewed abalone with sea cucumber and bean curd skin bag. This dish was executed as good as any I’ve tried in the past, and abalone is never disappointing.

Wok-fried AlaskaN king crab leg with salted egg sauce, lap mei fan
Wok-fried Alaskan king crab leg with salted egg sauce, lap mei fan

Fifth dish in the 7-course dinner is one that combines luxury with modern, perhaps Malaysian Chinese style of cooking – wok-fried Alaksan king crab leg with salted egg sauce.  Rich, strong tasting, and certainly delicious, the crab leg is also easy to handle and a definite joy to eat.

The penultimate dish was chef Wong’s lap mei fan – steamed glutinous rice with preserved duck leg, salted egg yolk and dried oyster. If you still have space left in your stomach by then, this dish will fit the bill just nice, if not, packing it home for next day’s breakfast is certainly a good alternative.

Pan-fried “ninko” with sesame seeds, salted bean paste dumpling served with chilled peach gum, papaya, snow fungus and glutinous dumpling in soya bean
desserts to end the night, KY & Xing Yi

For dessert, we had pan-fried “ninko” with sesame seeds, salted bean paste dumpling served with chilled peach gum, papaya, snow fungus and glutinous dumpling in soya bean, which actually sounds like two different dishes to me. I absolutely loved the ninko which carries a taste not entirely unlike salted caramel mixed with lotus paste + nian gao, you have to try it! The soya bean dessert also served as good and slightly sweetish ending to the awesome 7-course dinner.

I want to thank Lisa & Justina for the invitation, and Xing Yi for being the stand-in partner in crime for this session.

map to Intercontinental Hotel, KL

Address:
Tao Chinese Cuisine
Intercontinental Hotel

165 Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.159767, 101.718045
Tel03-2161 1111
Webwww.intercontinental.com