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Category / Taman Desa

A few weeks ago we decided to have a little “not very surprised” birthday party dinner for Suan, one of the pioneer of Malaysian blogsphere, who also happens to be one of my dearest friends.

Since she’s been the yakitori sort of phase, we decided that Maruhi Sakaba at Taman Desa would make a good venue for this purpose. It turned out to be an excellent choice.

Maruhi Sakaba at Taman Desa, they could use a better signboard
Maruhi Sakaba at Taman Desa, they could use a better signboard

Getting to Maruhi Sakaba isn’t a problem, but identifying the exact shop lot proved to be a bit of a challenge. For some strange reasons, the owner decided that a Kanji signboard designed for ants would be sufficient. Nonetheless, if you walk towards the center of the shop lots (Faber Plaza) from Public Bank at the corner, you won’t miss it.

Interestingly, the “Japanese BBQ” at Taman Desa is situated just behind at the alleyway of Maruhi Sakaba.

chicken sashimi, baby intestine carpaccio, organ meat stew
chicken sashimi, baby intestine carpaccio, organ meat stew

There are two menus at Maruhi Sakaba, the laminated version showcase over two dozen dishes, while another portable white-board menu gives you an additional 15-18 dishes that aren’t as “permanent”.

We ended up ordering over 3 quarters of what they offer.

Lets start with the non-grilled items. Chicken sashimi (RM 15) is something that we haven’t tried before, it tasted a bit like tuna carpaccio with a slightly more chicken taste, not particularly impressive but rather interesting for a first timer. Baby intestine carpaccio (RM 10) was crunchy and rich, goes well with beer. Then there’s the organ meat stew (RM 10), with the broth so sweet we just had to order a few more bowls, you need to order this if you’re there.

pan fried egg on rice, grilled pork rice, and cold appetizers
pan fried egg on rice, grilled pork rice, and cold appetizers 

For those who want to fill up their stomach quicker, there are rice dishes such as the medamayaki (fried egg on rice, RM 7) or yakibula don (grilled pork & vege on rice, RM 20), both versions were pretty tasty according to those who ordered.

There are also some vegetarian appetizers here, including tofu and wakame salad, (RM 8), pickled cucumber (RM 5), Hiyashi tomato (RM 5), and shio cabbage (RM 5). I recommend not having these as appetizers but use these dishes as refreshers for your tongue in between the yakitori sticks that tends to be a bit more oily and savory.

chicken, pork, mushroom, tomato, okra, and even brinjal yakitori
chicken, pork, mushroom, tomato, okra, and even brinjal yakitori

Then the question is, how are the yakitoris?

Well, for the most part, they are pretty darn good. Prices per stick ranges from about RM 3 to RM 5, and service was rather fast. We never had to wait for more than 10-15 minutes for our dishes to come, so ordering in the middle of eating won’t really interrupt the “flow” at all.

I liked their chicken wings, chicken skin, and pork belly sticks, and also particularly happy that they have quite a few choices of vegetable yakitori as well. The brinjal and lady’s fingers were quite awesome too.

we sure had a great time at Maruhi Sakaba
we sure had a great time at Maruhi Sakaba, it was Suan’s birthday!

Maruhi Sakaba also serves a few types of Japanese beer and sake.

Of course, this place is not without flaws, for one, it would be great if there’s air conditioning and maybe better chairs. But for the price and quality of food and services, we’re not going to complain much. Filling up our belly with plenty of meat and a few glasses of beer totaled up to RM 40-50 per pax. Would go again.

map to Maruhi Sakaba at Taman Desa

Address:
Maruhi Sakaba
6A, Faber Plaza,
Jalan Desa Jaya,
Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.102578, 101.682947
Hours 6 pm-11 pm daily, closed on Mondays

Hidden at Taman Desa is a pretty special place, a little shack with the name 大众烧肉 (Japanese BBQ) that seems like it was lifted from one of those Chinese kungfu series of the 80s. A place where the protagonist grabs a few bites while casually kicks about fifteen person’s butt.

Within the small shack there were a few tall tables and benches, and around the area, more tables are available al fresco style. This Japanese BBQ place is a fair weathered restaurant, while there are some areas under the roof, capacity would be quite limited during rainy day, which unfortunately, would also be the best times to have BBQ around here.

small and quaint set up, charcoal fire, alfresco dining
small and quaint set up, charcoal fire, alfresco dining – perfect ambience

We were introduced to this place by Terence and Michelle (who speaks Japanese), and decided to pay a visit several weeks ago to check out what the fuss is all about.

On a weekend night, the place was fully packed. We had to wait for some half an hour before a table was available, and another 15-20 minutes before the busy waiters bother to start taking our orders.

he Genghiskhan lamb, pork ramen, and mixed vegetable
the Genghiskhan lamb, pork ramen, and mixed vegetable

Most items on the menu consists of raw meat, but for those who want to lace their stomach while waiting for food to be cooked, they serve 3 types of ramen (RM 10 each), and steamed rice is available at RM 3 per pop too. Kerol tried the ramen and reported that it was acceptable, if not underwhelming.

After we ordered our raw meat, a charcoal stove is set up between the two tables we were seated. Our first dish to go on the stove was Genghiskhan lamb (RM 20), which reminded me a little bit of bulgogi but with chunks of lamb instead. it was pretty tasty and went well with steamed rice, but portion was a little small.

various pork including three layer pork, pork liver, beef short ribs, pork tongue
various pork including  pork belly, pork liver, beef short ribs, pork tongue

When our meat finally arrives, we finally realized that “small portion” is a pretty consistent issue here.

Pork belly, shoulder loin, inside leg, neck and big intestine are priced at RM 10 per plate, while tongue, throat, liver, heart, stomach, and small intestine at RM 6 per plate. The slightly bigger plate beef short ribs was RM 15.

We didn’t order steak (RM 25) or beef brisket, ribeye, tongue (RM 10 each) though, so can’t comment on the portion.

here's four more other types of pork, including belly, shoulder loin, neck
here’s four more other types of pork, including belly, shoulder loin, neck

The meat could take a bit of time to grill, but the result was mostly positive, with the pork belly especially superb! Those layer of pork fat in between the meat were succulent and yummy (if you don’t mess up and over cooked it lah).

I’m pretty partial to the leaner cut of meat, and pork stomach (tripe) was a bit too tough to chew after grilling, I guess that’s a part of pork that’s best left stewed or cooked in soup.

we only had one stove for seven of us though
we only had one stove for seven of us though

Dining at Gerai Makan Japanese BBQ can be pretty cool, there isn’t another place that let you grill your pork with charcoal fire in that rustic environment anywhere in Klang Valley that I’m aware of.

The problem though, was that of price and service. If you really want to have a satisfying dinner, expect to dig in quite a bit to your wallet and spend at least a couple hours there.

Yuki, Horng, KY, Kerol, Michelle, Ah Chan, Ruby, Haze
Yuki, Horng, KY, Kerol, Michelle, Ah Chan, Ruby, Haze (saw BangsarBabe there too)

While I am probably never going to be a regular customer there, it’s a cool place to be once in a blue moon (they do serve pretty cheap beer, including Asahi). We also took the idea and made our own pork BBQ, I’ll share that on this space soon. 😀

map to Japanese BBQ at Taman Desa

Address:
Japanese BBQ
Center Court Plaza Faber,
Jalan Desa Jaya Taman Desa
Off. Jalan Klang Lama
58100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.1065905 , 101.6783134

Gerai Makan Japanese BBQ

Ever since the last time we went for  fish head noodle at SS20, Kerol has kept saying that I should try the fish head noodle place at Taman Desa instead.  After a few rounds of Kerol cajoling Horng (who doesn’t like fish head noodle), we finally find our way to Taman Desa a couple weekends ago to try out Woo Pin fish head noodle that I’ve heard and read quite a  lot about.

woo pin fish head noodle
no nonsense fish head noodle with meehun

At Woo Pin, they concentrate only on fish head & fish paste noodle/yee mee. You have either normal or deep fried fish head with meehun or yee mee, fish paste with the same two choices of noodle, or fish paste/fish head soup.

3 types of ingredients, 2 types of noodles, or without any noodle. That makes 9 different combinations, that’s it. No different types of fish, fish balls, or even fish fillets.

Woo Pin fish head noodle at Taman Desa
restaurant says A ONE steamboat but now it’s fish head day and night

We ordered a big bowl of fish head noodle for each person, with another big portion of fish paste soup to share (small RM 6.50, big RM 8). Food took a little while to be served even though they have plenty of workers in the kitchen, the place is simply packed the whole time we were there.

While fish head noodle around Klang Valley is usually served with evaporated milk, you can opt out and have it with clear soup. Personally I usually prefer the latter, but for this session I had it the way how most people around here would.

fish head noodle with evaporated milk, fish paste soup
fish head noodle and fish paste noodle, kerol, terence, horng

The big portion was huge, with plenty of deep fried fish head, meehun, tomato, preserved vegetable, green onion, a bit of cilantro, fried shallots, and all the other things you’d normally find in a bowl of good old fashion fish head noodle.

The soup was sweet and definitely worthy of the reputation this place has garnered over the years. As for the fish, well, they’re good but filled with plenty of bones.

I read from Chuck Palaniuk’s RANT that when there’s so much hazard in food that makes you have to eat so ever slow and carefully, it tends to bring out the full flavor as opposed to gobbling everything down without tasting much of anything. I think that certainly make sense in this case.

map to Woo Pin fish head noodle at Taman Danau Desa

This is one of the places I could go again for a bowl of good fish head noodle, perhaps to try the version without evaporated milk next time. It’s even more convenient now that they’re open from 7:30am to 10pm at night. If you haven’t gone there yet due to the fact that you can’t wake up before 2pm on weekends, now there isn’t an excuse.

Address:
Woo Pin Fish Head Noodle
Jalan 1/109F, Taman Danau Desa,
Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.09832, 101.686503
Tel: 012-201 3148

Late last month I attended an event by Text100, as usual, David was the one who invited me. The venue was at Cafe Libre, Taman Desa; as suggested by Suan to David. Since she was the one who had that brilliant idea to suggest David to host the event there, I thought it was appropriate that she drove me there. Fighting with the traffic was never really one of my favorite things to do.

Cafe Libre Happy event
I’m enjoying the sandwich!

Upon arriving, we found that the whole Cafe Libre is closed for our private function – the Happy Event. No other customers, and free food for all of us who are attending, glorious! I couldn’t really ask for more, could I? But there were really more, read on and you’ll know what I mean.

Cafe Libre Happy event
pasta and the unique orange juice + beer

After hastily exchanging cards with the Happy hGenerators and David’s colleagues, I quickly went to the buffet line without waiting for anyone to start first. The pasta and potato were very good, but my favorite for the night would be the sandwich that has thick slices of tomato in it. The tomato gave the sandwich a very juicy texture and took away dryness from the bread. It was very good.

Cafe Libre also serves one pretty unique drink – beer with orange juice. Thick slurry orange juice at the bottom of ice cold beer, tastes pretty interesting and a must try if you find yourself there.

Cafe Libre Happy event
hula hoop competition, look at Kim!

After getting our stomach filled, the real event began. Apparently the Happy Team just wanted to tell us about Happy Moments. It is pretty simple, make a video or blog post about your happy moment, submit it to the website before March 31st and the top 3 winners of each category wins RM 5,000, RM 3,000, and RM 1,000 in cash! Pretty good deal if you ask me.

Cafe Libre Happy event
everyone was truly happy, with prizes too

After telling us this, it was time for games! There were a lot of prizes given out from the hula hoops competition and the movie quiz. I got myself 2 RM 10 Jusco vouchers, so proud! I also won the first hula hoop competition, beating the likes of Jason and Su Ann! I also played Wii for the first time with Kim, beating her in the tennis game so many times it wasn’t even funny, but it was awesome. 😀

Cafe Libre Happy event
cafe libre is located at Taman Desa

I don’t remember when was the last time I had such a fun time at an event before this one. I think the Happy Team did a great job, kudos!

Address:
18, Jalan 5/109f
Plaza Danau 2, Taman Danau Desa

GPS: 3.099357, 101.687028