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Category / PJ area

As someone who’s born and bred in Penang, we obviously love our hawker dishes, and hence it is always a mission for many of us Penangites to find the local taste right here in KL whenever we can.

New Apollos kopitiam at USJ 4
New Apollos kopitiam at USJ 4

Now when most think about hawker foods in Penang, curry mee, prawn mee, laksa, and char kuih teow is often high on the list, and if you mention kuih teow th’ng (or kuih teow soup), many don’t even realize how difficult it is to find a place that offers the dish here in KL. Hence when I accidentally ended up at Restaurant New Apollos in USJ 4 and saw this stall, I knew it was something I had to order.

proper Penang style kuih teow th'ng
proper Penang style kuih teow th’ng

The operator (not the one in the picture, she was just the helper) speaks Penang Hokkien, which passed the first litmus test whenever I order Penang food.

When the bowl of kuih teow soup arrived, I was already pretty happy. The dish looked the part, with three fishballs, shredded steamed chicken, a few slices of fish cakes, vegetable, fried garlic, and a few bits of lard.

I was well satisfied with the kuih teow soup
I was well satisfied with the kuih teow soup

As for the taste, this RM 5 bowl of goodness hits all the right spots. It might lack strips of duck blood, but the fish balls and fish cakes had the right texture and tasted rather good. Portion was not overly big like other KL hawker dishes, and the shredded chicken cooked just right as well.

In fact, I liked it so much I rode all the way from Damansara Perdana to USJ 4 just for this yesterday. This kuih teow soup is now on the top of my list so far as Klang Valley is concerned.

map to New Apollos kopitiam, USJ 4

Address:
Restaurant New Apollos
2, Jln USJ4/6B
Subang Jaya
GPS: 3.051770, 101.576209
Hours: Lunch and Breakfast, Closed on Tuesdays

Fifth review on this buka puasa buffet 2014 series is the Seenak Citarasa Malaysia buffet dinner at Empire Hotel’s Kitchen Art Brasserie.

Located at Subang Jaya right next to the iconic Subang Parade, the hotel can be access directly via Empire Mall with the two sharing the same parking arrangements. Not having to pay more just because you’re in a hotel instead of the mall is surely a minor bonus.

Seenak Citarasa Malaysia buffet at Empire Hotel
Seenak Citarasa Malaysia buffet at Empire Hotel

Kitchen Art Brasserie is located at hotel’s level 2, which somehow translate to just a floor above the top floor of Empire Mall.

I like the whole set up, with a glass walls by two sides overseeing the ever busy Federal Highway and tastefully done interior decoration.

ulam, cold seafood, fruits, salad, salted duck egg
ulam, cold seafood, fruits, salad, salted duck egg

The Seenak Citarasa Malaysia buffet dinner is priced at RM 108++ for adults, RM 88++ for children and senior citizens. The buffet is available from 28th June to 29th July, 2014.

Interestingly, diners will also standa a chance to win a Hermes watch worth about RM 12k by taking part in a contest during this ramadan period.

traditional main dishes from different states in Malaysia
traditional main dishes from different states in Malaysia

The buffet spread at Empire Hotel celebrates each of the 13 states in Malaysia and features more than 60 different main dishes in addition to starters such as ulam, prawns, mussels, salted duck egg, clams, salads, and even cendol and rojak.

There’s also a Ghazal band performing nightly, in line with the whole local theme.

cucur udang, ikan bakar, nangka, and of course - roast lamb
cucur udang, ikan bakar, nangka, and of course – roast lamb

To make things simple, here are the list of 13 traditional flavors from the different states:

  • sup gear box (beef shank broth with spices) – Utara Kedah
  • briyani ayam dengan kismis (braised chicken with golden raisin – Johor
  • daging masak lemak dengan nangka muda (beef cooked in turmeric gravey with young jackfruit) – Negeri Sembilan
  • terong goreng berlada dengan ikan bilis (fried eggplant with chilli and anchovies) – Selangor
  • ikan masak asam pedas bunga kantan (braised fish in tamarind gravy with ginger flower) – Melaka
  • gulai kawah Terengganu dengan kantang (beef curry with potato) – Terengganu
  • ikan patin masak lemak tempoyak (fish cooked with spicy durian gravy) – Pahang
  • ayam bakar berempah (roasted chicken with Malay spices) – Kelantan
  • briyani kambing (mutton cooked in local spices) – Pulau Pinang
  • hivana roe fish – Sabah
  • braised chicken in bamboo – Sarawak
  • bubur gandum – Perlis
  • rendang tok – Perak

Pinky and I absolutely loved the sup gearbox, check out how huge it is
Pinky and I absolutely loved the sup gearbox, check out how huge it is

Of the various offerings, I particularly enjoy the sup gear box the most. The serving was huge, with the bone neatly saw off at one end and a straw provided so that you can suck out the marrow, absolutely fantastic!

The roast lamb here, as with the other buffet spread I tried so far, did not disappoint. I also really enjoyed the fish gravey with bunga kantan and of course, ulam with intoxicating sambal.

selection of western desserts and traditional kuih, including tapai
selection of western desserts and traditional kuih, including tapai

As for desserts, there’s a rather wide selection of local kuih as well as a selection of Western desserts. I picked tapai ubi and was obviously not disappointed. For those who fancy the traditional sweet drinks popular during Ramadan, there’s more than half a dozen colorful cold drinks to choose from, as well as teh tarik, of course.

Empire Mall map

Address:
Kitchen Art Brasserie, Level 2,
Empire Hotel, Jalan SS16/1,
Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan
GPS: 3.082109, 101.582716
Tel03-5565 1228

Continuing with the buka puasa buffet 2014 series, today we look at the buffet offering at Paya Serai, PJ Hilton hotel. This year, the restaurant is headed by executive chef Ridzuan Malek, who has over 20 years of culinary experience to present a buffet spread of local specialities in unique ‘kampung-style’ stalls and live cooking stations.

The spread here is impressive, and definitely the largest of the lot that I’ve sampled in 2014 with over 300 local delicacies to choose from. You can come back here half a dozen times and not taste the same dish twice.

roast lamb, chicken curry laksa, asam laksa, fruits, at Paya Serai, PJ Hilton
roast lamb, chicken curry laksa, asam laksa, fruits, at Paya Serai, PJ Hilton

The Ramadan buffet promotion runs from 7pm to 10pm daily and are priced at RM 139++ per adult and RM 79++for children. For the last five days of Ramadan (July 23 – July 27, 2014), the same spread is priced at RM 119++ per adult.

For the selection you get here, it is worth what you’re paying. On top of the food, there’s also entertainment from a local traditional music group from Bale Bale Entertainment to add to the festivity.

mussels and prawns on ice, salted fish, ulam-ulam, lemang, and even tempoyak
mussels and prawns on ice, salted fish, ulam-ulam, lemang, and even tempoyak

Now lets talk about what you’ll find at the buffet spread, I make no attempt to list down all the dishes, but you should get an idea of what they offer.

Pretty much everything you can find at any Ramadan buffet spread, you can find here.

Starting from appetizer, you have Thai beef salad, Vietnamese chicken salad, gado-gado, rojak, over half a dozen types of kerabu (ikan, ayam, kerabu jantung pisang, mangga muda, nangka, perut, pucuk paku, etc).

There’s also a huge selection of ulam to go with sambal belacan, cencalok, budu, sambal gesek, sambal nenas, sambal mangga, and my personal favorite – tempoyak chilli.

If you like the even more traditional appertizer, you can find ikan masin goreng belada, sambal hijau, telur masin, kacang tanah goreng berlada, petai, paru lembu, pedal ayam, hati ayam, and bergedil. These are definitely closer to kampung than the city, I love it.

chicken, beef, seafood, lamb, vegetable, in Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Western style
chicken, beef, seafood, lamb, vegetable, in Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Western style

Main dishes too is represented by classics from various states and even international cuisines. There’s fish head curry, rendang tok, ikan bakar melaka, whole roasted lamb Malay style, serawa durian and pulut, kerabu gamat and apam balik.

There’s also Chinese style mushroom and vegetable, curry prawn, asam prawn, nasi briyani, roast chicken, and more.

there's also Madras corner, Kampong Melayu corner, China Town, and Western food
there’s also Madras corner, Kampong Melayu corner, China Town, and Western food

I would guess that perhaps about 70% of the dishes available here at Paya Serai consists local cuisine originated from Malacca, Penang, Perak, Kedah, and Johor, with the remaining 30% Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Western, and other origins.

The team of 13 chefs definitely managed to impress.

satey, Mongolian BBQ, grilled fish, tempura, and kerang too
satey, Mongolian BBQ, grilled fish, tempura, and kerang too

Of the various live cooking stations, I was most impressed with the Mongolian BBQ (not that I actually managed to try all of them, to be honest). Here you basically choose one or many main ingredients such as beef, chicken, or seafood, and the chef will cook it up with an assortment of vegetable such as carrot, celery, mushroom, bell peppers and so forth.

It was a dish that I consumed on regular basis while working for a Chinese restaurant in US, this brought back the memory, and the execution was spot on.

KY & Shabana as well as Jean enjoying some durian to end the night
KY & Shabana as well as Jean enjoying some durian to end the night

To end your buka puasa session for the night, there’s an assortment of fresh fruits, air batu campur (ABC), cendol, a variety of traditional kuih, custards, mini pastries, hot desserts, cendol santan kepala muda, and last but not least – durian!

Yes, they serve durian at buka puasa, which was just brilliant.

If you’re looking for one of the biggest Ramadan buffet spread in town, check out PJ Hilton’s Paya Serai.

map to Petaling Jaya Hilton Hotel

Address:
Paya Serai Restaurant
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS3.10235, 101.64087
Tel03-7955 9122 (ext 4260)

One of the things I love about Bangkok, and Thailand in general, is definitely the street foods. Much like Penang, there are many food stalls offering a variety of different dishes at just about any street corners, and standard of those dishes are usually rather good.

Lai Thai Mini Market, Happy Mansion at Seksyen 17
Lai Thai Mini Market, Happy Mansion at Seksyen 17

Back in Malaysia, Thai food are usually found in restaurant settings. You get your tomyam, maybe pad thai, and many other dishes that goes well with rice, but there aren’t usually a good selection of individual dishes.

Good news is, there’s Lai Thai Mini Market at Seksyen 17 offering just that.

Thai pork leg rice, rice noodle in hot & sour soup
Thai pork leg rice, rice noodle in hot & sour soup

Lai Thai is actually a mini market that sells a selection of Thai grocery products, including snacks, condiments, sauces, and even some fresh produce. However, the front of the shop/restaurant also spot a well equipped stall that offers some 20 different dishes to be consumed on the spot of taken away.

The operators are Thai, and so are all the workers. Stepping into Lai Thai and you’ll touch your left pocket wondering if you’ve forgotten your passport. It’s marvellous.

som tam done right, and tomyam soup
som tam done right, and tomyam soup

The food here are prepared the traditional way with traditional ingredients, and it’s also the only place I’ve found serving pork leg rice!

So far I’ve tried the pork leg rice, tomyam, pork with rice noodle in hot and sour soup, red ruby (dessert), and their Thai ice tea. We weren’t disappointed at all.

Thai ice tea for drinks, red ruby for dessert
Thai ice tea for drinks, red ruby for dessert

Other dishes to check out would be pad Thai, dry noodle, lime salad with pork, green curry, fried petai, fried rice, papaya salad, and more!

Lai Thai also offers a selection of desserts all packed up and ready to be brought home or consumed on the spot. My housemate loved the mango sticky rice and gave it a seal of approval.

KY & Haze at Lai Thai, we love it
KY & Haze at Lai Thai, we love it

If you’re hungry for some cheap, non-halal Thai street food, check this place out.

For other porky Thai eats, check out Thai Camp at Taman Paramount, Surisit Thai kopitiam at TTDI, I’m Spicy or My Elephant at PJ Seksyen 17.

direction to Lai Thai at Happy Mansion, Seksyen 17

Address:
Lai Thai Mini Market
AG-3, Block A,
Happy Mansion, Jalan 17/13,
Section 17, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.124202, 101.634463
Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

What’s better in a cold breezy night than a bowl of piping hot Chinese tongsui (soupy dessert)?

Well, steamboat perhaps, but I suppose it’s not a great idea to sabotage my own introduction to today’s topic – the tongsui stall at Hong Kee, located at Seksyen 17′s wai sek kai.

Hong Kee tongsui at Seksyen 17
Hong Kee tongsui at Seksyen 17

Hong Kee tongsui has been in operation since eons ago, the stall is situated at Seksyen 17 outdoor wet market area and opens for business from about 6pm or so till late.

The stall offers over a dozen hot tongsui and a selection of cold tongsui as well. Bubur chacha, red bean soup, green bean soup, peanut soup, you name it, they usually have it.

To order, you simply pick up an empty bowl and go about self-service style. I actually like it that way since we get to pick more of certain types of ingredients to our liking.

a selection of piping hot and cold desserts
a selection of piping hot and cold tongsui

Most tongsui are priced at around RM 2 per bowl, with few exceptions. If you’re up for a bowl of delicious no-frill tongsui, here’s definitely a place worth checking out.

direction to PJ Seksyen 17 wai sek kai

Address:
Hong Kee
Jalan 17/27
Seksyen 17,
46400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.129267, 101.634601