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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Category / PJ area

While curry may be originated from Indian cuisine, here in Malaysia, the local Chinese has since adopted many of the same spices and cooking methods and embraced the dish as their own. Of many curry dishes out there, one of my favorites has got to be fish head curry, one of those dishes that may raise an eyebrow or two if you try to describe it to Westerners.

One of the many restaurants that can cook up a pretty awesome curry fish head is Ah Lye Curry Fish Head at Subang SS19.

Ah Lye Curry Fish Head with the gang
Ah Lye Curry Fish Head with the gang

Nestled within the housing area of SS19 in Subang Jaya, Ah Lye is one of those old school type of “tai chao” restaurant that has embraced the fact that Malaysian weather and dinner is sometimes not the best combination, hence the place is equipped with air conditioning, albeit with otherwise very basic set up.

Parking is quite a straight forward affair as well since it is not a busy commercial area like other shop lots areas in Subang.

curry fish head, asam prawn, fuyung egg
curry fish head, asam prawn, fuyung egg

It was a dinner for 7 pax, and we naturally ordered 6 dishes to share around.

The claypot curry fish head was definitely on point. Loaded with generous amount of okra, brinjal, and fish head, it reminds me of the Nyonya version that mom used to (and still) makes. I love it.

The asam prawn here is quite proper as well, with thick soya sauce covering those pretty decent size prawns. It would have been perfect if they make it slightly more charred.

Fuyong egg provided even more seafood on our third dish with bounty from the sea, if you have a history with gout, this may not be the most healthy diet.

fried tofu skin, namyu pork, vege
fried tofu skin, namyu pork, vege

Stuffed tofu skin and fried namyu pork provided some differing texture to our dinner, they were crunchy as they are savory, goes well with steamed rice.

Of course, we always have a vegetable dish to provide a bit of balance to the whole menu, choy sum served this purpose well in this case.

Expect to spend around RM 20-30 per pax here, and it will be well worth it.

map to Ah Lye curry fish head, Subang Jaya

Address:
Ah Lye Curry Fish Head
No. 28, Jalan SS19/1G,
47500, Subang Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.075912, 101.575388
Tel03-5638 0468

Many many years ago, before the existence of this website and when I was still a student in the States, we took a super long road trip down to New Orleans for spring break. It was a beautiful city with quite a bit of culture, and it was also the first time I had Louisiana style seafood, with crayfish, shrimps, and those really distinctive sauce.

A few weeks ago, I had the same type of seafood treatment for the second time of my life, right here at PJ SS2’s Crab Factory.

Crab Factory at PJ SS2
Crab Factory at PJ SS2

Crab Factory has been in existence for almost 3 years now, situated just right across the road from McDonald’s in the busy commercial area that is PJ SS2. Parking can sometimes be a challenge at this area, especially on a Monday night when Pasar Malam is in full swing. Which isn’t really a problem since Crab Factory smartly chooses Monday to be their rest day.

menu with price list on the table, and on the wall
menu with price list on the table, and on the wall

The restaurant is tastefully decorated with very practical table arrangment fit for group and couple dining as well. For those who are worried about going out of hands in terms of budgeting for a seafood feast, the prices are well written on the wall, in the menu, as well as their website at crabfactory.com.my

brown crabs in signature southern bang sauce
brown crabs in signature southern bang sauce

The ‘standard operating procedure’ when it comes to a shell-out type of restaurants like this is a little bit different from the conventional seafood restaurants many of us are familiar with. There’s no fork & spoon, chopsticks, or even gloves.

crawfish in zesty lemon, shrimp with garlic butter
crayfish/yabbie in zesty lemon, shrimp with garlic butter

The seafood is poured onto your table that is laced with a giant piece of food grade wax paper. You then use your base hands to feed these delicious sea creatures right into your mouth ala caveman style. Quite a fun experience for most, but you’d want to make sure the nails are clean prior to dinner.

For a restaurant this size, the seafood selection is rather impressive. There are various types of crabs such as brown crab, king crab, spanner crab, and meat crab. Then there’s normal lobster, red lobster, and slipper lobster. You want shrimps? They’ve got tiger prawn, white prawn, freshwater prawn, and amaebi. Then there’s baby octopus and several types of shellfish as well.

brown crab set
brown crab set

If you can’t choose, the easiest way to start is with one of their sets. Such as the crab set we tried. In addition to your choice of crab, the set come with king white prawns, yabbies, hamaguri clams, NZ green mussels, scallop in shells, and baby octopus.

Additionally, there’s also sweet corn, chicken sausage, potatoes, french beans and shallot rice. These are the stuff that will help fill up the stomach a bit if you don’t want to overindulge yourself to way too much seafood (like we did this session)

brown crab set, mussels, and more shrimps
brown crab set, mussels, and more shrimps (spicy plum sauce)

We sampled quite a variety of offerings from Crab Factory. The crabs were really fresh, big, and very juicy. The white shrimps tend to soak up seasoning very well, while baby octopus is perhaps just a tad slightly more cooked than I’d like it to be, but I think they stay quite true to the Louisiana style.

As for the sauces, I found myself enjoying the Signature Southern Bang sauce quite a bit, but my favorite has got to be the with the butter garlic sauce, which I think let you really taste the sweetness of seafood.

good times, and extremely full stomach
good times, and extremely full stomach

Overall it was quite a fun experience, the only problem I had was trying to operate the camera while eating with my bare hands (many trips to the water basin).

If you want to treat yourself some out-of-the-norm seafood feast, this is certainly a worthy option.

Here are several news worthy items you may find useful:

  • Valid till the 15th of January 2017 – Double Trouble- 2 L Crabs for RM120 only (1.2-1.4kg)
  • Seafood sets for 2-3 pax
    1) Meat Crab-M (2pcs) RM175
    2) French Brown Crab (900gm – 1kg)  RM239
    3) King Crab L 900gm – 1kg)  RM299
  • new sauce – Thai Sambal and Spicy Plum
  • Scroll down and you’ll a coupon for 25% off (valid till 31st Jan 2017)

Crab Factory at SS2

Address:
Crab Factory
19, 3rd Floor, Jalan SS2/64,
47300, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS3.118700, 101.620372
Tel03-7877 6764
Webcrabfactory.com.my

25% off discount seafood set for 2

I love myself a good afternoon snack, and when it comes to that, sometimes the options can be quite limited. There’s always the rojak, hipster cafe, and mamak, but if you want good old fashion Chinese snacks, well, they aren’t just as common. So it was quite refreshing to see that a such a place sprung up at Seapark recently by the name of Restoran Yuen Ting.

Restoran Yuen Ting, PJ Seapark
Restoran Yuen Ting, PJ Seapark

Yuen Ting is a bit of a throw back when it comes to a new restaurant, they offer old fashion deep fried Chinese pastry such as yutiao, ham chim peng, and a couple different soya bean products like soya bean drink and tofufar.

a selection of deep fried goodness & soya bean products
a selection of deep fried goodness & soya bean products

While the selection isn’t particularly extensive, the quality of product and value offered was more than decent. I liked that the soya bean drink has a bit of a gingery tint in the syrup supplied, which gives it a bit of extra complexity.

The taufoofar here is has a really smooth texture, a hallmark of any good taufoofar. Like the soya bean drinks, you can choose to have it with dark or normal sugar syrup, I almost always go for the dark version and did not make it an exception this time.

ham chim peng, soya drink, tofufar
ham chim peng, soya drink, tofufar

Overall, I’d not hesitant to return for a good & comfortable afternoon snack. While there’s no air conditioning, fancy decoration, or even IKEA sofa, this place hold its own among the newer establishments in PJ, and it is one that I believe will stand up to the test of time better than others.

map to Yuen Ting Seapark

Address:
Yuen Ting Restaurant
Jalan 21/17,
Seapark,
46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS3.109909, 101.621816 

A couple weeks ago we were invited to a food review session that promises a good dosage of “Dong Po” (東坡肉) pork belly, and since that is one of my favorite dishes of all time, it was an easy decision to not miss this one.

Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant, PJ
Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant, PJ

The restaurant is Secret Garden at Taman Megah nearby Wolf Modern Dining and almost a walking distance from our previous home in PJ, but alas, this time around it was a bit of a drive, which was fine for some a porking promise.

The restaurant is stunning, with vertical garden, beautiful wooden long table, and tastefully use of empty space. I’m going to go on a limb here to say that it is most likely attributed to the fact that the founders include an interior designer, a fine art illustrator, and a mural artist.

When the surrounding is awesome, appetite also increases, kan?

crispy fried prawn cracker
crispy fried prawn cracker

Anyway, let’s get on the food.

For the review session, we got to sample quite a few dishes from the menu, starting with the appetizer – crispy fried prawn crackers. This is not your typical prawn cracker, but rather thin layer of pastry stuffed with plenty of prawn meat in between, best enjoyed with a dip of Thai chili sauce. I had white wine to go with this, but beer would make for excellent liquid to wash this down.

home style Taiwanese chicken soup w pickled pineapple & bitter melon
home style Taiwanese chicken soup w pickled pineapple & bitter melon

Any Chinese restaurant worth it’s salt should serve up a decent bowl of hot soup.

At Secret Garden, the choice was a simple and comforting home style Taiwanese chicken soup with pickled pineapple and bitter melon. I love myself a good bowl of soup, and this version checked the box as well as any with simple everyday ingredients done right.

steamed free range duckweed fed chicken w homemade sauce
steamed free range duckweed fed chicken w homemade sauce

Up next was steamed free range duckweed fed chicken with homemade sauce. You can taste the difference in duckweed fed chicken meat compared to the normal wet market/hypermarket variety, the meat is firmer and the skin springier. With the condiments it makes for a good meal by itself with a bowl of rice.

signature Taiwanese style "dong po" pork belly
signature Taiwanese style “dong po” pork belly

Then came what I was here for – the signature Taiwanese “dong po” pork belly. I love this dish so much I actually remember where I had it the first two times – first at Chatterbox Bangsar Village, and then at Dengkil Seafood Restaurant.

If you love pork, you gotta try this dish named after the famous Chinese poet Su DongPo (蘇東坡) . The interpretation of this dish at Secret Garden is very, very good, and only made better when you have it with their super soft steamed bun. Can I get this combination for breakfast, please?

grouper fish head in yellow curry with fresh milk
grouper fish head in yellow curry with fresh milk

Perhaps to demonstrate the range of dishes this kitchen is able to come up with, we had grouper fish head in yellow curry with fresh milk next.

If really spicy and rich Indian or even Nyonya style curry is your cup of tea, this may disappoint, but if you enjoy milder curry with all the necessary ingredients with a much gentler assault on your taste buds, then this yellow curry may fit the bill. I’m a Penang boy who loves me some really spicy curry fish head, so it was just a tad underwhelming for me.

pan fried fresh king prawn with soya sauce
pan fried fresh king prawn with soya sauce

Pan fried fresh king prawn with soya sauce was my favorite seafood dish of the day. Instead of the usual tiger prawns or “meng har”, this version uses fresh water king prawns, which has big and juicy prawn head to suckle on (human cholestorel isn’t from what you eat, right?). I liked it, and wished I had some rice to go with this.

(btw I’ve published a recipe to my version here, if you care to cook your own)

homemade organic black soya bean tofu in pumpkin gravy
homemade organic black soya bean tofu in pumpkin gravy, & the hungry bunch

The last dish I got to try before we had to leave due to another appointment was the homemade organic black soya bean tofu in pumpkin gravy. I was told the tofu is made in-house, and it certainly tastes fresh as can be with the texture that’s almost like tofufar, it was nice, and pumpkin gravy certainly served as a good contrast to the salty and savory bits on top of the tofu.

our menu, and some live seafood for your picking too
our menu, and some live seafood for your picking too

Overall it was a more than satisfying dinner, and certainly an experience that is made unforgettable thanks to the beautiful dining area and excellent companions we had.

Secret Garden is current modelling the upper level and will be offering Private Dining. You give them a budget and number of pax, and the chef will come up with a menu from carefully chosen ingredients available. There’s currently no set price for Private Dining, I suppose the more you are willing to pay, the more exotic the dishes get.

Thank you Jessica for the invitation and for hosting us!

secret garden chinese restaurant, taman megah

Address:
Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant
家園私房菜 
7 & 9, Jalan SS 23/15,
Taman Sea,
47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS3.116306, 101.612408
Tel: 03-7887 6999
Site: secretgarden.my

Jacob’s Creek has a bit of a special place in my heart, for the fact that one of the first wine events I’ve ever attended back in 2009 was hosted by this very brand, so when I got the invitation for Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Wine Dinner last month, I immediately made plans to be part of the launch.

Jacob's Creek double barrel wine dinner, the menu
Jacob’s Creek double barrel wine dinner, the menu

The introduction for this special Double Barrel blend was held at Eight Gourmet Gala, with a rather big set up attended by media, celebrities, and people who has a bit of online real estate such as yours truly.

Brand Ambassador, Jenny Rothenberg was also present to explain what this whole “double barrel” is all about.

To put it simply, the wine (Double Barrel Shiraz & Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon) is matured traditionally in French and American oak barrels, before finishing it in old whiskey barrels, giving them a more complex palate.

pan seared French foie gras, with Jacob's Creek Pinot Noir
pan seared French foie gras, Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz

Anyway, to the dinner.

We started out with pan seared French foie gras, paired with Jacob’s Creek sparkling chardonnay pinot noir, the citrus and toasted cashew flavors of chardonnay marrying the fresh bread crust characteristic of pinot noir complimented the richness of pan seared foie gras perfectly. Most certainly a good start to the night.

white truffle pumpkin potage, wine barrel vs whisky barrel
white truffle pumpkin potage, wine barrel vs whisky barrel

Second course was the white truffle pumpkin potage, a thick soup that tastes like a blend of pumpkin with a hint of white truffle, which, to be honest, was not particularly very exciting for me. It was OK, but not among the best soups I’ve tried.

smoke turkey drumstick w/ Jacob's Creek Double Barrel Shiraz & Reserve Shiraz
smoke turkey drumstick w/ Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz & Reserve Shiraz

Next came the entree of smoke turkey drumstick, we had it with Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz and Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz. I thought the meat was handled very well, tender, juicy, and extremely smokey to a point of being spicy, which may not suit everyone, I liked it though.

That complimented the sweet red fruits & dark chocolate palate of Shiraz well. The direct comparison between the two Shiraz showcased differences due to additional treatment of finishing the wine in whisky barrel. Most agreed the double barrel version is a tad smoother.

pan seared Wagyu - marbling grade 9 with Jacob's Creek Double Barrel Souvignon
pan seared Wagyu with Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Cabernet Souvignon

Then came my favorite dish of the night – pan seared Wagyu (marbling grade 9). The meat is done medium rare with very little distractions in terms of finishing. It was positively satisfying, with Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Cabernet Souvignon doing an excellent job as accompanying side kick. A good red with a fine piece of meat never disappoint.

poached lobster with truffle garlic oil
poached lobster with truffle garlic oil

Another option for main was poached lobster with truffle garlic oil, a fine looking dish but unfortunately suffered slightly from being overly cooked in this instance. The seafood would have served as a good companion to the Cabernet Souvignon otherwise.

premium chocolate & French macaron for dessert
premium chocolate & French macaron for dessert, bok & sycookie

We ended the night with a simple dessert of chocolate & French macaron, a sweet ending to a pretty special night hosted by Jacob’s Creek. Looking forward to the next event and thanks for the invite!

map to Sunway Pinnacle Annexe

Address:
Eight Gourmet Gala
Suite G-01, Ground Floor,
Pinnacle Annexe, Bandar Sunway,
47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor
GPS3.070381, 101.609452
Tel017-948 8684