Category / PJ Others
One of the quintessential Malaysian breakfast is of course, nasi lemak, and sometimes nothing beats a good plate of nasi lemak with goreng ayam on a lazy weekend morning. I recently went to Ali, Muthu, and Ah Hock (AMAH) at Ara Damansara Oasis Square to try their version while having a chat with Colin, one of the co-owners of the restaurant.
Ali, Muthu, and Ah Hock (AMAH)
The restaurant is located within Oasis Square, a place that starts to look like a very nice commercial area with ample parking, good pedestrian walking space, and many restaurant choices. AMAH is one of the more unique restaurants that serves local delights such as nasi lemak, mee rebus, roti jala, Hainanese chicken rice, and so forth.
None of the item on the menu exceeds RM 10.
nasi lemak ayam at AMAH
The nasi lemak ayam (RM 9.50) comes with sambal, ikan bilis, kacang, a few slices of cucumber, fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk, and a full 1/4 fried chicken.
The rice was proper, and I was surprisingly impressed by the sambal and chicken as well, which was properly seasoned with a hint of tumeric and has a crispy skin while being juicy inside. A few asked how is this compared to the famous Village Park nasi lemak, and I’d say that they are on par, with AMAH offering a much more pleasant dining experience.
Ali, Muthu and Ah Hock
Lot B-G-01, Oasis Square Ara Damansara,
2, Jalan PJU 1A/7A, Petaling Jaya
GPS: 3.11352, 101.574612
Tel: 03-7832 3138
One of the men behind AMAH is as mentioned earlier, Colin Soh, born 1978, who is one of the prime examples of a Malaysian success story. An entrepreneur with a good vision, strong passion, and who are willing to work hard and get their hands dirty to build up their business.
Colin is co-owners the co-owner of several F&B businesses, including TDH, Hoofed, Ali, Muthu & Ah Hock Kopitiam (AMAH), and The Royal Flush.
Born and grew up in KL, Colin finished school locally before obtaining a degree in Marketing and Management with Middlesex University, UK. He then spent 3 months working at Leo Bernard before deciding to be an entrepreneur.
The first business started by Colin was actually a laundry back in 2002, with a lot of late nights, early mornings, detergent, and washing machine. It grew from a small shop to a commercial laundry factory, and by 2008, the business was sold and not long after that, TDH was born with a few other friends.
Like any other business, the F&B industry has its challenges. There are always new concepts and innovating ideas on the market. Colin and partner always try to be versatile by staying relevant with current environment and receptive to new ideas.
Other than the above mentioned restaurants, there’s also Crazy Crabs, a new restaurant that is currently being built as of writing, and a TDH flagship outlet in the pipeline.
Colin & KY at Ali, Muthu, and Ah Hock
All these hard work and dedication has brought Colin and partners awards and recognitions as well. TDH has recently been named Winner of Best Pub Grub 2013 by the Time Out Food Awards. Apart from that, The Royal Flush was also nominated for both the Best New Restaurant and Best Chinese Restaurant, respectively.
In his free time, Colin likes going to gym, biking, running, and fishing.
You can find more inspiring stories like these at malaysiaresume.com, a site for contemporary Malaysian success stories.
The story of my experience on the Seksyen 14 Hai Keng restaurant chee cheong fun started out on a Monday morning when I posted a photo of chee cheong fun at Petaling Street on instagram and facebook.
With the motorcycle as my primary transport to work, I often have the luxury of stopping by for breakfast at different places in the morning prior to office hours. A source of daily envy for many other rat racers, but I digress…
Hai Keng kopitiam, located near Digital Mall at PJ Seksyen 14
It was from there that Elie left this comment “You made me want to eat chee cheong fun. Have you tried the Section 14 one?”
A couple replies later I got the location right, and 2 days later I found myself at Hai Keng kopitiam ordering my chee cheong fun at 7:20 am in the morning.
the chee cheong fun with yong tau foo was pretty good actually
Since the stall also offers yong tau foo, I added a piece of okra and red chili to go with the small plate of chee cheong fun (total RM 3). Truth be told, it was quite delicious, the chee cheong fun was smooth, and the yong tau foo pretty decent as well. The combination did make a good breakfast and I liked it.
I posted the photo on the same social networks and immediately found out that I had actually ordered from the wrong stall! Who would have thought that there are two different chee cheong fun stalls in the same kopitiam?
this is the “correct” old school chee cheong fun at Hai Keng
So I went there again the very next day to try out the “correct” chee cheong fun stall.
Hidden at the very back of the restaurant sits this unassuming stall that is manned by an old man and his son (I assume) serving old school Ipoh style chee cheong fun. I ordered a plate that comes with the sweet sauce, chili, and a side of pickled green chili too.
The chee cheong fun wasn’t warm, and the portion cost RM 3, same as the one with yong tau foo.
But it was a totally different experience. The chee cheong fun itself just somehow got it right. There are places where you have it just a bit too blant, or too sticky, or too thick, too sweet, too something. This stall just gets it right. It was delicious, and it was worth it.
If you’re a fan of chee cheong fun, this is a stall not to miss.
That being said, I didn’t regret the one with yong tau foo either. I guess two chee cheong fun stalls can indeed coexist in the same premise.
Hai Keng is located opposite Dae Jang Gum, a pretty good Korean restaurant especially if you’re a fan of Kimchi Jiggae.
Hai Keng Restaurant
24, Jalan 14/20,
Seksyen 14 Petaling Jaya
GPS: 3.110338, 101.635315
While most bak kut teh connoisseurs will tell you that the best bak kut teh dishes are from Klang, I believe that there exists many good quality stalls and restaurants offering the same dish outside of its place of origin. Not too long ago, we went to Kg. Chempaka in PJ to try out one of the newer places in town by the name of Hou Siang.
Hau Siang bak kut teh at Kg. Chempaka
There is Klang and Teochew style bak kut teh, the former being stronger tasting, and the latter slightly sweeter and less herbal. Hou Siang bak kut teh advertised to be of 100% Klang.
The bak kut teh stall is located within the kopitiam that shares the same name. There’s no air conditioning or table cloth, and thankfully, the food was as unpretentious as the restaurant.
a no nonsense clay pot of bak kut teh
A big clay pot of bak kut teh here is good enough to share among 5-6 people. There’s the signature “big bone” with plenty of collagen & tendon, fatty meat, intestine, ribs, and pork knuckle too. It is really a no nonsense serving of bak kut teh, other than pork, bone, and soup (essentially the definition of bak kut teh,) there’s no other ingredients.
While the soup isn’t the most fragrant of strongest I’ve tasted, it is actually still very good, probably one of the better versions outside Klang.
extra tofu and innards to complete the meal
Tofu, yau char kuai, extra innards, and other ingredients can be ordered as sides, and I really like the way they serve extra soup on separate bowls for everyone and refills them constantly. I hate it when bak kut teh places are stingy with their soup, this place definitely do it right.
Shiang demonstrate exactly how big the clay pot is
Our lunch came up to be around RM 20 per person, which includes Chinese tea and plenty of pork for the day. If you’re looking for a very decent bak kut teh place around PJ, this is one place to check out.
Hau Siang Bak Kut Teh
No 496, Jalan PJU 1/6,
47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.117291, 101.599030
Tel: 016-928 7691
Being a fella from Penang, the name Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant isn’t foreign to me. The bright red signboard with a huge green lobster is a sight quite familiar to, having seen it at Gurney Drive on numerous occasions. It is also a bit of a go-to seafood restaurant for some of my extended family members.
Well, the good news is, Bali Hai is now in Klang Valley, and we went to sample their set dinner menu.
Bali Hai, now in Kota Damansara too
Bali Hai is located at Sun Suria Avenue at Kota Damansara, a stone’s throw away from Sunway Giza Mall. There is ample parking right in front of the restaurant, and we only had to pay RM 1 per entrance during our visit. It was well worth it.
Most of the tables are situated at the center area at the huge semi-alfresco dining area, but there are also some air conditioned rooms for private parties. We were seated in one such room for the session, the room comes complete with a TV & karaoke system too.
The restaurant has an impressive wall of tanks housing a huge variety of live seafood for your picking. Boster lobster from US, rainbow lobster from Indonesia, geoduck from Canada, Alaskan king crab, oyster, tiger prawns, “soon hock”, giant grouper, and even exotics such as empurau fish. You can pick your spoil, aided by clearly written prices of each spices on the side of the tank so there’d be no surprises.
I must say that Bali Hai really do live up to their tag line of “If it swims we have it”.
Canadian geoduck and lobster sashimi and steamboat
On this session, we were treated to their RM 1388 set menu which comes with 9 dishes (including dessert) for 10 pax.
Our first dish was the Steamboat Canadian Geoduck and Lobster, which were actually served raw on crushed ice with a clay pot of superior soup , tofu, string mushroom, and vegetable.
I’m a big fan of sashimi and was glad that a side of wasabi and soya sauce was provided. The fresh rainbow lobster we had was fantastic, if you haven’t had lobsters before, having them raw is a great way to really taste the sweetness of lobster, distinctly different from that of crab or prawns. I’ve had the same style of geoduck from Pantai Seafood in PJ before, and the version is equally good.
Bali Hai Siam mini lobster in claypot
After the great introductory dish, we had the Bali Hai Siam mini lobster (crayfish) in claypot. This dish has a kick, spicy and full of flavor, a welcoming change to heighten your palate after the more subtle lobster & geoduck dish. It’d go great with some steamed rice too I think. The curry has a tone of sourness to it which I really enjoyed.
deep fried thai style mackerel
Next up was the deep fried Thai style mackerel. A fish that is pretty common. The execution was good, with really crispy skin but soft, and not overcooked meat that only a high temperature fryer could achieve. The Thai style sauce in this dish is spicy and sweet, another change from the previous sourish taste.
dried shrimp with cili padi clam, beancurd with minced chicken, emperor vege
Dried shrimp with cili padi clam is as advertised, a lot of small pieces of cili padi and tiny fragrant dried shrimps in it. I felt that the clams were perhaps slightly overcooked. That or because I’m half way in my invisalign treatment resulting in uneven bite at the moment, chewing was a bit difficult.
We also had some of the softest and tastiest beancurd in the beancurd with minced chicken dish. While traditionally paired with minced pork, this pork free version actually impressed us.
Emperor vegetable with deep fried lotus root and mushroom was our green of the day, and it never disappoint, which is why emperor vegetable is among the more expensive vegetable you can get from the market.
steamed salted kampung chicken, Japanese style seafood fried rice
The lone meat dish in the set was the steamed salted kampung chicken with herbs. I love the fragrant broth, and the chicken was well flavored too. Anyone who likes kampung chicken would love this dish. As for me, I’m not a fan of kampung chicken so it was pretty neutral for me.
Our stomach stuffer at the end was the pretty unique Japanese style seafood fried rice. The blackish color you see in the fried rice is actually tiny pieces of dried seaweed. Add in tiny chunks of seafood & egg resulting in a cacophony of taste that I’ve never experienced before, it was pretty good.
The last dish on the RM 1388 set was a plate of mixed fruits, which was your typical blend of papaya, watermelon and so forth.
KY & Haze, Josen & Mei, sweet and sour lobster noodle (not part of the set)
Since it was also during their lobster promotion period, we got to sample another sweet and sour lobster noodle dish, which came with rainbow lobster drenched in sauce on top of yummy yee mee. I wish I can have this for breakfast, or lunch, or dinner actually. Was yummy!
If you’re looking for a proper seafood restaurant with plenty to choose from, Bali Hai should definitely be in your short list. From 13th Sep – 3rd Oct 2013, they also run the “buy one free ten” promotion. Buy a Boston/rainbow/Australian lobster and you get 10 free crayfish (mini lobster) for free.
The name Kampachi is not foreign to fans of Japanese cuisine in Malaysia, especially to those who gravitates towards the higher end establishments. Starting as restaurants within Equatorial hotels, the Kampachi brand now spread outside from its confine and can be found at several other locations.
The latest branch being at Plaza 33 in Petaling Jaya, and we were lucky enough to to sample the food and drinks at this fine restaurant a couple weeks ago in a private food review session with a few other like minded bloggers.
Kampachi at Jaya 33, check out the sake ball
Right by the side of the restaurant main door hung a ball of something that can be easily assumed as a hive of geometrically evolved species of bee, but is in fact, a “sake ball”. A ball made of cedar twigs traditionally hung over the door of sake breweries to signify new arrival of (high quality) sake to customers.
Appropriate here as Kampachi prides itself in stocking one of the largest selections of Japanese sake, including some hard to find “cult” sakes from exceptional breweries that are made available in Malaysia exclusively by Kampachi.
open kitchen concept, with plenty of wine and sake
Kampachi has certainly spent a lot of effort in creating a very striking interior of the 198 person capacity restaurant. A lot of traditional Japanese materials, such Japanese paper, imported floor and wall tiles, and more are applied in a contemporary way to make up a sophisticated and modern look.
I especially like the bamboo seating pods that can seat maybe up to 5-6 person that can be rotated for added privacy.
In the interest of not bothering paying customers with camera flash & loud chatters, we had the session in one of the three private rooms. Interestingly, these rooms come with a private sushi kitchen of sort, concealed by a movable panel that kinda reminds me of those cabinets that conceal TVs in the 80s.
shima aji sashimi (raw striped jack)
Our review session was of the omakase meal (priced at RM 220), which means “I’ll leave it to you”, or degustation menu in Japanese. Typically you get the freshest seasonal ingredients and chef’s favourite dishes this way.
Our first dish was the Shima Aji Sashimi, or raw Striped Jack.
Chef Looi, who carved the fish right before our eyes behind that private kitchen, told us that the very fish beautifully presented to us was still in Japan the very same morning.
To describe the fish as merely “fresh” would be an understatement. I can’t criticise any aspect of the sashimi - taste, fat content, and visual appeal were all simply spot on.
the sashimi, shake kawa salad (green vege with crispy salmon skin & salmon roe)
Cold sake is dispense from a special holder that keeps ice separate as to not dilute the drinks. While the mechanism is visually similar to milking a cow, you don’t need to squeeze or suck, just a gentle tap will do.
Our second dish was Shake Kawa Salad, green vegetable with crispy salmon skin and salmon roe. I particularly like the very thinly sliced crispy salmon skin, made available from the 2-3 whole salmon consumed here each day.
wagyu teppanyaki (grilled Australian wagyu beef)
Before continuing with more seafood, we were served with Wagyu Teppanyaki, the beef sourced from Australia, grilled medium rare, and served with the unique Kampachi truffle sauce.
The sauce is a blend of Tosa Shoyu and mushroom broth with a hint of black truffle and olive oil. I usually don’t have my beef with any condiment, but this sauce managed to make it just that much better. My only complain is that they don’t sell the sauce in bottles.
unfiltered sake, ankimo beko an (pan-seared angler fish liver with simmered radish)
In French cuisine, foie gras often signifies luxury, and in Japanese food, the equivalent would be Angler fish liver, or Ankimo Beko An.
The liver makes up quite a large part of the fish, has a very rich texture. Simmered radish is used to expertly mask any fishy taste the liver might carry to balance this unique ingredient. This was the 3rd time I had ankimo, first was in Vietnam, and second at Hokkaido Ichiba restaurant.
Following the cold sake, we were served warm, unfiltered sake. The milky color is pretty unique for usually clear looking sake, and yet was definitely smooth and leave a feeling of warmth and comfort in the stomach.
aburi sushi (seared sushi) – anago (conger eel), shake harasu (salmon belly), hotate (scallop)
miso soup with striped jack bones
What’s a omakase dinner without sushi?
Three types of Aburi Sushi (seared sushi) were chosen for the night – Anago (conger eel), Shake Harasu (salmon belly), and Hotate (scallop). Each were seared just very lightly and still partially raw at the bottom, the first time I tried sushi prepared this way and I liked it.
Miso soup was made with the bones from our first dish, and the striped jack definitely contributed to the extra sophistication in the soup that would have been quite boring otherwise.
garlic fried rice, Japanese peach, and ciki enjoy the fruits
We specially asked for garlic fried rice just cause Ciki needed some carb for her half marathon preparation, and I was glad to go along with one as well. Most definitely the best garlic fried rice I’ve had, it’s hard to explain, there weren’t any magical ingredients, just plain old rice, garlic, eggs, and such. Execution was the key, great job by the chefs.
Instead of fancy desserts, we had a couple slices of Japanese peach.
These fruits were priced at RM 66 per peach, and “WHAT?!!!??” was my initial reaction. Then I took a bite, and it was a realization and instant understanding on why and how a fruit barely the size of my fist can cost more than 4 hours of solid domestic housework. You get what you paid for, it was excellent and now I’m staring at this piece of apple on my desk while writing this and dreading it.
Haze, KY, and our parting drinks – sake bomb
As for drinks, we started out with the pink colored cocktail - Blushing Maiko (trainee Geisha) to get us started prior to dinner.
After the cold and warm sake, it was a mixture of green tea with Hakushu Single Malt Whisky, interpretation of Baileys the Japanese way perhaps?
We concluded the night with Sake Bomb - shot glasses of sake lined up atop beer glasses and knocked down with Domino effects, it was quite a show and I suspect the bartender has done this a hundred times probably with water and tea before perfecting the skill. We were well impressed, and of course, had one for the road.
It was a great dinner, and I want to go back.
P/S: The famous Kampachi Sunday Buffet is back and now available exclusively at the Plaza 33 outlet, priced at RM 118++ for adults and RM 68++ for children below 10.
P1-02, First Floor
Plaza @Jaya 22
Jalan Kemajuan, Seksyen 13
Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.10988, 101.63787
Tel : 03-7931 6938
Hours: 12-3pm for lunch, 6-11pm for dinner