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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Category / State/Old Town

Last week we attended the second buka puasa dinner buffet review session at Armada Hotel’s Utara Cafe, a place Haze and I went  earlier in the year for their Mother’s day promotion buffet and was largely left impressed.

We braved the pre-buka puasa traffic in town (should have taken the LRT) and ended up parking a couple blocks away from the hotel to get there in time to take these photos before they were on everyone else’s plates. Ramadan is a month with fantastic food offerings at the markets and hotels alike, but the traffic.. that part I don’t like nearly as much.

buka puasa at Armada's Utara Cafe - Sinar Ramadhan Al-Mubarak
buka puasa at Armada’s Utara Cafe – Sinar Ramadhan Al-Mubarak

Anyway, themed “Sinar Ramadhan Al-Mubarak“, the buka puasa buffet at Armada features over 100 dishes of traditional delicacies as well as some of the more familiar international offerings that wouldn’t be unfamiliar to those who has been to the Utara Coffee House.

These dishes are the brain child of Executive Chef Chew Teik Chye and his team of chefs.

ulam, kuih, rice, and even western style pastry too
ulam, kuih, rice, and even western style pastries

To start, there are kerabus, lemang, seruding, traditional kuih, and ulam with 4 different types of sambal, but unfortunately no tempoyak. Western style pastries are available as well, and if you are a fan of kerabu, they have kerabu mangga, kerabu sotong, kerabu kacang botol, and kerabu soo hoon.

lamb, beef curry, salad/rojak bar, roti jala, roti canai
lamb, beef curry, salad/rojak bar, roti jala, roti canai

There are also a few dishes from Middle Eastern cuisine that made their way into this buffet line up, you can find  Qara Be Lahm El Ghanam (Pumpkin with lamb and cumin), Dajaj Mehawar (chicken with aromatic onion), Samkeh Harra Bil Kozhara (spicy fish with coriander), Fatet Dajaj (scented chicken with saffron rice), and Bayd Bil Forn (baked egg with spinach)

To be honest, those aren’t food I’m familiar with, but I did try a bit of them and my experience is a positive one.

satey, otak-otak, ikan bakar, roast lamb, nasi briyani, gulai with paku
satey, otak-otak, ikan bakar, roast lamb, nasi briyani, gulai with paku

Classic dishes such as gulai lembu (beef curry), ayam golek, pucuk paku, kambing masak merah, and many more are all present as well. Roti canai, satey, otak-otak, ikan bakar, briyani rice, and whole roast lamb too are some of the other dishes you can find. It is impossible to list them all down.

Oh, there’s also a stall where you can pick your own raw seafood and get the chef to cook it right there and then with the sauce of your choice. My advice is to try not to add bamboo clams into the mix cos the shells sometimes break and you end up having to pick them off the squid/prawns, troublesome!

sweet and sour beef, prawns, mussels, vegetables, and even duck
sweet and sour beef, prawns, mussels, vegetables, and even duck

Other than the more “typical” Middle East and Malay food, there’s also raw oysters, sushi, smoked duck, steamed fish, and an assortment of dishes representing cuisines from all over the world. The 100+ dishes can actually be a little bit intimidating if you are those sort of people who always want to try everything at a buffet.

I took about 4 plates of food (not very full lah!) for dinner, and while not everything was 100% super fantastic, they were generally pretty good, and I particularly like the duck, steamed fish, and beef curry. Oysters were plenty fresh too.

steamed fish, raw oysters, sushi, and dined with some Muslim friends
steamed fish, raw oysters, sushi, and dined with some Muslim friends

This Ramadan feast is priced at RM 85++ per person, and there’s also a 10+1 promotion applicable for voucher purchase (to be redeemed till 31st Oct 2012). There’s also a competition at  www.facebook.com/HotelArmadaPJ that you might want to check out.

map to Armada Hotel

Address:
Utara Coffee House
Hotel Armada Petaling Jaya
Lot 6, Lorong Utara C,
Section 52, 46200 PJ, Selangor
GPS3.104199, 101.640964
Tel03-7954 6888 (ext 4557)

Utara Coffee House

I first came to Restaurant Good Food in search for curry mee, and so when I went back there again to find out that the curry mee has moved (back story in Penang-One food review post), I settled for another favorite of mine instead – the Penang kuih teow soup, or kuih teow th’ng (粿條汤).

restaurant good food at PJ Old Town
restaurant good food at PJ Old Town

Kueh teow soup is a pretty common hawker dish in Penang that is akin to pork noodle in Klang Valley, their soup base is similar, but instead of everything pork, kuih teow soup usually comes with fish balls, shredded chicken (or sometimes duck, or pork), fish cake, and when you are lucky – coagulated blood (of pork or chicken/duck).

kuih teow soup with coagulated blood
kuih teow soup with coagulated blood

The stall at Restaurant Good Food is operated by an old couple who spoke Penang Hokkien (always a good sign), and the kuih teow soup indeed tasted original and comes with all my favorite ingredients, most importantly lard and coagulated blood. It was subtle yet delicious, with the only downside being their somewhat average tasting fish ball.

For kuih teow soup outside the state of Penang, this one is definitely worth eating.

map to Restaurant Good Food in PJ Old Town

Address:
Restoran Good Food
Jalan Penchala
Seksyen 51,
46000 Petaling Jaya
GPS3.087026, 101.641479
morning till 3pm, close every 1st & 3rd Sundays 

Restoran Good Food

I’m a big fan of curry mee, in fact, it is probably my second most favorite hawker dishes all of time, just right behind char kuih teow.

But unlike char kuih teow that are almost always served with the same ingredients, curry mee can be tricky. There’re the Ipoh/central region variety that comes with curry chicken, cockles, and (if  you are lucky) pork skin, and there’s the Penang version with prawns, santan based broth, cockles, and increasingly rarely – coagulated pork blood.

P/S: this stall has moved to Seapark, PJ. Click here to find out.

hail to Penang curry mee, with pork blood!
hail to Penang curry mee, with pork blood!

The Penang version curry mee isn’t the most common hawker offering in Klang Valley, and as far as I know, only a handful of  them serve up a bowl with all the ingredients. So when I found out about this curry mee stall at the newish hawker center at PJ Old Town by the name of Restaurant Good Food, I was rather excited.

prawns, cockles, blood, and tofupok
prawns, cockles, blood, and tofupok

The operator did speak fluent Penang hokkien, and the bowl of curry mee did indeed come with all the bell & whistles you’d expect – with some extra long beans & lime, but minus the mint leave (i’m nitpicking here).

Apart from the prawns being a bit smallish, this was actually a very good bowl of curry mee, it was the “right” flavor all the way down to the proper sambal with that iconic slightly burnt taste to it. I liked it.

For me, the curry mee at Restaurant Okay at SS2 still edges over this one, but I can almost never wake up in time before they are sold out (usually by 9 a.m. on weekends). This place opens till around 3pm, so hureii!

map to Restaurant Good Food in PJ Old Town

Address:
Restoran Good Food
Jalan Penchala
Seksyen 51,
46000 Petaling Jaya
GPS3.087026, 101.641479
morning till 3pm, close every 1st & 3rd Sundays 

Olympus E-PL3

Malacca Peranakan food, or better known as Nyonya cuisine to most, is one of the very few truly Malaysian food hailed from the state of Malacca, and to a slightly lesser extend, Penang too.

The Legacy of Melacca Peranakan food spread
The Legacy of Malacca Peranakan food spread

This brand of food evolved from the blend of Chinese and Malay cuisines through the inter-marriages between the Chinese migrants and local Malay during the 15th and 16th centuries. The usage of Malay spices with Chinese ingredients, or Chinese herbs with the more traditional Malay ingredients are among the unique points of Pernakan food.

Guest chef Florence Tan at Paya Serai, PJ Hilton
Guest chef Florence Tan at Paya Serai, PJ Hilton

While there are various Nyonya restaurants to be found in Klang Valley (in PJ there are Ah Tuan Ee, Bibichick, & Nyona Restaurant all at SS2), there isn’t usually any place where you can sample many different Nyonya dishes at the same time.

kuih lapis, pai tee, kuih koci
kuih lapis, pai tee, kuih koci

But for the month of June, 2011, we’re in luck. PJ Hilton have guest chef Florance Tan featuring her Pernakan food at Paya Serai, and I was among the fortunate ones to be invited to sample the spread just late last week.

popiah basah, nasi kembuli, acar awak
popiah basah, nasi kembuli, acar awak

All the usual suspects are there, pai tee, popiah basah, and a selection of Nyonya kuih as appetizers, with pai tee and popiah made fresh right in front of you too, I particularly love the kuih koci, and while the popiah doesn’t come with lard like this one at Jonker street, they are yummy too.  There’s also very “kao” and rather spicy laksa lemak too.

sambal jantung pisang, ayam pong teh, udang goreng asam
sambal jantung pisang, ayam pong teh, udang goreng asam

I know my mom will love the acar awak, a type of Peranakan salad.

There’s also sambal jantung pisang (banana flower with shell fish), ayam pong teh (a chicken dish in clay pot), udang goreng asam (similar to my asam prawn recipe but with more spices). All these dishes go very well with the nasi kembuli (rice with ghee, cinnamon, cumin powder etc).

the buffet spread at Paya Serai remains, in addition to the peranakan food
the buffet spread at Paya Serai remains, in addition to the peranakan food

If you think that’s a lot of dishes, well, they are but one of the 4 buffet lines at Paya Serai. There’s also the usual raw food & salad bar with prawns, oysters, etc. Pastry, Chinese/Malay food (there’s even tempoyak – fermented durian), Western food, and so forth. The Pernakan food is but an addition to what is already usually available.

ulam, KY & Haze, laksa lemak, and tempoyak (fermented durian)
ulam, KY & Haze, laksa lemak, and tempoyak (fermented durian)

The Legacy of Malacca Peranakan at Paya Serai runs from now till 30th June, 2011. The buffet spread is available for lunch at RM 68++ for adult & RM 45++ for child. Dinner at RM 75++ & RM 45++ for child. Opening hours are from noon to 3pm for lunch, and 7pm till 10:30pm for dinner.

For those who want to get up close to Chef Florence Tan at the exclusive private dinner on 14, 15, and 16th June and have a chance to learn the culinary tips from the good chef, the event is priced at RM 150++ per person. Make your reservation if you’re interested ya!

map to Petaling Jaya Hilton Hotel

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

GPS3.10235, 101.64087
Tel03-7955 9122

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milkadeal June 5

For the slightly more than half of the readers on this blog (who are female, HELLO!), here are some deals from MilkADeal in the Beauty and Wellness section that you might want to check out.

RM 49.90 for 1.5 hours of Swiss Signature 5 element facial + hydrating black clay etc etc (as if I really do know what they mean). RM 68 for Gelish manicure at Damansara Utama, and RM 59 instead of RM 366 for Oxygen facial & ampoule with ultra sound, etc.

I can’t say I understand half of what these days are saying, but the amount of discounts seems pretty awesome. So far I’ve bought some food deals, a Guinness deal, a spa deal, and a car polish deal from MilkADeal, I urge you to check out the site too. (OK they don’t only have just beauty stuff ya, so if you’re a boy.. ) 😀

My 4th CNY Yee Sang dinner for the year of Rabbit happened at Toh Yuen Chinese restaurant at PJ Hilton Hotel, this time thanks to the invitation from the good people at Create Studio. Yes, I thank my lucky star on privileges like these. 😀

Toh Yuen Chinese restaurant at PJ Hilton Hotel
Toh Yuen Chinese restaurant at PJ Hilton Hotel, Chef Lee

Toh Yuen is headed by Chef Lee, whose philosophy in cooking is plenty simple – traditional style with good (if not the best) ingredients, and without any addictives such as MSG. Tasty but healthy food is the emphasis around here.

To welcome the year or Rabbit, Toh Yuen is offerring 3 special set menus – Happiness (RM 888++), Fortune (RM 1188++), and Longevity (RM 1388++) for 10 pax. On this review, we sampled the Longevity menu.

another yee sang ritual, this time with abalone
another yee sang ritual, this time with abalone

As usual, yee sang was our the very first dish, and on the get go, it was already unmistakably luxurious – we had the “Fatt Choy” abalone yee sang (also sold seperately for RM 180/260/300).

Some might say this is a bit of a waste so far as the method of serving abalone goes, I must confess that it actually was rather good. Abalone surely beats Alaskan salmon in my book.

braised shark's fin soup with crab meat & roe
braised shark’s fin soup with crab meat & roe

Next on the set menu was the sharks fin soup. I’ve already made my stance and say no to sharks fin soup, so I gave it a pass. Unfortunately, I was the only one on the table to do so. Looks like more work needs to be done for the awareness in this front.

You can substitute the sharks fin soup with double boiled chicken soup, according to Chef Lee. Alternatively, the Happiness & Fortune set menu does not come with sharks fin soup either.

deep fried chicken with two tastes, stir fried sea king prawns with pineapple sauce
deep fried chicken with two tastes,
stir fried sea king prawns with pineapple sauce

So I really got started on the deep fried chicken with two tastes. A dish that is only as fancy as the name suggest, which isn’t much at all. There’s the roast chicken ala chicken rice style, and kung pao chicken in the middle. For the lack of fanciness, however, the chicken turns out to be very good where it matters – taste.  The meat was smooth, juicy, with the sauce done just right too.

We then had stir fried sea king prawns with pineapple sauce. The chef explained that this type of prawn, with its softer shell, is best eaten whole (perhaps except the head) instead of peeling the skin off. This way it allows different texture of meat and shell to be enjoyed with the pineapple sauce, pretty old way of having prawns, quite unique.

steamed pomphret with superior soya sauce
steamed pomphret with superior soya sauce

My favorite of the night has got to be the steamed pomphret with superior soya sauce. I’m positive that even my mom (who helps sell fish at wet market and usually leave the best pomphret for themselves) would approve of this beautiful specimen. Something like this can easily cost over RM 100 at wet market, especially during pre-CNY period.

Chef Lee explained that they source the fish locally instead of getting them from Thailand, which would be cheaper but of lesser quality. A lengthy lecture of the subtle differences in meat/shape/taste of pomphret from various parts of Malaysia and other places is given while we were busy enjoying this brilliant fish. It was so good, smooth, fatty, and absolutely tasty.

stewed sea cucumber & mushroom with broccoli, seafood fried rice with XO sauce
stewed sea cucumber & mushroom with broccoli, seafood fried rice with XO sauce

The stewed sea cucumber & mushroom with broccoli is another dish found in many Chinese New Year set menu. Over here at Toh Yuen the dish is prepared as good as anywhere else, and the sea cucumber was very good.

However, I would personally leave out the carrot slices as I don’t think I was the only one that sees that as a semi-failed attempt in giving the otherwise awesome dish some color (does not affect the taste).

The seafood fried rice with XO sauce is served with plenty of prawns, green onions, carrots, eggs, chicken, and other ingredients that were all somehow agreed to each other brilliantly. One of the better fried rice I had, the underlying taste of XO sauce really adds to the overall flavor too.

Michelle Ong, chilled honeydew with hasma, KY
Michelle Ong, chilled honeydew with hasma, KY

We concluded the  night with a classic Chinese dessert – chilled honeydew with hasma. For the uninformed, it’s just a wikipedia article away for you to find out that hasma is actually fallopian tubes of frogs. Nice isn’t it? I still eat them, they tastes good. *slurps*.

The set dinner (other than the fins) turns out to be pretty good, now does it worth the RM 1388++ for 10 pax price tag? The ingredients certainly suggests so, but I think a large part of it has to do with the sharks fin, something I try to get people not to consume. Draw your own conclusion.

map to Petaling Jaya Hilton Hotel

Address:
Toh Yuen Chinese Restaurant
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS: 3.10235, 101.64087
Tel: 03-7955 9122

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In unrelated news, I want you to check out Milk-A-Deal, a shiny new site that offers awesome deals.

Milk A Deal

How this work is actually fairly simple

  • There’s an active deal on the website at any one time that usually lasts only 1 or 2 days.
  • If you like the deal, buy it, then share among friends or your facebook/twitter followers
  • If the minimum number of people is met for the deal by midnight, the deal is on!
  • A link to the coupon is then given to you for printing (to redeem the deal lah..)

Recent deals include RM 30 instead of the usual RM 70 for wash & cut by senior stylist at Ivan & Max, RM 15 for a jug of Tiger at Bola Bistro and so on. Watch this blog, I have some insider’s news on upcoming deal and will share them here very soon! Go check out MilkADeal.com too!

Remember, Milk A Deal is also short for MAD 😀