If you haven’t check out the inaugural The Star People’s Food Awards yet, you should. Head to mob.com.my to nominate and vote for the different categories of food every month for a total of 12 months, from June 2014 to May 2015.
I’m honored to be chosen as one of the seven judges for this awards, and last week, five of us met up at Menara Star for a small get-together and had a little chat. The following article is the result from the meet up.
The article is shamelessly reproduced from The Star Online titled “More than just good taste” on the Saturday, 12 July 2014 and written by Kathleen Michael.
Ready to eat and decide: (from left) Wong, Kar-Yeong, Adly, Wan and Yong
are in the line-up of judges for The Star People ’s Food Awards
Since June, The Star in collaboration with Metro Online Broadcast (MOB), a citizen journalism portal, has been calling out to street food lovers to nominate and vote for their favourite street food eatery.
The initiative is to recognise the best Malaysian street food in the Klang Valley, aptly named The Star People’s Food Awards.
Each month, a new street food category is introduced and readers nominate and vote for their favourite category-based street food.
The categories include nasi lemak, chicken rice, roti canai and nasi kandar.
The award was set up to give recognition to restaurant or vendors who continue to excite their clientele’s taste buds.
It also hopes to promote and encourage culinary excellence in street food culture while preserving the country’s food heritage.
The people powered award is not just based on public opinion, as part of the decision is made by an esteemed panel of judges.
There are seven judges who know where to head to for the best of the best, but are able to debate on all things street food.
The judges comprise of blogger at pureglutton.com Chris Wan, food adventurer and blogger at KYspeaks.com Kar-Yeong, PR consultant, writer and blogger at jommakan.blogspot.com Alice Yong, FriedChillies founder Adly Rizal, HungryGoWhere Malaysia managing editor Joyceling Tully, Star2 Features senior editor Julie Wong and StarMetro deputy editor Sam Cheong.
Five of the seven judges sat down with StarMetro to share their opinion about the awards and the state of street food in Malaysia.
Kar-Yeong likes the idea of championing street food because he was of the opinion that the street food culture was slowly dying in the country.
“As long as people are aware of street food and where to have them, it keeps the street food culture alive and I’m glad to be a part of it,” he said.
Out of the 12 categories, the group agreed that they were looking forward to thepopiah and nasi lemak categories.
These judges love their street food so much that when asked, “What’s your favourite street food?”, StarMetro was given the grunt of despair by judges.
“We can’t just pick one. We need the option to select at least three,” Kar-Yeong said.
The judges agreed that roti canai and nasi lemak would stand at the top of the list.
As food critics, there are certain things they will look out for when judging the eateries and their food.
Wan said taste and price mattered when it came to choosing street food.
Wong said her pet peeve was the excessive use of Monosodium glutamate (MSG) by street food vendors while Adly said great street food would depend on the consistency and passion of the cook.
“Good food in Malaysia is easily accessible at a good price. Those who make good street food are the ones who do not put lousy ingredients and are passionate about their food,” he said.
He is against stalls or restaurant that lie to consumers about the food served.
“There are so many who claim they serve Penang char kuey teow (mind you, this dish is number three in his top three list) and then when you try it, it is nothing compared to the real thing,” he said.
These days, it is also common to see foreigners as cooks, dishing up street food.
“The taste changes as they wouldn’t know how it is meant to be,” he added.
For Kar-Yeong, time spent waiting for his food plays a role in determining how he would rate his meals.
“I can tolerate waiting for about 45 minutes, and will probably return to the shop once more,” he said.
Wan and Yong agree that Malaysian culinary students did not take pride in the street food culture.
“They need motivation like the recent win by a Malaysian in Masterchef UK to tell them that Malaysian food is on par with Western cuisine.”
“Otherwise, they take street food for granted,” they said.
They also stressed that there should be classes to encourage Malaysian culinary students on local dishes and not just Western meals.
The judges agreed that besides highlighting locations with great street food, the awards would also help Malaysians find restaurants or vendors who were unknown to the masses.
“I didn’t know about Restaurant Prosperity Bowl and when it was nominated, I tried it and enjoyed their chicken rice,” Yong said.
The judges also agreed that the quality of street food was changing and the awards would hopefully help restore it to its former glory, instead of allowing it to deteriorate.
The public can take part in nominating and voting for the best street food category each month by signing up on mob.com.my
Public nomination for the current best roti canai category is now over and voting will begin on July 15 to midnight of the last day of the month.
The official announcement of the award winner and prize winners will be announced on the first week of the following month.
For details, on the Star’s People Food Awards, visit www.mob.com.my
Selamat berpuasa to my Muslim friends!
In a short few weeks it will be Hari Raya, and many of us, Muslim or otherwise, will be taking the opportunity of the holidays to travel back home to visit our love ones. To ensure a good and safe journey home, it is imperative that we get our vehicles be in a fit condition.
For that, Carama by Castrol has something on offer for everyone with their Safe Balik Kampung Promotion - for only RM 128.00, you get an oil change, filter, safety check, and brake inspection worth RM 200.00.
Carama by Castrol is the first online service for trusted car care in Malaysia. With a huge network of certified and listed car workshops (200+) in Klang Valley. This help removes the doubt of choosing the right workshop as the certified shops had to undergo a rigorous accreditation process that assure customers of quality of workmanship, skills, and equipment.
The Carama site also provides one of the most invaluable features we’ve been waiting for – workshop reviews from customers. In addition to the certification process, this really helps us to choose the workshop we can trust without having to resort to just asking around for recommendations.
search for workshop on Carama
Using the service of Carama is simple. First, head to carama.com, choose your car make from the drop down menu and search for the workshop by location. A listing of workshop matching the search criteria will appear, alongside a pretty handy map.
Clicking on the workshop of your choice will bring you to the page that shows a photo of the workshop and other important details such as opening hours, full address, phone number, and more.
booking a workshop on Carama
Booking an appointment is as easy as filling up the form by keying in your vehicle’s information and choosing the timeslot convenient for you, and you’re done!
Bring the voucher to the workshop to get your car serviced, it’s that simple.
One of the service centres certified by Carama
The best thing about the service is that in addition to oil change and filter change, there’s also a complimentary 15-point Safety and Health inspection for your vehicle that includes the following:
In total, the packge is worth RM 200.00
Castrol engine oil is used
Since my car is currently at the paint shop, a friend of mine gave Carama a try and reported very positive experience (not unlike the old Castrol Auto Serivce I tried in 2011).
The workshop has a air conditioned waiting room with free drinking water and a TV for you to chill while the car is being serviced. The mechanic was very professional and took good care of the car while servicing it. It was overall a very fast and simple process that took less than an hour to complete.
So for this Balik Kampung season, head to Carama by Castrol and get your vehicle ready for the long ride home! Remember to use the RAYA128 code.
This is the 6th review on this buka puasa buffet 2014 series, and this time we check out the Balik Kampung Buffet at Grand Hyatt KL’s JP Teres restaurant right here in the heart of the city.
at JP Teres, Grand Hyatt KL with Rizal & Shabana
Grand Hyatt is located right between Mandarin Oriental and the KLCC Convention Centre right on Jalan Pinang. In fact, you can walk from KLCC to the hotel within a few minutes.
While the lobby and flagship restaurant is located on the top floors of the hotel, JP Teres, the restaurant that specialize in local cuisine is on the ground floor to the right as you walk into Grand Hyatt KL.
a variety of kurma, ulam, acar, and salad
Like the whole of Grand Hyatt, JP Teres is a pretty classy and beautifully decorated restaurant. There’s both indoor and outdoor seating areas, with several open concept show kitchens not unlike the arrangement at Thirty8.
The Balik Kampung buffet, priced at RM 148++ for adults and RM 74++ for children, is available from 30th June to 25th July 2014.
Malay kuih, ice cream roti, kek lapis Sarawak, and the all important tapai
While many hotels try to have a mix of Western and even Japanese cuisine in their buffet spread, JP Teres concentrate solely only local delights.
I personally love this idea and believe that this is the direction that will help keep our traditional food culture in Malaysia alive. If you have friends from outside Malaysia and wish to bring them for some local cuisine in a classy place, JP Teres should be pretty high on the list.
dhal tadka, nasi, lamb curry, chicken tikka masala,
paneer makhani, bhindi, do pyaza, sambal, chicken curry
For the Balik Kampung buffet, there are hundreds of dishes to choose from.
Starting from the cold selection you’ll find rojak buah, ulam-ulam, acar, kerabu daging, kerabu udang, kachumbar salad, tofu salad, and more.
To go with the ulam, there’s sambal balacan, cincacluk, air asam, cili kicap, budu, sambal kelapa, and chutney. The only thing missing is tempoyak.
ikan bakar, roast lamb, otak otak, and freshly made pohpiah
Like most every respectable buffet for this holiday season, there’s roast lamb. In addition to that, JP Teres also serve very delicious chicken rice (strongly recommend), freshly made pohpiah, ikan bakar, nasi briyani, satey ayam & daging, and even otak otak (which I don’t quite recommend).
daging masak cili padi, labu masak lemak, ikan tenggiri masak tau choo,
meehun goreng, kepah berlada, sambal telur itik, sup ekor, bubur lambok
The main dishes here are separated into three sections – with Malay, Indian, and Chinese hot sections.
Here you find dishes such as ayam goreng berempah, ikan merah greng berlada, kepah masak lada hitam, sayur lodeh kering, ayam masak ros in Malay hot section.
Lamb curry, fish amritsary, chicken tikka masala, vindi do pyaza, dhal tadka, paneer makhani (this is a must try!), and nasi briyani can be expected from Indian hot section.
At the Chinese hot section, there’s ayam mayonnaise with Thai sauce, ikan tenggiri masak tau choo, sotong masak oat, kailan ikan masin, meehun goreng, and so forth.
In addition, there’s also a Tandoori station serving roti india, ayam tandoori, udang tandoori, shish kebabs, and talapia merah.
more dishes from Malay, Indian, and Chinese cuisine
Apart from the hot stations, there are a number of stalls located at both indoor and outdoor dining area at JP Teres that offers anything from lemang, ketupat, makanan laut, gulai kawah, asam laksa Johor, curry laksa, prawn mee, roti canai, yong tau foo, and even murtabak.
In fact, they cover most everything you can expect from local cuisine, with most of the dishes being of very high quality. I enjoyed them.
there are also various cooking stations, including rojak buah at JP Teres
The dessert area is perhaps the only place where a few Western pastries and a few selection of Japanese mochee creep into this otherwise 100% local spread. There’s Malay kuih, ais krim roti, fruits, Malay biscuits. roti jala, cendol pulut, sago gula Melaka, and more to be expected.
If you’re looking for local delights in a classy place in town, this is definitely a place to check out.
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
12 Jalan Pinang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.15381, 101.71234
Tel: 03-2182 1234 ext. 2333
The last I went to Saujana Resort was some two years ago for their Wagyu beef promotion, I remember The Restaurant had a relatively new guy in charged, Chef Alexander Waschl from Austria. Fast forward to 2014 and we are here for the Main Lobster promotion, I was quite pleased to see that the good chef has decided to stay on and continue to contribute to the fine dining scene in the country.
The Club at Saujana Resort, classy yet reserved
For those who aren’t familiar with Chef Alexander Waschl, he previously the Sous Chef at The Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Switzerland and was responsible for creation of the menus at the Kronenstubli Gourmet Restaurant which was awarded 16 Gault Millau points, the equivalent of a Michelin Star.
the wine here are specifically bottled for the Saujana
The Restaurant (yes, that’s the name of the .. restaurant) has largely stayed untouched from my previous visit. The interior is as classy, making it a perfect ambiance for fine dining occasions.
As with most hotels outside KL, parking is free and you don’t have have to walk more than a minute from the main entrance.
amuse bouche with salmon tartar, lobster tartar, lobster manner a la “Cesar”
We started the night with a craftily prepared amuse bouche from Chef Alexandar that came in the form of salmon tartar, the only dish of the day that isn’t lobster. The raw fish was refreshing and made for a good start to the dinner.
Following the same theme, we tried lobster tartar that was served with a side of lobster sorbet that carries a hint of paprika, shallots, basil, and tabasco. The combination sounds weird on paper, but proved to be a combination that tickles the right sense.
For those who fancy something closer to normalcy, lobster mana a la “Cesar” is the interpretation of the popular Cesar salad with chunks of lobsters. Salad can’t get any better than this.
lobster carpaccio and lobster mousse
My favorite appetizer of the night was undoubtedly the lobster carpaccio and lobster mousse. The flattened lobster carpaccio was so exquisitely done, it had a texture not entirely different from a thin film of jelly, but retains the sweetness of the crustacean which I love. Combining with the lobster mousse, this dish was nothing less than stellar.
lobster conchiglioni aglio olio, lobster tortellini, house wine
Pasta lovers will enjoy lobster conchiglioni aglio olio, a dish that can stand on its own as a full meal for the smaller eaters. I particularly like the reaction of the foam with lobster.
lobster tortellini is the italian version of “wantan” but of course, with lobster as the main ingredient. The lobster infused soup has a hint of Penang Hokkien Prawn Mee character, but more sophisticated and minus the spiciness of course.
The tortellini can also be served with lobster cream, for those who likes it rich.
lobster bisque with lobster grissini, lobster tortellini with lobster cream
Lobster bisque is another choice of soup to go for. The creamy and rich broth is served with a crunchy breadstick of lobster. Seasoning was spot on and absolutely delightful.
olive oil poached lobster tail
There are four different mains to choose from – olive oil poached lobster tail, lobster al Americaine, smoked lobster tail, and The Club lobster burger.
We tried three of the four (except the burger) and was clearly not disappointed. The lobster tails were succulent and has a natural sweetness to it. Preparation methods were not overly complicated and certainly not overly seasoned.
lobster al’Amercaine, smoked lobster tail
The lobster promotion runs from 1st of July to 31st of July, 2014 at The Restaurant, Saujana Resort and available for lunch and dinner (as well as buka puasa time). Prices range from RM 42 to RM 160 nett depending on the dish you choose, everything is ala carte.
The wines start at around RM 21 per glass.
KY & Haze at The Restaurant, Saujana Resort
The Club Saujana Resort,
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,
GPS: 3.10781, 101.57930
Tel: 03-7806 7000
MyKuali’s second most important product is now out and soon to hit pretty everywhere instant noodle can be bought, and logically it is another Penang’s favorite – the MyKuali Instant Penang Hokkien Prawn Mee. This is on the heels of success of their Penang White Curry Mee product.
I suppose the slightly redundant name can be attributed to the fact that Hokkien Mee is not always referred to as Penang Prawn Mee in different part of the country.
MyKuali Instant Penang Hokkien Prawn Mee, prawns, egg & kangkung extra
MyKuali’s representative was kind enough to send me a few boxes of the Penang Hokkien Prawn Noodle for me (and my friends) to sample before the product hits the market in a major way. So I head to the market to buy some complimentary ingredients that maximises the whole prawn mee experience.
I got myself some big prawns, kangkung, and an egg to prepare two bowls of prawn mee.
3 minutes with 380 ml of boiling water
The MyKuali product comes with the same 110 gram of instant noodle (as opposed to the usual 85 grams by most other brands) as with their white curry mee. Together with the noodle you’ll find three packets of seasoning – the prawn mee powder, chili paste, and fried shallots.
I was particularly happy that they actually include fried shallots, one of the most important ingredients for prawn mee, and one that’s a pain in the butt to prepare on your own.
two bowls of MyKuali Penang Hokkien Prawn Mee ready to eat
Cooking was as simple as preparing any instant noodle – throw the noodle in 380 ml of boiling water, add the complimentary ingredients, and wait for 3 minutes. However, I do suggest that you add the shallots last so to retain a hint of crunchiness while serving.
For this version, I peeled the prawn’s body while leaving the head and tail and simply added them in the mix for the last 2 minutes. Kangkung was added on the last minute as well to avoid the vegetable being overcooked.
Tips: if you want your egg to have soft yolk and thoroughly cooked white, boil it for about 7 minutes.
I finished all the soup, Haze was pleased with the product too
The result was as good as I had hoped. The soup really does have a strong prawn aroma to it, and the chili paste sufficient while not overpowering, I actually finished the soup too.
In a way, I felt that the MyKuali instant Hokkien Prawn Mee is more friendly to the stomach and a product that can be eaten more often, especially if you don’t have as strong a stomach to defend against the chilli onslaught that is the MyKuali Penang White Curry Mee.