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Due to the proximity of where I stay, Mingtien food court is my most frequented food court especially when it comes to late dinners.

This huge food court has at least 30-40 hawker stalls at any one time and operates 24 hours a day, which is rather convenient if you’re hungry at the wee hours and don’t feel like going to yet another mamak eatery.

new kuih teow soup and laksa stall at Mingtien food court
new kuih teow soup and laksa stall at Mingtien food court

When I was first introduced to Mingtien some 10 years ago, most of the stalls were, for the lack of a better word, rubbish. But like many food court that manage to stand the test of time, the bad stalls were eventually replaced with better ones ala Darwinian evolution, and today, most of the hawker stalls actually provide more than decent dishes.

As a fan of Penang kuih teow soup, I was delighted to discover this new stall that offers this dish (in addition to Penang laksa which we haven’t tried). Naturally I had to give it a try.

kuih teow th'ng with coagulated blood and lard
kuih teow th’ng with coagulated blood and lard

What came was a version that is pretty true to the origin – with shredded steamed chicken, fishball, garlic oil, lard, and even coagulated blood, the rarest of all ingredient to be found in Klang Valley for this dish. The soup was subtle yet supple, and I bet it’ll satisfy any kuih teow soup fan.

I can’t say that the fish ball is top notch, but everything else hits the spot. For RM 5, this is more than just a “tahan gian” dish.

map to ming tien food court

Address:
Ming Tien Hawker Center
Jalan SS24/8, Taman Megah,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS: 3.114334, 101.611658
Hours; this stall operates from evening till late

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One of the toughest Penang hawker dishes to hunt down in Klang Valley has got to be char kuih kak. Outside of various pasar malam, there’s only one other stalls at Jalan Sayur that I am aware of, until I went to the hawker row right beside the Seapark wet market a few days ago.

char kuih kak at Seapark, next to the morning market
char kuih kak at Seapark, next to the morning market

For those who has never been to Seapark in the wee hours, there’s actually a row of hawker stalls on the same road where My Burger Lab is located. The stalls usually open by around 6am so if you’re looking for earlier breakfasts, this is definitely a place to check out.

char kuih kak as breakfast, glorious
char kuih kak as breakfast, glorious

The char kuih kak operator does not have any table nor even plates, the only option is “tapao”.

I ordered a pack of char kuih kak (RM 4) with eggs and took it to the office for breakfast. It wasn’t the best version I’ve tried, but definitely managed to satisfy the cravings for a bit.

If you’re a char kuih kak fan, this is one more place to check out.

map to seapark morning market hawker row

Address:
Char Kuih Kak
Jalan 21/22, Sea Park,
46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.110397, 101.621757
Hours: mornings

-advert-

Transitions lens, works well in a movie theater too

Transitions lens, works well in a movie theater too

Went to the movies with my Transitions lenses glasses, great clarity under low light condition, basically no difference compared to a clear glass. The cool thing is if you walk out from the cinema and it happens to be afternoon, you won’t get hit by the glare like Thor’s Hammer.

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I actually first got to know about Suzi’s Corner from Time Out KL food awards in 2011 when it was nominated for the “best of steak” category, and that was when it piqued my interest, a cheap steak place that is recognized to be one of the bests in town among the big boys? I gotta try this.

Suzi's Corner at Ampang (opposite Ampang Point)
Suzi’s Corner at Ampang (opposite Ampang Point)

Sure enough, it then took me another two years or so before I found myself wandering around Ampang on the motorcycle trying to figure out a place for dinner before futsal session with my colleague.

Steak isn’t exactly the perfect meal before a cardio heavy sports, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

tenderloin under RM 40, served on a hot plate
tenderloin under RM 40, served on a hot plate

Suzi’s Corner is actually a food court, and within it, Steak Hut is the stall that offers somewhat localized Western food. Among the dishes to choose from are lamb chops (RM22), grilled salmon (RM21), chicken chop (RM14), and more.

For a steak lover though, I just had to go with the tenderloin. At RM 34, it’ll be a miracle to find a cheaper version anywhere else.

I'd advise to not have the hot plate, or put the beef aside
I’d advise to not have the hot plate, or put the beef aside

I ordered the beef at medium rare, but what came was probably closer to medium. By default, the beef here is served on a hot plate (Malaysians love hot plate), so that probably contributed partly to the meat being slightly overcooked for my liking. I’ll order it rare and to be served on regular plate next round.

A side of fries, bun with butter, and some steamed vegetable came with the dish to complete the meal. Overall it was definitely worth the asking price, and I would not hesitate to go there again.

Is it super awesome beef? No, but Suzi’s Corner definitely manage to satisfy the craving for red meat, at least for a few days. :)

map to Suzi's corner

Address:
Suzi’s Corner
213/26 Jalan Ampang Batu 4 1/2,
Jalan Ulu Kelang,
68000 Ampang, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.158677, 101.748378
Tel: 03-4256 6720
Hours6pm to 11pm, closed on T uesdays

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Right after participating as a guest speaker at “A Food Biz Workshop” a week ago where I found out that some 80% food business fails within the first two years of operation, I got to attend an event hosted by one that represents the other extreme end – the Martell Pure Gourmet event by the brand that has been in existence since 1715.

Yeap, that’s just a year shy of 300, with perhaps one of the oldest single product, the Martell VSOP being in the market since 1831.

Martell is celebrating 300 years anniversary in 2015
Martell is celebrating 300 years anniversary in 2015

While last year’s dinner was hosted at JW Marriott, Martell chose the Grand Imperial Chinese restaurant at Hartamas Shopping Centre for this year’s annual Pure Gourmet. I was very delighted and honoured to be invited to this year’s dinner again after having had a very good experience last year.

I was surprised that Malaysia actually happened to be the 2nd largest market in the world for Martell after China, and I guess this is partly due to the way we consume cognac, which, fortunately or not, was in full display during the dinner with many happily cheering each other “Happy Birthday to You” while emptying their glasses as the night went on.

P/S: It wasn’t anyone’s birthday, but we had a lot of fun.

sze chuan jelly fish with thousand layer pig ear & deep fried scallop
Sze Chuan jelly fish with thousand layer pig ear & deep fried scallop

Anyway, pure gourmet is about the blend of exquisite ingredients, skills, and passion in the creation of inspiring dishes, as with how each bottle of Martell cognac is created, so lets get on with the dinner.

We started out with chilled Sze Chuan jelly fish with thousand layer pig ear accompanied deep fried scallop wrapped with German vermicelli rice noodle. A pretty descriptive dish and one that has several characters all rolled into one.

The jelly fish and pigs ear with the softer texture and a more complex taste, and deep fried scallop an explosion of seafood sweetness beneath the the crispy and rawer tasting vermicelli. This was paired with Martell V.S.O.P.

baked king prawn with cheese, paired with Martell Cordon Bleu
baked king prawn with cheese, paired with Martell Cordon Bleu

Next up was a relatively unpretentious baked water king prawn with cheese to go with the very recognizable Martell Cordon Bleu, perhaps the gold standard of cognac.

The execution of the prawn was on the dot, I really dug into the head and savour the juices out of this. Though this is probably the only dish I could come close to replicating at home, it was also one of my favorites.

deep fried airflown  Japanese Ayor fish with lemon
deep fried air flown  Japanese Ayor fish with lemon

Third dish of the night was deep fried air flown Japanese Ayor fish with lemon (also known as Ayu fish).

Found in the rivers and lakes around Hokkaido, this fresh water fish is famous for the sweetness of its flesh, which was brought out to its fullest potential when paired with Martell Cordon Bleu.

pan fried lamb cutlet with chef's special sauce, paired with Martell XO
pan fried lamb cutlet with chef’s special sauce, paired with Martell XO

Following the fish, we had the pan fried lamb cutlet with Chef’s special sauce to go with Martell XO.

Perhaps I was more accustomed to Western style of lamb cutlet preparation, it took a while to appreciate the more traditional Chinese preparation method of the red meat that is inherently more cooked. In this instance, the sauce takes center stage with the meat playing supporting role.

braised spaghetti with sliced abalone, black truffle n mushroom, Martell Chanteloup Perspective
braised spaghetti w/ sliced abalone, black truffle & mushroom, Martell Chanteloup Perspective

Last dish before dessert was the braised spaghetti with sliced abalone, black truffle and mushroom. The hint of black truffle went well with abalone, and the fine angel hair spaghetti was the right choice to soak up the flavour. We just wished that it was a whole abalone instead (who doesn’t?).

The aroma and elegance of Martell Chanteloup Perspective complimented the dish perfectly.

Grand Imperial special dessert paired with Martell Creation Grand Extra
Grand Imperial special dessert paired with Martell Creation Grand Extra

Finally, we end the dinner with a host of three desserts prepared by Grand Imperial and had the pleasure to pair them with Martell Creation Grand Extra, the silky smooth and yet very powerful tasting cognac. A unique taste to end a pretty unique and special dinner.

and we were cheering to each other "happy birthday to you".. yes, it's a "trend"
and we were cheering to each other “happy birthday to you”.. yes, it’s a “trend”

A big thank you to Siew Kheng for the invitation, and hopefully we’ll have the privilege to be a part of this again next year!

map to Hartamas Shopping Centre

Address:
Grand Imperial
Lot F33 – F35, First Floor,
Hartamas Shopping Centre
No. 60, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1,
Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.163480, 101.656136
Tel03-6201 9777

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Having had my new Transitions Signature lens glasses for a couple months now, I really began to appreciate the new technology more that went into these prescription glasses more and more, and I am happy that it works as well as they claimed to be. Considering that the previous version I used was already very good, the improvement is still very noticeable.

I want to take  you through the lenses and talk a little bit on how they work.

Transitions lens with great clarity indoor
Transitions lens with great clarity for working in front of computer

For those who aren’t familiar with Transitions, my previous article Smart Lenses Just got Smarter – Transition® Signature talked a little about how they work in a more general and some of the benefits brought by these glasses.

In this post, I want to dwell into them a little bit more with real life examples from my own.

Transitions with Chromea7 technology
Transitions with Chromea7 technology

The most important technology behind Transitions Signature lenses is Chromea7.

This is a patented formulation consisting unique dyes that are integrated to the surface of every Transitions Signature lens. The dyes are made up of trillions of molecules that smoothly re calibrate as the light condition changes. From dark to light and back at just the right tint so that the optimal amount of light reaches your eyes.

Yes, this is the twenty first century, we have stuff like these!

great clarity of the lenses indoor
great clarity of the lenses indoor

So, when you are indoor away from sunlight, such as the example above in KLCC Suria Mall, the glasses are completely clear and act like any non-tinted prescription glasses.

Conveniently, this also works when you’re in front of the computer even though technically there are lights shining at you, but because the activation of the tint is by UV lights, it does not get tinted when you’re working. This of course, applies only for working indoor.

more reactive to indirect light
more reactive to indirect light

Chromea7 technology was designed to be more reactive to indirect light. Which means that light that bounces off building, cars, and other surfaces is also sensed by the lenses and react accordingly.

This property is especially important if you find yourself in cityscape such as KL where you might not be in direct sunlight among the tall buildings, cars, buses and so forth, where reflections that results in indirect sunlight are prevalent.

indoor by the window with some indirect sunlight
indoor by the window with some indirect sunlight

In the example above by the window in a cloudy day, you can see that the lens has a slight tint. This is not very pronounced as some of the UV light is blocked off by the window, but at the same time it shows the re-activeness of Transitions lenses away from direct sunlight.

more responsive in hotter climate
more responsive in hotter climate

Photocrhomic lenses, as with most technology that relates to chemical or physical reactions, usually gets influenced by temperature.

While traditional photochromic lenses don’t get as dark in hotter climate because of the way heat interacts with the molecules, Chromea7 technology was formulated to be more independent of temperature and be able to get darker even in hotter climates.

the change of tint is almost instantaneous, outdoor at KLCC park
the change of tint is almost instantaneous, outdoor at KLCC park

This property bode very well with our Malaysian climate. As the example above shows. Being outdoor at KLCC park in a pretty warm late afternoon, the glasses changed almost instantaneously to a comfortable tint.

Looking up to this beautiful building doesn’t come with the associated squinting or having to cover part of your forehead with your palm as a makeshift “roof” anymore.

just the right shade, just the right color
just the right shade, just the right color

With the experience gathered by Transitions over the years, they were able to formulate the dye in such a way that the lens provide an even color at all levels of tint, giving the right shade and the right color every time.
under the shade, evening by the pond
under the shade, evening by the pond

This is a slightly harder property to show in pictures, but for the past couple months owning this pair of glasses. I must say that I’m very satisfied with the way it works. It gives great clarity and the tint, while not as dark as sunglasses, provides very sufficient protection against both direct and indirect sunlight and glare when I’m outdoor.

Moving the glasses to my little chef that’s by the same pond but at a brighter area, you can see that the colour of the lens switched to a slightly darker tint. This showcases the “right shade, right colour” property of the lens.

the different shades of my Transitions Signature glasses
the different shades of my Transitions Signature glasses – indoor in the office, indoor in mall,
by the windows in the building, and outdoor

Transitions Signature lens can be paired with a wide variety of frames, head to http://www.transitions.com/en-my/where-to-buy/ to find out where you can get them.