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A few weeks ago we were invited to Kampachi at Troika to sample a few dishes from their upcoming Okayama Fair. Before we start, here’s when the Okayama fair is going to happen at various Kampachi outlets:
  • Kampachi Troika26 August, 2014
  • Kampachi Pavilion1 september, 2014
  • Kampachi Plaza 335 September, 2014
  • Kampachi Johor Premium outlet1 september, 2014

Seats will be limited, so do call and book ahead.

Okayama fair at Kampachi, we had our tasting at Kampachi Troika
Okayama fair at Kampachi, we had our tasting at Kampachi Troika

Okayama prefecture is located in the Chugoku region of Japan, or roughly in between Hiroshima and Kyoto. The climate is mild compared to other parts of Japan and thus making agriculture one of the more important contributor to the region’s economy. On the northern part of the prefecture in the mountains, white peaches and grapes are cultivated as well. 

Okayama Oyster Coquille
Nama Gaki Ponzu

While our food review was mainly focused on fresh produce, the first dish of the day was Nama Gaki Ponzu (from set menu).

The oysters were soaked ponzu sauce and served on ice. They tasted superb, very fresh and juicy. I like the subtlety of  the accompanying ponzu sauce, much better than butchering oysters with the likes of Tabasco sauce.

Okayama Yasai salad, salmon carpaccio
Okayama Yasai salad, salmon carpaccio 

Okayama Yasai salad (RM 35++) was a deceptively simple dish with green asparagus, yellow Chinese chives, endives, and boiled prawns served in half a tomato on a bed of spaghetti squash (yes, squash cut to spaghetti shapes). It was quite refreshing and delightful, the bits of seafood gives the salad an extra dimension.

The Okayama style salmon carpaccio came with bits of fresh produce such as asparagus, spring onion, and avocado served with the raw salmon. I also like the slices of fried garlic in this dish which gives it an interesting texture and explosion of differing taste when combined with the wasabi dressing. This was one of my favorites.

Okayama wax gourd with minced prawn, Okayama Pione grapes
Okayama winter melon with minced prawn, Okayama Pione grapes

Okayama winter melon with minced prawn with thick sauce (RM 32++) was the ultimate comfort food and reminds me of mom’s cooking more than anything else, very simple yet elegant, and I would say that it isn’t something difficult to replicate at home.

The biggest surprise of the night though, turned out to be the Okayama Pione grapes (RM 38++). Now I have tried Muscat grapes that was super juicy and sweet, but this Okayama Pione grape was something else, it tasted like wine. It felt as if you’re “eating wine” but without the alcohol, I absolutely love it.

This is something that you definitely must try.

the good chef, KY & Haze, Lex & Weizhi
the good chef, KY & Haze, Lex & Weizhi

Other than the ala carte menu, there’s also the Okayama course menu that goes for RM 250++ which includes the following dishes:

前菜二種 ZENSAI
マスカット白和え
Muscat Shiraae
Mashed Tofu with Okayama Muscat Grapes

糸瓜と桃太郎トマト 土佐酢ジュレ
Itouri & Momotaro Tomato Tosazu Jure
Okayama Spaghetti Squash & Tomato served with Homemade Vinegar Jelly

生ガキ 橙酢
Nama Gaki Ponzu (2 pieces)
Fresh Okayama Oyster with Homemade Japanese Citrus Vinaigrette

サーモンカルパッチョ
冷菜 REISAI
Salmon Carpaccio
Thinly Sliced Raw Salmon rolled with Okayama Tomato, Asparagus & Yellow Chives served with Wasabi Dressing

煮物 NIMONO
冬瓜の海老そぼろ餡掛け
Togan no Ebi Soboro Ankake
Okayama Winter Melon & Minced Prawn with Thick Sauce

食事 SHOKUJI
バラ寿司
Bara Zushi
Assorted Cube Cut Raw Fish served over Vinegared Rice

甘味 KANMI
白桃
Hakuto
Air-flown Okayama White Peach

map to Kampachi at Troika

Address:
Kampachi
The Troika Jalan Binjai
Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.158052, 101.718122
Tel: 03-2181 2282

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Following the previous post on 5 snacks and cheap eats at Macau, it is only fitting that I cover some of the places that offers proper meals which we tried over the course of our trip to this former Portuguese colony. There are no shortage of restaurants in Macau, with a decent selection of different cuisines, but mostly variation of Chinese food, which suits us just fine.

obligatory Macau photo at St. Paul's church
obligatory Macau photo at St. Paul’s church

Before we talk about food, first, here’s a picture of us at St. Paul’s church, an obligation for anyone traveling to Macau I believe. The facade of the church is located just a stone’s throw away from Senado Square, which is the best place to shop for souvenirs and everything touristy in town.

Wong Chi Kei at Senado Square
Wong Chi Kei at Senado Square

And if you found yourself at Senado Square, like most people would, one of the places to dine would be Wong Chi Kei. The place is almost always pretty packed, but service is relatively quick, and like many places in Macau, sharing table with strangers is a norm.

pork ribs rice, shrimp wantan mee, mixed fried noodle
pork ribs rice, shrimp wantan mee, mixed fried noodle

The shop offers a wide variety of single serving noodle and rice dishes, with prices starting from around 32 MOP onwards.

We tried pork ribs rice, shrimp wantan noodle, fried noodle with pork innards and squid, as well as shrimp roe noodle. I like the thin noodles and it’s texture, shrimp wantan was delicious, as with the innards. The shrimp roe has a pretty special taste to it that isn’t very different from ebiko but much, much dryer, the bowl of soup served on the side isn’t really enough to counter the fact.

Overall it’s a pretty decent place to dine that won’t break your wallet.

the shrimp roe noodle & our traveling partner in crime, Tian Chad & Bobo with their SO
the shrimp roe noodle & our traveling partner in crime, Tian Chad & Bobo with their SOs

Address: Wong Chi Kei, 17 Largo do Senado, Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, Macau
GPS22.194078, 113.540164

"Xiang Zhi Wei" near our hotel, fantastic Hunan cuisine
“Xiang Zhi Wei” near our hotel, fantastic Hunan cuisine

For the second night, we ventured around the surrounding of our hotel and ended up at this tiny little shop by the name of “Xiang Zhi Wei“, a Hunan restaurant at Edificio Royal Center.

The selection of dishes are quite extensive here as well, with about three quarter of them being spicy, typical of Hunan cuisine. For the two of us, we ordered the brinjal with long bean and steamed tofu with egg and minced meat.

simple, spicy, and absolutely delicious
simple, spicy, and absolutely delicious

Both dishes were excellent, with the only minor downside being that the egg yolks in the tofu dish were slightly more cooked than we would have liked. The hint of spiciness in the brinjal and long bean dish was superb, and something that I would try to order in other Hunan restaurants now.

Total bill came to slightly less than 200 MOP for the dinner, which wasn’t cheap, but considering the taste it was well worth it.

Address: Xiang Zhi Wei, Edificio Royal Center, Rua de Pequim, Macau
GPS22.191680, 113.547411

Chan Kong Kei, famous roast goose/duck/pork/chicken etc
Chan Kong Kei, famous roast goose/duck/pork/chicken etc

On the last day, we went over to another pretty famous restaurant, Chan Kong Kei, for lunch. The place is perpetually packed and again, sharing table is a norm. We also discovered that the locals usually dine about 3x as fast as typical Malaysian (probably not having to snap pictures speed up dining time quite a bit, haha).

The restaurant offers roast goose, roast duck, roast pork, bbq pork, soya chicken, and more.

roast goose with roast pork, and a side of duck blood with vegetable
roast goose with roast pork, and a side of duck blood with vegetable

We tried the roast goose with roast pork and a side of duck blood with vegetable soup on the side. The roast pork and goose drumstick were top notch (80 MOP), the meat very flavorful and even the fat has a soft and smooth texture.

The duck blood (33 MOP) though, was entirely something else, why wouldn’t we have this here in Malaysia? Pork blood is nice, but duck blood is even smoother and in every sense, more delicious (the only places that serves duck blood in Malaysia are probably a few kuih teow soup places, such as the one at Anson Road in Penang)

Address: Chan Kong Kei, 19 Rua Do Dr. Pedro Jose Lobo, Macau
GPS22.192082, 113.541577

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Ikan bakar, or grilled fish, is one of those quintessential Malaysian cuisine that isn’t often talk about. Today, lets look at three different places in Klang Valley is worth a visit if you have a stomach for this classic dish in the afternoon.

Do remember to order a big glass of ice cold drink to go with, cos it’s going to get hot.

Mat Teh ikan bakar at Dato' Keramat
Mat Teh Ikan Bakar, Dato’ Keramat

One of my favorite ikan bakar places is the little stall by the name of Mat Teh Ikan Bakar by Dato’ Keramat market, right across the Putra LRT station by the same name.

The stall gets pretty busy over lunch time, and with somewhat limited seats, it is imperative to get there early.

Mat Teh Ikan Bakar at Dato' Keramat
Mat Teh Ikan Bakar at Dato’ Keramat

The most popular fishes here are stingray and ikan kembung. The stingray runs from RM 14-16 per piece, but is big enough for sharing. What I also particularly love about this place is the good selection of ulam (raw vegetable) to go with the grilled fish.

Tips: order their mango juice.

Address:
Mat Teh Ikan Bakar
Dato’ Keramat Wet Market
Opposite Dato’ Keramat LRT
Jalan Dato’ Keramat
GPS3.166079, 101.730992
Tel016-336 2123

Ikan Bakar Warong Fauziah near KLCC
Ikan Bakar Warong Fauziah near KLCC

Within walking distance of iconic KLCC, there’s a little hidden warong that many visitors or even tenants of this great building do not realize exists. Warong Fauziah is tucked behind Lembaga Getah and offers tasty authentic grilled fish alongside with a good variety of other dishes to go with steamed rice.

Stringray, cat fish, and ikan kembung are available here.

Address:
Warong Kak Fauziah,
behind Lembaga Getah Malaysia
Jalan Ampang, KL

GPS: 3.160088,101.711941

ikan bakar at Restaurant Rose 911
Restaurant Rose 911, Negeri Sembilan cuisine

Thirdly, for a version of ikan bakar slightly different from the ordinary,  check out Restaurant Rose 911 at Kampung Pandan.

While the fish is grilled with banana leaves like other versions, sambal is added to the fish prior to grilling, infusing the aroma of chilli right from the get go. This is perfect for those who loves it spicy.

Restaurant Rose 911 also serves authentic Negeri Sembilan cuisine with dishes that are laden with plenty of coconut milk and tumeric.

Address:
Restoran Kak Rose 911
No. 25, Jalan Satu
Kampung Pandan
55100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.143901, 101.737293
Tel03-9281 2996

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We traveled to Macau in late July 2014 for a three day two night of sightseeing and food spotting trip, and I’m happy to report that when it comes to food, this former Portuguese colony surely did not disappoint.

Should you find yourself at Macau, here are some of the places you may want to check out. This is the entry where I cover snacks and cheap eats, there will be another talking about the few restaurants that we tried during the trip.

we arrived at Macau on the evening, beautiful cityscape
we arrived at Macau on the evening, beautiful cityscape

As for weather, Macau isn’t different from Malaysia at this time of the year (July), temperature and humidity are pretty much the same, so light clothing and perhaps an umbrella if you’re afraid of the heat is advised.

The city is one that never sleeps, and I got the impression that it was very safe to walk around at any time of day. Public transportation by bus is very good, so keep plenty of coins and small change available as change is not provided on the buses.

HK dollars as well as Macanese Pataca or MOP are accepted pretty much everywhere, including the buses. At the time of travel, 1 MOP = 0.40 MYR.

Pro tip: there are many free hotel shuttle buses going to and from the airport, you can utilize them even if you don’t stay at the same hotel.

road side stall with chee cheong fun and dimsum in the city
road side stall with chee cheong fun and dimsum in the city

The first thing we tried at Macau was this little road side stall situated  opposite Centro Commercial Central.

We tried the chee cheong fun with siu mai which was priced at $30 MOP. The sauce was lighter than the one usually served in Malaysia, and the chili sauce has a stronger taste of vinegar to it. We found it pretty delicious and fitting as a pre-dinner snack or post-dinner supper.

Address: outside 48 Avenida do Infante D. Henrique
GPS22.191888, 113.541432

the famous Portuguese egg tart at Margaret's Cafe e Nata
the famous Portuguese egg tart at Margaret’s Cafe e Nata

When in Macau, one of the snacks that you must not miss is the famous Portuguese egg tart at Margaret’s Cafe e Nata.

The egg tarts are $8 MOP each and was really as good as everyone claimed. The pastry soft yet crunchy, and the filling smooth and super flavorful with the aroma of milk and egg at their best. We only had 2 each but we really should have brought more. It was very delicious!

There’s always a queue at the shop, but you wouldn’t have to wait for more than a few minutes before being served.

Address: Margaret’s Cafe e Nata, Rua do Comandante Mata e Oliveira, Macau
GPS22.191993, 113.542178

fried fish paste, pork bun, and beef tendon noodle at Sang Lei, next to Margaret's
fried fish paste, pork bun, and beef tendon noodle at Sang Lei, next to Margaret’s

Right next door to the egg tart place is Sang Lei, a shop that perhaps thrive thanks to Margaret’s being constantly filled to the brim. We tried fried fish paste ($19 MOP), pork bun ($22 MOP), and beef tendon noodle soup ($22 MOP) there.

The food actually turned out pretty decent. The fish paste is pretty similar to those we get in Malaysia but tasted fresher, the beef tendon noodle was simple but if you’re a fan of tendon, you’d be delighted. The pork bun though, did not impress.

Address: Sang Lei, Rua do Comandante Mata e Oliveira, Macau
GPS22.191954, 113.542136

cheap roast goose "fan hap" at Sek Kei, Rua Dois do Bairro lao Hon
cheap roast goose “fan hap” at Sek Kei, Rua Dois do Bairro lao Hon

While trying to go to Taipa island by bus on the second day, we accidentally took the bus heading to the wrong direction and ended up at this little strip of shops at Rua Dois do Bairro lao Hon, which is located near the border between Macau and China up north.

Since I was hungry, we stopped by Sek Kei for a roast goose rice that was served in a styrofoam box commonly for those who wants it to go. Lucky for us Sek Kei actually has ONE table in their shop that I could eat. It turned out to be rather good and only cost us $27 MOP for the meal!

If you want a bargain, you can’t top this.

Address: Sek Kei, Rua Dois do Bairro lao Hon, Macau
GPS22.212118, 113.550351

Yee Shun steamed milk, a must try!
Yee Shun steamed milk, a must try!

As for dessert in Macau, Yee Shun steamed milk is the one place that shouldn’t be missed.

The steamed milk custard ($28 MOP) has the consistency of our familiar “tau fu fa” but with that creamy aroma of fresh milk that made it so irresistible. We also tried their warm milk ($22 MOP) and papaya milk ($30 MOP) which did not disappoint either. The same place also serves sandwiches, eggs, and even pork bun.

Even as a person who’s slightly lactose intolerant, I now want to know how to make this at home!

Address: Yee Shun milk company, 60 Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, Macau
GPS22.192741, 113.540461

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A few weeks ago my colleague Joyceanne came out of nowhere and told me she was going to give me some live crab and if I was going to be able to bring them home on my motorcycle. Well, since you don’t get opportunities like this very often, with the help of her friend Kaiqi, who actually supplied the crabs all the way from Johor, we loaded 3 live mud crabs into my backpack. Thank you Joyce & Kaiqi!

The crustaceans took a ride of their lifetime, and arrived safe and sound at home just in time for Haze and I to decide that butter crab is in the menu of the night.

first, you have to do the dirty job by killing the crabs
first, you have to do the dirty job by killing the crabs

For the muslims who may not want to consume mud crab, flower crab can be used in replacement with this cooking method as well.

Here’s the pretty simple recipe we found online for butter crab, originally shared on Rasa Malaysia.

The ingredients to serve 2-3 person:

  • 3 live mud crabs (or flower crabs)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup of evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch as thickening agent
  • 6-12 chili padi
  • 2-3 stalks of curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (to taste)

 melt butter, add chilli padi and curry leave before the crabs
melt butter, add chilli padi and curry leave before the crabs

The trickiest part of this recipe turned out to be .. killing the crab!

For those of you who has a heart made of steel, just go ahead and rip apart the crab’s shell alive and that’ll do the trick. We ended up using a chopstick and drove into the belly of the crabs, which also effectively killed the crab after about 10-15 minutes.

add evaporated milk and simmer for about 5 minutes
add evaporated milk and simmer for about 5 minutes

Anyway, here’s the cooking instructions:

  • clean and kill the crabs, then cut in halves and remove gills after removing shells, use pestle to pre-crack the crab claws for easier consumption
  • heat up wok with medium heat and melt butter
  • add chilli padi and curry leaves
  • when aroma is released, add crab and stir until the shells turn red
  • add evaporated milk and cover to simmer for about 5 minutes
  • add cornstarch (pre-mixed with water) and stir for a minute to thicken sauce before serving

here it is, creamy butter crab, goes well with some fried buns
here it is, creamy butter crab, goes well with some fried buns

And here you go, the butter crab turned out rather delicious. You can enjoy this dish with some fried buns or with rice/noodle, or basically anything.

Now you know what to do with live crabs! Check out other recipes by yours truly by clicking on the KY Cooks category. :)