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Time for a topic that is slightly different from the usual food related articles.

We’ve received vacant posession to our KEN Rimba house at Shah Alam several months ago, and been busy doing defects and renovation work ever since. There are a few more weeks work to be done before we can probably move in and call it our new home, so I thought it’s best to start documenting some of the stuff we’ve done to the house on this space so that we can reflect in years to come.

First off, the koi pond.

pond digging and piling work
pond digging and piling work

I have been keeping koi fish for some ten years at the current SS3 address from a pond Horng and I constructed in 2005. We’re moving, the fish has to come along, so a new pond is needed.

Since the developer promised to put in a small pool to the unit, I took the opportunity to commission the same backhoe loader to dig the pond. It was to be a 14′ x 6′ x 5′ deep pond. Digging and timber piling work was done in early March.

construction of the fish pond
construction of the fish pond

Reinforced concrete were then poured to the make the foundation of the pond, which resides at the rear end of the yard just a few feed by the fiber glass pool.

We decided to hire foreign workers (Nepalese & Bangladeshi mostly) to build the brick wall for the pond. The joints were interlocked and rebar used to ensure structure integrity. I also decided that 2 layers of bricks is laid as per Sheng’s advise, who is a structural engineer by profession. (Thanks)

We also laid some PVC pipes for drainage & filtration system at this point.

This stage took about 3 weeks, with work mostly done either only on Sunday or off hours.

plastering and waterproofing
plastering and waterproofing

Next, we got a couple of Indonesian workers to help plaster the walls. Man, these guys worked fast and I reckon they were at least twice as efficient as the previous guys. We got the walls plastered in two days.

Haze and I then spent several weeks applying a couple layers of waterproofing agent on the pond. We used Nippon Flexiseal for this application.

In retrospect, we should have applied waterproofing measures while pouring concrete and making brick walls, oh well.

harvesting rain water for koi pond
harvesting rain water for koi pond

Since the house came with rain water harvesting tank at the rear, I decided to take advantage of it by connecting a pipe and run it to the pond. What’s better than natural rain water for the fish?

At this point, we also discovered that the first round waterproofing was not good. To rectify this, we use a Sika grout product as per recommended by my cousin who is in construction industry. Thankfully, we managed to solve the leakage problem with a little bit of creative workaround.

additional water proofing fix & filter hook up
additional water proofing fix & filter hook up

I’ve then temporarily hooked up the Laguna Powerflo Filter Fall to try to let it mature a little bit. Local guppies are now thriving in the pond to prevent it being a mosquito breeding ground.

This filtration system is chosen due to the ease maintenance. I purchased this from Sunway Mas Commercial Centre’s Fish Depot, they are very helpful and I urge you to check them out should you have any aquarium supply needs.

Other aspects of the house will be updated on this space soon, as well as the second part of this koi pond story with the way filtration system is set up.

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With the on-going house renovation work, I’ve been rejected (or accidentally ignoring) quite a lot of food review invitation, but when Sarah from Kimpachi messaged and invited me to Kampachi Sake Dinner Series, I just couldn’t say no.

When Kampachi comes calling, you just don’t reject, and I’ve never regretted the decisions.

kampachi sake dinner series featuring Izumibashi Sake
kampachi sake dinner series featuring Izumibashi Sake

In conjunction with Izumibashi brewery’s first visit to Malaysia, Kampachi hosted a dinner series that took place at their Troika outlet on the 16th June, 2015, and the day after in Kampachi Equatorial, Penang.

The dinner features a 9 course Kaiseki menu by Kampachi’s Executive Chef, Koji Tamaru, using produce and seasonal seafood directly sourced from Japan. The meal was paired with four types of Izumibashi sakes.

Izumibashi Tonbo Sparkling with edamame
“welcome drink”, edamame, and brewery founder/owner Yuichi Hashiba

We were joined by the 6th generation founder/owner of Izumibashi brewery, Yuichi Hashiba, and sake sommelier, Shigeyuki Masaki. Together they shared the history of the brand, how they produce the sake, and what made them special.

Izumibashi Tonbo Sparkling with Amera Tomato Mizu Nasu
Izumibashi Tonbo Sparkling with Amera Tomato Mizu Nasu

The first three courses were paired with Tonbo Sparkling, this is an unfiltered sake with a cloudy appearance, only very lightly gassy and quite wholesome in taste. Apparently filtered sake is a bit of an imitation to sparkling wine of the West, and Izumibashi purposely left it unfiltered to show it’s true Japanese origin.

We started the dinner with something that is utterly simple yet surprisingly delicious – Amera tomato and slices of Raw Japanese Eggplant. These raw vegetables were just lightly seasoned with salt and pepper.

I’ve had tomato of similar calibre a couple times and these were equally as crunchy and refreshing, the eggplant though, was a total revelation.I never thought eggplants could be consumed raw, and I’m glad I was wrong, it was most excellent.

Niawabi Shake Toba Morokyu Kinsanji Miso, Hamo Kuzuuchi Junsai Janome Kyuri Bainiku
Niawabi Shake Toba Morokyu Kinsanji Miso,
Hamo Kuzuuchi Junsai Janome Kyuri Bainiku

Next came Simmered Abalone, Dried Salmon & Cucumber with Miso. A beautifully arranged dish with very contrasting texture offered by the soft and slightly chewy abalone, the very crispy dried salmon, and those crunchy cucumber. I particularly loved the dried salmon which is almost like the best salted fish I’ve ever had, and you can eat it straight.

The Clear Soup with Pike Conger Eel, Water Shield, Ring Shaped Cucumber & Plum came next. While the eel, cucumber, and plum were not stranger to most diners, I found the water shield provided quite a new experience to me. It tasted a bit like some sort seaweed encased in a slimy exterior. A good change of pace but I’m not quite sure I really enjoyed it.

Maguru & Kanpachi sashimi with Izumibashi Junmai Ginjo Megumi Blue Label
Maguro & Kanpachi sashimi with Izumibashi Junmai Ginjo Megumi Blue Label

The next three dishes were paired with Izumibashi Junmai Ginjo Megumi Blue Label, made with Yamada Nishiki rice grown in house by Izumibashi. This particular type of rice produces good sake as it absorbs water and dissolves easily.

Sashimi came in the form of Maguro & Kanpachi – Tuna and Amberjack. These fish were flown fresh from Tsukiji market and of course, did not disappoint. The sake complimented the seafood perfectly well.

Gindara Shio Kouji Yaki, Awafu Ageni Harinegi Kinome
Gindara Shio Kouji Yaki, Awafu Ageni Harinegi Kinome

The fifth course was the simple Grilled Cod Fish Marinated with Salt Crust, with superb execution by the chef. I absolutely loved the texture of cod skin and the way the fish is cooked, it was spot on.

Awafu Ageni Harinegi Kinome translates to Simmered Yellow Wheat Gluten served with Fine Julienned Leek & Leaf Bud. Quite a fancy name and description, and tasted a little bit like a more sophisticated version of tofu with a richer texture.

Tatake Ebi Kesho Age with Shishito, Yaki Onigiri Chazuke Shio Konbu
Tatake Ebi Kesho Age with Shishito, Yaki Onigiri Chazuke Shio Konbu

The last three dishes were paired with Izumibashi Yamahai Junmai Shinriki. Shinriki translate to “power of god”, and in this case this sake is made with the most tedious and labour intensive method that helped produce the most “umami” flavour.

Deep Fried Chopped Prawns with Japanese Green Pepper was the first dish we sampled with this sake. The greenish “powder” you see next to the chili was actually salt, together with the fried ingredients, it was simple yet very delicious.

Grilled Rice Ball in Broth with Salted Kelp came next, it was almost like the Chinese dinner where you always have a rice dish at the penultimate dish (sort of, but not really). You appreciate the rice and wasabi in broth with a bit of a grilling treatment to bring out the flavour, subtle but quite delightful.

Yuzu Sorbet, Yuzu Mousse, Yuzu Kaki with Yamada Jyuro Plum
Yuzu Sorbet, Yuzu Mousse, Yuzu Kaki with Yamada Jyuro Plum

We concluded the dinner with Homemade Japanese Citrus Sorbet, Mousse and Dehydrated Persimmon. If you haven’t had yuzu before, go get some yourself, it is the best citrus there is (to me anyway).

We each also had a glass of Yamada Jyuro Plum, it was a fantastic dinner with some really fine sake. Made for an excellent night. Thank you again Sarah and Kampachi for the lovely dinner.

Check out Angeltini’s post for write up from the sake angle.

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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Those of you who have followed this blog or my Instagram/FB channels for a while know that I’m quite a big fan of Penang Curry Mee, whenever I see any place that claims to offer them, I’ll give it a try.

Curry Mee at Tong Fong restaurant, PJ Seapark
Curry Mee at Tong Fong restaurant, PJ Seapark

So when Haze pointed out to me that there’s this stall offering Penang Curry Mee at Tong Fong kopitiam at Seapark while we were buying battery for the car, it became the de facto lunch choice for that day.

Tong Fong kopitiam is situated right behind KFC at Seapark, other than the rather popular beef noodle, there weren’t many hawker stalls worth mentioning, until this one.

coagulated pork blood and raw cockles, the most important ingredients
coagulated pork blood and raw cockles, the most important ingredients

To be perfectly honest, this stall does not offer 100% pure Penang Curry Mee. While having coagulated pork blood, cockles (two of the most important ingredients), cuttlefish, tofupok, and mint leaves, it lacks prawns, and comes with a few pieces of shredded chicken as well as some green beans. So in terms of ingredients, it was about 80% Penang, 20% KL, a bit of a mixed marriage.

there's no prawns in this curry mee, but I'm not complaining
there’s no prawns in this curry mee, but I’m not complaining

The good thing though is that it works, the broth was rather fragrant, and the sambal, while a tad on the oilier side, provided a pretty good kick. I can excuse the lack of prawn in this case.

If you can wake up before 9 am, Restaurant Okay’s version may still be a bit better, but this place serves till lunch, and I sure hope the stall stays.

map to restaurant Tong Fong, Seapark

Address:
Tong Fong restaurant
Jalan 21/17,
Seapark,
46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS3.110142, 101.621673
Hoursbreakfast and lunch

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After writing about the beef noodle at the corner kopitiam at Taman Berkeley, I had a few readers who mentioned that they prefer “the other beef noodle place”, so here it is – I gave Cheong Kee Beef Noodle Restaurant a try.

Cheong Kee beef noodle Taman Berkeley
Cheong Kee beef noodle Taman Berkeley

Cheong Kee is located at the same row with Fatty Meehun kuih & Mo Sang Kor bak kut teh, with basic table & chair and zero decoration. The most important item in the menu would be the beef noodle, but they do offer a few other popular hawker dishes such as char kuih teow, pan mee, and so on.

dry version with mixed beef soup on the side
dry version with mixed beef soup on the side

Traditionally the beef noodle is soupy, but I opted for the dry version on my first visit. The minced meat on top of the noodle (or kuih teow/meehun etc) came with a bit of salted vegetable which gave it a distinct taste (Tangkak style). The beef balls, tripes, and other ingredients in the soup were pretty good too.

I enjoyed the normal chili paste, but if you’re a fan of chili paste, you can also ask for a special spicy version as well.

Cheong Kee is definitely worth visiting, and I’ll probably head there again soon.

map to Cheong Kee beef noodle, Taman Berkeley

Address:
Cheong Kee Beef Noodle
45, Leboh Bangau,
Taman Berkeley, 41150 Klang, Selangor
GPS: 3.058252, 101.463231
Tel: 016-246 6690

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I did say I’m going to try many bak kut teh places in Klang, right? Well, here’s another one that we went to one fine afternoon after another round of painting work at the new house.

Lao Heong Bak Kut Teh, at the heart of Klang
Lao Heong Bak Kut Teh, at the heart of Klang

Lao Heong Bak Kut Teh is located at the heart of Klang town by one of the busiest roads on Jalan Gelugor. If you’re turning from Federal Highway to Jalan Meru, you’ll pass by the area. The restaurant itself is converted from a residential unit with a large “garden area”, like many restaurants in this part of the country, with the typical BKT set up of boiling water on top of LPG tanks for tea making purposes.

fatty meat is my favorite when it comes to bak kut teh (especially kah wan)
fatty meat is my favorite when it comes to bak kut teh (especially kah wan)

Lao Heong servers clay pot style bak kut teh, and as with many places, you can specify the choice of meat (lean, trotter, big bone, small bone, kahwan, etc). The pot also comes with fuchuk (tofu skin), tofu pok, a bit of mushroom, and some lettuce.

As with most Klang bak kut teh, the pork was pretty tender and the soup packs quite a heavy dose of herbal taste, I can sense a strong hint of “tong guai” which I find quite enjoyable. Adding soup is a reasonable request here as well.

A pretty decent BKT and I would not hesitate to revisit, especially at after lunch hours whereby most other places are closed.

map to Lao Heong bak kut teh, Klang

Address:
Lao Heong Bak Kut Teh
Jalan Gelugor & Jalan Kandis
Klang, Selangor
GPS: 3.050409, 101.451371
Hours: Mornings and Afternoons