A couple weeks ago I was approached by the good people from PrimeWorks Studio (a company owned by Media Prima – ala TV3) to see if I’d be interested to participate as a judge in a cooking competition – Versus 1001 Rasa by Baba’s. I agreed pretty much immediately right after figuring out that I could fit it into the calendar, which also coincide with the 13th anniversary of this blog!
Also almost immediately regret the decision since the program is in Malay language, but alas, I was able to cope. 12 years of Malaysian education did not disappoint at the end. *phew*
There are two contestants for each episode, challenging each other by cooking two dishes that are drawn from a recipe box by their respective mentors.
The contestants are given ingredients, including Baba’s product, to come up with the dish to impress the judges while being guided by their mentors. All this is done within the stipulated cooking time, which is dependent on recipe. For the episodes that I was a part of, each dish was given an hour’s time to prepare.
When the time is up, we the judges then gets invited to taste them and gives point to the dish based on predetermined criteria of taste, ingredients used, uniqueness, presentation, and completeness.
It was overall quite an interesting experience. Quite a bit different from my previous experience as judges at R.AGE Food Fight and Blogger MasterChef Challenge. The three judges have the final say without input from the hosts or mentors, and everything is audited. I thought that was very genuine.
I’m not going to announce any spoilers here, but if you have access to TV3, do try to catch the program when it comes out and see how I struggle with our national language.
For those who loved the old first generation Jalan Batai char kuih teow (Damansara Height’s Seng Lee kopitiam) back in the days, you’re in luck! You can now find the original uncle manning the stall at Sen Kee White Coffee kopitiam at Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam.
I was first informed about this place by another ckt seeking friend who originated from Penang. Naturally, I decided to check it out the very next day.
According to the operator, he’s been operating at this location for about two months now, while his daughter is still running the show at the previous place.
Like any proper char kuih teow places, they serve only char kuih teow and nothing else, but you do get a choice between normal chicken egg, or my usual choice when available – duck egg.
The CKT was just as I remembered, plenty of wok hei, with pretty decent size prawns for Klang Valley standard, and all the necessary ingredients such as bean sprouts, cockles, and chives. However, in replacement of lap cheong, you get fish cakes, which is something that’s not 100% ideal but acceptable in my book.
So for those of you who used to love a proper plate of char kuih teow from the uncle who used to operate at Jalan Batai, this is a place to go. There’s also a second generation Batai CKT now at Klang for anyone who’s curious.
Admittedly, fried rice hasn’t been one of the sexiest hawker dishes in Malaysia. If you ask anyone of their favorite Malaysian hawker dishes, chances are that most people are going to say char kuih teow, laksa, prawn mee, mee goreng, and so on.
That being said, I think a plate of good old fashion fried rice is the perfect dish when you really want to have that stomach filled up good.
When it comes to good old fashion fried rice for lunch, one of the best places you can go to Restoran Hup Soon at Petaling Jaya SS3.
The operator from the stall that specialize fried rice is originally from Kedah and has been operating in the same stall for over a decade, serving up the same recipe from all those years.
A plate of fried rice comes with finely chopped long beans & char siu, egg, crunchy bean sprouts, and prawns. I’d also strongly suggest that you ask for an additional fried egg that’s perfectly fried with the egg yolk that remains runny.
The fried rice is also served with some chili padi for those who loves a bit of kick, tho I think it’ll really be perfect if there’s some proper Penang sambal here.
If you’re a fried rice lover, this is definitely a place to check out.
Restoran Hup Soon
7, Jalan SS 3/29,
47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.095309, 101.611128
Hours: breakfast & lunch
If you’re a fan of Japanese food, you should know about J’s Gate Dining at Lot 10 KL – a concept that is unlike any other when it comes to Japanese cuisine offering in Malaysia. As one of those fans myself, I was glad to be invited to the launch event and be one of the firsts to get a taste of what this place has to offer.
J’s Gate Dining is located on level 4 of Lot 10 in Bukit Bintang. Head up the escalator now and you’d see 18 different Japanese restaurants taking up almost the entire floor space offering various different types of Japanese cuisine,centered around the concept of authentic Japanese cuisine and services.
The grand opening was officiated by Mr. Makio Miyagawa, Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia and Mr. Joseph Yeoh, Vice President of YTL Land & Development Bhd and YTL Hotels & Properties Sdn. Bhd., together with Mr. Naoki Yokoyama, Executive Officer of Sojitz Corporation, Chief Operation Officer of Retails & Lifestyle Business Division.
Level 4 at Lot 10 is now J’s Gate Dining, home to 18 of Japan’s best restaurants. We were at the launch event with Mr. Miyagawa, Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia delivering his speech for the grand opening & ribbon cutting ceremony. . Also during the event was the carving session a 40.8kg cultivated maguro. Of course, we also got to sample many of the dishes from the various restaurants, and most importantly the otoro sushi from the freshly carved tuna. I may have helped myself too many times with those tuna sushi. So good! . Lot 10 is transforming to this Japanese food heaven, it’s great! #kyeats #jsgatedining #lot10 #toro #tuna #jsgate @jsgatedining
The opening ceremony is followed by a carving session of a 40.8 KG cultivated Bluefin tuna specially air flown by Sojitz Corporation all the way from Japan. We were then served the fatty tuna in the form of sushi after the event, and I may have returned for more than a few servings!
J’s Gate Dining is separated into two “sections”, with one side a food court type of set up offering all pork free Japanese dishes, and another section with individual restaurants, some with non halal dishes.
Here is the list of restaurants:
|Kaisendon Kinme||Seafood rice bowls|
|Fuji no Sakura||Japanese hotpot|
|Bonta Bonta||Eel rice bowls|
|Torisakaba Hanazen||Chicken izakaya|
|HACHI||Traditional Kyoto cuisine|
|Umai Sushi Kan||Sushi|
|OSAKA Kitchen||Teppanyaki, okonomiyaki|
These are the 5 out of 18 restaurants we managed to try during the special tasting session at J’s Gate Dining, Lot 10 4th floor. . Umai Sushi Kan for more of those tuna belly & other sushi, Torikin for yakitori with a kick, Kushiage Kinme for deep fried skewers, Hachi with traditional Kyoto cuisine (Wagyu beef for us in this case), and also Vito for some galato to end the night. . This place has got to pack the most variety of Japanese food in one location, with reasonable pricing as well. . #kyeats #jsgatedining @jsgatedining #japanesecuisine #wagyu #kinme #sushikan #torikin #hachi #halal #nonhalal
On the same evening, a few of us were also invited to an exclusive tasting session to sample dishes from some of the restaurants at J’s Gate Dining. In the span of some 2.5 hours, we managed to visit these five restaurants:
Umai Sushi Kan offers sushi & sashimi, perhaps the most familiar type of Japanese food for many of us. Again we got to have more of that cultivated Bluefin tuna sushi & sashimi, simply heaven. The rolls were pretty on point as well.
Next up was Torikin Yakitori. There’s a good selection of different skewers to choose from, from chicken tail all the way to pork belly, priced at RM 4 to RM 7 per stick. These makes for some really good beer food.
If yakitori isn’t your cup of tea but you still love things in skewers, hop over to Kushiage Kinme. Over here you get fresh ingredients deep fried with light batter in skewers. There’s prawns, quails’ eggs, pork, and even asparagus, my favorite is gindara (cod).
I highly recommend some cold sake with these, which was what we did.
If you prefer traditional Kyoto cuisine, Hachi could be your destination of choice at J’s Gate Dining. We sampled the wagyu set here that came with wagyu steak, roast beef, wagyu cutlet, bulgogi, roast vegetable, and rice, miso & edamame. A complete meal that should satisfy any beef lover.
Our fifth and final stop for the night was Vito Cafe & Gelato, where we had a sweet ending to the day. Vito also serve coffee in addition to gelato.
Back in late 2015 I was involved in The Star R.AGE food fight competition, it was one of the highlights of my online writing career to stand along the likes of Chef Wan & Chef Darren Chin as one of judges of the cooking competition. One of the finalists of the competition was Ahong Yeang, who was already running a small restaurant at University Hospital then.
Sometimes around Q3 21017, Ahong moved on from his previous joint and opened Grub by Ahong & Friends at Seksyen 17. I finally visited a couple weeks ago.
Grub by Ahong & Friends is located at the small rows of shops right behind Happy Mansion (possibly the birthplace of hipster food in PJ?). Parking can sometimes be a bit challenging for those who can’t walk more than a couple dozen steps, but alas, the walk back to the car after a good meal can be a healthy exercise.
Finally visited Grub by Ahong & friends with @sycookies. Great food at great value. We had beetroot salad, Wagyu did ribeye, local seafood boulonnais, and cake + tarts. Thanks for the wine! This place gets really busy on weekends, I’d recommend weekday visits instead. #kyeats #porkfree #seksyen17 #steak #dinner @grub_sec17
Grub serves a selection of Western dishes at very reasonable prices. The restaurant itself is minimalist but comfortable, with a few tables and open kitchen at the ground floor, and more seating area upstairs. Yes, there’s air conditioning.
To keep prices low, Ahong came up the system of ordering by pencil & paper as well as self-serviced drinks you pick up from the counter where you also find cutlery, plates, and glasses. Corkage is RM 7 per pax but if you spare a glass for the good chef then that is waived. Grub also carries a small selection of wine.
We started the night with beet root salad (RM 13.50) that came with roasted beetroot, fresh fruits, feta cheese, rockets, honey, and nuts. A simple mesh up that leaves me wanting more.
For main I picked steak, the picture above is wagyu rump, wagyu ribeye is priced at RM 145 but they ran out that night. Again another spot on execution with no fuss and great ingredients.
My partner in crime picked the local seafood bouillabaisse (RM 25) which is served with grilled white fish, clams, squid & prawns in lightly spiced seafood soup with pasta & sourdough bun. A comforting dish if you’re looking for something lighter. Also their sourdough bun was actually very good as well.
We rounded up dinner with carrot cake (RM 10) and chocolate tart (RM 12), and were also served Grub’s signature fresh fruits in tear-drop ice that is on the house.
Overall it was a great no-fuss dining experience. We ended up spending another couple hours chatting with Ahong until his staffs lowered the shop grill half way. Fantastic night and will definitely go again.