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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / chris wan

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.

Judges for the Stars People's Food Award
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

Malaysia is such an awesome country when it comes to celebrating festivals, Hari Raya Adilfitri is basically still on going, but we are already preparing for the next – the mooncake festival that falls on the 15th of the 8th month in the Chinese lunar calendar.

A little over a week ago, we went to InterContinental Hotel to check out their mooncake offerings and I even got my hands on trying out how to make them.

ingredients and method of making mooncake
ingredients and method of making mooncake

Here’s a recipe that’s shared by InterContinental Hotel’s Executive Chinese Chef Wong Lian You. The recipe isn’t exactly too complicated, but you might have a problem if you don’t have the cool wooden mould.

Here’s a recipe that makes 15 pieces of Mini Green Tea Paste with Single Egg Yolk mooncake.

Ingredients (for skin):

  • icing sugar – 600 gram
  • cooked glutinous rice flour – 300 gram
  • shortening- 100 gram
  • green tea powder – 10 gram
  • water – 450 ml

Fillings:

  • green tea paste with sunflower seed – 700 gram
  • salted egg yolk (cooked) – 8 nos

old school wooden mould is used to shape the mooncake
old school wooden mould is used to shape the mooncake

Method:

  • put all ingredients for the skin in the mixing bowl and mix well manually. Let rest for 10 minutes
  • divide green tea paste into 15 portions and roll into a ball, make a depression in the centre and wrap an egg yolk, set aside
  • spread some glutinous rice flour on a table
  • roll out into a strip and cut into 15 poritons, roll and wrap the fillings
  • spread some glutinous rice flour in mooncake mould, put the ingredients and press firmly
  • KNOCK HARD until mooncake falls out!

and I got my hands dirty to mould this mooncake, it was a success!
and I got my hands dirty to mould this mooncake, it was a success!

I’m not so sure if the instructions is any useful, but that’s exactly how they make mooncakes in this hotel, all by hand and all in house. After trying it out for myself making the XL sized mooncake, I now really appreciate the effort it takes into making proper mooncakes. If you don’t get it just right, the skin will be uneven, or worse still, the ingredients spill out.

looks like handbag, but does not smell like one
looks like handbag, but does not smell like one, yes they are mooncake boxes

The mooncakes at InterContinental are priced from about RM 17 to RM 25 each, with the mini almond milk cream with bird’s nest mooncake at RM 33. The best thing here is their super ridiculously cute mooncake box that resembles high fashion handbags, I was equally impressed and amused. Too awesome!

The 7 star premium collection is priced at RM 288, which includes 6 smaller and one giant mooncake.

The full list of flavors (traditional baked):

  • white lotus paste with single egg yolk
  • white lotus paste with double egg yolk (I love double egg yolk and actually want 4 egg yolks!)
  • pure white lotus paste with nuts
  • pandan paste with egg custard and walnuts
  • bamboo charcoal paste with pumpkin seeds
  • assorted nuts paste with chicken ham

Snow skin:

  • mini white chocolate snow skin with dark chocolate paste and rice crunch
  • mini duo roseberry snow skin with spirulina paste and gummy candy
  • mini peanut butter snow skin with dark chocolate paste and mixed nuts
  • mini tiramisu paste with dried mix fruits and raisins
  • mini green tea paste with single egg yolk
  • mini durian meat with oats
  • mini almon milk cream with bird’s nest

mooncake tray, and pick your own tea at Intercontinental KL
mooncake tray, and pick your own tea at Intercontinental KL

After messing about at the demonstration, we proceeded to OneSixFive to sample the exclusive afternoon tea showcasing their mooncakes.

The mooncake comes in a unique stand (RM128++ per stand for 2 persons) while you pick the tea (by TEALEAVES) from the box by first sampling them by smell. It’s quite a high life and there’s certainly more than enough mooncakes to go around for two person.

mooncakes from InterContinental KL
mooncakes from InterContinental KL

As for the mooncakes, I find myself still gravitate towards the traditional white lotus paste with double egg yolk. The durian mooncake here was positively potent and should satisfy any durian lovers. I was a bit impartial to the gummy bear version though some really liked it. Other flavors were all pretty much spot on.

Oh, as for the bird’s nest mooncake, while interesting and certainly luxurious, it was tough to actually taste the bird’s nest itself due to the stronger tasting paste/skin necessary for a mooncake. Credit must be given to Chef Wong & Chef Lo for pushing the envelop though.

we had fun at the event, thanks to Chef Wong and Chef Lo
we had fun at the event, thanks to Chef Wong and Chef Lo

Mooncake festival lasts through 19th September, 2013. If you’re looking for some gift ideas, I gotta say that so far the handbag packaging here is the most impressive of all

map to Intercontinental Hotel, KL

Address:
Intercontinental Hotel
165 Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.159767, 101.718045
Tel: 03-2161 1111
Web: www.intercontinental.com

For those who loves dimsum and enjoys buffet at the same time, I’m sure it must have crossed your mind that someone should really come up with buffet style dimsum.

Well, Dorsett Grand Subang (formerly Sheraton) does just that, on every Sunday and Public Holiday, you can get eat-all-you-can dimsum brunch at The Emperor Chinese Restaurant. We had the luxury of sampling the spread at this five star hotel recently.

Emperor Chinese Restaurant, Grand Dorsett Subang
Emperor Chinese Restaurant, Dorsett Grand Subang

Dorsett is located just behind Sime Darby Medical Centre, accessible via Federal Highway, and while traffic can get a bit ugly during rush hours, you shouldn’t expect any trouble during Sunday/Public Holiday brunch hours.

Interior decoration isn’t the most modern nor overly antiquated, tables and chairs are nice and comfortable, but I’m not too into those carpet on the floor.

Anyway, lets talk about the food instead.

our dimsum spread, of course to be shared
our dimsum spread, of course to be shared

For RM 60++ per person (RM 30++ if you’re over 60, or between 5-12; 5 below eats free), the spread is certainly commendable. There are over a dozen different types of steamed dimsum for your choosing.

The usual suspects are all available, har kau, siu mai, fish ball, phoenix’s claws, ribs, char siu pau, shrimp chee cheong fun, pan fried vegetable pau, steamed chicken wings, and various other types of dumplings too.

This is a pork free establishment, but I must say that the chefs did a fine job in preserving the essence of dimsum taste despite not using pork. The major ingredients here are prawns, chicken, and in a few dishes, beef.

deep fried items, soup, desserts, and more
deep fried items, soup, desserts, and more

If deep fried items is what you crave, they have deep fried prawn rolls with cheese (yes they ooze out!), yam puff with BBQ chicken (instead of pork), sui kok, shrimp dumpling, egg tart (super soft), baked century egg with pickled ginger in pastry, and sesame balls. There is also a decent selection of desserts as well, these include peanut soup, cakes, mango pudding, herbal jelly (my favorite), and Chinese pan-cake.

the wu kok, or yam pastry, turned out to be pretty good despite having chicken and yam as the substitute to the traditionally pork and yam filling.

bean curd, oyster, brocolli, prawns, deep fried fish, noodle
bean curd, oyster, brocolli, prawns, deep fried fish, noodle

Those who want a bit of a departure to dim sum can opt for main dishes as well. While the exact dishes may vary from week to week, there’ll usually be noodle, poultry, meat, bean curd, vegetables, and at least two seafood dishes. I only tried the broccoli and bean curd this session, and was not disappointed.

wantan soup, fried pau, yong tau foo, chicken charsiu pau
wantan soup, fried pau, yong tau foo, chicken charsiu pau

Last but not least, there’s also a “live action” barbecue stall stationed within the restaurant where you can get roast duck, roast chicken, and chicken chasiu, all served with traditional condiments. The roast duck wasn’t exactly the standard you’ll find at places such as Loong Foong or Sunrise, but they are more than decent.

KY, Haze, Umei, Josen, Derek, Chris, & Elaine at Grand Dorsett Subang
KY, Haze, Umei, Josen, Derek, Chris, & Elaine at Dorsett Grand Subang

For those who have a healthy appetite and long for a slow and sumptuous dimsum dinner on a lazy Sunday morning, The Emporer at Dorsett  Grand Subang certainly won’t be a disappointment. I think it is also a very good location if you have guests who prefer a pork free meal. RM 60++ is pretty fair for what you get.

Furthermore, for those with kids, there’s a sort of “day care” activities going on right outside the restaurant, with clown and such to keep your kids entertained while you attack the buffet line.

map to Grand Dorsett hotel, Subang Jaya

Address:
The Emperor
Dorsett Grand Subang
Jalan SS12/1,
47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.079211, 101.595999
Tel: 03-5031 6060 ext 1954
Hours: Sundays & Public Holidays 10 am – 2:30 pm