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Mexican cuisine isn’t one of the most popular foreign foods in Malaysia, but if you want Western style food with a dose of hotness, this is where you go. Las Carretas is probably one of the earlier establishments serving Mexican cuisine in the country, and with three branches in town, the brand is proved to be pretty popular among locals and expats as well.

Las Carretas at Ampang
Las Carretas at Ampang

This is the second post on Las Carretas on the blog, the first being a 2006 version when (I believe) they only had one branch at USJ. The chain has grown since and I thought it’ll be appropriate to pen another review since we went to the Ampang branch just a while back.

fresh oysters in different flavors
fresh oysters in different flavors

There are quite a selection of starters in the menu, but for oyster lovers, one must not miss their offerings. Have it fresh, with cheese and herbs, or salsa on top (RM 29.90 for half dozen). The shellfish were big, fresh, juicy, and absolutely mouth watering. Very decent value for what you get.

chips and salsa, squid rings, oxtail soup
chips and salsa, squid rings, oxtail soup

Chips and salsa is always served while you wait for food to arrived. While they’re very tasty, try not to over indulge in them to avoid stuffing your stomach too early before your main arrives.

Calamares a la Romana is the Mexican way of saying deep fried squid rings (RM 21.90), and they are served with garlic mayo dip and tartar sauce. Tastes pretty good but not exactly something you can’t get from just about anywhere.

I tried Sopa De Rabo (boneless oxtail soup, RM 11.90) and well, if there’s anything better than oxtail soup, it is making it boneless. Easy to consume, delicious and with zero hassle. I love it.

rib-eye steak with foie gras, boneless chicken chop, NZ lamb loin
rib-eye steak with foie gras, boneless chicken chop, NZ lamb loin

For my main dish I chose Bife Ancho, or rib-eye steak with an addition of seared foie gras (RM 92, or RM 68 without). The 45-day aged Australian grain fed beef were excellent, but the preparation of foie gras was lacking, I felt that they overcooked it a bit.

Other friends who had Pollo Loco (boneless chicken chop with black peppercorn sauce, RM 19.90) and Crusted N.Z. Lamb Rack (RM 64.90) were very happy with their choices. The lamb, served with freshly made rosemary sauce and cooked to perfection, was especially praised.

prawn spaghetti, grain fed t-bone steak, beef fajitas
prawn spaghetti, grain fed t-bone steak, beef fajitas

Prawn Spaghetti (RM 38.90) was served with pretty good size prawns and drenched in garlic, chili, and fajita sauce. Positively Mexican and yet something that’s easy to adapt to if you’re not used to the taste.

If you have a big appetite, Chuleton De Bistek (T-bone steak, RM 65.90) and all it’s 450 gram glory can be yours, complete with salad, ranch dressing, and steak fries. One of our team members’ go-to meal here.

Interestingly, we only really ordered one “classic” Mexican dish among the 10 of us. The beef Fajitas (RM 33.90) was served in a sizzling hot plate with plenty of warm tortilla to go around. I love their Guacamole sauce that comes with this dish.

awesome lunch with the team
awesome lunch with the team

It seems to me that after some 6-7 years between the last visit and this one, Las Carretas hasn’t missed a beat. Food is still generally very good (except for the foie gras), prices are reasonable for what you get, and service isn’t anything to complain about either. I should go there again, this time maybe sooner.

map to Las Carretas, Ampang

Address:
Las Carretas Mexican Restaurant
22 Persian Ampang
55000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.159156, 101.746702
Tel: 03-4257 1668
Weblascarretas.com

There are quite a number of places in Klang Valley that are famous for their char siew (bbq pork), and a couple weeks ago my colleagues introduced me to another place that serves one of the best char siew in town – Restaurant Soo Kee at Jalan Ampang.

I think some day I should compile a list of the best char siew places, but until then… lets talk about this place instead.

restaurant Soo Kee is where you find awesome char siu
restaurant Soo Kee is where you find awesome char siu

Restaurant Soo Kee is situated at Jalan Ampang, just right next to the flyover heading to Ampang Point. While you can’t park directly outside the shop, it’s not exactly tough to find a spot at nearby roads.

It’s an old school restaurant with even older owners, but the place is air conditioned, and pretty clean too, that’s always a plus.

intestine, salted roast duck, and the char siu (bbq pork)
intestine, salted roast duck, and the char siu (bbq pork)

For the 7 of us, we ordered the char siew, salted roast duck, intestine, deep fried spring roll, and their signature tofu dish. I think we had initially ordered a vegetable dish to go with, but canceled it somehow.

So the char siew – it was easily one of the best I’ve had. The skin was slightly charred, the meat soft, succulent, and the layer of fat almost transparent. This is what we came for, and none of us were disappointed.

Then there’s the salted roast duck, this too was a dish not to be missed. It tasted essentially like .. well, salted version of a good roast duck. I do like the extra dimension that the saltiness bring, the skin was crispy, and we devoured everything.

The intestine though, was a bit of a disappointment to me, it was a little bit too tough (perhaps overcooked?). Not bad per se, but could be nicer if it was a bit softer.

deep fried spring roll and signature tofu
deep fried spring roll and signature tofu

Deep fried spring roll actually looked and tasted nothing like spring roll, but a lot closer to fish cake instead. However, it was a really good fish cake and something that I’d order again without a doubt.

The signature tofu is basically Japanese tofu in egg drop soup with a bit of seafood ingredients. Offers some contrasting taste to the mostly oily/fatty dishes we had, a good balance, but nothing to shout about.

KY, Debran, Sarah, Yin Foong, Angelina, Michelle & another ninja
KY, Debran, Sarah, Yin Foong, Angelina, Michelle & another ninja

We had an awesome Friday lunch for sure, and Soo Kee is definitely a place worth revisiting. The lunch came to something like RM 15-17 per person. Reasonable for what we had.

That Friday afternoon was spent fighting the zzz bug though. Just one of the disadvantages of having a lunch too good on working days

map to Soo Kee restaurant at Jalan Ampang

Address:
Restaurant Soo Kee
No. 373-1, 4th Mile,
Jalan Ampang Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.158449, 101.747088
Tel: 03-4257 0767
Closed on Mondays

Olympus E-PL3

Every once in a while, usually on Fridays, we drive out from the enclave of Bukit Bintang to eat at a land far away. For example, Ah Koong Eating House (亚坤纯正西刀鱼丸) at a grand total of 2 kilometers away from the office.

Ah Koong Eating House, Imbi
Ah Koong Eating House, Imbi, plenty to choose from

Ah Koong Eating House has quite an extensive menu of various fishball noodle with different choices of fish, oyster, fish cake, yong tau foo, and more. It is in essence, similar to the likes of B & Best Seafood Noodle and 60s Teow Chew Fishball Noodle, but with even more varieties on offer.

The good thing about Ah Koong though, is that the shop is airconditioned too.

some deep fried goodness as side dishes
some deep fried goodness as side dishes

Ordering at Ah Koong is simple, you proceed to the front of the “stall” pick your choice of noodle/rice/porridge/kuih teow etc to go with your choice of different fish meat, fishball, oyster, and more. There’s also a choice of different soup to go with – dry, tomyam, curry, and clear soup.

curry mee, dried noodle, soup noodle, and oyster
curry mee, dried noodle, soup noodle, and oysters

We ordered some deep fried fish cake and yong tau foo items to share, and I had the fishball kuih teow soup with oysters (RM 14 + YTF price per item), and it was actually quite delightful. A colleague had their curry mee, and another elected to go with dried lou she fun, and each gave pretty decent feedbacks to their dishes.

While the place might have a reputation of being expensive, I found that the price is pretty much in line with other shops that serves similar type of food. Parking at Imbi area can be a drag, but if you’re looking for a bowl of good fishball soup with choices of other goodies to add in, this would be a place to go in KL.

p/s: if you want those with pork lard, head to B & Best instead.

map to Ah Koong Eating Place

Address:
Ah Koong Eating Place
Ground Floor No.172,
Jln Changkat Tambi Dollah,
Off Jalan Pudu,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.140039,101.712858
Tel: 03-2143 3477

A couple Fridays ago my colleague Angel called me up and asked if I wanted to join them for curry fish head. Now for those who aren’t familiar with Malaysian culture, here are a couple of tips:

  • Friday lunches last for 2 hours
  • we don’t need to be in fear factor competition to eat something like fish head

Peter Curry Fish Head at Setapak
Peter Curry Fish Head at Setapak

Angel is a Sarawakian and a true blue Malaysian who knows her way around good foods, so when she ajak, I never say no. Plus, on that day I get to act like a pimp and dine with 5 ladies as a bonus. heehee

Anyway, our destination of the day was Peter Curry Fish Head, a smallish restaurant/kopitiam/taichau place that has a pretty limited menu and plenty of customers. But luckily, Angel already called and made a reservation for us.

curry fish head with everything, namyu chicken wings
curry fish head with everything, namyu chicken wings

The curry fish head comes in various sizes and additions, they are:

  • SIZE – FISH HEAD  + PRAWN + SQUID
  • S – 18, 28, 31
  • M – 25, 40, 45
  • L – 32, 47, 54
  • XL  – 40, 58, 65

For the six of us, we ordered a large portion of curry fish head +prawns + squid (RM 54), namyu chicken wings, vegetable, and seafood tofu. We had rice to go with them, of course.

vegetable and seafood tofu
vegetable and seafood tofu

There isn’t actually many other dishes to order even if you wanted, but they are good and they do have all the bases covered.

The fish head was awesome! It was huge and stuffed with plenty of fish head (red snapper I think), squid and prawns. There are also tofu pok, mints, eggplant, long beans, and okra too. It is pretty much a complete meal by itself with a very tasty curry base that actually wasn’t even really that spicy, tho I am sure you can ask for more kick if that’s what you want.

KY, Angel, Debren, Yin Foong, Sarah, Michelle
KY, Angel, Debren, Yin Foong, Sarah, Michelle

The other dishes were pretty good too. The namyu chicken wings were delicious (I made the same thing before, recipe here), and the very plain looking seafood tofu was superb too.

Then there’s the vegetable, which tasted like vegetable (vitamin C quota.. ).

Overall it was a very good meal that might be a little too much for normal days, but for a Friday, bring it on! For the 6 of us, if I remember correctly, the bill came to be around RM 17 or so per person. Not very cheap, but it was a lot of seafood and a good portion of meat. I will be heading there again for sure.

map to Peter Curry Fish Head at Setapak

Address:
Peter Curry Fish Head
12 Jalan Angsana
Taman P Ramlee,
Setapak 53000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.19243, 101.70823
Tel: 03-4021 5809

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Celcom

In another news, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (my hands on review video) is launching to public this Saturday (20th August, 2011 from 10am), and check out these fine deals for early birds:

At Piazza, e@curve, Mutiara Damansara KL:

  • 1st 300 customers can enjoy the Galaxy Tab 10.1 @ the amazing offer price of RM999!*
  • 20 lucky customers will be able to get it @ an even more fantastic offer price of RM99!*

At Queensbay Mall, Penang:

  • 1st 50 customers can enjoy the Galaxy Tab 10.1 @ the amazing offer price of RM999!*

At Celcom Branch, Jalan Kempas, JB:

  • 1st 50 customers can enjoy the Galaxy Tab 10.1 @ the amazing offer price of RM999!*

*Subject to 24-months contract on Celcom Broadband Basic or Advance. Terms and conditions.

For more information, check out www.celcom.com.my/smartphones