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Just before heading to Bangkok, I had the chance to do a review at Pearl International Hotel’s Sunday Japanese Buffet. Being a fan of Japanese food, I naturally accepted the offer without any hesitation.

Pearl International Hotel Japanese Buffet
glorious oysters, mussels, and crabs

The Sunday buffet is actually something new for Pearl International Hotel. I was a little skeptical on the quality and choices of food as the hotel does not have an in-house Japanese restaurant. However, I was proven wrong on both assumptions when I reached the hotel at around 12pm. A writer from NST was joining us for the review session as well.

Pearl International Hotel Japanese Buffet
wide variety of food, including desserts and fruits

The buffet is set up at Deli Corner, the restaurant right by the main lobby with seating capacity of around 200. The setting is rather large, with almost every type of Japanese food on the various buffet lines. From raw oysters, sushi and sashimi, to tempura and sukiyaki, the selection was impressive.

Pearl International Hotel Japanese Buffet
the raw stuff: sushi, sashimi, oysters, and chuka idako (baby octopus)

The proper way to start off with a Japanese buffet is, of course, by attacking the raw bar. I got myself a few pieces of raw oysters, some mussels, and a couple steamed prawns to go with a serving of sashimi. This is to ensure that the taste buds aren’t contaminated by the stronger flavored cooked item.

Pearl International Hotel Japanese Buffet
soba, sukiyaki, tofu, and green tea ice cream

The oysters, mussels, and prawns were very good. As for the sashimi, the standard is rather normal. Then again I’ve never had really outstanding sashimi from a buffet. The finer cuts are usually only catered to ala carte menu where a plate of sashimi moriawase costs more than a ticket to this buffet, so I guess it is only fair.

Pearl International Hotel Japanese Buffet
noodle, tempura, chawanmushi

I then moved on to sample some chuka idako (baby octopus), tempura, tofu, vegetables, and terikyaki sticks. I particularly like the way they serve chuka idako in a soup spoon. Very exquisite and yet easy to take, easy to eat, and without the chance to make a mess. These cooked food didn’t disappoint me, they are at least on par with the midrange Japanese restaurants.

Pearl International Hotel Japanese Buffet
ahh, some sake to go with everything, perfect

I had the chef made me a very delicious bowl of sukiyaki with beef too, and another serving of raw food before calling it a meal. At the end, I couldn’t resist the green tea ice cream for dessert, 2 scoops of sweetness, bliss!

map to Pearl International Hotel
Pearl International is situated right next to Plaza OUG at Old Klang Road

The meal is priced at RM 48++ per person, seniors can get in for RM 40++ and kids at RM 30++. Pretty decent price for the amount of offerings you get to have. Currently it is only on for Sunday buffet lunch, but do give them a call as the F&B Manager Lawrance Khoh told me they are planning to expand this operation looking at the strong demand. Give it a try!

Invitation arranged by FoodStreet.

Address:
Batu 5, Jalan Klang Lama
58000 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.084701,101.67322
Tel: 03-7983 1111

The streets of Bangkok is dotted with many hawkers selling all sorts of food for those with an appetite for adventure. While noodles and rice dishes are mainly found in food courts and small restaurants, many hawkers offer bite size snacks at road side. From the more mainstream sausages to cold drinks to fried insects, you can find virtually anything.

Bangkok Street Food -
Bacon Stick for 20 baht each

I noticed that many snacks choices consist of pork. There are pork sausage, bacon sticks, grilled fried pork, deep fried pork skin, roasted pork, ah, it was good for the pork lovers, maybe not exactly so great for health, however.

My favorite would be the bacon stick we had at the Chatuchak weekend market. For 20 baht (around RM2), you get mini sausages wrapped with bacon on a skewer. The union of sausage and bacon was a match made in heaven as the juice and slight saltiness from bacon compliments the texture and taste of the sausage oh so well. You have to try this if you manage to find the stall!

Bangkok Street Food -
grilled pork strips on a ring

Grilled pork strips on bamboo string is a pretty common snack that can be found at many places. The meat is marinated and carries a pretty salty taste, while pretty good, eating too much of these will make you very thirsty.

Bangkok Street Food -
deep fried pork skin

Another sinful snack would be this little bowls of deep fried pork skin that goes for 10 baht that we found at Chatuchak. These are very crispy and goes well with a little bit of Thai chili sauce. Now imagine having this with a cold beer watching your favorite football teams on a big LCD TV, with the air-cond full blast, and maybe a hot chick dancing on the side…

Bangkok Street Food -
roasted pork (siu yok)

Roasted pork isn’t usually served on rice over here, you just have it as snacks to munch while walking around the weekend market. I guess we deserved it since we were getting enough exercise from walking under the searing hot April weather in Bangkok anyway, right?

Bangkok Street Food -
colorful Popsicles

Then there’s the Popsicle stalls. The popsicles are actually made on location, usually with bottled fruit juice poured into a metal mold. A wooden stick is added as the handle. The mold is placed in a contraption consisting two parts, a top with little holes to hold the molds, and the bottom container filled with dried ice.

The seller often stirs the top part of the popsicle maker attempting to freeze the products faster. A stick costs something like 5 baht, and they were perfect for the weather.

Bangkok Street Food -
fried mini banana (including the skin)

Other than the meat items, I also tried this curious little deep fried banana Terence bought. It was basically some species of mini banana sliced down in the middle, deep fried. While they look rather uninspiring, these things were actually very sweet and rather tasty. It is similar with our own “pisang goreng”, but sweeter and more concentrated.

Bangkok Street Food -
Of course I enjoy every bit!

You can do a fair share of walking and eating in this city. Next up would be the various type of meals I had to sit down to eat. Stay tuned!

I was invited to an exclusive Guinness St. Patrick’s day Food Creation event at Nikko Hotel last Thursday thanks to Celine. All I knew about this event was that I get to sample a Guinness infused food, I was quite intrigued, as the only type of Guinness infused food I’ve ever had was Guinness pork ribs served by many Chinese tai chau places.

Update 18/8/2013: Nikko Hotel is now Intercontinental Hotel

Guinness lamb shank at Nikko Hotel, KL
Guinness infused Lamb Shank

For the uninitiated, St. Patrick’s Day is an annual feast day which celebrate the patron saint of Ireland. It is traditionally observed on the 17th of March every year. Since this is a celebration of food and drinks, and Guinness is from Ireland, they came up with this Guinness infused Food Creation contest that runs until the end of the month. There are 9 outlets participating in this contest judged by celebrity Chef Emmanuel Stroobant of Chef in Black. The results will be out on the 25th of March.

KY and chef at Nikko Hotel
chatting up with Chef Halil

This particular food tasting event was held at Bentley’s pub on first floor, a very cozy English pub setting with classy deco that seems so fitting for this occasion. I was greeted by Azira, the communication person at Nikko (who incidentally worked at the same place I am working now), the resident manager Ron Brooks, and of course, the very friendly Chef Halil. Besides all sorts of drinks (alcoholic or otherwise), they serve dishes such as fish and chips, steak, shepherd’s pie and so forth. However, until the 30th of March, the special addition to the menu is the Guinness Braised Lamb Shank on Sauteed Arrow Root Chips with Onion Jam, the very dish that is the competition. Best thing is, I get to eat it!

Christian from KL Lifestyle and Celine enjoying their lamb shank
Christian from KL Lifestyle and Celine enjoying their lamb shank

As we were waiting for the lamb shank, chef Halil explained to me how the dish is cooked. First marinated with salt and pepper, the lamb shank is browned with vegetable oil on a flat pan. Then came the celery, carrots and onion, and then garlic cloves, tomato paste, then a whole bottle of Guinness stout. After that there’s the brown sauce and so forth. 1 hour and 15 minutes later, the dish is done. (I actually have the recipe from this friendly chef, but I guess I am in not hurry to try this myself just yet).

The lamb shank was very tasty and very tender, with a very subtle hint of bitterness from the stout but masterfully balanced with the sweetness of onion jam. The use of arrow root (ngaku) and other vegetables compliments the texture and taste of the lamb. It was very gastronomically satisfying, I think it’s a winner! Naturally, I had the lamb with a glass of Guinness Draught.

Guinness Black Beer
I just had to have a glass of this!

To try this dish, you have until the end of this month. It is available at RM 30++ at Bentley’s pub, Nikko Hotel (just right next to Citybank at Ampang Park).

GPS: 3.159767, 101.718045

This place at SS2 probably sells one of the bigger chicken curry puffs this side of Klang Valley. If you like your curry puff big, fresh, and tasting just nice, this stall called HOMI is the place to go.

Homi Curry Puff at SS2
freshly fried curry puffs

For the uninitiated, curry puff is our traditional Malay pie originated from this region. It consists of fillings wrapped by a deep fried pastry shell. Traditionally chicken curry with generous amount of potato were the de facto ingredient, but these days you can find many puffs filled with everything from sardine to durian.

Homi Curry Puff at SS2
big and handsomely filled!

At this particular stall, the curry puff is made the traditional way, except in a very generous size. For RM 1.20 each, it gives pretty good value, and of course, tastes pretty good too! The shell has a slight buttery taste to it and the curry is thick and juicy. However, the best thing is that business is so good and hence you’ll always get freshly fried curry puff. Warm curry puff is so much better!

Homi Curry Puff at SS2
Homi is located at Sun Hin Loong kopitiam, opposite KFC

The stall operates in the afternoon. Situated at SS2 Sun Hin Loong kopitiam, it is only across the road from SS2 Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet.

Address:
Intersection of SS 2/62 and SS 2/67
GPS: 3.119498, 101.621819

One of the other places we dined at during the trip to Seremban was this very nice looking restaurant called La Esquina, or “the corner” in Spanish. Naturally, it specialized in Spanish cuisine. The interior of this place is modern yet very cozy, it spots a full bar and has seating areas both in and outdoor. The first Spanish cuisine in Seremban is also probably the nicest decorated restaurant at Era Square.

La Esquina Spanish Restaurant
grilled asparagus wrapped in bacon

La Esquina doesn’t have a huge menu when it comes to food selection, they do, however, serve all sorts of drinks and a variety of tapas. As we were still half full from our very satisfying meal at Kensington, we only had some light dishes at this place.

La Esquina Spanish Restaurant
a full bar and a nicely decorated interior

The grilled asparagus wrapped in bacon slice was a pretty delicious dish. I mean, you can’t really go wrong with grilled asparagus and bacon. The bacon, however, is of the beef variety rather than the non-halal version from pork. Though I think the later might have jazzed up the taste just a tad more, the beef bacon wasn’t a bad substitute.

La Esquina Spanish Restaurant
tapas

We also had fresh button mushroom, mussel in white wine sauce, Spanish warm potato salad, and spicy chicken sausage. The tapas were served with slices of bread to go with the sauce that comes with it. I mentioned that the spicy chicken sausage isn’t exactly spicy for our taste, the owner Mr. Satwant explained that the level of spiciness in Spanish cuisine is a lot less than what we are accustomed to.

La Esquina Spanish Restaurant
basque crab casserole

The last dish served was not tapas, but the pretty unique basque crab casserole. Generous portion of crab meat and some other ingredients I can’t name were baked in flowery crab shells. This dish carries a slightly salty taste that I imagine would taste pretty well with some red wine.

map to era walk, seremban
La Esquina is located at Era Square

Tapas at La Esquina ranges from RM8 to RM15, the crab casserole goes for RM18 per pair.

Address:
No. 49, Jalan Era Walk 3,
Era Square
70200 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan

GPS: 2.725641,101.930938
Tel:
06-768 7405