Tag / eats
June 9, 2008
Quietly tucked in a row of shop houses at SS18 is the JM Bariani House that serves traditional Johor nasi briyani. My colleague and I went there on a particularly warm afternoon for lunch as this place is actually air conditioned. It was a wise decision, not only did we not have to sweat in a kopitiam, the food was so good it reminded me of the awesome Indian nasi briyani I had at Myanmar.
illustrated menu and a comfortable interior
JM Bariani House serves all but one item (mee bandung) that isn’t nasi briyani as main dish. There’s lamb, beef, chicken, fried chicken, and even just pure nasi briyani without any meat. They also serve nasi briyani gam ayam (chicken) every Wednesday and nasi briyani gam kambing (lamb) every Saturday.
I ordered a lamb briyani and my colleague had the chicken briyani, we also ordered a tauhu bakar (fried bean curd skin stuffed with mengkuang, cucumber, and sauce) to share.
chicken and lamb briyani, tauhu bakar
The rice used is the finer and smaller grain than usual, very soft and fragrant. The meat was so tender you can cut it with your spoon, they must be cooked for many hours. The taste was just right, not overly spicy, salty, nor sweet, but just a perfect harmony that was very satisfying. My colleague was very satisfied with the chicken briyani as well.
As for the tauhu bakar, I could say that I’ve had better. You would probably want to skip this item when you’re there.
The lamb briyani was RM 10.50 and chicken at RM 9.50. Not exactly economical but wouldn’t break your bank either. Some might justify it with air conditioning provided, but I’d say the awesome nasi briyani more than make up for the slightly higher price.
21 & 21A Jalan SS18/6,
Subang Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.064812, 101.585866
Tel: 03-5634 4660
June 4, 2008
A couple weekends ago I made a drive all the way to Batu Caves to finally meet Penny, someone who used to work in the next building I was at but never managed to see face to face. What made this finally happen was her effective persuasion that I should try the absolute best Wat Tan Hor at Pan Heong Restaurant near Batu Caves.
a simple kopitiam setting with some awesome food
The restaurant is more like a “tai chau” style kopitiam and only opens for breakfast and lunch. For the three of us, we ordered the wat tan hor (literally smooth egg flat noodle), fried noodle (mee goreng), deep fried nam yu pork, and a “fu yu” vegetable dish.
Although pretty packed, it didn’t take too long before the first dish arrives. The wat tan hor was absolutely fabulous, seriously the best I’ve had by far. The sauce thick and very flavorful, and you can taste the difference between the sauce blended with egg yolk and those with only egg white. Very different but equally tasty. There were plenty of cuttle fish, meat, and vegetable in it too.
wat tan hor, mee goreng, “nam yu” pork, vegetable with “fu yu”
I also like the deep fried “nam yu” (fermented beancurd) pork. The fermented beancurd marinated into the pork gives it a distinctive taste, and of course, you need the pork to be relatively fatty to have a juicy texture to go with it. Nice but of course, very sinful.
Of course, a vegetable dish is ordered to give us an illusion of having a complete meal and hence, cancel the sin. Vitamin C is good for you.
The mee goreng, on the other hand, was nice but pale in comparison with the above dishes. I think this might be due to the lack in spiciness, and the fact that I’ve had some pretty good mee goreng like from here (PJ), and here (Penang).
Pan Heong Restaurant is located only a couple hundred meters from Batu Caves
The meal for three came to RM 39.80 with both the noodle dishes at RM 8.50 each, the pork at RM 10.50 and vegetable for RM 6.50. Very reasonable and I will definitely go there again. There are a few more dishes I’d love to try, like those blogged at masak-masak and precious pea, can you say Sang Har Mien?
No. 2 Jalan Medan Batu Caves 2,
Medan Batu Caves, KL
GPS: 3.233873, 101.673456
Tel: 03-6187 7430
April 29, 2008
It is no secret that Japanese food is one of my favorite international cuisines. Sashimi, sushi, tempura, hand rolls, teriyaki, teppanyaki, I like them all. The culinary experience I had when I visited Tokyo 2 years ago is still fresh in my memory, as I lick my lips again…
update (11/10/2010): Rakuzen has moved to GTower at LG-05 & LG-06, GTower, 199, Jln Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur
Luckily, there are many good Japanese restaurants in this part of the world, and one of my absolute favorite would be Rakuzen, a place I visited on a regular basis ever since I came back from the States. In fact, the blog entry on Rakuzen at Subang Jaya is one of my first food articles. I bet you can imagine my enthusiasm when I was invited to a food review session at Rakuzen @ Chulan Square.
According to the friendly host and restaurant manager, Jack, Rakuzen Subang is where everything started, and this Chulan Square location is the second branch. Then there’s the Pyramid Zen, and I found out that they also run my favorite conveyor belt sushi place, Zanmai Sushi! I believe there is also a Zanmai outlet at Gardens, you can check it here.
the really zen like ambiance
Chef Ah Fai at Rakuzen is one of the top apprentices of the bald Japanese chef heads the Subang branch and has been making sushi & sashimi for more than a decade. For this review, he prepared the signature dish sashimi moraiwase, a sashimi salad, dragon roll, and assorted tempura. I was already drooling while taking these photos.
sashimi moraiwase, sashimi salad, dragon roll, tempura
The sashimi includes sake (salmon), maguro (tuna), otoro (tuna belly), ika (squid), tako (octopus), amaebi (sweet shrimp), uni (sea urchin), and a Spanish mackerel, everything imported from Japan and properly stored in their special -15 C fridge to ensure freshness. Order individually, everything would totaled to over RM 200, so the RM 150 dish offers very good value.
The raw fish were very very good, especially the otoro, fatty savory tuna belly that melts in your mouth; of course, the sea urchin is always one of my favorites too, texture of raw brain but with the tastes of that unique sweetness. It was very very satisfying, everything tasted perfect, with proper cuts and the right temperature too.
chef Fai and his creations
As for the sashimi salad, there were plenty of raw fish, squid, and a generous portion of ebiko (fish roe) on top of all the fresh vegetable, tomato, and cucumber in a creamy topping that tasted slightly sourish. This is perfect for someone who loves to have raw fish but doesn’t want to have the rice to go with it. (you can choose to fill your stomach with just sashimi and break the bank at the same time).
The dragon roll is made by deep frying a big tiger prawn and wrapped it with seaweed sheet, sushi rice, avocado, and topped with some Japanese mayonnaise. There were carrots, prawn, egg plants, and even the mint leaf in the tempura dish. I find the half fried mint leaf having a very interesting taste with a unique texture. I always eat the mint leaf served with sashimi anyway, try it!
Rakuzen at Chulan Square is just a short walk from Pavilion KL
It was a very sumptuous and satisfying lunch that is second only to the hospitality by the good chef and the restaurant manager Jack. The invitation was arranged by foodstreet.
Block B Lot 2A Chulan Square,
92 Jalan Raja Chulan, 50200 KL
GPS: 3.148518, 101.716114
Tel: 03-2145 6200
April 28, 2008
Ever since I came back from the States, I’ve been having a tough time finding good steak. The “western food” hawker stalls are usually pretty good with their chicken chop and perhaps fish and chips, but the steaks are about as thick as a notepad and tasted equally disappointing. I’ve also tried some of the restaurants like cafe chinoz at KLCC but the steak was not exactly up to standard, I couldn’t even finish the filet mignon there. I’ve heard that Le Meridien’s Prime Grill serves very good steak, but the price is a bit out of reach. I’ve almost accepted the fate that I shall just forget about having steak, until I went to Gaucho Grill at Chulan Square last week.
excellent interior, chef Kamaruddin and yours truly
Gaucho Grill is one of the very few Argentinian restaurants in Klang Valley. Chef Kamaruddin explained that Argentina is actually the 2nd largest consumer of beef in the world, just after US (with 7.5x more in population). Vegetable is not exactly popular, the south Americans love their meat. Gaucho Grill imports all their meat from herds raised by gauchos (cowboys) of Argentina.
starters: garlic bread, seafood soup, escargot, mixed crunch
The three of us that attended this review session by foodstreet were first served with some really nice garlic bread, Escargot, their Sopa Oceano (seafood soup), and the rather large portion of Mixed Crunch.
The seafood soup has the texture between that of a minestrone soup and pasta sauce, very thick and packed with the sweetness from the scallops, prawns, and mussels that swim in it. It was good. The Mixed Crunch is a dish of finger food that would go very well with beer. Crispy prawn with garlic mayo, mussels, fried mushroom, onion fritter, salmon floret, bruschetta of tomato and feta cheese, and seared scallop with balsamic oil, it was actually pretty hearty for a starter.
main: t-bone steak, salmon and half lobster, beef tenderloin, lamb rack
Next came the four main dishes for the day, we had the La Boca (T-bone Steak), Peublo (Prime Steer Beef Tenderloin), El Codero (Lamb Rack), and El Rey de Mar (Salmon and half Lobster). Two beef, a lamb, and a seafood dish, perfect!
Both the T-bone steak and tenderloin were some of the best beefs I’ve had for a long time. While our dishes were prepared in medium, I personally would like it in medium rare for an even juicier experience. The T-bone is a whopping 450 gram (1 pound) of steak served with rosemary butter. No other sauce is used to distract the natural taste of beef. It was really good.
For the most tender cut served at Gaucho Grill, the good chef prepared the Peublo, a very thick cut of prime steer beef tenderloin that is served with mushroom gravy, zucchini, and fries. The meat was very tender and juicy it brought back my filet mignon (the good one at States, not the lousy version at KLCC) experience.
juicy meat, almond crumble and choc madeleine desserts
As good as the beef dishes were, the El Codero (lamb rack) was equally delicious. Three pieces of very juicy and tender ribs (280gm) served with ratatouille and pesto, I don’t think I’ve had lamb this good before. Even better than the marinate Jaime’s mom made during one of our BBQ sessions.
Other than red meat dishes, we had the El Rey de Mar (roasted salmon and baked half lobster). The salmon was roasted just nice and lobster, well, it was how lobsters taste like, very succulent and never disappoint.
We managed to sample 2 desserts after all these food, the Choc Madeleine is perfect for chocolate lovers with apricot on moist choc, ice cream, and warm choc fudge. The Panna Cotta is similar to creme brulee, but served cold with dark cherry and raspberry stew. The desserts are made in house as well.
Chulan Square is adjacent to Pavilion KL
Steaks are priced at around RM 68-80, desserts are RM 13-16. There’s also a very good deal for set lunches on weekdays between 12-3pm, for RM 26 you get soup, salad, ice lemon tea, and a main dish (rib eyes, burgers, etc).
The food was really good, and I have no doubt I will go there again.
More pictures of this place at my flickr set
Block B, Lot 5 Chulan Square
92 Jalan Raja Chulan,
50250 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.148518, 101.716114
Tel: 03-2145 4268
April 10, 2008
One of my main aim going into the Bangkok trip was to taste some of the weird and wonderful foods the land of smile has to offer, something that is very difficult or impossible to get from Malaysia. This of course, would be the infamous deep fried worms, insects, and alike.
for a few ringgit, we got all these wonderful snacks
I was expecting fried insect stalls to be on every street corners. In actual fact, they are not very common. We weren’t able to locate anyone selling this for the first couple days of our stay. It was only on the 3rd night at Bangkok that Terence managed to buy a plastic bag full these weird and wonderful food from the streets near Pantip Mall (the one that is famous for selling Amulets, not the IT mall with the same name). Myself and Dree were overjoyed!
McBugs, McFrogs, and Worm Fries
Inside the goody bag there were worms, crickets, grasshoppers, dragonflies, praying mantis, and of course, those little fried frogs in whole. Not knowing exactly how to start, we first arranged them into McBugs, McFrogs, and Worm Fries combo meal. A couple minutes staring at these creatures, we decided to bite the
bullet bugs and go straight to it to get the maximum taste instead.
having a feast!
I attacked the worms first. I don’t know if they were just worms or some insect larvae, but the slightly yellowish exterior sure looked a lot more inviting than the dark brown insects laying next to them. As it turns out, the worms were actually pretty good, slightly crunchy and tastes a lot better than the bee’s pupae I had in Vietnam. They were seasoned with salt and some spices, I believe.
my god, we were so proud of ourselves!
Next in line were all the different types of bugs. It was a bit weird chewing down grasshoppers, crickets, and so forth, but actually they too tasted quite ok, very crunchy and tasted a bit like having deep fried small prawns with shells on. Again, it was a little salty and slightly spicy. The different bugs basically tasted the same except but with slightly different textures, you can make out the long arms of praying mantis and the grasshopper’s legs in your mouth, neat.
naturally we finished the whole serving
The more difficult part of the snack attack session though, were the frogs. Unlike the familiar big fat frogs served in Malaysia, these are tiny frogs the size of fifty sen coins. They come with everything intact except for innards, so you get the whole head, the eyes staring at you, the legs, spines and all.
We threw it into our mouths and start chewing off, amazingly there were actually pretty tasty! Crunchy with slight taste of meat, it goes well with the seasoning and not too salty like the bugs. Once you get over the fact that you have to chew the entire head, it was all good!
Of course, we finished the entire serving and like little kids we just finished their vegetables, we were proud. If you’re going to Thailand, this is a must-have!