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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / haze

Right after participating as a guest speaker at “A Food Biz Workshop” a week ago where I found out that some 80% food business fails within the first two years of operation, I got to attend an event hosted by one that represents the other extreme end – the Martell Pure Gourmet event by the brand that has been in existence since 1715.

Yeap, that’s just a year shy of 300, with perhaps one of the oldest single product, the Martell VSOP being in the market since 1831.

Martell is celebrating 300 years anniversary in 2015
Martell is celebrating 300 years anniversary in 2015

While last year’s dinner was hosted at JW Marriott, Martell chose the Grand Imperial Chinese restaurant at Hartamas Shopping Centre for this year’s annual Pure Gourmet. I was very delighted and honoured to be invited to this year’s dinner again after having had a very good experience last year.

I was surprised that Malaysia actually happened to be the 2nd largest market in the world for Martell after China, and I guess this is partly due to the way we consume cognac, which, fortunately or not, was in full display during the dinner with many happily cheering each other “Happy Birthday to You” while emptying their glasses as the night went on.

P/S: It wasn’t anyone’s birthday, but we had a lot of fun.

sze chuan jelly fish with thousand layer pig ear & deep fried scallop
Sze Chuan jelly fish with thousand layer pig ear & deep fried scallop

Anyway, pure gourmet is about the blend of exquisite ingredients, skills, and passion in the creation of inspiring dishes, as with how each bottle of Martell cognac is created, so lets get on with the dinner.

We started out with chilled Sze Chuan jelly fish with thousand layer pig ear accompanied deep fried scallop wrapped with German vermicelli rice noodle. A pretty descriptive dish and one that has several characters all rolled into one.

The jelly fish and pigs ear with the softer texture and a more complex taste, and deep fried scallop an explosion of seafood sweetness beneath the the crispy and rawer tasting vermicelli. This was paired with Martell V.S.O.P.

baked king prawn with cheese, paired with Martell Cordon Bleu
baked king prawn with cheese, paired with Martell Cordon Bleu

Next up was a relatively unpretentious baked water king prawn with cheese to go with the very recognizable Martell Cordon Bleu, perhaps the gold standard of cognac.

The execution of the prawn was on the dot, I really dug into the head and savour the juices out of this. Though this is probably the only dish I could come close to replicating at home, it was also one of my favorites.

deep fried airflown  Japanese Ayor fish with lemon
deep fried air flown  Japanese Ayor fish with lemon

Third dish of the night was deep fried air flown Japanese Ayor fish with lemon (also known as Ayu fish).

Found in the rivers and lakes around Hokkaido, this fresh water fish is famous for the sweetness of its flesh, which was brought out to its fullest potential when paired with Martell Cordon Bleu.

pan fried lamb cutlet with chef's special sauce, paired with Martell XO
pan fried lamb cutlet with chef’s special sauce, paired with Martell XO

Following the fish, we had the pan fried lamb cutlet with Chef’s special sauce to go with Martell XO.

Perhaps I was more accustomed to Western style of lamb cutlet preparation, it took a while to appreciate the more traditional Chinese preparation method of the red meat that is inherently more cooked. In this instance, the sauce takes center stage with the meat playing supporting role.

braised spaghetti with sliced abalone, black truffle n mushroom, Martell Chanteloup Perspective
braised spaghetti w/ sliced abalone, black truffle & mushroom, Martell Chanteloup Perspective

Last dish before dessert was the braised spaghetti with sliced abalone, black truffle and mushroom. The hint of black truffle went well with abalone, and the fine angel hair spaghetti was the right choice to soak up the flavour. We just wished that it was a whole abalone instead (who doesn’t?).

The aroma and elegance of Martell Chanteloup Perspective complimented the dish perfectly.

Grand Imperial special dessert paired with Martell Creation Grand Extra
Grand Imperial special dessert paired with Martell Creation Grand Extra

Finally, we end the dinner with a host of three desserts prepared by Grand Imperial and had the pleasure to pair them with Martell Creation Grand Extra, the silky smooth and yet very powerful tasting cognac. A unique taste to end a pretty unique and special dinner.

and we were cheering to each other "happy birthday to you".. yes, it's a "trend"
and we were cheering to each other “happy birthday to you”.. yes, it’s a “trend”

A big thank you to Siew Kheng for the invitation, and hopefully we’ll have the privilege to be a part of this again next year!

map to Hartamas Shopping Centre

Address:
Grand Imperial
Lot F33 – F35, First Floor,
Hartamas Shopping Centre
No. 60, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1,
Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.163480, 101.656136
Tel03-6201 9777

Steamboat has traditionally been a pretty strong branch of Chinese cuisine in KL. It is something that can be very simple, like just ordering a couple sets, or you can go wild with a bunch of friends by having fancy seafood, meat, and everything in between.

Being the type of dish that is rather mature, how do you have a new steamboat place that everyone wants to go?

Well, The Pot at Kuchai Entrepreneur Park found the answer, and we loved it!

The Pot Steamboat at Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park
The Pot Steamboat at Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park

The Pot is the new kid on the block at Kuchai Lama, and like any shops at Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park, parking can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, even for a restaurant that is situated at a corner premise closer to the main road.

The restaurant is fully air conditioned, so you don’t need to go there only when it rains, which is nice. In fact, all steamboat places not at Cameron Highland should have climate control if you ask me.

Alaskan Crab, 1.5kg or so for RM 155
Alaskan Crab, 1.5kg or so for RM 155

The unique thing about The Pot Steamboat is the glorious Alaskan Crab. For RM 155 at about 1.5KG, you get this beautiful crustacean served on a plate ready to be boiled in the steamboat soup and thereby making the broth ever so sweet.

While looking totally bad ass, the shell isn’t actually very hard and can be cut with a pair of culinary scissors to reveal those awesome meat fairly easily. This is a must-order and I believe more than half the tables at The Pot has an Alaskan Crab.

fresh geoduck, have it raw or just slightly blanched, your take
fresh geoduck, have it raw or just slightly blanched, your take

Other than Alaskan crab, the other pretty unique underwater creature they have is fresh geoduck (pronounced as “gooey duck”, thanks Suan!), the rather phallic looking salt water clam that can be eaten either raw (sashimi style) or just lightly blanched for about 2-3 seconds in steamboat soup.

Fresh geoduck isn’t cheap, the serving we had came up to be about RM 200, though it usually cost more in other seafood restaurants. The innards and other parts of the geoduck is also provided at the end of our meal to be boiled with leftover steamboat broth and rice, making a sort of clam innards porridge. This you gotta try to appreciate it.

steamboat set, smoked duck, black fungus, fish ball, meat ball, etc
steamboat set, smoked duck, black fungus, fish ball, meat ball, etc

Of course, as any steamboat place, there’s a host of other dishes to choose from to go with the three types of soup base they serve (sang yu pot, supreme clear soup, drunken wine soup).

The steamboat set goes for RM 17.80 (min 2 pax per table) and on top of that there’s a selection of live seafood from the aquarium that includes prawns, crab, frogs, giant clams, and so forth. Then there’s pork ball, fish ball, meat slices, chicken, mushroom, fungus, and even smoked duck (RM 7.90).

and of course, steamboat is best shared among friends
and of course, steamboat is best shared among friends

We had a pretty good time at The Pot and I reckon it is certainly a place you should consider if you’re looking to share a pot steamboat with friends and family while looking at some decent seafood offerings. Traffic and parking situation isn’t ideal, but then again sometimes we can’t ask for everything.

Thank you Ah Yat for the invitation.

map to The Pot steamboat at Kuchai Lama

Address:
The Pot Steamboat
No. 1, Jalan Kuchai Maju 4,
Kuchai Entrepreneur Park, Kuchai Lama,
58200 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.091500, 101.686195
Tel: +6016 821 2280

Over the weekends we went to Singapore for a super short trip as Haze & Angel wanted to visit an art exhibit and a Singaporean friend. We drove down on Friday night and naturally waking up hungry the next day looking for wholesome breakfast to start the day.

Our Singaporean guide traversed half the country and brought us to Canopy Garden Dining at Ang Mo Kio, promising a place with pretty good egg benedict. We weren’t at a position to suggest anything else, so we rolled along.

Canopy Garden Dining at Ang Mo Kio
Canopy Garden Dining at Ang Mo Kio

Canopy Garden Dining is pretty much a restaurant within a garden, with plants surrounding the mostly alfresco dining area and even a rooftop that’s planted with greenery.

We reached at almost noon with the hot sun up above, so seated outside was a little warm though acceptable. I’m guessing the dining experience would have been greater in the morning.

Egg Royale, with poached eggs and smoked salmon
Egg Royale, with poached eggs and smoked salmon

We came here for the egg benedicts, so we ordered both the Egg Royale and Classic Egg Benedict ($15).

Unlike most places that takes forever to prepare a pair of proper poached eggs, our serving arrived in about 5 minutes. I was really impressed with the speed.

Both dishes came with a side of salad with vinaigrette and sautéed mushroom. The poached eggs were perfectly prepared and draped with hollandaise sauce on English muffins. The classic version came with ham, while “royale” with smoked salmon. We really liked them.

Classic Egg Benedict and Buttermilk Pancake
Classic Egg Benedict and Buttermilk Pancake

If you’re into pancakes, the buttermilk pancake ($8.5) here is worth trying as well, it comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and maple syrup.

Additionally, coffee served at Canopy Garden Dining is also of pretty decent quality.

In all, it’s a rather pleasant place for a lazy weekend breakfast in this otherwise overly fast paced country.

map to Canopy Garden Dining at Ang Mo Kio

Address:
Canopy Garden Dining
Bishan Park II,
1382 Ang Mo Kio Ave 1
569931 Singapore
GPS: 1.362467, 103.847094
Tel+65 6556 1533

Tonkatsu remains to be one of the latest Japanese foods to be introduced in Malaysia. For those who aren’t familiar with this Japanese dish, it is basically a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet served with shredded cabbage. In fact, this dish is originated in Japan in the 19th century, so even in Japan it isn’t a particularly old dish.

Tonkatsu at Ma Maison, at One Utama shopping mall
Tonkatsu at Ma Maison, at One Utama shopping mall

My first time trying tonkatsu was at the version by Wa Kitchen at Pavilion, then probably the first and only tonkatsu restaurant in Malaysia in 2011.

Fast forward a few years later, we have another worthy contender in the tonkatsu landscape – Tonkatsu by Ma Maison. We tried to 1 Utama branch (they just opened another branch at Publika) after hearing good things about this place.

so this is how you use those condiments
so this is how you use those condiments

The set up is slightly different from their counterpart at Pavilion, with clear instructions on how to enjoy the dish printed on a little instruction panel on every table. There’s a choice of salt, sweet, and spicy sauce on the side, and of course there’s a sesame grinder and peanut sauce for cabbage as well. You’re also encouraged to consume the accompanying rice with pickle.

Wafu Negioroshi Hire Katsu and Hire Katsu
Wafu Negioroshi Rosu Katsu and Hire Katsu

The menu at Ma Maison is rather extensive (check their menu online). There’s the traditional hire (pork filet) and rōsu (pork loin) sets with a few variations, plus deep fried oyster, crab croquette, jumbo prawn, chicken, and so forth.

I tend to stick with the pork, and in particular, pork loin, only because of the layer luxurious pork fat accompanying the meat.

salad, deep fried pork, miso soup, perfect
salad, deep fried pork, miso soup, perfect

Every set comes with pretty good quality miso soup, pickle, and refillable cabbage that goes very well with their version of peanut sauce.

As for the pork, they are glorious. It is lightly salted with very crispy yet light breading and always piping hot when served. Dipping the meat in either the sweet sweet, spicy sauce, or mustard and any pork lover will be in ecstasy. The experience is like the first time you have KFC as a kid.

KY & Haze, after a satisfying dinner
KY & Haze, after a satisfying dinner

So if you find yourself at 1 Utama, this is definitely a place worth checking out. Average meal would be around RM 30+ per person including drinks.

Happy eating!

Address:
Tonkatsu by Ma Maison @ Eat Paradise
Level 2, Isetan, 1 Utama Shopping Centre,
1, Lebuh Bandar Utama,
Petaling Jaya, 47800 Selangor
GPS: 3.149080, 101.615896
Tel: 03-7727 3337
HoursSunday to Thursday, 11.00am – 9.30pm;  Friday to Saturday, 11.00am – 10.00pm

In this August 31st, our beloved country, Malaysia is going to be 57 years old.

Many of you reading this (including myself) are probably not old enough to witness the birth of this country, but what a long way we’ve come since. Our blend of difference races, culture, and background in this vibrant society is what makes this country so unique, and is one that I will not give up.

I identify myself as a Malaysian first, and the love for the country is always within me.

ESCAPE Shots contest

For this Merdeka, you too can show your love for the country by featuring a person, a cause, a belief or anything that celebrates and promote the legacy of Malaysia by making a video and stand a chance to win RM 157,000 worth of prizes.

Here’s my entry to the contest, with Haze covering Sudirman’s “Warisan”, and myself painting the logo of Merdeka 57.

Entering the contest is simple by following the steps:

  • Make a video of up to 3 minutes in length with any device and upload it to YouTube.
  • Based your video on the theme “Di Sini Lahirnya Sebuah Cinta”, which is the first line of Sudirman’s “Warisan”. At least part of the song must be included in the video
  • Submit your video through a YouTube link on celcomescape.com or via DVD by 18 August 2014

Celcom Escape participating instructions

So, head to www.celcomescape.com, make a video and show your love to Malaysia!

Merdeka!