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Last weekend we met up with Haze’s relative who promised to take us to this place that serves “tilapia better than Lan Jie’s” at Seredah, and truth be told, we actually got more than what we bargained for, making the long drive definitely worth while.

Our destination was Restoran Yew Li, about 1 km north of the Serendah Police Station, not terribly difficult to locate.

Restoran Yew Li at Serendah
Restoran Yew Li at Serendah

The unassuming restaurant is located at an old shop lot and furnished with standard plastic table and chairs. Operating from brunch to about 5-6 pm, there’s usually quite a healthy crowd especially on weekends. Reservation is probably a good idea if you have a larger group.

steamed tilapia with plenty of garlic
steamed tilapia with plenty of garlic

There are two dishes we’re here for, but first, the steamed tilapia (RM 36 for the one we ordered).

The tilapia we got was huge, and skillfully steamed to perfection with a tonne of garlic on top and generous amount of cooking wine in the soup base, which compliments the fish surprisingly well. This was somehow better than using high grade soya sauce in steaming, I think I will try this at home one of these days. We definitely enjoyed this dish, a lot.

huge river prawn, this will cost you
huge river prawn, this will cost you

What most people come for here though, is their giant river prawn. (RM 50+ each)

And when I say big, they are HUGE. It is almost unrealistic to have one prawn per person, and they are also certainly much bigger than the ones we usually had at Pan Heong batu caves. The usual way to cook this here is with dark soya sauce, which really adds to the sweetness of the prawn really well. They are certainly pricey, but sucking the juices oozing out from the prawn heads will certainly help appreciate how awesome they are.

some greens and some pork to complete the meal
some greens and some pork to complete the meal

Additionally, we also had a claypot pork with salted fish and kangkung belacan. These dishes did not disappoint either and were delicious in their own rights, even though they aren’t as “special” as the two above.

Yew Li restaurant is definitely worthy of a visit, and I wished that they open for dinner.

map to Yew Li Serendah

Address:
Restoran Yew Li
19, Jalan Cempaka 1,
Taman Cempaka, 48200 Serendah,
Selangor, Malaysia
GPS3.371501, 101.612708
Tel: 03-6081 3226
Hours: lunch till 5-6 pm

While up at Sungai Petani a couple months ago, we took the opportunity to get my brother to introduce some of the more unique dishes the biggest city in Kedah has got to offer. Since we already had those awesome curry mee at Eupe food court, it was time for laksa fish at Restoran Piao Siang.

Restoran Piao Xiang at Sungai Petain, Haze & Win Sern
Restoran Piao Xiang at Sungai Petain, Haze & Win Sern

Restoran Piao Xiang, or Sin Piao Xiang, is located just a stone’s throw away from the Sungai Petani Utara toll plaza, and like most places in Sungai Petani, you won’t have too much of a problem trying to get a parking spot.

The restaurant opens for both lunch and dinner, and is considered one of the bigger eateries in the area, well, big enough to hosts wedding functions every now and then.

the famous asam fish, with fish, and some laksa noodle too
the famous laksa fish, with fish, and some laksa noodle too

For the three of us on a very hungry afternoon, we ordered four dishes to go with steamed rice.

The claim of fame here is the laksa fish (RM 26), a dish that is so simple in its ingredients you wonder why we don’t see it anywhere else. You make some awesome laksa broth, throw in steamed fish, mint leaves, and some laksa noodle for good measures.

I think having this dish as is as a whole meal is certainly viable, especially for laksa fans.

eggplant with sambal, stuffed chicken skin, seafood tofu
eggplant with sambal, stuffed chicken skin, seafood tofu

The eggplant with sambal (RM 7) is a musts order for those who like northern style sambal that comes with a kick. Seafood tofu (RM 9) is pretty decent as snacks, but the stuffed chicken skin (RM 17) actually surprised me, chicken skin stuffed with minced pork, reminds me of the first time I had something like that from Elegant Inn (stuffed with prawn meat tho).

Over all it was certainly a satisfying lunch, and one that is pretty reasonably priced too. If you’re up North, this is certainly not a bad place to check out.

map to Sin Piao Siang, Sungai Petani

Address:
Restaurant Piao Xiang
20 & 21 Jalan Melati 1,
08000 Sungai Petani, Kedah
GPS5.677679, 100.507461
Tel: 04-442 6219

I’ve always had problems with parking and navigating within Publika. The place has the most confusing lettering/numbering system for floors. There are numerous different “ground levels”, and some parking lots aren’t connected to each other the way a logically sound person may expect.

That being said, the place is also packed with huge amount of restaurants offering various different dining concepts, and often in relatively affordable price range due to the immense competition. Today, we’re going to look at Tsubohachi Hokkaido Izakaya. One of the Japanese restaurants that is undoubtedly among one of my favorites in the area.

Tsubohachi Hokkaido Izakaya, Publika
Tsubohachi Hokkaido Izakaya, Publika

Izakaya is basically an informal Japanese gastropub, a place caters for after-work drinking and dining session not entirely unlike many of the Western pubs/bars, but one that obviously serves Japanese cuisine.

Tsubohachi is a renowned chain with over 300 outlets in Japan since its inception 40 years ago at Hokkaido, and currently is one of the two izakaya outlets in Publika, the other being Senya Izakaya owned by the Sushi Train group.

Our first time visiting Tsubohachi Hokkaido Izakaya was with Cheesie sampling their normal menu, but this time around we were invited to try their special Zuwaigani (snow crab) menu. How could I say no?

zuwaigani nabe (snow crab hotpot)
zuwaigani nabe (snow crab hotpot)

The snow crab menu is available till late July, but do call up to make sure its availability. Then again, the usual menu is quite extensive and certainly worthy of a visit or three.

Our session started with zuwagani nabe, or snow crab hot pot (RM 79.90). Basically half a raw snow crab (male, female would have too little meat) with fresh vegetable, tofu, and mushroom in a hot pot. Certainly a luxury comfort dish that is perfect especially on a rainy day, or any day for that matter.

The crab made the soup oh so sweet, it was as good as I had hoped.

aburi zuwaigani, kani chawanmushi
aburi zuwaigani, kani chawanmushi

For those who likes it grilled, aburi zuwaigani (RM 58) should satisfy your cravings. A no-nonsense and unadultered way of enjoying snow crab with maybe just a little squeeze of lemon. Snow crab has a much softer shell than our Malaysian mud crabs, so getting a “perfect” peel is an easier job.

Kani chawanmushi (RM 12.90) too is worth trying if you just want to lux up the ordinary Japanese steamed egg with some snow crab meat.

zuwaigani sarada, aburi zuwaigani hakozushi
zuwaigani sarada, aburi zuwaigani hakozushi

Want more greens? Try zuwaigani sarada, or snow crab salad (RM 22.90), though all those mayonnaise may discount the perceived healthiness of this salad dish, but those savory taste combined with sweetness of snow crab makes it worth the extra calories.

Aburi zuwaigani hakozushi (RM 35.00) is another dish we tried that incorporate liberal use of those savory Japanese mayo. The pressed sushi was certainly delicious, though I always find mayo & wasabi sort of clashes a bit with each other.

ankake kani chahan, kani zosui, zuwaigani masu-zushi
ankake kani chahan, kani zosui, zuwaigani masu-zushi

Rice or porridge? Take your pick in ankake kani chahan (RM 22.90), or kani zosui (RM 29.90). Neither should disappoint as they were both expertly prepared and show cases the sweetness of snow crab through the simplicity of the dishes. I can have either of these for lunch and be a happy man.

If you like things in small packages, try the zuwaigani masu-zushi (RM 21.90). A tiny box of sushi rice with generous amount of snow crab meat on top. Just enough to taste, but unless you have had stomach stapling surgery, this can’t be your only dish for the night.

a selection of yakitori, chicken, pork, mushroom
a selection of yakitori, chicken, pork, mushroom

All the trying pretty much all the snow crab dishes sans tempura & sushi, we got greedy and decided to sample some of their signature yakitori dishes.

We tried chicken skin, bishop’s nose, chicken soft bone, chicken neck, pork belly, and mushroom. They came in both salted or in teriyaki, and I wished I had enough stomach space left to order a beer to go with these. Yakitori dishes are priced mostly at RM 7.80 to 9.80 for two sticks, pretty decent deal if you asked me.

Johnny, KY, Kelvin, Haze, macha de roru
Johnny, KY, Kelvin, Haze, macha de roru

Our final dish of the night was macha de roru as dessert, a sweet ending to a satisfying review session. I certainly don’t mind coming back here again, good food, great value, and without fuss, there should be more izakaya around town!

map to Solaris Dutamas

Address:
Tsubohachi Hokkaido Izakaya
A2-UG1-9, Publika

Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.170961, 101.665721
Tel: 03-6206 5526
Website: www.tsubohachi.com.my

Bak Kut Teh at Klang is not merely a popular dish, it is pretty much a way of life. There are hundreds of bak kut teh sellers in the municipal, each offering their unique interpretation of the Malaysian-invented dish, and best of all, with varying operating hours so you can actually have a good bowl of bak kut teh goodness anytime around the clock.

yeap, bak kut teh from 5pm to 5am
yeap, bak kut teh from 5pm to 5am

After picking up my sister my sister from the airport late at night over CNY holidays, it was just natural that we cross an item off her “back to home” bucket list – good old fashion Klang BKT.

For that, we went to Kedai Kopi Taman Eng Ann for some porky goodness. While the shop offers breakfast and other dishes in the morning/afternoon session, BKT reign supreme from 5 pm to 5 am daily.

glorious clay pot style bak kut teh at Taman Eng Ann
glorious clay pot style bak kut teh at Taman Eng Ann

The bak kut teh here comes in a clay pot, and in addition to your choice of pork (kah wan, big bone, small bone, 3-layer belly, ribs, etc), there’s also a few leafs of vegetable, tofu pok, and some mushroom.

The pork lives up to the reputation of Klang bkt – soft, tender, and flavorful. The soup is quite strong on herbal taste as well, and they’re not stingy with refills, which is nice.

However, there are no deep fried shallots here, tho generous amount of chopped garlic and chili padi accompany the clay pot dish, which is fine by me.

nothing beats having good old fashion BKT with family
nothing beats having good old fashion BKT with family

Surprisingly, the yu tiao (yau char kuai) here is crunchy and quite delicious, a departure from the usual soggy business of other places.

Prices here is fair and on par with other BKT sellers in the area, I think I prefer this over Kin Kong (which is somehow more “famous”) located a stone’s throw away and operate at similar hours.

map to taman eng ann bak kut teh

Address:
Kedai Kopi Taman Eng Ann
Kalan Kasawari 5,
Taman Eng Ann, Klang, Selangor
GPS: 3.056416, 101.460329
Hours: 5 pm to 5 am daily

Earlier this week we were invited to Hanaya Japanese Dining to sample their 2016 Mother’s Day Menu, which the restaurant is offering only from 6th to 8th May 2016 (RM 180+ per pax). My last visit to Hanaya was almost exactly a year ago, operated by Sushi Train (which also has Ten, Senya Solaris, Sushi Ichiro, Menya, and more under their umbrella), their quality of food has always impressed me, hence the repeated visit.

Hanaya Japanese Dining with 2016 Mother's Day Menu
Hanaya Japanese Dining with 2016 Mother’s Day Menu

The philosophy of the Mother’s Day Menu at Hanaya is one that put health in emphasis. The major ingredients chosen for the 6 course set each has properties that especially beneficial to the female body, which I find pretty interesting. These benefits are from a mixture of traditional believes and modern nutritional knowledge.

To me thought, I just know that they tastes good, which is my number one criteria 😀

Pumpkin Chawamushi
Pumpkin Chawamushi

Our Amuse was Pumpkin Chawamushi. Pumpkin having B Carotin supports beautiful skin and hair, while galvanized iron in egg enhanced the female hormone secretion. All I know is that it was complex and delicious.

sashimi on crushed ice
sashimi on crushed ice

Second of the six course was sashimi. Tuna with DHA to lower cholesterol, Travoli with EPA that helps in hardening of arteries, Astaxathin in salmon with anti aging care and recovery from exhaustion properties, plus golden cuttlefish that contains lysine, which helps in hair restoration.

The seafood was certainly fresh, while we had yellow tail in this tasting session instead of Travoli, I was still more than satisfied. The presentation for this sashimi dish was rather exquisite too.

grilled Canadian lobster and Hokkaido scallop
grilled Canadian lobster and Hokkaido scallop

Main course – grilled Canadian lobster and Hokkaido scallop garlic butter with dry tomato & herb sauce.
Lobster for cancer suppression, scallop with taurine that helps improvement of fatty liver, and dry tomato is rich in vitamin c. Two different seafood from each side of the Pacific ocean make up this wholesome dish that utilizes Western style preparation method, a perfect marriage.

hijiki seaweed rice and Asuka milk miso soup
hijiki seaweed rice and Asuka milk miso soup

4th and 5th course – shokuji, or hijiki seaweed rice, with dietary fiber for detox effect, & Asuka milk miso soup, with miso having isoflavon that helps suppress menopausal disorders.

The seaweed rice was subtle in taste, and I thought the Asuka milk miso soup tasted much richer but in a good way, especially for those who loves the milkier texture.

"dearest mother" dessert
“dearest mother” dessert

To end Hanaya Japanese Dining’s mother’s day 2016 menu – “dearest mother” dessert, with avocado ice cream (lowers blood pressure), rose hip (vitamin c & e – antioxidants), and misc cereals (minerals to fix menstrual irregularities).

I thought the six course menu was rather exquisite but not over the top, it is available only for 3 days (6-8/5/2016) so if you want to treat mom for a meal with thoughts behind the menu, this is certainly worth checking out.

map to Grand Millennium Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Hanaya
Grand Millenium Kuala Lumpur
160, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.148006, 101.712225
Tel: 03-2110 5499

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