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For those who loves classic Hokkien dishes, Hua Xing would be a  place you shouldn’t miss. For reasons unknown, I didn’t know the existence of this place until very recently, despite staying rather close to the area and actually visited the police station just across this restaurant for “official business“, furthermore, Sing Kee is also one of the restaurants we frequent.

Restaurant Hua Xing at Sungai Way, Petaling Jaya
Restaurant Hua Xing at Sungai Way, Petaling Jaya

Most of it though, has to do with the location of this place. Situated on the first floor of a fantastically planned shopping strip that is Plaza Seri Setia (conveniently situated behind a row of shop houses), it is but 50 meters from Federal Highway, but well hidden enough that you’d never find Carmen Sandiego if he take up residence in this building.

Anyway, the restaurant has a pretty clean, air conditioned interior, with photos of various dishes plastered on the wall, which was helpful. Food arrived in less than 10 minutes after we ordered, definitely a good thing.

Hokkien braised pork with "alkaline" kuih
Hokkien braised pork with “alkaline” kuih, or Hong Bak in Hokkien

I’m ashamed to be a Hokkien for not having heard about Hong Bak before, and how insanely awesome this dish is. Really fat cuts of pork braised in thick, sinful gravy accompanied with soft “alkaline” kuih. The kuih is like a softer version of char kuih kak’s kuih, and really goes well with the gravy. Of course, those fatty pork doesn’t hurt at all. I love it.

bitter gourd Hokkien mee, potato flour noodle, fried eggplant, rice wine chicken
bitter gourd Hokkien mee, potato flour noodle, fried eggplant, rice wine chicken

Another notable dish here is the fried eggplant. It reminds me of the version at Serai which I loved, both are deep fried, one with sugar (Serai), and another with plenty of garlic. Very delicious and positively addictive, I will order this every time I’m here.

The bitter gourd Hokkien mee is a nice change from the ordinary version which can be a tad “jelak” after having the 2nd bowl. The slight bitterness from the vege neutralize the dark sauce in a positive way, I like it.

Potato flour noodle was a bit of a disappointment for us, a bit too dry for my liking, and doesn’t offer any advantage in taste either.

The rice wine (or actually red yeast) chicken was another old school dish that we tried, it could do better with heavier dose of red wine/yeast thingy but the dish held its own nonetheless. It’d be better with rice, we had noodle, so a bit of mismatched there.

Yuki, Horng, Suan, and KY
Yuki, Horng, Suan, and KY at Hua Xiang, Sungei Way

Over all, the dinner at Hua Xing was a positive one. I believe we’ll definitely head back there again. I only wish that the parking situation is a bit more favourable though.

map to Hua Xing at Sungai Way

Address:
Hua Xiang Restaurant
Lot1-12, 1st Floor, 
Plaza Seri Setia, 
Jalan SS9/2, Seri Setia, 
Sungei Way,
47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS3.085874, 101.62023
Tel03-7876 3288
Hours: lunch and dinner, closed on alternate Wednesdays

I’m pretty happy that there are more and more decent coffee places that sprung up in Klang Valley lately. Gone were the days when Starbucks and Coffeebeans being the only go-to chains when caffein addiction hits.

Coffea Coffee is the latest coffee chain I had the pleasure of visiting recently.

Coffea Coffee at Subang Jaya SS 15
Coffea Coffee at Subang Jaya SS 15

Originally from Korea, the chain now boosts four outlets in Klang Valley, we visited the branch at SS 15 Subang Jaya, a place where I spent my college years over a decade ago when Starbucks wasn’t even in Malaysia. (no prize for calculating my age)

Interior decoration of the shop is tastefully done and seemingly sparing no expenses – textured walls, quaint furnitures, beautifully crafted furnitures and so forth. There’s even a smallish alfresco area upstairs for those who indulge in satisfying their nicotine addiction with some coffee.

red velvet cake, cheese cake, scones, latte
red velvet cake, cheese cake, scones, latte

Coffea Coffee offers a wide variety of espresso based beverages – the latte I tried was silky smooth and rather strong, just the way I like it.

There are two different beans to choose from. “Maestro” for those who like strong full-bodied blend, or “Madonna” for those who prefer it aromatic with slight acidity. I had the former.

You can also find a selection of cakes, scones, bagel, sandwich, and other light foods. The cakes were decent, and scones were reported to be rather delicious.

iced chocolate, smoothie, iced latte
iced chocolate, smoothie (kiwi I believe), iced latte

For those who wants their drinks cold, there’s smoothies, iced espresso based drinks, and iced chocolate. The selection is rather big, even those who doesn’t indulge in caffein should have no problem finding a beverage they like.

Horng, Yuki, KY, Joyce, Suan, and the coffee guy
Horng, Yuki, KY, Joyce, Suan, and the coffee guy

Price wise they are comparable with the other bigger chains. Drinks are priced at below RM 10 to RM 13, and cakes at around RM 10-12.

This is definitely an outlet that I would go again, and hopefully they open a branch closer to where I stay or work, that’ll be perfect.

map to coffea coffee at Subang Jaya SS 15

Address:
Coffea Coffee
A-10, SS 15/4D
47500 Subang Jaya
Selangor
GPS3.074564, 101.586408
Tel03-2201 3338 (main branch at Bangsar)

Dae Jang Gum Korean restaurant was actually one of the first Korean BBQ restaurants that I visited some 7-8 years ago. It was always under my impression that I’ve already written a review on it, but that was obviously not the case. Better late than never, so here goes.

Dae Jang Gum Korean BBQ at Seksyen 14, Petaling Jaya
Dae Jang Gum Korean BBQ at Seksyen 14, Petaling Jaya

Situated at the other end of the same building that includes Digital Mall in Petaling Jaya, Dae Jang Gum is a pretty old establishment. I suspect that the restaurant probably looked the same when it first opened for business years ago.

The decoration is dated, tables and chairs are old, but at least those BBQ vents still works very well. Then again, we’re here for food, right?

good variety of banchan, and their kimchi jiggae is one of the best
good variety of banchan, and their kimchi jiggae is one of the best

Like most Korean BBQ restaurants, there’s quite a selection of different types and cuts of meat available to choose from (minimum order of 2 servings per table to start the grill).

We chose Dae Ji Mok Sal (grilled pork neck, RM 28) and Bul Galbi (marinated beef spare ribs, RM 62) for the grill, and 2 bowls of kimchi jiggae (kimchi soup) for the four of us.

Service is pretty decent right here, and we were served about a dozen different types of banchan (small Korean dishes) within minutes.

grilled pork belly, fresh and unseasoned
grilled pork neck, fresh and unseasoned

The kimchi soup is really the reason we come here for. They are the thickest and most flavorful kimchi soup that I’ve had in a restaurant (the only thicker version is when we cook it at home). The spicy broth goes very well with the steamed rice provided, and that thick, almost-overpowering aroma and taste, superb!

Grilled pork neck doesn’t taste too different from pork belly, the dipping “sauce” is basically sesame oil with salt and goes well with the meat. Optionally, you can wrap it in a piece of lettuce before chewing em down. Flavor isn’t exactly intense, so if you want something stronger, other marinated versions might be more suitable.

galbi - marinated beef ribs, always rich and delicious
galbi – marinated beef ribs, always rich and delicious

Marinated short ribs, or Galbi, is is one of my favorite Korean BBQ dishes, and the version at Dae Jang Gum did not disappoint. The beef is grilled to perfection and then cut into smaller pieces for your enjoyment. I like to wrap it in a piece of lettuce with some sauce and a piece of garlic to complete the flavor experience. Good stuff.

Yuki, Horng, & Haze
Yuki, Horng, & Haze

We usually spend about RM 30+ per person for a wholesome dinner here. Expect to pay a bit more if soju is involved, and alternatively you can order single dishes or go without BBQ meat to stay within a more limited budget. Whatever your decision, don’t forget to order the kimchi jiggae.

map to Dae Jang Gum at Seksyen 14, Petaling Jaya

Address:
Dae Jang Gum Korean Restaurant
20B-2 & 20B-3,
Section 14/20,
46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.110188, 101.635439
Tel: 03-7957 2613

Dae Jang Gum Korean restaurant

Thai cuisine is one of the most well established foreign food in Malaysia, this is probably due to Thailand being a neighbour to Peninsular Malaysia and that King Rama V was really great at promoting his country’s cuisine to the world.

The Thai cuisine we have here in Malaysia is usually influenced from Southern Thailand, with places such as Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani, and so forth has a sizable Muslim population, what we get here too is often the pork free version of Thai food.

Surisit Thai Kopitiam at TTDI
Surisit Thai Kopitiam at TTDI

There is however, a current welcoming trend of some newer Thai restaurants that serve the whole range of traditional Thai cuisines, including some of the pork dishes that aren’t familiar in Chinese cuisine. Surisit Thai Kopitiam at TTDI is one of these places.

kailan ikan masin, various pork dishes, tomyam
kailan ikan masin, various pork dishes, tomyam

Surisit Thai Kopitiam is located at TTDI’s Lorong Rahim Kajai 13, behind the row of shops that has a Maybank, Tom Dick and Harry’s/Hoofed, and Sid’s Pub.

While parking situation outside those pubs are often hard to come by, I’m happy it isn’t the case outside Surisit. We never had to park further than 20-30 meters away.

Decoration of the restaurant is basic, but they do have air conditioning for your comfort. Tables are covered in thick transparent plastic, with clean basic cutlery and some old school bowls/plates. It is pretty true to the “kopitiam” name.

Horng enjoying some fried fish cake, green curry (pork/chicken)
Horng enjoying some fried fish cake, green curry (pork/chicken)

We’ve been to Surisit quite a few times for dinner. The only “problem” with this place is the lack of flexibility in their portion of food. There’s only one size for everything. Which basically means that for a group of 4-6 person this place is awesome, but going there as a couple might limit your choices of food somewhat.

The tomyam (RM 29.90) comes with either prawn, seafood or chicken and you get to pick between clear soup or the more familiar type with chili paste. Both are equally yummy and absolutely ass cracking spicy. Never miss the tomyam here.

you deserve desserts! tub tim krub (red ruby) and mango sticky rice
you deserve desserts! tub tim krub (red ruby) and mango sticky rice

Deep fried chicken wings with lemongrass (RM 14.90) is a tasty Thai interpretation of the familiar fried chicken wing dish, familiar yet different. Green curry (RM 19.90) comes with your choice of pork/chicken/beef/prawns/duck and they cook it with chunks of melons as well as basil, green chili, and coconut milk. Thick and flavorful, we love it.

Crispy pork knuckle (RM 24.90), pork with shrimp paste (RM 16.90), minced pork with basil (RM 14.90) are among the few pork dishes I’ve tried, and so far they were spot on and did not disappoint. Other dishes in the rather extensive menu includes chicken, seafood, soup, and even vegetarian choices. There are also individual rice and noodle dishes as well.

Kerol, KY, Haze, Johnny, Yuki
Kerol, KY, Haze, Johnny, Yuki

Of course, every Thai meal should end with some sweet desserts. I almost always order the tap tim krub (red ruby, RM 6.90) here while Yuki can’t stop herself from getting the mango sticky rice (RM 9.90). Other dessert choices are honey sea coconut with palm fruit and caramelized tapioca with coconut milk (RM 6.90).

We usually end up spending around RM 30 per person, and while not exactly kopitiam prices, you do get quality tasty food here, which is why it is one of our favorite Thai restaurants right now.

Other Thai restaurants that serve pork includes New Yew SangI’m Spicy and My Elephant in PJ, and Ghee Seng Thai Food in Penang.

map to Surisit Thai Kopitiam at Taman Tun

Address:
Surisit Thai Kopitiam
17 Lorong Rahim Kajai 13,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.15456, 101.62258
Tel03-7710 0173
Hours: 8 am to 10:30 pm daily

Surisit Thai Kopitiam

And it was another Xmas Eve Party at SS3, a yearly tradition that we’ve had since 2004 (except for 2010), if you’re counting, this was the 8th time on the same venue with the same concept – plenty of drinks, a bit of food, and a tricky gift exchange program by midnight.

The idea is for everyone to have some fun counting down to Christmas day, and at the same time an excuse to have a few drinks and mingle among like minded friends.

xmas eve party at SS3, 2012
xmas eve party at SS3, 2012

Carlsberg Malaysia was kind enough to sponsor us some beer for the night – we had 2 cases of Carlsberg, Asashi Super Dry, and Kronenbourg Blanc each. Thank you Pearl, Calvin, and Serin!

I made full use of the Jagermiester freezer and Carlsberg beer tower I won from the Jagermiester Halloween Party a couple months ago.

I made some bergedil, haze marinated pork for bbq, Fresh made santa berries
I made some bergedil, haze marinated pork for bbq, Fresh made santa berries

Other than the beer, we prepared some food for the night. Haze marinated more than 3 KGs of pork for BBQ and prepared a small slab of roast pork, I made some bergedil, and Fresh prepared her little cute Santaberries.

It wasn’t a dinner event, so these were just beer food.

Jeniffer & Jenine; Fooi, Sam, Kerol, Terence; Shany & Desmond, Eiling, Horng
Jeniffer & Janine; Fooi, Sam, Kerol, Terence; Shany & Desmond, Eiling, Horng

Guests started coming in just slightly before 9 pm. In fact, David and Michael actually went to my place while we were out having dinner, talk about being too punctual.

Fresh, Huss, Janine, Winnie & Terence, KY, Erin, Yuki, Martin
Fresh, Huss, Janine, Winnie & Terence, KY, Erin, Yuki, Martin

The returning party goers were:

KY, Haze, Horng, Yuki, Kim, Gareth, Terence, Kerol, Ruby, Michael, Li Ling, Lance, Eiling, Yee Hou, Firdy, Zess, Shiang.

Fiqa, Eiling, Ruby & Desmond, Terence, Vindy, Cherlyn, Desmond, Terence

Fiqa, Eiling, Ruby & Desmond, Terence, Vindy, Cherlyn, Desmond, Terence

New Faces were:

Fiqa, Huss, Fresh, Erin, Martin, Jennifer, Janine, Winnie, Fooi, Desmond, Sam, Geoffery, Shany, Cheryn, Vindy, David, Gary

So that was 17-17 with a total of 34 people, a pretty nice turn out despite a few notable absence due to work, travel, and family commitments. You know who you are, and we hope to see you next year.

David, Yee Hou, Desmond, Michael, Kerol, Horng, Firdy, Gary
David, Yee Hou, Desmond, Michael, Kerol, Horng, Firdy, Gary

We had another fun filled gift exchange program with the following rules this year

  • every participant contribute a gift worth over RM 49.90, and then draw a number from the box
  • smallest number start by picking and unwrapping a gift
  • next number can snatch the opened gift, whereby the person who lost it gets to choose another gift, or snatch another opened gift
  • maximum of 3 snatching sequence per round

The most snatched gift was a sweet Puma Ducati bag from Fooi that’s actually retailed at over RM 300, Lance went home with it. Other memorable gifts include portable air bed, Chinese liquor, ice cream, Thor’s Hammer bottle opener, a couple of salami from Australia.

Terence ended up with a pair of blue lingerie, who would have thought, right?

Gary, Geoffery, Horng; Yee Hou, Fresh, Yuki, Haze; and finally, the drunken man
Gary, Geoffery, Horng; Yee Hou, Fresh, Yuki, Haze; and finally, the drunken man

The men in blue visited us by around 2 am and that’s when the party was winding down. The ending of this party is almost exactly the same as the one in 2008 where we had a dude in Afro K-O-ed on the floor. It was a blast.

See you guys next year!

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