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Tag / horng

I may not be a huge whisky drinker, but I do enjoy an occasional glass or three, so when I was invited to join The Glenlivet Guardians in one of their tasting sessions, I agreed immediately.

The Guardian program often hosts members-only access to private tastings, limited edition releases, exclusive downloads and invitations to unique events, this was one of such events held at Barn Thai, Plaza 33.

the Glenlivet Alpha, 12, 15, and 18 year old single malt whisky
the Glenlivet Alpha, 12, 15, and 18 year old single malt whisky

The invitation simply states “A mystery to taste” – join us to unlock the secrets of a truly rare and enigmatic single malt with your senses in the dark. We really didn’t know what to expect at first.

KY, Horng, and Lance in the "blind tasting" of Glenlivet Alpha
KY, Horng, and Lance in the “blind tasting” of Glenlivet Alpha

As it turned out, we were treated with Glenlivet Alpha, a limited release by Master Distiller Alan Winchester with only 3,350 bottles in the world, 42 of which allocated to Malaysia.

plenty of Glenlivet Alpha to go with some tidbits from Barn Thai
plenty of Glenlivet Alpha to go with some tidbits from Barn Thai

On the night of this event, we consumed 3 of the 42 bottles. The whisky has been matured in ‘first-fill Scotch whisky casks; that is ones that had only previously held Scotch, without any prior influence of Bourbon or sherry. There isn’t any other information available on the Alpha except the 50% alcohol strength.

Lionel, Michael, and Chris with Glenlivet Alpha
Lionel, Michael, and Chris with Glenlivet Alpha

We put up our blind folds and started tasting the whisky, removing the sense of sight to put more weight on the sense of smell and taste. The Glenlivet Alpha has a somewhat subtle but fruity nose, with orange, cherry, and a bit of a toffee tinge. On the palate it is smooth and supple, with more fruit and a trace of almond and cloves.

We certainly enjoyed it a lot, having kept asking the wonderful servers to keep the glasses coming, and it was so good that one of my friends immediately have two bottles booked, although I’m not allowed to disclose his name lest his wife complains.

Despite staying at SS3, I seldom venture into the commercial area arguably nearest to where I stay for dinner. Restaurant Double Joy was actually introduced by Shiang, one of my futsal buddies, who was in turn introduced to this “tai chao” place by one of his friends, a regular customer.

Restaurant Double Joy, PJ SS3
Restaurant Double Joy, PJ SS3

The restaurant is located at an unassuming shop lot on Jalan SS 3/37. Parking is usually a pretty simple affair, but the restaurant does get crowded if you don’t get there early enough.

The dining area is air conditioned (except for a couple tables on the walk way), and the place is kept pretty clean and comfortable for a restaurant of this standard.

3 cup chicken, fish head with fermented soya bean, simple vege dish
3 cup chicken, fish head with fermented soya bean, simple vege dish

For the five of us, we ordered four dishes to go with steamed rice for dinner.

The three cup chicken was quite flavorful but slightly to the sweeter side, which goes well with steamed rice and a bit of chili padi. For those who likes a stronger tasting chicken cooked in clay pot, “fa tiu kai” would be a better choice, and my favorite would be the version at Kien Kee Seri Kembangan (which also serves very good spicy soup).

The fish head with fermented soya bean is one of the dishes that’s quite special. The sauce hits the palate just the right way. If you’re a fan of fish head, this is a version that you must try.

clay pot pork with yam
clay pot pork with yam, best consume while piping hot

Another unique dish here was the clay pot pork with yam. The pork was very tender, and the yam cooked to the point they pretty much blend together with the sauce. It was a dish that is very rich and satisfying, but also one that you have to eat while piping hot, lest it become too overwhelmingly sticky. I really enjoyed this.

As always, we also ordered a plate of green vegetable to satisfy the illusion of ingesting some fiber with vitamin C. This dish was not very eventful, but aren’t they always?

5 of us had these four dishes, recommended by Shiang
5 of us had these four dishes, recommended by Shiang

The meal came to be around RM 15 or so per person, I’d put Restaurant Double Joy right up there with the likes of Lucky Loke so far as tai chau goes, and would love to re-visit to try their other dishes again.

direction to Restaurant Double Joy

Address:
Restaurant Double Joy
27 Jalan SS 3/37,
Taman Universiti,
47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.09739, 101.61333
Tel012-673 1889
HGW: Restaurant Double Joy

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