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Tag / hotpot

A couple weeks ago a few of us were fortunate enough to get a taste of ten different dishes at Senya Izakaya at Publika for their upcoming Aomori Fair that runs from 15th February to 29th February 2016.

For those who aren’t familiar with Senya Izakaya, they are from the same group that runs Ten Sushi, Sushi Ichiro, and Menya Ramen. Izakaya is basically a type of informal Japanese gastropub, a place for after-work dining and (sometimes plenty of) drinking.

Senya Izakaya at Solaris Dutamas
Senya Izakaya at Solaris Dutamas

The Aomari Fair is basically an initiative to introduce the produce from Aomori Prefecture, which is situated at the northernmost area of Japan’s main island, just South of Hokkaido. The prefecture is famous for apple, in fact, 50% of all apples produced in Japan is from Aomori prefecture, and 90% of all apples exported out of Japan is Aomori apples.

Seafood, squid, and scallops are also among the exported produce from the area.

In conjunction to the Aomori Fair, Senya Izakaya is running a competition with the winner getting an RM 100 voucher, just vote for the most popular dishes out of the ten below on their FB page and in the restaurant. Check it out!

Now, here are the ten dishes that will be available during the fair, though the actual number of dishes is actually slightly more than these presented to us, but we had to be somewhat realistic in the ability to sample all these in one seating, isn’t it?

Aomori Apple with Pork Belly Skewer
Aomori Apple with Pork Belly Skewer

One of my favorite of the day, and probably the best beer food I’d like to have with me – Aomori Apple with Pork Belly Skewer (RM6). Made from preserved Aomori apples wrapped with sliced pork belly and grilled in charcoal, this was just the perfect blend of savory and sweetness in a mouthful, absolutely beautiful.

Fried Aomori Baby Scallop & Long Bean Sprout
Fried Aomori Baby Scallop &  Long Bean Sprout

Fried Aomori Baby Scallop &  Long Bean Sprout (RM25) looked a bit like fried noodle in a glance, but those are actually really long bean sprouts that is packed with vitamin C, E, and B (twice as much as normal bean sprouts, I was told).

Those baby scallops pack a punch in flavor as well, mostly due to the smallish size which tend to condensed the natural sweetness of scallops.

Grilled Aomori Squid with Guts
Grilled Aomori Squid with Guts

The Grilled Aomori Squid with Guts  (RM22) is a traditional dish that may take a bit of getting used to for some of us. Whole squid is used in this dish, and since innards aren’t removed, the squid used must be really fresh, often at sashimi quality. This dish is usually enjoyed with shochu or sake.

Aomori Baby Scallop Kakiage Tempura
Aomori Baby Scallop Kakiage Tempura

If you like deep fried food, Aomori Baby Scallop Kakiage Tempura (RM19.80) is not to be missed. This tempura is almost like a really luxurious version of our local prawn fritters, but with baby scallops, onion, carrot, and mitsuba leaves. I really liked it.

Vinegared Saba Sushi
Vinegared Saba Sushi

No Japanese menu is complete without sushi, and I was glad when we were served with Vinegared Saba Sushi (RM22.80). Made with Aomori saba that is harvested during winter time when they’re packed with more fat, this pressed sushi (oshizushi) also comes with egg, cucumber, and sakura denbu to give it that extra character.

Nanbu Aomori Senbei Hot Pot
Nanbu Aomori Senbei Hot Pot

Nanbu Aomori Senbei Hot Pot (RM19) is a dish that’s perfect for cold weather, and I guess for here too when it rains or the aircond is particularly cold. It is a traditional local dish famous at the Nanbu area. The soup is a blend of shoyu and chicken broth and accented by Nanbu Senbei, a type of local rice cracker (an award winning one at that.)

I really like the rice cracker when it soaked up the broth, not entirely unlike how we have fuchuk in BKT soup, if you know what I mean.

Aomori Seafood Barachirashi Don
Aomori Seafood Barachirashi Don

Then there’s the Aomori Seafood Barachirashi Don (RM33.80), a dish that I’d most likely order if I was completely oblivious to the menu, just because chirashi and barachirashi sushi are some of my favorite Japanese dishes.

This version uses boiled Aomori baby scallop, raw scallop, Aomori squid, Aomori vinegared saba, tuna, garlic, and Aomori yam. It certainly packs a punch with all the flavors in a bowl. Not disappointed at all.

Pork Don with Preserved Aomori Apple
Pork Don with Preserved Aomori Apple

If you can only order one dish from this list of ten, my recommendation will go to the Pork Don with Preserved Aomori Apple (RM23.80). This is Senya Izakaya’s signature dish, a fairly simple pork don with preserved Aomori apple. The apple with lemon flavor balance the rich taste of those perfectly prepared pork belly, it is basically just heaven in a bowl if you love pork like I do. Don’t miss this.

Aomori Baby Scallop Miso Curry Milk Ramen
Aomori Baby Scallop Miso Curry Milk Ramen

For those who like ramen, you’re covered. We sampled the Aomori Baby Scallop Miso Curry Milk Ramen (RM22.8), which interestingly, is an invention by the children of Aomori by putting milk and curry into ramen. It is a little creamier than usual, and still packed with plenty of ingredients, most notably those baby scallops. I find the soup base perhaps a little too creamy for me, but your mileage may vary.

Cream Cheese Snow Mountain & Aomori Apple Sorbet with Cinnamon Cookie
Cream Cheese Snow Mountain & Aomori Apple Sorbet with Cinnamon Cookie

Then of course, we had dessert. The Cream Cheese Snow Mountain & Aomori Apple Sorbet with Cinnamon Cookie (RM16). It is a cream cheese moose with Aomori apple ice cream and cinnamon cookie. This dessert is most popular at Hiromae-shi Ringo Park, which is at Hiromae-shi, a place where the best quality of apple is produced in all of Aomori.

The dessert proved to be a great ending to this overly lushed tasting session. I feel like I need to go back for some of those pork & apple dishes now.

map to Solaris Dutamas

Senya Izakaya
Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.171465, 101.667620
Tel: 03-6205 4999

Steamboat places are aplenty all over Klang Valley, so when it comes to picking one out for dinner during rainy days, it can be a little challenging. The rule of thumb for most people is that the place must be busy, for me, I usually rely on recommendations from friends instead, which was how I got to Dian Huo Xin Wo Steamboat at Kelana Jaya a couple weeks ago.

dian huo xin wo steamboat, Kelana Jaya
dian huo xin wo steamboat, Kelana Jaya

This steamboat restaurant is a little bit different from others when it comes to the interior decoration. At first glance, the place looks like a hipster cafe with old typewriter, TV, charcoal iron, and all those sort of memorabilias from yesteryears. Look closer, and you’ll find the built in stove in every table.

decent selection with good choice of soup base
decent selection with good choice of soup base

Instead of electric stove or steamboat pot utilized at some places such as Bone & Pot, Dian Huo Xin Wo opts for the traditional gas stove, which I prefer as it is a lot more responsive. Their solution is by placing a gas tank right under each table, I’m not entirely sure if this is the safest manner, but it works pretty well.

For a smallish shop, the menu is pretty comprehensive. There’s more than enough different fish balls (even one with quail eggs inside), meatballs, sliced meat, innards, vegetables, and starters (try the salmon skin) to go around. The “balls” are self-made and pretty good in size, which we enjoyed.

there's even black chicken in the soup
there’s even black chicken in the soup

You’re allowed to choose up to two different soup base for a single pot. We tried the herbal black chicken soup and their signature soup, both broth were plenty flavorful in itself, and of course, refillable whenever running low. There’s also tomyam soup if you fancy something spicy, though I usually prefer sticking with traditional soup base for steamboat.

Condiments in this place doesn’t impress much, there’s 3 different types of chili paste, and you can ask for chili padi, but that’s about it, no fancy fermented beancurd or fried shallot oil, but they are, I guess, sufficient.

The meal came to be about RM 40+ per person, which is in line with most quality air conditioned steamboat meals.

map to dian huo xin wo steamboat, kelana jaya


Dian Huo Xin Wo Steamboat
19, Jalan SS4D/2,
47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS3.113118, 101.599657
Tel: 03-7887 4557 / 012-296 3886
Hours: 5pm to 11pm daily

We don’t always go to Kota Damansara thanks mostly to the fact that traffic is quite horrendous due to the on-going MRT construction, but when WeiZhi & Lex asked that we join them for a steamboat lunch review at Gourmet Definition Steamboat, we immediately agreed.

Gourmet Definition Steamboat at Sunway Giza, Kota Damansara
Gourmet Definition Steamboat at Sunway Giza, Kota Damansara

The reason is two fold – the two fellas behind KBCG are good friends, and secondly, the photos from what I can find about Gourmet Definition Steamboat looked mighty promising.

we tried both the spicy and signature golden soup
we tried both the spicy and signature golden soup

Located at the main strip of Sunway Giza, Gourmet Definition has quite a “fresh” and new look to it that’s unlike any other steamboat places in town. The restaurant manager and part owner explained to us that great expense and thought was put into the planning and renovation stage of the restaurant, to ensure a comfortable dining experience, and most of all, top notch cleanliness standard.

I felt that they definitely achieved these goals with white marble tables, good air conditioning, and above all, prompt service (they even change your plates from time to time).

the deluxe set menu A for 4 pax at Gourmet Definition
the deluxe set menu A for 4 pax at Gourmet Definition

We were served the Deluxe Set Menu A for the four of us (RM 238 promo, usual RM 328), and it came with the following items:

  • signature golden soup or heat reducing preserved egg & parsley soup
  • King’s water prawn (4 pcs)
  • sliced pork
  • handmade three treasure meatballs (fish, pork, octopus, 4 pcs each)
  • tiger prawns (4 pcs)
  • sliced grouper (8 pcs)
  • Hokkaido scallop (4 pcs)
  • green mussels (4 pcs)
  • deep fried fish maw
  • golden crispy beancurd skin
  • stuffed beancurd puff & brinjal
  • signature chicken wings (4 pcs)
  • high-fiber organic green platter
  • Japanese udon, vermicelli, fresh eggs
  • free signature Ling-zhi premium drinks (1 jug)

plum juice, iberico pork slices, signature chicken wings, beancurd, brinjal, fishball
plum juice, iberico pork slices, signature chicken wings, beancurd, brinjal, fishball

There are only two items we tried here that’s not in the set menu – the HUGE imported fresh oyster, and the extra flavor of soup (the spicy one). Everything else is as listed above.

the fresh oyster was absolutely delicious, and huge!
the fresh oyster was absolutely delicious, and huge!

But enough with the listing of ingredients, the important question is, are they any good?

The answer is a resounding yes. Fresh ingredients with pork bone infused herbal soup base, it is actually not easy to go wrong here.

My favorites were the iberico pork slices, those red roe in the river prawn’s head, the homemade fish balls, and also most definitely those huge oysters. Those chicken wings too were pretty spot on as well.

Haze, Weizhi, Lex, & KY
Haze, Weizhi, Lex, & KY

Prices at Gourmet Definition is on the higher side, but the ingredients, service, and dining experience more than equal what you’ll see on the bill. If you’re up for some top notch steamboat, this place should be on your radar screen.

map to Sunway Giza, Kota Damansara

Gourmet Definition Steamboat
Unit A-13A & 15, Sunway Giza,
No. 2, Jalan PJU 5/14, PJU 5,
Kota Damansara, 47810 Selangor
GPS: 3.150799, 101.581231
Tel03-6151 8638
Hours: Lunch & Dinner daily

When it comes to steamboat in Malaysia, tomyam, clear soup, and porridge usually comes to mind. Most people aren’t aware that there is also the spicy Sichuan and Mongolian style steamboat in the valley. Last I had this type of steamboat was more than 1.5 years ago at Hong La Qiao and Inner Mongolian Restaurant at Pudu, so when the invitation to Jin Shan Cheng from foodstreet came in, I was rather delighted to revisit this version of steamboat.

Steamboat at Jin Shan Cheng
steamboat is always best enjoyed in a group

Jin Shan Cheng is located at Sunway Mentari, across NPE from Sunway Pyramid. The restaurant itself is on first floor, but there’s actually elevator for those who are extremely lazy. Interior decoration is rather simple and without much fan fair, but this isn’t exactly a fancy restaurant, we’re here only for the food anyway.

Steamboat at Jin Shan Cheng
the condiments and two types of soup

The steamboat comes with two types of soup, the traditional super spicy with lots of chili oil Sichuan style, and the other without. They are basically the same soup base though. Instead of your usual chicken rice style sambal or chili padi, there is a pretty special type of sauce accompanying the steamboat. I tasted a hint of cilantro, garlic, ginger, oil, and some type of pepper. Of course, there are also fuyu (fermented tofu), peanut sauce, and chili oil. Those usually go very well with meat items.

Steamboat at Jin Shan Cheng
spicy frog legs, spicy fish pot, pepper beef

While waiting for the soup to boil, we were served three traditional Sichuan dishes. The spicy frog legs cos Eiling mentioned to the owner that she likes frog legs, the spicy fish pot, and the sizzling pepper beef.

The frog legs were actually very good, spicy yet full of flavor. The boss explained that they use a type of pepper imported from China to bring out the original taste. The fish, while very oily (wouldn’t be the correct recipe if it wasn’t), tasted pretty good too, I think it’ll go well with some rice but unfortunately we didn’t order any. Though cooked with tilapia instead of cod, it still did justice to the dish.

Steamboat at Jin Shan Cheng
stop teasing with scallop already, Eiling!

For the steamboat, we had beef slice, scallop, vegetable, pork kidney, fish meat, and a few other items. My favorite had to be the kidney, closely followed by the beef. Both items tasted great with the strong flavoring from the soup and condiments. However, you need to make sure that they are not over cooked, a 5-10 second bath in the boiling soup is all you need.

map to Steamboat at Jin Shan Cheng
Jin Shan Cheng is located at Sunway Mentari

The price at Jin Shan Cheng is pretty reasonable, the cooked dishes start from RM 15 for small portion. For example, the spicy fish pot costs RM 20 to RM 35. Not bad for something authentic an different. This place is best for those who love spicy food, you’re advised to stick with clear soup pulau ketam steamboat otherwise.

more pictures at my flickr set

No. 42A-2, Jalan PJS 8/2
Dataran Mentari, Bandar Sunway,
56301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS: 3.075284, 101.613053
Tel: 03-5631 8220

Last weekend a few of us decided to have some spicy food and went to this Hong La Qiao (红辣椒 – literally Red Chili) at the heart of KL for their unique Szechuan steamboat. Knowing that the place is usually packed during weekends, we called ahead to book for a table. Do note that it is advisable to get someone who can speak in Mandarin to make the booking, since the receptionist doesn’t really speak in English.

Szechuan steambaot - restaurant Hong La Qiao 红辣椒

The restaurant, situated just right behind Berjaya Times Square, serves rice dishes as well as steamboat. We ordered the “ying yang” steamboat with the spicy Szechuan soup as well as the clear soup, and a bunch of steamboat dishes to chuck in there. There were fishball with meat stuffing, dumplings, beef, fish maw, dried pork skin, tofu, crab stick, fish fillet, a few types of vegetables, mushroom, sea cucumber, and more.. all in all more than 10 dishes.

Szechuan steambaot - restaurant Hong La Qiao 红辣椒
the spicy szechuan and the clear soup

The other must-order item at this restaurant is their unique cold cucumber dish. Basically cucumber sliced to bite size sticks, covered with oil, salt, seasonings, and very finely chopped garlic. The ingredients might look simple and even odd, but it proved to be a very refreshing and interesting “snack”. We eventually ordered 2 plates for the 4 of us. The other non-steamboat item we ordered was the gyoza, though pretty decent, it wasn’t as good as the one served up at Crystal Jade.

Szechuan steambaot - restaurant Hong La Qiao 红辣椒
the interesting pickled tofu sauce with crab stick

The steamboat though, was rather nice… if you are one of those guys who enjoy spicy food. The spicy Szechuan soup tasted very hot and even numbing. The top layer of red oil was especially powerful in attacking the heat receptor. However, cooking fish and meat in the hot soup, and then dipping them in their unique picked tofu (腐乳) or fermented bean paste sauce proved very addictive.

Szechuan steambaot - map to restaurant Hong La Qiao 红辣椒, pudu
Hong La Qiao is just behind Berjaya Time Square

The taste was pretty unique and rather good, though a little on the spicy side, a great place for that exotic yet very Chinese food. Since we ordered up a boat load of food, it came to about RM 40 for each of us, but a normal serving of steamboat should be around RM 30.

No. 53,55, Jalan Cangkat Thambi Dollah,
Off Jalan Pudu, 55100, KL

GPS: 3.140666, 101.710321
Tel: 03-2141-8078