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Back in Penang where I grew up as a kid, my family was pretty fond of fish heads. Our ingredient of choice is almost always a big garoupa head, and mom always prepare it with Nyonya style curry. This was actually the only way I knew how to enjoy fish head, that is until I came to KL and heard about steamed fish head.

Mun Kee Steamed Fish at Happy Garden
Mun Kee Steamed Fish at Happy Garden

After trying the pretty awesome version at Chong Yen steamed fish head at Chan Sow Lin, we’re going to take a look at Mun Kee Steamed Fish Head at Happy Garden.

According to Kerol, this is one of her aunt’s favorite place for dinner. There’s something like one in three chance that they dine at this place whenever she pays the family a visit.

these are the dishes we ordered for the five of us
these are the dishes we ordered for the five of us

Mun Kee is located at the appropriately named Jalan Lazat 1 (that’ll be Tasty Street 1 in English). The shop is sort of a food court set up with high roof but no walls, you’re sheltered from the elements somewhat, but there isn’t air conditioning any decoration to speak off. People are here strictly to eat.

The eatery gets pretty busy on weekends, so expect to wait a bit for an empty table. However, food doesn’t take overly long to get ready, so overall wait time is pretty bearable.

steamed fish head in two different styles
steamed fish head in two different styles

As with most steamed fish head in KL, the main ingredient is Soong fish, or Asian Carp. Calling it fish head is a bit of a lie, cos you do get almost half front portion of the fish instead of just the fish head as the Penangites do with our fish head curry.

At Mun Kee, there are 5 different preparation methods – Nyonya Steam, Assam Steam, Minced Ginger Steam, Black Bean Steam and Original Steam.

We’ve heard good things about the Nyonya steam but unfortunately they ran out of that when we were there, so we chose minced ginger steam and original steam for this session (RM 26 per dish).

The fish head were delightful, never over cooked and there wasn’t any trace of those pesky slight muddy taste that river fish tends to carry. The original steam is great for those who likes it a bit spicy with plenty of chili padi sprinkled on top, while the minced ginger steam provides the warmth from ginger that I find myself enjoy as well.

tofu is quite awesome, emporer vegetable, salted egg chicken
tofu is quite awesome, ‘green dragon’ vegetable, salted egg chicken

At Mun Kee, they aren’t only good with steamed fish.

Salted egg chicken (RM 24) is one of the must-order items. Imagine salted egg squid (like the one at Sing Kee Sungai Way) and KFC rolled into one. It’s a combination that works surprisingly well and we really liked it.

Home made tofu (RM 12) that we ordered came with crab meat and egg based broth that made excellent comfort food, and the green dragon vegetable (RM 12) dish provided good source of vitamin C and fiber just in case your mom asked. All in all a great combination of dishes for dinner.

Kerol, Huey Fang, Johnny, Haze, and KY
Kerol, Huey Fang, Johnny, Haze, and KY

With drinks, we spent about RM 23-24 per person for this wonderful, well-balanced dinner. Head over to Happy Garden to check Mun Kee out.

map to Mun Kee steamed fish head at Happy Garden

Address:
Mun Kee Steam Fish Head
New Happy Garden Food Court
43-A Gerai. Jalan Lazat 1
Taman Gembira
58200 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.077106, 101.680289
Tel: 016-491 2632
Operation Hours: 11am – 3pm, 5pm – 10pm

As promised on the Taman Desa Japanese BBQ post, here’s how you spend less than 1/4 the money and DIY some pork bbq goodness at home. An awesome BBQ chicken wing recipe is thrown in as well.

This BBQ was done several weeks ago when my sister and my niece were in KL to get their visa application finalised. They have moved to the states now.

pork, chicken wings, vege, we have it all
pork, chicken wings, vege, we have it all. Kerol & FA working on the grill

pork belly BBQ:

  • buy pork belly from the market, I paid RM 25 for about 15 portions of what you’d get from Taman Desa BBQ place, cut them in squares
  • marinate with half a cup of cooking sake, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 tablespoon vinegar
  • as for sauce, add chopped garlic to Japanese salad dressing (wafu dressing, shoyu vinegar)
  • BBQ on medium heat till cooked
pro tip: soak the satey sticks in water for 5-10 minutes before BBQ to prevent burning
pro tip 2: don’t mix vege in between meat, they have different cooking time
p/s: Haze came up with the recipe and marinated the pork, everyone loved it, need to make more next time

my sister & niece, with a few friends & ex housemates
my sister & niece, with a few friends & ex housemates

awesome chicken wing BBQ:

  • marinated chicken wings (together with drummets) with 3 parts oyster sauce, 2 parts soya sauce, and 1 part dark soya sauce
  • add some pepper to the marinate
  • let it marinate for at least half an hour in the fridge, longer = better
  • BBQ over medium fire, poke the drummet – no juice coming out = cooked

instax pic with my sister, the niece, and me. =D
instax pic with my sister, the niece, and me. =D

Vegetable BBQ:

  • er.. just put them on stick and burn away!
  • add some salt to serve

That’s it, simple and yummy BBQ. The experiment was a success, will have a bigger BBQ party next time!

Hidden at Taman Desa is a pretty special place, a little shack with the name 大众烧肉 (Japanese BBQ) that seems like it was lifted from one of those Chinese kungfu series of the 80s. A place where the protagonist grabs a few bites while casually kicks about fifteen person’s butt.

Within the small shack there were a few tall tables and benches, and around the area, more tables are available al fresco style. This Japanese BBQ place is a fair weathered restaurant, while there are some areas under the roof, capacity would be quite limited during rainy day, which unfortunately, would also be the best times to have BBQ around here.

small and quaint set up, charcoal fire, alfresco dining
small and quaint set up, charcoal fire, alfresco dining – perfect ambience

We were introduced to this place by Terence and Michelle (who speaks Japanese), and decided to pay a visit several weeks ago to check out what the fuss is all about.

On a weekend night, the place was fully packed. We had to wait for some half an hour before a table was available, and another 15-20 minutes before the busy waiters bother to start taking our orders.

he Genghiskhan lamb, pork ramen, and mixed vegetable
the Genghiskhan lamb, pork ramen, and mixed vegetable

Most items on the menu consists of raw meat, but for those who want to lace their stomach while waiting for food to be cooked, they serve 3 types of ramen (RM 10 each), and steamed rice is available at RM 3 per pop too. Kerol tried the ramen and reported that it was acceptable, if not underwhelming.

After we ordered our raw meat, a charcoal stove is set up between the two tables we were seated. Our first dish to go on the stove was Genghiskhan lamb (RM 20), which reminded me a little bit of bulgogi but with chunks of lamb instead. it was pretty tasty and went well with steamed rice, but portion was a little small.

various pork including three layer pork, pork liver, beef short ribs, pork tongue
various pork including  pork belly, pork liver, beef short ribs, pork tongue

When our meat finally arrives, we finally realized that “small portion” is a pretty consistent issue here.

Pork belly, shoulder loin, inside leg, neck and big intestine are priced at RM 10 per plate, while tongue, throat, liver, heart, stomach, and small intestine at RM 6 per plate. The slightly bigger plate beef short ribs was RM 15.

We didn’t order steak (RM 25) or beef brisket, ribeye, tongue (RM 10 each) though, so can’t comment on the portion.

here's four more other types of pork, including belly, shoulder loin, neck
here’s four more other types of pork, including belly, shoulder loin, neck

The meat could take a bit of time to grill, but the result was mostly positive, with the pork belly especially superb! Those layer of pork fat in between the meat were succulent and yummy (if you don’t mess up and over cooked it lah).

I’m pretty partial to the leaner cut of meat, and pork stomach (tripe) was a bit too tough to chew after grilling, I guess that’s a part of pork that’s best left stewed or cooked in soup.

we only had one stove for seven of us though
we only had one stove for seven of us though

Dining at Gerai Makan Japanese BBQ can be pretty cool, there isn’t another place that let you grill your pork with charcoal fire in that rustic environment anywhere in Klang Valley that I’m aware of.

The problem though, was that of price and service. If you really want to have a satisfying dinner, expect to dig in quite a bit to your wallet and spend at least a couple hours there.

Yuki, Horng, KY, Kerol, Michelle, Ah Chan, Ruby, Haze
Yuki, Horng, KY, Kerol, Michelle, Ah Chan, Ruby, Haze (saw BangsarBabe there too)

While I am probably never going to be a regular customer there, it’s a cool place to be once in a blue moon (they do serve pretty cheap beer, including Asahi). We also took the idea and made our own pork BBQ, I’ll share that on this space soon. 😀

map to Japanese BBQ at Taman Desa

Address:
Japanese BBQ
Center Court Plaza Faber,
Jalan Desa Jaya Taman Desa
Off. Jalan Klang Lama
58100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.1065905 , 101.6783134

My 4th CNY Yee Sang dinner for the year of Rabbit happened at Toh Yuen Chinese restaurant at PJ Hilton Hotel, this time thanks to the invitation from the good people at Create Studio. Yes, I thank my lucky star on privileges like these. 😀

Toh Yuen Chinese restaurant at PJ Hilton Hotel
Toh Yuen Chinese restaurant at PJ Hilton Hotel, Chef Lee

Toh Yuen is headed by Chef Lee, whose philosophy in cooking is plenty simple – traditional style with good (if not the best) ingredients, and without any addictives such as MSG. Tasty but healthy food is the emphasis around here.

To welcome the year or Rabbit, Toh Yuen is offerring 3 special set menus – Happiness (RM 888++), Fortune (RM 1188++), and Longevity (RM 1388++) for 10 pax. On this review, we sampled the Longevity menu.

another yee sang ritual, this time with abalone
another yee sang ritual, this time with abalone

As usual, yee sang was our the very first dish, and on the get go, it was already unmistakably luxurious – we had the “Fatt Choy” abalone yee sang (also sold seperately for RM 180/260/300).

Some might say this is a bit of a waste so far as the method of serving abalone goes, I must confess that it actually was rather good. Abalone surely beats Alaskan salmon in my book.

braised shark's fin soup with crab meat & roe
braised shark’s fin soup with crab meat & roe

Next on the set menu was the sharks fin soup. I’ve already made my stance and say no to sharks fin soup, so I gave it a pass. Unfortunately, I was the only one on the table to do so. Looks like more work needs to be done for the awareness in this front.

You can substitute the sharks fin soup with double boiled chicken soup, according to Chef Lee. Alternatively, the Happiness & Fortune set menu does not come with sharks fin soup either.

deep fried chicken with two tastes, stir fried sea king prawns with pineapple sauce
deep fried chicken with two tastes,
stir fried sea king prawns with pineapple sauce

So I really got started on the deep fried chicken with two tastes. A dish that is only as fancy as the name suggest, which isn’t much at all. There’s the roast chicken ala chicken rice style, and kung pao chicken in the middle. For the lack of fanciness, however, the chicken turns out to be very good where it matters – taste.  The meat was smooth, juicy, with the sauce done just right too.

We then had stir fried sea king prawns with pineapple sauce. The chef explained that this type of prawn, with its softer shell, is best eaten whole (perhaps except the head) instead of peeling the skin off. This way it allows different texture of meat and shell to be enjoyed with the pineapple sauce, pretty old way of having prawns, quite unique.

steamed pomphret with superior soya sauce
steamed pomphret with superior soya sauce

My favorite of the night has got to be the steamed pomphret with superior soya sauce. I’m positive that even my mom (who helps sell fish at wet market and usually leave the best pomphret for themselves) would approve of this beautiful specimen. Something like this can easily cost over RM 100 at wet market, especially during pre-CNY period.

Chef Lee explained that they source the fish locally instead of getting them from Thailand, which would be cheaper but of lesser quality. A lengthy lecture of the subtle differences in meat/shape/taste of pomphret from various parts of Malaysia and other places is given while we were busy enjoying this brilliant fish. It was so good, smooth, fatty, and absolutely tasty.

stewed sea cucumber & mushroom with broccoli, seafood fried rice with XO sauce
stewed sea cucumber & mushroom with broccoli, seafood fried rice with XO sauce

The stewed sea cucumber & mushroom with broccoli is another dish found in many Chinese New Year set menu. Over here at Toh Yuen the dish is prepared as good as anywhere else, and the sea cucumber was very good.

However, I would personally leave out the carrot slices as I don’t think I was the only one that sees that as a semi-failed attempt in giving the otherwise awesome dish some color (does not affect the taste).

The seafood fried rice with XO sauce is served with plenty of prawns, green onions, carrots, eggs, chicken, and other ingredients that were all somehow agreed to each other brilliantly. One of the better fried rice I had, the underlying taste of XO sauce really adds to the overall flavor too.

Michelle Ong, chilled honeydew with hasma, KY
Michelle Ong, chilled honeydew with hasma, KY

We concluded the  night with a classic Chinese dessert – chilled honeydew with hasma. For the uninformed, it’s just a wikipedia article away for you to find out that hasma is actually fallopian tubes of frogs. Nice isn’t it? I still eat them, they tastes good. *slurps*.

The set dinner (other than the fins) turns out to be pretty good, now does it worth the RM 1388++ for 10 pax price tag? The ingredients certainly suggests so, but I think a large part of it has to do with the sharks fin, something I try to get people not to consume. Draw your own conclusion.

map to Petaling Jaya Hilton Hotel

Address:
Toh Yuen Chinese Restaurant
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS: 3.10235, 101.64087
Tel: 03-7955 9122

For the past 2 years, my family and I have been to Damansara Village at Damansara Jaya for steamboat reunion dinner over CNY, and if a place passes my mom’s taste test, it will surely passes mine.

The restaurant is a venture of the infamous Patrick Teoh, his daughter Melanie and Son-in-law. The original place was, and still is doing so well that they decided to open a branch right at the heart of KL. The new place is aptly named Restaurant Damansara Village at Imbi

restaurant damansara village at Imbi
indoor and outdoor seatings, the fish pool, and live seafood aquarium

Together with about a dozen other blogger friends, I was invited by Patrick himself for a review session. I am hesitant to be writing about the same place twice (tho different branch), but I was assured that the menu is different. Furthermore, how could I resist a an invitation from a celebrity that is named Patrick Teoh KY?

Yes, the truth is stranger than fiction.

village steamed chicken, bamboo clams
village steamed chicken, bamboo clams

Other than air conditioned dining area (as well as al fresco) and nicer decoration, Damansara Village at Imbi also offer more than just steamboat. Our motto of the day was to sample these offerings.

According to Patrick, there isn’t a chief chef per se at this establishment. Every dish is a recipe from someone’s relative/friend, and every ingredient is sourced directly from some of the more interesting locations.

For example, the village steamed chicken (RM 49 for half) is cooked with 100-day free range chicken from their own farm (usual intensive farmed chicken is slaughtered at about 6 weeks) and steamed only with salt. The texture is quite a lot firmer and I do like the richer flavor too.

The steamed bamboo clam is served with slices of chili, fermented beans, and some spring onion. The combination worked for me, seafood with a dash of spiciness and the saltiness from the beans. I like how there put 2 clams in one shell too!

pork knuckle vinegar, pepper pork tripe soup
pork knuckle vinegar, pepper pork tripe soup

Next we had the pork knuckle vinegar. Fatty pork knuckle with glistering layer of fat served in sweet vinegar that is not overly strong. This dish always work for me, I kinda wished I had some sambal and rice to go with it though.

Pepper pork tripe soup (or the spicy soup 辣汤) reminded me of Kien Kee at Seri Kembangan. It was very peppery, fragrant, and full of 3-layer pork, tripes, and other innards. I wouldn’t rate this any lower than Kien Kee to be honest, it was tasty!

steamed snake head, steamed duck
steamed snake head, steamed duck

Then come the steamed snake head. Instead of the more common farmed snake head, those served at Damansara Village are caught from the wild. As such, the meat is quite a lot firmer. Call me crazy, but I actually prefer the farmed variety with its’ smoother meat, though what we had was decent too.

For the first time of my life, I had steamed duck! Just like the chicken, this one is cooked with nothing but salt. Though not completely void of the strong “duck smell”, this dish still manage to end up tasting pretty good. However, I will only suggest this to duck lovers, casual diners should stick with roast duck instead.

salt bake crab, village special steamed clam
salt bake crab, village special steamed clam

The seventh dish of the night was salt bake crab (RM 48), another traditional recipe that even I know how to make – kill crab, rub with plenty of salt, throw in the wok, fire up). And sometimes the simplest method is also the tastiest method, provided you have superior ingredients. Though they were a bit smallish in size, the taste more than made up for the size, they were very, very sweet and flavorful.

Steamed clam (RM 20) was cooked with plenty of dried wolfberrie (kei chee), cilantro, Chinese wine, and some other herbs. The clams were juicy, and I liked the combination of the ingredients too.

damansara village steamboat with herbal soup
damansara village steamboat with herbal soup

After the eight dishes, I was already quite full, but Patrick wouldn’t let us go before trying the very dish that made the name Damansara Village famous – the Pulau Ketam style steamboat (RM 18.80 per portion) with additional Chinese herbs (RM 12)

Other than the typical servings of fish ball, dumplings, meatballs, mussels, vegetable, tofu skin, and so on, we also added flower crab to flavor the soup, and some live shrimps (RM 23 for 300g). As full as I was, I couldn’t help but to devour a few more of those oh-so-yummy shrimps. This is a must order add-on.

patrick teoh and the food bloggers at damansara village
patrick teoh and the food bloggers at damansara village

After the excellent dinner, we hanged out till way past closing time and had a pretty good time with Patrick and the gang that includes Gareth, Kim, Suan, Reta, FA, Huey Fang, Sue Lynn, Eiling, Yiling, Cumi&Ciki, Meena, and more.

The food was honestly better than I had anticipated, and I think I’ll be bringing mom to the new outlet next year!

map to damansara village at Imbi

map to damansara village at Imbi

Address:
Damansara Village at Imbi
32, Jalan Utara, Off Jalan Imbi,
55100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.144715, 101.717166
Tel: 03-2141 1678