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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / mussel

The weekend prior to Hari Raya, we went up to Penang for a little staycation getaway at Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa. The trip was quite a special one for me for reason that may be different from most. Close to two decades ago, I worked at the very same hotel as a casual worker and used to think “what if I was a guest there one day…”, and that day came true.

The Spice Market Cafe at Rasa Sayang, Penang
The Spice Market Cafe at Rasa Sayang, Penang

I will write about the hotel and our experience staying there next, but today let’s talk about their huge dinner buffet at Spice Market Cafe located at the Garden Wing (the “right” side).

seafood on ice, baked salmon
seafood on ice, baked salmon

Dinner starts at 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm every evening and it’s the all you can eat affair. Priced at RM 185 nett for adults, it is also the buffet that offers one of the biggest selections of dishes on the island.

You have a choice of indoor seating that requires fewer steps to get to all those dishes, or alfresco dining area right next to the unique free-form swimming pool surrounded by their huge garden complete with giant rain tree by the beach.

Indian & Malay cuisines, selections of salad
Indian & Malay cuisines, selection of salad

The dishes include authentic ethnic cuisines from diverse cultures – including Chinese (with chef from China doing freshly made “knife slice noodle”), Indian, Nyonya, Japanese, Thai, Malay, and Western.

freshly made noodle, slipper lobster, local dishes, juices
freshly made noodle, slipper lobster, local dishes, juices

Some of the must-tries are the slipper lobsters either as-is, or covered in sauce, sashimi, roast beef, and snow crab. We also really enjoyed their selection of cheese, but the number one favorite for all three of us for the night though, was their deep fried soft-shell crab, it had just the right amount of seasoning that reminds me of some of the best banana leaf side dishes I’ve had the pleasure to taste.

desserts, ice cream, fruits, and even roast beef
desserts, ice cream, fruits, and even roast beef

If you just try a spoonful from each dish, you’ll probably need at least several visits to sample everything, the selection is huge. Unlike most buffet places that only serves water, there are also a selection of juice to go about.

mom, Haze, KY & Kit the F&B guy at Rasa Sayang
mom, Haze, KY & Kit the F&B guy at Rasa Sayang

If your wife or girlfriend can’t decide what to eat, this is not a best place to be. There bound to be something that’ll tickle her senses. I know my mom was more than satisfied.

map to rasa sayang

Address:
Spice Market Cafe
Rasa Sayang
Batu Ferringhi Main Road,
Kampung Tanjung Huma,
11100 Batu Feringgi, Pulau Pinang
GPS5.478865, 100.254181
Tel+604-888 8888

While fusion food has gotten a bit of a bad rep over the years from many restaurants that came up with dishes that were neither here nor there, I still always applaud those who dare to imagine and come up with something different from the ordinary. Sometimes it is done by mixing ingredients from different parts of the world, other times by turning traditional recipes upside down. Either way, it is one way to ensure that culinary art does not stay stagnant and only look backwards.

glorious miso grilled hake steak with spicy mussel soup
glorious miso grilled hake steak with spicy mussel soup

Several days ago I received some fresh ingredients courtesy of the Zealand Trade Enterprises, and as part of the challenge, we were supposed to use them and come up with dishes worthy of sharing. Since cooking is one of my many hobbies, here goes!

For dinner last Friday, I decided to make grilled hake (or any cod, really)  with miso marinate & vege, while the wife came up with spicy mussle soup as a companion dish. Both seafood ingredients were New Zealand products.

Hake steak from New Zealand, miso as main marinate ingredient
Hake steak from New Zealand, miso as main marinate ingredient

I will be sharing the hake steak recipe here:

Ingredients:

  • Hake steak (or any white fish, such as cod) 250-300 gram per pax
  • asparagus & mushroom (sliced)
  • a few gloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil

Ingredients for marinate:

  • 2 tablespoon miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cooking sake
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

asparagus and mushroom as sides
asparagus and mushroom as sides

Cooking instructions (fish):

  • mix marinate in a bowl and apply generously on fish, let marinate for at least 15-30 minutes
  • heat up the oven to 175 C
  • pan fry the fish for 2-3 minutes
  • bake fish in oven for 10 minutes

fish: pan fry before oven, vege: sauteed
fish: pan fry before oven, vege: sauteed

Cooking instructions (vegetable):

  • heat up frying pan with cooking oil
  • fry garlic till fragrant
  • add mushroom & asparagus and saute for 2 minutes
  • add leftover marinate to the vege and continue to saute for another 2 minutes

Time your cooking of vegetable to coincide with the fish so that they’re both served hot. Enjoy!

spicy New Zealand mussel soup made by Haze Long
spicy New Zealand mussel soup made by Haze Long

Since we lack tomato puree or white wine, the spicy mussel soup involved the use of sake, ketchup, New Zealand mussels, and black magic. My wife made it, so I don’t think I’m qualified to know enough of the recipe to share it here.

Happy cooking! #

As someone who was born on an island, I just can’t say no to good seafood. This is the reason why I went back to InterContinental Hotel’s Serena Brasserie for their seafood buffet review this year as I remember how good was last year’s spread.

Fresh Seafood Promotion at InterContinental Hotel, KL
Fresh Seafood Promotion at InterContinental Hotel, KL

Before we get started on the food, lets look at the important bits of this buffet:

  • available every Friday and Saturday nights
  • RM 120++ for adults
  • upgrade to W.O.W (Wine of the Week) package for RM 180++ which includes a bottle of red or white wine

Additionally, Halloween ‘Scream for Seafood” promotion is priced the same on 31st Oct 2014 with best dressed male and female for the night taking away vouchers of award-winning restaurant, Tao Chinese cuisine and Tatsu Japanese cuisine.

tuna, crabs, octopus, oyster, mussel, slipper lobster, crayfish, and more
tuna, crabs, octopus, oyster, mussel, slipper lobster, crayfish, and more

The most important line of this buffet spread is the chilled seafood bar, it is the most impressive I’ve seen yet on any buffet.

On the bed of ice you can find premium cuts of tuna, butterfish, Pacific prawn, New Zealand green lip mussels, crayfish, slipper lobster, octopus, Fine de Claire oysters, Australian yabbies, spanner crab, mud crab, and Harvey Bar half shell scallops.

These are either raw or boiled, the minimal preparation method retains the original sweetness of the seafood to be enjoyed as is or with the variety of condiments available.

live Australian yabbies stir fried, grilled, or eaten sashimi style
live Australian yabbies stir fried, grilled, or eaten sashimi style

A unique selling point at this buffet spread is the availability of live Australian yabbies, a type of freshwater crayfish. These yabbies are fished out of the pond in the restaurant and prepared fresh in several ways of your choosing – stir fried, grilled, or even eaten raw sashimi style.

A word of caution – the raw yabby may twitch when you pour some tabasco sauce on it!

seafood and other dishes on the buffet spread, with cute Halloween deco
seafood and other dishes on the buffet spread, with cute Halloween deco

There’s also an outdoor portion of the restaurant that prepares freshly grilled seafood of your choosing, this includes crabs, slipper lobster, prawn, cuttlefish, yabbies, fish filet, and more. Additionally, they also serve beef and chicken satey.

a good selection of traditional dishes on the buffet spread too
a good selection of traditional dishes on the buffet spread too

Of course, in addition to fresh and grilled seafood, there’s plenty of traditional dishes to choose from on the buffet spread. Beef rendang, bok choy, briyani rice, crab curry, roast meat, and more are among the many ready-to-eat cooked dishes to choose from.

Halloween themed desserts fancy you?
Halloween themed desserts fancy you?

For the dessert lovers, a pretty decent selection of mostly Western style desserts is available for your picking. Cakes, bread and butter puddings, and many more are available. The chef also showcase his talent in some pretty interesting looking Halloween themed desserts too.

fresh and grilled seafood were my choice, Li Vian joined me at Serena Brasserie
fresh and grilled seafood were my choice, Li Vian joined me at Serena Brasserie

We thoroughly enjoyed the buffet spread at Serena Brasserie. Executive chef Sam Kung certainly know what he’s doing, upgrading the already very good spread from last year to the excellent selection this year. If you’re looking for a good seafood buffet, this is one that you shouldn’t miss.

map to Intercontinental Hotel, KL

Address:
Serena Brasserie
Intercontinental Hotel

165 Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.159767, 101.718045
Tel03-2161 1111
Webwww.intercontinental.com

The folks that brought you the first taste of Croation food in Malaysia with Dubrovnik at Mont Kiara (closed this year) is now operating one of the new outfits at the recently revamped Life Centre – Amadeus Bistro and Wine Bar.

Amadeus at Life Centre
Amadeus at Life Centre, check out the wine dispenser

With Mozart playing at the back ground and the tastefully decorated interior, the bistro gives diner a feel of European dining experience, complete by the lovely proprietor – Dina Djumic. The illusion is perfect other than when Dina starts speaking in Malaysian …

Anyway, lets get on to the food. We were invited for the grand opening of Amadeus as well as a food review session a week after to sample some of their unique dishes, hosted by the super friendly Dina.

Spring River's Duck Terrine, Ahmed’s Mediterranean Bruschetta, Gustav’s Cured Norwegian Salmon, Fresh Mussel Rockafella
Spring River’s Duck Terrine, Ahmed’s Mediterranean Bruschetta,
Gustav’s Cured Norwegian Salmon, Fresh Mussel Rockafella

We started out the night by sharing a few appetizers.

The Spring River’s Duck Terrine (RM 24) was a unique introduction to Amadeus’ food. Duck meat emulsified with fat and pressed together with a few other ingredients almost like pate but much coarser in texture. A little sourish and savory at the same time, a dish that takes a little getting used to but I found myself enjoying it quite a bit.

Ahmed’s Mediterranean Bruschetta (RM 16) is something a lot more familiar to the Malaysian taste buds.Grilled capsicum, onions and aubergine topped with melted fetta cheese. The accompanying dips made it complete.

Gustav’s Cured Norwegian Salmon, Ahmed’s Mediterranean Bruschetta, Spring River's Duck Terrine
Gustav’s Cured Norwegian Salmon, Ahmed’s Mediterranean Bruschetta, Spring River’s Duck Terrine

Fresh Mussel Rockafella (RM 22) is prepared by baking half shell mussels with garlic parsley and bread crumbs. The dish comes with a bit of salad to clean your palette too.

Then there’s Gustav’s Cured Norwegian Salmon (RM 26), cured with citrus and vodka, then wrapped around a chunk of dill cream cheese. The side of salad with vodka and citrus dressing was almost like a cross between Thai and Russian, I’m not sure if I liked it, but the salmon was excellent.

Highlander’s Wild Portabella Soup
Highlander’s Wild Portabella Soup and Manhattan Seafood Chowder

We sampled the Highlander’s Wild Portabella Soup (RMM 16) as well as the Manhattan Seafood Chowder (RM 16). Both were thick, creamy, and full of flavor. The side of baguette toast made them even better.

The mushroom soup was easily one of the bests I’ve had, on par with the one at Favola.  Seafood chowder held up on its own as well, it could probably use a bit more seafood chunks, but at RM 16 a pop you can’t really ask for more.

Rack of Lamb, Schmikel’s Duck Confit
Carlos’ Secret Lamb Rack, Schmikel’s Duck Confit

Our first couple of main dishes were Carlos’ Secret Lamb Rack and Schmikel’s Duck Confit.

The lamb sat on top of a generous portion of smashed potato that looked equally as good as it tasted. They didn’t over cooked the meat either, retaining the juice that makes lamb rack such a delicious dish, we practically chew it down to the bones.

Duck confit though, was pretty average to me. It failed to impress and I thought the meat was just slightly too dry for my liking. The risotto accompanying the duck makes it a full meal.

Hungarian Goulash, Seafood Pasta, Simone’s Fish-e-Tarian Friend
Hungarian Goulash, Seafood Pasta, Simone’s Fish-e-Tarian Friend

Zoran’s Homestyle Beef Goulash (RM 32) was one of my favorite dishes of the night. Tender stew beef with full flavor “sauce” seasoned with paprika and other spices, serves with the same excellent smashed potato too. It was awesome, fittingly the national dish of Hungary.

The pastas served at Amadeus were pretty decent as well, we tried their seafood pasta and another spaghetti dish with a big chunk of perfectly seared salmon on top. These were pretty good pastas for those who prefers the more familiar tastes.

Red Velvet Cake, Yellow Lemon Cheesecakes
Red Velvet Cake, Yellow Lemon Cheesecakes , baked by Dina herself

Desserts at Amadeus are baked by Dina herself. We tried her Red Velvet Cake, Yellow Lemon Cheesecakes, and Sachertorte.These were some of the most delicious cakes, and I suspect mainly due to the fact that they are freshly baked on location everyday. Don’t miss them if you have any stomach spaces left.

Ciki, Shah, KY, Suan, Eiling, Haze (over 2 visits)
Ciki, Shah, KY, Suan, Eiling, Haze (over 2 visits)

As the name suggest, Amadeus Bistro & Wine bar has a full bar and serves cocktails as well as a good selection of wine. They also have a handy wine dispenser that allows easy tasting and ordering of wine by glasses. I took the opportunity to have a couple glasses of Riesling to go with dinner.

some of the foods during the launch of Amadeus Bistro & Wine Bar
some of the foods during the launch of Amadeus Bistro & Wine Bar

We had a great time at Amadeus with excellent food and even better company. I believe this place will be a success, the menu and prices are right, and it is a pretty good location especially for office execs looking for a good dinner & happy hour to some time during rush hours. That being said, it is also a place you should check out over the weekends if you’re looking for that bit of Eastern European flair.

I’m sure we’ll return.

map to Life Centre, KL

Address:
Amadeus Bistro & Wine Bar
Life Centre,
No.20 Jalan Sultan Ismail,
50250 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.15378, 101.70870
Tel: 03-2162 2788

Amadeus Bistro Wine Bar

Flavors of Chile

December 2, 2011 12 Comments

Chile is the longest north-south country in the world, stretching over 4,630 kilometres “top” to “bottom”, but only as wide as 430 kilometers at the thickest region east-west. Situated on the west side of Andes and right next to Pacific ocean as well as the presence of Atacama dessert allows Chile to have a remarkably wide range of climates and thus, a huge selection of agricultural resources as well.

According to my colleague who is from Peru, a neighboring country to Chile, it is also a prosperous and stable country, something that can’t be said for many South American nations. If not for the usually prohibitive airfare, I am sure it would be a fantastic place to visit, perhaps some day…

Flavors of Chile
Kiwi fruit isn’t just from Australia and New Zealand

In the mean time, we got to attend the “Flavor of Chile” event held by the Embassy of Chile in Malaysia. It was a treat of gastronomical adventure at Westin Hotel, KL. This was actually a two day event that gives Malaysian businessmen a chance to discover Chile’s wide variety of high quality products, according to ProChile director Felix De Vicente.

South American food is something of a mystery to me, prior to this dinner, if you ask me anything food related from the region, I’d probably just say Argentinian steak (from Gaucho Grill), Chilean wine, and Chilean sea bass.

and it was a grand party, with my favorite people too
with some of my favorite people – fatboybakes, cumidanciki, haze

During the course of the event, I got to know more than I bargained.

There were video presentation in between every dish, with quality of production that makes most travel programmes look amateur. The clips introduces different places in Chile and what it has to offer, as well as plenty of airtime with Chef Carlo von Mühlenbrock – a guy who looked more like a rockstar than a chef – explaining how the ingredient is grown/catch and his method of preparation.

And then the very dish is served. Brilliant.

Quinoa Timbale with avocado and Chilean King Crab
Quinoa Timbale with avocado and Chilean King Crab

The first starter was Quinao Timbale with avocado and Chilean King Crab, paired with Sauvignon Blanc. This was the first time I had quinoa, a grain that is high in protein balance set of amino acids, and it was delicious. It has a crunchy texture, a bit sourish, and undoubtedly perfect with a couple slices of king crab and the wine.

Pablo Neruda's Conger Eel Chowder
Pablo Neruda’s Conger Eel Chowder

Next was Pablo Neruda’s Conger Eel Chowder. Eel? Chowder? This was not something that was expected, but perhaps it had something to do with our familiarity with unagi – a very narrow view of eel.

This eel was more like a cross between scallop & sea bass, subtle yet delicious, with the broth and other seafood in the bowl, it was a wholesome chowder for sure. We had Chilean Chardonnay to wash it down, which was of course, lovely.

Smoked Salmon and Mussels with Coriander Spiced Barley
Smoked Salmon and Mussels with Coriander Spiced Barley

The main dish was Smoked Salmon and Mussels with Coriander Spiced Barley. A generous slab of smoked salmon sitting on bed of barley, accompanied by a couple mussels.

This was another good dish, but the texture of barley that doesn’t come in a dessert or drink was a little too foreign for me. The dish was served with Vina Cono Sur Pinot Noir.

Southern Chile berries sorbet with fresh fruits, and the wine
Southern Chile berries sorbet with fresh fruits, and the wine

The dessert was Southern Chile berries sorbet with fresh fruits. A sweet ending to the wonderful dinner. Due to my allergy to kiwi, this was the only dish I did not completely finish. The sorbet, made from pureed Chilean berries, were excellent.

The dessert wine Late Harvest, however, were a tad too sweet for my liking. It would probably be great if served at almost freezing temperature at a smaller dosage, but alas, this was an event with hundreds of peopld, one can’t be asking too much.

Chilean Chef Carlo von Mühlenbrock & Haze
Chilean Chef Carlo von Mühlenbrock & Haze

It was a lovely night punctuated by a visit of the famous chef to our table and did a autograph on Haze’s drawing of his dishes. The drawing later appeared on a Chilean newspaper too. 😀

So now, when will I be able to go there.