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Tag / Petaling-Jaya

A couple weeks ago we were invited to a food review session that promises a good dosage of “Dong Po” (東坡肉) pork belly, and since that is one of my favorite dishes of all time, it was an easy decision to not miss this one.

Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant, PJ
Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant, PJ

The restaurant is Secret Garden at Taman Megah nearby Wolf Modern Dining and almost a walking distance from our previous home in PJ, but alas, this time around it was a bit of a drive, which was fine for some a porking promise.

The restaurant is stunning, with vertical garden, beautiful wooden long table, and tastefully use of empty space. I’m going to go on a limb here to say that it is most likely attributed to the fact that the founders include an interior designer, a fine art illustrator, and a mural artist.

When the surrounding is awesome, appetite also increases, kan?

crispy fried prawn cracker
crispy fried prawn cracker

Anyway, let’s get on the food.

For the review session, we got to sample quite a few dishes from the menu, starting with the appetizer – crispy fried prawn crackers. This is not your typical prawn cracker, but rather thin layer of pastry stuffed with plenty of prawn meat in between, best enjoyed with a dip of Thai chili sauce. I had white wine to go with this, but beer would make for excellent liquid to wash this down.

home style Taiwanese chicken soup w pickled pineapple & bitter melon
home style Taiwanese chicken soup w pickled pineapple & bitter melon

Any Chinese restaurant worth it’s salt should serve up a decent bowl of hot soup.

At Secret Garden, the choice was a simple and comforting home style Taiwanese chicken soup with pickled pineapple and bitter melon. I love myself a good bowl of soup, and this version checked the box as well as any with simple everyday ingredients done right.

steamed free range duckweed fed chicken w homemade sauce
steamed free range duckweed fed chicken w homemade sauce

Up next was steamed free range duckweed fed chicken with homemade sauce. You can taste the difference in duckweed fed chicken meat compared to the normal wet market/hypermarket variety, the meat is firmer and the skin springier. With the condiments it makes for a good meal by itself with a bowl of rice.

signature Taiwanese style "dong po" pork belly
signature Taiwanese style “dong po” pork belly

Then came what I was here for – the signature Taiwanese “dong po” pork belly. I love this dish so much I actually remember where I had it the first two times – first at Chatterbox Bangsar Village, and then at Dengkil Seafood Restaurant.

If you love pork, you gotta try this dish named after the famous Chinese poet Su DongPo (蘇東坡) . The interpretation of this dish at Secret Garden is very, very good, and only made better when you have it with their super soft steamed bun. Can I get this combination for breakfast, please?

grouper fish head in yellow curry with fresh milk
grouper fish head in yellow curry with fresh milk

Perhaps to demonstrate the range of dishes this kitchen is able to come up with, we had grouper fish head in yellow curry with fresh milk next.

If really spicy and rich Indian or even Nyonya style curry is your cup of tea, this may disappoint, but if you enjoy milder curry with all the necessary ingredients with a much gentler assault on your taste buds, then this yellow curry may fit the bill. I’m a Penang boy who loves me some really spicy curry fish head, so it was just a tad underwhelming for me.

pan fried fresh king prawn with soya sauce
pan fried fresh king prawn with soya sauce

Pan fried fresh king prawn with soya sauce was my favorite seafood dish of the day. Instead of the usual tiger prawns or “meng har”, this version uses fresh water king prawns, which has big and juicy prawn head to suckle on (human cholestorel isn’t from what you eat, right?). I liked it, and wished I had some rice to go with this.

(btw I’ve published a recipe to my version here, if you care to cook your own)

homemade organic black soya bean tofu in pumpkin gravy
homemade organic black soya bean tofu in pumpkin gravy, & the hungry bunch

The last dish I got to try before we had to leave due to another appointment was the homemade organic black soya bean tofu in pumpkin gravy. I was told the tofu is made in-house, and it certainly tastes fresh as can be with the texture that’s almost like tofufar, it was nice, and pumpkin gravy certainly served as a good contrast to the salty and savory bits on top of the tofu.

our menu, and some live seafood for your picking too
our menu, and some live seafood for your picking too

Overall it was a more than satisfying dinner, and certainly an experience that is made unforgettable thanks to the beautiful dining area and excellent companions we had.

Secret Garden is current modelling the upper level and will be offering Private Dining. You give them a budget and number of pax, and the chef will come up with a menu from carefully chosen ingredients available. There’s currently no set price for Private Dining, I suppose the more you are willing to pay, the more exotic the dishes get.

Thank you Jessica for the invitation and for hosting us!

secret garden chinese restaurant, taman megah

Address:
Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant
家園私房菜 
7 & 9, Jalan SS 23/15,
Taman Sea,
47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS3.116306, 101.612408
Tel: 03-7887 6999
Site: secretgarden.my

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

 

Address:
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

The story of my experience on the Seksyen 14 Hai Keng restaurant chee cheong fun started out on a Monday morning when I posted a photo of chee cheong fun at Petaling Street on instagram and facebook.

With the motorcycle as my primary transport to work, I often have the luxury of stopping by for breakfast at different places in the morning prior to office hours. A source of daily envy for many other rat racers, but I digress…

Hai Keng kopitiam, located near Digital Mall at PJ Seksyen 14
Hai Keng kopitiam, located near Digital Mall at PJ Seksyen 14

It was from there that Elie left this comment “You made me want to eat chee cheong fun.  Have you tried the Section 14 one?

A couple replies later I got the location right, and 2 days later I found myself at Hai Keng kopitiam ordering my chee cheong fun at 7:20 am in the morning.

the chee cheong fun with yong tau foo was pretty good actually
the chee cheong fun with yong tau foo was pretty good actually

Since the stall also offers yong tau foo, I added a piece of okra and red chili to go with the small plate of chee cheong fun (total RM 3). Truth be told, it was quite delicious, the chee cheong fun was smooth, and the yong tau foo pretty decent as well. The combination did make a good breakfast and I liked it.

I posted the photo on the same social networks and immediately found out that I had actually ordered from the wrong stall! Who would have thought that there are two different chee cheong fun stalls in the same kopitiam?

this is the "correct" old school chee cheong fun at Hai Keng
this is the “correct” old school chee cheong fun at Hai Keng

So I went there again the very next day to try out the “correct” chee cheong fun stall.

Hidden at the very back of the restaurant sits this unassuming stall that is manned by an old man and his son (I assume) serving old school Ipoh style chee cheong fun. I ordered a plate that comes with the sweet sauce, chili, and a side of pickled green chili too.

The chee cheong fun wasn’t warm, and the portion cost RM 3, same as the one with yong tau foo.

But it was a totally different experience. The chee cheong fun itself just somehow got it right. There are places where you have it just a bit too blant, or too sticky, or too thick, too sweet, too something. This stall just gets it right. It was delicious, and it was worth it.

If you’re a fan of chee cheong fun, this is a stall not to miss.

That being said, I didn’t regret the one with yong tau foo either. I guess two chee cheong fun stalls can indeed coexist in the same premise.

Hai Keng is located opposite Dae Jang Gum, a pretty good Korean restaurant especially if you’re a fan of Kimchi Jiggae.

map to Hai Keng kopitiam, PJ Seksyen 14

Address:
Hai Keng Restaurant
24, Jalan 14/20,
Seksyen 14 Petaling Jaya
Selangor
GPS: 3.110338, 101.635315

 

There aren’t very many hawkers in Klang Valley that offers the combination of these things in their offering:

  • tastes
  • portion
  • price

The little corner stall at New Yew Sang in Kelana Jaya (also have good Thai food at night) is one of the few that scores in all three areas.

the "siu chau" stall at New Yew Sang, Kelana Jaya
the “siu chau” stall at New Yew Sang, Kelana Jaya

The siu chau (小抄) has been a staple at this kopitiam for ages. Among the dishes offered are fried rice, Cantonese fried (horfun or yin yeong), Thai style fried rice, and loh mee. They open for business for breakfast and lunch, and the kopitiam is usually pretty busy on weekday lunch hours.

Parking situation around the restaurant isn’t the best, but nothing too troublesome for those who don’t mind walking a few steps.

kungfu yin yeong with crispy fried noodle at the bottom
kungfu yin yeong with crispy fried noodle at the bottom

My favorite here is their Cantonese Yin Yeong (廣府鴛鴦 RM 5.50), a combination of horfun and deep fried noodle at the bottom covered in thick broth that is pretty similar to egg drop soup. Prawns, pork slices, and vegetable makes up the rest of the ingredients.

They definitely do a good job on this pretty difficult to execute dish, and for less than 6 ringgit a plate, the portion is definitely more than enough as well.

their fried rice is pretty good too
their fried rice is pretty good too

The standard fried rice is also priced at RM 5.50, and for extra RM 1 you get a beautifully done sunny side top egg. The fried rice comes with pork, prawn, egg, and finely chopped carrots & long beans too. The only way to make this better is if you have some awesome sambal belacan from Penang to go with, but sometimes you can’t ask for too much.

Address:
New Yee Sang kopitiam
Jalan SS 6/8
Kelana Jaya

GPS: 3.106717, 101.598178

Imotiv.ly (previously NuffnangX)

In another news, if you haven’t noticed yet, NuffnangX is now Imotiv.ly [ee-moh-tiv]. It builds upon NuffnangX and does what NuffnangX could do and more.

The application (also available on iOS & Android devices) can recommend new reading material based on what’s relevant to the user, especially if you sync it with your facebook/twitter account. There’s also an Explore panel that contains a collection of blogs ready for browsing.

Users are also kept informed of actions their friends have taken, such as liking or commenting on blog posts. Check it out at Imotiv.ly and add kyspeaks.com in your readings list. 😀

A couple weeks ago we were invited for a food review session at Armada hotel’s Shokudo Japanese restaurant. We were checking out their “Speedy Lunch” menu which promises lunch sets that are served within 15 minutes and priced only at RM 15++ per order.

This type of deal from a hotel restaurant? I was curious to say the least.

temaki, Haze & KY at Shokudo, Armada Hotel
temaki, Haze & KY at Shokudo, Armada Hotel

Shokudo at Armada turns out to be a pretty small Japanese restaurant. With maximum capacity of some 20 odd people, the restaurant on 1st floor has a very homey ambiance to it. A place that is well suited for a quiet dinner for two. (as such, if you are coming with a big group, do call ahead)

soft shell crab maki and chawanmushi
soft shell crab maki and chawanmushi

There are four dishes in the Speedy Lunch menu:

  • soft shell crab maki with chawan mushi
  • unagi rice set
  • chicken or beef katsudon
  • kakiage soba or udon

chicken/beef katsudon, unagi rice set, kakiage soba/udon
chicken/beef katsudon, unagi rice set, kakiage soba/udon

My favorite of the lot was the soft shell crab maki and chawan mushi set. RM 15 for the set is definitely a great value, and it tastes as good as anywhere, but if you have a big appetite, this might not fill your stomach all the way up.

Unagi set comes with about half an eel instead of the whole fish, understandable for this price point. Chicken and beef katsudon though, do come with very generous serving of meat.

For those who likes it light, the soba/udon dish would be a good option. The lightly battered tempura vegetable does go well with either udon or soba.

cod fish teriyaki, gyoza, california maki
cod fish teriyaki, gyoza, california maki

Other than the Speedy Lunch dishes, Shokudo does offer a pretty comprehensive menu. There are good choices for sashimi, sushi,  maki, temaki, teppanyaki, don buri (rish dishes), udon, and some side orders (like grilled salmon belly, shishamo etc).

The cod fish teriyaki and gyoza was fantastic, and california maki we tried did not disappoint too.

chicken kara-age, sashimi, tempura
chicken kara-age, sashimi, tempura

Oddly enough, the dish that I can’t get my hands off from was the chicken kara-age (chicken skin RM15). This an a pint of beer would be perfect. Sashimi and tempura too were of pretty good quality.

Overall, the experience at Armada’s Shoduko was a positive one. Although food did not blow us out of the water, they were consistent and did not disappoint at all considering the price point.

If your office is not far form the heart of PJ, the Speedy Lunch here would be something to check out.

map to Armada Hotel

Address:
Shokudo Japanese Restaurant
Hotel Armada Petaling Jaya
Lot 6, Lorong Utara C,
Section 52, 46200 PJ, Selangor
GPS: 3.104199, 101.640964
Tel: 03-7954 6888

Shokudo Hotel Armada Petaling Jaya