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Fifth review on this buka puasa buffet 2014 series is the Seenak Citarasa Malaysia buffet dinner at Empire Hotel’s Kitchen Art Brasserie.

Located at Subang Jaya right next to the iconic Subang Parade, the hotel can be access directly via Empire Mall with the two sharing the same parking arrangements. Not having to pay more just because you’re in a hotel instead of the mall is surely a minor bonus.

Seenak Citarasa Malaysia buffet at Empire Hotel
Seenak Citarasa Malaysia buffet at Empire Hotel

Kitchen Art Brasserie is located at hotel’s level 2, which somehow translate to just a floor above the top floor of Empire Mall.

I like the whole set up, with a glass walls by two sides overseeing the ever busy Federal Highway and tastefully done interior decoration.

ulam, cold seafood, fruits, salad, salted duck egg
ulam, cold seafood, fruits, salad, salted duck egg

The Seenak Citarasa Malaysia buffet dinner is priced at RM 108++ for adults, RM 88++ for children and senior citizens. The buffet is available from 28th June to 29th July, 2014.

Interestingly, diners will also standa a chance to win a Hermes watch worth about RM 12k by taking part in a contest during this ramadan period.

traditional main dishes from different states in Malaysia
traditional main dishes from different states in Malaysia

The buffet spread at Empire Hotel celebrates each of the 13 states in Malaysia and features more than 60 different main dishes in addition to starters such as ulam, prawns, mussels, salted duck egg, clams, salads, and even cendol and rojak.

There’s also a Ghazal band performing nightly, in line with the whole local theme.

cucur udang, ikan bakar, nangka, and of course - roast lamb
cucur udang, ikan bakar, nangka, and of course – roast lamb

To make things simple, here are the list of 13 traditional flavors from the different states:

  • sup gear box (beef shank broth with spices) – Utara Kedah
  • briyani ayam dengan kismis (braised chicken with golden raisin – Johor
  • daging masak lemak dengan nangka muda (beef cooked in turmeric gravey with young jackfruit) – Negeri Sembilan
  • terong goreng berlada dengan ikan bilis (fried eggplant with chilli and anchovies) – Selangor
  • ikan masak asam pedas bunga kantan (braised fish in tamarind gravy with ginger flower) – Melaka
  • gulai kawah Terengganu dengan kantang (beef curry with potato) – Terengganu
  • ikan patin masak lemak tempoyak (fish cooked with spicy durian gravy) – Pahang
  • ayam bakar berempah (roasted chicken with Malay spices) – Kelantan
  • briyani kambing (mutton cooked in local spices) – Pulau Pinang
  • hivana roe fish – Sabah
  • braised chicken in bamboo – Sarawak
  • bubur gandum – Perlis
  • rendang tok – Perak

Pinky and I absolutely loved the sup gearbox, check out how huge it is
Pinky and I absolutely loved the sup gearbox, check out how huge it is

Of the various offerings, I particularly enjoy the sup gear box the most. The serving was huge, with the bone neatly saw off at one end and a straw provided so that you can suck out the marrow, absolutely fantastic!

The roast lamb here, as with the other buffet spread I tried so far, did not disappoint. I also really enjoyed the fish gravey with bunga kantan and of course, ulam with intoxicating sambal.

selection of western desserts and traditional kuih, including tapai
selection of western desserts and traditional kuih, including tapai

As for desserts, there’s a rather wide selection of local kuih as well as a selection of Western desserts. I picked tapai ubi and was obviously not disappointed. For those who fancy the traditional sweet drinks popular during Ramadan, there’s more than half a dozen colorful cold drinks to choose from, as well as teh tarik, of course.

Empire Mall map

Address:
Kitchen Art Brasserie, Level 2,
Empire Hotel, Jalan SS16/1,
Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan
GPS: 3.082109, 101.582716
Tel03-5565 1228

Almost everyone remembers about field trips back in the school days, a bunch of classmates all lined up going into the school bus heading to some mysterious destination you haven’t been before, with a promise of a bit of learning and a whole lot of fun. A day where you get out from the monotonous classroom and head towards something that is a little more unexpected.

Yeap, our trip to the Mamee Double-Decker Factory and Mamee Jonker House was quite a lot like that. A fun filled day that brought back a lot of memories.

and we arrived at Mamee-Double Decker Factory in Melaka
and we arrived at Mamee-Double Decker Factory in Melaka

We gathered at the Mamee office at Subang Jaya early in the morning, and like the school children, were ushered into two tour buses on a two hour journey to the Mamee Double Decker factory in Melaka.

To be honest, I was pretty excited about this trip, Mamee has been an integral part of my childhood, and to be able to see what it is behind this Malaysian brand in person was a bit like a dream come true to me. I mean, I was going to meet Mamee Monster too, if I got to tell my 7 year old self this, he’d be so happy!

how noodle and condiments are prepared and cooked, by hands
how noodle and paste are prepared and cooked, by hands

We witnessed how mamee noodle were made if it was done manually by hand, starting from raw flour, the chef expertly pull and fold the dough like traditional la mian noodle.

Next was the process of cooking the paste. Starting with quality ingredients such as turmeric, lemongrass, garlic, and curry leaves, the mixture is blended then cooked with palm oil before going through another step of blending. According to the staff, the factory uses a very similar process to prepare the paste  you find in every pack of Mamee Chef. (which I wrote about here)

Mamee Chef Curry Laksa was also rated as one of the top 10 Best Instant Noodles in the world for 2014 by theramenrater.com

the Mamee Chef and Mamee Monster assembly line, impressive!
the Mamee Chef and Mamee Monster assembly line, impressive!

We then took a tour to the factory as the first ever group of public “tourists” that has access to take pictures. Usually other visitor are not allowed to take pictures.

This is the machinery behind this instant noodle brand that penetrates some 4.2 million (out of 5.47 million) household in Peninsular Malaysia. The production line that makes Mamee Chef, for example, costs some RM 80 million in investment, very impressive.

What struck us most about the factory though, is how clean it is!

You know how some people say if you’ve seen the kitchen of certain restaurants, you won’t eat the food? This is the exact opposite of what I get from Mamee’s factory, it’s so clean and efficient that I would have zero problem recommending this brand those who has the highest hygiene standard.

You can visit facebook.com/mymameechef for more info.

#MameeChefDay

I finally met Mamee Monster at Mamee Jonker House
I finally met Mamee Monster at Mamee Jonker House

Then we boarded the very same bus and went to Mamee Jonker House.

Yeap, there’s a Mamee Jonker house at none other than the most famous street in Melaka – Jonker Street (well it’s called Jalan Hang Jebat, officially).
Mamee Chef, one of my favorites!
Mamee Chef, one of my favorites!

This is also where we got to meet everyone’s favorite instant noodle mascot – the Mamee Monster!

I gotta say that I’ve always imagined the monster to be a little bigger, then again, I think I’ve grown a little the past 30 odd years, haven’t I? It sounds silly, but it was a cool experience!

Pinky showing off some souvenirs you can purchase at Mamee Jonker House
Pinky showing off some souvenirs you can purchase at Mamee Jonker House

I really like the idea of Mamee Jonker house, a place where you can purchase a variety of Mamee products as well as souvenirs such as t-shirt, key chain, and so forth. There’s also a mini version of the assembly line showing how the instant noodle and Mamee Monster is made.

I made my very own custom Mamee Chef cup noodle
I made my very own custom Mamee Chef cup noodle

There are also two activities on the 1st floor which you can participate. We “custom made” our own Mamee Chef cup noodle by painting the cup and picking our own mixture of ingredients. The cup is then sealed and we got to take it home – a real customised version that can I can actually pour boiling water, wait for 3 minutes, and eat!

There’s also a “class room” where you get to make the instant noodle from start to finish, but that process will take about 90 minutes and we didn’t have the time for this activity, unfortunately.

Mamee Jonker house is also a restaurant, serving Mamee Noodle and other dishes
Mamee Jonker house is also a restaurant, serving Mamee Noodle and other dishes

At the rear half of Mamee Jonker House is also a restaurant, serving quite a good variety of dishes such as Mamee goreng, Mamee laksa, and even halal version of the famous chicken rice ball. I tried all three of these dishes and they certainly did not disappoint. Prices are pretty reasonable too.

We reluctantly left at about 5 in the afternoon. It was a fun filled trip and I certainly think that they should do more tours like this especially for school kids. I know the 7 year old me would certainly love it! You can visit Mamee Chef for more info.

#MameeChefDay

The holiday season is coming, the malls are already having x’mas decorations, and we’re all looking forward to the festivities. Hohohoho

To me though, this is also a time to catch up with some old young friends over a several glasses of drinks.

xmas tree

I was chatting online with Pinky over some work and suddenly realized that we actually haven’t properly met again ever since she came back from Melbourne. Earlier in the conversation we were just talking about beer, and in particular, Kilkenny.

So I asked her to join us for dinner at Bernard’s where they serve Kilkenny draught.

Bernard's at Centrepoint, BU
KY at Bernard’, Centrepoint, BU

To some, Kilkenny might still be a pretty foreign brand (Haze never had it until now). I actually first learnt it from Suan and FA not very long ago. The Irish cream ale has a head that’s risen, pretty similar to Guinness draught, it is also very smooth and carries a full flavor.

Pinky, Haze, and a couple pints of Kilkenny
Pinky, Haze, and a couple pints of Kilkenny

A small amount of roasted barley gives this beer the distinct reddish tint that also adds to the flavor. I like it, the girls do too.

If you are a beer fan and haven’t had a taste of Kilkenny, give it a try. There are now over 200 locations where it is served, a pint usually goes at around RM 20, there are places that have 3 for RM 50 too.

pesto pasta with grilled chicken, chinese style pork chop
pesto pasta with grilled chicken, chinese style pork chop

Dinner was a Chinese style pork chop served with steamed rice (RM 23) for me, and the Pesto Pasta with grilled chicken (RM 20) for Haze.

I liked the capsicum sauce served with the pork chop but thought the meat was a little too lean though, you’ll like it more if overly fatty pork isn’t your craving.

The pesto pasta though, was excellent. I mean, just look at the piece of grilled chicken thigh there and tell me if it wasn’t beautiful? I am going to order this next time, definitely goes well with the Kilkenny!

What will be under your tree this year?

location map of Bernard's, BU Centrepoint

Address:
G9A-14, Centrepoint,
Jalan Leboh Bandar Utama,
47800 Petaling Jaya
Selangor

GPS: 3.137988, 101.610124
Tel: 03-7710 3188

On my first trip to Melbourne last April, I tried to avoid food that are available here in Malaysia. I sorta ran out of options rather quickly, so on the second trip, I was ready and more than willing to have some of the meals usually associated with students living here instead.

In a way, instead of having a traditional holiday to Melbourne, I spent the 10 days I was there like a typical student would. I ate the same food, watched a bit of TV series, and even went to a lecture with Mellissa!

Ying Thai 2
Ying Thai 2, rather authentic and very tasty

So when Mell and I were meeting Pinky and Kah Kit, we had it at Ying Thai 2 instead of a place that serves “western” or Australian food. The last we met was April, at Notturno (which happens to be just across the same street), and at Supper Inn for, well, supper.

Ying Thai 2 is a Thai restaurant run by, at the face of it, mostly Thai people. When we got there at around 8pm on a weekday, it was still fully packed. We had to wait for some 30 minutes before securing an alfresco style table. Luckily the outdoor heater was on.

seafood tomyam, green curry, pork with basil leaves
tomyam, green curry, and minced pork with basil

We quickly made our orders, and as usual, being the least picky eater in the group, I let the others do the honor. This also means that I get to enjoy different tastes most of the time, instead of always ordering something I am familiar with.

We asked for 4 dishes: seafood tomyam, green curry chicken, minced pork with basil, and chicken in pandan leave. We also ordered coconut rice instead of normal steamed rice to go with them.

coconut rice and pandan chicken at Ying Thai
coconut rice and chicken in pandan leaves

It took quite a bit to get our food as the place was extremely busy, to make matter worse, we had to deal with the smell that comes off from the restaurant with our empty stomach. It was a torture, but it was also well worth it.

The green curry chicken and the seafood tomyam was no different from those you get at any good Thai restaurants. The curry rich in coconut milk and come with all the ingredients you expect, while the tomyam is not overly spicy, it was full of seafood ingredients and still manage to provide a small kick.

Mellissa, KY, Pinky, and Kah Kit at Ying Thai 2
Mell, KY, Pinky, Kah Kit

The pandan chicken was even better, on par with some of the bests I’ve had. Soft and very flavorful, they go well with the extra fragrant coconut rice, I like the rice a lot more than normal steamed rice or even sticky rice.

However, the best dish of the day had to be the minced pork with basil. It was spicy, it had the flavor of pork, basil (one of my favorite herbs), red chilli, and whatever sauce the chef put in. The result was something with a kick, it was spicy, it was tasty, and it was very addictive.

map to Ying Thai 2 at Lygon Street

It was a good dinner session, with great food and of course, Pinky is one of my favorite persons whom I got to know via Nuffnang over a year ago. Incidentally, Mell worked with Pinky during her internship and that was how we got to know each other.

Address:
Ying Thai 2
110 Lygon St,
Carlton VIC 3053,
Australia

GPS: -37.804329,144.966424
Tel: 03-9639 1697

p/s: I have a few more Melbourne food posts to complete before the memory escapes my mind, so bear with me. 🙂

The most important reason I am now writing this post all the way from Melbourne is to attend Mellissa‘s 21st birthday. She has one of the easiest to remember birthday of anyone I know, on 8.8.88, you can’t get any more auspicious than that.

Just a night after I arrived, on the eve of her birthday, we had dinner at Vialetto, a little restaurant at Hardware Lane serving Italian food. The food was very pedestrian and nothing to shout about, so despite taking a tonnes of photos from the restaurant, I shall refrain from writing about a place that I wouldn’t return.

Mellissa's 21st Birthday
Charlie’s bar is located at the quaint Hardware Lane

Right after dinner, we adjourned to Charlie’s bar a couple doors down the lane. The bar itself is located at the basement level with some tables outdoor (not exactly very awesome to be outdoor in winter, though heater is provided). The service was really good, our server made sure the reserved area is vacated as soon as we arrived and took orders in very efficient and professional manner.

The guys arrived soon enough and by 11pm the group grew to some 30 people, including all of Mellissa’s housemates, university friends, and other friends from KL including Zehan, Pinky and her bf Kah Kit too.

Mell's birthday at Charlie's bar
Zehan, KY, Mell, Kah Kit, Sam, Pinky, Mell,
JW, Harvey, Singz, Graeme, Mark, Ian, Mrina, and more!

At the end of the night Mellissa got quite tipsy, though luckily still quite manageable. The guys love the drinks at Charlie’s bar, the cocktails were made just right with enough amount of proper alcohol. The place was quaint and comfortable, even the music too was good. Everyone had a great time, and of course, the no indoor smoking policy in the city always help.

Minor set back of the whole evening was the lack of a cake but oh well, Mell did bake a chocolate cake 2 days later, heehee. Happy Birthday darling!

p/s: Going skiing at Mt. Buller in less than 12 hours, I’m very anxious for my first ski trip in 8 years, gonna be Mell’s first heehee.