Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / prawn

Every once in a while, the bunch of jokers at work would organize a fun “eating out” session, usually when one of us has something to celebrate and belanja the team.

A few weeks ago, we ended up at Jalan Bellamy for some good old fashion ikan bakar on one of such occasions.

Ikan Bakar Jalan Bellamy
Gerai Mak Alang Ikan Bakar Jalan Bellamy

Tucked behind Agong’s old palace between Jalan Syed Putra & Jalan Istana is a small hill that is very different from most part of KL. There’s virtually no development, you can’t find any big commercial buildings or high rise offices. A place so close to the hustle & bustle of the likes of Puduraya and yet immune to the change of time.

It is here that you find some half a dozen ikan bakar places, all packed with hungry lunch crowds any given afternoon.

Gerai Mak Alang was the restaurant of choice for our excursion.

tempoyak is always a plus at ikan bakar places
tempoyak is always a plus at ikan bakar places

Gerai Mak Alang offers quite a good selection of grilled fish and other dishes. You have the standard ikan pari (sting ray), kembung, tilapia, and even terubok (toli shad, full of annoying tiny bones but with the softest meat ever). There’s also a selection of sambal to complete the dishes, including my all time favorite – tempoyak!

prawns, cuttlefish, and cockles are available too
prawns, cuttlefish, and cockles are available too

In addition to fish, they also offer prawns, cuttle fish, and cockles. I expected the cockles to be of the Nong & Jimmy bakar method, but it came coated with curry powder/sauce instead, which turned out to be quite ok nonetheless, but I would still prefer it grilled tho.

The cuttle fish was superb though, soft, succulent, and tasted supremely fresh. The prawn seemed to be prepared similar to nyonya asam prawn style, which was mighty fine by me.

food is always best when enjoyed with great company
food is always best when enjoyed with great company

Food quality is more than decent, and we certainly had a great time at Jalan Bellamy. There are a few other stalls still yet to be explored for me, and judging by the amount of crowd, I believe they are all worth trying out.

map to ikan bakar at Jalan Bellamy

Gerai Mak Alang
Jalan Bellamy
Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.130557, 101.694670

Kota Kinabalu, and many parts of East Malaysia for that matter, is famous for its seafood, and there are many restaurants to choose from. For a visitor, this can get pretty tricky as there are always those TSH (tourist slaughtering house) that one should avoid.

So on my trip to KK last year, I got the help from locals to suggest a good seafood meal. When both Joyce and Ben agreed that New Gaya Seafood is the destination fit for purpose, it surely can’t go wrong.

New Gaya Seafood at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
New Gaya Seafood at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Unlike some of the fancier seafood restaurants in the city, New Gaya is relatively plain. There’s no cultural dance or elaborate interior decorations, but there’s plenty of live seafood to choose from, with simple dining area that’s complete with plastic chairs and relatively tired looking tablecloths.

We’re here for the food though, and so long it’s relatively clean, who cares?

Sabah vegetable, ostrich meat, tofu in hotplate
Sabah vegetable, ostrich meat, tofu in hotplate

To start with, we have something green in the form of Sabah vegetable (RM 12). While seafood is the main topic, if you’re in Sabah, you gotta order this. The vegetable has a very distinct sweetness that is absent in those you find in Peninsular, I highly recommend this.

Then there’s ostrich meat (RM 20) and tofu in hot plate (RM 20) to complete our non-seafood trio. All these dishes were very good and go along well with the garlic rice (RM 10 for 5pax) we ordered.

fresh prawns and clams
fresh prawns and clams

Then came the seafood.

We started out with 1 kg of live prawns (RM 48). To enjoy the freshness of these prawns in its most unadulterated form, we have them steamed. It was so succulent and full of seafood sweetness, it really is the best way to enjoy these prawns.

Then we had those thick shelled clams (RM 26/kg) prepared with minimal fuss – garlic and chives. Sweet and juicy.

steamed garoupa, more clams, soft shell crab, mud crab
steamed garoupa, more clams, soft shell crab, mud crab

Our most expensive dish of the night was the 1 kg steamed garoupa with superior soya sauce (RM 90), as with everything else, freshness is key and this fish was alive prior to us ordering. I think that garoupa at this weight is pretty much perfect when it comes to the texture of the meat.

We also had the shellfish (RM 22 per kg) that you eat by twisting out the meat with a pick. This was steamed and went really well with the supplied condiment.

these were not all the dishes we shared at New Gaya
these were not all the dishes we shared at New Gaya

No seafood dinner is complete without crabs, and for this purpose we had 1 kg of deep fried soft shell crab (RM 78) and another kg of mud crab (RM 38) prepared with salted egg yolk. These dishes did not disappoint either, though I probably like the mud crab to be prepared a little less dry or perhaps have them baked or steamed instead.

Joyce, KY, Maha, Raj, Ben, Chew, Michelle, Vicky
Joyce, KY, Maha, Raj, Ben, Choo, Michelle, Vicky

Overall it was a great dinner with very good company to boot, we ended up splitting the bill at just over RM 50 per person. If you happen to go to KK, eat where the locals choose to eat and you won’t be disappointed. New Gaya seafood is definitely one of those destinations.

map to New Gaya Seafood restaurant, KK

New Gaya Seafood Restaurant
Lot A & B, Wisma Lucky Centre, Jalan Kianson,
88450 Inanam, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
GPS: 5.988415, 116.138549
Tel: 088-385 020
Hours: 11:30am – 2pm; 5pm – 10pm

Hailed from Hakata, the supposed ramen capital of Japan is Ippudo, the latest international Japanese ramen chain to arrive on our shore. The founder Shigemi Kawahara started selling ramen at a ten-seater stall in Fukuoka some 28 years ago, and has since expanded to some 10 cities around the world, serving up piping hot tonkotsu (pork bone) based ramen to eager diners.

We were invited for a tasting session last week ago to find out what the fuss is all about.

Hakata Ippudo Ramen at KL Paviliion
Hakata Ippudo Ramen at KL Paviliion

Ippudo Ramen is located just a floor up from the semi-alfresco dining area and a floor below the GSC cinemas. The ramen shop itself is pretty compact in size and could probably cater to around 40 pax or so.

The interior decoration is modern, and they even include “handbag drawers” under some seats, something I’m sure most ladies and dudes with man bags approve.

curry cheese haru maki, pork bun, spicy shrimp mayo
curry cheese haru maki, pork bun, spicy shrimp mayo

If you’re a fan of rather unique Japanese appetizers, you’re in luck. Ippudo carries quite a few dishes that goes well with hot green tea (or beer) before the main meal.

Curry Cheese Haru Maki (spring roll, RM 10) is indeed cheesy inside with a crispy skin as its exterior, delicious while hot, but you gotta find a balance and not let the melted cheese burn your taste buds.

Pork Bun (RM 7) is another one that I really enjoyed, reminds me of those “tong por” pork I had at Dengkil Seafood Restaurant.

Spicy Shrimp Mayo (RM 15) is beautifully presented and reminds me of those fried shrimp and mayo dimsum dishes that you could have for half the price.

goma Q, crispy corn, hakata style soup gyoza
Goma Q, Crispy Corn, Hakata Style Soup Gyoza

If you prefer something cold to start with, Goma Q (Japanese cucumber, RM 9) will fit the bill. This is very similar to those cold cucumber dishes served in some Chinese restaurants such as Private Kitchen at Uptown, or Hong La Qiao at Pudu.

Crispy Corn (RM 8) is something that I haven’t seen before and find myself liking it. The sweet corn seemed to be seared with a healthy dosage of paprika and other seasoning on top, giving the kernels a pretty unique taste. A serving is only 4 slices of corn though.

Hakata Style Soup Gyoza (RM 15) is an alternative to the usual pan fried version. It is served in the same tonkotsu soup with a bit of ginger in it. The gyoza was decent, but not something I’d get excited about, the soup is nice though.

akamara shinaji, shiromaru motoaji, and karaka-men ramen
akamara shinaji, shiromaru motoaji, and karaka-men ramen

Then came the ramen.

Ippudo serves three basic variety of ramen with noodle much thinner than most other places. Much like Italian food, you can also choose to have it al dente (cooked to be firm, but not hard).

Most basic is Shiromaru Motoaji with original tonkotsu broth, belly chasiu, bean sprouts, kikurage (black fungus), and spring onion. Akamara Shinaji has the same core ingredients but enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragant garlic oil. For those who like their ramen spicy, there’s the Karaka-men version, which incorporate special spicy miso and ground pork.

KY & Haze at Hakata Ippudo Ramen, KL Pavilion
KY & Haze at Hakata Ippudo Ramen, KL Pavilion

I find myself enjoying the original broth most, and have a bit of a mixed feeling for the other two miso infused soup as I think it somehow dilutes the essence of the pork bone taste (which takes 15 hours to cook, as I was told). I’m also not a fan of making ramen spicy, for that I’ll have my kimchi soup instead.

The chasiu at Ippudo is easily one of the best I’ve yet. Premium cut and prepared to perfection, this is the part I like most.

Over all though, I find Ippudo pretty decent and will certainly face strong competition from nearby ramen places within walking distance (Marutama at Fahrenheit 88, Hokkiado Santouka at Pavilion, Ton Chan at Cosway). While having the best ambiance among the competitions, Ippudo is also the priciest, expect to pay RM 26 for a basic bowl to RM 36 with everything in it.

map to Pavilion KL

Ippudo Ramen
Lot C4.07.00,
Connection Level 4, Pavilion
Jln Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.148872, 101.713368
Tel03-2110 6233
Hours: 11 am to 11 pm

A few weeks ago I was invited to Ten Japanese restaurant for a tasting session that I cannot resist, and the reason was not for the food. I didn’t know what was going to be served, or if they were going to be any good, but I knew I had to be there despite the inconvenience of it being held on a Friday afternoon.

That reason was the attendance of one of my favorite chefs of all time – Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai.

Ten Japanese Restaurant, Solaris Dutamas
Ten Japanese Restaurant, Solaris Dutamas

Iron Chef was my most watched cooking show when I was in the States, back in 2001 or 2002 I had contemplated driving up to Philadelphia from Greater Washington DC to have a meal at Iron Chef Morimoto’s, but that plan somehow did not work out, so this chance of meeting the King of Iron Chef, Hiroyuki Sakai, was most treasured.

My life is now complete.

King of Iron Chef - Hiroyuki Sakai, and Yours Truly
King of Iron Chef – Hiroyuki Sakai, and Yours Truly

Now back to the restaurant. Ten was first launched in Gold Cost, Australia, and had won two Gold Coast restaurant awards for best fine dining and supreme award in the first six month of its opening. So this is a place with some high expectations.

The restaurant was officially opened by Tun Dr. Mahathir himself on the 13th of Oct, 2011. This food tasting session was held just a day after that.

Ten serves a fusion of Japanese and French cuisine. As of late, fusion food has a bit of a tainted name to it, often regarded at something that is neither here nor there, so I was curious as to how Ten’s version would be like.

After all, Ten means “Heaven”.

deep fried prawn dumpling & shiitake mushroom stuffed with prawn
deep fried prawn dumpling & shiitake mushroom stuffed with prawn

Our entree was deep fried prawn dumpling encased in burdock vegetable, with Japanese cherry tomato and egg yolk with balsamico, and Shiitake mushroom stuffed with prawn and a sprinkle of truffle salt.

It was definitely an exquisite dish, the deep friend prawn dumpling was made to resemble prawn’s head both in look and texture, while carrying a rich seafood taste to it. The shishito pepper and cherry tomato gives a refreshing counter taste to the prawns too.

chicken three ways
chicken three ways

Entree was the very casually named Chicken Three Ways.

It was three dishes in one. Grilled chicken thigh marinated with miso served wrapped in iceberg lettuce and seaweed was almost like maki. A dish that exploits the freshness of iceberg lettuce to counter the savory chicken and saltiness of miso.

Dark miso chicken gratin with button mushroom and parmigiano cheese was a dish that is very rich and very flavorful without being pretentious, it was perhaps just slightly too rich for me, but shall go very well with a glass of wine I reckon.

Lastly, there was the foie gras and chicken terrine with Japanese leek and teriyaki sauce. A piece of mango hidden in the foie gras & chicken terrine worked wonder to bring out the full flavor in this dish. I loved it.

assortment of freshest sushi
assortment of freshest sushi

We were served some of the freshest sushi after the main course. Both ends of the fish touches the plate, and this is how sushi is supposed to look like, the ratio between fish and rice at those supermarket sushi isn’t what sushi is supposed to be.

The chef explained that while some of the fish are sourced from Japan, there are several types of fish & prawns that was sourced locally to obtain maximum freshness too. I like the way they choose the seafood base on it’s own merit without being pretentious and blindly taking everything from Japan and call it the best.

This plate of sushi, while not particularly dashing in its presentation, was one of the best I’ve had for a long time. Definitely mouth watering.

Ten's green tea cake
Ten’s green tea cake

We ended the lunch session with Ten’s green tea cake and a couple cubes of watermelon & grapes. The cake creamy but not overly sweet, it was actually very good and the portion was small enough to have it all even when I was already 90+% full.

the owners, Chef Hiroshi Miura, Chef Atsushi Nishibuchi, and Iron Chef Sakai
the owners, Chef Hiroshi Miura, Chef Atsushi Nishibuchi, and Iron Chef Sakai

Leading the restaurant are two Japanese chefs – Mr. Hiroshi Miura, with classical Cha-Kaiseki and Ryotei (traditional upmarket restaurant) training, and Mr. Atsushi Nishibuchi began his training in the “Edomae Sushi” (Tokyo-style sushi) and was a head chef at on eof Tokyo’s premier restaurants in Ginza district.

Prices for lunch starts at around RM 45 for Yakisaba Gozen, Inaniwa Udon Gozen, to RM 65 for Chirashi Gozen, Sashimi Gozen, and RM 80 for Wagyu Steak Gozen. Dinner would of course bit a little pricier, but I do believe that if you are willing to spend some money at Ten, you wouldn’t be disappointed.

Oh, many of the servers are Japanese too.

map to Solaris Dutamas

Ten Japanese Fine Dining
Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.170961, 101.665721
Tel: 03-6211 9910

A few weeks ago I was invited to the launch of a brand new restaurant at Putrajaya Marriott Hotel – Zest.

The restaurant promises a “refreshing food scape of international and local favorites with the highest standards in culinary presentation” and is also a result of renovation work that lasted 6 months and some 10 million ringgit. For an all-day-dining restaurant, that’s a pretty hefty sum I’ll say.

the opening ceremony of Zest
the opening of Zest by Y.A.M. Tunku Naquiyuddin ibni Tuanku Ja’afar

The opening ceremony was done with great fanfare, with Y.A.M. Tunku Naquiyuddin ibni Tuanku Ja’afar doing the honor.

I was so happy looking at the balloons carrying Zest’s logo to flying up, for that signifies the wait is over and my stomach can finally have something other than beer and peanuts at the waiting lounge.

cold dishes include prawns, smoked salmon, cold cuts
cold dishes include prawns, smoked salmon, cold cuts

When the curtain dropped, we walked briskly (but still have to be behind the Tunku …) to our assigned table, I put down everything except the camera and went straight to work.

Snapping photos were my secondary task, the first was to fill up the plate, I was starving, and I wanted to eat everything!

lamb, baked oyster, scallops, and more
roast lamb, baked oyster, scallops, and more

Zest has 4 different islands/kitchens serving a host of different cuisines. These kitchens are situated within the dining room space so you can see that the food did not come out from some mystery back room.

There are foods you typically find in most all-day-dining restaurants such as cold cuts, prawns, salmon, raw oysters, mussels and so forth, but they also have quite a bit of those that are slightly less common.

giant grouper, various types of pasta, roast beef
giant grouper, various types of pasta, roast beef

For example, look at this giant grouper that was at least my weight. Cut into tiny pieces, steamed, and served in a little silver spoon, now that is not something you see everyday.

spicy ox tail soup, nasi beriyani, pulut kunyit
spicy ox tail soup, nasi beriyani, pulut kunyit

Zest is not pretentious, they describe their kitchen staff as a “team of talented Malaysian chefs” and this reflects on their dishes. You find plenty of local food prepared with high quality ingredients. One of my favorites of the night was the ox tail soup curry, and I hazard to say that it was the best ox tail soup I’ve had.

fruit basket, bread, seafood salad
fruit basket, bread, seafood salad

One thing you don’t find at Zest is Japanese food. There’s no sashimi, no sushi, no cute little chawamushi or teppanyaki. I don’t miss it though, I prefer my Japanese food from dedicated Japanese restaurants anyway, and there is already plenty of others to choose from here.

spoilt for choices when it comes to desserts
spoilt for choices when it comes to desserts

The desserts at Zest, if you would just one of each item available, there will be no room left for appetizer or main course. The variety is pretty intimidating and should make anyone with sweet tooth very happy.

Ultimately I think Zest is a pretty good no-nonsense all-day-dining restaurant with a price tag that is quite reasonable. As for the RM 10 million renovation, well.. it is nice but RM 10 million nice? That will depend on your taste.

Haze and KY, and some of the stuff we ate at Zest, Marriott Putrajaya
Haze and KY, and some of the stuff we ate at Zest, Marriott Putrajaya

Meals at Zest are served as follows:

  • buffet breakfast @ RM48++ (6:30am – 10:30am)
  • buffet lunch @ RM72++ (12pm – 2pm)
  • buffet dinner @ RM 82++ (6:30pm – 10:30pm)
  • weekend brunch @ RM 55++ (12pm – 4pm)

There’s also ala carte menu available all day.

map to marriott putrajaya

Zest at Marriott Putrajaya
IOI Resort, 62505 Putrajaya
GPS: 2.969784, 101.707993
Tel: 03-8949 8888