Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / racheal

A few weeks ago my buddy Terence called up and then passed the phone to Colin, and I was invited to a food tasting session.

At first I thought it was for TDH (Tom Dick and Harry’s), the popular watering hole at TTDI, but when I reached there with a hungry stomach a couple weeks ago, it turned out to be the restaurant right upstairs of TDH – Hoofed.

interior of Hoofed is tastefully done
interior of Hoofed is tastefully done

To be honest, I hadn’t know there’s a restaurant above TDH despite the numerous visits there. I guess it doesn’t help that one rarely gets to leave TDH with very clear vision at the end of the night.

Hoofed is a tastefully decorated restaurant, with an ambiance that rivals many a five star hotels. I particularly love the old school subway style ceiling (Colin had to personally put them on one by one).

Hoofed at TTDI food review session
Hoofed at TTDI food review session

In order to maximize the number of dishes we get to try, Hoofed prepared the dishes in small doses. I thought this is a pretty good way of handling food review, much better than having a bunch of people splitting several dishes and everyone ended up having to fight for the good stuff.

The night started with a plate of pretty interesting duck salad that comes with duck breast, century egg, 7/8 boiled egg, and fresh  vegetable in vinegrete dressing. A refreshing taste that I haven’t had before, it was pretty good actually.

Hoofed prides itself in serving pork dishes, and they have suckling pig too! (whole piglet at RM 170). I was given a portion, and it was really as good as they come.

roast pork, tenderloin steak, pork ribs, pasta with roast pork
roast pork, tenderloin steak, pork ribs, pasta with roast pork

Other pork dishes I tried when I went there again for a little xmas gift exchange session last week were the really awesome roast pork, pork ribs, and pasta with fried roast pork.

I’m hesitant to say that it is the best roast pork I’ve had, but it is tough to rate it any lower than the one at Wong Kee, Pudu. They are essentially different, the version here is softer and goes well with mustard, while Wong Kee’s roast pork has a crunchier skin and fatty midsection but slightly tougher meat. They’re equally good in their own way.

Same can’t be said about the pork ribs I ordered though, while it was tender and juicy, I thought it was a tad too sweet for my liking, that kinda masked out the savory part of the meat a little.

Those who had the pasta with roast pork though, swore by it. I didn’t manage to steal some from Winnie, but boy it sure looked good.

lamb shank, grilled fish, tenderloin
lamb shank, grilled fish, tenderloin

Since I didn’t bring the bigger camera for the session, these two collages were actually hand-me-down photos from Hoofed.

The lamb shank is best enjoyed by two person as Horng ordered and couldn’t really finished it all by himself. Haze had the tenderloin steak that turned out to be slightly more cooked that she would have liked it.

I had the grilled fish during the review session and it was very good though.

dessert, fried rice, pasta with roast pork
dessert, fried rice, pasta with roast pork

To me, the most surprisingly dish at Hoofed has gotta be the fried rice. Though this place doesn’t really concentrate on a particular cuisine, fried rice seems to be an unlikely entry in their menu, and it is a damn fine plate of fried rice at that. This, and the pasta with roast pork, should be the must-try dish at Hoofed.

I’ve only tried the brownie with ice cream as far as dessert is concerned. It was good, but to be frank I’m not a big dessert person and would almost always stuff myself with more roast pork instead.

xmas gift exchange with TDH gang
xmas gift exchange with TDH gang

To be frank, not everything at Hoofed is spot on. I love all the pork dishes with the exception of ribs, the fried rice and fish were pretty awesome too. Some of the other dishes however, are still a work in progress, but I am sure with Colin’s attention to detail and constant communication with diners, they will improve in time.

Dishes at Hoofed is priced at a tad above average, but the ambiance and the right dishes do make up for it.

map to hoofed at ttdi

No 18A, Lorong Rahim Kajai 14,
TTDI 60000 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.15455, 101.62289
Tel: 03-7728-8567

Pulau Aur is one of the Southern most diving destination in Malaysia, as a result, the island is probably more popular to Singaporean than the average Malaysian. Which explains why Gab, who used to work in Singapore helped organize this trip right after our Redang Project AWARE dive trip last September.

The operator was FWS, and we stayed at Pulau Aur Diver’s Lodge.

Journey to Pulau Aur
the journey to Pulau Aur via Mersing

Racheal who missed the Redang trip due to illness was able to join us on the last dive of the season with her boo Norman. Terence, Gab, Irene, Horng, and myself fit into 2 cars and started our journey to Pulau Aur on Thursday evening, taking advantage of the holiday on Friday (Deepavali.)

While the road journey is only some 360 KM, the east-west bit was through old trunk roads and thus it took a good 4.5 hours to get there while driving relatively speedy. This is evident from Irene’s constant exploit of the poor IKEA soft toy to cover her face over the windier part of the track.

Port Cafe by Mersing Jetty
Port Cafe by Mersing Jetty

We arrived at Mersing just before midnight, parked the car and took care of supper in the TSH (tourist slaughter house) looking restaurant that is the Port Cafe. As it turned out, food wasn’t all too expensive at less than RM 10 per plate, and the nasi goreng Cina was exceptionally tasty too!

boat transfer from Mersing to Pulau Aur
slave style boat transfer from Mersing to Pulau Aur

The boat to Aur left Mersing just past midnight. There wasn’t any real seating space on this boat, there were 2 “decks” of sleeping space instead. If you’re like us and got on the boat late, all there’s left would be the rear upper deck that has about 3cm headroom.

The experience was a bit like sleeping in a coffin, except there’s an additional falling hazard and the aircond was too cold. It was still fun though, I slept through most part of the boat ride, bliss!

the resort at night, we arrived before day break
the resort at night, we arrived before day break

We reached the resort before sunrise. Being ushered down the boat onto another platform in the middle of water while still super woozy was certainly an experience. The resort wasn’t even really in sight at night, it felt like we were on set for Pirates of the Pulau Aur or something, that sorta woke me up.

Pulau Aur Diver's Lodge
Pulau Aur Diver’s Lodge does look a lot more inviting in daylight

This is the view of the resort taken from the small jetty that’s only good enough to park a sampan (shallow water). The seating area’s for moonlight BBQ dinner, with Narcosis bar on the left. There are altogether 18 rooms in 9 different semi-d chalet.

Our rooms were located on the 2nd level and it was already too high to climb after exhausting dives. I’d appreciate an escalator around here, but the view is fantastic though.

breathing compressed air - bliss!
breathing compressed air – bliss!

Diving is done from the very same boat that we took from Mersing. We set up our gears and left them on the big boat, but going to and from the diving boat to resort had to be done via the sampan. A bit of a hassle but we weren’t really complaining.

nudibranches at Pulau Aur
nudibranches at Pulau Aur

There were 9 dives scheduled in 2 days, I did 8 and skipped the last night dive mainly due to exhaustion. Over here there was no time to do anything else, it was dive, eat, dive, eat, dive, eat, dive, eat, and with some naps in between.

This was really a proper diving trip, there weren’t any activities for snorkelers.

we take a sampan to the bigger boat before each dive
we take a sampan to the bigger boat before each dive

Besides the platform, Pulau Aur Diver’s Lodge does not really have a beach. There were, however, two very short stretch of beaches at each side of the resort accessible via the very poorly maintained wooden bridge (one of which already completely destroyed). The resort owner explained that maintenance of these bridges/walkways are done by the Malaysian government…

tranquilizing seascape
tranquilizing seascape

Since it was the last dive trip before season ends, the water condition was not exactly the greatest. We were in fact pretty lucky to not have to deal with any thunderstorm or crazy huge waves when we had to be under or on the ocean.

Visibility, as a result, wasn’t too great either, and most dive sites had mild to strong current, not particularly friendly to beginners.

Terence with his new gear, weird sea creature, color-coordinated Rachael
Terence with his new gear, weird sea creature, color-coordinated Racheal

That said, we still had pretty decent dives that could have been even better if not for the fact that our Dive Master somehow always think that fighting the current head on is such a great idea.

There were the usual suspects under the sea – several types of nudibranches, bat fish, cleaner fish, clown fish, baby baraccuda, puffer fish, angel fish, and so on. Horng even spotted a cuttlefish!

Our hope of swimming with a whale sharks though, will have to wait for future trips.

food at Pulau Aur Diver's Lodge
awesome food at Pulau Aur Diver’s Lodge

The food at Diver’s Lodge was really way better than our expectations. We had moon light buffer dinner the first night, and really awesome BBQ dinner the second night. There were unlimited grilled prawns, beef, squid, cuttle fish, and so on. I still miss the sliced fried potato there.

Even the lunch/tea time food were pretty good, fried chicken, fish, and of course, that awesome homemade donut with Hershey’s chocolate sauce.

earth is 70% water, don't always be land bound :D
earth is 70% water, don’t always be land bound 😀

I think I’m done with diving for 2010, next year we’ll get the girls to learn diving too! Kerol, Kim, Haze, Diana and more (and also the return of Gareth), can’t wait!