When it comes to Ipoh, none is more famous than their chicken rice and those sweet, crunchy bean sprouts. While many places offers the same dish all over town, tourists and locals alike will often congregate around middle of new town for this dish over lunch.
ipoh pak kong chicken rice
One of such place that is favored by the locals is none other than Restoran Nasi Ayam Pak Kong, a stone’s throw away from the more famous Ong Kee (often packed with tourists).
The shop offers quite a good selection of dishes you’d often associate with chicken rice – roast chicken, steamed chicken, roast pork, bbq pork, bean sprouts, and some of the other dishes you don’t usually find at these sort of establishments, such as sambal petai, acar, spicy sour vege, and more.
chicken, pork, and most importantly, petai side dish
Prices at Pak Kong is more “local friendly” compared to the more touristy shops at the intersections, dishes here are very good as well, I particularly love their chicken (either version), and really lovely charsiu (bbq pork), the wild card here is their sambal petai, if you like them pungent and full of aroma, this is is not one you’d want to miss.
Roast pork and spicy sour vege would be something I skip the next time around and perhaps order a big plate of bean sprout instead. (and more of those petai!)
Continuing with the buka puasa buffet 2014 series, today we look at the buffet offering at Paya Serai, PJ Hilton hotel. This year, the restaurant is headed by executive chef Ridzuan Malek, who has over 20 years of culinary experience to present a buffet spread of local specialities in unique ‘kampung-style’ stalls and live cooking stations.
The spread here is impressive, and definitely the largest of the lot that I’ve sampled in 2014 with over 300 local delicacies to choose from. You can come back here half a dozen times and not taste the same dish twice.
roast lamb, chicken curry laksa, asam laksa, fruits, at Paya Serai, PJ Hilton
The Ramadan buffet promotion runs from 7pm to 10pm daily and are priced at RM 139++ per adult and RM 79++for children. For the last five days of Ramadan (July 23 – July 27, 2014), the same spread is priced at RM 119++ per adult.
For the selection you get here, it is worth what you’re paying. On top of the food, there’s also entertainment from a local traditional music group from Bale Bale Entertainment to add to the festivity.
mussels and prawns on ice, salted fish, ulam-ulam, lemang, and even tempoyak
Now lets talk about what you’ll find at the buffet spread, I make no attempt to list down all the dishes, but you should get an idea of what they offer.
Pretty much everything you can find at any Ramadan buffet spread, you can find here.
Starting from appetizer, you have Thai beef salad, Vietnamese chicken salad, gado-gado, rojak, over half a dozen types of kerabu (ikan, ayam, kerabu jantung pisang, mangga muda, nangka, perut, pucuk paku, etc).
There’s also a huge selection of ulam to go with sambal belacan, cencalok, budu, sambal gesek, sambal nenas, sambal mangga, and my personal favorite – tempoyak chilli.
If you like the even more traditional appertizer, you can find ikan masin goreng belada, sambal hijau, telur masin, kacang tanah goreng berlada, petai, paru lembu, pedal ayam, hati ayam, and bergedil. These are definitely closer to kampung than the city, I love it.
chicken, beef, seafood, lamb, vegetable, in Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Western style
Main dishes too is represented by classics from various states and even international cuisines. There’s fish head curry, rendang tok, ikan bakar melaka, whole roasted lamb Malay style, serawa durian and pulut, kerabu gamat and apam balik.
There’s also Chinese style mushroom and vegetable, curry prawn, asam prawn, nasi briyani, roast chicken, and more.
there’s also Madras corner, Kampong Melayu corner, China Town, and Western food
I would guess that perhaps about 70% of the dishes available here at Paya Serai consists local cuisine originated from Malacca, Penang, Perak, Kedah, and Johor, with the remaining 30% Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Western, and other origins.
The team of 13 chefs definitely managed to impress.
satey, Mongolian BBQ, grilled fish, tempura, and kerang too
Of the various live cooking stations, I was most impressed with the Mongolian BBQ (not that I actually managed to try all of them, to be honest). Here you basically choose one or many main ingredients such as beef, chicken, or seafood, and the chef will cook it up with an assortment of vegetable such as carrot, celery, mushroom, bell peppers and so forth.
It was a dish that I consumed on regular basis while working for a Chinese restaurant in US, this brought back the memory, and the execution was spot on.
KY & Shabana as well as Jean enjoying some durian to end the night
To end your buka puasa session for the night, there’s an assortment of fresh fruits, air batu campur (ABC), cendol, a variety of traditional kuih, custards, mini pastries, hot desserts, cendol santan kepala muda, and last but not least – durian!
Yes, they serve durian at buka puasa, which was just brilliant.
If you’re looking for one of the biggest Ramadan buffet spread in town, check out PJ Hilton’s Paya Serai.
Address: Paya Serai Restaurant
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor GPS: 3.10235, 101.64087 Tel: 03-7955 9122 (ext 4260)
A couple weekends ago Haze and I spent a better part of our afternoon reorganising the kitchen, throwing out expired stuff, rearranging condiments, sauces, and figuring out where is the optimum places to put pots and pans.
After all the hard work, I had to test run the new and improved cooking environment, so I thought I’d try my hands on a homemade roast chicken.
This recipe is inspired by the version of roast chicken at Graze KL Hilton I tried last year.
the ingredients – chicken, root vegetables, thyme & rosemary
The three basic ingredients are chicken, root vegetables, and herbs. You also need an oven, and I strongly recommend having a thermometer to check if the chicken’s cooked too.
Ingredients (for 2 pax):
half chicken, leave the skin on
potato, carrot, leek, mushroom (you can mix and match, chop to bite size)
garlic (cut off the top or bottom)
fresh thyme and rosemary
salt and pepper for seasoning
half a cup of olive oil
2 cups of stock or broth (water is a viable option too, I used leftover soup)
cut vege, arrange chicken, simple
pre-heat oven to 175 Celcius
apply generous amount of salt and pepper on both sides of chicken
pour some olive oil baking pan (or in my case, an oven safe pan)
put herbs on both sides of chicken
arrange vegetable and garlic bulb around the chicken
pour the remaining olive oil on chicken and vegetable
pour 1 cup of stock/broth in the mix
internal temperature must be over 75 Celsius
place the chicken in oven for a total of 50 minutes (70-80 minutes for whole chicken)
after 20 minutes, baste the chicken and vegetable with remaining broth at every 10 minute interval
chicken is done after 50 minutes, internal temperature of meat should exceed 75 Celsius
Carve the chicken and serve!
the result is a success, might try crispy skin style next time
The result is a pretty delicious roast chicken that’s rather tender, there are also enough side dishes to make a complete meal as well. If you include leek in the mix, consider putting it under the chicken to prevent them being burnt.
Oh, the garlic turned out great, if you love garlic, consider putting more than one bulb.
Try it yourself at home, bon appétit! Click for more simple recipes from yours truly.
Over the years, from business traveling, meeting with friends, and invited reviews, I’ve seen quite a few buffet spreads. Hence, for the most parts, buffet offerings don’t excite me very much.
Then again, the Bubblier Sparkalite 4Cs Sunday Brunch at Intercontinental KL’s Serena Brasserie isn’t just any buffet spread.
Serena Brasserie, at ground floor Intercontinental KL
Heading the kitchen is executive chef Darrell O’Neill, originally from Australia and has since left a trail of presence across the globe in countries such as New Zealand, UK, France, Hong Kong, Dubai, India, Maldives, and now, Malaysia. During his time at restaurant Al Mahara t the Burj Al Arab Hotel Dubai, the restaurant was awarded Best Seafood Restaurant by Time Out Dubai.
this is what we came here for, the Alaskan King Crab
The concept of the Sunday buffet brunch at Intercontinental KL centeres around 4Cs – Crustaceans, Carvery, Chocolate, and Candy.
Crustaceans is what excites us the most, there were Alaskan King Crab, slippery lobster, tiger prawns, and cray fish. Under this “C” also includes catch of the days such as fresh white fish, marinated tuna steaks, oysters, mussels, scallops, salmon, and more.
yeap, bubbly too, and a host of seafood ready to eat
If you haven’t had a chance to sample king crab due to the price, this buffet offers one of the best values. The seafood were fresh, tasty, and most importantly, plentiful. I think I had close to 10 oysters, a departure from norm as I usually don’t get more than a couple, they tasted so good!
cold cuts and little appetizer in shot glasses
The next C stands for Carvery – which basically means cooked meat that are freshly sliced. Here you’ll find roasted whole ribs, prime ribs, roast chicken/duck, and more. Trimmings such as Yokshire pudding, roast vegetable, and baked potato accompany these dishes well.
roast chicken & duck, local delights, and prime ribs too
For those who wants to sample some local delights, they are available too. A good selection of traditional Malay, Chinese, and Indian dishes are available for your picking.
They’ve also set up a BBQ area right outside the air-conditioned dine in section. Here you get freshly grilled lamb rack, chicken tandoori, sausage, baby chicken, satay, and even freshly smoked salmon and “DIY” burger stand with mini-Augus beef sliders and mini-chicken satay sliders.
fruits, a variety of cheese, desserts, and cakes
The third C stands for Chocolate, and of course, that includes a host of other desserts as well. There are Australian lamingtons, chocolate fudge brownies and rocky road, mini Pavlovas, mini fruit trifles, banana and caramel sticky puddings, and more.
I can’t get enough of the Alaskan King Crab and slipper lobsters
Finally, last but not least is Candy. This actually refers to the Sparkalite Kid’s Corner, a section within the restaurant set up to keep kids busy learning the sweet art of making lamingtons and be entertained by the clown. This is a particularly great feature for parents with kids who actually want to have some food in peace.
with Umei, Josen, Haze, Evelyn, Dennis, and Damian
The Sparkalite ‘4Cs’ Sunday Brunch at Serena Brasserie is available every Sunday from noon to 3pm. Brunch is priced at RM 120++ per person, and if you want the free flow sparkling, white & red wine and beer, it’ll be RM 198++. Kids from 6-12 is charged RM 60++ per head.
For the spread that you get, I think the price is more than reasonable, now excuse me while I go get myself more King crabs.
Address: Serena Brasserie
Intercontinental Hotel 165 Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.159767, 101.718045 Tel: 03-2161 1111 Web: www.intercontinental.com
A couple weeks ago we were invited to have a food review session at KL Hilton’s Graze, the new restaurant that take over the spot previously held by Senses.
While Graze unmistakeably exudes the same class and standard fitting for the Hilton name, the restaurant is now a lot more approachable to common people with its unpretentious setting and more rational price tags.
Graze at Hilton, taking over Senses, chef Michael Elfwing
Senses enjoyed a pretty successful tenure under Chef Michael Elfwing, but over the years it sort of evolved into a restaurant where most only go there for special occasions. The molecular gastronomy dishes were great, but the cost of ingredients often mean higher price tag on the menu.
At Graze, the menu comprises of classic Western dishes that emphasize on fresh ingredients and seasonal produce. Chicken liver parfait instead of foie gras and suddenly it’s RM 28 instead of some RM 60+. Dishes here are meant for sharing as well, and the atmosphere of a warm and casual group dinner is much encouraged. There is no need to play dress up either.
We sampled quite a selection of appetizers and main dishes for the session, and in the interest of readability I’m going to just list them here.
Calamari Fritti – flash fried squid (RM 28). Crispy on the outside while fresh and juicy inside, perfect with the accompanying mayo that is slightly tangy. Goes well with wine, but I wished we had beer for this.
Smooth Chicken Liver Parfait (RM 28). Really the best chicken pate I tried, it’s called a parfait here thanks to the layer of fat surrounding the liver, served with caramelized apple jam and toasted baguette.
mimolette cheese soufflé with raisins & pine nuts, pissaladiere tart with olives and anchovies
Mimolette Cheese Soufflé with Raisins & Pine Nuts (RM 28). Melt in your mouth goodness. Gotta eat this within 5-10 minutes while it’s all puffed up and fluffy.
Pissaladiere Tart with Olives and Anchovies (RM 28). Very similar to pizzas except the absence of tomatoes in the list of ingredients. Great for sharing, and I like the fact that care is taken in the arrangement of raisins to ensure there’s one in every slice.
onion soup, petit baguette layered with gruyere cheese, goat’s cheese beignets with sweet millet & garden salad
Onion Soup, Petit Baguette layered with Gruyère Cheese (RM 18). One of the three choices of soups at Graze, rich, creamy, and with the proper amount of cheese. Can’t find fault with this.
Goat’s Cheese Beignets with Sweet Millet & Garden Salad (RM 25) – The texture is almost not entirely unlike cream puff, but instead of cream this oozes out goat’s cheese instead. Very rich and packs a punch to the taste bud, the garden salad barely enough to neutralize those cheesy taste, I’m not complaining at all.
steak tartare with hand cut fries, onion jam, tasted sour dough bread
Steak Tartare with Hand Cut Fries, Onion Jam, Toasted Sour Dough Bread (RM42) – The priciest of all appetizers in the menu, but the portion’s really big enough to serve this as a main dish, or at least to be shared between 2-3 person. The dish was beautiful and the beef delicious, it was a shame I can’t have more of it due to all the other dishes yet to be tasted in this review.
roast chicken with garlic & thyme, prime rib steak
After the 6 appetizers (that’s all of them available in the menu) and one soup, it was time to move onto the main dishes. Prices of rice & pastas are at RM 33, with other main courses from RM 38 onwards.
Roast Chicken with Garlic & Thyme, Ruby Roseval Potatoes & Button Mushrooms (RM 42). Half a chicken served on a beautiful pan, just about as unpretentious as it gets. The poultry looked good and tasted even better, remember to eat the garlic too!
Prime Rib Steak (350 gram, RM 188). The most expensive item on the entire menu, for the budget concious there are cheaper options of tenderloin (150g RM 64, 200g RM 74), T-bone steak (300g RM 98), NY cut Sirloin (160g RM 64, 220g RM 74). While it isn’t as fancy as Wagyu, the beef was prepared perfectly and tasted every bit a good prime rib steak should. I like how bare it was as well, without any sauces that gets in the way of a piece of great tasting beef.
Slow Cooked Dorper Lamb Shoulder & Grilled Rack with Parsley Mashed Potatoes (RM 58). Tender, juicy, and I must say, quite a large portion of lamb shoulder as well. This dish should satisfy those who likes lamb, but isn’t exactly special in comparison with other dishes.
Moussaka – Baked Lamb & Aubergine (RM 38). One of the cheapest options in the menu, but certainly doesn’t lack any omph. It tasted a bit like lasagne without the pasta, and I find myself enjoying the combination of lamb and eggplant in this dish.
tortellini of potato & fontina with sauteed escargot & baby spinach, bouillabaisse, sea bream, snapper & lobster with toasted baguette & rouille,
grilled snapper, carper butter, haricot vert & la ratte potatoes
Tortellini of Potato & Fontina with sautéed Escargot & Baby Spinach (RM 33). Generous portions of escargot and those delicious tortellini of potato with Fontina cheese made for a great combination. If you like escargot for appetizer and pasta for main, this can substitute both and pass with flying colors.
Bouillabaisse, Sea Bream, Snapper & Lobster with Toasted Baguette & Rouille (RM 92). A traditional fish stew recipe from south-eastern France, this is one of the more luxurious main dish on the menu, and that is probably due to the addition of lobster in the list of ingredients. Definitely delicious.
Grilled Snapper, Caper Butter, Haricot Vert & La Ratte Potatoes (RM 58). A healthy choice for those who like seafood with minimal fuss. The fish tasted fresh, and condiments matched well.
warm tarte tatin & vanilla ice cream, Graze chocolate tart, lemon tart with fresh berries
Before the end of the night, we also sampled the three different tarts available at Graze (all priced at RM 18). The warm tarte tatin & vanilla ice cream, Graze chocolate tart, lemon tart with fresh berries. My favourite was the warm tarte tatin, which was like a better version of apple pie, and quite impartial with the other choices. Then again, I’m not a huge fan of desserts.
For those who likes to end their meal with cheese, for RM 45 you get access to the selection of cheese from the cheese wall. I’m out of the league when it comes to naming them, but they are delicious and together with a cup of hot coffee, makes for a perfect conclusion to an awesome dinner.
Address: Graze 3 Jalan Stesen Sentral, 50470 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.135331, 101.685762 Tel: 03-2264 2592 Hours: 12.00pm – 2.30pm, 6.30pm – 10.30pm