Tag / siakap
Last week semperna ulang tahun kelahiran Haze Long, we went to Templer Park Forest Retreat for a bit of a getaway (blog post some other time). A place that’s a bit out of the city and more in tune with nature, which also translate to making our own food.
Fortunately, there’s a pretty well equipped kitchen for our usage, and the Selayang market nearby. So on the morning of the 2nd day, we went to the market and picked up a chunky barramundi fish (siakap) for a bit of DIY ikan bakar.
I want to share with you the recipe of this dish, as it is a very simple dish to prepare at home. It’s pretty delicious and the use of banana leaf in this preparation method ensure that the skin is edible and never charred.
home cooked ikan bakar with siakap fish
- 600-800 gram barramundi fish (or stingray, or any other fish of similar size)
- turmeric powder (kunyit)
- 2 pieces banana leaves big enough to cover the fish
- a couple table spoon of cooking oil or butter
ikan bakar with kunyit (turmeric) – sedap!
- clean and dry the fish
- cover generous amount of turmeric powder and two teaspoon of salt on the fish, set aside for at least a few minutes
- heat up a flat surface frying pan, then pan fry the fish on top of banana leaf for 10 mins with oil
- fry the other side of fish with a fresh banana leaf for another 8 minutes
- serve with a couple slices of lime (bonus: with sambal)
AFC’s latest foray in their long line of food & restaurant themed series comes in the form of “Reality Bites: Rise Above with Style”, featuring two celebrity chefs – Johnny Fua & Sherson Lian of Elegantology.
I was invited to the premier of the show followed by a dinner at Elegantology, and since I’ve yet to have a taste at this rather unique restaurant that I’ve heard so much about recently, it was an opportunity I had to take.
Reality Bites premiere at Publika
Reality Bites is a six part series starting 10th December, at 9pm every Tuesday on AFC. The show takes part in Elegantology Gallery & Restaurant, featuring not only the glitz and glamour of running the kitchen of a higher end restaurant, but also the day-to-day challenge and many issues faced by the two chefs and their crews.
Chef Johnny Fua, Chef Sherson Lian, & the director of Reality Bites
During the event, we were shown the first episode of Reality Bites in its entirety, alongside with an on-stage session with Chef Johnny Fua & Sherson Lian, the director of the series, as well as the creative director of Elegantology, Beatrice Looi.
So if you want to see a restaurant themed reality series that is closer to home, tune on your TV Tuesday 9pm on AFC!
some homemade bread to start, love the truffle butter
After that of course, is what I was even more interested in, the degustation menu at Elegantology.
We started out with Elegantology Baker’s choice, served with truffle butter florets, paprika chickpeas hummus, and EVOO (olive oil & balsamic vinegar?). I think we must have asked for extra truffle butter at least twice, it was very good.
Ceviche scallop, foie gras cube with braised shimeiji mushroom
Next up was ceviche scallop, paw paw kerabu, nam pla influenced Ponzu sesame drizzle. A dish that has some similarity in Sarawak’s umai, both using acid to lightly cook the seafood. Scallop was huge, juicy, and delicious, I can hae this often. The kerabu was an interesting experiment, tho one that I wouldn’t care too much for.
Foie gras cube, olive lemon soil, soy bean milk braised shimeiji mushroom is similar to chicken liver pate, but undoubtedly a lot more luxurious and sophisticated. The mushroom adds a welcoming change of texture which I do appreciate.
oxtail broth, brandied sea cucumber
Continuing our course was a much needed soup dish in the form of oxtail broth with brandied sea cucumber. The oxtail is de-boned while sea cucumber provided the texture that’s similar to beef tendon, but with a dash of seafood sweetness. The soup itself carried a nice herbal aroma.
tomato sake granita, sour plum shaved. Josen, Mei, Cheng Yi & KY
Tomato sake granita, sour plum shaved was chosen as a sort of intermission to the degustation dinner course. It was cold, sour, and a tad sweet, perfect as a palate cleanser before we continue with perhaps the most important dish.
kobe beef skewer, miso pineapple bearnaise
Which was the kobe beef skewer with miso pineapple bearnaise. This was the first time I tasted kobe beef (well at least that’s what they claimed), and yes, it was every bit as awesome as the sterling reputation it carries. The meat was super tender with superb marbling, a melt-in-your-mouth feeling that somehow does not compromise on texture.
It was so good we jokingly asked for second servings from the waiter, who actually complied! Sometimes you can achieve a lot more in life by just asking. 😀
barramundi, smoked muscovy duck glutinous rice; replated black forest gateau
The penultimate dish was barramundi, smoked muscovy duck glutinous rice. While the fish was fresh, it was perhaps just a tad too cooked for my liking, the glutinous rice was perfect though, goes especially well with the sambal-like sauce. Also, after the beef, nothing feels the same anymore.
The rather funky looking dessert was the replated black forest gateau, a bit of sponge, chocolate, ice cream, cherries, and cream all carefully arranged in a careless appearance. It was acceptable but perhaps did not live up to the capability of the restaurant.
I really appreciate the idea behind Elegantology and their bravery in always experimenting with different dishes and menu. The overall dinner experience was very good, and while a couple dishes did not wow, they were mostly excellent, and most importantly, provide diners a different and unique gastronomic experience.
It was a wonderful night overall and I’m grateful for this opportunity.
35 Level G2, Publika,
Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.170961, 101.665721
Tel: 03-6206 5577
Several weeks ago I managed to convince the girls to try a new place, and we ventured out to the land of gangsters that is Kepong. We past by the glamorous Desa Park City and turned into the older part of Kepong where steamboat restaurants are aplenty and finally arrived at where we were going to have dinner – Jan Jan Thai Restaurant.
Jan Jan Thai restaurant at Kepong
There are in fact, two Thai restaurants within 50 yards from each other here. Directly opposite Jan Jan is the older and almost equally as busy Thai restaurant by the name Janwa. According to the locals, the head chef from Janwa left to open Jan Jan as a competitor (similar to Rakuzen and Jyu Raku at Subang Jaya)
There’s an on-going healthy debate as to if Jan Jan or Janwa offers better Thai dishes, but for the purpose of this trip we’re not going to worry too much about that.
excellent tomyam and steamed barramundi
Once we found an empty table and made our order, which took a while on a weekend, food did not take very long to be served.
Seafood tomyam soup (RM 16-29) comes in either clear or red, and we opted for the latter, more chili laden variety. It was hot, spicy, and filled prawns, squid, fish, tomato, and more. Perfect dish for us since it was raining so heavily.
The Thai style steamed barramundi (market price) turned out to be pretty good dish too. The fish was fresh and the soup positively sour and flavorful. This dish is not quite De Chiengmai‘s standard, but it holds its own.
the lala was great, green curry not so much. Yuki, Haze, KY, Kerol
Thai golden lala (RM 17) was my favorite dish of the night. The shellfish were big and juicy, and I particularly love the unique Thai style sauce that the dish came with. It was a combination of sweet, spicy, with a hint of sourness. Very different any Chinese or Malay style preparation.
The disappointing dish turned out to be the Thai green curry (RM 12). I love my green curry thick and flavorful, but this one was just watery and very sweet. We took a few spoonful but otherwise left the dish almost untouched.
There are definitely more dishes at Jan Jan Thai that I want to try on other visits – petai prawns, deep fried brinjal, paku with belacan, mango chicken, bbq crab and Thai curry crab all sounds very enticing. I’ll just have to remember not to order their green curry again.
Jan Jan Thai Restaurant
No.33, Jalan 5/62A,
Bandar Menajalra, 52000
GPS: 3.193859, 101.631517
Tel: 03-6277 7598
Most of us know Alicafe as the tongkat ali infused canned coffee drinks. In fact, it is my favorite driving companion to keep me awake whenever I’m on one of those balik kampung drives on the highway.
There’s more than just drinks when it comes to this brand, now there’s an Alicafe TigaRasa restaurant. I was one of the lucky few who was invited to get a taste of what they have to offer just a few days ago.
Alicafe Tiga Rasa restaurant, at USJ Taipan
Located at USJ Taipan, Alicafe TigaRasa restaurant offers Malay cuisine in a contemporary setting and pretty good range of menu. The restaurant is tastefully decorated, giving it a bit of a kampung feel, but of course, dining area’s air conditioned.
The kitchen area is separated by glass, you can actually see your food being cooked (side effect: they always have to keep the place spotlessly clean).
here’s the TigaRasa secret – sambal lemak, gulai lemak, and hebi-hiam
Now here’s how this restaurant got it’s name, tiga sara (three flavors) – from the three different traditional Malay sauces:
- Gulai Lemak – the creamy coconut based sauce with kunyit, sambal, and lemongrass. Rich and flavorful
- Sambal Lemak – a classic with plenty of chili, garlic, some coconut milk, and other spices
- Sambal Hebi-Hiam – now this one is interesting, hebi means dried shrimp and hiam translate to spicy in Hokkien. So yah, this is inspired by Nyonya cuisine and prepared with dried shrimps, curry leaves, onions, garlic, and more.
ikan pari, grilled lamb, and grilled chicken in different sambal, vegetable
You can then mix and match the three sauces with ikan pari (stingray) or ikan selar (yellowtail scad), grilled lamb chop, grilled chicken, mixed grill, or mixed vegetables. For those who like it even hotter, you can always customize the order with added chili padi too.
I tried the three sauces with pari, mixed vegetable, and lamb, and it is pretty difficult to pick a favorite. Each one offers a different experience, but they share the same characteristic of being rich and flavorful. I like the fact that terung (brinjal) and other vegetable is added onto the meat/seafood dish too. Goes well with steamed rice.
siakap tomyam, curry fish head, and fried chicken
Other than dishes prepared from those three sauces, Alicafe TigaRasa offers dishes such as siakap tomyam, curry fish head, fried chicken and more.
Saikap tomyam (barramundi) is deep fried but served with spicy tomyam sauce, and the curry fish head reminds me of my mom’s style of cooking, the Nyonya version of curry that is slightly milder (unlike some Indian style would) yet plenty delicious.
The fried chicken has a hint of belacan to it, a very different style from some of those “KFC copycats”, and definitely a taste that I’m familiar of from the mixture of Nyonya-Chinese style of food we get in Penang.
this whole set for 4 can be had for RM 69.90
To be honest, I’m quite impressed with the food at Alicafe TigaRasa, they do fill a niche by offering mostly traditional Malay cuisine with some mixture of other tastes that is still very close to home.
For the puasa month, there’s special promotional set that starts from RM 10.90 that includes a drink, kurma dates, a main course, and Hokkaido cake as dessert. For family of four (or 5), a RM 69.90 set gets you siakap fish, fried chicken, scrambled egg, TigaRasa mix grilled vegetable, Hokkaido cakes, kurma dates, and Alicafe’s homemade Pati Kurma Madu drinks.
the desserts, and the leng lui is of course, Hanis
I can’t wait for them to have more branches!
Alicafe TigaRasa Restaurant
No.8, Jalan USJ 10/1H,
Subang Business Centre,
GPS: 3.04817, 101.68677
Tel: 03-8011 9412
New Yew Sang might not have a name that sound like an authentic Thai Food place, but this little coffee shop that is famous for steamed rice (and soup) and lui cha for the breakfast and lunch crowds is a hidden gem for tomyam lovers.
New Yew Sang Thai Food with Yuki, Horng, Cheesie, Kerol
I was first introduced to this place by Kerol, who is a fellow Penangite and one of the harshest food critic especially when it comes to tomyam. If she said it’s good, she’s usually right.
I went there for a scouting expedition by ordering the tomyam meehun prior to the following two visits (where these pictures are sourced), and the experience was a really positive one.
I think I overhead the owners speaking Thai to the kitchen staff as well, that’s always a positive sign.
paku, Thai steamed siakap, seafood tomyam
To be fair, this is a tai chau place with heavy influence of Thai food instead of a typical Thai restaurant, like Ghee Seng Thai food in Penang. The ambiance is nothing to shout about, the place is relatively clean, and there’re fans under the root in an otherwise semi alfresco dining area. Parking is relatively easy to get at night though.
The menu is quite extensive, but lets start with the most important item – tomyam. The tomyam here is thick, extremely flavorful and positively spicy. Use the ladle and dig at the bottom of the bowl will reveal the ingredients that made up the soup, ie: no short cuts, no powder/paste nonsense. If you like your tomyam hot & spicy, this is a place to go.
lala, steamed fish, butter squid
The butter squid here is laden with plenty of those very addictive deep fried egg on top. A dish that I’d recommend ordering, but according to Yuki & Horng, they have a “wet” version of butter squid that is even better. I imagine it to be similar to those from Thim Kee at Pudu.
The lala here is commendable, but not something that is really special. If you’re going for a pure lala trip, look no further than the lala stall at Alisan SS4 just down the road. Steamed saikap that we tried was of pretty good standard, the soup base definitely carries a heavy Thai influence – sour, strong, and slightly spicy.
prawn with petai, some tofu dish, vege (vitamin c, hey!)
In another visit we tried prawn with petai, another spicy dish that never disappoint. The petai was halved and cleaned (some place tends to leave the center bitter part intact), and prawns were fresh prepared just right, delicious.
For those who likes a bit of balance and enjoys eating tofu, I wish I could tell you what the dish in the picture was called, but for the life of me that escaped my mind. Ask the server to recite the tofu dishes they have and stop her at the most bizarre sounding one and you’d have the winner. It was very rich, smooth, and provides a great contrasting taste to the other dishes that were usually spicy, sour, or a combination of both. I enjoyed it a lot.
Prices at New Yew Sang is reasonable. We paid something between RM 15-20+ per person when we eat there. If you like your dishes rich and spicy, check out this place, or you can check out other Thai food posts here.
New Yee Sang kopitiam
Jalan SS 6/8
GPS: 3.106717, 101.598178