Before stepping into La Cocina, I had never tasted genuine Spanish food other than a few tapas (that weren’t very good) during a wine session somewhere in Bangsar, hence I was delighted when the owner, Mr. Jeganathan invited me for dinner at his restaurant in USJ. After all, I am always a keen experimenter in food and never shun away from tasting new cuisine.
paella negres – seafood in Spanish rice cooked with squid ink
After giving us a brief tour of the 2-storey restaurant (wine club and cellar upstairs, dining on ground level), we were served a host of tapas as appetizers and a glass of sangria that was very fresh and undiluted. The main dish was the very interesting paella negres (seafood with Spanish rice in squid ink), and we rounded off the night with a couple desserts.
Throughout the night, Mr Jega played a very warm and inviting host, never lack in enthusiasm explaining each dishes as they are served as well as telling us his passion for Spanish food.
wonderful host, manager, and owner – Mr. Jeganathan
- calamares a la romana – squid with home made garlic mayonnaise. I just can’t get enough of the
myannaise mayonnaise, and the squid fried perfectly too.
- gambas al pil pil – garlic shrimps, pan fried with fresh garlic, olive oil & dried chili.
- champignones al ajillo – button mushroom, fresh button mushroom with garlic, onion, herbs & olive oil. This goes really well with the bread.
- tigres– mussel and shrimp croquette, breaded and deep fried, with garlic mayonnaise. The mussel and shrimp is mashed up and served on the shell, perfect for those who does not like the texture of shell fish.
- we also had meat balls and some very nice bread to go with all these.
five different tapas – squid, mussel, mushroom, meatball, shrimp
The main dish, paella negres, is a mixture of large prawns, shrimps, razor clams, fish fillet, squid, clams, and vegetables with Spanish rice in squid ink. I would have been hesitant looking at the completely black rice, but after tasting some of the best appetizers I have no doubt that the main dish wouldn’t disappoint. Furthermore, the TV show Iron Chef has had squid ink dishes as well. The ink actually provides a very subtle seafood taste, and with all the fresh seafood ingredients, it proved to be a delight to any seafood lover. You just had to try this at least once.
sangria and desserts
By dessert time, I was already pretty full. The crema catalana, spanish custard with caramelized sugar on top was very refreshing, while the tarta de santiago, almond tart with vanilla custard can be a little rich especially with a full stomach. It was a very good meal overall, and there is no doubt I will be there again.
Price wise, La Cocina is very reasonable, the tapas averages about RM7-10, the Spanish rice dish is RM58, but you can feed 2-3 person. Dessert is another RM 7 or so. The restaurant also offers set meals for 2 that are priced below RM 100. There are also more familiar dishes available, such as steak, lamb shank, pastas, and even fish and chips.
Subang Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.046711, 101.587143
Tel: 03-8023 2395
Pork tripe soup (猪肚汤) is among one of the harder to find dishes at the everyday Malaysian kopitiam, though a pretty common item in a traditional home cooked dinner during festive seasons. It is the dish that my mom always for worshipping the ancestors on the various semi-religious “anniversaries”.
traditional dish at old school kopitiam
When my housemate suggested we go to Weng Soon Jaya (新永顺茶餐室)at USJ 17 to have the pork tripe soup, I was eager to try it. The restaurant is of a normal kopitiam set up, with over half a dozen stalls offering familiar dishes such as chicken rice and wantan mee. The stall taht offers pork tripe soup was easy enough to spot as it was the busiest.
Most of us ordered the pork tripe soup, but another friend who doesn’t take innards chose to have their soya sauce pork (豆油肉) which also come with hard boiled egg.
The pork tripe soup has a very strong white pepper taste, which is a common feature of this dish, however, the pepper did not overpower the sweetness of the soup. The tripe itself was nicely done to an easy-to-chew texture and wasn’t over cooked. Chicken feet was also used as an ingredient to further enhance the taste of the soup, the fusion of the two ingredients resulted a very flavorful soup indeed.
I did not leave a single drop of soup
The soya sauce pork was very nice as well. The gravy wasn’t too salty and the cutting of the pork was from the slightly fatty but most delicious belly area. A hard boil egg and few slices of fresh cucumber makes up the rest of the dish.
Each dishes was close to RM 5.00 including white rice. A very reasonable price for some very good food. The stall does not open on sunday and only serves for late breakfast and lunch hours.
pretty easy to go to this place even if you’re not very familiar with USJ
Jalan USJ 17/1,
Subang Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.033705, 101.578892
So the Suan was feeling like having Mexican food since she claimed she never had it before (despite being a Chilis frequent visitor.) Together with Kenneth and FA, we headed to Las Carretas at USJ Taipan, took us a while and a phone call to dree to finally figure out the restaurant that I last went more than one year ago.
At last, we found it!
Las Carretas is a pretty nicely decorated restaurant with great ambiance. Though the Indian waiter did not remind me of banjo playing Mexican, the interior design and various decorative items does bring back the memory of similar establishments I visited while in the States. Consistent with every proper Mexican dining place, a plate of complimentary chips and salsa is served.
Complimentary chips & salsa. Alcoholic drinks for FA & Suan
I ordered lamb shank (memory told me that it was good), FA had tacos, burritos for Suan, and Kenneth went with Quesadillas as recommended by the waiter. As proper alcoholics, FA & Suan also had cosmopolitan cocktails or something like that.
The food, slurps..
The food did not disappoint, rich in flavor and strong in taste like how Mexican food is. However, for some it might be a little lacking in the spicy department. I suspect the chef merely tries to cater to the less tolerant group, I guess you can always order yours to have that extra kick, and a bottle of tabasco sauce accompanies the dishes anyway.
My lamb shank was very tender and well cooked. The portion is a little too big though, I did not able to finish the pasta that came with it. The taste of herbs in the gravey was subtle, not overpowering the natural taste of the meat.
The happy diners
If you’re into trying new things, give this place a go. With pretty good food and excellent atmosphere, it makes a pretty good place for bringing your date. Price wise, entrees are between RM 20 to RM 40. Prices for drinks is comparable to places such as TGIF and Chilis, however, FA (no, not FemaleAlcoholic) reported that the cocktail is potent and they did not skim on the alcohol, she likes it that way.
Here’s the map, pretty easy to find actually..
No 29 USJ 10/1F
47620 Subang UEP
GPS: 3.047943, 101.583163
Tel: 03-5637 3058