Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / January 2009

Hokkien Mee (or Prawn Mee) is one of my must-eat dishes whenever I have a chance to go back to Penang. The aroma of that spicy prawn stock soup, the crunchiness of kangkung, bean sprouts and fried shallots, the spicy chili paste,  the prawns, the slices of pork, and the morning commotion always bring back memories from yesteryear.

Hokkien Mee at Mt Eskerin wet market
Hokkien Mee with wantan noodle

I did just that earlier this month when I was back for a friend’s wedding.

This particular stall has been in operation for seemingly forever, I remember ordering from them when I was in primary school, and that was quite a while ago (no prize for guessing it right). Today, they are located at the Mt. Eskerin morning wet market. The same market my mom works, and Horng’s family runs a coffee stall.

Hokkien Mee at Mt Eskerin wet market
Louis, Horng, and I have known each other for two dozen years =/

The stall sells both Hokkien Mee and Wantan Mee, something that is not very common in Penang as most hawkers here only specialize in one dish. To be frank, I don’t care much about most wantan mee in Penang, this one included; however, the side benefit here is that we get to order Hokkien mee with wantan noodle instead of the usual vermicelli and yellow noodle.

The combination is not just a novelty but actually tasted very nice, the smoothness and springiness of wantan noodle works well with the spiciness of the prawn stock soup, presenting a strange yet familiar taste. Kinda like meeting a half brother you never knew existed, or something like that.

map to Mt Eskerin wet market

At Horng’s family coffee stall (5001 kopi stall), you can order the pretty unique Haw Flakes drinks (山楂水). It is a drink I haven’t come across anywhere else, tasted just like, well, the liquid version of Haw Flakes. Very refreshing and cooling for the throat. Give it a try!

Mount Eskerin wet market
Tanjung Tokong, Penang

GPS: 5.448659,100.301571

Elegant Inn, unlike the slightly more famed Holiday Inn, is a pretty high class restaurant serving Hong Kong cuisine and not a hotel chain. This is among the things I learn from the invitation to the said restaurant at Menara Hup Seng a couple Saturdays ago.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
classy indoor as and alfresco dining areas at Elegant Inn

The invitation was extended by Millennium Associates, on behalf of Jeanette of Elegant Inn. Mellissa and I were joined by Jasmine (epicuriousgirl) and her friend Jess in this review session. The four of us were seated in a private room as the host insists that we be treated to a full dining experience.

Elegant Inn first started at Taman Connaught before opening this outlet at the heart of KL, explained Jeanette as she suggests what we should have for lunch.

yee sang
yee sang with all natural ingredients

Naturally, we started off with yee sang, the unique Malaysian Chinese New Year tradition. This was my 4th yee sang session and I was more than happy to find out that the yee sang here is slightly different. All natural and most importantly, fresh ingredients are used. Pamelo, raddish, cucumber, smoked salmon, crackers, jellyfish, etc. Auspiciousness in a slightly healthier style.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
Appetizer: soft shell crab, fried calamari, seared scallop on tofu

A huge plate of nicely presented dish was then served as the appetizer. There’s the slightly spicy soft shell crab with plenty of onion, a portion of salt and pepper calamari (椒盐鲜鱿),and four lightly seared scallops sitting on tofu.

Scallop is always one of my favorites. The combination of soft tofu and succulent scallop provided the perfect start for this meal. I had the calamari followed by soft shell crabs and they were both very good as well, one salty and crunch while the other spicy and fragrant. By now I was convinced we’re into something pretty special.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
double boiled soup

Next came the pretty impressive double boiled soup. Pork, ribs, tripe, shell chunks, phoenix claws, kampung chicken, scallops, and preserved vegetable boiled for 4-6 hours, the traditional way. End result is a bowl of very rich tasting soup with a hint of pepper and a mixture of sweetness from all the ingredients.

This soup reminds me of the one I had at Sheraton, they’re both at the same high level while not exactly similar in taste or ingredients.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
steamed Australian Jade Perch and stuffed chicken wings

Like any proper Chinese meal, we have fish next. Live Australian Jade Perch is not a fish commonly found in Malaysian restaurant unless frozen, Jeanette told us about one of her many expeditions in sourcing ingredients. The steamed fish was done just right with it’s smooth texture and sweet seafood taste preserved in a very light seasoning. I particularly love the fatty belly portion the waitress expertly boned.

Jeanette insisted that we should try their stuffed chicken wing, and so we did. The wings came out looking like what you would expect, and it wasn’t until cutting it open do you see the wonder of their culinary skills. Gone were the bones and replaced with a mixture of ham, water chestnuts, prawns, and more. Eight ingredients in total. The wings were rather delicious and probably makes for perfect beer tidbits.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
fried rice, bitter gourd with salted vegetable (ham choy), choy sum with waxed goose liver

Bitter gourd with salted vegetable is one Elegant Inn’s signature dishes, and that suits me just fine since I love bitter gourd. The very subtle salted vegetable taste blends with the spiciness of chili and the rather strong version of bitter gourd was very addictive to me, but I hazard it is not a dish for everyone.

The choy sum with waxed goose liver (腊鸸肝) was a very sinful dish. The wax meat tasted something in between dried meat and foie gras, with that sliver of liver bitterness and very rich texture and taste. You could almost feel your arteries contracting but it was impossible to stop having “just another piece”. To me, the choy sum was almost just an excuse to have this sinful ingredient.

Jeanette went into a long and elaborated speech on their dancing fried rice, explaining how they use 2 grades of rice kept in 2 different temperatures, and how the eggs had to be fried first, the wok washed and then top grade dried shrimps from HK fried next, wash the work again and finally add everything in while tossing the rice non stop till it’s cooked.

That just seems like too much work for good old fashion fried rice, and I didn’t see the point until I actually tasted the dish myself. It was simply the best fried rice I’ve had, you can literally taste the individual grain and the distinct flavor added by crab meat and bits of dried shrimps, eggs, and green onion. This is a must-orderdish.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
steamed brown sugar cake, mini egg tarts

As we start to wind down, Jeanette brought out some very tasty mini egg tarts and steamed brown sugar cake (malai kou in Cantonese 馬拉糕). They were both very delicious and properly made traditional Chinese pastries I wish I could have more. We finished them despite the already rather full stomach.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
mango pudding with milk, tong sui (糖水)with mochi

The lunch session was ended on a sweet note. We were served a couple bowls of tong sui (糖水), sweet ginger soup with mochi and the sea coconut with fungus and logan soup. In addition to that, we also had the mango pudding with milk that had chunks of mango in every scoop, just like the way it is supposed to be.

Elegant Inn Hong Kong Cuisine
Mellissa, Jeanette, and Yours Truly

I was as overly stuffed as I was impressed with Elegant Inn at this point. It was one of the best lunch experience I’ve ever had in a Chinese restaurant. Quality of food as well as the ambiance were both excellent. I had no idea how much the meal costs and yes, the prices would be on the higher side but considering the experience and quality provided here, it will be well worth it.

Map to Elegant Inn at Menara Hup Seng
Elegant Inn is located at Menara Hup Seng.

2.01, 2nd Floor, Podium Block,
Menara Hap Seng,
Jalan P.Ramlee,
50250 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.153034,101.70752
Tel: 03-2070 9399

Chinese New Year ang pow came early this year for me. It arrived in a form of a lamp post that my car so cheerily embraced with most passion and enthusiasm late last night. The post ended up leaning at 70 degree imitating the more famous tower somewhere in Italy. I’m not sure if TTDI will become a tourist destination anytime soon though.

Toyota MR2 Accident
the night I couldn’t decide to go left nor right

So I was heading from Damansara Utama to pick up Mellissa at TTDI plaza around 2 am last night, happily driving in a leisure speed (everyone’s leisure speed differs). There was a yellow and black kelisa in front of me at the last traffic light before the fateful junction. We stopped for red, and when it was green, I didn’t pass the little CLK, I wasn’t fast.

And suddenly I saw Brunsfield, the indication of the left turn. I tried to turn but the intersection came up too soon, left, no no, right, ahhh brake! brake! brake! crap… BAM!

Tried turning this into a dream so I can just wake up and wipe off the cold sweat. Failed.

I was alert and alright, called Mellissa and then walked out of the car. There were quite a few people who gathered around the side of the road already. Most of them were amazed that I walked away from the scene unscathed. My habit of wearing the 4 point harness at all time saved me.

About 5 minutes after the incident, I suddenly felt like passing out. I had to hold on to the road signs, and actually sat down for a while, only to regain my composure about 10 minutes later.

Toyota MR2 Accident
one for the blog!

Police came pretty soon though, and did the usual checking my driver’s license and IC procedures. Mellissa called Nicholas who arrived shortly. Before they towed the car, I just decided to take some pictures, and one of the policemen actually suggested I should have a picture with the car and he volunteered to be the camera man too, but the picture above was taken by Nicholas as the police decided perhaps Nicholas is a better cameraman.

We took some stuff from the car just before they towed it. Nicholas then fetched us to the police station where I filed a report. The car was towed to the station and photos were taken by this policeman who was supremely proud of the Sony digital camera he was in charged of. We then headed to mamak before Nicholas sent us home.

It was over 5am when I reached home, sore shoulders but otherwise unharmed. Thank you Nicholas for helping out when I needed most. I owe you one.

I am a very lucky man, for more reasons than just being able to walk away from this wreck unharmed.

Gong Xi Fa Cai.

I was invited for the third Friday Wine Lunch at the Japanese restaurant Tykoh Inagiku last Friday. The Friday Wine Lunch series is hosted by Pernod Ricard Malaysia, and I was invited by the good people at Millennium Associates. As I tend to look like a lobster after half a glass of any alcohol, I took half a day off from work to attend this event, and it was well worth the effort.

Jacob's Creek Wine at Tykoh Inagiku
Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserved Riesling, and Reserved Chardonnay from Jacob’s Creek

I didn’t know the existence of Tykoh Inagiku prior to this event. Located at Menara Keck Seng right next to Westin Hotel at Bukit Bintang, the restaurant has a pretty classy set up with comfortable chairs and tasteful furnishing while not being exuberant.

We were served Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserved Riesling, and Reserved Chardonnay from Jacob’s Creek, accompanied by some pretty fine Japanese dishes.

Jacob's Creek Wine at Tykoh Inagiku

We started out with Sea Urchin and Fresh Tofu with Ponzu Jelly to go with Reserved Riesling. The appetizer consists of a generous portion of sea urchin on tofu with a little piece of kiwi, and a dash of smelt and salmon roe, you can feel at least 4 different textures play in your mouth. Pretty creative.

Fish Stock Soup with Takenoko (Bamboo Shoots) and Mushroom also includes seaweed and a very small slice lime to freshen up the taste. It was a fresh departure from the standard miso soup, I like it quite a bit and actually had two bowls (since there was an absentee). The soup reminds me of the set we had at Ninja Jones.

The Reserved Riesling goes particularly well with our third dish, Sashimi Salad. The fish were either raw or slightly seared and served with different accompanying ingredients in a very fine-dining style. Something closer to fusion than pure Japanese, but I think it worked out pretty alright.

Jacob's Creek Wine at Tykoh Inagiku
Grill Lobster with Miso Sauce & Char Grilled Wagyu Beef with Wasabi Sauce

I chose the Grilled Lobster with Miso Sauce as my main. Half a lobster grilled with miso, cheese, mushroom, asparagus, and a few other condiments. I find the lobster meat fresh and very delicious, but the miso sauce slightly too salty at times. Luckily the Reserved Chardonnay does well to cut through the grease a bit.

As my luck goes, there was an extra portion of Char Grilled Wagyu Beef with Wasabi Sauce unclaimed, and of course we did not let it go to waste. The beef was done medium well and very, very succulent. Wasabi sauce provided a tad of spiciness while leaving the original taste intact. If you go to Tykoh Inagiku, this is the dish to order, and it would be a good idea to have the beef with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Jacob's Creek Wine at Tykoh Inagiku
Yours Truly, the dessert, and Lionel of Millennium Associates

Lunch was capped off with Lemon and Yuzu Sorbet and Macha Dumpling. The sorbet was so sour it practically cleaned my tongue anew, an experience not dissimilar from the lunch I had at Lafite. The taste of strawberry with powdered green tea and macha dumpling with the renewed taste buds was much better than having them straight after the hearty main dish.

map to Menara Keck Seng
Menara Keck Seng is located right next to Westin Hotel

As always, this Friday Wine Lunch session was marvelous. For RM75 per pax, I think it’s a steal. Do contact Millennium Associates if you are interested in the next session (usually held on the last Friday of the month).

Tykoh Inagiku Japanese Restaurant
2nd Floor, Podium Block, Menara Keck Seng
No. 203, Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

GPS: 3.147919,101.714913
Tel: 03-2148 2133

More photos can be found on my flickr set

When I was very young, my family was not exactly one of those that can afford eating out on a regular basis. However, my late dad would still bring us out for picnics and a dinner on most Sundays as a treat to us. We usually go to tai chau places, or Gurney drive, or bak kut teh; but on rarer occasions, we would go to KFC.

I always enjoyed the trips to KFC the most. I really do, and even until today, I would head to KFC for lunch at least a couple times in a month despite having access to much wider variety of both local and foreign cuisines. KFC is simply one of my favorites.

KFC Zinger Tower
KFC Zinger Tower!

Though I usually order original recipe chicken with drum stick and thigh, I do experiment with different offerings from KFC. Cheesy wedges, X meal, colonel burger, chicken rice, I think I have tried everything in the menu with chicken in it.

I vaguely remember that the Zinger Tower was introduced a few years ago and then disappeared from the menu for some reasons, and this is the it’s 2nd coming. The burger is pretty big and comes in this order:

  • Soft bun
  • Zesty chili lime sauce
  • Fresh lettuce
  • Zinger fillet
  • Cheese
  • Hash brown
  • Soft bun

What intrigued me most in the list is definitely the hash brown. I’ve actually seen people stuffing fries in their burger and always wonder how it tastes like, and this is just the perfect chance to give it a go.

KFC Zinger Tower
The Zinger Tower, poster girl not included

So Cheesie and I headed to KFC at Atria over the weekend to find out that the mall being painted white and red, exactly the color of KFC, conincident? I don’t know.

We ordered a Zinger Tower set that comes with a Zinger Tower, a mango pudding, a regular soft drink, and curiously enough, a Zinger Time watch. The watches come in 4 designs, yellow and green; yellow and red, blue and orange, and pink. No prize guessing which one the girl picked.

KFC Zinger Tower
Comes with a Zinger Time watch too!

After a bite into the burger, I now really understand why some of those mat sallehs put fries the burger. The combination of hash brown and the juicy KFC chicken fillet works really well, the melted cheese and the chili lime sauce added extra flavors to the burger too. It was surprisingly good, better than I had expected before I give it a try.

I’m not writing how good this burger is because this is supposed to be an advertorial, but because it was really that tasty. I liked it, and Cheesie too.

The Zinger Tower set goes for RM 15.90 while the a la carte price for the burger alone is RM 6.60. I think I’m going to have it again sometimes next week.