Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

By the way, this is the one thousandth post on kyspeaks since the inception some five and a half year ago. Been an amazing journey, rest assure there’ll be more to come. A big thank you for all the visits, comments, well wishes, critics, and the occasional “hello” in Real Life ™.

Bobbi Chinn World Cafe, TLC
Bobby Chinn on World Cafe: Middle East (photos from TLC)

I’m generally quite content with what I do for a living, but there is a category of people that I’m quite jealous of when it comes to their profession, and Bobby Chinn is one of them.

While I’m sure there are lotsa hardwork and uncertainties, the job of a TV personalities on a food tasting/travel show couldn’t sound more awesome to me. The grass is greener on the other side, always.

Last week I got closest as I’ve been to that “dream” of mine, I got invited to meet Bobby Chinn for his new episods of World Cafe: Middle East.

Bobbi Chinn's World Cafe: Middle East
Bobby Chinn’s exploit in Middle East (photos from TLC)

The series cover Bobby Chinn’s exploit in Middle East. Starting from Istanbul, the capital city of the Ottoman Empire, then Damascus and Aleppo – the oldest city in the world, Jordan and the West Bank  with thriving Palestinian food tradition despite the instability, as well as Cairo and Alexandria in Egypt – where Bobby Chinn was born.

The man himself turned out to be quite an entertaining and friendly host despite the very visible effect of jet lag as he just arrived in the morning. Together with Haze, boo of masak-masak, Jovin & her aunt, and other guests, we had a good time while Bobby shared his experiences whilst making this series.

Catch the show on Monday 10pm, Astro Channel 707 TLC

salad, soup, and appetizer
donut thingy with sambosa, salad, some lamb soup

Now lets get on to the food at Al Halabi, shall we?

Al Halabi at Marriot Hotel is probably one of the more up market Lebanese restaurant in the country, with posh decoration of cushions, busy looking tables, a huge selection of shisha pipes, and chandeliers looking like gemstones. A very Arabic atmosphere, other than our group with Bobby Chinn being half Arab, most clients looked like they’re either Persians or Arabs.

The lamb soup was better than the lentil soup I ordered, which tasted like diluted dhal. Salad was refreshing if not a little too sour for some. I didn’t quite enjoy the donut thingy, but the fried pastry (Sambosa vegetable) was rather nice.

hummus, eggplant dip, fluffy bread
hummus & baba ghanoush, fluffy soft bread

This was only the third time I had hummus, but I gotta say the hummus was actually very good! It was a bit like a cross of peanut butter and tofu but with slightly oily texture, in a good way… if that make any sense.

Baba ghanoush, a classic eggplant dip, was a bit more sour and oily (olive oil), I kinda liked it, though not too much. These two goes pretty well with the excellent fluffy bread.

egg plant dish (musaka'a), fried spring chicken, grilled fish
egg plant dish (musaka’a), fried spring chicken, grilled fish

For my main dish, I chose to have the egg plant (musaka’a) with rice. It was quite similar to the Northern Indian’s Baingan Bartha, but slightly less flavorful. Despite the bright color, it wasn’t exactly spicy, just a bit oily and sourish, nothing to shout about.

The other main dishes to choose from were the fried spring chicken (which was reportedly to be decent), grilled fish that were too dry, and grilled lamb (said to be quite tasty).

sizzling grilled lamb, baklava
sizzling grilled lamb, baklava

Dessert came in the form of a very sweet pastry item called baklava – made of phyllo dough and filled with chopped nuts and honey, quite nice. I think I had at least 3-4 of those.

Bobby Chinn, KY, Haze
Bobby Chinn, KY, Haze

If this was the best Lebanese food could offer, I wasn’t particularly impressed, so I asked Bobby Chinn himself on his thoughts about the dinner. The man tried to be politically correct and said he enjoyed the hummus but didn’t want to elaborate more. I guess I’ll just have to watch the show too!

map to JW Marriot KL

Al Halabi at JW Marriot
183 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.14765, 101.71372
Tel: 03-2715 9000

Discuss : Dinner with Bobby Chinn from TLC at Al Halabi

  1. OMG~!!!!!1111 FIRST!!!!!!! Al-Halabi? mmm.. been there, done that… seriously, I reckon Bobby’s restaurant in Hanoi can serve better Lebanese food than Halabi.

    On a more serious note, DUDE, It’s SAMOSA laaaaa NOT SAMBOSA?!?? Sambusa yes or even sanbusa but never SAMBOSA! Do check out the wikipedia link you’ve provided…. Too sleepy issit?? LOL!!! 😆

  2. Happy one thousandth!

  3. I’ve had baklava in Australia (of all places) and it was pretty good. Not sure of the authenticity though.

    • Huai Bin: these days I don’t care about authenticity, so long as it’s good 😀

    • Eh, Australia quite authentic, I think. There are a lot of Greeks who have settled down here… So a lot of baklava and souvlaki 😀

  4. wah ky damn femes already! hehee happy 1000th post!

  5. famous KY ! hahaha..

    i try al-halabi before not very impress with the food ehhhh…

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  7. foodcrazee


  8. try Al-Rawsha….more authentic…

  9. wah so lucky and now you so fehmes!

  10. Hey KY! Happy 1K-th post!
    So cool, you had dinner with Bobby Chinn!
    Agree with Aud. You damn femes liao! LOL
    But is he as obnoxious in real life as he is on TV? Personally can’t stand him la.

    • pandaaa: thanks thanks, actually Bobby’s pretty friendly in real life, that or he’s very convincing in pretending to be friendly, hahaha.

  11. I like Bobby Chin so much…he makes me laugh (although not in person)

  12. Delicious array of foods! Generally baklava’s are overly sweet. Were those too as well?

  13. Haven’t watch any of his shows before, but is Bobby Chinn Chinese?

  14. hey, that’s cool, its bobby chin

  15. Hey KY,

    Great post mate….and happyyea we felt the food could’ve been a tad bit better….however I think they did a good job.

    Go ahead and watch Bobby’s episodes on World Cafe: Middle East… now that’s sure to get your appetite going. cheers.

  16. oops…meant to say happy 1000th 😛

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