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Category / Foreign Food

A few days ago my cravings for Thai food suddenly hits, and since we’re not out of this whole Covid-19 wood work just yet, I was giving myself some dining criteria – somewhere that’s not crowded and somewhat open air. A bit of Google-fu later, we found ourselves at this relatively new Thai restaurant in Bandar Baru Klang by the name of Baan Korat.

Baan Korat, Bandar Baru Klang
Baan Korat, Bandar Baru Klang

Baan Korat is operated by a couple, with the chef (the wife) being a Thai. Just by that alone you know you’d be getting an authentic experience, right?

Well, luckily, yes!

The restaurant offers Thai steamboat, as well as a selected number of mainly street dishes to go with steamed rice (see menu below). The ambiance is not unlike those shops you find in Hatyai.

For the two of us, we ordered a bowl of tomyam seafood (RM 13.90), a Baan Korat special (RM 13.90), a couple moo ping (pork skewer, RM 3 each), and a serving of their Thai fish cake (RM 10). I had originally wanted grill cockles (RM 13) or grilled stuffed squid (RM 15) but unfortunately those were not available during our visit.

tomyam, baan korat special, fish cake, moo ping (pork skewer)
tomyam, baan korat special, fish cake, moo ping (pork skewer)

As for how the food tastes, well, the two soup dishes were top notch. The tomyam was full of flavor without having to be super spicy. The Baan Korat special has a pork broth that carries a strong hint of crushed peanut taste to it, and laden with seafood, egg, as well as minced pork. I thought it was quite delicious as well.

As for the two side dishes, I’d say moo ping is a must order for the fans of pork, and those fish cakes .. well, probably best be skipped even if you’re a fan of fish cake, or especially if you are one..

Thai ice tea is one of my exceptions to sweet drinks
Thai ice tea is one of my exceptions to sweet drinks

Overall though, this is shaping up to be one of those places I would definitely love going again. Happy food hunt and stay safe!

baan korat thai food menu (1) baan korat thai food menu (2) baan korat thai food menu (3)

baan korat thai food menu (4) baan korat thai food menu (5) baan korat thai food menu (6)

map to Baan Korat restaurant

Address:
Baan Korat Thai Restaurant
No 10, Lorong Tiara 1b,
Bandar Baru Klang,
41150 Klang, Selangor
GPS: 3.063487, 101.470247
Tel: 012-350 3003

While Ipoh is generally regarded as one of the better towns for hawker food (perhaps second only to Penang), if you look closer, the town also offers some hidden gems outside of hawker & traditional Chinese food. Case in point – Maiale Japanese style Italian Restaurant.

Maiale Japanese style Italian Restaurant at Ipoh
Maiale Japanese style Italian Restaurant at Ipoh

If the overly long name isn’t clear, the restaurant actually offers Italian cuisine, cook by one Japanese chef, and interestingly, also served by only one local server. If you’re looking for Japanese food here, you won’t find it, but if you want Italian food with a bit of a Japanese influence & ingredients, you’re at the right place.

The restaurant itself is converted from an old colonial style house with very limited seats (perhaps 20 pax max?) and offers an ambiance that is as cozy as it is unique in its staffing. Reservation is a must since space is severely limited.

There’s no real ala carte menu here, instead, you choose from a combination of 3-course menu with 1 selection of appetizer, a main course, and a dessert. Prices range from RM 45 to RM 80 for the set, but sometimes they do have specials, such as Japanese wagyu grade A5 which can fetch quite a pretty penny.

bread & breadstick with olive oil & vinegar, appetizer platter
bread & breadstick with olive oil & vinegar, appetizer platter

For our dinner, we chose the appetizer platter, pan fried sakura pork loin, and yuzu sorbet for the first set. For second set, we had the same appetizer platter, slow cooked lamb shoulder, and tiramisu.

Like most “almost fine dine” place, we started off with some warm bread, bread stick, with olive oil & vinegar prior to the arrival of appetizer, nothing out of the ordinary.

When the appetizer came, it turned out to be quite a delight. I didn’t care much about the glass plate, or the plating itself, but here’s what we had on it:

  • tomato pickled
  • roast pork
  • spinach and tomato mousse
  • mortadella
  • baked shrimp
  • caponata (middle)

Each had a unique taste and tasted rather not any less than some of the more fancy places. I’d be kicking myself if I chose the Caesar salad or mushroom soup in place of this platter for RM 5 less.

scallops, pan fried sakura pork loin with red wine balsamic sauce
scallops, pan fried sakura pork loin with red wine balsamic sauce

Oh, we also ordered a small plate of scallops (3 pieces) as additional appetizer. They were decent, and definitely worth the RM 8 asking price.

For my main, the pan fried sakura pork loin with red wine balsamic sauce turned out to be a a winner. The meat was cooked to the right doneness, retaining natural flavor of pork as well as its tenderness. Furthermore, the sauce, made from reduction of red wine, balsamic, onion, and beef oil was so flavorful it made me question my own method of preparing pork chop at home. I need to replicate this!

slow cooked lamb shoulder, tiramisu
slow cooked lamb shoulder, tiramisu, ice cream

For the second set, the slow cooked lamb shoulder was a decent dish in itself, with the sauce (red wine, homemade beef stock, tomato sauce) that tasted a bit richer but perhaps lack the excitement of stronger acidity compared to the sauce from pork loin. It was good, but perhaps not the same level as the pork loin.

The sides were potato, tomato, and broccoli for both dishes, they were adequate.

The 3rd course of tiramisu & yuzu sorbet were pretty good choices as well. Overall I thought this is a place worthy for special occasions (perhaps a romantic one) if you’re in Ipoh, and loves pork. I should check out their beef or pasta dishes next time.

maiale ipoh menu (1) maiale ipoh menu (2) maiale ipoh menu (3)

maiale ipoh menu (4) maiale ipoh menu (5) maiale ipoh menu (6)

maiale ipoh menu (7)

maiale Japanese style Italian restaurant map

Address:
Maiale Japanese Style Italian Restaurant
No 5, Jalan Datuk Yeoh Cheng Lee,
Kampung Jawa, 30300 Ipoh, Perak
GPS: 4.599500, 101.085949
Tel: +605 2411 405

Well, back when going out to eat was an option, we took a trip to Kota Kemuning and had ourselves a couple bowls of Japanese ramen at one of the very few “proper” ramen outlets in Shah Alam at Menya Hanabi. Yes, there are more than one Menya Hanabi in Klang Valley, this is the one closest to me.

Menya Hanabi at Kota Kemuning
Menya Hanabi at Kota Kemuning

Menya Hanabi is located right next to Gamuda Walk within Kota Kemuning, a bustling township within Shah Alam that has perhaps the most “up to date” eateries. Fortunately, parking is still a relatively simple exercise at this area.

The restaurant is of a typical Japanese ramen shop set up, with a long kitchen/bar taking up 30-40% of the floor space, and tables on the other side. I also love the fact that they have pictorial menu that showcases every single dish they offer, though some description would have been helpful as well.

shoyu soup ramen, gyoza, Nagoya mazesoba
shoyu soup ramen, gyoza, Nagoya mazesoba

For our visit we tried their classic shoyu soup ramen (RM 27), Nagoya mazesoba DX (RM 31), and a portion of gyoza (RM 10).

The soup ramen came in 3 options, shio (salt), shoyu (soya sauce), and Nagoya (spicy with minced meat). The shoyu version I had was on par with most Japanese ramen I’ve tried over the years. The noodle was springy, the soup too packed quite a punch. The chasiu had the awesome 3 layer texture and came with decent thickness, though I’d love to see 3 instead of 2 pieces in there. The egg too was prepared just nice. Overall it was a very competent bowl of ramen, satisfied.

the chasiu was super yummy, so was their gyoza
the chasiu was super yummy, so was their gyoza

As for the Nagoya mazesoba DX, well, the ramen itself is of a thicker variety, when stirring it up with the minced meat, egg yolk, and leek, the entire bowl felt almost not exactly unlike a more expensive version of chili pan mee, except one that’s less spicy and carries less “kick”. Once you are done with this “dry” version, they will also give you a scoop of rice to fully utilize those sauce, something that I thought was a bit of a gimmick to be honest. I’d give this dry ramen a “meh”.

Lastly, do order their gyoza, one of the best I’ve tried, and well worth the RM 10 asking price.

Overall, Menya Hanabi is a pretty decent Japanese ramen place, give the dry ramen a try if you must, stick to soupy version if you’re into more of a traditional taste kinda guy.

menya hanabi kota kemuning map

Address:
Menya Hanabi
2-37-1, Jalan Anggerik Vanilla,
Seksyen 31, Kota Kemuning,
40460 Shah Alam, Selangor
GPS: 3.000433, 101.532942
Tel: +603 5131 9308
Hours: daily 11 am to 10 pm

Following the blog post on Abanico at Kota Kemuning, I was reminded that actually there was another iberico experience a few months ago back when we were in this “Recovery MCO” period when case number of Covid-19 was in the teens daily.. remember that feeling of hope before it all came crashing down again? Seemed like a long time ago isn’t it?

Anyway, the restaurant I want to talk about is Habanna Charbroiled Steakhouse at Taman Paramount, PJ.

Habanna at Taman Paramount, PJ
Habanna at Taman Paramount, PJ

The unassuming restaurant is just a stone’s throw away from Loong Foong (great roast duck) and Shokudo Japanese curry. It’s been around for a while and for whatever reason, took me this long to finally paid a visit, and I’m glad I did finally give it a try.

The minimally decorated restaurant has an ambiance that matches its asking price. The menu has a healthy selection of burger, pork, chicken, beef, lamb, pasta, and even a few seafood entrees priced from just below RM 20 to around RM 30-50 range (see menu below).

Since porky “steakhouse” are hard to come by, we decided to check out their pork belly, and there’re two to choose from at Habanna if you’re into this fatty cut of pork. Unsurprisingly, we chose both.

Iberico Black Mama "IBM"
Iberico Black Mama “IBM”

The two different pork belly entrees are Iberico Black Mama “IBM” (RM 33.90), and the cheaper Charbroiled Apple Belly “CAB” (RM 20.90). Both are essentially the same dish with a side of salad, some potato wedges, and apple dipping sauce, however, IBM uses the famed Iberico pork, while CAB is made from local pork belly.

As it turned out, both dishes were rather good to eat, the meat were grilled perfectly and had very good texture, they were also seasoned just right. Also as expected, the Iberico pork does carry a better texture due to it’s superior marbling (fat layers between meat) as compared to local pork.

Charbroiled Apple Balley "CAB"
Charbroiled Apple Belly “CAB”

The verdict is predictable, but when factor in prices, makes for slightly tougher decision. Iberico is some 60% more expensive but arguably maybe 30-40% tastier? A bit of a diminishing returns. That being said, the value offers at Habanna is an excellent one, and I should be back to try their other offerings.

map to Habanna charbroiled grill, PJ

Address:
Habanna Charbroil Steakhouse
No.23, Jalan 20/13,
Paramount Garden,
46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.106153, 101.624798
Tel018 227 7369

Over the last decade or so, Kota Kemuning has slowly transformed from sort of a backwater township to one that is rather mature, and with that, comes a slew of pretty interesting dining options we often associated the more “hip” places like Bangsar, Subang, or PJ area.

Today, we look at one of the more interesting offering at Abanico Your Deli Restaurant.

Abanico at Kota Kemuning
Abanico at Kota Kemuning

For those who love to indulge in some porky goodness, it may be quite a common knowledge that Iberico pork are some of the most sought after type of pork there is. Iberico, as the name suggests, is the meat from Black Iberian pigs that are originated from Portugal and native to the Iberian Peninsula.

Much like Wagyu for beef, this type of pork has a higher percentage of intramuscular fats, making it more tender and have higher marbling. Additionally, the pigs are often fed on acorns, giving it a distinct taste that is quite unique and often said to be superior than normal pigs we get.

Anyway, what I really wanted to get to is that Abanico is actually the spare ribs of Iberico pigs, so by the name of the restaurant they really do tell you what is the specialty here.

abanico, pinchos, claims in white wine pasta
abanico, pinchos, clams in white wine pasta

Abanico operates like a deli, pick your choice of meat from the glass chiller, and the kitchen will prepare and serve you there after. Additionally, there are also a selection of dishes not displayed on the chiller, but clearly stated on the blackboards just above the cashier.

We ordered a piece of abanico (pork ribs, RM 52.90 per piece), a stick of pinchos iberico (RM 26), pasta with clams in white wine sauce (RM 35.90), and Portuguese seafood stew (RM 38.00).

Portuguese seafood stew
Portuguese seafood stew

The ribs were served in a very straight forward, simple manner, grilled just right to retain the natural flavor and came with their homemade (who’s home?) black pepper sauce and mustard sauce. To be honest I actually liked to savor the meat as is, without any sauce, but there’s no wrong way to enjoy it your way.

The pinchos iberico were our favorites of the day,  the skewer was properly marinated and carry a hint of sweetness coupled with the savory taste from iberico pork that were so delicious I wished we had ordered more.

menu on the wall at Abanico, Kota Kemuning
menu on the wall at Abanico, Kota Kemuning

The other two non-meat dishes we ordered held up the standard as well. The pasta were filled with plenty of clams (lala actually, although I’d much preferred the bigger clams) infused properly with enough white wine to compliment the seafood sweetness.

Portuguese seafood stew too is a dish worth ordering, packed with enough seafood in the dish to satisfy anyone. I also liked that they gave a generous slab of garlic bread for you to go with the stew.

I thought the food were as good as anywhere, they could perhaps improve a little by having served the meat with a bit of sides instead of a few green leaf. Additionally, the prices are perhaps on the higher side for the service quality rendered, but it is something that usually happens in smaller townships. The services wasn’t bad, it just could have been better.

Overall, the experience was a positive one, Abanico is certainly worthy of a visit, especially if you’re closer to this part of Klang Valley.

abanico map

Address:
Abanico
39-G, Jln Anggerik Vanilla BF 31/BF,
Kota Kemuning, 40460 Shah Alam, Selangor
GPS: 3.00455615, 101.535562
Tel: 011-6565 3533