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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / suanie

As promised on the Taman Desa Japanese BBQ post, here’s how you spend less than 1/4 the money and DIY some pork bbq goodness at home. An awesome BBQ chicken wing recipe is thrown in as well.

This BBQ was done several weeks ago when my sister and my niece were in KL to get their visa application finalised. They have moved to the states now.

pork, chicken wings, vege, we have it all
pork, chicken wings, vege, we have it all. Kerol & FA working on the grill

pork belly BBQ:

  • buy pork belly from the market, I paid RM 25 for about 15 portions of what you’d get from Taman Desa BBQ place, cut them in squares
  • marinate with half a cup of cooking sake, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 tablespoon vinegar
  • as for sauce, add chopped garlic to Japanese salad dressing (wafu dressing, shoyu vinegar)
  • BBQ on medium heat till cooked
pro tip: soak the satey sticks in water for 5-10 minutes before BBQ to prevent burning
pro tip 2: don’t mix vege in between meat, they have different cooking time
p/s: Haze came up with the recipe and marinated the pork, everyone loved it, need to make more next time

my sister & niece, with a few friends & ex housemates
my sister & niece, with a few friends & ex housemates

awesome chicken wing BBQ:

  • marinated chicken wings (together with drummets) with 3 parts oyster sauce, 2 parts soya sauce, and 1 part dark soya sauce
  • add some pepper to the marinate
  • let it marinate for at least half an hour in the fridge, longer = better
  • BBQ over medium fire, poke the drummet – no juice coming out = cooked

instax pic with my sister, the niece, and me. =D
instax pic with my sister, the niece, and me. =D

Vegetable BBQ:

  • er.. just put them on stick and burn away!
  • add some salt to serve

That’s it, simple and yummy BBQ. The experiment was a success, will have a bigger BBQ party next time!

Several weeks ago we were invited to Private Kitchen at Damansara Uptown. From the outside, this looks to be a very modest little restaurant not unlike many other eateries at the area – air conditioned, clean, and with a contemporary furnishing that seems to focus on function than pure aesthetics.

Private Kitchen at PJ Uptown
Private Kitchen at PJ Uptown

This is, however, not just another local restaurant. The kitchen is led by Chef Lam Fai, an experienced Hong Kong chef who was trained both in Western and traditional Hong Kong cuisine, and it is this unique background of Chef Lam that results in some rather creative dishes we sampled during this food review session.

While waiting for food to be served, we snacked off long spring roll with shrimp paste (RM 10). The taste of shrimp paste is not unlike shrimp balls, and the deep fried spring roll skin gives it some crunchiness. A different interpretation of spring roll, easy to eat off your fingers, and I believe, would make excellent beer food.

beef with strawberry sauce, shredded chicken and cucumber, soup of the day
beef with strawberry sauce, shredded chicken and cucumber, soup of the day

Our first dish then, was shredded chicken with Private Kitchen “ma la” sauce (RM 12). The shredded chicken sits atop cucumber that’s seasoned with vinegar, a decent cold dish to prepare the stomach, but not one that I’m overly impressed with though.

Like any Chinese/HK restaurant, soup is a must in any meal. The soup of the day was carrot & radish with lean meat soup (RM 6). Very homey, flavorful, and certainly excellent value for money for this type of setting.

Then came one of my favorite dishes of the night – stir-fried prime beef fillet in strawberry & black pepper sauce (RM 28). According to the chef, the beef is prepared and tenderized using Western cuisine techniques, and he chose strawberry to add a different dimension to this black pepper beef dish after some experiments (Chef Lam jokingly said that banana wasn’t a good idea). The result was excellent, if you are “elite” and like to dismiss fusion food, this dish may very well change your stance.

HK style ginger chicken, panfried pork chop with lemongrass
HK style ginger chicken, panfried pork chop with lemongrass

Hong Kong style sand ginger chicken (RM 25 for half bird) went through some half a day’s work of preparation (boiling in broth, preparing the skin with a bit of turmeric for that color, etc) and was delicious and smooth. I especially enjoy the ginger + spring onion sauce that came with this dish.

The next dish looks almost like mantis prawns, but was actually strips of pan-fried pork chop with lemongrass (RM 25). The pork carries pretty strong lemongrass and ginger taste, and tasted pretty decent with chili sauce, but I thought is one of the weaker dishes in this session.

typhoon shelter tiger prawn, sauteed Chinese chives with pork belly in XO sauce
typhoon shelter tiger prawn, sauteed Chinese chives with pork belly in XO sauce

No HK cuisine is complete without typhoon shelter dishes, and at Private Kitchen, we were served typhoon shelter tiger prawn (RM 38). The preparation method was as I remembered the last time I had typhoon shelter crab at Causeway Bay Spicy Crab at Hartamas – plenty of garlic and chili, the aroma was superb, and the prawns did not disappoint. Now I wonder if this would be a good way to prepare squid, hmm.

Sauteed Chinese chives with pork belly in XO sauce (RM18) was our token vegetable dish, even though there’s pork belly in it. I thought it was slightly sinful, but pretty tasty though.

amaranth with minced chicken in superior soup, Portuguese style fried rice
amaranth with minced chicken in superior soup, Portuguese style fried rice

Another soupy vegetable dish that we had was amaranth with minced chicken in superior soup (RM 16). Most of us would recognize it by the common name Chinese spinach. This is another very homey type of dish, a comfort food.

The Portuguese style fried rice with braised pork belly & seafood (RM 16) wasn’t a dish that looked very good in its presentation, it was sorta brownish overall with little color contrast, but don’t let the apparence fools you. The fried rice was very flavorful, and with prawns, squid, and pork belly, they didn’t skimp on ingredients at all. I had a bowl even though I was already stuffed by then, highly recommended.

deep-fried pork ribs with special salad sauce, typhoon shelter noodles with pork chop
deep-fried pork ribs with special salad sauce, typhoon shelter noodles with pork chop

The deep-fried pork ribs with special salad sauce (RM32) is another unique fusion food by Chef Lam that works well. The ribs were tender and juicy, and the slightly sourish and fruity salad sauce, while a bit unorthodox, worked well in this instance. I really enjoyed it too.

Our last “extra” dish of the night was a bowl of typhoon shelter noodles with pork chop in chili & garlic soup (RM15). This is a dish fit for single person consumption and comes with a generous portion of pork chop and the noodle in a soup that has some kick. I tried a spoonful (was stuffed already), and from what I could tell it was pretty decent.

Cheesie, chef Lam Fai, Suanie, Joyce, Dennis & Evelyn, Haze
Cheesie, chef Lam Fai, Suanie, Joyce, KY, Dennis & Evelyn, Haze

Most of the dishes we had at Private Kitchen were pretty consistent and for the lack of a better description – tasty. The prices are reasonable as well. The only downside of the place is, well, the location and challenging parking situation at times. Saying that this place is sort of a poor-man’s Elegant Inn would not be incorrect. Worth visiting though, for sure.

map to Private Kitchen restaurant at PJ Uptown

Address:
Private Kitchen Hong Kong Cuisine
103 Jalan SS21/37
Damansara Utama (Uptown) 
47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.13451, 101.62378
Tel: 03-7728 8399
Hours: 11:30 am – 3 pm, 6 pm – 10 pm, closed on Mondays

Ah… red meat. The “newest” type of meat for me.

When I was growing up as a boy in Penang, I can’t recall an instance when mom cooks beef. Actually, due to her staunch believe in Kwan Yin and everything fantastic in the most confusing religion that is Taoism, she doesn’t even eat beef.

My very first experience in beef was probably that one time when my late dad took me to a beef noodle place (there was probably less than a handful of such stalls in Penang then) when I was in my teens.

Little did I know that years later, I’d have tasted some of the best beef there is. It goes to show that past performance is not indicative of future results… or something.

The Restaurant at The Club, Saujana Resort
The Restaurant at The Club, Saujana Resort

Anyway, lets get back on topic.

I was invited to the somewhat confusingly named restaurant – The Restaurant at the equally curiously named hotel – The Club Saujana Resorts with the promise of Wagyu beef.

Wagyu beef basically refers to several breeds of cattle that is famous for their intense marbling characteristics, in another word, layers of unsaturated fat in the meat that provides very rich flavor. Wagyu is often regarded as some of the finest beef in the world.

The famed Kobe beef is a type of Wagyu beef, but only available within Japan and Macau.

our menu and chef Alexander Waschl
our menu and chef Alexander Waschl

As for the hotel, The Club Suajana Resort is a very classy boutique style hotel that oversees the golf course with its lush greenery. Despite the misleading name, it is open to public (no membership or anything like that is needed.)

The Restaurant too reflects the same classy standard, with tastefully done interior and an alfresco dining area by the pool that provides a really nice ambiance. I felt severely under dressed when I was there in my collared t-shirt and jeans.

Our dinner was the degustation menu prepared by Chef Alexander Waschl from Austria, who was previously the Sous Chef at The Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Switzerland and was responsible for creation of the menus at the Kronenstubli Gourmet Restaurant which was awarded 16 Gault Millau points, the equivalent of a Michelin Star.

spiced Wagyu beef tartar, Wagyu beef carpaccio
spiced Wagyu beef tartar, Wagyu beef carpaccio

Our first introduction to Chef Alexander’s creation came in the form of spiced Wagyu beef tartar (RM 128, ala carte) with piece of crispy potato roesti and pan-roasted quail’s egg with sour cream. The raw beef was rich and flavorful that the use of raw egg is unnecessary, which is where the quail’s egg filled in perfectly. Crispy potato roesti provided a welcoming change of texture too.

The first dish from the degustation menu was Wagyu beef carpaccio, a generous strip with Parmesan cream, Parmesan shavings, extra virgin oil and aged balsamic. The aged balsamic was wonderful, as with the Parmesan shavings.

The beef however, was a slightly too thick and a little difficult to chew if too big a chunk is fed into your mouth at one go. Don’t get me wrong, it was very good beef and chef explained that they cut it raw instead of frozen, and the serving size was to provide a good value for diners. I thought perhaps two thinner slices of beef would improve this dish a bit.

Wagyu beef cheek consommé
Wagyu beef cheek consommé

Next to come was the Wagyu beef cheek consommé, or in laymen’s term, clear soup that’s made from stock with ground meat and mirepoix (mixture of onion, carrot, & celery), among other things.

The one that was served to us was actually a two in one – consommé with ravioli and vegetable balls, and a saparate ravioli with minced meat in creamy sauce. The former light and subtle, and latter thick, strong, and flavorful. The combination worked pretty well though the essence of Wagyu beef is perhaps less apparent in this dish.

braised Wagyu beef cheeks
braised Wagyu beef cheek

Braised Wagyu beef cheek came next. A fried wantan with beef cheek filling sitting atop a slab of braised Wagyu cheek and oven roast vegetables. While the wantan was an interesting invention, I particularly love the slab of braised beef, it was so soft and smooth you could cut it with a blunt butter knife. Melt in your mouth type of goodness, I am missing it.

This reminds me of the similar dish at Tanzini Upper Deck, but I think executed better here.

Wagyu beef striploin
Wagyu beef striploin

The main course was Wagyu beef striploin with black pepper sauce, garlic beans, horseradish moussline. Contrasting the beef cheek, striploin has a firmer texture but also with a richer taste to it that is released in the process of chewing. The black pepper sauce wasn’t overpowering, and the meat certainly did not disappoint. It was as good as it looked in the photo.

chef Alexander Washi, dessert, the PinkStilettos & Coco Wen (Hotel Manager), Suanie & KY
chef Alexander, dessert, PinkStilettos & Coco Wen (Hotel Manager), Suanie & KY

We concluded the dinner with a serving of very rich chocolate cake with raspberry sauce, fresh raspberries, and a scoop of raspberry sorbet freshly made with PacoJet (I want one!). The dessert was more than up to task as a conclusion to this dinner, as rich and as sinful as the dishes before it.

The 5 course Wagyu beef promotion at The Club Saujana Resort is available for the entire month of July 2012 and is priced at RM 350++ per person. Ala carte menu available too.

The Club at Saujana Resorts, Shah Alam

Address:
The Restaurant
The Club Saujana Resort,
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,

40150 Selangor
GPS3.10781, 101.57930
Tel03-7806 7000
emaildine@theclubsaujanaresort.com

To be honest, when I first heard about I’m Spicy, the image that came up in my mind wasn’t exactly a very classy one. For a place that turned out to look as good and decorated as well as this restaurant, it probably deserves a better name.

What intrigued me at I’m Spicy though, isn’t the name, location, or interior decoration of this place; I was drawn to the restaurant because it serves pork, something that is uncommon when it comes to Thai food in this country, and it is this that marks the biggest difference between I’m Spicy and My Elephant, another modern Thai restaurant at Seksyen 17.

I'm Spicy Thai Restaurant, Seksyen 17
I’m Spicy Thai Restaurant, Seksyen 17

I’m Spicy is located on the same row as Kanna Curry House, on the border between SS 2 and Seksyen 17, two of the more famous dining havens among Klang Valley dwellers. As this isn’t a very hot commercial area, parking is usually a relatively uneventful affair.

The restaurant is fully air conditioned, clean, and very tastefully done. It is however, not very big, and probably not a great idea if you are bringing a party of 30 for a visit without prior call in.

The following photos are taken from 2 different visits to I’m Spicy, once just myself and Haze, another with Suan, Horng, Yuki, Kerol, and Haze too.

house drink, green mango salad, garlic squid
house drink, pamelo salad, garlic squid

The house drink is a blend of pandan, lemongrass, lime, and mint leaves (RM 15 per jug). It was absolutely refreshing, but probably a little too small a jug (more like a small decanter). Good if you are sharing it between two fellas, but for a party of six, it was only a few mouthful per person.

deep fried pork ribs, stir fry kailan, pomelo salad, grilled pork skewers
deep fried pork ribs, stir fry kailan, pomelo salad, grilled pork skewers

I’m Spicy has a tad over half a dozen appetizer and salad dishes. We’ve tried a couple of them. Pamelo salad (RM 25) comes with pomelo tossed in tamarind sauce, green apple, carrots, and deep fried squids. The result is a blend of fresh and slightly sour taste of pomelo mixing up with the savoriness from the squid. Certainly new to me, it was good.

Deep fried chicken skin (RM 12) well, was exactly as advertised. Not as great as your KFC chicken skin, but would certainly still go well with a glass of beer.

jasmine rice, deep fried chicken skin, thai stewed pork leg

jasmine rice, deep fried chicken skin, thai stewed pork leg

The following dishes, while classified under main dish in the menu, aren’t exactly big in serving size, but they are rather delicious.

The deep fried pork ribs (RM 25) is a house speciality here. Ribs marinated in a blend of herbs and spices that is unmistakably Thai, and yet unfamiliar at the same time, I wish the serving was larger.

Grilled pork skewers (RM 18) comes with special Thai dipping sauce – Nahm Jim Jeaw, with the meat marinated in galangal, lemongrass, and garlic, then chargrilled.  I really want to know how to make this for my own BBQ, it was better than any satay I’ve ever had.

Thai stewed pork leg (RM 25) was something that I insisted on ordering. It comes with an egg that’s about a 3/4 way cooked, some salted vegetable, and fatty pork leg that’s succulent and falls off from the bones to the touch. It reminds me of the stew pork from Fatty Duck at restaurant Okay, but presented in a nicer way and carries and extra hint of Thai flavoring. Unfortunately, it was also twice as pricey.

The vegetable dish we tried was the rather standard kailan with salted fish (RM 15). It served it’s purpose as the only green plate in a sea of brown and red.

thick soup and clear soup seafood tomyam, red curry with pork
thick soup and clear soup seafood tomyam, red curry with pork

I’ve tried both thick and clear soup tomyam from  I’m Spicy ( RM 15/20 for chicken, RM 18/30 for seafood). The photo on the left was the large portion with thick tomyam, on the right, small and clear. Both versions were top notch, and we wished it the serving was larger.

The red curry comes with either chicken or pork, and we had the latter (RM 18/24), it too was very good. We had initially thought we were going to get the green curry, but the mistake turned out to be a blessing.

red ruby waterchestnuts crushed ice, mango with sticky rice
red ruby waterchestnuts crushed ice, mango with sticky rice

As with any respectable Thai restaurant, I’m Spicy also serves two of my favorite Thai desserts – red ruby (RM 7) and mango with sticky rice (RM 9). The red ruby certainly didn’t disappoint, and mango with sticky rice is best shared with 3-4 person. The desserts are delicious.

Haze, Suan, Horng, Yuki, Kerol, KY
Haze, Suan, Horng, Yuki, Kerol, KY

My impression of I’m Spicy is very positive … if you don’t take pricing into account. Another qualm I have with I’m Spicy is the serving size. Other than tomyam and curry which comes in two different sizes, everything else comes in only one size – relatively small.

Ultimately, I’m Spicy is a little too pricey for a restaurant that is located at the less glamourous part of PJ, but if you don’t mind paying Changkat prices, you probably won’t regret paying this restaurant a visit.

more photos at KYspeaks facebook page

map to I'm Spicy Thai restaurant, Petaling Jaya Seksyen 17

Address:
I’m Spicy Thai Restaurant
1, Ground Floor, Jalan 17/45,
46400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.11875, 101.62982
Tel: 03-7954 2281
Webwww.imspicy.com.my
Hours: Everyday for lunch and dinner, except Tuesday 

A couple weeks ago a bunch of us were invited to Al-Amar Express at Fahrenheit 88 for the Happy Hour promotion and a bit of food. The event turned out to be a definition of excess, and a textbook reference of good times.

Al Amar Express at Fahrenheit 88
Al Amar Express at Fahrenheit 88

Like most people, I had the unfortunate generalization that Al-Amar Express is a middle eastern food joint (which was correct), and hence must not serve alcohol (which wasn’t).

cocktails at Al Amar Express
cocktails at Al Amar Express

In fact, the Al Amar “lets meet up…” wines and cocktails menu has several selections of Lebanese wines, popular beers, whisky, spirits, and some 10 different types of cocktails.

From 4pm to 8pm, buy 2 cocktails and get 1 free. The same thing applies to beer as well.

wine, strawberry margarita, beer
Lebanese wine, strawberry margarita, Corona beer

Before food was being served, we already got the night started with some mojito, Corona beer, wine, and margarita. Perfect start to the evening if you ask me.

hummus, Lebanese chickpea and eggplant dip, pita bread, haloumi salad
hummus, Lebanese chickpea and eggplant dip, pita bread, haloumi salad

After a bit of chit chat and making sure everyone had something to drink, the food arrived.

We started out with some warm pita bread. Dipping them into hummus (RM 12.90) or those very interesting chickpea and eggplant (moutabal RM 12.90) as you would with chips and salsa, except the experience is quite a bit richer, and definitely more refined (for something that is eaten with hand)

The haloumi salad (RM 20) is another exquisite dish that I’ve never tasted – with fried haloumi cheese, herb crust crouton, cherry tomato, and vinaigrette dressing on top of a bed of rocket. The fried cheese was a revelation, slightly crispy on the outside, and definitely cheesy within. It was very good!

tabbouleh, warak enab, grilled chicken salad
tabbouleh, warak enab, grilled chicken salad

Tabbouleh is a uniquely Arabic salad with finely chopped tomato, Italian parsley, and mint. The taste was very… refreshing.

Another salad we tried was the grilled chicken salad (RM 20), and this came with a generous portion of grilled chicken breast topped with aioli dressing. The marinate definitely leave a Lebanese signature in this dish.

Warak enab is these spring roll look-alike with ground lamb, rice, and spices all chopped up and wrapped in grape leaves. I find it a little too sour and salty, perhaps it is an acquired taste, or just a case of Al Amar sticking to the traditional recipe too closely.

spinach fatayer, cheese roll, lamb sambousik,
spinach fatayer, cheese roll, lamb sambousik,

Spinach fatayer, cheese roll, and lamb sambousik  (RM 8.50 each) were definitely the type of finger food best with some beer or cocktail. I don’t think further explanation is needed. Deep fried food always go well with alcohol.

Lebanese pizzas, shawarma and flame grilled chicken
Lebanese pizzas, shawarma and flame grilled chicken

And as we thought our collective stomaches were starting to get a bit full, the main dishes came.

First to be served were spicy chicken cheese (RM 17.90) and kafta with cheese manakeesh (RM 17.90) were both very delicious. They looked exactly like pizzas, but the taste was definitely different, a tad of saltiness, a kick of spiciness, and that savory taste from the meat. If I could only get these delivered…

The other main dishes were grilled whole chicken (RM 38) that comes in spicy and non spicy versions. The portion was enough to be shared between 2-3 adults. They too, carry the distinctive Lebanese taste.

Finally, we also tried the chicken and beef shawarma (RM 24.90 each). They were a bit like the kebab meat, but served loosely on a plate with pita bread.

a bunch of guys and gals who are completely full and half drunk
a bunch of guys and gals who are completely full and half drunk

The session at Al Amar was rather enjoyable, there were good food, drinks, and excellent company. Ultimately, I thought the food at Al Amar was a little bit too one dimensional if you will. Everything stays very close to a distinctive taste that is undoubtedly Lebanese.

For a food review session, it gets a little bit monotonous, but to have a change of pace from other cuisines, a dinner at Al Amar surely wouldn’t disappoint, just don’t order the warak enab.

map to Fahrenheit 88, KL

Address:
Al Amar Express
Fahrenheit 88
Lot G44, Ground Floor,
Buking Bintang, KL
GPS3.14748, 101.71283
Tel03-2141 3814