Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Big Day Part 2

Good thing being a birthday boy is that I have the say in everything on the eve and on my birthday itself (^_^) Jenn was kind enough to let me decide on EVERYTHING - where we go, what we do and what to eat. On Saturday, both of us had all the day for ourselves and we headed to a place that both of us frequented a lot in the past - Sg. Wang! But first we had breakfast near Imbi.. and shopped around until 1pm before going back home to rest.

The main agenda was once again - dinner!!! As we had Western style wine & dine the other night, I suggested to eat seafood Chinese style this time. However, we didn't want to go too far from our home and so those seafood restaurants in PJ area were viable choices. King Crab? Pantai Seafood??? No no no... Lala Chong Seafood Restaurant :)

Wait a minute! Isn't Lala Chong located near Subang Airport? It was. But the last time I went there, I'd been told that they were going to move to another place to move way for highway development. They had already opened an outlet in Ara Damansara but how many of you know that they have another spanking new outlet in Kg. Kayu Sg. Ara??? That's right... you heard me, Sg. Ara in PJ!!!!!!! I didn't know about it at the beginning until Jenn told me about it (apparently, one of her customers is a loyal diner at Lala Chong).

A quick googling revealed that this place has already been reviewed by several floggers. Conveniently, it is located just a little further away from Pantai Seafood itself. We arrived at 7pm, just before the dinner crowd started to pour in. Parking was available at that time, and both of us even managed to get a table in the air-conditioned area despite many tables were being booked.

Even though the weather was fine outside, we opted to sit in the air-conditioned area as both of us hate the smell of cigarettes. We wouldn't wanna take chances and risk to be seated next to smokers. (sorry no offense to smokers ok?)

Superior Taufu Soup - this dish is similar to shark fin soup but without the controversial meat :) with diced prawns, squid and taufu inside eggy starch-like soup... simply delicious! I had almost 70% of it... stomach was bloated in the end.

Lala in superior stock - Lala Chong's signature dish! The cili padi and shredded ginger provided extra oompphh to the soup itself.

The fresh and succulent clams or lala... close up!

Paku-pakis with tuna - one of my must order dish when it comes to Lala Chong. The tuna added some sweetness to the veggie on top of the spicy taste by the presence of cili padi.

Deep fried prawn with butter milk - simply divine! The prawns were already stripped off their shells before stir fried with the creamy butter milk.

Finger lickin' good!!! Each and every prawn was covered by the rich and creamy butter milk.

It seems that the satay stall has also followed them from Kg. Subang to the spanking new warehouse-like restaurant. Located just outside next to the open air dining area, you will spot it right away.

Leo's verdict - total bill is RM62.70 inclusive of 10% tax which is considered cheap. A quick chat with the waitress revealed that they have moved here about 3 months ago. There are so many seafood restaurants in PJ that worth mentioning such as King Crab & Pantai Seafood. But I can proudly say that Lala Chong is my perennial favourite of all time. Back to those days when I was working with Thule in Glenmarie, this place was the favourite haunt for me and my company... company annual dinner, dinner with Thule Delegates from Sweden, after work dinner with colleagues, etc... now that they have moved here, it only takes me less than 5 minutes to feast on my favourite dishes in the future. I'm sure to be back for crabbie and fish next time... stay tuned!

Lala Chong Seafood Restaurant @ Lot:13556, Jalan Cempaka, Kayu Ara (Tel:03-77281906)

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Big Day Part 1

**Put all the back logs away and decided to post on my birthday instead this time... divided into two parts.

Back to reality! Back to this little town where my factory is located... in other words, back to work!

Good thing is that I feel recharged after spending the last weekend in KL, minus the baby. Jenn & I left Sher Ryn in the care of her mom while we took off to KL on Thursday night, as she had some works to do on Friday.

Not many people know that 24th October is my birthday, which also coincide with Sultan Pahang's birthday. But it makes no difference to KL-ites... as it's a normal day to all of them. Back to those days when I was just a little kid, I felt so proud everytime my birthday arrived as it was always public holiday. When I came to study in KL, I had to live my life like KL-ites.. no holiday unless it fell on weekends. And it continued for another few years when I started working in KL until I came back here in 2005.

On Friday (that's the eve of my birthday!), Jenn proposed to go to Ribs by Vintry. She knows that I'm a huge fan of anything to do with pork... well, with the exception of the spare parts :) and on top of that, both of us had been talking about dine & wine, a luxury that both of us don't get to do often... not when there's a little monster who always crave for attention from her parents. As for me, after reading AWOL's and kampungboycitygal's blogs... I agreed right away!

It was raining when we arrived around 7++pm... and as expected, parking was oh-so-difficult to find. I dropped Jenn in front of the outlet and asked her to look for a table first (knowing that it's not easy to find a table on Friday evening) while I drove a few hundred metres away and parked my car on the side of the road near the housing area. It has rustic interior but in a modern kind of way and the lightings are not too dim. However, it will require a stable pair of hands to take pictures without flash for a more natural effect.

Extensive wine collection is made available on the shelves (arrange library style.. only it's wine and not book) that you will definitely see once you step into the outlet. Whatever you are looking for - cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, pinot noir, bla bla bla.. they have it.

I spotted my favourite drink - Moet & Chandon Imperial Brut costing RM288! But I recalled that it cost only RM250 a bottle in Tasting Room (Bangsar)...

Both of us settled for Fire Road Pinot Noir 2008... from Marlborough region in New Zealand. This area is famous for its grape and wine production in NZ, as I went there once for wine tasting during my days in University of Otago. Good thing is that it is only RM77! The wine was a little bit spicy but after having with the meat, it just got better and better!

For starters, we ordered 100gm of their signature roasted pork at RM7. Crispy skin with higher lean meat ratio to the fat (which I prefer), it is considered cheap by normal standard as a plate of roasted pork rice already cost RM5 in KL. Heavenly! (although the meat was a bit cold when it was served on our table)

We also ordered burschetta RM12... consisted of anchovies (which explain the rather salty taste), fried pork bacon bits, capers and diced tomatoes on top of toasted bread. Finished in no time!

Braised pork ribs - the ribs were braised with red wine sauce and served with rosemary baked potatoes and coleslaw. Contrary to what kampungboycitygal wrote, the ribs that were covered in a rich and thick brown sauce was fork tender and literally fell of the bone. Inconsistent maybe?

BBQ pork ribs @ RM39 (medium portion) - I was feeling greedy at the beginning as I planned to go for the barbarian ribs instead. But when I realised that we had ordered 2 starters, I played safe and ordered a medium one. Definitely one of the best pork ribs in town (if not the best) that was served on a bed of mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes were great too as it was covered with the sauce from the BBQ ribs! Forgetting all the manners, I put my knife and fork away... used my hands to pick up the delectable pork ribs and devour it like a hungry tiger.

Leo's verdict - By the time we finished the dinner, the rain had already stopped. A little bit tipsy, both of us walked to the car.. and I got to placed my hand on her shoulder and held her close to me before planting a kiss on her lips (18 SX!!!). Sorry no pictures on the kissing, just our happy looks while dining there.

No No!!! It's not the end, since the night was still early... we went to Jaya One and ended up at Brussel's Beer Cafe. The place was full of people having beer, celebrating Oktoberfest!

Both of us had the Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier @ RM18 per half pint... and went home after that!

Oh yes, these were what I got as birthday present from Jenn (^_^)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bubur Nasi Istimewa No.1 @ Jalan Sutera, Taman Sentosa, Johor Bahru

We arrived in JB quite late at 9pm or so. Feeling tired, we checked into our hotel and were quite lazy to go out after the whole day journey from KL-Melaka-JB. But I had promised my cousin (who lives in JB) to meet up somewhere in JB city centre for supper. It has been quite some time since we met up... very close cousins even when we were little kids. Dragging our lazy ass out, Gerald and I drove to Taman Sentosa following my Garmin's instruction. Something was not right as my Garmin pointed me the other way... but following my instinct, I drove the other way until I reached the intended destination. There are actually 2 Taman Sentosa in JB so please be careful and go to the one nearest to the city centre.

Jalan Sutera is the main road in Taman Sentosa when you turn in from Tebrau Highway. This area used to be gangster territory, with a lot of vice activities during its prime. My friend once told me that he saw gangsters chasing their targets using parang and steel rods... happened right in front of his eyes while having supper nearby. There were a lot of karaoke, night clubs and disco in the surrounding area too... but now only a handful left.

You would notice a row of roadside stalls as you drive along this stretch. As for landmark, if you see 7-11... you are there! Parking is relatively easy to find... and please proceed to look for a stall with the name "Bubur Nasi Istimewa No.1". Quite a funny name if you ask me. Oh yes, the operators were quite loud too... yelling their stalls' specialties.

The whole place is brightly lid and quite noisy with the patrons chatting the night away...

At the stall, they have already prepared the condiments to be mixed together with your bubur (porridge)... basically it's like Teo Chew porridge where you are given a bowl of porridge and you select the side dishes with stir fried kangkung belacan, cockles (ham), and sambal ikan bilis among others.

The condiments include peanuts, belacan, pickled vegetable and salted egg. You only have to put everything (except the salted egg) into the porridge, stir it and eat it!

Their kangkung belacan was to die for... freshly stir fried with slightly fiery belacan!

The sambal ikan bilis was great too! Sprinkle the lime onto the dish to give extra sourish taste on top of the spicy belacan! Yummy...

Ikan pari bakar - fresh but I think the spicy sauce had overpowered the taste of the fish!

Leo's verdict - this place is normally packed with supper crowd even though they are opened from dinner time onwards. The total bill came at RM22.50... which I considered quite cheap. I think that this was the first time I broke my principle of not having supper :) I've been so tactful for so many years...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Peranakan Food @ Bibik Neo

This was my second time eating Peranakan food while in Melaka, the first one being in Ole Sayang (also in Melaka Raya) a few months back. I didn't bring camera at that time and therefore I didn't manage to blog about that place. This time, I made sure that my trusty Ixus was in my bag before starting my business trip. Coming out from Chuang Chun Herbal, it was still sunny and hot along Jalan Merdeka.

Finally this restaurant was opened for business... from the outside, you can notice that its design was influenced by the Peranakan culture.

A few tables were already taken by the time we entered the restaurant. We were served relatively quick as the dinner crowd had not come in yet. Observing around, the interior was kept simple without any fancy decoration or design. Wooden tables were covered with plastic cloth... I suspect that everything was kept original from day one, of course with some minor refurbishment from time to time.

Then I spotted the tikar placed on top of the ceiling.. I asked the waitress and she proudly announced that it was unique as they were the only restaurant that did the ceiling that way!

Complimentary prawn crackers were served once we placed our order. Crispy and non-oily.

It didn't take too long before the dishes came, starting with the nyonya version of otak-otak. Taste-wise it was similar to those Muar but personally, I thought it was great! A lot of fish meat inside, generous portion and how could I forget? The smell of lemongrass...

Chicken devil with potatoes - please skip this dish as there was absolutely tasteless apart from being spicy. The meat was tender and soft though!

Omelette with cincalok (small shrimps) - a bit oily but it was OK for me. This dish was absolutely appetising despite being a bit salty.

Prawn lemak nanas - highlight of the day! The aroma of pineapple in the curry gravy plus the fresh prawns had me adding another bowl of rice (something which I normally wouldn't do unless it's that damn good!)

Bendi steam with sambal belacan - simple concept but the secret lies with the sambal belacan that was quite spicy but went very well with the bendi.

Itik Tim - this is basically duck soup with salted vegetable. Those who like salted veggie definitely love this soup but the duck meat was tasteless and quite tough to chew.

Leo's verdict - One of the few famous authentic Nyonya restaurants in Melaka Raya. My friend even said that a trip down to Melaka is not complete without trying the Peranakan food. He's right!

Restoran Bibik Neo @ Jalan Merdeka, Melaka Raya (just a few doors away from Chuang Chun Herbal ;)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Chuang Chun Herbal @ Jalan Merdeka, Melaka Raya

Once in a while, I would go outstation for business trips. Normally I would head down South as most of my customers are concentrated in Melaka & Johor region. And I would ask my client to bring me to those nice places to eat while I'm there as it's easier to have a local to show me the way than trying to find it alone. But this time, I could only make it for dinner because I had to rush down to Johor after that. As I want to eat Peranakan food, my client took me to Melaka Raya... but the restaurant only opened its door for business at 6pm (we arrived 15 min earlier) so we parked out car and checked out nearby shops.

We noticed this herbal shop a few doors away. Even at this hour, the sun was still scorching hot and therefore, we decided to eat herbal jelly (guai ling gou) to cool our body. The layout of this outlet is similar to the most common herbal shop in Klang Valley... Kong Woh Tong.

Its interior is influenced by Oriental concept - oriental style tables and chairs, antique porcelain wares and paintings on the wall.

What differentiate Chuang Chun with Kong Woh Tong is the variety of selection of its herbal jelly. While the latter only serves original flavour, the former went further by offering other flavours... such as menthol, pearl, tian qi (a kind of chinese herb), lau san ginseng and longan herbal jellies. Intriqued, we placed order for their original, menthol and pearl herbal jelly.

Menthol herbal jelly - relieving of heatiness, soothing of throat, alleviating of discomfort of smoking & drinking, and diminishing of pimples and acnes. Basically it has the same effect as the original one but with the cooling flavour of menthol. The pearl herbal jelly is purportedly effective in rejuvenating effect & slowing of aging process, as well as relieving of heatiness and stopping of cough.

Leo's verdict - something different and refreshing from what I usually had in Kong Woh Tong. If only they offer menthol version like Chuang Chun does. It's jelly texture is firmer compared to those of Kong Woh Tong's which I prefer rather than soft and watery. Of course, apart from herbal jelly they also has other choices such as herbal tea, wong lou kat with super duper bitter powder (something that ciki didn't believe in due to her science belief).

Chuang Chun Herbal Sdn Bhd
No.22 A&B, Jalan Merdeka, Melaka Raya
Tel: 06-2815705

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Joe Wong Bak Kut Teh @ Batu Caves, KL

Normally I wouldn't eat bah kut teh 2 days in a row. I just had one of my favourite BKT in Kepong the night before and therefore, I would look for other stuff to eat. But when Gerald sent his Landcruiser to Batu Caves for servicing, he asked me to pick him up on our way down South. "Do you know any place to eat BKT?" he asked. This guy just won't get bored having the same stuff everyday, I thought. We just had BKT last night... sigh! Then I remember reading about a restaurant serving one of the best dry version of BKT nearby. Thank God I brought the food guide along too (thanks to Jenn for the wonderful gift) so I browsed to see if there's any restaurant nearby.

Nothing fancy from the outside, just a big sign with its name and pictures of their dishes. Sliding glass door separate the interior from outside. Even though it's indoor, sometimes you would see some inconsiderate patrons who smoked like chimneys inside... feel like going to their table, throw the ciggies onto the floor, step on them and shout "Tak Nak!" On the inside, everything was simple... plastic tables and chairs, cement floor. No fancy decoration or design whatsoever.

As there were only 2 of us, we could not order too many dishes to try. Almost every table had a pot of dry BKT and so it only made sense that I ordered one too. It turned out to be the best dry BKT that I ever had so far. The scrumptious dry BKT was prepared using the chef's specially-made soy sauce together with dried chilly & dried squid, and served piping hot in a claypot.. It only took one bite to win us over with its strong aroma of dried squid and spicy-ness of the dried chilly.

The other signature dish was Braised Pork with Nut & Chinese mushroom... a traditional Hokkien treat. The pork is marinated with liquorice, soy sauce, cassia and five spices and then wrapped in gauze with peanuts, chinese mushroom, chestnuts & lastly braised until the meat becomes tender and soft... using with just a piece of cloth! This dish tasted just like tung po meat (different version compared to the Cantonese style). The sinful meat with fat layer on top and lean meat at the bottom was covered in the rather sweet gravy. Good to go with rice~

Yaw Mak with garlic and oyster sauce.. another ordinary dish but we need the green to make us less guilty for having such a heavy breakfast :)

This is the second time I went back to Joe Wong's. This time I took Jenn along to try the dry BKT and she agreed that this was the best dry BKT she had ever tried in years. Apart from that, we also ordered normal BKT. Served in a claypot, the soup was nothing compared to the one I had at Ka Ka (Kepong) or Ah Sang (Sri Setia). Decent but not spectacular. However, they were quite generous with the meat and fu chuk despite ordering portion for one only.

The yaw char koay was chrunchy which I'm quite particular everytime I eat BKT. I hate those soft ones.

Leo's verdict - the dry bah kut teh definitely warrant a visit to this restaurant. I noticed that the steamed fish head was quite popular with the patrons as well. The other dish include HK style braised duck in claypot that I want to try.

Joe Wong Bah Kut Teh
No.8, Jalan SBC 4, Taman Seri Batu Caves, 68000 Selangor
Tel: 012-3442663
Time: 8am - 10pm