Thursday, November 29, 2007

In peace, with the Lord, Aunt Catherine rests

I haven't been blogging this week, been spending alot of time at the hospital with my aunt who was gravely ill. She has gone home to the Lord today, and this post is in memory of her. Aunt Catherine, may you have eternal peace under God's care. Amen.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Weekend Cat Blogging (Week of 24th November 2007)

Mankie was a naughty boy recently. He jumped onto the window ledge and landed his front paws on the turtle aquarium, with his back legs still dangling. His weight dragged the aquarium down the window ledge (toward himself) and spilled the contents onto him and onto the floor. Luckily the poor turtles were ok, if slightly shaken. Mommy had to mop the floor, clean Mankie up and find the turtles a new home.

Mankie was a heap of guilt after the incident. Too embarrased to even look at mommy.

I didn't do it, nobody saw me doing it, you can't prove anything!

Naughty boys stand in the corner.

This week's WCB is hosted by House of The (Mostly) Black Cats, do pop by to check out the kitty realm!

Cooking at home

These past weeks have seen us cooking at home quite a bit.
We experimented with Bak Kut Teh (herbal pork soup). This packet of instant Bak Kut Teh ingredients contained 2 sachets of powdered herbs and spices, and 1 packet of soya sauce, enough for about 1kg of meat.

All we had to do was add meat, whole garlic bulbs, vegetables and water for a hearty Bak Kut Teh meal.

Sweet and sour (and slightly spicy) pork chops.

Long beans and coriander omellete.

Garlic shoots with prawns in spicy, peppery, oyster sauce.

And last night, we had baked chicken marinated with blended "stuff" (lemongrass, ginger, onions, chillies, garlic, turmeric, lime, sugar, sesame oil, Shiaoxing wine, fish sauce, santan), with sides of mashed potatoes and stirfried garlic french beans.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thye Hong @ Pavilion Mall's Food Republic, Kuala Lumpur

It was just mom-in-law, hubby (to-be) and me wandering around the newly opened The Pavilion mall in KL, when we went to the lower ground floor and stumbled upon a food heaven. They call it the Food Republic (fancy name for a food court that looked equally fancy). Boy oh boy, we were spoilt for choice.
We walked almost the entire floor and finally saw an outlet that really piqued our interest. There were long queues in front of Thye Hong (always a good sign!).

Upon closer examination, we saw this man in a glass "cubicle" adjacent to the main counter, busy frying eggs and huge, luscious-looking oysters! How could we resist?!

After queueing for a bit, we got our plate of o'chien (fried oysters with eggs). This one's a little different from the Penang version, as the eggs and oysters were fried separately; the oysters were only topped onto the eggs (rather than being mixed IN the eggs). But they sure served jumbo-sized oysters at RM7.00/plate.

The fried kuey teow (RM6.50) was nothing to shout about, though. Plain and without prawns, we've tasted better!

A better deal would be the fried kueh kak (carrot cake) at RM6.50. The carrot cake was fried with slightly-burnt edges, and the tastyness of the soya sauce and other ingredients penetrated into the carrot cake itself. It came served with a big helping of eggs.
Do also check out Masak-Masak's post on the Food Republic at The Pavilion.

Food Republic
Lower Ground Floor,
The Pavilion,
Jalan Bukit Bintang,
Kuala Lumpur.

Our rating system for overall satisfaction with what we eat and where we eat....

1-bam = don't even bother

2-bam = good enough to fill the tummy

3-bam = a very good restaurant in its category

4-bam = excellent cooking, worth a detour

5-bam = exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey

We would give Thye Hong a 3-bam rating.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bora Asmara, Kampung Sungai Penchala, Kuala Lumpur

I don't think we have ever experienced a really bad food review before, well, unfortunately for us, this would be the first. Bora Asmara easily qualifies as the worst restaurant we've reviewed (and ever been to) so far, in terms of food and price (vs quality of food and service). This place would be a perfect candidate for the show "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares". We read about this place sometime back, in the newspaper, and thought it was worth checking out, what with the promise of a Balinese ambience, soft romantic lights and candles and al-fresco dining. So we took mom-in-law-to-be and the clan to try this place out last Sunday night.
Walking into the restaurant with the warm glowing lights, the water feature in the landscaping, the cosy gazebo/al fresco seating gave us a good first impression. Once we started ordering, that good first impression started to fade really quickly. When asked if we could have iced water, the waiter told us very frankly that "Management does not approve providing iced water. We used to provide iced water, but management has stopped that. Everyone must order a drink from the menu." That was a serious PR blunder as far as we were concerned, it made "management" appear to be very mercenary......"management" has some serious rethinking to do.

I ordered the "Mak Bonda's Special". On the menu it was described as "Tenggiri fish fried rice with fresh ulam kampung". What arrived on my plate in reality was plain pale fried rice (the rice itself had no substance and was quite tasteless; no prawns, no ikan bilis, nothing at all but a few pea/corn/carrot mix - the type you get from the frozen mixed veg bag in the supermarket) with sambal belacan on the side. The "tenggiri fish" turned out to be a single miserly piece of pandan-wrapped chicken (no fish in sight!). "Fresh ulam kampung" turned out to be a few slices of cucumber, tomatoes, julienned carrots and salad leaves (the type you get with chicken chop). This was a gross misrepresentation of what was stated on the menu, especially the missing tenggiri (which was arbitrarily substituted with chicken)! The plate of tasteless, nearly substanceless fried rice with a single piece of pandan-wrapped chicken (and NO tenggiri fish) cost RM10.90!

Uncle CT ordered the "Bangkok Fried Rice with Crispy Beef". As Uncle CT could not eat beef, he requested for the beef to be replaced with chicken (any type of chicken would do). The waiter had the audacity to tell Uncle CT that he would check if the kitchen staff would "agree to this". Apparently, the kitchen staff decided NOT to accede to Uncle CT's request, and omitted the crispy beef from his plate WITHOUT replacing it with any other type of meat, and without telling us about their arbitrary decision. What turned up on Uncle CT's plate was equally plain, substanceless fried rice, with a side of keropok and raw cucumbers, cabbage, long beans and onions. NO chicken to replace the missing beef. No main meat dish whatsoever. Imagine paying RM10.90 for this plain fried rice. We had been ripped off!

Mom-in-law-to-be ordered the "Nasi Lemak Nyonya" which was supposedly a house specialty, comprising of "chicken, prawn sambal, beef rendang and Nyonya acar". Ok, no ingredients missing from this platter, but the pandan-wrapped chicken she got was a backbone with barely any flesh. Normally, in making pandan-wrapped chicken, nobody would use the bony parts with barely any meat. The ikan bilis was hard as nails and not crispy, as if "sudah masuk angin". The portion of the sides were miserly. At RM15.90, we would have expected a dish of better substance and a heartier portion.

Hubby-to-be ordered the "Oriental Chicken Chop". We would have imagined "oriental" to mean grilled or pan-fried chicken chop with savoury gravy. What turned up was heavily-breaded chicken deep fried till the entire piece tasted like a hard, overcooked biscuit. The chicken meat itself was tasteless and dry. The sweet gravy came in a tiny saucer, with not enough for the portion of chicken. Hubby-to-be described eating the hard biscuit-like chicken without gravy akin to eating burnt toast without butter/jam. This culinary disaster took the cake at RM16.90.

Bro-in-law-to-be ordered "Indonesian Pecel Lele" which was 2 pieces of fried catfish with raw vegetables and sambal belacan (RM12.90), eaten with a side order of plain rice (RM1.50). His was the only dish which did not turn out as disastrous and disappointing (though it was by no means great either!).

The cendol was another rip off at RM7.90. The tall slim sundae glass that it was served in made it very difficult for us to mix the plain ice at the top with the syrup and cendol at the bottom. We had to finish the scoop of ice cream at the top carefully, or risk it toppling down. The cendol itself was neither creamy nor authentic in taste, very diluted with the mountain of ice.

Other drinks ordered were apple juice (served in a slim glass) at RM4.90, and mango tea served in a small teapot at RM5.90. We noticed that "management" was really stingy with portions and there was absolutely no quality control. Our total bill came up to RM96.45 (inclusive of a 10% service charge of RM8.77). The prices were over-inflated for food of such poor substance and minimal ingredients, not to mention such bad cooking! We have had cafeteria food which was better than this, in taste and in substance. Service was unprofessional and the PR skills of the waiter was unbelievably below-par.

We would not recommend this place to anyone if it were the last restaurant on earth (yes, that's how bad it was!). For the unsuspecting victims, expect to pay premium price for the ambience, the small band which goes from table to table, and have "management" compensate that by skimping on food ingredients/portions (to cut cost?) and be served with food that is severely compromised in quality. Having settled the exorbitant bill, we were left feeling very cheated and unsated. Bora Asmara was all style and no substance.

Bora Asmara

Lot 2933, Kampung Sungai Penchala,

Jalan Damansara, 60000 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel/Fax: 03-77260964

No directions will be provided, this restaurant is to be avoided at all costs!

Our rating system for overall satisfaction with what we eat and where we eat....
1-bam = don't even bother
2-bam = good enough to fill the tummy
3-bam = a very good restaurant in its category
4-bam = excellent cooking, worth a detour
5-bam = exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey
We would give this restaurant a 1-bam rating. On second thoughts, a negative-bam would be more apt.
*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are entirely based on our personal experience and taste preference and may vary from others'.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Restaurant Ang Kee (2nd Post), SS2, Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Mom-in-law-to-be was in town over the weekend, so we had a little family gathering over dinner at Ang Kee Restaurant. It was a crowded Saturday night, we had to wait a couple of minutes for a table. As we waited, we saw many tables with a hollowed-out pumpkin with filling. It looked rather unique and we wanted to try it, but unfortunately, it was sold out. So we ordered these instead......

Braised Black Pepper Long Bone Ribs (RM28.00 for 2 ribs). The meat was very tender and separated easily from the bones. As far as ribs go, these had a lot of meat, and from the looks of it, the ribs were cooked in slow heat for a long time. Taste-wise, it was pretty good, though I prefer my ribs bbq-ed and slathered with sweet sauce. Hubby-to-be had a field day cleaning out the bones.

Had to let mom and family try the famous Butter Mantis Prawns in creamy gravy (RM15.00). As expected, everyone loved this rich, decadent dish.

The Spicy Nyonya Chicken (RM16.00) reminded us of Thai fried chicken. The chicken was coated and fried in spicy batter, and the dish topped with generous heaps of onions and a sweet-sour lime gravy.....tasted really tangy, this dish can really give you onion breath.

Had to try the much-hyped Tofu Egg (RM8.00). Silky soft tofu, wrapped in fried eggs and then steamed in soya sauce + Chinese wine (the wine was slightly overwhelming). This unique combination is one of Ang Kee's signature dishes.

Ang Kee's version of 4 Heavenly King vegetables; consisting of brinjal, long beans, okra and 4-angle beans stir fried with belacan. At RM8.00, we had a pretty generous helping.

Plain rice was RM1.00/plate, Chinese tea was RM5.00/pot for 5. The total bill came up to RM85.00 for 5 diners, not too pricey considering we went home stuffed to the neck, finishing every delicious morsel on all the plates. Now that's what I call a great meal!

For our previous post on this restaurant, click here.

Restaurant Ang Kee
# 50, Jalan SS2/10,
47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Mobile: 012-2747148 (M. K. Ang)
Mobile: 019-2133205/016-3417812 (Shawn Ang Kee Chiews)

This restaurant is in the SS2 Chow Yeang area, same row as Kayu Nasi Kandar, a few shoplots away. Huge signboard that reads Ang Kee, you can't miss it.

Our rating system for overall satisfaction with what we eat and where we eat....

1-bam = don't even bother
2-bam = good enough to fill the tummy
3-bam = a very good restaurant in its category
4-bam = excellent cooking, worth a detour
5-bam = exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey

We would give this restaurant a 4-bam rating.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dinner at home

We went shopping last weekend and stumbled upon a bottle of magic. Chilli crab gravy (sweet, sour and spicy) in an instant, and it tastes as authentic as that found in a restaurant!

The sales promoter let me have a try and I was so enamoured with it that I bought a bottle though it costs a cool RM6.90 (for 250g).

Along with it, we bought a kg of lala and used up 2/3 of the bottle on our lala.

We had some Tom Yam soup left.

Fried up some tofu, eaten dipped in chilli sauce.

Always need a meat dish, this time with french beans.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Weekend Cat Blogging (Week of 10th November 2007)

This weekend's WCB is hosted by Sher and Upsie kitty at What Did You Eat? Do drop by and check out the kitty blogroll for the week.

During last weekend's homecoming, I had a fun moment playing with the alleycats that paid a visit to future mom-in-law's back garden.

Three sibblings in a row....wary yet curious.

The fourth sibbling was more daring and friendly, kitty came over for a pat and ear rubs.

Kitty likes the fussing.
Kitty even fell sideways in anticipation of a tummy rub. Cutiepie!

Homemade Seafood Tom Yam

I love making's usually so simple, throw everything into boiling water and wait. Making Tom Yam isn't quite as simple, though. There's a few rounds of sieving involved, some blending and some sauteeing involved in the entire process.
I bought about 700g of prawns just to collect the shells to prepare the stock. To this, I added dried squid and ikan bilis to make the stock thicker and tastier.

Once prawn shells and co. have been boiled till all juices have melded into the water, sieve and get rid of all solids. I was left with a seafood stock which had the consistency of soap water haha!
Chop/crush/slice up all the herbs and vegetable-related ingredients for boiling.....lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, red and green chillies, birds' eye chillies, bunga kantan (torch ginger), limes......
.....onions and garlic.......


.......abalone mushrooms.........

Blend and sautee a paste consisting of lemongrass, chillies, galangal, ginger, garlic & onions.

Add some Tom Yam paste from the bottle.

A couple spoonfuls of Thai chilli paste goes nicely with the concoction.

Tear up some coriander leaves for garnishing.

Add seafood (we used prawns and squid) and some santan (coconut milk) toward the end of cooking when the broth is almost ready, garnish with coriander leaves, and voila! Serve with piping hot rice.

Friday, November 9, 2007

New Paris Restaurant, SS2, Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Who would not know the famous New Paris Restaurant of SS2? For PJ/KL dwellers, it's almost like an institution in itself, a story of rags to riches. It started out as a ramshackle roadside wooden shed near Jasmine Towers with an insane amount of business and a couple of years back, moved to a spanking new shophouse 3 or 4 storeys high, taking up all floors and 3 shoplots. I remember eating at its old location as a teenager whenever my parents and I visited my uncle in PJ. Well it has certainly grown from strength to strength since, and is always crowded to the brim every weekend.

Although we have eaten at New Paris Restaurant countless times, we have almost taken it for granted and never blogged about it. Well, better late than never. The most distinctive thing about New Paris Restaurant is the fact that they use layers of pink disposable plastic in place of table cloth and once your meal is done, the top-most layer of plastic gets wrapped up and disposed environmentalist's nightmare, really.

Rice comes in a pot, and you can take as much as you like....which always makes hubby-to-be happy.
We had the deep-fried lemon chicken. Half a chicken cost us RM15.00. While the chicken was fried to a crisp, the lemon sauce was a tad too thick for my liking. I preferred to dip the chicken in the accompanying sweet-sour chilli sauce, a personal favourite.

Deep-fried squid (!). We certainly were not eating very healthfully last night, what with all the deep fried stuff. But I can never come here without ordering this dish, my perennial favourite. Unlike most other restaurants, New Paris uses squid head with tentacles rather than the body (rings) to cook this dish. All the batter-coated tentacles become really crunchy and tasty after frying, and the batter has a hint of curry powder which makes it perfect. Again, this is eaten with a dash of (ok, I prefer drowning them in) sweet-sour chilli sauce.

Trying to compensate for our unhealthy diet......stir fried baby kailan with salted fish (RM7.00). Crunchy, crunchy, crunchy!

This restaurant rates as one of the most economical restaurants in town, and service is very fast and efficient. Though the restaurant may sometimes be very crowded, you can usually expect food to reach you in less than 10 minutes of ordering.

New Paris Restaurant
# 61, 64, 66, Jalan SS2/72,
47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Tel: 03-79559180, 03-79550186

New Paris is located on the same row as Red Bliss Bridal Shop and a few shops away from Ah Tuan Ee Nyonya Restaurant.

Our rating system for overall satisfaction with what we eat and where we eat....

1-bam = don't even bother
2-bam = good enough to fill the tummy
3-bam = a very good restaurant in its category
4-bam = excellent cooking, worth a detour
5-bam = exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey

We would give this restaurant a 3-bam rating for its quick service, cheap and nice food.