Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kuala Lumpur 2012 - Bak Kut Teh in Klang

Bak Kut Teh in Klang is justly famous so on a recent trip there we seized the opportunity to dine on this delicacy - and at a famous shop to boot. The shop is called Restoran Weng Heong. This was my first time there, but I had read about the place in numerous blogs. 

A typical kopitiam, you wouldn't think it is anything special from the simple shopfront.  But looking at the crowd you know you are onto something special. 

The shop is also famous for this portable stove converted from a gas tank. I get a bit nervous sitting so close to it, but apparently they haven't had any mishaps with this ingenious contraption so far.

There are many pots and pans in the cooking area where the Bak Kut Teh is prepared. Like any good Bak Kut Teh joint, many of the ingredients are cooked separately so that the tastes do not contaminate each other during the cooking process. They are combined just before serving.

So how is the Bak Kut Teh ? It is good !  With just a hint of herbs and spices - all the nice porky flavours have been extracted into the soup without the gaminess that can sometimes spoil the taste. The different cuts of pork were cooked just right and retained their unique texture and flavours - avoiding the mushiness that results from overcooking. I would say this is one of the best Bak Kut Tehs I have tasted so far.

If you like Bak Kut Teh, a visit to this shop is a must. The area is a bit difficult to find so you may need a local to guide you. Getting there from KL is also not easy, but it is worth all the trouble.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kuala Lumpur 2012 - Lunch at La Lot

La Lot is a vietnamese restaurant located at the top floor F&B zone of The Pavilion. The main signage says “by Du Viet”, which is a restaurant group in KL specializing in Vietnamese food. I have not tried any of their outlets before, so this is my first taste of an outlet under the group.


Ever since I had my first taste of Pho - I have fallen in love with it and can't resist ordering the dish at every Vietnamese restaurant. So I ordered their “Pho Bo Dat Biet” - Special Beef Noodle Soup. I also ordered their Bahn Xeo for a try.

The Bahn Xeo came first and it was a bit of a surprise. The Bahn Xeo I had in Vietnam was like egg crepe with savoury fillings. Here they have changed the dish - the filling is the same but the crepe itself has become a fluffy crispy pancake. I liked the texture of the crepe - it was very light and flaky. However the savoury filling lacked flavour - and even after adding the sauce it was still a bit dull. The pickled carrots saved it a little bit by adding some sourish bite.

 When the Pho came, I could see from the colour of the soup that I was going to be disappointed. It was so watered down - just not enough rich flavour of beef to satisfy the palete. The beef slices and chunks were tender enough - but they needed a good chili sauce to really shine. The chili sauce they served on the side was just too mediocre to do the job.


 So a little bit disappointed, but I would still go back to try their other items. The restaurant itself feels cozy enough, and there were some interesting looking dishes on the menu.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Kuala Lumpur 2012 - Ramen at Santouka Hokkaido Ramen

I have never heard of Santouka Ramen, but apparently they are quite a famous chain of ramen shops in Japan, started in Hokkaido in 1988. They now have an outlet in Kuala Lumpur at Tokyo Street in The Pavilion.

A large light fixture in the middle look a bit out of place for a Japanese joint, but otherwise the decor is simple and cozy. What strikes your attention is the large cloth banner at the entancewith the name of the shop written in very nice caligraphy. Like many Japanese restaurants, they have a display case at the entrance with really life-like plastic replicas of the dishes served.

I settled for the Ramen Set which was supposed to come with a Salad, A Chawan Mushi, a Rice topped with Char Siu, and a bowl of Ramen. They were out of Chawan Mushi that night, so substituted it with a hard boiled egg (Tomi Tamago) - a bit of a disappointment for me as I love Chawan Mushi !

For the ramen, you have a choice of 3 soups - Shio (salt flavour), Shoyu (soy sauce flavour), or Miso (miso flavour - a bit spicy). You can also up the size of the noodle serving as the set normally comes with a small serving. An additional RM 2 get you the normal size, and an additional RM 6 get you the large size. I opted for the Shoyu Ramen - large size.

Now for the verdict - the ramen is good ! The soup base has very rich and complex flavours. You can see that they must have boiled the ingredients for a very long time to extract all the flavours  out. In fact it tasted a little bit “funky” - the natural gamey taste of pork that is missing from a lot of modern pigs. The Cha Siu made from belly pork was also great - so tender with all the fatty layers that it melts in your mouth. 

As for the side dishes - the boiled egg was surprisingly good. It was almost done to perfection - the yolk has just reached its jelly stage and tasted really good.

The salad was nothing to shout about. 

The rice topped with Cha Siu Cubes was a nice accompaniment to the ramen - giving you a different starch to carry the flavours of the broth.

A meal at Santouka would set you back around RM 40 per person. Not really cheap, but you are getting good quality food that has been prepared with a lot of heart and soul. Recommended.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chinese New Year 2012 - Day 1 Dinner

My brother had brought back a special dish from Singapore for our Day 1 Dinner. It was a "Poon Choi"  - a one bowl dish from a popular Cantonese restaurant. "Poon Choi" originated from China, and you can read about its history in Wikipedia here. It is basically a dish where all the ingredients are placed into a single large bowl and cooked together. Traditionally a simple peasant dish - nowadays it has been elevated to culinary heaven and can be quite pricey. It is meant to be eaten layer by layer, but since my brother had to bring the dish back from Singapore, they mixed all the ingredients together and the sauce was packed separately.

 The dish cost quite a bit when converted into Malaysian Ringgit - about RM 1,000 -  because it contains mostly premium ingredients like abalone, dried scallops, dried mussels, sea cucumber, fish maw, etc. There was also Chinese sausages, Chinese cabbage, mushrooms, pork belly, a whole duck, lotus root and fatt choy. And the taste - fantastic ! The soup - more like a sauce, was like liquid gold.

We also had mum's braised Teo Chiew Duck. The duck is stewed in a sweet-savoury sauce until tender - left to rest and served cold.

 Homemade "Ngo Hiang"  - meat roll coated in batter and deepfried.

 "Ka Chang Ma" - a local chicken dish cooked with herbs, ginger and a copious amout of rice wine. This is a must on mum's dining table during festive occasions. The herbs give the dish a slightly bitter and smokey taste that is quite addictive.

There wasn't any veggie on the table, but no one was complaining.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese New Year Eve Dinner 2012

This year we had our CNY Eve Dinner very early - at 5.30 p.m. My brother and his family were flying in from Singapore to join us, but their flight got delayed so we had to finish our dinner early then fetch them from the airport. As expected, we were the first guests to arrive at the restaurant.

My dad had ordered quite a sumptious banquet, and as usual it started with Yee Sang. This was no ordinary Yee Sang though - it was spiked with baby abalone, more abalone slices, and salmon.

The Cold Platter was quite impressive. It had Roast Suckling Pig, Prawn Salad, Jellyfish Salad, Baby Octopus and Mussels in Spicy Sauce.

The Shark's Fin Soup is essential for CNY Eve Dinner - but as is common nowadays you can hardly detect any shark's fin inside. Which is just as well - less shark's fin, better for the sharks.

The next dish was the best of the night. It was a Seafood Stew full of premium ingredients - abalone, scallops, large prawns, fish maw (Fish bladder), sea cucumber, etc cooked with Chinese cabbage. This was delicious.

The Steamed White Pomfret was quite unusual - it had been butterflied and spread out before steaming - easier to serve as you don't need to turn the fish over. Turning over a fish is usually considered not so good in Chinese custom, especially for those with careers connected to the sea at it is though to portend misfortune at sea. 

Buttered Prawns and Sauteed Scallops with French Beans. The Prawns were just OK, the scallops were too small, but the frech beans were really sweet and crunchy.

Meatballs Stuffed with Dried Oysters with Fatt Choy (black moss) and Brocoli. An auspicious dish - as "Fat Choy" sounds like "to prosper" and dried oysters in Cantonese "hoe see" sound like "good things". Put the two together and you have "hoe see fatt choy" - lots of good things and prosperity for the New Year. This was quite a good dish.

Finally - noodles. Frankly we were too stuffed by then to touch the noodles.

Our dinner was at Yamisu Restaurant at Premier 101 Commercial Centre. It is known more for dim sum, but they have done a creditable job with the New Year Eve dinner.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year !

Wishing all my Friends and Blog Readers 
A Very Wonderful and Prosperous 
Year of The Dragon !

Friday, January 20, 2012

Kuala Lumpur 2012 - Tokyo Street at The Pavilion

There is always something new at The Pavilion and the latest addition is Tokyo Street - a themed shopping concept centred around Japanese food and products. The anchor shop is a Daiso right at the end of the "street", and there are a number of new Japanese F&B outlets making their first appearance in KL.

Tokyo Street is located at the top floor Eastern wing of The Pavilion. Though there are other shops, the main focus is on food and drink and most of the bases are covered - ramen, shabu-shabu, sushi, teppanyaki, Japanese desserts and ice cream.

 They have tried to create an authentic Japanese feel to the street.

 Daiso is the anchor shop at the end of the street.

Two Japanese dessert shops that are getting KL foodies all excited - Karafuru which sells colourful fruit tarts made by a Japanese pastry chef, and Arthur's Hokkaido Mille Crepe Cakes - which sells cakes made with many delicate layers of paper thin crepes.

The colourful and tempting fruit tarts of Karafuru.

The delicate layered crepe cakes of Arhur's. They look very much like Malaysian Lapis cakes - I have yet to try them.

The famous Hokkaido Ramen Shop Santouka also opened their first Malaysian outlet here. Look out for my next post on this outlet.