Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kah Soh Fish Head Noodles @ Jalan Kasah, Medan Damansara

After reading reviews and hearing so much about the famed fish head noodle at Kah Soh, one can only ask for fish head noodle when you step inside the humble restaurant hidden in Jalan Kasah, Damansara.

However the hype is often uncalled for and in this case, it was definitely unnecessary. For one, the fish head noodles is not the sour and milky version that you would be accustomed to in the many restaurants that serve this.

What we have here is a rather clear and mild version, minus all the pickled vegetables. Abundant use of fried fish head pieces but that was it. On the bland side, this just left me scratching my head, wondering what the hype was all about.

Although they have made their name from the overhyped fish head noodles, fortunately they have also a few weapons up their sleeves.

The deep fried pig intestines. Crunchy with a capital C, with a hint of the obvious "pig" taste and smell, dipped in sweet sauce, its delicious with a capital D. Great to go with some cold beer and an awesome snack.

Looking into eating rice instead? Well there are a number of dishes you can try, including the ones we ordered that night.

The 4 heavenly kings, the ones that sent you right through to heaven when you smell it in the breath. More like send the ones that get a whiff of the after taste in your breath. It was good though, just avoid the tongue exercise to avoid any casualties.

Their bean curd was smooth or so i remember. Pardon the poor memory. Suitable for the young kids, easy to swallow and generous with the sauce.

Another smooth dish, the steam 3 eggs (chicken egg, salted egg and preserved egg). This was done well, no signs of oversteaming and loss of moisture.

When you are all full, you then look forward to desserts.

Kah Soh does a few "tong suis" and a deep fried pastry.

The red bean soup was not up to par. Didn't get the oomph of red beans i was looking for.

The peanut soup could have done with more peanuts than sugar. Although the thick paste was still a delight to sip on.

A rather oily deep fried pastry with lotus paste.

Not the greatest way to finish the dinner.

Address and contact details:

136, Jalan Kasah,
Medan Damansara
59490 KL

03 2093 0905

Verdict: 3 stars out of 5 stars. Fail to see what the hype was with the fish head noodles and the average tasting dishes did not justify the expectations i had in mind. Maybe it was an off day for me or maybe for the chef, who knows? Maybe i might risk another time, this time with no expectations and hype.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wishing my readers a belated Merry Xmas and an early Happy New Year

As the readers wilt away in bed and at home (just like me), wishing you all an early Happy New Year!

*Moved house over the Christmas, the 6 days off, just didn't feel like 6 days off. Waiting for the internet to spring the new place into life again, so just you wait, just you wait*

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tai Zi Heen @ Prince Hotel (CNY Menu)

Invitation from FoodStreet.

As we brace ourselves for the hearty meals of Christmas, a word of warning should go out and in store for the back of your mind, remember to leave space for the Chinese New Year 15 day feast.

Whether you are looking to celebrate good quality time with your family and friends, or dine and lavish with your colleagues and clients, life is too short and stomach space should only be confided to quality chinese food.

In times of recession looming ahead, there is a need to look for places that will offer you value for money and excellent attentive service too, for at least at the end of the meal, you can comment "money well spent".

One of the candidates to fufill the above would be Prince Hotel "Tai Zi Heen".

For this Festive Season, Ricky the Head Chef has revamped some of the staple CNY dishes and given it a twist. He is obviously very proud of his creations, as shown from the picture above.

Starting off with a rather early Ying Yang Yee Sang with Crispy Shredded Treasures in Plum Dressing, this version was served with a lightier and tangier sauce. Another highlight is the abundance use of fresh carrot and other vegetable slices instead of the dyed packet green and red crackers one would find in a usual yee sang. Lots of crunchy crackers, peanuts and sesame seeds to complete the toss. (Whole portion RM 138 and Half portion RM 68)

Followed by a very grand and rich Braised Pearl Shark's Fin with Far Gao in Supreme Golden Broth. Despite the place being a halal restaurant, the broth was intense and full of flavour, with the only regret it didn't come in a deeper bowl. The whole chunk of shark fins was indulgence at its best while the Far Gao absorbed in all the flavours. (RM 138 per portion)

The Braised Dried Oysters with "Fatt Choy". Top Shell and Sea Cucumber in Wok-Fried Greens. Another intense and rich dish, to signify the wealth that will come along in the new year. The dried oysters were of a size that you would normally never witness before while the rich sauce was encapsulated in the sea cucumber. (Small RM 88, Medium RM 128 and Large RM 168)

Deep-Fried Battered Prawns Tossed with Fresh Lime Dressing. Despite it being fried, the prawn meat was very fresh and came with a good bite. Surprisingly the lime dressing was very refreshing which meant it didnt feel too heavy to have another piece. (Small RM 58, Medium RM 88 and Large RM 118)

Steamed Cod Fish with Pickled Radish and Garlic in Supreme Soya Sauce. The simple pickled radish on the top makes this another excellent dish to eat on its own or to be served with white rice (Market Price).

Stewed Oxtail with Yam, Fragant Whole Garlic and Leek in casserole. The chef again did not hesitate to use very strong flavours resulting in a marvellous creation. The oxtail was well stewed, the meat falling apart and tender while the garlic (eat at your own risk) was a delight to the garlic lovers. (Small RM48, Medium RM 68, Large RM88)

Fried Rice with seafood and baby abalone. The baby abalone was a nice addition as it gave the dish a bite and chew. The shredded lettuce on the sides was also refreshing when mixed together with the rice. (Small RM 48, Medium RM 68, Large RM 88)

Cleaning the palate with a Double-boiled hasma with red dates and glutinous rice dumplings (RM 18 per person). The black sesame oozing out that was not overly sweet was just the perfect dessert to leave the restaurant with a smile.

All in all, an excellent way of celebrating Chinese New Year with a big bang despite the gloomy recession that lies ahead.

In conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebrations, Prince Hotel has also come up with a special Lunch Dim Sum Menu.

Steamed Fish balls with Abalone and Fatt Choy. Fresh and springy, the chef took what appears to be a staple ordinary dish to a different level.

Starting from the left Pan-Fried Bean Curd Roll with Roasted Duck and Dried Mushrooms (RM 12), then on the right, Deep-Fried Spring Roll Loh Hon Style (RM 10) and Bottom, Crispy Yam Puff with Fresh Scallops and Parmesan Cheese (RM12). The out of the ordinary was the yam puffs although the cheese that was liberally used killed the texture that the scallop was meat to provide and couldnt provide any sort of bite.

Steamed Chicken and Shrimp Dumplings with Mexican Clams. One of the better halal siew mai that i have had. The use of mexican clams replaces the pieces of fatty pork that is commonly used in this dim sum. With a more wholesome filling and the colourful roe, i would definitely come back for more. (RM 12)

The Steamed Crystal Dumplings filled with Dried Scallops (RM13.50). Another take on the common Har Gau and this again was pleasant to eat with a nice cup of chinese tea on a lazy afternoon.

Address and contact details:

Tai Zi Heen
Level 2, Prince Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur,
Jalan Conlay,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel 03-21703259
Fax 03-21708999
Opens for lunch (12-2.30) and dinner (6.30-10.30)

Verdict: 4 stars out of 5 stars. Definitely hotel food that should not be missed especially during Chinese New Year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Champ's Bistro @ Centrepoint, Bandar Utama

Back in the days, the days of our parents (whether you are now only twenty or fourty for that matter), in the days of the wars or after the wars, the days of poverty perhaps.

Those days when a whole table of meat was rare and the luxurious staple diet only consists of rice.

And something else of course.

The common company for rice was zhu yao char ("fried pork lard").

The immense flavours coming from the cube of lard that has been deep fried to a crisp bite, was probably what your parents or their parents ate with rice those days.

I must thank the lucky stars that i didn't have to endure such hard days. Although sometime i do wonder what is is like to eat zhu yao char and plain rice.

Coming into Champs though, the liberal use of zhu yao char i suppose was not because the owner or you as the customer were broke and poor from any war.

It is the deep simple flavours of the miracle "pill", that we are here. (Plus the pork noodle, prawn mee and hokkien mee)

Presented with a bowl of complimentary DAMN SHIOK zhu yao char. Deep fried pork lard tossed in a dark soya sauce with a hint of fish sauce (maybe), generous amount of lime juice, raw onions and chilli padi (bird's eye chilli). One of us commented pork lard was foul and sickening, but ended up picking at the dish till the very end. It is THAT sinful and good. Or like the hokkien people say "Si Beh Shiok".

It is not on the menu, but if you are lucky enough like us to bump into the owner/chef Richard, try asking. Ask him about this, maybe he will personally go make a bowl for you. Speaking hokkien is a plus point or if you look damn pretty.

Obviously the word "Shiok" is very liberally used here.

The Prawn Mee may look like any other prawn mee one can get outside. The soup looks the colour, the prawns maybe larger than some. One would wonder why people would pay close to RM 20 for the bowl right? Thats because what you get is a chokeful of ingredients; prawns, pork ribs and etc etc along with a soup that has been boiled for hours with love and tender care (i hope).

The soup base is tremendously good and even if the noodles are not plenty, this will be like the default place for prawn mee despite the extravagant price.

The Chow Siew Yuk was equally as good. The sweet dark soya sauce that was stir fried in, was addictive along with the chilli padi. Good snack with beer, pity somehow we were not in the mood for boozing that Sunday night. A good cut of roast pork too, i must admit.

The Fire Something Pork Balls looked normal but packed a punch with the chilli padi inside. Another good appetiser that will suit beer very well.

The Hokkien Mee (or if i am not mistaken, the black worm). Laden with pork lard (not a new idea), pork liver slices, prawns and etc etc, the only complaint was the amount of noodles. A little bit on the stingy side. This though in a larger portion, would have sent me to heaven (literally).

Continuing with more pork but from the grill, the 1/2 slab of pork ribs. Although Richard mentioned it was just grilled (without any prior cooking preparation), it was succulent and came with a bite, not chewy and hard to digest. The sweet marinade with the sesame seeds was really the key to the mouth watering ribs. The huge chunk of corn and broccoli summed up the balanced meal.

A much later addition, the fettucine carbonara with loads of bacon sprinkled on the top. Done to suit the asian tastebuds, this was lighter on the egg yolk/cream, heavier on garlic and onion. The bacon though was delightful, how we wished for a bowl of bacon ONLY.

The western food generally costs around RM 20 plus to RM 40 plus, depending on the protein.

Address and contact details:

Lot F10, 1st Floor, Centrepoint,
Lebuh Bandar Utama, Bandar Utama,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
03-7722 5800
Open from 10:00am to 12:00am daily

Verdict: Solid 4 stars out of 5 stars. The pork lard has literally propelled this place to one of my favourite places to suggest to people. Another favourite that i have tried, the pork noodle is also heavily recommended. Forget the shopping centre upmarket hawker food, if you are willing to pay that kind of prices, come here instead.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yuen Steamboat @ Sunway Mentari

The rainy season is here to stay, either in the form of thunderbolts and heavy pelts or a slow misty long drizzle that will put even the insomniac to sleep.

Regardless, one has to feed the stomach something warmer than usual, to counter the chilling weather.

What is a better way then to eat steamboat?

Although unintentional, Plan A being to eat Char Siew in Shah Alam, Plan B to return to BellyGood, we found ourselves outside Yuen Steamboat (Plan C, i suppose), it was a not bad idea, considering it had been raining since the morning dew.

Famed for its chicken wings, the strategy is to seat as close to where the chicken wings are laid out. Despite it being a lunch crowd (meaning half full), the chicken wings were still rationed out like gold. Just make sure indulge in a few pieces each time you wait for the pot to boil.

Buffet style at RM19.80 ++ per pax, take a plate and pile the food on. From frozen seafood to meat and then to balls of many kinds, fish and what not, you see that the common trait is frozen. If you are dreaming of "fresh", dont bother. The vegetables though on the other hand looked decent should you dig the omnivore out of the tiny corner of yourself.

BUT buffet style has its advantages as it means getting to fill the pot with flower crabs and prawns in an attempt to get the soup as sweet as possible without actually having to finish it, although the penalty rates at some rate like RM6 per 100gm can be discretionary used upon you.

However the clear soup seem to have lost to the underdog tomyam for some reason that day. The tangy and spicy soup was voted the better soup with the clear soup barely sipped.

Overall for a little over RM21 or RM22, you get a full meal from indulging in anything in your dreams (so long as it is frozen), except for the chicken wings (i hope). If i were to have steamboat again? I probably would prefer the ambience of a cozy home.

Address and contact details:

32A-1, Jalan PJS 8/6
Mentari Plaza, Bandar Sunway
46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS: 3.076211, 101.612098
Tel:016-2086678, 56375825

Verdict: 3 stars out of 5 stars. Other than the chicken wings, the steamboat was so-so despite the wide offerings of seafood, meat, balls and etc etc. Although i cant possibly imagine fighting with a full crowd for food, esp for those chicken wings. Then again, with a tight budget, this is a good way of stuffing yourself for a very cheap price.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sek Yuen @ Jalan Pudu

When asked to name one restaurant that could represent history (for educating and nostalgia) and at the same time serve one hell of a dinner to the extent of captivating a foreigner to forever dream of the food, I could only think of Sek Yuen.

Situated in the heart of Pudu which is barely a jog away from the Bukit Bintang area, this place has been around for MANY, MANY years. Years beyond when i was born and probably a place that used to serve my dad and my granddad.

Having embarassingly not been there for a full course dinner (therefore on uncharted territory), Sek Yuen was chosen to leave a memorable experience for my guest from Australia, a good friend from Australia (someone who was born in 1 part of the world, and grew up in the remainder parts of the world, exposed in both the Western and Asian culture).

Where else can one find a place that looks its age coupled with the "auntie" waitresses and captains that had looks like they had working there since their youthful days.

We were not disappointed, i particularly as i was surprised at the delicious dishes and also getting comments from my friend that this was awesome.

A story (warning) to tell, make sure you order more than enough in your first order. We had to resort to using our most powerful weapon; the Auntie Killer to charm his way to the captain's heart in letting us order more food. That itself is virtually an experience and story to pass on to the next generation.

Imagine the pleas and the rebuttal that there was way too much food for us.

I didn't think eating dinner could cause such commotion.

The Pat Poh Ngap ("8 treasures duck") Braised with lots of goodies that had been stuffed to the tender duck. The gravy was full of flavour and would have been good if we had rice, we didn't.

Their "Chiu Pai" Tau Foo (Signature Tau Foo). This was simple yet refreshing for what we had installed.

The Pak Cham Kai ("Poached Chicken?"), This was smooth and tender, matter of fact, smoother than you can imagine. The accompanying "kai lan" lends a nice crunch to the dish.

The Pig Intestine with Chive Flower. For serious "babi"tarians only. The chive flower was equally as crunchy as the pieces of intestines although the slight stench may put those more neutral to pork away. [Babi = Pig]

The real let down of the night, the sweet and sour pork. The batter was on the thick side and the sauce basically drenched the crunchiness away.

The Steam Carp Fish with Minced Ginger. I expected a way bigger portion than on the picture for 8 pax. In any case the bones scared half the people away, and i had my fair share.

The highlight of the night. The roast duck. Two whole ducks in 1 meal and we actually contemplated on adding some more. Crunchy skin and again very tender meat. Obviously given a hot oil bath before being served, this dish actually got my Korean friend to give them a visit.

Imagine a korean pronouncing "duck" like "dog" to aunties that don't understand English. When the sign language and the "quack" came out next, one can only understand how good it was and to what barriers people are willing to pass, to get to this duck.

Just before people start to comment on the lack of vegetables, the belacan kangkung was also ordered which tasted also so so. Conclusion, be a carnivore and come, dont bother with vegetables.

All the details you will need


4 stars out of 5 stars. Where else can one find good food with loads of history embedded in the tables and chairs, along with the actualy building itself, for a cheap price. The whole meal, was only RM28 per pax.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Grand Imperial Restaurant @ Bangsar Shopping Centre

Since i was a kid, dim sum on Sundays were always considered a luxury and a treat. Despite the father being the chinaman he is, dim sum being a traditional chinaman breakfast meal as well, the two never seemed to gel.

I remembered those days that the family (4 vs 1, mind you) get involved in a silent debate that dim sum is just as a chinaman item than noodles and rice but obviously those days, the call was made by the one who drives (i.e the silent one).

Thinking back, maybe it was the venue,? I for one admit that only air-conditioned places i.e. hotels serve edible dim sum. We would complain and make the most sour of faces if either of the parents attempt to feed us dim sum that was served in anything less than a proper restaurant.

So when one fine day, the Father suggest we go for Dim Sum, we eat Dim Sum, no more questions asked.

Grand Imperial Restaurant was the place we went. Situated in the revamped Bangsar Shopping Centre, looking brand new and smashing from the outside, no longer the dingy but with attitude shabby dark front.

The grand entrance impressed me, infact the dinner the night before was decent enough to warrant the Parents in bringing the "kids" for dim sum the next day.

All in all, it is the "norm" grand chinese restaurant.

I will let the food do the talking but the conclusion is the food is worth trying. Freshly prepared thus the longer wait, the quality was justified although a few faults here and there.

Lean Siew Yuk with the crispy "hat" aka skin.

Stir Fried Raddish Cake, not too bad, not overly oily but will still get trumped over by the Concorde Hotel version.

Very smooth, almost tasted like it came out from a blender.

The cheong fun was thinly wrapped around some prawns. Bonus as it wasnt the usual thick flour skin that we have begun to be accustomed to.

Salted Egg Yolk Squid tentacles. A favourite among the table, eventhough it was dreadfully sinful. Than again, we had the rest of the day to digest and burn the calories, er, during the afternoon nap.

Salad Prawn, the deep fried version.

Fluffy Yam Puff

From the counter, the claypot wine chicken. Although it was all pre-cooked, the heating up process via the stove, WAS WAY TOO LONG!. Tastewise, the ladies gave the thumbs up.

Another of the prepared dishes of the day, the braised beef brisket with raddish. Flavourful and tasted like if it had been cooked for hours. Biting into the raddish that had been infused with the soup and meat, it was wonderful.

The last of the trio, the vinegar pig "leg" aka trotters. Sour but delicious, again this dish was cleaned out by the ladies. Maybe ladies on confinement should come and get their dosage here instead.

Deep fried egg plan with garlic (and i mean alot of GARLIC). Another mouthwatering snack.

The Baos were ok. Apparently one of the co-owners exclaimed that their char siew baos were to die for; well to die for a filling that is on the sweet side (not by the pork, definitely) is rather sad, dont you think?

The misconception of restaurants serving bad xiu long baos, other than the ones that were opened up just to serve xiu long baos were good. This was surprisingly good, with alot of soup and a hearty filling.

Staple items like Har Gao.

Siu Mai.

Pung Tong Gao.

A round of desserts to neutralise the palates, Mango Sago Cream, Tau Foo Fah and Almond Cream.

All in all, a satisfying meal and slightly cheaper than your hotel prices.

Address and contact details:

T5, 3rd Floor, East Wing,
Bangsar Shopping Centre
Phone No: 03-2283 1118

Verdict: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. Definitely slotted somewhere in the rather short list of dim sum places that we will visit, when the Father is in the mood of course.