Monday, 23 February 2009

Sushi, Sushi, Sushi at Kampachi

Actually, we had a whole load more than sushi at Kampachi that evening after our disastrous lunch at Delicious. One of the more established names, Kampachi has been serving great Japanese food since I was a kid. Alright, so Bangi is a wee bit far out .... but it's not so far for any Malaysian in search of food :D - I have noticed that Malaysians in general would happily drive for hours for a good meal. Yes, there are a few Kampachis in KL BUT they don't serve a buffet dinner every night.

I hadn't had any Japanese food in quite a long time at that point and I was like a child in a candy store. I wanted everything and wasn't quite sure where to start. Razan it seems, in the few years since I last saw her, has turned into the sushi queen - she ate over 30 pieces all by herself. Her claim, I didn't keep count :) But seriously, even if she did eat half that number ...where could she possibly put it all?

Sushi and sashimi - Kampachi, Bangi

First up - it just had to be sushi, didn't it? A plate of assorted sushi and sashimi. Remember this is a buffet and it is in the middle of Bangi - probably "in the middle of where???" for most people, so I wasn't expecting top grade stuff. It was still great and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Unagi and Cucumber Roll- Kampachi, Bangi

I like most things with grilled unagi (eel) on it and the kappamaki (cucumber roll) topped with grilled unagi and mayonnaise was lovely.

Salmon Sashimi - Kampachi, Bangi

Salmon sashimi is always good ... I made sure I had my fill to last me through long months of sushi/sashimi deprivation in London.

Kaki Fried - Kampachi, Bangi

Ohhhh the lovely, lovely kaki fried. Gorgeously juicy oysters covered in a panko crumbs and deep fried. I'm a real sucker for these especially when they're covered in bulldog sauce. As they were being cooked to order at one of the counters, there weren't many that lay around for too long. But the chef must have been slightly off that evening ... some batches were perfectly cooked and some were overcooked and a little dry.

Oden - Kampachi, Bangi

Delicious bowls of Oden, a Japanese winter hotpot of sorts. Filled with lots of yummy things - fishcakes in various forms and daikon to name a few in a lovely broth. The best thing was probably the daikon - sweet whilst picking up the subtle flavouring from the dashi.

I had a load more things but it to a point where I was too busy eating to notice that I hadn't taken any photos :) I have to admit that we went back twice - the first time my mother was feeling a little too poorly to attend her own birthday dinner. Definitely no complains on my part :)

Equatorial Hotel Bangi-Putrajaya, Off Persiaran Bandar, 43650 Bandar Baru Bangi, Selangor

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Delicious Revisted - Kuala Lumpur

I think I've made my feelings quite clear about Delicious in previous posts and I couldn't wait for another visit. After a morning of light shoe shopping with Razan, all the way from Dubai to visit me (and to buy shoes) :D, we made our way to rather crowded Delicious for a light-ish lunch - there was a Japanese buffet dinner waiting for us at Kampachi that evening.

The service was dire, as usual. Seriously, after all this time, surely they would have got the service up to an acceptable level? Well, they haven't but I'm not too bothered about it. The food was what I was there for.

Thai Beef Salad - Delicious, Kuala Lumpur

After a good study of the menu, which has expanded a great deal since I was there last, I decided on the Thai Beef Salad. A mix of beansprouts, pea shoots, grated cucumber and grated green papaya (I think) topped with grilled sliced beef, crushed peanuts,sliced red chili and sweet tangy dressing. The beef was over-cooked (not that I was asked how I would have liked it cooked), tough and chewy. The taste? After two bites it got arduously monotonous.

Chicken and Avocado Sandwich - Delicious, Kuala Lumpur

Razan chose the Chicken and Avocado Sandwich, simple enough. A little too simple, perhaps? They were certainly generous with the huge chunks of chicken and avocado mixed with mayonnaise on the open sandwich with a side salad. But other than a generous hand of black pepper, there was no other distinguishable flavour. In a word - boring! Razan is far from the pickiest of eaters and if she found it boring... just imagine!!

Oh dear, what has happened to Delicious? It went from a nice little cafe/restaurant to having outlets mushrooming up everywhere with no quality control over their food. I am terribly disappointed. I'm happy they are doing well, don't get me wrong, but they really have to do something about the food. Alright I probably only ever go there once or twice a year but I certainly won't bother the next I'm home.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Happy Birthday, Mum!

It's been quite a few years since I've been home to celebrate the birthday of any member of my family, so it was nice to be around for my mum's birthday this year. As my grandmother was having dinner with us, it had to be Chinese food and so Oversea Restaurant it was. A firm family favourite, it never lets us down (let's not count a dish or two over the years, shall we?:) As I booked the table that night (a booking is almost always necessary especially at their Jalan Imbi branch), I was told off for not reserving a plate of their char siew as well :( Their char siew really is quite delicious but sells out notoriously quickly. But let's not dwell on what we cannot have :) It was the usual order of dishes and none let us down.

Sweet and Sour Ribs - Oversea, Kuala Lumpur

Pei kuat wong - deep fried pork ribs in a sweet and sour sauce with caramelized onions. The ribs were meaty, the batter nicely crisp, the sauce tarter than the usual sweet and sour and the onions melded into the sauce perfectly. To make us feel slightly healthier, the ribs were served with slices of fresh cucumber and tomato.

Fried Choy Dam with Garlic and Chinese Ham - Oversea, Kuala Lumpur

The obligatory vegetable - fried choi tam with garlic. Choi tam looks rather like Brussels sprouts but leafier and crunchier - making it nothing like a Brussels sprout :D I basically have no idea what it's called in English but I've never seen it served anywhere else but Chinese restaurants. I am rather sure though that they fry their vegetables in lard. It's sooooo good! And in true Oversea style, they also added tiny strips of very salty Chinese ham. Emm!

Tofu, Gluten and Fish Paste - Oversea, Kuala Lumpur

My mother loves her bean curd and gluten, so we had serving of fried tofu, gluten, bean curd skin and fish paste. It's was good but no different from other restaurants with the thick, cornstarch sauce.

We actually had a few more dishes - steamed wan yue (grass carp) belly with minced ginger and clay pot chap chye (the usual braised vegetables, bean curd skin and fermented bean curd but with the addition of dried oysters and touch of chili). My mum loved the chap chye so much, we had two portions .... wayyyyyyyy too much but we're a greedy little family ;) Except my grandmother... but we certainly made up for her.

Oversea Resteaurant
84-88 Jalan Imbi, 55100 Kuala Lumpur

Saturday, 14 February 2009

New Year in KL

It was New Year's eve by the time we got back to KL and even more food. However, instead of the finest wines, oysters and caviar to usher in the new year, a bunch of us opted for a feast of KFC's finest, munchies and "quiet" night in. It was also mini belated birthday celebration for Val, whose birthday was a day before - the baby of the group :)

Happy Birthday Val! Chocolate Cake - Kuala Lumpur

Happy Birthday, Val!

Happy Birthday Val! Chocolate Cake - Kuala Lumpur

It seems that we have resorted to a single candle on birthday cakes ever since we passed the 21 birthday mark.... all those years ago ;)

Deep Fried Chicken - Kuala Lumpur

How better to kick start a brand new year with some good, solid Malaysian hawker food? Somewhere in the depths of SS17, lies a corner coffee shop known for it's chicken and char siew rice. Late as we were, we just about managed to bag one of their whole deep fried chickens (minus the batter) served with a heap of deep fried garlic and a plate of char siew. The chicken was nicely moist and the pork had a good combination of meat and fat. If I had to choose between the two dishes, it would have to be the char siew. Yes, I've had better but it's been so long since I had decent char siew and this really did it for me :) This was definitely no pink dyed bit of dry lean pork. It was lovely pork belly with it's layers of meat and fat roasted just so with a lovely caramelised exterior and moist, tender interior.

Char Siew - Kuala Lumpur

Dinner was with my father and it meant only one thing - LOTS and LOTS of food! He booked us a table at one of his current favourite restaurants, the VERY oddly named Extra Super Tanker in Damansara Kim (the area on the left opposite Taman Tun Dr Ismail if you're coming from town and going towards 1Utama - if that's any help - because I hadn't a clue myself! :) At the corner of a very quiet row of shops is the bustling restaurant. Such an odd place for such a restaurant - the area is a little dodgy at night, my sister's bag was snatched as she walked to her car a few months previously. My father had reserved us a private room, which was great against the general hustle and bustle of the place (though I privately think my father was still nursing a slightly sore head from his late New Year's eve night out ;)

Chicken and Shark Bone Soup - Extra Super Tanker, Kuala Lumpur

As the food was all pre-ordered, we just sat back and enjoyed the dishes as they were brought in. First up a double boiled soup, which unfortunately none of us knew what exactly was in it. It had chicken, a few Chinese herbs and some odd looking .... what we thought was at that time, gourd. The soup was good, the gourd was very odd... alright, it was terrible. Cut into little blocks of about 3 inches wide and about half an inch thick, it consisted of layers of gelatinous matter and thin brittle bone. It was so bad I didn't even bother to take a photo and it wasn't until we had finished the soup that we managed to ask the waitress what on earth it was. Shark bone. Shark bone and chicken soup? Hmmm... interesting!

Seafood Scrambled Eggs - Extra Super Tanker, Kuala Lumpur

Seafood scrambled eggs served with lettuce. The egg mixture is piled onto the lettuce and eaten like a wrap. The eggs were nicely light with chunks of crab meat, beansprouts, pine nuts and topped with dry fried dried scallops.

Stewed Ribs with Chinese Herbs - Extra Super Tanker, Kuala Lumpur

Apparently there is a pork rib speciality on the menu but my father decided to try something a little different - baby back ribs stewed with Chinese herbs. Oh my god... I thought I had been transported back in time! It tasted exactly like the Beggar's Duck served at the Oversea Restaurant chain years ago at the height of the chain's popularity. It was great... the sauce was yummy and the meat was falling off the bone tender.

Stir Fried Fish - Extra Super Tanker, Kuala Lumpur

Another recommendation was a whole de-boned fish (the carcass made it to the table deep fried serving as a 'plate' for the meat) fried with wood ear fungus, ginger, garlic and spring onion. I still haven't managed to figure out what fish this was - it's texture was a little like plaice and it was a flat-ish fish. I guess my father wasn't a great help that day :) The waitress recommended dishes over the phone and he just said yes. The fish was good, a little too big for us though ... as for once my father found a little self control in ordering. There was perhaps, just about enough food ;)

The food here is really quite good - such bustle for a suburban restaurant at all times of the week really does say a lot about the how good it is. The prices are pretty reasonable but the price of the fish did take me a little by surprise. The waitress had recommended it as "reasonable" to my father ... sigh maybe the pound is so low that it makes the heart ache - £30 for just that one dish. Alright I may moan and groan but I'll probably be paying a whole lot more if I found the exact same dish here in London, but I very probably won't order it anyway ;) Ahh a good meal for a solid start to a new year!

Extra Super Tanker Restaurant
48 SS20/10, Damansara Kim, 47400 Petaling Jaya

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Feasting in Hong Kong

It was supposed to be a nice long relaxing holiday back home with nothing more taxing than heading out for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper ... plus snacks in between, of course :) A week before I left London, my father announced a family holiday .. to Hong Kong less than 24 hours after I arrived in KL after a 17 hour journey. Ye gads! How tired and disorientated would I be? Complaints aside, I do love Hong Kong. Land of delicious Chinese food and shopping, seriously ... what is there is dislike?

KFC Zinger Burger - KL, Malaysia

But first things first ... a girl has to be fed after such a long tiring journey (London to KL via Dubai). Aside from bits of Christmas dinner that my sister very kindly saved for me, Candice and I decided to share a Zinger Burger from KFC. Oh, yes! Hot, crunchy, slightly spicy batter on the outside and a tender, juicy chicken fillet on the inside on a warm sesame seed bun with mayonnaise. I have day dreamed about this for a long time... except the burger I bit into was all wrong. Admittedly we got the burger as a takeaway and it was a tad cold when we ate it, but the taste was ...different and ...what in the heck was that slice of processed cheese doing in there? Ahhh dreams are always lusher, greener and ... tastier :)

Fried Octopus Tentacles - Sea World, Hong Kong

First day in Hong Kong was spent at ... Ocean Park. Yes, that's right... 'oh, dear'! It was going to be Disneyland but a Saturday spent fighting the massive crowds just didn't sounds so great, so we spent it fighting a slightly smaller crowd at Ocean Park instead. For my nephew's sake..really... though I do think the adults had a better time ;) 'Ooo-ing' and 'ahhh-ing' over the seals, dolphins and pandas...laughing at the rides. It wasn't so bad, after all. Food-wise we did bag some gorgeous barbecued octopus tentacles. A good mixture of crunch and chew with a nice charred flavour. So good it got Candice to slurp a few down ... the girl who hates food that looks anything like the animal it came from :)

Dau Mui - Tai Woo, Hong Kong

Dinner was at Causeway Bay at Tai Woo with a few family friends. Plenty of very good food in unpretentious surroundings. First up the, the obligatory vegetable - one of my all time favourites, fried dau mui with garlic. Available only in winter, I tend to gobble up as much as possible to keep me going for the rest of the year :D

Stewed Beef - Tai Woo, Hong Kong

Stewed beef in in brown sauce - I haven't a clue what the name of the dish was. Nice tender chunks of beef, nice sauce.

Pigeon - Tai Woo, Hong Kong

Deep fried pigeon, which I haven't had in years and was definitely on my list of must eats when I was in Hong Kong. Thin crispy skin with tender, succulent bits of dark meat .... nothing like duck, though it does look a little like it's bigger cousin. And these are nothing like their Trafalgar Square amount Chinese five spice powder could cover the stench of London toxic fumes in the meat of those birds ;)

Sweet and Sour Pork in So-Chiu Style - Tai Woo, Hong Kong

Sweet and sour - beloved dish of takeaways worldwide. This sweet and sour pork So-Chui style (what So-Chiu style means, I have no idea) was really nice. The batter was harder and crisper (with the addition of cornflour to the batter, I believe) than what usually encases the meat at Chinese takeaways (in my book - yummier). The sauce was good, a good balance of tart and sweet.

Deep Fried Stuffed Beancurd Sheets - Tai Woo, Hong Kong

Deep fried beancurd sheets stuffed with vegetables - Chinese mushrooms, woodear fungus, bamboo shoots, carrots, water chesnuts.

Baked Sesame Chicken in Salt - Tai Woo, Hong Kong

The restaurant's award winning baked sesame chicken in salt. Quite understandable why it was award winning :) The skin was nicely crisp with the sesame seeds giving it a nice crunch and the meat was juicy and tender (and not in a hormone pumped sort of way). It's been a long time since I've been to a restaurant where the bird's head made an appearence at the dinner table :) Apparently, this is a norm at the more traditional of Chinese dining tables.

There was a whole table stuffed with more food but with 10 hungry people waiting to be fed, I didn't get a chance to grab a photo of each dish. Prices were incredibly reasonable and the food very good, great reasons to go back if I'm ever in Hong Kong :)

Bubble Bubble .... Filled with Goodies - Hong Kong

For breakfast, it was down to the cha chaan teng (literally translates to tea restaurant') round the corner from the hotel. Yup, the same place every morning - my dad's choice :) With it's steam frosted front window, bubbling stockpot/stewpot by the shop entrance and tiny tables and booths, this was a typical Hong Kong teahouse serving anything from wonton noodles to Spam and egg sandwiches (emmm...yum!).

Nai Cha- Hong Kong

Cups of very strong, very milky nai cha (milk tea). It was a little too strong for me, it would have been perfect iced.

Congee with lean pork and century egg- Hong Kong

Pei dan sau yuk chuk - a warming bowlful of rice porridge (I dislikethe word 'congee' ... it brings to mind ... congealed, perhaps? But apparently, the word 'congee' comes from the word Dravidian word kanji ...'ahhhh' :) with century egg and lean pork. Whilst I don't like porridge made with oats, I do love a bowl of rice porridge. The food of my childhood that really warms the soul (mine anyway:). I also had a bowl off pork liver porridge (not photographed), which no one else wanted to touch ..hahaha... so it was ALL mine!!

Wonton Tong Mien - Hong Kong

Wonton noodles in soup - gorgeous wonton bundles filled with whole prawns and seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil. Topped with blanched lettuce leaves. Cooking lettuce - it does seem like a very non-British thing to do. I get questioned whenever I make it :) However, I went to an Italian restaurant just the other day that served braised baby gem lettuce with my main.

Beef Brisket Soup Noodles - Hong Kong

Ngau lam tong mien - braised beef brisket with noodles in soup. The beef was lean and the soup clear. I almost wished it was fattier (translate -> tastier haha) but it was breakfast, so lean and clear was good.

Choy Sum- Hong Kong

Since this meal included my father (whose main food philosophy is 'the more, the better' ... perhaps that may be an overall Foong philosophy...), extra dishes just had to be ordered. One morning it was blanched choy sum with oyster sauce.

Roast Goose..lots of them - Yung Kee, Hong Kong

Goose Feet & Wings - Yung Kee, Hong Kong

A meal at Yung Kee for it's famous roast goose was another must on list but alas we arrived too late. The roast goose had sold out for the afternoon. It didn't, however, stop them from offering us a tantalising glimpse of those beautifully roasted birds on the front window of the restaurant - all had been pre-ordered. Hanging beside the geese were pieces of char siew and below it, whole birds cooked in either soy sauce or poached in water, goose wings and webs braised in soy sauce ... delights from the roast meat counter.

Mixed Meat Plate - Yung Kee, Hong Kong
So we embarked on a feast without roast goose (they don't serve roast duck either) with a roast meat plate - soy chicken, char siew and jellyfish.

Century Egg & Pickled Ginger - Yung Kee, Hong Kong

A plate of the equally famous Yung Kee century egg with pickled ginger. A rich, gooey yolk with a gelatinous white.

Fries Dau Mui - Yung Kee, Hong Kong

The obligatory dau mui with ginger and garlic. I still haven't had my fill yet :)

Something a little different that I found on the menu - stir fried kai lan with goose liver sausages. It was very good. The fattiness and flavourings from the sausages, with a little garlic and ginger, really enveloped the vegetables and it was delicious.Probably not the healthiest of dishes but the taste buds had definitely fallen in love.

Deep Fried Ribs - Yung Kee, Hong Kong

Deep fried pork ribs, which were nice - but really not particularly memorable.

Fried Rice - Yung Kee, Hong Kong

Fried rice with Chinese sausage, dried prawns and egg. We actually forgot that we ordered this dish until it arrived at the end of our meal. There was a look of pure horror on all of our faces when the waitress put it down in front of us and that very rarely ever happens!

Steamed Beef Balls - Yung Kee, Hong Kong

Deep Fried Stuffed Beancurd Sheets - Yung Kee, Hong Kong

Thinking that there wasn't enough food (this was before the arrival of the fried rice), my dad ordered some steamed beef balls and fried bean curd skin stuffed with fishpaste from the dim sum menu. Neither were that good ... disappointing even. For it's reputation, the size of the restaurant and number of patrons, Yung Kee's food really isn't that special. I remember eating there years ago and having the roast goose, which was so delicious. This trip though, minus the roast goose, the food was incredibly disappointing.

Dan Tat - Hong Kong

Whilst it wasn't possible to stuff another bit of food down our throats, Candice and I still managed to stop by Tai Cheung Bakery, which I visited a few days before with my parents (minus the sister). A little shop in Central that's apparently quite popular - it even proudly displays a photograph of Chris Patten eating one of their pastries :) Their speciality? Egg custard tarts - freshly out of the oven. The tarts were very nice but I found the pastry a little too buttery and crumbly for my liking. I'm just being a little too particular :)

Egg-y Chinese Dough Balls - Hong Kong

Candice couldn't resist a sugared doughnut either. Not a traditional doughnut with a hole in the middle - more of a ball of quite egg-y, puffy fried dough covered in sugar.

Egg-y Chinese Dough Balls - Hong Kong

Hong Kong was bustling and wonderful as ever. I swear I took more photos than I did ... but I was sometimes a little busy shoving food into my mouth to notice the photographs had not been taken.

Tai Woo
27 Percival Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Yung Kee
32-40 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong

Tai Cheung Bakery
32 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong