Sunday, 30 December 2007

Mentaiko Magic

7 comments:
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It was such a difficult decision. Everything looked so good. If I have it my way, I would want to try every single item in the menu. Never had I been so spoilt for choices eversince experiencing an authentic trattoria experience in Modena many years ago.

While Mentaiko pasta is not new in Klang Valley (read Boo's Mentaiko adventure here), walking into a japanese pasta house in Klang Valley is a totally different experience altogether. There are close to 30 different varieties of japanese pasta in Pasta Zanmai at 1Utama, with all kinds of imaginable japanese ingredient. Mentaiko no Aojiso-fumi (RM18) got to me somehow. I simply had to try to find out what the fuss was all about. So many well-known bloggers blogged about it. By appearance, it sure looked simple but I know that beneath the simplicity - just like how fond I am of a simple plate of Aglio Olio, appearance and know-how of making a wicked version out of it, is totally a different thing altogether.

After a bite ... goodness! THIS IS WHAT I'VE BEEN MISSING ALL ALONG!

Creamy, salty, slightly spicy with light fishy taste ... now I know what the fuss is all about! The taste were simple and spot on. Love it!

Before moving to blogger community here, I befriended a Tokyo girl based in LA whose blog I visit almost on a daily basis. I still do and one of the thing that I got fascinated with in her blog was her fascination with eggs. Yes, eggs. I mean, I just don't get it. She wine and dine in all the latest hip and happening places in LA - but one of the thing she never got tired off when she cooks at home or the lack off cooking - were eggs. Here she is, consuming all the foie gras, and drinking the most notable wine in the world but why eggs???!! Fortunately for her, LA's a big cosmopolitan city. Getting a good supply of imported japanese egg were possible but not in Malaysia, until now.

Well, you can't buy them for home cooking still but you can try them in form of Onsen Tamago (RM3). The texture, simply remarkable quality with egg yolk so fresh and yellow. The taste were further lifted with the sweet and salty shoyu. Gorgeously paired. Nothing is more simplier and yummier than this, hence I'm so wanna go to Tokyo to eat after this simple experience.

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Ending my meal with a sweet, bitter note were a glass of Matcha Tiramisu (RM10). I love it when I get satisfaction out of a meal, minus the guilt. To me, Japanese food always does it.

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Friday, 28 December 2007

Food Blogger's Year End Bash at My Elephant

14 comments:
I was aiming to be the first blogger to blog about this wonderful dinner last night, but my body failed me. With my eyes trying its best to stay open while feeling the thumping ache coming from both sides of my shoulder, back and god-knows where else, not to mention too the dizzying after effect from the alcohol consumed earlier - I thought I'd still make it to be the first blogger to blog about this, by this morning until I saw this.

Never did I expect her to blog so quickly! Didn't she just mentioned that her draft box is full of unpublished article? Hehehehe ... feeling inspired huh Teckie :-)

Well, Teckieee ... it was a great night eh and thanks for your wine, though a bit light after all the kencang food consumed, it was still great neitherless to have that tipsy feeling throughout the whole night with you all. Loosen myself up a bit *big grin*

Anyway, I made my way to the blogged about The Elephant in Section 17, slightly early to get some early pictures before the crowd starts pouring in. The organiser (Lyrical Lemongrass, Precious Pea and WMW) did a great job hosting the dinner here with lovely lights, table settings, great food, great company and wait .. there's even award presentation too!

BTW, I won an award hehehe .. for being the Enlightened One. Wahhh ... I sound like I've reached a Nirvana stage in life eh ... hehehe, actually the award was given to me as I was enlightened finally, to join the TRUE blogging community after blogging in an isolated community for a longggg time. I'm in the family at last *big grin*
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I went around snapping pics and found this cute, little Christmas ornament. It was hanging at the oddest place. Their floor lamp! To those at the far end corner whom I did not get a chance to chat with. Sorry ah, not able to squeeze myself into those corner, its too small lah. Anyway, wanna wish you guys Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! *hugs*
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Back on the restaurant, The Elephant is a tastefully done up casual dining place. Their table settings last night lifted it further to give it a fine dining touch. Thai food never looked this chic.
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I choose the table closest to the window as it had good lightings. Seen here, view from my seat and bloggers (Nic whom came back a day earlier from Singapore to join us and Jun from Australia) chatting away with another unidentifiable blogger. Nice meeting you guys!
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We chatted and chatted non-stop, and I'd totally forgotten that my tummy were drumming before I arrived! The first to arrive is ... Brown Rice.
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The dishes started arriving in a stream. Not in order; seen here is Pak Choop Pang Tod (Thai Style Vegetable Tempura). It was a good batter, crunchier than the japanese version, the vegetable chosen were perfectly complimented.
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Thailand is famous for its salad dishes, hence we had to had it. We dutilly finished a plate of Somtom Malakor (Green Papaya with Dried Prawns with Peanuts). It was pretty close to the ones serve in Bangkok, but not as sourish.
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I love the dressing in Kom's Chicken Wings with Mango-Kiwi Dressing, however with the sauce soaking up the fried chicken wing, and then leaving them a few minutes of the table for food bloggers to "photo op" it, leaved a pretty much undesirable after taste. Instead of crunchy chicken wing, we had somewhat an inbetween.
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Chilled Lamb - Not sure how good this is as I don't take lamb. But looks good to me!
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One of my absolute favourite of the night were their Red Curry Duck with Konnyaku, Avocadoes and Rambutan! The red curry sauce were kickingly creamy, perfectly spicy and, went really well with the tender pieces of sliced roast duck. To my surprise, I kinda enjoyed the konnyaku in red curry's which I had initially mistaken it for sea cucumber. Hehe ...
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Proud and Commanding, that's our next dish of Choo Chee Goong (Thai Yellow Curry with River Prawn). It's a pity that the river prawns weren't fresh, otherwise everything would have been wiped up clean. I did anyway, as I loveee the gravy very much. Creamy and tasty, it's a pity too that the gravy were a bit skimpy.
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Something different from the Northern side of Thailand were their Tom Klong. Essentially, somekind of tomyum but unlike their southern cousin where its served primarily with prawns, squid and chicken, this came with fried fish cutlet. It was good, I liked it and kinda remind me of our Fish Head meehoon's fish cutlet but when cooked inside a very spicy, sourish based soup with a strong, sharp lemongrass taste ... its something you have to try to see if you like it. Very unique.
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My plate. Everyone "sek fannnn"
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Gasp! Our Plah Nung Manow (Steamed Fish) were stuffeddd to the brim! Poor thing. Luckily, you weren't wasted as you were fresh, firm and coated with a sourish, fragrant dressing. After a good steam, you were tasty and a hit.
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Thanks Teckie for the wine!
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One of the weirder dish that keep me wanting for more. Wanting something cold and sweet more. Their Sago Pudding with Thai Mangoes were nice, but the temperature of it did not elevate it to what I'd love them to be. Pity.
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Thankfully, there's more dessert to save the day. Thanks FBB for sponsoring us this lovely, moist, fragrant, super yummyyy Durian Cheesecake, which I'd remember was even better than the one you let us taste last time. No idea what it is, the durian used, the content ? Whatever it is FBB, keep it this way .. it is VERYYYY good. Yum!
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To that, I made my way home to my lovely bed. As I'm typing this, my tummy is growling and am still thinking of what to eat for brunch. Something light and healthy I hope, as I've feasted too much last night (over quota) hehehe ..

What about you food bloggers ? What's for breakfast and lunch today?

Monday, 24 December 2007

Christmas Desserts and more ...

5 comments:
Well ... if you've just hopped over from ImbiNItchy blog, you'd notice that I've cooked and eaten a fair bit today and here, more food ?!!!

This was the reason why I kept on harping on the moderation issue. The tomyum spagetti weren't suppose to be there, but somehow it did.

Look at all the items here. There's so much food isn't it ? But before you jumping into conclusion that I'm such a glutton (which I dare not deny), the truth is, some of the items are for my Christmas lunch in the office tomorrow. The fried mince pie at the background are for the party, where else the fruit cake resting nicely on the cake stand, well that .. I gave part of them away to my parent's friend.

Well .. now that all is clear, let's get to the review on each of the item, shall we ?

Stollen (from Kings Confectionary)
Densed, slightly sweet with raisins and mixed peel ... bearmaid said that Stollen originated from Germany and there's many variation available, depending on which region one's from. Whatever the region, I've tasted the best breads in Germany and I have no doubt that whatever variety the region concocts up will be equally as good. But this Stollen, were mediocre like a normal raisin bread. The only thing different is, its shape.

Fried Minced Pie (Tesco)
This must be my favourite treat for this Christmas. I loveeeeeed the light, crusty pasty very much. Reminded me of those I've tried in UK, infact it tasted better than those I bought from Sainsbury. Though not original in recipe, whereby minced lamb forms part of the ingredient, I'm glad that the raisins and mixed peel inside weren't too sweet. Lovely.

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Fruit Cake (Tesco)
What is Christmas without a fruitcake? Alright, I must confess that I'm not such a fan of fruitcake actually. I never understood what the fuss is all about. We get them as a souvenir when we attend chinese wedding dinner here, no? Therefor, apart for having it because of tradition, I'm still fairly unimpressed by it. But next year, I promise you that I will bake one fabulous fruitcake like no other. The recipe's already at hand and I'd discovered it, just a few days later otherwise I would have attempted it today. Next year yeah, next year ...

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Ham (Euro Deli)
Last but not least, a few slices of obligatory ham. Came highly recommended, but a bit pricey were these yummy cut inspired by / or from France (not sure). The meat were gorgeously soft, smokey and lightly flavoured with herbs. I love the fatty bit at the edges too. It was so good that I finished all 100 grams of it in a day. That is like, 8-9 slices!

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So here's my feasting session on Christmas day, apart from my cooking session which I'd blogged about in ImbiNItchy. What about you?

Chinese Fusion Taste

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Many old school master calls fusion food as confused food, but look around us these days. It works doesn't it ? I'm up for it, as long as it taste yummy and blend of the two world does not upset my stomach too much, I think its a good think in the culinary world to invent more exciting menu's and food to satisfy curious, adventurous tastebud.

Three typical cuisine which I personally categorize under chinese fusion are Vietnamese, Hongkong and Malaysian. I like the way how Vietnamese borrows the french, and incorporating them with their local herbs and ingredient. Even their national dish Pho, is a frenched up. As for Hongkong dishes, you walk into any charchanteng and you'll be greeted with any imaginable east and west ingredient. Rice dishes with cheese, noodle with ham, etc ...

I love it. It works really well.

My lunch journey took me to a typical Hongkong Char Chan Teng few days ago. Since they'd just introduced a new series, why not try ? Kicking off with a cup of Borsch Soup, one of my favourite sweet and sour soup - great to wake up my appetite. My set lunch came with a cup of typical hongkong milk tea and a small bowl of custard dessert. Both were not too bad - infact for the price of less than USD4, where else can you find such a stealer combination?

In my lunch were a piece of fairly sized salmon, scallop, abalone (the real thing, which surprised me), mussel, squid ring and baby octopus at the far right, looking red and angry - not wanting to be ignored by its superior seafood friends. The quality of the seafood were not compromised, it was fresh, with the exception of scallop which tasted more like scallop ball - laden with lots of flour and other preservatives. When you order this dish, you can opt for three varieties of cheeses - came highly recommended were New Zealand cheese by the wait staff. It was good. Creamy, soft and mildly flavourful.

All and all, I enjoyed this plate and the overall lunch. It is a safe bet and for the price of RM16.90 before tax for a 4 course set lunch.

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Another confusion dish, ahem Fusion dish I mean ... but this time round, with a Malaysian kick and by default - its always with a dash of spice due to our heavy influenced of cooking style by the Malays and the Indians. My tea break was at a typical chinese cafe called Delectable, just over Tesco's ground floor facing the Curve's side entrance. It is a no-frill place, with simple plastc chair and metal table which Coffee bean started off with many years ago.

I came here solely to fill up my appetite.

This is Chee Cheong Fun (steamed rice noodle) with Curry Chicken gravy (RM4.90). Another combo that works really well, and its one of my favourite as I grew up eating lots of it. If you're not too fussy and is looking for a quick fix around these are, then this is recommended. Otherwise, I would prefer my Curry Chee Cheong Fun to come with much thicker coconut milk, just like how Nyonya Colours in 1Utama serves them.

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Thursday, 20 December 2007

Vietnamese Ham Noodle Soup

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My shortest post ever, sorry guys .. am having bad tummy cramp, need to lie down soon and yet, wanna finish this first. Seen here, my lunch yesterday at Vietnam Kitchen after my visit to Times Warehouse Sale.

My bowl of Vietnamese Ham Noodle Soup (RM8.90), lovely as it was hot and flavourful with silky smooth rice noodle. The ham were delicious too.

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I've ordered their Caramel Creme Pudding (RM4.90) several times before, though not as smooth and soft as many places, I go for them as for the pure reason of its Caramel flavour. Love it!
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There you go, have a good weekend everyone .. hope my tummy pain go away soon. Tomorrow, I will be cooking some yummy stuff so remember to tune in to my cooking, baking, travelling and many other stuff blog here. See ya!

Charming Day

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Something is not right with me. I have been craving curry laksa for the past week and this is my third bowl already! I really don't mind enjoying a bowl everyday. If only I'm blessed with good genes *wink*

Curry Laksa. Hot, spicy, flavourful, creamy, fragrant and full of treasures swimming around the bowl. How does one define a good bowl or not so good bowl. Well, I would say its personal preference. Some like them hot, while I prefer them milder. Some like them slightly watery, while I love them creamy and sinful. While some would not down a bowl without the magic ingredient of fresh, raw "see hum" aka cockles, I sometimes detest it as it can get pretty bloody. But whatever it is, the part I dig most were towards the end where the bowl of Curry Laksa is so good that you wanna lick up your bowl. Alternatively, wipe your bowl clean with a helping of white bread ... yummyyyyyy.

Charms Curry Laksa (RM8.90) - bravo on the cooked cockles as I was not in the mood for raw that day, but I was dissapointed with the curry gravy. Not kicking at all.

Moving on to my dessert were this plate of Banana Fritters with Vanilla Ice Cream (RM4.90), which came as a surprise to me. The banana were wrapped in a springroll skin before deep frying them. I liked it. When eaten hot with the cold vanilla ice cream, it was marvelous!

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p/s : Am craving curry laksa as I'm writing this lol.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Breakfast At Starbucks

2 comments:
I had a nice, leisurely breakfast in Starbucks early this week while waiting for a supplier. For what's suppose to be a cup of their latest Toffee Nut Latte, as it turns out - it got upgraded to a filling one of English Muffin with Egg, Chicken Rolls and Cheddar Cheese AND Banana Cheese Muffin.

Everything spelt calories!!! But it was all worth it ...

Section 17 Market's Wantan Noodle with Stew Chicken Feet

2 comments:
I was at Section 17's wet market one fine weekday morning, due to work.

After sending my material to print in nearby printing shop, I was left with an hour to spare.

I headed towards to wet market, whom happen to be just across the street. The vendor's are still buzzing with activities, all peddling their fresh produce to the customer's within the surrounding area. This market in my opinion is the best wet market in Petaling Jaya. Not only are their produce very fresh, it is priced very competitive too, as there's simple quite a bit of competition there.

Halfway browsing, something caught my eye. It was this wantan mee roadside stall, mended by this old lady. Infront of the stall a small row of Char Siew (BBQ pork) which did not look that impressive but what caught my eye were its stew chicken feet and its thick, creamy curry gravy in a medium size pot. One of my weakness is having my wantan mee with curry gravy hence, I simply got to try it although I was rather full.

I would have prefered my noodle texture to be springy, but no complain here as it was soaked with heavy gravy for a while before consuming it. The charsiew and stew chicken feet needs improvement.

Overall, it was a mediocre plate of Wantan Noodle.

Wantan Mee with Stew Chicken Feet (RM4.20)

Friday, 14 December 2007

I Heart Mei ChiXuan Food

8 comments:
Mei Yen style eh ..., this is specially dedicated to her. It is unfortunate that she can't join us when we feasted on lobster that night! But no worries, we can always arrange for another session *grin*

Please forgive me if my post lately had been kind of a hush, hush and not too inspiring. I've been slacking lately in writing and photography department as I'm rushing day in day out doing so for my real job. Finding the right word/s and spending longer time to describe my food, my day and whatever that's happening around me had been difficult and all I can think of end of the day when I reach home is SLEEP.

Bear with me yeah.

Two nights ago, BBO invited a few bloggers over to a chinese restaurant for a food review dinner. I've read about their food in many Malaysian blogger site, hence they are not virgin when it comes to dealing with blogger gatherings. Before sampling the food, we were given simple note for reference. The Head Chef were there to share with us whatever information we want to know too.

After ooohhh-aahhhing the list given, the first dish arrived. Lobster Sashimi (RM13 per 100grams). Reason for the low price was, it is from our shore. I am truly amazed that, proven again, Malaysia is rich in so many ways. If you are keen to try this out, do order at least 2 weeks in advance as, supply of such size and quality is kinda challenging and they have to source for it.
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I've tried lobster a couple of times, and I've never been such a huge fan as its meat can get rather tough. But our local breed here is a typical Malaysian. It's flesh were firm but not tough. Lack of exercise lah.
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Chef Steven had prepared a pot of Superior Stock for us to poach our lobster in. Not only the lobster came out wonderfully fragrant after a good soak, the stock were so good that we can't resist sipping them like a soup. Superior stock usually takes up very long boiling period and theres no exception here AND I was told that this stock took 2 whole days to boil!

Other than that, Chef Steven had also shared his secret ingredients of this stock. All you cooks out there take note. The secret ingredient of this superior stock is Old Chicken, Chinese Ham (For Thoi), Red Dates and Chicken Feet. Apparently, Chicken Feet acts as a natural starch agent for the stock.
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The last time I ate this dish was during my youngest uncle's wedding in Jalan Pudu, and that was like 18 years ago! It is such a traditional dish and like anything traditional food, a lot of work goes into its preparation hence, you can't really find this delicacy easily anymore. Naturally, I was excited for this 8 Treasured Duck (Pat Pou Nyap) priced at RM60.
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While the outer looked like any normal braised duck in light herbal based broth, the stuffing inside were full of treasures! There's chestnuts, lotus seed, lap cheong (chinese sausage), two types of mushrooms and err ... can't remember what else.

I love this duck very much. Not only was it tender and flavourful from all the seasoning and stuffing, you get to nibble on the extra bits from the inner stuffings too.
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While we got ourself busy with the duck, Chef Steven had quietly sneaked back to the kitchen to prepare us a wonderful, wonderful, WONDERFUL ... (I can't stressed this enough) plate of Lobster Noodle (Price N/A). He had used the leftover lobster head to make us a yee mee with a difference. Not only was the sauce really flavourful, the yee mee was thick, al dente and chewy.

I had three big servings.
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Up next were, Dried Oyster with Stuffing - Hou See Fatt Choy (RM50). Okay, this dish sound so chinese new year isn't it. Well, it is for Chinese New Year and if you go now, you will be dissapointed yeah, so do note. If you are keen to try this dish, Mei ChiXuan will start serving their chinese new year food a month before and until Chap Goh Meh. The fishball were very flavourful and tasty, however, I'm not such a fan of Hou See (dried oyster).

If you are, this is a good choice.
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Breaking away from heavy stuff in the middle of chinese dinner is welcoming. What I like about this Golden Pumpkin with Tofu (RM20) were, the tofu were homemade without any preservative or additive. The pumpkin sauce were a good match to the delicate tofu too.

This is a must order. It is good for you.
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Like many of their other dishes which requires tedious preparation, this Boneless Fish with Meat Paste (RM18) came at a surprising price. Though the whole fish resembled a real fish in appearance with skin, tail etc ... what's beneath its skin were actually tenggiri fish paste. Go figure how its made *big grin*

The other unique thing about this fried fish is the sauce. Instead of using normal chinese sauce such as soya, or plum ... they had used Barbecue Sauce of the west. Not only that, it was kinda spicy too. I'd never imagine that Tenggiri flavour and barbecue sauce would work, but it does.
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If I were to tell you that love everything here, I would be lying yeah. Like any food review, no matter how good a place is, there's always one dish that can't live up to the ones expectation. In this case, my expectation. This dish here Pak Fan Yee (Deep Fried White Baits) priced at RM20 tasted mediocre to me.

Though it was one of the best selling item in the restaurant, it it tasted bland but again, it could be due to the fact I ate too much of the flavourful fishpaste and barbecue sauce prior to this.
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I've just realised that I've missed out on this dish called Fried Potato with XO Sauce (RM15), which essentially is a recipe that Kylie Kwong had feature in her program before. Though it was tasty, with a hint of chilli, I think everyone was stuffed by then, hence it was half untouched.

It is a good thing that the dessert that followed were all light stuff. First to arrive were a light brown jelly with selasih seed. I love jelly, so no complain there. Oh, oh .. you know what ? I'm going to make jelly tomorrow *big grin*
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Last but not least, Sunny from BBO brought out his pride and joy to the table for us to savour. Its a Japanese cheesecake with Chestnut Cream and Custard. Price ? Not so sure, however, when you talk about good stuff .. just buy and eat ya'll. For those whom likes their cheesecake heavier than the normal Japanese ones, but not quite as heavy as the western ones, this is a good choice.

What I'd also like about this cake is, its Chestnut Cream which went really well with cheesecake. The custard was good too. Its real stuff and not those I made, where I use Custard Powder.
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What can I say. Good chinese food that I love but never really get many chances to try them. It is not often that I get to eat chinese dish like this; be it among family member or among friends hence, this is luxury to me.

Thanks BBO for organising! And to Chef Steven, thank you for hosting us.

I'm full. Burpppp ...

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Menu for Hope 4

3 comments:

Dear readers and friends,

I'd like to draw to your attention on this very special campaign I'm participating in. It is my first, and definately not the last, it combines two important aspects of my life which are, my love for food and giving.

I guess many of you can relate to my obsession with food, otherwise we won't be blogging about it eh *big grin*

If we track back a little to yesteryears, food were merely to fill ones stomach and the choices were limited. We don't have that many international restaurants sprouting around big cities, nor was there a McDonalds in every block.

Back then, whenever there's a celebration within my family member, the only choice we had were KFC. Yup. KFC was the only foreign food institution then, and I would pester my dad to buy me those plastic toys that comes with the barrel or bucket we order. Everything would be polished clean, right up to the bones. But what follows were even better. Me and my brother would go around showing-off to the WHOLE WORLD our new toy, what it can do and what we CAN do with it. It was simply the happiest moment in my life!

Look at what we have today. We have almost everything, from french, japanese, italian, spanish, mexican to god knows what else. Not only that, many food enthusiast are travelling far and wide to certain destination too, just to go sample certain specialty known to that region. Some (ahem) likes to explore in the kitchen department to rub their ego further. And mind you, it may cost you a lot more to cook than to eat out sometimes. Another indulgence that many food bloggers share is forking out a bomb for special occassion. It is a MUST, otherwise, some parties WILL get upset and it may not be the party getting the treat!

I was raised the typical chinese way hence food is an important component of our culture. Though I may not be aware of how hard my parents worked to put food on the table when I was a child, I'm aware that irregardless, three homely meal's always on the table everyday. Sometimes, I would request for Sambal Petai. Othertime, I would crave for my mum's Assam Fish and when I don't get them, I would sulk whole day or scream from the top of my lungs! There's been sad episode where I end up being caned by her too (no joke). Yup, I call this food related abuse.

But have we given a thought to those whom does not even have the means and energy to tell you they are hungry and are way less fortunate than us? Those that are cut-off from food supply for many reasons and are waiting and hoping every single day, hours, minutes for miracle to happen? Those that do not have a choice to choose but merely, partake in whatever that's portioned to them?

This year, Menu for Hope runs from Dec 10 - Dec 21 and aims to collect as much money from bidders (meaning you) via Menu for Hope raffle ticket purchase. In doing so, you will be able to bid for any item/s you like and the raffle ticket starts as low as USD$10 only! At the end of the two-week campaign, all money collected will go to the UN World Food Programme and ultimately to kick off a school lunch program in Lesotho, Africa.

I hope we all can and will start today by participating in this Menu for Hope 4 campaign. It is just a small fraction of what you pay for a meal outside so COME ON! Eat one less extravagant meal and imagine what it can do to change a child's life! That someone cared enough for them.

All for a good cause and that's not all, the prizes are fabulous! So please, please, please, pleaseeee ... spare a though for the ones whom needs to be feed and join us to make this change.

For this year, I'm sponsoring the following. I will be shipping this to whichever location UPS could reach so, please bid for mineeee *biggg grin*

PRIZE CODE : AP20

The prizes are worth AU$80 or approximate RM200 and if you're like me, whom loves cooking and baking, its versatile enough for many adventures in your kitchen. Here are my items.

A box of 250 grams Valrhona Cocoa Powder (55%)

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A pack of 200 grams Organic Porcini Risotto

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And lastly, one dozen Vanilla Pod

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To have an idea of what other prizes are available for the Asia Pacific region, please visit Grab Your Fork , otherwise do pay Chez Pim's a visit for an International Round-Up on all the prizes.

If you are new to Menu for Hope, you can refer to the information here.

Here's what you need to do once you are ready to bid for the prizes.

  1. Go to the donation page at http://www.firstgiving.com/menuforhope4
  2. Make a donation: each US$10 will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. In the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form, please specify which prize or prizes you'd like, using the prize-code and detailing the number of tickets per prize you'd like to purchase. For example, a donation of US$50 can be 2 tickets for AP01 and 3 for AP02
  3. For US donors, if your company has agreed to match your charity donation, please remember to tick the box and fill in the information so we may claim the corporate match.
  4. Please make sure you tick the box to allow us to see your email address so we may contact you if you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.
  5. Winners will be announced on Chez Pim in mid-January 2008.

Here, I would like to thank Menu of Hope's program owner Chez Pim (keep up the good work!), the ambassador of Menu of Hope for AP region (thanks Helen for guiding me) and BBO, whom gave me Helen's contact to kick this off.

All the best to you bidders and thank you for joining.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Authentic Japanese at Gonbei, Starhill

5 comments:
"Lianne-san, can we try out real JAHpanese food in Kuara Rumpur? " my guest requested.

Real japanese food? Since when our japanese food is not real? After getting an idea on what he'd been eating past two days, I finally understood why. My guest Osamu-san had tried several japanese restaurant in town, and sad to say, was not up to his expectation. It was good news to him neitherless, as he is on a japanese food tasting mission and if all goes well, we're going to have another exciting japanese food place to dine soon!

Since we were at Jalan Bukit Bintang, I thought it would be a great idea to show him our new kid on the block shopping mall aka Pavillion. With several japanese restaurant in there, I hope one strikes his fancy. After passing by all, we stopped at Kampachi. We ordered our drinks before looking at the menu.

Then ... he suggested we go elsewhere. It seems that the sight of too many bento sets turned him off. But, but, but .. I wanted to try Kampachi! Ahhhh, never mind, I can come back another day hence, we crossed the street right after and soon after, we found the perfect place for our food tasting.

Gonbei at Starhill.

I love the decor of the place simply because they used a lot of wood in their decor. Real wood and not cheap laminate stuff that many restauranteur replace with. The place was nicely done up. It had a striking bamboo architecture greeting us as we enter, and once inside, we were greeted with a long table where all the sashimi slicing action takes place. On the counter too were two hugeeeee container of homemade Plum Liquor, which surprised him as he'd presented me with THAT gift thinking that Malaysia does not have them.

The wait staff urshered us to a lovely spot not far from Sashimi counter, with my back facing gorgeous, textured wallpaper from Japan.

Let's start dinner ... drum roll ... (damn nervous okay, because don't know what to expect hehehe)

First to arrive were Free Appetiser of Tamago which I'd quickly popped them into my mouth. It was really different from what I've tried before as it was creamier and I can taste the freshness of the egg flavour. What surprised me were, how soft the centre curd turned out. Lovely.

Something I picked up here. Kyoto'ans eat their tamago with japanese soya sauce. They poured them over the bowl first, let the tamago soaked up the flavour before savouring it. I'm not sure how it taste like as I walloped them up before him showing me this! Bummer.

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Every knows that I HATE fresh tomatoes. Hence when this arrived, I got pretty stressed out. Where shall I hide it ? Underneath the pile of salad ? But, but .. grrrrrrr, too complicated the mission so I told myself, JUST gobble them down lah.

I WAS WOWED! Japanese tomatoes taste different okay. It is so darn sweet, kinda like eating fruits and unlike our local cousins, the smell were rather delicate and welcoming. It had totally change my viewpoint on tomatoes. These are even better than the italian ones I've tried in several Italian cities!

The asparagus too, were absolutely good. Crunchy and fresh, the accompanying yuzu sauce were perfect. Good stuff.

Starter of Tomato and Asparagus Salad
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Earlier on, Osamu-san had asked if I take Sashimi. I think he must have saw my eyes lid up! Somethings need no words eh *big grin* After the lovely start, the three variety of Sashimi came but ei, there's a bonus too. In my platter were 2 slices of Sake (Salmon), 2 slices of Maguro (Tuna), a slice of Toro (Tuna Belly) and a cute little Amaebe.

Words cannot describe the freshness particularly Toro. Don't you just love food that just melts in your mouth? I DOOOOOOOO .....

I loveeee the Amaebe too. It was so sweet and slightly crunchy!
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This place rocks man, it rocks! By this point, I was constantly straining my neck to look out to what's to come. Feeling excited like a child, but still trying to remain calm. Anyway ... the next item were a grill dish called Grilled Rock Fish with Salt.

Rock fish eh ... it looked kinda similar to our Ikan Merah but the on diet version.
Again, fresh and sweet. Absolutely well prepared with its skin slightly charred, but everything else beneath were soft and juicy. Lovely.
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"How many more to go" I asked Osamu-san as he did the ordering.

"Four more." came the short reply.

Up next were Tempura dish. I didn't know what to expect as the batter usually does not clue you in to what's beneath unless its oddly shape. The one I recognise right infront of me were leaves. Yup. Daun. And it was good, though I was merely tasting the light, airy batter more than the leaves flavour. Pretty addictive stuff!

I picked up another oblong piece, took a bite and swooooonnnnn ... firm, juicy King Crab meat ravaged through my tastebud. Beneath the pile were a piece of fish fillet and cuttlefish. Both excellent.
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So far so good, until this point where we were served Maki. I had the California Maki while Osamu-san had the Soft Shell variety. Though it was fresh and tasty, I though it was mediocre like what you can get elsewhere. Perhaps, I'm not such a maki fan.
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This soup arrived together with the Makis and was meant to be eaten together. Simply called Rich Fish Miso Soup, the name itself contradict its taste which was definately not rich at all. Though chunks of Salmon were in it, the soup was delicate and light.

I love this version very much.
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Ahhhhh ... all things must come to an end eh ...

Our last course dessert were three varieties of fruit; Japanese Strawberry, Honeydew and Pear. One word. Sweet. Oh no ... three words. Fresh and sweet.
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With that, we wrapped up our dinner happily. I thanked Osamu for a wonderful food adventure together (in this case, more of adventure for me) and wish for his success in his plans here.

Before I leave, I wanna share with you the Choya Plum Liquor I'd received from Osamu-san as a gift. Anyone tried them before?