Saturday, July 22, 2017

MALAYSIA: Sweet Inn Restaurant, KL

Second last dinner in Malaysia was spent ushering in dad’s birthday with a traditional Chinese feast. Hard to come across in Australia and possibly other foreign countries, each individual dish has a significant meaning.

To kick start our appetite, we shared a small plate of pickled fruit and vegetables which was balanced in terms of acidity, sweetness and spiciness. Next up was a clay pot dish with sea cucumber fillets, abalone, broccoli and shitake mushroom, stewed and thickened with the addition of potentially corn flour.

Second dish served was a four seasons plate – deep fried, crispy squid tentacles dressed in a citrus concoction, savoury fried spring rolls, jelly fish salad topped with finely sliced purple onions, chilli and coriander and a serve of fried roll stuffed with imitation crab roll, taro and sweet potato. One of my favourite dishes of the night albeit costing about RM128. 

The fried roll stuffed with tuber and crab meat was delish, the addition of tubers had absorbed any excess oil from the frying process and thus, retaining the roll’s overall crispness. Not a big fan of jelly fish but found this to be refreshing, especially when mixed with the sweet and sour dressing.

Lastly, a plate of sang har mee (big prawns with noodles) arrived at our table. Diners can choose between being served larger prawns or the average sized prawns. With larger prawns, more flavour can be extracted from it, lending more fragrance to the overall dish. Pretty good in my opinion, again, costing quite a fair bit as well.

Finding food in uncommon grounds is a tedious process, sometimes bearing drool worthy results and sometimes, questionable outcomes after foraging for that place.

MALAYSIA: Eido Ichi restaurant, KL

Very rarely do I get to celebrate birthdays with my parents and now that I am able to visit Malaysia more frequently, any opportunity to be festive is always welcomed. The father suggested a Japanese restaurant that seemingly is packed full of patrons every day.

Thankfully, without any reservations, we were able to be seated quickly and service wise, was efficient. First up was chawan mushi aka steamed Japanese egg custard filled with thin slices of fishcake, small bits of crustacean and shitake mushroom. Tasted decent, could possibly improve with a bit more seasoning.

Both the father and sister ordered set meals which worked out to be quite economical for its quality and quantity.  Both came with a decent serve of salmon, tuna and kingfish sashimi slices, a couple of teriyaki chicken rolls, a bowl of miso soup, lettuce, a bowl of rice and a couple of slices of orange. Dad had a plate of tempura prawns and a few different types of vegetables whilst sister had a plate of grilled and glazed unagi.

My bowl of salmon sashimi don topped with roe, was surprisingly quite filling. The cuts used, in my opinion, were not the highest quality ones, which obviously were reflected in its price but still fresh nevertheless.  An excellent meal, packed with protein.

Also pictured were two different types of rolls, both packed with an assortment of greens.

MALAYSIA: Journal by Plan B, KL

One of the more sought after cafes fashioning the Australian coffee culture, Plan B started off in Midvalley shopping mall and soon after, expanded its wings to Publika. The latter location is much more suited for foodies at heart who frequent this mall for its diverse range of restaurants and cafés.

Greeted by a shelf filled with worn out typewriters and a row of TV screens depicting a form of hypnotically spirals, like many around us, we opted for coffee and cake to finish off the night. Coffee options are identical to Melbourne baristas but the café has put a clever spin to the sort of cakes served.

Teh tarik tiramisu – an interesting play on an Italian favourite. Unlike the stronger caffeine taste oozing from the coffee liqueur and crushed beans used in a traditional tiramisu, their version is a lot milder which can be easily missed. Large chunks of toffee almonds and chocolate drizzles decorate the cake, both of which, I find a little too flamboyant for the subtle tea flavoured cream cake.

Lemon curd tart – tarts are one of the most unpretentious comestibles as one cannot hide a bad crust under a flurry of cream nor can one cover a questionable filling with a buttery pastry. Errors are easily detected by consumers which can affect eventual sales. Whilst the crust is evenly layered and not overly sweet, it was let down by the lemon curd filling. Flavour of it was decent but the texture was not quite right as it was more gelatinous than creamy.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Chinese style fish fillets with tofu recipe

One of my favourite recipes that is quick and easy to whip up, not to mention healthy too. One can use whatever veggies are available in the pantry be it corn, beans, carrots and the list goes on.

Fish fillets, cubed
A packet of firm tofu, cubed
2 carrots, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
A knob of ginger, minced
Spring onions, sliced into thick pieces
1/2 cup of homemade chicken broth
Soy sauce & dark soy sauce to taste (about 1 tbsp of each)
Cornflour for thickening the sauce

1. Lightly coat the fish fillets with plain flour and pan fry until cooked. Set aside
2. Fry ginger and garlic with a bit of sesame oil until it appears golden. Toss in carrots and chicken broth.
3. Allow to simmer for a few minutes, add tofu cubes and spring onions.
4. Add soy sauce and season to taste.
5. Add cooked fish fillets and depending on the thickness of the gravy, adjust amount of cornflour solution so that the gravy won't be too thick.
6. Serve with warm rice.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Ampang Tofu, Doncaster MELB

I have been recycling my selection of Malaysian restaurants lately, often times seeing myself reentering the same establishment. Interestingly enough, there are still a few restaurants in the eastern suburbs that I have yet to visit so here's an attempt at completing the search.

A little queue had built up outside the restaurant when we arrived at 7pm, a promising sign that we are heading for a feast worthy of all the hours committed to torturing myself in the gym.

Wanted to have the assam laksa, one of the chef's recommended dishes, but was told that it was sold out for the day :(

Yong tau foo - diners can choose their preferred type of noodle, broth and up to six different types of yong tau foo ingredients to go with their dish. D is a big fan of fried goodies which was what we ended up with most haha. Not too bad overall although I would prefer the curry broth to have a bit more flavour depth.

Bak kut teh - I very rarely order this at restaurants, even in Malaysia, and this was a recommended item in the restaurant. Whilst it is a good sized portion, I would prefer more depth in terms of flavour and I personally think the dish could do much better if the meat had time to absorb the soup's tea essence.

Ampang Tofu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, July 10, 2017

Chiquito & Co, Fitzroy MELB

New kids on the block, Chiquito & Co, were kind enough to host a sinful night for us hungry foodies and gave us a sneaky peek at what finger licking goodies they had to offer. Revolving around an American inspired burger joint, owner Jenny and Robby definitely have big shoes to fill in order to set them apart from the crowd.

First up, we were served with refreshingly good lemonade and raspberry and mint soda, perfect for cleansing one's palate, especially after a few rounds of oily goodness. Mind you, one does not come to a burger place expecting to still remain a diet purist so drop the celery and carrot sticks and stop teasing yourself.

Cheesy popcorn chicken and haloumi fries - side dishes at burger joints are the best post-gym/ reward treats in the world. Generous amounts of cheesy sauce drizzled all over the chicken and the haloumi fries were definitely crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Doubt I would be able to finish more than a piece of haloumi but perhaps, if I was really hungry.

Southern fried chicken wings - be warned, this came extremely hot at our table so be cautious not to bite into it too soon. Crispy and succulent they were, best consumed as soon as they cooled down a little, nothing more.

Burgers burgers burgers. Look at how amazingly vibrant the colours are and were they craving out for attention or what.

I have ordered the Crab Shack for myself whilst D had the Tribute to Bacon Bacon Bacon. Crab Shack consisted of crispy soft shell crab, lettuce, tomato, garlic aioli and sriracha all in a charcoal bun. Bacon burger was a traditional beef burger but with a double dose of bacon, cheddar, lettuce and pickles, given a good dose of baconaise and smoked ketchup.

I prefer lighter burgers in general and found the crab burger relatively easy to eat. D, being a male, would not settle for anything less than meaty perfection. All in, both burgers were made with utmost attention to detail in flavour and were finished in no time by us two hungry monsters:)

Chips, sour cream and sweet chilli fries and cheesy mac and bacon. At this point, all of us were almost filled to the brim and decided to pace ourselves slower.

ChiqShakes ferrero rocher and pavlova - when you think fatty goodness could not have gotten any better, this would be what sweet lovers dream about. Only managed a small bit at this stage but if you do rock up here hungry or in need of some comfort food, look no further.

Smores dessert sundae - again, a delicious little number that I could only manage a small bite, being too full from the burgers and sides served earlier. I would imagine this to be quite a popular item, especially in summer.

Their frozen custard is pretty solid and also available on the menu are mix in options for diners to choose from be it something along the lines of fruit, biscuits, chocolates or gooey marshmallow softness. I actually preferred the vanilla flavour, being that it was actually quite refreshing and mutual tasting so it paired easily with other types of mix ins.

Overall, the bunch of us had an extremely satisfying night, all thanks to Jenny And Robby for their kind hospitality despite having to accommodate other customers. May not be my last visit here and who knows what these guys might have in store for the future;)

p.s: checkout their Instagram or Facebook page for weekly specials :p

Chiquito & Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Sweet and sour pork meatballs recipe

As much as I like having a meal outside, I find that cooking at home has it's own strangely satisfying pleasures added with the fact that I can control my calorie intake for the day. Not one to rest on my laurels with simple recipes, I decided maybe, just maybe, I should learn to appreciate quick and easy meals more for the sake of convenience (and my sister's sanity).

A popular item in every Chinese restaurant, this is a very easy dish to recreate and one can easily adjust the amount of veggies to your liking. I have used Rasa Malaysia's recipe for this and made slight modifications to the amount of sauce ingredients I have used:p

500g minced lean pork
1/2 tsp five spice powder
Knob of ginger and some garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Marinate minced pork with the above ingredients and set aside until ready to cook (don't leave it for too long tho!).
2. Shape into round shapes and pan fry them. I find this version a lot healthier compared to deep frying the meat. Adjust amount of garlic and ginger to your liking, there is no right or wrong way of doing this.

Sweet and sour sauce:
60g tomato sauce
1 tsp white vinegar
40g sweet chilli sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
Sugar and salt to taste

1. Cube/ slice capsicum, pineapples, onion, tomatoes and other veggies that you like and pan fry them for about 5 minutes until the veggies appear to be slightly softened/ blistered from the heat.
2. Mix all the sauce ingredients together and allow to simmer in a pan until it appears to be slightly thickened.
3. Mix 1/4 tsp of corn flour to 1/4 cup of water and add to sauce to thicken it.
4. Add cooked pork meatballs into the sauce and stir until meatballs have been evenly coated by the sauce.
5. Serve with steamed rice.