Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lion Dance performance by Kun Seng Keng

Here's another stunning lion dance performance that we caught in the shopping mall on Chinese New Year. This time the lion dance was performed by the Lion Dance World Champion, the Kun Seng Keng Lion Dance troupe. It isn't the first time we've watched a performance by Kun Seng Keng but they have never failed to entrall us each time.
The performance was stunning, even jaw-dropping at times. At such performances you can almost hear the crowd hold their breaths, then letting out a collective "phew" when it's over. The lion dancers were extremely agile with their footwork and jumps.As with tradition, at the end of the lion dance, mandarin oranges are placed on a tray for the lions to "peel" then handed over to the Manager of the shopping mall to signify prosperity to the mall. As you can see from the photos below, the mall is packed with spectators during the performance. Lion dances are so very much a part of Chinese New Year and people throng malls (or any place actually) with such performances.

Friday, January 30, 2009

High School Musical-themed cupcakes

These are the High School Musical-themed cupcakes that I made for a friend's daughter's birthday recently. The little girl was a great fan of High School Musical (which kid isn't, huh?) so I thought this would be a fitting theme for her birthday cake.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

24 Seasons Drums performance at Midvalley Megamall

More Chinese New Year posts .... we finally caught the 24 Seasons Drums performance at Midvalley Megamall. I've wanted to watch this very energetic drums performance for such a long time and when I found out that they are performing at Midvalley, I just had to bring my family along for the experience. It's a performance to be seen to believe.
I love the vision of the drums against the backdrop of the stage. Doesn't the gold and black drums look absolutely grand? I'm told the drums signify the different seasons and festivals for the Chinese (to my absolute regret, I can't read them).
The performance was absolutely stunning! I love the colour, the sounds and the atmosphere that verberates through the crowd! What a great start to the new year!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More Chinese New Year cookies!

I figured since I have leftover ingredients I might as well use them all up instead of leaving them to waste. Thus began my last minute scramble to make the cookies on Chinese New Year eve, no less!
The nestum cookies with chocolate coating was deliciously crispy and is my daughter's current favourite.
The orange cookies are also nice with the nonpareils sprinkled on top.
All in now I've made 6 types of cookies this Chinese New Year.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nyonya Delight @ Rock Cafe Food Court, Dataran Sunway

Anyone who's from Penang will at some point or another hanker for some good Nyonya dishes. Although KL is a melting (or is it cooking?) pot of flavours, nothing beats some good food just like how Mom used to make them.

It is for this reason that we decided to try Nyonya Delight at the newly opened Rock Cafe Food Court at Dataran Sunway. My parents were away on holiday and being so used to eating home-cooked food everyday, it is quite a challenge deciding on what to eat for a week.
I won't dare say that Nyonya Delight's dishes are anywhere close to my mom's for that would be risking incurring her wrath. ;) But the dishes there are not too bad either.
We tried the Nyonya fish head curry which was creamy curry in coconut milk. We were given a sizeable portion of fish head that was more than enough for 3 persons. The curry came in a claypot with brinjals, ladies fingers (okra), sliced tomatoes and mint leaves. The fish head curry was quite good indeed especially with a plate of steaming white rice.
For vegetables, we ordered the Jiu Hu Char which was essentially julienned jicama and carrots with dried cuttlefish strips. It looks like an easy enough dish to make but as any true-blue Nyonya will tell you, it is not that easy to replicate. My hubby liked this dish enough to polish off the plate.I love Perut Ikan which is a sourish curry made with preserved fish stomaches. I know it doesn't sound quite right, in fact it sounds offending even to some people, but this dish is a delicacy found only in the best Nyonya homes. Lots of shredded herbs are also added to this dish that imbues it with a delicate herbal fragrance. I could usually eat a whole bowl of this all by myself. Nyonya Delight serves this curry, but sadly it doesn't quite lived up to my standards. I'm used to the Perut Ikan served by Nyonyas in Penang and unfortunately something seems to be missing here. I suspect they must have added a little bit of coconut milk to the curry. I didn't like this dish at all.The stall owner has graciously offered us a free plate of sambal petai prawns which were excellent! The prawns were deliciously smothered in thick sambal paste with the perfect balance of spiciness. Nyonya Delight @ Rock Cafe Food Court is located at Dataran Sunway. They provide food catering as well and can be contacted at 017-3144942 (Lawrence).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Acrobatic lion dance at Midvalley Megamall KL

With Chinese New Year a week away, many shopping malls around KL are already gaily-decorated to welcome the year of the Ox. It's a great time to be visiting the malls right now as the malls all seemed to be trying to outdo each other in their decorations. It's also a great time to catch the Lion Dance performances by award-winning Lion Dance troupes.
My family and I had the privilege of catching one such dance over the weekend. It's been sort of a family tradition for us to visit the malls to watch the lion dances. The kids love it for all the colour and noise. It's a great way for them to learn the Chinese culture too. Chinese New Year is just not complete without the lion dances!
The acrobatic lion dance we caught over the weekend at Midvalley Megamall was performed by the award-winning Kwong Ngai troupe. It was quite a sight with 2 silver lions prancing on stage and then on metal poles and even a high-wire. The lions were very energetic. Comic relief was even provided at a time when the lion practically shook with fear whilst on the high-wire.At the end of the performance the lions distributed mandarin oranges to the crowd to signify good fortune. If you haven't caught your first lion dance of the year, make your way to the various shopping centres this week and next. There will be many lion dances to make your Chinese New Year an exciting one!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Home-made Chinese New Year cookies

Chinese New Year is a week away and as with tradition, I bake all our cookies myself. I'm sure there are lots of cookies being sold everywhere right now but I can't bring myself to buy them because by making the cookies myself, at the very least I can ensure the quality of the cookies I bake. I finally baked my last batch of Chinese New Year cookies yesterday and is now able to pack my utensils away .... at least for the time being.
I made only 4 types of cookies this year, for obvious reasons because standing too long makes my feet swell.
Always a favourite, pineapple tarts : Also made Chocolate Almond cookies although they don't look too pretty, just so long as they taste good!I tried Almond cookies this year too. The cookies are made with ground almonds and topped with sliced almonds. I love almonds because they impart such a rich flavour to the cookies & cakes.And finally, the kiddies' favourite - cornflakes & raisins cookies :The photos don't quite do the cookies justice, I'm afraid. I was in a hurry hence the bad photography!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pigging out at Tenji Japanese Buffet, Solaris Mont Kiara

It seems that everyone's been either raving or complaining about Tenji's Japanese buffet promotion at Solaris Mont Kiara so here's my two-cents worth about the buffet.

We've been there twice although it isn't easy getting through the phone line to make a reservation. I got lucky only after endless tries that took 2 days!

The restaurant area is quite large with indoor and outdoor seating areas. Apparently large groups are seated indoors and smaller groups outdoors.
The buffet spread areas are large with well-stocked food counters (at least for the first time we were there). At a corner was the drinks counter with free-flow sweet young coconuts which was quite popular with diners. Other fruit juices and herbal/flower teas are also available although I suspect the coconuts are the most popular.

The sashimi and sushi counters were well-stocked the first time we were there. Both sashimi and sushi were fresh but beware, there's always a long queue at these counters. However, I am disappointed to relate that for our second visit, the sashimi & sushi ran out quite fast and the staff were slow in replenishing the items.

Along the same counter as the sushi is the cold dish selection. There's quite a varied selection there on our first visit which included abalone strips, crab claws, poached prawns and lobster salad. Again, unfortunately, on our second visit, all the above were sorely missing.My favourite sections at Tenji remains the teppanyaki and tempura counters. There is a variety of items at the teppanyaki counters which you can order by dropping your table no. tags onto the plate. We ordered the tiger prawns, salmon and mixed mushrooms teppanyaki. The tiger prawns were large and succulent, absolutely delectable. It was so good we had three helpings!
The teppanyaki salmon was good too. The salmon was fresh and was a hit with our daughter. Our only gripe was that the serving was a little too small, even for a child.Unfortunately, the mixed mushroom teppanyaki didn't fare too well in the taste section. It looked good on the plate but we thought it was rather bland. We ended up dousing the mushrooms with soya sauce to give it a little flavour and still, something seems to be missing.The tempura comes in a variety of prawns, soft-shelled crabs and crystal fish. The tempura batter coating the seafood was very light and crispy and was quite good. However, the tempura were fried in small batches so the plates are almost always empty. I've had to resort to waiting for the chefs to fry the tempura to ensure a share.I also liked the noodles section where we could pick the items in a metal basket and hand over to the chef to cook them in either miso or spicy soup. I chose the miso soup which I thought to be a little bland. The soup was sent to our table in a cute little paper bowl. There is also a Chinese counter where dim sum, soups, stir-fried vegetables and steamed fish can be ordered. We tried the stir-fried Hong Kong kai-lan which we thought to be rather good. The kai-lan was crunchy and fresh. I also tried the Chinese herbal soup which was not bad either. The steamed fish was steamed a little too long however.

We also tried the teriyaki section where a selection of grilled items can be ordered. I tried the grilled shitake mushrooms which took almost 20 minutes to arrive. I don't mind the wait, but the 3 mushrooms were so small, they were not worth the long wait.There's also a Western section where soups, grilled lamb/roasted chicken, pasta, fish & chips etc are served. We didn't try those as after almost 2 hours into our meal we're almost filled to the brim.
Finally, to end our meal, we made a bee-line for the desserts section - the Haagen Dazs ice-cream counter to be exact. It's not everyday we come across eat-all-you-can Haagen Dazs ice-cream so this one definitely made our day. The other desserts are worth a mention too although we didn't try the cakes. We did try the sesame, strawberry and melon mochi which were pretty good. We spent a total of 2 hours at Tenji where we ate to our hearts' content. And the price? RM29.90 for the first hour and an additional RM10.00 for the next hour. So all in we paid RM39.90 per person. For all that food, it's well worth the price we paid!
Note : Tenji is running a new promo from 16 Jan where for RM49.90 there is no time limit. If any of you plan on going, I'd say go early. The buffet starts at 11.30am and that's when you get the best stuff before the crowd starts streaming in.