Monday, February 16, 2009

Pappa Rich's Kopitiam @ USJ Taipan & Sunway Pyramid

We ventured into Pappa Rich's Kopitiam (coffee shop) for dinner during the long Chinese New Year holidays as it's a hassle to cook when we've been visiting friends all day. It's apparent that we're not the only ones who feel this way, as the kopitiam was packed to the brim.
Our orders were quickly taken by the efficient staff and before long, our drinks were served. We liked the Milo Dinosaur which is iced Milo topped with a large scoop of Milo. The chocolatey drink was a delight to drink, especially with the powdered chocolate on top.
I couldn't resist the Cendol (I know it's supposed to be dessert but with the anticipated long wait for our food I might as well eat my dessert first!). The strips of green cendol were smooth and fragrant with pandan. The finely shaved ice drizzled with fresh coconut milk and thick gula melaka is refreshing after a long hot day of visiting friends. This one's a winner because of the fresh coconut milk used.After a waiting for 30 minutes, our meals finally arrived. I had the Nasi Lemak with rendang chicken. The fluffy steamed rice scented with pandanus leaves and coconut milk was very appetising with the rendang chicken. I really liked the rendang gravy that I thought was a great accompaniment to the rice. It's absolutely delicious! Definitely something that I'll order again.Char Kuey Teow (fried rice noodles) arrived next. Although Pappa Rich's version is not bad, it is nowhere near the versions served at the stalls. Something seems to be missing from the Char Kuey Teow, possibly the crispy fried lard. The char kuey teow comes with cockles, beansprouts and large prawns and is served on a plate lined with banana leaf. The banana leaf does impart a nice fragrance to the noodles.The Hainanese Chicken Rice came with separate plates of steamed chicken and blanched beansprouts. The rice was fragrant and went well with the steamed chicken. The steamed chicken was very smooth.
Curry Laksa (curry noodles) was the next dish to arrive. I liked Pappa Rich's version of curry laksa. The laksa gravy was thick and spicy and good enough to slurp down! The laksa came topped with generous slices of chicken, beansprouts, soya bean sheets and tofu puffs. The serving is quite large.For something less spicy, we ordered the Ipoh Kuey Teow Soup which was thin rice noodles in prawn stock. The prawn stock is very flavourful, albeit a little murky. It came topped with slices of chicken, prawns and chives.The last dish we ordered is a kopitiam favourite, the Nissin noodle with sausage and egg. Again, Pappa Rich's version is a winner. The chewy noodles came topped with a generous serving of sausages and fried egg and was indeed very tasty. I imagine this will be a kiddie's favourite.
Although I am not a fan of the usual franchised-kopitiams, I'll have to say I really do like Pappa Rich. The food served is good and tasty and costs about the same with the other kopitiams.
Pappa Rich has a few outlets, one of which is located at No. 1 USJ10/1D, Taipan USJ, Subang Jaya. The other outlets can be found at their website

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Celebrating "Human's Birthday" at Restaurant Extra Super Tanker

The 7th day of the Chinese New Year is regarded as "Human's birthday" or Yan Yat in Cantonese. This occasion is often celebrated with a big feast with family members. My family and I celebrated this occasion at Restaurant Extra Super Tanker at The Club in Bukit Utama.
I've read some blog posts about the great food at this restaurant and how some of their signature dishes must be ordered in advance, so that I did, 1 week ahead of our dinner, in fact.
The restaurant at The Club was just recently opened. We arrived promptly at 6pm for our dinner (reservations were made for 6pm) and was shown to our table. The highly anticipated dinner did not have a good start unfortunately. After being seated we were given our menu and so begin our wait .... it was a good hour before our dinner was served! In between that time I had spoken to at least 4 restaurant captains to enquire about our dinner. Every diner at the restaurant suffered the same fate. The diner at the table next to ours had to resort to waving both his hands to get attention from the waiters!
However, once the first dish arrived, all was forgiven for if the first dish was this good, it could only get better. Our jellyfish Yee Sang arrived at 7pm and we proceeded to toss it for good luck.
Next to arrive was the Sharksfin soup with crabmeat. The soup was excellent! It was full of flavour and packed with sharksfin and crabmeat. We've had this soup many times at different restaurants and I'll have to say this is the best we've had.Next, the Roasted Suckling Pig was served. We had ordered a quarter pig and thus our portion came with a tiny pig knuckle. The suckling pig's skin was crispy with melt-in-your-mouth fat (although just a thin layer). It was quite a sensation biting into such sinful deliciousness.To offset the fat we ordered a plate of stirfried vegetables with Chinese bacon. The vegetables came in a very flavourful stock that was so good! The Chinese bacon added a smoky flavour to the crunchy vegetables. Excellente!
The next dish was the Fried Crabmeat with Eggs and Pine Nuts. This looks like a simple enough dish, served with lettuce on the side. Big chunks of crabmeat are visible in this dish. The eggs gave it a rich flavour but the pine nuts complemented it very well. The crunch from the fresh lettuce and beansprouts combined with the soft rich crabmeat,eggs and pine nuts was a very potent combination!
The next dish to arrive is the Chef's specialty, the Thousand Layer Crispy Beancurd. The soft smooth beancurd came layered in something that tasted like ham although I am not quite sure what it is. It came bathed in soya sauce and sprinkled with fried onions. I love the contrast of the smooth beancurd layer and the "ham" layer. Quite a unique dish.
Next up was the Butter Tiger Prawns with rice cracker. Butter prawns are our absolute favourite and is a sure order at any restaurant we go to. Extra Super Tanker's version is unique in that the prawns came in rice krispies instead of egg floss. The rice krispies added a nice crunch to the extra large prawns which were sweet and fresh. I quite like this version of the butter prawns.
Our final dish for the dinner was another specialty, the Roasted Duck in "Chinese Sandwich Style". This is the restaurant's version of the Peking Duck. A portion of roasted duck was placed in the middle of the serving plate, while deboned roasted duck meat were wrapped in Chinese soft pancakes with crispy pancakes in between. It was certainly a unique way of eating Peking Duck. The duck was very nice too.
We didn't order dessert because our stomachs were already filled to the brim by then. This is definitely a restaurant that we'll come back to, although I hope they will buck-up on their service.
Restaurant Extra Super Tanker (Bandar Utama) is located at No. 11 Persiaran Bukit Utama, 47800 Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Tel : 03-7726 8877.
Their main branch is at 48 Jalan SS20/10 Damansara Kim, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Tel : 03-7726 7768.

Churros @ Molten Lava 1-Utama

We stumbled upon this little shop serving churros at 1-Utama last week. Might I say that I was deliriously happy to have even spotted it? I LURVE churros and as anyone in Malaysia will tell you, it is hard to find here. We had our first taste of churros at Tokyo Disneyland and have loved it ever since.
We ordered the Churros with Cinnamon Sugar and Chocolate Dip. The churros with cinnamon sugar was very nice, not too sweet, just perfect.The churros went very well with the chocolate dip too. Although the churros at Molten Lava are delicious, I thought them to be a tad pricey. The cinnamon sugar churros cost RM4.80 for 4 pieces and the one with the chocolate dip cost RM5.80 for 4 pieces. 4 pieces of churros is never enough so to indulge in this frequently is quite expensive. Perhaps I should go learn and make my own?
Molten Lava is located at Lot LG312B, Lower Ground Floor Oval, 1-Utama Shopping Centre (near the Cold Storage Supermarket).

Monday, February 9, 2009

Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen @ Taman Tun Dr Ismail

Another fast food outlet opened (re-opened?) recently in Malaysia. This time it's Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen which is located at Taman Tun Dr Ismail. Since most food outlets are closed during Chinese New Year, we took the opportunity to try out Popeye's.

We ordered a variety of their meals to share amongst us. The fried chicken was crispy and sufficiently juicy inside but I felt it lacked flavour, possibly due to less spices? But then again, we ordered the non-spicy version so maybe we should try the spicy version next time.The fish and shrimp set came with 2 slices of battered fish fillets which were very juicy and fresh. The shrimp was fresh too. We liked this set the best.For our little girl, we ordered Chicken fingers. It tasted like the fried chicken, except that it came without bones which is perfect for children. The set meals came with two side dishes of coleslaw (which had added pickles in it) and mashed potatoes. Now, mashed potatoes is practically a simple dish, but at Popeye's, the mashed potatoes is brought to a new level with their special gravy. The gravy had specks of meat and chillies in it and Popeye's mashed potatoes was absolutely the best I've ever had! The gravy is seriously addictive! Although there are chillies in the gravy it is not spicy so our little girl loved it too.We ordered also some Cajun Fries to try. Unfortunately, I don't quite like it. The fries seemed to have been fried in some sort of batter, yet it didn't taste like anything unique. I'd very much prefer Nando's Peri Chips. Now, that's fries with kick!
Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen is located at Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 1 (right opposite KFC) in Taman Tun Dr Ismail. Give it a try if you're looking for something other than burgers and fried chicken! Don't forget the mashed potatoes!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Prawn Noodles @ Restoran Yon Len Taman Tun Dr Ismail

I've heard so much about the prawn noodles at Restoran Yon Len at Taman Tun Dr Ismail that I just had to try it. We managed to do just that recently, but unfortunately, I was disappointed that the noodles did not lived up to all the hype surrounding it.
The coffee shop was packed when we arrived with nary an empty table in sight. We had to resort to standing next to the diners whilst they finish their food, just like the other diners who arrived before and after us. Unfortunately this resulted in upping my expectations. Heck, if the coffee shop is THIS POPULAR the food must be very good.
My immediate response after finally getting a table was to order the prawn noodles. I waited in quiet anticipation for it to finally arrive, which by the way, took longer than the rest of the food we ordered. The soup was ok, the noodles were too much but the accompaniments on the noodles were so little I had to practically dig for the few slices of shrimp and strands of beansprouts. Not to mention that the soup only so much as covered the noodles and before I even had a sip, the noodles had soaked up all the soup and I had to ask for a refill. I was plenty disappointed with the quality. It was unfortunately nowhere as good as the ones I had in Penang. I don't know if it was just my bad luck that on that one day I finally tried it, it didn't turn out as good as it was supposed to be.However, the saving grace came in the form of the fried kuey teow. It was excellent! Smooth rice noodles that practically slid down my throat. The noodles were fried with enough "wok hei" (that X factor for fried kuey teow!) and was so good we had 3 plates between 2 of us. Service was fast too!
We also tried the otak-otak that was sold at the little kueh stall at the entrance of the coffee shop. It was quite nice. The otak-otak is the Penang Nyonya version which is a soft custard with fish slices, quite unlike the Muar version. This is the otak-otak I grew up on, and it's how I like it. It's still not on par with the real version in Penang, but then again, I suppose beggars can't be choosers.We ordered a plate of Chinese sausages and roasted pork from the chicken rice stall and found it quite good too. Quite delicious!Restoran Yon Len is located at Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 1 (at the end of the same row with Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner @ King Crab Restaurant

For every Chinese family, the Chinese New Year reunion dinner is one of the most important dinners we'll have in the whole year. It is a time where families near and far get together for a meal together and catch up with each other. The reunion dinners are always a grand affair with abundant food that signifies good luck and prosperity for the family.
Ever since I got married, I've taken over the responsibility of cooking for my family our reunion dinner that takes me a whole day of slaving over the stove. This year we've decided that I should take a break due to my delicate condition so we had our dinner at a restaurant. The dinner reservation at King Crab was done a month ahead!
For our first dish, we had a specialty that is unique to Malaysia, the Yee Sang which is essentially a raw fish salad. The Yee Sang came with colorful shredded vegetables, crackers and jelly fish drizzled with maltose, roasted peanuts and sesame seeds before being topped with raw salmon that has been tossed in lime juice and spices. Family members toss the yee sang as high as possible while reciting good wishes in the hope that the new year brings newfound prosperity. Personally, I think this is a fun dish that brings families together.

Next was the Buttered Prawns. In the Cantonese dialect, the word for prawns sounds very much like laughter which means there will be much joy in the home. As you can well imagine the Chinese love word play. The prawns were fried then tossed with egg floss and curry leaves. It's delicious!We also had Oysters with black moss, broccoli and mushrooms. The oysters are supposed to mean good tidings coming our way. This is my favourite dish for the dinner. The broccoli was lightly blanched to retain its crunchiness and was such a contrast to the smooth mushrooms accompanying it. The dried oysters gave it such an intense flavour.
Fish was next on the menu. For the Chinese, fish means abundance so a fish dish will undoubtedly make it to the dining table for every reunion dinner.
We also ordered scallops with broccoli although I can't remember what it means. The sweet scallops were a hit with our little girl. Again the flavours contrasted nicely.Our final dish was claypot tofu. I don't think this dish signifies anything. It was just something we ordered to add variety.
The Chinese places a lot of emphasis on family relationships and the reunion dinner is just one of the many great ways to keep relationships close. It is a tradition that goes back centuries and one which I hope to pass on to our children.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Mask-changing performance by Sichuan Troupe @ 1-Utama

It was by chance last week that we caught the mask-changing performance by the Sichuan dance troupe. We were going grocery shopping and when we arrived the performers were halfway through their routine. We managed to catch the last performance nevertheless, and what a performance it was. The performers were dressed in their traditional finery with various masks. The mask-changing technique is an age-old tradition in Chinese performances and takes years of training to accomplish. The performers were very quick with their hands, that much I can deduce because it takes them just a split second to change their masks. Just a sleight of the hand and a mask is changed. Incredible!