Monday, March 27, 2017

Subways and above ground - London

We were touring the street art scene at Shoreditch and Brick Lane. While waiting for our guide we struck a conversation with a local British couple touring with us. They were much older and wiser. As fellow travelers in this life that we have, it was sobering when they told us their reason. 

They are taking time to discover their country after retiring as they missed so much of the above ground scenery as they spent a lot of time commuting and working in their offices. 

They told us that they had mastered the Underground by scurrying around them while having a career and family in London. Now retired and children away from the nest, they are re-discovering the aboveground beauty of London! 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Doi Chang Coffee - Holiday Villa, Johor Baru

A blast from the past for me to be sitting enjoying a cuppa in Johor Baru. Can't help reminiscing the good of days where Thailand was my constant companion.

"Doi" means mountains and "chang", elephant in Thai. Out of this mountain, Arabica beans have made a name for itself in the coffee world. Used to be a place I will go 2-3 times a year in the early-90's. Beautiful tribal folks, a lot of times I'm their customs living in their mountainous land.

This glass of their signature Doi Chaang Coffee is highly recommended. Smooth, fragrant and very agreeable to my palate. No clashes and loud 'dings' in my head. Took a liking immediately.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Nutritious, Healthy Japanese Sweet Potatoes - A Comparison of Eight Varieties

Sweet potatoes were the 'in' food for awhile. The Japanese Purple Skin and Yellow Flesh Satsuma was very popular and its "children" are planted throughout Southeast Asia as a cash crop. It's low-carb and has lots of health benefits. Do a Google search and be surprised.

This tuber is my favourite and I enjoyed eating them whenever I can get my hands on them. Read about this famous sweet potato from Cilembu from my previous post. If you need inspiration on its efficacy, eating, baking or cooking it just do another Google. It has a large following even among the rich and famous.

I was inspired to put these sweet potatoes grown locally and overseas to the test recently after a trip to Pati, Central Java where the soil is particularly suitable for tubers. I will be comparing its prices, taste, smell and texture. During my childhood days each potato is a treat. The choices available to us are testimony of KL urbanites rising affluence. In Village Grocer alone I could find 8 different varieties for sale from RM5 to RM43.

New Zealand Organic Yellow Flesh at RM43/kg. Superior taste sweet, fragrance vanilla-like and smooth texture. The best but extremely expensive.
Red Skin Japanese Satsuma imported and at RM27/kg. Flesh was yellow, sweet and fragrant though quality lower than the NZ one. Need to steamed for up to 50 minutes to soften. Indonesian Cilembu Yellow Skin and Yellow flesh was sweet and texture was smooth. Good quality.  Sold at RM12/kg
Another Satsuma Japanese imported Red Skin and Yellow Flesh at RM20/kg. Good quality. Steaming it till soft took at least 45 minutes.
 Japanese imported. Steamed for food!
Australian Orange Skin and Orange Flesh. Imported at RM19/kg.  Very quick to soften when steamed. Taste and texture inferior to that of Japanese imported.
 Steamed organic NZ and Australian.
Local Organic at RM16/kg. Open baking. Not recommended as it was powdery. In future will wrap in aluminum foil to retain moisture.

 Imported Indonesian Cilembu at RM12/kg. Sweet. Syrup oozed out.
Local purple at RM7/kg. A bit dry in the flesh even with steaming.
Japanese variety grown in Vietnam. Imported to Malaysia. Sold at RM6/kg
Local Yellow Skin with White Flesh. Not to my liking.
Indonesian grown Japanese variety. Purple Skin and Yellow Flesh. Obviously a notch or two below NZ. Almost matched Japanese imported ones in taste, fragrance and texture. It's only RM1/kg in Pati, Java Tengah where the best tubers are.

Travel Bites @ Duomo Di Milano (Duomo Cathedral) and environs

The iconic cathedral has no 'rival'. The spacious square and the subway connectivity brought train loads of locals and foreigners. To say that this is the focus of tourists in Milan will be an understatement.

The only place that is equally attractive may be the church that has the Last Supper wall painting. However, they don't have strong supportive tourists' services and shopping.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Sura Korean Restaurant - Taman Sunway Batu Caves

The proprietor is very brave to open their Korean restaurant in Batu Caves. It is in the midst of a less sophisticated area. Who will give them a chance to thrive? I hope more will look at the cheaper rental and lesser competition to come over and set up store. Like it a not, they have been here for more than 2 years.

The space is welcoming and has a large hall. It's warm ambiance got us settled down quickly. The workers were fast and the grill beef was prepared quickly. We enjoyed the food. The Banchans were free and we topped up as we like. We ordered three rounds of beef. The tender beef with full-bodied beefy taste filled up our hungry stomach with some solid protein!

The soup was a staple for my friend and it's tasty and may have been double boiled for a long time as the chicken meat was falling off the bones. The meat was almost tasteless as the essence would have gone into the broth. The vermicelli and the pancake answered the call for Carbo and there we were after an hour + of good food we were ready to roll again.

Lot no.3- 69100, 1, Jalan SM 1/4, Taman Sunway Batu Caves, 68100 Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bakso Komplit Nyamleng - Semarang Domestic Airport Departure

If you are at Semarang domestic airport departure lounge do try out this Indonesian cafe. Appetizing presentation and good food. The bakso came in the forms of balls, with tofu and wanton skin. The taste was much better than a lot of shops that I have eaten in. 

In beef balls and paste, I would watch out for texture. It should be rough and somewhat lumpy. This gave body to the paste and somehow I would feel satisfied. 

The noodles came twirled in balls like a embroidery thread balls. So it came bite size and easy to handle for those not so accomplished in the use of chopsticks. The soup was good and completed the meal. 

To complete the meal have a book in hand and a cup of local Tubruk coffee. It will take foreigners to get use to it as the cuppa includes coffee debris.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Grilled Mackerel Fillet - Homecooking Adventures

Simple meal with mackerel fillet. Pinches of french sea salt, generous crushed black pepper, sage, a lemon and 12mins at 210°C. Realized that some good quality salt could enhanced the taste of fish fillet dramatically. Fillet reached flaky state. That's how I like it for tuna and mackerel fishes. Quite happy with it as the taste is good.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Rossopomodoro - Malpensa Aeroporto, Milan

Well, we have eaten twice in this wonderful Italian Pizza place. Any pizza in Italy should taste good? Wrong, it's really good. Otherwise, it cannot compete with the many pizzas being offered in the home of pizza. Likewise in Malaysia, the Nasi lemak has to have some distinctiveness I'm order to survive.

According to our friend it originated from Naples. You can read the story here. They should compete with Pizza Hut and Domino's here. With 70 restaurants in Italy and more in Europe and US and Japan, I do hope it will make its way into KL soon.   It certainly has the edge in taste and quality of ingredients. I can say they tasted fresh all the way from the dough, toppings and herbs that garnished it.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Unique Seafood Subang - Citta Mall Ara Damansara

This is the second outing for me in this seafood restaurant known for their live seafood. So I got to open my eyes when ordering. The price tag is attached to the aquarium not the menu. 

The food dished out is certainly a cut above in taste. So is the level of service, attentive till almost intrusive. It can be refined though as the Indonesian waitress spilt tea and sauce on the table. I had my plates were changed 5 times. Food presentation was careful and neat. 

So what was the cost. Surprisingly OK. The only thing live was the fresh water prawns. And it costs us RM30+. We thought we were getting the larger ones but did not. Likely no stock. The prawns were laid on a bed of glass noodles with minced garlic as toppings. The noodles were a bit overcooked otherwise it's a fine meal. The garlic was surprisingly without the bitter aftertaste especially when it is so generously set on top. 

The Kai Lan was interest, the leaves were cut into straps and deep-fried. There were a bit of bitter taste. Nothing unusual with this vegetable. Perhaps the chef can think of a way to cut that off it would be excellent. 

Last but not least was the calamari in salted egg yolk. Well this is good. The coatinv was crisp outside and moist and grainy inside. Thumbs up. 

G-39 – G42A, Ground Floor, CITTA Mall, Jalan PJU 1a/48, Pju 1a, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Vietnamese Desserts Benh Thanh Market, Saigon

The multi-colored hues intermingling in a tall transparent glass stands so pretty as well as handsome. Who can resist such attractive desserts.

Our ABC and Cendol should do the same. The bowl's deep and wide cavity do the good desserts in. It can be much more attractive. The only way to get the tall glass effect is to pile the shaved ice higher. It softened quickly and the heap come down in a mess losing its color quickly as the ingredients and liquids coalesce together.

There were nuts, fruits, grains and cereals. Some sweetened, others there for richness in texture while others for the crunch and also bite. Every trip to Saigon is celebrated with one of these sinful cool tall glass.
Ben Thanh Market. Go for the corner shop with the most customers ☺

Saturday, March 18, 2017

SwiSang Roast Pork - Desa Perwira, Ipoh

If ever I am in Ipoh before 4pm, I will make a beeline to this coffee shop in Taman Ipoh Jaya. Succulent cuts of roast pork await the patient. There will be a queue formed by then and also those regulars already seated patiently hoping to see their plate of roast will be next to be cut and chopped.

I guess membership has its privileges. They made eye contact and with a nod and get seated and ordered their favorite coffee.

To get to the 3 layer belly one got to order big. A rib will get you there. Otherwise you the cuttings will be the a cut (pun here) below.

The roast pork here is off the oven so you get crispy rind and meat so tender and juicy.

There is another store that sells Chicken Noodles. If you are so inclined and hungry go for it. The broth is very good and the pulled chicken and noodles tasted so delicious in it.

13, Persiaran Wira Jaya Barat 38, Desa Perwira, Ipoh

Friday, March 17, 2017

Pindang Patin (Patin In Sweet Sour Soup) - Palembang Sumatra

The bounties of the land when met with ingenious minds and hungry stomachs, will define the cuisine of the locale. This is the same with Palembang. Blessed with rivers big and wide the much beloved river patin was cooked in more ways than one. One of them is the "Pindang". That's the first meal I got on arrival.

Pindang is prepared from a full spectrum of local herbs and spices. Galanggal, turmeric, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, onions, asam and the list goes on. As with its name the predominant taste is the tartness with some sweetness that takes the edge off.

The fresh fish responded well in the soup absorbing the flavor. Firm fresh water fish flesh without the saltiness combined well with the tart from the asam, pineapple and tomato slightly mitigated with some sugar. How do I describe it? Perhaps by feel not by taste: steaming white rice with soy sauce and fried garlic in hot oil? Got that feeling? Out of the world.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Banana Leaf Indian Curry - Raju Restoran

Since my study days in the 80's Raju has been my favorite banana leaf restaurant. Though I indulged once a while in their meat dishes, my target was usually the roti canai. Fluffy and deliciously prepared it can be eaten on its own. Sometimes I withstood the condescending looks from some of the waiters just for the roti without ordering the meat. Hahaha... that's the lot for the students those days.  

Nowadays, I drop by once in a while to eat food that they call, "we have no quarrels with our competitors on the price, after all they know the worth of their food!"

Food here is expensive mind you and has been like these since 30+ years ago. They will not change. However, a bite of the roti canai and a whiff of their fried tenggiri and black pomfret will convince anyone that these are really well made and fresh. 

My regular will usually be curry kambing and a fried fish with their usual side vegetables. I will go for fish and chicken curries. 
4, Jalan 5/13, Sect 5, Petaling Jaya

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Vietnamese Pho Bo (Beef Noodles) - Pho Quynh, Pham Ngu Lao (Backpacker Street)

Quynh Pho Bo is my regular haunt each time I can get near to Pham Ngu Lao Street in Saigon. Known as the Backpacker's Street it has remained the same since I started frequenting Saigon in 1994. Yes, that was a long time ago. However, signs of development is happening in the surrounding areas though not at the scale and luxury as in the central business district 2-3 miles away.

You still see backpackers from all the over the world and the ancillary services and products that appeal to them. You can get some of the best food within a mile range.

This is one of the best Beef Noodles and you can see regulars both locals and foreigners streaming in and out. You can distinguish a regular from the first-timers.

These repeat visitors from Asia and the West will take their seats confidently, get their orders and before long, plunking down the noodles and beef in rich flavored broth. You can get beef cooked in different ways, ordered their varied cuttings and enjoyed the exotic parts.

323 Pham Ngu Lao, Quan 1, Ho Chi Minh

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Best Dim Sum in London - Young Cheng, London

You don't argue with a British Hongkonger when it comes to Dim Sum. I was led by the nose to this Leicester Square Restaurant. Their Dim Sum and Beijing Duck is one of the best that I have eaten. The duck was aromatic and skin crisp.  Very fresh.

When I got seated there was no expectations of a great round of food as you were so used to lowering your standards in Chinatowns in the West with regards to Chinese food. But I got to eat one of the best Dim Sum around.

Made from fresh ingredients each bamboo tray brought the morsels steamed to perfection. I enjoyed them as each reminded me of the best Dim Sum that I have ever eaten at home.

22 Lisle St, London WC2H 7BY, UK22 Lisle St, London WC2H 7BY, UK