Bitter Gourd Omelette

Ahhhhh… Bitter Gourd. You either love it or hate it. For me it was love developed overtime. I still remember vividly the first time Bitter Gourd appeared in my household when I was a lot younger. I was not the most adventurous eater back then (sure am making up for lost time now hehe), but my sister was tempted by its beautiful flower-like appearance. But one bite, she was traumatised for life (or at least for many years after). So yes, the taste of Bitter Gourd can take a little getting used to, but it does come with a myriad of health benefits.

Bitter Gourd is a temperate/tropical vegetable originated in South-East Asia, it’s very low in calories, but contains high amount of Vitamin C, folate, ß-carotene, a-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin and Vitamin A. It’s also moderate source of B-complex vitamins such as niacin (vitamin B-3), Pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), Pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and minerals such as Iron, Zinc, Potassium, Manganese and Magnesium. Most importantly, it contains a phyto-nutrient called polypeptide-P, a plant insulin known to lower blood sugar levels, which means it’s great for people with diabetes too. So in short, all of us would benefit from consuming Bitter Gourd.

There are many ways of preparing Bitter Gourd. My favourite would be Bitter Gourd Omelette. Although I’m also partial to Bitter Gourd and Pork soup. I’d say that Bitter Gourd omelette appears pretty often on our table anyway. But it wasn’t until couple of months ago during our trip to Penang, our mind was truly blown.

Most of the time when we cook Bitter Gourd Omelette, the eggs are fully cooked, achieving a little bit of char for that extra wok hei. But not at this place called Song River Coffee Shop at Gurney Drive Penang.

 photo IMAG8502.jpg

The egg was runny, and a brown sauce is poured over, providing that extra umami touch. I know it’s super simple, but please give a round of applause to whoever came up with this recipe. It has truly set a new standard for us. Needless to say, this dish was the highlight of our trip and I vowed to never cook Bitter Gourd any other way.

The dish is simple enough though. I’ve since cooked it a few times at home and it’s always the first dish to finish. Here’s my version:

 photo IMG_20161002_175821.jpg

Mine’s a little more cooked than the Song River’s, you can always undercook it a little more. But the idea is to achieve at least 50% runny bit for the ultimate sensory experience.

Bitter Gourd Omelette

Half a medium size Bitter Gourd, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
3 Eggs
Light Soy Sauce (around 1 tablespoon)
Fish Sauce (around 1 teaspoon)

Usually, after I sliced the Bitter Gourd, I like to sprinkle some salt over and leave it for 10-15 minutes, as this will draw out excess juice to make it less bitter. You can omit this step if you like it extra bitter. Rinse the salt off well, and set aside. Mix the soy sauce and fish sauce with a little of water and set aside.

Heat a pan on high and add your choice of oil. You need a little more for the eggs to be nice and smooth. Add Bitter Gourd and cook for 2-3 minutes until soften.

Break the eggs into a bowl and lightly break up the yolks, don’t beat it though because we want to keep the yolk and white slightly separated. Distribute the Bitter Gourd evenly and pour over the egg. Use the spatula to move it a couple of times to distribute the egg. Then let it cook for under a minute, until the bottom is just set.

Pour over the sauce around the side and over the middle just as you turn off the heat, and serve immediately. Best with rice!

 photo IMG_20161002_175843.jpg

Yeap. It’s just simple as that!

A video posted by Kelly Siew (@kellysiew) on Oct 2, 2016 at 3:01am PDT

 

Look at that wobble!

As for the sauce, if you have a very good soy sauce which has a balance of sweet and savoury note, you won’t need anything else. Feel free to adjust the sauce to your liking, I sometimes add a touch of Black vinegar too for a little tang.

Do try this at home and let me know what you think!

Oktoberfest 2016 at 1 Utama Shopping Centre

[ADV]

 photo oktoberfest-1-utama-shopping-centre-4.jpg

Oktoberfest carries a special significance when it comes to Malaysia’s Hottest Bloggers, as this was one of the first event we attended when MHB became a digital media agency, and we continued to party for the subsequent Oktoberfest as well. That’s why we have lots of fond memories attending the Oktoberfest parties especially the big ones at 1 Utama Shopping Centre.  In fact for some of the parties some of us were serious enough to wear the Dirndl (yes, including Your Truly).

 photo oktoberfest-1-utama-shopping-centre-8.jpg

This year, Luen Heng F&B once again partners up with 1 Utama Shopping Centre to bring Oktoberfest back for the 12th year. This time with a four (4) day party from 6 to 9 October 2016 (Thursday to Sunday). It’s going to be huge, as the festivities this year will be held for the first time on the Level 5 Rooftop, Old Wing, 1 Utama Shopping Centre from 6.00pm onwards.

 photo oktoberfest-1-utama-shopping-centre-17.jpg

As per the past parties, get ready for nights of live music, performances, games and a variety of local and international food and drinks. Of course, this event is for non-Muslim patrons aged 18 years and above only and will be held in the big tent, which will be constructed at Level 5 rooftop carpark.

 photo 578620_502686729742101_1293979807_n.jpg
Get ready to do the chicken dance too! Definitely my favourite part apart from the German Sausages.

This year’s party sees Euro-Deli and German Chef Jochen Kern (award recipient of the coveted World Association of Chefs Global Master Chef title) serving an array of German delicacies such as , pork knuckles, sauerkraut, salads, soups, beef goulash, fish and chips, Jäger Putenschnitzel, meatloaf and grilled meats, bread station with German sourdough bread, pretzels, gingerbread hearts, cheese cake, apple strudel, bread butter pudding, and waffles. There will also be a smoking hot German BBQ Big Pan serving up German bratwursts. Oh my, I’m hungry already!

 photo 14589996_10153808831371689_1842464577496936860_o.jpg

Well, what’s an Oktoberfest party without beer? Of those, there will be plenty. Look out for these German brews:

  • Erdinger Weissbier
  • Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier
  • Lowenbrau
  • Warsteiner
  • Konig Ludwig Weisbier

Erdinger Weissbier (5.3% ABV), pioneered in the 70′s, was the first German wheat to be distributed nationwide in Germany. Erdinger is brewed according to traditional recipes and has no preservatives, additives and pasteurization, complying with the Bavarian Purity Law 1516.

Franziskaner Weissbier (5% ABV), a traditional Bavarian wheat beer with more than 600 years of history, is refreshing and aromatic in character. This Bavarian beer is naturally cloudy and copper-coloured and enhanced with a sweet malt taste with a smooth creamy texture for finish.

Lowenbrau, (5.2% ABV), an original “German Munich Beer”, is famous at Oktoberfests. It is a lager beer that is refreshing with a taste of malt and mild hop bitterness. The beer is light to the taste, bright golden yellow in colour, and truly complements the Bavarian drinking experience.

As well as some other brews including:

  • Budweiser
  • Hoegaarden
  • Leffe
  • Stella Artois
  • Little Creatures
  • Magners
  • Savanna
  • Tennent’s Stout
  • Gaymers Tropical
  • Jagermeister
  • And a selection of fine wines for those of you who don’t drink beer or cider. (something for everyone!)

What’s Oktoberfest without loads of entertainment and games?

 photo oktoberfest-1-utama-shopping-centre-12.jpg

The star of the event will be the Oom-pa-pah band – Die Emsperlen all the way from Germany, performing various fun Oktoberfest favourites that gets the crowd dancing along with lots of cute actions, as well as some rock favourites! This band is pretty awesome, I still remember jamming with them on stage one fine year.

 photo oktoberfest-1-utama-shopping-centre-6.jpg

There will also be games and activities like hat switching, barrel rolling, arm wrestling, airbrush tattoo and face painting. Bring home some exclusive Oktoberfest merchandise like the stein tankard and mugs, yard glass, T-shirts, costumes, felt hats, magnets, badges and Oktoberfest fun wearable. There will also be discounts and offers for ONECARD members.

 photo 14524578_10153810912686689_5515158656289254336_o.jpg

Speaking of the ONECARD, post your happiest Oktoberfest Instagram social snaps during the event and tag #1UTAMAxOKTOBERFEST and you will stand a chance to win a RM50 ONECARD Gift Card!

 photo oktoberfest-1-utama-shopping-centre-14.jpg

So how do you buy the food and beverage and merchandise at the event?

You can purchase cash vouchers at the sales booth at the event OR purchase pre-sale cash vouchers at http://www.oneshop.com.my from now until 5th October 2016 and receive exclusive freebies.

Some important notes to remember:

(i) Entry is for Non-Muslim patrons aged 18 years and above

(ii) IC/Passport is required for registration

(iii) There will be security checks for safety patrons’ safety at the entrance

(iv) No backpack/luggage is permitted into the event venue (women’s handbags not larger than 2L)

(iv) Buggie service will be provided

(v) 1 Utama Management reserves the right to restrict entry

 

1 Utama Shopping Centre is located at:

No 1, Lebuh Bandar Utama,

Bandar Utama City Centre,

Bandar Utama,

47800 Petaling Jaya,

Selangor, Malaysia.

 

For more info on Oktoberfest at 1 Utama Shopping Centre, head over to https://www.facebook.com/events/870403129760167/

For more info on Luen Heng and their products, head over to http://www.luenheng.com/

 

Remember to Enjoy Responsibly!

Upcoming Event – Toast The Macallan

 photo 14361468_10155167933565278_4257822237340529677_o.jpg

Toast The Macallan lands on our shores for the very first time, featuring a pop-up exhibition-styled event that will be taking place at the Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, from the 26 September to the 1 October 2016.

 photo 14372077_10155167933495278_4192017186085253609_o.jpg

The event is a global circuit created by The Macallan that promises a unique experience for guests unlike any other. Toast The Macallan is an experiential stage where guests not only learn about the whisky and brand thru a lively and entertaining whisky tasting session, but also get to savour the range of The Macallan whisky including The Macallan’s newest series dubbed the Trilogy, which consists of, The Macallan Fine Oak 12 Years Old, The Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Years Old and its latest expression The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old.

 photo 14324362_10155167937130278_6070062221153999831_o.jpg

“The Macallan has been the leading brand in the single malt category and we are very excited to introduce our newest range, The Macallan Trilogy. This platform would allow consumers to experience what The Macallan really stands for and why our whiskies are exceptional in its class” explains Chief Representative of Edrington Malaysia, Mr Edwin Yeo.

This prestigious experience will be held over six (6) consecutive days at the Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur and will be hosted by The Macallan Brand Trainer, Keith Nair and Brand Advocate, Randall Tan.

 photo 14324295_10155167936825278_3681283522982453683_o.jpg

So how can you attend this event?

This ticketed event is priced at a very affordable RM50 nett per person, which includes a whisky tasting flight of the brand’s range of signature single malts, entry passes to the exhibition area of The Macallan range display and The Macallan lounge where you get to enjoy some custom-made cocktails. Do keep in mind that this is not a “yum seng” event where the objective is to drink till you’re happy, but rather a more sophisticated whisky tasting masterclass where you savour each sip of the different variants, and enjoy some cocktails in the lounge.

Here’s a look at the Toast The Macallan event last year in Hong Kong.

 

GIVEAWAY!!!

I’m giving away a pair of tickets to the Toast The Macallan session on 1 October 2016 (Saturday) from 2.00pm – 3.00pm at the Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur.

To win, simply answer this very simple question:

Name the three (3) whiskies in Macallan’s newest series dubbed the Trilogy:

  1. _______
  2. _______
  3. _______

 

Send your answer along with your full name (as per NRIC), contact number and email address to myhotbloggers@gmail.com

Giveaway end on 22 September 2016. Winners will be notified by 24 September 2016. Winners must be age 21 years and above. Terms and conditions apply. Judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entertained.

 

So if you’re a whisky lover, don’t miss this opportunity to experience a one of a kind whisky masterclass and cocktail!

To book your tickets and find more information about Toast The Macallan:-

Venue: The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur

Date: 26 September 2016 to the 1 October 2016

Buy your tickets here: http://www.eventbrite.sg/o/the-macallan-malaysia-11263789437

 photo 14258308_10155167937215278_1999790832512681296_o.jpg

Latino Fiesta at TEMPTations and Refreshed Club Marriott at Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel

I’ve always thought that Renaissance is a gorgeous hotel, it has that old world charm, befitting to its name, and you do feel a sense of luxury stepping into the hotel. Though only 2 weeks ago, I found out that it actually belongs to the Marriott group. Thanks to the kind folks at Renaissance, we were invited to the launch of the Refreshed Club Marriott.

Club Marriott is a membership programme which includes a world of exclusive benefits and indulgences at over 100 participating hotels across the Asia Pacific. For example, members can enjoy discounts at F&B outlets (30% at Renaissance KL, 20% at participating hotels), discounted room rate/upgrades, and even cash rebate for Spa. (For member enquiries please call Club Marriott KL office 0327138433)

The launch kicked off with a cocktail session at TEMPTations, and the event was officiated by the newly appointed Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Club Marriott brand ambassador Ms June Yap (Mrs Borneo World 2015/2016, Top 12 finalist Mrs World 2016). Several local personalities joined the celebration too.
 photo P1220451.jpg

We later adjourned to TEMPTations as it was also the launch of their Latin Fiesta. Seeing the Pinatas hanging all through the ceilings and the staff dressed in traditional costumes really set the mood for the evening. The Chilean wine was flowing too, which is always a bonus.

Spanish Guatemalan Chef Pablo Crespo, sous chef at Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel is obviously the brain behind the Latino Fiesta. Born in Guatemala, Chef Pablo actually studied Law, but his passion for led him down the culinary path instead. He has worked in many 5 stars hotels and fine dining restaurants, and even a 5 star cruise liner where he honed his skills in International cuisine, before deciding to move to Malaysia in 2015 to join Renaissance Kuala Lumpur.

Let’s take a look at some of the dishes available that evening:

 photo P1220410.jpg

A row of salad, including a very delicious ceviche.

 photo P1220417.jpg

Brazilian Grilled fish with orange sauce

 photo P1220420.jpg

Enchiladas De Pollo (Chicken Enchiladas).

 photo P1220422.jpg

Vegetables Parillados con Chimicurri.

 photo P1220425.jpg

Milanesa de Res (Beef Milanesa)

 photo P1220427.jpg

An array of toppings for tortilla chips.

 photo P1220408.jpg

Of course, seafood of all sorts are available too.

 photo P1220431.jpg

 photo P1220430.jpg

The main attraction seems to be the Roast Lamb.

 photo P1220442.jpg

There are some local dishes for those who want more variety.

 photo P1220403.jpg
 photo P1220402.jpg
 photo P1220406.jpg
 photo P1220399.jpg
 photo P1220445.jpg

And of course, desserts aplenty.

 photo P1220407.jpg

I seem to have lost the photo of the Churros station. Yes, the churros are freshly fried here. You can choose to have the sugar coated ones, or the naked ones, to dip in chocolate and caramel sauce. Yummmmm. Love them because they are perfectly crunchy and fluffy at the same time.

You can enjoy the buffet with Latino wines and cocktails every evening too, though on Friday Saturday and Sunday there will also be a liveband. The dinner buffet is priced at RM145nett per person and half price for children between 6 to 12 years old, and it’s available until the 28th of August.

For restaurant reservations, please call 03 2716 9388 or email rhi.kulrn.fb@renaissancehotels.com. Online reservations can be made at www.klrenaissance.com/dining. Book early to avoid disappointing your palate.

Price is inclusive of 10% Service Charge and 6% Goods & Services Tax (GST). 

Facebook www.facebook.com/RenaissanceKL
Instagram renaissancekualalumpur 

Sanoook @ Sunway Pyramid West Hotel

Caleen Chua is very much a business woman. Ever since she took over the director role of her father’s Chakri group of restaurants she has not stopped refreshing the brand. First, Hwan, a specialised Thai Dessert place; a catering division for Chakri Palace; and now, her very own brain child Sanoook, inspired by her love affair with Thai and Japanese cuisine.

Located at Sunway Pyramid Hotel West, which is the new wing of the Sunway Pyramid consisting few F&B outlets, Sanoook is fairly easy to be spotted. It’s vibrant looking, with plenty of tables and lights for a casual ambiance, featuring an open kitchen so diners also get to see the Chefs in action.

 photo P1220325.jpg

‘Sanook’ means ‘fun’ in Thai and the extra ‘O’ to represents a circle of friendship. Hence, Sanoook means having fun with friends! Caleen kept her in house Thai Chef and hired a new Japanese chef to bring a creative twist to their dishes. Therefore, most of the dishes here would have elements of both Thai and Japanese cuisine, which can be a refreshing combination when done right.

 photo P1220332.jpg
We began our dinner with the Soft shell crab sushi (RM34.90), served with Thai Mango Chili Sauce. Soft Shell Crab sushi isn’t that uncommon in this country, but the addition of tangy sweet mango work well for the dish.

 photo P1220359.jpg
Be spoilt for choice by this 4-season platter RM37.90 (Salmon Cream Croquette, Thai Fish Cake, Crispy Calamari, Crispy Thai Chicken Ball, Vegetarian Spring Roll). I only tried the Chicken Ball because it looked the least deep-fried, and it’s tasty with a nice kick.

 photo P1220347.jpg
Caleen’s personal favourite is the Pan fried tuna steak with spinach & mixed mushroom served with teriyaki sauce (RM28.90). While the tuna is lovely seared on the outside with perfect pink centre, I felt the dish to be one-dimensional in taste. Perhaps a touch of citrus will lift this.

 photo P1220368.jpg
Sanoook Salad Japanese Cucumber wrapped with Salmon, Avocado & Baked Apple (RM29.90). Love the pairing of Salmon and cucumber as always and the sesame dressing will never go wrong I guess.

 photo P1220352.jpg
The Tom Yum Soup with River Prawn (RM23.90) here is served with the soup in Sake bottle. Good amount of succulent prawns and buried underneath, some mushrooms as well. The soup is sufficiently tangy but can be a little spicier (maybe a good idea to tailor the spice level to personal preference?).

 photo P1220377.jpg
Another sushi arrived on the table and this time it’s Tuna Sushi served with Tom Yum sauce (RM27.90). I think the presence of Tom Yum isn’t strong enough though, maybe they should try flavour the actual sushi too for a more fusion feel.

 photo P1220367.jpg
This has to be the first time I’ve tried Wonton served in Thai Coconut Soup with Chicken (RM16.90). It’s a basically modern or fusion take on Tom Kha Gai, the luscious wonton skin against the smooth coconut broth is a lovely sensory experience.

 photo P1220340.jpg
I guess it must be an Asian thing, whenever I see a Rice burger I must try it. We had the chicken burger with teriyaki sauce (RM17.90). The Chicken patty itself is tasty, though I think the rice patty is a little dense, which makes the whole thing very filling. This is definitely not something you can pick up and eat due to the size. The burdock chips (at the back) proved to be widely popular that night. A nice and healthier alternative to usual potato fries. The other sushi burgers include Beef with Thai Chili Sauce, and Salmon with Wasabi Mayo.

And then we had their signature: Skewers. The skewers here are probably more Mediterranean (size wise) than Japanese. There are quite a few varieties here. My favourite would be the Salmon Belly (RM77.90).

 photo P1220330.jpg
The serving can feed easily 4-6 people depending on what else you order. Love the buttery soft salmon against the slightly crunchy vegetables. The accompanying Lime chili sauce works perfectly too.

 photo P1220336.jpg
We also tried the chicken skewer with massaman sauce (RM32.90). Chicken here is cooked perfectly and I quite like the massaman sauce, although it’s lighter than the actual Massaman curry.

 photo P1220381.jpg
For the vege intake we recommend the Vege skewers with Sanoook sauce (RM28.90). Each skewer filled with tomato, broccoli, mushrooms, capsicum, yellow and green zucchini, finished with a creamy spicy sauce. Good way to dress up plain vegetables.

 photo P1220391.jpg
We also had the Beef skewers, which comes with the same Massaman sauce (RM34.90). Here the beef is slightly dry and tough, I think the chicken is still a safer option, or ask them to undercook the beef a little.

 photo P1220385.jpg

We also tried a few of their drinks and while the alcoholic beverages aren’t yet available, this Red Ruby drink got the big thumbs up from the both of us.

 photo P1220397.jpg
If you are a lover of Thai Milk Tea (chayen), this Thai volcano (RM18.90) will send you straight to heaven. It’s aromatic, not overly sweet but super refreshing. Best to share amongst 3-4 people because it’s huge!

Thank you Sanoook for hosting us!

Sanoook
Lot 4, Ground Floor,
Sunway Pyramid West Hotel,
47500 Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
Opening Hours:
Mon – Wed (10AM – 11PM)
Thu – Sat (10AM – 12am midnight)
Sun (10AM – 11PM)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sanoookmy/

Pork Belly Adobo

Words cannot describe how much I love pork belly in any form. Roast, Fried, Braised, Baked, you name it, I’ll eat it. Or maybe more accurately, I love biting into the succulent fat. It’s truly surprisingly I’m not obese by now. I guess that’s further supporting evidence that consuming animal fats isn’t the worst thing you can do to yourself. Note that I do have familial hypercholesterolaemia but my levels are actually pretty good ever since I change my diet habit to embrace real fats (synthetic fat is bad for you yo!).

Anyways, as you might have noticed, my work schedule is completely inhuman lately. With average of 20 shows per month, I really don’t have much time off to do my own thing. Therefore, cooking has to be fast and simple, yet not losing the flavours. In my last post, I’ve included a photo of this dish I cooked along with the Preserved Veges dish which some of you have eyes sharp enough to pick it out. And today I’d like to share the recipe of this delicious Pork Belly Adobo.

 photo P1220322.jpg

Adobo is pretty much a national dish of Philippines. It involves meat, seafood or vegetables cooked in soy sauce, vinegar and garlic. The name might be taken from the Spanish, but the cooking method is definitely native. Chicken is commonly used, so is Pork. It’s a no brainer which one I prefer.

The process involves marinating the pork for at least an hour, and then just a simple braising process to allow the flavours to penetrate the meat until it’s nice and tender. Technically you won’t even need a recipe for this, but I shall break it down for you.

Pork Belly Adobo

300g Pork Belly, cut into bite size pieces
1/4 Cup Light soy sauce
1 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 Cup Vinegar
2 Bay Leaves
1 teaspoon Black peppercorns

Marinate the pork belly in half of the soy sauce, garlic for at least 1 hour. If you need to leave it in the fridge, make sure the pork comes back to room temperature before cooking.

Heat a non-stick pan and add all the pork in to brown (there’s no need for oil since there’s plenty of fat in the pork already), then add the rest of the ingredients except vinegar (soy sauce, sugar, garlic, bay leaves, black peppercorns), stir to combine, bring to boil then turn down the heat to simmer.

 photo P1220302.jpg

Add a bit of water and let the dish simmer for around 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the pork is starting to get tender, add vinegar and cook for further 20 minutes. The cooking liquid should be slightly thicker at this point. Turn off the heat and let it sit for around 15 for the flavours to further develop. Serve hot with rice.

Here’s a close up.
 photo P1220320.jpg

If you like your food spicy, you can actually add a chili padi or two during the cooking process. I prefer to just serve it with chili to tailor to individual liking. This method can be adapted to chicken as well, but the cooking time will be much shorter.

Hope you get to try this one day!

Preserved Mustard Green with Minced Pork (雪里红炒肉末)

It’s amazing how with years of cooking vegetables I’m still constantly finding new exciting recipes to try. Recently Kevin and I went to a Chinese Restaurant that serves a huge variety of traditional Chinese dishes called Da Feng Shou (Good Harvest). The tag line mentioned Fu Zhou Home Cooked Dishes which piqued my interest (as you know I’m Foochow), but the menu appears to be a mixture, with a slight bias to Szechuan dishes. No big deal, plenty of things I like anyway.

Kevin spotted Xue Li Hong on the menu and insisted on ordering it. Its Chinese name translate to Red in the Snow, which could be a little morbid come to think of it. But it’s actually a type of Preserved Mustard Green, and it’s super easy to make at home. The dish blew my mind with its explosion of flavours and it goes so well with rice. Needless to say, I decided to try it at home. Here’s my version:

 photo P1220319.jpg

Traditionally, Xue Li Hong is made with Gai Choy, though nowadays Choy Sum is also commonly used. I opted for the latter as it’s easier to find. The process involves just few steps: First you wash the leaves clean and separate the stalks, then you generously sprinkle salt over and gently rub into the leaves, wait for an hour or so until everything softens, then put the whole bunch into a ziploc bag to preserve in the fridge. 1 or 2 days would be enough, checking it from time to time to drain exceed liquid, but 1 week would be more ideal.

When you are ready to cook, simply take the Xue Li Hong out, rinse it well, squeeze out the excess liquid and chop into small pieces. Like so:

 photo P1220309.jpg

I wanted to keep this dish simple yet flavourful, so I’ve chosen to fry it with Pork Lard, Mince Pork and a touch of chili. The ingredients are as follow:

 photo P1220308.jpg

Pork Lard (I cut it off a piece of pork belly I was using the cook another dish)
100g Mince Pork, marinate with a touch of soy sauce, Shao Xing wine and white pepper
Xue Li Hong (of course)
2-3 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
1 Chili Padi

First, let’s render the pork lard. Heat the pan and add in the small pieces of lard and cook until brown. You’ll see plenty of oil rendered with just that tiny bit. Keep the crispy bit in the pan of course, it’s like golden treasure.

Bring the heat to high, add garlic and cook until fragrant, then add mince pork to cook until no longer pink. Lastly, add the Xue Li Hong to pan along with chopped chili padi (I only add one because our chili padi is rather powerful, feel free to adjust to your taste). Just a splash of water to bring everything together, and you can turn off the heat. Serve hot with rice.

Take note that the Xue Li Hong is already salty, so there’s no need to add anymore salt.

 photo P1220315.jpg

The whole dinner spread:

 photo P1220323.jpg

Pork Belly Adobo and Green Bean Omelette. Simple dishes, maximum flavours, happy tummies!

Rendez-vous New Menu with Chef Benjamin

If you ask me to list my Top 5 current favourite restaurant in Klang Valley, Rendez-vous would definitely on the list. It’s not just that I’m a Francophile, as mentioned in my previous post of the very same restaurant; but there’s a new face in Rendez-vous kitchen and the whole menu has been given a much needed overhaul to reflect the modern take on bistro-style French Dining. Introducing Chef Benjamin Reiles, a young Chef with quite an impressive resume, having refined his skills at prestigious places like Michelin Three Star Le Pré Catelan in Paris and Brasserie des Beaux Arts in Toulouse.

Rendez-vous itself is quite an inviting space, with great service and relaxed vibe casual enough for family outing, yet formal enough for a date. Another bonus? It features a large bar and the wine list will keep any wine enthusiast happy.

 photo P1220200.jpg
A mojito to kick off the lovely evening. I always appreciate the effort that goes into this so this was enjoyed very slowly.

 photo P1220181.jpg
Rather surprised to be receiving a Lamb Samosa as our Amuse Bouche. But definitely not going to complain as it’s filled with delicious morsel of lamb cooked for hours.

 photo P1220195.jpg

Our first starter was “Escargots a la Bourguignonne” (RM28), featuring some Snails with parsley and garlic butter sauce in vol au vent. The snails are kept tender while the pastry soaked up that delicious butter sauce. And it’s mandatory to soak up that sauce with these freshly baked baguette.

 photo P1220197.jpg

Probably the best bread we’ve ever eaten at a restaurant, make sure you do save some stomach space to eat this with everything. I think Kevin had the whole basket that night. Heh.

 photo P1220211.jpg

“Soupe de poissons” (RM24). The Fish soup here is served in front of us. So first we get a bowl with all the pretty components sans the liquid.

 photo P1220216.jpg

The soup has a great balance of tang, sweetness and briny umaminess. Something I wouldn’t mind slurping on time and time again.

 photo P1220218.jpg

To sweeten the deal, we were also served a spoonful of Lobster nectar. Talk about a decandent treat!

 photo P1220221.jpg

It’s also aptly paired with a 2013 Chardonnay from South Africa.

 photo P1220208.jpg

The sardines are not on the menu but I enjoyed the tender flesh and the citrus pearls that came with it. It also came with a saffron tinted puree (Cauliflower, it seems) which goes very well with the briny fish.

 photo P1220261.jpg

The mains here are divided into fish, poulty and red meat and we were treated to one of each. First the “Filet de loup de mer” (RM58), Seabass filet, creamy carrot puree and avruga caviar, citrus vinaigrette. For a main the seabass seems to be on a smaller side in comparison to the condiments given. Probably why it’s a little bit on the dry side, but I do love the carrot puree with the surprise addition of floral passion fruit.

 photo P1220245.jpg

One thing of note too the price here is rather reasonable and even with wine pairing, it won’t break your bank.

 photo P1220248.jpg

The poultry dish “Poulet façon cocotte” (RM36) comes as a form of stuffed chicken, mash potato and creamy mushroom. The chicken is so tender and juicy and the mash potato gets full approval from me. Love the presentation too.

 photo P1220264.jpg
Paired with a very nice glass of Pinot Grigio.

Well we move on to the red meat and it’s non other than a traditional Beef Stew.

 photo P1220227.jpg
“Boeuf Bourguignon” (RM59). Here the beef is braised for at least 8 hours in a red wine sauce. The sauce has a great depth of flavours, however I find some pieces of meat to be on the dry side, perhaps exposing to air for a little long. Nonetheless a good version of Beef Bourguignon I don’t mind having again.

 photo P1220241.jpg

A hearty red to go with this dish. We are not much of Red wine drinker but found this pretty drinkable. I know it’s a terrible word to use for something like this, but there are some reds we just can’t tolerate so yeah.

Well, as usual with any food review session we had to cough up some extra space in our tummies and all that food and wine seriously had us waving white flags. But I would not say no to Lemon Meringue.

 photo P1220274.jpg
“Tarte au citron meringue” (RM17). Lemon tart here comes with h hard and soft meringue. You get the best of both world in terms of the meringue. Love the pillowy soft, freshly torched clouds of meringue, while there’s also little crunchy for textural contrast. The lemon curd is wonderfully tart, the way I like it. Yum.

 photo P1220268.jpg

“Crêpe Suzette” (RM28). The traditional French pancake is given the usual theatrical twist being flamed on the table with Grand Marnier. Nice way to finish a meal. Even nicer with a glass of crisp Prosecco.

 photo P1220272.jpg

We went home with heavy tummies but very satisfied appetite. Thank you for hosting us!

If you pay very close attention to the interior you might notice a little doorway marked “Upstage Lounge“, aptly located upstairs of Rendezvous. And this is yet another great venue for live music and occasionally stand up comedy. They hosted quite a few international acts, while many local talents have also graced the stage. Comedians the likes of Papi Zak, Kavin Jay and Prakash Daniel have also performed there. So do check out their facebook page or website for any upcoming shows. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll see me there too.

 

Rendez-vous Traditional French Restaurant
100 Lorong Maarof, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.
Open for lunch & dinner daily
Mon-Sun:
12:00 – 15:00
18:00 – 00:00
Tel: 03-2202-0206
https://www.facebook.com/rendezvousbangsar

 

 

The Locker & Loft, Damansara Kim

The Locker & Loft may have only been in operation for several months, but it’s quickly gaining popularity. Come on a Friday night and you’ll be looking at a packed house. Business is brisk even during the weekday, and it’s not hard to see why.

It’s location requires a little bit of effort, it might even took you a while to figure out where the door is. But once you come through the entrance, you’ll be greeted by a rustic looking bar that is also industrially chic, with cozy dim lighting to make you feel at ease.

As Kevin and I walked in for the review session, we were led to a long table. Now I must mention that for the two of us, sometimes hanging out with strangers can be very trying. But when our old friend Sarah sashayed through the door, you can feel the two introverts (fine, one of us is only semi-introvert) visibly relaxed. haha. Anyway, back to the bar.

Owned by Deepak Gill, lawyer by training with background in journalism, or otherwise known as Thirsty blogger (his lifestyle blog with focus on well…booze) and Paul Dass, who’s been in the industry for many years,  we can be reassured that the drinks here won’t disappoint us. But I was also suitably impressed with the dishes they dished out. It’s evident that plenty of research has gone into crafting the menu and I dare say this is one of the most exciting dining experience we’ve had this year.

Let’s start with the cocktails, with their signature house cocktail here:

 photo 16719485-16722903_2556.jpg

Kelapa Rock (RM22) that will make your Kepala rock. Fresh coconut juice with 1.5 shots of Vodka and a touch of syrup. I’m partial to coconuts so this sits really well with me. There’s a punch bowl version, maybe next time I’ll just order THAT.

 photo 16735659-16739077_2561.jpg

Brown-brown (RM30). You won’t find any cocaine or gunpowder in here. But get this: it’s Milo Ais with 2 shots of Vodka. My childhood is complete. Let’s not even discuss how wrong that sounds.

 photo 16940089-16943507_2638.jpg

Bang Pow (RM25), with hibiscus-infused gin (45ml), with homemade rose syrup, Creme de Cassis, lime juice and egg white. Apparently made for CNY but become permanent by popular demand. Very refreshing and floral. Read: Girly.

 photo 16988627-16992045_2656.jpg

Kg Pandan Don (RM30) has rum, Don Julio Reposado tequila, lime, pandan syrup, coconut milk and homemade pandan bitters. Dangerously good.

 photo 17078389-17081807_2689.jpg

Olivier (how cleverly named) RM25. A concoction of basil and Olive oil-infused gin, lime, homemade tonic syrup, egg white and lemon bitters. Prominent herbaceous note and something a little different.

 photo 17160639-17179225_2726.jpg

Southern Quack (RM30) is made with black truffle-infused vodka,lemon juice, spiced-syrup, and orange bitters. What a decadent treat! I’d definitely go back for this one.

With that amount of alcohol in sight, we needed some food to line our stomach. But here at Locker & Loft, it ain’t going to be just your regular bar snacks. The menu takes on the direction of Asian fusion, and not in the cliche kinda way either.

 photo 16832604-16836022_2598.jpg

First up we have the minced pork and sweet potato leaf queso with thick toast (RM17). Queso here refers to a Tex-Mex dish of Chili Con Queso, a creamy dip made with chili peppers, melted cheese and cream, which sounds yummy enough on its own but here it’s extra moreish with its explosion of (local) flavours. Spicy, meaty and rich, it’s good to the last drop.

 photo 16923807-16927225_2633.jpg

Mutton varuval quesadilla with mango chutney (RM17), so good you’ll have to fight for the last piece. It reminds me of murtabak, but with more toothsome texture, and of course a lot tastier with the spiced goat, and the tangy sweet chutney.

 photo 17070299-17073717_2686.jpg

Potato and bitter gourd pakora with mint yogurt dip RM12. The Fried Bitter Gourd from Nirwana gets an upgrade! I love this one to bits, literally.

 photo 17200831-17219417_2741.jpg

Grilled watermelon with Japanese dressing, lychee, feta, tomato chips and kesum leaves (RM20). Watermelon with Feta is such a classic combination, but here it’s elevated with lychees, made more floral by the herby kesum and watch out for that dressing! The wasabi does pack a punch.

 photo 17242751-17261337_2756.jpg

Many restaurants serve disappointing pastas, but we are really impressed by their Smoked Duck Aglio Olio Linguine (RM28). Featuring Linguini tossed with smoked duck breast, lap cheong, Thai chilli flakes, garlic, coriander and cashews. The doneness is just perfect and I have no idea how they manage to coat each strand of linguini with that much flavour. This is definitely the MVP of pasta in our book.

 photo 17360895-17379481_2798.jpg

If you’re partial to sweet and savoury combo, the Slow-Cooked Char Siew Baby Back Ribs (6 ribs RM55, 12 ribs RM98) should be right up your alley. The ribs are grilled to perfection, succulent and meat falls straight off the bone. The flavours are unmistakably Char Siew, though it’s just a little bit too much on the sweet side for us.

 photo 17426943-17445529_2822.jpg

Grilled mutton rack with percik sauce (RM55) is served with fluffy baked potato and a very refreshing cucumber salad, love how the cucumber comes in ribbons. The meat is juicy, smoky, with a slight bite, and the percik sauce does complement it well. Superb!

 photo 17385471-17404057_2807.jpg

By the way, you can even find a very good Tuak here. The bottle is RM85, and it’s available by glass for RM18 too.

In the midst of our dinner Kevin suddenly blurted out “The service is really bad here” much to my horror (apparently my expression was a Kodak moment); turned out he was referring to the mobile reception there. Fear not though, as you can always use their wifi to keep your social media account active. Or just stay off the phone and enjoy the food (and drinks). Actually the service here is pretty good, I shall add.

At this point we were almost bursting at the seams already. But we couldn’t do without desserts. No way!

 photo 17443391-17461977_2828.jpg

The Sago Gula Melaka here is served with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream and some mango bits to refresh it. It’s pretty decent, but I felt the sago were a little overcooked and mushy.

 photo 17475711-17494297_2839.jpg

Butterfly Bun (char koi), served with homemade chocolate kaya and ice cream (RM14). This one tastes like local version of churros and it’s very, very good. Must try!

 photo 17498919-17502337_2842.jpg

Crispy Pain Perdu, topped with homemade butterscotch sauce, served with mango and ice cream (RM16). The french toast here is coated with cornflakes and almond, what a pleasant surprise.

I somehow lost the photo of the Yellow Sub, which is an alcoholic milkshake (!!!) with Vanilla Ice Cream, Fresh Nangka, Rum and Bailey’s. Very delicious, and probably very lethal too.

Blogging about this makes me want to return tonight! Though Mondays they are closed, so I would have to wait another day. Thank you so much for your hospitality!

The Locker & Loft
40A, Jalan SS 20/10,
Jalan Damansara,
Damansara Kim,
47400 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor, Malaysia
+603 74967222

 

Flint @ Persiaran Ampang

It wasn’t all that long ago I visited Stoked at Medan Damansara, and now the Vintry group has added yet another restaurant under their belt. Introducing Flint, located at Persiaran Ampang which has a similar concept albeit a different menu and a more rustic interior. It has 2 levels and upstairs resembles a hunting lodge with a faux fireplace and wild-animal portraits, even comes equipped with a play area for kids.

In the kitchen, their prized possession Bertha (cast iron oven fueled by charcoal and firewood) stands proud and tall, and this time also accompanied by an oil-drum barbecue to support more grilling actions. What does this imply then, you might ask? Well, lotsa of meat, of course!

To start off the night we were served some light appetisers (it’s relative really, as compared to what was coming after.)

 photo P1210939.jpg

White Wine Clams with Basil (RM38) was the first dish, and what a way to make an impression! It’s heady with wine and don’t forget to save some bread to dip in the broth.

 photo P1210944.jpg

The Oysters hail from South China Sea (all ingredients are sourced as locally as possible, with the exception of Red meat of course). I’m not aware that we can get such big and succulent oysters near us! It’s topped with a mustardy mayonnaise and baked, retaining the juicy flesh of the oysters. So good.

 photo P1210948.jpg

School Prawns tartine (RM30) was served with assorted vegetable pickles and Remoulade. While the flavour combination are clean tasting, the bread was a little on the hard side for me.

 photo P1210950.jpg

The Beef tartine might not be much to look at (too much white sauce around me think), but it’s an explosion of flavours, especially that Chili Jam.

 photo P1210955.jpg

I always like a good stew and the Spiced Free-Range Chicken stew (RM42) hit the right notes with the Moroccan flavours.

 photo P1210958.jpg

Though for me the Braised Lamb Shoulder with Beans and Apricots (RM76) was the stand out, with fork tender meat and broth with a great depth. Very comforting.

 photo P1210964.jpg

When the Mushroom Risotto (RM49) hit the table, we immediately caught a whiff of Truffle. This is a decent risotto, although I’d prefer the rice grains to be firmer.

 photo P1210965.jpg

The Tagliatelle Pasta with Spiced Beef Ragout (RM40) got us all singing praises though. I liked the al dente texture of the pasta, and the ragout was seasoned perfectly to complement.

 photo P1210977.jpg

One thing I do have to say though, is that Bertha really does wonders to the meat. The Charcoal Roasted Wagyu Beef Brisket is amazingly tender. Although I’d prefer it not to be drenched in the mustard/mayonnaise.

 photo P1210978.jpg

Catch of the day for us was a Trevally. And fortunately this one is paired with a tamarind sauce to break up the stream of that white sauce.

My my, that’s a lot of food right? We haven’t even gotten to the real main courses yet!

 photo P1210983.jpg

One of the current specials is the Australian Black Angus OP Ribs (RM360). A whole kg of meat meant for sharing, or for a super carnivore. Ours were medium rare of course, and the meat is flavourful enough to eat on its on. But better with a dash of pepper.

And speaking of peppers, at Flint you get to pick from these 3 delicious selections.

 photo P1220004.jpg

My favourite is the super fruity Nepalese Timur Berry. I want to take it home!

 photo P1220011.jpg

The Australian Rib eye has always been my preferred cut of steak and here it’s executed well, with the help of Bertha.

 photo P1210994.jpg

The Grilled Lamb Loin was also good, superbly charred outside while perfectly pink inside. Best way to enjoy lamb. This one is also not too fatty/gamey in taste.

 photo P1220002.jpg

There are some really good sides too. The Spiced cauliflower dish reminds me of my favourite dish in Cumulus, Melbourne with the addition of yoghurt and pomegranate.

 photo P1220007.jpg

And the hand cut sweet potato wedges are highly recommended! A better alternative to fries for sure.

All that food and there are still desserts! What have we done to deserve such feast?

 photo P1220015.jpg

Deconstructed Apple Crumble, wish there was more crumble to go around with the sweet, sticky apples.

 photo P1220022.jpg

The Earl Grey Bavarois was very light, with a slight hint of tea. Perfect dessert after the heavy eating.

 photo P1220023.jpg

Rocky Road Orange Brownie. Only dish I didn’t try but good effort considering there were all 18 of them.

Thank you Flint for the fabulous hospitality!

Flint Restaurant & Bar
24 Persiaran Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.
Open Tues-Sun: 3pm to midnight
Tel: 03-4252-8262