Thursday, January 30, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year!

This year's Chinese New Year is harder for me because I managed to celebrate it with family last year. In addition, it is also Dad's birthday today. However, I am grateful for the friends I have here in Sydney who I refer to as my Sydney family, who are here to celebrate with me. Although a little watered down compared to celebrations back home, the Year of the Horse is going to be yet another amazing year Down Under.

Here is to wishing family and friends around the world a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous Chinese New Year of the Horse!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pizza San Francisco @ The Mines Shopping Fair

This lunch was a special lunch in two ways. First, I was introduced to a calzone by Ray and second, it was my last lunch with him.

He asked if I have ever tried it and when I shook my head, he decided that I should give it a try. "A calzone is like a pizza, but like a folded up version," he explained. "I've had it a few times with my brother. It's not too bad. Eat it with the sauce, it's nice."

So, I later found out that a calzone is a folded pizza typically stuffed with tomato, mozzarella and sauce and may include other ingredients that are normally associated with pizza toppings. Here at Pizza San Francisco, the calzone is stuffed with mozzarella and turkey salami.

If you are a small eater like me, ordering one of these will see you packing half of it to bring home. I was stuff by the time I finished the second piece. To share with one or two other persons would be best.

Pizza San Francisco @ The Mines Shopping Fair
L1-65, L1, Mines Shopping Fair, Jalan Dulang, Mines Resort City, 43300 Seri Kembangan, Selangor, Malaysia.
Tel: +60 16 262 1051
Open daily from 10:00am to 10:00pm

Friday, January 24, 2014

Penang hawker fare @ New Lane

Normally, we non-locals would head straight to Gurney Drive but locals recommend New Lane for better Penang hawker fare. And so, New Lane it was for us.

There were many stalls hawking a variety of local fare. There was a continuous stream of diners from all walks of life, too.

We found a table and then took turns to order food. We stopped at every stall to order one serve of every thing.

The system here is that you place your order at the stall, they will give you a number and when your food arrives, you pay for the food and return the number to them.

And boy, did we just order non-stop!

If you are feeling a little hungry and it is late at night now, please do not scroll down any further. You will regret it.

From here onwards, I shall let the photos do more of the describing...

Char kway kak (Fried radish cake)
Ikan bakar (Grilled fish)

Deep fried chicken

Sotong kangkung (Cuttlefish salad)
Char kway teow
Popiah with century egg (recommended)
Heko (shrimp paste sauce) chee cheong fun (highly recommended!)
Prawn noodles
Pork and pig intestines satay
O-jian or oyster omelette
Curry laksa with pig's blood jelly
Ais kacang with a dollop of optional strawberry ice-cream
New Lane Hawker Street
Lorong Baru (New Lane), Off Jalan Macalister (Macalister Road), 10040 Georgetown, Penang. 
*Look for Sunway Hotel
Daily 5:00pm to 11:00pm
**Cash only (duh)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Home Cooked Assam Laksa @ Fruit n Spice, Balik Pulau

The first time I heard of this place was from Dad, who normally would share stories of his holidays with me over the phone. He made a trip to Penang with Mum and bro, who was there on assignment. So while bro was doing his job, Mum and Dad explored the island.

They chanced upon this place during their aimless drive and was attracted by the signage. They drove in and Dad told me how the place was tastefully done without losing its village house charm. I remembered this story and made sure that I included it on my itinerary when I visited the island with my friends.

As we drove into its compound, I noticed how it was surrounded by tall durian trees and soon after found out that it was a durian orchard, too. For more details on their durian tasting sessions, look up their website.

I also noticed that they converted their front porch into an open- air restaurant surrounded by greenery - very smart idea to take advantage of their hilltop location, where it is breezy.

Our car was parked under a shady canopy of budding morning glory plants with many big bumble bees buzzing around.

We made out way to the front portion of the house, where the food action was...

The place was well-kept and if I remember correctly, Dad mentioned that the owner was a fellow architect. 

He must have been an architect who loved his antiques, as many of the furniture were made up of them!

Even the wash basin and tap were ingeniously made out of collectibles (I see a common trait in architects here...)!

They served a home-cooked menu, which was not the most expansive but was sufficient. We all settled for assam laksa, pai tee and sour plum drink.

Pai tee is a thin and crispy tart shell filled with a spicy and sweet mixture of thinly sliced vegetables and prawns. It is a popular Peranakan snack, which is very similar to the popiah, as the main filling is shredded Chinese turnips and carrots.

As there were five of us, the serve of pai tee was just right (RM4/AUD1.35 for a serve of 5). I really liked it, as the pastry shell was crispy and provided that addictive crunch when chewed. The filling was fresh and tasted great when eaten with a dash of sweet chilli sauce.

The main course of assam laksa (RM4/AUD1.35 for a small serve, RM5/AUD1.70 for a big serve) was a bowlful of colourful aromatic delight. I am not a big fan of assam laksa but this, I really enjoyed. The smell of the mackerel soup was not over-fishy (is there such a word?) and the amount of "heko" or thick sweet prawn paste was just right. The other ingredients and garnishes such as the galangal, lemongrass, chilli, onion slices, mint leaves, pineapple slices and torch ginger flower made the dish exceptionally fragrant. However, if it were slightly less spicy than it was, it would have been perfect.

To wash down the heat (not from the food but from the weather), we all had a serve of iced sour plum drink (RM1.50/AUD0.50). Very refreshing!

If you are in Penang over the weekend and would like an authentic home-cooked meal (they claim that they do not use any MSG in their cooking), I highly recommend this place. Look them up in your GPS and be very careful while driving, as the roads leading there are windy and very narrow. There is plenty of parking within their compound and there is free wifi.

Also an interesting point: They were featured in Episodes 12 and 13 of the currently on-air TVB drama, Outbound Love (单恋双城) starring Ruco Chan (陈展鹏), Aimee Chan (陳茵媺), Lin Xiawei (林夏薇), Tony Hung (洪永城), Matt Yeung (楊明), Elaine Yiu (姚子羚) and Samantha Ko (高海寧).

Fruit n Spice
202B Jalan Sungai Pinang, 11010 Balik Pulau, Penang, Malaysia.
Tel: +60 4 866 1807, Mob: +60 12 401 0101 (Mr. Eric Kee)
Open only on weekends and public holidays from 10:00am until sold out

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Indulge Cafe

In all honesty, I did not even notice that there was a cafe in this location. The layout of the place was simple and no fuss, and they had a simple menu, too. 

I gave their Croque Monsieur (RM7.90) a try.

Apparently, it is a French version of toasted sandwich with chicken meatloaf and cheese gratinated with Bechamel sauce. I interpreted that as a fancy version of French toast and was attracted to the sauce, which I have never heard of.

Although it looked small, it was actually quite filling. Perhaps it was the cheese. I did not even eat much of the fries! I wanted to save space for some dessert - their mille crepe.

We shared a slice of Oreo mille crepe (RM7.50) and I was quite impressed with the texture of the cake. I could bite into each distinct but soft layer of the cake. So it is not just the N brand that makes good mille crepe.

I also had their Lime and Mint Bliss (RM3.90) and found it rather refreshing. Perhaps the next time I would ask for less ice for a stronger mint taste.

If you know where NSK is, you would have no problems finding this cafe. They are right where the guardhouse is and you could tell them apart from the white picket fence at the front of their shop.

Indulge Cafe
Block A-0-11, Kuchai Business Park, No. 2 Jalan 1/127, Off Jalan Kuchai Lama, 58200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: +60 3 7984 0866
Open daily from 11:00am to 10:30pm
Cash transactions only

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pork Noodle @ Restoran Makanan Sun Sea

That photo looks so sinful, does it not? Yes, after many years of hearing friends go on and on about how good the "OUG pork noodles" are, I finally get to devour a bowl and judge for myself.

We all ordered the same thing, just with different noodles. Mine was entirely in meehoon (rice noodle). I had high expectations because of how famous the stall is. However, I was not impressed by the restaurant itself. It could do with some major maintenance work.

After a short wait, our six bowls of pork noodle goodness arrived piping hot. I thought for RM5.50 ($1.90) per bowl, the serving portion was not bad - almost as big a serving as what we would normally get served in Sydney. It came with plenty of greens and unlike other pork noodle stalls, this also contained some seafood like prawn and squid. Perhaps these additional ingredients were what made their broth stand out from other stalls.

As I frequent OUG (Overseas Union Garden), I know that parking is a problem and because this restaurant (more like a corner coffee shop with lots of hawker stalls) is situated directly opposite the wet market, I made it a point to park further away from the shops and walk. Well, we all did, really. So, remember this if you plan to visit. Oh, and heaps of tissue paper to wipe your sweat of - can get really stuffy inside the restaurant.

Sun Sea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restoran Makanan Sun Sea
Jalan Hujan Rahmat, Taman OUG, 58200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
*Closed on Wednesdays

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Nadeje @ Mahkota Parade

Since opening their doors in 2006, they have made headlines in the local dessert scene. Their name travelled all the way from Melaka to KL. Friends who visit Melaka on a day trip would try their hardest to pack their famous mille crepe cakes in iced cooler bags.

They now have more than one outlet, thanks to their roaring business. We visited the branch at Mahkota Parade, which was tastefully set up. The popularity has not died down, for it was packed the entire time we were there.

We ordered three different flavours to share.

All pieces were priced at RM9.00/AUD3.10. The first mouthful led us to understand their popularity - the distinct layers of the mille crepe that melt in the mouth. The Berry Berry Strawberry one even had berry in between the layers!

Berry Berry Strawberry

Mango Yogurt

Now that they have other branches in the Klang Valley, we do not have to travel down south for Nadeje specialty mille crepe. However, I do hope that the service at their other branches are not as bad as this branch because in all honesty, we were quite put off by the attitude of the waitstaff.

Nadeje @ Mahkota Parade
G-23B, EG4 & EG5, Ground Floor, Mahkota Parade, 75000 Melaka, Malaysia.
Tel: +60 6 284 3469, E-mail:
Open daily from 11:00am to 10:00pm