Thursday, September 27, 2012

Food Trip to KL - Nasi Lemak and Hokkien Mee

We've been to KL for quite a number of times, but never to Kampung Baru the Malay village. This time round, we decided to take a trip to take a look at its Saturday pasar malam (night market), and more importantly, to try the famous Kampung Baru Nasi Lemak.

When we reached Kampung Baru it was still in the early evening so everyone was still setting up their stalls, but we got an idea of what to expect... mostly clothing and of course food. But we were starving so we went straight to search for the famous nasi lemak place.

Before coming to KL, I read from food blogs that the famous ones are Antarabangsa and CT Garden. But it seems like Antarabangsa has better opinions on their rice, so I decided to give it a try. After asking around for directions, we finally arrived at the Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa, which turns out to be a small eating place. The nasi lemak is scooped from the rice container and you can point and order any of the various trays of side dishes. Most (or all!) of the side dishes look spicy and they even have cow lungs...

We tried both fried chicken and rendang chicken and both are really tasty. The fried chicken is crispy on the outside and tender inside! The rice is also not bad, but not as fragrant as we expected. The sambal is just nice for me, a bit sweet and not too spicy, but White-chan thinks it is not spicy enough! Overall, I think the quality is average and we can definitely get this standard of nasi lemak in Singapore.

Not satisfied, we proceeded to the Jalan Petaling night market. After some shopping for anime and roast chestnuts, we decided to try the famous fried Hokkien mee at Kim Lian Kee. Turns out there are two Kim Lian Kee there, with one looking more run down and the other more glam. Since both were as crowded, and White-chan didn't feel like taking the risk of falling sick on his first day in KL, we went to the more glam one opposite Hong Leong.

The fried Hokkien mee was not bad, the broad noodles was Q and they were also not stingy with meat and cabbage. But we feel that the one we always have at Wong Ah Wah is better because their wok-hei is stronger. So next time, we should still stick to Wong Ah Wah!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Crystal Jade Jiang Nan's rainbow xiao long bao

Crystal Jade has opened a Jiang Nan restaurant at Vivocity level 1, right at the same level as the other more ATAS Crystal Jade restaurant. Looking at the menu, the Jiang Nan restaurant seems to be a upgraded version of the La Mian Xiao Long Bao restaurant, now with more variety added.

One change we love is that now you don't have to finish up a big bowl of la mian only to realise that your stomach has run out of space for other dishes. Now you can order the smaller bowls, which also means more business for Crystal Jade lah since now you don't have excuse not to try the other dishes. And mind you, the smaller bowls are not that stingy ok! We ordered the "small size" dan dan mian at SGD4.50 instead of the "normal size" at SGD9.50. The amount of noodles is still reasonable, still bigger than a pack of instant noodles lah! And then we ordered the rainbow xiao long bao that most tables seem to be ordering.

And here's our take on the different flavours:
  • Yellow = Prawn = like a prawn dumnpling.
  • Green = Vegetables = nothing to shout about... actually already forgotten how it tasted like...
  • Brown = Foie Gras = really can taste the Foie Gras and this actually went well!
  • White = Original =nothing beats the original!
  • Yellow = Cheese = like eating a pizza filling.
  • Magenta = Spicy beef = not too spicy and very beefy, this is good.
  • Orange = Spicy chicken = not bad but not very memorable too.
  • Black = Black truffle = not too stingy on the truffle, not bad.
  • Yellow round one in the middle = custard = Just the usual custard bun. Nothing to see here.

Well, White-chan still prefers the famous xiao long bao from THE OTHER restaurant that starts with Ding. We've also ordered the Sheng Jian Bao to see if this dish has improved in this upgraded version of La Mian Xiao Long Bao.

The verdict? Nope, nothing has improved. The soup inside is still not enough, and the bottom is still not crispy enough. Ok let's move on to the most sinful dish that wee ordered... the fatty Dong Bo meat!

When we ordered the Dong Bo meat, we were still thinking "Wah! Why three pieces of meat so expensive?!" because we didn't expect three buns to come with the meat. Either we were too blind or they didn't indicate it explicitly enough... And since this was the last dish, by the time we moved on to it, we were already very carbo loaded from the previous bao's... so luckily the buns are delicious enough to keep us going! In fact, the chewy buns really go well with the sauce!

As for the meat, the lean parts are not so lean that you'll have to chew 100 times before you can swallow, and the fatty parts just melt in the mouth! So yes, this dish is expensive, but well worth it!

At the end of the day, we spent like SGD50 for two persons, and of course we got very bloated from all the carbo. Oh, and remember, DON'T ever order plain water because it costs 50 cents!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Food Trip to KL - Feasting at Hotel Maya

One thing we really like about Hotel Maya is how they really ensure that their guests don't get hungry. Our SGD175 per night hotel stay comes with buffet breakfast. So as proud Singaporeans, we made sure we woke up early to go for the breakfast! One glance at the spread, ok lah, actually the selection quite reasonable. Got local delicacies, all sorts of breads, salad, juices, one egg station. The only problem is that the food got cold a bit too fast.

But luckily all is not lost! After we kancheong spiders went to fill our plates, we then realised there was a little piece of laminated paper on the side of the table. WALAUZ! It is actually a side menu of all the hot dishes (yes, they actually named it the hot dishes menu. So I think they also know their buffet spread is cold lor...) we can order as much as we like! Why the server that brought us to our table never say one! DOTZ...

OF COURSE we then ordered our second rounds from the hot menu! And the food is actually good! The nasi lemak I ordered is soooo good! The hot rice is filled with coconut fragrance, the sambal just nice and not too spicy for me, the curry chicken so rich! But then OF COURSE I got very full after finishing all the delicious rice lah...

White-chan ordered the French toast which looked good, but taste so-so only. Maybe the chef is better at local food bah.

The next day I ordered the Egg Benedict, which was again so-so, and the egg was not really poached that well. While the curry noodles that White-chan ordered was not bad, it'll be nicer if it's even richer. But after trying out other curry noodles elsewhere, I found that the curry noodles in KL are indeed not as rich as the ones I had in Penang, so maybe it's a KL taste thing bah...

One nice extra that Hotel Maya provides is its free coffee and tea supper at its Sky Lounge on the 13th floor from 9-11pm. When we were up there at 9:30pm, the outside tables were already choped by the even more kiasu ang mors! While it is nice to sit outside and drink coffee while looking at the Twin Towers, the inside seats also not bad lah, very glam and comfortable environment also. While the coffee and tea are nothing to shout about, OOOH the little cakes are nice! I especially love the coffee tiramisu cake! And these cakes and biscuits are different every night some more! OF COURSE I know because we go up there every night lah!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

[SPONSORED] Sensational Journey - How to travel around with nothing but Heineken beer

Man of The World Justin is going from Shangdu to Shanghai to Hainoi then finally to Bangkok. And here's the catch. He is going to travel without any cash, and just a backpack full of Heineken beer (WAH! I wonder how many bottles are there in the backpack! Not heavy meh?).

He traded a bottle for a ride on a horse back in Mongolia Shangdu. He tried to trade a bottle for a ferry ride in China Shanghai but was rejected by the counter aunty. But don't worry, he got it resolved! I don't know how many bottles he traded to jump from boat to boat just to cross the Yen River in Vietnam. And finally he traded some bottles to dress up for the party in Bangkok! Power sia!

I wonder at the end of the day, how many bottles of Heineken beer did he give away in total in this whole journey? If Justin gives me a bottle of Heineken, I'll drive him to the zoo to have breakfast with the orangutans' family! What will you trade a Heineken for?

For now, Let's follow Justin in his Heineken Passport journey!

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Food Trip to KL - Large room at Hotel Maya

In the past, it was a difficult choice to make between staying at Bukit Bintang area (nearer to all shopping malls) or near KLCC (accessible to LRT station). With the new covered walkway that linked up Bukit Bintang to KLCC, this is no longer an issue. So this time round, we stayed at the Hotel Maya, which is near KLCC. The location of Hotel Maya has a big pro and a little con. The pro is that it is a few minutes walk to either KLCC or the Bukit Nanas Monorail. The con is that... it is next to a cemetery... So not so good for those who of you who are pantang.

The room is really good. I can't really find anything I could complain about the room at all. You get a huge room comprising of bedroom and a little living room to watch TV, surf net at the study table, or just stare outside, like at the cemetery, on your lounge chair. I've only seen such a huge room in service apartments. Even the Ritz Carlton KL and Traders KL rooms are smaller lor!

The bathroom is also huge, with two separate sinks and one bathtub that is suspiciously big enough for two! And they're very clever in a way that the shower next to the bathtub is not enclosed so you don't have that danger of knocking your elbow on the glass walls anymore!

The design of the room is also very comfortable to the senses. Instead of the usual dunno-clean-or-not carpet, the room is tiled with wooden floor. The minibar and coffee making machines are hidden in the little compartment next to the TV (yes, took us suaku some time to find it). The wardrobe is hidden in the walkway to the bathroom so that it'll only reveal itself when you close the bathroom door! And then you get a "walk-in" wardrobe! Smart right!

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Food trip to KL - Flying by Jetstar Asia

Yes, I know we can drive or take coach to KL easily so why take a plane? Well, because we were lucky enough to grab a less than SGD50 (incl. tax and return!) Jetstar Asia ticket! So why not?

Of course, the budget airline air ticket does not include food and drinks on the plane as usual. And they charge you one arm and two legs for microwaved-tasteless food as usual. So I don't understand how come there're still people ordering food for a 40mins flight. So hungry meh?

Once we touched down at KLIA, we made our way to the hotel. There are a few ways to go from KLIA to the city. If you're very rich or you're on business trip, and feel like contributing to the Malaysia's economy, you can take the fixed-rate taxi, which I think costs around RM70. Ironically, this is actually less than me going from my house to the airport in Singapore.

If you are in a hurry or you just love to take trains, you can take the KLIA Express which takes 28mins to get to KL Sentral for a price of RM35. And don't worry. Unlike the MRT ride to Changi Airport, you'll sure to get a seat on this KLIA Express because you can actually count the number of passengers taking the Express.

You see, if you're traveling in two or more, you'll rather take the RM70 taxi because it is actually cheaper right? And then the taxi will stop at your hotel some more, not some ulu pandan KL Sentral!

Since we're neither rich nor in a hurry, we took the longest but cheapest way. By airport shuttle. The Star Shuttle costs us RM18 per person and takes us straight to our hotel door step. (Oh but of course the shuttle does not go to ALL hotels, so if your hotel is not in the list, it's better to take the RM10 Airport Coach to KL Sentral then take a train/LRT/Monorail/taxi to your hotel). Yes, it takes the longest, but 1.5hrs is still manageable lah.

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