29 January, 2012

Ocean Shabu Shabu @ Sri Petaling

During the first few days of Chinese New Year, the roads around KL are very quiet. This is the only time where we experience smooth journey from one hot spot to another. But another difficulty arises when finding for food! Most Chinese restaurants are closed, and everyone flocks to here- Ocean Shabu Shabu, the only restaurant opened along Jalan Radin Bagus, Sri Petaling. 

This Hong Kong styled Shabu Shabu restaurant is famous for its colorful meat balls. Looking at its appearance, I'd wish to try but at the same time wonder what makes the balls looks blue and orange. 

Left: Thai Tom Yam Broth (Half) @ RM 7.50 (泰国冬炎汤半份)
Right: White Fungus Papaya Broth (Half) @ RM5.00 (木瓜雪耳汤半份)

From the hot steaming broth,  the tom yam soup base of Thai style is really spicy and excites me very much. That's really good for those who love spiciness! As for the clear white fungus papaya broth, we're served with a generous amount of white fungus in the soup, which makes it flavours like a mild herbal soup. 

   #1 Pork Loin @ RM16.00 (特级猪肉片)

The raw pork looks good and tastes even better when it is simmered in the soup for 15 to 20 seconds and then eaten immediately! The quality of the pork is not bad, and most importantly it is fresh enough to savour my taste. 

 #2 Drunken Chicken @ RM16.00 (花凋醉鸡)

The chicken slices are marinated in a mixture of wine and goji berries. After cooking them in the broth, the meat is unexpectedly firm yet tender when chewed. The texture is good but I can barely taste the wine absorbed in the chicken. 

 #3 Mixed Mushroom @ RM16.00 (有机什蘑菇 )

After all the meat foodstuff, we also order a platter of mixed mushroom for more vitamins and minerals! My favourite button mushroom is there too :) 

#4 Four Seasons Meat Ball @ RM12.00 (四宝丸)

Each piece of meat balls costs RM1. These special meat balls are all homemade with crunchy texture. However, the size is too small to fill my belly.

#5 Yam @ RM5.00 (炸芋头)

With the flourishing business around the festive season, which restaurant doesn't grab this golden opportunity for a price hike? From the bill, there's an additional item: 

"CNY Charge : 10% of the subtotal"

If you spend RM100 there during Chinese New Year, then you'll be charged an extra RM10 because these waiters and waitresses serve you during the public holidays. 

1. The overall taste is just so-so, perhaps it's due to the huge crowd during the festive season.
2. The foodstuff are fairly fresh, due to the public holidays I think.
3. The white fungus papaya soup base is really a clear soup that satisfies me very much!

Ocean Shabu Shabu 
47, Jalan Radin Bagus, 
Bandar Baru Seri Petaling, 
57000 Kuala Lumpur.
Contact: 603-9058 2889
Website: www.oceanshabushabu.com.my

Disclaimer: Photos taken with Samsung Galaxy S Plus

23 January, 2012

Daorae Korean BBQ @ Sri Petaling

Happy Lunar New Year of Dragon!

According to my family tradition, a Reunion Dinner (团员饭) is a must during the Lunar New Year's Eve (除夕夜) although we stay at KL and don't celebrate the night with my Grandmother. Without any miss, my Mama cooks a full 8-course Chinese meal for the family and we'd spend the whole night together.

However, there's a slight change this year--- Mama doesn't cook at all , since she is busy preparing for prayers at night (Although she does the same each year). And we head outside for our reunion session. Frankly, I'm surprised that my Dad chose a Korean BBQ Restaurant for a typical Chinese reunion dinner!

In Daorae, besides the normal sitting area, they also have a dining area with tatami style, and obviously you will need to take off your shoe before entering the area. For a perfectly comfortable dining, each table is equipped with a white long exhaust chute, which can be pulled down to be as close as possible to the BBQ area to suck the smoke. 

Here's the cosy area you can sit while waiting to be seated. The traditional furniture set amazes me upon entering the restaurant. To complement with the Korean theme, this waiting area is also equipped with Korean magazines :)

 #1 Salmon Yee Sang

Being a part of the conservative family, Prosperity Toss is a must for us but sadly, Daorae doesn't provide any. They are, nevertheless, kind enough to allow us bringing in Yee Sang from another restaurant to dine here. Well, I'm quite satisfied with their services because most restaurants usually don't allow any outside food. 

Brought from an ordinary Chinese restaurant around my house, of course the quality may not be as promising as those offered at hotels. But a simple Yee Sang is good enough for a small family like mine, because every year we have the same purpose that is to get together once again and welcome the new year!

 #2 Dolsot Bibimbab @ RM20

A rich layering of fresh, seasoned vegetables, and crab sticks, is served in steaming hot stone bowl over a bed of steamed rice topped with a fried egg, and served with Korean chilli paste. The condiment is served in a separate plate and you can mix them according to your preference. 

In other restaurants, the waiter would perform the mixing for us but here we have to do it by ourselves. I love the steaming hot rice that satisfies my empty stomach but it would have a greater taste if the chilli paste can be sweeter and more spicy. 

 #3 Pa-jeon @ RM25

This delicate savory pancake comprising of fresh seafood in batter topped with spring onions is my all-time favourite! I personally enjoy dipping this Korean pancake into the mixture of soy sauce and vinegar with chopped spring onions. Without this condiment, you can taste an original taste of seafood especially the baby shrimps and chopped clams. 

#4  Dderk-bokgi @ RM30 

Just like us Chinese, Koreans have their own version of Nian Gao as well. This platter of stir-fried traditional Korean rice cake in hot spicy chilli sauce works best as an ultimate snack or even a meal for a light eater!

Along with the chopped cabbage, onions and eggs, we happily stuff our belly with this spicy goddess.  Slobbered with spicy chilli paste, I have a good time with the soft yet chewy rice cakes. Despite of its fiery red presentation, the sauce is over-sweetened in my opinion.

#5 Kimchi-Jeon-Gol @ RM55 

Another popular meal during Chinese New Year is a hot pot, stuffed with a vast variety of ingredients. Hence we opt for a spicy combination of pork, kimchi, tofu and Korean noodles simmered in a rich kimchi soup served in a cast iron pot.

Looking back at its price, this hot soup can reasonably serve up to 3 persons or even 5 ladies because the ingredients used can easily fill up your stomach! 

When the Korean noodles are completely cooked, you can compare the amount of noodles alone with FOUR (4) packets of Maggi noodles! Note that it has not include other materials in the broth.

A sumptuous and hearty serving of tummy-warming concoction; and not too spicy too!

 #6 Vegetarian Chawan Mushi 

Apart from this tasty steamed egg, some Korean side dishes (Ban Chan) are served to perk up our appetite before the meats come into play. However, the banchan served for us that night is very limited. Only 4-5 varieties, I feel this is much lesser as compared to other Korean restaurants. Moreover they only refill the banchan upon request.

#7 Fruit Slices
This plate of watermelon slices are complimentary dessert as an endnote for the dinner.

#8 Korean Barley Juice

Apart from the Korean Green Tea served throughout the meal, we are given a glass of Korean Barley Juice at the end of the meal as well. To my surprise, this is definitely not the Sikhye, a traditional Korean beverage made with barley malt powder and rice. But its taste is sweet and cold, just like the barley malt!

We also ordered two bowls of Steamed Rice @ RM5 each,
summing up the bill to RM154 including service tax, and an additional RM48 for the Prosperity Toss. 
Therefore, the pre-Chinese New Year dinner only costs RM202 for 5 pax

1. All in all, the dinner is acceptable for me although the taste is mediocre.
2. A spacious, nice ambiance is a right deal for my family.
3. I don't know bout other Daorae franchises around Malaysia, but this one at Sri Petaling has a huge room of improvement on the services.

Daorae Korean BBQ Restaurant
21-1, Jalan Radin Anum, 
Bandar Baru Seri Petaling,
57000 Kuala Lumpur.
Contact: 603-9057 3617

21 January, 2012

15th Chinese New Year Extravaganza

Here’s the time of the year where the Chinese Language Society organizes the most happening event of year--- Chinese New Year Banquet Night. This year around it is a charity dinner, to gather students from various universities all over Malaysia for this reunion dinner, celebrating the festive occasion.

Can you recognize this VVIP here?
 Our guest of honor for this opening ceremony is YB Datuk IR Dr. Wee Ka Siong, 
the current Deputy Education Minister of Malaysia.

People prefer Dragon Dance to Lion Dance since it's the Year of Dragon now.

Look back to my archive: Last year, I was one of the working committee, playing a minor role in making this event successful, while this year I am there again, as one of the guests, to enjoy the performance and food.

Let's not let the spirit of CNY stops! 
The event is enlivened with the Drum Performance 
by high school students from SMK Pay Fong, Malacca. 

Next, we're all amazed by the Acrobatics Team who came all the way from China to perform here!

This girl is probably much younger than me, but she is capable of lifting a heavy vase, 
spinning it just by using the legs! Incredible, isn't it?

Another stunt is lifting a table and she can spin it easily 
as if she is playing with small marbles.

After the 'wahhh' and the 'wooooohh', here comes the Wu Shu Performance!
I'm actually wondering why are all these dangerous stunts done by girls.

Hey where are the guys out there?

The long-waited special guest finally appeared with a smart casual outfit!
Entranced by his mesmerizing smile, female fans would definitely bring him flowers upon his arrival.

 The invited artist for the night is Mr. Handsome Eric Lim (林建辉)

I bet you've listened his ever popular song: 
"I Heard Someone Call You Baby" (我听见有人叫你宝贝)

Enough of performances during a growling stomach.

Being the most basic Yee Sang ever, it comprises of the usual assorted condiments with attractive colours. Despite of that, each has its symbolic reference. Crackers represents happiness, peanuts and sesame symbolises harvest, oil resembles wealth and pomelo means good luck. So how can you not toss for a good year ahead? 

Let’s "Lou Sang" for the best of the Year of Dragon!
Happy Chinese New Year 2012!

18 January, 2012

The Tranquerah @ The Strand

The location for this exquisite lunch is a little different from my recent posts. Despite of hearing great reviews about this restaurant that serves Malacca Nyonya Cuisine, this is my first time stepping into this traditional restaurant for a Chinese New Year set menu.

Alan and FiSh
This authentic Nyonya restaurant is owned by Alan Yun (袁锦伦), an actor or director whom you can see on TV most of the time. Recently, he is one of the Pensonic brand ambassadors who appeared on advertisements with Amber Chia. For more information, his fan page is here.

At Tranquerah, you can see the old-school setting in this family-styled restaurant. Upon arrival, I have the feeling that the restaurant would make me feel as comfortable as at home. I personally think that it would be a great place for filming with every minor detail of the Baba and Nyonya from the olden days.

If you have been to the Nyonya Heritage House @ Malacca, this restaurant would serve as a mini heritage house around KL. You'd certainly fall in love with the contemporary-meets-heritage setting here.

The assorted patterns hung on the wall are actually the wooden batik stamps. Traditionally, people use this carved wooden blocks to produce attractive motives for the batik fabric. Such stamps can be rarely found nowadays, and a good one can be sold up to approximately RM4000 each!

We were there to try out the latest Tranquerah Chinese New Year's Menu A @ RM 588:

#1 Golden Dragon Nyonya Yee Sang @ RM28 (Small) and RM48 (Large) 

Despite of having Lou Sang for numerous times, this is my first time in experiencing a platter of Baba Nyonya Yee Sang. Comprising of fresh squids, jelly fish, turnips, fritters and raw salad, the homemade Nyonya sauce enlivens the whole platter.

The balance of the sweet and sour taste is perfect here, with added crushed peanuts and sesames to bring out the crunchy texture in a blend of mildness. 

#2 Pai Tee (Top Hats)

This Nyonya kuih is a must-have with its alluringly gorgeous presentation and premium taste and flavour. Being a virtuous snack that showcases the brilliant combination of fresh ingredients, it’s undeniably good and up to authentic Nyonya quality.

#3 Cucur Udang (Shrimp Fritters)

I realised this is another snack to go before the main courses. This scrumptious shrimp fritters with sweet chili sauce is deliciously savoury! Crispy golden brown crust on the outside, once bitten, a softer texture reveals and you will taste fresh shrimps and a slight spiciness in it. 

#4 Chicken Meatball Soup

This light, flavourful broth has the bounciest homemade chicken meatballs ever!

#5 Sek Kay (Nyonya Stewed Chicken)

Being a traditional dish usually prepared during Chinese New Year, this special item named Sek Kay is marinated beforehand. The sweet and tangy unique flavours add credits to the firm yet tender bite of the chicken.

#6 Chap Chye (Nyonya Mixed Stir-Fried Vegetables)

Alhough I find the thick sauce a tad salty, it was nevertheless flavourful with assorted shredded vegetables. This aromatic dish would be perfected by enhancing spiciness of the sauce.

#7 Nyonya Chicken Curry

Here comes the most basic dish ever in every Nyonya cuisine. As curry is usually the best companion of white steamed rice, this would be one of the best choice if you are a strong proponent for rice.

#8 Sotong Masak Lemak Nenas (Squids)

A small serving of succulent squids cooked in a rich, sweet coconut gravy with pineapple is enough for me to tell how tender the squids are. Despite of lacking spicy flavour, the coconut gravy is truly decadent as the flavours of the spices are absorbed into the gravy.

#9 Ikan Tilapia Goreng Cili (Fried Tilapia with Chilli)

Under the crispy salty skin lies the moist and flaky flesh of the fish. A bite into the fish fillet with fiery chilli paste would be wonderful, but it goes tasteless without the tinge of spiciness.

#10 Sambal Bendi (Stir-Fried Okra in Chilli Paste)

Okra or more commonly known as lady's fingers are lightly blanched and topped with a fragrant, spicy mix of homemade sambal belacan. The okra is wonderfully crunchy while the mixture of sambal coats each lady's finger perfectly. This zingy refreshing salad is one of the best I've eaten despite of the excessive chilli oil served on the plate.

#11 Gerang Asam Stingray

Comprising of stingray, tamarind, corns, lady's fingers, onions, Kaffir lime leaves alongside with other herbs and spices, this bowl of Nyonya-style sour fish curry tastes similarly to Thai tom yam soup. My mouth salivates just listening to the list of ingredients this special dish was infused with!

#12 Sambal Terung

Simple it does look, here I uncover another recommend-worthy dish. The platter of blanched brinjal with sambal belacan is very fragrant, sweet and rich tasting! Again, the recipe of sambal belacan can be improvised by adding more spiciness.

#13 Homemade Chilli Paste 

Upon request, the restaurant owner brought us a spoonful of chilli paste to be served as a condiment. Despite of its fiery bright-red color, the chilli paste is surprisingly not too hot in a hint of lime.

#14 Ice Kacang 

Dessert Time! This is the part I'm always looking forward to. The featured ingredient in this bowl of shaved ice is the generous amount of Gula Melaka (Coconut palm sugar) and Cendol. In the hot and humid country like Malaysia, nothing can beat the icy cold and pleasant dessert to soothe the throat!

#15 Bubur Cha Cha

Another popular selection for a delightful Nyonya dessert is Bubur Cha Cha, comprising mainly of coconut milk and sweet potatoes. It is regrettably sounded very good but is way too sweet to suit my liking.

#16 Sago Gula Melaka

Being one of the most inventive and vividly luscious Nyonya creations, the tasteless sago pudding when accompanied with rich sweet flavour of sugar palm syrup is probably the best Nyonya dessert on earth!

Completing a meal with these indulgences is a must 
for the ultimate dining experience at The Tranquerah!

Full and satisfied, I scanned through the menu of the lunch and realised that the above set of dishes is a little different from the prescribed set menu. Here you can compare the dishes between Menu A and B to suit the liking among your family and friends:

Nyonya Yee Sang is excluded from the set menu.

Here's the location map for your reference. 

1. From the appetizers to desserts, I prefer those traditional dishes with a twist.
2. The light touch of spiciness in every dish is perfect if you prefer to go mild.
3. The taste of few good dishes enhanced by the condiment is perfectly enjoyable under the family-styled dining.

The Tranquerah 
62A-G, Red Carpet Avenue 
Encorp Strand, 
Jalan PJU5/22, 
Kota Damansara, 
47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. 
Contact: 603–6142 4106 
Email: nyonyaplace@gmail.com

Remarks: This restaurant is opened from the Eve to 7th Day of CNY. Closes from 30 Jan till 2 Feb 2012.

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