30 December, 2013

Nyonya Set Lunch @ Casa Del Rio, Melaka

Everytime I travel to Malacca in search of good food, surely I would look for authentic Nyonya cuisine. Despite of many Peranakan restaurants blooming in the town, authentic ones are few and far between. Until recently I tried the Peranakan set lunch at Casa Del Rio, the heritage boutique hotel located a stone throw away from the popular Jonker Walk, I knew I'd come back for more!

Special thanks to Chef Baba William, an expert with 16 years of experience in Nyonya cuisine, I was fortunate to indulge in his personal favourite home recipes for lunch at the River Cafe. The local recipes were passed down from his grandparents, and he was proud to share them with the Peranakan cuisine lover. 

The Peranakan "Tingkat" tiffin set menu here is rotated everyday, but luck was on my side during my visit as I managed to sample my favourite Nyonya Ayam Kapitan on the set menu!

Sitting at the comfortable environment of River Cafe with the magnificent view of Melaka river, I was delighted with the old-school Strait-Chinese cuisine, served in traditional tiffin cockery! 

In Nyonya culture, "Tingkat" were used to fill the delicious Peranakan food and delivered to household and workplace for lunch. It had been a unique Peranakan crockery since decades ago. Here, you can find different local-styled dish in each tingkat. 

We ordered both sets available on that day, Set C and D, each uniquely filled with aroma and flavours of Chinese and Malay combining local herbs and spices. The 6-courses set meal comprises of the soup of the day, two main courses- Meat (Fish or chicken) and Vegetables, two popular side dishes (Nyonya Otak-otak and Nyonya Tau Gua) and the dessert of the day. To ensure a great Strait-Chinese culinary experience, a bowl of steamed rice is included to pair with the dishes. 

Nyonya Ayam Kapitan (Kapitan Chicken Curry)
Bean Sprout with Salted Fish
Nyonya Otak-Otak (Fish Custard)
Nyonya Dried Bean Tau Gua
Soup + Dessert of the day + Steamed Rice

Ikan Chuan-Chuan
Sweet Potato Leaves with Belacan
Nyonya Otak-Otak (Fish Custard)
Nyonya Dried Bean Tau Gua
Soup + Dessert of the day + Steamed Rice

 Soup of the day - Nyonya Vegetable Soup with Beancurd Sheet

Nyonya Ayam Kapitan (Kapitan Chicken Curry)

Kapitan curry chicken was not only well-loved among the Babas and Nyonyas, but also among Malaysians because of its mild and flavourful coconut gravy that tantalized the palate with hints of spiciness while exuding an aromatic scent of milky coconut sweetness. Definitely a must-have at Casa Del Rio!

Bean Sprout with Salted Fish

Back to basic, the bean sprout with salted fish was a perfect side dish for families, especially among Chinese households as the salted fish added a strong aromatic flavour to the light, crunchy bean sprouts. Although some might feel salted fish had a pungent stench, the flavour was very well-balanced here, creating a simple yet harmonious dish. 

Ikan Chuan-Chuan

It was my first time hearing the name Ikan Chuan-Chuan and I didn't realise my Mum has been cooking this over the years because all this while it was known as fried fish with ginger and soy sauce in my family. Topped with fried crispy garlic, spring onions and sliced chillies, the spicy preserved soybean sauce beautifully infused into the boneless deep-fried red snapper fillets, while the fish remained fresh and moist inside.

Sweet Potato Leaves with Belacan

Kangkong belacan is a classic Malay dish, which I personally enjoyed alot too. It might be a simple and easy-to-cook dish, but such food for soul was equally good and comforting for me.

Light and simply satisfying, the Nyonya acar, tau gua and otak-otak are amongst the crowd's favourite.

Malacca has always been famous for Nyonya and Peranakan cuisine,
and I'm glad to find the flavours from home at Casa Del Rio!

Dessert of the day - Pudding with milk  

Signature Drinks:
Left: River Cooler (Apple juice, orange flaovured and lemongrass syrup) @ RM12
Right: Casa Blanca (Spiced syrup, lime and sprite) @ RM12

If you're craving for Peranakan cuisine at Malacca, don't forget to drop by here for lunch!
I'd definitely make a second visit here to sample the rest of Nyonya delicacies :)

Peranakan "Tingkat" Lunch by Chef Baba William
RM28++ per person
Available from 12.00pm to 4.00pm
Mondays to Saturdays
River Cafe
Ground Floor
Casa Del Rio
88, Jalan Kota Laksamana, 
75200 Melaka.
Contact: 606-289 6688
Email: reservation@casadelrio-melaka.com
Website: www.casadelrio-melaka.com
Facebook: fb.com/casadelriomelaka

28 December, 2013

AEON Japan Iwate Food Fair @ AEON 1 Utama

#1 "Welcome to Japan Fair" is here with "Iwate Food Fair"!

If you're up for a shopping trip at 1 Utama Shopping Centre, don't forget to visit the Welcome to Japan Fair that is now ongoing with Iwate Food Fair from 26 December 2013 to 1 January 2014

#2 The most famous food in Japan? SUSHI! 

Besides having lots of Japanese foodstuff on sale, you can also join the Japanese cooking demonstrations at 2pm everyday to learn the best about preparing Mochi (Japanese Rice Cake), Kids Bento, Osechi (New Year Bento) and more. 

#3 Assorted Sushi for tasting 

#4 Lots of fave food at the "Iwate Food Fair"-- especially Japanese snacks! 

If you do not already know, Iwate is the second largest prefecture in Japan after Hokkaido, located in Honshu, with loads of fresh, delectable and GOOD food! Yummy! 

#5 Have you seen yellow apple before? This is my first time! 

Those who spend over RM20 here in a single receipt will get a FREE Doraemon Fridge Magnet and stand a chance to join the lucky draw to win a holiday trip to Japan.

#6 Japanese Taiko Drum Performance by Wadaiko Syo Drum Centre

Bringing myself closer to the Japanese culture, I went to the "Welcome to Japan Fair" after shopping at the food fair. The traditional Japanese taiko drum performance was brought to us by Wakaido Syo Drum Centre, led by Mr. Nakanishi Takayuki in Malaysia since 8 years ago. 

#7 Meet the powerful and attractive drum player, Mr. Nakanishi
It was indeed entertaining with its magical beat and ancient experience of Japan! 

#8 Kids in the house - with great strength and passion in drums

#9 The drum master is good at flute too! 

#10 Origami Workshop

Feel free to approach the friendly girls to teach you on origami, all the papers and guide books can be found at Daiso. Different sizes and designs can create amazing shapes and animals!

#11 What do the colours of Origami tell you?

#12 Japanese Yosakoi Soran Dance 

If you ask me which traditional outfit is the prettiest, I'd say it's definitely Japanese! Experience wearing a kimono yourself! And enjoy the Yosakoi-styled dance which is a unique combination of traditional Japanese dance movements with modern music. And I love the way it is so energetic yet suitable for all ages!

#13 Proud of this little girl who can endure the weight of the outfit and dance gracefully!

#14 Ninja performance by local university students

Special thanks to Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) so that I can feel I'm in Japan already!! Before visiting the beautiful Land of the Rising Sun, be sure to drop by at these Japan Fair and Iwate Food Fair ya!

AEON 1 Utama Shopping Centre
1, Lebuh Bandar Utama,
Bandar Utama,
47800 Petaling Jaya,
AEON Careline: 1-300-80-AEON(2366)

27 December, 2013

Wine Pairing Dinner with Yves Cuilleron @ The River Grill, Casa Del Rio, Malacca

When the opportunity to dine with one of the most brilliant and popular winemakers from France turned up recently, I was excited to make a trip to Melaka for a sumptuous dinner by the river with a picturesque view of the Melaka skyline at night. 

It was Yves Cuilleron's first trip to Melaka for a wine dinner to share his passion in winemaking with the fellow wine enthusiasts and friends of media. To complement Yves' fine wines, the executive chef, Allan Ho had whipped up a mouth-watering four-course menu for the best enjoyment of the diners.

How could you not love the under such romantic setting? 

Yves confessed, "Since I can remember, I've always loved tastings and good food. Wine has been part of my family' history for 3 generations. The estate wasn't destined for me, but my passion for winemaking drew me back to my roots, and in 1987 I took over my uncle's estate". And I believed it was his passion that had driven him to become a successful winemaker now with his magnificent 59-hectares estate. 

Home Smoked Butter Fish
Baked Beetroot, Celeraic with Caramelized Belgium Endive

paired with 2010 Yves Cuilleron Marsanne Des Collines Rhodaniennes

First to come was a light seafood starter which was best paired with the Marsanne because the wine is fresh, harmonious and crisp on the palate. The rich note of daisy flowers and citrus fruits on the nose was lovely too.

Sitting elegantly on crunchy pieces of celeraic, the butter fish beautifully retained the rich oceanic taste of its succulent white flesh, and was an excellent pick-me-up if you were craving for something light, tasty and healthy.

Next up was my favourite white wine- Roussanne, which was sourced from vineyards in Chavanay and in St. Michel sur Rhone, essentially granite-infused soils. The fermentation was done in a traditional method without any yeast, before it was racked into a mix of barrels and stainless steel cuves for a six-month elevage before bottling.

Baby Lobster Tails
On Steamed Asparagus, Shaved Parmegiano-Reggiano Cheese, Sauce Bearnaise
paired with 2010 Yves Cuilleron Roussanne Des Collines Rhodaniennes

On its own, the baby lobster was sweet, the sauce a little heavy but together they were divine on the palate. When paired with the crisp Roussance, the refreshing contrast was so satisfying that it lifted my expectation for what coming next.

Pan Roasted Veal Strip Loin
Sauteed Savoy Cabbage with Veal Lardon, Sweet Potato and Pearl Onion
paired with 2010 Yves Cuilleron Syrah Des Collines Rhodaniennes

The intense and full bodied Syrah was best paired with roasted or grilled meat, hence we had a thick cut of veal strip. Cutting through the beef, the knife slided right through the medium rare meat which was tender and juicy.

For the Syrah, its fine and intensive nose of blackberries was lovely, while on the palate, it went smooth down the throat with a clean, fresh finish. Yves Cuilleron personally prefers red wine to white wine because of its spicy and bold flavours. 

Iranian Saffron Tiramisu

For dessert, we had a piece of heaven on our plate - a decadent slice of saffron infused tiramisu. Each bite was a divine layer of texture in the mouth and I loved the way it melted smoothly with a hint of sweetness and robust flavour of the spice. 

It was a great experience of an exclusive wine dinner comprising of great tasting food, beautiful atmosphere of The River Grill, and most importantly great companion, Yves Cuilleron during the lovely evening. I'm definitely looking forward for a second visit to The River Grill for good food or Bar Rio for fine wines.

The River Grill
Ground Floor Casa Del Rio
88, Jalan Kota Laksamana, 
75200 Melaka.
Contact: 606-289 6688 
Website: www.casadelrio-melaka.com
Facebook: fb.com/casadelriomelaka
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