28 June, 2008

Madam Kwan's - Truly Malaysian Cuisine

My final stop at KL was none other the famous Madam Kwan’s. I heard about this place 5 years ago (that was the last time I visited KL) but my friends and I didn’t managed to taste it. So this time round, I was quite determine to try it.

To put it simply, Madam Kwan’s is a swanky coffee shop that serves local cuisine and their most famous dish is Nasi Lemak, or coconut flavoured rice and traditionally most of its accompaniments served, like chicken, cuttlefish, beef, anchovies are spicy.

But since we made up our mind for to save our stomach for some A&W after this meal, we decided to share lunch and opted for their Nasi Bojari (RM20.50), or Tri-coloured Rice with Assam Prawns, Beef Rendang, Deep Fried Chicken Drumstick, and Half a Boiled Egg. Customers who have an aversion to beef can choose to have it replace with chicken curry instead, but not me – since I came all the way for this!

This dish has its origins in Indonesia and is layered red, yellow and white. Frying the rice with bits of chicken, garlic and dried prawns, and lightly tinting the rice with red, and yellow from turmeric creates this dish.

The beef rendang is very tender and doesn’t come across as too intense such that one cannot have too much of it, it is good but I still prefer the one at Warung M. Nasir at Killiney Road.

The assam prawns are big and crunchy and goes well with the rice, but perhaps in order to cater to the masses, I do realise that their spiciness doesn’t really pack a punch – not what I have expected from our neighbouring countries who are known for their spices better than our little island.

The chicken was slightly more disappointing. It came slightly too dry for my liking and the skin wasn’t even crispy – I have definitely eaten better deep-fried chicken drumstick than this.

Since I can’t live without veggies for long, we ordered a plate of Kangkong Stirred Fried with Belacan (RM13.00), or Spicy Dried Shrimp Paste Sauce. The veggies were stirred fried just nice without being overcooked. Taste wise, I expected it to be spicier but overall it was still satisfactory.

Overall, I feel that this would be a good place to bring your Caucasian friend to sample some nice local food in a nice ambience. I also have to commend on their service – the waiter was attentive throughout topping our water and the captain had a good command of English (Yes, we have encountered several instances elsewhere when they just stare blankly back at us).

Food: 3.5/5 (Ok but didn't wow me)
Service: 4.5/5 (Staff was attentive, service was fast)
Ambience: 4/5 (Swanky, clean and spacious)
Price: 3/5 (RM38.55 after taxes for 2 is expensive for coffee shop food)
Total: 15/20
Lot 420/421, Level 4, Suria KLCC,
50088, Kuala Lumpur

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25 June, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Roti Canai in KL

Small talk: HFB shall attempt to take part in Wordless Wednesday, inspired by bobo.

Do check out the chatbox on your right and leave me a comment! Hope to hear from you soon!

Roti Canai near Puduraya Bus Port, KL @ 430am
Check out the new Wordless Wednesday HQ!!

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Restoran Yu Ai - Seafood Curry Noodle

Some food are symbolic to their place of origin – like how Portuguese Egg Tart is to Macau, or how Hor Fun is to Ipoh. In Kuala Lumpur, I dare say I have found its holy grail in the form of Restoran Yu Ai’s Curry Seafood Noodle.

Although slightly greasy from the chilli oil, there is no denying that it’s flavoursome and full bodied tawny curry is rich and intricate, with layers of spices like cinnamon, cloves and ground coriander, and a hint of sweetness from the coconut milk.

Portion wise the serving is generous and they don’t skimp on the seafood - Clams, Prawns, Mussels, Fish Slices and Cuttlefish are piled high such that you barely see the noodles within, and there are also Tau Pok, or Beancurd Skin for the curry version.

We opted for Bee Hoon as we believed it sucks up the gravy better. This bowl of curry noodle is worth every RM15 of it.

The other best seller would be the Tom Yum flavoured noodles. The broth is good but nothing close to extraordinary with the obligatory sweet & spicy, sour & bitter taste, with the latter tipping the balance due to heavily use of Assam, or Tamarind that leaves one with its tart taste. With an additional of RM5, one gets a gigantic bowl of noodles that comes with additional prawns. The prawns are fresh and its flesh sweet and firm.

I would prefer the yellow noodles to be slightly undercooked but somehow the texture is still shiok and doesn’t taste strong of “Kee”, or alkaline taste.

Fret not for those who are not into spicy food but still wish to devour the seafood galore – Yu Ai has a clear soup version. However, for the more adventurous, I urge you to opt for the RM20 Curry Seafood Noodles, you will not regret it!!!

Food: 5/5 (Full bodied broth + Seafood galore)
Service: 4.75/5 (Very fast service)
Ambience: 4.25/5 (Old school kopitiam + air-conditioned 2nd level)
Price: 4/5 (RM15 is expensive for a bowl of noodles but the generous ingredients more than made up for it)
Total: 18/20
42J Jalan Segambut Utara
51200 Kuala Lumpur

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23 June, 2008


Don't you miss their full bodied, creamy & frothy Root Beer Float? The very familiar-looking and unique A&W Root Beer Mugs which we used to "collect"?

What about their curly fries - which beat the rest of the fries from the other fast food chains IMHO.

Will someone ever gonna bring A&W back in Singapore? Will You and I ever get to relive our childhood memories?

All it takes is a bus ride and your passport stamped - I did - and I am a happy boy!

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20 June, 2008

I Will Be In KL Over The Weekend

Looking forward to the well-deserved break & the good food of course! *wink*

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18 June, 2008

Frolick @ Serangoon Gardens

After conquering the hearts of many with their Holland Village outlet, Frolick has moved on to the North - Serangoon Gardens!!!

Just few units away from
Ice3, it holds on to the same theme of white background and bright colourful slogans on one side of their wall and the other decked out with multiple of button pins (Note: 317 to be exact – the same number as the bus that brings one to Gardens – and in case you are wondering, I didn’t count – the girls at the counter did).

With that, Frolick retains the branding of being loud and edgy rolled into one. To recap, an Original Frozen Yogurt cost $3.50 for Cup A, $4.80 for Cup B (+1 topping) & $6.30 for Cup C (+2 toppings) and a Flavoured Frozen Yogurt cost $3.90, $5.30 & $6.90 respectively. Additional assorted toppings go for $1 each.

I ordered the Cup C of the Original Flavoured Yogurt with Granola and Vanilla Clodhoppers, or Crunchy Vanilla Fudge-covered Graham Clusters and it was lovely. The standard of the yogurt is consistent with their flagship outlet and the vanilla clodhoppers were a delightful topping to munch.

Seating is limited but the crowd was thin on a Friday night. And if guys out there haven’t yet noticed, Frolick employs the same policy as Ben & Jerry’s by hiring eye-candy as counter staff – girlfriends beware!

Frolick also has another outlet opening soon in Millienia Walk but I reckon it is not before long that you will find another one in Siglap – just to complete the trio (this is entirely my own conjecture and it does not represent the official statement and position of Frolick).

Food: 4/5 (Smooth and refreshing)
Service: 3/5 (Self-serviced)
Ambience: 4/5 (3 Tables for dine in)
Price: 3/5 ($6.30 with two free topping is affordable)
Total: 14/20
4 Kensington Park Road
Serangoon Gardens
Singapore 557254

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15 June, 2008

Teochew Street Ping Ping Curry Noodle - Nostalgic Mee

Small talk: Congrats to Hendra Tan for his winning entry to HFB recent "Gourmet Safari free dining voucher contest". For those who did not win, do not be discouraged - look out for future contest that HFB will roll out soon! And Happy Father's Day!


Heading back to Hong Lim Food Centre for lunch a few days later, I can’t help but pay another familiar stall a visit. Located at the once famous Ellenborough Market, one of the earlier wet markets available. While the Malays called it Pasar Bahru meaning “New Market”, the Chinese on the other hand named it “Seng Pa Sat”. Teochews populated the area, and with intent the market was located at Teochew Street (where The Central now stood). Ping Ping Curry Noodle was one of the few stalls I would visit for lunch when I was young, and I could still remember vividly bringing along $1 that I have saved up and specifically told my mum that I would like to add extra ingredients in my bowl of noodles.

Even though it was spicy for me then, I love everything that was within
it – Chicken, Fishcake, Tau Pok or Beancurd Skin, Potato and the spicy curry soup. The same husband and wife team is still operating today in Hong Lim, but unfortunately the experience I had that day wasn’t as expected. Maybe nothing can beat the wonderful memories I had at Ellenborough Market but I remembered the soup to be much thicker and packed with more tang. Adding the chilli paste helps to bring out the flavour but sadly it still didn’t impress me. For a $4 version, the ingredients weren’t as plentiful as I expected it to have – or maybe I have just grown up. The “everyone’s favourite” potato was measly and I left the place feeling disappointed.

Perhaps I went with too high an expectation that day or perhaps good times doesn’t really last. What about you – any nostalgic food places you used to frequent that has its standard drop over time?

Food: 3/5 (Decent, used to be better)
Service: 3.5/5 (Efficient despite lunch crowd)
Ambience: 2.5/5 (Food Centre - Very humid and crowded during lunch)
Price: 3/5 ($4 is affordable but I expected more ingredients)
Total: 12/20
Block 531A Upper Cross Street
, Hong Lim Food Centre
Singapore 510531

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11 June, 2008

Ah Kow Mushroom Minced Pork Mee - A Makansutra Legend?

A Makansutra Legend that hails from the old Wayang Street hawkers from the 70's, my family and I have been eating at Ah Kow for as long as I can remember. Reckon to be the authentic Teochew Minced Pork & Dumpling Noodle, one who enjoys an extra dash of black vinegar will appreciate their unrestrained use of black vinegar on the noodles that is purportedly a special brand of traditional black vinegar from China.

For a bowl of noodles that costs $3.50 (they have upped their price), the portion of noodles is paltry. Not as Q as I can remember, the noodles that day were average if not for the saving grace of the black vinegar that was not overwhelming, the slice of Ti Po (Crispy Fried Sole Fish) and the free helping of Crispy Pork Lard – that was fresh and crunchy.

And for an additional of $4, one can delight in the bowl of Teochew Keows (Dumplings) that comes with a generous helping of minced pork, slice pork, and my favourite vegetable - Tang O (Garland Chrysanthemum). Sadly, the soup was slightly lacklustre and bland that day, but the dumplings were still as good.

One might noticed that fried sole fish was added to give it an extra oomph. For $4 a bowl, one will get eight big pork filled dumplings.

However overall, I think Ah Kow’s standard has dipped slightly from the numerous times I have tried. One might also find a bowl of $3.50 minced pork noodles (without dumplings) expensive.

Food: 4/5 (Despite the negatives, it is still one of the better Teochew minced pork noodles around)
Service: 3.5/5 (Efficient despite long queue)
Ambience: 2.5/5 (Food Centre - Very humid and crowded during lunch)
Price: 3/5 (Price is affordable but $11 for noodles and dumpling soup is costly)
Total: 13/20
Block 531A Upper Cross Street
, Hong Lim Food Centre
Singapore 510531

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08 June, 2008

Secret Recipe, Zhou’s Kitchen, Seoul Yummy & Lerk Thai - A Gourmet Safari at Square 2



But hang in there and you might stand a chance to win a $20 & 20% discount dining voucher!!

HFB was honoured to take part in another food tasting session following this and this. Themed as “Gourmet Safari at Square 2” that took place yesterday, HFB was told that he is allowed to bring along three other family members or friends to chomp at four different restaurants in Novena Square 2 (Yes, how coincidental that its Novena Square again!). We were told to meet at the basement where the first restaurant, or rather café chain is – Secret Recipe, a lifestyle café chain that has become a household name following its debut in Malaysia since 1997. It has since successfully established its brand name in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand.

The Lamb Stew served with Mashed Potatoes is one of their signatured dishes. The meat was very soft and yielding that a lightest tug of the fork will cause the meat to be easily separated from its bone. However, the meat could be better infused with the gravy and the mashed potatoes could be slightly salted for better flavour - we find it slightly cold and hard as well.

The Pan Grill, or Grilled Dory Laden with Lobster Gravy and served with Fries was the other main we sampled. On its own, the lobster gravy is strong with lobster tang, but we find the pairing with the fish a slight mismatch. Dory being a fresh-water fish also comes with a slight muddy taste.

The highlight of Secret Recipe belongs to its award-winning Chocolate Banana Cake. Crowned as the "Most Original Chocolate Cake" award winner in Malaysia 1999, the cake is pretty addictive. Loads of Thick Banana Slices on a Bed of Chocolate Cream with Chocolate Cake, this cake doesn’t come across as chocolaty as Awfully Chocolate’s version, and would bring a nice finale to a meal, however, we would prefer the cake to be slightly more moist.

We were quickly ushered to the next venue - Zhou’s Kitchen - 周 (Zhou) is the family name of Andrew Tjioe, Tung Lok Group’s Founder and Executive Chairman and Zhou’s Kitchen is a welcome shift from the high end Tung Lok restaurant to a casual Chinese dining restaurant that caters to the palates and pockets of diners from all walks of life.

The décor is a mixed of Eastern influence of bamboos and jade and Western influence of clean and bright modern lighting.

Each table was served with delightful Prawn Crackers as we waited for our first dish - Young Sweet Potato Leaves Sautéed with Sambal Belachan.

A straightforward dish that is a close substitute to Sambal Kang Kong, some might dislike the subtle bitter aftertaste.

The Xing Hua Traditional Homemade Noodle is a bowl of Udon-like noodles served in slightly gluey gravy. The gravy is light on the palate but noodles tend to be starchy towards the end.

The Xing Hua Dumplings served in a bowl of MSG-laden soup was disappointing. The dumpling tasted of strong pork smell and the skin was not the best I have tasted.

The best dish was the Grandma's Braised Pork with Toufu that was doled out in a claypot. Pork was soft and flavoured but a pity that the toufu was not braised along with it, as it was hard and hardly soaked in the gravy.

Following that, we travelled up to Seoul Yummy, another casual dining place that serves Korean food with its entrance hidden at the corner of third floor.

First up was the Hotplate Spicy Octopus – it comes with a good bite and was crunchy. The gravy is quite spicy to eat it on its own but pair it with a bowl of sticky white rice should do the trick.

The Shrimp Roe Beef Hotpot Mixed Rice was one of my favourite dishes – akin to claypot rice, the bottom of the rice was crisp and the shrimp roe adds a nice twist to this dish.

Steamed Kimchi with Pork Dumplings was quite a disappointment – there wasn’t any hint of kimchi in it and we found the meat too overwhelming. The skin of the dumpling is also not the best we have tried.

Everyone’s favourite for the day belongs to the Special Trio Bingsu, or Yoghurt Ice Cream with Kiwi, Strawberry & Red Bean Toppings. The dessert was served on a bed of ice shavings thus every spoonful was delightfully chilled. Ice cream comes with a tint of sourness that should be the way a natural flavoured yoghurt ice cream should taste like (Yoguru might wish to take heed).

Moving on to our final destination, Lerk Thai – a restaurant chain operated by the Select Group. Therefore it is no coincidence that the word 'Lerk' in Thai language means 'Select'.

The Special Prawn Cake was one of my friend’s favourite, but I thought it was evidently soaked with oil, as the leaf of lettuce underneath was drenched thorough. I find it pretty salty as well.

The Pha Thai, or Thai Fried Thai Kway Teow was quite a disaster. Way too salty and kway teow overcooked, every mouthful was quite a torture – this dish was hardly touched.

Exotic Pomelo Salad with Shrimp and Peanut, a supposedly appetiser was served towards the end which was pretty weird as our palates were once again invoked. However, we were told this is because the pomelo is shred fresh from the kitchen only upon receiving orders. As such, the flesh of the pomelo is very fresh and sweet. Prawn was also pretty crunchy. However I believed fish sauce was added to this dish, and as such one might find it salty towards the end.

Thai Pudding with Coconut Jelly Cup (Sago) wraps up the Gourmet Safari. The coconut wasn’t too heavy and the pairing with sago for the dessert was pretty good.

To end it off, HFB would love to reward one of his faithful readers with a $20 Secret Recipe voucher and a 20% off Zhou’s Kitchen voucher. The first person to submit his/her correct answer to the following two questions, “What is the name of Secret Recipe's award winning cake?” and “Which corporation group does Zhou’s Kitchen belongs to?” will stand to win the prizes. Please send your entry to hisfoodblog@gmail.com. Closing date is Friday, 13 June 2008. (Disclosure: Only readers with a local Singapore address qualify. Please also enclose your name, contact number and local mailing address for verification and mailing purposes.)

Secret Recipe - #B1-129
Zhou's Kitchen - #01-73
Seoul Yummy - #03-67 to 70
Lerk Thai - #02-65 to 67
10 Sinaran Drive,
Novena Square 2
Singapore 307506

Disclaimer: No ratings would be given, as this is an invited taste test. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Jingwen and soshiok.com.

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