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Monday, 24 April 2017

Meng Kee Wantan Mee @ Glenmarie, Shah Alam

Meng Kee is a well-known 30+-year-old 'institution' when it comes to "char siew" (barbequed pork).  I first sampled their char siew when they were in Jalan Alor but have never visited them since they moved to Shah Alam coz, after all, we have something similar in Uncle Meng (run by one of the brothers) located at Taman Shamelin that's so much nearer to where we stay.

But, one Sunday morning, on our way to PJ, we detoured and ended up in Shah Alam.  We wanted to patronise Meng Kee Char Siew but found it closed on a Sunday!  I guess they're so popular that they make enough money and don't have to open on a Sunday.  That's when I saw that there's more than one Meng Kee here....there's a Meng Kee Wantan Mee (opposite Meng Kee Char Siew) and a Meng Kee Peking Duck (two doors away from Meng Kee Wantan Mee).

We went into Meng Kee Wantan Mee @ Glenmarie, Shah Alam (Meng Kee Peking Duck was not opened yet).  Their menu is pretty straight forward with offerings of wantan mee (dry & soup versions), minced pork wantan mee (dry & soup), miso wantan mee and "kai see" hor fun (shredded chicken kway teow).  Their snacks include wantan (fried or soup), "siew cheong" (minced pork sausage) and veggie dish of Hong Kong "choy sum".  There are also options for stand-alone char siew (RM22 for small, RM40 for big), poached and roasted chicken (RM24 for half, RM47 for whole) which are apparently from Meng Kee Char Siew across the road (but since they were closed, they weren't available on the day we were there).  

That got me wondering at first why they weren't available and whether they're truly 'affiliated' to Meng Kee Char Siew since they seem to get their 'stocks' from them.  Then again, there's also no reason that they aren't affiliated as Meng Kee will not let them leverage on their name so blatantly.

So, upon my return, I googled and found an article by The Star which reported that the daughter has taken over her father's famous Meng Kee Char Siew shop and that these two restaurants, Meng Kee Peking Duck and Meng Kee Wantan Mee (formerly Meng Kee Ramen), are under the Meng Kee umbrella.

But the proof of the pudding is still in the eating and we obviously have to try the char siew.  So, all of us ordered Char Siew Wantan Mee (Dry) @ RM5 (small) which, looking at the portion size, is certainly cheaper (and more value) compared to the prices in KL.  If you want an even bigger portion, you could go with big for RM6 or XL for RM7 (still relatively cheaper than a lot of shops in KL).

When my plate of wantan mee arrived, I could see that it was swimming in sauce so I was hesitant and judgmental at first.  But one taste of the sauce (after it was well mixed in with the noodles) allayed my fears, it was delicious.  And that could only mean one thing....lard oil played a part in it.  Some might say that it's a bit on the oily side but I'm fine with it as oil means fat and fat means flavour! ;)

As far as the char siew was concerned, it had the Meng Kee stamp alright with that slightly sweet, sticky caramelised outer layer and the right balance of lean and fat yielding tender, luscious meat in one bite. We usually don't make any special request for the cut of char siew we want when it comes to wantan mee, so (depending on your luck), you'd get some parts that are more lean or some that are more on the fatty side. But, rest assured, even if you get a slightly leaner cut, it'll still be very much tender.

The soup wantans, on the other hand, were just plain and ordinary.

Two types of chilli condiments were offered.  Not sure what the fresh sambal belacan dip is for though...for the minced pork mee, perhaps?  Anyway, I dipped my very ordinary soup wantans in them.....hehe! ;D

The flip side of the menu lists dishes you'd get from "tai chow" places like individual rice dishes (fried rice, sweet & sour pork, lemon chicken or ginger onion pork rice to name a few) and stir-fry dishes (deep fried Hakka pork belly, deep fried squid, fried chicken wing, etc).  It seems they allow you to cross order from Meng Kee Peking Duck two doors away (but we couldn't do that as we were too early and they only open from 11am).

So, we weren't left with many choices for sides and went with the Fried Wantans @ RM5 (for 10 pcs) served with a Thai-style chilli dipping sauce.  They were just crispy morsels of delight as they should be, nothing more.

My Personal Opinion

Well, this had all the hallmarks of a sticky, sweet, tender char siew that Meng Kee is famous for, so I guess it passes the test! ^_~

Would I drive all the way from KL just to savour Meng Kee's char siew?  Certainly not!  Probably can detour here if I so happen to be somewhere in PJ.  But, then again, I don't have to.  I've got a similar one in Uncle Meng near me that's just as good as Meng Kee's.

Restoran Meng Mee Wantan Mee
23 Jalan Juruaudit U1/37
Hicom-Glenmarie Industrial Park
40150 Shah Alam
Selangor

Friday, 21 April 2017

28 Fireplace @ Ampang

I was last here with my friends for some late night coffee drinking, that included French toast and pancakes, after a phenomenal meaty affair at Flint.

After having a little teaser of what 28 Fireplace @ Ampang could offer...plus I did say, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, I'll be back.....and so I did, a week later, for dinner.  Actually, looking at their menu, they seem more inclined towards a breakfast and coffee place with breakfast staples, gourmet sandwiches and salads making up the bigger part of their menu.  But they're introducing some new additions to their menu (as seen on their Facebook page).

I only realised that they were introducing these new dishes as weekend specials (and they aren't permanently on the menu yet) when I was there.  For the week that I was there, they offered a menu of four dishes which was clearly displayed at their counter.  So, until their menu (version 4.0) is finalised, their weekend specials might differ on different weekends.

Since we were here to try some of their newly introduced dishes, we started with the Zucchini & Corn Fritters @ RM28 with beef bacon and an avocado and pineapple salad.  FYI, it was a disaster when I tried making corn fritters at home once, so it'll be to my best interest to have someone professional cook these for me...hehe! ;D

The two fairly large zucchini and corn fritters on the plate were nice and thick with crisp edges.  It was served with (what I was told) tzatziki sauce that's usually made with chopped cucumbers (which I initially thought were chopped gherkins), yoghurt, dill and lemon juice.  It was a refreshing and satisfying dip for the fritters.

I absolutely loved the very refreshing and tangy avocado and pineapple salad that came along with the dish. What's not to love...it had two of my favourite fruits tossed simply with lemon juice and black pepper together with cherry tomatoes and chopped parsley! ^.^

From the name of the dish, one might think it sounds like a starter (for sharing...or maybe not!) but the portion size of it all makes it fulfilling enough as a main.

Their next introduced dish of Chicken Schnitzel with Capers & Beans @ RM30 was served with potato salad, sauteed french beans, tomatoes, caramelised shallots and capers with a drizzle of a balsamic reduction sauce and a separate serving of what looked like mustard (which I didn't taste as I don't like mustard).

This chicken schnitzel was slightly different from the ones I know and had before.  This one wasn't the thinly pounded parmesan and breadcrumbs-coated deep-fried cutlet of chicken I'm used to.  It was a thick cut of chicken breast (almost like a roulade) that looked like it was pan-fried although it did have that crispy parmesan and breadcrumbs coating sprinkled generously on top.

The chicken breast was tender but (overall) may feel a little on the dry side (towards the end) because of the crispy topping and the fact that it didn't come with sauces (that are to my liking, unfortunately) to help moisten up the meat.  The vegetables and the shallots with capers did offer some relieve....and the potato salad was very nice too.  Having said that, the dish was certainly well executed and should prove satisfactory for many, just that (personally) I can't take too much breadcrumb-coated fried meat (like tonkatsu) in one sitting as I sometimes find it too dry for my taste buds.

The final dish from the new menu we tried was the Norwegian Salmon Steak with Oyster Mushrooms & Mash @ RM45 served with grilled cherry tomatoes and finished with a scattering of fresh dill.

The salmon was seared beautifully on the outside (just look at that ideal browning both top and bottom) and the tremendously crispy skin was such a delight to eat.

Whenever I see salmon steak on the menu, I always have to ask if it's actually a fillet or steak cut (since some places use it interchangeably).  I don't like a steak cut (with a centre bone) as the thin cut makes it very easy to overcook.  This wasn't a steak cut, so salmon fillet would probably be a better description.  Seasoned just right, this salmon fillet was perfectly cooked, still pink in the middle and moist to the bite....exquisitely pleasurable! ^o^

The potato mash, with sliced oyster mushrooms and chopped herbs, was chunky and rustic and a tasty companion to the salmon.  All in all, a great dish that I enjoyed immensely.

Our drinks of Flat White @ RM12....

.....and Iced Latte @ RM13.  The coffees are always good here...

....and always pretty as well! ;)

My Personal Opinion

This is a great cafe and fast becoming one of my favourites in this part of town (that's closer to home).  Their exciting version 4.0 menu is certainly on the right track with these add-on hot dishes to their menu of mostly pastas, gourmet sandwiches and salads.

The three dishes that we tried will be great additions to their menu when it's finalised.  I certainly hope the salmon fillet and zucchini and corn fritters make it on the menu permanently as I'd love to have them again.

After two visits, I'm absolutely certain that there'll be a third.....and a fourth...and a....!  Well, I've been here for dinner and after-dinner snacks, it's time I come when the sun is up...for some morning brekkies! ^_~

28 Fireplace
28 Persiaran Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-4265 5077

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Sanoook @ Pavilion Elite

Pavilion Elite, the new extension in the mall, is now home to so many new eating places in Pavilion, it's absolutely bonkers!  We've not even skimmed the surface of what this mall has to offer in terms of dining options and now more restaurants are added to make the list even longer.

One such new addition is Sanoook @ Pavilion Elite, a Thai-Japanese fusion restaurant (which has another outlet in Sunway Pyramid) that may seem to be a good choice if you have one half of your eating party liking Thai and the other half liking Japanese.

Well, if you don't know what Sanoook (with an extra 'o') means, this picture frame on the wall says it all.

We started with a recommended dish on their menu of Deep-Fried Crab Meat with Salted Egg & Minced Chicken in Crab Shells (or Pooja) @ RM16.90 (2 pcs) from the Thai Specialities Section.  I was influenced to order this dish when I read a review which shared that it was something similar to a Chinese dish which made me recall and think of my mom's version instantly.

But my mom's version was a filling made with a mixture of probably minced crab, fish and prawns with finely chopped vegetables like "sengkuang" (jicama), carrots and spring onions.  The filling is then stuffed back into the crab shell and deep fried...but the filling is very flat unlike this one.  I was taken aback when I saw just how thick and protruding the filling was when it was served (which some might say value for money).

Unfortunately, this was nothing like the tasty version my mom made.  Although it had a crisp exterior, the filling was very dense and not as pleasant to eat.  The overly abundant filling made it rather cloying + I couldn't taste any crab meat or salted egg.  In the end, the supporting cast of frizzy egg shreds, crispy noodles and fragrant crisp curry leaves was better than the main star! @_@

Another sharing plate was the Salmon Skewer @ RM25.90 (4 sticks) with a choice of Sanook Sauce or Lime & Chilli (we chose the latter).  Some grilled vegetables of corn on the cob, green tomato (kinda hard) and cucumber sitting on top of something gooey (which I think is cheese + maybe mashed potatoes) round up the dish.

The salmon skewer that we got was not properly grilled and didn't have those nice char marks that we craved. In fact, it looked like we got steamed salmon instead! >.<  It was under seasoned, was cooked all the way through and had a very dry texture.  In short, it was nothing like the picture I saw on a blog.  Obviously, an execution inconsistency.  Not something I enjoyed eating would be putting it lightly.

We ordered a rice dish next, the Seafood Green Curry Fried Rice @ RM22.90.  I like Fried Rice.  I've enjoyed Green Curry before.  So, why not a green curry fried rice, I thought.  It was an interesting combination and I wanted to see if the combo works.

I think it did.  The seafood fried rice contained a few fairly fresh, good-sized prawns, some squid and came topped with chunks of salted egg.  It had all the flavours a good green curry should be.  Since it was fried with green curry, expect the rice to be a little bit wetter than the norm.  Also, fans of non-spicy food, beware as the fried rice is quite spicy...a little fiery, in fact! ^_^  And don't be misled by the 'innocent-looking' serving of the rice in a big spoon....it was a very big spoon (!) and housed a portion good enough for two or a very filling portion for one.

Also from the Rice & Noodles Section, we went with a Phad Thai Noodles with Prawns @ RM21.90 to complete our meal which was served with separate condiments of crushed peanuts and dry chilli flakes.

The Phad Thai was respectable with good-sized prawns, crisp strips of fried tofu and crunchy raw bean sprouts.

Toss in as much (or as little) of the crushed peanuts and chilli flakes you want and give it a good mix, with a squeeze of the fresh lime, and you're in for a treat.

For drinks, we went with mocktails of Sanoook Punch @ RM11.90 which is a mixture of mango, pineapple, grapefruit & grenadine and Slapping Beauty (not Sleeping Beauty), a combo of aloe vera, honey & apple also @ RM11.90.  I know it's the 'in-thing' these days for restaurants to have cute names for their drinks but sometimes it borders on being ridiculous (there's one here called "Shirley Goes to Thai Temple")!

Give the Sanoook Punch a good stir and the vibrant red of the grenadine comes to the fore.  I found it too sweet for my liking (the Slapping Beauty is the less sweet of the two).  So, the drinks here obviously suit those who like their drinks sweet.

On a side note, this place gets my vote for the most ridiculous plate I've ever come across.  With a heart shape embossed on the plate, the ridges of which made it difficult and impractical to eat from.  Even the fork and spoon had difficulty staying in place on the plate when put down.  I guess, besides good food, good presentation, good ambience, good service, you need an eye for good tableware too.....LOL! ;P

My Personal Opinion

The majority of the menu leans towards Thai specialities with Japanese offerings making up a small part of the menu only.  The few that I tried, I have to say the Thai dishes made a more positive impact.

The food I've managed to try here is average at best (though there's still plenty to try as the menu is quite extensive).  Prices may be a little on the high side (for both types of cuisine, especially the desserts) but some of the Thai dishes do come in generous portion-sizes.  I'm not sure if I'm convinced to order from the Japanese section of the menu again since they failed to nail the salmon skewer which I thought is one of the easiest things to execute.

Managed by the fine folks of Chakri (of which I had the pleasure of dining before), I think the Thai dishes here are still worth checking out as they certainly won't be as expensive as Chakri.  Just don't go in with too high an expectation and you should come off satisfied. 

Sanoook
Lot 1.104 Level 1 Pavilion Elite
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 93-2110 5756

Monday, 17 April 2017

#ewew cooks Corn & Mango Salsa with Roast Chicken

I've eaten lots of salsa when dining out but wasn't aware that it was actually so simple to make at home.  After successfully making mango salsa (and loving it so much), I was ready to make more salsa.

And since realising that corn can be made in an instant too (just five minutes is all it takes to microwave it), I thought I'd combine the two and make Corn & Mango Salsa as a side to go with Roast Chicken.

Ingredients:

1 ripe mango
1 ear of corn
1/2 a small red onion (2 tbsp)
1/2 - 1 red chilli (1/2 - 1 tbsp) depending how much heat you like
2 stalks fresh coriander leaves (3 tbsp)
Juice of one lemon
A drizzle of honey

Preparation:

Peel and dice the mango.

Finely chop the onion, red chilli and coriander leaves.

Method:

Cook the corn on the cob and cut off the corn kernels.

You can use it as it is or, if you want to get a bit of that charred flavour into the corn, drizzle some olive oil and saute the corn kernels until slightly browned.

Let the corn cool and mix the charred corn with the diced mango.

Add the chopped coriander, chillies and onion (steeped in water for about 10 minutes to get rid of the pungency).

Squeeze in the juice of one lemon and add a drizzle of honey for sweetness.  Toss everything together.

And the Corn & Mango Salsa is done!

Such beautiful colours and a very refreshing salsa to eat as well.

Great as a light and healthy starter :)


And a little effort with presentation to make it look prettier (if you're making it for guests).  You can use one of those stainless steel chefs food rings to do this.  But I'm not a chef, so I don't have those food rings, of course! ;)

What I do have is an egg ring...you know those that our local burger stalls use to cook egg banjo.  I bought one long ago thinking I'd use it to keep the egg round for the rounded burger buns but never really used it in the end.

Well, at least I've found a new use for it now.  Just spoon your salsa into the ring and compact it a little and lift the ring...and wala....you have yourself a nicely presented Corn & Mango Salsa ^_~

This Corn & Mango Salsa also makes an excellent side dish with some grilled seafood, especially fish and prawns.  But it's also just as fabulous with Roast Chicken! ^.^

Season with just salt and freshly cracked black pepper and a light drizzle of olive oil and honey...and use the leftover coriander roots too (nothing gets wasted) as they contain lots of flavour.  Bake at 200°C for about half an hour.

There's nothing better than a crispy skin, easy-to-make, delicious chicken with a refreshing salsa for dinner nights.

This Corn & Mango Salsa with Roast Chicken is a wonderful dish for entertaining family and friends as it's simple enough to execute at home (in big numbers) to a great degree of success! ^o^

Serves 2 - 3 (the corn salsa)

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