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Monday, 21 May 2018

Yong Len @ Taman Tun Dr Ismail

I was recommended to try the prawn mee here + I also read an article by Star Online of a 'as close as it gets to Penang curry mee' in the same shop, so I finally sought this place out one Sunday morning.

Occupying a corner lot, Yong Len @ Taman Tun Dr Ismail, has been around for decades, serving flavours of Penang.  As soon as you approach the coffee shop, you can see that it's super crowded with tables spilling onto the road.  Though the place was busy, we managed to secure table after only a short wait.

Well, I've come here specifically to try the most famous stall here....and that's the Prawn Mee @ RM6.  First impression...not great at all as the ingredients seemed to be haphazardly strewn all over the bowl. Obviously, their priority is not in the presentation but how fast they can put out a bowl.

Let me rearrange it for a better photo op.  Filled with the usual ingredients of prawns, lean pork slices, kangkung, bean sprouts and fried shallots (but no hard-boiled egg)...and served with a dollop of chilli paste that's hardly spicy at all (even though I dunked all of it in).  Although the prawns were smallish, they were fairly fresh and there were quite a few of them (as many as ten).  The fried shallots, in mashed up tiny bits, were obviously store-bought and they didn't taste as if they were of a good quality either.

As for the prawn broth, it was more savoury than sweet but lighter in terms of the rich crustacean flavours that I seek.  I suppose if you can't find a better prawn mee in the area, then this one will surely be a satisfying rendition.  But, of course, I've had better prawn mee (like this one and even this).

Equally popular here is the stall, Sally and Mom, which sells Curry Mee @ RM7 which my husband went for (obviously).  The bowl of curry mee came with only poached chicken (that was pretty smooth), fried "fu chuk" (bean curd sheets) and fried "tofu pok" (bean curd puffs) but missing the vital ingredient of fresh cockles....boo!  That aside, I could taste the coconut milk in the curry broth...but that was about all I did taste.  The consistency of the curry, with mild spiciness, is also not as thick as I would have liked and lacked the depth of flavour in a bowl of curry that I expect.  Suffice to say, it didn't meet my husband's high standards for a good bowl of curry mee.

The Wantan Mee @ RM6 tasted on the starchy side and the char siew...well, you can see that for yourself (in the pic above).  The only plus point was probably the taste of fragrant shallot and garlic oil in the sauce used to toss the noodles.

As for the wantans, I can see that there's more wantan skin than filling. ;P

For a neighbourhood like TTDI, the prices here are certainly very reasonable though portions can be a little small.  Since we weren't that full, we ordered a Char Kway Teow @ RM6 to share as I've read good reviews on it.  I was told it would be at least a 20-minute wait, so I had high expectations that this would be a very delicious char kway teow seeing that there was a long waiting period.

But I was disappointed when it came.  First of all, there was no fresh see hum (what CKT doesn't have cockles!) with only two smallish prawns and some slices of fish cake).  Secondly, the noodles lacked wok hei as they weren't fried long enough + it was also quite tasteless.  Maybe this was a one-off case where they rushed through the frying to catch up with the orders.  If they taste like this, I certainly wouldn't wait 20 minutes for it! >_<

I noticed a nyonya kuih stall at the front of the shop that also sells pre-packed nasi lemak, bak chang, dim sum, kuih bahulu, kaya and otak-otak, among other things, so I decided to pack a few types home.

I was instantly attracted by the pretty multi-coloured kuih angku of red, green, yellow, pink and grey (each with a different type of filling, I presume).

And then I saw these not-often-found grey-coloured kuih (that looked like some kind of black sesame glutinous rice flour kuih) which I recognised (coz I love to eat them but don't know what they're called) next to the angku kuih.  Are they called "chai poh" kuih (or "choy poh" in Cantonese)?

I got a red angku kuih (the only colour I'm familiar with), one of those chai poh kuih and a piece of "lor bak gou" (radish cake).  The radish cake was creditable seeing that it came from a nyonya kuih stall (I've bought worst ones than this).  Of course, it's nothing quite like the radish cake from a proper dim sum place.

The angku kuih, with a soft sticky glutinous rice flour skin and mung bean paste filling, was nice too but my favourite was the chai poh kuih with its deliciously balanced salty-sweet chai poh (aka preserved dried radish) filling.  These chai poh kuih are rarely seen offered in nyonya kuih stalls and I'm always happy when I find them.

The "lor mai kai" (steamed glutinous rice with chicken) was rather tasty too though the rice grains around the edges could be a tad more soft.  Still a more than decent lor mai kai.

The pre-packed nasi lemak packet wasn't too bad either...and it's available if you want a light nasi lemak.  I don't know the individual prices of these items as I paid one lump sum for all of them.  But if I had to guess, I'd probably say the kuih was about RM1.20, the lor mai kai probably RM3.50 and the nasi lemak maybe RM2.

The only one I know the price of was the Penang Otak-Otak @ RM4.50 (coz the price was clearly displayed at the stall).  Made with fish chunks, egg, coconut milk and betel leaves (daun kaduk) with aromatic herbs and spices, this Penang nyonya-style otak-otak was fragrant, soft and delicious.

The Kopi-O-Ping wasn't anything much, just drinkable, certainly won't make it on my list of favourite black coffees...haha! ;D

My Personal Opinion

Overall, I'd say the noodles here are so-so (at least those I've tried) and possibly a decent option for the folks of TTDI in this area.  But if put to the test with the many good noodles stalls in PJ, they probably wouldn't do as well.

The prawn mee is definitely the better bet here.  It's a decent tasting prawn mee but not one that would make me go 'wow' and crave for it.  If I live around the area, I probably won't mind dropping by for a bowl of prawn mee but, since I don't, I certainly won't come all the way here just to have it.

I came here for the iconic prawn mee but came out enjoying the nyonya kuih stall more.....hihihi! ;)

Restoran Yong Len
2 Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 1
Taman Tun Dr Ismail
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-7728 0376

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Mak's Chee @ Pavilion Elite

Well, I wanted to give HK Boy Cart Noodle a second chance when I was in Pavilion recently but they shot themselves in the foot by not opening on time (and by that, I mean really late).

So, their loss is someone else's gain...and that's how I ended up giving the other Hong Kong noodle house here a go, Mak's Chee @ Pavilion Elite, which started operations in May last year.  Their first outpost was opened in One Utama a little more than two years ago.

To start, one should have their Signature Sea Prawn Wonton Soup Noodle but I decided against it as the last time I had Hong Kong-style wonton noodles, it had a strong "kansui" (alkaline) taste which I was not fond of. So, I decided to order just the Signature Sea Prawn Wonton Soup @ RM15.90 (small with 8 pcs, RM22.90 for large with 12 pcs) as I didn't want the noodles to compromise the taste of the soup.

The clear broth, slow-cooked and flavoured with dried flounder fish, dried shrimp roe and pork bones (it had the taste of dried scallops to me too), was ok...not particularly robust in flavour nor particularly tasty as far as I'm concerned.

The prawn wontons, on the other hand, with thin and translucent skins, were filled with sea-caught prawns that were fresh and firm to the bite.  They use local prawns (it seems) as they found ours to be of a better quality than the ones in Hong Kong.  I loved the prawn wontons as they were reassuringly juicy and sweet tasting. ^o^

If you like a fried version of the wontons, go for their Deep Fried Wonton & Dumpling (4 + 2 pcs) @ RM16.90 (large of 6 + 3 pcs cost RM23.90) served with a chilli dip that's very similar to a Thai chilli sauce.

You get prawn-filled wontons that are perfectly fried to absolute crispiness.  I'm sure you and your kids will enjoy these as much as I did.

The crispy dumplings, on the other hand, filled with prawns, a bit of minced pork and crunchy shreds of wood ear fungus, were just as satisfying.

The Prawn Roe Dry Noodles @ RM12.90, sprinkled with lots of prawn roe powder, brought out the fragrant and savoury taste in the noodles.  The taste of the prawn roe was slightly salty, faintly fishy (in a good way) and a little crunchy is how I would describe it...loved it! ;)

Mak's Chee duck egg noodles are very thin, much thinner than the typical egg noodles we're accustomed to and unlike any I've eaten before, cooked to a wonderful firm and springy texture.  It turned out surprisingly good and my fears of the alkaline taste in the noodles were unfounded.  Though the noodles might look dry, it wasn't as the fine texture made it very easy to eat.  Anyway, each plate of dry noodles is accompanied by a small bowl of soup should you need some soupy relief.

Authentic Hong Kong wonton noodles are eaten with a Hong Kong-style chilli sauce (this was similar when I had noodles at Starz Kitchen too) but I was a little surprised to see the pickled green chillies.

There's even a page in the menu dedicated to how you should eat the noodles with the chilli sauce or chilli oil...which is to put the chilli sauce or chilli oil onto your spoon and dip your noodles or wonton in the sauce for every bite.  Of course, for us locals, we find it kind of weird to eat wonton noodles with a chilli paste.

Plus, I didn't care for the spicy chilli sauce.  So, I was pleasantly happy to find pickled green chillies on the table.  I guess the presence of green chillies is testament that they're trying to cater to our local tastebuds.

And then I noticed this stand promoting a rice set...surprise, surprise....rice on the menu in an authentic Hong Kong noodle shop.  I suppose they have to 'widen their net' to cater to those who might want rice instead of noodles.

It's a dish of Thai fragrant rice served with premium luncheon meat and Omega-8 eggs drizzled with homemade first draw soy sauce...now who can resist a description like that! ;P  I know I can't, so I ordered it at the promotion price of RM12.90.  I don't know what this dish is called but the plastic card holder stand on the table says "Cursory Rice"...whatever that means!  The portion is quite big that even two small-eaters (or two children) can share.

The luncheon meat was certainly premium alright, absolutely fragrant and tasty....and there were three thick slices.

Let me show you how thick they were :)

The omega egg yolks, that seem larger and more plump than usual, expertly cooked to a beautifully runny and creamy consistency, were great eaten with a drizzle of good quality soy.  And the first draw soy (with extra served separately) was of a good quality alright, so much so I ended up drizzling more onto my eggs and rice.  Even the Thai fragrant rice, cooked to a perfect texture, almost al dente with a firm bite, deserves mention as it will appeal to those who can't stand mushy rice.

Oozy eggs and fragrant luncheon meat are two of the yummiest things in the world to a kid.  I thought so too when I was a kid!  Even now...when I'm not a kid....kekeke! :P  Order this for your children...and you can thank me later when they say you're the best mom in the world...haha! :D  Imagine piercing the yolk and letting it run all over the rice, coating every grain with its creaminess, with savoury hints from the mixture of soy and, to top it all off, fragrant luncheon meat.

This is a big call...but that was the single most satisfying carb-loaded comfort dish I've eaten this year.  Every item from the soy to the rice to the eggs to the luncheon meat was every bit of perfection on a plate.  I noticed the words 'for a limited time only' on the place cards...and I hope that refers to the promotional price...and not the dish.  I'd certainly want to see it on the menu permanently.

For this set, you can add on Champion Milk Tea on Bed of Ice @ RM3 (usual price RM7.90)...and, for once, I enjoyed their version of HK milk tea.

The HK Style Coffee (Hot) @ RM4.90 was alright, not particularly a favourite.  I definitely preferred the Champion Milk Tea.

As I exited the place, I bumped into these two 'fine specimens' near the cashier counter...dry prawn roe (used to toss the dry noodles) on the left and dried flounder (used for the stock) on the right.  Both these ingredients are imported from Hong Kong.  The dried sole I see sold at markets here are of a much smaller variety.  If only I could run out of there with these two 'prized possessions' but that would be wishful thinking....kekeke! :D

My Personal Opinion

After striking out twice with Hong Kong-style cuisine in Starz Kitchen and then HK Boy Cart Noodles, it was third time lucky and a relief to finally find Hong Kong-inspired food that I (at least) enjoyed.

The prawn wontons, both the fried and soup version, are what you need to get here.  The dry prawn roe noodles was the other surprise favourite but the luncheon meat rice was what I enjoyed the most.

It's funny that I came here primarily to try their authentic wonton noodles (which is still more than satisfying) but leave raving about their premium quality luncheon meat and double egg rice.  If I can only have one dish here, it'll be this one.  Each time I'm in Pavilion now, I'm thinking of having it. ^_^

Mak's Chee
Lot 7.101.02 Level 7
Pavilion Elite
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2110 1635

Monday, 14 May 2018

Red Leaf (Fried Rice & Char Kway Teow) @ Jalan Loke Yew

After finding a gem of a prawn mee stall here, we have since returned to Red Leaf Restaurant @ Jalan Loke Yew to give the other stalls a try chance.

Sometimes, after having tasted something so darn excellent, it becomes increasingly difficult to refrain from ordering the same thing each and every time I'm here.  But I told myself that I'd give the other stalls (at least some of them) a chance before I revert back to ordering the one thing I'm after....hehe! ;)

The first time when we were here to try the prawn noodles, we ended up packing home a one pax portion of Char Siew & Siew Yuk @ RM10.  We were pleasantly surprised to find out how delicious it was.

The char siew was those melt-in-the-mouth type with a well caramelised exterior that's sticky but not too sweet.  The siew yuk, on the other hand, was nicely savoury with a fragrant, crisp skin.

And because of that, on our next visit, both my husband and son decided to have the Char Siew & Siew Yuk Rice @ RM7.50.  Somehow, this time, both the meats just didn't wow us as much as they did the first time. Maybe because of the cuts of meat we got as the char siew wasn't the perfect lean-to-fat ratio while the siew yuk skin obviously looked different as well from a comparison of the photos.

I did wonder why the one pax portion of char siew and siew yuk was priced at RM10 while a similar plate of char siew and siew yuk (with rice) was charged at RM7.50 only (since both had the same five slices though the former did seem to be cut just a hair thicker).  I did raise the question to the stall owner and she confirmed that the meat for the RM10 was cut slightly thicker...so there (I guess I have to take her word for it since I can't see the difference actually :P).  Due to the inconsistencies in their meat, you could score yourself a nice cut of meat on some days if you're lucky.

The chicken broth-flavoured rice which came in quite a large portion was ok but the rice texture can be a little mushy.

The Roast Chicken Rice was also just acceptable.

The first time I had this Char Kway Teow (with Chicken Egg) @ RM6 (big, RM7) was a packed one and I thought that the taste was decent but could have been compromised a little since it was cold by the time I ate it.  

So, I had to have it again at the shop just to be sure.  This time, as I walked near the stall, I noticed the words 'Penang Char Kway Teow'...and saw duck eggs! ;)  Ok, my expectation of something good just went up a notch.  The Penang Char Kway Teow (with Duck Egg) was very decent indeed.

The noodles of choice (a combination of kway teow and yellow mee) was well fried and had a bit of wok hei going on...and, best of all, it came with fresh tasting fried pork lard ("chee yau char") besides three good-sized prawns, fresh cockles, fish cake slices, crunchy bean sprouts and Chinese chives.  The noodles were made extra decadent by the deliciously creamy duck egg (which are not often found in CKT stalls in KL).  If only it was a tad more salty (it needed a bit more soy) and had a few slices of "lap cheong" (Chinese dried sausage), it could have been perfect.

Yes, for CKT, I always go with a combination of kway teow and yellow mee (a preference of mine and probably many KLites) though I know many would swear by just kway teow alone as how a Penang CKT is usually eaten.  And oh, if you don't like your CKT spicy, remember to ask for less spicy coz I did (actually I always do as I like to taste the noodles in my CKT rather than just tasting the heat).  But I still could taste a bit of spice in there (so I'm assuming if you didn't ask for less spicy, this CKT would be spicier than norm).  The CKT fella is quite chatty.  When I ordered from him, he said to recommend friends to his stall if I find his noodles tasty (so I'm doing my 'job' here).  I guess he has to do everything he can to compete with such a well-known 'neighbour' (aka the prawn mee) where everyone who comes here just want to eat that...haha! ;D

This time, I noticed that they offer Fried Rice too, so we placed an order for that (both the dishes cost RM14.50 in total, so one is RM7 while the other is RM7.50).  Again, I was delightfully amazed as to how decent it was.  Just look at the colour...every bit of the rice grains seem to be nicely fried...and the biggest surprise?  There were fried chee yau char...which I've never found in a plate of fried rice before! O_o  Kids would love this version of fried rice to death coz you can't find a single piece of vegetable which children detest....lol (just remember to request for non-spicy).

We also tried the Curry Mee and Wantan Mee on previous visits but they weren't anything that deserved mention.  The curry broth was watery and lacked flavour while the wantan mee sauce and pale looking char siew weren't very exciting at all.  You can easily get better curry mee and wantan mee from many other stalls out there.

My Personal Opinion

OK, I'm done trying the other stalls already! :P  In the end, it's a place I would return over and over again just for the prawn noodles.  And if your family members aren't into prawn noodles, then their best bets would be the char kway teow and fried rice (and maybe try your luck with the inconsistent roasted meat rice).

Who knew that other than the gem of a find of an excellent prawn mee, we have stumbled upon yet another gem in this shop...and that's the Penang Char Kway Teow & Fried Rice stall.  Now that I have something else to look forward to here, I can see myself coming back repeatedly for these three items.....yay! ^o^

Kedai Makanan Red Leaf
No 61 & 63 Jalan Loke Yew
(corner of Lorong Loke Yew & Jalan Loke Yew)
Pudu
55200 Kuala Lumpur

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Chateau DeCanter @ Taman Tun Dr Ismail

As usual, after an adequately pleasant meal at Kouzu, we proceeded to Chateau DeCanter @ Taman Tun Dr Ismail as my friends like to enjoy a bit of wine after dinner.

This wine bar is a hidden gem (emphasis on 'hidden') as it's located, of all places, above a "tai chow" restaurant.  It's a corner shoplot but if you're not coming from the right direction, you might just miss the name of the place (which is only visible from the side of the shophouse).

That's because the front signage is a little bit queer, and a little bit funny, as it carry the words "every time you drink wine at home, you kill a wine bar" instead of the name of the place.  If you see these words, you're in the right place.  Walk up a flight of stairs (on the right) and you'll find Chateau DeCanter on the first floor.

The menu lists three sections....bar bites, main courses and desserts.  The bar bites include anything from french, sweet potato or porky fries to pork tacos, popcorn chicken, cheesy nachos, salmon, mushrooms and crispy pork belly.  The main courses selection covers pastas, lamb shank and lamb rack, pork knuckle, steak, salmon and salt baked chicken.  The dessert list was short and sweet with three choices.  There's also a 'Wine Tea' platter with cheeses and cold cuts to accompany your bottle of wine.

Once we were seated, we were given a wine list that reportedly showcase their top ten wines (that's according to the lady serving us, one of seven partners here) ranging from RM170 to RM400+ (if I remember correctly).  In the end, my friend picked one direct from the shelves at the bar.....

.......a Chilean wine, Cono Sur Bicicleta Merlot @ RM150 a bottle.

This Merlot was an easy wine to drink as I found it to be much lighter (and on the fruitier side) than the ones I've drank before, so I was able to drink more than one glass this time. ^_*

We were served this very refreshing tidbit of thinly sliced pickled guava which was unassumingly good. ^.^ We wished we were given more and it would have disappeared in no time as well.

Since we've already had a filling dinner, we could only muster an order of the Snack Platter @ RM35 for sharing and nibbling.  After all, our objective was to chill and drink some wine.

And when there's wine.....there's cheese...like the 'Wine Tea' Platter...but how about a  cheese fondue instead? ;)

This Snack Platter, filled with bacon wrapped asparagus, sausage, sweet potato fries, cheese and ham crackers and some plain crackers served with a hot and gooey cheese dip, was the ideal accompaniment for our bottle of wine.  I especially liked the tasty sausage and bacon wrapped asparagus.

Flipping through the menu, we couldn't resist ordering one of their three desserts, the Chocolate Brownie @ RM15 served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.

When it arrived, let's just say it wasn't among some of the better presented desserts I've seen, so I wasn't expecting much actually.  But the homemade warm chocolate brownie blew me away as to just how rich and chocolaty it was.  A spoonful of the brownie in my mouth was like eating pure melted chocolate...it was unexpectedly good! ^o^  If you're here for dinner, make sure you order this dessert for a delicious end to your meal.

There's also a live performance every night....and we had the pleasure of listening to soothing ballads and easy-going tunes on the night that we were there which was just great.

Cheers to 10 years of friendship! ^.^
(which is no mean feat for ex-colleagues to have kept in touch for this long)

And here's to another 10 (as one of my friends said)! ;)

Points to note:

1)  They allow smoking indoors (which I'm not in favour but didn't know until we got there) and noticed ashtrays on the tables.  I believe they have a separate alfresco area, so I really don't know why they would allow smoking indoors in an air-conditioned place.  We were lucky that there were hardly any smokers that night.

2)  Check out discounts offered by eatigo (for food only).

My Personal Opinion

Certainly an ideal destination to consider if you want to chill with nice wines, good music, live performance in an easy-going atmosphere.

It's a great place to wind down your evening with a little wine sipping and light conversation with friends or colleagues after a hard day's work....and oh, don't forget a side indulgence of something chocolaty while you're at it! ^o^

Cheateau DeCanter
175A Jalan Aminuddin Baki
Taman Tun Dr Ismail
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 012-633 6609

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