Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Chan Meng Kee (Wantan Mee) @ SS2 PJ

We came to try this wantan mee after I saw an old episode of Taste with Jason recently.  This wantan mee place, Chan Meng Kee @ SS2 PJ, took over from another famous wantan mee shop (Ho Weng Kee).
It seems the restaurant got its name from the owner's surname (Chan) and his favourite "char siew" (barbequed pork) place (Meng Kee) which he ate when he was young.  He tasted the 'legendary' char siew then and found it to be really tasty and so wanted to emulate it.  And so, Chan Meng Kee was 'born' to speak.
Of course, we had to try their famous wantan mee, so we ordered a plate of char siew wantan mee @ RM6.  The char siew was indeed good but......was it as good as the one he tried to emulate (namely Meng Kee's char siew), I think not but he came very close.  Nevertheless, Chan Meng Kee's char siew was still delicious and not as sweet but fell a little short of the 'melt-in-your-mouth' deliciousness! 
The wantan mee, which was thinner (and more eggy) than the norm, was springy and flavourful from the pork lard fragrance and it had "chee yau char" (pork lard bits) at the bottom....yes!  The sauce is more oily than the usual wantan mee because of the lard, so if you're a 'health freak' then this is not for you. 

The wantan, on the other hand, was nothing great (probably because fragrant dried sole "chor hau yue" powder was not used).

If you decide to opt for the soup version, fret not as the char siew is served separately and not dunked into the soup.

Since their roast chicken was recommended, I ordered a plate of roast chicken drumstick wantan mee @ RM7.50.  The roast chicken is first roasted before being deep fried and, just before serving, it is 'bathed' in hot oil to crisp it up.  The chicken skin was crispy while the meat stayed tender and moist. 
My son's char siew rice @ RM6 was equally satisfying with a good sour-spicy chilli sauce (though I can't say the same of the rice).
We also ordered a plate of "siew yoke" (roast pork) @ RM7 but it was disappointing compared to the char siew.  The siew yoke was drizzled with some garlic oil, though it didn't help much, as the siew yoke skin was not crispy enough and the meat was not as flavourful.
We also had a bowl of "sui kow" (prawn + meat dumplings) @ RM3.60 (for 3 pcs) but it was forgettable.
[#Note: I had read on blogs of the 'notorious' waiting time (of up to 45 mins) for their wantan mee because they cook their noodles plate by plate.  I did not encounter any waiting time at all when I dined here (the ridiculous waiting time was probably when the episode first aired on Astro) as the initial 'hype' has probably died down (like many well-publicised eateries after the 'dust has settled')...which is perfect for people like waiting time!]

On a revisit with my sister-in-law's family, I tried the Pork Rib Curry Noodle @ RM8 which came with pork ribs, potatoes, bean curd puffs and beansprouts.  The curry pork ribs were very tender and curry laksa was quite decent (though not the best I've had).

We ordered a Roast Chicken Leg @ RM12 as we enjoyed it the last time we were here.  The roast chicken skin was fragrant and the meat tender...still good.

We also ordered a plate of Deep Fried Wantan @ RM6 (for 10 pcs) for sharing.  What's not to like....freshly fried to crispy perfection (something your kids will enjoy)!
My Personal Opinion

Chan Meng Kee do indeed serve good wantan mee.  The difference is their springy noodles and fragrant sauce (as pork lard/"chee yau char" = flavour)!

I was disappointed that I didn't get to try their signature duck soup as it was not ready at breakfast time.

What I liked:  Definitely the wantan mee, "char siew" and roast chicken.

What I liked less:  The "siew yoke"/"siu kow"/wantan were not as good.

Revisits:  23.03.2014 (Pork Rib Curry Noodle, Roast Chicken Leg & Deep Fried Wantan)

Update:  3.08.2014 (Chan Meng Kee has moved 5 shops away from their previous location to No 44 Jalan SS2/66 since 8 July occupying an intermediate corner lot with an easy to spot new red signboard)

Restoran Chan Meng Kee
32 Jalan SS2/66
47300 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 012-688 1972

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Fahrenheit 600 @ Publika

The weather in KL these days have been super hot and, as if that's not hot enough, my friends and I went to Fahrenheit 600 @ Publika last Saturday.
The name Fahrenheit 600 is a unique name and it's derived from their wood-fire brick oven where the temperature is a searing 600F which (some say) is the most ideal heat for pizzas. 
Of course, pizzas made from a wood fire oven is a sure 'must-order' item here.  So, first up, a 12" Fahrenheit 600 @ RM25.90 which bears the restaurant name is also their signature pizza.  This is, in fact, a vegetarian pizza with oven-baked tomatoes, eggplant, black olives, feta cheese and caramelised onions.  For a 'no meat' pizza, it was certainly tasty and I especially liked the caramelised eggplant.  
Fahrenheit 600's pizza crust is nothing like those overly crispy 'thin crust' type (think Domino's) or the very chewy 'thick doughy' ones (think Pizza Hut) but just crisp on the outside and chewy (with a bite) on the inside...a perfect balance in-between!
Another pizza that we had was a 12" Henry the Duck Pizza @ RM31.90 which was visually stunning and colourful and, likewise, you couldn't fault the flavour.  It's got pinkish slices of smoked duck, orange-coloured segments, reddish cherry tomatoes, greenish avocado slices, caramelised onions and topped with their signature tomato sauce.  This was a unique and vibrant combination which tasted as good as it looked!
Next, we tried their Creamy Salmon Calzone @ RM20.90 which uses the same pizza dough, folded and shaped like a half-moon (really pretty looking), stuffed with hot-smoked salmon.  When you cut it open, the cream sauce and cheese oozes out for a luscious, gooey sensation.
Most of the reviews I have seen on this place were about their pizzas but we decided to try a couple of their artisan pastas which turned out surprisingly good and had equally cute names to go with it.
The first pasta we ordered was the Green Ribbons @ RM13.90 which was a simple fettuccini cooked with cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and their homemade pesto sauce.  Their homemade pesto was a winner and the generous sprinkle of cheese on top made it....very cheesy!
Another pasta that we tried was the Cute Pinky @ RM19.90 which was spaghetti with prawns (medium-sized ones), mushrooms and their signature tomato and cream sauce.  Their tomato sauce was excellent and it's very unlike the usual tomato sauce we get with our pastas which is normally very reddish and acidic but this one has an orangey hue (don't know what kind of tomatoes they used but they were 'good' tomatoes).  For once, a tomato-based pasta did not taste overly sourish but instead was creamy and lovely.

For those who want to chill and chat, you can just order some cakes to go with your coffees.....look at all those cakes!
It was hard to choose but we ordered 4 slices for sharing.....and here's a preview!

A closer look at the 4 we chose:
The Tropezienne Cake @ RM7.90 is a light and fluffy brioche dough (some kind of French bread) with a cream filling.  The buttery bread (somewhat like a sponge cake but with a bread texture) with creamy filling is a delight to eat.
The Chocolate Mousse Cake @ RM10.90 was our favourite cake of the day!  The mousse was smooth and rich but did not come off as 'heavy'.  If you're a chocolate lover, this is the cake for you.  It was a delicious and decadent dessert! 
The Strawberry Cheese Cake @ RM10.90.  I'm not a fan of cheese cakes, so I shall reserve my comment.
The Tiramisu Cake @ RM10.90 was our least favourite.  It was a bit crumbly and dry (probably because it was served to us cold) and there was a very faint hint of burnt taste from the chocolate icing.  When it had time to come down to room temperature, it was not as crumbly and dry.
Here are some of the drinks our 'party' ordered:
The coffees at Fahrenheit 600 are quite good and I especially liked the Iced Salted Caramel Latte @ RM10.90. 
Iced Capuccino @ RM9.90

I personally don't like mint flavour and to couple it with latte seems kinda of a weird combo to me although my friend seems to enjoy her Minty Latte @ RM9.90.
The Orange Juice @ RM6.90 was really huge...woh.....and very thirst quenching!
Minty Lemonade @ RM8.90

We also tried the Iced Super Fruit Tea @ RM8.90 which looked good (a vibrant red) but (sadly) did not follow up in taste.  It didn't have much taste except for some sweetness (like a syrup) and a diluted watery taste....not our cup of tea!  [#Note: They did however, very quickly, offered us another replacement (which was very kind of them) but it didn't change anything (maybe it needed to be steeped longer, maybe that's how it was supposed to taste as we've never tried fruit tea before).]
The Kasturi Lemonade @ RM9.90 was very sourish (only for those who like a real 'zing' in their drinks), just wished that they'd strained away the seeds though.
My Personal Opinion
Overall, their pizzas, pastas, coffees and (some) cakes are rather good.  The service is good and attentive but, when they are really busy, the pizzas may take a bit longer to arrive as they are freshly made to order.
Likes:  I especially liked their hearty pizzas served on wooden boards which gave it a rustic and very "Jamie Oliver" feel!  Their pastas and coffees were equally good.
Dislikes:  Probably their Super Fruit Tea and Lemonades could be better as it needed a more concentrated flavour!

Fahrenheit 600 Café & Restaurant
A4-G2-05 Block A4 Solaris Dutamas
No 1 Jalan Dutamas 1
50480 Kuala Lumpur

Monday, 24 February 2014

Are you guilty of 'food porn'?


Didn't know I would some day be involved in porn (hehe).....'food porn' that is!  I read an interesting article in the Star newspapers a few days ago (which was derived from an article in The Telegraph).

What is 'food porn'?  One definition states that 'food porn' is taking mouthwatering pictures of delicious foods and proliferating them throughout various social media websites.  If that is the case, all the food bloggers and amateur food photographers (in fact, all of us) are guilty of 'food porn' in one way or another.
In the article (excerpt taken from The Telegraph), it seems some French chefs have spoken out about the increasing number of diners who disrupt their restaurants by taking endless photos of their food with their smartphones.  They say that the customers would.....
1)  set off a series of flashes (I don't use flash)
2)  repositioned their tables (this is a bit absurd, I've never done that before except to reposition the plate
     for a better angle, maybe)
3)  take each photo several times (ok, I'm guilty of this...sometimes, but only if the first photo was blur)
......thereby leaving the food to go cold (we paid for the food and we should be allowed to eat it the way we want---cold or otherwise!)
Now a group of leading French restaurants are campaigning to end the culture of 'food porn' and ban smartphone photos from their restaurants....and they are not alone in their displeasure.  Some restaurants in New York have become so frustrated with clients climbing on chairs to photograph the dishes that they too have banned smartphones.  Climbing on chairs?......That's going overboard, don't you think?  I don't think we would go so far!
One French chef said....if people take a photo and put it on social media, it takes away the surprise, it takes a little bit of his intellectual property too and someone could copy it.  What intellectual property?  It's just food....and great chefs should not be afraid of being copied for they are always creating/innovating new dishes all the time!
One French chef "raised the issue" with his clients by putting an image of a camera with a strike-through on his menu (although he has yet to ban cameras officially) while another wants to ban camera phones but has yet to find an 'acceptable' way of doing it.  If there's a restaurant here who bans camera phones, I don't think I would want to patronise that restaurant because taking away our freedom to take photos is like taking away our fundamental right to vote....that's how I see it!
Why are they being so ungrateful anyway?  They should thank us instead because photos (taken and shared) are free advertising and publicity for their restaurants.  Most of us take photos of the food we eat simply because we want to share it with friends and family, whether through a food blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any form of social media....what's the harm in that?
To those restaurants (thinking of banning cameras and smartphones)....think again!  They have to move ahead with the times and, like it or not, social networking is here to deal with it!!

So, keep on clicking and snapping away to your hearts content, people!!!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Yuan Garden Dim Sum House @ SS2 PJ

One Sunday morning, my hubby decided to take us for a dim sum breakfast at Yuan Garden Dim Sum House @ SS2 PJ.

We got there at around 10am and, although the place was packed, we managed to get a table almost immediately.  Here's some of the dim sum items we ordered.

The "siew mai" (steamed pork dumpling) was fairly decent, both in terms of taste and size, though it didn't 'wow' us.

This is another type of steamed dumpling with salted egg yolk, though I couldn't taste much of the salted egg yolk.

The "har gow" (steamed prawn dumpling) was ok, the prawns were fresh, but would have preferred the skin to be a little thinner.

The steamed "fu chuk roll" (bean curd roll) in a sweetish sauce was another ok dish.

The fried "har guin" (fried prawn roll) with prawn paste filling was freshly fried, crunchy and served with a mayo dip.  Though not the best I've had, it was still alright.

I didn't like the fried 'money bags' because the "wantan" wrappers and filling were soggy (at the bottom) as they were probably fried and left outside for too long.

One of my favourite items I never fail to order is the stuffed brinjals.  I enjoyed the brinjals, served with a slight sweet bean sauce, because it was not as oily as most brinjals served in other dim sum places, plus I really liked the sauce.  Just wished that they came in thicker slices of brinjal...actually the fish paste filling was thicker than the brinjal!

The fried "wor tip" (Chinese pork dumplings or Pot Stickers) was not bad as the skin was quite thin.  This was probably why the dumpling skin was breaking apart (from being too thin....which is good but presentation wise, not so good-lah).  It was served with shredded ginger and black vinegar but there was no sweet-sour chilli sauce....hmmn!

The "lor mai kai" (steamed glutinous rice with chicken) was good enough to be acceptable.  The sticky rice was steamed till soft (although it could be softer) but the sides (the rim of the lor mai kai) were a bit hard.  You'll find a piece of chicken, Chinese mushroom and "lap cheong" (Chinese sausage) with bits of minced pork (rather similar to the type you find inside a char siew pau aka steamed barbeque-pork-filled bun) in the lor mai kai and this was the plus point (for me).

On a separate visit, I ordered the Lotus Leaf Wrapped Steamed Glutinous Rice which was flavourful (not too salty) with bits of fatty pork, salted egg yolks, dried prawns and (maybe) mushrooms.  The rice was perfectly soft.

The Stir-Fried Carrot (or Radish) Cake was ok (though we've had better) but wished it was fried a little longer to get a more crisp and caramelised exterior.

The Fried Carrot Cake (on its own) fared better as it had nice crisp edges though the flavour of the radish cake was still a bit lacking.

I would say that the "Char Siew Chee Cheong Fun" (rice noodle roll stuffed with barbequed pork) was passable as I found the char siew bits to be too finely chopped that you can't really taste the char siew.  However, I did like the "ma lai chan lat chiew" (fried belachan chilli paste) that was served with it.

Their Homemade Fried Tau Foo with Fish Paste @ RM6.30 was surprisingly good!  The smooth silken tau foo was soft and the outside was fried till crispy and it was served with a mayo dip.

The Fried "Sui Kow" @ RM6.30 were 3 pcs of very plump dumplings (very generous with the filling, I must say) though the skin was a bit thick.

I noticed someone having these Bacon Rolls on a previous visit and I knew I had to order it on my next visit.  These were fish paste rolls wrapped with a somewhat crispy fried bacon and served drenched in a sweet tomato-based sauce.  If you ask me, it didn't need the sauce.  It was good but needed a bigger piece of bacon!

The Porridge, with bits of minced meat, salted egg, century eggs and topped with crispy "yau char kway" (Chinese crullers) was pleasant and subtle in taste.

The Egg Tarts had a flaky crust and a smooth and not-too-sweet egg custard.  It was quite good although not the best I've had.

This was the "Char Siew Pau" (Steamed Pork Buns) @ RM1.70 each which I packed for home.  The bun was not the fluffiest I've had but the blackish char siew filling was good (and the type I liked).

All the dim sum we had so far were decent enough (some better than others).  But who knew that they had a 'hidden gem' in this place.....and it wasn't the dim was their "siew yoke" (roast pork)! 

When the server 'waltzed' by with the last plate of siew yoke on her tray, it looked so inviting (eat me, eat me) that I instinctively knew I just have to have it!  So much so that my hubby took a piece before I could even snap a pic of it!  When it looks know it will taste good!!!

Their "siew yoke" @ RM6.30 (for 10 pcs with 1 pc missing already) was fragrant and the skin was roasted till very crispy.  And best of all, the meat was quite lean (with hardly any fat or very little fat), but yet didn't taste dry (unlike most siew yoke which normally has a layer of fat) + it was not too salty. 

It was so good that we immediately ordered a 2nd plate....and I managed to take a pic of it 'whole' this time!  Since, this is 'somewhat healthy' siew yoke (which is lean and less salty), we can 'console' ourselves by ordering more.  I liked the 4S sauce (of sweet-sour-salty-spicy) that accompanied the siew yoke, which had a nice balance and quite a spicy kick to it, which left a tingling fiery sensation in my mouth.....oh yeah!

This glass of "kopi-o ping" (iced black coffee) @ only RM1.50 (in PJ some more) is the cheapest I've come across.  Our total bill (for 3 pax) on our first visit came up to RM64.15 (which was pretty reasonable) with the dim sum prices ranging between RM3.30 to RM6.30 a plate.

My Personal Opinion

I would say that the dim sum here is average fare, at best, but not as bad as some of the reviews out there. 

The prices of the dim sum are reasonable and parking is not a hassle.

And, who knew that we would find a good "siew yoke" in a dim sum place, of all places...wouldn't mind returning for their "siew yoke" and a bit more (average) dim sum!
Likes:  Definitely the "siew yoke"...and the Fried Tau Foo, Stuffed Brinjals, Fried Dumplings, Bacon Rolls and Egg Tarts.

Dislikes:   The "teem cheong" (sweet sauce) that we're supposed to eat the dim sum with tasted kinda weird...didn't like it (stick with the bottled chilli sauce or the one that came with the "siew yoke")!

Update:  The restaurant has since relocated to 31 Jalan SS2/30, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Yuan Garden Dim Sum House Sdn Bhd
58 & 58-1 Jalan SS2/24
47300 Petaling Jaya
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