Friday, 28 November 2014

Revisit: Map's @ Bandar Sunway

My first visit to Map's @ Bandar Sunway was when I attended a cousin's (on my husband's side) daughter's first birthday celebration (a private function) can read my earlier review here.
As I was very pleased with the food on that visit, I wanted to revisit and (so) brought my friends there for a late lunch last Saturday afternoon.  This time I got to sit at this somewhat secluded corner which was aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
The last time I was here, I had a taste of their pork meatballs (as it was part of the pre-prepared food) and I remembered that it tasted awesome.  So, I ordered the Map's Pork Balls @ RM15.  For this, you get 6 pcs of house-made meatballs with a brown stock herbed gravy, roasted potatoes and salad.  I can't gush enough of their's flavourful and moist...and that brown gravy is just oh-so-delicious!

The next entrée was a reorder (as I loved it the last time I had it)...the Porky Pancake @ RM15.  This came with 2 slices of pancake, layered with strips of crispy bacon, a sunny side up egg and roasted potatoes, served with honey on the side.  The egg was done perfectly, with crispy edges and a runny yolk.
Let me move the egg away :D so that you can have a better look of the nicely caramelised bacon underneath.  I absolutely loved their roasted potatoes, something so simple but made well...soft and fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside!
Then we had the Piggy-Going-Nuts-Sandwich @ RM18.  This is their slow braised pulled pork with peanut sauce, tomatoes and cheese on fluffy homemade bread plus rustic roast potatoes and salad.  When you have the words 'slow braised' and 'pulled pork', you know you're in for some tender meat...and it was just that!  It was also obvious that the bottom pc of the bread would be the one that everyone would want as it has soaked up all the goodness of the braising liquid.

Our final order was the Homemade Bruschetta with Bacon @ RM13 which came topped with crisp bacon, melted mozzarella cheese, sliced fresh tomatoes and julienned fresh basil on a bed of 2 large strips of toasted bread.  I really loved the well toasted bread...soft and airy on the inside with a totally crispy crust...OMG!!  Tomato, basil, bacon and cheese.....a winning combo, for sure.  There's also a version with mushrooms...but who would want that when you have a bacon option! :D

I actually had this the last time I was here but since it was served 'buffet' styled (for the party), it was compromised due to its prolonged exposure to air but not this time (no siree)!  It was absolutely divine...served piping hot, with the mozzarella cheese just melting, the bacon well caramelised, and a sprinkling of chopped basil and spring onions...if this pic don't sent you drooling, I don't know what would =)

As no desserts were offered on my previous trip, I made sure I saved some space (in my tummy) for it this time round.  I ordered the Gula Melaka Cotton Cheesecake @ RM11 and was blown away by the taste of it.

The layer of cake at the bottom was soft and the cheese layer was so light and airy (that's why it's referred to as cotton cheese, I reckon).  The cake was textured with bits of coconut flakes inside (according to one of my friends) but I was too engrossed eating it that I wasn't paying attention and didn't notice it in the layers.  And then, it's topped off with this incredibly beautiful "gula melaka" (palm sugar) glaze that took it over the top...and it was (surprisingly) not overly sweet.  This is one of those cakes you can eat a few pcs of and one of the best cakes I've eaten this year!

So much so, one of my friends decided to pack the other 2 cakes they have on their Almond Apple Crumble @ RM10 I think (coz it's RM17 with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice-cream)......

....and a Classic Chocolate Layer Cake @ RM11.  When we saw the chocolate cake, we wished we had ordered that too (but who knew we would still be able to taste this cake at our next destination)...and that will be in my next post!

Also, I just had to try their house special Real Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream @ RM7 a scoop which is made with real vanilla beans.  It's homemade with no preservatives and artificial flavouring (I'm assuming they mean vanilla extract from a bottle...keke)!  [#Note: For those in the know, real vanilla beans trump vanilla extract big time!!  Some would even put it in a jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar (which adds more fragrance to your regular sugar) and you can use it in your dessert recipes.]

This is one good's extra creamy and fragrant ;)  We ordered 2 scoops to share (1 scoop where got enough ah, actually 2 scoops also not enough leh...muahahaha)!  If their vanilla ice-cream is that good, you know that their affogato would be equally awesome.

There coffees are all good...I've had quite a few, so (this time) I went with one of their triathlon awesome mix called "Bike" @ RM10 which is a combo of DHL (dragon fruit + honeydew + lychee).  It was thick...and awesome with the predominant flavour of dragon fruit (just look at the vibrant colour in the pic).  If you like to "Swim" (grape + watermelon + blackberry) or "Run" (orange + carrot + passion fruit), you can order those too ;)

Of course, there were coffees:

Iced Cappuccino @ RM10
Hot Cappuccino @ RM9
Iced Mocha @ RM12
Hot Green Tea @ RM6 per pot
(for a friend who was feeling a bit 'under the weather')

My Personal Opinion

On the top of one of their walls, I noticed 3 words---cook.bake.froth---and they certainly did just that.  They cook (some awesome breakfast staples), bake (some delicious cakes) and froth (some good coffee) :D

I guess I love their food coz I'm biased when pork bacon is involved.  The "must order" dishes here are Map's Pork Balls and Homemade Bruschetta...also their Porky Pancake and Eggs Benny.  As for dessert, their Gula Melaka Cotton Cheesecake and Real Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream get two 'thumbs up' from my eating party! 

Although some may find their all day long breakfast/brunch menu not as extensive as some other cafes, even if you do a few but you do them right (coz almost everything is good here), then it's a resounding success (in my opinion).  And what's even better...the prices are really affordable (with everything under RM20).

So, make sure that Map's is in your map of places to go! ;-)

Map's Café
9G Jalan PJS 11/2
Bandar Sunway
46150 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 010-219 3882

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Yau Char Kwai Stall @ SS2 PJ

I would usually drop by this Yau Char Kwai Stall @ SS2 PJ when I'm having breakfast in the vicinity (they're just a few doors away from Restoran Ho Ho Sek).  Reason is that this fried "yau char kwai" (Chinese crullers) stall has an insane waiting period (sometimes as long as 1 hour).  That way, I can order my yau char kwai first and pick it up after my breakfast.

I don't know exactly what time they open but I usually get here around 10am but that doesn't mean the fried stuff are'll take another 45 mins to an hour (after they open)!  The Sunday that I was there (around 10am), only the father has arrived.  I asked if I could put down my order first and luckily he said yes.  I placed my order and went off merrily for my breakfast.

This stall parks itself on the road (taking up a parking bay or two) and is manned by a Chinese man (who handles the dough), his Indian wife (who does the frying) and his son (who jots down the orders and does the packing).  Even though they have to deal with a large crowd of customers, they're courteous people, especially the son (who speaks good English, by the way).  He'll politely tell you approximately how long you have to wait.  Sometimes, I see people pointing to the ready fried 'stock' and he would...nicely...tell them that those already belong to others (who have made their orders earlier).  [#Tip: There's no fresh and 'waiting stock', coz as soon as it comes out from the fryer (aka basin wok), it belongs to someone already (as they're always behind with orders).]  Anyway, the son's politeness and friendliness make the waiting more bearable.  You just have to wait in queue until he gets to your order.  There's no necessity to rush him (or check) as he's fairly organised (all the orders are written down in an exercise book)!

When I returned about an hour later, the stall was in full swing.  Have you seen yau char kwai fried in a large basin (not a wok)?  That's what they use here...I think your kid can bathe in that basin :D  They have the standard varieties of fried stuff here (which you can't see) coz each time they finish frying, they're gone!!  These ones are definitely better than the ones in Imbi.

But, since I placed my order earlier, I got my 'loot' immediately...yippee ki-yah....4 pcs of yau char kwai (and they're huge) plus.....

......2 pcs of fried salted bun and 2 pcs of fried bun with glutinous usual 'loot'!  They also have those done with sesame seeds, that's why you see some of my 'loot' with sesame seeds on them as well coz they're all over his table top.

Their fried salted buns @ RM0.90/pc are incredibly soft with just the right amount of saltiness from the five spice seasoning.

The fried bun with glutinous rice @ RM0.90/pc is another favourite of mine with a good savoury flavour in the soft glutinous rice.

But the best one of all is the fried yau char kwai also @ RM0.90/'s super fluffy and crispy (if you eat it immediately while it's still hot) although it still managed to retain a reasonable amount of crunchiness (if eaten later, unlike some that goes 'limp' within the hour).

My Personal Opinion

If you wait (patiently) and get these fried yau char kwai first before proceeding to your coffee shop of choice, it would be even better.  Absolutely delicious dunked in kopi-o...breakfast of champions!

This is the best yau char kwai I've had and my favourite of all time...and it's best eaten while it's still hot.  You've got to try it!!

As with all things good and tasty, patience is a virtue if you want to sample these fried's just simply d-*wait for it*-lightful :=)

Yau Char Kwai Stall
Along Jalan SS2/6
(near Restoran Ho Ho Sek)
47300 Petaling Jaya

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

#ewew cooks Radish Soup with Pork Ribs

I love to drink soups...just about any type of soup!  I can drink soup as a substitute for lunch....that's just how much I love soup.  And, one of the easiest soups to make is Radish Soup with Pork Ribs, a comforting soup that is common in many Chinese households.
Although this soup is nice to drink, the smell of it (when the soup is boiling) is another story altogether.  It will 'stink' up your house!  I guess you have to bear with something that doesn't smell nice, but tastes good, if you want to drink this soup.


10 pcs pork ribs (about 250g)
1 medium Chinese radish (or white carrot)
1 medium carrot
10 red dates
5 pcs dried cuttlefish heads
5 dried scallops
Salt & white pepper to taste


Trim off any excess fat from the pork ribs.
Cut the Chinese radish and carrot into thick slices (or chunks).
Rinse your dried cuttlefish, scallops and red dates.
[#Note: I would normally put about 10 red dates in (but since I only had 5 left in my fridge...5 will have to do in this instance).  The red dates bring a touch of sweetness to your soup.]


Bring some water to boil and pour over the pork ribs.  This is one step that I don't omit when it comes to making soup.  Seeping the pork ribs in hot water (for about 5 mins) allow the impurities in the meat to surface and be discarded.  This will make your soup less cloudy and give it a clearer broth.
After that, I just dump everything into a 1.5L slow cooker and top it with boiling water (until about an inch from the top).  Season to taste.
Let it boil/simmer for at least 3 hours (or until the white and orange carrots are soft).  In the meantime, you can run your errands, get your hair done, or whatever you wish to do...and the soup will be ready by the time you return for lunch.

How easy was that.....all it entails is dumping everything into a slow cooker and let it simmer away.  This is one of the few soups that my son enjoys.  [#Note: I like this soup a lot but many old wives' tale says that you're not supposed to drink this soup if you're on medication (not sure if that meant just traditional herbal medicine or includes western medication as well).  And then, there's another tale that says white radish and red carrot should not be cooked together.]  Begone...all tales....and let me enjoy my soup!
For a heartier meal, I like to put rice into the soup.....and eat it like this!
Serves 3 - 4 (soup-sized bowls) or just 1 (I can drink all by myself).

Monday, 24 November 2014

Taste Enclave (Tong's Roast) @ Avenue K

The owner of this stall started more than 30 years ago as a roast meat wholesaler in Pudu market and have now opened up their first stall in a food atrium.  The stall I'm talking about is Tong's Roast @ Avenue K's Taste Enclave which was our choice for dinner one evening. 

Looking at what was hanging in their stall, we opted for the roast duck and BBQ pork (since there was only a small miserable pc of roast pork left and it didn't look very inviting).

My son had the Honey Glazed BBQ Pork with Rice @ RM8.50 as "char siew" (barbecued pork) is his perennial favourite.  The rice had nice separated grains and the char siew was of acceptable standard (for a 'food atrium') though you can definitely find better char siew out there (like the ones in Chan Meng Kee, Char Siew Yoong or Uncle Meng to name a few).

The char siew here leans towards meat that is.....lean and not those fatty melt-in-your-mouth types.  It tasted alright but it was the super sweet glaze that threw us off.  It was stated as honey on its menu but it was more like a sugar glaze as we definitely tasted the grainy, undissolved sugar granules in the sauce.  The sauce had a thick and hard texture (as that happens when undissolved sugar comes back down to room temperature).  Most of the reviews I've seen on this place did not mention (or have negative comments) about the state of the sauce.  Maybe they substituted the glaze with (more) sugar (now) instead of honey (as it's more expensive)...I don't know, but it's fair to say I won't be having this again!

We helped ourselves to the condiments of vinegared green chillies, fresh chilli paste and a fried sambal paste...they were all good.  I especially liked the tangy (and on the spicy side) fresh chilli paste.

The Roasted Duck with Wantan Noodles @ RM10.90 that I chose fared much better.  The wantan noodles was springy and the sauce is on the drier side.  It was served with 2 pcs of wantans (small).

The roast duck was served separate from the noodles which was good so that the sauce does not overpower the dish.  The duck meat was flavourful and tender and the skin had a slight crisp to it.  However, I felt it would have been better paired with rice as the sauce was on the salty side.

I also ordered a side dish of Shrimp Wantan @ RM6 (or RM2/pc) for sharing.  The wantan was gigantic but the filling was not only made up of shrimps T_T, it had minced pork in it as well, which made the wantan rather chewy.  Needless to say, I wasn't liking this.

The drinks are from Stall #14 Juice Bar:

Fresh Orange Juice @ RM6.50 (not exactly cheap for a food court)
Pink Guava Juice @ RM2.80 (that didn't quite

My Personal Opinion

Although the prices, at first glance, may seem higher than those charged by coffee shops, the portions (of meat) they give are much more.  I usually pay about RM7 for a packet of duck rice but for RM10.90, I get like 7 - 8 thick pcs of duck meat + wantan soup + air-conditioned environment....and that's a bargain to me =)

Although I've not tasted the roast pork, I've seen pics of it on other blogs...and they come in 'long' pcs and (to me) that's not a sign of a good roast pork.  And since the sauce for the BBQ pork was overly sweet, I think sticking to the roast duck would be a safer choice here.

Tong's Roast (Stall #05) @ Taste Enclave
2nd Floor Avenue K
156 Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2181

Friday, 21 November 2014

Red Lobster @ The Intermark

This American chain of restaurants is well known for bringing some of the highest quality, freshest seafood to their restaurants in many countries.  

With a pledge to bring the sea to our table and a tagline that says "we sea food differently", we should be in for a treat.
Ever since they arrived at our shores in late Sept (the first to open in South East Asia), I've been wanting to try Red Lobster @ The Intermark.  But, I've heard and seen many negative reviews of this place.  It's been close to 2 months now since they opened and, hopefully, they've ironed out their opening hiccups.
I have read that there were queues and (sometimes) the waiting period could be as long as 1 hour, but nothing of that sort happened when we were there on a Saturday evening.  In fact, I was taken aback by the sheer no. of wait staff that 'greeted' us at the entrance.
Once we were seated and placed our orders, we were served with their supposedly famous crumbly-cheesy-buttery-fresh-off-the-oven Cheddar Bay Biscuits.  I would say, taste wise, it's somewhere between a muffin (or scone) and a biscuit.  The interior had a crumbly cake-like texture while the exterior had a crunchy biscuit-like texture.  There was just a hint of savouriness (from the cheese) but maybe not as buttery as some would have liked.  I don't know why this biscuit didn't quite catch on here.....and I'm usually not that into biscuits or cookies...but this I liked (surprisingly)!
I ordered the Parrot Isle Jumbo Coconut Shrimps @ RM22.90 (for 6 pcs) as our starter (for sharing).  These comprised of fairly large shrimps that are coated in their signature batter and then tossed in coconut flakes and fried till golden brown.  The shrimps were fresh and crunchy, and the coconut coating lent a sweet aroma and taste to the shrimps.

It was served with a piña colada sauce (as a dipping) which had the combined taste of coconut cream and pineapple juice.  [#Tip: It's similar to a cocktail by the same name except without the rum :D]  It had sweetness (from the coconut cream) and was slightly tangy (from the pineapple juice) but I think the fried shrimps didn't need any sauce, it was good just on its own.  We enjoyed this starter very much.

The choice for our first main was the Grilled Salmon @ RM42.90 served with baked potato and roasted vegetables.

The salmon had a nice grilled flavour but the portion of fish was on the thin side, so it was a bit overcooked to what we would normally prefer.
The sides of a baked potato was ok but the roasted vegetables (made up of carrots, red bell pepper, squash, cucumber and onions) were a bit bland (not roasted enough).
And then, of course, you can't come to the Red Lobster and not order their lobsters, right?  You'd notice that their live lobsters on their menu are based on seasonal prices.  An enquiry revealed that the Maine Lobsters were selling at RM27/100g while the Rock Lobsters (from Malaysia) cost RM45/100g and those from Australia were retailing at RM56/100g.  [#Tip: From the few times that I've eaten live lobsters, I know that a decent sized lobster should weigh at least 800g (anything smaller wouldn't be worth eating).]  Wow, wow, these current prices, it would translate to about RM216 for the cheapest lobster...they're definitely not cheap!! :'(  Those rock lobsters would set you back at least RM350.  They're certainly way off my budget...even the cheapest ones!!  The ones I've eaten before cost me about RM150 (then) and, sadly, that's the max I would pay for one.  Well, if I can't afford one, I might as well get a pic of those darn lobsters!! :D

So, with live lobsters out of the question, I had to decide between a grilled maine lobster tail, skewered shrimps and wild-caught sea scallops (with rice pilaf) @ RM99.90 or Grilled Sirloin & Maine Lobster Tail @ RM109.90 which is a centre-cut sirloin with peppercorn seasoning and a grilled maine lobster tail.  I went for the latter.
The sirloin was decent, both in cut and taste.  Although I prefer my steak doneness to be medium rare, I asked for it to be cooked to medium as I didn't know how good their steaks were (since they're not a full fledged steakhouse).  A look at the pink centre and you know it's cooked right as requested.
The lobster tail was seasoned right and cooked well (with some nice grill marks).  Some of the negative reviews I've seen on this ranged from scrawny to burnt to over salted...well, nothing like that happened to us.  Although the lobster tail may be on the smaller side, we have to be realistic based on the price we paid.  At RM109.90, I feel the portion size is acceptable + we also get a pc of steak.

Let me show you the lobster meat...up close and personal!! :=)  Is that delicious-looking or what??
It was served with (reasonable tasting) mashed potatoes and the same roasted vegetables (as the previous dish).

As the Cheddar Bay Biscuits are complimentary, feel free to ask for additional helpings if you like...and since I do 'like', I asked for just an additional one but they gave me another 2 (which came piping hot this time...even better!).  So, I ate 3 all-in as it wouldn't be nice not to finish it since I asked for more (I had to summon all my strength to down the last one).

Our drinks were:
Lipton Iced Tea @ RM8.90
Fresh Watermelon @ RM9.90
Although I wished I could have eaten the live lobsters, on hindsight, I was glad I didn't.  Reason: The table next to ours ordered a live lobster and when it arrived, I saw that it was presented whole (ie. the entire lobster was intact).  I'm not sure if that was steamed or roasted (the 2 styles of cooking choice here).  That meant the server had to crack open the lobster for you (at table side) and I saw him handling it for like 10 mins (with gloves on, of course).  He had to detach the head from the tail, cut the tail open, crack the pincers and scoop out all the flesh.  That is not how I would want to eat my lobster, let alone let someone 'man' handle it for me (even with gloves).  I would have preferred if it was cut open in half to get some nice sear marks and smoky flavour on it, and served immediately (while still reasonably hot).  Plus, after paying so much for it, I think I need to 'suck the hell out' of that lobster head and shell (sorry, it's a Chinese thing), no, don't take it away....or at least let me see if there's any remote possibility that there may still be some flesh left in there!! :D :D :D

My Personal Opinion
My dining experience turned out rather well at Red Lobster, with no complaints on the service, now that they've gotten their opening jitters out of the way.  Overall, the food is decent (with room for improvement) but wasn't as bad as some of the negative comments out there and certainly didn't deserve the kind of 'bashing' it received.
Prices here tip the higher end of the scale but I think it's reasonable when you can get a lobster tail + some other stuff at around RM100.
If I do revisit, I'm definitely sticking to the 'crustacean' route...and more Coconut Shrimps and Cheddar Bay Biscuits, please!

Red Lobster Restaurant
Lot G-17 Intermark Mall
The Intermark
348 Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2181 4855
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