Monday, 27 April 2015

Boat Noodles @ ikon Connaught

Boat noodles became one of the latest food fads of 2014, but I still had not tried me outdated if you want...until now! ;D  Boat Noodles (I think) was the first to open shop before other similar-type boat noodle restaurants started sprouting up all over Klang Valley.  It became such an instant hit that there were insanely long queues at their restaurants (especially at its first outlet in Empire Damansara).

Boat Noodles have since gone on to open a few more outlets.  Now that the queues are a thing of the past (or, at least, have died down somewhat), I finally succumbed to my curiosity and decided to try the Boat Noodles @ Ikon Connaught for dinner one day.

When you visit Boat Noodles, the one dish you must try is none other than their signature boat noodles, of course, and so I ordered 2 of each to start with...chicken (dry and wet) and beef (dry and wet).  When the noodles arrived (however), you can't really differentiate the dry from the wet as they all looked similar to me (which was wet).  I tried asking the server which is which but it was like "a duck talking to a chicken" (these foreign workers can hardly speak English and you end up not understanding them and they don't understand you either).

No matter though because, whether wet or dry, they all had a pleasant enough flavour with an undertone of savoury-sour and a hint of spice.  These are the Chicken Noodles (Wet & Dry) @ RM1.90 a bowl. 

Each bowl of noodles is topped with a whole chicken ball, shredded chicken, "kangkung" (water spinach, stalks only), chopped coriander and fried garlic bits.

And these are the Beef Noodles (Wet & Dry) also @ RM1.90 a bowl.  The bowl of beef noodles came with only half a beef ball, some minced beef, water spinach (stalks again) and chopped coriander.

The texture of the noodles is a bit similar to those Pad Thai noodles, probably a bit thinner and softer.  Of the two, the beef noodles were definitely more savoury and flavourful.  As these noodles come in small servings, which you can slurp up in one or two mouthfuls, one needs 5 bowls (or more) to fill one up.

Of course, once we're done with our bowls of noodles, I just had to stack 'em up!  And, so I's like a gimmick or trend there's actually no place on your table for your empty bowls...kekeke! ;D  As my family wasn't that into these noodles, our stack looked miserable (I ate 5).  The bowls (chipped and all) have obviously seen better days!

I ordered a number of snacks for sharing, starting off with Thai Popeye's Tempura @ RM6.90  and I found the portion very generous for the price paid.  The tempura battered spinach leaves turned out super crispy! *Popeye would approve*

I was amazed at just how crispy it was and how it stayed that way throughout our dinner.  Although the tempura served in Japanese restaurants may still be a notch lighter...but this is still a darn good tempura.  On its own, it may seem a bit bland as it needed the distinctive dip that was served with it.

The dip tasted like a rich Thai curry, with a heavy dose of coconut cream flavour, but fresher due to the addition of raw ingredients of finely chopped garlic, onions and bird's eye chillies.  I'd call this a Thai (orange) curry since it looks like a cross between a Thai red curry and a yellow one....kekeke ;p  I wouldn't say that it tasted like tom yum as the sourness was almost non-existent.

The Chicken Wings @ RM4.90 (wingette + wing tip) may look thin and dry but, let me assure you, they were not.  They turned out totally crispy, fragrant and an utter delight to eat =)  I could definitely smell and taste the lemongrass marinade in the wings which made them so fragrant and truly addictive.  I absolutely loved it...I think I can eat a few plates of these!

It was served with a typical Thai sweet-and-sour chilli sauce.

Another appetiser was the Grilled Chicken Meatballs @ RM4.90 for 2 sticks of 3.  The tender chicken meatballs on a stick had a sweet glaze on it, much like the taste of the sweet-and-sour sauce served with the chicken wings.

The Grilled Beef Meatballs @ RM5.90 were less tender than their chicken counterpart.  What else can you's meatballs on a stick!

My spouse ordered the Kra-Pow Chicken Rice @ RM11.90 which was a new item on the menu.  It was made up of small chunks of chicken fried with fragrant basil leaves and fresh chillies although I found the dish to be over salted.  Even when eaten with rice, it was still too salty, so those with a low tolerance for salty food...beware!

To end our meal, I ordered the "Ka Num Tuay" @ RM1 which was 2 pcs of chilled pandan-coconut dessert served in a small sauce dish.  This resembled the taste of our very own "kuih talam" (also a pandan and coconut layered dessert) or "tepung pelita" (another local kuih that's very similar to kuih talam but this one uses banana leaves as its vessel).

The sweet bottom green layer (which gets its fragrance from the juice extracted from the pandan leaves) is a good contrast to the top (slightly) salty layer of thick coconut cream.  There's no doubt that these snacks are a good way to end our meal on a sweet note.

We settled for these Thai drinks for the evening:

"Kaffe Yen" (Thai Iced Coffee) @ RM6.90
(I found the Thai Iced Coffee to be really good, I liked it a lot)

"Cha-Manao-Yen" (Thai Iced Lemon Tea) @ RM6.90
(these drinks came in pretty tall plastic glasses, well worth the price)

Funny thing was, I received a media invite to do a review at their Empire Damansara branch (on 11 April) but invited reviews just ain't my thing!  I'm not into eating with a bunch of people I don't know (even though we're allowed to bring a +1).  Maybe if I get a one-on-one invite *wink wink*, I might just consider but I don't think I have to worry about that coz it's not gonna happen unless you're really 'famous'...kekeke)! ;D  Anyway, in the end, I still wanted to try boat noodles, so, this is still a paid post....I paid myself! :D :D

My Personal Opinion

If you have yet to try this, go on and give it a least once for the novelty!  But, if you're a big-eater who needs 10 bowls (or more) to fill you up, RM19 may not seem that worthwhile in the end.

For me, it's a place for snacking in between meals.  I wouldn't mind coming back here and snacking happily on the spinach tempura and chicken wings....with a tall glass of Thai Iced Coffee!  But, as far as the boat noodles go...once the novelty wears off, so will your desire!

Restoran Boat Noodle
G-09 Ground Floor
ikon Mall Connaught
Taman Connaught Jalan Cerdas
56100 Kuala Lumpur

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Flingstones @ Subang Jaya

My friends and I decided to venture into Subang Jaya last weekend as there were 2 cafes we wanted to try which are located within a short distance from each other.

And so, on a bright and sunny afternoon, we made our way to Flingstones Café @ Subang Jaya for our prescheduled get-together.  You can fling a stone in Subang Jaya SS15 and it will probably hit one of the many hipster cafes in the area....or you could hit Flingstones...just saying!

On reaching the café, the first thing that caught my eye were these lovely detailed and colourful tiles at the pretty!

For those who choose not to sit in the air-conditioned part of the café, there's an al fresco dining area next to the café that is shaded (with a roof), so it's pretty comfortable too.

Once inside the café, you'll appreciate the little touches of décor, from flowers on the tables to the cute framed prints and especially the wall art on the glass panels which are instagram-worthy!

I decided to order 3 dishes for the 4 of us as we were planning to hit another place after this...and we were given these quirky design plates for our food sharing.

Although their breakfast menu consisted only of a few items like salad, sandwiches and eggs, the Big Bang Breakfast @ RM24 looked like a complete breakfast for a morning (or, in this case, a brunch) pick-me-up with everything you'd want on a breakfast platter. 

The plate comes filled with a grilled sausage, pork bacon, potato rosti, 2 eggs (scrambled or sunny side up), mushrooms, baked beans with a salad and toast.  There was nothing to complain about in this big platter, everything was as it should be.

The next main that looked intriguing was the "Chee Yau Char" Angel Hair Pasta @ RM16.  This is a wok fried angel hair pasta with a twist....the addition of crispy bits of "chee yau char" (pork lard).  When your pasta is fried with pork bacon bits, you know it's already good but to hit it with the addition of pork lard bits makes it doubly good!  I'm sure many of us will be nodding our heads in approval of this combo! ;D

It was a party in my mouth...all the flavours came together in this dish fried with fragrant bacon, crispy chee yau char, juicy cherry tomatoes, slithers of crunchy cucumber, a mild kick of heat from the bird's eye chillies and finished with a grating of parmesan cheese.  And, on top of it all, the capellini was perfectly fried....not too hard and not too soft...just right (it's not that easy to nail especially when the pasta is so thin).

Our final main was the Oink Oink Ribs @ RM33 (for a full rack, RM26 for half) served with sweet potato fries and a mini salad.  What can I say....I'm a porkaholic...I love my oink oink! ;D

It was a pretty long slab of ribs that have been marinated in sour plum sauce and chargrilled to perfection.  The meat was absolutely flavourful, tender and falling off the bone good.  The freshly fried golden sweet potato fries were a nice accompaniment.

For dessert, they offer a few types of cakes (with equally quirky names) and we settled for a slice of One Night with Cendolman @ RM12 as it was different (unlike the usual cakes we get).  Taste wise, it was akin to eating "cendol" (a popular dessert in South East Asia made from coconut milk, pandan flavoured jelly noodles, shaved ice and palm sugar) but in cake form.  There were layers of pandan cake interspersed with layers of "santan" (coconut cream) and a layer of gula melaka infused sago and finished with a top layer of gula melaka jelly.  I liked that it was not a 'heavy' cake and not overly sweet.  I especially enjoyed the layer of sago pearls in the cake.

Of course, we could not possibly end our meal without the "affogato that makes you say arigatou" (according to their Facebook).  I was also intrigued when I came across Sean's blog commenting that their affogato came with grass jelly and wondered how the combo would taste like.  [#Note: I previously had a mug of "cham" (coffee + tea) with coffee jelly in Wondermama X but that combo didn't work at all.]  So, this was our order of affogato called Smooth Criminal @ RM16 (#P/S: Love the wooden teaspoon by the way).

Luckily, this combo worked out fine, maybe because the grass jelly was cut very fine (and not bitter).  The affogato was good with the bitter espresso perfectly complementing the sweet vanilla ice cream (although a member of my party found the ice cream to be too sweet).  Perhaps just a tad more coffee would have made it even better?  [#Note: Please excuse the pouring skills of a member of my party who spilled some of it onto the spoon and saucer....(maybe that's why it was sweet coz we lost some of the coffee)...kekeke! :D]

Our drinks for the afternoon:

Flavoured Cold Latte (with Hazelnut) @ RM13
I really, really enjoyed this :)

Blueberry Sparkling @ RM11...very refreshing indeed!
Other flavours include mint & lime and citrus + Tapping Tapir Soda is also available

Hot Latte @ RM10
Hot Cappuccino @ RM9 (no pic)

#Side Story:
Being an ardent fan, I knew I had to visit the café after seeing on their Facebook Page that my favourite Malaysian author/artist, Boey, drew some paper cup art for the café.  Boey's famed illustrations on foam coffee cups sell for hundreds (even thousands) of dollars and here was my opportunity to see one up close and personal.

I was hoping that the café would display his cup art...and they did, at the counter.  Speaking to one of the co-owners of the café, I soon realised that he knows Boey personally and that's probably why he managed to get his friend to draw his infamous cup art for him.  I suggested to the co-owner that (maybe) he should put his cup art in a glass enclosure to preserve the drawing before the paper cup turns yellow (it's valuable, you know) ;D

I'm glad that I had the chance to see his incredible artwork up close.  So, to all Boey fans out there, you know where you can find his cup art if you need to see it for yourself...I did!

My Personal Opinion

The menu may be limited (for now) but the few that they do, they do it well especially the ribs and pasta...and that's good enough for me.

Prices are moderately affordable, with a warm and friendly service team, in this few months old café.  It will continue to grow in popularity (I'm sure) among the trendy crowd (and students from the nearby learning institutions) looking for good food and good coffee in nice cozy settings (I liked the interior setting, design and ambience too).

So, come on over, even if it's just for some coffee and cakes and have a bit of fun....or better still, have a fling! *wink wink*

Flingstones Café
24 Jalan SS15/8
47500 Subang Jaya
Tel: 03-5879 9468

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

#ewew cooks Rice (or Yellow) Wine Chicken

I absolutely love Rice (or Yellow) Wine Chicken.  Rice wine is made from glutinous rice and my mom makes a good home brewed rice wine.  For non-alcohol drinkers (like me), glutinous rice wine is actually much sweeter in taste and more tolerable (as it's not as harsh or bitter as alcohol) though I don't think it would appeal much to 'real' drinkers.
Funny thing was I hated it when I had to drink this (on an almost daily basis) during my confinement period but it's a different story now.  Unfortunately, this dish seems to appeal more to women than men for some reason (though some women dislike it too)! :D

It's a pretty simple dish to do with just 4 ingredients, so let's get started....

400g chicken (about 12 medium-sized pcs or 1/4 of a chicken)
3 knobs of young ginger
1 - 2 pcs of dried black fungus
1 cup rice wine (home brewed or shop-bought)
1 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp sesame oil


For your just need to prep 3 things.  Soak the dried black fungus in water (for at least 1/2 an hr) and shred finely (discard the knotty bits). 

For the ginger, I would cut some into thick slices and shred the balance finely.  This way, I'd have the finely julienned ginger (to eat) and the thick slices (to flavour the broth) which can be discarded so that I don't have to eat too much ginger in one serving.
I also like to remove the chicken skin from my chicken so that my soup will not be that oily.  [#Tip: I would use "choi yin kai" (loosely translated as village or "kampong" chicken) for this as the meat tastes better than the normal "yuk kai" (broiler chickens) but is more expensive lah.  According to experts (ie. my chicken seller), the village chicken is slightly bigger than the kampong chicken (although both terms are used interchangeably).  The meat of the village chicken is not as tough, that's why it's the chicken of choice for chicken rice or steaming, but I use it for all my chicken dishes (except chicken curry, that you can use the normal yuk kai).  So, if you happen to eat steamed chicken where the meat is tough, that's probably the smaller kampong chicken.  And then, there's "ma lai kai" (Malay chicken) and "lo kai" (old chicken) which is good for boiling soups.  There's also the black chicken which is the easiest to recognise (unless you're blind)...and that's good for herbal soups. many types of chicken, all very confusing, can't recognise which is which, so I just tell my chicken seller what I'm making and he'll give me the "right" chicken ;-D]
And, of course, you need the 'star of the show'....the rice wine!  [#Note: Do not be alarmed when you see that my rice wine takes on a darker brown hue as opposed to slightly yellowish (which is the colour when the wine is freshly made).  Rice wine turns to a darker shade of brown (over a period of time) but it can still be used (no worries) and this bottle is more than 6 months old.  I actually like my rice wine in this darker shade (somehow it tastes sweeter and less intense) but presentation-wise, it's not so nice lah.  When I use the rice wine right after it's made, I like to add a drizzle of dark soy just to achieve a darker colour...kekeke!!]

In a small saucepan, fry finely shredded ginger and black fungus in sesame oil for a min.  [#Tip: Frying in sesame oil gives it more fragrance (which I learned from my mother-in-law).] 
Add in the chicken pieces and stir-fry for about 2 - 3 mins.
Add one and a half cups of water, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 8 - 10 mins.  [#Tip: The reason I add in water first, as opposed to adding the rice wine, is because I don't want to completely cook off all the alcohol content.]  Season with salt to taste. 
At this point, if rice wine is not your thing, you have a nice chicken soup that's infused with ginger's good too!
When the chicken is cooked through, pour in your 1 cup rice wine and simmer for a further 3 - 4 mins (not too long).  Do not boil the crap out of your broth as the wine flavour tend to disappear from vigorous boiling (much like how the alcohol is burned off when white/red wine sauces are reduced in western cooking).
[#Note: I'm using the ratio of 2:3 rice wine to water as I don't like the wine taste to be too strong.  If you like it stronger, you can go with a higher ratio.  Again, I'd like to remind you that yours might taste different because the intensity of the rice wine (made by different sellers) is different.  So, the best way is to start with 1 part water and adjust the amount of rice wine until you reach the flavour that you're happy with.]
And here's my bowl of Rice Wine Chicken that is so easy to prepare (if you have rice wine in your pantry) and nutritious at the same time.

Or for those who like it in its original colour, here's one I made previously (when my rice wine was fresh....and yellow) but without the dried black fungus!
Serve your Rice Wine Chicken piping hot with some steamed rice or noodles...but know that this will mellow out the intensity of the rice wine taste.  My preference is to just eat it on its own, with no rice and noodles, so that you can taste the boozy goodness in all its glory!
Serves 1 - 2 (but I wallop all by myself since no-one likes this)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...