Saturday, 30 July 2016

Quan Zhou Kopitiam, Penang

This was supposed to be just a random coffee shop where my FIL was going to meet his old-time friend but it was quite a find for us! Located at Jalan Sungai Pinang, it was quite obscure with all the hawkers and trees hiding it from view.

Apparently famed for their oyster-based fried products (which we ordered and more on that later), we were not disappointed with this fried noodles hokkien style. The fat noodles are also known as "moon noodles" and I love the fact that the ingredients were quite generous. Granted, the wait for the food was a little long but I guess that's expected when there's a heavy crowd. The "fragrance" from the wok or else known as the "wok hei" was obvious and very enjoyable. Succulent prawns and tender pork slices made this one of my new personal favourite!

The oyster fried beehoon was a good dish but did not make it anywhere near the first one. The oysters were aplenty and ranged from huge ones to medium sized ones so no complaints there. The flavours were a tad bland especially after the amazing first plate of noodles so I can't be sure if it was my not-too-hungry-self being too harsh or if it was actually so.

The oyster omelette came highly recommended. Again, the oysters were more than generous and a plate with less than a quarter the posters in KL would probably set you back about RM10-15, depending on the location (maybe even more in restaurants). I felt that it was a little under seasoned but with the chilli sauce, that could be swept under the carpet. The omelette was light and crispy with goey centres from the corn starch used. The pickled vegetables could use a little longer of a soak in the vinegar but all in all, this was a good dish.

The tofu with prawns and leeks is probably one of the best I have ever had and that in itself is saying something. I never knew plain tofu (beancurd) could taste this good and this dish definitely proved me wrong! The tofu was fragrant and soft with a little crispy edges, the leeks were fried well with just a little crisp left to them and the sauce was simply out of this world. Add the succulent prawns to the mix and you have an award-winning dish! I couldn't get enough of this and practically had most of it. Lol.

Give this lesser known shop a try if you are in the area and I am pretty sure you wouldn't regret it. 

Kedai Makanan Tai Chien, Taiping

A popular spot amongst locals, this coffee shop is almost always bustling with activities during the breakfast period.  In Taiping's early hours, the tables were already mostly full.

I am quite pleased with the popiah I ordered, definitely worth every single penny. Each morsel was full of minced tofu, crunchy "sengkuang" and fresh lettuce wrapped up in paper thin rice wraps. I asked for less chilli and was more than happy with the result.

Hubby had the Wantan Mee and was delighted. I found their charsiew a little on the dry side but their noodles and wantans were quite delish;).

They had a very popular fried kueh tiaw stall as well but as I wasn't feeling very hungry, I didn't try any. It was (as I was told) quite nice too.

Chee Cheong Fun @Pasar Siang Malam, Taiping

Pasar Siang Malam is probably one of the best known night spot for Taiping locals. A "mamak" of sorts but with Chinese-style dishes or food. One of my must-have here would be the Chee Cheong Fun. Unlike its kin in Penang where prawn paste is used, this one only uses sweet sauce which is a little like tomato sauce to me and has lots of sesame seeds and crunchy stuff on top. 

The queue is almost always long but I felt that with the fast service, the wait is usually not very long. The silky smooth dough drenched in sweet tangy sauce makes it the perfect snack to end your night in Taiping.

Food here is available from evening to early morning so it's definitely a good choice for supper. Although I might be recommending the Chee Cheong Fun here, the Nasi lemak (coconut rice) and the Wantan noodles are worth trying too.

Bismillah Cendol, Taiping

Even though Cendol and Laksa Assam would be the last thing in my mind when visiting Taiping, this unassuming stall totally changed my mind. Located in between buildings, this stall seemed unchanged by time since the 60s.

Despite its name, they not only sell Cendol here but also Laksa and Pasembur. The food here is excellent, although hygiene might not be their top priority. To be honest, at first glance, the laksa looked a little underwhelming. With just a boiled egg and thin broth, I thought it would be just a paltry meal but I was wrong! When added with a generous dollop of prawn paste, this bowl of white noodles became sensational! It was so good that I finished every last drop!

Paired with the fragrant Cendol in which I can still taste the sweet, creamy coconut milk, it was a pair made in heaven! I had my Cendol with red beans but they have the option of adding glutinous rice or forgoing the red beans too! It tasted a little gritty towards the end but I guess dirty food almost always tastes the best~

The Pasembur was really good as well. For RM3.50 it was a good portion and the sauce was amazing! It was not really that spicy and was good for my mild palate. I love it!

Overall, this shop is worth going to; just for the experience and the food. Be forewarned though if you are picky over cleanliness etc you might not be too impressed.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Simple Butter Cake/Marbled Cake Recipe

120g softened butter
100g all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g sugar
2 large eggs 
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

For marble cake and chocolate chunk toppings:
2 tsp instant coffee granules (I used Nescafé) ~10g
Half bar of chocolate (I used the one available in my fridge-chocolate almond; about 150g)

These ingredients make a small loaf enough for a small family :) Due to the small amount of ingredients used, I used a spoon only but you are free to use an electronic mixer.

Do remember to heat up oven to 180 degrees Celsius before proceeding.

1) Beat the butter with sugar until the mixture turns fluffy and whitens.
2) Add one egg and continue to mix until it is well incorporated.
3) Add 1/3 of flour (mix of AP flour and baking powder) until well incorporated.
4) Continue with 2 tbsp of milk and vanilla essence until well incorporated.
5) Repeat with the flour and then the egg and back to flour again.
6) For marble effects, pour 2/3 into a 'buttered and floured cake tin' then add the coffee granules to the remaining batter. Mix well and pour into the cake tin before using a toothpick or a knife to draw the darker mixture around for a marbled look. Or, if you are lazy like me, just pour the darker mixture around one side for a two-toned butter cake. ;)

7) Break up the chocolate bar and sprinkle them all over the top of the batter. 

8) Bake until golden brown.

Arroi Thai Restaurant, Miri

What can I say? I love Thai food even though I almost always couldn't take the heat. LOL. This is the best Thai restaurant you could find in Miri and they are pretty new to the food scene here. You probably wouldn't be able to find any table in the air-conditioned area if you come during the dinner hours but come earlier or make a booking so you don't have to sit in the heat. The deco is pretty unique with colorful fans lining the ceiling and fairy lights in the windows. Each table has a lit candle in lotus stand.

I had the root beer and my sister had the lemongrass drink. To be honest, I was a little disappointed because I was expecting the whole bottle of Bundeberg but I was given a glass only. Hmm. Lemongrass drink was quite Yum!

The fried rice was quite delicious with thinly julienned cucumber, shallots and mango on the side. Cubes of chicken breast and some chilli are available for mixing. It's more of a pick-and-mix kind of a fried rice and I guess it's refreshing in its own way.

The Thai style fish is one dish you should never miss out when you are here. I chose the red snapper instead of the other ones where extra charges will be added. They allow for requests of more or less heat with your food so make sure to request for milder flavours when ordering. With the sweetness of mango to offset the tangy sourness of the lemon, I found this dish to be extremely appetising. I also love the hints of fish sauce in it.

The prawns tomyam we ordered was a "normal" one so I was expecting the heat that came with it. It's actually quite spicy for me so I guess next time I would have to remember to order the mild version. I do not think this Tomyam makes it up there with some of my favourites and the prawns were not that fresh anymore.

The pineapple chicken wings were a little
disappointing to me. Too sweetly cloying and a little like plain sweet and sour sauce, it did not impress. Even more so because the sauce was not very good too.

Overall, I think it is a good addition to the Miri food scene but I totally could not understand their need to take reservations. They have good, brisk business but they spoil it all by taking reservations to the point that all their empty tables are left, well, EMPTY and hungry customers who showed up are shown the door. I would think not taking up reservations and only serving walk-ins would be more prudent in small restaurants like this but I guess everyone have their own way of running the business. I wonder how long will people stick around when they are always turned away after showing up and what does the restaurant do when the reserved tables didn't turn up? Hmmm

Greyhound Cafe, Bukit Bintang KL

Located at one of the best primo location at Bukit Bintang, Greyhound Cafe which hailed from Thailand serves some of the best fusion Thai food (from hearsay). The first few months it opened, we couldn't get a table from walk-in. Finally, after a few months when the crowd died down, we went in after we happened to pass by and saw it was not that full. Some tables filled up after we ordered etc so it was a quite fast wait for us before our meals were delivered to the table.

Pineapple Juice (RM12++)

Fresh Banana Shake (RM12++)

Beef Salad Noodles (RM28++)

Pad Thai with Fresh Shrimps (RM26++)

Greyhound Famous Fried Chicken Wings (RM18++)

Shrimp Paste Chilli Dressing Fish Set (RM27++)

Would I recommend this place? I guess but the hype aside, it is not very impressive. Most of the food tasted alright, good but not outstanding. For the price, there are better options in KL.

PS: This is a really late post. By now, I think the cafe is mostly empty for walk-ins.

Lot 0.2, 101, Jln Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Bacon and Tomato Quiche Recipe

For the crust, I pre-made them when I was making my apple pie the other day. To get the recipe for the crust, refer HERE

You can make the crust earlier or on the day itself. Earlier would means preparing the crust in the pie-tin or relevant containers and covering them up with aluminium foil in the fridge until needed. I made these a few days ago and they seemed to taste better after a few days in the fridge probably because I made the crust a little too wet from too much milk for my pie previously and their time in the fridge just dry out the crust properly to the correct texture. LOL. If you made the crust properly, make sure you seal them to ensure they don't dry out too much.

For the filling, I used a few simple ingredients only.

3 eggs (large)
1/2 cup full fat milk
1 big onion  (cut into thin rings)
6 slices of streaky bacon (chopped)
2 medium tomato (sliced)
3 slices of processed cheddar (You could probably use grated cheese but I do not have them)
A small handful of fresh sweet basil (I do not have dried ones and I have fresh ones growing) or 1 tsp of dried basil
A tsp of dried thyme
Pinch of salt and pepper

1) Bake the crust at 190-200degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes. Not ncessary to brown them. If you have weights, place them on baking sheet in the crust to prevent uneven crusts. Otherwise, I think the rustic look works fine especially for home-cooks. PS: Remember to prick your crust before baking them or if you prepared them ahead of time, prick them before freezing them.
2) Heat up wok/pan. Without using any oil, put all the chopped bacon inside and brown them slightly. Add the onions and stir well until both are nicely golden brown.
3) Remove from heat.
4) Beat up the eggs and milk together with salt, pepper and thyme. Add the dried basil here if you are using it but if fresh basil are used, sprinkle over the quiche later.
5) Line the bottom of the pie crust with cheese and pour the egg mixture over it.
6) Top with sliced tomatoes and sprinkle the fresh basil leaves over them.
7) Bake for 30-45 minutes (until toothpick came out clean) at 190degrees.

Excuse my rather clumsy looking crust as they are from leftover pie crusts used in another recipe

Tokyo Secret Hanjyuku Cheese Tart, 1 Utama

The latest craze in KL, Tokyo Secret recently opened with a bang of crusty tarts and decadent cheesy filling~ The queue to get this RM7.90 tart was surprisingly long but upon closer inspection as they were baking only a tray each time, I guess that's understandable. Whether to ensure the freshness of the tarts or to make sure there's always a crowd in front, I can't be sure. Hehe!

That aside, I simply love the creamy, cheesy filling and its buttery, flakey crust. It was worth every expensive cents. Hehe.

They provide a card to show how their tarts could be enjoyed but I seriously doubt anyone would wait that long to consume the yummy, warm tarts which are packed straight from the oven.
LOL! In case you do try them out after it cools down in the fridge, let me know!

The branch I went to is located here:

Tokyo Secret Malaysia – Japanese Hanjyuku Cheese Tart 
2nd Floor High Street
One Utama Shopping Mall
(opposite to Haagen Dazs)

but Google showed that they have another branch at Ikano Damansara located at:

Tokyo Secret Malaysia 
G23, IPC Shopping Centre,
Jalan PJU 7/2 Mutiara Damansara,
47800 Petaling Jaya,

The one in IPC Shopping Centre boasted more choices in terms of delectable desserts and you could be in for a treat from ice creams to Japanese-inspired cakes.


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