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Monday, 24 July 2017

Jia Li Mian Noodle House @ Pandan Jaya

I didn't know about the existence of a good curry laksa near me until I read about it on two food blogs.  If I passed by this place, I probably wouldn't have given it a second look.

That's because the signboard of Jia Li Mian Noodle House @ Pandan Jaya is written in Chinese.  In fact, I had to find out its 'equivalent' name in English from their facebook page for this blog post.  Since both me and my husband are fans of curry laksa, we just had to try this.

If you've watched the video (made by Ho Chak) posted on their facebook, you'll realise that they serve two types of curry noodles here, an authentic Penang version (referred to as curry mee) and a KL version (which we like to call curry laksa).  Even if you have not, no worries as the friendly boss will explain to you the two types available.

I wanted to try the Penang Curry Mee @ RM6.50 (small, RM7.50 for big).  When the bowl arrived, I found it topped with a sprinkling of finely shredded "bunga kantan" (torch ginger flower) and some mint leaves.  I know mint leaves are quite common in a Penang version of curry mee but wasn't aware that ginger flower was also part of an authentic bowl of Penang curry mee.  I thought it would be more common in a bowl of assam laksa than curry mee.  I'm sure they were there to add some freshness and to enhance the fragrance of the curry noodles even more, so I didn't mind it.

Although I placed an order for small, it was a big bowl fully loaded with ingredients of cockles, shrimps, cuttlefish slices, cubes of pig's blood, tofu puffs and bean sprouts.  So, if you're a small-eater, this bowl may be a tad too much for you.  The curry broth was exactly how I liked it...thick, fragrant and savoury with just enough of creaminess from the "santan" (coconut milk).  It's happiness in a bowl! ^o^

Of course, fresh plump cockles is a must for a successful bowl of curry noodles.  Just look at the size of these babies....happy days! ^_~

Then there are some not-so-happy days...that's when they look like this (I put it on a sauce plate to let you gauge the size)! T_T  The size is inconsistent...I guess it depends on the cockle supply and what they get.

And when it's a Penang version of curry mee, there must be the undeniable coagulated pig blood cubes. What a surprise it was when I got ones with a pretty design.....special edition?....kekeke! :D

My husband opted for the KL Curry Mee @ RM6.50 which comes with curry chicken, pork skin and tofu puffs but minus the cockles.  Ah well, to each his own.  And yeah, I wouldn't mind more cockles in my bowl but since he dislikes them immensely, he thinks they'd 'taint' the taste of his beloved bowl of curry broth! :P

You need to dunk in all the sambal to bring the curry broth to life.  Don't worry, even after adding all of it, the broth was mildly spicy.  I've introduced a lot of curry noodles to my spouse but most of them did not meet his expectations.  He has very high standards for curry.  So, I asked...how is this compared to your no. 1 favourite curry laksa (mine too) in Imbi?  His reply?....very close!  I was relieved that one finally met his standards.

On another trip here, I tried their Penang Assam Laksa @ RM6.50 (small, RM7.50 for big) filled with chunks of fresh "ikan kembong" (Indian mackerel), julienned cucumber, pineapple, onions and lettuce (but no "daun kesom" or polygonum leaves though), topped with finely chopped bunga kantan, red chillies, mint leaves and a crispy cracker (somewhat similar in taste to those you'd find in rojak buah, only thinner).

What is assam laksa without "har ko" (thick prawn paste)?  I was hesitant (at first) to drizzle all of it in but in the end I did.  The broth, with its slightly sour note, was just mildly spicy.  This broth was lighter than some I've had before and not as pungently hot, sour and spicy like the one from O & S (this could also be due to the fact that the broth did not arrive as piping hot as I would have liked).  Having said that, I prefer a less sourish broth but those who prefer a thicker, pungent and more full-flavoured broth may find this too light for them.

The first time I had the curry mee, I found it straining to finish the entire bowl and told them (when settling the bill) that perhaps it's too big a bowl.  This time, I noticed my husband's bowl of curry mee didn't seem as big.  They say be careful what you wish for (or maybe it's just my imagination).  P/S: I hope I'm not the cause of the reduced size...haha! ;D  But then I also saw 4 ladies at the next table ordering 2 bowls and asking for 2 empty bowls, so..... :P

For side dishes, they have only two...and we tried both.  Their Penang Lobak @ RM3 per piece (the serving here is two pieces) turned out to be really good too.  It's fried to order with just the right amount of five-spice that did not overpower the taste of the lobak (unlike some I've eaten that had too much five-spice powder).  Highly recommend it.

Their other snack is the Penang Otak-Otak @ RM4 a piece which is a Malaysian delicacy of steamed fish custard wrapped in banana leaves.

It's made with fish paste blended with aromatic herbs and spices (this one you can clearly see the small pieces of fish fillet), eggs, coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves.  This is a Penang Nyonya-style otak-otak, that's why it has the ever important "daun kaduk" (wild betel or pepper leaves) without which it's simply not an authentic otak-otak.

It arrived piping hot (I believe it's steamed to order) and the texture is very soft and delicious with a subtle hint of aromatic spices...so good! ^.^  Both this Penang Nyonya Style Otak-Otak and the Penang Lobak are certainly among the better ones I've eaten thus far.  You can take-away these in cooked form or fresh ones to be steamed and fried at home as and when you like.

You may want to try their signature drink, "Hor Ka Sai" (loosely translated as "sangat hebat" or great, I think). It's basically a mixture of kopi-peng (local black coffee with condensed milk) + Milo.  But since I'm not a kopi-peng or Milo person, I decided to skip it.  I'm more of a kopi-o-ping (iced black coffee, RM2) and teh-ping (iced tea with milk, RM2.20) kind of person.

My Personal Opinion

Besides curry noodles and assam laksa, they also offer Tom Yum Noodles, Fish Ball Noodles and Jawa Mee. The curry noodles here is definitely my preferred choice over the assam laksa.  This curry mee can give our favourite curry laksa a run for its money although it didn't knock it off its top spot in our books.  Plus the price for such a fully loaded bowl makes it really cheap.  

Make sure you order their two side snacks of Penang Lobak and Penang Otak-Otak as they're equally yum.

If you can't make it here, they've opened a stall in Makan-Makan by Parkson (on Level 3, Sunway Velocity Mall) since February 2017 under the name of Homey Curry Laksa (now that's a name I can understand).  They strive to give you the homemade taste (like your mom or grandma makes or use to make) in their curry mee, hence the name Jia Li Mian or Homey Curry Laksa.  Did they deliver?  For me, they did.

Jia Li Mian Noodle House
19 Jalan Pandan 2/2
Pandan Jaya
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 012-560 3879

Friday, 21 July 2017

Rakuzen @ Sunway Velocity

After our first visit and liking the food, we made our way back to Rakuzen @ Sunway Velocity for more. We're glad to have another Japanese restaurant near us that offers good and reasonably priced Japanese food.

I really like the design of the place with its exposed polished wood and how the place is sectioned into various booths.  Although each cubicle is filled with a few tables, you still get a bit of privacy as it's not a totally open concept, so you only see the diners in your booth.  If you have a large enough eating party, you can even get yourself a whole booth of your own for even more privacy.

This time we went for the affordably priced dinner sets, the first being the Teppanyaki Zen @ RM48 which is the diced-cut beef steak set.

The set comes with all the usual components of chawanmushi, miso soup, eggplant, pickles, fresh fruits, garlic fried rice and diced-cut beef, of course.

The odd tasting side dish for me was the eggplant which was served chilled.  Mind you, I love my eggplant but eating it chilled wasn't my thing so I left it unfinished.  I'm not sure if it was meant to be served chilled like that or they didn't warm it through.

I also welcomed the addition of  a more premium fresh fruit of seedless sweet purple grapes besides the usual juicy watermelon.

The garlic fried rice was good too and it was a very large bowl.  I actually managed to eat only half of it and had to summon help to finish the rest.

The main event of this set was (of course) the diced-cut beef executed to medium rare as requested.  They were served along with some stir-fried vegetables of cabbage, bean sprouts, carrots, leek and mushrooms, topped with some crispy garlic! ^o^  If there's one (small) complaint, it would be that the beef and vegetables were not as hot as I would have liked when they were served (probably sitting at the kitchen counter a tad longer than it should) judging by the release of water from the vegetables).  But because the cubes of beef were flavourful, juicy and tender, I'm willing to overlook the fact that it was served lukewarm! :P

The  other set we got was the Chicken Teriyaki Zen @ RM33 which is the grilled chicken set.

Again, the set was complemented by the same servings of miso soup, chawanmushi, eggplant, pickles and fresh fruits.  Loved that the chawanmushi arrived piping hot! ^.^

The chicken teriyaki, coated in a delicious sauce, was well grilled to yield tender, tasty meat.  It was one of the better chicken teriyaki I've come across.

We also ordered one of their special maki for sharing.  This time we tried the Stamina Roll @ RM38 featuring an avocado and omelette roll topped with (what else) but our favourite unagi.

Although their rolls are expertly done and taste good, we still prefer Burger & Sushi's maki rolls just a fraction more.

Rakuzen is the only Japanese restaurant I've come across here (so far) that serves complimentary green tea...and it's refillable too! *thumbs up* ;)

My Personal Opinion

It was again a more than decent Japanese meal at a mall that's conveniently located near where we stay.  If you go with a value-for-money dinner set, it'll make your meal here that much more affordable.

It you're a small-eater and happen to be not too hungry, the beef teppanyaki set that I had could probably be shared since I had difficulty finishing the miso soup, eggplant and fried rice on my own.

I'm certain I'll be back as it's now one of our 'go to' places for a wide selection of Japanese food that's good and reasonably priced.

Rakuzen
Lot 1-28 Sunway Velocity Mall
Lingkaran SV
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-9770 1170

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Cats Love Confined Spaces

Cats love confined spaces.....and Cookie is no different.  They like to squeeze themselves into the tiniest of spaces.......

#1 - Like cupboards.

#2 - And drawers.  The moment I open one, he'll come running! ^_~

#3 - And boxes.  He'll try to squeeze in even if he can't fit! :D

#4 - No matter what cupboard.

#5 - No matter the size.

#6 - No space is too small for him.

#7 - Each time I open a cupboard door, you can be sure the 'kepochi' is not far away and just waiting to jump in!

#8 - He even treats the TV cabinet as his space.

#9 - Even a paper bag is pure comfort.

#10 - Our travel bag will do too.

Cookie:  I'm all packed and ready to go :)

#11 - Even our new suitcase has to be 'cat-approved'.
Cookie:  Perfect fit...and I'm all snugly and warm....#CookieApproved! :P

#12 - A confined space can also mean in between some sheets.

Cookie loves it when I throw a blanket over him.
Cookie:  It's so cozy, comfortable and warm...I like it :)

#13 - I can even build a makeshift enclosed space with cushions for him...and he'll appreciate his own little space.

So, there you have it....it's no secret cats love small spaces...and that includes my Cookie! ;)

Monday, 17 July 2017

my Toast n Roast @ SS2 PJ

We were back again to my Toast n Roast @ SS2 PJ for a late breakfast one Sunday morning.  Look who decided to visit too.....a husky!  As cute as the dog may be, pets don't belong in an eatery, especially one that doesn't state that it's a pet-friendly place.

Luckily, this dog was tied outside the restaurant.  I've seen diners with their dogs inside eateries too many times.  I've even seen a dog owner feeding her dog (inside the restaurant) with the same chopsticks we use.  I just don't understand why people would want to bring their dogs to eating places where they have no business being there.  I'm a pet lover too but even I won't condone this.  If such pet owners want to 'flaunt' their pet, they need to do it elsewhere...like take them to a dog park, for God's sake.  It's a matter of hygiene and respect for other customers who may not take kindly to your pet being there.

Getting back to our late breakfast that morning, the Char Siew Rice @ RM8 was still as great as ever...the char siew was sticky sweet, caramelised and meltingly tender...just slightly pricier than before! ;)

The Char Siew Wantan Mee (Dry) @ RM8.80 was just as good as the last time we had it with flavourful noodles and smoky, delicious char siew.  The Hakka Noodle with Char Siew @ RM8.50 is their signature noodle here.  For photos, refer to my previous post on my Toast n Roast.

Since we've only tried the siew yoke at the old Toast & Roast, we ordered a serving of Siew Yoke (Small) @ RM12.  For those who like their siew yoke savoury, the siew yoke here comes with a salty crispy skin.

In fact, I could taste the salty seasoning rub at the bottom of the meat as well.  Other than that, the centre part of the meat was dry and not as succulent as it should be.  It was just an average siew yoke.  The char siew is still the undisputed star of the show here.

The last time I was here, I didn't get to taste their smoked chicken, so I ordered their Premium Hickory Smoked Chicken Whole Leg @ RM13.50.  My husband was not a fan of this at all...he didn't find the meat juicy and described the taste as 'eating cigarette smoke' for lack of a better comparison! O_o  For me, I thought the meat was alright but the smokiness of the chicken wasn't something I relished...it was as if I was tasting the wood or perhaps subconsciously I was thinking of that.

The smoked flavour is very different from the smoky, charred flavour of grilled meats that I adore.  I've watched enough cooking shows to know that there are many different types of wood for smoking, some will impart a more subtle smoke flavour while others are more intense.  I've also watched enough cooking competitions to know that you can over smoke your meat.  Yes, there's such a thing as over smoking (like over cooking) your meat.  Perhaps, this hickory wood flavour was a tad too intense for me (some even go as far to say that hickory may not be the best wood to smoke chicken).  Maybe this chicken needed a more robust seasoning rub (there was none) to counter the potent wood smell.  Or maybe the smoke flavour just taste different for non-(cigarette) smokers like us...haha! :D  Whatever the case may be, I've not eaten enough smoked meats to offer an experienced insight into this, so I leave it to your judgement if you like this.

Usual condiments of pickled green chillies and fresh chilli sauce can be found on the table.  I like the vibrancy and freshness of the lime juice in the chilli mix although this time I tasted a hint of extra sweetness in it.

We also noticed something new, small pre-wrapped packets of these on the tables, which I thought was nasi lemak initially, so I grabbed a packet.  But it turned out to be a Thai-Style Fried Bihun they call Happy Mee Hoon @ RM3.50.  At first glance, it seemed expensive for such a small packet of meehoon.

Luckily, the aroma of dried prawns filled my nostrils when I opened the packet to unveil an abundance of fried dried prawns that made the price more acceptable.  The fragrance from the finely shredded "bunga kantan" (torch ginger flower), the spicy notes from the fiery red bird's eye chillies and sourish flavours of lime juice made this a very light and refreshing meehoon. ^o^  I liked it enough to grab a packet home.

The last time I was here (a few months back), I saw side dishes like Tortilla Wrapped Char Siew Bacon with Vege, English Muffin Butter and Mantou with Char Siew Bacon in BBQ Sauce listed as 'coming soon'.  I thought I'd try that the next time I'm here but it wasn't on the menu anymore.  I'm not sure if it 'came and left' or 'never came'.  The side dishes are now limited to just fried or soup sui kow and wantan, pork meatball soup and crispy fish roll.

My Personal Opinion

Still a good place for awesome char siew that's sticky sweet and lusciously tender with either wantan mee or Hakka noodles.  And for snacks, it'd be the fried fish roll and the Thai-style meehoon.  That's it! :)

my Toast n Roast
No 101 Jalan SS2/6
47300 Petaling Jaya
Selangor
Tel: 03-7865 9699

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