Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Yi Poh @ PJ Old Town

It was in one of our recent visits to Jin Xuan Hong Kong for dim sum one Sunday morning that I noticed Yi Poh @ PJ Old Town just next to it across the road.

Yi Poh sounded like Ipoh to me (in Cantonese) but was told that it's actually grandma's sister (in Chinese). This restaurant, headquartered in Seremban, is best known for its loh shi fun (a recipe that dates back to 1948).

To start, I had to try the famed loh shi fun, so I went with the Yi Poh Lo C Fun (Dry) @ RM6.30 (for small) with char siew and minced pork.  Give the noodles a quick toss in its soy-based sauce (with pork lard fragrance) for a pretty delicious mouthful.

The rice noodles here are unique in that they look more like lai fun noodles (used in assam laksa) than the short noodles with pointy ends we're more accustomed to (which we also call loh shi fun or rat-tail noodles). One taste of the noodles and I soon realised that the texture is closer to (and firmer like) loh shi fun rather than gummy or soft like lai fun.

The bowl of soup that came with the dry loh shi fun was peppery hot but (luckily) that wasn't the same soup base (phew!) for the Yi Poh Lo C Fun (Soup) @ RM6.30.  This soup base was rather tasty and I enjoyed it very much.

On another visit, I tried the Soup Hor Fun @ RM6.30 and immediately regretted my choice.  That's because I detected the hor fun (aka kway teow) had a very slight offensive taste (that I disliked in some kway teow) but, at least, this was still edible.

Not So Fun Fact: Recently I finally decided to ask a noodle shop owner (I'm a regular at her shop) if there is such a thing as offensive kway teow that I've tasted.  Guess what was the first thing she said to me.  She said the noodles have this cockroach smell, right? >_<  She suspects it has something to do with the ingredient (rice or the poor quality of it) used to manufacture the noodles or the unhygienic handling/storage of the noodles (like cockroaches walking over the noodles).  Yikes!...I'd rather hope (and believe) it's something to do with the manufacturing process (be it rice, oil or chemicals) rather than the disgusting notion of cockroach contamination (in the factory or of the noodles!!).  So's real...I'm so glad to know that I'm not out of mind and that some people have had a similar experience.  I've even experienced it with meehoon and rice (though it's more rare).

The Yi Poh Hakka Mee @ RM6.30 is another noodle dish that Yi Poh is well known for.  And that's precisely why the char siew served here is more reddish-coloured (that's commonly served with Hakka mee) and is almost 100% lean.

You can also opt for Yi Poh Wantan Mee @ RM6.30 but don't hold your breath for dark coloured, sweetish, caramelised char siew that's a hallmark at other wantan mee stalls coz the ones here are similar to the ones you get with Hakka noodles.

The wantan mee is served with two meaty soup wantans and one fried wantan + some greens of choy sum. The wantan noodles here have more bite than those springy types and the flavour of the sauce is pretty decent.

Condiments of pickled green chillies and sambal for you to add to perk up your noodles (if you wish) are available at tableside but I found the taste of the sambal to be among some of the worst I've eaten.  You can even find jars of this sambal for sale at the restaurant but if they're similar to the ones on the table...thanks but no thanks! >_<

They also have a couple of side orders you can add on to complement your meal like pork balls, pork tendon balls, Thai tofu, Thai fish balls, fish balls, soup wantans, fried wantans, pork stomach soup and vegetables.

We got an order of Pig Stomach Soup @ RM6.90 which came sprinkled with lots of Chinese coriander (I like!) and some fried shallots in a peppery soup that my spouse said was not hot enough (by that he meant peppery, not panas).  It certainly was hot enough when I had it the first time as a bowl of soup with my dry noodles but that was lunch time...and this was in the morning (maybe that's why...the longer it steeps or boils, the hotter it becomes).  At home, when I make hot pepper soup, I would transfer the soup out and discard the peppercorns at the bottom coz I once left them steeping in the pot and the soup became much hotter at dinner time.

Their meaty Fried Wantans @ RM1 (a piece) were rather good.....freshly fried, crispy and not greasy at all, meaning the oil was perfectly hot (you can see from the pic that there's none of that glistening surface on the wantan skins).  I should have ordered time I will! ;)

Golden Fireworks @ RM6.90 were fried enoki mushrooms dusted with chilli powder and fried with curry leaves.  I wasn't a fan of the batter and the seasoning of salt was too heavy-handed.  Not sure why it was served with fried wantan skins at the side which were bland and tasteless.

We ordered a plate of greens of Choy Sum @ RM6.90 on my first visit with my sister-in-law (she asked for the oyster sauce to be omitted).  They came with crispy pork lard on top (not that I'm complaining).

For drinks, I had the refreshing Kedondong Juice @ RM5.40 on my first visit that was pretty acceptable though not the best around.  The Iced White Coffee @ RM4.40 on my second visit certainly ranks among some of the worst tasting white coffees I've had.  Not only that but the iced coffee was served lukewarm with not a piece of ice in sight (probably they made the drink too hot and the ice melted instantly).  I noticed a customer asking for more ice for his coffee...and so did I.

My Personal Opinion

Your best bet here, in my opinion, is their loh shi fun in a delicious soup base (so, you must like loh shi fun to begin with to come away with an enjoyable meal).....complemented by (perhaps) a side order of satisfying fried wantans.

Yi Poh Restaurant
A19 Ground Floor
Jalan Pasar 1/21
PJ Oldtown
46000 Selangor
Tel: 03-7772 1027

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Bo All Day Dining @ The Linc KL

The Linc KL is probably one of the most instagrammable malls in KL though this two-storey mall isn't quite a shopping mall like others but one influenced by art and art installations with a few home-grown stores for retail experience.

Of course, we (my sisters-in-law and I) made prior arrangements to be here for the same take photos of some of these instagram-worthy spots.  Once we did our requisite walkabout and photo-taking, it was time for lunch and my sister-in-law suggested this place (a place that she and her husband had eaten in before).

This place is referred to by many names...Bo & Banker, Bo All Day Dining, Bo Dining, B + B (or BNB).  I can understand the B + B moniker since they have Bo & Banker, Bricks & Barrels (ipoh) and the soon to be launched, Box & Butterfly.  But I think I'll go with the name of Bo All Day Dining @ The Linc KL (since it's on the menu, it's on Google and it's the most commonly used one by other food blogs).

The menu offers a range of starters for sharing, soups, salads, burgers & sandwiches, wood-fired pizzas, western mains, Asian favourites, desserts, breakfast & brunch specials, set lunch specials and tea time delights, so there are more than enough choices to keep everyone happy.

Besides their a la carte menu, set lunch specials are also offered on weekdays from 11am - 3pm and, on that particular day, we had 5 choices to choose from.  The set lunch special comes at RM28 (for 2 courses, beverage & main) and RM35 (for 3 courses, beverage, main & dessert).

And because it was listed in the menu as 2 or 3 courses (they should have said 3 or 4 courses), we were oblivious of the fine print that also mentioned that a deli salad (with unlimited refills) was included until much later...when our main course arrived and the server reminded us (probably after noticing that we didn't help ourselves to the salad).  On that day, we could have our fill of three...coleslaw, cous cous salad and mixed lettuce with a choice of Thousand Island or their house sauce from the deli counter.

Our first pick was the Rotisserie Quarter Roast Chicken (since it was their signature dish + my sis-in-law also highly recommended it), brined and air-dried for 24 hours before being slow-roasted in their French-made Rotisol rotisserie oven.  Unfortunately, it was sold out. I guess I'll have to try this another day then. Their Rotisserie Roast Chicken can be ordered a la carte as well (RM28 for quarter, RM42 for half & RM75 for a whole chicken).

So we settled for their Seafood Aglio Olio Supreme instead @ RM28 with fresh tiger prawns, clams, mussels, squid and bird's eye chillies (this dish is also available a la carte at RM42 with probably more seafood and a bigger portion?).

There was quite a generous serving of seafood though the prawns tasted like the frozen kind with an overly crunchy texture but devoid of sweetness of sea prawns + the clams could be fresher.  I also didn't detect any bird's eye chillies but the red chilli flakes were sufficient to bring some heat that's required of an aglio olio. The pasta was cooked just right, al dente without being too oily.  Overall, the dish was pleasant enough.

We were curious about the Wagyu Fat Char Kway Teow @ RM28 and picked that for our next dish.  This was wok-fried flat noodles with wagyu beef fat and grilled tiger prawns served with sauteed bok choy, fish crackers, shredded carrot and chillies + a dried chilli sambal (RM36 if ordered a la carte).  There was only one tiger prawn (though it was quite huge) and this one was at least of the fresh kind with a firm texture.

The wok-fried flat noodles weren't particularly outstanding but biting into the wagyu beef fat was a bit off-putting as they came in rather large pieces and some pieces weren't all that crispy.  I initially thought the wagyu beef fat would be more fatty beef but it actually turned out to be just fat only (much like chee yau char, only this one is not from the oink-oink but from the moo-moo).  Perhaps if it had been fried crispier and cut smaller (like pork lard crisps), it would have turned out better.  It definitely needed a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of the dried chilli sambal to cut through all that fattiness.

As the rest of the set lunch specials didn't interest us, we went with an a la carte order of Pan-Seared Red Snapper @ RM48 with lemon olive oil mash, poached pears and a citrus salad laced with a refreshing mayo-like sauce.

I was taken aback by just how huge the fillet was when it arrived, certainly well worth the price paid.  At first bite, it was the acidity and freshness of the whole dish that made it truly stand out for me.  The snapper fillet was fresh, tender and flaky...and the skin was perfectly crispy with a tangy hint of freshly grated lemon zest and (what looked like) chimichurri sauce on top.

The citrus salad of grapefruit, lemon and poached pears with radicchio and pea sprouts gave it the desired crunch and zesty flavours.  Even the potato mash tasted tangy because of the lemon olive oil.  It made the whole dish that much lighter and more appetising.  Just don't eat the whole piece of lemon like it's a piece of fruit (as the sourness will make you cringe) but cut a small piece of it and eat it together with a bit of fish and mash for a tasty, well balanced bite.

My Ice Latte (drinkable) & Ice Lemon Tea (from the set lunch)

With my tummy full, I can't very well end my post without showing you the photos I took of the The Linc. After all, it was the many beautifully taken shots of the greenery and artistic value of the place I saw on blogs that first tempted me to visit the place, so here are some of the shots I took (but you might want to check out better photos of them here, here and here) since my phone camera is ciplak and I suck at photography.

One of the two most instagrammable spots is definitely the majestic old tree that was retained to take centre stage with the mall design built around it.

#1 - Majestic-looking Tree

This tall, grand tree sprouting from the centre of the mall certainly gives you a sense of tranquility and nature just standing amongst the greenery.

The other much talked about instagram-worthy spot would be the colourful art installation of paper doves in rainbow colours hanging from the skylight.

#2 - Rainbow Paper Doves

There are more than 40,000 folded paper doves in 40 colours, it seems.

It's even more beautiful when natural sunlight streams down in the afternoons.

#3 - Rainbow Staircase

Besides the rainbow colours of the paper doves, there's also the rainbow-coloured steps ready for you to strike your best post...standing up or seated down. ^_*

#4 - Luna Lana Light Bulbs

As you stroll through the mall, unique artwork in the form of wall murals painted in vibrant colours emerge beckoning you to pause a moment and take a snapshot.

#5 - Flora & Fauna Mural with 3-D Butterflies

#6 - The Gift of Trees.....what a wonderful gift to us all :)

#7 - Hornbill

#8 - (Proboscis) Monkey & Leopard (or is that a Cheetah?) ^_~

#9 - Octopus (in disguise) & Wooden Hut

Whether it's artwork or greenery, you can find influences of that too in the eateries at this mall, notably in De.Wan 1958 by Chef Wan, Bo All Day Dining and Bean Brothers to name a few.

#10 - Bo All Day Dining

My Personal Opinion

Its beautiful interior and classy ambience invites you to come and linger to savour reasonably-priced western mains and Asian favourites, some of which should please.  Luckily, we chose the 2-course set lunch (since the dessert on that day, bread pudding, wasn't something we fancied) which actually turned out to be a 3-course lunch (with the refillable salad).  This was very filling and really good value at RM28!  Count yourself lucky (if you happen to work around the area) as you can feast on such great value set lunch specials. ^_~

But, most of all, it's the attraction and charm of a little tropical oasis in the heart of KL, within a non-crowded mall with a quiet ambience, that makes it the perfect destination for those who want to relax and take a stroll in a non-hectic mall.

I'm sure I'll be back since there are quite a few potential food options to explore in this mall.

Bo All Day Dining
Lot 1-10 & 1-11 The Linc
No 360 Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 017-211 2842

Friday, 6 September 2019

Super Saigon @ Persiaran Ampang

When we last dined at The Daily Grind in mid-July, we noticed a new restaurant next door that had taken over the space vacated by Flint Bar & Restaurant.

So, we made a trip here wanting to try Flipp, a new Japanese fusion restaurant, but was politely informed that they were fully booked when I walked through the door.  Oh well, another time then...and that's how we ended up at Super Saigon @ Persiaran Ampang since we were already in the area.

The only decor that caught my eye were the beautiful blue ceramic plates (that I adore) adorning their feature wall.  Hey, I wouldn't mind owning some of these. ^_~

Since we were at an eatery specialising in Vietnamese food, obviously Pho would be top on the list of things to order.  I was pretty excited when I saw my bowl of Beef Pho @ RM18.90 arriving with medium rare Aussie sliced beef (as the ones I've had before usually comes with cooked through beef) together with some white onions, scallions and cilantro.

It's also common to see pho served with garnishes of bean sprouts, Thai basil (sometimes Vietnamese mint might be included), a wedge of lime and fresh Thai chilli peppers.

Vietnamese dishes are also usually accompanied by condiments of sweet, salty, spicy and sour flavours for you to tweak to your liking, so expect to find chili oil and hot chili sauce (like sriracha), fish sauce, hoisin sauce and their special sate sauce (or what we'd call sambal) on the table.

Well, just in case you don't know how to go about eating pho, there's even a guide (at the back of the menu) to show you how you can eat pho like a pro! ;)  But there's no hard and fast rule, you can eat it anyway you deem fit.

I dunk the bean sprouts in, squeezed in the lime and added a drizzle of fish sauce...that's how I like mine.  I'd leave the stinky Thai basil leaves alone coz I just hate those.  I usually leave out the fresh chilli peppers too but this time I added them in (and I'll tell you why in a jiffy).

My first mouthful of the rice noodles (much like kuay tiao), I immediately detected something unpleasant.  I took a second bite and confirmed that the unpalatable taste was still there...and that's why I added all the bird's eye chillies in the hope that it'll help mask the taste.  But, unfortunately, it didn't.  The medium rare beef was perfectly fine though, nice and tender (and if you need your beef cooked a bit more, just dip them into the broth though the broth that came wasn't all that hot, not even hot enough to cook the bean sprouts which retained its raw taste).  In the end, I just ate up the beef slices and left the rest of my pho untouched (the noodles even tainted the broth).

I've come across this offensive taste (and smell) of kway teow before but it's always from our local noodle stalls, never from a Vietnamese eatery.  I've rejected quite a few kway teow based on this but if the noodle shop is still good, I just make sure I don't choose kway teow as my noodle of choice.  I don't know how best to describe this unpleasant taste but it's almost like cockroach smell to me (sorry if the comparison sounds offensive to you).  I don't know if any one of you has ever experienced this before but I have many times...and it only seems to happen with kway teow! >.<  I don't know if the noodles weren't fresh (that day) or if it's due to the choice of their noodle supplier (as in chemicals used in the manufacture of the noodles) or that the handling and storage of the noodles was compromised or merely that my tastebuds are just overly sensitive.  That's why I usually stay clear of kway teow in soup noodles unless it passes my taste test after trying.

In the end, I had to order something else and went with the Crispy Spring Rolls @ RM13.90 (for 6 pcs) wrapped in minced chicken and prawns, served with a sweetish-sourish dip containing pickled vegetables of carrot and jicama.  The rolls were freshly fried, came piping hot, were super crispy and had a good ratio of, no complaints on this.

Our other order of Broken Rice with Grilled Lemongrass Chicken @ RM18.90 was served with lemongrass chicken, fried omega egg, pickled vegetables, cucumber shreds and a slice of chicken meatloaf together with a dipping sauce.  Nothing stood out, it was just edible.

For drinks, we had Pandan Lemongrass @ RM4.90 (a tall glass but diluted in taste) and La Juiceria's (bottled) Fresh Orange Juice @ RM5.90 (that turned out to be pretty sour).

When the server came to clear our plates, he was at least alert enough to notice that my bowl of pho was hardly eaten and asked if there was something wrong with it.  So I told him.  He just acknowledged what I said and walked away without offering any gesture to mitigate the situation.  Well, kudos to him for noticing...but he might as well not have! >:(

My Personal Opinion

The fact that the server didn't offer to mitigate (or resolve) the issue clearly demonstrates the level of service here. Maybe it was for the best as it made it that much easier for me to decide not to return.

Looks like this was an un-PHO-gettable experience for me...and I don't mean that in a good way.  Un-pho-tunately for them, I'm not so pho-giving, so this bowl of pho would be my first.....and last! >_<

Super Saigon Pho Cafe
No 34 Persiaran Ampang
55000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2856 9998

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