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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Just One Food - Muji Snacks

I always enjoy browsing and shopping in Muji stores (more browsing than shopping since their products are on the expensive side).  I adore their storage boxes and stationery items, especially their kitchen and dining ware.

And because I spend time in this very section (at their Pavilion Elite store), gazing at all the kitchen/dining stuff I wish I could own, that I first came to notice the snacks section next to it.

They've got all sorts of crispy snacks, popcorn, pies, crackers, cookies & biscuits....

.....to sweet snacks of candies, marshmallows, mochi & chocolate nibs.....

....to all types of green tea & matcha flavoured lattes, masala & chai tea, and even yuzu & honey drinks. They also offer instant soups, ramen & sauces.

I (of course) just had to buy a couple of these Japanese Muji Snacks to try, starting with this Green Pea Snack @ RM6.90.  I was initially attracted to it thinking they were some kind of French bean fries coz they looked the part.

But when I ate the first piece, the taste of green peas was what I first tasted.  So, I looked at the packaging again and realised they were actually a green pea snack.  I used to hate green peas when I was a child but has now grown to love it (like bitter gourd).  I especially like a good mashed green peas with fish and chips.  I loved the fragrance and prominent taste of green peas in this snack! ^.^

I love the taste of onions, so I couldn't resist the Onion Snack @ RM4.90.

Again, the intensity of the onion flavour was very notable in the crispy onion crackers.....yummeh! Quite unlike our local crackers that usually just taste crispy and salty without any flavour.

Another almost similar crispy snack is this Burdock Snack @ RM4.90.  Fresh burdock looks a bit like white radish or jicama, usually stir-fried with carrot (and has a crunchy texture like lotus root) or braised in a soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin and sugar concoction till tender.  I don't think I've had fresh burdock before.

The moment you open the pack, you get this whiff of Chinese herbal smell...something like ginseng or maybe Chinese angelica root ("dang gui") or codonopsis root ("dang shen" aka poor man's ginseng).  I don't know which Chinese herb exactly but let me tell you that it tastes better than it smells! :D  I'm ok with it but may be an acquired taste for some because of the herbal smell.

Well, in the remote possibility that you don't like crispy snacks (!), they have some non-crispy choices too like these Matcha-Flavoured Mochi @ RM6.90.....

......or Matcha Chocolate with Cocoa Biscuit @ RM10.90.

I also got these Mini Ramen Chicken @ RM6.90 thinking they're similar to those Mamee Monster noodle snacks that you can just eat out of the packet.  But that was before I read the instructions on the packet and found out that they're actually instant noodles that need to be cooked....haiz!

You can cook it like you do a cup noodle by pouring hot water over two cubes of noodles and let it steep for 3 minutes.  Or cook two noodles over a pan of boiling water (instructions say to use 220ml) and crack an egg into it (the noodles will not take more than a minute to cook).  Taste wise, it was like having yee mee with eggs...very savoury noodles in a very savoury broth (you may want to use more than 220ml water to dial down on the saltiness).

Seeing that there were some crushed bits of noodles left in the pack, I poured that into my mouth and realised that you can actually eat it like straight just like Mamee noodles...only better.  It makes for a nice, salty, crispy snack.

Then, you have this more common snack of Yolk Bolo @ RM5.90 which are small egg yolk biscuits with a slightly chalky, sweet and crispy texture.  What can I say, I prefer crispy crunchy snacks...hihi! ;P

My ultimate favourite has to be this Small Fried Rice Crackers @ RM4.90.  One thing about Japanese products is that they're very good at packaging it nicely to entice you.

These rice crackers, laced with soy sauce and honey, are so crispy and addictive with its salty-sweet flavours.  They're da bomb....so goood...I can't get enough of them....and once you've tried them, you won't either! ^o^

Ya, these snacks may be more expensive than our local snacks and crackers, but I'd gladly pay the price for flavour, flavour, flavour! ;)

Perhaps, this year, you might want to get some of these Japanese Muji Snacks for a change (and there are lots to choose from), something different from the usual same old same old Chinese New Year goodies to snack on.....I know I do! ^_~

As some of us head out to our hometowns for our annual "CNY balik kampong" ritual tomorrow.....

May all your wishes for the Year of the Earth Dog be fulfilled.....and then some!


Cookie asks why there is no Year of the Cat!...meowww? :P

Monday, 12 February 2018

Yong Tou Foo Chan Chan @ Kepong

We were on our way to our mom's place, so the choice for breakfast cum lunch spot would have to be in the vicinity of Kepong.

The last time we were here, we ate at E Soo Yong Tou Foo and, while enroute to the place, I remember passing by another yong tau foo restaurant, Restoran Yong Tou Foo Chan Chan @ Kepong, so we ended up here this time.

As the name of the place suggests, it's obviously about the yong tou foo here though, judging from the advertisement board, you can also order cooked dishes to eat with your yong tou foo meal from Hakka Char Yuk to Ginger Duck, Steamed Chicken, Assam Fish, Curry Spare Ribs, Spicy Prawns, Curry Fish Head, Vinegar Pork Leg, Chicken with Chinese Wine and Sambal Petai with Prawns.  And just like E Soo, you write your orders in an order chit.  But the thing I didn't like was that the order chit had no prices written on them! O_o If you want to know the price first, you have to ask the workers which wasn't the most ideal situation.

We wrote down the number of pieces of each yong tou foo we wanted.  They cost RM1.60 a piece based on the bill (RM28.80 for 18 pcs).  The fried sui kow (dumplings) were nice and crispy, the filling plump and meaty.

The fried fu chuk (bean curd) rolls were quite a letdown as the fish paste filling was very chewy.  Even my husband found it difficult to bite through.  I think it was due to the filling being too tightly wrapped as evidenced by the smaller cylindrical roll that was different from the norm.

The fried eggplant, always a must when it comes to yong tou foo for me, was satisfying with a thicker than usual fish paste filling.  I must mention that all the fried yong tou foo arrived piping hot, a testimony to the fact that they were probably freshly fried to order.

Bean curd puffs are usually offered braised in soup but this is one place that offers a fried version.  The fried bean curd puffs were faultlessly crispy with a thin fish paste filling acting as the glue to keep the super crunchy split-in-the-middle bean curd triangles together.  This ended up to be my favourite yong tou foo item here! ^o^

My family loves only the fried yong tou foo items and I usually end up to be the only one who would eat the ones in soup (like this bitter gourd).  The soup I didn't care for as much but was delighted that it came with star gooseberry leaves (sayur manis or "shu cai choy" in Cantonese).

The sweet brown sauce dip wasn't as thick as the one in E Soo while I liked the chilli dip which tasted different from the usual ones offered.

As mentioned earlier, they have quite a repertoire of cooked dishes and we ordered two.  The first was a perennial favourite with my family, the "Nam Yue" (Fermented Red Beancurd) Pork @ RM18.  Tender, with a good ratio of lean-to-fat, the nam yue coated pork was crisp and fragrant on the outside.

A simple vegetable dish of Stir-Fried Cabbage @ RM10 rounded up our meal.  Stir-fried with dried prawns and garlic, it was surprisingly very good due to the good "wok hei" aroma imparted by the wok. ^.^

For it to be cooked well, the stir-frying must be done on very high heat to get a nice char on the cabbage and yet retaining a good crunch.  The many below par versions I've eaten, the cabbage usually ends up being too soft with too much water released from the cabbage due to it not being fried at the optimum temperature (which is what I'd get if I were to cook it at home...haha!).

I saw the advertisement poster promoting the Chilled Soya Beancurd @ RM3.30, so I got one to try.  This tau fu fah is made without gypsum powder.  It was a decent soy bean pudding and having something chilled was a great way to end the meal on a hot day.

This chilled soya beancurd (Tiger brandis made and distributed by LH Dessert to various shops in the Klang Valley.  I took a shot of the cover in case you come across it and want to try.

My Personal Opinion

Though we tried only two, I enjoyed the "tai chow" or cooked dishes here.  I guess if it's tai chow I want, I'll pop over here and go to E Soo for yong tou foo instead.  Having said that, some of Chan Chan's yong tou foo are respectable (especially the fried bean curd puffs)...just not the fried bean curd rolls! ;)

Restoran Yong Tou Foo Chan Chan
No 69 Jalan 11/62A
Bandar Manjalara
Kepong
52200 Kuala Lumpur

Friday, 9 February 2018

Tang Pin Kitchen @ SS2 PJ

My husband who has eaten here before brought us to Tang Pin Kitchen @ SS2 PJ for breakfast one Sunday morning.

Looking through the menu, I realised that the food was very similar to what I've eaten before in Pandan Indah at the now defunct The 60s Teow Chew Fishball.

Then I saw the words "wholly owned by Tang House of Fishball" on the menu which confirmed my suspicion (The 60s Teow Chew Fishball used to be known as Tang House of Fishball).  But they have also expanded their menu to include rice dishes like nasi lemak, nasi kerabu, nasi dagang and chicken rice and desserts like ice kacang and cendol.

My husband had his usual Fried Chu Cheong Fun @ RM5.40 made of smooth and very thin sheets of chu cheong fun stir-fried with egg, Chinese chives and taugeh.  I liked that they use those fat, crunchy bean sprouts here that I absolutely adore.  The style is very much like fried char kway teow, only wetter.

Both my mother-in-law and son had the Tang Pin Mee Pok @ RM7.60 which is their signature dish of doughy yellow noodles with minced pork and crispy pork lard tossed in flavoured oil and vinegar.  It tastes rather similar to Hakka or kolo mee but will be bland to those who don't like subtle flavours all that much.

The noodles came with a separate bowl of soup with some fish cake slices and spring onions.

I had the Fried Fish Noodle & Chu Cheong Fun @ RM8.40 that was very similar to the previous dish of fried chu cheong fun in terms of taste and texture.

Except this one had the addition of fish noodles (aka noodles made from fish paste)...similar to those you can get in steamboat restaurants.

I ordered their signature combo dish of Fried Fish Cake, Tau Kan & Fu Chuk @ RM10.80 for sharing as I remember liking this before...and I still do.  The fried tau kan (thick bean curd sheet) is still my favourite of the three (the one in the centre)...crispy on the outside with an abundant fish paste filling inside.

We also had an order of Fried Mini Dumplings @ RM7.60 served with a dipping sauce of shredded fresh ginger and black vinegar.  These are like Esquire Kitchen's wor tip (just not as good!).

I have not had their Yam Cake @ RM3.80 before, so I ordered one to try.  These ones were slightly dense but I did like the minced preserved radish and dried shrimp on top.

We had Kopi-o-ping @ RM3.20 (not worthy by my standards), Pineapple with Lemon @ RM4.30 (which turned out to be tinned pineapple with syrup) and Chinese Tea @ RM1.

My Personal Opinion

If you like subtle flavours, then you'll probably enjoy their mee pok.  Otherwise, go for the more robustly flavoured dark sauce stir-fry noodles.  All in all, not a bad place for cheap noodles with some delectable snacks.

Tang Pin Kitchen
No 24 Jalan SS2/24
47300 Petaling Jaya
Selangor
Tel: 03-7877 2376

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

My Ang Pow Collection

Ang Pow, red envelopes, red packets....whatever you call them, all of us love giving and receiving them (ok, maybe less giving and more receiving)...hahaha! ^_~

  Traditionally given during Chinese New Year (CNY) and also on special occasions like weddings, birth of a baby, birthdays, graduation or simply to mark a specific celebration.

As with every Chinese New Year, shopping malls, retailers, restaurants and banks would give away these ang pow packets to their customers.  Most of the designs end up being nothing distinctive or spectacular-looking but, once in a while, some really unique and beautiful ones do come my way (I don't purposely go out of my way to seek them out, though I know some people who do).

So, over the years, I've kept some of the nicer ones for my own collection.....

#1 - OCBC

One of my all-time favourite ang pow designs comes from OCBC Bank coz they're usually unlike anything else, one of its kind.  I think they have the prettiest-looking ang pow designs by any bank by far.  OCBC is one of the very few who would print their ang pow packets in 4 designs.


2009 - Potted Flowers & Fruits Design (packets in 4 different colours of red, peach, light & dark pink).


2010 - A family-themed design is befitting any CNY celebration.


Front


Back

Although in some years (2011), they scaled it down to just 2 designs (cost factor?) ^_*


Front


Back

2012 - Four different designs synonymous with CNY (mandarin oranges, tea, flowers & goldfish) but in just one-colour...red.

I collected OCBC's red packets from 2009 - 2012 and then I didn't bother the next 5 years until this year.  I googled their 2013 - 2017 designs and saw that I didn't miss much as those designs were my least-liked (especially the 2014, 2015 & 2017 designs).

Luckily, they got their creative mojo back.  This 2018 tassel design may be their best one yet, minimalistic but elegant :=)


Front


Back

#2 - HSBC


Flower themes is a favourite among many as lotus and cherry blossoms symbolise CNY.

#3 - Stanchart

Stanchart's designs are always timeless and elegant.

#4 - ICBC


Gold (or red) is generally the preferred choice of colour of most ang pow packet designs for its auspicious denotation.

#5 - RBS


I think foreign banks tend to have much better designs (and quality) than local banks...like this one which has a pocket within the red packet.  I think this is the nicest looking design I've come across so far.

#6 - Maybank


For local banks, this one isn't too bad.

#7 - welovecoach.com


I got this from an online store I used to buy branded bags from.  I especially liked the first one where the red packet looked like you're receiving a gift card.

#8 - Pandora


This one is very classy, of course...it has to be, after all, it's Pandora!  I obviously got this in the year that I was busy buying charms to add on to my bracelet...hihihi! ;)

#9 - Caring Pharmacy


Last year's design - Year of the Rooster
(I like the colourful rooster but the other one looks like one fierce rooster) :P


This year's design - Year of the Dog
(ok-lah, the design isn't spectacular but there's this "scan to create a puppy" on the back that's rather cute)

#10 - MH Hotel


Nowadays, we don't often see these types of ang pow packets where the illustration tells a story...like this one of children simply enjoying the festivities.

You know what, I've even come across people selling some of these unused ang pow packets online.  I guess everything has a price...and there's always a quick buck to be made out of anything! O_o

I'll probably continue with this habit of mine to keep some of these nicer-looking ang pow packets for my own collection.  Do you do that too?

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