Thursday, 28 April 2016

Sakura Sushi @ Pandan Indah

I thought I found the cheapest sushi at Sushi Mentai.  I stand corrected.  I have now found an even cheaper sushi, Sakura Sushi @ Pandan Indah.

I noticed the place gearing up to open when I was dining across the road at Tokyo Yakiniku in late March.  It's not a sushi chain or a sushi's a stand-alone sushi place (for now).  The restaurant design looks better than Sushi Mentai's, even the facade looks classier.

At first glance upon stepping in, I was pleased to see that the conveyor belt sushi goes round all the tables in the entire restaurant.  In Sushi Mentai, there is a row of tables that the conveyor belt doesn't reach and it becomes rather annoying when the customers decide to cross over behind you to get at the sushi.  Well, too bad they got such seats but they can actually order their sushi to be brought to the table.  I guess most are impatient and prefer not to wait...and have no qualms about infringing on others.  So glad that I don't have to deal with that here as the owner of the place was farsighted enough to ensure that the sushi belt reaches every table.

There are just two prices.....RM1.70 (for the blue plates) and RM2.70 (for the red plates).  Again, due to the prices of the sushi, you know you have to lower your expectations when it comes to the quality of the sushi. It's another option for those staying in the area looking for some fuss-free, simple and cheap sushi.  So, don't come with great expectations.....and you'll do just fine here.

Overall, most of the sushi I tried tasted freakishly similar to the ones in Sushi Mentai (albeit wishing for a bit more mentai on the sushi but, then again, the amount of mentai on Sushi Mentai's sushi has also been slowly decreasing over time).  Here were some of what we had starting with the RM1.70 plates....all acceptable!

Tamago (Egg) Mentai Sushi

(and I can never stop at one)

Tamago Mentai Chu Maki 
(another version with crunchy cucumber)

Kani (Crab Stick) Sushi

Egg Mayo Sushi

Tuna Mayo Sushi

Corn Mayo Sushi

Inari (Beancurd) Sushi (plain)

Inari Sushi (with tuna)

Chuka Idako (Seasoned Baby Octopus) Sushi


And these were some of the RM2.70 plates we managed to try......all decent!

Whole Baby Octopus Sushi
(with a bit of added crunch from the thinly sliced cucumber)

Unagi Sushi

(we usually have more than one)

Salmon Mentai Sushi

And one plate is never enough, of about four? :D

Ebi (Prawn) Mentai Sushi

Hotate (Scallop) Sushi
(better tasting than the ones in Sushi Mentai)

(don't stop at one!)

Tako (Octopus) Sushi

Shiro Maguro (Butterfish) Mentai Sushi

Inari Sushi with Tempura Prawn, Ebiko & Mayo

Breaded Prawn Sushi with Mayo
(this one may not be all that crispy if it's been circulating on the conveyor belt for a while)

Japanese Potato Salad
(this one had crunchy bits of carrot, cucumber and onions in the potato mix...and was smoother than the one in Sushi Mentai)

Gari (Japanese Pickled Ginger)
(super thin and nice, again better than Sushi Mentai's)

But what stood out for me was the taste of their a la carte dishes which tasted better than the ones in Sushi least the ones I tried! ;)

The Takoyaki Ball @ RM4.50 (for 5 pcs) comes from the a la carte menu (which was great) assuring us of piping hot balls from the kitchen every time.  Filled with a small piece of octopus inside, the takoyaki balls were served with a drizzle of takoyaki sauce and Japanese mayo and topped with a sprinkle of nori (dried green seaweed) and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes).

The Chawanmushi @ RM3.90 with bits of fish cake, shiitake mushrooms, chicken, crab stick and gingko nut was fair in taste although execution and presentation-wise the colour was slightly darker than the norm (probably a tad too much dashi or soy).

Next, I saw this dish whizzing past me and, attracted to it, I ordered one too.  The Salmon Head Shioyaki @ RM10.90 was grilled with just salt (there's also another version with teriyaki sauce if you like).

Although you wouldn't think the salmon head would have much flesh to eat, it wasn't all that bad.  There was quite a fair amount of meat below the head and under the gills.  Especially awesome was the meat in the fish cheeks (actually just one cheek since it was only half a salmon head)...the best! ;D  Sucking on parts of the fish head that was well charred gave rise to the smoky flavour I love so dearly...and the fin was edible too coz it was grilled till crispy.  I would certainly order this again.

The Salmon Teriyaki Don @ RM14.50 featured grilled salmon with teriyaki sauce on rice.  The rice was a good portion and the salmon, though well cooked through, didn't exhibit dryness (like the ones I had in Sushi Mentai), indicating that they were fresh and nicely cooked.  The salmon fillets were nice and tender with flaky flesh...absolute yumsss!

comes with a miso soup

We had the Unagi Don @ RM20.90 (with tamago and cucumber pickle), served with a complimentary miso soup too, on a separate visit.

The unagi was certainly decent in taste and portion for the price we paid.  We certainly wouldn't hesitate to order this again.

Since we enjoyed the salmon so much, we ordered the Salmon Teriyaki @ RM12.50 again on another visit but this time the salmon turned out a bit overcooked causing it to dry out a little.

We also tried the Yasai Tempura @ RM6.50 with assorted vegetables tempura of pumpkin, sweet potato, eggplant and mushroom.  The tempura was more than acceptable with its thin and super crispy batter (though it could be lighter).  I wouldn't mind having this again as well.

Green Tea @ RM1.20 per pax which is refillable (even the green tea seems to taste better)
Orange Juice @ RM3.50 (not the fresh kind)

#Side Story
As I was tucking into my sushi, I couldn't help but feel that this was so similar to Sushi Mentai....right down to the concept of just two prices for their sushi, similar design of plates (just different colours), similar looking utensils and condiment containers...that I thought this must be opened by the same people but using a different name (so that they don't have to share profits with the franchisor)! ;P

At the payment counter, I managed to chat with the owner and he said that they are not the same or affiliated to Sushi Mentai in any way (though I think he's probably involved in some capacity with them in the a previous franchisee, perhaps?!) ;D

My Personal Opinion

Even though my initial visit to the place was two weeks after it first opened on 30 March 2016 (and I've been back two weeks in a row since), there was no such thing as a queue or maddening crowd like Sushi Mentai. Maybe because it's still new and not many people know about it yet...but so was Sushi Mentai when it started. I think it could be the location...Sushi Mentai is more visible to traffic (from the main road) where as Sakura Sushi is situated in a quieter area of Pandan Indah.

But, having said that, those wanting an acceptable cheap sushi with no queue (for now coz the size of the dining area is able to accommodate more people) will certainly welcome this second option for cheap sushi...maybe even making it their first option.

Though their per plate sushi may be cheaper, most other a la carte dishes (and drinks too) are just a tad higher compared to Sushi Mentai.  For me, I prefer the dining environment here for 3 reasons...a more spacious feel, less (or no) queue and the conveyor belt sushi reaches every table.  But, more importantly, I prefer the taste of their a la carte dishes more than Sushi Mentai's, so I don't have to confine myself to eating just sushi here.  

If you want just sushi, you may prefer Sushi Mentai but if you want more than sushi, then Sakura Sushi is the better option (which is now also my first option).  I can't wait to return to have more of their a la carte dishes (and maybe a bit more sushi too).  I now not only have one but two cheap sushi choices in my neighbourhood...double yay! ;)

Sakura Sushi
69 Jalan Pandan Indah 4/3A
Pandan Indah
55100 Kuala Lumpur

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Just One Food - Mon Kee's Kaya Layer Cake

Mon Kee Confectionery sells a variety of Chinese traditional pastries that are passable for a quick fix.  You can find many of their kiosks (in shopping malls) and stalls (in coffee shops) all over Klang Valley.

Their selection of pastries range from "siew pau" (baked BBQ meat buns made with pork or chicken), kaya puff, yam puff, curry puff, "char siew sou" (or barbecued pork puff), "kam heong sou" (golden fragrant puff), egg tart, coconut tart and chicken pie (among others) but it's their siew pau, egg tart and kaya puff that are their top 3 best sellers.

But, when I'm here, it's not the siew pau, egg tart or kaya puff I'm's these (which I don't even know what they're called) I'll just call it Kaya Layer Cake!  Maybe, it can be called a chiffon or sponge cake with a thin layer of kaya in between.

They're sold in a packet of two pieces for RM2.40

This cake is nothing fancy, just a simple cake with a layer of kaya (that's not too sweet) between two pieces of very light cake.  The cake texture is soft and delicate....yumssss...great as a breakfast or tea-time snack with a cup of coffee (in my case) or tea (if you like).

At times when this Kaya Layer Cake runs out (and it does run out pretty fast), then I'll go for the next best thing...which I also do not know what they're called.

Chiffon cupcakes?  Or "kai tan koh" (eggy sponge cakes)?  I'm pretty blur with names of cakes too (just like names of fish) if the names are not told to me! @_@

Again, these are very light and soft cupcakes but nowhere as nice as the Kaya Layer Cake though, which is still my favourite.

Actually, I'm not even sure if these (or their other cakes and buns) are part of Mon Kee's selection or it's just with this particular stall (coz I don't see these items featured in their website).

These are just some simple cakes....for people who enjoy the simpler things in life......sometimes! ;-)

Monday, 25 April 2016

#ewew cooks Fried Crispy Wantans

After a slew of easy peasy recipes, since my cooking principle is always fast, fresh and simple, I'm going to share one today that's not as easy.  Even though this one needs a bit more effort, the end result is more than worth it I assure's my homemade Fried Crispy Wantans.

I've made this many times at home and it's also among one of my 'repertoire' of dishes that I'd usually prepare to bring back to Ipoh (during my Chinese New Year "balik kampong" ritual).  But, today, I'm making it as a gesture of thanks to my thoughtful neighbour's children (visiting from US and Australia) who brought gifts of chocolates and other goodies.  

So, let's get cracking at making my wantan filling that has just 6 ingredients, shall we?


1 packet square wantan skins
350g medium-sized prawns (about 20 prawns)
150g chicken fillet (about 6 strips)
5 dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked till soften)
1 small jicama (or "sengkuang")
1/2 a medium carrot
2 stalks spring onions
Beaten egg & cornflour
Salt & white pepper


Basically, you need to chop up all the ingredients finely.  Dice finely the carrots, jicama, shiitake mushrooms, spring onions and chicken.  [#Note: Omit the spring onions if you have young ones who don't like them.  If I had my way, I'd love to add some chopped coriander as well but then I'll end up being the only one eating them >.<]  As for the prawns, I prefer not to dice them finely but to cut each prawn into 3 - 4 pcs (depending on the size of the prawn) as I like to bite into a sizeable chunk of it when I bite into a fried wantan.  [#Tip: There's no hard and fast rule as to the exact proportion of these ingredients to one another, so don't stress as each ingredient can be more or less.]

Next, just mix all the chopped up ingredients evenly.  I seasoned my amount of mixture with 1 1/4 tsp salt (or more if you want it more salty) and 1/2 tsp white pepper.  [#Tip: If you're serving this for a party, you can make this ahead of time until this point and put it back into the fridge for use later (you can even prepare these days ahead and store them in the freezer).]

When you're ready to do the frying, take your pre-prepared wantan filling from the fridge and add some beaten egg and cornflour to the mixture.  The purpose of this is just to combine the ingredients together.  I used half an egg and 1 1/2 tbsp of cornflour (for the amount of filling I had).  Use just enough egg to bind the mixture together (the end result shouldn't be wet).  If too wet, just add more cornflour.

Mix everything together evenly.  You're now ready to assemble your wantans!  I will show you 3 ways to fold the wantans.  You can choose any one of the three ways that's easiest to you.


1)  Fold them into triangles.  Put a teaspoonful of the filling in the centre and dab a bit of water and press down to seal both sides.  This is probably the easiest of the three ways.

2)  Roll them up in a cylinder shape.  Put a spoonful of the mixture in the centre and fold 1/3 of the wantan skin over the mixture.  Seal the end with a bit of water and roll the balance over.  This is probably the fastest to make.

3)  Make them into the actual wantan shape.  This last one looks more like the wantan shape you'd get when you dine outside.  Follow step 1 but bring both edges of the triangle to meet in the centre and seal it with a dab of water.  This one looks the most professional but also the hardest and most time consuming one to make out of the three ways.  So, safe this one for when you want to impress at a dinner party (haha!).

My one packet wantan skin yielded about 55 wantans...and there was still slightly less than half of the filling left.  Into the freezer the balance goes....for use on another day :)

Now, it's time to fry up these babies!  Make sure you fry them in medium-low heat to ensure the filling is cooked as the wantan skins brown pretty fast.  Take the wantans out once they achieve that nice golden colour and drain them on paper towels.

triangle-shaped fried wantans

cylinder-shaped fried wantans

actual wantan-shaped fried wantans

All that's left to do is to plate them up (nicely), take some (requisite) photos for my blog.....and then eat! ;D

I would make the triangle-shaped Fried Crispy Wantans if I decide to serve it as a starter in a western-type meal, drizzled with either Japanese mayo or cocktail sauce.

These cylinder-shaped Fried Crispy Wantans are the ones I usually make for our own dinner as they're the fastest to assemble.

And, finally, I would choose to make these more presentable looking Fried Crispy Wantans coz they look like what a wantan should look like when I want a bit more finesse for a dinner party or if it's made to be given to someone.

Oh, these ones are for my neighbours ;)

Whatever the it a home meal, cocktail or dinner party, these Fried Crispy Wantans will be popular with just about anybody...young, old or the middle-aged.  Who can resist these little crispy morsels of delight.....I know I can't! :D

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