Monday, 27 February 2017

Breakfast & Stay @ MH Hotel Ipoh

For the second year in a row, we chose to stay at MH Hotel @ Ipoh again for our annual Chinese New Year "balik kampong" trip coz we were happy with our stay here last year.  I managed to get the room at the same rate (of RM250 a night) this year.

I was happy with the good service provided by the hotel, the spaciousness of the room, the close proximity to my husband's family house and the late night 'snacking' possibilities near the hotel (with 24-hours McD next door and Domino's and Subway further down the street....kekeke!) ;D

But, most of all, I liked the bathroom shower....with separate shower compartment and great water pressure! Although this time I was a bit annoyed that the housekeeping made a boo-boo when they took away my towel (one I brought from home) by mistake.  I made a complaint and it they took them about 24 hours to locate it, have it washed and sent back to me.  Other than this little "blip", the rest of my stay was pleasant enough.

Hotel Lobby

Lion Dance (at the hotel entrance) on the first day of the Lunar New Year.

Similar to last year, the room stay came with complimentary buffet breakfast (there wasn't an option without breakfast from the online booking site I booked from), so I had breakfast at the hotel for three consecutive mornings at MH Pinnacle on the 20th floor.

View from the 20th floor

Day 1 Breakfast

This year my sister-in-law's family booked the same hotel as us after hearing about our good stay the previous year.  My brother-in-law was pleasantly surprised with the quality and selection of the buffet breakfast seeing that it cost only RM15 per person.

Day 2 Breakfast

If I had to compare the breakfast this year to last year's, I'd say the selection this year had slightly less choices compared to last year + most of the dishes were repetitive and similar (with just a few slight variations) on all three mornings that I was there (but no cause for complaint considering the price).

Day 3 Breakfast

Looks like I ate eggs done every possible way.....omelette, sunny side-up, scrambled and sunny side-up flipped.  No, wait....I didn't have half-boiled eggs (and they didn't do poached eggs...hehe!) ;D

Free flow of hot refreshments and snacks plus complimentary ice cream (one time redemption only) just like last year was available for guests at their in-house cafe on the first floor.  But they stopped selling those cheap pre-packed nasi lemak and fried noodles (in its place were cup noodles) :(

So, this year, we turned to McD (next door) and Domino's (further down the road) for our snacking (or supper) options! ^_~

My Personal Opinion

Convenient location, close to amenities (restaurants, supermarket, shopping mall) and a comfortable stay with value-for-money breakfast thrown in are some positives for those who may want to consider this hotel for their stay in Ipoh.

MH Pinnacle
20th Floor MH Hotel
PT 212695B Jalan Medan Ipoh 1A
Medan Ipoh Bistari
31400 Ipoh
Tel: 05-545 1000

Friday, 24 February 2017

Burger & Sushi @ G Village, Desa Pandan

After our first, second and third visits, we were back for our fourth, fifth and sixth visits to Burger & Sushi @ G Village, Desa Pandan.  What can I son loves this place.....and we love it for its convenience and close proximity to where we live with abundant (and cheap) covered parking to boot.

Because we're regulars, we get *star* treatment here...ok-lah, maybe that was exaggerating it a bit....but we do feel very welcomed and at home here just like when "Friends" walk into Central Perk....hehe! ;D

After sampling burgers, beef steaks and teppanyaki, we wanted to give their sushi a try on our fourth visit.  We ordered the Salmon Lover @ RM45 which comprised of salmon sashimi (5 pcs), salmon nigiri (4 pcs) and salmon maki (6 pcs).

No complaints as the salmon and salmon belly sashimi was of good quality, fresh and nice.

The salmon nigiri was good too.  Perhaps just a tad too much salmon in one sitting...haha....strictly for salmon lovers only! ^.^

I went for the Tuna Tataki @ RM35 featuring partially seared tuna served with a ponzu dipping sauce.

When it arrived, I was taken aback as to how thick and big the slices were...and there were six large pieces!  I was was fresh and delicious.

Look at the nice sear on the outside...the lightly seared tuna was great eaten dipped in the citrusy and savoury ponzu sauce.

Ever since we first tasted an excellent ikura (salmon roe) at Yamaguchi Fish Market, we were bowled over by its taste...the wonderful burst of juices and saltiness from the ikura were simply sensational on the taste bud.

This Ikura Gunkan @ RM17.80 (for 2 pcs) was pleasant enough...just didn't quite match the explosion of flavours as the one we had at Yamaguchi Fish Market.

Then there was the silky-smooth Chawanmushi @ RM9.80.  I like the chawanmushi here as it's always served piping hot like it had just been freshly steamed.

The Yasai Tempura @ RM22, though not the best-looking in terms of presentation, was pretty alright in taste with a light and crunchy batter.  The price seems a bit on the expensive side for just a vegetable tempura (but I think there were at least 10 pcs of vegetable).

On our next visit, we went back to having teppanyaki as it's one of the best things here in my opinion plus teppanyaki has always been a family favourite.  This time we had the Seafood Platter @ RM99.80 for sharing.

The platter consists of grilled assorted seafood of deep sea tiger prawns, squid, scallops and Norwegian salmon complete with a Japanese ginger dipping sauce.  Looking at the portion size though, I thought the Seafood Combo Set we had on our previous visit (which would have cost just RM12 more for two sets) seemed like a far better value.

That aside, the ginger sauce will rally even non-fans of ginger to become ardent fans (like my son)! ^_~  I guess it's because it didn't have that pungent aroma and sharp taste like Chinese ginger.

Having tried three types of sushi roll, we ordered our fourth roll, the Bermuda Roll @ RM36.80 with a filling of deep fried prawns topped with Mekajiki fish (aka broadbill swordfish or big-eye marlin) and mentai.

Love the luscious mentai as usual but probably the least favourite of the five sushi rolls we have tried thus far.

The fifth roll we tried was the Aburi Salmon Roll @ RM26 consisting of a filling of seared salmon and tempura flakes topped with furikake and tobiko.

We loved the element of crunch from the tempura flakes and the saltiness of the furikake with a hint of spice from the sauce underneath.  We soon realised that this was what was sprinkled on the fried kuruma ebi head and poke bowl we had at Eatomo earlier on which we fell in love with.  I later found out that furikake is actually a dry Japanese seasoning containing dried and ground fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed...and guess what?  MSG!!  No wonder we love the flavour so much....haha! ;D

And because we loved the furikake (and the roll) so much, we ordered the Aburi Salmon Roll @ RM26 again on our sixth visit.  This and the Caterpillar Roll are probably the front runners for best sushi rolls here.

But this time we didn't want any of our sushi rolls to be topped with tobiko, we requested for them all to be rolled in furikake...woot woot! ^o^  I was even more impressed with the presentation this time round.

Again, you can't go wrong with any of their teppanyaki.  We went with the Salmon & Chicken Teppanyaki Set @ RM45 that came with stir-fried vegetables of cabbage, bean sprouts, carrot and green pepper.

A teppanyaki that we have not tried was the Cod Fish Teppanyaki @ RM60 served with the same stir-fried vegetables.

I think the portion size of the cod fish given was fair.  I love, love, love cod fish to death....and this one was delicate, flaky and sweet tasting.  Gorgeous!

Both sets came with chawanmushi, miso soup, rice and fruits.  Add RM5 to upgrade to Garlic Fried Rice.

It's definitely worth your while to much so we ordered a second Garlic Fried Rice.

We had similar drinks most of the time except for this Root Beer Float @ RM11.80 and Iced Green Tea @ RM5.

This was Burger & Sushi getting all decked up for Chinese New Year ^_*

My Personal Opinion

If you're from around the area looking for a good Japanese meal at prices that are reasonable and affordable, this is it!  This place does sushi rolls and teppanyaki well.

Like a blogger friend whose Connie of Hokano takes good care of her, my Netallie takes good care of me too. And it's always nice to get that little bit of special treatment (and discount) *wink wink*

After one burger, two steaks, six sushi rolls, six teppanyaki (and a whole lot more) later, we're not done yet. There could be seventh, eighth and ninth visits.....but who's counting! ^_~

Burger & Sushi
Lot 06 Ground Floor G Village
No 35 Jalan 1/76 Desa Pandan
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-9226 9788

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

#ewew cooks (Ratha Raub's Improvised) Mixed Vegetable Curry

Like last year, I cooked a pot of Chicken Curry with Potatoes as one of my contributed dishes for the Reunion Table in  Ipoh.  Although the chicken curry was well received last year, my husband did comment that it didn't quite taste like the one we had at Ratha Raub (and I agreed coz I know I didn't follow the ratio of chicken to curry paste to the tee).

So, this year, I tweaked the recipe a bit in the hope that it'll taste closer to the chicken curry we tasted at Ratha Raub.  And here were the changes I made.

1.  I blended 15 shallots and sauteed them in a little oil to start with.  This I hoped will give the curry that extra fragrance.  This extra step was not included in my previous chicken curry.

2.  I followed the ratio of chicken (400g) to curry paste (150g or one packet) more closely.  The weight of the chicken I bought was closer to 1.2kg this time.  The chicken was a huge 1.8kg previously.

3.  I decided to not follow the ratio of water to paste and reduced amount of water used to 750ml for three packets of paste this time.  The instruction on the packet was 375ml to one packet of curry paste.

4.  I cooked the chicken for 15 minutes before putting in the potatoes to cook for a further 10 minutes.  I dumped in everything (the chicken and potatoes) at the same time previously.  

I then stirred in two packets of santan + the curry leaves in the final 2 - 3 minutes of cooking.  At this stage, do a taste test to ensure the seasoning is to your liking (I didn't need to add anything).  This time round, I think it turned out better...the chicken was more tender, the potatoes not overly soft and the curry was thicker and more flavourful (compared to last year's).

So, I'll stick to this recipe in future if I want to make this again.  Although it still didn't taste 100% like the one from Ratha Raub, the taste was much closer and it's the best I can do.  I guess they can't give out all their 'secrets' in their paste, otherwise no-one will eat at their restaurant as they can just buy the paste and cook it at home...haha! ;D 

But the chicken curry was not the only thing I cooked this year for the Reunion Dinner.  I also improvised and made a Mixed Vegetable Curry using Ratha Raub's Fish Curry Paste.

I started by sauteeing 15 shallots (blended) in a little oil until fragrant.  I then added two packets of fish curry paste and 600ml of water.

I set the timer for 30 minutes and simmered the contents for 5 minutes to let the paste and water come together.

Next, go in the vegetables but not all at once (this is a common mistake by many) since not all vegetables soften at the same time.  It's best to start with the harder and sturdier vegetables first and end with those that soften quickly.  I started with the long beans first at the 25-minute mark (I used 10 long beans cut into 2-inch lengths).

After 5 minutes, the cabbage went in next (1/2 a cabbage roughly cut into bite-sized pieces).  Leave them simmering with the lid off.

At the 15-minute mark, I added the brinjal (one big brinjal cut into 2-inch lengths as well).  Try to refrain from adding water as the vegetables (when cooked down) do release water.

I cooked that for a further 5 minutes before throwing in the ladies fingers (10 ladies fingers cut into two).

For the final 5 minutes, I added the tomatoes (3 tomatoes cut into six), tofu puffs (1 packet of 10 pieces cut into two), santan and curry leaves.  At this point, I tasted the curry and found it to be a little sourish (as fish curry usually is), so I added 1/2 a tbsp of sugar.

Check that the softness of vegetables are at the level you want...and the Mixed Vegetable Curry is done :)

If you're preparing this ahead of time, you might want to shorten the cooking time so that the vegetables will not be overly soft when you reheat them later for serving.

But I know there are some of us who like the vegetables in their vegetable curry to be really soft (and I'm one of them).  Some even like it after a few rounds of reheating....if there's any left to reheat, that is ;)

The vegetables lend some sweetness to the curry and they taste delicious after soaking up all that gravy! ^o^

If you're looking for something fail-proof and easy to cook, this is it.  A big pot of this can feed a lot of people.

After the photography session (hehe!), it was time to pack up my Mixed Vegetable Curry and put it in the fridge.

And there you have three contributed dishes of Chicken Curry with Potatoes, Mixed Vegetable Curry and Braised Mushrooms with Abalone & Fatt Choy are ready and packed for this year's Reunion Table in Ipoh.

Serves 8 - 10

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